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began to fail; on the deliverance of the country from this dreadful visitation, he engaged to release the bondmen. At the word of Moses the storm ceased. Still, to deprive the whole land of so valuable a body of slaves, seemed too great a sacrifice to the policy, and too humiliating a concession to the pride of the monarch. To complete the desolation of the country, the corn lands were next laid waste by other means of destruction. The situation of Egypt usually secures the country from that worst enemy to the fertility of the Asiatic provinces, the locusts. As these insects fly in general from east to west, and cannot remain on the wing for any length of time, the width of the Red Sea presents a secure barrier to their invasions. Their dreadful ravage is scarcely exaggerated by the strong images of the prophets, particularly the sublime description in Joel. Where they alight, all vegetation at once disappears; not a blade of grass, not a leaf, escapes them; the soil seems as if it were burnt up by fire; they obscure the sun as with a cloud; they cover sometimes a space of nine miles, and thus they march on in their regular files, till the land which was as the garden of Eden before them, behind them is a desolate wilderness. Such was the next visitation which came to glean the few remaining signs of the accustomed abundance of Egypt, spared by the

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tempest. A strong and regular east wind brought the fatal cloud from the Arabian shore, or, according to the Septuagint translation, a south wind from the regions of Abyssinia. The court

. now began to murmur at the unbending spirit of the king; on the intimation of this new calamity, he had determined to come to terms. He offered to permit all the adults to depart, but insisted on retaining the children, either as hostages for the return of the parents, or in order to perpetuate a race of slaves for the future. Now he was for an instant inclined to yield this point; but when the west wind had driven these destroying ravagers into the sea, he recalled all his concessions, and continued steadfast in his former resolutions of resistance to the utmost. At length, therefore, their great divinity, the Sun, was to be put to shame before the God of the slave and the stranger. For three whole days, as Moses stretched his hand toward heaven, a darkness, described with unexampled force as a DARKNESS THAT MIGHT BE FELT, overspread the land; not merely was the sun unable to penetrate the gloom, and enlighten his favored land, but they could distinguish nothing, and were constrained to sit in awe-struck inactivity. The king would now gladly consent to the departure of the whole race, children as well as grown-up men; yet, as all the latter plagues, the flies, the murrain, the hail, the locusts, the darkness had spared the land of Goshen, the cattle of that district, in the exhausted state of the country, was invaluable; he demands that these should be surrendered as the price of freedom.

6 Qur cattle also shall go with us, not a hoof shall be left behind,' replies his inexorable antagonist Thus, then, the whole kingdom of Egypt hao been laid waste by successive calamities; the cruelty of the oppressors had been dreadfully avenged; all classes had suffered in the undis criminating desolation. Their pride had beer humbled; their most sacred prejudices wounded;

! the Nile had been contaminated; their dwellings polluted by loathsome reptiles; their cleanly persons defiled by vermin; their pure air had swarmed with troublesome insects; their cattle had perished by a dreadful malady; their bodies broken out with a filthy disease; their early harvest had been destroyed by the hail, the latter by the locusts; an awful darkness had enveloped them for three days, but still the deliverance was to be extorted by a calamity more dreadful than all these. The Israelites will not depart poor and empty handed; they will receive some compensation for their years of hard and cruel servitude; they levy on their awe-struck masters contributions in gold, silver, and jewels. Some, especially later writers, have supposed that they exacted these gifts by main force, and with arms in their hands. Undoubtedly, though the Israelites appear to have offered no resistance to the Egyptian horsemen and chariots which pursued them in the desert, they fight with the Amalekites, and afterward arrive, an armed people, on the borders of Canaan. Josephus accounts for this, but not quite satisfactorily, by supposing that they got possession of the arms of the Egyptians, washed ashore after their destruction in the Red Sea. But the general awe and confusion are sufficient to explain the facility with which the Israelites collected these treasures. The slaves had become objects of superstitious terror; to propitiate them with gifts was natural, and their leader authorized their reception of all presents which might thus be offered. The night drew on, the last night of servitude to the people of Israel, a night of unprecedented horror to the ancient kingdom of Egypt. The Hebrews were employed in celebrating that remarkable rite, which they have observed for ages down to the present day. The Passover, the memorial that God passed over them when he destroyed the first born of all Egypt, has been kept under this significant name, and still is kept as the memo. rial of their deliverance from Egypt, by every faithful descendant of Abraham. Each family was to sacrifice a lamb without blemish, to


anoint their door posts and the lintels of their houses with its blood, and to feast upon the remainder. The sacrifice was over, the feast concluded, when that dreadful event took place, which it would be presumptuous profanation to relate, except in the words of the Hebrew annalist. And it came to pass, that at midnight the Lord smote all the first born in the land of Egypt, from the first born of Pharaoh, that sat on the throne, unto the first born of the captive that was in the dungeon, and all the first born of the cattle. And Pharaoh rose up in the night, he and all his servants, and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt, for there was not a house where there was not one dead.' The horrors of this night may be better con.. ceived, when we call to mind that the Egyptians were noted for the wild and frantic wailings with which they lamented their dead. Screaming women rush about with dishevelled hair, troops of people assemble in tumultuous commiseration around the house, where a single corpse is laid out

and now every house and every family had its victim. Hebrew tradition has increased the horror of the calamity, asserting that the temples were shaken, the idols overthrown, the sacred animals, chosen as the first born, involved in the universal destruction. While every household of Egypt was occupied

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