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The Great Conflict Between 
Good and Evil 



"To justify the ways of God to men." 




Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1800, by 


in the office of the Librarian of Congress, Washington, D. C. 

Printers ond Bookbinders, 



The publishers send out this work from a conviction that it throws 
light upon a subject of paramount importance and universal interest, and 
one on which light is to be greatly desired ; that it presents truths too 
little known, or too widely ignored. The great controversy between truth 
and error, between light and darkness, between the power of God and the 
attempted usurpations of the enemy of all righteousness, is the one great 
spectacle which it is reasonable to suppose must engage the attention of 
all worlds. That such a controversy exists as the result of sin, that it is 
to pass through various stages of progress, and end at last in a manner 
to redound to the glory of God. and the higher exaltation of his loyal 
servants, is as certain as that the Bihle is a revelation from God to men. 
That word reveals the great features of this controversy, a conflict which 
embraces the redemption of a world ; aud there are special epochs when 
these questions assume unwonted interest, and it becomes a matter of the 
first importance to understand our relation thereto. 

Such a time is the present ; for all things indicate that we may now 
confidently cherish the hope that this long controversy is drawing near its 
close. Yet many now seem disposed to relegate to the realm of fable that 
portion of the record opening to our view the steps by which our world 
became involved in this great issue ; and others, though avoiding this 
extreme view, seem nevertheless inclined to regard it as obsolete and 
unimportant, and are thus led to treat it with neglect. 

But who wou'.d not wish to look into the secret causes of so strange 
a defection ; to discern its spirit, to mark its consequences, and to learn 
how to avoid its results ? With such themes this volume deals. It 
tends to foster a living interest in those portions of God's word most 
often neglected. It clothes with new meaning the promises and prophe- 
cies of the sacred record, vindicates the ways of God in dealing with 
rebellion, .nd shows forth the wonderful grace of God in devising a way 



of salvation for sinful man. Thus we are taken down i<_ he history ot 
this work, to a time when the plans and purposes of God had been clearly 
unfolded to the chosen people. 

Though dealing with themes so exalted, themes that stir the heart to 
its depths, and awaken the liveliest emotions of the mind, the style of 
the book is lucid, and the language plain and direct. We commend 
this volume to all who take pleasure in studying the divine plan of 
human redemption, and who feel any interest in the relation of their 
own souls to Christ's atoning work; and to all others we commend it, 
that it may awaken in them an interest in these things. 

That its perusal may be blessed to the good of those who read, and 
result in turning the feet of many into the way of life, is the earnest 
prayer of the Publishers, 


This volume treats upon the themes of Bible history, themes not 
iu themselves new, yet here so presented as to give them a new signifi- 
cance, revealing springs of action, showing the important bearing of cer 
tain movements, and bringing iuto stronger light some features that are 
1-ut briefly mentioned in the Bible. Thus the scenes have a vividness 
and importance that tend to make new and lasting impressions. Such 
a light is shed upon the Scripture record as to reveal more fully the 
character and purposes of God ; to make manifest the wiles of Satan, 
and the means by which his power will be finally overthrown ; to bring 
to view the weakness of the human heart, and show how the grace of God 
has enabled men to conquer in the battle with evil. All this tends to 
encourage, warn, and strengthen the followers of Christ, and is in har- 
mony with what God has shown to be his purpose in unfolding to men 
the truths of his word. The agency by which these revelations have been 
given is seen — when tested by the Scriptures — to be one of the methods 
God still employs to impart instruction to the children of men. 

While it is not now as it was iu the beginning, when man in his holi- 
ness and innocence had personal instruction from his Maker, still man is 
not left without a divine teacher, which God has provided in his representa- 
tive the Holy Spirit. So we hear the apostle Paul declaring that a cer- 
tain divine. (C illumination " is the privilege of the followers of Christ; and 
that they are " enlightened " by being made " partakers of the Holy Ghost."' 
Heb. 10:32; 6:4. John also says, "Ye have an unction from the 
Holy One." 1 John 2:20. And Christ promised the disciples, as he 
was about to leave them, after a personal ministry with them of three 
and a half years here on earth, that he would send them the Holy Spirit. 
as a comforter and guide to lead them into all truth. John 14 : 1G, 20. 

To show how this promise was to be fulfilled to the church, the apostle 
Paul, in two of his epistles, presents a formal declaration that certain gifts 
of the Spirit have been placed in the church for its edification and instruc- 
tion to the end of time. 1 Cor. 12 ; Eph. 4 : 8-13 ; Matt, 28 : 20. Nor 
is this all : a number of clear and explicit prophecies declare that in the 



last days there will be a special outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and 
that the church at the time of Christ's appearing, will have had, dur- 
ing its closing experience, " the testimony of Jesus," which is the 
spirit of prophecy. Acts 2:17-20, 39; 1 Cor. 1 : 7 ; Rev. 12:17; 
19:10. In these facts we see an evidence of God's care and love for his 
people ; for the presence of the Holy Spirit as a comforter, teacher, and 
guide, not only in its ordinary, but in its extraordinary, methods of opera- 
tion, certainly is needed by the church as it enters the perils of the last 
days, more than in any other part of its experience. 

The Scriptures point out various channels through which the Holy 
Spirit would operate on the hearts and minds of men to enlighten their un- 
derstanding and guide their steps. Among these were visions and dreams. 
In this way God would still communicate with the children of men. 
Here is his promise on this point : " Hear now my words : If there be a 
prophet among you, I the Lord will make myself known unto him in a 
vision, and will speak unto him in a dream." Num. 12 : 6. By this 
means supernatural knowledge was communicated to Balaam. Thus he 
says : " Balaam the son of Beor hath said, and the man whose eyes are 
open hath said : he hath said, which heard the words of God, and knew the 
knowledge of the Most High, which saw the vision of the Almighty, fall- 
ing into a trance, but having his eyes open;" Num. 24 : 15, 16. 

It thus becomes a matter of great interest to investigate the testimony 
of the Scriptures concerning the extent to which the Lord designed that 
the Spirit should manifest itself in the church during the period of human 

After the plan of salvation had been devised, God, as we have seen, 
could still, through the ministry of his Son and the holy angels, communi- 
cate with men across the gulf which sin had made. Sometimes he spoke 
face to mce with them, as in the case of Moses, but more frequently by 
dreams and visions. Instances of such communication are everywhere 
prominent upon the sacred record, covering all dispensations. Enoch, the 
seventh from Adam, looked forward in the spirit of prophecy to the second 
advent of Christ in power and glory, and exclaimed, " Behold, the Lord 
cometh with ten thousands of his saints." Jude 14. " Holy men of God 
spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost." 2 Peter 1 : 21. If the 
operation of the spirit of prophecy has at times seemed almost to disappear, 
as the spirituality of the people waned, it has nevertheless marked all the 
great crises in the experience of the church, and the epochs which wit- 
nessed the change from one dispensation to another. When the era marked 
by the incarnation of Christ was reached, the father of John the Baptist 
was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied. Luke 1 : 67. To Simeon 


it was revealed that he should not sec (hath till lie had seen the Lord ; and 
when the parents of Jesus brought him into the temple that he might he 
circumcised, Simeon came by the Spirit into the temple, took him into Ins 
arms, and blessed him, while he prophesied concerning him. -And Anna, 
a prophetess, coming in the same instant, .-pake of him to all them that 
looked for redemption in Jerusalem. Luke 2:- 20, 36. 

The outpouring of the Holy Spirit which was to attend the preaching 
of the gospel by the followers of Christ, was announced by the prophet in 
these words : " And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out 
m v Spirit upon all flesh ; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, 
your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions : and 
also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour 
out my Spirit. And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth, 
blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into dark- 
aess, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the 
Lord come." Joel 2:28-31. 

1'eter, on the day of Pentecost, quoted this prophecy in explanation of 
the wonderful scene which then occurred. Cloven tongues like as of fire 
sat upon each of the disciples; they were filled with the Holy Spirit, and 
spake with other tongues. And when the mockers charged that they were 
filled with new wine, Peter answered, " These are not drunken, as ye sup- 
pose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day ; but this is that which was 
spoken by the prophet Joel." Then he quotes the prophecy substantially 
as found in Joel (quoted above), only he puts the words " in the last days," 
in the place of "afterward." making it read, ''And it shall come to pass 
in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit," etc. 

It is evident that it was that part of the prophecy only which relates 
to the outpouring of the Spirit, that began to be fulfilled on that day ; 
for there were no old men there dreaming dreams, nor young men and 
maidens seeing visions and prophesying ; and no wonders of blood and 
fire and pillars of smoke, then appeared; and the sun was not darkened 
and the moon was not turned to blood at that time ; and yet what was 
there witnessed was in fulfillment of the prophecy of Joel. It is equally 
evident that this part of the prophecy concerning the outpouring of the 
Spirit, was not exhausted in that one manifestation ; for the prophecy 
covers all days from that time on to the coming of the great day of 
the Lord. 

But the day of Pentecost was in fulfillment of other prophecies besides 
that of Joel. It fulfilled the words of Christ himself as well. In his last 
discourse to his disciples before his crucifixion, he said to them : " I will 
pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, . . . even the 


Spirit of truth.'' John 14: 16, 17. "But the Comforter, which is the 
Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all 
things." Verse 2G. " Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he 
will guide you into all truth." Chap. 16:13. And after Christ had 
risen from the dead, he said to the disciples, " Behold, I send the promise 
of my Father upon you ; but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be- 
endued with power from on high." Luke 24 : 49. 

On the day of Pentecost the disciples were thus endued with power 
from on high. But this promise of Christ's was not, any more than the 
prophecy of Joel, confined to that occasion. For he gave them the same 
promise in another form by assuring them that he would be with them 
always, even to the end of the world. Matt. 28 : 20. Mark tells us in 
what sense and what manner the Lord was to be with them. He says, 
" And they went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with 
them, and confirming the word with signs following." Mark 16:20. 
And Peter, on the day of Pentecost, testified concerning the perpetuity of 
this operation of the Spirit which they had witnessed. When the con 
victed Jews said unto the apostles, " What shall we do ? " Peter answered, 
"Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ, 
for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. 
For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar 
off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call." Acts 2 : 37-39. This 
certainly provides for the operation of the Holy Spirit in the church, even 
in its special manifestations, to all coming time, as long as mercy shall 
invite men to accept the pardoning love of Christ. 

Twenty-eight years later, in his letter to the Corinthians, Paul set 
hefore that church a formal argument on this question. He says (1 Cor. 
12:1)," Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you 
ignorant " — so important did he deem it that this subject should be un- 
derstood in the Christian church. After stating that though the Spirit is 
one it has diversities of operation, and explaining what those diversities 
are, he introduces the figure of the human body, with its various mem- 
bers, to show how the church is constituted with its different offices and 
gifts. And as the body has its various members, each having its particu- 
lar office to fill, and all working together in unity of purpose to constitute 
one harmonious whole, so the Spirit was to operate through various chan- 
nels in the church to constitute a perfect religious body. Paul then con- 
tinues in these words: "And God hath set some in the church, first 
apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then 
gifts (if healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues." 

The declaration that God hath set some in the church, etc., implies 


something more than that the way was left open for the gifts to appear if 
circumstanced should chance to favor. It rather signifies that they were 
to be permanent parts of the true spiritual constitution of the church, and 

that if these were not in active operation the church would be in the con- 
dition of a humau body, some of whose members had, through accident or 
disease, become crippled and helpless. Having once been set in the 
church, there these gifts must remain until they are as formally removed. 
But there is no record that they ever have been removed. 

Five years later the same apostle writes to the Ephesians relative to the 
same gifts, plainly stating their object, and thus showing indirectly that 
they must continue till that object is accomplished. He says (Eph. 4 :8, 
11-13) : " Wherefore be saith, When he ascended up on high, he led cap- 
tivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. . . .A nd he gave some, apostles ; 
and some, prophets; and some, evangelists ; and some, pastors and teachers ; 
for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edi- 
fying of the body of Christ : till we all come in the unity of the faith, and 
of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the meas- 
ure of the stature of the fullness of Christ." 

