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upon God; so that he could, and did say. "Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him." (Job xiii. 15.) And many a child of God hath, through grace, been able to say the same; yea, and as the prophet expresseth it: "to lift up his voice, and sing for the majesty of the Lord; and cry aloud from the sea, and glorify the Lord in the fires." (Isa. xxiv. 14, 15.) Nay, to such an holy frame of resignation to the divine sovereignty, is the redeemed and regenerated child of God enabled to bow down to the Lord; that even in hell itself, were it possible for the Lord's sovereignty to lead him there, in the midst of the blasphemies of the place, the love of God would break forth in the heart of the redeemed and regenerated, in blessing God for what he is in himself; and for the love which in his Trinity of persons, he hath manifested to the church in Christ. And it was this, no doubt, which brought up the mind of Moses to a steady frame of acquiescence in the divine sovereignty. For he that at one time had so enlarged a soul for the divine glory, so as to desire rather to be blotted himself out of the book of life, than that God's glory should be questioned by the profane lips of the Egyptians, (Exod. xxxii. 12-32.) could not upon all other occasions but rest satisfied in the divine sovereignty. There is somewhat truly blessed in this frame of soul, when grace is in lively exercise in the breast of the redeemed and regenerated child of God, to enjoy it. And as there can be no question, but that in that perfection of being to which the church of God will be brought in that upper and brighter world, when all that selfishness we now have will be done away; the sole glory of Jehovah, in his Trinity of persons, as he will be the more openly manifested in the person of our most glorious Christ, will form the soul happiness of all his people; so now the exercise of it, by faith, must be the highest
attainment of our renewed spirits, in the contemplation of the divine glory; as Jehovah is in himself, and the Trinity of his divine Essence, Being, and Attributes as existing in his Trinity of Persons; Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
The children of Israel, having mourned for Aaron, according to the days of mourning, a whole month, now left Mount Hor, where the ashes of the High Priest had been deposited; and where they now rest in hope until the resurrection morn. In the prosecuting of their journey towards Canaan, they compassed the land of Edom, by the way of the Red Sea. This was rather circuitous, and might have been shortened, if Edom had allowed Israel a passage through his borders. But Edom would not. And happy would it have been for Israel, had Israel made the proper use intended from this refusal by the Lord. Edom was of the race of Esau, sworn foe to Israel; and whom the Lord called "the border of wickedness; and the people against whom the Lord hath indignation for ever." (Malachi i. 3, 4.) This was in the over-ruling power and appointment of God. Nothing more destructive to the peace and welfare of the Lord's people, than when they "mingle among the heathen, and learn their works." Hence the blessedness of the Lord's providence over his people, in causing the ungodly to thwart and oppose them. When the Egyptians oppressed Israel of old, and made their lives bitter by their rigorous bondage, who would have thought that the Lord's hand was in all this, to unsettle the minds of his people, and to prepare them for the Lord's deliverance of them from Egypt. That sweet Scripture hath explained the whole, and would be of perpetual use to the people of God, in accounting for numberless instances of a like nature, which the Lord's people meet with from the ungodly; "He turned their
heart to hate his people, to deal subtilly with his servants." (Psalm cv. 25.) Oh! What a light hath this one Scripture thrown upon numberless occasions in life, and what a relief hath it brought with it to comfort my mind, when in the opposition of open enemies, and false friends, I have been enabled to look over the head of the oppressors; and behold the Lord over-ruling his intended evil for good.
And had Israel interpreted Edom's refusal in this light, and beheld the graciousness of God hereby opening a more illustrious plan for his loving kindness to be manifested in the ungraciousness of man; the anger of Edom would have led Israel to the greater enjoyment of the love of God. But alas! the reverse took place; for we read that "the soul of the people was much discouraged because of the way. And the people spack against God, and against Moses; Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread." (Numb. xxi. 4, 5.) Here is a sad page again of Israel's history. Indeed, what is the whole of Israel's history, from beginning to end, but a series of rebellion on the part of man, and an uninterrupted manifestation of grace on the part of God. True it was, that a long pilgrimage, and marked with much conflict, had stirred up the corruption of their fallen nature; yet equally true it was, that every opposition from without, and anxiety from within, had not only afforded the opportunity for the manifestation of the Lord's love to Israel, but had continually brought forth the testimonies of it afresh. The little army of Gideon, which we read of in the book of the Judges, affords a different history. It is said of him and his men, that they "were faint, yet pursuing." (Judges viii. 4.) And the Lord's army is, or ought to be, such in all their holy
warfare. Grace and corruption must have their battlings all the way; and the regenerated soldier of Christ can never be suffered to unbuckle his armour until the Lord undresseth him for the grave. But while faint in ourselves, from the many assaults of sin and Satan, yet pursuing in the strength of the Lord, and in the power of his might, we go on conquering and to conquer. And what gives vigour and renewed energy, after every fresh assault of the foes of our salvation, is the consciousness and assurance, that the warfare in which the redeemed and regenerated church of God is engaged, is not doubtful; the victory is certain; for our most glorious Christ hath, by his own arm, gotten himself the victory. And the promise to all his army is to the same assurance: “He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might, he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall. But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles, they shall run and not be weary, and they shall walk and not faint." (Isa. xl. 29-31.)
Who can read the expressions of Israel in this awful contumacy against God without trembling? Who could suppose it possible after so many years of the Lord's tender leadings of his people through the wilderness, and amidst the manifold interpositions for Israel, which the Lord had shewn them in delivering them from their enemies all the way long, that such renewed rebellions should again break out among them? Was it dearth, or intended dearth, to feed them miraculously with bread from heaven day by day? And was it indeed light- food given them by the Lord, which had sustained them in health now for near forty years? But alas! we read the history of Israel, and of the church of God then, to little
profit, if we do not connect with it, the same history in the present Israel and the church of God now. May we not say in the words of the apostle, "What then are we better than they? No, in no wise; for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin." (Rom. iii. 9.) Oh! the preciousness of our most glorious Christ.
I must not suffer the reader to pass away from this part of the history of Israel, in what is here related of their despising the manna as light bread, and expressing their soul-loathing it, without first making one or two observations; for in my view, it is too interesting to be overlooked. Soul-loathing hath respect to somewhat more than the mere rejection or disapprobation of the food for the body; for what hath the soul to do with "the bread of the body that perisheth with using?" Evidently the very expression is of spiritual tendency. And when we observe what the Holy Ghost hath said on this subject by his servant Paul, calling it spiritual meat; there can be no difficulty in discovering wherein the sin of Israel consisted, in such among them as counted the manna light bread, and their soul loathing it." (1 Cor. -10 4, 5.) And if we attend to our Lord's discourse upon the subject, which he delivered in the audience of the Jews, (as recorded John vi. throughout) we behold at once, that it was Christ which was typified by the manna; and that in this daily bread, the Lord while giving food from heaven for the body, held forth to them the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the living bread for the soul. It would have been the foulest baseness and ingratitude in the persons receiving their sustenance for the body, in this miraculous manner, day by day, to have called it light bread, with respect to the body only. For never surely, was there a people so victualled, a camp so provided, so protected, and so carried on from day to day, by the kind