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and ingratitude. Painful it must have been hast said.” Lord, now lettest thou thy setto think, that he had survived a whole people, vant depart in peace, according to thy word, endeared to him by every strong, by every for mine eyes have seen thy salvation. I tender tie: that he had been gradually dying have fought a good fight, I have finished my for forty years together, in a condemned, course, I have kept the faith. My master is devoted race, which melted away before his dismissing me from painful service; I shall eyes in the wilderness: that with his own rest from my labours ; I shall receive the hand he had stripped Aaron, his brother, of crown. I am passing from the imperfect, his pontifical garments, and closed his eyes. interrupted communion of an earthly sancPainful to reflect on his own errors and im- tuary, to the pure, exalted, uninterrupted, perfections—his criminal neglect of God's everlasting communications of the heavenly covenant, which had nearly cost him his life: state. I shall see God as he is. I shall be his sinful delay and reluctance to accept the changed into the same image. I shall be divine commission appointing him the deli- ever with the Lord. I shall shine in his likeverer of Israel ; the hastiness of his spirit in ness. I shall be added, united to the assemdefacing the work of God, by dashing the bly of the faithful; to the venerable men of tables of the law to the ground, and breaking whom I wrote, to Abel the first martyr to them in pieces; the impatience of his temper, the truth, to Enoch, who walked with God, the unadvisedness of his lips, the unguarded to Noah, the preacher of righteousness, to ness of his conduct, at the waters of strife, Abraham, who believed, and was called the which drew down displeasure on his head, friend of God, to Joseph, whose bones are and irreversibly doomed it to death. This now at length to rest in the land of promise, uneasy retrospect would naturally lead to to Aaron, my brother, by nature, by affection, prospects as uneasy and distressing— The in offence, in hope. With the natural eye I time of his departure is at hand; the body behold the fertile plains ofan earthly Canaan: must speedily be dissolved and the dust re- but by the eye of faith I descry another counturn to the earth as it was. Against his try, that is an heavenly; watered with the admission Canaan is fenced as with a wall of pure river of the water of life, where grow fire, and a distant glimpse must supply the the trees of life, whose leaves are for the room of possession, and another must finish healing of the nations: where there is no his work. Besides the natural horror of death, more death. My brethren, I die, but God there was mingled in that bitter cup a par- will surely visit you.
There shall come e ticular sense of personal offence and fatherly Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise displeasure as inflicting it. Israel too, he out of Israel, and unto him shall the gather. foresaw, would after his decease revolt more ing of the people be. The LORD thy God and more, and call down the judgments of will raise up unto thee a Prophet, from the Heaven, and forfeit the promised inherit- midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; ance—and this was to him the bitterness of unto him shali ye hearken. In the LORD death.
shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and But by what brighter prospects was this shall glory. In Abraham's seed shall all the gloom relieved, and the darkness of the val. nations of the earth be blessed. Mortality ley of the shadow of death illuminated! He is swallowed up of life; “ O death, where saw the promise of God hastening to its ac- is thy sting? O grave, where is thy viccomplishment. The land flowing with tory? Thanks be to God, who giveth us milk and honey” was fully in view. The the victory.” time, the set time was now come; and what “Let me die the death of the righteous, powers of nature could prevent the purpose and let my last end be like his.” “ Mark the of Heaven from taking effect ? “O Lord, perfect man, and behold the upright: for the thou art faithful and true; Do now as thou | end of that man is peace.”
HISTORY OF MOSES.
And Moses went and spake these words unto all Israel. And he said unto them. I am an hundred and
twenty years old this day : I can no more go out and come in : also the Lord hath said unto me, Thou shalt not go over this Jordan. The Lord thy God, he will go over before thee, and he will destroy these nations from before thee, and thou shalt possess them : and Joshua, he shall go over before thee, as the Lord hath said.—DEUTERONOMY xxxi. 1-3.
