Page images

A. M. 2513. A. C. 1491; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A, M. 3763. A. C. 1648. EXOD. CH. xii-xxxiv. 24. perhaps than might be discovered in several other | ideas of God, because these phrases were always undernations, were we disposed to be prolix upon this sub- stood to be spoken with the feelings of a man; and ject. But let us return to their legislator.

therefore ' a Jewish rabbin acquaints us, that whenever That God, who is a pure spirit, eternal and omni- they meet with an expression concerning the Deity, of present, has neither body nor parts, nor any affections this nature, they are used to interpose a cabiacal, or, if thereunto belonging, is a proposition which our reason I may so speak. cannot but assent to ; and yet when we set ourselves to Interpreters indeed are at some variance what we are explain, as we call it, the divine nature and attributes, to understand by the hand, face, and hinder parts of God. we soon find ourselves under a necessity to borrow“ The face of God,” says an ingenious glossary," sigexpressions from corporeal beings, the better to accom- nifies his essence, before the beginning of the world, and modate the loftiness of our subject to our reader's com- his hinder parts, his creation and providence in the prehension. For unless we could contrive a perfect set government of the world :” but ® Maimonides is of opiof new words, there is no speaking at all of the Deity nion, that these words may be interpreted according to without using our old ones in a tralatitious sense. Pro- the Targum, namely, that God made his majesty, that is, vidence and mercy, for instance, are two known attri- an exceedingly bright representation of himself, though butes of God; but if we respect their original use, and not in its full glory, pass before Moses, in so much do not take them in a metaphorical meaning, they are splendour as human nature could bear, which


be altogether as absurd, when applied to God, as are his termed his back parts ; but not in his unveiled brighteye, or band, or back parts, in their grossest sense. ness, which may signify his face, and, as the apostle For how improper is it, literally speaking, to say, that speaks, is inaccessible; and the hand, wherewith God God looks before him, like men when they act cautiously; covered him, while he passed by, may probably denote or that he has that relenting of heart, or yearning of a cloud, which God cast about him, that he might not be bowels, which merciful men feel at the sight of a miser- struck dead by the inconceivable force and refulgency able object? The truth is, languages were composed to of those rays, which came from the face or full lustre of enable men to maintain an intercourse with one another, the divine Majesty. and not to treat of the nature of that Being who dwelleth In this sense the ancient Jews could not but underin light that is inaccessible. No form of words, be they stand their legislator, when they found him conveying ever so exquisite and well chosen, can reach those trans- sublime truths under outward and sensible representacendent perfections that are unutterable ; and therefore if tions. For, to clear him from all unjust imputation, we we consider the low capacity of the people to whom the need but call to mind the glorious descriptions he gives, real poverty of the language, in which, and the vast almost everywhere, but especially in Deuteronomy, of sublimity of the subject, about which Moses wrote, we the Deity, and what pains he takes to deter them from shall have less occasion to blame this metaphorical way making any representation of it, under any form whatof expressing the divine nature, which upon experiment ever, by reminding them, that when God was pleased to he certainly found the best adapted, both to inform the display his glory upon Mount Sinai, at the delivering of understanding, and animate the affections of the people; the ten commandments, they saw no shape or likeness, while a number of dry, scholastic and abstracted terms, but only heard his dreadful voice. These so frequent would have lain flat upon their minds, and served only inculcations may therefore be looked upon as so many to amuse and confound them.

intimations given them, in what sense they were to Though therefore it must be acknowledged, that there understand all those other expressions which he had been is indeed an impropriety in language, when corporeal forced to accommodate to their capacity, that is, not in a parts or actions are imputed to the Deity; yet since the literal, but in such a one, as was becoming the Deity, narrowness of the Hebrew tongue would not furnish and suitable to the dignity of the subject. Moses with a sufficiency of abstract terms, and the Moses, no doubt, was a good governor, and zealously dulness of the people, had he had a sufficiency, would affected for the welfare of his people : but we injure his not have permitted him to employ them, he was under memory much, if we think him either so ignorant of a a necessity of speaking according to the common usage, future state, or so negligent of his own salvation, as to which was secured from giving the people any gross wish himself damned, in his deprecation of God's judg

ments, for their salvation, The case is this,—The bells that covered the hem of his garment, gave notice to the Israelites, in making a golden calf to worship, had assembled people that the most awful ceremony of their religion highly oftended God: God renounces all relation to had commenced. When arrayed in this garb, he bore into the them, and in his displeasure, threatens either to abandon sanctuary the vessel of incense; it was the signal to prostrate themselves before the Deity, and to commence those fervent or destroy them; whereupon Moses intercedes for their ejaculations which were to ascend with the column of that incense pardon, and among other motives, makes use of this: to the throne of heaven.” “One indispensable ceremony in the Indian Pooja is the ringing of a small bell by the officiating have made them gods of gold; yet now, if thou wilt


