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course of disobedience and rebellion against God? Let us not imagine, that because we go not all lengths with them, we shall be safe. There is security only in separation. God himself has said, speaking of the mystical Babylon, " Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.”* And in this course of conduct only, can the people of God enjoy, or expect to enjoy, either security or peace.

28. And Moses said, Hereby ye shall know that the Lord hath sent me to do all these works : for I have not done them of mine own mind.

29. If these men die the common death of all men, or if they be visited after the visitation of all men; then the Lord hath not sent me.

.30. But if the Lord make a new thing, and the earth open her mouth, and swallow them up, with all that appertain unto them, and they go down quick into the pit : then ye shall understand that these men have provoked the Lord.

30. But if the Lord swallow them up, which into the

Nothing could be more fair and reasonable, than this proposition. Moses sees that the people have begun to question his authority. Well, he replies, then we will put it to the test; .“ If these men," who have opposed it, “ die the

common death of all men," I acknowledge you have justice on your side. Let us wait and see.

* Rev. xviii, 4.

31. And it came to pass, as he had made an end of speaking all these words, that the ground clave asunder that was under them :

32. And the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their houses, and all the men that appertained unto Korah, and all their goods.

33. They, and all that appertained to them, went down alive into the pit, and the earth closed upon them : and they perished from among the congregation.

34. And all Israel that were round about them fled at the cry of them : for they said, Lest the earth swallow us up also.

Such is the tragical close of this sad history. The disputed authority of Moses and Aaron is re-established by the miraculous deaths of those who had impugned it; while the Aaronical priesthood is defended from the violent aggression of headstrong men, who, not content with the honour which the Almighty had already conferred on the tribe of Levi, sought to lay unhallowed hands upon the ark of God, and to force their way into a participation of those sacred duties which the Almighty had reserved for the priests alone. May the double lesson not be without its use, in disposing the hearts of us who read it, to render a more ready and cheerful, and more consistent and conscientious obedience to all who are placed in authority over us, remembering that the word of God has

declared, “ The powers that be are ordained of God; whosoever, therefore, resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God.” (Rom. xiii. 1, 2.

EXPOSITION XXII.

NUMBERS xvi. 35–50.

- 35. And there came out a fire from the Lord, and consumed the two hundred and fifty men that offered incense.

36. And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,

37. Speak unto Eleazar the son of Aaron the priest, that he take up the censers out of the burning, and scatter thou the fire yonder ; for they are hallowed.

38. The censers of these sinners against their own souls, let them make them broad plates for a covering of the altar : for they offered them before the Lord, therefore they are hallowed : and they shall be a sign unto the children of Israel.

39. And Eleazar the priest took the brazen censers, wherewith they that were burnt had offered ; and they were made broad plates for a covering of the altar :

40. To be a memorial unto the children of Israel, that no stranger, which is not of the seed of Aaron, come near to offer incense before the Lord; that he be not as Korah, and as his company : as the Lord said to him by the hand of Moses.

While reading of the destruction of Dathan and Abiram, in the last portion of Scripture, we may bave observed that no distinct mention was made of the death of Korah, but nevertheless, he appears from a future chapter, (Numbers xxvi. 10,) to have perished in the earthquake. Still, however, his companions, the two hundred and fifty conspirators against the priesthood, remained standing at the door of the tabernacle, with their burning censers in their hands, waiting for the sentence of the Lord. Nor do they seem to have been kept long in suspense, for no sooner had the terrible judgment, of which we have read, been inflicted upon one portion of this guilty company, than an equally fearful fate falls on the other. In a moment, the two hundred and fifty rebels are consumed by fire from heaven, and that the crime for which they suffered, viz. an invasion of the priestly office, contrary to the express appointment of the Most High, may never be forgotten, their censers, the instruments of their guilt, are ordered to be made into a covering of the brazen altar, to stand as a memorial, before the eyes of the children of Israel, for ever. How awful an example of the danger of tampering with the sacred institutions of the Almighty! Living, as we no doubt do, under a very different and much milder dispensation, we dare not, as some have done, compare these unhappy men to those of our own day who are called to the ministry by a different species of authority from that, which we, as members of the Church of England prefer, because we believe that no such similitude exists between the Jewish Church and our own, as could in any degree justify so gross a misapplication. Let not the incident, however, be without its use, in still warning us to lay no unhallowed hand upon the ark of God, and in influencing us strongly to refrain from all interference with any ordinances and any institutions, in which we can trace the directions, or recognise the authority of the Most High.

41. But on the morrow all the congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron, saying, ye have killed the people of the Lord.

42. And it came to pass, when the congregation was gathered against Moses and against Aaron, that they looked toward the tabernacle of the congregation : and, behold, the cloud covered it, and the glory of the Lord appeared.

43. And Moses and Aaron came before the tabernacle of the congregation.

44. And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,

45. Get you up from among this congregation, that I may consume them as in a moment. And they fell upon their faces.

46. And Moses said unto Aaron, Take a censer, and put fire therein from off the altar, and put on incense, and go quickly unto the congregation, and make an atonement for them : for there is wrath gone out from the Lord ; the plague is begun.

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