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told," that, Corah was ambitious of the priest"hood; and offended that it was conferred on "Aaron; and this, as he said, by the authority of "Mofes only, without the confent of the people. He "accufed Mofes of having, by various artifices, "fraudulently obtained the government, and de"prived the people of their liberties; and of con"fpiring with Aaron to perpetuate the tyranny "in their family. Thus, though Corah's real "motive was the fupplanting of Aaron, he per"fuaded the people that he meant only the pub"lic good; and they, moved by his infinuations, "began to cry out,- Let us maintain the common liberty of our respective tribes; we have "freed ourselves from the flavery imposed upon "us by the Egyptians, and fhall we fuffer our"felves to be made flaves by Mofes? If we must "have a mafter, it were better to return to "Pharaoh, who at leaft fed us with bread and oni66 ons, than to ferve this new tyrant, who has brought us into danger of famine.' Then they "called in queftion the reality of his conference "with God; and objected to the privacy of the "meetings, and the preventing any of the people from being prefent at the colloquies, or even approaching the place, as grounds of great fufpicion. They accufed Mofes alfo of pecula"tion; as embezzling part of the golden spoons "and the filver chargers, that the princes had "offered at the dedication of the altar *, and the




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offerings of gold by the common people †, as "well as moft of the poll tax ; and Aaron they "accused of pocketing much of the gold of which "he pretended to have made a molten calf. Be"fides peculation, they charged Mofes with am-.


*Numbers, chap. vii.

+ Exodus, chapter xxxv. ver. 22.

Numbers, chap. iii. and Exodus, chap. xxx.

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"bition; to gratify which paffion, he had, they "faid, deeived the people, by promising to bring "them to a land flowing with milk and honey; "instead of doing which, he had brought them from fuch a land; and that he thought light of "all this mischief, provided he could make him"felf an abfolute prince*. That, to fupport the "new dignity with splendour in his family, the "partial poll tax already levied and given to "Aaron was to be followed by a general one, "which would probably be augmented from "time to time, if he were fuffered to go on pro"mulgating new laws, on pretence of new occa"fional revelations of the Divine Will, till their "whole fortunes were devoured by that arifto66 cracy."

Mofes denied the charge of peculation; and his accufers were deftitute of proofs to fupport it; though facts, if real, are in their nature capable of proof. "I have not," said he (with holy confidence in the prefence of God), "I have not ta"ken from this people the value of an afs, nor "done them any other injury." But his enemies had made the charge, and with fome fuccefs among the populace; for no kind of accufation is fo readily made, or eafily believed, by knaves, as the accufation of knavery.

In fine, no less than two hundred and fifty of the principal men "famous in the congregation, men of renown§," heading and exciting the mob, worked them up to fuch a pitch of phrenfy, that

Numbers, chap. xvi. ver. 13. "Is it a small thing that "thou haft brought us up out of a land flowing with milk "and honey, to kill us in this wilderness, except thou make "thyfelf altogether a prince over us?"

† Numbers. chap. iii.
† Exodus, chap. xxx.
Numbers, chap. xvi.


they called out, ftone 'em, ftone 'em, and thereby fecure our liberties; and let us choose other captains that may lead us back into Egypt, in cafe we do not fucceed in reducing the Canaanites.

On the whole, it appears that the Ifraelites were a people jealous of their newly acquired liberty, which jealoufy was in itself no fault; but that, when they fuffered it to be worked upon by artful men, pretending public good, with nothing really in view but private intereft, they were led to oppose the establishment of the new conftitution, whereby they brought upon themfelves much inconvenience and misfortune. It farther appears from the fame ineftimable hiftory, that when, after many ages, the conftitution had become old and much abufed, and an amendment of it was propofed, the populace as they had accufed Mofes of the ambition of making himself a prince, and cried out, stone him, stone him; fo, excited by their high-priests and scribes, they exclaimed against the Meffiah, that he aimed at becoming king of the Jews, and cried, crucify him, crucify him. From all which we may gather, that popular oppofition to a public measure is no proof of its impropriety, even though the oppofition be excited and headed by men of dif


To conclude, I beg I may not be understood to infer, that our general convention was divinely infpired when it formed the new federal conftitution, merely because that conftitution has been unreasonably and vehemently oppofed: yet, I muft own, I have fo much faith in the general government of the world by Providence, that I can hardly conceive a tranfaction of fuch momentous importance to the welfare of millions now exifting, and to exift in the pofterity of a


great nation, fhould be fuffered to pass without being in fome degree influenced, guided, and governed by that omnipotent, omniprefent and beneficent Ruler, in whom all inferior fpirits live, and move, and have their be ing.




THERE is a tradition, that, in the planting of New-England, the firft fettlers met with many difficulties and hardships; as is generally the case when a civilized people attempt establishing themfelves in a wildernefs country. Being piously difpofed, they fought relief from Heaven, by laying their wants and diftreffes before the Lord, in frequent fet days of fafting and prayer. Conftant meditation and difcourfe on thefe fubjects kept their minds gloomy and discontented; and, like the children of Ifrael, there were many dif pofed to return to that Egypt which perfecution had induced them to abandon. At length, when it was propofed in the affembly to proclaim another faft, a farmer of plain fenfe rofe, and remarked, that the inconveniencies they fuffered, and concerning which they had fo often wearied Heaven with their complaints, were not fo great as they might have expected, and were diminishing every day as the colony ftrengthened; that the earth began to reward their labour, and to furnish liberally for their fubfiftence; that the feas and rivers were found full of fish, the air fweet, the climate healthy; and, above all, that they were there in the full enjoyment of liberty, civil and religious: he therefore thought, that reflecting and converfing on these fubjects would be more comfortable, as tending more to make them contented with their fituation; and that it would

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