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Moses soon had occasion to visit this sacred tent, probably to procure a divine response concerning some question of moment in which there was felt a peculiar interest. He went out of the camp for this purpose, while the people, standing at the doors of their tents, looked after him, anxious to know the result. As he entered into the tabernacle, the cloudy pillar descended and stood at the door; and the people beholding this wonderful spectacle, rose up and worshipped, eyery man at his tent door!
How striking this visible manifestation of the favor of God towards his faithful servant! What a sublime and incontrovertible proof, thus miraculously given, that the Israelites were to look for intercourse with Jehovah, and receive the divine mandates, through Moses the mediator !
We are told; the Lord spake unto Moses," at this time, "face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend ;'--that is, not under any similitude of a person, but in an articulate voice, near by, and familiarly.
Moses then returned to the camp, while Joshua, the son of Nun, remained in the tabernacle, ministering there in certain duties which it devolved upon him to perform.
The people having been informed of what it was necessary for them to know of the late divine communications, Moses went back again to the taber.
nacle, to inquire still further of the Lord. He was exceedingly anxious to ascertain whom God would send, to direct him in conducting the Israelites to the promised land. He had been told, indeed, that an angel should go before him, but he wished to understand more particularly his character, and mode of acting; and he ventured to solicit this information, since he had received the assurance of enjoying the peculiar friendship of Jehovah, and of having found grace in his sight.
Now therefore, I pray thee, if I have found grace in thy sight, show me now thy way,” (the manner in which thou dost purpose to lead us on our journey,) " that I may know thee, that I may find grace in thy sight: and consider that this nation is thy people.” My presence
with thee,” was the unexpected reply. How full of encouragement to Moses, and of a joyful confidence in the Almighty ! His intercession for those whom God had once called his own people, had prevailed. The fearful threatening was withdrawn. The cloudy pillar, and visible manifestations of the divine glory and presence, would still accompany them.
"My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest;"—-rest, by making thee victorious over all thy enemies,-and rest, at length, to the Israelitish nation in the promised land.
" If thy presence go not with me,” was the de
vout reply of Moses, "carry us not up hence. For wherein shall it be known here that I and thy people have found grace in thy sight? is it not in that thou goest with us? so shall we be separated,” or, as it is in the original, marvellously or gloriously separated, "I and thy people, from all the people that are upon the face of all the earth."
After being assured that this should indeed be done, Moses had one more request to make of a very extraordinary kind. In presenting it, he probably desired the confirmation of his hopes by a miraculous vision of the Divine presence, as the evidence that it had, again, actually taken up its abode with him and the people, and would accompany
their I beseech thee,” said he, "show me thy glory." "I will make all my goodness pass before thee," was the condescending reply of Jehovah, " and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before thee, and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and I will show mercy on whom I will show mercy.” To this it was added, " Thou canst not see my
Moses was then directed to prepare two tables of stone similar to the first ; on which the Lord said he would again write what had been written on the former ones; and to be ready in the morning, and come up and present himself before the Divine presence, on the top of the mount. No man was to be permitted to come up with him, nor to be seen throughout all the mount; and no flocks nor herds were to feed before it.
The familiar friendship with which Moses was thus treated by Jehovah, may well excite our wonder! It shows the extent of the divine condescen. sion and love.
Can fallen, depraved man be indeed admitted to 80 intimate a communion with his Maker ? For let us not forget, my young friend, that Moses was a sinner, and as such wholly unfit to be received into the Divine presence. It was for Christ's sake that God treated him as he did. That Saviour had not yet, indeed, been manifest in the flesh, and suffered, and died. But Moses knew that he would come, and his faith rested on him. It was thus that he was accepted of God, and found favor in his sight.
Besides, the very faith of Moses, and whatever of purity and holiness of heart he possessed, without which no one can enjoy communion with God, were divine gifts, graciously bestowed upon him through the influences of the Holy Spirit.
Behold the medium and the means of gaining ac
cess to the presence of Jehovah,—Christ the Saviour and Intercessor,-the Holy Spirit the preparatory Guide and Purifier.
" If a man love me,” said Jesus to his disciples, "he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him."
What an inestimable blessing! What an exalted privilege !—far above that which Moses asked for on the mount, to behold, for once, some visible manifestation of the divine glory. It is to have the peculiar presence of God and the Saviour,—their spiritual presence, imparting holiness, peace, and joy to the soul, always with us ;-accompanying us through life ; sustaining us in death ; and proving the foretaste of that blissful vision of Jehovah, mysterious and ineffable, which those who, like Moses, bear his image on earth, and are the followers of his Son, will enjoy in heaven.
" Blessed are the pure in heart; for they shall see God.”—Memorable words of the Redeemer ! Do we long after the vision ? Are we now preparing to have it, at length, burst upon our enraptured sight?