Page images
PDF
EPUB

er use of his wealth, affifts in making many rich; not he who poffeffes a vaft hoard which he knows not how to enjoy; nor he who makes an oftentatious display of riches, merely to infult his poorer neighbour. And he who speaks three words in a known language, to the edification of the hearer, has more real learning than the babbler of ten thoufand, in a language which no one understands.

"3.

“Till he had done speaking," then, "Mofes put a veil on his face;"* fo that the found of his voice might be heard, while the terrifying luftre of his face. was obfcured. But this was not merely an incidental circumstance, arifing out of the occasion, and done away with it; but was defigned, in providence, to be a fymbolical representation of the whole Mofaic difpenfation; which was nothing elfe but the gospel under a veil. That this is not a fanciful conjecture, we appeal to the great apostle of the Gentiles, who has removed the veil, and discovered the hidden glory which lies under it, and thus writes, "Not that we, meaning the apoftles of the Lord Jefus under the New Teftament, "not that we are fufficient of ourfelves to think any thing as of ourselves: but our fufficiency is of God. Who alfo hath made us able minifters of the New Teftament, not of the the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life. But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in ftones, was glorious, fo that the children of Ifrael could not stedfastly behold the face of Mofes, for the glory of his countenance, which glory was to be done away, how fhall not the ministration of the fpirit be rather glorious? For if the miniftration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the miniftration of righteoufnefs exceed in glory. For even that which was made glorious, had no glory in this refpect, by reafon of the glory that excelleth. For if that which is done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious. Seeing

then

*Verse 33.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

then that we have fuch hope, we use great plainness of
fpeech. And not as Mofes, which put a veil over his
face, that the children of Ifrael could not ftedfastly
look to the end of that which is abolished. But their
minds were blinded; for until this day remaineth the
fame veil untaken away, in the reading of the Old
Teftament; which veil is done away in Christ.
But even unto this day when Mofes is read, the veil
is
upon their heart. Nevertheless, when it shall turn
to the Lord, the veil fhall be taken away.

""*

From the days of Mofes down to those of Paul, and by Paul himfelf, in the days of his ignorance, Mofes was heard and read with the veil over his face; was understood in the letter, not in the fpirit; and even after the veil was done away in Chrift, who is "the end of the law for righteoufnefs;" after the types were explained, the predictions accomplished, and the great prophet of the Jews had brought all his glory, and laid it at the feet of the great Apoftle and High Prieft of our profeffion, ftill the people who had the best means of information, who had the power of comparing fpiritual things with fpiritual, read them, and continue to read them to this day, under the power of paffion and prejudice. And he who fees in Mofes, and the other writings of the Old Teftament, nothing but the hiftories of certain events long fince past, and confined in their operation and effect to a particular district; nothing but the religious ufages and ceremonies practised by a particular people, that man looks with a bandage upon his eyes, understands not what he reads, and therefore cannot profit.

There is a gracious intimation in the paffage we have just now quoted, that a period is approaching when Ifrael too fhall turn unto the Lord; when the veil fhall be taken away, and Mofes, in whom they trusted, shall be seen without a covering; and "if the cafting away of them be the reconciling of the VOL. IV.

G

world,

[ocr errors][merged small]

world, what fhall the receiving of them be but life from the dead ?"*

What glorious views of God, of his providence, of his grace, does the gofpel difclofe! The Gentile nations behold their admiffion into the family of God, and their privileges, as his children, in the promises which were made to Abraham and his feed. And the Jews will in time difcover the intention and defign of their political and religious establishment, in the nature, duration and extent of the Redeemer's kingdom: when" Ifrael alfo fhall be faved:" as it is written, "There fhall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and fhall turn away ungodliness from Jacob."

Human frailty rendered the interpofition of a veil neceffary between Mofes and the people; because "they could not look ftedfaftly to the end of that which is abolished;" but when Mofes went into the tabernacle, to converfe with God, a veil to cover his face being unneceffary, it was laid aside.

