The Typology of Scripture, Volume 2 - Patrick Fairbairn - ebook

The Typology of Scripture, Volume 2 ebook

Patrick Fairbairn



There are few topics connected with Biblical interpretation, which seem to be more in need of re-investigation. The old opinions have gone out of vogue, without being replaced by any better, or indeed by any other system, so that the whole subject has been long in a most unsettled state. This would be no great evil if typology were merely a matter of curious speculation; but embracing as it does some of the most difficult and interesting questions of interpretation, its perversion or neglect cannot fail to be attended by the most pernicious consequences. Under these impressions, which have long been forming, in this book the difficulties of the subject are distinctly recognized and fairly appreciated. The author is acquainted with the history of his subject. .He does not come to the discussion of it, with a few ex parte notions gathered from some recent writer. He knows not only where the difficulty lies, but what attempts have heretofore been made for its removal. This is volume two out of two.

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The Typology of Scripture


Volume 2








The Typology of Scripture 2, P. Fairbairn

Jazzybee Verlag Jürgen Beck

86450 Altenmünster, Loschberg 9



ISBN: 9783849650667

[email protected]


Cover Design: based on an artwork by By Toby Hudson - Own work; this version sourced from Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0 au,








Book III. The Dispensation With  And Under The Law. 1

Chapter I. The Divine Truths  Embodied In The Historical Transactions. 1

Section I. The Bondage. 1

Section II. The Deliverer And His Commission. 18

Section III. The Deliverance. 27

Chapter II, Section First. What Properly Termed The Law, 46

Section Second. The Law Continued. 63

Section Third. The Law Continued. 70

Section Fourth. What The Law Could Not Do. 92

Section Fifth. The Purposes  For Which The Law Was Given. 103

Section Sixth. The Relation Of  Believers Under The New Testament 116

Chapter III. The Religious  Truths And Principles. 132

Section First. Introductory. 132

Section Second. The Tabernacle  In Its General Structure And Design. 152

Section Third. The Ministers Of The Tabernacle. 170

Section Fourth. The Division Of The Tabernacle. 196

Section Fifth. The Most Holy Place. 214

Section Sixth. The Holy Place. 229

Section Seventh. The Offerings And Services Connected With The Brazen Altar 241

Section Eighth. Special Rites And Institutions. 265

Section Ninth. The Stated Solemnities And Feasts. 292

Chapter IV. Historical Developments. 315

Section First. The Conquest Of Canaan. 315

Section Second. The Period Of The Judges. 322

Section Third. The Kingly Institution. 327

Section Fourth. The Prophetical Order. 329

Section Fifth. The Babylonish  Exile And Its Results. 334


Book III. The dispensation with and under the law.








The history of what is called the Patriarchal religion may be said to terminate with the descent of the children of Israel into Egypt, or at least with the prosperous circumstances which attended the earlier period of their sojourn there. For the things which afterwards befel them in that land, rather belong to the dispensation of Moses. They tended, in various respects, to prepare the way for this new dispensation, more especially by furnishing the facts in which its fundamental ideas were to be embodied, and on which its institutions were to be based. The true religion, as formerly noticed, has ever distinguished itself from impostures, by being founded on great facts, which, by bringing prominently out the character of God's purposes and government, provide the essential elements of the religion he prescribes to his people. This characteristic of the true religion, like every other, received its highest manifestation in the gospel of Christ, where every distinctive element of truth and duty, is made to grow out of the facts of his eventful history. The same characteristic, however, belongs, though in a less perfect form, to the Patriarchal religion, which was based upon the transactions connected with man's fall, his expulsion from the garden of Eden, and the promise then given of a future deliverer:--these formed, in a manner, the ground-floor of the symbolical and typical religion, under which the earlier inhabitants of the world were placed, Nor was it otherwise with the religious dispensation, which stood midway between the Patriarchal and the Christian--the dispensation of Moses. For here also the groundwork was laid in the facts of Israel's history, which were so arranged by the controlling hand of God, as clearly to disclose the leading truths and principles that were to pervade the entire dispensation, and that gave to its religious institutions their peculiar form and character.

When we speak of fundamental truths and principles in reference to the Mosaic religion, it will be readily understood that these necessarily required to be somewhat more full and comprehensive than those which constitute the foundation of the first and simplest form of religion. The Mosaic religion did not start into being as something original and independent; it grew out of the Patriarchal, and was just, indeed, the Patriarchal religion in a farther state of progress and developement. So much was this the case, that the mission of Moses avowedly begins where the communications of God to the patriarchs end; and, resuming what had been for a time suspended, takes for its immediate object the fulfilment of the purpose which the Lord had, ages before, pledged his word to accomplish. [1] Its real starting-point is the covenant made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, with an especial reference to that part of it which concerned the occupation of the land of Canaan. And as the one dispensation thus commenced with the express design of carrying out and completing what the other had left unfinished, the latter of the two must be understood to have recognised and adopted as its own all the truths and principles of the first. What might now be regarded as fundamental, and required as such to be interwoven with the historical transactions by which the dispensation of Moses was brought in, must have been, to a considerable extent, super-additional,--including those, indeed, which, belonged to the Patriarchal religion, but coupling with them such others as were fitted to constitute the elements of a more advanced state of religious knowledge and attainment.

We are not to imagine, however, that the additional religious truths and principles, which were to be historically brought out at the commencement of the Mosaic dispensation, must have appeared there by themselves, distinct and apart from those which descended from Patriarchal times. We would rather expect, from the common ground on which the true religion always erects itself, and the common end it aims at, that the new would be intermingled with the old; and that the ideas, on which the first religion was based, must re-appear and stand prominently forth in the next, and indeed in every religious dispensation. The Patriarchal religion began with the loss of man's original inheritance, and pointed in all its institutions of worship and providential dealings, to the recovery of what was lost. It was the merciful provision of heaven to light the way, and direct the steps of Adam's fallen family to a paradise restored. The religion brought in by the ministry of Moses began with an inheritance, not lost, indeed, but standing at an apparently hopeless distance, though conferred in free grant, and secured by covenant-promise for a settled possession. As an expression of the good-will of God to men, and the object of hope to his church, the place originally held by the garden of Eden, with the way barred to the tree of life, but ready to be opened whenever the righteousness should be brought in, for which the church was taught to wait and strive, was now substantially occupied by that land flowing with milk and honey, which had become the destined inheritance of the heirs of promise. It was the immediate design and object of the mission of Moses to conduct the church, as called to cherish this new form of hope, into the actual possession of its promised blessings; and to do this, not simply with the view of having the hope turned into reality, but so as at the same time, and in accordance with God's general plan, to unfold the great principles of his character and government, and raise his church to a higher position in all religious knowledge and experience. In a word, God's object, then, was, as it has ever been, not merely to bring his church to the possession of a promised good, but to furnish by his method of doing it the elements of a religion, corresponding in its nature and effects to the inheritance possessed or hoped for, and thus to render the whole subservient to the highest purposes of his moral government.

