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crooked generation. Do ye thus requite the Lord, O foolish people and unwife? is not he thy Father that hath bought thee? hath he not made thee, and established thee ?" *
Finally, this long, this inftructive, this powerful farewel fermon of the man of God, contains predictions clear, pointed and strong, of the fearful judgments which should overtake that finful people, and involve them and their posterity in utter deftruction. Many learned men, and not without the greatest appearance of reason, have fuppofed that the fpirit of prophecy by the mouth of Mofes has foretold the final diffolution of the Jewish government, and their difperfed, reproachful, defpifed state to this day, until the time of their restoration to the divine favour, and their re-establishment under the bond of the new and everlasting covenant, "a covenant established on better promises, ordered in all things and fure." This idea feems juftified by the following and fimilar prophetic denunciations. "Of the rock that begat thee thou art unmindful, and haft forgotten God that formed thee. And when the Lord faw it, he abhorred them, because of the provoking of his fons, and of his daughters. And he faid, I will hide my face from them, I will fee what their end fhall be: for they are a very froward generation, children in whom is no faith. They have moved me to jealoufy with that which is not God; they have provoked me to anger with their vanities: and I will move them to jealousy with those which are not a people, I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation. For a fire is kindled in my anger, and fhall burn unto the lowest hell, and fhall confume the earth with her increase, and set on fire the foundations of the mountains. I will heap mischiefs upon them, I will spend mine arrows upon them. They fhall be burned with hunger, and devoured with burning heat, and with bitter deftruction: I will alfo fend the teeth of beafts VOL. V.
* Deut. xxxii. 5, 6.
upon them, with the poifon of ferpents of the duft. The fword without, and terror within fhall destroy both the young man and the virgin, the fuckling al, fo, with the man of grey hairs. I faid I would fcatter them into corners, I would make the remembrance of them to ceafe from among men.' Is not this laid up in ftore with me, and fealed up among my treasures? To me belongeth vengeance, and recompenfe; their foot fhall flide in due time: for the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things that fhall come upon them make hafte. For the Lord fhall judge his people, and repent himself for his fervants; when he feeth that their power is gone, and there is none fhut up, or left. And he fhall fay, Where are their gods, their rock in whom they trufted, which did eat the fat of their facrifices, and drank the wine of their drink-offerings? Let them rife up, and help you, and be your protection. See now that I, even I am he, and there is no God with me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal: neither is there any that can deliver out of my hand. For I lift up my hand to heaven, and fay, I live forever. If I whet my glittering fword, and mine hand take hold on judgment; I will render vengeance to mine enemies, and will reward them that hate me. I will make mine arrows drunk with blood, and my fword fhall devour flesh; and that with the blood of the flain, and of the captives from the beginning of revenges upon the enemy." But the time to favour revolted, returning Ifrael, fhall come at length; and together with them the time to irradiate and deliver "the nations which were fitting in darkness, and in the region and fhadow of death;" and the prophetic foul of Mofes haftens forward to conclude the facred fong, with a grand chorus of harmonious voices, the voices of the ranfomed of the Lord from every nation, every kindred and tribe, rejoicing together in one common falvation: "Rejoice, O ye nations, with his people:
*Deut. xxxii. 18-26.
+ Deut. xxxii. 34—42,
ple: for he will avenge the blood of his fervants, and will render vengeance to his adverfaries, and will be merciful unto his land, and to his people."*
How powerfully muft all this have been impreffed on the hearts of his audience by the fight of their venerable inftructor, bending under the weight of "an hundred and twenty years:" exhausted by labours performed in the public fervice, no longer capable of "going out and coming in ;" excluded by the inflexible decree of Heaven from any part or lot in the land of promife; lying under the bitter fentence of impending death; his power and glory departing, and paffing before his eyes to the hand of another! Why are not impreffions of this fort more lafting, and more efficient? Shall "the righteous perifh, and no man lay it to heart?" Is "the merciful man taken away, and will none confider?" "The righteous is taken away from the evil to come." By his departure the earth is impoverished, but heaven is enriched. Remove the veil, and behold him "entering into peace:" "they fhall reft in their beds, each one walking in his uprightness." I hear a voice from heaven, saying, "Write, Bleffed are the dead which die in the Lord, from henceforth: yea, faith the Spirit, that they may reft from their labours; and their works do follow them."t
* Deut. xxxii. 43.
+ Rev. xiv. 13.
History of Moses.
DEUTERONOMY xxxi. 7, 8.
And Mofes called unto Joshua, and said unto him in the fight of all Ifrael, Be Strong, and of a good courage: for thou must go with this people unto the land which the Lord hath fworn unto their fathers to give them ; and thou shalt cause them to inherit it. And the Lord, he it is that doth go before thee, he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forfake thee; fear not, neither be difmayed.
Is it not a prefumption and a prefentiment of immortality, that men naturally feel, defign and act as if they were immortal? In life we are in the midst of death; but it is equally true, that in the very jaws of death, we live; and fondly dream of living longer. Let the fatal moment come when it will, it comes to break into fome fcheme we hoped to execute, to interrupt fome work we had begun, to disappoint fome purpose we had adopted. The warnings of diffolution which are fent to others, we feem to understand and feel better than thofe which are addreffed to ourfelves. One man is under fentence of condemnation, another labours under an incurable difeafe; one is daily expofing his life to jeopardy in the high places of the field, another putting the knife of intemperance
to his throat every hour: this man has completed his feventieth year, and his neighbour has lived to fee his children's children of the third and fourth generation.
These are all fymptoms equally mortal, but none takes the alarm to himself every one is concerned for his neighbour's cafe, and flatters himself his own is not quite fo defperate. The wretch condemned to death, Toothes his foul to reft with the hope of a pardon, and laments the certain doom of his confumptive acquaintance: the declining man, with his foot in the grave, pities and prays for the unhappy creature who muft fuffer on Wednesday fe'nnight. The foldier braves the death that is before his eyes in a thousand dreadful forms, in the prefumption of victory; and the voluptuary thanks his kinder ftars that he is likely to fleep in a found skin. The man of feventy reckons upon fourfcore; and ten years in profpect are a kind of eternity; and the grandfire amufes himself with the hope of feeing his grandchildren fettled in the world. Thus the pleafing illufion goes on and men are dead, indeed, before they had any apprehen, fion of dying.
The thoughtless and impious infenfibility with which many advance to their latter end, is not more mournful and diftreffing, than the steadiness and compofure of piety and habitual preparation are pleafing and inftructive. Bleffed is the ftate of that man to whom life is not a burden, nor death a terror, who has "a defire to depart and to be with Chrift," but is willing to continue in the flesh," for the glory of God, and the good of men; who neither quits his station and duty in life in fullen difcontent, nor cleaves to the enjoyments of this world, as one who has no hope beyond the grave.
But the cup of death, to the best of men, contains many bitter ingredients. Even to Mofes it was far from being unmixed. To the natural horror of dying was fuperadded, the fenfe of divine difpleafure; a