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man, and compel the gratitude of his children for the Providence which supplied their wants. Such may be said to have been the case with the Israelites when the events took place which are recorded in this Section—the gift of the quails and of the manna. The people of Israel had been set apart from their brethren of mankind, that the first promise of God to the world,
“ the seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent's head," might be accomplished. They had been brought out of Egypt by miracle. Their provisions had become exhausted. They complained, as we read in the last Section. The promise of their deliverance must be literally interpreted (Exod. xvi. 4): "I will rain bread from heaven for you;" that is, “I will create a new kind of food for you, such as I have not yet formed. I will send it down upon you from the atmosphere which surrounds you. It shall be such as no man hath yet seen; and the people shall be so supplied with this food, that they shall go out of their tents every morning to obtain the supply for the day. And thus, day by day, they shall have their daily bread."-- The student of Scripture, who compares the accounts of the substance which is now called manna, with the substance which the Creator sent down
upon the tents of Israel, and who will examine also the Scriptural account of the name and description of the manna, the time and mode of collecting it, the peculiar law of its formation in double quantities on the day preceding the Sabbath, the memorial of the phenomenon preserved from the time of its descent in the wilderness, and the duration of the coming down of the manna through the whole forty years in their wanderings, - will be satisfied that this view of the event is correct, and that the manna was a new creation by the Creator of the world, for the benefit of His Church and people.- If we look to the name of the manna, we shall find, that when the people saw the new-created substance which God had sent them, they did not know by what name to call it, because they had never seen a substance like it before. They were expecting the fulfilment of God's promise, or of God's ordinance. If it had been the common gum of the trees and plants of the East, to which the name manna is now generally given, they would have known by what name to call it. They did not know it; and therefore they said one to another, on seeing it, “ This is God's ordinance;" or, “ This is the food which is the fulfilment of God's promise." That this is the true meaning of the word, appears from the arguments and interpretations of the best scholars.— The description of the manna proves also that it was a new creation. The substance since called manna, whether it be the tarfar of Arabia, or the produce described by Witsius, or the common manna, has no resemblance whatever to the food of Israel. That fell with the dew, and was left by the dew, as a small, round, coriander seed. Its taste was like wafer mixed with honey. It melted if it was not gathered early, at a proper time, in the heat of the sun ; yet it did not melt when exposed to the fiercer heat of the baking, or seething. It became putrid if it was kept more than twenty-four hours on the week-day; but it did not become putrid if it was collected for the service of the people on the day before the Sabbath. Nothing of this kind can be said of the common manna. 1.—The time when it was gathered was the morning. Manna, the gum
of the East, can be collected through the whole day. The mode of collecting it, no less demonstrated that it was a new creation. It was not subjected to any laws of nature inherent in it, as every other substance which the Creator has made. Its preservation or its dissolution depended on the conduct of its collectors. If a double quantity was collected on the day before the Sabbath, the whole mass retained its nutritive quality; if it was gathered on the other days of the week, in any larger quantity than was requisite to supply the wants of the family who gathered it, the remainder perished. It could be ground, pounded, kneaded, or baked, according as the immediate blessing of God rested upon or retired from the obedient or disobedient Israelite. As a public event, appealing to the senses, it was commemorated from the hour of the descent of the superhuman food, by a public memorial, a portion of it being kept for ever.— And as the last and continued proof that it was a new creation, supernaturally granted from their divine leader, the substance continued to fall for their provision through the whole forty years of their wandering in the wilderness ; till they arrived at the cultivated lands of Canaan, and were supplied with wheaten bread by the usual means (Exod. xvi. 35). All the circumstances prove to us, that as the Deity at the beginning interfered to create the substance of the earth and of the world, so also did He now interfere to create the new substance, the new food, which His people ate in the wilderness.— The whole history proves to us three truths :-First. That the interference of the Deity to prevent the destruction of His covenant of mercy with His Church, may be reasonably and philosophically expected at any time; though in proportion to the probability of the asserted interference, must be the evidence of its truth. Secondly. That daily dependence upon the Providence of God, as a God near at hand, and not afar off, is the duty and privilege of the Christian, whose daily prayer is commanded to be, “Give us this day our daily
And thirdly. That if the food which nourished the bodies of the Israelites in the wilderness was of immediate creation, how much more may it be supposed that the food which should nourish the souls of men should originate, not from human reason, human invention, human philosophy ; but that the soul should be fed with the bread that cometh down from heaven, even with the bread of life, which is Christ the Son of God; who is the bread of life, according to His own words (John vi. 35); and who is spiritually eaten by the faithful when they believe and hope in Him, and when they meet also to express their faith and hope at the Supper of the Lord. His name is Manna,' as He is the spiritual food which is the Father's promise. What the manna was to the body, Christ is to the soul-its daily bread, and nourishment, and life. When the body was fainting and dying, the manna was promised and given ; when the soul is fainting and dying, this spiritual food alone nourishes, revives, and restores it.-On the weekday it is our strength, on the Sabbath-day it is our cordial. Through the whole of our spiritual life it is our support and our confidence, our demonstration of God's Providence, and the nourishment of our souls, till the day when the manna shall be needed no longer; when the wilderness of life shall have been passed, and the possession of Canaan shall be attained.
