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While they keep watch, or nightly rounding walk,
We foolishly imagine the world of spirits to be at a vast distance, whereas in truth we are upon its very confines. We consider its inhabitants as entire strangers to us, whereas they are constansly about our path and our bed, attending our going out and coming in, our lying down and rising up. If our eyes were not held, we should even now behold them joining in and assisting our praises, rejoicing together, when, by the ministry of the word of divine grace, sinners are converted, and saints edified. Little did the three disciples think, when they ascended Mount Tabor, that they were so near to an interview with Moses and Elias. Moses, and Elias, and Christ, are not far from us; it is our folly and infirmity to think ourselves far from them.
When we look back to the latter end of Moses, the man of God, we attend him up to Mount Nebo, and behold him taking from Pisgah a last look and a last farewell of the glory of this world. We see his eyes closing in peace, and breathe a sigh over his tomb, aud bid him a long farewell, and think we have lost him forever. But it is not an everlasting adieu. On Tabor we have found him again, after a lapse of fifteen centuries; we find not only his name, his memory, bis writings, his predictions, his spirit, alive and in force, but his very person, still employed in ministering to the salvation of the Israel of God: and hence we look forwards to the lapse of a few years more, at the expi ration of which we hope to meet him indeed, not armed with that fiery law which condemns and consumes, but a minister and a fellow-partaker of that grace which redeems and saves.
We cannot consider ourselves therefore as having
yet concluded the history of Moses, while that memorable event of it, which is the subject of this evening's reading, remains unconsidered; and as the evangelic page has exhibited him to us alive from the dead, let us devoutly attend to the reason and end of this glorious apparition. It naturally suggests to us the following reflections:
I. That Jehovah is, with undeviating, undiverted, ndivided attention, carrying on the great plan of his providence to full maturity, by every order of beings, 40 every possible state; by those who cheerfully enter into his views, and joyfully submit to his will; and by those who carelessly neglect or proudly oppose it. We have seen him serving himself of this Moses in the court of Pharaoh, in the pastures of Midian, in the wilderness of Smai; as a prophet, as a legislator, as an historian. And, to fit him for a new field of action, behold him shining in a new and glorious form. The grave seems to have surrendered up its trust, heaven has yielded up one of its inhabitants, and Moses is now admitted into a land from which he was once shut out. In this world we have still to deplore faculties wasting, impairing, extinguished; usefuluess interrupted, cut off in the midst, by the stroke of death, the earth impoverished by the premature departure of wisdom and worth. The history of maukind exhibits projects blasted, schemes abortive, instruments feeble and inadequate, concussions violent, revolutions sudden and unexpected; but far different the view which the scriptures represent of the kingdom of God. In it, one generation passeth not away that another may succeed, but there is an eternal accumulation of citizens, eternally increasing in wisdom, goodness and felicity; faculties ever improving, projects advancing in full certainty of success, means fitted to their end, and the one great scheme of the Eternal Mind proceeding in steady, uuiform majesty, to its final consummation. Pleasing. awful thought!" the counsel of the Lord standeth
forever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations,' Psalm xxxiii. 11.
II. We observe, from this history, The benevolent interest which celestial beings take in the affairs of men. They are no unconcerned spectators of what passes here below. They who have been raised from earth to heaven, have not lost all recollection of the world they have left, nor dropt all concern about their brethren in the flesh. Moses and Ehas with joy revisit an inferior region, if thereby they can be instrumental in promoting the work of redemption; and exchange, for a season, the society of angels, and the delights of the paradise of God, for the company of sim ple fishermen, and a barren mountain's top, that we might have strong consolation in contemplating" the sufferings of Christ," and the glory that preceded and followed. O what an exalted, what a generous spirit does true religion breathe and inspire! It makes angels ministering spirits to them who are the heirs of salvation;" it brings departed saints back to earth again; it converts Tabor into Heaven, and determines the choice of an apostle, when in a strait betwixt two, and to prefer abiding in the flesh, because more needful to his fellow-creatures, to the selfish joy, though far better, of departing and being with Christ. But Moses and Elias and Paul were themselves men, bone of our bone, and flesh of our flesh, were instructed by sympathy to commiserate, and prompted by affection to relieve, human wretchedness. Behold an infinitely greater miracle of generous, disinterested love; "God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeta in him should uot perish, but have everlasting life," John iii 16. Jesus" loved us, and washed us from our sius in his own blood, and ha-u made us kings and priests unto God and his Father, to bim be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amer, Rev 1, 5, 6, Verily he took not on him the nature of angels, but he took on him the seed of Abraham," VOL. III.
Heb. ii. 16. "As children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and deliver them who through tear of death, were all their life-time subject to bondage," Heb. ii. 14, 15.
III. The history before us suggests, The sweet harmony, the perfect intelligence which subsist between glorified spirits. Moses and Elias, as they cooperated in the same design, though at different periods upon earth, much more concur in sentiment, in exertion, now they see more clearly and comprehend more fully the intentions of a wise and gracious Providence. Through ignorance, through pride, through jealousy, through malice, imperfect men on earth will differ, will have and oppose each other; but in celestial bosoms the dark, malignant, unsocial passions find no place in them there ever prevails unity of intelligence, unity of design, unity in operation, unity of affection. Prompted by the same motive, aiming at the same end, Gabriel, a multitude of the heavenly host, Moses and Elas...angels single, and in bands, announce to the world, the advent of the Saviour, celebrate his birth, witness his transfiguration, relieve his agony, record his death, declare his resurrection from the dead, grace his ascent to heaven, proclaim his second coming. And O what must be that barmony and joy! the harmony and joy of heaven, where angels and archangels, the cherubim and the seraphim, patriarchs, prophets, and apostles, and the whole multitude of the redeemed, animated by one spirit, adore the same object, rejoice in the same grace wherein they stand, and join in the same triumphant song!
Connect with this, the idea of the quick and perfect intelligence which subsists between the children of this kingdom. The happiness of heaven is a social, not a solitary joy. But how can the poverty of our ima
gination, the coldness of our affections, conceive the intimacy of intercourse, the promptness of communication, the sympathy of feeling, in pure spirits wholly disposed to love, and free from all desire or design to disguise, to deceive, to conceal !
"Where friendship full exerts her softest pow'r, Perfect esteem enliven'd by desire
Ineffable, and sympathy of soul,
Thought meeting thought, and will preventing will, With boundless confidence."
With what promptitude and intelligence celestial beings converse, say, ye gentle spirits, who know what it is to soothe and relieve the lazy lingering hours of absence by the friendly aid of letters; ye whom the murmur of a sigh, or the tone of a single word can instantly instruct; ye, whose hearts the pressure of a finger can awake to rapture; ye, whose kindred, congenial souls the slightest glance of the impassioned eye, can, in a moment, quick as the lightning's flash, penetrate, kindle, inform, assimilate ;...
66 Ye whom the sudden tear
But the purest human affection is ever dashed with doubt, with apprehension, with suspicion; its communications are liable to be retarded by dulness, prevented by accident, or checked and blasted by a malignant eye, and therefore can at best convey but an imperfect idea of that " perfect love which casteth out fear," of that divine sympathy which speeds the holy intercourse from soul to soul, of that mutual understanding which needs not the medium of sense to convey it.