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SECTION XCI. EXODUS X. 1–20.
Title. If the inferences deducible from the facts recorded in Scripture are
not applied by us to our own personal improvement, we make our faith and religious privileges, not only useless, but the means of our condemnation.—The personal instruction derivable from the contemplation of the ten plagues.--The eighth plague of locusts is sent in vain upon Pharaoh and the Egyptians. INTRODUCTION.—We have now considered the effect of the ten plagues upon the king and people of Egypt, and upon the nations of Canaan, forty years after the Exodus. Nothing is more usual among the readers and believers of the wonderful events recorded in Scripture, than their surprise at the hardening of Pharaoh's heart, and the refusal of the Egyptian court and people to comply with the demands of Moses and Aaron, that the Israelites should be permitted to depart from Egypt. This surprise, however, will vanish among all those who understand the deceitfulness of the human heart. When the prophet Amos made his appeal to a people who believed that temporal calamities were a proof of the indignation of the Almighty against the vices and crimes of his chosen people, he reminds them, in the strongest language, of the visitations by which the God of their fathers had appealed to them, but had appealed to them in vain. "I have smitten you with blasting and mildew ... yet have ye not returned unto me. I have sent among you the pestilence. . . yet have ye not returned unto me. I have overthrown you ... yet have ye not returned unto me!.” And if the denunciations of the prophet were thus spoken against his own people,-if the Israelites, who ascribed all this temporal good or evil to the immediate interposition of God's providence, were impenitent and hardened, in the midst of national punishments; how much less ought we to be surprised at the conduct of the Egyptians, who imagined that their false gods could protect them against the antagonistical God of Israel! and how much more ought we to be surprised, that we, who are blessed with the light of the completed gospel, are so little influenced by our firm and undoubting belief in all the great truths of our religion--the life, miracles, passion, death, resurrection, and ascension of the Son of God! God appeals to us at present, as He appealed to the Egyptians of old; yet thousands, and tens of thousands, though they are convinced of the truth of Christianity, resist its influence-make their faith useless-change their religious privileges into a source of greater condemnation; and finally partake of the fate of the king of Egypt, but in a more fatal and more intolerable degree.—Was the first plague, the changing of the water into blood ? The Christian who hears the appeal of the preachers of truth, and continues in sin, changes the waters of sanctification into the blood of vengeance.—Unclean spirits, like the frogs of
1 Amos iv. 9-11.
Egypt, to which they are compared, (Rev. xvi. 13.) deceive the soul to its ruin.Cares and vexations, like the lice of Egypt, torment him. Folly and imprudence, like the dead flies in the ointment, destroy his reputation for wisdom and honour (Eccles. X. 1). Temporal losses, like the murrain in the cattle, in which the wealth of the Egyptians consisted, are sent in vain, to remind him that this earth is not his rest. Sickness of body, like the boils and blains upon the Egyptians, their sixth plague, make the apostate from truth gnaw his tongue for pain, and blaspheme the God of Heaven (Rev. xvi. 11). The thunders of Sinai, the reproaches of conscience, the loud warnings of the death of friends, appeal to these men in vain. The locusts are sent; the sufferings and the sorrows, which are designed to lead them to repentance, smite them in vain. Infidel reasonings, absurd adoptions of the false and futile fallacies of the despisers of revelation, devour, like the typical locusts, the last remnant of the green pastures which give repose to the soul. Then the darkness of despair and death, the ninth plague of Egypt, is sent to punish the soul ; and the last plague, the death of the first-born, the spiritual death of the soul, which ought, as the firstborn in the patriarchal dispensation, to be in covenant with God, and favoured with the blessing of the first-born, concludes the mournful catalogue ; and the apostate Christian, like the idolatrous Egyptian, perishes in the midst of the appeals which the God of mercy makes in mercy to the instructed yet resisting conscience.-Such is the personal instruction which may be derived from the history of the plagues of Egypt, and happy shall we be if we thus learn from the record of their infliction.— The present Section relates the severity of the eighth plague. The locusts were threatened. The precise time of their appearance had been mentioned, (Exod. x. 4.) that the king and the people might be assured that the plague was not a mere natural event.
