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Ingraham, J. H. (Joseph Holt), 1809-1860 [1859], The pillar of fire, or, Israel in bondage. (Pudney & Russell [and] H. Dayton, New York) [word count] [eaf611T].
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City of Tyre, Syria, Month Athyr. My elder and dear Brother:

It is with emotions wholly new to me, awakened
by those fraternal ties to which I have been hitherto
entirely a stranger, that I take up my pen to address
you, inscribing at the commencement of my letter the
endearing words, “my brother!” It is true I have lost
much in many respects; but I have also gained much
in the affection of my newly discovered kindred.

After you left us below Memphis, the galley of the
Prince Sesostris sped swiftly down the Nile, and ere
noon we had entered the Pelusian branch. As I passed
the old city of Bubastis, and Pythom, the new treasure-city,
which is rising upon its ruins, I groaned with
heaviness of heart! Around and upon its walls, I beheld
the thousands of my oppressed countrymen toiling,
like Nubian slaves, under the lash of their task-masters!
I could only groan in heart; for what was I

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now able to do for them,—myself an exile, and flying
from the land? May the prophecy which exists among
your people (my people), as you asserted in the last long
and interesting conversation we held together, on the
day I embarked, be soon fulfilled! This bondage cannot
continue many years! There is not room in Egypt
for two nations!

At Pelusium we found the prince's fleet awaiting him.
It set sail shortly after our arrival, and coasting by the
shores of Arabia, and passing Askelon, in Philistia, in
seven days we entered the port of Tyre; which is built
upon a rocky isle and peninsula, and rises from the sea
with imposing magnificence.

I was most kindly received by the mother of Sesostris,
whose glad reception of her son made my eyes fill
with tears; for I remembered my (I was going to say,
mother)—the Queen Amense's tenderness, whenever
she met me after the shortest absence.

But I must not refer to the past.

Prince Sesostris treats me in every respect as an equal.
Were I still Prince Remeses of Egypt, he could not
show me more kindness and regard. We have now
been here one month; and in that time I have seen
much of Tyre, but my continued grief for the death of
the beloved queen,—my more than mother,—renders me
quite indifferent to external objects. As the guest of
the prince, I have endeavored to interest myself in what
concerns him. He is engaged earnestly in preparations
for war. The port of Tyre is thronged with war-galleys;
and reviews of troops take place daily, on a plain which
is overhung by the mountain-range of Libanus. The
grandeur of this mountain, in which the earliest worship

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of men rose to the gods, deeply impressed me. The
fleet will sail in about one month.

Damascus, Syro-Phœnicia.

Since writing the above I have come to this beautiful
city, which lies in a lovely vale watered by two rivers,
the Abana and Pharphar, that fertilize it and render it
indeed “the garden of the earth”—as it is termed. I
travelled hither with the prince, who has come to take
to wife Thamonda, the fair princess of this city. She is
amiable and sensible, and I rejoice that my princely
friend has such happiness in store! How fortunate for
me, my brother, that while I was Prince of Egypt, I
did not interest myself in any princess, who would be
now humbled and wretched at my degradation! The
nuptial ceremonies will take place soon, and occupy
some days. I wish Sesostris every happiness in his

I met here the venerable Prince of Uz. He had travelled
thus far on his return to his own land, which lies on
the borders of Chaldea and Sabæa, and when informed
of my present position was deeply moved. We have
had long and interesting conversations together, upon
the unity of God! which have so deeply absorbed my
reflections, that I have accepted an invitation to visit
him, after I return from Cyprus, whither I accompany
the prince and his bride.

The Palace of the Princess of Damascus.

My beloved Sesostris is married. The ceremonies
were unusually magnificent;—several kings of cities

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and princes of provinces being present, with their retinues.
But I do not excel in descriptions of scenes and
festivities, and leave them to the more graceful and easypen
of Sesostris. We depart in three days with a gala
procession of horsemen, to return to Tyre.

Isle of Tyre.

Having kept this roll of papyrus with me, I now close
my epistle here, where I commenced writing it, with
the intelligence of our arrival; the happy reception of
her new daughter-in-law, by Queen Epiphia; and with
the announcement that the fleet will set sail within three
days for the Levantine island-kingdom.

Commend me, my brother, with respectful affection,
to my father Amram, to my honored mother, and to my
stately sister, Miriam. Trusting you are all in health
and safety, I am your brother, with profound fraternal

Moses, the Hebrew.

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A year has passed, my brother, since I last wrote to
you. In the mean while I have received your very kind
epistle. It reached me at Tyre, where I found it awaiting
me, on my return from the expedition against Cyprus.
You have probably learned the result of the war,
and that Prince Sesostris landed his army, defeated
the King of Cyprus in a pitched battle, taking his battalion
of chariots, which were armed with scythes, and
destroying his cavalry. The king implored peace, and
surrendered his capital. Sesostris, after levying a tribute
of two thousand talents of silver upon it for ten
years, and demanding a portion of the island, on the
north, for a Phœnician colony, returned triumphant to
his country.

I am now travelling through the whole of Syria. From
this point I shall proceed to the province of Uz. I desire
to know more fully this wisdom of the One God,
the Almighty, as taught by the Sage of that land.
When I saw him in Damascus, a year ago, I informed
him that I had begun to write an account of the wonderful
incidents of his life; but when I read to him what I
had commenced, and afterwards heard his conversation

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upon the God he worshipped, I perceived that I was a
child in ignorance, and had entered upon a task impossible
for me to perform, by reason of my religious education
as an Egyptian.

