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to see the blemishes of the evangelical | Nothing will more try a man's grace, than priesthood, when God's first high priest is questions of emulation. That man hath thus miscarried?
I true light, which can be content to be a Who can look for love and prosperity at candle before the sun of others. once, when holy and meek Moses finds en As no wrong can escape God, so, least mitv in his own flesh and blood ? Rather of all, those which are offered to princes. than we shall want, “ A man's enemies He that made the ear, needs no intelligence shall be those of his own house." Autho- of our tongues. We have to do with a rity cannot fail of opposition, if it be never God that is light of hearing; we cannot so mildly swayed: that common make-bate whisper any evil so secretly, that he should will rather raise it out of our own bosom. not cry out of noise : and what need we To do well, and hear ill, is princely. | any further evidence, when our judge is our
The Midianitish wife of Moses cost him witness? dear. Before, she hazarded his life ; now, Without any delation of Moses, God the favour of his people. Unequal matches hears and challenges them. Because he are seldom prosperous. Although now this was meek, therefore he complained not: scandal was only taken, envy was not wise because he was meek and complained not, enough to choose a ground of the quarrel. | therefore the Lord struck in for him the Whether some secret and emulatory brawls | more. The less a man strives for himself, passed between Zipporah and Miriam (as the more is God his champion. It is the many times these sparks of private brawls honour of great persons to undertake the grow into a perilous and common flame), | patronage of their clients : how much more or whether, now that Jethro and his family will God revenge his elect, which cry to were joined with Israel, there were surmises him day and night! He that said, “ I seek of transporting the government to stran- not mine own glory,” adds, “ But there is gers; or whether this unfit choice of Moses one that seeks it, and judges." God takes is now raised up to disparage God's gifts in his part ever that fights not for himself. him ; even in sight, the exceptions were No man could have given more proofs frivolous. Emulation is curious, and, out of his courage than Moses. He slew the of the best person, or act, will raise some- Egyptian; he confronted Pharaoh in his thing to cavil at.
own court; he beat the Midianite shepSeditions do not ever look the same way herds; he feared not the troops of Egypt; they move. Wise men can easily distin- he durst look God in the face amidst all guish betwixt the vizor of actions, and the the terrors of Sinai ; and yet that Spirit face. The wife of Moses is mentioned ; which made and knew his heart, says, “ He his superiority is shot at. Pride is lightly was the mildest man upon earth.” Mildthe ground of all sedition. Which of their | ness and fortitude may well lodge together faces shined like Moses ? Yea, let him but in one breast; to correct the misconceits have drawn his veil, which of them durst of those men, that think none valiant but look on his face? Which of them had those that are fierce and cruel. fasted twice forty days? Which of them. No sooner is the word out of Miriam's ascended up to the top of Sinai, and was mouth, than the word of God's reproof hid with smoke and fire ? Which of them meets it. How he bestirs him, and will received the law twice in two several be at once seen and heard, when the name tables, from God's own hand? And yet of Moses is in question! Moses was zealthey dare say, “ Hath God spoken only by | ously careful for God's glory, and now Moses ?" They do not deny Moses his ho- | God is zealous for his. The remunerations nour, but they challenge a part with him; of the Almighty are infinitely gracious. He and as they were the elder in nature, so cannot want honour and patronage that they would be equal in dignity, equal in seeks the honour of his Maker. The ready administration. Acccording to her name, way to true glory is goodness. Miriam would be exalted. And yet how God might have spoken so loud, that unfit were they! One a woman, whom heaven and earth should have heard it, so her sex debarred from rule; the other a as they should not have needed to come priest, whom his office sequestered from forth for audience; but now, he calls them earthly government. Self-love makes men out to the bar, that they may be seen to unreasonable, and teaches them to turn | hear. It did not content him to chide the glass, to see themselves bigger, others them within doors: the shame of their less than they are. It is a hard thing for fault had been leas in a private rebuke ; but a man, willingly and gladly to see his equals the scandal of their repining was public. lifted over his head, in worth and opinion. Where the sin is not afraid of the light, God loves not the reproof should be that brother whom they both emulated, for smothered.