The courtiers expose tulated with the king. Egypt is destroyed, they said, (ver. 7.) or, as the words have been rendered : “Wilt thou persevere till Egypt is entirely destroyed?" The king sent for Moses and Aaron: he professed his willingness to let the people go for a time, if they left, as hostages for their return, their families and their cattle (ver. 10 and 11). This was refused. Moses was about to establish a new dispensation, and he professes his ignorance, till further knowledge was imparted to him from above, of the nature of the sacrifices which God required of him; and he refused therefore to let the cattle remain in Egypt. The leaders of Israel were driven away from the public audience; but, at the precise hour in which they were threatened, the south-east wind brought the locusts, and the judgments of God were again accomplished to the very letter. Pharaoh's partial repentance followed (ver. 16 and 17). The locusts were removed ; and then it was again, as it has been so often with ourselves, the cessation of sorrow, pain, and sickness, was followed by negligence, thoughtlessness, and impenitence. He refused to let the people go. He hardened his heart. He sinned against light and knowledge, and reserved for himself the severer calamities which he might have avoided, though they had been threatened at the beginning. We, too, are threatened with worse evils than any temporal calamity, however severe,-the blackness of the outer darkness, and the
second death, the death of the soul.—Happy and wise shall we be, if, before it be too late, we hear the warning voice of judgment, which is sent in mercy; and by our well-timed repentance in life, for sins committed, escape the more fearful calamity which confounded and destroyed the Egyptians—the darkness of despair that may be felt, and the spiritual death of the first-born—the eternal condemnation and death of the soul, that was dedicated at the beginning, and taken into covenant with God.
EXODUS X. 1—20.
.ch. 1. 21. &
• Deut. 4. 9. Ps. 14. 1. &
& 34. 27.
Jam. 4. 10.
Rev. 9. 3.
1 And the LORD said I have done among them ;
the LORD God of the He-
Eighth Plague.- Locusts.
Pharaoh's ser* Prov. 30.27. e locusts into thy coast : vants said unto him, How
5 And they shall cover long shall this man beh a ch. 23. 33. + Heb. eye, the + face of the earth, that snare unto us? let the men 1 Sam. 18. 21.
one cannot be able to see go, that they may serve the Eccles; 7; 26. ek, 9. 32. the earth : and 'they shall LORD their God: knowest
eat the residue of that which thou not yet that Egypt is
them, Go, serve the LORD
Joel l. 4. &
(ch. 8. 3, 21.
kch. 7. 19.
tened to call.
10 And he said unto the face of the whole earth, them, Let the Lord be so so that the land was darkwith you, as I will let you go, ened; and they p did eat ? Ps. 105.35. and your little ones : look to every herb of the land, and it; for evil is before you. all the fruit of the trees
11 Not so: go now ye which the hail had left : that are men, and serve the and there remained not any Lord; for that ye did de- green thing in the trees, or sire. And they were driven in the herbs of the field, out from Pharaoh's pre- through all the land of
Egypt. 12 And the Lord 16 Then Pharaoh said unto Moses, k Stretch + called for Moses and Aa- + Heb. hasout thine hand over the ron in haste; and he said, land of Egypt for the lo- . I have sinned against the 4 ch. 9. 27. custs, that they may come LORD your God, and against up upon the land of Egypt, you. and 'eat every herb of the 17 Now therefore forland, even all that the hail give, I pray thee, my sin hath left.
only this once, and intreat .ch. 9. 28.
14 And m the locusts which took away the locusts, went up over all the land and † cast them into the + Heb. fastenof Egypt, and rested in all Red Sea ; there remained . Joel 2. 20.
the coasts of Egypt: very not one locust in all the *Joel 2. 2. grievous were they ; " before coasts of Egypt.
them there were no such 20 But the Lord u hard-ch. 4. 21. &
that he would not let the
I ver. 4, 5.
I Kings 13. 6.
m Ps. 78. 46.
& 105. 34.
o ver. 5.
PRAYER.—LET US PRAY, that we be preserved, by God's grace, from falling
into the condemnation of those who believe the truth of Scripture, and the judgments of God upon others; but who never apply the threatenings of God to themselves—that we remember, as certainly as the ten plagues were sent upon the Egyptians, as Moses had foretold, so will every prophetic threatening and
warning be accomplished upon the souls that refuse to repent. ALMIGHTY and merciful God! Creator and Father of the spirits of all flesh, who hast given to the souls of Thy creatures the Revelation of Thy holy will, that their ignorance may be banished, that their corrupt natures may be sanctified, and that their footsteps may be guided in safety from earth to heaven!