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them from the heat of the sun in the wilderness, where there were but few trees to shelter them ; it also served as a standing oracle, to which they might on all occasions resort and know the Divine will. This cloud may properly be called the vehicle of the LORD God, the place of bis majestic presence.
Had not God condescended to give a visible token of His presence, the Israelites would scarcely have had courage to leave Etham, and follow Moses ; for they were ordered to encamp in a place which was so situated, as to furnish no means of escape from utter destruction, but by the miraculous interposition of their heavenly leader. On one side of them a range of craggy rocks, on the other as is supposed) forts and garri"sons of the Egyptians: before them the sea ; behind them the host of their enemies. at whose appearance, in all probability, they had een used to tremble ; who had humbled their very souls by their barbarous treatment, and whose commands it was death to dispute : they were strangers to the arts of war, unskilled to wield the sword, to draw the bow, or throw the spear and Jance ; nor could they climb the lefty rocks, and hide themselves from the imperding dangers; neither were they furnished with vessels to carry them across the sea in search of a place of refuge or retreat.
The LORD knew.* that Pharaoh had not given the Israelites leave to depart in obedience to His commands, but merely from sudden dread of Divine vengeance, and that both he and his people would repent
pursue after them : the Lord therefore removed His terror from the minds of Pharaoh and his people, and left them at liberty to follow the dictates of their own obdurate hearts ; in consequence of which, while they were yet
* Wisdom xix. 1, 2.
nourning and making lamentation at the graves of the dead, they committed another act, which discovered minds void of judgment, for hearing that, instead of returning, the Israelites continued their journey, they pursued those as fugitives whom they had just before entreated to be gone *. - To a set of unarmed inen, the sight of such a formi. dable host must have been very dreadful, but after the numerous instances of the power and goodness of the LOKD, which they had so recently witnessed, the Israelites had sufficient foundation to hope that they should be effectually delivered from their enemies, and therefore it was sinful in them to throw aside their confidence, even while the LORD was visibly among them; but considering them as the posterity of His faithful servants, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and in remem. brance of His covenant, the Lord pardoned their weakness, and animated their faith by fresh promises. Their situation was such, that they could do nothing for themselves : all that God required was, that they should remain quiet, and only observe in what manner He would effect their deliverance.
Whoever has viewed the sea, may easily recollect with what magnificence and strength its waves follow each other; their ordinary force cannot be resisted by the most powerful army; how wonderful must it then have been to see them dividing and standing still on heaps at the lifting up of the rod of God, which Moses held in his hand!
The Angel OF THE LORD undoubtedly was the same Almighty Being who had been to mankind from the creation, the VISIBLE IMAGE of the only true God.
It is said, that the pillar of the cloud gave light to the Israelites, but cast darkness upon the Egyptians, * Wisdom xix. 3.
from whence we may infer, that the latter had advanced into the sea, before they knew any thing of the miracle that had been wrought. How great then must have been their consternation, when the glory of the LORD beamed forth and discovered to them the danger of their situation ; mountainous waves standing cn heaps col. lected together by that omnipotent Being whom they had so repeatedly offended, and ready to fall on their presumptuous teads! A sudden conviction of the power of the Lord, and of their own weakness, seizing upon their spirits, and impelling them to fee from the un. 'armed people they were the instant before with full confidence of victory pursuing! It is likely that in this confusion the Egyptians drove against each other, and by this means broke their chariot wheels. At length the Divine command was given ; Moses again lifted *up his rod, and the fate of those who had so long opposed the will of the SOVEREIGN OF THE UNIVERSE was in an instant determined. Well might the Israelites fear the LORD, and believe his faithful minister?
From the wonderful history of Pharaoh and the Egypt tians, we learn that the LORD God is undoubtedly the LORD and Governor of all things ; for every part of nature is subservient to His will, and He can alter or dispose of it according to His pleasure. Pharaoh himself could not have maintained a contest with the Lord God for a moment, had not his Almighty antagonist armed him with: strength to endure His vengeance for the purpose of proving His own omnipotent power.
We also learn from this portion of Sacred History, how displeasing in the sight of God are pride, cruelty, and impicty: let us then be thankful to the Lord for His goodness, and never make an improper use of His. gifts, lest we provoke Hiin to turn them into curses : and let us carefully guard our minds against the first
temptations to presumptuous sin, by entertaining af humble opinion of ourselves, not omitting to pray to God to give us his grace, that we may not fall into hardness of heart, or contempt of His holy will and commandments.
From this part of the History of the Israelites, we may infer, that there is no situation in life, so distressing, but that God is able to deliver us from it. We must not indeed expect Him to perform miracles in our favour, by changing the course of nature, because miracles have ceased since the full establishment of Christianity: but if we read the history of different nations, and observe what passes in the world around us, we may find that Divine Providence frequently interposes in a wonderful manner, to relieve the distresses, and soften the afflictions of those who trust in God. We should therefore pray to God for protection, use the means He has furnished us with for our support, and when dangers threaten, or misfortunes befal us, we should then submit to his dispensations with patient resignation, and humble hope of deliverance, through his infinite mercy and goodness,
THE SONG OF MOSES.
From Exodus, Chaf, XV.
Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the Lord, and spake, saying, I will sing unto the LORD: for he hath triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea.
The Lord is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation : He is my God, and I will prepare
him an habitation : my father's God, and I will esalt him. The Lord * is like a man of war: the LORD, is his
Pharaoh's chariots and his host hath he cast into the sea : his chosen captains also are drowned in the Red sea.
The depths have covered them, they sapk into the bottom as a stone. Thy right-hand, O Lord, is become glorious in power : thy right-hand, O LORD, hath dashed in pieces the enemy.
And in the greatness of thine excellency thou hast overthrown them that
rose up against thee : thou sentest forth thy wrath, which consumed them stubble.
And with the blast of thy nostrils the waters were gathered together : the floods stood upright as an heap, and the depths were congealed in the heart of the sea.
The enemy said, I will pursue, I will overtake, i will divide the spoil : my lust shall be satisfied upon them : I will draw my sword, my hand shall destroy them.
Thou didst blow with thy wind; the sea covered them : they sank as lead in the mighty waters.
Who is like unto thee, O Lord, amongst the gods? Who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders !
Thou stretchedst out thy right-hand, the earth swallowed them. Thou in thy mercy hast led forth the people which thou hast redeemed: thou hast guided them in thy sirength unto thy holy habitation.
The people shall hear, and be afraid : sorrow shall take hold of the inhabitants of Palestina.
Then the dukes of Edom shall be amazed : the mighty men of Moab, trembling shall take hold upon them: all the inhabitants of Canaan shalt melt away. * Wisdom xviii. 15,