pardon from himself, and that God which They had depressed Moses ; God ad was offended in him. Where now is that vances him. They had equalled themselves equality which was pretended ? Behold, to Moses; God prefers him to them. Their he that so lately made his brother his fel. plea was, that God had spoken by them, low, now makes him his god. “ Lay not as well as by Moses. God's reply is, That this sin upon us ; let her not be as one he hath, in a more entire fashion, spoken dead;" as if Moses had imposed this plague, to Moses than them. God spake to the and could remove it. Never any opposed best of them, but either in their dream, the servants of God, but, one time or other, sleeping, or in vision, waking; but to Moses they have been constrained to confess a he spake with more inward illumination, superiority. with more lively representation; to others Miriam would have wounded Moses with as a stranger; to Moses as a friend. God her tongue; Moses would heal her with had never so much magnified Moses to his: “ O Lord, heal her now." The wrong them, but for their envy. We cannot de- is the greater, because his sister did it. He vise to pleasure God's servants so much as doth not say, I sought not her shame, she by despiting them.
sought mine ; if God have revenged it, I God was angry when he chid them, but have no reason to look on her as a sister, more angry when he departed. The with who looked at me as an adversary: but, drawing of his presence, is the presence as if her leprosy were his, he cries out for of his wrath. While he stays to reprove, her cure. O admirable meekness of Moses ! there is favour in his displeasure ; but when His people, the Jews, rebelled against him: he leaves either man or church, there is no God proffers revenge: he would rather hope but of vengeance. The final absence die, than they should perish. His sister of God, is hell itself. When he forsakes rebelled against him: God works his reus, though for a time, it is an introduction | venge; he will not give God peace till she to his utmost judgment. It was time to be re-cured. Behold a worthy and noble look for a judgment when God departed : pattern for us to follow ! How far are they so soon as he is gone from the eyes of Mi- from this disposition, who are not only conriam, the leprosy appears in her face: her tent God should revenge, but are ready to foul tongue is punished with a foul face. prevent God's revenge with their own! Since she would acknowledge no difference God's love to Moses suffers him not to betwixt herself and her brother Moses, obtain presently his suit for Miriam ; his every Israelite now sees his face glorious, good nature to his sister made him pray her's leprous. Deformity is a fit cure of against himself. If the judgment had been pride. Because the venom of her tongue at once inflicted, and removed, there had would have eaten into the reputation of been no example of terror for others. God her brother, therefore a poisonous infec either denies, or defers the grant of our retion eats into her flesh. Now both Moses quests for our good. It were wide for us, and Miriam need to wear a veil; the one if our suits should be ever heard. It was to hide his glory, the other her deformity. | fit for all parts, Miriam should continue That Midianite Zipporah, whom she some while leprous. There is no policy scorned, was beautiful in respect of her in a sudden removal of just punishment :
Miriam was stricken, Aaron escaped, unless the rain so fall, that it lie and soak both sinned: his priesthood could not res- into the earth, it profits nothing. If the cue him ; the greatness of his dignity did judgments of God should be only as pas. but add to the heinousness of his sin; his sengers, and not sojourners at least, they repentance freed him. Alas! my Lord, I would be no whit regarded. beseech thee lay not this sin upon us which we have foolishly committed! I wonder not to see Aaron free, while I see him penitent; this very confession saved
CANAAN. him before from bleeding for idolatry, which now preserves him from leprosy, for his I can but wonder at the counsel of God. envious repining. The universal antidote | If the Israelites had gone on to Canaan, for all the judgments of God, is our humble without inquiry, their confidence had posrepentance.
