Scope and Divisions of Exodus.

Its Scope Literally. — In Exodus, in its literal significance, we have the redemption of Israel out of Egypt and the establishment of their relationship with Jehovah their Redeemer. But the redemption being not as yet spiritual and eternal, but only the type of this, the relationship is only as yet by legal covenant, always the contrast with the grace wherein now we stand. Yet the law contains in itself also the testimony to the full salvation which lies beyond, and to which it is the handmaid.

Its Scope Typically. — Typically, therefore, Exodus speaks to us of our redemption, and of our relationship to God through the Redeemer, corresponding essentially to the two divisions of the book.

The Two Divisions are —
1. (Ex. 1 — 18.) Power acting in grace, according to the promise to the fathers, and to the name "Jehovah," the Self-Existent One.

2. (Ex. 19 — 40.) The Legal Covenant, with its types of the fuller salvation, and throughout typical of our relationship to God by the Redeemer.


At first sight, the two divisions of the book seem discordant, or at least in slender connection with one another. In fact, nothing could be more in agreement than they are, or more needful to bring out the meaning of the whole. For redemption is not complete in mere deliverance from the power of the enemy, but is a testimony to what is in the heart of the deliverer, — to a relationship to which His love has destined us, and set us free. We are redeemed to God; and in no other way could the deliverance be effectual. The yoke of a new Master alone can maintain us in freedom from the old tyranny. Independent we cannot be, and only the delirium of pride and ingratitude could seek it.

In the literal application, however, the two divisions are indeed very different in character, and we feel the change the moment Mount Sinai is reached and the people have taken upon themselves to keep a law impracticable to fallen man. And yet even the giving of the law is based upon redemption. "Ye have seen," saith the Lord, "what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles' wings, and brought you to Myself: now, therefore, if ye will obey My voice indeed, and keep My covenant, ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto Me above all people." And so in the commencement of the "ten words" themselves: — "I am Jehovah thy God, who brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage." The law is thus not addressed to all the world on the ground of creation, for man is a fallen being, and the only basis on which God can deal with him, save in judgment, is some new relationship, which must be of grace. Redemption is necessarily of grace; although here as yet it is of a nation only, not involving individual soul-salvation or eternal life. Of these it is the type, but the type only.

Here, then, also the second division of the book depends upon the first; while it is evident that the typical or spiritual application alone gives it its proper significance. The history, as in Genesis, is prophecy as much as history: it is history written as no uninspired chronicler could write it; and we may read it with confidence that we shall find in it throughout the lessons of a wisdom more than man's.

The four subdivisions of the first part are too plain to call for any particular remark. The first of these shows redemption to proceed from the sovereign grace of God alone; the second gives witness of the separation of the world from God, and the results of this, with the separation, therefore, of His people from the world; the third shows the full accomplishment of their deliverance; and the fourth, how His grace still pursues and provides for the objects of it in their after-way.

The first subdivision has, again, three sections; but before entering upon the details of exposition to which this brings us, it will be well to look at the scene of all this first part of the book, — Egypt, — and see how vivid is the picture that it presents to us of the world as fallen from God, — that world to which we naturally belong, and from which we have to be redeemed.

The name for Egypt in Scripture is Mizraim, which means "double straitness," or "double strip," and this describes exactly what Egypt is. It is a little strip of country on each side of the great river which flows through it, and to which alone it owes its existence. For the desert on each side hems it in, blowing in its sands from all directions, over which the river, in its yearly over- flow, deposits its burden of earth and renews the soil. Thus goes on, as in the world at large, a perpetual conflict between life and death. If for one year the river but partially fails, the land is in distress. And such is the world, in which the stream of God's mercies in its uninterrupted flow maintains what would otherwise be impossible existence. Yet although thus dependent, the world sees not, as Egypt sees not, upon what it really depends. In contrast with Canaan, which drinks its water of the rain of heaven, the sources of its river are too far off for practical acknowledgment. It is the river itself that is their all, and they can even impute to themselves what is the gift of God: "My river is mine, and I have made it." (Ezek. 29:3.)

In the pedigree of the nations, Gen. 10, Mizraim is found to be the son of Ham; and in the Psalms, Egypt is called "the land of Ham." (Ps. 105:23, 27.) Chem or Khem, undoubtedly the same word, is the name for Egypt in the hieroglyphical inscriptions. Its meaning is "black," or "sun-burnt" — darkened by the light. And this is what the "natural state," as we call it, really is, — not a darkness which proceeds from the absence of light, but the effect, upon such as man is, of the light itself. The state of the heathen is not, as it is often pictured, that of people in the midst of darkness over which they have no control, groping after a God they cannot find. On the one hand, God has never left Himself without witness; and on the other, "there is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God." The genesis of heathenism is given thus by the apostle, that "when they knew God they glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful, but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened." (Rom. 1:21.)

Mizraim is thus the son of Ham spiritually as well as naturally, and as being thus turned away from God he sinks under the control of circumstances. He does not seem to give his name to the land so much as to derive it from the land, — a name which expresses, as we have seen, the straitness of his condition. How significant is all this! how the word of God penetrates to the heart of things, and lays bare the hidden reality!

Yet this Egypt within its narrow limits was remarkable as the abode of the arts and sciences, the home of civilization. Still people go down there — for you "go down," not "up," to Egypt — to study her wonderful monuments and admire her massive architecture. Egypt built as if she had eternity before her in which to enjoy it. Her buildings were made to outlast by ages the people of a day who builded them. They could not make the people last, yet they did what they could at that: they embalmed their dead, and sent them down to the generations yet to come, solemn preachers of the vanity attaching to all that is human. What a comment upon all her grandeur! Her main literary memorial is a "book of the dead." In her whole condition, death seems stereotyped. The desert, after all, has vanquished the river. The land of science and art is a land of death, and not of life.

This is the stamp of vanity upon a fallen creation. It is more; it is the stamp of divine reprobation. For "in His favor is life:" could He repent and unmake unless we had given Him cause for repentance? Surely He could not. When God is able to rest in His love, as by and by He will, that will necessitate the eternity of the condition of all amid which He can rest. All will then be stamped with eternity, as the seal of His approbation. When He rests in His love, nothing can deprive Him of the object of His love.

The religion of Egypt was very remarkable. They had a religion in which were embalmed the relics of another religion — the dead tradition of a life that had been. "Even Herodotus had learned that, amidst their system of polytheism, the Egyptians of Thebes recognized one supreme God, who had no beginning, and would have no end; and Jamblichus quotes from the old Hermetic books the statement, 'Before all the things that actually exist, and before all beginnings, there is one God, — prior even to the first god and king, remaining unmoved in the singleness of His own Unity.' And now, if like the prophet on his mission to Egypt we ask by what name we shall announce this God, the sacred books of Egypt give the very same answer — an answer which the initiated took with them to the grave, inscribed on a scroll as their confession of faith — 'NUK PU NUK' — 'I am that I am.'" (Phil. Smith: "Ancient History of the East.")

Spite of all this, what was it, in fact, that Egypt every-where worshiped? Emphatically and universally, the creature, and not the Creator. Egypt, which testified of the true God, took up every thing which was His total opposite, and deified a hundred bestial objects, and debased its worshipers thus below the beasts.

Their worship was a deification really, however, — as all heathen worship is, — of their own lusts and passions; and these are what every where naturally control man. The bait in Eden was, "Ye shall be as God;" and man has found that true in an awful way. He is become his own god; as the apostle says of some, even professing Christians, Their "god is their belly." The craving in man's heart for satisfaction not being met in God, lust and care devour him; he worships himself in a way which tends evermore to what is brutalizing and degrading.

Such is man in the flesh; such is the world: and being such, we are led easily to realize what king reigns over it. The king was a very absolute one, and the state of the people an iron bondage: "he that committeth sin is the servant (or slave) of sin," says the Lord; and in the epistle to the Romans, to which we naturally go for the interpretation of the types of redemption, we find sin accordingly as that which tyrannizes over the natural man: "sin hath reigned unto death." And then, when redemption itself is pictured, we find that our "old man is crucified with [Christ], that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve — be slaves to — sin." Here we find what exactly answers to Israel's deliverance at the Red Sea. Pharaoh and his host were cast into the sea.

No doubt Satan is also called "the prince of this world," and many believe this to be what we have here. But the conflict with Satan we find in Ephesians, not in Romans, and typically presented (very differently from this) in the book of Joshua. We shall find, as we go on, what distinguishes the one conflict from the other: it is enough to note here the different place they occupy.

Division 1. (Ex. 1 — 18.)

Power acting in grace, according to the promise to the fathers, and to the name "Jehovah," the Self-Existent One.

Subdivision 1. (Ex. 1 — 4:17.)

Sovereign grace in the call of the deliverer.

Section 1. (Ex. 1.)

The first actings of grace: the hidden hand of overruling power.

Grace in its first actings is here shown to us: the small beginning of a nation in the seventy souls that came into Egypt with Jacob, contrasted with their marvelous and irrepressible increase. Even the bondage into which they come had been already assured them, and what seemed most against them was really the working out of promise for them. The hand of power works in disguise, yet one to faith quite penetrable. It is the same story essentially, whether told of the nation of Israel or of any of the Lord's redeemed.

First, we are reminded how it is the children of Israel are found in Egypt: every man and his household came with Jacob. The natural name of their father is in perfect place here. We do not inherit grace. We came into the land of bondage with our father Adam.

The bondage itself, however, does not begin at once; for conscious bondage is not the expression of our mere natural state. The man in the seventh of Romans is not a mere child of nature. You will not find such an one crying out, "Oh wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me?" That is an expression of felt bondage. There was a time when Egypt pleased us well enough, as there was a time when Egypt pleased Israel well enough. Afterward, we find them remembering with desire the good things they had in Egypt, as the golden calf was an imitation of the worship of Egypt. They had had a flourishing and happy time there, as we know; and it was God who, seeing a need in them they saw not, as He says Himself, "raised up Pharaoh," and thus brought about a state of bondage. Egypt thus became "the smoking furnace" of Abraham's vision (Gen. 15), in which, however, it was really God who thought upon His covenant.

So with us all — the life of God begins in the very ability to feel death; and the light, as at the beginning, shines but on a chaos. Thus are our hearts set yearning after Himself. The famine in the far-off land makes us think upon the bread in a father's house.

Pharaoh's expedient to keep the people down and in bondage should be noted: he uses their own strength against themselves. They build him store-cities, — cities whence he may provision his troops; and these cities are in Goshen, — in the lands allotted to themselves. Thus every where men rivet their own chains. If it is money that a man is after, every dollar he puts into his treasury only sets his heart more upon it. Every thing that the heart prizes here, the more one succeeds in getting it, the more will it attach the heart to itself. "How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!" And this is true, in principle, of Christians also. If we allow our hearts to go out after the world in any shape, the more we gain of it, the more its weight will drag us down to earth.

Section 2. (Ex. 2.)

The humiliation and rejection of the deliverer.

We now are introduced to the deliverer, raised up of God to fulfill His gracious purposes as to the people of His choice. That he is of Levi, third son of Israel, has a significance which we shall find dwelt on afterward. It speaks of the Mediator, "joined" to God and to the people, as Christ in His own person joins them — Son of God and Son of man. It speaks also of resurrection, typically fulfilled in Moses delivered up to death and brought out of it. The overruling hand of God is seen in his preservation, the power of the world serving one whom it knows not, and who is not of it, whom when revealed in his true character it rejects. Moses is still in all this a type of Christ.

But he is rejected also by the people of his choice — the brethren for whom he humbles himself. There was a true desire for them, and presentiment in his mind that God had chosen him to be their deliverer; but they do not recognize him as such. No doubt there was failure on Moses' part, and a work needed to be done in him as well as in them, before he could be to them really what his heart desired. But none the less distinctly did they reject one whose love, at all cost to itself, would be their servant. "Who made thee a ruler and a judge over us?" is the answer of unbelief, and Moses flees into Midian at that saying. It is as rejected by His brethren, it hardly needs to say, that we have to do with the Lord Jesus now.

We find him, then, in Midian; and soon with a Gentile bride, to whom also he has been, first of all, a deliverer. But his son's name tells us that he has yet found no real home. He names him "Gershom," "a stranger there;" for he says, "I have been a sojourner in a foreign land." Beautifully in the son is expressed the thought of the father's heart, as our character and position in the world is to reflect and manifest the thoughts of His heart to whom in endeared relationship we belong.

But the days of Israel's bondage are coming to an end. God has heard their groaning, and it is to be seen that He remembers His covenant with their fathers — that in which He is Himself revealed. The next section brings us to this revelation.

Section 3. (Ex. 3 — 4:17.)

God's revelation of Himself.

The glory of the gospel is that God is revealed in it. He is making known for all eternity, and to all His creatures, "the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness to us in Christ Jesus." (Eph. 2:7.) For us also "all things that pertain to life and godliness are given in the knowledge of Him who hath called us." (2 Peter 1:3.) We had lost such knowledge as we had, or as creation would have afforded us. Now both we and principalities and powers in heavenly places are to learn what puts into our mouths a "new song." In the section now before us, God, in calling Moses to the work for which He has been preparing him, reveals to him Himself.

1. The shepherd is the fitting type of the divine Deliverer and King. So, afterward, God "chose David His servant, and took him from the sheepfolds; from following the ewes great with young He brought him, to feed Jacob His people and Israel His inheritance." (Ps. 78:70, 71.) So the beautiful expression in the second chapter of the gospel of Matthew, which speaks of Christ as the Governor who shall "rule" God's people Israel, is literally "shall be a Shepherd" to them. This is God's thought. Thus He trains up Moses, after all that he had learned in the palace in Egypt, forty years in the desert in simple shepherd work, until he is fit for the power to be entrusted to him — the meekest man on earth (Num. 12:3). And such is the Shepherd God has appointed us (Matt. 11:29).

We find, then, Moses, in the course of his service, now at Horeb, the mount of God. Here the angel of Jehovah appears to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush. And the bush burns with fire, yet is not consumed. There from the bush the Lord addresses him, and, as the angel of the bush, gives him, his commission.

God had before, and in reference to this very captivity in Egypt, revealed Himself under the similitude of fire. The "smoking furnace" had been His symbol when in covenanting with Abraham He passed between the pieces of the sacrifice. It is to the deep sleep which overpowers him there, and the horror of great darkness which falls upon him, that the vision which follows addresses itself. The smoking furnace and the burning lamp are what the deep sleep and the darkness respectively demand; and these the sacrifice secures and the faithfulness of God supplies to His people. If the activity and vigilance of faith fail, the furnace will not fail as the appointed means of purification; while for the darkness the burning lamp is equally provided.

Thus the fiery trial which was trying them in Egypt was in reality God's remembrance of His covenant with Abraham; and if we look at this thorn-bush, for such it is, it is a very striking picture of the people. The thorns and briars are a figure of those "sons of Belial" of whom David speaks as to be "all of them as thorns thrust away, because they cannot be taken with hands." Thorns were a sign of the curse at the beginning; and are, in fact, abortive leaves or branches, easily read as this, — parts of a plant incapable of fulfilling their original purpose. Sinners are thus, in this symbol, naturally connected with the curse upon sin. But the thorn-bush here is not consumed, for the angel of Jehovah, the covenant-God, is in the fire. The tribulation is the means ordained of God in grace to work repentance; and so the grace that takes us up ordains for us all necessary discipline.

The wonder attracts Moses, and he turns aside to see. This is the first design of a miracle — to force men, by the mystery in it, to attention. And those who draw nigh with unshod feet, as Moses did, find in it a "sign" — a thing significant of divine "power" working in man's behalf. These are the three Scripture terms for miracles: "wonders," "signs," "powers." How many of these offer themselves still in nature and in Scripture, and in what we call "providence," to engage our interest, if we have but hearts to ponder them! For the Scripture miracles have thus still their evidences, and are proofs still of what they are attached to, — not burdens upon the evidence, as men say.

