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“ The Egyptians made the children of Ifrael serve with rigour; and they made their lives bitter with hard bondage, in mortar and brick.” Mocking and misinterpreting the very proper desire of the Ifraelites to go and worship their God was another instance of tyranny. “Who is the Lord ?” said Pharaoh, when Moses and Aaron asked permission for the people to keep a feast to the Lord. " Who is the Lord, that I should obey his voice to let Israel go? I know not the Lord, neither will I let Israel go.” “Ye are idle, ye are idle,” the king replied, when they craved permission to go and do sacrifice.
But while all this was going on, it was not unnoticed or unheeded by Ifrael's God. They cried unto the Lord in their trouble, and He delivered them out of their distresses. He regarded their affliction when He heard their cry.
Then, by the
power of Jehovah, was the mighty and wondrous deliverance of Israel from Egypt accomplished ; and may we not, brethren, in contemplating this history, thank God that our lot has not been cast under fo arbitrary a rule, that our hands are not unwillingly forced by the sway of a despot, or our shoulders weighed down by the infliction of a haughty God-defying tyrant ? Many, however, think, or pretend, that ours is a land of bondage. Let them go into other places, where even to possess or read the Bible is a crime worthy of prison, and the impression is removed. Liberty we have, but not license. Liberty to do everything, except what is wrong. False ideas of liberty—born abroad and foftered here sometimes-lead bad men to think it consists in the privilege and power of doing every abomination. Such liberty as that ends in the straitness of fieges, the
government of muskets, or, still worse, the lawlessness of sanguinary assassins, and the galling yoke of ignorant and cruel upstarts.
How is it with us in regard to the worship of the Lord our God? No Pharaoh forbids us go : our own vine and fig-treeemblems of peace and quiet—afford us safe protection. We worship God in His holy temples, no man daring to make us afraid ; and this liberty which we use ourfelves is allowed to all others. We serve the Lord in the way many call heresy; we know it to be the old paths of truth and gospel light. Others seek to serve God in
Happy in a consciousness of our own safety, we judge not them. We bring no railing accusation against others — would God they did not so against us; our worst wish to them is, that they belonged
We would not by violence extirpate them—would that they abstained from
clamoring about rooting up that reformed branch of the universal Church which God's providence has allowed to be established in these realms!
We believe, however, and trust, and hope for the good of our nation, that the wide-spreading and fruit-bearing tree of England's Church, being purged as we would wish to see it of all dead boughs, and pruned of wild extravagant shoots, may yet, by the enriching dews of God's blessing, bring forth still more and more fruit to His glory, and, by leading more and more loft sinners to the all-fufficient Saviour, gather multitudes for whom Christ died into the safe-keeping of the Lord's garner.
Having regarded the passage before us in its literal application to the Hebrew people, we turn from that, and from the incidental remarks which have arisen as we
proceeded, to consider the spiritual instruction which the bondage of the Israelites is capable of, and is intended to afford us who are, as we trust, children of Abraham by faith.
Let us note the contrast between the benevolent ordinances of our Heavenly Father and God, and the harsh commands of tyrants. Pharaoh makes his ferfs toil without remission or rest—they are goaded on—forced to produce their tale of bricks, even though materials are denied. But Almighty God is ever considerate of the infirmity of His creatures ; “He knoweth our frame, and he remembereth that we are but dust,” and although He has ordained labour to be the lot of man, in pity to our sinking frames He has set aside one day in seven for cessation from toil, and for sending the thoughts from this world's doings to heavenly things. He has marked