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Canaan for the benefit of their posterity! By the arm of the Almighty, while they were yet a small people, they were protected from surrounding dangers—The savagesof thewilderness becametheir friends,and they grew up and multiplied into a great and prosperous people! How far we have followed the example of the Jews, in our backslidings and forgetfulness of the mercies of God, after ive became a nation, will appear from a brief statement of their conduct, after they became a nation, in the promised land.
me, with you my brethren and your children and children's children, and your flocks and your herds, and all you have; and here 1 will nourish you; for yet there are five years of famine to come. He then concludes this kind invitation, to his brethren, in the most melting act of tenderness— "He fell upon his brother Benjamin's neck, and \vept—and Benjamin •wept upon his neck! moreover, he kissed all his brethren, and wept upon them"—and Pharaoh, hearing of all this, was well pleased with the account of such a tender scene, and confirmed unto Joseph the invitation which he had given to his Father and Brethren, to come down to the land of Egypt and settle there; they and their little ones, and their wives, and to be sure to bring their father with them, and come, without regarding their stuff, or encumbering themselves with too much baggage; for that, when they came down, the good of all the land of Egypt should be theirs, and they should eat the fat thereof. After this invitation, [and furnishing them with waggons and provisions, aiid five changes of raiment, &c. for their journey, according to the command of Pharaoh] Joseph sent his brethren away, charging them [as duly regardful of the infirmities of fcuman nature] to see that they fall not out by the way.
Joseph's brethren, having got up out of Egypt, into the land of Canaan, unto Jacob their Father, otherwise called Israel, delivered unto him themessage which they bore, surprizinghim witk the news " that his son Joseph was yet alive, and governor over all the land of Egypt; and Jacob's heart fainted for he believed them not—But when they told him all the words of Joseph, •which he had said unto them, and seeing the waggons which Joseph had sent to carry him> the spirit of Jacob revived, and he said— It is enoughJoseph my son is yet alive, I will go and see him before I die." In this resolution, God confirmed Him in the visions of the night, and said, Jacob, Jacob! and he said, Here am I. And God said, I am the God of thj father; fear not to go d»wn into Egypt, for I will there make thee a great nation; I will go down with thee into Egypt, and I will surely bring the* up again; and Joseph thy son shall put his hand upon thine eyes; that is
Every page of their history, as recorded in the Old Testament, will yield instruction on this head.
he shall be with thee when thou leavest this world, shall close thine eye» in death, and take caie of thy funeral when dead.*
Jacob, thus confirmed in his resolution, by the visions of the night, rose up from Beer-sheba, and departed for Egypt, with all his family and their goods. And the souls that came with him into Egypt, and which came out of his loins, besides his sons* wives, were three scorce ar.d six; and Joseph hearing of his approach with his family, made ready his chariot, and went up to meet his father, to Goshen; and presented himself unto him, and fell on his neck, and wept on his neck a good while; and his father said unto Joseph," now let me die, since I have seen thy face, because thou art yet alive."
Thus we see the children of Israel, the progenitors of the Jewish nation, came honourably into Egypt, and settled by the invitation, and under the protection and auspices, of the Pharaohs themselves, the Rulers of the land.
But after Joseph died, there arose up a new King over Egypt, which knew not Joseph; and became jealous of the children of Israel; who (during the period of seventeen years that Jacob lived, with fifty-four years to the death of Joseph, and sixty-four years more to the birth of Moses, being in all one hundred and thirty-five years), had become so numerous as to
• Sec the account of this funeral, on Jacob's death, after he had lived seventeen years in the land of Egypt [ch. xlvii. 28]; when Joseph having embalmed his body [ch. xlix. 33] and fulfilled the forty days of mourning, according to custom; he spoke unto Pharaoh, and informed him of the oath [ch. xlvii. 29] which his father had required of him, when the time that he must die, drew near, viz.
"Bury me not, I pray thee, in Egypt; but I will lie with my fathers, and-thou shall carry me out of Egypt and bury me in their burying place in the grave which I have digged for me in the land of Canaan; (which was in the place bought by Abram [ch. xxiii] to bury Sarah, viz. the cave of Machpelah, called also the field of Machpelah, which was a large place, capable of containing sundry caves, or vaults for burying places)—And on this request of Joseph to Pharaoh, saying Set me go up I pray thee, according to my oath to bury my father, and I will come again; Pharaoh said, go up and bury thy father according as be made thee swear."