Here, then, out of this bush God declares Himself to Moses, and to us, the triune God of revelation, God of his fathers, — the self-same God all through.

2. This God is to be known as the God of salvation, for only thus can He be the object of love or worship (John 4:22). And for this, it is not enough that He speak the word from heaven: He must "come down to deliver;" words which necessarily carry us on beyond the pillar of cloud in which His presence was manifested then to Israel, to the incarnation and the cross. In this "coming down" of God all the sweetness and power of salvation are. God is declared in it, and the manifestation abides for us in the perpetual humanity of the Lord Jesus. "Christ come in flesh" is thus the test, with the apostle, of the utterance of the Spirit of God. (1 John 4:2, 3.)

Salvation by such an one must be a complete salvation; and it is not complete until the land of promise is their own. Six nations are specified here as to be overthrown, — the full power of evil, and the land is a good land and a large, flowing with milk and honey. It is not a land of straitness, as Egypt is, — and heaven is not conditioned by the needs and struggles of earth. The "river" is not at strife with the desert there. There is all "fatness," which the word for milk literally means, and all sweetness, as the honey implies. Salvation for us must issue in satisfaction, or it is not salvation. Our Canaan, as we shall later learn, is to be entered upon now by faith.

Moses objects his personal unfitness, but this only brings the assurance that God is with him, so that self-distrust need not be discouragement. Nay, the more complete it is, the more will God's all-sufficiency be realized. He is solemnly assured, for his encouragement, that the people brought forth by him shall serve God upon that mount; and this is what is the fruit of salvation, and the sign of who hath wrought in it, that it thus brings back to Him in obedience the former slaves of sin.

3. And now we come to what is of the deepest importance — the name of God according to which He takes up, and can alone take up, the people. The question as to this is clearly not of His historical name simply. Names have in the present day so little significance, — stand so much as mere algebraical symbols for unknown quantities, — that we have need to be reminded of the different manner in which Scripture uses them, and indeed in which people of old regarded them. In Scripture, all names appear to have — often a prophetic — significance, of which those who gave them were in general profoundly unconscious, while guided thus by a wisdom quite beyond their own. The names of God especially express what He is Himself, — are a revelation of His attributes; and the question Moses puts in the mouth of the people, "What is His name?" implies, "In what way are we to interpret His present actings? What do they mean? Why is it that He does this?" The answer, therefore, must answer questions such as these, and it should be evident that this will not be given best by God declaring Himself under some new name, but rather by flashing some new significance out of an old one. Thus His present acts will be made only to bring out in fresh glory attributes that were but dimly seen before, and He will be seen to be consistent with Himself all through, while yet more and more revealing Himself.

Thus the difficulty is cleared up where God says afterwards, speaking of the patriarchs, "By My name," or "According to My name 'Jehovah' was I not known unto them." This is not in the least a denial of the fact that even before the flood "men began to call on the name of Jehovah," or that Abraham also built his altars to Jehovah, and called upon His name. It means, rather, that the significance of that name had not yet been properly told out. Now it was to be. Israel's deliverance was to illustrate Jehovah's name so as to make it His memorial name for all generations; and in it Israel should find their abiding ground of confidence.*

{*What, then, is this name, "Jehovah?" Almost the whole consensus of commentators agree, and I see no possible ground of dissent from it, that it means "He who is." Thus the connection with "I am," which the Lord's words to Moses naturally imply, is clear at once; and in the version I have ventured to give, though with few among moderns perhaps to agree with me, it is equally clear with the first title He takes but a few words before it. Here most read, indeed, with the common English version, "I am that I am." The Septuagint, however, gives Ego eimi ho on," I am He who is," and my own version is substantially the same, though more literal, ― "I am I who am." I must say a few words in justification of this rendering.

The common version makes an apparent disjunction of thought between "I am that I am" and the "I am" that follows it. Although this does not seem in general to be conceded, yet they are surely not the same. "I am" speaks of God as the Living and Unchanging God; "I am that I am" speaks rather of, or implies the Inscrutable One, whose vail cannot be lifted. These thoughts are in no wise the same; nor do they seem connected. "I am that I am" appears rather a rebuke to the question, "What is His name?" than an answer to it. Yet the answer is given immediately in the "I am" that follows.

 The first "I am" does not seem part of the name, any more than it would be if it were said, "I am Jehovah;" and this would be, if we judge by the connection, its real equivalent. It is exactly the Septuagint "I am He who Is," and the rendering "I am I who am," while strictly literal, brings all into harmony.}

"I am" is the Living, Unchanging, Self-existent One, necessarily independent of all others. As such, He acts from Himself in necessary independence also; and here is the ground of redemption, God acting from Himself, and, therefore, according to what He is Himself. God is showing forth Himself, showing forth the riches of His grace in His kindness toward us, glorifying Himself, letting the light of His glory shine. Is it not worthy of Him? We reason from ourselves to God, and can make nothing of it. We are sinners, and can merit nothing: why should not He punish, how can He do aught but punish, sin? How blessed, then, to hear Him say, "I, even I, am He who blotteth out thy transgressions for Mine own sake." (Isa. 43:25.) Who can deny His right in this, if He chooses to do it, and declares that He has done it?

Jehovah, then, is the living, unchangeable God, acting from Himself, finding in Himself the argument for what He does. How suitable a name for the God of redemption ― the covenant-name!

And this is closely connected with what He at the same time declares Himself to be ― the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob; for as this He fulfils an absolute promise which He had given, and by which He stood pledged, apart from all question of what they were. He was thus plainly acting from Himself, and for His own sake. But this is not all: in connecting Himself with these three men He was surely telling out Himself in a peculiar way. Why just these three? To us now it should be plain at least. Who can read the twenty-second of Genesis without finding in the offerer and the offered there another Father than Abraham, another Son than Isaac? Again too in the epistle to the Galatians, Isaac, the child of the free-woman, is shown to typify those who have now received the adoption ― the free-born sons of God, and Abraham here again is the shadow of Him who is our God and Father. The God of Jacob once more declares the divine power which takes up the most intractable material to fashion it into a vessel for the Master's use: and this is the office of the Holy Ghost. Thus Father, Son, and Spirit are really in some true sense shown in the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob; and these are but Jehovah, the God of redemption, fully manifested. How clearly can we understand Him, then, when He says, "This is My name forever; and this is My memorial to all generations."

Here, then, is the ground of redemption ― that upon which a soul can surely rest, revealed in God's covenant-name. He is the Self-existent One, who acts necessarily from Himself and according to His own nature: "all things were created by Him and for Him." (Col. 1:16.) That this is said of Christ shows at once who Christ is, and how truly He is the full expression of the divine mind. God  is revealing Himself, acting for the display of Himself, — the joy and blessing of His creatures. And this is the true thought of His glorifying Himself, not as if glory could be conferred upon Him, or as if He craved or had need of something from His creatures. "Love seeketh not her own "(1 Cor. 13:5), and "God is love." If He seek His own glory, it is to fill as the sun the heavens with His brightness. This is grace, and the theme of His people's praise forever.

4. In the accomplishment of His purpose, the Lord reveals the state of the world, — its opposition to Himself, its false trusts, its pride and feebleness. This is the meaning of all this parleying with Pharaoh, and the measured succession of judgments upon the land. His people needed the lesson, and, given in a manner so public, all who would might learn it. God foretells the result, that they may not be discouraged or disappointed. We may learn before experience, if we will, by the Word of God, all that we are and all the world is. How much would we be spared if we would learn thus!

5. As the result of all this, moreover, the wealth of the world passes into the hands of the people of God. "All things are yours," says the apostle; "whether the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come, — all are yours." (1 Cor. 3:22.) Men out of Christ, as they have right to nothing, so indeed they possess nothing. In the end, it will be found so. "Godliness" it is that "hath promise of the life which now is, and of that which is to come." (1 Tim. 4:8.) They who go as pilgrims out of the world yet carry with them all the good of the world, and the world that would enjoy it must yield it up to them. To him who belongs to the world the world cannot belong.

6. Moses is still unready. He objects the unbelief of the people, and is hindered by his own. The Lord gives him three signs, witnessing of the power at work in behalf of the people — signs which are to witness for him as the deliverer raised up of God for them. They must have faith in the deliverer in order to find the deliverance; and so it is today: faith in Christ Himself is the first and absolutely necessary thing upon which all else depends.

(1.) The sign of the rod comes first. The rod is the sign of power — "the rod of Thy power" (Ps. 110:2) — here, as we know, in the shepherd's hands, who, as we have seen, is the very type of royalty according to God. Even the iron rod with which Christ will smite His enemies is still represented as in a shepherd's hands. In all passages, it reads really, "He shall shepherd them with an iron rod." (Rev. 2:27.) Severely as it may smite, love guides it. Woe indeed to those whom everlasting love has thus to smite!

The rod in Moses' hand is, then, the type of power — divine, and characterized by tenderness and care, as a shepherd's rod. But Moses is told to cast it on the ground; and out of his hand the rod changes its character — it becomes a serpent. Plainly enough the type can be read here. Who that looks round upon the earth with the thought in his mind of power being in the hands of eternal love but must own to strange bewilderment at finding every where what seems so completely to negative the supposition? Scripture itself puts the question in its full strength: "Shall the throne of iniquity have fellowship with Thee, which frameth mischief by a law?" (Ps. 94:20.)

The rod is to all appearance out of the Shepherd's hand, and "the prince of this world" is now not Christ, but Satan. The claim he once made to universal empire, before the Son of God Himself, has but too much truth in it: and so the dragon is pictured in Revelation with the heads and horns of the imperial beast. (Rev. 12:3.)

There is no doubt that there is a special reference to Egypt here, which Moses and the Israelites would readily understand. "The asp played a conspicuous part in Egyptian mythology. It was the emblem of the goddess Ranno, the snake of Neph, the hieroglyphic of 'goddess,' and the sign of royalty. From this last use it was called 'Uraeus,' from ouro, king, and basiliskos, royal. Egypt was, therefore, not obscurely pointed out as the adversary of God and His people at this time." — (Murphy's Exodus.)

But Egypt itself is a type of the world at large, as we have seen; and the meaning, while it includes this, is much broader. Every where, we find the apparent contradiction which sin has wrought. The rod seems not in His hand to whom it belongs, but on the ground, and satanic. But observe the beautiful accuracy of the type, and the comfort prepared for us in it. The rod was cast out of Moses' hand — did not slip out. God has not lost control of the world after all: of His own will, and for purposes of highest wisdom, He has permitted man's self-chosen subjection to demon rule. But if the Lord come in, as in the scene at Gadara, Satan is displaced at once: the victim is delivered without an effort. Alas! this only brings out the real foundation of satanic empire, in man's rejection of the Deliverer. The people pray Him to depart out of their coasts!

"Judgment shall" yet "return unto righteousness" (Ps. 94:15), and Satan be vanquished, and cast out of his usurped dominion. Meanwhile, the rod of power is found on the side of love with Him who is the Deliverer from Satan's tyranny. "He is gone up on high; He has led captivity captive," and having spoiled principalities and powers, made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it." (Ps. 68:18; Col. 2:15.) Here is man's first need met.

(2) The second sign is that of sin and its cleansing; for that is, above all, what marks the condition of man. Leprosy is the Old Testament type of sin in its loathsomeness and malignity, and power to spread. It is shown us in it as no mere accident, or local thing, but a virulent, growing, contagious evil, deeper than the surface, not to be measured by the outward appearance, and absolutely fatal, unless God come in to save. In Moses' case it is strikingly pictured as that which from the heart affects the hand, not from the hand the heart. The clean hand placed in the bosom is drawn out leprous — white as death. "Out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies." Be sure, if the hand be leprous, the heart is not better, but worse: it is the seat of the whole disease. And cleansing must begin accordingly, not with the hand, but with the heart.

So with the type here. Moses' hand thrust into the bosom becomes leprous; thrust into his bosom again, it is restored. Defilement and cleansing both begin at the heart. What has cleansed the heart? No remedial process is seen in this case, but the way to cleansing is very simply shown. For leprosy in the heart is sin hidden, but leprosy on the hand is sin exposed. The hand plucked out of the bosom makes manifest what is there. And "if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:9.) Here, it is leprosy in the hand that is manifested; not the mere confession of sin being in our hearts or in our natures, but of sin actually committed — a very different thing. We can own easily, and without any conscience, that we are all sinners, but it is for the sins actually committed we feel we are responsible before God.

Repentance and remission of sins God has joined together. (Luke 24:47.) Faith owns the righteous judgment of God, according to His Word, and finds remission of sins preached through Christ by the same infallible Word. Forgiveness it is that purifies the heart, faith working by love (Luke 7:47); and thus the blessedness becomes ours of "the man to whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile." (Ps. 32:1.)

(3) The third sign predicts judgment for obstinate unbelief. The stream of life and blessing which is ministered to us here from God becomes wrath and judgment if, after all, His goodness lead not to repentance, — every blessing becoming in the end but judgment if a Saviour's voice be disregarded. Here, that is given as a sign to Israel which is given as a testimony to Pharaoh afterward. God's principles are unchanging, and unbelief, even in a believer, will find its judgment, while, by the same Word, as a believer, he is, as to eternal condemnation, free forever.

Thus, as there is salvation for sin, so on the other hand there must be faith in order to salvation. "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life; and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him." (John 3:36.)

7. But Moses still objects; and evil as is this slowness of heart to respond to the grace of God, that grace nevertheless, still sovereign over it, makes it the occasion of the more perfect display of what is in His heart. Moses cannot yet speak, and God provides now for him one who is to be his mouth-piece to the people. This is Aaron, in God's mind the designed high-priest of Israel, though not yet revealed as that. It is as Moses' "prophet" that he is here announced, — his associate and complement in the great work which God had committed to them. Provision is now completely made.

Taking in, however, what in the purpose of God he was, Aaron as the priest is indeed the complement of Moses, and together they are the double type of Christ. In Him, king and priest are united, — redemption by power and by blood: without the latter, there could not be the former. Priesthood alone can interpret the Deliverer: sacrifice alone account for salvation. This, in its true import, Israel has not yet learned: there, Moses is delayed by his need of Aaron; when they look upon Him, they shall not only see One whom they have pierced, but know why He had to stoop to that unequaled humiliation.

Subdivision 2. (Ex. 4:18 — 11.)

The testimony to Pharaoh, in which a division is made between Israel and the Egyptians. Typically, the testimony to the separation of the world from Him on whom it is dependent, and the separation of His people from the world.

The connection of the two sections here is easily to be seen. God has already revealed to Moses, in that covenant-name which He again brings forward now, the ground upon which He takes them up. On man's part, however, and for man's own sake, there must be the acceptance of this; and this is the true meaning and necessity of repentance. Grace must be known and received as grace. The self-confidence natural to us must be removed, that our confidence may be in God alone. And not only must we realize the weakness of a creature, but the ruin of a fallen condition, that Christ may be God's remedy and revelation to us. We have hitherto been occupied with God's side of all this; now we have the human, the need of God's grace, and the way we are brought to realize it.

We have first, therefore, here, the covenant of promise developed as the only hope of man; and then, in the second section, the cutting off from all other dependence. Egypt is the world, to which naturally we belong, with its resources in itself and its independence of God. The judgments that come upon it from Him are His witnesses of its alienation from Him, and of His separation, and the separation of His people, from it. Practically, this testimony, as it is received, separates; and in this way He acted to wean Israel from the land of their birth but of their bitter servitude, and whose moral condition it revealed to them. Spite of all, we find in the after-history how, when the trials of the wilderness were felt, their hearts could go fondly back to Egypt, as in the golden calf we find also a plain reminiscence of their idolatries. All the more is the need of such dealings as these made manifest.

