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upon their promised inheritance, should not feel in his heart a strong desire to pass the Jordan with them; and we find, that, undiscouraged by the previous declaration of God, he ventured to approach him once more in prayer, entreating his permission to do so : he entreated it however in vain,- “ Let it suffice thee,” was the Lord's answer ; “speak no more unto me of this matter."* Moses, the meek and pious man, who knew and could practise, as well as Job, the maxim, “Shall we receive good at the hand of the Lord, and shall not we receive evil ?” if indeed it can be esteemed as evil to be called away, at the
of one hundred and twenty years, from the earthly Canaan to the real rest of God-betook himself calmly to what still remained of his commission, by giving a solemn charge of advice and encouragemer
to Joshua, who was ordained to succeed him in his important office, as a leader and commander of the people. His duty was to conduct them into Canaan, to fight at their head against its fierce inhabitants, and when they were overcome, to divide the possession of it in equal proportions among the tribes of Israel. After having fully explained this to him, Moses devoted the remainder of his life to a repetition of all the most important commandments of the law, with the addition of some new ordinances and declarations, amongst which we find a remarkable assurance, that at some future time God would raise
* Deut. iii. 26. Theodoret remarks upon this, that “God teaches us by it, how he requires perfection in his saints, not overlooking in them the sins which he bears with in those who have received less. And Moses was in this the type of the law which was given by him; Joshua, the type of Jesus. As Moses led the people out of Egypt, but Joshua into the promised land; so the law delivers those who obey it from the power of impiety, but the grace of the gospel leads them into the inheritance of the kingdom of heaven."-Quest. on Deuteronomy xxxii.
† Job ii. 10.
up to the children of Israel a prophet, of their brethren, like unto him, to whom it should be their duty to hearken:* an assurance fully made good to the Jewish people by the appearance of Jesus Christ among them; a prophet of their nation, equal in all respects, and in many superior to Moses, and to whom a voice from heaven bare witness, saying, “This is my beloved Son, hear him.”+ And at the time that this was said, namely, at his transfiguration, Moses himself, as if to call attention more strongly to the fulfilment of his prophecy, “appeared in glory, talking with him.". At this time also, Moses, foreseeing that the people would, after a while, adopt so far the customs of the neighbouring nations as to make themselves a king, delivered to them sundry precepts as to the manner in which, when chosen to rule over them, he should conduct himself, especially providing that he should write him out a copy of the law for his own use, that he might read therein all the days of his life: that he might learn to fear the Lord his God, to keep all the words of the law and its statutes, to do them : that his heart might not be lifted up
above his brethren.g You see here that the duty of the king is no other in this respect than the duty of all his subjects : you all have the book of God among you, to read, to hear, and to consider and meditate upon what it tells you for your certain good, and for your everlasting salvation : you have its commandments explained to you that you may do them, its promise held forth to you, that you may turn neither to the right hand nor to the left, from following them unto the end : may it be to you, who believe and love it, the book of life : may you learn from it the things belonging to your peace, and be happy in the know
* Deut. xviii. 15.
+ Luke ix. 35.
ledge and in the practice of righteousness, now and
Moses knew what blessings were in store for the willing and obedient, and he declared them openly for the encouragement of all such : he knew also what curses would fall, even upon the heads of the chosen people, if they obstinately refused to walk in the ways of God's commandments, and these also he declared to them as openly : and in doing this, he entered into several minute and horrible particulars of their future sufferings, which were exactly brought to pass, when after they had rejected and crucified Christ, the Romans came and took away
their place and nation. But though he thus faithfully showed them the dangers they would incur by disobedience, and did not disguise from them the evils which long afterwards they would have to undergo-his last words, nevertheless, were words of blessing : he went through their tribes in order, and addressed a comfortable word of prophecy to each, referring principally to their future situations and conditions in the land of promise, which they would long inhabit, enjoying the blessing, and safe under the protection of their God. Then having gone up into the mountain Nebo or Pisgah, from the top of which he was enabled to see a great portion of the land which he was forbidden to enter, this faithful servant of the Lord died, and was buried in an unknown grave, and was lamented for thirty days by the whole nation of Israel. When their mourning was over, by command of God given to Joshua, now become their leader, they began their march towards the land of Canaan, and soon arrived at the banks of the river Jordan, which was now more full than usual of water, being swollen, as was its wont at the beginning of spring, by the melting of the snow from off the mountains out of which it rises. But He who had divided the Red Sea into two parts, would not allow the progress of his people to be
checked by such an obstacle as this overflowing river presented : as soon as the feet of the priests, who bare the ark of the covenant, were dipped in the margin of the stream, the whole mass of waters, which were coming down, suddenly stopped ; and, as those below continued to flow on, a sufficient space of ground was soon left dry, to admit of the passage of the whole people of Israel—who came across, bringing with them twelve stones taken out of the bed of the river, and afterwards set up by Joshua in Gilgal, as a memorial of that miraculous event. God had now made good the first part of his promise, by bringing them into the land of Canaan: and the wonderful manner in which he had done so, might well fill them with a confident hope that he would fulfil the latter part of it also, and, having driven out their enemies, would give it them as their inheritance. Let us take the present blessings of God, as an earnest of the still better things he has stored up for them that love him ; and gladly let us say,
“ He who has given his own Son for us, shall he not with him freely give us all things ?*
THE PARTITION OF THE LAND.
Israel in safety over the Jordan, than, by command of God, he renewed the observation of two great religious ordinances, which during their wanderings in the wilderness had been disused among
• Rom. viii. 32.
them. These were, the ceremony of circumcision, and the festival of the passover: the first had probably been discontinued in the wilderness in consequence of the uncertainty they were under as to the time of their removals from place to place; and its omission led necessarily to that of the other, for no uncircumcised person was allowed to eat the passover; as in the christian church, those only who have been baptized are admitted to the supper of the Lord. It may at first sight appear strange, that, instead of marching at once against their enemies, and taking advantage of the alarm created by their miraculous passage of the Jordan, the people of Israel should have been thus commanded to remain for several days in a state of inactivity, and during the early part of them in a state of pain and suffering, which, had they been themselves attacked, would ave prevented them from offering resistance. But this, probably, was designed to impress upon them, with still greater force, the assurance, that no harm could happen to them while they were engaged in a faithful fulfilment of the commands of God: for “ when a man's ways please the Lord,” as saith the proverb, “ he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.” * remember this; let us reflect also, that a man's ways then especially please the Lord, when he is occupied in the sincere discharge of his religious duties; and never let us fancy that our worldly affairs can prosper better, if we give up to them the time which ought to be devoted to the worship of our Maker. that honour me,” saith the Lord Almighty, “I will honour.” “ Whoso offereth me thanks and praise, he honoureth me ; and to him that ordereth his conversation aright, will I show the salvation of God.”I
* Prov. xvi. 7.
+ 1 Sam. ii. 30.
# Psalm 1. 23.