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their home was along the border of Palestine, their warriors attacked the Hebrews at a point as far to the South as Rephidim, near Mount Sinai; and so formidable was the onslaught that Moses betook himself to prayer for divine assistance, Aaron and Hur holding up his hands. At a later period, Saul raised an army of not less than 210,000 men for the purpose of making war upon this tribe. Now from the greatness of the tribe, the inference is direct to the comparative fertility of the desert. This inference is strengthened by the fact that "Saul smote the Amalekites from Havilah until thou comest to Shur which is before Egypt." 1 Sam. xv: 7. This pursuit would have been extremely difficult if not impossible, if the region had been as desolate then as now; and as appears from the history of Napoleon's forced march from Cairo to Jaffa, in 1799; and the retreat of Ibrahim Pasha from Syria, in 1840. To this may be added the indications of former fertility which still linger in the desert. Ritter, whose authority is very high, finds traces "of a more universal and thorough cultivation of the soil, in former times, which reveals itself in the period of the most ancient Egyptians by their mining operations and settlements, and in the Christian period by Episcopal foundations, and the remains, which are scattered everywhere, of cloisters, hermitages, gardens, fields, and wells." (Green against Colenso, p. 95.) These circumstances enter into the right solution of the problem as to the subsistence of the flocks driven by the Hebrews into the wilderness. Some persons who do not doubt the miracle by which the people were fed, do yet hesitate upon the point of the feeding of their cattle by a divine interposition. These persons may find some contentment in the evidence now produced showing that the springs, and wells, and oases, and pastures of the wilderness were, at one time, more frequent and constant than now. But others less timid, who bear in mind the fact that water was miraculously supplied at Horeb and at Kadesh, both for the congregation" and their beasts also," will not doubt that God who hears the ravens when they cry, was able to open pastures in the wilderness and "turn the dry ground into water springs." Ps. cvii: 35.

But, although the truth of history requires that a candid estimate be formed of the natural resources of the wilderness,

all the facts point steadily to the conclusion that the region, as a whole, was utterly desolate. It was, according to the record, a "waste howling wilderness; a land of deserts and of pits, a land of drought and the shadow of death, a land that no man passed through, and where no man dwelt." Deut. xxxii: 10; Jer. ii: 6. Compare Num. xx: 4, 5; Deut. viii: 15. The Hebrews, having experienced the reluctant hospitalities of the country, were in perpetual terror lest they should perish with hunger and thirst, and repeatedly murmured against Moses and against God who had brought them out into the wilderness to die there. And even Moses, when Jehovah promised to give the people meat for a month, replied incredulously, "Shall the flocks and the herds be slain for them, to suffice them? or shall all the fish of the sea be gathered together for them, to suffice them?" Num. xi: 22.

The foregoing observations indicate the two vital points in the history of Israel in the wilderness. The first brings into view their moral debasement, and raises the inquiry how were they made fit for their calling and destiny? The second takes into account the perils of the wilderness, and raises the inquiry how were the people led safely to the promised land? The history turns, therefore, upon the course of divine grace and the course of divine providence by which the spiritual reformation, and the preservation, day by day, of the chosen seed were effected.

From Rameses, in Egypt, whence the Hebrews took their departure, by the way of the river Arish and the city of Gaza to Hebron, is less than two hundred and fifty miles; a journey which might have been easily made by the Israelites in forty days. Travelers from Cairo to Jaffa usually take with them provisions for twelve days; Napoleon marched his army from Cairo to El Arish, about one hundred and fifty miles, in less than six days. The hostility of the Philistines, who dwelt about Gaza, rendered this route impracticable. This hostility took its rise, perhaps, from a foray, made by the sons of Ephraim during their residence in Egypt, upon Philistia, for the purposes of plunder. 1 Chron. vii: 20-24. For this reason "God led them not through the way of the land of the Philistines, although that was near: for God said, Lest peradventure the people repent when they see war, and they return

to Egypt." Ex. xiii: 17. It was, moreover, the purpose of God to reveal his law to Israel shortly after the exodus, and to that end he had determined to assemble then at Sinai. But even this circuitous route would not, by its measured length, have detained them many months in the wilderness. The journey from Cairo, by the way of Mount Sinai to Jerusalem, may be accomplished, with camels or mules, in less than sixty days, the traveler giving himself ample time to satisfy every where his curosity. It was, however, a part of the divine plan to detain the people, for the purposes of instruction, discipline, and purification, forty years in the wilderness.

The duration of the sojourn was determined by an incident in the disgraceful revolt at Kadeshbarnea. The twelve spies that were sent from that post into the land of Canaan were absent forty days. After hearing the evil report which ten of these spies brought back, the people refused to go up and take possession of the promised land. Jehovah, in his anger, turned the whole congregation back into the wilderness for the period of forty years-one year for every day in which the unfaithful spies searched the land. Num. xiv: 33, 34. Now it is not difficult to ascertain the ends which were answered by this long wandering.