The last words and the last actions of culated to excite emotions suitable to their cminent men are remembered, repeated, present condition. A complete generation recorded with a mournful pleasure. We of men had melted away before their eyes listen with peculiar attention to those lips, under the divine displeasure ! Every rewhich are to speak to us no more: and moval, every encampment was marked by the man, and the words, which we neglected, the death of multitudes, who had fallen not while there was a prospect of their continu- by the sword of the enemy, but were cut off ing longer with us, we prize, we cleave to, by the flaming sword of divine justice, and and wish to retain, when they are about to were not suffered to enter into the land be taken away from us. Indeed we discover promised to their fathers, because of unbethe value of nothing, till we are threatened | lief.” with, or feel the want of it; and we awake They saw in this at once the mercy and to a sense of the happiness which we have faithfulness, the justice and severity of God. possessed, by the bitter reflection that it is Israel was still preserved, but every single gone from us for ever.
offender had died the death. The covenant Farewell addresses serve to rouse both the made with Abraham and his seed stood firm, speaker and the hearers. He is led to weigh though they were threatened with utter exwell those words which he is to have no termination in Egypt, and were actually exfuture opportunity of altering or amending. terminated in the wilderness. The possesHis eyes, his voice, bis turn of thought, his sion of Canaan was made sure to that chosen expression, all will be influenced, by the race, but not one of the murmurers at Kasolemnity of his situation; and what he feels, desh-barnea was permitted to survive the he will certainly communicate to others. threatened destruction. By an example Wherefore is not every address considered that came so closely home to the breast and in this light; as a last, farewell, dying bosom of every man, all were admonished speech? It may be so in truth; and if it of the absolute security, and infallible sucwere known to be so, would our attention be cess of trusting in God, and of following the so distracted, our spirit so careless; would leadings of his providence; all were warned our language be thus cold, our zeal thus lan- of the guilt and danger of disobedience and guid? Attend, my dear friends, and fellow distrust. mortals. This is beyond all controversy, to We see in this the reason why so great a some of us the last opportunity of the kind. proportion of the sacred oracles are delivered The sound of this voice shall never again in the form of history. A fact makes its meet all those ears in one place. It may be way directly to the heart, is easily rememfor ever silenced; each of them may be for bered, and readily applied. It requires depth ever closed; and the ordinary tide of human of understanding and closeness of attention affairs must certainly scatter, this night, per- to comprehend a doctrine, and to draw the sons who are never more to re-assemble, till proper inferences from it: but “the wayfarthat day when the whole human race shall ing man, though a fool,” can discern the be gathered together in one great multitude. meaning, and feels the force of a plain tale
We are come hither to ponder thy dying of truth, and the recollection of yesterday words, O Moses, and to gird up our loins, becomes a lesson of conduct for to-day. and follow thee.
2dly. This valedictory address of Moses This whole book may be considered as a consists of a recapitulation of the laws, moral, series of powerful, pathetic, and tender ad- ceremonial, political
, and military, which he dresses, delivered at different times within had already delivered to them in the name the compass of the last month of his life, by of God. On this account, the division of the Moses to Israel, in the near and certain pros- Pentateuch under consideration, has obtained pect of dissolution. Art has attempted to the name of Mischna Thora, translated by divide it into so many several distinct heads the Seventy; Deuteronomy, that is, the seor branches, forming together a complete cond law, or a repetition of the law. The body of instruction, wonderfully adapted to men were dead who heard the voice of God the occasion, and powerfully enforced upon speaking these tremendous words from Sinai. the minds of the hearers by the death of The men of the present generation were untheir teacher, which immediately followed. born, or but emerging from childhood, when
The first great branch is a succinct and that fiery dispensation was given : but its animated historical detail of the conduct of obligation was eternal and unchangeable. the Divine Providence towards them and Providence therefore directed it to be retheir fathers, during the last forty years, hearsed aloud in the ears of the generation commencing with their departure out of following, by the voice of a dying man, and Horeb, and containing an account of their to be by him left recorded in lasting characsuccessive movements and encampings. A ters, for the instruction of every future age. recapitulation of the recent events of their What was local and temporary of this disown lives, and of what had befallen their pensation has passed away: what was imimmediate predecessors, was obviously cal. mutable and universal, remains in all its
force and importance; and shall continue, and shall do no more any such wickedness though heaven and earth were dissolved. as this is, among you.'
