years, until they came to a land inhabited: they did eat manna until they came unto the borders of the land of Canaan. 3 Now an omer is the tenth part of an ephah. o /*


The apostle St. Paul teaches us to regard the passage through the Red Sea as a bahtism". God, of His own free mercy, opened a way for the Israelites to escape from Egyptian bondage; and received the whole nation under His protection, as His peculiar people. By entering into the sea, each individual expressed his faith in the Divine promises. The Lo R D went before them, to guide them to the land of Canaan. They willingly followed His guidance. From henceforth each person was an inrolled member of the Lo RD's congregation or church, His adopted son, and an inheritor, or heir to the Land of Promise.

The time was not yet come, at which the Lor D proposed to destroy all the idolatrous nations, and settle His own people in their stead; besides the Israelites had contracted many bad habits in Egypt, and their faith in Gol, was very impeffect. He therefore saw fit to expose them to a variety of trials, partly to improve their minds, and mend their hearts; and partly, to shew to the world the method of His Providence towards those whom He acknowledges as His people.

Soon did the Israelites forget the mercy of the Lor D, in preserving them from the plagues of Egypt, and delivering them from bondage : On the very first disappointment, they began to murmur against Moses, instead of praying to the Lord to send them relief. It

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is hkely that they began to think God was going to bring a succession of plagues upon them, as he had done upon Egypt. To remove their apprehensions, the LoRD immediately made the bitter water sweet, and commissioned Moses to give them a statute and an ordinance; by the observance of which they might, through His infinite mercy, secure to themselves individually the favour and protection which He had freely granted them as a nation. This law required both faith and obedience. Ancient historians assert, that there are several fountains of bitter water near the Red Sea; possibly that at Marah was one of them. The author of the book Ecclesiasticus seems to be of opinion, that there was a natural virtue in the wood of the tree, which Moses cast into the fountain, to correct the bitterness”; and that God graciously pointed out this medicine, to make its valuable property known to the world. Others suppose, that both the bitterness and the correcting of it are to be ascribed to the immediate power of Gop, who used the wood as a sign, rather than an instrument ; however this was, the goodness of the Lok D was equally displayed to the Israelites. What a pleasing recess must Elim appear, after the turbulent scenes the people had lately passed | Here they had an opportunity of resting themselves, and leisure to meditate on the wonderful goodness of the Lok D ; but their all-wise Conductor knew, that continued prosperity would corrupt their minds; and it was proper to put their faith and obedience to the test. How imperfect did these prove on trial! The people saw themselves in a wild barren waste, where. they thought they had no other chance but to perish

* Eccles. xxxviii. 5.

with hunger; instead of trusting to the Lok D for their relief, they murmured against Moses and Aaron, and foolishly wished to return again to the bondage, from which they had been so lately delivered. To convince them, that He was actually present among them, the Lord promised to give them a view of His Glory. What must have been their confusion, when it beamed forth upon them. Well might they exclaim, when they saw the Manna, What is this 2 Who could have expected that bread would fall like rain, from heaven; or that a number of fowls, sufficient to feed so great a mul. titude, would suddenly come to hand In what a variety of ways can the Almighty display his power and goodness |

In the middle of April (which was the time of the Israelites encamping in the wilderness) quails are known to fly out of Jogypt across the Red Sea in great numbers ; the miracle consisted in God’s directing them to the camp, at the very time He promised to send them.

The author of the Book of Wisdom describes manna, as “able to content every man's delight, agreeing to every taste”.” The Lo R D sent manna from day to day, to make the Israelites sensible of their dependence on Him for their daily support. The withholding it on the sabbath day served to keep in mind that it actually came from him, and that they were required to keep that day holy. It was a very astonishing circumstance, as it was of so corruptible a nature, that a portion of the manna should be miraculously preserved for so many years. This seems to be the first time that the rest on the seventh day was solemnly appointed to the Israelites as a people. In the family of Abraham, we may presume the remembrance of the day in which God ceased from

# Wisdom xvi. 20, 21. the

the works of Creation was preserved; but during their hard servitude in Egypt, it is likely they were not allowed opportunity of resting from their labour, their deliverance therefore furnished an additional reason for keeping it. To an attentive observer, great resemblance will appear between the ways of God towards the Israelites as His feofile, and towards Christians in the same view. The present section affords a lively representation of God’s goodness to the latter in passing over the offences proceeding from the natural corruption of their nature; forgiving the sins they had committed before He called them; opening a way to a heavenly Canaan by means of baptism; requiring faith and obedience on their part; trying them with alternate adversity and prosperity ; shewing His glory among them; supplying their temporal necessities, &c. It is impossible to read an account of the Israelites murmurings and forgetfulness of the Divine mercy, without condemning them.—But while reason leads us to pass this condemnation, let it awaken conscience to an examination of our own hearts, and if we find there any propensity to return to the bondage of sin, let us think of what God has done for us—Let us gather up the bread that He has given us from heaven; even the comforts and blessings which flow from our Saviour—and let us keep the Lord's Sabbaths with reli

gious veneration. -


WHEN the congregation of Israel removed from Sin, they pitched their tents in a place called Rephidim; Vol. I. R. here

here they were distressed for want of water, on which fears arose that they should perish with thirst, and they began again to murmur against Moses. He endeavoured to persuade them to wait with patience to see what the LoRD would do for them, but his remonstrances were vain, and at length the people became so outrageous, that they were almost ready to stone Moses; on which he had recourse to the Lord, who wrought an astonishing miracle for their relief. God informed Moses that He would stand before him (or cause the cloudy pillar to rest) in a certain part of mount Horeb, where there was a rock; this rock the Lo R D commanded Moses to strike; Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel, on which the flinty stone immediately gushed out with water, which afforded the people a supply, not only during their stay at Rephidim, but in their other encampments afterwards. This water furnished salutary refreshment to the bodies of the Israelites, but there was a shiritual rock which followed them that flowed in streams of mercy, yielding comfort and refreshment to their souls “: this rock was CHR 1st, the Lo RD Himself, the same Divine Being who is to Christians the rock of their salvation. Moses named the place where this miracle was performed, Mariah and Merilah, which signifies, chiding and temptation, because the people murmured against him, and tempted the Lord to bring evil upon them. selves, by requiring a sensible proof of His Divine presence among them, of which they had had such repeated proofs. While the Israelites continued at Rephidim, the Ama. I kites, a people descended from Amalek, the son of Eliphez, one of the sons of Esau, came out against them,

* I Cor. x. 4. upon

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