"Who is like unto thee, Lord, among the gods? who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?" Exodus xv, 11. This part of the exulting and spirit-stirring song of Moses was expressive of great joy. Truly this heavensignalized and happy deliverance of the Hebrews was heart-affecting and soul-inspiring. Each spirit, ecstatic in the sunlight of infinite favor, filled and overflowed with love and gratitude to God. Imagination, sped on the wing of faith, hopefully contemplated the distant land of Divine right — the once peaceful tents of the remnant of Israel, safely environed by the far-off hills and towering mountains of God. There yet could be seen the fond traces of their race ; their solemn and sacred retreats ; the once holy, but now forsaken and moldering altars, with a gloomy, wild wilderness of innumerable graves, still telling 14

158 Israel's triumph at the red sea. of a holy, beloved, and departed ancestry. Two thousand, two hundred and eighty years had scarcely fled when the youthful Joseph, barely surviving his mother's death, was abandoned to the ruthlessness of a Midianitish band and the fearfulness of Egyptian bondage. Dark, gloomy, and forbidding as was his fate, yet God preserved him amid friendship of irony, burdens of duty, snares to crime and idolatry, the horrors of prison, and the allurements of fame. An unrealized depth of infinite mercy was concealed beneath the vision of the bowing sheaves, and the obeisance of the sun, moon, and eleven stars, till

the Lord of the house of Egypt, with tears of suppressed feelings, rose up before the aged Israel and his sons, calmly declaring, "I am Joseph, thy brother." God determined to free the Israelites. Moses was commanded to gather the people. Heaven aided with mercies on the one hand, and thundered in desolating judgments on the other. The moss-covered ruins of slumbering Ramesis, in the region of Zoar, witnessed the collecting thousands, bearing with them the bones of Joseph. Turning to survey, for the last time, the majestic ile, the placid lakes, the fertile land of Goshen, then addressing themselves, in obedience to the command of God, they were soon in motion, going "out with a high hand in the sight of all the Egyptians." Sweeping by the lofty hills, over plains of burning sands, and through the mountain pass, they were soon tented upon the banks of the Red Sea. Scarcely had they ascended the opposite shore, from the depths beneath and the pillar of cloud, till the obedient sea, extending over all the Egyptian hosts, rolled its erratic waves peacefully on forever. The concordant harmony of Israel's song, timbrel, and harp, swelling the diapason of each successive strain — rolling back over the coral graves of the foe, fell like a song of heaven, on the distant, forsaken shore, and ranged along the gloomy

Israel's triumph at the red sea. 159 mountains with commingling echoes of sublime and praise. f. The inquiry. ' ' Who is like unto thee, Lord, among the gods?" To discriminate between the gods of imagination and the God of Israel was not to them a subject of either conjecture or doubt ; and the idea of longer attributing power to insensible and material deities had fled forever. Boundless confidence was then placed in an all-wise, merciful, glorious, eternal, and omnipotent Being.

( 1 .) Astonishment was evidently blending the emotions of heart in this enunciation, as though all imagination or rapidity of thought had been infinitely surpassed — overwhelming love unmerited, and limitless glory of the eternal power divine. (2.) Attention is implied. Let all the people turn to this source of imperishable life, overwhelming in its gift and glory. Humility, gratitude, and awe should mark every feeling of each broken heart, while earnestly looking to Christ for redemption from sin, sorrow, and death. 2. Egyptian idolatry was oppressive and degrading to all its votaries ; and the effect, when contrasted with the worship of the true God, rolls up to the vision, consciousness, and future hope of man, its appalling mountain of night browing over the stormy waves of the shoreless empire of Spirit, as if convulsed by quaking worlds from beneath and lowering heavens from above. The long forbearance of God was signalized by innumerable calls of mercy to love and obedience. o less than ten plagues, as compulsatory agents to their repentance, spread, over the whole land, gloom, sorrow, and death. Their ineffectual invocations to their gods, and fruitless resorts to their sacred groves and templed hills, should have induced an effectual change and inspired perpetual praise to God. 3. The true God was the only hope of Israel; and so he is the hope, and the only hope, of a lost world.

