« PreviousContinue »
of the Elohim, the Father, Word, and Holy Spirit, One true God. There are Gods many, and Lords many : every other name by which the Deity is designed, has been applied to others, but the name Jehovah is connected with that glory which he will not give to another. This name cannot be translated into any other language. The Greek Septuagint used the word Kurios, wherever it occurs in the original; and all correctly printed English Bibles, print the word Lord in capital letters, to distinguish the passages where it is used for JEHO
It is applied to God, the Father, in such passages as Psalm cx. 1. ; to God, the Son, almost universally through the Old Testament. The angel, who spake to Moses in the bush, says, “ I am JEHO• VAH,' &c. It is worthy of notice, that our Lord makes direct refera ence to this name in his conversations with the Jews, particularly in that memorable text, John viii. 58. · Before Abraham was, I AM;' and the Jews fully understood him, for then took they up stones to cast at him.
Chap. VII.-In the chapters we are now considering, we have the execution of what was mentioned formerly ; and, therefore, we shall not have occasion to be tedious. In the working of the signs before Pharaoh, when the rod became a serpent, one circumstance, not before mentioned, is worthy of notice, viz. that Aaron's rod, which had become a serpent, swallowed up the other rods of the magicians, who had been called in to oppose and counteract this miracle. Thus shall the rod of God finally overcome every opponent at last : when Jesus Christ shall take to himself his great power and reign, he shall put down all other rule and authority. As we find the magicians of Egypt make a conspicuous figure in this part of scripture history, it may
to examine into their character a little more particularly ; and to this we are the rather induced, as Paul makes a remarkable reference to them, 2 Tim. iii. 8., where we are told, that the seducers of the last times shall be like them, o for as Jannes * and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also,' &c. It is a singular circumstance, that the words translated sorcerers and enchantments, are, in the Hebrew, derived from several roots expressive both of the nature and source of their power, as arising from the depths • of Satan,' and working with all deceivableness of unrighteousness.' In this age of illumination, when mankind are taught to give credit to nothing but what their senses testify, or their reason comprehends, it is fashionable to laugh at any influence on the human mind from any invisible source. And it is singular to observe, that in proportion as the influence of the Spirit of God has been refined away to å nonentity, so that the spirit of the wicked one has become a subject of ridicule. We conceive it will not be deemed foreign to our purpose, to take here a brief view of the operation of the spirit of Satan in its different appearances in different ages. The entrance of sin at first in Eden, is a fair specimen of his seducing influence on the human mind in all ages ; and whether he appears in the form of a serpent, a magician in Egypt, or in the more modern manner of corrupting the word of God, the object is the same, to introduce unbe
lief of the word and revelation of God into the mind of man. this point of view, Paul was afraid of the Corinthians, • lest, as the
ser pent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, their minds should be cor• rupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.' It is highly deser. ving of attention, that there has been in all ages a close affinity, or rather similarity, between the matter and the manner of Satan's agency in corrupting it. Thus, Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, by doing as he did, with their enchantments, and, in this manner, they had influence on the minds of the Egyptians. We read in the Old Tes. tament of diviners, soothsayers, witches, &c.; and it has been very generally supposed that they possessed no power nor knowledge of matters beyond others, but merely by deception : but this reasoning cannot be admitted, without the grosse3t violence to the sacred text. Saul inquired of the witch of Eudor, because God answered him not, Even so late as the days of the apostles, we find a spirit of divination existed. This was not a deception, but a real possession of Satan, which the apostles cast out accordingly. In general, then, it will be found, that exactly so long as divine revelation was accompanied with extraordinary influences of the Spirit, just so long was Satan permitted to work and deceive in an extraordinary manner.
And since Revelation has been completed, and the power of the scriptures on the mind of man, the only mode of operation by the Spirit of God, Satan's influence is limited and confined to the one mode of corrupt. ing the mind of man, by darkening the evidence of the gospel.
