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Christ; and that the circumstance of the rock, and there shall come water the rock yielding no water, until smit- out of it, that the people may drink.” ten by the rod of Moses, represented But in the present instance the directhe important truth, that the Mediator tion is, "Speak ye unto the rock bemust receive the blows of the law be- fore their eyes, and it shall give forth fore he could be the source of salva- his water." In the one case, Moses tion to a parched and perishing world. was expressly commanded to smite the It is to this that St. Paul resers, when rock; in the other, he was as expresshe says of the Jews, "They did all ly commanded only to speak unto the drink the same spiritual drink; for they rock. And we cannot but consider drank of that spiritual rock that fol- that there was something very signifilowed them, and that rock was Christ.” cant in this. The rock, as we have supIt appears that the waters, which posed, typified Christ, who was to be gushed from the rock in Horeb, at- once smitten by the rod of the law, but tended the Israelites during the chief only once; seeing that " by one offerpart of their wanderings in the wilder- ing he hath periected for ever them ness; and this it is which we are to un- that are sanctitied.” Having been once derstand, when the apostle affirms that smitten, there is nothing needed, in the rock followed them the rock it any after dearth, but that this rock self did not follow them, but the stream should be spoken to; prayer, if we which had issued from that rock—a may use the expression, will open the beautiful representation of the fact, that, pierced side of the Lamb of God, and if Christ were once smitten, or once sac- cause fresh flowings of that stream rificed, a life-giving current would ac- which is for the cleansing of the nacompany continually the church in the tions. Hence it would have been to wilderness. We do not read again of violate the integrity and beauty of the any scarcity of water until nearly thir- type, that the rock should have been ty-seven years after, when the genera- smitten again; it would have been to tion which had come out of Egypt had represent a necessity that Christ should been destroyed for their unbelief, and be twice sacrificed, and thus to darken their children were about to enter into the whole Gospel scheme. Yet this it Canaan. It is probable that God then was which Moses did; and, in doing allowed the supply of water to fail, in this, he greatly displeased God. We order that the Israelites might be re- have shown you that the command to minded that they were miraculously Moses and Aaron was most distinct, sustained, and taught, what they were "Speak ye unto the rock before their always apt to forget, their dependence eyes.” But when we come to see how on the guardianship of the Almighty. the command was obeyed, we read as Assuredly they needed the lesson; for follows: "And Moses and Aaron gano sooner did they find themselves in thered the congregation together bewant of water, than they showed the fore the rock; and he said unto them, same unbelief which their fathers had Hear now, ye rebels, must we fetch manifested, and, in place of meekly you water out of this rock? And Moses trusting in the God who had so long lifted up his hand, and with his rod he provided for their wants, "they ga- smote the rock twice." thered themselves together against Can you fail, my brethren, to see Moses and Aaron," and bitterly reviled that herein Moses sinned grievously? them for having brought them out of It is evident that he was chafed and irEgypt.

ritated in spirit; his language shows Moses is bidden, as on the former this," hear now, ye rebels :" rebels inoccasion, to take his rod, that he may deed the Israelites were; but it was bring forth water out of the rock. But manifestly in a burst of human passion, you are to observe carefully the differ- rather than of holy indignation, that ence between the command now given Moses here used the term. And, then, him, and that which had been delivered observe how he proceeds—"Must we in Horeb. In the latter instance, God fetch you water out of this rock ?" had distinctly said to him, "Behold, I What are ye, O Moses and Aaron, will stand before thee there upon the that ye should speak as though the rock in Horeb, and thou shalt smite virtue were in you, when ye are verily men of like passions and feebleness the issue of his supplication : "But with ourselves? The Psalmist, when the Lord was wroth with me for your giving us the history of his nation sakes, and would not hear me, and the during their sojourning in the wilder- Lord said unto me, Let it suffice thee, ness, might well describe Moses as speak no more unto me of this matprovoked, on this occasion, to hasty ter." Let it however be remembered, and intemperate speech. They an- that the eyes of all Israel were now gered God also at the waters of strife, upon Moses and Aaron; and that, the so that it went ill with Moses for their more exalted their station, and the sakes, because they provoked his spir- more eminent their piety, the more it, so that he spake unadvisedly with requisite was it that God should mark his lips.”

