corner graphic   Hi,    
ver. 2.0.19.12.07
Finding the new version too difficult to understand? Go to classic.studylight.org/

Bible Commentaries

Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary
Exodus 34

 

 

Verses 1-4

CRITICAL NOTES.—

Exo . Hew thee two tables of stone]. A task which could not have failed to make Moses feel abashed, and to impress him with a sense of humility as he reflected on his breaking the first tables which God Himself had prepared for him. The former he had but to receive, these he must carry up the mount; and, besides, this time without being accompanied by Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and the seventy of the elders of Israel (Exo 24:9). That all this difference connected with his obtaining the second tables was calculated to make a designed impression upon him, is evident from the emphatic manner in which God referred him to the first tables, viz., "which thou hast broken" (Exo 34:1).

MAIN HOMILETICS OF THE PARAGRAPH.—Exo

THE RENEWAL OF THE TWO TABLES

At the earnest intercession of the mediator God had consented to give another substantial revelation of His will. It was, however, to be connected with a substantial memorial of the people's disobedience and God's patience and goodness. On the former occasion, the materials, as well as the revelation, were prepared by God. The material must now be prepared by man. The circumstances under which the law was renewed were the same as those under which it was first given, see Exo , &c. The subject teaches us—

I. That the moral law is perpetually binding. Having been broken it must be renewed.

1. The revelation of the law, in the first instance, was but a repetition in detail of what had already been conveyed directly in the heart of, or by special injunctions to, man.

(1.) Generally (Exo ; Gen 26:5; Gen 17:3).

(2.) Particularly, obedience (Adam and Eve); murder (Cain, and Gen ); dishonour to parents (Gen 9:22). The spiritual worship of the true God (Gen 12:7; Gen 14:18); adultery and lying (Gen 12:14-19; Gen 20:2-16); adultery (Gen 39:9); lying (Gen 27:35); idolatry (Gen 35:2); the Sabbath (Exo 16:25-26).

2. The moral law was not abrogated by Christ (Mat ). We are redeemed from its curse, not from its obligation.

3. The moral law is still binding (Rom ; 1Co 9:21).

II. That the renewal of the moral law when broken entails duties unknown before. "Hew thee two tables of stone;" "and he hewed two tables of stone." This fact is very typical and suggestive.

1. In the first inscription of the moral law upon man's heart, the preparation and the writing were exclusively the work of God. When our first parents awoke to consciousness, the "fleshy tables" were found covered with the "oracles of God."

2. When those tables were defaced and those oracles transgressed, the work of preparation fell largely upon man. Ever afterwards man had to prepare himself by acts of penitence and faith,—not excluding divine help, of course,—but nevertheless those acts are acts of man. "God commandeth man everywhere to repent." "Repent ye, and believe the Gospel" (cf. Heb ).

3. But this renewal of the divine law is accomplished in such a way as to deprive man of all ground of glorying, and so as to ascribe all the glory to God. The tables were of plain stone, all their embellishments were by the Divine hand.

III. That when the moral law is broken God, graciously offers to renew it upon man's compliance with the revealed condition, Exo . So when man by repentance and faith "puts off the old man and puts on the new," he is renewed in the image of Him that created him, on which the moral law is inscribed (Col 3:9-16).

IV. That these conditions should be complied with

1. Speedily. "Early in the morning."

2. Personally. This great work is a transaction between God and the individual particularly concerned. We may therefore argue that priestly intervention is

(1) unnecessary. The Being who could inscribe the precept on stone, can inscribe the principle on the fleshy tablets of the heart.

(2) Imposture. None but God could do the one, none but God can do the other. Vain, then, is the dependence on Baptism, Absolution, &c. If God has not written on the soul, no priest can ever trace the Divine handwriting there.

3. Patiently. Moses waited again forty days and forty nights.

(1.) Do not hurry the work over. What is being done is being done for eternity. Distrust spasm and mere excitement, no man ever became great in Christianity or anything by paroxysm.

(2.) Don't despond if the work is not progressing as rapidly as you might wish. If God is writing on your heart, let that be your comfort, and let God use His own time. Paul had to say, Php . Learn—

1. The value of the moral law.

2. The importance of having that law not only on stone or paper but in the heart.

3. The necessity of a public and practical exhibition and interpretation of that law in the life.—J. W. Burn.

ILLUSTRATIONS

BY

REV. WILLIAM ADAMSON

Law-Lights! Exo . Pressense says, that whatever opinions men may hold as to the integrity of that primitive witness, all must own that it contains pages in which one beholds, as it were, the reflection of the lustre which caused Moses's face to shine when he held converse with God. It has ever been the pious mind which has through the eyes beheld the chain of revelation and the long series of Divine manifestations gradually unwind themselves. Just as they that watch for the morning gaze out from the height of the tower, longing with inexpressible desire for the approach of dawn; so does religious consciousness cast glances of fire upon the horizon as she looks out for the Divine Sunrise. The whole of the Old Testament pants and throbs with this Divine yearning, and it also shows us the finger of God writing in the heart of man the great preparation for the Gospel. The angels ever

"Draw strength from gazing on its glance,

Though none its meaning fathom may;

The Word's unwithered countenance

Is bright as at Mount Sinai's day."

—Goëthe.

Sun-Splendours! Exo . Countless and ceaseless as are the benefits which are imparted to us by the bright orb of day, the human eye cannot look upon his undimmed noonday face, without being blinded. We cannot look upon him in his full brightness; but when he is passing away, we can, as it were, enjoy and wonder at the beauty he has, or the splendour he leaves behind. A gorgeous canopy of clouds—glowing in every tint of gold, scarlet, and purple over the evening sky, alone remains to bear witness to the passing sun's magnificence. As we enjoy the vanishing glory of the sun, so did Moses exult in the vision of the Divine glory. He could not look upon the face of God; but when the Lord had passed by then he could behold and delight in the shaded vision of Jehovah's back parts. And what sweet beauties did his eyes descry—emblems of those invisible beauties which the soul in communion with God beholds—

"The vivid brilliant streaks

Of crimson disappear, but o'er the hills

A flush of orange hovers, softening up

Into harmonious union with the blue

That comes a-sweeping down."

Carrington.

Written-Revelation! Exo .

(1.) The stream which flows through many soils takes a bitter taste from one, and a dusky tint from another. Even so the true faith could not be kept alive by tradition. Man's memory was too treacherous to be entrusted with a matter so distasteful to his fallen spirit as the true character of God. Hence the need of a written revelation.