“My son,” he said, “thou art not far from the knowledge
of the Almighty, and thy soul aspires after the true
God. Come with me to my own land, for thou sayest
thou art a wanderer, and I will teach thee the knowledge
of the Holy One. Then thou mayest write the
acts of the Invisible to man, and justify Him in His ways
to me, His servant. The gods of Egypt darken knowledge,
and veil the understanding of those who trust in
them, and say to an idol of gold, `Thou art my god.”'

I am now journeying, O my brother, to sit at the feet
of this man of God, whose simple wisdom has enlightened
my soul more than all the learning of Egypt; nay,
I would gladly forget all the knowledge I obtained in
Egypt, to know, and fear, and love the “Holy One”—
the Almighty God—of the Prince of Uz. What is particularly
worthy of note is, that his views of the Invisible
are the same as those which you taught me were
held by the elders among our people; and of the truth
of which you so eloquently and feelingly endeavored to
convince me, on the evening before my departure from
Egypt, as we sat by the door of our mother's home,
under the two palms. Dissatisfied with the gods of
Egypt, and the emptiness and vanity of its worship, as
not meeting the wants of man, I turn to any source
which will pour the light of truth into my soul. We
both; brother, are feeling after God, if haply we may
find Him; for I perceive that your own soul is darkened
and clouded as well as mine, by the dark myths of

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Egypt, in which we have been educated. But let us
both take courage, my noble elder brother. There is
light, there is truth, there is knowledge somewhere
on earth! and I go to the aged Prince of Uz to learn of
him. Sitting at his feet, I will empty myself of all the
false and unsatisfying wisdom of Egypt, and meekly
say, “I am ignorant—enlighten me! Teach me concerning
thy God, for I know that He is the God my
soul longs for, whom the nations know not!”

Your letter spoke of Pharaoh, and his cruelty and
power. I am prepared to hear that he takes new measures
to heap burdens upon our people. The Lake
Amense, which you say he is enlarging to an inland
sea, will destroy thousands of the Hebrews whom you
tell me he is putting to the work; for, unaccustomed
to labor in the water, they must perish miserably. I
trust he will suffer you and my father's family to dwell
unmolested. Be prepared at any moment to escape,
should he seek to destroy the prosperity in which the
beloved queen left you, and those dear to me by the
sacred and affectionate ties of nature.


Your brother,

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The Palace of the Lord of Uz. My dear and honored Brother:

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I have been here now one year. The venerable
prince honors me as a son, and I repay him, so far as I
can, by instructing him in the history of Egypt, and
other knowledge; for, so great is his wisdom, he seeks
ever to know more. In astrology, physics, geometry,
and all arts, he is deeply learned. But above all, is his
knowledge of the Almighty. This man has the mysteries
of God in his heart, and to the eyes of his divine
piety, the Most High is visible as He is. He hath spoken
to the Lord of heaven face to face, and he communicates
with Him as a servant with his lord.

When I came hither, after visiting Baal-Phegor and
other places, he received me with affection, and gave
me rooms in his palace, and servants, and a place at his
table. I found him dwelling in a city he himself had
builded, and reigning the wealthiest, wisest, and yet humblest
prince in all the East. Around it lay the cities of
Shuh, Teman, and Naamath, the lesser princes of which
are his bosom friends, and once a week meet at his hospitable
board. They hang upon the words of his lips,
and reverence him as a father. He also possesses vast
herds of cattle and oxen, which cover his plains; fourteen
thousand sheep are on his mountains; six thousand

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camels; and stores of silver and gold. He has seven
sons, who are princes of as many provinces, and three
daughters, the youngest of whom, Keren-happuch, is
married to the Lord of Midian; for when the Prince of
Uz, three years ago, travelled down into Egypt with a
large caravan of his merchants, he passed through Midian,
having this daughter in company, who, being
comely in person, was admired by the prince of that
land, and by him asked in marriage of her father. Of
the two daughters who remain, no women in all the
land are found so fair. Such is the prosperity and
power of this mighty and wise prince.

Now, at length, my dear brother, I have written the
book of the life of this venerable man; not as I began
it in Egypt, with imperfect ideas of the God of
heaven, whose servant he is, but from his own lips have
I received the narrative which I inclose to you. When
you have read it, you will arrive at the knowledge of
the Almighty, whose name, and glory, and being, and
goodness, and justice, and love, are recognized in every
page. As you read, reflect that the God of the Prince
of Uz is also my God, and the God worshipped by our
fathers when they were in Syria. Away, O Aaron! with
all the gods of Egypt! They are brazen and golden
lies, all! The myth of Osiris and Isis is an invention of
the priests. The whole system of their mythology is
hostile to true religion and the adorers of idols are the
worshippers of Satan—for this is the name of that spirit
of evil, antagonistic to the true God, hitherto represented
to us under the title of Typhon.

It would take a score of papyri for me to convey to
you the course of divine and sage instruction by which

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I arrived at that clear, luminous, and just notion of the
Lord God of heaven and earth, which I now hold; the
possession of which fills my soul with repose, my intellect
with satisfaction, my heart with joy, peace, and love
to God and man. With this certain knowledge of the
Almighty that has entered into my soul, is an apprehension
of His omnipresence, His truth, holiness, majesty,
and benevolence; and a consciousness that I have received
his Divine Spirit, which last is, as it were, a witness
vouchsafed of Himself to me. By the light of this
new spirit within me I behold His glory, and recognize
that He is my God, my Creator, my Benefactor, and
Lawgiver. I feel that in Him I live, move, and have
my being, and that besides Him there is no God. The
realization of these majestic truths, O my brother, is a
source to me of the profoundest happiness. Before their
light the dark clouds of the myths of Egypt dissolve
and fade away forever!