sessed it. Now they send to espy the Yea, bis sad deprecation prevailed, both land; six hundred thousand never lived to to clear himself and recover Miriam. The see it: and yet I see God enjoining them to brother sues for himself and his sister, to send; but enjoining it upon their instance,
THE SEARCHERS OF
Some things God allows in judgment: their | our own power, we are vanquished beimportunity and distrust extorted from God fore we fight. He that would overcome, this occasion of their overthrow. That must neither look upon his own arm, nor which the Lord moves unto prospers; but the arm of his enemy, but the mouth and that which we move him to first, seldom hand of him that hath promised, and can succeedeth. What needed they doubt of perform. Who are we, flesh and blood, the goodness of that land, which God told with our breath in our nostrils, that we them did flow with milk and honey? What should fight with principalities, powers, spi. needed they doubt of obtaining that which ritual wickednesses in heavenly places? The God promised to give? When we will match is too unequal: we are like grasssend forth our senses to be our scouts in hoppers to these giants; when we compare the matters of faith, and rather dare trust ourselves with them, how can we but demen than God, we are worthy to be de spair? When we compare them with God, ceived.
how can we be discouraged ? He that hath The basest sort of men are commonly brought us into this field, hath promised us held fit enough for intelligencers; but victory. God knew their strength ere he Moses, to make sure work, chooseth forth offered to commit us. the best of Israel, such as were like to be Well might they have thought, were not most judicious in their inquiry, and most the Amalekites stronger than we? Were credible in their report. Those that ruled not they armed, we naked ? Did not the Israel at home, could best descry for them hand of Moses, only by lifting up, beat abroad. What should direct the body but them down ? Were not the Egyptians no the head? Men can judge but by appear-| less our masters ? Did not death come arce; it is for him only that sees the event, running after us in their chariots ? Did we ere he appoint the means, not to be de- | not leave these buried in the sea, the other ceived. It had been better for Israel to unburied in the wilderness ? Whence had have sent the offal of the multitude: by the Anakims their strength, but from him how much less the credit of their person that bids us go up against them? Why is, by so much less is the danger of seduce-have the bodies of our forefathers taken ment. The error of the mighty is armed possession of their Hebron, but for us? with authority, and in a sort commands | But now, their fear hath not left them assent: whether in good or evil, greatness so much reason as to compare their adhath ever a train to follow it at the heels. versaries with others, but only with them.
Forty days they spent in this search; selves: doubtless, these giants were mighty, and this cowardly unbelief in the search but their fear hath stretched them out some shall cost them forty years' delay of the cubits beyond their stature. Distrust makes fruition. Who can abide to see the rulers our dangers greater, and our helps less of Israel so basely timorous ? They com- than they are, and forecasts ever worse mend the land, the fruit commends itself; than shall be ; and if evils be possible, it and yet they plead difficulty: “ We be not makes them certain. able to go up." Their shoulders are laden Amongst those twelve messengers whom with the grapes, and yet their hearts are our second Moses sent through the land overlaid with unbelief. It is an unworthy of promise, there was but one Judas; but, thing to plead hardness of achieving, where amongst those twelve which the former the benefit will more than requite the en- | Moses addressed through the same land, deavour. Our land of promise is above; there is but one Caleb: and yet those were we know the fruit thereof is sweet and chosen out of the meanest; these out of glorious, the passage difficult. The giantly the heads of Israel. As there is no sosons of Anak (the powers of darkness) ciety free from some corruption, so it is stand in our way. If we sit down and hard if in a community of men there be not complain, we shall once know, that “ with some faithfulness. out shall be the fearful."
We shall wrong God, if we fear lest good See the idle pleas of distrust! “ We are causes shall be quite forsaken. He knows not able; they are stronger." Could not how to serve himself of the best, if the God enable them? Was he not stronger fewest ; and could as easily be attended than their giants ? Had he not promised to with a multitude, if he did not seek his displace the Canaanites, to settle them in own glory in unlikelihoods. their stead ? How much more easy is it Joshua was silent, and wisely spared his for us to spy their weakness, than for them tongue for a further advantage ; only Caleb to espy the strength of their adversaries ! spake. I do not hear him say, Who am I When we measure our spiritual success bv | to strive with a multitude ? What can
Joshua and I do against ten rulers ? It is | Egypt? What, can ye dat die at the hands better to sit still than to rise and fall: but of the Anakims? Can ye hope for less he resolves to swim against this stream, from the Egyptians ? What madness is and will either draw friends to the truth, this to wish to die, for fear of death? Is or enemies upon himself.
