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this fact better than all the romantic theories of philosophers. It is impossible to account for the origin of such a variety of languages in a more satisfactory manner than is done in the narrative of the confusion of tongues which took place at Babel. (Gen. xi. 1-9.) And although some futile objections have been made against the chronology of this book, because it makes the world less antient than is necessary to support the theories of some modern self-styled philosophers : yet even here, as we have already shown by an induction of particulars, the more rigorously it is examined and compared with the extravagant and improbable accounts of the Chaldæan, Egyptian, Chinese, and Hindoo chronology, the more firmly are its veracity and authenticity established. In fine, without this history, the world would be in comparative darkness, not knowing whence it came, nor whither it goeth. 'In the first page of this sacred book, a child may learn more in an hour, than all the philosophers in the world learned without it in a thousand years.
ON THE BOOK OF EXODUS. 1. Title. - II. Author, and date. III. Occasion and subject-matter.
-IV. Scope. - V. Types of the Messiah. - VI. Synopsis of its Contents. – VII. Remarks on the Plagues inflicted upon the Egyp
. tians. I. THE title of this book is derived from the Septuagint version, and is significant of the principal transactions which it records, namely, the EE0A0E, Exodus, or departure of the Israelites from Egypt. By the Jews, and in the Hebrew copies, it is termed now 757 Ve-AlEH SHEMOTH, “these are the words," from the initial words of the book, or sometimes merely Shemoth. It comprises a history of the events that took place during the period of 145 years, from the year of the world 2369 to 2514 inclusive, from the death of Joseph to the erection of the tabernacle. Twenty-five passages, according to Rivet, are quoted from Exodus by our Saviour and his apostles in ex, press words; and nineteen allusions to the sense are made in the New Testament.
II. That Moses was the author of this book we have already shown, though the time when it was written cannot be precisely determined. As, however, it is a history of matters of fact, it was doubtless written after the giving of the law on Mount Sinai and the erecting of the tabernacle : for things cannot be historically related until they have actually taken place, and the author of this book was evidently an eye and ear-witness of the events he has narrated.
III. Moses having, in the preceding book, described the creation of the world, the propagation of the nations, and the origin of the
I See Vol. I. pp. 1674-169.
church, now comes, in the book of Exodus, to describe the state and condition of the church, as collected out of several families, and united into one body politic or society, the head of which was Jehovah ; on which account, the government of the Hebrews, from the time of Moses to the institution of royalty among them, has been termed a theocracy. Accordingly, the book of Exodus records the cruel persecution of the Israelites in Egypt under Pharaoh-Rameses II. ; the birth, exposure, and preservation of Moses; his subsequent Night into Midian, his call and mission to Pharaoh-Amenophis II. ; the miracles performed by him and by his brother Aaron ; the ten plagues also miraculously inflicted on the Egyptians; the institution of the passover, and the departure of the children of Israel from Egypt; their passage across the Red Sea, and the destruction of the Egyptian army ; the subsequent journeyings of the Israelites in the desert, their idolatry, and frequent murmurings against God; the promulgation of the law from Mount Sinai, and the erection of the tabernacle.
IV. The scope of Exodus is to preserve the memorial of the departure of the Israelites from Egypt, and to represent the church of God, afflicted and preserved, the providential care of God towards her; and the judgments juiflicted on her enemies. It plainly points out the accomplishment of the divine promises and prophecies delivered to Abraham, that his posterity would be very numerous (compare Gen. xv. 5. xvii. 4–6. and xlvi. 27. with Numb. i. 1-3. 46.); and that they would be afflicted in a land not their own, whence they should depart in the fourth generation with great substance. (Gen. xv. 13–16. with Exod. xii. 35. 40, 41.) Further, in Israel passing from Egypt through the Red Sea, the Wilderness, and Jordan, to the promised land, this book adumbrates the state of the church in the wilderness of this world, until her arrival at the heavenly Canaan, an eternal rest. St. Paul, in 1 Cor. x. 1., &c. and in various parts of his Epistle to the Hebrews, lias shown that these things prefigured, and were applicable to, the Christian church. A careful study of the mediation of Moses will greatly facilitate our understanding the mediation of Jesus Christ.
