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Christianity took its beginning. Very few of them have appreciated the profound remark of Augustine: "The New Testament lies hidden in the Old, the Old is laid open in the New." But it was indispensable that the ceremonies of the law, the due order, method, and sequences of its forms of worship, should be thoroughly understood by the Hebrews. These rites were to be established in Palestine as the usages of the country, they were to express for fifteen hundred years. the devout affections of the people, to make up the sum of their religious traditions, to enter as vital forces into the very elements of national life, and to be the chosen vessels bearing the treasures of salvation to the ages to come. It was needful, therefore, that the people be subjected to a course of special and thorough education in the law; and the wilderness afforded the conditions of that protracted education. They were alone, dwelling in those awful solitudes for the period of forty years. Fed by manna from heaven, they were relieved from daily labor and had leisure for the studies set before them. Far away from thronged cities, from the bustle of trade and commerce, from the maddening din of long and dreary wars, never agitated by the restless fever of modern western civilization, or even the gentler and more sluggish movements of oriental society, the chosen seed had but a single serious occupation-the study of the law and attendance upon the solemnities of public worship. The tabernacle was always pitched in the center of the encampment; the brazen altar and the law stood in the open sight of the people; and all things were so arranged as to allow the tribes. gathered around the court of the tabernacle to witness the daily course of the ceremonial-the service of the priesthood, the ceaseless oblations, the unquenched fire and the smoke of the victims ascending day and night. They had Moses and Aaron, to whom the law was given, as their ministers, ready to expound the sacred mysteries, and Jehovah himself answered out of the cloud to the prayer of Moses and the elders seeking further knowledge of his holy will. It was a grand school of instruction, on subjects most solemn, taught by masters wise beyond their time, because divinely taught themselves and inspired; the instruction addressing the eye through a bloody but magnificent ritual, and the ear first

through the voice that came out of the cloud, which voice they that heard, entreated that it should not be spoken to them any more, and then afterward through the words that God spoke to Moses and Aaron.

Nor, in the third place, were the heathen forgotten in the providential purposes of the wandering. A map of the wil derness, exhibiting the distribution of its native tribes, will show that the hosts of the Lord marched through the pastures of Midian in the desert of Sinai; they sojourned thirtyeight years among the Amalekites of Paran; they moved along the range of mountains occupied by the inhospitable descendants of Esau; they traversed the plains of Moab and Ammon, and laid their course within the borders of the warfaring Ammonites. These tribes saw the wonders in the desert the daily miracle of the manna from heaven was wrought in their presence, and they beheld from afar the pillar of cloud and of fire. The wandering, in its relations to the Bedouins, presented three aspects. The church of God was carried into the bosom of heathen. tribes, as before it went to Egypt and long afterward into Babylon. The hos tility which most of these tribes displayed toward Israel, furnished a new illustration of the antipathy of the seed of the serpent against the seed of the woman. And what was of more importance, the pagan world received a profound impression of the majesty of the true God. This result was foreshown in the song of Moses at the Red Sea. "The people shall hear and be afraid: sorrow shall take hold on the inhabitants of Palestine. Then the dukes of Edom shall be amazed; the mighty men of Moab, trembling, shall take hold upon them; all the inhabitants of Canaan shall melt away. Fear and dread shall fall upon them." Ex. xv: 15–17. Jethro afterward blessed Jehovah, who had delivered the Hebrews out of the hands of the Egyptians, adding these words: "Now I know that the Lord is greater than all gods." Ex. xviii: 11. The tidings from the wilderness traversed the desert of Arabia as far as the Euphrates, and extorted from Balaam the confession that "God brought them out of Egypt." Num. xxiii: 22. These tidings went before the Israelites into the land of Canaan, at once exalting the name of Jehovah and preparing the way for an easy conquest of the promised land. To the two spies

Rahab said: "We have heard how the Lord dried up the waters of the Red Sea for you, when you came out of Egypt. *** And as soon as we heard these things, our hearts did melt, neither did there remain any more courage in any man because of you; for the Lord your God, he is God in heaven above and in earth beneath," Josh. ii: 10, 11. Compare Num. xxii: 3; xxiii: 18-24; Josh. iv: 23, 24; v: 1.

The miracles that were wrought in the wilderness occupy positions of paramount importance in the inspired record. It is not sufficient to say that they were adapted to the urgent necessities of the wandering Hebrews, were wonderful displays of almighty power, and are, in their leading characteristics, peculiar to this part of biblical history. They were more: they were revelations of the only living and true God exactly suited to the state of the church and the world, they were instruments, powers indeed, in the education and discipline of the chosen seed. Several modern scholars, among whom is Canon Stanley in his History of the Jewish Church, have fallen short of the truth, egregiously and lamentably by reason of their having overlooked the supreme efficacy of these miracles as the means of spiritual culture to the Hebrew race, and their supreme importance as self-revelations of the Almighty. Any survey of this period, however admirable in other respects, will be wholly insufficient, if it does not reproduce, in their just proportions, the supernatural features of the history. The most remarkable of these wonders were the pillar of cloud and of fire, the passage of the Red Sea, the rain of bread from heaven, the miraculous supply of water, the defeat of Amalek, the judgments on the Hebrews, and the theophany at Sinai.

