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3d. Moses was furthermore faithful to the confidence of his peo. ple. He did not deal with them as a designing impostor. He was true to the best interests of all those who confided in him as a man of God. None were losers by following his directions. And though many of the disobedient and unbelieving did perish in the wilderness; yet, all who complied with his commands, and accepted of his instructions were cheered at every point with the evidences of Divine favor, and finally entered upon their promised possessions.
But in this respect again, the Savior was not a whit behind the Jewish leader. He also was true to the confidence reposed upon him as the Son of God, and the promised Messiah. No dependence or hopes which have been built upon him in the way described in the Gospel, have ever failed. Many have trusted in him and were blessed. It was written that he would “ save the people from their sins ;” and none who have ever gone to him for relief or forgiveness, have been turned empty away. To every one making application to him, he has shown himself faithful to save even unto the uttermost. Whilst he walked the world, the guilty were cheered with the assurances of pardon—the afflicted were healed-and the lamented dead were called back to the warm embraces of wounded friendship as the preliminaries of still more stupendous acts of salvation. And the redemption joys that have swelled the bosoms of those multiplied thousands who constituted the church in all past ages, and of those still more numerous multitudes to which the finger of prophecy points us, all testify to his unimpeachable fidelity to those who have believed in him. He also was faithful as was Moses. If then the faithfulness of the ancient prophet entitled him to the veneration of his nation, and his teachings to their acceptation; Christ Jesus for the same reason has an equal claim upon their attention and obedience, and the attention and obedience of all men.
A second particular noticed by the apostle with a view of pressing Christ upon the consideration of his brethren, is his superiority to Moses. “ For this man was counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch,” &c. You will observe here, that it is not by the degradation of the prophet that the Savior is exalted. The eminence and distinguished honor of the Jewish law-giver are fully admitted. Every just claim to venerable distinction is fully con
ceded to him. He was faithful, and he is duly credited for it. But after making a full admission of his commanding eminence, Paul still contends that the Lord Jesus is entitled to superior honor.
1st. Because he was the great founder of the family of which Moses only formed a part. “For this man was counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as he who builded the house hath more honor than the house. For every house is builded by some man; but he that built all things is God.” Several important propositions, some asserted, and some implied, are contained in this passage, which will the more forcibly exhibit the writer's argument by a more distinct statement. The first point stated as a basis, is, that all houses must have their architects; or, taking the term “ house" in its metaphorical sense, that every family or church must have its founder. This is a truism about which there is no room for dispute. The next proposition is, that the builder of a house is more to be venerated than the house itself; or that the head, founder, or curator of a family, society, or dispensation is more honorable than any member or instrumentality of that family--society--or dispensation. This is also a fact which admits of no controversy. Again, it is assumed that Christ Jesus is the author of all things, and particularly of all institutions of true religion. The general proposition is contained in chap. i. 2, and is here repeated; “but he that built all things (and consequently all Divine religious institutions,) is God.” And though it is not expressly stated, it is evidently intended that the Divine appellation is to apply here to “the Apostle of our profession.” The conclusion then is, that Jesus is the great originator of both houses; i. e. of the Jewish economy, and of the new dispensation. It was the same yoice which called Abram from the haunts of idolatry, and his degenerate posterity to repent and prepare for the kingdom of God. The same authority commissioned Moses from. Horeb’s fiery bush, and sent forth the sorrowing apostles from Jerusalem to preach the Gospel to the guilty.world. The same sovereign majesty proclaimed the statutes of the decalogue from the thunder shaken tops of Sinai, and published the universal edict from the gloom of Calvary, that men should every where repent. Being therefore the prime author of the Jewish, as well as of the christian church, his superiority is at once manifest. Moses now instead of appearing to be the founder of the sacred family of the Jews, was only an
honored member of that family; and instead of being the original author of the Hebrew religion, he was only a delegated instrument through whom it was delivered.
2nd. Our Savior was superior to Moses as the son and legal inheritor of the house he founded, and over which he presides. Moses was merely a “servant.” The Hebrew Scriptures almost invariably speak of him as the “servant of the Lord.” He was employed only as a subordinate agent to communicate the will of God, and to attend to such duties as were necessary for the accomplishment of His purposes. Hence the apostle remarks, “ Moses verily was faithful in all his house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken.” He was not the original head or author of the dispensation which he represented—not the framer of that church or house ; but a steward in the employ, under the direction of, and accountable to another. He owned nothing, exercised only a delegated authority, and at best was only a servant.
