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Moses is directed to proceed from Sinai. He descends. The tabernacle of the congregation. God's accompanying presence promised.

Before leaving the mount, Moses received a command from God, or perhaps rather a permission, to depart from Sinai, and proceed with the Israelites on their way to the promised land. He was told that Jehovah would send an angel before him, and drive out the heathen; but that he himself would not go up, (as he had before done,) by his peculiar presence and visible manifestation of glory, in the midst of them. The reason given for this, was, lest he should consume them in the way, they being so obstinate and rebellious.


Moses was also directed to say to them; are a stiff-necked people: I will come up into the midst of thee in a moment, and consume thee; therefore now put off thy ornaments from thee, that I may know," or, (as it might better be rendered,) make known, "what to do unto thee."

This putting off their ornaments, and perhaps, also, their upper, more beautiful garments, was emblematical of internal mourning for their sins. At time, God would notice the state of their

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hearts, of which the external expression of sorrow ought to be the true indication, and thus let it be seen whether his threatening should be removed, on their penitence, or, if they felt none, carried into execution.


Moses once more appeared before the Israelites, and made known to them the divine declarations. When they heard the "evil tidings," they mourned, and stripped themselves of their ornaments. what extent their sorrow was that of sincere repentance, we cannot tell. Doubtless there were those among them who were truly humbled before God on account of their own sins, and those of the people; and, in consequence of this, his forbearance may have again been exercised towards them.

Before the building of the tabernacle concerning which Moses received directions on the mount, there was one stationed within the camp of the Israelites, and used for some religious purpose. Moses took this, and pitched it afar off, without the camp; probably as another token of the divine displeasure against the sin of idolatry, it being inconsistent with the sacredness of a habitation of the Most High, to remain in a place polluted by such an offence.

He called it "the tabernacle of the congrega tion ;" and it seems that the peopie had resorted to it when they wished for any particular direction, or decision, from the Lord.


Moses soon had occasion to visit this sacred tent, probably to procure a divine response concerning some question of moment in which there was felt a peculiar interest. He went out of the camp for this purpose, while the people, standing at the doors of their tents, looked after him, anxious to know the result. As he entered into the tabernacle, the cloudy pillar descended and stood at the door; and the people beholding this wonderful spectacle, rose up and worshipped, every man at his tent door!

How striking this visible manifestation of the favor of God towards his faithful servant! What a sublime and incontrovertible proof, thus miraculously given, that the Israelites were to look for intercourse with Jehovah, and receive the divine mandates, through Moses the mediator!

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We are told; "the Lord spake unto Moses," at this time, face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend ;"—that is, not under any similitude of a person, but in an articulate voice, near by, and familiarly.

Moses then returned to the camp, while Joshua, the son of Nun, remained in the tabernacle, minisering there in certain duties which it devolved upon him to perform.

The people having been informed of what it was necessary for them to know of the late divine communications, Moses went back again to the taber

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nacle, to inquire still further of the Lord. He was exceedingly anxious to ascertain whom God would send, to direct him in conducting the Israelites to the promised land. He had been told, indeed, that an angel should go before him, but he wished to understand more particularly his character, and mode of acting; and he ventured to solicit this information, since he had received the assurance of enjoying the peculiar friendship of Jehovah, and of having found grace in his sight.

Now therefore, I pray thee, if I have found grace in thy sight, show me now thy way," (the manner in which thou dost purpose to lead us on our journey,)" that I may know thee, that I may find grace in thy sight and consider that this nation is thy people."


shall with thee," was the unexgo My presence pected reply. How full of encouragement to Moses, and of a joyful confidence in the Almighty! His intercession for those whom God had once called his own people, had prevailed The fearful threatening was withdrawn. The cloudy pillar, and visible manifestations of the divine glory and presence, would still accompany them.

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My presence shall

go with thee, and I will give thee rest;"-rest, by making thee victorious over all thy enemies,—and rest, at length, to the Israelitish nation in the promised land.

"If the presence go not with me," was the de


vout reply of Moses, "carry us not up hence. For wherein shall it be known here that I and thy people have found grace in thy sight? is it not in that thou goest with us? so shall we be separated,” or, as it is in the original, marvellously or gloriously separated, "I and thy people, from all the people that are upon the face of all the earth."

After being assured that this should indeed be done, Moses had one more request to make of a very extraordinary kind. In presenting it, he probably desired the confirmation of his hopes by a miraculous vision of the Divine presence, as the evidence that it had, again, actually taken up its abode with him and the people, and would accompany them on their way.

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'I beseech thee," said he, "show me thy glory.”

I will make all my goodness pass before thee," was the condescending reply of Jehovah," and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before thee, and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will show mercy on whom I will show mercy." To this it was added, "Thou canst not see my for there shall no man see me and live.--Behold, face: there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock. And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a cleft of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by. And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen."

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