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cape if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven ; whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven. And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably, with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire."*
HISTORY OF MOSES.
JOSHUA I. 17.
According as we hearkened unto Moses in all things, so will we hearken unto thee: only the Lord
thy God be with thee, as he was with Moses.
JOHN I. 17.
For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. In forming estimates of greatness, it is natural for men to consult their senses, not their reason. With the idea of royal majesty we connect those of a chair of state, a numerous and splendid retinue, an ermine robe, a sceptre and a crown. But wisdom and goodness are the qualities which confer real dignity, and command just homage and respect. Our preconceptions of earthly magnificence much exceed the truth, and knowledge speedily levels the fabric which imagination had raised.
But the wonders of nature, the mighty works of God, grow upon us as we contemplate them.
No intimacy of acquaintance reduces their magnitude or tarnishes their lustre. And if the very frame of nature, the vastness, the variety, the harmony and the splendour of the visible creation be calculated to fill us with astonishment and delight, how must the plan of Providence, the work of redemption, the great mystery of godliness, excel in glory!
In the discoveries which it has pleased God, at sundry times and in diverse manners to make of himself to mankind, he has at one time addressed himself directly to the understanding : at another, made his way to the heart and conscience through the channel of sense. The law was given in every circumstance of external pomp; it was accompanied with every thing that could dazzle the eye, fill the ear, and rouse the imagination. The kingdom of God, in the gospel of his "Son, came not with observation." The great Author of the dispensation of grace, according as it was predicted concerning him, " did not strive nor cry, nor cause his voice to be heard in the streets."
He had, in the eyes of an undiscerning world, “no form nor comeliness, no beauty why he should be desired.” And therefore “ he was despised and rejected of
* Heb. xii, 18, &c.
men.' But we are taught to think very differently of his second appearance. " He shall come in the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory:" " In his Father's glory, and all his holy angels :" “ With the voice of the archangel, and the trump of God."
The manner of delivering the law corresponded with its nature. clothed with thunder. It was surrounded with the blackness of darkness. It emitted flaming fire. It denounced death. The spirit of the gospel, in like manner, breathed in the mode of its publication. The doctrine of peace and reconciliation was delivered to men, in the tenderest accents of human friendship. And temporal mercies and deliverances prepared the way for “ spiritual and heavenly blessings in Christ Jesus."
We are now to bring these two dispensations together, and to compare the one with the other, in order that we may discover and admire that uniformity of design which they jointly aim at promoting, the mutual lustre which they shed upon, and the mutual aid which they lend to, each other.
By the law” we understand the whole of that scheme of the divine providence which related to the posterity of Abraham; the promises which were made to them, the ordinances prescribed, the character which they bear, the events which befel them, from the day in which that patriarch left his kindred and country, till the day when the whole was swallowed up and lost in the persons, doctrines, ordinances, life, sufferings and death of Him, who was held up from the beginning as the great, leading, conimanding object in the eternal eye! the accomplishment of the promises, the substance of the types and shadows, the “ end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth."
Moses and Christ frequently speak of their mutual relation and resemblance. “I will raise them up," says God by Moses, “a prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words, which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him."'* “ Search the scriptures," says Christ, “ for in them
ye have eternal life : and they are they which testify of me. For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me : for he wrote of me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words ?”+
The persons, characters and offices of the two legislators, therefore, naturally fall to be first considered, in tracing the resemblance of the two covenants which were established with mankind through their mediation.
Of the birth of Moses, and salvation to Israel by him, there seems to have been a general expectation in his own nation, and an apprehension of such an event as general in the minds of the Egyptians. Hence the bloody decree of Pharaoh to destroy from the womb all the male children of the Hebrews; and hence, on the other hand, that eagerness to save a child, who, from the moment of its birth, exhibited unequivocal signs of his future greatness and usefulness. When Christ came into the world, multitudes were looking for the “Consolation of Israel." The prophecies concerning the promises of the Messiah, were evidently hastening to fulfil themselves. The Jews expected their king: Herod dreaded a rival. The person of the promised Saviour was pointed out by signs in heaven, and signs on earth, which it was impossible to misunderstand. An extraordinary star describes an unknown path through the air to the place of his birth. A multitude of the heavenly host proclaim the joyful event to the shepherds. It was revealed unto Simeon by the Holy Ghost, “ that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord's Christ.”I Conducted of the Spirit he came into the temple at the moment
* Deut. xviii. 18, 19.
