"He made him
lord of his house, and ruler of all his substance: to bind his princes at
his pleasure; and teach his senators wisdom." Psalm 105:21, 22. From the
dungeon Joseph was exalted to be ruler over all the land of Egypt. It was a
position of high honor, yet it was beset with difficulty and peril. One
cannot stand upon a lofty height without danger. As the tempest leaves
unharmed the lowly flower of the valley, while it uproots the stately tree
upon the mountaintop, so those who have maintained their integrity in humble
life may be dragged down to the pit by the temptations that assail worldly
success and honor.
character bore the test alike of adversity and prosperity. The same fidelity
to God was manifest when he stood in the palace of the Pharaohs as when in a
prisoner's cell. He was still a stranger in a heathen land, separated from
his kindred, the worshipers of God; but he fully believed that the divine
hand had directed his steps, and in constant reliance upon God he faithfully
discharged the duties of his position. Through Joseph the attention of the
king and great men of Egypt was directed to the true God; and though they
adhered to their idolatry, they learned to respect the principles revealed
in the life and character of the worshiper of Jehovah.
How was Joseph
enabled to make such a record of firmness of character, uprightness, and
wisdom?--In his early years he had consulted duty rather than inclination;
and the integrity, the simple trust, the noble nature, of the youth bore
fruit in the deeds of the man. A pure and simple life had favored the
vigorous development of both physical and intellectual powers. Communion
with God through His works and the contemplation of the grand truths
entrusted to the inheritors of faith had elevated and ennobled his spiritual
nature, broadening and strengthening the mind as no other study could do.
attention to duty in every station, from the lowliest to the most exalted,
had been training every power for its highest service. He who lives in
accordance with the Creator's will is securing to himself the truest and
noblest development of character. "The fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and
to depart from evil is understanding." Job 28:28. There are few who realize
the influence of the little things of life upon the development of
character. Nothing with which we have to do is really small.
circumstances that we meet day by day are designed to test our faithfulness
and to qualify us for greater trusts. By adherence to principle in the
transactions of ordinary life, the mind becomes accustomed to hold the
claims of duty above those of pleasure and inclination. Minds thus
disciplined are not wavering between right and wrong, like the reed
trembling in the wind; they are loyal to duty because they have trained
themselves to habits of fidelity and truth. By faithfulness in that which is
least they acquire strength to be faithful in greater matters.
character is of greater worth than the gold of Ophir. Without it none can
rise to an honorable eminence. But character is not inherited. It cannot be
bought. Moral excellence and fine mental qualities are not the result of
accident. The most precious gifts are of no value unless they are improved.
The formation of a noble character is the work of a lifetime and must be the
result of diligent and persevering effort. God gives opportunities; success
depends upon the use made of them.