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tion, and were tranfmitted to pofterity. 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, "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 exprefs not difpleasure at our rafhnefs and folly,
they become in the end their own punishment,

Mofes is commanded to be ready in the morning, The operations of human ftate loiter and linger, and feek to acquire importance from expectation and delay; but the movements of Deity prevent the dawning, and derive all their importance from themselves. Unless prayer be followed out by vigour and exertion, men pray in vain. One hour loft in flumber had rendered ten thousand petitions fruitlefs and ineffectual; but Mofes, like a man in earnest, like a man who knew the value of what he had fo ardently defired, is ready betimes; he is at the appointed place at the ap pointed hour; with the tablets prepared to receive the imprefs of God. He carried them with him, a dead, vacant, ufelefs lump of ftone; he brings them back turned into fpirit and life, clothed with meaning, fpeaking to the eye, to the heart, to the confcience; for if God breathe on dry bones, they inftantly live, and ftand up a great army,

If we can conceive a fituation more awfully folemn than another, it was that of Mofes on this occafion. Confider the stillness of the morning, the elevation of the mountain, the pleafing gloom of folitude, the expected difplay of a glory which he could not behold but as it departed. Every circumftance is great and affecting, but altogether fuitable to the glory that followed for the Lord defcended in the cloud, and ftood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord." At the inauguration of kings it is customary to proclaim their name and titles, and to bid defiance to every challenger or ufurper of their rights.

* 2 Cor. iv. 7.

Chap. xxxiv. 5.

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This is the mere pride of state, the mère infolence of poffeffion. But the names of God are his nature, peculiar to himself, inapplicable, incommunicable to any other. And mark how the tide of mercy flows and fwells 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 fwim ;" and from an overflowing river converted into a boundless ocean, without bottom, without shore. "The LORD, the LORD God, merciful and gracious, long-fuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth; keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity, and tranfgreffion and fin."* While juftice is confined in one steady, deep, awful stream, threatening deftruction 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 lafted forty days and forty nights," and which contained a repetition of the inftructions formerly given refpecting the tabernacle and its fervice. But this merits a feparate and diftinct confideration; as likewife does the alteration of the external appearance of Mofes, on coming down from the mount; of which we mean to difcourfe next Lord's day. "Mofes wift not that the skin of his face fhone, while he talked with him. And when Aaron and all the children of Ifrael faw Mofes, behold, the fkin of his face fhone, and they were afraid to come nigh him.Ӡ

*Chap. xxxiv. 6, 7.

+ Chap. xxxiv. 29, 30.


History of Mofes,



And it came to pass when Mofes came down from Moùnt Sinai (with the two tables of teftimony in Mofes's hand, when he came down from the mount) that Mofes wist not that the fkin of his face fhone, while he talked with him. And when Aaron and all the children of Ifrael faw Mofes, behold, the skin of his face fhone, and they were afraid to come nigh him.

THE fun, the great light of the natural world, com-
municates to all bodies a portion of his own splendour,
and thereby confers upon them whatever luftre they
poffefs. In his abfence, all things affume the fame
dismal fable hue. The verdure of the meadow; the
varied glory of the garden; the brightness of the
moon's refplendent orb; the fweet attractions of "the
human face divine," pronounce in fo many different
forms of expreffion, "The light of yonder celestial
globe has arifen upon me: if I have any beauty or
lovelinefs, with him it comes, and with him it de-
parts." The whole order and fyftem of nature is de-
figned to be a conftant witness to the God of
"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,


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any gentleness of spirit, any endearment of charity, any humblenefs of mind, any meeknefs, patience, long-fuffering, it is a glory reflected from" the Father of lights." It neither exifts nor can be feen, but as it is fupplied and discovered by the, eternal Source of light and joy. Say to that tulip, at the gloomy folftice of the year, or at the dufky midnight hour," Array thyself in all those beautiful tints of thine wherewith thou charmeft 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 freshness of the spring. Why is that face clouded with forrow, why grovels that fpirit in the duft, why lacks that heart the glow of benevolence, the meltings of fympathy? The genial current of the foul is frozen up, it is the dreary winter feafon of grace. The fun, the Sun of righteousness has withdrawn; but, lo, after a little while, the winter is past, cheerful fpring returns, the voice of joy and gladness is heard, "Arise, shine, for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is rifen upon thee."*

We naturally affume the tone of thofe with whom we frequently converfe, and whom we dearly love, "He who walketh with wife men fhall become wife; but the companion of fools fhall be destroyed." At the focial, friendly banquet, the eye sparkles with delight, the heart expands, the brow is fmoothed, 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 unifon with the afflicted; our eyes ftand 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 fufpended, with those of the moping wretches whofe mifery we


*Ifaiah Ix. 1.

deplore. What wonder then if Mofes descending from the mount, after forty days familiar intercourfe with "the Lord God, merciful and gracious," had nót the appearance of an ordinary man; that he had acquired a luftre 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 fuggeft of commu. nion with God! What created enjoyment has not loft its relifh in a much shorter fpace! What powers of unaflisted nature could have fo long fuftained the want of aliment! No one thing in a more humiliating manner teaches us our frailty and dependence, than the conftant neceffity of recurring to the groffer elements for fupport. Man, the lord of this lower world, muft, with the fubje&t tribes, and in a much greater proportion than many of them, pafs a very confiderable portion of his exiftence in a ftate of unconscioufnefs and infenfibility during the hours of fleep: he must purchase with the fufpenfion of his reafon, 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 perifheth; the fpirit, however willing, quickly feels the oppreffive weight of a body frail and infirm. But behold the triumph of the fpirit 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, fometimes neglecting these, and conveying immediate fupplies and fupport, lead us at once to Him who worketh all things after the counfel of his own will."

Mofes defcends, not with impaired, but with recruited strength; ftrength, which, to the end of life, never more abated: not with a funk, darkened, extinguifhed eye; but an eye, which, having feen God, never afterwards became dim: not with a vifage pale and emaciated from a faft of forty days; but with a


* Chap. xxxiv. 28.

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