† Johu v. 39, &e.
Luke ij. 26.
when Christ was presented there, according to the law. He recognizes the promised of the Lord, and closes his eyes in peace. Anna, the prophetess, instructed by the same Spirit, gives a similar testimony, and speaks of " the holy child to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem."'*
The circumstances of extreme danger which attended the birth of Moses and of Christ, and the wonderful means of their preservation and deliverance, constitute a striking mark of resemblance between them. Behold the longlooked-for deliverer of the Jewish church and nation, ready to perish by the hand of Pharaoh: and the great King and Head of the christian world, threatened by the murdering dagger of the tetrarch of Galilee ; while the earth was watered with the blood of their infant brethren. Moses is saved from destruction by the daughter of the tyrant who sought his life; he finds an asylum and a school in the house which he was destined to plague and to humble. And Jesus of Nazareth finds shelter in Egypt from the fury and jealousy of IIerod.
The personal beauty and accomplishments of the Israelitish lawgiver were probably intended to typify, in an inferiour degree, the personal glory and excellency of Him, concerning whom the prophet thus writes, “ Thou art fairer than the children of men; grace is poured into thy lips: therefore God hath blessed thee forever.”+
The wretched state of Israel when Moses was born, and of the world when Christ came to save it, are a melancholy and affecting counterpart to each other. The former, subjected to the arbitrary authority of a sanguinary tyrant; the latter, in dreadful captivity to the prince of the power of the air, that “murderer from the beginning ;" “ that spirit which ruleth in the children of disobedience."
Their mental qualities present a lovely and an instructive similitude. “Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.” I “ Take my yoke upon you and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls.”S Compassion for his afflicted brethren, early discovered the temper, and marked the character of Moses, the man of God. Sympathy with the miserable, and that sympathy effecting seasonable relief for them, marked the paths of the Son of God through a world of wretchedness. “ I have compassion on the multitude, because they continue now with me three days, and have nothing to eat : And I will not send them away fasting, lest they faint by the way.”'ll 6. When he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad as sheep having no shepherd."| Over the grave of Lazarus “Jesus wept." “ When he was come near, he beheld the city and wept over it, saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from
The offices which Moses and Christ were called of Providence to execute, present us with points of likeness which it is impossible not to see, and equally impossible to mistake. "And there arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face ; in all the signs and wonders which the Lord sent him to do in the land of Egypt, to Pharaoh and to all his servants, and to all his land : and in all that mighty hand, and in all that great terror, which Moses shewed in the sight of all Israel.”+t “No man hath scen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.”}Moses was king in Jeshurun, and conducted the thousands of Israel through many difficulties and dangers to their destined * Luke ïi. 38. * Psalm xlv. 2. Numb, xii. 3.
Matt. xi. 29. | Matt. xv. 32.
** Luke xix. 41, 42. ft Deut. xxxiv. 10, &c. # John i. 18.
habitation ; Jesus, God's “ anointed King over his holy hill of Zion," brings his “many" spiritual “sons unto glory.'
To constitute one deliverer for Israel, Moses and Aaron must unite their talents, must combine their force, must conjoin their offices: the prophet must cooperate with the priest; two distinct persons carry on one design; but, in the Saviour of the world, all talents, all virtues, all offices meet and centre : the prophetic inspiration of Moses, Aaron's pleasantness and grace of speech; the regal dignity of the one, the sacerdotal purity of the other. In order to put Israel in possession of the promised land, Joshua must succeed to Moses, and happily finish what his master has so successfully begun. But the great Captain of salvation needs no coadjutor, can have no successor : gives grace and glory;" He leads his redeemed through the wilderness, introduces them into Canaan, maintains them in quiet and everlasting possession.
Other lines of resemblance will appear as we prosecute the history, and shall not therefore be anticipated. But we must not dismiss the subject without pointing out wherein the likeness fails, and how much the type falls short of the object which it represents.
