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HISTORY OF MOSES:
According as we hearkened unto Moses in all things, so
will we hearken unto thee; only the Lord thy God be with thee, as he was with Moses.-Joshua i. 17.
For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth
came by Jesus Christ.-John i. 17. IN forming estimates of greatness, it is natural for men to consult their senses, not their reason. With the idea of royal majesty we connect those of a chair of state, a numerous and splendid retinue, an ermine robe, a sceptre and a crown. But wisdom and goodness are the qualities which confer real dignity, and command just homage and respect. Our preconceptions of earthly magnificence much exceed the truth, and knowledge speedily levels the fabric which ima. gination had raised. But the wonders of nature, the mighty works of God, grow upon us as we contemplate them. No intimacy of acquaintance reduceś. their magnitude or tarnishes their lustre. And if the very frame of nature, the vastness, the variety, the harmony and the splendor of the visible creation, be calculated to fill us with astonishment and delight, how must the plan of Providence, the work of redemption, the great mystery of godliness, excel in glory!
In the discoveries which it has pleased God, at sim
dry times and in divers manners to make of himself to mankind, he has at one time addressed himself directly to the understanding; at another, made his way to the heart and conscience through the channel of
The law was given in every circumstance of external pomp; it was accompanied with every thing that could dazzle the eye, fill the ear, and rouse the imagination. The kingdom of God, in the gospel of his “Son, came not with observation.” The great Author of the dispensation of grace, according as it was predicted concerning him, “ did not strive, nor cry, nor cause his voice to be heard in the streets." He had, in the eyes of an undiserning world, “ no form nor comeliness, no beauty why he should be desired." And therefore “ he was despised and rejected of men." But we are taught to think very differently of his second appearance.
“ He shall come in the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory:” “In his Father's glory, and all his holy angels:” “ With the voice of the archangel, and the trump of God.”
The manner of delivering the law corresponded with its nature.
It was clothed with thunder. It was surrounded with the blackness of darkness. It emitted flaming fire. It denounced death. The spirit of the gospel, in like manner, breathed in the mode of its pubfication. The doctrine of peace and reconciliation was delivered to men, in the tenderest accents of human friendship. And temporal mercies and deliverances prepared the way for “spiritual and heavenly blessings in Christ Jesus."
We are now to bring these two dispensations together, and to compare the one with the other, in order that we may discover and admire that uniformity of design which they jointly aim at promoting, the mutual lustre which they shed upon, and the mutual aid which they lend to each other.
By “ the law” we understand the whole of that scheme of the divine Providence which related to the
posterity of Abraham; the promises which were made to them, the ordinances prescribed, the character which they bear, the events which befel them, from the day in which that patriarch left his kindred and country, till the day when the whole was swallowed up and lost in the person, doctrines, ordinances, life, sufferings and death of Him, who was held up from the beginning as the great, leading, commanding object in the eternal eye; the accomplishment of the promises, the substance of the types and shadows, the i end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth."
Moses and Christ frequently speak of their mutual relation and resemblance. “I will raise them up, says God by Moses, “a prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. And it shall come to pass,
that whosoever will not hearken unto my words, which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him, Deut. xviii. 18, 19. “ Search the scriptures,” says Christ, “ for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed ine; for he wrote of me. But if
ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?” John v. 39, &c.
persons, characters and offices of the two le. gislators, therefore, naturally fall to be first considered, in tracing the resemblance of the two covenants which were established with mankind through their mediation.
Of the birth of Moses, and salvation to Israel by him, there seems to have been a general expectation in his own nation, and an apprehension of such an event as general in the minds of the Egyptians, Hence the bloody decree of Pharaoh to destroy from the womb all the male children of the Hebrews; and hence, on the other hand, that eagerness to save a child, who, from the moment of its birth, exhibited
unequivocal signs of his future greatness and useful. ness. When Christ came into the world, multitudes were looking for the “Consolation of Israel.” The
prophecies concerning the promises of the Messiah, were evidently hastening to fulfil themselves. The Jews expected their king: Herod dreaded a rival. The person of the promised Saviour was pointed out by signs in heaven and signs on earth, which it was impossible to misunderstand. "An extraordinary star describes an unknown path through the air to the place of his birth. A multitude of the heavenly host proclaim the joyful event to the shepherds. It was revealed unto Simeon by the Holy Ghost, “ that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord's Christ,” Luke ii. 26. Conducted of the Spirit he came into the temple at the moment when Christ was presented there, according to the law. He recognizes the promised of the Lord, and closes his
peace. Anna the prophetess, instructed by the same Spirit, gives a similar testimony, and speaks of “the holy child to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem,” Luke ii. 38.
The circumstances of extreme danger which attend. ed the birth of Moses and of Christ, and the wonderful means of their preservation and deliverance, constitute a striking mark of resemblance between them. Behold the long-looked for deliverer of the Jewish church and nation, ready to perish by the hand of Pharaoh: and the great King and Head of the christian world threatened by the murdering dagger of the Tetrarch of Galilee; while the earth was watered with the blood of their infant brethren. Moses is saved from destruction by the daughter of the tyrant who sought his life; he finds an asylum and a school in the house which he was destined to plague and to humble. And Jesus of Nazareth finds shelter in Egypt from the fury and jealousy of Herod.
The personal beauty and accomplishments of the
Israelitish law-giver were probably intended to typify in an inferior degree, the personal glory and excellency of Him, concerning whom the prophet thus writes, “ Thou art fairer than the children of men; grace is poured into thy lips: therefore God hath blessed thee for ever," Psal. xly. 2.
The wretched state of Israel when Moses was born, and of the world when Christ came to save it, are a melancholy and affecting counterpart to each other. The former subjected to the arbitrary authority of a sanguinary tyrant; the latter, in dreadful captivity to the prince of the power of the air," that murderer from
“ the beginning;"
” is that spirit which ruleth in the children of disobedience."
Their mental qualities present a lovely and an instructive similitude. « Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth,” Numb. xii. 3.
“ Take my yoke upon you and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls,” Matt. xi. 29. Compassion for his afflicted brethren, early discovered the temper, and marked the character of Moses, the man of God. Sympathy with the miserable, and that sympathy effecting seasonable relief for them, marked the paths of the Son of God through a world of wretchedness. “I have compassion on the multitude, because they continue now with me three days, and have nothing to eat: and I will not send them away fasting, lest they faint by the way,” xv. 32. “When he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad as sheep having no shepherd,” ix. 36. Over the grave of Lazarus “ Jesus wept.” “ When he was come near, he beheld the city and wept over it, saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes,” Luke xix. 41, 42.
The offices which Moses and Christ were called of