V. Types OF THE Messiah are, Moses ; (compare Deut. xviii. 15.) — Aaron ; (Heb. iv. 14—16. v. 45.) - the Paschal Lamb; (Exod. xii. 46. with John xix. 36. and 1 Cor. v. 7, 8.) - the Manna; (Exod. xvi. 15. with 1 Cor. x. 3.) — the Rock in Horeb; (Exod. xvii. 6. with 1 Cor. x. 4.) — the Mercy Seat ; (Exod. Xxxvii. 6. with Rom. iii. 25. Heb. iv. 16.) -- the Tabernacle ; (Exod. xl. with John i. 14. Gr.)
VI. By the Jews the book of Exodus is divided into eleven parasches or chapters, and twenty-nine siderim or sections : in our Bibles it is divided into forty chapters, the contents of which are exhibited in the annexed synopsis :Part I. Account of the transactions previously to the departure of
the Israelites from Egypt.
Sect. 3. The hardening of Pharaoh's heart, and the infliction of
the ten plagues. (ch. vii.—xi.) Part II. The narrative of the departure of the Israelites. (ch. xii.
-xiv.) Part III. Transactions subsequent to their Erodus. (ch. xiv.-xl.)
. Sect. 1. The miraculous passage of the Red Sea, and the thanks
giving of Moses and the people of Israel, on their deliverance
from Pharaoh and his host. (ch. xiv. xv. 1-22.) Sect. 2. Relation of various miracles, wrought in behalf of the
Israelites. (ch. xv. 23—27. xvi. xvii.) Sect. 3. The arrival of Moses's wife and children with Jethro.
(ch. xviii.) Part IV. The promulgation of the law on Mount Sinai. Sect. 1. The preparation of the people of Israel by Moses, for the
renewing of the covenant with God. (ch. xix.) Sect. 2. The promulgation of the moral law. (ch. xx.) Sect. 3. The judicial law. (ch. xxi.—xxiii.) Sect. 4. The ceremonial law, including the construction and
erection of the tabernacle. (ch. xxv.—xxxi. XXXV.-xl.) In ch. xxxii.-xxxiy. are related the idolatry of the Israelites, the breaking of the two tables of the law, the divine chastisement of the Hebrews, and the renewal of the tables of the covenant. VII. The circumstances attending the plagues inflicted upon the Egyptians are fully considered by Mr. Bryant in his learned Treatise on this subject (8vo. London, 1810,) from which the following particulars are abridged. As many of the Israelites were followers of the idolatry that surrounded them, these miracles were admirably adapted to display the vanity of the idols and false gods, adored by their oppressors, the proud and learned Egyptians.
1. By the first plague, - Water turned into blood (Exod. vii. 14 —25.) was demonstrated the superiority of Jehovah over their imaginary river-gods, and the baseness of the elements which they reverenced. The Nile was religiously honoured by the Egyptians, who valued themselves much upon the excellency of its waters and esteemed all the natives of the river as in some degree sacred. The Nile was turned into blood, which was an object of peculiar abhorrence to the Egyptians.
2. In the plague of frogs (Exod. viii. 1—15.) the object of their idolatrous worship, the Nile, was made an instrument of their punishment. Frogs were deemed sacred by the Egyptians; but whether from reverence or abhorrence is uncertain. By this plague, the waters of the Nile became a second time polluted, and the land was equally defiled.
3. The plague of lice (Exod. vii. 16—19.) reproved the absurd superstition of the Egyptians, who thought it would be a great profanation of the temple into which they were going, if they entered it with any animalculæ of this sort upon them. The people, and particularly the priests, never wore woollen garments, but only linen, because linen is least apt to produce lice. The judgment, inflicted by Moses in this plague was so proper, that the priests and magicians inmedi
ately perceived from what hand it came, and confessed that this was the finger of God.
4. The plague of flies (Exod. viii. 20-32.), which was inflicted in the midst of winter, and not in the midst of summer, when Egypt swarms with flies, would show the Egyptians the folly of the god, whom they worshipped that he might drive away the gad-fly, whose sting is extremely painful.
5. The fifth plague - the murrain among cattle (Exod. ix. 1—7.) destroyed the living objects of their stupid worship. The sacred bull
, the cow, or heifer, the ram, and the he-goat, fell dead before their worshippers. When the distemper inflicted by this judgment spread irresistibly over the country, the Egyptians not only suffered a severe loss, but also beheld their deities and their representatives sink before the god of the Hebrews.
