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mouth : and I.will be with thy mouth, and with his mouth, and will teach you wnat ye shall do.
And he shall be thy spokesman unto the people: and. he shall be, even he shall be to thee instead of a mouth, and thou shall be to him instead of God.
And thou shalt take this rod in tliine hand, wherewith thou shalt do signs..
And Moses went and returned to Jethro his fatherin-law, and said unto him, Let me go, I pray thee, and return unto my brethren which are in E; ypt, and see whether they be yet alive. And Jethro said to Moses, Go in peace. ^
ANNOTATIONS And REFLECTIONS.
Though the king who had so cruelly reduced the Israelites to a state of bondage, died, we find they met with no redress ; no alleviation of their misery: They had now suffered affliction for a great number of years, and were on the brink of despair. We are not told for what# cause God permitted them to be so oppressed, but from the usual course of the Divine dispensations we may iudge that as a people they had fallen off from their duty, so as not to consider the Lord as their only God, or worship him agreeably to his Divine appointment: It appears, however, that in their distress they cried unto the Go D of their fathers, who, of his grace and favour, resolved to pardon their offences, and effect their deliverance, in remembrance of his promise to his faithful servants, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Moses continued forty years in Midian, with Reuel, or Jethro, his father-in-law, and seems to have laid aside all thoughts of returning into Egypt.
Mount Horeb was so near to Mount Sinai,, that they, . i. i i appeared appeared to be different tops of the same mountain. It was usual for shepherds to travel from place to place, with their flocks and herds, as the want of pasture directed. Horeb is called by Moses, the mount of God, and, in all probability, in his time, it was known by that name, on account of the Lord's having sanctified it on this occasion ;but there is no passage of Scripture that indicates its having been so distinguished in former times.
There had not for many years been an open vision of the Deity; but as the Lord was about to call his people to Himself, and to deliver them out of Egypt, by the hand of Moses, He vouchsafed to appear, in order to appoint him His minister.
No wonder that so uncommon a sight as a bush burning with fire, without consuming, should strike Moses with astonishment. He was skilled in all the wisdom of the Egyptians. Yet could he not, from any principles of nature with which he was acquainted, account for so extraordinary a circumstance. This was among the things which Divine Revelation only could explain, for it was above the reach of human reason, and Moses might have spent his whole life in fruitless efforts, to explore the cause of this wonderful phenomenon; but no sooner did he discover a desire to know the meaning of it, than the Lord satisfied his wishes by assuring him that it was a token of his immediate presence.
We are told that the Angel of the Lord appeared, &c. I have before observed, that this expression is but another title of the Deity, synonymous to that of the Image of God. Had the glorious Being, who addressed Moses, been a created angel, lie would not have said / am the God, &c. nor would he in his own name have promised mised to deKver Israel, or threatened to bring destruction on Egypt.
Strictly speaking, none but the Supreme Being Himself is holy ; therefore, what are in Scripture called holy things, are only so, as being sanctified by, or dedicated to Him. In this sense the ground whereon Moses stood was holy ; and it is supposed, that putting off the shoes was a mark of reverence that had been practised by the patriarchs when they were made sensible of the presence of the Lord. •
Moses, finding himself in the immediate presence of God, was struck with the profoundest awe. Humbled by a sense of his own imperfections, which this wonderful vision was calculated to inspire, he wanted courage to undertake what the Lord required of him; on which God promised to give him supernatural assistance. This certainly should have satisfied Moses, but his faith, on this imported occasion, wanted the strongest support. He foresaw all the obstacles that were in the way of his mission. He knew that idolatry prevailed in fc-gypt, and that he should appear as a stranger to the Israelites after so long an absence; he therefore entreated to know by what name he should call the Lord, to distinguish him from heathen gods.
The title, which the Divine Being appropriated, could belong to none but the one Supreme God*, "the Being or Beings, who giveth being to, andexerciseth authority over all things in the universe. This tide properly considered suggests the following ideas of God : viz. that He is one Being, existing in and of Himself; not receiving any thing from, nor depending upon, any other. That He is a pure and limple Being,
* Bishop Btvcridge's Sermons.
without without any mixture or composition ; and therefore we must not conceive of Him as made up of several parts, faculties or ingredients, but only of On t, who is that He is, and whatsoever is in Him is Himself; and though we read of several faculties or properties attributed to Him in Scripture, as wisdom, goodness, justice, &c. we must not apprehend them to be several powers, habits, .or tiuaHties, as they are in us; for as they are in God, thev are neither distinguished from one another, nor from His nature and Essence in whom they are said to be ; for, to speak properly, they are not in Him, but are His very essence or nature itself*."
The glorious title, 1 AM, is suitable to the Deity as the universal God of the whole creation: but it was His will to be distinguished to the Israelites by an additional one, " The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob," in reference to the covenant made with those patriarchs concerning the Promised seed; by this name He is still known, and will ever continue to be remembered, as long as the world lasts.
It pleased God to direct Moses in what manner to open his mission; not at first to all the people, but to the heads of families. This was certainly consistent with prudence and policy; for it was better that each of these should make the important matter known to their wives and children at home, than that the whole multitude should be called together, as such a measure would have occasiqned tumult, and furnished Pharaoh with a plausible pretence for increasing their oppression.
♦ Those, who wish for farther assistance in contemplating on the Deity, may read, with pleasure and advantage, " An attempt to prove the Existence and ahsolui e Perfection if the supreme, unoriginaled Being, in a demonstrative Muriner, by Hugh Hamilton, Dean of Armagh." Published at Dublin, in W4.
If Moses had not been fully aware befofe hand of the obstinacy of l'haraoh, he would most likely have been discouraged afterwards from persevering in his application to him for leave to let Israel depart; and had not the Israelites been iftfowned that -the LotRD would permit them to spoil the Egyptians, as in times of war, they might have objected to leaving Egypt, on account of the want of necessaries for the journey they were required to tatlie.
. The expostulation which God permitted Kuses to make, shews that He did not overpower tne natural Faculties of his mind; for the excuses Moses offered were such as reason would naturally suggest; and God, kindly considering him as a rsas-ortabk creature, was hot offended at his scruples, but vouchsafed to give him a sensible demonstration of his mivatHilouS'poWer.
Moses, finding no immediate improvement of his natural fai ulties, still doubted fits ability to execute what was required of him. Not that he had any impediment of speech, but to manage such a business as he was to be employed in, seemed to require an extraordinary degree of eloquence. This the Lord assured Moses by an unanswerable argument he could endow him with, and promised to do so.
The unwillingness of Vioses to go with the Lor D's message after receiving these promises was certainly a sin, and justly kindled the anger of the Lord agairfst him; but God graciously spared him, and for hiti farther encouragement, promised him an auxiliary in his brother - Aaron, who was an eloquent man. Aaron h owever was to act in a subordinate capacity to Moses, and to receive the divine commands through him. The rod, which had been turned into a serpent, was to be the ensign of the honorable office to which Moses was appointed. »
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