페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

gracious purposes of his government in the minds of men in all ages! We have another striking testimony of a like kind to the good conduct of the Lord's people upon a similar occasion, when the people were again brought into bondage. I mean when Jobin, king of Canaan, ruled with an iron rod over Israel. (See Judg, chap. iv, and v.) The mother of Sisera gave this unintentional testimony to the good housewifery of our mothers in Israel, when, looking out at a window to watch for the coming of her son in triumph, she cried out,“ Have they not divided the prey ; to every man a damsel or two; to Sisera a prey of divers colours, a prey of divers colours of needlework, of divers colours of needlework on both sides, meet for the necks of them that take the spoil ?” (Judg. v. 30.) Here we see that the daughters of Israel, as their fathers before them, ate not the bread of idleness, for their divers colours of needlework manifested their industry. But what an awful character must this mother of Sisera have been, to take pleasure in the lusts of her son! Forgetting the chastity of her sex, she seemed to rest in the very thought that the daughters of Israel would serve for the savage sports of her son and his army, and a damsel or two fall to the lot of every man. We see here, in striking features, a mind indeed ripe for hell. We behold sin become so exceedingly sinful, that the sinner enjoys in idea what in reality he doth not partake of. This is the state which the apostle Paul describes of sinners, “who knowing the judgment of God, that they who commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but take pleasure in them that do them.” (Rom. i, 32.) The imagination can form no picture out of hell of equal malignity of mind. Such are full ripe for hell; the next step brings them into it. They are

[ocr errors]

like a vessel brim full, one drop more, and they

sink to the bottom, PLAGUES, OF EGYPT, It may not be unaccept

able to the readers of this work to have brought before them in one short view the account of the plagues of Egypt, in order to take into a compre. hensive manner the judgment of God over the Egyptians,while manifesting grace to his Israel.

There were ten different sorts of plagues which the Lord brought upon Egypt, all succeeding one another, with only the intermission of a few days; and each rising in succession with more tremendous judgments, until in the last of them the Egyptians began to discover that if the Lord persisted in the infliction, all Egypt was destroyed.

The first was that of turning the waters of their famous river the Nile into blood. : It is worthy remark that the first miracle wrought by Moses was this of turning water into blood; but the first miracle of the Lord Jesus Christ was that of turning water into wine. (John ii. 11.) And was it not in both instances figurative of the different dispensations of the law and the gospel ? Every thing under the law, like the full flowing streams of the Nile turned into blood, is made a source of condemnation: it is called indeed the ministration of death, (2 Cor. iïi. 7.) Every thing under the gospel brings with it life and liberty. Jesus puts a blessing into our most common comforts, and the whole is sanctified.

The second plague of Egypt was that of the frogs. (Exod. viii. 1, 14.) There was somewhat particularly striking in this progression of Egypt's torments. The first was remote and distant, confined to the rivers and water ; but this second is brought nearer home, and comes near their persons, in their houses, and their chambers. . “Their land, (saith

the Psalmist,) brought forth frogs in abundance in the chambers of their kings.” (Ps. cv. 30.) When one affliction loseth its effect, a second and a greater shall follow. If distant corrections are not heard, the stro e shall be both seen and felt within our houses. This progressive punishment of the Lord, even upon his own people, is set forth in the most finished representation. (See Lev. xxvi. 3. to the end.)

In the third plague, that of lice, the punishment is heightened. Now the Lord is come home indeed by bis afflictions on the person of the Egyptians. Before, the judgment was confined to the river and to the land; but here tlie Lord made a marked distinction from the former, so as to compel the magicians of Egypt to acknowledge in it the finger of God. (See Exod. viii. 16-19.)

The plague of flies was the fourth judgment with which the Lord smote Egypt. And here I beg the reader to remark how every visitation became more and more distressing, rising, as it did, in circumstances heightened with misery. The plague of lice was great, but this of Aies abundantly more. Even in our own climate, in hot summer-seasons, when passing through narrow lanes and hedges in the country not much frequented, where insects of the winged kind increase unmolested, the horse and his rider sometimes feel their sting, and are almost made mad. But in hot countries the swarms of those creatures are at times destructive indeed. And what must the plague of flies in Egypt have been when purposely armed and sent by the Lord. We may form some conjecture of the dreadful effect that this plague wrought on Pharaoh and his people, for he called for Moses, and in his fright consented to the Israelites' departure. I beg the reader to consult the account of this plague, as recorded in Scripture. (Exod. viii. 20. to the end.) And I beg him also to observe how the Lord, concerning this plague, called upon both the Egyptians and the Israelites to observe the tokens of his discriminating grace over his people ; for. we are told that the Lord marked the land of Gosben, where Israel dwelt, that no swarm of flies should be there. Let the reader pause over this account; and let him say, what must Israel have felt in this marked distinction. Oh, what an evident token of the Lord's love! And is it not so now, and hath been through all ages of the church? Yea, are we not told that thus we are “ to return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not ?" (Mal. iii. 18.) I beg the reader to turn to the article Flies for a farther illustration of this subject.

The fifth plague of Egypt, rising still in terror, was that of the pestilence and mortality among all the cattle of the Egyptians; in which, as a continuance of the same discrimination as had been shewn before in the plague of the flies, while all the cattle of Egypt died, there was not one of the cattle of the Israelites dead. (See Exod. ix. 1–7.) Beside the very tremendous judgment on Egypt as a nation by this plague, we may remark somewhat leading to the gospel dispensation in this appointment. “ The whole creation (we are told) groaneth and travaileth in pain together.” (Rom. viii. 22.) The earth bore part in the curse for man's disobedience; hence therefore in man's redemption, of which the bringing Israel out of Egyptian bondage is a type, the inferior creatures are made to bear part in punishment. It is more than probable also, that some among the cattle that were destroyed were included in the idols of Egypt ; for certain it is, that from the Egyptians the Israelites learnt the worship of the calf, which afterwards they set up in the wilderness. (See Exod. xxxii. 14-6.) What contempt, therefore, by the destruction of cattle, was thrown upon the idols of Egypt !

In the view of the sixth plague of Egypt,“ the boils breaking forth with blains upon man and upon beast,” we behold the hand of the Lord falling heavier than ever. The persons of Pharaoh and his people in those boils and ulcers were most dreadfully beset. It should seem to have been not only one universal epidemic malady, but a malady hitherto unknown-bodies covered with running sores. When Moses afterwards in the wilderness was admonishing Israel to be cautious of offending the Lord, and threatening punishment to their rebellion, he adverts to those boils as among the most dreadful of divine visitations. ,6 The Lord will smite thee with the botch of Egypt, and with the emerods, and with the scab, and with the itch, whereofthou canst not be healed.” (Deut. xxviii. 27.) The imagination cannot form to itself, in bodily afflictions, any thing more grievous; and when to the sore of body, the corroding ulcer of soul is joined, and both beheld as coming from the Lord, surely nothing this side hell can be wanting to give the most finished state of misery! (See · Exod. ix. 8—12.) And if the reader will read also Moses's account of a corrosive mind, he will behold the awful state of having God for our enemy. (Deut. xxviii. 15. to the end.) · The seventh plague of Egypt was the “ thunder, lightning, rain, and hail.” (Exod. ix. 13, to the end. This tremendous storm was ushered in with a solemn message from the Lord to Pharaoh, that there should be a succession of plagues until that the Lord had cut him off from the face of the earth; and that the Lord had indeed raised him

« 이전계속 »