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appearance is appointed; and in the manner, and on the day foretold, it did accordingly take place. For—
"It came to pass on the third day, in "the morning, that there were thun"ders and lightnings, and a thick "cloud upon the mount, and the "voice of the trumpet exceeding "loitd; so that all the people that "was in the camp trembled. And "Moses brought forth all the people "that was in the camp to meet with "God, and they stood at the nether "part of the mount; and Mount Si"nai was altogether on a smoke be"cause the Lord descended upon it "in fire; and the smoke ascended c£ upon it as it were the smoke of a "furnace, and the whole mount "quaked greatly. And when the "voice of the trumpet sounded long, and waxed louder and louder, Mo"scs spake, and God answered him "by a voice. And the Lord came "down upon Mount Sinai, upon "the top of the mount. And the "Lord called Moses up to the top of "the mount."
Where shall we find a passage to equal the sublimity-of the description? Perhaps the impression which it made upon me when I was very young, may tend to heighten the effect which it has upon my mind; but I never yet have been able to read it without fancying myself a spectator of the solemn scene, and shrinking appalled as if I heard the aweful trumpet sounding in my ears.
Well may we expect that the words which the people were thus called upon to hear, and which were ushered in by circumstances so extraordinary, should be worthy of the Iprd apd giver of life to communicate; nicate ; and that they should tend to promote the well-being and happiness of the people to whom they were addressed. Let us observe—
"God spake these words and said, "I am the Lord thy God, which have "bi'ougnt thee out of the land of "Egypt and out of the house of "bondage—Thou shalt have no other "Gods before me."
This truth, the foundation of all religion, was here established, and it M as to the rude people to whom it was addressed, confirmed by a reference to facts which came within the limits of their own experience. He taught them what only by his special interference could be taught, that there is but One God; and that he should be the only object of their adoration. In order to preserve this belief in its purity, he warns them against those corruptions which human depravity had introduced into the worship of all other nations. "Thou shalt not "make unto thee any graven image, "or any likeness of any thing that is "in heaven above, or that is in the "earth beneath, or that is in the "waters under the earth. Thou "shalt not bow down thyself to "them, nor serve them; for I the "Lord thy God am a jealous God, "visiting the iniquity of the fathers "upon the children unto the third "and fourth generation of them that "hate me, and shewing mercy unto "thousands of them that love me and "keep my commandments." From the latter part of this declaration of the divine will, we are led to observe, that what we consider as the natural and inevitable course of things, is in reality, a part of the scheme of Providence, and is subject to the guidance and control of the Almighty Governor of the universe. We know that if a man squanders his fortune, his children must suffer poverty ;—that if he neglects their education, they must be ignorant; and that if he corrupts their minds, they will be vicious. But this in the natural course of things should go on from generation to generation without end or limits. Here we have the word of God that it shall not he so. And that though by the laws of Providence he permits the iniquities of the fathers to be visited on the children to the third and fourth generation, that visitation shall have its bounds; while to his mercies there are no bounds!' They are shewn indiscriminately to all. who love him and keep his commandments.