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who approaches us. We conceive it probable, that besides these embodied spirits like our own, there are others which have no such burden as the flesh, which think or feel, act, suffer, or enjoy, independently of any outward sense. And we no less readily entertain the notion, that besides all these, there is some One, who rules all others, a Spirit such as we mean by God.
Now these sentiments, which have been current with more or less of acceptance amongst nearly all mankind, are in every case to be traced to those revelations of Himself, which the One only true God has been pleased from time to time to give unto mankind. And one of the most remarkable of these, one which has most largely influenced the belief of all succeeding generations, and is most closely connected with our own faith also, is this, of which we here have the introduction. Familiar as we are with the profession of our faith, and stoutly as we maintain, against all gainsayers, that God is almighty and every where present, it would startle us to see suddenly in this room any such manifest token of something supernatural, as a bush burning and not consumed. It would startle us to hear a voice issue from such a fire as that; even though we should suppose it to be some one of created spirits, and not the Creator Himself. But what if the voice should say, “ I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob ?” What if the things spoken were such as God alone could say ? What if a token were given us such as God only could fulfil? The more thoroughly we were convinced, that it was, in truth, God manifesting Himself to man, we should be so much the more apt with Moses to hide our faces ; being like him “afraid to look upon God.”
And yet one chief use of this record of what happened to Moses, is to convey to us the same lively impression of an ever present God, as it must have made effectually on him. And if faith be the evidence of things not seen, we ought to live under as sure persuasion that God is present, and might at any moment make Himself manifest, as if we had seen what Moses saw. Behold, to us also He has given a commission. And who are we, O Lord, that we should be able to fulfil thy commandments ? Hark, it is his voice that answers us ; “Certainly I will be with thee." There shall nò temptation bappen to us beyond what we are able to bear. His strength is made perfect in our weakness. He proves his presence, by enabling us to do, what without it we never could accomplish, to perfect boliness in the fear of the Lord. See 2 Cor. 7. 1.
O ever present God, let us henceforth distrust no more. Let us love to do all that Thou dost command. Let us long to know all that Thou hast revealed. And as we approach Thee in the confidence of sons, through the intercession of our blessed Saviour, let it be the earnest desire of our hearts, to behold thy face in glory!
The name of God. His message to Israel. 13 And Moses said unto God, rizzites, and the Hivites, and the Behold, when I come unto the Jebusites, unto a land flowing children of Israel, and shall say with milk and honey. unto them, The God of your 18 And they shall hearken to fathers hath sent me unto you; thy voice : and thou shalt come, and they shall say to me, What thou and the elders of Israel, is his name? what shall I say unto the king of Egypt, and ye unto them?
shall say unto him, The LORD 14 And God said unto Moses, God of the Hebrews hath met I AM THAT I AM: and he with us : and now let us go, we said, Thus shalt thou say unto beseech thee, three days' jourthe children of Israel, I AM ney into the wilderness, that hath sent me unto you.
we may sacrifice to the LORD 15 And God said moreover
our God. unto Moses, Thus shalt thou 19 And I am sure that the king say unto the children of Israel, of Egypt will not let you go, The Lord God of your fathers, no, not by a mighty hand. the God of Abraham, the God 20 And I will stretch out my of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hand, and smite Egypt with all hath sent me unto you: this is my wonders which I will do in my name for ever, and this is my the midst thereof: and after that memorial unto all generations. he will let you go.
16 Go, and gather the elders 21 And I will give this people of Israel together, and say unto favour in the sight of the Egypthem, The Lord God of your tians : and it shall come to pass, fathers, the God of Abraham, of that, when ye go, ye shall not Isaac, and of Jacob, appeared go empty. unto me, saying, I have surely 22 But every woman shall borvisited you, and seen that which row of her neighbour, and of her is done to you in Egypt: that sojourneth in her house,
17 And I have said, I will jewels of silver, and jewels of bring you up out of the affic- gold, and raiment: and ye shall tion of Egypt unto the land of put them upon your sons, and the Canaanites, and the Hittites, upon your daughters; and ye and the Amorites, and the Pe- shall spoil the Egyptians.
LECTURE 108. That the one only true God is in covenant with us. In this marvellous revelation of Himself, God did by no means overpower the selfpossession, or understanding, of his servant Moses. Though he hid his face out of reverential awe, never having doubted for one moment that it was the voice of God, yet he was able to reflect; he was able to weigh the nature of the commission which God gave him. In the humble exercise of his own reason he first suggested how unequal he was to the task proposed. See ver. 11. And when this objection was overruled, by the promise of God's presence to uphold him, he then enquired how he should answer the children of Israel, who by way of sifting his authority, would be sure to ask the name of the God that had sent him.
To this enquiry God vouchsafed to give the answer following: “I AM THAT I Am: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I am hath sent me unto you. And further He directed Moses to tell them that it was the God of their fathers who had sent him unto them, “ the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob;" a name by which He declares He would be known for ever,” his “memorial unto all generations.” And after this, He bade Moses promise them, in his name, that He would bring them up out of Egypt, into the land of Canaan. And God also assured him, that they would hearken to his voice, shewed him how to proceed with the king of Egypt, warned him that this Pharaoh would not let the people go, but by a mighty hand,” (Margin), promised him that this mighty hand should be revealed, and foretold that by means of the favour which He would give his people in the sight of the Egyptians, it should come to pass that they should not go empty, but that by borrowing, or rather, demanding their ornaments and raiment, under circumstances which will be explained hereafter, they should “spoil the Egyptians.”