Section 1. (Ex. 4:18 — 7:7.)

The covenant of promise the basis of redemption.

1. In the first section, then, our eyes are fixed upon the covenant itself, which, as a covenant of promise, depends for its fulfillment entirely upon the power and faithfulness of Jehovah Himself. Yet man is not thereby released from the responsibility which is ever his. Grace enables and provides for the fulfillment of it, never sets it aside. It is the fullest expression of divine sovereignty, not the abdication of it.

(1) At the outset, we see the almighty hand which is at work here. Moses returns to Jethro, to find him at once ready to accede to his desire to see if his brethren in Egypt are yet alive. Then a word from Jehovah Himself assures him of the removal of the difficulties personal to himself in regard to his return to Egypt: all the men are dead that sought his life. This assurance comes at the right time. He has first to face the difficulties, be master of them morally, and then find how He at whose bidding he goes is really master. Then once more he is informed of the stubbornness of Pharaoh's heart, in which and through which God works still as sovereign, the evil serving Him as does the good. In all this, Jehovah shows Himself to be still the almighty God of Abraham.

Israel He claims as His son, His first-born. They owe their place among the nations to His adoption of them. They are born, so to speak, of His covenant with their fathers. They had not worked for this; but as it is said of their father Jacob, so is it with them, — "The children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of Him that calleth." (Rom. 9:11.)

Yet this grace of God to Israel in no wise implies the rejection of other nations, rather the reverse, as the promise to Abraham long before declared, "In thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed." So here, the "first-born" implies other children.

(2) In connection with the covenant with Abraham, the scene in the lodging-place by the way becomes at once and strikingly significant. Circumcision was the sign of this very covenant. (See Gen. 17.) It was the expression of that renunciation of all confidence in the flesh which leaves one to know, with dead Abraham, the power of the Almighty. God insists (as we have seen there) that the token of the covenant shall be in the flesh of all His people; and Moses, like all others, must realize the necessity of this.

(3) Lastly, the people set to their seal: they believe and worship.

2. But not yet are they delivered. On the contrary, the forewarned struggle with Pharaoh is only just beginning. He openly declares that he knows not Jehovah, and that he will not let Israel go. Fresh burdens are laid upon the people, who are refused the straw they have hitherto received for their brick-making, and are bidden gather it for themselves; yet not aught of their task is to be diminished. Unable thus to perform their tasks, and beaten for their nonperformance, the people undergo a complete revulsion of feeling. From their late joy, they pass into a state of murmuring and despair. How often is this the case in the experience of a soul awakening under the gospel to realize the power of sin within him, and his own inability to meet and master it! In this condition, the gospel itself seems but a new torture. The work of Christ being yet unknown, and that we are justified as ungodly — as sinners, not as saints, — the unconquerable hardness of the heart amazes and appalls one. Sin seems to be more than ever master, and our hands busier than ever forging and riveting our own chains. The gospel itself seems to have failed with us. It is only that we ourselves have failed as yet to apprehend the gospel.

3. Once again, then, God makes known to them His name Jehovah, patiently reiterating what He has already said. They were now to know Him by this name. All the opposition, all this obstinate tyranny, was only to destroy absolutely all other dependence than in Himself. This is a necessity, that faith may have its rightful and only object. God, by Himself and acting from Himself, is our salvation. If for the present faith even seems to be gone, this too is needful to make us realize that faith itself is not our dependence, but Christ is. Thus God gives an imperative commandment now to Moses and Aaron to bring the people out of the land of Egypt.

4. And here we are bidden to pause a moment, to see who these are upon whom is laid this burden. Their genealogy is put before us, — plainly, in its meaning as to the history here, theirs alone. The fact that others have place in it does not obscure this, but in reality makes it more apparent. Reuben and Simeon only have a place: those who might seem to have, as the elder sons of Jacob, a claim above Levi to furnish the deliverer of Israel, yet who do not, and who are looked at here only to be passed by. But as God does nothing without the fullest reason for it, so there is reason in this case, not upon the surface, no doubt, but yet to be discovered where there is faith to discern. Certainly, a genealogy at this point should awaken attention. Is it an interruption? Is it a mere bit of archaeology? or what?

First, the sons of Reuben: Reuben we have seen set aside long since from his birthright, and for personal causes. Boiling up as water, impetuous, and unsteady, he should not excel. Here we have not this, but the record of his sons' names only, four in number: Enoch — "dedicated," Pallu — "separated," Hetzron — "enclosed," and Carmi — "vine-dresser." It is evident that these names make a harmonious series numerically significant, and, at first sight, one would say, good throughout. Enoch is the name of one who walked with God, and was taken without seeing death to be with God. It was also, however, the name of a son of Cain, and, as here, a first-born son. It is in general no good argument when thus there seems no sign of the presence of evil, except indeed. outside. Self-righteousness may have its dedication and its separation (Pharisee-like) and its inclosure and its cultivation, — nothing is said of positive fruit and these four sons naturally, in their very number, speak of what is worldly and unspiritual, — a thing quite easily linked with much pretension.

Simeon's sons are six, a still more unfavorable number, as we know. The meaning of their names I do not attempt to interpret, but they end with the ill-omened "Saul," the half Canaanite. Thus Simeon too is set aside.

Levi is the third son, a number which speaks of resurrection — the power of God manifest when on man's part all is gone. His ruin is owned, and in Levi's case we have one who illustrates this: "joined" to Simeon in that display of "cruel" wrath which Jacob denounces, yet taken up now in the sovereign grace of God, working for His glory. Thus also typically this same Levi, "joined," speaks of the mediatorship of Christ, only fully reached in resurrection. The death He has passed through is the confession of the death under which man lay.

With Levi accordingly the genealogy expands, and the Spirit of God lingers over it, recording the number of years of Levi himself, of Kohath, and of Amram, as well as (later on) of Aaron and Moses at the time of Israel's deliverance. Who can doubt that there is much to be found here beside mere history? What we have seen may serve to show at least that the principles of the covenant are maintained all through the history, and that this it is a design of the genealogy to bring out.

5. And again, for the third time, God declares that He is Jehovah, and that Israel, and the Egyptians too, shall know it: the very hardening of Pharaoh's heart, which calls for the judgments soon to sweep over the land, being that which He would use for blessing in this way to any with whom there might be preparedness for it.

Section 2. (Ex. 7:8 — 11.)

The destruction of all fleshly dependence (Egypt) the accompaniment of the word of salvation.

And now the judgments begin, prefaced by a sign, however, in the mercy of God, which is not that, and by which, if possible, conviction might be brought home to the haughty king. It takes its place, therefore, with the rest as part of the divine testimony. Of the plagues themselves, Keil has rightly distinguished the last — the death of the first-born — from all the rest. The announcement of it, indeed, falls in with the others, as he places it, for very evident reasons. The principal one which separates the plague itself is the relation which it bears to Israel and their redemption. It is not only the stroke by which they are freed, and in which God Himself appears, no longer acting through what men call "second causes," but it is that by means of which they themselves for the first time are taught their true condition before God, and take the place in which alone salvation is possible to them. Thus, in the history of redemption, its relation is with that part in which we shall find the actual accomplishment of this. The present section shows only the preparation for it.

As to the nine plagues that remain, Keil has also given reason for believing that "they are arranged in three groups of three plagues each. For the first and second, the fourth and fifth, and the seventh and eighth were announced beforehand by Moses to the king; whilst the third, sixth, and ninth were sent without any such announcement. Again, the first, fourth, and seventh were announced to Pharaoh in the morning, and the first and fourth by the side of the Nile, both of them being in connection with the overflowing of the river. . . . . This grouping is not a mere external arrangement, . . . but is founded on the facts themselves, and the effect which God intended the plagues to produce, as we may gather from these circumstances, that the Egyptian magicians, who had imitated the first plagues, were put to shame with their arts by the third, and were compelled to see in it the finger of God, — that they were smitten themselves by the sixth, and unable to stand before Moses, — and that after the ninth, Pharaoh broke off all further negotiation."

There are other and deeper distinctions, as we shall see; but we may add to these that "in the first three, Aaron uses the rod; in the second three, it is not mentioned; in the third three, Moses uses it, though in the last of them only his hand is mentioned. All these marks of order lie on the face of the narrative, and point to a deeper order of nature and reason out of which they spring." (Murphy.)

The numerical significance accords fully with all this, while it leads us more directly to the deeper reason. Commentators have thus far shown us little of this, while the typical instruction, allowed to be so manifest generally in the book of Exodus, has apparently not been seen at all. Yet it is surely here as elsewhere.

This section falls, then, into four parts, the first of which shows us the world in the light of nature simply, or looked at by itself; the second looks at it as distinguished from the people of God, the division being, as it is really called, a "redemption" of the latter; while in the third, the inflictions are more distinctly from heaven; the fourth contains the warning of that final infliction in which the "chief of all their strength" being smitten, they are effectually humbled in the dust before God. But we must proceed slowly.

1. The numerals show us plainly that we must commence the first group of miracles, with the miracle of the rod itself. The signs, then, stand thus: (1) the rod turned into a serpent; (2) the river turned to blood, — the means of sustaining life turned into a cause of death; (3) the plague of frogs, — the unclean things that come out of the river; (4) the dust becoming lice. Let us look at them in order.

(1) And first, the miracle of the rod.

The rod is the sign of the power conferred upon Moses: hence it is not strange that our attention should first of all be directed to it. The rod turned into a serpent showed the whole power of Egypt delivered into Moses' hand. As here addressed to Pharaoh, it was a challenge of the completest kind; and if imitated by the magicians, the feebleness of the imitation is apparent in Aaron's rod swallowing up their rods. Of course, it was impossible for them really to imitate so stupendous a miracle, in which Jehovah, the God of the Hebrews, was demonstrated as the Creator. All the power of Satan was incompetent to bring into being the smallest creature; and the language here is meant merely to affirm that to outward appearance the thing was done, — by what juggle need not be told.

It is simple enough, if we recognize the evil that is in the world, and that yet God is, — that the evil must be in His hand, must have at least its permission, and therefore its mission also from Him. His hand has made leviathan, and He that made him can make His sword approach unto him. "He maketh the wrath of man to praise Him, and the remainder of wrath He will restrain." This enables us, on the one hand, to see God in every thing; on the other, it reveals where the world is before Him. The evil in it is no accident. The forms of misery apparent every where are the multitudinous witnesses of its condition as away from Him. And this truth of God's indictment of the world is the true Moses' rod, to work the miracle of conviction in the soul. It is by the power of this truth that all the glory of the world passes away, and sin, judgment, and God who judges become reality to the soul.

But here we meet also the power of the enemy to resist conviction in the magicians of Egyptians, — the "wise men," deep in nature's secrets, — the prophets of the god of this world. Their work is in imitation of the power of God, to show, if possible, that this is not His hand from which the judgment comes, — that it is not judgment. They cannot abate the evil; they are powerless to avert the storm that is about to sweep through Egypt: they have no real help — cannot pretend to it, never think of it. They have only their pitiful, agnostic evidence, such as it is, that that which is attributed to God can be produced otherwise, so that there is no need for Him in the matter. Their rods too can become serpents: there are other powers in the universe which can produce evil. Be it so: the power of God is demonstrated in this, that Aaron's rod swallows easily their rods. All other powers need to be accounted for, are dependent, not original, do not conflict in the least with that divine power above all, to which conscience affirms our responsibility, and which alone satisfies the need of the heart. True, the world is then under His judgment, but that only (if sin be a reality, ) confirms the truth into complete conviction.

(2) There has been yet, however, no judgment. The second sign begins these, and there could not be a more notable one. With the Egyptians, "the Nile was in the strictest sense regarded as divine, and was worshiped under a variety of names. As the bountiful Osiris, and under many other divine names, the Nile was the beneficent god of Egypt — the representative of all that was good. Evil had, however, also its god, the deadly enemy of Osiris, — the hated Typhon — the source of all that was cruel, violent, and wicked. With this abhorred being the touch or sight of blood was associated. He himself was represented as blood-red; red oxen, and even red-haired men were sacrificed to him, and blood, as his symbol, rendered all unclean who came near it. To turn the Nile waters into blood was thus to defile the sacred river — to make Typhon triumph over Osiris — and to dishonor the religion of the land in one of its supremest expressions." (Geikie.)

But though we may see in this way how such a miracle would appeal to the Egyptians, we do not need the teachings of mythology to interpret it to us. The river, as we see in Scripture itself, was the very symbol of independence. Egypt drank no water of the rain of heaven: its source of supply was not above; and this is the world in its independence of God. But this independence of God, the Giver of life, is only death, and turns to death. The judgment here as elsewhere reveals the actual spiritual condition. That which as the creature of God, and His minister, is but the means of multiplied blessing, separated from Him, produces but more confirmed and complete separation. This is so simple that it needs no insisting on, and Scripture is full of it. (Job 21:14; Ps. 73:7, 11.)

But it should be noticed now, what every commentary dilates upon, that these judgments of God which begin here have in measure their natural counterparts. Thus the "Nile, at a certain stage of its yearly rise, assumes a red color, due to the presence of minute vegetative and animal growths." And "when the Nile and its canals are full, in the height of inundation, the abounding moisture quickens inconceivable myriads of frogs and toads, which swarm every where, even in ordinary years." Again, "when the inundation has risen above the level of the canals and channels, and is rapidly flowing over the entire surface, . . . gnats and flies innumerable burst from their pupae and spring into perfect existence. The eggs that produce them were laid in the retiring waters of the former flood. They have matured in the interval, and vivify instantaneously on the dust absorbing moisture enough to discolor it." At the close of the inundation, when the water is very foul, murrain has been noticed to occur. Such a relation of these divine judgments to ordinary occurrences has surely meaning for us, not merely in that economy of the miraculous, which many have remarked upon, but much rather as emphasizing how the whole order of nature marshals itself under the divine hand against the transgressor.

The red Nile-water, however, is pleasant and drinkable, not, as in the case before us, a scourge which the magicians again may counterfeit but cannot remove. The priests of nature can show how this can be done — can do it themselves, substituting in a way common to all ages, never more common than to-day, "nature" for the God of nature, "law" for Him who rules by it. In all this, it is confessed however, there is no help for man — no remedy. Rather is his case given up as remediless, as nature's laws are pitiless; there is no divine heart to turn to. In making man a machine, you escape from sin by denying all morality: but conscience refuses this. Any way, the waters are still turned to blood: the plague is not even moderated, but increased.

(3) In the third miracle — the plague of frogs, the river is again a means of distress to the Egyptians. In this case it is evidently by their numbers, their intrusion every where, and as is implied — swarming out of the mud and slime, — their uncleanness, that they become so. This last is, as perhaps all commentators agree, the fundamental idea, and it is this by which its numerical place is justified. Connected, moreover, with the last plague, as it is, undeniably, we find that we are following the same track as the apostle when he speaks of the result of departure from God: that "even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not seemly," or, as he otherwise puts it, "to uncleanness." (Rom. 1:28, 24.) Here are plainly the unclean things that come out of the river, when the creature is worshiped and served rather than the Creator. Man having cast off God dishonors himself, and the lusts he seeks to satisfy have sprung out of departure from God. To return to Him is the only remedy: "If any man is athirst, let him come unto Me, and drink; and he that believeth on Me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water." (John 7:37, 38.)

The wise men of the world have here again no remedy. The water will readily produce frogs for them also; all their disquisitions tend, as they did in Egypt, to hallow the frog, though they may have too much of it. The gods of the heathen were largely just men's lusts and passions deified; and to do them honor, they indulged them. But to call evil good cannot make it so; and to harden the conscience cannot satisfy the heart.

