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where he stood, which warmed and cheered the poor child ; the hail-storm ceased, the sharp north-east wind swept no more, whistling and howling, across the common; the clouds rolled away above, and the air grew bright and balmy; then there arose a twittering of birds in a hazel copse hard by, which the child had not before seen for the blinding showers, and presently a little lark sprung up from amid the green fresh grass, and spreading out its glossy brown wings, soared and soared high up into the blue heavens, singing the while as though in a perfect extácy of delight; and then a blackbird and a thrush, not liking to be outdone by the saucy little songster, began talking to each other from opposite sides of a meadow that lay beyond the copse of hazel trees, which were just then bursting into leaf; sweet it was to hear their rich musical voices, contrasting so pleasantly with the shrill piping of the merry lark, and sweet it was to smell the perfume of the violets, which put forth their purple and white blossoms on a mossy bark, that ran along the side of the copse, and to see, twinkling here and there, the golden stars of the pilewort, or celandine as it is commonly called, and the daisies, like silver studs set in a cloth of emerald green, for as yet their delicate pink-tipped leaves, or petals, which, ever in wet and gloomy weather fold up closely, had not spread themselves out again to the sun :-sweet it was, I say, to see and hear all these pleasant sights and sounds, and to inhale the perfume of the fresh flowers; doubly sweet after the gloomy and desolate aspect of all things previously; and the heart of the poor child revived within him, and the smile of hope once more played upon his face, now turned up to where I shall also get you to accompany me over the vast field of Nature, while I describe to you the many wonders of Creation. The sweet smelling flowers, the beautiful singing birds, and the noble animals, each and all bearing witness to the goodness of the Great God who made the heavens and the earth, and all that is therein. My desire also is that, you should be conversant with the principal events of the country in which we live. I shall, therefore, from time to time, give you Chapters on English History: also Lessons on the Arts and Manufactures of England and Foreign Countries : and in the endeavour to assist you to conquer your giants, I hope we shall get well acquainted, and like one another; and that the “ Little Child's Pictorial Keepsake” may be one of the means of making you good, wise, and happy children.
JOSEPH AND HIS BRETHREN, OR, THE GOOD
OSEPH was the son of Jacob and Rachael,
the youngest daughter of Jacob's uncle Laban, and was born A, M. (or the year
of the world) 2259, at Padan-Aram, in Mesopotamia, and his infancy was, no doubt, passed there with his father; although no especial mention is made of him in Scrip
ture, until his father had left his uncle, to reside at Canaan ; and then we find Joseph at the age of seventeen years. His occupation was at that time the same as his brethren, viz. that of a shepherd; property in those early times consisting of flocks and herds; and the principal duty of the young men was attending to them.
Joseph appears to have been a most dutiful and affectionate son; and the commentators upon the Bible, in alluding to his character, all agree that he was endowed with extraordinary wisdom and prudence, which to a great extent may account for Jacob's preference of him over his brethren; as it is very natural for parents to admire those children who show a degree of wisdom beyond their years.
Joseph had eleven brethren; Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Dan, Napthali, Gad, Asher, Issachar, Zebulon, and Benjamin.
Benjamin, the youngest, being his own brother, that is they were both sons of Rachael, Jacob's second wife, who died at the birth of Benjamin, when they arrived at Bethel, on their journey from Mesopotomia to Canaan.
We further find that Jacob, as a mark of attachment to his favourite son, Joseph, gave him 'a coat of many colours, which is generally thought to be a garment made up of pieces of silk, or stuff, which had much variety in them; according to some, a long garment reaching to the heels, or ancles, with long sleeves down to the wrists, which had a border at the bottom, and a facing (as we call it) at the hands of a different colour to the lower garments; and which was accounted noble, as well as beautiful, in ancient times.
This token, coupled with Joseph's having informed his father of some wickedness his brethren, the sons of Bilhah and Zilpah, had been guilty of, caused them to be jealous of him, and to hate him: so much so, that they could not speak peaceably to him. How often we do find that even now, a particular member of a family is disliked by the rest on account of either his or her particular attainments, or pursuits ? and yet how wrong and sinful it is, and what an example have we in Joseph's brethren of where this bad passion of jealousy led them to, almost to commit murder, as we shall find afterwards. Therefore, dear young readers, always remember when you find you are beginning to be jealous of another's talents, or acquirements, or presents, “ that where much is given, much will be required,” as in the case of Joseph, how much more was required of him than his brethen!
It was at the time Joseph's brethren treated him so badly, that he dreamed a dream, and not having any bad feelings towards them, told them it, “For behold,” said he, “ we were binding sheaves in a field, and lo, my sheaf arose, and also stood upright; and behold, your sheaves stood round about, and made obeisance to my sheaf.”
His brethren hated him the more for his dream, and said “shalt thou indeed reign over us?" And he dreamed another dream, and told that also to them, saying, “Behold the sun, and moon, and eleven stars, made obeisance to me," and when he had told this to his father and brethren, his father rebuked him, saying, “ Shall I, and thy mother, and thy brethren, indeed, bow unto thee?" Jacob did not wish these dreams of future greatness to make Joseph vain or proud: neither did they. God, who in those days worked by 'signs and wonders,' evidently intended those dreams to buoy up Joseph in his future trouble and affiction, consequent upon his brethren's cruel behaviour.
At this time his brethren were feeding their flocks at Sheckem; and his father told Joseph to go and see how his brethren were, and bring him word. Jacob's uneasidess about his other children arose from their having so