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to collect, were separated more than ever. Their disaffection may be learned from their words, when Moses had delivered his message. And they met Moses and Aaron, who stood in the way as they came forth from Pharaoh.
And they said unto them, The Lord look upon you, and judge; because ye have made our savour to be abhorred in the eyes of Pharaoh, and in the eyes of his servants, to put a sword in their hands to slay us. Exod. v. 20, 21.
Thus we see from the wonderful texture of this history, that the deliverance of the Israelites could not be effected without the divine interposition. For these were difficulties, which neither the wisdom nor ability of men could remedy. Yet they were remedied; but it was by a far superior power. It was by God himself, who suffered his people to be in this perplexity and distress, that they might wish for deliverance, and be ready to obey. Accordingly when, upon the display of his wonders, they acknowledged the hand of the Almighty, and proffered their obedience to his prophet, they were delivered by him from those evils, from which no power on earth could have freed them. Thus we see, that the same mode of acting may be wisdom in God, and folly in man,
But it may be said, that these supposed miracles were casual and fortunate events, of which Moses availed himself to soothe his brethren and alarm the superstition of the king. In truth, they are occurrences so interwoven with the history, and of such consequence, that it is not possible to set them aside. That they happened, either as casual prodigies or artful illusions, must even by the sceptic be allowed. But they came too quick upon one another, and at the same time, as I have shewn, were too apposite in their purport, and too well adapted, to be the effect of chance; and as they were contrary to all experience, and wonderful in their consequences, , they could not have been produced in the common course of nature, much less by human contrivance. The Egyptians were a very knowing people ; and though Moses was well instructed in all their learning, yet it cannot be supposed that he could blind their whole court, and deceive their wise men. cret design and purport of the operations shews that they could not be illusions. The
last extraordinary occurrence was the death of the first-born, and the destroying angel passing over the dwellings of the Israelites, who were preserved. There was a rite ordained as a memorial of this event, and as a type of a greater, which happened many ages afterwards. The reference is of the utmost consequence, and too plain to be mistaken. But this rite was instituted before the judgment took place. It was observed immediately upon the spot, and is continued to this day, and cannot be contradicted. And though the purport of this ordinance is too plain to be mistaken now, yet it was a secret of old. There was a latent meaning and allusion, to which we have reason to think that Moses himself was a stranger. He therefore could not be the original institutor and designer, who knew not the design. Thus, I think, the history may be made to prove the miracles. In short, if he did know the secret purport, it must have been by inspiration; and this would prove, that he was under divine influence, and had his commission from God; the very thing we contend for.
Observations upon the Route taken by Moses and
the Israelites upon their Departure.
The Exodus now ensues, and the Israelites are delivered from the Egyptians. again consider Moses at this. crisis, as acting merely by his own authority, and not under the control; and direction of heaven. We shall find the whole process of his operations not only to be strange and unaccountable, but impossible to have been carried on. The Israelites are assembled in the land of Goshen, thoroughly prepared to depart whenever the commission is given. At last it comes, and the wished-for deliverance ensues. They accordingly set out under the direction of their leader, and are to be conducted to the
promised land, the country of the Amorites and Perizzites, of the Jebusites and Hittites, a land flowing with milk and honey, and the road is short and plain. We may then imagine, that Moses carried them to the place appointed, which had been of old promised to their forefathers. Not in the least. He led them a quite different route. He carried them from one wilderness to another; where, instead of milk
and honey, they encountered hunger and thirst ; and, for many years, saw neither city nor town, nor had a roof to shelter them.
It may be asked, as this disappointment must have been great, how could the people put up with it? They did by no means acquiesce. They vented their rage in upbraiding towards Moses, and were at times ready to stone him. Moses therefore, if he proceeded upon his own authority, acted most unaccountably, and contrary to justice as well as prudence; for he deceived the people. But, if the hand of heaven was concerned in this operation, the case is very different. The God of wisdom, who is the searcher of all hearts, can both foresee and remedy every difficulty that may occur. The dispositions of people are open to him, and he can anticipate the workings of their hearts, and
provide accordingly. But all this is past the apprehension and power of man. When therefore the affair is attributed to the Deity, we see throughout both his wisdom and justice. We are accordingly told, Exodus xiii. 17. when Pharaoh had let the people go, that God led them not through the way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near; for God said, Lest per