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and whence came they?” “ These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes," Rev. vii. 9, 10, 13-17.
HISTORY OF MOSES.
And they journeyed from mount Hor, by the way of the
Red Sea, to compass the land of Edom: and the soul of the people was much discouraged because of the way. And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread. And the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died. Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord, and against thee; pray unto the Lord, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people. And the Lord said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live. And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived.-NUMBERS xxi. 4-9.
THE restlessness, peevishness and discontent which men are continually expressing, prove at once the degeneracy and corruption of human nature, and furnish a strong presumption of the immortality of the soul. To behold one generation after another, of mop
ing, melancholly, sullen, surly beings, in the midst of
The history of Israel is, in truth, the history of hu. man nature. Did they discover a stubborness which
no calamity could tame, no kindness could molify; a levity which no steadiness of discipline could fix, a perfidiousness which no plea can excuse, an ingratitude which no partiality can extenuate, a stupidity which no intelligence can account for, a temerity and a rashness which no reason can explain? Alas, we need not travel to the deserts of Arabia, nor look back to the days of the golden calf, nor to the waters of Maribah, for the persons who discovered such a spirit. We have but to look into our own hearts, we have but to review our own lives, in order to be satisfied, that such a spirit has existed, that it is shamefully odious in itself, highly offensive in the sight of God, and that we have good reason to abhor ourselves, " and repent in dust and ashes."
We have pursued the history of Aaron and of Balaam, in a continued series, that we might prosecute the remainder of the history of Moses, without any farther interruption; we therefore omitted in its proper place that portion of it, which is partly recorded in the verses I have read: but it is of infinitely too great importance to be passed over wholly in silence, and therefore we look back, and bring it into view, as an useful subject of meditation this evening.
Moses had lately descended from mount Hor, whither he had been summoned to perform the last offices of humanity to Aaron, his brother: with mixed emotions, no doubt, which alternately marked the man and the believer: mourning and mortified, yet patient, composed and resigned to the will of Heaven. In executing sentence of death upon his brother, he heard the voice of God again pronouncing his own doom; a doom in which, with the ordinary feelings of humanity, he acquiesces with reluctance, but must however acquiesce. But though death was before his eyes, and could be at no great distance, it abates 'nothing of his ardour for the glory of God, and the good of Israel; it breaks in upon no duty of his station, it dis
turbs not the benevolence, gentleness and serenity of his temper: he lives, acts, instructs to the very last; and exhibits an instructive example of that happy firmness and equanimity of soul, removed alike from stoical indifference, and contempt of death, and fond, infirm, unreasonable attachment to life. We find him accordingly in his one hundred and twentieth year, and the last of his life, not only engaged in employments suitable to age, those of deliberating, advising and instructing; but exerting all the activity and vigour of youth, in planning and executing sundry military enterprises.
We should be surprised, did we not know the cause of it, to find Israel in the fortieth year from their deliverance out of Egypt, just where we saw them the first month, by the way of the Red Sea, journeying from mount Hor; and even then, though every thing seemed to be pressing them forwards to the possession of Canaan, not led of their heavenly Guide directly forwards in the nearest tract, but obliged to fetch a compass round the whole land of Edom, the possession allot. ted to, and already bestowed upon the posterity of Esau. But Israel, and in them mankind, was thereby instructed to revere the destinations of Providence, to respect the rights, property and privileges of others; that reason and religion, as well as sympathy and humanity, oblige a man to submit to the inconveniency of a journey somewhat more tedious and fatiguing, instead of at. tempting to cut a nearer passage for himself, through the bowels and blood of his brother.
The consciousness of having acted well, in taking this circuitous march round the land of Edom, and that they thus acted by the command of God, ought to have reconciled the minds of the Israelites to the little inconveniences of the way; but their historian and leader, with his usual fidelity, informs us, that “the soul of the people was much discouraged because of the way.”
Men frequently do their duty with so ill a grace, that