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examples, persist in despising manner, refusing all attention to it, and remain satisfied with a stupid and stupifying way of getting out their thoughts; when, if they would only aim at some thing better, they might give to these same thoughts a vastly augmented influence. Why does that vigorous reasoner and graphic writer still keep the peace with that frigid and en feebling monotony, and not rise upon it with indomitable resolution, and break it up, and bring it to an end, and bring into its place the ranging and stirring tones of truth and nature. It is well to have good matter, for matter lies at the foundation; but whoever, in this day, relies upon matter alone, will in the end be disappointed. Whoever puts his trust in matter, to the despising of manner, will find that he is but half equipped for the service. He has got a blade, but he has neglected to put a handle to it.
We admit that the reverse is equally true, and a little more; a handle without a blade is a poor thing for spiritual achievements. Whoever puts his trust in manner to the despising of matter, will effect but little upon discerning minds. So far as the people are fools they will admire him; but the benefit to them or others will be exceedingly small, unless there is a substance and force in what he says, as well as grace in the way he says it.
A great many things enter into the construction of the complete, well-furnished preacher; and rarely do we find, in one man, so many high and admirable qualities as met in Dr. Griffin.. He had his faults; he had, too, the rarest excellences. Viewing him in his best estate, and in his happiest efforts, we are inclined to believe that he was, at times, the most eloquent man who has yet stood up in the American pulpit.
THE PROPHET LIKE UNTO MOSES.
By Rev. E. P. BARROWS, Jr., Prof. Sac. Lit. Western Reserve College, Ohio.
Note by the Author.
The substance of the following article was written several years ago, as a part of a course of lectures on the Messianic Prophecies, before the writer had read Hengstenberg's remarks on the passage. With the general tenor of these remarks he entirely coincides. But Hengstenberg has not, in his view, presented the argument in its full strength. Particularly has he passed over very cursorily one consideration of great weight in determining the Messianic character of the prophecy. He hopes, therefore, that the following remarks will be acceptable to the biblical student.
" 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: according to all that thou desiredst of the Lord thy God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, Let me not hear again the voice of the Lord 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 have spoken. 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. Deut. 18: 15—19.
The above passage is expressly cited by two inspired men,the apostle Peter, (Acts 3: 22, 23), and Stephen, (Acts 7: 37), as a prophecy of the Messiah, and that not by way of accommodation, but of direct argument. There is, morcover, great weight in the argument of Hengstenberg, going to show that Jesus himself led the way in this interpretation. He says, “ According to Luke 24 : 44, he explained to his disciples the prophecies relating to himself in the Pentateuch.. And it cannot be supposed that the very passage, Acts 3 : 22, 23, which was brought forward by Peter as the most conclusive of all, should not have been so represented by Christ. We might, then, rest upon the authority of inspiration as decisive against all the objections of Jewish and modern Christian interpreters. If the declaration of Peter, under the immediate and plenary inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and that, too, in giving an interpretation which, beyond reasonable doubt, the disciples had received from the lips of the Lord himself, is to be set aside as of no weight, then there is an end to the authority of the apostles, as inspired men. But an examination of this prophecy, in connection with the context, will show not only that the non-Messianic interpretations are forced and unnatural, but that the ancient Messianic interpretation, which has been generally adopted by the Church in all ages, is altogether natural and suitable to the context.
We will in the first place, state the interpretations proposed by those who deny the reference to Christ, with the arguments by which they endeavor to support them. Then we will bring forward the true Messianic interpretation, in doing which we can best refute the arguments of the non-Messianic expositors.
Several of the Jewish expositors understand by the prophet here spoken of, Joshua, or Jeremiah. Moses, they say, had, just before he gave this promise, been exhorting the people not to imitate the superstitions of the heathen nations whom they were about to dispossess. These nations resorted, for a knowledge of futurity, to observers of times, and diviners. But the Israelites were here forbidden to do so, on the ground that they had no excuse for such practices. Through Moses, they had enjoyed the privilege of consulting the true God, and learning his will, and, now that he was about to be removed, God would raise up to them another prophet, like himself, who should, in God's name, communicate to them his will; so that, if they should resort to the superstitious observances of the heathen nations, who had no living God to consult, they would be without excuse.
Others, as Kimchi, and most of the later Jewish expositors, take the word x')) (prophet), collectively, understanding by it the prophets of all periods. Among the ancients, this interpretation was adopted by Origen; and it is defended by many modern critics, as Rosenmüller, Vater, Baumgarten, Crusius, etc. The arguments by which it is defended we give from Rosenmüller. "By the word x2 is not to be understood any one prophet, like Joshua, as most of the Hebrew interpreters have preferred, or the Messiah, as the Christian interpreters generally, of former time, have taught; but all the prophets, as a class, are indicated, whom God, in coming ages, was about to appoint in the land of the Israelites, as the interpreters of his will. In the Hebrew, therefore, the singular is put for the plural, an enallage of which many examples are at hand; or x' is to be taken collectively. For this the connection of the discourse obviously demands. Moses had just been admonishing the Israelites to beware of consulting soothsayers, because God would reveal to them future events in another way. What the other way is, he immediately explains. (Verses 15—18.) For even if they were not going to hear the voice of God any longer, by such mediators as Moses himself had hitherto been, yet God would, in future time, speak with them, and raise up to them prophets in all ages.” After referring to the Messianic interpretation, and some arguments by which it is defended, he adds, "Every one perceives, at the first glance, that this reference to the Messiah is wholly repugnant to the series of the discourse. For how do these things agree: Do not consult soothsayers, for God will raise up to you the Messiah ?" This is a statement of the objection to the Messianic interpretation in its full strength. Of how little real force it is, an examination of the prophecy itself, in all its connections, will show. It is, first of all
, of primary importance (and this is the point which Hengstenberg has passed by with only one or two cursory remarks), that we remember the connexion in which this pro
phecy was originally intended. It was not first spoken by Moses to the Israelites, at or near the close of his life; but it was addressed by God himself to Moses, while he stood before him on the summit of Sinai, at the very beginning of the forty years' sojourn in the wilderness. Now, beyond controversy, the meaning which the words had, as originally uttered by Jehovah, is the meaning which they had when repeated by Moses forty years afterwards the true meaning after which we are to inquire. What then was this meaning? The circumstances connected with the original giving of prophecy are briefly the following:
The Lord had descended in awful majesty upon Sinai, with thunders, and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceedingly loud, so that all the people that were in the camp trembled. From the summit of the mountain, concealed by thick darkness and devouring fire from mortal vision, he had uttered the ten commandments.
This mode of communication between God and his sinful creatures was too terrible to be endured. “ And all the people," says the sacred historian, “saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it they removed and stood afar off. And they said unto Moses, speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die." (Ex. 20 : 18, 19.) These are manifestly the same words, for substance, that Moses repeats in the passage now under consideration : " Let me not hear again the voice of the Lord my God, neither let me see this great fire any more, lest I die.”
This request of the people, Moses reported to God, and he commended it as altogether reasonable and proper. They have well spoken that which they have spoken.” As if he had said, "I know that this mode of communicating my will to men is overwhelming. They have petitioned that I should address them through thee, one of their own brethren, as a mediator: it is a reasonable request, and shall be granted.”
The idea of the necessity of God's using a mediator in communicating to men his will, having been thus distinctly brought forward, God takes occasion to say that he will not only grant the present desire of his people, by ordaining his law through the hand of Moses as a mediator, but that he will hereafter raise up to them a great mediator, like unto Moses, who shall be one of their own brethren, shall communicate to them, as a faithful ambassador, all his will, and to whom all shall be bound to hearken under the penalty of death.
The petition of the people was, (let this be carefully noted) that God would address them through Moses as a mediator, and not overwhelm them with the awful display of his majesty, while, with his own voice, he spoke to them from the midst of
the devouring fire. It was this request, and no other, that God commended as well spoken. The idea that, when Moses should be removed, they should need another prophet like him in a succession of prophets in his stead, could not have entered into their thoughts. Moses had now but just entered upon his office, and they could have had no apprehension of his being removed from them. Their request was, that God would address them through the medium of a man like themselves, whose words they could endure to hear. “ Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die." To suppose that God answers this request by promising that, when Moses is removed (of which no intimation has been given, and no apprehension is felt) he will raise up for them, in his stead, another prophet, or a succession of prophets, is to suppose that his answer is wholly irrelevant. But, if the promise is referred to the Messiah, it is entirely natural and proper. What more natural than that, when the subject is the necessity of a mediator between God and man, Göd should take occasion from it to foretell the advent of the great mediator of whom Moses was a distinguished type?
And the terms in which the prophecy is expressed, all apply perfectly to the Messiah. Here the following particulars are worthy of notice :
1. The obvious reference is to a particular individual. "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.” Who, that had not a theory to maintain, could fail to understand these words of a particular person? Or how could a particular person be designated if one is not designated here. As to Rosenmüller's remark, that the singular is put for the plural, or x' is to be taken collectively, it is sufficient to say that it is an arbitrary assumption, and contrary to the usage of the Hebrew language, since, to use the words of Hengstenberg, "the word does not elsewhere occur as a collective noun, nor are the prophets anywhere spoken of in the manner alleged.” This is one of the many instances in which the rules of sound exegesis have been arbitrarily set aside, because they did not conduct to a result that agreed with the expositor's preconceived ideas. The singular x' without the article, may of course be used to denote generally a prophet or any prophet; or, which amounts to nearly the same thing, any one of the prophets (quislibet prophetarum), that is, every one of them. Thus,
“ for both prophet and spirit are profane." (Jer. 23: 11.) i. e. “take any one of the prophets or
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