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rowful! Its solemnities will recall most vividly to your recollection, and to that of all the people, your late offence; so aggravated in the sight of God as to provoke this most affecting expression of his displeasure !
Moses receives the divine directions how to conduct the funeral of his brother. Mysterious funeral! when he who is to be entombed, himself walks in the procession, and takes a part in his own obsequies. The people are assembled to witness the mournful event. Who can describe the scene, as the venerable man, one hundred and twenty-three years of age, stands before them. They see in him their longtried friend. They recollect how meekly and wisely, during a protracted course of severe trials, he has borne, in connection with Moses, the office of their leader and guide. The splendid garments with which he is clad, remind them of the affecting relation in which he has so long stood to them, as the high-priest of the nation. But he wears these garments for the last time. The Urim and Thummim will no more give the divine response through his lips. He is never again, on the great day of atonement, to make expiation for the sins of the people. Another high-priest must enter the holy of holie, and complete the august and significant rites. Aaron is to be their high-priest no longer.
Amid such reflections, it is no exaggeration to suppose, that deep grief pervaded the assembly ;
that frequent tears were shed; and that many a sigh was raised which, floating in the air, fell mournfully on the ear of Aaron.
And how did he who was to leave them, sustain the parting interview? Was it too much for his soul of tenderness to endure ? Did he give a last embrace to his family; and clasp his sons to his bosom; and, bending over them, invoke for them the divine protection ? Did he lift up his trembling hands, before the whole congregation, and pronounce once more,-never again to do it,—the official blessing? "The Lord bless thee, and keep thee : the Lord make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: the Lord lift
his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.” One cannot help thinking that he did all this; melted, indeed, into a soul-subduing grief, yet selfpossessed and tranquil.
Moses, the meanwhile, was standing by his brother in silent anguish! Who but himself could describe the conflict of emotions which agitated his breast, and which the last sad offices that he had now to perform, led him to struggle to control. He did, (we must believe,) control them. His mighty mind, aided by divine strength, is equal to the emergency. He leads Aaron from the assembly, and Eleazar, having been so directed, follows. Every eye is fixed on their course. In the sight of all the congregation, they ascend the mountain.
They reach the destined spot on its summit. Moses disrobes Aaron of his sacred vestments, and
upon son Eleazar, now to be the high-priest of the nation. The last official duty is performed. The divine injunctions have all been obeyed. The crisis is at hand.
But Nature has first her mournful privilege to claim. A father, a son, a brother are there. They take their last farewell. The parting words are uttered. The parting look is given. Aaron commends his spirit to the God of his fathers, and calmly waits the issue. The touch of the Almighty is upon him. He sleeps serenely in the arms of death. His soul is with the Angel of the Covenant.
Where was his tomb prepared ? Was it near the spot where he died ? Did a brother and a son lay his remains quietly in its silent seclusion, there to repose till the morning of the resurrection ?-It might gratify our curiosity to know; but the divine record is silent. It leaves these things in obscurity. It only tells us that Aaron died and was buried; that Moses and Eleazar came down from the mount; and that thirty days were passed by the Israelites, in mourning the death of their la mented and venerable high-priest.
But tradition, perhaps correctly, professes to point out the place where the body of Aaron was laid. At the distance of two long days' journey north-east from Akaba, is a rivulet and valley, on
the east side of Araba, called Wady Mousa. Here are the remains of an ancient city, supposed to be Petra, the capital of Arabia Petræa. The western side of the valley is closed by a lofty mountain, on the summit of which is shown, what is said to be the tomb of Aaron. It is a small white building, crowned by a cupola, and visible at a great distance; the mountain towering above all the rest in its neighborhood, and forming one of the marks by which the Bedouin regulates his wanderings in the desert.
The spot is thus described by an American traveller who lately visited it, the author of "Incidents of Travel in Egypt, Arabia Petræa, and the Holy Land :" "If I had never stood on the top of mount Sinai, I should say that nothing could exceed the desolation of the view from the summit of mount Hor, its most striking objects being the dreary and rugged mountains of Seir, bare and naked of trees and verdure, and heaving their lofty summits to the skies, as if in a vain and fruitless effort to excel the mighty pile, on the top of which the high-priest of Israel was buried." "The building is about thirty feet square, containing a single chamber.” In this chamber are some steps leading to an apartment below; at the other end of which is "an iron grating, opening in the middle; and behind the grating a tomb cut in the naked rock, guarded and reverenced as the tomb of Aaron."
Aaron was ready to die. He obeyed the summons with a mind stayed upon God, and undoubtedly left the world, expecting, through the divine mercy, to enter the mansions of the blessed. My young friend, are you ready to die? Ask yourself the question with all that solemnity which its importance demands. For it is a serious thing to die. Then your time for repentance closes, and Christ no more offers to become your Saviour, and the Holy Spirit ceases to strive with your spirit to lead you to God.
It is a serious thing to die. Then you must appear before God, to give him an account of all that you have done, and especially of the manner in which you have treated his offers of mercy through Christ. It is a serious thing to die. Then you must have your condition fixed for eternity, either among the redeemed in heaven, or the lost in the world of despair. Are you prepared to die?