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Mes. J. S. HENSLOW. 

Search the Scriptures. John r. 89. 

All Scripture is given by inspiration of Ood, and is profitable 
for doctrine, for reproof, for coivection, for instruction in 
righteousness. 2 Tim. iii. )6. 



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E. R6otBd. SHE^iET. 

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In the present age, when so n^ny reUgious 
books are daily issuing from the press, I 
should scarcely have ventured to add another 
to the list, had it not tjfen for the persuasion 
that if we would ** trash up pur children in 
*' the way they should gof" wfe must not only 
impress them with early nabits of piety, but 
must be careful that the great truths of God's 
Holy Word be laid before them in such a 
way, that they may not rest contented with 
the outward form of rehgion only, but be 
enabled to grasp the substance also. 

Young persons are too apt to consider the 
Old and New Testaments as (ihstinct books. 
Whilst they acknowledge the contents of the 
New to be especially addressed to them as 
Christians, they look upon most of the events 

A 2 

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recorded in the Old, as merely incideDts in an 
historical narrative which they read indeed 
with interest, but without suflBciently reflecting 
how they may be made practically applicable 
to themselves. 

It has been my object in this little volume 
to shew how the various incidents related of 
the earliest period of man's history may be 
turned to our profit as Christians — ^proving St, 
Paul's assertion that " whatsoever things were 
" written aforetime, were written for ourleam- 
" ing ," " upon whom the ends of the world 
"are come." 

In regard to the history of the Jews in par- 
ticular, (more especially that portion of it, to 
which this book is limited,) whether we view 
it with reference to God's dealings towards 
his sinful creatures, or to the many trials and 
difficulties under which they laboured, it is im- 
possible to read it with attention, without deri- 
ving much that must tend to our own advance- 
ment in spiritual knowledge. 

I have endeavoured to point out how beau- 

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tifidly the diflferent parts of scripture harmonize 
with each other, by selecting such texts, (from 
the New Testament especially) as bear upon a 
variety of passages in the Old. By this means 
the young reader becomes familiarized with 
many important texts, which are thereby more 
firmly impressed upon the mind in their true 

I have likewise attempted to elucidate many 
obscure passages by consulting different re- 
ligious works, more especially Scott's Commen- 
tary, and D'Oyly and Mant, but although I have 
occasionally adopted their sentiments, I have 
generally clothed them in language which I 
considered best adapted to the comprehension 
of my youthful readers. 

It may be scarcely necessary to add, that 
I have not presumed to offer any opinions, 
which are not sanctioned by these or other 
divines of established reputation, but where 
such have fallen in with my own views, I have 
not hesitated to adopt them, even though they 
may be at variance with many expositions of 
the same text. 

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Tin. F&EFACE. 

I have only to add that if tJus litUe volume 
ahoiald he tlie humble meaxie of leading one 
individuii to give mare attention ^tism he may 
hitheito have done, to the word 6£ God, if it 
may have advaaaced him one step in the only 
road to holiness, 4^n will my end be :^y 
amwered, my fendest hope be realked. 

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Thsrjb U no book like the 
Holy Scriptures. They cont«ia every tbiug to ouike us 
good and wise in this world, mi eternally h^ppy in the 
next. No one can expect to go to Heaven who neglects 
the truths in the Bible. " Strait is the gate, and narrow 
" is the way which leadeth unto life, and few there be 
**that find it/' (Matt. vii. 14.) and bow can we expect 
to have the doqr of Heaven opened nnto us, if we refuse 
to ask admission ? It is the word of God which alone 
pouits the way to salvation, and if we would attain unto 
the one, we mu^t not neglect the other. 

Wo read in the Bible, that he thut believeth in Jesus 
Ghxi&t shall be s«ved : that is, saved firom the punishment 
due to his sins; but wliat does believing in Jesus Christ 
mean? It does not surely mean believing only that he 
lived once upon earth, and that lie was crucified by the 
Jewsi many people bejieve that, calling themselves Christ- 
tians, and yet in their general conduct towards each .other 
appear very little actuated by a real spirit of Christianity. 

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No, it means a great deal more than this : we must not 
only believe that he died upon the Cross for our sakes, — 
we must also believe every thing else he has told us, and 
he tells us, that unless we repent of our sins, we cannot 
be saved. 

Now repenting of our sins, is not only being very 
sorry for them, but striving to conquer them, and to do 
what is right, which will prove we are really in earnest. 
Nevertheless we must remember that we can do nothing 
of ourselves ; 6od*s Holy spirit can alone direct our minds 
and cleanse our hearts from sin: and we are not only 
commanded in our Bibles to ask for his assistance, but 
have even the encouraging assurance held out to us, that 
*' if we knock, it shall be opened unto us, if we seek, we 
" shall find." (Matt. vii. 7.) 

In every page of Scripture we may find texts adapted 
to all our wants, promises held out to us, strength to 
assist us, and encouragement to support us under all the 
trials of this life. I would especially recommend the 
book of Psalms as the source from which we may derive 
the greatest assistance in our devotions, but even in those 
portions of the Bible which relate more particularly to the 
Jewish religion, we may gather much instruction from 
the histories they contain of difierent nations and indivi- 
duals, applying practically to our own conduct such rules, 
and ii^'imctions as have been delivered " at sundry times 
** and in divers manners" (Heb. i. 1.) through the in- 
spiration of the holy Spirit, often by the voice of God 

It is with the hope of explaining some passages which 
may be difficult for you to understand, and thereby 

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rendering you better acquainted with the Holy Scriptures, 
and also with the wish to excite an interest in the pe- 
rusal of them, that I now address this volume to you. 

I should recommend each chapter to be read previ- 
ously in the bible, and that the texts referred to be sought 
for likewise, which will impress them more fully on the 
memory from studying them in connexion with their 

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Creation— Fall of tilliii—Deafh of Abel— Hood— Tower 
offiabet 1 

Abraham's departure — Isaac promised — iDstitution of cir- 
cumcision — ^Abraham entertains two angels — Lot's 
wife — Abraham goed to Oefi^— Birth of Isaac — 
llagar in the Wilderness. 11 

Abraham sends to Laban — Isaac goes to Gerar — 
Jacob obtains Isaac's blessing — Jacob's tow in 
going to Padan-aram— Married Leah and Rachel — 
Returns tiotne — His prayer fo God — His meeting 
with fiSau— Wrestles ^th the angiel— Ood's church. 
Joseph's dreams-^ Joseph carried to ]£gypt . . 24 

Joseph in prison — He interprets the dreams of Pharoah's 
servants— .Pharoah's dreams — Joseph promoted — 
He provides for the famine— His brethren come 

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into 'Egypt — Simeon detained — Arrival of Benjamin 
Cup found in his sftck — Joseph discovers himself — 
Jacob's sacrifice at Beersheba — Goes to Egypt — 
Appears before Pharoah — His death — Joseph a type 
of Christ 35 

Afflictions of the Israelites — Birth of Moses— He kills 
an Egyptian — The Burning Bush — Doubts and fears 
of Moses — Returns to Egypt — Pharaoh refuses to 
let Israel go. . . . . • .52 

Ten plagues — Passover instituted — Departure of the 
Israelites from Egypt — First born sanctified—Israel- 
ites pursued by Pharaoh^-Cross the ^ Red sea — 
Egyptians drowned. ... . . .64 

Moses' song — ^Waters of Marah — Manna— Institution of 
the Sabbath-^ Moses obtains water from the rock — 
Defeat of the Amalekites — Jethro's sacrifice — ^The 
ten commandments— The law . . . . 87 

God's covenant — ^The tabernacle — Golden calf— Moses' 
atonement — ^The tables renewed — Jewish feasts — 
Moses' vaiL . . . ' . . . 108 

Jewish Uws — Rites — Sacrifices — OflTerings — Consecration 
of priests -r-Aaron's blessing — Nahab and Abihu — 
feast of expiation . • • . .124 

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Numbering of the Tribes — ^Lentes — ^Nazarites — ^Dedi- 
cation of the Tabernacle — Passover kept — Seventy 
elders appointed — Qaails sent — Sedition of Miriam. 
Leprosy . . « . • • . 137 

. Spies sent into Canaan — ^Their false report — Remon- 
strance of Joshua and Caleb — Intercession of 
Moses— The Israelites turn back — Are defeated by 
the Amalekites — ^RebeUion of Korah — Aaron^s inter- 
cession — Aaron^s rod. • . • .149 

Moses strikes the rock — Death of Aaron—- Israel defeated 
at Hormah — ^The Brazen serpent . »• .161 

Israel in Moab— Balak and Balaam— Balaam's Parable 
Idolatry of the Israelites — Phinehas » . .172 

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Creation— Fall of man— Death of Abel— Flood— Tower of Babel. 


Thk first chapter of Genesis you will tliiiik is very easy 
to be understood, being merely the history of every thing 
that God has made. Veiy true, it is easy to understand the 
sense of it, but does it teacb us nothing else ? may it not 
lead Ds to reflect on the kindness and goodness of God ? 
Can we view any of the works of the Creator without be- 
ing at the sjime time struck with his infinite power and 
wisdom, and without exclaiming with the Psalmist, " O 
" Lord, how manifold are thy works ! in wisdom hast Thou 
" made them all : the earth is fiill of thy riches."" 

And for whom did the Almighty create all these things ? 
That we are told in the Eevelations, " For Thy pleasure 
they are, and were ci'eated."* God is a being infinitely 
happy, and it was his pleasure not only to create a world in 
which that happiness might be diffused, but even to form 
man after his own image, pure and innocent, who was to 
have dominion over every fiving thing. 

• Ps. civ.24. * Rev. iT. n. 


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2 ADAM. [CH* 

Who could have supposed that God would so soon meet 
with such an ungrateful return for all this kindness ! 

Adam and Eve we are told were created in the image of 
God ; they were perfectly good and happy, placed in a situ- 
ation where they had every thing they could possibly want, 
and only commanded not to eat of one tree — a simple 
command, which, we might suppose, would have been very 
easy to obey. And yet we find they not only disobeyed God 
by doing this very thing they were told not to do, but even 
endeavoured to conceal it by a falsehood. We read that 
Eve was tempted by the devil, who appeared to her in the 
form of a serpent. God does not now suffer the devil to 
appear to us in any visible form, but though we do not see 
him, he still endeavom*s to lead us astray, or as St. Peter 
tells us, "as a roaring lion, he walketh about seeking 
" whom he may devour,"" and whenever you feel inclined 
to do wrong, you may be sure he is tempting you just as 
he did Eve ; but if you look into your Bible and see what 
St. James says, you will read that God has said, " Eesist 
" the devil and he will flee from you," ' that is, if you try 
to conquer your evil disposition, and do what is right, 
praying to God for his Holy Spirit to direct you, Satan can 
have no power over you. 

Eve, on the contrary, lent a willing ear to his wicked 
suggestion, and was thus not only induced to take the fruit, 
but she also tempted Adam to do so likewise. And what 
were the consequences ? They knew they had done wrong, 
and felt ashamed, but instead of confessing their sin, and 
asking forgiveness of God, they went and hid themselves, 
as if they thought it possible they could be concealed from 
the Almighty, from whom " there is nothing hid that shall 
" not be known. "' 

You see here the sad effects of giving way to sin ; when 
once a person is tempted to do wrong, there is no saying 
what he may be led to do. The consequences of Adam's 
sin were dreadful indeed : He was now driven out of Para- 
dise, he had to labour with his own hands for his food, and 

.Pet, V. 8. * J«». IV. 7. • Mat. x. 26. 

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I*] ADAH — CAIN. 8 

instead of living for ever in that happy place, was told he 
should die, and his body return to the dust from whence it 
was taken. 

Adam and Eve had now lost that purity and innocence 
in which, after the image of their Maker, they had been 
created, and would have forfeited for ever God's favour and 
mercy, were he not a Being infinitely good and kind, as well 
as just. In his anger he was nevertheless merciful ; and even 
while he was denouncing judgement i^on them, promised 
that the time should come when the power of the devil 
would be crushed by the seed of the woman ; an expression, 
which as you are doubtless aware of, implied our Saviour, 
who by suffering death for us, was finally to restore us to 
God's favour, and lead us to everlasting life. This would 
be effectually bruising the head of the devil, who can have 
no power over us in Heaven, 

Four Thousand years were to elapse before this event 
was to take place, but you willobseiTe as we proceed, how 
constantly the Jews, whose history forms the chief part of 
the Old Testament, were reminded of it by circumstances, 
which having always a reference, and often a great simi- 
larity to many which happened to our Saviour, were called 
typei. These I shall point out and explain to you as they 


From the history of Adam and Eve, we now proceed to 
that of Cain and Abel, in which the consequences of Adam's 
sin are again seen. Had the first pair obeyed God's com- 
mands, their children would, like themselves, have been for 
ever happy in Paradise, but from the moment Adam and 
Eve sinned, their whole nature was changed : " The heart 
" of man had become deceitftd, and desperately wicked," • 
and " every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was 
only evil."' 

« Jer. zriL 9. ' Chap. vi. 5. 


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4 CAIN — ABEL. [CH. 

In this state the whole race of man has continned ever 
since. Onr natural inclinations will ever incline ns to do 
wrong, and it is only by the grace of God, who can pnt " a 
new spirit within us, taking the stony heart ont of onr flesh, 
and giving ns a heart of flesh," * that we can become flt for 
the Kingdom of Christ. St. Panl, quoting the Psalms, tells 
us that " there is none righteous, no not one," * for that 
" the carnal mind is enmity against God," ' meaning the 
mind in its natural state, before it has been renewed by the 
spirit of God. 

Thus are we constantly reminded of the state into which 
we are all fallen in consequence of A.dam*s sin, and in 
which we must for ever have remained, had it not pleased 
God in his infinite goodness to send his beloved Son into 
the world to be sacrificed for our sins, and who by his 
precepts and example during his abode on earth, has di- 
rected us in the only path which leads to true happiness. 

We must now return to Cain and Abel. These two 
brothers, we are told, both offered a sacrifice to God. Toa 
are aware that until o^ir Saviour appeared on earth, it 
pleased God that men should ofter up their prayers and 
thanksgivings in the form of a sacrifice. Thus Cain 
brought of the fruit of the ground, and Abel brought one of 
his flock, and offered it to God. 

Now we read that God " had respect unto Abel, and to 
" his offering, but unto Cain, and to his offering, he had not 
" respect," that is, he approved of the one, and disapproved 
of the other. We may be sure therefore that Cain's sacri- 
fice was not what it ought to have been. In St. Paul's 
e])istle to the Hebrews, it is written, " By faith Abel offer- 
'^ ed unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by 
" which he obtained witness that he was righteous." ' 

Some people suppose that Abel's faith referred to God's 
promise respecting our Saviour, and that he showed it by 
offering a sacrifice, which in its natmre prefigured that of 
C^hrist, while Cain only offered the fruits of the earth. If 
this be true, th@ sacrifice of animals must have been a com- 

• Ezek. xi. 19. * Rom. iii. 1 0. « viiu 7. * Heb. xi. 4. 

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I.] CAIN. 5 

mand of God from the beginning, but as thei« is nothing 
expressly said on this subject, it can only be a matter of 
conjecture. But of this we may be sure, that Cain's sa- 
crifice was not offered in a proper spirit, from the evil dis- 
position which he manifested towards his brother. St. John 
says, " he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, 
** how can he love God whom he hath not seen ?" " Read 
also what our Saviour says, " If thou bring thy gift to the 
" altar, and there remeraberest that thy brother hath ought 
" against thee, leave there thy gift before the altai*, and go • 
" thy way ; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come 
"andoffer thy gift."* 

" For this is the message that ye heard from the begin- 
" ning, that we should love one another. Not as Cain, 
*' who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And 
" wherefore slew he him ? Because his o^vn works were 
*' evil, and his brother's righteous." * 

His proud heart would not suffer him to see his brother 
preferred before hioL Be assured, that pride will gene- 
rally be found to be the cause of most sinful actions. Inhere 
is indeed no sin against which we ought more to strive ; it 
lurks at the bottom of our hearts, and influences us when 
we are least aware of it. It is written in the Proverbs, 
" by pride cometh contention," ' and again, " Pride goeth 
" before destruction." • How fully were these texts exem- 
plified in the case of Cain 1 His pride first rendered him 
jealous of his brother ; he then quanelled with him, and at 
length slew him. 

This we may conclude was done in secret, but we know 
that nothing can be concealed from God, who suffered not 
the wicked action to go unpunished. May this sad event 
be a warning to us all of the danger of giving way to the 
least feeling of envy or unkindness towards any one, for 
when once we allow our tempers and passions to get the 
better of us, we know not what we may be led to do. It 
is difficult for soipe persons who are naturally of an irri- 
table disposition to restrain their tempers on sdl occasions, 

• 1 John, iv, 20- * Matt v. 2J. n John; iii 11, 12. * Prov. xiiL 10. • xvL 18 


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bwt they mnst ever remember that " with God all things 
" are possible," " and that they may be sure of obtaining 
his assistance, if they only ask for it in a proper spirit. 


Neably two thousand years had now elapsed since the 
creation of the world, during which period many generations 
had succeeded each other ; yet in afl that time there are but 
three persons, Abel, Enoch, and Noah, whose piety has 
been recorded. Of Enoch we know nothing, but that it is 
said he "walked with God, and he was not, for God took 
" him,'* that is, he was taken up to heaven without under- 
going the usual penalty of death. 

Walking with God, or before God, are expressions im- 
plying that he who does so, endeavours at all times to 
please God, and submits to His will in every thing, never 
forgetting that the Almighty is constantly present, sees all 
he does, and knows aU his thoughts, and he is very careful 
never to offend Him. Now this, we may be sure was the 
case with Enoch, and blessed indeed was his reward. 

Noah we arc told, " was a just man, " and that he like- 
wise " walked with God, being the most perfect man in his 
" generations." 

And now, as it is written, " men began to multiply on 
" the face of the earth, and the sons of God took wives of 
" the daughters of men." 

The sons of God, are generally supposed to be the pos- 
terity of Seth, who were worshippers of the true God ; the 
children of men being the descendants of the ungodly race 
of Cain. Thus by intermanying with each other, the true 
followers of God could be no longer kept distinct from the 
rest of the world, and this we may therefore imagine, to 
have been one great cause of that depravity, which had 
now increased to such a degree, that God saw fit to de- 
stroy the whole world. 

« Matt. xix. 26. 

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T.] NOAH. 7 

** God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the 
" earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his 
" heart was only evil continually. " 

*' And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the 
earth, and it grieved him at his heart." 

When we meet with expressions such as these, applied to 
the Almighty, we must ever bear in mind that in speaking of 
the dealings of God with mankind, such terms only can be 
used, as are adapted to the comprehension of mortal be- 
ings, and therefore when we read of God's repenting, it is 
oidy because there is no other word which could express 
what to our finite ideas, appears an alteration of mind. 

" God is not a man that he should lie, neither the son of 
" man that he should repent ; hath he said, and shall he 
*^ not do it ? hath he spoken, and shall he not make it 
"good? "• 

Noah and his family were the only persons whom God 
was pleased to save from the general destruction which 
now ensued from the deluge. Dreadful indeed must have 
been the state of every one at that time, to have rendered 
it expedient for the whole world to be destroyed in this 
manner. And yet we may conclude, though we are not ex- 
actly told so in the Bible, that God enabled Noah by his 
spirit, to foretell the event and to warn the people of it, for 
in 2 Pet. ii. 5. he is called a " preacher of righteousness," 
from which we are led to believe he preached to the world 
concerning the punishment that awaited them, if they did 
not repent, but it appears they would not listen to him, and 
therefore the consequences which they might have foreseen, 
ensued, and they were all destroyed. 

Now is there nothing in this chapter which we may ap- 
ply to ourselves ? Are we more perfect in our generation 
than they were in theirs ? Do we listen to our preachers of 
righteousness, and believe that destruction will likewise 
come upon every one of us who heeds not all the instruc- 
tion he receives, and repents not of his sins ? The time 
will as surely come to us as it did to them ; and in fact it is 

• Numb. xxiu. 19. 

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S KOAH. [oh. 

already come to many, for it must be the same thing to die 
in tha midst of our sins, as to be found alive in that state 
when the Son of Man shall come in his glory to judge ibe 
world. We have all an ark of refuge in our Saviour. It is he 
alone who can save us, and believe me, he will most surely 
do so, if we turn to him with our whole hearts. As every 
one on the earth perished who was not in the ark, so is 
every soul lost, which refuses to seek salvation through 
Jesus Christ. Probably many would have been glad to 
have been admitted into the ark when they saw Noah and 
Jiis family really in it, and themselves about to be over- 
whelmed by the waters of destruction ; even so will it be 
at the end of the world ; many then will be seeking at the 
last hour, for admittance into the Kingdom of Heaven, 
when they will find the door closed, and the gates of Hell 
alone open to receive them. 

Turn to MatL xxiv. 37, 38, 39. and see what our Sa- 
viour foretells concerning the world when he shall appear at 
the last day — ** As the days of Noe were, so shall also the 
" coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days that 
" were before the flood, they were eating and dmking, 
" marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noe 
" entered into the ark, and knew not until the flood came 
" and took them all away ; so shall also the coming of the 
" Son of man be." 

Let us then take care that we are not of that number, 
who will be found by him passing away their time in an 
unprofitable manner, and seeking anything rather than 
their eternal salvation. 


" And God remembered Noah, and every living thing." 
Now let us pause, and consider the blessing and comfort 
we may receive from this verse. Our Saviour tells us that 
not a sparrow is forgotten before God, and "ye are of more 
value than many sparrows*'*; may we not thence infer that 

• Luke, 3fU, a, 7; 

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we are equally remembered before God ? and tbat wben he 
set his bow in the clouds as a token that there should never 
be another deluge, the promise was made to us as well as 
to Noah ? He says, " it shall be for a token of a covenant 
" between me and the earth," that is, it is not only to you 
and your family that I make this promise, but likewise to 
all who shall live upon the earth, after you are depai-ted 

Now we are assured that " all the promises of God in 
him are Yea,"* which means that we may be quite sure he 
will perform all He says ; it is therefore surely impossible 
to read of Noah's sacrifice of thanksgiving without feeling 
overwhelmed with gratitude at the unbounded mercy of 
the Almighty towards his sinful creatures. This we are 
too prone to forget, though constantly reminded of this 
blessed Covenant or promise, by the sight of that glorious 
Bow in the heavens, which so frequently appears before 
our eyes. 

And here I would gladly close the history of Noah, with- 
out alluding to a circumstance which casts such a shade 
over the latter days of this righteous man, but that 1 am 
unwilling to pass it over, without impressing upon your 
minds the instruction you may derive, from the difiference 
in the conduct of his two sons. Ham exposed his father's 
sin, and was cursed : his brothers tried not even to look 
upon it, and one especially was blessed. 

Children may see many things to condemn both in their 
parents or others which it may not become them to notice ; 
they must ever remember that their duty is to " honor their 
** father and mother," ' and " to obey their parents in the 
^* Lord, for this is right ;" " that is, they are to obey them 
in all things that are not contrary to the commands of God, 
for we are also told that " we ought to obey God rather 
"than man." ** 

What we see amiss in the conduct of those around us, 
ought to lead us to think, " who maketh us to differ from 
** another," • and that God permits our seeing such, not as 

• a Cor. i. »0. k Ex. zx. 18. • Eph. vi 1. «* Acta. v. 89. M Cor. iv. 7," 

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10 BABEL. [CH. 

a cause for censure, but as a subject of prayer for the of- 
fender, and a warning to ourselves. 

" If a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, 
" restore such a one in the spirit of meekness ; considering 
" thyself lest thou also be tempted." " 

The true Christian will be ever ready to overlook the 
failings of another, for he knows that he must " cast out 
"first the beam from his own eye, before he can "see clear- 
** ly to pull out the mote that is in his brother's eye." * 

" What ye would that men should do to you, do ye even 
*' so to them." * 


The next event we read of is the building of the tower 
of Babel, of which no particulars are given. The only rea- 
son assigned for it is, *' lest they should be scattered abroad 
" upon the face of the whole earth." God had told Noah 
to be fruitful and replenish the earth. Now it is very pro- 
bable they conceived this command to imply, (what indeed 
we may suppose it did,) that they were to disperse over the 
world, that the earth might be peopled in all parts, and so 
they might fancy that by being thus separated from each 
other, and scattered about, they might never be heard of 
again, and they might therefore think, that by building this 
high tower as a monument of their labour, their names 
would be handed down to posterity. But God saw the 
imagination of their hearts : he saw doubtless that it was 
their pride which led them to do this, and thought fit to 
defeat their scheme. It is written " a man's pride shall 
" bring him low,"** and so it turned out with these people ; 
God confounded their language in such a way, that they 
could not understand one another ; it was impossible there- 
fore for them to proceed with their work, and they were 
obliged to do the very thing they had endeavoured to avoid 
by building the tower. " The Lord scattered them upon 
*' the face of the earth." Thus you see it is of no use for 

• Gal. vi. 1 . i Luke. vi. 42. « Matt. vli. U, * Prov. xxix, 18. 

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n.] ABRAHAM. 11 

man to attempt to oppose the will of God in nny thing. 
Whatever He decrees, must come to pass, and all we have 
to do, is to submit implicitly and cheerfully to all his com- 
mands, knowing that all is ordered for our' good. 


Al)T8hain's departure* -Isaac promised— Institution of circumcision— Abiaham 

entertains two angels-^Lot's wife—Abraham goes to Gezar— Eiith of Isaac'^ 

Hagai in the wilderness. 


We are now arrived at the history of Abraham, and de- 
lightful indeed it is, after all the wickedness of which we 
have been reading, to meet with one individual whose faith 
and obedience proved how sincerely he loved God, and 
how in all his actions, he was ever influenced by a wish to 
please Him, and to conform to His wiU in all things. 

It may seem strange that so little should be told us of 
all those people who lived before Abraham ; but we may 
be sure that if their histories could in any way have bene- 
fitted us, they would not have been withheld. St Paul in 
his epistle to Timothy, tells him that "all Scripture is 
" given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, 
" for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteous- 
" ness, "• the meaning of which text is, first, that God 
enabled Moses and other men by his holy spirit to write 
all that is in the Bible, which they could not have known 
by any other means ; and secondly, that it was aU written 
for our good, to correct our faults, to make us good and 
righteous, and to teach us what is requisite for us to 
know, as also to lead us to a right knowledge of our Sa- 
viour, or as St Paul says, to become "perfect." We know 
that no one can really attain perfection while he is on earth, 
but if we do not make it the object of our endeavours, 

*i Tim. iii. 1«. 

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we skall indeed be very far from what we ought to be, 
and from what with the assistance of the Spirit we may 
become. Our Saviour says " be ye perfect, even as your 
Father which is in Heaven is perfect," thereby shewing 
what ought to be our aim, though at the same time to 
convince us that we must not expect ever to attain to real 
perfection in this world, he adds " There is none good but 
one, that is Grod." ' 

The very best men have their failings, nor was Abraham 
himself exempted from them, and his were doubtless re- 
counted to us to excite us to the greater watchfulness over 
ourselves, since a man in all other respects so righteous 
was, as we shall find hereafter, in two instances tempted 
to sin. 

The first lesson we learn from the history of Abraham, 
is his implicit obedience to the will of God, who without 
assigning any reason for the command, desired him to 
leave the country in which he had been born, and go into 
another land some hundred miles off. Now we may sup- 
pose that nothing could have been more repugnant to his 
inclinations than suddenly to be called upon to quit a spot 
where" he had not only lived all his life, and to which he 
was therefore doubtless much attached, but where he had 
in all probability a great many friends, whom he might 
now never expert to see again ; yet he did not hesitate one 
moment in doing what he was ordered, but " departed, as 
" the Lord had spoken unto him," fuUy relying on Grod's 
word for the fiilfihnent of the promise He had made to him 
and his descendants. 

Nothing could be a greater proof of his faith than this ; 
faith being that implicit trust or confidence in God, which 
causes us to rely with certainty on the fulfilment of His 
promises, and to believe not only that every thing which 
He has decreed must come to pass, but that all is ordered 
for the best and wisest purposes. It was Abraham's faith 
then, that led him fully to believe that his descendants 
would possess the land of Canaan, although in all human 

• Man, six. i7. 

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probability, nothing at that time could be mote nnlikely ; 
the country was full of inhabitants, and though Abraham 
lived for a hundred years after he arrived in Canaan, yet 
he never obtained possession of any part of it, "no, not so 
much as to set his foot on," " nevertheless he did not 
doubt but that God would sooner or later fallil his pro- 
mise, which we know He did, though not till nearly four 
hundred years after his death. 

What an example does this afford to us all, and what 
encouragement to trust to God in every thing ! we may be 
quite sm*e that such faith will certainly meet with its re- 
ward not only in the world to come, but even in this, for 
what greater blessing can we possess than a peaceful con- 
tented mind, which will always accompany true faith and 
resignation to the will of God ? Abraham we are assured 
is now among the blessed, and how was he favoured when 
on earth ! even by a vision from the Lord, promising bles- 
sings on his descendants, and comfort and protection to him- 
self. " Fear not, Abram, I am thy shield, and thy exceed- 
ing great reward," be not afraid of all the trials and trou- 
bles you may meet with in this world, for I shall ever be 
near to protect you from all danger, arid reward you in the 

VMiat could be more delightful to Abraham than to be 
told this ! And are tee not told the same ? Do we not 
read in the Psalms that, " the angel of the Lord encamp- 
eth round about them that fear him and delivereth them,* '* 
and again, " many son-ows shall be to the wicked ; but he 
" that trusteth in the Lord mercy shall compass him 
about."' Be assured, the Lord, is equally our " strength, 
and our shield,"' if we only trust in him, and believe that 
" what he has promised he is able also to perform."* Then 
shall we rest satisfied that every event is overruled by a wise 
God, who can in his providence bring all tilings to pass, 
however impossible they may appear. 

Nothing in the common course of human events, was less 
likely to take place, than that Abraham should have a child 

• Acts. vli. 5. * Ps. xxxiv. 7.— « xxxii. 10.— «^ xxviii. 7. < Rom. iv. 21. 

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in his old age, for wHch however he was so anxious as to 
make it a subject of prayer to God, We are told that he 
** was very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold ; " it was 
therefore natural for him to wish to leave all his wealth to 
a son of his own, rather than to a stranger. And what 
was the answer he received from God ? That his seed 
should be more in number than the stars ! "And he believed 
** in the Lord, and it was counted to him for righteousness." 
It was nothing he had done, no work that he had performed, 
but his faith alone which rendered him righteous in the 
sight of God. 

" And he said unto Abraham, know of a surety that thy 
** seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and 
** shall serve him ; and they shall aflBict them four hundred 
" years." 

" And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I 
•'judge, and afterward shall they come out with great sub- 
** stance," 

" And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace ; thou shalt 
" be buried in a good old age." 

"But in the fourth generation they shall come hither 

We know that all this prophecy was exactly fulfilled; that 
his descendants were strangers in Egypt, and served the 
Egyptians for four hundred years ; that the Egyptians were 
"judged by the ten plagues," the Israelites returning after- 
wards to the land of Canaan, of which the possession had 
been promised them so long before. 

Abraham may possibly have conceived that Ishmael was 
to be the father of aU these people, as he was bom some 
years before Isaac, and as God had promised Hagar that 
her seed should be many ; and was surprised at hearing that 
Sarah herself who was now very old was really to have a son. 

" Then Abraham fell upon his face and laughed, and said 
" in his heart. Shall a child be bom unto him that is an hun- 
" dred years old ? And shall Sarah that is ninety years old, 

Yet if at the first intimation of such an unlooked for 

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event, any doubt did arise in Ms heart, his faith overcame 
the feeling, and even " against hope, he believed in hope, 
" that he might become the father of many nations"^ : " he 
" staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief, 
" but was strong in faith, giving glory to God, and being 
"fully persuaded," (which I mentioned above as being the 
test of true faith) that, "what he had promised he was able 
also to perform.'"' 

In the full conviction therefore, that this event would 
take place, he ventured to offer up a prayer for Ishmael, that 
that he might still enjoy the favour of the Almighty, or as 
it is expressed in the bible, that he might " live before 
" Thee." This prayer was likewise answered in the same 
gracious manner ; he was told that though it was the de- 
scendants of Isaac who were to enjoy all the promised bless- 
ings, yet that Ishmael was nevertheless not forgotten, "As 
" for Ishmael, I have heard thee : Behold, 1 have blessed 
*' him, and ^viU make him fruitful, and will midtiply him 
" exceedingly, twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make 
" him a great nation." 

The next event mentioned, is Abraham's circumcising aU 
his household in obedience to the command of God, who 
had instituted this ordinance as a token of the covenant he 
had made with him and his descendants, an ordinance which 
was to be kept until the bii-th of our Saviour, when it was 
superseded by that of Baptism, which is now the essential 
rite by which we are made members of Christ's Church. 

GEN. XVIII. XIX.--to V. 30. 

The circumstances related in this chapter, place the 
character of Abraham in a new light, which may afford us 
much instruction. We have hitherto been struck with his 
great faith and obedience : we shall now observe the warmth 
and friendliness of his disposition, which are conspicuous 
throughout this chapter ; the first instance of which is shown 
in the manner in which he received and entertained three 

^ Rom. iv. 18. d Rom. iv. 20, 21. 

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16 Abraham's hospitality. [ch. 

persons, entire strangers to him. He knew not who they 
were, or whence they came, but no doubt considered them 
to be travellers, and probably weary, and he hesitated not 
a moment in asking them to rest themselves, bringing 
them refreshment, and water for their feet. 

This last circumstance, from being so unlike the customs 
of our own country, strikes us as somewhat strange, but it 
is a practice prevalent in the East, and one which is alluded 
to more than once in the New Testament. See Luke vii, 
38. where the woman washed our Saviour's feet with her 
tears : and again in John xiii, 5. where our Saviour himself 
washed the feet of his disciples. 

Little did Abraham think who the persons were, to whom 
he was shewing this hospitality, and he was doubtless sur- 
prised when they repeated the promise which God had be- 
fore made to him, that Sarah should have a son ; then of 
course he was aware they could only be angels sent from 
God. This example should teach us never to neglect any 
opportunity of shewing kindness or civility to any one, even 
though he be a stranger, as St. Paul says in allusion to this 
very circumstance, " Be not forgetful to entertain strangers, 
** for thereby some have entertained angels imawares.'** 

There was also another event which the angels were di- 
rected to reveal to Abraham, an event which to one of his 
kind disposition, must have caused him great distress ; be- 
ing no less than the destruction of two cities. We may indeed, 
form some idea of his feelings, by the anxiety he shewed 
to save them, and we cannot but be struck with Gx)d*s ex- 
treme condescension in allowing him to intercede for them 
in the way he did. 

Two important lessons may be learnt from these circum- 
stances ; first, we may be assured that God ever listens to 
our prayers if properly directed; secondly, that he approves 
of our interceding for others. You have no doubt been 
taught to offer up in private your daily prayers to God, 
but did it ever occur to you to pray for others as well as 
for yourselves ? If you see a fellow creature doing wrong, 

Heb. IS. 2. 

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whom it may not become you to reproTe, you ean at least 
pr«y to God to forgive liim, and send his Holy £^irit to 
lead him in the right way. We are eren commanded to 
do this by St. James, who orders ns to " pray one for a* 
" nother,"« adding in the same verse, " the effectual fervent 
" prayer of a righteous man availeth much." God was 
graciously pleased to listen to Abraham's intercession, and 
promised to spare Sodom and Gomorrah, if there were but 
ten righteous men to be found in them ; fix)m which cir- 
cumstance we may learn, that God is merdful as well as 
just, and ever reluctant to punish sinners, **waiting to be 
" gracious,"* " he wiQeth not the death of a sinner, but 
*' rather that he should turn from his wickedness, and 

It is melancholy to think that there should actually not 
have been found ten right«)us men in these cities. \\ hat 
must have been Abraham's feelings when he saw them 
overthrown and burnt to the ground ! Yet how thankful 
he must have felt that his nephew Lot with his two 
daughters, hid escaped. 

In reading of their preservation it is mapossible not to be 
struck with the conduct of Lot's wife. Who could have 
supposed after such a signal mercy and deliverance she 
should have been so soon guilty of an act of disobedience ? 
No sooner was she safe from danger, than every sense of 
gratitude passed from her mind ; she did the very thing 
she was told ndt to do, and an awful punishment ensued. 


" And Abraham journeyed from thence towards the soutL 
" country, and dwelled between Kedesh and Shur and so- 
**joumed in Gezar." 

"And Abraham said of Sarah his vnfe, she is my sister, 
" and Abimelech king of Gezar sent and took Sarah." 

^Vhat a sad instance is this, of the natural proneness of 
man to step aside from the path of virtue ! This is the 

■ Jam. V. 16. * Isa. ra. 18. 


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second time we read of Abraliam's having departed from 
that rectitude of conduct, for which in all other instances, 
his character is so conspicuous, and what appears still more 
extraordinary, on an occasion similar to the former, when 
he went down into Egypt, on account of the famine men- 
tioned in the xii. Chapter. 

It is true that Abraham defended himself by saying 
Sarah was his sister, for that she was the daughter of his 
father, though not of lus mother ; such marriages being 
permitted in those days ; yet this was no excuse for his 
conduct, the slightest equivocation, where there is an inten- 
tion to deceive, being equally sinM as a direct falsehood. 

But God would not suffer Abimelech, who appears to 
have been a righteous man, to be led into temptation ; 
he knew that it was " in the integrigy of his heart" that 
he had taken Sarah, and graciously withheld him from com- 
mitting such a sin, but appeared to him in a dream, 
saying unto him, " Behold, thou art but a dead man for 
" the women which thou hast taken, for she is a man's 
" wife." 

" Now therefore restore the man his wife, for he is a 
"prophet, and he shall pray for thee, and thou shalt live." 

This is the first mention of the word " Prophet ; " the 
meaning of which, in this instance (as in many others) is not 
confined to the usual signification of the term " prophecy," 
but any one especially appointed to declare the will of God 
was called a prophet. In the times of the Apostles, they 
were termed Prophets, whose office it was to expound or 
explain the Scriptures to the people. 

"He that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edifica- 
" tion, and exhortation, and comfort."* 

By comparing the third Verse with the seventh, we may 
understand that the sentence of death passed upon Abim- 
elech was only in case he did not restore Abraham his wife. 
Such expressions are not imfrequent in Scripture ; for in- 
stance we read in Ezekiel. " When I say unto the wicked, 
*• Thou shalt surely die : if he turn from his sin, and do that 

• 1. Cor. xLy. 3. 

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Tl.] ABRAHAM. — ISAAC. 19 

** whicli is lawful and right ; if the wicked restore the pledge 
** without conimitting iniquity : he shall surely live, he shall 
"not die."" 

Thus if the sinner be terrified by the repeated judge- 
ments denounced upon the guilty, so on the other hand, 
may he draw consolation from the many assurances given 
him, that if he sincerely repent of his sins, he will be for- 
given. " As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no plea- 
" sure in the death of the wicked ; but that the wicked turn 
" from his way, and live."* 

We must not be hasty in passing censure on Abraham. 
From the circumstance of his being commanded to pray 
for Abimelech, we may infer that his conduct was not re- 
garded by God in such a sinful light as it may appear to 
us. The Almighty alone knows the "issues of the heart 
" of man,"' and the motives by which his thoughts and 
feelings are influenced, and we may at least be sure of this, 
that though we cannot justify Abraham's conduct in tliis 
mstance, yet the sincerity of his repentance was suffici- 
ently attested by his subsequent integrity and uprightness. 

