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diftinguished by a name which betokened and commemorated their faithfulness, obedience and fubmiffion. Instead of this, the names Maffah and Meribah, must tranfmit to all generations the memory of temptation, chiding and ftrife. Happily the monuments of human frailty, folly and guilt, are alfo the monuments of the divine patience, forbearance and tender mercy. the law had only a fhadow of good things to come.” Where Mofes leaves us, Ifaiah takes us by the hand, and leads us on our way, pointing to Him whom all prophecy revealed, and faying, "Behold a King fhall reign in righteousness, and princes fhall rule in judgment. And a man fhall be as an hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempeft; as rivers of water in a dry place; as the fhadow of a great rock in a weary land."* And the apoftle of the Gentiles conducts our weary wandering fteps from the rock in Horeb to the rock Chrift, from whence iffues the mighty "river, which makes glad the city of our God;" and which affords, not a tranfitory, temporary refreshment, but a perpetual never-failing fupply. Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye fhould be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all paffed through the fea; and were all baptized unto Mofes in the cloud, and in the fea; and did all eat the fame fpiritual meat, and did all drink the fame fpiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual rock which followed them, and that rock. was Chrift." The words of the apoftle infinuate, that the ftream which iffued from the rock in the wildernefs continued to flow, and accompanied their progrefs through the defert during the remainder of their long pilgrimage, till, being arrived at the land of promife, a land watered with the dew of heaven, and the abundance of the rivers, a miraculous fupply being unneceffary, was withdrawn.

Thus was the gospel preached to them of old time. The folid rock became, as it were, moveable; "and followed

* Ifa. xxxii. 1, 2.

† 1 Cor. x. 1, &c.


followed them" wherefoever they went. The adamant was melted into a pool for their refreshment. Bleffed type of Him who in his own perfon accommodated the immutability of the divine nature to the neceflity and the relief of human mifery! Bleffed type of that ftream of blood flowing from the Lamb flain from the foundation of the world, and " which taketh away the fins of the world!" Bleffed type of that "confolation that is in Chrift Jefus" for the weary and heavy laden, for the guilty and the wretched, for the faint and dying! Bleffed type of that precious ftream which has flowed in every age, and is flowing to every nation and people under heaven; and which never leaves the path of the Zion-traveller, till, through the midst of Jordan, he stands on the delightful fhore of the Canaan that is above, where it becomes "a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either fide of the river, there is the tree of life, which bears twelve manner of fruits, and vieldeth her fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. And there fhall be no more curfe: but the throne of God and of the Lamb fhall be in it: and his fervants fhalt ferve him, and they fhall fee his face and his name. fhall be in their foreheads. And there fhall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the fun for the Lord God giveth them light; and they fhall reign forever and ever.'

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In the recapitulation of this wonderful hiftory in the book of Numbers, an interefting and important circunftance is recorded, which in Exodus is fuppreffed; and which we muft here infert, that we may view the event complete in all its parts, and that we may feel it in all its force. The miracle of extracting water from the rock, which proved fo falutary to the people, became fatal to Mofes himfelf. And this he, with his native candour and fimplicity, thus relates;

*Rev. xxii. 1, &c.

lates; "And Mofes took the rod from before the Lord, as he commanded him. And Mofes and Aaron gathered the congregation together before the rock, and he faid unto them, Hear now, ye rebels; muft we fetch you water out of this rock? And Mofes lifted up his hand, and with his rod he fmote the rock twice; and the water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their beafts alfo. And the Lord fpake unto Mofes and Aaron, Becaufe ye believed me not, to fanétify me. in the eyes of the children of Ifrael; therefore ye fhall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them."* For the illuftration and improvement of which, we beg your attention to the following remarks.

