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History of Mofes.
JOSHUA i. 17.
According as we hearkened unto Mofes in all things, fa will we hearken unto thee: only the Lord thy God be with thee, as he was with Mofes.
JOHN i. 17.
For the law was given by Mofes, but grace and truth came by Jefus Chrift.
IN forming estimates of greatness, it is natural for
men to confult their fenfes, not their reason. With the idea of royal majefty we connect those of a chair of state, a numerous and fplendid retinue, an ermine robe, a fceptre and a crown. But wisdom and goodnefs are the qualities which confer real dignity, and command juft homage and refpect. Our preconceptions of earthly magnificence much exceed the truth, and knowledge speedily levels the fabric which imagination had raifed. 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 luftre. And if the very frame of nature, the vaftnefs, the variety, the harmony and the splendour of the vifible creation be ⚫ calculated to fill us with aftonishment and delight, how muft the plan of Providence, the work of redemption, the great mystery of godliness, excel in glory!
In the difcoveries which it has pleafed God, at fundry times and in divers manners to make of himself to mankind, he has at one time addreffed himself directly to the understanding; at another, made his way to the heart and confcience through the channel of fenfe. 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 roufe the imagination. The kingdom of God, in the gofpel of his "Son, came not with obfervation." The great Author of the difpenfation of grace, according as it was predicted concerning him, "did not ftrive, nor cry, nor caufe his voice to be heard in the ftreets." He had, in the eyes of an undifcerning world, "no form nor comelinefs, no beauty why he should be defired." And therefore" he was defpifed and rejected of men." But we are taught to think very differently of his fecond appearance. "He fhall 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 correfponded with its nature. It was clothed with thunder. It was furrounded with the blacknefs of darkness. It emitted flaming fire. It denounced death. The fpirit of the gofpel, in like manner, breathed in the mode of its publication. The doctrine of peace and reconciliation was delivered to men, in the tendereft accents of human friendship. And temporal mercies and deliverances prepared the way for "fpiritual and heavenly. bleffings in Chrift Jefus."
We are now to bring thefe two difpenfations together, and to compare the one with the other, in order that we may difcover and admire that uniform. ity of defign which they jointly aim at promoting, the mutual luftre which they fhed 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 pofterity of Abraham; the promises which were made to them, the ordinances prefcribed, 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 fwallowed up and loft in the perfon, doctrines, ordinances, life, fufferings and death of Him, who was held up from the beginning as the great, leading, commanding object in the eternal eye; the accomplishment of the promises, the substance of the types and shadows, the end of the law for righteoufnefs to every one that believeth."
Mofes and Chrift frequently speak of their mutual relation and refemblance. "I will raife them up," fays God by Mofes, "a prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth, and he fhall fpeak unto them all that I fhall command him. And it shall come to pass, that whofoever will not hearken unto my words, which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him."* "Search the fcriptures," fays Chrift, "for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. For had ye believed Mofes, ye would have believed me; for he wrote of me. But if ye believe not his writings, how fhall ye believe my words ?"t
The perfons, characters and offices of the two legiflators, therefore, naturally fall to be first confidered, in tracing the resemblance of the two covenants which were established with mankind through their mediation.
Of the birth of Mofes, and falvation to Ifrael by him, there feems to have been a general expectation in his own nation, and an apprehenfion of fuch an event as general in the minds of the Egyptians. Hence the bloody decree of Pharaoh to deftroy from VOL. III. the
Deut, xviii. 18, 19.
† John v. 39, &c.
the womb all the male children of the Hebrews; and hence, on the other hand, that eagerness to fave a child, who, from the moment of its birth, exhibited unequivocal figns of his future greatnefs and ufefulnefs. When Chrift came into the world, multitudes were looking for the Confolation of Ifrael." The prophecies concerning, the promises of the Meffiah, were evidently haftening to fulfil themselves. The Jews expected their king: Herod dreaded a rival. The perfon of the promised Saviour was pointed out by figns in heaven and figns on earth, which it was impoffible to misunderstand. An extraordinary star defcribes an unknown path through the air to the place of his birth. A multitude of the heavenly host proclaim the joyful event to the fhepherds. It was revealed unto Simeon by the Holy Ghoft, "that he fhould not fee death, before he had feen the Lord's Chrift."* Conducted of the Spirit he came into the temple at the moment when Christ was presented there, according to the law. He recognizes the promised of the Lord, and clofes his eyes in peace. Anna the prophetefs, inftructed by the fame Spirit, gives a fimilar teftimony, and speaks of "the holy child to all them that looked for redemption in Jerufalem."+
The circumstances of extreme danger which attended the birth of Mofes and of Christ, and the wonderful means of their prefervation and deliverance, conftitute a ftriking mark of refemblance between them. Behold the long-looked-for deliverer of the Jewish church and nation, ready to perish by the hand of Pharaoh and the great King and Head of the chriftian world threatened by the murdering dagger of the tetrarch of Galilee; while the earth was watered with the blood of their infant brethren. Mofes is faved from deftruction by the daughter of the tyrant who fought his life; he finds an afylum and a school in the house which he was deftined to plague and to
*Luke ii. 26.
+ Luke ii. 38.
humble. And Jefus of Nazareth finds fhelter in Egypt from the fury and jealousy of Herod.
The perfonal beauty and accomplishments of the Ifraelitifh law-giver were probably intended to typify, in an inferior degree, the perfonal 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 bleffed thee forever."*
The wretched state of Ifrael when Mofes was born, and of the world when Chrift came to fave it, are a melancholy and affecting counterpart to each other. The former fubjected to the arbitrary authority of a fanguinary tyrant; the latter, in dreadful captivity to the prince of the power of the air, that "murderer from the beginning;"" that fpirit which ruleth in the children of difobedience."
Their mental qualities prefent a lovely and an inftructive fimilitude. "Now the man Mofes was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth." "Take my yoke upon you and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye fhall find reft unto your fouls." Compaffion for his afflicted brethren, early difcovered the temper, and marked the character of Mofes, the man of God. Sympathy with the miferable, and that sympathy effecting feasonable relief for them, marked the paths of the Son of God through a world of wretchedness. "I have compaffion on the multitude, because they continue now with me three days, and have nothing to eat and I will not fend them away fafting, left they faint by the way." "When he faw the multitudes, he was moved with compaffion on them, because they fainted, and were fcattered abroad as fheep having no fhepherd." Over the grave of Lazarus "Jefus wept." "When he was come near, he beheld the city and wept over it, faying, If thou hadst known,
* Pfalm xlv. 2.
Matt. xi. 29.