Exodus 3:1
Meanwhile, Moses was shepherding the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian. He led the flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God.
The Bush that Burned, and Did not Burn OutAlexander MaclarenExodus 3:1
The Call of MosesAlexander MaclarenExodus 3:1
Moses At the BushJ. Orr Exodus 3:1-5
The Burning BushD. Young Exodus 3:1-5
The Bush and its SuggestionsJ. Orr Exodus 3:1-5
A Beautiful Conjunction of the Natural and SupernaturalJ. Parker, D. D.Exodus 3:1-6
A Great SightJ. S. Exell, M. A.Exodus 3:1-6
Access to GodG. Hughes, B. D.Exodus 3:1-6
Cultivate ReverenceG. D. Boardman.Exodus 3:1-6
Desert RevelationsW. H. Davison, D. D.Exodus 3:1-6
Exile ProfitingsSir Walter Scott.Exodus 3:1-6
From Curiosity to ReverenceJ. Parker, D. D.Exodus 3:1-6
God Calls Truth-Seekers by NameJ. S. Exell, M. A.Exodus 3:1-6
God's Bible not ConsumedJ. J. Wray.Exodus 3:1-6
Great SightsJ. S. Exell, M. A.Exodus 3:1-6
Holy GroundPreacher's AnalystExodus 3:1-6
Holy GroundJ. S. Exell, M. A.Exodus 3:1-6
Honest VocationsBishop Hall.Exodus 3:1-6
LessonsG. Gilfillan.Exodus 3:1-6
Lowering the Standard of ReverenceChristian AgeExodus 3:1-6
Man in Relation to MysteryJ. S. Exell, M. A.Exodus 3:1-6
Moses and the Burning BushHomilistExodus 3:1-6
Moses as the BushC. Stanford, D. D.Exodus 3:1-6
Moses At the Burning BushBp. Boyd Carpenter.Exodus 3:1-6
Moses' Education and Life-WorkE. L. Hull, B. A.Exodus 3:1-6
Moses Encouraged by the Burning BushHomilistExodus 3:1-6
Put Off Thy Shoes. -- ReverenceBp. S. Wilberforce.Exodus 3:1-6
Religious AweJ. Parker, D. D.Exodus 3:1-6
ReverenceA. Hodge.Exodus 3:1-6
Reverence in God's PresenceG. Bush.Exodus 3:1-6
Solitude a Preparation for ServiceH. O. Mackey.Exodus 3:1-6
Soul VisionsJ. S. Exell, M. A.Exodus 3:1-6
The Betraying Bush; Or, the Church in the WorldD. Rowlands, B. A.Exodus 3:1-6
The Burning BushA. Nevins, D. D.Exodus 3:1-6
The Burning BushHomilistExodus 3:1-6
The Burning BushJ. McNeill.Exodus 3:1-6
The Burning BushW. Jay.Exodus 3:1-6
The Burning BushT. Macconnell.Exodus 3:1-6
The Burning BushJ. C. Gray.Exodus 3:1-6
The Burning BushJ. S. Exell, M. A.Exodus 3:1-6
The Bush and the FireJ. H. Kurtz, D. D.Exodus 3:1-6
The Bush as an EmblemA. Nevins, D. D.Exodus 3:1-6
The Call of MosesE. Judson.Exodus 3:1-6
The Divine Call and its SignW. A. Gray.Exodus 3:1-6
The Earth Holy GroundJ. E. Rankin.Exodus 3:1-6
The God of MosesLyman Abbott, D. D.Exodus 3:1-6
The Humility and Reverence of an Accepted WorshipperJ. Slade, M. A.Exodus 3:1-6
The Manifestation of GodBritish WeeklyExodus 3:1-6
The Moral Preparation and Condition Necessary for the Beholding of Heavenly VisionsJ. S. Exell, M. A.Exodus 3:1-6
The Name of a Good Man Vocal on the Lips of GodJ. S. Exell, M. A.Exodus 3:1-6
The Neighbourhood of HorebA. Edersheim, D. D.Exodus 3:1-6
The Prophetic VisionG.A. Goodhart Exodus 3:1-6
The Reception of the Christian MysteriesBp. S. Wilberforce.Exodus 3:1-6
The Soul's Tutoring Aside to See Often Leads to Visions of GodJ. S. Exell, M. A.Exodus 3:1-6
The Truth-Seeker's ResponseJ. S. Exell, M. A.Exodus 3:1-6
The Vision and the VoiceT. Jones.Exodus 3:1-6
Unclogged FeetJ. Trapp.Exodus 3:1-6
Usefully EmployedWilliam Jay.Exodus 3:1-6
Value of ReverenceBp. S. Wilberforce.Exodus 3:1-6
Was This a Great Sight?A. Nevins, D. D.Exodus 3:1-6
The Burning BushH.T. Robjohns Exodus 3:1-10

We do not now see burning bushes, or hear voices calling to us from their midst. The reason is, that we do not need them, The series of historical revelations is complete. Revelation in the sense of the communication of new truth - of truth beyond the range of our natural faculties, or not capable of being derived, under the guidance of God's Spirit, from revelations already given - is not to be expected. The Bible is the sum of God's authoritative revelations to the race. This bush, e.g., still burns for us in Scripture, where at any time we can visit it, and hear God's voice speaking out of it. But in another sense, revelation is not obsolete. It is not a tradition of the past, but a living reality. It has its objective side in the continuous (non-miraculous) revelation going on in nature (Psalm 19:1; Romans 1:19, 20) and history (Acts 17:26, 27); and in the tokens of a supernatural presence and working in the Church (Matthew 28:20; 1 Thessalonians 1:3-10; Revelation 2:1). And it has its subjective side in the revelation (mediate) of Divine things to the soul by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:17), and in the manifestation of God to the heart in private spiritual experience (John 14:21, 23; Romans 5:5; Romans 8:16). The veil between the soul and the spiritual world is at all times a thin one. The avenues by which God can reach devout minds are innumerable. The Word, sacraments, and prayer are special media, the Divine Spirit taking of the things of Christ, and showing them to the soul (John 16:15), illuminating, interpreting, applying, confirming. But, in truth, God is "not far from every one of us" (Acts 17:27); and by events of providence, in workings of conscience, through our moral and spiritual intuitions, enlightened and purified as these are by the Word, by numberless facts of nature and life, he can still draw near to those who tarry for him; meets them in ways as unexpected and surprising as at the burning bush; awes them by his wonders; flashes to them the messages of his grace. Viewing this revelation at the bush as a chapter in spiritual history, consider -

I. THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF IT. The revelation came to Moses -

(1) unexpectedly;

(2) while in the way of duty - he "kept the flock;"

(3) in a solemn place - "mountain of God," a natural oratory and place of sacred repute - and probably while revolving solemn thoughts;

(4) from a most unlooked-for quarter - a common bush; and at first

(5) impersonally. The bush burning had no apparent relation to Moses more than to another. It was there for him to look at, to inquire into, if he chose. It invited, but did not compel, or even ask for, his attention. All which circumstances are significant.

1. The Divinity is ever nearer to us than we think. So Jacob, as well as Moses, found it. "Surely God is in this place, and I knew it not" (Genesis 28:16).

2. Revelations are not to be expected, save in the way of duty.

3. God may be met with anywhere (John 4:24), but some places are more favourable for communion with God than others - the closet (Matthew 6:6), the sanctuary (Psalm 73:16, 17), natural solitudes (Matthew 16:23). And revelations have usually a relation to the state of mind of those who receive them - answering questions, resolving perplexities, affording guidance, adapting themselves to psychological conditions (cf. Job 2:12, 13; Daniel 2:29; Daniel 9:20, 21; Daniel 10:2-6; Acts 10:3, 10; 1 Corinthians 12:9; Revelation 1:10). It is in every way likely that Moses' thoughts were at that moment deeply occupied about Israel's future.

4. God's discoveries of himself are marked by great condescension. Lowliness of situation is no bar to the visits of the King of Heaven, while humility of heart is indispensable to our receiving them. He who dwelt in the bush will not refuse the dwelling place of the contrite heart (Isaiah 57:15). God's most wonderful discoveries of himself have been made through "base things of the world, and things which are despised" (1 Corinthians 2:28). The highest example of this is Christ himself, of whose incarnation the angel in the bush may be regarded as a prophecy. "He shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground; he hath no form nor comeliness," etc. (Isaiah 53:2).

5. God's revelations act as a moral test. This applies to the objective revelation - to the tokens of the supernatural strewn everywhere around us in life and history, as well as to Nature and the Bible. We may pass them unheeded, or we may draw nearer to inquire. The Bible invites attention by the supernatural in its history, as well as by its teachings. It is only when we draw nearer to it that the Word becomes personal, and seizes on the conscience with spiritual power. Attention on man's part is rewarded by further self-discovery on God's.

II. ITS INTEREST FOR MOSES. We may connect his turning aside to see (ver. 4) -

1. With an appeal to his faculty of wonder. This is one function of miracle - to arrest attention, and awaken in the witness of it a powerful consciousness of the Divine presence.

2. With a general habit of devout inquiry. It may be true that "many a man has been led through the pale of curiosity into the sanctuary of reverence" (Parker); but it is also true that to a merely curious disposition God usually reveals little, and to an irreverent one nothing. The habit of inquiry is as valuable, if one's ultimate aim is in all things to become acquainted with God and his will, as in science and philosophy, or any other form of the pursuit of knowledge; but let inquiry be devout. "Search the Scriptures" (John 5:39). Ponder thoughtfully events of providence and facts of history. Study Nature with an eye to spiritual suggestions - to underlying spiritual analogies. Give to whatever you read or hear, which seems to have truth or value in it, the attention it deserves. Inquiry throws the mind into the attitude most favourable for receiving Divine revelations. Moses was not called by name till he "turned aside to see."

