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all expect would fall upon them, sooner or later, within the space of Forty Years. So that hereby' was taken off all prospect of Advantage, and all hopes of any Reward for what they now with so much regret and impatience underwent; and from henceforth they were led merely by Conviction of the Divine Power and Presence amongst them, and of the Terrors of those Judgments, which, in all Revolts, seized upon the Disobedient. And now being restless and uneafie in their present Condition, and past all hopes of remedying it, like desperate Men, they were, upon every little Occasion, thrown into violent Commotions; but were as soon control'd and appeas'd by vifible Judgments upon the chief Authors of them.
For when we read, soon after, that a Rebellion was rais'd against Mofes, by Korah, Dathan, and Abiram; God gave such evident Tokens of that Authority which he had invested him withal, and fo signally manifefted, that what he had done amongst them, was by his Power and Commission, that it was impoffible for any of them to be deceiv'd in it, or to doubt of it. Though the Truth of it is, they had never from the very first doubted of God's Power amongst them, but were acted now with a spirit of Rage and Despair, like the Men described by the Prophet, fretting themselves, and curfing their king, and their God, and looking upwards, Isa. viii. 21. Korah, of the Tribe of Levi; and Dathan, and Abiram, and on, of the Tribe of Reuben, being Principal and Leading Men of these two Tribes, with Two hundred and fifty princes of the assembly, famous in the congregation, men of renown, gan thered themselves together against Mofes and Aaron, charging them, That they took too much upon them. And to clear himself of this Accusation, Moses implores God to vindicate his Innocency, before all the People; and, by Agreement, Korah and Aaron appear'd before the Lord, with Censers in their Hands, and Two hundred and fifty Men besides, with their Censers
likewise, likewise. Korah, at the time appointed, gather'd all the Congregation against Mofes and Aaron, unto the Door of the Tabernacle of the Congregation. So that here was the most folemn Appearance of the whole People, who had entertain’d great Jealousies against Moses and Aaron, and were now met together, to see whether they could give sufficient Proof of their Authority, which they challeng’d over them. The Time and Place was appointed, and they caine inclined and prepared to receive any farther ill Impressions concerning M ses and Aaron, if they could not have made out their Pretensions, in the most remarkable and astonishing manner, to the utter Corifusion of all their Enemies. First the glory of the Lord appeared unto all the congregation ; and then Mofes, at God's Command, charges the Congregation to depart from the Tabernacles of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, and declares, Hereby ye shall know that the Lord hath sent me to do all these works : for I have not done them of mine own mind. If these men die the common death of all men, or if they le visited after the visitation of all men; then the Lord hath nat sent me. But if the Lord make a new thing, and the earth open her mouth, and swallow them up, with all that appeitain unto them, and they go down quick into the pit; then ye shall understand that these men have provoked the Lord. And it came to pass, as he had made an end of speaking all these words, that the ground clave alinder that was under them . And the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their houses, and all the men that appertained unto Korah, and all their goods : they, and all that appertained to them, went down alive into the pit, and the earth closed upon them : and they perished from among the congregation. And all Ifrael that were round about them, fled at the cry of them : for they said, Lest the earth swallow us up also
. And there came out a fire from the Lord, and consumed the two hundred and fifty men that offered incense, Num xyi.
Thus Moses vindicated himself, and prov'd his Divine Million and Authority in such a manner, as it was impoffible but that the whole People of Israel must be convinc'd of it: They were very suspicious and jealous of him, tho' they had had so much experience of his Favour with God, and of all his mighty Works done in the midst of them: But when this dreadful Vengeance fell upon his Enemies, before the whole Congregation, who were met together on purpose to see whether God would declare himself for him; when the Earth divided it self to swallow some of these Men, and a Fire from Heaven devour'd others, there was not a Man of all the Congregation but must be an Eye-witness to this Judgment; and there could be no Deceit nor Mistake in a thing of this nature: For Men may as well doubt, whether those whom they see live, are alive, as whether those whom they see taken away by so terrible and so visible a death, are dead; and unless they can know this, there can be no Knowledge nor Proof of any thing. They saw the Earth first divide it self, and then close it self again upon these wicked Men ; they saw them go down alive into the Pit ; they heard tne Cry of them, and fled away for fear: and they saw belides a Fire from the Lord consume no fewer than Two hundred and fifty Men, and these the Men that offer'd Incense, in opposition 10 Aaron ; Princes of the assembly, famous in the congregation, men of renown, whose death was very remarkable, upon the account of their Persons, as well as for the Manner of it. So
many Men of that Rank and Character being taken away at once, was a thing that would have been much observed, and stridly enquir’d into, if they had fallen by any other death: but their dying in this manner, was so wonderful, and so plain a declaration of the Divine Justice, that it could neither be unknown nor forgotten by any Man in the whole Congregation.