The wonders performed by Moses in Egypt, were wrought by a power delegated to, and conferred upon him for the purpose. The miracles of Christ were produced by a power original and inherent. Moses, though the mcekest of all men, was betrayed into rashness, lost temper, and “ spake unadvisedly with his lips." But in Jesus behold a spirit which was never ruffled, a tongue in which guile was never found ; lips that never offended ; a mind which no insult could disturb, no unkindness provoke ; nor even the horrid pangs of an unmerited death rouse to resentment. “Holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus ; who was faithful to him that appointed him, as also Moses was faithful in all his house. For this man was counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as he who hath builded the house hath more honour than the house. For every house is builded by some man; but he that built all things is God. And Moses verily was faithful in all his house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after ; but Christ as a Son over his own house ; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence, and the rejoicing of hope firm unto the end."*
Moses died and was buried. Jesus died and was buried, and rose again.' Moses received the law; Christ gave it. Moses and Elias attend the Saviour on mount Tabor, as his ministering servants ; Jesus receives their attendance and homage, as their Lord.
Having spoken of the resemblance between the authors of the two dispensations, we proceed, as was proposed, to speak in the same view of the two dispensations themselves.
And first, They rest on one and the same authority, are dictated by the same unerring wisdom, and are directed to the same great and glorious end. Indeed, one of the great proofs that both are of God is the conformity of both to the nature and condition of man. The precepts of the law are not novel constitutions, which had no existence till the days of Moses : neither are the consolations of the gospel new discoveries of grace, unheard of till the four thousandth year of the world. Sinai thundered and lightened in Adam's conscience the moment he tasted the forbidden tree, and drove him to seek refuge " from the presence of the Lord God amidst the trees of the garden.'
The terrors of the law raged in Cain's guilty breast, long before there was any record written on brass or stone. And the promises of pardon and salvation are coeval with the conviction of the first offender, and the denunciation of his
* Heb. iii, 1, &c.
punishment. The tongue which pronounced on man the doom of death, proclaims the glad tidings of life and recovery.
I know that the law is of God, for I have that within me which acknowledges and approves its rectitude and excellency; and even when it condemns me, I am constrained to call it “
holy, just and good.” I know that the gospel is of God, for I feel that within me which welcomes its approach, discerns its suitableness, rejoices in its fulness, rests upon its truth. It is of God, for it descends to the level of my guilt and misery, corresponds with my hopes, suits my necessities.
Our blessed Lord took an early opportunity of explaining himself on this subject. An absurd idea prevailed, that the kingdom of the Messiah was to be a total subversion of the Mosaic dispensation. An absurdity into which some christians have inadvertently given, for want of making a plain and necessary distinction, between those particulars of the law which are in their own nature eternal and unchangeable, like the nature of that God who is its author ; and those, which being typical and prophetical, ceased of course when the predicted event arrived, and the type, having fulfilled its design, was lost in the thing typified; and those which, being temporary and transitory, ceased with the occasion of them. Of the first sort are the precepts of the decalogue, or the ten commandments; which, under every constitution that affects such a being as man, must be immutable and everlasting. Of them it is that Christ said, “ Think not that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets : I am not come to destroy but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled."* Of the second class are the laws of the daily sacrifice, the great annual feasts, the levitical priesthood, and the like. They pointed out Christ the Lord, they led to him, they were lost in him. And in the third rank we place the law of circumcision, the political economy of the Jewish nation, all that related to the possession of Canaan, and which ceased of course with the dissolution of their government, and the loss of their national importance. These observations being attended to and kept in mind, will prevent the confusion arising from the ambiguous acceptation of the word * law,” as expressing the Old Testament dispensation.
The law, then, and the gospel, the two tables of stone delivered to Moses, and the "grace and truth which came by Jesus Christ," coincide, secondly, in this, that they both point out with equal clearness and force the necessity of a Saviour. Every word pronounced by the voice of God from Sinai, is in truth a sentence of condemnation While it enjoins future obedience, it fixes past guilt. While it says, “ Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or the likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or in the earth beneath,” it accuses of idolatry. While it recommends the observance of the sabbath, it charges home the violation of it; and so of the rest of the precepts of the decalogue.
The law, therefore, carried the gospel in its bosom, as the new changed moon exhibits a great body of obscurity, embraced by a small semicircle of light; but which is to be irradiated by degrees, till the whole becomes one great globe of light and glory; and Moses performs the part of “a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ."
To hear of a constitution by which I might have lived, after my life is forfeited, is only to embitter my misery. It is like hearing of a cordial after a man has swallowed poison. Now, it could never be the design of the gracious Lawgiver to insult human misery, by holding out a system which could avail the guilty nothing. While, then, the divine justice lays down the law in all