Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

cattle of Israel and the cattle of Egypt: 1 his people from the stupor into which and there shall nothing die of all that is the last great plague had thrown them, the children's of Israel. And all the cattle “ he made ready his chariot, and took of Egypt died : but of the cattle of the his people with him; and he took six children of Israel died not one.” So, in hundred chosen chariots, and all the the land of Goshen there was no hail. chariots of Egypt, and captains over Again, when the wretched Egyptians were every one of them and pursued after” enveloped in a thick darkness which the people of the Lord, who, with the might be felt, all the children of Israel Red Sea before them and the rocks of had light in their dwellings; and when Pi-hahiroth rising like huge walls tothe first-born were slain, the Lord put a wards heaven on each side of them, were difference between the Egyptians and encamped in peace after a wearisome Israel.

journey.

No more the thought of inThe Lord's people alone were to find creased tasks, to be accomplished with a shelter and safety within the blood- diminished allowance of materials, filled sprinkled walls. Oh! one would think their minds with a terrible dread of the that surely this was enough to establish morrow, but their hearts were full of Israel's faith in the promises of God. gratitude and love, and their mouth Pestilences and plagues of the most re- full of praises to that powerful and volting kind had raged around them, faithful God who had brought them thus but no harm had been suffered to rest far. But lo, they lifted up their eyes, on them. The angel of death had swept and the open space over which they had off from every family the treasured first- but just passed was overspread and born, the much-loved heir ; but the filled up with the dreaded enemies whom Israelites had dwelt securely, for the they believed to be so far behind. Oh! ebon-winged messenger had“ passed who can tell the heart-sinking and over” them. Oh! could it be that after dreary despair which now weighed them such distinguishing proofs of God's care down to the very earth! former mercies over them, after such faithful fulfilment were all forgotten and completely swalof all His promises to them, that they lowed up in this great present trouble

. should yet again doubt His word ? How insignificant all the labour and

How true is it, that as the shining of affliction which they had seen in the the sun produces contrary effects upon land of Egypt appeared, when compared clay and wax, hardening the one and with this! They were softening the other, so it was with the And now again faithful Moses was judgments of God. Pharaoh's hard and obliged to bear the reproaches and misunregenerate heart was but rendered trusting words of the grief-stricken harder still, and more rebellious against Israelites. We are apt to think somethe Omnipotent hand which caused times, that had we lived at that time, them to descend upon him. Far dif- and had we experienced, as the Israelferent would have been the effect ites did, the mighty deliverances of produced upon a child of God; these Jacob's God, we should have trusted same judgments would have been re- Him under darker circumstances than ceived as the chastisements of a loving even these which now surrounded them, Father ; and the saint, humbled at the that nothing could have removed our feet of his sovereign and all-wise God, confidence from the strong and mighty would have become, under the infliction Saviour who had “ brought forth His of them, more obedient, holy, and loving, people with joy, and His chosen with Pharaoh, instead of being brought to gladness.” But could we place acknowledge that the Lord was God, selves exactly in their position, when still said in his heart, as formerly, they looked up and beheld the formid“Who is the Lord?” “The king's heart able hosts of the Egyptians coming upon is in the hand of the Lord, He turneth it them- -no escape—the sea in front, rocks whithersoever He will.” So, scarcely on either hand, and enemies behind-we had the people got out from Egypt, than should better understand their feelings the heart of the proud king was harden- as they cried out, “ Because there ed against them once more, and this for were no graves in Egypt, bast - thou the last time; and, arousing himself and taken us away to die in the wilderness ?

sore afraid.

our

Wherefore hast thou dealt thus with us, of their persecutors, or to have become to carry us forth out of Egypt? Is not once more their miserable and hopeless this the word that we did tell thee in slaves. But Moses, strong in the Egypt, saying, Let us alone, that we may strength of God, was resting on His serve the Égyptians;

