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evening. They were to dress it by fire with bitter herbs; and to eat it in a posture of standing, with their loins girded, their shoes upon their feet, and their staves in their hands. The whole process was that of persons, who were sojourners and pilgrims; and who were setting out upon their passage through a wilderness to a place of bliss, called Canaan; where their toil and travel were to end. But to secure to themselves these advantages, and to save their lives from the destroying angel; they were to take the blood of the blameless lamb, which they sacrificed, and with a bunch of hyssop, dipped in the blood, sprinkle it upon the posts and pillars at the entrance of their houses, and upon the thresholds; and by this token they were to be preserved. They were likewise to take care that not a bone of it should be broken. At the same time they were to eat nothing leavened. In all your ham bitations shall ye eat unleavened bread.
Exod. ch. xii. ver. 14. And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and you shall keep it a feast to the Lord, throughout your generations; you shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever. For the Lord will pass through to
Exodus xii. 20.
smite the Egyptians: and when he seeth the blood upon the lintel, and on the two side-posts, the Lord will pass over the door, and will not suffer the destroyer to come in unto your houses to smite you.
V. 28. And the children of Israel went away, and did as the Lord had commanded Moses and Aaron, so did they,
When the people had thus performed the sacred ordinance, which had been enjoined them; they waited for the great event, which was to bring about their deliverance. At last the cry was up. For (ver. 29.) it came to pass, that at midnight the Lord smote all the first-born in the land of Egypt, from the first-born of Pharaoh that sat on his throne, unto the first-born of the captive that was in the dungeon; and all the first-born of cattle.
V. 30. And Pharaoh rose up in the night, he and all his servants, and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt; for there was not a house where there was not one dead.
It may be urged, as each dead person was confined to a particular house, the grief upon the occasion must have been in like manner
limited and confined; and there could not be that general display of it, as has been intimated. But this is a mistake. It has been shewn, that the Egyptians of all nations upon earth were most frantic in their 'grief. When any person died in a family, all the relations, and all the friends of the deceased, co-operated in a scene of sorrow. And the process was to quit the house; at which time the women, with their hair loose and their bosoms bare, ran wild about the streets. The men likewise, with their apparel equally disordered, kept them company; all shrieking, and howling, and beating themselves, as they passed along. This was upon the decease of a single person. But when there was one dead in every family, every house must have been in great measure vacated; and the streets quite filled with mourning. Hence we may be assured that these violent emotions were general; and at the same time shocking past all imagination. The suddenness of the stroke, and the immediate and universal cries of death at midnight, that particularly awful season, must have filled every soul with horror. It was therefore very truly said by the prophet of God---There shall
! See before. Herod. 1. 2. c. 85, 86. p. 141.
be a great cry throughout all the land of Egypt, such as there was none like it, (before) nor shall be like it any more. Exod. ch. xi. ver. 6.-And Pharaoh rose up in the night, he and all his servants, and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt. ch. xii. ver. 30.
One manifest purpose of providence in these signs and judgments was to punish the Egyptians by a series of evils; and this on two accounts. In the first place, because they were blest with noble parts, and great knowledge; which they prostituted to a shameful degree. And secondly, because, after their nation had been preserved by one of the Israelitish family, they had, contrary to all right, and in defiance of original stipulation, enslaved the people, to whom they had been so much indebted. And not contented with this, they had proceeded to murder their offspring, and to render the people's bondage intolerable by a wanton exertion of power. It had been told them, that the family of the Israelites collectively were esteemed as God's ' first-born: for from that family Christ was to proceed, who is the first-born of every creature. Therefore
Thus saith the Lord, Israel is my son, even my first born. Exodus iv. 22.
God said to them, Let my son go, that he may serve me: and if thou refuse to let him go, behold, I will slay thy son, even they first-born. Exod, ch. iv. ver. 23.
But they heeded not this admonition: hence these judgments came upon them; which terminated in the death of the eldest in each fa mily a just retaliation for their disobedience and cruelty.
These judgments were stiled signs, as well as wonders: and very justly. For they were not introduced merely as arbitrary marks of power: but had a particular scope and meaning, as I have attempted to shew. I was aware of an objection, which might be made---that I try to prove the ancient rites and customs of the Egyptians by those of later date and I wrote a short treatise at the beginning to take off this objection. There are besides many passages in scripture, which will shew the antiquity of that idolatry and of those customs, from whence my arguments are drawn. Ma