« VorigeDoorgaan »
are favoured of the Lord, they discover, through his divine teaching, that the Lord, as in the case of Israel, both sees their afflictions, knows their sorrows, and sympathiseth with them in all; and is engaged to bring them out of all. And then they can and do enter into a spiritual apprehension of that sweet Scripture, which God the Holy Ghost hath given the church by his servant the apostle; "Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous; nevertheless, afterward, (when the Lord hath sanctified it by his grace) it yieldeth the peaceable fruits of righteousness to them which are exercised thereby." (Heb. xii. 11.)
"And Moses went up from the plains of Moab, unto the mountain of Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, that is over against Jericho. And the Lord shewed him all the land.
"So Moses the servant 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.
"And Moses was an hundred and twenty years old when he died ; his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated. "And the children of Israel wept for Moses in the plains of Moab, thirty days." (Deut. xxxiv. 1—8.)
NOTES AND OBSERVATIONS.
HERE the Holy Ghost brings us to the close of Moses's history; the common close of all mankind. "Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return."
Some, however, have thought, that Moses was translated to heaven, as Elijah in after ages was. But this idea is contrary to Scripture. For this same chapter, which speaks of Moses's death, speaks also of his burial. He was indeed buried in a way and
manner as none before or since was; even by the Lord himself. But "though dead, he speaketh." What a world of usefulness to the church of Christ, hath proved under the divine blessing, the labours of this man, from that hour to the present; and will continue in the same manner through grace, during the whole time state of the church upon earth!
Let me beg the reader to observe, with what alacrity Moses ascended the top of Pisgah for death, assured from the Lord that he should descend no more. I never can say enough to the redeemed and regenerated child of God; yea, and to my own heart also, of the blessedness of faith which induceth such effects. Old Testament saints were eminent examples for this confidence in the Lord. They had known the blessedness of it in life. They had no apprehensions that it would be otherwise with them in death. They died therefore as they had lived," rejoicing in hope of the glory of God." Oh! what a lesson to New Testament believers!
Moses, also, connected first views of God with his last views. That gracious God which appeared to him at Horeb, he never lost sight of through life ; and in death, the remembrance came with double lustre to his mind. The manifestation of the Lord Jesus Christ at the bush, arose to his recollection in all its glories. God had there proclaimed himself as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob: and God was as much the God of his fathers in covenant assurances when dying, as when living: Moses felt the full force of it, and spake of it just before he ascended Pisgah's top, to breathe his last. And I trust that sad as the present awful times are; and faith at the lowest ebb; not a few of the Lord's people still remain who have Moses's spirit, and can and do say with him, "My dweller in the bush!" It is very blessed when going out of time into eternity, that the
triumphs of the faithful are the same. Many a child of God hath, in spiritual apprehension, entered the world above before the lips of the trembling body have ceased to move below; and though under the oppression of the cold clammy sweat of death on earth, hath seen himself " raised up together, and sitting together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus!" One word more in taking a farewell of Moses the man of God. The strength and vigour of his mind, without dimness of sight, or natural force abated in death, serves to shew the Lord's people an illustration of that sweet promise which was manifested to Moses, and alike belongs to all the people of God. "Even to your old age, I am he; and even to hoary hairs will I carry you. I have made, and I will bear: even I will carry and will deliver you." (Isaiah xlvi. 4.) And thus Moses and the patriarchs; Old Testament saints, and New Testament believers; all alike are supported by Him, whose language is, "Fear not, for I have redeemed thee; I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee: and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned, neither shall the flames kindle upon thee. For I am the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Israel thy Saviour." (Isaiah xliii. 1-3.)
But when we have paid all due respect to Moses, and followed his history from the river, where soon after his birth he was left to perish; to the view of him on the top of Pisgah, where at his death, we find him breathing out his soul to God, let us drop the servant and look at the Master; and lose sight of Moses in the contemplation of the Son of God.
Most graciously and blessedly, doth God the Holy Ghost, by Paul, call the spiritual church to this unceasing attention to her Lord. And having drawn
him forth, both in his divine nature, and in his human nature, and in this mysterious union as the Lord Jesus Christ, the Christ of God, invites the church thus to behold him: "Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus: who was faithful to Him that appointed him, as also Moses was faithful in all his house. For this man was counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as he who hath builded the house, hath more honour than the house; for every house is builded by some man, but he that built all things is God. And Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after. But Christ as a Son over his own house, whose house are we if we hold fast the confidence, and the rejoicing of the hope, firm to the end." (Heb. iii. 1, 6.)
Let the redeemed and regenerated child of God duly attend to the distinct features of character here drawn by God the Holy Ghost himself, between the servant and the Master; between the man Moses, and He who is God and man in one person, the Lord Jesus Christ, and then say, what plainer terms to define the creature from the infinite Creator, and to mark between the sinner saved by grace, from the Saviour of that sinner, can there be than are here given? Surely the figure or the substance, call it which you will, to distinguish him that builds an house, from the mere house itself, most strikingly decides the point. If he who hath built all things is God, and all things were made by Christ, and for Christ, and without him was not any thing made that was made; (Col. i. 16. John i. 3.) Christ then is, and must be God. And what a glorious object of our unceasing adoration, love and praise, would this Almighty Lord, which the Holy Ghost holds out to our contemplation, be, had we always our spiritual faculties, and the organs of spi
ritual vision so enlightened, as to form suitable apprehensions of his infinite dignity and greatness! And what an everlasting subject in this contemplation, is opened to the church of the living God, in the glories of his person, his greatness, graciousness, fitness, fulness, and glory; "in whom dwelleth all the fulness of the GODHEAD bodily; and the church of God complete in him." (Col. ii. 9.)
In the glories of his person, we contemplate in substance what Moses at the top of Pisgah only beheld by faith. His were distant views; and like those of Abraham "seen only afar off." Ours, in Christ, bring all things nigh. He indeed, like all the patriarchs, was "persuaded of them, and embraced them :" but ours is in possession; "Christ being formed in our hearts the hope of glory." His was but the "expectatoin of good things to come." We have received "a kingdom that cannot be moved, whereby we have grace to serve God acceptably, with reverence and godly fear." Moses died in faith, and had all the sweetness of that faith which looked to the coming Saviour; we have seen him come, finish redemption work, and that he hath returned to glory. The faithful in that age rejoiced in the hope that afterwards would follow believers bring their enjoyments into possession now. Death had not been paid its penalty before Christ died; but his death he hath destroyed him that had the power of death, and delivered them who through fear of death, (though children) were subject to bondage. (Heb. ii. 14.) Oh! precious Lord Jesus! thy redeemed behold thee, not on Pisgah's mount, but above all mounts; and hear thy voice as John heard it, when laying thy right hand upon him as thou dost on thy people; saying: "Fear not! I am the first, and I am the last: I am he that liveth and was dead, and behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and death."