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perfection of creature happiness; ample provision, and the blessing of the Almighty poured down, and resting upon it-works and labours of love cheerfully performed, and graciously accepted-every foe subdued, and every ground of fear for ever removed.
Here may we not apply to this tribe in particular, what Moses, in the close, applies to Israel in general? “Happy art thou, O Levi: who is like unto thee, O people saved by the Lord, the shield of thy help, and who is the sword of thy excellency! and thine enemies shall be found liars unto thee, and thou shalt tread upon their high places," Deut. xxxiii. 29.
Such were the functions, the privileges, the honours and the emoluments of the Levitical priesthood. They suggest to the christian ministry, the vigilance, diligence, fidelity and zeal which become those who must give account”—the necessity laid upon them
to declare the whole counsel of God” the assured support on which they may depend, while they conscientiously aim at doing their duty-the glorious “recompense of reward” which is laid up for the good and faithful servant,” in that day when they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness, as the stars for ever and ever,” Dan. xii. 3. May the power of such motives be felt and understood by all who bear the sacred and important office, that by them they may be rendered“ steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as they know that their labour is not in vain in the Lord.”
The farther progress of Moses through the remaining tribes of Israel shall be the subject of the next Lecture.
HISTORY OF MOSES.
And this is the blessing wherewith Moses the man of
God blessed the children of Israel before his death
THE rich man in hell is represented, Luke xvi. 27, 28, as entertaining the fond belief, that the return of one from the dead would certainly be effectual, to the conviction and amendment of a thoughtless and impenitent generation. And men in general are disposed to ascribe an infallible efficacy to means fabricated in their own imagination, while, at the same time, they wilfully neglect to use those which God has
appointed, whose operation is undoubted, and of which they are in the entire possession. The man of one talent lays it
up in a napkin and buries it, because he cannot, with one, do the work of five or of ten. One man is an infidel, because the miraculous powers which once accompanied the preaching of the gospel, accompany it no more: another affects to despise all external evidence whatever, and looks at Christianity with a suspicious eye, because it called in miracles and prophecy to confirm and support it. The Jews rejected the counsel of God against themselves, saying, “He casteth out devils, by Beelzebub the prince of the devils,” Matt. xii. 24. The Greeks accounted the doctrine of the cross foolishness, because it belied their vain philosophy, and exposed their worldly spirit.
Were it possible for the human race to assemble in one general council, in order to settle a mode of religion which should suit the whole, they would speedily be constrained to separate, without coming to any specific, decisive agreement on a point so essential; for pride, and selfishness, and the spirit of contradiction, would instantly raise opposition, and the most salutary idea would be rejected by one party, for no better reason than that it was adopted by another. Were the rich man to come from the dead, commissioned “to tell the secrets of his prison-house;" were Lazarus permitted to leave the bosom of Abraham, in order to display to men the glories of paradise; what could they say that has not been repeated a thousand and a thousand times? The one would be esteemed by a busy, careless, unbelieving world, a poor, moping, melancholy wretch, fit for a place in Bedlam; the other would he called an enthusiastic visionary; and they might, for aught the world cared, return to the places from whence they came, and report that mankind was better employed than to listen to their dreams; that it was election time; that the term was coming on, that a packet was expected, or a fleet arrived.
Men amuse themselves with crying up the advantages of those who saw Christ going about doing good, “ healing all manner of sickness among the people;” of those who heard Paul preach, and the like; but the faithful and true witness assures us, that Jesus frequently wrought miracles, and Paul preached in vain. Capernaum, Bethsaida, Jerusalem, remained full of unbelievers; and apostolic eloquence was called babbling by one, it made another to shake under a temporary fit of trembling, and only “almost persuaded” a third to be a christian.
The decision of father Abraham then, in the passage already referred to, is founded in truth and experience. “ If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rose from the dead,"
Luke xvi. 31. Moses spake from the brink of the grave, and was forgotten the moment his voice ceased. God himself thundered from Sinai, " Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me,” Exod. xx. 4, 5; and within "a little month” we see all Israel dancing round a golden calf, and saying, “ These be thy Gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt,” Exod. xxxii. 4. The Son of Man came down from heaven, disclosed the secrets of the eternal mind; descended into the grave, and returned to the earth, and showed himself openly. But did infidelity stop her mouth? No. “ Some of the watch came into the city, and showed unto the chief priests all the things that were done. And when they were assembled with the elders, and had taken counsel, they gave large money unto the soldiers, saying, Say ye, His disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept. And if this come to the governor's ears, we will persuade him, and secure you. So they took the money, and did as they were taught: and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day,” Matt. xxvii. 11-15.
The circumstances in which Moses took his last long farewell of his beloved charge, were such, one would think, as to leave a lasting, an indelible impression on the minds of his hearers; but the sequel shows us, that the impressions of gratitude, sympathy, sorrow and regret, are “ as the morning cloud and the early dew, which passeth away.”
--Having finished his course, and the time of his departure drawing nigh, we behold the man of God making his final progress through the camp of Israel;
going from tribe to tribe, from standard to standard, saluting every one by his name, and pronouncing over him the cordial benediction of a dying friend. We have accompanied him from Reuben to Judah, and from Judah to Levi, and heard his dying breath confirm the promise of royal dignity to the one, and entail the sacred dignity of the priesthood upon the other. They have heard his last adieu. Their eyes shall be. hold him no more.
He has now arrived at the en. campment of Benjamin. Benjamin the son of his mother's sorrow, the son of his father's right hand: the last of Israel in the course of nature, not the least in the affection of his sole surviving parent, nor in im. portance as one of the heads of the holy commonwealth. Benjamin, destined of Providence to support the throne of David, when shaken by the revolt of ten tribes. And what is the blessing of Benjamin?" Of Benja. min he said, The beloved of the Lord shall dwell in safety by him; and the Lord shall cover him all the day long, and he shall dwell between his shoulders," Deut. xxxiii. 12.
The course in which Moses proceeded in pronouncing the blessing, is supposed by some to be prophetically governed,
according to the geographical description of Canaan, and the order and course in which each portion was allotted to every several tribe. Benjamin, therefore, is addressed before his elder brother Joseph, because the lot of his inheritance was to lic between the lots of Judah and Joseph, and to border upon each, and this, by consulting the book of Joshua, xviii. 11, you will find was the case. And we shall afterwards find many circumstances concurring to give a distinction and a consequence to Benjamin, among the tribes of Israel. Jebus, that is Jerusalem, fell to them. Of course, the seat of empire and of religion, in process of time, was fixed in the midst of them. Imperial Judah administered the affairs of government in a city belonging to another tribe, and from the day