The church did not reach the state of unity here contemplated, in the 
apostolic age ; and very soon after that age, the gloom of the great spiritual 
apostasy began to overshadow the church ; and certainly during that state 
of declension, this fullness of Christ, and unity of faith, was not reached. 
Nor will it be reached till the last message of mercy shall have gathered 
out of every kindred and people, every class of society, and every organiza- 
tion of error, a people complete in all gospel reforms, waiting for the com- 
ing of the Sou of man. And truly, if ever in her experience the church 
would need the benefit of every agency ordained for her comfort and guid- 
ance, encouragement and protection, it would be amid the perils of the last 
days, when the powers of evil, well-nigh perfected by experience and train- 
ing for their nefarious work, would, by their masterpieces of imposture, de- 
ceive if it were possible even the elect. Very appropriately, therefore, come 
in the special prophecies of the outpouring of the Spirit for the benefit of 
the church in the last days. 

It is, however, usually taught, in the current literature of the Christian 
world, that the gifts of the Spirit were only for the apostolic age ; that they 
were given simply for the planting of the gospel ; and that the gospel be- 
ing once established, the gifts were no longer needed, and consequently 
were suffered soon to disappear from the church. But the apostle Paul 
warned the Christians of his day that the "mystery of iniquity was al- 
ready at work, and that after his departure, grievous wolves would enter 
in among them, not sparing the flock, and that also of their own selves 


men would arise, speaking perverse tilings to draw away disciples after 
them. Acts 20 : 29, 30. It cannot therefore be that the gifts, placed in 
the church to guard against these very evils, were ready, when that time 
came, to pass away as having accomplished their object; for their presence 
and help would be needed under these conditions more than when the apos- 
tles themselves were on the stage of action. 

We find another statement in Paul's letter to the Corinthian church, 
which shows that the popular conception of the temporary continuance of 
the gifts cannot be correct. It is his contrast between the present, imper- 
fect state, and the glorious, immortal condition to which the Christian will 
finally arrive. 1 Corinthians 13. He says (verses 9, 10), " For we know 
in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, 
then that which is in part shall be done away." He further illustrates this 
present state by comparing it to the period of childhood with its weakness 
and immaturity of thought and action; and the perfect state, to the con- 
dition of manhood with its clearer vision, maturity, and strength. And he 
classes the gifts among those things which are needed in this present, im- 
perfect condition, but which we shall have no occasion for when the perfect 
-rate is come. " Now," he says ( verse 12), " we see through a glass, darkly ; 
but then face to face : now I know in part ; but then shall I know even as 
also I am known." Then he states what graces are adapted to the eternal 
state, and will there exist, namely, faith, hope, and charity, or love, " these 
three ; but the greatest of these is charity." 

This explains the language of verse 8 : " Charity never faileth ; " that 
is, charity, the heavenly grace of love, will endure forever; it is the crown- 
ing glory of man's future, immortal condition ; but " whether there be prophe- 
cies, they shall fail ;" that is, the time will come when prophecies will be 
no longer needed, and the gift of prophecy, as one of the helps in the church, 
will no longer be exercised ; <: whether there be tongues, they shall cease ; " 
that is, the gift of tongues will no longer be of service ; " whether there be 
knowledge, it shall vanish away; " that is, knowledge, not in the abstract, 
but as one of the special gifts of the Spirit, will be rendered unnecessary 
by the perfect knowledge with which we shall be endowed in the eternal 

Now if we take the position that the gifts ceased with the apostolic age, 
because no longer needed, we commit ourselves to the position that the 
apostolic age was the weak and childish age of the church, when everything 
was seen through a glass, darkly, but the age that followed, when grievous 
wolves were to enter in, not sparing the flock, and men were to arise, even 
in the church, speaking perverse tilings to draw away disciples after them, 
was an age of perfect light and knowledge, in which the imperfect and child- 


ish and darkened knowledge of apostolic times had passed away I For, be 
it remembered, the gifts erase only when a perfect state is reached, and be- 
cause that state is reached, which renders them no longer necessary. But 
no one. >>n Bober thought, can for a moment seek to maintain the position 

that the apostolic age was inferior in spiritual elevation to any age which 
has succeeded it. And if the gifts were needed then, they certainly are 
needed now. 

Among the agencies which the apostle in his letters to both the Co- 
rinthians and Ephesians enumerates as " gifts" set in the church, we find 
"pastors," ••teachers.'' "helps," and "governments;" and all these are 
:uknowledged, on every hand, as still continuing in the church. Why not, 
then, the others also, including faith, healing, prophecy, etc. ? Who is 
competent to draw the line, and say what gifts have been " set out " of the 
church, when all were, in the beginning, equally "set" therein? 

Rev. 12:17 has been referred to as a prophecy that the gifts would be 
restored in the last days. An examination of its testimony will confirm 
this view. The text speaks of the remnant of the woman's seed. The 
woman being a symbol of the church, her seed would be the individual 
members composing the church at any one time ; and the " remnant " of 
her seed would be the last generation of Christians, or those living on the 
earth at the second coming of Christ. The text further declares that these 
" keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ ; " 
and the " testimony of Jesus " is explained in chapter 19 : 10 to be " the 
spirit of prophecy," which must be understood as that which among the 
gifts is called "the gift of prophecy.'' 1 Cor. 12 : 9, 10. 

The setting of the gifts in the church does not imply that every indi- 
vidual was to have them in exercise. On this point the apostle (1 Cor. 
12 :29) says, "Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers?" 
etc. The implied answer is, No ; not all are ; but the gifts are divided 
among the members, as it pleases God. 1 Cor. 12 : 7, 11. Yet these 
gifts are said to be "set in the church" and if a gift is bestowed upon 
even one member of the church, it may be said that that gift is " in the 
church," or that the church "has" it. So the last generation was to 
have, and it is believed does now have, the testimony of Jesus, or the 
gift of prophecy. 

Another portion of Scripture evidently written with reference to the last 
days, brings the same fact plainly to view. 1 Thessalonians 5. The apostle 
opens the chapter with these words: " But of the times aud the seasons, 
brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know per- 
fectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night." In 
verse -1 he adds, " But ye. brethren, are not in darkness, that that day 

XIV 1 X 7 7.' D I W TION. 

should overtake you as a thief." Then he gives thein sundry admonitions- 
in view of that event, among which are these (verses 19-21): "Quench 
not the Spirit. Despise not prophesyings. Prove all things ; hold fast that 
which is good." And in verse 23 he prays that these very ones who were 
thus to have to do with " prophesy ings," may be preserved blameless unto 
the coming of the Lord. 

On the strength of these considerations are we not justified in believing 
that the gift of prophecy will be manifested in the church in the last days, 
and that through it much light will be imparted, and much timely in- 
struction given ? 

All things are to be treated according to the apostle's rule : " Prove all 
things ; hold fast that which is good ; " and to be tested by the Saviour's 
standard : " By their fruits ye shall know them." Appealing to this stand- 
ard in behalf of what claims to be a manifestation of the gift of prophecy, 
we commend this volume to the consideration of those who believe that the 
Bible is the word of God, and that the church is the body of which Christ 

is head - . U. Smith. 




The nature of God — Christ associated with the Father — The law of love 
the foundation of God's government — Happiness of God's creatures in 
yielding allegiance — Inception of Lucifer's rebellion — Ripening revolt 

— Why Satan was not destroyed ..... 33^43 



The earth created — Its primeval glory — Man made in God's image — The 
first marriage — The garden of Eden — The memorial of creation — 
The tree of the knowledge of good and evil — Why was man tested ? — 
The home of our first parents an example — Industry essential to 
happiness — Students in the school of the Infinite — Allegiance to the 
divine law increases capacity for knowledge and joy . . 44-51 



Satan plots the ruin of the human race — Angels warn man of Satan's 
m heme — The serpent is Satan's medium — Eve listens to the tempter 

— Becomes an agent in her husband's ruin — Sense of sin, dread of the 
future — They cast blame upon God — The serpent cursed — Eve's sub- 
jection — The modern Eve — Nature a witness to the effects of sin — 
Han subject to death — Expulsion from Eden — Mourning over nature's 
decay — How long did the garden of Eden remain on earth ? — To be 
restored to the new earth ....... 52-62 





The fall of man fills heaven with sorrow — Christ pleads in the sinner's 
behalf — The plan of redemption — Joy among the angels — The seed 
promised — Christ only is able to save — The earth itself subject to 
Satan — The typical system — The plan of salvation to vindicate the 
character of God — The cross proves the law immutable . 63-70 



Abel's loyalty — The two offerings — Cain and Abel represent two classes 
-Fruits of true faith — The first murder — The curse upon Cain- 
Eternal existence not a blessing to the sinner — Satan misrepresents 
God — Satan's government exemplified on the earth — God's justice 
finally to be acknowledged ....... 71-79 



Character of Seth — Marked distinction between good and evil men — Cain 
the founder of the first city — Results of intermarriage between the 
sons of God and the daughters of men — Adam's life of sorrow and 
repentance — The antediluvian age — Knowledge and civilization of 
the ancients — Enoch's higher experience — A preacher of righteous- 
ness — His translation — Enoch a type of the righteous in the last 
generation . 80-89 



A double curse — Prevailing wickedness — The ark — The coming flood 
foretold — Noah called a fanatic — The world ripe for destruction — 
Entering the ark — Seven days of waiting — The flood — The character 
nf the antediluvian world repeated in the present age . 90-104 



The tempest-tossed ark-- A place of rest — The dove with the olive leaf — 
The angel opens the door — Noah's offering — The covenant and it- 
token — Ravages of the flood — More terrible destruction at the second 
advent of Chrisl 105-11O 




The first week was measured by God — The days df creation not indefi- 
nite periods — True science in harmony with the Bihle — Nature not 
independent of God — The Creator preserves and upholds all his 

works 111-116 



The repeopling of the earth — The history of the three great races foretold 
— The plain of Shinar — The flood attributed to natural causes — The 
tower of Babel — The work of building checked — The confusion of 
tongues — Tower-builders in our time .... 117-124 




Why Abraham was chosen to be the father of the faithf ul — Separation 
from his kindred — His unquestioning obedience — Others similarly 
tested — Abraham in Canaan — Why God afflicts men — The sojourn 
in Egypt — Similarity between Abraham's experience and that of his 
posterity 1 '25-131 



iraham's unselfish spirit — The ingratitude of Lot — Christ's teaching 
in regard to courtesy — Lot chooses the vale of Siddim — Abraham 
at Mamre — The promise renewed — True religion exemplified by 
Abraham — Canaan invaded by the Elamites — Capture of Sodom — 
Abraham recovers the prisoners and the spoil — Tithes to Melehizedek 
-Abraham's vision- — The rite of circumcision — The doom of Sodom 
revealed to Abraham — His plea for the wicked city — Abraham's 
household — A well-ordered home a testimony for God . 132-144 



A lack of faith on the part of Abraham — Hagar and Ishmael — The birth 
of Isaac — Sacredness of the marriage vow — Abraham's prosperity — 
The terrible test — Journey to Mount Moriah — The altar. of sacrifice 
— The only son not withheld from God — The plan of salvation illus- 
trated — Light shed on the mystery of redemption . . 1 15-155 

xviii CONTENTS. 



