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the image of the first-born among many brethren! Then the Saviour of the world shall
pronounce, not from the expiring agony of the cross, but from the radiance of a throne above the skies, “ It is finished !” Then He who “ maketh all things new, shall with complacency contemplate this second glorious creation, and proclaim “ all is good, yea, very
History of Moses.
EXODU$ xxiv. 15-18. And Mofes went up into the mount, and a cloud covered the mount. And the glory of the Lord abode upon
Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it fix days ; and the seventh day he called unto Mofes out of the midst of the cloud. And the fight of the glory of the Lord was like devouring fire on the top of the mount, in the eyes of the children of Israel. And Mofes went into the midst of the cloud, and gat him up into the mount : and Mofes was
in the mount forty days and forty nights. BREAD is not more necessary to the support of human life, than religion is to the happiness of a rational being. Man, in his better, his immortal part, “lives by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” In more than one instance the miracle has been exhibited, of fustaining the body without food, and yet no pain nor inconveniency felt ; but for the foul to exiit, and to exist in comfort, undirected by the precepts, unenlightened by the discoveries, unsupported by the consolations of religion, is a miracle not to be performed. It is the more to be lamented that the attempt is so often fatally made, of living os without God in the world ;” of pursuing a happiness that is independent of the great Source of light and joy ; of seeking peace, rest and enjoyment in the neglect or violation of his commandments. Happy
it is for men, if after having made the fruitless expere ? iment of “seeking the living among the dead," and after having at length discovered that success is vanity, and that disappointment is vexation of spirit, have been persuaded, before it was too late, to draw their felicity from the pure and never-failing sources of faith and a good conscience; happy they, who, reconciled to God through Christ Jesus their Lord, enjoy real tranquillity in life, and well-grounded hope in death.
We tremble as we behold Mofes advancing to the summit of the burning mountain to meet God. Who can walk into the midst of a flaming furnace and live? But is it possible to remove from God an instant of time, a hair's breadth of space ? No: God is about our path and our bed, is watching our going out and coming in, our lying down and rising up. God is in this place; and, were our eyes opened, we should even now behold his face clothed with the frowns of just displeasure, or beaming with the smiles of paternal love.
Was the law given by “the disposition of angels," arrayed in all their majesty and might? O how benign their aspect, how affectionate their assiduity, how vigilant their care, could we but behold them, while they aid the preaching of the everlasting gospel, while they attend the assemblies of a christian church, and minister to them who are the heirs of salvation ! As the awfulness and folemnity of the prophet's condition are not peculiar to him, and to that important occasion, fo neither are the privileges which he enjoyed, nor the communion to which he was admitted, peculiar and personal. Christian, you have but to retire into your closet and to shut the door after immediately on the top of a higher mountain than Moses climbed, and are near 'to God as he was in the most precious moments of the most intimate communication. Alone, or in company, we have access at all times to the throne of grace; and we have what VOL. IV. С
gave him safety and confidence in drawing nigh unto God-an Advocate with the Father, a great High Priest, a Mediator betwixt God and us.
The great Jehovah, having delivered in every cir. cumstance of magnificence that could excite attention, procure respect, and enforce obedience, that law, whose general nature, tendency and defign, together with its relation to the evangelical difpenfation, were the subject of a former Lecture, proceeded to regulate their civil polity. But not by an audible voice, in the ears of all the people, as he had done the law of the ten commandments, but in private conference with Moses, to be by him delivered to the people, he delivered those institutions of a civil and political nature, which regarded their social and national capacity. In studying these, the lovers of fcripture will rejoice to trace the justest and most comprehensive views of human nature, the noblest and most liberal ideas of legislation, the most perfect equity, the profoundest sagacity, and the most unbounded kindness and benevolence, But it exceeds our strength, and it consists not with our plan, to go into the detail of these excellent statutes. We pursue the history.
The voice from Sinai having, in dreadful glory, proclaimed the conditions of this new covenant, directions are given for the folemn and public ratification of it. This was done that the obligation which was originally, invariably and necessarily binding upon the parties, might acquire additional force from voluntary consent, and from the intervention of august and fignificant ceremonies. I trust it will be neither unentertaining nor uninstructive to attend to the description of these ceremonies as they stand upon the sacred record. They are highly interesting whether we consider them as the venerable remains of a very remote antiquity, being no less than three thoufand three hundred and forty-three years prior to the present time ;* or as the original compact, in the constitution of an ancient, important, well-known, and generally interesting national government; or as forming part of the plan of a divine administration, whose force can never be spent, whose influence on human virtue and happiness can never expire.
* A. D. 1792
God has “ spoken once in his holiness," in a fenfible manner, has made himself seen, heard and felt by a whole people together. But it is neither consiste ent with his dignity, nor favourable to man's improvement, that he should always or often make himself known in that manner. He has spoken thus once, that every hearer might have a personal reason for acknowledging and adoring the dread Jehovah, the Fountain of all power, the supreme Author of every establishment. And he speaks thus but seldom, that all men may learn to revere conscience, his vicegerent upon earth, to study his word, the interpreter of his nature and will; and to respect and “be subject to the powers which be ordained of God, not only for wrath but for conscience fake.” Directions are ac cordingly given to ratify the covenant, not by the whole people in person, but by their representatives. The persons summoned to attend on this great occa. fion, are; first, Moses himself, who was to represent the Mediator between the high contracting parties; then Aaron and his two sons, Nadab and Abihu, who represented the Levitical body, or order of priesthood; and finally, feventy of the elders of Israel, who were to act in the name of the congregation at large. When we observe the names of Nadab and Abihu
in this respectable list, and look forward to their dread. ful and untimely end, we are led to a reflection of no small importance in studying the sacred volume; namely, that the destination of Providence in raising particular persons to eminent, honourable and ima portant ftations in civil society, is something extremeİy different from “ the election according to grace." Á Cyrus and a Nebuchadnezzar may be the servants of God, to execute his vengeance or his love, without C 2