When I speak of Him I find new language rise to my
lips: when I write of Him my words seem to clothe
themselves with sublimity and majesty. Henceforth,
like the holy Prince of Uz, I am a worshipper of One
God, whose name is the Almighty, and the Holy One.

To Sesostris I have written of these great things, and
to you also I will send a treatise, that you may, without
obscurity, behold His unity and glory as they were
known to our fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, before
the false worship of Egypt corrupted our hereditary
faith. With this knowledge, O Aaron, our people, even
in bondage, are superior to Pharaoh on his throne.

Your affectionate brother,

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Tyre, Phœnicia. My dear Sister:

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I received your letter, written to me from Bubastis.
I grieve to hear that King Mœris is increasing
so heavily the burdens of our people, as to drive to the
fields, and to the new lake to which he has given his
name, all who were servants in houses. Unused to toil
under the sun, they will suffer more than others. I
read the copy of the edict you inclosed, forbidding the
Egyptians to receive, as domestics, any of the Hebrew
people, that so all might be driven to become toilers
in the field. His motive is evident. He is alarmed at
the increase of the Hebrews, and would oppress them,
to death by thousands. My heart bleeds for those he
has sent to the mines in the Thebaïd. This is a new
feature in the Hebrew bondage. But there is a just
God on high, O my sister Miriam, the Holy One, whom
our fathers worshipped. He will not forget his people
forever, but in due time will bring them out of their
bondage. Has not Aaron, our learned brother, made
known to you the words of tradition that are cherished
among our people,—that they are to serve Pharaoh a

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certain number of years, forty-one of which are yet to
come? He sent me the copy thereof, wherein I find it
written, as the declaration of Abraham our father, that
“his posterity should serve Pharaoh four hundred
years.” Aaron, who, since I left Egypt, has been giving
all his time to collecting the traditions and laws of
our fathers, is confident that ere another generation
shall have perished, God will raise up a deliverer for
the sons of Jacob, and lead them forth to some new and
wonderful land. If such a promise, O my sister, was
given by the Almighty, He will redeem it; for He is
not a man that He should lie! Let us therefore wait,
and hope, and pray to this mighty God of our ancestors,
to remember His promise, and descend from Heaven
with a stretched-out arm for our deliverance. I rejoice
to hear that my dear mother is well, also my father.
Commend me to them with reverential affection. Aaron
reads to you my letters, and you will have learned from
them how I arrived at the knowledge of the true God,
in whom, O Miriam, both you and he believed, while I,
considering myself an Egyptian, was a worshipper of
the false gods of Egypt! Yet, lo! by the goodness of
the true God, I have been enabled, at the feet of the
sage of Uz, to arrive at such clear conceptions of His
glory, and majesty, and government of the universe, as
to teach even you. I speak this not boastingly, but
with gratitude to Him who has made me the instrument
of illumining your mind, and of giving you greater confidence
and trust in the God, who is the God of Abraham,
and the God of the Prince of Uz.

I have now been five years absent from Egypt, and my
heart yearns for my brethren in bondage. I feel that it

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is not becoming in me to remain here, at ease in the
court of Sesostris; for he has now been two years king,
since his royal mother's death, of which I wrote to my
mother at the time. I pant to make known to the
elders of the Hebrews, the clear and true knowledge of
the God of our fathers, which has come down to them
imperfectly, and mingled with superstitions, even when
it is not corrupted by the idolatry of Egypt. I wish to
learn the character and condition of my brethren in
servitude, whom I formerly viewed from the proud
height of an Egyptian prince. Now I feel a desire to
mingle among them, to know them, and be one of them.
All my Egyptian pride, dear sister, is long since gone,
and I seek daily to cultivate that spirit of meekness,
which better becomes one, who is of a race of bondmen.
But, my sister, rather would I be a slave, chained at
the chariot-wheel of Pharaoh-Mœris, with my present
knowledge of the Holy and Almighty One,—compared
with which all the wisdom of Egypt is foolishness,—than
be that monarch himself with his ignorance of Him, and
his worship of Osiris and Apis!

May the God of our fathers, by whose will we are in
bonds, in His own time send us deliverance, to whom
be glory and majesty, and dominion and power, in
heaven and earth, to the end of ages.

Most affectionately, your younger brother,

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Palace of Sesostris, King of Tyre. My Mother, revered and loved:

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In a letter written a few days ago, and which
went by a vessel that was to touch at Pelusium on its
way to Carthage, I alluded to a feeling (which has been
increasing in strength for many months) that prompted
me to visit my brethren in bonds in Egypt. It is true,
I have no power. I am but one, and Mœris would,
no doubt, gladly seize upon me if he knew I was in
his kingdom. I have, however, determined to yield to
the desire; and next month shall sail in a galley that
goes to Egypt for ebony and ivory. Not long, therefore,
after you receive this letter, which the scholarly
Aaron will read to you, will you embrace your younger
and long-absent son. It is expedient that I go unknown.
I wish to observe the Hebrew people, without awakening
suspicion, as to who I am. Should Mœris hear of
me, he would quickly suspect me of planning evil
against him. If I can do no more, I can carry to the
elders the certainty of the truth, as they received it, by
tradition, of One God, Lord of heaven and earth, Infinite
in holiness, and Almighty in power. From the

