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with impunity and think to escape the refentment of the master, though they are wounding him through the fides of his fervant. Mark yet again the folly and unreasonableness of fear. "Because there were no graves in Egypt, haft thou taken us away to die in the wilderness? Wherefore haft thou dealt thus with us, to carry us forth out of Egypt? Is not this the word that we did tell thee in Egypt, faying, Let us alone, that we may ferve the Egyptians? For it had been better for us to ferve the Egyptians, than that we fhould die in the wildernefs." What were they afraid of now? A grave in the wilderness. What do they put in comparison with, and prefer to it? A grave in Egypt. It was a grave at the worst. Their wretched lives had got at least a fhort reprieve. If they died now, they died at once; and died like men, defending their lives, liberty, and families: not pouring out life, drop by drop, under the whip of a taskmafter. But flavery has broken their fpirit. They are reduced to the lowest pitch of human wretchedness; for this, furely, is the last stage of it. "It had been better for us to ferve the Egyptians, than that we fhould die in the wildernefs."

To this abject view of degeneracy and dejection, two objects are placed in contraft-the calmnefs and intrepidity of Mofes, and the majefty and power of God. In contemplating the former of these, as one great object of thefe Lectures is to unfold human char acter, and to hold up to imitation and applause praiseworthy conduct, let me endeavour to fix your attention upon the more obvious features of the great man, who is here drawing his own portrait.

All the great interests of Mofes were embarked, with thofe of the commonwealth of Ifrael. His lot was caft into the common lap. He had made a facrifice unfpeakably greater than any individual of the congregation had done. His profpects, for either himfelf or his family, were neither brighter nor more flattering than those of the obfcureft Hebrew among


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them. If there were danger from the pursuing hoft of Pharaoh, his share, most affuredly, was not lefs than that of any other man. He had rendered himself peculiarly obnoxious to that ftern, unrelenting tyrant, and must have been among the firft victims of his refentment. But the preffing danger of Mofes did not arise from Pharaoh, and the Egyptians, but from an intimidated, diftracted multitude, who were ready to wreak their vengeance on whoever might first meet their refentment, or could be moft plaufibly charged as the author of their misfortunes. The composure of Mofes, in fuch circumftances, is therefore justly to be confidered as an instance of uncommon heroism and magnanimity. But why do we talk of heroifm? the man who fears God knows no other fear. In the confidence of faith, though he knew not yet which way God was to work deliverance for Ifrael, he thus attempts to diffuse the hope, which he felt irradiating his own foul:"Fear ye not; ftand ftill, and fee the falvation of the Lord, which he will fhew to you today for the Egyptians which ye have seen to-day, ye fhall fee them again no more forever. The Lord fhall fight for you, and ye fhall hold your peace."

Let me entreat you to obferve, that the agent in this great tranfaction is alfo the hiftorian of it; and that the refolution and spirit of the one is to be equalled only by the modesty and fimplicity of the other. In the hands of one of the eloquent orators of Greece or Rome, what a figure would this paffage of the life of the Jewifh legiflator have made, could we fuppose them entering into the fituation of a ftranger, with the warmth which they feel in delineating the characters and conduct of their own heroes, and embellishing the dignity of modeft merit with the glowing ornaments of rhetoric? But fcripture fays much, by saying little. And the meek referve, the unaffected concifeness of the facred hiftorian, infinitely exceed the diffufive and laboured panegyrics of profane poetry or history. We have already, perhaps, deviated


too far from that beautiful fimplicity; and diminished, instead of magnifying our object, by multiplying words. We haften therefore, with our author, to contemplate an object of infinitely higher confideration than himself; to which he conftantly brings his own, and instructs us to bring our tribute of praise.

Behold the obstructions, which nature and art and accident have affembled to distress, to difcourage, and to destroy the church of God! An impaffable ridge of mountains upon the right hand and upon the left; the roaring fea in front; a powerful, exafperated, revengeful enemy following clofe behind; internal weakness, irrefolution and diffenfion: the voice of fedition loud; Mofes on his face before God. In fuch a fituation as this, Omnipotence alone can fave. No voice but that of a God is worthy of being heard. Be filent then, O heavens, and listen O earth, it is God, who fpeaks. "And the Lord faid unto Mofes, Wherefore crieft thou unto me? Speak unto the children of Ifrael, that they go forward!" What fublimity, fimplicity, and force was here!" Go forward!" What, into the raging billows? Great God, thy commands declare thy name and thy nature! What power except thine own, but must have been expofed and difgraced, by affuming fuch a high tone of authority! But what obftacle can oppofe Him, who faid, "Let there be light, and there was light ?" who fpake, and it was done; who gave commandment, and it ftood faft ?"

