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for their instruction, that the being, superintendence, mercies, and deliverances of their God, might be held in perpetual remembrance.* Such a state of mind could alone proceed from a consciousness that he was under a divine direction ; and from a confident expectation that the
purposes of the Almighty would ultimately be accomplished. The same principles of true religion and morality were conspicuous in his successors, Joshua, Samuel, and other men of piety; and in the numerous prophets, who were raised
at different periods, to make known the counsels of God, to exhort, to threaten, to encourage; and in whom all the energies of the soul were manifestly engaged to promote true religion and piety; and although they were revered by their enemies for personal courage, and high integrity, they were frequently exposed to their severest resentments, Who would have undertaken such a cause under such circumstances, if he were not conscious that his commission was from above?
In a word, the whole history of this ancient people clearly demonstrates, that pure religion,
, and the strictest morality, constitute the basis of the Jewish dispensation. These are the principles which take the lead and pervade every part. In all institutions merely human, religion is considered merely as a secondary object, and as subservient to the purposes of civil policy; here it is primary. To fear God and keep bis commandments, is the grand, the universal principle, towards which every thing is directed. Civil government itself is made subordinate to it. Every event, natural or preternatural; every situation, prosperous or adverse; every human action, meritorious or culpable, contributes something towards the final triumph of true religion. This one principle operates, and the same plan is pursued through a long series of ages. Its perpetual operation demanded the - instrumentality of men, of similar characters and dispositions, at periods most distant from each other; that they should be influenced by motives, infinitely superior to those which usually stimulate to action, and that these should conspire to answer a purpose in which the principal agents had no personal concern. If the senti ments of religion, which we acknowledge to be most rational, were merely the dreams of individuals, how came Moses, Joshua, Samuel, at one period to dream of its importance, and nuinerous prophets at subsequent and very distant periods, to take up the delusion, and continue dreaming for the good of mankind, while the
* See Deut. xxxi. & xxxii.
rld around them was awake to consummate lorance !! Shall we suppose that these various astellations were self-created, and undesignly composed a whole, as Atheists say the sun is formed, or shall we acknowledge the unreitted agency of a wise and beneficent power? t common sense decide.--Again, A person much less sagacious than Moses ould have foreseen the insuperable difficulties ttendant upon such an enterprise; nor would he ave encountered them without dependance ipon superior aid. Had the thought been suggested by ambition, it would have been abanloned through despair. This Chief perceived the difficulties in all their magnitude. It was a consciousness that he was under the divine impulse which alone could subdue his extreme repugnance; and he confesses that miracles were necessary to implant the conviction. His advanced age, for he was EIGHTY YEARS OLD when the Lord appeared unto him; his long habits of peaceful retirement in the bosom of his family ;- for he had lived with Jethro his father-in-law forty years in the character of an husbandman his want of natural powers, which he urged in vain ;-the discouragements of his early attempts, by which the burdens of the Hebrews were augmented, and he be came unpopular among them; these united with the exquisite wisdom with which the difficult task was afterwards accomplished, secure this great law-giver from the imputation of being a forward ambitious adventurer, an impostor, or a visionary enthusiast.
The minute and circumstantial narrative given us, by this historian, of the release of the Hebrews from their state of bondage, and of the various miracles he was enabled to perform, bears all the internal marks of a genuine history. The reluctance of the Egyptian king to relinquish his dominion over such a multitude of useful slaves; and the slow progressive manner in which this reluctance was finally subdued, present us with so exact a statement of the natural workings of the human mind, during every part of the alleged process, that it bears upon it the stamp of truth, not to be counterfeited. Upon his first application to the sovereign, both he and his God were treated with haughty disdain. “Who is Jehovah, that I should obey his voice to let Israel go? I know not your Lord, neither will I let Israel go.” The introductory miracle being harmless, and being imitąted by the magicians, it made no impression. Although the second miracle was severer in its effects, yet the imitation of the magicians still kept the mind of Pharaoh uninfluenced. Under the impres
sion of the third, he began to relent;. he promised, but revoked the promise upon the removal of the evil. As the magicians could not counterfeit the succeeding miracle, they were compelled to own that it was by the finger of God. Conscious that themselves were juggling impostors, they had entertained the same opinion of Moses, until his miracles were beyond the reach of their imitation. But the effects of this miracle were too inconsiderable to terrify and alarm. When afflicted by a grievous swarm of flies, Pharaoh began to propose, conditions. He would have permitted the Hebrews to sacrifice in the land. This not being admitted, he, was afterwards willing to let them go to a small distance, and condescended to supplicate that the evil might be removed. But appre
prehensive that the power to which he had thus E
yielded in a moment of calamity, would ultis mately deprive him of his numerous slaves,
his pride and obstinacy returned with all their force, when freed from the
of suffering These apprehensions were probably the cause of
his continued reluctance under the severity of the .
subsequent miracle. The devastation by hail and rain which afflicted his people exclusively, again awakened his fears; nor could the security enjoyed by those of his own subjects, who had