(4) And now, not the water, but the land, produces its myriads for their torture. The dust of the land smitten with the rod becomes "lice." I take this, with the A.V., to be the true meaning of the word kinnim. "In the Talmud, the kinnah is a louse. The Jewish interpreters (including Onkelos and Josephus), the Syriac, the Arabic, and the Talmud give this meaning, which is supported by Bochart. The Septuagint gives skniphes, which Gesenius and others take to mean gnats. But konops or empis is the gnat. The sknips is said to be an ant that preys on figs, or an insect that lives under the bark of trees. Either of these bears more analogy to the louse than to the gnat or mosquito. The louse also is found 'on men and beasts,' while the gnat flies in the air." (Murphy.) Baker suggests that "lice would shrivel at once in the hot sun of Africa," and contends for the kindred thought of "ticks," of which a kind lives in hot sand and dust, and is a great enemy to man and beast. (Quoted from Geikie.)

The insignificance of the creature used, the dust as that from which it originates, and the place of this plague in the order of these visitations, seem all to point in one direction. Dust is frequently connected in Scripture with death "the dust of death." (Ps. 22:15.) "Dust unto dust" was the original verdict which put on man the stamp of vanity. The book of Ecclesiastes shows us death as the great tormentor of man, leveling him, with all his wisdom and his pride, to the beast. (Chap. 3:19, etc.) What is beyond death only divine revelation and not human reasoning can show (v. 21); and conscience, if it point beyond, shadows the future with its accusations.

This, then, I take as the spiritual significance of this fourth testimony. Without it, the evidence as to the world's condition would be very incomplete indeed. With it, we have surely a striking picture of what the world is — under Satan's rule, God cast off, corrupt through lust, death brooding over it! And as to the last feature of it, though the wisdom of the world may labor to make it "natural," the whole instinct of that nature of man to which they appeal shrinks from and abhors it. If it be so, man is lower than the beast, tormented as to the future as the beast is not, craving as his rational heritage an immortality which is denied to him. No: here (as the magicians say) is "the finger of God," and it writes upon the dust itself, as Christ wrote upon it for the Pharisees in after-times, man's condemnation.

And if man be under condemnation, his mouth is stopped; it is for God only to open His. Thus Pharaoh's wise men utter their last word here. The world is now seen in the true "light of nature" — if nature has any light. But God has more to say, if man has not; and Egypt's revealing plagues are not yet concluded.

2. In the three plagues that follow, we find emphasized the division put between the Egyptians and the Israelites, — literally, redemption,"a word I have preserved for evident reasons. God's separation of His people is a redemption, the work of His grace in them as well as for them, which in the typical meaning comes out very distinctly. But this typical meaning has been itself almost unrecognized hitherto. I am not aware, at least, of any attempt to bring it out connectedly, though surely such meaning there must be. Apart from this, every commentary will show how barren of any specific spiritual significance these inflictions upon Egypt are. The typical meaning is indeed an illumination.

(1) In the first plague here there is a difficulty as to its nature even, which might seem to forbid interpretation. The word used as to it (arob) seems plainly derived from arab, to mix, and would thus mean "mixture," as in the margin of our common version. It is used nowhere else except in the book of Psalms (Ps. 78:45; Ps. 105:31), referring to the same infliction; but a kindred word, ereb, denotes the "mixed multitude" that went out of Egypt with the Israelites. Symmachus, Aquila, and Jerome, of the ancients, translate it "mixture," with many more modern, applying it, as again the common version does, to flies. It is objected, however, to this, that ver. 31 is against it, but it does not seem evident that this could not apply to "one" of the myriad swarms that made up the great swarm. The Septuagint has, however, "the dog-fly," and by this or "the gad-fly" many would translate it. But the authority of the Septuagint, though great, is far from infallible, and the other is a supposition. Certainly, if we are to abide by the Hebrew, which is alone inspired, the first meaning would seem the true one.

But in this case the instrument employed we must be content to ignore. It was something that "devoured," as the seventy-eighth psalm shows; something of small size, making up for this in numbers; various in kind, whether flies or insects generally: the prominent thought is that of "mixture."

Trying this by its numerical place, we may see that this is not unity, though in its place, and we are led to ask, May not this be the thought suggested, that lack of unity which is implied in "mixture," — mixture in place of unity?

Fanciful enough this will seem, no doubt; but in these types, let us remember, we have what is addressed to the imagination, subject to Scripture and spiritual judgment. Let us go on, therefore, and see whither this may lead us.

It is the contrast between the world and the people of God that is before us, and here the index number gives us a plain contrast: it speaks, on the one hand, of "obedience," "righteousness," on the other, of "will," "rebellion." God's work is one, manifested always as that, — internally, still more than externally, a unity. Man also, when obedient to His will, is at one with himself as with God, — at one with himself because with God. His life is of a piece, self-consistent and harmonious. If sin come in, it is a confusion, a contrary will: independence of God is discord, disunity, and man no longer at one with God is no longer at one with himself either. His "will," astray from God, falls asunder into many divided "wills," as the "lusts" within "war in" his "members." (James 4:1.) And so with all that comes under the power of evil: it corrupts, falls apart, is disorganized; death, which is the stamp upon and fruit of sin, is separation, dissolution.

"Mixture," combination, union, is still possible, and this is man's substitute for God's unity. But it only reveals the want of it. At one with God, we are at one with ourselves, and all things are at one with us also. Outside of this, there is nothing but a jarring concourse of incompatible things: the bond of the universe is snapped; and to one taught of God, the world is a thing smitten with the plague of incoherency, confusion, "mixture." Out of which is only one way of deliverance.

The secret of the condition of things is now revealed. The wise men are useless: Pharaoh turns to Moses and Aaron, but only to suggest an impossible compromise. "Go, sacrifice unto your God in the land. Here again is "mixture" — a half obedience which is not obedience. Worship God where you are, he says; — that is, typically, Remain in the world; don't leave it. But that is impossible. In the world, faith's sacrifice is an abomination, — Christ's cross only an offense. The cross is the judgment of the world — of man in the flesh, — and if we can worship there, no cross is needed: it is in this case simply a false indictment against man. Thus there is irreconcilable difference between the world and the believer. By the cross, he is crucified to the world and the world to him, and he glories in that which has done this. How impossible, then, to mix the world and Christ!

He who has turned to Christ has owned the enmity in which he was, and found the reconciliation. He has obedience endeared to him in Christ's obedience to death for him. His is the blessedness of "the man to whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile." He is separated from the world and from the world's plague of mixture. He is at one with God and at one with himself: he has taken his true place in that universe of God which has on it every where as that the mark of unity.

(2) The two plagues following in this series, however little outwardly connected with the first, will be found to have the most real typical connection. In this second one, the destruction of the cattle takes place, — the ordained servants of man, the type of that service which he needs and must receive from others. Independent really he cannot be. The higher any creature is in the scale of being, the more its needs multiply and the more dependent is it. And with man, the higher (or more civilized) is his natural life, the more complex and numerous are the services he requires from others. The "division of labor" means, of course, but this. Happy would the world be if men could simply accept this — could serve and be served according to God's ordinance. Each caring for the other, how well would all be served! how blessed would it be to live in such an atmosphere of love — ministered to and ministering — as this implies!

But the world is away from God; weary, restless, dissatisfied, its craving is lust, its god its belly, and "corruption" is "in the world through lust." In the selfish strife of private interest, the forms of love required by society, serve but as the stones upon graves to mark that the spirit has departed. There is a murrain upon the cattle, except where, among the people of God, the spirit of love has been gained in the knowledge of redemption. Here love manifests itself in service — necessarily, if it be love; there is ability and heart to minister; grace has in a higher way perfected the design in nature: the cattle are preserved.

(3) In the next plague, the ashes of the furnace sprinkled toward heaven bring an eruptive disease upon man and beast. The "furnace," derived from a word which means "to subdue," was, as some think, a lime-kiln, or for smelting ore, and connected with those public works in Egypt at which Israel had been made so cruelly to labor. Egypt itself had been such a furnace for the people of God, and as such had earned for itself righteous retribution. This seems a very natural explanation of Moses' significant action. The disease that followed is too briefly described to be identified; but if so, we may be sure there is no need to identify it: all that is needed for the lesson is surely given us. It is noted by all commentators that the uncleanness resulting from such an attack must have been peculiarly severe upon a people who, like the Egyptians, were so punctiliously observant of personal cleanliness, and with whom this was a part of their religion. Typically, it would fittingly speak of the corruption of sin, the breaking out of that moral disease which Isaiah uses language such as might be drawn from it to describe: "From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores." (Isa. 1:6.)

This is the inward condition of the world exposed; for as already said, these plagues only expose what is the true state of things as before God. And the connection between such a state and Egypt's lime-kilns is easy to apprehend. The pomp and glory of the world minister to the lust of ambition and greed of all kinds out of which comes the corruption that is in the world, and in which it finds also its judgment; and this seems to be the meaning of what we have here. And now the magicians cannot stand before Moses: as long afterward the words "he that is without sin among you" scatter the would-be judges of the adulteress, so are Egypt's wise men scattered now; "for the boil was upon the scribes and upon all the Egyptians." Who, indeed, is exempt, save he in whom Christ is found the object for his heart, and the "exceeding great and precious promises" deliver from the "corruption which is in the world through lust"?

3. Here, then, a second stage in the conviction of the natural man is reached. We are now, in the third stage, to see, man being what he is, what the attitude of heaven must be toward him. The three plagues that follow all distinctly point to heaven as their place of origin. Here too the rod, which in the last three had not been seen, appears again, — a thing which the typical meaning alone as it would seem, accounts for. For it will be seen that the middle plagues to men seem scarcely divine inflictions: they proceed more from man himself, although, in fact, the government of God may truly be seen in them. But now we come again, as in the first plagues, to direct, positive inflictions.

(1) And first, we have the hail: and here once more we find what might seem a mixture — a concord of contraries. Yet nature furnishes it, though, of course, in this case, increased into a miracle. With the occurrence of hail and fire, (that is, electricity,) we are all familiar. They are products of the same cause — the meeting of a mass of warm air, saturated with moisture, with a cold upper current. Heat and cold must thus mingle together to produce it, and the electricity is disengaged, apparently, at the same time as the freezing of the vapor. We have in the book of Revelation, under the first trumpet, the occurrence of hail and fire; and in the eighteenth psalm, "hailstones and coals of fire" are emphasized as expressions of the divine wrath. Cold is the absence of heat, as darkness is of light; and light and heat are near akin, as, of course, are cold and darkness. God is light, and heat is the glow of His presence, which toward sin is wrath — the flame of fire. But cold and heat alike have their part in the storm of His wrath. If He forsake, it must be in anger, never indifference; never, therefore, mere withdrawal, — the chill and the fire mingle, and thus what should have been blessing, like the drops of vapor, becomes a pitiless iron shower which destroys every thing before it.

Thus upon the world the wrath of God abideth, suspended indeed by His forbearing love, which at the same time has provided a place of refuge. But still there are "the treasures of the hail which " He has "preserved against the time of trouble, against the day of battle and war." (Job 38:22, 23.) And they will be poured out yet, while the heavens proclaim His righteousness in it. It is this that makes it so terrible, that it is the action of righteousness; and this, faith anticipates and takes home as a present thing governing one's thoughts and conduct.

(2) If the Lord be thus against the sinner, the world is full also of witnesses to this attitude of His. Man may have departed from God and become hostile to Him, but nature in its whole framework is obedient, and serves Him still. Thus the sinner finds himself in a stream of hostile forces, the hosts of the Lord, which the army of locusts vividly presents to us. "The locusts have no king," says Agur, "yet go they forth all by bands." (Prov. 30:27.) "Nothing in their habits," says a recent observer, is more striking than the pertinacity with which they all pursue the same line of march, like a disciplined army." This instinctive discipline, with an invisible king, shows whose hosts they are — under whose marshaling: "His army," the Lord calls them. (Joel 2:11.) "In every stage of their existence," says the same person who was just now quoted, "these locusts give a most impressive view of the power of God to punish a wicked world." To contend with them is hopeless, and the destruction caused by them is absolute: "the land is as the garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness; yea, and nothing shall escape them." (Joel 2:3.)

Thus nature, with its laws, serves the Law-giver, and woe to those who contend against their God. They are hopelessly in the grasp of destructive forces which fully own the One they do not — are the disciplined hosts of the Lord of Hosts. This an insect may teach us here, if only we have hearts to learn the lesson.

Along with this, we have in this section Pharaoh's second attempt at compromise, as vain as the first one was. The men may go: the little ones must be left behind; in which case, of course, the little ones become a pledge for the return of their parents. But salvation is here, as the New Testament declares it, for thee and for thy house. If Pharaoh's thought is to retain or bring back the fathers by the children's means, God's is, to save the children with and by means of their fathers. The circumcision of the Israelite's house gives the divine rule for the old economy. The new cannot be behind it: "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house." (Acts 16:31.)

This, then, is the tenor of universal Scripture. God's all-embracing love would make of His people hands to reach out to others, and of the human ties which He has established, links by which the new creation itself shall be drawn together. He would thus claim for His own that which is, with no acquiescence on His part, departed from Him, and use as His that natural affection which, though fallen, is not incapable of being renewed and spiritualized. Thus He meets and satisfies the deepest instincts of our manhood, the divine Father manifesting Himself as not strange to what is best in human fatherhood, and teaching us to feel in ourselves the original likeness in which at first He created us to Himself.

The children of believers are, of course, naturally like other children. The nature we can impart is the old, and not the new: to have this, they must be born again, as all must. Nor does it follow necessarily, as we know, that because a man is saved his house must be. But if with faith in God there be faithfulness in the place in which God has put us, He has promised, "Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old, he will not depart from it." Here is the thing, no doubt, which tests us; for it is not our words only that have fruit in this way; it is the combined influence of our words and ways. That three days' remove from Egypt, if really taken, will have immense effect. And that we have come out to keep a feast to the Lord will give the positive side, without which separation from the world becomes a mere cold and hard asceticism.

These things are our types, and the God of Israel is as full of power to-day as ever He was: of that, these very locusts may remind us.

(3.) And now we come to the last plague of these nine — the last but one of all
poured out upon the land of Egypt. The plague of darkness is one the significance of which is simple for those who know the meaning of the darkness upon the cross. God is light: darkness is the withdrawal of light, the forsaking of God. And this was (as we may see in the twenty-second psalm,) the most terrible part of that judgment upon sin which our dear Lord bore for us in His body on the tree. God is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity, and cannot look upon sin: even from Him who knew no sin, when made sin, He must turn away; and so the cry of forsaken sorrow interprets the darkness to us. The "outer darkness" is its expression in the eternity to come.

God-abandonment! who save that solitary Sufferer can interpret this to us? Men would indeed choose to get away from God here, and the "far-off country "can be for awhile even a place of pleasure while we are recklessly wasting what can never be regained. But even the far-off country is not the hell where men will find the answer to their desire to get away from God. In Egypt, for three awful days they sat overwhelmed; none looked upon another, or rose from his seat. In that darkness that is the "shadow of death," it is said, "they sit;" but what when it is not the shadow, but death itself, and the eternal flame shall give yet no light?

"In Thy light we see light." In the ends of the earth, no place so destitute but some beams of that light must come. When men have found the place of their choice — a place without God, where, from the necessity of His nature, He can never be, all figures fail to convey the reality of that horror of utter darkness which they shall find it.

