Exodus 1:7
but the Israelites were fruitful and increased abundantly; they multiplied and became exceedingly strong, so that the land was filled with them.
Sermons
Tarry Thou the Lord's LeisureG.A. Goodhart Exodus 1:1-7
The Prosperity of IsraelD. Young Exodus 1:1-22
A Multiplying People and a King's FearsJ. Orr Exodus 1:7-11
Israel in EgyptG.A. Goodhart Exodus 1:7-14
A Bad King Will Make a Wicked PeopleJ. S. Exell, M. A.Exodus 1:7-22
A Definition of the Fear of GodC. Buck.Exodus 1:7-22
A King's IgnoranceHomilistExodus 1:7-22
A Large PopulationJ. S. Exell, M. A.Exodus 1:7-22
A Large Population, and What it Led ToJ. S. Exell, M. A.Exodus 1:7-22
A Perversion of LanguageG. Bush.Exodus 1:7-22
Affliction and GrowthH. C. Trumbull.Exodus 1:7-22
Ancestry Numerically RegardedPopular Science MonthlyExodus 1:7-22
Beneficent Influence of the Fear of GodJ. Parker, D. D.Exodus 1:7-22
Beneficial Effects of AfflictionJ. Trapp.Exodus 1:7-22
Change of GovernmentG. Hughes, B. D.Exodus 1:7-22
Civilizing Influence of the Fear of GodT. Guthrie, D. D.Exodus 1:7-22
Darkest Before the DawnJ. J. Van Oosterzee, D. D.Exodus 1:7-22
Egypt Opposed to IsraelW. Jenkyn.Exodus 1:7-22
Egypt, the House of Bondage to God's PeopleJ. B. Brown, B. A.Exodus 1:7-22
Egypt's New KingJ. S. Exell, M. A.Exodus 1:7-22
Embittering the Lives of OthersH. C. Trumbull.Exodus 1:7-22
Emptiness of FameChristian JournalExodus 1:7-22
Excellency of the Fear of GodJ. Spencer.Exodus 1:7-22
Fear of God a SafeguardDr. Hugh Macmillan.Exodus 1:7-22
Fruitfulness of Israelites in EgyptA. Nevin, D. D.Exodus 1:7-22
Graces Multiply by AfflictionT. Adams.Exodus 1:7-22
High Social Position Used for the Furtherance of a Wicked PurposeJ. S. Exell, M. A.Exodus 1:7-22
How to Defeat the DevilSpurgeon, Charles HaddonExodus 1:7-22
Increase by God's BlessingG. Hughes, B. D.Exodus 1:7-22
Increasing Power of SinA. Maclaren, D. D.Exodus 1:7-22
Jealousy of AutocratsScientific Illustrations and SymbolsExodus 1:7-22
Life Maintained by StrugglingScientific Illustrations and SymbolsExodus 1:7-22
Like Ruler, Like PeopleJ. Harding.Exodus 1:7-22
Lnjuries OverruledScientific Illustrations and SymbolsExodus 1:7-22
Moral Growth Proportionate to AfflictionJ. S. Exell, M. A.Exodus 1:7-22
Moulding Influences of LifeH. W. Beecher.Exodus 1:7-22
Obedience to ConscienceW. Baxendale.Exodus 1:7-22
Oblivion and NeglectJ. Spencer.Exodus 1:7-22
Oppression and GrowthA. Maclaren, D. D.Exodus 1:7-22
Persecution FertilisingJ. Orton.Exodus 1:7-22
Persecution of God's People for Hypothetical OffencesJ. Cumming, D. D.Exodus 1:7-22
Pharaoh's Cruel PolicyA. Maclaren, D. D.Exodus 1:7-22
Pharaoh's Evil Intention Frustrated by GodG. Hughes, B. D.Exodus 1:7-22
Pharaoh's Murderous IntentionsJ. Parker, D. D.Exodus 1:7-22
Pharaoh's Sceptical ReasoningA. Nevin, D. D.Exodus 1:7-22
Progress in SinExodus 1:7-22
Prosperity Under PersecutionsSpurgeon, Charles HaddonExodus 1:7-22
Strange IncreaseThe Apology of Al Kindy, A. D. 830.Exodus 1:7-22
Successful ColonistsScientific Illustrations and SymbolsExodus 1:7-22
Suffering and StrengthW. H. D. Adams.Exodus 1:7-22
That God Allowed His People Thus to be Enslaved and AfflictedJ. S. Exell, M. A.Exodus 1:7-22
The Advantage of AfflictionsJ. Spencer.Exodus 1:7-22
The Best ServiceJ. Parker, D. D.Exodus 1:7-22
The Bitter LivesDr. Fowler.Exodus 1:7-22
The BondageP. Fairbairn, D. D.Exodus 1:7-22
The Bondage of SinC. S. Robinson, D. D.Exodus 1:7-22
The Bondage of SinW. M. Taylor, D. D.Exodus 1:7-22
The Bondage of SinIsaac Barrow.Exodus 1:7-22
The Climax of CrueltyM. M. Kalisch, Ph. D.Exodus 1:7-22
The Despotism of SinJ. S. Exell, M. A.Exodus 1:7-22
The Egyptians Were GrievedJ. S. Exell, M. A.Exodus 1:7-22
The End and Design of the CouncilJ. S. Exell, M. A.Exodus 1:7-22
The Fear of GodGreat ThoughtsExodus 1:7-22
The Increase of the ChurchJ. S. Exell, M. A.Exodus 1:7-22
The King that Knew not JosephJ. Cumming, D. D.Exodus 1:7-22
The Last Edict of a Tyrant KingJ. S. Exell, M. A.Exodus 1:7-22
The Mummy of Rameses the GreatC. S. Robinson, D. D.Exodus 1:7-22
The Spiritual Bondage of MenR. P. Buddicom, M. A.Exodus 1:7-22
The Sufferings of Israel Were Rendered More IntenseJ. S. Exell, M. A.Exodus 1:7-22
The Taskmasters of the WorldJ. S. Exell, M. A.Exodus 1:7-22
The University of Hard KnocksDr. Talmage.Exodus 1:7-22
The Vicissitudes of PowerJ. S. Exell, M. A.Exodus 1:7-22
Use of AdversityIrish Congregational MagazineExodus 1:7-22
Why Does Persecution and Trial Operate ThusJ. S. Exell, M. A.Exodus 1:7-22
Why Were the Males to be Put to Death?J. S. Exell, M. A.Exodus 1:7-22
Wrong CouncilsJ. S. Exell, M. A.Exodus 1:7-22
The increase of Israel in Egypt excited Pharaoh's jealousy. They were a useful people, and he dreaded their departure (ver. 10). But their staying was almost equally an occasion of uneasiness. Their position in Lower Egypt, so near the frontier, made them dangerous in case of wars. Revolutions were not infrequent, and many things were less likely than a future Hebrew dynasty. Hence the policy of breaking their power, and checking their increase, by reducing them to servitude.