When we speak, however, of the inheritance of Canaan being in the time of Moses the great object of hope to the church, and the boon which his mission was specially designed to realise, we must take into account what, we trust, was satisfactorily established concerning it, in the earlier part of our investigations. [2] 1. The earthly Canaan was never designed by God, nor could it from the first have been understood by his people, to be the ultimate and proper inheritance which they were to occupy---things having been spoken and hoped for concerning it, which plainly could not be realised within the bounds of Canaan, nor on the earth at all, as at present constituted. 2. The inheritance, in its full and proper sense, was one which could be enjoyed only by those who had become children of the resurrection, themselves fully redeemed in soul and body from the effects and consequences of sin. 3. The occupation of the earthly Canaan by the natural seed of Abraham, in its grand and ultimate design, was a type of the occupation by a redeemed church of her destined inheritance of glory. Hence everything concerning the entrance of Israel on that temporary possession had necessarily to be ordered, so as fitly to represent and foreshadow the things which belong to the church's establishment in her final and permanent possession. The matter may thus be briefly stated: God selected a portion--probably at that time the fairest portion of the earth, [3] which he challenged as his own in a peculiar sense, that he might convert it into a suitable habitation and inheritance for the people whom he had already chosen to be peculiarly his own. On this people, settled in this possession, he purposed to bestow the highest earthly tokens of his gracious presence and blessing. But what he was going to do for them in temporal and earthly things, was only a representation and a pledge of what, from before the birth of time, he had purposed to do in heavenly things, when the period should come for gathering into one his universal church, and planting her in his everlasting inheritance of life and glory. There is, therefore, a twofold object to be kept in view, while we investigate this part of the divine procedure and arrangements, as in these also there was a twofold design. The whole that took place between the giving of the hope to the patriarchs, and its realization in their posterity, we must, in the first instance, view as demonstrating on what principles God could, consistently with his character and government, bestow upon them such an inheritance, or keep them in possession of its blessings. But we must, at the same time, in another point of view, regard the whole as the shadow of higher and better things to come. We must take it as a glass, in which to see mirrored the form and pattern of God's everlasting kingdom, and that with an especial reference to the grand principles on which the heirs of salvation were to be brought to the enjoyment of its future and imperishable glories.

We are furnished at the very outset with no doubtful indication of the propriety of keeping in view this twofold bearing, in the condition of the heirs of promise. These, when the promise was first given, and for two generations afterwards, were kept in the region of the inheritance; and if the purposes of God respecting them had simply been directed to their occupation of it as a temporal and earthly good, the natural, and in every respect the easiest plan, would manifestly have been, to give them a settled place in it at the first, and gradually to have opened the way to their complete possession of the promised territory. But instead of this, they were absolutely prohibited from having then any fixed habitation within its borders; and by God's special direction and overruling providence, were carried altogether away from the land, and planted in Egypt. There they found a settled home and dwelling-place, which they were not only permitted, but obliged to keep for generations, before they were allowed to possess any interest in the promised inheritance. And it was precisely their long-continued sojourn in that foreign country, the relations into which it brought them, the feelings and associations which there grew upon them, and the interests with which they became connected, that so greatly embarrassed the mission of Moses, and rendered the work given him to do so peculiarly difficult and complicated. Had nothing more been contemplated by their settlement in Canaan than their simply being brought to the possession of a pleasant and desirable inheritance, after the manner of this world, nothing could have been more unfortunate and adverse than such a deep and protracted entanglement with the affairs of Egypt. Considered merely in that point of view, there is much in the divine procedure, which could neither be vindicated as wise, nor approved as good and the whole plan would manifestly lie open to the most serious objections. But matters present themselves in a different light, when we understand that every thing connected with the earthly and temporal inheritance, was ordered so as to develope the principles on which alone God could righteously confer upon men even that inferior token of his regard,--and this again, as the type or pattern according to which he should afterwards proceed in regulating the concerns of his everlasting kingdom:--Viewed thus, as the whole ought to be, it will be found in every part consistent with the highest reason, and, indeed, could not have been materially different, without begetting erroneous impressions of the mind and character of God. So that in proceeding to read what belongs to the work and handwriting of Moses, we must never lose sight of the fact, that we are tracing the footsteps of One, whose ways on earth have ever been mainly designed to disclose the path to heaven, and whose procedure in the past was carefully planned to prepare the way for the events and issues of "the world to come."

The first point to which our attention is naturally turned, is the one already alluded to, respecting the condition of the Israelites, the heirs of promise, when this new stage of God's proceedings began to take its course. We find them not only in a distant country, but labouring there under the most grievous hardship and oppression, When this adverse position of affairs took its commencement, or how, we are not further told, than in the statement that "a new king arose up over Egypt, who knew not Joseph"--a statement which has not unfrequently been thought to indicate a change of dynasty in the reigning family of Egypt. This ignorance, it would seem, soon grew into estrangement, and that again, into jealousy and hatred; for afraid lest the Israelites, who were increasing with great rapidity in numbers and influence, should become too powerful, and should usurp dominion over the country, or, at least, in time of war, prove a formidable enemy within the camp, the then reigning Pharaoh took counsel to afflict them with heavy burdens, and to keep them down by means of oppression.

