"Of Joseph he said, Blessed of the Lord be his
land, for the precious things of heaven, for the dew, and for the deep that
couches beneath, and for the precious fruits brought forth by the sun, and
for the precious things put forth by the moon, and for the chief things of
the ancient mountains, and for the precious things of the lasting hills, and
for the precious things of the earth and fullness thereof, and for the good
will of Him, who dwelt in the bush. Let the blessing come upon the head of
Joseph, and upon the top of the head of him, who was separated from his
brethren. His glory is like the firstling of his bullock, and his horns are
like the horns of wild oxen; with them he shall push the people together to
the ends of the earth--and they are the ten thousands of Ephraim, and they
are the thousands of Manasseh." Deut. 33:13-17.
This blessing is an overflowing stream. Gift follows
gift, as if beneficence left bounds behind. Treasures are scattered with
unsparing hand. The grant seems to say,' Take, until no more can be
Joseph is the tribe thus signally enriched. He sparkles
as the brightest jewel of his father's house. His early grace--his
persecuted youth--his rescue from the pit--his firm resistance of enticing
evil--his prison-sufferings--his exaltation to be a prince in Egypt--his
call to be a savior to his house--with all the tender incidents of his
affecting tale, are verdant spots in the first Bible-pages. He lived no
common life. No common blessing passes to his seed.
While faith, too, journeys by his side from scene to
scene--from early hatred until knees bowed before him--from the low dungeon
to the lofty throne--it quickly sees a living type of Jesus. The
varying lights and shadows graphically show the Lord. Hence it is no
surprise, that special honors crown him. The lips of Jacob gave him an
exceeding share. Gen. 49:22-26. The lips of Moses add new stores. It is fit,
that those who trace out most of Christ to men, should stand pre-eminent in
heavenly favor. Hence Joseph enters on this goodly lot.
His CHARACTER is first described. This claims, then,
primary regard. It is a simple portrait. All is comprised in this one
praise--he is the "separated from his brethren." He differs, and
because he differs, he is cast out. He will not walk in evil ways. And evil
men despise him. He loathes their vices, and they loathe his grace. He
cannot live, as one with them. And they conspire, that he shall live no
more. But while the wicked frown, God smiles. While scales of enmity are
full, the scales of recompensing favor far outweigh.
Reader, while you survey this feature of God's child,
ask, 'Is your likeness here?' Do not forget, that two families inhabit
earth. In principle--in taste--in habit--in desire, they are as separate, as
light from darkness--cold from heat--pole from pole--life from death. There
is the serpent's seed. There is the heaven-born race. There is the world.
There is the little flock of grace. There is the broad road. There is the
narrow way. There are the sheep. There are the goats. Hence the importance
of the question, Have you escaped from nature's thraldom? Do your feet tread
the upward path of life? Do you belong to Belial, or to Christ?
Be wise, and ascertain your real position. Rest not a
slave among slaves--a worldling among worldlings. Tarry not in the doomed
plain. Come out, like Joseph. He was separate. And did he lose thereby? Let
his blessing now give reply.
The BLESSING is so worded, as to exhibit the fullest
measure of earthly fertility. All causes, which concur to multiply and ripen
fruits, shall lend their congenial influence. The land shall blossom, as an
Eden. The canopy of heaven shall pour down softening rains. The gentle dew
shall ever sparkle in refreshing drops. Springs from beneath shall permeate
the clods. The annual and the monthly produce shall periodically bloom. The
ancient mountains shall supply their tribute. Their caverns shall be rich in
ore. The lasting hills shall slope luxuriant in olives and in vines. Joseph
shall know no scarcity or dearth. Its borders shall abound in "the precious
things of the earth and the fullness thereof." The corn shall widely wave in
golden wealth. The grass shall spread its verdant carpet. All cattle and all
flocks shall browse. Thus earth shall bring her every treasure--and Joseph's
sons shall feast at nature's overflowing table.
Such is the superficial view. Thus the first aspect shows
abundance of terrestrial goods. But these strong images are bright with
Surely this is a vivid scene of better wealth. Our
precious Bible--the book of every age and climate--often culls nature's
field to impress spiritual ideas. Things visible portray invisible
possessions. This principle leads us to look from the outward landscape, and
to seek deeper lessons for the soul.
The parallel is quickly found. Obvious illustrations soon
occur. For instance, the heart is often parched and dry. But Jesus can
sweetly soften. "He shall come down like rain upon the mown grass--as
showers, that water the earth." Ps. 72:6. Each morning opens on a scene of
need. Each morning finds supplies. "I will be as the dew unto Israel." Hos.
14:5. The roots of grace are planted on a flinty soil. There must be
constant nourishment, else the leaves wither. Fear not, believer, "You shall
be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail
not." Is. 58:11. "He shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that
spreads out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat comes, but
her leaf shall be green, and shall not be careful in the year of drought,
neither shall cease from yielding fruit." Jer. 17:8.
