Sidor som bilder

had issued a mandate, that all the Hebrew male children should be cast into the Nile. The daughter of Levi, however, happily succeeded in concealing her infant son for three months;-at the expiration of this period, when "she could no longer hide him," we are informed, that she "took for him an ark of bulrushes, and daubed it with slime and with pitch, and put the child therein: and she laid it in the flags by the river's brink." Here the ark, or little boat, formed of bulrushes, was discovered by Pharaoh's daughter and her maidens, when they repaired (as seems to have been the custom,) to the brink of the Nile. This protégé of the king's daughter was thus rescued from peril, and called, at her instance, MOSES, i. e. drawn out. The child, thus saved, was immediately recognized as belonging to the Hebrews, and committed, it appears, to his own mother-the nursling of Providence. In Plate III. fig. 21, we have given a representation, copied from Belzoni's sketches from the tombs of the kings. The hawk-headed infant seems quite characteristic of the infant Moses. The hawk's head was indicative, among Egyptian hieroglyphics, of discernment, acute penetration and judgment: the little ark, or boat, in which he is confined, is of the precise description of those employed for navigating the Nile, in ancient times; and is now used in navigating the Tigris and the Euphrates, and even the rivers of Abyssinia. Thus we read, in the prophetic Records, of "vessels of bulrushes on the waters." An Abyssinian traveller has informed us, that these boats of bulrushes are constructed by attaching bundles of a species of papyrus, (cyperus niloticus,) to a keel of acacia-wood, and uniting them at top, in the way represented in the figure; when the vessel is afterwards pitched within and without with bitumen. Moses formed too prominent a figure in the annals of Egypt to be omitted in its hieroglyphic history: indeed, we can collect as much from the authorities of Diodorus Siculus, Strabo, Tacitus, and others. We have only further to add here, as an interesting corroboration respecting the structure of


some names mentioned in Sacred History, in connexion with Egypt, that the researches already made, in Egyptian literature, amply confirm them. M. Champollion and others have shewn that the proper names of both sexes, in ancient Egypt, are often compounded of the names of Egyptian deities. In the hieratic text, ré, or shré, signifies the sun: thus, Joseph's father-in-law, Potipherah, was priest or prince of On, or Heliopolis, (city of the sun). Petephré, in hieroglyphic literature, signifies that which belongs to the sun, or ré. serves to shew, from what unexpected sources we may receive, as it were accidental, illustrations of the truths propounded in the Scriptures. Unexplored treasures of evidence may yet open on the world; gradually, it may be, as seem to be the designs of Providence; yet, at length, fully and it appears to us very remarkable, that the evidence unfolded in proof of the truth and authority of Revelation, in the times in which we now live, is precisely of that description which fully meets the temper and tone of the philosophy and literature of the age-that scepticism and infidelity are met in the spirit of a progressive philosophy, and on the vantage ground of inductive science. If we reject Revelation, it is not for want of evidence; we remain without excuse, and are fully chargeable with the consequences which that rejection entails.

It forms no part of our present plan to discuss the remarkable adaptation of the wonders which Moses, in obedience to the commands of GOD, and gifted from on high with preternatural powers, to prove his divine embassage, wrought in the presence of the court of Pharaoh. On these exhibitions of divine power, well might "the heathen be cast down in their own eyes," when the utter helplessness of the deities they adored, was thus so conspicuously displayed. "Bel boweth down, Nebo stoopeth," before the LORD GOD of the captive Hebrews. "No other god can deliver after this sort." In like manner, we should think it no difficult task

* Dan. iii. 29.


to prove, how wise and well adapted were all the institutions of the Divine appointment, promulgated to the Israelites through the medium of the priest of their profession, the leader of their armies, their counsellor and their judge, in obedience to, and under the guidance and direction of the theocracy of heaven. It must suffice for the present, that we simply advert to some incidents that occurred on their pilgrimage to the promised land, as supplying proofs in conformity with the design of our little volume. Heathen writers and local tradition perpetuate the events recorded in the Sacred Narrative, and we can even trace this perpetuity in the names of places in the districts where these events occurred. So that this very etymology becomes a permanent register of the facts.

