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we may therefore safely give credit to his history, for there is every reason to believe that he was a faithful historian.
This part of Moses' exhortation affords very useful instruction to Christians, because the same disposition of mind which he informed the Israelites was required in them, is required in Christians, to render them acceptable to the Lord God.
What a magnificent idea does Moses give of the greatness of that Divine Being who was known as the LORD God of Israel! We find that he is God of Gods, and LORD of Lords, the SUPREME BEING. How highly then should we honour Him! Surely we can do do less than fear Him, and pay Him the best services we are capable of. The Lord is our Praise, and He is our God; as such, therefore, let us cleave to Him, and on no account allow ourselves to think Him less great than He is,
In the following part of Moses' exhortation, he set before them a blessing and a curse, which is repeated in a subsequent section, and will be noticed in that place. After this, he again commanded them to destroy all monuments of idolatry where they went; and informed them, that as soon as they should be settled in the land of their inheritance, the LORD would appoint a place where His name should dwell; and to this, they would be required to repair at stated times with their households, to offer sacrifices, and to rejoice, before the LORD, from which time, they would not be at liberty to pay their homage to the Lord, in every place which they themselves might choose. He then gave them a licence to eat flesh in the land of Canaan, but prohibited blood.
Moses also enjoined them not to introduce into the worship of the LORD any of the ceremonies which the heathen made use of, as they were abominations to the LORD, particularly the horrid custom of offering their own sons and daughters, as burnt-offerings : but they were to adhere steadily to the ordinances which Moses had before made known, and which he now repeated. From these injunctions we leary, that it is pleasing to the LORD to see His people assembled together in public worship, and that He delights in beholding them cheerful and happy. How far the ordinances of Moses are to be observed by Christians, may be learnt from the New Testament.
As many of the idolatrous priests pretended to be inspired by their gods to foretel future events, and by magical arts performed wonderful things, which passed on their infatuated followers as real miracles, Moses gave the Israelites a rule, by which they might distinguish a true prophet from these impostors. Which was this, not to think any one a true prophet who would want to entice them to follow other gods than the LORD. Christians (in the early ages of the Church especially) were liable to the same kind of imposition, and had also a rule to go by, as will be observed in its proper place.
As it was known to God that the Israelites would be apt to follow the example of their neighbours, in performing superstitious ceremonies, and seeking to pry into futurity, by consulting persons called wizards and sorcerers, who pretended to have intercourse with spirits, Moseśwas ordered to give them strict injunctions to the contrary*.
* Moses gave the Israelites a variety of other instructions ; but as these related entirely to their own ceremonial and political law, they are omitted.
An early acquaintance with the word of God, should keep us from the desire of knowing future eventa, which God for wise reasons has concealed from us : but should we ever find an inclination to listen to fortune-tellers and conjurers, let us remember, that Moses has said, these things are abominations to the LORD. Such kind of persons. cannot by any human, art, penetrate into the secrets of Providence any more than we can; and if they really had an intercourse with spirits, they must be bad ones, for no others would presume
to make known what God thinks fit to conceal; therefore a good person would not wish to gain information by their means, nor trust himself to the direction of the Devil's agents. But we may assure ourselves, that fortune-tellers are impostors, and know no more than we do what shall befal us.
The Israelites were also repeatedly commanded not to make their sons and their daughters pass through the fire. In order to explain this, it is necessary to mention, that it was a custom among some of the Canaan, ites, to offer their children in sacrifice to an idol called Moloch. The original practice was, to burn the inno, cent victim in a fiery furnace, and sometimes, they put
into a brass, statue of their idol flaming hot, and to drown its cries, musicians were ordered to play on various instruments. This 'savage barbarity was carried LO such an excess, that even mothers would embrace their tender infants, and, then commit them to the flames, without even shedding a single tear. In latter times, they altered the custom, and made their children walk between two slow fires to the idol ; but this was only prolonging the torture, and was the custom the Scripture alludes to.
It is very amazing to think, how. such things could ever be invented by men; and we may reasonably sup
pose they were at first instigated by the Devil, who glo. ries in the miseries of mankind, and in working whatever is displeasing to ALMIGHTY Goodness.
Moses certainly was endued with the gift of prophecy, for he uttered many predictions, towards the end of his life : one in particular was very remarkable, respecting a prophet that should arise at a future time like himself.
'The LORD thy God (said he) will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken ; according to all that thou desiredst of the Lord thy God in Horeb, in the day of the assembly saying, Let me not hear again the voice of the Lord my God, neither let me see this great
any more, that I die not. The person foretold in this prophecy, is allowed to be the Messiah or Saviour; and the Jews certainly built great expectations upon it. We will defer the farther consideration of this prediction, till we shew how it was fulfilled in the person of CHRIST. Let us, however, observe, that Moses foretold those would be punished, who should refuse to hearken to this new Law-giver and Mediator, and he gave them a rule by · which a just judgment might be formed of a true or a
CONTINUED THE COVENANT
RENEWED WITH THE ISRAELITES.
From Deut. Chap. xxix. XXX.
These are the words of the covenant which the LORD 'commanded Moses to make with the children of Israel in the land of Moab, besides the covenant which he made with them in Horeb.
And Moses called unto all Israel, and said unto them, Ye have seen all that the Lord did before your eyes in the land of Egypt, unto Pharaoh, and unto all his servants, and unto all his land ;
The great temptations which thine eyes have seen, the signs and those
great miracles : Hath not the LORD given you an heart to perceive, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, unto this day*?
And I have led you forty years in the wilderness : your clothes are not waxen old upon you, and thy shoe is not waxen old upon thy foot. Ye have not eaten bread, neither have ye
drunk wine nor strong drink : that ye might know that I am the LORD your God.
Keep therefore the words of this covenant, and do them, that ye may prosper in all that ye do.
Ye stand this day all of you before the LORD your God; your captains of your tribes, your elders, and your officers, with all the men of Israel.
Your little ones, your wives, and thy stranger that is in thy camp, from the hewer of thy wood, unto the drawer of thy water :
That thou shouldest enter into covenant with the LORD thy God, and into his oath, which the Lord thy God maketh with thee this day :
That He may establish thee to-day for a people unto Himself, and that He may be unto thee a God, as He hath said unto thee, and as He hath sworn unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.
Neither with you only do I make this covenant and this oath ;
* Learned critics say, that this verse may be translated interros gatively. See Essay for a new transiation of the Bible.