I. VIEW ISRAEL'S INCREASE AS A WORK OF DIVINE POWER. While -

1. Natural - that is, not miraculous, but due to the superabundant blessing of God on ordinary means - it was yet,

2. Extraordinary, and

3. Invincible - defying the efforts of the tyrant to check it. It may be legitimately viewed as a type of the spiritual increase of the Church. This also -

1. Excites astonishment. So great a fruitfulness had never before been known. It was a marvel to all who witnessed it. Like surprise is awakened by the facts of the history of the Church. Consider

(1) The smallness of the Church's beginnings.

(2) The rapidity of her growth.

(3) What opposition she has encountered.

(4) What efforts have been made to crush her.

(5) How she survives, and has from time to time renewed her youth.

(6) How she has even thriven in the fires of persecution.

(7) How, notwithstanding formidable resistance, and great internal lukewarmness and corruption, her progress is being steadily maintained.

2. Awakens jealousy and fear. The world does not relish the progress of the Gospel. It resents it as full of danger to itself. The filling of the land with sincere believers would mean the downfall of its power. Its spirit shown in opposition to revivals of religion, in decrying missions, in anger at bold and fearless preaching of Christ, followed by saving results, etc.

3. Can only be accounted for by ascribing it to God as its author, Naturalistic explanations have been offered. Gibbon has enumerated "secondary causes." So "secondary causes," might be pointed to in explaining the increase of Israel, yet these alone would not account for it. There was implied a Divine power, imparting to ordinary means an extraordinary efficacy. As little can the success of Christianity be explained on grounds of mere naturalism.

1. The Bible attributes it to Divine efficiency.

2. Those who experience its power unhesitatingly trace it to this source.

3. The Church is successful only as she relies on Divine assistance.

4. Naturalistic theories, one and all, break down in their attempts at explanation.

Each new one that appears founds itself on the failure of its predecessors. It, in turn, is exploded by a rival. The supernatural hypothesis is the only one which accounts for all the facts.

II. VIEW PHARAOH'S POLICY AS A TYPE OF WORLDLY POLICY GENERALLY. Leave it to describe itself, and it is -

1. Far-seeing.

2. Politic,

3. Unsentimental. Napoleon was unsentimental: "What are a hundred thousand lives, more or less, to me!"

4. A necessity of the time. Describe it as it ought to be described, and it appears in a less favourable light.

1. Ever awake to selfish interests.

2. Acute to perceive (or imagine) danger.

3. Unrestrained by considerations of gratitude. The new king "knew not Joseph." Nations, like individuals, are often forgetful of their greatest benefactors.

4. Regardless of the rights of others.

5. Cruel - stops at nothing. It will, with Pharaoh, reduce a nation to slavery; or, with Napoleon, deluge continents with blood. Yet -

6. Is essentially short-sighted. All worldly policy is so. The King of Egypt could not have taken a more effectual means of bringing about the evils that he dreaded. He made it certain, if-it was uncertain before, that in the event of war, the Hebrews would take part with his enemies. He set in motion a train of causes, which, as it actually happened, led to the departure of the whole people from Egypt. His policy thus outwitted itself, proved suicidal, proclaimed itself to be folly. Learn -

1. The folly of trusting in man. "Beware of men" (Matthew 10:17).

2. How futile man's wisdom and cunning are when matched against God's power.

3. The short-sightedness of selfish and cruel action. - J.O.







The children of Israel were fruitful
I. NOTWITHSTANDING THE REMOVAL OF ITS CHIEF OFFICER (ver. 6). Joseph dead; his influence gone; his counsel inaccessible. To-day the Church loses her chief officers, but it still grows.

II. NOTWITHSTANDING THE DECADE OF THE GENERATION (ver. 6). So to-day men die, but the Church, by making new converts, multiplies her progeny to an almost incredible extent.

III. NOTWITHSTANDING THE PERSECUTION TO WHICH IT WAS SUBJECTED (ver. 11). The Church can never be put down by force. The Infinite Power is on her side. This is more than all that can be against her.

IV. NOTWITHSTANDING THE ARTIFICES BY WHICH IT WAS SOUGHT TO RE BETRAYED (vers. 15-22). So the Church has been in danger through the treachery of the outside world, and through the daring cruelty of meddlesome men. Still it grows. May it soon fill the world, as the Israelites did Egypt! All Church increase is from God; not from men, not from means. God has promised to multiply the Church.

(J. S. Exell, M. A.)

1. The death of fathers cannot hinder God's increase of the Church's children. They decrease and these increase under God.

2. God's promises for His Church's increase cannot fall to the ground. He doth fulfil them.

3. Fruitfulness, abundant increase, multiplication excessive, and strength, are the Church's blessing from God.

4. God works wonderfully to fulfil His promise of increasing His people.

5. The land of enemies is made by God a nursery for the increase of His Church.

6. God's blessing makes His Israel to fill Egypt, the Church to fill the world.

(G. Hughes, B. D.)

I. A LARGE POPULATION IS OF GREAT ADVANTAGE TO A NATION.

1. It gives an impulse to civilization.

2. It augments the force of the national prowess.

3. It invests the nation with importance in the estimation of surrounding kingdoms.

II. A LARGE POPULATION SOMETIMES EXCITES THE SUSPICION AND ENVY OF NEIGHBOURING KINGS.

1. Pharaoh was jealous of the numerical growth of Israel.

2. He was suspicious of what might befall his country in future exigencies.

III. THIS SUSPICION FREQUENTLY LEADS KINGS TO PRACTISE THE MOST ABJECT SLAVERY.

1. It was cunning.

2. It was unjust.

3. It was painful.

4. It was apparently productive of gain.But what was gained in public buildings was lost in sensitiveness of conscience, force of manhood, and worth of character. Slavery involves a loss of all that is noble in human nature, and it leads to murder (ver. 22).

IV. SLAVERY IS AN INCOMPETENT METHOD OF CONQUEST.

1. Because it does not gain the sympathy of the people it conquers.

2. Because it arouses the indignation of those who are subject to its cruelties.

3. It does not save a ruler from the calamity he seeks to avert.

(J. S. Exell, M. A.)

— The larger the population of a nation, the greater are its capabilities of sympathy, mutual dependency, and help, and often-times the greater difficulty in its right government.

(J. S. Exell, M. A.)

I. There are three aspects in which the oppression of Israel in Egypt may be viewed. It was the fulfilment of God's own word; it was education; it was a type.

1. The covenant with Abraham had included the prediction of four hundred years of oppression in a strange land. The fulfilment is reached through the fears and cruel policy of Pharaoh. The Bible decisively upholds the view that not in Israel alone, but everywhere, the movements of nations, as the incidents of individual lives, are directed by God. To it the most important thing about Egypt and the mighty Rameses was that he and it were the instruments for carrying out God's designs in reference to Israel. Has not history verified the view? Who cares about anything else in that reign in comparison with its relation to the slaves in Goshen?

