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a second, because he saw a wilful neglect, shall we impute it, but to his more entire will trust Moses with his second law, be- ness with God? cause he saw fidelity in the worst error of The more familiar acquaintance we have his zeal. Our charity must learn, as to with God, the more do we partake of him. forgive, so to believe where we have been | He that passes by the fire, may have some deceived: not that we should wilfully be- gleams of heat; but he that stands by it, guile ourselves in an unjust credulity, but hath his colour changed. It is not possible that we should search diligently into the a man should have any long conference disposition of persons, and grounds of their with God, and be no whit affected. We actions. Perhaps none may be so sure as | are strangers from God,- it is no wonder they that have once disappointed us. Yea, | if our faces be earthly; but he that sets Moses brake the first ; therefore he must himself apart to God, shall find a kind of hew the second. If God had broken them, majesty and awful respect put upon him he would have repaired them. The amends in the minds of others. must be where the fault was. Both God. How did the heart of Moses shine with and his church look for a satisfaction in illumination, when his face was thus lightthat wherein we have offended.
some! And if the flesh of Moses, in this It was not long since Moses' former fast base composition, so shined by conversing of forty days: when he then came down with God forty days in Sinai, what shall from the hill, his first question was not for our glory be when clothed with incormeat ; and now going up again to Sinai, ruptible bodies? We shall converse with he takes not any repast with him. That him for ever in the highest heaven. God, which sent the quails to the host of Now his face only shone; afterwards the Israel, and manna from heaven, could have three disciples saw all his body shining. fed him with dainties. He goes up confi- The nature of a glorified body, the clearer dently, in a secure trust of God's provision. vision, the immediate presence of that founThere is no life to that of faith. “ Man tain of glory, challenge a far greater resplenlives not by bread only." The vision of dence to our faces than his. O God, we God did not only satiate, but feast him. are content that our faces be blemished a What a blessed satiety shall there be when, while with contempt, and blubbered with we shall see him as he is; and he shall be tears. How can we but shine with Moses, all in all to us; since this very frail morta- when we shall see thee more than Moses ! lity of Moses was sustained and comforted The brightness of Moses' face reflected but with representations of his presence! not upon his own eyes; he shone bright,
I see Moses the receiver of the law, Elias and knew not of it. He saw God's face the restorer of the law, Christ the fulfiller glorious; he did not think others had so of the old law, and author of the new, all seen his. How many have excellent fasting forty days; and these three great graces, and perceive them not! Our own fasters I find together glorious in Mount sense is an ill judge of God's favours to us • Tabor. Abstinence merits not; for reli- those that stand by, can convince us in that gion consists not in the belly, either full which we deny to ourselves. Here below, or empty. What are meats or drinks to it is enough if we can shine in the eyes of the kingdom of God, which is, like himself, others; above, we shall shine and know spiritual ? But it prepares best for good it. At this instant, Moses sees himself duties. Full bellies are fitter for rest. Not shine; then he needed not. God meant the body, so much as the soul, is more ac- not that he should more esteem bimself, tive with emptiness. Hence solemn prayer | but that he should be more honoured of takes ever fasting to attend it, and so much the Israelites. That other glory shall be the rather speeds in heaven when it is so for our own happiness, and therefore reaccompanied. It is good so to diet the quires our knowledge. body, that the soul may be fattened. I They that did but stand still to see an
When Moses came down before, his ger in his face, ran away to see glory in it. eyes sparkled with anger, and his face was Before, they had desired that God would both interchangeably pale and red with not speak to them any more but by Moses; indignation; now it is bright with glory. and now, that God doth but look upon Before, there were the flames of fury in it; them in Moses, they are afraid : and yet now, the beams of majesty. Moses had there was not more difference betwixt the before spoken with God: why did not his voices than the faces of God and Mosis. face shine before? I cannot lay the cause This should have drawn Israel to Moses upon the inward trouble of his passions, so much the more, to have seen this im for this brightness was external. Whither pression of divinity in his face.
