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ders, that on this very day they should turn back, and go again into the wilderness.

Moses immediately received a command from "Go not up, neither God, to say to the Israelites; fight; for I am not among you; lest ye be smitten before your enemies." But they disregarded the mjunction and the earnest expostulations of Moses. He himself remained in the camp, nor would he suffer the ark of the covenant to accompany thein. They rushed madly forward; and the Amorites who dwelt in the mountain, with the Amalekites, and the Canaanites, came upon them, and overcoming them, put great numbers of them to death. The remainder, fleeing before their enemies, returned in dismay and confusion to the camp. And, again, the people wept and mourned, and would fain endeavor by their lamentations to escape the punishment which had been pronounced upon them. They vainly hoped to be spared a return to the great and terrible wilderness, and the endurance of its hardships and dangers until it should become to them, one after another, the place of graves. But divine justice must take effect; and sad and sorrowing, the whole body of the Israelites were once more marshalled, and in motion towards the dreary regions which they had just left. Melancholy result of unbelief and disobedience! The object of their long and wearisome journeyings, as it were, in full view before them; and they obliged

to take their last look of the land of promise with its anticipated blessings,-and then abandon it for ever!

For more than thirty-seven years, they traversed parts of the vast deserts which lie between Palestine and the peninsula of Sinai; moving from place to place, and often, doubtless, retracing their steps, to find the best spots for water and pasturage. They probably sojourned, at times, in the great valley of the Araba itself; extending their removals to its southern extremity, from Mount Hor, (in Arabia Petræa, on the confines of Idumea,) to Ezion-Gaber, which was at the northern end of the Elanitic Gulf, near Akaba. Hence they removed northward, until, at last, in the first month of the fortieth year from their departure out of Egypt, they arrived again at Kadesh.

In the thirty-third chapter of Numbers, a list is given of various stations where the Israelites encamped during this long period of time; but the location of only two can be determined that of Moseroth, adjacent to mount Hor, and of EzionGaber, near Akaba. We have, also, a very limited account of the transactions of the same period. Some ordinances were given respecting the offerings and ceremonials of religion, the duties of the priests and Levites, the portion allowed them, the sacrifice of the red heifer, and the ways in which uncleanness might be contracted. A few occur

rences only are recorded, but which, on account of their importance, demand to be noticed.

On a certain Sabbath day, a man was found gathering sticks, and brought unto

Moses and Aaron in
He was immediately

the presence of the people. put into custody, until the mind of the Lord should

Moses went to

The man shall

be ascertained with regard to him. inquire, and received this answer: be surely put to death: all the congregation shall stone him with stones without the camp." The sentence, which was in exact conformity with a law before promulgated, was immediately put into

execution.

This may seem to have been a very severe punishment. But God knew just what penalty it was necessary to annex to his violated law. The Israelites were a people who needed such restraints. A milder discipline would not have controlled them. The punishment of death was indispensable, in order to guard the Sabbath from violation. Besides, the guilt of the offender, in the case which has just been mentioned, did not consist in the mere matter of gathering a few sticks on a holy day. Its heinousness arose from the spirit with which he did it,—a spirit of determined disloyalty to his rightful Sovereign, and of wilful disobedience to his commands.

Have you ever thought, my young friend, that in all your voluntary violations of the commands of God, you are manifesting the same spirit?

The evil of sin consists in its proceeding from a heart opposed to the authority of God. And, just in proportion to the certainty and equity of the claim which he has to our obedience; just in proportion to the infinite excellence and holiness of his character, to the vast extent and blessings of his government throughout the universe, and to his unbounded goodness and long-suffering towards us in particular, is the enormity of our offences against him! What but the atoning blood of Christ can save such miserable offenders as we are!

CHAPTER XLIX.

Destruction of Korah and his party

We are furnished with the record of another transaction of great interest, during the journeyings of the Israelites in the wilderness after they left Kadesh-barnea, but at what time and place it occurred, is not stated, and cannot be ascertained.

Korah, of the tribe of Levi, and a cousin of Moses, endeavored to produce an organized and extensive rebellion against him. He instigated Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, and On, the

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son of Peleth, who were of the tribe of Reuben, to engage in this wicked enterprise; and as many as two hundred and fifty of the principal men of the congregation were prevailed upon to join him. By this time, the sedition began to assume a threatening aspect. For the two hundred and fifty were rulers among the people; occupying posts of great authority; "men of renown;" and possessing much influence.

A discontented and ambitious spirit was the cause of this conspiracy. The leaders of it were dissatisfied with the stations which they held, and the degree of power that they exercised; and hoped, by divesting Moses and Aaron of some of their auThe whole band thority, to elevate themselves. came in a body to these individuals, and, in a bold and defying manner, accosted them with this threatening language; "Ye take too much upon you,' -ye arrogate to yourselves the most important of fices, and do not permit any of the people to partake of the dignity and power which are attached to such high stations, of which they should have a full share," seeing all the congregation are holy, every one of them," (separated unto God from the rest of the world, and called by himself a kingdom of priests and a holy nation,) " and the Lord is among them wherefore then lift ye up yourselves above the congregation of the Lord ?”

This attack upon those who were the leaders of

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