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utterly beyond the capacity of the "wilderness," even in its most fertile districts, to sustain. Whence, it is asked, were the myriads of passover lambs, and lambs for daily sacrifice obtained? and how were they supported year after year? You may with great propriety meet this enquiry with another. Where does it appear that the Israelites kept the passover, and offered their morning and evening lambs during the wilderness sojourn? I do not say that they did not, but from several circumstances in the narrative, their having done so seems to me very improbable. I might insist on the circumstance, so frequently repeated in the precepts of the ritual, that the thing to be done is expressly required for the time when they should have come to the land which the Lord should give them. I might quote from the ritual itself, obvious indications that it was intended rather for a settled abode than for desert wanderings, see Exodus xxi. 5, 6; xxii. 5, 6.; Leviticus xxiii. 9-14. Instead however of dwelling on these particulars, I would rather trace the epochs, if they may be so called, of the wilderness sojourn. Within less than two years after the people had left Egypt, their whole ritual was prescribed. This covers the narrative from Exodus XV. to Numbers xii. Numbers xiii. and xiv., contain the account of the spies sent to search out the land; their report; the disobedience of the people; and the sentence to the long wanderings by which that disobedience was punished. Precepts are added in Numbers xv. which, as appears from verse 2, and other parts of the chapter, were intended to guide the people when they should be come to the land of their habitations. Between these precepts and chapter xvi., a gap occurs in the history of eighteen years or more, during which, either as to the ritual which had been but recently completed, or as to anything else, we know positively nothing. Numbers xvi. and xvii. contain an account of certain events which issued in the firmer establishment of the impugned authority of Moses and Aaron in their respective offices, together with certain directions in chapters xviii. and xix., some of which one would imagine would scarcely have been deemed necessary if the ritual had been observed during the gap which has been mentioned.
Before the events of the next chapter, another gap of about twenty years occurs. The people were soon to enter upon their promised inheritance, Aaron dies, and is succeeded by Eleazar. The wars and victories begin, which were to give the people their land, and again ritual precepts are given, which one would imagine, would not have been required if the observances prescribed during the second year after the escape from Egypt had been kept up among the people through the thirty-eight years that had rolled over.
All that remains of the Pentateuch to the end of Deuteronomy, is a repetition of laws and ordinances designed to prevent the people's forgetting what had been commanded them; but how could such forgetting have been possible if the services intended for their settled home had been maintained during their long march thither? Commands which could be observed in the wilderness, doubtless were observed. The passover Deuteronomy xvi., the daily offerings Numbers xxviii., and other matters of a similar kind, did not come within this class of services; so that the question about the myriads of passover lambs required, and lambs for the daily sacrifices, falls to the ground.
I observe one point more in your note. It has been said, could the seventy souls mentioned as going down to Egypt with Jacob, have become nearly two millions and a half during the abode of his descendants in that land? Here again, you are entitled to meet the question with another. Is the objector sure that seventy souls comprised the whole of those who migrated from Canaan as parts of Jacob's family? We may not forget two facts in the preceding history, 1, Abraham, before he had even a single son could muster from his own household, three hundred and eighteen men able to go forth to war; 2, Jacob as he returned from Padan-Aram, had a family which he divided into two bands when he had eleven sons and one daughter. Had his family decreased in proportion when his sons and grandsons had reached to seventy in number? Many of these seventy were married; others would marry ere long after they reached Egypt As polygamy had been practised by their ancestors, it is probable that many of them would have several wives. It is moreover matter of historical fact, that population increased much more in Egypt than with us. More than one child at a birth was common; as many as five have been mentioned, and that in four successive births. The enslaved and poor condition of the Israelites, would contribute to the rapidity of their increase. But beyond all this, it was specially promised that they should multiply very largely. Divine Providence in accomplishing this promise, would render births among them more numerous, and deaths fewer, than with other people. Instances have not been wanting of increase proportionately as great, in cases where there was no promise, and no provision like what the Israelites had in favour of their increase. "We refer the reader," says a modern commentator on the Book of Exodus chap. xii. 37, "to the authentic and interesting account concerning the Englishman, who was, in the year 1589, by a shipwreck, thrown with four families upon a deserted island, South-east of the Cape of Good Hope, and whose descendants had, after 78
years, in 1667, increased to more than 11,000 souls." illustrations may be found in the "History of the Mutiny of the Bounty," and the condition of its crew and their descendants on Pitcairn's Island; and also in Doubleday's "True Law of Population," pp. 61, 62.
With these facts and illustrations, we cannot permit the historic character of the Books of Moses to be impugned on account of what they contain as to the large increase of the Israelites during the two hundred and fifteen years of their abode in Egypt.
These then are a few suggestions, which in reply to your note I venture to offer as to how you are to deal in your class with the difficulties which just now are crossing your path. I offer them the more readily, because in the course of the present year your "List of Lessons" will bring these subjects before you. But after all it must be chiefly borne in mind that the great argument for the historic character of the writings of Moses lies in Christ's having again and again recognized this character, and attested the veracity of the old law-giver and historian, who was faithful in all matters pertaining to God's family: Hebrews iii. 3. Give Moses up, and you must give up Christ. Surrender the Pentateuch, and you render worthless every other part of Holy Scripture; and when this is done, what of religion is there left to elevate the affections, to enlighten the understanding, to enkindle and sustain hope, or to sanctify and ennoble human character? S.
EDUCATION IN ICELAND.
ICELAND, which has a population of about seventy thousand, is under the government of Denmark. The language spoken in Iceland is the old Scandinavian, closely akin to the Saxon, with no admixture of Greek or Latin roots. It has, singularly enough, a literature 900 years old. There are four presses on the island, and four newspapers. About 60 volumes are issued in a year, but most of them are published in Copenhagen. There are colleges and academies of medicine there, and common schools. But most of the education is domestic in its character. The fathers teach the children so effectually, that a young Iceland boy or girl of eight years old cannot be found unable to read and write. Wandering minstrels, like those of the old time in Scotland and Germany, are still to be found traversing the country, and dropping in on families happy to receive them, who gladly give them a night's supper and lodging in exchange for their lay. The Icelandic Church is Lutheran. There are 199 churches on the island, with 280 clergymen.
THE REV. THOMAS BOAZ, LL.D.*
PURSUANT to the intimation given in our last number, (page 72,) we now proceed to narrate the circumstances, under which Mr. Boaz was brought to consider the propriety of the course he was pursuing, and the change which was produced on his mind and conduct.
Amongst those associates who have been mentioned as encouraging one another in folly, there was one with whom he had held the most intimate fellowship. He had been the companion of Mr. Boaz's earliest years, and they had left the scenes of youth nearly at the same time, and under very similar impressions. They commenced their course of dissipated pleasures under the same auspices. He was the elder of the two, and the superior in mental qualifications, which caused him to exercise a great influence over his companion, whom he led on until his daring flights of infidelity, and acts of sin, induced Mr. Boaz to decline more than an occasional intercourse with him. One morning Mr. Boaz received a note from him stating that he intended to take an excursion on the river the following Sunday for the last time, for that afterwards he should be more attentive to religious matters. He urged Mr. Boaz to accompany the party, but he declined, and was called on that morning to visit a distant part of the metropolis at a very early hour. On his return his attention was arrested by an individual preaching in the open air. This was the Rev. G. C. Smith, of Penzance, better known as "Boatswain Smith," whose long and useful, although eccentric, life has just ended in its 81st year. Mr. Boaz approached the assembled multitude with indescribable feelings: for he had been for some time past endeavouring, but without success, to commend himself to God by his own righteous deeds. The preacher's text was "My Grace is sufficient for thee." He dwelt on the fulness and freeness of Divine Grace. Mr. Boaz's soul was quieted-he wept-he prayed-he sought pardon through the Saviour's blood.
On the morning of the following Sabbath he received a note, stating that his former companion in sin was lying in one of the hospitals in a most deplorable condition. He hastened to the scene of distress, and found him labouring under an inflammatory attack, brought on by the dissipation of the previous Sunday, and an im
"The Mission Pastor." Memorials of the Rev. Thomas Boaz, LL.D. Twenty-four years Missionary in Calcutta. By his Widow. Edited by his Brother-in-law. London: John Snow, pp. 470.
prudent exposure to midnight damps. His once calm eye flitted with distraction from object to object, and his features were distorted by wild mental and bodily suffering. He was either recounting some recent scene of guilt, or calling upon his vicious companions for aid, but not one was there. Then he would refer to his own awful state, and exclaim in the bitterest agony, "I shall die-I must be eternally damned!-' he that knoweth the will of God, and doeth it not, to him it is sin'-I have known, but I have not done." Then shading his face with his hands, he exclaimed, "O, Saviour! Thy look of mercy distracts and condemns me." Mr. Boaz stood by his dying couch-spoke to him-pressed his palsied hand, but in vain. At length his countenance became more calm, and looking round, he recognized his friend. Then he shrieked "My friend my friend! Oh, have you come to see me die? I am lost-lost for ever. Infidelity may do for the living sinner, but it will not do for the guilty dying sinner. No, no! Oh, that I could tell you all that I now feel-horrors, horrors indescribable." Mr. Boaz told him he
ought to pray. He replied "I cannot, but perhaps you may be heard. Will you pray for me?" Mr. Boaz felt that he could scarcely pray for himself-that he was but a stranger to the throne on high. But he could not resist such an appeal, and with tears lifted up his voice to the Father of mercies; but such was his agonized feelings, that he forgot the dying youth, in supplications for himself. He clasped Mr. Boaz's hand with his own, which gave evidence, by its palsied touch, that the lamp of life was almost extinct. Mr. Boaz breathed a supplication to the Father, through the Son of his love, for his soul's welfare. He looked once more, in the most imploring manner, but his speech was gone-his eye grew dim, and ere a few hours had passed, he was at the throne of God. This awfully instructive circumstance, following the impressions made by Mr. Smith's sermon, led Mr. Boaz, with great earnestness, to the foot of the cross, where he lay in deep distress, until God, by his Holy Spirit, enabled him to arise, singing
"A guilty, weak, and helpless worm,
On thy kind arms I fall;
Be thou my strength and righteousness,
My Jesus, and my all."
From that day forward Mr. Boaz was an altered man-old things had passed away, all things became new. His former associates were abandoned, new companions were sought and found; former haunts of folly were avoided, other scenes and engagements were delighted in-pure and holy, and fitted for the education of an immortal spirit. He immediately sought a spiritual guide,