Having finished his work and pronounced his last blessing, the prophet cheerfully climbs towards heaven. Death to the saints is an ascent. Alone he pursued his upward pathway, but the Lord was at his side, and thus when earthly companions shall bid us adieu, we shall find the Lord at our right hand.
No doubt that eagle eye was supernaturally strengthened for its last earthly gaze; and even so have we seen the faculties of dying saints greatly enlarged just as they were departing. They have appeared to see and know more than unaided minds could have perceived. Heaven lay unveiled before them, and the land so far off to us, was very near to the eye of their faith.
And truly there was no need that he should cross into the land, for it was full of Canaanites, and it was better for the grand old man to go to the land where the wicked cease from troubling, than to endure the toils of war in his old age.
Or “at the mouth of the Lord.” The Jews say, “with a kiss from the mouth of God.”
Or else, perhaps, they would have idolised his bones. We need not care to have our burial-place known, for Moses sleeps in forgotten soil.
When the law is sweetly laid asleep to make room for Jesus, our true Joshua, it is not because its eye cannot see sin, or its arm avenge it, but because the Lord, himself, lays it in its honourable repose.
The mourning was long, for Moses was a great man, but it was not too long, for there was other work for living men to do.
God fitted him for the work, Moses ordained him, and the people chose him, thus Joshua was fully equipped. Men may die, but God’s work goes on. When those who seem the most necessary pillars are removed, the temple still stands.
All other prophets fall almost as much short of Moses as Jesus goes beyond him. Taking his whole life into consideration, we may pronounce him peerless,—an incomparable man in whom the grace of God brought human nature as near to perfection as we can expect it to be this side eternity. He fell asleep after having been faithful unto death. In this manner, in our own humble sphere, may we be enabled to persevere till we lay down our body and our charge, and cease at once to work and live.
Sweet was the journey to the sky
The wondrous prophet tried;
“Climb up the mount,” says God, “and die.”
The prophet climb’d and died.
Softly his fainting head he lay
Upon his Maker’s breast;
His Maker kiss’d his soul away,
And laid his flesh to rest.
Shew me thy face, and I’ll away
From all inferior things;
Speak, Lord, and here I quit my clay,
And stretch my spirit’s wings.