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her of mediocrities added together can accomplish more than one man of genius.
Certainly this is a mistake. The easiest and most natural solution of wonderful results is the supposition of genius, inspiration, heroism, as their cause. Great men explain history. Napoleon explains the history of Europe during a quarter of a century. Suppose a critic, a thousand years hence, should resolve Napoleon into half a dozen Napoleons; would they explain the history of Europe as well ? Given a man like Napoleon, and we can understand the French campaigns in Italy and Germany, the overthrow of Austria, the annihilation of Prussia, the splendid host of field-marshals, the Bonaparte circle of kings, the Codex, the Simplon Road, and the many changes of states and governments on the map of Europe. One man of genius explains it all. But take away the man of genius, and substitute a group of small men in his place, and the thing is much more obscure and unintelligible. So, given Moses, the man of genius and inspiration, and we can understand the Exodus, understand the Jewish laws, understand the Pentateuch, and understand the strange phenomenon of Judaism. But, instead of Moses, given a mosaic, however skilfully put together, and the thing is more difficult. Therefore, Moses is to be preferred to the mosaic, as the more reasonable and probable of the two, just as Homer is preferable to the Homerids, and Shakesptare to the ShakeWe find in Moses the three elements of genius, inspiration, and knowledge. Perhaps it is not difficult to distinguish them. We see the natural genius and temperament of Moses breaking out again and again throughout his career, as the rocky strata underlying the soil crop out in the midst of gardens, orchards, and fields of corn. The basis of his nature was the hardest kind of rock, with a surging subterranean fire of passion beneath it. An awful soul, stern and terrible as Michael Angelo conceived him, the sublime genius carving the sublime lawgiver in congenial marble. The statue is as stern as law itself. It sits in one of the Roman churches, between two columns, the right hand grasping the tables of the law, the symbolic horns of power protruding from the brow, and the austere look of the judge bent upon those on the left hand. A fiery nature, an iron will, a rooted sense of justice, were strangely overflowed and softened by a tenderness toward his race, which was not so much the feeling of a brother for brethren as of a parent for children.
* Strabo, who probably wrote in the reign of Tiberius, thus describes Moses :
“Moses, an Egyptian priest, who possessed a considerable tract of Lower Egypt, unable any longer to bear with what existed there, departed thence to Syria, and with him went out many who honored the Divine Being. For Moses taught that the Egyptians were not right in likening the nature of God to beasts and cattle, nor yet the Africans or even the Greeks, in fashioning their gods in the form of men. He held that this only was God, — that which encompasses all of us, earth and sea, that which we call heaven, the order of the world, and the nature of things. Of this, who that had any sense would venture to invent an image like to anything which exists among ourselves ? Far better to abandon all statuary and sculpture, all setting apart of sacred precincts and shrines, and to pay reverence without any image whatever. The course prescribed was that those who have the gift of divination for themselves or others should compose themselves to sleep within the Temple, and those who live temperately and justly may expect to receive some good gift from God.”
Educated in the house of Pharaoh, and adopted by his daughter as her child, taken by the powerful and learned priesthood of Egypt into their ranks, and sharing for many years their honors and privileges, his heart yearned toward his brethren in the land of Goshen, and he went out to see them in their sufferings and slavery. His impetuous nature broke out in sudden indignation at the sight of some act of cruelty, and he smote the overseer who was torturing the Jewish slave. That act made him an exile, and sent him to live in Arabia Petrea, as a shepherd. If he had thought only of his own prospects and position, he would not have gone near the Israelites at all, but lived quietly as an Egyptian priest in the palace of Pharaoh. But, as the writer to the Hebrews says, he “refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter; choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a
Another instance of his generous and tender feelings toward his nation is seen in his behavior when the people made the golden calf. First, his anger broke out against them, and all the sternness of the lawgiver appeared in his command to the people to cut down their idolatrous brethren; then the bitter tide of anger withdrew, and that of tenderness took its place, and he returned into the mountain to the Lord and said, “O, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold. Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin —; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written.” Moses did not make much account of human life. He struck dead the Egyptian who was ill-treating a Jew; he slew the Jews who turned to idolatry; he slew the Midianites who tempted them ; but then he was ready to give up his own life too for the sake of his people and for the sake of the cause. This spirit of Moses pervades his law, this same inconsistency went from his character into his legislation; his relentless severity and his tender sympathy both appear in it. He knows no mercy toward the transgressor, but toward the unfortunate he is full of compassion. His law says, “ Eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, burning for burning, stripe for stripe.” But it also says, “ Ye shall neither vex a stranger, nor oppress him, for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt. Ye shall not afflict any widow or fatherless child.” If thou lend money to any of my people that is poor by thee, thou shalt not be to him as an usurer.” “If thou at all take thy neighbor's raiment to pledge, thou shalt deliver it unto him by that the sun goeth down, for that is his covering.” " If thou meet thine enemy's ox or his ass going astray, thou shalt surely bring it back to him again.
