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the eyes of the people, that they might not discover his sinister designs.
On receiving this message, Moses was filled with a strong and just indignation. He immediately offered
up an earnest petition, that the Lord would not regard with any favor the offering of such men, or of their companions, and protested that they had no cause of complaint against him, as he had never wronged or injured one of them.
The conspirators then withdrew; Moses having first repeated his injunction with regard to what they were to do, the ensuing day, and directing Aaron, also, to be present with his censer. The morrow came.
The rebellious band, with their censers and buruing incense, stood in the door of the tabernacle, Korah having gathered around it the whole congregation, and instilled into them ex
his own seditious feelings. Moses and Aaron were there, (the latter with the incense burn. ing in his censer,) strong in conscious rectitude, and in the belief that God was on their side, and would sustain them. The hour of trial had arrived; and, while an anxious suspense pervaded the a3sembly, the descending cloud covered the tabernacle, and the effulgent glory of the Lord appeared
to all the congregation. A voice issued from the
What a terrific denunciation! Must the stroke of vengeance fall? Is it impossible to avert it? Instantly, Moses and Aaron prostrated themselves upon their faces, and poured forth this earnest entreaty, "O God, the God of the spirits of all flesh, shall one man sin, and wilt thou be wroth with all the congregation ?" O the power of the effectual, fervent prayer of those who trust in God, and whom he loves to answer! Their supplications prevailed, so far as the great body of the people were concerned; but the divine indignation fell heavily upon the instigators and leaders of the intended revolt.
"Speak unto the congregation," said the Lord to Moses, " saying, Get you up from about the tabernacle of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram.” Wherever the tents of these men were pitched, all were speedily to retire from them; and it would seem from this that they had hastened from the tabernacle, and were now in their customary places of residence. Moses went thither, and uttered this fearful warning to all who were near them: "Depart, I pray you, from the tents of these wicked mon, and touch nothing of theirs, lest ye be con• sumed in all their sins."
know that the Lord hath sent me to do all these works ; for I have not done them of mine own mind. If these men die the common death of all men, or if they be visited after the visitation of all men; then the Lord hath not sent me. But if the Lord make a new thing, and the earth open her mouth and swallow them up, with all that appertain unto them, and they go down quick into the pit; then
ye shall understand that these men have provoked the Lord.”
The words of Moses were but just uttered, when their confirmation followed. The earth opened with a wide and yawning chasm, and swallowed up Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, their tents and families, and all that belonged to them. They uttered piercing shrieks of anguish as they sunk from the sight of the spectators, who fled in dismay still farther from the spot, lest they, too, should be overwhelmed with the same destruction. It seems that the sons of Korah, who were not in his tent, and who doubtless took no part in the rebellion, escaped the awful doom of their father.
The remaining conspirators perished, at the same time, in a manner not less striking and terrific. From the divine glory over the tabernacle there issued devouring streams of fire, and consumed them where they were standing; while Aaron and the rest who were near them experienced not the least injury.
It was a scene of terror not soon to be forgotten. It was an expression of the just indignation of God, to teach those who witnessed it, and us who have the record of it, that the majesty of his government must be sustained by the most signal and fearful punishment of those who hold out in their rebellion against it.
The fate of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, and their companions in the sedition, shows us, be. yond all possibility of doubt, that God is not the Being that some suppose him to be, so full of tender compassion that he will not inflict painful sufferings in the future world upon those who, in this, have sinned against him, and die impenitent.
If his great mercy will lead him thus to act, why did he inflict so tremendous a punishment upon Korah, and the other rebels ? Is he pitiful only in the future world ? Shall no prison-house of wo there open wide its doors to receive the unrepenting sinner; and yet the yawning earth swallow
up of fenders against the divine authority in the Jewish camp ? Shall no vengeance of the Almighty pursue his disloyal subjects beyond the grave, and yet the flames that proceed from his glorious presence utterly consume the traitors among the Israelites ?
No, my young friend, there is no ground for such a soul-destroying delusion. Sad will be the disappointment of those who build upon it their hopes of future safety! God is just, as well as merciful. He will punish, as well as pardon. Tremble at his justice. Seek his mercy through the blood of Christ.
Murmurings. A great plague. Budding of Aaron's rod.
A visible and standing memorial of the guilt of Korah and his company, and of the doom which befel them, was ordered by the command of God. Moses was directed to tell Eleazar, Aaron's son, to gather up the brazen censers from the yet glowing embers of the bodies of the conspirators, and himself to throw away the burning incense which was in them. The censers were to be preserved; be. cause having once been used, (although in an irregular and sinful manner,) in the professed wor. ship of God, they had become his, and must be regarded as hallowed for his service. They were to be taken, and made into broad plates for a covering of the altar; these, as they glittered in the sun, or reflected the light of the sacrifice, to be a perpetual warning that no one, not of the family of Aaron, should come near to offer incense before the Lord, lest he suffer the fate of Korah and his associates.