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has not given thee, my friend, the promise of. Let us now turn our eyes to the struggle riches; but he has given thee, what is much in the valley below. There we meet " the better, the spirit of grace and supplication to confused noise of the warrior, and garments form thy soul to contentment. You have no rolled in blood :" the alternate shouts of acsecurity against pain and sorrow; but you clamation and triumph, mingling with the have that which produces patience and for- piercing shrieks of the wounded, and the titude. You cannot promise yourself long groans of the dying. Israel, now hurrying life; but habitual intercourse with God by on to victory, and anon flying before the inprayer, overcomes the fear of death.
sulting foe. The event for a while is awfully Glorious privilege! Whatever my situa- in doubt ; turning upon the strength and tion in life be, here is something to improve feebleness, not of thousands, but of one sinit, if good; something to mend it, if evil. gle arm; decided at length, not by the edge Here is the ornament and essence of pros- of the sword, but the elevation or depression perity, the cure and cordial of adversity. ; of a rod; and that rod swayed, not by the Here is the guardian and the guide of life; skill and prowess of Joshua, but the firmness the sweetener and subduer of death. Prayer and devotion of Moses. brings all the glorious perfections of Deity But now, doubt and anxiety are at an end. into our possession. "If any of you lack The hands of Moses are propped up, and Iswisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to rael finally prevails. And what heart save all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it that of an Amalekite but must rejoice in the shall be given him."* “ When I am weak, issue? “ The cunning is taken in his own then am I strong"." for I can do all things craftiness.”. A design of violence and blood through Christ which strengtheneth me.' falls upon the head of him that contrived it. Is the thorn not removed, the messenger of The righteous and innocent cause bears down Satan not rebuked, though the Lord be thrice pride and cruelty. We behold the destinabesought that they may depart? No matter. tion of heaven standing good, the birthright Is it not said, “ My grace is sufficient for sold away, the blessing anticipated; the elthee: for my strength is made perfect in der made subject to the younger. " God is weakness? Most gladly, therefore will I wise in heart, and mighty in strength : who rather glory in my infirmities, that the pow- hath hardened himself against him and hath er of Christ may rest upon me.”+
But where are the hands which never Israel has conquered. But it is impossible hang down? Those of Moses himself be- to mistake the means by which he has gotten came heavy. “The spirit indeed is willing, the victory. “ The hand of the Lord, and but the flesh is weak," Fatal omen to Israel: his holy arm, they have gotten him the vicAmalek instantly gains the ascendant. But tory." The altar, therefore, which was built happily, Moses was not alone in the mount: to celebrate this signal success, shall by its “And they took a stone, and put it under name perpetuate the remembrance of God him, and he sat thereon; and Aaron and Hur the deliverer. Jehovah-Nissi, “ the Lord stayed up his hands, the one on the one side, my banner," was inscribed upon it by the and the other on the other side; and his divine appointment; and a reason is assigned hands were steady until the going down of in the sixteenth verse. “ For he said, Bethe sun." “As iron sharpeneth iron, so a cause the Lord hath sworn that the Lord man sharpeneth the countenance of his will have war with Amalek from generation friend;" and so devotion kindles and keeps to generation.” alive devotion. Secret prayer, like the me These words, having been variously renlody of one sweet-toned voice stealing upon dered, have given occasion to various opithe ear, gently wafts the soul to heaven: nions among interpreters. Some read the social worship, as a full chorus of harmonized passage thus, " Because the hand of Amalek sounds, pierces the sky, and raises a great is against the throne of the Lord, the Lord multitude of kindred spirits to the bright re- will have war with Amalek from generation gions of everlasting love, and places them to generation.". This reading resolves the together before the throne of God. How guilt of Amalek, not_into an insidious and happy are Aaron and Hur, in lending this cruel design against Israel, but into a rash aid to the wearied hands of Moses, and to the and impious attempt to defeat the plan of declining interest of the Israel of God! How Providence, which was to bring Israel into happy is Moses. in being thus supported ! the quiet possession of Canaan, and to exalt But there is an Intercessor whose hands never that nation, favoured of God but envied of hang down, whose fervour never cools, whose man, to wealth, power, and empire. God mediation never fails, whose attention is therefore was pleased to vindicate in person never relaxed. “We have an advocate with the cause which was his own, and to write the Father, Jesus Christ, the righteous.” disappointment and a curse upon every plan Jim “the Father heareth always:" "as a which Amalek could form, of greatness and Prince he hath power and prevaileth.” prosperity. So“ fearful a thing it is to fall Jamos t. 5. 2 Cor. xii.
