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placed by the Jews at the end of most books in the Bible, as an exhortation to the reader to take courage, and proceed with his reading, and with the obedience it requires. It constitutes an essential part of the exhortation of God to Joshua, ch. i. 7. Only be thou strong, pin porak chazak. And of Joshua's dying exhortation to the people, ch. xxiii. 6. be ye therefore very courageous, opini ve-chazaktem, to keep and to do all that is written in the book of the law. Now it would be very strange in .these places to translate the word harden-Only be Thou hard-Be
And yet if we use the word hardy, it would suit the sense and context perfectly well: only be thou HARDY–Be ye Therefore very HARDY. Now suppose we apply the word in this way to Pharaoh, the sense would be good, and the justice of God equally conspicuous. I will make his heart hardy, bold, daring, presumptuous,-for the same principle acting against God's order, is presumption ; which, when acting according to it, is undaunted courage. It is true that the verb rup kashah is used, chap. vii. 3. which signifies to render stiff, tough, or stubborn, but it amounts .to nearly the same meaning with the above.
-- All those who have read the scriptures with care and attention, well know that God is frequently represented in them as doing what he only permits to be done. So because a man has grieved his Spirit, and resisted his grace, he withdraws that Spirit and grace from him, and thus he becomes bold and
presumptuous in sin. Pharaoh made his own heart stubborn against God, chap. ix. 34. and God gave
him up to judicial blindness, so that he rushed on stubbornly to his own destruction. From the whole of Pharaoh's conduct we learn, that he was bold, haughty, and cruel : and God chose to permit these dispositions to have their full sway in his heart, without check or restraint from divine influence ; the consequence was what God intended, he did not immediately comply with the requisition to let the people go: and this was done that God might have the fuller opportunity of manifesting his power by multiplying signs and miracles ; and thus impress the hearts both of the Egyptians and Israelites, with a due sense of his omnipotence and justice. The whole procedure was calculated to do endless good to both nations. The Israelites must be satisfied that they had the true God for their protector; and thus their faith was strengthened.--The Egyptians must see that their gods could do pothing against the God of Israel, and thus their de pendence on them was necessarily shaken. These great ends could not have been answered, had Pharaoh at once consented to let the people go. This consideration alone unravels the mystery, and explains eyery thing. Let it be observed, that there is nothing spoken here of the eternal state of the Egyptian king; nor does any thing in the whole of the subsequent account authorize us to believe that God hardened his heart against the influences of his own grace, that he might occasion him so to sin, that his justice might consign him to hell. This would be such an act of flagrant injustice, as we could scarcely attribute to the worst of men.
He who leads another into an offence, that he may have a fairer pretence to punish him for it; or brings him into such circumstances, that he cannot avoid committing a capital crime, and then hangs him for it, is surely the most execrable of mortals.What then should we make of the God of Justice and mercy, should we attribute to him a decree, the date of which is lost in eternity, by which he has determined to cut off from the possibility of salvation, millions of millions of unborn şouls, and leave them under a necessity of sinning, by actually hardening their hearts against the influences of his own grace and spirit, that he may, on the pretext of justice, consign them to endless perdition? Whatever may be pretended in behalf of such unqualified opinions, it must be evident to all who are not deeply prejudiced, that neither the jusjice nor the sovereignty of God can be magnified by them." Dr. A. Clarke on Exodus iv. 21.
It appears therefore, to have been the design of God, in his awful transactions with Pharaoh and the Israelites, to convince them of his uncontrolable authority over the physical and moral world, and thereby to revive the knowledge of his own' most glorious character among mankind. This grand design justified the extraordinary means which were employed. And the designed effect, it would appear, was produced; for when the tidings of these miraculous events were heard, the people, the Egyptians, and even the Canaanites greatly feared's and their hearts melted within them. 66 I know that the Lord hath given you the land, and that your terror is fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you. For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the red sea for you when
ye came out of Egypt; and what ye did unto the two kings of the Amorites, that were on the other side Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom ye utterly destroyed. And as soon as we heard these things, our hearts did melt, neither did there remain any more courage
in any man because of you : for THE LORD YOUR GOD, HE IS GOD IN HEAVEN ABOVE, AND IN EARTH BENEATH." Josh. ii. 9-11. Indeed all the surrounding nations were struck with solemn awe, when they heard what the God of the Israelites had done in Egypt, at the Red sea, at Sinai, and in the wilderness.
How much more worthy of God were these noble and benevolent ends, than to suppose Pharaoh was raised up from infancy to manhood, and then to the throne of Egypt; and that God positively hardened his heart in wickedness, merely to send him to hell. No such unworthy conclusion is warranted from the words of the Apostle, nor from the narration of facts respecting the dealings of God with Pharaoh and the Israelites.
6. Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth,” Rom. ix. 18. And is it concluded from these words that God in an arbitrary manner, raises some to everlasting life, and hardeneth others to everlasting death? “So it would seem,”—but without sufficient
authority. Leaving the consideration out of the question, that the Apostle was speaking in a national, not individual point of view, we may have a consistent interpretation of these words, which involves no idea of unconditional predestination.
The simple question is, On whom will he have mercy? Isaiah shall answer-Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts : and let him return unto the Lord, and HE WILL HAVE MERCY upon him, chap. lv. 7. Those therefore, on whom the Lord will have mercy, are such of the wicked as forsake their way, and return unto the Lord. But who does the Lord will to harden? Who indeed but such obstinate sinners as refuse to hearken to his voice, and return unto him with penitent hearts—those who, like Pharaoh, first harden themselves, agreeably to the declaration of Solomon, * A wicked man hardeneth his face." Prov. xxii. 29. “He that, being often reproved, hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy," ch. xxix. 1. Such sinners as wilfully resist the operations of divine grace, shall eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices, ch. i. 31.
From this view of the subject, we may perceive that the Apostle Paul, in the words under consideration, asserts the predestination for which we contend : it being according to God's unalterable counsel, to have mercy upon all who forsake their sins, return unto him, and believe in Jesus Christ : and to harden, by withholding the influences of his Spia