It is quite possible there may have been peculiar circumstances connected with the civil affairs of Egypt, which tended to foster and strengthen this rising enmity, and seemed to justify the harsh and oppressive policy in which it shewed itself. But we have quite enough to account for it, in the character which belonged to the family of Jacob, when they entered Egypt, coupled with the extraordinary increase and prosperity which attended them there. It was as a company of shepherds they were presented before Pharaoh, and the land of Goshen was assigned them for a dwelling-place, expressly on account of its rich pasturage. [4] But "every shepherd," it is said, "was an abomination to the Egyptians;" and with such a strong feeling against them in the national mind, nothing but an overpowering sense of the obligation under which the Egyptians lay to the Israelites, could have induced them to grant to this shepherd race such a settlement within their borders. Nor can it be wondered at, that when the remembrance of the obligation ceased to be felt, another kind of treatment should have been experienced by the family of Jacob than what they at first received, and that the native, deep-seated repugnance to those who followed their mode of life, should begin to break forth. That there was such a repugnance is a well ascertained fact, apart altogether from the testimony of Scripture. The monuments of Egypt furnish ample evidence of it, as they constantly exhibit shepherds in an inferior or despicable point of view, sometimes even as the extreme of coarseness and barbarity, and the objects of unmingled contempt. [5] We cannot suppose this hatred towards shepherds to have arisen simply from their possessing flocks and herds; for we have the clearest evidence in the Pentateuch, that Pharaoh possessed these, and that they existed in considerable numbers throughout the land. [6] It seems rather to have been occasioned by the general character and habits of the nomade or shepherd tribes, [7] who have ever been averse to the arts of cultivation and civilized life, and most unscrupulous in seizing, when they had the opportunity, the fruits that have been raised by the industry and toil of others. From the earliest times the rich and fertile country of Egypt has suffered much from these marauding hordes of the desert, to whose incursions it lies open both on the east and on the west. And as the land of Goshen skirted the deserts of Arabia, where especially the Bedouin or wandering tribes from time immemorial have been accustomed to dwell, we can easily conceive how the native Egyptians would watch with jealousy and dread the rising power and importance of the Israelites. By descent they were themselves allied with those shepherd tribes, and by the advantage of their position they held the key on an exposed side to the heart of the kingdom; so that, if they became strong enough, and chose to act in concert with their Arab neighbours, they might have overspread the land with desolation. Indeed, it is a historical fact, that "the Bedouin Arabs settled in Egypt have always made common cause with the Arabs (of the Desert) against the communities that possessed the land. They fought against the Saracen dynasty in Egypt, against the Turkomans, as soon as they had acquired the ascendancy, against the Mamlook Sultans, who were the successors of the Turkomans, and they have been at war with the Osmanlis without intermission, since they first set foot upon Egypt more than 300 years ago." [8]

Hence, when the Israelites appeared so remarkably to flourish and multiply in their new abode, it was no unnatural policy for the Egyptians to subject them to hard labour and vexatious burdens. They would thus expect to repress their increase, and break their spirit--and, by destroying what remained of their pastoral habits, and training them to the arts and institutions of civilized life, as these existed in Egypt, to lessen at once their desire and their opportunities of leaguing for any hostile purpose with the tribes of the desert. At the same time, while such reasons might sufficiently account for the commencement of a hard and oppressive policy, there were evidently other reasons connected at least with the severer form, which it ultimately reached, and such as argued some acquaintance with the peculiar prospects of Israel. It was only one ground of Pharaoh's anxiety respecting them, that they might possibly join hands with an enemy and fight against Egypt; another fear was that they "might get them up out of the land." [9] This seems to bespeak a knowledge of the fact, that some other region than Goshen belonged to the Israelites as their proper home, for which they were disposed, at a fitting time, to leave their habitations in Egypt. Nor, indeed, would it be difficult for the king of Egypt to obtain such knowledge, as, in the earlier period of their sojourn, the Israelites had no motive to hold it in concealment. Then, the announcement of Jacob's dying command to carry up his remains to the land of Canaan, of which the whole court of Pharaoh was apprized, and afterwards the formal withdrawal of Joseph and his family from the families and affairs of Egypt, to identify themselves with the state and prospects of their kindred, were more than sufficient to excite the suspicion of a jealous and unfriendly government, that they did not expect to remain always connected with the land and fortunes of Egypt. "It is clear that Pharaoh knew of a home for these stranger-Israelites, while he wished to have the thought of it banished from his mind; and that though his forefather had treated them to a possession in the land of Egypt, he now considered them as his servants, whom he was determined not to lose. It is precisely because he would know nothing of freedom and a home for Israel, that the increase of Israel was so great an annoyance to him. The seed of Abraham were, according to the promise, to be a blessing to all nations, and should, therefore, have been greeted with joy by the king of Egypt. But, since the reverse was the case, we can easily see, at this first aspect of Israel's affairs, that the further fulfilment of the promise could not develope itself by the straightest and most direct road, but would have to force its way through impediments of great strength and difficulty." [10]

The kinds of service which were imposed with so much rigour upon the Israelites, though they would doubtless comprehend the various trades and employments which were exercised in the land, consisted chiefly, as might be expected in such a country, in the several departments of field labour. It was especially "in mortar, and in brick, and in all manner of service in the field, that their lives were made bitter with hard bondage." [11] The making of bricks formed of clay and straw appears, during the later period of the bondage, to have been the only servile occupation in which they were largely engaged, and, of course, along with that, the erection of the buildings for which the bricks were made. As the hard and rigorous service to which they were subjected in this department of labour, did not seem to answer the end intended, but the more they were afflicted the more they multiplied and grew, the gloom and distress that hung around their condition were fearfully deepened by the issuing of a cruel edict, commanding that their male children should be killed as soon as they were born. This was too atrocious an edict even for the despot of a heathen land to enforce, as he could not find instruments at his command wicked enough to carry it into execution. In all probability it was soon recalled, or allowed gradually to fall into abeyance; for though it was in force at the birth, of Moses, we hear nothing of it afterwards; and its only marked effect, so far as we are informed, was to furnish the occasion of opening a way for that future deliverer into the temples and palaces of Egypt. So marvellously did God, by his overruling providence, baffle the design of the enemy, and compel "the eater to give forth meat!" The only evil in their condition which seems to have become general and permanent, was the hard service in brick-making and collateral kinds of servile labour, and which, so far from suffering relaxation by length of time, was rather, on slight pretexts, increased and aggravated. It became at last so excessive, that one universal cry of misery and distress arose from the once happy land of Goshen--a cry which entered into the ear of the God of Abraham, and which would no longer permit him to remain an inactive spectator of a controversy, which, if continued, must have made void his covenant with the father of the faithful.  [12]

