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Moses' meaning, while praying for Israel, is ob. vious ; but the petition offered up for himself is not equally so---blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book.

Four different constructions have been put on this prayer---Some consider Moses as imprecating damnation on himself, for the good of his people--Some as praying for annihilation, that they might find mercy-Some as asking of God that he might die with them, if they should die in the 'wilderness--Others, that his name might be blotted out of the page of history, and his memory perish, should Israel be destroyed and not reach the promised land.

“Blor me” (faith Mr. Cruden) 6 out of the book of life-out of the catalogue, or number of those that shall be saved-wherein Moses does not express what he thought might be done, but rather wisheth, if it were possible, that God would accept of him as a sacrifice in their stead, and by his deftru&tion and annihilation, prevent fo

a mifchief to them."*

Doct. S. CLARK expresseth his sense of the pafsage to nearly the same effect.

Dip Moses then ask to be made an expiatory sacrifice! Or conceive his utter ruin could atone for the fin of Israel! Or did he folemnly ask of God what he knew to be so unreasonable that it could not be granted !

There is no hint in the account given of this affair, that Moses entertained a thought of being accepted in Israel's stead. He did not ask to suf

* Vid. Concordance, under BLOT.

fer, that they might escape_he prayed to be blotted out of God's book, if his people could not be forgiven-If thou wilt, forgive their fin ; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy baok which thou hast write ten.

Mr. Pool considers Moses as praying to be anni. hilated that Israel might be pardoned ! “Blot me out of the book of life-out of the catalogue, or number of those that shall be saved. I suppose Moses doth not wish his eternal damnation, because that ftate would imply both wickedness in himself and dishonor to God; but his annihilation, or utter lofs of this life, and that to come, and all the happiness of both of them. Nor doth Móses simply desire this, butonly comparatively expresseth his fingular zeal for God's glory, and charity to his people; suggesting that the very thoughts of the destruction of God's people, and the reproach and blasphemy which would be cast upon God by means thereof, were so intolerable to him, that he rather wished, if it were possible, that God would accept him as a sacrifice in their stead, and by his utter destruction prevent so great a mischief."*

Could the learned and judicious Mr. Pool seriously believe that inspired Moses prayed for anni. hilation ! Or consider him as entertaining a fufpicion that a soul could cease to exist ! Or could he conceive him as deliberately asking of God to make him an expiatory facrifice ! Or harboring a thought that the fin of his people might be atoned by his being blotted out from among God's works!

Strange!

* Vid. Pool in locum.

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Mr. Henry considers Moses as praying to die with Israel, if they must die in the wilderness-"If they must be cut off, let me be cut off with them let not the land of promise be mine by survivorship. God had told Moses, that if he would not interpofe, he would make him a great nation-No said Moses, I am so far from desiring to see my name and family, built on the ruins of Israel, that I choose rather to die with them.

If such is the spirit of this prayer, Moses does not appear resigned to the divine order, but rath, er peevish and fretful at the disappointment of his hope, which he had till then entertained. He had expected to lead Israel to the land of promise ; if not indulged, seems not to have cared what became of himself or his family; and is thought here to address his maker, offering distinguishing favors to him, as Daniel did Belfhazzar—" thy gifts be to thyself, and give thy rewards to another-I desire none of them for myself or mine-If Israel die in the wilderness, let me die with them"-From angry Jonah such a reply to the kind offers of a gracious God might not surprize us ; but it was not to have been expected from the meekest of mankind.

Doct. Hunter, in his biographical lectures, explodes the idea of Moses' asking to be damned for the salvation of Israel, and shews the absurdity of that construction of the text, but understands him as praying to die himself, before fentence should be executed on his people, if they were not par

* Vid. Henry in loe.

doned. And in the declaration, whosoever hath finned against me, him will I blot out of my book, he difcovers an intimation, that that offending people should die short of the promised land! A dis. covery without a clew. This fin of Israel was pardoned. Sentence of death in the wilderness was occasioned by a subsequent act of rebellion, as will be shewn in the sequel.*

MR. FIRMIN considers Moses as here praying to be blotted out of the page of history, if Israel were not pardoned ; so that no record of his name, or the part which he had acted in the station as. figned him, should be handed down to posterity. An exposition differing from the plain language, of sacred hiftory—Blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book, which thou haft written. The page

of history is written by man.

Such are the constructions which have been put on this scripture. The considerations which have been suggested, oblige us to reject them all, as founded in mistake. Our sense of the passage, and the reasons, which in our apprehension, support it, will be the subject of another discourse.

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Moses' Prayer to be blotted out of God's Book.

EXODUS xxxii. 31, 32.

And Moses returned unto the Lord and said, Oh! this people

have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold. Yet now, if thou wilt, forgive their sin ; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written. In the preceding discourse we endeavored to show that the idea of being willing to be damned for the glory of God is not found in the text—that the sentiment is erroneous and absurd-then adduced the constructions which have been put on the text by sundry expositors, and offered reasons which oblige us to reject them as misconstructions.

Ir remains, to give our sense of the passage---the grounds on which it rests and some refle&tions by way of improvement.

As to our sense of the pasage-We conceive these puzzling words of Moses to be no other than a prayer for himself-that his fin's which might ftand charged against him in the book of God, might be blotted out, however God might deal with Ifrael.

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