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both lifts, Caleb the fon of Jephunneh, and Joshua the fon of Nun, for Mofes himself was under fentence of condemnation; he was not to be permitted to pass over Jordan; he was already numbered with the dead.
The course of nature, it is true, is continually producing a fimilar effect on the human race, upon the whole; but there is a degree of exactnefs in this inftance, not to be accounted for on common principles, and which must be refolved into a special interpofition of Providence, which had pronounced the doom of death on the whole body of offenders, in the moment of tranfgreffion, and at the fame inftant, promised the reward of fidelity and obedience to thofe illuftrious two; longevity and the poffeffion of Canaan. Vain therefore is the hope of fo much as one guilty perfon efcaping in a crowd, groundless the fear of fingular goodness fuffering in the midst of many wicked.
It is related of Xerxes, king of Perfia, much to the honour of his humanity, that furveying from an eminence the vast army with which he was advancing to the invafion of Greece, he burst into tears to think that in less than one hundred years they should all be cut off from the land of the living. What then, O Mofes, were the emotions of thy foul, to fee the event which Xerxes but anticipated, realized before thine eyes To walk through the ranks of Ifrael without meeting one man who followed thee out of Egypt, with whom thou couldft mingle the tears of fympathy over fo many fallen, or remind of the joy and wonder of that great deliverance? Is not that man already dead, who has furvived all his cotemporaries? A confideration, among many others, powerfully calculated to reconcile the mind to the thoughts of diffolution, and to imprefs on the foul the fentiment of the wife man concerning the world, "I hate it, I would not live always.'
Long life, however, is not the lefs to be confidered as a blefling. The love of it is a conftitutional law of
our nature; and the promise of it is annexed to the fanctions of the written law, as a motive to obedience: "Honour thy father and thy mother; that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee:" and it is here beftowed as a reward on the faithful. Premature death, in like manner, is an object of natural horror, is threatened in anger, and inflicted as a punishment. "The wicked fhall not live half his days, and his memory fhall rot." In general, a wife and merciful God hides from the eyes of men the era of their departure out of the world. The bitternefs of death confifts in the foretafle, and the forerunners of that great enemy. That bitterness, in its full proportion, was wrung out, and mingled in the cup of Mofes. The death of every Ifraelite was a death-warning to him. He had lately afcended Mount Hor with Aaron his brother, stript him of his garments, clofed his eyes to his laft long fleep, and descended without him and Mount Hor is only a few steps diftant from Mount Abarim, and his own fummons comes at length. He is refpited, not pardoned, and a reprieve of forty years is now expired.
It is in that awful, trying hour, we are at this time to trace the character, and mark the behaviour of the man of God.
From the moment he fell under the divine displeasure, which shortened the date of his life, we obferve it lying with an oppreffive weight upon his mind. The love of life manifefts itself, and we behold in the prophet, the man of like paffions with ourselves. There is no incident of his life on which he dwells so much, and with fuch earneftness of intereft as this. The hiftory of his offence is again and again repeated, not in the view of extenuating the guilt of it, but to vindicate the righteous judgment of God. The excellence of this part of his narrative, is its departing from the direct line of narration. He haftens forward to bring
* Exod. xx. 12.
it early into view; he returns again upon his footsteps, and prefents it a fecond time to view. Is he reminding Ifrael of their rebellion and difobedience? his own tranfgreffion, and the punishment of it, arise and stare him in the face. Is he encouraging them in their progress towards the promised land? he fighs to think that he himself fhall never enter into it. At one time he flatters himself with the hope that juftice might perhaps relent, and prefumes to expoftulate and entreat, in terms earnest and pathetic, fuch as thefe; "O Lord God, thou haft begun to fhew thy fervant thy greatnefs, and thy mighty hand: for what god is there in heaven or in earth, that can do according to thy works, and according to thy might? pray thee let me go over and fee the good land that is beyond Jordan, that goodly mountain, and Leba
At another time, he feems quietly to give up the cause as lost, and patiently prepares to meet his fate, and meekly refigns himself to the will of the Moft High, which he was unable to alter. In a word, we fee him at once the man and the believer, and a pattern well worthy of imitation in both respects.
