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And the manna ceased on the morrow after
they had eaten of the old corn of the land;
The bountiful Giver of all good gifts, who knows the wants of his creatures, and apportions his mercies to their necessities, was pleased to work many signal miracles for the support and encouragement of his people Israel. Their case was peculiar. Jehovah was their God: with a mighty hand, with a stretched-out arm, he brought them forth from the land of Egypt. From
the house of bondage he delivered them, and after (as St. Paul expresses it beautifully) suffering their manners for the space of forty years in the wilderness, he settled them in the quiet possession of the land of Canaan.
There they rested from their labours; there they enjoyed a land flowing with milk and honey ; there they forgot their toils in the possession of their abundant blessings; and there they should have remembered the Lord.”
The providence of God is conspicuously displayed in the whole course of their history, and it is one great privilege of the Christian to learn wisdom from those who have gone before him in the church. Their pilgrimage foreshadowed our life their miscarriages were emblems of our readiness to decline from God; their murmurings were too much like our own, and the grace which kept them was an earnest of the same power which prevents and follows every child of God. The subject appears to be applicable to our present meeting. You have the ordinances of the religion which Christ preached. These are as the manna for a time. They will cease,
overthrow of their enemies. His longsuffering was displayed in bearing with the rebellious heart, and in softening the stubborn will of a stiff-necked people. When the manna was vouchsafed, they were murmuring in their tents, and, like the children of this world, they were wishing for their old captivity : 6. Would to God,” say they, “we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt; when we sat by the flesh-pots, and when we did eat bread to the full; for ye have brought us forth into this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly with hunger.” God heard these repinings, and commissioned Moses to speak in his name, saying, “ At even ye shall eat flesh, and in the morning ye shall be filled with bread, and ye shall know that I am the Lord
God. And it came to pass, that at even the quails came up and covered the camp; and in the morning the dew lay round about the host. And when the dew that lay was gone up,
the face of the wilderness there lay a small round thing, as small as the hoar-frost on the ground. And when the children of Israel saw it, they said one to another, It is
manna : for they wist not what it was. And Moses said unto them, This is the bread which the Lord hath given you to eat. Thus was Israel sustained during their wanderings in the wilderness. And are we not here most forcibly reminded of our own state? God delivers the Christian from worse than Egyptian bondage. He opens a way of escape for him, from the allurements of the world, the flesh and the devil, but the rebellious heart turns back. Bondage, with momentary pleasure, is as Egypt to the Israelite. The strictness of the precepts of the Gospel offends him ; he wants to compromise the matter between God and the world; he wants to serve two masters; he would go forward, but temptation pulls him back; the things which he would not, those he does. But in these difficulties there is help; there is a leader ; there is a good land before us. Let us but fight the Lord's battles, and ours will be the victory.
But the whole of this merciful transaction was, as St. Paul teaches us in 1 Cor. x., a figure of a yet more extensive blessing.
Christ was the true bread which came
down from heaven.” Did Israel murmur ? So do we. With a merciful provision on the right hand and on the left, adapted to supply our wants, we are not content; we require more : the flesh lusteth against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh; we are disobedient, gainsaying, rebellious. Moreover, brethren,” says the apostle, “I would not that
should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea ; and were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea ; and did all eat the same spiritual meat; and did all drink the same spiritual drink (for they drank of that spiritual rock that followed them, and that rock was Christ.) But with many of them God was not well pleased, for they were overthrown in the wilderness." Now these things were our examples.
In that memorable discourse which our blessed Saviour delivered to the Jews as recorded in the sixth of John, Jesus said unto them, speaking of the manna : “Moses gave you not that bread from heaven, but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven.” For the bread of God is he that