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their eyes, the people saw that "Mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the Lord descended upon it in fire." The voice of the Eternal was heard, pronouncing in order the ten commandments, in so awful a manner as to strike terror into the mind of every Israelite. They removed to a distance, stood afar off, and said to Moses, "Speak thou with us, and we will hear; but let not God speak with us, lest we die."
We are led, naturally, to consider those commands which God proclaimed; but, without entering into a minute or separate consideration of them, shall only remark upon two things: 1. The view which the law gives us of God. It describes him, in the unity of his nature, and the purity and goodness of his character. These are conceptions of God which fallen man never could have made without a revelation from heaven. If we look into the opinions entertained of God by the ancient heathen, we find, beyond all doubt, that they believed in a multitude of deities. Among the Greeks and Romans a belief existed that there was one Supreme Being; but the inferior ones were independent, though not so powerful. Now the light of this dispensation exhibited him as the one Jehovah, besides whom there is no other; who is not the likeness of any thing our eye can behold; and is, therefore, not to be worshipped under any similitude. His name is, "I AM THAT I AM." Modern heathen have the same gross conceptions of a number of gods; and, but for the light of the Bible, we had worshipped Thor and Woden still. Again, it describes God as a being of purity; an attribute which neither Greek nor Roman, neither ancient or modern heathen, ever dreamed of ascribing to God. But, above all, the Bible repre sents Jehovah, as a being of infinite goodness; rejoic
ing in the happiness of the creatures he has made, pardoning iniquity, transgression, and sin; and from the very principle of goodness, hating iniquity in the heart and in the life. 2. Its suitableness to man. The whole law was comprehended in loving God supremely, and our neighbour as ourselves. Love was described as the root of all duty. Now in this particular a mighty difference existed between the highest lessons of heathen morality and those contained in the Pentateuch. A sense of honour, the pride of independence, the love of our country, were severally proposed as the most powerful regulators of conduct. It has been said that Socrates recommended even the forgiveness of injuries; but an able critic remarks, that the passage referred to contains only a very refined instance of malice. "Do not," says the philosopher, "resent an injury, if offered to you, for the punishing of the guilty is for their reformation. If you procure your enemy's punishment, you are doing him a service. Let him then alone, to persevere in his iniquity."
Had we time, patience, and ability to enter into a minute examination of all those regulations and directions, ceremonial as well as moral, which the heavendirected Moses communicated to Israel; and could we accurately discriminate the state and circumstances of the children of Abraham at that time and place, perceiving also, clearly, the difference between their state and ours, we should be compelled to acknowledge that the most inconsiderable of them were important; and admirably adapted to the case of the individuals immediately concerned. The value and importance of many of them we do perceive; such, for instance, as the appointment of the cities of refuge; the law in cases of meditated and unintentional murder; the humanity
enjoined toward the stranger, the orphan, the widow, and the fatherless; the year of release and grand jubilee; the duty toward inferiors; with many others. But we must close our remarks upon the sacred life of Moses, and the contents of the Pentateuch, with two observations.
The first regards the writings of Moses. These are historical, theological, and poetical. His historical writings have been, wherever known, subjects of favourite perusal; and will continue to be so to the end of time. Their least beauty is their style, in which there is a due mixture of all that is simple and all that is sublime. But the matter, which was furnished to his hand, was of no common kind; and he wrote under a divine influence. The portion of national history which his writings embrace was one peculiarly – rugged and difficult; yet he has managed it with the greatest felicity and success. But it is a multitudinous subject, and can hardly ever be rendered so attractive as the consideration of individual character, as delineated in his affecting portraits. From a want of attentive consideration, his theological writings appear prolix ; but when the abilities of the ablest men have been employed in unfolding and illustrating them, we find that the supposed absence of interest and beauty is to be attributed, not to the subject, but to our perception. The fault is not in the object, but in the distorted view taken of it by us. His poetical writings consist of his three lyric poems:-Psalm xc; Exodus xv; and Deuteronomy xxxii; and probably the book of Job; to the unrivalled excellence of which the most intelligent minds have borne ample testimony.
Our next, and concluding observation, regards his death. He lived a hundred and twenty years, and, at
the conclusion of that long period, his eye had not waxed dim, nor was his natural force abated. He died, not from debility, but yielded up his breath at the divine command. The more signally to mark his abhorrence of iniquity, of whatever kind, God has often punished his servants, in the present life. For the sin of Moses at Meribah, God had declared he should not enter the promised land. Accordingly, when God had said to him, "Behold, thy days approach that thou must die," having exhorted his successor and all the people, he went up to the top of Mount Nebo; and, being divinely strengthened, saw all the land below, unto the utmost sea. This being over, the venerable man breathed his spirit into the hands of his Maker; and God buried his body, but where, "no man knoweth unto this day."
THE LOSS OF THE SOUL.
"For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?" Mark viii, 36, 37.
MEN and brethren, what solemn words are these! Questions involving deeper interests were never proposed. And, if we consider by whom they were put, that all are concerned in the proper solution of them, and that no period can arrive when the result of our determination of them shall cease to be a matter of importance, we shall do well to give our whole souls to the inquiries pressed on our notice by the Saviour of
There are several considerations suggested by the slightest perusal of these verses. The first question implies, that a man cannot make the world his gain at any less expense than that of his soul's everlasting welfare. A man must not count life, or aught that makes life desirable, to be dear unto him, so that he may win Christ. No man can serve God and mam
By "the whole world," we cannot understand the empire of the habitable globe. This is what no one ever had; nor is it in any degree probable that any one ever shall have it, until He come whose right the kingdoms are. Alexander the Great made some advances toward universal empire; but, in reality, he extended his sway no farther over Europe than the Grecian islands and Main; comparatively little of