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holy Prince of Uz, I not only received this, but many
other things of wonderful interest—which he seemed to
know by the voice of God—concerning the creation of
the world in six days, and the formation of man and
woman, whom he placed in a garden of beauty, with
dominion over all things. But I will not go further
into these divine and wonderful things, at this time,
O my mother, as I shall hereafter read to you, from
the sacred leaves, the narrative of the acts of creation,
as they were written by the Prince and Prophet
of Uz: to whom, before all men, has been revealed
the truth of the Most High, and the mysteries which
have been secret from eternity. Lo! the pages of
the book of his patience under God's trial show, that
no man on earth ever before had such illumination of
divine light! Such language as that of his which I
have written in the book, when he speaks of God,
could only have been suggested by the inspiration of
the Almighty. He talks of God as if he had sat at
His feet, and daily beheld His glorious majesty, or
heard His voice shake the heavens. Of him have I
learned the wisdom of the past; and there whispers in
my heart, O mother, a solemn voice, which bids me
hope that if I fear God, and walk uprightly, and seek
His face, and trust in Him, He will also draw nigh to
me, unveil His glory, and speak face to face with me,
as He hath done to His holy servant, the Prince of Uz!
It shall be the aspiration of my heart, to be received into
the divine favor as He has been, and made the recipient
of His will, and of His laws for men! Censure me not,—
charge me not with pride, O my mother! In the
spirit of meekness and lowliness do I cherish this hope.

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The path to the ear of God, and to His favor, the Prince
of Uz hath taught me, is prayer. On bended knees,
therefore, seven times a day, do I bow in supplication
before the Holy One Almighty, the Lord God of Hosts;
and more and more do I feel my spirit go forth to
Him; and daily, the infinite distance between earth and
His throne seems to lessen! Nor will I cease to pray
to Him, O mother, until I hear His voice in my soul,
and feel the intimate presence of His Being in union
with my own! Then will I reach the height of humanity,
which is the reunion of the creature with the Creator,
the restoration in his soul of the divine image, and the
reception into his own of a divine and immortal life!

My friend, King Sesostris, reluctantly consents to my
departure. He has never ceased his affectionate regard
for me, and he has called his beautiful son, now four years
old, Remeses—after me. This child, I love as if he were
mine own. He is intelligent and full of affection, and
already understands that I am about to go away, and
sweetly urges me not to leave him. The Queen Thamonda
has prepared many gifts for you and my sister,
whom she loves, though not having seen. Here, dear
mother, the bondage and degradation of the Hebrew is
not comprehended. We are not, in their eyes, crownserfs.
We are but a Syrian nation held in captivity;
and other nations regard us with sympathy, and have
no share in the contempt and scorn with which we are
regarded by our Egyptian taskmasters.

Israelisis the Hebrew, whom Sesostris brought with
him five years ago to Tyre, is now a fine young man,
and assistant secretary to his royal scribe. All that our
people want, my mother, is to be placed in positions

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favorable to the development of their intellect, and
they will rise, side by side, with any other people on
earth. If we were a nation, with a country of our own,
we would give laws to the world.

Farewell, my dear mother. In a few days you will
embrace me.

Your devoted son,

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Treasure-City of Raamses.

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It is with gratitude to God, O Sesostris, that I inform
you of my safe arrival in Egypt, after a perilous
passage across the sea. Our chief pilot, finding, after
we left the port of Tyre, that the wind was fair for the
mouth of the Nile, and the weather seeming to be
settled, signified to me his intention to leave the
coast, and boldly steer from land to land. Having no
knowledge of nautical affairs, I neither advised nor
objected, leaving him to act according to his own experience
and skill: he therefore laid the course of the
ship as nearly straight for Pelusium, as he could ascertain
it, by the position of the sun at noon.

Before night we were surrounded by a horizon of
water, and this being the first time since I had lived on
the earth, that I had been unable to behold it, the situation
was wholly novel, not only to me but to other passengers,—
some of whom manifested the liveliest fears, lest
we should no more behold the land. My mind was impressed
by the sublimity and vastness of the view; and
the majestic idea of eternity—boundless and infinite—
filled my soul. It seemed as if, from on deck, I could

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survey the universe of space, for there was nothing
terrestrial to arrest and confine the eye.

“Who,” I reflected, “as he surveys the illimitable
sky, and the measureless ocean over which it extends,
can withhold the confession that there is One God only,
the Upholder of worlds and the Governor of His creation?
Who, with such a scene before him, as day with
its splendor and vastness of space, and night with its
stars presented above the sea, could give the glory of
the Almighty to another, and put his trust in such myths
as are the gods of Egypt and the deities of Phœnicia?
I rejoice, O king, that you have listened to the truths
it was my happiness to unfold to you, and that in your
heart you acknowledge and secretly adore the Almighty.
May the time soon come when you will have strength
given you, from Himself, to establish His holy worship
in your dominions! A king is God's representative on
earth, and his power is great; and if he exercise it,—
not like the Pharaohs, who reign as if they were gods,
but—with judgment, and fear, and humble recognition
of the Infinite source of all power, then He who is King
of kings and Lord of lords, will bless him and cause him
to prosper. When a king acknowledges that his power
is delegated, and that he must be accountable for its use
or abuse to his God, he has gained the highest wisdom
that earth can give! Seek, O king, that wisdom!

Pardon me, my dear Sesostris, for presuming to teach
you. I am diffident in speech when present with you,
but you perceive I am bold, perhaps too much so, when
away from you.

We continued, for three days and nights, sailing upon
the sea, without a shore in view, and in a few hours

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more hoped to find the mouth of the Nile; when the
wind, after a sudden lull, came round to the south,
the air was darkened with clouds, and night came on,
enveloping our ship in the profoundest gloom, amid
which we drove, our pilot knew not whither! It was a
night of painful suspense. The seas dashed over us;
our banks of oars were broken or washed away; and
not a cubit's breadth of sail could remain on the mast,
while the air was filled with sharp sand, blown from
the Arabian desert.

