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admitted into the sacred canon, and suggested to her the lofty expressions which she here employs in celebrating the praises of Israel's God. Though he would not permit them to force a passage by the sword, through the country given to the posterity of Esau their brother, yet in guiding them round the confines of Idumea, in the majestic symbol of his presence, the pillar of cloud and fire, the great God might, by some sensible tokens, make Edom to know, it was not from want of power, but of inclination, that he led his people in a circuitous course. The language of the prophetess, divested of its bold figurative dress, is simply this, “The wonders of this day, O Lord, recal and equal the greatest wonders of ages past. We have seen the stars in their courses fighting against our enemies, as our fathers of old saw mountain and plain, heaven and earth, giving testimony to the presence and favour of the God of Israel. The field of Edom and the vale of Kishon are equally filled with the glory of the Lord. We recognize in the hand which has discomfited the host of Sisera, the same almighty power which restrained the Idumean, and conducted our ancestors if not the nearest, certainly the best road to Canaan.” The latter part of the address evidently refers to the awful solemnity with which the law was given from Mount Sinai; in which all nature, without a figure, bare witness to the presence and power of nature's God. “The earth trembled, the hills melted like wax,” the face of heaven was covered with blackness of darkness, lightning flashed, the hoarse thunder roared, the louder and more dreadful voice of the Eternal drowned its tremendous sound, men's hearts fail them for fear, Moses quakes. What matter of joy to Israel, that he who of old had thus revealed his fiery law, that day, that very day had come riding on the swift wings of the wind for their salvation! To fix these emotions of rising gratitude and wonder, the bard dexterously and im
perceptibly slides into a review of the recent distress and misery of her unhappy country; distress yet fresh in every one's memory, misery out of which they were just beginning to emerge; and she takes occasion to pay a just tribute of respect to the memory of a great man, whom God had honoured to be the instrument of redemption to an oppressed people. Those who are themselves the most deserving of praise, are ever the most liberal in bestowing it, where it is due. It is a slender and contemptible merit which seeks to shine by obscuring, concealing or diminishing the worth of another. ) Deborah is but the more estimable, for the frank and unreserved commendation which she confers on departed or contemporary virtue and talents. “In the days of Shamgar the son of Anath, in the days of Jael, the high ways were unoccupied, and the travellers walked through by-ways. The inhabitants of the villages ceased, they ceased in Israel, until that I Deborah arose, that I arose a mother in Israel,” Verse 6,7. What a melancholy picture have we here of a ruined, wretched country? By means of oppression, all intercourse is interrupted; commerce is languishing to death; life and property have become insecure: every thing dear to man is at the mercy of a haughty tyrant; ever exposed to the ravages of a lawless band of armed ruffians: the scanty and dejected inhabitants tremble at the sound of their own feet, at the sight of their own shadow; behold them skulking from place to place, stealing through by-ways, to carry on a starved and precarious triaffic; suffering much, and fearing worse. Ah, little do we reflect, living at our ease, enjoying the blessings of mild and equitable government, “sitting every one under his vine, and under his fig-tree, while there. is none to make us afraid:” little do we reflect on the misery and tears of myriads of our fellowcreatures oppressed, and there is none to help them; whose cry incessantly rises up to heaven, but rises in
despair. Think what multitudes of the bold and har-, dy Africans are yearly driven or trepanned into servitude, through the violence or craft of their own countrymen, or, through the more fierce and unrelenting principle of European avarice, which has reduced slavery to a system, has invented an article of commerce which God and nature abhor, and concur to prohibit; and what is the subject of the infamous, impious traffic? the souls and bodies of men. Who can turn his eyes, without weeping tears of blood, to the fertile soil, the clement air, and the simple, harmless inhabitants of the eastern world, and observe the gifts of nature perverted into a curse, the goodness of Providence thwarted by the cursed lust of power, or more cursed lust of wealth, and the patient, uncomplaining Asiatic, perishing for hunger, in his own luxuriant domain: and the Ganges disgorging millions of fetid corpses into the ocean, the corpses of wretches who died for lack of food, to purchase for a still greater wretch an empty title, and a seat among the lawgivers of the wisest, most polished and humane of the nations of the western world. Look to the thin and scanty remains of the populous and prosperous nations of the southern hemisphere, and a land whose veins are gold, and its mountains silver, of which Spanish cruelty and avarice have been constrained to make a desert, in order to secure the possession of it. Behold the sullen, dejected native trampling under his feet gold and diamonds, which he dare not put forth his hand to touch; and reproaching Heaven with heaping, upon him, in its anger, treasures which have attracted not the pious zeal and attention, but the infernal rage who nevertheless dare to call themselves christians. Behold yet again—No, I sicken at the horrid prospect—and will no longer encroach upon the feelings of humanity, by exhibiting the more than savage barbarity of systematic cruelty and oppression. God VO L., III. 2 H.
of mercy, put a speedy end to these horrors! assert thy offspring into liberty, the glorious liberty of the sons of God. Let us return to the sweet mistress of Israelitish song; I see her warm, and rise into native, conscious worth and importance: and honour the lovely pride, the honest vanity of the female patriot. “The inhabitants of the villages ceased, they ceased in Israel, until that I Deborah arose, that Iarose a mother in Israel,” Verse 7. If ever there were ability, if ever there were services, if ever there were an occasion, which could warrant self-praise, it was the ability, the public services of Deborah, and the glorious occasion on which she wrote and sung. Show me such exertions for the public good, and let a man, let a woman be as vain as they will, and let affected humility and self-denial say what they will, it is an honourable and laudable ground of glorying, that God has made us the means of conveying happiness to others. But occasions of doing justice to eminent, public female worth so seldom occur, that I must reserve to myself the pleasure of accompanying this great woman, this more than princess, through the remainder of her song, in another Lecture. —Men and brethren, we are furnished with a much more noble subject of praise—a subject which angels delight to celebrate in celestial strains—a subject which carries us back into the eternal counsels of peace “before the world was,” which carries us forward to the grand consummation, when “time shall be no longer;” when “the ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion with songs, and everlasting joy upon their heads:” when “they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.” Need I point out the era, christians, and the spot, and the performers, and the audience, or repeat the words of the lofty theme?—“There were in the same country. shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord came
upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them; and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for behold I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day, in the city of David, a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling-clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will towards men,” Luke ii. 8–14. Here are celebrated, not the transient interests of a petty tribe, the momentary triumph of the oppressed, and the downfall of the oppressor; not events which have long ago spent all their force, and left no trace behind; but the broad, unbounded, o: interests of mankind; the triumph of “the ove of Christ which passeth knowledge;” of “the peace of God which passeth all understanding;” events which extend their influence into eternity. ‘We celebrate “the praises of Him, who hath called us out of darkness into his marvellous light”—of God, who “so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life,” John iii. 16. Of “Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen,” Rev. i. 5, 6. Of Him “who, through death, has destroyed him that had the power of death, that is the devil.” The burden of the christian's song is, “Salvation,” salvation begun, going on, ready to be accomplished. “The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever,” Rev. xi. 15. The song of Deborah exhibits awful distinctions between man and man, between nation and nation; pre