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1. That it should be visible to all that knew 3 them, that God had chosen Israel for his peculi
2. That it Thould be as visible, that the God of Israel is the One Supreme God, the Maker and Sovereign Lord of the whole World.
3. That the Worship of the One Supreme Göd should be preserved entire among them ; or that if they did decline to Idolatry, they should be visibly punished for it.
4. That 'the Fame of this people, and of their God, fhould by Degrees be known over all the Earth.
Now not to take notice of the mystical Rea-
I shall begin with the Removal of Facob and
But to understand the wife Design of this, we must remember, that God was to give a visible Demonstration to the World, that he had cho-. fen Israel for his peculiar People and given them the Land of Canaan for their Inheritance ; and it was not so agreeable to this Design, that they should increase insensibly in Canaan, and by Degrees dispoffefs the old 'Inhabitants ; for there had been nothing Singular and Remarkable in this; and therefore they were to be a great Nation, before God so públickly and visibly owned them for his people, and visibly beftowed an Inheritance on them; and it was neceffary they should have some place to increase and multiply in, till God thought fit to transplant them into the Promised Land: For this purpose Go chose the Land of Egypt, and fent Joseph beforehand thither, and advanced him to Pbaraob's Throne, to prepare a Reception for them : And a very quiet and easy Retreat they found there for many Years, till Jofepb was dead, and all the good Offices he had done both for King and People forgot, and the prodigious Increase of Israel made the Kings of Egypt jealous of their Numbers and Power ; and then they began to oppress that people with hard Labour and cruel Bondage, till the Time appointed for their Deliverance was come.
This Oppression of Israel may feem a very severe Providence; bur there were fome very wise Ends it ferved.
1. To make the People willing to leave Egipt, where they suffered such hard Bondage ; for whoever obferves how ready they were upon all Occasions to talk of returning into Egipt, how they longed after the Onions, and Garlick, and Fle -Ppts of Egypt, notwithftanding all
the Hardships they fuffer'd there, will be apt to think, that had they enjoyed Ease and Profperity, all the Miracles which Mofes wrought would no more have persuaded Ifrael to have left Egypt, than they could perfuade Pharaob to let them go.
2dly, The Advantage Pharaob made of the Service of Israel, made him obftinately resolve not to part with them; and his cruel Oppreffion made it very just for God to punish him, and all Egypt with him, and this occafioned all those Signs and Wonders which God wrought in Egypt by the Hands of Moses, whereby he visibly owned Israel for his people, and made his own Power and Glory known.
zdly, The great Proneness of Israel to Idola. try, even when God had delivered them out of Egypt, is too plain a Proof that they had learnt the Egyptian Idolatries while they lived there ; the Golden Calf being, as some learned Men, not without Reafon, conclude, an Imitation of the Egyptian Apis: And this made it very juft for God to punish their Egyptian Idolatry with an Egyptian Bondage ; especially considera ing, that this was the most likely Way to give check to their Idolatry, and to make them hate the Egyptian Gods like their Egyptian Task-Mafters, and to remember the God of their Fathers, and his Promise and Covenant to bestow the Land of Canaan on them.
Athly, The Oppression of Israel in Egypt was an effe&ual Means to keep them a diftina and separate People. This was absolutely necessary, when God had chosen them for his peculiar People, that they should be preserved from incorporating with any other People ; and this God took early Care of, by placing them by
themselves in the Land of Goshen ; where they grew up into a distine Body from Egypt, which
made Pharaob so jealous of them, when 1. Exod. they began to multiply ; and that made
him oppress them, and that Oppresfion preserved the Distinction, which a kind. and friendly Usage might in Time have destroyed ; for it is rarely seen that two People can live amicably together in the fame Countrey, and under the same Prince, without mingling and incorporating with each other, till they forget all Diftinaion between Nations and Families.
: These are wise Reasons why God suffered the hard Bondage of Israel in Egypt ; and those. mighty Signs and Wonders which God wrought in Egypt, were the most effe&ual Means both to convince the Israelites of God's peculiar Care of them, and to convince the World, that ifrael was God's peculiar People, and that the God of Israel was the Supreme Lord and Governor of the World. This Account God himself gives of it, 6. Exod 6, 7, 8. Wherefore say un. to the Children of Israel, I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under tbe Burtbens of the Egyptians. And I will take you to me for a People, and I will be to you a God: And ye shall know that I am the Lord your God, which bringeth you out from sender the Burtbens of the Egyptians. And as for the Egyptians, God tells Moses, I will barden Pbao. raob's
's Heart, and multiply my Signs and my Wonders in the Land of Egypt. But Pbaraob shall not bearken
nto you, that I may lay my land upon Egypt, and bring forth mise Armies, and my People the Children of Israel, out of the Land of Egypt by great Judgments.' And the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I stretch forth my Hand ropor Egypt, and
bring out the Children of Israel from among them, 7. Exod. 3, 4, 5.
This is the first Time we read of such Signs and Wonders as these ; and probably they are the first Miracles of this Nature that ever were wrought ; and it becomes us to contemplate the Wisdom of Providence in it ; for the Wisdom of Miracles, and the Surprize and Wonder of them, are two very different Things. - Miracles offer Violence to the Order of Nature, and would be no Commendation of the Wisdom of Providence, should we consider them as Causes, not as Signs : It would be a Reproach to the Wisdom of Providence to say,that God wrought all those Miracles in Egypt, because he could not have punished the Egyptians, nor have delivered Israel without them; for it would argue
a great Defect in the ordinary Methods of Govern. ment, if God could not at any time fave Good Men, and punish and destroy the Wicked without a Miracle. God can do whatever he pleases, by the wise Direction and Government of Natural and Moral Causes ; and therefore does not work Miracles, because he needs them to supply the Defe&s of Natural Powers ; but to bear Testimony to his own Being and Providence, and to give Authority to his Ministers and Prophets : And we must learn the Wisdom of this, from the State and Condition of the World at that Time.
Mankind at that time were so far from being Atheists, that they would worship any Thing, the meanest and most contemptible Creatures, rather than have no God; and they were so sensible how much they stood in need of a Divine Providence, chat One God would not serve them, but they wanted as many Gods,