Page images
PDF
EPUB

according to reason. The wonder is, that they did not in every instance behave with the same confidence and obedience, as they had such strong evidence of the Deity being their director. But it was not so with the Egyptians. They were in a state of blindness, as well as their king. Hence our traveller reasons wrong, when he says-Pharaon ne me pariot point un inconsideré d' avoir voulu passer la mer à Suès, où elle n' avoit peut-être qu'une demie-lieue de largeur ;-mais il eut manqué de prudence, si aprés avoir vu tant de prodiges en Egypte, il fut entré dans une mer large de trois lieus et d'avantage. The author seems to be totally ignorant of the true purport of this history. Pharaoh was manifestly bereft of prudence. It is expressly said that God hardened his heart, in order that these wonders might not make an undue impression upon him. For there is a degree of evidence and of influence, to which we are not entitled. When a person acts against conviction, and turns from the light, God does not always leave him in that state of twilight, but adds to his blindness, and brings on a tenfold darkness. When

· P. 354.

people pervert their best gifts, they will be farther corrupted to their ruin ; and those who are guilty of wilful and obstinate folly, will be doomed to judicial infatuation. This was the case of Pharaoh and the Egyptians.

The author proceeds j'ignore, si le chemin de ces deux endroits a Bedea étoit alors practicable pour un grande caravane: et quand il auroit-été, il me paroit trop long. Car pour aller de Káhira droit a Suès, il faut 32 heurs, et trois quarts ; et ainsi depuis le Nil une heure de plus. La hauteur du pole à Sués etant de six minutes moindre qu'à Káhira, et lá vallée de Bedea étant située de quelques lieus plus au sud que Suès, une caravane médiocre mettroit plus de tems pour aller d' Heliopolis jusques à la dite vallée de Bedea, et y employeroit de 35 a 38 heures, ce que la caravane des Israëlites n'aura guères pu faire en trois jours. This argument, like the former, is entirely founded on fancy, and has not the least evidence to support it. In the first place, as I have before said, they did not take this road. In the next place, no comparison can be made between the journeying of the children of Israel, and the march of a caravan ;. for they were differently di

rected. Nor can any time be ascertained for their route, as it is quite uncertain how long they were encamped upon the borders of Etham. It might have been, instead of one day, two or more ; as there must have been time afforded for the Egyptians to arm and to pursue them, after the interment of their own dead. And as to the way being too long to be passed over in the time which the author allots; this is likewise a mere hypothesis, in which the author thinks, that the progress of the Israelites was similar to the procedure of mankind in general, and to be measured by the same rules, by the journeying of a camel. But this cannot be allowed ; for they had supernatural asistance; and there is reason to think, when they took their journey from Succoth to the Red-sea, that they travelled as well by night as by day; which is a circumstance that has not been considered. For it is said, when they took their journey--that the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light ; to go by day and night. Exodus xiii. 21. We find the same in the Psalmist. In the day time also he led them with a cloud, and all the night with a light of fire. Psal. Ixxviii. 14. It seems, I think, to be intimated, that they performed the journey from Succoth to Etham, though it was nearly sixty miles, at one time. In reply it may be said, that if this were the case, the old people and the children must have died by the way; the cattle must have been overdriven and killed; every leg wearied, and every body exhausted with labour. Not in the least. Remember what is said by the great lawgiver to the people, when he was going to leave them, concerning the wonderful manner in which they had been conducted. I have led you forty years in the wilderness': your clothes are not waxen old upon you, and thy shoe is not waxen old upon thy foot. Deut. xxix. 5. Again, Thy raiment waxed not old upon thee, neither did thy foot swell these forty years, chap, viii. 4. He that could preserve the raiment, must be able to sustain the man; and the same power that prevented the foot from swelling, could keep the leg from being weary,

[ocr errors][merged small]

The interposition of the Deity must be therefore uniformly admitted, or totally rejec

ted. To this alternative we must be brought, when we read the Mosaic history. It is idle to proceed by halves, and to halt between two opinions. Without this allowance, it would be impossible to account for the passage of the children of Israel through the channel of the Red-sea, even if the waters had retired by any natural ineans. For the bottom, towards the top of the Red-sea, abounds with beds of coral and 'madrapore, and is so full of sea-weed, that it from hence had the name in ancient times of Yam Suf, or the weedy sea.? Niebuhr indeed says, that the sinus, or bay of Herouin, from the top as far down as Corondel, had a good sandy bottom. This might be true, as far as he had experience. But the bed of every shelving bay has in some degree weeds and soft ? ooze sufficient to make it impassable, though the water should recede. This shews how idly they reason who compare the transit of the Israelites with the passage of Alexander by the sea-coast in Pamphylia ; for these two

Pocock, p. 135, 141.

Le rivage n'est que de pur sable depuis la point jusques à Girondel. Descript. d'Arabie, p. 356. See before, p. 355.

3 Diodorus calls it feeducou Tevagwdns. 1. 3. p. 173. He says further, that it was three fthoms deep.

« PreviousContinue »