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For this Mofes died without remedy, from the confequence of this he could not efcape, though he fought it carefully, and with tears.
The character of Mofes comes near to perfection, but it is not faultlefs; he too, with the guiltieft, ftands in need of pardon and atonement; and when "rightcoufnefs is laid to the line and judgment to the plummet," his life must pay the forfeit. Mofes therefore could not be a faviour to others; had his conduct been perfectly pure, it had been ftill but the rightcoufnefs of a man, it could but have delivered his own foul, it could have merited nothing at the hands of a holy God. In order to conftitute a faviour for the guilty, to unfpotted purity of moral character must be fuperadded divinity of nature, to give efficacy and virtue to fuffering, and value to the fhedding of blood. Thus the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; " and what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God fending his own Son in the likenefs of finful flesh, and for fin, condemned fin in the flesh."* We flee to thee, bleffed Jefus, to cover us in the day of wrath; thy blood cleanfeth from all fin; by the deeds of the law we cannot be juftified, we look for redemption from the curfe, through thy meritorious death and righteousness, " for the forgivenefs of all our fins, according to the riches of thy grace."
But though death was to Mofes a mark of the di-. vine difpleasure, and the punishment of fin; like all the chaftenings of fatherly wifdom, like all the punishments of Heaven, it was in the iffue, and upon the whole, a real benefit, it was unfpeakably great gain: it relieved him of a burthen sometimes ready to prove intolerable, it introduced him to communion with God more intimate and endearing than ever he had hitherto enjoyed; it placed him among the fpirits of juft men made perfect. Mofes died in fight of the promifed land, was permitted to measure it with his
* Rom. viii. 3.
eye, and to judge of its fertility from specimens of its produce; and all that the labours and light of those who are fellow-workers with Mofes can do, is to repeat the promise, to point with the finger and to say, This is the way, walk ye in it." It belongs to another power to fubdue corruption, to divide Jordan, to level the walls of proud Jericho.
We know the offence, we have heard the doom, the reprieve is expired, the warrant of death is figned, the day of execution is come. But the bitterness of death is over already, the fting of death is plucked out, and even the word that condemns and kills the body, is a word of love. A worldly mind cannot difcern the reason why the crofs is the way, why death is in the cup, why the entrance into the kingdom of God is through the thorny road of much tribulation; but the child of God, the difciple of Jefus, has ceased from himself and from his own will and understanding: "He knows whom he has believed," and who has faid, "As many as I love, I rebuke and chaften:" he fees death in the lift of his privileges and poffeffions, and is affured that all fhall work together for his good.
Mofes has fulfilled like a hireling his day, has written, has spoken, has judged, has prayed, has bleffed; the bufinefs of life is ended; he has glorified God on earth, it only remains that he glorify him, by fubmiffion to his fovereign will, in dying. Behold him then folitarily and folemnly advancing to encounter the last enemy: he has paffed through the plain, and again he begins to climb up into the mount to meet God. The eyes of all Ifrael are rivetted to his footsteps. Who, is not ready to cry out, "Would to God I could die for thee." Every step he advances plants a dagger in the heart. The distance begins to render vifion indiftinct, his perfon is diminished to a fpeck, they fondly imagine they see him still, the eyes ftrain for another and another glimpfe, they are fuffufed with tears, they can behold him no more.
