Page images
PDF
EPUB

operations were essentially different. Strabo 'has given us a short description of the pass in Pamphylia, by which Alexander led his army. 'E5od ogos, Kaopaž nad8jevov. ETIHEITQG δε τω Παμφυλια πελαγει, 5ενην απολειπων παροδου επι τω αιγιαλω, ταις μεν νην εμιαις γυμνεμενην, ωςε ειναι βασιμον τοις όδευεσι. πλημμυροντος δε τα πελαγες, υπο των κυματων καλυπτομενην επιπολυ. There is a mountain called Climax, or the ladder, which seems to hang over the Pamphylian sea, and affords at the bottom a narrow pass for travellers upon the shore. This in calm wear ther is quite bare of water, so that people can easily go over it. But when there is any swell of the sea, it is for the most part under water. Thus we see that the Grecian army was conducted over a shore, which is said in general to have been above water, and consequently dry and passable. Whereas, when Moses was ordered to conduct his people, it was across a gulf with a descent, the bottom of which had been always covered with sea water, and could not possibly afford sure footing. How then were the children of Israel led over? certainly not by any natural means. The same power which divided the sea, and made

· Strabo, 1. 14. p. 982.

it stand like a wall on each side, could at the same time remove all other obstacles, and make the bottom as hard as the firmest strand. The waters saw thee, O God, the waters saw thee : they were afraid; the depths also were troubled. Psalm ļxxvii. 16. Thy way is in the sea, and thy path in the great waters, and thy footsteps are not known. ver. 19. Thus saith the Lord, which maketh a way in the sea, and a path in the mighty waters; which bringeth forth the chariot and horse, the army and the power; they shall lie down together, they shall not rise; they are extinct, they are quenched as tow. Isa. xliii. 16, 17.- So he led them through the depths, as through the wilderness. And the waters covered their enemies; there was not one of them left. Psalm cvi. 9, 11.

If then there appears any thing extraordinary in these manquvres, and contrary to the usual mode of operation among men, we must not upon thąt account hesitate and be diffident; for it was the very purpose of the Deity. It was his will that difficulties should arise, that he might display his glory and power to the Israelites, and his judgments upon the Egyptians. For Pharaoh will say of the children of Israel, They are entangled in the land, the wilderness hath shut them in. And I will 'harden Pharaoh's heart, that he shall follow after them; and I will be honoured upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host, that the Egyptians, may know that I am the Lord. Exod. xiv. 3, 4. It is therefore impossible to make the purposes of Divine Wisdom accord with human sagacity ; for they are far above it; as we learn from the apostle. How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out ! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor! Epist. to the Romans, chap. xi. 33, 34. . ..

When therefore the author says, that the Israelites would not have been thus blindly led, he should have farther considered, that neither would Moses have thus blindly led them. Nobody in his senses would have brought himself into these difficulties, unless under the influence of an higher power.---Hence this inference must necessarily follow, that such a power did lead and control them. The whole was brought about by the wisdom of God, that he might manifest his superiority in preserving his servants and confounding his enemies.

The author reasons equally wrong in respect to the place of passage. If it were a more short and shallow way, such as is now to be found just below Suez, where he places it, then he sees no absurdity in supposing that the Egyptians might follow the Israelites. But if we place it at Bedea (the true Clysma of the ancients) then, he thinks, it must have been too wide and deep for Pharoah to have pursued. "Tous les Egyptiens auroient été depourvus du bon sens, s'ils avoient voulu poursuivre les Israelites en travers du telomer. He does not consider, that what he makes a supposition was the real fact. The Egyptians were blinded, and acted throughout contrary to reason and good sense, being under a judicial infatuation, by which they were led to

? Arabie, p. 355. • 2 In respect to Suez at this day he says, that there are some difficulties in passing the ford, and it must have required a miracle for Moses to have led the people over even as it is now. -La chose eut-eté naturellement bien plus difficile aux Israelites il y a quelques milliers d'annees, le golfe etant probablement plus large, plus profond, plus étendu vers le nord. p. 354. But does not this limit the extent and efficacy of a miracle too much? He seems to allow that the Deity could conduct his people through a bed of waters for a mile and a half, though difficult; but thinks that this could not be effected through a larger arm of the sea beo w, of two or three leagues in breadth.

their confusion. We must allow this, or give up the history.

A Recapitulation of the Whole.

In this manner was the mighty operation carried on, and the Israelites were conducted from the Nile and Rameses to Succoth, journeying all the way near the bottom of the Arabian mountain. From thence they went to the edge of that desert which was inhabited by the Arabians called in after times 'Autæi. In performing this they passed pretty high north, and were approaching towards the confines of the promised land. For there are strong evidences, as I have before mentioned, that the Sinus Heroopolites extended much higher than it does at this day; to which Bishop Pocock bears witness, p. 133. Mr Niebuhr is of the same opinion. ? Il y a donc quelques milliers d'années, que le golfe d'Arabie étoit plus large, et s' entendoit plus vers le nord: surtout le bras près de Suès. Car le rivage de cette extremite du golfe est tres bas.

'Pliny, l. 6. p. 341. ? Arabie, p. 348.

« PreviousContinue »