GEN. XXf. 

The time was now arrived when God's promise was to 
be fulfilled in the birth of Isaac, and we may well imagine 
the pleasure this event must have caused Abraham. We 
cannot however in reading this chapter avoid feeling grieved 
at Sarah's apparent unkindness towards Hagar and her 
son ; nor can we wonder at the distress which Abraham 
felt at the thought either of disobliging his wife, or, by com- 
plying with her request, of being under the necessity of 
acting so harshly towards his handmaid and his son ish- 
mael. No doubt in his grief he sought in prayer assistance 
from God, which is what we should all do when we are 
in trouble. We are sure that He will ever listen to our 
prayers if offered up in faith, and that he will send his 
Holy Spirit into our hearts to comfort and direct us. When 

• Ezek. xxxiii. 14, 15. *Ezek. xxxiii. 11. « Prov: iv. 2.\ 

G 3 

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are led to suppose this was the case with Abraham, for in 
tlie next verse we read that God desired him to do what 
Sarah had requested, consoling him however by the assu- 
rances he had already given him with regard both to Isaac, 
and Ishmael. 

This was another trial of his faith. His son Ishmael 
was now fifteen years old ; and as Abraham for so many 
years had had no other child, he was doubtless much 
attached to him. What then would be more distressing 
to his feelings than to be obliged to turn him with his 
mother out of doors into a wilderness, with so little pro- 
visions that there was every prospect of their being in a 
short time starved to death. Yet when he found that tliis 
was God's command, he hesitated not a moment ; he 
knew it must be for the best, and felt confident God would 
provide for them in some way. 

Our Saviour says, "Take no thought saying, what shaU 
" we eat ? or, what shall we drink ? or, wherewithal shall we 
'* be clothed" ? " for your heavenly ^Father knoweth that ye 
"have need of all these things."" 

This does not imply that we are never to think of these 
things, for there is a proper degree of attention which it is 
necessary we should bestow upon them, but that they are 
not completely to engross om* thoughts, and especially when 
like Hagar we are placed in any situation where we are 
quite unable to procure any assistance of ourselves, we are 
then to dismiss all anxiety from our minds, and rest assured 
that God will provide for us, as he did for Hagar. 

Yet, in drawing this instruction from the story of Ha- 
gar, we must not lose sight of another point of view in 
which it is to be regarded, and which St. Paul explains 
in his Epistle to the Galatians, where he tells them it is 
a type of Judaism ; "Agar is mount Sinai, and answereth 
*' to Jerusalem, which now is, and is in bondage with her 
"children."' "While we, as Isaac was, are the children of 
" promise,"* and are made free through Christ, from the 
bondage of sin, in which, had it not been for the atone- 

• Matt. vi. 31, 32. » Gal. iv. 25.— « 28. 

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ment of our Saviour, the Jews, as well as the rest of the 
world, must ever have remained. 


Wb are now come to the most interestinsc event in 
Abraham's life, one iu which liis faith and obedience were 
put to the severest test. 

" It came to pass after these things, that God did tempt 
" Abraham, (or try him, to prove his faith, ) and said unto 
" him, Abraham : and he said. Behold here I am." 

" And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, 
" whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah ; 
" and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the 
"mountains which I will tell thee of." 

Can we imagine any thing more agonizing to a parent's 
feelings, than to be thus called upon not merely to part 
with a beloved child, but even to slay him with his own 
hand. But says St. Paul, " who aii; thou that repliest 
" against God ?"" " All his commandments are holy, just 
" and good."* Abraham was well aware of this. He knew 
that the same Almighty power which had created Isaac, 
could restore him to life, and that he fully believed he 
Would do so, we have every reason to suppose. It was 
but a short time before, that God had said to him, " In 
'' Isaac shall thy seed be called ;" how could this promise 
be realized, if that son were now suddenly to be takea 
away ? Therefore as it is written in St. Paul's epistle to 
the Hebrews, " By faith Abraham offered up Isaac, ac- 
" counting that God was able to raise him up even from 
" the dead ;"• and accordingly without any hesitation he 
set off early the next morning to perform this act of obe- 
dience to God. 

And now, my dear young friends, let us pause for a 
moment, and consider what an example is set before us 
in this conduct of Abraham. There is little chance of your 
being placed in a similar situation, but are you not even 

• Rom. ix. 20. ^ vU. 12. • lUb^ Si V, 19. 

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now often called upon to do things contrary to your incli- 
nations ? And how do you behave on such occasions ? Do 
you always submit without a murmur, without a remon- 
strance ? Yours are small trials indeed compared to those 
of Abraham's, or to many others you will meet with, if you 
live, yet to young people they are trials, and sent them in 
order to prove their faith and obedience, and it is by ac- 
customing yourselves in all these things to yield implicit 
obedience to your earthly parents, that your minds will 
become habituated to that ready submission to the Divine 
will, which mil support you under greater trials, whenever 
your Heavenly Father may think fit to send them. 

Nor is it, the mere act of obedience which is required of 
you ; these things must be done cheerfully, not only from 
the fear of punishment, but because you know it to be 
yoiu* duty, and because you know you cannot perform your 
duty to God >vithout obeying your parents in all things. 

Thus did Abraham set off directly to obey God's com- 
mand, concealing the anguish which, notwithstanding his 
faith in God, he must have felt at the thought of inflicting 
such a stroke. He even betrayed no emotion when his 
son, little imagining he himself was to be the victim, asked 
him saying, " My father, behold the fire and the wood ; 
" but where is the lamb for a burnt offering ? " My son," 
replied Abraham, " God will provide himself a Lamb for a 
" burnt offering." He dared not tell him the tiiith, yet he 
had doubtless suffered too much from having in two in- 
stances deviated from it, to think now of deceiving Isaac. 

Little indeed did he foresee how literally his words 
would be fulfilled, and that a substitute was really to be 
offered up in the place of his son. He had no sooner 
stretched forth his hand to perform the deed, than an an- 
gel was sent to stop him, and to assure him that God had 
only suffered him to be thus tried, in order to prove his 

With what feelings of delight must Abraham have re- 
ceived this message from Heaven ! He might indeed be 
truly said to enjoy that " peace of mind which passeth all 

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" understanding."* He felt that he had done his duty ; his 
conscience could not reproach him for having given way to 
his feelings, or for having entertained any doubts of Grod*s 
promises. He knew the Lord to be a God of mercy, as 
well as justice ; that he never suflered his creatures to be 
tried, excepting for their good ; and that he could bring 
things to pass, which to mortal beings appear impossible. 
These feelings had supported him through all his trials, 
and he received his reward in the approbation bestowed 
upon him by his Heavenly Father. 

There is one other circumstance connected with this 
event, to which I wish to call your attention. You will 
remember my saying, that you would read of many occur- 
rences which though apparently the natural result of the 
circumstances out of which they arose, yet often contained 
a hidden reference to our Saviour, and were thence called 
types. Now the event of which you have just been read- 
ing, is one of the most striking and remarkable of these 
types, being no less than that of the sacrifice of our Sa- 
viour. Isaac was therefore a type of Jesus Christ. 

You know it was through him, that aU " nations were 
" to be blessed," and the Israelites to have possession of 
the land of Canaan ; so is it through our Saviour that we 
have obtained all the blessings of Christianity, and are 
promised possession of the heavenly Canaan. On Mount 
Moriah did Abraham, in obedience to God's command, 
offer up his only son, and in the same place, did Christ in 
obedience to his Father's wlQ, offer up himself a sacrifice 
for our sins. 

(It is with reference to this event that this Chapter is 
always read on Good Friday.) 

■ PhU. iv. 7. 

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Abraham sends to Laban— Isaac goes to Gezar— Jacob obt^ns Isaac's btess^ 
ing— Jacob's vow in going to Padan -Bran— Marries Leah and Rachel — Re- 
turns home- 'His prayer to God— His meeting with Esau— Wrestles with the 
Angel— God's Church— Joseph's dreams— Joseph carried to Egypt. 


AB:BAHAitr was now growing old, and having lost his 
wife, whose death and burial formed the subject of the 
last chapter, he began probably to look forward to the 
time of his own departure from this world, as an event 
which might not be very far distant ; and how calm and 
peacefiil must his latter days have passed, under the cons- 
ciousness of having, with two exceptions oidy (and of 
those doubtless he had deeply repented) "set the Lord 
"always before him": that is, he had lived constantly 
under a sense of his presence, knowing He was " about 
" his path, and about his bed,"" and that nothmg he ever 
did or thou^t, was concealed from His knowledge ; thus 
was he ever watchM of himself, doing aH things to the 
glo^ of God, and in obedience to His holy will. 

Nothing but the consciousness of having lived righte- 
ously — of having endeavoured to do so on all occasions, 
with a full reliance on our Saviour for pardon and recon- 
ciliation, can afford us any peace or comfort, as we ap- 
proach our latter end, and feel the time to be near at 
hand, when we must appear before God to be judged ac- 
cording to the works " done in the body," or during our 
life time. 

• Ps. xvi. 8.t-cxxxix, 3, kZ Cor. v, 10. 

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in.] ELIEZEE. 25 

Young people, although they are constantly hearing of 
the death of those of their own age, are nevertheless too 
apt to consider their' s, as an event not likely to take place 
for many years ; but does Abiaham appear to have been 
actuated by such feelings? though he might have looked 
forward to remaining a much longer period on earth, than 
any of us can do, as it pleased God in those days to 
lengthen the age of man to a term far beyond that to 
which any one ever attains now, Abraham, we are told, 
lived more than an hundred and seventy years, and his 
obedience to the commands of God is striking even to the 
last. He was naturally anxious to see his son Isaac 
married, but you will remember he was now living in the 
land of Canaan, where the people all worshipped idols 
instead of serving the true God. He was therefore de- 
sirous that his son should take a wife from his own coim- 
try, where he had left many friends and relations, and for 
tMs purpose desired his servant to go into that coimtry, 
and bring back a wife for him. 

" And the servant said unto him, Peradventure the 
" woman will not be willing to follow me unto this land, 
•*must I needs bring thy son again unto the land from 
whence thou camest ?" 

This was a natural apprehension on the part of the 
servant ; it appeared indeed very improbable that he should 
chance to meet with a woman who would be willing to 
return with him, and live in a strange country at a dis* 
tance frt>m all her friends, to become the wife of a man 
she had never seen ; but Abraham knew it was his only 
step to prevent his son from marrying one of the idolaters 
of the land in which he was now living : his duty there- 
fore was plainly pointed out, and he knew, in performing it, 
that he might rely upon God's assistance in removing 
•uch obstacles as he would naturally have anticipated. 

** And Abraham said unto him. Beware thou, that thou 
" bring not my son thither again." 

" The Lord God of Heaven, which took me from my 
"fether's house, and from the land of my kindred, and 

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" wliich spake unto me, saying, Unto thy seed will I give 
" this land ; he shall send his angel before thee, and thou 
** shalt take a wife unto my son from thence.'* 

The servant accordingly set out, and went to the city 
where Nahor, A-braham's brother had dwelt, and where 
his nej)hew Bethuel now lived. And what was the first 
thing he did wlien he arrived there ? even to pray to God 
for His assistance, which (as I said before) we should 
always do when we are under any difficulty; for though 
God knows all our wants, yet lie has commanded us to 
pray to him on all occasions, and veiy thankful we should 
feel at being allowerl this privelege of holding communion 
with Him. St. Paul says, " Be careful for nothing, but in 
"every thing by prayer and supplication with thanks- 
" giving, let yom* requests be made known unto God ; and 
" the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall 
"keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."' 
the meaning of which is, Do not make yourself anxious 
conceiiiing what is to befall you, but make known your 
wants and wishes to God in prayer, seeking liis guidance 
and assistance in all things, and you will then enjoy that 
peace and tranquillity of mind which surpasses aU other 
blessings, but which no one but a tme Chiistian can un- 

Abraham's servant, who had probably lived many years 
with his master, coidd not have failed to have observed the 
righteousness which had marked his conduct in all he did, 
and was no doubt influenced by his good example : we 
even read that God had foretold this ; " Tor I know that 
" he wiU command his children, and his household after 
" him," (that is he will lead them to follow his steps ) 
" and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice, 
" and judgement."* 

Thus did the servant make known his wants to God in 
prayer, and that it was offered in true faith and humility 
we cannot doubt, for even before he had done speaking, 
hia prayer was granted ; the first person he met with, 

« Phil. iv. 0. * Chap, xvlii. 19. 

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HI.] ISAAC. 27 

proved the veiy one who returned with him, and became 
Isaac's wife, Uebecca the daughter of Bethuel, Abraham's 


Ye BY few incidents are recorded of Isaac's life, yet it is 
singular that among those few, an event should have be- 
fallen him so similar in aU its ciiTumstances to that which 
happened to his father, Abraham. That he should have 
been driven out of Ids country by a famine, — that he 
should have resorted to the same spot, and practised the 
same deception on Abimelech as his father had done, are 
indeed striking coincidences. It appears that he remained 
some time in the country of the Philistines, for it is said, 
"he waxed gi-eat," and had "possessions of herds, and 
" great store of servants ; and the Philistines envied him.'* 
From the circumstance of their having stopped up the 
wells which Abraham had made, there is reason to sup- 
pose they were not very well disposed towards him, aiid 
were therefore little inclined that his son should take up 
his abode in their country ; especially when they perceived 
him increasing in wealth and power. 

" And Abimelech said unto Isaac, Go from us ; for 
" thou art much mightier than we.*' 

Yet not^^ithstanding these bitter feelings, and the dis- 
putes which ensued with respect to the wells, they were 
evidently aware that Isaac was a person highly favoured by 
God, and they would not let him finally depart until they 
had entered into a covenant of peace with him. 

God had promised to bless Isaac for his father Abraham's 
sake, and we may therefore suppose he met with fewer 
troubles and anxieties during his hfe, than fall to the lot 
of most men. One circumstance however occurred which 
must have deeply distressed him : God had blessed him 
with two sons, Esau and Jacob. Now we are told in the 
preceeding chapter that Isaac loved Esau, and Rebekah 
loved Jacob ; we may suppose therefore, that Esau was 

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more especially the object of his father's affection, and can 
imagine " the grief of mind," which it is said Isaac and 
Rebekah experienced at his marrying one of the idolatrous 
inhabitants of Canann. 


The marriage of Esau was not the only affliction which. 
Isaac experienced. The time was now drawing near, when 
his death could not be far distant, and he was desirous of 
bestowing his blessing upon his eldest and favourite son 
before he died ; and we read in this chapter in what way- 
he was deceived by Rebekah and Jacob, and how the latter 
obtained it instead. 

Nothing can justify Rebekah's conduct in this affair ; 
and indeed we cannot but feel inclined even to blame Ja- 
cob also ; but in reading this portion of Scripture, we must 
bear in mind the whole circumstances of the c«se, and not 
hastily judge him for an action, which in these times might 
justly be censured, but which must be differently regarded, 
when we consider the ignorant state of manland at that 

Jacob had doubtless been informed of all the promises 
made to the posterity of Isaac, that in his seed all nations 
were to be blessed, and that moreover the elder was to 
serve the younger ;• and Esau having sold his birthright to 
him, (thus consigning over to him the privileges which as 
eldest son, he might have enjoyed, and being now married 
to one of the Hittites,) had forfeited aU right to that dis- 
tinction. Jacob might fairly therefore consider himself as 
the one, who was to be more especially favoured by heaven, 
and it was doubtless his strong faith which induced him to 
do evil, that good might come ; a species of conduct not 
to be approved of now, but overlooked by Grod himself 
in those days of ignorance, in consideration of the faith 
which prompted it. 

I$aao was of course doubly anxious that his sou Jacob 

Chap. xxy. 28.<^ 

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ni.] JACOB. — LABAN. SJ9 

sliould not follow the example of Ids brotker in manyiBg 
one of the Canaanites, and accordingly pursuing the same 
coiirse his father had done with regard to himself, he sent 
Jacob to seek for a wife among his relations ; and an in- 
teresting account is given us of his journey, in which we 
see the beginning of the fulfilment of those promises God 
had made to Abraham. We see him watching over Jacob 
with the tenderness of a kind father, even appearing to 
him in a vision, and promising to be with him wherever he 
went, to keep him from all danger, and finally to bring 
him back in safety to the land of Canaan. 

" And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If God will be with 
" me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will 
•* give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on, so that I 
" come again to my flither's house in peace ; then shall the 
Lord be my God." 

And here I would call your attention to the humility in 
which this vow is offered. Jacob asked not for wealth, or 
honour, or power ; all that he desired was the presence of 
the Almighty, with a sense of his favoui* and love, together 
with a supply of such wants as he would necessarily re- 
quire for the sustenance of life. 

Would it not be well if we were all to confine our wants 
and wishes witliin these limits ? " Give me neither poverty 
nor riches ; feed me with food convenient for me ;"• was 
the request of Agur, and when in the words taught by our 
Saviour we pray for " our daily bread,"* in that petition is 
contained all that is necessary for us. 

" Having food and raiment, let us be therewith con- 


In the twenty-ninth Chapter we read of the deception 
practised upon Jacob by his uncle Laban, in substituting 
his eldest daughter, Leah, in the place of Eachel whom 
Jacob preferred, and for whom he was obliged to remain 

a Piov. XIX. 8. * Matt. vi. 11. « J Tim. vi. 8. 

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and serve yet seven years longer ; (God permitting people 
in those days to have more wives than one.) 

Jacob appears to have received much unkindness from 
Laban during this period, and would no doubt gladly have 
returned sooner to his own country, could he have done 
so without breaking his promise to his uncle. We may 
suppose therefore that he was not soiTy when God com- 
manded him to return to the land of his fathers, addiujy, 
as he had done before, that He would be with him. 1 le 
accordingly took his departure \vith all his family, which 
was very numerous, and pursued his journey homewards, 
when he began to feel some apprehension with regard to 
his brother Esau, recollecting how they had quarrelled 
about their father's blessing, and that Esau had threatened 
to kill him ; and though he hoped that in the time which 
had elapsed since they parted, he might have repented of 
this wicked intention, yet he thought it best to ascertain 
what were his brother's feelings, and accordingly sent some 
messengers on before, to conciliate him. 

What must have been his dismay, when they returned 
and told him that Esau was coming to meet him vdth 
four hundred men ! " Then," it is said, " Jacob was great- 
"ly afraid and distressed." 

Now observe Jacob's conduct, and how he acted on this 
trying occasion. He first took all necessary precautious 
for the safety of his family, and then in the ftill confidence 
that God would protect him from all danger, sought his 
assistance in prayer ; and a beautiful prayer he offered up ; 
confessing how unworthy he was of aU the mercies he had 
received at the hand of the Almighty, recalling the time 
when he left his home with oidy his staff in his hand, and 
acknowledging that he was now returning surrounded by 
blessings ; at the same time he humbly reminded Him of 
his promises, and trusted to him for the safety of his wife 
and children : and then, in order that Esau might be 
aware of his friendly dispositions towards him, he sent him 
a present. 

Great must have been his delight to find that all his 

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m.] JACOB. SI 

fears were groundless ; he was indeed little prepared to 
meet with such a kind reception from Esau, who, we read 
" fell on his neck and kissed him : and they both wept." 
It was truly a happy meeting. The two brothers had not 
met for twenty years, and all their former enmity was 
forgotten in the pleasure they felt in seeing each other 

One circumstance is mentioned as having taken place 
during Jacob's journey, which I am unwilling altogether 
to omit noticing, though at the same time, it is not very 
easy to comprehend. I allude to Jacob's wrestling with 
with the angel ; for what purpose he was permitted to do 
so, or what end he gained by it, is not clear to us, but the 
instruction we are to draw from it, is, that as Jacob per- 
severed in wrestling with him, so are we to persevere in 
praying to God. The angel said, " Let me go, for the day 
"breaketli." " I will not let thee go except thou bless 
" me," was Jacob's reply, and that God approved of it is 
certain, from the blessing he bestowed upon him, at the 
same time changing his name from Jacob to Israel : his 
descendants being ever after called Israelites. 


Jacob had now arrived safely in the land of Canaan, 
under the especial guidance and^ protection of God, and 
having greatly increased liis possessions. 

And now surely his first thought must have been to re- 
turn thanks to the Ahnighty for his great mercy towards 
him, and accordingly we find him building an altar at Be- 
thel where God had commanded him to dwell, and there 
assembling all his family in prayer, having first ordered 
them to " put away their strange gods." 

You may perhaps be at a loss to know what is meant 
by the " strange gods," here alluded to, nor is there any 
very explicit account given to us of them ; but they were 
doubtless the same which we are told in Ch. xxxi. Eachel 
brought away from her father's house, and which both she 

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32 JACOB. [CH. 

and her family had been in the habit of worshipping. That 
Abraham's family had been all partial idolaters, we are 
told in Joshua ; where it is distinctly stated that " they 
" seiTed other gods ;" " and it is probable such pTBctices 
had continued to exist among them, after Abraham's de- 
parture from Haran. 

It is a great proof of Jacob's faith, and of God's mercy 
towards him, that he was enabled to resist all temptation 
to mix with the idolatrous nations by whom he was now 

He and his family were at that time the only people 
whose religion was pure. Esau, you know, had taken 
wives of the daughters of Canaan, and his woi*ship was 
doubtless blended with the idolatrous practices of those 
with whom he now associated. 

It has always been God's pleasure to keep his Church 
holy and apart from the rest of the world. By the word 
" Church," 1 do not here mean that building in which you 
are accustomed to assemble every Sabbath day, but thos(; 
families in which true religion has been preserved from the 
commencement of the world, be<^inning with Adam and 
Eve, and descending through Noah and Abraham down to 
the Israelites, or Jews as they were afterwards called ; and 
though many of these were led astray to follow the wicked 
practices of those around them, thus deserting the wor- 
ship of the true God, yet was his Church still preserved 
among a few, until our Saviour appeared ; when the Israel- 
ites refusing to acknowledge hun, were cast off, and the 
Gentiles cdled in, that is, other nations were converted 
from their idolatry, and became Christians, or members of 
the Church of Christ. 

Jacob and his family were now the only representatives 
of God's Church, and it appears that they were considered 
by the people who inhabited the neighbouring cities, to 
be under his especial favour and protection, for it is writ- 
ten, " the teiTors of the Lord were upon the cities round 
" about them, and they did not pursue alter the sons of 

. Josh. xxiv. 2. 

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** Jacob ;" soffering them peaceably to come and settle 
Bmong them, without offering them any molestation. 

It is only surprising, that with such feelings, they were 
not influenced by their good example, but we must recdi- 
lect the circumstances under which they were placed 
We have been blessed with Christ's presence on earth, and 
our minds are enlightened by God's holy Spirit, which 
enables us to view things in a very different light from 
those, whose understandings were dsurkened, and whom for 
wise and good reasons, it pleased the Almighty to destroy 
from off the earth, rather than they should *' be converted 
" and healed."* 

God's ways are not our ways ; it is vain for us to at- 
tempt to fathom the counsels of the Almighty, whose '' ways 
'* are past finding out."* We must read our Bibles in an 
humble and teachable spirit, knowing *' that all things work 
" together for good to those who love God,"** and put their 
trust in him. 


Wb are told that Jacob had twelve sons whose names are 
recorded at the conclusion of the chapter we have just been 
reading. They are often called the twelve Patriarchs, (the 
yrordpi^riarch being derived from a Greek word signifying 
father-chief,) as from them descended the twelve tribes o^ 

It is said that Jacob *' loved Joseph more than all his 
" children," in consequence of which Joseph was an object 
of hatred to his brothers, who were all envious and jealous 
of him, perhaps the more so, from the circumstance men- 
tioned of Joseph's bringing to his father "their evil report ;" 
this was not acting kindly towards his brothers ; " He that 
" covereth a transgression seeketh love ; but he that re- 
" peateth a matter separateth friends."* They were con- 
sequently little disposed to listen to his dreams by which 
it appeared he was to be exalted to a station so high 

» Isa. Ti 10. « Rom. xL 33. d Rono Tiii. 28. • Prov. xvii. 9. 

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34 a0S£PH SOLD. [CH. III.] 

above them all. Dreams in those days were so often 
made the medium of communication between God and 
man, that they were probably led to attach some impor- 
tance to them, though they little foresaw how literally 
these would be fultilled, and that they would reaUy one 
day " bow down their heads before him." In fact, they 
took such steps as they imagined would offer an effect uti 
obstacle to such an event : for their enmity was raised to 
such a pitch, that they conspired against Joseph to slay 
him, and would doubtless have done so, had it not been 
for Keuben, who, it appears, was of a more kindly dispo- 
sition than the rest, and interceded for him. It was well 
for them that they yielded to his intercession, and wei*e 
thus preserved from committing such a dreadful crini(^ 
They contented themselves with selling him as a slave to 
some Ishmaelites who were on their way to Egypt, under 
the expectation that he would thereby be removed out of 
their sight, and that they should never hear of him again. 

Vain thought ! Who can resist the will of the Almigh- 
ty ? "A man's heart deviseth his way : but the Lord 
" directeth his steps."* He maketh good to come out of 
evil, and overruieth all the actions of man. The very 
means these wicked brothers employed to prevent fche ful- 
filment of the event predicted in his dreams, proved (as wo 
shall see hereafter) the very means to bring it about. He 
was taken to Egypt, and there sold to the Captain of the 

Melancholy as his feelings must have beenj at being 
thus separated from all his friends, and especially his be- 
loved parent, yet must his heart have overflowed with 
gi-atitude to God, for such an unlooked-for dehveranee 
from that death, which had appeared so near. His poor 
father, fully believing he was no more, was overwhelmed 
with grief, and bitterly would he have repented the parti- 
ality he had shewn towards him, had he been aware of the 
sinful conduct of Joseph's brothers, and how crueUy they 
Lad deceived him. 

« Prof. xvL 9. 

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Joseph in prison— He interprets the dreams of Fharoah's servants^— Pharoah's 
dreams— -Joseph promoted— He prov'des for the famine— >H is brethren come 
into Egypt— Simeon detained— Arrival of Benjamin— Cup found in his sack- 
Joseph discovers himself— Jacob's sacrifice at Beersheba— Goes to Egypt- 
Appears before Fharoah— His death— Joseph a type of Christ. 


Joseph was now living in the house of Potiphar, an 
officer of Pharoah, King of Egypt, as comfortable as he 
could be uuder the circumstances in which he was placed. 
He was a good and virtuous man, submitting with resig- 
nation to his fate, and doing his duty to his Master ; and 
" the Lord was with Joseph," that is, God blessed him, 
watched over him, and '*made all things to prosper ia 
" his hands." 

This did not escape his Master^s observation, for 
though he was doubtless one of those who knew not 
what it was to worship the true God, to love him, fear 
him, and put his trust in him, yet he could not but be 
struck with Joseph's piety and good conduct ; and conse- 
quently we find him placing the utmost confidence in all 
he did, entrusting every thing to his care. And here he 
might have remained for some time longer, had it not been 
for the wickedness of Potiphar's wife, who falsely accused 
him of having behaved ill to her. 

This was a fresh trial to Joseph, for his Master not 
doubting the tmth of her accusation, instantly cast him 




into prison. Joseph however was conscious of having 
acted rightly, and trusted that God would in his own good 
time deliver him, and that his innocence would be proved. 

There is nothing so distressing to our feelings as being 
accused unjustly, yet ought it to occasion us no anxiety, 
for we are sure that God sees our hearts, and will one 
day reward the innocent, although he may see fit for a 
time " to hide his face from us,**' in order to try our faith ; 
" For what glory is it, if when ye are buffeted for your 
** faults, ye shall take it patiently ? but if, when ye do 
" well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is ac- 
" oeptable with God.**fc And He did not desert Joseph in 
prison, for we are told that " the Lord was with Joseph, 
"and shewed him mercy, and gave him favour in the 
" sight of the keeper of the prison.*' He so disposed his 
heart towards Joseph, as to induce him to consign to his 
charge all the other prisoners. 

God orders every thing in such a manner, as may "best 
suit his purposes, and how many striking instances we meet 
with in the Bible, which prove that He can always cause 
good to come out of evil. Had Potiphar not listened to 
the evil suggestions of his wife, and kept Joseph in his 
house, the latter might never have attained that high sta- 
tion to which he i^erwards rose, and which enabled him 
to be of so much use, in foretelling and providing against 
the famine which took place. 

Joseph's confii\ement in prison not only furnished hina 
with a fresh occasion for shewing his faith, but enabled 
him to glorify God in an especial manner by the oppor- 
tunity afforded him of exhibiting the power of the Al- 
mighty in the interpretation he was enabled to give to the 
dreams of Pharoah's chief butler and baker. This circum- 
stance led him to hope for his own deliverance from 
prison, for he could not but suppose that the butler would 
feel desirous of shewing his gratitude by conferring a fa- 
vor upon him, and would intercede for him with the King ; 
but alas ! how apt we all are to forget the blessings we 

• Ps. jxx. 7. * I Pel. ii. 20. 

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receive ! The Butler thought no more of Joseph, until 
Pharoah's dream recalled him to his mind, and then how 
sorely grieved he must have felt at the recollection of his 
unkindness towards him, suiFering him to remain for two 
years confined in prison without making a single effort to 
effect his release. 

He no doubt rejoiced in the opportunity now afforded 
him of repairing his fault, and instantly acquainted Pha- 
roah with the circumstances of his own dream. The result 
must have gratified him greatly. Pharoah lost no time 
in sending for Joseph, who accordingly interpreted his 
dreams, as he had previously done those of his servants. 

We can scarcely imagine what Pharoah's feelings must 
have been, at meeting with a person, and he an obscure in- 
dividual, who had been confined in prison for many years, 
and a stranger too, endowed with the power he had in 
vain sought among the wise men of his kingdom. Like 
the rest of the inhabitants of his country, he was an idol- 
ater, yet that he was not wholly without a knowledge of 
the tnie God, appears by his saying to his servants, " Can 
" we find such a one as this is, a man in whom the spirit 
of God is ?" 

Thus he was fully aware this power could only have 
been given him from above, and therefore felt convinced 
that Joseph must be a person especially favoured by God, 
and that all that he did, " the Lord made it to prosper." 
He therefore determined not only to place him at the head 
of his household, but to make him " ruler over all the 
" land of Egypt," in order that he might provide against 
the distress which was likely to ensue from the predicted 

He acccordingly " took off his ring from his hand, and 
"put it upon Joseph's hand;" such rings in those days 
having seals upon them, by which orders and covenants 
were signed, and things of value secured or consigned 
over from one person to another. We may judge there- 
fore from this circumstance, of the great power with which 
Joseph was now invested. 

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Our Saviour says, " lie that humbleth himself shall be 
'* exalted,"* and surely this was exemplified in the case of 
Joseph, who was now fully rewarded for the patience and 
resignation he had shewn, under the severe trials with 
which it had pleased the Almighty to visit him. He was 
now exalted to the second station in the Kingdom of 
Eg}^pt, and invested with almost Sovereign authority ; 
*' without him no man was even to lift his hand or foot," 
implying that nothing was to be done without his consent. 

Surely his prosperity must have been even more trying 
to him than the state of adversity from which he had been 
so unexpectedly delivered. Temptations of all kinds now 
surrounded him, yet did he remain firm and uncorrupted 
among them, nor do we read of his being once led astray 
by the idolatrous habits of those around him. His trust 
in God was unshaken, and he only thought of fulfilling the 
arduous duties of that station in which he was now placed. 
His first care was to provide for the wants of the nation, 
by laying up such a stock of com from the superfluity of 
the first seven years of plenty, that when the famine arose, 
there was not only enough to supply the demands of the 
Egyptians, but sufficient to serve the nations round them, 
and accordingly we read that " all countries came into 
" Egypt to Joseph for to buy corn." 

How strikingly does the overruling providence of God 
appear in the events which resulted jfrom this circum- 
stance. The famine extended even to the land of Ca- 
naan, where Jacob and his family suffered with the rest 
of the inhabitants from the effects of it. It was natural 
tlierefore for him to send his sons into Egypt to obtain 
that supply they could procure no where else, and thus by 
second causes, does God work his purposes, overruling 
md directing them in such a way as to bring about those 

• Luke. xiv. 2. 

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events whicli He in his infinite wisdom has predetermined 
sliould take place. Little did these brothers imagine that 
in simply obeying the commands of their father, by going 
to Egypt for a supply of com, they were actually them- 
sjKlves fulfilling that very prophecy, which had so greatly 
excited their wrath against Joseph. " They bowed down 
themselves before him with their faces to the earth."* 

What must have been Joseph's feelings on beholding 
his brethren ? Nearly twenty years having elapsed since 
he had seen any of his family, or even one of his own 
countrymen. The sight of them instantly recalled to his 
mind tdl the circumstances connected with his two dreams, 
thus bringing to light the hidden mysteries of God's pro- 
vidence in the singular events which had taken place since 
he had been banished from his Father's house. 

His first impulse was doubtless to embrace them, and 
make tbem acquainted with all the circumstances by which 
he had been placed in the high station in which they foimd 
him. He was however, quite ignorant how they might 
now feel with regard to him ; they might have repented 
of their wickedness, and be rejoiced to see him in safety, 
and raised to such a state of prosperity, or they might 
still entertain the same unkind feelings towards him, and 
be doubly irritated at finding all their evil intentions 
coimteracted. He therefore thought it most prudent to 
dissemble, until he had fully ascertained their dispositions 
towards him ; he even " made himself strange unto them, 
" and spake roughly unto them," probably the better to 
conceal the truth until the moment arrived when he might 
think proper to discover himself, and also, it afforded him 
an excuse for questioning them, especially concerning his 
father and his youngest brother Benjamin, who he observ- 
ed was not with them, and of whom he was of course very 
anxious to hear some tidings. He therefore accused them 
of being spies, no doubt hoping that in their defence they 
would mention the circumstances of their coming, and the 
family they had left behind. 

»Ch. xlii, 6, 

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The result answered his expectations ; he was now in- 
formed that his father was still alive, and his brother Ben- 
jamin left at home with him. His next wish was to see 
this favourite brother, to effect which he Had recourse to 
the only means in his power, without at once discovering 
himself to them. 

And here again we see the hand of God directing even 
this slight circmnstance to such a blessed end; for now 
were these brothers for the first time led to reflect on the 
sinfulness of their conduct, and openly to acknowledge 
their fault. " We are verily guilty concerning our bro- 
" ther, in that we saw the anguish of his soul when he be- 
" sought us, and we woidd not hear ; therefore is this 
" distress come upon us." 

They little thought that brother was listening to all 
they were saying, for they supposed Joseph to be an 
Egyptian, and ignorant of their language. But he did 
hear them, and when he found how deeply they repented 
of their sins, he was so much affected, he could not restrain 
his tears, and turned away from them, that they might 
not see him weep. 

The brothers, being now provided with corn, took their 
departure from Egypt, leaving Simeon in prison as a pledge 
of their return, and of bringing Benjamin with them. "VVe 
are told nothing of Simeon during his confinement, but 
we may be quite sure from Joseph's affection for his 
brothers, that he was kindly treated. 

How sad must have been the feelings of the brethren 
during their journey home ! they were well aware of their 
father's affection for their brother Benjamin, and the little 
probability there was of his suffering him to accompany 
them back ; and to be the cause of his losing another son, 
must have added to the deep sorrow their repentant hearts 
now experienced. They had also the mortification of think- 
ing they would incur the imputation of having stolen the 
money, which to their great surprise, they found within 
their sacks. With sorrowful hearts they arrived at their 
ather's house, and related to him all that had passed. 

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camcs% beseeching him to let Benjamin retmn with 
them, but their intreaties were unavailing : Jacob had 
suffered too much from the loss of Joseph, to bear the 
thought of parting with Benjamin ; and he refused to 
grant their request. 


The famine still continued in the land of Canaan, and 
the supply of com which the Israelites had procured from 
Egypt being now exhausted, the only resource was again 
to resort to that country. But how could they hope , to 
obtain a second supply ; for Joseph had expressly told 
them they should not see his face again, unless they 
brought their brother Benjamin with them. Jacob was 
therefore reduced to the alternative either of consenting 
to part with him, or seeing his family deprived of all sus- 
tenance. He therefore, though with reluctance, yielded to 
the intreaties of Judah, and they set off once more for 
Egypt, accompanied now by their brother Benjamin. 

With fear and trembling they appeared a second time 
before Joseph, for they expected him to accuse them of 
having taken the money, and that perhaps he would put 
them all in prison. How relieved they must have felt 
therefore, at the kind reception he gave them, and at hav- 
ing their brother Simeon restored to them in safety. Jo-^ 
seph's interview with Benjamin is very toucliing. That 
beloved brother whom he had not seen for so many years, 
was now before him, " and his bowels did yearn upon his 
" brother ;" he felt greatly affected, and was obliged to 
leave the room to give vent to his feelings in tears, not 
wishing at that moment to discover himself to them. 

When he was sufficiently composed to return, he order- 
ed bread to be set on, (a common expression in those 
days, signifying any meal.) We read in the New Testa- 
ment of the Pharisees asking our Saviour, why his disci- 
ples "eat bread with unwashed hands,"* meaning not 

• Mark. rii. 5. 

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simply eating bread, but sitting down to any meal without 
first washing their hands, a ceremony which the Pharisees, 
who made a great point of such trifling matters, never 
failed to perform. Also in Luke, xiv. I, our Saviour is 
mentioned as " eating bread '* ^dth his disciples, when 
the same meal in v. 15, is signified by the expression, 
•* sitting at meat with him." 

And now it might naturally have been expected that 
Joseph would no longer have delayed discovering himself 
to his brothers, but it appears he was desirous of still 
further trying them, before he imparted what he might 
well suppose, would create extreme astonishment. It is 
possible he may have been anxious to ascertain their 
sentiments towards their brother Benjamin, and for this 
purpose adopted the means he did, in order to have an 
excuse for retaining him. Had they entertained any feel- 
ings of envy or dislike towards him, they would have 
discovered them ; the cup being found upon Benjamin, 
ivould have aflbrded them a plausible excuse for leavinjj 
him behind. But they were no longer actuated by such 
feelings. They were overwhelmed with distress, and " rent 
" their clothes, " an Eastern custom of shewing intense 
sorrow. We may therefore judge from this, how deeply 
they were grieved. 

**And they fell down before Joseph." They did not 
attempt to defend themselves : they knew it must be un- 
availing ; every circumstance was so strongly against them; 
but what must have been their affliction, when they were 
told their brother Benjamin must be left behind — that 
brother whom Judah had pledged himself to bring back 
in safety to his father ; and we consequently find him fore-, 
most in devising a scheme for his relea&e, requesting to be 
allowed to remain even as a slave, that Benjamin might 
return to his disconsolate father. 

Joseph could now restrain himself no longer : Judah' s 
disinterested conduct touched him deeply ; and desiring to 
be left alone with his brethren, he said, " I am Joseph, 
" doth my father yet live" ? His brothers, as might be 

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expected, were too much overcome to utter a word. 
Tlieir astonishment at finding that the man of whom they 
stood in such dread, and one before whom they had 
been '* bowing themselves down to the earth," and to 
whom they had even been indebted for their daily food, 
was tlieir brother Joseph, combined with the joy they felt 
at finding he had escaped the perils to which they had 
exposed him, so entirely overpowered them, as to deprive 
them of all utterance. 

• Joseph saw their distress, and felt for them, and with 
his usual kindness, called them to come near unto him, 
raying, " I am Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into 
*' Egypt ; now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with 
" yourselves, that ye sold me hither : for God did send me 
" before you to preserve life." What could be more con- 
soling to these repentant brothers than to meet with such 
a. return from one, whom they had so deeply injured, — 
to be not only at once forgiven, but even reminded of 
God's dealings with mankind, and how he had overniled 
all events for their good. 

