Section of Sermon by Henry


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Section of Sermon by Henry


Bible; Sermons; Death; Moses (Biblical leader)--In the New Testament; God; Burial


This sermon focuses on Deuteronomy 34:6 and discusses why God buried Moses and what his burial meant for Christianity. He also writes about the work of Moses, including the fact that he lead an army. Henry also quotes other portions of Deuteronomy, Romans, Numbers, Acts, Hebrews, and Psalms.


Noyes, Henry Varnum


Loose, The College of Wooster, Special Collections, Noyes Collection






Council on Library and Information Resources Hidden Special Collections Grant




eng (English)





Text Item Type Metadata


Deut 34: 6
"And he buried him in a valley in the land of Moab
[illegible] against Beth-peor; but no man knoweth of his [?sepluchre?] unto
this day" Your attention is invited especially to the first clause
of the verse "[u]He buried him[/u]" bearing in mind that "He" refers
to God and "him" to Moses [u]God buried Moses[/u]
What a strange funeral! What a wonderful burial! If
there were any attendants then they [?men?], not [u]men[/u] but ministering
angels, and whatever burial service then may have been [illegible] performed
as we are here told by God himself. With our infinite father's love
and in arms of everlasting strength, he [?took?] his aged faithful
servant and laid him, like a tired child, to rest [u]and the
End was peace[/u]. We are reminded of that beautiful sentence
with which [?Bickersteth?] commences his "Yesterday to day + forever"
"The last day of my Earthly pilgrimage was closing and the End
has peace"". So it was with Moses. The varied experiences of his
long life were finished, his Earthly pilgrimage has was Ended [u]and
the end was peace[/u]. And it was written of him, what has
never been [?written?] of any other one of all those [--myriads--] uncounted
myriads who in the world's long history have lived and died. it
was written
[u]God buried him[/u]?
[u]Why did God bury Moses[/u]?
We ought not to pry too curiously into matters which God has not seen
fit to reveal but I think we [u?stay?] without presumption suggest that in burying
Moses God [u]intended[/u] to and [u]did[/u] manifest his special love for him, such is the
Savior love to the beloved disciple John. The tender burial of the dead is a token of
[?Esteem?] and love that is usually preserved for nearest kindred and dearest friends. So
in the present case, Gods burial of Moses was only a continuation of the love that [?he?]
had [illegible] him during life. He saved him from death when an infant watched
over him as he grew up, gave him special opportunities of preparation for the
[illegible] terms of intimacy with him than with any other of even his chosen people
He talked, as the Scriptures express it, face to face with him as a man talketh with him
friend and then continually for forty years. It is represented as a wonderful thing
that the children of Israel were [u]once[/u] permitted to hear God's voice from the [illegible]
[illegible] of Sinai (Deut 9: 32 & 33) "For ask now of the days that are past, which
now before thee, since the day that God created man upon the Earth, and [?ask?]
from the one side of heaven unto the other whether there hath been any such
thing as [?this?] great [illegible] ism or hath been heard like it? Did ever people hear
the voice of God speaking out of the midst of the fire, as [illegible] hast heard and [?live?]?
And yet these people worshipped [u]afar off[/u]. They were not permitted to touch the
mount or even come near it, for it has ordained that "Moses [u]alone[/u] shall
come near the Lord." He alone could [illegible] the mount, could come into
the very secret place of thunder, into the very presence of the Almighty-- God
And so it was to the End of his life. "And then arose not a prophet since
in Israel [?like?] unto Moses whom the Lord knew face to face (Deut 34:10). When
[?sought?] a close intimacy existed during life, it is no great [?reorder?[ that when Moses
died "[u]God buried him[/u]."
There may also have been a special reason why God
wished [--illegible--] at this time to give a new token of his loved to his aged [illegible]
[?age?] he climbed that lofty peak of Moat's mountain to me the land of Canaan + die.
I have no doubt that his soul was at [u]peace[/u], for he had learned too well the lesson
of resignation to God's will to let his heart chafe itself by fighting against that will
Thoughts of coming rest, and heavenly glory were no doubt pleasant to him, but I
have thought that some sadness must have mingled with his joy. It was as
[Note: fold in the page, rendering most of the line illegible]
[illegible] that he was [illegible] out from [?leading?] the children
of Israel into the Land of Canaan. Until [?those?] years Earlier he had fully expected to
[illegible] their waywardness, his affection for his people was like that
of a father for his children. Those whom he [illegible] [?led?], had in fact grown up, [?under?]
his eye, for all who left the land of Egypt as grown [illegible] men and women had
died in the [?wilderness?]. He was [illegible] capable of being their leader still
for though he was one hundred and twenty years of age, "his age was not
yet him nor his natural force abated." It must have seemed to him
that [illegible] be [illegible] appropriate [illegible] he should be with those whom he
[?has?] led through all the perils of the wilderness, when they took possession
of the promised land and assist them in their settlement then. And to [?them?]
[illegible] most inopportune time for their good leader to
is taken from them [illegible] they most needed his help to capture those walled
cities of Canaan and encounter those giant sons of Anak. That Moses [?keenly?]
felt this disappointment appears from his own [illegible] recorded in the third chapter
of Deuteronomy (see Deut 3: 23-27) "And I [?besought?] the Lord at that time saying O Lord
God thou hast begun to shew thy servant thy greatness, and thy mighty hand;-- I
[Note: fold in the page, rendering most of the line illegible] wroth with me for your sakes, and
would not hear me: and the Lord said unto me, Let it suffice thee; speak no
more unto me of this matter. Get thee up into the top of Pisgah, and lift up thine
[u]Eyes[/u] westward, and Northward and Southward and Eastward, and behold it with
thine eyes for [u]thou shalt not go over this Jordan"[/u]

