Page images
PDF
EPUB

"him out of the mountain, saying, "Thus shalt thou say to the house of "Jacob, and tell the children of Israel. "Ye have seen what I did unto the "Egyptians, and how I bare you on "eagles' wings, and brought you unto "myself. Now therefore if ye will "obey my voice indeed, ye shall be il a peculiar treasure unto me above "all people, For All The Earth Is "Mine, and ye shall be unto me "a kingdom of priests, and an holy "nation."

Here we see that God leaves it to their free choice to refuse or to accept the terms proposed; and that this choice might be entirely uninfluenced, the proposal is made in the most simple manner, unaccompanied by any of those circumstances which on other occasions struck the senses and the imagination with the profoundest awe.

D 5 "And

"And Moses came, and called for "the elders of the people, and laid •'' before their faces all these words "which the Lord commanded him; *' and all the people answered toge"ther and said, All that the Lord "hath spoken, tve will do."

After the people had thus solemnly and deliberately engaged themselves to serve the Lord, he whom they had thus engaged to serve vouchsafed to give such evidence of his power and of his presence, as should leave no doubts upon their mind. No sooner had Moses made to him a declaration of the solemn resolution entered into by the people, than this gracious message is returned: "Lo, I come to "thee in a thick cloud, that the "people may hear when I speak with «* thee, 'and believe thee for ever!" That there might be no possibility of mistake, the day and manner of this

appearance appearance is appointed; and in the manner, and on the day foretold, it did accordingly take place. For —

"It came to pass on the third day, "in the morning, that there were ** thunders and lightnings, and a thick "cloud upon the mount, and the "voice of the trumpet exceeding "loud; so that all the people that "was in the camp trembled. And "Moses brought forth all the people "that was in the camp to meet with "God, and they stood at the nether *' part of the mount; and Mount "Sinai was altogether on a smoke be** cause the Lord descended upon it "in fire; and the smoke ascended *' upon it as it were the smoke of a "furnace, and the whole mount "quaked greatly. And when the "voice of the trumpet sounded long, "and waxed louder and louder, Moses "spake, and God answered him by D 6' "a voice.

[graphic]
[ocr errors]

"a voice. And the Lord came w down upon Mount Sinai, upon "the top of the mount. And the ** Lord called Moses up to the top of "the mount."

Where shall we find a passage to equal the sublimity of the description? Perhaps the impression which it made upon me when I was very young, may tend to heighten the effect which it has upon my mind; but I never yet have been able to read it without fancying myself a spectator of the solemn scene, and shrinking appalled as if I heard the aweful trumpet sounding in my ears.

Well may we expect that the words which the people were thus called upon to hear, and which were ushered in by circumstances so extraordinary, should be worthy of the lord and giver of life to communicate; nicate; and that they should tend to promote the well-being and happiness of the people to whom they were addressed. Let us observe —

"God spake these words, and said, ** I am the Lord thy God, which have "brought thee out of the land of "Egypt, and out of the house of "bondage — Thou shalt have no other "Gods before me."

This truth, the foundation of all religion, was here established, and it was to the rude people to whom it was addressed, confirmed by a reference to facts which came within the limits of their own experience. He taught them what only by his special interference could be taught, that there is but One God; and that he should be the only object of their adoration. In order to preserve this belief in its purity, he warns them against those corruptions which human depravity

had

« PreviousContinue »