(2.) And even where there was a traditional theology, in its transmission from race to race it was found that the oral revelation grew dark and offensive. In this stagnant swamp, weltering with reptiles and fuming with pestilence, who can recognise the stream which bounded from the Alpine crag, pure as the melted snow and salubrious as Heaven's own precipitate. Hence the need of a written revelation.

"The which, in waves which clear as crystal seem,

Spreads like a swelling sea o'er earth's dry ground,

Mirror'd therein heaven's halls of azure gleam,

And gold and pearls amid its sands are found.

Hast thou not of this heaven-bright river heard?

There dip thy cup; it is Truth's Holy Word."

Geroh.

Morning-Communion! Exo . Fuller quaintly says, "Spill not the morning—the quintessence of the day—in recreation; for sleep is itself a recreation. Add not, therefore, sauce to sauces." Beecher says, "Let the day have a blessed baptism by giving your first waking thoughts into the bosom of God. The first hour of the morning is the rudder of the day." Boerhaave says, "Nothing more effectually restrains the passions, and gives spirit and vigour through the business of the day, than early meditation and prayer." Swain says, "It is the early blackbird that catches the worms; and it is the early riser who sees the sun rise. Morning prayer brings bounties to the soul; and the Christian, who betakes himself betimes, beholds the Sun of Righteousness arise with healing in His wings!" Green says, "When the morning breaketh forth in crimson, the beauteous flowers of the field spread wide their odorous cups to drink the blooming influence of the rising genial sun. We should get us early to the hill of supplication, and catch the bright effulgence of the Saviour's face."

"That as the light, serene and fair,

Illumines all the tracts of sin,

His sacred Spirit so may rest

With quick'ning beams upon thy breast,

And kindly cleanse it all within

From darker blemishes of sin,

And shine with grace until we view

The realm it gilds with glory too."

Parnell.

Beatific-Vision! Exo . Another morning came, so different from that other august occasion when a quaking multitude surrounded a thundering mount. This time there was neither blackness nor tempest, nor sound as of a trumpet; but, with his two stone tablets, the Lawgiver ascended in the clear, cool day-spring. He ascended and sought the appointed place, and as there in the cleft of the rock he waited, a cloud drew nigh—a cloud like that which floated above the Tabernacle. And as the Lord passed by, and spake, Moses bowed his head and worshipped. During the protracted interview of the forty following days, perfect love cast out fear; and from the pavilion of this friendly presence and its rapt communion, Moses came down with that shining face, which only reappeared on the Mount of Transfiguration.

"Never the ken of mortal eye

Can pierce so deep, and far, and high,

As the eagle vision of hearts that dwell

In the lofty sunlit citadel

Of Faith that overcomes the world."


Verses 5-7

MAIN HOMILETICS OF THE PARAGRAPH.—Exo

THE PROCLAMATION OF THE DIVINE NAME

This was the second proclamation. The first, Exo , was delivered to Moses for his instruction and comfort on his special mission. This was delivered for the Jewish nation and the world. Let it be remembered that this God has revealed His law, and was about to take the people into covenant relationship with Him. It was necessary, therefore, that the people should know something definite about the Being to whom they were thus intimately related and whom they professed to serve. This was the first full revelation, the last is "like unto it." "God is love," and they are "enough" for faith and hope and work Notice—

I. The proclamation of the Divine name.

1. The Divine name was proclaimed absolutely. What God is in and o Himself is thus defined: "The Lord, the Lord God." The self-existent, self sufficient, all-powerful One. Connected with the subjoined revelation of His goodness, this teaches—

(1.) That as His goodness is based upon His power man must not presume.

(2.) That as His power supports His goodness man need not despond.

2. The Divine name was proclaimed relatively. This relative proclamation may be viewed as revealing God's goodness and God's justice.

(1.) The Divine goodness. Merciful, first because man's misery makes him first an object of pity (Jud ; Isa 63:19). Gracious, because unless God's goodness was tree, spontaneous, and unconstrained, man could never enjoy it, as he has not the wherewith to purchase or deserve or draw it forth (2Co 8:9). Longsuffering, not good by spasm or effort, but patient and unwearied. "Slow to anger," "Bears long," even when the wrongs of His saints call for His vengeance (Luk 18:7). Stretches "out His hand all the day long," and "waits to be gracious." How forcibly does the history of Israel, and indeed of every individual life, bear witness to this! Abundant; to God's goodness there is no limit. It is a fountain that ever flows and is never exhausted (Eph 3:16; Eph 3:21; Php 4:19). Certain. "Truth." It is based upon the Divine immutability; "He cannot deny Himself." Universal; "keeping mercy for thousands;" universal as regards space, universal as regards time. Active; "forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin."

(2.) The Divine justice is Inflexible. "That will by no means clear the guilty." This inspires us with the confidence that right is the order of the universe. The guilty may be spared so that they may repent, but they will not be cleared. They may prosper for the time, but a heavy retribution awaits them. Once more the Divine justice operates through natural laws, "visiting the iniquity of the fathers," &c. How? By the physical law of heredity. What a motive for parents! Beware how you break God's laws; you not only entail punishment on yourself, but your poisoned blood will flow in the veins of your degenerate offspring!

II. The method of its proclamation.

1. The Divine name was proclaimed personally. "And the Lord passed by before him and proclaimed."

(1.) God is not the discovery of the unaided intellect. It was no deduction of philosophy, no imposition of priestcraft, but the revelation of the Lord (Job ; 1Co 1:21).

(2.) Not an inference from the phenomena of nature. If it is contended that it was, how is it that only Jews and Christians have arrived at this knowledge of the Divine name? Others have had the page of nature spread before them, and yet have been either atheists or idolaters. Much of what is boastfully called natural theology, and the revelation of God in the universe, are but facts read into nature from the Bible and by Bible men. True, God is revealed there (Rom ); but the key is wanted to decipher the hieroglyphics, and that key is the "Scriptures which are given by inspiration of God."

2. The Divine name was proclaimed condescendingly. Although a revelation of the Divine Being was necessary, yet one so full and gracious was surely the result of the beneficent condescension of God. Another revelation has been vouchsafed since, based upon the same condescension (Php ).

This proclamation is of value—

i. Apologetically. This is the authorised revelation of the character of God. Unbelievers fight shy of it, and take certain doings or commands wrested from their context, and without examination as to the reason why. All such doings, &c., must be referred to and compared with "the glories" that here "compose God's name." This is the God we worship, not the fiction of a disordered fancy or a diseased mind, but "the Lord, the Lord God," &c.

ii. To the afflicted. Can this God be unkind or unjust? Then trust that what He is now doing is for your good.

iii. To the sinner.

(1) God is good, therefore repent and come to Him; but

(2) just, and therefore cannot connive at sin.—J. W. Burn.