In the first place, time was given for the old wayward race to pass from life, and give place to a new and better generation. Their bondage in Egypt had engendered within them a weak and cowardly spirit. When Pharaoh and his hosts. pressed upon their encampment near the Red Sea, they insulted Moses with the cowardly taunt-"Is not this the word that we did tell thee in Egypt, saying, Let us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians; for it had been better for us to serve the Egyptians than that we should die in the wilderness?" Ex. xiv: 12. At Kadesh, when the spies described "the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants" whom they had seen in Canaan, the Hebrews, like a mob of panic-stricken runaways, "lifted up their voice and cried; and the people wept that night." Num. xiv: 1. It would have been impossible for such a rabble of poltroons to move upon Jericho and Ai, to storm the intrenched cities of Canaan, and to take military possession of the country. They were, moreover, idolatrous, ungodly and sensual. At Marah,

because the waters were bitter, they murmured against Moses. In the wilderness of Sin, because they were hungry, they said: "Would God we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh pots, and did eat bread and were full." Ex. xvi: 3. In Rephidim, because they were thirsty, they chided Moses and tempted Jehovah, saying: "Wherefore is this, that thou has brought us up out of Egypt, to kill us, and our children, and our cattle, with thirst?" Ex. xvii: 3. At Sinai, like so many wild Chaldeaus, they went "mad upon their idols," and danced to the music of calf-worship. The names given to their campinggrounds, beyond Sinai, perpetuated, at once, their iniquities and sufferings. The fire of the Lord burnt among them for their murmurings, and they called the name of the place Burning; then the children of Israel wept again, and lusted for flesh, and said: Who will give us flesh to eat? and God sent quails into the camp, and the pestilence with the quails, so that they called the place the Graves of Lust. Num. xi: 1-34. Finally, at Kadesh, their ignominy became complete. The problem of this pusillanimous and godless generation admitted of but one solution. That solution was thus expressed by the Almighty: "As for you, your carcasses, they shall fall in this wilderness." Num. xiv: 32. Forty years afforded ample time for the execution of this righteous judgment. Meanwhile, a more resolute and hardy, a more faithful and godly race, came forward in the persons of their children. They escaped the effeminacy of Egypt, and the cowardliness commonly engendered by a state of servitude; they were inured to hardship and self-denial by their life in the desert; they were trained to warlike habits and soldierly discipline by their conflicts in arms with the Bedouins who harassed their march, and so were prepared for the wars of the conquest. Their spiritual discipline was not neglected. Separated, by the deserts and the seas, from the idolatrous Egyptians on the west, and the foul and filthy inhabitants of Canaan on the north; held aloof, also, from the native tribes of the wilderness, by reciprocal animosity, they were alone with Jehovah. They saw all his mighty works. He walked with them in the pillar of cloud, he fed them with manna, and gave them water out of the sweetened fountain or the smitten rock:

his tabernacle was with them, together with his holy priesthood and daily sacrifices; his smiles rewarded their obedience, and his judgments avenged their presumptuous sins, This discipline was complete and effectual. Never, in the history of the world, has a change so radical been wrought upon a people in forty years; never did two successive generations contrast each other more thoroughly than the sons who crossed the Jordan, and the fathers who crossed the Red Sea. Those who left Egypt were, as has been seen, in hopeless apostasy; those who entered Canaan composed, perhaps, one of the purest of all the generations of Israel, from Abraham to Christ. Deut. viii: 2-5; Josh. xxiv: 14-31; Jer. ii: 2, 3. In the second place, opportunity was afforded in the course of forty years for the education of the Hebrews in the usages of the ceremonial law. The Mosaic institutes were to the Hebrews, considered as a civil commonwealth, a written constitution, a body of common law and the statutes at largeall complete. These institutes embraced also a confession of faith, a directory for worship, a form of government, and a book of discipline for the people, considered as a church; these were also perfect to their end, and the whole is condensed within the smallest possible compass. It is, by far, the most comprehensive and compact, the most thoroughly excogitated and nicely-adjusted code of civil and ecclesiastical law ever produced. The ceremonial law, which is but one member of the general system, is, in itself, both complete and complicated. Complete it is, because it provides fully for the four parts of worship, the sanctuary, the priesthood, the ritual, and the kalender; that is to say, it prescribes the place, the officers, the forms and the times of divine worship. It is complicated, also, as he who has most carefully considered the subject, in all its parts and relations, best knows. Most of those who have gone into the investigation, have failed for lack of ability or patience to master the system. Indeed, the labors of both Rabbinical and Christian scholars, continued through the ages, have not yet produced a satisfactory treatise on the Jewish ceremonial law. The Jewish divines have not duly estimated Christianity, in which the ceremonial law obtained its highest expression, and the Christian divines have not duly considered Judaism in which

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