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One, that he was forty years old at the precise period of visiting the children of Israel, his brethren. The other, that he was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians. The latter of these circumstances is not only highly probable, as being the adopted son of Pharaoh's daughter; but, if we may judge from his character and conduct afterwards, necessarily true.
Again, the account given by St. Paul differs slightly from both of these ; but is still characterized by the same simplicity and conciseness.“ By faith (that is, by the faith of his parents) Moses, when he was born, was hid
hid three months, because they saw he was proper child; and they were not afraid of the king's commandment. By faith (that is, by his own faith) Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season ; esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had re
spect unto the recompense of the reward." Here, then, we have a new fact, which is, that Moses made a deliberate selection between the dictates of conscience, and the allurements of riches and power, with all the sensual pleasures which these could bestow. He desired to be num
poor, despised, enslaved, and degraded people of God, rather than to hold the highest rank among their oppressors. This circumstance, too, is not only probable, but certainly true; for it is evident, from the narrative in Exodus, that his separation from the Egyptians was voluntary.
Now, it is not the least remarkable circumstance, that we have the power of comparing the narratives thus given, by the Lawgiver himself, by the martyr and by the apostle, with that of Josephus, a man of learning, and a Jewish priest, who wrote not many years after the time of St. Paul. And any one who ever perused the absurd exaggerations of national vanity, and the showy embellishments of the uninspired historian, must have turned
with tenfold delight and conviction to the simple and unpretending language of Scripture and of truth.
Before proceeding in our reflections upon this subject, there is one expression in the text which seems to require some explanation. “ Moses esteemed the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt.” We may ask, how could Moses, so many years before the coming of Christ, choose or endure the reproach of Christ? The mode of expression appears more suited to the ages of the apostles and of the Gospel, than to that of the patriarchs or of the law. And so it does, undoubtedly, as far as the mode of expression is concerned; but in substance and signification it applies as strongly to the patriarchs and to Moses, as it does to the apostles and disciples of Christ. The Jewish government was a theocracy. The Jews were the people of God : Christ was their king : they were blessed with his continual presence, and favour, and protection : He was their guide and their support; and therefore
the sufferings of Israel were the sufferings of Christ, the reproach of Israel was the reproach of Christ. “ For he said, surely they are my people, children that will not lie: so he was their Saviour. In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them : in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; and he bare them, and carried them all the days of old!
But still further, Christ, or the Messiah, was the hope of Israel ; and that hope was as peculiar and distinctive an article of their religious belief, as the existence of the one true God. Christ was, indeed, always considered as the head of the Church in all ages; himself the author and the object of every dispensation from the beginning of time. In him Adam beheld the restorer, the deliverer, the regenerator of his fallen race; the seed of the woman which should bruise the serpent's head. By him Noah preached to the disobedient before the flood, “when once the
Isaiah lxii. 8, 9.
long-suffering of God waited.” Abraham with the eye of faith "saw his day and was glad.” The Spirit of Christ was in the prophets, " when it testified beforehand of the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow 1.” Christ was with the Church in the wilderness. He was the angel, or messenger," sent before to keep them in the way, and to bring them into the place prepared.” In fact, we are wholly in error, if we suppose that Christianity is a new thing. Its full elucidation, development, and accomplishment, is, indeed, comparatively new; but Christianity itself was, essentially, as much the religion of the patriarchs and the prophets, as it is ours. They had the same faith, though not with the same evidence that we have. They had the same Saviour, though they saw him not so clearly as we do : the same promises, though they viewed them not so distinctly: the same hopes, though not with the same unclouded glory. They saw as in a glass darkly;