The passengers and crew were in despair, and believing
that every succeeding billow would go over us and
destroy us, they called frantically upon their gods! The
Syrian cried to Hercules, and the Sabæan upon the sun
and upon fire. The merchants of Tyre prayed to Adonis
and Io, the Arabians to Ammon, and the Egyptians
vowed libations and offerings to Apis, Osiris, and Thoth.
Our pilot, finding all hope desert him, burned a cake
of incense to the deity of the sea, and vowed an oblation
to all the gods he could in his extremity call to

Then it was, O Sesostris, that I felt the power and excellency
of my faith in God! Then did the folly, the
vanity, and degradation of the religions of those about
me, deeply impress me, and move me to pity. Calm,
serene, confident in the Almighty, who holdeth the sea
in the hollow of His hand, and directeth the stormy
winds and tempests of the skies, I lifted my heart and
my voice to Him, whom, with the eye of instructed intelligence,
I beheld seated above the darkness and the
whirlwind, in the ineffable glory and peace of His own
heaven, and directing all things by His will. I felt that

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He could protect and defend me, and those who sailed
with me; that the night to Him was as clear as the day;
and that even I was not too insignificant to be cared
for by Him, who, in His love, gave voices of music to
the little birds, who painted the lily, and perfumed the

“O Lord God, Holy One, the Almighty, who art the
Creator of all things, if I have found grace in Thy sight,
hear my humble petition, which I now offer before Thee.
Let Thy presence be here, and Thy power; save us who
are tossed upon the great sea, and who have no hope but
in Thee. These call upon their idols, but I, O Lord God,
call upon Thee, the God of our fathers. Guard us in
our danger, and bring us in safety to our haven! For
Thou art the only true and living God, and besides Thee
there is no God!”

All the people who heard my voice, as I thus invoked
the Living God, and saw my hands outstretched
heavenward, turned from their idols and amulets, and
ceased their prayers and cries, to hear me. The lightnings
flashed about us in a continual flame, so that
the ship seemed on fire, and I could be seen by all.

Judge, O Sesostris, my surprise, when instantly the
winds—which at the first word of my prayer softened—
ceased to roar; the waves fell level with the sea; the
clouds parted above us, and revealing a bright moon
shining down from the starry sky, they rolled, on all
sides, swiftly away towards the horizon.

This sudden and wondrous change, evidently in response
to my prayer, as a proof that it was heard by the
Ear to which I, in fear and hope, addressed it, amazed
me. It was the power and act of my God! I felt it to

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be so, and lifting up my eyes and hands to the cloudless
skies, I said—

“Thine, O Lord Almighty, thine be the praise and
glory; for Thou art the hearer and answerer of prayer,
and art loving to all Thy creatures. Thou hast power in
heaven and on earth, and on the broad sea, nor is any
thing hid from Thee. Darkness is no darkness with
Thee, and no power can resist thine! Thanks be to
Thee, O Lord God on high, for this manifestation of Thy
presence, and this confirmation of my faith. Let these
idolaters likewise glorify Thee, for whose sakes Thou hast
also done this.”

When I ceased, I beheld a crowd, made up of all nations,
prostrate around me. The captain, turning away
from his god, was burning incense before me, while the
invocations of the crew and passengers were being offered
to me. With horror I drew back and waved them
away, saying, “Rise, men, stand upon your feet! Not
unto me, not unto me, but unto God, the one invisible
Creator, give thanks and praise for your mighty deliverance!”

I then made known to them the mystery of the true
God, whose power they and I had witnessed, and exhorted
them to turn from their idols, and worship Him
in spirit and in truth; for that He was their Maker, and
besides Him there was no God. Nevertheless, but for
my stern anger against it, they would have sacrificed a
sheep to me, as if I were Hercules.

In a few hours we reached Pelusium, and to escape
the adulations of the people on shore, to whom the crew
made known this miracle of God, I withdrew privately,
and went to Bubastis. After visiting, unknown to

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them, the tens of thousands of my brethren, who are engaged
in extending the walls of that place, and increasing
the number of treasure-houses therein, I took boat
and came hither secretly, for fear that Mœris, if he knew
me to be in Egypt, might watch my movements, if not
banish or imprison me.

I have now been several days in the bosom of my
family. My mother and father are well; but they, and
Miriam, with all the other women of our nation, have
tasks of weaving put upon them, which are to be done
each day before they are permitted to sleep. My heart
is deeply wounded at all this. On every side I behold oppression
and cruelty. Daily, scores of the Hebrews perish,
and their dead bodies are thrown into ditches, dug
for the purpose, and covered with earth. Often, the
wretched men who dig them are the first to occupy
them, for the work goes on day and night. An edict
has been published throughout all Egypt, within the
past month, that no Egyptian shall assist a Hebrew; and
that no Hebrew who sinks down under his toil, shall be
suffered to remain upon the ground, but must be placed
upon his feet again, and driven to his task, until he sinks
to rise no more; and to such, neither bread nor water
shall be offered, that they may die! Such, O king, is
the heart of this Mœris!

Yet, with all these extraordinary measures, inspired by
his fear, to lessen the number of the Hebrews, they increase
in the most unprecedented manner. The women
bring forth without midwives, and are put to no inconvenience
whatsoever afterwards. Such a state of things
alarms the Egyptian king, and well it may; for it seems
to me to be a direct act of the Divinity, so to multiply

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the people, that Egypt will be compelled to liberate
them, and send them forth to find a country of their

There is a prophecy which, as I associate more with
the elders—who are slow, however, to give me their
confidence, regarding me still as an Egyptian in feeling
and prejudices—I ascertain to be well preserved, that,
at the end of about four hundred years from the days of
Prince Abraham, his descendants shall come out of Egypt
a great nation. This period is drawing to its close. God,
who can deliver from the storm, can deliver from the
hand of Pharaoh those who trust in Him, and call for
His Almighty arm to aid them.

