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LECT. VI their burthens. Brought to himself by a few strokes of the rod of God's anger, he yields a tardy confent to the intermiffion of their labours for a little while, and to their doing facrifice to their God; but it must be in the land where they dwelt, even in Egypt." That alternative being rejected, and a new demand made, backed with a new threatening, and followed with a new plague, he agrees to permit the male part of Ifrael, who were arrived at man's eftate, to resort to the place appointed; but he is determined to detain their wives, children and cattle, as hostages for their return. Conftrained, at length, by dint of judg ments, to let the whole congregation depart, he endeavours to ftipulate, that they thould not go very far off; and not, till broken by the laft dreadful plague, can he be brought to refign his ufurped authority over the free-born fons of God.

We often find men pretending to make a merit of giving up what it is no longer in their power to retain. After a man has fquandered away his means, in riot and extravagance, deferves he praise for living fparingly? Another has ruined his conftitution by intemperance; is his forced continence an object of admiration? By no means. He has difcontinued his debaucheries through difability, not from inclination and conviction of his error. Old age has debilitated a third is he therefore virtuous? No, no his vices have forfaken him, not he his vices. When a man ferves through fear, he does no more than he needs muft; but love is liberal and generous, and stands not queftioning, "yea hath GoD faid ?" but, ever on the watch, ever on the wing, the moment that the voice of God is heard, it is ready to reply, "Here am I, Lord, fend me." This leads me to remark,

Fourthly, The wifdom of giving up, at the command of God, with alacrity, what we must give up at laft, whether we will or not. What a pitiful figure does Pharaoh make in the end! baffled in every attempt, driven out of every fortrefs, difhonoured in the


eyes of his own fervants, tranfmitted to lateft pofterity a monument of pride and impotence. Were not the proud man blind and infatuated, he would yield through felf-love; he would fubmit to preferve his own confequence, at leaft the appearance of it. Unhappily for us, our will stands but too offen in oppofition to the will of God. When they come to clash, who ought in reason to give way? Who must of neceffity fubmit? Knoweft thou not, O man, that to destroy thyself, thou needeft but to follow thy own headftrong inclination: knowest thou not, that the gratification, not the difappointment of illicit defire, is ruinous? But who ever made a facrifice of inclination to duty, and had reafon to repent of it? Who knows not, that to yield fubmiffion is to obtain a triumph? In a contention where there is a probability, or even a poffibility of our prevailing, it may be worth while to risk a combat; but who, except a madman, will feek to encounter a foe by whom he is fure to be defeated? And yet, in that mad, that ruinous ftrife, fee how many are engaged? Behold the ftars in their courfes ranged on the part of their Creator; behold all nature ftanding in arms to efpoufe his caufe; and who must be overcome? Against whom is this formidable preparation made? There ftands the enemy, in all his weakness and folly; a crawling worm on a dunghill, provoking his fate, tampering with eternal ruin, hardening himfelf against GOD, and yet thinking to profper. The influence of no malignant ftar is neceffary to blaft him: there is a neceffity for no earthquake to fwallow him up: no archangel armed with a fword of fire, need defcend to cut him asunder: his breath is in his own noftrils; he is finking into his duft; his own ridiculous efforts are wafting and confuming him. Foolifh creature and unwife! why wilt thou contend longer? "Wherefore shouldst thou be ftricken any more?" Conftrain not HIM to be thy foe who has towards thee the difpofition of the beft of


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friends, and who is mighty to fave, even " to the uttermoft, them that come unto him."

Fifthly, In the courfe of thefe dreadful plagues, we obferve, not only the pride of man effectually humbled, but the power of Satan trampled in the duft, under the feet of the Moft High. It is highly interefting to obfervę, by what gradual steps the enemy and the avenger is laid low, till he is at length deftroyed. Prefumption, at firft, induces him, in confidence of a permitted power, to enter the lifts and to try his ftrength with God. Aaron's rod is turned into a ferpent. The magicians attempt the fame, and fucceed. Their rods alfo become ferpents. But Aaron's rod fwallowed up their rods. By and by the water of the river is turned into blood, and the fifhes die. The magicians, by their enchantments, madly affift the plague, and acquire a little transitory reputation, by doing mifchief. Flufhed with this farther fuccefs, they go on to imitate the miracles of Mofes and Aaron; but, to their confufion, they fail there, where it seemed most probable that they fhould with greatest ease fupport their fame. That loathfome vermin, lice, is to be produced miraculously, which flovenlinefs and filth naturally produce without any effort. At the word of Mofes, the duft of the land is transformed into this noifome, naufeous infect. But the whole power of hell cannot effect, at the time, and in the manner which it would, what time and carelefsnefs alone, in the ufual courfe of things, would certainly have produced; and they feel themfelves attacked with a plague which their art could not bring upon others. Finally, after having become the fubjects of a miraculous calamity which might be borne, they are at length attacked with one abfolutely intolerable, which drives them from the competition: they give up their filly arts of forcery, and attempt to rival the true God no more. And thus, when the myflery of godlinefs fhall be finished, an aftonifhed world fhall behold the fleight and devices of Satan falling upon

his own head, his momentary triumphs covering him with more accumulated difgrace, and his infernal malice and diabolical craft made miniftring fervants to the wisdom and goodnefs of God. A good reason, among many others, why we fhould judge nothing rafhly before the time till the Lord cometh, who fhall bring light out of obfcurity, and fully vindicate his ways to men.

Sixthly, We obferve how unlike the latter ends of things are to their beginnings. The world laughs at the idea of two feeble old mcn, iffuing forth from a defert, the patrons of liberty; to force a mighty prince, and a powerful nation, to liften to the dictates of juftice and humanity, and to liberate a million of wretched creatures, whose spirits were totally broken by their miferies and who seemed to have loft even the inclination of vindicating their own rights. Pharaoh despised them; the magicians defied them; Ifrael diftrusted them; they themselves are ready to fink under the difficulty and danger of the enterprife. But, conducted of Heaven, they attempt, they proceed, they profper, they overcome. They invade Egypt, two folitary, unfupported individuals! They leave it at the head of fix hundred thousand men, fit to bear arms, with a correfponding number of females, befides old men and children, and a mixed multitude of non-defcript perfons; bidding defiance to the whole force of a wife, and populous, and warlike country. And we fee them in the courfe of a few years taking forcible poffeffion of one of the strongest, most impacticable and beft defended countries in the world.

I need but hint to you the counterpart of this. Behold the unconnected fon of a carpenter, at the head of twelve fimple illiterate fishermen, attacking the religious establishments of the whole globe, and prevailing. Behold him, armed with a few plain facts, and a few doctrines as plain, overturning the whole fabric of heathen mythology and worship; ingraft


ing on the stock of Mofes, and the legal difpenfation, a fcion from a nobler root; which has fwallowed up the parent tree, has filled the earth with its branches, is feeding the nations to this day with its fruit, and is likely to maintain its place till all the gracious purposes of Heaven are accomplished. "It is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes." "When the world by wisdom knew not GOD, it pleafed God by the foolishness of preaching, to fave them that believe." The next Lecture will, by divine favour, exhibit the inftitution and celebration of the firft paffover, with the event which gave occafion to it. May GOD bless what has been spoken, To Him be glory and honour forever and ever,


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