Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert…
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.
Parallel VersesKJV: Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father in law, the priest of Midian: and he led the flock to the backside of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb.