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passing by, blotting out the most heinous, the “angels desire to look into," and break forth most unprovoked insults, and when tnou hear- into songs of joy,that“GOD is love." “ This est him proclaiming his name, “ the LORD, is life eternal, that they might know thee, the LORD God, merciful and gracious, long- the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth; thou hast sent." Now “we know in part, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving ini- and we prophesy in part. But when that quity, and transgression, and sin?” “ Dear- which is perfect is come, then that which is ly beloved, avenge not yourselves, rather in part shall be done away."; give place unto wrath: for it is written, Ven Nature now presents in every plant, in geance is mine: I will repay, saith the Lord. every pebble, mysteries that defy the reTherefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; searches of the wisest and most acute; then if he thirst, give him drink; for in so doing “the wayfaring man, though a fool,” shall thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be comprehend systems the vastest, most comnot overcome of evil, but overcome evil with plex, most abstruse. Providence now exhibits good."* " I say unto you, love your enemies, an apparent inconsistency and disorder, which bless them that curse you, do good to them confounds the reasoning pride of man; then, that hate you, and pray for them which de God will fully vindicate his ways to man, obspitefully use you and persecute you: that viate every difficulty, resolve every doubt, ye may be the children of your Father which remove every scruple. In scripture "are is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on some things hard to be understood,” in our the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on present state of ignorance and imperfection : the just and on the unjust.”+
then, the veil shall be removed, and “we “ Follow on to know the Lord.” Expa- shall see face to face,"—"then shall we know tiate in nature's ample field, and you will find even as also we are known.” Then the proprofit and instruction blended with delight. mised Spirit of wisdom and revelation shall Explore the wonders of eternal Providence, “ teach us all things, and bring all things to and you will see constant cause to rejoice in our remembrance.” Then shall he “open" the thought that there is a GOD who judgeth our understanding," that we may “underand ruleth in the earth. Dive deeper and stand the scriptures.” “Amen, even so, come deeper into those mysteries of grace which Lord Jesus !*** • Rom. xii. 19-21.
† Matt. v. 44, 45.
| 1 Cor. xiji. 9, 10.
HISTORY OF MOSES.
And he said, I beseech thee, show me thy glory.—Exodus xxxiii. 18. The greater progress any one has made in our flight, and discern our own darkness by science,
the deeper must be his conviction of that " light which is inaccessible and full of his own ignorance and imperfection; and glory." Abraham, the friend of God, in the the higher our attainments in religion, the highest intimacy of that honourable characstronger is the impression of our infinite ter, loses not for a moment the sense of his distance from God." A little knowledge puf- distance and dependence; “Behold now I feth up; but modesty and humility are the have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, constant attendants on profound wisdom.- which am but dust and ashes."* “O let not Thoughtless men make light of the name, the Lord be angry, and I will speak but this the house, the day of God; but angels “cover once.” A voice from heaven reaches his their faces with their wings,” when they ears, saying, “ Fear not, Abram: I am thy approach his awful presence. Human friend- shield, and thy exceeding great reward.”+ ship admits of freedom and familiarity; but And that instant we behold him prostrate, while the great Jehovah condescends to with his face to the ground. Moses, the “dwell with man upon earth, even with him friend of God, to whom Jehovah revealed who is of a contrite and humble spirit;" he more of himself than to any other man, is permits us not to forget, that he is “the high still but in the outer court of the habitation and lofty One, that inhabiteth eternity, whose where God dwells. What he knows has only name is holy.”. Are we elevated, as on eagle's created a thirst for knowledge; what he has wings, up to the eternal throne? It is only seen has but inspired an earnest desire of that we may feel the hand which supports * Gen. xviii. 27.
| Gen. X. 1.
seeing more and more; and after communi- , marked the progress of this growing rival cations so ample, and communion so sweet, with jealousy; would have attempted to obthis is still his desire, this his request, “ Lord, struci his advancement; would have repined show me thy glory.”