So much for the condition itself of hard bondage and oppressive labour to which the heirs of the inheritance were reduced, before the time came for their being actually put in possession of its blessings. And situated as they were within the bounds of a foreign kingdom, at first naturally jealous, and then openly hostile towards them, it is not difficult to account for the kind of treatment inflicted on them, viewing the position they occupied merely in its worldly relations and interests. But what account can we give of it in its religious aspect--as an arrangement settled and ordained on the part of God? Why should he have ordered such a state of matters concerning his chosen seed? For, the Egyptians--"though their hearts thought not so"--were but instruments in his hands, to bring to pass what the Lord had long before announced to Abraham as certainly to take place, viz. "that his seed should be strangers in a land that was not theirs, and should serve them, and be afflicted by them four hundred years,"

1. Considered in this higher point of view, the first light in which it naturally presents itself is that of a doom or punishment, from which, as interested in the mercy of God, they needed redemption. For the aspect of intense suffering, which it latterly assumed, could only be regarded as an act of retribution for their past unfaithfulness and sins. We would be perfectly warranted to infer this, even without any express information on the subject, from the general connection in the divine government between sin and suffering. And when placed by the special appointment of heaven in circumstances so peculiarly marked by what was painful and afflicting to nature, the Israelites should then, no doubt, have read in their marred condition, what their posterity were, in like circumstances, taught to read by the prophet--"that it was their own wickedness which corrected them, and their backslidings which reproved them." But we are not simply warranted to draw this as an inference. It is matter of historical certainty brought out in the course of the Mosaic narrative by many and painful indications, that the Israelites were not long in Egypt till they became partakers in Egypt's sins, and that, the longer their stay was protracted there, they only sunk the deeper into the mire of Egyptian idolatry and corruption, and became the more thoroughly alienated from the true knowledge and worship of God. Not only had they, as a people, completely lost sight of the great temporal promise of the covenant, the inheritance of the land of Canaan, but God himself had become to them as a strange God; so that Moses had to inquire for the name, by which he should reveal him to their now dark and besotted minds. [13] The very same language is used concerning their connection with the abominations of Egyptian idolatry, while they sojourned among them, as is afterwards used of their connection with those of Canaan; " they served other Gods," " went a whoring after them," and even long after they had left the region, would not " forsake the idols of Egypt," but still carried its abominations with them, and in their hearts turned back to it. [14] Of the truth of these charges they gave too many affecting proofs in the wilderness; and especially by their setting up, so recently after the awful demonstrations of God's presence and glory on Sinai, and their own covenant-engagements, the worship of the golden calf, with its bacchanalian accompaniments. Their conduct on that occasion was plainly a return to the idolatrous practices of Egypt in their most common form. [15] And, indeed, if their bondage and oppression in its earlier stages did not, as a timely chastisement from the hand of God, check their tendency to imitate the manners and corruptions of Egypt, as it does not appear to have done, it could scarcely fail to be productive of a growing conformity to the evil. For it destroyed that freedom and elevation of spirit, without which genuine religion can never prosper. It robbed them of the leisure they required for the worship of God and the cultivation of their minds (their Sabbaths seem altogether to have perished), and it brought them into such close contact with, the proper possessors of Egypt, as was naturally calculated to infect them with the grovelling and licentious spirit of Egyptian idolatry. So that probably true religion was never at a lower ebb, in the family of Abraham, than toward the close of their sojourn in Egypt; and the swelling waves of affliction, which at last overwhelmed them, only marked the excessive strength and prevalence of that deep under-current of corruption which had carried them away.

Now this condition of the heirs of promise, viewed in reference to its highest bearing, its connection with the inheritance, was made subservient to the manifestation of certain great principles, necessarily involved in this part of the divine procedure, in respect to which it could not properly have been dispensed with. (1.) It first of all clearly demonstrated, that, apart from the covenant of God, the state and prospects of those heirs of promise were in no respect better than those of other men--in some respects it seemed to be worse with them. They were equally far off from the inheritance, being in a state of hopeless alienation from it; they had drunk into the foul and abominable pollutions of the land of their present sojourn, which were utterly at variance with an interest in the promised blessing; and they bore upon them the yoke of a galling bondage, at once the consequence and the sign of their spiritual degradation. They differed for the better only in having a part in the covenant of God. (2.) Therefore, secondly, whatever this covenant secured for them of promised good, it must have secured purely of grace. In so far as they looked to themselves, they could see no ground of preference--they saw, indeed, the very reverse of any title to the blessing, which must hence descend upon them as heaven's free and undeserved gift, This, they were afterwards admonished by Moses, to keep carefully in remembrance: "Speak not thou in thy heart, saying, For my righteousness the Lord hath brought me in to possess this land. Not for thy righteousness or for the uprightness of thine heart dost thou go to possess the land, but that the Lord may perform the word which he sware unto thy fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob." [16] (3.) Hence, finally, the promise of the inheritance could be made good in their experience only by the special kindness and interposition of God, vindicating the truth of his own faithful word, and in order to this, executing in their behalf a work of redemption. While the inheritance was sure, because the title to it stood in the mercy and faithfulness of God, they had of necessity to be redeemed before they could actually possess it. Having become the victims of corruption, they were also the children of wrath; sin had brought them into bondage; and before they could escape to the land of freedom, and rest, the snare must be broken. But the hand of Omnipotence alone could do it. If nature had been left to itself, the result would only have been a fouler corruption and a deeper ruin. It was simply as the Lord's chosen people that they held the promise of the inheritance, and they could enter on its possession, only as those who had been ransomed by his power and goodness. So that the great principles of their degenerate and lost condition, of the sovereignty and freedom of their election to the promised good, of redemption by the grace and power of God in order to obtain it, were interwoven as essential elements with this portion of their history, and imprinted as indelible lines upon the very foundations of their national existence.