The fidelity of Christ however, was not the fidelity of a servant; but that of 56 a son over his own house." The sonship of Christ had already been presented as an instance of his superior dignity, and has heretofore been explained. It is here again alluded to, to show that unlike a mere servant, he is placed over the whole arrangements of the household, and has all intrusted to him as his own. Hence he is to be looked up to by all with superior respect. All the honor-all the praise—and all the glory resulting from the agency of Christianity in the world belongs to him.Being its founder, governor, and prospective proprietor, all that have tasted of its sweets since the utterance of the first promise in Eden—all those ancient worthies who with an eye of faith look through dark futurity to prophetic accomplishments and were blest with all the ransomed millions who drank of Shiloh's fountain since Mount Olivet smoked with his blood-all look to him with ascriptions of immortal blessedness and high renown. No glory like this ever encircled the brows of Israel's leader; and no such dignity was his. But whilst he was an honored instrument, Christ was the more excellent originator ; whilst he was in the house as one of the family, Christ was over it as its sovereign ; whilst he was a servant, Christ was the son and heir ; and whilst he was in the house of another, Christ was in his own house, the source of all its blessedness, and the object of its holiest and highest praises.
Such then being the superior dignity of the Apostle of our profession,” how worthy is he of consideration and confidence? and how much more weighty the reasons for acceptance of his salvation, and obedience to his instructions, than those which wedded the Jews to the institutions of Moses. Hence the solemn appeal, “Wherefore as the Holy Ghost saith, to-day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness; when your fathers tempted me, and saw my works forty years : wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways, So I sware in my wrath, they shall not enter into my rest.”
Several very important reflections present themselves from a review of this passage, only a few of which it is competent for me here to introduce.· 1st. It is prominently set forth in these words, that it is our imperative duty, and the business of all intelligent creatures, to hear and heed the voice of God. This was a duty exacted from the Jews when Jehovah's voice received utterance by the mouth of Moses; and how much more reasonable and binding is the obligation, when that same voice is uttered by the Son who claims supremacy to Moses? Nor can any circumstances relieve us from this obligation. Our relation to him as Creator imposes it. The infinite perfections, majesty, and glory of his nature impose it. Our entire dependence upon him for all our comforts and hopes both for this life and the life to come, imposes it. And the Holy Scriptures in words which are not to be misunderstood, and in places innumerable, impose it. It was not merely with the spirit of invitation, but of command that it was said—“ earth-earth -earth! hear the word of the Lord;" and again—" If any 'man have ears to hear, let him hear.” It is plainly our business then to hear the voice of our Maker-to hear with reverence and humility -to hear with the solemn purpose to heed and practice all that is learned. Such is our reasonable obligation, an obligation existing in the very nature of things, and to be disregarded with impunity by none.
For we are again taught in the passage before us, that not to hear the voice of God, is to provoke his displeasure, and to ruin our souls. How can it be otherwise ? For the great Jehovah to tolerate such contempt of his authority, and such insult of his dig
nity, would be to tolerate principles which must in the end work their way to the very centre of his throne-interrupt the harmony of his government—and tarnish the very seat of Deity. There is not a perfection of his nature—not a principle of his governmentand not an interest relating to any one of his faithful subjects, but which cries out as with a voice of thunder—"The soul that sinneth it shall die.” Whatever be the character of the offense, or the circumstances of the offender, he shall die, without any shelter to screen him from the blast, or any moving sympathies to mitigate his woe. Hence the sore calamities and heavy judgments which befel the hardened, stiff-necked, and regardless Israelites in the wilderness. The voice of God had been addressed to them through their fathers--through Moses--through Aaron—through the plagues which fell upon Egypt—and the prodigies attending their release from bondage ; and though they heard, and for a while heeded, yet many soon disregarded and hardened their hearts against the Almighty. At Pelusium they murmured for bread-at Rephidim they murmured for water-at Sinai they bowed in worship of a golden calf--at Taberah they murmured for flesh--and at Kadesh they refused to go over into the land as God directed. Thus they hardened their hearts, tempted the Lord, and provoked his wrath; but they also saw his works. The heavens rained fire and consumed the wicked-plagues came and destroyed the lustful—and the Lord sware in his anger that the disobedient should not enter into the land, nor share in his glorious rest. So the carcasses of thousands fell in the wilderness, and were left to rot upon the desert sands, as the sad memorials of Jehovah's wrath upon those who refuse to hear and heed his word.
Finally, we see then the utter hopelessness of those who reject the Lord Jesus Christ, and refuse to be governed by his laws, or to obey his instructions. If under the administrations of Moses, who was a mere servant, every provocation and disobedience received its merited punishment, and every sinner was for ever overthrown, what hope of safety can those entertain who refuse to hear him that speaketh from heaven? If he that despised Moses' law died without mercy, how can they escape who despise the teachings of the God of Moses? How shall the arm of vengeance be stayed from smiting them with utter death? Does not every thing above them--around them--and beneath them cry out for their ru