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be convinced, when they saw God as glo- | pose upon his mercy ? Rather than we rious in his work as in his presence; wlien shall want, when we trust him, he will they saw his word justified by his act. God fetch quails from all the coasts of heaven tells them aforehand what he will do, that to our board. O Lord, thy hand is not their expectation might stay their hearts. shortened to give ; let not ours be shortHe doth that which he foretold, that they tened or shut in receiving. might learn to trust him ere he performed. | Elijah's servitors, the ravens, brought him They desired meat, and receive quails : his full service of bread and flesh at once, they desired bread, and have manna. If each morning and evening. But these IsThey had had of the coarsest flesh, and of raelites have their flesh at even, and their the basest pulse, hunger would have made bread in the morning. Good reason there it dainty : but now God will pamper their should be a difference: Elijah's table was famine; and gives them meat of kings, and upon God's direct appointment; the Isbread of angels. What a world of quails raelites' upon their mutiny. Although God were but sufficient to serve six hundred will relieve them with provision, yet lie thousand persons! They were all strong, will punish their impatience with delay; so all hungry; neither could they be satisfied shall they know themselves his people that with single fowls. What a table hath God they shall find they were murmurers. Not prepared in the desert, for abundance, for only in the matter, but in the order, God delicacy! Never prince was so served in answers their grudging: first they complain his greatest pomp, as these rebellious Israel- of the want of flesh-pots, then of bread. ites in the wilderness. God loves to over- In the first place. therefore, they have flesh, deserve of men, and to exceed not only bread after. When they have tesli, yet their sins, but their very desires, in mercy. they must stay a time ere they can have a How good shall we find him to those that full meal, unless they would eat their meat please him, since he is so gracious to of- breadless, and their bread dry. God will fenders! If the most graceless Israelites be be waited on, and will give tlie consumma. sed with quails and manna, O what good- tion of his blessings at his leisure. In the ness is that he hath laid up for them that evening of our life, we have the first pledges love him! As, on the contrary, if the of his favour: but in the morning of our righteous scarce be saved, where will the resurrection, must we look for our perfect sinners appear! O God, thou canst, thou satiety of the true manna, the bread of life. wilt make this difference. Howsoever, with | Now the Israelites sped well with their us men, the most crabbed and stubborn of- quails; they did eat and digest, and prostentimes fare the best; the righteous Judge per: not long after, they have quails with of the world frames his remunerations as lie a vengeance; the meat was pleasant, but the finds us : and if his mercy sometimes pro- sauce was fearful. They let down the quails voke the worst to repentance by his tem- at their mouth, but they came out at their poral favours. yet he ever reserves so much nostrils. How much better had it been to greater reward for the righteous, as eternity have died of hunger, through the chastise. is beyond tiine, and heaven above earth. | ment of God, than of the plague of God,
It was not of any natural instinct, but with the flesh betwixt their teeth! Behold, from the overruling power of their Creator, they perish of the same disease then, whereof that these quails came to the desert. Needs they now recover. The same sin repeated must they come whom God brings. His is death, whose first act found remission. hand is in all the motions of his meanest Relapses are desperate, where the sickness creatures. Not only we, but they, move in itself is not. With us men, once goes away him. As not many quails. so not one spar- with a warning; the second is but whipping; row falls without him. How much more the third is death. It is a mortal thing to are the ac:ions of his best creature, man, abuse the lenity of God. We should be directed by his providence! How ashamed presumptuously mad, to hope that God will might these Israelites have been, to see stand us for a sinning-stock, to provoke these creatures so obedient to their Crea- him how we