The parallel here, in each particular, between the earthly and the spiritual, the temporal and the eternal, or, as we more commonly term it, between the type and the antitype, must so readily present itself to all who are conversant with New Testament Scripture, that we need do nothing more than indicate the agreement. It is most expressly declared, and indeed is implied in the whole plan of redemption unfolded in the Gospel, that those who become heirs of salvation, are in their natural state no better than other men,--they are members of the same fallen family,---the same elements of corruption work in them,--they are children of wrath even as others. [17] When, therefore, it is asked, who makes them to differ, so that while others perish in their sins, they obtain the blessed hope of everlasting life? the only answer that can be returned is, the free and sovereign riches of the grace of God. The confession of Paul for himself, is equally suited to the whole company of the redeemed: "By the grace of God I am what I am;" nor is there a blessing of salvation here, or a ray of glory hereafter, that any of them may experience, of which he shall have another account to give, than that it has flowed from the undeserved mercy and goodness of God. [18] And when this distinguishing grace of God comes down to develope itself in the personal history of men, and to bring them to the possession of its elevated prospects, how can it proceed otherwise than by the execution in their behalf of a supernatural deliverance? The difference is so great between what they naturally are, and what through grace they are to become, that a redemption-process must of necessity form the bridge between the two. As the everlasting inheritance, to the hope of which they are begotten, is entirely the gift of God, so the way which leads to it can be that only which his own outstretched arm has laid open to them; and if, as God's elect, they are called to the inheritance, it is as his redeemed that they go to possess it. [19]

2. We have as yet, however, mentioned only one ultimate reason for the oppressed and suffering condition of the Israelites in Egypt, though in that one were involved various principles bearing upon their relation to the inheritance. But there was another also of great importance---it formed an essential part of the preparation which they needed for occupying the inheritance. This preparation, in its full and proper sense, must, of course, have included qualities of a religious and moral kind--and of these we shall have occasion to speak at large afterwards;--but apart from these, there was needed what might be called a natural preparation; and that especially consisting of two parts--& sufficient desire after the inheritance, and a fitness in temper and habit for the position which, in connection with it, they were destined to occupy.

(1.) It was necessary by some means to have a desire awakened in their bosoms toward Canaan; for this had vanished from their sight, amid the pleasures and advantages of Goshen. The Lord had never intended that Goshen should be to them as a home, or more than a temporary place of sojourn. But, following the native tendency of the heart, which is ever prone to abuse the gifts of divine Providence, and pervert them to ends the very reverse of those for which they are conferred, this pleasant habitation soon became a snare to them. The fulness of its natural delights by degrees took off their thoughts from their high calling and destiny as the church of God; and the more they degenerated into the corrupt and sensual spirit of Egypt, the more would they always be disposed to sit down "in measureless content," with their present comforts. So much had this actually become the case with them, that they could scarcely be kept from returning back to it, notwithstanding the hard service and crying afflictions with which their lives had latterly been made bitter in it. What must have been their views and feelings if no such troubles had been experienced, and all had continued to go well with them in Egypt? How vain would have been the attempt to inspire them with the love of Canaan, and especially to make good their way to it through formidable difficulties and appalling dangers?

The affliction of Israel in Egypt is a testimony to the truth, common to all times, that the kingdom of God must be entered through tribulation. The tribulation may be ever so varied in its character and circumstances. But in some form it must be experienced, so as to prevent the mind from settling clown upon its temporal portion, and kindle within it a sincere desire for the better part, which, is reserved in heaven for the heirs of salvation. Hence it is so peculiarly hard for those who are living in the midst of fulness and prosperity to enter into the kingdom of God. And hence, also, must so many visitations of trouble be sent even to those who have entered the kingdom, to wean them from earthly things, and hedge up their way toward their home and portion in heaven.

(2.) But if we look once more to the Israelites, we shall see that something besides longing desire for Canaan was needed to prepare them for what was in prospect. For that land, though presented to their hopes as a land flowing with milk and honey, was not to be by any means a region of inactive repose--where every thing was to be done for them, and they had only to take their rest, and feast themselves with the abundance of peace. The natural imagination delights to riot in the thought of such an untaxed existence, and such a luxurious home. But He who made man, and knows what is best suited to the powers and capacities of his nature, never destined him for such a state of being. Even the garden of Eden, the lovely region of his first inheritance, replenished as it was with the tokens of divine beneficence, was, to some extent, a field of active exertion: the garden had to be kept and dressed by its possessor as the condition of his partaking of its fruitfulness. And now, when Canaan took for a time the place of Eden, and the church was directed to look thither for its present home and inheritance, while she was warranted to expect there the largest amount of earthly blessing, she was by no means entitled to look for a state of lazy inaction and uninterrupted rest. There was much to be done, as well as much to be enjoyed, and she could neither have fulfilled, in regard to other nations, the elevated destiny to which she was appointed, as the lamp and witness of heaven, nor reaped in her own experience the large measure of good which was laid up in store for herself, unless she had been prepared by a peculiar training of vigorous action, and even compulsive labour, to make the proper use of all her advantages. Now, in this point of view, the period of Israel's childhood as a nation in Egypt, might be regarded as, to some extent, a season of preparation for their future manhood. It would not have done for them to go and take possession of Canaan as a horde of ignorant barbarians, or as a company of undisciplined and roving shepherds. It was fit and proper that they should carry with them a taste for the arts and manners of civilized life, and habits of active labour, suited to the scenes of usefulness and glory which awaited them in the land of their proper inheritance. But how were such tastes and habits to become theirs? They did not naturally possess them, nor, if suffered to live at ease, would they probably ever have attained to any adequate knowledge of them. They must be brought, in the first instance, under the bonds of a strong necessity; so that it might be no doubtful contingence, but a certain and general result, that they left Egypt with all the learning, the knowledge of art and manufacture, the capacity for active business and useful employment, which it was possible for them there to acquire. And thus they went forth abundantly furnished with the natural gifts, which were necessary to render them, not only an independent nation, but also, fit instruments of God for his work and service, in the new and not less honourable and arduous position they were destined to occupy. [20]

