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faith in this system rests on the miraculous events which have been recited, and their credibility must be estimated by the circumstances of them, and especially by their effects.
From the circumstances it appears that nothing could have been devised to render these extraordinary facts less liable to objection ; and their effects could not have been greater than they were, in fecuring the firm belief of them in the Jewish nation in every period of their history, even in the times of their greatest delinquency; and what is more, in recovering them from frequent relapses into idolatry, to which they were exceedingly prone, but which never implied any difbelief of the great facts on which the truth of their own religion was founded; and which has settled in as firm a faith as is now to be found in any part of the world, though at the distance of fix thousand years from their date; and this notwithstanding the most discouraging situation possible, the most trying to men's faith and perseverance. For such is the faith of the Jews in the divine mission of Moses, believing in all the
promises of their religion to this day, against every visible ground of hope ; and, among no class of people whatever, are there fewer unbelievers. Nominal Christians are numerous, but merely nominal Jews, though there are some, are comparatively very few.
Of miraculous Events in the Time of
Now after the death of Moses, the servant of
the Lord, it came to pass that the Lord Spake unto Joshuà, the son of Nun, Moses's minister ; saying, Mofes my servant is dead, now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou and all this people, unto the land which I give unto them, even to the children of Israel. As I was with Mofes, so will I be with thee.
Joshua i. 1-5.
HAVING considered the miraculous events by which the deliverance of the Israelites from their bondage in Egypt, and their passage through the wilderness, was diftinguished, and especially those by which the divine mission of Moses, and the authority of his law, was confirmed, I pro
ceed to direct your attention to those which immediately preceded, and accompanied, the taking possession of the land of Canaan, as being a part, and a continuation, of the fame scheme. Of the remaining events in the life-time of Moses, some indeed were miraculous, but either not being very conspicuously so, or having only a temporary effect, I do not dwell upon them. . I must, however, except one miracle of a peculiar kind, by means of which the priesthood was settled in the family of Aaron, so that there was never afterwards any complaint on this subject. After the rebellion of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, which respected Aaron as well as Moses, all the congregation complained, as if they had been the cause of the death of so many of the people; when God was pleased to punish them by a pestilence, of which fourteen thousand and seven hundred died, and a stop was put to it by Aaron taking incense, and standing between the dead and the living
This action, in which Aaron was the instrument, having so instantaneous an ef
fect, sufficiently distinguished him as a priest. But in order to put the matter beyond all possibility of doubt in future, God ordered that the heads of every tribe should deliver to Moses a rod, with their names written upon them, and that on the rod for the tribe of Levi the name of Aaron should be inscribed. These rods were laid before the ark, with an assurance from God, that the rod belonging to that tribe for whom the priesthood was destined should be found in blossom on the day following. Num. xvii. 5. As every tribe was interested in this decision, we cannot doubt but that sufficient precautions were taken that there should be no impofition in the case, though the particulars are not mentioned. The issue is thus recorded : And it came to pass on the morrow, that Moses went into the tabernacle of witness, and behold the rod of Aaron, for the house of Levi, was budded, and brought forth buds, and blossomed blossoms, and yielded almonds. And Moses brought out all the rods from before the Lord, unto all the children of Israel, and they looked, and took every man his rod.