will. It is more mercy than he tor, as to come and offer themselves to owes us, if he forbear us once; it is his their slaughter; while they went so repi- justice to plague us the second time. We ningly to his service and their own prefer- may thank ourselves, if we will not be ment! Who can distrust the provision of warned. the great Housekeeper of the world, when Their meat was strange, but nothing so he sees how He can furnish his tables at much as their bread. To find quails in a pleasure? Is he grown now careless, or wilderness was unusual ; but for bread to we faithless rather: Why do we not re- come down from heaven was yet more. They had seen quails before, though not in crumb gives life; yet they died many of such number; manna was never seen till them in displeasure. As in natural, so in now. From this day, till their settling in spiritual things, we may not trust to means. Canaan, God wrought a perpetual miracle The carcase of the sacrament cannot give in this food. A miracle in the place: other life, but the soul of it, which is the thing bread rises up from below; this fell down represented. I see each man gather, and from above: neither did it ever rain bread till | take his just measure out of the common now; yet so did this heavenly shower fall, / heap. We must be industrious, and helpful that it is confined to the camp of Israel. A each to other; but, when we have done, miracle in the quantity: that every morning Christ is not partial. If our sanctification should fall enough to fill so many hundred differ, yet our justification is equal in all. thousand mouths and maws. A miracle in | He that gave a homer to each, could have the composition: that it is sweet like honey- | given an ephah. As easily could he have cakes round like corianders, transparent as rained down enough for a month, or a year, dew. A miracle in the quality: that it melted | at once, as for a day. God delights to have by one heat, by another hardened. A mi- us live in a continual dependence upon his racle in the difference of the fall : that (as providence, and each day renew the acts if it knew times, and would teach them as of our faith and thankfulness. But what a well as feed them) it fell double in the even covetous Israelite was that, which, in a fool. of the Sabbath, and on the Sabbath fell ish distrust, would be sparing the charges not. A miracle in the putrefaction and pre- of God, and reserving that for morning, servation : that it was full of worms, when which he should have spent upon his supit was kept beyond the due hour for dis-per! He shall know, that even the bread trust; full of sweetness when it was kept a that came down from heaven can corrupt. day longer for religion ; yea, many ages, in The manna was from above; the worms the ark, for a monument of the power and and stink from his diffidence. Nothing is mercy of the Giver. A miracle in the con- so sovereign, which, being perverted, may tinuance and ceasing : that this shower of not annoy instead of benefiting us. bread followed their camp in all their re- Yet I see some difference between the movals, till they came to taste of the bread true and typical manna: God never meant of Canaan; and then withdrew itself, as if that the shadow and the body should agree it should have said, Ye need no miracles, in all things. The outward manna reserved now ye have means.
was poison; the spiritual manna is to us, They had the types; we have the sub- as it was to the ark, not good, unless it be stance. In this wilderness of the world, kept perpetually. If we keep it, it shall the true manna is rained upon the tents of keep us from putrefaction. The outward our hearts. He that sent the manna, was manna fell not at all on the Sabbath. The the manna which he sent. He hath said, “I spiritual manna, though it baulks no day, yet am the manna that came down from hea- it falls double on God's day; and if we ven." Behold, their whole meals were gather it not then, we famish. In that true sacramental. Every morsel they did eat Sabbath of our glorious rest, we shall for was spiritual. We eat still of their manna: ever feed on that manna which we have still he comes down from heaven. He hath gathered in this, even of our life. substance enough for worlds of souls, yet only is to be found in the lists of the true church; he hath more sweetness than the CONTEMPLATION III. — THE ROCK OF honey and the honeycomb. Happy are
REPHIDIM. we, if we can find him so sweet as he is.
