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DEUTERONOMY xxxiv. 1—6.
And Mofes went up from the plains of Moab unto the mountain of Nebo, to the top of Pifgah, that is over against Jericho. And the Lord fhewed him all the land of Gilead, unto Dan, and all Naphtali, and the land of Ephraim, and Manaffeh, and all the land of Judah unto the utmost fea, and the fouth, and the plain of the valley of Jericho, the city of palm-trees, unto ZoAnd 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 caufed thee to fee it with thine eyes, but thou shalt not go over thither. So Mofes the fervant of the Lord died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the Lord. And he buried him in a valley in the land of Moab, over against Beth-Peor: but no man knoweth of his fepulchre unto this day. WHEN ftrangers accidentally meet to perform together the fame voyage or journey, they are apt, at first, to regard each other with looks of caution and diftruft; they converfe fparingly, and with referve; they conceal their views and purposes in their own breafts; they attempt to dive into the characters and defigns of their fellow-travellers. By degrees this
fufpicious cautiousness wears off; it becomes their mutual defire and endeavour to please and oblige, they . feel themselves united by a common intereft, their communications become frequent and free, they dif cover all that is in their hearts, they take a kind concern in each other's future fortunes, they exchange tokens of affection, they devife the means of coming together again, and part at length with regret. We feem, my brethren, to have been travelling through a vaft country; we seem to have been converfing with men of a different age and region; we have contemplated many a fair profpect, we have marked many fucceffive changes, and, at the end of another ftage or two, we must feparate, and bid each other farewel. Like men acquainted and friendly, who know each other's meaning, and with each other's happinefs, we look back to our common pilgrimage with fome degree of fatisfaction, and forward, I truft, with fome degree of defire to meet together again. The mutual token which, in the mean time, we shall carry with us to ftir up our minds by way of remembrance, is one that touches the heart by more than one spring, the memory of a dear and eftimable common friend, who has contributed much to our pleafure and improvement, who was lovely and pleafant in life, and in death fills the foul with admiration and regret; but whom we have the felicity of confidering as having only preceded us a little in a journey, on which we too have already entered, and the end of which will bring us to the fame home with him.
The pen has now dropt from the hand of Mofes, and filent is his tongue; and another, not himself, must tell us what he is, and how he died. Every fcene in the life of this illuftrious man is fingular, and inftructive as fingular; and his latter end is not the leaft interesting and useful. He had now completed his one hundred and twentieth year, without having become fubject to the ufual infirmities of that advanced age. It is one thing to live long, and another to
be old. We frequently fee old age commenced by
The death of Mofes, then, was not in the ordinary courfs of nature, it was not preceded by its ufual harbingers, it was not occafioned by a failure of the radical moisture, by the stroke of violence, or the malignity of difeafe, but by a fimple act of the will of God. Wherefore, then, "fhould it be thought a thing incredible that God fhould raise the dead?" When we fee the antediluvian patriarchs living to one thoufand
thousand years, the eye of Mofes, at one hundred and twenty, not dim, nor his natural force abated, and "Christ, the first fruits," bursting asunder the bars of the grave; have we not fo many concurring prefumptions and proofs of immortality and the refurrection. And what must be the angelic beauty, the celeftial vigour, the undecaying luftre and glory of bodies "fashioned like to Chrift's glorious body," when we fee the face of Mofes fhine, that it could not be stedfaftly looked at, and preferving to life's extremity the morning dew of youth? The honour put on Moses was rare and fingular, but the glory to be revealed is a bleffedness of which all the redeemed of the Lord fhall partake.
When the fummons arrived for Aaron to prepare for death, Mofes, his brother, and Eleazer, his fon and fucceffor, were commanded to afcend the mountain with him, and to affift in the folemnities of the awful change: but Mofes advances alone to meet death, to meet his God. The holy vestments, with the office to which they appertained, defcended from father to fon, and were at length done away altogether and loft; but the moral and fpiritual parts of the difpenfation never waxed old, could not fee corruption, but like God, their author, were unchangeable; and like Mofes, by whom they were delivered to the world, unenfeebled by length of time, continued till Christ, the restorer of all things, interwove them with the tiffue of the gospel, and conferred immortality upon
-We must now look back to the sentence of death pronounced against Mofes, and to the crime which provoked the irreversible doom: "And the Lord fpake unto Mofes that felf-fame day, faying, Get thee up into this mountain Abarim, unto Mount Nebo, which is in the land of Moab, that is over against Jericho; and behold the land of Canaan, which I give unto the children of Ifrael for a poffeffion, and die in the mount whither thou goeft up; VOL. V. and
and be gathered unto thy people; as Aaron thy brothet died in Mount Hor, and was gathered unto his people because ye trefpaffed against me among the children of Ifrael at the waters of Meribah-kadesh, in the wilderness of Zin; becaufe ye fanctified me not in the midst of the children of Ifrael. Yet thou fhalt fee the land before thee; but thou shalt not go thither unto the land which I give the children of Ifrael."* Here many things concur to furprise and inftruct us. The offence of Mofes feems a venial one; he erred merely through hastiness of spirit; and had he not good caufe to be angry? He was not often so overtaken, he quickly repented, and recovered tranquillity and felfgovernment again. He repeatedly attempted to soften juftice by fubmiffion and entreaty; he asked for nothing unreasonable or abfurd: he wifhed merely to be a witnefs of the divine bounty, truth and faithfulnefs; infinitely greater offenders had at his entreaty been forgiven and reftored. But juftice relented not, Mofes for one offence must die; the grace which he often obtained for others is to himfelf denied. Let the wretch loaded with a thousand crimes black as hell, and malignant as the fpirit that reigns in the children of difobedience, think of this and tremble. That" fool makes a mock of fin." "Father, forgive him, he knows not what he does." One tranfgreffion excluded Mofes from Canaan; and with so many imperfections on his head, loaded with fo many crimes of a nature fo vile and atrocious, can he think of entering into the kingdom of heaven? When we fee fuch inflexible and unrelenting feverity pursuing the dearest and most distinguished of God's children, who fhall dare to think or to call any fin a little one? Who fhall prefume on mercy, who fhall dream of washing away his guilt by the tears of penitence, who fhall harden himfelf against God and hope to profper? The great crime in the fight of God is, giv ing that glory to another which belongeth to him.
Deut. xxxii. 48-52.