Page images

of God's regard for his people, as manifested in the displays of his power and glory in their behalf, Moses begins with this exalted strain : " The Lord came from Sinai, and rose up from Seir unto them; he shined forth from mount Paran, and he came with ten thousands of saints: from his right hand went a fiery law for them. Yea, he loved the

people; all his saints are in thy hand : and they sat down at thy feet; every one shall receive of thy words."

Then follow the prophetic benediction's pronounced on the several tribes ; concluding with this general one on the whole nation :

" There is none like unto the God of Jeshurun, who rideth upon

the heaven in thy help; and in his excellency on the sky. The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms: and he shall thrust out the enemy from before thee; and shall say, Destroy them! Israel then shall dwell in safety alone; the fountain of Jacob shall be upon a land of corn and wine ; also his heavens shall drop down dew. Happy art thou, O Israel! who is like unto thee, O people saved by the Lord, the shield of thy help, and who is the sword of thy excellency! and thine enemies shall be found liars unto thee; and thou shalt tread upon their high places."

The final farewell is given. The moment of separation has come. Moses must leave his people. The strong and tender ties that bind them together,

[ocr errors]

are to be severed. He permits no one to accompany him. In view of the assembled multitude, he goes alone from the encampment, and crossing the plains of Moab, is seen in the distance ascending the mountain of Nebo. Every eye is strained to catch the last glimpse of his person, becoming more and more obscure till it vanishes from the sight.

What a death-like silence pervades the assembly! What a solemn awe! What a suspense of feeling, as if its tide, just now full to overflowing, had rushed back to its source, and was stagnant there! It breaks forth again. Tears, sighs, exclamations, and the more violent expressions of grief, pervade all ranks and ages. Moses is gone-is gone --and, overwhelmed with sorrow, the people return to their tents, there still to mourn over their loss !

It is good to go to the house of mourning. Have you, my young friend, been there ? Have you wept at the grave of a near and dear friend? Has a beloved parent, or brother, or sister, or companion been removed from you by death ? God would thus teach

you, in the most impressive manner, that you, too, must die.

Can you look on death, as Moses did, with composure? What was the source of his composure ? Faith in God. Have you this faith? Do you trust in Him who is the Resurrection and the Life, and who alone can enable you to triumph over the king of terrors ?



Moses reaches Pisgah, and from it is permitted to survey

the promised land. He dies and is buried by the Lord.

He sees

Moses continued to ascend the mountain. Some looks of deep and parting regret he undoubtedly had cast, on his way, upon the tents of Israel that lay spread out beneath him. It was a goodly sight.

his countrymen, for whom he had done and suffered so much, reposing in security, and ready to march and take possession of the land to the very

borders of which he had been honored with the privilege of conducting them. The tender recollections of the past rush upon his mind. All the way in which he and they had been led by a covenant-keeping God, comes up before him. To leave them, at the very time when the consummation of his course of toils and trials is approaching, is the severest trial of all. It is only to pass the Jordan, and the great object to which a long life has been devoted, is attained. What a happiness! What a noble satisfaction of soul! What a reward of all his self sacrifice for the good of his countrymen! What a source of heart-felt pleasure to mingle his

with a

congratulations with theirs; to have the honor, under God, of crowning the enterprise with success; and, in looking round upon a grateful people, to witness the universal joy, and to unite with them in their song of praise and triumph.

But it cannot be. His setting sun, otherwise resplendent, even with its meridian lustre, is dark. ened. as it sinks beneath the horizon, with a passing cloud. The sin at Meribah-Kadesh must receive its merited rebuke. The divine purpose is inflexible. Moses bows in submission to it; and after nature has wrung the breast of the venerable man


pangs, and poured from the fountains of feeling some tears of anguish, grace triumphs. He casts no more lingering looks behind him. He leaves his beloved flock in the hands of the heavenly Shepherd. Faith and Hope sustain him. His eye is fixed on the summit of the mountain. His step is free and fearless; and the purer atmosphere, as he ascends, and the cloudless sun-light, seem but the outward manifestations of the serene composure, and unobscured confidence in God, which elevate and tranquillize his own soul.

Pisgah is, at length, reached—the top of Nebo, and the highest eminence of the mountains of Abarim. There stands the faithful servant of the most High, waiting the will of his Maker. A glorious manifestation of the divine presence appears. The voice of Jehovah bids him look across the Jordan, and view the extensive landscape which stretches



direction before him. What a scene of wonder! It is the promised land. How fair to look upon, with all its variegated aspects of mountains and hills; of valleys and plains ; of lakes and streams; of trees, and meadows, and wide-spread pasture-grounds. What beautiful land! How fertile the soil. How salubrious the climate. How abundant in every thing that can be desired, to furnish his countrymen with a happy and prosperous abode. His benevolent soul pours

forth its tribute of gratitude to God, that they are to have so rich an inheritance. He adores the divine goodness, that can thus bless a people who have so often proved ungrateful and rebellious; and that has been extended to him, too, so little deserving of it, in such varied forms of longsuffering and kindness.

We are told that Jehovah himself showed Moses this goodly land; probably pointing out to him, in anticipation, some of its more prominent divisions. He showed him "all the land of Gilead, unto Dan; and all Naphtali, and the land of Ephraim, and Manasseh, and all the land of Judah, unto the utmost sea; and the south, and the plain of the val. ley of Jericho, the city of palm-trees, unto Zoar. And the Lord said unto him, This is the land which I sware unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Ja. cob, saying, I will give it unto thy seed: I have

« PreviousContinue »