Oh, my God, this people have sinned a great sin, and brahmin. The women of the idol, or dancing girls of the pagoda, have little golden bells fastened to their feet, the soft harmonious forgive their sins; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out tinkling of which vibrates in unison with the exquisite melody of of the book which thou hast written;' not that God their voices." (Maurice's Indian Antiquities, vol

. 5. p. 139.)— stands in need of a book wherein to register or record “ The ancient kings of Persia, who, in fact, united in their own persons the regal and sacerdotal office, were accustomed to have Quoted by Hottinger in his Dissert. Theolog. Philol. the fringes of their robes adorned with pomegranates and golden * Elias Cretensis. * More Nevoch. part 1. c. 21. bells. The Arabian courtesans, like the Indian women, have

* Patrick's Commentary on Exod. xxxjii. little golden bells fastened round their legs, neck, and elbows, to si'niversal History, b. 1. c. 7. . Exod. xxxii. 32. the sound of which they dance before the king.-En.

' Patrick's Commentary in locum.


[ocr errors]

A. M. 2513. A. C. 1491; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A. M. 3763. A. C. 1648. EXOD. CH. xii-xxxiv. 24. any of his purposes : a but the Scripture makes use of | he comes to the proper period, he quite conceals their this form of expression, in allusion to the custom of blind idolatry in worshipping the golden calf ; whereas numbering the people, and setting down their names in Moses relates it in all its aggravating circumstances, a scroll or register, ' as Moses did at their coming out and seems to fix, in a manner, the whole odium of it upon of the land of Egypt. The same method was likewise his brother Aaron. And therefore, to inform ourselves observed at the return from the Babylonish captivity, as how far Aaron was culpable in this particular, we must may be seen in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah ; and attend a little to the probable occasion of it. those who were enrolled in this book, are said 2 « to be While Moses was gone up into the Mount, he appointed written for life,' or ' among the living,' because every Aaron and Hur to be the rulers of the people in his year they blotted out of this catalogue the names of those absence; but as his absence proved longer than was that were dead.

expected, the people began to be uneasy. They saw According to this construction of the phrase, and this the glory of the Lord, which was like a devouring fire is certainly the true construction, Moses can by no means on the top of the mount,' and thereupon they concluded be supposed to wish his own damnation, which would that Moses, who tarried so long, was certainly destroyed look like an enthusiastic rant, rather than divine inspir- in the flames. They saw too that the pillar of the ation; which would be impious for him to ask, and cloud,' which used to conduct them in their marches was unrighteous for God to do; but only that,“ rather than gone, and in no likelihood of returning again ; and herelive to see the calamities which would befall the people upon having lost their guide, and the visible token of in case God should either desert or destroy them, he God's presence among them, they came unto Aaron, and desires to be discharged from life, that so he may escape in a tumultuous manner, demanded of him to make them the shock of so woeful, so terrible a spectacle." another representation of the divine presence, in the

In a former communion with God, wherein he threatens room of what was departed from them. Up, say they, either to extirpate or disinherit his people, he promises and make us gods, or (as the Hebrew text will bear 6,) Moses to make him a greater nation, and mightier than make us a god which shall go before us.' 6 Not that they ;' but instead of that, Moses here desires to die with they were so stupid as to imagine, that the true God them; and, as a learned father of the church observes, * could be made by any man, or that any image could be “there is a great deal of pious art and policy in the a means of conducting them, either forward into Canaan, petition, or proposal, as we may call it, which this great or back again into Egypt; but what they wanted, was favourite and confident of God offers to him. He does some outward object to supply the want of the cloud, by not make it at all adventures, as one less acquainted with being a type and symbol of the Deity, and where they the divine mind might do; nor does he make it out of a might depose the homage which they intended to pay to slight and contempt of life, as one whose circumstances the supreme God; for so some of the Jewish doctors have had brought him into despair might do. He knew God's expounded the text of Moses : ?« They desired a sensigoodness was infinite, as well as his justice ; so that, in ble object of divine worship to be set before them, not this alternative,' either be thou pleased to slay me and with an intention to deny God, who brought them out of them together, to spare them and me together,' he was Egypt, but that something, in the place of God, might sensible he should engage God's mercy to pardon the stand before them, when they declared his wonderful criminals, whilst, on their behalf, he devoted himself at works.' the same time to that justice which cannot be supposed The commandment against making images had so capable of hurting the innocent."

