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lle stood and measured the earth: he beheld, and drove asunder the nations, and the everlasting mountains were scattered, the perpetual bills did bow: bis ways are everlasting,” Habak. iii. 3...6.
But wbat are mountains and bills, and their inbabitants ? Moses represents the great God as arising in unclouded majesty amidst ten thousand of his boly ones.
Angels, his ministers, that excel in strength,” the least of whom “ could wield these elements." His red right hand is extended, presenting to the astonished beholder a lair, a fiery law, a fire that purifies, a fire that consumes. But the terror of this dreadful appearance is instantly lost, in a display of the grace and mercy which prompted this splendid visit.
“ Yea, he loved the people ; all his saints are in thy hand : and they sat down at thy feet; every one shall receive of thy words,” Deut. xxxiü. 3. Here we behold the legislator lost in the friend, and, instead of distractedly, despairiugly calling upon “the mountains to fall upon us, and the hills to cover us,” we sit down in tranquillity at the feet of our gracious teacher, and every one for himself listens to the language of love.
Moses first approaches the tents of the tribe of Reuben, and baving introduced himself by these solemn, striking words, he proceeds to bis particular salutation of that tribe. “ Let Reuben live, and not die; and let not his men be few,” Deut. xxxiii. 6. Concerning the head of that tribe, his dying father had propheti cally denounced, “ Unstable as water, thou shalt not excel ;” but the blessing of Moses seems to wipe the blot out of the scutcheon, and Reuben seems restored to his rank in Israel again. Reuben alone of the sons of Jacob pitied Joseph in his distress, and contrived the means of restoring him to his father again. This redeems him and his family from infamy and destruction, and we are disposed to drown the memory of his lewdness, in respect for his tenderness and humanity.
Who stands next on the roll of Jacob's sons ? To
wbom is the second salutation due? Simeon. But ab! we see the curse of a dying father upon him ; we see Moses passing by his door without bidding bim God speed; we see the blood of the Shechemites, the innocent, credulous Shechemites, laying with an oppressive weight upon his seed; we see a tribe of fifty-nine thousand three hundred in the wilderness of Sinai, melted down and reduced to twenty-two thousand two hundred in the plains of Moab; we see 110 judge or magistrate in future times springing from his loins ; we see him " divided in Jacob, and scattered in Israel,”' and in all this we see the vengeance of a righteous God pursuing a cool and deliberate murderer to utter ruin, and we think of the more dreadful weight of that blood which a hard-hearted race imprecated upon themselves and their children ; and which the shame and sufferings of one thousand eight hundred years have not yet expiated. What must the sons of Simeon have felt when their dying leader passed them by, without couchsafing them a word; to find themselves alone unblessed of all the children of their father's house! Speak to me, O merciful Father, in whatever language thou wilt: chide, upbraid, chastise me; but O pass me not by in silent neglect; cease not to reprove me: say not, “Let him alone."
'The dying prophet passes next to the standard of the tribe of Judah. Judah, destined to empire, it. crease and strength, Judah the father of many princes. The root and offspring of David. " And this is the blessing of Judah : and he said, Hear, Lord, the voice of Judah; and bring bim unto his people : let his hands be sufficient for him, and be thou an help to him from his enemies," Deut. xxxii. 7. These words of Moses sends us again to the dying bed of Jacob, and we find both patriarchs holding the same idea concerning the prerogative tribe, strength invincible, tri. umph over every foe, supreme authority; and we find ourselves led still farther back, to Lcah, his mother, in
child-birth, bestowing on this her fourth son a name
Thus we behold all that is great and magnificent among men, bringing its glory and honor and laying it at the fcet of Jesus; and all that is
and present lost in the immensity and importance of that which is to come.
He now approaches the priestly tribe of Levi, his kiusmen and friends according to the flesh, and copiously bestows his valedictory benediction upon them, in these remarkable words, “Let thy Thummim and
thy Urim be with thy holy one, whom thou didst prove at Massah, and with whom thou didst strive at the waters of Meribah; who said unto his father, and to his mother, I have not seen him, neither did he acknowledge his brethren, nor knew his own children : for they have observed thy word and kept thy covenant. They shall teach Jacob thy judgments, and Israel thy law: they shall put incense before thee, and whole burnt-sacrifice upon thine altar. Bless, Lord, his substance, and accept the work of his hands : smite through the loins of them, that rise against him, and of them that hate him, that they rise not again,”. Deut. xxxiii. 8...ll.;
Levi had been a partaker with Simeón, in shedding the blood of the Shechemites, and had fallen under the same condemnation ; but their spirit and zeal in expiating the guilt of the golden calf by the blood of its idolatrous worshippers, has removed the stain, and restored their own blood again and the dreadful sentence, “ I will divide them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel,'as far as it affects them, is from a curse turned into a blessing. They are divided in Jacob, and scattered in Israel, but it is honorably to themselves and usefully to others: as the priests of the Lord, and the instructors of the people. Why may we not suppose Eleazar the high-priest, arrayed in his sacredotal vestments, standing at the head of his tribe to receive the salatation of Moses, and that the appearance of this sacred officer in the splendor of his pontifical garb, might suggest to Moses some of the parti. culars contained in this blessing, especially the beginning of it? “ Let thy Thummim and thy Urim be with thy holy one.'' Thy Thummim and thy Urim, that is being interpreted,“ thy perfections and thy lights.” They were mysteries, of which we have spoken in a former Lecture, put into the high-priest's breast-plate, and were designed apparently to signify the graces and office of the priesthood, which was com
mitted to Aaron and bis seed, till Christ came, who should obtain and exercise an everlasting and unchangeable priesthood, after a more excellent order than that of Aaron.
According to the different ideas of the mystery of the Urim and Thummim, and the connexion here established between them and the temptation at Massah and the strife at Meribah, various turns and interpretations have been given to the words of Moses.
1. They are supposed to be addressed to God himself, and the sense to run thus, “Thy Thummim and thy Urim”. (O God) be with the man, thy gracious saint, (Aaron and his seed) whom thou temptedst with temptation, or contendedst with (for his sin) at the waters of Meribah, of which we have the history, Numb. xs,
"And the Lord spake unto Moses and Aaron, Because ye believed me not, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel ; therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them. This is the water of Meribah, because the children of Israel strove with the Lord : and he was sanctified in them," Numb. xx. 12, 13.
Or, 2dly, they may be addressed to the whole tribe, and with this sense, Thy Thummim and thy Urim (0 Levi) be with Aaron and bis sons! the holy, chosen, anointed one of thy gracious God, whom thou, in common with the rest of Israel, temptedst in Massah and in the strife at Meribah.
Or, 3dly, understanding by the “ holy one,” the Christ of God, this will be the sense, Thy Thummim and thy Urim (O Levi) is with (or belongs to) the man thy Holy One, (Messiah, the Christ) the Holy One of God, whom thou temptedst at Massah, and lidst strive with at Meribab. In this last interpretation, the weakness, insufficiency, imperfection and transitoriness of the Levitical priesthood are implied : it retained not long the Urim and Thummim, but lost them in the Babylonish captivity, as we find from