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come all opposition in the way of a sinner's conversion and progress in holiness; as Moses's rod was made use of to divide the Red sea.
If the rod be considered as representing Christ, then Moses or Aaron represent God. Moses cast his rod on the ground, and it became a serpent, and he took it up, and it became a rod again, signifying how that Christ, when he was sent down by God to the earth, and was made sin for us, became guilty for our sakes, was accursed, and appeared in the form of sinful flesh: he appeared in our stead, having our guilt imputed to him, who are a generation of vipers. Thus, when the children of Israel were bitten with fiery serpents, Christ was represented by the brazen serpent. The rod being become a serpent, swallowed the magicians' rods or serpents, so Christ, by his being made sin for us, destroyed sin and Satan. When Moses took up bis rod from the ground, it was no longer a serpent, but became a rod again, so when God took up Christ from his stroke of humiliation, he was acquitted, justified, he had no longer the guilt of sin imputed to him, he no longer appeared in the form of sinful flesh. Rulers and princes are compared lo rods, Ezek. xix. 11, 12. 14, and to branches, Ps. Ixxx. 15. 17; so Christ himself is often called a rod, and branch.
It is by the word of God, or by Christ, that God works all his wonders in and for the church; and Moses wrought wonders by his rod. It is by Christ that all obstacles and difficulties are removed in order to our salvation. As the Red sea was divided by Moses's rod, it is by Christ, and in his name only, that God's people prevail over their enemies. The children of Israel prevailed, while Moses held up his rod, and when he let it down, Amalek prevailed; Moses held up the rod in that battle as the banner or ensign of the armies of Israel, as is evident from Exod. xvii. 15; so Christ is lifted up as an ensign, Isai. xi. 10.
When this rod budded, and blossomed, and bare fruit, that which it brought forth was almonds, intimating this, that the spreading of the word of God in producing its effects in the world will be rapid. The almond-tree is a tree of a very sudden growth, and speedily brings its fruit to perfection. Jer. i. 11, 12. So the word of God is quick and powerful; this is the way which the powerfulness of it is shown in the suddenness of its producing its great effects, Isai. Ixvi. 7, 8, “ Before she travailed she brought forth; before her pain came, she was delivered of a man child; who hath beard such a thing? who bath seen such things ? shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? or shall a nation be born at once? for as soon as Zion travailed she brought forth ber children."
As Moses and Aaron represent God, the rod represents Christ : as Moses and Aaron represent Christ, the rod represents the word: as they represent ministers, the rod represents two things, viz. the word of God which they preach, and their faith; and this rod was Moses's staff, and this staff represents the same as Jacob's and Elisha's staves. See note on Numb. xxi. 18.
 Exod. iv. 20. Moses's Rod. One thing at least typified by this rod is faith, the same that was signified by Jacob's staff with which he passed over Jordan, and that he leaned upon in his last sickness, that the Apostle speaks of in Heb. xi.; and Elisha's staff that he bid the servant lay on the dead child, and the staves of the princes with which they digged the well, and David's staff he took in his hand when he went against Goliath. The word properly signifies a staff as well as rod, such a staff as persons walk with, or lean upon : the word comes from a root, one signification of which is, to lean.
The word translated bed, Gen. xlvii. 31, (Jacob bowed himself upon the bed's head) comes from the same root, and therefore the Apostle renders it staff, in Heb. xi. The word is not the same in the original with that used to signify Elisha's staff that was laid on the child, but it is a word of the same signification, and therefore both words are used to signify the stay of bread, the latter in Isai. ii. I, and the former in Levit. xxvi. 23. This word is used to signify Judah's staff, that he gave to Tamar as a pledge, Gen. Xxxviii. 19.
