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He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord
Some make Jehovah himself to be the person who binds himself by this solemn oath. “The hand,” that is, Jehovah's own hand, upon the throne of the Lord. " Because he could swear by no greater, he hath sworn by himself, that He will have war with Amalek from generation to generation.” We have a prophecy in the mouth of Balaam to the same effect; “ And when he looked on Amalek, he took up his parable, and said, Amalek was the first of the nations, but his latter end shall be that he perish for ever,” Numb. xxiv. 20.
The execution of this dreadful sentence was reserved to the days of Samuel, four hundred and twelye years after; and was committed to Saul, who through an impolitic and sinful lenity, failed to fulfil the design of Providence, and thereby incurred the displeasure of Heaven, and forfeited his life and crown by his disobedience. I transcribe the passage.
u Samuel also said unto Saul, The Lord sent me to anoint thee to be king over his people, over Israel: now therefore hearken thou unto the voice of the words of the Lord. Thus saith the Lord of hosts, I remember that which Amalek did to Israel; how he laid wait
for him in the way, when he came up from Egypt. Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass,” i Sam. xv. 1, 2, 3. This order Saul obeyed but in part. He assumed and exercised a dispensing power, and it became a snare to him. He took Agag the king of the Amalekites alive; and reserved the best of the spoil. The prophet is sent of God to reprove his disobedience; which Saul attempting to palliate, brings down this censure upon his head. “ When thou wast little in thine own sight, wast thou not made the head of the tribes of Israel, and the Lord anointed thee king over Israel? And the Lord sent thee on a journey, and said, Go, and utterly destroy the sinners, the Amalekites, and fight against them until they be consumed. Wherefore then didst thou not obey the voice of the Lord, but didst fly upon the spoil, and didst evil in the sight of the Lord? *And Samuel said, Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt-offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice; and to hearken, than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, he hath also rejected thee from being king,” 1 Sam. xv. 17, &c. Has God commanded to destroy? Who shall presume to save? Has he commanded to spare? Who dares destroy? “ I say unto you, be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will forwarn you whom you shall fear: fear him, which, after he hath killed, hath power to cast into hell: yea, I say unto you, fear him," Luke xii. 4, 5.
HISTORY OF MOSES.
And Moses went out to meet his father-in-law, and did
obeisance, and kissed him: and they asked each other of their welfare: and they came into the tent And Moses told his father-in-law all that the Lord had done unto Pharaoh, and to the Egyptians for Israel's sake, and all the travail that had come upon them by the way, and how the Lord delivered them. And Jethro rejoiced for all the goodness which the Lord had done to Israel, whom he had delivered out of the hand of the Egyptians. And Jethro said, Blessed be the Lord, who hath delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians, and out of the hand of Pharaoh, who hath
deli. vered the people
from under the hand of the Egyptians. Now I know that the Lord is greater than all gods: for in the thing wherein they dealt proudly, he was above them. And Jethro, Moses's father-in-law, took a burnt-offering and sacrifices for God: and Aaron came, and all the elders of Israel to eat bread with Moses's father-in-law before God.—Exodus xviii. 7-12.
THE great Author and Ruler of the world has evidently in view the pleasure and happiness, as well as the wisdom and virtue of his rational creatures. We find through the widely expanded frame of nature, and the extensive plan of Providence, as many sources of joy as there are means of improvement. What an infinite, beautiful and pleasing variety in the works and in the ways of God! all ministering to human comfort, all aiming at making men good. The mind of man is formed to desire and relish variety. The objects with which he is conversant are therefore varied without end, to gratify that desire, and to correspond with that relish.
The glare of perpetual sunshine and the fervid heat of an eternal summer, would speedily oppress and destroy mankind: but, relieved by the tranquillity of darkness, the freshness of spring, the sedateness of autumn, and even the gloom of winter, they be. come no less grateful than they are beneficial. In surveying the globe, the eye is not permitted to tire by having to crawl along a boundless plain; but sparkles with delight as it springs from valley to valley, and from hill to hill
. And even the glories of the starry heavens are rendered still more glorious by being kept in continual motion; and thereby are made continually to exhibit a different appearance.
The events of human life, for the same reason, are endlessly variegated like the objects of sense. Wretched were the dull stagnation of constant prosperity, sục. cess and ease. Intolerable would be the agitation and distress of unceasing, unabating, unrelenting toil, pain, disappointment and vexation of spirit. But, one thing being set over against another, the great, the prosper. ous and the happy are for ever admonished, reproved and brought low; the poor, the despised and the miserable are cheered, supported and exalted. The word of God exhibits a resemblance to the
system of nature, and to the conduct of Providence. 'In it we have the same pleasing, engaging variety; the same happy accommodation to the tastes, occasions and necessities of mankind. The antiquarian and the naturalist, the politician and the legislator, the poet and the philosopher, the moralist and the divine, the man of retirement and the man of the world, the man of reason and the man of fancy, all find in scripture an helper toward the discovery of truth, and the attainment of happiness; a guide to the understanding, á corrector and supporter of the imagination, a com. forter of the heart, a teacher of wisdom, a rule of faith, a source of joy.
The very structure of the sacred compositions is inimitably calculated, by a beautiful and easy transition from subject to subject, and from scene to scene, to relieve and yet to preserve the attention; presenting always a new and interesting object, or the same object placed in a new and interesting light. Thus the tumultuous, noisy and bloody scenes of Horeb and Re. phidim-scenes of murmuring, rebellion and war, are happily relieved by scenes of domestic tranquillity, love and joy; and we are prepared to attend Moses, to meet God in the mount, by mixing in the virtuous, cheerful and affectionate intercourse of his private family.
Let us then thankfully take the relief which a graci. ous God has in his word provided for us; and contemplate one of those calm, but neither uninteresting nor uninstructive representations of human life, which come home to the bosom and the fire side of every man who has a heart, who has a relation, who has a friend.
The history of Moses now looks back, and reminds us of his being “a stranger in a strange land;" namely, of his fleeing from Egypt into Midian, of his arrive ing there, conducted of Providence, just at the moment to render a seasonable service to the daug ter of Raguel, or Jethro, the priest of Midian; of the hospitable reception afforded him by that worthy man, and of the alliance which he formed with him, by marrying his daughter Zipporah. Upon his being called back to Egypt to undertake the weighty charge which God had assigned him, he had intended and attempt ed to carry his wife and children along with him. But being reproved of God by the way for neglecting in his own family the right of circumcision, the seal of God's covenant, and, either specially admonished from