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him in the face. Is he encouraging them in their progress towards the promised land? he sighs to think that he himself shall never enter it. At one time he flatters himself with the hope that justice might perhaps relent, and presumes to expostulate and entreat, in terms earnest and pathetic, such as these; “O Lord God, thou hast begun to show thy servant thy greatness, and thy mighty hand: for what god is there in heaven or in earth, that can do according to thy works, and according to thy might? I pray thee, let me go over, and see the good land that is beyond Jordan, that goodly mountain, and Lebanon," Deut. iii. 24, 25.
At another time, he seems quietly to give up the cause as lost, and patiently prepares to meet his fate, and meekly resigns himself to the will of the Most High, which he was unable to alter. In a word, we see him at once the man and the believer, and a pattern well worthy of imitation in both respects.
It is impossible to observe the conflict of Moses' soul, when this cup of trembling was put into his hands, without thinking of the bitter agony in the garden, of the travail of the Redeemer's soul, of that passionate address, “ Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me”-of" sweat like great drops of blood fal. ling down to the ground,” Luke xxii: 42-44, of the triumph of resignation, “nevertheless, not my will, but thine be done” of “ humiliation to death, the death of the cross.” Thus it “ behoved him to fulfil all righteousness.” Thus he taught men to obey the law of God, to use all lawful endeavours to preserve life; and thus he inculcated submission to that sovereign will which it is unprofitable and impious to resist.
“Get thee up,” said God to Moses, “ into this mount Abarim, and see the land which I have given unto the children of Israel,” Num. xxvii. 12, and this is all that the law can do for the guilty; it conducts to an adjoining eminence, it spreads a distant prospect of Canaan, it can display its beauty and fertility,
it can inspire the desire of possession; but it cannot divide Jordan, it cannot lead to victory over the last enemy, it cannot make “ the comer thereunto perfect," nor establish the soul in everlasting rest. Neither Moses, the giver of the law, nor Aaron, the high-priest, under the law, could “continue by reason of death.” But the Apostle and High-Priest of our profession is 6 entered into the holiest of all," has opened a passage through the gates of death, to life and immortality; lifted up, first upon the cross, and then to his throne in the heavens, he is drawing all men unto him.
Together with the honest though fond attachment to life, which characterizes the man, and the pious resignation which marks the child of God, Moses discovers, on this occasion, that excellent spirit which sinks and loses the individual in the public. He cheerfully gives up
his personal suit, and the cause of Israel henceforth engrosses him wholly.” And Moses spake unto the Lord, saying, Let the Lord, the God of the spirits of all flesh, set a man over the congregation, which may go out before them, and which may go in before them, and which may lead them out, and which may bring them in; that the congregation of the Lord be not as sheep which have no shepherd,” Numb. xxvii. 15–17.
Let modern patriots think of this, and blush at their pride and selfishness. But they are lost to all sense of decency, they keep each other in countenance by their multitude and confidence, and glory in their shame.” This noble conduct of the Jewish legislator was not the affectation of virtue and public spirit, the ostentatious boasting of a man who had no prospect, or a distant one, of being put to the trial; but the native greatness and superiority of a mind occupied with two grand objects, the glory of God, and the good of his country; a mind that could rejoice in the advancement of an inferior, and decrease with inward satisfac. tion, while the other increased. Ordinary men look with an evil eye upon their successors. A prince and his heir, though that heir be his own son, generally live upon indifferent terms; but Moses sees his dignity departing from himself in his life-time, departing from his family, given to his servant, without a murmur, without a sigh. It was enough to him that God had been pleased to adopt Joshua, for the purpose of finishing his work, of introducing Israel into their inheritance. It is no sooner intimated to him, than Joshua becomes his son, his brother, his friend: and he proceeds to his installation with as much alacrity, as he invested Aaron with the pontifical robes.
