Page images
PDF
EPUB

distressed, the indebted, and discontented; and how did he employ all these? was it in the common way of gratifying their vices and his own revenge? Quite otherwise! his first care was to place his parents and his brethren safe under the protection of the king of Moab, and that was scarce over, when the distresses of his country called for his aid: Keilah was beseiged by the Philistines, the country was ravaged, and the threshing floors robbed, and Saul, intent upon vengeance, neglected every thing but the pursuit of David, whilst David, careless of his own safety, employed his power no otherwise than in influencing all those sour and exasperated spirits, who had no property, and consequently no interest in the well-being of their country, into one common care and concern for its safety, to the double danger of their own lives from the Philistines before them, and Saul behind! David's is a character which stands single in the accounts of the world, equally eminent and unrivalled; exclusive of his persoual accomplishments, such as wisdom, strength, beauty, swiftness and eloquence; his character is sufficiently distinguished by the noblest qualities, endowments and events. Exalted from an humble shepherd to a mighty monarch, without the least tincture of pride, disdain or envy; quite the contrary; remarkably humble in exaltation, or rather humbled by it; exalted unenvied, exalted himself, and equally exalting the state he ruled, raising it from contempt, poverty, and oppression, to wealth, dignity and sway! a man experienced in every vicissitude of fortune and life, and equal to them all; thoroughly tried in adversity and tempted by success, yet still superior! cruelly and unjustly persecuted, yet not to be provoked even to a just revenge! In the saddest and suddenest reverse of fortune, depressed by nothing but the remembrance of guilt, and in consequence of that, unhumbled to any thing but God! a noble example to every mason to meet upon the square, and part upon the level-to sum up all, a true believer and zealous adorer of God, teacher of his law and worship, and inspirer of his praise! a glorious example, a perpetual and inexhaustible fountain of true piety, a consummate and unequalled hero, a skilful and fortunate captain, a steady patriot, a wise ruler, a faithful, a generous and magnanimous friend, and what is yet rarer, a no less generous and magnanimous enemy, a true and upright mason, a true penitent, a divine musician, a sublime

poet, and inspired prophet: by birth a peasant, by merit a prince, in youth a hero, in manhood a monarch, in age a saint!

5th. Jacob's Ladder-Rdcinfranssetegootiep.

6th. Two Men Travelling E. and W.-Rpgtnomsnyroafgiaaop.

7th. Harvest Field, fec. 2d D.---There is no law that we know of now, concerning this rite, but only it was a long established custom, thus to act in transferring one man's right in any land to another. The reason of the custom seems to be, that it was a natural signification that he resigned his interest in the land, by giving him his shoe wherewith he used to walk in it; or it might signify that as the person pulled off or divested himself of his shoe, so he divested himself of that he was about to surrender. The Jews now give an handkerchief on any such like occasions.

8th. Euclid with his petitioning brothers, 8c.—Rsnigreecsenvigntcep.

9th. Euclid meets them with his Wardens, &c. in open lodge.--Reecsersedsedrenrig.

10th. The Quarries of Tyre.—Ioinkllisands.
11th. The Forest of Labanon.-Nutiuireiestlassorsdi.
12th. Between Succoth and Zarthan.

13th. Ship returning from Opher, &C.-Ihvrgldoyoitw, &c.

14th. T'imber Tugs fc.-Hjitfotoeeylssacrvfsrfenoet. 15th. Temple nearly finished.-Hporsomsnyroafsegret.

16th. And the angel of God which went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them; and the pillar of the cloud went from before their face and stood behind themwhich was to protect them from the Egyptians, who, by the intervention of this cloud, quite lost sight of the Israelites; and besides hindering the Egyptians from pursuing the Israelites so fast as to overtake them, there seems to have been another purpose answered by the change of the situation of the pillar of the cloud, viz. that the Egyptians in the darkness entered into the sea, which was divided for the Israelites, without knowing it, following them in the cagerness of their pursuit, by the ear only. For it is not probable, had they seen the sea dividing in the manner as represented, that they would be rasb enough to follow them into it; but it was God's determination for wise purposes, that they should be drowned in the sea. This glorious deliverance of the Israelites may likewise confirm our hopes

of that more glorious deliverance of the whole world from the power of the apostate spirit, which God has promised to bring to pass in due time. We are yet, it is true, in a more grievous bondage than the Israelites were, the bondage of sin and corruption; but yet God's promise will be accomplished, and we shall be brought out to the glorious fellowship of the sons of God: most assuredly that God, who could deliver Israel by his servant Moses, against all the power of Egypt, can work more by his only begotten Son Jesus Christ, and deliver the world from all the evil the prince of darkness hath bronght into it.

17th. The Israelites sacrifice after their deliverance from Pharaoh.