Obferve, firft, The credit which is due to the facred writers in general, and to Mofes in particular, for their fidelity and integrity in relating thofe particulars of their temper and conduct which are the object of cenfure and condemnation, as well as thofe which merit applause. Indeed they do both with the fame "fimplicity and godly fincerity." They never appear folicitous to celebrate their own praife, and if glory may redound to God, and edification to men, they honeftly publifh their own fhame. Unlike the generality of mankind, who are perpetually catching at opportunities to introduce their dear felves, that they may be valued and admired: and, with equal anxiety, drawing a veil over their errors and imperfections. But thefe holy men delivered not their teftimony "according to the will of man," nor in the fpirit of the world; but, "fpake as they were moved by the Holy Ghoft." And, with candid judges, this candour of theirs will be deemed no flight argument of their veracity in general, and no flender proof of the credibility of the fcripture history.

Secondly, Remark the mixture of frailty and imperfection which enters into every human character. Mofes himself is not faultlefs. And what is more ob

*Numb. xx. 9, &c.


fervable still, he fails on the fide of his greateft excellency; he is found weak there where he feemed most ftrong. "Now the man Mofes was very meck, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth." Nevertheless, what faith the hiftory? He lofes temper, and fpeaks unadvisedly with his lips; "Hear now, ye rebels; must we fetch you water out of this rock ?"+ He takes glory to himself inftead of afcribing it to God: "Muft we fetch you water?" He prefumptuously exceeds his commiffion. He lifts up his hand and mites the rock twice with his rod, whereas he was commanded only to speak unto it, before the eyes of the people.

Seems it not as if God intended to write vanity and fhame on all the glory of man," that no flefh fhould glory in his prefence?" by fhewing us faithful Abraham miftrufting his God, and feeking refuge in falfehood the patient Job growing peevish, and "curfing his day" the affectionate and zealous Peter bafely denying his Mafter; and the meek and gentle Mofes waxing warm, and in his hafte fpeaking difrefpectfully of God, and unkindly of men. "Be not high minded, but fear." "Let him who thinketh he ftandeth, take heed left he fall." "Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the iffues of life."t "Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth, keep the door of my lips."S

Obferve, thirdly, The delicacy and the danger of affuming a latitude and a liberty in facred things. In what concerns the conduct of human life, and our intercourfe one with another as the citizens of this world, many things must be left to be governed by occafion and difcretion; but, in what relates to the immediate worship of God, and where the mind of the Lord has been clearly made known, to affume and exercise a dispensing power is criminal and hazardous. The tabernacle must be conftructed, to the minuteft pin and loop, according to the pattern deliv

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ered in the mount. If Uzzah presume to put forth his hand to fupport the tottering ark, it is at his peril. A holy and a jealous God will be ferved only by the perfons and in the manner which he himself has appointed; and the intruder into facred offices and employments is ready to be broken in upon in hot difpleasure. Has God faid, " Speak to the rock." Who has the boldness to strike it? Mofes dares to do it; and his rafhnefs forfeits his title to a part and lot in the promised inheritance. Into Canaan he shall never enter, but only fee it at a diftance with his eyes. The offending, chiding, murmuring congregation is pitied, forgiven and relieved. The offending, hafty, presumptuous prophet is punished. "Our God is a confuming fire.""It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. Who can understand his errors? Cleanfe thou me from fecret faults. Keep back thy fervant also from prefumptuous fins, let them not have dominion over me; then fhall I be upright, and I fhall be innocent from the great tranfgreffion."

Remark, in the fourth place, The rafhnefs and folly of man fhall not, cannot render the purpose of God of none effect. A whole people fhall not be permitted. to perish for thirst because the prescribed mode of relief has not been exactly followed. Though the rock be stricken, instead of being spoken unto, it shall not fail to yield the promised fountain of water. Mofes is frail, but God is good. There has prevailed, fince the beginning, a ftrange contention between the folly and perverseness of the fallen apoftate creature, and the wisdom and goodness of the gracious Creator.. And, glory be to God, our evil is overcome of his good. And when all ftruggle and oppofition are at an end, when the will of God fhall finally prevail, "and every high thought fhall be brought into captivity to the will of Chrift," it shall then be found, that "the wrath of man" has all along been "working the righteousness of God;" that the elementary strife VOL. III.



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