It is impoffible to obferve the conflict of Mofes's foul, when this cup of trembling was put into his hands, without thinking of the bitter agony in the garden, of the travail of the Redeemer's foul, of that paffionate addrefs, "Father, if it be poffible, let this cup pafs from me"-of "fweat like great drops of blood falling down to the ground"-of the triumph of refignation," nevertheless, not my will, but thine be done" of "humiliation to death, the death of the crofs." Thus it "behoved him to fulfil all righteoufnefs." Thus he taught men to obey the law of God, to use all lawful endeavours to preferve life; and thus he inculcated fubmiffion to that fovereign will which it is unprofitable and impious to resist.
*Deut. iii. 24, 25.
+ Luke xxii. 42—44.
"Get thee up," faid God to Mofes, "into this Mount Abarim, and fee the land which I have given unto the children of Ifrael ;" and this is all that the law can do for the guilty; it conducts to an adjoining eminence, it spreads a diftant profpect of Canaan, it can difplay its beauty and fertility, it can inspire the desire of poffeffion; but it cannot divide Jordan, it cannot lead to victory over the last enemy, it cannot make "the comer thereunto perfect," nor establish the foul in everlafting reft. Neither Mofes, the giver of the law, nor Aaron, the high-prieft, under the law, could "continue by reafon of death." But the Apostle and High-Prieft of our profeflion is "entered into the holiest of all," has opened a paffage through the gates of death, to life and immortality; lifted up, first upon the cross, and then to his throne in the heavens, he is drawing all men unto him.
Together with the honeft though fond attachment to life, which characterizes the man, and the pious refignation which marks the child of God, Mofes difcovers, on this occafion, that excellent spirit which finks and lofes the individual in the public. He cheerfully gives up his perfonal fuit, and the cause of Ifrael henceforth engroffes him wholly. "And Mofes fpake unto the Lord, faying, Let the Lord, the God of the spirits of all flesh, fet a man over the congregation, which may go out before them, and which may go in before them, and which may lead them out, and which may bring them in; that the congregation of the Lord be not as fheep which have no fhepherd."t
Let modern patriots think of this, and blufh at their pride and felfifhnefs. But they are loft to all fenfe of decency, they keep each other in countenance by their multitude and confidence, and "glory in their fhame." This noble conduct of the Jewish legiflator was not the affectation of virtue and public fpirit, the oftentatious boafting of a man who had no profpect, or a diftant one, of being put to the trial; but the na
+ Numb. xxvii. 15-17.
Lev. xvii. 12, 13.
tive greatness and fuperiority of a mind occupied with two grand objects, the glory of God, and the good of his country; a mind that could rejoice in the advancement of an inferior, and decreafe with inward fatisfaction, while the other increased. Ordinary men look with an evil eye upon their fucceffors. A prince and his heir, though that heir be his own fon, generally live upon indifferent terms; but Mofes fees his dignity departing from himself in his life time, departing from his family, given to his fervant, without a murmur, without a figh. It was enough to him. that God had been pleafed to adopt Jofhua, for the purpofe of finishing his work, of introducing Ifrael into their inheritance. It is no fooner intimated to him, than Joshua becomes his fon, his brother, his friend: and he proceeds to his installation with as much alacrity, as he invested Aaron with the pontifical robes.
This folemn ceremony confifted of a variety of circumstances, which are well worthy of our attention; from their being of divine appointment, from their great antiquity, from their inexplicable mysterioufnefs, or their obvious fignificancy. Jofhua was already anointed with the unction of the Spirit: he was a perfon of fingular piety, undaunted refolution, and unfhaken fidelity: he had long attended upon Mofes as his minifter, had accompanied him into the mount, when he afcended to meet God, had traverfed the land of Canaan as one of the fpies, had brought up its good report, and ftood firm with Caleb in refifting the timid and difcouraging reprefentations of his colleagues. He poffeffed all the qualities natural, acquired, and miraculously difpenfed, which were requifite to the difcharge of the duties of that high and important station to which Providence was now calling him. By the spirit which is faid to have been in Jofhua, fome understand the fpirit of prophecy, or fupernatural powers of foreseeing and providing for future events. By taking in every circumftance, it feems rather to