The inner man, once profuse with every noxious
weed--where thorns and briers raised their fruitless heads--when cheered by
heaven-sent rays, smiles as a garden, blossoms as a rose. The promise
stands, "I will plant trees—cedar, acacia, myrtle, olive, cypress, fir, and
pine—on barren land." Isaiah 41:19. Then precious crops of holy
words, and holy works in due succession come. Then fruits of
godliness ripen in turn. Faith stands a noble tree. Hope
raises high its richly laden boughs. Love scatters fragrance all
around. Clusters of righteousness bear witness, this is the vineyard
of the Lord--the field watered by grace--filled with the Spirit's seed--and
cherished by heaven's brightest beams.
Believer, turn not from this spiritual landscape, without
the thought, 'Is your soul thus?' The test of state is always one--"By their
fruits you shall know them." The word is true, "He who abides in Me, and I
in Him, the same brings forth much fruit." John 15:5. Do you thus abide in
Christ? Do you draw fertilizing sap from that rich stem? Do you sit ripening
beneath the sunny smiles of God? So only can your heart be Joseph's fertile
Joseph has more than promise of this large prosperity.
There is assurance of divine good will. This is his crowning
blessing. He inherits "the good will of Him who dwelt in the bush."
Observe, how Moses cherished to his last hour that early
revelation of his Lord. He can look back on much, and close, and dear
communion--but that display is still most splendid in the retrospective
view. No time can dim its luster.
Believer, what can obscure on memory's mirror your first
clear view of Jesus! What can deaden on your retentive ear the voice, which
first assured you of His love! Your heaven began, when you had evidence of
His good will. Cherish this sweet assurance. Open your eyes more clearly to
discern it. Clasp tight your hands around it. Through every day--in every
day's concerns--think, what high favor hovers round you! From all eternity
good will regarded you. To all eternity it will warmly burn, and through all
time it will remain your guard. It was good will to undertake your full
It was good will to leave heaven's glories in your
service. It was good will to live and die in your behalf. The low
estate--the sufferings--the groans--the agony--the cross--the streaming
blood--the death--the grave--all manifest good will. And now this favor
enriches you with daily grace. It will not fail, while life endures. It will
watch by your dying bed. It will receive your fleeting breath. It will
present you faultless before the Father's throne. It will rejoice over you,
while endless ages roll. Nothing can quench--nothing can part from--"the
good will of Him who dwelt in the bush."
Joseph's blessing still flows on. Distinctive evidence,
that he is the heir of good will, follows. Thus it abounds. "His glory is
like the firstling of his bullock." He shall stand
stately--beauteous--strong, as the prime offspring of the herd. He shall
move the admiration of the plain.
Here, again, the deepest truth is spiritual. Where shall
we find the glory of the human race? It can be only in the realms of grace.
There is no loveliness in this world's slaves. They are
polluted--tainted--marred by sin--crippled in power--impotent for good. But
when the Spirit leads them to a Savior's blood, and thus obliterates each
filthy stain--when faith puts on the robes of divine righteousness--when
power from heaven renews the nature--when they receive the lineaments of
Christ--when they reflect the God-man's image; then weakness and deformity
are followed by strength and beauty--then this grand pledge is fully
redeemed--"His glory is like the firstling of his bullock." Deut. 33:17. It
is ever true, that each Joseph is made strong in a Savior's strength, and
beauteous in a Savior's beauty, and moves among his fellow-men, the salt of
the earth, the light of the world.
Again, Joseph shall do valiantly. His prowess
shall crush every foe. His conquering power is thus described--"His horns
are like the horns of wild oxen--with them he shall push the people together
to the ends of the earth." Deut. 33:17.
Thus faith's life is one triumphant conflict. Who can
recount the adversaries checking the upward march! But opposition is in
vain. There is a Captain, who implants courage, girds up the loins, and
cheers His followers onward, until the everlasting palms are waved, and
everlasting hallelujahs sound. The blood-washed troops prevail, strong in
the Lord, and in the power of His might.
Lastly, his numbers shall exceedingly expand.
"They are the ten thousands of Ephraim, and they are the thousands of
Manasseh." The child of God often mourns his solitude. He seems to be as a
lonely cottage in the deserted vineyard. Is. 1:8. But when the total flock
is gathered in--when the whole body is complete--when Jesus brings the
collected sheaves to heaven's garner; then how vast will be the circle upon
circle of saved souls! The ransomed multitude is numberless. The death of
Jesus gives birth to countless life.
Reader, think of the world's tinsel gifts--weigh
Satan's wages, as earned in time, and paid in the eternal world. Then turn
and contrast the blessing, which "comes upon the head of Joseph--and upon
the top of the head of him, who was separated from his brethren." Shall this
bright crown be yours? Jesus's hands bestow it. Seek it. Ask it. None
seek--none ask--in vain.
Ah! wretched worldling, when will you be wise! Come and
display your treasure. Your best is but a fading flower--a fleeting
shadow--a tottering reed--a failing brook. And how long can your hands
retain it? How long!--You startle. You tremble. You turn pale. How long! It
perishes, while you strive to grasp it. What will then follow! Hell is at
hand to answer.
Happy Christian, show your treasure. You produce Joseph's
portion--abundance of all grace. How long! A bright eternity is the measure