What an important lesson on the duty of forgiveness 
does this incident convey to us ; a duty often inculcated by 
oiu- Saviour. When Peter " came to him and said. Lord, 
" how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive 
" him ? till seven times ? Jesus saith unto him, I say not 
" unto thee until seven times, but until seventy times 
*' seven."* Nothing can justify your resentment against 
him ; however great his crime may be, it is not for you to 
judge him. 

Joseph having now discovered himself to his brothers, 
felt naturally a great desire to see his father agedn, he must 
therefore have been greatly rejoiced to find Pharoah, who 
had been informed of all that had taken place, entering so 
fully into his feelings, as to oiFer support and sustenance 
to all his family if they would come and settle in Egypt, 
lie accordingly lost no time in sending his brothers home 
to impart the joyful tidings of his being alive and well, 


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and to endeavour to persuade him to accompany them back 
to Egypt. 

" And they went up out of Egypt, and came into the 
" land of Canaan unto Jacob their father ;" but when they 
told him Joseph was " yet alive, and governour over all 
"the land of Ee^ypt," his "heart fainted, for he believed 
" them not." What could more improbable than that the 
son whom he had supposed to have been dead for twenty 
years, should be ruling over a large country ! Yet when 
he saw the wagons Joseph had sent to carry him, " his 
" spirit revived," he could no longer doubt the fact. " It 
" is enough," he said, I want no other proof, " Joseph my 
" son is yet alive : I wiU go and see him before I die." 


" And Israel took his journey with all that he had, and 
" came to Beersheba, and oifered sacridces unto the God 
" of his father Isaac." 

The step which Jacob was now about to take, was one 
of great importance. Hitherto he had acted under God's 
peculiar guidance, and in his journey to his uncle Laban, 
and on his return home, he had been especially favoured 
with the counsel and assistance of the Almighty, often im- 
mediately directing him how to act, and promising support 
and protection under any difficulties he might meet with. 
He was now again leaving his home, that land which he 
knew had been promised to himself and his children, and 
this he was doing, not in obedience to any command of 
God, but as it might appear to him, merely for the sake 
of indulging his paternal feelings, and gratifying the wish 
of his favourite son. Yet he was not ignorant of the pre- 
diction made to Abraham, that before his seed should enter 
into the full possession of Canaan, they were to be for 
four hundred years " strangers in a laiid that was not 
" theirs."* He, probably therefore, hesitated less than he 

.Ch. XV. IS. 

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would otherwise have done, in consenting at once to re- 
move with his family to Egypt ; still we must suppose he 
had some doubts as to how far he might be acting accor- 
ding to the will of God, by the assurance he received in 
answer to his prayers ; the Almighty vouchsafing himself 
to speak to him in a vision, and quieting at once all his 
fears and doubts by repeating to him the promises he had 
already made to himself and his family. 

" Aiid he said, I am Goi>, the God of thy fathers ; fear 
*' not to go down to Egypt : for I will there make of thee 
" a great nation." 

Consoled by these assurances, Jacob now pursued his 
joamey with all his family, amounting, it is said, to seven- 
ty soids. Two hundred and fifteen years had now elapsed 
since God had told Abraham that his seed should be more 
iu number than the stars, * and yet the posterity of Isaac, 
on whom the promise was entailed, was as yet increased 
only to twenty. Could there be a more striking proof of 
the great power of the Almighty than thus causing these 
few to multiply in the way they did : for we know what a 
large nation they afterwards became. " A little one shall 
*' become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation, I, 
" the Lord, will hasten it in his time."* The accomplish- 
jnent of God*s promises may appear slow, yet is it always 
sure. " One day is with the Lord as a thousand years, 
" and a thousand years as one day."* 

Jacob's first step on arriving in Egypt was to send Ju- 
(lah before him to priepare Joseph for his reception ; who, 
it is said, " made ready his chariot, and went up to meet 
** Israel his father, to Goshen, and presented himself unto 
" him, and he fell on his neck, and wept on his neck a 
'■ good while." 

What can be more affecting than this interview between 
Jacob and his son ? to be thus restored to each other after 
a separation of so many years, neither of them ever ex- 
pecting to see the other again. 

Joseph's next care was to acquaint Pharoah with the 

■ Chap. XT. J. * Is. Ix. 22. • 2 Pet iii. 8. 

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arrival of his family ; and here we may observe the prudence 
he shewed in his anxiety for the welfare of his brethren 
and their families : in all his dealings with them, not only 
practising that Christian virtue of doing to others as we 
would they should do unto us, but even returning good 
for evil. We may suppose that holding the high station 
he did in Pharoah's court, he might through his interest 
with the king, have obtained for them some of the firsit 
situations in the kingdom, but he knew very well the temp- 
tations to which they would thus be exposed, among:st 
a people who worshipped not the true God, and who mig^ht 
by their example at least, if not by persuasion, induce his 
brethren to do the same. He might suppose that nothing 
but entire separation from the Egyptians could secure them 
from being led astray by their idolatrous practices, and 
therefore wisely suggested to them the occupation of shep- 
herds, in order to secure to them a land in which thoy 
might dwell apart from the rest of the nation ; for every 
sliepherd was held in abomination by the Egyptians, the 
land of Egypt having once been invaded and subdued by 
a tribe of shepherds from the land of Cush, who enslaved 
the whole country, and though after a period of some 
years the Egyptians rebelled against them, and forced 
them to quit it, yet the remembrance of their tyrauny had 
never been effaced from their minds. 


Such was the estimation in which Joseph was held by 
Pharoah, that he had no difficulty in obtaining his per- 
mission for the Israelites to dwell in the laud of Goshen. 
His request was not only granted, but Phnroah even offered 
to provide them with employment, proposing that they 
should have charge of his cattle. 

The next incident related to us is Jac<ob's interne w 
with Pharoah, which is very interesting. 

'* And Joseph brought in Jacob his father, and set him 
"before Pharoah, and Jacob blessed Pharoah." 

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" And Pharoah said unto Jacob, how old art thou ? " 
" And Jacob said unto Pharoah, The davs of the years of 
"my pilgrimage are an hundred and thii'ty years : few 
" and evil have the days of the yeara of ray life been, and 
" have not attained unto the days of the years of the life 
" of my fathers, in the days of their pilgrimage." 

You will observe he calls his Ufe a pflgrimage, not con- 
sidering this world as his home ; he looked upon himself 
as a pilgrim journeying towards another and a better 
country. Although he had now lived one hundred and 
thirty years, yet they appeared to him few and evil days, 
compared to eternity. 

He knew that evil was the portion of man in this world ; 
" man that is born of a woman is of few <lays, and full of 
*' trouble."* If Jacob's days then appeared few to him, 
M'hat must be the present life of man, which seldom ex- 
ceeds, and often even scarcely extends, to, the age of four- 
score ? Should we not always bear in mind that we are 
likewise pilgrims on earth, and "that here have we no 
" continuing city, but we seek one to come."* 

Surely this reflection should incline us to submit pa- 
tiently to all the troubles and trials we may here meet 
with, knowing they can be but of short duration, and that 
" henceforth there is laid up for us a crown of righteous- 
" ness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge shall give at 
" that day to all those who love his appearing,"* that is, 
to those, whose faith in their Saviour, leads them to look 
forward with pleasure to the time, when he shall again ap- 
pear on earth to judge the world. 

Joseph having established his family in the land of Go- 
shen, again turned his thoughts towards the discharge of 
that duty which had been imposed upon him by Pharoah ; 
and a detail is given us of the prudent measures he took 
to alleviate the universal distress arising from the famine, 
which still prevailed in the kingdom. 

The two following chapters contain an account of the 
blessings bestowed by Israel upon Joseph's two children ; 

• Job. xiv. I. * Hcb. xiii. 14. 2 Tim. iv. i. 

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48 Jacob's death. [ch. 

Ephraim and Manassah, and also upon liis own sons, con- 
cluding with his death. 

GEN. L. 

Jacob had now finished his earthly career, haring 
lived seventeen years after his arrival in Egypt, and we 
may remark the respect and esteem with which he had evi- 
dently been regarded by the Egyptians, since they not 
only mourned for him seventy days, but even the elders 
of the land of Egypt, it is said, accompanied Joseph when 
he went to bury his father in the land of Canaan. 

The name of " elder" was in those days a title given to 
the principal domestic in a family ; thus we read in the xxiv. 
Chapter, verse 2. that Abraham called " the eldest servant 
"** of his house to him," implying not the eldest in point of 
age, but the chief servant of his household. 

On arriving in the land of Canaan, it is said, " they 
" mourned with a great and very sore lamentation." It is 
the custom in the East even at this present time, when 
the head of a family dies, for the rest instantly to set up 
a furious cry, which continues for some time, then ceases 
all at once, beginning again suddenly at day break. This 
kind of mourning continues for forty days, diminishing 
■daily in violence. 

Joseph had no sooner returned to Egypt after his fa- 
ther's fimeral, than his brothers began to feel some appre- 
hensions lest he might now be induced to alter his conduct 
towards them. They felt they had not yet received the 
punishment due to their sin, and no doubt imagined he 
might hitherto have restrained his feelings out of consider- 
ation for his father, and that he being now removed, the 
time might be come when Joseph would retm-n them the 
evil they had rendered him. Little however, did they 
know the true character of their brother, Joseph feared 
God, and not man ; " he knew him that hath said, Ven- 
"geance belongeth imto me, I will repay it,saith the Lord." 

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" Feax not," he said, " for am I in the place of God ?" 
It is not for me to judge you for your sins. " And he 
"comforted them, and spake kmdly unto them," and 
" nourished them and their little ones," foretelling when 
he was near his death, that God would bring them out of 
the land of Egypt, unto the land which he had promised to 
their forefathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. " So Joseph 
" died, being an hundred and ten years old." 

I cannot conclude the life of Joseph without calling 
your attention to some circumstances attending it, which 
I think may very possibly have escaped your observation. 
You may have read it through with much interest, and I 
hope instruction, and yet without remarking many points 
ia his life and character, which strikingly resemble those 
of our Saviour, In fact Joseph is a type of Jesus Christ. 

Let us recapitulate some of the principal events of his 
life, in which the analogy, (or resemblance) is most str^- 
ing, and we will afterwards draw a similar comparison 
between his character and that of our Lord. 

First, let us eonsid^ his early histoiy ; the unkind 
feeling of his brothers towards him, and their cruel treat- 
ment of him. See what is written in John, i. 2. " He 
" came unto his own, and his own received him not "; 
neither would they receive him as their brother, but cast 
him into a pit, and delivered him to the Egyptians ; and 
why ? This we are told in Acts vii. 9 : " The Patriarchs, 
" moved with envy, sold Joseph into Egypt"; now compare 
this with Matt, xxvii. 18, where it is said of our Saviour, 
" for envy they delivered him," even as the Jews delivered 
Christ over to the Gentiles to be crucified, selling him for 
thirty pieces of silver, so did these brothers deliver Joseph 
to the Ishmaelites, selling him for twenty pieces of silver, 
no more expecting they should ever see him again, than 
the Jews expected that our Saviour would rise from the 
dead. They thought, when they had nailed him to the 
cross, they had eftectually prevented the fulfilment of all 
his predictions, precisely as Joseph's brethi-en thought 
they had prevented his, when they cast him into the pit. 

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60 JOSEPH [CH^. 

"We shall see/' said they, "what will become of his 
" dreams."* But our Saviour did rise from the dead, and 
was seen and known of his brethren, and Joseph did rise 
from the pit into which he was thrown, and was seen and 
known of his brethren. 

There is a still closer similarity between these circum- 
stances, from the word " pit" being frequently made use 
of in Scripture to denote the grave, as in Psalm xxv. 3, 
" O Lord, thou hast brought up my soul from the grave ; 
" thou hast kept me alive, that I should not go down to 
"the pit." 

Joseph rose to a station in which all things were placed 
in his hands : " according unto thy word shall dl my 
people be ruled,"* were Pharaoh's words to Joseph. Thus 
when Christ was raised from the dead, did God " set him 
" at his own right hand in the heavenly places,"" and hath 
" put all things under his feet."* 

You see how clearly these events in Joseph's life typi- 
fied the death and resurrection of our Saviour ; and your 
attention being once called to this fact, you will naturally 
be led' to perceive other points of resemblance in their 
characters : for instance, when we read of his being falsely 
accused and thrown into prison, does it not remind us of 
Him who " suffered, being tempted"' yet without sin : who 
was persecuted without a cause, who was brought as a 
" lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers 
" is dumb, so he opened not his mouth."* 

We find Joseph afterwards dealing out sustenance to 
all the nations round, and aU people flocking to him as 
their only resource, during the famine which prevailed 

And is there not in these days a spiritual famine on the 
earth ? How many souls are perishing daily for want of 
that " bread of life,"' that spiritual food, which can aloue 
sustain us unto everlasting life, and which is only to be 

« Ch. xxxvii. 20. h ch. zii. 40. « Eph. i. 22. 

^ Heb. ii. 18. * Tsa. liii. 7. » John. vi. 3«. 

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obtained from Him who has promised to satisfy every 
hungry soul " without money, and without price.". 

Bnt as this is only granted to the true Christian, who 
** asks in faith, nothing wavering,*" so it was the IsraeHtea 
(who, as I mentioned before, represented the true Church 
of God) who alone received their com "without money, 
" and without price.'* 

Another striking, and interesting resemblance may bt 
observed in the conduct of Joseph towards his brethren. 
They no s Doner appeared before him, than he instantly 
recognized in them the same individuals, who had not 
only treated him with great unkindness, but had even 
plotted his destruction; and how was he to act towards 
them ? He might at first appear harsh, but this was only 
to lead them more fully to a state of repentance ; as God 
may at times seem to " hide his face,"* from us, to try our 
faith, and bring us, in the end nearer to him. And as 
Christ, by his holy Spirit cleanseth our hearts, and renders 
us fit to receive his doctrines, and dwell with him, so did 
Joseph provide his brethren with all things necessary for 
them, to come and take up their abode with him, pardon- 
ing and forgiving them aU their sins, even as our Saviour 
looked down from the cross with pity upon his enemies, 
saying, " Father, forgive them, for they know not what 
" thoy do."** 

We may learn from this, that there is no sin so great, 
but if duly repented of and forsaken, (which is the only 
test of true repentance,) will be forgiven. 

" Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white 
«* as snow ; though they be red like crimson, they shall be 
** as wool."* 

■ Is. Iv. 1. ^ James,!. 6. * Ps. xxx. 7. 

'Luke, xxiii. 34- « Is. i. 18. 


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Afflictlooi of the InraeliteB— Birth of Moiea— He kilb an Egyptian— Th« 
BoTDiag Bttih— Doubts and feari of Moses— Retums to £g7pt— Phaxaoh 
refuses to let Iscael go. 

EXODUS. I. n. 

Wk are now arrived at a new era in the Idstory of the 
Israelites. Joseph and his brethren, and all that genera- 
tion were dead, and we are told, their posterity " increased 
*' abundantly, and multiplied," " and the land was filled 
'^ with them," thus realizing the promise made to Abraham, 
that God would *' make of him a great nation,'" and that 
his " seed should be a stranger in a land that was not 
*' theirs, and should serve them, and they should afiOict 
" them four hundred years."* 

This affliction they now began to experience, for " there 
** arose up a King over Egypt, which knew not Joseph." 
We may suppose that those who had known him, might 
for his sake have shewed kindness to his family, but after- 
Wards they were only regarded as a large nation settled in 
the kingdom, which had increased so rapidly, as to become 
" more and mightier" than the Egyptians themselves, and 
the King began to feel some apprehensions lest, in the 
event of a war, they might be induced to join his enemies. 

This fear was natural in a heathen king, who was quite 
ignorant of all the predictions and promises which had 
been delivered respecting the Israelites. And now we see 
what this ignorance led him to do : perhaps no more than 
what might be expected from one, who instead of serving 
the Almighty, bowed down in worship before idols, and 
was never influenced by the fear or love of God. In all 

• Gen. xii. 2 — *xv. 13. 

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\m actions, his sole motive was doiibtleds the mere gratifi- 
cation of his own will, and we may conclude that this in- 
stigated him to the crud treatment which he now inflicted 
upon the Israehtes. Had he used them kindly, he might 
have gained their affection and good will, and their very 
number which caused him so much apprehension, might in 
that case have added to the strength and security of his 
kingdom ; but God had ordered it otherwise, and in further- 
ance of his scheme, suffered the kings of Egypt thus ta 
tyrannize over the Isreielites, in order that he might lead 
them more sensibly to acknowledge the signal mercies 
which he afterwards shewed towards them, in their de- 
liverance from this state of bondage. 

" Therefore they did set over them task masters to afflict 
"them with their burdens." ^ 

** But the more they afflieted them, the more they mul- 
" tiplied and grew." 

It is in vain for man to attempt to resist the will of the 
Almighty. "The word which I have spoken, shall be 
" done, saith the Lord God."* 

Pharaoh's next step was to order all the new-bom sons 
of the Israelites to be destroyed, and here we may observe 
a similarity between the infancy of Moses and that of our 
Saviour ; both being equally exposed to persecution, and 
both being saved by the interposition of the Almighty 5 
Joseph in the one instance being directed to flee with the 
child into Egypt for safety ; and in the other, the heart of 
Pharaoh's daughter being so kindly disposed towards Mo- 
ses, as to be the means of preserving his life ; and we may 
especially notice the leading of Providence in so ordering 
events, th^t his own mother should have been selected as 
his nurse. Thus was he brought up in the court of Pha- 
raoh, until the time arrived when he was to deliver the 
lsrae£tes from their state of bondage, and bring them in 
safety to the promised land of Canaan : even as our Saviour 
was spared to deliver us from our bondage of sin, and to 

. Ezek. zii. 28. 

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guide us in tlie path leading to our heavenly Canaan^ even 
to life everlasting. 

In fact, you will find, as you proceed with the history 
of Moses, that, like Joseph, he was a type of our Saviour, 
perhaps one of the most remarkable of any ; he was a type 
of him, as a prophet, a Saviour, a lawgiver, and a media- 
tor : he was even a type of him in his personal qualifica- 
tions. " He was learned in aU the wisdom of the Egyp- 
tians ;"• as it is said of Christ, " How knoweth this man 
" letters, having never learned ?"* 

For forty years did he dwell in the court of Pharaoh, 
being brought up by his daughter as her son, and there 
he might probably have remained in affluence and pros- 
perity, for the rest of his life, but it is said, " by faith Mo- 
" ses when he was come to years, refused to be called the 
"son of Pharaoh's daughter ; choosing rather to suffer 
" affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the plea- 
"sures of sin for a season : esteeming the reproach of 
" Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt, for he 
"had respect unto the recompense of the reward ;**• that 
is, he chose rather to suffer adversity, and meet any tiiab 
for Christ's sake, than to partake of the sinful pleasures of 
an idolatrous court. 

But perhaps you will say, how was he actuated by a 
love of Christ, who had not yet appeared on earth ? This 
was the great proof of his faith. Jf^e know that Jesus 
Christ did come into the world, because we read it in the 
Scriptures, which we know to be the word of Grod, and 
therefore to be true ; but it is only by the assistance of 
his Holy Spirit, that we are enabled to arrive at this truth, 
and to believe, not only that our Saviour really lived on 
earth, but that he also rose from the dead, and ascended 
into Heaven. St. Paul, speaking of the holy men jf old, 
says, "These all died in faith, not having received the 
" promises, but having seen them afar off, and were per- 
" suaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that 
" they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For 

• Acts. Tii. 22. JohB. vii. 15. « Heb. zi. 24, 25, 26. 

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.T.] MOSES. 56 

** they tliat say such things declaro plainly that they seek 
" a country.**" 

Thus the believers under the dispensation of the old 
Testament, had the same Taith we have in the Saviour. 
The Gospel was equally preached to them by the spirit of 
God, as it is to us by Christ and his Apostles, with this 
difference only that they believed he would come, and we 
believe that he has been on earth. 

Our Saviour says, " Your father Abraham rejoiced to 
" see my day. and was glad;"* and that Job was convinced 
of this great truth cannot be doubted, for he says, "I 
" know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand 
" at the latter day upon the earth : and though after my 
" skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see 
" God.**' 

When Moses " was full forty years old, it came into his 
" heart to visit his brethren the children of Israel.'^'* 

He was well acquainted with the history of the Israel- 
ites, oi their having quitted the land of Canaan to settle 
in Egypt, and of God's promises to them respecting their 
return to that country which was to be given to them and 
their descendants ; and when he "looked on their bur- 
"dens," when he* saw how they were suffering under the 
tyranny of Pharaoh, and spied an Egyptian smiting an 
Hebrew, he slew him, probably to shew his brethren how 
ready he was to defend them, if they would unite in resist- 
ing the cruel treatment they were made to undergo, " for 
- * he supposed his brethren would have understood how 
" that God by his hand would deliver them : but they un- 

They were so far from drawing the inference he had an- 
ticipated, that the next day, when he would have reproved 
them gently for their conduct towards each other, one of 
them retorted upon him, saying, ** who made thee a prince 
" and a judge over us ? intendest thou to kill me as thou 
*' killedst the Egyptian P And Moses feared, and said, 

• U«b. xi. 19. } John. viii. 56. • Job. zix 25, 26. ' Acts. Tiii. £9. 
, Acts. viU. 26, 

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'* forely tliis thing is known." He saw now there was no 
longer any safety for him in Egypt, for " when Pharoah 
'* heard this thing, he songht to slay Moses/' He there- 
fore "fled from the face of Pharaoh, and dwelt in the 

Midian is a part of Arabia, on the eastern coast of the 
Red Sea, near mount Horeb, or Sinai, as it is also called » 
Here Moses passed the next forty years of his life with 
Jethro the priest of Midian, whom he served as shepherd 
after haying married his daughter. 

And now the time had arrived when he was no longer 
to remain in this quiet seclusion, but was to come forth as 
the great Saviour of his people, by delivering them from 
the state of bondage, in which they were still kept, not- 
withstanding a new king had now succeeded to the throne : 
but it appears that he was not of a more compassionate 
disposition than his predecessor : in &ct we may even con- 
clude he treated them more harshly, for we are told that 
in the anguish of their hearts they " sighed and groaned," 
** offering up prayers and supplications with strong ciying 
" and tears unto him that was able to save ;"* " and God 
*' heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant 
" with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob." 

'' God doth not afflict willingly, nor grieve the children 
" of men."* We may be quite sure therefore that in suffer- 
ing the Israelites to be thus afflicted, he had some good 
end in view unknown to us, in furtherance of the vast 
scheme laid down, when he originally imparted to Abra- 
ham that " his seed should be afflicted for four hundred 
years in a land that was not theirs.". 

From what we read in Ezekiel, it appears as if they had 
not entirdy kept themselves pure from the idolatrous wor- 
ship of the Egyptians, for it is written "they did not 
" every man cast away the abomination of their eyes, nei- 
" ther did they forsake the idols of Egypt ; then I said, I 
" will pour out my fury upon them, to accomplish my an- 
" ger against them in the midst of the land of Egypt."* 

• H«b. V. 7. » Lam. UL 83. • Gen. xv. 18. * Ezek. zx. 8. 

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These aMctions may therefore have been intended as a 
chastisement, or Grod may have permitted such calamities 
to befall his people, the more to exercise their resignation 
to the Divine will, as also to prevent any ftirther inter- 
course with the Egyptians. They would also be the better 
prepared to quit the country when God should command 
them to depart. 

That period was now arrived, when by signal mercies, 
and most stupendous miracles, the power of the Almighty 
was to be magnified in the sight of all Israel, and his 
vengeance poured forth upon a nation, whose hearts were 
hardened, and who " glorified him not as God."* 


Above two hundred years had now elapsed since the 
Lord appeared to Jacob in a vision at Beersheba,. From 
that time to the period at which we are now arrived, we 
find no mention of any direct communication between God 
and man. Moses was therefore probably astonished at 
hearing himself addressed by his name, seeing no one near 
him. He had been contemplating with awe and wonder 
the singular circumstance of a bush burning in a flame of 
fire, without being consumed, when a voice suddenly called 
to him, " Moses, Moses ; and he said, here am I. And He 
" said, Draw not nigh hither ; put off thy shoes from off 
"thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy 

It was customary in those days to take off the shoes as 
a mark of reverence and respect. Moses was then doubt- 
less prepared for some awful communication, and when God 
informed him who He was, he " hid his face, for he was 
" afmid to look upon God," who said to him, " I am the 
" God of thy fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of 
Isaac, and the God of Jacob." 

If Moses was thus terrified at finding himself suddenly 

fc Rom. i. 21. 

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in the immediate presence of the Almighty, talking with. 
him " face to face,"* we can imagine the feelings with which 
he shrunk from the awful duty which was now to be im- 
posed upon him : that he, an obscure individual, should be 
enabled to release his whole nation from captivity, appear- 
ed to him in all human probability utterly impossible. His 
faith had not yet taught him that with God, aU things are 
possible : that his " grace is sufficient for us, and his strength. 
" made perfect in oiur weakness ;*''* which means, that iii 
proportion to the weakness of man, is the power of the 
Almighty manifested, by the strength which He imparts to 
us on occasions when we most require it, and when we can 
least rely upon our own, for support. 

" And Moses said unto God, who am I, that I should 
" go unto Pharaoh, and that 1 should biing forth the chil- 
" dren of Israel out of Egypt ? " 

We cannot but admire here the extreme goodness of the 
Almighty, who instead of reproving Moses for his doubts 
and fears, condescended at once to quiet them, by assuring 
him, as He had done the holy Patriarchs of old, that He 
would be with him, and even further vouchsafed a token 
of the same. One might have supposed this would at 
once have removed all apprehensions on the part of Mo- 
ses, yet we find him still hesitating, — stiU doubtful of the 
reception he' would meet with from his brethren, and re- 
questing to be told what to say in answer to the question, 
he expected them to put. 

" And God said unto Moses, I am that I am ; thus 
" shalt thou say unto the Childi-en of Israel, I am hath 
'• sent me unto you." Tell them, the God of your fathers 
hath sent you to bring them up out of the affliction of 
^gypt, unto the land of the Canaanites, '* and they shall 
" hearken to thy voice : and thou shalt come, thou and the 
" elders of Israel,unto the King of Egypt, and ye shall say 
" unto him. The Lord God of the Hebrews hath met with 
" us" : that is, we have received an especial command from 
the Eternal God, whom we and our forefathers worship, 

• Ex. zxrli!. 3 ' 2 Cor zli. f . 

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" and now let us go, we beseecli thee, tliree days' jonrney 
"into the wilderness, that we may sacrifice unto the 
** Lord our Grod": And though I know that the King of 
Egypt will not let you go, yet will I " stretch out my 
"hand, and smite Egypt with all my wonders which I 
•* will do in the midst thereof : and after that he will let 
"you go." 

" And I will give the people favour in the sight of the 
" Egyptians : and it shall come to pass, that when ye go, 
" ye shall not go empty : but every woman shall borrow 
" of her neighbour.*' 

To understand the meaning which this expression is 
here intended to convey, you must know that the Hebrew 
word does not really signify to borrow, but to ask for a 
thing. The custom of giving, receiving, or even asking for 
presents is very common in the East even now, and is not 
considered as any mark of disrespect. Thus we read that 
" King Solomon gave unto the Queen of Sheba all her 
" desire, whatsoever she asked, beside that which Solomon 
" gave her of his royal bounty."** 

Supported by such assurances, we can scarcely enter 
into the feelings of Moses, at shewing such extreme re- 
luctance to undertake this commission, an awful and im- 
portant one no doubt : and had he ventured on it of his 
own accord, he might have been justified in the fears he 
expressed, but acting as he did imder the immediate com- 
mand of Heaven, he ought to have obeyed instantly, trust- 
ing, (as his forefathers had done before him) in the full 
confidence of God's protection, and in the fulfilment of 
His promises. Nevertheless, we find him expressing his 
fears lest his brethren should not listen to him ; and again 
does the Almighty vouchsafe to obviate even this difficulty 
by promising to enable him to perform a miracle, in 
order to satisfy them that his commission was from above ; 
but still this did not remove the apprehensions of Moses, 
who now pleaded want of eloquence as likely to hinder 
him from prevailing with his brethren. 

'IKin^. X. IS. 

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" And the Lord said unto him. Who hath made man's 
" mouth ? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing 
•* or the blind ? have not I, the Lord"? 

" Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and 
" teach thee what thou shalt say." 

It is surprising after all these gracious promises, that 
Moses should have continued to remonstrate in the way 
he did. No sooner was one difficulty removed, than he 
started another, nor can we wonder, after such repeated 
manifestations of distrust, that *' the anger of the Lord" 
should have been '' kindled against him." Bather are we 
struck with the extreme forbearance and long-suffering of 
the Almighty ; but thus he deals with all of us,^ bearing 
with our infirmities, ''waiting to be gracious unto us,"' 
" not willing that any should perish, but that all should 
" come to repentance."* 

If we feel inclined to censure Moses for his mistrust of 
God's providence, let us ask ourselves, if we are not often 
guilty of the same fault? Do we never murmur when 
called upon to perform certain duties? Have we not 
Good's word ever before us, to which we may refer on all 
occasions, and which will assist us in all our fears and 
difficulties, and support us under all trials ; and do we 
make that the constant guide of all our actions, words, 
and thoughts ? if not, believe me, we are equally guilty of 
rebelling against God's commands, of mistrusting His 
providence, as if He had spoken to us, as He did to Moses 
out of the burning bush. 

Notwithstanding that God was thus displeased with 
Moses, yet did He condescend even to humqur his weak- 
ness by permitting his brother to accompany him as his 
" spokesman," ** he shall be to thee instead of a mouth, 
" and thou shalt be to him instead of Gx>d" : that is, he 
shall supply your want of eloquence, while you direct him 
what to say, even as I shall teach you. 

Moses could not be insensible to such repeated demon- 
strations of lovingkindness ; he no longer hesitated to obey 

* IM. XXX. 18. « 3 Pet m. 9. 

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God's command, but set out immediately on bis bigb com- 
mission witb bis confidence no doubt greatly restored, not 
only by tbe promises and assurances be bad received, but 
by tbe appearance of bis brother, wbom tbe Lord bad fore- 
told be would meet by tbe way. And be must bave derived 
yet furtber encouragement from tbe reception be met witb 
from bis bretbren when be arrived in Egypt. " Tbe peo- 
*' pie believed ; and wben tbey beard tbat tbe Lord bad 
" visited tbe cbildren of Israel, arid tbat be bad looked 
*' upon tbdi affliction, tben tbey bowed tbeir beads, and 
" worsbipped." 


One of tbe great difficulties Moses bad anticipated on 
his return to Egypt, was now removed. Tbe Israelites bad 
not only bearkened to bim, but weajp fully convinced be 
was sent by God to restore tbem to their own country. 

His next step was to proceed to tbe court of Pbaraob, 
accompanied by bis brother Aaron, to inform tbe King of 
tbe message he had received from his God, requesting he 
would allow the Israelites to go into the desert to perform 
tbeir sacrifice to the Lord. 

Pharaoh's reply was such as might be expected ; " Who 
" is the Lord, that I should obey his voice to let Israel 
" go P " He acknowledged no power from on high, no 
other God than the idols formed by his own hands, and 
be considered this demand of the Israelites merely as an 
excuse to be released from their burdens, which he now 
redoubled witb still greater cruelty than before. 

This was a fresh trial for tbe people of God. Their 
hopes had been raised by the tidings they bad received 
from Moses, and to have them thus suddenly crushed by 
this new infliction, roused their indignation against Moses 
and Aaron, whom they now considered as tbe cause of 
their misfortunes. " And they said unto them, the Lord 
" look upon you, and judge, because ye bave made our 

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" savour to be abhorred in the eyes of Pharoah, and in the 
" eyes of his servants, to put a sword in their hand to slay 
" us." May the Lord requite you as you deserve, because 
you have rendered us odious in the sight of Pharoah, and 
given him occasion for destroying our whole nation. 

Moses was keenly touched by this unjust accusation. 
Notwithstanding all the promises of support he had re- 
ceived from God, who had even forewarned him of the re- 
ception he would encounter from Pharaoh, yet was his 
faith now shaken, and his spirits cast down by this sud- 
den disappointment of all his hopes ; and he said unto the 
Lord, " wherefore hast thou so evil entreated this people? 
" Why is it that thou hast sent me ? For since I came to 
" Pharaoh to speak in thy name, he hath done evil to this 
" people ; neither hast thou delivered thy people at all.*' 

After such repeated murmurings on the part of Moses, 
we could not have felt surprised, had God rejected him 
altogether from the Jiigh office he had called upon him 
to fill. But it has pleased the Lord to choose " the fool- 
" ish things of the world to confound the wise, and God 
" hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound 
" the things which are mighty.'" Again did He condescend 
to repeat to Moses assurances of his power, by reminding 
him that He was the same Lord who had appeared to his 
forefathers, promising to them the land of Canaan, and 
that he would now fulfil his promise of giving it, " for an 
" heritage" to the children of Israel, and would bring them 
out " from under the burdens of the Egyptians :" adding, 
*' I am Jehovah, and have sent thee to make known this 
" great name, that is. Myself, who am constant to my word, 
" and will faithftdly perform all my promises."^ 

Surely it might have satisfied the Israelites to know, 
that however their deliverance might be stayed by the ob- 
stinacy of Pharaoh, and however it might please God to 
afflict them for a time, the greater to prove their faith and 
resignation, yet that he woidd surely, sooner or later, per- 
form his promises ; and that all that was required of them 

• 1 Cor. 1,37. 4 Biah. Patrick. 

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was to submit patiently to the trials with wMch they were 
now afflicted. 

•* And Moses spake so unto the children of Israel : but 
*' they hearkened not unto Moses for anguish of spirit, and 
•* for cruel bondage." 

They refused even to listen to these words of conso- 
lation ; they were like " the deaf adder which stoppeth her 
** ears ; which wiU not hearken to the voice of charmers, 
*• charming never so wisely.''^ Alas ! how many there are 
even at this day, who choose to give way to discontent 
and repining, rather than listen to the consolations affbr- 
• ded to them by the Gospel. 

'* And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Go in, speak 
" unto Pharaoh king of Egypt, that he let the children of 
" Israel go out of his land ; and Moses spake before the 
" Lord, saying ; Behold, the children of Israel have not 
" hearkened unto me ; how then shall Pharaoh hear me, 
** who am of uncircumcised lips. 

The expression " uncircumcised" • is used in scripture 
" to express any kind of unsuitableness which there may 
" be in any thing to answer its proper purpose ;'" as it is 
"said in Jer. vi. 10. " Behold theii* ear is uncircumcised 
**and they cannot hearken," as also in Acts viii. 51. "Te 
" stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do 
" always resist the Holy Ghost : " meaning that their 
hearts were not duly prepared by the reception of the 
Holy Spirit to listen to the doctrines of the Gospel. Moses 
alluded here to the deficiency of eloquence he had before 
pleaded ; his heart failed within him, notwithstanding the 
assistance God so gi-aciously permitted him through his 
brother Aaron, and of which, we shall find He again re- 
minded him in the next chapter, repeating His promises 
that He would assuredly bring forth the Israelites out of 
the land of Egypt, after He had " stretched forth his hand 
** upon them," in the judgements which were now to be 
inflicted on that rebellious nation. 

^ Fs. Iviii, 4, f . « Seott Com. 

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Ten plagues^Passorer Instituted— Departuie oftheltjaeliteefrom Egypt" 
First born sanctified— Israelites pursued by Pbaraoh^Cross the Red Sea- 
Egyptians drowned— 


Such reiterated promises as Moses had now received 
from above, could not fail at length to have the desired 
effect. His fears and apprehensions were quieted, his faith 
strengthened, and no longer relying on his own arm, but 
in that Power who promised to be '* a shield unto them 
" that put their trust in Him,"' he went boldly unto Pha- 
raoh, and in his presence, and in the sight of all his atten- 
dants, shewed forth the power of the living Grod, in the 
miracle which he was now enabled to perform. 

" Aaron cast down his rod before Pharoah, and before 
*• his servants, and it became a serpent." 

Then did Pharaoh, in defiance of the supreme power of 
the Almighty, call for the " wise men and the sorcerers : 
" now the Magicians of Egypt, they also did in like man- 
" ner with their enchantments. For they cast down every 
" man his rod, and they became serpents : but Aaron's rod 
" swallowed up their rods." 

What these Magicians were, or how far they were per- 
mitted by God to work upon the credulity of man by their 
deceptive arts, we are not told, but that such people did 
exist in those days, possessing the power of working upon 
the imagination, by practising deceptions on the ignorant 

4 Prov. zxz. 5. 

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minds of those who witnessed them, is evident from seve- 
ral passages in Scripture. We read in the Acts xvi, 16. of a 
woman so skilled in this art, that her masters made their 
fortune by her, yet her mind was no sooner enlightened by 
the new doctrines she received from St. Paul, than she in- 
stantly perceived the folly of such practices, and renounced 
them accordingly. 

Indeed the frequency of these practices was such, that a 
command is even laid down in Leviticus, enjoining the Is- 
raelites to avoid such people, and keep themselves apart 
from them. " Regard not them that have familiar spirits, 
" neither seek after wizards to be defiled by them : I am 
" the Lord thy Gk)d.*'* The Jews are here reminded that 
they were God's own people, and that with their know- 
ledge of His superior power and wisdom, which they had 
•witnessed in so many instances, it was not for them to 
-lend an ear to such credulities. 

It seems sui-prising that Pharaoh did not at once ac- 
knowledge the power of the Almighty, when he saw the 
rods of the magicians instantly devoured by Aaron's : but 
•the extraordinary degree to which Pharaoh's heart was 
suffered to be hardened baffles all our comprehension. But 
the ways of God are inscrutable, and even were it permit- 
ted us to fathom the counsels of the Almighty, and to 
know each hidden spring which moves the vast machine, 
or in other words, to be made acquainted with aU the dif- 
Terent means He uses, to bring about His several purposes, 
what would it avail us ? The residt of such knowledge 
would only be, (what is in the power of every one now to 
obtain,) the conviction that aU events are ordered for the 
best and wisest purposes ; "The Lord hath made all 
" things for himself : yea, even the wicked for the day of 
" evil.'" K God willing to shew his wrath, and to make 
his power known, endured with "much longsuffering the 
" vessels of wrath fitted to destruction,"" it was only in 
furtherance of the one grand scheme, which commenced 

• Xev. xix. 31. * Prov. xvi. 4. 'Bom. ix. 2«. 


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wten the world was created, and will only end when " time 
" shall be no longer."^ 

" And the Lord spake unto Moses, Say unto Aaron, 
" Take thy rod, and stretch out thine hand upon the waters 
"of Egypt, upon their streams, upon their rivers, and up- 
on their ponds, and upon all their pools of water, that 
" they may become blood." 

This was the first of these awful plagues with which the 
Egyptians were now to be visited through the hand of 
Moses, and we cannot but remark on the peculiar nature of 
this one especially, as being so particularly calculated to 
strike terror into the minds of this idolatrous nation. 

