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after the victory, a fact turns up unequalled In the faint resistance made by the Midiin the history of mankind—not so much as anites to a force so small, we behold the naone of the twelve thousand has fallen in tive tendency of vice to enfeeble and enerbattle: and that in attacking and destroying vate. Sunk in effeminacy and sloth, they a nation so populous as to contain thirty-two are overcome as soon as attacked. Strong thousand females of a particular description.* in cunning, they are destitute of true wisThe hand of God was clearly visible in this, dom, and defective in valour. The foe that and thankfully acknowledged. The super- assaults, that conquers them, is within. “The fluous ornaments which lately published the wicked flee when no man pursueth, but the shame of Midian, now proclaim the piety and righteous is bold as a lion." Addictedness gratitude of Israel; and become part of the to the pleasures of sense gradually, though sacred treasury of the tabernacle. Every insensibly, encroaches on all the nobler princreature of God is good in itself, and intend- ciples of our nature, undermines and subed to do good. Use the world so as not to verts them. Every spring of the soul is reabuse it, and the Creator is glorified. laxed through disuse; the bodily powers Every day added to our life is as much a become languid, and the sluggish giant bemiracle of mercy, as the preservation of comes an easy prey to the active and vigorous every individual of the twelve thousand in child. Exercise your faculties, and they will the day of battle. Let our gratitude declare increase and improve : neglect them, and itself in an habitual devotedness of heart and they will quickly fall into utter decay. Fear life, to the God of our life, and the length of God, maintain “a conscience void of ofour days; let us present our bodies a living fence,” and bid defiance to what earth and sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which hell can do against you. is our reasonable service: and be trans In the freewill offering of these grateful formed by the renewing of our mind, that Israelites for protection and deliverance in we may prove what is that good, and ac- the day of battle, behold a laudable example ceptable, and perfect will of God.”+
of attention to the ways of Providence, and In the punishment inflicted on Midian, of thankful acknowledgment of them. Let we behold a righteous God prosecuting an friends, after the days of separation are at an injury done to Israel as an insult offered to end, after the hour of danger is past, reckon himself. And indeed every offence against their numbers. Do they remain entire, not society is a direct attack of the divine one missing, is no allay mingled with the joy authority, which has fenced the person, the of re-union? It was the hand of God that fime, and the virtue of our neighbour on every supported; he gave his angels charge conside, against all the assaults, whether of cerning you.” “He covered you with his violence or deceit. The character and con- feathers; his truth was your shield and buckduct, in connexion with the untimely end of ler; no evil befel you, no plague came nigh the arch seducer Balaam, are an awful and your dwelling." “ Give unto the Lord the instructive instance of the justice of God in glory due unto his name; offer unto him making signal guilt its own avenger, and thanksgiving, honour him with your subfurnish a striking illustration of the obser- stance;" present “ the calves of your lips," vations made by the psalmist and his wise the devotedness of your hearts, the obedience
“ Behold he travaileth with iniquity, of your lives. and hath conceived mischief, and brought Does the punishment of this people apforth falsehood. He made a pit, and digged pear to any rigorous and excessive ? Let it, and is fallen into the ditch which he them consider that they are very incompemade. His mischief shall return upon his tent judges of God's moral government; that own head, and his violent dealing shall come they see but a few scattered fragments of the down upon his own pate. I will praise the vast scheme of Providence; that creatures Lord according to his righteousness; and themselves, ignorant, weak, and criminal, will sing praise to the name of the Lord most must be much disqualified to "hold the bahigh.”1 6. The heathen are sunk down in lance and the rod;" that every transgression the pit that they made, in the net which of the divine law merits death; that "fools" they hid is their own foot taken. The Lord only “make a mock at sin." Let the whole is known by the judgment which he exe-earth tremble before Him “who will by no cuteth: the wicked is snared in the work of means clear the guilty:" who has denounced his own hands." “For the ways of man 'indignation and wrath, tribulation and anare before the eyes of the Lord, and he pon- guish against every soul of inan that doth evil," dereth all his goings. His own iniquities while to the humble and contrite in heart, shall take the wicked himself, and he shall he proclaims his name, " The Lord, the Lord be holden with the cords of his sins. He God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering and shall die without instruction: and in the abundant in goodness and truth; keeping greatness of his folly he shall go astray."'T mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity, trans
gression, and sin :"* " visiting the iniquity of ģ Psalæ ix. 15, 16.
