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pleasure,” and as truly brings all to pass by his grace, both going before and following us, as He brought all to pass for them when He divided the Red Sea, or threw down the walls of Jericho 8; yet we are nevertheless to work out our own salvation," in as true a sense, as they toiled and stood in battle for possession of the land.
Certainly, then, we want strength for conflict, and hope of success, and encouragement under our difficulties as much as they did. And most assuredly we must receive them from the same quarter from which they received them. And the same assurances and apprehensions of the presence, and power, and good
, will of God are necessary for us as were necessary for them; and such, but such only, will prove equally effectual. We shall be strengthened and encouraged for duty, deterred from sin, supported by hope, enabled to work out our salvation, just in proportion as we see that God is with us, and that He is what it is his glory to be, infinite in power, and infinite in love and mercy to us sinners, though He is, at the same time, of absolute holiness, irreconcileable to sin, yea, and at last, to sinners too, if to the last they be still guilty, or under the imputation of sins untaken away.
The question is then, Will God show his glory to us also? Will He "proclaim the name” or the Divine perfections of the Lord unto us as He did to Moses, or provide as good a way for us to know Him, and be assured of our interest in Him, as He provided for that good man? He will do this. He has done it. Yea, He has made the vision plain, so that he may run that readeth it.
Look to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, or, rather, to Jesus Christ Himself therein revealed, and there you may see God, and see Him on your side to fight for you against all your enemies, and to put you in possession of
your resting-place, as truly as Moses saw Him, when Jehovah actually passed by him and proclaimed the name of the Lord; as mercifully veiled, indeed, in condescension to your infirmity, but even more glo
8 Phil. ii. 12, 13.
riously displayed for your instruction and consolation; not shown indeed by the same method, but shown to the same effect, with this only difference, that whereas you may see, as Moses did, an ample display both of his Almighty power and of his absolute holiness and hatred of iniquity, you have, at the same time, a display far more ample than Moses had, of his all-surpassing love and mercy. He had a view of Him very encouraging and very endearing; but you much more. He makes all his goodness to pass before you, if you will but look at it, and consider it. And though there is awe enough and terror enough in his manifestation of Himself to put you in a wholesome fear of his wrath when you have wilfully departed from Him, and to inspire you with reverence and caution always, yet the endearment, and tenderness, and love bear such overwhelming proportion to his wrath, that so long as you look at them as you ought, and are true to Him and to yourselves, the “fear” which“ hath tormento” will be cast out altogether, and ye may walk before Him as children before a father at whose hands they expect nothing but kindness and indulgence. And this indeed is the spirit to which He means to bring you, and in which He would have you serve Him. But let us look now to the particulars.
God said to Moses, when He would show Himself to Him, “ While my glory passeth by, I will put thee in a clift of the rock, and I will cover thee with my hand while I pass by: and I will take away my hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen.”
In like manner He hath dealt by us. No man shall see his face and live. God came into the world and manifested Himself unto us. But in order to this He condescended to put a veil upon his proper splendour. He came to enlighten, not to blind us; to save us, not to kill us: so He was “found in fashion as a man 10,” and bids us behold Him in human shape. But whilst this was the way least to confound and overwhelm us, it was the way also best to instruct and most 1 John iv. 18.
10 Phil. ii. 8.
to affect us. And in the manner at once most intelligible and most winning, it makes manifest unto us the perfections and the mind of God. To Moses He proclaimed himself, as "The LORD,”
“ that is, Jehovah; “the Lord God,” self-existing, and Almighty. To us He does the same in Christ: and oh, to what consolatory effect! Are we discouraged by the difficulties that beset us? are we afraid of the tempter, or of the strength of our own evil appetites? See who hath undertaken for us. Hear how that despised one could speak, and act, and understand : “I will; be thou clean: and immediately the leprosy is cleansed !.” Lazarus, come forth ? :" and the dead is raised. “Peace, be still 2:” and “the wind and the sea obey him 3." “He needed not that any should testify of man; for He knew what was in man 4.” How often do we find Him replying, not to meu's words or outward expressions of any sort, but answering their secret imaginations, and letting them know that He read their hearts! And by what authority did He those things and all things ? Assuredly, by no other than his own; in his own name, by his own strength; not by power derived or delegated. “Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee come out of him, and enter no more into him 5:" this is the way in which He gives his orders, and that to the enemy of mankind. “I am the resurrection and the life ® :" it is thus He speaks. “I have power to 6
I lay down my life, and I have power to take it again ? :" and as He said, He did.
