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was in the church in the wilderness with | remarkable device of the Ark of tha the angel which spake to him in the Covenant, with its appurtenances of the Mount Sinai, and with our fathers; who Glory and the Cherubim was nothing received the lively ora les to give unto but a sensible embodiment of this ancient us.' Here it is evident that the 'Angel and established idea, which had been mentioned is no other than he who was familiar to the patriarchs from the earlithe great Speaker on the occasion of the est ages of the world. To this ideal Jelivery of the Law, and that this was Je host, though ultimately adumbrating hovah himself in his appropriate symbol men rather than any other order of be. of the cloudy pillar is, we think, indubit. ings, yet with entire propriety they asable. But here there is comparatively signed the title of angels. That these Little difficulty, as the term “Angel is angelic hosts should constitute a dis. singular and refers plainly to a single tinguishing part of the supernatural ap personage. In the following passages paratus of the present scene would be a however the term is plural, and the so matter of course; and nothing would be lution, not so directly obvious. Gal. 3. more congruous to scriptural usage than 19, 'It (the Law) was ordained by an
to ascribe to them a special agency or gels in the hand of a mediator.' Again, execution on the occasion, from their beHeb. 2. 2, 'For if the word spoken by ing present, consenting, and cooperating angels was steadfast,' &c. No one can with the divine Lawgiver. It is ascribed fail to see that in these passages the to them on the same grounds on which presence of angels is recognized as in Paul affirms that the saints shall judge some way connected with the sublim. the world, by which at the same time ities and sanctities of the awful scene. nothing more is meant than that they It is not merely the one Angel of the shall be coinciding assessors with the Shekinah who is referred to, but there great Judge himself. That this New is a clear implication of the accom. Testament mode of speaking of the de. panying presence of a multitude of the livery of the Law is warranted by ihe hearenly hosts. How then is this to be usus loquendi of the Hebrew Scriptures understood ? Moses in his narrative will be evident from the following cita. says hing of such an angelic append- tions. Deut. 33. 2, The Lord came age to the scene, and it is an important from Sinai, and rose up from Seir unto enquiry whence such a usage of speech them; he shined forth from mount Pamay be supposed to have originated. It ran, and he came with ten thousands of will be seen from our Notes on Ex. 25. saints: from his right hand went a fiery 18, that the Cherubim are properly to be law for them.' Here the ten thousands regarded as a symbol of multitude; and of saints' are ten thousands of holy ones ample proof may be adduced that a or holy myriads (W7D0272 mėribboth multitude of angelic attendants was al. kodesh),' and this is but another name ways supposed to accompany thc She- for angels. Thus also Ps. 68. 7, 8–17,'0 kinah, From the very first introduc- God, when thou wentest forth before thy tion of these sacred symbols into the people, when thou didst march through divine economy at the garden of Eden the wilderness; The earth shook, the they were always viewed in this light, heavens also dropped at the presence and though occasionally the visible of God: even Sinai itself was moved at Glory might appear when the accom- the presence of God, the God of Israel. panying multitudes did not, yet in the The chariots of God a e twenty thouminds of the chosen people they were sand, even thousands of angels: the Lord habitually associated with it and viewed is among them, as in Sinai, in the holy as in fact involved in it. Indeed, the place. This, lakev in its connexions, is
have brought the out of the land AND God spake aall these words, of Egypt
, e out of the house of bonsaying,
dage. 2 b I am the LORD thy God, which
• ch. 13. 3.
a Deut. 5. 22. b Lev. 26. 1, 13. Deut. 5. 6. Ps. 81. 10. Hos. 13. 4.
