Page images
PDF
EPUB

Aaron's rod, turned into a serpent, swalloweth up the rest. i And the Lord said unto Mo- and three years old, when they ses, See, I have made thee a god spake unto Pharaoh. to Pharaoh: and Aaron thy bro- 8 And the LORD spake unto ther shall be thy prophet. Moses and unto Aaron, saying,

2 Thou shalt speak all that I 9 When Pharaoh shall speak command thee : and Aaron thy unto you, saying, Shew a mibrother shall speak unto Pha- racle for you : then thou shalt raoh, that he send the children say unto Aaron, Take thy rod, of Israel out of his land. and cast it before Pharaoh, and

3 And I will harden Pharaoh's it shall become a serpent.
heart, and multiply my signs and 10 And Moses and Aaron went
my wonders in the land of Egypt. in unto Pharaoh, and they did so

A But Pharaoh shall not hear- as the LORD had commanded : ken unto you, that I may lay and Aaron cast down his rod bemy hand upon Egypt, and bring fore Pharaoh, and before his serforth mine armies, and my peo- vants, and it became a serpent. ple the children of Israel, out 11 Then Pharaoh also called of the land of Egypt, by great the wise men and the sorcerers: judgments.

now the magicians of Egypt, 5 And the Egyptians shall know they also did in like manner with that I am the Lord, when I their enchantments. stretch forth mine hand upon E- 12 For they cast down every gypt, and bring out the children man his rod, and they became of Israel from among them. serpents : but Aaron's rod swal6 And Moses and Aaron did lowed

up .

their rods. the LORD commanded them, so 13 And he hardened Phadid they

raoh's heart, that he hearkened 7 And Moses was fourscore not unto them; as the Lord years old, and Aaron fourscore had said.

LECTURE 115.
Satan is allowed to work, but for God's greater glory.
There are two questions of great interest, which are forcibly
suggested by the passage of Scripture before us; first, what is
it that is meant when the Lord says to Moses, “ I will harden
Pharaoh's heart” ? secondly, how was it that the magicians of
Egypt did with their enchantments in like manner as Moses?
On the first subject, we must bear in mind what is written by St.
James, “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of
God : for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he

James 1. 13. That is to say, He no more tempts, than He is capable of being tempted. And we must also turn to what is written by St. Paul to the Romans, of God's designing, in a case like this, " to shew his wrath, and to make his power known.” Rom. 9. 22. And with the light which the New Testament thus sheds upon the Old, we shall have no difficulty

as

[ocr errors]

any man."

in understanding, that the heart of Pharaoh was endued with an unusual degree of obstinacy, proportioned to his own wilfulness, cruelty, and pride ; by means of which God took occasion to multiply these signs and wonders, and to manifest to the Egyptians that He was the Lord. Is not this enough to make us tremble, if we persist in any one known sin ? Is it not written for our warning, lest the righteous Judge of all the earth, beholding our iniquity, should thus harden our hearts also ? Oh how awful is the case of those, who the more they hear of God's message, and the more they know of his mighty works, become so much the more insensible to the influence of his Gospel! Oh how hopeless is the condition of that sinner, who, living in the midst of Christian light, loves the darkness rather; in whom each wasted word of exhortation, and each resisted motion of the Holy Spirit of God, serves but to sear the conscience, and to steel the heart !

And next, of what was done by the magicians. It has been observed before, that some degree of conviction, as to the existence and sovereignty of God, has been prevalent amongst almost all mankind. It is no less true, that a belief in evil spirits has prevailed, nearly to the same extent. Both notions are founded in truth. And both have probably been derived from the experience of those early ages, when all mankind were nearly as one family; whose knowledge, on any subject of deep interest, would be spread abroad with their descendants, over the face of all the earth. Satan, who appeared to Eve in Eden under the form of a serpent, was from time to time allowed to work amongst mankind his signs and lying wonders. And those by whom he wrought them, or who endeavoured to imitate his deceivableness, by their own crafty wiliness, were known as magicians, wizards, and dealers with familiar spirits. In Egypt this kind of craft was largely practised, and highly esteemed. And as in the time of our Lord, possession by evil spirits was suffered to abound, for the manifestation of his power in casting them out; so it is probable, that when Moses was sent to Pharaoh, the magicians were allowed to have more than common help from Satan, in order that they might be more signally defeated by the prophet of the Lord.' Their rods became serpents, as well as Aaron's. And so Satan still deceives the hearts of the ungodly, by seeming to give for wages as much of present pleasure, as is offered in the service of God. “But Aaron's rod swallowed up their rods.” So soon is all that Satan offers swallowed up, before the peace and joy of a life of faith, before tiie glory which awaits the righteous at their death! The more of show the prosperity of the wicked may make for a time, the greater is their fall, to all eternity. And the sufferance of Satan's artifices yields certainly, in the end, so much the more of glory to God.

