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I do not hear Moses say to his Joshua, | plagues, and of the quails, and of the rock, Amalek is come up against us, it matters he was commanded to take the rod in his not whether thou go against him or not; hand ; now he doth it unbidden. He doth or if thou go, whether alone or with com- it not now for miraculous operation, but for pany; or if accompanied, whether with encouragement. many or few, strong or weak; or if strong For when the Israelites should cast up men, whether they fight or no; I will their eyes to the hill, and see Moses and pray on the hill: but, “ Choose us out his rod (the man and the means that had men, and go fight."
wrought so powerfully for them), they Then only can we pray with hope when could not but take heart to themselves, and we have done our best. And though the think, There is the man that delivered us means cannot effect that which we desire, from the Egyptian ; why not now from the yet God will have us use the likeliest Amalekite ? There is the rod which turned means on our part to effect it. Where it waters to blood, and brought varieties of comes immediately from the charge of God, plagues on Egypt; why not now on Amalek? any means are effectual : one stick of wood Nothing can more hearten our faith, than shall fetch water out of the rock; another the view of the monuments of God's fashall fetch bitterness out of the water ; but vour: if ever we have found any word or in those projects which we make for our act of God cordial to us, it is good to fetch own purposes, we must choose those helps it forth oft to the eye. The renewing of which promise most efficacy. In vain shall our sense and remembrance makes every Moses be upon the hill, if Joshua be not gift of God perpetually beneficial. in the valley. Prayer without means is a If Moses had received a command, that mockery of God.
rod, which fetched water from the rock, Here are two shadows of one substance: could as well have fetched the blood of the the same Christ in Joshua fights against Amalekites out of their bodies. God will our spiritual Amalek, and in Moses spreads not work miracles always ; neither must out his arms upon the hill; and, in both, we expect them unbidden. conquers. And why doth he climb up the Not as a standard-bearer, so much as hill rather than pray in the valley ? Perhaps a suppliant, doth Moses list up his hand. that he might have the more freedom to his | The gesture of the body should both thoughts, which, following the sense, are express and further the piety of the soul. so much more heavenly, as the eyes see This flesh of ours is not a good servant, more of heaven. Though virtue lies not unless it help us in the best offices. The in the place, yet choice must be made of God of spirits doth more respect the soul those places which may be the most help of our devotion ; yet it is both unmannerly to our devotion ; perhaps that he might be and irreligious to be misgestured in our in the eye of Israel.
prayers. The careless and uncomely car. The presence and sight of the leader riage of the body helps both to signify and gives heart to the people : neither doth make a profane soul." any thing more move the multitude than The hand and the rod of Moses never example. A public person cannot hide moved in vain ; though the rod did not himself in the valley; but yet it becomes strike Amalek, as it had done the rock, him best to show himself upon the hill. yet it smote heaven, and fetched down
The hand of Moses must be raised, but victory. And that the Israelites might see not empty ; neither is it his own rod that the hand of Moses had a greater stroke in he holds, but God's. In the first meeting the fight than all theirs, the success must of God with Moses, the rod was Moses', it rise and fall with it. Amalek rose, and is like, for the use of his trade; now the Israel fell, with his hand falling; Amalek propriety is altered: God hath so wrought fell and Israel rises with his hand raised. by it, that now he challenges it, and Moses the wondrous power of the prayers of dare not call it his own.