My heart is agitated with a mixture of fear and joy as I proceed. "The Lord God has given the word,Let the people go forward." When lo, the conducting pillar inftantly changes its pofition, and folemnly retreats to the rear of the Ifraelitifh hoft. The word given clears all the way before them, and "the glory of the Lord becomes their rereward." Now, behold the double effect of this fymbol of the divine prefence! To Ifrael, the cloud is all light and favour; to the Egyptians, all darknefs and difmay. To thofe,

night fhineth as the day-to thefe, there is obfcurity at noon-day! "And the angel of God, which went before the camp of Ifrael, removed, and went behind them; and the pillar of the cloud went from before their face, and stood behind them. And it came between the camp of the Egyptians, and the camp of Ifrael; and it was a cloud and darkness to them, but it gave light by night to thefe: fo that the one came not near the other all the night." Awful diftinction! Where fhall we find the folution of the difficulty? where, but in this, "He will have mercy on whom he will have mercy; and whom he will he hardeneth."*

To prepare us for the history of the miracle which follows, give your attention, for a few moments, to what every man and woman among you may have obferved a thousand and a thoufand times. Go to the bank of the river, go to the shore of the fea, and twice in every twenty-four hours, as certainly as light proceeds from the fun, what is now dry land will be covered with water, and what is now overflowed fhall infallibly become dry ground. Farther, when a little wandering ftar, called the moon, is in this direction, or in this, the whole waters of the globe, in the ocean, in the feas, in the rivers, are elevated or depreffed to fuch a certain degree. Let that planet be in an eastern or a western direction, the tide is precisely at the fame pitch of height or depth. After we have made this remark, which is obvious to the notice and level to the understanding of a child; the queftion will naturally occur, What, does this never fail? May we depend and act upon the certainty of fuch a regular fucceffion and change taking place? Do the waters of the earth thus certainly feel, or seem to feel the various appearances of the moon? Then it cannot be without the defign and interpofition of an intelligent and powerful caufe, which never miffes its aim, is never off its guard, is never thwarted or defeated by unforefeen

Rom. ix. 18.

foreseen obftacles. Then, that invifible, unknown, incomprehenfible power, may exercife a difcretionary influence over the stream of a particular river, over the billows of a particular fea. He may, with or without apparent fecond caufes, make the current overflow its banks, or the channel to become dry.

Or, to make another appeal to common obfervation and experience, when the fun is in fuch a certain pofition with refpect to our earth, and the wind blows in fuch a direction, the water in that lake will be liquid and transparent, and the fmallest, lighteft pebble will fink to the bottom. But let the elevation of the fun be changed to an angle fomewhat more acute, and let the wind fhift into the oppofite quarter, then, beyond all doubt, the felf-fame water fhall become folid as the rock, lose its transparency, and become capable of fustaining any weight that can be put upon it. How eafy had it been for Him, who produces regularly thefe changes in the courfe of every changing year, to have given the globe fuch a pofition, as would have rendered the hoary deep one vaft mountain of ice, all the year round, or have prevented a fingle drop of water from ever being congealed. And "wherefore fhould it be thought a thing incredible," that such an one, willing to make his power known, and his grace felt, fhould at his own time, and in his own way, do that in a particular inftance, which he could have done perpetually and univerfally. Grant me the ufual appearances and operations of nature, and I am prepared for all the uncommon, miraculous phenomena, with which the God of nature may fee meet to prefent me. We come, accordingly, to the history of dividing the Red Sea, perfectly convinced that he who made it at firft, can make of it whatever he pleafes; and thoroughly fatisfied that the occafion of fuch a notable miracle, as it is related by Mofes, was entirely worthy of it.

If it be a juft rule in criticifm, that a Deity is never to be introduced but when his interpofition is nec


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