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Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon,” Isai. lv. 6, 7.
Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation,” 2 Cor. vi. 2.
" Return, ye backsliding children, and I will heal your backslidings; behold we come unto thee, for thou art the Lord our God. Truly in vain is salvation looked for from the hills, and from the multitude of mountains : truly in the Lord our God is the salvation of Israel,” Jer. ii. 22, 23.
HISTORI OF MOSES.
And it came to pass in the forlieth year, in the eleventh
month, on the first day of the month, that Moses spake unto the children of Israel, according unto all that the Lord had given him in commandment unto them....Deut. i. S.
“ Where is that thrift, that avarice of time,
EHOLD this honorable thrift, this glorious ava
rice, exemplified in that most amiable and excellent of mankind, Moses, the man of God, who has condescended to be so long our instructor and our guide. He is now in the last month of his earthly existence; he is “ ready to be offered up; the time of his departure is at hand ;” and an illustrious instance his last days exhibits of how much may be done in a little time. Within the compass of that month, that little month, all the words of this book were spoken in the ears of all Israel, and were committed to writing. The decree, the irreversible decree had gone forth, he knew that he must die; he therefore sets himself to redeem the time, and seeing his days are now few, not one of them shall be spent in vain.
The tide which carried him along to the world of spirits, is hastening to finish our course, to add us to the number of those who were, but are no more. Another month, a little month, must close our review of the life and writings of Moses. A still shorter period may close our worldly career ; and when we part, it is to meet no more, till “ the dead, small and great, stand before God." Let us then seize the moments as they fly, and redeem our time. Let us drink into the spirit of Moses, and learn of him how to live, and how to die.
wij. We see here a man living cheerfully, living usefully to the last. Two different and indeed opposite feelings are apt to betray men into the same practical error, that of mispending their time, and neglecting their opportunities...the confidenee of living long on the one hand...the near prospect of death on the other. What we imagine it is in our power to do when we please, we are in great danger of never do. ing at all; and we feel the remorse of occasion forever lost, ere we are well awake from the dream of a season continually at our disposal ; and it is but too common, when thus overtaken, disconcerted' and contused, to give up our work in despair. Having much to do, and the time being short, we sit down, and lament our folly, and do nothing. Presumption betrays us to-day, diffidence and despondency destroy us tomorrow.
But in the last weeks of Moses' life we discover nothing of the indecent burry of a man conscious of neglect, and eager to repair it. He neither runs nor loiters; but he walks with the steadiness and dignity of one whose strength is as his day; who has a labor prescribed, and ability to perform it. In his youth we have a pattern of generosity, and public spirit, and courage, and greatness of mind; in bis manhood, of wisdom, of diligence, of perseverance, of Gidelity; and
now in his old age, of calmness, of devotion, of superiority to the world, of heavenly mindedness.
Observe the excellency of his spirit, at this period, a little more particularly. He set a proper value upon life. He desired its continuance, with the feelings natural to a man, he prized it as the gist of God, as the precious season of acting for God, of observing and improving the ways of his providence, of doing good to men, of preparation for eternity. He prayed for its prolongation, without fearing its end ; and he thereby reproves that rashness wbich exposes life to unnecessary danger, that intemperance which wastes and shortens, that indolence and listlessness which dissipate it; and that vice and impiety which clothe death with terror.
In Moses we have a bright example of genuine patriotism. That most respectable quality appeared in him early, and shone most conspicuously at the last. " When he was come to years, he refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter : choosing rather tu suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season," Heb. xi. 24, 25. For Israel's sake he was willing to encounter a thousand dangers, to endure a thousand hardships. For them he braved the wrath of a king, sacrificed his ease, consented to be blotted out of God's book. For them he labored, fasted, prayed; in their service was bis life spent, aud his dying breath was poured out in pronouncing blessings upon them. If it went well with Israel, no matter what became of himself. Their unkindness and ingratitude excited no resentment in his breast. When they rebelled he was grieved, when they were threatened he trembled, when they suffered be bled, when they were healed be rejoiced. O how his temper and conduct reprove that pride, which perpetually aims at aggrandizing itself, which must have every thing bend and yield to it, which is ready to sacrifice thousands to its own homarne arivantage ; thaf
selfisbness which grasps all, sets every thing to sale, and refuses to be ashamed.
The generosity and disinterestedness of Moses emi. nently adorned the close of his life. He was a father, aiid had all the feelings of that tender relation. It was natural for him to wish and expect that his sons should be distinguished after his death, should be the heirs of his honor, should succeed to his authority, An ordinary man would have been disposed to employ the power which he possessed to build up, to enrich, to ennoble his own family : but the will of God was declared. Joshua was the choice of Heaven ; Joshua bis servant, one of another family, another tribe. In the appointment Moses rejoices, he adopts Joshua as bis son, as his associate; sees him rise with complacency, puts his honor upon him: and thereby exposes to shame that littleness of soul which enviously represses rising merit, that vice of age which can discern nothing wise and good in the young; that tenaciousness of power which would communicate no advantage with another.
What anxiety does the good man discover that Israel should act wisely, and go on prosperously after his death! There is no end to his admonitions and instructions. By word, by writing, by insinuation, by authority, in the spirit of meekness, of love, of parental care, he cautions, he warns, he remonstrates. Men naturally love to be missed; to be inquired aster, to be longed for; but it was the delight of Moses in bis depariing inoments, that his place was already supplied, that the congregation would not miss their leader, that Joshua should happily accomplish what he had happily begun. Selfish men enjoy the prospect of the disorder and mischief which their departure may occasion. Moses foresaw the revolt of Israel after his decease, and it was the grief and bitterness of his heart.
In Moses we have an instructive instance of that continuance in well-doing, that perseverance unto the