| faith! All heavenly favours are derived to Those things which it pleases God to us from this channel of grace. To these use for his own service, are now changed are we beholden for our peace, preservain their condition. The bread of the sa- tions, and all the rich mercies of God crament was once the baker's; now it is which we enjoy. We could not want, if God's: the water was once every man's; we could ask. now it is the laver of regeneration. It is Every man's hand would not have done both unjust and unsafe to hold those things this, but the hand of a Moses. A faith. common wherein God hath a peculiarity: less man may as well hold his hand and
At other times, upon occasion of the tongue still : he may babble, but prays not; he prays ineffectually, and receives not : | Moses by an altar, and a name. God comonly the prayer of the righteous availeth mands to enrol it in parchment; Moses much; and only the believer is righteous. registers it in the stones of his altar, which
There can be no merit, no recompense he raises not only for future memory, but answerable to a good man's prayer; for for present use. That hand which was heaven, and the ear of God, is open to him; weary of lifting up, straight offers a sacrifice but the formal devotions of an ignorant and of praise to God. How well it becomes the faithless man, are not worth that crust of just to be thankful! Even very nature teachbread which he asks: yea, it is presump eth us men to abhor ingratitude in small ton in himself; how should it be beneficial | favours : how much less can that fountain to others? It profanes the name of God, of goodness abide to be laded at with uninstead of adoring it.
thankful hands! O God, we cannot but But how justly is the fervency of the confess our deliverances! Where are our prayer added to the righteousness of the altars? Where are our sacrifices ? Where person! When Moses' hand slackened, is our Jehovah-nissi? I do not more wonder Amalek prevailed. No Moses can have at thy power in preserving us, than at thy his hand ever up; it is a title proper to mercy, which is not weary of casting away God, that his hands are stretched out favours upon the ungrateful. still, whether to mercy or vengeance. Our infirmity will not suffer any long intention, either of body or mind. Long prayers can CONTEMPLATION V. - OF THE LAW. hardly maintain their vigour, as in tall bodies the spirits are diffused. The strongest It is but about seven weeks since Israel hand will languish with long extending: came out of Egypt: in which space God and when our devotion tires, it is seen in | had cherished their faith by five several the success; then straight our Amalek pre-wonders : yet now he thinks it time to give vais. Spiritual wickednesses are mastered them statutes from heaven, as well as bread. by vehement prayer, and, by heartlessness The manna and water from the rock (which in prayer, overcome us.
was Christ in the gospel) were given before Moses had two helps — a stone to sit on, the law; the sacraments of grace before and a hand to raise his; and his sitting and the legal covenant. The grace of God prenolpen hand is no less effectual. Even in venteth our obedience; therefore should we our prayers will God allow us to respect keep the law of God, because we have a our own infirmities. In cases of our neces. | Saviour. O the mercy of our God, which, sity, he regards not the posture of body, before we see what we are bound to do, but the affections of the soul.
shows us our remedy, if we do it not! How Doubtless Aaron and Hur did not only can our faith disannul the law, when it was raise their hands, but their minds with his. before it? It may help to fulfil that which The more cords, the easier draught. Aaron shall be ; it cannot frustrate that which was was brother to Moses : there cannot be a not. The letters which God had written more brotherly office, than to help one an- | in our fleshy tables, were now (as those other in our prayers, and to excite our which are carved in some barks) almost mutual devotions. No Christian may think | grown out: he saw it time to write them it enough to pray alone. He is no true Is- | in dead tables, whose hardness should not raelite, that will not be ready to lift up the | be capable of alteration. He knew that weary hands of God's saints.
the stone would be more faithful than our All Israel saw this : or if they were so | hearts. intent upon the slaughter and spoil, that | O marvellous accordance betwixt the two they observed it not, they might hear it after testaments! In the very time of their defrom Aaron and Hur. Yet this contents not livery, there is the same agreement which God: it must be written. Many other mi is in the substance. The ancient Jews kept Tacles had God done before, not one directly our feasts, and we still keep theirs. The commanded to be recorded : the other were feast of the passover is the time of Christ's only for the wonder; this for the imitation of resurrection; then did he pass from under God's people. In things that must live by the bondage of death. Christ is our passreport, every tongue adds or detracts some | over; the spotless lamb, whereof not a bone thing. The word once written is both un- must be broken. The very day wherein aiterable and permanent.