he still beholds their goodly tents, he fees all Ifrael collected into one point of view: Jehovah dwelling in the midst of his people, the tabernacle with the pillar of cloud refting upon it: his affection with his fight is concentered on the happy fpot, his whole foul goes out in one general departing bleffing. As he afcends, the prospect expands and brightens to his ravifhed eye. He can trace Jordan from its fource, till it falls into the fea; he wanders with delight from hill to hill, from plain to plain. He fees on this fide Mount Lebanon lofing its lofty head in the clouds; on that, the ocean and the fky meeting together to terminate his view. Beneath his feet, as it were, the city of palm-trees, and the happy fields which the pofterity of Jofeph were deftined to inhabit. The land which Abraham had measured with his foot in the length and in the breadth of it; in which Ifaac and Jacob had fojourned as ftrangers; which God had fenced, and cultivated, and planted, and enriched by the hand of the Canaanite for his beloved people; which the fun irradiated with milder beams, the dew of heaven refreshed with sweeter moisture, and the early and the latter rain fattened in more copious fhowers. "And the Lord faid unto him, This is the land which I fware unto Abraham, unto Ifaac, and unto Jacob, faying, I will give it unto thy feed: I have caused thee to fee it with thine eyes, but thou fhalt not go over thither."*
But what is the glory of this world? It paffeth away. What is the felicity of man, who muft die, and of the son of man, who is a worm? It cometh quickly to a period. The eye which age had not made dim, muft nevertheless be clofed in death at length; the ftrength which a hundred and twenty years had not been able to impair, is in a moment by one touch of the finger of God diffolved; the heart which God and Ifrael had fo long divided, is now wholly occupied with God. In the midft of a vifion
* Deut. xxxiv. 4.
fo divine, Mofes gently falls afleep and he who falls afleep in the bofom of a father, needs be under no anxiety about his awakening. "So Mofes the fervant of the Lord died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the Lord."* Mofes died with Canaan full in view, enjoying every thing but poffeffion; and the utmost that his difpenfation can do, is to afcertain the existence of the heavenly country; to describe its boundaries, nature and fituation; to conduct to its limits, and to put us under the conduct of the great Captain of falvation.
When we fee the prophet of the law fo far from having power to introduce others into their promised reft, that he himself could not enter in because of unbelief; we are admonished to court the protection and affistance of a more potent arm; to cleave to Him, who, by dying, has overcome death, and Him who has the power of death; "who openeth and no man fhutteth, and fhutteth and no man openeth."
But oh, what a blessed transition! from the faireft earthly profpect that eye ever beheld, to the enjoyment of a fairer inheritance, eternal in the heavens; from the tents of Jacob, to the encampment of angels under Michael their prince; from a glory confined and tranfitory, to glory unbounded, unchangeable; from the fymbol of the divine presence, in a pillar of fire and cloud, to his real prefence, where there is "fulness of joy," and where "there are pleasures for evermore ;"t to fee him as he is, and to be tranfformed into the fame image from glory to glory. Behold Abraham, and Ifaac, and Jacob, rufhing from their thrones to welcome to the realms of light the fhepherd of Ifrael, who had led the chofen feed from ftrength to strength, from triumph to triumph, while the voice of the Eternal himfelf proclaims, "Well done, good and faithful fervant, enter into the joy of thy Lord."
But we must defcend from this exceeding high mountain, and inquire after the breathlefs clay of the fervant of the Lord. It is precious in the fight of God; not a particle of it fhall be loft in the grave, and it fhall be raised up at the laft day. In every other instance he leaves the dead to bury their dead; but he charges himself with the body of Mofes, performs himself the rites of fepulture, conveys it by the ministration of angels, from the top of Nebo to a tomb of his own providing, " in a valley in the land of Moab, over against Beth-peor: but no man knoweth of his fepulchre unto this day."*
The reafon commonly affigned for concealing the place where Mofes was interred, was to prevent a fuperftitious use of his tomb and relics, which a people so prone to idolatry might readily have adopted, and with as good a colour of reafon at least as the votaries of any hero, prince or faint that ever was deified, could ever allege for their conduct. The fcripture faith exprefsly, that, at the time this conclufion of the book of Deuteronomy was written, whether by Joshua, his immediate fucceffor, by Samuel, three hundred and fifty years afterwards, or by Ezra, after the diffolution of the monarchy, and the Babylonish captivity, that then the place of Mofes's burial was unknown to any man, and had been fo from the beginning; and yet fuch is the wickedness of imposture on the one hand, and the fondness of credulity on the other, that fo late as the year of our Lord 1655, a pretended difcovery of the spot was made, and attempted to be impofed upon the world.
The outlines of the story are as follows: "Certain fhepherds who were feeding their goats on the mountains of Nebo and Abarim, obferved that some of their charge were in ufe to disappear, and were abfent for feveral days together; and that upon their return to the flock, their hair was perfumed with fomething that fmelled extremely fweet. This excited their curiofity,
*Deut. xxxiv. 6.