That which should have comforted, respects, he modestly hides nis glorified affrights thenı : yea, Aaron himself, that face, and cares not their eyes should pierce before went up into the mount to see and so far as to his skin, on condition that his speak with God, now is afraid to see him words may pierce into their ears. It is that had seen God. Such a fear there is good for a man soinetimes to hide his in guiltiness,- such confidence in inno- graces ; some talents are best improved by cency. When the soul is once cleared being laid up. Moses had more glory by from sin, it shall run to that glory with joy, his veil than by his face. Christian mothe least glimpse whereof now appals it, desty teaches a wise man not to expose and sends it away in terror. How could himself to the fairest show, and to live at the Israelites now choose but think, How the utmost pitch of his strength. shall we abide to look God in the face, There is many a rich stone laid up in since our eyes are dazzled with the face of the bowels of the earth, many a fair pearl Moses ! And well may we still argue, if laid up in the bosom of the sea, that never the image of God, which he hath set in the was seen, nor ever shall be. There is many feshy forehead of authority, daunt us, how a goodly star, which, because of height, shall we stand before the dreadful tribunal comes not within our account. How did of heaven!
our true Moses, with the veil of his flesh, Moses marvels to see Israel run away hide the glory of his deity, and put on vilefrom their guide, as from their enemy, and ness, besides the laying aside of majesty, ooks back to see if he could discern any and shut up his great and divine miracles new cause of fear; and not conceiving how with, “ See you tell no man!” How far tuis mild face could affright them, calls them | are those spirits from this, which care only to stay and return.
| to be seen, and wish only to dazzle others' O my people, whom do ye fly? It is for eyes with admiration, not caring for unyour sakes that I ascended, stayed, came known riches ! But those yet more, which down. Behold, here are no armed Levites desire to seem above themselves, whether to strike you, no Amalekites, no Egyptians in parts or graces, whose veil is fairer to pursue you, no fires and thunders to than their skin. Modest faces shall shine dismay you. I have not that rod of God through their veils, when the vain-glorious in my hand, which you have seen to com-shall bewray their shame through their mand the elements; or if I had, so far am covering I from purposing any rigour against you, That God which gave his law in smoke, that I now lately have appeased God to delivered it again through the veil of Moses. wards you; and, lo! here the pledges of Israel could not look to the end of that his reconciliation. God sends me to you which should be abolished: for the same for good; and do you run from your best cause bad God a veil upon his face, which friend? Whither will ye go from me, or hid his presence in the holy of holies. Now, without me? Stay, and hear the charge of | as the veil of God did rend when he said, that God from whom we cannot fly. “ It is finished ;" so the veil of Moses was
They perceive his voice the same, though then pulled off. We clearly see Christ his face were changed, and are persuaded to the end of the law. Our Joshua, that suc. stay, and return and hear him, whom they ceeded Moses, speaks to us bare-faced. dare not see; and now, after many doubt- | What a shame is it there should be a veil ful paces, approaching nearer, dare tell him upon our hearts, when there is none on he was grown too glorious.
his face ! Good Moses, finding that they durst not When Moses went to speak with God, look upon the sun of his face, clouds it he pulled off his veil : it was good reason with a veil ; choosing rather to hide the he should present to God that face which work of God in bim, than to want an he had made : there had been more need opportunity of revealing God's will to bis of his veil to hide the glorious face of God people. I do not bear him stand upon from him, than to hide his from God: but terms of reputation : if there be glory in his faith and thankfulness serve for both my face, God put it there; he would not these uses. Hypocrites are contrary to have placed it so conspicuously if he had Moses : he showed his worst to men, his meant it should be hid. Hide ye your best to God; they show their best to men, faces rather, which are blemished with your their worst to God: but God sees both sin, and look not that I should wrong God their veil and their face; and I know not and myself, to seem less happy, in favour whether he more hates their veil of dis. of your weakness. But without all self-simulation, or their face of wickedness.
| out with the day; but is given for a perpe. CONTEMPLATION II. — OF NADAB AND ABIAU. tuity, and neither must die nor be quenched.