their offence; thus proving that he But this was not the whole, and per- will (not tolerate sin even in those haps not the chief of his offence. In whom he most loves and approves. It place of doing only as he had been bid is not because a man stands high in den, and speaking to the rock, he lifted the favor of his Maker, that he may up his hand and smote the rock, yea, expect to escape the temporal retribusmote it twice. Was this merely in tions of a fault; on the contrary, since the irritation of the moment, or in ac- he is not to sustain its eternal retributual unbelief? Did he only forget the tions, there is the greater reason why command; or did he fear that a simple the temporal should not be remitted ; word would not suffice, seeing that, on for if they were, his sin would be the former occasion, the rock yielded wholly unvisited, and therefore appano water until smitten by the rod ? rently overlooked by God. And though Probably there was a measure of dis indeed Moses had been singularly faithtrust; he would hardly else have struck ful and obedient, who can fail to pertwice; and faith was not likely to be ceive that the uncommonness of his in vigorous exercise when an unholy fault would only have made his being wrath had possession of his mind. And unpunished more observable; whereas thus the lawgiver displayed passion, it gave, on the other hand, opportunity and arrogance, and unbelief: passion, for a most impressive lesson, as to in that he addressed the multitude in God's hatred of sin, and his resolve the language of an irritated man; ar- that it shall never go unrecompensed ? rogance, in that he spake as though The whole congregation had seen the his own power were to bring forth sin committed; had they seen it also the water; unbelief, in that he smote unnoticed by God, they might have where he had been commanded only argued that impatience and unbelief to speak. It seems probable that it was were excusable in certain persons, or the unbelief which specially provoked under certain provocations. But when God: for when he proceeded to the re- they found that Aaron was to die on buking the sin, it was in these terms, Mount Hor, and Moses on Mount Ne"Because ye believed me not to sanc- bo, because they had not believed God tify me in the eyes of the children of to sanctify him in their eyes, they Israel."

were taught, even more impressively To us, accustomed, as we unhappily than by any thing which had happened are, to offend more grievously than to themselves or their fathers, that sin Moses, even when the utmost had been necessarily moves, under all circumsaid in aggravation of his sin, it may stances, the wrath of the Almighty ; seem that God dealt harshly with his that no amount, whether of previous servant, in immediately pronouncing or after righteousness, can compensate as his sentence, that he should not for the smallest transgression; and bring the congregation into the land that eminence as a saint, rather inwhich he would give them. It was a sures than averts some penal visitation, sentence of which Moses himself felt if there be the least swerving from the the severity; for he describes himself strict line of duty. as pleading earnestly for a remission. And the lesson should lose none of its But he pleaded in vain; nay, he seems impressiveness because delivered ages to have been repulsed with indigna- back, and under a dispensation which tion; for it is thus that he describes had more of temporal sanctions than

our own. If I would judge the evil na- | ders, and nevertheless commanded to ture of unbelief, if I would estimate ascend Mount Nebo to die; and we how the least distrust of his word pro- think that he will hardly venture to vokes the Most High, I know not on make light hereafter of the least diswhat I can better fix my attention than trust of God, when he finds that this on Moses, arrested on the very thresh- eminent saint expired on the very marold of Canaan, because, on a solitary gin of the promised inheritance, just occasion, when moreover there was because, in a moment of unbelief, he much to incense him, he had shown had smitten the rock to which he had want of confidence in God, and over. been directed only to speak. stepped the limits of a command. The Such then was the offence of Moses: thousands who fell in the wilderness an offence which we are perhaps dis" because of unbelief,” warn me not so posed to underrate, because prone our. emphatically as this single individual, selves to impatience and unbelief; and shut out from the promised land. They of which, as probably, we overrate the were bold and dissolute men: often punishment, not considering that the and fiercely did they provoke God in chastisement was altogether temporal. the desert. But he was the very meek. It is true that God was angry with Mo. est on the earth: his face, it may be, ses, and that he showed his anger by still shone with celestial radiance, as disappointing one of his most cherishwhen he descended from communing ed hopes : but the anger was exhaustwith God on the mount; and I do not ed in the one decree, that he must die know that there is another registered upon Nebo; for this mountain was to instance, during all the years which be as the gate to paradise. had elapsed since the coming out of Let us now however examine the Egypt, in which he had displayed the particulars which are narrated in our least approach to deficiency in faith. text of the departure of Moses. The Does he not then furnish a most signal sentence had been, that Moses should demonstration, that unbelief, in every not bring the congregation into Canaan. degree and with every palliation, stores Its literal execution did not forbid his up against us matter of accusation; approaching to the very confines of the and that, if we will not simply take land, nor his being allowed to look upGod at his word, act on his precepts, on its provinces. And accordingly God, and leave him to make good his pron who always tempers judgment with ises, we expose ourselves to his heavy mercy, though he would not remit the indignation, and must look for nothing sentence, gave his servant as much in. but the fulfilment of his threatenings? dulgence as consisted with its terms, Let us be assured that God does not suffering him to advance to the very overlook, but rather accurately notes, edge of the Jordan, and then directing with full intent to recompense, those him to a mountain whence he might doubtings and mistrustings which are gaze on large districts of the expected often found in the best of his servants; inheritance. Still the hour is come when and that, if he do not at the instant Moses must die, however graciously it punish his people, when they follow may be ordered, that, though he is to not implicitly his bidding, it is not be- depart out of life because he had discause he thinks little of the offence, pleased God, his departure shall be but because he sees fit to defer the re- soothed by tokens of favor. There is a tribution. And if any one of you would strange mixture of severity and gentleplead that it is very hard to be simply ness in the command, "Get thee up obedient, that reason will come in with into this mountain, and behold the land its suggestions, and that then it is in- of Canaan, and die in the mount whitensely difficult to adhere strictly to ther thou goest up.” There is severity revelation ; if he would think it some —thou must die, though thou art yet excuse for the defects of his faith, that in full strength, with every power, he is taken by surprise, or placed in whether of mind or of body, unimpairtrying circumstances, or is constitu- ed. But there is also gentleness—thou tionally anxious, or generally firm-we must die; but yet thou shalt not close send him to behold Moses, eager to en- thine eyes upon the world until they ter Canaan, and almost within its bor: I have been gladdened by a sight of the