It did not take away anything from the bitterness of this disappointment to know
that it was the result of his own sin. It is all stated in the 20th Chapter of Numbers
(Num 20:2-5, 7-12). And there was no water for the congregation, and they gathered
themselves together against Moses and against Aaron. And the people chided with
Moses and spoke saying Would God that we had died when our brethren died
before the Lord And why have ye brought up the congregation of the Lord into
this wilderness, that he and our cattle should die then And wherefore have
ye made us to come up out of Egypt, to bring us in unto this evil place?
it is not place of [?seed?], or of pigs, or of vines, or of pomegranates, [u]neither is
there any water to drink[/u]."
"And the Lord spoke unto Moses saying, take the [?rod?]
and gather [?thou?] the assembly together, thou and Aaron thy [?brother?] and speak ye
unto the rock before their eyes and it shall give forth its water, and thou shall
bring forth to them water out of the rock. And Moses and Aaron gathered the congregation
together before the rock and he said unto them Hear now ye rebels: must we
fetch you water out of this rock And Moses lifted up his hand and with his rod
he [illegible] the rock [?there?]: And the water came out abundantly, and the con-
gregation drank, and their beasts also.
"And the Lord spoke unto Moses and Aaron Because ye
believed me not to sanctify, me in the eyes of the children of Israel,
[u]therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have
given them[u]" Aaron did a few months after on Mount Hor and was buried there
And now God said to Moses (Deut 21: 49-52) "Get thee up into this mountain
Abarim unto Mount Nebo, which is in the land of Moab that is over against Jericho:
and behold the land of Canaan, which I give unto the children of Israel for a [?possession?]
-- and die in the [?mount?] whither thou givest up and be gathered unto thy people, as
Aaron thy brother died ^[illegible ?Mount Hor?] and was gathered unto his people yet thou shall see the land
before thee; but thou shalt not go thither unto the land which I give unto the children
of Israel" Was there any thought in Moses' head that his lot was a hard one?- that
[?to?] trespass had [u]much[/u] to excuse it in the fierce chiding of the people who had been a
stiff-necked and rebellious race, and who had on more than one occasion taken
up stones to stone him but with whom for forty years he had borne with such ex-
emplary patience that it was truly written of him "Now the man Moses was very
much above all the men which were upon the face of the earth (Num 12:3)
If he had such thoughts, which would seem natural enough, he did not make them
known. There is something wonderfully beautiful, nay sublime in the calm obedience
with which this aged saint submitted [?to?] God's decree--laid his hands
upon Joshua and committed his office to him--gathered his people together
on one of the plains of Moab--rehearsed God's dealings with them from the time
they came out of Egypt-- re-stated the code of [?Canon?] that he had given them--
gave such instructions as might benefit them in their future course - concluded
with a prophetic parting blessings upon Each separate tribe-- and then went up from the
plains of Moab to the top of Pisgah, over against Jericho, to [illegible] the promised land and
die-- "Gods ways are not our ways nor his thoughts our thoughts. As the heavens are higher
than the earth so are his ways higher than our ways and his thoughts than our thoughts."
