Joseph Made Known to His Brethren

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John Newton, 1779, from Olney Hymns, vol. 1, hymn 12

When Joseph his brethren beheld,
Afflicted and trembling with fear;
His heart with compassion was filled,
From weeping he could not forbear.
Awhile his behavior was rough,
To bring their past sin to their mind;
But when they were humbled enough,
He hasted to show himself kind.

2. How little they thought it was he,
Whom they had ill treated and sold!
How great their confusion must be,
As soon as his name he had told!
I am Joseph, your brother, he said,
And still to my heart you are dear,
You sold me, and thought I was dead,
But God, for your sakes, sent me here.

3. Though greatly distressed before,
When charged with purloining the cup;
They now were confounded much more,
Not one of them durst to look up.
Can Joseph, whom we would have slain.
Forgive us the evil we did?
And will he our households maintain?
O this is a brother indeed!

4. Thus dragged by my conscience, I came,
And laden with guilt, to the Lord;
Surrounded with terror and shame,
Unable to utter a word.
At first he looked stern and revere,
What anguish then pierced my heart!
Expecting each moment to hear
The sentence, Thou cursed, depart!

5. But O! what surprise when he spoke,
While tenderness beamed in his face;
My heart then to pieces was broke,
O'erwhelmed and confounded by grace:
Poor sinner, I know thee full well,
By thee I was sold and was slain;
But I died to redeem thee from hell,
And raise thee in glory to reign.

6. I am Jesus, whom thou hast blasphemed,
And crucified often afresh;
But let me henceforth be esteemed,
Thy brother, thy bone, and thy flesh:
My pardon I freely bestow,
Thy wants I will fully supply;
I'll guide thee and guard thee below,
And soon will remove thee on high.

7. Go, publish to sinners around,
That they may be willing to come,
The mercy which now you have found,
And tell them that yet there is room.
O, sinners, the message obey!
No more vain excuses pretend;
But come, without farther delay,
To Jesus our brother and friend.

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