Henry Law, 1858
"The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own brothers. You must listen to him." Deut. 18:15
All fullness dwells in Christ. Reader, come ponder—praise—admire—adore Him. Those who know Him, never can commend enough. Ignorance alone neglects—despises—disesteems Him.
The neediest of needy sinners find all supply in Him. He is salvation's overflowing well. He fills all vessels, so that they can hold no more. He is a treasure-house, in which gold never fails.
Let the surface of this truth be touched. You are sin-soiled. Here is a fountain of all-cleansing blood. Wash, and be whiter, than the spotless snow. Satan, and SELF, and life-long trespasses condemn you. Here is Jesus' wounded side, presenting an acquitting plea. Your best obedience is a filthy rag. Here is the righteousness of God—a perfect covering—a glorious robe. Your heart by nature is a lifeless stone. Christ sends His Spirit, and the entrance is life. He is a PRIEST, offering His blood—living to intercede—pouring down blessings. He is a KING—ruling above—within—around. He is a PROPHET, giving all knowledge—leading in wisdom's paths—diffusing floods of light—teaching salvation's lessons.
It is this latter office, which now claims special thought. Let us approach it by enquiring, what man's state must be, unless rays beam from heaven?
When sin invaded earth, knowledge of God was slain. That lovely plant was blighted to the root. That beauteous column fell a shattered ruin. The mind lost power to fly aloft. Its wings were clipped. The eye was dim to pierce the skies. The wish and skill to find out God were utterly extinct. Man's intellect—alert to grovel in the dust—could never scale this height. Here mental shrewdness slobbered, as a fool. Witness the silly failures of philosophy's most boasted efforts.
Unless, then, some revelation had been given, God and His essence must have been shrouded in impenetrable night. Man could not dig such a jewel out of his own quarry. He could not find it in his own empty chambers. Along a brief career of blindness he must have gone down to that deep prison-house, where darkness ever darkens, and God is never seen. The world by wisdom knows not God.
The case of need, then, is most clear. But all is met by Jesus. He undertakes to save, and undertakes to teach. The Church's Savior is the Church's Prophet. He is not slow to enter on His work. In Eden's garden, where the light expired, He strikes a new spark. There He is quick to speak of remedy and rescue—of a woman-born Savior—and His final triumphs. As time rolls on, He adds fresh light. By types, by prophecies, by figures, and by signs, He pictures redemption. He raises holy men, and puts His words into their mouths. He shakes a torch of truth in the world's night. He shows His Calvary through vistas of long time—and so guides many a benighted pilgrim in the path to heaven.
Thus the Prophet's voice is early heard—the Prophet's school is early open. But in appointed time, the Prophet-God must come in person. Moses thus states the fact. "The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own brothers. You must listen to him." Let us now mark the marvelous fulfillment.
1. Our Prophet shall be of our brethren—one of our house.
Here is considerate wisdom. If He were solely God, His mission must be death, not life. Humanity must perish at the sight. If He stooped only to angelic order, how could He mix with inhabitants of earth? How could we hang upon His lips? But our Prophet truly is man. He dwelt here as one of our family. He hid His glories in our tent of clay. He trod life's walk, as our very brother. Therefore, with fearless love, we may approach. We may sit down, with Mary, at His feet. We may recline, with John, upon His breast. As the disciples on the way to Emmaus, we may cling to His side. We may confidingly disclose the history of our souls. A brother will not scorn a brother's tale. When we seek counsel, He will gladly—fully—tenderly impart. As a near kinsman, He invites, "Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart—and you shall find rest unto your souls." Matt. 11:29.
2. But more. The Prophet shall not be only man. He shall be man marked with a wondrous sign. He shall appear as ANOTHER MOSES. Israel's leader shall revive in Him. As face to face, He shall respond to a conspicuous type.
This similitude must now be traced. The search, amid a mass of profit, distinctly proves, that an omniscient mind pervades all revelation's story. No 'mere chance' could frame a close resemblance between distant men. Infidelity cannot maintain such folly. Christ, then, foreshown as Moses, coming as Moses, stamps His commission with a divine seal. In Him this type is realized—and in Him alone. For until He appeared, there was no counterpart to Moses. Since He ascended, none such has arisen.
See, how the pictures correspond. Moses is born. No peaceful cradle rocks the child. No mother's arms securely clasp him. A tyrant dooms him to immediate grave. He is cast to the Nile's waves.
Jesus is born. He, too, reposes in no tranquil home. No rapturous welcomes greet the heaven-sent babe. In Herod another Pharaoh plots. Massacre casts a wide-spread net to catch Him. Thus He is Moses-like in early persecution.
Moses at the appointed time goes forth from Egypt. Jesus is banished to the selfsame spot, that out of Egypt God may call His Son. Hos. 11:1. Egypt sends out the human type. The heavenly antitype leaves the same country.