a very remarkable passage, and that it that in a time of tempest pour them. has an intimate relation to the subject selves out in gushing torrents. "He rode before, is obvious at once. The original upon a cherub;' that is, collectively, for chariots' (757 rekeb) is a collective upon the Cherubim, constituting the singular for chariots,' and has an evi. Cherubic vehicle above mentioned. Fi. dent allusion to the same kind of sym- nally we may advert to the testimony of bolic scenery as that described in the vi- Philo (Lib. de Decalogo), who says that sion of Ezekiel, where the Living Crea. there were present at the giving of tures or Cherubim are represented as the Law voices; visible, animated, and forming a sort of animated chariot on splendid flames of fire; spirits (mvɛvwhich the Jehovah in the visible She- mara); trumpets; and divine men run. kinah was transported. The twenty ning hither and thither to publish the thousand chariots of God, therefore, is Law.' but another name for twenty thousand On the whole, from a collation of the angels supposed to be present at the various passages now adduced, we cangiving of the Law from Sinai, on which, not but think the phraseology of the as on a living throne, the Glory was sup- Apostles in respect to the event in ques. ported. This reminds us at once of the tion is explicable in entire consistency parallel language of the 18th Psalm, with the Mosaic narrative; and it only which is penned in the highest style of adds another proof of the vast import. sanctified poetic affatus, and which no ance of a correct view of the Shekinah doubt refers to the very scene at Sinai to a right understanding of this and now under consideration. For although other portions of the Scriptures. David is the speaker, yet he speaks in 1. And God spake all these words. the person of the Jewish church, whose Heb. 73% 7271 33 kol haddebarim historical fortunes from the beginning elleh. That is, the words or commandare depicted in the boldest imagery of ments following, called “ten command. inspiration ; Ps. 18. 7–11, “Then the ments (17937 debarim, words),’ Ex. earth shook and trembled; the founda- 34. 28. Deut. 4. 13, whence the title tions also of the hills moved and were Decalogue, or ten words, and the shaken, because he was wroth. There voice of words,'Heb. 12. 19. That went up a smoke out of his nostrils, and words' and 'precepts, or command. fire out of his mouth devoured: coals ments,' are equivalent in Scripture were kindled by it. He bowed the usage, is evident from the following heavens also, and came down: and dark- passages; Deut. 18. 19, I will raise ness was under his feet. And he rode them up a Prophet from among their ilpon a cherub and did fly: yea, he did brethren, like unto thee, and will put fiy upon the wings of the wind. He my words in his mouth; and he shal! made darkness his secret place; his pa- speak unto them all that I shall come vilion round about him were dark wa- mand him. And it shall come to pass, ters and thick clouds of the skies.' That that whosoever will not hearken unto is, such dark, lowering, gloomy clouds my words which he shall speak in es are usually surcharged with waters | my name, I will require it of him;'
1. e. whosoever will not hearken unto was spoken in an audible voice at all it ny precepts. Gal. 5. 14, For all the must have been by God himself. law is fulfilled in one word;' i. e. in one commandment, viz. that thou shalt
PREFACE TO THE TEN COMMANDMENTS. love thy neighbor as thyself. Est. 1. 12. But the queen Vashti refused to 2. I am the Lord thy God, &c. Heb. come at the king's commandment (Heb. 777777777 Yehovah Elohika, JehoJörn 7373 bidbar hammelek, at the vah thine Elohim. As these words conhing's word).' Thus Mark, 7. 13, ‘Mak- tain nothing of a preceptive nature, they mg the word of God of none effect;' are undoubtedly to be considered as a while Mat. 15. 6, ‘Made the command. kind of preface to the ensuing Comment of God of none effect.' It would mandments, embracing a declaration of not perhaps be easy, from the letter of the grounds on which their authority the present narrative, to establish con rests. The Most High in proclaiming clusively the fact that these words his august name Jehovah, does thereby were spoken by the Most High in an most imperatively assert his claim to articulate voice ; as it might be main. the obedience of all rational creatures tained that they were spoken to Moses, to whatever he should enjoin upon them. and by hiin, as mediator, communicated As “Jehovah,' the self-existent, inde. to the people. But upon comparing pendent, eternal fountain of all being, other passages where this event is he has of course the most absolute right spoken of, the evidence, we think, is to give law to the creatures he bas too strong to be resisted, that in de formed. Such a right flows by selflivering the Decalogue, God himsellerident sequence from the very relation was the speaker. Thus, Deut. 5. 12, 13, of Creator and creature. He who gives
