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to minister to me in the priest's office. And I will dwell among the children of Israel, and I will be their God. And they shall know that I am the Lord their God that brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, that I may dwell among them: 1 am the Lord their God.”
Moses then received other and equally important instructions. They related to the altar of burntincense, on which, once a year continually, an atonement was to be made with the blood of the sin-offering of atonements; the half a shekel for the service of the tabernacle, wbich each of the Israel ites who was twenty years of age, or upwards, was to pay as a ransom for his life unto the Lord, and which was called atonement-money; the brazen laver; the holy anointing oil for the anointing of the tabernacle and what it contained, and of Aaron and his sons; and the holy perfume.
What an amount of labor must be performed, and of curious skill employed, in carrying into effect all these divine injunctions! Who will be competent to undertake the difficult task, and especially of superintending it? God himself made provision for this exigency. He told Moses whom he had chosen for the purpose; Bezaleel, of the tribe of Judah. And he not only gave additional vigor and acuteness to the already acquired capa. city which this artificer possessed; but inspired him with preternatural wisdom, understanding, and
knowledge, in all manner of workmanship, "to devise cunning works, to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass, and in cutting of stones, to set them, and in carving" (or cutting) “of timber, to work in all manner of workmanship.” With Bezaleel was associated, by the divine direction, Aholiab, of the tribe of Dan; " and in the hearts of all that are wise-hearted,” (who have a taste, and talents, for such work,) added the Lord, "I have put wis. dom, that they may make all that I have commanded thee."
We are not to expect, at the present day, any supernatural, divine influence, to give us capacity or skill, in the prosecution of our particular employments. But, on the other hand, how prone we are to forget the providential aid from God which we may hope to receive if we seek it aright. He continually sustains us in the exercise of all our powers, bodily and mental. For in him we live, and move, and have our being. And what an unceasing, and continually increasing, debt of gratitude do we owe him for such blessings. Words cannot describe it! The heart can never sufficiently feel it !
In addition to this, when we consider the innumerable ways in which, according to what we call the laws of Nature, God can touch and move the springs of thought and of action within us; and what an immense variety of providential occurrences affecting ur capacities of mind, and body, and
of execution, and influencing our einployments and pursuits, he can control, so as to answer his particular designs; we ought to feel more deeply our dependance on him, and more devoutly to implore his constant guidance and aid.
Happy the man who thus sees and feels the hand of God ruling over and directing him, in all bis concerns ! "Give me this day my daily bread,” is a petition which he offers up, not only for the supply of his bodily wants, and of his spiritual necessities, but for wisdom, and skill, and strength, in his particular occupation; the prosecution of his lawful business; and his other engagements in the way of duty, whatever they may be. I can do all things through Christ strengthening me, is his invigorating principle of life and action. Make it yours, my young friend, and you know not what you can accomplish.
The two tables of stone. The golden calf. Aaron's guilt.
Moses intercedes for the idolatrous Israelites.
While building the tabernacle, the sacred palace of their King, and doing the other arduous work which he directed for his service and worship ;-. in the midst, too, of their encampment in the wil. derness, with its numerous privations and hardships ;-—and feeling the urgent nccessity of despatch ; may not the Israelites be permitted to labor on the Sabbath ? By no means; and, as if to guard against its profanation under such peculiar circumstances by a special injunction, God renews his commandment for the holy keeping of the day, to Moses, while yet on the mount.
" Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep : for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations ;
that ye may know that I am the Lord that doth sanctify you. Ye shall keep the sabbath therefore; for it is holy unto you: every one that defileth it shall surely be put to death : for whosoever doth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people."
The command to keep the Sabbath holy, is still in force. The particular penalty annexed to it un. der the Mosaic dispensation, is indeed done away. But he who violates it, unless he repent and reform, must expect to meet the terrible displeasure of God! This sacred day is still a sign between God and his people, that they may know that he is the Lord that doth sanctify them.
In concluding the solemn injunctions which God gave to Moses, during the forty days that he was on the mount, he placed in his hands" two tables of cestimony, tables of stone, written with the finger
of God." These durable records, the very work. manship of Jehovah, contained the ten commandments. What a striking proof of the importance which he attached to the Moral Law, and of the character of permanency which he would thus im. press upon it.
While God was communing with his servant on Sinai, and giving him these directions, the object of which was to fulfil the Divine promises, and make the Israelites a peculiar people under the immediate government and protection of the Al mighty, they alas ! were grossly violating their en gagements, and despising the authority to which they had so lately, in a solemn covenant, pledged their obedience.
The absence of their leader appeared to them long and strange. They thought, or pretended to think, that he would never return. Was he consumed in the bright glory which seemed to burn like fire on the summit of the mountain ; or had God removed him in some mysterious way from earth to heaven, there to take up his abode ?
Some of them gathered together in a tumultuous manner, and assailed Aaron, who had come down from the mount, with this importunate and wicked request. Up, make us gods, which shall go before for for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wist not what is become of him."