God, as he is himself eterr.al, so he loves That God, which showed himself to permanency and constancy of grace in us: men in fire when he delivered his law, if we be but a flash and away, God regards would have men present their sacrifices to us not. All promises are to perseverance, him in fire; and this fire he would have Sure, it is but an elementary fire that goes his own, that there might be a just circu- out; that which is celestial continues. It lation in this creature; as the water sends was but some presumptuous heat in us that up those vapours which it receives down decays upon every occasion. again in rain. Hereupon it was, that fire But he that miraculously sent down this came down from God unto the altar; that fire at first, will not renew the miracle every as the charge of the sacrifice was delivered day by a like supply: it began immediately in fire and smoke, so God might signify the from God; it must be nourished by means. acceptation of it, in the like fashion wherein Fuel must maintain that fire which came it was commanded. The Baalites might from heaven; God will not work miracles lay ready their bullock upon the wood, every day: if he hath kindled his Spirit in and water in their trench; but they might us, we may not expect he shall every day sooner fetch the blood out of their bodies, begin again: we have the fuel of the word and destroy themselves, than one flash out and sacraments, prayers and meditations, of heaven to consume the sacrifice.
which must keep it in for ever. It is from That devil, which can fetch down fire God that these helps can nourish his graces from heaven, either maliciously or to no in us, likeas every flame of our material fire purpose (although he abound with fire, hath a concourse of providence; but we and did as fervently desire this fire, in emn- may not expect new infusions: rather know, lation to God, as ever he desired mitigation that God expects of us an improvement of of his own), yet now he could no more those habitual graces we have received. kindle a fire for the idolatrous sacrifice, While the people, with fear and joy, see than quench the flames of his own torment. God lighting his own fire, fire from heaven, Herein God approves himself only worthy the two sons of Aaron, in a careless preto be sacrificed unto, that he creates the sumption, will be serving him with a comfire for his own service; whereas the im- | mon flame; as if he might not have leave potent idols of the heathen must fetch fire to choose the forms of his own worship. If from their neighbour's kitchen, and them- | this had been done some ages after, when selves are fit matter for their borrowed fire. | the memory of the original of this heavenly
The Israelites, that were led too much fire had been worn out, it might have been with sense, if they had seen the bullock con-excused with ignorance; but now, when siimed with a fire fetched from a common God had newly sent his fire from above, hearth, could never have acknowledged newly commanded the continuance of it, what relation the sacrifice had to God; either to let it go out, or, while it still flamed, had never perceived that God took notice to fetch profane coals to God's altar, could of the sacrifice: but now they see the fire savour of no less than presumption and coming out from the presence of God, they sacrilege. When we bring zeal without are convinced both of the power and acknowledge, misconceits of faith, carnal afceptation of the Almighty; they are at once | fections, the devices of our will-worship, amazed and satisfied to see the same God superstitious devotions, into God's service, answer by fire, which before had spoken by we bring common fire to his altar : these fire. God doth not less approve our evan-flames were never of his kindling; he hates gelical sacrifices than theirs under the law: both altar, fire, priest, and sacrifice. And but as our sacrifices are spiritual, so are the now, behold, the same fire which consumed signs of his acceptation. Faith is our guide, the sacrifice before, consumes the sacrias sense was theirs. Yea, even still doth ficers. It was the sign of his acceptation, God testify his approbation by sensible evi- in consuming the beast, but, while it dedences. When by a lively faith and fervent stroyed men, the fearful sign of his displea. zeal our hearts are consecrated to God, then sure. By the same means can God bewray doth this heavenly fire come down upon both love and hatred. We would have our sacrifices : then are they holy, living, pleaded for Nadab and Abihu; they are acceptable.
but young men, the sons of Aaron, not This flame that God kindled, was not as yet warm in their function: let both age, some momentary bonfire, for a sudden and and blood, and inexperience, excuse them short triumph, nor as a domestic fire, to go l as yet. No pretences, no privileges, can
bear off a sin with God. Men think either God gives a man law, it implies that he to patronise or mitigate evils by their feigned would not have judgment surprise him. reasons. That none may hope the plea either Doubtless, Aaron looked somewhat heaof birth, or of youth, or of the first com- vily on this sad spectacle: it could not mission of evil, may challenge pardon; I but appal him to see his two sons dead see here young men, sons of the ruler of before him; dead in displeasure, dead sudLrael, for the first offence struck dead. denly, dead by the immediate hand of God.
