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And lie gave Joshua the son of Nun a charge, and said, Be strong, and of a good courage: for thou shalt bring the children of Israel into the land which I sware unto them: and I will be with thee.
And it canie to pass when Moses had made an end of writing the words of this law in a book, until they were finished ; that Moses commanded the Levites which bare the ark of the covenant of the Lord, saying, Take this book of the law, and put it in the side of the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, that it may
be there for a witness against thee.
For I know thy rebellion, and thy stiff neck; be- . hold, while I am yet alive with you this day, ye have been rebellious against the LORD; and how much more after
death? Gather unto me all the elders of your tribes, and your officers, that I may speak those words in their ears, and call heaven and earth to record against them.
For I know that after my death ye will utterly corrupt yourselves, and turn aside from the way which I have commanded you : and evil will befal you in the latter days; because ye will do evil in the sight of the LORD), to provoke him to anger through the work of
And Moses spake in the ears of all the congregation of Israel the words of the song until they were ended,
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.
Moses was extremely anxious for the future welfare of the Israelites! It was very proper that the law should be written, and that a copy of it should be deposited in the Ark, lest the copies given to the elders should be lost or corrupted, by going through such a number of hands. Once in seven years, the whole law was to be read
publicly before all the inhabitants of the land of Israel; not an individual was suffered to remain in ignorance of his duty, or of the blessings and curses annexed to the covenant.
That the Israelites might be convinced of the foreknowledge of God, the Lord foretold how they would forsake His covenant, and what would be their sentiments, when they had brought the evil upon themselves which he threatened.
With what calm resignation did Moses receive the tidings of his approaching death! His only care was to give all possible instruction to the people he was going to leave, and to their leader, who was to succeed him. The subsequent behaviour of the Israelites will shew that he was a true prophet.
That they might never want a proper form of devotion the Lord inspired Moses to compose a song, or poem, and commanded him, after repeating it to the Israelites, to cause them to learn it by heart. In this was expressed, in a most sublime
many benefits and favours which God had bestowed on His people ; their ingratitude and forgetfulness of Him; the punishments with which he had afflicted them, and the commination of greater judgments, if they persisted to provoke Him, by a repetition of wickedness.
How dreadful it is to reflect, that, under a more perfect dispensation-than the Mosaic, thousands, nay millions, amongst us, have grown up without any religious instruction, and have lived in worse than heathen darkness, in a land, on which the Sun of Righteousness sheds its clearest light! At length, through the tender mercy of our God, the day spring from on high has visited them, to guide their feet into the
way children of the poor, who before knew not any thing, are now taught to fear the LORD their God, and keep
His Sabbaths; and we may hope, that the rising generation will be a people acceptable to Him.
THE DEATH OF MOSES.
From Deut. Chap. xxxiii. xxxiv.
And Moses the man of God blessed Israel before his death *.
And Moses went up from the plains of Moab, unto the mountain of Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, that is over against Jericho. And the LORD shewed him all the land of Gilead, unto Dan, and all Naphtali, and the land of Ephraim, and Manasseh ; and all the land of Judah, unto the utmost sea, and the south, and the plain of the valley of Jericho, the city of palm-trees, unto Zoar.
And the Lord said unto him, This is the land which I sware unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, saying, I will give it unto thy seed: I have caused thee to see it with thine eyes, but thou shalt not go over thither.
So Moses the servant of the Lord died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the LORD.
And he buried him in a valley in the land of Moab, over against Beth-peor ; but no man knoweth of his sepulchre unto this day.
And Moses was an hundred and twenty years old when he died: his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated.
And the children of Israel wept for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days: so the days of weeping and mourning for Moses were ended.
* See the blessings upon each tribe in Deut. xxxiii.
And there arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whon the Lord knew face to face:
In all the signs and the wonders which the LORD sent him to do in the land of Egypt, to Pharaoh, and to all his servants, and to all his land.
And in all that mighty hand, and in all the great terror which Moses shewed in the sight of all Israel.
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS,
We have now gone through the PENTATEUCH, or the five books written by Moses, called Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy. They are exceedingly valuable to us on account of the important instruction they afford, the examples of faith and piety proposed to our imitation, and the wonderful proofs of the power, wisdom, and goodness of Gon), which, if properly considered, will incline us to love and fear Him : and they likewise contain, the only account to be depended on of the original of all things. The last chapter of Deuteronomy is supposed to have been written by Joshua: whoever was the writer was certainly inspired by God, for no man knew the circumstances that are here related. Lest the people should offer divine worship to Moses after his death, the place of his burial was concealed.
Moses, though 120 years old, enjoyed perfect health and strength to the last, and the faculties of his mind were likewise unimpaired ; yet he cheerfully obeyed the summons of the LORD, and ascended the mountain to die there. This is a convincing proof, that he looked for the performance of a better covenant in another world: for though we do not find in the Bible, that Moses was
commissioned by God to make any promises to the people concerning everlasting happiness, they certainly understood the blessings of Canaan to be types or
shadores of good things to come. Before his death, he
pronounced a prophetic blessing on the people.
We have now brought the history of Moses to a conclusion; and surely no man ever led a more exemplary life. With what amiable meekness did he endure the hardships and toil of governing a discontented people! nothing could abate the ardour of his affection for his countrymen, or dishearten him in his endeavours to serve them. It was because his love for them was invincible, that he endured all their complaints and reproaches, with such persevering calmness, as to obtain him this character, that he was very meek above all the men that dwelt upon the face of the earth *; which He who knew all hearts, even the Spirit of Truth, dictated Moses to write of himself, that the world might be made acquainted with what otherwise would never have been known.
From the example of Moses, let us learn to cultivate that charity which is not easily provoked. To enable us to practice the virtue of meekness, it is not necessary that we should be possessed of distinguished abilities, or placed in an exalted station. Every relation, every situation in life, affords us sufficient opportunities for the exercise of this temper. In the present state of human nature, we need not therefore be at a loss for occasions to exercise a meek and gentle temper; and if we be properly under the influence of the principle of benevolence, we shall never want the inclination.
* Numbers xii. 3.