« AnteriorContinuar »
to the design contemplated in this work, two difficulties present themselves. The first is that of ascertaining the kind of reference the Evangelist makes, and the second the proving that the former event mentioned was designed to be typical of the latter. It is well known that the appellation, Son, was given by God himself to his ancient people, the Jews, and that it was the name by which their deliverance from bondage in Egypt was demanded. For the command which the Almighty gave to Moses was, “Go to Pharaoh, and say to him, Thus saith the Lord, Israel is my son, even my first-born : and I
say unto thee, Let my son go, that he may
Now, under the Patriarchal Dispensation, every first-born son, in the holy line, reckoning from the father, was a type of the great firstborn, the Messiah, (See Rom. viii. 29; Col. i. 18,) and no doubt was regarded as such by the pious believers of those times. The people of Israel, then, being thus solemnly declared by God himself to be his son, even his first-born, must have been considered, in some respects, an eminent type of the same exalted personage.t Hence, in Isaiah, Israel is put for Messiah ; and in Hosea, God, speaking of his people says, 66 When Israel was a child then I loved him, and called my Son out of Egypt."
Both the above passages respectively have been thought to be referred to by the Evangelist Matthew, in the words already cited; but
* Exod. iv, 23. + See Parkhurst, quoted by Carpenter, in loco, p. 224. Isa. xlix. 3.
§ Hos. xi. 1.
since the first of them, if it have any typical sense at all, applies to the people of the Jews, rather than to their deliverance out of Egypt, the event of which Matthew especially speaks, it is to the latter that the reference would more properly seem to belong.
So exact is the resemblance between the words of Hosea and those of Matthew, that their agreement alone might be regarded as a sufficient proof that the latter quoted the former, and that the words of the prophet were intended to predict the event to which they are applied by the Evangelist. The agreement has been denied, however, by Alexander, who says, that the only claim that the words of Matthew have to be considered a quotation from Hosea is, that the Hebrew of the Prophet may be rendered by such Greek as we find in the Evangelist, and contends that the quotation in Matthew, not being found in the Old Testament, must be from some prophecy that had been handed down by tradition among the Jews.*
Dr. Adam Clarke says, the quotation is from Hosea, but maintains that in the words of the prophet the deliverance of Israel, and that only, is referred to; yet he admits that since the deliverance was extraordinary, it is very likely to have passed into a proverb, so that the saying, “Out of Egypt have I called my Son,” might have been used to express any signal deliverance; and though he confesses that he can see no other reference which it can have to the case in hand, he, nevertheless, allows it possible that God might have pointed out this future bringing up
* See Congregational Lecture, p. 468.
of his Son from Egypt, under the type of the deliverance of Israel, from the same land.* Bishop Chandler, whom Dr. Clarke appears to have followed, was also of opinion that the words, “out of Egypt have I called my Son," were proverbial expressions, used for deliverance from any imminent danger, and might have been said to have had their accomplishment in Christ's escaping, though he had fled from Syria, Arabia, or any other country.
That there were many predictions delivered by the ancient prophets, which are not recorded in the Sacred Volume, and were retained only by tradition, must be readily admitted to be most probable; and if we could find no other way of making out this quotation, it would be proper to refer it to such a quarter, rather than use unfair means to make it agree with any written announcement.
Whichever of the above two methods may be adopted, however, to account for the words of Matthew, whether the passage be considered a quotation from Hosea, or one from unrecorded prophecy, it can make but little difference as to their application to Christ; for if it be admitted that Matthew quoted an inspired prophecy (and he would quote no other) still the authority is the same. Doddridge, however, is decidedly against any such method of solving the difficulty, and says, " that if the use of such a proverb were proved, the passage in Matthew would still seem a plainer reference to Hosea than to such a general form of speech, so that the diffi
* See Clarke on Matt. ii. 15.
culty would still remain; and where nothing of importance is gained, no one will deny that it is by no means desirable to disturb the Sacred Canon."
But admitting that the reference is to Hosea, and not to any proverbial unwritten prophecy, it may still be asked, what proof is there that the deliverance spoken of by the Prophet was typical of the event mentioned by the Evangelist? May not Matthew make an accommodation of the passage without intending to say that the Israelites coming out of Egypt had anything symbolical about it, or, at the most, may not this be an instance of the double sense of prophecy only? To which it may be answered, that the deliverance of Israel out of Egypt was, in itself, a most remarkable event, and had many things connected with it evidently of a symbolical character, and although the two events disagree in some striking points, still they correspond in many others of equal or greater importance. Besides which, the very manner in which the quotation is made,t and the purpose for which it is employed, show that it was not merely an
* “Family Expository,” in loco. + There is a Canon of Dathe, mentioned by Bishop Marsh, in which he says, that where we have only the expressions, “Then was fulfilled,” it is merely an allusion; but where the formula is, “ This was done that it might be fulfilled,” it is the accomplishment of a prophecy. If this Canon be applied to the words, we shall be led to the decision that the Evangelist Matthew did not merely allude to a prophecy written or unwritten, but that one event prefigured the other. M'Knight says, that iva, the particle here used, commonly denotes the end for which a thing is done. If it be admitted that it is correctly rendered by our translators, in Matt. ii. 15, and
accommodation, but that the latter event was the counterpart of the former. These considerations, it is believed, if properly weighed, will justify the conclusion, that the deliverance of the Jews from the hand of Pharaoh, was typical of Christ being called out of Egypt. It was so in three respects.
I. The design for which the departure took place.
When the Israelites were in Egypt, they were subject to a cruel bondage. Their condition in this respect could not fail to move the compassion of Jehovah, “who, like as a father pitieth his children, pitieth them that fear him;" * and especially considering the relation in which they stood to Abraham, whom he deigned to call his friend. Accordingly, when he appeared to Moses, commissioning him to effect their emancipation, this relation was acknowledged, and their suffering state recognised : “ Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.-And the Lord said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows." ole
To effect their deliverance from bondage, however, was not the only design God had in Dathe's Canon be applied to those words, their reference to the return of Christ will scarcely admit of doubt.
Whitby was of opinion that where iva anpwon is used, the Holy Spirit always intended that the prophecy thus referred to in the New Testament should be fulfilled in Christ. * Psa. ciii. 13.
† Exod. iii, 6, 7.