Has not God shown us his glory? What is there that we cannot do through this Saviour strengthening us? Well doth He say it, and well may we believe that so it shall be: “Father, I will that they also whom thou hast given me be with me where I am, that they may behold my glory 8.” If this is He that is for us, who can be against us?
God proclaimed Himself to Moses, “The Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abun
1 Matt. viii. 3. 2 John xi. 43. 3 Mark iv. 39. 41. 4 John ii. 25.
5 Mark ix. 25. 6 John xi. 25. 7 John X. 18.
8 John xvii. 24.
dant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin !.”
But look at Jesus Christ, consider Him, “very God of very God, begotten not made, of one substance,” power, majesty, and eternity“ with the Father, by whom all things were made!.” Consider Him, who “thought it not robbery to be equal with God,” for us men and for our salvation coming down, nevertheless, from heaven; taking upon Him the form of a servant, made in the likeness of men, and being found in fashion as a man, humbling Himself lower still, becoming obedient to death, even the death of the cross ? ; “ delivered for our offences, and raised again for our justification 3.”
Do, my brethren, bring your minds to the contemplation of this picture. Do call off your thoughts for a little while from the perishing vanities, from the idle works and cares, from the finery and folly of this impertinent, silly world, that in this house of the Lord, and with the Lord's people, and in the Lord's own presence, who is here, ye may fix them where, would to God, they were fixed oftener, upon “God manifest in the flesh." Consider Him in the manger at Bethlehem; follow Him all along to Calvary; view Him going about doing good; mark his meekness and his lowliness, his patience and his condescension, his charity to friends and foes; how his doctrine doth drop as the rain; how his speech doth distil as the dew; how He endureth the contradiction of sinners against Himself; how He binds up the broken-hearted, and breaks every yoke. Observe how He comes to minister, and not to be ministered unto; to give every thing, to receive nothing, nothing but contempt, and injury, and insult, and persecution, and then to pour out his soul unto death for their sakes who heap all this upon Him. Mark his agony in the garden, under the full apprehension of what was coming upon Him; yet hear his immediate self-surrender: “ Arise, let us be going, behold he is at hand that doth betray me.” For Himself, the cross is the portion which He will accept; but He 9 Exod. xxxiv. 6, 7. 1 Nicene Creed. ? See Phil. ii. 6. 8.
Rom. iv. 25. 4 1 Tim. iii. 15. 3 Matt. xxvi. 46.
must provide for the security of his disciples; and He must heal the wound of Malchus, which he got only through his forwardness to destroy Himo. “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do?;" this is his mind and his deed towards his enemies at the very instant that his own bitter sufferings from them, and their tyrannous hate and insults against Him were at their height. And,“ that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations ; beginning at Jerusalem 3,” is his first command, when He is declared to be the Son of God with power by the resurrection.
Then has not God made all his goodness to pass before us? What could Moses see which we may not see much more? Is not this truth and faithfulness? Can God's fulfilment of any promise which He hath made to us be doubted after this? Is there not here mercy, and grace, and long-suffering, and goodness, and pardon super-abounding, let sin have abounded as atrociously as it may ? “He was wounded for our trans
“ gressions, He was bruised for our iniquities ° ;" and thus it was that He went through his work. How can it be thought of the mercy of God that it endureth not for ever, and that the measure thereof is not longer than the earth, and broader than the sea ? Though his sins have been as scarlet, how can a penitent believer perish, who, at length, through grace, turns from sin to godliness? See what God hath wrought; see whom God hath given; and consider for what an ill-deserving race the sacrifice hath been provided and accepted. According to human estimation,“ scarcely for a righteous man will one die, yet, peradventure, for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love towards us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more being reconciled we shall be saved by his life'.” 6 Luke xxii. 51. 7 Ibid. xxiii. 34. 8 Ibid. xxiv. 47. 9 Isa. liii. 5.
Rom. v. 7. 10.