[u]Whatever we may think[/u], it seemed good to him to allow, that in the Mosaic dispen-
sation, which was essentially an educating dispensation of law the great leader
of the priesthood and the great leader of the government should both [?by then our?] fault for-
just an entrance into the land of Canaan. May it not have been designed as a
striking lesson to the children of Israel that "by the deeds of the law shall no flesh be
justified on his sight--that even their very best men, their noblest leaders could
not endure the test? But [?whether?] the design is was accomplished when, in the
sight of all Israel, Moses went up on Mount Nebo to die. May not God then have [?aided?]
while in the interests of his moral government, displaying his justice to show
also in just as impressive a manner, that this did not blot out his [?money?] and his
love? that [u]his personal love to Moses was just as true and strong as ever[/u]?
Maybe not have wished to illustrate that truth so often revealed in Scripture
which is thus stated by the Apostle Paul (Rom 5:20) Moreover the law [?entered?]
that the offence might abouund but where sin abounded [u]grace dud much
more abound[/u]" I love to thin, [u]what I believe is true[/u] that God, on that [illegible]
mountain top Moab Moses with such a manifestation of infinite love as took
the last drop of bitterness from his [?cup?] of disappointment, and crowned his
dying hour with joy unspeakable and full of glory (Deut 34: 1-4). "And the
lord showed him all the land of Gilead unto [?Dan?] and, all Naphtali, and the land
of Ephraim and Manasseh, and all the land of Judah, into the utmost sea, And
the South, and the plain valley of Jericho, the city of palm trees unto Zoar." And then
Moses, the servant of the Lord died there in the land of Moab, and the Lord
buried him in a valley over against Beth-[illegible]: but no man knoweth his sepluchre
unto this day." His soul entered the [u]heavenly[/u] Canaan; and surely for him
personally this was infinitely better than fighting his way into the earthly Canaan.
Fifteen hundred years after he entered this Canaan also and, with the Lord
of glory ^[illegible is] from Mount Tabor
I think God's burial of Moses was designed to be not only a token
of love but also a mark of [u]distinguished honor[/u]-- Among men he was well
entitled to great honor both on account of the [u]high official position[/u] which he held
in this world's historical development, and also on account of the nobleness of
his own character. The historical development of God's manifestation of mercy to
mankind is under two periods. These are often called [u]dispensations[/u], no doubt
because they exhibit God dispensing love and mercy to a fallen race. Each
of these dispensations had, by Gods appointment, its own great leader and each
received its name from its leade. Hence one is called the Mosaic [u]dis-[/u]
pensation and the other the [u]Christian[/u] dispensation, one named from [u]Moses[/u]
and the other from [u]Christ[/u]. The first dispensation was a preparation for the second
and the first [?leader?] a [?type?] of the second. Moses was on Earth the prophet,
[illegible] and ordainer of the priesthood of one dispensation and Christ
was the prophet, [illegible], and ordainer of the priesthood of the other. Both
belonged to the same house, and that house God's house [u]Moses[/u] a faithful
[u]servant[/u] + Christ's faithful [u]Son[/u] ([illegible]: 3: 5,6) See also Acts 3:22 "For