Having passed the Red Sea, the Israelites wandered three days in the wilderness of Shur, but found no water. They came at length to Marah, "but they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter, therefore the name of it was called Marah."* Burckhardt describes a well called Howara-"the water of which is so bitter that men cannot drink it; and even camels, if not very thirsty, refuse to taste it." No doubt this is the Marah of Moses: what the plant was which Moses was directed to cast into these waters we cannot tell; but "the waters were made sweet" in consequence of it. Forskal mentions a plant which he states possesses the property in question. Be this as it may, the knowledge of this peculiar virtue was pointed out to Moses by a special communication. We confess we were much surprised at reading, in Mr. Milman's History of the Jews, a note connected with this event, from which we learn, that a medical friend of his had subjected to analysis some water brought to this country from a fountain called Marah, ("but probably not that of Burckhardt's Howara"). This specimen is described as possessing "a slightly astringent and bitterish taste." It is stated, that chemical examination shows these qualities

* Exodus xv. 23.


to be derived from the selenite or sulphate of lime it holds in solution; "if, therefore," it is added, "any vegetable substance, containing oxalic acid, were thrown into it, the lime would speedily be precipitated, and the beverage rendered agreeable and wholesome!" Now, we have merely to remark on this extraordinary solution, that it is the first time we have heard that an astringent and bitterish taste can by possibility be imparted to water by an impregnation of sulphate of lime, though that character would be acquired by the presence of sulphate of magnesia, &c. It is certainly true that oxalic acid would decompose sulphate of lime; and it is equally true that some plants contain it; such, for instance, as the oxalis acetosella; though we are not aware that this plant is indigenous to Palestine. This plant, however, is not a tree, as stated in Scripture, nor a shrub bearing a berry, as suggested by Burckhardt, even though the analysis of Mr. Milman's medical friend had been entitled to the least attention. We are sorry to have to say, that we perceive much in this “ History of the Jews" which subjects the author to considerable censure;—we mean, an awkward attempt to impute to natural causes what cannot be solved, but by the direct interposition of a Divine hand. The entire phenomena connected with that remarkable people imply all this, and cannot by possibility be solved without such a supposition.

The Israelites thereafter pitched their tents in an oasis, distinguished by the beautiful association of "twelve wells of water, and threescore and ten palm trees."* By the united testimony of travellers, Elim, where these wells and palm-trees were found, is still recognized by similar interesting features. No less than nine of these wells still remain to attest the spot, and the seventy palm-trees have become thousands.

The following chapter is occupied with an account of a singular phenomenon :-the fall of MANNA. This remarkable and providential supply is thus described:

* Exodus xv. 27.

"When the dew that lay was gone up, behold upon the face of the wilderness there lay a small round thing, as small as the hoar-frost, on the ground." We are further told, that "when the sun waxed hot it melted;" and when preserved until the following day it became corrupt, and "bred worms." To preserve the extra measure which they collected on the sixth day, Moses directed that on that day of the week they were "to bake and seethe" what should be required on the morrow, as on the sabbath none should fall. It is further added,—" And the house of Israel called the name thereof manna: and it was like coriander-seed, white; and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey."* Such are the curious and interesting particulars supplied by the Sacred Text. It is well known that a substance is used in medicine under this name, chiefly obtained from the Calabrias, and is collected from the leaves of the ornus rotundifolia, (fraxinus ornus, of Linnæus,) and a somewhat similar substance obtains in the onion; but from its purgative qualities, it is sufficiently obvious that the manna of the Scriptures is altogether different. According to Seetzen, Wortley Montague, Burckhardt, and other travellers, a natural production exudes from the spines of a species of tamarix, in the peninsula of Sinai. It condenses before sunrise, but dissolves in the sunbeam. "Its taste," it is added, "is agreeable, somewhat aromatic, and as sweet as honey. It may be kept for a year, and is only found after a wet season." The Arabs collect it and use it with their bread. In the vicinity of Mount Sinai, where it is most plentiful, the quantity collected in the most favourable season does not exceed six hundred weight. The author of the "History of the Jews" has a note to the following effect: "The author, by the kindness of a traveller, recently returned from Egypt, has received a small quantity of manna; it was, however, though still palatable, in a liquid state, from the heat of the sun. He has obtained the additional curious fact, that manna, if not boiled or baked, will not keep

* Exodus xvi. 14. and 31.

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