160 Israel's triumph at the red sea. (1.) He could save. He had power to save; he was willing to save ; and he did save, as was every-where evidenced in their deliverances and preservation. Who could doubt but that they were saved from their enemies ? They saw that the whole pathway of the past was every-where

bestudded as with a gallery of lights, marking the countless providences and grace cast around them for safety, and pointing onward to the rewards of a glorious immortality. (2.) He could destroy. This fact to them was knowledge. He can and will finally destroy all his enemies. They had only to look on the ebbing tide in order to know that there he overthrew the chariots of Pharaoh, and there the horse and his rider were drowned in the sea. 4. Glorious in holiness. The majesty, fullness of meaning, and beauty of this sentence can only be described in part. (1.) Holiness. One grain of dust in an ocean of water would render it impure till it was removed. The existence of Deity is boundless. o impurity or discordant element can be attached to the divine Being; he is holy. (2.) Absolute holiness belongs to the divine Being; for lie alone is infinite in existence and attributes. We are not required to possess absolute holiness ; for we are finite beings ; yet it is our privilege and duty to be set apart holy to God, and to be separated from all sin. (3.) Glorious in holiness : the true light of serene and resplendent purity, far beyond all description. (4.) In holiness. If as to degree, it is the degree all degrees beyond — holiest and highest. As to location, he may be said to dwell in, and is the infinite center of, holiness and glory, interminably surrounding. 5. Fearful in praises. This glorious and holy Being encircled with compassion and grace the spirits of time, regarding each condition, and is ever present; yet his

Israel's triumph at the red sea. 161 throne is eternity. The approach of pure angels, who are accessory to the smiles and glorious beatitude of Deity, is (1.) With confiding fear; not that they are capable of a slavish or unhappy fear; but they come with filial love, fearing to do any thing that would be in the least calculated to resist the holy love and will of such a Being. (2.) With deep reverence; humble and lowly feelings of utter dependence upon the protecting power and goodness of God, subjugating every emotion to the law of love. (3.) With vailed faces . What can more perfectly indicate the prudence, love, and submission of those heavenly beings ? (4.) If this characterizes the adoration of angels, how, then, should men of sin, dust, and death, with proper humility, approach into the presence of the great God? We must approach, believe in, love, and praise the great source of incomprehensible majesty, grandeur, and glory — fearful in praises, because he is incomprehensible to man. But are these the only sources of his praise ? o, no ! Praise, fearful, grand, and overwhelming, arises everywhere and from all that he has made. It is realized in the gentle breeze, the delicate flower, waving forests, verdant plains, and towering mountains, flying clouds, and roaring seas. Praise him, revolving earth, and ye, sun, moon, and stars ! Repeat his praise, ye rolling worlds on high ! System rising on system, towering far beyond the flight of thought, burn on, reflecting a silvery train of imperishable lights, like holy candles, before the altar of Infinity, conspiring praise, fearful, boundless, and eternal. 6. Doing wonders. The acts of Deity are certain and true. They are evidenced in existences. From medium the gradations range in series, ascending and descending. On the one hand, we go down to a microscopic analysis

of beings, till they descend beyond all power of vision; while, on the other, the mind, ascending in vigorous 14*

162 Israel's triumph at the red sea. thought, may grasp infinite space, orbed with innumerable revolving worlds. And, without so extensive a range, there is wonder, (1.) In the plants and flowers of earth. o one can understand the philosophy of the germination of plants ; the mystery connected with the commencement of their growth; how they are matured and adorned with such brilliant loveliness and beauty. (2.) Who can tell how the oak, that sturdy, proud king of the forest, waves its tall head on high ? A thousand acorns may fall silently and imperceptibly to the ground ; but, in process of time, they spring up, and are matured. Yet how can ponderous earth, air, and water, capilorated so far above the earth, contrary to the law of gravitation, become consolidated in trunks, boughs, and leaves, gracefully waving to every breeze, or still erect, having embattled the elements of a thousand storms ! (3.) The earth, in its existence, containing, internally, the stratified archives of its own periods and ages, while, at the same time, it moves rapidly on amid surrounding worlds. What mysterious power spreads light over this flying orb ; wakes up the ocean roar of its mighty waters ; spots its ethereal panorama with brilliant clouds, or congregates them in the blackness of tempest storm, while the voice of the distant, deep -toned thunder, and the responses of a trembling world, are fearful heralds preluding its desolating course I

