페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

great and perfect propriety, indeed, may the children of Israel be called a Chosen Nation, and a People of God. What did he not exert in their favour? By day, he went before them, in the pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night, in a pillar of fire, to give them light. When pursued by the Egyptians, he fought on their side. And the cloud came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel, and it was a cloud and darkness to them, but it was light by night to these*. Nor was this alL

He caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all,night, and made the sea dry land, and divided the waters, so that this favoured people went in the midst of the sea upon dry ground; and the " very "waters were a wall unto them on their "right hand, and on their left."

And ytt all these miracles could not

keep this ungrateful race from discontent.

They murmur for water, and the fluid

G 6 which

[ocr errors]

which was naturally bitter, is instantly sweetned: They murmur for bread, and a delicacy is directly provided. They murmur a second time for water, and behold the softened rock supplies them with a copious stream immediately. In short, the transactions betwixt God and man in restoring the Israelites from captivity to Canaan, are so many admirable evidences of almighty power on the one hand, and of human obstinacy and weakness on the other, that although they have been illustrated by a thousand divines, it is surely impossible for any writer to pass them by in silence, even though he should hazard the fault of repeating the remarks of his predecessors.

ESSAY Institutes of Moses,

Passage.

AND IT A MAN CAUSE A BLEMISH IN HIS NEIGHBOUR 9 AS HE HATH DONE, SO SHALL IT BE DONE UNTO HIM,

np H E laws of Moses are, in pars, very A properly abolished, being, indeed, only instituted for local occasions, and adapted to the temper of the times. But there are others which, with little or no alteration, are, and deserve to be, of eternal force. In the two verses directly preceding this passage, there is a very excellent distinction made in point of punishments and offences. «« He that killeth a "man shall surely be put to death: and V he that killeth a beast, shall surely make «» it good." Thus the human person is rendered sacred, and the animal, which is

private private property, is made secure to the proprietor. Methinks the following verse may be considered as one of the great and original foundations of social preservation; "Breach for breach, eye for eye, tooth for "tooth." It is at this very day the true recriminating principle, not, indeed, quite literally, but eventually : and who can call the rectitude of it in question? In reading these antient records, however, we find several crimes penable, which are nowv though highly atrocious, scarce within the letter of the law. The blasphemer, and sabbath-breaker, for instance, was stoned; and now the price of an oath is, at worst, but a shilling: and the other matter, for the most parr, is no object of attention. There are many minute articles in the code of Moses still in being amongst us: thus, an hired horse, dying upon its journey, is, to this day, as it was formerly; being an hired thing, it came for his hire. The matter and custom of gleaning was, certainly, first derived from the following command:

"When

"When thou cuttest down thine har«« vest in the field, and hast forgot a Iheaf cc in the fields thou shalt not go again to "fetch it i it shall be for the stranger, for "the fatherless, and for the widow; that "the Lord thy God may bless thee in all "the work of thy hands."

The term of an apprentice/hip seems to originate from the following institute: "If "thou buy an Hebrew servant, six years "he shall serve, and at the end of the se"venth he shall go out free: and isa man "sell his daughter for a maid-servant, she "shall not go out, as the men servants do." There is, I think, no doubt, but this is the foundation of the rule of allotting the harder labour of the fields to the male, and the easier cares of the house to the female. These are, indeed, curious and small; but surely, no man will think them uninteresting remarks. Now I am upon the subject of the statutes of Moses, I cannot neglect mention of various humane and social institutions, some of which are very improperly abrogated.

"If

« 이전계속 »