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With what transporting delight must Jochebed have received her son to her arms, after the terrors she had suffered on his account! By being reared under her eye, Moses had the advantage of learning, from the dawn of reason, to worship the true God. The name which the princess gave to this her adopted son, signified drawn out. Moses was born in the year of the world 2i34, and was about nine or ten years younger than his sister Miriam.
We are told in Scripture*, that Moses was after"wards educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians. Many arts and sciences are supposed to have been highly cultivated in Egypt at that period, particularly arithmetic, music, and hieroglyphics, otherwise called enig. matical philosophy. An ancient Jewish authorf informs us, that Moses was instructed in all these; and another^ says, that he was remarkable for the beauty of his person.
From the sufferings of the Israelites, related in this section, we may learn to be grateful to Divine Providence, for placing us in a land of freedom, under a mild government, where we have no tyrrany to dread.
We may also learn, that no situation of life is so dangerous, but that the Divine power can effect a deliverance. In the present state of the world, mothers are not under the hard necessity of exposing their infants, like Jochebed; but so numerous are the perils of childhood, that, without a firm trust in God, the lives of parents must be a state of unremitting apprehension,; they should therefore fortify their minds with the comfortable persuasion, that God is the parent of their offspring; that He constantly watches ever children with tender love, and guards theni from numberless unseen dangers, which
* Acts vii. 28. f Philo. • " '+ Josephus.
N 6 the the utmost vigilance cannot prevent. Let then the Christian parent, when she presses her little darling to her .bosom, suppress the too anxious apprehension, with the remembrance, that the Lord has already redeemed her babe, and adopted it as his own child in the Christian Covenant; and let her lift up her heart with thankfulness to God, that she is permitted and encouraged to perform the maternal duties with delight and tranquillity.
Pharaoh's daughter, though a heathen, set an example, worthy of the imitation of Christian ladies. May it excite them to use their utmost endeavours to rescue from destruction and ignorance those poor babes, who, from the distressful circumstances of their parents, are exposed to a fate as unhappy as that which threatened Moses. However mean and ignoble their. birth, none are beneath the notice and compassion of the highest of their species; and the present day affords a most favourable opportunity . of exercising their benevolence to the greatest advantage, in ways unknown to former ages*. , :.
\- v. SECTION LVIL
'. MOSES FLEKTH FROM EGYPT.
Frem Exodus, Chap. ii.
An D it came to pass in those days, when Moses was grown, that he went out unto his brethren, and looked on their burdens; and he espied an Egyptian smiting an Hebrew, one of his brethren.
And he looked this w<y and that way, and when he saw that there was no roan, he slew the Egyptian, and hid him in the sand.
And when he went out the second day, behold two men of the Hebrews strove together: and he said to
* We allude here to the plans of the Ladies Society for bettering the condition of the poor.
him him that did the wrong, Wherefoie smitest tho* thy fellow?
And he said, Who made thee a prince and a judge over us? intendest thou to kill me, as thou killedst the Egyptian? And Moses feared, and said, Surely this thing is known i
Now when Pharaoh heard this thing, he sought to slay Moses. But Moses fled from the face of Pharaoh, and dwelt in the land of Midian: and he sat down by a well. ,
Now the priest of Midian had seven daughters: and they came and drew water, and filled the troughs to water their father's flock.
And the shepherds came and drove them away: but Moses stood up and helped them, and watered their flock.
And when they came to Reuel their father, he said, How is it that ye are come so soon to day?
And they said, An Egyptian delivered us out of the hand of the shepherds, and also drew water enough for us, and watered the flock.
And he said unto his daughters, And where is he? Why is it that ye have left the man t call him, that he may eat bread.
And Moses was content to dwell with the man, and he gave Moses Zipporah his daughter.
And she bare him a son, and he called his name Gershom! for he said, I have been a stranger in a strange land.
ANNOTATIONS And REFLECTIONS.
Moses, as we learn from Scripture, continued to live in Pharaoh's court, till he was full forty years old *.
* Acts vii. 23.
He Me had not lost the prepossession which he had imbibed from his parents in favour of the Israelites; it grieved him to behold their sufferings, and he seems to have been inspired by the Lord with a persuasion that he should be the instrument of their deliverance; in consequence of which, perhaps he formed a resolution to relinquish all the honours and pleasures that attended him as the adopted son of the king's daughter, and to partake of their affliction*, not doubting but that God would accomplish those Divine promises which had been made to his forefathers. Moses was .very sensible that he should expose himself to reproach, by thus testifying his fsith in deliverance by the Lor D, but he esteemed these reproaches as more' valuable to him than all the treasures of E^ypt, because he had respect to the eternal reward of his fidelity. When Moses took upon himself to avenge one of his countrymen, who was cruelly treated hy an Egyptian, he might hope that the Israelites would confederate togetherf, in order to support his views; but cruel bondage had subdued their spirits, and he looked around him in vain for auxiliaries. To preserve himself therefore from the rage of the Egyptians lie buried the body of the man whom he had slain, and suspended his purpose. When Moses shewed himself again the next day, instead of giving him thanks for his zeal, his brethren reproached him. No wonder that his courage should now fail him, for what could he do singly against the Egyptians? and to what end should he hazard his life in favour of those who disdained his friendship? Egypt was no longer a place of safety and comfort for him, therefore the most prudent step he .could take was to flee away from it: not that he
* Heb. xi. 24, 25, 26. -+ Acts vii. 25.
feared feared the wrath of the king, so as to apprehend he could fiustrate the promises made to the patriarchs, but having as yet received no express directions from God, it would have been rashness to have proceeded farther than he had already done in defence of his countrymen.
The Midianites were descendants of Midian, one of the sons of Ab. ahani, and from Moses* fleeing to them, and making an alliance in the family of their priest, we may conjecture, that the true God still continued to be adored in Midian. Idolatry (as we may suppose), like other human inventions, was progressive, and it is likely the first corruptions consisted in worshipping the SuPreme Being Himself, with superstitious rites, representing his attributes by symbols, instead of honouring the Lord as God. These symbols being frequently misunderstood, gradually led to the belief of a plurality of gods.
It is to be remarked, that inspired authors do not relate all the passages of a story, but only such as are most material; we may therefore imagine, that a great many things intervened hetween Moses' entrance into the family of Reuel, and marrying his daughter.
As it can scarcely be thought, that a person educated like Moses, should be contented with the simple occupation of a shepherd; it is no improbable conjecture, that he filled up some of his time in writing; and that it was at this period he composed the Book of Job, and the Book of Genesis; both of which were calculated to comfort the Israelites, in the trials to which they were afterwards exposed.
To justify Moses from the imputation of murder, it may be proper to observe, that the Egyptians were cruel and unjust oppressors, and that the Israelites had no means of legal redress; under these circumstances,