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and the stars, even all the host of heaven; thou shouldset be driven to worship them, and serve. them, &c.
Whosever is at all acquainted with the ancient religion of Egypt, will see every article of their idolatry included in this address. He will likewise perceive the propriety of these cautions to a people, who had so long sojourned in that country.
I have mentioned, that this worship was of very early date; for the Egyptians very soon gave into a dark and mystic mode of devotion, suitable to the gloom and melancholy of their tempers. To this they were invincibly attached, and consequently averse to any alteration. They seldom admitted any rite or custom, that had not the sanction of their forefathers. Hence Sir John Marsham very truly tells us concerning them '--Ægyptii cultûs extranei nomine detestari videntur, quicquid οι γονεις και παρεδειξαν, parentes non commonstrârunt. The Egyptians, under the notion of foreign worship, seem to have been averse to every thing which had not been transmitted by their ancestors. They therefore, for the most part, differed in their rites and religion from
• Sec. is. P. 155. .
all other nations. These borrowed from them; and also adopted the rites of many different people. But the Egyptians seldom admitted of any innovation.
This is what I thought proper to offer concerning the wisdom and design, witnessed in these judgments upon the Egyptians; and concerning the analogy which they bore to the crimes and idolatry of that people.
Concerning this difference see Herodotus, 1. 2. c. 35, 36. p. 119.
PART FOURT H.
DIVINE MISSION OF MOSES.
Concerning this Divine Mission.
MOSES was the immediate agent of God, in all those mighty operations which took place during his residence with the Israelites in Egypt, as well as in those which ensued. The destination of this people, was to the land of Canaan; and though the history of their journeyings may not be uniformly attended with the same astonishing prodigies as they had experienced in Egypt, yet in every movement, throughout the whole process, there are marks of divine power and wisdom, by which they were at all times conducted. For no man could have formed such a system, much
Tess have carried it on in the manner, by which we see it at last completed. For the process was oftentimes contrary to human prudence, though consonant to divine wisdom. My meaning is, that the Israelites in their progress to Canaan were ied into scenes of distress, in which no person, who had the charge of them, would have permitted them to have been engaged. No leader in his senses would have suffered those difficulties and embarrassments to have arisen, into which the people were at times plunged ; and when they were brought into these straits, no human power was adequate to free them from the danger. In short, through the whole process of the history every step seems contrary to what human foresight and common experience would have permitted to take place. But I speak only in respect to man. With God it was far otherwise. He can raise, and he can depress; he can kill, and he can make alive. If he led the people into difficulties and dangers, he could remedy those difficulties, and free them from those dangers. ' For my thoughts, says the Almighty, are not your thoughts: neither are your ways my ways. For as the heavens are higher than the
" Isaiah viii. 9.
carth, so are my ways higher than your ways; and my thoughts than your thoughts.
your thoughts. It therefore seemed good to divine wisdom to bring the Israelites into perils of various kinds, from whence there seemed no opening for escape; no subterfuge, which could avail them. And this was done, that they might manifestly see, that their safety was not effected by any human means : but that it was a far higher power, which both conducted and preserved them. Upon these principles I purpose to shew, that the authority by which Moses acted was of divine appointment; and his mission immediately from God. chief reason I bring within this small compass ---because no man, of common prudence, would have acted as Moses did, unless directed by a superior influence.
A person who was of great eminence in the church, and of knowledge equal to his high station, took a different method to ascertain the same truth. He observed, that in all civilized counties the legislators had introduced future rewards and punishments as a sanction to their laws. But nothing of this sort is to be found in the laws of Moses. They were therefore of divine original; for he would