And it came to pass, when Moses came down from mount Sinai with the two tables of testimony in Moses' hand…
I. First, THE CONVERSE WHICH MOSES HAD WITH GOD ON THE TOP OF THE MOUNTAIN WAS THE CAUSE OF THAT GLORY WHICH RESTED ON HIS COUNTENANCE. There is, no doubt, a great deal of what is miraculous in connection with this transaction; but though we are not to look in our own particular case for anything analogous to it, yet we are to expect something spiritually correspondent with it.
1. The first remark that I offer to your attention is, that on ascending the mountain to hold intercourse with God, Moses observed the rites of the religious dispensation under which he lived. A devotional spirit must be cherished and cultivated; and it is promised, on the part of the Saviour, that what we ask in prayer, believing, that we shall receive. But in addition to this, God must lift the veil from His own throne. He must give utterance to the voice of mercy and love. He must display reasons to the humble waiting spirit, and must manifest Himself in some clear manner, before we can be made conscious of communion with Him.
2. Moses ascended the mountain alone. This opens to us another principle of religion. It is this — that in all respects it is personal. Our devotional exercises are of this nature. It is true, indeed, that we meet in public fellowship; but there is a sense in which the soul sits solitary and alone in the midst of a mighty multitude. Here I stand, and there you sit; but one character, one faith, one love, one hope, one joy. And our several emotions are all personal, and belong to ourselves. You know not my feelings; I know not yours.
3. As Moses drew a pattern from God on the mountain, so must we derive grace to fill it up from the same source. Now as far as we are employed in building the internal temple of Christianity, we must derive grace and strength from intercourse with God for the discharge of this great duty; and as Moses received the law from God, so we must receive grace and power to obey it from the same source. This remark is applicable both to our personal and public duties.
II. The second general observation to be made RELATES TO THE NATURE OF THAT LIGHT, AND BEAUTY, AND GLORY, WHICH RESTED ON THE FACE OF MOSES. I should here remark, that there is a great mystery in this, but that it was intended to be symbolical of a better glory. That intercourse with God will make or cause His beauty to rest upon the soul. There may be no external glory, such as beamed on the face of Moses, but a spiritual glory beaming forth, instead, upon the mind.
1. There must be, for instance, rapturous joy. How can it be otherwise? The impulses of religion, when they exist in the mind, as they should do, by constant fellowship with the eternal Trinity, must be transporting and animating in the highest degree.
2. Intercourse with God must have the effect of expanding the capacity and enlarging the soul.
3. I may also add, that intercourse with God will produce, if not external or physical beauty, yet a beauty of character. Internal purity will be corroborated by outward conduct.
III. The final remark which I offer for your attention, relates to THE VAIL WHICH MOSES PUT ON HIS FACE WHEN HE DESCENDED FROM THE MOUNTAIN TO HOLD FELLOWSHIP WITH THE PEOPLE. There is a mystery in this; but the mystery we shall not attempt to unravel. Allow me here to say generally, that religion in its beauty and glory is often in the present life veiled beneath circumstances which obscure its grandeur.
Parallel VersesKJV: And it came to pass, when Moses came down from mount Sinai with the two tables of testimony in Moses' hand, when he came down from the mount, that Moses wist not that the skin of his face shone while he talked with him.
WEB: It happened, when Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the testimony in Moses' hand, when he came down from the mountain, that Moses didn't know that the skin of his face shone by reason of his speaking with him.