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scene was chosen for the purpose. The beyond all question that the Law, propgenius of the Law was severe, rigid, erly understood, lays its demands and dark, fearful, terrific. In accordance with its prohibitions upon the inward actings this the people of Israel were led into of the spirit, and not merely upon the a dreary, desolate wilderness, a region outward conduct. If we are taught by of barren rocks and thirsty sands, where this supreme authority to regard cher. all nature appeared in its most wild, ished lust as adultery, and harbored and rugged, and desert aspect. There, hate as murder, how can we avoid the amidst bleak mountainous masses of inference that all the commandments granite, separated by narrow ravines, are equally extensive in their import, in which only here and there little and address themselves directly to the patches of herbage, and scattered trees heart as the fountain of action and the are found, the Law of Sinai was pro- criterion of character ? To the same claimed, as if it were especially intend- conclusion are we irresistibly brought ed to teach them that that dispensation, by the language of Paul in his reason. compared with the gospel, was like the ings upon the Law in the Epistle to most desert and forbidding locality on the Romans. It was only when he the earth's surface contrasted with the came to understand fully the spiritual most blooming and luxuriant paradise nature of the Law and the sternness and which the hands of nature and art ever universality of its requirements, that conspired to beautify. This view of he became convinced of sin, and, as it the event before us will no doubt bewere, slain by its killing power. The come more and more striking, in pro- same view of the character of this portion as the geological and topo- deeply searching moral code is undoubt. graphical features of that region are edly maintained throughout the whole more fully disclosed, as they are in a tenor of the Scriptures, so that we can. fair way to be, in consequence of the not well hesitate to admit the justness growing influx of travel into that mem. of the canon laid down in the Assem. orable and interesting quarter of the bly's Catechism, for interpreting the globe.
demands of the Law, that it binds
every one to full conformity in the whole 4. Principles of Interpretation.
man, unto the righteousness thereof, 'Thy commandment,' says David, 'is and to entire obedience for ever; so as exceeding broad;' in which we read a to require the utmost perfection in clear intimation of the extent and spirit. every duty, and to forbid the least de uality of the divine requirements, as gree of every sin.' Accordingly, in putreaching beyond the outward actions, ting a due sense upon the several preand taking cognizance of the inmost cepts, we must admit that 'when a par. thoughts and intentions of the heart. ticular duty is commanded, the contrary With so important a portion of revela sin is forbidden, with all the causes, oction, therefore, before us, it is evidently casions, and temptations which might a matter of great moment to fix upon lead to it; and when a sin is forbidden, correct principles of interpretation, and the contrary duty is commanded, toin coming at these, nothing is more ob-gether with all the requisite means to vious than that the mode of interpreta its performance.' tion adopted by Christ and his apostles It may also be remarked in regard is to be a directory for us in putting to the distinction of the precepts into our constructions upon the precepts of affirmative and negative, that there is the Decalogue. Referring then to our ground for it in the consideration that Lord's sermon on the mount; it is clear what God forbids ' is at no time to be
what he commands is always our place of their encampment and took its duty, yet every particular duty is not position on the mountain. Here it asto be done at all times. Moreover, it sumed, in the first instance, a hue of must be perceived that in the negative dense and pitchy darkness, which would mode of injunction, there is something contrast more strongly with the fiery more emphatic, and that leaves less splendors that were ere long to burst room for evasion. Thus, had the first out of its bosom, and together with the commandment, 'Thou shalt have no earthquake, and the thunder, and the other gods, &c.,' been propounded af trumpet-blast, to clothe the scene with firmatively, 'Thou shalt worship one à grandeur utterly unparalleled on earth. God,' the Samaritans, for instance, It is true, the Shekinah is here premight still have contended that they sented in aspect different from any in kept this commandment, though they which we have yet contemplated it. mixed the worship of other gods with We have hitherto beheld it in connexion that of the true.
with an audible voice-as a fire burning On the whole, it is obvious that this in but not consuming the bushy thicket momentous and immutable Law is - as an illuminated pillar of cloud framed with the utmost wisdom of its but no where else have we seen it with divine author, and that if its deep spirit- the accompaniment of thunders and uality, its rigid and uncompromising de- lightnings and the voice of a trumpet, mands, its perpetual authority, and its and all the fearful array of Mount Sinai. awful sanctions, were duly appreciated, Still that this was an actual exhibition it would awaken and keep alive every of the Shekinah the narrative leaves us where the slumbering consciousness of no room to doubt. The ancient versions sin, and at once lead to and endear the plainly confirm this view. Of these one atonement of Christ, who was made a of the Chaldee Targums renders the ac. curse for us that he might redeem us count in the 19th chapter ;—Moses led from the curse of the violated Law. the people out of the camp to meet
the Shekinah of Jehovah ;' another, 'to 5. Ministry of Angels in the Delivery meet the Word of the Lord ;' and the of the Law.
Arab, to meet the Angel of the Lord.' No attentive reader of the Scriptures Now it is to be recollected that we have can fail to have been struck with the previously shown that the visible She. fact, that in several passages, both of kinah is repeatedly termed the 'Angel the Old and New Testament, the pres of the Lord,' and that this is the true ence and the agency of angels is ex- object which is to be brought before the pressly recognized on the occasion of the mind whenever in the books of Moses giving of the law. A somewhat extend the title “Angel of the Lord' occurs. ed and minute examination, therefore, The Shekinah was so called because of the circumstances attending this re- it was the ordinary medium or organ markable event will here be proper, in through which the Most High manifestorder to obtain, if possible, the true clue ed his presence and evinced his favor to the language employed by the sacred or disfavor towards the chosen people. writers in describing it. It will be Bearing this fact in mind, let us turn to evident, if we mistake not, from the Acts, 7. 37, 38, where in the speech of tenor of our annotations on the preced. Stephen it is said, 'This is that Moses ing chapter, that the pillar of cloud, which said unto the children of Israel, the sublime Shekinah, which had hither. A Prophet shall the Lord your God raise to directed the journeyings of the Israel. up unto you of your brethren like unto ites, now removed itself from over the me: him shall ye hear. This is he that
was in the church in the wilderness with remarkable device of the Ark of the 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 oracles 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 earli. the great Speaker on the occasion of the est ages of the world. To this ideal delivery 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 as. able. But here there is comparatively signed the title of angels. That these little difficulty, as the term 'Angel’ is angelic hosts should constitute a dissingular and refers plainly to a single tinguishing part of the supernatural appersonage. 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 be. Heb. 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 the heavenly 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 nothing 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 (W7pnoza mëribboth multitude of angelic attendants was al. kodesh),' and this is but another name ways supposed to accompany the 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 are 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, taken in its connexions, is
have brought thee out of the land AND God spake all these words, of Egypt
, e out of the house of bon2 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' (a57 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 (TVER which the Jehovah in the visible She-para); trumpets; and divine men runkinah 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 afflatus, 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. 1734 7377 35 kol haddebarim historical fortunes from the beginning elleh. That is, the words or command. are depicted in the boldest imagery of ments following, called 'ten commandinspiration ; Ps. 18. 7-11, “Then the ments (17927 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 upon a cherub and did fy: yea, he did brethren, like unto thee, and will put fly upon the wings of the wind. He my words in his mouth; and he shall made darkness his secret place ; his pa. speak unto them all that I shall comvilion 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 as are usually surcharged with waters, my name, I will require it of him.;'
i. e, whosoever will not hearken unto was spoken in an audible voice at all it my 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. 77731 017" Yehovah Elohëka, Jeho73217 7272 bidbar hammelek, at the vah thine Elohim. As these words conking's word).' Thus Mark, 7. 13, ‘Mak- tain nothing of a preceptive nature, they ing 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 Com. ment 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 him, as mediator, communicated As 'Jehovah,' the self-existent, indeto 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 has too strong to be resisted, that in de formed. Such a right flows by selflivering the Decalogue, God himself evident 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 emacommanded 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 circum- their God as Creator, but theirs by covestances, 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 if the Law | whom then might be look for obedi.