The first of the remarkable plagues which were inflicted on Egypt are recorded in this chapter. It may be remarked in general as to these plagues, that we find them directly referred to, as correspond. ing with the seven last plagues which are poured out on the antichristian kingdom. The attentive reader will easily trace the parallel in various respects; such as, Egypt corresponds with spiritual Egypt, the antichristian kingdom where our Lord was put to open shame. The deceiving of the magicians tended to harden the heart of Pharaoh and his people, and thus to ripen them for these plagues. In like manner, the deceivings of the spiritual magicians, the antichristian clergy, who wrought, as Paul says, with all deceivable.. ness of unrighteousness, prepared that body for these plagues which we have seen consuming hers, and which will soon terminate in her final destruction. Lastly, the conquerors over the beast and over his image sing the song of Moses, as well as the song of the Lamb ; in like manner, as the victorious Israelites sung their song of triumph on the banks of the Red Sea. As Moses began his plagues by turn. ing water into blood, the natural refreshment of the parched heart, into that which of all things is the most loathsome ; so Christ began his miracles by turning water into wine, which cheereth the heart. By comparing this plague with Rev. xi. 6., and keeping in view the direct explication of waters, as figures of peoples, nations and tongues, we find in this plague an earnest of what afterwards took place at the Red Sea, and alternately of that which we see executing on spiritual Babylon: Give her blood to drink, Rev. xvi. 4, 5, 6.
CHAP. VIII.-narrates the three succeeding plagues of frogs, lice, and flies. We find that these plagues were intended as judgments upon the gods of Pharaoh. It is well ascertained history, that among other animals, consecrated in what we may justly call their bestial worship, the frog was an eminent one. As the breeding and rearing of that animal was one of the first effects of the swelling of the Nile, it was the forerunner of plenty to them; and the approach of that animal, which they considered as the forerunner of blessing, became a loathsome plague. The original word translated frog, there is every reason to believe, is Egyptian ; and, as no mention is made of this unclean animal until this plague, and as, where it is again mentioned in scripture, it is always by the same word, we are justified in considering it wholly Egyptian. That it was highly ve. nerated among other nations, we have certain evidence. There was a coin struck at Rome with Diana on one side, and a frog on the other; for this reason, that as she was the goddess of water, this water-animal was her proper symbol. Viewing the animal, then, as unclean of itself, yet worshipped in Egypt as the harbinger of plenty, we can conceive the severity of the plague when the object of their worship yielded them such distress. We have a corresponding plague on the antichristian kingdom, foretold in Rev. xvi. 13., on which we shall only remark at present, that the unclean spirits of devils sent forth to gather to the battle of the great day of God Almighty, appear to be doctrines filthy in themselves, but worshipped in the human heart. It may be observed, that the magicians could only bring plagues on Egypt; they could not remove them. This is a fine figure of all Satan's emissaries : they can produce great judgments by their arts and deceit, being permitted of God, but they can remove none. Plagues are alone removed in Egypt by the intercession of Moses, in order to point out the intercession of Jesus Christ. Pharaoh finding respite, steels his heart against conviction. Until divine grace touch the heart, no judgments, however multiplied, will soften it. See Psalm lxxviii. 34. 37.
The next plague is that of lice, which, from the word which the Septuagint use in translating it, appears to have been a species of small gnat, which, from some false natural attributes given to that animal, was considered as an emblem of the sun and moon, or rather of the whole heavenly bodies and their motions. The curious reader will find this subject amply discussed in Holloway's Originals. This plague, compared with the immediately succeeding one, which our translators call swarms of flies, can only be understood by attending to the nature of the Egyptian worship, as far as it can now be traced from authentic sources. To
that these awful marks of dia vine judgment were simply an inundation of those animals known to us as lice and flies, is, to say no worse, absurd. Indeed, our translators insert the word flies without any authority from the original ; and it is always printed in Italics, as supplementary. Although we would never quote the books of apocrypha, as any authority in doctrines of Christianity, we may at least allow them some weight in the subject of Egyptian idolatry. In the end of the 15th and beginning of the
16th chapter of the book of Wisdom, we are expressly told, that the Egyptians worshipped odious and mishapen beasts, yea they worshipsped those beasts also that are most hateful. Neither were their sacred • animals desireable in form, for they were mismatched and miscompacted
monsters ; therefore by the like were they punished worthily, and • by the multitude (or swarms as in our text) of mixed beasts of all ele"ments tormented.' Again, Chapter xii. 23. • Wherefore, thou • didst torment them with their own abominations, with such Bellua 'fi. e. mixed monsters). as they had devised to worship.
