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Of Aaron, one of the companions of Mofes upon the mount, we know much; of Hur, the other, the fcripture account is more fparing. Those who are never at a lofs fo long as fancy and invention can create, make him the fon of Caleb, and the husband of Miriam, the fifter of Mofes and Aaron. It appears from the history, that he was the father of Uri; and the grandfather of Bezaleel, the famous artist, employed, by special endowment and appointment of Heaven, for the conftruction of the more curious and costly furniture of the tabernacle and fanctuary. But it is of more importance for us to know him, and for him to be reported, as a perfon of the first quality, and his quality supported by that which gives rank its highest luftre, genuine piety. Mofes left him, in commiflion with Aaron, to judge the people, when a fhort while after this he went up alone into Mount Sinai to meet God. This is argument fufficient of his high rank; and the affumption of him to affist his devotion in Mount Horeb, while Ifrael was engaged with Amalek, is a proof equally clear and decifive of his extraordinary piety.

Behold then the man of God, fupported and encouraged by two fuch companions, discovering all the honeft anxiety of the patriot, together with all the confidence and fervour of the faint; with his eyes eagerly bent on the conflicting armies in the plain below; and his hands, with his heart, lifted up to God in the heavens, from whom his help came. It was

clearly the intention of Providence, that the deliverance which fhould be wrought for Ifrael on this occafion, though not wholly independent on the ufe of means, should evidently appear to flow chiefly and only from the interpofition and grace of Heaven. "It came to pass when Mofes held up his hand, that Ifrael. prevailed; and when he let down his hand, that Amalek prevailed."

This is the first battle which Ifrael was called to fight; and it was defigned to be a model of all that


fhould follow; of affured fuccefs to them, and victory over all their enemies, provided they conftantly acknowledged God, with hands continually lifted up to heaven. And it had undoubtedly a farther view, namely, to reprefent in general, the powerful and certain effect of prayer to God, and of a fenfe of dependence upon him; to fhew that our strength is in exact proportion to the perception of our own weakness, and to our confidence in almighty grace. The leffon inculcated in this hiftory is the fame which Chrift taught his disciples in the parable of the unjust judge and the importunate widow, "That men ought always to pray, and not to faint."* If importunity and the love of eafe have power to constrain a man to do his duty, though he have no inclination to it, how much more certain the effect of earneftnefs and importunity with the Hearer of prayer, the Father of mercies; who is ever more ready to grant than man to afk? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more fhall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that afk him."t

Have you confidered then, my chriftian friend, what a powerful inftrument is put into your hand, mighty as the rod of God in the hand of Mofes, wherewith he did wonders?" Elias was a man fubject to like paffions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain; and it rained not on the earth for the space of three years and fix months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth. brought forth her fruit." Surely then "the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much."S God has not given you affurance of fuccefs in all your undertakings, but he has bestowed upon you the privilege, and promised you the spirit of prayer, by which you fhall certainly obtain one of two things; either that bleffing from above upon your honeft endeavours, which

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which maketh rich, which infures fuccefs, and makes it durable; or, that refignation of fpirit, and fubmif fion to the will of God, which fubdue misfortune, and which turn calamity and disappointment themselves into advantage. God has not given thee, my friend, the promise of riches; but he has given thee, what is much better, the fpirit of grace and fupplication to form thy foul to contentment. You have no fecurity againft pain and forrow; but you have that which produces patience and fortitude. You cannot promife yourfelf long life; but habitual intercourfe with God by prayer overcomes the fear of death.