The correspondence here between the type and the antitype has been too much overlooked, and even the more direct intimations of New Testament Scripture, respecting the state and employment of saints in glory, have too seldom been admitted to their full extent, and followed out to their legitimate practical results, as regards the condition of believers on earth. The truth, in this respect, however, has been so finely developed, by one living author, that we must take leave to present it in his own words. "Heaven, the ultimate and perfected condition of human nature, is thought of, amidst the toils of life, as an elysium of quiescent bliss, exempt, if not from action, at least from the necessity of action. Meanwhile, every one feels, that the ruling tendency and the uniform intention of all the arrangements of the present state, and almost all its casualties, is to generate and to cherish habits of strenuous exertion. Inertness, not less than vice, is a seal of perdition. The whole course of nature, and all the institutions of society, and the ordinary course of events, and the explicit will of God, declared in his Word, concur in opposing that propensity to rest, which belongs to the human mind; and combine to necessitate submission to the hard, yet salutary conditions, under which alone the most extreme evils may be held in abeyance, and any degree of happiness enjoyed. A task and duty is to be fulfilled, in discharging which the want of energy is punished even more immediately and more severely than the want of virtuous motives,"

He proceeds to shew that the notices we have of the heavenly world, imply the existence there of intelligent and vigorous agents:---

" But if there be a real and necessary, not merely a shadowy agency in heaven, as well as on earth; and if human nature is destined to act its part in such an economy, then its constitution, and the severe training it undergoes, are at once explained; and then also the removal of individuals in the very prime of their fitness for useful labour, ceases to be impenetrably mysterious. This excellent mechanism of matter and mind, which, beyond any other of his works, declares the wisdom of the Creator, and which, under his guidance, is now passing the season of its first preparation, shall stand up anew from the dust of dissolution, and then, with freshened powers, and with a store of hard-earned and practical wisdom for its guidance, shall essay new labours in the service of God, who by such instruments chooses to accomplish his designs of beneficence. That so prodigious a waste of the highest qualities should take place, as is implied in the notions, which many Christians entertain of the future state, is indeed hard to imagine. The mind of man, formed as it is to be more tenacious of its active habits, than even of its moral dispositions, is, in the present state, trained often at an immense cost of suffering, to the exercise of skill, of forethought, of courage, of patience; and ought it not to be inferred--unless positive evidence contradicts the supposition, that this system of education bears some relation of fitness to the state for which it is an initiation? Shall not the very same qualities, which here are so sedulously fashioned and finished, be actually needed and used in that future world of perfection? Surely the idea is inadmissible, that an instrument wrought up at so much expense, to a polished fitness for service, is destined to be suspended for ever on the palace-walls of heaven, as a glittering bauble, no more to make proof of its temper?

"Perhaps a pious, but needless jealousy, lest the honour due to Him, 'who worketh all in all,' should be in any degree compromised, has had influence in concealing from the eyes of Christians the importance attributed in the Scriptures to subordinate agency; and thus, by a natural consequence, has impoverished and enfeebled our ideas of the heavenly state. But assuredly, it is only while encompassed by the dimness and errors of the present life, that there can be any danger of attributing to the creature the glory due to the Creator. When once with open eye that excellent glory has been contemplated, then shall it be understood that the divine wisdom is incomparably more honoured by the skilful and faithful performances, and by the cheerful toils of agents who have been fashioned and fitted for service, than it could be by the bare exertions of irresistible power; and then, when the absolute dependence of creatures is thoroughly felt--may the beautiful orders of the heavenly hierarchy, rising and still rising toward perfection, be seen and admired, without hazard of forgetting Him, who alone is absolutely perfect, and who is the only fountain and first cause of whatever is excellent." [21]

It is only further to be noticed here, that, as preparation of this kind is necessary, for the future occupations and destinies of God's people, so in their case now, as in that of the Israelites in Egypt, a method of dealing may even in that respect require to be taken with them very different from what they themselves desire, and such as no present considerations can satisfactorily explain. When so dealt with, they should remember the word of Christ to Peter:--"What I do, thou knowest not now, but thou shalt know hereafter." The way by which they are led, appears strange perhaps, and more encompassed with hardship and difficulty than is meet; but it is so, only because they cannot trace with sufficient clearness the many threads of connection between the present and the future--between the course of preparation in time, and the condition awaiting them in eternity. Let them trust the paternal guidance and sure foresight of Him, who can trace it with unerring certainty, and they shall doubtless find at the last, that every thing in their lot has been arranged with infinite skill to adapt them to the state, the employments, and services of heaven.




1. Ex. iii. 7-17,

2. Vol. I. see section on the hope of the inheritance.

3. Ez. xx. 6.--" A land that I had espied for them, flowing with milk and honey, which is the glory of all lands."

4. Gen. xlvii. 11, " And Joseph gave them a possession in the land of Egypt, in the best of the land, in the land of Rameses." " The land of Goshen," says Robinson, in his Biblical Researches, " was the best of the land, and such, too, the province of Esh-Shurkiyeh has ever been, down to the present time. In the remarkable Arabic document translated by Be Sacy, containing a valuation of all the provinces and villages of Egypt in the year 1376, this province comprises 383 towns and villages, and is valued at 1,411,875 dinars--a larger sum than is put on any other province, with one exception. During my stay in Cairo, I made many inquiries respecting this district; to which the uniform reply was, that it was considered the best province in Egypt, There are here more flocks and herds than any where else in Egypt, and also more fishermen." Wilkinson also states, that no soil is better suited to many kinds of produce than the irrigated edge of the desert (where Goshen lay), even before it is covered by the fertilizing deposit of the inundation."--Manners and Customs of the Ancient Egyptians, i. p. 222. How such a rich and fertile region should have been so little occupied at the time of Jacob's descent into Egypt, as to afford room for his family settling in it, and enlarging themselves as they did, need occasion no anxiety, as the fact itself is indisputable. And Robinson states that even at present there are many villages wholly deserted, and that the province is capable of sustaining another million.

5. Rossellini, vol. i. p. 178. Wilkinson, vol. ii. p. 16; also Heeren's Africa, ii. p. 146, Trans.

6. Gen. xlvii. 6, 16, 1.7. Ex. ix. 3, &c.

7. See Heeren's Africa, ii. p. 157. Rossellini, Mon. dell' Eg. i. p. 177, &c. Hengstenberg, Beitr, ii. p. 437.

8. Prokesch, Errinnerungen aus Eg. as quoted by Hengstenberg in his Eg. and the books of Moses, p. 78. If Egypt had previously been overrun, and for some generations held in bondage by one of these nomade tribes of Asia, there would have been a still stronger ground for exercising toward the family of Jacob the jealous antipathy in question. Of the fact of such an invasion, and possession of Egypt by a shepherd race, later investigations into the antiquities of Egypt have left little room to doubt; but the period of its occurrence, as connected with the history of the Israelites, is still a matter of uncertainty.

