Sivut kuvina

emblems of Egypt? I answer; most undoubtedly. The revealing of his mind by Egyp= tian symbols was like writing in the charac ers of that country. It was in a manner speaking their language; and therefore attended with great fitness and propriety. I have mentioned, that there was nothing reprehensible in the characteristics themselves. The only crime was in the misapplication. They had their meaning; and those who had any knowledge in the wisdom of the Egyptians, must have understood their immediate purport. This emblem therefore was very properly introduced.

The true Purport of the Emblem.

From the circumstances with which this curious history is attended, we may perceive, that, when the serpent was lifted up before the eyes of the Israelites, it was not intended merely as a sign and means of their recovery; but its salutary purport had a relation to the whole world. It was certainly an intimation of our being cleansed from all taint and impurity, and saved from final ruin. Our Saviour plainly speaks of it as a type of himself;


and interprets it in the same manner; as alluding to our redemption, and to our being preserved from absolute death. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness; even so must the Son of man be lifted up: that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life,

The resemblance, I believe, was too striking not to be perceived by the Jews; especially when, after our Saviour's resurrection, his history and doctrines became more generally known. It afforded an argument much in favour of Christianity; and this probably was the reason, why not a word is said by Josephus concerning the brazen serpent in the wilderness. He promised in his Antiquities, which are copied from the Bible, to leave out nothing material. Yet this important history is passed by, and seems to have been designedly omitted.

As mention was incidentally made some pages above concerning the history of this serpent, erected by divine order before the peo-, ple; I have treated of it first, though second in time, on account of the light which it may afford to the other.

John, ch. iii. ver. 14, 15.

The Rod of Moses.

We may therefore presume, that the serpents into which Moses saw his rod changed, was not only equally significant, but had the same reference. It seemed to indicate, that divine wisdom and authority would be with him, and conduct him in all his ways; and that the particular person from whom the Israelites, and the world in general, were to expect deliverance, was Jehovah, the Redeemer, In order to understand this perfectly, let us attend to the process of this wonderful transaction. Moses was standing with his rod, an instrument both of support and authority, in his hand; and he was ordered to cast it on the ground. He cast it on the ground, and it immediately became a serpent. He was ordered to lay hold of it with his hand, and he did so; and it was again restored to a rod. Now to know the scope of the miracle, we must attend to the meaning of the two objects, which are the principal in the operation. Concerning the serpent we have spoken already; and shewn that it was a favourite emblem, by which a human divinity, a benign

genius, Agathodæmon, was signified. In what acceptation a rod was held by the Hebrews, and what it typically represented, can only be found from their own writings. And by these we may learn that it denoted support and assistance; also rule, authority, and dominion, The Psalmist says, Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me, thy rod and thy staff they Comfort me. Psal. xxiii. 4. It here signifies plainly assistance and support. That it relates to authority and power we may perceive, by Moses being constantly ordered to take his rod in his hand. And we are accordingly told, when he left Jethro to return to Egypt, that he took the rod of God with him. Exod. ch. iv. ver. 20. When he appears before Pharaoh, he is ordered to take the rod which had been turned to a serpent in his hand. Exod. ch. vii. ver. 15. The same injunction is given to his brother---Say unto Aaron, Take thy rod, and stretch out thine hand upon the waters, v. 19. Its typical signification may be farther known from a variety of passages in scripture; out of which the following will suffice. Jeremiah, speaking of the ruin of Moab, which had been in a flourishing state, says, How is the strong


staff broken, and the beautiful rod! ch. xlviii. ver. 17. The same prophet, speaking of the Jewish theocracy, says---Israel is the rod of his inheritance, ch. li. ver. 19. that is, the rule, government, and kingdom of Israel belongs solely to God. Again---The Lord said unto my Lord-The Lord shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion; rule thou in the midst of thine enemies. Psalm cx. ver. 1, 2. There shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse. Isaiah, ch. xi. ver. 1. From hence we may infer, that neither Moses, nor the Israelites, could mistake the purport of the miracle, when his rod was turned into a serpent. The immediate signification seems to have been, that human support should be improved to divine assistance; and, instead of the authority of man, the people should be under the guidance and authority of the Almighty. His kingdom should be established among them.

[ocr errors]

'St Paul quotes the Psalmist concerning our Saviour. 'o Xρονος σε, ὁ Θεός εις τον αιώνα τες αιώνος. Ραβδος ευθύτητος ή ράβδας της βασιλείας στο Hebrews i. 8.

« EdellinenJatka »