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hastened home to give their father an account of the ge. nerosity of the stranger, who had protected them against the insults of the rustics. Jethro* hearing their story, and not seeing the person who had thus gallantly defended them, reprehends their ingratitude and incivility, asking what was become of the generous stranger? They told him they left him at the well whereupon he bids them go and invite him home; where Moses is so charmed with their hospitable entertainment, that he expressed an inclination to take up his constant residence with them, and undertake the charge of their sheep. Jethro readily closed with the proposal, and to engage him the more to his interest, bestowed Zipporah, one of his daughters, upon him for a wife; by whom he had two sons, the eldest of whom he named Gershom, which signifies. "a Stranger:" "For (said he) I havet been a stranger "in a strange land:" and the younger he called Eliezer, importing, "God my help:""For the God of my fa"ther (said he) was my help, and delivered me from the "sword of Pharaoh."

While Moses continued in Jethro's family, the king of Egypt died: But his successor proved no more favourable to the poor oppressed Hebrews; who changed their oppressor, but not their condition; the miseries of which rather increased than abated. In vain they appeal to the merciless tyrant and his more cruel task-masters, who lord it over them with unbounded severity. But God, who saw the affliction of his people, and whose ears were open to receive their complaints, looked with an eye of compassion upon them; and the appointed time of their deliverance, which he in his secret providence had deter

• Jethro. He is called in Exodus ii. 18. Reuel. He is also called Reuel, Numb. x. 29. who was father to Hobab, called also, and more commonly, Jethro Exod. iii. 1.

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mined, being near, he began to prepare Moses for the great work of which he was to be made the honoured in

strument.

While Moses kept his father's sheep, he one day led* them as far into the desert as Mount Horeb,† where the Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush. Moses was startled at the sight; but that which added to his admiration and roused his curiosity, was the continuance of the bush unconsumed, notwithstanding it was wholly encompassed with flames. This extraordinary appearance induced Moses to examine it more attentively; he therefore said to himself, I will turn aside, and see if I can discover the reason of this unusual sight. But the Lord, to prevent his irreverent approach, and to strike him with the greater awe and sense of the Divine Presence, called to him out of the bush, and forbade his drawing nearer; and to make him still more sensible of the sacredness of the place, God commanded him not to profane it, but to put off his sandals, for the ground whereon he stood was holy. Moses being prepared for an awful attention, the Almighty thus discovers himself to him: "I am the God of thy father, the God "of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob." These words affected

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* Led. Here we may observe the manner of those times and countries, that whereas the shepherds here drive their flocks before them, the shepherds there went before their flocks, and the flocks followed them; which custom is alluded to in Psal. lxxx. 1. and John x. 4.

Horeb. Which signifies forsaken, and is here, Exod. iii, 1. called the Mountain of God by way of anticipation, both from the following appearance of God upon it, at this time, and his descending upon it afterwards, to give the law to his people, Ch. xix. 20. where, though it is called Sinai, it is the same place with this, for St. Stephen reciting this present passage in Acts vii. 30, calls it mount Sinai.

Holy. Meaning, that wherever God, who is holiness itself, appears, the place is holy, while he is present. It is worthy of remark, that the orientals un cover their feet to this day, in all places devoted to God.

The person speaking to Moses is called, Exod. iii. 2. «The Angel of the Lord;" and yet this Angel is no created being, for he says, "I am the God

Moses with such reverence of the Divine Majesty, and fear of the effects of his unwitting presumption, that he fell on the ground and covered his face, not daring to look up on the terrible glory. But the Lord proceeding, said, "I have seen the affliction of my people, I have "heard their complaint, and am come* down to deliver "them out of the hand of their oppressors, and to con"duct them to the promised land, a land that floweth with "milk and honey; to the place of the Canaanites and "the Hittites, the Amorites and the Perrizzites, the Hivites "and the Jebuzites. And thee have I pitched upon to "be my instrument in this great work; therefore be of good courage, for I will send thee to Pharaoh to de"mand liberty of him for my people, the children of Is"rael." Moses, considering how things stood with him in Egypt, and upon what account he left that court; and probably not knowing that the old king of Egypt, who had threatened his life, was dead, began to excuse himself, urging his own meanness and insufficiency to take upon himself the character of an ambassador. But God removed this difficulty, saying, "I will certainly be with thee: and

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of thy father," and, "I am that I am," he therefore could be no other than the supreme Jehovah; he who afterwards appeared on Mount Sinaï, who gave the Law on that mount as the King of Israel, and who conducted them through the wilderness. And as no man hath seen God, the Father, at any time, it must have been the second person in the adorable Trinity, and who, though in the form of God, was made in the likeness of man.

It is remarkable that our Saviour infers the resurrection of the dead from the pas sage above mentioned. "I am the God of Abraham," &c. Matt. xxii. 31. and shews that though they were long deceased, yet they existed still with him; and that their bodies shall hereafter share in celestial glory.

• Come. This is speaking according to the manner of men; God vouchsafes to express himself in the language and according to the capacity of man, that he may understand him.

✦ Milk. This is an hyperbolical expression of fruitfulness and plenty of good things.

Courage. This is most properly rendered by the Septuagint, the word which we render come now, being an adverb of exhorting.

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"let this extraordinary sight, which thou hast now seen, "be a token that I have sent thee: and when thou hast brought the people out of Egypt, ye shall serve me on "this mountain." But Moses, to evade this office, increases the difficulty by urging, "When I come to the children of •6 Israel, and tell them that the God of their fathers hath "sent me to them, and they shall ask me his name; what "shall I say to them?" God replied, "I AM THAT I AM.* "And thou shalt further say to them; I AM, (that is, The "LORD, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the "God of Isaac, the God of Jacob) hath sent me to you; "that is the Name I have had from all eternity, and by "that name will I be known for ever. Go, gather the "Elders of Israel, and say to them, The Lord God of your fathers hath appeared to me, and said, I have seen "all the calamities that have befallen you in Egypt, and "am resolved to deliver you, and lead you into the "land of Canaan. The Israelites shall believe you, and fr you shall go to the king of Egypt, and say to him, the "God of the Hebrews hath commanded us to go three "days' journey into the desert, there to offer sacrifice to "the Lord our God. This request, though so very rea"sonable, I know he will not grant; but will refuse to "let you go unless compelled by a powerful hand: but "I will exert my self in many miraculous operations upon "him and his subjects, and at last he shall permit you to

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I AM. This denotes the eternity of God, whose essence knows no beginning nor end. And it is common with the Hebrews to express the future in the present tense and for this reason some turn it, I WILL BE WHAT I WILL BE and contend that it ought to be so rendered, not only from the letter of the Hebrew text, but from the genuine sense of the words: from which others likewise infer that it ought to be so rendered, I wILL BE for ever; and I WILL BE with you and redeem you from the Egyptians: and others, I WILL be with you in your present tribulations and future calamities. This name is likewise expressed in Rev. i. 4. by which is signified JEHOVAH, which is the proper name of God.

Elders. By this some understand the Doctors and Governors; but it is most probable the elders were heads or chiefs of tribes and families. By which it is plain there was a private policy and economy continued among the Israelites, though in this servile condition.

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depart; but you shall not go away empty, for you shall “be laden with the spoils of the Egyptians.

This solemn assurance, delivered by the mouth of God, one would conceive might have been sufficient to have encouraged Moses willingly to undertake the embassy; but either from the difficulty or boldness of the enter prize, or from diffidence of his own abilities, he declines it, and questions whether the Israelites will receive his credentials. This objection God immediately overrules by a miracle; for commanding him to throw his rod on the ground, it was instantly turned into a serpent: Moses, affrighted at this sudden transformation of his rod, fled from it. But God, to encourage him, bade him take it by the tail; which he had no sooner done, than it resumed its former shape. And at the same time to convince him that he should not want credit with the Israelites, God gave him commission to perform the same miracle before them: and to remove all further scruple he condescends to give him another sign, bidding him put his hand into his bosom; which he had no sooner done, than it was struck with a white* leprosy. And when, by God's command, he had put it into his bosom again, and plucked it out, his flesh had resumed its former colour and substance. And yet to arm him sufficiently, and beyond all question, he was pleased to add a third miracle: "If they will not be"lieve these two former, (said he) thou shalt take of the "water of the river and pour it upon dry land, and the "water shall become blood."

Still Moses excused himself; and his last plea was, that he was totally destitute of eloquence, the great qualification of an ambassador; and that, since God had condescended to talk to him, he was more slow of speech than before. This objection the Lord was pleased to remove by putting him in mind of his omnipotence:

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White Leprosy. The evidence of this miracle was so much the more convincing, because the White Leprosy, which was held incurable, was both inAicted and healed in an instant, without any outward means, or physical appli cation.

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