for it had been better word, which yet sounded in his ears, for us to serve the Egyptians, than that “I will be honoured upon Pharaoh and we should die in the wilderness.” And upon all his host, that the Egyptians surely now that they had tasted freedom, may know that I am the Lord." He the bitterness of Egyptian bondage had proved that the Lord was unchangewould have been doubly bitter; for not able, omnipotent; and with a steady eye only the fear of being carried back as and unfaltering voice, he said to the captives amidst the triumphant scorn people, "Fear ye not, stand still, and and contemptuous jeers of their hard see the salvation of the Lord, wbich He hearted captors, painfully filled their will show you to-day; the Lord shall minds, but also the renewed, and doubt- fight for you, and ye shall hold your less re-doubled, tasks and hardships, peace.” What a thrill of joy struck now they had felt the pleasures of through many a heart among that mur. liberty and rest, made them tremble at muring, restless throng, when the help the thought of being forced back again of the Lord was thus declared to be to the land of their captivity. But was close at hand. “To-day” they were to Moses too grovelling earthwards, and be saved from the Egyptians, and that fearing lest after all, Pharaoh should once for all, for they were to see them overcome them? or, was he giving way “no more for ever. Doubtless there to distrustful thoughts as to how he were many there who, notwithstanding should quell the faithless murmurings of the faith and gratitude to God with this immense multitude ? No, he was which they had set out from Egypt, had not dismayed, he knew the mind of the forgotten all the joy they had felt then, Lord, he was still, " as seeing the in. when brought to this unlooked-for visible” Jehovah heading the armies of "stand still." But how the fluttering His people, and guiding them with love heart was stilled, and peace restored to and safety. He saw, too, that God was the troubled mind, when the voice of about to show forth some wonderful in- Moses, sweeping in tones of calm materposition of His power, and by some jesty over the vast army, pronounced special, miraculous way to deliver the that glorious message, “The Lord shall people from the hand of their blood- fight for you." thirsty pursuers.

All the former But this was not all; God was now miracles which had been wrought for indeed exercising their faith to—“stand the children of Israel seemed to sink still.”. How could they “stand still,” into insignificance before the great and with the overwhelming army of Pharaoh glorious work which Moses knew was coming down upon

them? Stand on the eve of being performed for their still!" and the Egyptians, horses, final deliverance, and the total destruc- chariots, captains and people, and the tion of their enemies. Now was the hard-hearted monarch himself at their time for the faith of Moses to be brought head, just in sight, and no opening by into full exercise. Although apparently which they could make their escape! every way was shut up, yet his faith Surely to or stand still ” needed great failed not, and he calmly waited the confidence in the Word of the Lord. Omnipotent word which should clear But again another message is given, every obstacle from the path of the “Speak unto the children of Israel, that trembling people.

they go forward ;" if faith was required Had Moses then been resting on his to “stand still, far greater faith was own fallible strength, his heart would necessary to go forward. In all prohave been filled with fears, and these bability, when the command was given would very quickly have been commu- to stand, the Israelites thought some nicated through the hosts, and they dreadful and sudden destruction would would have fled in unutterable confusion descend from God upon the Egyptians, --some to have met with a watery grave, and that they should stand by and witothers with a cruel death at the bands "ness the overthrow of their enemies

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

66

a

66

“But God's ways are not as our ways.” | they might increase the necessary means They were now to go forward, and for the subsistence of their familyfollow as God led them; and, in every door is shut; and were it not for obedience to His command, they pro- the precious promises which stud the ceeded, with Moses before them, who pages of the inspired volume, they bad not only received the command to would almost sit down in despair, and go forward, but to lift up his rod over look upon deliverance as an impossibility. the sea and divide it, and then the pro- Some have been delivered from the mise, “And the children of Israel shall bondage of this evil world, and emancigo on dry ground through the midst of pated from the slavery of sin and Satan; the sea.

" And Moses stretched out but they now see the enemies of their his hand over the sea, and the Lord soul in hot pursuit, and like the hunted caused the sea to go back by a strong hart, they fly onwards but to find their east wind all that night, and made the way so completely hedged about, that sea dry land, and the waters were they can scarcely dare hope for escape divided, and the children of Israel went and deliverance. Under whichever of into the midst of the sea on dry land, these circumstances you may be placed, and the waters were a wall unto them dear reader, remember the comfortable on their right hand and on their left.” records of Ísrael's deliverance; rememIt will be well to notice here, that it ber that the God of Israel is your God, was not the outstretched hand of Moses and thatthat caused the waters to divide, nor did Moses take the glory to himself

, “Though years and years roll on, when he afterwards sang,

Thy right

His cov’nant shall endure; hand, O Lord, is become glorious in Though clouds and darkness hide His path, power!" Moses used the means pre- The promis'd grace is sure,” scribed by God, and God, in accordance You are now standing still; the comwith His promise, followed with His mand will come, and that quickly, to gracious deliverance the use of the

