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since otherwise none of the lines agree with each other. As the aged Jacob implored the divine protection for his youngest son, from whom he was so unwillingly separated, on his way to Egypt, when Judah so affectionately became surety for him to his father ;-so the aged Moses asks for him the same on bis march into the land of promise. The image of the Most High is here taken from the accompanying cloud of the divine presence, or rather from the eagle hovering over its young; (Deut. xxxii. 11.) a favourite figure with Moses. Between his shoulders means the same as upon his back, or between his wings, as we find in several other places. A beautiful picture, amiably and tenderly conceived, but which has been much mistaken.
To Joseph he said :
upon the crown of the prince among his brethren,
That Jacob's, and, in the last passage, Balaam's blessing, is the foundation of this portion, cannot escape notice : still the merits of Joseph are reposing before the eye of the prophet, and his sons are arrayed in the glorious beauty of their father:-yet it seems to me that the blessing of the patriarch, part by part, is more original and stronger. The sources of felicity, which this latter mentions, go generations back, from the God of his own life's destinies to the blessing of his father, his grandfather, till he comes to the hills of the primeval world : he named them all, and laid them on the head of his princely son, who, in the array of a prince stood by his bed-side, distinguished from his brethren, With Moses this is changed. There stands no Joseph more, but the camp of a numerous people panting after refreshment, How can he bless them more appropriately than with the refreshment they long for? Moses has no line of ancestors, from whose mouth he can bless Joseph with so much closeness, and particularly as Jacob did : of course these portions of the piece must be altered. Jacob spoke of the fruitfulness of heaven and earth as the blessing of his father, which he now transmitted to his son in the benediction of Moses only the physical sources of this fertility, the cornucopiæ as it were of nature, from above, from beneath, monthly, yearly, far and near, of present and past generations, could be alluded to. There is no need of my pointing out to you that in the last words, where the myriads of Ephraim, and only the thousands of Manasseh are mentioned, there is reference to the benediction of Jacob, (Gen. xlviii. 14—20) and to the preference which he gave to Ephraim. The comparison of valiant hosts to the horns and strength of a steer, is very common in the East.
To Zebulon he said :
The reference is here unquestionably to the commerce of Zebulon : but it does not follow that he himself should engage in it, or go out upon the sea. The outgoing, v. 19, means the going out of dwellings; as the next line about Issachar shows: and supposing Zebulon to have availed himself of his neighbourhood to Sidon and the trafficing coast, his industry might, in various ways, have made him sharer of their treasures, and even of the luxuries of foreign nations, and brought him acquainted with them as the commercial friends of the Sidonians, without going from home; and there the tribes, according to Moses, should proclaim the neighbouring Tabor as the mountain of the Lord, to offer there, and there only, right sacrifices: thus would these also, the brother-tribes, have a portion among the precious things of the land. According to Jacob's hint, Zebulon was leaning upon the border of Sidon; according to the image of Moses, he is a child upon that border, who sucks the abundance of the sea, treasures, which he does not himself bring, but which flow in for him through Sidon by means of his neighbourhood and his industry. The glass* which is alluded to here, at that time as precious as
* The ground for supposing that glass is meant by <tbe hidden treasures of the sand" is, that on the borders of Zebulon's possession, the river Ben gold, was not imported, but was a Phenician manufacture for exportation. We see from this blessing how little Moses was of a pedantic despot, blindly separating the Jews from all that was not Jewish. Zebulon should improve his vicinity to Sidon, and also the united tribes of the land should enjoy the advantage of it, through his means and the neighbourhood of mount Tabor. Issachar, on the contrary, remained in his cottages, rejoicing in the beautiful landscape which presented new views at every step; for it was such a country that his tribe in fact acquired.
To Gad he said :
The prime of the land he chose,
The meaning of the whole is clear. Gad came into possession, according to the history, of the first portion in the conquered land; still he consented to march on with Israel, and to help finish its wars, the judgments of Jehovah. There is the room, which God made for Gad, while he and his forces were straiten: ed: here are the firstlings of the prey, which he devours from the hills of Bashan. He was to be a brave tribe, as the blessing of his ancestor had already designated. Moses honours him with a comparison to the lion, with the name of martial chief, numbers him among the heads of the people, and is animated at the thought of his marching still onwards and completing the conquest. We find in the history of David, that the tribe of Gad contained at that time valiant men.
To Dao be said :
You remember the darting serpent in the foot.path, in Jacob's benediction : and bear in mind Dan's land of bush and mountain
lus flowed into the Mediterranean sea ; from the sands of which stream, at its mouth, the first glass was made in very ancient times.-Strabo, Lib. Ivi. Pliny, Hist. Nat. Lib. XXXVI. c. 26. Tacitus, Hist. Lib. v. c. 7. Josephus, de Bel. Jud. ii. c. 9.
To Asher he said :
Here the blessing of Moses grows more noble; and the conclusion is with the whole soul of the lawgiver, who uttered the princely, immortal covenant-song.
None, O Israel, is like God,
And Israel shall dwell safely alone :
They will feign to thee,-thine enemies,
What a legislator who so concluded! What a people, who had such a God, such assistance, such ordinances and promises !
LOVE TO GOD
Love to God is the essence of religion; that principle, which both implies and produces universal obedience, without which our professions are but hollow pretences, and our devotion but solemn mockery. It is that holy affection, which leads us to repose with the confidence of children on their father, which relieves the pains of our afflictions, takes from our sacrifices their bitterness, and converts our severest duties into our choicest pleasures. Jesus Christ, who, while he was in the world, gave such astonishing displays of his love to God, has taught us the nature and grounds of this duty. The command indeed was delivered by Moses to the Jews, and it has its foundation in natural as well as in revealed religion. Because under every dispensation God is our father; and from everlasting to everlasting possesses the same perfections for his children to reverence and love. But in the gospel of Christ, it appears under new and more powerful sanctions. It is addressed to us as rational creatures, formed to distinguish and love what is pure and exalted; and as chil. dren of a tender Father, receiving from him all that we possess, and depending upon Him for all that we hope. It is addressed then to our reason, teaching us to admire infinite perfection in itself considered, and to our gratitude, from the view of these perfections, as exercised for our happiness and good.
That we are disposed to love purity and all moral excellence without
any reference to our own advantage, is the effect of that power by which God in his goodness has exalted the rational above the merely animal part of creation. The distinctions of moral good and evil are strongly marked in the mind of every intelligent being. We immediately perceive a deformity in the one; a loveliness and beauty in the other. If we hear of a fellow-creature of distinguished purity, we love and admire him, even though he be too far from us to enable us to feel the influence of his virtue. If to this purity be united an active and liberal benevolence, which dispenses happiness to all around him, our admiration is increased; and though we are not benefitted, we feel for this virtuous individual something of the tenderness we should cherish for a personal benefactor. This is the impression, which the imperfect, limited goodness of a being like ourselves, seldom fails to produce in a mind unperverted by interest or passion. How then should we view the infinite perfections of God? With what feelings of love and reverence should we contemplate his spotless holiness and truth, his justice and benevolence, with all those moral attributes, which in the