Beauty of the vale of Siddim — Divine light rejected by the cities of the 
plain — Last night of Sodom — Angel visitants — Hospitality of Lot — 
Violence of the Sodomites — The judgment of blindness — The angels 
reveal their mission — Lot warns his kindred — Led from the city — ■ 
Zoar — The destruction of Sodom — The limit of forbearance — The 
condition of the world to-day — -The Saviour's warning — Contrast 
between Lot and Abraham — The choice of a home — The heritage o.' 
God's people not in this world — The city to come . . 156-17G 



Character of Isaac — The ancient customs of betrothal — Eliezer's commis- 
sion — His prayer for guidance — The token given — Rebekah's cour- 
tesy — Eliezer reveals his errand — Isaac and Rebekah — Marriage of 
Christians with the ungodly — Character of true love . 171-176 



Difference in disposition — The right of the first-born — The conditions of 
God's covenant — Jacob's desire for the blessing — His stratagem to 
obtain it — Esau values it lightly — Rebekah's subterfuge — Jacob se- 
cures the birthright — Results of his deception — Multitudes still sell- 
ing their birthright 177-182 



Jacob a fugitive — Remorse and despair — Vision at Bethel — Christ the 
mystic ladder — The pillar of commemoration — Jacob's vow — Offer- 
ings for Christ — Jacob at Haran — Rachel — Seven years' service — 
A cruel deception — Laban's covetousness — The shepherd's life — ■ 
Christ the Chief Shepherd — Laban's envy — The departure of Jacob 
- Pursued by Laban — Mizpah 183-194 



A troubled journey — The angel guard — Messengers to Esau — Threatened 
hostility — Alone, with God — The unknown assailant — Angel of the 
covenant — Prevailing faith — Jacob's name and nature changed — • 
Reconciliation of the brothers — Jacob's experience typifies the final 
struggle of God's people — The power of faith . . . 195 203 




Jacob reaches Sbeehcm in peace — Sin and disgrace of Jacob's daughter — 
Treachery of Simeon and Levi — On the way to Hebron — Bethel — 
Heath of Deborah — Of Rachel — Jacob and Esan at the death-bed of 
their father — Election through grace — Jacob's evil traits repeated in 
his children — The character of Joseph — The father's gift — Joseph's 
dreams — Envied-by his brothers — Sold as a slave . . 204-212 



Joseph's anguish by the way — His high resolve — Sold to Potiphar — His 
education in Egypt — Cast into prison — The discipline of affliction — 
An interpreter of dreams — At the king's court — Tested by prosperity 

— The secret of his success 213-223 



The famine in Canaan — Joseph's brothers in Egypt — Accused of being 
spies — Three days in prison — Remorse and repentance — Second 
journey to Egj*pt — Joseph sees Benjamin — Joseph's plot — Anguish of 
the brothers — The test of true love — Joseph makes himself known — 
The invitation of Pharaoh — Jacob and his sons in Egypt — Goshen — 
Joseph's sons installed among the children of Israel — Jacob's dying 
prophecy — Why inspiration records the faults of good men — Joseph's 
life illustrates the life of Christ 224-240 



Royal favor to Israel — A new king — The Israelites oppressed — The birth 
of Moses — -Adopted by Pharaoh's daughter — Education of Moses — 
The mother's privilege — Civil and military training — Taught by angels 
that deliverance is near — Moses refuses to be initiated into the myste- 
ries of Egyptian priesthood — Visits his countrymen — The signal for 
revolt — Flight to Midian — Forty years a shepherd — The call of God 

— The blessing attendant upon accepting responsibilities in God's work 

— On the way to Egypt — A manifestation of God's displeasure — An- 
gels cannot protect the transgressor ..... 241-356 




Meeting of Aaron and Moses — Before Pharaoh — Sabbath observance 
restored — The burdens of Israel doubled — Reproaches against Moses 

— Judgments threatened upon the Egyptians — Aaron's rod becomes a 
serpent — The magicians' enchantments — Were their rods actually 
changed to serpents? — Satan's object in counterfeiting the work 
of Moses — The Nile turned to blood — Successive plagues — How 
Pharaoh's heart was hardened 259-272 



The last message to Pharaoh — The Passover — Sprinkling of blood — Tbe 
paschal lamb a type of Christ — At midnight — The death of the first 
born in Egypt — The Israelites entreated to depart . . 273-280 



Waiting the mandate — The march begun — Prophecy fulfilled — The pillar 
of cloud and of fire — To the Red Sea — Pursuit by Pharaoh — Terror 
of the people — The passage through the sea — A song of triumph 

— God's providences are understood by faith — Praise due to the 
Creator — God leads the way through desert and sea . 281-290 



Marah — Murmuring — Moses reassures the people — The sinfulness of dis- 
trust — Food in the desert — Allotting the manna — Preparation for 
the Sabbath — God's requirement still binding — A threefold miracle 

— Rephidim — The rock smitten — Attack of the Amalekites — God 
proclaims their extinction — Jethro — At Sinai . . . 291-302 



Israel to be taken into peculiar relation with God — Preparation of the peo- 
ple to hear the law — The heavenly glory rests upon Mount Sinai — 
The voice of God — The ten precepts — Additional directions given to 
Moses — Ratification of the covenant — Directions for building the 
sanctuary — The presence of God to abide with his people — Prospect- 
ive exaltation of Israel „ 303-314 




Israel in waiting — Tney turn to idolatry — Weakness of Aaron — The 
golden calf — God's covenant disannulled — Moses pleads for his peo- 
ple — lii s descent from the mount — A scene of heathen riot — Con- 
trast between Aaron and Moses — "Who is on the Lord's side? — The 
slaying of the rebellious — The necessity of administering justice — The 
tabernacle removed from the camp — Prayer of Moses — God's pres- 
ence revealed — Glory of the countenance of Moses . 315-330 



Apparent success of Satan's first effort against God's government — His 
success turned to defeat — Renews his efforts on the earth — The ante 
diluvians and the descendants of Noah reject the law — Satan seeks to 
seduce and destroy Israel — His machinations at Sinai — The universe 
witnessing the controversy — Through idolatry Satan degrades man's 
conception of God — Transgression of the fourth commandment dims 
man's knowledge of the Creator — Satan's warfare against every pre 
cept of God — The violation of the commandments in the name of re- 
ligion — Satan's object to misrepresent the character of God — The 
justice of the law and the character of God to be vindicated before the 
universe 331-342 



Preparation for building the sanctuary — Liberality of the people — De- 
scription of the tabernacle — The tribe of Levi set apart — The gar- 
ments of the priests — " The example and shadow of heavenly things " 

— The offerings to be without blemish — The daily ministration — The 
day of atonement — The heavenly sanctuary — Christ our high priest 

— Two places of ministration — The closing work — The final purifica- 
tion of the universe 345-358 



Dedication of the priests — Nadab and Abihu offer strange fire — Result of 
parental indulgence — God requires strict obedience — Effects of in- 
temperance — Christians the temple of the Holy Spirit . I 362 

xx ii CONTENTS. 



God's law known to Adam and Eve — The knowledge handed down — The 
sacrificial system perverted — Why the decalogue was given at Sinai — 
Object of the ceremonial law — Christ uttered the law on Sinai — Cere- 
monial law not designed to be a wall of partition — God's people in 
all ages the light of the world — The two covenants — Justification 
through faith — The righteousness of the law fulfilled in believers — 
Plan of redemption the same in all ages .... 363-373 



Organization of Israel — The camp — Sanitary measures — On the march 

— A difficult way — The people clamor for flesh — Why restriction 
was necessary — The consuming fire — The seventy elders — Defection 
of Miriam and Aaron — Why was divine guidance granted to Moses 
above others? — How God regards evil speaking . . 374-386 



On the borders of Canaan — Magnificence of the promised inheritance — 
The report of the spies — Difficulties and dangers magnified — Unbe- 
lief cf Israel — Caleb and Joshua — Mutiny of the tribes — The doom 
of the murmurers — Resisting the divine prohibition — Conquere by 
the Canaanites 387-394 



Disaffection of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram — Two hundred and fifty 
princes join the conspiracy — The test of divine appointment — Accu- 
sations of the rebellious — The last warning — The judgment of God 

— The blossoming rod — Similarity between the rebellion of Lucifer 
and that of Korah — Rejection of light hardens the heart . 395— 4d.j 



Forty years in the desert — The Israelites under the ~ebuke of God — Cir- 
cumcision suspended — The Passover not observed — God's care still 
over Israel — Incidents of the wilderness sojourn — Reason why their 
entrance to Canaan was prohibited — Death of Miriam . 406-410 




Christ the spiritual rock — The command to pass through Edom — Why did 
the miraculous supply of water cease? — In sight of the hills of Canaan 

— The sin of Moses — Why so severely punished? — His humility and 
repentance — Temptation not an excuse for sin . . 411-421 



Israel denied a passage through Edom — God's directions should be 
promptly heeded — Kindness toward the Edomites enjoined — Israel 
journeys southward — Death of Aaron — "That great and terrible 
wilderness" — Discontent — Fiery serpents — The brazen serpent — 
A symbol of Christ 422-432 



Passing toward Canaan — A friendly message to Sihon — The king bent on 
war — Victory to Israel — The kingdom of Bashan — Og the giant — 
The Amorites subdued — Past experience recalled — The test repeated 

— God gives the victory 433-437 



Israel preparing to enter Canaan — Forebodings of the Moabitcs — Ambas- 
sadors sent to Balaam — The prophet tested — Given up to his heart's 
lust — The angel in the way — God requires kind treatment of animals 

— Reception of the prophet — The prophetic blessing — A far-reaching 
vision — Sublime prophecy concerning the Redeemer — Balaam's cov- 
etousness proves his ruin — A diabolical scheme — Parallel between 
Balaam and Judas — Danger in cherishing sin . . 438-452 



The encampment beside Jordan — In view of the promised land — The 
wiles of the heathen — Israel overcome by licentiousness -■- The inflic- 
tion of judgment rouses to repentance — War with Midian — The 
tempters destroyed — Effects of sensual indulgence — Satan's schemes 
for making vice popular — "Whatsoever things are pure " 453-46 1 




The petition of Moses — Rehearsal of Israel's experience — The law re- 
peated — Character of the law — Moses predicts the overthrow of 
Israel — Blessings and curses pronounced .... 462-468 



The justice of God — The charge to Joshua — Moses summoned to Xebo — 
A view of the land of promise — The rejection of Christ by the Jews 
foreseen — The gospel to be carried to the Gentiles — The rejection 
of the law — The warrior rests — The unknown sepulcher — Resurrec- 
tion of Moses — Justice and love exemplified — On the mount of 
transfiguration — Moses a type of Christ . . . 469-480 



Mourning for Moses — Joshua the acknowledged leader of Israel — Spies 
sent to Jericho — Rahab — A path through Jordan — Circumcision re- 
newed — The Passover celebrated in the plains of Jericho 481-486 



Fortifications of Canaan — Angels overthrow the walls of Jericho — God 
will do great things for those who trust him— Attack upon Ai — Self- 
exaltation — Israel defeated — Hidden sin in the camp — One man's 
sin a nation's disaster — An unavailing confession . . 487-498 



All Israel assembled at Shechem — Renewal of the vows of loyalty — 
Mounts Ebal and Gerizim — Rehearsal of the law — God makes his 
requirements explicit ....... 501-504 



A strange deputation — The Israelites neglect to ask God's counsel — The 
Gibeonites' deception — Their submission to Israel — The Amorites 
gather against Gibeon — Signal defeat — The sun commanded to stand 
still — Nature under the control of God .... 505-509 




Southern Canaan subdued — Tribes of Northern Palestine leagued against 
Israel — Defeat of Jabin at Lake Merom — Joshua master of Canaan — 
The land divided by lot — Caleb's claim — The victory of faith — 
Appeal of Ephraim and Mauasseh — The ark at Shiloh — The cities of 
refuge — Christ a refuse for sinners — Gad, Reuben, and the half tribe 
of Manasseh — The altar beside Jordan — Misunderstanding — Wis- 
dom of the Reubenites — Brotherly love .... 510-520 



Israel slow to drive out the heathen — Joshua's appeal to the people — 
Heads of the tribes assembled at Shechem — An unqualified covenant 
— Obedience impossible without the aid of Christ — Joshua's work 
ended . 521-524 



A tenth to be devoted to God — The tithing system not original with the 
Hebrews — Liberality of the Israelites — Results of withholding from 
God — God's people light-bearers — Voluntary giving — Men are God's 
stewards 525-529 



A tithe for the poor — Their right to a share in the produce of the soil — 
The sabbatical year — Slaves set at liberty — Hire of the laborer to be 
paid — The seventh year a release from debt — Prosperity follows 
liberality — The jubilee — The land reverts to its original owners — 
Social equality promoted by God's regulations — The poor to be always 
with us 530-536 



Three great national gatherings — God cares for the obedient — The Pass- 
over festival — The offering of first-fruits — Pentecost — The Feast of 
Tabernacles — Social intercourse encouraged — The antitypical Feast 
of Tabernacles 537-542 

xx vi CONTENTS. 



Flagging zeal — Israel to be a breastwork against evil — Effects of self- 
indulgence — Oppression and deliverance — Otbniel, Deborah, Barak 
- — The land invaded by the Midianites — The Covenant Angel appears 
to Gideon — The miracles of the fleece — Marshaling of the enemy — 
Proclamation before the battle — A test of character — But three hun- 
dred chosen — Plan of attack — "The sword of Jehovah and of 
Gideon " — The Midianites overthrown — The deliverer censured — 
Gideon's error — Far-reaching influence of our words and acts — 
Abimelech the usurper — The rule of righteous judges — Lapsing 
into idolatry — Abandoned to their foes — Reminder of the day of 
final judgment — -Long-suffering mercy of God — Jephthah — Evils of 
conforming to the world 543-559 




Manoah and his family — The angel's instruction — Pre-natal influences — 
Temperance and self-control in childhood — The birth of Samson — 
His strength — His weakness — Unwise marriages — Treachery at Tim- 
nath — At "the rock Etam" — For twenty years the judge of Israel — 
Delilah — Samson betrayed — Blind and in prison — The sport of the 
Philistines — The feast of Dagon — Samson's revenge and death — 
Satan plots to overthrow those whom God would use — God's grace 
sufficient 560-568 



Hannah — The marriage institution marred — Hannah's petition — Her 
request granted — Samuel presented to the high priest — Hannah's in- 
spired prayer — The mother's influence — Integrity of Samuel — Little 
children may do service for God — Conscientious attention to little 
things 569-574 



Priest and judge in Israel — Neglect of family duties — Contrast with Abra- 
ham — Eli's sons — Unsanctified service - — Eli reproved — His mistake 
repeated by others — Conditions of God's favor — Words of fearfu! 
import .......... 575-580 

CONTENTS. x.wii 



Another warning to Eli's house — Eli fails to manifest true repentance — 
The Philistines war against Israel — The ark captured — Nominal faith 
of no value — " Ichabod " — The ark at Ashdod — Plague among the 
Philistines — The return of the ark — Sacrilege punished at Beth- 
6hemesh — Practical piety in the days of Samuel — The Philistine 
army destroyed — The stone of help .... 581-593 



God*s care for the education of his people — The homes of Israel — Exam- 
ples of their influence — Idleness regarded as a crime — The schools of 
the prophets — Subjects of study — The mission of music — Ancient 
and modern schools compared — True object of education — The study 
of science — -The Bible as an educating power — True religion condu- 
cive to health and happiness • — Physical and mental training — Indus- 
trious habits — Possibilities of man . . - . . . 594-602 



Principles of the theocracy — Samuel's administration — A pretext for a 
change — The character of Samuel — Similarity to that of Christ — 
Saul's anointing — Not to be an absolute monarch — Prerogatives of 
prince and people — A party in opposition — Saul leaves the establish- 
ment of his authority to God — Defeats the Ammonites at Jabesh- 
gilead — The nation gathered at Gilgal — Saul's authority confirmed — 
Samuel's parting address as ruler ..... 603-617 



The army disbanded — Activity of the Philistines — They gather for battle 

— Saul's impatience and presumption — Safety only in obedience — 
Power of early wrong habits — Jonathan routs the Philistines at Mich- 
mash — Saul's unreasonable requirement .... (MS-626 



Saul's errors not yet irretrievable — Commanded to utterly destroy Amalek 

— God's reluctance to execute judgment — Saul subjected to the final 
test — His disobedience — Tries to vindicate himself — "To obev is 


better than sacrifice " — Why God chooses the humble — Stubbornness, 
is idolatry — Delusive power of Satan — Saul's character a reflection of 
that of Israel 627-636 



The boyhood of David — A king to be anointed from* the house of Jesse — 
The prophet's inspection — Man sees not as God seeth — The shepherd 
boy summoned — The intimation of a high destiny — Content to await 
God's providences — Nature a revelation of God — The songs of David 
an inspiration to God's people ...... 639-642 



Saul's despair — David called to play before him — David's courage and 
faith — War with the Philistines — DaVid moved by a divine impulse 
to save Israel — Goliath's challenge — David offers to meet the cham- 
pion — A sling and a staff — The battle is the Lord's . 643-648 



Friendship of David and Jonathan — David set over the men of war — 
Saul's jealousy — David escapes the king's spear — The plots against 
David's life — Jonathan's faithfulness to his friend — David flees to 
Raman — Saul among the prophets — The priest assuages David's 
hunger with bread from the sanctuary — Doeg — David with the kino- 
of Gath — In the wilds of Judah — The cave of Adullam — David's 
band — Saul destroys the priests 649-659 



The son of Ahimelech — Jonathan's visit — In the cave of En-gedi — 
David spares Saul — Death of Samuel — David in the wilderness of 
Paran — Nabal — Evil for good — Abigail — Influence of a consecrated 
Christian life — Receiving reproof — Among the Ziphites — Saul again 
in pursuit — David and Abishai in the king's camp — The spear and 
the cruse of water — David goes to Gath — His lack of trust in God — 
The purpose of Achish — David true to Israel . . . 660-672 




War between Israel and the Philistines — The results of Saul's course — 
The Lord answers him not — The sorceress of Endor — Saul under the 
control of Satan — The prediction of doom — The king's last battle — 
Revenge of the Philistines — The men of Jabesh-gilead . 675-682 



Did Samuel appear at Endor ? — Necromancy forbidden — Ancient worship 
of the dead — The corner-stone of heathenism — What are "familiar 
spirits"? — Modern Spiritualism — Purpose of the message to Saul — 
The teaching and fruits of Spiritualism .... 683-689 



In the army of Achish — David and his band in peril — An honorable dis- 
missal — Ziklag sacked by the Amalekites — Accumulated misfortunes 

— Quiet trust in God — The pursuit and victory — The families re- 
covered — Tidings of Israel's defeat — The stranger herald — Mourn- 
ing for Saul and Jonathan 690-696 



David repairs to Hebron — Crowned king over Judah — Ishbosheth on the 
throne of Israel — Abner — Deserts to David — Fate of Abner and 
Ishbosheth — The tribes resort to David — Israel's king by divine 
appointment 697-702 



The metropolis of the kingdom — League with Hiram, king of Tyre — 
Defeat of the Philistines at Rephaim — The ark to be removed to 
Jerusalem — Judgment upon Uzzah — The ark at the house of Obed- 
edom — A second procession — Dancing before the Lord — The modern 
dance — Song at the gates of Jerusalem — Michal — The service of song 

— Purpose to build the temple — God's promise to David — Kindness 
to the house of Saul — Prosperity of the kingdom — A vast coalition 
against Israel — The Ammonites and their allies — Victory to David — 
Extent of his kingdom 703-716 




Why the Bible praises men so little — What led to David's fall — His early 
integrity as a ruler — A snare to the king — The plot against Uriah 

— How far are rulers to be obeyed? — Influence of David's crime 
upon Israel — It is merciful in God to rebuke sin — Reproof and 
judgment — David's repentance — Why his sin was recorded — David's 
history a warning — God's mercy to the penitent . . 717-726 



"He shall restore fourfold" — The sin of Amnon — Absalom's revenge — 
His alienation from his father — Wise words of the woman of Tekoah 

— An evidence that the people understood the plan of salvation — 
Absalom steals the hearts of Israel — The rebellion ripe — Proclaimed 
king at Hebron — David's flight from -Jerusalem — Cause of Ahitho- 
phel's defection — Shimei's false accusation — Patience and humility of 
David — Absalom at the capital — Ahithophel's counsel thwarted — 
David's trust — Refuge at Mahanaim — On the eve of battle — "Deal 
gently with the young man " — The battle and the victory 727-745 



Peace restored to Israel — David's life a lesson — The numbering of the 
people — Why displeasing to the Lord — The plague upon Israel — 
A just judgment — The sacrifice on Mount Moriah — The rebellion 
of Adonijah — Solomon crowned king — David's last charge to Israel 

— Assembly of the princes — The gifts for the temple — God the 
source of all gifts — The king's last words — God's mercy to those 
who keep his covenant 746-754 



The Camp of Israel at Sinai Frontispiece. 

The Two Offerings . ...... 75 

On the Euphrates 89 

A Scene of Revelry before the Flood ..... 93 

Mount Ararat „ 110 

The Tower of Babel 121 

Abraham and Isaac . . 149 

The Dead Sea ..""... 163 

Beersheba ......... . 182 

Jacob's Dream ........... 185 

The Hills of Gilead 194 

The River Jabbok 197 

Rachel's Tomb 212 

The Nile near Cairo 215 

On the Nile 223 

Moses a Shepherd 249 

On TnE Red Sea 256 

Moses and Aaron before Pharaoh ..... 258 

The Passover 275 

A Bunch of Hyssop , 280 

Deliverance of Israel at the Red Sea .... 285 

The Plain of Sinai .... . .302 

Moses Breaking the Tables of the Law . , . . .321 

The Daily Sacrifice .... .... 344 

The Tombs of Petra .... ... 386 

Moses Striking the Rock in the Wilderness . . . H5 

The Mountains of Moab ........ 439 



Mount Hermon 469 

Moses on Mount Pisgah . . ...... 473 

Plain op the Jordan ......... 480 

The Plain of Jericho . * . . > 491 

Ebal and Gerizim 500 

Syrian Sparrows .... ...... 536 

Going up to the Feast of Tabernacles ..... 538 

Looking Eastward from Jericho 542 

Plain of Esdraelon ......... 551 

Sddon 559 

Gaza ............ 568 

The Return of the Ark 589 

Shiloh 593 

The Mountains of Lebanon . ...... 602 

Samuel Blessing Saul 611 

Entrance to a Cave in Palestine . . . . . .626 

Bethlehem from the East , 638 

Saul at Endor ........ 679 

In the Plain of Jezreel ......... 683 

Ziklag ..... 689 

Jerusalem ............ 702 

Modern Jerusalem by Moonlight ...... 709 

The Mount op Olives ......... 733 

■" The Sweet Singer op Israel " ....... 746 





" God is love." His nature, his law, is love. It ever has been ; 
it ever will be. " The high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity," 
■" whose ways are everlasting," changeth not. With him " is no 
variableness, neither shadow of turning." 

Every manifestation of creative power is an expression of 
infinite love. The sovereignty of God involves fullness of blessing 
to all created beings. The psalmist says : — 

" Strong is thy hand, and high is thy right hand. 
Righteousness and judgment are the foundation of thy throne; 
Mercy and truth go before thy face. 
Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound ; 
They walk, O Lord, in the light of thy countenance. 
In thy name do they rejoice all the day ; 
And in thy righteousness are they exalted. 
For thou art the glory of their strength, . . . 
For our shield belongeth unto Jehovah, 
And our King to the Holy One.'' l 

The history of the great conflict between good and evil, 
from the time it first began in heaven to the final overthrow of 
rebellion and the total eradication of sin, is also a demonstration 
of God's unchanging love 

J Ps. 89 : 13-18, Rev. Ver. [33"| 



The Sovereign of the universe was not alone in his work of 
beneficence. He had an associate, — a co-worker who could appre- 
ciate his purposes, and could share his-joy in giving happiness to 
created beings. " In the beginning was the Word, and the Word 
was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the be- 
ginning with God." * Christ, the Word, the only begotten of God, 
was one with the eternal Father, — one in nature, in character, in 
purpose, — the only being that could enter into all the counsels 
and purposes of God. " His name shall be called Wonderful, 
Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince 
of peace." z His " goings forth have been from of old, from ever- 
lasting." 3 And the Son of God declares concerning himself: 
" The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his 
works of old. I was set up from everlasting. . . . When he ap- 
pointed the foundations of the earth, then I was by him, as one 
brought up with him; and I was daily his delight, rejoicing 
always before him." * 

The Father wrought by his Son in the creation of all heavenly 
beings. "By him were all things created, . . . whether they be 
thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers. All things 
were created by him, and for him." 5 Angels are God's ministers, 
radiant with the light ever flowing from his presence, and speeding 
on rapid wing to execute his will. But the Son, the anointed of 
God, the " express image of his person," " the brightness of his 
glory," " upholding all things by the word of his power," holds 
supremacy over them all. " A glorious high throne from the 
beginning," was the place of his sanctuary ; " a scepter of right- 
eousness," the scepter of his kingdom. 6 " Honor and majesty are 
before him. Strength and beauty are in his sanctuary." Mercy 
and truth go before his face. 7 

The law of love being the foundation of the government of God, 
the happiness of all intelligent beings depends upon their perfect 
accord with its great principles of righteousness. God desires from 
all his creatures the service of love, — service that springs from an 
appreciation of his character. He takes no pleasure in a forced 
obedience; and to all he grants freedom of will, that they may 
render him voluntary service. 


] John 1 : 1, 2. 

2 Isa. 9 : 6. 

3 Micah 5 : 2. 

4 Prov. 8 : 22-30 

5 Col. 1 : 16. 

6 Heb. 1 : 3, 8 ; 

Jer. 17 : 12. 