The same hand that rained manna upon BEFORE, Israel thirsted and was satisfied; their tents, could have rained it into their after that, they hungered and were filled; mouths, or laps. God loves we should now they thirst again. They have bread take pains for our spiritual food. Little and meat, but want drink. It is a marvel would it have availed them, that the manna if God do not evermore hold us short of lay about their tents, if they had not gone something, because he would keep us still forth and gathered it, beaten it, baked it. in exercise. We should forget at whose Let salvation be never so plentiful, if we cost we live, if we wanted nothing. Still bring it not home, and make it ours by faith, God observes a vicissitude of evil and good; we are no whit the better. If the work and the same evils that we have passed redone, and means used, had been enough to turn upon us in their courses. Crosses are give life, no Israelite had died. Their bel- not of the nature of those diseases which lies were full of that bread, whereof one they say a man can have but once. Their
first seizure doth but make way for their re- / strikes us. It is fearful to be in the hand entry. None but our last enemy comes of an adversary; but who would not be once for all : and I know not if that; for confident of a father ? Yet, in our frail even in living, we die daily. So must we | humanity, choler may transport a man from take our leaves of all afflictions, that we the remembrance of nature ; but when we reserve a lodging for them, and expect their feel ourselves under the discipline of a wise return
God (that can temper our afflictions to our All Israel murmured when they wanted strength, to our benefit), who would not bread, meat, water; and yet all Israel de- rather murmur at himself that he should parted from the wilderness of Sin to Re- swerve towards impatience? Yet these phidim, at God's command. The very worst sturdy Israelites wilfully murmur, and will men will obey God in something ; none but not have their thirst quenched with faith, the good in all. He is rarely desperate, but with water: “ Give us water." that makes a universal opposition to God. I looked to hear when they would have It is an unsound praise that is given a man entreated Moses to pray for them: but, infor one good action. It may be safely said stead of entreating, they contend ; and, inof the very devils themselves, that they do stead of prayers, I find commands : “ Give something well: they know and believe, us water." If they had gone to God withand tremble. If we follow God and mur-out Moses, I should have praised their mur, it is all one as if we had staid behind. | faith ; but now they go to Moses without
Those distrust his providence in their God, I hate their stubborn faithlessness. necessity, that are ready to follow his gui- | To seek to the second means, with neglect dance in their welfare. It is a harder mat of the first, is the fruit of a false faith. . ter to endure an extreme want, than to The answer of Moses is, like himself, obey a hard commandment. Sufferings are mild and sweet. Why contend ye with greater trials than actions. How many have me? “ Why tempt ye the Lord ?” – in the we seen jeopard their lives, with cheerful first expostulation condemning them of inresolution, which cannot endure in cold justice ; since not he, but the Lord, hath blood to lose a limb with patience ? Be- afflicted them : in the second, of presumpcause God will have his thoroughly tried, tion; that since it was God that tempted he puts them to both; and if we cannot | them by want, they should tempt him by endure both to follow him from Sin and to murmuring. In the one, he would have thirst in Rephidim, we are not sound Is them see their wrong; in the other, their raelites.
danger. As the act came not from him, God led them on purpose to this dry but from God, so he puts it off to God from Rephidim. He could as well have con | himself. “ Why tempt ye the Lord ?" The ducted them to another Elim, to convenient | opposition which is made to the instruwaterings; or He, that gives the waters | ments of God, redounds ever to his person. of all their channels, could as well have He holds himself smitten through the sides derived them to meet Israel: but God of his ministers. So hath God incorpodoth purposely carry them to thirst. It is rated these respects, that our subtilty cannot for necessity that we fare ill, but out | not divide them. of choice. It were all one with God to But what temptation is this ? « Is the Lord give us health, as sickness ; abundance, as among us, or no ?” Infidelity is crafty and poverty. The treasury of his riches hath yet foolish; crafty in her insinuations, foolmore store than his creature can be capable ish in her conceits. They imply, “ If we of. We should not complain, if it were not were sure the Lord were with us, we would good for us to want.