ILLUSTRATIONS

BY

REV. WILLIAM ADAMSON

Law-Lights! Exo . Pressense says, that whatever opinions men may hold as to the integrity of that primitive witness, all must own that it contains pages in which one beholds, as it were, the reflection of the lustre which caused Moses's face to shine when he held converse with God. It has ever been the pious mind which has through the eyes beheld the chain of revelation and the long series of Divine manifestations gradually unwind themselves. Just as they that watch for the morning gaze out from the height of the tower, longing with inexpressible desire for the approach of dawn; so does religious consciousness cast glances of fire upon the horizon as she looks out for the Divine Sunrise. The whole of the Old Testament pants and throbs with this Divine yearning, and it also shows us the finger of God writing in the heart of man the great preparation for the Gospel. The angels ever

"Draw strength from gazing on its glance,

Though none its meaning fathom may;

The Word's unwithered countenance

Is bright as at Mount Sinai's day."

—Goëthe.

Sun-Splendours! Exo . Countless and ceaseless as are the benefits which are imparted to us by the bright orb of day, the human eye cannot look upon his undimmed noonday face, without being blinded. We cannot look upon him in his full brightness; but when he is passing away, we can, as it were, enjoy and wonder at the beauty he has, or the splendour he leaves behind. A gorgeous canopy of clouds—glowing in every tint of gold, scarlet, and purple over the evening sky, alone remains to bear witness to the passing sun's magnificence. As we enjoy the vanishing glory of the sun, so did Moses exult in the vision of the Divine glory. He could not look upon the face of God; but when the Lord had passed by then he could behold and delight in the shaded vision of Jehovah's back parts. And what sweet beauties did his eyes descry—emblems of those invisible beauties which the soul in communion with God beholds—

"The vivid brilliant streaks

Of crimson disappear, but o'er the hills

A flush of orange hovers, softening up

Into harmonious union with the blue

That comes a-sweeping down."

Carrington.

Divine Character! Exo .

(1.) Simonides the philosopher, being requested to describe God, asked a week to think of it. After that, he besought a month; then a year. Even then, being still unable, he declined the task, declaring that the more he thought of God, the less was he able to describe Him.

(2.) Pagan artists depicted Jupiter with thunder in his right hand, and an eagle at his feet. Their highest conceptions were to clothe him with clouds, while the poets robed him in terrors. Woes and wonders were their sublimest ideal of God.

(3.) Revelation alone emblazons God in the full circle of His perfections. The name of the God of the Jews, who is also the God of the Christians, is "The Lord God, merciful and gracious."

"Most glorious art Thou! when from Thy pavilion

Thou lookest forth at morning; flying wide

Those curtain-clouds of purple and vermilion.

Dispensing life and light on every side."

Barton.

Divine Glory! Exo . Amongst astronomers, remarks Hamilton, it is a favourite speculation that the sun himself is something else than a mere ball of fire, and that inside of his burning atmosphere there may be a mighty globe with cool meadows, seas of glass, rivers of crystal, and every conceivable provision for a vast and rejoicing population—the possible home of even the just made perfect. True or no, the speculation illustrates our thought. God's glory is His goodness. The holiness of God is as a consuming fire to the guilty conscience; but within this light inaccessible—within this refulgent atmosphere of truth and sanctity, is a glory more intimate and essential still, the inmost perfection and divinest beauty of the Godhead. Coming from within that light inaccessible, the only-begotten Son from the bosom of the Father declared what was there—viz., love. And so on this occasion to the meek and wistful Moses preaching the Gospel, Jehovah expanded that one word of love into the name: "The Lord God, merciful and gracious, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin."

"The sun has lost his rage; his downward orb

Shoots nothing more but animating warmth

And vital lustre; that, with various ray,

Lights up the clouds, those beauteous robes of heaven."

Thomson.

God-Goodness! Exo .

(1.) The child's primer on geography is a very different thing from that which the child has in mature school-days. Very simple are the words and expressions; but how detailed. The word continent requires sentence after sentence of explanation to the child-mind; but when the child has become the youthful student, three words suffice to explain the same. Even so, in Exo , we have the lengthened explanation of the Divine glory; while in 1 John 4 there is the same and substance—the essence of all—in the three words, "God is Love."

(2.) The savage who has never seen a rose, can only understand its nature when it is presented to him in full bloom; whereas he who knows what a rose is, realises its beauty and perfection when it is wrapped up in the bud. The petals, so to speak, of God's goodness were set before Moses in full bloom in this verse; but in the New Testament it was sufficient to give the bud, "God is love."

"I'll sing it in the sinner's ear,

I'll tell it to the worldling,

And ask no other theme;

'Twill flow to soothe the mourner's wail;

Children will hold the oft-told tale

Dearer than fiction's dream."

Grace-Revelations! Exo .

(1.) These verses, as Stock says, show that the revelation of God was not merely to the outward sight, but chiefly to the heart and mind of Moses. All the previous dealings of God with Israel had been successive revelations of His attributes, embraced in the name JEHOVAH. But Moses had never had a full and wonderful view of the "Mercy and Truth" therein; therefore he here obtains a glimpse into the Divine treasury, with its boundless, inexhaustible stores of mercy—mercy ready to meet and satisfy the demands of justice.

(2.) Filled with joyful boldness, he turns the very fact of Israel's stiff-neckedness into a plea for the presence and favour of God. As Law says, this heart is mercy. As the sun abounds in sparkling rays, the sea in drops, the sky in glittering orbs; so God is one vast treasure-house of mercy. This is the brightest jewel of His crown—overtopping the heavens, outliving all times, outshining all perfections. It is the riches of His riches.

"God's boundless mercy is to sinful man

Like to the ever wealthy ocean;

Which, though it sends forth thousand streams, 'tis ne'er

Known, or else seen, to be the emptier."

Herrick.

Boundless Mercy! Exo .

(1.) Hearken, says Law, to the melody of this sweet note. The thought may sometimes rise, that mercy visits but a favoured few, that the rare gift enriches but rare souls. Nay, mercy's arms are very wide; mercy's heart is very large; mercy's mansions are very many. It has brought saving joy to countless multitudes. It has saving joy for countless yet. The doors stand open. Thousands have found mercy; but there are stores for thousands yet.

(2.) The atmosphere is sometimes terrible with thunder, and riven with lightning—impregnated with pestilence, and charged with destruction. But it is generally and chiefly a means of health, filled with beautiful sounds, fragrant with sweetest odours, the pathway of sunbeams, the source of sparkling dew, the parent of harvests and fountain of earthly life. Ay, God is indeed full of mercy's flowers and fruits.

