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and under the control, of that iron handed necessity,
THE PASSAGE OF THE ISRAELITES
THROUGH THE RED SEA.
Hemmed in on the right and on the left by craggy mountains; in the rear by an overwhelming host of Egyptians, with Pharaoh at their head, and in their front, by the Red Sea, spreading an unbroken sheet of fifteen leagues extent, a situation, presenting, to human view, inevitable destruction, in the most appal
ling form, well might the doubting Hebrews, inquire of their leader, if he had brought them into the wilderness to perish, because there were no graves in Egypt. This inquiry elicited, from the lips of their meek commander, this memorable exclamation: Fear not! stand still, and see the salvation of God. At this moment, the undismayed lawgiver, at the command of Jehovah, smote the limpid waves, with his rod, and they instantly separated, receded each way, and opened a dry, sandy, firm path, in the midst of the ocean. Along this path, sentinelled on each side by a vast wall of water, and illuminated by God's pillar in the heavens, the astonished Hebrew Host, at the shutting in of day, took up their line of march. The moon was now at the full; and her silver rays, for once in times long circuit, fell sparkling among the golden sands that paved the untrodden road. The lofty cloud of fire, led the van; Moses, with his wonder working rod, moved next, and next to him, they bore the sacred deposit, the embalmed bones of the Patriarch Joseph: the marshalled hosts, divided into tribes, and these -again divided, and subdivided into households and families, presenting a front of many leagues, follow in perfect order, close up the rear, enter the deep defile, and, before the morning skirts the east, reach in safety, the shores of Arabia.
The moving of a great army, a mixed multitude of men, women and children, with their herds lowing, and their heavy baggage rumbling, was soon heard in
the camp of the Egyptians. Pharaoh immediately sounds the alarm, orders pursuit, and, at the head of his host, approaches the shore. At this moment the great angel of the covenant, who, in the pillar of fire, had marched at the head of Israel's host, suddenly moved to their rear, and, in a dense, lurid cloud, of portentous gloom, shút in the whole Egyptian front. Pharaoh, bewildered in darkness, sensible to the touch, knows nothing of the road upon which he marches; he hears, indeed, the noise of a mingled multitude before him; the trampling of feet, the bleating of flocks, and the lowing of herds; he therefore concludes his safety is secured by following where they lead. He urges his troops, and proceeds directly towards the sound. His whole army, six hundred armed chariots, fifty thousand horsemen, and two hundred thousand infantry, enter the bed of the sea, between two high walls of suspended water. At this solemn crisis, the miraculous cloud opens, and pours forth a torrent of blood red, baleful fire. Thunder, whirlwinds, and tempests, burst from its impenetrable womb, and vivid lighting, in long and reiterated sheets, or in pale and livid flashes, show to the affrighted Egyptians, the full extent of the impending danger. They behold the waters of the ocean suspended, like the gathering jaws of two vast mountains, ready to close upon them, and submerge them in one common grave. They lift up the unavailing cry of Flee, flee from Israel! the Lord fights for them, and against us. But
the hour of escape is past; mercy is withheld, and judgment poured out. The last rank of the Hebrew army, had just reached the Arabian strand, when the wand of Moses, once more stretched upon the sea, brought the severed waves together, with the roar of mighty floods, and the fury of rushing cataracts; and, amidst the thunders of heaven, the bellowing of struggling tempests, and the war of contending elements, the tremendous catastrophe was closed by engulphing, at one sweep, the whole Egyptian host in the watery abyss.
CHARACTER OF THE EMPEROR JULIAN.
As soon as he ascended the throne, he assumed, according to the custom of his predecessors, the character of supreme pontiff, not only as the most honorable title of imperial greatness, but as a sacred and important office; the duties of which he was resolved to execute with pious diligence. As the business of the state prevented the emperor from joining every day in the public devotion of his subjects, he dedicated a domestic chapel to his tutelar deity the Sun; his gardens were filled with the statutes and altars of the gods; and each apartment of the palace displayed the appearance of a magnificent temple. Every morning he saluted the parent of light with a sacrifice; the blood of another victim was shed at the moment when
the sun sunk below the horizon ; and the moon, the stars, and the genii of the night received their respective and seasonable honors from the indefatigable devotion of Julian. On solemn festivals, he regularly visited the temple of the god or goddess to whom the day was peculiarly consecrated, and endeavoured to excite the religion of the magistrates and the people, by the example of his own zeal.
Instead of maintaining the lofty state of a monarch, distinguished by the splendor of his purple, and encompassed by the golden shields of his guards, Julian solicited, with respectful eagerness, the meanest offices which contributed to the worship of the gods. Amidst the sacred but licentious crowd of priests, of inferior ministers, and of female dancers, who were dedicated to the service of the temple, it was the business of the emperor to bring the wood, to blow the fire, to handle the knife, to slaughter the victim, and thrusting his hands into the bowels of the expiring animal, to draw forth the heart or liver, and to read, with the consummate skill of a harusper, the imaginary signs of future events. The wisest of the pagans censured this extravagant superstition, which affected to despise the restraints of prudence and decency. Under the reign of a prince, who practised the rigid maxims of economy, the expense of religous worship consumed a very large portion of the revenue; a constant supply of the scarcest and most beautiful birds was transported from distant climates, to bleed on the altars of the gods; a hundred oxen were frequently sa