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not only Babylon, but even Nineveh, the mother of Babylon, had no existence at that time) notwithstanding their immense arıned force, their horses and their chariots; and not withstanding their devotedness to their gods, for which they were always celebrated, neither their policy, their arms, or their gods, could avail them against the power of Jehovah, who was their own God, when it was thus wonderfully and seasonably exerted. And we find, in the course of the history, that the impression which these events made on all the neighbouring nations was very great, and that they ever after retained an idea of the superiority of the God of Israel to their own deities, though this did not induce them to relinquish their worship; it being the fixed persuasion of all mankind in those early ages, that there were many gods, or invisible powers, on whom different nations or districts, and different provinces in nature, depended.
The effect which it was apprehended the report of these miracles would have on the neighbouring nations is thus ex. pressed in the song of Moses, Exod. xv. 14. The people ha!l hear and be afraid, forrow shall take held on the inhabitants of Palestine. Then the dukes of Edon shall be amazed, the mighty men of iIoab, trembling Jhall take bold upon them; all the inhabitants of Canaan shall melt away. Fear and dread shall fall upon them. By the greatness of thine arm Jhall they be as fill as a stone. The Lord Mall reign for ever and ever.
We see the impreslion that these miracles made upon the Philistines remained upon their minds in the time of Samuel. For on the news of the ark being brought into the camp of the Israelites, they express the greatest apprehensions. . 1 Sam. iv. 7. And the Philislines were afraid; for they said, God is come into the camp. And they said, Wo unto us! who shall deliver us out of the hand of these mighty Gods? These are the Gods that (mote the Egyptians with all the plagues in the wilderness. And in their consultations about sending back the ark, after they had suffered by detaining it, they say, 1 Sam. vi. 6, Wherefore then do ye harden your hearts, as the Egyptians and
Pharaoh hardened their hearts, when he had wrought wonderfully among them? Did they not let the people go, and they departed? We may judge from this how generally these extraordinary facts were at that time known, and what an idea they excited of the power of the God of Israel.
DISCOURSE IV. Of the Delivery of the Law from Mount
Sinai, and other Miracles in the Wilderness.
And Israel Jaw the great works which the
Lord did upon the Egyptians, and the people feared the Lord, and his servant Moses.
Exod. xiv. 31. In discoursing from these words, I have begun to illustrate the evidence of the divine mission of Moses, or the credibility of the miracles on which it is founded. I have already considered those which were exhibited in Egypt, shewing, from their magnitude, and other circumstances, especially the effects which they produced, that there could not have been any imposition in the case. I now proceed to direct your attention to those which are recorded as having been exhibited in the wilderness, and they
are of still greater magnitude and importance.
From the red sea the Israelites proceeded, without intermiflion, a journey of three days, through the wilderness of Shur, till they came to a place which was afterwards called Mara, where the people murmured because the waters were bitter, so that, though they were exhausted with thirst, they could not drink them. In this distresling situation, of which we, in this climate, can form but an imperfect idea, the people murmured against Moses, saying, 1 hat small we drink? Exod. xv. 24. They would naturally imagine, that the same power which had brought them out of Egypt, in so wonderful a manner, would easily supply all their wants, and they would be much chagrined when they found themselves disappointed. This murmuring, however, did not imply any disbelief in the power of their God, or in the divine mission of Moses; and God was pleased to relieve their wants by directing Moses to cast a branch of a certain tree into the wa