The waters of the river are turned into blood. 14 And the Lord said unto Mo- their pools of water, that they may ses, Pharaoh's heart is hardened, become blood; and that there he refuseth to let the people go. may be blood throughout all the

15 Get thee unto Pharaoh in land of Egypt, both in vessels of the morning; lo, he goeth out wood, and in vessels of stone. unto the water; and thou shalt 20 And Moses and Aaron did so, stand by the river's brink against as the Lord commanded; and he he come; and the rod which was lifted up the rod, and smote the turned to a serpent shalt thou waters that were in the river, in take in thine hand.

the sight of Pharaoh, and in the 16 And thou shalt say unto sight of his servants; and all the him, The Lord God of the He- waters that were in the river were brews hath sent me unto thee, turned to blood. saying, Let my people go, that 21 And the fish that was in the they may serve me in the wil- river died; and the river stank, derness : and, behold, hitherto and the Egyptians could not thou wouldest not hear.

drink of the water of the river; 17 Thus saith the LORD, In and there was blood throughout this thou shalt know that I am the all the land of Egypt. LORD: behold, I will smite with 22 And the magicians of Egypt the rod that is in mine hand upon did so with their enchantments: the waters which are in the river, and Pharaoh's heart was hardenand they shall be turned to blood. ed, neither did he hearken unto

18 And the fish that is in the them; as the Lord had said. river shall die, and the river 23 And Pharaoh turned and shall stink; and the Egyptians went into his house, neither did shall lothe to drink of the wa- he set his heart to this also. ter of the river.

24 And all the Egyptians dig19 And the Lord spake unto Mo- ged round about the river for wases, Say unto Aaron, Take thy ter to drink; for they could not rod, and stretch out thine hand drink of the water of the river. upon the waters of Egypt, upon 25 And seven days were fultheir streams, upon their rivers, filled, after that the Lord had and upon their ponds,and upon all smitten the river.

LECTURE 116. The importance of watching to glorify God. “ And the Lord said unto Moses, Pharaoh's heart is hardened.” God calls his attention to the fact. And Moses also calls ours, saying, “ And Pharaoh's heart was hardened, neither did he hearken unto them; as the Lord had said.” It is good for us then to dwell upon this circumstance. It is good for us to observe, how the word of God was fulfilled. It is good for us, in all this history, and in all our study of God's dealings with mankind, to have an eye to his manifestation of his own glory, as well as to the pains He takes for our happiness. We are apt to think only, or chiefly, of ourselves. We are apt to be so engrossed with what concerns our own interests, that we are perplexed when we meet with passages of Scripture, in which God is represented as getting glory to Himself, with little reference, that we can see, to the advantage of man. But let us only one moment think who God is. Let us look abroad, and see his greatness in his works. Let us look within, and see our own littleness, our own nothingness. Let us consider how needful it is for us to view God's glory as it really is, and how apt we are to forget it, and to dwell upon our own ; and we shall then understand, why He graciously condescends, to teach us to glorify Himself.

See then how well suited this miracle was, to work such an effect, on the Egyptians, on the Israelites, and on us. The river of Egypt was an object of worship to the inhabitants. And it was into this same river that Pharaoh had charged his people to cast all the male children of the Israelites. What then could be more manifestly a judgment at once on their cruelty and on their idolatry, than for all the waters of the river to be turned into blood ?

6 And Moses and Aaron did so as the Lord commanded.” They used the outward instrument, with which God had connected the miraculous power. “ He lifted

up

the rod, and smote the waters that were in the river.” They did this thing openly, “in the sight of Pharaoh, and in the sight of his servants.” And upon their doing it, “all the waters that were in the river were turned into blood.” And not only the waters in the river's channel, but all, in the many pools, and ponds, and cisterns, and all kinds of vessels, which the Egyptians supplied by communications from the Nile; all were turned into blood, so that the “ fish died, and the river stank, and the Egyptians could not drink of the water of the river; and there was blood throughout all the land of Egypt.” But then lest Pharaoh should relent, Satan was allowed once more to beguile him with the delusion of a like effect, wrought by the magicians of Egypt; probably, on some of the water which they found by digging wells round about the river. As if any thing they could do with such small supply of water as could be got for them to work upon, was to be compared with this awful miracle wrought upon all the waters of a mighty river! As if it would not have been more to the purpose, if they could have turned the blood back again into water! But no; this must be left for God. He can create, and He can destroy. He can inflict the punishment, and relieve the pain. He can heal the waters, as well as turn them into blood. But though He did again restore the Nile to the Egyptians, we must not forget that a day is coming, when “the sea,” as well as “the rivers and fountains of waters,” shall become “ as the blood of a dead man.” And we must watch that we do not expose ourselves to the sentence then to be pronounced, “ Thou art righteous, O Lord, which art, and wast, and shalt be, because thou hast judged thus. For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink : for they are worthy." Rev. 16. 3—6.

The plague of frogs ; and the plague of lice. 1 And the LORD spake unto And he said, Be it according to Moses, Go unto Pharaoh, and thy word: that thou mayest know say unto him, Thus saith the that there is none like unto the Lord, Let my people go, that LORD our God. they may serve me.

11 And the frogs shall depart 2 And if thou refuse to let them from thee, and from thy houses, go, behold, I will smite all thy and from thy servants, and from borders with frogs:

thy people: they shall remain in 3 And the river shall bring the river only. forth frogs abundantly, which 12 And Moses and Aaron went shall

go up and come into thine out from Pharaoh: and Moses house, and into thy bedchamber, cried unto the Lord because of and upon thy bed, and into the the frogs which he had brought house of thy servants, and upon against Pharaoh. thy people, and into thine ovens, 13 And the LORD did accordand into thy kneadingtroughs : ing to the word of Moses ; and the

4 And the frogs shall come up frogs died out of the houses, out of both on thee, and upon thy peo- the villages, and out of the fields. ple, and upon all thy servants. 14 And they gathered them

5 And the LORD spake unto together upon heaps : and the Moses, Say unto Aaron, Stretch land stank. forth thine hand with thy rod over 15 But when Pharaoh saw that the streams, over the rivers, and there was respite, he hardenover the ponds, and cause frogs to ed his heart, and hearkened not come up upon the land of Egypt. unto them; as the Lord had said.

6 And Aaron stretched out his 16 And the Lord said unto hand over the waters of Egypt; Moses, Say unto Aaron, Stretch and the frogs came up,

and

out thy rod, and smite the dust of vered the land of Egypt. the land, that it may become lice

7 And the magicians did so with throughout all the land of Egypt. their enchantments, and brought 17 And they did so; for Aaup frogs upon the land of Egypt. ron stretched out his hand with

8 Then Pharaoh called for Mo- his rod, and smote the dust of ses and Aaron, and said, Intreat the earth, and it became lice in the LORD, that he may take man, and in beast; all the dust away the frogs from me, and from of the land became lice throughmy people; and I will let the out all the land of Egypt. people go, that they may do sa- 18 And the magicians did so crifice unto the LORD.

with their enchantments to bring 9 And Moses said unto Pha- forth lice, but they could not : raoh, Glory over me : when shall so there were lice upon man,

and I intreat for thee, and for thy upon beast. servants, and for thy people, to 19 Then the magicians said undestroy the frogs from thee and to Pharaoh, This is the finger of thy houses, that they may re- God: and Pharaoh's heart was main in the river only?

hardened, and he hearkened not 10 And he said, To morrow. unto them; as the Lord had said.

CO

« PreviousContinue »