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their deities! Idolatry had always been punished; but at this critical juncture, on the eve of their entrance into a country entirely abandoned to such stupid practices, it was particularly necessary to mark it with signal abhorrence. Accordingly, twenty-four thousand of the principal offenders were cut off; and Phinehas, the son of Eleazer the priest, was rewarded for his pious resolution in executing the painful duty of putting to death, with his own hand, a prince of the house of Simeon, who was preeminently guilty, with the continuance of the priesthood in his family.

But the Midianites, who, had they kept quiet, might have possessed their country in security, were not with impunity to bring these evils on the unoffending Israelites.--Twelve thousand men, with Phineh as, and the ark of the Covenant, were sent against them: they were conquered--their cities were destroyed, and an immense spoil, in cattle, and goods of various sorts, was taken. Five kings, and Balaam, their counsellor, paid the price of their folly, in the loss of their lives in the battle. The spoil was divided between the victors and those who remained in the camp. A tribute from each went into the treasury; to which was added, an offering of gratitude, from the officers who went on the expedition; when they found, upon examining their troops, that not one had perished !

Whilst these efforts to frustrate the designs of Providence were in operation, the persevering leader of the Israelites, and Eleazer their priest, were preparing to pass the Jordan, the natural barrier between the plains of Moab and the land of promise.

Another census of the male population was taken, and found not to contain the name of one individual who had


been nunbered in the wilderness of Sinai, save only Cat leb and Joshua, the faithful messengers. The sentence the ungrateful congregation had brought upon themselves, was now completely executed ;---they had fallen by disease, by the sword, and by fire, and Moses alone, their venerable chief, remained, of all that were involved iu it!

--He, too, must soon be removed by death---and Joshua, a man of pre-eminent qualifications, was now pointed out as the captain who should succeed him.

CATHERINE. Pointed out by whom ?-By Moses ? or was he elected by the people ?

Mrs. M. By neither. Very few things connected with the government of the Hebrews, either civil or ligious, originated with themselves. All was the work of the Deity; and by him communicated immediately to Moses; who, notwithstanding he is called the legislator, was but the organ of the real Sovereign.

Moses might institute inferior regulations for present expedience, and select inferior magistrates to assist him; but every permament precept was promulgated with the imperative preface; “ The Lord spake unto Moses, saying.” Every important designation was “ aecording to the word of the Lord,”-an idea so awful, so commanding, that we cannot withhold our respect from those who still sincerely adhere to them, and cannot believe with us, that the greater part are abolished.

Moses had been summoned by “ a voice from the burning bush” at the foot of mount Horeb; and the same

h voice proceeded now from the “ Seat of Mercy,” commanded him to lay his hands on Joshua, and consecrate him in the sight of the whole assembly; and a gracious promise was added, that " a part of the spirit that

had rested on Moses should animate and direct his suco cessor.”

FANNY, As Moses and Joshua were directed in their whole conduct, step by step, I do not very well see, why they should have been enlightened in any unusual degree.

MRS. M. Although the very letter of the law was dictated to Moses, yet he had much need of an enlightened understanding in the management of his community. But it was the heart also, as well as the intellect, that was improved by Divine Grace; and no man was ever more imperiously required to “keep his heart with all diligence," than was this tried servant. You see, with all the aids he received, in one instance the weakness of his nature prevailed. The people, whose turbulent tempers had overcome the weakness of Moses, were indeed dead; but their children inherited their characters, and would demand of Joshua the continual exercise of resolution and constancy ; of patience and integrity.

He was to be honoured in the performance of miracles as his predecessor had been. He was to drive out nations superior in numbers and strength, to dispossess them of their fields and fortified cities, and re-people them with his brethren.

Joshua was to divide the land of Canaan equally amongst them, giving to the larger tribes, the greater portion, and the smaller to the less. Their relative location by tribes was to be determined by lot; those only of Reuben and Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh excepted. These last, having more numerous flocks than the others, requested of Moses the country taken from Og and Sihon, because the grassy plain on the margin of the river seemed peculiarly adapted to cattle.

Their suit was at first received by Moses with much displeasure. Supposing it to be their intention to remain in security, while their brethren encountered the populous nations beyond the Jordan, he accused them of want of faith-of discouraging their brethren by their timidity, as their fathers had done at Kadesh, and thereby excluded themselves from the promised rest.

But Reuben and Gad disclaimed the selfish designthey would, they said, build folds for their cattle, and leave their wives and children in the conquered cities, while themselves would go over armed with their brethren, and not quit them, until they had obtained peaceable possession of their inheritance. To this condition Moses assented, and the two tribes, and half the tribe of Manasseh, were settled in the land of Gilead, from Mount Hermon on the north, to the river Arnon, the border of Moab, on the south.

FANNY. To live in cities, and pasture great multitudes of cattle, which it is evident the Israelites must have done, were it only for their sacrifices, is irreconcileable with our notions of things; it was certainly very inconvenient.

Mrs. M. You are not to imagine the cities of the Israelites, either here or on the other side of the river, were large and confined like ours. They were villages rather, although they had walls, surrounded by their land, both for pasture and tillage. They went into the fields to their occupations in the day time, and returned into the city at night. Their simple habits required but few of the arts, and in those days perhaps they had no artizans by profes

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sion. They were all husbandmen, rich only, or chiefly, in flocks and herds, and in the productions of the earth.

In the enumeration made by Moses and Joshua, a chasm appeared in the family of Hepher, and tribe of Joseph. Zelophebad, his son, had died in the wilderness, leaving no male heir to receive his portion, and transmit his name. But five females, his daughters, appeared before the rulers, petitioning for the right of inheritance. “Why," said they, “ should the name of our father be done away

from among his family, because he hath no son ?” He had not deserved this disgrace, they affectionately argued; he had not leagued with the companies that had been cut off in the guilt of rebellion, but had “ died in his own sin.” us, therefore," said they, a portion among our brethren.” Their case was brought before the divine Oracle, and became the occasion of a permanent statute, for the distribution of property in Israel. “ The daughters of Zelophebad speak right

thou shalt surely give them an inheritance among their father's brethren. If a man die, and have no

ye shall cause his inheritance to pass unto his daughter. And if he have no daughter, then ye shall give his inheritance unto his brethren. And if he have no brethren, then


shall give his inheritance unto his father's brethren. And if his father have no brethren, then ye

shall give his inheritance unto his kinsman that is next to him, of his family; and he shall possess it, and it shall be unto the children of Israel a statute of judgment.”'*

The chiefs of the house of Joseph objected, that this regulation might operate to the prejudice of their tribe, inasmuch as the possessions of the daughters of Zelophehad,

son, then

* Numbers, xxpii. 8, 9, 10, 11.

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