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of cattle which they had sustained by the murrain might be repaired by purchase, and subsequent increase. Health was restored to their bodies; the tempest was past, and the air again serene; future crops of flax and barley might supply the deficiencies, which the hail and fire had made; and the quick growth of vegetables promised a restoration of the herds of the field; the army of locusts was no more; and trees would again shoot forth their leaves, and bear fruit. The darkness was such as had never before been known, and might possibly never be known again. But who could restore to life their first born 2 What could recompense them for the loss of their children? The afflicted parents could not console themselves with the thought, that their beloved offspring were removed to a world of bliss, where they might hope to meet them again in glory, crowned with immortality; on the contrary, their sorrow was aggravated by the * T E R RoR of The Lord,” which seized their minds, and filled them with fearful apprehension that the vengeance of an offended GoD would soon fall on their own heads It was one part of God's denunciation against the Egyptians", that he would execute judgment against all the gods of Egypt. As the Egyptians originally descended from Misraim, the grandson of Noah, they must originally have had the knowledge of the Lord among them, nor had they totally lost it in the days of Abraham and Isaac ; but by degrees they fell into the grossest idolatry; and, be: sides a number of idols, which they called celestial and terrestrial gods, they paid adoration to brute animals; and that to so great a variety, that in almost every toVsl or village they worshipped different idols : which was
# See Section lxiv. - *. often
often the cause of bitter quarrels, and sometimes of dangerous wars. They paid divine honours to the lion, the bull, the sheep, the goat, the cat, the dog, the ibis, the wolf, the crocodile, and many others. If any person killed one of the sacred animals designedly, he was punished with immediate death ; these animals were fed at great expence while living; and, when they died, the Egyptians went into deep mourning, and lamented them as if they had been their dearest children. These, in all probability, were the beasts that died in the last plague, (the gods of Egypt) and not the cattle of the field. In this account of the idolatries of the Egyptians, we see, that, as the apostle expresses, “Though they knew God, they glorified Him not as God, but changed the glory of the uncorruptible God . (even his own express IMAGE) for four-footed beasts and creeping things; the truth of GoD into a lie ; honouring the creature more than the CREATor, who is blessed for evermore* !”
The prediction, which Moses delivered to Pharaoh, was now fulfilledt. His own proud heart was "humbled, and his people were urgent to send the Israelites out of their land; they at length acknowledged them to be the people of Godf, and willingly furnished them with such things as might be necessary to add splendour to the sacrifice they were going to make in the wilderness.
At first sight it appears a dishonourable act in the Israelites to borrow of the Egyptians what they could have no intention to return ; but we must consider, that they did it by the express command of God, and that all things in this world are properly His ; He created, governs, and sustains the universe, therefore may justly take from one, and give to another, as His infinite wisdom sees proper. And it appears afterwards, that the
Jo Rom. i. + See Section lxiii. # Sec Section lxv.
Q 2 treasures
treasures collected on this occasion were to be used in the Lord's Sanctuary. Besides as Egypt and her proud king had forfeited all pretensions to God's bounty, by an open defiance of His power, we cannot wonder that He should deprive them of the riches of which they were so utterly unworthy. With what joy must the Israelites have seized the long wished-for opportunity of escaping from such bar. barous oppressors Rameses was the chief city in Goshen; Succoth was about twelve miles from it: here the Israelites stopped to review their company. : The mixed multitude are supposed to have been strangers of different nations, who lived in Iogypt; and who, having seen the wonders, which were wrought for the deliverance of the Israelites, resolved to accompany them, with a view to the improvement of their own fortune. To sanctify, signifies to set apart for holy purposes; it was very proper, that the Israelites should have a religious Rite, to call to their remembrance the great mercy of God, in sparing their first born, when those of Egypt were destroyed; and that they should inform their sons of this memorable deliverance, and endeavour to excite in their minds love and reverence towards the great Author of it. In respect to keeping the passover, the Jews have been so far obedient to God's command, that they have never abolished it; nay, those who have lived since the promulgation of Christianity, have been particularly tenacious of this Rite ; and, believing that the Redeemer is not yet come, of whom the Paschal Lamb was a type, they still continue to observe the solemnity, as well as their present circumstances will admit of The manner of their keeping it is this. On the sabbath day previous to the passover, the Jews have a sermon preached in their syno
gogue on the paschal lamb; and two days afterwards v
all their furniture must be washed clean; they search
Jews celebrate the passover, we may observe a great re. semblance of the original institution; and when we consider in what a wonderful manner the Jews, who were formerly a large united body of people, have been dispersed, and what obstructions their religion hath met with, it is astonishing to think, that they have preserved any of their ceremonies. The feast of the passover * was calculated to furnish an incontestable proof to succeeding generations, that such an event, as the deliverance of Israel, had happened, because it must have been ordained in the lifetime of those who had escaped from the Egyptian bondage; for, however their descendants might have listened to fabulous tales, they never could have believed that they themselves had, from their very infancy, observed a ceremony in commemoration of a thing, of which they had never before heard ; nor would Moses have been so foolish as to attempt to introduce this rite in remembrance of imaginary transactions, and to appeal to the knowledge and experience of six hundred thousand men, each of whom could have proved him an impostor. We find, from this section, that the lives of children
are in the hand of God ; and that he can in an instant
of time frustrate the ambitious views of those, who think only of the worldly prosperity of their offspring. It should therefore be the tender parent’s care, to live a life of piety himself, and to dedicate, from the earliest
infancy, not only his first born, but every dear child,
which is given him, to the service of God, as Christians
have the blessed opportunity of doing, in the sacrament
of baptism, without excluding them from the common **
offices of life. *
* Lesley's plain and easy Method with the Jews.