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Balak the son of Zippor, Let nothing, I pray thee, hinder thee from coming unto me: 17 Finding that the love of gain 17 for I will promote thee availed not with the prophet, Balak unto very great honour, and appeals to his ambition ; that pasI will do whatsoever thou sion which too often blinds the heart savest unto me : come there against duty to God, and hardens it
against love to man. fore, I pray thee, curse me dalle this people. And Balaam answered and said unto the servants of Balak, If Balak would give me his house full of silver and gold, I cannot go beyond the word of the LORD my God, to do less or more. 19 Now there
19 What dreadful wickedness! Ba. fore, I pray you, tarry ye laam knew and felt that God would also here this night, that I not permit him to curse the people ; may know what the LORD yet in the hope that the king might will say unto me more. And reward his readiness to do wrong,
even where his will was powerless, God came unto Balaam at
he resolves again to consult his God. night, and said unto him, If the men come to call thee, rise up, and go with them; but yet the word which I shall say unto thee, that shalt thou do. And Balaam rose up in the morning, and saddled his ass, and went with the princes of Moab. And God's anger was kindled because he went: and the angel of the LORD stood in the way for an adversary against him. Now he was riding upon his ass, and his two servants were with him. And the ass saw the angel of the LORD standing in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand: and the ass turned aside out of the way, and went into the field : and Balaam smote the ass, to turn her into the way. But the angel of the LORD stood in a path of the vineyards, a wall being on this side, and a wall on that side. And when the ass saw the angel of the LORD, she thrust herself unto the wall, and crushed Balaam's foot against the wall : and he smote her again. And the angel of the LORD went further, and stood in a narrow place, where was no way to turn either to the right hand or to the left. And when the ass saw the angel of the LORD, she fell down under Balaam : and Balaam's anger was kindled, and he smote the ass with a staff. 28 And the LORD 28 Nothing is too hard for God. He opened the mouth of the ass, who created all things could as easily and she said unto Balaam, give speech to the hitherto dumb What have I done unto thee, ass, as he gave it originally to man. that thou hast smitten me these three times? And Balaam said unto the ass, Because thou hast mocked me: I would there were a sword in mine hand, for now would I kill thee. And the ass said unto Balaam, Am not I thine ass, upon which
thou hast ridden ever since I was thine unto this day? was I eper wont to do so unto thee? 31 From how many dangers does And he said, Nay. 51 Then our heavenly Father by his ministerthe LORD opened the eyes of ing angels guard us ! dangers, which Balaam, and he saw the angel yet we see not, but through which of the Lord standing in the he graciously guides us in safety. way, and his sword drawn in his hand : and he bowed down his head, and fell flat on his face. And the angel of the LORD said unto him, Wherefore hast thou smitten thine ass these three times? behold, I went out to withstand thee, because thy way is perverse before me: and the ass saw me, and turned from me these three times : unless she had turned from me, surely now also I had slain thee, and saved her alive. And Balaam said unto the angel of the LORD, I have sinned ; for I knew not that thou stoodest in the way against me: now therefore, if it displease thee, I will get me back again. 35 And the angel of the LORD 35 This permission, as that in ver. said unto Balaam, Go with 20, was given in anger, that the the men: but only the word sinner might bring upon himself his that I shall speak unto thee, own punishment and shame. that thou shalt speak. So Balaam went with the princes of Balak. And when Balak heard that Balaam was come, he went out to meet him unto a city of Moab, which is in the border of Arnon, which is in the utmost coast. And Balak said unto Balaam, Did I not earnestly send unto thee to call thee? wherefore camest thou not unto me? am I not able indeed to promote thee to honour? And Balaam said unto Balak, Lo, I am come unto thee : have I now any power at all to say any thing? the word that God putteth in my mouth, that shall I speak. And Balaam went with Balak, and they came unto Kirjath-huzoth. And Balak offered oxen and sheep, and sent to Balaam, and to the princes that were with him. And it came to pass on the morrow, that Balak took Balaam, and brought him up into the high places of Baal, that thence he might see the utmost part of the people.
Behold him a spectacle of self-reproach and mortified pride! He stands before the king and his princes, unable to effect his own wicked purpose, but compelled to speak the words and do the will of the great Jehovah, whose servant and prophet he was. Surely shame did cover his face, and pride had its fall !
The second Sunday after Easter.
MORNING. NUMBERS Xxii. xxiv. And Balaam said unto Balak, Build me here seven altars, and prepare me here seven oxen and seven rams. And Balak did as Balaam had spoken; and Balak and Balaam offered on every altar a bullock and a ram. · 3 Strange perverseness ! Balaam 3 And Balaam said unto Balak, knew that God would not permit him Stand by thy burnt offering, to curse ; yet he proceeds! Having and I will go : peradventure eyes, he saw not, neither would he the LORD will come to meet understand. me: and whatsoever he sheweth me I will tell thee. And he went to an high place. And God met Balaam : and he said unto him, I have prepared seven altars, and I have offered upon every altar a bullock and a ram. And the LORD put a word in Balaam's mouth, and said, Return unto Balak, and thus thou shalt speak. And he returned unto him, and, lo, he stood by his burnt sacrifice, he, and all the princes of Moab. And he took up his parable, and said, Balak the king of Moab hath brought me from Aram, out of the mountains of the east, saying, Come, curse me Jacob, and come, defy Israel. 8 How shall I curse, whom 8 Who can harm us if God be with God hath not cursed? or how us? Who be against us, if He be shall I defy, whom the LORD for us? Let me but have God's hath not defied ? For from protection, and all the world cannot the top of the rocks I see
harm me. him, and from the hills I behold him : lo, the people shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned among the nations. Who can count the dust of Jacob, and the nụmber of the fourth part of Israel ? Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like 11 How is Balaam made to work his! " And Balak said unto his own disgrace, by pursuing his Balaam, What hast thou done own wayward course ; and to evi
dence his own nothingness, by acting unto me? I took thee to curse
wilfully in opposition to God. mine enemies, and, behold,
12 Let me be ready not only to thou hast blessed them alto
speak that which God's word requires, gether. 12 And he answered but do that which his Spirit dictates, and said, · Must I not take lest I be in the condemnation of heed to speak that which the those“ who say and do not.” LORD hath put in my mouth? And Balak said unto him, Come, I pray thee, with me unto another place, from whence thou mayest see them : thou shalt see but the utmost part of them, and shalt not see them all : and curse me them from thence.