7 Ps. 96 : 6 ; 89 


w o Jong as all created beings acknowledged the allegiance of 
love, there was perfect harmony throughout the universe of God. 
1+ was the joy of the heavenly host to fulfill the purpose of their 
( 'reator. They delighted in reflecting his glory and showing forth 
his praise. And while love to God was supreme, love for one 
another was confiding and unselfish. There was no note of discord 
to mar the celestial harmonies. But a change came over this 
happy state. There was one who perverted the freedom that 
God had granted to his creatures. Sin originated with him, 
who, next to Christ, had heen most honored of God, and was 
highest in power and glory among the inhabitants of heaven. 
Lucifer, " son of the morning," was first of the covering cherubs, 
holy and undefiled. He stood in the presence of the great Creator, 
and the ceaseless beams of glory enshrouding the eternal God, rested 
upon him. " Thus saith the Lord God : Thou sealest up the sum, 
full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. Thou hast been in Eden, 
the garden of God ; every precious stone was thy covering. . . . 
Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth ; and I have set thee 
so. Thou wast upon the holy mountain of God ; thou hast walked 
up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. Thou wast perfect 
in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was 
found in thee." 1 

Little by little, Lucifer came to indulge the desire for self- 
exaltation. The Scripture says : " Thine heart was lifted up because 
of thy beauty ; thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy 
brightness." 1 " Thou hast said in thine heart, . . . I will exalt my 
throne above the stars of God; . . . I will be like the Most High."' 2 
Though all his glory was from God, this mighty angel came to 
regard it as pertaining to himself. Not content with his position, 
though honored above the heavenly host, he ventured to covet 
homage due alone to the Creator. Instead of seeking to make God 
supreme in the affections and allegiance of all created beings, it 
was his endeavor to secure their service and loyalty to himself. 
And coveting the glory with which the infinite Father had invested 
his Son, this prince of angels aspired to power that was the pre- 
rogative of Christ alone. 

Now the perfect harmony of heaven was broken. Lucifer's dis- 
position to serve himself instead of his Creator, aroused a feeling of 
apprehension when observed by those who considered that the 

'Eze. 28 : 12-15, 17. 2 Isa. 14 : 13, 14. 



glory of God should be supreme. In heavenly council the angels 
pleaded with Lucifer. The Son of God presented before him the 
greatness, the goodness, and the justice of the Creator, and the 
sacred, unchanging nature of his law. God himself had estab- 
lished the order of heaven; and in departing from it, Lucifer 
would dishonor his Maker, and bring ruin upon himself. But the 
warning, given in infinite love and.mercy, only aroused a spirit of 
resistance. Lucifer allowed his jealousy of Christ to nrevail. and 
became the more determined. 

To dispute the supremacy of the Son of God, thus impeaching 
the wisdom and love of the Creator, had become the purpose of 
this prince of angels. To this object he was about to bend the 
energies of that master-mind, which, next to Christ's, was first 
among the hosts of God. But He who would have the will of all 
his creatures free, left none unguarded to the bewildering sophistry 
by which rebellion would seek to justify itself. Before the great 
contest should open, all were to have a clear presentation of His 
will, whose wisdom and goodness were the spring of all their jo}*. 

The King of the universe summoned the heavenly hosts before 
him, that in their presence he might set forth the true position of 
his Son, and show the relation he sustained to all created beings. 
The Son of God shared the Father's throne, and the glory of the 
eternal, self-existent One encircled both. About the throne gath- 
ered the holy angels, a vast, unnumbered throng — " ten thousand 
times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands," 1 the most ex- 
alted angels, as ministers and subjects, rejoicing in the light that 
fell upon them from the presence of the Deity. Before the assem- 
bled inhabitants of heaven, the King declared that none but Christ, 
the only begotten of God, could fully enter into his purposes, and 
to him it was committed to execute the mighty counsels of his 
will. The Son of God had wrought the Father's will in the crea- 
tion of all the hosts of heaven ; and to him, as well as to God, their 
homage and allegiance were due. Christ was still to exercise 
divine power, in the creation of the earth and its inhabitants. But 
in all this lie would not seek power or exaltation for himself con- 
trary to God's plan, but would exalt the Father's glory, and execute 
his purposes of beneficence and love. 

The angels joyfully acknowledged the supremacy of Christ, 
and prostrating themselves before him, poured out their love and 
adoration. Lucifer bowed with them ; but in his heart there was 

] Rev. 5:11. 


a strange, fierce conflict. Truth, justice, and loyalty were strug- 
gling against envy and jealousy. The influence of the holy angels 
seemed for a time to cany him with them. As songs of praise 
ascended in melodious strains, swelled by thousands of glad voices, 
the spirit of evil seemed vanquished ; unutterable love thrilled his 
entire being; his soul went out, in harmony with the sinless wor- 
shipers, in love to the Father and the Son. But again lie was tilled 
with pride in his own glory. His desire for supremacy returned, 
and envy of Christ was once more indulged. The high honors 
conferred upon Lucifer were not appreciated as God's special gift, 
and therefore called forth no gratitude to his Creator. He gloried 
in his brightness and exaltation, and aspired to be equal with God. 
He was beloved and reverenced by the heavenly host, angels 
delighted to execute his commands, and he was clothed with wis- 
dom and glory above them all. Yet the Son of God was exalted 
above him, as one in power and authority with the Father. He 
shared the Father's counsels, while Lucifer did not thus enter into 
the purposes of God. "Why," questioned this mighty angel, 
"should Christ have the supremacy? Why is he honored above 

Leaving his place in the immediate presence of the Father, 
Lucifer went forth to diffuse the spirit of discontent among the 
angels. He worked with mysterious secrecy, and for a time con- 
cealed his real purpose under an appearance of reverence for God. 
He began to insinuate doubts concerning the laws that governed 
heavenly beings, intimating that though laws might be necessary 
for the inhabitants of the worlds, angels, being more exalted, 
needed no such restraint, for their own wisdom was a sufficient 
guide. They were not beings that could bring dishonor to God; 
all their thoughts were holy; it was no more possible for them 
than for God himself to err. The exaltation of the Son of God as 
equal with the Father was represented as an injustice to Lucifer, 
who, it was claimed, was also entitled to reverence and honor. 
If this prince of angels could but attain to his true, exalted posi- 
tion, great good would accrue to the entire host of heaven; for it 
was his object to secure freedom for all. But now even the lib- 
erty which they had hitherto enjoyed was at an end; for an abso- 
lute ruler had been appointed them, and to his authority all 
must pay homage. Such were the subtle deceptions that through 
the wiles of Lucifer were fast obtaining in the heavenly courts. 


There had been no change in the position or authority of 
Christ. Lucifer's envy and misrepresentation, and his claims to 
equality with Christ, had made necessary a statement of the true 
position of the Son of God ; hut this had been the same from the 
beginning. Many of the angels were, however, blinded by Lucifer's- 

Taking advantage of the loving, loyal trust reposed in him by 
the holy beings under his command, he had so artfully instilled 
into their minds his own distrust and discontent that his agency 
was not discerned. Lucifer had presented the purposes of God in 
a false light, — misconstruing and distorting them, to excite dissent 
and dissatisfaction. He cunningly drew his hearers on to give ut- 
terance to their feelings ; then these expressions were repeated by 
him when it would serve his purpose, as evidence that the angels 
were not fully in harmony with the government of God. While 
claiming for himself perfect loyalty to God, he urged that changes 
in the order and laws of heaven were necessary for the stability of 
the divine government. Thus while working to excite opposition 
to the law of God, and to instill his own discontent into the minds 
of the angels under him, he was ostensibly seeking to remove 
dissatisfaction, and to reconcile disaffected angels to the order of 
heaven. While secretly fomenting discord and rebellion, he witli 
consummate craft caused it to appear as his sole purpose to pro- 
mote loyalty, and to preserve harmony and peace. 

The spirit of dissatisfaction, thus kindled, was doing its baleful 
work. While there was no open outbreak, division of feeling im- 
perceptibly grew up among the angels. There were some who 
looked with favor upon Lucifer's insinuations against the govern- 
ment of God. Although they had heretofore been in perfect har- 
mony with the order which God had established, they were now 
discontented and unhappy because they could not penetrate his 
unsearchable counsels; they were dissatisfied with his purpose 
in exalting Christ. These stood ready to second Lucifer's demand 
for equal authority with the Son of God. But angels who were 
loyal and true maintained the wisdom and justice of the divine de- 
cree, and endeavored to reconcile this disaffected being to the will 
of God. Christ was the Son of God ; he had been one with him 
before the angels were called into existence. He had ever stood 
at the right hand of the Father ; his supremacy, so full of blessing 
to all who came under its benignant control, had not heretofore 


"been questioned. The harmony of heaven had never been inter- 
rupted ; wherefore should there now be discord ? The loyal angels 
could see only terrible consequences from this dissension, and with 
earnest entreaty they counseled the disaffected ones to renounce 
their purpose, and prove themselves loyal to God by fidelity to 
his government. 

In great mercy, according to his divine character, God bore 
long with Lucifer. The spirit of discontent and disaffection had 
never before been known in heaven. It was a new element, 
strange, mysterious, unaccountable. Lucifer himself had not at 
first been acquainted with the real nature of his feelings ; for a 
time* he had feared to express the workings and imaginings of 
his mind ; yet he did not dismiss them. He did not see whither 
he was drifting. But such efforts as infinite love and wisdom only 
could devise, were made to convince him of his error. His dis- 
affection was proved to be without cause, and he was made to 
see what would be the result of persisting in revolt. Lucifer was 
convinced that he was in the wrong. He saw that " the Lord 
is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works ; " l that 
the divine statutes are just, and that he ought to acknowledge 
them as such before all heaven. Had he done this, he might have 
saved himself and many angels. He had not at that time fully 
cast off his allegiance to God. Though he had left his position as 
covering cherub, yet if he had been willing to return to God, 
acknowledging the Creator's wisdom, and satisfied to fill the place 
appointed him in God's great plan, he would have been re- 
instated in his office. The time had come for a final decision • 
he must fully yield to the divine sovereignty, or place himself in 
open rebellion. He nearly reached the decision to return; but 
pride forbade him. It was too great a sacrifice for one who had 
been so highly honored to confess that he had been in error, that 
his imaginings were false, and to yield to the authority which he 
had been working to prove unjust. 

A compassionate Creator, in yearning pity for Lucifer and his 
followers, was seeking to draw them back from the abyss of ruin 
into which they were about to plunge. But his mercy was misin- 
terpreted. Lucifer pointed to the long-suffering of God as an 
evidence of his own superiority, an indication that the King of 
the universe would yet accede to his terms. If the angels would 
stand firmly with him, he declared, they could yet gain all that 

iPs. 145 : 17. 


they desired. He persistently defended his own course, and fully 
committed himself to the great controversy against his Maker. 
Thus it was that Lucifer, " the light-bearer," the sharer of God's 
glory, the attendant of his throne, by transgression became 
Satan, " the adversary " of God and holy beings, and the destroyer 
of those whom Heaven had committed to his guidance and 

Eejecting with disdain the arguments and entreaties of the loyal 
angels, he denounced them as deluded slaves. The preference 
shown to Christ he declared an act of injustice both to himself and 
to all the heavenly host, and announced that he would no longer 
submit to this invasion of his rights and theirs. He would never 
again acknowledge the supremacy of Christ. He had determined 
to claim the honor which should have been given him, and take 
command of all who would become his followers ; and he promised 
those who would enter his ranks a new and better government, 
under which all would enjoy freedom. Great numbers of the 
angels signified their purpose to accept him as their leader. Flat- 
tered by the favor with which his advances were received, he hoped 
to win all the angels to his side, to become equal with God himself, 
and to be obeyed by the entire host of heaven. 

Still the loyal angels urged him and his sympathizers to submit 
to God ; and they set before them the inevitable result should they 
refuse : He who had created them could overthrow their power, and 
signally punish their rebellious daring. No angel could successfully 
oppose the law of God, which was as sacred as himself. They 
warned all to close their ears against Lucifer's deceptive reasoning, 
and urged him and his followers to seek the presence of God with- 
out delay, and confess the error of questioning his wisdom and 

Many were disposed to heed this counsel, to repent of their dis- 
affection, and seek to be again received into favor with the Father 
and his Son. But Lucifer had another deception ready. The 
mighty revolter now declared that the angels who had united with 
him had gone too far to return ; that he was acquainted with the 
divine law, and knew that God would not forgive. He declared 
that all who should submit to the authority of Heaven would be 
stripped of their honor, degraded from their position. For him- 
self, he was determined never again to acknowledge the authority 


of Christ. The only course remaining for him and his follower-. 
he said, was to assert their liberty, and gain by force the rights 
which had not been willingly accorded them. 