Here, then, fittingly, these nine plagues end. Pharaoh attempts, at the very last, another compromise. If he cannot prevent their going out, he will at least make them as poor as he can. Their flocks and herds were the main part of all which, as a shepherd-people, they possessed. They are thus the fitting type of our possessions — of that which we have in the world. These must be left, says Pharaoh; — the first attempt we have perhaps to define the doctrine which has since met such wide acceptance, alas! among the people of God, — that we are to separate what is "secular" from what is sacred," — and that if we ourselves must needs go on pilgrimage, we must not have our all out of Egypt, honestly owning God's title to all we have.

A certain claim, it is owned as reasonable, the Lord should have; but the things are ours outside this tax upon them. Yet does not this show how little we know what it is to be the Lord's, when we have in any thing divided interests from His? Does it not show that we know little what it is to be in Christ, while we have another self with independent aims and motives? Is this other self, can it be, any thing else than the old self, which knows not Christ, and refuses Him?

Thus it is, surely, that along with this lesson of what the holiness of God is as against sin, we are made to learn what is the claim of that holiness — we will not say upon His redeemed, but rather for them. It is, in fact, in the very idea of redemption itself, necessary, in order to realize the fullness of blessing in it, that not only we, but all that is ours, shall be brought out of Egypt. "There shall not a hoof be left behind," says Moses, "for thereof must we take to serve Jehovah our God, and we know not wherewith we must serve Jehovah our God till we come thither." How true it is that we have not even — cannot have — the knowledge of the Lord's will concerning us until we are, with all belonging to us, where God's salvation brings us — outside the world.

(4) But God does not intend His people to go out of Egypt empty. They are to leave it rather with the spoil of Egypt in their hands; and yet, in taking this, they take but what is their own. Take to-day out of the world all that is the fruit or accompaniment of God's salvation-work — take out of it all that Scripture has enriched it with — how poor would it be left! It is but the result of what the world is, that God could not take His people out of it without leaving it empty of all true blessing and enlightenment.

And now one last warning is permitted to Pharaoh ere the final stroke of judgment falls. At midnight, the time of deepest darkness, Jehovah is coming into the land Himself, and "all their first-born, the chief of all their strength," shall die. The thunderbolt of Israel's deliverance is at last to fall. The prostration of the world is to be the deliverance of those for whom God has undertaken. The type is easily read by its own light.

Subdivision 3. (Ex. 12 — 15:21.)

God with them manifest in full and realized salvation.

The third subdivision is the history of God's final interference in behalf of His people, in which not alone is Pharaoh's power subdued, but much more — God is manifested, and they are brought into His presence. God with them and for them, which means also that they are to be for Him, — essence, as it is, of all sanctification — this is most evidently its central meaning.

It is a perfect blessing, as realized in its seven sections, which it is well to glance at in their connection with each other before we take them up in detail. The passover and the passage of the sea are the two stages in this deliverance, which answer, I believe, essentially, to the first two parts of the epistle to the Romans (Rom. 1 — 5:11, and Rom. 5:12 — 8); the first, justification by the blood of Christ; the second, death to sin in the death of Christ. Both parts must be known for full deliverance. The type before us will best illustrate their meaning.

In the first section (Ex. 12:1-20), peace with God in righteousness through the blood of Christ is the plain significance of the passover. All begins with this (1-6), which is the basis both of communion (7-14) and holiness (15-20).

In the second (Ex. 12:21-51), we find, therefore, deliverance from captivity: faith sets its seal to the word of God (21-28), sees the judgment of man in all that comes of him (in the death of the first-born, 29, 30), and is thus separated from the world and to the Lord (31-36), the walk with God now beginning (37-42); finally, the obligations of the passover are made known (43-51).

Thirdly (Ex. 13:1-16), the sanctification of the first-born, corresponding to the judgment upon the first-born before, shows how redemption is to God, in the devotion of all the powers of the redeemed.

Next (vv. 17-22), the features of the walk with God are made known to us in the consciousness of weakness (17, 18), the bearing about in the body the dying of Jesus (19, 20), and the Lord's presence with us (21, 22).

These four sections, it is evident, are in close connection and complete, the septenary series here being, as with most other sevens, a 4 and 3. The four are the passover series, the three following give us the second stage of deliverance — the passage through the sea.

Thus the fifth section shows us (Ex. 14:1-14) once more the weak with the Strong, — the enemy showing himself once more, but Jehovah revealing Himself as the shelter and salvation of His people.

The sixth (vv.15-31) brings the actual victory, decisive and final. Israel is outside of Egypt, the enemy perished.

In the seventh (Ex. 15:1-21), we close with the song of the delivered people. The spiritual meaning of these latter sections we shall best understand as we enter into the details.

1. The first section, then, relates the institution of the passover; clearly a new beginning, for the year is changed to make it so. The last of the plagues of Egypt is in this way clearly separated from all that has preceded it, as, on the other hand, we have seen the former ones as constituting a complete series, the last three giving us completely the attitude of God toward the unbelieving world. The death of the first-born in its aspect toward Israel themselves differs entirely from that of the former plagues. As to these, they had been sheltered by the hand of God, not a question raised as to their own relation to Him; but now, though sheltered, their shelter must be realized as a refuge — a refuge to which they must flee as those in danger; themselves justly liable to that which falls on the Egyptians. Here, then, is a total change in God's ways with them, and a change of the deepest significance. Till they own what they are and what they deserve, there can be, spite of all that has been done for them, no deliverance. They must meet death — that which is the wages of sin, pass through it, as it were, leave it behind them, the question settled, and (as all questions settled with God,) never again to be unsettled — never to come up again, before they can be freed from Egyptian bondage, or their feet leave Egyptian soil; — nay, before they can begin to go out, — before they can take a single step in this direction. Their true passover — all following being but the commemoration of it — they must keep in Egypt, and this is particularly noticed in the first place: "And Jehovah spake unto Moses and unto Aaron in the land of Egypt."

All this for us is deeply instructive. There is no progress with us possible until we have come to this. There may be, no doubt, plenty of exercise and experience of a certain sort before it, and plenty of effort at self-help; but that only makes more solemn the fact, as here, that withal no step is made in the path with God, nor the path reached, until the shelter of the cross is known. The peace which Christ has made for us we can realize, and we must have peace with God in order to walk with Him. Here, then, is the true beginning for our souls.

(1) First, the year is changed; the preceding months are blotted out, as it were, and God begins time afresh for them with the paschal month. Grace it is that gives this new beginning, and grace can do nothing kinder than blot out the past. And so with our history, until that is known which is the antitype of the passover here. It will have its use, no doubt, as a lesson; all is not, in that sense, lost: will any thing in the world's history even be really so? All will have its moral in the fast-hastening day of revelation, and instead of being forgotten, will abide in profit for us forever. But when God says, "I will remember no more," it has a very different meaning. He can no more forget than He can repent; yet, relatively, both terms can be used of Him. He does not remember our sins when He treats us, and is to us, as if these had never happened — when we can find nothing whatever in His conduct toward us which indicates His remembrance of them; when they are not merely not a cloud in our heaven any longer, but not even a mote in the sunshine of His perfect love.

Yet the vail that love can draw over the past may be, as in this case, so surpassingly glorious that the glow of it may enable us as well to look back as to look forward. And if God set aside the past with a new beginning, He does, in fact, all the more direct our eyes to the vail with which He has covered the past. It is the work of Christ which has covered our past which has begun for us all things anew; and the vail of the past is here the glory of the present and the future.

But the year does not begin exactly with the passover itself: that is the fourteenth day of the year, and not the first: and not till the tenth day is the lamb taken. How full of meaning is this fourteenth day, — a number compounded of 2, the number of testimony, and that which speaks of divine and perfect workmanship — 7! For is not here the perfect work which is the great subject of God's testimony?

The ten days which pass before the lamb is taken are, as we know, significant as the measure of human responsibility: they answer to that time in our Lord's life before He takes up openly His work among men, as to which the Gospels are as silent as the type here. Yet the type is not silent as to the character of that time, but explains it as that in which He was fulfilling, as man, His own responsibility; coming forth then, at the end of it, to receive the Father's attestation to His perfection, and the seal of the Spirit, when He takes up His work for men. He is then shown the unblemished Lamb, and the "four days" of the type begin to be fulfilled with Him, to which the four gospels answer, the time of His testing; for us, the glorious exhibition of what He was and is, as Messiah, Minister, Son of Man, and Son of God. At the end of the four days, the lamb is slain. The different sides of the sacrificial work we shall not find here; for that, we must go on to Leviticus. Here, what is dwelt on is what we must first of all realize, — the effect for us.

(2) We go on, then, to see that effect, — perfect shelter from the judgment which is even now pronounced — not executed — upon the world. The blood before the eye of God shows that judgment anticipated, and put away as thus anticipated, by sacrificial substitution. As so often noticed, God's eye is upon the blood, and so cannot be upon the people. Whether they are good or bad, whether feelings or experiences are right or wrong in any of them, is not the point: God sees but the blood. Had judgment entered a house so sheltered, not only would the blood have been dishonored, but the truth and righteousness of God would have been wrecked forever. These stood on the side of the worst and guiltiest of these who had fled for refuge to the hope set before them. And so with us. The glory of the gospel it is that the righteousness of God itself is put upon the side of every one who welcomes it in faith.

While outside the house the blood of atonement spoke to God, to whom it was addressed, inside He provided that which was to satisfy them, and enable them for that path with Him upon which they were now so shortly to go forth. The lamb is theirs to feed upon, and God is bent upon their enjoying this provision of His love. The lamb too must all of it be eaten. If the household were too little for the lamb, (we read nothing of the lamb being too little for the house,) then, says the Lord, let him and his neighbor next unto his house take it. God would have Christ apprehended by us. He would have our souls sustained, and He would have Christ honored. We are to eat — to appropriate to ourselves what Christ is; and what we appropriate becomes, in fact, part and parcel of ourselves. This laying hold of Christ by faith makes Christ to be sustenance indeed to us, and Himself to be reproduced in us.

Death God ordains as the food of life; and it is as sheltered and saved from death that we can feed upon death. It is not merely vanquished and set aside: it is in the cross the sweet and wonderful display of divine power and love in our behalf, accomplished in the mystery of human weakness. Death is become the food of life, and the life is life eternal.

As to the mode of eating the lamb, notice three things which destroy the dangerous dreams that are about with regard to the work of the Lord Jesus Christ. First of all, it was not to be "raw," or "underdone." Fire must do its work, and thoroughly too, upon that which was to be the representative of Christ as in redemption we know Him. Not death alone would do: the Lord in atonement not merely laid down life, but was "made sin," — yea, "made a curse for us." The chastisement of our peace was thus upon Him in that awful place; death without this would be no food for us: not the lamb raw.

But again also, "not done at all in water, but roast with fire." The water would hinder the direct action of the fire; and this is the type of the Word, or as "living water," of the Holy Ghost, who acts by it. The Lord's life was always in the power of the Spirit, — always pure absolutely, according to the measure of the Word itself. But would not the water, then, hinder the action of the fire? Could He be made sin who knew none? That is just what Scripture affirms to have been the truth. The holiness of His life, the perfection of His obedience, did not prevent or soften the agony of the cross. It was the just due of sin which He took, glorifying God in thus affirming His righteousness who ordained the penalty. An "equivalent penalty" would not avail, much less a commuted one: these would but set aside the sentence, to His dishonor. No: the lamb must not be done in water, but roast with fire.

Thirdly, "its head, with its legs, and with its inwards." The head, no doubt, expresses the thoughts and counsels with which His walk (the legs) keeps perfect company. The inwards are those affections of His heart which were the motive-power impelling Him upon the path He trod. In all, the fire brought forth nothing but sweet savor; for man, it prepared the food of his true life: all is absolutely perfect; and all is ours to appropriate.

Occupation with the person of Christ is thus impressed upon us: we need this. Not the knowledge of salvation alone will suffice us: it is the One who saves whom we need. Indeed, without occupation with Christ, the very knowledge of peace and salvation may only too easily be found associated with a worldliness most intense. Christ for our hearts alone keeps and sanctifies them.

The pilgrim dress is therefore to be the garb of those who partake of the passover. It is to be eaten in haste, as by men escaping from that the pressure of which they have too well known, and longing to be away. And the dress is the traveling-dress: it is not the "best robe," which gives us quite another thought; but the traveling-dress, which God grant we may ever wear. And here we begin, just as for the conflict in Eph. 6, with the "loins girded."

The long robes of the east, as all are aware, required the girdle, that they might be no hindrance in the way of such a march as Israel had now before them. If loose, they would get entangled with the feet, and overthrow the wearer; and the dust of the road would get upon them and defile them. The truth it is that is to be our girdle, keeping us from loose and negligent contact with ever-ready defilement from the world, and the entanglement to our feet which lax habits prove. We must arise and depart, for this is not our rest.

Then we have, "your sandals on your feet:" and these shoes never wore out through all their journeyings in the iron desert in which for forty years they wandered. They anticipated in this, as we must, the roughness of the road, and the peace of Christ must be our defense, a faith that recognizes God in every thing, and that delights in and makes His will our will. The staff in our hand is that of His promises upon which we may lean without possibility of disappointment. Thus we are provided.

(3) We come now to the feast of unleavened bread. Here, of course, is pressed upon us the holiness which all this implies. Literally, it is "compressed bread," — bread of which the particles have not been separated by the action of ferment or leaven. For "leaven" itself there are two words, the one meaning properly "a leaving," or remainder, because it was, in fact, a lump of dough left from a former time while the other means simply "leaven," or ferment." The "old leaven" of which the apostle speaks to the Corinthians (1 Cor. 5) is connected with the first thought. The introduction of the "old" into that which is new is what the enemy would ever use to transform and corrupt this. It may be the spirit of Judaism, the old covenant, introduced into the new; it may be, what is of the flesh into the new life which is of God. It may come in as superstition and formalism (the leaven of the Pharisees), or as more open Sadducean rationalism and unbelief, or as simple pandering to the world, — "the leaven of Herod" (see Matt. 16). In any case it is corruption — leaven; in any case it implies real departure from God. If we leave Him and His thoughts, what can we do but take up with our own? And this is a thing not merely negative and passive: it is by the law of its nature what all evil is — a ferment, a revolt, an antagonism to all that is of God.

The unleavened bread the apostle interprets as "sincerity and truth" — of course, Godward. It is the spirit of integrity with Him — whole-hearted surrender to His blessed will. It is the spirit which says, "Search me, O God, and know my thoughts." The deliberate keeping back from Him of that which is His due is rebellion against Him.

The association of the unleavened bread (where first mentioned) with "bitter herbs" is easy therefore, but solemn. The discovery of self is bitter, — the ruin of the old creation, — that the Lamb should have had to die for my sins. How utterly inconsistent this with the allowance of evil! A chastened spirit becomes us in presence of the cross. Not yet — not here — can we let our hearts out, in a world where the cross has stood.

Yet it is a "feast of unleavened bread" that we are called to — truly a feast. The rest for the soul is never obtained without taking Christ's yoke (Matt. 11:29). In the perfect surrender to God which repentance implies and faith necessitates, the joy of the Lord that enters into the soul is the assurance of an infinite joy to come. And this feast is to fill the "seven days" of our life after; — six here, and then the eternal Sabbath to which no night comes. All these things, as the contents of this section show us are implied in redemption known, — the new beginning of a life eternal.

2. In the second section, we have the history of the deliverance from Egypt, not completed however at once, as we shall find, although at first it might be thought so. Yet their fetters are once for all broken, and He who has begun will complete His work. We have here —

(1) First, on the part of Israel, their obedience to the prescribed conditions. In sprinkling the blood, they own the sentence of death upon themselves, and the hyssop used in doing so, as the type of what is lowly, in contrast with the cedar (1 Kings 4:33), speaks very plainly of the condition of heart which must naturally go with this. The knowledge of this grace of God toward them the people are to communicate to their children.

