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powered by the sense of God's goodness and majesty, and his whole heart overflowing with grateful love, said unto the Almighty, “I beseech thee, show me thy glory.” The reply of the Lord, “I will make all my goodness pass before thee, but thou canst not see my face, for there shall no man see me and live," sufficiently proves that in no manifestation of the Godhead, which has ever been vouchsafed to the different generations of believers, is it the triune Jehovah, who has been beheld by mortal eye. We believe, therefore, that in all cases, it has been the second person of the ever-blessed Trinity, who from the beginning revealed himself to the longing eyes of men, and thus gradually prepared his chosen people for the day when he should take flesh, and dwell among them. And this is in perfect accordance with those words of the beloved apostle, “ No man hath seen God at any time, the only-begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him."*
But the sight, which the Almighty did vouchsafe to Moses, appears quite as wonderful as that which he withheld. In our translation, it is rendered, “I will take away my hand,” with which Moses was covered in the clift of the rock, while the essential Deity passed before him, “and thou shalt see my back parts; but my
face shall not be seen." Some eminent Hebrew scholars have translated this, “I will take away my hand, and thou shalt see that which I shall be hereafter, (or, my future manifestation in
John i. 18.
glorified humanity,) " but my face” (unincarnate Deity) “shall not be seen." This furnishes us with a very beautiful and striking idea of what the mercy of God really vouchsafed to Moses on this occasion. For it would appear, that he now was presented with a view of that glorified body with which, nearly fifteen hundred years after, the Son of God was to be invested, when He “ took the manhood into God," and which Moses himself was then again to behold on the holy mount, when the second person of the Godhead “ was transfigured before him, and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light."
Wonderful indeed must have been the effect upon the mind of the prophet, and deeply must he have entered into the meaning and blessedness of the prediction, which forty years afterwards he was commanded to utter, “ The Lord thy God will raise up unto thee a prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken.”* Blessed indeed was Moses, thus to be permitted to behold with the
eye of faith, the day of the Son of man. No doubt, throughout the whole of his future wanderings, the recollection of that glorious sight must have cheered the heart of the prophet, and strengthened his hands, and endued him with fresh courage and perseverance, to press toward the mark for the prize of his high calling. We are no longer surprised, that the apostle, in after ages, should speak of him as having “respect unto the recompense of reward;"+ for many * Deut. xviii. 15.
+ Heb, xi. 26.
a time and oft, must Moses, thence-forward, more especially have longed for the time when he should for ever dwell with Him, of whose beautiful and glorious appearance, he now possessed a distinct, though but imperfect knowledge.
Well may we be tempted to exclaim, “Blessed are the eyes which see the things” that he saw! But let us never forget, that although we are not permitted to partake of privileges such as these, our Lord has in mercy marked the privation with an almost higher honour, when he said to Thomas, “Because thou hast seen, thou hast believed; blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed."*
CHAP. xxxiv. 1-14.
1. And the Lord said unto Moses, Hew thee two tables of stone like unto the first; and I will write upon these tables the words that were in the first tables, which thou brakest.
2. And be ready in the morning, and come up in the morning unto mount Sinai, and present thyself there to me in the top of the mount.
3. And no man shall come up with thee, neither let any man be seen throughout all the mount; neither let the flocks nor herds feed before that mount.
4. And he hewed two tables of stone like unto the first: and Moses rose up early in the morning, and went up unto Mount
* John xx. 29.
Sinai, as the Lord'had commanded him, and took in his hand the two tables of stone.
The Almighty having, at the intercession of Moses, once more pardoned the people, and promised to accompany their hosts, commands their leader again to come up on the following morning unto the mount, that the tables of stone containing the commandments, which in his indignant zeal for the glory of God, he had broken, might be replaced. The only difference was,
that in the former instance, we are expressly told, that “the tables were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God:” but on the present occasion that Moses prepared the tables, but God himself still wrote the commandments. Perhaps the latter fact is mentioned, the more forcibly to impress upon the minds of the Israelites, the divine obligation and extreme importance of the moral law. The time would arrive when all the other ordinances, vouchsafed at this time, should “grow old, and vanish away," but these, written by the finger of God himself, should endure for ever, renewed, explained, and expanded, by their divine Author in the days of his flesh, that they might be perpetuated, as regarded all their moral obligations, as a rule of life for his followers to the end of time; equally binding under the New dispensation and the better covenant, as they had ever been under the Old.
5. And the Lord descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord.
6. And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord,
The Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth;
7. Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.
8. And Moses made haste, and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshipped.
9. And he said, if now I have found grace in thy sight, 0 Lord, let my Lord, I pray thee, go among us; for it is a stiffnecked people; and pardon our iniquity, and our sin, and take us for thine inheritance.
10. And he said, Behold, I make a covenant; before all thy people I will do marvels, such as have not been done in all the earth, nor in any nation: and all the people among which thou art shall see the work of the Lord: for it is a terrible thing that I will do with thee.
11. Observe thou that which I command thee this day: behold, I drive out before thee the Amorite, and the Canaanite, and the Hittite and the Perizzite, and the Hivite, and the Jibusite.
12. Take heed to thyself, lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land whither thou goest, lest it be for a snare in the midst of thee:
13. But ye shall destroy their altars, break their images, and cut down their groves:
14. For thou shalt worship no other god: for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.
Moses having obeyed the command of the Lord, and ascended the mount, with the tables of stone in his hand, the Almighty descended in a cloud, and stood before him, and proclaimed his greatness. It is well to observe the attributes which the Lord selected, in recounting, as it were, his titles in the ears of his servant: “ Jehovah, Jehovah God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, for