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they could not counterfeit, compelled them to acknowledge chis was indeed the Finger of God: Notwithstanding which, this incorrigible Tyrant, pesfisted in his amazing Obstinacy, and Disobedience to the Divine Command. Neither did the Plague of Flies, though fo grievous, that no Place was free from them, and the whole Land was corrupted, produce any better Effect ; for this wicked Monarch, ihough he had cwice promised he would let the People go, yet as soon as, at the Intreaty of Mofes, he was delivered from chat Scourge, and obtained a little Respite, he revoked his Promise; blasphemously imagining, without Question, he might fallify his Word to God, 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 Blains, which tormented all his Subjects; nor yet the Judgment of Hail, accompanied with dreadful Thunderings and Lightenings, insomuch that the Fire ran aloog upon the Ground, and every onc, Man or Beast, that remained in the Field perilhed; che very Trees were broken ; and all the Flax and Barley was intirely destroyed : Neither of these heavy Scourges, we say, nor yet all of them together, could work any Amendment in this abominable Reprobate, nor even in bis Servants : though the Almighty, to convince them they were all sent immediately by jim, had foretold, that not one of the Children of Israel should suffer by any of them. In effet, no sooner were these Punishments removed, than they were, in a manner, forgotten; and those Sinners relapsed, and returned to their former Impenitence ; as had been previously declared by Moses, before he intreared the LORD for the Removal of them.
This brought upon them new Scourges, yet more fevere than the former ; with the Denunciation of which, however, the Servants of Pharoah were so much terrified, that they cried out unto him, How long sball this Man be a Snare unto us? Let the Men go, that they may serve the LORD their God: Knowe thou not yet thai Egypt is destroyed? This Remon. ftrance seems to have moved Pharaoh a little, though it told him nothing, but what he must neceflarily have knowo before ; accordingly, Mofes 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 Condescenfion, and he ala most repented it already, he asks, But who are they that Aall go? And upon the Anfiver of Mofes, that all must go, Men, Women, and Children, Flocks. and Herds, he again retracts his Word; and says, Let the LORD be so sruith you, as I will let you go, and your Little Ones : Look to it, for Evil is before you. Not fo: Go now ye that are Men, and serve the LORD, for that you did defire. And not content with chis, he orders them to be driven out from his Presence.
But feverely did this irreclaimable Tyrant, and his people, smart for this; for she very next Morn-, ing the LORD sent upon them che Plague of Locufis, which devoured and consumed cvery Herb in the Field, with all the Fruit of the Trees, throughout the Kingdom : This again brought him, for a Mo. ment, to a better Way of Thinking, insomuch that : he sends for them in bafe, and youch safes to ac
knowledge, I have finned against the LORD your GOD, and againfit you Now therefore forgive, I pray thee, my sin, only this once, and intreat ebe LORD your God, that he may take away from me this Death only.
Would any one imagine, after this humble Confefsion, and seeming Repeptance, he would dare again, to go back from his Word ? And yet, after the Removal of shis Scourge, even thus far, did this C6
Monster of a Man presume to trifle with the Almighty; who, thereupon, immediately afflicted his Kingdom with such an exceslive Darkness, that as the Scrip. ture emphacically expresses it, it might be felt.
In short, so dreadsul was this Judgment, and ot ro uncommon a Nature, that, as we are assured in the Book of Wisdom, no Power of the Fire might give Light ; whereof, indeed, we are partly informed by the Words of Mofes, who says, They fazu not. one anotber, neither rose any from his Place for three Dags. So that this Darkness seems to have been of the Nature of those Damps that rise sometimes in Coal-Pics and Mines, which will nor suffer a Candle or Fire to burn, but immed ately extinguish them ; for could they have had either the Light of Candles or Fire, there was no Necessity for their confining themselves so long to their Beds. Neither was this all ; for, in the fame Book of Wisdom, we afe likewise informed, that they were terrified with strange Visions, and dreadful Noises, so that it was. no Wonder, at the End of three Days, that Pha. raob, in order to be relieved from that uncomfortable and horrid State, fent for Mofes, and consented ar laft, 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 the Almighty; who expects an insire and punctual, not a partial Obedience to his Commands; accord. ingly, Pharaoh is told, peremptorily by Mofes, that not so much as an Hoof should be left behind; with which positive Answer, the haughty Tyrant is so grea:ly exasperated, that going further, than he. had ever done yes, he proceeds to threaten the diyine Messenger, bidding him get away, and see his Face po more, for, it be did, he fhould die for his Presumption ; to which Threat, Mofes, without any
Concern, returns chis cold Aniwer, Thou haft spoken well, I will see thy Face again no more.
In effect, the Time was now come, when the Al. mighty intended to visit them, with the last and moft grievous of the Plagues ; and accordingly, Mofes denounces it very plainly unto them, that about Midnight, all their Firit-born should be destroyed, even to the First-born of their Cattle ; that not one of the Ifraelites 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 afterwards, they should even bow down to Him, and court and intrear Him, and his people, to be gone as fast as poflible. Now, what is most remark. able, in this last Judgment, is, chat before it came, though Pharaoh and his people had begged to be de. livered from the Plague of Locusts, and from that of Darkness after, we do not find they desired to be de. livered from this Judgment, though the heaviest and feverest of all; but for this che Scripture partly accounts, by saying the Lord had now hardened Pbaa raob's Heart. The Consequence of this was, the fulfilling the Prophecy of Mofes in every Point ; the First born were destroyed; not an Ifraelite suffered ; and the Egyptians even urged the People by Night, to be gone as speedily as could be, being ap. prehensive, as well they might, the nexe Judgmene would be, a total Extermination of every. Soul in the Kingdom.
One would imagine, all these heavy Scourges, were more than sufficient, to humble the most obdurate Sinners; and yet, soon after, we find Pharaob, and his Servants, being now no longeram cted with any Plagues, repent of their having suffered the Ifraelitis to go, and losing the Fruit of their Labours; though. they were at first ensaved wrongfully, having come into the Land, in a Time of Famine, only as Strana
gers and having even been invited thither by the King himself. Well then, the Egyptians being told the Children of Israel were fied, and repenting, as was before observed, their having fuffered them to go, resolve upon pursuing them, and either bringing them back to their former Slavery by Force, or destroying them. But, how vain is the Appointment of Man, if God does not say Amen thereto !
Enraged then, at having permitted such vaft Numi bers of useful Slaves, from whose excessive Toils they daily reaped fo considerable a Profit, to escape out of their Hands, they determined to pursue them ; never reflecting, that they were, in effect, fighting against God; or thinking, that the fame Almighty Being, who had compelled them, by so many vari. ous and heavy Judgments, to consent to the Depar. ture 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 defend them, and to bring down, upon the Heads of their Enemies, that Destruction, they intended for those poor trembling Ifraelites. But, to say the Truth, this was of the LORD; who had now judicially infa. tuated and blinded the Egyptians, with Design to take severe Vengeance on them, for all their manie fold Sins and Iniquities ; and especially for their unjuft Oppression of, and unparalelled Barbarity to, those wretched Strangers, whom, having come into their Country in Confidence of Protection, in Violation of all the Laws of Hospitality, they had cruelly enslaved...
In short, as they had impiously and injuriously undertaken the Parfuit of a People, to whose Servia tude they had not the least Shadow of Claim, the Alo mighty, who abhors Violence and Oppression, foon made them fenfible, when it was too late, that he was still equally able to defend them in the Wilder.