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that, while they do their own will, they do | him wear out so many judgments, will not his!
| leave him, till it have wrought out his full Tlie Israelites are equally glad of this destruction. All God's vengeances lave haste. Who would not be ready to go, their end, the final perdition of his enemies, yea to fly out of bondage? They have what which they cannot rest till they have at. they wished ; it was no staying for a second tained. Pharaoh therefore, and his Egypinvitation. The loss of an opportunity is tians, will needs go fetch their bane. They many times unrecoverable. The love of well knew that Israel was fitter to serve their liberty made the burden of their dough than to fight; weary with their servitude, light. Who knew whether the variable not trained up to war, not furnished witn mind of Pharaohı might return to a denial, provision for a field: themselves, captains and, after all his stubbornness, repent of and soldiers by profession, furnished with hisobedience? It is foolish to hazard, horses and chariots of war. They gave where there is certainty of good offers, and themselves therefore the victory before. uncertainty of continuance. They go there-hand, and Israel either for spoil or bondage. fore; and the same God that fetched them Yea, the weak Israelites gave up themselves out, is both their guide and protector. How for dead, and are already talking of their carefully doth he choose their way! not the graves. They see the sea before them; nearer, but the safer. He would not have behind them the Egyptians: they know his people so suddenly change from bondage not which is most merciless, and are stricken to war.
with the fear of both. () God, how couldst It is the wondrous mercy of God, that thou forbear so distrustful a people! They he hath respect, as to his own glory, so had seen all thy wonders in Egypt, and in to our infirmities. He intends them wars their Goshen; they saw even now thy hereafter, but after some longer breathing pillar before them, and yet they did more and more preparation; his goodness so fear Egypt than believe thee. Thy paorders all, that evils are not ready for us, tience is no less miracle than thy delive. till we be ready for them. And as he rance. But instead of removing from them, chooses, so he guides their way. That the cloudy pillar removes behind them, and they might not err in that sandy and un- stands betwixt the Israelites and Egyptians; tracted wilderness, himself goes before them: as if God would have said, they shall first who could but follow cheerfully, when he overcome me, ( Israel, ere they touch sees God lead him! He that led the wise thee. Wonder did now justly strive with men by a star, leads Israel by a cloud. fear in the Israelites; when they saw the That was a higher object, therefore he cloud remove behind them, and the sea gives them a higher and more heavenly con-remove before them. They were not used duct: this was more earthly; therefore he to such bulwarks. God stood behind them contents himself with a lower representa- in the cloud, the sea reared them up walls tion of his presence: a pillar of cloud and on both sides of them. That, which they fire; a pillar for firmness, of cloud and fire feared would be their destruction, protect. for visibility and use. The greater light ex ed them. How easily can God make the tinguishes the less; therefore in the day cruellest of his creatures both our friends he shows them not fire, but a cloud. In and patrons ! the night nothing is seen without light; Yet here was faith mixed with unbelief. therefore he shows them not the cloud but | He was a bold Israelite that set the first fire. The cloud shelters them from heat foot into the channel of the sea ; and every by day; the fire digests the rawness of the step that they set in that moist way, was a night. The same God is both a cloud and new exercise of their faith. Pharaoh sees a fire to his children, ever putting himself all this, and wonders ; yet hath not the wit into those forms of gracious respects that or grace to think (though the pillar tell may best fit their necessities.
him so much), that God made a difference As good motions are long ere they can betwixt him and Israel. He is offended enter into hard hearts, so they seldom con- with the sea for giving way to his enemies, tinue long. No sooner were the backs of and yet sees not wliv he may not trust it Israel turned to depart, thai Pharaoh's as well as they. He might well have heart and face is turned after them, to fetch thought, that he which gave light in Gothem back again. It vexes him to see so shen, when there was darkness in Egypt, great a command, so much wealth, cast could as well distinguish in the sea; but away in one night, which now he resolves he cannot now either consider, or fear: it to redeem, though with more plagues. The is his time to perish. God makes him fair same ambition and covetousness, that made | way, and lets him run smoothly on, till he
come to the midst of the sea; not one | dancing, which their bondage had so long wave may rise up against him, to wet so discontinued ; and well might those feet much as the hoof of his horse. Extraor- dance upon the shore, which had walked dinary favours to wicked men are the fore- through the sea. The land of Gushen runners of their ruin.