2. The oppression was, further, education. We can say nothing certainly as to the teaching which Israel received in science, art, letters, or religion. Some debts, no doubt, accrued in all these departments. Probably the alphabet itself was acquired by them, and some tinge of acquaintance was made by a few with other parts of the early blossoming Egyptian civilization. But the oppression taught them better things than these. Pressure consolidates. Common sorrows are wonderful quickeners of national feeling. The heavier the blows, the closer grained the produce of the forge. Not increase of numbers only, but tough knit consciousness of their unity, was needed for their future. They acquired some beginnings of that extraordinary persistency of national life which has characterized them ever since, in these bitter days. Note further, they learned endurance, without which the education of a nation, as of a man, is defective. The knowledge of God's covenant with Abraham would in some degree be preserved, and it taught them that their affliction was part of the Divine plan for them. So they would learn — at least the best of them would — to look for the better things following which the covenant held forth, and would be able to see some gleam of the dawn even in the thickest darkness. "If winter comes, can spring be far behind?" The evil foretold and accomplished is turned into prophecy of the good foretold and yet unseen.

3. The growth of Israel under its oppression. The pressure which was intended to crush only condensed. "The more they afflicted them, the more they... grew." So the foiled oppressors glared at them with a mixture of awe and loathing, for both feelings are implied in the words rendered "were grieved." It is the history of the nation in a nutshell. The same marvellous tenacity of life, the same power of baffling oppression and thriving under it, have been their dower ever since, and continue so yet. The powers that oppress them fill the world with their noise for awhile, and pass away like a dream; they abide. For every tree felled, a hundred saplings spring up. What does it mean? and how comes it? The only answer is that God preserves them for a better deliverance from a worse bondage, and as His witnesses in their humiliation, as they were His in their prosperity. The fable of the one of their race who bade Christ march on to Calvary is true concerning them. They are doomed to live and to wander till they shall recognize Him for their Messiah. That growth is a truth for God's Church, too. The world has never crushed by persecuting. There is a wholesome obstinacy and chivalry in human nature which rallies adherents to a persecuted cause. Truth is most powerful when her back is at the wall. Times of oppression are times of growth, as a hundred examples from the apostles' days down to the story of the gospel in Madagascar prove. The world's favour does more harm than its enmity. Its kisses are poisonous; its blows do no hurt.

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)

Some commentators resort to natural causes to account for this amazing increase. A modern writer declares that "the females in Egypt, as well among the human race as among animals, surpass all others in fruitfulness." But we prefer to ascribe the matter to Divine intervention. The blessing of Jehovah was now signally conferred upon the people. God "increased His people greatly, and made them stronger than their enemies" (Psalm 105:24). The word that after a long delay came to Israel, the third patriarch, was now fulfilled (Genesis 35:11). Though the performance of God's promises is sometimes slow, yet it is always sure. It was when the Israelites lost the benefit of the protection of Joseph that God made their numbers their defence, and they became better able than they had been to shift for themselves. If God continue our friends and relations to us while we most need them, and remove them when they can be better spared, let us own that He is wise, and not complain that He is hard upon us.

(A. Nevin, D. D.)

Popular Science Monthly.
The number of a man's ancestors doubles in every generation as his descent is traced upward. In the first generation he reckons only two ancestors, his father and mother. In the second generation the two are converted into four, since he had two grandfathers and two grandmothers. But each of these four had two parents, and thus in the third generation there are found to be eight ancestors; that is, eight great-grandparents. In the fourth generation the number of ancestors is sixteen; in the fifth, thirty-two; in the sixth, sixty-four; in the seventh 128. In the tenth it has risen to 1,024; in the twentieth it becomes 1,048,576; in the thirtieth no fewer than 1,073,741,834. To ascend no higher than the twenty-fourth generation we reach the sum of 16,777,216, which is a great deal more than all of the inhabitants of Great Britain when that generation was in existence. For if we reckon a generation at thirty. three years, twenty-four of such will carry us back 792 years, or to A.D. 1098, when William the Conqueror had been sleeping in his grave at Caen only six years, and his son William II., surnamed Rufus, was reigning over the land. At that time the total number of the inhabitants of England could have been little more than two millions, the amount at which it is estimated during the reign of the Conqueror. It was only one-eighth of a nineteenth-century man's ancestors if the normal ratio of progression, as just shown by a simple process of arithmetic, had received no check, and if it had not been bounded by the limits of the population of the country. Since the result of the law of progression, had there been room for its expansion, would have been eight times the actual population, by so much the more is it certain that the lines of every Englishman's ancestry run up to every man and every woman in the reign of William I., from the king and queen downward, who left descendants in the island, and whose progeny has not died there.

(Popular Science Monthly.)

Scientific Illustrations and Symbols.
Englishmen are not the only successful colonists; and the credit, if any, of exterminating aborigines they are entitled to share with insects. Let us take the case of the Australian bee. The Australian bee is about the size of a fly, and without any sting; but the English bee has been so successfully introduced as to be now abundant in a wild state in the bush, spreading all over the Australian continent, and yielding large quantities of honey, which it deposits in the hollows of trees; the immense quantities of honey-yielding flowers afford an abundant supply of material. The foreign bee is fast driving away the aboriginal insect as the European is exterminating the black from the settled districts, so that the Australian bee is now very scarce.

(Scientific Illustrations and Symbols.)

A new king
1. God's blessing on His Church is the cause that worldly rulers consult against it.

2. Blessings from God and oppositions from worldly powers usually are connected.

3. Changes of kings and governments may bring changes on the Church's state.

4. New and strange rulers are set up, when new and strange things are to be in the Church.

5. God suffers such to rise up, and orders them to His praise.

6. All God's goodness by His instruments to the world are apt to be committed to oblivion and ignorance.

7. Ignorance and oblivion of God's mercies by His Church causeth wicked rulers to persecute them.

(G. Hughes, B. D.)

I. HE WAS OUT OF SYMPATHY WITH THE PURPOSE AND PROVIDENCE OF GOD.

II. HE WAS OUT OF SYMPATHY WITH THE CONDUCT OF HIS PREDECESSORS.

III. HE WAS ENVIOUS IN HIS DISPOSITION. Envious men generally bring on themselves the evils of which they suspect the innocent to be guilty.

IV. HE WAS CUNNING IN HIS ARRANGEMENTS. Policy a bad basis for a throne. It invites suspicion, alienates respect, leads to ruin.

V. HE WAS CRUEL IN HIS REQUIREMENTS.

VI. HE WAS THWARTED IN HIS PROJECT. Mere power cannot always command obedience. It is sometimes defeated by weakness. Heaven is on the side of the oppressed.

(J. S. Exell, M. A.)

The vicissitudes of power —

1. Are independent of past services.

2. Are independent of moral character.

3. Are frequently dependent upon the arbitrary caprice of a despotic king.

(J. S. Exell, M. A.)

1. He will influence the weak by his splendour.

2. Terrify the timid by his power.

3. Gain the servile by his flattery.

4. Gain the simple by his cunning.

5. Sometimes gain the good by his deception.

(J. S. Exell, M. A.)

If the mountains overflow with waters, the valleys are the better; and if the head be full of ill-burnouts, the whole body fares the worse. The actions of rulers are most commonly rules for the people's actions, and their example passeth as current as their coin. The common people are like tempered wax, easily receiving impressions from the seals of great men's vices; they care not to sin by prescription and damn themselves with authority. And it is the unhappy privilege of greatness to warrant, by example, others' as well as its own sins, whilst the unadvised take up crimes on trust and perish by credit.

