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end, which finds a duty for every day, for every hour; which accounts nothing done so long as any thing remains to be done, which cheerfully spends and is spent for the service of God, and the good of mankind. Age is ready to put in its claim, when honor is expected, and advantage to be reaped; and is as ready to plead its exemption when service is required, danger is to be encountered, and hardship undergone. But while Moses discovers the utmost readiness to share with another the emolument and the respect of his office, the trouble and fatigue of it he with equat cheerfulness undertakes and supports to the very last.
In the whole of his temper and conduct, we have an ensample which at once admonishes, reproves and encourages us. May we not, after considering the noble and excellent spirit he discovered through the course and at the close of life, contemplate the probable state of his mind in reviewing the past, and surveying the prospect before him: both affording unspeakable comfort, but neither wholly exempted from pain.
Pleasant it must have been to reflect, 1. On his miraculous preservation in infancy. "To what dangers was I then exposed? Doomed to perish by the sword from my mother's womb. Concealed by fond parents for three months at the peril of their life, as well as my own. Committed at length to the merciless stream, a prey to manifold death....the roaring tide, hunger, the monsters of the river, contending which should destroy me. But I was precious in the sight of God. No plague came nigh me; no evil befel me. The daughter of the tyrant saved me from the rage of the tyrant. The house of Pharaoh became my sanctuary. The munificence of a princess recompensed the offices of maternal tenderness. I knew not then to whom I was indebted for protection, from what source my comforts flowed: let age and consciousness acknowledge with wonder and gratitude the benefits conferred on infant helplessness and infirmity; let my dying breath utter
praise, to him who preserved me from perishing as soon as I began to breathe."
9. May we not suppose the holy man of God, by an easy transition, passing on to meditate on deliverance from still greater danger, danger that threatened his moral life....the snares of a court?" Flattered and caressed as the son of Pharaoh's daughter, brought up in all the learning of the Egyptians, having all the treasures in Egypt at my command, at an age when the passions, which war against the soul, are all afloat.... what risk did I run of forgetting myself, of forgetting my people, of forgetting my God? But the grace of the Most High prevented me. I endured as seeing him who is invisible. I refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter. I was not ashamed to be known for a son of Israel. I went out to see the burdens of my brethren, I had compassion on them, and comforted them; not fearing the wrath of a king, I smote him that did the wrong, and saved the oppressed. I chose rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season. I esteemed the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt. To God I committed myself; and my virtue, my religion, my honor, my inward peace were preserved."
3. What satisfaction must it have yielded Moses in reviewing his life, to reflect on his having been made the honored instrument, in the hand of Providence, for effecting the deliverance of an oppressed people? "I found Israel laboring, groaning, expiring in the furnace. I beheld the tears of them that were oppressed, and they had no comforter; and on the side of their oppressors there was power, but they had no comforter. Their cry reached heaven. He who made them had mercy upon them. He was pleased to choose me out of all the myriads of Israel, to bring them out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. He taught my stammering tongue to speak plainly. He said to
my fearful heart, Be strong. He armed me with his potent rod; and subjected the powers of nature to my command. The oppressor was crushed in his turn, and the oppressed went out free, full and triumphant. And to me, even unto me, it was given to conduct this great, difficult, dangerous, glorious enterprise ; and Heaven crowned it with success.'
4. How pleasing to reflect that the Spirit of God had employed him to communicate so much valuable knowledge to mankind! "To me was this grace given, to trace nature up to its source; to ascend from son to father, up to the general parent of the human race; to rescue from oblivion the ages beyond the flood, and to rescue departed worth from the darkness of the grave. By me these venerable men, though dead, speak and instruct the world. By me the being and perfections, the works and ways, the laws and designs of the great Supreme stand unfolded; the plan and progress of his providence, the system of nature, the dispensation of grace. To my writings shall ages and generations resort for the knowledge of events past, and for the promises and predictions of greater events yet to come. The Spirit of the LORD spake by me, and his word was in my tongue, and the word of the LORD endureth forever.'