 Exod. v. to xiv. inclusive. Concerning Pharaoh's hardness of heart and obstinacy in refusing to let the children of Israel go, and the manner of God's dealing with him. In Pharaoh's behaviour is very lively represented the behaviour of impenitent sinners when the subjects of reproofs and corrections for their sins, and under convictions of conscience and warnings, and fears of future wrath, with respect to parting with their sins, or letting go the objects of their lusts. Indeed it is an instance of this very conduct; for Pharaoh in refusing to let the people go, refused to let go the objects of his lusts: in keeping them in bondage, he kept bis sins. His pride was gratified in his dominion over that people. He was loth to let them go, because he was loth to part with his pride. . His covetousness was also gratified by the profits he had by their slavery; he would not let them go because he would not part with the object of his covetousness.
God commanded him to let the people go, he sent his commands from time to time by the hand of Moses and Aaron, and warned him of the ill consequence if he refused : so God counsels and warns sinners by his word, by his ministers. God first made known his will to Pharaoh in a mild and gentle manner, chap. v. at the beginning; but that was so far from being effectual, that he was only the worse for it. Instead of letting the people go, he only increased their burden's : so God is wont in the first place to use gentle means with sinners. But impenitent sinners are not the better, but the worse, for the gracious calls and counsels of the word of God; they sin with the greater contempt for it : as Pbaraoh took God's command in disdain. He said, “Who is the Lord, that I should obey his voice?" Then God proceeded to lay greater matter of conviction before Pharaoh, and to warn bim of the mischief that would come upon him by his refusal, by turning the rod into a serpent ; (see notes on that miracle, Exod. vii.;) and when he still hardened his heart, then God began to chastise him, by turning the water into blood, which was not only a chastisement but also a clear and loud warning of the future destruction he would bring upon bimself by his obstinacy. (See notes on that plague) So God is wont to give sinners fair waroing of the misery and the danger of their sins before he destroys them. After this, when God's hand pressed Pharaoh, and he was exercised with fears of God's future wrath, he entertained some thoughts of letting the people go, and promised he would do it; but from time to time he broke his promises when he saw there was respite. So sinners are often wont to do under convictions of conscience and fears of wrath; they have many thoughts of parting with their sios; but there is never a divorce actually made between them and their lusts; it is common for sinners when under affliction and threatening dispensations of providence to make promises of amendment, as in times of sore sickness, and when in danger of death and damnation, but soon to forget them when God's hand is removed and future damnation more out of sight. In such cases sinners are wont to beg the prayers of ministers, that God would remove his hand and restore them again, as Pharaoh begs the prayers of Moses and Aaron, Exod. viii, 8. “Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron, and said, Entreat the Lord that he may take away the frogs from me, and from my people, and I will let the people go that they may sacrifice unto the Lord;" and so ver. 28 ; so ch. ix. 27, 28, and s. 16, 17. Pharaoh was brought by God's judgments and terrors to confess his sin with seeming humility, as Exod. ix. 27. “ And Pharaoh sent and called for Moses and Aaron and said unto them, I have sinned this time, the Lord is righteous, and I and my people are wicked.” This was when there were mighty thunderings; and it follows in the next verse, “ Entreat the Lord that there may be no more mighty thunderings." So chap. x. 16, 17. “ And he said, I have sinned against the Lord your God and against you ; now therefore forgive, I pray thee, my sin only this once.” So sinners ostentimes under affliction and danger of future wrath, and when God thunders upon their consciences, seem very penitent and humble, and are much in confessing their sins, but yet have not their lusts divorced from them, have vo thorough disposition to forsake them. Pharaoh, in the struggle that was between his conscience and his lusts, was contriving that God might be served, and he enjoy his lusts, that were gratified by the slavery of the cbildren of Israel. Moses kept insisting upon it that God should be served, and sacrificed to; Pharaob was willing to consent to that, but he would have it done without his parting with the children of Israel. Exod. viii. 25. “ Avd Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron and said, Go ye, sacrifice to your God in the land.” So it is oftentimes with sinners under fear of divine wrath; they are for contriving to serve God and enjoy their lusts too; they are willing to be very devout in many duties of religion, but without parting with their beloved sins. How do some wicked men amongst the papists and elsewhere seem to abound in acts of devotion ! how much pains do they take, how much trouble and loss are they at! they are like the Samaritans that worshipped the God of Israel, and served their own gods too. So did the Jews, Jer. vii. 9, 10. “Will ye steal, murder, and commit adultery, and swear falsely, and burn incense unto Baal; and come and stand before me in this house?” And Ezek. xxiii. 