(J. Harding.)

It is said Joseph was not "known" by this dynasty. This is a strong expression, used to denote the perfect obscurity into which this good and great man had fallen; or rather, the contempt in which this benefactor and true patriot was held by those who were unable to appreciate him. It was not that Joseph's character had waned in beauty; it was not that his intellect had lost its sagacity; but the new dynasty wished to pursue a course of action and conduct inconsistent with that purity, integrity, and candour which Joseph had counselled; and therefore he was cast off. Less worthy men were taken in his place. But what occurred to Joseph is just what befalls Christians still, in proportion as their Christianity ceases to be latent. We are told by an apostle that the world knoweth us not, because it knew Christ not.

1. The reason why the world does not appreciate the Christian character is that the Christian lives a higher life. He is, in proportion as he is a Christian, influenced by motives and hopes, and guided by laws and a sense of a presence, which an unconverted, worldly man, such as was the new king of Egypt who knew not Joseph, cannot at all understand.

2. Another reason why the world does not appreciate the Christian now is that it judges a Christian by itself, and thinks that he must be at heart, notwithstanding all his pretences, what it is. The world loves sin, delights in it. And when the world meets with a man who professes to have laid his ambition at the foot of the Cross, and whose thirst for power is the noble thirst of doing good, it will say, "This sounds very fine, but we do not believe it. The only difference between you and us is that we do not pretend to these things, and that you do; for behind the curtain you practise what we practise, and are exactly what we are." Therefore the world hates the Christian, not simply for his Christianity, but because it cannot conceive such a man to be any other than a thorough hypocrite.

(J. Cumming, D. D.)

Homilist.
I. WHO WAS THIS MAN?

1. Exiled for many years.

2. Belonged to an alien dynasty.

3. May simply mean that he refused to know Joseph.

II. WHY DID HE REIGN? To carry out the promise of God.

1. God does not always use the same methods. Brought Israel into Egypt by prosperity; took them out by adversity.

2. God had to prepare the way for His work.

III. WHAT HAS HE TO DO WITH US?

1. He shows us how human wisdom overreaches itself. His policy only brought about the very object he wished to avoid.

2. He shows us the abuse of privileges. He might have known Joseph. Ignorance is no excuse for those who ought to know.

(Homilist.)

Christian Journal.
The readiness with which the populace forgets its vaunted idols has ever been a favourite topic with third-rate moralists; A surviving friend of William Pitt was convinced of the emptiness of fame by seeing the greatest statesman of the age completely forgotten in ten days. Queen Elizabeth's passage into oblivion was even more rapid, for, according to an eminent historical authority, she "was as much forgot in four days as if she had never existed." To be sure in such cases the oblivion has been short-lived. Posterity has amply remedied the brief injustice of contemporary opinion,

(Christian Journal.)

It is a memorable example, amongst many others that we have, of William the Conqueror's successor, who being unhappily killed, as he was hunting in the New Forest, all his nobles and courtiers forsook him, only some few that remained laid his body in a collier's cart, which being drawn with one silly lean beast through very foul and filthy way, the cart broke, and there lay the spectacle of worldly glory, both pitifully gored and all bemired. Now, if this were the portion of so mighty a prince, whom immediately before so glorious a troop attended, what then must others of meaner rank expect and look for, but only with death's closing up of their eyes to have all their friends excluded, and no sooner gone but to be as suddenly forgotten. Hence it is that oblivion and neglect are the two handmaids of death.

(J. Spencer.)

Let us deal wisely
Kings ought to know better than to convene councils to oppose the intentions of God. Such conduct is —

1. Daring.

2. Reprehensible.

3. Ruinous.

4. Ineffectual.

(J. S. Exell, M. A.)

1. To prevent the numerical increase of Israel.

2. To enfeeble the military power of Israel.

3. To detain the Israelites in permanent bondage.

(J. S. Exell, M. A.)

Hypothetical offences have generally been the ground of the persecution of the people of God. It has rarely been for a crime proved, but generally for a crime possible. And this dynasty, in the exercise of what it thought a very far-reaching diplomacy, but really a very wild and foolish hallucination, determined to persecute, and gradually crush, the children of Israel. The result proved that the wisdom of man is folly with God. Whatever is undertaken that has no sanction from God, never will have any real or permanent success before men. But attempt anything, however wise it looks, or talented it appears, yet if it be not inspired by principle, it is a rope of sand — it must fall to pieces. Let us, therefore, ever feel that we never can do wisely, unless we do well, and that the highest principle is ever the purest and best policy. The dynasty that succeeded the ancient Pharaoh did not know this. They thought they could extirpate God's people. They might as well have tried to extirpate the sun from the firmament, or the fruits and trees of the earth; for the everlasting arms are around all them that love and fear God; and they are an immortal people who are the sons and daughters of the Most High. The Egyptians found here that the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied.

(J. Cumming, D. D.)

The wisdom here proposed to be employed was the wisdom of the serpent; but with men of reprobate minds, governed solely by the corrupt spirit of this world, whatever measures tend to promote their own interests and circumvent their opponents, is dignified by the epithet wise, though it be found, when judged by a purer standard, to be in reality nothing less than the very policy of hell.

(G. Bush.)

All Pharaoh's reasoning was that of a heart that had never learnt to take God into its calculations. He could accurately recount the various contingencies of human affairs, the multiplying of the people, the falling out of war, the joining with the enemy, their escape out of the laud, but it never once occurred to him that God could have anything whatever to do in the matter. Had he only thought of this, it would have upset his entire reasoning. Ever thus is it with the reasonings of man's sceptical mind. God is shut out, and their truth and consistency depend upon His being kept out. The death-blow to all scepticism and infidelity is the introduction of God into the scene. Till He is seen, they may strut up and down upon the stage with an amazing show of wisdom and plausibility, but the moment the eye catches even the faintest glimpse of that blessed One whose

"Hand unseen

Doth turn and guide the great machine,"

they are stripped of their cloak, and disclosed in all their nakedness and deformity.

(A. Nevin, D. D.)

Scientific Illustrations and Symbols.
Autocrats, whether elected or usurping, are all more or less jealous. The female autocrat is in some respects worse than the male. Two queen bees will not live together in the same hive. And indeed, as soon as a young queen-bee is about to lay her eggs, she is anxious to destroy all the royal pupae which still exist in the hive. When she has become a mother, she attacks one after the other the cells which still contain females. She may be seen to throw herself with fury upon the first cell she comes to. She tears an opening in it large enough for her to introduce her sting. When she has stung the female which it contains, she withdraws to attack another. Man is not much behind these jealous insects. Among certain tribes of Ethiopians the first care of the newly crowned chief is to put in prison all his brothers, so as to prevent wars by pretenders to the throne. And even among more civilized nations the records are numerous of the mean and petty tricks and cruelties adopted by kings and queens for disposing of any possible rivals.

(Scientific Illustrations and Symbols.)

The more they multiplied
1. This is true of individual moral character.

