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The Egyptian chariots followed in the morning; but the wind fell, perhaps the tide rose, and the waves returned to the destruction of the pursuing army.
“Since that time the shifting sands of the Desert have banked back the waters of the bay, and left that remarkable spot always dry; and every caravan from Cairo to Mecca passes over the spot where the Egyptian army was drowned. The sands have also choked up the two canals, on one of which Christian pilgrims had sailed even in the eighth century, in their way to the Holy Land, and by both of which the country was irrigated. The Land of Goshen, which the Israelites watered laboriously, like a garden, by means of wells and buckets, is again become a desert. By the sands, also, the Pelusiac branch of the river has been very much lessened; the ruins of the great towns of Bubastis and Pelusium can no longer be reached by vessels from the sea; and the waters of the Nile, which now flow in fewer and deeper channels, can no longer be forded between Memphis and Heliopolis.” (Pp. 25—27.)
Every added discovery of the riches of ancient Egyptian civilization has confirmed the value, in a theological point of view, of the hint dropped by Stephen in his recapitulation of the Jewish history when examined before the Jewish council (Acts vii. 22), that “ Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians," as well
“ mighty in words and deeds.” The architectural remains, the sculptures, and the deciphered hieroglyphics, sufficiently attest the high advancement of the Egyptians in art and science; and equally prove their utter degradation in point of religion, as previously attested by the Greek writers. And while there is reason to ascribe many of the secular, political, civic and medical provisions of the Mosaic Law to the Lawgiver's familiarity with the learning of Egypt, its religious principles stand out in the more striking contrast from these very circumstances. Of the secular wisdom of that great and wonderful people, no doubt, Moses made the fullest use. But their theology and religious rites he passes by with the varying contempt or indignation of a fervent worshiper of the One Living God, towards that most despicable of idolatries, the worship of the lower animals; or he points at it by an occasional prohibition of practices which seem to have belonged to the religious rites of Egypt.
Some enthusiastic devotees of the wisdom of ancient Egypt have indeed persuaded themselves that this wonderful country had not only attained a height of knowledge and art unsurpassed even in our modern times, but that its fundamental theology was monotheistic and pure, as revealed in the calm, majestic mysteriousness of the Sphynx, and the supposed symbolical meaning of the Egyptian mythology in general. And thus, in spite of the countless mummied cats and dogs and apes of ancient Egyptian homage, and in spite of the polytheism which is at the root even of its symbolism, they have seemed disposed to ascribe even the theological system of Moses to the “wisdom of Egypt" in which he had been instructed. Strange indeed, that he, and he alone, should have derived from that sacred wisdom of theirs a theology which proclaimed irreconcilable war alike against the idolatries of the ignorant many and this presumed symbolism of the wise! Strange, too, that no wise Egyptian among his teachers or their successors should have attained the same high views and taught them to his intelligent countrymen ; while this Hebrew foreigner not only gained them himself, but taught them boldly and effectually to the degraded bondsmen in Goshen, and raised up a nation of resolute monotheists, renouncing the images and the symbolism too! Surely this part of the wisdom of Moses came rather from the hereditary faith of the Jewish patriarchs, renewed and confirmed by miraculous interposition to himself, making him "mighty in words and deeds." Such, at least, is the most obvious, and we believe the most truly philosophical, solution that can be offered of the august religious wisdom in aid of which Moses freely employed the secular wisdom of the Egyptians. Judaism had to be brought into Egypt before it could make its exodus thence.
The most conspicuous and most important part of the Jewish Law is the Decalogue.
The Law of the two tables given on Mount Sinai is as strikingly distinguished by the manner in which it was promulgated, as its contents are distinguished in importance above all the other precepts of Mosaism. These Ten Commandments have, not without reason, retained their credit in the Christian Church, where Judaism, as Judaism, is renounced as a thing of the past. They are laws of eternal morality; and, no doubt, were for that reason made so prominent as they are in the Mosaic religion. It is as laws of natural and everlasting morality, and not because they were written in the Mosaic Law, that any of them are incumbent upon us. And we cannot notice the prominence given to these precepts in the Law of Moses without feeling our respect drawn forth towards his institutions, and also feeling that those institutions which divinely sanctioned the ceremonial law for its temporary and instrumental purposes, have yet more solemnly sanctioned the great laws of piety and virtue. Reverence to God is the subject of the first table; duty to man, of the second. Jesus Christ distinctly recognized and sanctioned this part of the Jewish code, in his announcement of the two great commandments on which hang all the Law and the Prophets, namely, “ Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and soul and mind and strength, and thy neighbour as thyself.” He even enumerated the six human duties (Mark x. 19). “Thou knowest the commandments: Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not" (the spirit of the tenth command, Covet not), “ Honour thy father and thy mother."
The one only law of all the ten that has not upon it the sanctions of natural morality, is still one that can hardly be called, in its original and proper sense, merely ritual ; namely, the law of the Sabbath: “Remember the Sabbath-day to keep it holy.” All the other nine are of admitted obligation as points of essential morals and religion, apart from the special institutions of Judaism. And this one has been, in point of historical fact, the occasion of giving to the Christian and Mahometan countries of the world, a privilege not less important on physical and social than on moral and religious grounds, which it is pretty certain that all the wit and wisdom of the world would never have asserted for itself. The economist would have deprecated such a waste of life's resources as that of labour lying fallow every seventh day; though, viewing the matter as it actually is, he finds the Sabbath no waste at all, but the reverse, as six days' labour are worth more than seven of unrefreshed continuity, while the wages of six are just what the wages
of seven would have been as the result of competition among employers and employed. The periodical cessation of ordinary labour at moderate intervals is a blessing even in a temporal, and yet more in a moral and religious point of view, for which the world ought indeed to be thankful to that mistaken reverence (if it was mistaken) with which the Jewish Sabbath was regarded by the early temporal rulers of the Christian Church. Hence has come, in point of fact, a blessing of inestimable value to all who toil, whether with hands
or head. But their mistake was one of form, not of spirit, in thinking “ the Sabbath made for man," and not exclusively for Jew. By that bright touch of moral truth, Christ rescued it from the Pharisees. And modern Sabbatarianism is alien alike to the spirit of the Jewish Sabbath and of the original Lord's-day of Christendom.
Looking at the spirit of the institution, we find it quite unnecessary to examine, with some laborious scripturists, the question between what is called the Jewish Sabbath and the Lord's-day. One day in seven for rest as far as possible from worldly toil, whether that day be called Saturday or Sunday, first day or seventh, and whether it be counted from sunset on Friday to sunset on Saturday, or from midnight of Saturday to midnight of Sunday, and whether time be reckoned by the meridian of Greenwich or of Jerusalem (a question quite forgotten by the Sabbatarian disputants), is the essence of the Jewish idea, and of Jewish, Christian and Mahometan practice. Those who have too nicely discussed this question, and set their hearts and imaginations upon a contemporaneous Sabbath-keeping all over the world, seem to have forgotten that any Sabbath, whether called Saturday or Sunday, must be successive round the world as it turns upon its axis to greet the sun.
The poetry of Science devoutly cuts the theological knot at once :
"Still, as the light of morning broke