« AnteriorContinuar »
Remarks on the First Chapter of Exodus. 485 fellowship with thee, which frameth mischief by a law ?" The hatred of Egypt must break the covenant which God made with Abraham, before it -could prevent the increase of Israel. It is remarkable, that what is here said of Israel after the flesh, may be applied with equal truth to the church of God-the more it is afflicted, the more it multiplies and grows. When do we hear of the word of God making such glorious conquests, as in the days when the disciples of Christ were as sheep appointed to the slaughter ; when the spoiling of their goods, stripes, imprisonment, peril, nakedness, the sword, death in its most terrible forms, were the portion of those who dared to confess that Jesus of Nazareth was the Son of God ? Thus it was also at the time of the Reformation in our own country. When those who dissented from the Roman Catholic church, were burned alive,--when it was a crime to read the Bible, and examine what was truth, men's attention was awakened ;-the courage of the sufferers was the most powerful sermon which could be preached to the by-standers, and many receive ed the love of the truth : faith increased, love abounded, and the world lost its charms. Whenever, therefore, we are exposed to shame or loss, for conscience, or the gospel's, sake, we may boldly say, "The Lord is my helper, I will not fear what man can do unto me."
V. 13, 14. “The Egyptians made the children of Israel to serve with rigour :-all their service, wherein they made them serve, was with rigour." -The Egyptians were irritated at finding they .could not prevail against Israel. At first, their ill-treatment of the strangers arose from coldblooded policy--they thought it was for their interest to afflict the people: but when the scheme failed, disappointment soured their minds, and they'vented their anger in harsh and unfeeling -usage of them.
Human nature is not fit to be
trusted with much power. We run into temptation, when we thrust ourselves into situations where others are subject to us. “ My brethren, be not many masters," (says St. James) “ knowing that ye shall receive the greater condemnation.” You become responsible for the conduct of those whom you are so fond of advising, commanding, managing, influencing. On the other hand, servitude has many temptations, and when service is exacted with rigour, no one, perhaps, who has not felt it, can tell how great is the trial of temper, sincerity, and honesty, to persons in this situation. But the Bible, which speaks to all, speaks particularly to servants, in a way that shews how well their feelings are known to Him whose book it is. He knows the temptation to be irritated and insolent when reproved, and therefore cautions you,-“not answering again."-"Be subject to them that are your masters according to the flesh.” He knows that a falsehood is a ready and natural way of hiding a fault, and therefore reminds
your service should be a to the Lord, and not to men"-"in singleness of your heart." (Eph. vi. 5—8.)
(Eph. vi. 5–8.) He knows how covetous human nature is, and how often it is in your power to apply to your own use what is entrusted to you, and therefore exhorts," not purloining, shewing all good fidelity.” He knows that it may seem hard to exercise patience, meekness, and humility, towards the froward, as well as the good and gentle, (1 Pet. ii. 18.) and therefore He sets before you the example of Jesus, who took upon him the form of a servant, “ who did no sin, neither was guile" (that is, deceit) “ found in his mouth, who when he was reviled reviled not again," &c. and who has promised, that “if we suffer, we shall also reign with him."
V. 15–21. Finding other means fail, the king had recourse to the abominable scheme of destroy
On Glorifying God.
487 ing the male children of the Israelites, in the manner related in these verses; but here, too, he failed -Ziphrah and Puah, being godly women, would not execute his plan ;—they obtained the blessing of the God of Israel, for they feared and obeyed Him, rather than the king: and the people still “multiplied, and waxed very mighty."
Ver. 22. Thus he at length openly commanded their destruction : but we shall soon see he could not take away the life of that child which was destined to be afterwards the deliverer of Israel.
T. B. P.
ON GLORIFYING GOD. From the example of our blessed Lord, we learn to glorify God, by our thoughts, by our words, and by our actions. In the first place, we should glorify God by never taking his name in vain, and we should hold in abhorrence the shocking crime of swearing. A truly pious man can never be guilty of this vice; for the fear of God is always before his eyes, and the love of God is in his heart. Secondly, we should glorify God in our common conversation, and take care that it be such as becometh Christians. Thirdly, we should glorify God by praising him for our daily food. To the bounty of God we owe every blessing: and while we enjoy the gift, let us not forget the giver. Every enjoyment for which we have offered our thanks to God will be doubly sweet. “Whether ye eat or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Cor. x. 31.) Lastly, we should glorify God by our thoughts. Every thought which arises in our hearts is known to God, though concealed from all the world. This should make us guard our hearts with the greatest care. Wicked thoughts too often lead to wicked actions; and the man who can find pleasure in thinking of crimes, is in great danger of committing them. Wicked thoughts are the temptations of the devil, and we must constantly endeavour to resist and drive them away; which may be most effectually done by turning our thoughts towards God. The poorest man, whilst engaged in the hardest labour, may think much upon God, and find his greatest comfort in doing so. He may thank him for blessing with increase the labour of his hands; for the health which enables him to maintain himself and his family ; for having placed him in this happy country, where every man may eat the fruits of his honest industry in peace and liberty. Above all, he should thank Him for the glorious prospect of happiness in the next world, which supports us through all the sorrows of this. When he returns at night, he may still think upon God. Even if his situation in this life be unhappy, his thoughts may fly to heaven. This world is a state of trial to all, and the best men must not expect to escape those sufferings which our heavenly Father sends to purify our minds, and to make us more worthy of his love. But if there are many sorrows in life, there are also many joys, and these belong to the servants of God, whilst the wicked expose themselves to great distress and trouble. In most cases, misery is the consequence of vice. A man who spends his time and his money in idleness, gaming, or drinking, will probably be poor. He will suffer want, he will be in debt, and perhaps end his days in a prison. A man who spends his youth in debauchery, will probably pass the rest of his life in pain and sickness. A man who is dishonest will be despised and shunned, he will lose his character, and perhaps fall under the punishment of the law. Moreover, the man who is without God in the world, is tormented by the fear of losing what he has. He who thinks he owes his prosperity to chance, has always reason to fear that chance may
On Glorifying God.
489 take it away. The pious man, on the contrary, puts himself and all that he possesses under the care of an all-powerful Protector. He knows that from God he received every good gift, and he knows that the blessings he enjoys never can be taken away, except by the permission of Him who gave them; and that if God permit him to be deprived of them, it is because it is more for his real advantage. To God he looks up with gratitude for all he enjoys; to God he is ready cheerfully to resign every blessing He has given. He therefore possesses a degree of tranquillity which no bad man ever felt. If the bad man should persuade himself he has nothing to fear after death, yet still he must die. In a few years this must happen; it may be in a very few hours; and the more a man is attached to the things of this life, the greater is his dread of losing all by death. But the Christian knows that death is the gate of eternal life and the road to happiness far superior to any
he can experience here below. Thus even in prosperity, the bad man must be tormented with fear and anxiety, while the sincere Christian is tranquil, composed, and happy. But as prosperity comes alike to all so does adversity. Each of these men may be placed by Providence in want, sickness, pain, or sorrow; which of them will find most comfort under his affliction. The bad man has no comfort, no support,
for he has neither trust in God, nor hope of heaven. The other knows that his light afflictions, which are but for a moment, will work for him an eternal weight of glory. Humbled under the mighty hand of God, he suffers indeed, but he is patient and resigned. He still knows and feels, that even in this world there is a reward for the righteous; that even in this world the good man enjoys that peace, which the wicked can never know. There are, it may be said, cases in which the advantage as to worldly prosperity is on the side of the bad man, and when he who will not disobey God, must sacri.