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The scene which the artist has designed to illustrate this event has been derived from an anonymous etching, and the costume throughout is from Egyptian authorities. It represents a family of the higher rank of people, and may, as far as it goes, be taken as a faithful picture of the architecture, furniture, and costume of the Egyptians.
The terrible despair depicted in the countenances of the group, bending over the lifeless first-born, fitly shadows forth that which may be imagined sat upon the countenances of the bereaved families of Egypt on that awful night. When death steals into the chambers of the human race under ordinary circumstances, and even at the close of the decay of nature, it is a solemn event; but when he comes suddenly—when no warning is given of his approach—when he visits those whom we love in the vigour of life—the event tells with tenfold power upon the human heart. How terrible must that night have been, therefore, to the Egyptians, when the first-bornthose loved ones among the children of menuniversally perished. The lamentations which followed this awful judgment is emphatically characterized by the inspired penman as “ a great cry.” It was not the cry of a family, deep and distressing though it be, but of a nation. How deeply the judgment was felt by Pharaoh and his people is discerned by their conduct towards the Hebrews. Although they had hitherto pertinaciously resisted their departure, struck with dread at the visitation, they were urgent upon them to leave their shores; for they said, “We be all dead men.”
Behold, reader, in this narrative, the power of Jehovah, and admire and adore! See how vain it is for a mortal man to contend with Omnipotence, and, in the contemplation of it, lay down your arms of rebellion. As surely as he desolated Egypt for the opposition which Pharaoh and his people displayed towards him, in retaining his chosen when he demanded their deliverance, so surely shall those who retain their natural enmity against him feel the rod of his anger. It is our truest wisdom, therefore, to bow low at his footstool, and to seek reconciliation with him through the atonement of Christ. This is our only and all-sufficient refuge! “ Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world,” John i. 29.