The river Nile had ever been held in reverence by the 
Egyptians : they even worshipped it as a deity. What there- 
fore could tend more to exalt theii* ideas of a true God, than 
thus witnessing His power over their sacred stream ? Nor 
could it fail likewise to impart a useful lesson to the Israel- 
ites, who, if they had not themselves assisted at this idol- 
atrous rite, had at least been witnesses of the same ; and 
this instance of God's miraculous power, must have ftdly 
impressed them with the folly and wickedness of such, 


Seven days were suffered to elapse, before the obstinacy 
of Pharaoh again called down the vengeance of. Heaven. 
He remained unreasonable ; " therefore was the anger of the 
" Lord kindled against him," and again "he stretched forth 
" his hand against him,"* ** and the frogs came up, and 
" covered the land of Egypt ; and the Magicians did so 
" with their enchantments, and brought up frogs upon the 
"land of Egypt." 

"Then Pharoah called for Moses and Aaron, and said, 
f* Intreat the Lord, that he may take away the frogs from 
•J me." 

eR«T. 'II. V. 25. 

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For the first time, Pharoali acknowledged the power of 
the Almighty ; for the first time he offered up a petition 
to God for mercy ! 

Whatever may have been the real nature of the enchant- 
ments his Magicians were enabled to effect, it is evident 
from this circumstance, that Pharaoh himself must have 
been stnick with their vast inferiority to the miracles per- 
formed by Moses. At any rate, the fact that in no degree 
did they partake of a divine nature was conclusive, from 
the inability of the Magicians to remove the plague, which 
we may conclude, Pharoah would naturally call upon them 
to do. 

" And the Lord did according to the word of Moses, 
" and the frogs died !" 

No sooner does the repentant sinner offer up supplica- 
tions at the throne of grace, than God is ready to listen to 
him, and receive him back into his fold, even though He 
foresee how soon he will go astray again. 

" When Pharoah saw that there was respite, he harden- 
"ed his heart, and hearkened not unto them"; even as 
God had foretold to Moses would be the case. 

Accordingly the whole nation was now visited by a 
plague, which to the Egyptians must have appeared even 
more awfril than the two preceding ones, the power of 
the Magicians being completely baffled : they attempted to 
bi-ing forth lice, "but they could not;" and even th4iy were 
now forced to acknowledge the superior power of Him in 
whom alone " we live, and move, and have our being."** 

" Ihis," they exclaimed, is the finger of God." 

Yet was Pharaoh insensible even to this striking cir- 
cumstance, and his heart was still hardened, though un- 
der the expectation of a similar judgement. 

" And the Lord said imto Moses, ilise up early in the 
" morning, and stand before Pharaoh, lo, he cometh forth 
" to the water ; and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord, 
" let my people go, that they may serve me." " Else, if 
" thou wilt not let my people go, behold, I will send 

J Actf. zvii. 28. 


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** swarms of flies upon thee, and upon thy seirants, and 
" upon thy people, and into thy houses : and the houses of 
" the Egyptians shall be Ml of swarms of flies, and also 
•'the ground whereon they are.'* 

" And I will sever in that day the land of Goshen, in 
" which my people dwell, that no swarms of flies shall be 
•* there ; to the end thou mayest know that 1 am the Lord 
"in the midst of the earth." 

And who but the Lord God omnipotent could have 
cflected such a miracle as this ? The land of Goshen 
Hes between Upper and Lower Egypt. Nothing therefore 
but the miraculous interposition of the Almighty could 
have prevented His people from suffering equally with th^ 

iiay we not derive much consolation from this circom- 
stance ? God is " the same yesterday, and to day, and for 
" ever."* 

" The Lord's hand is not shortened that it cannot save, 
" neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear."'' 

He is equally able and willing to save His people now 
as He was then, and in the hour of danger, " when we caH 
" upon him, he will answer us."* 

We need not fear " for the pestilence that walketh in 
" darkness ; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noon 

** A thousand shall fell at thy side, and ten thousand at 
" thy right hand, but it shall not come nigh thee. Only 
" with thine eyes shalt thou behold, and see the reward oi 
" the wicked." 

" Because thou hast made the Lord which is my refiige, 
" even the most High thy habitation, there shall no evil 
"befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy 
" dwelling."" 

"And there came a grievous swarm of flies into the 
" house of Pharaoh, and into all the land of Egypt.*' 

•' And Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron, and said, 
** go ye, sacrifice to your God in the land." 

"-ib. xiii. 8 rf Is. lix. 1. • Pa. xci. 1 S * 1—10. 

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Moses having in the first instance pleaded as a reason for 
the Israelites being allowed to quit Egypt, that they might 
serve their God in the wilderness, it is possible Pharaoh 
may have supposed that by granting them permission to 
perform their sacrifices, he might thus appease the wrath 
of God, without consenting to their final departure ; but 
God is not to be served thus : if we would " find him," we 
" must seek him with our whole heart,'" and obey his Holy 
will in all points. 

Even if it had not been God's express command that 
they were to go into the wilderness 4)r this purpose, yet 
Moses was well aware of the detestation with which the 
Egyptians regarded all their sacrifices and that it was there- 
fore very improbable they would be allowed to perform 
th^n peaceably. This he represented to Pharaoh, " ShaU 
" we sacrifice the abomination of the Egyptians before their 
" eyes, and will they not stone us ? " Pharaoh was appa- 
rently convinced by the force of this argument, and accor- 
dingly consented to let them go. 

We find however, as in the former instance, that the 
plague was no sooner removed, than he recalled the per- 
mission he had given them, and. remained as obdurate as 


The next plague mentioned, the destruction of the cattle, 
is one, which at first, might strike us as less calculated to 
work an eflfect on the heart of Pharaoh, than those we 
have been reading of in the preceding chapters, as it 
occasioned him no personal suffering; but if, as it has. 
generally been supposed, the Egyptians were in the habit 
of worshipping these animals, then must this judgement 
bave been peculiarly adapted to strike terror into the heart 
of these idolaters, and place before them the vanity of 
their religious notions. 

^ Ps. cxix. 2. 

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It is said tliey had a peculiar reverence for bulls and 
oxen, and this opinion is strongly supported by the fact we 
shall read hereafter, of the Israelites worshipping a golden 
calf, in imitation no doubt, of the idolatries which they had 
witnessed in E gypt. 

The Magicians disheartened by the failure they had met 
with, no longer attempted to exert their skill ; they were 
satisfied these wonders proceeded from the hand of a su- 
perior Being, and that it was useless for them to contend 
against them, more especially as they were themselves 
made to partake of fte dreadful sufferings caused by the 
next plague. 

•' The boil was upon the Magicians, and upon all the 

Six times had the Egyptians now been visited by judg- 
ments more awful, more terrible in their nature than any 
that had ever been experienced by mankind, and yet we 
are told that Pharaoh's heart was still " hardened." 

Nevertheless we must not infer that all these plagues 
were sent merely as a punishment to him. We must ever 
look upon them as part of those mysterious dispensations 
of Providence which are beyond our comprehension. We 
know that God is not the author of evil, and why He per- 
mits it to exist in the world, when by a single breath of 
His word, we might all have been created pure and holy as 
the Spirits in Heaven, will be ever unknown to us till 
" this corruptible shall have put on incon'uption, and this 
" mortal shall have put on inmiortality."* Then shall we no 
" longer see through a glass darkly,"^ but " these hidden 
" things will be brought to light,"' and the beautiful ar- 
rangements of Providence shine forth "clearer than the 
" noon day."^ 

In the mean time let us remember that God is the dis- 
poser of all events, and that we are His creatures ; " Shall 
" the thing formed say to him that formed it, why hast 
" thou made me thus ? Hath not the potter power over 
"the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto 

1 1 Cor. XV. 54.— ''xlli. 12.— • iv, 6. 4 Job. xi. 17. 

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VI.] THE HAIL. 71 

" honour, and another unto dishonour ?"• It is not for 
man to say, why hast Thou done this ? neither does it be- 
come us to pass judgement o n Pharaoh, when God himself 
says, " For this purpose have I raised thee up for to shew 
" in thee my power ; and that my Name may be declared 
*' throughout all the earth." " Therefore hath he mercy on 
*' whom he will have mercy, and whom he will, he harden- 
*' eth."* 

We cannot suppose that all who shared in the sufferings 
occasioned by these plagues, were equally sinful or that they 
were all doomed to destruction : on the contrary we may 
feel assured of the reverse, by the destruction made be- 
tween those who feared God, and those who did not. " He 
" that feared the word of the Lord among the servants of 
" Pharaoh, made his servants and his cattle flee into the 
" houses, and he that regarded not the word of the Lord 
" left his servants and his cattle in the field." 

" And the hail smote throughout all the land of Egypt, 
•* all that was in the field, both man and beast." 

This plague must have been likewise singularly striking 
to the inhabitants of Egypt, where rain was very unusual, 
the land being supplied with moisture from the dews on 
the ground, and from the overflowing of the Nile which 
took place regularly every year. 

" And Pharaoh sent and called for Moses and Aaron and 
" said unto them, I have sinned this time : the Lord is 
" righteous, and I and my people are wicked : intreat the 
" Lord that there be no more mighty thunderings and hail, 
" and I will let you go, and ye shall stay no longer." 

" And Moses said unto him," " 1 will spread abroad 
" my hands unto the Lord :'* (an ancient posture of sup- 
plication in all nations ;) He promised to intercede with 
God for his forgiveness, even though he foresaw how little 
real sincerity there was in his confession. 

Thus does our Saviour ever intercede for us, when we 
draw near in humble supplication to the throne of grace, 
praying in His name for pardon, saying, " Father, I hav« 

• Hom.ix. 20, 21.— kiz. It. 

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'* siimed against Heavea and before thee, and am no more 
worthy to be called thy son.." • 

Yet let the sinner beware lest when he " draweth nigh 
*' unto God with his mouth, and honoureth Him with his 
** lips, his heart be far from Him."* " I the Lord search. 
" the heart, 1 try the reins, even to give every man accor- 
" ding to the fruit of his doings,"' 

The prayer " that goeth out of feigned lips,"' will the 
Lord not hear, and though he may bear for a time with 
the hypocrisy and deceit of man, yet will the day surely 
overtake him, when like the Egyptians who were over- 
whelmed in the waters of the sea, his soul shall be cut off 
and consigned to everlasting destruction. 


" KfJ'B the Lord said unto Moses, Go in unto Pharaoh 
*• for I have hardened his heart, and the heart of his ser-* 
" vaatfi, that I might shew these my signs before him." 
Although I know the nature of his heart to be such, that 
none of these plagues will effect any change in him, yet do 
I work all these signs and wonders, that My power may- 
be magnified on the earth, that your children and your 
children's diildren may hear of them, and know that I am 
the Lord. 

" And Moses and Aaron came in unto Pharaoh, and said 
" unto him, Thus saith the Lord God of the Hebrews, how 
" long wilt thou refuse to humble thyself before me ? Let 
" my people go that they may serve me. Else, if thou 
" refuse to let my people go, behold, tomorrow will I bring 
" the locusts into thy coast ; and they shall cover the face 
" of the earth," **and shall eat every tree which groweth 
" for you out of the field. And they shall fill thy houses 
" and the houses of all thy servants, and the houses of all 
" the Egyptians.'' 

" And he turned himself and went out from Pharaoh." 

" LuJKe, XV, 18, 19. * Matt, xy, 8. • Jer, xvii, 10. * Ps, 5fvU, {. 

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Moses did not wait for any reply. He knew knew it 
was hopeless to argue with Pharaoh on his sinfulness and 
folly in thus attempting to resist the will of the Almighty, 
and that still greater judgements were pending over him 
which must be fulfilled, before the Israelites would be en- 
abled to quit the land of Egypt. 

Yet however indifferent Pharaoh may have felt at this 
fresh denunciation, his servants were seized with conster- 
nation at the prospect of another plague, one too which 
threatened such utter destruction to all the produce of 
their land : " And they said unto him. How long shall 
" this man be a snare unto us ?" How long wiU jou suf- 
fer these people to be the cause of so much misery in the 
kingdom ? " Let the men go, that they may serve their 
« God." 

Moses and Aaron were accordingly again summoned be- 
fore Pharaoh, and a second time received permission to go 
but only on condition that they left their little ones behind. 
" He said unto them. Let the Lord be so with you, as I 
" will let you go, and your little ones ; look to it ; for evil 
" is before you." Go, and no doubt the Lord in whom' 
you trust, will be with you; and take your little ones, but 
remember it will be at your peril if you do. 

His object in wishing to keep back the children wa» 
doubtless in order to have a pledge for their return. 
" And they were driven out from Pharaoh's presence." 
And now a terrible swarm of locusts, such as had never 
been seen before, swept over the whole country, till it was 
completely darkened by them, and they devoured " every 
" herb of the land, and aU the fruit of the trees whidi the 
*' hail had left." 

Pharaoh was alive to the dreadful nature of this plague, 
and foresaw that a famine must inevitably ensue if it con- 
tinued. In haste and terror he called for Moses and Aaron j 
and in greater 'humility than he had ever shewn before, 
confessed his sins, intreating forgiveness of the Lord, and 
that he would save him from the death which he saw 
awaited him from this terrible scourge. 

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But of what avail is a repentance extorted merely by the 
fear of death ? This plague was only removed to give place 
for another, which if it was in some respects less insup- 
portable, as neither affecting their lives, or even their per- 
sonal sufferings, yet was of a nature peculiarly awful to 
these superstitious people. ** There was a thick darkness in 
" all the land of Egypt ?" a darkness which could even be 
" felt !" For three whole days " they saw not one another, 
" neither rose any from his place !" 

"WTiat fitter judgement could be inflicted on a people 
Whose uuderstandings were darkened, and who had refused 
the light of God's word offered them through Moses ; 
while the children of Israel we are told " had light in their 
" dwellings /' typical of that spiritual light which God 
will ever vouchsafe to his chosen people. ' 

Again does Pharaoh give permission for the departure 
of the Israelites, but with a stipulation which he might 
have foreseen would be rejected by Moses, who replied, 
" Our cattle also shall go with us, there shall not an hoof 
"be left behind, for thereof must we take to serve the 
"Lord our God." 

Pharaoh's wrath was again kindled at this reply, and he 
now refused to see him any more. " And Moses said, 
"Thou hast spoken well, I will see thy face again no 
" more." 


" And the Lord said unto Moses, Yet will I bring one 
'* plague more upon Pharaoh, and upon Egypt 5 afterwards 
"he will let you go hence." 

One more judgement yet remained to be inflicted on this 
rebellious King, — one, more to be dreaded than any that 
had preceded it, threatening no le^s than the death of the 
firstborn in each family. And yet it appears that Pharaoh 
listened even to this threat with the same unconcern he 
had before shewn, although we should have imagined that 

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experience would have taught him the certainty with 
which he might have anticipated its fulfilment. 

He was mereover told that this judgement would pro- 
duce such an eifect on his servants, that they would be 
brought to acknowledge the favour with which God looked 
upon his people ; that they would even " bow down" be- 
fore them, and oflfer no further obstacle to their departure ; 
and after that they would go out. 

" And Moses went out from Pharaoh in a great anger." 
Even his wrath was kindled at such utter insensibility, 
such hardened opposition to the will of God. 


We are now arrived at one of the most remarkable and 
interesting periods in the whole history of the Jews ; when 
in the most miraculous manner they were to be delivered- 
from the bondage in which they had so long been held by 
the Egyptians, and when the promise made to Abraham 
four hundred years before, that his seed should possess the 
land of Canaan, was to be fulfilled. Nor was this all ; 
that sacred rite of the Passover was now instituted, which 
was not only to be perpetuated by the Jews as a remem- 
brance of a period when the mercies of God were so sig- 
nally manifested towards them, but was also a most re- 
markable type of the sufFerings and death of our Saviour, 
who, as you have probably remarked is often designated 
in Scripture as the Lamb of God. 

" Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin 
" of the world."- 

Erom the peculiar gentleness and meekness of its nature 
our Saviour is indeed fitly represented as a lamb, as it is 
written in Isaiah, " He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, 
" yet He opened not his mouth : He was brought as a 
" lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shear- 
" ers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth."' 

• John. i. 29. Is. lui. 7. 

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St. Peter also speaks of him "as of a lamb wiUiout 
*' blemish and without spot."* 

Thus was the lamb which the Israelites were ordered 
to kill, to be without blemish, as a type of the purity of 
our Saviour, " who did no sin, neither was guile found in 
" His mouth" ;' implying that not even a sinful word ever 
escaped Him. 

The Israelites were to eat the lamb whole. Thus are we 
to receive Christ into our hearts, wholly and entirely, not 
sometimes doing God's will, and at others, leaving it un- 
done, but keeping all His commandments : " He that saith. 
"I know him, and keepeth not His commandmants, is 
" a liar, and the truth is not in him.'*' 

Not a bone of the lamb was to be broken ; and how 
fully this was realized in the Crucifixion of our Saviour, 
as it is detailed by St. John : " When they came to Jesus, 
" and saw that he was dead already, they brake not hia 
" legs," " that the Scripture should be fulfilled, A bone 
" of him shall not be broken.", 

A. particular description is likewise given us of the 
manner in which the Israelites were to eat it : " With 
" their loins girded, their shoes on their feet, and their 
"staff in their hand" : to intimate that they were to bo 
ready to depart the moment they were summoned to start 
on their journey. 

You are aware that it was not customary in Eastern 
nations to wear shoes except during long journeys, which 
were mostly performed on foot. It was likewise the 
custom for such travellers to gather up their garments 
which were very long and loose, and fasten them with a 
girdle, as being more convenient for walking. These par-, 
ticulars are detailed to remind uS'4)f our pilgrimage on 
earth ; that we are travelling towards our Heavenly Ca- 
naan, and must be careful to have our " loins girded about, 
"and our lights burning,'" or in other words, be fuUy 
prepared to meet the Lord Jesus Christ, when He shall < 
come at the last day, to take us to a better country. 

• 1 Pet, i, 9.-.fc ii, 22. • 1 John, ii. 4. 4 John, xix, 38, 96. . Lu, xu, 85. 

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*• Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel, and said 
** unto them, Draw out now and take you a lamb aecor- 
"ding to your families, and kill the passover. And ye 
•• shall take a bunch of hyssop and dip it in the blood that is 
*• in the bason, and strike the lintel and the two side posts 
*' with the blood that is in the bason, and none ofyott 
" shall go out of his house until the morning." 

** For the Lord wiU pass through to smite the Egypt- 
" ians ; and when he seeth the blood upon the lintel, and 
" on the two side posts, the Lord will pass over the door, 
•'and will not suffer the destroyer to come in unto your 
" houses to smite you." 

'* And ye shall observe this thing for an ordinance to 
** thee and to thy sons for ever." 

The Jews were to keep this feast annually as a memo- 
idal of their deliverance ; yet we must not take the expres- 
sion " for ever" in its literal sense, as we know that all 
these rites and ceremonies of the Jews, which were only 
types and shadows of Christ and His religion, were to 
cease as soon as He should appear on earth. The sacrifice 
©f the real lamb, as I said above was a type of the sacrifice 
of the Lamb of God, and as the Israelites, the chosen 
people of God, were saved from death by the angel of the 
Lord passing over their houses which were marked with 
the blood of the lamb, so w^ His chosen people, those 
'• whose robes are washed and made white in the blood of 
**the Lamb,"'' that is, true Christians who believe in their 
kearts that "Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us,". 
even so will they' be saved from eternal death, Christ 
having passed over the gates of Hell, and opened to them 
the door of everlasting life. 

The term " for ever," is frequently made use of in 
Scripture to express any long period, and does not always 
imply that the circumstance alluded to is never to have an 
end. Without bearing this in mind, we might have great 
difficulty in reconciling many passages in the Bible which 
would otherwise be at variance. For instance, we read 

4 R»v. vii. 14. • i C«r. ▼. f. 

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in Ecclesiastes i. 4,tliat "the earth abidethfor ever,*' while 
St Peter tells us that at the last day, " the earth and the 
"works that are therein shall -be burned up."" 

St. Paul says, " the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth 
" life ;"* this shews that the letter does not always convey 
the ftill meaning of a text, which we can only obtain by 
prayer to God to enlighten our understanding by His holy 
spirit, and, as St Paul likewise tell us, by " comparing 
*' spiritual things with spiritual,"* that is, comparing one 
part of Scripture with another. If you are perplexed by 
the obscurity of one text, you may generally by searching 
find another bearing on the same point, which may at least 
throw some light on the passage, if it does not, as is 
often the case, fully explain it. Thus St Paul, speaking 
of the heathen world says, " Have they not heard ? Yeg 
"verily, their sound went into aU the earth, and their 
" words unto the ends of the world. "'* 

Now this verse taken by itself is difficult to compre- 
hend, but if we tiun to the nineteenth Psalm, from which 
it is quoted, we there find it relates to the glory of God be- 
ing so manifestly shewn forth by his works, that His power 
may be fully know and acknowledged by every one. 

"The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firma- 
" ment sheweth his handy work."' 

To return to the Israelites. The time had now arrived 
when Pharaoh no longer offered any opposition to their 
departure, for " at midnight the Lord smote aU the first 
" bom in the land of Egypt." — " And Pharaoh rose up in 
" the night, he and all his servants, and all the Egyptians, 
" and there was a great cry in Egypt : for there was not 
"a house where there was not one dead." 

"And he called for Moses and Aaron by night, and 
" said, Rise up, and get you forth from among my people, 
" both ye and the children of Israel, and go, serve the 
"Lord, as ye have said." 

The Egyptians were now seized with terror, and as 

m J Pet. Hi. 10. 2 Cor. iil. I«.— /l ii. J J. 

«<Rom. X. II. «Ps. kix. I. 

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urgent in hastening the departure of the Israelites, as they 
had hitherto been in preventing it. 

" And the Lord gave the people favour in the sight of 
" the Egyptians, so that they lent unto them such things 
" as they required." 

What a striking instance of God's goodness towards 
his people, thus disposing the hearts of the Egyptians to- 
wards them at a time when they stood in need of so much 
assistance in providing against the many wants and re- 
quisites necessarily attendant on so long a journey. Surely 
this should be a lesson to us not to be over anxious mth 
regard to the future. When we are called upon to perform 
any duty, however difficult it may appear, we may be sure 
that God will enable us to get through it, and often in a 
manner we least expect. 

And now at length the children of Israel took their final 
departure out of the land of Egypt after a " sojourning" 
as we are told, of " four hundred and thirty years." We 
are not to infer from this that they had been in Egypt all 
that time, but that it was four hundred and thirty years 
gince Abraham had left his country to go into the land of 
Canaan, during the whole of which period, his descendants 
had been dwelling "in a land that was not theirs."** 


" And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying. Sanctify un- 
" to me all the firstborn." 

In remembrance of the destruction of the firstborn in 
Egypt, and of the preservation of the Israelites, their de- 
liverance out of bondage, by means of that judgement, the 
firstborn of the male of the Israelites were to be solemnly 
dedicated to the Lord, that is, set apart for His service. 

Here we have another type given us of our Saviour, who, 
88 the firstboru of God was offered to him as a sacrifice 
for us. We find him alluded to under that appellation iM 

'Gen.XY. IS. • 

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St Paul's epistle to the Hebrews, where he tells them that 
they are come, " to the general assembly and Chm-ch of 
" the firstborn,'" meaning they had become members of 
Christ's chnrch. 

Afterwards, when God chose that His priests should be 
chosen from the tribe of Levi, He accepted them instead of 
the firstborn, and if there were more firstborn than there 
were Levites, they were to be redeemed by paying a price, 
as it is written in Numbers iii, 46, 47, " i^or those thai 
" are to be redeemed of the two hundred and threescore 
•* and thirteen of the firstborn of the children of Israel, 
'* which are more than the Levites, thou shalt even take 
'•five shekels apiece by the poll/* 

Is not this l&ewise typical of that atonement which was 
in due time to be made for our sins, through the ransom 
paid by the blood of our Saviour ? as St Paul says, iu his 
epistle to the Corinthians, " Ye are bought with a price."** 

" And Moses said unto the people. Remember this day 
" in which ye came out of Egypt, out of the house of bon- 
** dage, for by strength of hand the Lord brought you out 
** from this place." Moses here reminds the Israelites that 
it was not by their own power they were thus released ; it 
was the Lord who had " done marvellous things, his own 
" right hand, and his holy arm, had gotten him the 
" victory."* Neither by our own power can we be released 
from the bondage of sin in which we are held, " for by 
" grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of your- 
" selves, it is the gift of God."' 

In order that this event might be the more fuDy im- 
pressed upon the minds of the Israelites, they were not 
only to keep the Passover in remembrance of it, but for 
seven days after, they were to eat their bread without lea- 
ven, in commemoration of the manner in which they had 
been obliged to eat it on leaving Egypt, having, as we 
were told in the last chapter, quitted it in such haste, that 
they had not time to prepare their food. 

So strict were the Jews in their obedience to this 

«Heb,xii, 28. d 1 Cor, ri, 20. • Ps, xcviii, 1, * Eph, ii, 8. 

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command, that before the feast of the passover they were 
always careful to get rid of all their bread that was lea- 
vened ; they either burnt it, or buried it, or sometimes 
brake it into small pieces and scattered it in the wind. 

Even this slight circumstance, furnislies us with a type 
which I think very likely to have escaped your notice ; 
the word "leaven" being frequently made use of in the 
New Testament to signify the siniul nature of man. Our 
Saviour tells his disciples to " beware of the leaven of the 
"Pharisees, which," he adds, "is hypocrisy :"** and St. 
Paul, speaking of the manner in which we are to keep 
our Passover, (the Sacrament of the Lord's supper,) says 
"Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a 
"new lump": "Let us keep the feast, not with the old 
"leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness: 
" but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth" ^; 
that is, put away from you all sin and wickedness, and 
sincerely and truly repent of your sins before you venture 
to partake of the holy Sacrament. 

In order to ensure the continuance of this ordinance, 
the Israelites were especially enjoined to acquaint their 
children with all the circumstances connected with it. 
" Thou shalt shew thy son in that day, saying ; This is 
" done because of that which the Lord did unto me when 
" I came forth out of Egypt, and it shall be for a sign 
" imto thee upon thine hand, and for a memorial between 
" thine eyes." 

It was not unusual for people in those days to wear 
ornaments between their eyes, and as the Jews fullUled to 
the letter all their laws and commandments, it is possible 
they might really have them written on some ornament 
suspended from their foreheads. 

" And it came to pass when Pharaoh had let the people 
"go, that Grod led them not through the way of the land 
" of the Philistines, although that was near ; for God said, 
" Lest perad venture the people repent when they sec war, 
f* and they return to Egypt ; But God led the people 

■ Luke. 3di. 1. •* 1 Cor. v. 7, 8. 


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" about through the way of the wilderness of the Eed Sea,§ 
" and the children of Israel went up harnessed out of the 
" land of Egypt ;" arranged orderly, probably in so many- 
different ranks. 

God's ways are not our ways ; had the Israelites been 
left to their own guidance, they would doubtless have cho- 
sen the shortest road to the land of Canaan, which would 
only have been a few days' journey ; but God foresaw the 
difficulties and trials to which they would be exposed in 
passing through the land of the Philistines, and that rather 
than encounter the daQger of a war, they might be in- 
clined to return to Egypt. 

" God does not suffer us to be tempted above that we 
" are able, but will with the temptation «lsb make a way 
"to escape."" Thus did he lead them by acirciiitous rout, 
not only protecting them from danger, but even condes- 
cending himself to direct their way. He "went before 
" them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the 
" way ; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light ; 
" to go by day and night : He took not away the pillar of 
" the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from 
" before the people." 

Now is there not much here that we may apply to our- 
selves ? Are there not two roads open before us in our 
passage -to our Heavenly Canaan ; is there not " a broad 
" way which leadeth to destruction," and a " narrow way 
" wMch leadeth unto life ?"' And which of these roads 
think you, should we choose, if we were left to our own 
guidance ? What does our Saviour say ? " Strait is the 
" gate, and narrow is the way which leadeth tmto life, and 
" few there be that find it." 

Niunbers there are who, though they call themselves 
Christians, and hope to be admitted in at the gate at the 
last day, yet " being ignorant of God's righteousness, anU 
" going about to establish their own righteousness, have 

$ The Red Sea was so called, because it joined the land- of Edom^ or of £sati', 
which ia Hebrew signifies red. Bishop Tomline. 
« 1 Cor. X. 13. » Matt. vii. 13, H. 

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•?ri.] OF A CHRISTIAN. 83 

"not 'submitted themselves unto the righteousness of 
" God ;"'* that is, self righteous persons will not acknow- 
ledge their own inability to do any thing of themselves, 
but trusting to their own merits for salvation, refuse to 
seek that aid and assistance through Christ, by which 
alone we can hope to inherit eternal life. 

If the way is narrow, and the path is strait, yet no 
sincere Christian can miss it, who seeks assistance from 
God. " Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord 
shall be saved."^ He will direct us in the right way even 
as he did the Israelites of old : and although he does 
not now manifest his presence in the same visible man- 
ner he did to the Israelites, yet we may be assured he is 
ever watching over us, and keeping us in the straight path, 
if we commit ourselves entirely to his guidance ; as it is 
written in the Psalms, " I will instruct thee and teach 
" thee in the way which thou shalt go ; I will guide thee 
"with mine eye."* "His word is a lainp unto my feet, 
" and a light unto our path,'"* 


This chapter opens with a fresh direction to Moses 
respecting the route the Israelites were to take, which of 
itself might have sufi&ced to awaken in their minds a sense 
of the mercy of Providence, and ought at once to have 
convinced them, that though they were led by a more cir- 
cuitous route than the one they would have chosen them- 
selves, yet it being so visibly pointed out to them by God 
they might be assured that by no other way could they 
hope to arrive with safety in the land of Canaan. Never- 
theless did the Almighty in hil infinite goodness even 
condescend to explain his reason for so doing. " Por Pha- 
" raoh wiU say of the children of Israel, they are entangled 
" in the land, the wilderness hath shut them in. And I 
" will harden Pharaoh's heart that he shall follow after 

•Rom, 1.3.—'' 13. • Ps. xixii. «.— •'cxix. 105. 

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" them, and I will be lionoiired tipon Pharaoh and upon all 
" his host ; that the Egyptians may know that 1 am the 

Thus did God lead them round by the way of the sea 
in order that Pharaoh and his host, those "vessels of 
" wrath" which " to make his power known" he had " en- 
dured with so much long suffering" might now by their 
signal destruction, shew forth " the riches of his glory on 
" the vessels of mercy ;"' that is, that while his vengeance 
would be shewn forth in the destruction of his enemies, 
his mercy and goodness might be magnified in the salva- 
tion of his chosen people. 

" And the Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh King of 
" Egypt, and he pursued after the children of Israel, and 
" the children of Israel went out with an high hand :" 
implying that they were under the especial guidance and 
protection of God. And yet how insensible they appear 
to have been to this signal mercy : they no sooner per- 
ceived the Egyptians pursuing after them, than "they 
" were sore afraid, and cried out unto the Lord." 

Notwithstanding the direct manifestations of his pre-v 
sence vouchsafed to them in the pillar of fire, and the 
cloud, yet had they now lost all their confidence in their 
Heavenly Guide, and even reproached Moses with having 
enticed them from the land of Egypt, only that they might 
die in the wilderness 1 " They understood not the wonders 
" the Lord had done in Egypt, they remembered not the 
" multitude of his mercies, but provoked him at the Sea, 
" even at the Red Sea."" 

The meekness of temper displayed by Moses on this 
trying occasion is very striking. Not a word of reproach 
escapes him ; he does not even expostulate with them, as 
he might have done, on the ingratitude of their conduct, 
but on the contrary, pours the balm of consolation into 
their hearts, by exhorting them to fear nothing, but only 
to " stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord." " The 
" Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold yom* peace." 

•Rom. ix.22, 28. •'Ps.cvi. 7. 

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Vl.] OF THE RED SEA. 85 

They were not called upon for any exertion of their own ; 
not a hand was to be raised in their self-defence ; all they 
had to do was to stand still, — to fear nothing, but to put 
their whole trust and confidence in God : " who saved them 
" for his name sake, that he might make his mighty power 
" to be known."* 

Truly might the Israelites have now exclaimed in the 
words of the holy Psalmist, " If it had not been the Lord 
" who was on om* side, when men rose up against us : then 
"they had swallowed us up quick, when they were so 
" wrathftiUy displeased at us. Then the waters had over- 
" whelmed us, and the stream had gone over our soul."* 
But when the Almighty vouchsafes to stretch out His arm 
in defence of His creatures, then is it in vain for man to 
offer resistance. Even the Egyptians were brought to ac- 
knowledge this. With all the boastful power of the Ma- 
gicians they kuew how incapable they were of working 
such a mii-acle, and when they saw the waters divided, the 
Israelites passing over in safety, and the danger that 
awaited themselves, then were they as ready to fly from 
the face of Israel, as they had been eager to overtake them, 
for, said they," the Lord fighteth for them." 

But they were not to escape so easily. The power of 
the Almighty was not only to be signaHzed in the safety 
of His people, but also in the destruction of His enemies. 

" And Moses stretched forth his hand over .the sea, and 
" the sea returned to his strength when the morning ap- 
** peared ; and the Egyptians fled against it ; and the Lord 
" overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea." 

" The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and 
" of great kindness"-.'' yet may the sinner rest assured that 
the day will sm-ely come, when ** the Lord will take venge- 
"ance upon His adversaries, and He reserveth wrath for 
" His enemies."'' 

There is another point of view in which this may event 
be considered, for St. Paul tells us that om- fathers " were 
" all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea«" 

•Ps. cvi, 8. *— cxxiT, 2, 3. cjoel ii, 13. •'Nahum i, 2. M Cor x 2. 

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Thus as God had ordained that the Israelites should all 
pass through the waters of the sea, before they reached 
the land of Canaan, and that the waters were at the same 
time to destroy their enemies, so, before we cau enter into 
the kingdom of God, must we pass through the waters of 
Eaptism, by which we are cleansed from sin, which, as 
our spiritual enemy is equally destroyed or washed away. 
You will find it even alluded to in the Service, as " there- 
*' by figuring Baptism," or " the mystical washing away 

" And Israel saw that great work which the Lord did 
" upon the Egyptians : and the people feared the Lord, and 
" believed the Lord, and his servant Moses." 

It was impossible for them not to see and acknowledge 
that the hand of God could alone have brought such 
" mighty things to pass,"*' and that He was to be feared, 
for His power was infinite : and now that they had wit- 
nessed the ftdfilment of His promises, in their deliverance 
through the hand of His servant Moses, how could they 
do otherwise than believe in Him ? But what does our 
Saviour say ? " Because thou hast seen me, thou hast be- 
" lieved : blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have 
" belie ved."^' It is when no human aid is near, that we 
are to shew our faith and trust in God, and believe in His 
power to rescue us from danger. *' The salvation of the 
' * righteous te of the Lord ; he is their strength in time of 
** trouble." " And the Lord shall help them, and deliver 
" them : he shall deliver them from the wicked and save 
" them, because they trust in Him."* 

•Baptismal Service. «P8. cxvUi,16. <Johnxx, 29. 
• Ps. ixxvii, 39, 40. 

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Moses' song— Waters of Marah— Manna— Institution of the sabbath— Moses 
obtains waUr from the reck ^Defeat of the Amale kites— Jethro's sacrifice— 
The ten commar.dments— The Law. 


The Israelites now needed no further proof to convince 
them that the Lord was nigh to help them : they could 
no longer doubt the truth of His word. He had brought 
them in safety out of the land of Egj^pt. He had rebuked 
*'the Red sea, and it was dried up."'' "And the waters 
** covered their enemies : there was not one of them left." 

" Then believed they his words ; they sang his praise."* 

In the fulness of their hearts they hastened to offer up 
their thanksgivings for His unbounded mercies towards 

This song of Moses is the first of the kind we meet 
with in the Bible, and the most antient hymn now extant. 
It is one of those practical compositions, (perhaps the most 
perfect of any) so peculiar to the style of the Hebrew wri- 
tings. We shall find as we proceed in the liistory of the 
Jews, that it was their general custom on occasions of 
great prosperity in their undertakings, or success in war, 
to offer up pubfic thanks to God, in songs of triumph. 

The spirit which dictated the sublime sentiments of this 
Bong, of coui'se could only proceed from above, and if you 
compare it with some other parts of scripture, you may 
find the same expressions often clothed in the very same 
words: as for instance in Ps. cxviii, 14, and Isaiah xii, 2, 
where we have repitition of part of the second verse. 

From the fourteenth verse to the sixteenth, a propheti- 
cal aUusion is made to the judgments which were about to 
be inflicted on the countries through which the Israelites 

bP«, cvi, 

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had to pass in their way to Canaan, while the seventeenth, 
"thou shalt bring them in and plant them in the mountain 
" of thine inheritance," though it may seem to apply to the 
establishment of the Israelites, yet evidently refers also to 
a still later period, and is prophetic of the Christian dis- 
pensation, a similar expression being made use of by 
Isaiah, when, speaking of the coming of Christ's Kingdom 
and the conversion of the Gentiles to the Christian re- 
ligion, he says, " It shall come to pass in the last days that 
"the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established in the 
"top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the 
" hills, and all nations shall flow unto it."* 

" So Moses brought Israel from the Red sea, and they 
" went out into the wilderness of Shm' ; and they went 
"tliree days out into the wilderness, and found no water." 

"And the people murmured against Moses, saying, 
"What shall we drink?" 

The same people who only three days before, had been 
raising their voices in grateful astonishment to God for His 
mercy and goodness towards them, whose Divine presence 
was still visible in the cloud over their heads, had now 
lost all their confidence, all their faith : and were murmur- 
ing because for three days only they had been deprived of 
one of those luxuries, which, it is extremely probable, had 
never during its continuance, called forth one expression 
of gratitude, one word of thanksgiving : so true is it that 
we know not the extent of our daily blessings, until by the 
removal of them we become sensible of their real value, 
and are awakened to a sense of those we still possess. 

What was this small trial to the Israelites compared to 
the dangers from which they had so recently been deliv- 
ered by the hand of God ? and was it likely after so many 
proofs of His mercy and goodness, that He should have 
brought them into the wilderness only to die of thirst? 
But this is only one of many instances we shall meet with 
during the wanderings of the Israelites, where a sense of 

•IsaiahU, 2. 

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the presence of an Almighty beinpr, ever ready to succour 
them in time of need, seems utterly to have forsaken 
them ; instead of offering up prayers to God for His assis- 
tance and support, they only murmured against Moses, 
apparently with the idea, that as he had undertaken to 
escort them back to their country, so it was for him to 
remove all the difficulties and trials they might have to 
encounter. But Moses well knew that he was only an hiini- 
ble instrument in the hands of that Almighty power, who 
alone is able to rescue His creatures in the hour of danger. 
Nevertheless, he doubtless had compassion on the igno- 
rance and weakness of his brethren, and instead of expos- 
tulating with them on their unreasonable behaviour, im- 
mediately turned to the Lord, and offered up a petition 
for relief in this distress, from which he suffered equally. 
with the rest. 

His prayer was answered : and thougjh it was God's 
)leasure that through his means their sufferings should be 
relieved, yet the nature of the miracle was such, that it 
was impossible for them not to acknowledge the Divine 
power by which it was effected. 

We must not however suppose that while God showers 
down His blessings on man, the only return He expects 
from him is a contented heart, and acknowledgment of 
the gift in words : be assured there are other duties which 
we are all called upon to perform, and to Christians these 
are so clearly pointed out in the word of God, that " he 
may run that readeth it ;"'%ut with the Israelites the case 
was very different ; no Saviour had yet appeared on earth 
to teach to man the various duties required of him — to tell 
him that he must love and obey Him in return, that he is 
to love his neighbour as himself, and do unto others as 
he would wish others to do unto him. Such doctrines 
as these were at that time little understood in the world, 
nor had the Israelites even yet received that code of laws 
which was hereafter for a time to regulate all their actions 

^Habakuk ii, 2. 