Yea, this made God the more to stomach, And now he could repent him of his new and the rather to revenge this impiety, be-honour to see it succeed so ill with the cause the sons of Aaron did it. God hath | sons of his loins ; neither could he choose both pardoned and graced their father; he but see himself stricken in them. But his had honoured them, of the thousands of brother Moses, that had learned not to Israel, culling them out of his altar; and know either nephews or brother, when now, as their father set up a false god, so they stood in his way to God, wisely turned they bring false fire unto the true God. his eyes from the dead carcases of his
If the sons of infidels live godlessly, they sons, to his respect of the living God. My do their kind; their punishnent shall be brother, this event is fearful, but just; (though just) yet less; but if the children these were thy sons, but they sinned; it of religious parents, after all Christian nur- | was not for God, it is not for thee, to look ture, shall shame their education, God takes so much who they were, as what they did. it more heinously, and revenges it more It was their honour and thine, that they sharply. The more bonds of duty, the more were chosen to minister before the Lord. plagues of neglect.
He that called them, justly required their If, from the agents, we look to the act sanctification and obedience. If they have itself; set aside the original descent, and profaned God and themselves, can thy nawhat difference was there betwixt these tural affection so miscarry thee, that thou fres ? Both looked alike, heated alike, as- couldst wish their impunity, with the bleCended alike, consumed alike; both were mish of thy Maker ? Our sons are not ours, fed with the same material wood; both if they disobey our Father: to pity their Fanished into smoke ; there was no diffe- misery is to partake of their sin. If thou rence, but in the commandment of God. grudge at their judgment, take heed lest
If God had enjoined ordinary fire, they the same fire of God come forth upon this had sinned to look for celestial. Now he strange fire of nature. Show now whether commanded only the fire which he sent; thou more lovest God, or thy sons. Show they sinned in sending up incense in that whether thou be a better father, or a son. fire which he commanded not. It is a dan. | Aaron, weighing these things, holds his gerous thing, in the service of God, to de- peace, not out of an amazement or sullencline from his own institutions. We have ness, but out of patient and humble subto do with a power which is wise to pre- mission; and seeing God's pleasure, and scribe his own worship, just to require what their desert, is content to forget that he he hath prescribed, powerful to revenge that had sons. He might have had a silent which he hath not required.
tongue, and a clamorous heart. There is If God had struck them with some leprosy no voice louder in the ears of God, than a in their forehead, as he did their aunt Mi. speechless repining of the soul. Heat is nam, soon after, or with some palsy, or more increase with keeping in; but Aaron's Ingering consumption, the punishment had silence was no less inward : he knew how been grievous. But he, whose judgments little he should get by brawling with God. ate ever just, sometimes secret, saw fire If he breathed out discontentment, he saw the fittest revenge for a sin of fire; his own God could speak fire to him again; and pre fittest to punish strange fire; a sudden therefore he quietly submits to the will of Dicarnent fit for a present and exemplary God, and held his peace, because the Lord un: he saw, that if he had winked at this, had done it. There is no greater proof of his service had been exposed to profanation. | grace, than to smart patiently, and humbly
It is wisdom in governors to take sin at and contentedly to rest the heart in the the first bound, and so to revenge it, that justice and wisdom of God's proceeding; their punis: nts may be preventions. and to be so far from chiding, that we disspeed of death is not always a judgment : pute not. Nature is froward; and though Sudeness, as it is ever justly suspicable, she well knows we meddle not with our
then certainly arrues anger, when it match, when we strive with our Maker, yet unts us in an act of sin. Leisure of re- she pricks us forward to this idle quarrel; Tentance is an argument of favour. When I and bids us, with Jol's wife, curse and die.