lately, in so terrible a manner, been enjoined by God One great commendation which we have frequently himself, that though some reason may be given why the remarked of the author of the Pentateuch, above any children of Israel were so forward to make the demand, other historian, is, that he consults truth more than plau- yet none can be imagined, why Aaron should comply sibility in his narrations, and conceals no material point, with it, without making any remonstrance; and yet we even though it tends to the dishonour of the people whose meet with no refusal recorded by Moses. All that we actions he is recording. Josephus wrote the Jewish have in extenuation of Aaron's fault, is from the sughistory of these times as well as Moses ; and yet, when gestion of the rabbins, who pretend that his compli

ance proceeded from his fear ; that the people had € muri Num. i.

* Is. iv. 3.

dered Hur the other deputy, for opposing their desire ; * Numb. xiv, 12.

'Paulin, epist. 21. a To this purpose the royal Psalmist, in relation to his own

* Exod. xxxii, 1.

6 Saurin's Dissertations. formation in the womb, bespeaks God, and says, “Thine eyes did

* R. Jehudah, in b. Cozri, part 1. sect. 97. see my substance, yet being imperfect, and in thy book were all 6 It has been argued by some learned men, that the Israelites my members written,' as if God kept a catalogue of the children intended here to fall entirely into the Egyptian religion, and that that were born, (Ps. cxxxix. 16.) And again, speaking of the Deity they made the calf to, was some god of the Egyptians: wicked men, he says, “Let them be wiped out of the book of but to me this seems not to be the fact. In this calf the Israelites the living, and not be written among the righteous, (Ps. lxix. evidently designed to worship the God who brought them out of 28.) Nor is this form of speech to be found nly among sacred the land of Egypt, and accordingly their feast was proclaimed, writers, but even Plautus himself, having occasion, in one of his not to any Egyptian deity, but to the Lord, to Jehovah, their prologues, to take some notice of the divine Providence, makes own God, (Exod. xxxii, 4.) So that their idolatry consisted not use of these words:-" Those who by false witnesses wish to gain in really worshipping a false deity, but in making an image of unjust pleas, those who in a suit deny by oath money which they the true and living God, which the second commandment exowe, have their names inscribed in the rolls of Jupiter; he pressly did forbid. --Shuckford's Connection, vol. 3. b. 11. knoweth every day who here ask for what is unjust. The wicked c What authority they had for these assertions, I cannot say; who wrongfully entreat to gain their suit, who obtain false deci- but if what they offer be true, this does not at all prove Aaron sions from the judge, he hath marked in one tablet,--the good to be innocent; because no obstinacy of the people could have are enrolled in another."-Lc Clerc's Comment, ad Erod, c. 32. I forced him without his own fault, and he should have been will.

A. M. 2513. A. C. 1491; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A. M. 3763, A. C. 1648. EXOD. CH. xiii--xxxiv. 24. that to discourage them from pursuing their design, | figure of an ox or calf, in compliance to the prejudice of Aaron demanded all their golden ear-rings, in hopes the people, and because that creature was worshipped that they would not insist upon having an idol which in Egypt. That the Israelites were sorely infected with would cost them so dear; but that when nothing would the idolatry of the Egyptians, we have many plain proofs avail, he took their gold, and cast it into the fire, and, from Scripture to convince us, that all sorts of animals contrary to his intention, by some magical or diabolical were worshipped by the Egyptians, and among the terart, there immediately came out a calf, which much restrial, more especially the ox, is what? the several increased the people's superstition. But this, and abun- authors, who have treated of the aftairs of Egypt, do dance more of the like nature, seem to be conceits abundantly testify; and that the idolatry of animals, and invented for the excuse of Aaron, who is plainly enough more especially of the ox, was established in Egypt said to have made this molten call,' which he could during the sojourning of the Israelites in that land, is not have done, without designing it, and running the more than probable from these words of Moses to gold into a mould of that figure.

