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among the Jews, to answer to this description, except the Lord Jesus Christ ? This has been abundantly shown by the most able expositors of Scrippture, and is, indeed, put beyond all doubt by the express declarations of Peter and Stephen, in the third and seventh chapters of the Acts of the Apostles; and our Saviour himself, it would seem, confirms this testimony when he says to the Jews, in asserting his claims to their reverence and belief; " Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father : there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust. For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me : for he wrote of me.”
Having rehearsed, in the presence of the assembly, the various statutes and ordinances which God had commanded him to do, Moses reminded the people of the solemn covenant into which they had entered. It was made between them and Jehovah; they promised fidelity and obedience, and, in this case, God pledging himself to regard them as his peculiar people, and to distinguish them, by his blessings, above all the nations of the earth. What an honor to enter into such a covenant! What exalted privileges it confers! What affecting obligations rest upon the Israelites, to preserve it inviolate !
Certain religious ceremonies, after they had entered the promised land, were to be performed by the Israelites, to impress still more deeply upon
their memories, and their hearts, the divine injunctions. They were commanded by Moses, to set up in mount Ebal stones of a great size, and so prepared that on them could be written the words of the law—which he had announced to them. On the same spot they were to erect an altar to the Lord their God, and on it offer up their burnt-offerings and peace-offerings, and have a season of religious festivity and rejoicing, in grateful remembrance of the blessings which had been bestowed upou them.
Mount Ebal was near Shechem, and over against mount Gerizim, from which it is separated by a valley of about two hundred paces in width. These mountains are seven or eight hundred feet high ; the former barren and dreary, the latter abounding with springs, and a beautiful fertility. Here, in addition to the setting up of the stones, and the other religious ceremonies which have been mentioner, one more transaction of deep and imposing solemnity was to take place.
Moses commanded the Israelites when they had performed those ceremonies, to separate themselves certain peculiar offences; the people acknowledg. ing themselves justly liable to these denunciations, should they prove guilty, by a responding Amen.
Still further, as if he could not do enough to lead such a perverse and fickle nation to feel their obligations, and the power of the motives to obedience, Moses proceeded, himself to pronounce a series of blessings upon them, of the most distinguished kind, if they would hearken diligently unto the Lord their God and obey his commandments.
These he followed with a corresponding succes. sion of curses, severe, desolating, and terrific ; which might well fill them with horror at the very idea of provoking such manifestations of the divine vengeance by their transgressions. Alas! they did thus provoke them; and the exact infiction of the evils contained in these denunciations, has formed one of the most striking fulfillments of the sacred prophecies.
When will the tender mercies of the Lord, on the one hand, and his awful terrors, on the other, affect the heart of man, and bring him to obey his Maker ? How self-willed, how selfish, how sensual is that heart ; how opposed naturally to the divine requirements; how prone to set them all at defiance!
Truth, motives, blessings, curses, make no effi. cacious impression on thut heart, without the accompanying influences of the Spirit of Grace. The Is raelites of old often grieved that Spirit ; and God
abandoned them to their own wicked ways, and to the judgments denounced against transgression.
And how, my young friend, do the promises and threatenings of God affect your heart? Do they produce corresponding emotions of gratitude, and of a salátary fear ? Look at them in their true and momentous import. Implore the influences of the Holy Spirit, that you may feel, and yield to, their sanctions.
The ratifying of the covenant. Moses encourages Joshua,
and delivers to the priests and elders copies of the law, Divine communications to Moses.
"Ye stand this day,” said Moses, "all of you before the Lord your God; your captains of your tribes, your elders, and your officers, with all the men of Israel, your little ones, your wives, and the stranger that is in thy camp, from the hewer of thy wood, unto the drawer of thy water : that thou shouldest enter into covenant with the Lord thy God, and into his oath, which the Lord thy God maketh with thee this day.”
What were the peculiar ceremonies attending the ratifying of the covenant we are not informed. They were, doubtless, those which were employed on similar occasions; and this covenant, made in the plains of Moab, it is said, was in addition to that entered into between God and the Israelites at Horeb. It was designed to lead the new generation, which, in the meanwhile, had risen up, to feel their obligations to Jehovah, and to bind them to his service.
Moses accompanied it with still further instructions and exhortations; with promises and threatenings; with prophetic forebodings of the future disobedience of the nation, and of the consequent judgments that would overtake them. And yet, even in the midst of these judgments, if they would repent and turn again to the Lord, so great is his mercy, he would pardon their iniquities, and receive them once more to his favor; delivering them out of their troubles, and shedding down his blessings upon them.
The tender concern of Moses for his country. men, in these closing scenes of his life, is striking and affecting. It would seem as if he could hardly bring his parental counsels to a close. He gives line upon line, and precept upon precept. He brings forward with the most touching pathog