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Recapitulation. Before we conclude this article, let us look back, and consider some of the leading features in the general character of this people. They abounded with emblematical deities, and were beyond measure attached to them ; and their learning, as well as their outward sanctity, made their religion very specious, and captivating, to those who were witnesses of their rites. I have mentioned the character given of them by Herodotus---' 980reless de tigloows manisa navTWV avbqwtar---that of all people upon earth they were the most extravagantly devoted to their gods and religion. They were likewise scrupulous observers of signs and omens. The same writer says of them1 τερατα τε πλεω σφι ανέυρηται, η τοισι αλλοισι απασι ανθρωποισι. Γενομενα γαρ τερατος φυλασσεσι γραφομενοι τω ποβαινον, και ην κοτε ύςερον παραπλησιον τουτω γενηται, κατα τωυτο νομισεσι αποEnoerlam. They have distinguished more portents and prodigies, than all people in the world collectively. And when any thing esteemed a prodigy
* Herod. 1. 2. c. 37. p. 120. 2 Ibid. c. 82. p. 141.
happens, they observe and write down whatever ensues upon it. And if, in process of time, any similar appearance should occur; they imagine that the same consequences will follow. If such then was the disposition of this people, and they were out of a superstitious fear continually attending to portents and presages, and making false inferences, to the great abuse of their own reason, and the seduction of others : if this were the case, we then see a farther analogy and propriety in God's judgments. He, with great wisdom as well as justice, exhi. bited before their eyes some real prodigies, which could not be mistaken; and punished them in their own way for their credulity and superstition. It was not the occultation of a luminary; the glancing of a meteor in the atmosphere; much less an unusual birth; or the fantastic flight of a bird; which now demanded their attention. Their sacred river was universally polluted, and turned to blood. The very dust of their sanctified soil was rendered infectious, and produced nauseous boils and blains. Their serene air became overcast; and rain and hail, lightning and thunder, with fire mingled with rain, ensued : phænomena, grievous to behold, and fatal in their conse
quences, such as before were never known in Egypt. Lastly, the children of light, the offspring of the Sun, were condemned to a preternatural state of night. Their god, the luminary, rose at his stated times, and performed his function; yet could not dispel this painful, oppressive, and impenetrable darkness. All these, as well as the other judgments commemorated, were real prodigies : and, as I have repeatedly urged, they were all pointed and significant. Their force and purport would have been in great measure lost upon any other people ; but they were particularly applicable to the Egyptians, as they bore a strict analogy with the superstitions and idolatry of that nation. There remains still one judgment, more terrible and affecting, than any which have preceded." .
Exodus; Chap. xi. Vér. 4 And Moses said, Thus saith the Lord, about midnight will I go out into the midst of Egypt. : V. 5. And all the first-born in the land of Egypt shall die, from the first-born of Pharaoh, that sitteth upon his throne, even unto the firstborn of the maid-servant, that is behind the mill ; . . and all the first-born of beasts. . V. 6. And there shall be a great cry throughout all the land of Egypt, such as there was none like it, nor shall be like it any more.
V. 7. But against any of the children of Israel shall not a dog move his tongue, against man or beast: that ye may know, how that the Lord doth put a difference between the Egyptians and
V.8. And all these thy servants shall come down unto me, and bow down themselves unto me, saying, Get thee out, and all the people that follow thee; and after that I will go out. Here should come in three verses of the
preceding chapter (v. 27, 28. and 29.) which have been certainly misplaced.---But the Lord hardened Pharaoh's heart, and he would not let them go.
And Pharaoh said unto him, Get thee from me, take heed to thyself, see my face no more: for in that day thou seest my face thou shalt die.
And Moses said, Thou hast spoken well, 1 . will see thy face again no more. And he went
out from Pharaoh in a great anger.. '
In this interview Moses speaks with great dignity, as well as authority, in consequence of the high commission which had been delegated by God to him. He gives public 'notice to all, that at midnight the first-born in every family, from the first-born of Pharaoh to the first-born of the maid that worked at the mill, should be cut off. The working at the mill was looked upon as the lowest and severest drudgery; and was allotted to the meanest slaves. He says, that there shall be a great cry throughout all the land; such as they had never experienced before, nor would ever be witness to again. The calamity therefore must be great, and adequate to this extraordinary mourning, since no nation was so