* Job ix. 4.
into the hands of the living God,” so danger- sent me to anoint thee to be king over his ous to form a combination against the Lord, people, over Israel ; now therefore hearken and against his anointed, saying, Let us thou unto the voice of the words of the Lord. break their bands asunder, and cast away Thus saith the Lord of hosts, I remember their cords from us. He that sitteth in the that which Amalek did to Israel ; how he heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have laid wait for him in the way when he came them in derision."*
up from Egypt. Now go, and smite Amalek, Others literally translate the words thus, and utterly destroy all that they have, and “ With the hand upon the throne of the Lord, spare them not; but slay both man and wohe hath sworn that he will have war with man, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, Amalek from generation to generation." He, camel and ass. .** This order Saul obeyed that is, Moses, hath sworn, with the most but in part. He assumed and exercised a awful solemnities, and recorded the oath in dispensing power, and it became a snare to a book for perpetual preservation, that there him. He took Agag the king of the Amashall be no peace between Israel and Amalek lekites alive; and reserved the best of the till he be utterly destroyed. The hand which spoil. The prophet is sent of God to reprove was extended towards heaven, the throne of his disobedience; which Saul attempting to the great and terrible God, with the rod in palliate, brings down this censure upon his it; the instrument of a victory which was head. “ When thou wast little in thine own interrupted by the going down of the sun, sight, wast thou not made the head of the has been lifted up, to “ swear by him that tribes of Israel, and the Lord anointed thee liveth forever," that the triumph of that day king over Israel ? And the Lord sent thee shall be followed up, till the hated name of on a journey, and said, Go, and utterly deAmalek be extinguished from under heaven. stroy the sinners, the Amalekites, and fight
Some make Jehovah himself to be the per- against them until they be consumed. Whereson who binds himself by this solemn oath. fore then didst thou not obey the voice of the “ The hand,” that is, Jehovah's own hand, Lord, but didst fly upon the spoil, and didst upon the throne of the Lord. “ Because he evil in the sight of the Lord. And Samuel could swear by no greater, he hath sworn by said, Hath the Lord as great delight in burnthimself, that He will have war with Amalek offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the from generation to generation.” We have voice of the Lord ? Behold, to obey is better a prophesy in the mouth of Balaam to the than sacrifice; and to hearken, than the fat same effect; “ And when he looked on Ama- of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchlek, he took up his parable and said, Amalek craft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and was the first of the nations, but his latter end idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the shall be that he perish forever."'
word of the Lord, he hath also rejected thee The execution of this dreadful sentence from being king.”+ Has God commanded was reserved to the days of Samuel, four to destroy? Who shall presume to save ? hundred and twelve years after; and was Has he commanded to spare? Who dares committed to Saul, who, through an impolitic destroy?" I say unto you, be not afraid of and sinful lenity, failed to fulfil the design of them that kill the body, and after that have Providence, and thereby incurred the dis- no more that they can do. But I will forepleasure of Heaven, and forfeited his life and warn you whom you shall fear: fear him, crown by his disobedience. I transcribe the which, after he hath killed, hath power to passage.
