« PreviousContinue »
gards, but such as are worthy of a prophet, a hero, a patriot, and, what is superior to all, the friend of God.
And Moses besought the Lord his God, and said, Lord, why doth thy wrath wax hot against thy people, which thou hast brought forth out of the land of Egypt, with great power and with a mighty hand. Wherefore should the Egyptians speak, and fay, For mischief did he bring them out, to flay them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth ? Turn from thy fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against thy people. Remember Abraham, Isaac and Israel thy servants, to whom thou swarest by thinę own felf, and saidīt unto them, I will multiply your seed as the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have spoken of will I give unto your feed, and they shall inherit it forever.”* The holy man of God is concerned not only that the Judge of all the earth fhould do right, but that the divine conduct should stand vindicated in the eyes of the heathen. He proposes to himself the fame end which Jehovah himself has in view in all that he does the glory of his great name. He nobly prefers the fulfilling of the ancient covenant with his venerable ancestors, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to the establishment of a new covenant with himself and his feed. He is willing to decrease, willing that his family continue obfcure, that his head be laid low, provided the Lord be magnified, and Israel saved. This is a greatness of mind which religion alone could inspire. Like a true son of Israel, he wrestles and makes fupplication; and as a prince he too has power with God, and prevails, if not to prevent every expression of displeasure, at least to prevent the execution of the general doom. Having obtained this great point, he descends with hafte from the mount, bearing in his hand the most precious work of art that skill ever executed. Who does not shudder at the thought of its having been destroyed ? “ And Moses turned and went down from
the * Verses 11-13.
rophet, a hero, ne friend of God
God, and faid ainst thy peoples e land of Egypt hand. Where 1, For mischiet the mountains 2 earth? Tum is evil againly ac and Ifrael ine own feliz · feed as the have spoken ell inherit it
cerned not } da right, ndicated in mself the
the mount, and the two tables of the testimony were in his hand : the tables were written on both their fides ; on the one side and on the other were they written. And the tables were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, graven upon the tables.”* Bụt why should we regret that a piece of curious workmanship, in dumb matter, was destroyed? That loss, foon might be and soon was repaired. Alas! we behold a more shocking spectacle every day—a race of thoughtless wretches deliberately, presuniptuously defacing God's image, destroying his fignature, engraved " not on tables of stone, but on the fleshly tables of the heart ;" inflicting on themselves a loss never to be repaired, not in a fit of holy zeal, but in a paroxysin of diabolical frenzy...
Moses might destroy the tablets, but the spirit of the writing he could not disannul. When all sensible monuments are dissolved, the law maintains its adamantine solidity, its uncontaminated purity, its unpliant steadiness, its unbending dignity. The tablets were written on both sides, within and without. Eve ery fragment therefore had some part of the law and testimony written upon it. Thus, in every particle of the human frame, there are self-evident traces of the finger of God the understanding, the heart, the conscience, the memory, shivers indeed, mutilated, defaced, but capable of being repaired and united.
But I find it impossible to collect into one efficient point of view the sequel of this eventful history, within the limits of one discourse. Here therefore we set up another resting place, and from it take a cursory view of the ground over which we have travelled.
1. What a melancholy view presents itself, of the corruption, the degeneracy and degradation of human nature. Behold a people lost to every noble, generous, manly principle : restrained by no law, awed by no threatning, susceptible of no endearment, in
fluenced * Verses 15, 16,
Few in all пе. Не Covenant Caac and nt with ecrease, Dat his
science, the mine understandin. Ent traces of the
vails, E, at
fluenced by neither shame nor gratitude ; boldly overleaping the bounds of reason and religion and in that people behold " the carnal mind, which is enmity against God: which is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” Behold “the wickedness of man, how great it is in the earth; and every imagination of the thoughts of his heart, how it is only evil continually.” Think not, however, Oman, that thou art surveying a distant prospect, or travelling through a foreign land. Think not that these Israel. ites are finners above all the men of the earth. When thou hast thoroughly searched and known thyself, no account of human frailty will appear exaggerated. They framed and worshipped a golden image. How many myriads hourly bend the knee to the fame idol, changed only a little in form! See the temple of mammon, how it is crowded. His votaries, see how much in earnest they are in their devotions. Early and late the incenfe afcends. Neither Jewish nor Christian fabbath interrupts their attendance or cools their ardour ; while truth, and justice, and mercy, and the love of God are offered a perpetual facrifice to the insatiate demon, who never says, “It is enough.” Nor think that gold is the only deity which men adore. On searching into thy own bofom, some lurking imp, of different form, complexion and texture will be found; hid in close disguise, unknown indeed of men ; but to the eye of God and conscience clearly confessed. Down with it ; it is thy dishon. our, and threatens thy ruin.
II. Rejoice with trembling, while you contemplate the affecting prospect which opens of the severity and mercy of the great God-the severity, which by the hand of Levi cut off three thousand of the offenders, in the heat of their offence; which threatened to exterminate the whole race, and which, in “ the day of visitation, visited their sin upon them”--the mercy which relented, which pitied and spared the guilty, which listened to the voice of intercession, and accept
ed the atonement. Thou thyself, finner, art a mon-
III. Behold a greater than Moses is here an Inter, ceffor more compassionate, more earnest, more power, ful: “ a Prince with God” who ever prevails ; a pro: pitiation ever meritorious and successful ; blood that cleanseth from all fin.” “If any man fin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and he is the propitiation for our sins : and not for ours only, but also for the fins of the whole world.!! * “ Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications, with strong crying and tears, unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared. Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered : and being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.”+ “ Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, leit at any time we should let them slip. For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgreffion and disobedience received a just recom: pense of reward; how shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation, which at the first began to be spoken
by * 1 John ii, 1, 2. + Heb. v. 7, 9.
by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him ?"*
IV. Let us look forward to “ that great and notable day of the Lord,” when the law which was deliv. ered audibly from Sinai, which Moses with a rash, inconsiderate hạnd could break in pieces, but was unable to repair, shall be restored in all its purity and perfection; shall be engraved on every heart, and be. come legible to every eye: when the hidden glory of the legal dispensation shall be unveiled, and the greater glory of the GOSPEL displayed: when the divine image Thall be again impressed on the soul of man, in all its beauty and exactness-and, we ourselves, degraded and loft as we are, shall 6 be raised together, and made to fit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus”—and “ beholding with open face as in a glass, the glory of the Lord, shall be changed into the same image, from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”
Beloved, now are we the fons of God, and it doth not yet appear, what we shall be: but we know, that when he shall appear, we shall be like him, for we Thall see him as he is."
.* Heb. il1, 2, 3.