The Chronicles of their kings, rulers, and judges, are a standing testimony of their ingratitude andfor
fill the whole country ; amounting, on a Census soon afterwards taken, to six hundred and three thousand five hundred and fifty men, from twenty years old and upwards; and, therefore, reckoning women, children and youths under twenty, the number of souls would amount to three times as many, viz. near two Millions.
This new king alarmed at such a prodigious increase of foreigners in his land called a council of the great men of his nation, wherein it was resolved to keep down the growth of the Israelites, by every device possible, without totally destroying them, and losing the benefit of their labours as subjects—And, therefore, they set over them Task-masters, to afflict them with hard labour and burdens; but the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew! Grieved at this, the Egyptians resolved to cake a more severe course with them, and to increase the rigor of their servitude. "They made their lives bitter with hard bondage, in mortar, and in brick, and in all manner of service in the field; and the wicked Pharaoh their king, commanded the Hebrew Midwives, that when they did the office of Midwife to the Hebrew women, and saw them upon the stools; if it be a Son, that they shall kill him, but if a Daughter, then she might live—But the Midwives feared God, and disobeyed the King's command, and saved the Men-children alive, and the people still multiplied and waxed very mighty— Pharaoh, in his wrath, then charged all his people to do that which the midwives refused, and to watch the Hebrew women in their labour, and every Son that was born to cast into the river Nile, but every Daughter to save alive."
But the Almighty defeated this devicf also, and made the king's own daughter the instrument of preserving and raising up Moses, whom God appointed to be the deliverer of his oppressed brethren from the rod of Pharaoh, and to conduct them with an high hand, through the Waves of the Ued Sea, and the Perils of a vast wilderness, to the land promised long before to their father Abraham; placing him on a high place, and saying unto him," " Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art, Northward,and Southward, and Eastward, and Westward; for all the land which thou seest, I to thee will give it, and to thy seed forever;" which seed God had further promised,! " to multiply as the stars of Heaven, and that of it or out of it, all the nations of the earth should be blessed; l>ecause that Abraham had obeyed the voice of God, and kept his charge, hiu commandments, his statutes, and his laws."—To add more of thil history of the Jews by way of note, would be unnecessary.
* G«n. xiii. 14. t Ck. xxvi. 4, 5.
getfulness of God; their inattention to his Providence, and neglect of amendment; continuing hardened in their iniquity amidst his various judgment's and visitations, intended in mercy and long suffering, to lead them to reformation. The Prophecies of their Prophets—are they not all to the like purpose? either filled with denunciations of judgments upon their apostacy from God; promises of forgiveness upon their repentance and amendment; or threatening of total ruin and destruction, unless they turned from the evil of their ways, to do that which is lawful and right!
Many and various were the judgments inflicted on this people by the hand of Providence, for the punishment of their transgressions; but the four sorest, in extreme cases, when they became wholly hardened in their iniquity, was " the Sword and the Famine, and the noisome Beast (to infest a desolate land) and the Pestilence, to cut off from it (by one dreadful visitation) both man and beast."*
The first mentionedfcf those four sore judgments, the Sword, hath been sent upon us, not only by the great nation, from which our fathers and many of ourselves originated, but many a time likewise by the savage of the wilderness round us. Nor is it foreign to our purpose, on this solemn day, to contemplate thepossibility, and even probability, of a Sword against us, from another great nation; once gratefully caressed, and never ungratefully offended, by us as a people.
• Ezek. xiv. 21.
Under Divine Providence, smiling upon the councils of our nation, supported by the union, valour and magnanimity of our citizens, our Liberty and Independence have been asserted against the great nation first mentioned, and by them explicitly acknowledged, as finally and fully established.
The depredations of the savages, our neighbours, we trust also, will speedily be restrained and terminated by the like valour of our citizens; and a permanent union, and interchange of all the good offices of humanity and civil life, be established on all our borders, between us and them, and our children and their children, to the latest times.
Whether the great nation last mentioned, hath in truth meditated any measures, inimical to our liberty and independence, it would be wrong to pronounce absolutely in this sacred place. But we are justified in declaring our apprehensions and fears on this head; encouraged and invited, as that nation hath been, to the attempt, by the wild principles and restless conduct of their partizans here, impatient of all rule and authority, always seeking innovations, and never content long with any frame of government.
The second and third of the sore evils, by which the Jews were sometimes punished, namely, the Famine and the noisome Beast, and Blast on the herbage and fruits of the earth, promotive of Famine; the Almighty, (by his blessing on the labours and industry of our husbandmen and yeomanry, throughout a land of various and fertile soil, happily given us to possess) has been graciously pleased, hitherto, to spare us from—except sometimes by a slight visita