So far as Satan himself was concerned, it was true that he had 
now gone too far to return. But not so with those who had been 
blinded by his deceptions. To them the counsel and entreaties of 
the loyal angels opened a door of hope ; and had they heeded the 
warning, the} 7 might have broken away from the snare of Satan. 
But pride, love for their leader, and the desire for unrestricted 
freedom, were permitted to bear sway, and the pleadings of divine 
love and mercy were finally rejected. 

God permitted Satan to carry forward his work until the spirit 
of disaffection ripened into active revolt. It was necessary for his 
plans to be fully developed, that their true nature and tendency 
might be seen by all. Lucifer, as the anointed cherub, had been 
highly exalted ; he was greatly loved by the heavenly beings, 
and his influence over them was strong. God's government in- 
cluded not only the inhabitants of heaven, but of all the worlds 
that he had created ; and Lucifer had concluded that if he could 
carry the angels of heaven with him in rebellion, he could carry 
also all the worlds. He had artfully presented his side of the 
question, employing sophistry and fraud to secure his objects. 
His power to deceive was very great. By disguising himself in a 
cloak of falsehood, he had gained an advantage. All his acts were 
so clothed with mystery, that it was difficult to disclose to the angels 
the true nature of his work. Until fully developed, it could not 
be made to appear the evil thing it was; his disaffection would 
not be seen to be rebellion. Even the loyal angels could not fully 
discern his character, or see to what his work was leading. 

Lucifer had at first so conducted his temptations that he him- 
self stood uncommitted. The angels whom he could not bring 
fully to his side, he accused of indifference to the interests of 
heavenly beings. The very work which he himself was doing, 
he charged upon the loyal angels. It was his policy to per- 
plex with subtle arguments concerning the purposes of God. 
Everything that was simple he shrouded in mystery, and by artful 
perversion cast doubt upon the plainest statements of Jehovah. 
And his high position, so closely connected with the divine 
government, gave greater force to his representations. 


God could employ only such means as were consistent with 
truth and righteousness. Satan could use what God could not, — 
flattery and deceit. He had sought to falsify the word of God, and 
had misrepresented his plan of government, claiming that God 
was not just in imposing laws upon the angels ; that in requiring 
submission and obedience from his creatures, he was seeking 
merely the exaltation of himself. It was therefore necessary to 
demonstrate before the inhabitants of heaven, and of all the 
worlds, that God's government is just, his law perfect. Satan 
had made it appear that he himself was seeking to promote the 
good of the universe. The true character of the usurper, and 
his real object, must be understood by all. He must have time 
to manifest himself by his wicked works. 

The discord which his own course had caused in heaven, Satan 
charged upon the government of God. All evil he declared to be 
the result of the divine administration. He claimed that it was 
his own object to improve upon the statutes of Jehovah. There- 
fore God permitted him to demonstrate the nature of his claims, 
to show the working out of his proposed changes in the divine law. 
His own work must condemn him. Satan had claimed from the 
first that he was not in rebellion. The whole universe must see 
the deceiver unmasked. 

Even when he was cast out of heaven, Infinite "Wisdom did 
not destroy Satan. Since only the service of love can be acceptable 
to God, the allegiance of his creatures must rest upon a conviction 
of his justice and benevolence. The inhabitants of heaven and of 
the worlds, being unprepared to comprehend the nature or con- 
sequences of sin, could not then have seen the justice of God in 
the destruction of Satan. Had he been immediately blotted out of 
existence, some would have served God from fear rather than from 
love. The influence of the deceiver would not have been fully 
destroyed, nor would the spirit of rebellion have been utterly 
eradicated. For the good of the entire universe through ceaseless 
ages, he must more fully develop his principles, that his charges 
gainst the divine government might be seen in their true light by 
all created beings, and that the justice and mercy of God and the 
immutability of his law might be forever placed beyond all 

Satan's rebellion was to be a lesson to the universe through all 
coming ages, — a perpetual testimony to the nature of sin and its 


terrible results. The working out of Satan'.-; rule its effects u]>< >u 
both men and angels, would show what must be the fruit of set- 
ting aside the divine authority. It would testify that with the 
existence of God's government is hound up the well-being of all 
the creatures he has made. Thus the history of this terrible 
experiment of rebellion was to be a perpetual safeguard to all 
holy beings, to prevent them from being deceived as to the nature 
of transgression, to save them from committing sin, and suffering 
its penalty. 

He that ruleth in the heavens is the one who sees the end from 
the beginning, — the one before whom the mysteries of the past 
and the future are alike outspread, and who, beyond the woe and 
darkness and ruin that sin has wrought, beholds the accomplish- 
ment of his own purposes of love and blessing. Though "clouds 
and darkness are round about him, righteousness and judgment are 
the foundation of his throne." l And this the inhabitants of the 
universe, both loyal and disloyal, will one day understand. " His 
w< >rk is perfect ; for all his ways are judgment : a God of truth 
and without iniquity, just and right is he." 2 

1 Ps. 97 : 2. Rev. Ver. , ~ Deut. 32 : i. 



" By the word of the Lord were the heavens made ; and all the 
host of them by the breath of his mouth." " For he spake, and it 
was ; he commanded, and it stood fast." He " laid tbe foundations 
of the earth, that it should not be removed forever." 1 

As the earth came forth from the hand of its Maker, it was ex- 
ceedingly beautiful. Its surface was diversified with mountains, 
hills, and plains, interspersed with noble rivers and lovely lakes; 
but the hills and mountains were not abrupt and rugged, abound- 
ing in terrific steeps and frightful chasms, as they now do; the 
sharp, ragged edges of earth's rocky frame-work were buried be- 
neath the fruitful soil, which everywhere produced a luxuriant 
growth of verdure. There were no loathsome swamps nor barren 
deserts. Graceful shrubs and delicate flowers greeted the eye at 
every turn. The heights were crowned with trees more majestic 
than any that now exist. The air, untainted by foul miasm, was 
clear and healthful. The entire landscape outvied in beauty the 
decorated grounds of the proudest palace. The angelic host 
viewed the scene with delight, and rejoiced at the wonderful works 
of God. 

After the earth, with its teeming animal and vegetable life, had 
been called into existence, man, the crowning work of the Creator, 
and the one for whom the beautiful earth had been fitted up, was 
brought upon the stage of action. To him was given dominion 
over all that his eye could behold; for "God said, Let us make 
man in our image, after our likeness ; and let them have dominion 
over . . . all the earth." " So God created man in his own image : 
. . . male and female created he them." 2 Here is clearly set forth 
the origin of the human race; and the divine record is so plainly 
stated that tbere is no occasion for erroneous conclusions. God 

JPs. 33 : 6, 9; 104 : 5. '(Jen. 1 : 26, 27. 



created man in his own image. Here is no mystery. There is 
no ground for the supposition that man was evolved, by slow de- 
grees of development, from the lower forms of animal or vegetable 
life. Such teaching lowers the great work of the Creator to the 
level of man's narrow, earthly conceptions. Men are so intent 
upon excluding God from the sovereignty of the universe, that 
they degrade man, and defraud him of the dignity of his origin. 
He who set the starry worlds on high, and tinted with deli- 
cate skill the flowers of the field, who filled the earth and 
the heavens with the wonders of his power, when he came to 
crown his glorious work, to place one in the midst to stand as 
ruler of the fair earth, did not fail to create a being worthy of 
the hand that gave him life. The genealogy of our race, as given 
by inspiration, traces back its origin, not to a line of developing 
germs, mollusks, and quadrupeds, but to the great Creator. 
Though formed from the dust, Adam was " the son of God." ' 

He was placed, as God's representative, over the lower orders of 
being. They cannot understand or acknowledge the sovereignty 
of God, yet they were made capable of loving and serving man. 
The psalmist says, " Thou madest him to have dominion over 
the works of thy hands ; thou hast put all things under his feet, 
. . . the beasts of the field, the fowl of the air, . . . and whatso- 
ever passeth through the paths of the seas." 2 

Man was to bear God's image, both in outward resemblance and 
in character. Christ alone is " the express image " 3 of the Father ; 
but man was formed in the likeness of God. His nature was in 
harmony with the will of God. His mind was capable of compre- 
hending divine things. His affections were pure; his appetites 
and passions were under the control of reason. He was holy and 
happy in bearing the image of God, and in perfect obedience to 
his will. 

As man came forth from the hand of his Creator, he was of lofty 
stature and perfect symmetry. His countenance bore the ruddy 
tint of health, and glowed with the light of life and jo} r . Adam's 
height was much greater than that of men who now inhabit the 
earth. Eve was somewhat less in stature ; yet her form w r as noble, 
and full of beauty. The sinless pair wore no artificial garments; 
they were clothed with a covering of light and glory, such as the 
angels wear. So long as they lived in obedience to God, this robe 
of light continued to enshroud them. 

1 Luke 3 : 38. 2 Ps. 8 : 6-8. 3 Heb. 1 : 3. 


After the creation of Adam, every living creature was brought 
before him to receive its name ; he saw that to each had been given 
a companion, but among them " there was not found an help meet 
for him." 1 Among all the creatures that God had made on the 
earth, there was not one equal to man. And " God said, It is not 
good that the man should be alone ; I will make him an help meet 
for him." 1 Man was not made to dwell in solitude; he was to be 
a social being. Without companionship, the beautiful scenes and 
delightful employments of Eden would have failed to yield perfect 
happiness. Even communion with angels could not have satisfied 
his desire for sympathy and companionship. There was none of 
the same nature to love, and to be loved. 

God himself gave Adam a companion. He provided " an help 
meet for him," — a helper corresponding to him, — one who was 
fitted to be his companion, and who could be one with him in love 
and sympathy. Eve was created from a rib taken from the side of 
Adam, signifying that she was not to control him, as the head, nor 
to be trampled under his feet as an inferior, but to stand by his side 
as an equal, to be loved and protected by him. A part of man, 
bone of his bone, and flesh of his flesh, she was his second self; 
showing the close union and the affectionate attachment that 
should exist in this relation. " For no man ever yet hated his 
own flesh, but nourisheth and cherisheth it." " Therefore shall a 
man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his 
wife ; and they shall be one." 2 

God celebrated the first marriage. Thus the institution has for 
its originator the Creator of the universe. " Marriage is honor- 
able ; " 3 it was one of the first gifts of God to man, and it is one 
of the two institutions that, after the fall, Adam brought with him 
beyond the gates of Paradise. When the divine principles are 
recognized and obeyed in this relation, marriage is a blessing ; it 
guards the purity and happiness of the race, it provides for 
man's social needs, it elevates the physical, the intellectual, and 
the moral nature. 

" And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden ; and 
there he put the man whom he had formed." * Everything that 
God had made was the perfection of beauty, and nothing seemed 
wanting that could contribute to the happiness of the holy pair; 

1 Gen. 2 : 20, 18. 2 Eph. 5 : 29 ; Gen. 2 : 24. 

3 Heb. 13 : 4. *Gen. 2 : 8. 


yet the Creator gave them still another token of his love, by pre- 
paring a garden especially for their home. In this garden were 
trees of every variety, many of them laden with fragrant and de- 
licious fruit. There were lovely vines, growing upright, yet pre- 
senting a most graceful appearance, with their branches drooping 
under their load of tempting fruit, of the richest and most varied 
hues. It was the work of Adam and Eve to train the branches of 
the vine to form bowers, thus making for themselves a dwelling 
from living trees covered with foliage and fruit. There were 
fragrant flowers of every hue in rich profusion. In the midst of 
the garden stood the tree of life, surpassing in glory all other trees. 
Its fruit appeared like apples of gold and silver, and had the 
power to perpetuate life. 

