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holy One to see corruption. He intended perhaps 10 more than this, Thou shalt not suffer me to come to an untimely end, to be killed by mine enemies and cast into the grave: but then the divine impulse which was upon him, made him use words which should suit exactly to Christ, and to himself only in a loose and figurative sense. Of this the prophet himself might be sensible, and might know that his words had another import, and that they should be fulfilled twice, both in the sense which he intended, and in the sublimer sense of the Holy Spirit. By these means a shade was cast over the prophecy, and the sense of the Spirit was concealed till the event unfolded it, and made it conspicuous; which obscurity seems to have been sometimes necessary, that the persons concerned in bringing about the accomplishment might not know what was predicted concerning them and their actions *.
In Deuteronomy, xviii. 18, 19. it is said ; I will raise them up a prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee ; and I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him. And ver. 15. The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a prophet in the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken. 1. The intention of Moses seems to have been to ad.
minister * It is proper that men should be treated as free agents : and men are free ; at least they think so, and few of them will give up this persuasion, and suffer themselves to be quibbled out of their senses and experience. Truth and general utility will be found always to coincide, and one would be glad to know what useful purposes can be served from the doctrine of fatalism. The fatalist will say ; It will make a man humble. It is as likely to make him a mathematician, or a poct.
minister some consolation to the people who would soon be deprived of him, and in him, of the best friend and ruler, that any nation ever enjoyed. Therefore he took occasion to assure them that they should not be destitute of a prophet, and that God would, in compassion and kindness to them, supply the loss which they would sustain by the death of their deliverer and conductor.
2. When the law was delivered with dreadful pomp, and the voice of God was heard, and his majesty appeared in formidable splendor, the people were extremely terrified; for it was an opinion common both amongst Jews and Pagans, that no man could safely approach the Deity, and that death, or some great evil, was the consequence of beholding him. Sec Le Clere on Gen. xvi. 13. Therefore they besought Moses to intreat for them that they might no more be brought into such danger. For this reason, and to calın their fears, Moses assured them that for the time to come God would speak to them not in person, but by a Mediator, by a prophet, by a man like themselves. The Lord thy God, says he, will raise up unto thee a prophet -according to all that thou desiredst of the Lord thy God in Horeb, in the day of the assembly, saying, Let me not her again the voice of the Lord my God, neither let me see this great fire any more, that I die not. And the Lord said unto me, They have well spoken that which they hae spoken : I will raise them up a prophet.
3. The Pagan nations had their gods, their oracles, their southsayers, and magicians, and there was great danger lest the people of Israel should go and consult them, and so fall into idolatry; and, in fact, all these iniquities ensued in following times. That nothing might be wanting to guard against this corruption,
and that the transgressors might be inexcusable, God positively forbad them to go after the gods, the priests, and the prophets of other nations, and promised them that they should never want a prophet of their own. Thus, after the death of Moses, they had Joshua, and Samuel, and Elijah, and Elisha, and other illustrious men, besides the high priest by whom they used to consult God upon all important occasions. This interpretation is favoured by the context. There shall not be found among you one that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer—For these nations which thou shalt possess, hearkened unto observers of times, and unto diviners : but as for thee, the Lord thy God hath not suffered thee to do
The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me ; unto him ye shall hearken.—I will raise them up a prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him.
Some understand this of a succession of prophets in general, and more particularly of the Messias, who of all the prophets resembled Moses the most. Others think, that the Messias alone is here foretold, since the words in a strict and accurate sense represent him alone. Each of these interpretations has had learned defenders ;
magno se judice quoque tuetur. But I observe,
1. Both these interpretations agree in this, that Christ is here promised and foretold, nor indeed is the
first very discordant from the second; for if Moses meant in general every prophet, and any prophet who should succeed him, the Messias cannot be excluded; and if the Messias resembles Moses in a particular manner, the prophecy points him out above all the rest.
2. St Stephen and St Peter say, that Jesus Christ is the prophet foretold by Moses, and Christ himself had probably this passage in view, when he said, If ye had believed Moses, ye would have believed me, for he wrote of me,
3. Though Moses might perhaps mean a succession of prophets, yet the Spirit of God, who was then upon him, guided him to use words which should describe the Messias much better than any other prophet. The other prophets were only so far like unto Moses that they were prophets, but in many respects they were not like him. In the last chapter of Deuteronomy, there is an addition which was made to the books of Moses, long after his death, by some prophet probably, who inserts the following remark : And there arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses : which has a manifest reference to the prophecy of which we are treating, and may be thus understood : Although Moses said that the Lord would raise up one like unto him, yet this prophecy has not yet been accomplished in a strict and full sense : there has not yet arisen one like unto him ; but this great prophet is still to come.
This last chapter of Deuteronomy seems to have been composed by two authors, and at two different times; the first part, down to the ninth verse, soon after the death of Moses, the three last verses long afterwards. Add to this, that the resemblance between
Moses and Christ is so very great and striking, that it is impossible to consider it fairly and carefully, without seeing and acknowledging that he must be foretold where he is so well described.
Ammonius wrote a book commended by Eusebius and Jerom, Περί της Μωυσέως και Ιησε συμφωνίας, De consensu Mosis ac Jesu, which is not extant. Euseb. E. H. vi. 19. Whether this treatise was designed to shew the resemblance and agreement between the persons, or between their doctrines we cannot say : perhaps it was the latter.
Eusebius has treated the subject, on which I am entering, in his Demonstratio Evangelica, L. iii. p. 90, &c. Ed. Paris. 1628. but as he was hastening to other points, he has not discussed this so fully as to discourage those who should be inclined to attempt the same thing. I shall therefore endeavour to make several improvements upon his remarks, and additions to them.
1. First, and which is the principal of all, Moses was a law-giver, and the mediator of a covenant between God and man: so was Christ. Here the resemblance is the more considerable, because no other prophet besides them executed this high office. The other prophets were only interpreters and enforcers of the law, and in this were greatly inferior to Moses. The Messias could not be like unto Moses in a strict sense, unless he were a legislator*. He must give a law to men, and consequently a more excellent law, and a better covenant than the first; for if the first had been perfect, as the author of the epistle to
* By this prediction Moses guarded the people against the prejudice which his own authority was like to create against a new lawgiver; telling them beforehand, that, when the great prophet came, their obedience ought to be transferred to him. Bp. Sherlock. Dis.ü.