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mity, was solely here promised to them by Moses. If, however, it be yet contended, that the words were completed in some one of the long and illustrious line of inspired men whom God did raise up, it must be shewn, that he possessed the distinguishing characteristic, proposed as the authenticating seal of his claim, similarity to Moses. Now the lawgiver of the Jews was, in every respect, no ordinary man. The lines of his character are strongly and decidedly marked: and resemblance to him, if resemblance exist, is readily pointed out, and easily recognized.
Among the holy men of old time, Joshua and Jeremiah are the two persons who have been most frequently selected by the later Jewish interpreters, each as the individual indicated in this prediction. But neither of them will bear the test, which the deliverer of the prophecy himself proposes.
Joshua had been already selected from among the Israelites, at the time when Moses spake. He had been a minister to Moses when he went up unto the mount of God." He had been declared to be a man in whom was the spirit of wisdom: and he had received, by the imposition of the hands of Moses, a portion of his honour. The especial commu. nications, which he afterwards held with God, and the wonders, of which he was the faithful instrument, were a continuance of the powers which he had received, rather than indications of a new commission. But the very words of the prediction delivered by Moses imply, that the Prophet like unto him was a prophet to be raised up, in some time subsequent to that in which he was addressing the Israelites : and therefore could not have received their fulfilment in Joshua, who had been already set apart for the service of God.
h Exod. xxiv. 13. j
Compare Deut. xxxiv. 9. with Numb. xxvii. 18.
Neither was Joshua in other respects a prophet like unto Moses.
There is, it is true, one point of resemblance between these chosen men. The people were to hearken to the predicted Prophet, as they did to Moses. And, when Moses was dead, “They answered Joshua, saying, All that thou commandest us we will do, and whithersoever thou sendest us we will go. According as we hearkened unto Moses in all things, so will we hearken unto thee.” But with this similarity as a military leader and deliverer, the comparison ceases.
However lax a meaning be attached to the term, like unto Moses,
k Numb. xxvii. 20.
Josh, i, 16, 17. See also Josh. iv. 14.
no one could fulfil the conditions, who was in reality not a prophet at all, in the highest sense in which the appellation is used. And it may reasonably be doubted, whether the assertion, upon which much has been built, that “ Joshua was the successor of Moses in prophecies,”" can be advanced with truth. He was, indeed, a man highly favoured by God, as the appointed commander of His people. But we no where read of his mind having been enlightened with the knowledge of futurity.
The time of a prophet's death was usually that at which he was peculiarly gifted with wisdom from on high. Especially at that hour, when his friends were gathered around him, before his departure, to receive his solemn injunctions, the dimness which envelopes futurity was wont, if ever, to be cleared from the mental eye. So was
it with Jacob," with Joseph," with Moses.”
But in the declining years of Joshua, although his dying commands are recorded, we trace no distinct marks of such superhuman prescience.
When Joshua waxed old and was stricken in age, he called for all Israel ;' but it was
m Ecclus. xlvi. 1.
n Gen. xlix.
to remind them of the prophecies which Moses had delivered ; to impress upon their minds their obligation to serve the Lord and obey his voice; and not to add to those revelations of future events, which had been so clearly made by his predecessor.
Other instances might easily be alleged, in which the comparison between Moses and Joshua totally fails. But the Scripture itself expressly refutes the notion, that Joshua could be the person of whom Moses exclusively spake.
In the conclusion of the book of Deuteronomy, when it is declared, that Joshua, the son of Nun, was full of the spirit of wisdom, for Moses had laid his hands upon him; and the children of Israel hearkened unto him, and did as the Lord commanded Moses ;" there is immediately added, “and there arose not a prophèt since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face," or rather, who knew the Lord face to face, “in all the signs and the wonders which the Lord sent him to do in the land of Egypt, to Pharaoh and to all his servants, and to all his land : and in all that mighty hand, and in all the great terror, which Moses shewed in the sight of Israel.” At whatever time, before the closing of inspiration, this assertion was made, it completely destroys the supposition, that Joshua was the Prophet like unto Moses: and it points out the kind of similarity which must be looked for, in any person, who prefers a claim to that character.
r Deut. xxxiv. 9-12.
Considerations of a similar nature will convince us, that neither Jeremiah, nor any other of the prophets recorded in the Old Testament, ever reached the measure of the stature which Moses attained. The wonderful gifts of the Spirit were not poured out upon him with a sparing hand. He was endowed with greater powers than those bestowed upon any of the other chosen instruments, whom God ordained among his people.
The Jewish writers themselves* distinguish the degree of inspiration which Moses possessed, from that enjoyed by all the other prophets.
1. When God spake to other prophets, the revelation was made by dream or by vision.
Hear now my words,” said the Lord himself, “if there be any prophet among you, I the Lord will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream. My servant Moses is not so, who
See Sınith, Discourse on Prophecy, Chap. xi. in Watson's Tracts, Vol. IV. Sherlock, Sermon VI. on Prophecy.