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who then was Satan's agent, as Pharaoh now; and the same spirit of smothering every appearance of Christianity at its birth, has been manifested ever since. Vain however are the attempts of Satan to oppose the
of God: he may seem to gain his purpose, and make God's Israel groan by reason of hard bondage ; but his end has never been gained by the sword, so often has that saying been verified, . The lood of the Martyrs is the seed of the church,
Chap. II. We now enter upon the history of Moses, a charac. ter employed by God for the most eminent service in his house. On reading the short account of his birth and preservation here recorded, the mind must be powerfully struck with this truth, that God can make his enemies the instruments for executing the very purposes they intended to defeat. Pharaoh must himself raise up the deliverer to Israel, nurse him by his own daughter, and educate him at his own court. We should before now have reminded our readers, that Pharaoh means, the spoiler or destroyer ; and that Moses means, deo livered from the water, evidently alluding to his being taken from the ark of bulrushes, by those who gave him this name at first, but as clearly intended to point out, the great deliverance from the water, in which he should head the Israel of God. As Pharaoh stands the representative and great agent of Satan, the spoiler of the church of God; so Moses appears an eminent type and representative of the great deliverer Christ Jesus, Heb. iii. 2, 3. He was so in his birth; born while the children of Israel were groaning under the yoke of a merciless tyrant; devoted to death soon after his birth ; drawn out of the waters, agreeably to his name, a circumstance evidently alluded to by David, when speaking in the person of Christ, Psalm xviii. 16. • He sent from above, he took me, he drew me out of many waters.'
We may remark that Moses was born of the tribe of Levi ; that tribe by which the Old Testament worship and service was peculiarly supported. In the second verse, there is an expression which Paul and Stephen illustrate, in a point of view, which may serve as an eminent example, how little we understand the scriptures; how little we attend to the hidden treasure there contained. We are told, that when Moses' mother saw that he was a goodly child, she went and hid him three months ;' Stephen says, he was exceeding fair,' Acts vii. 20. And Paul, · By faith, Moses, when he was born, was hid three months of his parents, because they saw he was a proper child,' Heb. xi. 23. It is an interesting inquiry what their faith respected, or on what it depended. Faith or belief of any kind resp cts what is reported; and what the scripture terms faith, must have respect to divine revelation. There must therefore have been a revelation of God, as to a deliverer to be raised up them, which the parents of Moses credited, and were led to see their son as a proper child; for Stephen says, when he is introducing the history of Moses, Acts vii, 17. That when the time of the promise drew nigh, which God
had sworn to Abraham,' the bondage of Egypt and deliverance were expressly foretold in these words : · Know of a surety, that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them, and they shall afflict them four hundred years ; and also that nation whom they shall serve, will I judge,' &c. Gen. xv. 13. Here the subject is most particularly mentioned, and although the raising up of a deliverer is not mentioned, yet on this head corre sponding promises are not silent : from all which it is evident, that in Israel, where all these precious promises were preserved, the expectation of deliverance by the hand of a proper person to be raised up, was not unknown, and the faith of Moses' parents appeared in their minds being divinely led to their infant son, as the deliverer "promised. From the manner in which this faith is mentioned, and the future conduct of Israel, it is very evident, that however clearly the promise of a deliverer had been revealed, the hope of it had been much lost, and, as shall be the case immediately previous to a greater deliverance, faith shall be rare on earth. That the revelation as to Moses might have been more direct and applicable, however, than any of those left on record, is by no meang improbable ; for we find Stephen saying, that Moses supposed his brethren would have under. stood how that God by his hand would deliver them, Acts vii. 25. Now this could only have been understood by revelation,
Moses then, we see, nourished up in Pharaoh's court, and learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians. We are then told, that when he was grown, or, as Stephen says, ? when he was full forty years of age, he went out into his brethren, and looked on their burdens ; and seeing an Egyptian smiting an Hebrew, he slew the Egyptian, and hid him in the sand. He went out a second time, and would have reconciled two Hebrews who were at variance, but he that did the other wrong said, “ Who made thee a ruler and a judge ?' &ç. These two introductory anecdotes of Moses give a wonderful key to all that follows. He supposed his brethren would have known him as the representative of that ruler and judge, who should appear in the fulness of time for their deliverance. Various things well merit the reader's particular inquiry. 1. The striking view of the office of Christ, as ruler and judge: He avenged bis brethren, and slew their oppressor. He brings them to unanimity when at variance. 2. The reception of Moses when beginning to exercise his office, so similar to that which Jesus Christ experienced : Who made thee a ruler and a judge ? said they to Moses. Jesus came to his own, and his own received him not, but said, • We will not have this man to reign over us.' 3. It appears, that though Moses supposed his brethren would have known that God had appointed him to be the ruler and judge of Israel, it was not yet God's time for his assuming that office, and in place of being recognised as such, he is obliged to flee to Midian. 4. In this early stage of his history, we are led to see the greatness of his faith, when he refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daugh, ter, and chose afflictions with the people of God, having respect to the recompense of reward.
