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The song of Moses. He is summoned to leave the world. His last blessing. He ascends Mount Nebo.
Under the influence of a divine inspiration, Moses composed the sacred song, as he had been directed; and, ordering the elders of the tribes, and the officers, with the whole congregation to be assembled, rehearsed it in their presence. It is a truly sublime production, exhibiting the majesty of Jehovah, with unrivalled power and grandeur of conception; portraying in terms of exquisite and pathetic tenderness his care over his people; describing their sad defection, with the terrific judgments that should overtake them; breathing a most touching expostulation on account of their folly and guilt; and concluding with a lofty, prophetic strain of what God would yet do for the Israelites in the extremity of their wretchedness, taking vengeance on their adversaries, and causing the Gentile nations to rejoice with them in their final restoration.
which ye shall command your children to observe to do, all the words of this law. For it is not a vain thing for you; because it is your life: and through this thing you shall prolong your days in the land, whither ye go over Jordan to possess it."
It was probably in the evening of the same day, that Moses, having retired from the pressure of his official duties—in some sequestered spot favorable for composure of thought, and communion with God-heard the final summons to depart from his earthly sphere of service. Notwithstanding his expectation of it for some considerable length of time, and the readiness, no doubt, in which it found him to obey the divine mandate, still a strange and mysterious awe, mingled with a thrill of shrinking apprehension, came over him, as these portentous words fell upon his ear:
"Get thee up into this mountain Abarim, unto mount Nebo, which is in the land of Moab, that is over against Jericho and behold the land of Canaan which I give unto the children of Israel for a possession and die in the mount whither thou goest up, and be gathered unto thy people; as
before thee; but thou shalt not go thither unto the land which I give the children of Israel."
And die in the mount." Moses was to go up into that lonely solitude-unattended—with no earthly friend to lean upon, to soothe and strengthen him with the words of pious consolation in his dying hour. In the full possession of mental and bodily vigor, he was to compose himself for the last struggle, and, in what mysterious way he knew not, suffer the convulsive pang that separates the spirit from its dissolving tabernacle.
But God would be with him, his almighty friend; who had already so often sustained and succored him; and who would not forsake him in this last extremity. Perhaps his departure might be a childlike sleep; and serenely sinking away on the bosom of Jehovah, his spirit awake, with delightful surprise, upon the glories of the invisible world. Be the closing scene thus peaceful, or to be invested with some appalling form, the faith of Moses wavered not. It was equal to the occasion. It furnished a sublime exhibition of the moral energy of his soul, strong in the strength of God, and relying on the divine faithfulness. He goes forward,
dress them. Every eye of the vast multitude is fixed on his venerable form, and every ear strives to catch, if it may be, even the murmur of his parental voice. They press nearer and nearer, and would cling round him, to detain him if possible a little longer, as their father, and mediator with God.
He allays their agitated feelings. His look, his voice, his whole air shows his self-possession, and in some degree promotes theirs. Still, what tears and sighs, on all sides, proclaim the general grief; while the deep emotions of his own soul are scarcely to be kept from overflowing. Nature would all the hidden fountains of feeling, and pour open them forth But it must not be so. He has a high duty to discharge. The importance of the occasion, the dignity of his office, the approaching scene of his mysterious dissolution, the anticipation of the heavenly glory, all conspire to produce within him an elevation of mind, a power of self-control, which he never knew before.
Besides, Jehovah is present. The prophetic impulse moves the spirit of his servant. Moses utters the sentiments of a divine inspiration; and his thoughts assume an unearthly grandeur as the affecting scene before him is mingled with the visions of coming years, and blessing the tribes of Israel, he portrays their future greatness.
Making this blessing rest on the sure foundation
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 benedictions 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 excel