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deplore. What wonder then if Moses descending from the mount, after forty days familiar intercourse with the Lord God, merciful and gracious," had not the appearance of an ordinary man; that he had acquired a lustre not his own! “ He was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights; he did neither eat bread nor drink water,” Chap. xxxiv. 28.

What a sublime idea does this suggest of cummunion with God! What created enjoyment has not lost its relish in a much shorter space! What powers of unassisted nature could have so long sustained the want of aliment! No one thing in a more humiliating manner teaches us our frailty and dependence, than the constant necessity of recurring to the grosser elements for support. Man, the lord of this lower world, must with the subject tribes, and in a much greater proportion than many of them, pass a very considerable portion of his existence in a state of unconsciousness and insen. sibility during the hours of sleep; he must pur. chase with the suspension of his reason, during a third part of his being, the exercise of it during the other two. The happiness of an immortal being is, oftener than once in a day, subjected to a little bread that perisheth; the spirit, however willing, quickly feels the oppressive weight of a body frail and infirm. But behold the triumph of the spirit over the flesh; or rather, the

power and grace of God, which, vouchsafing in general to employ means, call upon us diligently to use them; but which sometimes neglecting these and conveying immediate supplies and support, lead us at once to Him “who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will."

Moses descends, not with impaired, but with recruited strength; strength, which, to the end of life, never more abated: not with a sunk, darkened, extinguished eye; but an eye, which, having seen God, never afterwards became dim: not with a visage pale and emaciated from a fast of forty days; but with a countenance that dazzled the eyes of every beholder. What a glorious creature is the friend of God!“Lo, O Lord, they that are far from thee shall perish, but it is good for me to draw nigh unto God.” When Moses descended before, he was clothed in just resentment and displeasure; he came a minister of vengeance, and all Israel trembled as he frowned; he now returns with the covenant renewed, the tables of the law restored, a messenger of peace, and yet the lustre of his appearance is intolerable. What must the great JEHOVAH be in his own glory, when reflected, imparted glory-glory communicated to a creature, thus intimidates and astonishes! How dreadful the glory of wrath and fiery indignation, when the glory of infinite goodness we are not able steadfastly to behold!

Moses descended the first time, with the tables in their original state, altogether of God; and in his haste he effaced and destroyed them: but we read of no attempt to collect the scattered fragments, and to re-unite them. Superstition might have made an improper use of what could not be distinctly read, and, of consequence, but partially understood; and true piety will seek some surer rule of faith and conduct, some more powerful assistant in devotion than the scattered shivers of even a sapphire from the throne of God. It has been wofully demonstrated to be an easy matter to mar the work of God. Adam defaced the divine image in his own person, by one wilful transgression. Moses cancelled the hand writing of ordinances, in one rash moment: and every thoughtless transgressor is pulling down, in his own person, a fabric of God's rearing. But all the powers of nature united, are incapable of rebuilding that temple, of renewing that writing, of restoring that image. He who in the beginning “commanded light to shine out of darkness," alone can relumine the extinguished life of God in the soul. The hand which at first created

man out of the dust of the ground,” alone can form of the dead in trespasses and sins, “ a new creature in Christ Jesus unto good works.” And what was afterwards laid up in the holy place, and preserved while the tabernacle remained? Not that which came pure and perfect from the hands of the Creator, but that which God, by an act of grace and the intervention of a Mediator, recovered. Thus “ the general assembly and church of the first-born written in heaven," is not composed of men that never “ left their first estate," but of just men made perfect;” not of creatures like Adam, in a state of innocence, but of creatures redeem. ed by the blood of the Son of God; “ justified by the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,” and sanctified by the Spirit of the living God. Let us not, then, regret the loss of an earthly paradise, nor the destruction of the image of a changeable, though perfect creature, while, through grace, we may regain the paradise of God, and be fashioned in body and spirit like unto our glorious Redeemer.

