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As their numbers grew into national dimensions, the continued influence of patriarchy, as an ideal, still kept the separate tribes in a unity of outward connexion, as of Swiss cantons under the Hapsburgs. Even their common experience of Egyptian oppression served to unite them in a fellowship of suffering, as through a common baptism of fire; and to mould them as in a furnace, and stamp them as with a hammer, into a common type of national character, whose invincible tenacity has, down to our time, been a sort of physiological wonder in the natural history of man. But the unity, which at last found its full expression in the nation full and independent, had its true root, or living foundation, in a constitution that is not of nature ; the new constitution, of redeeming grace ; which (Ex. xix. 6) makes the nation to be Theocracy, holy to the Lord; and of which the citizens are to be a brotherhood, united in the common bond of a filial relationship to God

x. iv. 22, 23). This idea is involved in the nature of a spiritual patriarchate, such as Abraham's was. The noble custom of adoption (Ex. xii. 48, 49— Commentary) made statutory in Egypt at the foundation of Israel's national existence, provided for expanded application of the idea, for blessing unto all the families of the earth (Ge. xii. 3). But what we clearly see in Exodus is the realization of the idea in the foundation of the Israelitish kingdom of God. Of those admitted by adoption there is not express mention; though their admission may have contributed to the marvellous rapidity of Israel's growth in number. The Israel whom we see have in them, as contributory to “solidarity” of nationalism in feeling, thought, and aspiration, a community, not only of blood, and of language, but, above all, of religion. That religion, keeping them separate (Ex. v. 2, 3) from the heathen around them, at the same time binds themselves together in the sacred bonds of a common inheritance of memories from the fathers, and of glorious hopes of Canaan, all centring in God, as the living God, the loving Father, who is Israel's covenant God in the promises. To a people in possession of this idea, Egypt might be a dark and joyless house of bondage. But “out of Egypt have I called my Son.” It was from Egypt that there was “a nation, born at once.” And effectively Egypt, dark and joyless, was the womb, of Israel's preparation, in a formed nationality, for being a first-born of the nations. So we see in fact, that, through its religion, the Hebrew people comes to be addressed as one community, both in the ordinances of Pharaoh through the taskmasters, and in the gracious promises of Moses through the elders. And what gathered, in the end, toward Moses at Succoth, was, not a mere multitude of individuals or families, even in tribes ; much less, a “mob,” or unorganized mass, of runaway slaves. It was a nation, arranging into compact order (xiii. 18, xiv. 8), that formed at the Red Sea, to pass on to the trysting place (iii. 12) of Covenant with God. And it was a nation (Ex. xix. 6), specifically a Theocracy, or kingdom of God, that in that covenant was vested with title to Canaan.

Egypt, in the isolation of its “valley," was as a world in itself, and was a world-empire to itself. With an extent of really habitable area that to us appears ludicrously small for an “empire,” it had, in curious completeness, the conventional assumptions or affectations of imperialism. Within so narrow a space, there could hardly be wantonness of mere barbarity of cruelty, which, with such a race of bondsmen as the Israelites, might cause dangerous explosions, like the servile wars of Rome in Italy and Sicily. The climate is excellent. There were affluent means of life. The marches appear to have been securely guarded and well warded on the Ethiopian and Arabian borders. After the expulsion of the Hyksos there appears to have been, for a series of generations, little occasion for exhausting foreign wars ; until the “broken reed” of later prophecy was impelled, by a fatal weak ambition, to play a part on the great theatre of empires in the Asiatic mainland. The Egyptian character was “mild." There does not appear to have been any specialty of the ferocity of world-empires in the experience of that land, which lay in the seclusion as nature's own “happy valley,” Nile's Eden wonder of the world. Yet, what we see in that old empire, at its culmination, is ruinous degradation of manhood and of womanhood. In that Paradise Man was lost.

In the freest of Ancient republics, the free men were not nearly so numerous as the slaves ; and, generally speaking, a heathen slave's condition was one of defenceless exposure to every outrage of capricious tyranny, as compared with which the condition of a bond-servant in Israel was a heaven on earth. (See the fruit of Ex. iii. 12 in Ex. xxi. I, etc., with Commentary there.) This Exodus history shows in Egypt an enslaved foreign people cruelly oppressed by the masters of the land. But the monumental history shows, not only gangs of chained prisoners, perhaps at forced labours, but, more impressive to the reason, the great mass ” of native Egyptians themselves, excepting the privileged classes, of the priesthood and

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the military, in a veritably hopeless bondage of heavy ceaseless toil at field-work, canals, stone-cities, and quarries. Let us look at those Pyramids, which for “forty centuries” have been looking down on mankind, as if in silent haughtiness of asserting antique grandeur. They claim to be the monuments of ancient kings who built them. Truly they are monumental of the ruinous degradation of mankind. Mere vastness of such work-how different from the nobly beautiful emanations of Greek genius !--means barbarous waste of human life. Could there be a more confounding proof of shameful ruin to the great family of man than this, that in that “happy valley” there should be, generation after generation, myriads of rational beings who, in the great opportunity of life, were doomed to merely toiling, like ants or coral insects, at a huge uncouth stone mountain mass, of sepulchre for a mummy?