not distrust." They conceive doubts of his This should have been a contentment presence, after such confirmations. What able to quench any thirst: “ God hath led could God do more to make them know us hither.” If Moses, out of ignorance, had him present, unless every moment should misguided us, or we by chance had fallen have renewed miracles? The plagues of up in these dry deserts, though this were | Egypt and the division of the sea were so no remedy of our grief, yet it might be some famous, that the very inns of Jericho rang ground of our complaint. But now the of them. Their waters were lately sweet. counsel of so wise and merciful a God hath ened ; the quails were yet in their teeth; drawn into this want ; and shall not he as the manna was yet in their eye; yea, they easily find the way out?“ It is the Lord, saw God in the pillar of the cloud: and vet let him do what he will." There can be they say, “ Is the Lord amongst us?" No no more forcible motive to patience, than argument is enough to an incredulous heart; the acknowledgment of a divine hand that not reason, sense, nor experience. How
much better was that faith of Thomas, that vidence, which knows how to dispose, and
i“ Yet a while longer, and they will stone And how will they know if God be me." Even the leader of God's people amongst them ? as if he could not be with feared death, and sinned not in fearing. them, and they be athirst. Either God | Life is worthy to be dear to all ; especially must humour carnal minds, or be distrusted to him whom public charge hath made If they prosper, though it be with wicked- necessary. Mere fear is not sinful; it is ness, God is with them: if they be thwart- impotence and distrust that accompany it, ed in their own designs, straight, “ Is God which make it evil. How well is that fear with us?" It was the way to put God bestowed, that sends us the more imporfrom them, to distrust and murmur. If he tunately to God! Some men would bave had not been with them, they had not thought of flight: Moses flies to his prayers; lived. If he had been in them, they had and that not for revenge, but for help. Who not mutinied. They can think him absent but Moses would not have said, This twice in their want, and cannot see him absent they have mutinied, and been pardoned ; in their sin; and yet wickedness, not afflic- and now again thou seest, O Lord, how tion, argues him gone: yet then is he most madly they rebel, and how bloodily they present, when he most chastises.
| intend against me! Preserve me, I beseech Who would not have looked, that this thee, and plague them. I hear none of answer of Moses should have appeased this; but, imitating the long suffering of their fury? As what can still him, that his God, he seeks to God for them, which will not be quiet to think he hath God for sought to kill him for the quarrel of God. his adversary? But, as if they would wil. Neither is God sooner sought than found. fully war against heaven, they proceed ; | All Israel might see Moses go towards the yet with no less craft than violence, bend- rock: none but the elders might see him ing their exception to one part of the an-strike it. Their unbelief made them un. swer, and smoothly omitting what they worthy of this privilege. It is no small could not except against. They will not favour of God to make us witnesses of his hear of tempting God; they maintain their great works : that he crucifies bis Son bestrife with Moses, both with words and fore us, that he fetches the water of life stones. How malicious, how heady is im- out of the true rock in our sight, is a high patience! The act was God's; they cast prerogative: if his rigour would have taken it upon Moses : “ Wherefore hast thou | it, our infidelity had equally excluded us, brought us?" The act of God was merci- whom now his mercy hath received. ful: they make it cruel ; “ To kill us and Moses must take his rod: God could our children;" as if God and Moses meant have done it by his will, without a word, nothing but their ruin, who intended no. or by his word, without the rod; but he thing but their life and liberty. Foolish will do by means, that which he can as men! what needed this journey to death ? easily do without. There was no virtue in Were they not as obnoxious to God in the rod, none in the stroke ; but all in the Egypt ? Could not God by Moses as command of God. Means must be used, easily have killed them in Egypt, or in the and yet their efficacy must be expected out sea, as their enemies ? Impatience is full of themselves. of misconstruction. If it be possible to It doth not suffice God to name the rod, find out any gloss, to corrupt the text of without a description: “ Whereby thou God's actions, they shall be sure not to smotest the river.” Wherefore but to escape untainted.
strengthen the faith of Moses, that he It was no use expostulating with an un- might well expect this wonder, from that reasonable multitude. Moses runs straight which he had tried to be miraculous. How to him that was able at once to quench could he but firmly believe, that the same their thirst and their fury ; “ What shall I means which turned the waters into blood, do to this people?" It is the best way to and turned the sea into a wall, could as trust God with his own causes. When men well turn the stone into water? Nothing will be intermeddling with his affairs, they more raises up the heart in present affance, undo themselves in vain. We shall find than the recognition of favours, or wondifficulties in all great enterprises : if weders passed. Behold, the same rod that be sure we have begun them from God, we brought plagues to the Egyptians, brings may securely cast all events upon his pro- | deliverances to Israel. By the same means
can God save and condemn; like as the choice of the times of evil, and withholds same sword defends and kills.
