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necessity of intreating Moses and Aaron to supplicate the Lord, in order to obtain deliverance, yet he shewed no signs of repentance He gave way to the power of the Lord, only because he was at that instant sensible of his own comparative weakness; but he felt no remorse or sorrow for his wickedness and presumption.
What a triumph had Moses and Aaron! The haughty tyrant, who a few days before' had commanded them to work as his slaves, now becomes a supplicant to them for mercy!
By hearkening to the prayer of Moses, in behalf of Pharaoh, the Lord greatly honoured his minister. Well might Moses say ironically, to Pharaoh, " Glory 'over mt:"
The Lord was pleased to suffer Pharaoh to name the exact time at which the plague of frogs should be removed; and it is observable, that the king did not entreat that it might immediately cease, but mentioned the morrow; from which may be inferred, that he was unwilling to owe any thing to the Lord, supposing that the frogs would go of themselves by that time. The event agreeing with Pharaoh's own appointment, proved that all was the work of Go D . If Pharaoh had not had " a mind void of judgment," surely these wonders would have convinced him, that there is none like unto the Lor D God. '.:
By the dust, we may understand those light particles of earth, which 'being raised imperceptibly by the air, are only to be seen in. the sun beams :• and which, as they fall, lodge on every substance that is in the way to receive them; even these, changed into vermin, must have been very tormenting; and how wonderful was the transformation! Who but the Creator could effect it?
It is to be observed, that when Aaron smote the earth, all the dust of the land. of Egypt became lice. The efforts of the magici.'tns must therefore have been directed against the land of Goshen, in which the Israelites dwelt. Here they were compelled to acknowledge publicly a Divine power; but even the testimony of the Egyptian pnests * was not sufficient to soften the proud heart of Pharaoh, who g.ive a convincing proof of the Lord's prescience, by opposing all conviction, as He had foretold. Though it is not mentioned before, we may reasonably conclude that a distinction was, from the Jirst, made between the Israelites and the Egyptians. The former did not deny the Lokd to be God. He had chosen thenr as his peculiar people; and such calamities as were sent upon the Egyptians, added to their other afflictions, would have driven them to downright despair; besides the Egyptians could not "have discerned the finger of God, had his own people been fellow-sufferers with them.
It is likely that Pharaoh and his subjects would have regarded it as the effect of chance; and that even the Israelites themselves might have overlooked the mcrcyj had not the Lord expressly called them to observe the difference he made between them.
The plague of flies was a very distressing one, as may be easily conceived, if we consider that there are a number of species of insects that go under this denomination; most of" which have powers of tormenting^ either by venomous stings, which give intolerable pain; or disagreeable buziings, that are extremely disturbing. The Psalmist observes, that the Egyptians were "devoured with jlies \;" and they certainly must have suf
* The magicians were idolatrous pnests.' ;t: - 1
f Ps. lxxviii. 45.
fered fered great anguish from them, or the haughty Pharaoh would not have relented.
On this occasion, he stipulated that the-Israelites should not go out of his land; which shews that he retained the same principle of oppression, which had hitherto actuated him to treat them with rigour.
The Egyptians idolized those animals which the patriarchs, offered in sacrifice, and of course would hate taken great offence at seeing any of the flocks and herds offered in sacrifices to the Lokd. From the question of Moses, "i Shall we sacrifice the abomination of the Egyptian! before their eyes, and will they not stone us?" we may infer that sacrifices had been omitted by the Israelites during the Egyptian bondage; the rite however was not forgotten.
Though frogs are in ^general harmless creatures, and it is a great mark of weakness to be terrified at them, they are certainly very disagreeable in houses. Our merciful Creator, who, in all parts of the world, has shewn a tender regard for the welfare of jnankind, has so disposed this, " and many other species of noxious creatures, that they give' no annoyance to us ; but, on the •' contrary, prove beneficial, by feeding on what would render stagnated waters prejudicial to our health. Yet how apt are we now to overlook these marks of his kindness! The miracle we are now considering, is calculated to awaken, in our hearts, proper sentiments; therefore, while we rejoice,' that we have not. frogs in pur chambers, inotr beds, in our kneading, .troughs, and our ovens; jet us i.©de.mber that.it is^GoD who preserves us from so distressing an evil. .. . , •,
We have equal reason to be grateful for God's good, ness in renpect to noisome insects, which seldom abound, except where cleanliness is wanting; ncr should we be
unthankful unthankful to his providence, for keeping us front Wing devoured by flies. There is not an insect in nature, however small and insignificant many kinds may appear, but il capable, by an immoderate increase in number, of being a plague to mankind.
It is impossible to reflect on the power of the Creator and the love which He displays towards the human race, even in matters which, to the inattentive, appear of little importance, without feeling a thorough conviction, that He must undoubtedly be the greatest and best of Beings. Let us, therefore, be ever ready to acknowledge Gpp as the Lord of the whole creation i and, as sucb, let us pay Him our willing homage. ^
THE PLAGUES OF MURRAIN, BOILS AND BLA1NS, AND HAIL.
Front Exodus, Chap. ix.
Then the Lor D said unto Moses, Go in unto Pharaoh, and tell him, Thus saith the Lord God of the Hebrews, Let my people go, that they may serve me.
For if thou refuse to let them go, and wilt hold them still;
Behold, the hand of the Lor D is upon thy cattle which is in the field, upon the horses, upon the asses, upon the camels, upon the oxen, and upon the sheep: there shall be a very grievous murrain.
And the Lord shall sever between the cattle of Israel, and the cattle of Egypt; and there shall nothing die of all that is the children's of Israel.
And the Lord appointed a set time, saying, Tomorrow the Lord shall do this thing in the land. And
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the Lor'd did: that thing on the morrow, and, all the cattle of Egypt died; but of the cattle of the children of Israel died not one.
'And Pharaoh sent, and behold, there was not one of the cattle of the Israelites dead. And the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, and he did not let the people go;
And the Load said unto Moses, and unto Aaron, Take to you handfuls of ashes of the furnace, and let Moses sprinkle it toward the heaven in the sight of Pharaoh:
And it shall become small dust in all the land of Egypt, and shall be a boil breaking forth with blains, upon man, and upon beast throughout all the land of Egypt.
And they took ashes of the furnace, and stood before Pharaoh; and Moses sprinkled it up toward heaven; and it became a boil breaking forth with blains upon man, and upon beast.
And the magicians could not stand before Moses, because of the boil: for the boil was upon the magicians, and upon all the Egyptians.
And the Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh, and he hearkened not unto them: as the Lord had spoken unto Moses.
And the Lord said unto Moses, Rise up early in the morning, and stand before Pharaoh, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord God of the Hebrews; Let my people go, that they may serve me.
For I will at this time send all my plagues upon thine heart, and upon thy servants, and upon thy people: that thou mayest know, that there is none like me in all the earth. ..'
For now I will stretch out my hand, that 1 may smite thee and thy people with pestilence; and thou shalt be cut off from the earth.