at the preference given him, to the neglect From the reiterated rebellions and provo- of his own family. But every selfish, every cations of Israel, this good has resulted— domestic consideration gives way to the risNew, endearing, encouraging discoveries ing merits of Joshua, and to the choice and have been made of the divine nature, perfec- appointment of Heaven. It was equally tions, and will. Mankind, to the latest genera- natural, on the other hand, for a young man tions, have been instructed to revere that like Joshua, who knew that he was destined justice which will by no means clear the to rule, to surpass his master, to reach the guilty," and to triumph in that mercy which highest summit of human grandeur; it was "forgiveth iniquity, transgression, and sin.” natural for such an one to become impatient The revolt of the people cemented and of authority, to be weary of restraint, to be improved the union between God and their eager to bring himself forward, and make leader.
himself conspicuous: but the son of Nun disJoshua, the son of Nun, who was destined covers true magnanimity in cheerfully yieldto make so distinguished a figure, and to act ing the subjection becoming an inferior; in a part so conspicuous and important in the observing Moses and learning of him; in history of Israel, is represented as trained up patiently waiting for the time and manner from his youth in the service of Moses, and which Providence should choose of exalting in communion with God. We find him in him to honour. Moses treats him, and speaks the mount with his master when he went to of him, as of a favourite son, rising into receive the written law, while the multitude eminence and distinction; he behaves to below were polluting themselves with idols. Moses as to a beloved parent, crowned with We find him entering with his master into years and honour, which he hopes to see him the tabernacle, when it was removed out of long enjoy. These are lessons not taught in the camp, and the glory of the Lord over the school of the world, where natural affecshadowed it; and there he remained, while tion, decency, and discretion, are daily sacriMoses returned to confer with the people. ficed on the altar of pride, selfishness, avarice, Early habits of acquaintance with God, and and ambition. employment in his service, are youth's best Moses has, by importunity, prevailed that security and preservative against sin, and the usual symbol of the divine presence the surest foundation of honour and useful- should continue to lead and protect Israel, ness, of distinction and comfort in advanced by the way in which they went to the proage. A man must be formed to command by mised land. In answer to the prayer of faith obeying " Joshua, a young man, departed it is thus promised, "My presence shall go not out of the tabernacle."* What a severe with thee, and I will give thee rest."* His reproof of that spirit of profligacy and dissi- Spirit is now therefore tranquillized with pation, that criminal love of pleasure and respect to the people of his charge. God is coldness to intellectual attainments, that ir- yet again “ for them, and who can be against religion and profanity which characterize them ?" But his personal acquaintance with youth in general ?
God seems only beginning. As if he had It is pleasing to look forward to this good seen nothing of the divine glory in the bush man's latter end, and to observe a career of at Horeb, which burned, but was not conglory supported and adorned by piety; a youth sumed; as if the awful glories of Sinai had of seriousness, fidelity, and usefulness, ripen- been nothing: as if God had not spoken to ing into an advanced life of reputation and him in the tabernacle of the congregation, usefulness; declining into an old age of face to face, “as a man to his friend;" he tranquillity, vigour, and joy: and closing in continues to entreat, “ Lord, show me thy the well-grounded hope of immortality.- glory!" My friends, if you can rest satisfied Joshua was trained for the camp, in the with what you know of God, it is a melantabernacle and on the mount, and was pre- choly proof that you know him not. Eternity pared to be the great general and statesman, is too short, the capacity of an angel too by learning first to be the humble saint and limited, “ to find out the Almighty unto perfaithful minister.
fection." The characters of Moses and of Joshua de What a field of discovery does the vast lightfully illustrate and embellish each other. frame of nature present! Supposing, O Moses knew from the beginning that this man, thy duration sufficiently extended, thy young man was to be his successor in office; understanding sufficiently enlarged, and opwas to finish the work which he had begun; portunity afforded thee, equal to thy utmost was to have the glory of conquering Canaan, wish, when couldest thou have made a comand of establishing Israel there, according to plete survey of the little globe wherein we the promises. An ordinary mind would have dwell; when couldest thou have explored * Exodus xxxii. 11.