And he brought him into the field of Zophim, to the top of Pisgah, and built seven altars, and offered a bullock and a ram on every altar. And he said unto Balak, Stand here by thy burnt offering, while I meet the LORD yonder. And the LORD met Balaam, and put a word in his mouth, and said, Go again unto Balak, and say thus. And when he came to him, behold, he stood by his burnt offering, and the princes of Moab with him. And Balak said unto him, What hath the LORD spoken ? And he took up his parable, and said, Rise up, Balak, and hear; hearken unto me, thou son of Zippor : God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good? Behold, I have received commandment to bless : and he hath blessed; and I cannot reverse it. The 21 Though by nature all are sinful, Erath not beheld iniquity in and in God's sight no man living Jacob, neither hath he seen can be justified, yet when the people perverseness in Israel : the of God strive unto holiness, he will, Lord his God is with him, as in the case of Israel, look upon
them graciously, and abide with
them. He will bless their strivings. among them. God brought them out of Egypt; he hath as it were the strength of an unicorn. Surely there is no enchantment against Jacob, neither is there any divination against Israel: according to this time it shall be said of Jacob and of Israel, What hath God wrought! Behold, the people shall rise up as a great lion, and lift up himself as a young lion: he shall not lie down until he eat of the prey, and drink the blood of the slain. And Balak said unto Balaam, Neither curse them at all, nor bless them at all. But Balaam answered and said unto Balak, Told not I thee, saying, All that the LORD speaketh, that I must do? And Balak said unto Balaam, Come, I pray thee, I will bring thee unto another place : peradventure it will please God that thou Inayest curse me them from thence. And Balak brought Balaam unto the top of Peor, that looketh toward Jeshimon. And Balaam said unto Balak, Build me here seven altars, and prepare me here seven bullocks and seven rams. And Balak did as Balaam had said, and offered a bullock and a ram on every altar.
And when Balaam saw that it pleased the LORD to bless Israel, he went not, as at other times, to seek for enchantments, but he set his face toward the wilderness. And Balaam lifted up his eyes, and he saw Israel abiding in his tents according to their tribes ; and the spirit of God came upon him.
And he took up his parable, and said, Balaam the son of Beor hath said, and the man whose eyes are open hath said : he hath said, which heard the words of God, which saw the vision of the Almighty, falling into a trance, but having his eyes open: How goodly are thy tents, O Jacob, and thy tabernacles, 0 Israel! As the valleys So now the tabernacle of the are they spread forth, as gar- Church is spread forth, as a cedar dens by the river's side, as tree beside the waters, giving shelthe trees of lign aloes which ter to the weary soul and refreshthe Lord hath planted, and ment to the faint. as cedar trees beside the waters. He shall pour the water out of his buckets, and his seed shall be in many waters, and his king shall be higher than Agag, and his kingdom shall be exalted. "God brought him Thus let me, under my present forth out of Egypt; he hath trials, carry back my thoughts to as it were the strength of an past deliverances ; even as Israel unicorn: he shall eat up the ever strengthened their faith by re
membering the years of old, when nations his enemies, and shall brought forth out of Egypt with a break their bones, and pierce mighty arm, they gloried in their them through with his arrows. Saviour and their God. He couched, he lay down as a lion, and as a great lion: who shall stir him up? Blessed is he that blesseth thee, and cursed is he that curseth thee. And Balak's anger was kindled against Balaam, and he smote his hands together: and Balak said unto Balaam, I called thee to curse mine enemies, and, behold, thou hast altogether blessed them these three times. 11 Therefore now flee thou to 11 The mutual recrimination of the thy place : I thought to pro- wicked is always bitter. Balaam's mote thee unto great honour: disgrace is complete : he stands exbut, lo, the LORD hath kept
posed, not only powerless to do the
ill he aimed at, but an unwilling inthee back from honour. And
strument of good to them against Balaam said unto Balak, whom he would fain have directed Spake I not also to thy mes- evil. sengers which thou sentest unto me, saying, If Balak would give me his house full of silver and gold, I cannot go beyond the commandment of the LORD, to do either good or bad of mine own mind; but what the LORD saith, that will I speak ? And now, behold, I go unto my people : come therefore, and I will advertise thee what this people shall do to thy people in the latter days. And he took up his parable, and said, Balaam the son of Beor hath said, and the man whose eyes are open hath said: he hath said, which heard the words of God, and knew the knowledge of the most High, which saw the vision of the Almighty, falling into a trance, but having his