was not so bountiful to them as these waNow, when God sees the Egyptians too ters: that afforded them a servile life ; far to return, he finds time to strike them this gave them at once freedom, victory, with their last terror. They know not why, riches, bestowing upon them the remainder but they would return too late. Those of that wealth which the Egyptians had chariots, in which they trusted, now fail but lent. It was a pleasure to see the them, as having done service enough to floating carcases of their adversaries; and carry them into perdition. God pursues every day offers them new booties : it is no them, and they cannot flee from him. marvel, then, if their hearts were tied to Wicked men make equal haste, both to these banks. If we find but a little pleasin and from judgment : but they shall one sure in our life, we are ready to doat upon day find, that it is not more easy to run it. Every small contentment glues our into sin, than impossible to run away from affections to that we like ; and if here our judgment: the sea will show them that it imperfect delights hold us so fast that we regards the rod of Moses, not the sceptre would not be loosed, how forcible shall of Pharaoh; and now (as glad to have got those infinite joys be above, when our souls the enemies of God at such an advantage) | are once possessed of them. shuts her mouth upon them, and swallows Yet if the place had pleased them more, them up in her waves; and, after she hath it is no marvel they were willing to follow made sport with them awhile, casts them Moses ; that they durst follow him in the upon her sand, for a spectacle of triumplı wilderness, whom they followed through to their adversaries.
the sea. It is a great confirmation to any What a sight was this to the Israelites, people, when they have seen the hand of when they were now safe on the shore, to God with their guide. O Saviour, which see their enemies come floating after them hast undertaken to carry me from the upon the billows, and to find among the spiritual Egypt to the land of promise, how Carcases upon the sands, their known op-faithful, how powerful have I found thee! pressors, which now they can tread upon how fearlessly should I trust thee! how with exultation! They did not cry more cheerfully should I follow thee through Oud before than now they sing. Not their | contempt, poverty, death itself! “ Master, faith, but their sense, teaches them now to if it be thoni, bid us come unto thee." magnify that God, after their deliverance, Immediately before, they had complained shom they hardly trusted for their delive- of too much water; now they go three days
without. Thus God meant to punish their infidelity, with the defect of that whose abundance made them to distrust. Before
they saw all water, no land ; now, all dry BOOK V.
and dusty land, and no water. Extremities are the best trials of men ; as in bodies,
those that can bear sudden changes of heats OF MARAH.
and cold without complaint, are the strong.
