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and determined them to investigate the affair with the utmost accuracy. They accordingly traced their goats, and were led by them through rugged and rocky places to a little vale, where, upon examination, they discovered a kind of caye, out of which proceed. ed a very agreeable smell, resembling that which the goats conveyed on their fleeces, and had first suggested the inquiry. In the middle of the cave they found a tomb of stone, on which certain characters were engraven, which, being illiterate, they could not decypher ; but they soon perceived that the sweet smell was communicated to their persons and garments. Upon this they went immediately to Mataxat, patriarch of the Maronites, who resided at the monastery of St. Mary, on Mount Lebanon, and related to him the particulars of their discovery. The fragrance that still adhered to their clothes confirming their testimony, he sent two of his monks with them; one of them, a man of profound erudition, named AbenUfeph, who found, in the place pointed out to them, a monument inscribed with these words in Hebrew, MOSES THE SERVANT OF THE LORD. The patriarch, transported with joy at a discovery so marvellous, besought Morat, Pacha of Damascus, to constitute him fole guardian of the sepulchre. But the Greeks and Arminians, as well as the Franciscan fri. ars, and after them the Jews, violently opposed it, and, unable to agree, tried by dint of interest at court, by presents to the Mufti and Grand Vifier, to appropriate each to themselves the superintendence of this tomb, which they equally believed to be that of Moses, and which the Jews, with peculiar earnestness, inTisted must belong to them. They represented that, among all the poffeffions of the Grand Signor, none could be more valuable and illustrious than the property of three fepulchres so renowned as that of Mahomet at Mecca, of Jesus Christ at Jerusalem, and of Moses in Mount Nebo. But the Jesuits had the ad. dress, by presents happily applied, to defeat the claims
arsi unable to ag Mufti and Gaerintendenc
of all these pretenders, and to obtain an order for shutting up the sepulchre, and obstructing the road that led to it; nay, for prohibiting all access to it, under pain of death. They were meanwhile forming a design of secretly conveying off the body of Moses, which they flattered-themselves would prove a confiderable accession of respectability, and a new source of wealth to their order. Having, however, with much difficulty and danger, penetrated into the sepulchre, it was found entirely empty; no body, no relics appeared." * These pleasing chimeras vanished almost as soon as formed ; for a learned Rabbin proved that the person interred in this tomb, was not the ancient legislator of the Hebrews, but a modern Jew of the same name.
The sacred history says, that Moses died the fortieth year after the deliverance from Egypt, and the most part of the Jewish writers fix the day of his death to the seventh day of the last month of that year, or the month Adar ; and our learned and pious countryman, archbishop Usher, calculates it to have happened on the first day of the same month. :
There is a passage in the New Testament which re. fers to this event, and which has greatly exercised the labour and ingenuity of critics and commentators : it is in the general epistle of Jude, where that disciple, in reproving the rashness and licentiousness of certain heretics," who despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities," quotes an example of yery high authority, as condemning the practice : “ Yet," says he, “ Mi. chael the arch-angel, when, contending with the devil, he disputed about the body of Mofes, durft not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee." +
Now, as many questions almost as words have been started on this subject : what is an arch-angel; and who is Michael ? How came the body of Moses to be
a ground Hornius, Secul. XVII. Art. XXXII. p. 536.
+ Lude 9.
a ground of controversy between him and the devil, what were they severally aiming at, and what was the issue of their quarrel ? What authority restrained Michael from preferring a railing accusation against him, how his conduct comes to be adduced as a pattern of felf-government, and a reproof of the vices of the tongue? And from what source did Jude derive his knowledge of this tranfa&ion? The very mention of so many, some of them, on the first glance, unimpor. tant questions, will, I doubt not, check curiosity alto. gether, instead of exciting it. It is evident, that the death and burial of Moses interested heaven and earth and hell; that many historical facts of great moment are purposely left unrecorded ; that many discoveries are reserved for that great and notable day of the Lord, when God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good or evil ; that it becomes not us to be wise above what is written, but to rest in hope, that " what we know not now, we shall know hereafter.” This much we know, that, about fifteen hundred years after, Moses appeared in glory (“s whether in the body I cannot tell, or whether out of the body I cannot tell, God knoweth") to do homage to his Saviour on the mount of transfiguration, and to lay his glory at the feet of him in whose light he shone; and we know " the hour is coming when all who are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth, they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life, and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.”*
Such was the latter end of, “take him for all in all,” the greatest mere man that ever existed. But I check myself. It is impossible to do any thing like justice to such a character in a few moments discourse: you will indulge me with another hearing on this subject; I mean, to preach a funeral sermon: the only one I ever undertook without pain, over a character and a memory to which no eloquence can rise, no detail
* John v. 28, 29.
do justice; in celebrating which, praise cannot degenerate into panegyric, nor the preacher be suspected of adulation.
Moses died in the year of the world two thousand five hundred and fifty-three-before Christ one thou. sand four hundred and fifty,-after the flood eight hundred and ninety-seven. The most ancient and authentic of historians, the most penetrating, dignified, and illuminated of prophets, the profoundest, fagest of legislators, the prince of orators and poets, the most excellent and amiable of men, the firmest and faithfullest of believers. “Whether we live, let us live unto the Lord,” that when we die we may “ die in the Lord;" that “ living and dying we may be the Lord's.”
History of Moses.
L E C T U RE XII,
DEUTERONOMY xxxiv, 10-12.
And there arose not a prophet fince in Israel like unto
Mofes, whom the Lord knew 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 Mofes Shewed in the fight of all Israel,
I HERE is in mankind a good-natured disposition to spare the dead. Without very high provocation indeed, who could think of disturbing the peace and si. lence of the grave, and of dragging again before the tribunal of man those who have already undergone the more awful judgment of a righteous God?
But this generosity does not always proceed from pure benevolence. The dead no longer stand in our way ; they are no longer our rivals in the pursuits of fame or of fortune. We can here earn the praise of magnanimity, without any danger of suffering in the interests of our reputation, our consequence, our felf. love. From whatever source this lenity and forbearance proceed, we would not be thought altogether to condemn them ; but good-nature in this, as in a few other cases, is apt sometimes to be carried too far. Through fear of being thought severe to those who