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à partaker of the people's sin. With Moses, as the mediator, the Lord condescended to hold a conference. The words which God spake upon this occasion are not recorded ; but we may judge of their import, by the reply which Moses made. It seems that Moses was in a state of great perplexity; the Lord had given him assurances of his favour to himself, and had commanded him to conduct the people towards Canaan; but having declared, that whosoever had sinned again Him, He would blot out of his book, Moses did not understand whether all the people were to go, or whether some were first to be cut off by Divine vengeance: he therefore wished to have the way of the Lord made plain to him, that he might know how to please Him. To calm his apprehensions, the LORD assured him that his Presence should go with him, &c. The expression, I know thee by name, signifies, that the LORD admitted him to an extraordinary degree of familiarity with Him. Moses's wish to see the glory of the LORD seems to have included a desire to understand the Di. vine nature, and to know the Lord as He is. In this particular, Moses aspired to a degree of knowledge above the reach of his faculties; but as he was actuated, not by curiosity, but by a sincere desire of paying due honour to Him, the Lord was not displeased, but promised to make such a display of his perfections, as should convince Moses that He is of a kind and bene. ficent nature ; and lest Moses should suppose that he had a right to the information he requested, the LORD taught him to consider the revelation He was going to make as an act of His free grace and favour.
Whether Moses went into a clift of the rock, or was contented with a milder display of the glory of the LORD, is not related, but he was certainly convinced, that it was God himself that talked with him; and we
may understand, that the beauty, splendour, and magni. ficence, with which the LORD God makes His presence visible, in Heaven, to superior beings, is such as human nature, with its present infirmities, cannot behold and live.
By the Face of God, I think we may understand, the DIVINE IMAGE in the resplendency of heavenly glory, as He appears to the angelic host; by His back parts this glory moderated; by God's covering Moses with His hand, perhaps is meant, that he fortified him against those fatal effects of astonishment, which, without Divine support, such a vision would have produced.
By proclaiming His name, we may understand, that the LORD vouchsafed to make known His nature and attributes. From this proclamation we learn, that the God of Israel is the SUPREME Being, the Lord of the whole creation. The same who was known in His Divine Image as the Lord God; that He is by nature merciful, &c. but at the same time just; and that He is a jealous God; that is, He requires to be honoured by His éreatures above all Beings, and will not suffer any thing to stand in competition with Him, to assume those titles, or receive that homage, which is due to Him alone.
As soon as Moses was assured that the LORD would pardon transgression and sin, he entreated Him to forgive the iniquity of the Israelites; which, in consideration of Moses's intercession, and the penitence they had lately expressed, God of His infinite mercy did; and received them again into favour, on conditions consistent with His honour, and their duty.
Without doubt, Moses was joyfully received by the repentant Israelites, when he returned from the Mount with the Testimony of the Covenant in his hands. As the Mediator of this Covenant, the LORD distinguished
Moses from the people, by shedding a visible glory on hiin. This served to confirm their belief in the relation which Moses doubtless gave, of what had lately been revealed to him.
In this section we perceive the value of Divine Revelation ; without this, the nature and attributes of the SuPREME Being could not have been ascertained; for supposing that mankind could have discovered by the light of reason, that God is good, gracious, and merciful, they could not have been absolutely sure that He would pardon sin; neither could they have known that He will not clear the guilty; that is, pass over guilt, without some atonement being made for it; and this ignorance might have occasioned them to fall into the extremes of slavish fear, or ill-founded confidence.
It certainly must have afforded great satisfaction to Moses and the Israelites, to know what kind of a Being God is, in respect to His Divine attributes; and Christians may meditate on this portion of Scripture with delight and advantage. As Gov is merciful, gracious, long-suffering, abundant in goodness and truth, He has a just claim to our love, gratitude, and obedience. As He will not clear the guilty, but visit the sin, for which atonement is not made, and pardon obtained, upon children's children, unto the third and fourth generation, we should be careful to avoid sin, and desirous to receive His gracious pardon, through our Mediator, who has made atonement for the sins of the whole world, but whose intercession is still necessary for individuals.
From the remarkable instance which is here recorded of the favour of the LORD to Moses, we learn, that the ALMIGHTY is not displeased with those who wish to know Him; and we may assure ourselves, that though God does not visibly appear to us, He will display His attributes to the minds of those who truly love Him, so that they shall sensibly feel, that He is good and graci. ous, long suffering, abundant in goodness and truth.
SECTION III. THE PEOPLE'S FREE-WILL
AND ITS APPURTE
The favour of the Lord being thus happily restored to his people Israel, He vouchsafed to draw near to them again ; and to shew that He graciously designed to dwell or abide among them, the Lord restored to Moses the Testimony of his Covenant, written like that which Moses broke when he saw the people worshipping the golden calf at his descent from Mount Sinai. Having received the Tables of the Law, Moses gathered the people together, and after giving them a very strict injunction to keep the Sabbath-day holy, as the signa which was above all things to distinguish them from idolaters, as the people of the Lord, the Creator of heaven and earth; he called upon every man who had a willing heart to make an offering of gold, silver, brass, blue, purple, scarlet, and fine linen, rams' skins, badgers' skins, shittim wood, oil, spices, and precious stones; and
upon all who had skill and ingenuity, to assist in making a Tabernacle or Sanctuary to serve as a recep: tacle for the Ark of the Covenant, and also as a place of public worship. For making this Tabernacle and all the furniture and utensils suitable to it, Moses had re. ceived particular instructions from the Lord during his forty days continuance on the mount; likewise for ordaining a priesthood, and clothing the Priests in a distinguishing manner.
No sooner was the summons issued by Moses, than a general emulation prevailed among the people, both men and women, and great quantities of gold, silver,
jewels, and other precious materials, which they had brought out of Egypt, and hitherto had had no use for, were in a short time collected.
*Moses then informed the people, that the Lord had chosen two men, Bazaleel, of the tribe of Judah, and Aholiab, of the tribe of Dan, to be masker workmen; and had inspired them with wisdom, so that, without any human instruction, they should be able to contrive all kinds of curious works for the ornaments of the Tabernacle, &c. He then called for Bazaleel and Aholiab, and other men, who were also filled with inge. nuity by the SPIRIT OF THE LORó, and committed to them the offerings which the people had brought, and they immediately set about the necessary preparations *. Such an ardent desire now prevailed among
people, to shew their devotion to the LOR!), that every morning and evening one or other brought fresh offer. ings, till Moses, finding the supplies more than sufficient, caused proclamation to be made that they might desist. The work of the Tabernacle now went on with the greatest expedition. While the men of Israel were employed about the laborious and ornamental parts of it, the women spun and prepared linen for the hangings, and for the priests' garments.
As the people dwelt in tents, the Tabernacle, or House of the Lord, was of the same construction, that it might conveniently be taken down, in order to be removed from place to place. “ The Tabernacle was in the form of an oblong square, thirty cubits in length, and ten in heighth and breadth ; and it was divided into two parts, viz. the Holy Place, and the Holy of Holies. The Holy Place was twenty cubits long and ten wide ; in this stood the golden candlestick and the altar of in• See Exodus, Clap, xxxv. 35.