est. So much as an evil touches upon ISRAEL was not more loath to come to the mean, so much help it yields towards the Red Sea than to part from it. How patience. Every degree of sorrow is a presoon can God turn the horror of any evil paration of the next : but when we pass into pleasure! One shore resounded with to extremes without the mean, we want shrieks of fear; the other with timbrels, the benefit of recollection, and must trust and dances, and songs of deliverance. to our present strength. To come from all Every main affliction is our Red Sea, things to nothing, is not a descent but a which, while it threats to swallow, pre- downfall; and it is a rare strength and conserves us. At last our songs shall be louder stancy, not to be maimed at least. These than our cries. The Israelitish dames, | headlong evils, as they are the sorest, so when they saw their danger, thought they they must be most provided for; as, on thie might have left their timbrels behind them. contrary, a sudden advancement from a low How unprofitable a burden seemed those condition to the height of honour is most instruments of music! Yet now they live hard to manage. No man can marvel how to renew that forgotten minstrelsy and that tyrant blinded his captives, when he
hears that he brought them immediately out either the wilderness dry, or the waters of a dark dungeon into rooms that were bitter: yea, if his conduct were the matter, made bright and glorious. We are not what one foot went he before them withworthy to know for what we are reserved. out God? The pillar led them, and not No evil can amaze us, if we can overcome he; yet Moses is murmured at. It is the sudden extremities,
hard condition of authority, that when the The long deferring of a good, though multitude fare well, they applaud them. tedious, yet makes it the better when it selves; when ill, they repine against their comes. Well did the Israelites hope, that governors. Who can hope to be free, it the waters, which were so long in finding, Moses escape not ? Never any prince so would be precious when they were found : merited of a people. He thrust himself yet behold they are crossed, not only in upon the pikes of Pharaoh's tyranny-he their desires, but in their hopes; for, after brought them from a bondage worse than three days' travel, the first fountains they death — his rod divided the sea, and shared find are bitter waters. If these wells had | life to them, death to their pursuers. Who not run pure gall, they could not have so would not have thought these men so much complained. Long thirst will make obliged to Moses, that no death could have bitter waters sweet. Yet such were these opened their mouths, or raised their hands springs, that the Israelites did not so much against him ? Yet now, the first occasion like their moisture as abhor their relish. of want makes them rebel. No benefit I see the first handsel that God gives them, can stop the mouth of impatience. If our in their voyage to the land of promise, thirst turn be not served for the present, former and bitterness. Satan gives us pleasant favours are either forgotten or contemned. entrances into his ways, and reserves the No marvel if we deal so with men, when bitterness for the end. God inures us to God receives this measure from us. One our worst at first, and sweetens our con- 1 year of famine, one summer of pestilence, clusion with pleasure.
one moon of unseasonable weather, makes The same God that would not lead us overlook all the blessings of God; and Israel through the Philistines' land, lest more to mutiny at the sense of our evil, they should shrink at the sight of war, now than to praise him for our varieties of good: leads them through the wilderness, and whereas, favours well bestowed leave us fears not to try their patience with bitter both mindful and confident, and will not potions. If he had not loved them, the suffer us either to forget or distrust. O Egyptian furnace, or sword, had prevented God, I have made an ill use of thy mercies, their thirst, or the sea whereof their ene- if I have not learnt to be content with thy mies drunk dead ; and yet see how he corrections. diets them! Never any have had so bitter Moses was in the same want of water draughts upon earth, as those he loves best. with them, in the same distaste of bitterThe palate is an ill judge of the favours ness; and yet they say to Moses, What of God. O my Saviour, thou didst drink shall we drink? If they had seen him a more bitter cup from the hands of thy furnished with full vessels of sweet water, Father, than that which thou refusedst and themselves put over to this unsavoury of the Jews, or than that which I can drink | liquor, envy might have given some colour from thee!
to this mutiny; but now their leader's Before, they could not drink if they common misery might have freed him from would ; now, they might and would not. their murmurs. They held it one piece of God can give us blessings with such a tang, | the late Egyptian tyranny, that a task was that the fruition shall not much differ from required of them (which the imposers knew the want. So many a one hath riches, not they could not perform) to make brick when grace to use them; many have children, they have no straw ; yet they say to Moses, but such as they prefer barrenness. They What shall we drink? Themselves are had said before, Oh that we had any water! grown exactors, and are ready to menace Now, Oh that we had good water! It is more than stripes, if they have not their good so to desire blessings from God, that ends without means. Moses took not upon we may be the better for enjoying them ; him their provision, but their deliverance ; so to crave water, that it may not be sauced and yet, as if he had been the common with bitterness.
victualler of the camp, they ask, What Now, these fond Israelites, instead of shall we drink? When want meets with praying, murmur; instead of praying to impatient minds, it transports them to fury ; God, murmur against Moses. “What every thing disquiets, and nothing satisfies hath the righteous done?" He made not | tlıcm.