Moses has acquired a glory, on the mount, which he is not conscious of. “ He wist not that the skin of his face shone, while he talked with him,” verse 29.. The choicest of God's gifts, and humility is one of the most precious, come not with observation, announce not their approach, are not first visible to the possessor. But it is impossible to converse much with God, without appearing more glorious in the eyes of men. Has a man been in the mount with God? He needeth not to sound a trumpet before him, to proclaim from whence he has come; he has but to show himself, and the evidence of it will appear. That man has been in the mount with God. What are the signs of it? Is he ostentatious, self-sufficient? Is he eager to talk of his attainments, to exhibit the shining of his face, to abash and confound a less favoured brother? He is not like Moses, he has not been with the God of Moses, his pretensions are vain. That man has been in the

mount with God. How does it appear? Is he gloomy and sullen, harsh and uncharitable? Is his tongue filled with anathemas? Flashes his eye destruction on mankind? He is a liar and an impostor, believe him not; he is not come down from the God of the law, from the God of the gospel, from the relenting Father of Israel, from the compassionate Father of the human race: No: he has been conversing with, he has ascended from the malignant enemy of God and man: by his spirit you may know who he is.

Pretenders are at as much pains to display the lustre of their outside, as Moses was to conceal his. By this then you shall

try and know yourselves, and form your judgment of others. Does a man issue forth from his closet, return from the temple, retire from the Lord's table, with his temper swcetened, his heart enlarged, with the law of kindness on his tongue, with the tear of compassion, or the luster of benevolence in his eye? Is he, like Moses, more attentive to the condition, ne. cessities and instruction of others, than earnest to blaze abroad his own excellencies, in order to obtain reputation for himself? How gloriously does such an one shine in the eyes of men: but that is nothing, how gloriously does he shine in the eyes of God! And that is true glory which God sees to be such.

“ The face of Moses shone and they were afraid to come nigh him," Verse 30. Of what importance is it to inquire, at what particular moment, and through what peculiar medium, this singular appearance was produced? Is it not sufficient for me, that I see the fruit hastening to its maturity, though the commencement and progress of vegetation escape me? I look up and “behold the face of the sun," and draw comfort from his beams, though the discriminating instant of darkness and the dawning was too fine for my perception. Let me be able to say, with the man restored to sight, “One thing I know, that whereas I was blind, now I see,” John ix. 25_and I shall leave to others a minute inquiry into the process of the cure. Show me a man shining in the beauty of holiness; a man really changed in heart and in life, and I will not trouble him to tell me, what perhaps he does not know, and therefore cannot declare--at what place, by means of what preacher, or by what dispensation of Providence, the important change passed upon him.

A truly good man is among the first to discover, to acknowledge and to correct his own errors and imperfections; but humility spreads the veil which conceals his good qualities first over his own eyes, and is among the last to discern the splendor which confounds others. What a powerful charm is there in undissembled goodness, when the wicked themselves are constrained to venerate and to approve it, even while it condemns them.

Besides the instance in the text, scripture has fure nished us with at least another, and a most illustrious one in the history of Stephen, the first martyr to christianity, after its divine Author. An enraged multitude, blood-thirsty accusers and a partial tribunal feel them selves awed into a temporary reverence; their fury stands suspended while they behold him. “All that sat in the council, looking steadfastly on him, saw his face as it had been the face of an angel,” Acts vi. 15. But there is a greater than even this upon record. The band which broke into the garden, with their officers, under the commission of the chief priests, and headed by the traitor, to apprehend Jesus of Nazareth, were so struck with an inexpressible something in his presence and address, “ that they went backward and fell to the ground,” John xviii. 6.

But what made Israel to shrink from the presence of their gracious leader, intercessor and friend? What could render the presence of his affectionate brother formidable to Aaron? That which drove the first trans. gressor to “hide himself from the presence of the Lord God.” It is conscience that makes cowards of all men;

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