there less hope from your enemies that True Christian fortitude teaches us not shall be, when you go under strong and to regard the number or quality of the expert leaders, than from the enemies that opponents, but the equity of the cause, and were, when ye shall return masterless ? cares not to stand alone, and challenge all Can those cruel Egyptians so soon have comers; and if it could be opposed by as forgotten the blood of their fathers, chilmany worlds as men, it may be overborne, dren, brothers, husbands, which perished but it cannot be daunted; whereas popu- | in pursuing you ? Had ye rather trust the larity carries weak minds, and teaches them mercy of known enemies, than the promise the safety of erring with a multitude.
of a faithful God? Which way will ye reCaleb saw the giantly Anakims and the turn? Who shall divide the sea for you? walled cities as well as the rest, and yet | Who shall fetch you water out of the he says, “ Let us go up and possess it ;" | rock? Or can ye hope, that the manna of as if it were no more but to go, and see, God will follow you while ye run from and conquer. Faith is courageous, and him ? Feeble minds, when they meet with makes nothing of those dangers wherewith crosses they looked not for, repent of their others are quelled.
good beginnings, and wish any difficulty It is very material with what eyes we rather than that they find. How many look upon all objects. Fear doth not more have pulled back their foot from the narrow multiply evils, than faith diminisheth them; way, for the troubles of a good profession! which is therefore bold, because either it | Ít had been time for the Israelites to sees not, or contemns that terror which fear have fallen down on their faces before represents to the weak. There is none so Moses and Aaron, and to have said, Ye valiant as the believer.
led us through the sea; make way for us It had been happy for Israel if Caleb's into Canaan. Those giants are strong, counsel had been as effectual as good: but but not so strong as the rock of Rephidim; how easily have these rulers discouraged a ye struck that, and it yielded : if they be faint-hearted people! Instead of lifting up tall, the pillar of God is higher than they: their ensigns, and marching towards Ca- when we look on ourselves, we see cause naan, they sit them down, and lift up their of fear; but when we consider the miracuvoice, and cry. The rods of their Egyp-lous power of you our leaders, we cannot tian taskmasters had never been so fit for but contemn those men of measures. Leave them, as now, for crying. They had cause, us not, therefore, but go before us in indeed, to weep for the sin of their in your directions ; go to God for us in your fidelity ; but now they weep for fear of prayers. But now contrarily, Moses and those enemies they saw not. I fear, if | Aaron fall on their faces to them, and sue there had been ten Calebs to persuade, to them that they would be content to be and but two faint spies to discourage them, conducted. Had they been suffered to those two cowards would have prevailed depart, they had perished; Moses and his against those ten solicitors : how much | few had been victorious : and yet, as if he more, now ten oppose and but two en could not be happy without them, he falls courage! An easy rhetoric draws us to on his face to them, that they would stay. the worst part; yea, it is hard not to run We have never so much need to be imdown the hill. The faction of evil is soportuned, as in those things whose benefit much stronger in our nature than that of should make us most importunate. The good, that every least motion prevails for sweetness of God's law, and our promised the one ; scarce any suit for the other. glory, is such as should draw all hearts
Now is Moses in danger of losing all the after it; and yet, if we did not sue to men, cost and care that ever he bestowed upon as for life, that they would be reconciled Israel: his people are already gone back to God, and be saved, I doubt whether to Egypt in their hearts, and their bodies they would obey ; yea, it were well if our are returning. Oh! ye rebellious Hebrews, suit were sufficient to prevail. where shall God have you at last ? Did Though Moses and Aaron entreat upon ever Moses promise to bring you to a fruitful their faces, and Joshua and Caleb persuade, land, without inhabitants, - to give you a and rend their garments, yet they move rich country, without resistance ? Are not nothing. The obstinate multitude, grown the graves of Canaan as good as those of more violent with opposing, is ready to
return them stones for their prayers. Such , while from the same hand, which another hath been ever the thanks of fidelity and time gives it entertainment; and that yieldtruth. Crossed wickedness proves des- | ance loses the thank of all the former reperate, and, instead of yielding, seeks for sistance. It is no praise to have done once revenge. Nothing is so hateful to a re-well, unless we continue. solute sinner as good counsel. We are Outward privileges of blood can avail become enemies to the world, because we nothing against a particular calling of God. tell them truth.
