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I. The PLACE where Joseph was put in prison, in the state prison, "a place where the king's prisoners were bound." A prison is a dismal doleful place. It is a very strong place. There are generally two kinds of prisoners in a prison, debtors and felons. That is, persons confined for debt, and persons confined for robbery and murder. Joseph was not in debt. Joseph had not robbed his master. Joseph had not killed any of the servan ts. The walls of a prison are very strong, many cubits thick, generally of stone. The windows are made of iron, that the prisoners may not break through; yet some times they make their escape. They sleep on iron bedsteads, and if they are thieves or murderers, they have heavy irons put on their legs, like those which you see the convicts wear that mend the roads. It is supposed that Joseph had irons put on him at first, but they were afterwards taken off.
* II. The PERSON who put JOSEPH in PRISON. "And Joseph's master took him, and put him into the prison." By the tongue of falsehood his master was prevailed to cast this
See Psalm 105. 18.
this injured, faithful, pious, innocent young man into prison. What a change in his condition! Here we behold Joseph confined in a dungeon in a strange land, without a friend to speak for him or care about him. O, thinks he, if my father knew this, how it would grieve, him. Not only was he cast into prison, but his feet were hurt with fetters, being laid in iron. His feet were galled, his heart was grieved, and probably he expected nothing but death. This was the punishment inflicted on those who were guilty of the crime of which he was accused. God interposed, he saved his life. He thus proclaimed his innocence. Had Joseph been put in any other prison, perhaps Pharoah would never have heard of him.
III. The FAVOR which JOSEPH found with the KEEPER of the PRISON. "But the lord was with Joseph, and shewed him mercy and gave him favour in the sight of the keeper." Though he was confined in a dungeon, yet the Lord was with him. It is a very great relief to the mind of a person confined in a prison, to know that he is innocent of the crime
laid to his charge. It is also a great comfort to be allowed to see his friends, to write to them and speak to them. Joseph had a powerful and almighty friend in the Lord; he was with Joseph, he comforted him. Joseph could pray to God in a prison. He could enjoy peace of mind and joy in the Lord, even in a prison. The Lord made the keeper kind to Joseph, he did not appear like a guilty person, and from what he saw of Joseph and what he heard from his fellow servants, he was no doubt inclined to think him innocent of the crime laid to his charge.
IV, JOSEPH made TURNKEY. Those persons who lock and unlock the cells of the prisoners, who carry them their food and wait upon them, are called TURNKEYS. And the keeper of the prison committed to Joseph's hand all the prisoners that were in the prison; and whatsoever they did there, he was the doer of it. This was Joseph's remarkable office, and it is not a very desirable place. In England the Turnkeys in a jail are exposed to more danger than the keeper of the prison. They are sometimes obliged to go armed with
pistols and swords to the cells of some of their prisoners. If he is not a bold, strong and courageous man, he is in danger of being overcome by those who are hardened in sin. It is an office which requires confidence and fidelity, firmness and sobriety. Joseph soon gained the confidence and good will of the keeper, and though he was at first severely treated, yet afterwards he was made both comfortable and useful. All who were under his care were no doubt treated with great kindness; probably he gave them good counsel and advice, if so, they must have profited under his instructions and example. Many have been more happy in a prison than they have in a palace. Joseph was both happy and useful. Such was the confidence that the jailor placed in him, that he looked not to any thing that was under his hands, because the Lord was with him, and that which he did, the Lord made it to prosper.
V. CATECHETICAL QUESTIONS.
1. What is a prison? A place of confinement.
2. Who put Joseph into prison? And Joseph's
seph's master took him and put him into prison. 3. Into what prison was Joseph put? Into a place where the King's prisoners were bound. 4. Who was with Joseph in prison? The Lord was with Joseph.
5. What did the Lord do for Joseph in the prison? Shewed him his mercy and gave him favor in the siglit of the keeper of the prison.
6. What did the keeper of the prison do for Joseph? Made him TURNKEY. And the keeper of the prison committed to Joseph's hand all the prisoners that were in the prison
7. How did the keeper she w his confidence in Joseph? The keeper of the prison looked not to any thing that was under his hands: because the Lord was with him, and that which he did, the Lord made it to prosper.
V. PRACTICAL ADDRESS.
How then can I do this great wickedness and sin against God." Whenever Satan tempts you to sin, remember these words. Whenever wicked boys or girls would tempt you to sin, remember these words. Avoid the object of temptation. Flee from the place of temptaH 3 tion.