3. With the perception that in this circumstance God was specially calling him to inquire. As Moses gazed, he would be prompted to ask about this bush - What means it? What invisible power is here manifesting itself? Why is it burning at this place, and at this time? What mystery is contained in it? Has it a message for me? And he would not be long in perceiving that it must be burning there with the special view of attracting his attention. And is it not thus that the Divine usually draws near to us? Attention is arrested by something a little aside from the course of ordinary experience, and the impression it makes upon us produces the conviction that it is not unintended; that it is, as we say, "sent;" that it has a meaning and message to us we do well to look into. Every man, at some point or another in his history, has felt himself thus appealed to by the supernatural. The impression may be made by a book we feel drawn to read, or by something we read in it; through a sermon, through some event of life, by a sickness, at a deathbed, by the sayings and doings of fellow-men, or in hours of solitude, when even Nature seems peopled with strange voices, and begins to speak to us in parables. But, originate as it may, there is plainly in it, as in all special dealings of God with us, a call to inquire, to question ourselves, to ask whether, from the midst of the mystery, God may not have some further message for our souls.

III. THE SIGHT ITSELF. The bush that burned (ver. 2) was -

1. A token of the Divine Presence. Moses would soon feel that he was standing in presence of the Unseen Holy.

2. A significant emblem. It represented the Israelites in their state of affliction, yet miraculously surviving. Possibly, in the questionings of his spirit, Moses had not before sufficiently considered the "token for good" implied in this astonishing preservation of the nation, and needed to have his attention directed to it. It was a clear proof that the Lord had not cast off his people. If Israel was preserved, it could only be for one reason. The continued vitality, growth, and vigour of the nation was the infallible pledge of the fulfilment of the promise.

3. An answer to prayer. For what could be the meaning of this portent, but that the long, weary silence was at length broken; that the prayer, "O Lord, how long?" was at last to receive its answer? Faith can see great results wrapped up in small beginnings. For nothing in God's procedure is isolated. Beginnings with God mean endings too.

IV. THE PERSONAL CALL. As Moses wondered -

1. The revelation became personal. He heard himself addressed by name, "Moses, Moses" (ver. 4). Solemnised, yet with that presence of mind which could only arise from long habituation to the idea of an invisible spiritual world, he answered, "Here am I." This was to place himself unreservedly at God's disposal. Mark the order -

(1) God revealing (ver. 1);

(2) man attending (ver. 2);

(3) the revelation becoming Personal (ver. 3).

Then followed the direction (ver. 5), "Draw not nigh hither; put off thy shoes," etc. Thus Moses was instructed:

2. As to the right attitude towards God's revelations.

(1) Self-surrender;

(2) reverence;

(3) obedience.

Moses doubtless obeyed the injunction he received. These qualities meet in all true religion: humility in hearing what God has to say; submission of mind and heart to it when said; readiness to obey. Glance for a moment at the requirement of reverence. One can understand how in the tumult of his feelings at the moment - in the very eagerness of his spirit to hear what further God had to say to him - Moses should be in danger of neglecting the outward tokens of the reverence which no doubt he felt; but it is instructive to observe that God recalls his attention to them. We are thus taught that reverence becomes us, not only in relation to God himself, but in relation to whatever is even outwardly connected with his presence, worship, or revelation. e.g., in our dealing with Scripture, in the use of Divine names and titles, in the ritual of Divine service. The attitude of the spirit is doubtless the main thing; but a reverent spirit will seek for itself suitable forms of expression; and respect for the forms is itself a duty, and an aid in the education of the sentiment. Those are greatly to be censured who, presuming on a supposed special intimacy with God not granted to others, venture to take liberties, and allow themselves in a demeanour and in a style of expression to the Almighty at the least irreverently familiar, and not unfrequently bordering on profanity. Raptures of piety, however sincere, do not justify us in forgetting that in communion with God we stand on "holy ground." - J.O.

A flame of fire out of the midst of a bush.
I. The story of Moses is the story, at first, of FAILURE. Two great streams of influences moulded his life — the one drawn from the Egyptian surroundings of his early days, and the other drunk in with his mother's milk and his mother's teaching. On the one side he had before him the revelation of the world in its majesty and power, brute energy and magnificence, massive purpose and force, and splendid genius, with a kind of weird and magical faith in the dim powers of the unseen — those speechless-eyed deities of Egypt looking for ever into his face; and, along with these, a rugged sense of the responsibility of human life. And then, from the Hebrew side, another strain of thought. There came belief in the governing providence of God; there was belief in something more than might and majesty of force, and brute power; something like a belief that the weak might yet become strong — for the early history of that people was the history of the individual, or of the tribe waiting, not for his power upon the tokens of brute force, but waiting, rather, for his power upon the evolution of their history under the providence of God. But where he expected amongst people of his kin to find aspirations after better things, and responsiveness to his own spirit, he met only with chillness, coldness, and refusal to follow. Then came his exile in Midian — an exile from all his early dreams and hopes, an exile from the splendid position he had in Egypt, an exile from the future which glowed before him, and an exile, too, from the confidence he had that there was the power capable of lifting the hearts of his people and making them fit to strike a blow for freedom.

II. Look, now, at THE VISION which restored him to faith and energy.

1. A revelation of permanence. The bush was not consumed; it held its own life amidst the devouring flame. Moses' feeling was one of suffering from that which, after all, is so common an experience of life — from the temptation to cry, "Vanity of vanities, all is vanity." It was something at such a moment to find that the revelation was to him one of permanence, where everything had slipped from his grasp. A while ago young dreams were his; a while ago, in his manhood, a noble purpose was his; and now all is gone, the temptation is to sit down and take a cynical attitude, and say, with a world where all things change, and where nothing abides, the safest and the wisest course is to laugh at existence, and take up either the language of despair, which wails out vanity of vanities, or the easy cynicism which treats life as a joke. But to the man in that state came a revelation of permanence. In the midst of all this change of things there is something which abides. Do not believe the answer to the cry of your heart, that all things perish, that the powers of decay touch everything in your life. There is in the unconsumed bush, there is in the change and policy of the world, an element of permanence.

2. A revelation of purity. "The place whereon thou standest is holy ground." In our first thought we think of permanence in material things. We see intellectual and moral things pass away and the materials remain; but the revelation of faith, the revelation of God, the revelation of all noble impulses of men, is everlastingly this: it is in the elements of purity that the powers of permanence are concerned. Mark you that the revelation given to Moses was not simply of the burning bush. Thrust thine hand into thy bosom; and he thrust it in, and drew it out leprous. Thrust thine hand into thy bosom again; and he did so, and drew it out clean. What significance is here to remind him that the cause of his failure lay not in the want of high purpose and high moral methods! The failure was not the failure of Moses' purpose, it was not the failure of his high hopes; there was permanent power, possibly, but there was a leprous stain within the breast of the patriot, and he understood it so; for when at last his dream was nearly accomplished, and he had led the people out from beneath the tryannies of the Pharaohs, and had planted them in the wilderness, then he drew from the throne of God that real law, that holy code, and he gave it to them graven as the image of eternity upon permanent stone, and said this is the law of the longevity of the people; these ten commandments, engrafted into the people's life, made part of their aspirations, part of their feelings, part of their intellectual powers, part of their whole social life, will guarantee their permanence. It shall be your life if ye will observe to do these things. The vision had taught him that permanence was to be found in purity.

3. A revelation of personal power and love. Behind the purity is a personal God. We might pause a moment and say, Why is this? If I have this moral law, and if the possession of this righteous strength gives permanence, why this personal God behind? The answer is simple. You and I may think there is energy in law; but, after all, law is merely a name given to certain causes and effects and sequences. There is no inspiration necessary in law. To tell Moses, indeed, that here this people could live, that there was no reason why Israel should die, that the element of permanence might be there if only the element of righteousness was there, would be to mock Moses, who might have said, "All my patriotic hopes are gone; here I get the answer of permanence, but I do not get the guarantee of it. I get no inspiration as to whether any one cares." Lo! the answer is given: "God cares; these people that seemed God forsaken, have yet God as their God; righteousness is not a dead letter, righteousness is an expression of a living will, and an expression of a living will moulding human life to achieve some great and final thing." Thus he began to see that he was not struggling merely against the nerveless hearts of men, but living and loving hearts were co-operating with his, and the aspirations which had dawned within his breast were not simply his own weak thought, but were the answers back to the purposes of God; for in the best sense it is true that the aspirations of man are the aspirations of God; and when you realize that, then you begin to see how needed is the guarantee which Moses asked, "Give me strength; what am I that I should go?" Because He is the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob — the God of this people who seemed to be no people; therefore their resurrection is possible.

