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"These words were spoken by Moses, in the name of God, to that unhappy king of Egypt who, for the visitations to which he was exposed, and his obstinate hardness under them, stands alone in the history of the ancient world, as a dreadful monument of the power of the Most High, and of the folly and perverseness of human nature. Ten times were plagues inflicted on himself and his people, the very least of which might have sufficed to humble the proudest heart, and awaken the most careless and incredulous spirit to attention, and conviction, and obedience. Ten times, while the hand of the Almighty yet lay heavy on his land, did Pharaoh humble himself before Jehovah's prophet, and promise, with apparent sincerity, a complete and immediate compliance; and ten times did he fly back from his word so soon as his punishment was withdrawn, till the end was answered for which he had been endured so long, till the span was past to which his guilt and his power were limited, and the chained sea was let loose to quench that frantic impiety which had seemed but to gather fresh strength from every former dispensation, whether of vengeance or of mercy.
"All this, indeed, is strange, but this is not, to human ears, the strangest part of Pharaoh's history. Other fruitful lands, besides Egypt, have been, for a time, made barren through "the wickedness of them that dwelt therein." Other nations, besides the children of Misraim, have smarted for their ruler's folly; and other kings, besides the one whose history we are now examining, have by their sins incurred the anger of Heaven, and by their blindness courted destruction. When Spain, by an opposite crime to that of the Egyptians, in the time of Moses, expelled her Morisco brethren from those valleys which were, in their industrious hands, as another garden of Eden, how surely did she entail the curse of poverty on her soil, and in how legible and lasting characters has God's anger since been written on her rocks, her mountains, and her deserted fields! How strangely has the despotism of the Sultans reduced to an uniform barbarism and sterility the countries once most favoured by knowledge and genius, by nature and improvement; and how strangely have we ourselves beheld a bold, and wise, and wary conqueror entangled in those snares which his ambition was framing for mankind, and, in spite of warning to avoid his calamities, in spite of opportunities to retrieve them, despising security and empire in the pursuit of yet further power, and, like Pharaoh, incurring a ruin which lay before him in the broad book of nature, as calculable as the moon, and as certain as the return of the seasons!
"In the great mass, indeed, of human misery, by whatever secondary cause produced, by the wickedness of mankind, or by the phenomena of nature, the plagues of Egypt may seem to sink into insignificance. Streams broader than the Nile flowed with a worse crimson to the sea, when Attila, the scourge of God, was suffered by His providence to pass the Danube, and when Timur laid waste the regions round Euphrates; and the human beings who miserably perished during the single expedition of Xerxes, may have exceeded many times the number of first-born children whom the wrath of Jehovah cut off on the night of the passover. A volcano, an earthquake, an inundation, a VOL IV.-No. 7.
famine, or a pestilence, are agents of destruction more sweeping by far, though, from their comparative frequency, less awful, perhaps, and terrible than those miraculous inflictions which are recorded in the early chapters of Exodus. Nor can it be regarded by the rational deist as in itself impossible, or as any probable impeachment of the Divine goodness, that the same Providence which, in the ordinary course of nature, dispenses, for wise and gracious purposes, these other and more formidable plagues, should, in a remarkable instance, and where the honour of his name was concerned, have more lightly, though not more conspicuously, afflicted a particular sovereign and his subjects. These truths it is well and wise to bear in our constant recollection while we are reading of those dispensations which are emphatically called "the wars of the Lord," in the Old Testament; both as evincing a close and constant analogy between the usual and natural operations of the Deity in the world, and those rarer instances in which His interference has been immediate and visible, and as proving that the objections which are often inconsiderately advanced against these last, must, if well-founded, extend further than their authors desire; must detract from the general no less than from the particular Providence of God, and lay the axe to the root of natural as well as of revealed religion." pp. 146-149.
The following is the conclusion of the discourse on the "Character of Moses."
"It was, then, the Word of God, the Saviour of the world, who Himself, in after ages, was made flesh and dwelt among us, whose voice was heard, and fiery presence seen by Moses amid the rocks of Arabia. Nor can we require a stronger proof than this identity of operation under either covenant, of the connexion between every part of God's plan for the redemption of mankind; and that it was not enough for mankind to acknowledge the divine commission of Moses, unless their veneration travelled on to His name of whom Moses spake, and for whose advent and sacrifice the institutions of Moses prepared the way. And it now only remains for me to offer a few observations on the meaning of that title which the Lord, on this occasion, assumed. “I AM THAT I AM," and "I Am hath sent thee unto them."
