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upon every little occasion thrown into violent Commotions, but were as soon controul'd and appeas'd by visible Judgments upon the chief Authors of them.
For when we read, soon after, that a Rebellion was rais'd against Moses, by Korah, Dathan, and Abiram \ God gave such evident Tokens of that. Authority which he had invested him withal, and so signally manifested, that what he had done amongst them , was by his Power and Commission, that it was impossible for any of them to be deceiv'd in it, or to doubt of it. Though the Truth of it is , they had never from the very first doubted of God's Power amongst them, but were acted now with a Spirit of Rage and Despair, like the Men described by the Prophet, fretting themselves, and cursing their king, and their God, and looking upwards, Isai. viii. 2,1. Korah, of the Tribe of Levi; and Dathan, and Abiram, and On, of the Tribe of Reuben, being Principal and Leading Men of these two Tribes, with Two hundred and fifty princes of the assembly, famous in the congregation, men of renown, gathered themselves together againfi Moses and Aaron , , charging them, That they took too much upon them. And to clear himself of this Accusation , Moses implores God to vindicate his Innocency, before all the people; and, by Agreement, Korah and Aaron appear'd before the Lord, with Censers in their hands, and Two hundred and fifty Men besides, with their Censers likewise. Korah, at the time appointed,, gather'd all the Congregation against Moses and Aaron, unto the Door of the.Tabernacle of the Congregation.So that here was the most solemn Appearance off the whole People, who had entertain'd great Jealousies a-r gainst Moses and Aaron, and were now met together, jo see whether they could give sufficient Proof of their -Authority, which they challenged over them. The Time and Place was.appointed, and they came.incli- . ned aud prepared to receive any farther ill Impressions concerning Moses and Aaron , if'they could not have
made made out their Pretensions, in the most remarkable and astonifliing manner, to the utter Confusion of all their Enemies. First the glory of the Lord appeared unto all the congregation ; and then Moses, at God's Command, charges the Congregation to depart from the Tabernacles of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, and declares, Hereby ye frtall know that the Lord hath sent me to do all these works : for I have not done them of mine own mind. If these men die the common death of all men, or if they be visited after the visitation of all men; then the Lord hath not sent me. But if the Lord make a new thing, and the earth open her mouth, and swallow them up, with all that appertain unto them, and they go down quick into the pit; then ye snail under sand that these men have _ provoked the Lord. And it came to pass, at he had made an end of speaking all these words, that the ground clave asunder that was under them: And the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their houses, and all the men that appertained unto Korah, and all their goods. "They, and all that appertained to them, went down alive into the pit, and the earth closed upon them: and they periled from among the congregation. And all Israel that were round about them , fled at the cry of them : for they said, Lefi the earth swallow us up also. ■ And there came out a fire from the Lord, and consumed the two hun-* dr ed and fifty men that offered incense, Num. xvi.
Thus Moses vindicated himself, and prov'd his Divine Mission and Authority in such a manner, as it was impossible but .that the whole People of Israel must be convinc'd of it: They were very suspicious and jealous of him, tho' they had had so much experience of his Favour with God, and of all his mighty Works done in the midst of them: But when this dreadful Vengeance fell upon his Enemies, before the whole Congregation, who were met together on purpose to see whether God would declare himself for him •, when the Earth divided it self to swallow some of these Men, and a Fire from Heaven devour'd o
thers, there was not a Man of all the Congregation but must be an Eye-witness to this Judgment; and there could be no Deceit nor Mistake in a thing of this nature: For Men may as well doubt, whether those whom they see live, are alive, as, whether those whom they see taken away by so terrible and so visible a death, are dead; and unless they can know this, there can be no Knowledge nor Proof of any thing. They saw the Earth first divide it self, and then close it self again upon these wicked Men •, they saw them go down alive into the Pit j they heard the Cry of them, and fled away for fear: and they saw besides a Fire from the Lord consume no fewer than Two hundred and fifty Men, and these the Men that offer'd Incense, in Opposition to Aaron; Princes of the assembly, famous in the congregation, men of renown, whose death was very remarkable, upon the account of their Persons, as well as for the Manner of it. So many Men of that Rank and Character being taken away at once, was a thing that would have been much observed, and strictly enquir'd into, if they had fallen by any other death: but their dying in this manner, was so wonderful, and so plain a declaration of the Divine Justice, that it could neither be unknown nor forgotten by any Man in the whole Congregation.
