Imatges de pÓgina

the forefight of the evil that is coming upon him. The exploits of a Deborah and a Barak now live only in the page of hiftory; their fong is now to be found only in a few measured words, whose rythm is loft, whofe fenfe is obfcure, whose spirit is evaporated. But, my friends, we have this day been commemorating an event which will never fink in oblivion, never spend its force, never lofe its importance. We have this day been carrying on, keeping up the fọng, which the enraptured fhepherds of Bethlehem caught two thoufand years ago from a choir of the heavenly hoft, which is ever pleasing, ever new; let us again refume it, and teach it to our children. Glory, glory to God in the higheft, and on earth peace, good will towards men." Bleffing and honour, and glory, and power be unto Him that fitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb, forever and ever." Amen. Hallelujah!


In the participation of the Lord's fupper.


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They fought from heaven: the ftars in their courfes fought against Sifera. The river of Kihon fwept them away, that ancient river, the river Kisbon: O my foul, thou haft trodden down ftrength.

IN turning over the hallowed page of inspiration, and contemplating the various revolutions of human affairs which it unfolds, we feem tranfported to a fuperior region; we behold the earthly ball rolling round beneath our feet; we witness the birth, the progrefs, the diffolution of nations; we learn to correct the prejudices of education, and our narrownefs of con-. ception; we no longer ignorantly admire, nor fupercilioufly defpife our fellow-creatures; we adore the great Father and Lord of all, who "has of one blood formed all nations of men to inhabit upon the face of the whole earth," and "whofe kingdom ruleth over all." From that elevation, we observe with humble acquiefcence and holy joy, the defigns of eternal Providence, maturing, and executing themselves; the individual paffing away, but the fpecies permanent; ftates and kingdoms changing their form, their fpirit, their character; but human nature the fame under every government, in every climate, under every fky. We behold regions, and periods, and nations rifing in


to notice, into eminence, into' importance, by the talents, the virtues, the addrefs of one man, of one woman; and returning again to obfcurity and infignificance, through a defect of wisdom, of public fpirit, of


The hiftory of perhaps no nation exhibits fuch ftriking and inftructive variety of character and event, as that of the pofterity of Abraham. It is interefting in itself, and it is closely connected with the general interefts of mankind. That people, through a disperfion of near two thousand years, have preferved an exiftence. Hated, defpifed and perfecuted by all other nations, they remain unextirpated; a monument at once of the vengeance and of the care of Heaven and unequivocal intimations, from the oracles of truth, hold them up as the objects of eternal Providence, in events of fuperior magnitude, yet to take place.

We have followed the fucceffive changes which they underwent, with fucceffive emotions of astonishment, exultation, indignation and forrow. And we find them, at the defeat of Sifera and his host, in a fituation highly critical and interefting. The prophetefs Deborah in this celebrated fong, goes into a comparative delineation of the respective merit and demerit of the feveral tribes; and thereby enables us to estimate the particular character of each, at different eras of their political exiftence. Jacob on his death-bed, and Mofes on the wing to depart, in his valedictory addrefs, prefent us with a fimilar opportunity; of which we are now to avail ourselves, in the two-fold view of extending a little our pittance of knowledge of human nature, and increafing our admiration of, and dependence upon, the Divine Providence.

In the dying benediction of Jacob, Judah, his fourth fon, and the tribe which fhould fpring from him, make a moft confpicuous figure. The fpirit of prophecy employs every image expreffive of power, greatness, plenteousness and duration, to reprefent the future eminence and fuperiority of that tribe. In all the


mufters which were made of the people during the forty years wandering in the wilderness, and in the diftribution of place and ftation according to divine appointment, in their encampments and removals, we ftill find Judah excelling in number and ftrength, and occupying the post of honour. But Mofes takes leave of that tribe, with a very flight degree of notice; and in the fong of Deborah their name is not so much as mentioned, nor is any allufion made to any exploit of theirs, in celebrating the triumph of that eventful day. Indeed the fpirit and pre-eminence of Judah feems to have been gradually on the decline, from the days of Caleb, who conquered and difpoffeffed the fons of Anak; till they were revived, maintained and extended under David and Solomon. And, for feveral centuries, we find this prerogative tribe, which was destined to the lafting honours of royalty and rule, fleeping in oblivion and unimportance with the infignificant tribe of Simeon, which hardly ever achieved any action, or produced any perfonage worthy of being remembered. Of fo much confequence is one man in a tribe, in a nation, in a world.

But the perfon and tribe the moft diftinguished in the prophecy of Jacob, and the bleffing of Mofes, are alfo the moft diftinguished in this triumphant anthem, Ephraim, the younger fon of Jofeph, the beloved fon of Jacob, raised by the deftination and interpofition of high Heaven, to power and precedency over his elder brother. To the exertions of this branch of the houfe of Jofeph, in conjunction with those of Zebulun and Naphtali, the victory now by the bleffing of God obtained over the armies of Canaan was chiefly to be afcribed. The spirit of their father Joshua, dead in fo many other of the tribes of Ifrael, is alive in them, and happily is propitious to the common cause.

A fevere cenfure of the conduct of the two tribes and a half beyond the river, is more than infinuated; it is brought directly forward. They are reprefented


as totally loft to all public spirit, and wrapt up in cold felfishness and indifference. Jordan was a kind of defence to them from the Canaanitish foe, and the cries of their oppreffed brethren beyond the river are drowned in the more interefting bleatings of their own flocks. The fame spirit of selfishness is represented as pervading the tribes who inhabited the fea coafts, Dan and Afher, and who, subsisting by trade, and abforbed by the love of gain, fteeled their hearts to the feelings of fympathy and humanity. Drawing their fupplies from the ocean, they forget they have a country; and under the influence of one domineering luft, all the better claims of the human heart, are fuppreffed and filenced. They pursue their merchandize, as the others attended to their fheep farms, regardless what their wretched countrymen meanwhile endured. "For the divifions of Reuben there were great thoughts of heart. Why abodeft thou among the fheep-folds, to hear the bleatings of the flocks? For the divifions of Reuben there were great fearchings of heart. Gilead abode beyond Jordan: and why did Dan remain in fhips? Afher continued on the fea-fhore, and abode in his breaches."*

Such is the general view of the state of Ifrael at this period, which the words of Deborah convey. The import of many of the expreffions which the prophetess employs to convey her feelings on this occafion, we pretend not to understand or to explain. Is it any wonder that in a poetical compofition upwards of three thoufand years old, in a language fo little ftudied, referring to a history of which the outline only is drawn, there fhould be many things difficult to be understood? This much is evident upon the face of it, that Ifrael at that unhappy period exhibited a fpectacle, bearing but too near a refemblance to what our own times† have feen dreadfully realized. A whole

* Verfe 15-17.

+ Great-Britain embroiled with France, Spain, Holland, America, and an armed neutrality.

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