Memphis, House of Aaron.

Since writing the foregoing, my dear Sesostris—for
such is the familiar title, notwithstanding the present
difference in our rank and position, that you condescendingly
permit me to make use of in addressing you—
since writing the foregoing, I say, I have been studying
the traditions of my fathers, the Hebrews of old. In
them I have found the following prophecies; and you
will observe how confidently God, the Almighty, is recognized
and spoken of as the one true God:

“Our father Abram, the Syrian, having been born in
the great kingdom of Chaldea, served idols, as did all
other men—the knowledge of the one God, being yet
veiled under the multiplicity of gods. Abram, being
just, and possessing those virtues and excellencies which
elevate man, it pleased the one great and mighty God,
only and true—who made all things in heaven above, in
the earth beneath, and in the seas that are thereunder—

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to make Himself known unto him, as he was one day
uttering a prayer to the sun. Suddenly, he beheld a
hand across the disk of the sun, and the earth was instantly
covered with night. While Abram wondered
and trembled, the mighty hand was removed, and the
day was restored. Then came a voice from above the

“`O man, and son of man that is clay! dost thou worship
the creature, and know not the Creator? I am the
Creator of the sun, the heavens, the earth, and man upon
the earth! Worship me, who alone can create light,
and who maketh darkness! I am God, and will not
give my glory to a creature! The sun is but clay, and
thou, O man, art clay also! Give me thine heart; worship
me, the Maker both of thee and of the sun!'

“Then Abram saw the hand again cover and extinguish
the sun; but lo, instead of night, the universe was
lighted by the brightness of the hand, which shone with
the splendor of a thousand suns, so that our father fell
upon his face, as if dead, before its consuming splendor.
When he rose again, the sun shone as before, and he
fell prostrate upon the ground and said:

“`Lord God of the sun, Creator of all things, what is
man, that thou displayest thy glory and revealest thyself
to him? I am as a worm before thee! Teach me what
thou wouldst have me to do!'

“Then a still, small voice answered:

“`Arise, go forth from this Chaldea, thy country, unto
a land flowing with milk and honey, which I will show
thee; and there I will make of thee a great nation,
who shall bear thy name; for I will make thy name
great, and a blessing to all men; and those who bless

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thee I will bless, and those who curse thee, I will curse;
and in thee shall all the families of the earth be

This remarkable tradition then goes on to say, O Sesostris,
that the Chaldean hastened to obey God, and
going into the city of Haran, where he dwelt, gathered
his substance, and took his wife, and nephew, and all
his servants, and departed from the land—being then
five-and-seventy years old. By a sign, the Lord God
went before him through many lands, until he crossed
over the river of the king of Sodom into Palestine,
when the Almighty, taking him into a high mountain,
showed him all the land, from the lake and fair valley of
Gomorrah and Sodom to the great sea westward, and
from Libanus on the north to the desert of Arabia on
the south, saying:

“`Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place
where thou art, northward and southward, and eastward
and westward, for all the land which thou seest, to thee
will I give it and to thy seed after thee! Arise, walk
through the land, in the length of it and in the breadth
of it, for I will give it to thee; for the whole earth is

“Night fell upon them while they looked from the
mountain, and the Lord God said to our father: `Look
now towards heaven, and tell the stars if thou art able
to number them. So shall thy posterity be. But know
thou,' said the Lord to him, `that thou, and thy son, and
thy son's son shall be strangers in this land, and thy
seed after thee shall also be strangers in the land shadowing
with wings, and shall serve its kings, and they
shall afflict thee four hundred years; but grieve not, for

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the nation whom they shall serve will I judge, and afterwards
shall thy posterity come out of that land a mighty
people, with great substance; and he whom I will raise
up as their deliverer, shall lead them unto this land, and
they shall enter in and possess it, and shall become a
great people, and be in number as the sands of the seashore,
and as the dust for multitude.”'

Then Abram believed God. We, O Sesostris, are his
posterity. Are we not as the stars of heaven in number,
and as the sands of the shore? The four hundred
years are drawing to a close. Will not He who has
brought about the fulfilment of one part of His prophecy,
accomplish also the other? Therefore do I look
with hope to our release, ere another generation passes
away. Who shall live to behold it? Who shall be so
blessed as to see this deliverer that is to lead them forth
to the promised land? I may not live to see that day
of joyful deliverance! Perhaps thy son Remeses may
behold it. That land, according to our tradition, is Palestine,
through which I journeyed when I visited the
ruins, visible above and beneath the Lake of Bitumen;
near which, also, I beheld that extraordinary statue of an
incrusted woman, on whom the shower of salt fell until
it had encased her alive, and transfixed her to the spot,
as if hewn from a column of salt. The people of that
region informed me, that she was a niece of Prince
Abram, overtaken in her flight, when the five cities of
the plain were overthrown by fire from heaven. How
beautiful is all that land of Palestine! It is like a garden
for fertility, and is filled with populous cities, and a
cultivated and warlike people. I also visited the city
of Salem, where, anciently, King Melchisedec, the wise

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sage, and friend of God and of Abram, dwelt. It is now
but a rock covered with fortresses and the treasure-city
of the land. Is this land yet to be given by God to our
people? Is it, indeed, already ours by the title of God
to our Abram, only waiting for us to go up and possess
it? We are then not without a country, though in bondage.
This idea elevates my heart; and I have sought to
rouse the dormant feelings and hopes of our elders and
people, with the faith that our nation has a country reserved
for us, by the God of our fathers.