cast into hell: yea, I say unto you, fear “ Samuel also said unto Saul, The Lord him.”I
* Psalm ii. 24 † Numb. xxiv. 20. * 1 Sam. xv. 1-3. f 1 Sam. IV. 17, &c 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 unio 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 band
of Pharaoh, who hath delivered the people from under the hand of the Egyptians. Now I know thas the Lord is greater than all gods: for, in the thing wherein they dealt proudly, he was above thein, 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. The very structure of the sacred componas evidently in view the pleasure and hap- sitions is inimitably calculated, by a beautitul piness, as well as the wisdom and virtue of and easy transition from subject to subject, his rational creatures. We find, through the and from scene to scene, to relieve and yet widely expanded frame of nature, and the to preserve the attention: presenting always extensive plan of Providence, as many a new and interesting object, or the same sources of joy as there are means of improve-object placed in a new and interesting light ment. What an infinite, beautiful, and Thus the tumultuous, noisy, and bloody pleasing variety in the works and in the scenes of Horeb and Rephidim-scenes of ways of God! all ministering to human com- murmuring, rebellion, and war, are happily fort, all aiming at making men good. The relieved by scenes of domestic tranquil. mind of man is formed to desire and to relish lity, love, and joy; and we are prepared to variety. The objects with which he is con- attend Moses, to meet God in the mount, versant are therefore varied without end, to by mixing in the virtuous, cheerful, and gratify that desire, and to correspond with affectionate intercourse of his private fathat relish. The glare of perpetual sunshine mily. and the fervid heat of an eternal summer, Let us then thankfully take the relief would speedily oppress and destroy mankind : which a gracious God has in his word probut, relieved by the tranquillity of darkness, vided for us; and contemplate one of those the freshness of spring, the sedateness of au- calm, but neither uninteresting nor unintumn, and even the gloom of winter, they structive representations of human life, which become no less grateful than they are bene- come home to the bosom and the fireside of ficial. In surveying the globe, the eye is not every man who has a heart, who has a relapermitted to tire by having to crawl along a tion, who has a friend. boundless plain; but sparkles with delight as The history of Moses now looks back, and it springs from valley to valley, and from hill reminds us of his being “a stranger in a to hill. And even the glories of the starry strange land:" namely, of his fleeing from heavens are rendered still more glorious by Egypt into Midian, of his arriving there, conbeing kept in continual motion; and there- ducted of Providence, just at the moment to by are made continually to exhibit a differ- render a seasonable service to the daughters ent appearance.
of Raguel, or Jethro, the priest of Midian; The events of human lịfe, for the same of the hospitable reception afforded him by reason, are endlessly variegated like the that worthy man, and of the alliance which objects of sense. Wretched were the dull he formed with him, by marrying his daughstagnation of constant prosperity, success, ter Zipporah. Upon his being called back and ease. Intolerable would be the agitation to Egypt to undertake the weighty charge and distress of unceasing, unabating, unre- which God had assigned him, he had intendlenting toil, pain, disappointment, and vexa- ed and attempted to carry his wife and chil. tion of spirit. But, one thing being set over dren along with him. But being reproved against another, the great, the prosperous, of God by the way for neglecting in his own and the happy are forever admonished, re- family the rite of circumcision, the seal of proved, and brought low; the poor, the de- God's covenant, and, either specially admospised, and the miserable are cheered, sup- nished from Heaven, or following the dicported, and exalted.
tates of human prudence, he sends them all The word of God exhibits a resemblance back to his father-in-law, as likely to prove to the system of nature, and to the conduct either a burden or a hindrance to himself, in of Providence. In it we have the same the discharge of his great trust. For true pleasing, engaging variety; the same happy piety, while it reposes entire confidence in accommodation to the tastes, occasions, and God, will never presumptuously load Provinecessities of mankind. The antiquarian dence with what is the proper work and and the naturalist, the politician and the le- business of man. Diligence and foresight, gislator, the poet and the philosopher, the as well as faith and hope, are its genuine moralist and the divine, the man of retire- offspring. But the tempest being now blown incnt and the man of the world, the man of over, and Moses, of a messenger and a supreason and the man of fancy, all find in scrip- pliant unto Pharaoh, being now become the ture an helper toward the discovery of truth, head and leader of a great nation, it was naand the attainment of happiness; a guide to tural for him and for his family mutually to the understanding, a corrector and supporter desire to be restored to each other. Jethro, of the imagination, a comforter of the heart, therefore, having received information where o teacher of wisdom, a rule of faith, a source Israel was, and what the Lord had done for of joy.
them, takes his daughter and grandchildren,
and carries them with him to the camp of Public men have too often two difierent chaIsrael.