* Exodus xxxiv. 6, 7.
* Num. xxxi. 35.
* Rom. xii. 1. 2. i Ps. vii. 14-17.
| Prov. v. 21-23.
the fathers upon the children, unto the third soul is absorbed. He walks already on air and fourth generation of them who hate and beholds the world under his feet; but him; but showing mercy to thousands of forgets not that he is yet in it, and that in them that love him and keep his command- every state, and at every period of existence,
a rational being may promote, and ought to In the leader and commander of Israel be- be studying how he may best promote the hold, once more, a man exalted far above all honour of his Creator, by administering justemporary, all selfish concerns; occupied only tice, or extending mercy to his fellow creawith the interests of truth and justice, the tures. Consider him well; and, in your duties of his station, the prosperity of his sphere, with the means and ability you enjoy, charge, the glory of Him who had conferred go and do likewise—and God grant us all it upon him. In this last object his whole wisdom to know and do what is well plea* Exodus xx. 5, 6.
sing in his sight.
HISTORY OF MOSES.
· LECTURE LXXV I.
And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye
be come over Jordan, into the land of Canaan, then ye shall appoint you cities, to be cities of refuge for you; that the slayer may flee thither which killeth any person at unawares. And they shall be unto you cities for refuge from the avenger; that the manslayer die not, until he stand before the congregation in judgment. And of these cities which ye shall give, six cities shall ye have for refuge. Ye shall give three cities on this side Jordan, and three cities shall ye give in the land of Canaan, which shall be cities of refuge. These six cities shall be a refuge, both for the children of Israel, and for the stranger, and for the sojourner among them; that every one that killeth any person unawares may flee thither.-NUMBERS xxxv. 9—15.
Human laws are generally the result of ex But the constitution of the commonwealth perience, not the provision of foresight. Oc- of Israel possesses distinctive features. It casion dictates the encouragement to be was formed by Divine Wisdom long before given, the restraint to be imposed, the punish- it had a local residence wherein to act. The ment to be inflicted. The multiplication of laws by which Canaan was to be governed, new and extraordinary cases, must of course were enacted in the wilderness. Prescience swell the statute book; through change of made provision for cases which could not as circumstances some institutes must sink in- yet have arisen. Republican equality was to disuse and oblivion, and others rise into blended with absolute, unlimited theocracy; existence and force. Hence the variety, the a liberty and a sovereignty established in opposition, the contradiction of different codes perfect harmony, and yet both to their utmost of law, not only in different countries, but in extent. The Levitical part of the constituthe same country at different periods. tion was adapted to this state of things. The
There are, at the same time, certain gene- priesthood, in respect of property and possesral and fixed principles of law applicable to sion, was reduced below the level of their every state of society; which founded in brethren; while by their office and employeternal, unchangeable truth and justice, are ments, the homage paid and the provision in perpetual force and of universal obligation. made for them, they were raised above their Divested of every thing arbitrary, local, and fellows. They were appointed to minister temporary, they address themselves to the at the altar of God; and it was his will, and understanding and conscience of every man, it was reasonable, that they should live by it. and irresistibly carry conviction with them. One of the last public services in which The genius, character, and progress of any Moses was employed, is the settlement of people, a sagacious observer will be able to this branch of the political economy—the trace, with tolerable accuracy, in their legis establishment of religion, without which no lation, in their institutions, political and re- state can long exist; and the appointment of ligious; for those of a moral tendency never a moderate, but certain and steady provision vary; It is easy to discern in the spirit of for its ministers. the laws, what is the spirit of the nation; to Forty and eight cities, in all, with their discern whether liberty or despotism, mode- suburbs, and an extent of territory around ration or tyranny is predominant.