The creation was now complete. " The heavens and the earth 
were finished, and all the host of them/' " And God saw every- 
thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good." 1 Eden 
bloomed on earth. Adam and Eve had free access to the tree of 
life. No taint of sin, or shadow of death, marred the fair creation. 
"The morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted 
for joy." 2 

The great Jehovah had laid the foundations of the earth ; he 
had dressed the whole world in the garb of beauty, and had filled 
it with things useful to man; he had created all the wonders of the 
land and of the sea. In six days the great work of creation had 
been accomplished. And God " rested on the seventh day from all 
his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh 
day, and sanctified it ; because that in it he had rested from all 
his work which God created and made." 1 God looked with satis- 
faction upon the work of his hands. All was perfect, worthy of its 
divine Author, and he rested, not as one weary, but as well pleased 
with the fruits of Ids wisdom and goodness and the manifestations 
of his glory. 

After resting upon the seventh day, God sanctified it, or set it 
apart, as a day of rest for man. Following the example of the 
Creator, man was to rest upon this sacred day, that as he should 
look upon the heavens and the earth, he might reflect upon God's 
great work of creation ; and that as he should behold the evi- 
dences of God's wisdom and goodness, his heart might be filled 
with love and reverence for his Maker. 

1 Gen. 2 : 1-3 ; 1 : 31. 2 Job 38 : 7. 


In Eden, God set up the memorial of his work of creation, in 
placing his blessing upon the seventh day. The Sabbath was com- 
mitted to Adam, the father and representative of the whole human 
family. Its observance was to be an act of grateful acknowledg- 
ment, on the part of all who should dwell upon the earth, that 
God was their creator and their rightful sovereign that they were 
the work of his hands, and the subjects of his authority. Thus 
the institution was wholly commemorative, and given to all 
mankind. There was nothing in it shadowy, or of restricted 
application to any people. 

God saw that a Sabbath was essential for man, even in Paradise. 
He needed to lay aside his own interests and pursuits for one day 
of the seven, that he might more fully contemplate the works of 
God, and meditate upon his power and goodness. He needed a 
Sabbath, to remind him more vividly of God, and to awaken 
gratitude because all that he enjoyed and possessed came from the 
beneficent hand of the Creator. 

God designs that the Sabbath shall -direct the minds of men to 
the contemplation of his created works. Nature speaks to their 
senses, declaring that there is a living God, the Creator, the Su- 
preme Ruler of all. " The heavens declare the glory of God ; and 
the firmament showeth his handiwork. Day unto day uttereth 
speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge." 1 The beauty 
that clothes the earth is a token of God's love. We may behold it 
in the everlasting hills, in the lofty trees, in the opening buds and 
the delicate flowers. All speak to us of God. The Sabbath, ever 
pointing to Him who made them all, bids men open the great book 
of nature, and trace therein the wisdom, the power, and the love 
of the Creator. 

Our first parents, though created innocent and holy, were not 
placed beyond the possibility of wrong-doing. God made them 
free moral agents, capable of appreciating the wisdom and benevo- 
lence of his character and the justice of his requirements, and 
with full liberty to yield or to withhold obedience. They were 
to enjoy communion with God and with holy angels; but before 
they could be rendered eternally secure, their loyalty must be 
tested. At the very beginning of man's existence a check was 
placed upon the desire for self-indulgence, the fatal passion that 
lay at the foundation of Satan's fall. The tree of knowledge, which 
stood near the tree of life in the midst of the garden, was to 

1 Ps. 19 : l, 2. 


be a test of the obedience, faith, and love of our first parents. 
While permitted to eat freely of every other tree, they wen; for- 
bidden to taste of this, on pain of death. They were also to be 
exposed to the temptations of Satan ; but if they endured the trial, 
they would finally be placed beyond his power, to enjoy perpetual 
favor with God. 

God placed man under law, as an indispensable condition of 
his v<rv existence. He was a subject of the divine government, 
and there can be no government without law. God might have 
created man without the power to transgress his law ; he might 
have withheld the hand of Adam from touching the forbidden 
fruit ; but in that ease man would have been, not a free moral 
agent, but a mere automaton. Without freedom of choice, his obe- 
dience would not have been voluntary, but forced. There could 
have been no development of character. Such a course would 
have been contrary to Gods plan in dealing with the inhabitants 
of other worlds. It would have been unworthy of man as an 
intelligent being, and would have sustained Satan's charge of 
God's arbitrary rule. 

God made man upright ; he gave him noble traits of character, 
with no bias toward evil. He endowed him with high intellectual 
powers, and presented before him the strongest possible induce- 
ments to be true to his allegiance. Obedience, perfect and per- 
petual, was the condition of eternal happiness. On this condition 
he was to have access to the tree of life. 

The home of our first parents was to be a pattern for other 
homes as their children should go forth to occupy the earth. That 
home, beautified by the hand of God himself, was not a gorgeous 
palace. Men, in their pride, delight in magnificent and costly edi- 
fices, and glory in the works of their own hands; but God placed 
Adam in a garden. This was his dwelling. The blue heavens 
were its dome ; the earth, with its delicate flowers and carpet of 
living green, was its floor; and the leafy branches of the goodly 
trees were its canopy. Its walls were hung with the most mag- 
nificent adornings, — the handiwork of the great Master-artist. 
In the surroundings of the holy pair was a lesson for all time, — 
that true happiness is found, not in the indulgence of pride and 
luxury, but in communion with God through his created works. 
If men would give less attention to the artificial, and would culti- 
vate greater simplicity, they would come far nearer to answering 


the purpose of God in their creation. Pride and ambition are 
never satisfied, hut those who are truly wise will find substantial 
and elevating pleasure in the sources of enjoyment that God has 
placed within the reach of all. 

To the dwellers in Eden was committed the care of the garden, 
"to dress it and to keep it." Their occupation was not wearisome, 
but pleasant and invigorating. God appointed labor as a blessing 
to man, to occupy his mind, to strengthen his body, and to develop 
his faculties. In mental and physical activity, Adam found one 
of the highest pleasures of his holy existence. And when, as a 
result of his disobedience, he was driven from his beautiful home, 
and forced to struggle with a stubborn soil to gain his daily bread, 
that very labor, although widely different from his pleasant occu- 
pation in the garden, was a safeguard against temptation, and 
a source of happiness. Those who regard work as a curse, at- 
tended though it be with weariness and pain, are cherishing an 
error. The rich often look down with contempt upon the work- 
ing classes ; but this is wholly at variance .with God's purpose in 
creating man. What are the possessions of even the most wealthy, 
in comparison with the heritage given to the lordly Adam ? Yet 
Adam was not to be idle. Our Creator, who understands what is 
for man's happiness, appointed Adam his work. The true joy of 
life is found only by the working men and women. The angels 
are diligent workers ; they are the ministers of God to the children 
of men. The Creator has prepared no place for the stagnating 
practice of indolence. 

While they remained true to God, Adam and his companion 
were to bear rule over the earth. Unlimited control was given 
them over every living thing. The lion and the lamb sported 
peacefully around them, or lay down together at their feet. The 
happy birds flitted about them without fear; and as their glad 
songs ascended to the praise of their Creator, Adam and Eve 
united with them in thanksgiving to the Father and the Son. 

The holy pair were not only children under the fatherly care 
of God, but students receiving instruction from the all-wise 
Creator. They were visited by angels, and were granted com- 
munion with their Maker, with no obscuring vail between. They 
were full of the vigor imparted by the tree of life, and their intel- 
lectual power was but little less than that of the angels. The 
mysteries of the visible universe — "the wondrous works of Him 


who is perfect in knowledge" 1 — afforded them an exhaustlesa 
source of instruction and delight. The laws and operations of 
nature, which have engaged men's study for six thousand years, 
were opened to their minds by the infinite Framer and Upholder 
of all. They held converse with leaf and flower and tree, gather- 
ing from each the Becrets of its life. With every living creature, 
from the mighty leviathan that playeth among the waters, to the 
insect mote that floats in the sunbeam, Adam was familiar. He 
had given to each its name, and he was acquainted with the nature 
and habits of all. God's glory in the heavens, the innumerable 
worlds in their orderly revolutions, " the balancings of the clouds," l 
the mysteries of light and sound, of day and night, — all were open 
to the study of our first parents. On every leaf of the forest or 
stone of the mountains, in every shining star, in earth and air and 
sky, God's name was written. The order and harmony of creation 
spoke to them of infinite wisdom and power. They were ever dis- 
covering some attraction that filled their hearts with deeper love, 
and called forth fresh expressions of gratitude. 

So long as they remained loyal to the divine law, their capacity 
to know, to enjoy, and to love, would continually increase. They 
would he constantly gaining new treasures of knowledge, discover- 
ing fresh springs of happiness, and obtaining clearer and yet clearer 
conceptions of the immeasurable, unfailing love of God. 

1 Job 37 : 16. 4 



No longer free to stir up rebellion in heaven, Satan's enmity 
against God found a new field in plotting the ruin of the human 
race. In the happiness and peace of the holy pair in Eden, he 
beheld a vision of the bliss that to him was forever lost. Moved 
by envy, he determined to incite them to disobedience, and bring 
upon them the guilt and penalty of sin. He would change their 
love to distrust, and their songs of praise to reproaches against 
their Maker. Thus he would not only plunge these innocent 
beings into the same misery which he was himself enduring, but 
would cast dishonor upon God, and cause grief in heaven. 

Our first parents were not left without a warning of the danger 
that threatened them. Heavenly messengers opened to them the 
history of Satan's fall, and his plots for their destruction, unfold- 
ing more fully the nature of the divine government, which the 
prince of evil was trying to overthrow. It was by disobedience 
to the just commands of God that Satan and his host had fallen. 
How important, then, that Adam and Eve should honor that 
law by which alone it was possible for order and equity to be 

The law of God is as sacred as himself. It is a revelation of 
his will, a transcript of his character, the expression of divine love 
and wisdom. The harmony of creation depends upon the perfect 
conformity of all beings, of everything, animate and inanimate, to 
the law of the Creator. God has ordained laws for the govern- 
ment, not only of living beings, but of all the operations of nature 
Everything is under fixed laws, which cannot be disregarded. 
But while everything in nature is governed by natural laws, man 
alone, of all that inhabits the earth, is amenable to moral law. 
To man, the crowning work of creation, God has given power to 
understand his requirements, to comprehend the justice and benefi- 
cence of Ins law, and its sacred claims upon him; and of man 
unswerving obedience is required. 


Like the angels, the dwellers in Eden had been placed upon 
probation; their happy estate could be retained only on condition 
of fidelity to the Creator's law. They could obey and live, or dis- 
obey and perish. God had made them the recipients of rich 
blessings; but should they disregard his will, he who spared not 
the angels that sinned, could not spare them; transgression would 
forfeit his gifts, and bring upon them misery and ruin. 

The angels warned them to be on their guard against the 
devices of Satan; for his efforts to ensnare them would be un- 
wearied. While they were obedient to God, the evil one could 
not harm them ; for, if need be, every angel in heaven would be 
sent to their help. If they steadfastly repelled his first insinua- 
tions, they would be as secure as the heavenly messengers. But 
should they once yield to temptation, their nature would become 
so depraved that in themselves they would have no power, and 
no disposition, to resist Satan. 

The tree of knowledge had been made a test of their obedience 
and their love to God. The Lord had seen fit to lay upon them 
but one prohibition as to the use of all that was in the garden ; 
but if they should disregard his will in this particular, they would 
incur the guilt of transgression. Satan was not to follow them with 
continual temptations ; he could have access to them only at the 
forbidden tree. Should they attempt to investigate its nature, 
they would be exposed to his wiles. They were admonished to 
give careful heed to the warning which God had sent them, and 
to be content with the instruction which he had seen fit to impart. 

In order to accomplish his work unperceived, Satan chose to 
employ as his medium the serpent, — a disguise well adapted for 
his purpose of deception. The serpent was then one of the wisest 
and most beautiful creatures on the earth. It had wings, and 
while flying through the air presented an appearance of dazzling 
brightness, having the color and brillianc}' of burnished gold. 
Resting in the rich-laden branches of the forbidden tree, and 
regaling itself with the delicious fruit, it was an object to arrest 
the attention and delight the eye of the beholder. Thus in the 
garden of peace lurked the destroyer, watching for his prey. 

