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DISCOURSE I.

BIRTH OF MOSES.

Exodus ii. 6.

And she had compassion on him, and said, This is

one of the Hebrews' children.

No portion of Scripture is, perhaps, better calculated to impress upon the mind the great duties of " repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ;" and to bring before it the momentous doctrines of “ righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come,” than one of those remarkable characters pourtrayed therein for our admonition; one of those personages so eminent for their faith and piety, their constancy

and obedience. At the same time, no kind of narrative has laid such hold of the youthful mind, or so deeply and indelibly impressed itself upon the heart, as the historical portion of the Old Testament, particularly the books of Genesis and Exodus. There is a simplicity as well as dignity in the style of the sacred writings, which, whilst it fills the mind of the wisest, yet may be grasped by the intellect of the lowliest : whilst it lays before us scenes of wonder to which no parallel can ever now be actually presented-scenes of patriarchal simplicity to which our ideas and habits are most foreign, yet compels us to acknowledge their interest and confess their veracity. Who does not remember the impression made upon him in childhood by the histories of Joseph and Moses, and Samuel and David ? We dwell upon them with love and affection, till the imagination is transported into the regions of the East, and we behold the patriarchs in all their unadorned but glorious simplicity, holding communion with angels, and even

with God himself; sitting at the door of their tent, or at the gate of their city, administering judgment with wisdom, or declaring unto their families the wonders that the Lord had done among the children of men.

But, pleasing and interesting as these narratives are, they are designed to answer a much more important purpose : and it is with a view of turning them to more profitable account than merely to excite our feelings or sensibilities, that I have usually selected one of them for our consideration during the season of Lent. That to which I propose, with the divine blessing, to call your attention at present, is the history of him, who, after the Messiah, holds the most prominent place in the holy Scriptures; of him who was the messenger of the old covenant, as Christ was of the new; of him by whom came the law, as by Christ came the Gospel; of Moses, the first and greatest of the prophets. May God, who has promised to give his Holy Spirit to them that ask him, pour out of that Spirit abundantly upon us; enlightening our understandings to receive, and strengthening our minds to hold fast in faith, the blessed truths which he has revealed. May our eyes be opened to see him in his works and in his ways, in his providences and in his dispensations. May he make the lessons of heavenly wisdom which he has given us, the examples of holiness which he has set before us, conducive to our eternal welfare. May he be to us an unfailing instructor and guide; and, finally, when he has made us by his grace and Holy Spirit “thoroughly furnished unto all good works” to do his will, may he unite us hereafter to those whose lives now occupy our meditations—whose examples. we strive to follow-to the prophets and apostles, in eternal glory in his kingdom.

We know that man was originally created in the image of God, and stamped with the likeness of his perfections; that he was happy because pure, and peaceful because sinless. But fallen from that high estate, and ejected from the region

of his blessedness, he wandered forth into the world, rendered barren by his crime, and desolate by his transgression. His posterity gradually yielded to the dominion of evil, thus successfully begun; till “ God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” To destroy this corruption, to eradicate at once this mighty power of wickedness, and, in some degree, to purify the earth from the contamination which it had undergone, the flood was sent, sweeping away the whole race of mankind except the family of Noah. When men again increased and multiplied, the seeds of evil also sprang up, and grew, and produced their own abundant harvest. But God had sworn never again to destroy the earth with a flood of waters, and had set his bow in the clouds as the ensign and emblem of his truth. Partial punishments were therefore inflicted, and Sodom and

i Gen. vi. 5.

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