Imatges de pÓgina

the accepted time; behold, now is the day of falvation."* Return, ye backfliding children, and I will heal your backflidings; behold we come unto thee, for thou art the Lord our God. Truly in vain is falvation looked for from the hills, and from the multitude of mountains: truly in the Lord our God is the falvation of Ifrael."t

2 Cor. vi. 2.

+ Jer. iii. 22, 23


History of Moses.



And it came to pass in the fortieth year, in the eleventh month, on the first day of the month, that Mofes fpake into the children of Ifrael, according unto all that the Lord had given him in commandment unto them.

"Where is that thrift, that avarice of time,
O glorious avarice! thought of death infpires ?"


BEHOLD this honourable thrift, this glorious avarice, exemplified in that moft amiable and excellent of mankind, Mofes, the man of God, who has condefcended to be fo long our inftructor and our guide. He is now in the last month of his earthly exiftence; he is "ready to be offered up; the time of his departure is at hand;" and an illuftrious inftance his laft days exhibits of how much may be done in a little time. Within the compafs of that month, that little month, all the words of this book were spoken in the ears of all Ifrael, and were committed to writing. The decree, the irreverfible decree had gone forth, he knew that he muft die; he therefore fets himself to redeem the time, and feeing his days are now few, not one of them fhall be spent in vain.


The tide which carried him along to the world of fpirits, is haftening to finish our courfe, to add us to the number of thofe who were, but are no more. Another month, a little month, must close our review of the life and writings of Mofes. A ftill fhorter period may close our worldly career; and when we part, it is to meet no more, till "the dead, fmall and great, ftand before God." Let us then feize the moments as they fly, and redeem our time. drink into the spirit of Mofes, and learn of him how to live, and how to die.


Let us

We fee here a man living cheerfully, living ufefully to the last. Two different and indeed oppofite feelings are apt to betray men into the fame practical error, that of miffpending their time, and neglecting their opportunities-the confidence of living long on the one hand-the near prospect of death on the othWhat we imagine it is in our power to do when we please, we are in great danger of never doing at all; and we feel the remorse of occafion forever loft, ere we are well awake from the dream of a feafon continually at our difpofal; and it is but too common, when thus overtaken, difconcerted and confused, to give up our work in despair. Having much to do, and the time being fhort, we fit down, and lament our folly, and do nothing. Prefumption betrays us to-day, diffidence and defpondency deftroy us to


But in the laft weeks of Mofes's life we discover nothing of the indecent hurry of a man conscious of neglect, and eager to repair it. He neither runs nor loiters; but walks with the fteadiness and dignity of one whofe ftrength is as his day; who has a labour prescribed, and ability to perform it. In his youth we have a pattern of generofity, and public fpirit, and courage, and greatnefs of mind; in his manhood, of wisdom, of diligence, of perfeverance, of fidelity; and now in his old age, of calmnefs, of devotion, of fuperiority to the world, of heavenly mindednefs.


Obferve the excellency of his fpirit, at this period, a little more particularly. He fet a proper value upon life. He defired its continuance, with the feelings natural to a man, he prized it as the gift of God, as the precious feafon of acting for God, of obferving and improving the ways of his providence, of doing good to men, of preparation for eternity. He prayed for its prolongation, without fearing its end; and he thereby reproves that rafhness which expofes life to unneceffary danger, that intemperance which wastes and fhortens, that indolence and liftlefsnefs which diffipate it; and that vice and impiety which clothe death with terror.

In Mofes we have a bright example of genuine patriotism. That moft refpectable quality appeared in him early, and fhone moft confpicuously at the last. "When he was come to years, he refused to be called the fon of Pharaoh's daughter choofing rather to fuffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of fin for a feafon."* For Ifrael's fake he was willing to encounter a thousand dangers, to endure a thousand hardships. For them he braved the wrath of a king, facrificed his eafe, confented to be blotted out of God's book. For them he laboured, fafted, prayed; in their fervice was his life fpent, and his dying breath was poured out in pronouncing bleflings upon them. If it went well with Ifrael, no matter what became of himself. Their unkindness and ingratitude excited no refentment in his breaft. When they rebelled he was grieved, when they were threatened he trembled, when they fuffered he bled, when they were healed he rejoiced. O how his temper and conduct reprove that pride, which perpetually aims at aggrandizing itfelf, which muft have every thing bend and yield to it, which is ready to facrifice thousands to its own humour or advantage; that felfifhnefs which grafps all, fets every thing to fale, and refufes to be afhamed.

*Heb. xi. 24, 25.


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The generofity and difinterestedness of Mofes eminently adorned the clofe of his life. He was a father, and had all the feelings of that tender relation. It was natural for him to wish and expect that his fons fhould be diftinguished after his death, fhould be the heirs of his honour, fhould fucceed to his authority. An ordinary man would have been difpofed to employ the power which he poffeffed to build up, to enrich, to ennoble his own family: but the will of God. was declared. Jofhua was the choice of Heaven; Joshua his fervant, one of another family, another tribe. In the appointment Mofes rejoices, he adopts Jofhua as his fon, as his affociate; fees him rife with complacency, puts his honour upon him: and thereby exposes to shame that littleness of foul which envioufly repreffes rising merit, that vice of age which can difcern nothing wife and good in the young; that tenaciousness of power which would communicate no advantage with another.

What anxiety does the good man difcover that Ifrael fhould act wifely, and go on profperously after his death! There is no end to his admonitions and inftructions. By word, by writing, by infinuation, by authority, in the spirit of meekness, of love, of parental care, he cautions, he warns, he remonftrates. Men naturally love to be miffed, to be inquired after, to be longed for; but it was the delight of Mofes in his departing moments, that his place was already fupplied, that the congregation would not mifs their leader, that Joshua fhould happily accomplish what he had happily begun. Selfish men enjoy the profpect of the diforder and mifchief which their departure may occafion. Mofes forefaw the revolt of Ifrael after his deceafe, and it was the grief and bitternefs of his heart.

In Mofes we have an inftructive inftance of that continuance in well-doing, that perfeverance unto the end, which finds a duty for every day, for every hour; which accounts nothing done fo long as any thing remains to be done, which cheerfully fpends and is VOL. V.



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