"O God, how beautiful the thought,

How merciful the bless'd decree,

That grace can e'er be found when sought,

And naught shut out the soul from Thee!"

Cook.


Verse 8-9

MAIN HOMILETICS OF THE PARAGRAPH.—Exo

GOD'S PRESENCE WITH HIS PEOPLE

The revelation of the Divine name was almost too much for Moses, it was so unmerited. He was lost in wonder and adoration at the Divine condescension, Exo . Recovering himself, however, and emboldened by this gracious proclamation, he, in the true spirit of believing and triumphant prayer, supplicated God's actual presence among His people. This is not the only instance in which past favours have been the basis for future expectations (Gen 18:23-33; Psa 116:12). The text teaches us—

I. That God's presence with His people is secured by mediation. His presence with Israel was secured by the intercession of Moses; His presence with His Church is secured by the intercession of Jesus Christ. The whole of John 17 is based upon this.

II. That God's presence is importuned because of the obstinacy of His people. "A stiff-necked people." One would have thought that would have been an argument for vengeance. But no, Old and New Testaments alike base upon man's failings a reason why God should visit him (Joh ; Mat 9:13; Rom 5:8). The reason is obvious, God alone is equal to the task of subduing sinners and bringing them into obedience to Himself.

III. That God's presence is supplicated to fulfil God's promises.

1. God had promised to pardon. God's presence was requisite for this, because the Divine pardon is not merely an erasure of sin from God's book, but an erasure of sin from man's heart. Forgiveness is not merely a fact in the moral universe of which man may or may not be conscious; but a fact in man's spiritual nature which he enjoys, and of which he has irrefragable proofs. God Himself must come near and transform the sinner into the saint.

2. God had promised that Israel should be His inheritance. This could only be effected by God's going amongst them and taking them. What boundless comfort does the double argument give! "God, in the person of His Son, has come amongst us, therefore we are His inheritance. Man is His inheritance, therefore He is with us always even unto the end of the world."

In conclusion—i. God having blessed us is a reason for our expectation of future blessings. Compare the past, present, and future tenses of Psa . God having blessed us in the past should be the basis of our expectation that He will manifest Himself to us. iii. This Divine presence should be the incentive to, and power of, personal purity and consecration.—J. W. Burn.

ILLUSTRATIONS

BY

REV. WILLIAM ADAMSON

Law-Lights! Exo . Pressense says, that whatever opinions men may hold as to the integrity of that primitive witness, all must own that it contains pages in which one beholds, as it were, the reflection of the lustre which caused Moses's face to shine when he held converse with God. It has ever been the pious mind which has through the eyes beheld the chain of revelation and the long series of Divine manifestations gradually unwind themselves. Just as they that watch for the morning gaze out from the height of the tower, longing with inexpressible desire for the approach of dawn; so does religious consciousness cast glances of fire upon the horizon as she looks out for the Divine Sunrise. The whole of the Old Testament pants and throbs with this Divine yearning, and it also shows us the finger of God writing in the heart of man the great preparation for the Gospel. The angels ever

"Draw strength from gazing on its glance,

Though none its meaning fathom may;

The Word's unwithered countenance

Is bright as at Mount Sinai's day."

—Goëthe.

Grace-Memories! Exo . Moses could never forget those moments spent in the clefts of the rock, while he beheld the grace of God's glory, after the insufferable glories of the law on Sinai. What Christian, who has felt the terrors of the law producing deep conviction in his conscience, and who has found peace, ever forgets that blissful moment when, hiding in the cleft side of Jesus, he beheld the glory of God's grace, and heard His voice, "Thy sins are forgiven thee." As the rebellious subject, who has stood before his offended monarch, marked the dread frown gathered on his royal brow, and listened to the solemn proclamation of the laws of the state, is filled with deep, unutterable joy as he sees the radiant smile of love glowing on that face, and as he hears the forgiving declaration, "Thy offence is blotted out by a merciful sovereign," the pardoned and restored subject can never lose sight of that scene—of the radiant smile. The proclamation would be written on the tablets of his memory in ineffaceable characters.

"For the King Himself in His tender grace,

Hath shown me the brightness of His face;

And who shall pine for a glow-worm light,

When the sun goes forth in his giant might?"

Havergal.


Verses 10-26

MAIN HOMILETICS OF THE PARAGRAPH.—Exo

THE RENEWAL OF THE COVENANT

The engagements which man had made with God being broken, the covenant had to be commenced de novo. All the ground must be again covered. The subject naturally divides itself into promises, prohibitions, injunctions. For the other circumstances, see Exodus 23; Exodus 24.

I. Promises. "Before all the people I will do marvels," &c.

1. God's marvels are indefinite, to leave a margin for Him "to do exceeding abundantly more than we can ask or think." No man would wish for God to tie Himself exclusively down to certain undertakings and nothing more. In that case, God having literally executed His promise, there would be no more room for faith and hope. So all the great Christian privileges are indefinite—faith, conversion, sanctification, heaven. However—

2. God executes definite marvels. God gives us a little that we may have a sample of what He can give, and that little is real, tangible, and experimental, Exo . God promises us definite destruction of our enemies, and a definite inheritance in the Promised Land.

3. All God's definite promises include the indefinite, and vice versa.

4. God's promises to His people are for general instruction. "All the people among which thou art shall see," &c.

II. Prohibitions.

1. Covenants with the people of the land, Exo . All alliances—matrimonial or religious—were sternly forbidden, from whatever motive, "lest it be for a snare," Exo 34:15-16; (2Co 6:14-15).

2. Idolatry, Exo . They were neither to serve nor to spare other gods. This prohibition is binding to-day. All those idols which intervene between us and the service of the true God must be overthrown. Now they excite the righteous jealousy of God!

3. The manufacture of symbols of God, Exo , lest they should fall again into their recent sin. Christians should cut themselves off from all that would be likely to drag them back into their "former conversation."

III. Injunctions.

1. The religious feasts. Unless religion be based upon joy, and unless God's service is joyous and free, they are unpracticable. This first injunction is based upon this fact. God is not a hard master, and desires His people to delight in His service.

2. The religious rest of the Sabbath-day. Sabbath observance is one of the root principles of religion. Where that is neglected or desecrated, religion is extinct. This, by the way, is one of the Sabbath arguments which cannot be refuted.

3. The religious consecration of the first-fruits as recognising God's right to all. This is also part of the Christian covenant. We must recognise God's right to our time, our property, and ourselves. In conclusion—our text

i. Has a special reference to backsliders. God offers to renew His covenant with them on the specified terms (Hos ). ii. To all (Isa 1:18-20).