Soon after the exodus, there appeared in the camp of Israel a pillar of cloud and of fire. This phenomenon assumed the form of a lofty column, its base approaching, perhaps touching, the surface of the earth, its top rising high into the heavens, opaque by day, luminous by night. Possibly the light was diffused through the mass of the cloud, the whole resembling a distant conflagration, or the torch of a volcano. But it is more probable that an inner column of flaming fire was enveloped by an exterior covering of cloud. The critics have determined its dimensions from Ps. cv: 39, in which it

is written that God spread over the Hebrews "a cloud for a covering," as well as "a fire to give light in the night." According to the current interpretation of that expression, compared with Num. x: 34, and Isa. iv: 5, 6; the upper part of the cloud expanded like a canopy, protecting the camp of Israel from the burning sun; and it is further estimated that the camp itself, containing two millions of persons, with their flocks, usually occupied a space of not less than twelve miles


The narrative, fairly interpreted, concludes to the proposi tion that the cloudy pillar was the dwelling place of Jehovah. The record states in so many words that "the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, and by night in a pillar of fire;" "the angel of the LORD (the Jehovah angel) which went before the camp of Israel, removed, and went behind them;" and "the glory of Jehovah appeared in a cloud." Ex. xiii: 21; xiv: 19; xvi: 10. The substance of the pillar, even flaming fire, was an appropriate symbol of the presence of Jehovah, "for our God is a consuming fire." Heb. xii: 29. Moreover, the central burning splendor was veiled from mortal eyes by the enveloping cloud, even as the Almighty "dwelleth in the light which no man can approach unto." 1 Tim. vi: 16. The phenomenon was, therefore, a perpetual vision of God, the culmination of all theophanies of the five hundred years preceding. It followed the wonderful law of progression according to which all the self-revelations of Jehovah have proceeded; it was a smoking furnace in the vision of Abraham, a burning bush in the presence of Moses, and now a flaming fire, traversing the wilderness, with undimned majesty, for the space of forty years.

The leading design of the pillar was, undoubtedly, to make manifest, in the midst of the Israelites, the being and glory of Jehovah. Their ignorance of the true God and their proneness to idolatry and polytheism, rendered it necessary that Jehovah should reveal himself to their senses by an open and awful vision; and that he should demonstrate by his perpetual presence among them that he is a God not afar off but nigh at hand. But in addition to its uses as a revelation of the Almighty, it served many other important purposes. Its movements directed the march of the Israelites. In the place

where the cloud stood still, they pitched their tents; so long as the cloud abode there they rested in their encampments; and when the cloud was taken up, whether by day or by night, they struck their tents, and followed it in all their journeys. Still further, like the shadow of a great rock in a weary land, the Almighty spread the curtains of the cloud over the bleak and burning desert. The holy oracle, too, was established in its bosom. "He spake unto them in the cloudy pillar." Ps. xcix: 7. At the giving of the law, the pillar arose and stood on the summit of Mount Horeb, and Jehovah came down into the midst of it and gave his law to Moses. When the tabernacle was set up, for the first time on the adjacent plain, "the cloudy pillar descended, and stood at the door of the tabernacle, and JEHOVAH talked with Moses." Ex. xxxiii: 9-11. The Almighty appeared again in the cloud to bestow on the seventy elders the spirit of Moses; and as the day drew near on which Moses was to die, the LORD spake with Moses and Joshua from the midst of the cloud. Num. xi: 25; Deut. xxxi: 15.

And that nothing might be wanting to the majesty of this Shekinah, the Almighty set within it his throne of judgment. At the Red Sea, the Divine wrath flashed forth from the bosom of the cloud upon the host of the Egyptians. When Miriam, and at her instigation, Aaron, also, became seditious, God called the malcontents into the bosom of the cloud, and when the cloud departed, "behold, Miriam became leprous, white as snow." Num. xii: 10. Fire went out from the Lord and devoured Nadab and Abihu; and in the rebellion of Korah and his company, a fire came out again. and consumed two hundred and fifty of the conspirators. Forty years long, this vision of consummate glory stood in the sight of Israel-at once a revelation and presence-chamber of Jehovah, a guide and canopy by day, a torch and sentinel by night, a holy oracle, and a throne of judgment. When they reached the borders of Canaan, it was taken up out of sight. Throughout the after ages, it was seen but once. At Solomon's temple, in the act of dedication, "the house was filled with a cloud, even the house of the LORD, so that the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud; for the glory of the LORD had filled the house of God." 2 Chron. v: 14.

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