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pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people in the camp trembled. And Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to meet with God; and they stood at the nether part of the mount. And mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the Lord descended
upon it in fire ; and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly. And when the voice of the trumpet sounded long, and waxed louder and louder, Moses spake; and God answered him by a voice, and he said unto Moses, Come up unto the Lord, thou and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders; and worship ye afar off. And Moses alone shall come near the Lord; but they shall not come nigh, neither shall the people go up with him. And Moses came and told the people all the words of the Lord. Then went up Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel: and they saw the God of Israel ; and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness. And Moses again rose up, and his minister Joshua, and went up into the mount of God. And he said unto the elders, Tarry ye here for us until we come again unto you. And Moses went up into the mount, and a cloud covered the mount. And the glory of the Lord abode upon mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days: and the seventh day He called unto Moses out of the cloud. And the sight of the
glory of the Lord was like devouring fire on the top of the mount in the eyes of the children of Israel. And Moses went into the midst of the cloud, and gat him up into the mount : and Moses was in the mount forty days and forty nights.”
Can we reflect on this recital with unimpressed minds, as to the vital import of the Mosaic symbols — a recital which man could not invent, upon which is set the impress of all external evidences most infallible for attesting fact, namely, traditionary rites and customary observances, ordained at the moment when the fact took place, to perpetuate its remembrance, and of which the Mosaic institution is so eminently redundant an institution which, at the distant era when it was enacted, laid the basis of the religion and laws of a great and mighty nation, (Numb. xxxiii. 6,) continuing to do so unto this very day. When we find the patterns imparted to Moses so replete with admeasurements-the directions he then received forming the subject matter of the books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy -the admeasurements and patterns delivered a second time by God himself to David and to Solomon—the frequent allusions to them inserted in the Psalms—the re-erection of the temple, as recorded by Ezra and Nehemiah, under the special encouragement of God through the prophet Haggai, “Go up to the mountains, and bring wood, and build the house; and I will take pleasure in it, and I will be glorified, saith the Lord;" “Who is left among you that saw this house in her first glory? and how do you see it now? is it not in your eyes in comparison of it as nothing? Yet now be strong, O Zerubbabel, saith the Lord; and be strong, O Joshua, son of Josedek, the high-priest; and be strong, all ye people of the land, saith the Lord of hosts. For thus saith the Lord of hosts, Yet once it is a little while, and I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come; and I will fill this house with glory, (though vailed in a carnal nature,) saith the Lord of hosts. And the glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former house, saith the Lord of hosts: and in this place will I give peace, saith the Lord of hosts.” (Haggai ii. 3—10.) Furthermore, the vision of Isaiah, (vi.) more especially of Ezekiel, also of Zechariah, (vi. 12, 13;) the references contained in the gospels and epistles, that to the Hebrews being solely on this subject. Finally, the renewal of admeasurements and figures in the apocalypse of St. John; observing, likewise, the Israelitish elders only admitted to behold the outward boundary, or starry heavens; Moses alone received up into the mount, where, if not honoured and illumined as was afterwards St. Paul by a view of the holy, heavenly regions, he unquestionably was by receiving of their patterns. Josephus tells us, that “Moses did behold the cherubims of glory near the throne of God, for no man before him ever had any knowledge of them.”* Can we reflect on these things without enhancement of our reverential awe for our venerable school. master, and the sublimity of his initiatory symbols? Can we contemplate the figurative delineation of heavenly things, imparted to us by the Mosaic institution, without a full assurance that they exhibit objects of most important and interesting research? On the immensity of our lower region, it is scarcely necessary much further to expatiate; but that being now the subject of discussion, we shall be rather more explicit, and proceed to remark
“ It being no ways probable that the Almighty, who always acts with infinite wisdom, and does nothing in vain, should create so many fixed stars, fit for so many important purposes, and place them at such distances from each other, * without proper objects near enough to be benefited by their influences; for whoever imagines that they were created only to give a faint glimmering light to the inhabitants of this globe, must have a very
* “ The immense distance of the fixed stars from one another, is, of all considerations, the most proper for raising our ideas of the works of God. For, notwithstanding the great extent of the earth's orbit or path (which is at least one hundred and sixtytwo millions of miles in diameter) round the sun, the distance of a fixed star is not sensibly affected by it; so that the star does not appear to be any nearer to us when the earth is in that part of its orbit nearest the star, than it seemed to be when the earth was at the most distant part of its orbit, or one hundred and sixtytwo millions of miles further removed from the same stars. The star nearest us, and consequently the biggest in appearance, is the Dog Star, or Sirius. Modern discoveries make it probable that each of these fixed stars is a sun having worlds revolving round it, as our sun has the earth and other planets revolving round him. Now the Dog Star appears twenty-seven thousand times less than the sun; and as the distance of the stars must be greater in proportion as they seem less, (though they may likewise as widely differ in size, or at least the worlds revolving round them,) as do the planets of our solar system, mathematicians have computed the distance of Sirius to be two billions and two hundred thousand millions of miles. The motion of light, therefore, which though so quick as to be commonly thought instantaneous, takes up more time in travelling from the stars to us, than we do in making a West India voyage. A sound
would not arrive to us from thence in fifty thousand years, which, next to light, is considered as the quickest body we are acquainted with; and a cannon-ball, flying at the rate of four hundred and eighty miles an hour, would not reach us in seven hundred thousand years. The stars being at such immense distances from the sun, cannot possibly receive from him so strong a light as they seem to have, nor any brightness sufficient to make them visible to us; for the sun's rays must be so scattered and dissipated before they reach such remote objects, that they can never be transmitted back to our eyes so as to render these objects visible by reflection. The stars, therefore, shine with their own native and unborrowed lustre, as the sun does; and since each particular star, as well as the sun, is confined to a particular portion of space, it is plain the stars are of the same nature with the sun. Since the fixed stars then are prodigious spheres of fire, like our sun, and at inconceivable distances from one another, as well as from us, it is reasonable to conclude that they are made for the same purpose that the sun is, each to bestow light, heat, and vegetation on a certain number of inhabited planets, kept by gravitation within the sphere of its activity. What an august, what an amazing conception, if human imagination can conceive it, does this give of the works of the Creator! Thousands of thousands of suns, multiplied without end, and ranged all around us at immense distances from each other, attended by ten thousand times ten thousand worlds, all in rapid motion, yet calm, regular, harmonious, invariably keeping the paths prescribed them, and these worlds peopled with myriads of intelligent beings, forined for endless progression in perfection and felicity. If so much power, wisdom, goodness, and magnificence is displayed in the material creation, which is the least considerable part of the universe, how great, how wise, how good, must He be who made and governs the whole !”—Guthrie's System of Geography. When we thus consider the heavens the work of his fingers, the moon and the stars which He has ordained-Lord, what is man that thou shouldest be so mindful of him, and the son of man that thou shouldest thus regard him !