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It teaches us the imperfection and sinfulness of the best of men, and their dependence on the Spirit of God, for the possession and exercise of every holy principle within them. Moses, beyond all doubt, deeply deplored such unbelief. He humbled bimself before God in view of it, and sought its forgiveness at the throne of grace, supplicating strength from above to resist successfully its recurring influence. And such strength was given him. We always find him triumphing over this sin ; and returning to duty; and going forward, with a dauntless spirit, in the midst of the greatest difficulties and trials. His faith even seems to break forth from the cloud which cast over it a short and partial obscurity, with new lustre ; and as we follow him along, through his arduous and often-discouraging course, it sheds over it a brighter and brighter light to its close.
This life-giving principle animated the breasts of his pious parents. It was their fuith which preserved him, while yet an infant, for his momentous destiny. The child of their prayers, and growing up in the same faith, Moses, under its powerful infuence, " when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter ; choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season ; esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he had respect unto
the recompense of the reward.” The sume fuith enabled him to prosecute with unabated zeal, and through the continual and tremendous obstacles which opposed its progress, the enterprise which he thus began; lo conduct the children of Israel to the borders of the promised land; to bow in quiet submission to the sentence which forbade him to enter it; to ascend in loneliness the summit of Pisgah; there to breathe out his spirit into the hands of Him who gave it; and enter that world of bliss where faith is swullowed up in vision.
Moses was a man of prayer. His faith led him to pray. Confiding in God, he went to him continually to ask for wisdom, for strength, and for every other needed grace. With what frequent and importunate supplication, also, did he intercede for the wayward and rebellious people over whom he was placed as their leader. How often do we find him prostrating himself before their offended Sovereign, to avert from them, if possible, the merited expressions of the divine indignation, or to arrest its progress, if it had already begun to fall upon their guilty heads.
With what success, too, did he pray; as if to change annarently, at times the very nurnoses of grace, of
being swept away from the face of the earth ; their covenant-privileges forfeited and lust for ever, and their name as a nation blotted out and consigned to utter oblivion.
Such was the efficacy at the throne of the
prayers of Moses, the mediator and intercessor of his people. What must have been the frequency, the urgency, the devout aspirations of soul, the humble boldness, and the confiding faith, with which these prayers were offered up, that they could thus move the mind and the arm of Omnipotence!
Humility is another conspicuous trait in the character of Moses. It is the more so, when we consider the many temptations which must have beset him to indulge pride and self-complacency.
From being a poor Hebrew child; his parents in bondage, oppressed and despised; himself, though yet an infant, outlawed and under sentence of death; he became the adopted son of the daughter of a powerful monarch, and was trained up amid the splendors and luxuries of his court. His associates were the rich and the great, the powerful and the learned. He was himself remarkable for his learning " in all the wisdom of the Egyptians.” He was "mighty in words and in deeds," having an influence and popularity throughout the nation which but few others possessed. And still greater honors, power, and renown, to swell the amount of
what he already had, might yet be before him!
Here were abundant incentives to pride, and the most towering ambition. Moses, by divine grace, was enabled to resist them all. He abandoned these splendid prospects; he came down from this elevated station; he took up his lot with his degraded and wretched countrymen; he went into exile; and for forty years was contented to be an obscure shepherd in the solitudes of Midian.
When we consider what were his motives in doing this, and how he demeaned himself in his new condition, where can we find, in the history of our race, a more striking example of a humble and unambitious spirit ?
The same humility marked his whole, subsequent career. Brought forth from his long obscurity; raised by Jehovah to be the head of a great people, and the conductor of an enterprise, one of the most wonderful and momentous which the world has ever witnessed; performing miracles the most stupendous ; the agent of deliverance to a whole nation from bondage, and of the tremendous overthrow of their oppressors; the leader of this nation, through appalling obstacles, and dangers, and trials, to the borders of their anticipated inheritance; their mediator and intercessor at the throne of heaven; acting immediately under God, as their governor and lawgiver; admitted to constant communion with his Maker,--the Lord speaking to him, not in visions and dreams, but "mouth to mouth," and, once on Sinai, passing before him in a manifestation of the divine glory and presence, mysterious and indescribable; and yet with scarcely an exception, (the one at Meribah-Kadesh being the most conspicuous,) all this while, free from every thing like self complacency or ostentation, arrogance or pride, --condescending, forgiving, and humble, in the midst of ingratitude and provocations,—have we not to admire again the efficacy of divine grace in enabling a fallible and sinful man, thus situated, to exhibit such an example of genuine lowliness of heart !
Connected with this humility of character, and indeed growing out
it, was the meekness for which Moses was so remarkable.
The Scriptures tell us, that he " was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.” It was a qualification essential to his success, and he was largely endowed with it. A spirit easily provoked, and resenting quickly any disrespect or injury, would have been poorly fitted to conduct nearly three millions of people, such as the Israelites were, through the difficulties and trials of their course from Egypt to the promised land.