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lightened his characters with some more pleas ing colours? We meet with a continual detail of discontent and murmuring, of disobedience and rebellion towards God, and of punishments in consequence of this behavi our. At one time there fell three thousand men for their 'idolatry. At another time, upon the rebellion of Korah, a large family, by the earth's opening, was swallowed up quick; and two hundred and fifty men were consumed by an eruption of3 fire. At the same time a plague broke out, and carried off fourteen thousand and seven hundred persons. Another judgment in the same way carried off no less than twenty-four thousand. All this is said to have been brought upon them for their not attending to God's signs and wonders, and for their disobedience to his express commands. But what signs or what wonders could they attend to, if in reality there were none displayed? And how could they infringe any immediate commandment if the Deity never interfered? If there were no truth in these facts, for what end could Moses introduce them to the disparagement of his brethren? It is
1 Exod. xxxii. 28.
3 Ibid. ver. 35.
2 Numb. xvi. 32.
4 Chap. xxv. 9.
well known how disaffected they were at times towards him, so as even to meditate his death; yet he wrote these things, and what he wrote he read before them. Attend to his words which he spake to them, when they rose up against Joshua and Caleb, and were going to murder them. Numb, xiv. 28, 29, 31, 32. As truly as I live, saith the Lord, as ye have spoken in mine ears, so will I do to you: Your carcases shall fall in this wilderness; and all that were numbered of you, according to your whole number, from twenty years old and upward, which have murmured against me.But your little ones—them will I bring in. for you, your carcases they shall fall in this wilderness. Was this the way to gain good will? could these threats conciliate their favour? He must have been upholden in all he said, and in all he did; and there was a sanction to his law from above, or he could not have succeeded, nor even escaped their malice. The people would not have submitted to such painful institutes, nor have stoned a man for gathering sticks upon a particular day. Their rage would have been vented up
on the author of the law.
The Spirit of Truth throughout apparent.
Moses speaks of himself with the same impartiality as he has used towards the people, Though he mentions that he was highly favoured of God, yet he more than once owns that he was near forfeiting this blessing. He confesses his diffidence and want of faith, and his neglect of some essential duties, by which he grievously offended the Deity. He tells us, that the consequence was fatal, as he was not, on account of these offences, permitted to enter the land of promise; but, like the rest, died by the way, having had only a distant view. He scruples not to disclose the failings" of his brother, and of his sister Miriam, and the rebellion of others, to whom he was nearly' related. He writes in the spirit of truth, without the least prejudice or partiality, suppressing nothing that was necessary to be known, though to his own prejudice and discredit. And when he has afforded a just his
One would expect that he must have had some partiality for any nation of Midianites; but when he found that they seduced his own people, he shewed them no favour. Numb. xxxi. 8.
tory of the people's ingratitude and disobedi ence while he survived, he proceeds to anticipate what is to come, and gives strong intimation of their future apostacy and rebellion. For I know, that after my death ye will utterly corrupt yourselves, and turn aside from the way which I have commanded you: and evil will befal you in the latter days, because ye will do evil in the sight of the Lord, to provoke him to anger, &c. Deut. xxxi. 29. And he farther assures them of the vengeance which should ensue.
Cursed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and cursed shalt thou be when thou goest out. The Lord shall cause thee to be smitten before thine enemies: thou shalt go out one way against them, and flee seven ways before them; and shalt be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth.-. 3 And thou shalt become an astonishment, a proverb, and a by-word among all nations whither the Lord shall lead thee. He denounces many other evils which were to come upon this rebellious nation; and which did come, as he foretold, but many of them ages afterwards. To the principal of these the Jews at this day remain a living testimony. And what the
1 Deut. xxviii. 19.
3 Ibid. ver. 37. See the whole chapter.
2 Ibid. xxviii. 25..
prophet says upon these occasions is not attended with resentment and bitterness; on the contrary, he shews the most affecting tenderness and concern for them, and a true zeal for their welfare. We may therefore be assured that things must have happened as he describes them; and nothing but duty and conviction could have made him transmit these truths.
Such are the inferences and deductions which I have ventured to make from the structure, and composition of this wonderful history, and from that internal evidence with which it abounds. No writings whatever are fraught with such latent truths as the scriptures in general, and particularly that part with which we have been engaged. By these incidental lights the history of Moses is very much illustrated; and, I think, from the nature of the events, as well as from the mode of operation, it is manifest that he was an instrument in the hands of Providence, and his com mission from heaven.