And pray you that your flight be not in the winter.
Many of you will remember an instance of such a flight, which was disastrous in the extreme. In the autumn of 1812, Napoleon entered Moscow with 120,000 soldiers, intending to pass the winter there in comfort. On the 13th of October (three weeks earlier than it had ever been known before), snow began to fall. The proud Emperor looked out of his window in dismay, and decided to hasten back at once, and establish his winter quarters in the friendly cities of Poland. It was a march through a dreary and desolate region, of more than a thousand miles; but he put on a bold front, and the troops began to retire in good order. A week later, and the grand army was in full retreat. Bleak, chilly winds howled through the leafless trees; the weary soldiers were blinded by the flakes of snow and sleet; their embittered enemies attacked them in every unguarded point; order and discipline were forgotten; the ranks were broken, and each man struggled on as best he could; the dead and the dying were trodden down; hundreds of horses were slain for food; all ideas of conquest were banished; Napoleon himself left the army to its fate; and each day's weary march was marked by heaps of broken wagons, and abandoned cannon, and white hillocks of snow, beneath which the frozen bodies of man and beast were buried. With such a dreadful picture of misery before you, it will be easy to understand the tender compassion which prompted the Saviour to say: "Pray ye that your flight be not in the winter." Especially ought we to remember those who are suffering the sad privations of poverty, and be glad to relieve their wants when we are able. No one can claim to have the love of God abiding in his heart, who is willing to see a fellow mortal destitute of food and clothing, and make no effort to help. The more merciful we are, the better shall we deserve to be called God's children.
(J. N. Norton, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And pray ye that your flight be not in the winter.