Pharaoh ; • •If we sacrifice the abomination of the The word which we here render calf, ” does, in other Egyptians before their eyes ;' that is, if we sacrifice to places of Scripture, signify an ox: and as an ox's head our God, oxen, sheep, and goats, which the Egyptians was, in some countries, an emblem of strength, and the worship and adore, and consequently make an abominahorns a common sign of kingly power; so 3 a learned tion to the Lord, ' will they not stone us?' So that it prelate, out of a design to apologize for Aaron, is will seems most rational to suppose, that this image was ing to insinuate, that his design in making an ox the made in compliance to the giddy humour of the people, symbol of the divine presence, was to remind the Israel who, upon the supposed death of Moses, were probably ites of the power of God, and to express the great tokens all for turning back again, and in imitation of the which they had seen of it, in their wonderful deliverance. Egyptians, who worshipped their idol Apis, or Serapis, But how ingenious soever this hypothesis may be, it not only in a living ox, but in an image made after the wants this foundation for its support, that this hierogly- similitude of an ox, bethought themselves of the like phic of the divine power was not in use in the time of representation of a deity to go before them : the only Moses ; for if it was, we cannot imagine why Aaron, question is, whether the worship of the Egyptian Apis when called to an account by his brother, should forget was prior to the formation of this golden calf? which to plead it in excuse for himself; or why God should be happens to be a point wherein the learned are not so so highly incensed against him, had his design been only well agreed. to exhibit a symbol of the divine power and authority to Thus we have endeavoured to give a full answer to a people of too gross sentiments, without such a visible several objections which have been raised against the representation, ever to comprehend it.

sacred historian, during the period which is at present Another learned prelate of our own, * equally inclined under consideration : and for a further confirmation to excuse this action of Aaron, supposes that he hereof, we might now produce some foreign testimonies took his pattern from part of what he saw on the holy and traditions concerning the truth and veracity of his mount, when the Shechinah of God came down upon it, narrations. That the miraculous pillar, for instance, attended with angels, some of which were cherubim, or which conducted the Israelites in the wilderness, very angels appearing in the form of oxen : but this opinion probably gave rise to the ancient fables, 10 how Hercules is inconsistent with the great care which was taken on and Bacchus, (who under different shapes, are both supMount Sinai, not to furnish any pretext for idolatry, and posed to denote Moses,) set up. pillars in testimony of the caution which Moses gives the people to that pur- their travels and expeditions ; that the Israelites' safe pose. 5. Take ye therefore good heed to yourselves, for passage over the Red Sea, upon its being divided by ye saw no manner of similitude, on the day that the the rod of Moses, and the tradition which the people of Lord spake unto you in Horeb, out of the midst of the Memphis have thereupon, are related by Antipanus, as fire, lest ye corrupt yourselves, and make you a graven he is quoted" by Eusebius ; that upon the return and image, the similitude of any figure, the likeness of any conflux of the waters, the armies which pursued them male or female, the likeness of any beast that is on the were swallowed up in the deep, is mentioned 12 by Dioearth ; the likeness of any winged fowl that flieth in the dorus, as a current story among the people inhabiting air ; the likeness of any thing that creepeth on the the western coast of the Red Sea ; that on this coast ground; the likeness of any fish,' &c. where the Holy there are several lakes and springs of a salt and brackish Spirit enumerates animals of all kinds, and positively taste, in the manner that Moses has recorded, and no assures us, that none of their forms or figures appeared such thing found on the other side of the sea, is testified, upon the mount.

13 by Orosius, as well as several ancient geographers ; The most common therefore, and indeed the most that God's sending down manna for bread to the Israel. probable opinion is, that Aaron made choice of the ites, and great plenty of quails for meat, is mentioned

by Antipanus, as he is cited again" by Eusebius ; that, I Exod. xxxii, 35.

* Ps. coi. 20.

from Moses' striking the rock with his rod, the fable of : Patrick in his Commentary in lorum. • Tennison on Idolatry, c. 6.

s Deut. iv, 15, &c.