But they shake their heads. They have so long sat
in the dust of despair, that they have ceased to hope.
Still, my brother Aaron and I everywhere try to lift up
their feeble hearts, and to encourage them with the
bright future. But one of the old men answered—

“Thou sayest that it is a land filled with a warlike
people; that they are the descendants of the old Phœ
nician shepherd-kings, who once conquered Egypt.
How, O son of Pharaoh's daughter,” he added, giving
me this appellation in his anger, “how can we Hebrews,
who know not an arrow from a lance, or a spear from
a bow, who are crushed in spirit and dwarfed by toil,
how are we to conquer such a land, even if the God of
our fathers has given it to us?”

“Does not this foreign land of which the stranger-Hebrew
speaks,” arose and said another, by the name of
Uri,—whose son is the most skilful in Egypt in devising
curious works in gold, and in silver, and in precious
stones, having served with the queen's royal artificer,—
“does it not lie beyond Arabia, and are there not many
and strong kings in the way, the armies of Edom, of the
Hittites, of the Philistines, and of the sons of Ishmael!

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Even though Pharaoh were to bid us begone to-morrow,
to the new country of our God that we boast of, could
we traverse the desert, or do battle with the nations on the
way, much more conquer the warlike people who hold
it? Listen not to this Egyptian-Hebrew, who doubtless
would tempt us to leave Egypt, that we may be destroyed
by the warlike people, who will dispute our
march. Doubtless, Pharaoh, his former friend, hath
sent him to talk with us that he might thereby either
get rid of us, or seek occasion to destroy us in a body.”

Thus, my dear Sesostris, were my words turned
against me. Yet I will not fear, but shall quietly
strive to influence my brethren, and persuade them to
look forward with hope, to deliverance by the arm of

Farewell, Sesostris! May the Almighty give you
His divine Spirit, and fill you with wisdom and judgment,
that you may honor Him as King of kings, and
rule your people mercifully and prosperously. To the
beloved queen, Thamonda, I send the most respectful
greetings; and thank her from my heart for giving to
your daughter the dear and honored name, “Amense.”
May the virtues of the pure Queen of Egypt be transferred
to her; but may her life be far happier! To my
namesake, the bright and beautiful Remeses, give my
cordial affection. Tell him that I hope, when he shall
be a man, and like other princes, visit Egypt, he will
not find the Hebrew nation there in bondage, and that,
if he inquires after the people of his father's humble
friend, he will be answered—

“Their God, with a mighty hand and an outstretched
arm, led them forth to a land given to them for an

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inheritance, where they now dwell, free and happy!”
Ah, Sesostris, shall this dream of hope thus be realized?
Tell Remeses to lay a bunch of flowers for me upon the
tomb of Queen Epiphia, whose memory and kindness I
shall ever cherish deep in my heart.

I once more write, farewell.

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City of Raamses, Egypt.
To Sesostris, King of Tyre, Aaron the Hebrew, greeting:

[figure description] Page 462.[end figure description]

Pardon, O king, thy servant, for addressing an
epistle to thee; but when thou art informed of the reason
which has led me to take this liberty, thou wilt, I
feel, acquit me of too great boldness.

Know, O King Sesostris, that my brother, thy beloved
friend, who wrote the letter which I send to thee with
this epistle (and which he himself would have forwarded,
but for what I am about to relate), has fled from Egypt,
pursued by the vindictive power of Pharaoh. I will, as
briefly as I can, make known to thee the painful circumstances
which led to this result.

The morning after he had completed his letter to thee,
O king, he said to me, “I will go forth and see my
brethren who are at work on Lake Mœris, that I may
talk also with the old and young men, and inspire their
heavy hearts with hope.” So he departed, and, crossing
the river, disguised as an Egyptian,—for no Hebrew
dare now be seen walking alone for fear of being challenged
by the soldiers, who garrison all the country,
and stand guard at every corner, and at every gate,—

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he came to the shores of Lake Amense, the beauty of
which, with its garden and palace-lined shores, so much
pleased thee, O king, when, five years ago, thou wast in
Egypt. There he saw King Mœris clothed in scarlet,
a chain of gold across his breast, standing in his chariot,
as he slowly drove around the lake, giving directions to
the chief captains over the works. My brother was
not recognized by him, however, and went on his way,
observing the severe labors of his brethren. In the two
hours that he was there, he saw three strong men lie
down in the foul water and die! At length, coming to
a place where several young and old men were working
together, he beheld such cruelty exercised upon them,
that he groaned in spirit, and prayed the Almighty to
shorten the days of the four hundred years, and come to
their deliverance. Unable longer to behold sufferings
that he could not relieve, he walked sadly away, deeply
meditating upon the mysterious providence of the Almighty,
in His dealings with the seed of His servant
Abraham. After a little time he found himself in a
narrow, sand-drifted lane, between two walls, when he
was suddenly aroused from his reflections by a cry of
pain, accompanied by sharp blows with a stick. He
looked up, and spied an Egyptian taskmaster dragging
by the hair Izhur, a youth whom he greatly loved.
The Egyptian had pursued him, as he fled up the lane
from his blows, and was now plainly intent, in his great
wrath, upon putting him to death.

