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rod that budded, was laid up as a memorial of the great things done by that rod in Egypt, at the Red sea, and in the wilderness, and particularly of the contest with Korah and his company, and the censers of the rebels kept and turned into broad plates for the covering of the altar, as a memorial of what happened in the matter of Korah, and the fire from heaven, was kept without ever going out as a perpetual monument of its miraculous descent from heaven, and the occasion of it; and the brazen serpent was kept as a memorial of the plague of fiery serpents, and the miraculous healing of those that were bitten. The tabernacle that was built in the wilderness, was a monument of the great manifestations which God made of himself there, and the many things that came to pass relating to the building of the tabernacle. The two tables of stone kept in the ark were a monument of those great things which happened when they were given. The rest of the Jewish Sabbath was appointed as a memorial of the deliverance of the children of Israel out of bondage. The laws concerning the Moabites and Ammonites were appointed as monuments; and the gold taken in the war with the Midianites was laid up for a monument of that war. Num. xxxi. 54. A great many places were named to keep in remembrance memorable facts in the wilderness; and who can think that all this care was taken to keep those things in memory, and yet no history be written to be annexed to these many monuments to explain them, by him by whose hand these monuments were appointed; and he, at the same time, so great a writer, and so careful to keep up the memory of events by writing, in those instances of the writing of which we have express mention?
Another instance of Moses's great care that these great acts might not be forgotten, is his calling together the congregation to rehearse them over to them a little before his death, as we have an account in Deuteronomy. He also left some precepts wherein the children of Israel were required themselves from time to time to rehearse over something of the general history of their ancestors the patriarchs, of whom we have an account in Genesis; and so the history of the people from that time, as in the law of him that offered the first fruit, Deut. xxvi.
And we find that great care was taken to erect monuments of the great acts of God towards the people after Moses's death, as of their passing through Jordan, though less memorable than some of those. And the fact that there were monuments expressly appointed to keep in memory so many of God's acts in Moses's time, and not of some others more memorable, is an argument that they had a history of them instead of monuments, as particuJarly of the children of Israel passing through the Red sea, and the destruction of Pharaoh and his hosts there. No act of God towards that people is more celebrated through the scriptures than this; and yet we have no account of any monuments of it, or any ordinance expressly said to be appointed in memory of it, though there was a monument of their passing through Jordan, an event much like it, but less remarkable, and far less celebrated in scripture. No account can be given of this, but that the history and song that Moses wrote and left in the book of the law, were monuments of it. Such was the care that was taken, that some of the acts of God towards the people might be remembered, that in appointing the monuments for their remembrance, it is expressed that it was for that end, that they might have it perpetually in mind as a token on their hand, and as frontlets between their eyes, as particularly in appointing the law of consecrating the first born, to keep up the remembrance of God's slaying the first born of Egypt, Exod. xiii. 15, 16. One of the laws or precepts themselves of the book of the law was, that the people should take heed never by any means to forget the great acts of God, which they had seen, and that they should not be forgotten by future generations, Deut. iv. How unreasonable then, is it to suppose that no history was annexed to those laws, and that at the same time that such a strict injunction of great care to keep up the memory of those things in future generations was given, they should yet be left without the necessary means of it! Again another precept is, that they should not forget their own acts and behaviour from time to time, Deut. ix. 7, &c. See also chap. viii. 14, 15, 16, &c., and chap. v. 15. So they are strictly required to remember their bondage in the land of Egypt, Deut. xvi. 12, and chap. xxiv. 18. 22. And also to remember what God did to Pharaoh and all Egypt, all those great signs and wonders, and the manner of their deliverance out of Egypt, Deut. vii. 18, 19. So they are strictly enjoined to remember all their travel, the way that they went, and the circumstances and events of their journey, Deut. viii. 2–5, and 14 to the end. And they are charged to know God's great acts in Egypt, and from time to time in Deut. xi., at the beginning. They are commanded to remember what God did to Miriam, Deut. xxiv. 9. Writing of those works of God that are worthy to be remembered and celebrated by praises to God, is spoken of as a proper way of conveying the memory of them to posterity for that end, in Psalm cii. 18. “ This shall be written for the generation to come, and the people which shall be created shall praise the Lord.” The importance of remember. ing these works of God related in the Pentateuch, is mentioned not only in the Pentateuch itself, but also in other parts of scripture, as in Psalm cv. 5. “ Remember his marvellous works that he hath done, bis wonders, and the judgments of his mouth.” By the marvellous works which God has done, and his wonders, is seant those marvellous works that he did to Abraham and his seed, from the calling of Abraham to the bringing in of the people into Canaan, as appears from the following part of the psalm; and it is observable here that the psalmist connects the wonderful works and the laws or judgments of God's mouth together as in like manner worthy to be remembered. See also 1 Chron. xvi. 12, with the subsequent part of that song. The law, and covenant, and wonderful works, are in like manner connected as not to be forgotten, in Ps. lxxviii. 10, 11; and in the cxi. Psalm, the psalmist intimates that God has taken some special care to keep up the memory of those works; ver. 4, “ He hath caused his wonderful works to be remembered," speaking of these works, as appears from what follows in the psalm. And what other way can we suppose it to be that God hath done this, than the same with that whereby he caused his covenant and commandments spoken of in the following verses, to be remembered, viz., by causing them to be recorded? The works and commandments are joined together. Ver. 7. “ The works of his hands are verity and judgment, all his commandments are sure;" and again in the 9th verse, “ He hath sent redemption to his people, he bath commanded his covenant for ever;" as they are doubtless connected in the record. Compare Psalm cxlvii. 19, and ciji. 7. In the Ixxviii. Psalm, the psalmist, 'after speaking of the great care that Moses took that the history of the great works of God towards Israel in Egypt and the wilderness should be remembered and delivered to future generations, (in ver. 4, 5, 6, 7,) then proceeds to rehearse the principal things in that history in a great many particulars, so as to give us, in short, the scheme of the whole history, with many minute circumstances, in such a manner as to show plainly that what is there rehearsed is copied out of the history of the Pentateuch.