J. W. Burn.

ILLUSTRATIONS

BY

REV. WILLIAM ADAMSON

Law-Lights! Exo . Pressense says, that whatever opinions men may hold as to the integrity of that primitive witness, all must own that it contains pages in which one beholds, as it were, the reflection of the lustre which caused Moses's face to shine when he held converse with God. It has ever been the pious mind which has through the eyes beheld the chain of revelation and the long series of Divine manifestations gradually unwind themselves. Just as they that watch for the morning gaze out from the height of the tower, longing with inexpressible desire for the approach of dawn; so does religious consciousness cast glances of fire upon the horizon as she looks out for the Divine Sunrise. The whole of the Old Testament pants and throbs with this Divine yearning, and it also shows us the finger of God writing in the heart of man the great preparation for the Gospel. The angels ever

"Draw strength from gazing on its glance,

Though none its meaning fathom may;

The Word's unwithered countenance

Is bright as at Mount Sinai's day."

—Goëthe.

Christ and Exodus! Exo . Take that prism to-morrow and let the sun shine through it, and you will see marvels. The white pure light is divided into many colours. Even so, bring Christ and let His mediatorial glory pour its concentrated flood upon this prism in Exodus 34. Lo! glorious truths of Gospel grace shine with varied, vivid lustre. What glorious rays of saving, sanctifying beauty! We behold the glory of Christ in marvellous combination then in this Mosaic prism. Each ray may be contemplated in itself, but all blend in the glory of God our Saviour.

"Flooded with splendour bright and broad,

The glorious light of the Love of God."

Vision-Media! Exo .

(1.) We do not say to a person of diseased sight, Come out and look at the noonday sun. But we provide the coloured glass as the medium through which he may behold the brightness of the sun.

(2.) Israel could not gaze upon the glory of God, except through the media of rites and ceremonies, &c. The supernal splendour of a direct vision of God would only have dazzled their sight, and not illuminated their soul.

(3.) Under the Gospel, Christians have their media through which to behold the Divine glory. Christ the Son of Man, His words of tenderness and truth, His works of solace and sympathies; these are the coloured media through which we "gaze upon God."

"O Love! O Life! our faith and sight

Thy presence maketh one;

As through transfigured clouds of white

We trace the noonday sun.

"So, to our mortal eyes subdued,

Flesh-veiled, but not concealed,

We know in Thee the Fatherhood

And heart of God revealed."

Whittier.

Divine-Tribute! Exo .

(1.) Arrowsmith says, The sun shines by his own nature, the air only by participation of light from the sun. So whatever good the creatures have, is by derivation from Jehovah, the fountain of being. Take away the light of the sun, the air ceaseth to shine, and so it is here.

(2.) Williams says, A right view of benefits received, of the source from whence they flow and of our own demerit, has a direct tendency to excite gratitude; and while the mind is influenced by sovereign grace this will be the pleasing effect.

(3.) The great ocean is in a constant state of evaporation. But there are men who do not believe in evaporation, i.e., in giving back to God of what they received from Him. They get and keep all they can; forgetting the duty of gratitude, overlooking the law of Divine tribute.

"I yield Thee back Thy gifts again,

Thy gifts which most I prize;

Desirous only to retain

The notice of Thine eyes."

Guyon.


Verses 27-32

MAIN HOMILETICS OF THE PARAGRAPH.—Exo

DIVINE REVELATION

Divine revelation is the communication by God to man of certain facts, doctrines, duties, for instruction, comfort, or practice, which would not otherwise have been discovered. Our text may be used as covering the whole revelation of God's character and will as contained in the Bible. We remark—

I. That Divine revelation is the result of Divine inspiration. "And He was there with the Lord." It is no human conjecture, however true. It is no inference, however correct, from existing facts; but information directly derived from the presence of Divine wisdom and Divine power.

II. That Divine revelation is made through a human medium. In some cases God has sent angels to communicate His truth; but even those communications have only reached the people through the appointed medium. We earn therefore—

1. That the inspired man is only the medium, and must not be treated as the revealer.

2. The way to account for variations of style and apparent discrepancies. The thought is God's, the words are man's.

III. That Divine revelation is infallible on the one hand, intelligible on the other.

1. Infallible.

(1) As regards authority. "All that the Lord had spoken to him." A most conspicuous fact in God's Word is, that inspired men disclaim all originality and speak "in the name of the Lord."

(2) As regards completeness. "All that the Lord had spoken." Inspired men claim to "declare all the counsel of God." The Book claims to be a revelation of "all things pertaining to life and godliness."

2. Intelligible. Being through man, God's thoughts are presented in a form adapted to the conditions of the human intellect, in words man can understand.

IV. That Divine revelation is binding upon man. "He gave them commandment."

1. God does not speak for nothing. It cannot be supposed that having spoken He would leave it to man, whether he obeyed or disobeyed. Nor can it be supposed that man is at liberty to pick and choose as to what he shall accept and what reject. The whole counsel of God, because it is His counsel, is binding upon man.

2. It is binding because only by obeying God's laws, and following the lines indicated by God's wisdom and goodness, that man's well-being can be secured mentally, morally, and spiritually. Learn then—

i. To value this revelation. ii. To treat it reverently, not to cavil at its apparent discrepancies, &c. iii. To make it the one rule of our faith and practice.—J. W. Burn.

ILLUSTRATIONS

BY

REV. WILLIAM ADAMSON

Law-Lights! Exo . Pressense says, that whatever opinions men may hold as to the integrity of that primitive witness, all must own that it contains pages in which one beholds, as it were, the reflection of the lustre which caused Moses's face to shine when he held converse with God. It has ever been the pious mind which has through the eyes beheld the chain of revelation and the long series of Divine manifestations gradually unwind themselves. Just as they that watch for the morning gaze out from the height of the tower, longing with inexpressible desire for the approach of dawn; so does religious consciousness cast glances of fire upon the horizon as she looks out for the Divine Sunrise. The whole of the Old Testament pants and throbs with this Divine yearning, and it also shows us the finger of God writing in the heart of man the great preparation for the Gospel. The angels ever

"Draw strength from gazing on its glance,

Though none its meaning fathom may;

The Word's unwithered countenance

Is bright as at Mount Sinai's day."

—Goëthe.

Spiritual-Sustenance! Exo .

(1.) In the beautiful transparent amber of the Eocene epoch are often found threads of mould, fragments of moss and lichens, blossoms and leaves of flower-bearing plants, as well as wings of bees and butterflies. Nature has preserved these things of the past—things, too, which, apparently small and insignificant, open up to the mind's eye a wide vista into the mysterious past. So in the precious amber of the Bible are preserved incidents and statements, remnants of thought and blossomings of truth. To the careless readers these may appear trivial; but they are infinitely suggestive to those who examine them.

