صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

are expresly called the law, and that we are expressly told were written in the book of the law, and laid up in the sanctuary; I say there is such a dependence between these and the history, that they cannot be understood without the bistory. Many of the precepts, as was observed before,'(p. 117.) was appointed to that end to keep up the remembrance of historical facts; and that is expressly mentioned in the words of these laws themselves. But such laws obviously cannot be understood without the history. Thus this is mentioned as the reason of the appointment of the feasts of tabernacles, viz. that the children of Israel might remember how they dwelt in tabernacles in the wilderness. Levit. xxiji. 43. Now this required the history of their travels and sojourning there. So the law concerning the Amalekites, Moabites, and Amorites, appointed in commemoration of what passed between the congregation of Israel in the wilderness in their travels there, and those nations, cannot be understood without the history of those facts; and these require the history of the travels of the children of Israel, and of the things that led to those incidents, and that occasioned them. So that great law of the passover that is said in the law to be in remembrance of their redemption out of Egypt, and the many particular rites and ceremonies of that feast, are said expressly in the law to be in remembrance of these, and those circumstances of that redemption. Now it is impossible to understand all these particular precepts about the passover without an history of that affair; and this requires the history of their bondage in Egypt, and the manner how they came into that bondage; and this draws in the history of the patriarchs. The preface to the ten commandments cannot be understood without the history of the redemption of Israel out of Egypt, and of their circumstances there, in the house of bondage ; nor can what is given as one reason of the 4th commandment in Deuteronomy be understood, without an account how they were servants in the land of Egypt, and how they were delivered from their servitude. We very often find this mentioned as an enforcement of one precept and another, viz. God's deliverance of the people out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage, and out of the iron furnace. See Levit. xviii. 3, xix. 34, xxii. 33, XXV. 42. 55, xxiii. 43, and xxvi. 13. 45. Numb. xv. 41. Deut. iv. 20, vi. 12, vii. 8, viii. 14, xiii. 10, and xx. 1. Which shows how necessary the history is to understand the law. The many precepts about the poor bondman and stranger that are expressly enforced, from the circumstance of the Israelites in Egypt, absolutely require a history of their circumstances there. And there are in the enforcement of the laws, frequent references to the plagues and diseases of Egypt, threatenings of inflicting those plagues, or promises of freedom from them, which cannot be understood without the histo

ry of those plagues. The law of no more returning again into Egypt, Deut. xvii. 16, requires the history of their coming out from thence. The law concerning not admitting the Moabites and Ammonites into the congregation of the Lord, because they so treated them in their journey, could not be understood without the story of their treatment, and that required an account of their journey. The law concerning sins of ignorance, Numb. xv. 22, 23, 24, depends on the history for its being intelligible: “and if ye have erred, and not observed all these commandments which the Lord hath spoken unto Moses, even all that the Lord hath commanded you by the hand of Moses, froin the day that the Lord commanded Moses, and henceforward among your generations, then it shall be, if ought be committed by ignorance,” &c. Here is a reference to God's revealing himself from time to time, in a long series of revelations to Moses, which cannot be understood without the history.

The law was written as a covenant, or as a record of a covepant between God and the people ; and therefore the tables of the law and the tables of the covenant, the book of the law and the book of the covenant, are synonimous phrases in scripture. And the psalmist, Ps. cv. 9, 10, speaking of the covenant that God made with the patriarchs, says, that God confirmed the same unto Jacob for a law, and unto Israel for an everlasting covenant. It is to be noted that the promise to Abraham is what is there especially called the law, and the word which God commanded. The threatenings of the law are called the words of the covenant which God made by Moses in Jer. xi. 8. But if Moses wrote the book of the law as a record of the covenant that was made beiween God and the congregation of Israel, it was necessary to write the people's consent, or what was done on both sides, for there was a mutual transacting in this covenant: See Deut. xxvi. 17, 18. “Thou hast avouched the Lord this day to be thy God, and to walk in his ways,” &c.—" And the Lord hath avouched thee this day to be his peculiar people as he hath promised thee, and that thou shouldest keep all his commandments.” Agreeable hereto is the account we have, Exod. xix. 8, and xxiv. 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and Deut. v. 27, and xxvi. 17.

The discourse that we have in Dent. xxix. and xxx. is introduced thus, “These are the words of the covenant which the Lord commanded Moses to make with the children of Israel in the land of Moab, beside the covenant which be made with them in Horeb."

But the following discourse, called the words of the covenant, is made up of the following things, viz. a bistory of the transaction, Moses's rehearsal of past transactions and wonderful dealings of God with them, with reproofs for their insensibility and unaffectedness as introduciug what he had further to say. He then proceeds to charge them to serve the true God, and to avoid idolairy, and then to enforce this charge with awful threatenings and predictions of judgments that shall come upon them if they transgress, with the circumstances of these judgments, and promises of forgiveness on repentance ; and the whole concluded with various arguments, pressing instances, solemn appeals, obtestations, exhortations, &c. to enforce their duty. If such a miscellany is called the words of the covenant, we veed not wonder if the whole book, that is called the book of the law, should be a similar miscellany.

It was necessary that a record of a covenant between God and the nation of Israel, should contain the story of the transaction. But this, if fully related, would bring in very much of the history of the Pentateuch, which is extensively made up of an accouut of those things that were done by God, to bring the people into a covenant relation to him, and the way in which they became his covenant people. Hence the psalmist, in Psalm cv., having mentioned this covenant and law which God established with the people, proceeds, in the ensuing part of the psalm, to rehearse the series of events relating to this covenant transaction, from God's entering into covenant with the patriarchs, to the children of Israel's being brought into Canaan.