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90 FAVOUR peomisedJto the obedient. [cit. 

and all their dealings towards God and their fellow* 

You cannot fail to have remarked how peculiarly fa-» 
voured by Heaven the whole nation of the Israelites had 
been, ever since the time Abraham in obedience to God'& 
command had quitted his own country to settle in the 
land of Canaan. Without being called upon to fulfil any 
duties beyond the rest of mankind,— without any peculiar 
laws laid down for their observance, they had ever been 
the objects of God's especial favour. This state of things 
however, was to continue no longer, and for the first time^ 
the Israelites were now, (by a direct communication from 
God himself,) informed, that if they hoped for the contin- 
uance of His protection and support, they must on their 
part obey His laws, and fulfil His commandments. " If 
'* thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord thy 
" God, and wilt do that which is right in His sight> and 
" wilt give ear to His commandments, and keep all his 
''statutes, I wiU bring none of these diseases on thee, 
" which I have brought upon the Egyptians, for I am the 
** Lord that healeth thee." 

This verse is one to which I would more particularly wish 
to call your attention, for though it is peculiarly addressed 
to the Israelites, yet it is no less applicable to ourselves ; 
as I said above we have all our respective duties to perform, 
and if we neglect them we can no more expect God's 
blessing and protection than the Israelites. 

If you read with attention our Saviour's Sermon on the 
Mount, you will perceive that there is no precept laid 
down, without a blessing annexed to the performance of 
it. " Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mer- 
* cy." " Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall 
" see God."** And if the Israelites by the observance of 
their laws, were to be preserved from the diseases of their 
enemies the Egyptians, so may we uuder the same cii'cum- 
stances, look up with confidence to the great Physician of 
om* souls, even Christ our Saviour, " who forgiveth all 
^* our ini(juities, who healeth all our diseases. "** 
ffMaUb^w V, 7, 8, ''Psalm ciii, a. 

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The goodness and long-suffering of the Alraighty is 
no where more striking than in this portion of the Scrip- 
tures, while the ungrateful and rebellious disposition of 
the Israelites would fill us with astonishment, were we not 
told that " The carnal mind is enmity against God," "that 
man is by nature bom in sin, and "the child of wrath,'** 
prone to do evil, and naturally averse to that which is 
good. How else could we account for the conduct of the 
Israelites under circumstances which one might have sup- 
posed, would have called forth such very different feelings. 
A short time only had elapsed since they had in a signal 
manner experienced the mercy and goodness of God in 
listening to their cries, and relieving their distress, when 
we find them again pouring forth their complaints against 
Moses and Aaron because they were called upon to under- 
go a few privations, which must have been slight compared 
with the sufferings they had experienced in Egypt. But 
" the Lord is full of compassion"*' towards His fallen crea- 
tui-es ; " for he knoweth whereof we are made, he remem- 
" bereth that we are but dust.'^d He did not even as before, 
wait to be entreated by Moses, but instantly supplied their 
wants with miraculous food from Heaven, and even ceased 
not to continue that supply during the forty years that 
elapsed b«fore they entered into an inhabited land. 

There is much in this Chapter worthy our consideration. 
As I mentioned to you before, the temporal circumstances 
of the Israelites were in many points figurative of the 
spiritual condition of the Christian Church. ' The passage 
of the Israelites through the Red Sea, and their subsequent 
abode in the wilderness, together with all the different 
cii'cumstances and events which occurred during that pe- 
riod are all typical of the Christian's state here on earth ; 
from the hour when by Baptism he has been admitted 

■Romans viii. 7. ^Eph. ii. 8. 'Psalm ciii. 8— •'14. 

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92 A Christian's life. [ch. 

within the pale of Christ's Church, to the day when he 
shall enter into his rest in the kingdom of God. Every 
sincere Christian knows the conflicts and trials he is daily 
called upon to sustain with his carnal nature, which must 
be subdued before he can fully enter into that rest which 
(St. Paul tells us) it is in the power of the true believer to 
obtain even in tliis world. " We which have believed, do 
" enter into rest,"** and we all know that the only way to 
be freed from our spiritual enemies is to pray to God for the 
assistance of His holy Spirit, which is that spiritual food, 
that " bread of life," (John vi.48.)promiscd by our Saviour 
to aU who believe in him. " I am the living bread which 
" came down from Heaven : if any man eat of this bread, 
" he shall live for ever, and the bread that I will give is 
" my flesh, which 1 will give for the life of the world.'*** 

In the trials and difficulties encountered by the Israe- 
lites in the desert and in the wilderness, there is a great 
similitude to the struggles of remaining sin in the heart of 
the Christian believer. *' Through much tribulation we 
" must enter into the kingdom of Heaven,"*and in reading 
this portion of Scripture, let us not forget, that it is only 
by constant and daily prayer to God, that we can hope to 
get free from these internal conflicts, or obtain our heaven- 
ly manna, which, as I said above, is promised to all true 
believers. " For every one that asketh, receiveth ; and he 
** that seeketh, findeth ; and to him that knocketh it shall 
« be opened."(Matt. vii. 8.) 

The Israelites were now daily supplied with food ; there 
was however one command attending it, which on no ac- 
count they were to disregard : they were to leave none of 
it till the morning. 

What a simple command, and how easy to be obeyed, 
is the first thought that strikes us ; and like Moses we feel 
our indignation roused against the Israelites at their sin- 
fulness in so soon transgressing it. But while we are so 
ready to blame others, let us take care that they may have 
no cause to reproach us for doing the same thing. After 

•Ueb. iv. 3. 'John vi. 51. *Acts ziv. 22. 

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pffering up our prnyers to God for his assistance and sup- 
port, and(perhaps with great sincerity at the time) confes- 
sing to him our faults and asking his forgiveness, are we 
not frequently guilty of a siinihir transgression in disobey- 
ing some simple command that has equally been given to 
us ? and in so dohig let us remember that we in our en- 
lightened state, are far more worthy of condemnation than 
they were ; ** for unto whom much is given, of him shall 
** be much reqiured/'(Luke xii. 48.) 

**And it came to pass, that on the sixth day, they 
''gathered twice as much bread, two omcrs for one man : 
** and all the rulers of the congregation came and told 
** Moses. And he said unto them, This is that which 
" the Lord hath said, Tomorrow is the rest of the holy 
** Sabbath unto the Lord." 

This is the first mention made of the Sabbath day. It 
is true we read in the second chapter of Genesis that " God 
" rested on the seventh day, and God blessed the seventh 
" day, and sanctified it; because that in it lie had rested 
** from all his work," but there was no particular command 
given to man to keep it holy : hence some suppose it was 
now instituted for the first time : but there seems more 
reason to suppose the Jews had received some previous 
intimation on the subject, as Moses seems rather to allude 
to it as a fact with which they were ab'eady acquainted, 
than as if he were now for the first time establishing it as 
a law ; speaking of it as that which the Lord had spoken 
of at some former period ; " This is that which the Lord 
"hath said/' 

The Jews who were required to fulfil to the letter all 
the laws and ordinances imposed upon them, observed 
the Sabbath with the greatest strictness ; which gave oc- 
casion to the Pharisees to find fault with our Saviour for 
billowing his disciples to pluck the ears of com on the Sab- 
bat h, saying unto him ," Why do they on the Sabbath day 
" that which is not lawful ?'' 

Their dull understandings were not suflJcffHtty enlight- 
<ened to comprehend the spiritual nature of the Pliristian 

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religion, and that though their laws were still to remain 
in force, yet that they were hencefoi*th to be obeyed in the 
spirit, and not according to the letter. Our Saviour tells 
them that " the Sabbath was made for man, and not man 
"for the sabbath" (Mark ii.27.) : it was no longer to be 
kept with that strictness hitherto enjoined by their laws» 
but was now only to be regarded as a day of rest, set apart 
for the especial observance of Christian worship ; but as 
this subject will fall more properly under consideration in 
treating of the fourth commandment, t shall reserve any 
further observations until then, 


If the event recorded in the last chapter was peculiarly 
typical of tlie spiritual condition of the Christian^ so may 
we draw the same application in this, from the miracles 
performed by Moses, for the purpose of relieving for the 
second time the sufferings of the Isrtielites from the pri- 
vation of water, which in that hot country must have been 
very great. 

It seems a matter of surprise, after the signal miracles 
they had so lately witnessed, that they should still have 
persisted in murmuring against Moses, instead of offering 
up their prayers at once to that Gracioiis power who had 
shewn himself so ready to listen to their petitions, and re- 
lieve their wants ; but in reflecting on the typical nature of 
the miracles themselves, we must not lose sight of that 
which affected Moses himself in his character of Mediator. 
You will remember T told you before, that he was a type 
of om* Saviour, and the repeated mention of the murmurings 
of the Israelites, is intended to convey to us that it is 
only through the intercession of our Mediator that our 
prayers are rendered acceptable imto (Grbd. 

" And Moses cried unto the Lord, saying, What shall 
" I do unto this people ? they be almost ready to stone me, 
" And the Lord said unto Moses, Go on before the people.' 
" and take with thee of the elders of Israel ; and the rod 

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** wherewitli thou smotest the river, take in thine hand, and 
*' go. Behold, I will stand before thee there upon the rock 
**in Horeb; and thou shalt smite the rock, and there 
''shall come water out of it, that the people may drink. 
** And Moses did so in the sight of the dders of Israel." 

Now turn to 1 Cor. x.l — 4, and see what St Paul saith : 

"Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be 
" ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, 
" and all passed through the sea ; And were all baptized 
" unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea ; And did all 
** eat the same spiritual meat : And did all drink the same 
" spiritual drink ; for they drank of that spiritual Bock 
" that followed them ; and that Kock was Christ. 

This at once establishes the nature of the type and the 
instruction it is intended to convey to us. For if the 
Israelites thirsted in the wilderness, and cried aloud for 
drink, that their bodies might be refreshed and not die : 
how much more does the Christian need that Spiritual 
drink, " which shall be in him a well of water, springing 
up into everlasting life'*?" and to whom should he apply for 
this Spiritual drink but to his Saviour, who is "his Kock, 
" his fortress, and his deliverer,*'* and who has himself said 
that whosoever driuketh of the water that he shall give 
him shall never thifst.c 

" Then came Anialek, and fought wtih Israel in 

This is the first occasion on which we read of the Israel- 
ites going to war. They were now approaching the con- 
fines of Canaan, and before they could enter that land 
were under the necessity of passing through countries, the 
inhabitants of which were all hostile to them, and resisted 
their approach, little knowing how vain it was to oppose 
their strength against a people, who were fighting under the 
banners of the Almighty " If the Lord be on our side, 
" we need not fear what man can do unto us."^ 

"And it came to pass, when Moses held up his hand. 

•John iv,H. *Psalm xriii. 3. «Johniv.l4. dPsalmivii. 6* 

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" that Israel prevailed, and when he let down his hand, 
" Amalek prevailed." 

We may learn from this circumstance, that prayer with- 
out any effort on our part, will avail us nothing. We 
know that Grod in his infinite power could at once have 
: delivered the Israelites from their enemies, but we know 
also, that he chooses different means of effecting his pur- 
pose, and he might intend by this miracle, to impress 
upon the minds of his people, (and this instruction equally 
applies to us) that if they hoped for his protection and 
assistance, they must likewise exert themselves. They were 
no longer to stand still, while the Lord fought their bat- 
tles, but were to put forth aU their own strength, and do 
their utmost to defend themselves, as much as if their safe- 
ty depended wholly on their own exertions. And it is on 
such conditions alone, that we may ever hope for God*s 
assistance in our undertakings. 


The Israelites were now entering Midian, where Jethro, 
the father-in-law of Moses, was still residing. He had 
heard of all that God had done for his people, how he 
had delivered them by the hand of Moses from their state 
of bondage, and overthrown their enemies, the Egyptians ; 
and we may imagine the satisfaction he must have felt in 
seeing him again. He no sooner, heard of his approach, 
than he came forth to meet him, accompanied by Zipporah, 
Moses' wife, whom he had sent back to her father. How 
thankful she must have felt at seeing her husband restored 
to her in safety, after all the trials and dangers he had been 
called upon to undergo : and Jethro, it is said, " rejoiced 
" for all the goodness which the Lord had done to Israel." 
He immediately offered up a burnt offering and sacrifices; 
thus fulfilling that which God had promised as a token to 
Moses, when he first appeared to him in the burning bush, 
saying unto him, " when thou bast brought forth the people 
** out of Egypt, ye shall serve God upon this Mountain." 

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The Mountain is called indiscriminately in Scripture, 
Horeb and Sinai. They form but one at the lower part, 
but higher up are divided into two summits, the highest 
of which is called Sinai, 

Jethro, having offered up his sacrifice of thanksgiving 
proceeds to give advice to Moses respecting his method 
of " Judging the people," who, it appears were in the habit 
of going to him to settle their disputes, as also to obtain 
any information they might chance to require respecting 
the laws of Grod ; thus at once recognizing his authority 
as a Mediator between them and the Almighty. " And 
" Moses' father-in-law said unto him, Hearken now unto 
" my voice : I will give thee counsel, and God shall be with 
" thee. Be thou for the people Godward, that thou may- 
" est bring the cause unto God :" that is, when the people 
bring unto you any matter too hard for them to deter- 
mine, do you lay it before God in piayer, that he may 
order you what to do ; " but every small matter they shall 
" judge." 

In pursuance of this advice, Moses selected some of the 
principal persons among the Israelites, making them rulers 
over the rest, to whom they might appeal in cases of small 
moment, reserving to himself the decision of all matters 
of importance, as well as the office of teaching them such 
laws and precepts as were to regulate their general conduct. 


The children of Israel were now encamped before that 
same mountain where the Almighty had appeared to Moses, 
previous to his return to Egypt, and where he was again 
summoned before him as mediator between the Lord and 
his people, who were now to receive through his hands the 
laws and ordinances which were to distinguish them as 
God's own people, chosen out of all other nations, not on 
account of their own righteousness, for as St Paul tells us, 
" both Jews and Gentiles are all under sin ;" but that they 

•Romans iii« 9« 

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98 god's kindi^ess. [ch« 

miglit as a nation represent the tme Church of God, and 
in the observance of these laws, keep alive His holy wor- 
ship and religion until the coming of our Saviour, when 
the external rites and ceremonies, which were now going 
to be enforced, were to be superseded by that inward 
purity and spiritual change, which the Christian religion 
was to work in the heart of man, and which is so beauti- 
fully expressed in Ezekiel, " A new heart will I give you, 
" and a new spirit will I put within you : and 1 will take 
" away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give 
"you an heart of flesh." (Ezek. xxxvi. 26.) 

" And Moses went up unto God, and the Lord called 
" unto him out of the mountain, saying, Thus shalt thou 
" say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of 
" Israel : Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and 
"how I bare you on eagles' wings, and brought you 
" unto myself." 

This metaphor peculiarly denotes the tenderness of 
God's care over His people, as we gather from the appli- 
cation of a similar passage in Deuteronomy : " As an eagle 
* * stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth 
"abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her 
" vjrings : so the Lord alone did lead him."(Deut. xxxii,ll.) 

God reminds the Israelites of all that he had done for 
them : of his loving-kindness and mercy in bringing them 
in safety out of Egypt, and how by the many miracles they 
had witnessed^ they had been brought to a true knowledge 
of his power and goodness. He then renews the promises 
he had before made to them of his favour and protection, 
provided that they, on their part, would keep his covenant 
and obey his laws. 

" And all the people answered together, and said, All 
" that the Lord hath spoken we will do," 

With one accord, and doubtless with perfect sincerity 
of heart, they all promised obedience, but alas ! how much 
easier it is to form good intentions than to keep them. 
We shall see as we proceed liow soon their resolutions were 
A)rgotten, and how grievously they sinned in the sight 

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of the Lord. They were doubtless deeply impressed by 
the awfiilness of the cominunication, and the solemn man- 
ner in which it had been imparted to them by Moses, 
and were ready to acquiesce in every thing required of 
them, acknowledging the authority with which Moses was 
invested from on high, by conforming in all points to 
the niles and injunctions laid down by him, preparatory to 
their receiving those laws and commandments, which he 
was now about to deliver to them. 


" And God spake all these words, saying, I am the Lord 
"thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of 
" Egypt, and out of the house of bondage.' 

'*Thou shalt have no other Gods before me." 

In reading this first commandment, we are naturally led 
in the first instance to consider it as more particularly ad- 
dressed to the Israelites. They had not only been passing 
their lives in a country where idolatry w^as the besetting 
sin, but they were now on their journey towards another, 
where the worship of the true God was equally unknown ; 
and where they would be in constant danger of being led 
astray by the example of those around them. This com- 
mandment would therefore impress more fully upon their 
minds, and keep alive the important truth, that there was 
but one true God, the same who had so mercifully delivered 
them from their state of bondage, and " Him only they were 
to serve." (Matt. iv. 10.) 

The second commandment enlarges more particularly on 
the sinful nature of idolatry, threatening judgment not only 
those who committed this sin themselves, but even extend- 
ing the punishment to their children, and their children's 
children, at the same time promising blessings on those who 
shewed their love to God by keeping his commandments. 

Yet let us ever bear in mind that although the eternal 
observance of these laws refers more particularly to the 

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condition of the Jews, they are nevertheless equally bind- 
ing upon every one of us, with this difference only, that 
while the Jews were required to obey them strictly and 
outwardly, fiifilling to the letter every commandment, we 
as Christians, are to obey them in the spirit, " doing the 
"win of God from the heart," (Eph. vi. 6.) serving Him 
" in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter." 
(Rom. vii. 6.) 

" Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make 
" a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the 
" house of Judah," " 1 will put my law in their inward 
c* parts, and write it in their hearts." ( Jer. xxxi. 31. 33.) , 
* What says our Saviour P Thou shalt love tlie Lord thy 
'" God with all thy heart, and with aU thy soul, . and with 
** aU thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. 
"And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy 
•'neighbour as thyself?" On these two commandments 
" hang all the kw and the Prophets." (Matt. xxii. 38.) 
That is, they contain all that the law and the prophets 
require with regard to our duty to God and man ; the four 
first of the ten commandments (commonly called the first 
table,) referring more especially to the former. 

Now let us examine ourselves, and see how far we as 
Christians fall short of this duty. Do we love the Lord 
our God with all our heart, and soul, and strength ? do 
we never suffer the things of this world to engross that 
share of our affections which ought to be placed entirely 
upon him, and " set on things above."?(Col. iii. 2.) 

St Paul tells the Corinthians to " flee from idolatry,'" 
and St John in his Epistle likewise says, " little children, 
"keep yourselves from idols,"(John. v. 21.) "little chil- 
"dren'' in this sense meaning young Christians. Now 
though there may be little danger of our worshipping 
graven images, yet we may be assured that if we love 
any one thing in this world better than our Creator, or if 
we follow our own inclinations in opposition to the will of 
God, it is as much an idol set up in our hearts, as the 

4l Cor, X. 14. 

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golden image before* whicli Nebuchadnezzar commanded 
every one to fall down, and we are equally guilty of break- 
ing the second commandment. 

God is a Jealous God, and we must " serve him with a 
** perfect heart, and with a willing mind,"(Chron,xxviii.9.) 
** No man can serve two Masters ; for either he will 
'* hate the one, and love the other ; or else he will hold to 
** the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God 
^ and Mammon.'*(Matt. vi. 24.) 

We will now proceed to the third commandment, and 
see how our Saviour enforces our obedience to this one 
^ even to the strict letter of the law. 

" I say unto you, Swear not at all. But let your com- 
" munication be Yea, yea. Nay, nay, for whatsoever is more 
** than this Cometh of evil. "(Matt. v. 34. 37.) 

Nor is the transgression of this commandment confined 
merely to the utterance of such profane sayings as usually 
€ome under the denomination of swearing. If in prayer 
to God our heart does not accompany the words we 
titter with our mouth, if we call upon him with our lips, 
when our thoughts are wandering far oiF, or if we speak of 
his holy name without that reverence which is due to him 
from all his fallen creatures, then may we be assured we 
are taking the Lord's Name in vain, and the Lord will not 
hold us guiltless. 

" Not every one that saith unto me. Lord, Lord, shall 
** enter into the kingdom of Heaven ; but he that doeth the 
" will of my father which is in Heaven.'* (Matt. vii. 21.) 

The fourth commandment relating to the observance of 
the Sabbath has already come under our notice in a former 
Chapter, wherein } stated that although Christians are not 
required to keep it with the strictness of a Jew, yet that 
we are to obey this law even as the others, in the spirit ; 
and I wish now to point out to you more particularly the 
duty of a Christian with regard to the observance of the 
Sabbath, and how far he may be guilty of breaking this 
command fnent. 

We all know that it is the service of the heart which 

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God requires from a Christian. " Betold thou desiretli 
" truth in the inward parts ; and in the hidden part then 
" shalt make me to know wisdom/* (Psalm li. 6.) As wa» 
said above, " Thou shalt love the Lord with all thy heart." 
Kow if we do love Him with all our hearts, shall we not 
take pleasure in serving him, and be thankful that we are 
allowed to set apart one day in seven for this particular 
purpose ? luru to Isaiah Iviii. 13, 14, where you will see 
the blessinj^s awaiting those who avail themselves with 
gladness of such a privilege. " If thou turn away thy 
foot from the Sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my 
holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, holy of the Lord, . 
honorable, and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, 
nor finding thy own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words. 
Then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord, and 1 will 
cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and 
feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father ; for the 
mouth of the Lord hath spoken it " So in the eighth 
chaj)ter of Amos we read of the judgements denounced 
upon those, who instead of expressing their thankfulness 
for a day of holy rest, when they may enjoy communion 
with their God, only regard it as an interruption to their 
worldly occupations, saying, " When will the new moon 
" be gone that we may sell com ? and the sabbath that 
"we may set forth wheat?" (Amos viii. 5.) And though 
the Prophets are liere more particularly addressing the 
Jews, yet the spiritual application equally applies to all 
Christians. And if the Jews were punished for doing 
those things on the Sabbath day, which they were ordered 
not to do, assuredly wall the Christian be judged at the 
last day, if he enter not cheerfully and willingly into the 
service of the Lord. 

When we consider the many different pursuits and occu- 
pations, which, if we perform our duties in this world, 
must more or less devolve upon us all, and which must 
necessarily tend to distract our thoughts from hia^her con- 
cerns, surely it is a matter of thankfulness that there 
should be stated periods, when laying aside all worldly 

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employments, we may have an opportunity of meeting our 
fellow creatures in the house of God, and offering up our 
united prayers and thanksgivings. 

St Paul expressly tells us" to consider one another to 
" provoke unto love and to good works : not forsaking the 
"assembling of ourselves together." (Heb. x. 24.) 

To the man " who goeth forth unto his work and to his 
*' labour until the eveniug, " (Ps. civ. 23. ) the Sabbath is 
the only day on which he has an opportunity of hearing the 
word of Grod, and if by the example of those, who ought 
by their own conduct to direct him in the paths of right- 
eousness, he be led to neglect the duties of that sacred day, 
surely they will have to answer for the same, and his soul 
wiU be required at their hands. 

We are now come to the Second table of the command- 
ments, beginning with the fifth, which is so peculiarly ad- 
dressed to young people, that I cannot pass it over with- 
out calling your attention to its particular duties, which 
indeed are wholly compressed in the injunction laid down 
in the Church catechism, with which you are of course 
well acquainted ; where you are told, to love, honor, and 
obey your parents. It is the first and only duty a child 
has to perform, for in so doing he equally performs his 
duty to God. If you love your parents, you will naturally 
be inclinea to obey them, and to pay that deference and 
respect to their superior wisdom and experience, which 
will at all times lead you to listen to their counsels and 
follow their advice. Yet you are not to suppose your duty 
to your parents ceases with your youth. You are to 
honor and respect them even to the last day of their lives, 
repaying them in their old age for the cares and attention 
they bestowed upon you when you were young. Our 
Saviour especially reproves the Jews for their neglect of 
this duty ; " Ye say, if a man ghaU say to his father or 
^* mother, it is Corban, that is to say, a gift, by whatso- 
*' ever thou mightest be profited by me ; he shall be free, 
" and ye suffer him no more to do ought for his father or 
" or his mother j m3king the word of God of none effect 

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" througli your tradition, which ye have delivered." (Mark, 
vii. 11. 12. 13.) the meaning of which passage is this ; the 
Jews were in the habit of offering sacrifices, which were 
denominated consecrated or holy gifts, and which were 
called by the name of Gorban, and they frequently pleaded 
as an excuse for not assisting their parents, that the gift 
they would have bestowed upon them, being consecrated 
to God, they could not dispose of it elsewhere, which called 
forth the rebuke of our Saviour, telling them that thej 
made the word of God of none effect through their tra- 
ditions ; that is, they paid more attention to the traditions 
which had been handed down to them by their fathers, 
than to the commandments they had received from God. 

St. Paul says, " Honor thy father and mother ; which is 
" the first commandment with promise ; that it may be 
** well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.'* 
(Eph. vi. 2) To the Jews, the promise was very likely 
literally fullilled, their rewards and punishments being all 
temporal, and according as they obeyed or neglected God's 
laws, they were either visited with severe chastisements or 
rewarded with peculiar blessings : but as I have before re- 
marked, it is only the spiritual application we are to draw 
from such passages as these, and if length of days in this 
Hfe, was the promise annexed to the Jewish performance 
of this duty, so we as Christians may look for our reward 
in that eternal life which is to come. 

Of all the conmiandments there is none, which, in its 
spiritual application admits of more extended signification 
than the Sixth. It is likely that many young persons con- 
sidering this commandment with reference only to a crime, 
the bare mention of which would fill their minds with 
horror, pass it over as one in no wise applying to them- 
selves. If there be such among my readers, let them turn 
to the fifth chapter of St. Matthew, and read what our 
Saviour says on the subject, " Ye have heard that it was 
" said by them of old time. Thou shalt not kill ; and who- 
" soever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment : But 
" I say unto you, that whosoever is angry with his brother 

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** without a cause shall be in danger of tlie judgment:" 
(a name given by the Jews to a court of judicature 
" among them,) and whosoever shall say to his brother, 
'* Eaca, shall be in danger of the council ; but whosoever 
" shall say Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire." 
(Matt, v. 21. ) Thus we see that whoever entertains in 
his heart any feelings of ill will towards his neighbour is 
guilty of breaking this commandment, and when viewed 
in this light, there are few, I fear, whose consciences 
can entirely acquit them of having broken it. It is not 
suflRcient even to avoid any outward expression of such 
feelings ; we are told that out of the heart of men proceed 
" evil thoughts, murders." (Mark vii. 21.) "Whosoever 
" hateth his brother is a murderer. "(1 John iii. 15.) 

He therefore who only suffers an angry thought to rise 
in his bosom, is guilty spiritually of breaking this com- 

The application of the four last is too obvious to re- 
quire any comment. I trust I have said sufficient to prove 
to you that the spiritual observance of these laws extends 
to all Christians ; let us therefore oifer up our daily prayers 
to God that he will incline our hearts to keep them, ever 
remembering that we can never hope to do so, if we do 
not make it our constant rule in all things to love our 
neighbour as ourselves, and do unto others as we would 
they should do unto us. 


The laws thus delivered by God himself with a solemnity 
virhich must have impressed the Israelites with awe, were 
of three sorts ; Moral, Ceremonial, and Civil. The Moral 
law, which is contained in the Ten commandments, com- 
piizes the duty of man both to God and his fellowcreatures, 
consisting of such injunctions, as should regulate both his 
external conduct, and the internal government of his heart. 
It is founded on the relation subsisting between man and 
his Creator, and as 1 baye before mentioned, is equally ad* 

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dressed to every one. It is essentially the same as the law 
of nature, to which St. Paul alludes in his Epistle to the 
Romans, when he says " For when the Gentiles, which have 
" not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, 
"these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves; 
"which shew the works of the law written in their hearts, 
" their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts 
" tha mean while accusing or else excusing one another.'*'* 
the meaning of which passage is, that a knowledge of right 
and wrong is im])lanted in the heart of man, and if this 
consciousness leads him to perform the same moral duties, 
that a Jew does in obedience to the written law, he makes 
a law unto himself : that is, his own conscience, by which 
he judges between good and evil, is tlie same moral rule to 
him, as the written law is to the Jew, and St. Paul tells us 
he will be judged accordingly. '* As many as have sinned 
" without law, shall also perish w^ithout law," (Eom. ii. 12) 
being convicted by tbe law of nature, they will according 
to that law, receive judgement for their sins. 

In consequence however of the fall of Adam, by which 
the heart of man became depraved, and his understanding 
darkened, it pleased God from time to time, to renew the 
impression of the general law of nature, by occasional 
communications of His will, and He now more especially 
thouglit lit to explain it by an express revelation, which 
He commanded to be recorded in writing, for the use of 
all futui'e ages. 

The Ceremonial law, so called, as comprising the cere- 
monies of the Jewish religion, relates to the Priests, the 
tabernacle, the sacrifices, and other religious rites and 

God commanded that those, who were to be employed 
about the tabernacle, or in the offices of public worship, 
should be of the posterity of Levi ; whence this law is 
sometimes called the Levitical law, but the Priesthood 
itgelf was to be confined to Aaron and his descendants. 
The principal objects of the Ceremonial law were to pre- 

"Jlom. ii. H 15. 

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serve the Jews from idolatry, to which all the neighbour- 
ing nations were addicted, and to keep up in their minds 
a necessity of an atonement for sin. 

The Civil law relates to the civil government of the 
Israelites : f o punishments, marriages, estates and posses- 
sions. The Ceremonial and Civil law are intermixed with 
each other, and (being adapted to the particular purpose of 
separating from the rest of the world one nation amonjj 
whom the knowledge of the true God, and the promise 
of a Redeemer, might be preserved,) were designed for 
the sole use of the Israelites, and were to be binding 
upon them, till the coming of the Messiah ; as it is writ- 
ten in St. Paul's Epistle to the Galatians, " Wherefore 
" then serveth tlie law? It was added because of trans gres- 
" sions," (that is given to man on account of his many 
sins) " till the seed should come to whom the promise was 
" mado, and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a 
** mediator;" (Gal. iii. 19.) which mediator was Moses, 
as Stephen reminded the Jews in his defence, sayings 
" This is that Moses," " that was in the church in the wil- 
" derness with the angel which spoke to him in the mount 
" Sina, and with our fathers, who received the lively ora- 
** cles to give unto us. "(Acts vii. 37.) 

As both this Chapter and the two following contain 
little else but these laws, we will omit them, ancl pass oft 
to the twenty-fourth. 

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Gors covenant —the Tabernac.e— golden calf— Moses* atonement —The 
Tables renewed—Jewish feasts— Moses 'vail. 


Moses was now again summoned by God to the top of 
the mountain to receive those laws, which were to be 
transmitted through him to the Israelites, as the terms of 
the national covenant which the Almighty condescended 
to make with His people ; and in order to impress it more 
seriously on their minds, it was to be solemnly ratified by 
a sacrifice of blood, which Moses sprinkled on the people, 
saying, "Behold the blood of the covenant which the 
"Lord hath made with you concerning all these words." 

Moses here appears to us in the twofold character of 
lawgiver and Priest, both of them typical of our Saviour. 
As Moses gave to the Jews the judicial and ceremonial law, 
so by Christ has the Gospel, with all the Christian ordi- 
nances been given to us, and if the Israelites could only re- 
ceive this covenant from Moses through the sprinkling of 
blood, how much more does the Christian require to be 
purified by the " sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ,'' 
before he become fit to receive the tmths and doctrines 
delivered by him who "washed us from our sins in his 
"ownblood."(Rev. i. 5.) 

" Then went up Moses and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, 
" and seventy of the elders of Israel : and they saw the 
" God of Israel." 

This of course must not be taken literally, as we are ex- 
pressly told by St John that " no man hath seen God at any 
" time," ( John. i. 18. )we can only therefore suppose that 
he was pleased to manifest his presence in an unusual 
manner, by some visible display of his glory. 

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A few only of tlie Israelites were permitted to behold 
this awful spectacle, and even they were not allowed to ac- 
company Moses into the cloud, which he was commanded 
by the Lord to enter, and where he remained concealed 
from them all, for forty days and forty nights, thus 
furnishing another type of our Saviour who, when he was 
** led up of the spirit into the wilderness, to be tempted of 
the devil, ( Matt. iv.l. ) remained there likewise forty days 
and forty nights. 


The Moral, and Civil or judicial law haying been de- 
livered to Moses, (the former being contained in the Ten 
commandments, the latter consisting of those laws which 
are given at length in the three preceeding chapters,) he 
was now called upon to receive instructions respecting 
those rites and sacrifices, which were to constitute the 
Ceremonial law, or religious worship of the Israelites, and 
which from its peculiar nature was to be the great mark 
of distinction between the Jewish religion and that of all 
other nations : as it was also intended in its different 
ordinances and ceremonies to shadow forth those spiritual 
mysteries of Christ's kingdom, by which they were to be 
superseded under the Gospel dispensation. 

We read at the conclusion of the twentieth Chapter, of 
the particular kind of altar the Isralites were to erect for 
their burnt offerings. They were to make it of earth, and 
particularly desired not to build it of hewn stone, or to 
use any tool in constructing it : as long as they were jour- 
neying from place to place, it was desirable they should 
have no other altars than such as should serve for tem- 
porary use. Afterwards, when they were entering the land 
of Canjuin, where they were to take up their abode, they 
were expressly told that they were to b uild it of stone, as 
it is written in the book of Deuteronomy " ITiou shalt build 
** the altar of the Lord thy God of whole stones: and thou 
" shalt offer bm-nt offerings thereon unto the Lord t hj 

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**Gocl." The prohibition however with regard to their 
using a tool, was still to remain in force, we are no told 
why, but possibly with the view of removing any temp- 
tation to carve thera into the form of images. 

Thei r worship however was no longer to be confined to 
these occasional burnt offerings and sacrifices. It pleased 
God that they should now have a house or tabernacle, so 
constructed that they might be able to convey it whereso- 
ever they went, in which their religious rites were to be 
performed, and wherein, by a visible display of His glory, 
the Divine presence was to be peculiarly manifested. 

A very particular description is given of the form and 
construction of this taberaacle, which was to be divided into 
two compartments, the outer one or holy place to be sepa- 
rated from the inner one (termed the most holy place) by 
a curtain or vail, within which the ark of the testimony 
was to be kept, the ark being a chest containing the tables 
on which the commandments were written, and which is 
called a testimony, the written law being a testimony 
against the Israelites if they transgressed it. 

Into this holy place the high priest alone was to enter, 
and that only once a year, to make atonement for the sins 
of the people by the sacrifice of a goat, which was to be 
slain in the outer court, the blood of which was brought 
within by the high priest and sprinkled on the mercy seat 
which was placed over the ark, and where the Almighty 
was pleased more especially to signify his presence by a 
cloud, and to communicate with his people. 

" Thou shalt put the mercy-seat above upon the ark -. and 
" in the ark thou shalt put the testimony that I shall give 
" thee. And there I will meet with thee, and I will commune 
" with thee from above the mercy seat, from between the 
" two cherubims, which are upon the ark of the testimony 
" of all things which T wiU give thee in commandment 
" unto the children of Israel, 

From this it appears that though Aaron and his succes- 
sors were to enter into the inner part (or Holy of Holies 
as it is also called) only once a year, yet that God per* 

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miiited Moees to go kkto it, as oflesi aa. he h»A oceasion to 
eonsvilt the Divine Majesty. 

The remainder of this chapter with the two following 
ones, contain all the particulars relating to the furniture 
of the tabernacle, as to its form aad construction. 

The twenty eighth chapter opens with the firgit appoint- 
ment of a regular priesthood ; Aaron and his sons being se- 
lected for that office which was to oontmue in their family. 
A minute description of the priest's dress, together with the 
sacrifices and ceremonies attending his consecration, with 
directions for the construction of the different altars, 
occupy that and the three following chapters. 


"And when the people saw that Moses delayed to 
"(Come down out of the mount, the people gathered them- 
selves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Make us 
" Gods which shall go before us ; for as for this Moses, the 
" man that brought lus up out of the land of Egypt; we 
" wot not what is become of him." 

A lamentable instance is here offered us of the de- 
pravity of human nature when left to foUow its own dic- 
tates, and the natural proneness of man to deviate from the 
right path, when not under that restraint imposed upon 
him^ by a sense of love and duty to his Creator. The same 
people who only a short time before, had been brought as 
it were into immediate .contact with the Divine presence, 
and had so solemnly iratiified their covenant with God, 
were now giving way to every sinful passion, and in utter 
forgetfukiess of all the mercies they had received, were 
breaking those very commandments they had so faithfully 
promised to obey. Not even Aaron himself was proof 
against this temptation. 

When Moses ascended into the Mount, he left Aaron and 
Hur in charge of all the people during his absence. If 
they had any matters to aiTange, they were to appeal to 
them, (see ch. xxiv. 14. ) Aaron was thus for a time ex- 

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alted to a station above his brethren, and that they acknow- 
ledged his authority appears, in their appealing to him to 
countenance their evil intentions. Under their circum- 
stances he ought to have been more especially on his 
guard, and by strictly confirming all the laws they had 
received, have set an example of obedience to the rest. 

It is thus that people in a elevated situation have it in 
their power to do so much good to others. They are na- 
turally looked up to by their inferiors, and many there are 
who though they turn a deaf ear to precept or remons- 
trance, are nevertheless often known to yield to the influ- 
ence of those better feelings, and virtuous habits, which 
actuate the conduct of those around them. 

" Let your light so shine before men that they may see 
"your good works, and glorify your Father which is in 
" heaven." (Matt V. 16.) 

Instead however of remonstrating with his brethren, 
and representing to them the sinfulness of their conduct, 
we find Aaron encouraging them in their wickedness, and 
even lending his assistance. Could they suppose, after 
the severe judgments they had seen inflicted on the idol- 
atrous Egj^ptians, that such an act of ingratitude and 
disobedience on their part would escape the wrath of tho 
Almighty? Might they not rather have expected, after 
the multiplied proofs of kindness they had received at his 
hands, that he would visit such a crime with double 
severity ? 

"And the Lord said unto Moses, I have seen this 
" people, and behold, it is a stiffnecked people," that is, 
I am well aware of the obstinacy of their hearts. 

" Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may wax 
" hot against them, and that 1 may consume them.'* 

" And Moses besought the Lord his God." 

Moses again appears in the character of a mediator, ap- 
pealing to the Almighty in behalf of his weak brethren, 
and imploring his mercy, reminding him at the same time 
of his promises to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, 

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" And the Lord repented of the evil which he thought 
** to do unto his people." 

He listened to the prayers of his servant Moses, and 
withheld his arm from inflicting that vengeance they had 
so deservedly incurred. 

It was doubtless with feelings of great indignation 
against his brethren, that Moses heard of their iniquitous 
proceedings during his absence. StiQ he foresaw the 
terrible results which would inevitably ensue were they to 
receive the punishment so justly due to their sins, and 
the whole nation to be destroyed from off the face of the 
earth. Not only would the Egyptians triumph over such 
an event, but there would be an end at once to the ftil- 
lilment of all the promises made to his forefathers. 
Nevertheless when he descended from the mount with the 
tables of testimony in his hands, and with his own eyes 
saw his brethren, the Israelites, the chosen people of God, 
who, by their holiness and purity of conduct, ought to 
have shewn themselves " a pattern of good works" (Titus 
ii. 7) to the rest of the world, when he saw them in the 
very act of breaking one of those commandments he held 
in his hand, and celebrating their religious rites before a 
golden image, then " did his anger wax hot,'* and to testify 
his utter abhorrence of such conduct, " he cast the tables 
** out of his hands, and brake them beneath the mount." 