18th. Then came Amelek, and fought with Israel in Rephidim.—The Amalekites inhabited some parts of Arabia Pe. trea, near Rephidim, where the Israelites had just been encamped, and lay between them and Canaan. They are supposed to have hated the Israelites, because of the birth. right Jacob had taken from Esau; and to have made war upon Israel, to hinder their settlement in Canaan, to which, perhaps, they imagined their own pretensions to be as good as theirs; for they were the descendants of Esau, Jacob's elder brother. Here God again inculcated that great truth, that all things are dependant on him; for can we suppose that there was any thing of efficacy in Moses's holding up his hands, or letting them fall, to alter the success of the battle; but only, that God so ordered it, that he might shew them that they gained not the battle by their own right hand, or the strength of their own arm. And God said unto Moses, write this for a memorial in a book, and rehearse it in the ears of Joshua; for I will utterly put out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven. Amalek being the first who drew a sword against Israel, unprovoked, and having attacked them so ungenerously, God pronounces this heavy doom upon them, to terrify others from the like malice. Balaam also prophesied of their utter destruction: Accordingly they were partly destroyed by Saul-partly by David-and partly by the children of Simeon. This threatning, God might denounce as foreseeing that there would be an irreconcileable enmity between the two nations, and that the Amalekites would perish in their obstinate hel'editary opposition to the Israelites.

19th. The Brazen Serpent.-In hoc Signo Vinces.

The symbolical representations of which need not here he fully repeated, as every brother who has been initiated

in the degree, immediately connected with the same, knows well its full import. Those Serpents were called fiery, because they raised great inflammations in the human body, with an unquenchable thirst, being also of a flame colour. Strabo has taken notice of serpents produced near the parts where the Israelites journeyed, which might be called fiery from their colour, and both he and Didorus were of opinion, that the bitings of these serpents were incurable. Bochart takes them to have been of that kind whose bite dries up the skin, and occasions a violent heat, by which the Hebrews called them fiery: their poison is more inflammatory in the hot months, as this was, being in the month of August. The same author shews that some species of them were flying serpents, and with which Arabia in particular is said to be infested. The healing virtue that accompanied the looking upon this image, was derived from God alone, who was pleased in this manner to display his power, to make the Israelites sensible, that those serpents were sent by him, and this seemingly inapt method of cure might convince them that they had no reason to fear any evil whatever, provided they did but make God their friend, whose power could provide so easy a remedy in all emergencies. To the same purpose our Saviour, in curing the man born blind, put clay upon his eyes, to shew that the cure was extraordinary and supernatural. Most who have treated upon this subject, observe a remarkable similitude between the virtue of this brazen serpent, erected on a pole, and that of Christ's death, and the same is taken notice of by Christ himself, 3d ch. John, 14th v. for as no one could imagine that the bare sight of a serpent imaged in brass, would cure the serpent's poison; so nothing is more true, however incredible it may appear at the time of the event, than that the most effectual means of propagating the Christian religion, and of drawing all nations to the faith and obedience of the gospel, and consequently of saving those who are sincere in that profession from the sting of death, and the power of the devil, that old serpent, was the lifting up of Christ upon the cross, and putting him to death. Our brother Moses was commanded to make this serpent of brass, that it might resemble a serpent of a flaming colour, and being very glittering, might be seen far and near. Naturalists observe, that this sight of the image of the beast, by which they were bitten, tended of itself rather to increase the disease, and fill them with

greateranguish by disturbing their imagination. If so, it was the more proper to convince the Israelites that their medicine came from God, who made that, whose aspect was hurtful, to be the means of their cure.

20th. Joseph sold to the Ishmaelites.

21st. Soldiers crossing a River in Boats.---Some landed.-Nnarnalatckatebtarwua.

22d. Two Armies engage in a Field of standing Corn.“ Eeseetdeafdlbr.

23d. River Jordan.--Uihetfeelonilbronmsnp, 42,000.

Some travellers mention the river Jordan as a stream of no considerable breadth or depth, and from their notions of it, it may be thought there needed not a miracle to have enabled the Israelites to get over it; others, that it is not navigably deep, nor above eight fathoms broad, nor (except by accident) heady. In answer to which, it is necessary to observe, that the sacred historians do constantly represent this river not fordable, except in some particular places, made so probably by art, that the countries on each side the water might have a communication. We find the spies who were sent by Joshua to Jericho, when they were pursued by the searchers, are not represented to have found any way to return to the camp but by the fords of Jordan. Not a man of the Moabites could pass this river; and thus we find the Gilealites entrapped the Ephraimites, they took the passages of the Jordan, and then the fugitives of Ephraim having no way to escape, fell into their hands, at which time 42,000 were slain. Elijah passed over Jordan with Elisha, near to the place where the Israelites entered Canaan, and Elisha repassed it when Elijah was taken from him; but a miracle was performed by both of them, in order to their getting over, which undoubtedly neither would have attempted, nor would God have enabled them to have performed, if they could have passed over the place without it. We have modern testimonies sufficient to refute any one - who should imagine the Jordan to have been an inconsiderable stream, easily forded at any part of it. Sandys, in his travels, took a view of it, at a place, where, in length of time, the channel was landed up, and the flow of water nothing so great as it had been in former ages. Another famous traveller, Thevenot, went to or near the place where the Israelites passed over it, and describes it to be shall as deep and broad as the Scine at Paris, and very rapid," and according to Maundel, the river is hereabouts «twenty,

с

« PreviousContinue »