III. THE REVELATION WAS NOT FOR MOSES ALONE. You remember the scene in "Alton Locke," where the poet would go to the Southern Pacific, and there find inspiration for his song, and a shrewd Scotchman took him into the slums of a great city, where the squalor and dinginess of life existed, and said to him that the poet sees poetry everywhere — the poetry is there if you will turn your poet's eye upon it. So also is religion. There is in every common bush the light of God, and only those who see it draw off their shoes. It is the old story again. God is near, God is in this place, and we knew it not. You may say that the vision, and that faith which the life which has surrounded you, has slowly dimmed and numbed, and you say, "There is no revelation for me; my heart, my mind, is a wilderness now; there were little fruits and flowers in the garden of my early life, and I hoped to dedicate my life, and consecrate my services, to God — perhaps as a minister of His Church, perhaps in a high calling in the State; but now I have grown confused with new and strange thoughts, that rise sirocco-like; new things have swept away the old, and have left me no verdure and flowers in their place; I am in a wilderness, and there is no revelation of fire for me." Pardon me, there is. Alter your views. Do you never feel a sense of dissatisfaction? did ever cross your mind the law of self-condemnation, and have you not said, "I meant to make more of my life in this place of study, and meant to have worked for a purpose; and now I am dissatisfied? Where I meant to be a living agent, I have only become an idle dreamer. I look back upon a wasted and unprofitable life, and say, Woe is me! all the bright, hopeful views have gone, and my life is like a ship. wrecked thing." Is not that pain, which is the witness of your failure, the fire of God? He lets it burn, that it may burn away the base thing, and that you may see in the voice of noble discontent the possibility of stepping up once more to the dream of your early life, and by the strength of God achieving it. But we forget to turn aside to see the great sights about us. Give your hearts leisure sometimes to meet with God, and God will meet with you. Give your souls the opportunity of letting the light of God's vision shine sometimes with a possibility of reflection upon your own, life, and the fire will glow, and the bush will burn, and the revelation will begin.

(Bp. Boyd Carpenter.)


1. The vision was miraculous.

2. Moses had this vision when he was in solitude.

3. It was symbolic —

(1)Of Israel in Egypt.

(2)Of the Church in the world.

(3)Of the truth of the gospel.

(4)Of ourselves, who have the religious life within us.


1. It revealed the majesty and grandeur of God.

2. It revealed the special providence of the great God — the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

3. It proclaimed the faithfulness of God.

4. It demanded reverence.

(T. Jones.)

This narrative is a chain of glorious wonders. We see here —

I. AN OLD MAN CALLED TO GO OUT ON THE GREAT ERRAND OF HIS LIFE. The education of Moses for the great mission of his life lasted eighty years. God never sends forth fruit until the season is fitted for the fruit, and the fruit for the season; when the hour was ready for the man, and the man for the hour, then God sent forth Moses.


1. This was a sign to indicate the peculiar presence of God.

2. It was also a symbol of His people, eminently adapted to encourage the prophet in undertaking their cause.

III. THE ANGEL WHO UTTERED THIS CALL. We see at the first glance that He is Divine; we next learn that He is an angel; we further find, from a chain of Scripture proofs, that He is Christ.

IV. THE COVENANT UNDER WHICH THE ANGEL GAVE HIM HIS COMMISSION. It was the same covenant that had been given to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

V. THE ANGEL'S NAME. That name asserts —

1. His real existence.

2. His underived existence.

3. His independent existence.

4. His eternity.


1. It was intended to inspire profoundest reverence for the Being to whom it belongs.

2. It reveals the infinite sufficiency of a Christian's portion.

3. It gives encouragement to evangelical enterprise.

(C. Stanford, D. D.)

I. HOW WAS THE EARLIER HISTORY OF MOSES AN EDUCATION FOR THE GREAT WORK OF HIS LIFE? In order to free his people from their bondage, Moses needed sympathy and faith; and the Bible gives us three phases of his life, wonderfully adapted to educate him in these qualities.

1. His education in the Egyptian court.

2. His attempt to convince the people of their brotherhood.

3. His flight into the wilderness.


1. The vision of God prepared him for the work of his life. It showed him the everlastingness of God, and his own unworthiness to do God's work. But the voice upheld him amid the overwhelming sense of his nothingness, and made him feel his vocation.

2. The vision of God gave endurance in fulfilling that work. Even should his work seem to fail, he had a grasp on eternity which would keep him strong and true.

(E. L. Hull, B. A.)

I. THE CALL OF THE CHOSEN LEADER. Moses was already a believing man, walking in favour and fellowship with God, and in sympathy with his down-trodden people. We must carefully distinguish between Moses' decision for God, and God's disclosure of duty to Moses. The one took place in his early manhood; the other was deferred till the threshold of old age, when God gave the charge of the story before us, and the servant's self-denying choice was rewarded by the sovereign's honourable commission. The two experiences differ, you see, as conversion from service, as personal consecration from official appointment, as entrance on a life of holiness from entrance on a life of work.

1. And here comes our first lesson — a lesson for all who, like Moses, await God's call — the lesson, namely, of faith and of self-restraint. Are we struck with the fact that of the hundred and twenty years assigned to Moses, eighty were spent in preparation, and only forty in work? But it is God's way. What seems a time of uselessness as regards the world may be a time of probation as regards yourself. And the time of probation, if quietly endured and conscientiously improved, may issue, ere God has done with you, in a work of deliverance on the earth, whose concentration, rapidity, and success may amply explain the preceding delay.

2. Take a second lesson at this point in passing — a lesson of diligence. I know not how God means to meet and to summon you, if, as in Moses' case, He has special service in store for you; but I am sure of this, that revelations of special service are given only in the midst of conscientious application to ordinary duty.

3. Learn here yet a third truth — a lesson of constant watchfulness. For though Moses was at the time unexpectant, he was not upon that account heedless. His mind was in sympathy with the spiritual and eternal, and his eye was kept open to discern it: Be sure that, for all his industry in his worldly calling, the mood of Moses was such that no indication or hint could escape him from the world that is unseen and Divine. And let us take that spirit along with us, if, like Moses, we would find the lights and the beacons of God on our path — a spirit of devout and careful attention, of inquiry, and of vigilant thought.

4. The lesson of reverence is needed too. While the secret of the Lord is for those that seek Him, it is also for those that fear Him.

5. Holy diffidence. Much of the best work with which the Church has been served has been rendered by men who, like Moses, were at first overcome by the thought of it, and would fain have drawn back had Providence permitted. Take the example of the great pioneer of the Church in Scotland — the leader of its glorious exodus from the superstition and tyranny of popery to the heritage which God had prepared for it, in the light wherewith His Spirit illumines, and the liberty wherewith His truth makes free. When Knox was called to the pastorate of the church of St. Andrews, and the first step was disclosed to him of a road that led onwards to service and fame, we read that a strange thing happened. The audience were gathered, the service was proceeded with, the wish of the people was announced by the officiating minister, and echoed back as he spoke by the cries of the people themselves. But when Knox rose to speak in return, he broke clown into tears, left the meeting-place abruptly, and enclosed himself in the privacy of his house; "and from that day," as the chronicler tells of him, "till the day he presented himself to preach, his countenance and behaviour did sufficiently declare the grief and the trouble of his heart, for no man saw any sign of mirth from him, neither had he pleasure to accompany any man for days together." Such feelings of diffidence and misgiving will a true man feel whensoever he is honoured with special service; nor, if he is wise, will he seek to repress it.

II. THE REVELATION OF THE CHANGELESS GOD. Nothing will establish the Church, nothing will support and encourage its leaders in times of trial such as those through which Israel was passing, like the thought of the changelessness of God, and in especial the changelessness and eternity of His love, of which trials, however grievous, and temptations, however scorching, form only a brief and a passing phase. The processes God employs may be many, but the principle He acts on is one. The manifestations He makes of Himself may be various, but the character that underlies them is the same.

(W. A. Gray.)


1. This vision was unexpected.

2. This vision was educational.

II. THAT SOMETIMES MYSTERY IS ASSOCIATED WITH THINGS OF A VERY ORDINARY CHARACTER. "A bush." The smallest, the most trivial, the apparently unmeaning things, events of life, are full of mystery, contain a heavenly presence, a Divine voice, will teach a reflective spirit, will become an impulse to a higher life — avocation. The bushes of life are full of mystery. The world is a great secret — is vocal with messages of freedom to listening souls.


1. There must be devotion in opposition to levity.

2. There must be devotion in opposition to curiosity. Why this devotion?

(1)Because mystery is holy.

(2)Because mystery is authoritative. It commands us to take off our shoes. Its authority is Divine; will be recognized by true manhood.


1. God observes the conduct of men in relation to mystery. "And the Lord saw that he turned aside to see." What a subduing, inspiring thought, that God knows all the efforts of our souls in their investigation of mystery.

2. God speaks to men who are anxious to investigate mystery. "God called to him out of the midst of the bush." God speaks — allows us to investigate.

3. God reveals Himself as the great solution of all mystery.

(J. S. Exell, M. A.)


1. This was the crowning preparation and call of Moses for his life's work.

2. This was to be the beginning of a new stage in the life and history of the chosen people, and of the history of the Divine unfolding.


1. The Angel Jehovah was not a created Being. The designation is evidently used in a special sense, because, He speaks as God Himself and receives Divine homage. Here it means the Divine as self-revealing; the Infinite bringing Himself into relations of knowledge with a limited and finite creature, and into relations of covenanted grace and mercy. It is God to whom we can get near, understand, grasp, love, serve, obey.

2. The Angel Jehovah was God of the fathers. But He was revealed to them as El Shaddai, God Almighty.

3. But what He had been to the fathers He still was. The fathers' God! The God of our dead! The sanctities of home life go into and along with our religion.

4. There was still another old element in the wonder; and that was the Fire. This was the same element which appeared amid and upon the cherubic symbols, darting hither and thither like flashing sword in the sunshine at the gate of Eden, and which we read of as "the Presence," the faces of Jehovah; and as "the glory of the Lord."

III. BUT TO THE WONDER WHICH WAS OLD THERE WERE ELEMENTS ADDED WHICH ARE NEW. God reveals Himself here under a new name. An old word is vitalized with a new meaning, and is laid at the foundation of a dispensation. He will be known in all the Mosaic times and institutions, not as El Shaddai, but as Jehovah, "I am that I am." He is the one self-existent, unchangeable, ever-living God of ages. From everlasting to everlasting God. But the name is adopted and comes into use, specially in relation to the deliverance from Egypt and the constitution of the nation. So it means, the Sovereign Ruler and Ordainer of the Ages, who has become a Righteous Deliverer and Redeemer.