2. This is especially true in the development of the Church.

(J. S. Exell, M. A.)

? —

1. To manifest the love of God towards His Church.

2. To manifest the power of God over His enemies.

3. To fulfil the promise of God made to the good.

4. To manifest His providence towards the Church.

5. To strike terror into the hearts of tyrants.

6. To manifest the divinity of truth, and pure moral character.

(J. S. Exell, M. A.)

1. Because their plots were a failure.

2. Because their cruelty was unavailing.

3. Because they had exasperated an enemy they could not subdue Half the grief of the world is occasioned by the failure of wicked and cruel purposes.

(J. S. Exell, M. A.)

"The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church." Persecuting the Church is but like casting manure upon the ground. It for a while covers the plants, and seems to destroy them; but it makes the earth more fertile, and the plants more numerous and vigorous.

(J. Orton.)

How diverse were the barbarities and kinds of death inflicted on the Christian confessors! The more they were slain, the more rapidly spread the faith; in place of one sprang up a hundred. When a great multitude had been put to death one at court said to the king, "The number of them increaseth, instead of, as thou thinkest, diminishing." "How can that be?" exclaimed the king. "But yesterday," replied the courtier, "thou didst put such-and-such a one to death, and lo! there were converted double that number; and the people say that a man appeared to the confessors from heaven, strengthening them in their last moments." Whereupon the king himself was converted.

(The Apology of Al Kindy, A. D. 830.)

Whatever has been done by enemies in rage or in recklessness, God has always met it calmly and quietly. He has shown Himself ready for every emergency. And He has not only baffled and utterly defeated all the inventions of wicked men, but He has turned their strange devices to good account, for the development of His own sovereign purposes.

I. IN THE CASE OF ISRAEL, it did seem to be a deep-laid plot, very politic and crafty indeed, that as the kings of Egypt, themselves of an alien race, had subdued the Egyptians, they should prevent the other alien race, the Israelites, from conquering them. Instead of murdering them wholesale, it did seem a wise though a cruel thing to make them slaves; to divide them up and down the country; to appoint them to the most menial work in the land, that they might be crushed down and their spirits become so base that they would not dare to rebel. Thus we may suppose it was hoped that their physical strength would be so relaxed, and their circumstances so reduced, that the clan would soon be insignificant if not utterly extinct. But God met and overruled this policy in various ways. "The more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied." The glory of God shines forth conspicuously in the use to which He turned the persecutions they endured. The severe treatment they had to bear from the enemy became to them a salutary discipline. In order to cut loose the bonds that bound them to Egypt, the sharp knife of affliction must be used; and Pharaoh, though he knew it not, was God's instrument in weaning them from the Egyptian world, and helping them as His Church to take up their separate place in the wilderness, and receive the portion which God had appointed for them. Once more — and here you may see the wisdom of God the very means which Pharaoh devised for the effectual crushing of the people — the destruction of the male children — became the direct, nay, the Divine provision for educating a deliverer for them.

II. Let us now carry the same thought a stage farther, and take a brief survey of THE HISTORY OF THE CHILDREN OF GOD. The like means will appear in manifold operation. Men meditate mischief, but it miserably miscarries. God grants protection to the persecuted, and provides an escape from the most perilous exposure. Full often the darkest conspiracy is brought to the direst confusion. Persecution has evidently aided the increase of the Church by the scattering abroad of earnest teachers. We are very apt to get; hived — too many of us together — and our very love of one another renders it difficult to part us and scatter us about. Persecution therefore is permitted to scatter the hive of the Church into various swarms, and each of these swarms begins to make honey. We are all like the salt if we be true Christians, and the proper place for the salt is not massed in a box, but scattered by handfuls over the flesh which it is to preserve. Moreover, persecution helps to keep up the separation between the Church and the world. When I heard of a young man that, after he joined the Church, these in his workshop met him at once with loud laughter and reproached him with bitter scorn, I was thankful, because now he could not take up the same position with themselves. He was a marked man: they who knew him discovered that there was such a thing as Christianity, and such a one as an earnest defender of it. Again, persecution in the Christian Church acts like a winnowing fan to the heaps gathered on the threshing-floor. Persecution has a further beneficial use in the Church of God, and it is this. It may be that the members of the Church want it. The Roman who professed that he would like to have a window in his bosom, that everybody might see his heart, would have wished, I should think, before long for a shutter to that window; yet it is no slight stimulus to a man's own circumspection for him to know that he is observed by unfriendly eyes. Our life ought to be such as will bear criticism. And this persecution has a further usefulness. Often does it happen that the enmity of the world drives the Christian nearer to his God.

III. And now I close this address by just very briefly hinting that THIS GREAT GENERAL TRUTH APPLIES TO ALL BELIEVERS; but I will make a practical use of it. Are you passing through great trials? Very well then, to meet them I pray that God's grace may give you greater faith; and if your trials increase more and more, so may your strength increase. You will be acting after God's manner, guided by His wisdom, if you seek to get more faith out of more trial, for that trial does strengthen faith, through Divine grace, experience teaches us, and as we make full proof of the faithfulness of God, our courage, once apt to waver, is confirmed.

( C. H. Spurgeon.)

Always take revenge on Satan if he defeats you, by trying to do ten times more good than you did before. It is in some such way that a dear brother now preaching the gospel, whom God has blessed with a very considerable measure of success, may trace the opening of his career to a circumstance that occurred to myself. Sitting in my pulpit one evening, in a country village, where I had to preach, my text slipped from my memory, and with the text seemed ¢o go all that I had thought to speak upon it. A rare thing to happen to me; but I sat utterly confounded. I could find nothing to say. With strong crying I lifted up my soul to God to pour out again within my soul of the living water that it might gush forth from me for others; and I accompanied my prayer with a vow that if Satan's enmity thus had brought me low, I would take so many fresh men whom I might meet with during the week, and train them for the ministry, so that with their hands and tongues I would avenge myself on the Philistines. The brother I have alluded to came to me the next morning. I accepted him at once as one whom God had sent, and I helped him, and others after him, to prepare for the service, and to go forth in the Saviour's name to preach the gospel of the grace of God. Often when we fear we are defeated, we ought to say, "I will do all the more. Instead of dropping from this work, now will I make a general levy, and a sacred conscription upon all the powers of my soul, and I will gather up all the strength I ever had in reserve, and make from this moment a tremendous life-long effort to overcome the powers of darkness, and win for Christ fresh trophies of victory." After this fashion you will have an easier time of it, for if you do more good the more you are tempted, Satan will not so often tempt you. When he knows that all the more you are afflicted so much the more you multiply, very likely he will find it wiser to let you alone, or try you in some other method than that of direct and overt opposition. So whenever you have a trial, take it as a favour; whenever God holds in one hand the rod of affliction, He has a favour in the other hand; He never strikes a child of His but He has some tender blessing in store. If He visits you with unwonted affliction, you will have unusual delight; the Lord will open new windows for you, and show His beauty as He shows it not to others. According as your tribulations abound, so also shall your consolations abound in Christ Jesus.

( C. H. Spurgeon.)