It is said that a musical composition, "rendering” the characteristic sounds of song on Egyptian fields of labour at this day, was so sad, that the public could not endure it, and it was condemned. The following is a “ rendering” into words of the spirit of that song :

Work, my brother, rest is nigh ;

Pharaoh lives forever !
Beast and bird of earth and sky,
Things that creep and things that fly,
All must labour, all must die ;

But Pharaoh lives forever !

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Work, my brother, while 'tis day ;

Pharaoh lives forever!
Rivers waste and wane away,
Marble crumbles down like clay,
Nations dwindle to decay ;

But Pharaoh lives forever !

Work ! it is the mortal doom ;

Pharaoh lives forever !
Shadow's passing through the gloom,
Age to age gives place and room,
Kings go down into the tomb ;

But Pharaoh lives forever !

(Quoted as from "a gifted hand" by Charles S. Robinson, D.D., LL.D., New York, in his work, The Pharaohs of the Bondage and the Exodus, 1887.)

Israel's was the only formed nationality in existence between the

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exodus from Egypt and that exodus of Jesus which He accomplished at Jerusalem. To say nothing of Babylon and Persia, even the Hellenic peoples, one in so many important respects, never united into a real Hellenic nation. Their outward political unity was thrust upon

them from without, by alien dominations of Macedon and Rome. Rome never was a nation. From a petty republic she grew into an imperial city ; but“ Italian nationality,” even as a political day-dream, was not heard of until the old Roman empire had really passed away. And under the old succession of world-empires, the condition of mankind was one of manifest hopelessness. The "glories” for which those empires contended were only those of success in ambition that was worldly selfishness, while the “conquering hero" had his triumphal welcome home, the vae victis, in the desolation he had left behind him, was that which really told upon the condition of humanity. “They make a solitude, and call it peace” (solitudinem faciunt, pacem appellant), is, in reference to the filibustering Roman lust of conquest, the sentiment of the greatest Roman historian, which he puts dramatically into the mouth of Caledonian Galgacus. The "fair humanities” of common life were effaced from the earth in the competitions of a giant selfishness, contending for sole mastery. Nascent nationalities were stamped out of inchoate existence, or shattered in the collisions of imperial forces. Tribes were broken, families dispersed, even homes were obliterated past recognition, by the ravages of armies, where the soldiers had no nation, and had forgotten they were men. Then Christ came : to show men the Father, and lead them to see and feel (Act. xvii. 26), that God hath made of one blood all the families of mankind.

CHAPTER III.

EGYPT-SINAI THEATRE OF THE EVENTS-IN PLACE AND TIME.

RENAN found in Palestine “a fifth Gospel :” so much did that open Bible place him at home with the Evangelists. We may look for a second Exodus in the theatre of events :-supposing the events as recorded in this Book to be historically real. There are some who cannot believe in them as really historical matters of fact : they can see in them only legends, myths, fables, which grew up in the religious imagination of the people, when the Hebrew mind was in a childish condition of inability to distinguish fact from fiction, daydream from reality of waking life. Such inability to believe is found by the Christian missionary among uneducated natives of India. The Gospel story is to them simply a story, which they call maya—“representation.” They do not believe it nor disbelieve it; but simply allow it play upon their minds as a reverie or day-dream, "a tale that is told.” So as to the Exodus story of redemption, Niebuhr speaks of the importance of writing history as if the things were real. Some appear to imagine that in reading history the important matter is, to look on the things as unrealities, matters of maya—"representation.” And of the reality of things, thus coming to be doubted, one practical test is found in the physical geography of Sinai as it is, and the political as well as physical antiquities of Egypt as now known.

That, as compared with the Egypt-Sinai of this Book, is one means of judging, whether the history was derived from a knowledge of reality, or, whether it did not merely originate in reverie or day-dream. The picture of a strangely original face, the like of which has never been seen in the world, is produced by a child; and therefore, on discovery of the original, is found to be an exact likeness of that original. Whereby it is demonstrated that the picture is not mere fancy-work of the child or any one else, but must have been drawn from actual observation of a real face:-observation on the part either of the artist, or of some who gave him correct information. The strangely original face is that of Egypt-Sinai of the ancient time in question. There is nothing like the Sinaitic Peninsula on the face of the earth. There has been nothing like the Egypt of the Pharaohs in the history of the world. And of course the combination of the two into a Janus double-face, of Egypt-Sinai of the Mosaic age, greatly enhances the uniqueness of strange originality in the whole. And of that strange original face, an exact likeness is the background of this Exodus history, its theatre of events. (See e.g. Commentary, under xxvi. 20.)

Sinai, such as it must have always been, is known to us now, probably better than it was known to mankind in any previous age of the world's history. It has a face of nature perfectly unique. There is nothing elsewhere in the world, that could for a moment be confounded with it. That any one should dream into existence, or

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