* Exodus xxxiv. 14.
the innumerable secret wonders of the hoary, claim the name of the Lord before thee; and deep; when examined the precious contents will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, of the everlasting hills; when discovered and will show mercy on whom I will show the nature and properties of air and fire ? mercy: This is the glory of God to man, Supposing the mighty task performed; sup- the riches of his grace, the glory of his goodFising the untried regions of the air, the ness, the wonders of his love. untrodden paths of the sea, the deep and the In a display of the most striking imagery, high places of the earth rendered accessible God points out to Moses what was weak, igto thy approach, laid fully open to thy view norant, and presumptuous in his petition, -and lo, the race of knowledge is but begin- and commends what is pious, dutiful, and ning. Behold another orb at hand, present- affectionate. “And he said, Thou canst not ing a new world of wonders: an orb pos- see my face: for there shall no man see me, sessing an inconceivably greater extent than and live. And the Lord said, Behold, there our earth, containing an infinitely greater is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon varicty of objects, answering a much nobler a rock. And it shall come to pass, while my end in the scale of being; and after that, glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a another; and another still, in endless succes- cleft of the rock; and I will cover thee with sion. Suppose the whole planetary system, my hand, while I pass by. And I will take in order, to have passed under review, the away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back mind rests not there: the wonders of divine parts: but my face shall not be seen."| Expower and wisdom end not then : the soul pressions plainly importing, that by creatures wings its way to other systems, lighted by such as we are, the great Jehovah can be other suns, and finds itself but entering on seen and known only from those tokens of the glorious career.
his presence which he leaves behind him. Were the whole expanse of nature ex- He comes upon us, as it were, imperceptibly, plored, the MORAL government of God over unveils his glory for a moment, in his word, all these spieres and all that they contain, in his ordinances, but his hand is upon our expands the same vast field afresh to the eyes. As he departs, he permits us to look astonished eye, and invites to a second ex- up, and to know by infallible marks, that he cursion. When that is performed, REDEEM- has been with us. Thus, Jacob's vision at ING LOVE, ALMIGHTY GRACE display the ample Bethel was over, before he was aware into theatre a third time, and lead us by the hand what glorious company he had been introthrough the “nations of them that are saved," duced." And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and point out the successive triumphs of and he said, Surely the Lord is in this place; sovereign goodness. As if it were possible and I knew it not."I Thus at Peniel he to see an end of all this glorious perfection, wrestled apparently with a man ; but in descripture announces the dissolution of all parting, his divine antagonist, by a touch, these things, as a space too small for the soul convinced him who he was; and he discovers, to expatiate in, as an object too mean for its that he had seen “the visions of the Al contemplation; and promises a new and more mighty," after he had withdrawn. And thus, glorious system of things, suited to its endless the glorified Redeemer talked with the two duration and exalted powers,“ new heavens disciples by the way as they went to Emand a new earth wherein dwelleth righteous maus, and opened unto them the scriptures, ness.” And what is it, even then, that men while their heart burned within them, but behold ? The works of God, not God him- their eyes were held that they did not know self; the writing, not the hand that writes; him. At length, while he brake bread and the palace that is inhabited, not the divine blessed it, “their eyes were opened, and they inhabitant; the emanation, not the essence knew him.” Is God in this place? We see of his glory. Every gracious spirit, then, him not; we cannot see him and live; but will with Moses be “ following on to know by this we shall know it hereafter-Has his the Lord;” still and ever inquiring, still word' been made quick and powerful to any and ever imploring, Lord, show me thy soul? Has the dignity and importance of glory.”
communion with him been felt? Is a man The answer of God to this request is not departing with a deeper and more humbling less remarkable than the request itself. sense of his own unworthiness and guilt; Moses prayed, saying, “ Lord, show me thy and penetrated with a more lively apprehen glory." Alas, like the disciple on the mount sion of the mercy of God through a Saviour' of transfiguration," he knew not what he is sin rendered more odious, and holiness said.” To have been answered according to more amiable in the eyes of any one ? Is the the letter of his desire, had been fatal to him; heart glowing with desire to know more of for what created eye can behold the glory of God, to love him more, and serve him betGod and live? But a gracious God returns ter ? Is the spirit of a man pressing “ toward an answer suitable to the condition of his the mark, for the prize of the high calling servant, “ And he said, I will make all my GOODNESS pass before thee, and I will pro
* Exodus xxx. 1!. + Exodus xxviii. 20--%.