It is natural to hold out our moft favourable appearance to men, to catch at their good opinion, to fecure their approbation; but we fee in Mofes a mind intent only upon ufefulnefs. He joyfully gives up a little fame, for the fake of doing much good. If the church of God be enlightened, what is it to him that he himself is a little obfcured? His luftre is to illuminate Ifrael. Vain glory always defeats the purpofe which it had formed; humility as certainly gains the point at which it aimed not. Who does not ef teem Mofes, modeftly shrouded in a veil, infinitely more than all the loquacious boafters and exhibitors of themselves that ever exifted? Mofes, in talking with the people, employed a veil, not as a mask to infinuate a falfe idea of what he was not, but to conceal the real excellency which he had; unlike the hypocrify and difguife of the world; and, to ufe difguife with God he knew would be impious, profane and unavailing. We find him changing his appearance, as

the

*Rom. xi. 15.

Rom. xi. 26.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

the occafion required. This was not, in him, versatility and addrefs, a cunning accommodation to circumstances for selfish ends; but the compliance of wisdom and neceffity, in order to be more extenfively ufeful. Thus Paul "became all things to all men, that he might gain fome." And, for the fame reason, a greater than Mofes, a greater than Paul, difdained not the festivity of a marriage folemnity; refused not the invitation of one ruler, nor rejected the vifit of another; abhorred not to eat with publicans and finners, if by any means the ignorant might be instructed, the proud and selfish checked and reproved, the modeft encouraged, and the mourner comforted.

At the firft defcent of Mofes from the mount, we fee the glory of a man zealous for God: at his fecond, the glory of a man owned and honoured of God; "the fkin of his face fhining." But at his appearance many days afterwards on Tabor, we behold a faint, from the world of blifs, altogether glorious. Such is the bleffed effect of being with God and " seeing him as he is," not for forty days only, but during a series of ages. And what must it then be, to "be ever with the Lord," to glorify God, and to be glorified of him "in body and spirit which are the Lord's ?" And why was Mofes again exhibited on the mount of transfiguration? Wherefore again displayed in glory? Again to put a veil upon his face, to empty himself, and to depofit his glory at the feet of Him in whose light and likeness he fhone -To talk with Jefus "concerning the decease he fhould accomplish at Jerufalem."

The Jewish Rabbins pretend to account for the unabated vigour, the unfading luftre of the latter years of the life of Mofes, from thefe very circumftances. The eye, fay they, which had endured the fight of God, could not become dim: the natural ftrength which fupported a faft of forty days, could not fink under any future decay..

G 2

--Chriftian,

-Chriftian, confider Mofes, the man of God, invefted with luftre which dazzled the eye of every beholder, and which length of time could not impair, and reflect, to what a height of glory communion with God can raife a fallen creature; and afpire after a participation of that grace which adorned him. The glory of his perfon was a rare and fingular attainment; but that of his fpirit may be imitated and attained by all. His piety, refignation and obedience; his meeknefs, gentleness and compaffion, prefent amiable patterns, and they are the ornaments fuited to your prefent ftate. It is given but to a favoured few to exhibit heroic virtue, to perform fplendid actions, to acquire extenfive reputation; but none is excluded from the honour of fimple modeft worth, of habitual beneficence, of honeft fame. And thofe are the most valuable and folid acquifitions, which "are in the fight of God of great price."

-Steady and perfevering intercourse with Heaven will infallibly transform the whole man into the image of God. The very exterior will be meliorated and improved, and the world itself will "take knowledge" of the difciple who "has been with Jefus." The exercises of the clofet will be seen and felt in the ferenity of the countenance, the kindness of the eye, the melody of the voice, the affability and gracioufnefs of the whole deportment. "Let your light fo fhine before men, that they may fee your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."*

The time is at hand when the glory which irradi ated the face of Mofes fhall be imparted to the whole company of the redeemed; when the name of God and the Lamb fhall fhine in every forehead. Behold, and wonder, behold, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God, "A woman clothed with the fun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve ftars."t They that be wife, fhall fhine as

66

the

[blocks in formation]
« PreviousContinue »