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Moses's speech. He had just before left a court where he was a favourite; and, in such a place, and under such circumstances, he was not likely to speak in a very humble manner. Alarmed to find that the earth had not covered the slain, and still more terrified to understand that Pharaoh sought his life, he fled from his countrymen and from Egypt; and sojourned in the land of Midian, on the borders of the wilderness. It is probable that the father and mother of Moses were now dead; and also the princess who had brought him up; for we hear no more of them.

He was now reduced, at once, from affluence to want. Banished from a court, where he had spent the best of his days; from the land of his birth; and from his countrymen whom he loved and pitied, but who did not yet acknowledge him; labouring under the imputation of an awful crime, and conscious to himself of, at least, some guilt; we may, in a measure, conjecture his feelings. The heart bleeds for him, suffering under the pain of a wounded reputation, as he sat him down by a well. There was no apparent way, in which he could be saved from perishing; when a singular and romantic circumstance introduced him to new connections and to new pursuits. The priest of Midian had seven daughters, and they, as usual, tended his flocks. As Moses sat upon the well, it happened that they came to water their flocks; and were rudely repulsed by some unceremonious shepherds. Moses gallantly interposed, and watered their flock. Having returned home sooner than usual, the father of the shepherdesses inquired, "How is it that you are come so soon to-day?" and they narrated the civility of the stranger. Scripture history is very brief in relating events of the greatest importance to those concerned. In one place, it tells

us, in two expressions, events of no common kind to those concerned-"So Zimri died, and Omri reigned." We are not here told more of the particulars than that Moses was introduced into the family, and was beloved by them. He lived with them, and loved them. His affection increased with his acquaintance; and, in the end, he married Zipporah, one of the daughters; who bore him two sons, according to Stephen's account; though the birth of only one of them is mentioned in the book of Exodus.

For the space of forty years Moses resided in the land of Midian, and was a stranger to his own people. At what period of this time he was united to Zipporah, Scripture history does not inform us. It is equally silent about any thing which befell him during the whole of that time. We have every reason to believe that he increased in piety to God and benevolence to man. It is a remarkable circumstance, in the conduct of divine providence, that men, who are designed to fill distinguished stations in the church of God, should oftentimes be fitted for them by undergoing much of the discipline of sanctified affliction. Such was the case with Moses. The occupation which he now followed left him much time for reflection. No doubt the condition of his countrymen was the frequent subject of his thoughts, and of his prayers. However comfortable he might be himself, he could not forget the closeness of those ties which united him to his brethren; nor the misery which they endured. Sometimes he would be ready to think that God had forgotten to be gracious; that his mercies were clean gone for ever; and that he remembered no more the covenant which he had made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. During this period of his life, he, doubtless, greatly improved in that

quality of mind for which he was famed above all the men on the face of the earth; and was daily becoming better prepared for the discharge of the duties to which he was afterward to be called.

We are come nearly to the close of his private life; and, really, the circumstances which are noticed of him are so few that it is somewhat difficult to determine his character. One thing, however, is truly observable in him throughout; namely, his generous sympathy with the distressed. He could not be happy in the midst of the greatest court then on earth, (for Egypt was the cradle of the arts and sciences long before Greece rose into notice,) when he remembered the state of his brethren. He was not, as some, forgetful of his unhappy kinsmen. With a spirit the very opposite of Haman's, he said, in reviewing his fortunate condition, and beholding his flattering prospects, "Yet all this availeth me nothing, so long as I see Israel in bonds." But the day of their redemption was drawing nigh. The number of their appointed years of servitude was filled up. They were worn down with hard labour; so that their cry came up to God for deliverance, by whomsoever he pleased to send. They were, at length, willing to encounter any dangers, to suffer any privations, so that they might but escape the yoke of the Egyptians. They were even disposed to receive him, whom they had previously rejected, as their divinely appointed deliverer; nor had their ingratitude to him extinguished his love to them.


"Come now, therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt,” Exod. iii, 10.

WE now enter upon the political character of Moses; and proceed to contemplate him as the chosen deliverer of Israel. On one occasion, while he was still the shepherd of Jethro, he went to a remote part of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb. Journeying along, in pensive meditation, his attention was suddenly arrested. He saw a bush enveloped in flame. It was a fire, such as he had never seen before; for though the bush seemed ignited, it was not consumed. When he turned aside, to his utter astonishment, he heard himself called by name, in the lone desert; and the sound evidently issued from the wondrous flame. He immediately answered, "Here am I." And the voice said, "Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet; for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground." I may here remark, that in many parts of the east, putting off the sandals is a mark of respect, as the uncovering of the head is with us. Perhaps it was so then. Moses hastened to obey. An awful silence ensued; during which the flame continued to rise from the sacred spot. Again he heard the voice exclaiming, "I am the God of thy Father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob." And then the gracious assurances of God's love to Israel are announced, that he had seen their afflictions, and purposed to lead them forth into

the promised land. And then follow the words of the text, "Come now, therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt."

Moses was a most ardent and noble patriot; but, nevertheless, the undertaking seemed so great and arduous that he deemed himself wholly unfit for it. He was, however, assured that he should be supported by the Divine Being who had appeared to him; and that God would, in a remarkable manner, appear to him on that mountain. His fears were silenced, as it respected Pharaoh; but he still apprehended that his brethren would not receive him as their guide; and he knew not how to convince them of his divine vocation. The Lord then, compassionately, revealed his name. He said, "I am that I am," an expression of very large signification. It is as if he had said, "I am the self-existent Being, and the author of existence. I will be what I will be;" thus, in effect, reminding him that the God who sent him was fully able to give success to his mission. In confirmation of his message, he was directed to announce that God remembered his covenant with the children of Abraham; that he had witnessed their oppressions, and was about to terminate them; that Pharaoh would oppose their departure; but that Israel should prevail and leave Egypt, loaded with spoil. Still Moses apprehended (perhaps not without reason) that his brethren would not recognise his authority. Accordingly a power was committed to him which, as far as we know, no mortal had before possessed; namely, that of working miracles. The rod or staff, which he had in his hand, he was enabled to change into a serpent; and again into a rod. And, what was more remarkable still, on putting his hand

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