And the Lord spake unto you out of being may give law; and no greater the midst of the fire: ye heard the voice extrinsic sanction can be conceived to of the words, but saw no similitude; any code of laws than the supremacy, only ye heard a voice. And he de- sovereignty, majesty, preeminence, and clared unto you his covenant, which he power of the source from which it ema. comm inded you to perform, even ten nates; and all this is implied in the commandments; and he wrote them very name Jehovah.' It is, conseupon two tables of stone.' Again, in quently, a ground of obligation which ver. 32, 33, of the same chapter, the applies to the whole human race, as language forces upon us the same con- well as to the nation of Israel; but in clusion ; For ask now of the days that the accompanying title 'thy God,' there are past, which were before thee, since is a virtual restriction which brings the day that God created man upon the home to the Israelites the import of the earth, and ask from the one side of declaration with an emphasis and force heaven unto the other, whether there which no other people could feel in the hath been any such thing as this great same degree. 'I am the Lord thy God, thing is; or hath been heard like it? which brought thee out of Egypt,' are Did ever people hear the voice of God words containing a motive to obedience speaking out of the midst of the fire, as peculiar to the seed of Jacob, and one thou hast heard, and live ?' Add to this, of which they were justly expected to that it is by no means certain, from an feel the cogency. God was not only attentive
survey of all the circun- their God as Creator, but theirs by cove. stances, that Moses was on the mount nant relation, and by the signal deliver. during the delivery of the Decalogue. ance wrought in their behalf. From It would seem then, that is the Law whom then might he look for obedi
3 a Thou shalt have no other gods 4 e Thou shalt not make unto thee hefore me.
any graven image, or any likeness d Deut. 5.7. & 6. 14. 2 Kings 17.35. Jer. 25. e Lev. 26, 1. Deut. 4. 16. & 5. 8. & 27. 15. 6. & 35. 15.
if not from them? If blessed is a state of vassalage and depression, yet the nation whose God is the Lord, and that is not the allusion in the present the people whom he hath chosen for his passage. The words refer solely to the own inheritance, how utterly inexcus- servile condition of the Israelites durable must be their disobedience to the ing their sojourn in the land of Egypt; mandates of their great Lawgiver? We and their wonderful deliverance thence have not indeed been delivered from by the outstretched arm of Jehovah, is the literal bondage of Egypt, but the very properly insisted upon as a ground spirit of the declaration reaches to us, for the cordial reception of the moral if Christians, as redeemed by Christ and ceremonial statutes which he was from a bondage infinitely worse, and now imposing upon them. The motive incorporated by faith into the true Is- to obedience involved in this miraculous rael of God, the spiritual seed of Abra- interposition is still more emphatically ham, and made heirs of all the blessings dwelt upon Deut. 6. 20—24, 'And when of the covenant of grace. Consequently, thy son asketh thee in time to come, as the Lord is our God, we are bound saying, What mean the testimonies, and by the same inviolable bonds of love and the statutes, and the judgments, which service as rested upon the seed of Israel the Lord our God hath commanded you? according to the flesh. It is to be re. Then thou shalt say unto thy son, We marked, both here and elsewhere, were Pharaoh's bond-men in Egypt ; throughout the Decalogue, that the ad- and the Lord brought us out of Egypt dress is made in the singular and not with a mighty hand : and the Lord in the plural number. The design of showed signs and wonders, great and this is, undoubtedly, to render the lan- sore, upon Egypt, upon Pharaoh, and guage in the highest degree emphatic. upon all his household, before our eyes: Every individual to whom this law And he brought us out froin thence, coines is to consider himself as being that he might bring us in, to give us as directly and personally addressed as the land which he sware unto our fa. though it had been spoken to him alone. thers. And the Lord commanded us to • Thou art the man. In the present do all these statutes, to fear the Lord passage, as the assurance conveyed is our God, for our good always, that he intended to be appropriated by each in- might preserve us alive, as it is at this dividual to himself personally, it is full day.' of condescending endearment; and the proper response to is furnished by the
FIRST TABLE. drophet, Zech. 13.9, 'I will
say people ; and they shall say, The Lord is my God;' not our. Out of the 3. Thou shalt have no other gods be. house of hondage. Heb. 27 72377aana fore me. Heh. mibbith abadim, out of the house of 39 07977 lo yihyeh leka Eloslaves; 1. e. out of the house where they him aharim al panai, there shall not be themselves were slaves, and not the to thee other gods upon or a ainst my Egyptians ; for although we cannot face; i. e. in my sight, holdly confrontdoubt that a large part of the Egyptian ing me. Chal. "There shall not be to population was in a very degraded state, I thee another god besides ine.' Gr
it is my
THE FIRST COMMANDMENT.