1 Gen. Trii. 16.
of God in Christ Jesus !*** Then of a truth | tance."* And behold he carries this point God is in this place; and a day spent thus in also, and the covenant is renewed between his courts, is better than a thousand. God and Israel. Let us see that our requests
But how is the language of this conclud- be proper to be granted, and we have them ing passage of the chapter to be reconciled already, before we make them. Let us be with that in the eleventh verse ? “ The solicitous to obtain spiritual blessings in the Lord spake unto Moses face to face, as a man first place, and the temporal good things speaketh unto his friend." The expression, which we prized not, asked not, may perhaps " to see the face,” is evidently taken in two come unexpected, unsought. “Give thy serdifferent senses.
In the 11th verse, it signi- vant,” said Solomon, "an understanding fies to be regarded with favour or approba- heart, that I may discern between good and tion, as it is in the 4th Psalm, verse 6. "
Lord, bad." “ And the speech pleased the Lord, lift thou up the light of thy countenance that Solomon had asked this thing. And upon us ;" that is, show thyself gracious unto God said unto him, Because thou hast asked us, for we prize thy loving kindness far above this thing, and hast not asked for thyself long every earthly blessing : but in the 20th and life, neither hast asked riches for thyself, nor 23d verse, " to see the face of God,” imports hast asked the life of thine enemies, but hast the knowledge of his nature or essence, asked for thyself understanding to discem which to a creature is impossible. Here judgment: behold, I have done according to even a Moses is in darkness, through an ex- thy words: lo, I have given thee a wise and cess of light: into this angels desire to look, an understanding heart, so that there was but instantly shrink back, and shut their none like thee before thee, neither after thee trembling eyes. But " the only begotten shall any arise like unto thee. And I bave Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, also given thee that which thou hast not he hath declared him ;”+ and “the Word asked, both riches and honour: so that there was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and shall not be any among the kings like unto we beheld his glory, the glory as of the thee, all thy days.”+ only begotten of the Father) full of grace To enjoy this heavenly vision of all God's and truth."| Such was the care employed goodness, as it passed by, Moses must again by Him who knows what is in man, to pre- ascend the mount, and draw nigh unto God. vent the possibility of idolatry, and to ex- He was going up as to meet a friend; but pose the folly of it. Even Moses shall not that almighty friend must protect him from be trusted with any thing like a representa- himself, as from his most formidable enemy. tion of Deity; and what so absurd as to " While my glory passeth by, I will put thee frame a similitude of what never was, never in a cleft of the rock; and will cover thee can be seen?
with my hand, while I pass by."! An inspired “ The effectual fervent prayer of a righte- apostle tells us that “this rock was Christ.” ous man availeth much," says the apostle And it sheds a pleasing light on the subject. James; and what a notable instance have What afforded safety to Moses in the trewe of the truth of this in the passage be- mendous hour, when the glory of God apfore us! Moses rises in his demands, as peared ? A cleft of that rock from whence he succeeds by supplicating, and he still the living stream issued forth for the reprevails. First, he pleads that the presence freshment of God's heritage when it was of God, the light and glory of Israel, might weary, and which was the type of that wonnot be withdrawn, as was threatened, but derful “ Man," who is "a hiding place from might accompany and lead them to their the wind, and a covert from the tempest; as destined habitation. And lo! God grants rivers of water in dry places; as the shadow his request, with an assurance of peculiar of a great rock in a weary land." | Did regard and affection to himself, “Thou hast Moses flee thither for shelter, did he foresee found grace in my sight, and I know thee his danger, and provide a covering for his by name."$ Upon this he presumes to ask defenceless head? No, the refuge was of some new, some special manifestation of the God's providing. “I will put thee in a cleft divine glory, for his own satisfaction and of the rock.” Not human sagacity, but dicomfort. This too he obtains, in a promise vine mercy discovers, and prepares a retreat that the goodness of God, all his goodness for the miserable
. Observe the solid fonndashould be made to pass before him. Em- tion on which that man is established who boldened by this success, he cannot rest till rests on the word of God: “ thou shalt stand he has obtained for the people a remission of upon a rock.” Remove the promise of him their offence. And he said, “ If now I have who is faithful, of him who is true, and we found grace in thy sight, O Lord, let my immediately sink into a horrible pit
, and Lord, I pray thee, go amongst us, (for it is a stick fast in the miry clay; but “ Behold," stiff-necked people) and pardon our iniquity says God, " I lay in Zion for a foundation, a and our sin, and take us for thine inheri- stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone,
John i. 18.