We are now called to behold Moses in a situation very different from that in which he had been educated : in place of all the gaiety and splendour of a court, his attachment to Christ, and to the brethren of Christ for Christ's sake, led him to visit them under their burdens, and to fly a helpless wanderer to Midian. Here was a great trial of his faith ; a trial which nothing else but seeing him who is invisible could have enabled him to endure ;' that the promised ruler and judge of Israel, should be compelled to flee for his life. Moses had acquired all the learning which Egypt could furnish, but this could not qualify him for the great station he had to fill. According to human reckoning, he was well qualified. Egypt at that time was at the head of knowledge and science ; and those who consider human learning as the great pre-requisite for feeding the church of God, will find that Moses had got a thorough-paced education ; but God seeth not as man seeth. Moses had got forty years of Pharaoh's court, and heaven deemed it necessary, before employing him in his great office, to keep him other forty years with Jethro's Aock in the wilderness, to unlearn, during the second forty, what he had learned the first forty years of his life. Moses was not the only leader of his Old-Testament church, whom God brought from feeding ewes great with young to feed Israel his chosen, and Jacob his inheri. tance. Moses' interview with Reuel's daughters is another fine instance of primeval manners. Let' us therefore leave Moses with the flock of Jethro, while we trespass on our reader's patience with a few farther remarks on the conclusion of this chapter.
The king of Epypt died, and another king succeeded, whose hand appears to have been at least no lighter in oppressing Israel. We are told in the first chapter, that the king made their lives bitter by service ; but here it is added, that they sighed by reason of the bondage, and they cried, and their cry came up to God. It is one of the most endearing attributes of the God whom they and we profess to worship, that he hears the prayer of the destitute, and will not despise their prayer.' There is nothing will teach a guilty sinner to pray, but sighing, that is, feeling the bondage of sin. Men may approach their Maker with high-spun compliments, and all the parade and froth of words, in vain ; but the cry of a wounded spirit finds acceptance on his altar, ascending through the divine incense of the Great High-Priest over the house of God. We are thus told, that God heard their groaning, and remembered his covenant with their fathers, and had respect unto them.
CHAP. III.-Moses had now been forty years keeping the flock of Jethro, whose daughter he had married, and there qualifying himself for feeding the flock of God. Here various circumstances would tend to operate in the mind of Moses, as trials of his faith. That God should leave him forty years, thus banished, not only from the court of Pharaoh, but from his brethren, was a very unlikely thing, had he intended him for their ruler and judge ; and the only attempt which he had made to execute his office, not only exposed his life to Pharaoh, but had been refused by his brethren. The great cause of all this was, that God's set time for their deliverance was not come; and Moses himself had to undergo a course of training for his offices very different from any he could receive in Pharaoh's court. To fols low the ewes great with young ; to carry the lambs in his bosom ; to follow every straggling wanderer ; to restrain the whole flock when rushing from their proper pasture ; these, and many similar lessons, he was daily acquiring, before God called him to act as his deputy, his agent in feeding his chosen Israel. Divinely directed, he conducts his flock to the back of that very mountain where he should in a little time lead his great flock; and he is then honoured to see, as it were in miniature, that great light which should afterwards be displayed in the highest glory on that very mountain, the glory of the Lord, It is here called the mountain of God, for this is the very mountain where God appeared. It is called Horeb, a desert, and Sinai, a bush.