9. Ex. i. 10.

10. Baumgarten, Theol. Com. i. p. 393.

11.  Ex. i, 14; v.

12. A modern infidel (Von Bohlen, Einleitung zur Genesis) has attempted to throw discredit on the above account of the hard service of the Israelites, by alleging that the making of bricks at that early period belonged only to the region of Babylonia, and that the early Egyptians were accustomed to build with hewn stone. "We can scarcely trust our own eyes," says Hengstenberg, " when we read such things," and justly, as all well informed writers concerning ancient Egypt, whether of earlier or of later times, have concurred in testifying that building with brick was very common there--so common, indeed, that private edifices were generally of that material. Herodotus mentions a pyramid of brick, which is thought to be one of those still standing (ii. 136). Modern inquirers, such as Champollion, Rossellini, and Wilkinson, speak of tombs, ruins of great buildings, lofty walls and pyramids, being formed of bricks, and found in all parts of Egypt. (See the quotations in Hengstenberg's Eg. and books of Moses, p. 2, 80). Wilkinson says (Ancient Egyptians, ii. p. 57), "The use of crude brick, baked in the sun, was universal in Upper and Lower Egypt, both for public and private buildings; and the brick-field gave abundant occupation to numerous labourers throughout the country. . . Inclosures of gardens, or granaries, sacred circuits encompassing the courts of temples, walls of fortifications and towns, dwelling-houses, and tombs, in short, all but the temples themselves were of crude brick; and so great was the demand, that the Egyptian government, observing the profit which would accrue from a monopoly of them, undertook to supply the public at a moderate price, thus preventing all unauthorized persons from engaging in the manufacture. And in order the more effectually to obtain this end, the seal of the king, or of some privileged person, was stamped upon the bricks at the time they were made." He says further, "It is worthy of remark, that more bricks bearing the name of Thothmes II. (whom I suppose to have been king of Egypt at the time of the Exodus), have been discovered than of any other period." And not only have multitudes of bricks been thus identified with the period of Israel's bondage, and these always made of clay mingled with chopped straw, but a picture has been discovered in a tomb at Thebes, which so exactly corresponds with the delineation given by Moses of the hard service of the Israelites--some carrying the clay in vessels, others mingling straw in it, others again adjusting the clay to the moulds, or placing the bricks in rows, the labourers, too, being of Asiatic, not Egyptian aspect, but amongst them four Egyptians, two of whom carry sticks in their hands, taskmasters--that Rossellini did not hesitate to call it "a picture representing the Hebrews as they were engaged in making brick."

13. Ex. iii. 13.

14. Josh. xxiv. 14; Lev. xvii. 7; Ez. xxiii. 3; xx. 8; Amos, v. 25, 26; Acts, vii. 39.

15. It is admitted on all hands, that the worship of the gods under symbolical images of irrational creatures, had its origin in Egypt, and was especially cultivated there in connection with the cow, or bovine form. It was noticed by Strabo, 1. xvii. as singular, that " no image formed after the human figure was to be found in the temples of Egypt but only that of some beasts (*** *** ***). And no images seem to have been so generally used as those of the calf or cow--though authors differ as to the particular deity represented by it. It would rather seem that there were several deities worshipped under this symbol. Most of the available learning on the subject has been brought together by Bochart, Hieroz. Lib. ii. chap. 34; to which Hengstenberg has made some additions in his Beit. ii. p. 155-163. The latter would connect the worship of the golden calf in the desert with the worship of Apis; Wilkinson connects it with that of Miievis (Manners of Ancient Eg. 2d series, ii. p. 96), and Jerome had already given it as his opinion, that Jeroboam set up the two golden calves in Dan and Bethel, in imitation of the Apis and Mnevis of Egypt (Com. on Hos. iv. 15). But however that may be, there can be 110 doubt, that if the Israelites were disposed to Egyptize in their worship, the most likely and natural method for them to do so, was by forming to themselves the image of a golden cow or calf, and then by engaging in its worship with noisy and festive rites. For it is admitted by those (for example, Creuzer, Symbol, i. p. 448) who are little in the habit of making any concessions in favour of a passage of Scripture, that the rites of the Egyptians partook much of the nature of orgies, and that the fundamental character of their religion was bacchanalian.

16. Dent. ix. 4-6.

17. Eph. ii. 1-3; Rom. iii. 9-20 , vii.; Matth. ix. 13 5 Luke, xiii. 8, &c.

18. 1 Cor. iv. 7; xv. 10; Eph. i. 4; John iii. 27; vi. 44; Matth. xi. 25; Phil. i. 29, &c.

19. Eph. i. 6, 7, 18, 19; Col. i. 12-14 5 2 Tim, i, 9, 10; Heb. ii, 14, 15; 1 Pet. i, 3-5, &c.

20. The view given in the text may be said to strike a middle course between that of Kitto, in his History of Palestine, vol. i. p. 150, &c, and that of Hengstenberg, in his Authen. I. p. 431, &c. (We mention these two writers, chiefly as being among the last, who have held respectively the views in question, not as if there was anything substantially new in either. Deyling has a clear, and in the main, well-conducted argumentation for the view adopted by Hengstenberg, and against the opposite, at the end of P. I. of his Obs. Sac.) The former regards the Israelites, at the period of their descent into Egypt, as distinguished by all the characteristics of the wandering and barbarous shepherd tribes, and not improbably giving occasion at first, by some overt acts of plunder, to the Egyptian government to adopt harsh measures toward them. Most German writers of the rationalist school, not only go to the full length of maintaining this, but, apparently forgetting the discipline to which the Israelites were subjected in Egypt, consider it to have been their condition also when they left the country; and object to the account given of the erection of the tabernacle in the wilderness, as implying too much skill in various kinds of arts and manufacture for a simple shepherd race. So, in particular, Winer and Vatke. Hengstenberg, on the other hand, maintains that the roughness and barbarity properly distinguishing the shepherd tribes, never belonged to the Hebrews--that their possessing the character of shepherds at all, arose chiefly from the circumstances in which they were placed during their early sojourn in Canaan--that they were glad to abandon their wandering life and dwell in settled habitations, whenever an opportunity offered--that, set down, as they afterwards were} in one of the most fertile and cultivated regions of Egypt, which they held from the first as a settled possession (Gen. xlvii. 11, 27), their manner of life was throughout different from the nomadic, was distinguished by possessions in lands and houses, and by the various employments and comforts peculiar to Egyptian society. This view must be adopted, with some modification as to the earlier periods of their history; for, though the Israelites never entered fully into the habits of the nomade tribes, yet they were manifestly tending more and more in that direction, toward the time of their descent into Egypt. The tendency was there gradually checked, and the opposite extreme at last reached--as it appears, that at the time of the Exodus they had all houses with door-posts (Ex. xii. 4, 7, &c.), lived to a considerable extent intermingled with the Egyptians in their cities (Ex. iii. 20-22; xi. 1-3; xii. 35, 36), were accustomed to the agricultural occupations peculiar to the country (Deut. xi. 10), took part even in its finest manufactures, such as were prepared for the king (1 Chron. iv. 21-23), and enjoyed the best productions both of the river and the land (Num. xi. 5; xx. 5). It is but natural to suppose, however, that some compulsion was requisite to bring them to this state of civilization and refinement; and as it was a state necessary to fit them for setting up the tabernacle and occupying aright the land of Canaan, we see the overruling hand of God in the very compulsion that was exercised.