“go forward.”. Ask you,

“Where shall Oh, how very often is it that the and the sea ?” That step is enough;

we go-there is but a step between us Lord's dear people are brought into a when that is taken in obedience to the similar position to the one in which Israel was placed by the Red Sea. be made through the midst of the sea,

mmand, and not till then, will the path Many at the present time are stand- and you shall be brought through dry. ing still,” trusting that they shall ere shod." long see the salvation of the Lord. Some may read these words who have

Through waves, and clouds, and storms, been earnestly longing to see the way His

power

shall clear thy way; opened, which should introduce them as Wait thou His time, the darkest night labourers into the vineyard of their Shall end in brightest day.” blessed Saviour; but rocks appear on

Some of us have received the comevery side : the voluntarily-relinquished mand to go forward, and can now secular employments are "darkly filling look

back with joyful gratitude upon the up the back ground--to return to them would be to return to a captivity as way which was made for us through the bitter as the bondage of Egypt; before depths, and bless and praise Him who Jies the unfathomable sea of futurity.

“redeemed us from the hand of the Some may have met in their path with enemy," and with wonder and adoration unexpected difficulties of a temporal exclaim, “Who is like unto Thee, O nature; the daily bread may be dimi- Lord, among the mighty ones? who nishing; they have not yet actually is like Thee, glorious in holiness, fearful Wanted, but the future seems to be

in praises, doing wonders P” (Exodus spread out before them dark, impenetra

xv. 11). ible; no way presents itself by which West Ham.

H: E. W. God hears the heart, though without words ; but he never hears words without the heart.-Hopkins.

means.

WAYSIDE NOTES.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Until the time that His word came, the word of the Lord tried him.”—Ps. cv. 19. The dear children of God know that cannot make out some of the Lord's various are the means the Holy Spirit wonderful providences ; but who will employs to draw their attention to a know all about it when the time that passage of Scripture, in order to unfold His word shall come has arrived. And it to their faith's view and soul's com- upon looking at the language, we find fort. It is just so with the blessed it has reference to poor Joseph, who, portion of Scripture which heads our like all the Old Testament saints, paper. A poor tempest-tossed one, whom yea, and New Testament saints too, and Satan has been harassing for many a all God's saints down to the end of time, long day and weary night, upon the doc- have to wade through seas of trials ere trine of God's sovereign and electing they gain their crown of glory; forlove, received great comfort from this

Dangers of every shape and name, precious passage. We had been corres

Attend the followers of the Lamb." ponding with her for some time, and leading her to scripture after scripture, And yet must they sing, and argument upon argument, but all of

Since all that I meet shall work for my no avail; the Lord suffered her to be

good, tried on, until His time came, and then, The bitter is sweet, the med’cine is food ; at the very appointed moment, “His Though painsul at present, 'twill cease before Word,” which is far above all the poor long, mortal's word, came with the irresist. And then, oh! how pleasant the conqueror's ible power of omnipotent grace and song.” favour; then was the heart melted, the But to return to poor Joseph. At the rebellious spirit quelled, the judgment early part of his experience we find him enlightened, and faith led to exclaim a marked man. My reader, art thoti "I see it all now, the mystery is explained, young and just embarking in the divine

Lord, I believe, help thou mine un- life, full of zeal and fervoar, with a talkbelief."

ing faith instead of a tried faith? think Ah, beloved ! we poor failing creatures not that any strange thing has happened may multiply words and heap up sen- unto you, if very soon you become “ tences, but one word from the Lord is marked man," and they say of

you,

We enough. He has to speak but the word, do not like this dreamer ; he is not one and the work required is done, and well of our sort-he stands in our waydone. Oh! that we could believe this, hinders our joviality; we wish we could and so patiently wait His time, -" If ye get rid of him. You must bear this, and have faith and doubt not." Ah! there's think it no dishonour to be thus branded. the point, our very breathings at the A greater than Joseph was marked throne are mixed with doubts, and we man. Joseph knew what sorrow was, doubt while we plead for the special but Joseph's Jesus was “a man of sordeliverance we need. But oh! said our row." Mark the expression “ Made up dear Redeemer, “If ye have faith and of sorrows. And your sins and mine, doubt not, ye shall not only do this beloved, helped to make him so. which is done to the fig-tree, but also if Well, to trace on poor Joseph's career; ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou his brethren, not satisfied with closeting removed, and be thou cast into the sea, up their enmity, proceeded to put it into it shall be done; and all things whatso- action the first favourable opportunity.

ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye Joseph, innocent of their wicked intenshall receive." Well, now, beloved, tion, went out to seek his bretliren, and this precious passage having thus winged inquiring of one whither they had gone, its way to us, we want to cast it upon the mar said, “ They are departed hence the waters, still further trusting, by for I heard them say, Let us go to grace,

it may be made a blessing to Dothan. And Joseph went after his some poor tried one, who, like ourselves, I brethren, and found them at Dothan.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

ever

God's

son.

And when they saw him afar off, they and unthought-of trials are ahead, that conspired against him to slay him.” And greater mercies and greater deliverances although Reuben delivered him out of may be displayed. Ăn especial teniptatheir hands, still he consented to cast tion presents itself now, of a character him into a pit that was in the wilder- not easily resisted by one young in life. ness, as well as to the crafty arrange- Potiphar's wife tries to allure him into ment that they should dip his coat in sin, but mighty grace prevented. the blood of a kid, and tell their dis- Doubtless, his cry at this trying season tracted father that an evil beast had was very urgent, “ Lord, help, I shall devoured him. What must have been surely fall if thou dost not keep me.” Joseph's agonizing feelings while in that But, blessed be God, He was with him, pit ? We can imagine him saying, “ His and made him a conqueror at this seamercy is clean gone. I shall surely now Incensed against him, this wicked be destroyed. He has in very deed for- woman retains his coat to establish her gotten to be gracious. Oh! why am I false assertion, and, prevailing, poor thus persecuted ?” Wait

, wait, poor Joseph was cast into prison ; but the Joseph. Wait, wait, tempest-tossed Lord was with him, and again he found reader. Wait, wait, my own rebellious favour. Dear reader, have you not frespirit, “Until the time that His word | quently found that this is the only reason came, the word of the Lord tried you must assign for certain successful him." But the Lord was at work all results gained in your affairs ? The Lord the time that the trial was going on. was with you, so you found favour. He was in the trial, behind the cloud, You could hardly expect it. Nay, there though not seen and felt; but in the was very much that was unfavourable right time He was ready to prove that on your part. But the Lord was with which we count loss is an especial gain. you, and caused you to find favour After these wicked men had cast their where you did not look for it.* Well

, innocent brother into the pit, they sat poor Joseph in prison found favour down to eat bread, and they lifted up under circumstances which none but the their eyes and looked, and behold à Lord could work; for He so arranged it

, company of Ishmaelites

came from that Pharaoh being wrath with the chief Gilead, with their camels bearing spicery, of the butlers and the chief of the bakers, and balm, and myrrh to Egypt. Ah! they were put in ward into the prison the Lord had sent them that way. And where Joseph was bound; and there they so He ofttimes does in our experience; both of them dreamed dreams which He raiseth up instruments for our de caused them to be sad. Joseph, when liverance, which, in our poor, failing he heard of it, showed that his negotiacalculations, we think will but increase tions were with the court of heaven, for the thraldom, and make matters worse he said unto them, “Do not interpretafor us, but which work round His own tions belong to God ? tell me the dreams, purposes. It is very probable poor

I

pray thee.” Such language shows his Joseph thought it would be better to confidence in the God he served. Well, die in the pit than to be sold to these dependent upon such a trust, he faithIshmaelites. It would be far better to fully interprets the dreams, and to the put an end to his existence at once than butler, who was to be restored to his become a slave. But again we have to former position, he says, “But think on say, Wait, wait. The Lord was not suf-me when it shall be well with thee, and fering all this that His enemies should show kindness, I pray thee, unto me, triumph. No, no; but they should be and make mention of me unto Pharaoh, signally defeated, to their shăme and con- and bring me out of this house.” A fusion of face. So Joseph is carried very reasonable request from one who into Egypt, and sold again to one Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoli's, and captain * Look, dear reader, at the precious idof the guard; and with this man " he stance of this finding favour where least ex, found favour.” All smooth now, Joseph ; pected, in the case of “ The poor, frightened fair winds all the way to the haven of fisherman,” in the March Number of this bliss now calculated upon. But no, Magazine, just to hand. If you have not read the lull precedes another storm; fresh it, do so; it is a most precious article.

[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »