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FOR CHRISTIAN FAMILIES.
CONDUCTED BY JOHN KITTO, D.D., F.S.A.
FOR SUNDAY, MARCH 13, 1853.
THE BURNING BUSH.
although the flame continued to burn fiercely, EXODUS III.
the bush remained uninjured. He knew not
that the Angel of the Lord—the Lord himThis chapter presents to us Moses in exile self—was there. in the country of Midian, whither he had .fled Ver. 3—6. Moses turned aside to obfrom the dangers that threatened him in Egypt. serve this great sight; but he was warned He was forty years old when he left Egypt, from too near an approach, by a Voice from and since then forty more years had passed, out the bush, calling him by his name, and so that he was eighty years old at the time warning him to take his shoe, or rather this chapter opens. But he was not, properly sandal, from his feet, for the place whereon speaking, an old man; for men seem still to he stood was holy ground. This direction have been longer lived than they in a few is founded on the very ancient, and still submore generations became: and Moses himself sisting Eastern custom, of uncovering the lived forty years more; and at the end of feet, instead of the head, (as we do,) in token that period, that is, at the age of 120 years, of reverence or respect. The Voice delayed —it is said of him, “that his eye was not dim, not to disclose the ground on which this nor his natural force abated.”
mark of homage was demanded, declaring At the end of the forty years in Midian, that He who spoke was no other than the we find him in the same situation as at the God of his renowned forefathers. At that beginning.
word Moses was afraid, and hid his face. Ver. 1, 2. He kept the flock of Jethro, This would have been natural at all times; his father-in-law, the Priest, or Chief of but it was especially so now, seeing that Midian, to whom he had at the first attached however comparatively frequent this had himself, and whose daughter Zipporah he had been of old, a very long time had passed married. This person, called Jethro, is doubt- since any such personal intercourse with the less the same who was previously named as Deity had been afforded. No instance of the Reuel, (Exodus ii. 18,) and elsewhere Raguel. kind is recorded as having taken place since (Numbers x. 29.) Moses assuredly con- God was pleased to speak to Jacob to ensidered himself established for life in this courage him to go down to Egypt. But now, position, and little thought of the trials and after the lapse of two hundred years, God again triumphs awaiting him. But one time he condescends to appear, and to converse with led his flocks to the pastures to be found in
“ That shepherd who in Horeb kept his flock," the watered valleys and green dells of the Sinai mountains, finally coming “ to the to encourage him to go back to the same mountain of God, even to Horeb.” Height country, in order to bring out of it His people is sometimes denoted by this phrase,--as afflicted by the Egyptians. “ mountains of God,” for lofty mountains, and Ver. 7-12. This the Lord declared to “ cedars of God,” for lofty cedars; but here be his object. He had seen the afflictions of it denotes, by anticipation, the sacred charac- his people; He had heard the cries they had ter which the mountain afterwards acquired poured forth under the lash of their taskfrom the memorable events that took place masters; He had compassionately known their thereon. Here his attention was drawn to a sorrows. Indeed, this he had always seen, this marvellous appearance. He saw a bush on he had always heard, this he had always fire,—which was not of itself an extraordinary known; but the set time was come, and He circumstance in the dry season. But as he is ready to make this apparent to them,-to looked on, he beheld with amazement, that evince his love, his care, his compassion for