Genesis 48* Joseph visits his dying father. (1-7) Jacob blesses Joseph'ssons. (8-22)1-7 The death-beds of believers, with the prayers and counselsof dying persons, are suited to make serious impressions uponthe young, the gay, and the prosperous: we shall do well to takechildren on such occasions, when it can be done properly. If theLord please, it is very desirable to bear our dying testimony tohis truth, to his faithfulness, and the pleasantness of hisways. And one would wish so to live, as to give energy andweight to our dying exhortations. All true believers are blessedat their death, but all do not depart equally full of spiritualconsolations. Jacob adopted Joseph's two sons. Let them notsucceed their father, in his power and grandeur in Egypt; butlet them succeed in the inheritance of the promise made toAbraham. Thus the aged dying patriarch teaches these youngpersons to take their lot with the people of God. He appointseach of them to be the head of a tribe. Those are worthy ofdouble honour, who, through God's grace, break through thetemptations of worldly wealth and preferment, to embracereligion in disgrace and poverty. Jacob will have Ephraim andManasseh to know, that it is better to be low, and in thechurch, than high, and out of it. 8-22 The two good men own God in their comforts. Joseph says,They are my sons whom God has given me. Jacob says, God hathshowed me thy seed. Comforts are doubly sweet to us when we seethem coming from God's hand. He not only prevents our fears, butexceeds our hopes. Jacob mentions the care the Divine providencehad taken of him all his days. A great deal of hardship he hadknown in his time, but God kept him from the evil of histroubles. Now he was dying, he looked upon himself as redeemedfrom all sin and sorrow for ever. Christ, the Angel of thecovenant, redeems from all evil. Deliverances from misery anddangers, by the Divine power, coming through the ransom of theblood of Christ, in Scripture are often called redemption. Inblessing Joseph's sons, Jacob crossed hands. Joseph was willingto support his first-born, and would have removed his father'shands. But Jacob acted neither by mistake, nor from a partialaffection to one more than the other; but from a spirit ofprophecy, and by the Divine counsel. God, in bestowing blessingsupon his people, gives more to some than to others, more gifts,graces, and comforts, and more of the good things of this life.He often gives most to those that are least likely. He choosesthe weak things of the world; he raises the poor out of thedust. Grace observes not the order of nature, nor does Godprefer those whom we think fittest to be preferred, but as itpleases him. How poor are they who have no riches but those ofthis world! How miserable is a death-bed to those who have nowell-grounded hope of good, but dreadful apprehensions of evil,and nothing but evil for ever!
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