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He 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 faith in deliverance by the LORD, but he esteemed these reproaches as more valuable to him than all the treasures of Egypt, 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 by an Egyptian, he might hope that the Israelites would confederate togethert, 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 he buried the body of the man whom he had slain, and suspended
When Voses shewed himself again the next day, instead of giving him thanks for his zeal, his brethren reproached him. No wonder that his cou. rage 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 the wrath of the king, so as to apprehend he could frustrate 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 Abrahani, 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 SuPkeme 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 between 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 conjec. ture, that he Glled 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 calcu. lated 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 20 means of legal redress; under these circumstances,
therefore, Moses' might, surely, without committing sin, put an Egyptian to death, if he had no other way of preserving the life of one of his brethren.
From the example of Moses we should learn to despise all wordly riches and honours, when they cannot be enjoyed without giving up our title to the Divine promises; we are also instructed to consult the ease and interests of others in preference to our own selfish gratification. * The man who discovers, by the whole course of his actions, that he lives for himself alone, is always beheld with contempt; while he who cheerfully foregoes his own private advantage, to procure more important benefits for others, is an object of general esteem and admiration. Where the benevotent principle is predominant, it will dictate a thousand acts of kindness, which would never have fallen in the way of the selfish man ; it will point out innumerable opportunities of obliging and serving others in the common incidents of life, and will make the sincere Christian as industrious in seeking, and as ready to embrace such opportunities, as the vainest person can be to display his services before the world in the more splendid scenes of public action."
GOD APPEARETH TO MOS ES-SENDETH HIM AND HIS
BROTHER AAR ON TO PHARAOH,
From Exodus, Chap. ii. iii. iv.
And it came to pass in process of time, that the king of Egypt died : and the children of Israel sighed by reason of the bondage, and they cried ; and their cry came up unto God by reason of the bondage. * Dr. Enficld's Sermon on the Character of Moses.
And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob.
And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God had respect unto them.
Now Moses kept the lock of Jethro his father inlaw, the priest of Midian; and he led the flock to the back-side of the desert, and came to the mountain of GUD: : even to Horeb.
And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a Aame of fire out of the midst of a bush; and he looked, and behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed.
And Moses said, I will now turn aside and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt.
And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said Moses, Moses, And he said, Here am I.
And he said, Draw not nigh hither ; put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.
Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face : for he was afraid to look upon
Gon. And the Lord said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their task-masters : for Į know their sorrows.
And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land, unto a good land, and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey ; unto the place of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebuşites.
Now therefore behold, the cry of the children of Israel is come unto me; and I have also seen the op. pression wherewith the Egyptians oppress them.
Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people the chil. dren of Israel out of Egypt,
And Moses said unto God, Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt?
And he said, Certainly I will be with thee ; and this shall be a token unto thee, that I have sent thee : When thou hast brought forth the people out of Egypt, ye shall serve God upon this mountain. é And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your father hath sent me unto you ; and they shall say to me, What is his name; what shall I say unto them?
And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.
And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, The Lord God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you ; this is niy name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all gererations.
Go, and gather the elders of Israel together, and say unto them, The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, appeared unto me, saying, I have surely visited you, and seen that which is done to you in Egypt.
And I ve said, I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt, unto the land of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and