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they have felt who heard these portentous words.
Balak, the king of Moab, hath brought me from Aram, out of the mountains of the east, saying, Come, curse me Jacob, and come, defy Israel. How shall I curse, whom God hath not cursed ? or how shall I defy whom the Lord hath not defied ? For from the top of the rocks I see him, and from the hills I behold him : lo, the people shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned among the nations.” (They shall be a peculiar, separate people.) "Who can count the dust of Jacob, and the number of the fourth part of Israel. Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his !"
Well might Balaam, for the moment consciencestruck, utter such a wish! Who does not long for peace
in death ? How do the wicked often tremble in view of that solemn event! Blessed only are the dead who die in the Lord.
My young friend, do you never make the wish of Balaam your own ? Then live the life of the righteous, that you may die their death. to repentance on a death-bed. Of all hopes this is the most deceitful.
Trust not CHAPTER LVIII.
Balaam's prophecies. His character.
Balak was indignant at what Balaam had said, ce What hast thou done unto me?" he exclaimed:
I took thee to curse mine enemies, and behold thou hast blessed them altogether.” "Must I not take heed to speak that which the Lord hath put in my mouth,” was the reply of Balaam. A noble answer, if he had but felt the true spirit of it in his heart. But see the base and mercenary motives which swayed him. At the request of the king, he went with him to another eminence, the top of Pisgah, whence only the most distant parts of the Israelitish camp were spread before him, the main body being concealed from his sight. Balak hoped, by this change of position to a spot where the imposing appearance of the combined hosts of his enemies would not dismay the heart of Balaam by their countless and formidable numbers, to induce him to change his purpose.
Seven altars were again erected; and similar sacrifices to the first being offered up, Balaam withdrew, as he said, to meet the Lord. With his enchantments it was, that he still vainly hoped this time to ensure better success. Presumptuous man ! What a wonder that he did not sink beneath the stroke of divine vengeance on the spot! But God had his own purposes to answer in sparing the life of Balaam a little longer, and sent him back to the king, to pronounce a new blessing on the Israelites.
What hath the Lord spoken ?" was the anxious inquiry of Balak. He received the answer in a strain of inspired eloquence, which must have again overwhelmed him with disappointment and consternation. "God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good ? Behold, I have received commandment to bless : and he hath blessed; and I cannot reverse it. He hath not beheld iniquity in Jacob, neither hath he seen perverseness in Israel.” (No idolatry or rebellion, or any conspicuous national sin, now appears among them.) “ The Lord his God is with him, and the shout of a king is among them. God brought them out of Egypt ; he hath as it were the strength of an unicoin. Surely there is no enchantment against Jacob, neither is there any divination against Israel : according to this time it shall be said of Jacob and of Israel
is to do for them.) "Behold, the people shall rise up as a great lion, and lift up himself as a young lion : he shall not lie down until he eat of the prey, and drink the blood of the slain.”
Balak, awe-struck, feared that the prophetic strain was not yet ended, and earnestly exclaimed ; "Neither curse them at all, nor bless them at all.” For ; could the voice of Balaam but cease to be entirely heard at the time, he would be satisfied. “ Told not I thee, saying, all that the Lord speaketh, that I must do ?" was the specious reply of Balaam, again endeavoring to exculpate himself from desiring to thwart the wishes of the king, by pleading the necessity that was laid upon him to follow the divine impulse.
When recovered a little from his alarm, the king of Moab returned again to his purpose ; nor was the infatuated Balaam to be deterred by all that had happened from complying with the request to go with Balak to Peor, another lofty summit of the mountains of Abarim. “Come,” said he, "I pray thee, I will bring thee unto another place; peradventure it will please God that thou mayest curse me them from thence."
It is difficult for us to form an adequate conception of the low and degrading views which these men must have had of the truth and dignity of Jehovah, to suppose that they could still prevail upon him, like a sinful mortal, to falsify his own word,
and to change the purpose which he had solemnly declared to be inflexible! Oh! the polluting and blinding power of sin ! To what depths of ignorance, and debasement of moral feeling, will it not sink its victims !
Yes; the third time the seven altars were reared, and smoked with the unhallowed sacrifices. What did Balaam now do? He would not have proceeded thus far, had he not cherished some faint hopes of yet gratifying the wishes of Balak. But an impression on his mind, probably an immediate one from Jehovah, caused him to feel deeply that his expectations were utterly hopeless. He forbore any longer" to seek for enchantments," by withdrawing from the presence of the king and the princes. He looked towards the tents of Israel; and, under a divine inspiration, once more uttered the words that were put into his lips.
Balaam the son of Beor hath said, and the mai whose eyes are open hath said :" (whose eyes once shut, are now open to behold wondrou things :) " He hath said, which heard the word of God, which saw the vision of the Almighty falling into a trance, but having his eyes open
how goodly are thy tents, O Jacob, and thy taber (nacles, O Israel! As the valleys are they spread
forth, as gardens by the river's side, as the trees of lign-aloes which the Lord hath planted, and as cedar-trees beside the waters. He shall pour the