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valleys and mountains which Israel, ed to our nature: we are disposed to shall possess.

the leaning upon sensible aids, so that, Yet it is neither the severity, nor the whilst yet in the flesh, we can scarce gentleness, which is most observable commit ourselves to spiritual agency. in the passage: it is the simple, easy Take away all the relatives and friends manner in which the command is given. from the sick room, and is there not a Go up

and die.” Had God been bid- scene of extraordinary desolateness, a ding Moses to a banquet, or directing scene from which every one of us rehim to perform the most ordinary du- coils, and which presents to the mind ty, he could not have spoken more fa- such a picture of desertion, that the miliarly, or with less indication of re- thought of its being our own lot would quiring what was painful or difficult.* suffice to embitter the rest of our days? And in truth it was no hardship to Yet it was alone that Moses was to Moses to die. He had deliberately "es. die: no friend was to accompany him teemed the reproach of Christ greater to Pisgah; no relative was to be near riches than all the treasures in Egypt,” when he breathed out his soul. "Get and had long had respect unto the re- thee up into this mo

ountain, and die compense of the reward.” And though there.” Strange death-bed, which I am he would fain have lived a while long- thus ordered to ascend! Mine eye is er, to complete the work at which he not dimmed, my strength is not broken had labored for years, he knew that to —what fierce and sudden sickness will die would be to enter a land, of which seize me on that mount ? Am I to linCanaan, with all its brightness, was but ger there in unalleviated pain? and a dim type. Therefore could God speak then, when my soul at length struggles to him of dying, just as he would have free, inust my body be left, a dishonorspoken of taking rest in sleep: as ed thing, to be preyed on by the beasts though there could be nothing formi- of the field, and the fowls of the air ? dable in the act of dissolution, nothing Would you not have expected that from which human nature might shrink. thoughts such as these would have Yet we could not have wondered, had crowded and distressed the mind of Moses manifested reluctance; for it the great lawgiver, on receiving the was in a mysterious, and almost fear- direction of our text? I cannot find ful manner, that he was to depart out words to express to you what I think of life. It is, in all cases, a solenn of the mysteriousness and awfulness of thing to die; and our nature, when ga- the scene through which Moses had to thering itself up for the act of dissolu- pass. To separate himself from the tion, seems to need all the prayers and people to whom he was tenderly atkindnesses of friends, that it may be iached; to ascend, without a single enabled to meet the last enemy with companion, the mountain from which composure. The clramber in which a he was never to return; to climb the good man dies, is ordinarily occupied lofty summit for the express purpose by affectionate relatives; they stand of there grappling with death, though round his bed, to watch his every look, he knew not with what terrors, nor unand catch his every word: they whis. der what shape; to go, in his unabated per him encouraging truths, and they vigor, that, on a wild spot, alone with speak cheeringly of the better land to his Creator, he might be consumed by which he is hastening, though they slow disease, or rapt away in a whirlmay often be obliged to turn away the wind, or stricken down by lightningface, lest he should be grieved by the I feel as though it had been less trying, tears which their own loss extorts. had he been summoned to a martyr's And all this detracts somewhat from death, to ascend the scaffold in place the terror of dying. It is not, that, if of the mountain, and to brave the cries the dying man were alone, God could of bloodthirsty persecutors instead of not equally sustain him by the conso- the loneliness, the breathlessness, of lations of his grace. But it is, that the summit of Pisgah. And never does there is something in the visible in- Moses wear to me such an air of mostrumentality, which is specially adapt- ral sublimity, as when I contemplate

