Изображения страниц

picture, we shall be often called to contemplate, in considering the history of Israel, forgetting the Rock of Age, their Redeemer, their unbelief leading them to murmuring and rebellion. It is difficult to say which of the scenes gives the most humbling view of the human heart,--Pharaoh and his host madly opposing that almighty arm, which had so often rebuked them, or Israel sinking under apprehension, although the power of heaven was engaged to protect them. Human wisdom could never have delivered; and they soon forgat, that with God all things are possible. The 13th verse gives an extensive view of the gospel of the grace of God. . Fear not yet ; stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord.' The divine plan appears now most glorious ! Had Israel been as completely hemmed in, had there been even a possibility of escape, there might have been aome pretext to think or say, that their own arm delivered them, But it is difficult to say, whether the seas, mountains, Baal-Zephon, or hosts of Pharaoh, were the most invincible opponent ! No power less than the power of God could bring deliverance ; and, in this situation, heaven says, Fear not. What can allay such apparently wellgrounded terror ? Nothing but confidence in him who now speaks to them. Nor does God require the smallest iota of aid from them. Stand still, and behold the salvation of God. The full completion of what this day prefigured, remains yet to be fulfilled ; nor is the day very distant. The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your

peace.' Never was the gospel more powerfully preached than in these words ; never did the nature of the great salvation appear more strongly exhibited than on this occasion. The manner in which the 15th verse is translated, obscures this text. • Wherefore criest thoi • unto me?” The Chaldee Paraphrast renders it, I have accepted thy prayers. The literal meaning seems to be, In the awful dilemma in which they were placed, Moses had prayed to God for direction how to proceed, when the Lord answers, “ According to your earnest

prayer, speak thou unto the children of Israel, that they go for(ward.' Wonderful command, indeed! To go forward and encounter the waves of the Red Sea. Yes ; · But lift thou up thy rod, and • stretch out thine hand over the sea, and divide it, and the children • of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea.' Never did the wonder-working power of God appear more astonishing ! A path in the mighty waters for the Lord to lead his ransomed hosts as on dry land ! Behold here the goodness and severity of God. That sea, which became a new and living way consecrated for the tribes of the Lord, was to prove the bed of death to Pharaolr and his hosts. And in their final overthrow, God was to be awfully ho. noured ; and there were they to be taught to know, that I am Je. • hovah.' No comment can illustrate this chapter ; every verse speaks forth the praises of the Lord more gloriously than the last. The cloudy pillar, which is in the same verse called the angel Jehovah, who had gone

before them as their leader, removed and went behind ; and while it gave light to the one, it threw a gloom and darkness on the other. It also proved a barrier, through which the Egyptians could not force their way.

It is still more remarkable, that through

this pilfar, the Lord looked on the morning watch, and troubled the Egyptians.

But we hasten to notice the grand display of the great salvation which was here exhibited. Paul assures, that • by faith Israel passed • through the Red Sea, as on dry land, which the Egyptians essaying • to do, were drowned,' Heb. xi. ; and Paul, in the passage already quoted, 1 Cor. x. 1, 2. connects the passage through the Sea with the cloud, as their baptism to Moses. There was in this transaction, then, a grand display of salvation by the blood of the cross, to which their faith had respect, and into which they were thus baptised. It is impossible in our confined limits to do any kind of justice to one of the most wonderful subjects which the sacred page exhibits ; nor is it so much necessary for our purpose, as the spiritual design of it has been almost universally acknowledged. We shall, therefore, only detain our readers to recommend the following things to his particular examination : 1. That the salvation of Israel in Pihahiroth, is a fine representation of the salvation of the church of God: when there was no eye to pity, nor arm to save, then his eye pitied, his arm brought salvation. 2. He saves his church in a man. ner which human wisdom never could develop, through the billows of the stormy sea, even by the blood of the cross ; for it became • him for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, thus to bring many sons to glory. 3. In that sea, he vanquished Baal-Zephon; he overcaine principalities and power3 ; he made a shew of them openly ; triumphing over them in his cross. 4. For the accom. plishment of this glorious work, he descended in the cloudy pillar, viz. he appeared in the likeness of sinful flesh, EMANUEL, God

5. There is here a grand figure of the last signal judgment of God on spiritual Egypt.

CHAP. XV.We have in this chapter the first song which the spirit of God has left on record ; and we find it is a song which the tribes of Israel will sing when they stand upon the sea of glass, and have obtained the victory over the last enemy, Rev. xv. 3. It is to be observed, that it was customary to celebrate any great deliverance of old by a song. Thus we read of Hannah's song, Deborah's, and many others. The highest attention was paid to the melody of their music ; and it was frequently accompanied with dancing, a natural sign of exultation and joy. We shall find the same thing observed among other nations. Dancing was part of the religious ceremonies of the Druids even in Great Britain. The sacred songs were generally sung alternately, or in chorus ; the one party standing over against the other; see Ezra iii

. 11. and Nehem. xii. 24. The angels themselves are represented as using the same manner of worship, Isaiah vi. 4. ; and all the glorified host, who are redeemed from the earth, begin the song, while the innumerable company of angels sing the response, Amen, Shout angels round the throne,' Rev. vii. 9. 12.

