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THE FIRST MESSAGE TO PHARAOH.

In our last lesson you heard of the appointment of Moses.

Was it not enough to alarm Moses when he thought of all he had to do? Suppose, now, that you were eighty years old-suppose that you had lived in the country for forty years-and then suppose that you had to go to the king of the mightiest nation of the earth, to give him a message that he would not like, and to lead away an important part of his nation-supposing that you had to do all that, you would, perhaps, feel rather timid.

W. Yes. I should be nervous.

P. So was Moses, no doubt. I dare say that as he left the sacred mountain, and drove the sheep back to the house of Jethro, his mind was full of thoughts. He truly had one of "the highest and the most difficult missions ever confided to a mortal." When he pictured out to himself all the strange scenes that might happen-when he wondered what the Israelites would say, whether or not they would like him-and when he thought of many accidents that might befall him— then his soul must have been stirred up, and his fears would cause him to shake. Poor trembling man! he would begin to think, "What shall I do? I am only a shepherd"-when the words of the Lord would come back to him again, "I will be with thee." Ah! those were comforting words! they cheered him up like the sunshine in a dark day; and all those uneasy questions, those doubts and fears which had been gathering so quickly, and had been weighing down his spiritdo you know what would become of them? they would all vanish at the thought of God, and Moses would feel himself strong again. All the strength and all the energies of his young days would come back again-he would spring forward like a young man, and would make haste to do his work-and from that day to the day he died, he worked heartily, doing the will of God to help the children of Israel.

So also, when Moses mentioned the matter to his father-in-law Jethro, and Jethro replied, "Go in peace!" he felt encouraged; he took his wife and his two sons, and setting each on an ass, he journeyed across the desert to Egypt, carrying the rod of God in his hand.

More encouragement also came to him, for as he approached Egypt,

his elder brother Aaron came forth to meet him in the wilderness. Aaron had come according to the command of God, and I dare say that he was as well pleased to see Moses as Moses was to see him-perhaps they had not seen each other for forty years. After they had embraced one another, Moses told Aaron the whole story of his appointment. He showed him what a heavy and important work was to be performed, and told him what part he was to take in the matter. Then the two brothers went together to meet the children of Israel.

The first public meeting which the two brothers held was an important one. The strange tale they brought spread quickly through all the tribes of Israel, and a meeting to consider the matter was appointed at once. I dare say it was held the day after Moses arrived. It is very likely, too, that as the poor Israelites had so much work to do, it would be held early in the morning, before breakfast, and before there were many people about.

Not all the children of Israel came to that meeting; they were still divided into families or tribes, and only the elders, and other principal persons of each tribe, came. Still they would form a great crowd, and as Moses and Aaron stood up to address them, they would listen with eager ears.

"The Lord

Then the eloquent Aaron arose, and spoke for Moses. God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob," I AM, hath sent me unto you. He hath appeared unto me, saying, "I have surely visited you, and seen that which is done unto you in Egypt; and I have said I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt, unto the land of the Canaanites, unto a land flowing with milk and honey."

When the "Elders" heard the plan, some would think about Pharaoh, and would shake their heads; they would like the message, and would feel very anxious about it; but they would ask, "How do we know that you can lead us from Egypt, and that you really have come from God?" Then Moses told Aaron to do the miracles which God had given him for a sign. The people looked on with wonder, and when they saw Aaron's rod change into a serpent, when they saw his hand become leprous, then their doubts were removed. They believed; they were full of surprise and joy; and they bowed their heads and worshipped.

As soon as the meeting was over, Moses and Aaron went to the palace of Pharaoh. The people, I dare say, did not go home at once;

many a little crowd of brickmakers would stand here and there; and, instead of beginning their work, they would wait to hear what answer Pharaoh would give.

That answer was a very unpleasant one. Pharaoh listened to the message of Moses and Aaron, "Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, let my people go, that they may hold a feast in the wilderness." He was astonished at such a demand; it seemed to him a piece of daring impertinence, and his only answer was, "Who is the Lord that I should obey his voice to let the people of Israel go?" "Wherefore do ye Moses and Aaron let the people from their work? get you unto your burdens!"

came.

