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they could not couaterseit, compelled them to acknowledge thi,. was indeed the Finger of Goo: Notwithstanding which, this incorrigible Tyrant, persisted in his amazing Obstinacy, and Disobedience to the Divine Command. Neither did the Plague of Flies, though so grievous, that no Place was free from them, and the whole Land was corrupted, produce any better Effect ; for this wicked Monarch, though he had twice promised he would let the People go, yet as soon as, at the Intreaty of Mesa,' he was delivered from that Scourge, and obtained a little Respite, he revoked his Promise; blasphemously imagining, without Question, he might falsify his Word to Gon, as well as to Man, with Impunity.
In short, neither the Murrain, which next afflicted and killed all the Cattle of the Egyptians; nor the grievous Boils and Elains, which tormented all his Subjects; nor yet the Judgment of Hail, accompanied with dreadsul Thunderings and Lightening?, insomuch that the Fire ran along upon the Ground, and every one, Man or,Beast, that remained in the Field perished; the very Trees were broken; and all the Flax and Barley was intirely destroyed: Neither of these heavy Scourges, we fay, nor yet all of them together, could work any Amendment in this abominable Reprobate, nor even in his Servants; though the Almighty, to convince them they were all sent immediately by iiim, had foretold, that not one of the Children of Israel should suffer by any of them. In effect, no sooner were these Punishment* . removed, than they were, in a manner, forgotten,; and thofe Sinners relapsed, and returned to their former Impenitence; as had been previously declared by Moses, before he intreated the Lord for the Removal of them.
This brought upon them new Scourges, yet more severe than the former; with the Denunciation of which, however, the Servants of Pharoab were so much terrisied, that they cried out unto him, How long stall this Man Be a Snare unto us? Let the Men go, that they may serve the Lord their G Cd : Knonxest thou nut yet that Egypt is destroyed? This Remonstrance seems to have moved Pharaoh a little, though it told him nothing, but what he must necesfarily have known before ; accordingly, •Moses and Aaron were brought again to him, and he bid them go and serve the Lord their God; but the next Moment, as if this was too great a Condescension, and he almost repented it already, he asks, But wjho art they that stall go? And upon the Answer of Moses, that all muft go, Men, Women, and Children, Flocks, and Herds, he again retracts his Word; and fays, Let the Lo R c be so imth you, at I nuill let you go, and your Little Ones: Look to it, for Evil is before you. Not so: Co iwiv ye that are Men, and serve the Lord, for that you did desire. And not content with this, he orders them to be driven out from his Presence.
But severely did this irreclaimable Tyrant, and his People, smart for this; for the very next Morning the Lord sent upon them the Plague ol Locusts, which devoured and consumed every Herb in the Field, with all the Fruit of the Trees, throughout the Kingdom: This again brought him, sor a Moment, to a better Way of Thinking, infomuch that he sends for them in haste, and vouchssses to acknowledge, I have finned agaiist the Lord your God., and agaivst you Nnu thereforeforgive, 1 fray thee, my Sin, only this once, and intreat the Lord your GcD, that he may take aivay from me this Death otify.
Would any one imagine, after this humble Consession, and seeming Repentance, he would dare again- to go back from his Word ? And yet, aster the Removal of this Scourge, even thus far, did this C 6 Monste;r Monster of a Man presume to trifle with «he Almighty, who, thereupon, immediately afflicted his Kingdom with sudi an excessive Darkness, that as the Scripture emphatically expresses it, it might beftlt.
In short, so dreadsul was this Judgment, and of so uncommon a Nature, that, as we are assured in the Book of Wisdom, no Power cf the Fire might give Light; whereof, indeed, we are partly informed by the Words of Moset, who fays, They saw not one another, neither rose any fiom hit Place for three Days. So that this Darki.ess seems to have been of the Nature of thofe Damps that rise sometimes in Coal-Pits and Mines, which will nor sufser a Candle or Fire to burn, but immed atcly extinguish them; for could they have had either the Light of Candles or Fire, there was no Necessity for their consining themselves so long to their Beds. Neither was this all ; for, in the fame Book of Wisdom, we are likewise informed, that they were terrisied with strange Visions, and dreadsul Noises, so that it was no Wonder, at the End of three Days, that Pharaoh, in order to be relieved from that uncomfortable and horrid State, sent for Moset, and consented at last, to let them and their Children go, demanding only to have the Flocks and Herds left behind.
This, however, was not a sufficient Concession for tint Almighty; who expects an intire and punctual, not a partial Obedience to his Commands; accord'ng'v» Pharaoh is told, peremptorily by Moset, that not so much as an Hoof should be lest behind; with which pofitive Answer, the haughty Tyrant is so grealy exasperated, that going farther, than he had ever done yer, he proceeds to threaten the divine Messenger, bidding him get away^ and see his Face no more, for, if be did, he should die for his Presumption ; to which Threat, Moset, without any
Concern^, Concern, returns this cold Antwer, Tbou baft Jpoken ivell, I ivillsee thy Face again no more.
In effect, the Time was now come, when the Almighty intended to visit them, with the last and most grievous of the Plagues; and accordingiy, Moses denounces it very plainly unto them, that about Midnight, all their First-born should be destroyed, even to the First-born of their Cattle; that not one of the Israelites should perish; that there should be a great Cry throughout all the Land of Egypt, such as there never had been, nor should be any like it; and that asterwards, they should even bow down to Him, and court and intreat£//m,and his People, to be gone as fatl as possible. Now, wl at is most remarkable, in this last Judgment, is, that besore it came, though Pharaoh and his People had begged to bi: delivered from the Plague of Locusts, and from that of Darkness aster, we do not sind they desired to be delivered from this Judgment, though the heaviest and severest of all» but for this the Scripture partly accounts, by faying the Lord had now hardened Pba. raoh's Heart. The Confequence of this was, the sulsilling the Prophecy of Mojrs in every Point; the First-born were destroyed; not an Israelite sufsered; and the Egyptians even urged the People by Night, to be gone -is speedily as could be, being apprehensive, as well they might, the next Judgment would be, a total Extermination of every Soul, in the Kingdom.
One would imagine, all these heavy Scourge?, were more than sufsicient, to humble the most obdurate Sinners; and yet, soon after, we sind Pharaoh, and his Servants, being now no Iongersffl cted with any Plagues, repent of their having suffered the Israelites to go, and losing the Fruit of their Labours; thoughthey were at sirst enslaved wrongsully, having come kto the Land, in. a Time of Famine, only as Stranger., gers.and having even been invited thither by the King himself. Wtll tsicn, the Egyptians being told the Children of Israel were fled, and repenting, as was besore observed, their having suffered them to go, resolve upon pursuing them, and either bringing them back to their former Slavery by Fore*, or destroying them. But, how vain is the Appointment of Man, if God doe* not fay Amtn thereto!
Enraged then,at having permitted such vast Nurobers of usesul Slaves, from whofe excessive Toils they daily reaped so considerable a Prosit, to escape out of their Hands, they determined to pursue them; never reflecting, that they were, in efsect, sighting against God; or thinking, that the fame Almighty Being, who had compelled them, by so many various and heavy Judgments, to consent to the Departure of those, they had so long injuriously held in cruel Bondage, and who had undertaken the Protection of his People, might still be able to desend them, and to bring down, upon the Heads of their Enemies, that Destruction, they intended for those poor trembling Israelites. Bur, to fay the Truth, this was of the Lord; who had now judicially infatuated and blinded the Egyptians, with Design to take severe Vengeance on them, for all their manifold Sins and Iniquities ; and especially for their unjust Oppression of, and unparalelled Barbarity to, thofe wretched Strangers, whom, having come into their Country in Considence of Protection, in Violation of all the Laws of Hofpitality, they had cruelly enslaved.
In short, as they had impiously and injuriously undertaken the Pursuit of a People, to whofe Servitude they had not the least Shadow of Claim, the Almighty, who abhors Violence and Oppression, soon made thim sensible, when it was too late, that he was still squally rbl« to desend them in the Wilderness,