(2.) One of the most interesting and suggestive is that of Moses existing for forty days without nature's bountiful stores. He was fed by the melodies of heaven, the music of the spheres, as the beautiful Jewish legend says, until God's purposes were accomplished, and then he returned to the common mode of sustaining life. It teaches that bread has no essential or necessary relations to the bodily organisation of man, that human life can be sustained independently of material means, and that, as God Himself is the nourisher, He can, when He pleases, dispense with the mere outward instrumentality, and feed by His own direct and unveiled sustaining power—

"O Lord, Thou hast with angel food my fainting spirit fed;

If 'tis Thy will I linger here, bless Thou the path I tread;

And though my soul doth pant to pass within the pearly gate,

Yet teach me for Thy summons, Lord, in patience still to wait."

Shipton.

Written Word! Exo .

(1.) In proportion as a nation becomes civilised, the desire for a code of written law increases along with the knowledge of its desirableness. Our forefathers wandered as savages amid the wilds, relying upon oral traditions, which became more and more degenerate. And so in these Gentile religions, all alive with hideous and abominable idolatries, who could believe that this is what man has made of that oral revelation vouchsafed to Noah, so clear and pellucid in its Ararat outflow?

(2.) When civilisation disclosed their degenerate conditions to our ancestors, they felt the need of a written code of laws and enactments; and these are embodied in our statutes called the Law of the Land. The condition of the world at large, and of Israel in Egypt, evidenced the moral necessity for a written law. Even amidst the awful glories of Sinai, Israel learned from its own tendency to degenerate how urgently essential it was to have the written Word.

"Thy Word, O God, is living yet

Amid earth's restless strife,

New harmony creating still,

And ever higher life.

And as that Word moves surely on,

The light, ray after ray,

Streams farther out athwart the dark,

And night grows into day."

Longfellow.

Fellowship-Fruits! Exo .

(1.) For forty days successively, the great Jewish legislator was concealed on the summit of Mount Sinai, within the thick darkness by which the glory of Jehovah was veiled from the less-favoured eyes of the multitude. In this prophetic seclusion, separated from the world, his mind took deeply and strongly the impress of heaven. By communion with God his soul was saturated with the light of His holiness. His countenance by a spiritual affinity caught the celestial radiance and reflected it with dazzling brightness. On his descent from the mount, this splendour from the Divine Presence continued to shine on his face, that Aaron beheld it while he talked with him, and all the children of Israel were afraid to come nigh.

(2.) Brown says his face was radiant, and dispersing beams like many horns or cones about his head; which is also consonant unto the original signification. Our Saviour and the Virgin Mary are commonly painted with scintillations or radiant halos about their head, which by the French are designated the glory. In some of the ancient Bibles, Moses is described with horns. The same description we find on a silver medal, i.e., upon one side Moses horned, and on the reverse side the commandment against sculptured images. The believer's walk and conversation should be thus encircled with "horns of glory," rays of the beauties of holiness.

"Ne'er let the glory from my soul remove,

Till perfect with Thy ransomed flock above,

I cease to sin, but never cease to love."


Verses 29-35

MAIN HOMILETICS OF THE PARAGRAPH.—Exo

THE GLORY OF MAN

The glory of man is harmony with his Maker, likeness to his Maker, consecration to the service of his Maker, and the attestation of his Maker's approval in his character and life. In this sense Moses was glorified. In this, and also in other and sublimer senses, was the "Son of Man glorified" (John 17) Moses' glory was external as well as moral, but he belonged to an external dispensation. It is the privilege of every Christian to have this glory, not in the mere lustre of the face, but in the moral and influential sphere of the heart and life (Joh ; Col 1:27). Notice—

I. That this glory was the result of communion with God. For forty days and forty nights Moses had dwelt in the secret place of the Most High and under the shadow of the Almighty." He who would know what glory is must go where that glory is to be obtained. Man usually seeks glory elsewhere; on gory battle-fields, in the arena of political strife, on the broad plains of literature, science, and art. Indeed, in these spheres Moses had "whereof to glory." He occupied a high rank among warriors and statesmen and literati; but if we could question him about these matters he would count all these things loss, and tell us that his glory consisted in the manifestation of his Maker's favour when on the holy mount. If man would now be glorified, he must "approach with boldness the throne of grace," and then he will hear Christ say with reference to him and his fellow-worshippers, "The glory thou gavest Me I have given them."

II. That this glory was open to the inspection of others. "And when Aaron and all the children of Israel saw Moses, behold the skin of his face shone." And so now. Not in the same literal way of course, but in a way no less real. One of the great features of Christianity is its publicity. None of its great events were done in a corner. Even the transcendent miracle of the transfiguration was before witnesses. So with Christian life all through the ages. It derives its glory "in secret," but it exhibits its glory "openly." The Christian is "a city set on a hill," a "light shining in a dark place." This glory will exhibit itself in the appearance, speech, action of those in whose heart Christ is formed "the hope of glory." And that glory, unlike Moses', as we shall see, "shines brighter and brighter to the perfect day."

III. That this glory had a due effect on its beholders. What could it mean? It might signify the coming glory which should consume them for their sins. Was it a mute declaration that God had rejected the intercession of the mediator and was coming in flaming fire to have vengeance upon them? They were afraid. They waited. No fire fell. They were assured. Whereupon they "talked with Moses."

1. The glory of a holy Christian life will have its effect upon the wicked. It will arouse conscience. Its awful contrast with the smouldering embers of an ungodly life may perhaps arouse the breath of prayer to fan them into a divine flame.

2. The glory of a holy Christian life will have its effect upon the good. It will encourage the feeble by an exhibition of the grand possibilities of piety. It will stimulate the strong to exhibit their glory more and more.

IV. That while this glory was manifest to all beholders, its subject was unaware of its existence. "Moses wist not that his face shone." Self-consciousness is fatal to a glory that is more than tinsel or varnish, at all times and everywhere. It is the one thing against which the Christian should especially guard himself. There are certain facts of which it is necessary that he should be conscious. He should be conscious that he is born of God, that he loves Christ, that he is growing in grace, and that he has a hope of heaven. Of all else of the virtues and graces that flow therefrom, of past achievements, of present attainments, he should be forgetful.

1. Moses had no time to think about it. While it was transfiguring him he was in communion with God. When he ceased communion he was about God's work.

2. Moses had no inclination to think about it. His ambition and desires were in quite a contrary direction. His one desire was to serve God and guide the people to the Promised Land.