(2) Then the judgment falls. The death of the first-born is the judgment upon all that comes of the natural man, the first-born, like the first-fruits being a sample of all the rest, and indeed, as Jacob says, "the excellency of dignity and the excellency of power." "That which is born of the flesh is flesh" is our Lord's account of it. Man must be born again.

The judgment of the world brings necessary separation from it. The witness of its condemnation before God, if maintained, will soon make the world itself enforce a separation. The people of God go forth, however, enriched, for "all things are yours," says the apostle, "whether the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come, all are yours" (1 Cor. 3:21, 22); and in the time of their visitation the world itself will own this.

(4) And now the journey begins. Strikingly the first stage, — all that is mentioned yet, — is from Rameses to Succoth, — from the king's city, built for the glory of his name, to the place of the "booths," or tents, characteristic of the wilderness. But at the very start a hint of the future is already given in the "mixed multitude" which go up with them. Wherever a movement of God takes place, men are wrought upon by other motives than those by which the Spirit of God stirs the renewed heart, and a mass attach themselves to those who are led forth. The Pharisees and Sadducees come to John's baptism; the flesh and the world will go on pilgrimage: and here is the seed of much after-trouble (see Num. 11:4). Even in the individual believer also how soon may other motives mix themselves with what is of the work of God, at first all seeming to unite to carry us forward in the path of faith, and only by and by showing their true character.

Another circumstance emphasizes the warning. It may be true, as Keil suggests, that the command to eat unleavened bread for seven days had not yet been given to the people, but it is none the less typically full of solemn meaning that historically the way in which they came actually to fulfill the ordinance as to it for the first time was that "they were thrust out of Egypt, and could not tarry." Had the Egyptians pressed less urgently upon them, they would undoubtedly have put the leaven into the bread! How easy to realize the application of this! Have not the times when the world has pressed most heavily upon the Church been commonly the times when the feast of unleavened bread has been most truly kept? When the world has forced believers out of it, then indeed brightness and devotedness have been more seen. Alas! when the storm relaxed, how soon the leaven again was introduced!

(5) Now follow the regulations as to the passover, the main point in which is manifestly this, that the circumcised alone are to partake of it. A stranger was no longer this if he were circumcised: and this is clear enough in meaning when we remember what circumcision implied (see Gen. 17), as it enables also to understand the distinct specification of the "hired servant" among those rejected. The covenant of grace refuses to be mixed with the thought of wage-work. The feast of redemption is for those who, as those impotent for good, shelter beneath the shadow of the Almighty: "when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly."

3. In the third section, the sanctification of the first-born to God is insisted on, again illustrating the connection between redemption and holiness. For it was the first-born that had been redeemed from the judgment that fell upon the Egyptians, and here the Lord claims for Himself what had been redeemed. This is simply what holiness is: it is setting apart to God; practical sanctification the consecration, in the power of the Holy Ghost, of the heart and life to Him. As in the judgment of Egypt — of the world, — the first-born represent all that comes of man naturally, so here it is all that comes of man — his whole practical life — and in the cattle all that belongs to him. The institution of the feast of unleavened bread is repeated here, and brought into the midst of the ordinance of the first-born, to link the sanctification of heart with the sanctification of life. Thus the lesson is complete, and it is evident as every where that the spiritual meaning governs all.

(1) First, in this section, then, Jehovah's claim is asserted. Certainly all that He has created must belong to Him; but it is only redemption that really gives Him what is His. Here, then, all that He has redeemed must be entirely His: disastrous it would be to keep any thing back from Him. Only what is thus rendered to Him becomes indeed our own, for "in Him we live and move and have our being." Independence of the source of life is death, and thus life cannot be enjoyed apart from this sweet and profitable devotedness.

(2) If this is to be carried out, however, the feast of unleavened bread must be our introduction to it. The heart must be taken captive if the life is to be surrendered. Service must be the fruit of love, for love is the constraining spirit of service. But our love is, again, the fruit of His love: "We love Him because He first loved us." And thus the connection with the opening sentence: "Remember this day in which ye came out of Egypt . . . by strength of hand hath Jehovah brought you out from this, — and nothing leavened shall be eaten." Let us remark here, that certainly a known salvation, not a doubtful one, was the basis of this feast for Israel. What reinforcement of the obligation when they should have reached the good land promised — type of that heavenly land which we are called upon now to enter and to make our own! The feast was, too, for them a sign upon the hand, which it consecrated to God, a memorial between the eyes — manifest to all as unblushing confession of separation, and thus the mouth too would be called upon to give its testimony of obedience.

(3) Now the sanctification of the first-born follows, who through all their generations afterward (if males) are to be redeemed. In the epistle to the Romans, in which so many types of the first part of Exodus find their fulfillment, immediately after the full liberty of the redeemed man is reached, we hear of sanctification in the sixth chapter. In the epistle to the Hebrews, we find how by the blood of atonement itself we are sanctified to God: "By the which will we are sanctified, through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once." (Heb. 10:10.)

Thus we are devoted to God by the very fact of salvation, we and all that we have. And here another instructive lesson is given us. "And every firstling of an ass thou shalt redeem with a lamb and if thou wilt not redeem it, then thou shalt break its neck." How vain to read these typical institutions merely as ordinances in the letter and no more! Why, of all beasts, the special introduction of the ass here, and of the ass only, to be redeemed with the self-same lamb wherewith man himself must be redeemed? Does it not show clearly, when our eye is upon that to which all these ordinances point, that man is himself identified with this "ass," that must be redeemed or slain? And so God characterizes Ishmael, a first-born too, sign and fruit of nature's strength in Abraham, not merely, as in the common version, "a wild," but "a wild-ass man." We must not think here, however, of the ungainly drudge, as we see him generally, but of the eastern animal, — fleet, beautiful, uncontrollable in spirit and energy, — of whose tame congener even it is said, in a way so opposite to all our notions, "a whip for the horse, and a bridle for the ass."

Thus nature shows itself in Ishmael, the father of the Bedouin Arab of our day, and, for our instruction, the child of Hagar also, or the law, — that law which, after so many centuries of patient training under it, developed but the race which, like the wild ass, refused the "easy yoke" of Him who came to teach man, in Himself, the lesson of obedience — "meek and lowly of heart."

As the seed of Abraham, Ishmael has further instruction for us. For the man of faith, if he take up law to produce fruit, will find assuredly that even faith can make nothing of it: the law is "the strength of sin," and not of holiness. Thus the firstling of an ass speaks to us. Blessed be God, for us the lamb has yielded up its life; and the sanctification which the law could not produce is found for us in the blood of atonement. Let us remember, as we are charged here, with mouth as well as life, — with life as well as mouth, — to give God the glory of our redemption.

4. In the next section, a brief account of the life to which this introduces us is added. We have as yet only seen it (1. 2; 2. 4.) in its pilgrim character and its connection with redemption. Now we have more distinctly, though yet in brief, its features.

(1) And first, we find, very strangely as it may seem, the Lord being with them, as we are just now so fully assured, the confession of weakness, implied in their not taking what would seem the nearest road — in one sense was — to Canaan, expressly because in it they might "see war"! By and by, in that land to which they are journeying, they are to be led in a career of conquest over nations mightier than themselves. As yet, it is weakness which God recognizes in them, not strength; and He chooses their way accordingly.

Three points are to be marked here. First, that the way is of God's choice, not theirs. This is surely an absolutely needful lesson at the start. Do not all our breaks-down by the way result from this, that we have chosen for ourselves, not let God choose for us? To be in His way is to be where He is with us; and if He be for us, who can be against us?

Then, His way for us is always one in which we are made to realize weakness. Our prayer can never be, "Lead us into temptation," and therefore we are never to act as if this were our prayer. In all cases where escape is possible without disloyalty, we are to flee rather than face it. "Flee also youthful lusts." "Abstain (hold off) from fleshly lusts." Flee, as Joseph fled; and there was, perhaps, no bolder man.

Again, at the stage of progress we have reached as yet, the power we need is not yet realized. The Philistines may have a way into Canaan by the short natural road; Israel must reach it by a different one, as we shall presently see. The way of the sea is the only one for all God's people: we shall have to look at this fully in a little while.

(2) They carry with them Joseph's bones, — at the meaning of which we have glanced at the end of Genesis. "Bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus" is the practical testimony linked with and making manifest the "life of Jesus." (2 Cor. 4:10.)

(3) Thus far, the human side of this walk; the divine side we see in the pillar of cloud and of fire which goes with them, the symbol and pledge of the divine presence. Always in contrast with mere natural surroundings, by day a cloud, by night its glory flashing into fire, it renders them independent of circumstances — able to go by day or by night. The Keeper of Israel is with them in unslumbering vigilance and unslackening care. He leads; they follow. In the wilderness, where there is no way, He marks the way. How wonderful a resource, how inexhaustible the riches, that these poor desert-wanderers possess in Him who if they be pilgrims will be a pilgrim too. Yet this too is but the type of that more wondrous glory which, though hidden, goes with us now!

5. The fifth section, true to its character, puts now the weakness of the people before us in contrast with the strength of the Almighty, tested by the presence of the enemy, who again shows himself as the prelude to his final overthrow. The spiritual meaning for us of this last attempt of the king of Egypt upon Israel we shall better consider, as we need fully to consider, in the next section. The features of the present one are clear enough.

(1) First, we are shown, beyond doubt, that all that comes comes from God's hand, and in the design of His goodness toward them. Egypt is not yet humbled as it needs to be. God leads the people in such a way that to Pharaoh it looks, and would naturally look, like human blundering, rather than divine wisdom. He is thus hardened to his destruction.

(2) The whole force of Egypt is, in consequence, put in requisition; their whole strength is put forth for one decisive blow. Pharaoh comes upon the people in a position from which there is no escape, hedged in between the mountains and the sea. Every thing seems to combine for their destruction.

(3) Israel are as heartless as they seem defenseless: there is not even the courage of despair. The slaves would rather go back to the slavery than face the conflict that impends. In this extremity, Jehovah is seen to be the sole resource. The question becomes no longer between Israel and Pharaoh, but between Pharaoh and the Almighty, who has indeed taken upon Himself the responsibility of His people's salvation.

But "all these things happened unto them for types," says the apostle, and the importance of what is contained in this one demands for it a fuller consideration than can generally be given.

6. At the sea, the question is no more (as in the passover), between the people and God: it is entirely between them and their enemies. The question with God, once settled, was fully and forever settled. That raised again now was the old first question, (but which they had learned could not be answered first,) of servitude to Pharaoh, or of liberty. This question God Himself now takes up on their behalf, and they find God with them in a more manifest way than ever yet. Already, from the time of the passover, God was with them; but how truly for them the Red Sea first makes known.

If we look at the doctrinal part of the epistle to the Romans, as found in the first eight chapters, we shall see that the first part of it — to the middle of the fifth — occupies us with the blood of Christ, and its effect for us. This is seen as that through which the righteousness of God itself, which that blood-shedding declares, provides a place of safe and assured shelter for us. We are "justified by His blood;" and this reaches on in its effects to the final judgment of the world, and assures us that "much more shall we be saved from wrath through Him." Judgment is rolled away forever; and with our standing in present grace, and glory as our confident expectation, we are enabled to glory even in tribulation also, conscious that it, with all else, is working, under God's hand, in necessary blessing for us.

This is therefore essentially the passover truth: sheltered from judgment, eating the lamb, and equipped for the journey. But now, in the next part of the epistle, from Rom. 5:12 onward, the question of practice at once comes in "What then? shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?" "Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace?" And then, when the discovery of the hopeless evil of the flesh is made, one question more: "Oh wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?"

All through this part, the question is as to the dominion of sin, and we are delivered by death, and by being brought into a new place beyond it: "that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin;" "but now, being made free from sin, and become servants to God," "the law of the Spirit, of life in Christ Jesus, hath made me free from the law of sin and death."

Who can but think of Israel's bondage in Egypt here, and of the divine method of deliverance? Bondage to Pharaoh! but does not that cease on the night of the passover? In a most important sense it surely does. There is a breaking of chains, and a real start. God is now with them, and can never allow His claim to them to be canceled, and the enemy to retain possession of His people. But when we pass from God's point of view to that of the people themselves, with whatever "high hand" they start, we soon find them dropping out of all their confidence, and trembling again before their old tyrant in fear and distress that the actual presence of God with them cannot remove. Shut up between the desert and the sea, with Pharaoh's chariots and horsemen in full pursuit, their cry is the cry of unbelieving despair. The controversy between them and their old enemy had to be taken up afresh by God in their behalf, now to be ended indeed. God interferes — God fights for them. And they do naught but "stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord."

And so with a soul who has found the safe shelter of the blood of Christ, and seen the judgment of God roll over, smiting but the chains from off his hands, the question of deliverance from sin's law is really settled. But it does not follow that he will at once come into the realization of this. Alas! the first teaching of holiness has to be this, that in me, (even as a believer,) — that is, in my flesh, good does not dwell; and in order to strength, we have to learn the lesson of thorough and continual weakness.

At first, indeed, when salvation is new, and one has seen the shadow of death turned into morning through faith in a risen Saviour, whose death has made atonement for his sins, it may seem as if sin could no more put shackles on the enfranchised soul. Knowledge of the flesh and self as yet there is not, and with some it is but slowly attained. But full deliverance is not known until this has been realized nevertheless, — the Red Sea is not reached, Egypt is not left behind, they have not crossed its border. For the sea is its border, and through it only is God's way for His people, though it may seem there as if God had deserted them. For who could penetrate the wisdom that refused a path near, and not apparently difficult, to lead them by one bristling with most formidable difficulties? And how many misjudge in like manner His purpose, who, having begun to lead them in the way of holiness, in fulfillment of the desires which He has awakened in them, leads them, in fact, there where they have to cry and cry again, that they cannot do the things that they would? — progress beyond which seems quite impossible. How many, indeed, stop here, and strangely imagine they must after all serve Pharaoh with the best grace they can: to get out of Egypt, — to escape from under sin's law, they deem impossible! At peace with God through the blood of Christ, they yet think that as to the sin within them there is, and can be, no effectual deliverance! The mind is indeed changed,  — with the mind they serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin. They do not see that God is leading them beyond, — that after all, this is but the border of Egypt that they have reached — and that there where all progress seems to have stopped forever, God is at hand to give them so mighty a deliverance from the hand of their enemy that their hearts shall sing aloud of it forever.

The Red Sea is the border of Egypt; and if Egypt be in type the world, and we ask men how they pass out of the world, they will answer with one voice, "By death, and by death alone." Now that is not true in the sense in which they say it. Scripture does not lead us to say, "We must all die," but rather, with the apostle, "We shall not all sleep." Those who are Christ's, and "remain unto the coming of the Lord," will be changed without seeing death. And yet it is true that for this we must have passed out of the world before, so as not to have part in it, and that this passing out is by death also, but a death which Another has taken for us. Still we must look at the Red Sea as the type of death. Jordan, the limit of the wilderness, and which the people pass through dry-shod, as they pass through the sea, is similarly understood by all, and helps to confirm this meaning by its evident parallelism.

This "way of the sea" is God's ordained way for His people, — a way we pass by faith, to enter upon our pilgrim-path with God. By faith they passed through the sea as by dry land," says the apostle (Heb. 11:29). This dry-shod path which the rod of Moses clears for their passage, but which is no less cleared by "a strong east wind all the night" — we ought to be able without difficulty to interpret. The rod of Moses is the rod of power in the shepherd's hand: and has not our Shepherd cleft for us a path through death? And the strong east wind of adversity, — notice in Pharaoh's dream (Gen. 41:6) how the ears of corn are blasted with the east wind, — blowing through all the awful night of his distress, was it not that which did in fact clear the way for us through those waters of death through which by faith we pass out of Egypt, — out of the whole sphere of Pharaoh's rule, or the condition to which the "law of sin" applies?

