« EdellinenJatka »
admonished, gives an immediate consent by saying--Go in peace. Moses now, having re ceived his final orders and obtained fresh assurances of God's assistance, sets out for the land of the Mitzraim, and takes with him. his wife Zipporah and his children. And here a fresh embarrassment ensues; by which the divine displeasure was manifested a second time. God had pleased to make a covenant with Abraham, and ordained circumcision as a test of it, and as a badge to all those who were admitted to his covenant. And it was enjoined in strong terms, and attended with this penalty to the uncircumcised person-that soul shall be cut off from his people: he hath broken my covenant, Gen, xvii. 14. Of this breach and neglect Moses was apparently guilty, having been probably seduced by his Cuthite wife. Upon this account it is said, that the Lord met him in his way towards Egypt, and offered to kill him for not having had this rite performed on his son. There seems to have been some hesitation on the part of the woman; but the alternative was death, or obedience. Alarmed therefore with her husband's danger, which was iminent, Exodus iv. 24. (
she took a sharp stone, and performed herself the operation, concluding with a bitter taunț --- a bloody husband art thou to me. Moses, by his acquiescence, had brought down the necessary interposition of the deity. For how could it be expected that a person should be a promulger of God's law, who had been guilty of a violation in one of the first and most essential articles, and persevered in this neglect?
Of the Powers with which he was invested.
Moses now resumes his journey, determined to perform the great part which had been allotted him. But some perhaps will, after all, say, "Had he in reality any such part allot"ted? The introduction of the deity may "serve to embellish history; but could not 66 every thing have been carried on without
any supernatural assistance ?" I shall therefore take this opportunity of recurring to the question, with which I set out; and consider this point of consequence--" Whether Moses "had a commission from heaven, or acted merely from his own authority." If we be
Exodus iv. 25.
hieve the scriptures, there can be no dispute; his appointment must necessarily have been from on high; and he was directed and assisted through the whole by the hand of the Almighty. But since many, as I have intimated, may believe the history in general, and yet not give credence to the extraordinary part, let us see whether the very facts do not prove the superintendence of a superior power. In order to shew this, let us consider whether any person, so circumstanced as Moses, would have formed those schemes which he formed, if he had nothing to influence him but his own private judgment. Whether it would not have been irrational, and mere madness, when he had entertained these views, to prosecute them after the manner in which we find them carried on. For the nature of the operation, as I have before observed, oftentimes shews, that it could not have been conceived, much less brought to perfection, by human sagacity, As the process in many instances was contrary to human reason, the difficulties, with which it was attended, could not be remedied by the wisdom of man. Hence the divine assistance was throughout indispensably necessary; the great work could
never have been compleated, nor even carried on, without it. Yet the difficulties were surmounted, and the great work compleated; we may therefore depend upon the truth of those extraordinary facts recorded, and of the repeated interposition of the deity. This will appear still more manifest as we proceed,
We see now the shepherd of Horeb, the man slow of speech, arrived upon the confines of Egypt, with a design to free his people. If we set aside all supernatural assistance, he stands single and unsupported, without one requisite towards the completion of his purpose. How can we suppose a person, so circumstanced, capable of carrying on a scheme so arduous in its execution? we must continually bear in mind the time that he had been absent, and his ignorance of every thing which had happened in that interval. We are assured, that he did not know whether his brother Aaron was alive. Hence it is manifest, that, previous to his departure from Midian, he had never sent to try the temper of
his people, nor to know how the prince of the country stood affected towards them. Great revolutions might have happened during the time that he had been away; and those, whom he intended to deliver, might not have stood in need of his assistance. He purposed to lead them to another country, when they might have been contented with that which they enjoyed; or they might already have migrated, and Moses not have been apprised of it. These were circumstances of consequence, of which he should have obtained some intelligence; but he seems not to have had power or opportunity to gain it. His brother was alive, and appears to have resided in the court of Pharaoh. And there must have been among the elders of the peo ple persons who could consult for their brethren, and preserve them, if their deliverance were to be effected by human means. Moses sets out singly to perform what their wisdom and experience jointly could not effect; and this without knowing for certain that he had any friend or ally. Let us however suppose, that his zeal, which had been dormant for so many years, at last induced him to prosecute this scheme, and that, having quitted his place