This was the only answer that Moses and Aaron could bring back from Pharaoh to the Israelites; but soon more disagreeable news Pharaoh thought that their message showed a feeling of rebellion, and that it would be well to put down the rising spirit at once, by giving the people harder work as a punishment. Therefore, on the same day, Pharaoh commanded the taskmasters of the people and their officers, saying, "Ye shall no more give the people straw to make brick, as heretofore: let them go and gather straw for themselves. And the tale of the bricks, which they did make heretofore, ye shall lay upon them; ye shall not diminish aught thereof: for they be idle; therefore they cry, saying, Let us go and sacrifice to our God. Let there more work be laid upon the men, that they may labour therein; and let them not regard vain words. And the taskmasters of the people went out, and their officers, and they spake to the people, saying, Thus saith Pharaoh, I will not give you straw. Go ye, get you straw where ye can find it yet not aught of your work shall be diminished. So the people were scattered abroad throughout all the land of Egypt to gather stubble instead of straw. And the taskmasters hasted them, saying, Fulfil your works, your daily tasks, as when there was straw. And the officers of the children of Israel, which Pharaoh's taskmasters had set over them, were beaten and demanded, Wherefore have ye not fulfilled your task in making brick both yesterday and to-day, as heretofore?"

This was cruel treatment, but when the officers complained of the injustice to Pharaoh he would not hear them; his only answer was, "Ye are idle, ye are idle, therefore ye say, Let us go and sacrifice unto the Lord."

The people then mourned over their wretched state; all their joy

and expectations were turned into sorrow. They were very much oppressed, they forgot the power of God, and the miracles they had seen; and when they met Moses and Aaron, they made severe complaints to them for bringing them into such trouble.

BE KIND.

Be kind to the young-in thy youth's merry day,
Thou, too, hast been thoughtless and vain;
Oh! plant not a thorn in a flower-strown way,
That may never be trodden again:

Enough of thorn yet in the pathway of life,

If they travel it long, they will find:

But dim not bright youth with the shadow of strife;
Be kind to the youthful-be kind.

Be kind to the aged-not long at thy side
Hath the travel-worn pilgrim to stay;

The frail thread of life will be shortly untied;
He is passing-soon passing away.

Oh! let him not deem that when summoned from earth,
He will leave but cold feelings behind;

Give him still a warm nook of thy heart and thy hearth,
Be kind to the aged-be kind.

Be kind to the simple-although the full light

Of genius to thee may be given,

Yet look not with scorn, in the pride of thy might,

On a brother less favoured by heaven.

He is not to be blamed if the God-given ray

Hath but faintly illumined his mind;

Thine own may be quenched by a cloud on the way;

Be kind to the simple-be kind.

Be kind to the erring-full many a heart

Unkindness hath driven astray;

But the breath of reproach may but sharpen the smart

That first sent it out of the way.

Ye would not insult with a gibe or a sneer,

The maimed, or the halt, or the blind;

But the ills of the spirit are far more severe;
Be kind to thy fellow-be kind.

ANON.

THE PLAGUES OF EGYPT.

W. I should think that when Moses and Aaron thought about Pharaoh's message, and when they saw that their brethren had harder work than before, they would be in great trouble.

L. So I think; for the people grumbled against them-and they said, "You have put a sword in the hands of Pharaoh's servants, to slay us."

P. Yes. Moses and his brother were, I dare say, troubled. They would sit down together and think,-"The people are against us; they do not want to go now; some of them say they would rather stop here and work than die in the wilderness. Pharaoh is against us, too; he is angry-but," they would think again, "GOD is not against us; no! God is for us-so, instead of talking to one another, let us talk to Him. It is always a good thing to talk to God."

So, therefore, they went to God, and God told them what to do. He told them to go to Pharaoh once more, and to show him the miracles which they could perform.

Moses and Aaron heard and obeyed; and soon they stood before Pharaoh again. The timid Moses looked at the great king, and the king looked at Moses. Then, perhaps, he felt some fear, which would whisper, "Will he not punish you?—perhaps he will kill you for coming again!" But then he thought, "The servant of GOD must not fear;" and he spoke out his message boldly. But Pharaoh refused to listen. Then Moses told Aaron to throw down the rod. Aaron did so, and it became a serpent!

"There! what do you say to that?" thought Moses. "Is not GoD great? Our God is a mighty God; so, fear him and obey him!" Pharaoh wondered, I dare say; but he would not obey. He said to his servants, "Go fetch the wise men, and the sorcerers of Egypt. Bring them here, that they may do the same things." Then the magicians, and sorcerers, and wise men came-strange-looking men they were, in strange dresses-and they stood before Pharaoh. They waited for his word, and when he told them what to do, lo, a strange sight! each sorcerer threw down his rod, and each rod became a serpent!

Ion. That was very strange!

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