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guished, in the darkest adversity-hope undiminished, in the gloomiest depression -patience unwearied even by the severest trial-endurance unshrinking even under the most painful suffering.

The work of Israel's redemption was the Lord's-it was not to be a mere political deliverance, effected in the ordinary way of political deliverances, by the intrigues and struggles of partisans and leaders; or even by the generous exertions of the bravest and the noblest. It was to be a religious emancipation; the liberation of the church from servitude; the performance of God's own covenant with his peculiar people. The struggle was not between nation and nation, between Israelite and Egyptian; but between principle and principle, between the opposing powers of good and evil, between the people of God and the people of the world, between Jehovah and Satan. It was emphatically" the Lord's controversy," and therefore nothing earthly, nothing carnal, was permitted to mingle with and to pollute it. It was to show

the might of the Lord of Hosts,-to make "bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations',"-to prove that "the Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will2."

The design of Moses, thus prematurely commenced in the spirit of worldly enterprise, was allowed to terminate in signal failure; and that, probably, even before it was fully organized and matured in his own mind. The time of Israel's deliverance was not yet come, nor did the Almighty purpose to accomplish it by the sword. He desired, besides, to give his chosen servant a lesson of humility; to teach him to repose less dependence upon himself and his own powers; to train him for his future task in the school of adversity; "to strengthen him with all might, unto all patience and long-suffering with joyfulness, to teach him obedience by the things which he suffered :" and, as we

1 Is. lii. 10.
'Coloss. i. 11.

'Dan. iv. 17.

'Heb. v. 8.

shall find hereafter, the lesson sank deeply into the heart of the prophet.

The narrative of his disappointment and flight is thus continued. "When he went out the second day, behold, two men of the Hebrews strove together: and he said to him that did the wrong, wherefore smitest thou thy fellow? And he said, Who made thee a prince and a judge over us? intendest thou to kill me, as thou killedst the Egyptian? And Moses feared, and said, Surely this thing is known. Now when Pharaoh heard this thing, he sought to slay Moses. But Moses fled from the face of Pharaoh, and dwelt in the land of Midian." In this remote district, a part of Arabia, he marries the daughter of Jethro, a priest or prince of the country: two sons are born unto him, and he spends no fewer than forty years in the humble duties of the shepherd's life.

At length the time arrives for Israel's deliverance, the time fixed " by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God',"-the time foretold to Abraham and

1 Acts ii. 23.

to Joseph. The Lord remembers his covenant which he made with the fathers. He looks down from heaven and beholds" the affliction of his people, which are in Egypt, and hears their cry by reason of their taskmasters." Moses, to whom the office of deliverer was destined, is now sought for. Moses, now eighty years old, is to be called to effect what he was unable, perhaps unqualified, to do, in the prime and vigour of manhood. He who was compelled to flee from the wrath of the king to save his own life, is now to be sent back again into Egypt, not only to brave that wrath, but, in opposition to the whole power of Pharaoh and the whole strength of his kingdom, to bring forth the Jewish people from their bondage. What was it that could now have produced this peculiar fitness? what could have wrought this important change? the shepherd's indolent life for forty years could not have endued him with political wisdom. The advance of age could not have warmed his natural ardour, nor prepared him for the labour of camps, nor

taught him the duties of a general. Mysterious are the ways of God! His ability for the task arose from the eternal counsels of the Almighty. His adaptation to the service proceeded possibly from his seeming unfitness as an instrument of those counsels and designs. The praise of Israel's redemption was not to be of man, but of God. Moses, indeed, at no period of his life was a warrior; and he himself declares, that he was entirely destitute of eloquence, an indispensable requisite in a political leader. But in addition to these great defects, it was necessary that he should be old-at that point which is usually the extreme verge of human life-before he was deemed a proper instrument in the hand of Him "who will not give his glory to another '."

Are we not forcibly reminded here of that remarkable circumstance narrated in the Book of Judges 2, when Gideon had assembled two and thirty thousand men by the well of Harod, to fight against the

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