Yet their Discontents against Moses still continued; for He and Aaron were charged with killing the people of the Lord, ver. 41. and the congregation was gathered againft Moses and against Aaron: and behold, the cloud covered the tabernacle of the congregation, and the glory of the Lord appeared. And God's Wrath was so hot against the People, for their Stubbornness and Difa obedience, that notwithstanding the Interceffion of Mom fes and Aaron in their behalf, a Plague from the Lord raged fo much amongst them, that they that died in the plague were fourteen thousand and seven hundred, beside them that died about the matter of Korah, ver.49. And there were, probably, many Families in every Tribe, which bore the marks of God's Displeasure, and of the Truth of Mofes his Mission : and then Aaron's Rod alone blofsom’d, of all the Rods of the Twelve Tribes; but by this time the People were weary
of their contumacy, and cried out, Behold, we die, we perish, we all perish : Shall we be consumed with dying? Num. xvii. 12, 13. And thus was an end put to a Sedition, which was the greatest and the most dangerous, as Josephus well observes, that was ever known among any People; and fuch, as that so dreadful a succession of Miracles was necessary to deliver Moses out of it. I would know of the greatest Infidel, whether, if he had lived at that time, and had been in the Wilderness with Mofes, and had been of Korah's Conspiracy, (as it is most likely he would have been) I would know of him, I say, whether he could have done any thing more, to put Moses upon the utmost tryal of his Power and Authority received from God, than these rebellious Ifraelites did? And if he could not, (as he must needs confess he could not) then he ought to be satisfied in the Authority of Moses, as they themselves afterwards were, unless he has an ambition to fhew, that some Christians can be more refractory than Jews
Yet again, when they wanted Water, the People quarrelld with Moses, and said, Would God that we had died when our brethren died before the Lord. And Moses brought Water out of the Rock, before the whole Congregation, in so great plenty, that the whole People and their. Cattel, just ready to perish with thirst, were satisfied with it, Num. xx. 3, 10. At another time, after a signal Victory over the Canaanites, they made the same Complaints again ; and for their Murmurings, were stung by fiery Serpents, and many died; till a Brazen Serpent being erected, as many as looked on it, were miraculously cured, Num. xxi. 6.
And if the delivering the Law in fo conspicuous and wonderful a manner; if fo remarkable Judgments upon those that questioned and opposed Mofes his Authority, and that transgressed his Law, by committing Idolatry.; if à continual course of Miracles, for Forty Years, done before the eyes, and obvious to every sense of so many thousands of People, be not a plain demonftration, that the Matter of Faa, in all the circumstances of it necessary to prove Mofes to have acted by God's immediate Authority and Commillion, was at first sufficiently attested; it is impoffible that any thing can be certainly testified. .: We fee how impossible it was for Moses to impose upon the People of Israel in things of this patare; if he could have been so far forsaken of all Reason and common Sense, as to hope to do it. . But if he had designed to put any deceit upon them, he would certainly have taken another course; he would have done his Miracles privately, and but seldom, not in the midst of all the People, for Forty Years together : he would never have made two Nations, at the first, Witnesses to them ; and then have proceeded in such a manner, as that every Man among the Israelites must have known them to be false, if they had been fo: he would have chosen such Instances to shew his Miracles in, as should have provoked no body; not