Obrazy na stronie

but God told Moses to strike the rock and water should flow.

Thus they went on meeting with many miraculous escapes, and led by an allpowerful arm, until they came to the foot of Mount Sinai, where we will leave them. for a short time, while I endeavour to explain the meaning of a miracle.

When you see a beautiful ship sailing on the wide and deep sea, and the people in her as happy and fearless as if they were on dry land, you may perhaps think it very wonderful that so large and heavy a body should not sink; now when I tell. you that this ship is made of wood, the nature of which is to float upon the water, and water, particularly the salt sea, being very heavy, of course wood, which is lighter than water, would float upon it; this, you see, is easily explained: now a miracle is something which we cannot explain, a complete departure from the common rules of nature; man cannot work a miracle, God only can do this. It may be wonderful that a man should be able to make so perfect a thing as a ship, in which people may live so safely; but it is not miraculous, we see the reason why it does not sink.

Now we know that no natural power

could cause the waters of the Red Sea to divide, and leave a dry path for a multitude of people to pass through: only the power of that God, to whom all things are possible, could do this, and we call it a miracle.

There is much that is miraculous about this wonderful people: Moses, their leader, may be said to have been preserved by a miracle; miracles were wrought to persuade Pharoah to let them go; they twice passed miraculously through water dryshod; they were guided by a miraculous pillar of cloud and fire; they were fed by a miracle; with miracles the Lord fought for them against their enemies: and the more you read of their history, the more miraculous you will find it.

Yours affectionately.



WHEN Moses had led the people into the wilderness, they came to Mount Sinai, at the foot of which they rested, whilst their leader went up into


the mountain to commune (") with his God. The Lord called to him out of the Mount, and commanded him to tell the people, that if they would obey his voice and keep his laws, He would be their God, and they should be His chosen people. And in order that they might believe these words, He told Moses to go down unto them, and prepare them, for on the third day He would come down in a cloud and rest upon Mount Sinai, and would speak to Moses in their hearing; but they were to put a fence round the Mount, for whosoever should touch it, should surely die.

On the third morning, that powerful God who made the world and all the things therein, who had led them into Egypt, and brought them up again from captivity, descended amid lightnings and thunders and the voice of a trumpet; and the people trembled and were afraid before him. Then Moses and Aaron went up to the Lord and received the Ten Commandments, which were written on stone; and God made known his will, in giving them laws that they were to follow.

After this, Moses went again into the mountain, and abode there forty days, leaving the people under the care of

Aaron and Hur; but although they had, in so wonderful a manner, seen the glory and might, and majesty, of their God, when they found that Moses did not return, they made themselves a golden calf, which they fell down and worshipped. When Moses appeared again, he was much grieved, and they were severely punished for their faithless idolatry.(1)

After they had been some time in this place they removed three days' journey from the Mount, and there the anger of the Lord was upon them, for, instead of being thankful for the food which was so miraculously given them every day, they murmured and wished for the fish and the flesh which they had left in Egypt; upon this, the Lord sent quails among them, which they killed and ate; and in so doing, brought a punishment upon themselves, for they became ill, and numbers of them died.

By this time they were come near that land which was said to flow with milk and honey, meaning that it was very fruitful. Then Moses chose men out of the different tribes, and told them to go and look at the land and bring them word concerning it. They went and found it, indeed, a beautiful country, a land which any one might wish to live in; they brought back

some of its fruits, grapes, pomegranaies,() and figs, all very fine; but they so terrified the Israelites with their account of the strength of its cities, and the size of its people, whom they described as giants, that they were afraid to proceed, rebelled against the Lord and against Moses, and wished they had died in Egypt, or perished in the wilderness.

They forgot that He who was powerful enough to take them from captivity, 'could fight for them, and bring them safely into this promised land: it was in vain that Caleb and Joshua, two of those who had searched the land, spoke of its beauty and fertility; (") they had forgotten to place their trust in Him who could alone preserve them, and saw there nothing but defeat and death. Then was the Lord exceedingly angry, and threatened to destroy them; yet Moses begged for the people, and prayed that God would not yet make an end of them: but the Lord said, that not one of those who had left Egypt should enter the land, except Caleb and Joshua; and that after their children had wandered in the desert forty years, they should be permitted to enter that country which was now taken from them for their disobedience,

« PoprzedniaDalej »