What course doth Moses now take? | hearts were the bitter waters of manifold That which they should have done, and corruptions? yet their unsavoury souls are did not. They cried not more fervently sweetened by the graces of his Spirit. O to him than he to God. If he were their blessed Saviour, the wood of thy cross, leader, God was his. That which they un that is, the application of thy sufferings, is justly required of him, he justly requires enough to sweeten a whole sea of bitterof God that could do it. He knew whence ness! I care not how unpleasant a potion to look for redress of all complaints: this I find in this wilderness, if the power and was not his charge, but his Maker's, which benefit of thy precious death may season it was able to maintain his own act. I see to my soul. and acknowledge the harbour that we must put into in all our ill weather. It is to thee, O God, that we must pour out our hearts, CONTEMPLATION II.-THE QUAILS AND who only canst make our bitter waters
Might not that rod which took away the The thirst of Israel is well quenched ; liquid nature from the waters, and made for, besides the change of the waters of them solid, have also taken away the bitter | Marah, their station is changed to Elim, quality from these waters, and made them where were twelve fountains for their sweet, since to flow is natural unto the twelve tribes. And now they complain as water, to be bitter is but accidental ? Moses much of hunger. durst not employ his rod without a pre Contentation is a rare blessing ; because cept; he knew the power came from the it arises either from a fruition of all comcommandment. We may not presume forts, or a not desiring of some which we on likelihoods, but depend upon warrants ; have not. Now, we are never so bare as therefore Moses doth not lift up his rod to not to have some benefits ; never so full, the waters, but his hand and voice to God. as not to want something, yea, as not to
The hand of faith never knocked at be full of wants. God hath much ado heaven in vain. No sooner hath Moses with us. Either we lack health, or quietshowed his grievance, than God shows him ness, or children, or wealth, or company, the remedy ; yet an unlikely one, that it or ourselves in all these. It is a wonder might be miraculous. He that made the these men found not fault with the want waters, could have given them any savour. of sauce to their quails, or with their old How easy is it for him that made the matter | clothes, or their solitary way. Nature is to alter the quality! It is not more hard moderate in her desires; but conceit is in. to take away than to give. Who doubts satiable. Yet who can deny hunger to be but the same hand that created them, might a sore vexation ? Before, they were forhave immediately changed them? Yet that bidden sour bread; but now, what leaven almighty power will do it by means. A is so sour as want? When means hold out, piece of wood must sweeten the waters. it is easy to be content. While their What relation hath wood to water? or that dough and other cakes lasted, while they which hath no savour, to the redress of were gathering of the dates of Elim, we bitterness? Yet here is no more possibility hear no news of them. Who cannot pray of failing, than proportion to the success. for his daily bread when he hath it in his All things are subject to the command of cupboard? But when our own provision their Maker. He that made all of nothing, fails us, then not to distrust the provision can make every thing of any thing. There of God is a noble trial of faith. They is so much power in every creature as he should have said, He that stopt the mouth will please to give. It is the praise of of the sea, that it could not derour us, can Omnipotency to work by improbabilities; as easily stop the mouth of our stomachs. Elisha with salt, Moses with wood, shall It was no easier matter to kill the firstsweeten the bitter waters. Let no man born of Egypt, by his immediate hand, than despise the means when he knows the to preserve us. He that commanded the author.