5. What delight must it have afforded, in reviewing the past, to revive the memory of communion with God, of exalted intercourse with the Father of spirits! "Blessed retirement from the noise of the world and the strife of tongues; solitude infinitely more delicious than all society! Wilderness of Horeb, school of wisdom, scene of calm and unmixed joy, in thee I learned to commune with my own heart, forgot the sensual, unsatisfying delights of Egypt, observed the glories of nature, contemplated the wonders of providence, enjoyed the visions of the Almighty! Happy days, when I tended the flocks of Jethro, obeyed the dictates of inspiration, and conversed with my heavenly Father,
as a man with his friend! I saw him in flaming yet unconsuming fire, I heard his voice from the midst of the burning bush, my feet stood upon holy ground. And thou, sacred summit of Sinai, where the Most High imparted to me the counsels of his will; supernaturally sustained the feeble, mortal frame; irradiated my soul with the communications of his love, and my countenance with beams of light; how can I forget thee, and the forty hallowed days passed on thee, in converse more sublime than ever before fell to the lot of humanity! To thee, sacred structure, reared according to the pattern shewed me in the mount, to thee I look in rapturous recollection! Thou wert my refuge in the hour of danger. In thee the assurances of divine favor and support, compensated, extinguished the unkindness of man. How often hast thou been to me a heaven upon earth!"
.... But a retrospective view of life must have presented to Moses many objects painful and humiliating; and bitter recollections must have mingled themselves with the sweet. The repeated defections of a stiffnecked and gainsaying people, whom no kindness could melt, no threatenings deter, no promise animate, no calamity subdue: a people who had requited the care of Heaven with reiterated, unprovoked rebellions; and his own labors of love, with hatred, insult and ingratitude. Painful it must have been to think, that he had survived a whole people, endeared to him by every strong, by every tender tie: that he had been gradually dying for forty years together, in a condemned, devoted race, which melted away before his eyes in the wilderness: thatwith his own hand he had stripped Aaron his brother of his pontifical garments, and closed his eyes. Painful to reflect on his own errors and imperfections.... his criminal neglect of God's covenant, which had nearly cost him his life: his sinful delay and reluctance to accept the divine commission appointing him the deliverer of Israel; the hastiness of his spirit in defacing the
work of God, by dashing the tables of the law to the ground, and breaking them in pieces; the impatience of his temper, the unadvisedness of his lips, "the unguardedness of his conduct, at the waters of strife, which drew down displeasure on his head, and irreversibly doomed it to death. This uneasy retrospect would naturally lead to prospects as uneasy and distressing.... The time of his departure is at hand; the body must speedily be dissolved, and the dust return to the earth as it was. Against his admission Canaan is fenced as with a wall of fire, and a distant glimpse must supply the room of possession, and another must finish his work. Besides the natural horror of death, there was mingled in that bitter cup a particular sense of personal offence and fatherly displeasure as inflicting it. Israel too, he foresaw, would after his decease revolt more and more, and call down the judgments of Heaven, and forfeit the promised inheritance....and. this was to him the bitterness of death.
But by what brighter prospects was this gloom relieved, and the darkness of the valley of the shadow of death illuminated! He saw the promise of God hastening to its accomplishment. The "land flowing with milk and honey" was fully in view. The time, the set time was now come; and what powers of nature could prevent the purpose of Heaven from taking ef fect?" O Lord, thou art faithful and true; Do now as thou hast said. Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word, for mine eyes have seen thy salvation. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith. My master is dismissing me from painful service; I shall rest from my labors; I shall receive the crown. I am passing from the imperfect, interrupted communion of an earthly sanctuary, to the pure, exalted, uninterrupted, everlasting communications of the heavenly state. I shall see God as he is. I shall be changed into the same image. I shall be ever with the Lord.