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branch of the Levites, descended from Gershon, Levi's eldest son. On the north side were the Merarites, the remaining part of the Levites, who sprung from Me. rari, Levi's youngest son."
“ This was the order of the Israelites encamping; and the method of their marching was thus : When. ever they were to decamp (which was always when the pillar of the cloud was taken up from the tabernacle) the trumpet sounded, and upon the first alarm, the standard of Judah being raised, the three tribes which belonged to it set forward; upon which the tabernacle was immediately taken down, and the Gershonites and Merarites attended the waggons with the boards and staves of it. When these were on their march, a second alarm sounded; upon which, the standard of Reuben's
aduonnad with the three tribes under it, bearing the sanctuary; which, because it was holy, and not so cumbersome as the pillars and boards of the tabernacle, was not put into a raccon, but care ried upon
men's shoulders. Next followed the standard of Ephraim's camp, with the three tribes belonging to it. And last of all, the other three tribes, under the standard of Dan, brought up the rear." Every thing was contrived in a most excellent manner, to preserve regularity and decorum, and prevent confusion and disputes: each person was informed of his
business, and knowing that all was settled by God's appointment, they readily submitted to it: the Levites were particularly honoured, as a reward for their fidelity to God, in slaying those who worshipped the golden calf.
The camp of Israel must have made a very beautiful' appearance: especially if we consider, that the glory of God was manifested in the midst of it. The tribe of
Judah had the pre-eminence. Jưdah' was not the eldest son of Jacob; but this partly fulfilled a prophecy which Jacob spake a little before his death *.
To assure the people that they were under the di. vine protection, and to excite their gratitude, the LORD comman ved Moses, to give directions to Aaron and his sons to pronounce the following blessing upon them, when they assembled for public worship, which every sincere worshipper might apply to himself, “ The LORD bless thee and keep thee; the LORD make his face to shine
upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: the LORD lift up the light of his countenance upon thee, and give
And the LORD graciously promised that he would put his name upon Israel and bless them, so that it should evidently appear that He had chosen them for his peculiar people.
How gracious was the Lord in thus providing for the good order and happiness of his people !...We find regulations were made for due subordination among the multitudes, which composed the great congregation; and it certainly must be best for every nation to have a distinction of ranks and orders, both ecclesiastical and civil.
The blessing of the Lord, and the Divine promise which accompanied it, were the highest and most ho. nourable privileges bestowed upon the Israelites. In imitation of Aaron and his sons, Christian ministers pronounce a blessing upon their congregations of a similar kind, founded upon the promises of the New Testament, The peace of God, which passeth all understand. ing, keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and
See Sect. lii, vol...
love of God, (ind of his Son Jesus Christ; and the blessing of GOD ALMIGHTY, the FATHER, THE Son, AND THE HOLY Ghost, be amongst you and remain with you always.” How earnestly should we all endeavour to obtain an interest in these inestimable blessings!
THE PRINCES OFFERINGS
When every thing was completely in order, the princes of the people, the heads of tribes, advanced with great solemnity to present their offerings, which consisted of six covered waggons and twelve oxen, a wago gon for two princes, and for each one an ox; and each prince offered one silver charger, one silver bowl, one golden spoon, one young bullock, one ram, one lamb of the first year, for a burnt-offering ; one kid of the goats for a sin-offering; and for a sacrifice of peace. offerings two oxen, five rams, five he-goats, five lambs of the first year.
All the silver vessels together weighed two thousand four hundred shekels, and the gold of the spoons one hundred and twenty shekels : so that each dish or charger weighed about sixty ounces, according to our weights, each bowl about thirty-five ounces, and the golden spoons about five ounces a-piece. It pleased the LORD to assure Meses of His acceptance of these offerings, by speaking to him, as He had promised to do, from between the cherubims on the Mercy-seat. After this, the LORD commanded, that the Levites should be
purified, by washing with water, &c. and brought before the Tabernacle of the congregation; and that the whole assembly of Israel should be gathered together, and put their hands upon the Levites, which they did; Aaron was then commanded to offer them to the LORD, as an offering from the children of Israel, to do the service of the LORD's House in their stead. Aaron then made an atonement for the Levites, who were from that time wholly separated from the other tribes ; and entered on their holy office; for the Lord accepted them, instead of all the first-born, whom He had redeemed to Himself.
The princes of Israel have left an example to all per sons, who are placed in exalted stations, to be foremost in acts of piety; and to be ready to employ some portion of their riches to the honour of God.
By appointing Priests and Levites Himself, the LORD put an honour upon the priestly office, and shewed, that those employed in his immediate service should be exempted from secular occupations, and regarded as holy persons.
AND the LORD spake unto Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, in the first month of the second year, after they were come out of the land of Egypt, saying, Let the children of Israel also keep the passover at his appointed season.
And Moses spake unto the children of Israel, that they should keep the passover.
And they kept the passover on the fourteenth day of the first month at even, in the wilderness of Sinai: ac.. cording to all that the LORD commanded Moses, so did the children of Israel. And on the day that the tabernacle was reared
up, the cloud covered the tabernacle, namely, the tent of the testimony: and at even there was upon the tabernacle as it were the appearance of fire, until the morning.
So it was alway: the cloud covered it by day, and the appearance of fire by night.
And when the cloud was taken up from the taber. nacle, then after that, the children of Israel journeyed: and in the place where the cloud abode, there the children of Israel pitched their tents.
At the commandment of the LORD they rested in the tents, and at the commandment of the LORD they journeyed: they kept the charge of the LORD, at the commandment of the LORD by the hand of Moses.
And it came to pass on the twentieth day of the second month, in the second year, that the cloud was taken up from off the tabernacle of the testimony.
And the children of Israel took their journeys out of the wilderness of Sinai ; and the cloud rested in the wilderness of Parap.
And they first took their journey, according to the commandment of the Lord by the hand of Moser..
And they departed from the mount of the LORD three days journey: and the ark of the covenant of the LORD'went before them in the three days journey, to search out a resting-place for them. %