(W. H. Davison, D. D.)

1. Observe the substance of the figure. Not a fine tall tree, a cedar or a cypress, but a bush — a mere bush. Such is the image of the Church — poor and humble. It was at one time in the ark, and there was a wicked Ham, at another in the family of Abraham, and there was a mocking Ishmael. It was now in Egypt, consisting of slaves and brickmakers. Jesus had not where to lay His head, His followers were the common people, His apostles were fishermen.

2. Observe the condition of the bush. It burned with fire. Fire denotes suffering. Christians must have tribulation in the world. They are never to consider "fiery trials" as strange things. Of how many can God say, "I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction"?

3. Mark the bush's preservation. The bush was not consumed. Sometimes the Church has burned in the fire of persecution, and sometimes of derision. But with what result? Whilst kingdoms and empires have passed away, and not a wreck of them is left but some vestiges in ruins, lingering in monumental mockery of the boasts of men, the Church still stands, as she is destined ever to do, in the light and strength of her omnipotent and faithful Lord. And this is as true of every individual believer as of the whole Church collectively.

(A. Nevins, D. D.)

Some also see in this bush an emblem of —

1. The awfulness of God's offended justice (Deuteronomy 4:21; Malachi 3:2).

2. The incarnation and sufferings of Christ, the bush representing His human nature (Isaiah 53:2), the flame of fire shadowing forth His Divine nature (Deuteronomy 4:24), and the union of the flame with the bush denoting the union of the Divine with the human nature.

3. Those dreadful sufferings by which sin should be expiated — Christ enduring the fierce flames of the wrath of God, yet not consumed (Hebrews 9:28).

(A. Nevins, D. D.)

1. It was the great I AM who exhibited it.

2. It afforded a bright gleam of hope to Israel, that their bondage was nearly over (vers. 7, 8).In order to see this great sight, we must turn aside —

1. From the world (1 John 2:15; 2 Corinthians 6:17).

2. Carnal reasoning (1 Corinthians 2:14; John 3:9).

3. All known sin (Ephesians 4:17, 18; 2 Peter 1:9).

(A. Nevins, D. D.)

Here we have an account of God s disclosure of Himself to Moses; we have that which is the root out of which Moses' whole conception of God and His government grew. Laying aside all preconceptions and prejudices, let us see what sort of a portrait this chapter gives us:

1. It shows us a self-revealing God; a God who discloses Himself to the human race, and communicates with them.

2. This God is one who is not indifferent to the woes and sufferings of His people.

3. He is a God of deliverance.

4. In working out this deliverance, He chooses human and imperfect instruments.

5. The very name by which God at once reveals and conceals Himself suggests the similitude between the Old Testament and the New Testament revelations. "I am," says Jehovah to Moses; "you must trust Me and walk by faith in My assurance, and not in an intellectual comprehension of My character and My purposes." "I am," says Christ to Philip; "you must trust in Me, and walk by your faith in Me: not by an understanding of what the Father is who hath sent Me, or a comprehension of what the Father purposes to accomplish in and by you." In a sense the Egyptian inscription, the Athenian altar, and Herbert Spencer's definition are true; God is the Unknown and Unknowable. The intellect tries in vain to draw aside the veil; but love and sympathy pass behind it. Philosophy in vain endeavours to analyse and interpret mother-love; but the child in simplicity and faith reposes on it. The God of Moses and the God of the twelve disciples are alike in this — that They are the incomprehensible "I am"; to be loved, trusted, obeyed, rested on, but never to be measured, fathomed and understood. Sometimes from my hill-side home among the Highlands of the Hudson I see, fifty miles away, obscured by haze and overhanging clouds, and partially veiled, perhaps, in mist or rain, the distant outline of the Catskill range; and then the veil is drawn aside, the turbaned mist is lifted off their foreheads, and that which before was dim and indistinct stands out against the dark background of sky in clear, intelligible outline, yet leaving all the dress of grey rock and green tree and foaming cataract, and dark gloom, and flitting sunshine breaking through the trees, to the imagination; for at best it is only an outline I can see. So in the Old Testament I look upon the outline of my God veiled in cloud; in the New Testament the cloud is lifted, the mist is cleared away, and through an atmosphere like that of the most perfect October day I look on the same outline, distinct and beautiful against a heavenly background: and still it is but an outline that I see of the mystery and majesty of the nature I shall never know, never be able even to explore, until I stand in His presence and am invited to know Him even as I am known.

(Lyman Abbott, D. D.)

1. That God's purposes are punctual in their accomplishment (see Genesis 15.). The clock of time had now struck the four hundred years, and God forthwith began to redeem His pledge.

2. That God's purposes, in relation to our world, are generally accomplished by the agency of man.

3. That the men whom God employs for the carrying out of His purposes, He qualifies by a special revelation.

4. That this special revelation which He vouchsafes, is frequently symbolical in its character. All nature is a symbol. Truth in symbol is palpable, attractive, impressive. The burning bush was a symbol. But what did it symbolize? God's presence.


1. Moses directs his attention to it, under an impression of its greatness.

2. Moses directs his attention to it, in order to ascertain its import. It is ever so with a true student of the Bible. He will seek to find out "the reason of things."


1. God's communications depended upon his attention. Only he who looks and inquires, hears in the Bible the voice of God.

2. God's communications were consciously personal to him.

3. God's communications were directive and elevating.


1. These impressions are peculiarly becoming in sinful intelligences. The Bible is designed to produce reverence for God.

2. These impressions are necessary to qualify men for God's work.

3. These impressions are consonant with the highest dignity and enjoyment. He that is consciously least is always greatest.


I. THE LOCALITY. How many noted Scriptural events took place on mountains!

1. It seems as if they were above the common herd of man.

2. They are difficult of access. All religious duties must be connected with difficulty.

3. They were mostly places of solitude.

II. THE SPOT. A bush.

1. Its insignificance.

2. Its incongruity. What apparent connection between God and a bush?

3. Its intrinsic worthlessness.


1. The bush burned with fire. God's glory appeared in it, humble as it was.

2. The bush, though burning, was not consumed.


Some would have us learn, that it is God's glory makes the Church beautiful, and gives the poor bush its excellence and power; others, that the burning fire represents the afflictions to which we are subject as Christians, which exist, but do not consume the soul. We may, indeed, profitably extract any such lessons; they all help us on our way. But I think the appearance was only intended to encourage Moses. He was sent forth to go to Pharaoh, but complained of his own inability. God showed him that it was not the power of the instrument that was to prevail, but the influence of the Spirit which animated it; even as it was not the bush which was remarkable, but the fire which dwelt in it.


Remember also, that you may attain the end of your being in any place; that you may adorn with moral beauty the very humblest sphere; that you may confer upon your position greater dignity than any position could possibly confer upon you. When we read the histories of the world's brightest characters, we seem to forget altogether the social ranks to which they belonged; the dazzling brightness of their heroism, their valour, their truth, makes their outward surroundings of no account; the one prominent fact which forces itself upon our attention is, that they acquitted themselves like. men, and won the admiration of all succeeding ages. Who ever stops to reflect that John Bunyan was a tinker; that Paul the apostle was a tent-maker; that Jesus of Nazareth was a carpenter's son? Be it ours, therefore, not to murmur at our circumstances, but to make the most of whatever circumstances in which we may be placed. Let us learn from this scene how to conduct ourselves in God's presence. Of course, God is present everywhere, our conduct should therefore be an habitual recognition of this solemn fact. Still there are times and places in which we come into God's special presence. When we open God's book, and meditate upon its contents, and endeavour to profit in the study of it, His presence breathes in every page, and speaks words of mercy, warning, and encouragement to our souls. Ah! my friends, it makes one sad to think, how men can treat their Bible as if it were mere trash; how men can repeat their prayers, as if they were useless forms; how men can hear the gospel, as if it were a worthless tale!

I. THE CHURCH IN THE MIDST OF THE WORLD. The primary reference in the text is to the Jewish Church in Egypt. There is an uncompromising antagonism, an eternal conflict, between the Church and the world. And the Church being comparitively small in number, engages in this conflict at great odds. Hence it frequently seems as if she must be eventually overcome. The spirit of this world is in direct opposition to the principles which the Church is commissioned to hold forth. The morality which it propagates is a standing protest against the world's most cherished notions. Is it likely that such teaching as this should provoke no opposition? It has provoked opposition of the strongest, keenest, deadliest kind. I shall not detain you with any account of the horrible persecutions which the Church has passed through during the last eighteen centuries of its history. But in spite of all, the Church has proved itself invincible; though persecuted, it has not been cast down; though burned with fire, it has not been consumed. Nay, we can say even more. The very trials to which the Church has been exposed, have only helped to develop its powers, to widen its influence, to make it what it is at the present day. The bush has been set on fire. True. But what then? The fire itself has been for its benefit; fanned into a mighty conflagration, it has shone all the more brilliantly in the midst of the world's darkness.

II. GOD IN THE MIDST OF THE CHURCH. The glory which appeared in the bush is a fit emblem of God's presence in the Church — His life-giving presence — His protecting presence — His conquering presence. God is in the heart of every true member of the Church, God is the source of his spiritual life, God is the secret of his spiritual power. God's presence is the Church's chief defence. It is not strange that she has been so firm, so immovable, so enduring, when we consider the mighty Being, whose power has protected her. "The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge." But this great fact — this ever-abiding presence of God in the Church — suggests a still more precious thought; for it is a guarantee for the Church's future; its future safety, its future triumphs, its future glory.

(D. Rowlands, B. A.)