But we must trace this experimentally, for it is with experience we have now to do. We are following the track of a people whose history is the type of an actual and real deliverance from a bondage infinitely worse than theirs; and as the bondage is a fact of experience, so the deliverance is also this. Let us get before us, then, this soul just started in the path with God, full of the precious reality of escaped judgment. His bonds are fallen off, — he is free. The joy of salvation is too much in his heart for the world and the things of the world to have power there. But how short a time may pass before all begins to change! The entrancement of His joy is less absolute than it was; the world through which he is passing begins to have more reality and power. Child of God as he is, he finds he has still a nature which is not all new nature. The flesh is there, and sin is in the flesh; its "mind" is still "enmity against God," its lusts go out after the things presented to it by the world; and here begins a struggle of which those who know it know the painfulness. The old enemy is reviving and gathering strength; the old chains are being again riveted. Israel's despairing cry by the sea finds its answer in the groan over a body of death which lies upon the soul, a burdensome, loathsome weight, which it is past its power to deal with, whether to improve or cast aside. "Oh wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?

It is "between Migdol and the sea" that Pharaoh comes upon them. Migdol should have an important place in the type, then: can we interpret it? The word signifies a "tower," such as might be a military post, the natural enough accompaniment of a border region. Jealous eyes no doubt watched the escaping hosts from thence. Egypt was not now friendly, and from a place of strength the people of the land would not fear to show hostility. Any way it was a tower in an enemy's country, not a place of help or refuge, but the stronghold of a power now armed against them to the teeth.

Surely the New Testament gives this significance. If we turn to the seventh of Romans, which is the key to the situation here, we shall find, if I mistake not, Migdol looming large upon the scene, and threatening enough to the soul seeking escape from sin's law. We need not, must not, hesitate to follow Scripture, however strangely it must sound to some to be told that "the strength of sin is the law" (1 Cor. 15:56), and that we must be "delivered from the law," not merely to be justified, but to "serve in newness of spirit" (Rom. 7:6).

Men will have it, because the law is spiritual, that it must be power for spirituality — power against sin. Scripture is decisive that "sin, taking occasion by the commandment," works in one under the law "all manner of concupiscence." (v. 8.) Nay, says he who testifies of it, "without the law sin was dead; for I was alive without the law once, but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died." (v. 9.) Surely this is just the position between Migdol and the sea, where Pharaoh overtook the camp of Israel.

That the law cannot justify is comparatively simple; that it hinders fruit-bearing is hard to realize. And yet it is as sure as that Migdol was in the enemy's country, and that Israel must leave it in order to escape the pursuit of Pharaoh and his hosts. Under the shadow of Migdol the tyrant of Egypt overtook his former slaves; under the law, the self-occupation which it produces and necessitates ends simply with the discovery of an impracticable body of sin and death from which I, wretched man, see no deliverance. Legality is inconsistent with holiness: self-occupation is not that by which I can produce fruit for God. I cannot bring about the spiritual state I long for, which would satisfy me; and God will give me no help at achieving self-complacency! I desire the consciousness of holiness: His own law gives me the consciousness of sin. Whence, then, can deliverance come?

Now let us look at the type again. First of all, let us mark, God does not lead Israel up against Pharaoh. Their own arm is not strengthened by His to bring salvation to them, they have instead to "stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord." God does not call us to fight against the flesh and subdue it. He neither points nor leads in that direction at all. "What other way?" many a heart in Israel might ask. Ah, God's thoughts are not as our thoughts, nor His ways as our ways. See now how the sea divides, and a channel is made through it, while its uplifted waters become a wall on the right hand and on the left! Christ's precious death is for us — is ours, so that we are dead by it, dead with Him, and as dead men are no longer "in the flesh." Not merely our sins are gone; WE are gone; we have died: Christ's death has ended our history before God; in Him who has passed through death we have passed through it, untouched, dry-shod; our standing is in Him beyond death.

This is of course true of every child of God: it is not a matter of attainment, and we cannot too earnestly insist upon this, and yet there is an attainment of it too. What is ours already we are called to apprehend as ours, and thus it is that we find the passage of the sea not on the passover night, but several stages beyond this. To enjoy the blessedness of the place, we must in fact reach it experimentally.

We have not to die to sin: we are dead, and to reckon ourselves dead. Dead with Christ, we are in Christ beyond death. The self I was taking up to cultivate and improve, God has set aside forever in the cross. Thus the waters are a wall to me, but the death of my enemies. "Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin may be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin." Self-occupation is ended for those who have learned thus the meaning of the cross, and that in Christ is their true self: that it is as "we all with open face behold the glory of the Lord, we are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Lord the Spirit." (2 Cor. 3:18.)

Faith is thus the principle of sanctification, as it is that of the new nature. "The law is not of faith:" it implies strength in us; faith finds it in Another. God honors it, and works by it, because it honors Christ. I am not dead to sin in experience; I do not feel myself so: I reckon it (Rom. 6:11). I cannot feel the cross of Christ; by faith I know its effect for me. Faith is, turning from myself to Another: it is the giving up of self-occupation and complacency. Thus by faith

I pass the sea to take my new position outside flesh and nature; and when I look back, find that my enemies are buried in the waters. Privileged to turn away from self, the conflict and the distress are over. In Christ is my place, in Him I find a satisfying and a heavenly object, lifting me out of the whole sphere of things in which the lust of the flesh finds what it seeks. Faith, love, hope, twine around Him their tendrils, and flourish there. Here the new nature expands and develops and bears fruit — fruit which is for her Master, not for her own taste and enjoyment. The fruits of the Spirit need to be ripened in the Sun. The least degree of occupation with Christ is GLORY.

7. Now, then, we come to the "song;" and how important it is that the soul should have a song! "Abounding therein with thanksgiving," says the apostle. If our hearts are not in the enjoyment of the deliverance, the deliverance can scarcely be in realization. There is power in joy: "the joy of the Lord is your strength." Happiness in Christ is an absolute necessity for holiness. The joy is worship — heaven begun.

(1) Jehovah is really God — their God. This is the first strain of the song, and so it must be. What a joy to have known God — to have found God! What a horrible solitude is a world without God! what a glorious God does salvation discover to us! Henceforth God is to be supreme: to be God, He must be that; and joy in Him is necessarily the spirit of obedience.

(2) Then the deliverance: it was all His own! we only looked and saw. Think of the old man destroyed! Think of death's piled-up waters! We are under the hand of Him whom all things serve.

(3) Nor is this merely power; nor is it the caprice of love, or of vengeance. Holiness is as manifest as power; nay, it is His peculiar glory, — the atmosphere of His presence, — the sanctuary in which He dwells, the satisfaction for our hearts who are called to behold Him there: for His redeemed He is guiding to His holy habitation. For us, this is heaven; but the tabernacle of God shall be with men also in the new earth.

(4) Now they look on to the prostration of all their enemies; nay, the blow already fallen has prostrated them: in the past and the present the future is involved, and God's people cannot be too confident in their anticipations. The glorious challenge of the apostle (Rom. 8:31-39) is the Christian's counterpart to what is here.

(5) The land is seen as the end of the way. God's hands have established the place of His sanctuary, and there the same hands will plant the people. The apostle Peter gives us the corresponding truth when he tells us that "God hath begotten us again . . . to an inheritance, incorruptible and undefiled, and that fadeth not away; reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation." (1 Peter 1:3-5.) A reserved inheritance for a preserved people: God's way leading to God's end; the Almighty revealing Himself such to those whom He carries through to their predestined place; — thus the song closes here.

(6) Then the victory itself is again recounted, stripped of poetical embellishment, grandest in its naked simplicity, type of a greater victory in which for eternity our hearts shall rejoice: evil is under the hand of God absolutely as all else is; goodness alone has might, as in the cross. He who is supreme is worthy to be supreme. This is a grand lesson which we learn in the world, but learn for heaven and eternity.

(7) The women's voices, with their musical accompaniment, take up the refrain. It is the seal of completeness. Sin had come in through the woman; now her heart is lifted up in praise, which testifies in itself of victory over it. The mute inanimate things also become responsive in these timbrels in her hand. The joy is full and universal in the redeemed creation.

Subdivision 4. (Ex. 15:22 — 18.)


Israel is, however, as yet but brought into the wilderness. We have now, therefore, — not the proper history of the wilderness (that we find in Numbers), but — the grace which meets the need of the wilderness, — how their bread is given them and their water is made sure. The meaning of their being brought here is evidently to wean them from all other dependencies, and to cast them upon God; to manifest His truth and trustworthiness in all the minutiae of daily care. His was the responsibility of bringing this multitude through to the land He had promised them, and He charges Himself with it, that we, no less than they, may learn to find Him in the smallest details, and most familiar and homely matters of common life. In the deliverance from Egypt He had shown Himself for them on a great occasion; and there are many who seem only to look for His interference upon great occasions. But our life is not made up of such, and from how much of it must He be banished if we are only to find Him there! Thank God, it is not so: He is about our path and about our bed, serving us ever in the perpetual need we have of Him.

But again, as types, what happened to them reveals to us deeper than physical needs, and a much more marvelous provision. As types, they must have anti-types greater than themselves; and with these, therefore, must be our main occupation, as continually through these books.

1. To be in the wilderness is not failure, but the consequence of redemption. The world is not for sense a wilderness: it is Egypt, — fruitful and fair enough, though storms may sweep through it. But for faith, yearning after the inheritance beyond, all is changed. He who learns to glory in the cross of Christ has to say, "By which the world is crucified to me, and I unto the world." The place of Christ's cross can be but barren ground — a wilderness.

But this truth of the wilderness is not in itself a pleasant, but a bitter, thing. The good of it is in the necessity which brings God in. A place of the most wonderful display of divine power and love, it is the necessity of the people which occasions this display. Had the desert brought forth bread for them, there would have been no bread from heaven. Had it produced water, there would have been no need for the water from the rock. God's supplies are, we must not say, proportioned to the necessity (they are over-abundant), but they are occasioned by it.

Marah, as the introduction to the desert, is just the symbol of what the desert is. It was its proximity to the sea that made the waters bitter. Lying low by the shore, the saltness of the sea made (and still makes) the waters brackish. If the sea speak of death, then Marah shows the wilderness as the place of death, where not merely is nothing given for our thirst, but what is there is the very provocative of thirst.

Naturally, we shrink from this. Marah, in itself, is never pleasant. The Christian spirit with regard to all the sorrow and sin that are in the world is never apathy, — never indifference. It is as redeemed we come to Marah; redemption places in the very position in which to feel the bitterness of the world. Brought dry-shod through the sea, we are then made to drink of it.

But if the flesh shrinks from Marah, God has a remedy, and though we do not know the tree which God showed Moses, we know its antitype. It is the cross of Christ, — the fellowship of His sufferings, and the knowledge of its being that, what suffering can it not sweeten? We are sharing His experiences who gives us therein to realize the wonderful place which He has taken for us, — the path in which divine love led Him for our sakes. We have communion with Himself in such a way as we could not else enjoy; and nothing brings hearts together like sharing a common lot of toil and sorrow.

Atonement was Christ's work alone: here none could be with Him. But in other aspects even of the cross itself we may find that which, linking itself with the glory at the end, characterizes our path. We follow a rejected Master, and are made partakers of His sufferings. This bitterness of death in the wilderness is not the experience which falls to the common lot of men. It is not simply, as in the body, enduring the ills which they say flesh is heir to. It is what results from being linked with Christ in His path of suffering, and in spirit with Him to whom the spirit of the world was only that. "If we suffer with Him, we shall also reign with Him." But if with Him we suffer, Marah is no longer Marah; "the valley of Baca (of tears) becomes a well;" the tree is in the waters.

And here is God's standing ordinance for us, and by which He proves us. God. is our Healer; He maketh whole and from the diseases of Egypt He will exempt us, if only we endure the test. If we will accept of the path of sorrow and trial which the Lord gives us here, we shall escape the afflictions which are His judgments on the world, and which come on those also who take their place with the world. Those who do not suffer for Christ, or with Christ, do not by their unfaithfulness escape suffering. They only suffer with the Egyptians.

This is what divine love — what He who has redeemed us to Himself says to us as His redeemed. Love itself cannot give us escape from the necessity of conforming to these conditions. It would not be love to do so. We shall find at last how in fact we have entered in this way, — as only by it we could enter, — into some of the deepest secrets of the heart of God. It is here in this scene of sin and sorrow that we are learning Christ — the Christ we are to enjoy forever. Even in the glory we could not learn what we learn here on earth. But to learn the Man of Sorrows, we must learn sorrow which yet is lost in the infinite joy of being made like Him, and linked with Him, and in Him learning that which is to be our possession forever.

From Marah now, too, we reach Elim, and here is divine and abundant refreshment for a thirsty people. When we are conformed to God's conditions we find that the water is not always and merely water that must be sweetened for us. There is water which is in itself sweet, — pure, unalloyed satisfaction and joy, which has no sorrow in it.

The twelve springs answering to the twelve tribes, seem to point to a provision for those under the manifest government of God — an obedient people. We must have been at Marah to find Elim. The sweet water must be tasted after the bitter. When we have stooped to drink the bitter water we shall have the sweet.

Elim means "trees," implying strong trees, clearly referring to the growth nourished by its flowing springs. The living water of the Spirit nourishes the "trees of the Lord," which "are full of sap" and the palm-tree is the figure of the righteous, — upright, and every way profitable, — bringing forth fruit still in old age (Ps 92:12, 14) perennial as the streams that nourish them.

2. And now we come to the manna, — the bread with which God sustains His people in the wilderness. Here we cannot be at a loss for the interpretation. Christ is the true bread from heaven, given of the Father, the food of His people, — the meat which, though we find it in the wilderness of this world, nevertheless endures unto eternal life. It is Christ in His humiliation "coming down from heaven," but which will be the sustenance of the soul in heaven itself. The story is told in eight subsections, which carry us on, therefore, to the land of promise.

(1) It is in the wilderness of Sin where the manna falls for the first time, and the numerical stamp seems to emphasize its meaning. "Sin" is connected with seneh, a "thorn-bush," the word used for that in which God revealed Himself to Moses. We are familiar already with the thorn as the sign of the ground cursed for man's sake, and we must not surely forget it here. Yet here both the numerical place and the lesson of the whole chapter seem to insist upon another character of a "wilderness of thorn." Of Palestine in its present state Tristram says, "The combined heat and dryness of the climate seem to develop a tendency to form thorns, even in groups like the astragalus, where we should least expect them. All plants become more spiny in rocky and parched situations, the expansive effort which under moister conditions would develop a bough with leaf or blossom being arrested, and forming merely a barren thorn or spine. "No picture could be more striking than this: the sun smiting, the genial heavenly influence become a scorching heat, water — the type of the Spirit — withheld, the barren soil with its vegetation running into weapons of offense: such is the world as the place of need into which the Son of God came as Son of man.

(2) The people again break out into murmuring: an unhumbled spirit can take God's grace as a thing of course, but resents whatever reminds it that God is not its debtor. How beautiful the grace that can meet this return for so mighty a deliverance with the assurance of new and continual mercy! Heaven will bestow what no labor of their own can get; giving, indeed, in such a way ("the day's portion in its day") that dependence shall be maintained; for thus the blessing is more than doubled; and providing also that human activity shall be required in its place, for what is given them they must gather. On the sixth day the amount is twice as much as usual; for the sixth day is the day of discipline which is also the day of spiritual harvest.

(3) In the manna, Jehovah manifests Himself afresh as the Deliverer out of Egypt, and His glory appears in the cloud as they look toward the wilderness. There is little need to interpret this: it is by Christ we believe in God (1 Peter 1:21); and it would be loss indeed to stop short of this. "I and my Father are one" leads into the innermost sanctuary of wonder and worship. There is no hidden God any more, save as in the light, — not darkness, — in which He dwells, there are, indeed, inaccessible depths of glory (1 Tim. 6:16). This is only to say that the God who is perfectly revealed is of course God.

