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which the Lord hath wrought out for him; above all, “in the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ,” “the very Paschal Lamb." How should we continually bring this before the thoughts and minds of our children, not as a mere dry lesson of theology, to be learnt in catechisms, and heard on Sundays, but as a subject of frequent discourse—a topic highly interesting to them and to ourselves. We should endeavour to show them that it is so deeply important, that nothing else can bear a moment's competition with it; and so delightful, that our chiefest privilege and pleasure, is to converse upon its sacred truths, and to dwell upon its blessed prospects. We may thus, by God's help, be made the blessed instruments of imparting to the youngest children in our family, a grateful love to that Saviour, who “in his love and pity hath redeemed us,” and who will pass over us in the day of vengeance, if we are now among the number of those that seek his love.
And now, the Israelites, having partaken of this passover, and retired to rest, “at midnight” the work of destruction began, and 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; and there was a great cry in Egypt, for there was not a house, where there was not one dead. How dreadful a judgment! and how entirely effective for the purpose for which it was inflicted! Pharaoh, who had so long attempted to make terms with God, now surrenders at discretion; all his anx
iety is, to get rid of such supernaturally-aided guests: they are not only permitted, but urged to depart, and, as Moses had predicted, they are now earnestly requested to do that, for which they had so long been unsuccessfully asking permission. But the most remarkable portion of Pharaoh's entreaty to them, to go forth from among his people, are the words with which it concludes; “Go, serve the Lord, as ye have said, also take your flocks and your herds, as ye have said, and begone; and bless me also.” Had it, then, come to this? Was the proudest monarch who ever disgraced a throne, humbled so far, as to seek a blessing at the hands of the man he had insulted and defied ? 6 Bless me also;" can this be the language of Pharaoh to Moses? “Bless me also;" can this be the prayer of him who had so lately said, 66 Who is the Lord? I know not the Lord?” Yes, it is unquestionably true; and it is not less true, that there is an hour coming when this will be the language of every rebellious heart, and every unholy lip; when a blessing from on high will, even by God's worst enemies, be esteemed more valuable, than all the crowns of earth, or all that the richest thrones could purchase.
At midnight there was a cry made, Behold! the Avenger cometh. At midnight there shall be a cry made, yet once again, “Behold! the Bridegroom cometh," when the Son of man shall return to judgment. How will that cry excite the useless wish of hopeless millions; useless only because too late; « Bless me also.' Seek that blessing now, and it may be yours; nay, it assuredly shall be yours, for
have we not our Lord's own gracious promise, “ Him that cometh unto me, I will in no wise cast out.” But delay until fear alone extorts it from you, and, like Pharaoh, although asking for a blessing, you shall ask in vain; for the same unchangeable Saviour has declared, “When their fear cometh as desolation, and their destruction as a whirlwind, then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer, they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me." Then, and then only, shall the sinner cry in vain.
CHAP. xii. 35–51.
35. And the children of Israel did according to the word of Moses; and they borrowed of the Egyptians jewels of silver and jewels of gold, and raiment:
36. And the Lord gave the people favour in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they lent unto them such things as they required: And they spoiled the Egyptians.
37. And the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand on foot that were men, beside children.
38. And a mixed multitude went up also with them; and flocks, and herds, even very much cattle.
39. And they baked unleavened cakes of the dough which they brought forth out of Egypt, for it was not leavened; because they were thrust out of Egypt, and could not tarry, neither had they prepared for themselves any victual.
40. Now the sojourning of the children of Israel, who dwelt in Egypt, was four hundred and thirty years.
41. And it came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years, even the self-same day it came to pass, that all the hosts of the Lord went out from the land of Egypt.
42. It is a night to be much observed unto the Lord for bringing them out from the land of Egypt: this is that night of the Lord to be observed of all the children of Israel in their generations.
43. And the Lord said unto Moses and Aaron, This is the ordinance of the passover: There shall no stranger eat thereof :
44. But every man's servant that is bought for money, when thou hast circumcised him, then shall he eat thereof.
45. A foreigner and a hired servant shall not eat thereof.
46. In one house shall it be eaten; thou shalt not carry forth aught of the flesh abroad out of the house; neither shall
break u bone thereof.
47. All the congregation of Israel shall keep it.
48. And when a stranger shall sojourn with thee, and will keep the passover to the Lord, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near and keep it; and he shall be as one that is born in the land: for no uncircumcised person shall eat thereof.
49. One law shall be to him that is home-born, and unto the stranger that sojourneth among you.
50. Thus did all the children of Israel; as the Lord commanded Moses and Aaron, so did they.
51. And it came to pass, the self-same day, that the Lord did bring the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt by their armies.
The great and terrible judgment of the Lord having been inflicted, there was nothing more to detain Israel in the land of their bondage. That night, therefore, that very night, the moment that the execution of the Lord's judgment was perpetrated, and evidently sooner than the children of Israel themselves expected, they were ordered to depart. The obvious reason for this extreme haste, was, that they might escape before the Egyptians should repent them of their fear-extorted permission. There was also an
other motive, which, if not equally obvious, was equally important; namely, that the promise and prediction of the Almighty to Abraham might be accomplished to the very letter; for it was four hundred and thirty years from the day that the patriarch entered Canaan, to the day that his descendants departed from Egypt. And of this period the Almighty had said, “They shall affliet them four hundred years,” the latter period having been computed from a date thirty years later, namely, from the time of Ishmael's mocking Isaac (the first overt act, if we may so say, of the children of darkness oppressing or afflicting the children of light) down to the hour that their bondage was at an end.
Nothing astonishes us so much as the miraculous increase of the children of Israel during their residence in Egypt, from seventy persons to six hundred thousand men, besides children. What evident pleasure, if we may so speak, has the Almighty in fulfilling, and more than fulfilling, his word! God is always even better than his promises: would that the assurance of this blessed fact, might lead us to trust him with a more child-like confidence, and a more endeared and affectionate dependence; always feeling certain, that, as the word of God expresses it, “ There faileth not aught of any good thing which the Lord hath spoken, all cometh to pass.
But we must remark, that enormous as was this population of Israel, it did not go forth alone from the land of Egypt; for we are distinctly told, in
* Joshua xxi. 45.