These Reubenites had the right of the That God, which was invisibly present natural primogeniture, yet do they vainly while they sinned, when they have sinned, challenge pre-eminence, where God hath shows himself glorious. They might have subjected them. If all civil honour flow seen him before, that they should not sin ; from the king, how much more from the now they cannot choose but see him in the God of kings! His hand exalts the poor, height of their sin. They saw before the and casts down the mighty from their throne. pillar of his ordinary presence ; now, they The man that will be lifting up himself in see him unusually terrible, that they may, the pride of his heart, from under the foot with shame and horror, confess him able of God, is justly trodden in the dust. to defend, able to revenge. The help of Moses is the prince of Israel, Aaron the God uses to show itself in extremity. He priest; Moses was mild, Aaron popular; that can prevent evils, conceals his aid till yet both are conspired against. Their places danger be ripe; and then he is as fearful as are no less brothers, than their persons. before he seemed connivent.
Both are opposed at once. He that is a traitor to the church, is a traitor to the king.
Any superiority is a mark of envy. Had CONTEMPLATION y._ KORAH'S CONSPIRACY. | Moses and Aaron been but fellows with
the Israelites, none had been better beloved; The tears of Israel were scarce dry since their dispositions were such, as must needs the smart of their last mutiny, and now | have forced favour from the indifferent ; they begin another. The multitude is like now they were advanced, their malice is a raging sea, full of unquiet billows of dis- not inferior to their honour. High towers contentment, whereof one rises in the fall i must look for lightnings. We offer not to of another. They saw God did but threa- | undermine but those walls which we cannot ten, and therefore are they bold to sin. It scale. Nature, in every man, is both envious was now high time they should know what and disdainful, and never loves to honour it is for God to be angry. There was never another, but where it may be an honour to such a revenge taken of Israel; never any itself. better deserved. When lesser warnings will There cannot be conceived an honour not serve, God looks into his quiver for less worthy of emulation, than this princideadly arrows. In the meantime, what a pality of Israel; a people that could give weary life did Moses lead in these continual | nothing; a people that had nothing, but in successions of conspiracies! What did he hope; a people whom their leader was fain gain by this troublesome government, but to feed with bread and water, which paid danger and despite? Who but he would him no tribute but of ill words; whose not have wished himself rather with the command was nothing but a burden : and sheep of Jethro, than with these wolves of yet this dignity was an eye-sore to these Israel? But, as he durst not quit his hook Levites, and these Reubenites : “ Ye take without the calling of God, so now he dare too much upon you, ye sons of Levi." not his sceptre, except he be dismissed of! And this challenge, though thus unsea him that called him; no troubles, no opposi. sonable, hath drawn in two hundred and tions, can drive him from his place : we are fifty captains of Israel. What wonder is it, too weak if we suffer men to chase us from that the ten rulers prevailed so much with that station where God hath set us. the multitude to dissuade them from Ca
I see the Levites, not long since, drawing naan, when three traitors prevailed thus their swords, for God and Moses, against with two hundred and fifty rulers, famous the rest of Israel; and that fact wins them in the congregation, and men of renown? both praise and blessing. Now they are the One man may kindle such a fire, as all the forwardest in the rebellion against Moses world cannot quench. One plague-sore and Aaron, men of their own tribe. There may infect a whole kingdom : the infection is no assurance of a man for one act; whom of evil is much worse than the act. one sin cannot fasten upon, another may. It is not like these leaders of Israel could Yea, the same sin may find a repulse one err without followers. He is a mean man