" And he took the calf which they had made, and burnt 
** it in the fire, and ground it into powder, and strawed 
" it upon the water, and made the children of Israel drink 
"of it." 

His next step was to appeal to Aaron to know what 
the people had done to him, that could have compelled 
him to unite with them in such a sinful act. He did not 
ibr a moment imagine that Aaron could have lent a willing 
ear to their suggestions ; he well knew the difficulty he 
might have encountered in opposing his single authority 
against the voice of the multitude, and was willing to at- 
tribute his conduct to the compulsion he had met with, 

I 2 

Digitized by VjOOQ IC 

114 THE TBOPM Icn. 

rather tikaa siifi^pese be bad ibUowied the mdiinatioiis of his 
own heart. 

''And Aaron said, Let nvot the anger of my Xuord wax 
"hot: thou knowest the peo|]Je, thiort they are set on 

We cannot hut remarik here« Aaoron's respectful manner 
towards his brother, acquiescing in the authority with 
which he was invested, and even treating him with the 
deference due to a superior. In the present case indeed, 
he felt there was but too just cause for him to humble 
himself before him. There was doubtless great allowance 
to be made for him under the circumstances in which he 
had been placed. The people were "set on mischief," 
and had probably compdied him to do that which his 
judgment must have told him was wrong ; yet it does not 
appear that he made any attempt to argue or expostulate 
with them on the heinous nature of their sin, and we 
owmot tell how far they might have yielded to such argu- 
ments, or been influenced by his example, had he only 
had the moral courage to withstand their entreaties, and 
by his own behaviour, proved his deep abhorrence of such 
a crime. 

" When a mans' ways please the Lord, he maketh even 
" his enemies to be at peace with him." (Prov. xvi. 7.) 

Although the Israelites were apparently all imited in 
this idolatrous aot, yet we may suppose there were a- 
mong them those who had some inward misgivings re- 
specting their conduct, as we read that the tribe of Levi 
were all ready when called upon to declare themselves on 
the side of the Lord, and were consequently deputed to 
execute vengeance on their sinful brethren. For though 
the Almighty, in his infinite mercy, at the instigation of 
Moses, had " spared them from destroying them" (Ezek. 
XX. 17.) altogether, yet such a crime was not suffered to 
pass without a more signal chastisement than that which 
Moses had inflicted, " and there fell of the people that 
" day, about three thousand men." Although judgment 
had been thus inflicted on so many, yet did Moses think 

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Tin.] IPLAGirBD. 115 

right to remind tli« rest, tfcat because they had escaped 
this great destruction, they were not therefore to consider 
themselves guiltless. They had " sinned a great sin," one 
which was to be atoned for in an especial way. We find 
him consequently, appealing again to God's mercy in 
behalf of his sinfiil brethren, and with a jealous anxiety 
for their salvation even oifering to renounce himself all 
the privileges of a chosen servant of God, rather than 
that they should not be forgiven. 

We meet with a similar passage in St. Paul's Epistk 
to the Bomans, where he says, ** I could wish that myself 
** were accursed from Christ for ray brethren," (Eom.ix.3) 
meaning, he would gladly forego himself the privileges of 
<^hristianity, if by such means he could effect the con- 
version of his brethren. It is scarcely necessary to remind 
you of the type which is presented to us in this willingness 
on the past of Moses to offer himself as an atonement for 
the sins of his brethren. It will surely recall to your mind 
the great atonement offered for the sins of the whole world 
by our Saviour,* who gave himself for our sins."(Gal. i. 4.) 


The Israelites had now proved themselves utterly un- 
worthy of God's favour. Th^ had not only, by repeated 
murmuringa and discontent, evinced their distrust of his 
pow^ and goodness : they bad even gone so far as to re- 
nounce him altogether as their Beity, and fall down in wor- 
ship before an idol formed by their own hands. Yet would 
not the Lord utterly cast them off ; " Though he cause 
*' grief, yet will he have compassion according to the mul- 
'' titude of bifi mercies." (Lam. iii. 3i.) 

We are told at the conclusion of the last chapter, that 
''the Lord plagued the people because they made the calf." 

In what manner he did so, is not related, but we are 
kd to suppose he visited their sin in such a way, as to 
bring them to a sense of their guilt ; and it was doubtless 
in consequence of the repentance they shewed, that God 

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116 THEIK 80BE0W. [cH- 

was pleased to renew his promises to them relating to 
their possession of the land of Canaan, though at the same 
time on account of the obstinacy of their hearts, they were 
to be debarred from the privilege of enjoying the token 
of his Divine presence among them. 

" I will not go up in the midst of thee ; for thou art a 
" stifFnecked people : lest I consume thee in the way.** 

"And when the people heard these evil tidings, they 
" mourned" : their eyes were opened to the sad consequen- 
ces of the wickedness they had committed," and no man did 
" put on him his ornaments. For the Lord had said unto 
" Moses, Say unto the children of Israel, Ye are a stiffnecked 
" people r I will come up into the midst of thee in a mo- 
" ment, and consume thee : therefore bow put oiF thy oma- 
"ments from tliee, that I may know what to do unto thee.'* 

They were to do this in token of sorrow and shame for 
their past conduct, that God who knoweth the hearts of 
all men, might judge by the readiness with which they 
obeyed this command how far he might trust to the sin;- 
cerity of their repentance. 

"And the children of Israel stripped themselves of 
" their ornaments by the mount Horeb.»* 

Thus did they humble themselves before the Lord ; the 
judgment inflicted on their brethren, together with the 
interposition of Moses in their behalf, had doubtless 
worked upon their hearts, and placed their sin before 
them in its true light, yet after such a proof of indifference 
and contempt for the mercies they had received, they 
could not expect to be so soon reinstated in God's favour, 
and he now thought proper to "bide bis face"(Ps xxx. 7.) 
from them for a time, causing the tabernacle in which his 
presence was more peculiarly manifested to be removed ta 
a distance. 

" And Moses took the tabernacle, and pitched it with- 
" out the camp, afar off from the camp, and called it the 
" tabernacle of the Congregation. And it came to pass, 
" that every one which sought the Lord went out unto 

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"the tabernacle of the congregation, which was without 
"the camp." 

" And it came to pass, when Moses went out unto the 
" tabernacle, that all the people rose up, and stood every 
" man at his tent door," in token of their respect for 
him, at once acknowledging his superiority, and their 
entire dependance upon his mediation. 

It appears indeed Moses was daily in close communion 
with God, "speaking unto him face to face as a man 
" speaketh unto his friend"; the highest privilege granted 
to any one, and indicating the familiar manner in which 
God was pleased to communicate his will to Moses. 

"And Moses said unto the Lord, See, thou sayest 
" unto me, Bring up this people, and thou hast not let 
" me know whom thou wilt send with me : yet thou hast 
" said, 1 know thee by name, and thou hast also found 
" grace in my sight." 

" Now therefore, I pray thee, if I have found grace in 
" thy sight, >hew me now thy way ,that I may know thee." 

Moses wais well aware how weak and unavailing his ef- 
forts would be, unaided by the counsel and assistance of 
God, and ventures to remind the Almighty, not only of the 
favor he had hitherto manifested towards him, but that it 
was only by his especial protection over the whole nation 
of the Israelites, that they would be considered as the 
chosen people of God, or kept separate from the rest of 
the world. He requests him therefore to shew him his 
way that he might know him, in other words to point 
out to him so clearly the path he ought to pursue, 
that he might know — and therefore be able to perform 
his will in all things, and be thereby assured of his graci- 
ous approbation. 

There is a similar expression in Ps. xxv. 4. where David 
requests the Lord to " shew him his ways, and teach him 
hi« paths," a petition which should be oflfered daily by 
every true Christian, who sincerely wishes to perform his 
duty to God. 

" And the Lord said unto Moses, I will do this thing 

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**^ubdo thai thoo: hast spoken : for thou hast fotmd grace in 
my sight, and I know thee by name." that is, J have 
searched th«e thoroughiy, and am well acquainted with 
thy thoughts^ and with thy heart (Ps. cxxxix. 23) 

" My presence shall go with thee, and 1 will give thee 
" rest." Thus encouraged, Moses ventures to extend hia 
request still farther, and beseeches Grod to manifest to him 
Ms glory, in its full majesty and i^lendour, unvailed by 
It cloud. But this, he was tdd, was more than mortal 
eye could stand. " Thou canst not see my face ; for there 
** shall no man see me, and Uve." 

Yet did th« Lord so far condescend to gratify his 
wishes as to make all his goodness pass before him, and 
|aT)claim> before him the name of the Lord : the " name of 
^the Lord'' signifying those attributes which are as it 
went the character of the Divine nature, as we read in the 
next chapter ; "the Lord whose name is Jealous, is a 
"jealofls 6t>d": and these attributes in a remarkable, 
though perhaps to our minds, somewhat incomprehensible 
manaer,^ did he vouchsafe to make known unto Moses, 
tendnding him at the same time that it was his will and 
pletisure which ordered all events. " I will be gracious to 
** whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom 
" I will shew mercy." 


MosBs having by his intercession for his brethren, 
restored them in some degree to God's favour, the Almighty 
was now pleased to renew the covenant he had so gra- 
ciously entered into with his people, and ordered Moses 
to make new tables of stone, and bring them up early in 
tke morning, to the top of the mount, where he again re- 
mained for forty days, writing upon the tables the words 
of the covenant or the ten commandments, and receiving 
fresh instructions and directions, together with a repe« 
tition of some of those laws already mentioned. 

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** And the Lord descended in the doud, amd stood \dth 
**him there, vmA prDekimed the name of tbe Lord/' 

Again does Moses wail himself of the condescension of 
the Akmghty, in this open manifestation of his^ goodness 
and mercy, to repeat his entreaties that he would forgive 
the sins of his people, and receive them again nnder his 
heavenly protection. Nor were his prayers unavailing; 
the Lord was graciously pleased at once to quiet his 
apprehensions, by assuring him of the marvellous works he 
would perform in behalf of his people : that he would 
drive out from before them the inhabitants of the land 
whither they were going, or in other words, that he 
would fight for them again, even as he had done before 
in their encounter with the Amalekites. But they were to 
iremember, that if he performed this great work for them, 
they on their parts were to obey the laws he had laid 
down for their observance. They were on no account to 
enter into any treaty with their enemies, but " to destroy 
"their altars, break their images, and cut down their 
•* groves," the places usually selected by the heathens for 
their idolatrous rites, pobably on account of the shelter 
they afforded from the heat of the sun. It was on this 
account, that they were afterwards specially enjoined not 
to plant a grove of trees near unto their altars, lest it 
might lead the people into idolatry. 

The Israelites were again commanded to keep the Pass- 
efver, or feast of unleavened bread as it is here called, and 
were also desired to observe the feast of weeks, which be- 
ing an offering to God of the first fruits of wheat harvest, 
was also designated the " feast of harvest." (Ch. xxiii. 16 .) 
This feast was the same as that called in the New Testa- 
ment the feast of Pentecost ; the word Pentecost signi- 
fying in Greek " fiftieth," it being always kept fifty days 
after the Passover. 

Three times in the year, were all the males of the na- 
tion to appear before the Lord, to celebrate the feast of 
wnleavened bread or the Passover, the feast of weeks men- 
tianed above, aad the " ingathering^ of their fruits, whick 

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is also called the " feast of tabernacles," from their being 
commanded to dwell in tabernacles or booths, during its 
celebration, the object of which was to remind them of 
their journey through the wilderness, when for forty years 
they dwelt only in tents : as it is written in Leviticus, 
" Ye shall dwell in booths seven days ; all that are Israel- 
"ites bom shall dwell in booths: That your generations 
" may know that I made the children of Israel to dwell in 
" booths, when I brought them out of the land of Egypt : 
" I am the Lord your God." (Lev. xxiii. 42. 43.) 

The particulars respecting the observance of these cere- 
monies, referred to their future celebration in the land of 
Canaan, where they were all to assemble at Jerusalem for 
the purpose, during which time their several lands, being 
left defenceless by the absence of all the male inhabitants 
would naturally have fallen an easy prey to their enemies, 
had it not been for the overruling providence of God, who 
promised that no man should even desire their land during 
the time. 

What consolation may we not draw from even this 
slight circumstance. Does it not teach us never to give 
way to apprehensions with regard to any future event ? 
When we are once convinced of the necessity of a duty, we 
are to perform it regardless of any consequence we may 
xhink likely to ensue from it. "Is any thing too hard for 
" the Lord."( Gen xviii. 14.) The same Almighty power 
who " shut the lion's mouths" (Dan. vi. 22.)" who turneth 
" rivers to a wilderness, and the water springs into dry 
" ground," (Ps. cxii. 33.) He can surely keep the storm 
from bursting over our heads, and avert the blow we think 
BO near at hand. 

" And it came to pass, when Moses came down from 
** mount Sinai with the two tables of testimony in Moses, 
•* hand ; when he came down from the mount, that Mosea 
" wist not that the skin of his face shone, while he talked 
o'with him," 

It appears by this that God must have imparted to hina 
^ portion of his gloiy, which had such a visible effect 

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on his whole countenance, that even Aaron, as well a» all 
the rest of the Israelites, were struck with awe ; they were 
even afraid to speak to him until he had covered his face 
with a vaiJ. 

It seems possible that God may have permitted this in 
order to impress the people with a deeper sense of his 
superiority, that they might be the more willing to sub- 
mit to his authority, and be directed by his orders. There 
is however yet another signification conveyed by it which 
is explained by St. Paul in his Epistle to the Corinthians, 
where in allusion to this circumstance, he speaks of the 
spiritual blindness of their hearts. Their eyes were not 
only too dim to look at Moses without a vail, " But their 
"minds were blinded; for until this day remaineth the 
" same vail untaken away in the reading of the old Testa- 
** ment, which vail is done away in Christ." " But even 
" unto this day when Moses is read, the vail is upon their 
heart." (Cor iii. 14. 15.) " Because they seeing, see not ; 
" and hearing, they hear not, neither do they understand.** 

May we none of us partake of this spiritual blindness ! 
Having our eyes opened to the great truths of salvation, 
" What manner of persons ought we to be in all holy con- 
" versation and godliness"? (2 Pet. iii. 2.) 


Moses having now received all his instructions respec- 
ting those laws and ordinances which as we mentioned 
before, were to distinguish the Jewish worship from ali 
others, proceeded to assemble all the children of Israel, 
and after enforcing upon them a strict observance of the 
sabbath, his next step was to put in execution all the 
orders he had received from the Lord respecting the build- 
ing of the tabernacle, and for this purpose, summoned all 
those of his brethren who were willing to come forward 
and assist in the mighty work : and after the rebellious 
disposition they had so lately shewn, he was doubtless 

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122 EtJLES AND [CH. 

gratified by the readiness with which they now offered their 

The remaining chapters of this book contain for the 
most part, a repetition of all those particular directions 
which had been given to Moses on the mount, respecting 
the workmanship of the tabernacle, and which are de- 
scribed with a minuteness which in any other case, we 
might be inclined to think superfluous ; but we must re- 
member that " every word proceedeth ont of the mouth of 
"God," (Mattiv. 4.) and that though it may seem to 
profit little to dwell on such details, we may be assured 
they were to answer some wise end, and must at all eventa 
tend to exalt our admiration of the goodness and condes- 
cension of the Almighty, in vouchsafing to enter into such 
minute particulars as were suited to the ignorance of the 
Israelites at that period. 

The rites and ceremonies of the Jewish religion were 
most of them " shadows of things to come," (Col. ii. 17.) 
that is, they referred to something more folly to be de- 
veloped under the Gospel dispensation, and even the 
Temple itself partook of the same typical nature. The 
inner temple, or Holy of Holies which I alluded to before, 
and into which the High Priest alone entered, was a type 
of Heaven, which Christ by his death has opened to us, 
bursting asunder the vail, which concealed it from the 
sight of the people; signifying the concealment of the 
mysteries of the Gospel during the continuance of the 
Temple worship. 

St. Paul speaking of the tabernacle explains how it " was 
" a figure for the time then present, in which were offered 
" both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that 
" did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience, 
** which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers 
" washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until 
" the time of reformation." 

" But Christ being come an high priest of good things 
** to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not 
*' made with hands, that ia to say, not of this building, 

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" neither by the blood of goats, and calves, but by his 
" own blood he entered in once info the holy place, having 
" obtained eternal redemption for us." (Heb ix. 9. 12.) 

To the Jews the prophetic nature of these ceremonies 
was involved in obscurity. Their minds were not suf- 
ficiently enlightened to enable them fully to comprehend 
the nature of that peculiar mode of worship which formed 
the basis of their -religion, and though no doubt there 
were some, whose fiaith taught 1/hem to " look for better 
tliings,"(Heb xi. 40.) and to believe that all their carnal 
ordinances were only " patterns of those better sacrifices^ 
(Heb ix. 23.) God had prepared for them, yet the greater 
number regarded them only as duties imposed upon them 
by the Almighty in order to prove their love aud obedi- 
ence, the fulfilment of which was sufficient to render them 
acceptable in the sight of Grod, and procure for them hi^ 
flavor a ad protection. They might be compared to child- 
nen from whom an implicit obedience to the will of their 
superiors is all that is demanded of them, until they 
attain that age when their own judgement is sufficiently 
matured to enable them to follow its dictates and act for 
themselves ; thus were the Jews only required strictly to 
conform to the law of God, which was in every point so 
admirably calculated to prepare their minds for that per- 
iod, when the darkness in which their minds had been so 
long enthralled was to be .dispelled by the light of the 
Gospel, or las St. Paul aptly expresses it, **the law was 
their schoolmaster to bring them unto Chriat."(Gal. iii. 24.) 

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Jewish laws.— Rites, —Sacrifices— offferiDgB ^Consecration of Priests*" 
Aaron's blessing— Nadab and Abihu— Feasts of expiation. 


THE book of Leviticus is so called from comprising 
principally a detail of all the sacrifices and services of the 
Tabernacle, with all the particulars relating to the office of 
the priests, who as I mentioned before, were to be chosen 
from the tribe of Levi. 

The two chief objects of the Jewish law appear to have 
been to maintain the purity of God's holy religion, in op- 
position to the idolatry and false worship, which at that 
period so universally prevailed, as also to prefigme the 
spiritual religion of Jesus Christ, the promised Saviour. 

It was one great proof of God*s tender mercy over his 
chosen people, that in all the laws and regulations laid 
down for their observance, they were never left to their 
own inventions, or in ignorance respecting his will on any 
point. A.S in the case of the tabernacle, so with regard to 
ail their rites and ceremonies, the most minute particulars 
were laid down, any disregard of which was visited with, 
severe punishment. An awful instance of this occurred in 
the judgment of Nadab and Abihu, which is related in the 
tenth chapter, as also in the fifteenth chapter of Numbers, 
where we read of a man being instantly stoned to death 
for gathering sticks on the sabbath day. 

The religious services of the Jews prescribed in this 
book consisted of three kinds. 

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First, Sacrifices of different sorts, which, though they 
were mere outward rites, yet had a reference to the grand 
scheme of redemption, shadowing forth in their several 
particulars the great atonement made by the death of 
our Saviour for the sins of all mankind. 

Secondly, Purifications from legal uncleannesses. 

The strict observance of this part of the Jewish law, 
formed a prominent feature in their religion. The main 
object of them appears to have been to keep alive in the 
minds of the Israelites a constant sense of that purity and 
reverence due to all things pertaining to the worship of 
God, as well as to represent that inward purity of heart 
which was afterwards to distinguish the true followers of 
Jesus, being cleansed by his blood, and sanctified by his 
holy spirit. 

Thirdly, Various festivals. Some of these we have al- 
ready noticed. They were for the most part thankful com- 
memorations of signal national mercies and deliverances 
conferred upon the Jews, and the constant attendance of 
every one on their solemnities at stated periods of the 
year, and at one fixed place of national worship, tended 
greatly to preserve unity and peace among them, as also 
to mark them as a distinct and separate people from the 
rest of the world. 

As it is not my purpose to enter into all the minute 
details of the rites and ceremonies which comprize the 
greatest portion of this book, I shall confine myself to the 
selection of such chapters alone, as may afford matter for 
instruction and interest, or which contain the most striking 
analogies in their typical nature to the sufferings and 
death of Christ. 

The first things mentioned are the regulations laid down 
respecting burnt offerings. 

This kind of sacrifice had been a form of worship ap- 
proved by God from the earliest times. They appear in 
general to have been offered as tokens of thankfulness for 
some particular mercy, as in the case of Noah, whose 
sacrifice of thanksgiving on quitting the ark, we read of in 

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126 OFfSHINes. [CH. 

the eighth chapter of Genesis, but until the period at 
which we are now arrived, no particular regulations are 
recorded respecting them. Now however, we find direct 
laws kid down with regard to their observance, every 
minute particular of wluch was to be duly attended to, 
nor was the object of them henceforth to be confined solely 
to thanksgivings. It was likewise to include atonement, 
reconciliation, and remission of sins, though it was still to 
be a " voluntary offering, and without blemish," :" an of- 
" fering made by fire of a sweet savour unto the liord," 
that is, rendered acceptable to God from the willingness 
with which it was offered, even as our Saviour gave him- 
self for us, " holy and without blemish, an offering and a 
" sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour."(Eph. v. 2.) 

That the victim should be of clean beasts, hstd been a 
rule pertaining to all sacrifices, a distinction particularly 
mentioned in the Seventh chapter of Genesis : the term 
"clean" being given to aU those animals set apart for 
the peculiar use of sacrifices. 

The meat-offei-ing mentioned in the .second chapter, is 
a term applied indiscriminately to all offerings made to 
God either of animals, or fruits of the earth, the latter 
being generaUy brought by those who were too poor to 
offer the sacrifice mentioned in the first chapter ; the word 
in Hebrew, signifying any gift either to God or man. 

The two principal injunctions delivered respecting these 
offerings consisted in the prohibition of leaven, and the 
use of salt. We have before had occasion to mention the 
metaphorical use of the word leaven in Scrypture^ when 
we were speaking of the Passover, as representing the cor- 
ruption of our nature. As the least portion of leaven 
alters the character of the substance into which it is in- 
troduced, so is our nature changed by the contanunation 
of sin. "A little leaven leaventh the whole lump." 
(1 Cor. V. 16.) 

The use of honey was also forbidden, the xeason of 
which is not assigned, but as in ancient tiines the hea- 
thens had been in the habit of offeriiig it to their deities. 

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that may have been a sufficient reason why it should have 
been prohibited to the Israelites. 

The command with respect to the use of salt, is per- 
haps easier to be accounted for. It was always consi- 
dered by the ancients as an emblem of friendship and fi- 
delity, and is also alluded to in Scripture to express any 
thing durable, and incorruptible; hence we find it often 
referred to as applying to any covenant between God and 
man ; as in Numbers xviii, 19. " It is a covenant of salt 
**for ever before- the Lord unto thee"; and again in 
2 Chron. xiii, 5, . " Ought ye not to know that the Lord 
" God of Israel gave the kingdom over Israel to David for 
** ever, even to him and to his sons by a covenant of salt." 

We also meet with the same expression in the new Tes- 
tament, where it signifies that purity of speech required 
in the true believer, as opposed to the evil conversation 
of the world. " Let your speech be alway with grace, 
" seasoned with salt." ( Col. iv. 6.) " Have salt in your- 
" selves." (Mark. ix. 50.) 

Thus we may gather from these analogies that the use 
of it was enjoined not only to remind the IsraeKtes that 
the sacrifice was the medium of a solemn covenant with 
God, but also to signify the purity, and holiness of dispo- 
sition with which it was to be offered. 


BESIDES the meat offering, and the peace offering, there 
were likewise sin offerings enjoined of various sorts, which 
more peculiarly distinguished the Jewish religion from all 

The natural propensity of man to go astray, and to 
commit sin, we all know has been inherent in our nature 
ever since the fall of our first parents, and we all likewise 
know that God is " of purer eyes than to behold evil." 
that if it had not been for the redemption of our Saviour, 
no atonement we could make, could reconcile us to him. It 
pleased God however, that during the period which should 

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128 SIN OFFERINGS. [d&. 

elapse before this great event was to take place, sucli law% 
and ordinances were to be observed, and from their exter- 
nal nature were more adapted to the carnal dispositions 
of men, who though their minds were as yet unenlightened 
by the spirit of Christ's religion, yet as St. Paul observes 
"were without excuse;*' "Because that which may be 
"known of God is manifest in them ; for God hath shewed 
"it unto them." (Rom. i. 19. 20.) 

"Being filled with all unrighteousness, full of envy, 
"murder, debate, deceit, malignity," yet, "knowing the 
"judgment of God, that they which commit such things 
"are worthy of death." (Rom, 29. 32.) 

One great end therefore of the ordinances of the Jewish 
religion, was to keep alive this natural sense of sin, and 
accordingly we find three Chapters of this book devoted 
exclusively to the several kinds of sacrifices, which under 
the form of offerings, were to atone for sins, all of whidi 
are' most minutely specified ; none were suffered to escape : 
even those committed in ignorance, were equally to be 
atoned for. 

These sin-offerings consisted of various things, such as 
sheep, goats, fowls, &c. to meet the circumstances of the 
people, and to shew that while, of him to whom less was 
given,les8 was required, yet that no poverty dr lowness of 
station, could exempt him in the sight of God. Without 
an atonement of some kind, he could not be forgiven. 

Thus are the services of the Christian accepted aooomi- 
ing "to that a man hath, and not according to tiiat he 
" hath not." (2 Cor. viii. 12.) 

Nevertheless we are told that " the iniquities" of man 
"are more than the hairs of his head," (Ps.xl. 1 2.) and 
that, "the very thought of foolishness is sin."(Prov.xxiv.9.) 

There existed consequently, numberless transgressions 
which it would have been endless to have atoned for sepa- 
rately : one liay in the year therefore, was set apart for a 
general expiation by the High priest, for all such offences, 
the peculiar ceremonies of which are more minutely 
detailed in the Sixteenth chapter. 

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The tabernacle being now prepared, and all the laws 
delivered respecting tbe sacrifices, the next thing we read 
of is the consecration of Aaron and his ^ons. This was 
performed by washing them, arraying them in the holy 
garments, anointing them with oil, and sanctifying them 
with the blood of the animal slain. 

They were washed In water to signify that they were to 
be purified from all unholiness, as also to prefigure the 
baptism of our Saviour. 

In order to render themselves fit to «nt«r into the office 
of priests, their own sins were to be atoned for by the 
sacrifice of a bullock, the blood of which, " Moses sprink- 
*' led upon the altar round about," and of the ram which 
was likewise slain on the occasion, he " put of the blood" 
upon Aaron and his sons. This was done to impress 
upon the minds of the people that the victim was offered 
to God as a ransom for that of the sinner, and that 
" without shedding of blood, is no remission. '' (Heb. 
ix. 22.) 

The consecration, which, was to la^t seven days, being 
ended, Aaron and his sons were summoned by Moses to 
commence the duties : which they were now called upon to 

These being the first offerings of the Levitical priest- 
hood, a detail is given of all the particulars attending 
them. We find Moses directing th^n. iu all things, at the 
same time reminding them that all his orders were given 
in conformity with the commands he had received from 

''And Moses said, This i is the thing which the Lord 
" commanded that ye should do : and the glory of the 
** Lord shall appear unto you.'* — The presence and favor 
of God will be manifested to you in a visible sign from 

K 2 

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130 AAKoa. [cH. 

When all was over, Aaron "lifted up his hand towards 
" the people and blessed them." This was one peculiar 
office of the priests, the form of the blessing being particu- 
larly expressed in Numb. vi. 22 — 27. where it is written 
as follows, " The Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak 
'* unto Aaron and unto his sons, saying, On this wise ye 
" shall bless the children of Israel, saying unto them, The 
" Lord bless thee, and keep thee : The Lord make his face 
" shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee : The Lord 
" lift up his countenance upon thee, ajid give thee peace.'* 

"And Moses and Aaron went into the tabemacle of 
" the congregation, and came out, and blessed the people, 
" and the glory of the Lord appeared unto all the people." 

" And there came a fire out from before the Lord, and 
** consumed upon the altar the burnt offering and the fat : 
" which when all the people saw, they shouted, and fell 
**on their faces.'* 

The blessing bemg pronounced by the priests on their 
coming out of the tabernacle, the people were now fa» 
voured by that visible token foretold by Moses, which, 
notwithstanding they had been led to expect it, neverthe- 
less filled them with awe and astonishment ; " they shout- 
" ed, and fell on their faces," — ^bowing in token of gratefiil 
acknowledgemtent to God, for having thus so graciously 
testified his acceptance of all that they had done. 


" And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron took eitlier 
" of them his censer, and put fire therein, andput incense 
" thereon, and offered strange fire before the Lord, which 
" he commanded them not. — And there went out fire from 
" the Lord, and devoured them, and they died before the 

I have before alluded to this awful event. The crime 
of Nadab and Abihu consisted in burning their incense 
with other fire than that which God had commanded to 
be used for the service of his sanctuary. Nadab and 

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XT.] >a.«.^i* AND ABIHU PUNISHED. 131 

Abihu having been invested with the high dignity of the 
priesthood, ought to have been more particularly circum- 
spect with regard to the observance of God's commands, 
and it was therefore just and requisite that a signal punish- 
ment should be inflicted upon them, in order to deter 
others from committing a similar crime. 

" Then Moses said unto Aaron, This is it that the Lord 
*' spake, saying, I will be sanctified in them that come 
*' nigh me, and before all the people I will be glorified* 'j 
that is, I will be reverenced by my priests in a special 
manner, and my power shall be magnified before all the 
people by the awful judgement I have caused to be in- 
flicted on these sinful men. 

" And Aaron held his peace." — Though his heart must 
have been filled with anguish, yet did he fully acknow- 
ledge the justice of the Lord, and received the stroke with 
silent resignation. 

"And Moses said unto Aaron and unto Eleazar and 
** unto Ithamar, his sons, Uncover not your heads, neither 
*' rend your clothes ; lest ye die, and lest wrath come upon 
" all the people : but let your brethren the whole house of 
" Israel, bewail the burning which the Lord hath kindled." 

As consecrated priests of the Lord, officiating in his 
holy tabernacle, as also to shew they acquiesced in the 
judgment of the Ahnighty, they were forbidden to display 
the tokens of grief customary on such occasions. For the 
same reason they were not allowed even to go out from the 
" door of the tabernacle ;" they were solemnly devoted to 
the service of God, which was not to be neglected on any 
account whatsoever. 

They were then ordered to proceed with the sacrifice^ 
when Moses had occasion to notice a second instance of 
disobedience in Aaron's other sons Eleazar and Ithamar, 
who burnt that portion of the sacrifice set apart expressly 
for the priests, instead of eating it, which they had been 
particularly enjoined to do.(Seech. vi. 26.) 

** Moses diligently sought the goal of the sin offering, 
** and behold, it was burnt : and he was angry with Eleazar 

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and Tthamar; saying, Wherefore have ye not eaten the edn 
<< offering in the holy place, seeing it is most holy, and God 
" hath given it you to bear the iniquity of the congre- 
'•gation, to make atonement for them before the Lord.'* 

The priest by eating the sin offering was thereby sup- 
posed "to bear the iniquities" of the people, thus ftuuish- 
ing another type of our Saviour, who was " to bear our 
" iniquities/' '(Is. liii. 11. ) 

It appears however that Moses was satisfied by Aaron's 
excuse, the fault not being committed designedly, but 
through human frailty. Aaron was aware of the dis- 
grace his family had incurred by the sinful crime com- 
mitted by Nadab and Abihu, and dared not hope under 
such circumstances that his services would be approved 
by God. 

" If I had eaten the sin-offering to-day, shoiold it bave 
" been accepted in the sight of the Lord ?" 

" And when Moses heard that, he was content,** 

The ^ve following chapters being devoted exclusively to 
enumerations of such laws as applied only to the Jews, we 
will pass them over, and proceed to the Sixteenth. 


This chapter contains a minute description of aU the 
ceremonies attending the feast of expiation, or the greet 
day of atonement, which was to take place once a year 
only when the priest Was to enter into " the holy place 
** within the vail, to make atonement for the sins of the 
*' people " as well as for his own. 

Of all the Jewish ceremonies, this was the most perfect 
shadow of the great work of redemption ; the high priest 
prefiguring in all he did, that which Christ, in the fWnes» 
of time, was ordained to do. 

The priest being arrayed in the proper garments, and- 
having purified himself by the ablution alluded to in a for-* 
mer chapter, was first to make atonement for himself, as 
being the "shadow, and ndt the body," (CoLii. 17.) a 

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iX.] SCAPE GOAT. 133 

priest, ** taken from among men/' (Heb. v. i.) partaking of 
tlieir infirmities, and requiring daily sacrifices," for his own 
'' sins," (Heb.vii. 27.) before he was able to atone for those 
of the people. 

The sin offerings for this day were distinct from every 
other ; for the priest, a bullock was to be sacrificed, while 
two goats were to be offered for the sins of the people ; 
one of which was to be slain, the other bearing the name 
ef the scape-goai was to be presented alive before the Lord 
and afterwai'ds let loose into the wilderness. 

The blood of the bullock, as well as of the slain goat 
was to be sprinkled on the mercy seat, signifying the 
blood of out Saviour which was shed for us, in order that 
we may be enabled to enter the gate of Heaven. 

" For Christ is not entered into the holy places made 
^' with hands, whiph are the figures of the true, but into 
^'Heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God 
*' for us." (Heb. ix. 24.) 

• The two goats represented the two natures of Christ ; 
the Humanity which suffered death, and the Divinity which 
could not die. The slain goat was Jesus put to death 
for our offences, the scape goat was the same Jesus raised 
to life fiwr our justification. 

" And Aaron shall lay bpth his hands upon the head of 
** the Kve goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of 
** the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all 
'>* their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat, and 
V shall send him away by the hands of a fit m^n into tha 
^ wilderness : and the goat shall bear upon him all their 
" iniquities, unto a land not inhabited : and he shall let go 
the goat in the wilderness, implying he was never to return 
«r be seen again, even as God has promised to forgive our 
iniquities, and to remember our sins no more,(Jer xxxi. 34.) 
for the sake of him who took our infirmities upon hjiu, who 
^ was woimded for our transgressions, and bruised for our 
** iniquities." (Is. Uii. 5.) 

. Another striking analogy may be observed between thia 
type and the substance it so minutely shadowed forth. 

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134 CURSES [off. 

The people were accustomed to insult over the scape 
goat, to curse him, to spit upon him, to pluck off his hair, 
and in short to use him as an accursed thing : and was 
not our blessed Saviour treated in a similar manner ? 
" They spit upon him, and took the reed, and smote him oa 
" the head." (Matt, xxvii. 30.) 

Neither was this the only point of resemblance in the 
two circumstances. After the animals were slain, and 
their blood carried within the vail, their bodies were to be 
burnt without the camp, prefiguring even in this slight 
instance the death of our Saviour, who when he offered him- 
self as a sacrifice in order that he might " sanctify the people 
" with his own blood, suffered without the gate,"(Heb xiii. 
1 2.)Mount Calvary where his crucifixion took place, being 
situated a short distance from Jerusalem. 

We have now discussed the most useful and interestinj^ 
portions of this book, the remaining chapters containing 
little besides details of several particular laws, as also ^ 
repetition of others we have already noticed, with the 
exception of the twenty sixth, which may in fact be termed 
the conclusion of the Levitical law, containing a general 
enforcement of them all, with promises of reward in case 
of obedience on the one hand, and on the other, threats of 
punishment if they were disobedient. 

It is scarcely possible to imagine greater encouragement 
than was held out to the Israelites to perform their duty 
and obey God's commands. Every blessing awaited them 
as long as they continued to walk in his statutes, and keep 
his commandments, while on the contrary any act of dis- 
obedience was to be followed by immediate punishment. 

"If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my command- 
*' ments and do them : Then I will give you rain in due 
*^ season, and the land shall yield her increase, and the 
" trees of the field shall yield their fruit." 

"And I will ^ve peace in the land, and ye shall lie 
" down, and none shall make you afraid — ^And ye shall 
" chase your enemies, and they shall fall before you by the 

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** sword. — ^Pive of you shall chase an hundred, and an 
" hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight." 

What could have been more cheering to the Israelites 
than promises like these? They were going to take pos- 
session of a country filled with inhabitants all hostile to 
them, and from the disproportion of their numbers, with- 
out any human prospect of being able to conquer them ; 
but all such difficulties were smoothed by these assurances 
of support from Heaven. 

" If God be for us, who can be against us ?" (Rom. 

" But if ye will not hearken unto me, and will not do 
" all these commandments"; 

" I also will do this unto you ; T will even appoint over 
"you terror, consumption, and the burning ague, that shall 
" consume the eyes, and cause sorrow of heart ; and ye 
" shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it." 

" And I will set my face against you, and ye shall be 
** slain before your enemies : they that hate you shall reign 
" over you ; and ye shall flee when none pursueth you." 

" And if ye will not yet for all this hearken unto me, 
"then I will punish you seven times more for your sins." 

" S^ven" is frequently mentioned in Scripture, for an 
unlimited number. In proportion to the magnitude of the 
offence, was to be the punishment inflicted ; and awful 
indeed were the judgments denounced upon such as 
should persist, after such warnings, in rebelling against 
the Lord and disobeying his commands. 

It is impossible to close this book without feelings of 
thankfulness that it has been granted to us to see the ful- 
filment of all these types and ordinances, and lo live 
under a dispensation when such burdensome rites and 
ceremonies, which St. Paul tells us, ** neither our fathers,*' 
nor they " were able to bear," (Acts xv. 10.) have given 
place to that service of freedom which it is the blessing of 
every Christian to enjoy. 

" Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to 

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136 THB LA.W A SHADOW. [CH. IX.]. 

"eveiy one thatbelieveth." (Eom.x, 4.) " Hia yoke U easy 
" and his burden is light."(Matt. xi. 30.). 

The object of the ceremonial law was fulfilled when Christ 
appeared on earth, and enabled his followers to obtain that 
righteousness, which the law never could effect, for being " 
only "a shadow of good things to come, and not the very 
" image of the things," it co\]id " never with those sacri- 
" fices which they offered year by year continually make 
" the comers thereunto perfect." " For it is not possible 
" that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away 
" 8ins.''(Heb x. 1,) 

"God hath no pleasure in burnt offerings and sacri- 
" fice."(Heb. x. 4, 6,) " To obey is better than sacrifice- 
•* and to hearken than the fat of rams."(l Sam. xv. 22.) 

" If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus. 
** and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him 
**from the dead, thou shalt be saved."(IU)m. x.9.) 

May we therefore, who are enabled to " enter into the 
" holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living w ay 
** which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that 
" is to say, his flesh ; and having an high priest over the 
" house of God ; may we draw near with a true hearl? 
" fiiU assurance of feith, having our hearts sprinkled from 
"an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pui?e 
«water."(Heb.x.l9. 22.) 

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Numbering of the trlbcB-LevIteB.—Naxaritet— Dedication of the «abef- 
nacle— Passover kept— Seventy elders aptrainted—Qiiails sent— Sedition of 
Miriam— Leprosy— 


This book is called Numbers, from its containilig. the. 
several enumerations or numberiugs of the people. 