Moses truly said unto the fathers a prophet shall the Lord your God
raise up unto you of your brethren [u]like unto me[/u]: him shall ye hear
in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you." Moses was a Mediator between
God and his chosen people -- Christ was the mediator between God and all
mankind. Moses thus standing, by God's appointment, second only to Christ in high
official position, was granted the unusual honor of a [u]Divine[/u] burial.
His character too was befitting his rank. Royally he [?bore?] himself in his
high position. He was one of God's [u]noblemen[/u], noble physically, noble mentally,
noble spirituality. Not very much is said about his physical appearance but
Enough to give us some idea what it was. It is said in the Acts (Acts7 :20)
"In this time was Moses from and was [u]exceeding fair[/u]". The daughter of
Pharaoh speaks of his [u]divine form[/u] as a reason for making him heir to
the kingdom. The Jewish historian Josephus tells us a little more. He says
that "God did also give him that tallness, when he was but three years
old, as was wonderful; and as for his beauty, there was nobody so impolite
as when they saw Moses they were not greatly surprise at the [?beauty?] of
his countenance [?nay?] it happened frequently that those that meet him as he
was carried along the road, were obliged to turn again on seeing the child,
that they left what they were about and stood still a great while to look
upon him; for the beauty of the child was so remarkable and natural to him
as many accounts that it detained the spectators, and made them stay longer to
look upon him." He was a man of [u]signal ability[/u], and in his early life
Enjoyed and improved [?unusual?] opportunities for [u]mental cultivation[/u].
Adopted by the daughter of Egypt's king, he became in the expressive language
of Scripture "learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians [?and?] mighty in words
and deeds. To be "learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians" was at that
day to be proficient in the [?best?] learning and the profounded wisdom that
the world afforded. There still remain ponderous masses of cut stone to teach
us that the Egyptians had mechanical appliances [--from--] for transporting and ele-
vating heavy weights equal ^[or superior] to anything that can be found in the world now;
and there are certain lines and angles, and measurements connected
with the old pyraminds, thou well-nigh imperishable monumnets, that tell us
they were acquainted with astronomical facts since long lost to the world and
[u]re-discovered[/u] in modern times.--- Before he was forty years old then
Moses was a man of profound learning and mighty in words and in deeds
His ability was such that the Egyptians though jealous of his power were
compelled to respect it. At one time the Ethiopians were sweeping over
their land and taking city after city when, hopeless of any other resource
they appealed to Moses "So Moses" as writes Josephus "at the persuasion both of
Thermuthis (the princess who had adopted him) and the King himself cheerfully
undertook the business: and the sacred scribes of both nations were glad
then of the Egyptians that they should at once overcome their enemies by his
valor, and that by the same piece of management Moses should be
slain, but thou of the [u]Hebrews[/u], that they should escape from the Egyptians
because Moses was to be their general; but Moses [?prevented?] the enemies
and took and led his army before their enemies were apprised of his
attacking them and joining battle with them he [?best?] them, and deprived
them of the hope they had of success against the Egyptians and went on
overthrowing their cities, and indeed made a great slaughter of the Ethiopians
Now when the Egyptian army had once tasted of this prosperous success
by means of Moses, they did not [?slacken?] their diligence, insomuch that
the Ethiopians were in danger of being reduced to slavery and all sorts
of destruction; and at length they retired in Saba, which was a royal city of
Ethiopia." The same winter Else where gives this testimony "But this man was
admirable for his virtue, and powerful in making men give credit to
what he delivered, not only during the time of his natural life, but even then
to still no one of the Hebrews who does not act even now, as if Moses was present and
ready to perish him if he should do any thing ^[that is] indecent". [?Oncemore?] "He was
one that exceeded all men that ever were in understanding and made the best
use of what that understanding suggested upon. He had a very graceful way
of speaking and addressing himselfto the countitude: and as this other quali-
fications, he had such a full command of his persons, as if he hardly had
any such in his soul and only knew them by their names, as rather perceiving
them in other men than in himself. He was also such a general of an army
as is seldom seen, as well as such a prophet as was never known
and this to such a degree that whatsoever he [?pronounced?] you would think
you heard the voice of [--a--] God himself". This is the testimony of Josephus, but
just delivered from slavery through a series of most difficult experiences
for forty years, and notwithstanding [?this?] frequent and bitter complain-
ings maintained his leadership to the end and [u]so[/u] maintained it that he
died universally lamented.--- Perhaps it will be said that this [?success?]
[illegible] to God continued, presence and guidance. Certainly [?it?] was. And
this leads us to say after all
[u]The real grandeurs of Moses life was in his moral
and religious character[/u]
We have not time to go over his whole history but
will notice only two points of excellence in his character. (1st) So that
mentioned in Heb 11:23-26 "By faith Moses when he was come to years, re-
fused to be called the son of Pharoah's daughter, choosing rather to suffer

