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it is always that which is most suitable to the necessity of the time.
It was a most glorious heaven of prophecy which, star after star, shone forth over Moses and his times. If you desire to know why the prophet wished so ardently that Jehovah should not merely give him an angel for a guide, but one far higher, even the Son of his love; it seems to me that, with tolerable certainty, I can explain it. Moses had already several times be held this Son; not merely in the mirror of prophecy and allegorical representation, but in an actual and bodily appearance: only once, however, did he behold him in a form and beauty which could for ever refresh his thirsty soul. What a moment was that, when on Mount Horeb, after he had purified the people and every thing in the camp by the blood of sacrifice, he ascended the hill of God with Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, and the seventy elders! Then appeared to them the God of Israel as the Son of Man, beautiful and glori ous; a heaven of mercy beaming from his countenance, and his whole appearance full of grace and truth. Under his feet were neither fiery vapours nor thunder-clouds, but a pavement of glittering sapphire, -no terrific lightnings, but all bright and joyful, “like the body of heaven in his clearness." What happiness now flowed through the hearts of Moses and his companions; and what emotions of delight did those enraptured ones experience! Here they beheld the face of God, with every thing away that could inspire terror! Here beamed forth nothing but mercy! Here smiled only benevolence and love! Well might Moses
now think in his heart, "Under thy feet the heaven of our lives is blue and clear!" For never before had his soul felt so free and joyous, and so far raised above all oppression and fear. The approach to His splendour injured them not, but only spread around them a paradise of the gentlest peace and the deepest Sabbathstillness. And after they had beheld this benignant Jehovah, this God of benevolence and love, they fasted not, nor sat trembling in sackcloth and ashes; but they ate and drank, and were joyful, as on a solemn feastday.
These blessed moments were, without doubt, with the exception of those which we are to contemplate to-day, the most new-testament-like in the whole life of Moses. Never more was the image of this divine Friend and Saviour to be effaced from his memory; and if I mistake not, it was this glorious One, this Calmer of the storm, and Messenger of peace, who now hovered to-day before his soul, and whom he desired in his inmost heart should become his leader and his guide. His whole prayer refers to him; and although he does not expressly state it, it is his guidance he prays for, and that of no other. "If I have found grace in thy sight," he says, "show me now thy way.' Tell me how and by whom thou wilt guide us; not by an angel, O Lord! but give us another leader, "that I may know thee," and experience that thou art my God, and "that I and thy people have found grace in thy sight;" (or in other words that the grace which thou hast promised me may actually be realized,')" and consider that this nation is thy people."
III. Moses made a candid and a bold request; for the remembrance of the glorious image of the Mediator whom he had beheld on Mount Horeb, inspired him; and the former promise now recurred to him in all its freshness, "I know thee by name, and thou hast also found grace in my sight;" encouraging him to form the highest hopes. No longer does he say, "I exceedingly fear and quake;" but, exalted far above the thunders of Mount Sinai, he hangs with child-like confidence around the neck of Eternal Majesty; and appears here in such a new-testament and gospel light, that we might suppose he had already sat at the feet of Paul, and that the epistles to the Romans, Galatians, and Hebrews, had already become part of his being. Jehovah understands his servant, and marks well all that is passing through his mind. Will he cast from him this very ardent petitioner, and will he put to shame this child-like confidence? Never, my brethren' Moses' prayer is accepted, and he only hears in the answer of God the echo of his boldest wish.
66 My presence shall go with thee," says the Lord, "and I will give thee rest!" What more could Moses desire?"My presence !"-Deeply expressive words! What then is this presence? That of an angel messenger? No. Certainly an angel also was to accompany the people; but only as a ministering spirit, and as the attendant of his general; for another had been appointed to lead the host. Is then the " 'presence" that of the Eternal Father himself? Still we are wrong, my brethren; for the words "I will not go up with you" may be inferred from the context. The
"presence" is that of Him who is the brightness of his Father's glory, and the express image of his person-who in later times said of himself, " He that hath seen me, hath seen the Father ;" and of whom the apostle testifies (2 Cor.) that in his face is the knowledge of the glory of God. It is Christ, the Eternal Word, the First-born of every creature; in whom, as the invisible soul is expressed in the countenance of of man, the Eternal Godhead, the inexplicable and distant, becomes near, manifest, and visible; and being seen by human eyes, can be comprehended by the little heart of the worm of the dust.
"My presence?" Wonderful and mysterious expression!-unfathomable to the comprehension as the deep sea; yet sweet to faith as a spring from heaven! The love of our heavenly Father beams out upon us as often as we look into the eyes of Jesus. When Jesus steps towards us with friendly greetings, it is as much as to say, "Lo, here is your God!" And the smile of grace and mercy round his lips, is but the bright reflection of that love with which the Majesty on high encircles us! The Son of Mary is indeed the "presence" of the Father-the living image of the Invisible-and the Manifester in his own person of that which was concealed in the holy of holies. Blessed thought, that it is enough for us if Jesus be our friend, for his favour includes that of the entire Godhead!
The Lord said that his presence should lead the children of Israel to rest; and the prophet found the key to this expression in his own experience; for the manifestation on Mount Horeb had made clear to him
and his friends, in what sense the Son of God should bring rest. It was only necessary that He, the allglorious One, should appear, in order that a Sabbath might dawn, such as their hearts had never before experienced, and that a peace might breathe around them, of which they had previously no conception. No more did they feel within them a consciousness of sin, nor any emotion of timidity or shame. The soul became expanded and clear as the firmament—the heart uplifted by child-like confidence-the feet as if winged to the service of God-the air which surrounded them seemed imbued with the love of Jehovah, and each step which they took was a step over the fields of a new paradise.
IV. Moses' joy at the Divine acceptance of his prayer is unbounded. Listen to his words: how bold and confiding they become! "If thy presence go not with me," he says, carry us not up hence. For wherein shall it be known that I and thy people have found grace in thy sight? Is it not in that thou goest with us? So shall we be separated, I and thy people, from all the people that are upon the face of the earth.”
What boldness there is in the latter sentence ! "I and thy people to be separated from all the people that are upon the face of the earth!" But does it not sound vain and presumptuous? Does it not seem at first sight to overstep the bounds of modesty, and to offend the dignity of the house of God? Yet if we felt the same zeal for the honour of Jehovah as glowed in the soul of Moses, we should no longer be surprised by his bold words, for we ourselves should use the same lofty