Moses was not engaged in any unworthy work, or any career of sin. He was tending the flock of his father-in-law, and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God. Here, perhaps, he had been often before, but as he led the flock along that familiar track, suddenly there came to him, in the calm and quiet of that lonely place, this wonderful revelation of the Lord, which became a point of departure in Moses' own heart and history, and in the history of the people of God. So, I say, that which makes life worth living is this — we will come to the point at once — the great glory of our life is that God comes into it and reveals His presence; that God opens our eyes to see that there is more in the world than simply our daily calling, our flock of sheep, and our temporal interests; that life is more than a day's work, no matter how diligently and conscientiously performed, and a night's sleep. God, the personal God, is here to greet our own eyes with the kindling glory of the manifestation of His own presence. He will change our life, its whole current, its whole outcome. And I would like at the outset to waken up an expectation in those who are rather apt to think that the day is gone by for them either to expect or to receive such visions and revelations of the Lord. My friends, Moses was an old man when this took place. Therefore let not those growing old, either in years or in cares, give in or sink down. Many a long day and year Moses had trudged about this very region, when suddenly one year, one day, one hour, one particular moment, he lifted up his eyes, and, as we all know now, Lo! there was God. In the midst of all the ordinary humdrum and; routine of life I see something. There is a glimmer, a something extraordinary somewhere, sometime, and I open my eyes. I was often there before, and saw nothing; but now there is a gleam, a light, an Epiphany. My very soul is engaged, led on, and on, and on, until the end of it is God as man speaking to me, lifting up my life by the grappling-hooks of His own purposes, and using and glorifying it and me for ever and ever. I want to show, for example, that you might have had a man, another shepherd, and that man might have been going on for seventy or eighty years of age like Moses, and he never would have seen this revelation. He would have got so down to the level of a shepherd's life and a shepherd's experience that when he saw the bush burning he would have got some natural explanation for it, and passed on. It would have come too late in the day for him to say, "That is worth looking at. It is a little extra blush on that bush; but it cannot be a fire, it is only an extra glow of the sunlight on the furze. I do not think I ever sew it just so before, though." Meantime the sheep give a bleat, and he turns his face away, and on he goes. Oh, it is hard to waken up some of us! We are so unlike Moses. No; old as he was, he was as curious as a bairn. He had still the faculty to open his eyes and see wonderful sights, and clap his hands, and wonder what they were. May God take away the oldness of some of us, and give us the freshness of youth! It will be the beginning of salvation. Open your eyes! The world is not done, and you are not done. Your days are only in the beginning, and if you only get your eyes open to see what is here, they will never close again. When once God shows Himself to us in Christ, we, at last, have our eyes open. Curiosity! a human thing; — and God pulled Moses by that little thread — curiosity. And this great chain cable came after it — faith, clear, strong faith in a personal God, speaking to him, and giving him a personal message and mission. "And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt." Now, turn aside; get off the track, oh man; step out of your way; turn aside. Go, go, go along this new course; it is not far to go. Do not sit still and let things go past. It is a wonderful world; it is a wonderful church; all life is just bursting with wonder, if you will only turn aside. But not everybody sees the burning. Everybody sees the bush. It is only Moses that becomes aware of the "glory on the grass"; "the silence that is in the starry sky"; "the sleep that is among the lonely hills." The world is more than mud or atoms brought together fortuitously, or in any other way. The world is a burning bush. It is so far earth — solid, material. I can handle it, and become a man of science, and say, "What is in it?" And, God help me, I can become so much a mere scientist as only to see the bush and leaves and berries, and the shape of the leaves and the shape of the stem, and tell you how it grew, and then say, "There is no flame." Just so; there is a way of looking at that bush, man — a way of looking at the bush that puts out its light, or your light, which is the same thing. There could have been a kind of man come tramping along here with the sheep, and with one single look he would have quenched that flame; and the same damnable thing may be in you and me. We may look at nature, and look at our own bodies, and look at Christ in the Bible; and look at the Bible itself, with such a blank look and stare of unbelief that God withdraws Himself, and never comes back. Never! There is a way of looking, a trick in the eye, that is an abomination to God, and He simply withdraws. Everything is a burning bush. Nature is such a burning bush. Nature is full of the supernatural, everywhere ready to burst forth, but you must not push forward, but stand back if you wish to see it. The more we push in irreverently, the more it flies from us. Our own bodies — a burning bush! Have you ever thought of that? Here is the physical, the material, the natural, but in it and on it the immaterial, the spiritual, in a true sense, the metaphysical. Streaming out of it, and above it, and beyond it, is that which lifts itself up from the mass of blood and brain and bone, and says, "I, I am." Then, again, here is a burning bush for you — the Bible. So much of it natural: the boards, and that means the binder; the print, and that means the printer; the thoughts, and that means the thinker — like any other book. Like any other book, but, God be praised, more than any other book. For the glory, the voice, the "Thus saith the Lord," comes out from this, that comes from no other book. Such a burning bush is the Church of Christ, and I speak not now of her survival of fiery trials. Now, a congregation, a Church, either in the large sense or the sectional sense of the word, is just like any other corporation or society. It has its laws and purposes, and there is so much in it of man's planning and guiding and ordering. Yet a Church is not a mere guild like any other; a corporation of people like any other gathering. No, no, no! It is like them as that bush is like any other bush; but, man, there is a glory in it, there is a wonder in it! The Lord is in this place. "In all places — all places — where I record My name, there will I come, and I will bless them." "Oh, Thou that dwellest in Thy Church, shine forth." For some of us it is becoming only a bush, an institution like any other. And I see coming to us Christ Himself as a burning bush. There He lies, a baby, like your own, my good woman; but, unlike your own, there is a glory, there is a flame. Wherever you come across Him, as babe, or as boy, or as man, or as crucified, there is the flame, there is the extra superadded something, and that something is the eternal and uncreated Godhead. Worship Him, wherever you meet Him, from Bethlehem right on to the cross, on to the glory. Worship Him — God in human flesh. Turn aside and see this great sight: why human nature can exhibit this mystery — why the bush is not burnt. But further, all this came to Moses, humanly speaking, this wonderful revelation, because of reverence. "Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground." He was near enough. I can quite well understand that very likely no man more than Moses would feel, "Oh, I would like to see this great sight, and get to the bottom of it." But he could not, and we should not. God has set bounds to the inquiries of the human spirit, not cramping bounds, but wise and safe ones. So with many other difficulties. How am I at once body and spirit? But I am warned by this, that many men who have gone into that question in order to find out about it have put out their eyes. They come back from the examination of the human frame, from wonder upon wonder, they come back and say, "We have found no spirit, no breath of God; all that has no warrant from our researches." Out you go with your researches! And they go to this Bible and say, "It is a very wonderful Book, and we have examined it in the spirit of frank, candid, and fearless inquiry. We have not scoffed at the Book, nor scorned it; we have examined it in the spirit of frank and fearless inquiry, and we find the glory is gone." It is just so. There is only one method — the reverent; and one result — and that is to know God better and bow down flatter before Him. You cannot take away the hyphen that holds the "burning" and the "bush" together. When even Moses would have gone forward to see why, he was kept back, and his thoughts turned in more profitable directions. So you are forbidden to go nearer; you are near enough to see and to know and to bow down and to give an intelligent, wholehearted adoration and worship of obedience. And any spirit that enters into you and me, and makes me go beyond the point where Moses had to pull up, is a dangerous spirit, alike in method and result.

(J. McNeill.)


1. Solitude.

2. God is watching a man.

3. God doesn't call until the man turns aside to see.

II. THE SOURCE OF THE CALL. A bramble that does not burn away.


1. Reverent self-surrender.

2. Transformation of life.

(E. Judson.)

British Weekly.

1. Purity is essential to the being of God.

2. Purity is essential to the government of God.

3. Purity is essential to the worship of God.

II. THE MANIFESTATION OF GOD IN THE SEVERITY OF ITS OPERATION — "the bush was burned with fire." Every impurity must be consumed, and every obstacle to the kingdom of God must be destroyed. This severity is evident —

1. In the chastisements of the godly, and —

2. In the utter destruction of the impenitent.


1. God in Christ is a Saviour.

2. The operations of the Holy Spirit purify the soul, but do not destroy the man.

(British Weekly.)

I. THE CIRCUMSTANCES IN WHICH MOSES WAS, WHEN THE LORD APPEARED TO HIM IN THE DESERT. Keeping sheep. What a contrast to his employments in youth! Yet probably this was the happiest part of his life. Time for reflection and for poetical musings.


1. The emblem in which the Church was held forth — "Bush." If numbers and splendour are the mark of a true Church as its properties, where should we find for many ages the Church of God? Seldom in the Old Testament, never in the New. The Church of God was once enclosed in the ark; at this time it consisted of a number of slaves and brickmakers.

2. The condition in which it was found. "Burning with fire." Grievously oppressed and persecuted.

3. Its preservation. "Not consumed." The blood of the martyrs has ever been the seed of the Church.

4. The cause of this security. The angel of the Lord was in the midst of it.

III. THE ATTENTION IT AWAKENED. Let us, like Moses, turn aside, and contemplate His revelations.

IV. GOD'S PROHIBITION, OR RATHER, REGULATION. A check on curiosity. Be satisfied with the facts of Christianity, without the philosophy of them. Be content with the use of things, rather than attempt to dive into their nature and their qualities. Take the religious controversies, which have occupied so much time, and which have injured so many fine tempers; and what have they commonly turned to, but things too deep for human reasoning to fathom, too lofty to be soared to without presumption, or too insignificant to merit regard?

