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I shall shine in his likeness. I shall be added, united to the assembly of the faithful; to the venerable men of whom I wrote, to Abel the first martyr to the truth, to Enoch, who walked with God, to Noah, the preacher of righteousness, to Abraham, who believed, and was called the friend of God, to Joseph, whose bones are now at length to rest in the land of promise, to Aaron, my brother, by nature, by affection, in offence, in hope. With the natural eye I behold the fertile plains of an earthly Canaan: but by the eye of faith I descry another country, that is an heavenly; watered with the pure river of the water of life, where grow the trees of life, whose leaves are for the healing of the nations where there is no more death. My brethren, I die, but God will surely visit you. There shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and unto him shall the gathering of the people be. The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet, from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him shall ye hearken. In the LORD shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory. In Abraham's seed, shall all the nations of the earth be blessed. Mortality is swallowed up of life; O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? Thanks be to God, who giveth us the victory.'
...." Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his." "Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace."
HISTORY OF MOSES.
And Moses went and spake these words unto all Israel. And he said unto them, I am an hundred and twen ty years old this day: I can no more go out and come in: also the Lord hath said unto me, Thou shalt not go over this Jordan. The Lord thy God, he will go over before thee, and he will destroy these nations from before thee, and thou shalt possess them: and Joshua, he shall go over before thee, as the Lord hath said....DEUT. xxxi. 1...3.
HE last words and the last actions of eminent men are remembered, repeated, recorded with a mournful pleasure. We listen with peculiar attention to those lips, which are to speak to us no more: and the man, and the words, which we neglected, while there was a prospect of their continuing longer with us, we prize, we cleave to, and wish to retain, when they are about to be taken away from us. Indeed we discover the value of nothing, till we are threatened with, or feel the want of it; and we awake to a sense of the happiness which we have possessed, by the bitter reflection that it is gone from us forever.
Farewell addresses serve to rouse both the speaker and the hearers. He is led to weigh well those words which he is to have no future opportunity of altering
or amending. His eyes, his voice, his turn of thought, his expression, all will be influencd by the solemnity of his situation; and what he feels, he will certainly communicate to others. Wherefore is not every address considered in this light: as a last, farewel, dying speech? It may be so in truth; and if it were known to be so, would our attention be so distracted, our spirit so careless; would our language be thus cold, our zeal thus languid? Attend, my dear friends, and fellow mortals. This is, beyond all controversy, to some of us the last opportunity of the kind. The sound of this voice shall never again meet all those ears in one place. It may be forever silenced; each of then may be forever closed; and the ordinary tide of human affairs must certainly scatter, this night, persons who are never more to re-assemble, till that day when the whole human race shall be gathered together in one great multitude.
We are come hither to ponder thy dying words, O Moses, and to gird up our loins, and follow thee.
This whole book may be considered as a series of powerful, pathetic and tender addresses, delivered at different times, within the compass of the last month of his life, by Moses to Israel, in the near and certain prospect of dissolution. Art has attempted to divide it into so many several distinct heads, or branches, forming together a complete body of instruction, wonderfully adapted to the occasion, and powerfully enforced upon the minds of the hearers by the death of their teacher, which immediately followed.
The first great branch, is a succinct and animated historical detail of the conduct of the Divine Providence towards them and their fathers, during the last forty years, commencing with their departure out of Horeb, and containing an account of their successive movements and encampings. A recapitulation of the recent events of their own lives, and of what had befallen their immediate predecessors, was obviously
caleniated to excite emotions suitable to their present condition. A complete generation of men had melt'ed away before their yes under the devine displeasure! Every removal, every encampment was marked by the death of multitudes, who had fallen not by the sword of the enemy, but were cut off by the flaming sword of divine justice, and were not suffered to enter into the land promised to their fathers, "because of unbelief.”
They saw in this at once the mercy and faithfulness, the justice and severity of God. Israel was still preserved, but every single offender had died the death. The covenant made with Abraham and his seed stood firm, though they were threatened with utter extermination in Egypt, and were actually exterminated in the wilderness. The possession of Canaan was made sure to that chosen race, but not one of the murmurers at Kadeshbarnea was permitted to survive the threatened destruction. By an example that came so closely home to the breast and bosom of every man, all were admonished of the absolute security, and infallible success of trusting in God, and of following the leadings of his providence; all were warned of the guilt and danger of disobedience and distrust.
We see in this the reason why so great a proportion of the sacred oracles are delivered in the form of history. A fact makes its way directly to the heart, is easily remembered, and readily applied. It requires depth of understanding and closeness of attention to comprehend a doctrine, and to draw the proper inferences from it; but "the way-faring man, though a fool," can discern the meaning, and feels the force of a plain tale of truth, and the recollection of yesterday becomes a lesson of conduct for to-day.
2dly. This valedictory address of Moses consists of a recapitulation of the laws moral, ceremonial, political and military, which he had already delivered to them in the name of God. On this account the division of the Pentateuch under consideration, has ob
tained the name of Mischna Thora, translated by the Seventy; Deuteronomy, that is, the second law, or a repetition of the law. The men were dead who heard the voice of God speaking these tremendous words from Sinai. The men of the present generation were unborn, or but emerging from childhood, when that diery dispensation was given: but its obligation was eternal and unchangeable. Providence therefore directed it to be rehearsed aloud in the cars of the generation following, by the voice of a dying man, and to be by him left recorded in lasting characters, for the instruction of every future age. What was local and temporary of this dispensation has passed away; what was immutable and universal, remains in all its force and importance; and shall continue, though heaven, and earth were dissolved.
There is one law which Moses, in the prospect of death, presses with peculiar earnestness, as he knew it to be of special importance, and was but too well acquainted with the violent, the almost irresistible propensity of his auditory to infringe it....the law which prohibited and proscribed idolatry, that crime of complex enormity, against which the voice of the Eterna! had uttered so many thunders, and which had brought on Israel so many grievous plagues. Nothing can be more energetical than the expressions he employs to expose the guilt and danger of this offence against God; nothing more dreadful than the judgments which he denounces against those who should contract it themselves, or presume to decoy others into that odious practice. He leaves them destitute of every thing like a pretext for following the nations in this impiety and absurdity, by calling to the recollection of those who were witnesses of the awful scene, and urging upon the consciences of those who were since born, "that there was no manner of similitude on the day that the Lord spake unto you in Horeb, out of the midst of the fire," Deut. xiv. 15, that therefore to