every one, not exceeding two thousand cu
bits, in all directions, were to be set apart for strument of a man's death, were superadd the tribe of Levi, and distributed by lot. Asi ed alarming apprehensions and painful re the lot was specially ordered by Divine Provi- straints. dence, the dispersion of this tribe over the The first regulation limited the number of whole land, there is good reason to believe, these cities to six, for the whole commonGod in wisdom overruled favourably to the wealth of Israel. Hence, an escape to a exercise of their sacred function. Of their place of refuge must, in many instances, other privileges and immunities, we are not have been etfected through much danger, now led to treat. The words we have read exertion, and labour; and the unhappy fuyilimit our attention to an institution, in many tive must frequently have felt all the bitterrespects singular, and unexampled in the ness of death in his solicitude to flee from it. history of mankind—the appointment of six Thus, while the finger of mercy pointed to of the Levitical cities as places of refuge for the strong hold of safety, the voice of justice the unintentional, and therefore less criminal exclaimed, “ Flee for thy life, look not bemanslayer. Respecting this institution, and hind thee, lest thou perish ; behold the avenits reason and design, the following particu- ger of blood is at thy heels." lars recommend themselves to our notice. But that the danger, and the anxiety re
The provision here made refers to a case sulting from it, might be diminished as far of singular importance to society; on which as the limited number of the cities would adindeed the very being of society depends-mit
, it was determined by the lot that these the security of human life against violence. should be dispersed at the most commodious To take away the life of another is the most distances, over the country; and it was exatrocious offence which man can commit pressly provided that three of them should against man. The laws of every well-regu- be on each side the Jordan, in order to facililated community have accordingly marked tate and secure escape at the seasons when it as the object of just vengeance, saying, in that river overflowed its banks, and rendered the language of the supreme Legislator, a passage tedious, difficult, or impracticable. “Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall In the same view, it has been affirmed, and his blood be shed.” But into the commission seems probable, that the roads which led to of this offence, as of every other, circum- these cities were formed and maintained at stances of aggravation or alleviation may the public expense, and that their breadth enter; and every wise legislator will take was very considerable : that every obstructhese into consideration; adapting the degree tion was removed out of the way, bridges of punishment to the degree of criminality, were thrown over interposing streams, and distinguishing the action, as connected with, when roads happened to cross or separate, or separated from the intention. To the an index, inscribed with the word Refuge, wilful and deliberate murderer no place was pointed out the right course. And thus an to serve as a sanctuary ; to him the altar it- institution humane in its design, was renderself was to afford no protection. But a man ed more so, by the manner in which it was may deprive his neighbour of life without observed. incurring the guilt of murder; and it must But again—the city was, in the first inbe imputed to him as a calamity, not a crime. stance, to serve only as a temporary refuge, To meet such a case, the provision in ques- and afforded shelter only till inquiry was tion was made; and a refuge was provided made into the fact, and judgment was solemnfor both the citizen and the stranger who ly given between the manslayer and the might“ unawares," without malice or inten- avenger of blood, upon evidence adduced. tion, occasion the death of another.
If criminal intention was proved, there was This refuge, however, was not wholly un no remedy, blood demanded blood, the prison. restricted, but subject to a variety of regula- er must be delivered up to the hands of justions, all calculated powerfully to impress on tice. If otherwise, public protection was the minds of the people, an awful sense of granted, and he was restored to his refuge. the value put on the life of man by the great The ordinance having it in view not to preLegislator: and to serve as a caution not vent and suppress the truth, but to bring it only against deliberate violence, but even openly and fully to light. against carelessness and inattention, where The innocence of the prosecuted party the life of another was concerned. Blood having been made clearly to appear, he was lies heavily, as it ought, on the head of him restored indeed to his refuge, but it became, who sheddeth it, however innocently; and at the same time, his prison. Exiled from the consciousness of it will ever be felt as a his native possession, and from all that rensevere punishment by a sensible heart, though dered it dear; doomed to live among strana no judge arise to avenge it. But punishment gers, to subsist on their bounty, perhaps to to a certain degree was inflicted on the man- feel their unkindness or neglect, he must slayer, by the very statute which appointed drag out a comfortless existence, to an unthe refuge; and to the uneasy reflections known, uncertain period : or stir abroad unarising from having been the unwilling in- der constant apprehension and hazard of his