EXODUS XVI. 13, TO THE END.
BE PORE CHRIST
& 105. 40. bNumb. 11.9.
ch. 20. 8. & 31. 15.& 35.3.
13 And it came to pass, | until the morning, and it that at even
a the quails bred worms, and stank: • Numb. 11. came up, and covered the and Moses was wroth with Ps. 78. 27, 28. camp: and in the morning them.
b the dew lay round about 21 And they gathered
it every morning, every
the sun hold, upon the face of the waxed hot, it melted. • Numb. 11.7. wilderness there lay са
22 [And it came to Neh.9. 18. small round thing, as small pass, that on the sixth day Ps. 78.24. & as the hoar frost on the they gathered twice as ground.
much bread, two omers for 15 And when the chil- one man: and all the rulers
dren of Israel saw it, they of the congregation came ! Or, What is said one to another, || It is and told Moses. a portion. manna : for they wist not 23 And he said unto what it was.
And Moses them. This is that which John 6. 31, said unto them, a This is the LORD hath said, To 1 Cor. 10. 3. the bread which the LORD morrow is 8 the rest of the Gen. 2. 3. hath given you to eat.
holy sabbath unto the 16 I This is the thing LORD: bake that which Lev. 23. 3. which the Lord hath com- ye will bake to day, and manded, Gather of it every seethe that ye will seethe; man according to his eat- and that which remaineth
ing, e an omer + for every over lay up for you to be
ye every man for them till the morning, as Moses
17 And the children of neither was there
18 And when they did that to day; for to day is 1 2 Cor. 8. 15. mete it with an omer, 'he a sabbath unto the LORD:
that gathered much had to day ye shall not find it
26 Six days ye shall i ch. 20.9, 10. they gathered every man gather it; but on the according to his eating. seventh day, which is the
19 And Moses said, Let sabbath, in it there shall
27 [ And it came to
• ver. 36.
& 106. 13.
CHEROEST gather, and they found the LORD commandeth,
Fill an omer of it to be 28 And the LORD said kept for your generations ;
unto Moses, How long that they may see the * 2 Kings 17. k refuse ye to keep my bread wherewith I have fed Ps. 78. 10, 22. commandments and my you in the wilderness, when laws ?
I brought you forth from 29 See, for that the the land of Egypt. Lord hath given you the 33 And Moses said unto sabbath, therefore he giv- Aaron, m Take a pot, and - Hebr. 9. 4. eth you on the sixth day put an omer full of manna the bread of two days; therein, and lay it up before abide ye every man in his the LORD, to be kept for place, let no man go out of your generations. his place on the seventh 34 As the LORD comday.
manded Moses, so Aaron 30 So the people rested laid it up " before the Tes-- ch.25.16,21. on the seventh day. timony, to be kept.
31 And the house of 35 And the children of Deut. 10. 5.
Israel called the name Israel did eat manna oforty 1 Numb. 11.7, thereof Manna : and 'it years, P until they came to Neh. 9. 20:21.
was like coriander seed, a land inhabited; they did g36.3.,12.
land of Canaan.
& 40. 20. Numb. 17.10.
i Kings 8. 9. Num. 33.38. Deut. 8. 2, 3.
Neh. 9. 15.
