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the Lord's people! And what events would have followed it is impossible to say; had not the Lord himself interposed to stop their fury; and to shelter his chosen from their vengeance. The words are short, but solemn. "And the glory of the Lord appeared in the tabernacle of the congregation before all the children of Israel!" The Lord is come himself to judge! Let us, as is most suitable, pause over the trembling subject.
"And the Lord said unto Moses, How long will this people provoke me; and how long will it be ere they believe me, for all the signs which I have shewed among them?
"I will smite them with the pestilence, and disinherit them, and will make of thee a greater nation and mightier, than they.
"And Moses said unto the Lord, Then the Egyptian shall hear it, (for thou broughtest up this people in thy might from among them ;)
"And they will tell it to the inhabitants of this land; for they have heard that thou, Lord, art among this people, that thou, Lord, art seen face to face, and that thy cloud standeth over them; and that thou goest before them by day time in a pillar of a cloud, and in a pillar of fire by night.
"Now if thou shalt kill all this people as one man, then the nations which have heard of the fame of thee will speak, saying,
"Because the Lord was not able to bring this people into the land which he sware unto them, therefore hath he slain them in the wilderness.
"And now I beseech thee, let the power of my Lord be great, according as thou hast spoken, saying,
"The Lord is long suffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression, and by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, unto the third and fourth generation.
'Pardon, I beseech thee, the iniquity of this people, according unto the greatness of thy mercy, and as thou hast forgiven this people, from Egypt even until now.
"And the Lord said, I have pardoned according to thy word. "But as truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord." (Numb. xiv. 11-21.)
NOTES AND OBSERVATIONS.
IMAGINATION fails to form any thing which can bear the smallest resemblance, so as to bring home to our thoughts the vast interest which the camp of Israel here set forth, between the solemn appearance of the Lord come to Judgment, and Moses, his servant standing forth to plead for Israel. Let the reader figure to himself what Holy Scripture hath furnished in several other parts of the history of the church in the wilderness, of the Lord's appearing among them, to impress the mind with the best apprehensions how awful it must have been. We read upon a former occasion that "the sight of the glory of the Lord was like devouring fire in the top of the mount, in the eyes of the children of Israel." (Exod. xxiv. 15-18. Deut. iv. 36. Heb. xii. 29.) What trembling paleness and horror to every guilty beholder! Yea, we read, upon one occasion, that Moses himself, so "terrible was the sight, said, I exceedingly fear and quake." (Exod. xix. 16. with Heb. xii. 2.)
But when the appearance of the Lord was followed with his Almighty voice, declaring judgment, how must all faces have gathered blackness! Let the reader not fail, while beholding Moses standing forth the advocate of Israel, to notice the arguments he used. First: The glory of God himself, whose faithfulness stood pledged in covenant engagements to Israel. If God did not bring his people into Canaan, where was his faithfulness? Jehovah had pledged himself in this divine perfection to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to be their God, and the God of their children to a thousand generations. How then
if God now destroyed them, how, would this be accomplished?
Secondly: Think what a reproach to God would they be, when the nations around should hear of it. They would ascribe the destruction of the people not to their sin for being sinners themselves, they thought nothing of that: but to the want of ability in God. He was not able, they would say. And therefore what an awful thing would it be for the Egyptians and the inhabitants of the land to slander the Lord! This is the very argument which Joshua made use of afterward in the wars with Canaan: "0 Lord God, what shall I say when Israel turneth their backs before their enemies, and what wilt thou do unto thy great name?"
Thirdly:-But observe how the Lord parried off this argument of Moses, and at the same time tried the faithfulness of his servant. If I destroy them I will still be faithful to Israel; for thou art of the same stock; and "I will make of thee a greater and a mightier nation than they."
Fourthly: As the Lord proved Abraham faithful, so the Lord proved Moses. This will not do, said the man of God. It is Israel I plead for; not for me to be great, but for the Lord to be gracious. And therefore now I beseech thee, let the power of my Lord be great, according to those glorious proclamations of mercy which thou hast before made of thy long-suffering, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin. "And as thou hast forgiven thy people from Egypt, even until now."
Fifthly: And then follows the gracious answer. "The Lord said, I have pardoned according to thy word. But as truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with my glory."
But let us drop Moses, the advocate, and look at the Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Intercessor whom
Moses represented; and in whose advocacy alone Moses found acceptance. Oh! what a subject opens here for the most animated attention in beholding our most glorious Christ thus set forth by shadow in those early ages of the church! (Rev. xiii. 8.)
"Because all those men which have seen my glory and my miracles, which I did in Egypt, and in the wilderness, have tempted me now these ten times, and have not hearkened to my voice;
Surely they shall not see the land which I sware unto their fathers, neither shall any of them that provoked me see it :
"But my servant Caleb, because he had another spirit with him, and hath followed me fully, him will I bring into the land whereinto he went; and his seed shall possess it.
"I the Lord have said, I will surely do it unto all this evil congregation, that are gathered together against me: in this wilderness they shall be consumed, and there they shall die." (Numb. xiv. 22-25. 35.)
NOTES AND OBSERVATIONS.
I HAVE only to record the statement of Holy Scripture, in the solemn confirmation which followed of the Lord's faithfulness to his word. This chapter relates the immediate death of the false spies; verse 37. And the Holy Ghost is express to state in a subsequent chapter, the death of all that generation. Six hundred thousand men, who came out of Egypt, paid the forfeiture of their lives for their rebellion; and never lived to enter Canaan. But their little ones, whom they had dared to charge God with destroying for a prey, to them the promised land was given for their possession. Let the reader consult Num. xxvi.; and he will behold the account of this awful judgment. Never, throughout all the annals of the world, can there be found a parallel history.
PUTTING ON INCENSE,
MAKING ATONEMENT FOR THE PEOPLE.
"Now Korah, the son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, and Dathan, and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, and On, the son of Peleth, sons of Reuben, took men;
"And they rose up before Moses, with certain of the children of Israel, two hundred and fifty princes of the assembly, famous in the congregation, men of renown.
"And they gathered themselves together against Moses, and against Aaron, and said unto them, Ye take too much upon you, seeing all the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the Lord is among them; wherefore then lift ye up yourselves above the congregation of the Lord ?
"And when Moses heard it, he fell upon his face." (Numbers xvi. 1-4.)
NOTES AND OBSERVATIONS.
Ir would lead into a subject too extensive to gather into one view, the whole of this eventful history, (interesting as it is in every portion of it,) connected with this representation of our most glorious Christ, in his person and offering, here shadowed forth, by the priestly office of "Aaron putting on incense, and making atonement for the people :" but as introductory