I. THE CHARACTER OF EGYPT, AND HER INFLUENCE ON HER CHILDREN.

1. Egypt was distinguished as the abode of a peculiarly easy and luxurious life. In Egypt, as in the world, there was all that could lay the soul to sleep under its vine and fig-tree, and reduce it to the level of the brutes which the Egyptian worshipped as more wise and wonderful than man. This easiness of the terms of life is fatal to the noblest elements in man. Look at Naples. No heroism can be extracted from the Lazzaroni. Give the fellow a bit of bread, a slice of melon, and a drink of sour wine, and he will lie all day long on the quays, basking in the sun and the glorious air; and what cares he if empires rise or totter to their fall? Egypt was the Naples of the old world; wealth, luxury, elaborate refinement, of a kind not inconsistent with grossness; but no moral earnestness, no manhood, no life. Nature wooed man to her lap in Egypt and won him, bathing him in luxurious pleasures — Egypt was the world.

2. Moreover, Egypt was cut off very much from all the political and intellectual activity in which Babylon was compelled to share. She could "live to herself and die to herself," as was not possible for Babylon. She could play away her strength and her life in wanton pleasures at her will. Egypt is the image of the wanton world herein. It was full of the wisdom of this world, the wisdom of the understanding, which prostitutes itself easily to the uses of a sensual and earthly life.

II. THE EXPERIENCE OF GOD'S CHILDREN THERE — its influence on a people conscious that they had a soul to be saved.

1. They went down to Egypt with the fairest prospect — certainty of sustenance, and promise of wealth, honour, and power. They were to settle in Goshen; better, richer land than the bare hills which would be their only home in Canaan, whose rich valleys would be mainly occupied by the native inhabitants — laud in every way suited to yield pasture to their flocks. So the world woos us. We are born in it, God placed us here, God gave us these keen senses, these imperious appetites, and the means of their fullest indulgence; and why should we tighten the rein? See you no new reason why Egypt, when the patriarchs dwelt there, was a fit and full image of "the world"?

2. They had not lived there long, before, rich and fruitful as was the land, they began to find their life a bondage. Egypt was strange to them. They could not amalgamate with the inhabitants. The Egyptians came to feel it; alienation sprang up and bitterness. Egypt laid chains on them to keep them in her service, while they groaned and writhed, and sighed to be gone — to be free. And rich as the world's pastures may be, propitious as may be its kings, the soul of man grows uneasy in its abodes. There are moments of utter heart-sickness amidst plenty and luxury, such as a sick child of the mountains knows, tossing on a purple bed of state: "Oh, for one breath of the sunny breezes, one glance at the shadows sweeping over the brown moorlands; one breath, one vision, would give me new life." The very prosperity makes the soul conscious of its fetters.

3. The moment comes, in every experience, when the bondage becomes too grevious to be borne; when the spirit cries out and wrestles for deliverance, and the iron, blood-rusted, enters the very heart. The men became conscious of their higher vocation, and wept and pleaded more earnestly; and their tyrants yoked them more tightly, and loaded them more heavily; till, like Job, they cursed God's light and hated life, in bitterness of soul. And the soul in its Egypt, the world, drinks deep of this experience. The moment comes when it wakes up and says, "I am a slave"; "I am a beast"; "I will shake off this yoke"; "I will be free." Then begins a battle-agony; a strife for life and immortality — the end either a final, eternal relapse into captivity, or an exodus into the wilderness and to heaven. Let the soul fight its own battles, and the most heroic struggles shall not save it. Let it follow the Captain of Salvation, and gird on the armour of God, and death and hell shall not spoil it.

(J. B. Brown, B. A.)

1. Sin is a taskmaster.

2. The rich are often taskmasters.

3. The ambitious are often taskmasters. These taskmasters are —

(1)Authoritative: "They did set over thee."

(2)Painful: "To afflict thee."

(3)Inconsiderate: "Burdens."

(J. S. Exell, M. A.)

1. A mystery.

2. A problem.

3. A punishment.

4. A discipline.

(J. S. Exell, M. A.)

One thing experience teaches, that life brings no benediction for those who take it easily. The harvest cannot be reaped until the soil has been deeply ploughed and freely harrowed. "Learn to suffer and be strong," says the poet; and certain it is that without suffering there can be no strength. Not, indeed, that suffering is or makes strength, but that it evokes the latent power, and rouses into action the energies that would have otherwise lain ingloriously supine. The discipline of life is a necessary prelude to the victory of life; and all that is finest, purest, and noblest in human nature is called forth by the presence of want, disappointment, pain, opposition, and injustice. Difficulties can be conquered only by decision; obstacles can be removed only by arduous effort. These test our manhood, and at the same time confirm our self-control.

(W. H. D. Adams.)

Scientific Illustrations and Symbols.
You lament that your life is one constant struggle; that, having obtained what you tried hard to secure, your whole strength is now required in order to retain it; and that your necessities impose on you the further obligation of additional exertions. It is so; but do not repine. As a rule, the maintenance of life is everywhere conditional on struggling. It is not only so with men and animals. It is so even in the vegetable world. You struggle with obstacles; but the very trees have to do the same. Observe them; take heart and grow strong. M. Louis Figuier says that the manner in which roots succeed in overcoming obstacles has always been a subject of surprise to the observer. The roots of trees and shrubs, when cramped or hindered in their progress, have been observed to exhibit considerable mechanical force, throwing down walls or splitting rocks, and in other cases clinging together in bunches or spreading out their fibres over a prodigious space, in order to follow the course of a rivulet with its friendly moisture. Who has not seen with admiration how roots will adapt themselves to the special circumstances of the soil, dividing their filaments in a soil fit for them almost to infinity, elsewhere abandoning a sterile soft to seek one farther off which is favourable to them; and as the ground was wide or less hard, wet or dry, heavy or light, sandy or stony, varying their shapes accordingly? Here are wonderful energy, and illustrations of the way in which existence may be maintained by constant action.

(Scientific Illustrations and Symbols.)

Irish Congregational Magazine.
The springs at the base of the Alpine Mountains are fullest and freshest when the summer sun has dried and parched the verdure in the valleys below. The heat that has burned the arid plains has melted mountain glacier and snow, and increased the volume of the mountain streams. Thus, when adversity has dried the springs of earthly comfort and hope, God's great springs of salvation and love flow freshest and fullest to gladden the heart.

(Irish Congregational Magazine.)

The steel that has suffered most is the best steel. It has been in the furnace again and again; it has been on the anvil; it has been tight in the jaws of the vice; it has felt the teeth of the rasp; it has been ground by emery; it has been heated and hammered and filed until it does not know itself, and it comes out a splendid knife. And if men only knew it, what are called their "misfortunes" are God's best blessings, for they are the moulding influences which give them shapeliness and edge, and durability, and power.

(H. W. Beecher.)