If God either chide or smite, as servants ment of Miriam. The sins of the gover are charged to their masters, we may not nors are a just stop to the people: al} answer again ; when God's hand is on our of them smart in one; all must stay the back, our hand must be on our mouth; leisure of Miriam's recovery. Whosoever else, as mothers do their children, God seeks the land of promise, shall find many shall whip us so much the more for crying. lets : Amalek, Og, Sinon, and the kings of
It is hard for a stander-by, in this case, Canaan, meet with Israel; these resisted, to distinguish betwixt hard-heartedness and but hindered not their passage; their sins pity. There Aaron sees his sons lie: he only stay them from removing. Afflictions may neither put his hand to them to bury are not crosses to us in the way to heaven, them, nor shed a tear for their death. in comparison to our sins. Never parent can have juster cause of what is this I see? Is not this Aaron, mourning, than to see his sons dead in that was brother in nature, and by office their sin; if prepared and penitent, yet who joint-commissioner with Moses? Is not this can but sorry for their end? But to part Aaron, that made his brother an intercessor with children to the danger of a second for him to God, in the case of his idolatry? death, is worthy of more than tears. Yet Is not this Aaron that climbed up the hill Aaron must learn so far to deny nature, / of Sinai with Moses? Is not this Aaron that he must more magnify the justice of whom the mouth and hand of Moses conGod, than lament the judgment. Those secrated a high-priest unto God? Is not whom God hath called to his immediate this Miriam the elder sister of Moses? Is service, must know that he will not allow not this Miriam, that led the triumph of them the common passions and cares of the women, and sung gloriously to the others. Nothing is more natural than sor- Lord? Is not this Miriam, which laid her row for the death of our own: if ever grief brother Moses in the recds, and fetched be seasonable, it becomes a funeral. And her mother to be his nurse? Both proif Nadab and Abinu had died in their beds, phets of God; both the flesh and blood of this favour had been allowed them, the sor- Moses. And doth this Aaron repine at row of their father and brethren ; for when the honour of him that gave himself that God forbids solemn mourning to his priests honour, and saved his life? Doth this over the dead, he excepts the cases of this Miriam repine at the prosperity of him nearness of blood. Now all Israel may whose life she saved? Who would not mourn for these two; only the father and have thought this should have been their brethren may not. God is jealous, lest glory, to have seen the glory of their own their sorrow should seem to countenance brother? What could have been a greater the sin which he had punished; even the comfort to Miriam, than to think how hapfearfullest acts of God must be applauded pily doth he now sit at the stern of Israel, by the heaviest hearts of the faithful. whom I saved from perishing in a boat of
That which the father and brother may bulrushes? It is to me that Israel owes not do, the cousins are commanded. Dead this commander; but now envy hath so carcases are not for the presence of God; blinded their eyes, that they can neither his justice was shown sufficiently in killing see this privilege of nature, nor the honour them; they are now fit for the grave, not of God's choice. Miriam and Aaron are the sanctuary; neither are they carried out in mutiny against Moses. Who is so holv naked, but in their coats. It was an un- | that sins not? What sin is so unnatural, usual sight for Israel to see a linen ephod that the best can avoid without God? But upon the bier; the judgment was so much what weakness soever may plead for Mithe more remarkable, because they had the riam, who can but grieve to see Aaron at badge of their calling upon their backs. the end of so many sins? Of late I saw
Nothing is either more pleasing unto God, him carving the molten image, and conseor more commodious to men, than that, crating an altar to a false god; now I see when he hath executed judgment, it should him seconding an unkind mutiny against be seen and wondered at; for therefore he his brother: both sins find him accessory; strikes some, that he may warn all.
neither principal. It was not in the power of the legal priesthood to perform, or pro
mise innocency to her ministers. It was neCONTEMPLATION III.- OF AARON AND cessary we should have another high priest, MIRIAM.
which could not be tainted. That King of
righteousness was of another order: he be. The Israelites are stayed seven days in ing without sin, hath fully satisfied for the the station of Hazzeroth, for the punish- sins of men. Whom can it now offend, to