« AnteriorContinuar »
pents, very venomous creatures, whose bjte occasioned a pain like the burning of fire, which generally proved mortal. The great Ckeator, who has power over all the works of his hands, restrained them from hurting His people, till they became quite insensible of His mercies; and then He sent these serpents to sting them, as a judgment upon them; but as soon as they confessed their sin, the Lord had compassion on them, and appointed a mean by which they might testify their faith, and be preserved from the dreadful effects of this visitation. The very extraordinary method which God took to relieve the people, shewed, that their recovery was His work. It was not by the application of herbs or mollifying plaisters, that they were restored to health; neither were they saved by the thing that they saw, but by Him who is the Saviour of all *. The brazen serpent was a sign of salvation, to put them in mind of the Covenant of God. His adopted sons were chastised for their sins, that they might remember His commands: but when they turned unto their Go a with repentance. and faith, the teeth even of venomous serpents could not destroy them; for His mercy was ever over them, and they were quickly saved.
We are taught by our Lord Himself, to consider thei brazen serpent as .a type of the Saviour of the world. * As Moses lifted up the brazen serpent in the wilderness, (said He) so must the Sou of Man be lifted up, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life f.'
How frequently does it happen, that Christians, who are taught to consider themselves as journeying to a place of everlasting rest, are discouraged by the difficulties they meet with in the way! Sometimes they
* Winl'TOxvi •( John Hi. !4j 15.
£ 5 are are even tempted to murmur against Providence, and to despise and undervalue the blessings which are actually. in their possession,' because they have ntot"* every thing they desire. In mercy to them, the Lord sends chastisements upon' them, to awaken their minds to & sense of their duty, They confess their sin, and God takes compassion on them; but He does not char the guilty*. They must, therefore, look up to the Cross of Chr Ist for pardon; the blood, which was shed on that, has made atonement for the sins of the whole world ; and nothing farther is required to secure the salvation of each individual, but their own sincere repentance, and a lively faith in God's mercy through Chri.st. . ; , /
THE AMORITES DESTROYED.
The Israelites continued their marches between the countries of Moab and Ammon, without committing any hostilities; for such was the will of the Ilokd. .As they were now become patient, God was pleased to afford .them a miraculous supply of water from the sandy ground; at length they came to the country of the Amorites -j-; from hence Moses sent ambassadors to Sihon their king, demanding a passage through his dominions, and offering to pay for the supplies he and his people should afford to the Israelites, without giving him the least disturbance: but Sihon refused, and immediately collected his forces together, to oppose the Israelites. A battle ensued, and the Israelites obta:ned a compete victory, seized on the country, and killed the king and all the inhabitants. Soon after
* Exod. xxxiv. 7. t Numb. xx\, 21.
this, Og the king of Basnan, a man of gigantic stature, in attempting to obstruct their passage, underwent the same fate; for the Israelites took possession of his coun try, and utterly destroyed the inhabitants, reserving only the cattle and spoil of the cities for themselves.
We may be certain, that these kings and their subjects were abandoned to wickedness, or the Lord would not have permited the Israelites to cut them off. God doubtless knew that they would refuse Moses the peaceable terms he offered; but permitted him to propose i them, perhaps partly to satisfy the mind of Moses, and partly to shew that the people deserved the fate to which they were condemned by Divine justice.
• When the Lord made a Covenant with Abraham, to give to his posterity the country of the Amorites, &c. He told him that they would not be put into possession of it till the expiration of four hundred years*; and gave for a reason for this delay, that the iniquity of the Amorites was not yet full; meaning that they had not attained to such a height of wickedness, as to provoke God to cut them off" from the face of the earth: we may therefore conclude, that when the Israelites were allowed to extirpate them, the iniquity of the Amorites was full, and that the former were the instruments of Divine vengeance against them. The Israelites had an hereditary right to the land of the. Amorites, after the extirpation of these people in virtue of the Divine grant made to Abraham: and their being put in possession of it, was a proof of the truth of God's promises. ^
fc'See Section xvii. vol. i.
E 6 SECTION
1AI.AK KING OF MOAB SENDETH FOR THE PROPHET BALAAM TO CURSE ISRAEL.
From Numb. Chap. xxii.
And the children of Israel set forward, and pitched in the plains of Moab, on this side Jordan by Jericho.
And Balak the son of .Zippor saw all that Israel had done to the Amorites.
And Moab was sore afraid of the people, because they were many: and Moab was distressed, because of the children of Israel.
And Moab Said unto the elders of Midian, Now shall this company lick up all that are round about us, as the ox licketh up the grass of the field. And Balak the son t<f Zippor was king of the Moabites at that time.
He sent messengers therefore unto Balaam the son of Beor, to Pethor, which is by the river of the laiid of the children of his people, to call him, saying, Behold, there is a people come out from Egypt: behold, they cover the face of the earth, and they abide over against me.
Come now therefore, I pray' thee, curse me this people, for they are too mighty for me : peradventure I shall prevail, that we may smke them, and that I may drive them out of the land: for I wot that he whom thou blessest, is blessed, and he whom thou curse'st, is cursed.
And the elders of Moab, and the elders of Midian departed, with the rewards of divination in their hand; and they came unto Balaam, and spake unto him the words of Balak.
And he said unto them, Lodge here this night, and
t will bring you word again as the Lord shall speak unto me. And the princes of Moab abode with Ba« ham.
And God came unto Balaam, and said, What men .are these with thee?
And Balaam said urtto God, Balakthe son of Zippor, king of Moab, hath sent unto me, saying, Behold, there Ts a people come out of Egypt, which covereth the face of the earth: come now. Curse me them j peradvent ture 1 shall be able to Overcome them, and drive them out.
And God said unto Balaam, Thou shalt not go with them, thou shalt not curse the people: for they are blessed.
And Balaam rose up in the morning, and said unto the princes of Balak, Get ye into your land: for the Los D refuseth to give me leave to go with you.
And the princes of Moab rose up, and they went unto Balak, and said, Balaam refuseth to come with us.
And Balak sent yet again princes, more, and more honourable than they.
And they came to Balaam, and said to him, Thu* saith Balak, the son of Zippor, Let nothing, I pray thee, hinder thee from coming unto me:
For I will promote thee unto very great honour, and I will do whatsoever thou sayest unto me: Come therefore, I pray thee, curse me this people.
And Balaam answered and said unto the servants of Balak, If Balak would give me his_ house full of silver and gold, I cannot go beyond the word of the Lord my God, to do less or more. / . .
Now therefore, I pray you, tarry ye also here this night, that I may know what the Lord will say unto me more. And God came unto Balaam at night, and said unto