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which lately publifhed the fhame of Midian, now proclaim the piety and gratitude of Ifrael; and become part of the facred treasury of the tabernacle. Every creature of God is good in itfelf, and intended to do good. Ufe the world fo as not to abufe it, and the Creator is glorified. Every day added to our life is as much a miracle of mercy, as the prefervation of every individual of the twelve thoufand in the day of battle. Let our gratitude declare itself in an habitual devotedness of heart and life, to the God of our life, and the length of our days; let us prefent our "bodies a living facrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is our reasonable fervice: and be transformed by the renewing of our mind, that we may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God."*
In the punishment inflicted on Midian, we behold a righteous God profecuting an injury done to Ifrael, as an infult offered to himfelf. And indeed every of fence against fociety is a direct attack of the divine. authority, which has fenced the perfon, the fame and the virtue of our neighbour on every fide, against all the affaults, whether of violence or deceit. The character and conduct, in connexion with the untimely end of the arch-feducer Balaam, are an awful and inftructive inftance of the juftice of God in making fignal guilt its own avenger, and furnish a striking illuftration of the obfervations made by the pfalmift and his wife fon "Behold he travaileth with iniquity, and hath conceived mifchief, and brought forth falfehood. He made a pit, and digged it, and is fallen into the ditch which he made. His mifchief fhall return upon his own head, and his violent dealing fhall come down upon his own pate. I will praife the Lord according to his righteoufnefs; and will fing praife to the name of the Lord most high." "The heathen are funk down in the pit that they made, in the net which they hid is their own foot taken. The Lord is known by
+ Pfal. vii. 14-17.
*Rom. xii. 1, 2.
the judgment which he executeth: the wicked is fnar-
-In the faint refiftance made by the Midianites to a force fo fmall, we behold the native tendency of vice to enfeeble and enervate. Sunk in effeminacy and floth, they are overcome as foon as attacked. Strong in cunning, they are deftitute of true wisdom, and defective in valour. The foe that affaults, that conquers them, is within. "The wicked flee when no man purfueth, but the righteous is bold as a lion." Addictednefs to the pleasures of fenfe gradually, though infenfibly, encroaches on all the nobler principles of our nature, undermines and fubverts them. Every fpring of the foul is relaxed through difufe; the bodily powers become languid, and the sluggish giant becomes an eafy prey to the active and vigorous child. Exercife your faculties, and they will increafe" and improve; neglect them, and they will quickly fall into utter decay. Fear God, maintain "a confcience void of offence," and bid defiance to what earth and hell can do against you.
-In the free-will offering of thefe grateful Ifraelites for protection and deliverance in the day of battle, behold a laudable example of attention to the ways of Providence, and of thankful acknowledgment of them. Let friends, after the days of feparation are at an end, after the hour of danger is past, reckon their numbers. Do they remain entire, not one milling, is no allay mingled with the joy of re-union? It was the hand of God that fupported; he " gave his angels charge concerning you." "He covered you with his feathers; his truth was your fhield and buckler; no evil befel you, no plague came nigh your dwell
*Pfal. ix. 15, 16.
Prov. v. 21—23
ing." "Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name; offer unto him thanksgiving, honour him with your fubftance;" prefent "the calves of your lips," the devotedness of your hearts, the obedience of your lives.
Does the punishment of this people appear to any rigorous and exceffive? Let them confider that they are very incompetent judges of God's moral government; that they fee but a few fcattered fragments of the vast scheme of Providence; that creatures themfelves ignorant, weak and criminal, must be much difqualified to "hold the balance and the rod ;" that every tranfgreffion of the divine law merits death; that "fools" only "make a mock at fin." Let the whole earth tremble before Him "who will by no means clear the guilty:" who has denounced "indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish against every foul of man that doth evil," while to the humble and contrite in heart, he proclaims his name, "The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-fuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth; keeping mercy for thoufands, forgiving iniquity, tranfgreffion and fin ;"*"visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, unto the third and fourth generation of them who hate him; but fhewing mercy to thousands of them that love him and keep his commandments."†
-In the leader and commander of Ifrael behold, once more, a man exalted far above all temporary, all selfish concerns; occupied only with the interests of truth and justice, the duties of his ftation, the profperity of his charge, the glory of Him who had conferred it upon him. In this last object his whole foul is abforbed. He walks already on air, and beholds. the world under his feet; but forgets not that he is yet in it, and that in every state, and at every period of existence, a rational being may promote, and ought
* Exod. xxxiv. 6, 7.
+ Exod. xx. 5, 6.
to be studying how he may best promote, the honour
History of Moses.
NUMBERS XXXV. 9—15.
And the Lord fpake unto Mofes, faying, Speak unto the children of Ifrael, and fay unto them, When ye be come over Jordan, into the land of Canaan, then ye fhall appoint you cities, to be cities of refuge for you; that the flayer may flee thither which killeth any perfon at unawares. And they fhall be unto you cities for refuge from the avenger; that the manflayer die not, until he Stand before the congregation in judgment. And of thefe cities which ye fhall give, fix cities fhall ye have for refuge. Ye fhall give three cities on this fide Jordan, and three cities fhall ye give in the land of Canaan, which fhall be cities of refuge. These fix cities fhall be a refuge, both for the children of Ifrael, and for the ftranger, and for the fojourner among them; that every one that killeth any perfon unawares may flee thither.
HUMAN laws are generally the refult of experience, not the provision of forefight. Occafion dictates the encouragement to be given, the restraint to be impofed, the punishment to be inflicted. The multiplication of new and extraordinary cafes, muft of course fwell the statute book; through change of circumftances fome inftitutes muft fink into difuse and oblivion, and others rife into existence and force. Hence the variety, the oppofition, the contradiction of different