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apple of his eye As an eagle stirreth up fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings; so the Lord alone did lead him, and there was no strange God with him. He made him ride on the high places of the earth, that he might eat the increase of the fields; and he made him to suck honey out of the rock, and oil out of the finty rock," Deut. xxxii. 9, &c. The sagacity and vigilance of the eagle in providing the means of support and safety for her callow brood, her strength and fierceness in defending them, her tender sympathy with their weakness, her anxiety to hasten on their maturity and capacity to provide for themselves, the pains which she takes to instruct them to fly--as they are fully justified by facts, so they are conveyed to us in language the most simple, plain and elegant; and raise us to the contemplation of an object, of all others the sublimest, sweetest, most interesting, and most composing to the soul. They represent to us, the all-comprehending view of eternal Providence, the never-sleeping eye of the Watchman of Israel, the unassailable protection of the heavenly Guardian, the more than maternal care, diligence and zeal which Jehovah continually exercises over them that are his.
Happy is that people that is in such a case : yea, happy is that people whose God is the Lord,” Psal. cxliv. 15.
As friendship between God and Abraham, the father and founder of that great nation, commenced, and was confirmed in the solemn ratification of a covenant, performed according to the rites of God's own appointing; so the political existence and importance of that nation were directed to take their rise in the corTING OR DIVIDING a covenant, with similar solemnities. And this was the tenor, these were the conditions of it. On the part of Israel, in one word, obedience to the voice of God; submission in all things to the will of their best friend, and kindest benefactor, who could have nothing in view but their happiness. On the part of God, the promise of a profusion of blessings temporal, spiritual and everlasting; a rank among the nations, which should render them the envy and wonder of the world; an establishment, which length of time should not impair; a succession of prophets, of priests and of princes, which was to issue in the eternal priesthood and unlimited sovereignty of one, whose government was to be an universal and everlasting blessing to them and to mankind. “Ye shall be a peculiar treasure, unto me above all people : for all the earth is mine.” Segulah, “ a peculiar treasure” something exceedingly prized and sedulously preserved, a gem of peculiar lustre and value, which an affluent and powerful prince culls out from among many, takes under his own particular charge, and will not entrust to the care of another.
Moses takes up this striking idea again in that beautiful song of praise, in which, at the close of life, he recapitulates the wonderful ways of Providence to that chosen family : “The Lord's portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance," Deut. xxxii. 9. The promise which follows in the sixth verse, is won. derfully calculated to inspire ideas of dignity and importance; “Ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation.” They had just left a country where the priesthood was held in high estimation; where the persons of those who bore that sacred character were inviolable, and their property exempted from the imposts which were laid upon that of other subjects. But the peculiar respect paid to this order of men, and the immunities which they enjoyed, served only to expose more glaringly the contrast, the degradation and distress of the great body of the people. Whereas here was a whole nation destined of Heaven to equal honours; not a king and subjects, but a commonwealth of kings; not one ministering at the altar in the name of thousands, one admitted within the veil, and inyriads removed to an humbling, morti
fying distance; but a kingdom of priests, an holy nation, majesty and sanctity in one.
These are the words which Moses is commanded to rehearse in the ears of all the people. Having descenda ed from the mount, he 'collects them accordingly by their elders; the men first in age, first in wisdom, first in dignity and authority; and delivers to them the high message which he had in charge. Impressed at once with the power and grace of their heavenly King, they as one man reply, “All that the Lord hath spoken: we will do.” Which answer Moses again reports to his dread Employer. Thus, in the very preparatives for the publication of the law, the mediation of the gospel was clearly taught and inculcated; and thus throughout we perceive that guilty creatures can have no safe nor comfortable access to a holy God, but by means of “ a days-man to lay his hands upon both;" and thus, the very minister of a fiery law exhibited a type of that great High-Priest, at once “ merciful and faithful;” “ faithful in the things pertaining to God;" “merciful, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.”
Moses is upon this informed, that God intended on the third day from that time to manifest himself to all the people as the Leader and Ruler of that vast army, and as the Employer and Patron of Moses his prophet, in a manner that should leave no room to doubt in whose name he spake, and by what authority he acted: “ And the Lord said unto Moses, Lo, I come unto thee in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with thee, and believe thee for ever. And Moses told the words of the people unto the Lord.” “ I come to thee in a thick cloud.” God already resided among Israel, and presided over them in a pillar of fire and a cloud. But whatever be the medium of communication between the Deity and his creatures, it is capable of being increased and improved beyond imagination. There is a darkness grosser, and a cloud:
thicker and more awfully impregnated, than any of which we have had experience. There is a voice louder, and a glory brighter than any which we have head or 'seen.
Who can declare, who can conceive the utmost extent of the power of the Almighty? There is a splendour infinitely superior to that of “the sun shining in his strength.” There may be an angel excelling in might; “ Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God.” Know we ever so much, there is a field of discovery before us infinite as the immensity of JEHOVAH, to employ a duration of inquiry endless as his eternity.
A command is now issued to the people to employ themselves that day and the next in solemn preparation for this august visit. They are directed as an external mark of respect to the most holy God, as a token of obedience, and as an indication of inward puri. ty, to wash their clothes, to abstain from whatever might defile the body or the mind, and even to deny themselves such innocent and lawful gratifications as might have a tendency to disturb their attention and distract their thoughts. When God came to give the law, he came after solemn warning, he gave evident signs of his approach, he declared to a moment when he was to be heard and seen in his majesty. But, when he shall come to execute the law, we are informed that he shall take the world by surprise, that men may be always ready. " Behold I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee,” Rey, iii. 3. « Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come,” Matt. xxiv. 42: “Be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not, the Son of Man cometh,” Matt. xxiv. 44.
When but a friend or neighbour is expected to visit us, decency requires that our persons, our houses, or entertainment, be rendered as inoffensive and as ac; ceptable as we can make them. The anxiety which men feel, and the pains which they take to receive and
entertain their superiors, is too well known to need any remark. It is only when the King of kings, and the Lord of lords announces his approach, that men are incurious, unceremonious, careless and indifferent. The great Jehovah was to manifest himself first to
“Be ready against the third day; for the third day the Lord will come down, in the sight of all the people, upon mount Sinai.” All is hitherto attractive and encouraging. The face of God is clothed with smiles. He comes “to dwell with men upon earth." But the grace and condesension of God, while they invite to the communications of friendship, forbid the boldness and freedom of familiarity. While he makes himself known as a Father, a Protector, a Guide, he permits us not to forget that he is at the same time “ a great God, and a great King." Therefore a strict injunction is given in the twelfth and thir
< And thou shalt set bounds unto the people round about, saying, Take heed to yourselves, that ye go not up into the mount, or touch the border of it: whosoever toucheth the mount shall surely be put to death. There shall not an hand touch it, but ħe shall surely be stoned, or shot through; whether it be beast or man, it shall not live: when the trumpet soundeth long, ye shall come up to the mount. This last expression, “When the trumpet soundeth long, ye shall come up to the mount,” is evidently a caution and threatening, not an invitation; and seems to import, “Let him who dares presume to approach. nearer; let him come up into the mount, if he will." At the sound of that tremendous trumpet, they were ready to sink into the earth with terror instead of desiring or attempting a nearer intercourse with the great and terrible God, who hath put all nature into consternation.
As they were commanded, so they did. All impurity is carefully' removed; and they see, in solemn sitence and earnest expectation, in hope mingled with