« PreviousContinue »
can hope for a favorable access to God, the pardon of sin, and acceptance with him !
The Israelites once more behold their leader descend from the mountain. He communicates to them the Divine message,
"all the words of the Lord, and all the judgments." They answer with one voice, " All the words which the Lord hath said will we do." In
your own strength ye promise it, fickle and rebellious people! How grievously ye will violate this promise, while Sinai is yet in sight!
Moses, we are told, then wrote all the words of the Lord,-probably the ten commandments, as well as the other laws and ordinances, in some durable record, which was termed the book of the covenant. This book was to preserve the remembrance of such solemn transactions; and to be a perpetual memorial and proof of the engagement made between God and his people. The latter gave their cordial assent to this engagement; and Jehovah stipulated, if they continued faithful, to be their God, their Sovereign, and Protector, and to fulfil to them all the promises which he had made to covenant of friendship with him, without atonement
Death, deserved by the sinner, fulls on the substituted victim in sacrifice. The forfeited life is spared; for the life of another is poured out. The dignity of Divine justice is maintained. The Sovereign of the universe can admit him who had been a rebel, but now forgiven and restored to favor,-poor, sinful man, into an alliance with himself, never to be annulled, and full of blessings unspeakable !
What were these victims, and this shedding of blood, but symbols, to point the faith of the worshipper to the One Victim, who, once for all, has poured out his own blood as a complete propitiatory sacrifice for sin ; and through which all who put their trust in him, can be entitled to the covenant-blessings of the Gospel-dispensation.
The covenant of Sinai must be ratified with blood, Early the ensuing morning, Moses rose and builo an altar, and also twelve pillars ;-probably over against it. The former, emblematical of the throne of God, was his representative ; while the latter denoted the twelve tribes of Israel. These were the two parties to the covenant.
Burnt-offerings and peace-offerings were sacrificed by "young men of the children of Israel," whom Moses appointed for the purpose; or rather, as some think it should be rendered, by some who were the first-born. The blood of oxen, of calves, and of goats was poured out, and the altar smoked with the victims. Half of the blood Moses put into basins, and half he sprinkled upon the altar; on which probably the book of the covenant was laid, as Paul tells us that that also was sprinkled with the blood.
Moses then took the book of the covenant, and read it in the hearing of the people. It contained the promise of Jehovah to protect and bless them, if they continued faithful. Moses, acting in his name, made this promise. The congregation of Israel made theirs; "All that the Lord hath said will we do, and be obedient." Then "Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant, which the Lord hath made with you concerning all these words." He probably sprinkled this blood on the twelve pillars, or on certain of the heads and rulers of the people, as representatives of the whole assembly. He had already done it on the altar, the representative of God. It was a symbolical act, customary, it is supposed, at that time, in the formation of covenants between man and man. It had an awful import. It denoted, that the party who should break the engagement When our Saviour ate the passover, for the last time, with his disciples, and invited them to drink of the cup; he said of the wine which was in it, This is my blood of the New Testament, (or new Covenant,) which is shed for many for the remission of sins.
This new covenant which God offers, my young friend, to form with you, securing to you the full pardon of all your sins, and the divine protection and blessing, both in this life and for ever, must be rutificd by the blood of Christ. The victim is already slain. On God's part every thing is ready. How is it on yours?
Repentance for sin, and faith in Jesus Christ, as the great propitiatory sacrifice, makes you a party to this covenant; and God binds himself to fulfil it. Have you done this ? Beware, lest you tread under foot the Son of God, and count the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and do despite unto the Spirit of grace ?
Moses, Aaron, Nadab, Abihu, and the seventy elders as
cend Sinai. They see God. Moses there forty days, receiving divine communications.
After the ratifying of the covenant, Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel, ascended the mountain ; Moses bowing in adoration near its summit, and the others worshipping afar off.
A new vision burst upon their astonished sight. "They saw the God of Israel ;" not, indeed, any personal similitude, but some most extraordinary mani. festation of his presence; a splendid effulgence, a divine glory, surpassing every thing that the imagination can conceive.
Beneath it, and on which it seemed to rest, there was, as it were, "a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were, the body of heaven in his clearness.'
The sapphire is a very precious and costly stone, of a fine sky-blue color; of which the apparent pavement was made, looking like the clear, pure azure of the concave above us, in a day without clouds, when the eye seems to penetrate the infinite.
If such was the vision of Sinai to the enraptured sight of the worshippers who were then on it,