[illegible] with the people of God than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season:
esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt."
We know little of his life up to this time, when he was forty years old, but
he then made this deliberate choice which essentially gave direction to his
whole after histort. He was at present in a position where all his scholarly
tastes could be gratified, unbounded wealth was at his command, he had
been made heir to the throne of Egypt with no one to dispute his claim. But
Moses "when he was come to years" prepared to separate himself from this
royal family, [illegible] the wrath of the king, give up all his flattering worldly
prospects and publicly cast in his lot with those who had [illegible] been and
even still [?despised?] stare? Why? Because they were the people of God through whom
in time Christ would come, They worshipped and served the living and [?true?]
[?God?] while the Egyptians were idolaters. No amount of power, fame or [--learning--]
treasure on the one hand, therefore, and no amount of contempt, danger
and distress on the other could deter him from taking his stand with
his people and his God. And how wonderfully this did change his [?temporal?]
condition. It took him from the luxury and splendor of a royal court
and made him, for all the remaining eighty years of his life, a wanderer
in the wilderness; forty years as a refugee, in the land of Midian, and
forty years with his people in their journeyings. [u]But what cared he?[/u] Even
the [u]reproach[/u] of Christ was more precious to him than all the treasures
that Egypt could give; his eye was upon a fadeless crown more glorious
than ever rested on Pharaoh's brow - he was everyday drawing near to
that Canaan of heavenly rest, which would make him forget all Earthly
toil and whose priceless treasures would make him forget all earthly
loss. "For he had respect unto the recompense of reward"
(2) A second trait of rare excellence in the character of Moses
was this - [u]His patient unchanged kindness towards those who very often
[?met?] this kindness with mourning that was most unjust and [?ungratitude?]
that was inexcusable[/u]. The whole history show that his honest earnest
desire, from the beginning to the End, was the welfare of his people and that
he was [?unsparing?] in his Efforts to promote the wElfare. And yet these
[--whom--] people whom he had led out of slavery were all the time changing
their calamities upon their deliverer, calamities which he shared with
them and for which he was in no way responsible. Their complaints began
before they crossed the Red Sea when they said unto Moses Because
there were no graves in Egypt [?hast?] thou taken us away to die in the wil-
derness? Wherefore hast thou dealt thus with us to carry us forth out of Egypt?
But Moses only said "Fear ye not stand still and see the salvation of the
Lord which he will show you to-day. "[u]Would God we had died in the
land of Egypt[/u]" came to be a favorite utterance of the children of Israel
in their complainings against Moses. [?Within?] less than two yearsthey had ten
times been in open rebellion against God and his servant Moses. Twice
during that time the Lord proposed to Moses to destroy the people for their
sins, and make of him a great nation, and each time the utterly unselfish
prayers of Moses shine like leaves of heavenly light upon the dark cloud
of his people's discontent. "Lord why doth thy wrath wax hot against thy people?"
Wherefore should the Egyptians speak and say. For mischief did he bring
them out to slay them in the mountains" [?him?] from thy [?fierce?] wrath
and repent of this evil against thy people"- "Oh this people have sinned a
great sin. Yet now of thou wilt forgive their sin"-- and if not
blot me, I pray thee out of thy book which thou hast written." "Pardon I
beseech thee, the iniquity of this people, accourding unto the greatness of thy
mercy, and as thou hast forgiven this people from Egypt even until now"
"And the Lord said I have pardoned according to thy word". We have
no record of the next 37 years but that the children of Israel did not
cease their complaints we infer from Ps 95.10 "Forty years long was I grieved
with this generation and said It is a people do err in their heart
and have not known my ways". The whole book of Deuteronomy is a standing
Evidence that the patience kindness, and love of Moses for his people
continued to the End in spite of all their fault-finding and ingratitude
We are inclined to say that this excellence of Moses was more than [u]noble[/u]
it was [u]Christ-like Godlike[/u]
Many other excellencies in the character of Moses
might be mentioned but these two must suffice: and will so far
justify us in saying that if high official position and distinguished
excellend can [?ere?] make it fitting that any man should receive a
divine burial, then was it fitting that [u]God[/u] should bury [u]Moses[/u]
Finally Was not the burial of Moses in part symbolical? He
was a [u]representative[/u] person- He was the representative of the [u]old[/u] dispen--
sation and Christ of the [u]New[/u]. Now put the[--se--] two following facts
over against each other. [u]Moses died and God [u]buried[/u] him so
that no man knoweth his sepulchre unto this day. Christ died
by the hands of men, and God [u]raised[/u] him and placed him on a

Original Format



Noyes, Henry Varnum, “Section of Sermon by Henry,” Letters from Harriet Noyes: Missionaries and Women's Education in Nineteenth Century China, accessed August 15, 2022,

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