racters. Plausible and specious, humble, moThe innocent endearments of natural af dest, and insinuating before the world, they fection, and the honest communications of are self-willed and tyrannical, confident, asprivate friendship, are graciously intended suming, and brutal in private; they often to alleviate the cares of public life, and to fawn where they fear, and domineer where strengthen the mind by diverting it from in- they have power. Not so the meek and gencessant and intense application to serious tle prophet and judge of Israel. He waits business. No man can always be a general, not in state till his relations are admitted to a statesman, or a king. And happy it is for pay their homage. He reckons it nothing those who occupy these exalted but trouble- derogatory to his high dignity to go forth to some stations, that they are frequently per- pay the respect due to age; and to humble mitted to sink the public in the private cha- the son, however high in place, at the feet of racter, and to drop the hero, the senator, the the parent. “ And Moses went out to meet judge, the sovereign, in the man.
his father-in-law, and did obeisance, and kissDistance has not alienated affection be- ed him; and they asked each other of their tween the man of God and his family. A welfare; and they came into the tent.” Were slighter affection is effaced and destroyed by it after the separation of but a day, friends absence; a stronger love is confirmed and have a thousand questions to ask, a thousand inflamed by it. Good old Jethro satisfies not little incidents to relate: about their health, himself with sending by the mouth of ano- their entertainment, their dangers, their dether a compliment of congratulation to his liverances; about the observations which son-in-law; neither will he permit Zipporah they have made, the projects they may have and her sons to go unaccompanied, unpro- formed. What must it then have been for tected through the wilderness; but, aged two such friends, for such a father and son, and infirm as he was, chooses himself to be after a separation of many months, during their companion and their protector. which, events of such high moment to both
Moses seems to take delight in delivering had taken place, to meet together again in to us this passage of his life. He is amiably health and comfort, to communicate mutual. minute and circumstantial in the detail of it. ly the full soul, to retire into the tent, to shut He dwells upon the tender and affecting re- out the world, and give vent to the overflowcollections of sorrows and of joys that are ings of tenderness and affection! past. His heart is in it. He stops in his nar And with what a subject of conversation ration to tell us the names of his two sons, are they furnished; “And Moses told his faand his reason for giving them those names. ther-in-law all that the Lord had done untc “The name of the one was Gershom: for he Pharaoh, and to the Egyptians, for Israel's said, I have been an alien in a strange land: sake, and all the travail that had come upon and the name of the other was Eliezer; for them by the way, and how the Lord delivered the God of my fathers, said he, was mine help, them.” The most trifling incidents which and delivered me from the sword of Pharaoh." befall a brother, a friend, a child, are interIs this beneath the dignity of history, of sa- esting and important. What must then have cred history? No, it is the most honourable been the emotions of Jethro to hear the wonprovince of history, to exhibit the honest, un- ders of Egypt, to learn the great things of sophisticated feelings of nature, the genuine God, astonishing in themselves, and acquirworkings of the human heart, the real, though ing an additional weight, creating a new inhumbler scenes of human life. What signi- terest, from the person who related them, and fies to us the meeting of two old men three who was himself so deeply concerned in the thousand three hundred years ago? Much event? every way. One of them is a Moses, and But the good man is elevated, as he wonthat Moses is describing his own sentiments, dering listens to the wonderful tale, above all unveiling his own heart. He can serve as personal and selfish regards, above the paran instructer and an example to none, in re- tiality of private friendship, above the tenderspect of the prophetic dignity, as the bearer ness of natural affection. His heart dilates of the potent rod, as the man whose face shone, at the thought of a whole nation delivered, by forty days' intimate communion with God. of a tyrant trampled in the dust, of the power, He can instruct but a few, by his wisdom and wisdom, and mercy of God magnified. “ And sagacity as a prince and a lawgiver. But as Jethro rejoiced for all the goodness which a son, a husband, and a father, he is a pattern the Lord had done to Israel; whom he had to myriads, and shall continue to teach to the delivered out of the hands of the Egyptians. end of the world.
