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their success in worldly affairs to their own wisdom, or abilities, not considering that they are indebted to the goodness of God for the very bread they eat from day to day, as much as the Israelites were for the manna; and that unless preserved by His power and goodness, they cannot be sure that their lives will be continued a single moment.
MOSES' EXHORTATION CONTINUED.
From Deut. Chap. x
And Moses said, Now Israel, what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, to keep the commandments of the LORD, and his statutes, which I command thee this day for thy good?
Behold the heaven, and the heaven of heavens, is the Lord's thy God, the earth also, with all that. therein is.
Only the Lord had a delight in thy fathers to love them, and he chose their seed after them, even you above all people, as it is this day.
Correct your hearts, therefore, and be no more stiffnecked.
For the Lord your God is God of Gods, and LORD of Lords, a great God, a mighty and a terrible, which regardeth not persons, nor taketh reward; He doth execute the judgment of the fatherless and widow, and loveth the stranger in giving him food and rai
Love ye therefore the stranger; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.
Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God; him shalt thou serve, and to him shalt thou cleave, and swear by his
He is thy praise, and he is thy God, that hath done for thee these great and terrible things which thine eyes have seen.
Thy fathers went down into Egypt with threescore and ten persons; and now the LORD thy God hath made thee as the stars of heaven for multitude.
Therefore thou shalt love the LORD thy God, and keep his charge, and his statutes, and his judgments, and his commandments alway.
And know ye this day: for I speak not with your children, which have not known, and which have not seen the chastisement of the LORD your God, his greatness, his mighty hand, and his stretched-out arm. But your eyes have seen all the great acts of the LORD which he did, therefore obey Him.
ANNOTATIONS AND REFLECTIONS.
It is worthy of observation, that Moses 'appeals to the knowledge of the very people to whom he addressed his discourse, for the truth of his assertions, which he certainly would not have done, if they had been false ; we may therefore depend upon the history he gave
of the various occurrences that came under his observation, as authentic matters of fact : had they been otherwise, he would soon have been proved an impostor; for however their descendants might have listened to fabulous tales, those whom he referred to as. eye-witnesses, could not have been persuaded to believe that they really had beheld, what they had never seen;
we may therefore safely give credit to his history, for there is every reason to believe that he was a faithful historian. This part of Moses's exhortation affords
useful instruction to Christians, because the same disposition of mind which he informed the Israelites was required in them, is required in Christians, to render them acceptable to the LORD God.
What a magnificent idea does Moses give of the greatness of that Divine Being who was known as the LORD God of Israel! We find that he is God of Gods, and LORD of Lords, the SUPREME Being. How highly then should we honour Him! Surely we can do no less than fear Him, and pay Him the best services we are capable of. The LORD is our Praise, aud He is our God; as such, therefore, let us cleave to Him, and on no account allow ourselves to think Him less great than He is.
In the following part of Moses' exhortation, he set before them a blessing and a curse, which is repeated in a subsequent section, and will be noticed in that place, After this, he again commanded them to destroy all monuments of idolatry where they went: and informed them, that as soon as they should be settled in the land of their inheritance, the LORD would appoint a place where His name should dwell; and to this, they would be required to repair at stated times with their households, to offer sacrifices, and to rejoice before the LORD, from which time, they would not be at liberty to pay their homage to the LORD, in every place which they themselves might choose. He then gave them a licence to eat flesh in the land of Canaan, but prohibited blood.
Moses also enjoined them not to introduce into the. worship of the Lord any of the ceremonies which the heathen made use of, as they were abominations to the Lord, particularly the horrid custom of offering their own sons and daughters as burnt-offerings : but they were to adhere steadily to the ordinances which Moses had before made known, and which he now repeated. From these injunctions we learn, that it is pleasing to the LoŘd to see His people assembled together in public worship, and that he delights in beholding them cheerful and happy. How far the ordinances of Moses are to be observed by Christians, may be learnt from the New Testament.
As many of the idolatrous priests pretended to be inspired by their gods to foretel future events, and by magical arts performed wonderful things, which passed on their infatuated followers as real miracles, Moses gave the Israelites a rule, by which they might distinguish a true prophet from these impostors. Which was this, not to think any one a true prophet who would want to entice them to follow other gods than the LORD. Christians (in the early ages of the Church especially) were liable to the same kind of imposition, and had also a rule to go by, as will be observed in its proper place.
As it was known to God that the Israelites would be apt to follow the example of their neighbours, in performing superstitious ceremonies, and seeking to pry into futurity, by consulting persons called wizards and sorcerers, who pretended to have intercourse with spirits, Moses was ordered to give them strict injunctions to the contrary*.
* Moses gave the Israelites a variety of other instructions; but as these related entirely to their own ceremonial and political law, they are omitted,
An early acquaintance with the word of God, should keep us from the desire of knowing future events, which God for wise reasons has concealed from us: but should we ever find an inclination to listen to fortunetellers and conjurors, let us remember, that Moses has said, these things are abominations to the Lord. Such kind of persons cannot by any human art, penetrate into the secrets of Providence any more than we can ; and if they really had an intercourse with spirits, they must be bad ones, for no others would presume to make known what God thinks fit to conceal; therefore a good person
would not wish to gain information by their means, nor trust himself to the direction of the Devil's agents. But we may assure ourselves, that fortune-tellers are impostors, and know no more than we do what shall befal us.
The Israelites were also repeatedly commanded not to make their sons and their daughters pass through the fire. In order to explain this, it is necessary to mention, that it was a custom among some of the Canaanites, to offer their children in sacrifice to an idol called Moloch. The original practice was, to burn the innocent victim in a fiery furnace, and sometimes they put it into a brass statue of their idol flaming hot, and to drown its cries, musicians were ordered to play on various instruments. This savage barbarity was carried to such an excess, that even mothers would embrace their tender infants, and then commit them to the Aames, without even shedding a single tear. In latter times, they altered the custom, and made their children walk between two slow fires to the idol; but this was only prolonging the torture, and was the custom the Scripture alludes to.
It is very amazing to think, how such things could ever be invented by men ; and we may reasonably sup