39. “For when they bad slain their children to their idols, then they came the same day into my sanctuary to prosane it, and lo, thus have they done in the midst of mine house.” Moses objected against complying with Pharaoh's conscience, and proposed in this matter that serving God and continuing in the land of Egypt among the Egyptians in slavery to them, did not agree together, and were inconsistent one with another. The Egyptians, their task masters, would abhor that service that God required, and would not tolerate it, but would kill Gods worshippers; and therefore there was a necessity of a separation to be made between Israelites and Egyptians, in order to God's being served. So the service of God and our still continuing in the service of our lusts, are inconsistent one with another, as Christ says, “ye cannot serve God and Mammon.” There is a necessity of forsaking one in order to cleave to the other. If we retain our sins, if we do not part from them, they will kill those dulies wherewith God is served.
When Pharaoh saw that it would not be consented to that the people should only sacrifice to their God in the land, then he consented to let them go, provided they would not go far away. He was not willing to part with them finally, and therefore would not let them go clear, but would have them within reach, that he might bring them back again. So it is often with sinners, with respect to their sins; they will refrain a wbile from them, but will not wholly part with them, taking an everlasting leave of them, quitting all hopes or expectations of ever having any thing more to do with them. Afterwards, when God's plagues carne still harder upon Pharaoh, he consented to let the men go, if they would leave the women and children, Exod. x. 8, 9, 10; and then after that, when God's hand pressed him still more sorely, he consented that they should go, even women and children, provided that they would leave their cattle behind them ; but he was not willing to let them go and all that they had, Exod. x. 24. So it oftentimes is with sinners, when pressed with God's judgments, or fears of future wrath; they are brought to be willing to part with some of their sins, but not all; they are brought to part with the more gross acts, but not so to part with their lusts in lesser indulgencies of them; whereas we must part with all our sins, little and great, and all that belongs to them, even women and children, and cattle; they must all be let go, with their young and with their old, with their sons and with their daughters, with their flocks and with their herds. There must not be an hoof left behind. At last, when it came to extremity, Pharaoh consented to let the people all go, and all that they had ; but he was not steadfastly of that mind; he soon repented and pursued after them again ; and then, when he was guilty of such backsliding, he was destroyed without remedy, which is often the case with sinners. Note, when there is only a forced parting with sin, though it be universal, yet it is not sincere, nor is it like to be persevering.
God exercised abundance of patience with Pharaoh before he destroyed him, and the warnings that were given him were louder and louder, and God's judgments upon him greater and greater, and God's hand and design in them became more and more manifest. First, God only sends a command from him, directing Moses to deliver it, and let it be accompanied with humble entreaties, paying him the honour due to a king, Exod. iji. 18, and v. 3. After that, Moses spake with more authority ; God made him a god to Pharaoh, and he no more besought bim as a subject, Exod. vii. 1 ; and his word was confirmed by miracles. But in the first place, the miracles were such as did not hurt them, but only warn them, as that turning the rod into a serpent; and then God proceeded to miracles that were burtful, which yet were imitated by the magicians; but then God proceeded further, to do things that the magicians could not imitate, but themselves confessed manifested the finger of God. And then that the evidence might be still clearer, and God's meaning in those plagues plainer, God proceeded to sever between the land of Goshen, where the children of Israel dwelt, and the rest of Egypt, and then in the next plague God severed even between the cattle of Israel and the cattle of Egypt; and then in the