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necessity of intreating Moses and Aaron to supplicate the Lord, in order to obtain deliverance, yet he shewed no signs of repentance. He gave way to the power of the Lord, only because he was at that instant sensi. ble of his own comparative weakness ; but he felt no remorse or sorrow for his wickedness and pre mption.
What a triumph had Moses and Aaron! The haughty tyrant, who a few days before' had commanded them to work as his slaves, now becomes a supplicant to them for mercy!
By hearkening to the prayer of Moses, in behalf of Pharaoh, the LORD greatly honoured his minister. Well might Moses say ironically, to Pharaoh, “ Glory
The LORD was pleased to suffer Pharaoh to name the exact time at which the plague of frogs should be removed ; and it is observable, that the king did not entreat that it might immediately cease, but mentioned the morrow ; from which may be inferred, that he was unwilling to owe any thing to the LORD, supposing that the frogs would go of themselves by that time. The event agreeing with Pharaoh's own appointment, proved that all was the work of GopIf Pharaoh had not had «
mind void of judgment,” surely these wonders would have convinced him, that there is none like unto the LORD Gop.
By the dust, we may understand those light particles of earth, which being raised imperceptibly by the air, are only to be seen in the sun beams : and which, as they fall, lodge on every substance that is in the way to receive them; even these, changed into vermin, must have been very tormenting ; and how wonderful was the transformation! Who but the CREATOR could effect it?
It is to be observed, that when Aaron smote the earth, all the dust of the land of Egypt became lice. The efforts of the magicians must therefore have been directed against the land of Goshen, in which the Israelites dwelt. Here they were compelled to acknowledge publicly a Divine power ; but even the testimony of the Egyptian priests was not sufficient to soften the proud heart of Pharaoh, who gave a convincing proof of the LORD's prescience, by opposing all conviction, as He had foretold.". Though it is not mentioned before, we may reasonably conclude that a distinction was, from the first, made between the Israelites and the Egyptians. The former did not deny the Lokd to bė God. He had chosen them as his peculiar people ; and such calamities as were sent upon the Egyptians, added to their other afflictions, would have driven them to downright despair , besides the Egyptians could not have discerned the finger of God, had his own people been fellow-sufferers with them.
It is likely that Pharaoh and his subjects would have regarded it as the effect of chance ; and that even the Israelites themselves inight have overlooked the mercy, had' not the LORD expressly called them to observe the difference he made between them.
The plague of fies was a very distressing one, as may be easily conceived, if we consider that there are a number of species of insects that go under this denomi. nation; most of which have powers of tormenting, either by venomous stings, which give intolerable pain ; or disagreeable buzzings, that are extremely disturbing The Psalmist observes, that the Egyptians were “ devoured with flies't';" and they certainly must have suffered great anguish from them, or the haughty Pharaoh would not have relented.
* The magicians were idolatrous priests. + Ps. lxxvilie 45.
On this occasion, he stipulated that the Israelites should not go out of his land ; which shews that he retained the same principle of oppression, which had hitherto actuated him to treat them with gour.
The Egyptians idolized those animals which the patriarchs, offered in sacrifice, and of course would have taken great offence at seeing any of the flocks and herds offered in sacrifices to the LORD. From the question of Moses, “Shall we sacrifice the abomination of the Egyptians before their eyes, and will they not stone. "us?" we may infer that sacrifices had been omitted by the Israelites during the Egyptian bondage; the rite however was not forgotten.
Though frogs are in general harmless creatures, and it is a great mark of weakness to be terrified at them, they are certainly very disagreeable in houses. Our merciful CREATOR, who, in all parts of the world, has shewn a tender regard for the welfare of mankind, has so disposed this, ' and many other species of noxious creatures, that they give no annoyance to us ; but, on the : contrary, prove beneficial, by feeding on what would render stagnated waters prejudicial to our health. Yet how apt are we now to overlook these marks of his kindness ! The miracle we are now considering, is calculated to awaken, in our hearts, proper sentiments ; therefore, while we rejoice, that we have not frogs in our chambers, in: our beds, in our kneading troughs, and our ovens ; let us kemember that it is God who preserves us from so distressing an evil.
We have equal reason to be grateful for God's good. ness in respect to noisome insects, which seldom abound, except where cleanliness is wanting ; nor should we be
unthankful to his providence, for keeping us from being devoured by flies. There is not an insect in nature, hows ever small and insignificant many kinds may appear, but is capable, by an immoderate increase in number, of being a plague to mankind.
It is impossible to reflect on the power of the CREATOR and the love which He displays towards the human race, even in matters which, to the inattentive, appear of little importance, without feeling a thorough conviction, that He must undoubtedly be the greatest and best of Beings. Let us, therefore, be ever ready to acknowledge God, as the LORD of the whole creation; and, as such, let us pay Him our willing homage.
THE PLAGUES OF MURRAIN, BOILS AND BLAINS,
From Exodus, Chap. ix.
THEN the LORD said unto Moses, Go in unto Pharaoh, and tell him, Thus saith the LORD God of the Hebrews, Let my people go, that they may serve me.
For if thou refuse to let them go, and wilt hold them
Behold, the hand of the Lord is upon thy cattle whicha, is in the field, upon the horses, upon the asses, upon the camels, upon the oxen, and upon the sheep : there shall be a very grievous murrain.
And the LORD shall sever between the cattle of Israel, and the cattle of Egypt; and there shall nothing die of all that is the children's of Israel.
And the LORD appointed a set time, saying, Tomorrow the LORD shall do this thing in the land. And VOL. I. P
the Lord did that thing on the morrow, and all the cattle of Egypt died; but of the cattle of the children of Israel died not one.
1.And Pharaoh sent, and behold, there was not one of the cattle of the Israelites dead. And the heart of Pha., raoh was hardened, and he did not let the people go.
And the LORD said unto Moses, and unto Aaron, Take to you handfuls of ashes of the furnace, and let Moses' sprinkle it toward the heaven in the sight of Pharaoh:
* And it shall become 'small dust in all the land of Egypt, and shall be a boil breaking forth with blains, upon man, and upon beast throughout all the land of Egypt,
And they took ashes of the furnace, and stood before Pharaoh ; and Moses sprinkled it up toward heaven : and it became a boil breaking forth with blains upon man, and upon beast.
And the magicians could not stand before Moses, because of the boil: for the boil was upon the magicians, and upon all the Egyptians.
And the LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh, and he hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had spoken unto Moses.
And the LORD said unto Moses, Rise up early in the morning, and stand before Pharaoh, and say unto him, Thus saith the LORD God of the Hebrews; Let my people go, that they may serve me. For I will at this time send all ny plagues upon
thine heart, and upon thy servants, and upon thy people : that thou mayest know, that there is none like me in all the earth. For now I will stretch out my hand, that I may
smite thee and thy people with pestilence; and thou shalt be cut off from the earth.