It was exceedingly necessary, in particular, when Moses was about to write a record of the covenant which God established with the people, and to give an acconnt of the manner in which be entered into covenant with them, and brought them into a covenant relation to him, to show the beginning of it with the patriarchs, with whom that covenant was first established, and with whom was laid the foundation of all that transaction, and that great dispensation of the Lord of heaven and earth with that

people, in separating them from all the rest of the world, to be his peculiar covenant people. The beginning and ground-work of the whole affair was mainly with them, and what was done afterwards by the band of Moses, was only in pursuance of wbat had been promised to them, and often established with them, and for which God inade way by bis acts and revelations towards them. What God said and did towards those patriarchs, is often spoken of in the words of the law (those that are expressly called the law) as the foundation of the whole, and also in other parts of the Old Testament; as most expressly in Psalm cv. 8, 9, 10.; see also Josh. xxiv. 3, &c.; and many other parallel places.

And there is very often in the law, strictly so called, an express reference to the covenant that God had made with Abrahain, Isaac, and Jacob, as in Levit. xxvi. 42. Deut. iv. 31. 37. Deut. vi. 10. 18, and vii. 8. 12, and ix. 5. 27, and x. 11. 15, and xix. 8, xxvi. 3. 15, and xxx. 20, which passages are unintelligible without the history of the patriarchs. And there are many other passages in the law, wherein there is an implicit reference to the same thing; as in those in which God speaks of the land, which the Lord their God had given them, or had promised them, the land of the Amorites, the Hittites, the Canaanites, &c., referring to the promise inade to Abraham, Gen. xv. 18 to the end; where God promises to Abraham the land of those nations by name.

Again, the forementioned considerations, many of them must at least, induce us to believe that Moses wrote the history of the redemption of the children of Israel out of Egypt, so far at least as he himself was concerned in that affair, and was made the chief instrument of it from his being first called and sent of God on that errand. But this as naturally leads us back further still, even to what God said and did to the patriarchs; for the beginning of this history directly points and leads us to those things as the foundation of this great affair, of which God now called Moses to be the great instrument. Thus when God first appeared to Moses, and spake to him in mount Sinai out of the bush, and gave him bis commission, it was with these words, “I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob." Exod. iii. 6. So again ver. 13, 14, 15, 16. “And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you, and they shall say to me, What is bis 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 my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations. Go and gather the elders of Israel together, and say unto them, The Lord God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, of lşaac, and of Jacob, appeared upto me, saying, I have surely visited you, for that which is done to you in Egypt.” So again, chap. iv. 5. “That they may believe that the Lord God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath appeared unto thee.” And chap. vi. 2, 3, 4. And God spake unto Moses, and said unto him, I am the Lord, and I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty ; but by my name JEHOVAH was I not known to them. And I have established my covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land of their pilgrimage, wherein they were strangers." It is unreasonable on many forementioned accounts, to believe any other than that Moses should write this history, and it is most

credible that he did it on this account, that those first extraordiDary appearances of God to him, as is natural to suppose, made most strong impressions on bis mind, and if he wrote any history it is likely he wrote this. But from these things it appears that the history of the patriarchs lays the whole foundation of the history of the redemption of the children of Israel out of Egypt, and of God's separating them and bringing them into a covenant relation with himself. So that it cannot be understood without the history of the patriarchs. Would it not therefore have been an essential defect in Moses, in writing that history, to leave the children of Israel without any record of that great foundation?

There is frequent mention in that part of the Pentateuch, (which is expressly styled the law) of several tribes of Israel and their names, and of the patriarchs who were the beads of the tribes. Deut. iii. 12, 13. 15, 16, and xxvii. 11. 13, and elsewhere. And Moses was commanded to engrave the names of the twelve patriarchs on the stones of the breastplate of the highpriest. But these things are not intelligible without the history of Jacob's family. In Deut. X. 22, there is a reference to Jacob's going down into Egypt with threescore and ten persons, which is not intelligible without the history.

The law for him that brings the offering of the first fruits cannot be understood without the history of Jacob's difficulties and sufferings in Padan-Aram, and the bistory of his going down into Egypt with its circumstances, and the history of the great increase of his posterity there, and the history of their oppression, and hard bondage there, and the history and circumstances of their deliverance from it, and the history of the great and wondrous works of God in Egypt, and the Red sea, and the wilderness, until the people came to Canaan. And if Moses lest no record of these things; then, in the law, he enjoined him who offered the first fruits, (i. e. of all the people, every individual householder, from generation to generation) to make an explicit confession and declaration of those things that he did not understand.

What is said in the law, of the Edomites, as the children of Esau, and what God had given to him for his possession, and the favour God had showed Esau, in Deut. ii. 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 22 ; and the law concerning the Edomites, Deut. xxiii. 7, 6, how they should be treated, because Esau was their brother, cannot be understood without the bistory of the family of Isaac. And the kind of mention made of Moab and Ammon, as the founders of the nations of the Moabites and Ammonites, and the favour showed them on their father Lot's account, in Deut. ii., seems to suppose the history of Lot and his family, and cannot be understood without it. And the reference there is in the law to the overthrow

« السابقةمتابعة »