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Providence to execute, presentus with points of likeness which it is impossibile not to see, and equally impossible to mistake.
“ And there arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face; in all the signs and wonders which the Lord sent him to do in the land of Egypt, to Pharaoh and to all his servants, and to all his land, and in all that mighty hand, and in all that great terror, which Moses showed in the sight of all Israel,” Deut. xxxiv. 10, &c. “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him," John i. 18. Moses was king in Jeshurun, and conducted the thousands of Israel through many difficulties and dangers to their destined habitation: Jesus, God's “anointed King over his holy hill of Zion," brings his “many" spiritual “sons unto glory.”
To constitute one deliverer for Israel, Moses and Aaron must unite their talents, must combine their force, must conjoin their offices: the prophet must cooperate with the priest; two distinct persons carry on one design; but, in the Saviour of the world, all talents, all virtues, all offices meet and centre: the prophetic inspiration of Moses, Aaron's pleasantness and grace of speech; the regal dignity of the one, the sacerdotal purity of the other. In order to put Israel in possession of the promised land, Joshua must succeed to Moses, and happily finish what his master has so successfully begun. But the great Captain of salvation needs no coadju. tor, can have no successor: "He gives grace and glory.” He leads his redeemed through the wilderness, introduces them into Canaan, maintains them in quiet and everlasting possession.
Other lines of resemblance will appear as we prosecute the history, and shall not therefore be anticipated.
But we must not dismiss the subject without pointing out wherein the likeness fails, and how much the type falls short of the object which it represents.
The wonders performed by Moses in Egypt were wrought by a power delegated to, and conferred upon him for the purpose. The miracles of Christ were produced by a power original and inherent. Moses, though the meekest of all men, was betrayed into rashness, lost temper, and “spake unadvisedly with his lips.” But in Jesus behold a spirit which was never ruffled, a tongue in which guile was never found; lips that never offended; a mind which no insult could disturb, no unkindness provoke; nor even the horrid pangs of an unmerited death rouse to resentment. Holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus; who was faithful to him that appointed him, as also Moses was faithful in all his house.
For this man was counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as he who hath builded the house hath more honour than the house. For every house is builded by some man; but he that built all things is God. And Moses verily was faithful in all his house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after; but Christ as a Son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence, and the rejoicing of hope firm unto the end,” Heb. iii. 1, &c.
“ Moses died and was buried; Jesus died and was buried, and rose again.” Moses received the law; Christ gave it. Moses and Elias attend the Saviour on mount Tabor, as his ministering servants; Jesus receives their attendance and homage, as their Lord.
Having spoken of the resemblance between the authors of the two dispensations, we proceed, as was proposed, to speak in the same view of the two dispensations themselves.
And first, They rest on one and the same authority, are dictated by the same unerring wisdom, and are directed to the same great and glorious end. Indeed, one of the great proofs that both are of God is the conformity of both to the nature and condition of man.
The precepts of the law are not novel constitutions, which had no existence till the days of Moses; neither are the consolations of the gospel new discoveries of grace, unheard of till the four thousandth year of the world. Sinai thundered and lightened in Adam's conscience the moment he tasted the forbidden tree, and drove him to seek refuge “from the presence of the Lord God amidst the trees of the garden.” The terrors of the law raged in Cain's guilty breast, long before there was any record written on brass or stone. And the promises of pardon and salvation are coeval with the conviction of the first offender, and the denunciation of his punishment. The tongue which pronounced on man the doom of death, proclaims the glad tidings of life and recovery.
I know that the law is of God, for I have that within me which acknowledges and approves its rectitude and excellency; and even when it condemns me, I am constrained to call it "holy, just and good." I know that the gospel is of God, for I feel that within me which welcomes its approach, discerns its suitableress, rejoices in its fullness, rests upon its truth. It is of God, for it descends to the level of my guilt and misery, corresponds with my hopes, suits my neces. sities.
Our blessed Lord took an early opportunity of explaining himself on this subject. An absurd idea prevailed, that the kingdom of the Messiah was to be a total subversion of the Mosaic dispensation. An absurdity into which some christians have inadvertently given, for want of making a plain and necessary distinction, between those particulars of the law which are in their own nature eternal and unchangeable, like the nature of that God who is its author; and those, which being typical and prophetical, ceased of course when the predicted event arrived, and the type, having fulfiled its design, was lost in the thing typified; and those, which being temporary and transitory, ceased with the occasion of them. Of the first sort are the precepts of the decalogue, or the ten commandments; which under every constitution that effects such a be. ing as man, must be immutable and everlasting. Of them it is that Christ said, "Think not that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fufilled,” Matt. v. 17, 18. Of the second class are the laws of the daily sacrifice, the great annual feasts, the levitical priesthood, and the like. They pointed out Christ the Lord, they led to him, they were lost in him. And in the third rank we place the law of circumcision, the political economy of the Jewish nation, all that related to the possession of Canaan, and which ceased of course with the dissolution of their government, and the loss of their national inportance. These observations being attended to and kept in mind, will prevent the confusion arising from the ambiguous acceptation of the word “ law,” as expressing the Old Testament dispensation.
The law, then, and the gospel, the two tables of stone delivered to Moses, and the “grace and truth which came by Jesus Christ," coincide, secondly, in this, that they both point out with equal clearness and force the necessity of a Saviour. Every word pronounced by the voice of God from Sinai, is in truth a sentence of condemnation. While it enjoins future obedience, it fixes past guilt. While it says, “ Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or the likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or in the earth beneath,” it accuses of idolatry. While it recom. mends the observance of the sabbath, it charges. home the violation of it; and so of the rest of the precepts of the decalogue.
The law, therefore, carried the gospel in its bosom as the new.changed moon exhibits a great body of oba VOL. II,
scurity, embraced by a small semicircle of light; but which is to be irradiated by degrees, till the whole becomes one great globe of light and glory; and Moses performs the part of “a school-master to bring us to Christ.”
To hear of a constitution by which I might have lived, after my life is forfeited, is only to embitter my misery. It is like hearing of a cordial after a man has swallowed poison. Now, it could never be the design of the gracious Law-giver to insult human misery, by holding out a system which could avail the guilty nothing. While, then, the divine justice lays down the law in all its strictness, purity and extent, saying, “I am the Lord who will by no means clear the guilty;" “Cursed is every one who continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them." Gall. iii. 10m-the goodness which condescends to give a law at all, the wisdom which explains it, the patience that forbears to punish its transgression, all plainly and distinctly proclaim the necessity
and the existence of an atonement, and lead to “ the bringing in of a better hope."
Thirdly, The spirit of both dispensations is a spirit of love. God enforces upon Israel obedience to the kaw from Sinai, by the consideration of his being the Lord, which“ brought him out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage:” “ who has borne them on eagle's wings, and brought them to himself.” And “ love” on the part of man“ is the fulfilling of the law.” “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments háng all the law and the prophets,” Matt. xxii. 37–40. The gospel, in like manner, has its source in love, the love of God;. and its great aim and end is to produce love to God. * God so loved the world, that he gave his only be.