V. GOD'S ADDRESS. All along, from the beginning, God has shown favour to some for the sake of others. Under the law He was called — "The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob." because the covenant made with them was for Israel: in him they were blessed, and for his sake they received all things. But now the covenant made for the spiritual Israel, was made with a far more glorious character; it was set up from everlasting — from the beginning, ere the earth was. His name is Jesus: it is in Him that we are accepted; it is in Him that we are blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places; it is for His sake that we receive all things. And therefore, while of old His style was, "The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob," it is now, under the gospel, "The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ." There are two things derivable from this address of God, when He says, "I am the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob." The first is, that unquestionably, therefore, Moses had some knowledge of a future state. He does not say, He was "the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob"; but, "I am the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob"; their spirits are with Me now; their renewed bodies shall be, by and by, as certainly as they are now in the dust. You observe, also, that God sustains His relationship to those of your connections, who are gone before.

VI. Let us observe THE IMPRESSION MADE UPON MOSES. "And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God."

1. Here you see, first, that Divine manifestation always produces self-diffidence and abasement.

2. You see, also, how little we can physically bear. "Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God"; the splendour would be too much for the eye, the sounds too much for the ear; the poor frame would break down under that "far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory."

(W. Jay.)

This book, do you see it? Not a leaf, not a word, not a letter of it, but has been burned ten thousand times — on parchment, papyrus, and paper; in many a language and many a land it has fed the furnace and lit the fire. It has been piled by thousands and thousands at a time in huge bonfires, and offered amid the yells of triumphant crowds, a holocaust to gods of wood and to the triple-crowned idol of the papal throne! "The bush has burned with fire." "But the bush was not consumed." This Book is ubiquitous; never a land under heaven that has it not, never a language among men that does not contain it. Paganism, I tell you, has had it trampled into dirt by beasts; popery has burnt it at the hands of the common hangman; sceptical science has branded and seared it as with hot iron; infidelity has torn it into shreds; and atheism, of the modern type, has besmeared its pages with mud and filth whose fumes are insupportable — but the bush is not consumed! Lo! the bush burned with fire. But the blessed Saviour declares that "the servant shall be as his Lord." What has been done to Him in the world, He says, shall be done to you also, Christian believer. Then the burning bush is a lively image of the Christian too. Now I desire to leave one final thought with you. Why did not the fire burn the bush? Because the Lord was in it. He had made it His temporary dwelling-place. Why did not the fire burn the Christ? Through wrath and rage of man and devil, through cross, and death, and hell, He passed unscathed. Why? Because of the Divine in Him. Because the bush of that clay temple of humanity was the tabernacle in which dwelt the Deity. Why has not the fierce, horrible, and perpetual fires of persecution and testing succeeded in destroying the Christian Church? Because God is in it. In it the tabernacle of God is with men. Christ walks amid the golden candlesticks; the Father dwells where His name is recorded, and the very life-breath of the Church is the living Spirit of God.

(J. J. Wray.)


1. This bush had God in the midst of it (ver. 4), and the Church has God in the midst of her (Psalm 46:5).

2. This bush, burning in the night, gave a great light in the wilderness; and the Church of God gives a great light in this dark world.

3. The bush burns, but is unburnt. The Church suffers, but stiff survives.

II. A MIRACLE. The first miracle we read of was wrought upon fire. Fire had been more worshipped than any of the elements of nature: from the Moloch of the Ammonites to the Juggernaut of the Hindoos, no idol has had such crowded temples or costly offerings. God struck His first blow at the favourite idol. "He will not give His honour to another, nor His glory to graven images." "He will not have a rival — He cannot have an equal." All the miracles of Egypt were wrought against idolatry. Each was a blow struck at some favourite idol. In Babylon another blow was struck at fire, in the case of the three Hebrew youths.

III. A MAGNET. "I will draw near and see," etc. Since the fall, man has ever been more alive to the gratification of his curiosity than the welfare of his soul. Plain truths, though big with importance to him, he neglects; but mysteries in nature, providence, and revelation, he industriously pries into.

IV. A MONITOR. It is true, that now we are not ordered to keep at a distance, but draw near; instead of timidity, there is to be boldness; instead of a burning bush a throne of grace; and instead of a God upon whose face we cannot look, there is an incarnate God upon whose face we can look. Yet this monitor teaches us this most important truth — that we can come to God acceptably, only when we come in His own way; and God's way is through Christ, "with reverence and godly fear."

(T. Macconnell.)


1. Humility. From a palace he stoops to this lowly life.

2. Patience. For forty years he thus laboured.

3. Fidelity. Led his father-in-law's flock.Involved seeking out the best pasturage: folding, and guarding, etc. A good servant in his own house, before God made him a master in Israel. "Faithful in little," etc.


1. Where it appeared. In the wilderness. God there also.

2. When it appeared. In the time of Israel's sorrow, and Moses' toil.

3. Wherefore it appeared.

(1)Because the day of deliverance was near.

(2)To instruct the mind of Moses, and excite his curiosity.

(3)To represent the state of the Israelites.A Church in the furnace of affliction. The bush not consumed, though the fire was hot. Israel flourishing in trial. It was not only a "wonder," but a "sign." A great sight, but not merely a something to look at and investigate; but also to learn from.

III. THE PRESENT GOD. He dwelt in the bush (Mark 12:26; Luke 20:37; Acts 7:35; Deuteronomy 33:16). God in the bush showed His relation to His people.

1. With them in trouble.

2. Sustains them in trouble.

3. With them a source of instruction.Learn —

1. To cultivate high qualities in lowly callings.

2. Seek our comfort in affliction from an ever-present God.

(J. C. Gray.)

1. As an emblem it instructs.

2. As a miracle it astonishes.

3. As a magnet it attracts.

4. As a monitor it warns.

(J. S. Exell, M. A.)

1. Occasioned by a Divine agency.

2. Illumined by a Divine presence.

3. Given for a Divine purpose.

(J. S. Exell, M. A.)

1. Desired by the world.

2. Sought by the pleasure-seeker.

3. Found only by the Christian.

4. The inspiration of a good life.

(J. S. Exell, M. A.)

1. We must turn aside from the gaiety of the world.

2. From the futility of merely human reasonings.

3. From the commission of moral evil in daily life.

4. From following the instruction of incompetent teachers.

5. They are largely dependent upon our personal willingness of soul — God speaks to all men who reverently turn aside to hear Him.

(J. S. Exell, M. A.)

"Moses," — Nathaniel.

1. To indicate His delight in them.

2. His favour toward them.

3. His hope of them.

4. To prepare them for further revelations.

(J. S. Exell, M. A.)

1. An honour.

2. A destiny.

3. A prophecy.

4. A vocation.

(J. S. Exell, M. A.)

1. His personality.

2. His place.

3. His willingness.We should always respond to the calls of heaven.

(J. S. Exell, M. A.)

1. In His Book.

2. In His works.

3. In His providences,

4. In His Church and sanctuary.

(J. S. Exell, M. A.)

1. Obtained by prayer.

2. Refreshing to the soul.

3. Strengthening to manhood.

4. Related to human suffering.

(J. S. Exell, M. A.)

The southern end of the peninsula of Sinai, to which the sacred narrative now takes us, consists of a confused mass of peaks (the highest above 9,000 feet), some of dark green porphyry, but mostly red granite of different hues, which is broken by strips of sand or gravel, intersected by wadies or glens, which are the beds of winter torrents, and dotted here and there with green spots, chiefly due to perennial fountains. The great central group among these mountains is that of Horeb, and one special height in it Sinai, the "mount of God." Strangely enough, it is just here amidst this awful desolateness that the most fertile places it "the wilderness" are also found. Even in our days part of this plateau is quite green. Hither the Bedouin drive their flocks when summer has parched all the lower districts. Fruit-trees grow in rich luxuriance in its valleys, and "the neighbourhood is the best watered in the whole peninsula, running streams being found in no less than four of the adjacent valleys." It was thither that Moses, probably in the early summer, drove Reuel's flock for pasturage and water. Behind him, to the east, lay the desert; before him rose in awful grandeur the mountain of God. The stillness of this place is unbroken; its desolateness only relieved by the variety of colouring in the dark green or the red mountain peaks, some of which "shine in the sunlight like burnished copper." The atmosphere is such that the most distant outlines stand out clearly defined, and the faintest sound falls distinctly on the ear. All at once truly a "strange sight" presented itself. On a solitary crag, or in some sequestered valley, one of those spiked, gnarled, thorny acacia trees, which form so conspicuous a feature in the wadies of "the desert," of which indeed they are "the only timber tree of any size," stood enwrapped in fire, and yet "the bush was not consumed."

(A. Edersheim, D. D.)

In the brier we have a symbol of the people of Israel. From this time till the cursing of the fig-tree, which had no fruit on it but only leaves, the chosen people of God are frequently and variously referred to under the figure of a bush or tree. Here they are represented as a low, contemptible brier, in contradistinction to the tall majestic trees, which proudly rear their heads to the clouds, and are gazed at and admired by the world. Hence the brier was symbolical of Israel, as a people despised by the world. The fire is always used in the Scriptures as a symbol of Divine holiness. And this is the case here; for the record expressly says that the presence of God was made known in the fire. The burning brier, therefore, was a symbol of the community of God, in which the holiness of God had its abode. The brier was burning in the fire, but it was not consumed, although from its nature it deserved to be consumed, and could easily be so. It was a miracle that it was not consumed. And thus was it also a miracle of mercy, that the holiness of God could dwell in a sinful community without consuming it. But in the midst of the thorns of the natural life of the community there was hidden a noble, imperishable germ, namely, the seed of the promise, which Jehovah Himself had prepared. It could not, indeed, be set free without the pain of burning, but by that burning it was made holy and pure. There was also another fact of great importance represented by this symbol, viz., that the fire of Divine holiness, which burned in Israel, without consuming it, served also as an outward defence. Hitherto, every one who passed by might ridicule, injure or trample on the insignificant bush, but henceforth whoever touched it would burn his own fingers.