It is the more likely that the history of the Pentateuch should be a part of that which was called the law of Moses, because it is observable that the words law, doctrine, statute, ordinances, &c., as they were used of old, did not only intend precepts, but also promises, and threatenings, and prophecies, and monuments, and histories, and whatever was revealed, promulgated, and established, to direct men in their duty to God, or to enforce that duty upon them. So the blessings and the curses that were written by Moses are included in that phrase, and the words that Moses commanded. Joshua viii. 34, 35. So promises are called law, and the word which God commanded in Psa. cv. 9, and i Chron. xvi. 15. So promises and threatenings are called the word which God commanded his servant Moses. Nehem. i. 8, 9. Threatenings and promises are called statutes and judgments in Levit. xxvi. 46. Thus we read, Exod. xv. 25, 26, that at Marah God made for VOL. IX.
the people a statute and an ordinance, but that which is so called is only a promise. So we read in Joshua xxiv. 25, that Joshua made a covenant with the people, and set them a statute and an ordinance in Shechem, which was nothing else than only bis establishing what had been there said by a record and a monument, as appears from the context. So when God, in the song of Moses, Deut. xxxii. calls upon heaven and earth to give ear to his doctrine, which he says shall distil as the rain, &c., therein is included both history and prophecy, as appears by what follows, and what, in Psa. Ixxviii. 1, is called a law, is only a history, and the very same with the history in the Pentateuch in epitome, those dark sayings of old, which the psalmist there rehearses, as appears from what follows in the psalm; which makes it the more easily supposable that the original and more full history, of which this is an epitome, was also amongst them called a law. And it is probable, that when we read of the great things of God's law, Hos. viii. 12, and the wondrous things of God's law, that thereby is not only intended precepts and sanctions, but the great and wondrous works of God recorded in the law. It is evident that the history is as much of an enforcement of the precepts, (and is so made use of,) as the threatenings, promises, and prophecies; and why then should it not be included in the name of the law as well as they? There is something of history, or a declaration of the great acts, or works of God in that, which is by way of eminency called the Law, viz. the Decalogue; in that there is a declaration of the two greatest works of which the history of the Pentateuch gives an account, viz. the creation of the world, and the redemption out of Egypt, out of the house of bondage: the latter is mentioned in the preface of the Decalogue, and both in the 4th commandment in Deuteronomy. But the fact that history was included in what was called the law, is so plain from nothing as from Moses's own records. Deut. j. 5. “On this side Jordan in the land of Moab, began Moses to declare that law, saying and then follows in this and the ensuing chapters, that which is called this law, which consists in great part of history, being a rehearsal and recapitulation of the history in the preceding books of the Pentateuch. What follows next in this and the two next chapters, is almost wholly history, which undoubtedly there is special reason to understand as intended by those words, “Moses began to declare the law, saying." · See also Deut. iv. 44, 45. ; and xxxi. 9. 24, 25, 26.; and v. 1.
Again the book of the law, and the book of the covenant, were synonimous expressions; (see among other places, psalm cv. 8, 9, 10 ;) but the word covenant, as it was then used, included history, as Deut. xxix. “These are the words of the covenant which the Lord commanded Moses ;" — and what next follows is history, such history as was introductory, or concomitant, or confirmatory to the precepts, and threatenings, and promises that follow, and of this nature is all the history of the Pentateuch. It is abundantly manifest that the manner of inditing and writing laws in the wilderness delivered by Moses, was to intermix history with precept, counsels, warnings, threatenings, promises, and prophecies.
It may be noted, that it was very early the custom in Israel to keep records of the public transactions of the nation, and they regarded this as a matter of so great importance, as to have men appointed, whose business and office it was to keep these records. So we find it was in the days of Solomon and David, and in the days of the Judges, as early as the days of Deborah. Judg. v. 14. “Out of Zebulon, they that handle the pen of the writer.” It is probable from the context, that these were their rulers, or some of ihe chief officers in the land that kept records of public affairs. Before this, also, we have express account of Joshua and Moses making records of public transactions. (See Josh. xxiv. 26, and the forementioned place concerning Moses's writing records.) And it is evident that these transactions which related to the bringing of that pation into a covenant relation with God, and redeeming them out of Egypt, &c. were always by that nation chiefly celebrated, and looked upon as the greatest and most Inemorable events of their history. Now, therefore, is it credible, that in a nation, whose custom was all along, even from the very times of those great transactions, to keep records of all public affairs, that they should be without any written record of these transactions ?
There is no other way that would be natural of writing a divine law, or law given by God in an extraordinary manner, with wonderful and astonishing circumstances, and great manifestations of his presence and power, except that of writing it in this manner, and recording those extraordinary circumstances under which it was given : first introducing it by giving an account that it was given by God, and then declaring when, how, on what occasion, and in what manner it was given. And this will bring in all the history, from the beginning of Exodus to the end of Deuteronomy. Who can believe that Moses wrote the law which God gave at mount Sinai, without giving an account how it was given there; when the manner of giving was so exceedingly remarkable, and so affected Moses's mind, as appears from many things which Moses wrote in Deuteronomy, which are there expressly called by the name of a law, and which we are also expressly told that Moses wrote in the book of the law, and delivered to the priests to be laid up in the sanctuary?
There is such a dependence between many of the precepts and sanctions of the law, and other parts of the Pentateuch, that