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rences only are recorded, but which, on account of their importance, demand to be noticed.
On a certain Sabbath day, a man was found gathering sticks, and brought unto Moses and Aaron in the presence of the people. He was immediately put into custody, until the mind of the Lord should be ascertained with regard to him. Moses went to inquire, and received this answer: "The man shall be surely put to death : all the congregation shall stone him with stones without the camp.” The sentence, which was in exact conformity with a law before promulgated, was immediately put into execution.
This may seem to have been a very severe pun. ishment. But God knew just what penalty it was necessary to annex to his violated law. The Israelites were a people who needed such restraints. A milder discipline would not have controlled them. The punishment of death was indispensable, in order to guard the Sabbath from violation. Besides, the guilt of the offender, in the case which has just been mentioned, did not consist in the mere matter of gathering a few sticks on a holy day. Its heinousness arose from the spirit with which he did it,ma spirit of determined disloyalty to his rightful Sovereign, and of wilful disobedience to his commands.
Have you ever thought, my young friend, that in all your voluntary violations of the commands of God, you are manifesting the same spirit ?
The evil of sin consists in its proceeding from a heart opposed to the authority of God. And, just in proportion to the certainty and equity of the claim which he has to our obedience; just in proportion to the infiuite excellence and holiness of his character, to the vast extent and blessings of his government throughout the universe, and to his unbounded goodness and long-suffering towards us in particular, is the enormity of our offences against him! What but the atoning blood of Christ can save such miseruble offenders us we are !
Destruction of Korah and his party.
We are furnished with the record of another transaction of great interest, during the journey. ings of the Israelites in the wilderness after they left Kadesh-barnea, but at what time and place it occurred, is not stated, and cannot be ascertained.
Korah, of the tribe of Levi, and a cousin of Moses, endeavored to produce an organized and extensive rebellion against him. He instigated Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, and On, the son of Peleth, who were of the tribe of Reuben, to engage in this wicked enterprise; and as many as two hundred and fifty of the principal men of the congregation were prevailed upon to join him. By this time, the sedition began to assume a threatening aspect. For the two hundred and fifty were rulers among the people; occupying posts of great authority; "men of renown;" and possessing much influence.
A discontented and ambitious spirit was the cause of this conspiracy. The leaders of it were dissatisfied with the stations which they held, and the degree of power that they exercised; and hoped, by divesting Moses and Aaron of some of their authority, to elevate themselves. The whole band came in a body to these individuals, and, in a bold and defying manner, accosted them with this threatening language; "Ye take too much upon you," -ye arrogate to yourselves the most important of fices, and do not permit any of the people to partake of the dignity and power which are attached to such high stations, of which they should have a full share,—"seeing all the congregation are holy, every one of them," arated unto God from the rest of the world, and called by himself a kingdom of priests and a holy nation, "and the Lord is among them : wherefore then lift ye up yourselves above the congregation of the Lord ?"
This attack upon those who were the leaders of the Israelites, was, also, an open and treasonable one upon the Almighty Sovereign of the nation ; for, by his own special appointment, he had invested Moses and Aaron with the offices which they held.
Moses fell it to be such, and was shocked at their wicked presumption. He prostrated himself on the ground, in tokeu of his grief, and to supplicate the divine direction. After rising, he addressed Korah and his band, telling them that, on the morrow, the Lord would show who was his holy and chosen servant, and cause him to come near unto him. He then directed them to take censers, and putting fire and incense in them, to appear before the Lord, in this act of religious homage, the following day, and abide his decision of the matter, adding, “Ye take too much upon you, ye sons of Levi :" ye are altogether too bold and assuming in the course which ye are pursuing.
Moses, with his characteristic forbearance and meekness, deigned still further to expostulate with them in the mildest manner. He besought them to listen, while he inquired if they considered it, such of them as were of the tribe of Levi, but a small honor to be separated by God himself from the whole body of their countrymen, to do the service of the tabernacle, and to stand before the congregation to minister unto them. 'Hath he," said Moses, speaking 'to Korah, " brought thee near to him, and all thy brethren the sons of Levi with thee? and seek ye the priesthood also ? For which cause both thou and all thy company are gathered together against the Lord : and what is Aaron, that ye murmur against him ?" He holds his office by the divine appointment. He did not seek it, nor place himself in it. Ye are murmuring not against him, but against God.
At this juncture, Moses sent for Dathan and Abiram, who were probably at some distance, perhaps in the rear of the conspirators, that he might have a more particular conversation with them. He had a special object in view in doing this; it may have been,'to find out more accurately the rise and progress of the sedition, or to endeavor to make an impression on their minds, which he could not hope to do while they were in the company their associates. But they sent back a decided and taunting refusal. They accused him of bringing them up out of Egypt, a land, as they termed it, "flowing with milk and honey,” (insultingly applying to it the very epithet which God himself had used to designate the promised land,) to kill them in the wilderness, or if he did not do this, to make himself a prince over them. They charged him with not having fulfilled his promise to bring them into a land flowing with milk and honey, and declared that they had received no inheritance in it. And, to crown all, said that he was endeavoring, by his artful and hypocritical management, to blind