that one while, which he sends another, not That power which turned the wings of without a just reason why lie sends and the quails to the wilderness, turned the withholds it : and though to us they come course of the water through the rock.ever, as we think, unseasonably, and at He might, if he had pleased, have caused | some times more unfitly than others, yet He a spring to well out of the plain earth; but that sends them knows their opportunities. he will now fetch it out of the stone, to Who would not have thought a worse convince and shame their infidelity.
time could never have been picked for IsWhat is more hard and dry than the rael's war than now? In the feebleness rock? what more moist and supple than of their troops, when they were wearied, water? That they may be ashamed to think thirsty, unweaponed; yet now must the they distrusted, lest God could bring them Amalekites do that which before the Phiwater out of the clouds or springs, the very listines might not do. We are not worthy, rock shall yield it.
not able to choose for ourselves And now, unless their hearts had been To be sick, and die in the strength of more rocky than this stone, they could not youth, in the minority of children; to be but have resolved them into tears for this pinched with poverty, or miscarriage of diffidence.
children in our age,-how harshly unseaI wonder to see these Israelites fed with sonable it seems! But the infinite wisdom sacraments: their bread was sacramental, that orders our events, knows how to order whereof they communicated every day. our times. Unless we will be shameless Lest any man should complain of frequenca, unbelievers, O Lord, we must trust thee the Israelites received daily; and now their with ourselves and our seasons, and know, drink was sacramental, that the ancient that not that which we desire, but that church may give no warrant of a dry com- which thou hast appointed, is the fittest munion.
time for our sufferings. Twice, therefore, hath the rock yielded Amalek was Esau's grandchild, and these them water of refreshing; to signify that Israelites the sons of Jacob. The abode the true spiritual Rock yields it always. of Amalek was not so far from Egypt, but The rock that followed them was Christ. they might well hear what became of their Out of thy side, O Saviour, issued that cousins of Israel: and now, doubtless out bloody stream, whereby the thirst of all of envy, watched their opportunity of re. believers is comfortably quenched. Let us venge for their old grudge. Malice is combut thirst (not with repining, but with monly hereditary and runs in the blood, and, faith); this rock of thine shall abundantly as we used to say of runnet, the older it is, flow forth to our souls, and follow us, till the stronger. this water be changed into that new wine, Hence is that foolish hostility which which we shall drink with thee in thy Fa- some men unjustly nourish upon no other ther's kingdom.
grounds than the quarrels of their fore. fathers. To wreak our malice upon pos.
terity, is, at the best, but the humour of CONTEMPLATION IV.—THE FOIL OF AMALER: an Amalekite. OR THE HAND OF MOSES LIFT UP.
How cowardly and how crafty was this
skirmish of Amalek! They do not bid them No sooner is Israel's thirst slacked, than battle in fair terms of war, but without all God hath an Amalekite ready to assault noise of warning, come stealing upon the them. The Almighty hath choice of rods hindmost, and fall upon the weak and scatto whip us with, and will not be content tered remnants of Israel. with one trial. They would needs be quar- There is no looking for favour at the relling with Moses without a cause; and hands of malice: the worst that either now God sends the Amalekites to quarrel | force or fraud can do, must be expected of with them. It is just with God, that they an adversary; but much more of our spiri. which would be contending with their best tual enemy, by how much his hatred is friends, should have work enough of con- | deeper. Behold, this Amalek lies in amtending with enemies.
bush to hinder our passage unto our land In their passage out of Egypt, God would of promise, and subtilely takes all advanpot lead them the nearest way, by the Phi- tages of our weaknesses. We cannot be listines' land, lest they should repent at wise or safe if we stay behind our colours, the sight of war; now they both see and and strengthen not those parts where is feel it. He knows how to make the fittest most peril of opposition.