Are we, like Moses, ourselves convinced, and desirous to know how we may convince others ? Let us tell them, that the God in whom we put our trust, and in whom we would persuade them to put their's, is no other than He that dwelleth in eternity, who is “ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.” Heb. 13. 8. He is that He is. Neither is there any other like to Him. All other beings are of his creation. He is from everlasting to everlasting. But though He be so high above out of our reach, He has been pleased to enter into a covenant of love with the children of men. And in memorial thereof, He calls Himself the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And according to his covenant He has visited and redeemed his people, both the children of Israel according to the flesh, and the seed of Abraham according to the spirit. He has sent his Son to save us from our enemies. He has given us the promise of this world, and of that which is to come. Only let us hearken to the voice of our Redeemer; and behold, by the help of the Lord, we go forth, laden with spoil, from contending with our adversary for a season, to join the triumph of our King for
God grant that we may know, both how to prove all things, and how to hold fast that which is good! God teach us, how to use our understanding in believing what He has revealed, and at the same time to resign our hearts !
Moses is empowered to work miracles. 1 And Moses answered and the water of the river, and pour said, But, behold, they will not it upon the dry land : and the believe me, nor hearken unto my water which thou takest out of voice: for they will say, The Lord the river shall become blood upha:h not appeared unto thee. on the dry land.
2 And the Lord said unto him, 10 And Moses said unto the What is that in thine hand ? LORD, O my Lord, I am not And he said, A rod.
eloquent, neither heretofore nor 3 And he said, Cast it on the since thou hast spoken unto thy ground. And he cast it on the servant: but I am slow of speech, ground, and it became a serpent; and of a slow tongue. and Moses fled from before it. 11 And the Lord said unto him,
4 And the LORD said unto Mo- Who hath made man's mouth? ses, Put forth thine hand, and or who maketh the dumb, or take it by the tail. And he put deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? forth his hand, and caught it, and have not I the LORD? it became a rod in his hand : 12 Now therefore go, and I will
5 That they may believe that be with thy mouth, and teach thee the Lord God of their fathers, what thou shalt say. the God of Abraham, the God 13 And he said, O my Lord, of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, send, I pray thee, by the hand hath appeared unto thee. of him whom thou wilt send.
6 And the LORD said further- 14 And the anger of the LORD more unto him, Put now thine was kindled against Moses, and hand into thy bosom. And he he said, Is not Aaron the Levite put his hand into his bosom: thy brother? I know that he can and when he took it out, behold, speak well. And also, behold, his hand was leprous as snow. he cometh forth to meet thee:
7 And he said, Put thine hand and when he seeth thee, he will into thy bosom again. And he be glad in his heart. put his hand into his bosom again; 15 And thou shalt speak unto and plucked it out of his bosom, him, and put words in his mouth: and, behold, it was turned again and I will be with thy mouth, and as his other flesh.
with his mouth, and will teach you 8 And it shall come to pass,
if what shall do. they will not believe thee, nei- 16 And he shall be thy spokesther hearken to the voice of the man unto the people: and he first sign, that they will believe shall be, even he shall be to thee the voice of the latter sign. instead of a mouth, and thou shalt
9 And it shall come to pass, if be to him instead of God. they will not believe also these 17 And thou shalt take this rod two signs, neither hearken unto in thine hand, wherewith thou thy voice, that thou shalt take of shalt do signs.
LECTURE 109. That we must not be cold in undertaking the work of God. Here we see how revelation is accredited by miracles. Here we have the proper notion of a miracle set forth, a work beyond the course of nature, an interruption of the laws of nature, wrought
by the interference of God, on purpose to convince man that it is God who is at work. Moses was apprehensive that the children of Israel, even when they heard the name and the message
of God, would still question whether he really was God's messenger; and would say, "The Lord hath not appeared unto thee.” In answer to this difficulty, God bade him throw down a rod, or stick, that was in his hand; “and it became a serpent." And when he “fled from before it,” God commanded him again, “ Put forth thine band, and take it by the tail.” And when through faith he overcame his fear, and did as he was commanded, “it became a rod in his hands." The object of all which is thus declared, “ That they may believe that the Lord God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath appeared unto thee.” A miracle of another kind was also wrought; God giving the command, Moses putting his hand into his bosom, and God working the miraculous effects, first leprosy, and then health restored. And further God gave instructions for another kind of miracle, which was to be wrought with the water of the river of Egypt, in case the Israelites would not hearken to the voice of the two first signs. Thus Moses was amply assured, that God had furnished him with means to convince his brethren. And he had no longer any ground on which to hesitate in undertaking the appointed work.
But see how weak is faith, even in the faithful. See how sinful it is to plead distrust in our own selves, when it amounts to distrust of God! Moses now begins to plead, that he has not the eloquence which would be needful for the persuasion of the Israelites. As if God who made the mouth, could not also make it eloquent! And even when God promises to teach him what to say, he still but faintly consents to go; speaking as if he almost wished that some one else might serve instead, “O my Lord, send I pray thee by the hand of him whom thou wilt send.” No wonder that the anger of the Lord was kindled. For not to close thankfully with that which God proposes is little better than actually to refuse it. No wonder that Aaron is now to share with Moses this honourable office; since “ he will be glad in his heart to see his brother, and to be told what he is to say. And have we not been afraid, as we listened to this history, that God would in his anger reject Moses altogether, instead of allowing him to take his rod in his hand for working miracles, and to be "instead of God” to Aaron, to tell him what God would have him say ? And ought we not to be surprised at God's like forbearance to ourselves, seeing how little we care to use the gift that is in us, towards delivering from the bondage of iniquity the many nations to whom his covenant extends ? Ought we not to be overcome with thankfulness, and also to be stirred up to exertion; when we find that the honourable office of his messengers is not yet altogether taken from our hands?