.***' And again, “ If There is one law which Moses, in the there be found among you, within any of thy prospect of death, presses with peculiar gates which the Lord thy God giveth thee, earnestness, as he knew it to be of special man or woman that hath wrought wickedimportance, and was but too well acquainted ness in the sight of the Lord thy God, in with the violent, the almost irresistible pro- transgressing his covenant, and hath gone pensity of his auditory to infringe it--the and served other gods, and worshipped them, law which prohibited and proscribed idolatry, either the sun, or moon, or any of the host that crime of complex enormity, against of heaven, which I have not commanded; which the voice of the Eternal had uttered and it be told thee, and thou hast heard of it, so many thunders, and which had brought and inquired diligently, and behold, it be on Israel so many grievous plagues. Nothing true, and the thing certain, that such abomican be more energetical than the expressions nation is wrought in Israel: then shalt thou he employs to expose the guilt and danger bring forth that man, or that woman, (which of this offence against God; nothing more have committed that wicked thing) unto thy dreadful than the judgments which he de- gates, even that man, or that woman, and nounces against those who should contract it shalt stone them with stones, till they die. themselves, or presume to decoy others into At the mouth of two witnesses, or three witthat odious practice. He leaves them desti- nesses, shall he that is worthy of death, be tute of every thing like a pretext for follow- put to death; but at the mouth of one witing the nations in this impiety and absurdity, ness he shall not be put to death. The hands by calling to the recollection of those who of the witnesses shall be first upon him to were witnesses of the awful scene, and urging put him to death, and afterward the hands upon the consciences of those who were of all the people : so thou shalt put the evil since born, “ that there was no manner of away from among you.”+ similitude on the day that the Lord spake Did we not know, that " the heart is deunto you in Horeb, out of the midst of the ceitful above all things, and desperately fire ;** that therefore to pretend to imitate wicked :" did we not know, by fatal experiwhat never was seen, what cannot be seen, ence, that there is no absurdity too gross for was at once ridiculous folly, and daring, im- men to adopt, no impiety too daring for them pious presumption. He solemnly enjoins, to commit, we should be astonished to think that the tenderest and most respectable ties that the enactment of such laws should ever of nature be disregarded in the case of those have been necessary; that having been enactwho should dare to set the example of vio-ed, there should be occasion to explain and lating the divine will in this respect; that enforce them by so many awful sanctions, the most intimate friends and nearest rela- and that notwithstanding, in defiance of tions should become strange and hateful, if sanctions so formidable, any should have been they presumed, by precept or by practice, to found bold enough to transgress. countenance this transgression. His own 3dly. Moses labours in this, his last disemphatic language will best express his course, to establish the importance and remeaning, and show with what oppressive cessity of knowing the divine law, and for weight the subject lay upon his heart. “If that end, of making it the subject of contithy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy nual study and ineditation. Every son of Israel son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bo- must daily employ himself in the reading of som, or thy friend which is as thine own it. The young must not plead exemption on soul, entice thee secretly, saying, Let us go account of his youth, nor the old plead the and serve other gods, (which thou hast not privilege of age. No closeness of applicaknown, thou nor thy fathers; namely, of the tion to secular, business, no eagerness to gods of the people which are round about prosecute a journey, no eminence of rank you, nigh unto thee, or far off from thee, and station, no, not the state and necessary from the one end of the earth even unto the duties of royalty itself, must pretend to claim other end of the earth,) thou shalt not con- a dispensation from the superior obligations sent unto him, nor hearken unto him; neither of the law of the Most High. “These words," shall thine eye pity him, neither shalt thou says he, “which I command thee this day, spare, neither shalt thou conceal him. But shall be in thine heart. And thou shalt teach thou shalt surely kill him ; thine hand shall them diligently unto thy children, and shalt be first upon him to put him to death, and talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, afterwards the hand of all the people. And and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou shalt stone him with stones, that he die; thou liest down, and when thou risest up. because he has sought to thrust thee away And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine from the Lord thy God, which brought thee hand, and they shall be as frontets between out of the land of Egypt, from the house of thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon bondage. And all Israel shall hear, and fear, the posts of thy house, and on thy gates":
* Deut. xiii. 6–11. Deut. xvii. 2–7. Deut. vi. 6- 3.
* Deut, xiv. 15.