For they • went away farther than others in the ways of this error, holding • them for gods, which among the sacred animals of other idolatrous • nations were despised.' We have a still more express text to our point, Chap. xi. 15. of the same book : • For the foolish devices of i their wickedness, wherewith being deceived, they worshipped ab• surd reptiles, and vile beasts, monsters of air, land, and water, in mi!niature, a piece of one, and piece of another in the same idol ; * thou didst send a multitude of monstrous animals, for thy vengeance, * that they might know that wherewithal a man sinneth, by the
same he shall also be punished.' It will be observed, that on the margin of most editions of our English bibles, the text, swarms of flies, reads, a mixture of noisome beasts, &c. It is also worthy of notice, that when Pharaoh desired Moses to sacrifice to God in that land, · Moses said, it is not meet so to do; for we shall sacrifice the
abominations of the Egyptians to the Lord our God: Lo, shall we • sacrifice the abominations of the Egyptians before their eyes,
and • will they not stone us ?' The ancient poet Juvenal
says, Who does not know what monsters
Fanatic Egypt worships? But we have certain historic traces of the monstrous forms and mix. tures of animals which were objects of their worship. In their hieroglyphical monuments, we see their dog-headed Anubis ; cow-headed Isis ; and ram-headed Hammon. We find bird and insect contrasted ; and man, lion, cat and hawk in one monster. One of their principal deities was compounded of man, fish and serpent ; and several of these caped or hooded with the wings of a beetle. Attending to these monuments of ancient Egyptian worship, we can be at no loss to know what that mixture of noisome beasts with which they were plagued was composed of,
It is impossible to read the account of these plagues of monsters in Egypt, without remembering the antichristian locusts which issued from the bottomless pit, described Rev. ix. 11, 12. • And the shapes • of the locusts were like horses prepared unto battle ; and on their • heads were as it were crowns like gold, and their faces were as the • faces of men, and they had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth < were as the teeth of lions. And they had breastplates, as it were • breastplates of iron; and the sound of their wings was as the sound • of chariots running to battle. And they had tails like unto scor
pions, and there were stings in their tails, and their power was to • burt men.' Upon a comparison of these noisome beasts of Egypt, with other idolatrous deities of the nations, we find the true cause
why Daniel describes the idolatrous worship of the Chaldeans, Persians, Greeks, and Romans, as so many beasts, or rather monsters. Hence also the apocalyptic beasts ; for opposite animals were not more monstrously conjoined as objects of worship in Egypt, than opposite doctrine and principles were in the antichristian monster.
To serve God and Mammon; to pursue a worldly and a heavenly hope; to conjoin church and state ; are as incongruous, as any Egyptian idol.
It is to be remarked, that this miracle baffled the power of the magician ; and Satan himself was obliged to acknowledge, that this was the finger of God. We need not therefore fear the power of Satan and his hosts : hitherto he can come and no farther. The 23d verse of this chapter is strikingly expressive of the great and spiritual redemption. I will put a division between thy people and my • people.' Divine sovereign mercy places a bulwark over which the gates of hell cannot pass.
CHAP. IX. In this chapter, we have a singular account of three other plagues executed on Pharaoh and the Egyptians. The mur. rain or pestilence, which from the hand of the Lord brought death on all the large species of cattle in the land of Egypt, was a very direct judgment against their gods. It is remarkable, that the five kinds of cattle mentioned in the 3d verse of this chapter, horses, asses, camels, oxen, and sheep, had each of them distinct temples, and an appropriate priesthood. We shall have occasion to consider this part of their worship more particularly, in examining Aaron's golden calf. But the voice of this plague against the chief animals of their worship, must have been very loud, when connected with this circumstance, that of the cattle of Israel, not one died. The next plague of boils upon man and beast, is particularly worthy of attention from the circumstances by which it was produced. And they
took ashes of the furnace, and stood before Pharaoh ; and Moses • sprinkled it up towards heaven; and it became a boil, breaking forth with blains upon man and beast,' verse 10.
That the furnace here, was the furnace of the altar where their sacrifices were burnt, will readily occur to every reader ; but it may not perhaps be so generally known, that the ashes of these furnaces, nay even the filth of their altars, were held in high veneration. That these very ashes sprinkled towards heaven, should become a grievous boil on man and beast, was a most expressive display of the divine abhorrence of their idolatrous rites. Nor will the reader fail to remember, that noisome and grievous sore which the first vial brought on the man who had the mark of the beast, and on them who worm shipped his image,' Rev. xvi. 2.
Nor will the continued hardening of Pharaoh's heart, prove a less striking figure of what took place, when men were scorched with
great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, who hath power over these plagues ; and they repented not to give him glory,' Rev. xvi. 9.
In the next plague, we find the clouds of heaven are made the instruments of divine vengeance.
When we compare the solemnity M