"It is evident that, in the first and most obvious application of the words, they were intended to correct that ignorance of the Divine Nature which possessed both the Israelites and Moses himself, and which prompted the latter to inquire what God that was of the many whom the nations worshipped, who had undertaken the patronage and protection of the oppressed peasantry of Goshen? Was it Pthe, or Nuth, or On, the gods of Memphis and Heliopolis? Was it Chemosh the tutelary idol of Moab? Was it that spirit who, under the name of Baal, was believed to guide the chariot of the sun? Or Astarte the queen of Heaven? In answer to all such erroneous opinions, and to forbid all comparisons of the Divine Nature with any false or subaltern spirits, the answer of Jehovah is decided and satisfactory. It lays claim to a divinity solitary and unrivalled, to be the One who is, and from whom all other living things derive their secondary being; who can tolerate no
partner in His throne, nor share his name and power with any inferior intelligence. "I AM hath sent thee unto them." It is, also, evident that by this phrase an everlasting being is denoted, a now without beginning or end; imperishable and which cannot be changed.
"And hence two consequences follow. First, it was, as we have seen, the Word of God who took to Himself this title, even as in after days, and during the time of His incarnation, He employed the same tense of precisely the same verb, "I Am" in asserting His own existence anterior to the birth of Abraham. And, accordingly, by this text those Christians are convicted of error who suppose, with Arius, that Christ has had a beginning, or that in the trinity which we worship, any one is before or after the other.
"The second inference is that awful comparison between a temporal and eternal existence, which is so often enforced and enlarged on by the authors of the Sacred Volume as a motive for deep reverence toward God on the part of all God's creatures, and as an inducement to raise our thoughts above the limits of a perishable world, to Him in whose presence is deathless life, and at whose right hand there are pleasures for evermore. 'Of Old hast thou laid the foundation of the earth; and the Heavens are the work of Thy hands. They shall perish, but Thou shalt endure, yea all of them shall wax old like a garment, as a vesture shalt Thou change them and they shall be changed, but Thou art the same, and Thy years shall have no end.'
"If God then be eternal, how dreadful must His wrath be esteemed, whose power never passeth away, neither does His purpose change; who in the same light in which He views any action or thought of ours to-day, must continue to view it through countless ages; whose laws are without repeal, and His purposes, though from the first conditional on our actions, are, so far as He is Himself concerned, without repentance or shadow of turning! If God is for ever, how ill do we calculate in preferring, to His love and protection, the span of happiness which His visible creation can offer, the fashion of this world which is so soon to pass away into silence! Yea, rather, forasmuch as the things around us, which are all one day to be dissolved, are so goodly and glorious during their stage of momentary existence, if God so clothe the grass of the field which to-day is, and to-morrow is cast into the oven;' if this earth which, ere long, must melt with fervent heat, is now so richly adorned with fruits and flowers by the lavish munificence of its Creator; if the firmament which is one day to wither like a parched scroll, is now set thick with suns, and all nature, even in this its ruined state, is teeming with whatever can supply the wants, whatever can delight the senses of us, poor exiles from Paradise; what may we not anticipate from the power and mercy of the Most High in that new Heaven and new earth, whose foundations shall be laid from everlasting, and where they whom He loves, and who have lovingly served Him, shall be gathered as the wheat into His garner!" pp. 142-145.
We regret that our limits do not admit of extending these extracts, or of making some others from the discourses on the "Extension of Christ's Kingdom," and the "Conversion of
the Heathen." We must conclude this very hasty notice of an excellent work, by strongly recommending it to the attention of the American public, and wishing all possible success to the publishers in their laudable enterprize.
Page 8, line 35, read "those of the Samaritans from three to seven." 50, 31, for "peace," read piece.
56, last line, read "to begin with the matter of our replication."
99, line 36, after "another language," add "Latin for instance." "113, in the first table, line 4, read "Low Countries-Protestant and Catholic, nearly equal."
17, read "videant coss: ne quid," &c.
In a part of the impression, through inadvertence, two errors were made in page 167. Line 39, should read "His conduct as a public man," &c.-line 41, "He looks upon himself as a Brutus," &c.
When we mentioned, at page 153, doubtingly, the opinion of Ernesti that Cicero had published all the nine books which he projected writing De Republica, the following passage did not occur to us. It had evidently escaped the German critic, for it puts an end to all controversy upon the subject-having been written many years after the publication of the Republic, and not long before the fatal battle of Modena, and the events that ensued upon it. Cicero, in the beginning of the second book "De Divinatione," is giving an account of his works. Atque his libris annumerandi sunt sex De Republicâ, quos tunc scripsimus cum reipublicæ gubernacula tenebamus, &c.