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broken. He made darkness his secret pavilion, and not without a cause, nor yet without a meaning; and of this he informed Moses, who was a believer, who had found grace in his sight, and stood high in his favour, and was faithful before him; to whom he had appeared, and with whom he had used the most unparalleled familiarity; and to whom he had never paid such a visit, in such terrible majesty, before. He therefore prepares him for it, by informing him of it, that he might not be discouraged at it, nor sink under it. "And the Lord said unto Moses, Lo, I come unto thee in a thick cloud." "And the people stood afar off, and Moses drew near unto the thick darkness where God was." This dark cloud was to represent God's dreadful wrath at sin, and to let sinners know that he had hid his face from man on that account. The thunder, the lightning, the sound of the trumpet, the fire, the smoke, the trembling of the mount, and the worse trembling of the camp, the death and destruction that was threatened to man or beast that should touch the mount, were all so many indications of the wrath of God at the sins of men. No way is open here to the blessed face of God, but by the glory of Moses's face, and the light of God's countenance, promised at the mercy seat; both which point out the better Mediator, and the better throne of grace, Christ Jesus. Hence we need not wonder why the Saviour, when his disciples entreated him, saying, "Shew us the father, and it sufficeth us,"

gave them this answer, "Have I been so long with you, and hast thou not seen me, Philip? He that hath seen me hath seen the Father.." God, as a father, can never be seen in this world out of Christ. In the law he is not a father, but a master; a terrible lawgiver, a just judge, a sin-avenging God, a consuming fire; and it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God in a broken law. In Christ he is well pleased, in Christ he has reconciled the world unto himself; and in the face of Christ he will ever shine, who is the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person.

But the law, when reflected on the mind of man, is blackness and darkness; and the spirit of it is vindictive vengeance, and nothing else, which genders to bondage, and works wrath, fear, torment, jealousy, death, and eternal damnation. And, that we may know the difference of the one covenant from the other, the preciousness of the glorious gospel, and the invaluable worth of that life and immortality brought to light by it; that we may see and feel the need of Christ, and know how to prize him; that we may know the sad state of them that are out of him, and the blessed state of those that are in him; and be grateful to God for that free, sovereign, and discriminating grace that has made us to differ, we are often exercised with the darkness of this mount, and it is a darkness that may be felt; and those professors that deny this are in a worse darkness, for Satan keeps them ignorant of themselves, of God,

of Christ, and of the law; from which ignorance the light of the gospel has delivered every real believer; and God is the everlasting light of him, and his sun shall no more go down. But it is not said that his sun shall never be eclipsed.


Abraham the father of the faithful, must feel a little of this darkness, and of the horrors of it: "And when the sun was going down a deep sleep fell upon Abraham; and lo an horror of great darkness fell upon him; and, when it was dark, a smoking furnace and a burning lamp passed between those pieces. In the same day the Lord made a covenant with Abraham," Gen. xv. The beasts, which were here slain and divided by Abraham, were to lead Abraham's faith to the death of Christ, and to the covenant, which was to be a covenant by sacrifice; as the offering up of Isaac did afterward; which shewed Abraham that the covenant was not to be confirmed by a brutal sacrifice, but by a sacrifice of human nature. This great darkness, horror, and smoking furnace, which went before the burning lamp, represent not only the affliction of the children of Abraham in Egypt, and their deliverance from that; but the wrath of God in a broken law, and salvation from it by Jesus Christ, as the prophet Isaiah applies it. Read Isai. lxii. 1.

The children of light have been often exercised under this dark cloud, or horror of great darkness. Hence Job; "He hath fenced up my way that I cannot pass, and he hath set darkness

in my paths," Job xix. 8. "The Almighty troubleth me, because I was not cut off before the darkness, neither hath he covered the darkness from my face." And Jeremiah; "I am the man that hath seen affliction by the rod of his wrath; he hath led me, and brought me into darkness, but not into light." "Lord, why castest thou off my soul? why hidest thou thy face from me?" Psalm lxxxviii. 6, 14. "We wait for light, but behold obscurity; for brightness, but we walk in darkness; we grope for the wall like the blind, we grope as if we had no eyes." Numerous are the complaints of good men under this dark cloud; and to a child of light it is indeed a darkness that may be felt; it beclouds and bewilders the mind; the brightest evidences are in a great measure hid; the bible itself is sealed, and fast closed; we see not our signs nor our tokens for good; every good thing is at a distance from us, behind the cloud, and we cannot get at it; there is a dismal gloom upon our path; we know not where we are, where to step, nor which way to steer; which way God is gone we know not, but he knoweth the way that we take; and such a prayer as this suits us well, 'Seek thy servant,' for we are lost; Christ is hid, and there is a frowning cloud upon the sweet countenance of God, in which he hides his blessed face; or, as he did to the disciples, holds our eyes, that we should not see him. But, though this is often the case with believers, and they cannot see their path. straight behind them, nor one be. m of light be

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fore them; though all evidences are hid, and the light of the Lord's countenance is withdrawn; though no signs nor love-tokens appear; and though the life-giving commandment is hid from us, and he shews us no wonders out of his law; yet these Israelites have light in their dwellings, they have light to see the corruptions of their own hearts; to see the workings of unbelief, legal pride, enmity, rebellion, the double diligence of Satan, and the wretched advantages he takes of them in these dark seasons. Job looked backward to past experience, but all was dark; and forward to future hope, but he could not see it. He looked on the right hand and on the left; but length of days, riches, and honours, were all gone. He saw neither his advocate on the right hand, nor providence on the left. His corruptions, his accuser, his loss, and his misery, were the chief things that appeared in view. There is a remembrance of what he has done, and but little more; and there is a hope in him, and an expectation of the fulfilment of what he has promised to do: but Job complained that his hope was removed like a tree; and Jeremiah said that his hope was perished from the Lord. To be favoured, in this cloudy and dark day, but for one minute with faith in exercise, just enough to banter the enemy, and predict a future sunrising, is a blessing indeed. Rejoice not against me, O my enemy. If I fall, I shall arise: if I sit in darkness, the Lord shall be a light unto me, and he shall bring me forth to the light, and I

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