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abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings; fo the Lord alone did lead him, and there was no ftrange 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 fuck honey out of the rock, and oil out of the flinty rock."* The fagacity and vigilance of the eagle in providing the means of fupport and fafety for her callow brood, her ftrength and fiercenefs in defending them, her tender fympathy with their weaknefs, her anxiety to haften on their maturity and capacity to provide for themfelves, the pains which fhe takes to instruct them to fly, as they are all fully juftified by facts, fo they are conveyed to us in language the moft fimple, plain and elegant; and raise us to the contemplation of an object, of all others the fublimeft, fweetest, moft interesting and moft compofing to the faul. They represent to us, the all comprehending view of eternal Providence, the never-fleeping eye of the Watchman of Ifrael, the unaffailable protection of the heavenly Guardian, the more than maternal care, diligence and zeal which Jehovah continually exercifes over them that are his. Happy is that people that is in such a cafe: yea, happy is that people whofe God is the Lord."t
As the friendship between God and Abraham, the father and founder of that great nation, commenced and was confirmed in the folemn ratification of a covenant, performed according to rites of God's own appointing; fo the political existence and importance of that nation were directed to take their rife in the cutting or dividing a covenant, with fimilar folemnities. And this was the tenor, these were the conditions of it. On the part of Ifrael, in one word, obedience to the voice of God; fubmiffion in all things to the will of their best friend, and kindeft benefactor, who could have nothing in view but their happincfs. On the part of God, the promife of a pfuson of blef
* Deut. xxxii. 9, &c.
+Pfal. cxliv. 15.
fings temporal, fpiritual and everlasting; a rank among the nations, which fhould render them the envy and wonder of the world; an establishment, which length of time fhould not impair; a fucceffion of prophets, of priefts and of princes, which was to iffue in the eternal priesthood and unlimited fovereignty of one, whofe government was to be an univerfal and everlafting bleffing to them and to mankind. "Ye fhall
be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine." Segulah," à peculiar treafure," fomething exceedingly prized and fedulously preferved, a gem of peculiar luftre and value, which an affluent and powerful prince culls out from among many, takes under his own particular charge, and will not entruft to the care of another.
Mofes takes up this striking idea again in that beautiful fong of praife, in which, at the close of life, he recapitulates the wonderful ways of Providence to that chofen family: "The Lord's portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance."* The promise which follows in the fixth verfe, is wonderfully calculated to inspire ideas of dignity and importance; "Ye fhall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation." They had juft left a country where the priesthood was held in high estimation; where the perfons of those who bore that facred character were inviolable, and their property exempted from the imposts which were laid upon that of other fubjects. But the peculiar refpect paid to this order of men, and the immunities which they enjoyed, ferved only to expose incre glaringly the contraft, the degradation and diftrefs of the great body of the people. Whereas here was a whole nation deftined of Heaven to equal honours; not a king and fubjects, but a commonwealth of kings; not one miniftering at the altar in the name of thoufands, one admitted within the veil, and myriads removed to an humbling, mortifying diftance; but a kingdom of pricfts, an holy nation, majefty and fanctity in onc.
*Deut. xxxii. 9.
Thefe are the words which Mofes is commanded to rehearse in the ears of all the people. Having defcended from the mount, he collects them accordingly by their elders; the men first in age, first in wisdom, firft in dignity and authority; and delivers to them the high meffage which he had in charge. Impreffed at once with the power and grace of their heavenly King, they as one man reply, "All that the Lord hath fpoken we will do." Which anfwer Mofes again reports to his dread Employer. Thus, in the very preparatives for the publication of the law, the mediation of the gofpel was clearly taught and inculcated; and thus throughout we perceive that guilty creatures can have no fafe nor comfortable accefs to a holy God, but by means of "a days-man to lay his hands upon both;" and thus, the very minifter of a fiery law exhibited a type of that great High-Prieft, at once "merciful and faithful;" "faithful in the things pertaining to God;" "merciful, to make reconciliation for the fins of the people."
Mofes is upon this informed, that God intended on the third day from that time to manifeft himself to all the people as the Leader and Ruler of that vaft army, and as the Employer and Patron of Mofes his prophet, in a manner that fhould leave no room to doubt in whofe name he spake, and by what authority he acted: "And the Lord faid unto Mofes, Lo, I come unto thee in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with thee, and believe thee forever. And Mofes told the words of the people unto the Lord." "I come to thee in a thick cloud." God already refided among Ifrael, and prefided 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 increafed and improved beyond imagination. There is a darkness groffer, 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
heard or feen. Who can declare, who can conceive the utmost extent of the power of the Almighty? There is a fplendour infinitely fuperior to that of " the fun fhining in his ftrength." There may be an angel excelling in might: "Gabriel, who ftands in the prefence of God." Know we ever fo much, there is a field of discovery before us infinite as the immenfity of JEHOVAH, to employ a duration of inquiry endless as his eternity.
A command is now iffued to the people to employ themselves that day and the next in folemn preparation for this auguft vifit. They are directed, as an external mark of refpect to the most holy God, as a token of obedience, and as an indication of inward purity, to wash their clothes, to abftain from whatever might defile the body or the mind, and even to deny themselves fuch innocent and lawful gratifications as might have a tendency to disturb their attention and diftract their thoughts. When God came to give the law, he came after folemn warning, he gave evident figns of his approach, he declared to a moment when he was to be heard and feen in his majesty. But, when he fhall come to execute the law, we are informed that he fhall take the world by surprise, that men may be always ready. "Behold I will come on thee as a thief, and thou fhalt not know what hour I will come upon thee."* "Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come."t "Be ye alfo ready : for in fuch an hour as ye think not, the Son of Man cometh."t
When but a friend or neighbour is expected to vifit us, decency requires that our persons, our houses, or entertainment, be rendered as inoffenfive and as acceptable as we can make them. The anxiety which men feel, and the pains which they take to receive and entertain their fuperiors, 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
*Rev. iii. 3. + Matt. xxiv. 42.
Matt. xxiv. 44.
are incurious, unceremonious, carelefs and indiffer
The great Jehovah was to manifest himself first to the eye. "Be ready against the third day; for the third day the Lord will come down, in the fight of all the people, upon mount Sinai." All is hitherto attractive and encouraging. The face of God is clothed with fmiles. He comes to dwell with men upon "to earth." But the grace and condefcenfion of God, while they invite to the communications of friendship, forbid the boldness and freedom of familiarity. While he makes himfelf known as a Father, a Protector, a Guide, he permits us not to forget that he is at the fame time" a great God, and a great King." Therefore a strict injunction is given in the twelfth and thirteenth verfes, "And thou fhalt fet bounds unto the people round about, faying, Take heed to yourselves, that ye go not up into the mount, or touch the border of it: whofoever toucheth the mount fhall furely be put to death. There fhall not an hand touch it, but he fhall furely be stoned, or fhot through; whether it be beast or man, it fhall not live: when the trumpet foundeth long, ye fhall come up to the mount." This laft expreffion, "When the trumpet foundeth long, ye fhall come up to the mount," is evidently a caution and a threatening, not an invitation; and seems to import, "Let him who dares prefume to approach nearer; let him come up into the mount, if he will." At the found of that tremendous trumpet, they were ready to fink into the earth with terror instead of defiring or attempting a nearer intercourfe with the great and terrible God, who hath put all nature into confternation.
As they were commanded, fo they did. All impurity is carefully removed; and they fee, in folemn filence and earnest expectation, in hope mingled with fear, the gradual approach of this all-important, this eventful day.