" And it shall be," speaking of the duty and for? And what nation is there so great, that office of the king who might hereafter be hath statutes and judgments so righteous, as chosen to reign over God's people of Israel, all this law which I set before you this day ?** " when he sitteth upon the throne of his Thirdly-The laws prescribed were imkingdom, that he shall write him a copy of posed on them by a Being who had lavished this law in a book, out of that which is be- miracles of mercy and goodness upon them fore the priests the Levites. And it shall be and their fathers, and stood engaged to be a with him, and he shall read therein all the covenant God to their posterity, to the latest days of his life; that he may learn to fear the generations. “For ask now of the days that Lord his God, to keep all the words of this are past, which were before thee, since the law, and these statutes, to do them: that his day that God created man upon the earth, heart be not lifted up above his brethren, and and ask from the one side of heaven unto the that he turn not aside from the command other, whether there hath been any such ment, to the right hand or to the left: to the thing as this great thing is, or hath been end that he may prolong his days in his king- heard like it? Did ever people hear the voice dom; he, and his children in the midst of Is- of God speaking out of the midst of the fire,
as thou hast heard, and live? Or hath God Some of the Rabbins accordingly pretend, assayed to go and take him a nation from the that Moses, with his own hand, transcribed midst of another nation, by temptations, by thirteen copies of the Deuteronomy, one for signs, and by wonders and by war, and by a cach of the twelve tribes, and one to be laid mighty hand, and by a stretched-out arm, and up till the time of electing a king should ar- by great terrors, according to all that the rive, to be given him to transcribe for his Lord your God did for you in Egypt before private and particular use.
your eyes? Unto thee it was showed, that 4thly. Moses displays, with singular skill thou mightest know that the Lord he is God; and address, the motives suggested from their there is none else besides him. Out of heapeculiar circumstances, to make the law of ven he made thee to hear his voice, that he God the object of their veneration, and the might instruct thee: and upon earth he rule of their conduct; such as, first—These showed thee his great fire, and thou heardest laws all issue from the love of God as their his words out of the midst of the fire.”+ source, and converge towards it as their cen In a word, the laws of God are in themselves tre. Their great aim and end is to engage just and reasonable, plain and intelligible; acus to love, with supreme affection, a God who commodated to the nature and faculties of man, is supremely amiable and excellent. “ And and carry their own wisdom and utility engranow, Israel, what doth the Lord thy God re- ven on their forehead. “For this commandquire of thee, but to fear the Lord thy God, ment which I command thee this day, it is not to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and hidden from thee, neither is it far off. It is not to serve the Lord thy God with all thy heart, in heaven, that thou shouldest say, Who and with all thy soul, to keep the command- shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto ments of the Lord, and his statutes which I us, that we may hear it, and do it? Neither command thee this day for thy good? Be- is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, hold, the heaven, and the heaven of heavens, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring is the Lord's thy God, the earth also, with all it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? that therein is. Only the Lord had a delight But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy in thy fathers to love them, and he chose their mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do seed after them, even you above all people, it." I as it is this day." +
Moses, while he thus forcibly inculcates A second motive to obedience is, that the the motives of obedience, motives inspired observance of the laws has a native tendency and pressed by every tender, by every awful to procure and to preserve both public and consideration, finds himself under the unprivate felicity; to make them respectable pleasant necessity of venting his heart in the in the eyes of the nations, and thereby to keenest reproaches of that highly-favoured ensure their tranquillity. “Behold I have but rebellious nation, for their perverseness taught you," says he, “statutes and judg- and ingratitude; he deplores in the bitterness ments, even as the Lord my God commanded of his soul, the instability and transitoriness me, that ye should do so, in the land whither of their good motions and purposes, their faye go to possess it. Keep therefore, and do tal proneness to revolt, the inconceivable rathem, for this is your wisdom and your un- pidity of their vibrations from virtue to vice. derstanding in the sight of the nations, which That exquisitely beautiful and pathetic song shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely with which he closes his tender expostulathis great nation is a wise and understanding tion, and which contains a striking abridgpeople. For what nation is there so great, ment of this whole address, consists in a great who hath God so nigh unto them, as the Lord measure of just and severe, yet affectionate our God is in all things that we call upon him upbraidings and remonstrances upon their
† Deut. x. 12-15. * Deut. iv. 5–8. Deut. iv. 32–36. Deut. xxx. 11–14.
