Page images

what will be the glorious manifestation of the Divine Presence in heaven to the redeemed who sur. round the throne of God and of the Lamb !-Shall we be there to witness it!

We are told that "upon the nobles of the children of Israel," (the chosen and highly honored men who were permitted to see this sublime sight,) " the Lord laid not his hand : also they saw God, and did eat and drink.-The overwhelming glory did not consume them. They were near the peculiar presence of God; and yet lived, so as to eat and drink again like other men; or, as some of the ancient commentators interpret it, (in a spiritual sense, their eyes feasted with a ravishing delight on the splendid vision.

Moses had other communications to receive from Jehovah. A voice from the divine glory addressed him : " Come

up to me into the mount, and be there: and I will give thee tables of stone, and a law, and commandments which I have written; that thou mayest teach them.”

In obeying this direction, Moses bestowed a most distinguished honor upon one individual who was with him on the mount. It was a mark of confidence not to be forgotten by the Israelites, showing that he who bore it, was doubtless destined to some very conspicuous station in the fu. ture progress of their affairs.

He took Joshua with him, and ascended still nearer the divine presence. Before going, however, he directed the elders to await their return; saying that if it became necessary to have any matters of difficulty adjusted among the Israelites, Aaron and Hur were invested with the requisite authority.

For six days Moses and Joshua were near the cloud which hung round the summit of the mountain, and directly over which was " the glory of the Lord.” On the seventh day, God called unto Moses, out of the midst of the cloud. And the sight of the glory of the Lord was like devouring fire, on the top of the mount, in the eyes of the children of Israel. And Moses went into the midst of the cloud;" where he remained, without food or drink, forty days and forty nights.

During the same space of time, Joshua also remained on the mountain; but in what particular spot; how he was sustained; what he did ; and whether he had any communication with Moses, or the elders ; we are not informed. We know, however, that he again accompanied Moses, when the latter descended from the mountain. This, and many things of a similar kind, connected with the facts recorded in the Scriptures, it might gratify our curiosity to know; but God inspired good men to write the Bible just as it is written, and we are sure that he knew best how it should be done.

The forty days which Moses spent on the sum.

mit of the mountain, near the divine glory, were days full of momentous importance to the children of Israel, and indeed to all mankind. He then received particular instructions from God respecting the building of the tabernacle, or holy place of his residence us Sovereign of the Jewish nation; the ark of the covenant, in which the tables of the law were deposited, with the blossoming rod of Aaron, and the omer of manna that was gathered in the wilderness; the mercy-seat and cherubims over the ark, between which the Divine presence was manifested in a visible heavenly glory, and where Moses came to consult Jehovah, and receive his instructions in the government of the Israelites ; the golden table for the show-bread; the golden candlestick ; the altar of burnt-offerings; the court of the tabernacle; the setting apart of Aaron and his sons for the priest's office; the splendid garments which, in the discharge of their sacred duties, they were to wear; the mysterious Urim and Thummim in the breast-plate of the high-priest, to be used when he went in before the divine presence, to make inquiry of the Lord, with difficult questions of duty; the manner of consecrating Aaron and his sons, " to hallow them, to minister unto the Lord in the priest's office," by sacrifices and offerings, and other religious ceremonies; and the morning and evening burnt-offerings, at the door of the tabernacle," day by day, continually."

A volume, or even volumes, might be written to explain these interesting things, and show, so far as it can be ascertained, their import and practical moral uses. They entered deeply into the principles of the divine government over the Jews; the forming of their character as God's peculiar people; the preserving of the knowledge of himself, and of his laws and worship in the world; and the preparation of events, age after age, for the fulness of time, when the great Redeemer of mankind, the Messiah, should

appear. But it would make our history, it is feared, too prolix to go into these particulars. The author must omit them; recommending to his readers, however, to consult, on these and kindred topics, those valuable works to explain them, to which they can easily be referred, and which there is no difficulty in procuring.

After giving these instructions to Moses, which was done in the most minute and circumstantial manner, -so that the very pattern of them was showed him on the mount-Jehovah added these memorable words:

to minister to me in the priest's office. And I will dwell among the children of Israel, and I will be their God. And they shall know that I am the Lord their God that brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, that I may dwell among them: I am the Lord their God.”

Moses then received other and equally important instructions. They related to the altar of burntincense, on which, once a year continually, an atonement was to be made with the blood of the sin-offering of atonements; the half a shekel for the servi of the tabernacle, wbich each of the Israelites who was twenty years of age, or upwards, was tv pay as a ransom for his life unto the Lord, and which was called atonement-money; the brazen laver; the holy anointing oil for the anointing of the tabernacle and what it contained, and of Aaron and his sons; and the holy perfume.

What an amount of labor must be performed, and of curious skill employed, in carrying into effect all these divine injunctions! Who will be competent to undertake the difficult task, and especially of superintending it? God himself made provision for this exigency. He told Moses whom he had chosen for the purpose; Bezaleel, of the tribe of Judah. And he not only gave additional vigor and acuteness to the already acquired capacity which this artificer possessed; but inspired him with preternatural wisdom, understanding, and

« PreviousContinue »