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view in bringing them out of their degraded condition, but also that they might renew their service to him, and regain their former character as a people sanctified to the Lord. His purpose in making them a distinct and peculiar racethe supporters of his worship-the repository of his oracles and honour, had been suspended; but now the interruption that had so long existed was to cease. Hence this design, and not merely the freeing of them from suffering, is mentioned as that for which their deliverance was demanded : “Let my son go, that he may
serve me.” *
Precisely the same was it in the case of our Lord all the time he was in Egypt with Joseph and Mary. For although that place was not to him as it had been to the Israelites a house of bondage—but, on the contrary, an asylum from danger, yet he partook with his parents of the inconvenience to which they were subject, and to some extent his sojourn there was attended with sufferings. These sufferings, endured by his beloved Son, could not do otherwise than affect the heart of the Almighty Father, and induce him to hasten his return to the land of Judea as soon as possibly it could be accomplished. Still, however, to deliver him was not the only purpose to be fulfilled in his return, but in connection with it God had respect to his eternal counsel regarding human redemption. During his temporary residence in that country, the work of saving mercy had been comparatively stationary; but on his return its progress was facilitated. True it was but little for the
* Exod. iv. 23.
accomplishment of that work that Christ could do in his infancy, but still so great was the mystery of his birth, and such the interest which all the circumstances connected with his earliest days naturally excited, that these altogether must have tended to exert a wonderful influence on all to whom they were known; and to save that influence from being lost, as well as for all the other purposes to be effected by it, his return was accomplished. One of these events typified the other,
II. In the manner in which the deliverance was effected. · It was by the express interposition of the authority of Heaven.
When the number of the Israelites is considered in connection with their situation in Egypt, that they never made any attempt to effect their own deliverance is matter of astonishment. Nothing like such an enterprise, however, appears ever to have been thought of by thein ; but, on the contrary, when the proposal to break their yoke was made by Moses, his offer did not even meet with a grateful reception; it was therefore by his Divine command that God armed his inspired servant; and anticipating the objection which the people would still make, the very words in which he was to address them were furnished to him : “ Thus shall ye say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.
Nor was the return of Christ from Egypt the result of human prudence : “But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth
* Exod. iii. 14.
in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel ; for they are dead which sought the young child's life."* Neither was it in the one case, any more than the other, without the intervention of the avenging hand. of God. Pharaoh, with all his host, notwithstanding his confidence of success, was defeated and destroyed: “ The waters covered their enemies; there was not one of them left." +
They sank into the bottom as a stone." I So Herod the tyrant, on account of whose rage the departure into Egypt had been deemed necessary, was taken away by a death no less the result of the Divine anger, Ŝ that Christ might return. The deliverance of the Jews was typical of the return of Christ,
III. In the motive from which the interposition took place. It was love.
Generally speaking, what God does in his Providence is by no means to us a satisfactory proof of his love or hatred ; and many were the instances in which his ancient people, the Jews, would have come to very erroneous conclusions with respect to his conduct, had they inferred that their trials were evidence of his displeasure, or that their temporal mercies were proofs of his approbation : but here his affection is mentioned as the reason of his interference on their behalf: 66 When Israel was a child then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt.”
This love being exercised at the season referred to, shows at once the freeness of its
* Matt. ii. 19, 20. of Psa. cvi. 11.
§ Acts xii. 20.-23.
character; for as it is not in the power of a child to do anything for the interest of those whose expectation may be towards it, or even by design to answer the end of its existence, the affection of which it is the object cannot be the result of merit. It must flow from the relation that exists, or be prompted by the expectations that are entertained; and thus, whatever might have been the anticipations of God from his people, the Jews, in their national maturity, still when few, comparatively, as they were in Egypt, they could not fulfil his intentions, yet he loved them then.
This will apply to Christ our Lord. The expectations which God the Father had from his Son were of the most exalted and heavenly kind; and though it was not until the maturity of his age that these were fully realized, yet in his earliest infancy he loved him, because then he sustained the same relation as afterwards; and notwithstanding he was unable to effect anything towards the accomplishment of his great and glorious work, still then there dwelt in him all the fulness of the Godhead bodily, * and God had taken an eternal interest in him, not simply on his own account, or as his Son, but also for the sake of his people in him, and looked forward with pleasing anticipation to the time when he would glorify his Father's character by finishing the work given him to do.
. Col. il. 9.
THE BRAZEN SERPENT. Scarcely in any type are there to be found more points of resemblance to its antitype than may be traced, without much stretch of imagination, between the serpent lifted up by Moses in the wilderness and Jesus Christ, and the blessings of the gospel ; and yet there is scarcely anything to the symbolical character of which more decided objections have been made. Dr. Adam Clarke says it was certainly no type of Christ, and declares it to be the most exceptionable that could possibly be chosen ; yet he does not attempt to prove what he asserts, or to show wherein its exceptionableness consists; but in the very place where he so strongly condemns the idea of its typical character he mentions a number of particulars, in which he considers the lifting up of the brazen serpent and the lifting up of Christ were alike ; and many things which we may learn from our Lord's allusion to it, without considering that the one circumstance prefigured the other; and speaks in terms of commendation of a comment contained in the Apocryphal Book of the Wisdom of Solomon, in which its symbolical character is clearly maintained.* Doddridge was of opinion that it would be blasphemy to run a parallel between Christ and that which gave us the deadly wound. Fairbairn, however, considers it a type, taking a general view of it, but does not state the particular reasons for his doing so.
* Com. on Numb. xxi. 7, 8.