(4) Now we are made to see what the manna is like. A flight of quails precedes it in the evening, which furnish the people with the flesh that had been promised them. And as we know abundantly what this death as the food of life means, we can have no difficulty as to it here. The Lord Himself, in His sermon on this text of manna (John 6), assures us that we must not only eat His flesh, but drink His blood, or we have no life in us. His person and His work are both necessary to us; and in fact His sacrifice must precede, as in the blood-sprinkled house alone they could feed on the lamb. So the quails come first, and in the evening. In the morning, the dew exhales and leaves the manna, as the Spirit of God ministers Christ.

It is upon the ground, so that they must stoop to gather it, — on the face of the wilderness, — something fine, as if pounded to pieces, — fine as the hoar-frost on the ground. This is as the people see it, who have not yet tasted it, and know not what it is. It evidently does not look much, — has upon it marks as if of rough usage; it reminds us of the prophet's words, "No beauty in Him that we should desire Him." "What is it?" they say; for they wist not what it was.  "The world knew Him not."

There is a natural manna which on account of its likeness to this has been used to discredit the miracle. But it is not properly a food, but a drug, — an exudation from a tree that an insect has pierced, wholly impossible to confound, one would say, with the divine gift: yet men do often confound it. And there are multitudes who confound Christ with common men: but who else could say and prove it, "He that eateth Me, even he shall live by Me"?

(5) As to the gathering of the manna, we have a striking and solemn thing. Every man, it was found, gathered according to his eating. There was no lack for any: each got what he wanted, and not more than he wanted. Does not Christ meet the need we really have of Him? He does: but how much, then, is that need with each of us?

(6) The manna was not to be hoarded, but gathered (with one exception) morning by morning, and eaten on the day it fell. Hoarded, it bred worms, and stank. So must a living faith draw continually for continual need. We cannot live to-day upon yesterday's enjoyment! Our past experiences will in this case only turn into corruption: they will feed pride; they will be knowledge that puffs up.

(7) And now, along with the manna, the Sabbath appears. In the double measure of the sixth day, it is provided for before it is enjoined: they rest not as mere duty, but as privilege; and in the gospels we find this rest connected in the most striking way with the reception of the Lord Himself. He is Lord of the Sabbath. They could not reject Him and have a Sabbath. With Christ known and fed upon, rest follows necessarily; found as we realize a love which has stooped so low as to give us the joy of companionship with Himself, and to bring us near, in Himself, to God. Away from God, Cainlike, we are but fugitives and vagabonds upon the earth. Nor can circumstances make peace for us; nay, while He says, "In the world ye shall have tribulation," He adds directly, "but in Me ye shall have peace."

In connection with this, we find for the first time what the manna is really like, for those who had tasted it. "It was like coriander-seed, white; and the taste of it was like wafer-cakes with honey." It was white — absolute purity, and more: of the color which speaks of the reflection of the full ray of light, and God is light. Its taste was like honey. Honey is the type of natural sweetness, able to yield refreshment if tasted by the way, as with Jonathan in the wood, but needing the wise man's caution in its use (Prov. 25:16), and unfit for the fire which tries the offering of the Lord. But the manna only resembles honey in its sweetness: it can abide the fire; and the fire prepares it for the people's food. In Christ is all the sweetness of human affection, — of a Friend that sticketh closer than a brother; but a nature pure, unfallen, incorruptible: the reality of manhood which invites us to intimacy, yet upon which God can put the seal of His Spirit in perfect approbation of it all.

(7) Thus of necessity this food "endureth to eternal life," as Christ Himself has told us. The enjoyment of it is not for the present only. And so the manna, though it could not be kept for one day's need in the wilderness, could be kept for the land. The golden pot speaks of how God is glorified in what is here made ours, and perhaps of that glorified One Himself who retains forever the memory of the past, and the gracious heart of the Son of Man also. And we shall not only "see," as Israel might, but "eat" of the "hidden manna" (Rev. 2:17), in the heavenly land to which He is bringing us. It is then in fact, when we come to be there, that we shall have the full enjoyment, — knowing as we are known, — of all the experiences which though they be of the wilderness, yet wait for the land to which we are hastening to find their full interpretation and blessing. The meat endures to everlasting life. We are now enjoying that which we shall enjoy for eternity. We feed on that which shall he eternally our food.

3. We have now a familiar type of the Spirit — the living water from the smitten rock; and, as an appendix to it, a necessary one, but still only that, in Amalek, the picture of the fleshly lusts which, in opposition to the Spirit, war against the soul. The numerical structure is here peculiarly significant: for the number of the section, while it is plainly that of the Spirit, says nothing of the strife that follows; nor could it come in very well as a fourth section, which the first part of the eighteenth chapter, moreover, plainly is. On the other hand, the number characterizes it exactly, if coming in as an appendix merely to the third section, unnoticed in the designation of the section itself, and yet finding its prepared place in connection with it. How clearly the spiritual meaning reigns in all this! and how it is brought out by the very arrangement! What connection has the conflict with Amalek with the water from the rock, other than a spiritual one? It comes in the historical order, no doubt. Yes, because "all these things happened unto them for types." The connection is spiritual, it is grounded on this, that if we have the Spirit, "the flesh lusteth against the Spirit." And yet this is but incidental, not to be put upon a level with the glorious reality of the gift of the Holy Ghost itself, which is permanent and eternal blessing. Moreover, as the meaning of all this subdivision is to show the divine furnishing in grace for the wilderness, the struggle with Amalek necessarily could only have a subordinate place.

(1) "Bread shall be given him, his waters shall be sure," says the prophet of salvation. We have seen how the first part of this was fulfilled to delivered Israel; we are now to see the fulfillment of the rest. Again, as sent in answer to the murmuring of the people, the stamp of divine grace is upon the gift. Grace is a mightier triumph over sin than judgment. If the sixth chapter of John's gospel interprets the manna for us, the seventh chapter interprets here. "In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, 'If any man thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink. He that believeth on Me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.' But this spake He of the Spirit, which they that believe on Him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified."

Thus, if the manna shows forth the Lord upon earth in humiliation and rejection, the living water as a gift depends upon His exaltation and glory. If men are to be the recipients of the Holy Ghost, the work must be accomplished for them which alone can enable them to receive or God to give this unspeakable gift. In view of this, the scene in Exodus becomes easy enough to interpret. Horeb is "the dry place," but it now yields water. Against nature, "contrary to nature," is the Lord's working; and the Lord — it is specially noted — is Himself there. He stands upon the rock which is to display at once His power and His grace. The rod which had smitten the river smites it, — the rod of power in behalf of the people; and the streams gush out, an abundant supply for all the thirsty multitude. The smiting of the Rock for us has created a spring of refreshment and satisfaction as inexhaustible as the eternal source from which it comes; and its source is in God Himself — in the love of Him whose name is Love.

The type of water is pregnant with instruction, as it is that which supplies one of man's deepest cravings and strongest necessities. Thirst unsatisfied kills sooner far than hunger, nor can hunger itself be really satisfied where thirst is not, at least in measure, really met. A glance at the need to which water ministers will enable us to understand this.

The soil otherwise most fruitful, without water, is unable to yield nourishment to the rootlets of the plant, which will die of drought in the midst of abundance. Water alone dissolves the nutriment, and supplies it in a shape suited to be taken up and assimilated into sap and juice. In the plant, and in the animal body, every constituent part is saturated with water, which alone enables it to fulfill its function and take its place in living relation to the whole. How perfect and beautiful an expression of that constant ministry of the Spirit with which for due and healthy life we must be "filled," and by which alone we are enabled to absorb and digest all spiritual food!

Every one who has preceded us upon the path of faith has been sustained of the Spirit, as born of the Spirit at first. This is not, of course, peculiar to Christian times. But the streams from the smitten Rock have in them that which is peculiar. All streams carry with them the witness of the soil through which they flow, — of the fountain-head in which they originate. The Spirit of God, come down to us as the fruit of accomplished redemption and of Christ's accepted work, is to our hearts the witness of our acceptance and the Spirit of adoption, by which we cry, Abba, Father. A new and settled relationship to God, in and through His Beloved, such as before could not have been known or dreamt of is now made consciously our own.

At that day ye shall know that I am in the Father, and ye in Me, and I in you." Thus the Spirit ministers Christ, and with Him the knowledge of the Father; communion with the Father and the Son becomes our portion, and herein fullness of joy.

(2) The appendix to this has how different a tale to tell! Amalek is the grandson of profane Esau, whose name Edom, earned by his actions, is almost identical with Adam. Amalek's own name has no determined significance. It has been thought to be composed of am and laq, and thus to mean "a people that licks up," or "exhausts." This would be appropriate enough, but Scripture points rather to a derivation from Amal and laq, which would give us the thought of "labor that exhausts." The first of these words is found in Balaam's blessing of the people the second time, as Amalek appears in the third and fourth. "He hath not seen perverseness in Israel is literally, "He hath not seen amal," — the wearisome labor which one's own will involves; that "labor" from which the Lord calls men off to the "rest" of His easy yoke. Amal is thus connected with the will or lust of the flesh, and Amalek may well be the offspring of the old man, Edom. Amalek appears plainly in the third blessing: "His king shall be higher than Agag" — king of the Amalekites. And in the fourth, where the star rises out of Jacob — where Christ's coming is seen, — then it is that Amalek perishes forever.

Put these together, and they read consistently enough as typical of the old nature and its fruits. The first thing for blessing is, "God hath not seen it"— it is not imputed. Next, Christ, Israel's king, is strong above Agag: we are delivered from its actual supremacy. Thirdly, when Christ comes, Amalek perishes forever.

Again, if we compare the present chapter with the twentieth of Numbers, we shall find a strikingly similar scene in the first part of each: — the murmuring of the people in their thirst, the name "Meribah" given in each case to the place, the water brought from the rock to supply their thirst; and while here the conflict with Amalek follows, in Numbers follows correspondingly a scene with Edom.

Amalek thus seems to represent the flesh's will or lust, and the apostle Peter may well refer to this very place when he speaks of "fleshly lusts, which war against the soul."

"The flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary, the one to the other, so that ye should not do the things that ye would." (Gal. 5:17.) It is not "cannot" do, as in the common version: the tendency of the constant opposition between "flesh" and "Spirit," essential in their very natures, is, to hinder the man who has the Spirit from doing what he would. If it said "cannot," this would deny the power of the Spirit to control the flesh. On the contrary, the apostle says, "Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh." But the flesh is there as this implies, and ready ever to assert itself. How solemn to find, in this way, after the water from the rock, the conflict with Amalek!

Yet though it is all right, and needful to assert in this connection, we must mark just how Scripture connects this attack of the foe. "He called the name of the place 'Massah' and 'Meribah, ' on account of the striving of the children of Israel, and on account of their tempting Jehovah, saying, 'Is Jehovah in the midst of us, or not?'  Then came Amalek." That is, the moral link, as given thus, seems to be, not between the gift of the water and Amalek's onset, but between the unbelief of the people and this attack.

Another thing which is very evident, let us at the same time particularly note: that Amalek assaults Israel, not Israel Amalek. God did not call to this conflict. He did not say, Seek out and destroy Amalek; it is Amalek seeks out Israel; and Israel's unbelief exposes them to the attack.

And so the apostle: he does not say, "Fight against fleshly lusts," but "abstain," "hold off from," them, — which if it were done, no war were possible. This sort of conflict is not a necessity of God's imposing, but the result of faith not having been in due exercise. Did we "hold off from" the lusts of the flesh by the whole length of being dead with Christ to sin, — were we always reckoning ourselves dead, as we are entitled and bound to do, conflict of this kind would be impossible: dead men no more fight than they are allured. And this is no undue insisting upon the Scripture term; for the apostle similarly presses the force of it, where he urges "for he that is dead is freed (or rather, justified) from sin." (Rom. 6:7.) That is, you cannot charge lusts, for instance, on a dead man: he has none. This, of course, is only faith's reckoning; but it is true, or it could not be faith's, and just as simple for the argument here as in the very similar one that the apostle urges. He who, because Christ died to sin for him once, reckons himself dead, cannot be seduced, nor even fight with seduction. But are we always practically in the faith of this? Would that we were! But when we are not, we are shorn Samsons, most accessible, and without strength.

Conflict of this kind, then, comes from faith's failure; and when entangled — if our eyes have been upon the world, and have affected our hearts, then we must indeed fight in order to be free.

Note, then, that in the field Joshua is the leader. Joshua is Jesus: the names are the same, and Christ acting by the Spirit is distinctly what he represents to us, — the Captain of our salvation, who leads us into practical apprehension of the heavenly places into which He is gone. We want, as this means, the positive enjoyment of what is ours in the heavenlies, in order to be free from entanglement, and really pilgrims and strangers on the earth.

But even Joshua's success is dependent, as we see directly, upon Moses being on the hill-top before God, and the holding up of the rod of power before Him. If Moses' hands are up, Israel prevails; but if Moses' hands are down, Amalek prevails. Moses is here another type of Christ, but as gone in to God, presenting before Him the value of that work in which, on the part of His people, divine power has acted. And the supporters of Moses' hands figure, surely, that in Him (not, of course, external to Him,) which keeps Him, so to speak, in the place He has taken for us. On the one hand, Aaron seems to represent His priestly character, as touched with the feeling of our infirmities, gracious and compassionate; on the other, Hur, "white," speaks as the manna did, of One who fully reflects the light which God is. Here, then, is mercy toward man, righteousness toward God, — an "Advocate with the Father;" and also "Jesus Christ the righteous."

Real dependence on the one hand, thorough subjection to the word of God on the other — for it is by the edge of the sword that Joshua discomfits their enemies, — these things, with one who knows redemption and acceptance in the Beloved, are what will carry him safe and victorious through all opposition and hindrances. But though Amalek is beaten off, Amalek is not destroyed. Israel has gained nothing by the conflict; and by the victory, only a free and unobstructed road. The battle with Amalek was but an episode in their history, not, as so many find the inward struggle, a daily experience. In the epistle to the Philippians, — the rehearsal of Christian experience, — the flesh is only mentioned to say we have no confidence in it: and these are "the true circumcision, who worship God in the spirit, and boast in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh." May we be more fully such!

4. The deliverance is complete: the grace which begins perfects the work. Nothing more is needed as to this. But the effect of the work is yet to be seen, for God's way is ever to make the blessing of one the means of blessing to others also. Thus it will be when the final salvation of Israel is accomplished, it will be to the world, says the apostle, "as life from the dead." (Rom. 11:15.)

In the present time, God is making the recipients of His salvation a testimony by which He works on others, — a thing that needs no insisting on, and which we find illustrated in the case of Jethro in a way so clear that it may be left to speak for itself.

5. The fifth and last section has more difficulty, and yet there need not be much doubt as to the general meaning. According to the number we have before us, as it would seem, those governmental ways of God, by which the "way" leads to the "end," an end which is its righteous (while it may be gracious) recompense. In the history, we find Moses acting under the counsel of his father-in-law, sharing with chosen men of ability in Israel the service of rule over the people. It can scarcely fail to connect itself in our thoughts with that of which it may well be typical, — the day on which Christ (of whom all through Moses speaks to us) shall give according to the will of His Father (Matt. 20:23) His people to share His throne as Son of Man (Rev. 3:21). This is surely a fitting and beautiful close of this series of types, which has given us thus in wonderful completeness and reality the history of redemption. Grace ends not with us till the reward of grace is given, and it shines at last in glory. Beyond this these types could not go, and a new series must begin with that which follows.