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ter, in consequence of which they were able to drink it.
In this place it appears that the people halted, and Mofes took this opportunity of exhorting them, and making a kind of covenant with them in the name of God. Exod. xv. 25. There he made for them a fiatute and an ordinance, and there he proved them, and
said, If thou wilt diligently hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his fight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his fiatutes, I will put none of these diseases (or plagues) upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians; for I am the Lord that health thee.
Notwithstanding this relief from the effects of thirst, the people finding a want of provisions (for what they had made in haste for their journey could not last long) after fifteen days from their leaving Egypt, they again murmured against Moses and Aaron, and repented that they had left Egypt. Exod. xvi. 2. And the whole congregation of the children of lfrael murmured againft
Moses and against Aaron in the wilderness; and the children of Israel said unto them, Would to God we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh-pots, and when we did eat bread to the full. For ye have brought us forth into this wilderness to kill this whole asembly with hunger.
This circumstance clearly shews, that no human provision had been made for the march of such a number of people. The country they had to march through had not been explored, no stations had been fixed upon, and their provision entirely failed in a fortnight. How ill, then, must they have been prepared to march through the whole of that immense desart which lay between them and the land of Canaan, of which they were going to take possession. Indeed, every circumstance in this remarkable history evidently shews, that the plan of this deliverance from Egypt was laid not by man, but by God, who, by his own power, with a high hand, as we read, and an outstretched arm, himself executed it in all its parts. No
thing was due to Moses, or to any other leader, and therefore he justly replied to the people when they murmured, Exod. xvi. 18. What are we? Your murmurings are not against us, but against the Lord.
In this distress the people were relieved, Exod. xvi. 13, by the falling of a flight of quails, which covered the whole camp, that very evening; and the next morning they found, for the first time, all the country round them covered with a nourishing substance which they called manna, with which they were miraculously supplied ever after till they came to the borders of the land of Canaan.
Though this manna could not usually be kept more than one day, it was remarkable, that when none of it fell on the fabbath day, but a double quantity the day before, it might be kept two days. Also a pot filled with it, and deposited in the ark, was kept to future generations. Exod. xvi. 33.
Procecding farther, to Rephidim, the people murmured again for want of water, Exod. xvii. 3, and there God relieved them by a perpetual stream, which issued from a rock, on Moses striking it, by the command of God, with his rod. These difficulties, in which the people found themselves unexpectedly involved, did not lead them to disbelieve the power of God, but only to fear he had deserted them. This place Moses denominated Meribah, Exod. xvii. 7, because of the chiding of the children of Israel, and because they had tempted the Lord, saying, Is the Lord among
us, or not?
After this we have an account of a battle which the people had with the Amalekites in which Joshua commanded, while Moses only prayed for his success. From this it is evident that he was no warrior; and as other circumstances shew that he was not possessed of the wisdom and fagacity which are usually ascribed to him; and as he was of a most unambitious disposition, he appears to have been by no means naturally qualified to undertake the conducting of his countrymen in the hazardous enterprize of leaving Egypt, then inhabited by a powerful people, and difpoffefsing another warlike nation of a country in which they G
had strongly fortified themselves. What he did was not from any impulse of his own mind, but by supernatural direction and assistance.
The next transaction in the history, on which, for its singular importance, I shall dwell fome time, took place in the third month after the Israelites had left Egypt (Exod. xiii. 1.) at Mount Sinai, where we find such evidences of the presence and power of God as had never been exhibited before, and which, in point of grandeur and magnificence, have never been equalled since; and the scene was so circumstanced, that there could not possibly have been any deception, or impofition, in the case. Hitherto the power of God had been abun. dantly displayed in great events. The fuccessive plagues of Egypt, and the passage through the red sea, had been evidently effected by divine power; and the result had been such a deliverance of a completely-enfiaved people, from the power of a wise and warlike nation, as no power or policy of their own could have effected, especially in so short a time, and in their circumstances.