6 See Josh. xxiv, 14. Ezek. xx. 7, 8. and xxij. 3, 8. ing, and adventured to die, rather than, hy a timorous compli- See Strabo, b. 17. de Egyptiacis templis, Herod. b. 2. Diod. ance, have made himself partaker of their sins. “Neither the b. 1. et Plutar. de Iside et Osiride.

* Exod. viii. 26. instigation of citizens shouting for crime, nor the stern look of . See Ger. Vos. de Idolat, c. 9. Bochart Hieros. part I. b. the oppressive tyrant, can move from his rooted determination, 2. and Tennison on Idolatıy. 10 Huetius Quast. Alnet. b. 1. the man upright and resolute in his purpose,” &c.- Hor. Carm. 11 Præp. Evan, b. 9.

12 Præp. Evan. b. 3. p. b. 3. ode 3.

Huetius Quæst. Alnet. b. 2.

· Przep. Evan. b.



[ocr errors]

A. M. 2513. A. C. 1491; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A. M. 3763. A. C. 1648. EXOD. CH. xii-xxxiv. 24. Bacchus' doing the same with his Thyrsus, in order to had some honour and modesty in him; and yet if he bad, extract water for the relief of the virgin Aura, had its we can hardly conceive how he durst have recorded so original : and, to name no more, that from Moses' palpable an untruth, supposing this passage to have receiving the law on Mount Sinai, most of the lawgivers nothing miraculous in it, when there was such a multiof other nations took the hint to borrow their institutions tude of living witnesses to confront him; or ? what posfrom some god or goddess or other ; Minos, from Jupi-sible artifice he could use to persuade above two millions ter; Lycurgus, from Apollo ; Zeleucus, from Minerva ; of persons that God, by his hand, had wrought a stupenNuma, from Egeria, &c.; so well was the world per- dous miracle, when they knew as well as he that there suaded of the truth and authority of the Jewish legisla- was no such thing transacted. Among such a contumator, when they seemed to agree in this - That even a cious and mutinous set of people, Moses must necessarily distant imitation of him was enough to give sanction to have made himself ridiculous, and his authority despitheir several fictions.

cable, had he ever once attempted to foist such a fable upon them. And therefore, when we find other sacred writers bearing testimony to what he relates, and relating

the matter in the like lofty expressions ; when we find CHAP. III.-Of the Israelites passing the Red Sea. the royal Psalmist assuring us, that "God dividing the

sea, made the waters to stand up on an heap, and caused The passage of the Israelites through the Red Sea is the Israelites to pass through ;' when we find the prophet what we have reserved for the subject of our dissertation, Isaiah demanding, where is he, that brought them up because it is one of the most remarkable events in this out of the sea, that led them by the right hand of Moses, period, if not in the whole Jewish history; and yet has by his glorious arm dividing the water before him, to had the misfortune to meet with more suggestions against make him an everlasting nanie ?' when we find the proits miraculousness, than any other that we find upon phet Habakkuk declaring upon this occasion, thats the record,

Lord made himself a road to drive his chariot and horses What has contributed to this perverseness, may not cross the sea, across the mud of the great waters :' and unlikely be the fond conceits which some ancient when we find the author of the book of Wisdom thus redoctors, both of the Jewish and Christian church, have cording the story; 6 • Where water stood before, dry been pleased to affix to this miracle, namely, that God land appeared ; out of the Red Sea a way without imdivided the sea into twelve passages, according to the pediment, and out of the violent stream a green field, twelve tribes; that to facilitate their passage, he pulled where-through all the people went, that were defended up the weeds, removed huge stones, levelled the rugged by thy hand, seeing thy marvellous strange wonders ; for places, and made the sand at the bottom as hard as a they went at large like horses, and leaped like lambs, rock ; that the waters, upon being divided, were imme- praising thee, O Lord, who hadst delivered them :' when diately congealed, and stood in array, like a wall of we find these, I say, and several more writers of great glass; and that some fragments of the Egyptian chariot-authority, asserting the wonderfulness of this passage, wheels may even to this day be seen at the bottom, as unless we can suppose that they were all combined to far as the sight can reach. For it is not improbable, impose upon us, we cannot but assent to the truth of the that in prejudice to these extravagant fancies, others fact itself, how poetical soever we may think the words have exercised all their wit and learning to depreciate of that sacred hymn to be wherein Moses endeavours to the miracle by asserting,—That there was no more in it, display it : ?. By the blast of thy nostrils the waters even as Josephus himself seems to insinuate, than in were gathered together, the flood stood upright as an Alexander's passing the sea of Pamphylia ; - that the heap, and the depths were congealed in the heart of the Red Sea, especially in the extreme part of it, where the sea.' Israelites passed, is not above two or three miles over,