It was desirable that a distinction should be made of 
different tribes or families of the Israelites, that every one- 
might know and transmit to posterity a distinct aceouut 
of his genealogy, in order to prove the particular tiibe- 
from which the Messiah was to spring. 

The tribe of Levi alone was to be excluded in the num- 
bering, being set apart for the service of the Lord, received^ 
by him instead of the iirst bom who, as was mentioned 
before, were dedicated to him at the Institution of the 
Passover. (Ex. xiii. 2.) Tbey were to have the charge of 
all things pertaining to the tabernacle : they were ** to bear 
" it, to minister unto it, and to encamp round about it." 

" And when the tabernacle setteth forward, the Levitei* 
" shall take it down ; And when the tabernacle is to be 
** pitched, the Levites shall set it up : and the straugec 
"that Cometh nigh shall be put to death." 

The " stranger" meaning here, any Israelite not of the- 
tribe of Levi. 

The Israelites being all numbered and formed into com- 
panies, the next order given was respecting their encampr 

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ments and their marclies. It may easily be supposed that 
great order and method was requisite to arrange so vast a 
multitude in such a way as to cause no confusion in their 
march. Accordingly each tribe was to be distinguished by 
a particular standard ; and in this manner they proceeded, 
blessed by a visible token of God's presence, protected by 
his omnipotent arm, and receiving their daily sustenance 
direct from Heaven. . 

Several precepts ^re delivered in these chapters, some 
of which are merely repetitions or explanations of the fore- 
going institutions, while others relate to particular matters, 
such as the directions given to the tribe of Levi, and the 
law of the Nazarites. All those were called Nazarites, who 
voluntarily dedicated themselves by a vow to the service 
of the Lord. They were peculiarly distinguished from 
the rest by conforming to certain rules of abstinence laid 
down for that peculiar sect. 

After specifying certain meats and drinks from which 
they were to abstain, it is said, " All the days of the 
" vow of his separation, there shall no razor come upon 
** his head ; until the days be fiilfilled in the which he sep- 
" arateth himself unto the Lord, he shall be holy, and 
" shall let the locks of the hair of his head grow." 

This separation, or " Nazariteship," as it is called in 
the margin, might last for a whole life, or only for a short 
period. Samson, we are told, was to be a " Nazarite unto 
" God from the womb to the day of his death," (Judges 
xiii. 7.) while in the Acts we read of four men who having 
" a vow on themselves," accompanied St. Paul into the tem- 
ple, to signify the accomplishment of the days of purifi- 
cation, (Acts xxi. 23, 26.) which lasted only seven days. 

The dedication of the temple occupies the whole of the 
seventh chapter, in which are described the several offer- 
ings brought by the princes, in celebration of the event. 
These were probably the heads of the different tribes , they 
are elsewere called " elders." We have had occasion before 
to allude to this title, when it was applied to the chief 
domestic of a family ; here it implies those who as chiefs 

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of each tribe liad authority over the rest, an arrangement 
which had existed for some time previous to the delivery 
of the law, as you may remember reading in the fourth 
Chapter of Exodus, when it is said " Moses gathered to- 
" gether all the elders of the children of Israel"; in the New 
Testament the word has more extended signification, some- 
times implying the chief magistrates, as in Matl. xxi, 23 ; 
at others, the pastors or Bishops of the church, as in Acts 
xiv, 23. and Titus i, 5, 7. 

The ceremony of the dedication was succeeded by the 
consecration of the I^evites, Moses receiving particular 
directions on the subject, from the voice of God himself. 


A year having now elapsed since the Israelites had quit- 
ted Egypt, the appointed season was arrived, when the 
celebration of the passover was to take place. Among the 
laws detailed in Leviticus, there were several laid down 
respecting those obstacles, which would render a man un- 
clean, and thus prevent him from joining in the ceremonies 
enjoined. One of these obstacles now occurred. There were 
certain men. who were defiled by the dead body of a man, 
that is, they had come in contact with it, having probably 
assisted at the funeral rites. They were by this 
circumstance ren dered unclean for seven days, and con- 
sequently prevented from partaking of the feast. They 
therefore appealed to Moses to be instructed respecting 
the manner in which they were to keep it, being unwilling 
to suppose that for such a reason they were to neglect it 

*' And Moses said unto them, Stand stiU, and I will hear 
" what the Lord will command concerning you." 

He did not venture of his own accord to settle such an 
important business, but as was his usual custom in such 
matters, he sought assistance from God, who accordingly 
gave him full directions how to act. None were to be ex- 
cluded altogether from the feast; but those who were pre- 

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vented by such eauses from attending it, w«reto keep it 
by tbemselves, after they had purified tiiemselves firom 
.{heir uncleanness. 

Now let us reflect on this circamstanee, and see if there 
is nothing in it which we may apply to ourselves. 

Are there no circumstances which may prevent our par- 
taking of our passover, the Lord's supper? He whose mind 
is defiled by sin, is he not equally unfit to hold com- 
munion with Christ and partake of his holy Sacrament, 
till his heart is purified, and he is cloansed by faith and 
true repentance ? 

When our Saviour instituted bis Sacrament, he addres- 
sed himself equally to all Christians. ''He took the cup, 
" and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye 
*' all of it"; he excluded none, he made no distinction; and 
every sincere Christian will consider it his bounden dut} 
to. obey this command. I say, sincere, for of course thos* 
who may choose to attend it, yet continuing in their sin? 
without compunction. or sorrow of the same, are only 
making a mockeiy of holy things, and will be judged 

" Be not. deceived: God is not mocked: for whatso- 
*' ever a man. soweth, that shall he also reap.' (Gal. vi. 7.) 

If we therefore would partake of this holy Sacrament 
in a proper spirit ,weimust " diligently examine ourselves, 
"and repent us truly for our sins ,past :" we must 
'* have a lively and stedfast faith in Christ our Saviour, 
we must" amend our lives, in perfect charity with 
"all men;" then, and then onjy, shall we " be mcet.par- 
" lakers of those holy mysteries." 


And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Make thee two 

" trumpets of silver ; of a whole piece shalt thou make 

" them ; that thou mayest use them for the calling of 

" the assembly, und for the journeying of the camp." 

We have before had occasion to notice the extreme 

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X.] BOBAB. 141 

-mmnteneis with wWch every law and wgttlation was 
pi^cribed to the Israelites. As they were required to 
fiilfil to the letter every ordinance imposed upon them, 
so was it necessary they should have such directions given 
them as should render the will of God so clear and ex- 
plicitt that no excuse Would be aflforded them for dis- 
obeying it : not only was the very form of these trumpets 
prescribed to them, but even the manner in which they 
were to be sounded. 

" And the children of Israel took their journey out of the 
" wilderness of Sinai, and the cloud rested in the wilder - 
'^nessof Paran/" 

They itow quitted that memorable spot, where the 
lovingkmdness and condescension of the Almighty had 
•been so wonderfully displayed, before them, and secure 
of his heavenly protection, set out on their march ar- 
ranged in order according to their several tribes, tmd 
directed by that cloud which overshadowed them by day, 
and by the pillar of fire which illuminated their path by 

" And Moses said unto Hobab, the son of Eaguel the 
*'Midianite,Moses' father in law. We are journeying into the 
" place of which the Lord said, I will give it you ; come 
"thou with us, and we will do thee good : fdr the Lord 
"hath spoken good concerning Israel." 

We can well suppose Moses would be desirous that his 
kinsman should accompany him to Canaan, and share the 
blessings promised to the children of Israel, and though 
from the following verse, it appears as if he declined it, 
yet from what we read in the first chapter of Judges v 16, 
where the children of the Kenite Moses' father in law are 
mentioned as being in the land of Ganaui, we may infer 
that Moses did prevail with him. 


Thus did the children of Israel continne their journey 
towards the land of Canaan, and bad they all duly valued 

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the mercies they daily received at the hand of the Al- 
mighty, and obeyed his laws, they might soon have reach- 
ed the promised land : but alas 1 such was the stubborn 
nature of their hearts, that they had no sooner resumed 
their march than their rebellious spirit broke forth in fresh 
murmurs of discontent. " They obeyed not neither inclined 
" their ear, but made their neck stiff, that they might not 
" hear nor receive instruction." (Jer. xviii. 23.) 

Can we wonder that the Lord was displeased, that his 
anger was kindled ? " Though he had commanded the 
** clouds from above, and opened the doors of Heaven, and 
»" had rained down manna upon them to eat, and had 
" given them of the com of Heaven," yet " they believed 
**not in God, and trusted not in his salvation": " there- 
" fore the Lord heard this, and was wroth," (Ps. h^viii. 
21-24) and the fire of the Lord "consumed them that were 
" in the uttermost parts of the camp": those probably who 
were the most guilty. 

" And the mixt multitude that was among them fell a 

You doubtless remember in the twelfth chapter of 
Exodus, V. 38. mention being made of the mixed multitude 
that accompanied the Isralites out of Egypt. The word in 
the Hebrew language means a large mixture, or great con- 
course of various persons : probably slaves and foreigners 
who had become attached to the Israelites during their 
long settlement in Egypt, and these may have encouraged 
the Israelites in their rebellion by reminding them of the 
luxuries they had enjoyed in Egypt, compared with the 
food on which they were now compelled to subsist ; " and 
" the children of Israel also wept again, and said, who 
" shall give us flesh to eat ? we remember the fish, which 
"we did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers, and the 
" melons, and the leeks, aud the onions, and the garlick : 

" But now our soul is dried away ; there is nothing at 
" all, beside this manna before our eyes." 

"Thus did they tempt God in their heart by asking meat 
" for their lust.- (Ps. Ixxviii. 18.) 

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"Then Moses heard the people weep throughout the 
"families, every man in the door of his tent: and the 
" anger of the Lord was kindled greatly ; Moses also was 
" displeased." 

Nothing is more painful to the feelings of a righteous 
man than to witness daily the evil deeds of those whose 
"hearts are not right with God." (Ps.lxxviii. 87.) 

We are told that "Moses was very meek," (Ch. xii. 3.) 
and what patience and meekness did he not require to 
contend against the importunities of those, who even 
" tempted and provoked the most high God."(Ps.lxxviii.56. 

He had not forgotten the quaUs which on a formei> 
occasion, (see Ex. xvi. 13. ) had been sent to gratify their 
desires, but the very discontinuance of that luxury con- 
vinced him, and might have satisfied them that it was 
God's pleasure they should rest contented with the portion 
of manna, with wHch he had been pleased daily to supply 

He knew that the Lord had answered his prayers in a 
case of need, and that under such circumstances, it is both 
our duty and privilege to offer up our petitions to the 
Almighty, but what does St. Paul say ? " Be content with 
" such things as ye have"; (Heb. xiii. 5.) and it was ap- 
parently wdth great regret, that Moses felt himself com- 
pelled " in his distress to call upon the Lord." (Ps. cxviii. 
5.) He seems scarcely to have anticipated a favourable 
answer to his prayers, giving vent to the anguish he expe- 
rienced at being thus placed in such a responsible situ- 
ation, even praying for death rather than that he should 
live " to see his wretchedness," foreseeing doubtless how 
their indignation would be turned against him, should 
their request be denied. 

But the Lord is " Merciful, and gracious, longsuffering, 
" and abundant in goodness and truth": (Ex. xxxiv. 6.) 
He hath compassion on the weakness and infirmity of 
our nature, and it pleased him now to " incline his ear, 
unto Moses, and to listen to his petition, and not only 
promised to gratify the wishes of the people, but even 


Digitized by VjOOQ IC 

144 INCEEDULTTY. [cit* 

had compassion on the weakness of Moses, and vouchsafed 
to order that he should henceforth be assisted in the 
arduous task committed to him. 

''And the Lord said unto Moses, Grather unto me 
** seventy men of the elders of Israel, whom thou knowest 
" to be the elders of the people, and officers over them ; 
" and bring them unto the tabernacle of the congregation^ 
* that they may stand there with thee." 

*' And I will come down and talk with thee there : and 
" I will take of the spirit which is upon thee, and will put 
" it upon them ; and they shall bear the burden of the 
" people with thee, that thou bear it not thyself alone ;" 
that is, I will endow them with a portion of that same 
spirit, which I have bestowed upon you, in order to 
render them fit for such a charge. 

"And say thoa unto the people, Sanctify yourselves 
"against tomorrow, and ye shall eat flesh," the word 
" sanctify" probably merely implying they were to cease 
their murmurs, and prepwe to receive the food they were 
so desirous of obtaining. 

" And Moses said. The people among whom I am are 
"six hundred thousand footmen, and thou hast said. I wiU 
" give them flesh that they may eat a whole month : Shall 
('the flocks and the herds be slain for them to suffice 
" them ? or shall all the fish of the sea be gathered together 
" for them to suffice them"? 

How forcibly does this remark recall to u« the drcum- 
stance of our Saviour feeding the multitude with the 
loaves and fishes, when his disciples doubting his power, 
exclaimed. What are they among so many"? (John vi. 9.) 
But God is the same yesterday and to day," (Heb. xiii, 
8.) "Is the Lord's hand waxed short"? He who could 
"dry up the sea, and make the rivers a wilderness," ( Is .1. 
2.) can surely relieve the wants of his creatures at any 
time, and by any means he may choose. 

" And Moses went out and told the people the words 
" of the Lord, and gathered the seventy men of the elders 
'' of the people, and set them round about the tabemade. 

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** And it came to pass, that when the spirit rested upon 
" them, they prophesied." 

You will remember my observing on a former occasion 
that the word "prophecy** does not always imply the gift 
of foretelling events, and in this instance we may suppose 
it only meant the power by which they were now enabled 
to declare to the people the will of God. 

" But there remained two of the men in the camp, — 
** and the Spirit rested upon them, and they were of them 
** that were written, but went not out unto the tabernacle, 
**and they prophesied in the camp.*' 

'' And there ran a young man, and told Moses. And 
** Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of Moses, one of his 
*' young men, answered and said, My Lord Moses, forbid 
« them.'* 

A circumstance somewhat similar to this, is related in 
St. Luke*s Gospel, where a man being accused by John 
of casting out devils in the name of Christ, Jesus said 
unto him, " Forbid him not : for he that is not against 
**us is for us.'*(Luke ix. 50.) 

" A man can receive nothing except it be given him 
*'from Heaven.'*(John iii, 27.) Moses knew that though 
there might be an apparent irregularity in his proceeding, 
yet that the power which they possessed proved they were 
sanctioned by God. 

" And Moses said unto him, Enviest thou for my sake ? 
Is it out of consideration for me that you are led by a 
feeling of jealousy towards them, thus to notice their con- 
duct P Would God that all the Lord*s people were pro- 
" ph^s, aud that the Lord would put his spirit upon 
« them J" 

It was a similar feeling of love and charity towards his 
brethren, that led St. Paul to exclaim " I would that ye 
"all spake with tongues, but rather that ye prophesied." 
(1 Cor. xiv. 5.) 

"And there went forth a wind from the Lord and 
*' brought quails from the sea, and let them fall by th e 


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The request of the Israelites was granted, yet they had 
little cause to rejoice, for " while the flesh was yet between 
" their teeth, ere it was chewed, the wrath of the Lord 
" was kindled against the people, and the Lord smote the 
" people with a very great plague ; so true is it, that God 
knoweth best what is good for man ! 

May this awful event teach us to be contented with the 
portion allotted to each of us in this world, and not to dis- 
trust the power of the Almighty to provide us with all 
that may be necessary. 

When our Saviour commanded us to pray for our daily 
bread, he also commanded us to add "Thy will be done.'* 
Let us " therefore take no thought, saying, what shall we 
" eat ? or what shall we drink ? but let us " seek first the 
''kingdom of God, and his righteousness ; and ail these 
" things shall be added unto us." (Matt. vi. 31. 33.) 


In reading this portion of Scripture where so many 
instances are related in which the rebellious spirit of the 
Israelites broke forth against their leader, it is impossible 
not to be struck with the forbearance and firmness which 
Moses displayed on the most trying occasions, never 
yielding to their importimities until he had laid his petition 
before the Lord, and sought assistance from the only 
quarter whence he knew he could obtain it. The time 
however was now come, when his feelings were put to a 
severer test than on any previous occasion, his own brother 
and sister regardless of all sense of duty and propriety, 
availing themselves of the pretext of his having married a 
woman not of his own nation, to find fault with him. 
Forty years having elapsed since that event had taken 
place without their having ever noticed it, we may be sure 
it was not the true cause of their complaint, which iu 
renlity ai'ose from their jealousy towards Moses on account 
of the authority he possessed over them. Miriam, you 
ma^Y remember, was called a prophetess, (see Ex. xv. 20.) 

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and doubtless on that account, considered herself as pecu- 
liarly exalted above the rest of the children of Israel ; and 
Aaron probably entertained the same sentiments with re- 
gard to the station he filled as high priest. 

" And they said, Hath the Lord indeed spoken only by 
** Moses? hath he not spoken also by us? And the Lord 
*• heard it.'' 

"Whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased." (Luke 
xiv. 11.) 

The Lord God did not now as heretofore wait to be 
entreated of Moses. He saw his chosen servant falsely 
accused and reviled by those who ought to have been fore- 
most in his defence ; and condescended to '* come down " 
himself, and expostulate with his sinful creatures ; ap- 
pealing to their own consciences to convince them of the 
magnitude of their sin, and confirming his servant Moses 
in the authority with which he had invested him, thus 
proving to them that he was no common prophet. 

'* And he said, Hear now my words : K there be a 
*' prophet among you, I the Lord will make myself 
** known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him 
*' in a dream." 

" My s.ervant Moses is not so, who is faithful in all 
" mine house. With him will I speak mouth to mouth, even 
" apparently, and not in dark speeches ; and the similitude 
"of the Lord shall he behold : Wherefore then were ye 
''not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?" 

*' And the anger of the Lord was kindled against them." 

•* The Lord lifteth up the meek ; he casteth the wicked 
"do\ni to the ground." (Ps. cxvii. 6.) 

Awfiil and instantaneous was the punishment inflicted 
upon Miriam. " The cloud departed from oft* the taber- 
nacle," a signal token of God's displeasure, "and behold, 
'' Mii-iam became leprous, white as snow." The leprosy 
was one of the most dreadful diseases to whiieh in thQSj9 
days man was ever subject, both with regard to the 
nature of the complaint and the consequences it entailed 
upon the sufferpr^ who beiog thereby looked upon as 

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unclean (see Lev. xiii. 3. ) was not only excluded from all 
participation in the rites and ceremonies of the Jewish 
religion, bnt even obliged to live by himself, avoiding aO 
communication with other men. Hence it was a disease 
held in especial abhorrence by the Jews^ and more than 
one instance occurs in their Mstory, when it was inflieted 
upon them as a judgment. 

No mention being made ci Aaron's suffering any pun* 
ishment, we may conclude either that " God unto whom 
" all hearts are open,** saw that his conduct was less sinful 
than Miriam's, or that he forgave him on account of the 
penitence and humility he shewed in his subsequent con- 
duct towards Moees. 

We cannot read this chapter, in which the meekness of 
Moses is so conspicuous, without observing the striking 
similarity of this feature in his character, to that of our 
Saviour, who when he was reviled, reviled not again, but 
" committed himself to him that judgeth righteously. '* 
(1 Pet. ii. 23.) Nor let us forget the important lesson it 
teaches us, to bear patiently the injuries inflicted on us by 
others, and to *' pray for them, which despitefiiBy use, aad 
" persecute us."(Matt. v. 44.) 

" Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and shall 
"say aH manner of evil against you false^ for mj' 
" sake.'' 

" Kejoice, and be exceeding glad : for great is your re* 
" ward in Heaven : for so persecuted they the Prophets 
" which were before you." 

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Spies sent into Canaan— Their false report— Remonstrance of Joshua and 
Cale1>— Intercession of Moses— The Israelites turn hack— are defeated hy the 
Amalekites— Rehdiion of Korah— Aaron's intercession— Aaron's rod. 


The Israelites were now approaching that land which had 
BO long been the object of all their hopes and fears. 

With " a mighty hand, and with an outstretched arm 
'' and with great terribleness, and signs, and with won- 
*' ders,"(Deut. xxvi. 8.) had the Lord brought them forth 
out of the land of bondage, and though from their rebel- 
lious conduct many had forfeited the privilege of entering 
the land of Canaan^ yet did God " remember his holy pro- 
•* mise, and Abraham his servant," (Ps. cv. 42.) and the 
assurance he had given him that he would put his seed in 
possession of the land. 

" And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying. Send thou 
" men, that they may search the land of Canaan, which 
" I give unto the children of Israel." 

It has been supposed by some, from what is said in 
Deut. i. 22. that the Israelites distrusting the power of 
God to protect them against their enemies, took upon 
themselves to send the spies to search the land of Canaan : 
but even if we had not been told the contrary in this 
chapter, we can hardly suppose Moses would have expres- 
sed the satisfaction he did in the following verse, where 
it is written ** the saying pleased me well.*' He was no 
doubt gratified by their prompt obedience to this com- 
mand of God, which need occasion us no surprise, for as 

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I have elsewhere remarked, it has alw«ys been the will of 
Grod, that while he condescends to take pity on the weak- 
ness of his fallen creatures, and to grant them that assis- 
tance without which their own endeavours would avail 
them nothing, yet does he require them to exert them- 
selves as much as if the result depended on their own 
efforts alone. 

Had it pleased the Alnughty, the waters of the Bed sea 
might as soon have parted, and the stream have flowed 
from the rock at the single breath of his word, as through 
the intervention of the rod of Moses, but God would rather 
that his power should be magnified by the successful, result 
with which he is pleased to cro\\n our labours, than that 
they should be superseded by his miraculous inter- 

Thus did he command that the Israelites should send 
persons to ascertain the nature of the country and its in- 
habitants, in order that they might then take the safest 
means to encounter such enemies as might oppose them ; 
at the same time strengthening their faith by those cheering 
words, " Fear not, neither be discouraged." (Deut. i. 21.) 

And to whom were these words addressed? To men, 
who though they had so repeatedly had occasion to acknow- 
ledge the eflScacy of God's power in sustaining them mider 
all trials, yet were so void of that true faith which refei*8 
all events to the overruling providence of God, that they 
heeded not these consoling assurances, but with a coward- 
ly fear magnifying the dangers and difficulties to which 
they conpeived they were exposing themselves, endeav- 
oured to dissuade their brethren from attempting to enter 
the country. 

" And Caleb stilled the people before Moses.** 

The uprightness and integrity of this individual would 
not suffer him to remain silent, foreseeing as he did, the 
consequences which would ensue, if the Israelites believed 
the false report which they had received, and he boldly 
came forward to vindicate the truth, and to encourage 
them in the perfonnance gf their duty, 

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Xr.l Tfi£ PEOPLE. 151 

It was true they had to encounter " walled cities," and 
^'strong enemies," but Caleb had not forgotten how the 
Lord had fought for them on a previous occasion; he knew 
that " hi» arm was not shortened," (Is. lix.l .) and that both 
the walled cities, and the strong enemies would fall before 
them, if only the Lord was on their side ; (Ps. cxxiv.l.) and 
with a foil confidence in this hope, fearlessly exclaimed, 
" Let us go up at once, and possess it, for we are well 
'* able to overcome it." 

Is there not much instruction to be derived from this 
chapter — much that may be spiritually applied to our own 
condition ? may we not compare our state to that of the 
Israelites, who being on the borders of that temporal 
kingdom so long promised to them for their inheritance, 
now were desired to take possession of it, to fear nothing, 
but only to put their trust in that Almighty power, who 
would as surely guide them into the land of Canaan, as* 
he had brought them in safety, "out of the house of 
" bondage." (Ex. xx. 1.) Are not «?e equally on the borders' 
of our heavenly Canaan, trembling under the difficulties 
which cross our path, instead of casting ourselves upon 
that Saviour, who has promised to " guide us into all 
" truth," (John xvi.l3.) and lead us uuto life everlasting? 

" Wherefore, my beloved, work out your own salvation 
•* with fear and trembling : For it is God which worketh in 
" you both to will and to do of his good pleasui-e." 
(Phil. ii. 12.) 

You have both the will and power given you to work 
it out ; tremble therefore lest by any slackness on yoTir part 
you forfeit the assistance of that holy Spirit, by whose aid 
alone you can hope to enter into the kingdom of God. 


**And all the congregation lifted up their voice, and^ 
" cried ; and the people wept that night." ^ 

In vain had Caleb attempted to quiet the apprehen- 
sion$ of the Israelites. " Thev despised the pleasant land i 

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*< tbey belieyed not his word : But murmured in their tents 
•'and hearkened not unto the voice of the Lord." (Ps. 
cvi. 24. 25.] 

" They remembered not his hand, nor the day when he 
"delivered them from the enemy." (Ps. Ixxviii. 42.) but 
lending a willing ear to the evil report that was brought 
them, gave themselves up to despair, and not only 
openly vented their anger against Moses and Aaron, but 
even declared themselves ready to return to their state of 
servitude in Egypt, rather than encounter the dangers 
which were thus set before them. 

" And Joshua the son of Nun, and Caleb the son of 
" Jephunnah, which were of them that searched the land, 
" rent their clothes." 

We can imagine the anguish these good men must have 
felt at seeing such a tumult excited, and the hopelessness 
of any further attempt on their part to quell it. 

In vain did they assure them the land was " an exceed- 
" ing good land," " flowing with milk and honey"; in vaiu 
did they urge them to dismiss all unnecessary fears, re- 
presentmg to them how surely they might depend ou 
God's assistance to bring them in if they rebelled not 
against him ; " they would none of their counsel : they 
*• despised all their reproof, for that they hated knowledge 
•' and did not choose the fear of the Lord."(Prov. i. 29, 80. 

It is thus that the true servant of the Lord will ever 
be forward to defend his master's cause, and proclaim the 
truth, fearless of all consequences. These faithful men 
were not to be deterred from doing their duty, even 
though their lives were to be sacrificed. Nothing but 
their death could satisfy the exasperated multitude, and 
** all the congregation bade stone them with stones." 

What could now have saved them, if it had not been 
for the interference of that Almighty power who " disap- 
** pointeth the devices of the crafty, so that they cannot 
"perform their enterprise." (Job v. 12.) 

In his infinite goodness and mercy, he was pleased to 
interpose in behalf of his chosen servants, as also to pasa 

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judgment on these rebellious sinners, threatening not only 
to deprive them of their promised inheritance, but even 
to sweep them off from the face of the earth. 

" He said that he would destrov them, had not Moses 
"his chosen stood before him m the breach, to turn 
" away his wrath, lest he should destroy them." (Ps. cvi. 23. 

Again does Moses come forward to intercede in their 
behalf, earnestly entreating forgiveness for them. 

He does not attempt to justify his brethren, or tjffer 
any excuse for their sin, nor does he in any way allude to 
the sentence as inconsistent with Divine truth or justice, 
but only pleads the constniction which would be put 
on it by the Egyptians, as well as the inhabitants of the 
land of Canaan. 

And here let us pause to consider how we may apply 
even this circumstance to ourselves. May we not com- 
pare Joshua and Caleb to the ministers of the Gospel, 
preaching in vain to those worldly men who turning a 
deaf ear to aU their remonstrances, choose rather to follow 
the imaginations of their own hearts, and give themselves 
up to the pomps and vanities of this world, than, by 
heeding the instruction given them, to be led into the true 
path of righteousness ? 

We may carry the comparison still further, for as it 
was only through the intercession of Moses, that God was 
pleased to revoke the sentence he had passed upon the 
Israelites, so we know that it is only through our heavenly 
intercessor, " who is the propitiation for our sins,*' that we 
can hope for forgiveness- " Whatsover ye shall ask the 
** Father in my name, he will give it you. "(John xvi. 23.) 
Thus did the great intercessor of the children of Israel 
prevail with that merciful Creator who is " gracious and fuU 
of compassion" (Ps.cxi.4.) towards all his fallen creatures. 

" And the Lord said, I have pardoned according to thy 
*• word." •* It is a people that do err in their hearts, and 
** they have not known my ways". (Ps. xcv .10.) Yet surely 
"they shall not see the land which 1 sware unto their 
** fathers, neither shall any of them that provoked me see it/* 

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" But as truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with. 
" the glory of the Lord." — Although my promises with re- 
gard to this generation be not fulfilled, yet shall I be 
justified in my proceedings against them, and my glory be 
magnified before all the world : as it is written in 
Hab. ii. 14, " For the eai-th shall be filled with the know- 
" ledge of the glory of the Lord." 

Awful indeed was the judgment now denounced upon 
this rebellious nation. 

Arrived on the borders of that promised land to which 
they had so long been looking forward, they were now for 
ever excluded from entering into it. — "I sware in my 
" wrath," saith the Lord, " they shall not enter into my 
"rest."[Heb. iii. 11.] 

" The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, but is 
" long-suifering, — ^not willing that any should perish, but 
" that all should come to repentance." 

Nevertheless, we may be assured of this, that " though 
" a sinner do evil an hundred times, and his days be pro- 
" longed, " [Ecc. viii. 12.) yet will the hour surely arrive, 
when God will judge the righteous and the wicked, and 
award to each according to his work. "Take heed, 
" brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of 
" unbelief, in departing from the living Gk)d. But exhort 
** one another daily, while it is called to day, lest any of 
"you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin." (Heb. 
xii. 13, 14.) 

We may remark here, that while eternal punishment is 
held out to Christians for retribution of their sins in this 
world, the Jews were visited by temporal judgments ; and- 
thus though God in his infinite mercy, and in compassion 
to the ignorance and infirmities of his sinful people, was 
pleased to pardon their sin, yet, that his truth and justice 
might be displayed before all the world, he saw fit to 
inflict a temporal judgment upon the whole nation — a 
judgment, which with their own mouths, they had pro- 
nounced upon themselves, 

''yiTgiild God we lia4 die4 jn thi^ wil4enie§s," J^ittl© 

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did they imagine this wish would be actually fulfilled ; 
that the wilderness was henceforward to be their only 
home ; there they were to live, and there they were to die. 
Like the foolish virgms in the parable, they might in 
vain cry, " Lord, open to us"; (Matt, xxv.l.) the door was 
now shut, and instead of entering the land of Canaan, 
they were ordered to turn back. 

" And the people mourned greatly." Their eyes were 
now opened to the sinfulness and foUy of their conduct, 
and in sorrow and dismay they exclaimed, " We will go 
" up into the place which the Lord hath promised ; for we 
"have sinned." 

They doubtless remembered how ofken on former oc- 
casions, their contrition had restored them to the Divine 
favor, and it is probable they hoped it might be now fol- 
lowed by the same result. 

But no ! they had despised the riches of his goodness 
and forbearance and long-suffering, and did they think 
"they would escape the judgment of God"? (Rom. ii.3.4.) 

Yet " the Lord would not cast off his people, neither 
"would he forsake his inheritance"; (Ps. xciv, 14.) and it 
was in compassion to their weakness, that they were now 
commanded to turn away from those enemies who were 
lying in wait for them, in order that they might escape 
the fate which must have inevitably befallen them, the 
arm of the Almighty being no longer stretched out in 
then* defence. " And Moses said, Wherefore now do ye 
" transgress the commandment of the Lord ? But it shall 
"not prosper. Go not up, for the Lord is not among 
" you, that ye be not smitten before your enemies." 

This people, who but a short time before had des- 
paired of conquering the country, though assured of assis- 
tance from Heaven, now imagined that of themselves 
they were sufficient to drive out the inhabitants, and take 
possession of the land; and turning a deaf ear fco this 
gracious warning, and with a self-confidence (which, had 
it been founded on a proper trust in God, might in the 

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156 r Kouah's [cff^ 

first instance have enabled them to surmonnt all diffi- 
culties,) they now rashly undertook their own defence. 
. The result was such as they might have anticipated. » 

'' The Amaleldtes and the Caaaanites came down and 
"smote them." 

And the Israelites "returned and wept before the 
•• Lord, but the Lord would not hearken to their voice, 
" nor give ear unto them." (Deut. i. 45. ) " They cried, 
" but there was none to save them : even unto the Lord, 
"but he answered them not.*' (?s. xviii. 41.) 

Let us ever remember that it is God only "who 
"makest us dwell in 8afety."( Ps. iv. 8.) "Except the 
" Lord keep the dty, the watchman waketh but in vain." 
(Ps. cxxvii. 1.) 


This Chapter opens with a fresh instance of the ingrati- 
tude of the Israelites towards their leader, whose faith 
and patience were again tried by the jealousy and envy of 
one, who having been selected by the Lord to assist in the 
sacred offices of his tabernacle, ought more especially to 
have set an example to his brethren, in yielding that 
ready deference to the authority of Moses, which was due 
to him, as the chosen servant of the Lord. 

The event related in this chapter is so often alluded 
to in Scripture as the rebellion of Korah, that we are led 
to suppose he was at the head of it, more especially as he 
was of the tribe of Levi, and had therefore his peculiar 
office assigned to him in the tabernacle, which brought 
him into more immediate contact with Moses and Aaron. 

His station however, was inferior to theirs, as it is 
written in chap. iii. 6 — 9, where " the Lord spake unto 
" Moses, saying, Bring the tribe of Levi near, and present 
" them before Aaron the priest, that they may minister 
"unto him." 

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''And they sball keep his charge, and the charge of 
•*the whole congregation before the tabernacle of the 
•• congregation, to do the service of the tabernacle. 

** iid thou shalt give the Levites unto Aaron and to 
** his sons : they are wholly given unto him out of the 
** children of Israel" 

Korah it seems was displeased at being thus placed in 
subordination to Aaron, and angry with Moses, to whom, 
es we have often observed, the Israelites referred all their 
complaints, looking upon him as the author of all their 

Availing himself of the discontented spirit of the peoplfe, 
Korah gathered together the chief princes of the congrega- 
tion, and induced them to unite in open rebellion against 
Moses and Aaron, accusing them of having taken upon 
hcmselves undue authority, ai^ng that they were not 
olier t jan the rest ; that the Lord dwelt equally among 
hem all. 

" And when Moses heard it, he fell upon his face." 

He felt grieved at thus being so undeservedly censured 
for doing that which his conscience told him was right. 

With truth might this holy man have exclaimed with 
David "False witnesses did rise up, they laid to my 
•' charge things that I knew not."(Ps. xxxv. 11.) Yet he 
resented not this unkind behaviour. He attempted no de- 
fence, but again committing himself to that merciful Judge 
who "pleadeth the cause of his people,"(Is.i. 22.) and 
who had before on a similar occasion, vouchsafed to defend 
him against the false accusations of his enemies, quietly 
told them that by a visible sign from Heaven, the Almighty 
would make it appear who were those chosen by him to 
govern and minister in his holy tabernacle. " The Lord 
" knoweth them that are his." (Tim. ii. 19.)They were ac- 
cordingly ordered to bring censers of incense and offer 
them ^er the manner of the priests, (the oflBlce to which 
they pretended themselves entitled) and the result would 
prove whether they were accepted by the Lord. 

This was a moment of great importance to the whole 

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158 kokah's company destroyed. [ch. 

con^egation of Israel ; it would now plainly appear, who 
were the true servants of the Lord, whom he chose should 
be invested with the holy dignity of priesthood. Yet how 
little the result was anticipated, we may infer from the 
readiness with which they brought their censers, and 
gathered all the people around them to witness the event. 

We can scarcely imagine any thing more awful than 
the scene which ensued. The congregation was no sooner 
assembled, and the incense laid on the censers, than the 
Lord suddenly appeared in that symbol of glory, by which 
he was accustomed to manifest his presence to the children 
of Israel. In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, they 
would have been all swept from off the earth, had not 
Moses again interposed in behalf of those who had erred 
from ignorance rather than from premeditated sin. 

These were spared — bnt the sinner's doom had gone 
forth, and the awful judgment which ensued, signalized at 
once, the truth and justice, as weU as the omnipotence of 
the Almighty. 

Now were the Israelites truly alarmed, and fled lest 
they should be included in the same fate : many of them, 
as we read above, having joined in the rebellion and there- 
fore felt conscious they equally deserved punishment : 
nor were they long kept in suspense. " There came out 
" a fire from the Lord, and consumed the two hundred and 
"fifty men that offered incense." 

Like the sons of Aaron, they had profaned the service 
of the Lord, and a similar judgment awaited their crime. 
The very censers having been improperly used were no 
longer to serve for the purpose of incense, although from 
their having been once consecrated for the service of the 
holy tabernacle, they were considered as hallowed things, 
and therefore not to be destroyed. They were to be con- 
verted into a covering for the altar, there to remain as "a 
" memorial unto the children of Israel," that the Lord 
would only accept offerings from such as were of the 
"seed of Afiron." 

One might have supposed that such a signal event 

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would have silenced the Israelites, and convinced them 
at once of the folly of attempting to resist the will of 
God. *' But they obeyed not, neither inclined their ear, 
** but made their neck stiff, that they might not hear nor 
"receive instruction." (Jer. xvii. 23.) 

The spiritual blindness of the Israelites, before alluded 
to, (see Page 121) was never more apparent than at this 
period. They refused to acknowledge the hand of the 
Almighty, and instead of humbling themselves at the 
throne of grace, persisted in their accusation against 
Moses and Aaron, charging them now with having caus^ 
the death of these sinners. 

Well might the Almighty say, " I have spread out my 
** hands all the day unto a rebellious people which walketh 
** in a way that was not good, after their own thoughts j 
" a people that provoketh me to anger continually to my 
« face." (Isa. kv. 2, 3.) 

The patience and forbearance of God had been tried to 
the utmost, and even Moses no longer ventured to inter- 
cede for his sinful brethren. 

" And the Lord spake unto Moses saying, Get you np 
" from among this congregation, that I may consume them 
" in a moment." 

Wh{tt would now have been their fate if it had noif 
been for the atonement made by Aaron ? "He stood 
•* between the living and the dead, and the plague wa» 
" stayed ! " 

The punishment of Korah with his two associates! 
Dathan and Abiram, is one of the most striking instances 
of the divine popper. That it should have failed to have 
made that impnession on the Israelites which might have 
been expected, can only be attributed to the natural stub-- 
bomness of the heart of man, before it has been softened 
by the grace of God, and only serves the more strongly to 
convince us, how essential that grace is to the renewing of 
our minds, and to the effecting that change in our hearts, 
which alone can render us fit to eater the kingdom of 


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160 aOD LAID UP. [CH. XI.*] 

Let us not therefore suppose, that because these men 
*• suffered such things," they were shiners above all men : 
" I tell you, nay ; but except ye repent, ye shall all like- 
"wise perish." (Luke xiii. 2, 3.) 

" If he that despised Moses' law died without mercy, — 
** of how much sorer punishment shall we be thought 
" worthy, if we sin wilfully after that we have received the 
"knowledge of the truth." (Heb.x. 26, 28, 29.) 

"There is none righteous, no, not one." (Eom. iii. 10.) 
We are all guilty in the sight of God, and we may rest as- 
aiured that it is only through the intercession of our High 
raest, who stands now between the living and the dead, 
that we can hope to obtain mer<^ of God who " is of purer 
" eyes than to behold evil, and cannot look on iniquity." 
(Hab. i. 13.) 

In order the more effectually to put a stop to the rebel- 
lious murmurings of the Israelites, and to silence aU dis- 
putes respecting the priesthood, the Almighty was pleased 
to work another miracle which should convince them that 
it was a divine institution, and to be confined to the 
family of Aaron. 

That this might be borne in mind by future generations 
the rod of Aaron was to be laid up as a token of the same 
in the tabernacle of witness, so called from the ark being 
kept in it, which contained the witness or testimony of 
God's wiU delivered in the ten commandments: (See 
page 110.) and in order to give still greater weight to 
Aaron's authority, a detail is again given of all the minute 
directions respecting the Priesthood, being for the most 
part a repetition of what had been said before, with an 
express command that no other person was to perform 
the office, or interfere in any way. 

