« PreviousContinue »
to oppress and diminish the seed of Abraham? Was it likely he would hesitate to destroy her and the rest of her family, if he discovered this disobedi. ence to his law ?
Natural affection, it is true, would plead for this “exceeding fair” child: but, on the other hand, natural fears for herself, her husband, her daughter, would arise, and suggest that it was better to sacrifice one for the safety of all. What, then, induced her to run the risk ? St. Paul answers the question—"By faith, Moses, when he was born, was hid three months of his parents, because they saw he was a proper child; and they were not afraid of the king's commandment.” Faith in the power of God overcame their fears. "If God be for us, who can be against us?" They might say within themselves, If the Lord intends this child to be the deliverer of Israel, not all the malice of Egypt can destroy him. It seems, from Acts vii. 25, that God had in some way signified his intention to make use of Moses, in saving his people ;-"For he supposed his brethren would have understood how that God by his hand would deliver them;" and, if this was the case, they had the promise of God to encourage their hopes, as well as their knowledge of his power, and of his willingness to hear prayer. But, when the first months of infancy were passed, it was impossible any longer to hide him. The mother, therefore, prepares an ark, or basket, of rushes, made water-tight with slime and pitch, and, putting her dear babe into this little life-boat, laid it in the flags by the river's brink, leaving her daughter to watch at a distance what would become of the precious jewel enclosed in so frail a casket. Imagine, mothers, what must have been her feelings, when she took the last look, and pressed the last kiss upon his lovely cheek, before she closed the ark :-think how her heart must have sunk, as she returned to her home without her babe; how great the anguish with which she must
Remarks on the Second Chapter of Exodus. 3 have thought upon the stern decree which had forced her to cast out her infant. Still she had hope, and, what is better, she had faith, to support her-all was not lost, for she had not lost her Almighty Friend. How earnestly she must have spread her sorrows before Him, and sought His protection for the helpless babe !-- and she did not seek it in vain.
V. 549. What joyful tidings are these! How must her heart have been filled with delight, when her daughter returns and tells her of the protector her child has found when she hears that Pharaoh's daughter, moved with compassion at the voice of its weeping, is determined to bring it up, and that she is herself to have the care of her babe!
V. 10. She called his name • Moses.” Moses signifies “Drawn forth."—When old enough to do without a nurse's care, he became the son of Pharaoh's daughter, and continued in her family till he was forty years old. There he had great advantages in point of education, comfort, and wealth: he “ was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians," (who were the most learned people then on the face of the earth) “and was mighty in words and in deeds." What a prosperous situation ! Envied, perhaps, by many of his poor countrymen, who were groaning under their burdens--the pride of his parents—with every prospect of rising still higher. The example of Joseph before him, who, though a foreigner and a Hebrew, had been governor of all Egypt; how much there was to excite and flatter his desires of worldly greatness !
V. 11, 12. The Apostle Paul, in referring to this history, says, “ By 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 of Egypt *." This is truly a surprising account.
come to years," deliberately refusing to be considered the son of a king's daughter-in the prime of life, just when most men set the highest value on money and rank, and fair prospects in life, leaving the court of a great monarch, and going out unto his brethren, a poor oppressed people, employed under hard task-masters, “in all manner of service, in the field, in mortar, and in brick”-preferring contempt to honour, affliction to pleasure, reproach to riches:is not this a most singular choice? is it reasonable? is it wise? Would not his acquaintance at court be much surprised and amused at his conduct? would they not say he shewed a mean grovelling taste, in liking better to associate with masons and labourers than with the wise men who frequented the court of Pharaoh? They, most likely, did say so; many sneered at his conduct, no doubt; but Moses judged and decided on the value of the things which he refused, and of those which he chose, while his reasons, his principles, his motives, were hidden from the worldly and careless. Reader, are you at a loss to understand the principle which actuated Moses ? look again at the words which I have quoted above, “By faith, Moses, when he was come," &c. He believed that the Israelites were the people of God; he believed that the promises made to the seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, would surely be fulfilled in their season; he believed that amongst these injured bondsmen, and amongst them alone, was the blessing of God to be found. (See Num. x. 29.) He therefore gave up the pleasures of sin, and the treasures of Egypt, to join himself to the heirs of promise. This was the reproach of Christ; this was conformity to Him who
Remarks on the Second Chapter of Exodus. 5 chose a manger for his cradle, Nazareth for his abode, fishermen and publicans for his companions, the common people for his congregation, the vilest sinners for his converts, a colt the foal of an ass for his triumphal chariot, a reed for his sceptre, a crown of thorns for the emblem of his royalty, a cross for his death-bed, thieves for his companions in tribulation,—who, when he might have had all the riches and glories of earth poured out at his feet, took poverty, sorrow, contempt, and pain, for his portion. Such was the principle on which Moses acted— but what was his motive? “ He had respect unto the recompence of the reward.” He looked beyond this world; he saw ' a city which hath foundations, , whose builder and maker is God.” If he sat down to count the cost of what he was proposing to do,~if he stopped to weigh the offers of Egypt against the inducements to cast in his lot with the people of God, he could not long be at a loss. On one side, here were the honours of Pharaoh's court; on the other, the glories of a never-fading crown of righteousness;- in one scale, the treasures of Egypt; in the other, the durable riches of God's favour, the unsearchable riches of Christ :--continuing as he was, he dwelt in a king's palace; but in " seeking first the kingdom of God," he would obtain a mansion in bis heavenly Father's house, and go no more out. Egypt unfolded to him all her stores of learning; but, in choosing the wisdom which is from above, he would be daily acquiring knowledge of the only true God, he would be wise unto salvation. Was there room to hesitate ? When he had taken the sum of what he should gain, and what he should lose, by refusing to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, could he stand in doubt? You answer, “No.” But here let us stop a moment:-let me remind
have the same choice before you, --with this difference--that you have far less to part with. Sin offers its pleasures to all, but it does
not offer to all so large a portion of them as we here read of. Christ makes his invitations to all-incline your ear, and come unto me; hear, and
your soul shall live"_" whosoever will, let him take of the water of life freely”—“ if any man serve me, him will my Father honour." God lays His command on all—"choose you this day whom ye will serve.”—Make your resolution then; waver no longer. If the world be worth forfeiting heaven for, enjoy the world, and let go eternal life:--if heaven be worth losing every thing else for, take the great gift of God, and forsake the rest. And what are the pleasures which sin affords you? The vanities and follies of youth, and such delights as often bring misery and ruin on yourselves in this world, and which offend God, and make you unfit for his happy kingdom in heaven. And will you, for the sake of these, turn your back upon God and heaven, and sell your soul to your adversary the devil ?
V. 12—15. În these instances Moses began to act as the authorized judge and ruler of Israel, and as the avenger of the wrongs done them; (Acts vii. 23—27.) but God's time was not come. He had yet to wait forty years, before he was permitted to deliver his brethren from under the yoke of Pharaoh.--Our heavenly Father generally exercises our patience, before he makes us the instruments of great good.
V. 16. The land of Midian was inhabited by one branch of Abraham's descendants by Keturah. The priest of Midian was therefore a servant of the true God, the knowledge of whom the Midianites must have received from their believing forefathers.
V. 17. Observe how Moses took the part of the oppressed and defenceless, wherever he met with them.
V. 22. Gershom signifies, A stranger there.