3. He had no warrant to think about it. It was not a consequence of his own services, or virtue, or work. It was the manifestation of the grace of God.

V. That this glory being derived was not self-sustaining. "And when (not as A. V. till, in conformity with the fact that Aaron, &c., beheld the glory and—with Exo , and LXX. Vulg. Targums and most versions) Moses had done speaking … he put a vail on his face. But when Moses went in before the Lord … he took the vail off." See 2Co 3:13-16. (See Alford, in loco). "Moses placed a vail on his face in order that the sons of Israel might not look on the termination of the transitory." He had to visit the Lord to renew that glory. It was like the sacred fire which the vestal virgins were to feed continually.

The Christian can only keep up the lustre of his holiness by continually deriving fresh supplies from its fontal source. His life can only be kept fresh, beautiful, and glorious by always being near the Lord of his life.

Application

1. Have you this glory? All other glories are but tinsel in comparison with it. All other glories fade both in themselves and in the recollection of the beholders. This is true glory, eternal glory.

2. This glory is obtainable through Him who is the "brightness of God's glory and the express image of His person, and by fellowship with Him we shall walk in its light here, and afterwards "appear with Him in glory."—J. W. Burn.

ILLUSTRATIONS

BY

REV. WILLIAM ADAMSON

Law-Lights! Exo . Pressense says, that whatever opinions men may hold as to the integrity of that primitive witness, all must own that it contains pages in which one beholds, as it were, the reflection of the lustre which caused Moses's face to shine when he held converse with God. It has ever been the pious mind which has through the eyes beheld the chain of revelation and the long series of Divine manifestations gradually unwind themselves. Just as they that watch for the morning gaze out from the height of the tower, longing with inexpressible desire for the approach of dawn; so does religious consciousness cast glances of fire upon the horizon as she looks out for the Divine Sunrise. The whole of the Old Testament pants and throbs with this Divine yearning, and it also shows us the finger of God writing in the heart of man the great preparation for the Gospel. The angels ever

"Draw strength from gazing on its glance,

Though none its meaning fathom may;

The Word's unwithered countenance

Is bright as at Mount Sinai's day."

—Goëthe.

Sunset-Reflection! Exo .

(1.) Looking up into the bright blue sky on a clear summer day, we see far off great masses of white fleecy clouds, piled up against the sky like the snow mountains in Switzerland. We see them sailing quietly and gracefully across the dark blue heavens, bright with the dazzling effulgence of the monarch of the day.

(2.) And at sunset we may see the mighty clouds, kissed by the warm effulgence of the sovereign sun ere he sets behind the western hills, hang around in all their congregated hues of beauty, like the pillars of some grand tabernacle. Even the sky, illuminated to its centre, has caught the radiance, and glows intensely, changing its sapphire majesty to gold.

(3.) Where do the clouds and sky borrow their splendour? From the sun's face. And so Moses, from communion with God, caught the reflection of His glorious face. And just as the sun shines on the clouds in the sky and makes them beautiful; and just as God shone on the face of Moses and made it bright; so, by intercourse with Jesus—by beholding His face—we are changed into the same image; our souls are made to reflect the brightness of His face.

"Sunlight seeking hidden shadow, touch'd

The green leaves all a-tremble with gold light."

Massey.

Soul-Excellence! Exo . An eminent writer says—True Christian excellence shines naturally like the sun, nut for the sake of effect, but because it cannot help shining. It was so with the face of Moses. But whenever a Christian grace becomes, so to speak, self-conscious, it loses its charm. It is like an Alpine flower brought from the lonely mountain peak, where it blushed unseen, and planted in the public garden, where it loses its beauty and fragrance, becoming a mere weed. You cannot handle a butterfly's wing without rubbing off its delicate mealy dust, or a ripe grape without destroying the rich purple bloom upon it. And so you cannot handle admiringly your own Christian virtue without impairing its tender loveliness.

"Beware of too sublime a sense

Of your own worth and consequence."

"If thou would'st keep thy garments white and holy,

Walk humbly with thy God."

Cowper.

Fellowship-Fruits! Exo .

(1.) For forty days successively, the great Jewish legislator was concealed on the summit of Mount Sinai, within the thick darkness by which the glory of Jehovah was veiled from the less-favoured eyes of the multitude. In this prophetic seclusion, separated from the world, his mind took deeply and strongly the impress of heaven. By communion with God his soul was saturated with the light of His holiness. His countenance by a spiritual affinity caught the celestial radiance and reflected it with dazzling brightness. On his descent from the mount, this splendour from the Divine Presence continued to shine on his face, that Aaron beheld it while he talked with him, and all the children of Israel were afraid to come nigh.

(2.) Brown says his face was radiant, and dispersing beams like many horns or cones about his head; which is also consonant unto the original signification. Our Saviour and the Virgin Mary are commonly painted with scintillations or radiant halos about their head, which by the French are designated the glory. In some of the ancient Bibles, Moses is described with horns. The same description we find on a silver medal, i.e., upon one side Moses horned, and on the reverse side the commandment against sculptured images. The believer's walk and conversation should be thus encircled with "horns of glory," rays of the beauties of holiness.

"Ne'er let the glory from my soul remove,

Till perfect with Thy ransomed flock above,

I cease to sin, but never cease to love."

Soul-Shekinah! Exo .

(1.) In our atmosphere we have noticed the lower strata of clouds have a dark colour, for to them belong the smoke, and the steam, and the fogs, and the malaria, and the earthly exhalations. Above them are those which have left behind much of the earthly exhalations, but which are still not of perfect brightness and hue. But far above them, through the dry air of summer, may be seen other clouds beautiful in array, the white of their drapery pure, having left behind the impurities of earth, and having drawn nearer to the sunlight.

(2.) Here we have a picture of Israel, of Aaron and the elders, and of Moses. The Israelites were like the earth-clouds, with sombre faces dulled. Aaron and the elders were nearer God and so were brighter. But Moses was like the far-up cloud of silver purity, his countenance caught the bright perfections of God in the clear blue scene of communion. He knew it not, was as unconscious as the snow white vapour-vail; yet his face shone.

(3.) There are souls whose lives, spent amid the fogs and malaria and defiling exhalations of worldliness, are dark and ugly. Then there are others whose lives are higher up in the region of morality and so are less dense and repulsive, but still not clear and bright. And there are those who, living far above amid the sapphire-sheen of God's infinite love, have lives all beautiful—comely with the comeliness which the Sun of Righteousness sheds upon them.

"To whose white robes the gleam of bliss is given;

And by the breath of mercy made to roll

Right onward to the golden gates of heaven,

Where to the eye of faith, they peaceful lie,

And tell to man his glorious destiny."