Glorious privilege! Whatever my fituation in life be, here is fomething to improve it, if good; fomething to mend it, if evil. Here is the ornament and effence of profperity, the cure and cordial of adverfi- ty. Here is the guardian and the guide of life; the fweetener and fubduer of death. Prayer brings all the glorious perfections of Deity into our poffeffion. "If any of you lack wifdom, let him afk of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it fhall be given him."* "When I am weak, then am Iftrong;" "for I can do all things through Chrift which ftrengtheneth me." Is the thorn not removed, the meffenger of Satan not rebuked, though the Lord be thrice befought that they may depart ? No matter. Is it not faid, " My grace is fufficient for thee: for my ftrength is made perfect in weaknefs? Moft gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Chrift may rest upon

But where are the hands which never hang down? Thofe of Mofes himfelf became heavy. "The fpirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." Fatal omen to Ifrael! Amalek inftantly gains the afcendant. But happily, Mofes was not alone in the mount: "And they took a ftone, and put it under him, and he fat thereon; and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands,

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the one on the one fide, and the other on the other fide; and his hands were fteady until the going down of the fun." 66 As iron fharpeneth iron, fo a man fharpeneth the countenance of his friend ;" and fo devotion kindles and keeps alive devotion. Secret prayer, like the melody of one fweet-toned voice stealing upon the ear, gently wafts the foul to heaven: focial worship, as a full chorus of harmonized founds, pierces the sky, and raises a great multitude of kindred fpirits to the bright regions of everlasting love, and places them together before the throne of God. How happy are Aaron and Hur, in lending this aid to the wearied hands of Mofes, and to the declining intereft of the Ifrael of God! How happy is Mofes in being thus fupported! But there is an Interceffor whofe hands never hang down, whofe fervour never cools, whofe mediation never fails, whofe attention is never relaxed. "We have an advocate with the Father, Jefus Chrift, the righteous." Him" the Father heareth always:" "as a Prince he hath power and prevaileth."

Let us now turn our eyes to the ftruggle in the valley below. There we meet "the confufed noise of the warrior, and garments rolled in blood:" the alternate fhouts of acclamation and triumph, mingling with the piercing fhrieks of the wounded, and the groans of the dying. Ifrael, now hurrying on to victory, and anon flying before the infulting foe. The event for a while is awfully in doubt; turning upon the strength and feeblenefs, not of thousands, but of one fingle arm; decided at length, not by the edge of the fword, but the elevation or depreffion of a rod; and that rod fwayed, not by the skill and prowess of Joshua, but the firmnefs and devotion of Mofes.

But now, doubt and anxiety are at an end. The hands of Mofes are propped up, and Ifrael finally prevails. And what heart fave that of an Amalekite but must rejoice in the iffue?" The cunning is taken in his own craftinefs." A defign of violence and blood falls upon

upon the head of him that contrived it. The righte ous and innocent cause bears down pride and cruelty. We behold the deftination of Heaven ftanding good, the birthright fold away, the bleffing anticipated; the elder made fubject to the younger. "God is wife in heart, and mighty in ftrength: who hath hardened himself against him, and hath profpered ?"*

Ifrael has conquered. But it is impoffible to miftake the means by which he has gotten the victory. "The hand of the Lord, and his holy arm, they have gotten him the victory." The altar therefore, which was built to celebrate this fignal fuccefs, fhall by its name perpetuate the remembrance of God the deliverer. Jehovah-Niffi, "the Lord my banner," was infcribed upon it by the divine appointment; and a reafon is affigned in the fixteenth verfe. "For he faid, Because the Lord hath fworn that the Lord will have war with Amalek from generation to generation."

These words, having been variously rendered, have given occafion to various opinions among interpreters. Some read the paffage thus, " Because the hand of Amalek is against the throne of the Lord, the Lord will have war with Amalek from generation to generation." This reading refolves the guilt of Amalek, not into an infidious and cruel design against Israel, but into a rash and impious attempt to defeat the plan of Providence, which was to bring Ifrael into the quiet poffeffion of Canaan, and to exalt that nation favoured of God but envied of man, to wealth, power and empire. God therefore was pleafed to vindicate in perfon the cause which was his own, and to write difappointment and a curfe upon every plan which Amalek could form, of greatnefs and profperity. "fearful a thing it is to fall into the hands of the living God," fo dangerous to form a combination " against the Lord, and against his anointed, faying, Let us break their bands afunder, and caft away their cords

* Job ix. 4.



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