Yet their Discontents against Moses still continued \ for He and Aaron were charged with killing the people of the Lord, ver. 41. and the congregation was gathered against Moses and against Aaron: and behold, the cloud covered the tabernacle of the congregation, and the glory of the Lord appeared. And God's Wrath was so hot against the People, for their Stubbornness and Disobedience, that notwithstanding the Intercession of Moses and Aaron in their behalf, a Plague from the Lord raged so much amongst them, that they that died in the plague were fourteen thousand and seven hundred, befide them that died about the matter ofKorah, ver. 49. And there were, probably, many Families in every Tribe,
which bore the marks of God's Displeasure, and of the Truth of Moses his Mission: and then Aaron's Rod alone blofTom'd, of all the Rods of the Twelve Tribes; but by this time the People were weary of their contumacy, and cried out, Behold, we die? we ferifl), we all perish: Shall we be consumed with dying? Num. xvii. 12, 13. And thus was an end put to a Sedition, which was the greatest and the most dangerous, as Josef hits well observes, that was ever known among any People; and such, as that so dreadful a succession of Miracles was necessary to deliver Moses out of it. And I would know of the greatest Infidel, whether, if he had lived at that time, and had been in the Wilderness with Moses, and had been of Koratfs Conspiracy, (as it is most likely he would have been) I would know of him, 1 fay, whether he could have done any thing more, to put Moses upon the utmost tryal of his Power and Authority received from God, than these rebellious Israelites did? And if he could not, (as he must needs confess he could not) then he ought to be satisfied in the Authority of Moses, as they themselves afterwards were, unless he has an ambition to shew, that some Christians can be more refractory than Jews.
Yet again, when they wanted Water, the People quarrell'd with Moses, and said, Would God that we had died when our brethren died before the Lord. And Moses brought Water out of the" Rock, before the whole Congregation, in so great plenty, that the whole People and their Cattel, just ready to perish with thirst, was satisfied with it, Num. xx. 3,1 o. At another time, after a signal Victory over the Canaanites, they made the fame Complaints again; and for their Murmurings, were stung by fiery Serpents, and many died; till a Brazen Serpent being erected, as many as looked on it, were miraculously cured, Num. xxi.6.
And if the delivering the Law in so conspicuous and wonderful a manner;- if so remarkable Judgments
upon upon those that questioned and opposed Moses his Authority, and that transgressed his Law, by committing Idolatry ', if a continual course of Miracles, for Forty Years, done before the eyes, and obvious to every fense of so many thousands of People, be not a plain demonstration, that the Matter of Fact, in allthe circumstances of it necessary to prove Moses to have acted by God's immediate Authority and Commission, was at first sufficiently attested; it is impossible that any thing can be certainly testified.
We see how impossible it was for Moses to impose upon the People of Israel in things of this nature; if he could have been so far forsaken of all Reason and common Sense, as to hope to do it. But if he had designed to put any deceit upon them, he would certainly have taken another course > he would have done his Miracles privately, and but seldom, not in the midst of all the People, for Forty Years together: he would never have made two Nations, at the first, Witnesses to them •, and then have proceeded in such a manner, as that every Man among the Israelites must have known them to be false, if they had been so: he would have chosen such Instances to shew his Miracles in, as mould have provoked no body; not such as must have enraged the whole People against him, by the death of so many thousands, so often put to death, if they had been stain by any other means than by the Almighty Hand of God. And indeed, what could destroy so many, so irresistibly, so suddenly and visibly, but the Divine Power? And what could be the DesigVand Intent of such Miracles, but to fulfil the Will of God, and make his Power to be known, and his Authority acknowledged, in the Laws which were delivered in his Name , and which were so often assronted and transgressed by these Sinners, against their'own Souls? At their going out of ; <sÆgypt, by a miraculous Providence, there was not 'onefeeble person among their tribes ', but upon their