(J. H. Kurtz, D. D.)

— A bush burned into a sanctuary! Though the heavens cannot contain the Great One, yet He hides Himself under every flower, and makes the broken heart of man His chosen dwelling-place. So great, yet so condescending; infinite in glory, yet infinite in gentleness. Wherever we are, there are gates through nature into the Divine. Every bush will teach the reverent student something of God. The lilies are teachers, so are the stars, so are all things great and snell in this wondrous museum, the universe! In this case it was not the whole mountain that burned with fire; such a spectacle we should have considered worthy of the majesty of God; it was only the bush that burned: so condescendingly does God accommodate Himself to the weakness of man. The whole mountain burning would have dismayed the lonely shepherd; he who might have been overwhelmed by a blazing mountain was attracted by a burning bush.

(J. Parker, D. D.)

Forty years was Moses a courtier, and forty years after that a shepherd. That great men may not be ashamed of honest vocations, the greatest that ever were have been content to take up with mean trades. The contempt of honest calling in those which are well born argues pride without wit. There can be no fitter disposition for a leader of God's people than constancy in his undertakings, without either weariness or change. He that hath true worth in himself and fatal. liarity with God finds more pleasure in the deserts of Midian than others can do in the palace of kings. While he is tending his sheep God appears unto him. God never graces the idle with his visions.

(Bishop Hall.)

Writing of his father, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Julian Hawthorne says: "The knights-errant of old watched their armour previous to embarking on their enterprise; the young Indian chiefs were made to undergo a period of solitude and fasting before being admitted to full standing. Bunyan wrote his book in Bedford jail; and Hawthorne, in Salem, withdrew himself from the face of man, and meditated for twelve lonely years upon humanity. He came forth a great original writer. He was destined to do a great work, and to theft end were needed, not only his native abilities, but an exceptional initiation, or forty days in the wilderness."

(H. O. Mackey.)

Satan loves to meet men idle. God delights to honour diligence and fidelity.

(William Jay.)

James Douglas, son of the banished Earl of Angus, afterwards well known by the title of Earl of Morton, lurked during the exile of his family in the north of Scotland, under the assumed name of James Innes, otherwise James the Grieve (i.e., Reve or Bailiff). "And as he bore the name," says Godscroft, "so did he also execute the office of a grieve or overseer of the lands and rents, the corn and cattle, of him with whom he lived." From the habits of frugality and observation which he acquired in his humble situation, the historian traces that intimate acquaintance with popular character which enabled him to rise so high in the State, and that honourable economy by which he repaired and established the shattered estates of Angus and Morton.

(Sir Walter Scott.)


1. We must apprehend something of the mystery of life in ourselves and in others.

2. We must recognize the distinction of the different grades of being in those in whom life is, and seek to find and to keep our own due place in that mighty and marvellous scale of existences.

II. WE MUST BOW DOWN BEFORE HIM WHO IS THE FOUNTAIN OF ALL LIFE, THE LIFE OF ALL WHO LIVE. This adoration of the soul before Him is the central point of the grace of reverence, and its influence pervades and adjusts all our other relations, both towards Himself and towards the other creatures of His hand.


1. The first step must be the keeping guard against whatever tends to irreverence. All that professedly robs life of its mystery does this. So, even more directly, does all that robs revelation of its awfulness. Receiving God's Word as God's Word, striving to do it, striving to overcome temptations to doubt, not by crushing them out, but by turning them into occasions of prayer and of adoration, these efforts, and such as these, will keep us in an irreverent age from the great loss of irreverence.

2. Above all, we must pray for reverence as the gift of God; for such prayer not only draws down a certain answer, but even by its own action tends to put our spirits in the frame of reverence.

(Bp. S. Wilberforce.)

1. Accesses by honest hearts to the place of God's appearing may be rash.

2. Such hasty and unadvised accesses, God forbids unto His servants.

3. Due preparations must be made by creatures in their accesses to God.

4. Places have been and may be relatively holy, for God's appearance in them.

5. So far to use them holily as in reference to God's presence is the duty of all (ver. 5).

(G. Hughes, B. D.)

Here is an intimation, that clearness of intellect is not that upon which mainly depends the right perception of God's revelation of Himself. Moral fitness, rather than subtilty of intellect, is needed for receiving rightly this revelation of Himself. This, indeed, is but what we might reasonably expect; for as the Christian revelation, by its own profession, is not a mere intellectual abstraction, but in its nature and foundations is essentially moral, the evidence on which it rests cannot, as in abstract science, be addressed purely to the intellect. To receive it rightly, the will must assent to it no less than the understanding; a pure and teachable spirit is the main distinction of that temper in which we should approach the mysteries of the Christian revelation.

I. From this, then, it follows, first, THAT MAN IS RESPONSIBLE FOR HIS BELIEF; — responsible, that is, just as he is for any other branch of moral conduct: that it is, indeed, a part of his trial, and a great one, whether he will believe: that, as a right belief is the only source of moral purity, so a wrong belief, where a true revelation is offered to us, is the undoubted fruit of moral evil: and hence, that as in all other parts of his probation, it is out of the power of fallen man by his own might and strength to do that which is right, so especially is it out of his power to believe; but that, as in all other parts of his probation, so too in this, obedience is within the power of redeemed man, through that blessed help of God's most Holy Spirit which will not be withheld from those who seek for it.

II. And this leads us on to the second part of our inquiry; for to be thoroughly convinced of the certainty of this connection, is one of the first means of maintaining a fit temper for receiving these great mysteries. So long as we in any degree deem of them as of subjects into which we are to obtain a peculiar insight by our own reasonings, WE SHALL FIND IT IMPOSSIBLE TO REPRESS THAT PRIDE OF INTELLECT, WHICH, WHILST IT FLATTERS US WITH APPARENT DISCOVERIES, DOES, IN FACT, MOST EFFECTUALLY SHUT OUT THE LIGHT OF TRUTH. We must be content to be learners, not discoverers, in the school of faith; receiving a revelation, not reasoning out conclusions: and this temper we cannot maintain, unless we come into God's presence remembering that, so far only as He gives us to know Him can we know aright; for that we need perfect purity to see Him as He is, and that we are compassed about with infirmity. Then only when the thought of His holiness and of our corruption bows us to the earth, shall we receive His teaching with the simplicity of children; fixing on the ground those eyes which were ready to gaze too rashly at the wonders of His presence, and be ready, indeed, to "put off our shoes from our feet," feeling that "the place whereon we stand is holy ground." To this conviction, moreover, we should bear a constant watchfulness, lest allowed sin in any form, lest boldness of spirit, or slothfulness in our use of holy things, impair the reverence of our souls. To these means must be added further as perhaps the greatest instrument of all for preserving the unsullied clearness of a reverend faith, that we be deep and constant students of God's holy Word. We need not fear, with Bishop Andrewes, to speak of "the Word as one of those arteries which convey the Spirit to us." In a two-fold way does the faithful study of the Scripture, by increasing in us the gift of the Holy Ghost, secure our receiving rightly the mysteries of God: first, since it is the especial province of the Spirit to reveal these mysteries, those will the most surely grow in light who grow in grace;they who the most humbly seek His teaching will be the most surely led on into all truth. There is a "teaching of the Spirit"; we may, as children, give up ourselves to Him, and humbly trust He will enlighten us. And then, secondly, besides the increase of this direct teaching, we are thus made the fitter recipients of His instruction; for since, as we saw before, the due reception of these mysteries depends more on moral than on intellectual fitness, they who by a growth in grace are growing in holiness, are indeed taking the surest way to purge the eyes of their understanding, so that they may see without speck or dimness what the Lord has revealed of Himself (Psalm 119:99, 100).

(Bp. S. Wilberforce.)

The impression that God is here, ought ever to have a solemnizing effect upon our minds, and repress everything like carelessness, listlessness, or levity. Had we a proper sense of the Divine majesty resting upon our spirits, would it be possible that we could give way to that profane heedlessness of mind which often steals over us? Would one short hour's attendance betray us into slumber? Would a crowd of worldly or sensual thoughts intrude into our minds? Could the eye find leisure to roam over the assembly, and upon the dress or deportment of others? Could a scornful or simpering countenance by significant smiles communicate its contemptuous or frivolous emotions to another? Assuredly not.

(G. Bush.)

Preacher's Analyst.
This admonition may be understood in various ways.

I. AS A CHECK TO VAIN CURIOSITY. Let us be satisfied, in religious matters, with what the Holy Spirit has made plain.

II. AS AN INCENTIVE TO HUMILITY IN THE PRESENCE OF GOD. We should offer outward tokens of respect and reverence when we come to worship in His holy house.

III. AS A PROOF OF THE SANCTITY OF GOD'S PRESENCE. All places set apart for the worship of God are "holy ground," God will be sanctified in all that come near Him.

(Preacher's Analyst.)

1. All ground is holy which has been consecrated by valour, virtue, piety, or love. The island of Erromanga, where Williams died; the banks of Avon and of Doon, where the two greatest bards of England and Scotland were born; the patriot-fields of Marathon, Morgarten, and Bannockburn; the moors of Drumclog and Airsmoss, where the Covenanters fought and fell; the peaks of Lochnagar and Ben Cruachan; the bald and sovereign head of Mont Blanc; these, and ten thousand such spots as these, are holy ground; and if men do not, like Moses at the bush, put off their shoes while standing there, yet may they uncover their heads, and feel that in doing reverence to the great of old and to the works of nature, they are doing homage to something which has in it a large portion of the Divine, which is Godlike, although not God.

