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The Nativity of Christ of the Egyptians h,” and to was dignified by the ap- have been “mighty in words pearance of a star, and and in deeds.” This chacelebrated by an host of racter is given of Christ as angels; though its earthly a Prophet, nearly in the appearance was in poverty same terms. The two disand obscurity. And someun- ciples who walked with Him usual circumstances marked to Emmaus described Him the birth of Moses, though as "a Prophet mighty in the particulars are not re- deed and word before God lated. He was born of a and all the peoploi.” When poor oppressed people, the Moses was grown up, he child of a slave, and doomed went forth to vindicate the to death by the circum-, rights of his people, and stances of his birth. But gave them a sign of his his parents were aware of power by slaying an Egypdistinction, which tian who did them
wrong ; shewed that he was raised casting out one of their up for some great purpose. strong men, to shew that St. Paul says, “they saw a stronger than he was he was a proper childr;" come upon him, and that St. Stephen, that he was God had visited His people. “exceeding fair® ;" the ori- So did Christ give a sign ginal is, fair to God ;" of His power as a Redeemer, from all which it is most by rescuing the souls and reasonable to understand, bodies of men from the that some marks of divine bondage of Satan ; casting favour and distinction were out devils by the finger of visible about him at his God, to shew that the kingbirth. His qualifications dom of God was come upon and endowments come next them. under consideration.
The Egyptian wisdom, He is said to have been according to the accounts “ learned in all the wisdom we have of it, delivered all things under signs and | veyed under the same form: figures; speaking to the all His instructions were mind rather by visible given in parables, where objects than by words, and visible objects signify intelconveying instruction under lectual things ; and “witha hidden form which only out a parable spake He not the wise could understand. unto themk:” which form I do not stay to enquire of speech, they who do not into the reason of this ; I study and delight in, as only speak of the fact, the medium of instruction which is well known to which the wisdom of God scholars. Moses must there- hath preferred from the before have been accustomed ginning of the world, will early to this mode of de
h Compare Luke ii. 52.
i Heb. xi. 23.
& Acts yii. 20.
i Luke xxiv. 19, k Matt. xiii. 34 ; Mark iy. 34.
never see far either into the livering science by symbols Old or New Testament. and hieroglyphics : and we The mission of Moses have seen that his whole bears witness, in the form law is according to the of it, to the mission of same method, not speaking Jesus Christ; and gives us literally of any spiritual the most worthy idea that thing, not even of the im- can be conceived both of mortality of the soul, the dignity and design of (whence some have igno- it. Both these ministers rantly supposed that it was of God were sent upon their not a doctrine of his law,) commissions by a voice from but delivering all things heaven. God appeared to under signs, emblems, and Moses in a bush that burned descriptive ceremonies ; with firel, and said, “I have which they who do not seen the affliction of My study, are miserably in the people which is in Egypt, dark as to the wisdom of and I have heard their the Mosaic dispensation.
groaning, and The wisdom of our bless- down to deliver them ; and, ed Saviour was always con- now come, I will send thee
1 Exod. iii.
into Egyptm." So when | ruption of manners : Jesus was appointed to that Christ was wanted by His ministry, there came the world of Jews and gen
a voice from the excellent tiles as much as Moses by glory, This is My beloved the Hebrews in Egypt. Son, in Whom I am well On this occasion, we have pleased"."
before us a remarkable sign The redemption of the attending the mission of people under Moses, at the Moses; which being inExodus from Egypt, having sisted upon by St. Stephen already been considered as must (like all the other a figure of the world's ways of God) have its sense redemption under Jesus and signification. God apChrist, I need not dwell peared to Moses in the upon it here. I may how- desert, from a bush which ever observe, that as the was on fire and yet was servitude of the Hebrews not consumed. Which is was extreme, and their op- a sign, first applying itself pression intolerable, when as an assurance of deliverMoses was raised up to ance from the affliction of redeem them ; so was the Egypt ; and secondly as a power of Satan at its ut- pattern of the incarnation, most height, over Jews and when God should gentiles, at the coming of down from heaven to reChrist. He was permitted deem the whole world. to bind and to oppress after The burning bush was an a strange manner the sons earnest and a pledge to and daughters of Abraham. assure Moses, that the And if we consider the state people of God, though then of the heathens at that in a low and miserable contime all over the world, we dition (aptly signified by a find them under the grossest thorn growing on a desert) darkness of idolatry, and and under a fiery trial in the most abominable cor- furnace of affliction, m Acts vii. 34.
2 Peter i. 17.
should yet survive it all ; , would be with us in a like as the bush, though in the form for the salvation of the midst of a flame of fire, world from the bondage of was not consumed. Ac- sin : that, as the thorn of cording to this model, such the desert is the lowest should the event be; and amongst the trees, so should such in fact it was, to the He take upon Himself the Hebrews in Egypt. As form of a
servant, the God was present in the bush lowest condition of huwhich was not burned, so manity; submitting to serve being present with His with us, and be afflicted in people in their fiery trial, all our afflictions; that in and as it were partaking and with Him we might be with them in their suffer- enabled to sustain and surings, they would certainly vive the sharpness of death. be delivered out of them : That, as the children in the according to those words furnace of fire felt no harm of the prophet Isaiah ; “In because the Son of God was all their afflictions He was with them in the midst of afflicted, and the angel of it; so should not we be His presence saved them o:" consumed by the trials of which passage some of the this world or the fire of Jewish commentators them- judgment itself. Herein selves have properly ap- was it also signified, that plied to this exhibition of the manifestation of God the burning bush, as a sign to man should not be that that God was with His of a consuming fire, but of people in their afflictions, a benign light and glory to defend and preserve instead of it ; "a light to them in the fiery trial. lighten the gentiles, and the
And if this wonderful glory of His people Israelp.” spectacle was a sign that It was signified, that wrath God was with them ; surely was turned away; that it was also a sign that He God was reconciled, and
o Isaiah lxiii, 9.
p Luke ii. 32.
that there is “good will” | other case. “ He brought to man from “ Him that them out,” saith St. Stephen, dwelt in the bush 9"
“after he had shewed wonThis appearance of God ders and signs in the land to Moses is such a testi- of Egypt, and in the Red mony to His appearance Sea, and in the wilderness afterwards in the flesh, that forty years".” So it may if we lay the whole together be said of Jesus Christ in as a figure of the poverty words to the same effect, of His birth, like that of a He brought them out after root out of a dry ground ; He had shewed wonders of the servility of His con- and signs ; casting out dition ; of the thorns He devils, healing the sick, bore at His crucifixion ; of raising the dead, feeding a the glory and brightness of hungry multitude in His transfiguration ; of the wilderness, and giving every misery of man; the con- possible demonstration of a descension of God; the ne- Divine Power, exercised for cessity of a Redeemer : in the deliverance and salvaall these things met to- tion of the people of God. gether in this exhibition of The power of Moses in the burning bush, I see a Egypt, and at the Red Sea, complication of wonders, and in the wilderness, was which cannot worthily be as visible as the sun in the spoken of: we must adore heavens; and it was the subject as we can, and plain and certain that he leave it to the more ade- acted by the finger of God, quate contemplation of as that he acted at all. angels.
But now the argument of The work of Moses in St. Stephen leads us to obdelivering his people was serve, as one of the greatest attended with a display of of all wonders, how this divine power, which shewed man of might and wisdom, how it should be in the so miraculously preserved,
q Deut. xxxiii. 16.
r Acts yii. 36.