Such severities joined with such humanities we find in the character of Moses, and such we find to have passed from his character into his laws. But perhaps the deepest spring of character, and its most essential trait, was his sense of justice as embodied in law. The great idea of a just law, freely chosen, under its various aspects of Di
Esteeming the reproach of the Christ" (that is, of the anointed, or, the anointed people) “greater riches than the treasures of Egypt.”
vine command, ceremonial regulations, political order, and moral duty, distinguished his policy and legislation from that of other founders of states. His laws rested on no basis of mere temporal expediency, but on the two pivots of an absolute Divine will and a deliberate national choice. It had the double sanction of religion and justice; it was at once a revelation and a contract. There was a third idea which it was the object of his whole system, and especially of his ceremonial system, to teach and to cultivate, – that of holiness. God is a holy God, his law is a holy law, the place of his worship is a holy place, and the Jewish nation as his worshippers are a holy people. This belief appears in the first revelation which he received at the burning bush in the land of Midian. It explains many things in the Levitical law, which without this would seem trivial and unmeaning. The ceremonial purifications, clean and unclean meats, the arrangements of the tabernacle, with its holy place, and its Holy of Holies, the Sabbath, the dresses of the priests, the ointment with which the altar was anointed, are all intended to develop in the minds of the people the idea of holiness.* And there never was a people on whose souls this notion was so fully impressed as it was upon the Jews. Examined, it means the eternal distinction between right and wrong, between good and evil, and the essential hostility which exists between them. Applied to God, it shows him to have a nature essentially moral, and a true moral character. He loves good and hates evil. He does not regard them with exactly the same feeling. He cannot treat the good man and the bad man in exactly the same way. More than monotheism, this perhaps is the characteristic of the theology of Moses.
The character of Moses had very marked deficiencies, it had its weakness as well as its strength.
He was impetuous, impatient, wanting in self-possession and selfcontrol. There is a verse in the Book of Numbers (believed by Eichhorn and Rosenmuller to be an interpolation) which calls him the meekest of men. Such a view of his character is not confirmed by such actions as his killing the Egyptian, his breaking the stone tables, and the like. He declares of himself that he had no power as a speaker, being deficient probably in the organ of language. His military skill seems small, since he appointed Joshua for the military commander, when the people were attacked by the Amalekites. Nor did he have, what seems more important in a legislator, the practical tact of organizing the administration of affairs. His father-in-law, Jethro, showed him how to delegate the details of government to subordinates, and to reserve for himself the general superintendence. Up to that time he had tried to do everything by himself. That great art, in administration, of selecting proper tools to work with, Moses did not seem to have.
* See this well explained in The Philosophy of the Plan of Salvation, by James B. Walker.
Having thus briefly sketched some of the qualities of his natural genius and character, let us see what were the essential elements of his legislation; and first, of his theology, or teachings concerning God.
Monotheism, as we all know, lay at the foundation of the law of Moses. But there are different kinds of monotheism. In one sense we have seen almost all ancient religions to have been monotheisms. All taught the existence of a Supreme Being. But usually this Supreme Being was not the object of worship, but had receded into the background, while subordinate gods were those really reverenced. Moses taught that the Supreme Being who made heaven and earth, the Most High God, was also the only object of worship. It does not appear that Moses denied the existence of the gods who were adored by the other zations; but he maintained that they were all inferior and subordinate, and far beneath Jehovah, and also that Jehovah alone was to be worshipped by the Jews. “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” (Exod. xx. 3; Deut. v. 7). “Ye shall not go after other gods” (Deut. vi. 14). “ Yé shall make no mention of the name of other gods (Exod. xxiii. 13). “For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords ” (Deut. x. 17). The first great peculiarity of the theology of Moses was therefore this, that it taught that the Infinite and Supreme Being, who in most relig. ions was the hidden God, was to the Jews the revealed