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intimated the irresistible efficacy of prayer. But on this occasion he forbade him to“ speak to him any more of that matter:
sware to Moses, that he should not go over Jordana.” In this refusal there was an awful manifestation of the divine displeasure. It was intended as a punishment both for his sin, and for the people's sin; for God was “wroth with him for their sakes," as well as for his own. To him the punishment was great, as being a painful privation, a heavy disappointment: to them also it was a severe rebuke, inasmuch as they were deprived of a loving father, a powerful intercessor, an experienced governor, and under whom they had succeeded hitherto beyond their most sanguine expectations.
We forbear to notice the typical intent of this dispensation, because we have mentioned it in a former part of this history: it is in a practical aspect only that we now consider it; and therefore we confine ourselves to such observations as arise from it in that view.]
This refusal however, though absolute, was not unmixed with kindness: as will appear from considering, II. The mercy with which this judgment was tem
As God in later ages withheld from Paul, and even from his only dear Son, the blessings which they asked, but gave them what was more expedient under their circumstances“, so now, whilst he denied to Moses an entrance into Canaan, he granted to him,
1. A sight of the whole land
[He commanded Moses to go up on Mount Pisgah to view the land; and from that eminence he shewed him the whole extent of the country from east to west, and from north to south. The sight, we apprehend, was miraculous: because, however great the elevation of the mountain might be, we do not conceive that the places which he saw could be within the visible horizond. However this might be, we have no doubt but that the sight must have been most gratifying to his mind, because it would be regarded as a pledge of God's fidelity, and a taste at least of those blessings, which Israel was about to enjoy in all their fulness.
But we are persuaded that Moses, notwithstanding he spoke so little about the heavenly world, knew the typical nature of the promised land, and beheld in Canaan a figurative representation of that better kingdom, to which he was about to be translated.]
a Deut. iv. 21. b See Discourse on Numb. xx. 12. • 2 Cor. xii. 8, 9. Luke xxii. 42, 43. with Heb. v. 7. d Deut. xxxiv. 1-4.
2. An assurance that his place should be successfully filled by Joshua
[To him was committed the office of instructing, encouraging, and strengthening Joshua for the arduous work which lay before him. And what could be a richer comfort to an aged minister, than to see that God had already raised up one to occupy his post, and to carry on the work which he had begun? Methinks, the preparing of Joshua's mind for his high office was a task in which Moses would take peculiar delight: and the certainty of Israel's ultimate success would cheer him under the pains of his own personal disappointment.] The PRACTICAL OBSERVATIONS arising out of this history,
will bring the subject home to our own business
and bosoms. We learn from it, 1. To guard against sin
[We might profitably dwell on this thought, if we considered only the exclusion of Moses from the promised land for one single transgression. But as other occasions must arise whereon such an observation may be grounded, we would call your attention rather to the injury which both ministers and people may sustain by means of each other's transgressions. Repeatedly does Moses say, “God was wroth with me FOR YOUR SAKES:" from whence we are assured, that their sins were punished in him. And we know also that his sin was punished in them : they suffered no less by the loss of him, than he did by the loss of Canaan. Such a participation in each other's crimes and punishments is common in the world: children are affected by their parents' faults; and parents by the faults of their children. In the ministerial relation, this happens as frequently as in any. If a minister seek his own glory instead of God's, or be remiss in the duties of the closet, his people will suffer as well as he : the ordinances from whence they should derive nutriment will be to them“ as dry breasts or a miscarrying womb.” If the people slight the ministry of a faithful man, what wonder is it if God remove the candlestick from those who will not avail themselves of the light? If, on the other hand, they idolize their minister, and put him, as it were, in the place of God, what wonder is it if God, who is a jealous God, leave him to fall, that they may see the folly of their idolatry; or take him from them, that they may learn where alone their dependence should be? Let the death of Moses, and the bereavement of the Israelites, be a mercy, and
warning to us all; that we provoke not God by our rebellions to withhold from us the blessings we desire, or to inflict upon us the punishments we deserve.]
2. To submit with humility to afflictive dispensations
[When once Moses was informed of the decided purpose of God, he forbore to ask for any alteration of it; nor did he utter one murmuring or discontented word concerning it. God had bidden him to be satisfied with the mercies which he was about to receive ; and he was satisfied with them. Now it may be that God has denied us many things which we could have wished to possess, or taken from us things which we have possessed. But if he have given us grace, and
peace through our Lord Jesus Christ, what reason can we have to complain? We have prayed to him perhaps under our trials, and they have not been removed; or we have deprecated them, and they have still been inflicted. But God has said to us, it suffice thee" that I have made thee a partaker of my grace: “ let it suffice thee" that I have given thee prospects of the promised land: “let it suffice thee” that thou hast a portion in a better world. And shall not these things be sufficient for us, though we be destitute of every thing else? Shall any of the concerns of time or sense be of much importance in our eyes, when we are so highly privileged, so greatly enriched ? Ah! check the first risings of a murmuring thought, all ye
who are ready to complain of your afflictions. Think whether you would exchange one Pisgah view of heaven for all that this earth can give: and, if you would not, then think, how richly heaven itself will compensate for all your light and momentary afflictions: and, instead of indulging any anxiety about the things of this world, let the prayer of David be the continual language both of your hearts and lipse.]