When Moses hastens to avenge his nation, what is his welcome? It is rejection. Derision scorns his claims. Jesus, the mighty Savior, comes. There is deliverance in His heart and in His hand. But His own receive Him not. He is despised and reviled. The cry pursues Him, 'Away with Him, Away with Him!' Jesus and Moses are alike thrust out.
Moses retires awhile. The wilderness conceals him. At last, as the sun issuing from a cloud, he breaks from darkness. Thus Jesus passes many years in deep seclusion. Unknown in Nazareth the God-man toils. Earthly obscurity could not be more obscure.
When Moses shows himself again, astounding wonders prove his high commission. Nature at his command changes its course. Prodigies attest, that God is with him. So Jesus moved as God on earth. He willed, and the blind saw—the deaf heard—the dumb spoke—the dead lived—each form of sickness fled—abundance fed the hungry crowds—the water turned to wine—the sea became a pavement for His feet. In form He stood as man. In power He worked as God.
Moses must die before the people can pass Jordan's waters. He must endure a signal penalty for his offence. And must not Jesus die, before His people can pass heaven's gates? Yes. Their vile sins were all on Him, and on the cross due suffering must be paid. As Moses was at birth—in life—in death—so Jesus at birth—in life—in death, responded.
Moses mediated between heaven and earth. From the mount he brought down God's commands. He offered Israel's prayers. He made intercession and prevailed. Thus Jesus is our great intercessor. He represents His children before God. He represents our God to us. He gives the Gospel-law. He ever prays, and ever is He heard.
Moses was favored with most close communion. While dreams and visions taught the other seers, God communed with Moses face to face. Thus Jesus in counsel—purpose—will—ever was Jehovah's fellow. From all eternity He was "by Him, as one brought up with Him, and He was daily His delight, rejoicing always before Him." Prov. 8:30. All salvation's scheme was spread as a chart before Him.
Such is the resemblance. But the DIFFERENCE is infinite. Moses is but a twilight gleam. Our Jesus is the midday splendor. Moses is a tiny rill. Our Jesus is the shoreless ocean. Moses appears a little bud. Jesus is the full fragrance of the opened flower.
From contemplation of these outward signs, let us now enter within THE PROPHET'S SCHOOL—and drink in His amazing lessons. What grand instructions meet us! Behold! His mighty hands draw back the curtain, which hides God. He holds a text-book, bright with saving truth. This text-book is His own cross. Jehovah is there displayed as loving sinners, and yet hating sin—just, yet forgiving—righteous, yet pardoning—holy, yet peopling heaven from unholy earth.
The Prophet leads onward to knowledge of Himself. He bids faith come, and read His heart. There are the names of all His chosen seed indelibly inscribed. There is love, preceding and out-living time. He shows the virtue of His blood to obliterate the crimson dye—to wash out deepest stains of guilt—so to pay debts, that Justice has no further claim—so to acquit, that accusations cease. Wondrous lesson! It calms the conscience into peace. It kindles the flame of love. It changes the whole heart into devoted service.
He teaches the marvel of His righteousness—a robe so bright, that God Himself cannot sufficiently admire—so pure, that angels are unclean beside it. He assures, that His redeemed may take it—plead it—wear it. He tells of His prevailing prayer—ever encircling the mercy-seat. He teaches faith to hear its constant cry, Father forgive them, for my blood is shed—spare them, for I have suffered—remember the Covenant, and pour all blessings on them.
Lessons are added revealing the Spirit's grace. He melts the stony heart. He turns the perverse will. He stills the rebel-passions. He opens the blind eye to see that sight of sights—the Christ of God. He opens the deaf ear to hear the music of that voice—Come unto Me.
The Prophet teaches, too, the righteous path, which leads to Zion's rest. He tells, how saints obey and please their God. He imprints the truth, that holiness is evidence of faith—and that the living tree must bear good fruit. Such is a scanty outline of the Prophet's lessons.
Reader, do you eagerly exclaim, I sincerely would be a pupil! Then take up your Bible. Here Christ comes to teach. Throughout it His voice sounds. He speaks in every verse. Make it your constant study. Think every hour to be lost, in which you glean not from it. Draw near with reverence, as to a speaking God. The ground is holy, let no proud thoughts intrude. Approach with prayer, beseeching the Prophet to cause His Spirit to illumine the page. Approach with faith, not doubting, that your soul will thrive. Call on Him to fulfill His office. Tell Him your ignorance and ardent thirst to learn. He will be true. He will instruct you unto profit. All Zion's "children shall be taught of God." Join then the happy scholars of this school. These lessons cast out every care. They are eternal life. They work conformity to heavenly image. As we imbibe His truth, our souls put on His image.
You ministers, it is your work to propagate the lessons of this school. Come then to Christ for every thought. Obtain from Him your every word. Let your instructions always echo Him. Sad! when a teacher stands before his flock to unsay what the Lord has said—to contradict His simple verities—to set some fiction in the place of truth—to scatter base coin in the room of gold. Beware! beware! Let all your sermons flow in the one channel, "Thus says the Lord." In every pulpit let the great Prophet's voice be clearly heard.