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the case of so conspicuous a person as Miriam, the wickedness of her conduct, would not suffer her punishment to be so speedily removed. The Lord replied to Moses, that had she treated her father in such a way as to lead him to express his strong indignation towards her by spitting in her face, she would have been obliged to withdraw from his presence, and be in disgrace for seven days. She must surely, then, not escape with a less severe reproof in the present instance. "Let her," was the divine command, "be shut out from the camp seven days, and after that let her be received in again."

The penalty was inflicted; and, during the period of Miriam's seclusion, the Israelites made no further progress on their way. This itself would make a strong impression both on their minds and her own, of the great sinfulness of the spirit which she and Aaron had manifested towards Moses. The whole transaction is a standing memorial in the records of divine truth, to teach us the evil of scandal and envy, and the deep abhorrence with which God regards these sins.

After leaving Hazeroth, several stations are mentioned of which the position is now unknown.

After eleven days journey from Sinai, we find them at Kadesh-Barnea. They probably descended to the shores of the gulf of Akaba, per

haps by the Wady el 'Ain, and so through the great valley el 'Arabah, (which stretches northwards from Akabah to the Dead Sea) along the western base of Mount Seir, till they arrived at Kadesh, situated on the western side of the same valley, probably near the fountain now called 'Ain-el-Weibeh.-[See Bibl. Res. II. p. 609-612.]

Their toilsome marches seemed now to be over, and the time to have arrived for their taking possession of the promised land. Moses was full of encouragement at the prospect. Behold," said he, addressing the people," the Lord thy God hath set the land before thee: go up and possess it, as the Lord God of thy fathers hath said unto thee; fear not, neither be discouraged."

But they wanted faith in the promises of God. Unbelief suggested difficulties. They could not follow implicitly the moving cloud directing the way, with the certainty of divine guidance; and marking out, as it had always done, the path of a safe and sure progress. They would ascertain the best course by inquiries of their own, and know something of the most accessible points, before hazarding an entrance into Canaan. They thus slighted the pledged direction and support of the Almighty; and we shall see to what this sinful unbelief led.

They came to Moses with a request, that certain persons might be sent before them, to search out the land, and bring word again by what way they should go up, and into what cities they should come.

He seems to have thought well of the proposal. He knew the character of his countrymen, and perceived, doubtless, the want of their confidence in God, though they might hope to conceal it. To oppose their wishes, under the circumstances in which they were placed, he probably regarded as inexpedient and dangerous. He was willing to adopt the measure that they suggested; hoping that it might prevent them from breaking out into open murmurings and complaints, which would draw down upon them some renewed expression of the divine displeasure; and that it might lead them, through the forbearance of God, to a better state of mind.

We have reason to believe that Moses brought this subject before the Lord, to receive his direction with regard to it. For, although this is not expressly stated in the sacred narrative, we find that the command came from God himself, to send men to search the land of Canaan. This was probably done in reply to the inquiry of Moses; and that, thus, in compliance with their own wishes, the character of the Israelites might be more fully drawn out, and the justice of the subsequent divine dealings with them made manifest.

One was chosen from each tribe to go on this important errand; twelve in all, rulers among the people, in whom it was thought confidence could be placed for the faithful execution of such a trust. They were instructed by Moses to ascertain, whether the inhabitants were few or many; their military strength; what cities they dwelt in, and whether in tents, or in strong holds. They were, also, to learn the nature of the soil and its productions, and what else they could discover of the character of the country and the people. "Be ye of good courage," was the parting advice of Moses, "and bring of the fruit of the land." We can readily conceive, that their return would be looked for with the deepest solicitude.

How would you have felt, my young friend, had you been one of the Israelites, and thus brought to the very borders of a land, to be taken possession of in spite of the numerous and powerful inhabitants who would resist your entrance? For numerous and powerful you might expect them to be, and bold in the defence of their country.

Would your faith in the promises and protection of God have been unwavering? Could you have gone forward, dauntless and sure of victory, because the divine word was pledged to sustain you?

How do you now meet difficulties and dangers, in the path of duty? God has promised to strengthen

you in the conflict, if you truly put your trust in him. How do you expect to meet severer trials, and, at length, to pass through the valley of the shadow of death?

Faith in God and the Saviour can alone inspire you with the courage that you will need. Happy indeed, if you have this faith, and can say, in every season of difficulty and danger, I can do all things through Christ strengthening me.

CHAPTER XLVII.

The spies return. Discouragement at their report. Joshua and Caleb faithful. The divine denunciations.

The twelve spies, having left Kadesh-barnea, commenced their expedition. It must have been a highly perilous one, demanding much prudence and circumspection. But there were two of their number, as we shall see in the sequel, Joshua and Caleb, who were well fitted for the enterprise. They were not only 'men of great resolution and personal courage, but of piety and prayer. There is no doubt that, under the blessing of God, the safety and success with which the object was ac

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