times of our Saviour and his apostles, as we learn from several passages of the gospel history. Thus Christ himself, when "he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, as his custom was, went into the synagogue on the sabbath-day, and stood up for to read. And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord. And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagog ue were fastened on him. And he began to say unto them, this day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears,' "Luke iv. 16-21. Thus James, in determining the question in the synod of Jerusalem, concerning the necessity of circumcision, says, "Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath-day, Acts xv. 21. And Paul and Barnabas, when "they came to Antioch, in Pisidia, went into the synagogue on the sabbath-day, and sat down. And after the reading of the law and the prophets, the rulers of the synagogue sent unto them, saying, Ye men and brethren, if ye have any word of exhortation for the people, say on," Acts xiii. 14, 15.

The first section begins with the opening of the book of Genesis, and goes up to the ninth verse of the sixth chapter, and is called Bereshit, the first word in the Hebrew bible. The second begins at these words in the sixth chapter, "These are the generations of Noah:" and is thence called Noah, and ends at the beginning of chapter twelfth, which sets out with the call of Abraham, and is therefore styled the section

Lec Leca, i. e. "Get thee out," and so of the rest. To bring the whole fifty-four divisions within the compass of the year, they joined two of the shortest into one reading. Thus the whole constitution, both as to civil and sacred things, was publicly rehearsed once every year; so that it was impossible for any decent Israelite to be grossly ignorant of either the laws, the history, or the religion of his country.


The first public lecture was on the sabbath that followed the feast of tabernacles, and went on till the anniversary of that feast returned. I have mentioned these circumstances for several reasons. I am not ill pleased to have so respectable an example for attempting a mode of instruction, which reason and experience convince us to be at once the most pleasant and the most useful. I honour human learning, I admire great talents, I am enchanted with eloquence; but I am persuaded, if saving knowledge be communicated, it is by the quick and powerful energy of God's word coming, not with the allurements of man's wisdom, "but in demonstration of the Spirit, and of power.' This leads us to express a wonder why the reading of the scriptures by large portions at a time is not universally practised in christian congregations. Surely there must be a better reason for neglecting it, than that it is enjoined by the canons of the church, and is in general practice in the establishment. The last reason I have at present to render for this digression, if it be thought one, is its affording me an opportunity of earnestly recommending to masters and mistresses of families, the regular and progressive use of the scriptures, within the precincts of their private households, for the instruction of their children and servants. I am well aware that from a diffidence and humility not too severely to be blamed, some younger heads of families are tempted to neglect family worship altogether, because some parts of it they cannot, dare not, undertake: that for example, of addressing God in prayer, as the mouth of their domestic little church. Let

them begin with reading aloud the word of God: for this surely they have courage sufficient. They will be brought to pray insensibly, they will soon cease to be ashamed of that which is their highest honour and most glorious privilege. We now return.

The idea I have formed to myself of this "blessing, wherewith Moses the man of God blessed the children of Israel before his death," Deut. xxxiii. 1, how justly I presume not to say, is this: Moses, having received his final summons to prepare for death, feels himself prompted at once by affection and the spirit of prophecy, to take a particular leave of every tribe, to bestow a several benediction on every one by name, and to pret pare them one by one for the conquest of their inheri tance, by giving them prophetically a general notion of their future condition, as constituent parts of the commonwealth of Israel, and of the particular lot to be as signed to each, with its corresponding advantages and pursuits. For this purpose I suppose him making a solemn progress through the whole host, going from tribe to tribe, from tent to tent, and pouring out his soul, as a dying parent, in blessings upon his offspring, according to their different characters and conditions. O how unlike these visits of selfishness, pride, ambition and strife, which the candidates for fame, place and power, are from time to time making through a corrupted land! Let us attend his progress, and mark what he says.

We find Moses still beginning, proceeding, concluding with God. He set out on this last awful circuit, with a mind full of the glorious majesty of the great Jehovah. He calls to his own remembrance, and impresses the image of it on the souls of the whole people, that great and dreadful day when "the Lord came from Sinai, and rose up from Seir unto them; he shined forth from mount Paran, and he came with ten thousands of saints: from his right hand went a fiery law for them," Deut. xxxiii. 2. The

particular mention of Seir and Paran in this exordium, has given birth to a poor conceit in the Jerusalem Targum, to this purpose, "that God first offered his law, and the protection which it afforded, to the Idumeans, the inhabitants of mount Seir, and the posterity of Esau, but that they rejected it, because it contained this precept, "Thou shall not kill." That afterwards it was tendered to the Ishmaelites, or inhabitants of mount Paran, who rejected it, because it said, "Thou shalt not steal." That then it was proposed to the posterity of Jacob, who immediately replied, "All that the Lord hath commanded will we do, and be obedient." Without having recourse to a construction so unsupported, forced and unnatural, the words of Moses, at the first glance, convey to us an image inconceivably grand and sublime, but at the same time simple, natural and obvious. Israel was encamped in the plains of Moab, with Jordan and the fertile fields of Canaan directly in view: the prospect on the south terminated by the lofty mountains of Teman or Seir; and on the north by mount Paran, while Sinai raised its awful head, and buried it in the clouds of heaven from behind. Moses accordingly represents, in the bold imagery of oriental poetry, the glory of the Lord arising like the sun in the east, from behind the top of Sinai, and instantly darting his light from hill to hill, and increasing in lus ture till the whole expanse of heaven is filled with it. The prophet Habakkuk has evidently caught the same celestial fire, is filled with the same animating object, when he exclaims, "God came from Teman, and the Holy One from mount Paran. Selah. His glory covered the heavens, and the earth was full of his praise. And his brightness was as the light; he had horns coming out of his hand; and there was the hiding of his power. Before him went the pestilence, and burning coals went forth at his feet.


He stood and measured the earth: he beheld, and drove asunder the nations, and the everlasting mountains were scattered, the perpetual hills did bow: his ways are everlasting," Habak. iii. 3-6.

But what are mountains and hills, and their inhabitants? Moses represents the great God as arising in unclouded majesty amidst ten thousand of his holy ones. "Angels, his ministers, that excel in strength," the least of whom "could wield these elements." His red right hand is extended, presenting to the astonished beholder a law, a fiery law, a fire that purifies, a fire that consumes. But the terror of this dreadful appearance is instantly lost, in a display of the grace and mercy which prompted this splendid visit. "Yea, he loved the people; all his saints are in thy hand: and they sat down at thy feet; every one shall receive of thy words," Deut. xxxiii. 3. Here we behold the legislator lost in the friend, and, instead of distractedly, despairingly calling upon "the mountains to fall upon us, and the hills to cover us," we sit down in tranquility at the feet of our gracious teacher, and every one for himself listens to the language of love.

Moses first approaches the tents of the tribe of Reuben, and having introduced himself by these solemn, striking words, he proceeds to his particular salutation of that tribe. "Let Reuben live, and not die; and let not his men be few," Deut. xxxiii. 6. Concerning the head of that tribe, his dying father had prophetically denounced, "Unstabled as water, thou shalt not excell;" but the blessing of Moses seems to wipe the blot out of the scutcheon, and Reuben seems restored to his rank in Israel again. Reuben alone of the sons of Jacob pitied Joseph in his distress, and contrived the means of restoring him to his father again. This redeems him and his family from infamy and destruction, and we are disposed to drown the memory of his lewdness, in respect for his tenderness and humanity.

Who stands next on the roll of Jacob's sons? To

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