Stars shine brightest in the darkest night; torches are better for the beating; grapes come not to the proof till they come to the press; spices smell sweetest when pounded; young trees root the faster for shaking; vines are the better for bleeding; gold looks the brighter for scouring; glow-worms glisten best in the dark; juniper smells sweetest in the fire; pomander becomes most fragrant for chafing; the palm-tree proves the better for pressing; camomile, the more you tread it, the more you spread it. Such is the condition of all God's children, they are then most triumphant when most tempted; most glorious when most afflicted; most in the favour of God when least in man's; as their conflicts, so their conquests; as their tribulations, so their triumphs; true salamanders, that live best in the furnace of persecution, so that heavy afflictions are the best benefactors to heavenly affections.

(J. Spencer.)

A great deal of useless sympathy is in this day expended upon those who start in life without social or monetary help. Those are most to be congratulated who have at the beginning a rough tussel with circumstances. John Ruskin sets it down as one of his calamities that in early life he "had nothing to endure." A petted and dandled childhood makes a weak and insipid man. You say that the Ruskin just quoted disproves the theory. No. He is showing in a dejected, splenetic, and irritated old age the need of the early cudgelling of adversity. He seems fretting himself to death. A little experience of the hardship of life would have helped to make him gratefully happy now. No brawn of character without compulsory exertion. The men who sit strong in their social, financial, and political elevations are those who did their own climbing. Misfortune is a rough nurse, but she raises giants. Let our young people, instead of succumbing to the influences that would keep them back and down, take them as the parallel bars, and dumb-bells, and weights of a gymnasium, by which they are to get muscle for the strife. Consent not to beg your way to fortune, but achieve it. God is always on the side of the man who does his best. God helps the man who tries to overcome difficulties.

(Dr. Talmage.)

Graces multiply by afflictions, as the saints did by persecutions.

(T. Adams.)

The walnut tree is most fruitful when most beaten. Fish thrive best in cold and salt waters. The most plentiful summer follows upon the hardest winter.

(J. Trapp.)

Scientific Illustrations and Symbols.
Though your attempt to destroy a man's position may fail to accomplish that object, it may be productive of serious injury to him. Yet, fortunately for him, that very injury may afterwards bring forth good results. His friends may rally round him; his resources may be added to through the medium of the sympathetic; or he may be so acted on as to put forth power from within which develops new graces and fresh vigour. You injure a tree, and you will discover reparation is at work even there. The wheel of your cart, for instance, grazes the trunk, or the root of the tree is wounded by your passing ploughshare; the result is an adventitious bud comes. Wherever you see those adventitious buds which come without any order, you may recollect that their formation is frequently thus produced by the irritation caused by injury. You cut down the heads of a group of forest trees; you have not destroyed them. Like the men you have injured, they live to tell the tale. The pollarded dwarf remains to declare what the forest tree would have become but for you. Even the date of your attack can be ascertained; for the stunted group will cover themselves with branches all of the same age and strength, which will exhibit to the sky the evidence of the story: Injured these all are; yes, but not destroyed.

(Scientific Illustrations and Symbols.)

Bunyan's figure of Satan pouring water on the fire to extinguish it, and it all the while waxing brighter and hotter because the unseen Christ was pouring oil upon it, illustrates the prosperity of God's people in affliction. "The more they afflicted them, the more they grew." When a fire attains certain heat and volume, to pour water upon it is only to add fuel. The water, suddenly changed to its component gases, feeds, instead of extinguishing, the flame. So God changes the evil inflicted upon His people into an upbuilding and sanctifying power.

(H. C. Trumbull.)

They made their lives bitter with hard bondage
I. THE BONDAGE AS AN ILLUSTRATION OF SIN. "Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin."

1. The unnaturalness of this bondage. Men were fitted to serve God, not Satan. All their powers are perverted, misused, and reversed, when they are in courses of disobedience, and rebellion. "Right" means "straight," and "wrong" means "wrung."

2. The severity of this bondage. No taskmaster for men has ever been found more brutal than a brutal man. The devil has no despot out of hell more despotic than sinners to place over sinners. When villains get villains in their power, how they do persist in lashing them into further villainy and vice!

3. The injustice of this bondage. Satan never remembers favours bestowed. One may give himself, body, soul, and spirit to the devil, and no fidelity will win him the least consideration. Injustice is the rule in sin, it never in any case has exceptions. The prince of evil simply uses his devotees all the worse because of their servility and patience.

4. The destructiveness of this bondage of sin. The wanton waste of all that makes life worth a struggle by persistent courses of sin is familiar to every thoughtful observer. Wickedness never builds up; it always pulls down. Once in the heat of a public discussion some infidels challenged an immediate reply to what they called their arguments. A plain woman arose in the audience; she proceeded to relate how her husband had been dissipated and unkind; she had prayed for him, and he had become a praying man and a good father; years of comfort and of peace had they now dwelt together in the love of each other and the fear of God. "So much," she continued, "has my religion done for me. Will you kindly state now what your religion has done for you in the same time?" Done? unbelief does not do anything, it undoes.

II. And now with so sorrowful a showing as this bondage has to make, it seems surprising to find that the Israelites were counselled to "remember" it. WHY SHOULD THEY RECALL SUCH HUMILIATION?

1. Such reminiscences promote humility. Spiritual pride is as dangerous as a vice. What have we that God's mercy has not bestowed upon us? Why boast we over each other? Recollect that "the Lord hath taken you, and brought you forth out of the iron furnace, even out of Egypt, to be unto Him a people of inheritance, as ye are this day." To Him we owe everything we are.

2. Such a remembrance quickens our considerate charity for others. Our disposition is to condemn and denounce the degeneracies of the times in which we live. Wherein are people worse now than we ourselves were once? How do we know what we might have been if it had not been for the arrest of our rebellion by the power of the Holy Ghost? Once, as a drunken man reeled past his door, John Newton exclaimed: "But for the grace of God, there goes John Newton!"

(C. S. Robinson, D. D.)

It is no credit to Pharaoh that God overruled his oppression of the Israelites to their advantage. For his course there is nothing but guilt and shame. He who makes another life bitter has got the bitterness of that life to answer for, whatever good may come to his victim through the blessing of God. It is a terrible thing — a shameful thing also — to make another's life bitter. Yet there are boys and girls who are making their mothers' lives bitter; and there are husbands who are making the lives of their wives bitter; and there are parents who are making their children's lives bitter. Is no one's life made bitter by your course? Is there no danger of bitterness of life to any one through your conduct — or your purposed action? Weigh well these questions; for they involve much to you. Pharaoh is dead; there is no danger of his making our lives bitter with hard bondage. But the devil is not dead; and there is danger of our being in hard bondage to him. Pharaoh's bondage was overruled for good to those who were under it. The devil's bondage is harder than Pharaoh's, and no good ever comes of it to its subjects. It were better for us to have died under the hardest bondage of Pharaoh than to live on under the devil's easiest bondage.

(H. C. Trumbull.)