This solemn ceremony consisted of a variety of circumstances, which are well worthy of our attention; from their being of divine appointment, from their great antiquity, from their inexplicable mysteriousness, or their obvious significancy. Joshua was already anointed with the unction of the Spirit: he was a person of singular piety, undaunted resolution, and unshaken fidelity: he had long attended upon Moses as his minister, had accompanied him into the mount, when he ascended to meet God, had traversed the land of Canaan as one of the spies, had brought up its good report, and stood firm with Caleb in resisting the timid and discouraging representations of his colleagues, He possessed all the qualities natural, 'acquired, and miraculously dispensed, which were requisite to the discharge of the duties of that high and important station to which Providence was now calling him. By the spirit which is said to have been in Joshua, some understand the spirit of prophecy, or supernatural powers of foreseeing and providing for future events. By taking in every circumstance, it seems rather to denote those rare gifts with which nature had so liberally endowed him, wisdom, and courage, and strength, and which Providence was now calling forth for the general benefit. But though thus amply furnished for his great undertaking, God was pleased to com mand a solemn and public declaration of his choice, and that the object of it should, before the eyes of the people, be set apart by the imposition of the hands of Moses to the office assigned him.
Forms are necessary, because men are not spiritual; forms are interposed, that the understanding, the heart and the conscience may be approached through the channels of sense. And of all forms, recommended by divine authority, and its own significant simplicity, that of the laying on of hands is one of the most ancient, most frequently in use, and most striking. By this solemn rite, the devoted victim was set apart for death, and the guilt of the offerer transferred, as it were, and laid upon the head of the oblation: and thus were the minister of the sanctuary; the general, the statesman, dedicated to the duties of their respective stations: thus new and extraordinary powers were conferred upon Joshua: thus Jesus took leave of his disciples, and left a blessing behind him, more precious than the mantle of Elijah. “ He led them out as far as Bethany: and he lifted up his hands and blessed them,'* Luke xxiv. 50.
By laying on of the apostles' hands, miraculous gifts of the Holy Ghost were communicated; and by laying on of the hands of the presbytery, Timothy was solemnly set apart for exercising the office of a bishop; and thus a great part of the christian world continues to instal its ministers in the pastoral office.
Moses was farther commanded “ to cause Joshua to stand before Eleazar the priest,” who was probably to offer up sacrifice in behalf of the commander elect, and by this additional solemnity to impress both upon his own mind and upon those of the spectators, the weight and importance of the sacred charge committed unto him. It is added, verse 20th, “ And thou shalt put some of thine honour upon him, that all the congregation of the children of Israel may be obedient.”
This is interpreted by some commentators, of those rays of glory, which are supposed to have surrounded the head of Moses, ever since his descent from God in the mount, and which so dazzled the eyes of the beholder, that in speaking to the people he was under the necessity of putting a veil over his face. By the imposition of his hands upon the head of Joshua, according to the commandment, this external, sensible honour is understood to have been communicated from the one to the other, and that, in consequence of it, Joshua henceforth wore a visible token of the choice of Heaven.
Conjecture and fancy blend too much in this expo- . sition, to procure for it a very high degree of respecto Juster and more sober criticism explain the passage as implying, that Moses should immediately associate Joshua with himself in the executive powers of government, devolve upon him a share both of the respect and the care which pertained to the supreme command; that he might enjoy the satisfaction, while he yet lived, and which
he so much desired, of beholding a wise and good man conducting the Israelitish affairs, in church and state, with discretion, and carrying on the plan of Providence to its consummation.
There is another article in the injunction laid upon Moses, respecting the appointment of his successor, which has greatly exercised and puzzled the critics. * And he shall stand before Eleazar the priest, who shall ask counsel for him, after the judgment of Urim, before the Lord; at his word shall they go out, and at his word they shall come in, both he, and all the children of Israel with him, even all the congregation,"? Numb. xxvii. 21.
The difficulty is, what was the Urim, and the judgment of Urim, of which Eleazar was to ask counsel in behalf of Joshua, and wherein Moses differed from Joshua as to this? Urim is, in general, in scripture, found in connexion with Thummim. The words import light and perfection; and they appear to have