3. To serve God with increasing activity to the end of life
[The last month of Moses' continuance on earth was as fully occupied with the work of God as any month of his life. Though he knew that he must die within a few days, he did not intermit his labours in the least, but rather addressed himself to them with increasing energy and fidelity. This was the effect of very abundant grace: and it was an example but rarely copied. How many towards the close of life, when they know, not from revelation indeed, but from their own feelings, that they must shortly die, become cold in their affections, slothful in their habits, querulous in their tempers, and remiss
e Ps. cvi. 4, 5.
in their duties! Instead of taking occasion from the shortness of their time, to labour with increased diligence, how many yield to their infirmities, and make their weakness an excuse for wilful indolence! The Lord grant, that no such declensions may take place in any of us; but that rather “our last days may be our best days;" and that our Lord, finding us both watchful and active, may applaud us as good and faithful servants, prepared and fitted for his heavenly kingdom!]
JOSHUA A TYPE OF CHRIST.
Deut. iii. 27, 28. Thou shalt not go over this Jordan. But
charge Joshua, and encourage him, and strengthen him ; for he shall go over before this people, and he shall cause them to inherit the land which thou shalt see,
IN reading the records of God's dealings with the Jews, we are sometimes tempted to bring him to the bar of human reason, and to arraign his character as severe. Such hasty judgment, however, would be impious in the extreme; since we are wholly incompetent to decide upon matters, which are so far beyond our reach. There may be, and doubtless are, ten thousand reasons to justify his conduct, where our slender capacities cannot find any: and such light has been cast upon his procedure, in many instances, by the Gospel, as may fully evince the necessity of shutting our mouths, and of giving him credit for perfect equity, even where his dispensations most oppose our natural feelings. We may instance this in the exclusion of Moses from the promised land. He had brought the people out of Egypt, and, with most unparalleled meekness, had endured their perverseness forty years in the wilderness : yet, when he had led them to the very borders of Canaan, he was not suffered to go in with them; but, on account of one single offence, was obliged to devolve on Joshua his office, his authority, his honours; yea, he was forbidden even to pray for an admission into that good landa. Dark as this dispensation must have
appeared at the time, we are enabled to discern a propriety and excellency in it. It was altogether of a typical nature: for while he represented the law, Joshua, his successor, was a very eminent type of Christ. The text naturally leads us to shew this: and we shall, I. Trace the resemblance which exists between
Joshua and the Lord Jesus ChristJoshua resembles Christ1. In his name
[The name of Joshua was intended to designate his work and office. His name originally was Osea, but was altered by Moses to Joshuab. This, doubtless, was of God's appointment, that he might be thereby rendered a more remarkable type of Jesus. This name imported, that he should be a divine saviourc; and though, in the strictest and fullest sense, it could not properly belong to him ; yet, as he was to be such a distinguished representative of Jesus, it was very properly given to him.
The name of Jesus still more fitly characterized the work that was to be performed by him. This name is precisely the same with Joshua in the Greek language; and repeatedly do we, in the New Testament, translate it, “ Jesus,” when it ought rather to have been translated, “Joshua d.” It was given to our Lord by the angel, before he was conceived in the wombe; and the express reason of it was assigned, namely, that " he should save his people from their sins." To him it is applicable in the fullest extent, because he is “ God manifest in the flesh," " Emmanuel, God with us;" and because he is the author, not of a typical and temporary, but of a real and eternal, salvation to all his followers.]
This striking coincidence, with respect to the name, may prepare us for fuller discoveries of a resemblance, 2. In his office
[Joshua was appointed to lead the Israelites into the promised land. Moses was not permitted to do this. He was destined to represent the law, which was admirably calculated to lead men through the wilderness, but could never bring them into the land of Canaan: one offence against it destroyed all hope of salvation by it: it made no provision for mercy: its
b Numb. xiii. 16.
Jah, which was prefixed to his name, is the name of God. d Acts vii. 45. Heb. iv. 8. e Matt. i. 21. f Heb. v. 9. g Gal. ii. 10.