This song was a song of faith ; and if we confine the subject to the mcre temporal deliverance of Israel, and the destruction of Pharaola

with us.

« I will prepare

and his hosts, we shall not read or sing this song with spirit or understanding. We are assured, Rev. xv. 2, 3, 4. that the redeemed who have gotten the victory over the beast and his image and name, sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb. This song therefore evidently respects a greater redemption than that from Egypt.

The name JAH is here first introduced, of which it is said, Psal. 1xviii. 4. “God rides in the heavens by his name JAH.' It is seldom used but in songs, and from it we have the word halelujah, or Greek alleluia. This name is borrowed by the heathens ; thus their Jupiter, is from Jah and Pater father. He is the strength of his church, and is frequently called THE STRENGTH of Israel, and their song, viz. the subject of it, see Deut. X. 21. Psal. xviii. 2. xxii. 3. cxviii. 14. Isa, xii. 2. And the subject of this song is his great salVATION, of which the deliverance at the Red Sea was a grand figure. Christ is called God's salvation, Luke i. 71. 74. because by him God's salvation was accomplished. He manifested himself as the God of Israel in the redemption from Egypt, which becaine the foundation of the old covenant ; therefore


the church, • him an habitation :' the word is literally, a comely dwelling, viz. a place of worship. This redemption also demonstrated him to be their fathers' God, viz. the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to whom this great deliverance was first promised, and on this account they were bound to exalt or magnify his name : The Lord is a man of war, that is, an eminent warrior ; this he proved by vanquishing the hosts of Pharaoh, and still farther, by that of which this was only a figure, when Christ spoiled principalities and powers, triumph

ing over them in his cross.' • Jehovah is his name' or memorial, for this was • Jehovah's work, and marvellous in our eyes.' Hence the God of the fathers, who redeemed Israel, was Jehovah, the self-existent eternal God. The chosen captains mentioned in verse 4. are his most noble or distinguished leaders. The full extent of this victory is described, Rev. xix. 17, 18. 21. when all the fowls of heaven shall be called to eat the flesh of kings, and chosen captains, and mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sat on them. The ó sinking into the depths as a stone,' verse 5. will remind of the angel casting the millstone into the sea ; • so with violence shall that

great city Babylon (Antichrist) be thrown down, and shall be • found no more at all, Rev. xviii. 21. The RIGHT HAND celebrated in verse 6. is an expression of power very much used in scripture ; hence Jesus Christ is called Ben-JAMIN, the man of God's right hand. There is a remarkable commentary on this subject, Isa. li. 7-11. compared with Psal. lxxxvii. 4. lxxiv. 13, 14. It is at the cross of Christ all these passages are fully explained ; there was Rahab wounded, and there the dragon cut. Glorious indeed did the right hand of the Lord appear, according to the working of that mighty power which wrought in Christ, when God raised him from the dead. At the cross the enemy was dashed in pieces, for there the gates of hell were vanquished. His conquest and victory over death and him that hath the power thereof are evidently referred to in this song ; very similar language will be found in the 18th psalm. The blast of God's nostrils is an expressive description of his wrath, • By the blast of God they perish,' Job iv. 9. We read of • snares, • fire and brimstone, furious blasts.' The language of the enemy is most sublimely introduced, verse 9. ; but the divine warrior divided

* O


the spoil, and with the spirit of his mouth consumed the adversary. The language in verse 11. is frequently adopted, as in Psalm lxxxvi. 8. and lxxxix. 6. from which the correctness of the marginal reading, mighties, in place of Gods, will be observed. In verse 12. the earth is said to swallow them ; so Jonah says, ' the earth with her bars

was about me for ever,' Jonah ii. 6. In the 13th versé, God is not only celebrated as the redeemer of his church, but as leading them as a shepherd in his mercy, In this character he is worshipped,' 'Thou • that leadest Joseph like a flock,' Psal. lxxx. 1.• Thy way is in the

sea, and thy path in the great waters, and thy footsteps are not known; thou leadest thy people like a lock, by the hand of Mo

and Aaron,' Psal. lxxvii. 19, 20. These are beautiful descriptions of the manner in which the Great Shepherd of the sheep leads his church in all ages into his holy habitation,' or “ habitation of “thy holiness.' His sanctuary, the holiest of all, was the habitation in which the Holy One of Israel dwelt. The terror and dismay which should strike the hearts of their enemies are beautifully ex. pressed, verses 14, 15, and 16. It was a promise of God, ' I will send


was the

my terror before thee,' Exod. xxiii. 27. It was a terror ari. sing from the conviction, that the Holy One of Israel was leading and fighting for them. Israel is called the people which God hath pur• chased ;' and denying the Lord that bought them,

great • iniquity of old Israel, as well as of latter times. Verse 17. speaks of them as the vine which God brought from Egypt, and which his right hand planted, see Psalm lxxx. 9. The mountain of God's in. • heritance was Mount Zion, where God dwelt in the midst of his church, and on which he established his sanctuary. There he set his throne, and there he will reign for ever and ever.