6. As the Egyptians were celebrated for their medical skill, and their physicians were held in the highest repute, the sixth plague, the infiction of boils accompanied with blains (Exod. ix. 8–12.), which neither their deities could avert, nor the art of man alleviate, would further show the vanity of their gods. Aaron and Moses were ordered to take ashes of the furnace, and to scatter them towards Heaven, that they might be wasted over the face of the country. This was a significant command. The ashes were to be taken from that fiery furnace, which in the Scripture was used as a type of the slavery of the Israelites, and of the cruelty which they experienced in Egypt. (Deut. iv. 20.) The process has still a farther allusion
a to an idolatrous and cruel rite, which was common among the Egyptians, and to which it is opposed as a contrast. They had several cities styled Typhonian, such as Heliopolis, Idythyia, Abaris, and Busiris. In these, at particular seasons, they sacrificed men. The objects thus destined, were persons with bright hair, and a particular complexion, such as were seldom to be found among the native Egyptians. Hence, we may infer that they were foreigners; and it is probable, that whilst the Israelites resided in Egypt, they were chosen from their body. They were burnt alive upon a high altar, and thus sacrificed for the good of the people. At the close of the sacrifice, the priests gathered together the ashes of these victims, and scattered them upwards in the air, with the view probably, that where any atom of this dust was carried, a blessing might be entailed. The like was, therefore, done by Moses, though with a different intention, and to a more certain effect.
7. The plague of hail, rain, and fire, (Exod. ix. 13–35.) demonstrated that neither Osiris, who presided over fire, nor Isis, who presided over water, could protect the fields and the climate of Egypt from the thunder, the rain, and the hail of Jehovah. These phenomena were of extremely rare occurrence, at any period of the year: they now fell at a time when the air was most calm and serene.
8. Of the severity of the ravages, caused by the plague of locusts, (Exod. x. 1—20.) some idea may be conceived from the account of
1 Plutarch, Is. et Osir. v. i. p. 380. D.
those insects in Volume III. Part I. \ X. 4. The Egyptians had gods, in whom they trusted to deliver their country from these terrible invaders. They trusted much to the fecundity of their soil, and to the deities, Isis and Serapis, who were the conservators of all plenty. But by this judgment they were taught that it was impossible to stand before Moses the servant of God. The very winds, which they venerated, were made the instruments of their destruction; and the sea, which they regarded as their defence against the locusts, could not afford them any protection.
9. The ninth plague consisted in three days' darkness, over all the land of Egypt, (Exod. x. 21–27.) The Egyptians considered
, light and fire, the purest of elements, to be proper types of God. They regarded the sun, the great fountain of light, as an emblem of his glory, and salutary influence on the world. The sun was esteemed the soul of the world, and was supposed with the moon to rule all things : and not only to be the conservators, but the creators of all things. Accordingly they worshipped them, as well as night and darkness. This miraculous darkness would therefore confirm still further (if further confirmation were wanting,) the vanity of their idoldeities.
10. The infliction of the tenth and last plague, - the destruction of the first-born (Exod. xi. 1–8. xii. 29, 30.) was most equitable; because, after the Egyptians had been preserved by one of the Israelitish family, they had (contrary to all right, and in defiance of the stipulation originally made with the Israelites when they first went into Egypt,) enslaved the people to whom they had been so much indebted; had murdered their children, and made their bondage intolerable. We learn from Herodotus,' that it was the custom of the Egyptians to rush from the house into the street, to bewail the dead with loud and bitter outcries : and every member of the family united in the bitter expressions of sorrow. How great then must their terror and their grief have been,
when, at midnight, the Lord smote all the first-born of the land of Egypt, from the first-born of Pharaoh that sat on his throne, unto the first-born of the captive that was in the dungeon; and all the first-born of cattle ; and when Pharaoh rose up in the night, he and all his servants, and all the Egyptians, and there was a great cry in Egypt: for there was not a house where there was not one dead !
ON THE BOOK OF LEVITICUS. I. Title, author, and date. - II. Scope. - III. Synopsis of its cmtents. 1. THE third book of the Pentateuch (by the Jews termed va-YIKRA, and he called, from its initial word) is in the Septuagint styled AETITIKON, and in our version Leviticus, or the Levitical
I Lib. ii. c. 85, E6.