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must be set aside, unless the interposition of the Deity-be admitted. All the operations, which at first sight may appear strange, are calculated for this purpose, to shew through out, that God was the chief agent. This was particularly effected in the downfal of the city of Jericho, which was brought about merely by the priests of God, and the people going in procession round it for seven days, without the least military operation of the army. By these two events they were shewn plainly the great object to which they were to trust; not to the prowess of man, but to the living God,
Arguments from the Laio.
I have made use of the internal evidence of the Mosaic history, as far as was necessary for my purpose. More light may be still obtained, for it is a source of intelligence not easily exhausted. The texture and composition, however simple, shew infinite marks of wisdom; and from what has been said, I flatter myself it is very plain, that the history proves the miracles; and we may at every step cry out with the magicians of Egypt--
This is the finger of God. The very nature of the Mosaic law shews the necessity of God's interposition ; for, without his ordinance and sanction; it could never have been established. And we might rest the argument for the divine appointment of Moses upon this sole foundation, that these rites and institutes could not have been either conceived or enforced by him; nor could he possibly; unless commanded, have wished to have carried them into execution. They consisted of a code of painful rituals and burdensome ceremonies; to the purport of which the people were strangers ; and, if they were not enjoined by the Deity, no good could possibly have arisen from them. For what reason therefore could Moses wish to impose upon his people so many rules and prescripts, and bind them to such severe discipline, if it were in his power to have acted otherwise ? The whole was a cumbersome yoke to the necks of those who were obliged to submit; å yoke, says the apostle, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear. Acts XV. 10. What one end could have been answered to Moses in framing these se'vere laws; or what good could accrue from them either to himself or the people ?
But the chief question to be asked is, though he were ever so willing to frame them, how he could possibly enforce them. They must have appeared in many instances inexplicable, and even contrary to reason. What art or power could be used to bring the people to obey them; a people too who were of a rebellious spirit, impatient of controul, and devoted to superstitions quite repugnant to these ordinances ? Human assistance he had none; for we find instances of his own sister and brother opposing him, and of the very
children of Aaron being in actual rebellion. Laws are generally made when people have been well settled, and they are founded upon many contingencies which arise from the nature of the soil; the trade, and produce of the country, and the temper, customs, and disposition of the natives and their neighbours. But the laws of Moses were given in a desert, while the people were in a forlorn state, wandering from place to place, and encountering 'hunger and thirst, without seeing any ultimate of their roving. These prescripts were designed for a religious polity, when the people should be at some particular period settled in Canaan; of which settlement human forecast could not see the least probability. For what hopes could a leader entertain of possessing a country from which he withdrew himself, and persisted in receding for so many years? And, when at a time an attempt was made to obtain some footing, nothing ensued but repulse and disappointment. Did any lawgiver pen
* Numbers xx. 2. And there was no water for the congregarion; and they gathered themselves together against Moses and Against Aaron.
directions about corn, wine, and oil in a country, that was a stranger to tillage and cultivation; or talk of tythes and first-fruits, where there was scarcely a blade of grass ? It may
be swered, that these ordinances were given with a view to Canaan. True, But Moses was not acquainted with 'Canaan; and if providence
V. 3. And the people chode with Moses, and spake, saying, Would God that we had died when our brethren died before the Lord.
V.'4. And why have ye brought up the congregation of the Lord into this wilderness, that we and our cattle should die there?
V. 5. And wherefore have ye made us to come up out of Egypt, to bring us in unto this evil place? it is no place of seed, or of figs, or of vines, or of pomegranates; neither is there any water to drink.
* This is plain from the spies, which were sent, and the orders they received. Numbers xiii. 18, 19, 20. See the
were not his guide, there was little chance of his getting even a sight of it. He was in the midst of a wilderness, and so continued for near forty years. And in this place, and at this
gave directions about their towns and cities, and of the stranger within their gates; while they were in a state of solitude under tents, and so likely to continue. He mentions their vineyards and olives, before they had an inch of ground; and gives intimation about their future ? kings, when they were not constituted as a nation. These good things they did at length enjoy; and in process of time they were under regal government. But how
land what it is Whether it be good or bad whether it be fat or lean, whether there be wood therein or not. Moses had been told that it was proverbially a land flowing with milk and honey: but with the real nature of the soil he was not at all acquainted. Whoever framed those laws relating to the fruits, &c. could not be ignorant of the country. The laws therefore were not framed by Moses; but he had them from the person whose delegate he was, even from God himself.
See Deut. viii. 8. * Concerning this circumstance so many centuries before it happened we have the following prophetic threat, which must affect every unprejudiced person-The Lord shall bring thee, and thy king which thou shall set over thee, unto a nation which neither thou nor thy fathers have known; and there shalt thou serve other geds, wood and store.' Deut. xxviii. 36.