The connection which is established, verses 18. and 19. between this and the destruction of Pharaoh and his host, leads us at once to this important truth, that when Antichrist shall be destroyed, then shall the throne of the Son of man be established. Miriam or Mary, the prophetess, is mentioned by the prophet as one of the three principal leaders whom God sent before his church of old ; ' for I brought thee up

out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed thec out of the house of

servants ; and I sent before thee Mases, Aaron and Miriam.' She is called a prophetess, either as being divinely inspired to prophesy, or to sing the prophecies of others. The sacred music of the old Testament church was much attended to, and we are persuaded it should be more so than it generally is at present. The praise, or melodious singing and playing, formed a leading part of their wor. ship. • The singers went first, the players on instruments followed « after, then the damsels playing on timbrels,' Psalm lxvii. 25. Such is the attachment to the old practices of our fathers, that any attempt to improve the old droning so long in use is considered as a degree of levity. The timbrel or tabret was an instrument of joy, or cheerful mirth, see Judges xi. 34. and particularly 1 Sam. xvii. 6. Any idea of repeating, or responses in our church music, is considered as inconsistent with the gravity and solemnity of worship. It was not so thought of old : the text says, 1 Sam. xviii. 7. ' The women * played responses to one another ;' and in the passage before us, as the women sung and played, Miriam repeated the first verse of this song, which was the response or chorus constantly introduced. It is very unfashionable in the present day to let the voice be heard jouling in the sacred song ; and men, women and boys are paid, ia

order to form a band for carrying on the music ; but those who are so averse to join the song on earth, should not forget that to join the new song will be the highest employment of the redeemed church in heaven. Many of the Psalms shew the nature of these responses ; thus in the 136th Psalm, we find that the worshipping body sung the Psalm, and the women repeated and sung the chorus or response, For his mercy endureth for ever. Dr Lowth considers the 1st verse of Moses's song as containing the chorus which was sung to every following verse. Many passages in the prophets refer to this ; such as, · Again I will build thee, o * virgin daughter of Israel ; thou shalt again be adorned with thy . timbrels,' Jer. xxxi. 4. The word in verse 25. translated dances, Ainsworth shews clearly should be flutes; our translators have frequently erred in this, see Psalm cxlix. 3. • Let them praise his name

in the dance,' (with the pipe or flute, see margin), and then follows with the timbrel," see also Psalm cl. 4. The marginal reading generally corrects this, but it is a pity it crept into the text, as it misleads even as to the nature of the sacred dance, of which in its proper place. The wilderness of Shur, verse 22. is also called the wilderness of Etham, Exod. xiii. 20. Numb. xxxiii. 8. It was to this wilderness that Hagar fled from the face of Sarai, her mistress, Gen. xvi. 7. and there she sat by the fountain of water ; it is not im. probable that this was the same fountain which Moses here names Marah, bitterness. The word is usually applied to the bitterness or sorrow of afflictions. There Hagar sat in bitterness ; and this first stage in the wilderness commenced with bitterness, a figure of the afilictions which are always connected with the cross, and the Christian race, see Lam. iii. 15. Here Israel gave the first specimen of that murmuring, which so often afterwards appeared, and which is so natural a fruit of the human heart ; nor can any thing exceed the striking view of that relief which the gospel, concerning Him who bare our sins in his own body on the tree, gives to the afflicted minds, than verse 25. There is no reason to suppose the tree possessed any peculiar natural qualities for this end : it was demonstration of divine power. The bitterness of Marah was infused into that cup of which our Lord in his agony said, “If this cup may not

pass from me, except I drink it, tlıy will be done.' The vinegar and gall which they gave him to drink on the cross referred to the same subject ; and the bitter draught which he then drank sweetens the cup which he gives to all his followers. Now this ordinance or trial which God appointed for them (for this the latter clause of verse 25. should be read) was intended to prove them, as he afterwards says ; ' to know what was in their heart, and to do them

good in their latter end, Deut. viii. 2. 15, 16. In verse 26. bis promise of healing is renewed, in connection with hearing his voice in the gospel, of which healing the water of Marah was a figure. The church then reached Elim, where were twelve wells of water, and seventy palm trees ; referring to the twelve patriarchs and seventy souls that came down with Jacob into Egypt, Gen. xlvi. 27. ; or the twelve tribes, and seventy elders of the Sanhedrim, Gen. xlix. 28. Numb. xi. 16. ; or lastly, we may consider it, as bringing the church in their Christian pilgrimage through the wilderness, to the twelve apostles and seventy disciples, who were commissioned to preach the gospel of the kingdom, Luke ix. 1. x, 1. Rev. xxi. 12. 14.

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »