Sivut kuvina

ny prohibitions in the law directly point this way. The second commandment in the decalogue seems to have been framed with a view to the worship of Egypt. To any people, who had not been conversant in that country, it had been sufficient to have said--Thou shalt make no graven image, nor frame any similitude of things. But the commandment is dilated, and the nature of the objects pointed out, for the sake of the Israelites. They were not to make to themselves an image or likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath; or that is in the water under the earth; nor were they to bow down, or worship them, either real or represented. By this is intimated, that they were not to make a likeness of the sun, or of the moon; of man, or of beast; of fly, or creeping thing; of fish, or of crocodile; which are in the waters beneath. How prone the Israelites were to this symbolical worship; and how necessary it was to give them warning, may be seen by the threat, and by the blessings, which immediately follow. For though they

[ocr errors]

For I the Lord thy God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me: and shewing mercy unto the sands of them that love me and keep my commandments.

are applicable to every one of these ordinances, yet they are introduced here, and particularly subjoined to this second commandment, that may be in the strongest manner inforced.


The attachment of this people to the rites of Egypt may be farther seen by the repeated admonitions of their great lawgiver; and particularly by the cautions, which he gives at large in the fourth chapter of Deuteronomy. He there intimates by his fears, how liable the people were to lapse into this mode of idolatry.

Ver. 15. Take ye therefore good heed unto yourselves; for ye saw no manner of similitude on the day that the Lord spake unto you in Horeb out of the midst of the fire.

V. 16. Lest ye corrupt yourselves, and make you a graven image, the similitude of any figure, the likeness of male or female,

V. 17.

The likeness of any beast that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged fowl that flieth in the air,

V. 18. The likeness of any thing that creepeth on the ground, the likeness of any fish that iş in the waters beneath the earth;

V. 19. And lest thou lift up thine eyes unto heaven, and when thou seest the sun, and the moon,

and the stars, even all the host of heaven, thou shouldset be driven to worship them, and serve them, &c.

Whosever is at all acquainted with the ancient religion of Egypt, will see every article of their idolatry included in this address. He will likewise perceive the propriety of these cautions to a people, who had so long sojourned in that country.

I have mentioned, that this worship was of very early date; for the Egyptians very soon gave into a dark and mystic mode of devotion, suitable to the gloom and melancholy of their tempers. To this they were invincibly attached, and consequently averse to any alteration. They seldom admitted any rite or custom, that had not the sanction of their forefathers. Hence Sir John Marsham very truly tells us concerning them '---Ægyptii cultûs extranei nomine detestari videntur, quicquid οι γονεις 8 παρεδειξαν, parentes non commonstrârunt. The Egyptians, under the notion of foreign worship, seem to have been averse to every thing which had not been transmitted by their ancestors. They therefore, for the most part, differed in their rites and religion from

1 Sæc. ix. p. 155.

all other nations'. These borrowed from them; and also adopted the rites of many different people. But the Egyptians seldom admitted of any innovation.

This is what I thought proper to offer concerning the wisdom and design, witnessed in these judgments upon the Egyptians; and concerning the analogy which they bore to the crimes and idolatry of that people.


* Concerning this difference see Herodotus, 1. 2. c. 35, P. 119.





Concerning this Divine Mission.

MOSES was the immediate

was the immediate agent of God, in all those mighty operations which took place during his residence with the Israelites in Egypt, as well as in those which ensued. The destination of this people, was to the land of Canaan; and though the history of their journeyings may not be uniformly attended with the same astonishing prodigies as they had experienced in Egypt, yet in every movement, throughout the whole process, there are marks of divine power and wisdom, by which they were at all times conducted. For no man could have formed such a system, much

« EdellinenJatka »