of any thing that is in heaven | neath, or that is in the water under above, or that is in the earth be- the earth.
ουκ εσνται 0801 ÉrEp.se • Any Equiv), that love and service which belongs to there shall not be to thee other gods be the true God, that is another God before cédes me. But the Heb. 33 no where him. Consequently, the proud man, who properly signifies besides or except, but i idolizes himself; the ambitious man, always before, in the presence of. The who pays homage to popular applause; scope of the precept is evidently to the covetous man, who deifies his make known the true and only object wealth ; the sensualist, who lives to of worship, and to forbid the annexing gratify his low appetites; the doring of any other object of religious rever- lover, husband, father, mother, who sufence, respect, and homage to that which fer their hearts to be supremely abthey were exclusively required to serve. sorbed in the love of the creature, all It requires a conduct accordant with the come under the charge of transgressing declaration of Jehovah himself, Is. 42. the first commandment. In fact obe. 8, “My glory will I not give to another.' dience to this precept would perfectly The language does not necessarily imply enthrone the Lord in our judgment and the reality, the positive existence, of affections; and the strength of our love any such adventitious deities, but they being thus given to him, we should love were not to have any that were so es all others for his sake, and according teemed; or as the apostle says, 1 Cor. 8. to the measure that he had enjoined; 5, 6, 'Though there be that are called whilst the violation of it destroys this gods, whether in heaven or in earth (as subordination, and gives the creature there are gods many and lords many); the throne in our heart. With the ut. but to us there is but one God, the Fa most propriety therefore does it stand ther, of whom are all things, and we in foremost in the tables of the Decalogue. him.' The precept does not seem to It is the foundation of all the rest. de directed primarily and immediately against that idolatry which consists in the use of fabricated images, although
4. Thou shalt not make unto thee, &c. this is virtually forbidden, but against The second commandment, comprised the putting any thing else in the place in v. 4—6, differs from the first by hav. of the one living and true God. This ing respect to the mode of worship rather • may be done mentally as well as manu- | than the object. It consists of two parts, ally. There may be idolatry without a precept and a sanction. The precept idols; and the scope of this command. forbids the making of any sculptured or ment seems to be mainly to forbid the painted images of any object in heaven making of any other objects, whether or earth, to be employed in religious persons or things, real or imaginary, worship. Nothing was to be attempted the objects of that supreme regard, rev. of the nature of a likeness or sensible erence, esteem, affection, and obedience representation of the invisible Deity, which we owe to God alone. As God nothing constructed or portrayed which is the fountain of happiness, and no in. should stand as an arbitrary symbol of telligent being can be happy but through Jehovah, who was to be worshipped as him, whoever seeks for supreme happi- a pure intelligent spirit, infinitely re. ness in the creature instead of the Crea- moved beyond the possibility of any tor, is guilty of a violation of this com material representation. A ware of the mand. Whatever it be that sets up a strong idolatrous tendency in human rival interest in our souls, absorbing nature, and with a view to preclude its
THE SECOND COMMANDMENT.