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We may be assured that the children of Abraham, and his children's children, were well instructed in all the particulars of this extraordinary revelation, which was to them so full of hope, and in all respects so interesting. And we accordingly find that the patriarch Jacob was so strongly impressed with it, that he on his death-bed took an oath from his sons to bury him in that land in which God had promised that in a future age his family should be esta* blished.
In the course of time, however, this impression was nearly obliterated. The posterity of Abraham forgot the promised land, the destined place of their inheritance; and were so base as to be contented in a state of slavery and bondage. From this state of subjection they were unwillingly rescued by Moses, whom God raised
up up as a deliverer, and endowed with power to work such miracles, as should sufficiently attest his divine mission. He who is the ruler of all events might doubtless have brought this to pass by means of wars and revolutions, such as have taken place in all ages of the world, and in which one event seems to grow out of another, as a natural and unavoidable consequence. But a gross apd sensual people would not in this have seen the hand of God: they would have taken to themselves the glory. God therefore brought them unto that land, which he had promised Abraham to bestow upon them, not by the ordinary course of events, but by an open display of the interposition of Divine Providence, which, whenever it is thus displayed, is called miraculous. "By signs and by wonders '\[ and by an outstretched arm, did
V. the. ti the Lord God bring his people out "from among the Egyptians." The power which he exerted in doing this was so evident to their senses, that it could neither be mistaken nor denied. Well might the venerable lawgiver, to whom was assigned the arduous task of leading and instructing.the unruly multitude, well might he appeal to those who had been eye-witnesses of the awful scenes, "Ask now," says he, "of the days "that are past, which were before "thee, since the day that God "created ma.n upon earth; and ask "from the one side of heaven to the , V other, whether there hath been any ■ 'f sucb.^jiqg as this great thing is, or been- heard like it?" What; 'if tne''conclusion, what the inference which he desires them to draw from all the mighty miracles which they had seen and heard? 'Unto thee it ** was shewn that the Lord He Is "GoD-*there is none else beside "him: Know therefore this flay, and ** consider it in thine heart, that the ** Lord he is God: in heaven above, "and upon the earth beneath, there u is none else."
The miraculous proofs of his immediate presence which the Almighty vouchsafed to the Israelites, and to which Moses here appeals, were not given to gratify an idle curiosity, or to solve unreasonable doubts; they were only such as were necessary to establish a certainty that the laws and ordinances given through Moses were from God.
Without such proofs of almighty power as were obvious to the senses, laws such as those promulged by Moses, would never have been accepted by a gross and ignorant people, whose minds were incapable of conceiving the meaning of ceremonies and observances, which in general had a reference to a far distant event. God therefore saw fit, in ushering in what is aptly termed the law of works, to make a display of that power, which, while it only operates by general laws, works unthought of and unseen, but which, to the reflecting mind, is no less wonderful in the formation of the simplest flower, or in the organization of any living creature, as in all the mighty things which he did in the sight of our fathers "in the land of Egypt and "in the field of Zoan;"