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were not the fearful men who refused—why then did he accuse them so harshly?
Mrs. M. They were not in the first instance, but as they grew into manhood, they had sufficiently manifested the same culpable dispositions, to justify Moses in warning them both from the example of their fathers, and their own aberrations. He might remind them, that they had themselves been encompassed by the mercies of the “ mighty one of Israel”—“ they had been fed without bread, and their raiment had not grown old by the way.” But he had yet another and equally decisive plea. “ The Lord,” said
“ he, “ made not this covenant in Horeb with our fathers, but with us_even us, who are all of us alive this day. Hear, therefore, O Israel, the statutes and the judgments which I speak in your ears this day-that ye may learn them and do them, that it may be well with you. The Lord our God is one Lord, and thou shalt love him, with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. These words shall be in thine heart, and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children--and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thy house, and when thou walkest by the
way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up." Thus solemnly and earnestly did Moses demand the serious attention of the Israelites, while he proceeded to rehearse the principal laws, and added others, both inoral and judicial; explaining and enforcing all, as his fervent zeal dictated, by every consideration of their own utter unworthiness, by the peculiar nature of the obligations they were under,--and by the free sovereign goodness of God; who had not " set his love upon them because they in number, for they
the fewest of all people :” por for their righteousness had he chosen them, “ for they were a rebellious and obstinate people.” He bade them, therefore, take heed, when they possessed houses full of good things, which they filled not, and wells, which they digged not, and vineyards and olives, which they planted ,,pot—that they did not forget the Lord who brought them out of the house of bondage, and say, “ by my might and my power have I gotten this wealth.” To promote this modest temper, peculiarly becoming in a people so greatly distinguished, he commanded them, when they should have peaceable possession of their inheritance, and came with the first fruits of the earth annually that they should confess, while they put their offering into the hands of the priests
-“ A Syrian ready to perish, was my father, and he went down into Egypt and sojourned with a few, and became there a nation, great, mighty and populous—and the Egyptians afflicted us, and when we cried unto the Lord God of our fathers, he looked upon our affliction and brought us forth with a mighty hand, and with signs and wonders.” Such transporting recollection crowding into the mind of the grateful chieftain, he exclaims—“ For ask now of the days that are past, since the day that God created man upon the earth, whether there hath been any such thing as this great thing is, or hath been heard like it.”---“ Did ever people hear the voice of God speaking out of the midst of fire, and live ?”
56 Or hath God essayed to go and take him a nation from amidst another nation, by temptations, by a mighty hand, and by great terrors ; according to all that the Lord your God did for you in Egypt before your eyes ? And now Israel,” he asks, “ what is the reasonable service the Lord requires of thee, but to fear him, to walk in all his ways, to loye him with
all thy soul, to keep his commandments and statutes, for thy good? For the Lord your God, is God of Gods, and Lord of Lords, which regardeth not persons, nor taketh rewards. He doth execute the judgment of the fatherless and widow, and loveth the stranger in giving him food and raiment. Love ye, therefore, the stranger, for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt. Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God, him shalt thou serve, and to him shalt thou cleave, and swear by his name.”
CHARLES. I am sorry to interrupt you, mother; but pray, why such an injunction—to swear by his name?
Mrs. M. That is, when it should be necessary to make an oath, they should swear only by his name, and offer no sort of homage to the idols of the Canaanites. If they had often indicated a propensity to this atrocious crime, in their insulated situation in the wilderness, and notwithstanding their singular consecration to Jehovah, it became imperatively necessary to admonish them of the dangers to which they were about to be exposed in an idolatrous country, They were, therefore, commanded to remove every object that might tempt them from their duty. To destroy, utterly, every place where the heathens had worshipped, to cut down their sacred groves, to burn their images and their pictures, and reject and detest the gold and the silver with which they were adorned; ever remembering, that when they heard the voice of their Sovereign, they “saw no similitude” of any object, either terrestrial or celestial
that no imposing appearances, not even the sun and moon, and the stars, the most splendid phenomena in the universe, might entice them to imitate the heathens, and corrupt the worship of the invisible Deity. And because an intercourse with them could not be maintained with in, nocence, for they had already given deplorable evidence of . the fatal facility with which they might be assailed, they were commanded to make no treaty of friendship---no covenant---and especially no marriages, with the nations of Canaan---but utterly to exterminate them.
CHARLES. Was not that a cruel command ?
MRS. M. A severe one, no doubt, with respect to the Israelites, who, having no personal quarrel with the inhabitants of Canaan, must have reluctantly obeyed; but many of our duties are repugnant to our natural feelings. The Great Supreme, however, although he has a right to implicit compliance, is pleased to conciliate our reason. “ Not for their own righteousness," he told the Israelites, “ were they to inherit a delightful land, but the natives, for their abominable wickedness, were to be dispossessed. Their morals were as detestable as their religion was corrupt, and this punishment he might as rightfully inflict by one instrument as by another : by famine or the sword---by earthquakes or pestilence---as his wisdom might determine. · All the people, comprehended under the general name of Canaanites, were not equally obnoxious to the divine malediction. Some nations were to be spared, on condition of submission to the conquerors, and a payment of tribute, but, in case of resistance, to be partially punished by the slaughter of the men, while the women and children were to be saved alive.
Yet in condescension to their weakness, their gracious Sovereign persuaded them to the discharge of their duty by motives addressed to the most powerful feelings of human nature, their interest. The land to which they were hastening was contrasted with that from which they had escaped---not parched, like that where they had “ sowed
their seeds and reared them with labour, but watered with the rains of Heaven,"---a variegated landscape of vallies and hills...of brooks and fountains---of trees and minerals. And they were encouraged to attack without fear, a people stronger and more numerous than themselves, by the promise that their God would 6 go before them like a consuming fire to destroy them, and deliver their kings into their hand.”
Still farther to animate their hope, the inspired orator expatiated, in glowing figures, on the surpassing prosperity, both public and private, that awaited their steady adherence to the laws; love and harmony in their families ; overflowing abundance in their stores, and inviolable security from their enemies. On the other hand, an appalling catalogue of calamities portrayed the miseries of revolt. Sickness and sorrow, famine and war, and finally subjugation and captivity! “ The Lord,” he added, “ will seatter thee among all people, from one end of the earth even unto the other; and there thou shalt serve other gods, even wood and stone. And among these nations thou shalt find no ease; neither shall the sole of thy foot have rest, and thy life shall hang in doubt before thee, and thou shalt fear day and night. In the morning thou shalt say, "Would
6 God it were even, and at even thou shalt
Would God it were morning! Keep, therefore, the words of this covenant and do them, that ye may prosper in all that yo do."
From the sketch I have attempted, you can have but a faint idea of this interesting speech. You must read it throughout to obtain a just conception of the piety and benevolence of Moses. PANNY. Surely his virtues and his services, and now