Wilson.

Moral-Transfiguration! Exo . (l.) Like the great Jewish lawgiver, the soul that is familiar with God in meditation and prayer cannot fail to contract resemblance to Him—cannot fail to catch a portion of His purity and greatness. When our Saviour prayed and held intercourse with His Father on the mount, His face did shine as the sun, and His raiment was white as the light. In like manner every believer on the mount of prayer, during his heart's intercourse with God, is spiritually transfigured.

(2.) It has been beautifully remarked that every face, according as it is more or less turned towards our Sun, must reflect a portion of His brightness. When Arthur returned from church there was a serene happiness expressed in his manner, that strikingly contrasted with the peevish restlessness and fretfulness of those whose thoughts bad not risen above earth. Lina thought that she had never seen her brother's eyes so bright, or his manner more full of the sweet light of courtesy to all around.

"As though an angel in his upward flight

Had left his mantle floating in mid-air."

—Baillie.

Legal Fears! Exo . Contrast the fears of the Israelites at Horeb, as they saw the shining face of Moses, with the joys of the disciples on Hermon as they beheld the countenance of the Mediator shine as the sun. Then the disciples of Moses were reluctant to draw near; but now the disciples of the Mediator exult in their nearness, "It is good for us to be here." As Krummacher says, "Every glance, every play of look, every word, every majestic act, was radiant with grace and only grace." Streams of peace flowed into the apostles hearts. Sweet and sabbatic rest was breathed around them. Every ray of His countenance that fell upon them was the transporting smile of a God. Here they would gladly have made tabernacles and remained—for ever remained in this beatific irradiation of the Only-Begotten, full of grace.

"Here let us holy tabernacles build,

That we may ever stay

In silent trance, with heavenly visions filled,

Joy that shall ne'er decay."

Self-Consciousness! Exo .

(1.) Character!—A beautiful woman who knows that she is beautiful, and prides herself upon its possession, and parades her charms before the world for its admiration and applause, gives evidence of her self-consciousness by a thousand vain and artful ways, studied in order to attract attention. Alas! This is but too common with Christian souls. They know too well that their lives reflect the glory of God. They embrace every opportunity of exhibiting the radiance. They are proud of their spotless character and blameless conduct.

(2.) Consequence!—The transparent film of collodion on the photographer's plate becomes instantly blackened and unfit for his purpose when placed in the light. And so there are graces so delicate and sensitive in the Christian soul that they are rendered opaque and useless for their object when regarded in the light of self-consciousness. It perverts the motives—lowers the aims—corrupts the affections. And Satan, as has been well remarked, takes full advantage of such self-complacency to tempt us to a grievous fall. There is on earth

"A host of prides, some better and some worse,

But of all prides, since Lucifer's attaint,

The proudest swells a self-sufficient saint."

—Hood.

Vail-Symbolism! Exo .

(1.) Type!—In 2Co , Paul says that it typified the blindness of the Jewish mind. The hardness of their hearts brought a vail over their spiritual sight, so that they could not look beyond the letter. They saw the tables of stone, and beheld the letters written upon them; but they could not behold the Divine glory in the face of Moses.

(2.) Token!—On the one hand it was a token that under the law man cannot see the face of God and live; and on the other that under the Gospel the natural man cannot behold the glory of God as it is in the face of His Son Jesus Christ—the only Mediator between God and man.

(3.) Testimony!—It spoke eloquently of the Divine glory in the law—of the spiritual lessons of the moral beauty and effulgence vailed in the Pentateuch from ordinary gaze. Aaron and the rulers might draw nigh and behold; but the giddy world-throng could not perceive.

"This is the mount where Christ's disciples see

The glory of Incarnate Deity;

'Tis here they find it good indeed to be,

And view His face."

Elliott.

Renewed Reflection! Exo .

(1.) It has been supposed by some that the vail was put on by Moses after he had delivered the message from God, in order to hide the passing away of the brightness, which he retained on first coming forth from the Divine Presence. There is, however, no just reason for this supposition. Such a proceeding appears very unworthy of Moses, and entirely opposed to his character. He assumed the vail each time he came out from holding communion with God, because each time his face again reflected the glory of the Lord's face. The vail was thus put on, in order that the people might not shrink from his presence.

(2.) When our earth turns away its face from holding communion with the sun, then the reflected brightness passes away from its features, and night reigns. No sooner does it again turn towards this dark world's light, than again her countenance is illumined with the reflection of the sun's glory. But again the face is withdrawn by the earth's diurnal motion, and the glory fades. Even so, whenever Moses was with God, he came forth—his face resplendent with the bright effulgence; only to lose it, and again to have it restored.

"Welcome, dawn that never dies,

Day that needs no stars nor sun,

Where no tear-mists ever rise,

Hiding Thee, Eternal One."

Modesty's Vail! Exo . Macmillan says a true Christian does not parade his excellencies before the eyes of his fellow-creatures. He covers them with the softening vail of modesty, as Moses covered his shining face with a vail in his intercourse with Israel. The Christian, as the poet rhymes, does good by stealth, and blushes to find it fame. He prefers the shade of retirement to the theatre of display. In short, he does not attest himself in anything that he says or does, but retires behind the vail of modesty, and shows that he is animated by the same mind which was in Christ Jesus—that he has learned of Him who is meek and lowly in heart.

"Scarcely revealing,

Scarcely concealing,

Being's sweet mystery

Smiles from the sod:

While on each leaf

Is written this brief

But beautiful history,

‘We are of God.'"

Butler.

Spiritual Assimilation! Exo . Just as those who live at a royal court acquire courtly manners, and those who associate with refined and educated people acquire refinement insensibly; so those who live by faith in the presence of God, and as it were in the court of heaven, inevitably acquire something of a heavenly tone and spiritual elevation. As Macmillan says, "Communion with light imparts light; fellowship with greatness creates greatness; contact with the spiritual produces spirituality." The apostle represents the transforming influence of the contemplative study of the Divine character when he says in allusion to the transfiguration of Moses, "We all, with unvailed face, beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord."

"From glory unto glory! O marvels of the word!

With open face beholding the glory of the Lord,

We, even we (O wondrous grace!) are changed into the same,

The image of our Saviour, to glorify His name."—Havergal.

 


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on Exodus 34:4". Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/phc/exodus-34.html. Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1892.

Lectionary Calendar
Saturday, December 7th, 2019
the First Week of Advent
ADVERTISEMENT
Commentary Navigator
Search This Commentary
Enter query in the box below
ADVERTISEMENT
To report dead links, typos, or html errors or suggestions about making these resources more useful use our convenient contact form
Powered by Lightspeed Technology