In an event so wonderful and so unaccountable to and very often dry, by reason of the great reflux of the human ́reason, it cannot be expected but that traditions tide ; and that Moses, who perfectly understood the should differ, and accounts be various : but certainly it country, and had made his observations upon the flux is no small confirmation of the testimony which the sacred and reflux of the sea, led down his men at the time of writers give us of it that we find Antipanus, in his history ebb, when, being favoured by a strong wind blowing of the Jews, as he is quoted by Eusebius, and Clefrom the shore, he bad the good luck to get safe to the mens of Alexandria, giving us this narration of the other side ; while Pharaoh and his army, hoping to do matter. “The people of Memphis tell us, that Moses, the same, but mistaken in their computation, had the who was acquainted with all the country, knowing the misfortune to be lost. And therefore, to give this matter time when the tide would be out, carried over all his a fair hearing, we shall first endeavour to establish the army at low water : but those of Heliopolis say othertruth of the miracle, and then examine into the preten- wise, namely, that the king, following the Jews going sions of those who are willing either to ascribe it to away with what they had borrowed of the Egyptians, natural causes, or to compare it with other events, as carried with him a great army ; but that Moses, by an they suppose, of the like nature.

order from heaven, struck the sea with a rod, whereupon Without entering far into Moses' character, we will the waters immediately separated, and he led over his suppose him at present a man of common sense, and who

* Calmet's Dissertation on the Passage of the Red Sea.

Ps. lxxviii. 13. * Is, lxiii. 12. 5 Hab. iii. 15. See Le Clerc's Dissertation concerning the Passage of the

: Exod. xv. 8. Red Sea.

6 Wisd. xix. 7, &c.

8 Præp. Evan. b. 9. c. 27.

9 Strom. b. 1.


A. M. 2513. A. C. 1491 ; OR, ACCORDING TO HALES, A. M. 3763. A. C. 1648. EXOD. CH. xiii--xxxiv. 24. forces in a dry track; but that the Egyptians, attempting | Israelites, when there is so manifest a disparity between the same passage, were dazzled by lightning, and as the them. The Israelites crossed over a sea, where no hissea returned upon the paths they were in, were all torian makes mention of any persons, but they, that ever destroyed either by fire or water.” So that if the joint found a passage ; whereas Alexander only marched testimony both of friends and foes can have any weight upon the shore of the sea of Pamphylia, where the several with us, we cannot but believe that this passage of the historians who most magnify the divine providence in Israelites, as it is recorded by Moses, was certainly matter protecting him, do all freely allow, that any one may at of fact, and a fact so very wonderful and miraculous, any time go, when the tide retreats, and the same wind that nothing in history can stand in competition with it. blows that favoured him.

The passage of Alexander the Great over the sea of What the breadth of the Red Sea may be at the place Pamphylia bears no manner of resemblance to this of the where the Israelites passed over, is not so easy a matter Israelites. Alexander, as · Arian, a and others relate to determine, because both geographers and travellers it, was to march from Phaselis, a seaport, to Perga, an mightily differ in their computations. But if, according inland city of Pamphylia. The country near Phaselis, to some of the lowest accounts, we suppose it to be mucha upon the shore of the Pamphylian sea, was mountainous about two leagues, most writers agree, that the sea in and rocky; so that he could not find a passage for his this place is very boisterous and tempestuous, which is army, without either taking a great compass round the hardly consistent with a shallowness, much less a total mountains, or attempting to go over the strand between desertion of water, upon any hasty reflux. The wind, the rocks and the sea. The historian remarks, that there it must be owned, if it blew from a right quarter, might is no passing along this place unless when the wind both forward the ebb, and retard the flux ; but the wind, blows from the north ; and therefore Alexander, when which blew at this time, we are told, was an east wind, he came to Phaselis, perceiving that the wind blew from whereas it must have been a west, or north-west wind, to this quarter, laid hold of the opportunity, and having have driven the water from the land's end into the main sent some of his army over the mountains, went himself body of the sea, as any one who looks into a map may with the rest along the shore. But now what miracle easily perceive. But now the east wind blows cross the was there in all this, unless we call the wind’s blowing sea, and the effect of it must be, to drive the waters opportunely for Alexander's purpose a miracle? It is partly up to the extremity of the bay, and partly down certain that, according to Plutarch's account of the to the ocean, which probably is the meaning, if we must thing, Alexander himself thought that there was nothing allow an hyperbole in the expression, of the waters extraordinary in it; and therefore we may justly wonder being a wall to the Israelites on their right hand, and b at Josephus' comparing this passage with that of the on their left,' because they so defended them on both

