Sidor som bilder

those assurances of grace with which we are greeted from the lips of God himself should disappear for a time, enveloped in the clouds of doubt and unbelief; but at the right hour they would shine forth in our hearts with benignant lustre, like the bright constellations of heaven; and ere we were aware, restored to all their former beauty, be to us every thing of which in our peculiar circumstances we had need :-torches shining during the night-the sound of heavenly harps in the vale of tears-rocks under our feet supporting us in the deep sea-and secure and beautifully garlanded barks of deliverance coming through the stormy breakers to the aid of our shipwrecked souls. To have those divine words, spoken by the lips of Him who is unchangeable, preserved in the casket of our hearts, is indeed a treasure! Guard it carefully, thou who hast it! and though thy house may be in flames, let it burn ; only save this precious document !

II. Moses prays. How joyfully do his words now sound; and what blissful confidence in the friendship and love of God do they express! Listen to the words of his prayer. "See, thou sayest unto me, Bring up this people; and thou hast not let me know whom thou wilt send with me'; yet thou hast said, I know thee by name, and thou hast also found grace in my sight. Now therefore, I pray thee, if I have found grace in thy sight, shew me now thy way, that I may know thee, that I may find grace in thy sight; and consider that this nation is thy people!" Excellent prayer, and most worthy of imitation! Thus man must hold God to his word, and rest firmly and unweariedly on his

promises of mercy. Hereby he only gives him the honour which belongs to him as a God of truth; and such a child-like and holy confidence will never meet with refusal. But what is it that Moses most especially desires in this request? He says, "Thou hast not let me know whom thou wilt send with me." Has not God let him know it? Has he not three successive times said unto him, that he would send his angel to guide him in his journey over the desert? Certainly he had done so; but the idea of this angel seems to have passed through the prophet's mind without finding a resting-place. "What angel?" thought Moses. An angel was not what he had expected: another guide was in his heart and wishes; and this other was Christ-Christ the Son of the living God himself!

We are now at the third period of the kingdom of God; in the days of the Law,-when we behold the promised Mediator reflected as in a mirror in the faith and desire of a sinner, and comprehended in the most vivid manner by the human mind. The star of Jacob now shines so brightly in the heaven of revelation, that even the eye dimmed with tears and weeping for salvation can clearly discern it. The Bible as yet was small, and in a narrow compass; but not the less numerous and frequent were the lights which it scattered to illuminate the darkness in which the sinner's life was enveloped. Already it contained the promise, that the woman's seed should bruise the serpent's head; the all-expressive words of Eve at the birth of Cain, "I have gotten a man from the Lord!" or as we render it, "I have the man Jehovah !"-Lamech's pro

phetic words at the birth of his son, "This same shall comfort us concerning our work and toil of our hands, because of the ground which the Lord hath cursed;"and the mighty revelations and promises of the covenant which God made to Noah, so full of comfort and consolation;—all was already contained in the little Bible. Amidst the clouds might be seen the rainbow, like a golden circlet, binding together all Jehovah's assurances of grace, and miraculously sealing to believers the promise of the great Saviour. And what a glorious addition had been made to this little Bible since the days of the patriarchal world, when Father Abraham trod this earthly scene!—a man whose course was marked by new prophetic lights, and whose path shone from the brilliancy of new revelations and promises, as though illuminated by a thousand torches. Like almost all that has been added to the Bible since, they were symbols and pictures of the promised Saviour of the world; and the whole life of the patriarch resembles a wonderful tapestry, through which in a thousand different ways is interwoven the image of Christ, and which is bordered and enclosed by the stars of hope. Call to mind the sacrifice on Mount Moriah-the wonderful visit in the plains of Mamre-the divine promises connected with Isaac-the vision of the heavenly ladder-Jacob's mysterious wrestling with the man who proved to be God in the highest, and the incomparable prophecies which this patriarch uttered on his death-bed. Lo, all this was now comprehended in the Bible; but how greatly was it extended and increased by the promises which Moses himself received from

the Lord! He was empowered to say, "The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him


shall hearken." By the command of God he raised the holy tabernacle, which by its divine service and symbols pictured to the people in the brightest colours the future covenant. Can we then be surprised if even in those days Christ was known? Then might the words of Paul have been uttered with truth, "But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost."

If ye inquire in what form the promised Saviour lived in the faith of Moses and his believing contemporaries, I reply, In that natural form in which the revelations of that period pourtrayed him to the eyes of sinners. To our first parents Christ was manifested as a Hero, who was to annihilate the power of Satan by bruising the serpent's head. Lamech, the lonely pilgrim, amidst an unholy generation, and in a corrupt and melancholy age, beheld him as a Consoler: "This same shall comfort us," he said, "concerning our work and toil." He was represented to Noah, who sailed over the deathbringing waves of the flood, as the Mediator of a new covenant of peace between God and the accursed earth In the promises of the Messiah which were given during the later patriarchal times, but particularly at the burning of Sodom and Gomorrah, he appears, in contrast to the curse and flames of the Almighty's anger as the Messenger of grace and blessing. Now, during the Mosaic period, after the Law which causeth the knowledge of sin had been given, the people regarded the Messiah as a Reconciler-as the Lamb of God bear

ing the sins of many, and at the same time "putting away sin" in his character of High Priest; while at a later period, after the reign of David, he was pictured in his royal glory.

The Lord Jesus resembles a precious stone which has various points of radiancy, and from which many different lights of consolation and joy proceed. According to the necessity of the circumstances in which we are placed, sometimes one side and sometimes another appears pre-eminently lovely; and there is no situation and no emergency in which we do not find Jesus efficacious in one of his aspects. For example, to the bruised heart we would represent Christ as the Friend of sinners; to the weak and timid soul we would show him as a Hero ready to overcome all their enemies; to the sick and afflicted he is the unwearied Physician; to the maimed and crippled, the tender Nurse; and to those trembling ones, who know not how they are to stand at the judgment-seat of God, we should exhibit him as the Man who is our Righteousness. Thus, if I may so express it, the Heavenly Father turns Christ as a precious stone before the eyes of the people of Israel, according to their necessities; and in the mirror of his revelations makes his colours be reflected, and his lights beam forth, sometimes from one side, sometimes from another. This can be discerned through every period of sacred history; for there is always one side of the image of the Messiah turned towards us, more clearly marked than the others, or bearing a more characteristic stamp; and

« FöregåendeFortsätt »