sea to stand still and guard us, can as easily God taught his people by actions, as well command the earth to nourish us. He as words. This entrance showed them that made the rod a serpent, can as well their whole journey, wherein they should make these stones bread. He that brought taste of much bitterness; but at last, through | armies of frogs and caterpillars to Egypt, the mercy of God, sweetened with comfort. can as well bring whole drifts of birds and Or did it not represent themselves rather beasts to the desert. He that sweetened in the journey, in the fountains of whose the waters with wood, can as well refresh
our bodies with the fruits of the earth. I affects that which is like itself. Carnal Why do we not wait on hini, whom we minds are for the flesh-pots of Egypt, have found so powerful? Now they set though bought will servitude: spiritual are the mercy and love of God upon a wrong for the presence of God, though redeemed last, while they measure it only by their with famine; and would rather die in God's present sense. Nature is jocund and cheer- presence, than live without him, in the ful while it prospereth: let God withdraw sight of delicate or full dishes. his hand, no sight, no trust. Those can They loved their lives well enough. I praise him with timbrels for a present fa-heard how they shirieked when they were vour, that cannot depend upon him in the in danger of the Egyptians; yer now they want of means for a future. We all are say, Oh that we had died ! not, Oh that never weary of receiving, soon weary of we might live by tlie flesh-pots; but, Oh attending.
| that we had died! Although life be na. The other mutiny was of some few mal- turally sweet, yet a little discontentment contents, perhaps those strangers, which makes us weary. It is a base cowardliness, sought their own protection under the wing so soon as ever we are called from the garof Israel ; this, of the whole troop. Not rison to the field, to think of running away. that none were free: Caleb, Joshua, Mo- Then is our fortitude worthy of praise, ses, Aaron, Miriam, were not yet tainted. when we can endure to be miserable. Usually God measures the state of any But what, can no flesh-pots serve but church or country by the most; the greater those of Egypt? I am deceived if that part carries both the name and censure. land afforded them any flesh-pots save their Sins are so much the greater as they are own. Their landlords of Egypt held it more universal : so far is evil from being i abomination to eat of their dishes, or to extenuated by the multitude of the guilty, kill that which they did eat. In those that nothing can more agyravate it. With times, then, they did eat of their own; and men, commonness may plead for favour; why not now? They had droves of cattle with God, it pleads for judgment. Many in the wilderness; why did they not take hands draw the cable with more violence of them? Surely, if they would have been than few. The leprosy of the whole body as good husbands of their cattle as they is more loathsome than that of a part. were of their dough, they might have had
But what do these mutineers say? Oh enough to eat without need of murmuring: that we had died by the hand of the Lord! for if their back-burdens of dough lasted And whose hand was this, O ye fond Israel. for a month, their herds might have served ites, if you must perish by famine? God them many years. All grudging is odious, carried you forth; God restrained his crea- but most when our hands are full. To tures from you; and, while ye are ready to wbine in the midst of abundance, is a die, thus ye say, Oh that we had died by shameful unthankfulness. the hand of the Lord!
When a man would have looked that It is the folly of men, that in immediate thie anger of God should have appeared in judgments they can see God's hand; not in fire, now, behold, his glory appears in a those whose second causes are sensible : cloud. Oh the exceeding long-suffering of whereas God holds himself equally inte-God, that hears their murmurings ! and, rested in all, challenging that there is no as if he had been bound to content them, evil in the city but from him. It is but instead of punishing, pleases them! as a one hand, and many instruments, that God kind mother would deal with a crabbed strikes us with. The water may not lose child, who rather stills him with the bieast, the name, though it comes by channels and than calls for the rod. One would have pipes from the spring. It is our faithless. I thought, that the sight of the cloud of God ness, that in visible means we see not him should have dispelled the cloud of their that is in visible.
distrust; and this glory of God should have And when would they have wished to made them ashamed of theinselves, and die ? When they sat by the flesh-pots of afraid of him: yet I do not hear them once Egypt? Alas! what good would their flesh-say, What mighty and gracious God have pots have done them in their death? If we distrusted! Nothing will content an they might sustain their life, yet what could impotent mind but fruition. When a heart they avail them in dying? For, if they is hardened with any passion, it will endure were unpleasant, what confort was it to much ere it will yield to relent. see them?- if pleasant, what comfort to Their eyes saw the cloud; their ears part from them? Our greatest pleasures heard the promise; the performance is are but pains in their loss. Every mind speedy and answerable. Needs must they