Page images

taught the important lesson," that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord doth man live," that by his simple mandate God can provide the means of sustenance in any emergency, and from any source that he pleases, natural, or supernatural.

In the wilderness they had witnessed the severity of God. He had chastened them, as a father doth his son, to lead them to fear and obey him. In the wilderness, too, they had witnessed the abundant mercy and kindness of God. Notwithstanding the expressions, often, of his terrible displeasure, his forbearance and long-suffering had been great. He fed them with manna, and their raiment waxed not old. He had guided, sustained, and protected them. Their toilsome journeyings are over. Jehovah is about to bring them into the country to which they had been looking forward with earnest expectations. It is a pleasant and fertile country : a land of brooks of water, of fountains and depths that spring out of valleys and hills; a land of wheat, and barley, and vines, and fig-trees, and pomegranates; a land of oil-olive, and honey; a land wherein," says Moses, "thou shalt eat bread without scarceness, thou shalt not lack any thing in it; a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills thou mayest dig brass."

[ocr errors]

Having passed through such trials, and expe

upon them, rienced such deliverances, Moses calls when they shall have entered upon the possession of this rich inheritance, to manifest their deep gratitude to God, by yielding him their cordial obedience. He bids them beware, too, lest in the midst of their overflowing abundance, their heart should be lifted up, and they forget their Deliverer, and bountiful Benefactor, and boasting in their pride, say, My power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth. And, again, he testifies against them should they forget God, and prove disobedient:

As the nations which the Lord destroyeth before your face, so shall ye perish; because ye would not be obedient unto the voice of the Lord your God."

[ocr errors]

As in water face answereth to face; so the heart of man to man." Corrupt human nature is the same in all ages. In prosperity men are prone to exult in their own agency as producing it. Now, as when Moses lived, My power and the might of boastarrogant mine hand hath gotten me this, is the ing of the successful worldling. He is too proud and self-conceited, either to see, or to acknowledge, the over-ruling Providence of God in his affairs. To be sensible of his dependence on the divine goodness, and especially of his utter unworthiness of every favor; to be grateful, and to mingle the tears of penitence with his gratitude; to feel that, in the midst of his abundance, he is deeply respon

sible for the use which he makes of it, and is bound to distribute it freely, as the steward of his Lord; these are sentiments to which the worldly-minded and unrenewed heart is an entire stranger.

How, my young friend, do you feel in prosperity; and especially if what you enjoy appears to be the result of your own efforts? Do you still see the hand of God in it all? Do you glory, not in your own agency in the matter, but in the Lord; and praise his goodness for thus making his strength perfect your weakness? Do you hold your blessings at his disposal, to use them and yourself as he sees best, for the promotion of his cause in the world, the advancement of the Redeemer's kingdom, and the best interests of your fellow-men?



Moses continues his counsels. Promises and threatenings. The prediction of Moses respecting Christ. Gerizim and Ebal.

Moses continues to press additional considerations upon the children of Israel, to lead them to be constant in their obedience to God. When they


shall have obtained possession of Canaan, he cau-
tions them against indulging the sentiment, that, on
account of any goodness of theirs, God had cast
"Not for thy righte-
out the heathen before them.
ousness, or for the uprightness of thine heart, dost
thou go to possess the land: but for the wicked-
ness of these nations the Lord thy God doth drive
them out from before thee, and that he may per
form the word which the Lord sware unto thy fa-
thers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”

No; they must always feel how utterly unworthy they are of the blessings which they receive; and the deepest gratitude must be awakened in their breasts, and constrain them to love and obey God from the consideration of his unmerited goodness.

Moses speaks very plainly to them. He reminds them of their true character. He calls them a stiffnecked people; and bids them remember how they have provoked the Lord to wrath in the wilderness, and been rebellious against him, from the very day of their departure from Egypt, to the time when he is addressing them. He recounts the scenes at Horeb, when the molten calf was made; and the divine indignation was ready to destroy both them and Aaron utterly; and they were spared only in answer to his importunate intercession, through the mere mercy of God.

Such a people, spared, forgiven, and blessed by

their offended Sovereign, while other guilty nations are to be cut off to give them a rich and happy inheritance, O how ought they to love the Being whose grace alone maketh them thus to differ!

And hath God been thus good to them, unworthy as they are, let them not forget to imitate this goodness. Let them treat with compassion and kindness those who need their aid. Jehovah himself protects the fatherless and widow, and loveth the stranger, in giving him food and raiment.

ee Love ye, therefore, the stranger," is the solemn injunction of Moses; "for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt." "Thy fathers went down into Egypt with three score and ten persons; and now the Lord thy God hath made thee as the stars of the heaven for multitude." Among those who are so able to furnish it, let the wanderer and the friendless find a home, the soothing of their sorrows, and the supply of their necessities.

In Egypt, where the Israelites were strangers, God had appeared for their rescue, in his greatness, with his mighty hand and his outstretched arm. Moses recalls this to their recollection,-the judgments which were inflicted upon Pharaoh and his people, and their destruction in the Red Sea. Will not a people thus rescued, show their gratitude by their obedience to their Deliverer?

They are going to a land much more highly favored than that in which they were in bondage,

« PreviousContinue »