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History of Mofes.

LECTURE XIV.

LUKE ix. 28-35.

And it came to pafs about an eight days after thefe fayings, he took Peter, and John, and James, and went up inte a mountain to pray. And as he prayed, the fashion of his countenance was altered, and his raiment was white and gliftering. And behold, there talked with him two men, which were Mofes and Elias, who appeared in glory, and fpake of his deceafe, which he should accomplish at Jerufalem. But Peter, and they that were with him, were heavy with fleep: and when they were awake, they faw his glory, and the two men that stood with him. And it came to pafs, as they departed from him, Peter faid unto Jefus, Mafter, it is good for us to be here; and let us make three tabernacles, one for thee, and one for Mofes, and one for Elias: not knowing what he faid. While he thus fpake, there came a cloud, and overshadowed them: and they feared as they entered into the cloud. And there came a voice out of the cloud, faying, This is my beloved Son, hear him.

IN the narrownefs of their conceptions and the prefumptuoufnefs of their pride, men are apt to confider themselves as the only, or, at least, the chief inhabitants of the creation of God. A false patriotism, or rather a fpirit of infolence and selfishness has gone farther, has afcribed the confequence of a whole uni

verse.

eration.

verse to fome infignificant little region or diftrict of this little globe, and has reprefented the men who breathe on such a spot, and converfe in fuch a language, as the only perfons who are worthy of confidWe reflect not, what a speck our own country is, compared with the whole earth; what a point the earth is, compared to the vaft folar fyftem; and how the folar fyftem itfelf is loft, in the contemplation of infinite space. We reflect not on the myriads of "just men made perfect," from the death of "righteous Abel," down to the expiring faint, whofe difengaged fpirit is juft now on the wing to the bofom of his God; of those who, loft to us, yet live to their Creator. We reflect not on the myriads of, probably, more glorious beings, who people the greater and more glorious worlds which furround ours. We reflect

not on the myriads of pure fpirits who never left their firft eftate, that innumerable company of angels who "excel in ftrength," "the leaft of whom could wield thefe elements."

Sound reafon and "the wifdom which is from above" correct our narrowness of thought and pride of heart; and teach us to fay, in the words which our immortal bard puts in the mouth of Adam firft of men, addreffed to his fair confort

"Nor think, tho' men were none,

That heaven would want fpectators, God want praife.
Millions of fpiritual creatures walk the earth,
Unfeen, both when we wake and when we fleep;
All these with ceaseless praise his works behold,
Both day and night."

If our ears were not dull and limited as our fpirits

"How often, from the steep

Of echoing hill or thicket fhould we hear,
Celestial voices to the midnight air,
Sole, or refponfive each to other's note,
Singing their great Creator? Oft in bands,

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While they keep watch, or nightly rounding walk,
With heavenly touch of inftrumental founds,
In full harmonic number join'd, their fongs
Divide the night, and lift our thoughts to heaven."

We foolishly imagine the world of fpirits to be at a vaft distance, whereas in truth we are upon its very confines. We confider its inhabitants as entire ftrangers to us, whereas they are constantly about our path and our bed, attending our going out and coming in, our lying down and rifing up. If our eyes were not held, we should even now behold them joining in and affifting our praises, rejoicing together, when, by the ministry of the word of divine grace, finners are converted, and faints edified. Little did the three difciples think, when they afcended Mount Tabor, that they were fo near to an interview with Mofes and Elias. Mofes, and Elias, and Christ, are not far from us; it is our folly and infirmity to think ourselves far from them.

When we look back to the latter end of Mofes, the man of God, we attend him up to Mount Nebo, and behold him taking from Pisgah a last look and a last farewel of the glory of this world. We fee his eyes clofing in peace, and breathe a figh over his tomb, and bid him a long farewel, and think we have loft him forever. But it is not an everlasting adieu. On Tabor we have found him again, after a lapfe of fifteen centuries; we find not only his name, his memory, his writings, his predictions, his fpirit, alive and in force, but his very perfon, ftill employed in miniftring to the falvation of the Ifrael of God: and hence we look forwards to the lapfe of a few years more, at the expiration of which we hope to meet him indeed, not armed with that fiery law which condemns and confumes, but a minifter and a fellow-partaker of that grace which redeems and faves.

We cannot confider ourselves therefore as having yet concluded the hiftory of Mofes, while that memo

rable

rable event of it, which is the fubject of this evening's reading, remains unconfidered; and as the evangelic page has exhibited him to us alive from the dead, let us devoutly attend to the reafon and end of this glorious apparition. It naturally fuggefts to us the following reflections:

I. That Jehovah is, with undeviating, undiverted, undivided attention, carrying on the great plan of his providence to full maturity, by every order of beings, in every poffible state; by thofe who cheerfully enter into his views, and joyfully fubmit to his will; and by those who carelessly neglect or proudly oppofe it.

We have feen him ferving himfelf of this Mofes in the court of Pharaoh, in the pastures of Midian, in the wilderness of Sinai; as a prophet, as a legiflator, as an hiftorian. And, to fit him for a new field of action, behold him fhining in a new and glorious form. The grave feems to have furrendered up its truft, heaven has yielded up one of its inhabitants, and Mofes is now admitted into a land from which he was once

fhut out. In this world we have ftill to deplore faculties wafting, impairing, extinguifhed; usefulness interrupted, cut off in the midft, by the ftroke of death, the earth impoverished by the premature departure of wisdom and worth. The history of mankind exhibits projects blafted, schemes abortive, instruments feeble and inadequate, concuffions violent, revolutions fudden and unexpected; but far different the view which the fcriptures reprefent of the kingdom of God. In it, one generation paffeth not away that another may fucceed, but there is an eternal accumulation of citizens, eternally increafing in wisdom, goodness and felicity; faculties ever improving, projects advancing in full certainty of fuccefs, means fitted to their end, and the one great fcheme of the Eternal Mind proceeding in fteady, uniform majefty, to its final confummation. Pleafing, awful thought! "The counfel of the Lord ftandeth forever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations." II. We

* Pfal. xxxiii. 11.

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II. We obferve, from this hiftory, The benevolent intereft which celestial beings take in the affairs of men. They are no unconcerned fpectators of what paffes here below. They who have been raised from earth to heaven, have not loft all recollection of the world they have left, nor dropt all concern about their brethren in the flesh. Mofes and Elias with joy revisit an inferior region, if thereby they can be inftrumental in promoting the work of redemption; and exchange, for a feafon, the fociety of angels, and the delights of the paradife of God, for the company of fimple fishermen, and a barren mountain's top, that we might have ftrong confolation in contemplating "the fufferings of Chrift," and the glory that preceded and followed. O what an exalted, what a generous fpirit does true religion breathe and infpire! It makes angels" miniftring spirits to them who are the heirs of falvation ;" it brings departed faints back to earth again; it converts Tabor into Heaven, and determines the choice of an apostle, when in a strait betwixt two, and to prefer abiding in the flesh, because more needful to his fellow-creatures, to the felfifh joy, though far better, of departing and being with Chrift. But Mofes and Elias and Paul were themselves men, bone of our bone, and flesh of our flesh, were inftructed by fympathy to commiferate, and prompted by affection to relieve, human wretchednefs. Behold an infinitely greater miracle of generous, difinterefted love; "God fo loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whofoever believeth in him fhould not perish, but have everlasting life." * Jefus "loved us, and washed us from our fins in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen."t "Verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the feed of Abraham." "As children are par

* John iii. 16. + Rev. i. 5, 6.
Heb. ii. 16.

takers

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