* Deut. xvji. N-20.
past conduct. “They have corrupted them- , their power is gone, and there is none shut selves, their spot is not the spot of his chil- up, or left. And he shall say, Where are dren; they are a perverse and crooked gene- their gods, their rock in whom they trusted, ration. Do ye thus requite the Lord, O fool which did eat the fat of their sacrifices, and ish people and unwise? is not he thy Father drank the wine of their drink-offerings ? Let that hath bought thee? hath he not made them rise up, and help you, and be your prothee, and established thee?"*
tection. See now that I, even I am he, and Finally, this long, this instructive, this there is no God with me: I kill, and I make powerful farewell sermon of the man of God, alive; I wound, and I heal: neither is there contains predictions clear, pointed, and strong, any that can deliver out of my hand. For I of the fearful judgments which should over- lift up my hand to heaven, and say, I live for take that sinful people, and involve them and ever. If I whet my glittering sword, and their posterity in utter destruction. Many mine hand take hold on judgment; I will learned men, and not without the greatest render vengeance to mine enemies, and will appearance of reason, have supposed that the reward them that hate me. I will make mine spirit of prophecy by the mouth of Moses has arrows drunk with blood, and my sword shall foretold the final dissolution of the Jewish devour flesh; and that with the blood of the government, and their dispersed, reproach- slain, and of the captives from the beginning ful, despised state to this day, until the time of revenges upon the enemy."* But the time of their restoration to the divine favour, and to favour revolted, returning Israel shall come their re-establishment under the bond of the at length; and together with them the time new and everlasting covenant, “a covenant to irradiate and deliver " the nations which established on better promises, ordered in all were sitting in darkness, and in the region things and sure.” This idea seems justified and shadow of death;" and the prophetic soul by the following and the similar prophetic of Moses hastens forward to conclude the sadenunciations. “Of the rock that begat thee cred song, with a grand chorus of barmonithou art unmindful, and hast forgotten God ous voices, the voices of the ransomed of the that formed thee. And when the Lord saw Lord from every nation, every kindred and it, he abhorred them, because of the provok- tribe, rejoicing together in one common saling of his sons, and of his daughters. And vation : "Rejoice, O ye nations, with his he said, I will hide my face from them, I will people: for he will avenge the blood of his see what their end shall be: for they are a servants, and will render vengeance to his very froward generation, children in whom adversaries, and will be merciful unto his is no faith. They have moved me to jea- land, to his people.”+ lousy with that which is not God; they have How powerfully must all this have been provoked me to anger with their vanities: impressed on the bearts of his audience. by and I will move them to jealousy with those the sight of their venerable instructer, bendwhich are not a people; I will provoke them ing under the weight of *an hundred and to anger with a foolish nation. For a fire is twenty years:" exhausted by labours performkindled in my anger, and shall burn unto the ed in the public service, no longer capable lowest hell, and shall consume the earth with of “going outand coming in;" excluded by her increase, and set on fire the foundations the inflexible decree of Heaven from any of the mountains. I will heap mischiefs up- part or lot in the land of promist; lying under on them, I will spend mine arrows upon the bitter sentence of impending death; his them. They shall be burned with hunger, power and glory departing, and passing beand devoured with burning heat, and with fore his eyes to the hand of another! Why bitter destruction: I will also send the teeth are not impressions of this sort more lasting, of beasts upon them, with the poison of ser- and more efficient? Shall “the righteous pents of the dust. The sword without, and perish, and no man lay it to heart?" Is "the terror within shall destroy both the young merciful man taken away, and will none conman and the virgin, the suckling also, with sider?” “The righteous is taken away from the man of gray hairs. I said I would scat- the evil to come." By his departure the ter them into corners, I would make the re-earth is impoverished, but heaven is eamembrance of them to cease from among riched. Remove the veil
, ond behold him men.”+ ** Is not this laid up in store with me "entering into peace:” “. they shall rest and sealed up among my treasures ? To me in their beds, each one walking in bis upbelongeth vengeance, and recompence; their rightness.” I hear a voice from heaven, foot shall slide in due time: for the day of saying, “ Write, Blessed are the dead their calamity is at hand, and the things that which die in the Lord, from henceforth: yea, shall come upon them make haste. For the saith the Spirit, that they may rest from Lord shall judge his people and repent him- their labours; and their works do follow self for his servants; when he seeth that them."1
* Deut. xxxii. 5, 6. Deut. xxxii, 18–26. * Deut. xxxii. 34–42. | Deut. xxxii. 43. Rev. xiv. 12.