It is worth notice that the king holds council with his people, and evidently carries them with him in his policy. The Egyptians had more than their share of the characteristic ancient hatred and dread of foreigners, and here they are ready to second any harsh treatment of these intruders, whom three hundred years have amalgamated. Observe, too, that the cruel policy of Pharaoh is policy, and that only. No crime is alleged; no passion of hate actuates the cold-blooded proposal. It is simply a piece of state-craft, perfectly cool, and therefore indicating all the more heartlessness. Calculated cruelty is worse than impulsive cruelty. Like some drinks, it is more nauseous cold than hot. No doubt the question what to do with a powerful subject race, on a threatened frontier, who were suspected of kindred and possible alliance with the enemy on the other side of the boundary, was a difficult one. Rameses must have thought of Goshen and the Israelites much as we may fancy Prince Bismarck thinks of Alsace. He was afraid to let them become more powerful, and he was loath to lose them. Whether they stayed or went, they were equally formidable. High policy, therefore, which, in Old Egypt, and in other lands and ages nearer home, has too often meant undisguised selfishness and cynical cruelty, required that the peaceful happiness of a whole nation should be ruthlessly sacrificed; and the calm Pharaoh, whose unimpassioned, callous face we can still see on the monuments, laid his plans as unmoved as if he had been arranging for the diminution of the vermin in the palace wails. What a picture of these God-defying, man-despising, ancient monarchies is here! What would he have thought if any of his counsellors had suggested, "Try kindness"? The idea of attaching subject peoples by common interests, and golden bonds of benefit, had to wait millenniums to be born. It is not too widely spread yet.

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)

I. IT COMMENCES BY SUGGESTING A SMALL TRIBUTE TO THE SINNER. It wins us by the hope of a good investment whereby we may secure wealth, prosperity, fame. A false hope; a deceptive promise. Sin is cunning; has many counsellors; many agencies. You are no match for it.

II. IT SUCCEEDS IN GETTING THE SINNER COMPLETELY WITHIN ITS POWER.

1. Sin gets the sinner under its rule.

2. Sin makes the sinner subject to its counsel.

3. Sin makes the sinner responsible to its authority.

III. IT ULTIMATELY IMPOSES UPON THE SINNER AN INTOLERABLE SERVITUDE.

1. The servitude of a bitter life. Destroys friendly companionships, breaks up family comfort.

2. The servitude of hard work. Unprofitableness and folly of sin.

3. The servitude is degrading. Brings men from respect to derision — from plenty to beggary — from moral rulership to servitude.

(J. S. Exell, M. A.)

I. AN ENTIRE AND UNIVERSAL BONDAGE. No merciful limit nor mitigation (see 2 Timothy 2:26; 2 Peter 2:19; John 8:34; Romans 5:18, Romans 3:23; Galatians 3:22).

1. It extends to all mankind.

2. The slavery of the individual is as complete and total, as that of the species is universal.

(1)Understanding depraved.

(2)Will perverted.

(3)Affections depraved.

II. A SEVERE AND CRUEL BONDAGE. No mastery can be found more pitiless than that of the unhallowed affections and passions which rule the mind, until the Almighty Redeemer breaks the yoke, and sets the captive free from the law of sin and death.

III. A HELPLESS BONDAGE.

1. The oppressor of the soul abounds too greatly in power and resources to dread any resistance from a victim so helpless. Our strength for combat against such an enemy is perfect weakness.

2. In addition to his own power Satan has established a close alliance with every appetite and affection of our nature. Morally unable to deliver ourselves. Hope in God alone. Seek His aid through prayer.

(R. P. Buddicom, M. A.)

1. As a punishment for their idolatry.

2. To inspire within them a deep hatred toward Egypt, so that through their perils in the wilderness they might not wish to return thither.

3. That the prospect of Canaan might animate and refresh their souls.

4. That after such excessive and unpaid labour they might fairly spoil the Egyptians on their departure.

5. That they might be aroused to earnest prayer for deliverance.

6. That the power and mercy of God might be more forcibly displayed in their freedom.Here is a true picture of tyranny:

1. Its rigour increases with failure.

2. It becomes more impious as it is in evident opposition to the Divine providence.

3. It discards all the claims of humanity.

4. It ends in its own defeat and overthrow.

(J. S. Exell, M. A.)

Situated as they were within the bounds of a foreign kingdom, at first naturally jealous, and then openly hostile towards them, it is not difficult to account for the kind of treatment inflicted on them, viewing the position they occupied merely in its worldly relations and interests. But what account can we give of it in its religious aspect — as an arrangement settled and ordained on the part of God? Why should He have ordered such a state of matters concerning His chosen seed? For the Egyptians "though their hearts thought not so" — were but instruments in His hands, to bring to pass what the Lord had long before announced to Abraham as certainly to take place (Genesis 15:13).

1. Considered in this higher point of view, the first light in which it naturally presents itself is that of a doom or punishment, from which, as interested in the mercy of God, they needed redemption. For the aspect of intense suffering, which is latterly assumed, could only be regarded as an act of retribution for their past unfaithfulness and sins.(1) It first of all clearly demonstrated, that, apart from the covenant of God, the state and prospects of those heirs of promise were in no respect better than those of other men — in some respects it seemed to be the worse with them. They were equally far off from the inheritance, being in a state of hopeless alienation from it; they had drunk into the foul and abominable pollutions of the land of their present sojourn, which were utterly at variance with an interest in the promised blessing; and they bore upon them the yoke of a galling bondage, at once the consequence and the sign of their spiritual degradation. They differed for the better only in having a part in the covenant of God.(2) Therefore, secondly, whatever this covenant secured for them of promised good, they must have owed entirely to Divine grace.(3) Hence, finally, the promise of the inheritance could be made good in their experience only by the special kindness and interposition of God, vindicating the truth of His own faithful word, and in order to this, executing in their behalf a work of redemption. While the inheritance was sure, because the title to it stood in the mercy and faithfulness of God, they had of necessity to be redeemed before they could actually possess it.

2. It formed an essential part of the preparation which they needed for occupying the inheritance.(1) It was necessary by some means to have a desire awakened in their bosoms towards Canaan, for the pleasantness of their habitation had become a snare to them. The affliction of Israel in Egypt is a testimony to the truth, common to all times, that the kingdom of God must be entered through tribulation. The tribulation may be ever so varied in its character and circumstances; but in some form it must be experienced, in order to prevent the mind from becoming wedded to temporal enjoyments, and to kindle in it a sincere desire for the better part, which is reserved in heaven for the heirs of salvation. Hence it is so peculiarly hard for those who are living in the midst of fulness and prosperity to enter into the kingdom of God. And hence, also, must so many trying dispensations be sent even to those who have entered the kingdom, to wean them from earthly things, and constrain them to seek for their home and portion in heaven.(2) But if we look once more to the Israelites, we shall see that something besides longing desire for Canaan was needed to prepare them for what was in prospect. For that land, though presented to their hopes as a land flowing with milk and honey, was not to be by any means a region of inactive repose, where everything was to be done for them, and they had only to take their rest, and feast themselves with the abundance of peace. There was much to be done, as well as much to be enjoyed; and they could neither have fulfilled, in regard to other nations, the elevated destiny to which they were appointed, as the lamp and witness of heaven, nor reaped in their own experience the large measure of good which was laid up in store for themselves, unless they had been prepared by a peculiar training of vigorous action, and even compulsive labour, to make the proper use of all their advantages.

(P. Fairbairn, D. D.)

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Exodus 1:6
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