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tion, and were transmitted to posterity. And it is thus that the precious things of God are ftill convey. ed to men.
The casket is human, the jewel which it contains is divine, 66 We have this treasure in earth. en vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.” And thus, though a merciful God express not displeasure at our rashness and folly, they become in the end their own punishment,
Mofes is commanded to be ready in the morning; The operations of human state loiter and linger, and seek to acquire importance from expectation and delay; but the movements of Deity prevent the dawn. ing, and derive all their importance from themselves. Unless
prayer be followed out by vigour and exertion, men pray
in vain. One hour lost in flumber had rendered ten thousand petitions fruitless and ineffe&ual ; but Mofes, like a man in earnest, like a man who knew the value of what he had so ardently desired, is ready betimes; he is at the appointed place at the appointed hour; with the tablets prepared to receive the impress of God. He carried them with him, a dead, vacant, useless lump of Itone ; he brings them back turned into fpirit and life, clothed with meaning, speaking to the eye, to the heart, to the conscience; for if God breathe on dry bones, they instantly live, and stand up a great army,
If we can conceive a situation more awfully solemn than another, it was that of Moses on this occafion. Consider the stillness of the morning, the elevation of the mountain, the pleafing gloom of solitude, the expected display of a glory which he could not behold but as it departed. Every circumstance is great and affecting, but altogether suitable to the glory that followed : for “ the Lord descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord.”t. At the inauguration of kings it is customary to proclaim their name and titles, and to bid defiance to every challenger or usurper of their rights.
2 Cor. iv. 7.
$ Chap. xxxiv. I.
This is the mere pride of state, the mere infolence of poffeffion. But the names of God are his nature, peculiar to himself, inapplicable, incommunicable to
And mark how the tide of mercy flows and swells till it has overcome every barrier; from " the foles of the feet to the ancles, from the ancles to the knees, till it becomes a river, wherein a man may swim ;" and from an overflowing river converted into a boundless ocean, without bottom, without shore. “ The LORD, the LORD God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth; keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity, and transgression and sin."* While justice is confined in one steady, deep, awful stream, threatening destruction only to the impenitent and unbelieving; expressed in these awful words, “and that will by no means clear the guilty.”
This was the commencement of an interview (which lasted forty days and forty nights,” and which contained a repetition of the instructions formerly given respecting the tabernacle and its service. But this merits a separate and distinct confideration ; as likewise does the alteration of the external appearance of Mofes, on coming down from the mount ; of which we mean to discourse next Lord's day. “Moses wist not that the skin of his face fhone, while he talk. ed with him. And when Aaron and all the children of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone, and they were afraid to come nigh him.”+
* Chap. xxxiv. 6, 7.
+ Chap. xxxiv. 29, 30.
History of Moses.
EXODUS xxxiv. 29, 30. And it came to pass when Mofes came down from Mount
Sinai (with the two tables of testimony in Moses's hand, when he came down from the mount) that Moses wist not that the skin of his face shone, while he talked with him. And when Aaron and all the children of Israel saw Mofes, behold, the skin of his face Jhone, and they were afraid to come nigh him. The sun, the great light of the natural world, communicates to all bodies a portion of his own splendour, and thereby confers upon them whatever lustre they poffefs. In his absence, all things afsume the same dismal fable hue. The verdure of the meadow; the varied glory of the garden; the brightness of the moon's resplendent orb; the sweet attractions of “ the human face divine," pronounce in so many different forms of expreffion, « The light of yonder celestial globe has arisen upon me: if I have any beauty or loveliness, with him it comes, and with him it des parts.” The whole order and system of nature is designed to be a constant witness to the God of grace“the true light which enlighteneth every man that. cometh into the world.” If there be in angels any beauty of holiness, any fervour of love, any elevation of wisdom, any excellency of strength; if there be in man any bowels of mercies, any kindness of affection,
any gentleness of spirit, any endearment of charity, any humbleness of mind, any meekness, patience, long-suffering, it is a glory reflected from the Father of lights.” It neither exists nor can be seen, but as it is fupplied and discovered by the eternal Source of light and joy. Say to that tulip, at the gloomy folstice of the year, or at the dusky midnight hour, “ Array thyself in all those beautiful tints of thine wherewith thou charmest the eye of every beholder ;” it hears thee not, it exhibits no colour but one. But with the return of the vernal breeze, and the genial influence of the fun, and the moment the dawning has arisen upon it, unbidden, unobserved, it puts on its beautiful garments, and stands instantly clothed in all the fresh, ness of the spring. Why is that face clouded with forrow, why grovels that spirit in the dust, why lacks that heart the glow of benevolence, the meltings of sympathy? The genial current of the soul is frozen up, it is the dreary winter season of grace. The sun, the Sun of righteousness has withdrawn; but, lo, af. ter a little while, the winter is past, cheerful spring returns, the voice of joy and gladness is heard, * Arise, shine, for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee."'*
We naturally assume the tone of those with whom we frequently converse, and whom we dearly love, “ He who walketh with wife men shall become wise; but the companion of fools Thall be destroyed.” At the social, friendly banquet, the eye sparkles with delight, the heart expands, the brow is smoothed, the tongue is inspired by the law of kindness; every look is the reception or communication of pleasure. In the house of mourning, we speedily feel ourselves in unison with the afflicted ; our eyes stand corrected, our words are few, our heads droop. In the cell of melancholy, the blood runs cold, the features relax, our powers of thought and reflection are suspended, with those of the moping wretches whose misery we
deplore. * Isaiah lx. I.
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." *
What a fublime idea does this suggest of commu. nion with God! What created enjoyment has not lost its relish in a much shorter space! What powers of unaslisted 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, mult, with the subje& tribes, and in a much greater proportion than many of them, pass a very confiderable portion of his existence in a state of unconsciousness and insensibility during the hours of fleep: he mult purchase 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, fubjected 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 felh; or rather, the power and grace of God, which, vouchsafing in general to employ means, call upon us diligently to use them ; but which, fometimes neglecting these, and conveying immediate fupplies and support, lead us at once to Him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will."
Mofes descends, not with impaired, but with re. cruited strength; ftrength, 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 fait of forty days; but with a
countenance Chap. xxxix. 28.