Here, then, Moses was admitted to a sight and revelation, which was intended to prepare him for entering on his great work : The Angel JEHOVAH, the uncreated Angel of the Covenant, appearing in a bush, burning with fire, yet unconsumed. An angel is a messen, ger, see Mal. iji
, 1., which may be compared with Luke xx. 37, 38. John i. 18. and viji. ; but indeed, there cannot exist a doubt from the
passage itself, that here was the Redeemer of Israel come down to deliver them; and that in this his appearance, there was a very grand figure of the appearance he should make in the likeness of sin, ful fesh in the fulness of time. And was not the meaning of this appearance to Moses sufficiently explained ; when He, the Eternal God, from the bosom of the Father, appeared as a root out of a dry ground, as a bush in a wilderness; the fire of divine justice breaking forth upon him, burning with the fiercest fames, yet he rose unconsumed, not even the sinell of fire having passed upon him? Well might Moses say, I will turn aside to see this great sight. Nor is it inconsistent to say, that here also was a figure of his church, because she is his body. Here, then, Moses got a view of the state of that church before she came to Canaan. She is a bush, low and humble, little observed in the world, yet growing on the mount of God, and his peculiar care. She appears with her God in the midst of her, and bis glory as a wall of fire round about her. But she also appears burning in persecution, yet unconsumed, because preserved by his
presence. We are rather of opinion, however, that the first-mentioned view is principally intended. Moses, then, astonished at what he saw, draws near to behold, when the Voice of God from the midst of the fire assails him, Moses, Moses, draw not nigh hither : pull off the shoes from thy feet; for the place where thou standest is holy ground.' Such language never fell from the lips of a created angel. The presence of the Holy One of Israel consecrated the place and ground, in he same manner as it did the mount of transfiguration, which, for the same reason, is called the holy mount. To walk with the shoe on, as being the immediate ground of connection with the earth, denotes property and possession; hence taking off the shoe and giving it, was the symbol of transferring property, Ruth iv. 7, 8. Psalm lx. 8. To cast off the shoe, was of old the highest mark of respect on entering the palace of a prince. God, who appeared in the bush, as the Angel Jehovah, the Father's righteous servant, speaks with all the majesty of the one true God; and Moses, who saw him in this capacity, expresses his view of his character, when he pronounces, as the greatest blessing which man can enjoy on earth, • the good-will of him who dwelt in the bush.' Moses had no doubt in his mind of the divinity of him who condescended to speak to him, for he hid his fuce, because he was afraid to look upon God. The God who spake to Moses, and who is uniformly called the God of Israel, is the same who was manifest in the Aesh, and redeemed his people by, shedding his blood for them. He claims the name and attribute of Jehovah, who will not give his glory to another, nor his praise to graven images ; • I am,' said be, the God of thy father ;' the God whom he feared in hiding thee when a child ; the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Here is that memorial of God which endureth to all generations. There is a very prevalent, but a very mistaken idea, that this name was peculiar to the Sinai Covenant, the Old Testament state of things, which waxed old and vanished away ; but this is by no means the case ; nay, our Lord proves the certainty of the resurrection of the dead, and puts the Sadducees to silence by reminding them of the very text which we are now considering. That God should say, “ I am the God of Enoch, who was translated that he should not see death,' we would have supposed more natural; but to say so of Abraham, who had been above four hundred years in the cave of Machpelah, discovers a bond of counection between God, and all who are blessed with faithful Abraham, before which all other ties dissolve in air. • I am the God of Abraham,' exhibits the divine character in a glorious light! Not only the God who fed, clothed, and supported him here, but the God before whom his spirit now lives; for • he is not the God of the dead, but of the living.' Nay further, this memorial exhibits him as pledged to fulfil all the great promises which were made too Abraham, and which we, sinners of the nations, have now a deep interest ia. The deliverance from Egypt was a primary part of that covenant promised to Abraham ; therefore, when the grand design of this appearance co Muses, was to accomplish that great work, which was in all after ages the ground of God's connection with his old. Testament church, it was most proper that he should reveal his name and character in this way ; ' I am the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.' • I have seen the aßiction of niy people, and am come down to deliver them.' It is impossible to read such words, with out forgetting, as it were, Egypt, and all her taskmasters, and res membering the gracious coming of the Son of Man to deliver the lost sheep, not only of the house of Israel, but of all nations, kindreds, tribes, and tongues ; to deliver them from Satan, and all their enemies, even death itself; to open up a passage for the ransomed of