Page images

obligation was a very extensive one ; for the law of Moses consisted, as we find, of numberless articles, The chief end of the ceremonial precepts was, as we have before observed, to'prefigure the person

and transactions of the MESSIAH ; of the political precepts, to keep them a separate nation ; and the moral were in general suited to all mankind. This law. was perfectly adapted to the condition of the Israelites ; but it was very burdensome, and gave no certain hopes of eternal happiness. The Christian Covenant is greatly superior to it, as is proved by the writings of the New Testament: in studying of which, we shall find ample cause to be thankful to God for making us partakers of the better Covenant. In the mean time, let us treasure up in our mind the religious and moral injunctions which Moses gave to the Israelites; for they will be found very applicable to Christians, who are become the peculiar people of God.





Prom Deut. Chap.' xxxi. AND Moses went, and spake these words unto all Israel.

And he said unto them, I am an hundred and twenty years old this day ; 1 can no more go out and come in ; also the Lord hath said unto me, Thou shalt not go over this Jordan.

The LORD thy God, he will go over before thee, and he will destroy these nations from before thee, and thou shalt possess them ; and Joshua, he shall go over before thee, as the Lord hath said, Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth


with thee, he will not fail thee nor forsake thee.

And Moses called unto Joshua, and said unto him in the sight of all Israel, Be strong and of a good courage : for thou must go with this people unto the land which the Lord hath sworn unto their fathers to give them; and thou shalt cause them to inherit it.

And the LORD, he it is that doth go before thee, he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee : fear not, neither be dismayed.

And Moses wrote this law, and delivered it unto the . priests, the sons of Levi, which bare the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and unto all the elders of Israel.

And Moses commanded them, saying, At the end of every seven years, in the solemnity of the

year of release, in the feast of tabernacles, when all Israel is comė to appear before the LORD thy God, in the place which he shall choose ; thou shalt read this law before all Israel, in their hearing.

Gather the people together, men, and women, and children, and thy stranger that is within thy gates, that they may hear, and that they may learn and fear the LORD


Gon, and observe to do all the words of this law; and that their children, which have not known any thing, may hear, and learn to fear the Lord your God, as long as ye live in the land whither ye go over Jordan to possess it.

And the LORD said unto Moses, Behold thy days approach that thou must die : call Joshua, and present yourselves in the tabernacle of the congregation, that I may give him a charge. “And Moses and Joshua went, and presented themselves in the tabernacle of the congregation. And the LORD appeared in the tabernacle in a pillar


of a cloud : and the pillar of the cloud stood over the door of the tabernacle.

And the Lord said unto Moses, Behold thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, and this people will rise up, and go after the gods of the strangers of the land whither they go to be amongst them, and will forsake me, and break my covenant which I have made with them : Then my anger shall be kindled against them in that day, and I will forsake them, and I will hide my face from them, and they shall be devoured, and many evils and troubles shall befal them ; so that they will say in that day, Are not these evils come upon us because our God is not amongst us?

And I will surely hide my face in that day, for all the evils which they shall have wrought, in that they are turned-unto other gods. Now therefore write this


and teach it the children of Israel ; put it in their mouths, that this song may be a witness for me against the children of Israel.

For when I shall have brought them into the land, which I sware unto their fathers, that floweth with milk and honey ; and they shall have eaten and filled themselves, and waxen fat ; then will they turn unto other gods, and serve them, and provoke me, and break my covenant. And it shall come

to pass, when many evils and troubles are befallen then, that this song shall testify against them, as a witness; for it shall not be forgotten out of the mouths of their seed; for I know their imagination which they go about, even now before I have brought them iuto the land which I sware,

Moses therefore wrote the song the same 'day, and taught it the children of Israel.



[ocr errors]

And he

Joshua the son of Nun a...

charge, and said, Be strong, and of a good courage : for thou shalt bring the children of Israel into the land which I' sware unto them: and I will be with thee.

And it came to pass when Moses had made an end of writing the words of this law in a book, until they were finished ; that Moses commanded the Levites which bare the ark of the covenant of the LORD, saying, Take this book of the law, and put it in the side of the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, that it, may

be there for a witness against thee.

For I know thy rebellion, and thy stiff neck ; behold, while I am yet alive with you this day, ye have been rebellious against the LORD; and how much more after my death

Gather unto me all the elders of your tribes, and your officers, that I may speak those words in their ears, and call heaven and earth to record against them.

For I know that after my death ye will utterly corrupt yourselves, and turn aside from the way which I have commanded you : and evil will befal you in the latter days; because ye will do evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger through the work of your hands.

And Moses-spake in the ears of all the congregation of Israel the words of the song, until they were ended.

ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS. Moses was extremely anxious for the future welfare of the Israelites ! It was very proper that the law should be written, and that a copy of it should be deposited in the Ark, lest the copies given to the elders should be lost or corrupted, by going through such a number of hands. Once in seven years, the whole law was to be read

publicly publicly before all the inhabitants of the land of Israel ; not an individual was suffered to remain in ignorance of his duty, or of the blessings and curses annexed to the covenant.

That the Israelites might be convinced of the foreknowledge of God, the Lord foretold how they would forsake His covenant, and what would be their sentiments, when they had brought the evil upon themselves which he threatened.

With what calm resignation did Moses receive the tidings of his approaching death! His only care was to give all possible instruction to the people he was going to leave, and to their leader, who was to succeed him. The subsequent behaviour of the Israelites will shew that he was a true prophet.

That they might never want a proper form of devor tion the Lord inspired Moses to compose a song, or poem, and commanded him, after repeating it to the Israelites, to cause them to learn it by heart. In this wás expressed, in a most sublime manner, the many benefits and favours which God had bestowed on His people; their ingratitude and forgetfulness of Him; the punishments with which he had afflicted them, and the commination of greater judgments, if they persisted to provoke Him, by a 'repetition of wickedness..

How dreadful it is to reflect, that, under a more per fect dispensation than the Mosaic, thousands, nay millions, amongst us, have grown up without any religious instruction, and have lived in worse than heathen darkness, in a land, on which the Sun of Righteousness sheds its clearest light ! At length, through the tender mercy of our God, the day spring from on high has visited them, to guide their feet into the way of peace. The children of the poor, who before knew pot any thing, are now taught to fear the LORD their God, and keep



Vol. II.

« PreviousContinue »