God came down in fire and thunder to deAs God is careful to maintain the glory | liver the law, even the same day came also of his miraculous victory, so is Moses desi. the Holy Ghost down upon the disciples rous to second him; God by a book, and in fiery tongues, for the propagation of the gospel. That other was in fire and smoke ; | tified. As sin is always dangerous, so most obscurity was mingled with terror : this was when we bring it into God's sight: it enin fire without smoke, befitting the light and venomoth both our persons and services, clearness of the gospel ; fire, not in flashes, and turns our good into evil. As, therefore, but in tongues ; not to terrify, but to in- we must be always holy, so most when we struct. The promulgation of the law makes present ourselves to the holy eyes of our way for the law of the gospel. No man Creator. We wash our hands every day; receives the Holy Ghost, but he which hath but, when we are to sit with some great felt the terrors of Sinai.
person, we scour them with balls. And if God might have imposed upon them a we must be so sanctified only to receive law by force; they were his creatures, and the law, how holy must we be to receive he could require nothing but justice. It had the grace promised in the gospel ? been but equal, that they should be com- Neither must themselves only be cleansed, pelled to obey their Maker ; yet that God but their very clothes: their garments smelt which loves to do all things sweetly, gives of Egypt, even they must be washed. the law of justice in mercy, and will not Neither can clothes be capable of sin, nor imperiously command, but craves our assent can water cleanse from sin. The danger for that, which it were rebellion not to do. was neither in their garment nor their skins;
How gentle should be the proceeding of yet they must be washed, that they might fellow-creatures who have an equality of learn by their clothes with what souls to being, with an inequality of condition! appear before their God. Those garments when their infinite Maker requests, where must be washed, which should never wax he might constrain! God will make no old, that now they might begin their age in covenant with the unwilling; how much | purity; as those which were in more danless the covenant of grace, which stands ger of being foul than bare. It is fit that all upon love? If we stay till God offer our reverence to God's presence should violence to our will, or to us against our appear in our very garments, that both will, we shall die strangers from him. The without and within we may be cleanly; but church is the spouse of Christ: he will en little would neatness of vestures avail us joy her love by a willing contract, not by with a filthy soul. The God of spirits looks a ravishment. The obstinate have nothing to the inner man, and challenges the puto do with God. The title of all converts rity of that part which resembles himself: is, a willing people.
“ Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and That Israel inclined to God, it was from purge your hearts, ye double-minded." God. He inquires after his own gifts in Yet even when they were washed and us, for our capacity of more. They had sanctified, they may not touch the mount, not received the law, unless they had first not only with their feet, but with their received a disposition fit to be commanded. eyes. The smoke keeps it from their eyes, As there was an inclination to hear, so there the marks from their feet. Not only men, must be a preparation for hearing. God's that had some impurity at their best, are justice had before prepared his Israelites by restrained, but even beasts, which are not hunger, thirst, fear of enemies ; his mercy capable of any unholiness. Those beasts had prepared them by deliverances, by pro- which must touch his altars, yet might not visions of water, meat, bread; and yet, touch his hill. And if a beast touch it, he besides all the sight of God in his miracles, | must die; yet so, as no hands may touch they must be three days prepared to hear that which hath touched the hill. Un. him. When our souls are at the best, our reasonableness might seem to be an excuse approach to God requires particular ad- in these creatures; that, therefore, which dresses; and if three days were little enough is death to a beast, must needs be capital to prepare them to receive the law, how is to them, whose reason should guide them all our life short enough to prepare for the to avoid presumption. Those Israelites reckoning of our observing it? And if the which saw God every day in the pillar of word of a command expected such readi fire, and the cloud, must not come near ness, what shall the word of promise, the him in the mount. God loves at once promise of Christ and salvation ?
