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case occurs, that the children of Israel were exempted.
While, in strong contrast to this treatment of his people, the magicians not only can no longer imitate the power of the Almighty, but they are themselves the victims of it, and could not stand before Moses, because of the boils.
How delightful is it thus to trace the tenderness and loving-kindness of our God to his people, and to recognise in it the truth of his own remarkable declaration, when speaking of punishment, he calls it “ His work,” “ His strange work,” “ His act," “His strange act;"* acknowledging, indeed, that it is his doing, but at the same time his most unwelcome occupation, reluctantly forced upon him by the sins and rebellions of his creatures, but cheerfully suspended, or withdrawn, the moment its absolute need is over. We should love to contemplate God in this character, to feel, under our heaviest and severest chastenings, that he does not willingly afflict nor grieve ”f us; and that we cannot rejoice more sincerely, in the removal of any trial, than he does in giving the word for its departure. How strongly does this view draw out the heart in grateful love to God-how powerfully do we feel in every change whether it be the increase or the decrease of a trial,
- This is God's work—This comes from the hand of One who loves me- This will surely be sanctified to me. Yes; He who sends the chastening, will never leave it to accident or chance to produce its effect, but will himself engage, that this “ light afflic* Isaiah xxviii. 21.
+ Lamen. iii. 33.
tion which is but for a moment, shall work for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory."
Exodus ix. 16-26.
16. And in very deed for this cause have I raised thee up; for to show in thee my power; and that my name may be declared throughout all the earth.
17. As yet exaltest thou thyself against my people, that thou wilt not let them go?
18. Behold, to-morrow about this time, I will cause it to rain a dery grievous hail, such as hath not been in Egypt since the foundation thereof even until now.
19. Send therefore now, and gather thy cattle, and all that thou hast in the field; for upon every man and beast which shall be found in the field, and shall not be brought home, the hail shall come down upon them, and they shall die.
20. He that feared the word of the Lord among the servants of Pharaoh made his servants and his cattle flee into the houses :
21. And he that regarded not the word of the Lord left his sercants and his cattle in the field.
22. And the Lord said unto Moses, Stretch forth thine hand toward heaven, that there may be hail in all the land of Egypt, upon man,
and upon beast, and upon every herb of the field, throughout the land of Egypt.
23. And Moses stretched forth his rod toward heaven; and the Lord sent thunder and hail, and the fire ran along upon the ground: and the Lord rained hail upon the land of Egypt.
24. So there was hail, and fire mingled with the hail, very grievous, such as there was none like it in all the land of Egypt since it became a nation.
25. And the hail smote throughout all the land of Egypt all that was in the field, both man and beast; and the hail smote every herb of the field, and brake every tree of the field.
26. Only in the land of Goshen, where the children of Israel were, was there no hail.
The Almighty having predicted that he would at this time send all his plagues upon Pharaoh's “ heart, and upon his servants, and upon his people," adds, at the commencement of the present verses,
the following solemn and appalling declaration: “ And in very deed for this cause have I raised thee up, for to show in thee my power; and that my name may be declared throughout all the earth.” Not that we are to suppose, that the Almighty intends to assert, that for this cause “He had created Pharaoh, but simply that he had raised him up;" that is, to temporary and worldly eminence; or, as the marginal translation renders it, “made him to stand,” like a beacon on a hill; so that his rebellion and obstinacy being the more notorious, his condign punishment, and the Almighty's irresistible power, might, in like manner, be proportionately more visibly demonstrated throughout all the earth. But even with this in mitigation, how fearful is the thought, that God may grant us influence, or raise us up to rank, or plant us on some lofty and giddy eminence, to which our own ambition has spurred us; and all this, not for the purpose of imparting a blessing, but simply of manifesting a judgment, or of exhibiting his power: always intending to say at the last, “In very deed for this cause have I raised thee up." Let those who have anxiously sought and obtained for themselves the higher places in society, lay this to heart, and see
that they “ trust not in uncertain riches;" and glory not in any of the adventitious circumstances, or the temporary splendour, that surrounds them; for these things are no certain and infallible marks of the love or favour of the Most High, since Pharaoh wore a crown, and Judas carried the bag. Let those who are called to such stations by the Providence of God, rather “rejoice with trembling," praying that they may “use the world, as not abusing it;" and earnestly desiring, from the ground of their hearts, to know themselves, and to feel themselves to be but stewards of the manifold gifts of God, of their disposal of which, he will assuredly require a strict account. The plague which follows, was the plague of hail, which possessed this peculiarity, that God commanded those, even among the Egyptians, who feared him, to drive their cattle under shelter, and those who obeyed, perhaps, having been brought to some degree of real knowledge of the one true God, by their intercourse with the Israelites; or, possibly, simply believing him, from having seen his previous predictions verified, were thus permitted to preserve their property, while the cattle of those « who regarded not the word of the Lord” perished. So mercifully does God invariably acknowledge the slightest proofs of faith, or efforts of obedience. “ Seest thou how Ahab humbleth himself before me?” are the words of the Lord, “ because he humbleth himself before me, I will not bring the evil in his days.” No man ever yet served God for naught; no man ever yet offered the smallest acceptable service, that was not valued by the Most High, in pro
portion to the sincerity, the gratitude, or the faith, from which it sprang.
Exodus ix, 27-35.
27. And Pharaoh, sent and called for Moses and Aaron, and said unto them, I have sinned this time: the Lord is righteous, and I and my people are wicked.
28. Entreat the Lord (for it is enough) that there be no more mighty thunderings and hail; and I will let you go, and ye shall stay no longer.
29. And Moses said unto him, As soon as I am gone out of the city, I will spread abroad my hands unto the Lord; and the thunder shall cease, neither shall there be any more hail; that thou mayest know how that the earth is the Lord's.
30. But as for thee and thy servants, I know that ye will not yet fear the Lord God.
31. And the flaz and the barley were smitten: for the barley was in the ear, and the flaz was bolled.
32. But the wheat and the rye were not smitten: for they were not grown up.
33. And Moses went out of the city from Pharaoh, and spread abroad his hands unto the Lord: and the thunders and hail ceased, and the rain was not poured upon the earth.
34. And when Pharaoh saw that the rain and the hail and the thunders were ceased, he sinned yet more, and hardened his heart, he and his servants.
35. And the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, neither would he let the children of Israel go; as the Lord had spoken by Moses.
We find from this portion of Scripture that a remarkable result followed the last judgment of the