sides, that the Egyptians could no way come at them, Exped. Alex. b. 1; and Shuckford's Connection, vol. 2. b. 9. but by pursuing them in the same path which they took. In Alexand. p. 674.

Why they ventured to pursue the Israelites, the sacred Strabo relates the matter thus. “ About Phaselis there are

historian seems plainly to intimate, when he tells us, straits towards the sea, through which Alexander passed his that 'the angel of the Lord, which went before the camp, army. There is also a mountain called Climax, which lies to removed, and went behind them : it came between the the Pamphylian sea, leaving a strait passage to the shore, camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel, and was which is quite bare in good weather, but when the waves arise, a cloud and darkness to the one, but gave light by night it is for the most part covered with them. Now, the road by the mountain is about, and difficult; and therefore, in calm to the other :' so that the true reason why the Egyptians weather, they go by the shore. But Alexander coming hither went in after the Israelites into the midst of the sea, in stormy weather, and trusting to his fortune, would go over was, that they knew not where they were. They imagined, before the waves were abated, which made his soldiers go all day perhaps, that they were still upon the land, or at least up to the navel in water." (b. 14.) And much to the same purpose is the account which Plutarch gives us. The march upon the shore, whence the sea had retired; the darkthrough Pamphylia,” says he, " has been the subject to many ness of the night, and the preternatural darkness of the historians of mighty wonder, and fine declamation, as if the sea, cloud, not suffering them to see the mountains of water by order of the gods, gave place Alexander, which almost always is rough there, and does very rarely open a smooth pas

on each side. But * . when the Lord looked on the host sage under those broken rocks. But Alexander himself, in his of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire,' that is, when epistles, speaks of no miracle, but only says, that he passed by he turned the bright side of the cloud upon them, to let Climax, as he came from Phaselis.” (Vita Alex.) Now, by the them see the danger they were in, and at the same time, joint authority of these two excellent historians, this passage is as Josephus adds, poured out a storm of thunder and no more than an ordinary thing; but the Mosaic transit must still remain a miracle, until we find as good historians to vouch lightning, and hailstones upon them from the cloud,' for a passage over the Red Sea.--Nicholls' Conference, part 2.

6 The words of Josephus are these. "I have been more particular in these relations, because I find them in holy writ; and

• Exod. xiv, 19, 20. * Exod. xiv, 19.

s Exod. xiv. 25. let no man think this story incredible of the sea's dividing to for the passage of the Macedonian army, when the matter of save the Hebrews, for we find it in ancient records, that this fact was no such thing. hath been seen before, whether by God's extraordinary will, or c One affirms that the sea is six leagues wide at this place; by the course of nature, it is indifferent. The same thing hap- another makes it but fifteen furlongs; one says it is narrow, and pened one time to the Macedonians, under the command of long like a river, and another allows it to be the breadth of one Alexander, when, for want of another passage, the Pamphylian league. Thevenot makes it eight or nine miles in breadth, but sea divided to make them way, God's providence making use of Andricomius will have it to be no more than six. The transit Alexander at that time as his instrument for destroying the most probably took place at the embouchure of the valley of Bedea, Persian empire.” (b. 2. c. 16.) But it is evident that Josephus or about twenty miles below Suez, at which point, according to was ignorant of the account of the above cited historians, other- Bruce, the gulf is three leagues over, with fourteen fathoms of wise he would have said nothing of the Pamphylian sea's dividing water in the channel.



« PreviousContinue »