My brother, indignant and grieved, commanded him
in a tone of authority to release him; whereupon the
Egyptian, cursing him by his gods, drew his knife from
its sheath, and would in revenge have driven it into the

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heart of Izhur, when Moses caught his arm, and bade
the young man fly. The Egyptian, thereupon, would
have slain my brother, who, looking this way and that,
and seeing they were alone, struck him to the earth
with one blow of his hand, in the name of the God of
Abraham, the Avenger of his people, so that he died on
the spot! He then hid the body in the sand, and returned
home, where he made known to me what he
had done.

“Surely,” I said, in amazement, “thou art the first
Hebrew, my brother, who hath slain an Egyptian. A
divine motion must have moved thee! Peradventure it
is by thy arm that he will yet deliver his people!”

Thereupon my brother, with his characteristic modesty,

“Not mine! not mine, my brother! Breathe into
my heart no such ambitious pride! Yet I felt moved
and animated by God to do this. Therefore do I justify
the act to man and my own conscience.”

The next day, my brother visited the lake again, intending
to make its circuit, and see certain elders to
whom he wished to make himself known,—men wise
and good, who were superintending the work of others
of their own people. On his way he perceived two
Hebrews striving together, and as he came up, one of
them struck the other with his working tool, so that he
staggered from the blow.

“Sirs, ye are brethren,” he said; “why do ye strive
together, seeing ye are brethren?”—and then added,
sternly and sorrowfully, to the one who had struck the

“Friend, why hast thou done this wrong? He whom

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thou hast stricken is a Hebrew. Do not your taskmasters
beat you enough, that you must strike each other?”

Whereupon the man who did the injury to his fellow,
said fiercely, looking narrowly upon my brother—

“Thou art Remeses, the Hebrew `son of Pharaoh's
daughter!' I remember thee. Dost thou think that
thou art still a Prince of Egypt? Mœris is now our
king. Who hath made thee prince and judge over us?
Thou forgettest that thou art now a slave, like the rest of
us. Intendest thou to kill me as thou killedst the Egyptian

No sooner had the man thus spoken, than Moses,
alarmed, perceived that the thing was known, and beholding
the eyes of the Egyptian officers, and many of
the Hebrews fastened upon him, he hastened to escape,
for he beheld several men run to a high officer of the
king, as if with the news, who at once drove rapidly
away in his chariot, probably seeking Mœris, whom my
brother knew to be not far off, superintending the
placing of a statue of Horus upon a new terrace. Several
Hebrews would have interposed to arrest Moses,
when they heard who he was, for they look upon him
more as an Egyptian than as one of their brethren. But
he succeeded in retiring unharmed, and at once hastened
to recross the Nile. When he had told us that what he
had done to the Egyptian was known, and that he was
recognized, and that Mœris would surely hear of it, his
mother and I advised his immediate flight.

He said that he had no doubt the king would seek his
destruction, and that he ought to be cautious and consult
his own preservation. “But,” he added, “I do not fear
the wrath of Pharaoh so far that, were I in his power, I

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would either deny, excuse, or ask pardon for my act
What I have done I will justify. The oppressor deserved
to die! And so, one day, will God, by the hand
of a Hebrew, slay Pharaoh and all his hosts!” This
was spoken with the light of prophecy in his noble face,
as if his words were inspiration. When Amram, his
father, came in, and heard all, he said—

“The God of Jacob be glorified! There is one man
in Israel to whom He has given courage to smite the
oppressor of his people! Fly, my son! Fly not for
fear, for thou art a brave man and hast been a tried
soldier; but fly to preserve a life which my spirit tells
me will yet be dear to our people!”

“My father,” said Moses sorrowfully, “I believed
that my brethren would understand that God was with
me, and would acknowledge me as sent to be their
friend, instead of joining the Egyptians against me! I
will fly! Mœris would rejoice to hold me in his power!
But with the hope, that even in a foreign land I may
serve my people, at least by prayer and supplication
to God for them, I will keep my life out of Pharaoh's

In the garb of an Egyptian, with a store of provisions,
and taking gold in his purse, my brother embraced us
all, and departed from the house, my mother weeping
and saying—

“A second time have I given up my son from the
sword of Pharaoh,—once to the waters and now to the
desert sands!”

“And the waters, O woman,” said my father, “gave
him to be a prince of Egypt, and from the sands of the
desert God can call him to be king over Israel!”

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I looked into my venerable father's face, for often of
late years he is gifted with prophetic inspirations, and I
saw that his aged eyes shone with a supernatural lustre.
My brother returned a few steps, again embraced his
mother, bowed his head before his father for his blessing,
arose, and went on his way eastward. I accompanied
him for an hour, when tenderly embracing we parted—
he taking the way towards Midian. Ru-el Jethro, the
lord of that country, O king, which was settled by
Midian, son of Abram, by Keturah, thou didst meet at
the table of thy friend “Remeses,” when thou wast in
Egypt, at which time, thou mayst remember, he invited
my brother to visit his kingdom in Arabia.

It was well for Moses that he so thoroughly knew
the character of King Mœris; for when I returned, I
learned from my mother, that a party of soldiers had
been sent by Pharaoh to seize him. Another hour, and
he would have fallen into his hand.

At my mother's request, O king, I have written the
foregoing, and now inclose his letter to you. I had no
sooner entered my house, than I saw my parents and
sister preparing to fly from the king, fearing his vengeance
when he should learn of the escape of Moses!
Not that Pharaon cared for the life of the slain Egyptian,
but he would gladly seize upon the occasion, as a
pretext to destroy his former rival.

May God long preserve thy life, O king,

Written in Egypt by thy servant,
Aaron the Hebrew.

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Ingraham, J. H. (Joseph Holt), 1809-1860 [1859], The pillar of fire, or, Israel in bondage. (Pudney & Russell [and] H. Dayton, New York) [word count] [eaf611T].
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