him leaving the camp, sor the express Bishop Hall.

purpose of resigning his soul into the

hands of his Maker. Never does his he climbs the steep ascent, perhaps faith seem to me so signal, so sorely pausing at times that he may look yet tried, nor so finely triumphant. I gaze again on the people whom, notwithon him with awe, as, with the rod of standing their ingratitude, he tenderly God in his hand, he stands before Pha- loved, he is obeying the strange and raoh, and appals the proud monarch by thrilling command, "Get thee up into the prodigies which he works. And this mountain, and there die, and be there is a fearful magnificence in his gathered to thy people.” aspect, as, with outstretched arm, he We cannot follow Moses in this his plants himself on the Red Sea's shore, mysterious journey. We know not the and bids its waters divide, that the particulars of what occurred on the thousands of Israel may march through summit of Pisgah; and where revelaon dry land. Yea, and who can look tion is silent, it does not become us to on him without emotions of wonder, offer conjectures. We are only informand almost of dread, as he ascends ed that the Lord showed him great part Mount Sinai, whilst the fire and thun of the land of Canaan, and then said der of the Lord strike terror into the unto him, "I have caused thee to see hearts of the congregation, that he may it with thine eyes, but thou shalt not commune in secret with God, and re- go over thither.” And here, just where ceive from his lips enactments and stat- curiosity is most strongly excited-for utes ? But, on these and the like occa- who does not long to know the exact sions, the very circumstances in which mode in which Moses departed out of he was placed were calculated to ani- life, to be present at his last scene, and mate the leader; and when we think observe his dismissal?—the narrative is on the mighty powers with which he closed with the simple announcement, was endowed, we can scarce feel sur- "So Moses, the servant of the Lord, died prise that he should have borne him- there in the land of Moab, according to self so heroically. The great trial of the word of the Lord.” But we know, faith was not in the waving or striking at least, that God was with his servant with a rod which had often shown its in this hour of strangeness and lonelimastery over nature: neither was it in ness, and that, when Moses lay down the ascending a mountain, from which to die, he had been abundantly cheered he expected to return with fit laws for by visions vouchsafed him of the longthe government of a turbulent multi- promised Canaan. And shall we think tude. It was the laying down of the that Moses died contented and happy, miraculous rod which required vast just because his eye had rested on the faith ; and the splendid courage was waters of Jordan, and caught the wav- . shown in the climbing a summit, where, ings of the cedars of Lebanon ? Was it with the rock for his couch, and the merely by gazing on the natural landbroad heaven for his roof, and far from scape that the man of God was cheerall human companionship, he was to ed; and was nothing done for him but submit himself io the sentence, "Dust the causing valleys that laughed with thou art, and unto dust thou shalt re. abundance, and heights that were crestturn.”

ed with beauty, to gather themselves And therefore, we again say, that, if into one glorious panorama, as the inwe would survey Moses in his gran- heritance which had been promised to deur, when his moral majesty is most the children of Abraham? We can conspicuous, and the faith and boldness scarcely think this. We may believe of a true servant of God commend that the desire of Moses to enter into themselves most to our imitation, then Canaan was a spiritual desire: with it is not when he breaks the chains of Canaan he associated a fuller revelaa long-enslaved people, and not when tion of the Christ : and he may have he conducts a swarming multitude thought, that, admitted into the land, through the wilderness, and not when which in the fulness of time would be he is admitted into intimate commun- trodden by Messiah, he should learn ings with the Almighty, that he should more of that Redeemer of the world fix our attention-it is rather when he than he had been able to gather from departs from the camp without a soli- existing prophecies and types. tary attendant, and we know that, as In his own prayer to God, depreca

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