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all expect would fall upon them, fooner or later, within the space of Forty Years. So that hereby was taken off all profpect of Advantage, and all hopes of any Reward for what they now with fo much regret and impatience underwent; and from henceforth they were led merely by Conviction of the Divine Power and Prefence amongst them, and of the Terrors of thofe Judgments, which, in all Revolts, feized upon the Disobedient. And now being reftlefs and uneafie in their present Condition, and past all hopes of remedying it, like defperate Men, they were, upon every little Occafion, thrown into violent Commotions; but were as foon 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 fuch evident Tokens of that Authority which he had invefted him withal, and fo fignally manifefted, that what he had done amongst them, was by his Power and Commiffion, 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 Defpair, like the Men defcribed by the Prophet, fretting themselves, and curfing their king, and their God, and looking upwards, Ifa. 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 affembly, famous in the congregation, men of renown, gathered themselves together against Mofes and Aaron, charging them, That they took too much upon them. And to clear himself of this Accufation, Mofes implores God to vindicate his Innocency, before all the People; and, by Agreement, Korah and Aaron appear'd before the Lord, with Cenfers in their Hands, and Two hundred and fifty Men befides, with their Cenfers M likewife
likewife. 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 moft folemn Appearance of the whole People, who had entertain'd great Jealoufies against Mofes and Aaron, and were now met together, to fee whether they could give fufficient Proof of their Authority, which they challeng'd over them. The Time and Place was appointed, and they came inclined and prepared to receive any farther ill Impreffions concerning Mfes and Aaron, if they could not have made out their Pretenfions, in the most remarkable and astonishing manner, to the utter Confufion 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 thefe works: for I have not done them of mine own mind. If thefe men die the common death of all men, or if they be vifited after the vifitation of all men; then the Lord hath not fent me. But if the Lord make a new thing, and the earth open her mouth, and swallow them up, with all that appertain 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 afunder that was under them: And the earth opened her mouth, and fwallowed 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 clofed 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 faid, Left the earth fwallow us up also. And there came out a fire from the Lord, and confumed the two hundred and fifty men that offered incenfe, Num. xvi.
Thus Mofes vindicated himself, and prov'd his Divine Mission and Authority in fuch a manner, as it was impoffible but that the whole People of Ifrael must be convinc'd of it: They were very fufpicious and jealous of him, tho' they had had fo much experience of his Favour with God, and of all his mighty Works done in the midft of them: But when this dreadful Vengeance fell upon his Enemies, before the whole Congregation, who were met together on purpofe to fee whether God would declare himfelf for him; when the Earth divided it felf to fwallow fome 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 thofe whom they fee live, are alive, as whether those whom they fee taken away by fo 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 faw the Earth first divide it felf, and then clofe it felf again upon thefe wicked Men; they faw them go down alive into the Pit; they heard the Cry of them, and fled away for fear: and they faw befides a Fire from the Lord confume no fewer than Two hundred and fifty Men, and these the Men that offer'd Incenfe, in oppofition to Aaron; Princes of the affembly, famous in the congregation, men of renown, whofe death was very remarkable, upon the account of their Perfons, 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 obferved, and ftrictly enquir'd into, if they had fallen by any other death: but their dying in this manner, was fo wonderful, and fo plain a declaration of the Divine Juftice, that it could neither be unknown nor forgotten by any Man in the whole Congregation.
Yet their Difcontents against Mofes ftill continued; for He and Aaron were charged with killing the people of the Lord, ver. 41. and the congregation was gathered against Mofes 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 fo hot against the People, for their Stubbornnefs and Difobedience, that notwithstanding the Interceffion of Mo-> 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, befide 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 Miffion: and then Aaron's Rod alone bloffom'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 dange rous, as Jofephus well obferves, that was ever known among any People; and fuch, as that fo dreadful a fucceffion of Miracles was neceffary to deliver Mofes 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 Confpiracy, (as it is moft likely he would have been) I would know of him, I fay, whether he could have done any thing more, to put Mofes 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 confefs he could not) then he ought to be fatisfied in the Authority of Mofes, as they themselves afterwards were, unless he has an ambition to fhew, that fome Chriftians can be more refractory than Jews
Yet again, when they wanted Water, the People quarrell'd with Mofes, and faid, Would God that we had died when our brethren died before the Lord. And Mofes brought Water out of the Rock, before the whole Congregation, in fo great plenty, that the whole People and their Cattel, juft ready to perifh with thirst, were satisfied with it, Num. xx. 3, 10. At another time, after a signal Victory over the Canaanites, they made the fame Complaints again; and for their Murmurings, were ftung by fiery Serpents, and ma→ ny 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 confpicuous and wonderful a manner; if fo remarkable Judgments upon those that queftioned and oppofed Mofes his Authority, and that tranfgreffed his Law, by committing Idolatry; if à continual courfe of Miracles, for Forty Years, done before the eyes, and obvious to every fenfe of fo many thousands of People, be not a plain demonftration, that the Matter of Fact, in all the circumftances of it neceffary to prove Mofes to have acted by God's immediate Authority and Commiffion, was at firft fufficiently attefted; it is impoffible that any thing can be certainly teftified.
We fee how impoffible it was for Mofes to impofe upon the People of Ifrael in things of this nature; if he could have been fo far forfaken of all Reason and common Senfe, as to hope to do it.. But if he had defigned to put any deceit upon them, he would certainly have taken another courfe; 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, Witneffes to them; and then have proceeded in fuch a manner, as that every Man among the Ifraelites must have known them to be falfe, if they had been fo: he would have chofen fuch Inftances to fhew his Miracles in, as fhould have provoked no body; not M 3 fuch