(4.) Miracle is a wonder ranging within the controlling power of Omnipotence. It is an event or occurrence contrary to the established constitution and course of things, being a deviation from the laws of nature. That such disturbances have occurred in the regular course of nature no one can question. Who can define the cause, or comprehend the power that originates them? Time was when authority was given to heal the sick, cleanse the lepers,

Israel's triumph at the red sea. 163 restore the limbs of the maimed, cast out devils, and to raise the dead. (5.) Man exists in mystery to himself, fearfully and wonderfully made. The soul is incomprehensible as to its immortality of being, and in the nature, variety, extent, and harmony of its faculties. And how can a body of clay be animated with life; pulsate, breathe, and act? But the indefinable, afnnitating chords of affection, blending the life of the two natures in one, is beyond demonstration ; yet an infinite power arranged them all. (6.) Life is a mystery. onentity preceded it, but can never supplant it so as to succeed it. In time it is knowingly and sensitively surrounded by innumerable dangers ; yet it is incapable of being annihilated, and must exist in some way without further limitation. He whose inspiration first breathed in earth the breath of lives can perpetuate forever that which he has bestowed. (7.) Sleep, emblematical of death, is an order of Heaven's wisdom and goodness — sweet, balmy restorer of wearied nature ! yet no one can understand the philosophy or element of its existence ; its repeated returns and salutary effects. Though so simple and plain to experience, yet it can not be analyzed satisfactorily to the mind.

(8.) Death, though resembled by sleep, is far different to our reception. Sleep, being natural, is courted, invoked, and desired ; but death is unnatural, and filled with appalling horror. Its dark vail spreads solemn gloom over the pathway of life. Its agencies sever happiness, vacate thrones, and hang the earth in mourning. (9.) The conversion of the soul is a reality, wondrous, and as near a miracle as almost any thing of modern times. We do not mean a fashionable or superficial conversion, almost without any repentance, groan of spirit, or sorrow of heart preceding it ; but we mean that kind of conversion which is preceded by deep convictions for sin,

164 Israel's triumph at the red sea. a broken heart, and a convulsed soul, shuddering with fearful forebodings over an awful and interminable hell ; and a soul that is willing to do any thing or go any where for the sake of Christ, happiness, and heaven — a soul, when converted, has Christ formed within it, the hope of glory, feeling that the Holy Ghost witnesses to the heart that it has passed from death to life — and a soul that is happy in God, that can shout his praise in some way, living wholly given up to religion, having its life hid with Christ in God. A religion which will not stand fire, save the soul, and be felt as a happifying principle, is just that kind which devils love and hell will thank its possessor for when eternally lost. (10.) The salvation of the soul eternally in heaven is a wonderful display of grace. Devils did not desire it, and wielded the powers of the eternal world of night to circumvent the channels of heaven's love and mercy. Earth, though most interested, was once dumb and inactive to every thing but to crime, insensible to the allurements of virtue, deliberately descended downward, barring, bolting, and locking up a fated world in the sorrows of eternal

woe. Angels, as though encamped on high, paused in silencd ; the harp of eternity ceased to move ; a revolting world was lost; justice came down to destroy the earth, when mercy met and encountered it on the top of Mount Calvary, in the presence and person of the world's Redeemer. He conquered ; deliverance came ; hell quailed ; earth trembled; angels rejoiced; saints shouted, and all nations were called to seek for " glory, honor, immortality, eternal life." May we not now attempt to describe the felicity and happiness of the souls in heaven? When the saints have safely arrived there, rejoined to friends, and have gazed with holy awe upon the glory of the Savior of poor sinners, then, looking on the city, the plains surrounding the rolling river, and waving trees of life, they may speak of heaven. And when the redeemed have progressively ascended, grasping the rising series of the knowledge and love of God, every-where ranging eternally onward, then they may begin to judge of the limitless fullness, glory, and eternity of heaven. Great God, in tender mercy, save us ! save the world ! let every heart aspire to thee, and hail, in final triumph, the fadeless joys of a glorious immortality in heaven !



Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful