תמונות בעמוד
[ocr errors]

mean arguments to support it. Ift, They desire us to take notice of the intent of the passage through the fea: which was, the drowning of the Egyptians, and by that means to manifest the glory of God to the people all around. And therefore it is probable, the Egyptians were thrown out on that part of the shore which was nearest to Egypt, that the judgment of God might be manifested to that kingdom. 2dly, They observe, that the part of the Red Sea, which the Israelites passed over, is distant from the opposite shore at least six, others say, fifteen leagues : which journey, it seems, could not possibly be accomplished by so great an army, together with their children, women, and baggage, in the compass of a short night as was done here, ver. 21, 23. 3dly, It appears from Exod. xii. 20. that before the Ifraelites entered into the sea, they encamped in the wilderness of Etham, in the border of the wilderness. And yet after their coming out of the sea, they again proceeded to the wilderness of Etham, Numb. xxiii. 8. They consequently returned to the same shore, but at a greater distance from the place, from which they set out. This argument cannot be answered, but by saying, either that there were two wildernesses of the same name, on each side of the Red Sea, which Lyranus does, or that the whole country, quite to mount Sinai, went under the same appellation, according to Rivet: but whether this can be proved, is matter of inquiry. 4thly, They add, that the Red Sea does not lie between Egypt and mount Sinai, but that the journey by land is directly performed with camels and other cattle. Of this may be seen the Itinerariuin of della Valle p 1. C 27, 28. 5thly, The argument for the contrary sentiment, taken from its being said, that the Ifraelites paffed through the Red Sea seems to be of little weight. For, the sacred history uses very general terms, " and they went into the midst of the sea," Exod. xiv. 22. they walked upon dry land in the midst of the sea,” ver. 29. it is, indeed, said Numb. xxxiii. 8. and they passed through. But besides, the word fometimes simply signifies to go on before, as Gen. xxxiii. 3. and he passed over (went on) before; the Ifraelites may very properly be said to have pafled through the waters of the sea, though by taking a semicircular compass they returned to the fame shore. For in every journey there is an intermediate palsage from the term from which, to the term to which. Nor is it necessary, that every paffage should be in a direct line. 6thly, Nor is it more convincing, that they are said to have walked in the midst of the fea, though others oppose this very reason. For certainly they who had the sea both on their right and left, must have walked in the midst of the sea by what way soever, or whitherfoever they went. So that it appears, nothing certain


can be brought from Scripture for the opposite opinion. The decision of the question depends principally on an exact plan or map of the country. Whoever wants more on this head may consult Fagius in Exod. iv. and Christian. Schotanus, my honoured predeceffor in the chair at Franeker, Biblioth. Sacr. T. 2. p. 142. add Genebrardus in Chron. p. 66. Gregor. Turon. Hift. lib. 1. C. 10. Abulensis, and Grotius on the place, and who is more full on the subject, Ludovicus de Tena ad Hebr. 11, Dif ficult. 19. and lastly, Usher, Epift. 105.

X. The Apostle alluding, 1 Cor. x. 1, 2. to this hiftory, says, « that all the fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the fea, and were all baptised unto Moses in the cloud and in the fea.” Here are three difficulties to be cleared up: first, it is enquired, how the apostle could write, that they were under the cloud, since the facred history declares, that the cloud went behind them, Exod. xiv. 19. But this is of little weight; for it was behind them in such a manner, that it hung a great way over them, and extending to a vast breadth, and height, encompaffed them under its protection: as there is an allusion to this," İfa. iv. 5. “and Jehovah will create upon every dwelling place of mount Zion, and upon her assemblies a cloud by day.”

XI. The other difficulty is something more considerable ; namely, how the Israelites could be baptized in the cloud and in the fea, since they were not dipt in the water of the sea, nor wetted by the cloud. But we are to know. ist, That the apostle uses the term baptism here in a figurative sense. For, because the Corinthians gloried of baptism, the apostle applies the name of baptism to those things, of which the Israelites might glory, as much as the Corinthians could of baptism, and which were to them instead of baptism. 2dly, There is also some sort of agreement in the external sign: a cloud differs very little from water, and the sea is water already: the cloud hung over their heads, so also water hangs over baptised persons. Compare this with what we shall presently advance from Gregory of Nyssa, concerning the cloud. The sea surrounded them on all fides; so does water also, those that are baptised. 3dly, This fign fignifies the same that baptism does: and so baptism is the antitype of it, as on a like subject Peter said, 1 Peter iii. 21. See Cameron in 1 Cor. x. And the ancient Jews have observed, that, in the baptism of the Israelites, there was indeed a peculiar respect had to the pillar of cloud. In Pirke R. Eliez. c. 44. R. Zacharias speaks thus: “the pillar of cloud surrounded the camp of the Israelites, as a wall surrounds a town; por could an enemy or foe approach to them.” But, “ the cloud preserved those who wanted true baptism, even without



camp, which was holy.” Gul. Vorstius has ingenuously compared this passage with this place of the apostle. But what we have faid concerning the passage of the Ifraelites through the sea, and the baptism therein, appears much more probable to us than the judgment of Selden, in other respects a learned man, who by the sea understands here any receptacle of water, and will have the passing through the sea to be the same, as to be dipt in water, de Synedr. lib. 1. c. 3, But this intricate way of speaking seems not to agree with the simplicity of the apostle.

XII. Thirdly, it is proper to enquire, in what sense they may be said to be baptised unto Mofes ; since that seems to be too great-an honour to be conferred on a servant, or any mere man ? 1 Cor. i. 13. I answer, it is one thing to be baptised unto a person ; another, to be baptised in the name of a person. In whose name foever we are baptifed, we are baptised by his authority and command ; we acknowledge him for our king, who alone can institute public seals; we devote our obedience and worship to him, so as for the future to be called by his name; from him we, by faith, expect that spiritual grace, which is sealed by baptism. Paul carefully disclaimed this honour, because it was greater than became a man. To be baptised unto any person, is by far of a lower degree; for either, it fignifies limply, to be baptised by the ministry of any one; or thus, that by receiving baptism, we acknowledge such a person to be a faithful servant of God. Both may be here with propriety joined together. They were baptised unto Moses ; that is, according to the Syriac, by the hand of Mofes; or, as Augustin reads on Psalm 77, by Moses. For, Mofes, by his prayers, obtained for them this protection of the cloud, and this paffage through the sea. Moses, by stretching out his rod, divided the water; Mofes, first entered the channel of the sea, and both led and encouraged the rest to venture with him. And thus they were baptised by the means of Moses. But there is more implied in this manner of speaking. As these miracles were sacraments of divine grace to the true and spiritual Israel, so they were also fymbols, by which God confirmed the ministry of Mofes, and proved him to be a typical deliverer and mediator. And therefore in the place, where we read of their passing through the sea, the people is said “ to have believed Jehovah, and his fervant Moses," Exod. xiv. 31. : and in so far the people did well; for, Exod. xix. 9. when God himself fet forth the authority he had bestowed on Mofes, he says, “ lo I come unto thee in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with thee, and believe thee for ever.” And thus


they were baptised unto Moses, because by this sign God taught them to acknowledge Moses for a faithful prophet, and an eminent type of the Messiah, by whose intervention those benefits should be conferred upon them, which were both great in themselves, and earnests of the greatest blessings to be conferred by the Messiah. And in this refpect Mofes had something peculiar above other ministers.

XIII. This very passage of Paul leads us to meditate on the. mystery of this sign : for, it teaches us, that, in its fignificae tion, it answers to our baptism. Tertullian, lib. de Baptismo says; “ first, when the people went out of Egypt, and, by pafsing through the water, escaped the tyranny of the king of Egypt, who with all his hosts was overwhelmed. Which fie gure is more evident in the sacrament of baptism. The nations are delivered from the world, namely by the water, and leave the devil, their old tyrant, funk in the water." But let us descend to particulars.

XIV. This miraculous cloud was: ift, A symbol of God's gracious presence: For, “ God was in the cloud,” Exod. xiii, 21. " and the angel of God,” Exod. xiv. 19 : namely “ the angel of the covenant, the angel of his presence,” who had appeared to Moses in the bush, and led the Israelites through the wilderness, Ifa. Ixiii. 9. 2dly, It prefigured 'the future incarnation of the Son of God : for, as the Son of God vailed the infinite glory of his majesty in this cloud, spoke from it, wrought miracles, and protected his people, so in like manner he was, in due time, to conceal his majesty under the affumed form of a servant, Phil. ii. 7. but in such a manner, that the rays of his glory, might at times shine forth in his divine difcourses and miracles, which no age ever saw either like them, or equal to them, John i. 14. 3dly, It fignified God's protection towards the elect, and his pointing out the way, through the wilderness of this world, to the heavenly Canaan. For, as Gregory of Nyfla finely says of this cloud, de Vita Mofes. “ It was such a miracle, that while the shining rays of the sun were hot and scorching, it defended the people like an interposing screen, and tempered, with its made and the gentle drops of dew, that were diffused, the heat of the air : but in the night it became a fire, and by its own light afforded the Ifraelites, as it were a torch or flambeau from evening till the rising of the fun.” Such is the protection and guidance, that we have in Christ, who, by his shadow, screens us from the heat of divine wrath, Isa. iv. 5, 6. and enlightens us by his word and Spirit, “ as the light of the world, which whoever followeth, fhall not walk in darkness," John viii. 12. who, in


[ocr errors]


a word, is the “ author and finisher of our faith,” Heb. xii. 2. 4thly, As this cloud placed itself in the middle between Israel and the Egyptians; fo Christ takes upon himself those evils, which threaten his people, and the glory of the Lord is their reward," Ila. lviii. 8.

XV. We may observe in the passage through the Red Sea, the following things. Pharaoh and the Egyptians are the figure or emblem of the devil and fin, who use, their utmost endeavour, to keep the elect under their yoke of bondage, and when ever with a generous mind, they aspire to liberty, to pull them back again. But they shall lose their labour, and in the end dearly pay for their wickedness, in a way answerable to their crimes. Because Pharaoh commanded the young children of the Ifraelites to be drowned in the river, Exod. i. 22. himself with all his hosts, is, by the law of retaliation, drowned in the sea. The angel of the waters publishes a similar procedure of divine jus, tice, Rev. xvi. 6. “ because they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, thou hast given them blood to drink: for they are worthy."

XVI. Moses was a type of Christ, our deļiverer and Saviour. (1.) Moses, by his prayers, interceded for the people, and obtained for them this great salvation. Christ is our advocate with the Father; and all the good that befals us, is owing to his intercession. (2.) Mofes with his rod, as a moral inftru, nient, divided the waters: Christ, with the wood of his cross, hath opened a new and living way to heaven. (3). Moses was the leader of the people, and went before them, through a way, by which none ever went before. Christ, also went before us in the road of sufferings, “ leaving us an example, that we should follow his steps," 1 Pet. ii. 21. (4.) Moses with the rod, with which he divided the waters, that the Ifraelites might pass through, got the waters to return and drown the Egyppians. The same cross of Christ; which “ unto them which are called, is the power of God, is unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and to the Greeks foolishness," I Cor. i. 23, 24. “ to these the favour of death unto death; but to those the favour of life unto life,”? 2 Cor. ii. 19.

XVII. The waters of the Red Sea signify afflictions, and even death itself: so likewise do the waters of baptism, the fellowfhip in the sufferings, death and burial of Christ, Rom. vi. 3, 4. But as the Ifraelites marched to their deliverance through the midst of the waters, as through the midst of death: so, in like manner, the sufferings, which we undergo for Christ, work fos us a far more exceeding weight of glory, 2 Cor. iv. 17. and death itself is the paffage to eternal life, John. v. 14. The


« הקודםהמשך »