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From this section much important instruction maybe collected. In the first place it affords a striking proof of the existence of God, and a certaintn of a DiVine Image in the nature of the Deity. It also shews that the Lor O is true to his promises; and that w hen his servants are dead, and their bodies mouldering in the dust, He is still their God; which, as our saviour Himself observed, affords a strong argument in favour of the ' doctrine of a future existence; "for God it not the God of the dead, but of the living;" all live unto him*.
We are likewise taught, that when we wish to study any thing that relates to the nature of the Deity, we should do it with awe and reverence. It will be proper for us to keep in mind, that the great I AM. is the very Lord God, in whom the Deity visibly manifested Himself to the patriarchs.
We are farther instructed by this section how to use our reason in other matters of a religious nature. It appears from hence just and proper to examine the difficulties that lie in the way to our performance of any duty, and then to allow divine revelation to have its full weight ;which, from the just arguments it affords in the written Word, is now a sufficient guide, and will, even in the common occurrences of life, calm our fears and satisfy our minds; for, when convinced that we act agreeably to the commands of our Great CreaTor, we may confidently hope for the aid of Divine Grace to strengthen us in the performance of our duty. It is observable, that the Lord God, on this occasion, made a promise to Moses, similar to that which, as the Messiah, He afterwards made to the apostlesf. This,
'*, Lukexic. 38. 'f Matt. x. 19, 20. Markxiii. 11. Luke xii. 11, 12. Lukeirai. H, 15.
proves, that the extraordinary influence of the Holy S*iR i T was at that time exerted, though not in so abundant a degree as after the promulgation of the Gospel.
MOSES AND AARON DELIVER GOD'S MESSAGE TO THE ISRAELITES.
From Exodus, Chap^.'w.
And the Lord said unto Moses in Midian, Go,return into Egypt: for all the men are dead which sought thy life.
And Moses took his wife, and his Sods, and set them upon an ass, and he returned to the land of Egypt. And Moses took the rod of God in his hand.
And the Lord said unto Moses, When thou goest.to return into Egypt, see that thou do all those wonders before Pharaoh which I have put in thine hand: but I will harden his heart, that he shall not let the people
And thou shalt say unto Pharaoh, Thus saith the Lord, Israel is my son, even my first born.
And I say unto thee, Let my son gp, that he may serve me: and if thou refuse to let him go, behold, I will slay thy son, even thy first-born.
And the Lor D said to Aaron, Go into the wilderness to meet Moses. And he went and met him in the mount of God, and kissed him.
And Moses told Aaron all the words of the Load, who had sent him, and all the signs which he had commanded him. . -.
And Moses and Aaron went and gathered together all the elders of the children of Israel.
And Aaron spake all the words which the Lord had spoken unto Moses, and did the signs in the sight of the people. .
0 2 And
And the tpeople believed: and -when they heard that the Lord had visited the children of Israel, and that he had looked upon their affliction, then they bowed their heads and worshipped.
ANNOTATIONS And REFLECTIONS.
By taking his family with him, Moses testified his faith in the Lord. The expression, / will harden FhWdth*! heart, will be explained in the sequel; it is sufficient to remark here, that the 'lord speaks of this as a purpose relating to a future time, not as a thing ilreddy dohe. Pharaoh had not yet committed that 6rrence to Which the punishment Here threatened is annexed, but the Lord foreknew that he would commlt'it.
The rod of God was that which had been turned into a serpent, arid which was the ensign of Moses' office, as the Minister of the Lord.
The Almighty being now about to fulfil the promises rnade'to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, by forming their posterity into a nation, as his own peculiar people, styles them Hfs first torn; this title signifies, that Israel was the first nation which he took into immediate covenant with Himself.
How comfortable must it have been both to Moses .tfhd 'Aa'rOn to compare together the revelations which had been separately made to them! It seems that they mutually encouraged'each other, and hastened'to execute the 'divine'Commission which they had received.
Moses soon had a proof of the foreknowledge of God, for he found the fears which he entertained, that the Israelites would not attend to him, groundless. They 'hearkened unto his vc-iCe as the Lofd had said*;
* Exodus Hi. 18.
the miracles performed in their sight served to prove tUe truth of his divine mission. "•'
The behaviour of the Israelites, on this occasion, was perfectly just and proper, worth)- of the imitation of all who are sensible of the goodness of God in time of affliction.
By this lesson . ministers are admonished not to be discouraged from the performance of their public duties by apparent difficulties, since the Lord may be expected to co-operate with their endeavours, if they proceed agreeably to His will. And all others are admonished to receive, with reverence and gratitude, those iatimations of the divine favour, which it is the duty of ministers to make known to them; and which, as now contained in tidy Writ, are equally certain and valuable as if communicated- to us by ministers immediately inspired. /
/ SECTION: fc*.
MOSES AND AARON GO TO PHARAOH.
From Exodus, Cha/i. v. and vu
And afterwards.Moses and Aaron we,nt in, and, told. Pharaoh, Thus saith the Load God of laracl, Let my people. go, that they maj. hohi a feast UJitq me„ ip tiie wilderness, ,
And Pharaoh said, Wbp is. the Lord, that-I should, obey h's voice to let Israel go? I kvnoju. not the Lo^d, neither will I let Israel go.
Aod they said, The God of the Hebrews, hath met, with us: let us go, we pray thee, thrse days journey. into the desert, and sacrifice unto the Lor»d our Gop,: lest he fall upon us with pestilence, or wjfh the. sword.
And the king of Egypt said unto them, Wherefore do ye, Moses and Aaron, let the people from their, works ?. get ye unto your burdens.
0 3 And
And Pharaoh said, Behold the people of the land now are many, and ye make them rest from their burdens.
And Pharaoh commanded the same day the task-masters of the people, and their officers, saying,
Ye shall no more give the people straw to make bricks as heretofore, let them go and gather straw for themselves. ^
And the tale of the bricks which they did make heretofore, ye shall lay upon them: ye shall not diminish aught thereof : for they be idle; therefore they cry, saying, Let us go and sacrifice to our God.
Let there more work be laid upon the men, that they may labour therein; and let them not regard vain words.
And the task-masters of the people went out and their officers, and they spake to the people, saying, Thus saith Pharaoh, I will not give you straw.
Go ye, get you straw where you can find it: yet not light of your work shall be diminished.
So the people were scattered abroad throughout all the land of Egypt, to gather stubble instead of straw.
And the task-masters hasted them, saying, Fulfil your works, your daily tasks as when there was straw.
And the officers of the children of Israel, which Pharaoh's task-masters had set over them, were beaten, and demanded, Wherefore have ye not fulfilled your task in making brick, both yesterday and to-day, as heretofore? • Then ttie officers of the children of Israel came and cried unto Pharaoh, saying, Wherefore dealest thou thui with thy servants?
There is no straw given unto thy servants, and they say to us, Make brick; and behold, thy servants are beaten; but the fault is in thine own people.
But he said, Ye are idle, ye are idle : therefore ye say, Let us go and do sacrifice to the Lord.