And Jethro said, Blessed be the Lord, who How pleasant it is to find this great man hath delivered you out of the hand of the the same in retirement and privacy that he is Egyptians, and out of the hand of Pharaoh, upon the great theatre; and delineating a who hath delivered the people from under battle, a triumph, and a family meeting, with the hand of the Egyptians. Now I know that the same siinplicity and godly sincerity ! the Lord is greater than all gods; for in the
thing wherein they dealt proudly he was unafraid of being overlooked, neglected, and above them.”
forgotten in the multitude of the redeemed, This friendly interview issues in a solemn, who there live, and reign, and“ rejoice, with religious service, in which Aaron and all the joy unspeakable and full of glory." elders of Israel are called to assist. What a Observe how even a Moses may err in an blessed influence has true religion, in conci- excess of zeal, through ignorance, inexperiliating kindness and confirming friendship! ence, or inattention. Desirous of doing good When men cordially agree in the same glo- | by administering justice impartially, he cares rious object of worship, the little peculiarities not what trouble and labour it may cost himof form will not obstruct the mutual attrac- self. The service of fear or of necessity is tion of brotherly love. Prejudice will droop slow, reluctant, partial, and imperfect; the and die, and charity will draw a veil over its labour of love is cheerful, active, and perseneighbour's singularities and imperfections. vering: Moses is in the way of his duty earHappy the family whose union is cemented ly and late. If the public be served faithfulby piety; the family whose happiness and ly, if equity be dispensed, if God be glorified, peace are built upon the love of God; whose he is willing to spend and to be spent in such employments, communications, and pursuits a cause. “And Moses said unto his fatherare improved and sanctified by prayer! in-law, because the people come unto me to
Due attention having been paid to the calls inquire of God: when they have a matter, of hospitality, the dictates of private friend- they come unto me; and I judge between one ship, and the demands of filial duty, Moses and another, and I do make them know the reverts next day betimes to the discharge of statutes of God, and his laws."* the duties of his public station. The time, We have seen Jethro in the character of the talents of the minister of God are not his a pious man, an affectionate neighbour, and own, they belong to mankind. Superficial ob- a kind relation. We see him now blending servers who consider but the eminence of the with these excellent qualities the character place which a magistrate fills, the robe which of an able statesman and sagacious politician. he wears, the respect with which he is at. There is no man so wise as not to need intended, look up to him with envy, and call him struction, and none so simple as to be incablessed. They think not of the thousand sa- pable of sometimes giving advice. Jethro crifices which he his constrained to make of plainly perceived, that the course of life his ease, of his inclination, of his health, of which his son-in-law was pursuing must soon his natural propensities, of his private attach- prove fatal to him. That, by attempting ments. They talk of the honours and emo what was beyond his strength to bear or perluments of his office, but they overlook his form, he was in the way of quickly rendering anxious days, his painful toils, his sleepless himself unable to do any thing at all. He nights, the causeless hatred which he incurs, therefore proposes a subdivision of the toil, the unprovoked insults which he must bear, by the appointment of proper men to the and must not resent, the surrender which he office of judge, who might try and determine must make of solid and substantial felicity, the causes of less importance, and apply to and the exchange of real and certain tran- Moses, and to God, through him, only in quillity, for uncertain usefulness or precari- matters of high moment, and as the last reous reputation. Who would not be Moses, sort. Thus Moses would be greatly relieved, to sit on high and judge the people? But many good men would be trained up to the who would be Moses, to have the people stand useful, honourable and important employment by him for judgment, “from the morning to of judging between his brethren, and the the evening!"
people meanwhile sustain no damage. The obscure part of mankind are little sen The qualities which he points out as requisible what they owe to Providence for their site to constitute this character, show how obscurity. They can go out and come in un- carefully he had considered the subject, and noticed. They can go to rest when they will, how well fitted he was to advise in a matter and continue it as long as they please. They of this kind. Let those who have the appointhave no vigilant, jealous, envious eye over ment of judges study well what he says, and them. They are free from the dreadful con- act accordingly. "Thou shalt provide out of flict of inclination and duty, of interest and all the people able men, such as fear God, men conscience, of reverence for God, and respect of truth, hating covetousness: and place such for man. They can enjoy their families and over them, to be rulers of thousands, and friends. What they have, however little, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers they can call their own. What, compared of tens." to these, and such advantages as these, is the The first requisite in a judge, according ermine cloak, the ivory sceptre, the gem-en- to Jethro, is ability. He must be a man of circled crown? Rejoice, 0 man, that the sense, penetration, and discernment. Because world knows thee not, cares not for thee, con- with the best intentions, a stupid, weak, or descends not to trouble thy repose. Creep dissipated man, will be apt to err in judgment; Why way silently, I beseech thee, to heaven; * Exod. xviii. 15, 16. | Ver, 21