life. And confinement is still confinement, eth him will slay him: his multiplied crimes though in a place of safety, a city of refuge: cry out of the ground for vengeance upon his and ignorance and uncertainty respecting head--while eternal, inflexible justice, like the termination of our misery, are bitter in the avenger of blood,” pursues him to the gredients in the cup of affliction. “It may death. To flee from, or endure the wrath of outlast life,” sad thought! “or consume the an offended God, is equally impossible. All best and most valuable portion of my days. nature is up in arms against him; he is beUnhappy that I am, to have introduced come a terror to himself; the king of terrors mourning into my neighbour's family, and aims his fatal dart, and hell follows after. desolated my own. Though I feel not the The “refuge” provided by the statute for pangs of remorse, my heart is torn with those the unhappy man who had destroyed his broof regret; and blood, though shed without a ther, and troubled his own soul, prefigures crime, is a burden too heavy for me to bear.” the remedy prescribed by infinite wisdom for
The last regulation on record respecting the recovery of a lost, perishing world—that this subject, was a permission to the hapless dispensation of Divine Providence in which manslayer to "return into the land of his " mercy and truth are met together, rightpossession," on the death of the high priest. eousness and peace have kissed each other.” The reason of this ordinance does not appear; Fear not, guilty creature, there is hope conbut it contains a circumstance very affecting cerning thee: thou shalt not die. The God to the prisoner himself, and affecting to all whom thou hast offended, even he,“ hath found Israel. His release from confinement could out a ransom;" he hath “ laid help on One be purchased only by death, the death of who is mighty to save, even to the uttermost, another; and that not of an ordinary citizen, them who come unto God through him.” Cease but of the most dignified and respectable from the anxious inquiry,“ Who shall ascend character in the republic. The weight of into heaven, to bring Christ down from above? blood innocently shed, was at length to be Who shall descend into the deep, to bring up removed ; but how? Not by the demise of Christ again from the dead ?" The word him who shed it, but of " the high priest is nigh thee,” and in this word the Lord which should be in those days.”. And may“ brings near his righteousness,” and his salwe not suppose a refugee of sensibility look- vation. The name of JEROVAH is as a strong ing forward to this event with the mixed tower, whoso ranneth into it is safe. Proemotions of hope and sorrow? The very phets, apostles, evangelists, with one accord, cause of his enlargement makes it to partake point to the sanctuary, saying, “ This is the of the nature of a punishment. He dare way, walk ye in it.” “Turn ye to the strong hardly wish for liberty, for it involved guilt hold, ye prisoners of hope." Here is “ an deeper than what already lay upon his head; highway” —" the wayfaring men, though deliberate devising the death of his neigh- fools, shall not err therein.” The Saviour bour, and taking pleasure in it.
himself proclaims, “ Look to me, and be Now, if guiltless homicide subjected the saved.” “ Him that cometh unto me, I will perpetrator of it to such accumulated danger, in no wise cast out." anxiety, and distress, how atrocious in the The very act of Aying from “ the avenger sight of God must wilful murder be? And of blood," argued a consciousness of crimihow sacred, in the sight of man, ought to be nality, and an apprehension of danger; and the life of his brother, and every thing rela- the course directed to a city of refuge, indi- . ting to its preservation and comfort, his health, cated a knowledge of its appointment, and his peace, his reputation ? To attack him in of the privileges pertaining to it. In this we any of these respects, is to level a blow at his behold the character of the convinced, penihead, or, where he feels more sensibly still, tent sinner, condemned of his own conscience, at his heart.
stripped of every plea of self-righteousness, Let us review this last of the Mosaic in- alarmed with the terrors of the wrath to stitutions, and mark its reference to a clearer come,” encouraged by the declarations of the and more explicit dispensation : for it is too mercy of God in Christ, apprehending“ salva. evidently“ a shadow of good things to come.” tion in no other," perceiving no way to es.
