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of ordinances which belonged to it finished;, but before this time the Lord's work had been advanced among the congregation of Israel, by the erection of the tabernacle, the consecration of the priests, and the law of sacrifices. Now, as these branches of reformation were included in former covenants, by consequence at least, it was proper they should be formally engrossed in this new transaction.
2. This covenant-renovation obtained after Israel had been guilty of many transgressions, murmurings, and rebellions against the Lord. Soon after -they had suffered so smartly for making and worshipping the golden calf, they involved themselves again in the most awful guilt: For they had not marched more than three days, at the direction of the pillar of fire, and of the pillar of cloud, after the tabernacle had been erected, till they murmured because of the way. And the Lord heard it, and his anger was kindled; and the fire of the Lord burnt among them, and consumed them who were in the uttermost parts of the camp. This tire was scarcely quenched, at the interposition of Moses, before the mixed multitude, and even the whole congregation of the children of Israel, lusted for the flesh, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, and the garlic of Egypt; and, at the fame time, loathed the manna, by which they had been so liberally supplied in
the wilderness*. God granted their desire, lending them abundance of quails; but, while the flesh was between their teeth, the Lord linote them with a great plague, of which many died. And they called the name of the place Kib iOTH-H At Ta A Vah: That is, the Graves of Concupiscence; because there they buried the people who lusted j-. About four months after, they again murmured against Moses and Aaron, as well as spake of stoning them, together with Caleb and Jolhua, on account of the evil report, which had been returned by the major part of the spies sent to search out the promised land: Said .they", "Would to God we had died in the land of Egypt; or, would to God we had died in the wilderness. Wherefore hath the Lord brought us unto this land, to fall by the sword, that our wives and our children should • be a prey? Were it not better for us to return to Egypt? Let us make a Captain and return into Egypt!" As if they had not been long enough in Egypt already. The punishment which God inflicted on the unbelieving spies was death: And that which he inflicted on luch as believed them was deprivation of entering into the promised land. Accordingly, they lingered out the space of forty years (commencing at their departure out of Egypt, a vear for each day the spies were asurveyingdie promised land), in the wilderness;
* Numb. xi. 4—6. f Nranb. xi. ;t—54. » and, and, during this space, all the congregation of Israel, from twenty years and upwards, fell, except Caleb and Joshua. The particular providences which befel Israel, and their rebellion against the Lord, for the first two years of die forty, are pretty fully enumerated; but those which befel them the last thirty-eight years * are more slightly touched. Among their provocations and plagues, however, which obtained in this last period, may be reckoned the rebellion of Korah, and Israel's association with Midian: The former of which colt that congregation near fifteen thousand men; and the latter not fewer than twenty-four thousand. There were probably many other provocations of which Israel was guilty, during their forty years peregrination; but these are sufficient to shew the patience and long-suffering, as well as the justice of God, in his conduct towards them. And each of them was an evidence of the divine sovereignty, in admitting the seed of such sinners into covenant with himself, on the one hand; and, on the other, these things also filled up that confession of sin in which Israel was employed prior to this covenant-renovation *.
* Mosr.i not only preached on their transgressions, as is evident from the former parr of the book of Deuteronomy; but he also reminded them of their TEMPTATIONS, by which they tempted the Lord immediately before this transaction, Deut. xxix. 3. as well as of all God's gracious interpositions in their behalf: To inspire them with repentsiiice on the one hand, and gratitude on the other.
3. This covenant-renovation took place after that generation had been removed by death, •which God had brought forth out of the land of Egypt. God had executed bis threatening, in which he said, " Surely there (hall not one of these men, of this evil generation, fee the good land, which I fvvare to give unto your fathers." Seeing the former race of covenanters were removed, it was proper to allow the then present generation an opportunity of coming into covenant, to fill up their room
4. This covenant-renovation obtained after Moses had delivered various sermons to the congregation of Israel, on those covenant-engagements under which he had brought them, in the loins of their fathers. In these discourses, which Moses delivered, he recorded the matter of the covenant*; and then entered into a more minute explication of particular articles. The matter of the covenant, as we have seen, is the ten commandments. The first precept of it he explained chapter sixth "f, Sec. And these articles were not only recited and explained; but also applied unto the particular
* Deut. v. 6 2t.
f See Ainsworth's Argument of the book of Deuteronomy. The second precept is explained chap. xii. The third, chap. xiii. The fourth, chap. xv. and xvi. The fifth, chap. xvii. and xviii. The'sixth, chap, xix, xx, and xxi. The seventh, chap. xxii. The eighth, chap. Sdii, xxiv; xxv.
steps steps of conduct with which Israel was chargeable: And their transgressions of these articles were matter of confession at this tinie, with a view unto this covenant-renovation. By this sermon, Moses likeways set an example unto ministers of the gospel, in all succeeding ages, to prepare their people for covenant-renovation, by preaching on the nature and extent of past and present covenant-engagements. Many in our day, indeed, are extremely weary of sermons of this kind; nor would they have been better pleased had they made a part of Moses's auditory: But discourses are not always worst when men weary most of them; nor are the pleasers of men always the most faithful servants of the living God.
5. Moses brought Ifracl forward to the duty of covenanting just before he was removed to the other world. He began his sermon on covenanting on the first day of the eleventh month of the fortieth year after the children of Israel came out of Egypt. It is prohable the sermon continued several days. Against the end of the month, however, Moses died. He brought the young generation under personal engagements unto the Lord, that the congregation might be left on a proper footing to Joihua; and so taught the servants of God to have a generous concern, not only for the present, but also for the rising generation;