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Elpis Israel
by Dr. John Thomas

It is assertion without proof; and until they can adduce credentials divinely attested as in all other cases of real appointments in scripture, if they are not set down at once as impostors (which would be quite justifiable after waiting for credentials many centuries), mankind are at all events under no obligation to attend to the word they profess to have received.

When Moses received his commission, he objected to go to Israel, for, said he, "They will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice: for they will say, The Lord hath not appeared unto thee".

It was then the Lord empowered him to work the first sign; and if that did not convince them, then the second; but if still incredulous, afterwards the third; which would be irresistible.

Now, when through Aaron he had spoken all the words commanded, "he did the signs in the sight of the people".

If they had believed his simple word, the signs would not have been given; but as they were all given, it is evident that they did not believe his bare assertion.

When they saw the wonders, however, they came to the conclusion of Nicodemus in relation to "the prophet like unto Moses," that he was a person "sent from God, for no man could do the miracles he did except God were with him"; as it is written, "And he did the signs in the sight of the people, and they believed that the Lord had visited the children of Israel, and that he had looked upon their affliction".

Being accepted as a ruler and a deliverer, he and his prophet, accompanied by the elders of Israel, presented themselves before Pharaoh.

Moses announced himself as the bearer of a message to him from the Lord God of Israel, saying, "Let my people go, that they may hold a feast unto me in the wilderness".

This demand astonished Pharaoh exceedingly.

"Who," said he, "is the Lord, that I should obey his voice to let Israel go?

I know not the Lord, neither will I let Israel go.

Wherefore do ye, Moses and Aaron, hinder the people from their works?

Get you to your burdens".

The only effect of this application was to double their toil, and to cause the officers of Israel to be beaten, because they were not successful in extorting from their brethren what was impossible.

They remonstrated with the tyrant, but to no other purpose than to be spurned from his presence as idle fellows.

They perceived that they were in an evil and desperate case; and as their condition was worse since Moses came among them, they looked on him as the cause of all the aggravated evil that had befallen them.

Moses, indeed, could not deny it.

He had nothing to say in extenuation; but in his extremity returned to expostulate with the Lord.

"Wherefore, Lord," said he, "hast thou so evil-entreated this people?

Why is it that thou hast sent me?

For since I came to Pharaoh to speak in thy name, he hath done evil to this people; neither hast thou delivered thy people at all.

After this manner, being made to feel the need of deliverance, Moses was sent again to them with glad tidings of a sure and speedy redemption.

In communicating it to Moses, the Lord prefaced the message with a reiteration of the memorial.