2. Let us, in a figure, put off our shoes as we draw near, even here, unto God. Let us strip our. selves of the high buskins of pride, of the light sock of indifference and idle mirth, of the luxurious slippers of sensual sin, and of the hard shoes of rude presumption; and let us, with naked and trembling feet, and with covered face, but, at the same time, with all holy boldness and filial love, in the sanctuary and at the Lord's table, the presence of that God who is "a consuming fire."

3. What an overpowering reflection is that, of us all having one day to draw in a very close degree near to the presence of God. Conceive a mortal, although winged being, after long wandering through the universe, caught in a current too mighty for his pinions, and which he feels is hurrying him into the very heart of the burning sun! Conceive his horror as he sees the orb becoming larger and larger,and feels it becoming hotter and hotter; and how in vain he struggles to turn upon his way, and shun that ocean of fire which is to consume him. But on, on, on, he is precipitated, and the imagination shrinks back as she sees the contact and hears the shriek of the extinguished wretch. Thus may a guilty soul after death feel itself approaching its Maker; resisting the attraction, but resisting in vain, drawn ruthlessly within the circle of that eye of fire, and exclaiming as it sinks in terror, "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God." But even the saint shudders sometimes at the thought of meeting a Being so tremendous, and would on his death-bed shudder more, did not at one time a merciful stupor deaden his sensibilities, and were it not that at another the thought of God is swallowed up in the image of Christ.

(G. Gilfillan.)

All places are holy, but some are especially so: —

1. Because they are hallowed by the supreme residence of God.

2. By happy memories.

3. By holy friendships.

4. By moral conquest.

(J. S. Exell, M. A.)

It has been said that God is everywhere present, and therefore should everywhere be honoured alike; it has been said, that the mind and the heart are everything, and that the posture of the body is nothing. In opposition to these refined speculations of modern days, it were sufficient to hold up the authority and command of the Word of God. But we may properly remark, in addition to this, that though the Almighty is everywhere present, He may be present at some times and in some places, in a peculiar manner. Our blessed Lord Himself has declared, "Where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them." It is again contended, that the mind and the affections may be equally lifted up to God in any posture; sitting or lying down, as well as kneeling: and to a certain extent this remark may be perfectly true. If the mind and affections be equally interested in the two cases; if the devotion be equally pure and the obedience equally sincere, then the acceptance of the service may be equal. But how can the obedience in these two cases be equally complete and sincere, when we know that God has enjoined, in His holy Word, a reverent posture of devotion — a posture, which we find all good men, in all ages, scrupulously observing? A carelessness of posture is an act of positive disobedience. Nor is it easy to believe, that the feelings of devotion are equally pious and sincere. Does not nature herself, when the soul is overwhelmed, teach us to humble and prostrate the body? There may be, in many instances, sufficient reasons for declining this bodily service; there may be infirmity, there may be other reasons; but where there are not, such service would seem to be indispensable to the devout and accepted worshipper. Let me not appear to be countenancing the practices of those, whose religion chiefly consists in outward form: let it not be supposed, that any corporeal homage is of the smallest avail, unless it proceed from an earnest and a pious heart: so far otherwise, that to bow down unmeaningly in the presence of the Lord, is an act of insufferable hypocrisy. Yet we must not, from such abuses as these, draw arguments against a positive duty; we must not conclude, as some are perverse enough to do, that every outward appearance and form are hypocritical. Such a conclusion is not only weak, but wicked. "Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God": be jealous of thy ways; be narrowly attentive to thy demeanour; be watchful of the affections and imaginations of thy heart: thou goest for a holy and mighty purpose, see that it be answered; see that thou be accepted in thy deed; see that thou return with a blessing on thy head.

(J. Slade, M. A.)

All that delicate perception of what is due from man to man upon which the high-bred courtesy of life depends, is closely linked to a reverential spirit. Society, when robbed by irreverence of the shrinking consideration for others which a sense of the mystery of redeemed life within them can alone make real, has already lapsed half-way to barbarism. Man becomes ready to sacrifice man in the chase for wealth, or honour, or pleasure, or power; and class grows to be parted fatally from class, by the selfish enjoyment of those who possess, and the selfish discontent of those who lack what they see others have. Family life, too, suffers the same wrong; its tender kindliness cannot long survive the death of reverence. And all this, observe, reaches far beyond the surface of mere manners. For it affects all those exertions and sacrifices for others which require a high ideal standard to call them out; it leads men to be contented with poor and immediate results measurable by the direct gain or loss of money, pleasure, or power. It dwarfs, too, almost all the actings of the intellect. In such a state of society the highest art can scarcely more exist than verdure without dew, or life without an atmosphere. Science, too, will soon feel the loss, for no one ever penetrated deeply into nature's secrets unless a deep reverence for that which he explored taught him to be of a humble spirit — made him a true learner, and not a self-conceited theorist — kept him ready to follow out hints, and to lift the veil which God has cast over even His natural works with a hand which almost trembled under a sense of the mightiness of the mysteries it was revealing. But pre-eminently is this true as to the reception of God's revelation of Himself. For here above all is the receptive faculty injured by the lack of reverence. As to this the ancient voice which broke the silence of the mount of Horeb sounds yet in the ear of every man who would turn aside to see the awful sight, "Put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground." The humility, the patience, the docility, without which there can be no clear intuition into the mystery of God's nature and ways, cannot survive in the irreverent heart. The scorner is, in God's Word, but another word for the atheist.

(Bp. S. Wilberforce.)

1. The whole earth is holy ground, because here God's perfections are everywhere so conspicuously displayed. Wherever I go or stay, I will think that Jesus has lived upon the earth, and that nowhere, in thought or in deed, can I sin where it is not holy ground. Besides, in the lives of every single one of us have there been holy experiences, and we have single spots on the earth's surface, which make for us the whole earth holy. Either that place is most holy to us where we first saw the light, or where our ancestors dwell or have dwelt, or where the years of our childhood glided joyously by; can we see it again, visit it, without tears in our eyes and thanks in our hearts; without looking up to heaven? Is not that place holy to us, where the most important earthly relations were formed; where we found a partner for life in marriage? Is not that place holy to us, where we experienced some good fortune we had longed for, sent to us by the Giver of all good; deliverance from danger, the safe return of relatives and friends? Alone wandered Jacob through a wild pathless waste. In weariness and grief he closed his eyes. But how completely was he comforted by the vision of that ladder let down from heaven, and of his Lord speaking to him in accents of blessing! Holy to him was that place! And should not that place be holy to us where the Lord, faithful, earnest, ay, severe, appeared to us in the purifying flame of affliction? These places we think of, as though the events connected with them happened of themselves. Shall we not remember that God is over all, and that He is near in joy and sorrow; in danger, which He allows, but out of which He delivers us? If we do this, earth will more and more become to us holy ground, the very gate of heaven; and more and more holy will be our lives from the constant feeling of God's nearness and presence.

2. The earth is holy ground, because God is worshipped upon it. As God revealed Himself to man from the beginning, there never has been a period when some of His creatures, however small the number, have not known and worshipped Him aright. The patriarchs builded altars to Him and called on His holy name. Few and small, at first, were these streams of the knowledge and the worship of God. Behold, how mightily He has extended them I And the time will come, He confidently awaits it, when the knowledge of the Lord will fill the earth, as the waters fill the sea. Perfect in heaven stands the Kingdom of God, to which our race after a long pilgrimage will attain. But because of our high destination holy is the earth on which we have journeyed thither. And is not our fatherland holy ground? Yes, so we proclaim it: and that without comparing it with any other land, Yes, ye children, holy is your home, because of the edifying life of your parents. Yes, ye residents of this city, there is within the enclosure of your own walls, outside of the churches where God is worshipped, many a spot, upon which He approvingly smiles. Look, then, at this: this earth on which you dwell and walk, is a holy place. It is so because of the worship of God; because of the faith and piety which have been displayed upon it. Recognize this fact, and let it inspire you with fervent enthusiasm, or with wholesome reverence; this earth can be made holy or profane by yourselves.

3. The earth is holy ground, because of what daily transpires upon it, and because of what will yet transpire upon it, intimately linking it to the world of spirits. What is more frequent than birth and death? Not less holy than birth is death itself.

(J. E. Rankin.)

Many a man has been led through the gate of curiosity into the sanctuary of reverence. Moses purposed but to see a wonderful sight in nature, little dreaming that he was standing as it were face to face with God. Blessed are they who have an eye for the startling, the sublime, and the beautiful in nature, for they shall see many sights which will fill them with glad amazement. Every sight of God is a "great sight"; the sights become little to us because we view them without feeling or holy expectation. It was when the Lord saw that Moses turned aside to see that He called unto him and mentioned him by name. This is indeed a great law. If men would turn aside to see, God would surely speak to them. But we do not do this. We pass by all the great sights of nature with comparative indifference, certainly, as a general rule, without reverence. The sea wants to speak to us, but we listen not to its sounding voice; the stars are calling to us, but we shut them out; the seasons come round to tell their tale, but we are pre-occupied with trifling engagements. We must bring so much with us if we would put ourselves into healthful communion with nature: we must bring the seeing eye, the hearing ear, and the understanding heart: we must, at all events, be disposed to see and hear, and God will honour the disposition with more than expected blessing.

(J. Parker, D. D.)

Curiosity must not become familiarity. The difference between the creature and the Creator must always be infinite. Is not all ground holy? Is not God everywhere? Certainly so; yet it hath pleased God to mark special lines and special places as peculiarly holy. We are not to treat all places alike. Every successful appeal to man's reverence redeems him from vulgarity. When a man loses his sense of religious awe, he has exhausted the supreme fountain of spiritual joy. He then measures everything by himself: he is to himself as God, and from the point of self-idolatry he will speedily sink to the point of self-despair. It is only the good man who can be satisfied from himself, and this is only because goodness has its very root in God.

(J. Parker, D. D.)

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