• Ex. xxxiv. 9. | 1 Ki. iii. 10-13. Ex. xxxvi. 1 John i. 14. Exodus xxxiii. 17.
1 Cor. . 4.
Isaiah xxxii. 2
+ Phil. iii. 14.
à sure foundation; he that believeth shall If we can conceive a situation more awnot make haste."*
fully solemn than another, it was that of Moses is now directed to make all needful Moses on this occasion. Consider the stillpreparation for this important visit. In his ness of the morning, the elevation of the haste he had thrown the two tables which mountain, the pleasing gloom of solitude, contained the law, on the ground, and had the expected display of a glory which he broken them in pieces under the mount: but could not behold but as it departed. Every no act of man can disannul the law of God. circumstance is great and affecting, but alto The loss, though great, was not irreparable. gether suitable to the glory that followed : But God will not entirely repair it, that for “the Lord descended in the cloud, and Moses may have somewhat to regret in the stood with him there, and proclaimed the effects of his impatience. The former two name of the Lord.'* At the inauguration tables were wholly of God—the substance, of kings, it is customary to proclaim their the form, the writing, the subject; but the names and titles, and to bid defiance to last must partake of human ignorance and every challenger or usurper of their rights. imperfection. The choice of the stone, and This is the mere pride of state, the mere inthe hewing it into form, are of Moses: the solence of possession. But the names of writing and the words are still of God. And God are his nature, peculiar to himself, inthese were the tables which were laid up in applicable, incommunicable to any other. the ark of the testimony for preservation, And mark how the tide of mercy flows and and were transmitted to posterity. And it is swells till it has overcome every barrier; thus that the precious things of God are still from “the soles of the feet to the ancles, from conveyed to men. The casket is human, the ancles to the knees, till it becomes a the jewel which it contains is divine. “We river, wherein a man may swim;" and from have this treasure in earthen vessels, that an overflowing river converted into a boundthe excellency of the power may be of God, less ocean, without bottom, without shore. and not of us.”+ And thus, though a merci- “ The LORD, the LORD God, merciful and ful God express not displeasure at our rash- gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in ness and folly, they become in the end their goodness and truth; keeping mercy for thouown punishment.
sands, forgiving iniquity, and transgression, Moses is commanded to be ready in the and sin.”+ While justice is confined in one morning. The operations of human state steady, deep, awful stream, threatening deloiter and linger, and seek to acquire im- struction only to the impenitent and unbeportance from expectation and delay; but the lieving; expressed in these awful words, movements of Deity prevent the dawning, " and that will by no means clear the and derive all their importance from them- guilty." selves. Unless prayer be followed out by This was the commencement of an intervigour and exertion, men pray in vain. One view " which lasted forty days and forty hour lost in slumber rendered ten thousand nights," and which contained a repetition of petitions fruitless and ineffectual; but Moses, the instructions formerly given respecting like a man in earnest, like a man who knew the tabernacle and its service. But this the value of what he had so ardently desired, merits a separate and distinct consideration : is ready betimes; he is at the appointed place as likewise does the alteration of the exterat the appointed hour; with the tablets pre-nal appearance of Moses, on coming down pared to receive the impress of God. He from the mount; of which we mean to discarried them with him, a dead, vacant, use-course next Lord's day. “ Moses wist not lese lump of stone; he brings them back that the skin of his face shone, while he turned into spirit and life, clothed with mean- talked with him. And when Aaron and all ing, speaking to the eye, to the heart, to the the children of Israel saw Moses, behold, the conscience; for if God breathe on dry bones, skin of his face shone, and they were afraid they instantly live, and stand up a great to come nigh him." I army.
* Exodus xxxiv. 5. | Exodus xxxiv. 6, 7. * Isaiah xxviii. 16. + 2 Cor. iv. 7.
| Exodus xxxiv. 29, 30.