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pleafed God to fhew us patience, at least in one instance, too powerful for unbelief: "for his ways are not like our ways, nor his thoughts as our thoughts."

He who would cure infidelity in others, must first be purged of the old leaven himself. To effect this in the heart of his fervant Mofes, God vouchfafes to perform miracle upon miracle. He turns the rod which was in the hand of Mofes into a ferpent; and from a ferpent to a rod again: in order to intimate to him and to the world that the most harmless things become noxious, and the moft pernicious things innocent, at his command. His hand is in a moment covered with leprofy, and in a moment restored-to fhew the power of God's holy law to fix guilt upon the finner, and of his grace to remove it from the penitent. He is enjoined and authorized to perform thefe figns before all Ifrael, in order to produce that conviction in them, which they had firft wrought upon his own mind. Should thefe ftill happen to fail, he is permitted to go a step farther. Nature fhall fubmit to a thorough alteration, rather than the feed of faithful Abraham continue flaves in Egypt, or perish through unbelief. Water fhall become blood before their eyes, rather than the blood of their innocent children be poured out any more like water upon the ground.

And now, furely, Mofes is gained, and the work of God fhall no longer stand still. Alas! the fullen spirit is not yet fubdued. Though forced to retreat, he continues to fight as he retires. The flowness of Ifrael to believe, was formerly the plea; now his own want of talents is urged in excufe of his ftrange backwardness and difobedience. That objection too is immediately removed, by a promise of wisdom and eloquence fuited to the occafion. The language of the oracle, and the long-fuffering of the speaker, are miraculous and fupernatural, as all the other circumftances of the cafe. And the LORD faid unto him, VOL. III.



Who hath made man's mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the feeing, or the blind? Have not I the Lord? Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou fhalt fay."

"Wonder, O heavens, and be aftonished, O earth!" This, inftead of producing humble fubmiffion and inftantaneous compliance, without a reafon and without a plea, meets with a direct refufal; "O my Lord, fend I pray thee, by the hand of him whom thou wilt. fend." And now what heart does not tremble for fear, that the fire which had fpared the bufh, fhould wax hot, to punish the madness of the prophet? What patience can endure fuch a repetition of infult? The anger of the Lord was kindled against Mofes; andand what? O it becomes a flame of love to melt his

heart, and purify it of its dross. "The anger of the Lord was kindled against Mofes, and he faid, Is not Aaron the Levite thy brother? I know that he can speak well. And also behold, he cometh forth to meet thee; and when he feeth thee, he will be glad in his heart." Providence had all this while been preparing a concluding, a convincing proof of power, wifdom and goodness inconceivable. Lo, Aaron is already far advanced on his way from Egypt, in queft of his brother.

That, after fo long an interval, through a field of fo many chances, he fhould at that very inftant of time arrive-How is it to be accounted for? On no other principle but this, the Lord is "wonderful in counfel, and excellent in working." "He feeth the end from the beginning." He faith, "My counfel fhall stand, and I will fulfil all my pleasure." "He doth according to his will in the armies of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth." Let every knee bow, let every tongue confefs, let every heart adore and love and fubmit.

* Exodus iv. 11, 12.


Mofes is at length fubdued, and we ftand with aftonishment and joy to contemplate the triumph of mercy over judgment. God grant we may improve the example of his divine patience as a pattern. God in mercy preserve us from prefuming upon it, as an encouragement to offend. And may God blefs what has been spoken. Amen.

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History of Mofes.


EXODUS vi. 9.

And Mofes fpake fo unto the children of Ifrael; but they hearkened not unto Mofes, for anguifh of fpirit, and for cruel bondage.

EVERY nation has in its history events of peculiar importance, which latest posterity is difpofed fondly to commemorate. But the memory of remarkable deliverances is neceffarily blended with the recollection of heavy diftrefs or imminent danger, and whether as men, or as citizens, we greatly rejoice, by that very joy we exprefsly declare that we, or our fathers, once had caufe to mourn. Perpetual funshine fuits not the state of the natural world; perpetual fuccess is by no means favourable either to human happiness or virtue. Hunger is neceffary to give a relifh to food; the gloom of winter is the happieft recommendation of the cheerfulness and bloom of fpring. We difcover the value of health by difeafe; and the bleffings of peace would be but half understood, were it not for the antecedent anxieties and calamities of war. Men therefore act foolifhly as well as impioufly when they charge the wife, righteous and merciful Governor of the world, with carelefsnefs or unkindnefs, because he admits into the fyftem of his works, or into his moral government of the univerfe, what ignorance calls diforder, what prefumption cries down as unneceffary, and pride condemns as unjuft.


What fo irregular at first fight, and always fo to. the vulgar eye, as the face of the ftarry heavens? A handful of little sparks, fcattered at random in the air! But to the attentive, inquiring, enlightened fpirit, they present a vaft combination of worlds, each in its. place, every one moving in its proper orbit; the whole poffeffing every quality that can at once excite astonishment and infpire delight; greatnefs, order, beauty, harmony, utility! They prefent excellencies obvious to the flighteft obfervation of the most fhallow understanding; excellencies undifcoverable by the closest investigation of the most penetrating genius. Now, clownish thoughtlessnefs and stupidity is not more incompetent to judge of the order and frame of nature, than paffion and prejudice, by which all men are governed, are to determine upon the wifdom and goodness of the ways of Providence. Every man would have every thing bend to his humour, conveniency, indolence or intereft. This would produçe, were it permitted, endlefs confufion and mifery, did not God overrule and employ the activity and the indolence, the fenfelefs caprices and the jarring interefts of men to execute his purpofes, and without their intention, nay, in spite of their efforts, make them productive of regularity, ftability and happiness.

In contemplating, therefore, agents and events, thofe of which we have heard and read, or those which we fee and in which we are concerned, the only road to compofure and improvement is, to confider the whole as the work of a fupreme, intelligent, almighty, invisible Agent, who is carrying on a plan, which we comprehend not, or underftand only in part, and who, from all that we can know of him from nature, from experience and from revelation, takes delight in fhewing mercy and doing good, but who, in the exercife of even these gracious prerogatives, governs not himfelf by the partial lights, hafty conceptions and contracted views of ignorant, erring men, but by his own allcomprehending

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