by George H. Morrison

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Unobserved Sins
George H. Morrison
Exodus 2:12

That this was a very rash and wicked action, none of us can have any doubt at all. It was not thus that Moses was to prosper in delivering his people from the yoke of Egypt. In reading the story of African exploration I have been struck by one recurring feature. It is how often the most successful expeditions have to tell the sorry tale of a bad start. Well this was a bad start-this act of manslaughter-in the deliverance of Israel from their bondage; and Moses had to learn that not in ways like that was it the will of God to free His people. No doubt there was abundant provocation, and Moses by nature had a fiery temper. The man who shattered the tables of the law could never have been a cold and calculating person. And if the missionaries on the Congo, when they see the brutalities there, are moved to their very depths with indignation, we can understand the surge of Moses' passion when he saw a brother lashed by an Egyptian. But for all that, it was an unworthy deed. At the best it was what Bacon calls "wild justice."1 It is not by sudden attacks of furious rage that nations are liberated and reforms accomplished. And I sometimes wonder if Moses on the Mount, when he read on the table of stone "Thou shalt not kill," remembered this wild hour when he slew the Egyptian and dug a pit in the sand to hide the corpse.

Now I do not wish to dwell on the whole incident but rather on this graphic text-"He looked this way and that way, and when he saw there was no man, he slew the Egyptian." That suggests to me two lines of thought to which I ask your attention for a little. First, to think oneself unobserved often makes way for sin; second, unobserved sin may have far-reaching consequences.

First, then, to think oneself unobserved often makes way for sin. Moses looked this way and that way, and he saw no man. That does not mean, I take it, that no one was in sight, for there would not be an Egyptian overseer over on ...

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