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Moses strlies the rock— Dsathof Aaron<»l8rael defeated at Hormah— T]i« 
Brazen Serpent. 


An interval of nearly twenty years had now elapsed, 
without any account being transmitted to us respecting 
the Israelites. 

That they were, during the whole of that period, wander- 
ing to and fro in the wilderness, under the immediate 
controul of God's providence, we may be assured, from 
their making no attempt,, or if they did, failing in their 
endeavours, either to return back to Egypt, or advance to- 
wards the land of Canaan. 

How this was effected, it is impossible for us to say, 
but that the omnipotence of the Deity was displayed in a 
most signal manner, is certain from the simple fact men- 
tioned by Moses in "Deut. viii, 4. where he says ; "Thy 
** raiment waxed not old upon thee, neither did thy foot 
** «well these forty years. 

From the silence in which Moses passes over this long 
period, we must infer that nothing occurred which it con- 
<;enis us to know. All these events St. Paul tells us " are 
** written for our admonition" ; " wherefore let him that 
^thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fa]l."(l- Cor« 
X. 11, 12.) 

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162 MOSES [CH. 

The Apostle in these words, plainly points out to us 
the lesson they are intended to convey, — that extreme 
watchfulness which every Christian ought to maintain 
over his own conduct, it he would acquire that spiritual- 
mindedness befitting a true disciple of Jesus Christ. 

For this reason, even the failings of the best men are 
imparted to us, in order tlw; more strongly to impress 
upou onr minds, what 1 have said before, ** There is none 
" that doeth good." (^s. xvi. 1.) We all " like sheep have 
" gone astray." (Is. liii.6.) The leaven of A<lam's sin tainted 
the whole creation, and we shall perceive from the inci- 
dent related in this chapter, that Moses himself, whom we 
have hitherto regarded as such a model of patience and 
meekness, even he was not exempt from those passions 
inherent in the nature of man. 

The Israelites were again suffering from the privation 
of water, and with the same forgetfulness they had so re- 
peatedly shewn, of the mercies they had received at the 
hand of God, and the readiness with which he had ever 
listened to their prayers when offered in a proper spirit, 
they again appealed to Moses to relieve their wants, and 
as they had done on previous occasions, accused him of 
being the cause of their distress. 

" And Moses and Aaron went from the presence of the 
" assembly unto the door of the tabernacle of the congre- 
" gat ion, and they fell upon their faces : and the glory of 
'* the Lord appeared unto them :" the expression, "fall- 
" ing on their faces," meaning, the act of prostrating them- 
selves in an humble attitude of prayer. 

We have no reason to doubt the faith with which 
Moses offered up his petition to the Almighty. He had 
ever received a gracious answer to his prayer, and it is 
therefore probable he equally anticipated a favorable re^ 
suit on the present occasion. Yet his meekness seems in 
this instance to have forsaken him, and though the Lord 
"hearkned to him at that time also," [Deut. ix. 19.] fur- 
nishing, him with a fresh opportunity of glorifying his 
name, and magnifying his power before the children of 

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Israel, yet did he choose to take the glory to himself, 
sayinof, " Hear now ye rebels ; must we fetch you water 
"out of this rock?"" 

Truly he smote the rock, and the water came oat 
abundantly ; the Lord was gracious to his people as hereto- 
fore. " He regarded their affliction, when he heard their 
** cry ;" but " it went ill with Moses for their sakes : 
*' Because they provoked his spirit, so that he spake uuad* 
**visedly with his lips." (Ps. cvi. 34.) 

" And the Lord spake unto Moses and Aaron, Because 
**ye believed me not, to sanctify me in the eyes of the 
** children of Israel, therefore ye shall not brin": this conr 
*' gregation into the land which I have given them." 

It appears from this, that Aaron was equally guilty in 
the eyes of Him who "knoweth the thoughts of man.'XPs. 
xciv. 1].) 

To those who read this chapter without giving it that 
attention, with which the Scriptures must be studied by 
all who would duly understand the word of God, the 
judgment passed upon Moses m;iy appear severe. But 
let them remember, that to " whomsoev t much is given 
*'of him shall be much required :" "The servant which 
"knew his Lord's will, and prepared not himself, neither 
"did according to his will, shall be baaten wjth many 
** stripes." (Luke xii. 47. 4 8.) 

We know that Moses had been appointed by God to act 
as mediator between him and the Israelites, antl as such 
he was the chosen instrument to shew forth the Lord's 
power, and to proclaim his glory before Ihe peojde of Israel. 
This glory he now took to himself, thus continuing the 
Israelites in the siu to which they had been so peculiarly 
addicted, — that of considering their wants to have been 
supplied by his hands rather than by the mii*aculous power 
of the Almighty. 

From the supernatural assistance by which he liad been 
enabled to effect so many miracles, the Israelites had been 
accustomed to look up to him as a person peculiarly 
favoured by God^ and consequently greatly exalted above 

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them all. Ought he not therefore to have been the more 
watrhfiil lest he " entered into temptation ?" To the 
Israelites, he was as " a light that shineth in a dark place/' 
(2 Pet. i. 19.) What then must they have thought, when 
they saw that even he had incurred the displeasure of 
the Almighty ? that the Lord had withdrawn " the light 
" of his countenance'* ( Ps. iv, 6.) from him, and had in- 
flicted upon him the same punishment which had bee& 
awarded them for their disobedience. 

That Moses felt it deeply, we may infer from what he 
)Miys in Deut. iii. 23. where in allusion to this circum- 
stance, he tells them that " he besought the Lord" that he 
might " see the good land.** 

In like manner did St. Paul beseech the Lord to re- 
move the thorn in his flesh, (which was probably some 
mental or bodily infirmity with which it had pleased God 
for some wise reasons to afflict him.) " My grace is suffi- 
" cient for thee,'* was the consoling reply given to St. Paul, 
"for my strength is made perfect in weakness.** (2. Cor, 
xii. 8. 9.) "When we pray to God to remove our trials, we 
may rest assured that our prayers are equally granted if we 
only receive support under them. St. Paul was fully 
satisfied with this assurance, and we may be sure Moses 
equally acquiesced in the sentence passed upon him, when 
the Lord answered him saying " Let it suffice thee ; speak 
"no more unto me of this matter.'*(Deut. iii. 26.) 

Although it was fit that the Lord should be " sanctified** 
that while his mercy was extended to the Israelites in the 
relief he granted to them, his justice should at the same 
time be displayed in the punishment of Moses — ^yet, we 
may believe not only that this chosen servant was again 
received into favor, but that his latter end was especially 
blessed ; for though it is said in Deut. xxxiv. 5. that he 
" died," it is nevertheless probable that like the prophet 
Elijah, he was taken away from this earth in Ids bodily 
form. This we may gather from two reasons : first, from 
the fact of his burial place being unknown to every one. 
(flee Deut, xxxiv. 6.) Secondly, from his re-appearance oa 

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Xll.] 6L0BT TO GOD. 165 

the mount at the trausfiguration of our Saviour, (see 
Matt. xvii. 3.) 

Thus even did his latter end prefigure that of our 
Saviour, inasmuch as his body underwent no corruption : a 
fact, distinctly foretold by David of Jesus Christ. 

"Thou wUt not leave my soul in hell, neither vdlt 
"thou suffer thine Holy one to see cori-uption." (Ps. 
xvi. 10.) 

Before we proceed in our history', 1 am desirous of 
pointing out to you the practical application which may be 
drawn from the circumstance we have just noticed. 

In these days, it is not probable we should any of us 
be called upon like Moses to work a miracle, but we are 
so far similarly circumstanced that, as I have elsewhere re- 
marked, we know we can do nothing without the assist- 
ance of God's holy spirit, and if by his grace we have 
been enabled to perform any good, or resist any evil, to Him 
be all the praise. If instead of giving the gloi-y where 
alone it is due, we take credit to ourselves for these 
things, be assured we are committing the same sin 
Moses did, and shall have to answer for it at the day of 

" Whether ve eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do 
" all to the gloiT of God." (1 Cor. x. 31.) 

And now the time was drawing near, when after forty 
years wandering in the wilderness, a nc^w generation 
having succeeded to those whose misconduct had forfeited 
the promised inheritance, the Israelites were at length to 
take possession of the land of Cnnaam. 

" And the Lord spaki* unto Moses, spying, Ye have 
''compassed this mountain" (mount Scir) *'Iong enough; 
" turn you northward. And command thou the people 
** saying, Ye are to pass through the coast of your brethren 
"the children of Esau, which dwell in Seir, and they shall 
** be afraid of you ; take ye good heed unto yourselves 
" therefore ; meddle not with them ; for 1 will not |3p>e 
"you of their land, uo, not so much as a foot breadth, 

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1^6 ISRAEL VOWS X VOW. [cs. 

" because I have given Mount Seir unto Esau for a pofr* 
" 8ession."(I>eut. ii. 3.-5.) 

The Edpinites were all descended from Esau the twin 
brother of Jacob, and for that reason were to be exempted 
from the general destruction ; as it is written in Pent, 
^qiiii. 7. "thou shalt not abhor an Edomite: for he is thy 
" brother." 

Notwithstanding however the pacific disposition they 
-shewed towards them, the Edomites nevertheless refused 
tp let them pass through their country : " wherefore Israel 
"turned away and came unto Mount Hor;" the spot 
where it was ordained by God that Aaron should end his 
(Jays. Accordingly he died there, " and Moses stripped 
" Aaron of his garments, and put them upon Eleazar his 
"son;" in pursuance of the command delivered to Moses 
IP Exod. xxix. 29. " and the holy garments of Aaron shall 
*' be bis sons' after him.'* 


A fresh trial now awaited the Israelites. They wer# 
not only brought to face those enemies whom they had so 

greatly dreaded, but it pleased God to suffer they should 
e deftmted, in order no doubt, to make them feel the 
more strongly their dependance on him for succour in all 
their future battles with the Canannites. Thus does our 
Heavenly Father try our faith by affliction, only that we 
may in the end be brought nearer to him : as David says, 
"I found trouble and sorrow: then called I upon the 
"napie ofthe Lord." (Ps. cxvi. 3. 4.) 

No sooner did the Israelites find themselves in the 
power of their enemies than they felt how incompetent 
they were to defend themselves without assistance from 

" And Israel vowed a vow unto the Lord, and said, 
" If thou wilt indeed deliver this people into my hand, 
** jtheu I will uttt^rly destroy tlieir cities." 

Th^s iioes the siimer, when smitten by the baud of God, 

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look back with contrition on all liis evil ways, and praj 
that his life may be spjired in order that he may have 
opportunity for retrieving the past, and leturning to the 
path from which he has so grievously strayed. 

"And the Lord hearkened to the voice of Israel, and 
** delivered up the Canannites ; and they utterly destroyed 
"them aud their cities." 

"He will fulfil the desire of them tbat fear him ; he 
"also will hear their cry, and will save them," (Pa. 
cxlv. 19.) 

By the hand of the Almighty were the Israelites de- 
livered from the hands of their enemies, yet alas 1 like the 
sinful wretch who is no sooner restored to health, than 
forgetful of all the mercies he has received he returns with 
fresh vigour to his evil coiu'se, — " they forgot his works, 
" and the wonders that he had shewed them." (?s. Ijcxviii. 
18.) The remembrance of this signal ileliverimce was 
soon effaced from their minds ; they turned unto their evil 
ways, and again "provoked the Holy One of Israel.*' 
(Isai. i. 4.) 

They " spake against God, and against Moses, Where- 
** fore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the 
"wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any 
" water ; and our soul loathetli this liglit bread." 

Instead of marching boldly forward to take possession 
of the land "flowing with milk and honey," they again 
broke forth into lanuntations because the daily supply of 
food with which the Lord had been so graciously pleased 
to provide them, was not exactly what they would them- 
selves have chosen. Such ingratitude was no longer to be 
overlooked, and a fearful judgment now awaited them— 
" The Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and 
"they bit the people, and much people of Israel died.*' 

This had the desred effect.— " When he slew them 
"then they sought him : aud they returned and enquired 
"early after God." (Ps.lxxviii. 34.) 

They acknowledged the justice of the Almighty, and 

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made an humble confession of their sins, praying that the 
judgment might be removed. 

And now I would earnestly call your attention to the 
manner in which this was effected. *' By the word of the 
*' Lord were the heavens made ; and all the host of them 
" by the breath of his mouth ;" (Ps. xxxiii. 6.) and had 
the Lord spoken but a single word, the sufferings of the 
Israelites might have been as easily removed, but it pleased 
the Almighty to provide a remedy which from its pe- 
culiar nature, was to be a standing type of that spiritual 
cure sent by the grace of God for, " the healing of the 
" nations." (Kev. xxii. 2.) 

" And the Lord said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery 
" serpent, and set it upon a pole, and it shall come- to 
" pass, tliat every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon 
" it shall live." 

Thus does the Almighty ever temper his judgments 
with mercy. " He hatli not dealt with us after our sins ; 
"nor rewarded us according to our iniquities." (Ps. ciii. 
10.) Althongh in his infinite wisdom he saw fit by this 
dreadful scourge to rouse the Israelites from their sinful 
state, yet did he at the same time provide a means by 
which they might esciipe the danger, and be awakened to 
a sense of his mercy and lovinsj; kindness. 

Kow let us compare our state with that of the Israelites. 
Are we not all sufferers from the bite of "that old serpent 
** called the devil"? (Rev. xii. 9.) And what is the cure 
"which God in his sovereign mercy has prepared for us? 

" Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the 
" earth, for I am God, and there is none else," were the 
prophetic words uttered by Isaiah, in allusion to that 
Saviour who was to come into the world, and who, when 
he was come, told his disciples himself that " as Moses 
"lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the 
" son of man be lifted up : that whosoever belie veth in him 
" should not perish, but have eternal life." (John iii. 14.) 

Neither does the comparison end here ; the brazen ser- 
pent was fashioned afler the real one, but without sting 

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XII.] ▲ TYPE OP CHB18T. 169 

or venom : even so, did *• God send his own son, made in 
" tlio likeness of men,"(Kom. viii. 3.) yet " who did no sin, 
" neither was guile found in his mouth." (2 Pet. ii. 22.) 

What could be more improbable in the eyes of the 
Israelites, than that the mere sight of the image would 
remove their sufferings P and was not the crucifixion of 
of our Saviour " unto the Jews a stumbling block, and 
" unto the Greeks foolishness."(2 Cor. i. 23.) " Ye will not 
"come to me that ye might have life," (John v. 40.) were 
the emphatic words of our Saviour to his unbelieving 
hearers, and how many there are even in these days, who 
refusing to "look unto Jesus, " (Heb. xii. 2.) like Demas, 
" having loved this present world," (Tim. iv. 10.) continue 
their evil course, knowing that " the end of those things 
"is death." (Eom. vi. 21. 23.) 

" For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is 
" eternal Kfe through Jesus Christ our Lord." 

May we then never read this chapter as a mere narrative 
in which we have no concern. It applies spiritually to 
every one of us, and of all the circumstances relating to 
the Israelites, it is perhaps the one, from which we may 
derive the most instruction. Christ is still lifted up in the 
sight of all men, by those ministers of the Gospel who 
duly preach the word of God. Let us then not fail to 
give heed to their doctrines, " looking unto Jesus, the 
"author and finisher of our faith" (Heb. xii. 2.) and be 
assured that even as he stretched out his hand to save 
his faithless disciple, (Matt. xiv. 21.) so will it also be 
extended to all those who * with hearty repentance and 
true faith turn unto him.' 

A period of thirty eight years had now elapsed since the 
Israelites had turned back into the wilderness, and "all 
" the generation of the men of war were wasted from among 
" the host, as the Lord sware unto them,' ' (the men of 
war meaning probably such as were grown up.) " For in- 
" deed the hand of the Lord was against them, to de- 
" stroy them from among the host, until they were con- 
*' sumed. So it came to pass when all the men of war wer^ 

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' ' oonsmned and dead from among the people,"(Deu. ii 14.) 
that the children of Israel set forward again on their 
journey to the land of Canaan : and we may observe thai 
the Lord continaed to direct them in their course, for 
though it is here mentioned that they pitched in the 
valley of Zared, yet if we compare this passage with Deut. 
ii. 13. we shall find it was at the express command of 
God ; for there it is written, " Rise up, and get you over 
"the brook Zered," or valley as it expressed in the 

We read also in the same chapter, that not only the 
Edomites, but the children of Ammon and the Moabites 
being descendants of the righteous Lot, (see Gen. xix. 37. 
38.) were likewise to be spared in the general destruction 
which awaited the Ganaanites : for the time was now at 
hand for the fulfilment of that prophecy, contained in the 
•ong of Moses, 

**The people shall hear, and be afraid : sorrow shall 
" take hold on the inhabitants of Palestina." 

" Then the dukes of Edom shall be amazed ; the mighty 
" men of Moab, trembling shall take hold upon them; all 
" the inhabitants of Canaan shall melt away." 

" Fear and dread shall fall upon them ; by the great- 
" ness of thine arm they shall be as still as a stone, till 
" thy people pass over, O Lord, till the people pass over, 
"which thou hast purchased." (Ex. xv. 14. 16.) 

Now compare this with Deut. ii. 23. ** This day will I 
** begin to put the dread of thee, and the fear of thee upon 
" the nations that are und^ the whole heaven, who shall 
" hear report of thee, and shall tremble and be in anguish 
" because of thee." 

" Fear not, 1 am thy shield,"(Gen. xv. 1.) was the con- 
soling assurance given to Abraham, and the same promise 
of protection was now extended to his posterity. 

" Dread not, neither be afraid of them. The Lord 
"your God which goeth before you, he shall fight for you, 
" accordifi«i^ to all that he did for you in Egypt before 
" your eye8."(Deut. i. 29, 30.) 

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In like manner may the faithful Christian console him* 
self with the conviction, that in all his conflicts with his 
spiritual enemies the arm of the Almighty is equally stretch- 
ed forth in his defence, and that even as the Lord har- 
dened the spirit of Sihon king of Heshbon, that he might 
deliver him into the hands of the Israelites, (see Deut. ii. 
30.) so will he " bruise Satan under his feet," (Rom. xvi. 
20.) and thus secure his entrance into the promised land, 
purchased for him by the blood of his Saviour. 

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tsrael in Mosb— Balak and Balaam ^Balaam's Parable—Idolatry of tha 
t sraelites — Phinehas* 


The several jourtieys of the Israelites being now ended, 
they took up their station in the plains of Moab, where 
they remained until after the death of Moses. 

" And Moab was sore afraid of the people because they 
**were many, and Moab was distressed because of the 
** children of Israel." 

Balak king of Moab, could not behold with unconcern 
this vast multitude established in his country, — ^ people of 
whom he had doubtless heard such marvellous doings, 
as could leave no doubt of their being under the protec- 
tion of a superior Being. 

He " saw all that Israel had done to the Amorites/* 
and though they shewed no hostile intention towards 
himself, yet in number they were '* many," and in strength 
they were " mighty," and he might feel if any provocations 
should arise between them, how vain it would be to op- 
pose human strength, against a people who were evi- 
dently fighting under the banners of an invisible power, 
and by whom so many had already been subdued. 

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He resolved therefore to adopt other means of ridding 
himself of the children of Israel, — means, which at once 
betrayed the weakness of his mind, and his disbelief of 
a true God. 

He sent for Balaam a " soothsayer,*' (Josh, xiii, 22.) 
to curse the people ; thinking to oppose the voice of maa 
against the omnipotence of the Almighty ! 

It was a superstitious ceremony among the heathens 
to utter curses against their enemies, under the idea that 
their Gods enabled them by this means to devote them 
to destruction, and Balaam being a prophet of note, it 
was doubtless thought that his imprecations would there- 
fore have the greater effect. 

But "woe to them that devise iniquity." (Mic. ii. 1.) 
" A man's heart deviseth his way, but the Lord directeth 
•*his steps;" (Prov. xvi. 9.) and we shall see how the 
liord, by the words which he put into the mouth of his 
prophet, brought " the counsel of the heathen to nought," 
and rendered his "device of none effect." (Ps. xxxiii. 10.) 

Balaam though a heathen was nevertheless as I observed 
above, a true prophet, and though his religion was blended 
with the superstitions of the idolaters aroimd him, yet that 
he worshipped the tme God is evident, by his calling the 
Lord his God, and seeking counsel of him in prayer. But 
though he spake with his lips, yet his "heart was not 
"right with God." (Ps. Ixxviii. 37.) He sought counsel, 
bnt he heeded it not, and he could not withstand the 
temf tations held out to him. 

"Thou shalt not go with them; thou shalt not curse 
"the people, for they are blessed," was the answer he 
received from Heaven. Nevertheless, he not only listened 
to the messengers of Balak, but even induced tliem to 
stay, in hopes that a second application might be more 
favorably received. But with God there " is no variable- 
"ness, neither shadow of turning;" (James i. 17.) and 
though he permitted him to go, it was doubtless in order 
to bring him back to a sense of his duty, as well as to 
magnify his own power in the sight of the Heathen. 

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174 BAIAAK. [CH. 

That Balaam went in direct opposition to the will of 
Grod, is endent, since it is said in the next verse, that 
** God's anger was kindleci because be went.'* He had 
pi'OYoked the Lord by his importunities, and had incurred 
his displeasure ; " and the angel of the Lord stood in the 
"way for an adversary against him." The Almighty' 
works out his purposes by various ends, and adopts- 
various ways of reclaiming his sinful creatures, and it 
pleased him now by a miracle, to open Balaam *s eyes to 
the sinfulness of his conduct. He sent an angel to with- 
stand him, "because his way was perverse before him." 
(see v. S2.) Thus was Balaiim " rebuked for his iniquity, 
^'the dumb ass speaking with man's voice, forbad t&fr 
" madness of the prophet." (2 Pet. ii. 16.) 

"And Balaam said unto the angel of the Lord, I httre 

He was now brought to an open acknowledgment of 
his fault, and expressed his readine&s to return back, if 
such was the wDl of God. 

But no — God's purpose was not yet fulfilled. The 
heathen king had yet to learn that there was a God above 
who could frustrate the evil intentions of the wicked : 
who could " turn the curse into a blessing." (Dent, xxiii.5.) 

Before we close this chapter, let us reflect upon the 
character of Balaam, and we shall find that the sin whiek 
caused him to go astray and act in disobedience to God's 
commands, was covetousness. He knew what was his 
duty, for God had expressly told him he was not to go ; 
he could not therefore plead ignorance as his excuse,, but 
listened to the evil suggestions of a selfish passion, and' 
thus sufi'ered himself to be led astray from the path he 
ought to have pursued. 

May his example teach ns to guard especially i^mai 
this sin. " Take heed and beware of covetousness," says 
our Saviour, " for a mau''^ life consisteth not in the abnnd- 
" ance of the things which he possesseth." (Luke xiL 16.) 
And St. Peter in s^U stronger language speaks of those- 
who. " exercise their heart with covetous pmctieea'^ asr 

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3111.] BALAAU'& PABABLB. 175 

« earsed cliildr6ii, wMoh have fdrsaken the riglxt way» and 
'*»e gme astray^ fdifewing the wi^ of Balaam the ton of 
** BoflBor, who loved the wages of tumghieousiiess/' (2 Pet 
IL 14, 15.) 


Baiak datiiBfied by the ar^al of Balaam, that he had 
listened to hid request, and that his wishes were about to 
be gratified, lost no lime in making preparations for the 
solemn event, which he imagined would effectually cru& 
the power of Israd. He buflt his altars, and got ready 
Us sacrifices, and " he went to an high plaee,'^ the usual 
resort among the heathens for the celebration of then: 
idolatrous rites ; and probably selected especially on this 
occasion, as commandmga view of the Israelites ''abiding 
"in their tents. 

And now we may miagme the anidefy with which he 
Hstened for the words which should fall from the mouth 
of Balaam, who after again praying to God for the gui- 
dance of his holy spirit, "took up his parable,''! 

It liaay be Wdl to remark here on tie d^ertnf signifi- 
cations of the word "paraWe" which, in this instance as 
wieE 89 in some others, bears a different Interpretation 
front the due with whM perhaps w^ are most familiar, 
ftoni the frequettey with which it eceurs in the Gospels, 
wfiere ^ signdbs a fictitious narrative', conveying instruc- 
tion from its connexion with any point or fact which it 
nlay be intended to ifllostrate. 

In the Seventy-eight Psrirtr, where Jt is written, •*!! 
••wfll open my mouth m tt parable, I will utter dark sayi 
""ings of old,"f it implies merely a narrative of an histor& 
eal faet, wh^ here the term is used to express the ele^ 
vated and poetie language in which Balaam poured forth 
Ms strain of prophecy, and truly subfime was the *'^pattH 
ble" he uttered. 

We can scarcely be surprised that "Balak's anger was 
^kindled against Balaam," at fiindinghtt'ezpeotationsfrns^ 


Digitized by VjOOQ IC 

176 BALAAM. [CH. 

trated, his curses turned to blessings, and the children of 
Israel thus openly acknowledged as a people peculiarly 
favoured by the Almighty ; while, at the same time the 
wrath of Heaven was denounced on the surrounding coun- 
tries, and that destruction foretold which was accomplished 
in the days of Saul and David, (see 1 Sam. xv. and 2 Sam. 
viii.) The prophecy with regard to the " sceptre" was 
also literally fulfilled in David, though we may consider 
that, as well as the " Star," as pointing to a later period : 
applying spiritually to the Messiah, to whom David alludes 
when he says. The Lord is king for " ever and ever : the 
" heathen are perished out of his land. " (Ps. x. 16.) 

Our Saviour himself is often spiritually alluded to in 
the Prophecies under the name of David, as in Ezekiel, 
xxxiv. 23. where the Almighty speaking of Chrisf;, says, 
" I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed 
" them, even my servant David." 

The " star" we know appeared at the birth of our 
Saviour, and it was probably this prophecy which led the 
Jews to look for it, and also gave rise to their expectations 
of a temporal king. 

Balak made no further attempt to detain Balaam. He 
was fiilly satisfied that the words he had uttered were dic- 
tated by a superior Being, over whom he had no con- 
troul, and this he openly acknowledged to Balaam, by 
saying to him, "I thought to promote thee unto great 
honor; but lo ! the Lord hath kept thee back from 

It might surprise us, that oonvijiced as he must now 
have been of the existence of an omnipotent Deity, he 
should not at once have renounced his idols, and worship- 
ped Him J but if we wonder at him, how much greater 
cause have we to be astonished at those persons, who 
having been baptized in the faith of Christ, call themselves 
Christians, and yet by their outward conduct shew them- 
selves utterly unworthy of the name. 

It 19 sueh as these of whom St Paul is speaking, when 
". " It is impossible for those who were once en- 

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** lightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and 
*' were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted 
•* the good word of God, and the powers of the world to 
" come, if they shall fall away, to renew them again 
" unto repentance ; seeing they crucify to themselves the 
" son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame," (Heb. 
Ti. 4—6) 

- " If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them." 
(John. xiii. 7.) 


Among the commands delivered to the Israelites, tUe 
one most peremptorily enforced, and oftenest repeated, was 
that against idolatry. 

" Take heed to thyself, lest thou make a covenant with 
" the inhabitants of the land whither thou goeat, and do 
" sacrifice unto their Gods, and one call thee, and thou 
" take of their daughters unto thy sons ; " (Ex. xxxiv 12. 
15, 16.) was the strict injunction of One who knew the 
weakness and infirmities of his creatures, and foresaw the 
temptations to which they would be exposed, when settled 
in a country where the worship of the true God was 
^unknown. That period was now arrived. They had not 
remained long in the country of Moab, before they gave 
proof of the depravity of their hearts in suflPering them- 
selves to be led astray by the evil example of those 
around them. 

They partook of the sacrifices of the idolaters ! they 
"bowed down to their Gods — ^Israel joined himself to 
« Baal-peor/' ! 

That nation whonuGod had " chosen out of the world" 
(John XV. 19.) to uphold his worship, and to represent 
his holy Church on earth, were now falling down before 
idols of stone I The second commandment was broken ! 

"And the anger of the Lord was kindled against 
"Israel." We do not even find Moses interceding for 
them. They had committed an heinous crime, one which 

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demanded tlie utmost yeogeanee of tlie Almigkty ; and the 
same punishment which had been denounced on theif fore- 
fiithers for worshipping the golden calf, was now inflicted 
upon them. 

** Moses said unto the judges of Israel, Slay ye eyeiy 
"one his men that were joined unto Baal-peor." 

Although the leaven of idolatry had so fearfully spread 
among the oongregatiouy and tainted so many ol its mem-, 
bers, yet were there some, who not only escaped ihe pol«^ 
lution, but came forward with a zealous indignation to 
support the cause of the Almighty. Among these was 
Phinehas the son of the high priest, whose sseal for God 
led him to take upon himself the execution of judgment 
on two of the sinners, and that he was justified in so doing 
we know, by the blessing bestowed upon him for it. 

'"Dien stood up Phinehas, and executed judgment: 
** and so the pbgue was stayed. And that was counted 
" unto him for righteousness unto all generations for ever- 
"more." (Ps. cvi. 30,31.) 

" The Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Phinehas, the son 
^ of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest hath turned my 
** wrath away from the children of Israel, whfle he was 
'* zealous for my sake among them, that I consumed not 
•* the children of Israel in my jealousy.'* • 

" Wherefore say. Behold I give unto him my covenant of 
" peace, and he shall have it, and his seed after him, even 
•• ttie covenant of an everlasting priesthood, because he was 
" zealous for his Qod, and made an atonement for the 
"children of Israel." 

The Priesthood continued in his family, till the end of 
the Jewish dispensation, when it was perfected in the 
eternal Priesthood of Christ " who is consecrated for ever- 
"more." (Heb. vii. 28.) 

Prom this summaiy pumshment inflicted on the 
Israelites, we may judge of the magnitude of the crime 
they had committed, and that however great the tempta- 
Hon which had been thrown in their way, it offered no 
excuse for them in the sight of Qod, 

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xiii.] Balaam's evil advice. 179 

It appears that not only the Moabites, but the IVIidi- 
iuutes also, had been giulty of enticing Israel into the 
commission of this sin ; the women of that country being 
expressly mentioned by Moses in Chap. xxxi. 16. as hav- 
ing " though the counsel of Balaam, caused the children 
*' of Israel to commit trespass agdnst the Lord." 

No particulars relstimg to this circumstance are speci- 
fied in the history of Balaam, yet it is not only alluded 
to as abore mentioned, but also in the Eevelations, (Chap, 
ii. 14.) where the displeasure of God is denounced against 
such as " hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak 
*' to citsi a stumbling block before the children of Israel, 
*' to eat things sacrificed unto idols." We may therefore 
oonclude, that when he pronounced that there was neither 
*' iniquity" nor " perverseness" in Israel, — ^that " the Lord 
*' his Gk)d was with him^" he led Balak to infer that if by 
throwing temptations in their way, he might induce them 
to do that which would draw down upon them the wrath 
of Heaven, they would thus be deprived of God's favor 
and protection, and he would be able to subdue them. 

But " the counsel of man cometh to nought." (see Acts« 
V. 38.) 

'' The heathen are sunk down in the pit that they made ; 
** in the net which they hid is their own foot taken." 

" The Lord is known by the judgment which he execu- 
** teth ; the wicked is snared in the work of his own hands." 
(Ps. ix. 15. 16.) 

These words may truly be applied to the Moabites who 
were completely subdued by David ; all, whose lives were 
spared, " becoming his servants." (see 2 Sam. viii. 2.) 

We may learn two things from this chapter. First, the 
severity with which God will visit those, who either by 
counsel or example may lead their brethren to do that 
which they know to be wrong. 

Secondly: That being tempted by others, is no excuse 
for our sins. 

If you turn to St. Paul's first Epistle to the Corinthians 
(Chap. viiL 9.) you will observe how he bids them take 

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heed, lest by any means, tteir liberty should become a 
'stumbling block to them that were weak. He is there 
alluding to the religious scniples of the Jews, which he 
observes it would be better for them to comply with, 
rather than through their knowledge "a weak brother 
" should perish, for whom Christ died." But the appli- 
cation we are to draw from it is this, that we ought to 
abstain even from things innocent in themselves, if in 
partaking of them, we cause another to do what he thinka 
wrong ; " wherefore'* St. Paul adds, " if meat make my 
" brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world 
"standeth, lest I make my brother to offend." (1 Cor. 
viii. 13.) 

At the same time let us remember that the example of 
others will never justify us in the commission of any 
crime. The Israelites did not escape punishment because 
they were tempted by Balak, and when Adam pleaded as 
an excuse for his sin that Eve "had given lum of the 
"tree," what was the answer he received? "Because 
" thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and 
" hast eaten of the tree of which i commanded thee, say- 
" ing, Thou shalt not eat of it ; cursed is the ground for 
" thy sake." (Gen. iii. 17.) 

There is no temptation, which by the grace of God, 
we may not withstand, if we only implore the aid of his 
Holy Spirit. 

" For we have not an High-priest which cannot be 
" touched with the feeling of our infirmities," — (Heb. vii. 
15.) " in that he himself hath suffered bemg tempted he is 
" able to succour them that are tempted. " (Heb. ii. 18.) 
Blessed is the man that endureth temptation, for 
" when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life 
'* which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.'* 
(James i. 12.) 

There is little to remark on the remaining chapters of 
this book which with the exception of the destruction of 
the Midianites, and death of Balaam, for the most part 
contain only regulations regarding the inheritance of those 

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XI II.] LAWS. 181 

lands whicli were to be divided among the Israelites, 
with a repetition of some laws which have been already 

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The book of Deuteronomy contains principally repetitions 
both of the history of the Israelites from the time of their 
departure from Horeb, and also of their laws and command- 

It may readily be imagined that situated as the Israelites 
had been for so many years, moying from place to place, 
they were destitute of means of performing all the sacri- 
fices and ceremonies of their religion, with that strictness 
required by the law. It is even probable they had been 
wholly disregarded, no mention being made to the contrary 
during the forty years wandering in the wilderness. A 
new generation likewise had now arisen, who, having only 
received these laws jfrom their fathers, without even witnes- 
sing their observance, might scarcely be expected to attach 
that importance to them, which they might have done, had 
they received them direct from the hand of Gk)d. They 
were now however approaching that country where they 
were to take up their abode, and where, in order to pre- 
serve the true worship of Gk)d, and set an example to the 
nations around them, these laws and ordinances were to 
be observed with religious strictness, and adhered to in 
every point. 

It was necessary therefore that their importance should 
be impressed apon the Israelites, for which purpose they 

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^IV.] THE JEWISH ftEltfilOft. tS9 

were now repeated, and enlarged upoa, and also sovaa 
particular precepts added to tibiem. 

Mose9 was jiat only well acquainted with the rebellious^ 
dispositions of the Israelites, but as a prophet of Oo4 
foresaw how fearfully these ]aws would be disregarded 
fiOer his death, when they would be thrown in the way 
of so many temptations. Accordingly, he now laid before 
them such instructions as would take away from them 
all plea of ignorance with regard to the manner in which 
they were in future to act. 

The Jewish religion, as I hare elsewhere observed, was 
in all points a type of Christianity. 

One grand distinction however between them, was that 
while the latter pointed to a &ture state of retribution 
when we shall be rewarded or punished according to the 
spirit in which we perform our duties in this world, the 
former rested in the outward obedience to every tittie of 
the law, and according to the performance or neglect of 
each law9 were the Jews either rewarded by temporal 
blessings, or visited by those national judgments, detailed 
at length in the twenty eighth Chapter. Nor were these to 
be confined to that generation; as it was spoken by the 
liord in the second commandment, " the iniquity of the 
'* &thers was to be visited upon their children," (see Ex. 
sx. 5.) and we all know how fearfully these judgments 
were fulfiOQed in the events alluded to in the fifty-third 
versa, whieh took plaoe not only in the siege of Samaria, 
an account of which is related in the second book of Kings, 
(chap. vi« 28. 99.) but also at the destruction of Jerusalem 
by the Bomans after the death of our Saviour* 

Thus did the Israelites reodve every encouragement 
from the Lord "to walk in his kwsi and to keep his 
'« statutes." (]?B.cxix. I 5.) 

Their duties were all explained to them, promises and 
blessings were held out to them, and if tiiey were com- 
Hianded to "smite their enemies, and utterly destroy 
** them, ** (Chap. vii. 2. ) they were at the same time 
8tren{;tlieiied by the consoling assurance that " they were 

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" neither to fear nor tremble, for God would fight for them 
" against their enemies." (Ps. xx. 8.4.) 

Lest however they should be exalted in their own eyes 
because "the Lord their God had chosen them to be a 
" special people unto himself above all people that were 
" upon the face of the earth," (Ps. vii. 6.) Moses did not 
fail to impress upon their minds that it was not on ac- 
count of "their righteousness, or for the uprightness of 
*• their hearts," they were favoured above other nations, for 
" they were a stiffnecked people," bidding them at the 
same time remember how they had " provoked the Lord 
" their God in the wilderness." (Ps. ix. 7.) 

They were only instruments in the hands of a righteous 
Providence for manifesting his power in miracles, and ex- 
ecuting judgment on those impenitent nations whose fate 
had been revealed to Abraham four hundred years before, 
and whose " iniquity was now full." (see Gen. xv. 16.) 

In the perusal of this book we may find much that is 
profitable to us all. I would particularly suggest for your 
consideration those chapters containing an exhortation to 
obedience as being more peculiarly applicable to our own 
condition. We may indeed look upon them as being 
equally adressed to every one of us. When Moses in the 
fourth chapter reminds the Israelites of the mercies they 
had received, ought it not to recall to our minds the 
blessings we have received and thus remind us of the debt 
of gratitude we owe to the Almighty for all his mercies 
towards us P 

For "what nation is there so great, that hath statutes 
" and judgments so righteous" (Chap. iv. 8.) as our own P 

Bom in a Christian country, and blessed with every 
opportunity of hearing and studying the word of God, 
may we not consider ourselves like them peculiarly favotired 
by Heaven P If the Lord " spake unto them out of the 
" midst of the fire," (Chap. iv. 12.) does he not speak unto 
us at this present time by his holy ministers, and if he 
declared unto them his covenant, "even ten command- 
'* luents, and wrote them upon two tables of stone," did 

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XIV.] A christian's warfare. 185 

he not send His beloved Son, not only to declare unto his 
holy will, but to teach us how to perform it, and to 
promise us in the world to come " a cro\^Ti of glory, that 
« fadeth not away." (1 Pet. v. 4.) 

Blessed indeed is the encouragement given to us all, 
to walk in God's ways and to keep his commandments. 
We are assured by St. Paul that "there is no condemna- 
" tion to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not 
" after the flesh, but after the spirit." 

" For the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath 
" made us free from the law of sin and death." (Eom. 
viii. 1. 2.) 

Let us remember that we are all approaching our 
heavenly Canaan ,and that if we would obtain eternal rest 
within it we must utterly destroy our spiritual enemies. 
We must enter into no covenant with them, but putting on 
" the whole armour of God," (Eph, vi. 11.) we must wage 
war against " the devil and all his works, the pomps and 
vanities of this wicked world, and all the sinful lusts of the 
flesh." And if we are enabled by Gt)d's grace to resist 
the attacks of Satan, let us not attribute it to any merit 
of our own, but " when ye shall have done all those things 
" which are commanded you, say, we are unprofitable ser- 
" vants ; we have done that which was our duty to do." 
(Luke, xvii. 10.) 


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