21. Natural History of Enthusiasm, p. 150-154.




The condition to which the heirs of promise were reduced in the land of Egypt, we have seen, called for a deliverance, and this again for a deliverer. Both were to be pre-eminently of God---the work itself, and the main instrument of accomplishing it. In the execution of the one there was not more need for the display of divine power than for the exercise of divine wisdom in the selection and preparation of the other. It is peculiar to God's instruments, that, though commonly at first they appear the least suited for the service, they are found on trial to possess the highest qualifications. "Wisdom is justified of all her children," and especially of those who are appointed to the most arduous and important undertakings.

But in the extremity of Israel's distress, where was a deliverer to be found with the requisite qualifications? From a family of bondsmen, crushed and broken in spirit by their miserable servitude, who was to have the boldness to undertake their deliverance, or the wisdom, if he should succeed in delivering them, to make suitable arrangements for their future guidance and discipline? Who was likely at such a time even to gain their confidence as appearing in any measure equal to the task? If such a person was anywhere to be found, he must evidently have been one who had enjoyed advantages very superior to those which entered into the common lot of his brethren--who had found time and opportunity for the meditation of high thoughts, and the acquirement of such varied gifts as fitted him to transact, in behalf of his oppressed countrymen, with the court of the proud and the learned Pharaohs, and amidst the greatest difficulties and discouragements to lay the foundation of a system, which was to nurture and develope through coming ages the religious life of God's covenant people. Such a deliverer was needed for this peculiar emergency in the affairs of God's kingdom, and the very troubles, which seemed from their long continuance and crushing severity to preclude the possibility of obtaining what was needed, were made to work toward its accomplishment.

It is not the least interesting and instructive point in the history of Moses, the future hope of the church, that his first appearance on the stage of this troubled scene, was in the darkest hour of affliction, when the adversary was driving things to the uttermost. His first breath was drawn under a doom of death, and the very preservation of his life was a miracle of divine mercy. But the Lord "made the wrath of man to praise him," and the bloody decree, which, by destroying the male children as they were born, was designed by Pharaoh to inflict the death-blow on Israel's hopes of honour and enlargement, was rendered subservient, in the case of Moses, to prepare and fashion the living instrument, through whom these hopes were soon to be carried forth into victory and fruition. Forced by the very urgency of the danger, on the notice of Pharaoh's daughter, and thereafter received, under her care and patronage, into Pharaoh's house, the child Moses possessed, in the highest degree, the opportunity of becoming "learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians," and grew up to manhood in the familiar use of every advantage which it was possible for the world at that time to confer. But with such extraordinary means of advancement for the natural life, with what an atmosphere of danger was he there encompassed for the spiritual! He was exposed to the seductive and pernicious influence of a palace, where not only the world was met with in its greatest pomp and splendour, but where also superstition reigned, and a policy was pursued directly opposed to the interests of God's kingdom. How he was enabled to withstand such dangerous influences, and escape the contamination of so unwholesome a region, we are not informed; nor even how he first became acquainted with the fact of his Hebrew origin, and the better prospects which still remained to cheer and animate the hearts of his countrymen. But the result shews, that somehow he was preserved from the one, and brought to the knowledge of the other; for when about forty years of age, we are told, he went forth to visit his brethren, and that, with a faith already so fully formed, that he was not only prepared to sympathize with them in their distress, but to hazard all for their deliverance. [1] And, indeed, when he once understood and believed that his brethren were the covenant-people of God, who held in promise the inheritance of the land of Canaan, and whose period of oppression he might also have learned was drawing near its termination, it would hardly require any special revelation, besides what might be gathered from the singular providences attending his earlier history, to conclude that he was destined by God to be the chosen instrument for effecting the deliverance.

But it is often less difficult to get the principle of faith, than to exercise the patience necessary in waiting God's time for its proper and seasonable exercise. Moses shewed he possessed the one, but seems yet to have wanted the other, when he slew the Egyptian whom he found smiting the Hebrew. For though the motive was good, being intended to express his brotherly sympathy with the suffering Israelites, and to serve as a kind of signal for a general rising against their oppressors, yet the action itself appears to have been wrong. He had no warrant to take the execution of vengeance into his own hand; and that it was with this view, rather than for any purpose of defence, that Moses went so far as to slay the Egyptian, seems not obscurely intimated in the original narrative, and is more distinctly implied in the assertion of Stephen, who assigns this as the reason of the deed, "for he supposed they would have understood, how that God by his hand would deliver them." The consequence was, that by anticipating the purpose of God, and attempting to accomplish it in an improper manner, he only involved himself in danger and difficulty; his own brethren misunderstood his conduct, and Pharaoh threatened to take away his life. On this occasion, therefore, we cannot but regard him as acting unadvisedly with his hand, as on a future one, he spake unadvisedly with his lips. It was the hasty and irregular impulse of the flesh, not the enlightened and heavenly guidance of the Spirit, which prompted him to take the course he did; and without contributing in the least to improve the condition of his countrymen, he was himself made to reap the fruit of his misconduct in a long and dreary exile. [2]