PRAYER.—LET US PRAY, that in all our journeyings through the wilderness of
this life, we never turn back in heart and soul to seek our provision, strength, and comfort, in the pleasures and labours of Egypt; but that as we dwell in the tents of the Church and people of God, we may there, both in holy conversation, in private meditation, and at the blessed sacrament of the communion of the body and blood of Christ-eat of the manna, the food of the soul, which cometh down from heaven, blended with the dew of the Spirit ; and so begin to partake, while still we live upon earth, of the hidden manna, which is laid up for the Christian soul in heaven. O God, whose never-failing providence ordereth all things, both in heaven and earth, and who, by the same merciful providence hath guided our footsteps thus far in the wilderness of life! we acknowledge and confess before Thee, that as Thy people Israel in the olden time became unmindful of the hand which led and fed them, and desired in their hearts to turn back again to the bondage of slavery, and to the satisfactions of the land where their religion was despised and their God dishonoured-so also we, Thine unworthy servants, have often, too often, forgotten the covenant of Thy mercy, and the wonders of Thy redeeming love; and have longed to go back to that miserable bondage, where the soul, unconscious of its bitter slavery, is contented to exchange its hopes of heaven, the honour of its God, and the covenant of His mercy; for the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life ; for the gratification of ambition and avarice, for the sins, and follies, and the toys of life. Oh, save us! oh, deliver us from the temptation to turn back again to the Egypt of this sinful world. Thy mercy, Thine everlasting mercy, hath brought us out of darkness into light, and redeemed us from all evil; and placed us in the camp of Thy Church, and granted us to dwell in the tents of Thy people, and in the tabernacles of Thy chosen.- We are Thy people, the sheep of Thy pasture, Thine elect, Thine Israel, the members of the Church of Christ, who loved us, and gave Himself for us.
Upon us the bread of heaven has descended; upon us the heavenly food has been poured forth abundantly, that we may eat, and live for ever. Thou hast refreshed and strengthened our souls with the knowledge of the love, the mercy, and the providence of Christ our Lord. We have tasted of the sweetness of His doctrine, as our prophet; we have eaten of the truth of His grace, as the High Priest, and the sacrifice, the burnt offering, and the sin offering for all the wickedness of our weak and sinful souls. We have delighted in the sweetness of the conviction that Christ, the Son of God, is our King, our Lord, our Ruler, our Guide, and our Friend, protecting us from all evil, guiding us into all good, and feeding us with food convenient for us both in body and in soul.—We praise Thee, we bless Thee, for this bread of heaven; and here we offer to Thee, O Gou, the Father of spirits, our humble and earnest prayer, that Thou wouldst evermore give us this bread.—As Thy servants, in the gathering of the manna in the wilderness, gave of the food they collected to their brethren who lacked, so may we, by holy conversation among our brethren, provide for the wants of those
among whom we live ; and build up each other in our holy faith, adorning the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things.- As Thy servants did eat the manna in the retirement of their tents, so may Christ, the bread of heaven, be to us our daily bread, the bread of our own souls; and the bread of the souls of each of our children, and servants, and friends, and households. May every house be the church of the living God, and the bread of heaven be digested as the nourishment of our souls, by private prayer, holy contemplation, and constant meditation on the word of life.-As Thy servants were commanded to go forth without the camp, to seek the bread which came down from heaven; so may we go forth unto the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Jesus, who suffered without the gate, that He might sanctify His people with His own blood.- May we bear His reproach, take up our cross daily, and follow Him, the example of our patience, as well as the author and finisher of our faith.-As.the manna which fell from heaven descended with the dew of the morning ; so may the dew of Thy Holy Spirit ever be poured forth upon the truths and doctrines of Thy Holy Word. – As Thy mercy was new every morning, and Thy people went forth before sunrise to rejoice in the continued manifestation of Thy providence; so also do we pray Thee to grant us, day by day, our daily bread, to enable us early to seek Thee; to begin every day with prayer for Thy grace, with dependence on Thy providence, and with laying aside every weight, and the sin that doth so easily beset us, to running with increasing patience the daily race that Thou hast set before us.-As Thy servants were commanded, not only to gather together every day the manna from heaven, which should be their daily bread through the week, but to prepare also for the Sabbath of rest when the labours of the week were ended; so also do we pray Thee that we not only daily partake of the bread that cometh down from heaven, but more especially do we pray to Thee that we eat of that bread of heaven when we go up to Thy house of praise and prayer ; when we keep holy the Sabbath-day, when we remember the Lord's day, and prepare for the rest that remaineth for the people of God. When we commemorate at Thy table and altar, the coming down from heaven of that true bread