The Aying “ manslayer" is an affecting cape but this, he flees“ for refuge to lay hold representation of what every man is by na- of the hope set before him,” even to “ Him ture and by wicked works; an unhappy crea- who is mighty to save;" to that “ blood ture, who has offended against his brother, which speaketh better things than the blood violated the laws of society, broken his own of Abel;" to “the Lamb of God, who taketh peace of mind, and trampled on the divine away the sin of the world :" saying, in the authority, not only accidentally and uninten- words of the psalmist, “ O Lord, thou art my tionally, but deliberately, presumptuously. refuge; return unto thy rest, O my soul, for His conscience, “ like the troubled sea,” can- the Lord hath dealt bountifully with thee." not rest. What he feels is dreadful, what he " In Jehovah alone have I righteousness and fears is infinitely worse. With trembling stre th;" " he also is become my salvation.” Cain, he apprehends that every one who meet The safety of the manslayer depended, not
on having arrived at, but on remaining in the furnishes not a single one. But the provisions city of his refuge. To leave it prematurely of the “ better covenant-established upon was as fatal as to be overtaken on the way better promises,” extend to every species, that led to it. The grace of the gospel, in and to every instance of guilt and misery like manner, is extended, not to him who, They are made not only for the heedless and convinced of sin, and trembling with appre- the unfortunate, the weak and the helpless, hension of judgment to come, has fled for re- but for the stout-hearted and presumptuous, fuge, to the great Propitiation for sin, but to for deliberate offenders and backsliding chilhim who abideth in Christ. As there is a dren, for the very chief of sinners. What“ believing to the saving of the soul;" so there ever, Oman, be thy peculiar“ weight, and is a " drawing back unto perdition :” and the sin that doth more easily beset thee;" “no man having put his hand to the plough, whatever “ the plague of thine heart," or the and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of error of thy life, behold“ help laid for thee God.” Hence the solemn injunction and on One mighty to save.” “Behold the Lamb warning of Christ himself, “ Abide in me, of God, that taketh away the sin of the world.” and I in you—if a man abide not in me, he is Hear, and accept his kind invitation, “ Come cast forth as a branch, and is withered : and to me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and I will give you rest.” “ Look to me, and and they are burned.” “ He that endureth be sa ved, all the ends of the earth."
“ Him unto the end, the same shall be saved." The that cometh I will in no wise cast out." The great Apostle and High Priest of our profes- cities of Israel served as a temporary reprieve sion lives for ever; there is therefore “no from a sentence of death, which, though the more going out." In returning and rest hand of the “avenger" was restrained, the shall we be saved, in quietness and confidence hand of nature was speedily to execute. The shall be our strength."
manslayer might be overtaken by it, in the The sanctuary provided and opened, equally very city of his refuge. But the believer's for the distressed Israelite and “the stran- security under the gospel never fails, never ger,” is a happy prefiguration of the indiscri- terminates. He is “ passed from death unto minating mercy, the unlimited extension of life;" he “shall never perish." “ There is the gospel salvation. “ In Christ Jesus, ye no condemnation to them that are in Christ who sometimes were far off, are made nigh Jesus.” “ Who shall lay any thing to the by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, charge of God's elect? It is God that justiwho hath made both one, and hath broken fieth : who is he that condemneth? It is down the middle wall of partition between Christ that died, yea, rather that is risen us.” He " came and preached peace to you again." " I give unto them eternal life, and which were far off
, and to them which were they shall never perish, neither shall any nigh; and through him, we both have an access pluck them out of my hand; my Father, by one Spirit unto the Father.” The gospel which gave them me, is greater than all, of Christ is “ the power of God unto salvation, and none is able to pluck them out of my to every one that believeth, to the Jew first, Father's hand.” Under the law, the death and also to the Greek.” It announces “glory, of the high priest, the final era of release to honour, and peace to every man that worketh the manslayer, was an event entirely casual, good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile.” often distant, always uncertain. Under the * For there is no respect of persons with God.” gospel, that death, which is the sinner's deBlessed dispensation, which hath abolished liverance, the soul's ransom, is an event for all invidious distinctions ! " where - there is ever present, perpetually producing its effect. neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor un- Christ,“ by one offering, hath perfected for circumcision, barbarian, Scythian, bond nor ever them that are sanctified." free, but Christ is all, and in all !” Who art because he continueth ever, hath an unthou then, O man, who “ judgest thy brother? changeable priesthood.” or why dost thou set at nought thy brother ?" “We ought, therefore, to give the more He is a man like thyself, a criminal as thou earnest heed to the things which we have art; for him also Christ died, and for his ad- heard, lest at any time we let them slip.' mission, as for thine, the door of mercy stands For if the intentional murderer was to be open, the city of refuge strengthens its walls, dragged from God’s altar, to suffer the puexpands its gates.
nishment of his crime; and if the manslayer, I conclude with suggesting a few hints, who despised and neglected his refuge, fell which will serve to evince the glorious superi- a just sacrifice to the resentment of “the ority of the object prefigured, over the figure; avenger of blood," and to his own presumpof - the very image of the things," above tion and neglect of the merciful ordinance “ the shadow of good things to come.” The of God; “ how shall we escape, if we neinstitution under review was a provision for glect so great salvation ?" “ He that de one particular species of offence and distress, spised Moses's law died without mercy, under and for a case which could occur but in rarer two or three witnesses: of how much sorer instances. Indeed the whole history of Israel punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought
** This man,