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ancestors in this respect. They distinguish Moses from all other prophets, and the highest degree of inspiration is styled by them gradus Mosaicus. The difference between this degree and all others they make to consist in four particulars : 1. Moses had no dreams nor visions : 2. he had light from God immediately, without the ministry or interposition of angels : 3. his mind was never disturbed or dismayed by the prophetic influence, 'for God spake to him as a man speaks to his friend :' 4. he could prophesy at all times when he would; whereas others prophesied only at particular times, when the word of God came to them.*
Another chief dignity belonging to Moses, and in which the prophets under the law were not like unto him, is, that he was a lawgiver. No prophet after Moses was sent with such a commission during the time of the law; and yet the prophet here foretold was evidently to resemble Moses in this particular : · He was to speak all that God commanded him; and whoever hearkened not to him, was to be destroyed.' Moses had no greater authority than this, nor can any words describe a greater. Besides, there is a circumstance belonging to this prophecy, which ties it down, I think, to this sense. Moses says, ' God will raise up unto thee a prophet like unto me, according to all that thou desiredst of him in Horeb, in the day of the assembly; saying, Let me not hear 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. 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 : &c.
It is to be observed that this request of the people was made at the giving of the law in Horeb: Moses had often prophesied to them before, and they were not put under any terror by it; but when the law was delivered, and God descended in fire, and the whole mount quaked greatly,' they desired that Moses might speak to them, and not God, lest they should die. On this the promise is given, I will raise them a prophet like unto thee, and put my words in his mouth.? Is it not evident that this new prophet was to do that in a familiar gentle way, which God himself did in the mount surrounded with majesty and terror? And was not that the giving of the law ? To apply this promise to any thing else is making it to have no relation to the request on which it was granted. The people liked Moses's ordinary way of prophesying to them so well, that they desired he might be employed to deliver God's laws to them in the same manner that he delivered God's other commands : the request related therefore merely to the manner of God's giving his law. They were under no uneasiness at his method in conveying prophecies to them; and consequently the promise of God must relate to the giving of a law to his people by one to be raised up among themselves, and not merely to a succession of prophets, about which the people were in no distress.
* See Smith's select Discourses, p. 261.
Lastly, if we inquire from historical evidence after the completion of this prophecy, we shall find that it did most punctually agree to the character of our blessed Saviour, and not to any other prophet, either before or after him: all the prophets of the Old Testament saw visions, and dreamed dreams; all the prophets of the New were in the same state. St. Peter had a vision, St. John saw visions, St. Paul had visions and dreams; but Christ himself neither saw visions, nor dreamed.a dream, but had intimate and immediate communication with the Father; he was in the Father's bosom, he and no man else had seen the Father, was one with the Father, and had the fulness of the Godhead in him. Let any man now seriously consider this : Moses and Christ are the only two, in all the sacred history, who had this communication with God : the likeness to Moses is said directly to lie in this, of seeing God face to face. Can the promise then of raising a prophet like unto Moses be possibly applied to any other person than Christ Jesus? The other part of the parallel needs not to be insisted on; that Christ was a lawgiver will be easily admitted on all hands. But the execution of the threat annexed to this
pro: phecy, is too remarkable to be passed over in silence; it has been literally fulfilled on the whole nation; every man who considers the state of the Jews from the rejection of Christ to this day, must own that this part of the prophecy at least has been punctually verified.
This prophecy and many others seem, as I observed, intended for the Jews principally, to prepare them betimes for the reception of a new lawgiver, and to intimate to them that the Mosaic covenant was not to be perpetual.
Thus have I gone through the several periods of prophecy under the Old Testament, and endeavored to show the main design and use of it, opening a way to a fair and impartial consideration of the particular prophecies relating to each period. I conceived it seasonable, at a time when the argument from prophecy was exposed to open ridicule, to suggest some proper observations on the subject for the assistance of serious minds disposed to consider; to throw in one mite as an offering to the love of Christ and his gospel, in which I hope to live and to die.