familiarity and fear; familiarity in our con. The murrain of Egypt wils not so infec- versation, and fear in his commands. He tious as their vices; the contagion of these loves to be acquainted with men in the stuck still by Israel. All the water of the walks of their obedience; yet he takes Red Sea, and of Marah, and that which state upon him in his ordinances, and will gushed out of the rock, had not washed it be trembled at in his word and judgments. off. From these they must now be sanc- 1 l see the difference of God's carriage to
men in the law, and in the gospel. There, | heavens shall be dissolved, and the elements the very hill where he appeared may not shall melt away with a noise. O God, be touched by the purest Israelite. Here, how powerful art thou to inflict vengeance the hem of his garment is touched by the upon sinners, who didst thus forbid sin ! woman that had the flux of blood; yea, And if thou wert so terrible a lawgiver, his very face was touched with the lips of what a judge shalt thou appear! What Judas. There, the very earth was prohi- shall become of the breakers of so fiery a bited them, on which he descended. Here, law? O where shall those appear, that his very body and blood is proffered to our are guilty of the transgressing that law, touch and taste. O the marvellous kind-whose very delivery was little less than ness of our God! How unthankful are death? If our God should exact his law we, if we do not acknowledge this mercy but in the same rigour wherewith he gave above his ancient people! They were his it, sin could not quit the cost. But now own; yet strangers, in comparison of our the fire, wherein it was delivered, was but liberty. It is our shame and sin, if, in these terrifying; the fire, wherein it shall be remeans of entireness, we be no better ac- quired, is consuming. Happy are those quainted with God than they, which in that are from under the terrors of that law, their greatest familiarity were commanded which was given in fire, and in fire shall be aloof.
God was ever wonderful in his works, God would have Israel see, that they and fearful in his judgments; but he was had not to do with some impotent comnever so terrible in the execution of his mander, that is fain to publish his laws, will, as now in the promulgation of it.) without noise, in dead paper, which can Here was nothing but a majestical terror more easily enjoin than punish, or descry in the eyes, in the ears, of the Israelites, as than execute; and therefore, before he if God meant to show them by this how gives them a law, he shows them that he fearful he could be. Here was the light-can command heaven, earth, fire, air, in ning darted in their eyes, the thunders revenge of the breach of the law, that they roaring in their ears, the trumpet of God could not but think it deadly to displease drowning the thunder-claps, the voice of such a lawgiver, or violate such dreadful God out-speaking the trumpet of the angel; statutes; that they might see all the elethe cloud enwrapping, the smoke ascendments examples of that obedience which ing, the fire flaming, the mount trembling, they should yield unto their Maker. Moses climbing and quaking, paleness and | This fire, wherein the law was given, is death in the face of Israel, uproar in the still in it, and will never out: hence are elements, and all the glory of heaven turned those terrors which it flashes in every into terror. In the destruction of the first conscience that hath felt remorse of sin. world, there were clouds without fire; in Every man's heart is a Sinai, and resemthe destruction of Sodom, there was fire bles to him both heaven and hell: “ The raining without clouds : but here was fire, sting of death is sin, and the strength of smoke, clouds, thunder, earthquakes, and sin is the law." whatsoever might work more astonishment That they might see he could find out than ever was in any vengeance inflicted. their closest sins, he delivers his law in the
And if the law were thus given, how light of fire from out of the smoke. That shall it be required? If such were the they might see what is due to their sins, proclamation of God's statutes, what shall they see fire above, to represent the fire the sessions be? I see and tremble at the that should be below them. That they resemblance. The trumpet of the angel might know he could waken their security, called unto the one: the voice of an arch- the thunder and louder voice of God speaks angel, the trumpet of God, shall summon to their hearts. That they might see what us to the other. To the one, Moses (that their hearts should do, the earth quakes climbed up that bill, and alone saw it) | under them. That they might see they says, “ God came with ten thousands of could not shift their appearance, the angel his saints." In the other, « Thousand calls them together. O royal law, and thousands shall minister to him, and ten mighty lawgiver ! how could they think of thousand thousands shall stw d before having any other God, that had such proofs him." In the one, mount Sinai only was on of this ! How could they think of making a