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Moses we read of a particular distemper called the 'botch of Egypt: and the diseases of the country are mentioned in more places than one of scripture. In consequence of this the people were in a continual state of purgation; and reposed a great confidence in their physicians: who were maintained at the expence of the public. These joined astrology to physic; upon which they founded their pretended foresight in respect to impending maladies; and in consequence of it they were continually prescribing antidotes and preventives to the people.
The Propriety of the Judgment.
I thought it necessary on many accounts to give this history of physic, as recorded by the
'Deuteron. c. xxviii. v. 27.
* The Lord will take away from thee all sickness, and will put none of the evil diseases of Egypt-upon thee. -upon thee.
c. vii. v. 15.
If thou wilt not observe to do all the words of this law then the Lord will make thy plagues wonderful, &c. Moreover, he will bring upon thee all the diseases of Egypt. Ibid} c. xxviii. v. 58, 59, 60.
3 Herodot. 2. p. 139.
ancient Egyptians. We find, that they believed it to have been found out by their gods and demi-gods: and from them to have been transmitted to particular persons in succession, who under their influence carried it on to the
advantage of the nation. They therefore placed the greatest confidence in these deities; and in these their votaries, to whom this science was entrusted. Hence it pleased God to order his judgments accordingly and to bring upon them a fearful disorder, which their deities could not avert, nor the art of man alleviate. He could have caused commotions in the earth, had it seemed fitting; and shaken their high edifices to their basis; or brought on a supernatural inundation, by which their cities had been swept to the deep. But this would not have been sufficiently significant. It seemed therefore good to divine wisdom to be more particular in its judgments. Hence in this instance, as well as in those which preceded, the Egyptians were not only punished; but were shewn the baseness of their worship; and the vanity of their confidence, where they most trusted. This, as it served for a warning to them, was very salutary to others, who were to learn by their example. They
had before been pestered with flies and incommoded with vermin: and, through the pollution of their river and the murrain of their cattle, been put to great inconveniences. But they could dig for water, and in some degree shelter themselves from flies: but there was no resource from this evil, which was brought more home to them. It was a taint of the human frame; a grievous internal malady, under which the priests as well as the people smarted, to their astonishment and confusion. Hence it appears, that the prince of the country was deserted of his wise men as well as of his gods.---And the magicians could not stand before Moses, because of the boil: for the boil was upon the magicians, and upon all the Egyptians, Exod. ix. 11.
The Peculiarity observable in the scattering of the Ashes,
It is said, that when this evil was to be brought upon the Egyptians, Aaron and Moses were ordered to take ashes of the furnace; and Moses was to scatter them up towards heaven, that they might be wafted over the face of the country, Exod. ix. 8. This mandate was
very determinate and to the last degree significant. The ashes were to be taken from that fiery furnace; which in the scriptures was used as a type of the Israelites slavery, and of all the cruelty which they experienced in Egypt. The process has still a farther allusion 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 stiled Typhonian, such as Heliopolis, Idithyia, Abaris, and Busiris. In these at particular seasons they sacrificed The objects thus destined were persons of bright hair, and a particular complexion; such as was seldom to be found among the native Egyptians. Hence we may infer, that they were foreigners: and it is probable that,
1Abraham saw in vision the bondage of his posterity under the emblem of a smoking furnace and burning lamp. Genesis, ch. xv. v. 17.- -The Lord hath taken you out of the furnace: i. e. out of Egyptian thraldom, Deut. ch. iv. v. 20. I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction. Isaiah xlviii.
ASONS HET GESTIONS AND A
v. 20. For they be thy people and thine inheritance, which thou broughtest forth out of Egypt, from the midst of the furnace of iron. The words of Solomon. 1 Kings, c. viii. v. 51. 2 Και εν ιδίθυιας πολει ζωντας ανθρωπες καταπιμπρασαν, ὡς Μανεθων ίςορηκε, Τυφωνίες καλέντες, και την τεφραν αυτων λικμωντες αφάνισον, και διεσπειρον. Αλλα τετο μεν εδρατο φανερως, και καθ' ένα naigov gov ev tæiç xuvæσir negais. Plut. Is. et Osir. v. 1. p. 380. D.
while the Israelites resided in Egypt, they were chosen from their body. They were burnt alive upon an 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: I presume, with this view, that where any atom of this dust was wafted, a blessing might be entailed. The like was done by Moses with the ashes of the fiery furnace; but with a different intention. They were scattered abroad; that wherever any the smallest portion alighted, it might prove a plague and a curse to this ungrateful, cruel, and infatuated people. Thus there was a designed contrast in these workings of Providence; an apparent opposition to the superstition of the times. The powers
It was probably stiled Tuph-On, Aodos Hais: and from hence both the cities, and the persons sacrificed, had the name of Typhonian. That they were foreigners seems to be farther intimated, by the tradition recorded by Ovid. Cum Thrasius Busirin adit, monstratque piari
Hospitis effuso sanguine posse Jovem.
De Arte Amand. 1. 1. v. 649. Diodorus says---των μεν Αιγυπτίων ολίγες τινας ἑνρισκεσθαι πυρη ῥᾷς' των δε ξένων τους πλειες. 1. 1. p. 79.
* Plutarch, above.