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Specially the day that thou stoodest before the LORD thy God in Horeb, when the LORD said unto me, Gather me the people together, and I will make them hear my words, that they may learn to fear me all the days that they shall live upon the earth, and that they may teach their children.
And ye came near, and stood under the mountain: and the mountain 'burnt with fire unto the midst of heaven, with darkness, clouds, and thick darkness.
And the Lord spake unto you out of the midst of the fire: ye heard the voice of the words, but saw no similitude, only ye heard a voice.
And he declared unto you his covenant, which he commanded you to perform, even ten commandments; and he wrote them upon two tables of stone.
These words the LORD spake unto all your assembly in the mount out of the midst of the fire, of the cloud, and of the thick darkness, with a great voice, and he added no more; and he wrote them in two tables of stone, and delivered them unto me.
And the LORD commarded me at that time, to teach you statutes and judgments, that ye might do them in the land whither ye go over to possess it.
Take ye therefore good heed unto yourselves; for ye saw no manner of similitude on the day that the LORD spake unto you in Horeb out of the midst of the fire:
Lest ye corrupt yourselves, and make you a graven image, the similitude of any figure, the likeness of male or female, the likeness of any beast that is on the earto, the likeness of any winged fowl that flieth in the air, the likeness of any thing that creepeth on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is in the waters beneath the earth :
And lest thou lift up thine eyes unto heaven, and when thou seest the sun, and the moon, and the stars,
even all the host of heaven, shouldst be driven to woro ship them, and serve them, which the Lord thy God. hath divided unto all nations under the whole heaven.
But the Lord hath taken you, and brought you forth Qut of the iron furnace, even out of Egypt, to be unto him a people of inheritance, as ye are this day. Furthermore, the LORD was angry
with me for
your sakes, and sware that I should not go over Jordan, and that I should not go in unto that good land which the Lord thy God giveth thee for an inheritance.
But I must die in this land, I must not go over Jordan: but ye shall go over, and possess that good land.
Take heed unto yourselves lest ye forget the covenant of the LORD your God, which he made with you, - and make you a graven image, or the likeness of any thing which the LORD thy God hath forbidden thee.
For the Lord thy God is a consuming fire, even a : jealous God. When thou shalt have children, and children's children, and shalt have remained long in the land, and shall corrupt yourselves, and make a graven. image, or the likeness of any thing, and shall do evil in the sight of the LORD thy God, to provoke him to anger: I call heaven and earth to witness against you this
ye shall soon utterly perish from off the land whereunto you go over Jordan
shall be left few in number among the heathen, whither the LORD shall lead you.
And there ye shall serve gods, the work of men's hands, wood, and stone, which neither see, nor hear, nor eat, nor smell. But if from thence thou shalt seek the LORD thy
God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul.
When thou art in tribulation, and all these things are come upon thee, even in the latter days, if thou turn to the LORD thy God, and shalt be obedient unto his voice : - For the LORD thy God is a merciful God; he will not forsake thee, neither destroy thee, nor forget the covenant of thy fathers which he sware unto them.
For ask now of the days that are past, which were before thee, since the day that God created man upon the earth, and ask from the one side of heaven unto the other, whether there hath been any such thing as this great thing is, or hath been heard like it?'
Did ever people hear the voice of God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as thou hast heard, and live?
Or hath God assayed to go, and take him a nation from the midst of another nation, by temptations, by signs, and by wonders, and by war, and by a mighty hand, and by a stretched-out arm, and by great terrors, according to all that the Lord your God did for you in Egypt before your eyes?
Unto thee it was shewed, that thou mightest know that the Lord he is God; there is none else besides him.
Out of heaven he made thee to hear his voice, that he might instruct thee: and upon earth he shewed thee his great fire, and thou heardest his words out of the midst of the fire.
And because he loved thy fathers, therefore he chose : their seed after them, and brought thee out in his sight with his mighty power out of Egypt;
To drive out nations from before thee, greater and mightier than thou art, to bring thee in, to give thee their land for an inheritance, as it is this day,
Know therefore this day, and consider it in thine heart, that the Lord he is God in heaven above, and upon the earth beneath; there is none else.
Thou shalt keep therefore his statutes, and his commandments, which I command thee this day, that it may go well with thee, and with thy children after thee, and that thou mayest prolong thy days upon the earth, which the LORD thy God giveth thee, for ever.
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.
This excellent discourse is so affecting and pathetic, that one would think it could scarcely fail of making a lasting impression on the minds of the hearers.
Moses was going to leave the Lord's people to another leader; but he determined before he was taken from them, to use every mean in his power of enforcing their obedience to the law of God, and of persuading them not to forsake the LORD, or worship false gods.
It was the practice of idolatrous nations to pay Dia vine honours to the various creatures which Moses enumerates; and, as the Israelites would be under the necessity in future of having a frequent intercourse with many of them, Moses warned them before-hand to avoid their abominations. It certainly was very wrong for man to attempt to make a representation of the LORD God; but particularly so for those, who knew that there was a DIVINE IMAGE of the infinite Deity; for Moses and the Elders had beheld him, and the people themselves had heard his glorious voice. For them, I say, to make an image, or to adore any creature, would have been a direct affront to the Divine Majesty of the LORD God; and we may understand why the LORD styles Himself a jealous God, or one that wonld not suf
fer the glory that belongs to Him alone, to be given to another, or His praise to graven images *.
Moses cautioned the people not to make to themselves any image of God, since it was utterly impossible to represent by any object in nature the great CREATOR of the universe. . Of his Divine Image they
could form an idea, because He was hidden from them, on mount Sinai, by devouring fire and awful darkness. Even this phenomenon, the wonderful mixture of light and darkness, was so singular and astonishing, that it could not be accounted for in a natural way, neither could it be imitated by the art of man; nay it was beyond the power of language to describe, though the mind of each individual that beheld it, must have rea ceived perfect conviction that it was an evident token of the Presence of God; and that none but an AlMIGHTY BEING could manifest Himself by such marks of omnipotence.
Moses observed, as a still farther confirmation that God was, in an especial manner, present on mount Sinai, that the people had heard a voice speaking out of the midst of the fire, saying, I am the LORD thy Gov, &c.
Moses fully set forth the kind of punishments that would be inflicted upon Gon's people for idolatrous practices, that they might know the dangers they would incur by apostacy; and he was, on this occasion, a true prophet; for the LORD chastised and forgave them, as they transgressed or offended, exactly as, Moses foretold, and proved himself to be a merciful God, ever mindful of His Covenant.
That the Israelites might not suppose the Lord to be a created Being, Moses repeatedly told that people that
* Isaiah xlii. &