flame; all the world shall be so in the any resemblance of him, whom they saw other. In the one, there was fire, smoke, could not be seen, and whom they saw, in thonder, and lightring; in the other a fiery | not being seen, infinite! How could they stream shall issue from him, wherewith the think of daring to profane his name, whana they heard to name himself, with that voice, made ? If ye had said, Choose us another Jehovah! How could they think of stand-governor, it had been a wicked and unthank. ing with him for a day, whom they saw to ful motion : ye were too unworthy of a command that heaven which makes and | Moses, inat could so soon forget him. But measures day! How could they think of to say, “ Make us gods," was absurdly imdisobeying his deputies, whom they saw so pious. Moses was not your god, but your able to revenge! How could they think governor; neither was the presence of God of killing, when they were half dead with tied to Moses. You saw God still, when the fear of him that could kill both body he was gone, in his pillar, and in his manna ; and soul! How could they think of the and yet ye say, “ Make us gods." Every flames of lust, that saw such fires of ven- word is full of senseless wickedness. How geance! How could they think of stealing many gods would you have? or what gods from others, that saw whose the heaven are those that can be made! Or, whatand the earth were, to dispose of at his plea ever the idolatrous Egyptians did, with sure! How could they think of speaking what face can ye, after so many miraculous falsely, that heard God speak in so fearful | obligations, speak of another god ? Had a tone! How could they think of covet- the voice of God scarce done thundering ing others' goods, that saw how weak and in your ears? Did ye so lately hear and uncertain right they had to their own! see him to be an infinite God? Did ye Yea, to us was this law so delivered, to us quake to hear him say, out of the midst of in them. Neither had their been such state the flames, “ I am Jehovah thy God; thou in the promulgation of it, if God had not shalt have no gods but me?" Did ye acintended it for eternity. We men, that so knowledge God your Maker; and do ye fear the breach of human laws, for some now speak of making of gods? If ye had small mulcts of forfeiture, how should we said, Make us another man to go before fear thee, O Lord, that canst cast body us, it had been an impossible suit. Aaron and soul into hell!
might help to mar you and himself; he could not make one hair of a man; and
do ye say, “ Make us gods ?" And what CONTEMPLATION VI. - OF THE GOLDEN CALF. should these gods do? 6 Go before vou?"
How could they go before you, that cannot It was not much above a month since stand alone? Your help makes them to Israel made their covenant with God; since stand, and yet they must conduct you. O they trembled to hear him say, “ Thou the impatient ingratitude of carnal minds ! shalt have no other God but me;" since O the sottishness of idolatry! Who would they saw Moses part from them, and climb not have said, Moses is not with us ; but he up the hill to God; and now they say, is with God for us? He stays long. He “ Make us gods: we know not what is be that called him withholds him. His delay come of this Moses.” Oye mad Israelites, is for our sakes, as well as his ascent. have ye so soon forgotten that fire and Though we see him not, we will hope for thunder which you heard and saw ? Is that him. His favours to us have deserved smoke vanished out of your mind, as soon not to be rejected : or, if God will keep as out of your sight? Could your hearts him from us, he that withholds him, can cease to tremble with the earth? Can ye, supply bim. He that sent him, can lead in the very sight of Sinai, call for other us without him ; his fire and cloud is allgods ? And for Moses, was it not for your sufficient. God hath said, and done enough sakes that he thrust himself into the midst for us, to make us trust him. We will, of that smoke and fire, which ye feared to we can, have no other God; we care not see afar off? Was he not now gone after for any other guide. But, behold, here is so many sudden embassages, to be your none of this. Moses stays but some five lieger with God? If ye had seen him take and thirty days, and now he is forgotten, his heels, and run away from you into the and is become but “this Moses ;" yea, God wilderness, what could ye have said or is forgotten with him; and, as if God and done more? Behold, our better Moses was Moses had been lost at once, they say, with us awhile upon earth: he is now as-“ Make us gods." Natural men must cended into the mount of heaven to medi have God at their beck: and if he come ate for us: shall we now think of another not at a call, he is cast off, and they take Saviour ? Shall we not hold it our happi- / themselves to their own shifts; like as the ness, that he is for our sakes above? Chinese whip their gods when they answer
And what if your Moses had been gone | them not: whereas his holy ones wait for ever? Must ye therefore have gods I long, and seek him; and not only in their