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out of the country forty years, and in the mean time they could not have lost, but, probably, would have gained, skill in their arts, so that they might easily have detected any trick of his. Besides, he was but one man, or at most was only assisted by his brother Aaron; whereas they were many, which gives a great advantage in things of this nature. · In the next miracle all the dust in the land, it is said, became lice, both upon man and upon beast, that is, the quantity was so great, that it seemed as if all the dust of the country had been converted into lice. After this a swarm of flies filled the whole country, and yet, on the prayer of Moses, they were all removed, and not one remained.
In the next place, on the word of Moses, a grievous murrain fell upon all the cattle of Egypt, but not upon those of the Israelites, the day after it was threatened; and then, on the simple sprinkling of ashes into the air, the plague of boils came upon man and upon beast, and even upon the magicians themselves, while they stood in the presence of Moses and Pharaoh, which
shews that they had no power to counteract that which accompanied Mofes.
After this a grievous hail-storm, accompanied with thunder and lightning, a thing never known in that country, and so severe that not only the more tender herbs, but even the trees of the field, were broken by it; and yet upon that part of the country which the Israelites inhabited there was no hail. This calamity, contrary to its usual nature, must have continued some time; but at the entreaty of Pharaoh, and the prayer of Moses, it immediately ceased.
After the hail followed the locusts, which devoured every green thing in the whole land; and this also, at the relenting of Pharaoh, and the prayer of Moses, was entirely removed.
The next miracle was an extraordinary darkness where the Egyptians lived, while it continued light with the Israelites. And the last miracle was of a still more extraordinary nature, viz. the death of the firstborn, and of the first-born only, of man and of beast too, in one particular night, through the whole land of Egypt, while
not not one of the Israelites died, and this pe. remptorily foretold before the event.
Things of this magnitude could never have been effected by art, and it is evident that the magicians of Egypt were sensible that they were produced by supernatural power. For upon the miracle of the lice they could not help confeffing it. This, said they, is the finger of God. Exod. viii. 19. On this they desisted from making any more attempts to imitate the miracles of Moses, afraid, probably, to proceed any farther.
In order to commemorate the most extraordinary event, the sparing the firstborn of Israel, while those of the Egyp. tians were destroyed, a peculiar rite was instituted, and announced before the event. It consisted of killing and eating a lamb with particular ceremonies at that time of every future year, to be continued as long as they should be a nation, the first time of celebration taking place on the very night on which the event to be cominemorated happened. No record of any event could be more unexceptionable than this; so that the continuance of the custom, which all
Jews keep up to this day, is an unquestionable proof of the reality of the fact, much more than any other known custom is a proof of any other fact connected with it, as that of our making bonfires in commemoration of the gunpowder-plot in England; the event commemorated, and the sign of it, taking place at the same instant of time, and the event being recorded while it was fresh in the memory of all the witnesses of it, who were not a few individuals, but a whole nation, and that the least disposed to credulity, as their whole history, and their present character, abundantly prove.
The passage of the Israelites through the red sea was a miracle on a still larger scale, and had greater consequences, viz. the total destruction of Pharaoh's great host of armed chariots and horses, and of himself along with them. That this great event should be accounted for in a natural way is absolutely impossible. Had the waters been driven back by a strong wind, as nothing but the continued force of the wind could have kept them in that situation, it would
not have been possible for man or beast, and still more for chariots, to have passed during the blowing of it, and yet it is evident that they did it, and at their leisure. Besides, the waters were held back on both sides, which could not have been effected by a wind, blowing in any one direction whatever. The former of these observations will apply to the passage of the Israelites through the river Jordan, which divided to make way for them during the season of its overflowing its banks, and which continued a whole day, as that through the red sea continued the whole night.
The effect of these miracles, and especially of this last, impressed the people greatly. They were not things which they had heard of others, but what they had seen themselves. For, as we read in my text, Exod. xiv. 21, Ifrael saw that great work which the Lord did upon the Egyptians, and the people feared the Lord, and they believed the Lord, and his servant Mofes. They were convinced that, notwithstanding the boasted wisdom of the Egyptians, and their great superiority to all other pations (for