« ÎnapoiContinuă »
DEATH OF MOSES.
DEUTERONOMY xxxii. 48, 49, 50.
And the Lord spake unto Moses that self-same day, saying, 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. THE book of Deuteronomy, as its name imports, contains a repetition of the laws given to Israel by Jehovah. It comprises a summary of the various communications made at different times unto Moses, and also arecapitulation of the most remarkable events which befel the Jewish nation from the period of their departure out of Egypt. It sets before their eyes all the mercies and deliverances vouchsafed to them, and
all the punishments inflicted upon them for their repeated transgressions. Above all, it labours to impress upon their minds that most difficult of lessons to a successful people, as the Jews must now be esteemed humility: it teaches them that their victorious progress had not been effected by their own strength, but by the might of the Lord of Hosts; that the extraordinary favours shown to them were not in consequence of their own righteousness, for they had been most rebellious; but because of the wickedness of the inhabitants of the land, and in order to accomplish the vast designs of Almighty wisdom. This book may therefore be considered as an abstract or compendium of the three preceding books of the Pentateuch; interspersed however with the most exalted sentiments of piety, the best and purest precepts for the conduct of life, the most sublime devotional addresses to the Supreme Being, the most earnest and affectionate exhortations" to observe and to do all the commandments and statutes of the Lord," concluding with a
glowing description of the privileges and happiness of the righteous, and with fearful denunciations of the miseries which will be the portion of the wicked.
Moses was at this time a hundred and twenty years old, and though he felt not the burden of bodily infirmity, though "his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated;" yet he knew that the hour of his departure drew nigh. Whether, therefore, we consider the peculiar circumstances under which these admonitions were given to the multitudes assembled in the plains of Moab, or the age and character of the prophet himself, we may easily imagine with what authority his words would fall upon the ears and hearts of his auditors. The whole book, indeed, may justly be viewed as the parting address of a dying parent to his children the last bequest to those whom he had loved and cherished during life. As a father Moses stood among his people; as children they gathered round him, eager to catch the last accents of wisdom, the last sounds of encouragement or of warning.
In the moment of separation, it is reasonable to conclude that all their jealousies were forgotten, all their murmurings laid aside, and that they beheld in him only the favoured servant of God, their intrepid deliverer, their faithful guide, their powerful intercessor-one who had borne with unwearied patience all their rebellions and ingratitude; who had constantly sacrificed himself for their welfare, and who, to use his own affecting language, had "carried them in his bosom, as a father beareth his child " The expressions of wisdom, thus solemnly and impressively uttered, appear to have produced, at least for a considerable time, the desired effect; for it is worthy of remark that, as often happens with the counsels of great men, more attention was paid to this address, after his death, than to all his advice and exhortations, while living.
Replete with interest and instruction as this book is throughout, in no part is it
1 Numbers xi. 12.