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the brightness of the firmament, and they that turn many to righteousness, as the ftars for ever and ever."* "The Lord God is a fun and fhield: the Lord will

give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly."+

* Daniel xii. 3.

† Pfalm lxxxiv. 11,


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According to all that the Lord commanded Mofes, fo the children of Ifrael made all the work. And Mofes did look upon all the work, and behold, they had done it as the Lord had commanded, even fo bad they done it: And Mofes bleffed them.

IF reafon were to maintain its full dominion in man, were the fenfes perpetually under the control of the mind, a motive to religion would be continually fupplied from the natural impulse of a grateful and affectionate heart. The vaft universe would become one great temple; every pebble, every plant, every star would be a witness for God; and the heaven-born fpirit would arife on the wing of every bird, of every breeze of air, to its glorious Author. But man, degraded by fin, blinded by paffion, involved in error; man, impaired in understanding, grovelling in affection, in captivity to fenfe, needs to be frequently admonifhed of his obligation to, and dependence upon God, his Creator and Preferver. He needs forms, and feafons, and places of worship; the heart must be approached through the channels of fense; and our acquaintance with the Father of fpirits must be preserved, by means of things feen and temporal. Hence a fabbath, a tabernacle, a temple; facrifices, facraments,


fermons, are the inftitution of Heaven; are the ordinances of Him" who knows what is in man," and what is neceffary to man.

It is eafy to conceive what the world would be, deftitute of the modes and offices of religion, when we confider what men are, with the advantage of “line upon line, precept upon precept," revelation upon revelation. The religious ceremonies and fervices in ufe among ancient nations, whatever were their origin, become refpectable in our eyes, merely from their antiquity: but when to antiquity is fuperadded divine authority; when we behold the great JEHOVAH condefcending to defcribe and to appoint the rites of his own worfhip, to exhibit a model of all the inftruments to be employed in his fervice, we feel fomething more than refpect; we are filled with veneration: we break out into the exclamation of Solomon, "Will God indeed dwell with men upon the earth?"

Mofes had now finally defcended from the mount, furnished with complete inftructions for fettling the civil government and the religious polity of the nation which God "chofe, to place his name there." Under the direction of men divinely infpired for the work, he addreffes himself to the execution of the plan which God himself had vouchfafed to delineate. From the liberality and zeal of the people, materials are fpeedily and amply fupplied. Through the skill and affiduity of the artists, the bufinefs is fpeedily and fuccefsfully dispatched: and, on the first anniversary of the departure out of Egypt, the tabernacle is ready to be reared up.

It is not my design to attempt a minute defcription of that facred ftructure, and of its furniture. But I find it impoffible to pafs them by entirely, as I apprehend a few remarks of a practical nature, fall directly within the defign of thefe exercises, and may, by the divine bleffing, render the awful monuments of relig ion in the wilderness, inftructive and useful in gospel times.


The name and the nature of the tabernacle were, perhaps, intended to be emblematical of the whole difpenfation, of which it was a leading inftrument. A tent, or tabernacle, is a temporary and portable habitation, fuited to a state of journeying or warfare; and this, in particular, was to be the guide to Canaan, to give the fignal of motion and of reft; to lead the way to victory and peace: and when full poffeffion was at length given, the tabernacle transferred its tranfitory glory, to the ftationary glory of the temple; or rather was confolidated into one glory with it. Thus, all the pofitive inftitutions of religion are defigned to be our monitors, guides and comforters in the wilderness; to introduce us into the promised land; and then the objects of faith fhall become objects of vision, and the redeemed of the Lord fhall worship together in that temple, from which there is no more going out.

Jehovah declared himself not only the fpiritual Head of the Ifraelitifh church and nation, but also their temporal Sovereign; the fupreme Head and Governor of their political economy. As fuch, he gave commandment to pitch a tent for the leader and commander of his people, from whence orders were expected and iffued; over which the royal ftandard was feen perpetually hovering in the dreadful glory of a pillar of cloud by day, and of fire by night. And the final fulfilling of the fcriptures is the gathering into one, to the ftandard of the Redeemer, "a great multitude, which no man can number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues," when at the founding of the feventh angel, there fhall be

great voices in heaven, faying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever."t From the contemplation of a tabernacle constructed of parts that might be separated, and joined together again, as occafion required, we are led to contem

* Rev. vii. 9.

+ Chap. xi. 15.


plate the "city of our folemnities," Jerufalem that is above, "a quiet habitation, a tabernacle that shall not be taken down, not one of the stakes thereof fhall ever be removed, neither fhall any of the cords thereof be broken. But there the glorious Lord will be unto us a place of broad rivers and ftreams; wherein fhall go no galley with oars, neither shall gallant fhip pass thereby."*

The fabric in the wilderness was not a defign of human skill, nor fashioned according to models feen in Egypt, but planned of infinite wifdom, erected, to a fingle pin, according to a pattern fhewn to Mofes on the mount. In things which relate to the manage⚫ment of this world, a latitude is given to the exercise of human prudence and difcretion; but in what regards the immediate worship and service of God, men are tied up to an iota and a tittle, "Thus faith the Lord." The work of God is perfect, his law is perfect, his word is perfect, none can with fafety add thereto, or diminish from it. A holy and a jealous God has fenced himself and his ordinances as with a wall of fire, which prefumption attempts to break through at its peril. "For I teftify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book: if any man shall add unto these things, God fhall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: and if any man fhall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God fhall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book."t When we confider the dreadful import of these words, who but must tremble to think on the rafh, the irrev erent, the profane use that is daily made of the name and the book of God. Is it thus ye requite your Maker, foolish créatures and unwife?"He is wife in heart, and mighty in strength: who hath hardened himself against him, and hath profpered?"

* Ifaiah xxxiii. 20, 21.


+ Rev. xxii. 18, 19.

‡ Job. ix. 4,

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