The angels had cautioned Eve to beware of separating herseli 
from her husband while occupied in their daily labor in the garden : 
wiiii him she would be in less danger from temptation than if she 
were alone. But absorbed in her pleasing task, she unconsciously 


wandered from his side. On perceiving that she was alone, she 
felt an apprehension of danger, but dismissed her fears, deciding 
that she had sufficient wisdom and strength to discern evil and to 
withstand it. Unmindful of the angels' caution, she soon found 
herself gazing, with mingled curiosity and admiration, upon the 
forbidden tree. The fruit was very beautiful, and she questioned 
with herself why God had withheld it from them. Now was the 
tempter's opportunity. As if he were able to discern the workings 
of her mind, he addressed her: " Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not 
eat of every tree of the garden ? " 1 Eve was surprised and startled 
as she thus seemed to hear the echo of her thoughts. But the ser- 
pent continued, in a musical voice, with subtle praise of her sur- 
passing loveliness ; and his words were not displeasing. Instead 
of fleeing from the spot, she lingered wonderingly to hear a serpent 
speak. Had she been addressed by a being like the angels, her 
fears would have been excited; but she had no thought' that the 
fascinating serpent could become the medium of the fallen foe. 

To the tempter's ensnaring question she replied : " We may eat 
of the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the • 
tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall 
not cat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent 
said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die; for God doth know 
that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and 
ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil." 

By partaking of this tree, he declared, they would attain to a 
more exalted sphere of existence, and enter a broader field of 
knowledge. He himself had eaten of the forbidden fruit, and as 
a result had acquired the power of speech. And he insinuated 
that the Lord jealously desired to withhold it from them, lest they 
should be exalted to equality with himself. It was because of its 
wonderful properties, imparting wisdom and power, that he had 
prohibited them from tasting or even touching it. The tempter 
intimated that the divine warning was not to be actually fulfilled; 
it was designed merely to intimidate them. How could it be pos- 
sible for them to die? Had they not eaten of the tree of life? 
(hid had been seeking to prevent them from reaching a nobler 
development, and finding greater happiness. 

Such has been Satan's work from the days of Adam to the 
present, and he has pursued it with great success. He tempts men 
to distrust God's love and to doubt his wisdom. He is constantly 

1 ^' r (irnesis 3. 


Beeking to excite a spirit of irreverent curiosity, a restless, inquisi- 
tive desire to penetrate the secrets of divine wisdom and power. 
In their efforts to search oul what God has been pleased to with- 
hold, multitudes overlook the truths which he has revealed, and 
which are essential to salvation. Satan tempts men to disobedi- 
ence, by leading them to believe they are entering a wonderful 
Held of knowledge. But this is all a deception. Elated with their 
ideas of progression, they are, by trampling on God's requirements, 
setting their feet in the path that leads to degradation and death. 

Satan represented to the holy pair that they would be gainers 
by breaking the law of God. Do we not to-day hear similar rea- 
soning? Many talk of the narrowness of those Who obey God's 
commandments, while they themselves claim to have broader 
ideas, and to enjoy greater liberty. What is this but an echo of 
the voice from Eden, " In the day ye cat thereof " — transgress the 
divine requirement — "ye shall be as gods"? Satan claimed to 
have received great good by eating of the forbidden fruit, but he 
did not let it appear that by transgression he. had become an out- 
cast from heaven. Though he had found sin to result in infinite 
loss, he concealed his own misery, in order to draw others into 
the same position. So now the transgressor seeks to disguise his 
true character; he may claim to be holy; but his exalted profes- 
sion only makes him the more dangerous as a deceiver. He is on 
the side of Satan, trampling upon the law of God, and leading 
others to do the same, to their eternal ruin. 

Eve really believed the words of Satan, but her belief did not 
save her from the penalty of sin. She disbelieved the words of 
God, and this was what led to her fall. In the Judgment, men 
will not be condemned because they conscientiously believed a lie, 
but because they did not believe the truth, because they neglected 
the opportunity of learning what is truth. Notwithstanding the 
sophistry of Satan to the contrary, it is always disastrous to dis- 
obey God. We must set our hearts to know what is truth. All 
the lessons which God has caused to be placed on record in his 
word are for our warning and instruction. They are given to save 
us from deception. Their neglect will result in ruin to ourselves. 
Whatever contradicts God's word, we may be sure proceeds from 

The serpent plucked the fruit of the forbidden tree, and placed 
it in the hands of the half-reluctant Eve. Then he reminded her 


of her own words, that God had forbidden them to touch it. lest 
they die. She would receive no more harm from eating the fruit, 
he declared, than from touching it. Perceiving no evil results 
from what she had done, Eve grew holder. When she " saw that 
the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and 
a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, 
and did eat." It was grateful to the taste, and as she ate, she 
seemed to feel a vivifying power, and imagined herself entering 
upon a higher state of existence. "Without a fear she plucked and 
ate. And now, having herself transgressed, she became the agent 
of Satan in working the ruin of her husband. In a state of strange, 
unnatural excitement, with her hands filled with the forbidden 
fruit, she sought his presence, and related all that had occurred. 

An expression of sadness came over the face of Adam. He ap- 
peared astonished and alarmed. To the words of Eve he replied 
that this must be the foe against whom they had been warned; 
and by the divine sentence she must .die. . In answer she urged 
him to eat, repeating the words of the serpent, that they should 
not surely die. She reasoned that this must be true, for she felt 
no evidence of God's displeasure, but on the contrary realized 
a delicious, exhilarating influence, thrilling every faculty with new 
life, such, she imagined, as inspired the heavenly messengers. 

Adam understood that his companion had transgressed the 
command of God, disregarded the only prohibition laid upon 
them as a test of their fidelity and love. There was a terrible 
struggle in Ins mind. He mourned that he had permitted Eve to 
wander from his side. But now the deed was done ; he must be 
separated from her whose society had been his joy. How could 
he have it thus ? Adam had enjoyed the companionship of God 
and of holy angels. He had looked upon the glory of the Creator. 
He understood the high destiny opened to the human race should 
they remain faithful to God. Yet all these blessings were lost 
sight of in the fear of losing that one gift which in his eves out- 
valued every other. Love, gratitude, loyalty to the Creator, — all 
were overborne by love to Eve. She was a part of himself, and he 
could not endure the thought of separation. He did not realize 
that the same Infinite Power who had from the dust of the earth 
created him, a living, beautiful form, and had in love given him a 
companion, could supply her place. He resolved to share her 
fate; if she must die, he would die with her. After all, he rea- 


Boned, might not the words of the wise serpen! be true? Eve was 
before him, as beautiful, and apparently as innocent, as before this 
act of disobedience. She expressed greater love for him than be- 
fore. No sign of death appeared in her, and he dernk'd to brave 
the consequences. He seized the fruit, and < jiiickly ate. 

A.fter his transgression, Adam at first imagined himself entering 
upon a higher state of existence. But soon the thought of his sin 
tilled him with terror. The air, which had hitherto been of a mild 
and uniform temperature, seemed to chill the guilty pair. The 
love and peace which had been theirs was gone, and in its place 
they felt a sense of sin, a dread of the future, a nakedness of soul. 
The robe of light which had enshrouded them, now disappeared, 
and to supply its place they endeavored to fashion for themselves 
a covering; for they could not, while unclothed, meet the eye of 
Grod and holy angels. 

They now began to see the true character of their sin. Adam 
reproached his companion for her folly in leaving his side and per- 
mitting herself to be deceived by the serpent; but they both flat- 
tered themselves that He who had given them so many evidences 
of his love, would pardon this one transgression, or that they would 
not be subjected to so dire a punishment as they had feared. 

Satan exulted in his success. He had tempted the woman to 
distrust God's love, to doubt his wisdom, and to transgress his law, 
and through her he had caused the overthrow of Adam. 

But the great Lawgiver was about to make known to Adam and 
Eve the consequences of their transgression. The divine presence 
was manifested in the garden. In their innocence and holiness 
they had joyfully welcomed the approach of their Creator; but 
now they fled in terror, and sought to hide in the deepest rece- 
of the garden. But "the Lord God called unto Adam, and said 
unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard thy voice in 
the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid my- 
self. And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast 
thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou 
shouldst not eat? " 

Adam could neither deny nor excuse his sin; but instead of 
manifesting penitence, he endeavored to cast the blame upon his 
wife, and thus upon God himself: " The woman whom thou gavest 
to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat." He who. 
from love to Eve, had deliberately chosen to forfeit the approval of 


(rod, his home in Paradise, and an eternal life of joy, could now, 
after his fall, endeavor to make his companion, and even the 
Creator himself, responsible for the transgression. So terrible is 
the power of sin. 

When the woman was asked, " What is this that thou hast 
done ?" she answered, "The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat." 
" Why didst thou create the serpent? Why didst thou suffer him 
to enter Eden ? " — these were the questions implied in her excuse 
for her sin. Thus, like Adam, she charged God with the responsi- 
bility of their fall. The spirit of self-justification originated in the 
father of lies ; it was indulged by our first parents as soon as they 
yielded to the influence of Satan / and has been exhibited by all 
the sons and daughters of Adam. Instead of humbly confessing 
their sins, they try to shield themselves by casting the blame 
upon others, upon circumstances, or upon God — making even 
his blessings an occasion of murmuring against him. 

The Lord then passed sentence upon the serpent: "Because 
thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above 
every beast of the field ; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust 
shalt thou eat all the days of thy life." Since it had been 
employed as Satan's medium, the serpent was to share the visita- 
tion of divine judgment. From the most beautiful and admired 
of the creatures of the field, it was to become the most groveling 
and detested of them all, feared and hated by both man and beast. 
The words next addressed to the serpent applied directly to Satan 
himself, pointing forward to his ultimate defeat and destruction : 
"I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between 
thy seed and her seed ; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt 
bruise his heel." 

Eve was told of the sorrow and pain that must henceforth be 
her portion. And the Lord said, " Thy desire shall be to thy 
husband, and he shall rule over thee." In the creation, God had 
made her the equal of Adam. Had they remained obedient to 
God — in harmon}'- with his great law of love — they would ever 
have been in harmony with each other; but sin had brought 
discord, and now their union could be maintained and harmony 
preserved only by submission on the part of the one or the other. 
Eve had been the first in transgression ; and she had fallen into 
temptation by separating from her companion, contrary to the 
divine direction. It was by her solicitation that Adam sinned, and 


she was now placed in subjection to her husband. Had the prin- 
ciples enjoined in the law of God been cherished by the fallen race, 
this sentence, though growing out of the results of sin, would have 
proved a Messing to them; but man's abuse of the supremacy 
thus given him, has too often rendered the lot of woman very Lit- 
ter, and made her life a burden. 

Eve had been perfectly happy by her husband's side in her 
Eden home; but, like restless modern Eves, she was flattered with 
the hope of entering a higher sphere than that which God had 
assigned her. In attempting to rise above her original posi- 
tion, she fell far below it. A similar result will be reached by all 
who are unwilling to take up cheerfully their life duties in accord- 
ance with God's plan. In their efforts to reach positions for which 
he has not fitted them, many are leaving vacant the place where 
they might be a blessing. In their desire for a higher sphere, many 
have sacrificed true womanly dignity, and nobility of character, 
and have left undone the very work that Heaven appointed them. 

To Adam the Lord declared : " Because thou hast hearkened 
unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I 
commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it ; cursed is the 
ground for thy sake ; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of 
thy life. Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee ; and 
thou shalt eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of thy face shalt 
thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground ; for out of it wast 
thou taken ; for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return/' 

It was not the will of God that the sinless pair should know 
aught of evil. He had freely given them the good, and had -with- 
held the evil. But, contrary to his command, they had eaten of 
the forbidden tree, and now they would continue to eat of it — 
they would have the knowledge of evil — all the days of their life. 
From that time the race would be afflicted by Satan's temptations. 
Instead of the happy labor heretofore appointed them, anxiety 
and toil were to be their lot. They would be subject to disap- 
pointment, grief, and pain, and finally to death. 

Under the curse of sin, all nature was to witness to man of the 
character and results of rebellion against God. When God made 
man, he made him ruler over tho earth and all living creatures. 
So long as Adam remained loyal to Heaven, all nature was in sub- 
jection to him. But when he rebelled against the divine law, the 
inferior creatures were in rebellion against his rule. Thus the 


Lord, in his great mercy, would show men the sacredness of his 
law, and lead them, by their own experience, to see the danger of 
setting it aside, even in the slightest degree. 

And the life of toil and care which was henceforth to he man's 
lot was appointed in love. It was a discipline rendered needful 
by his sin, to place a check upon the indulgence of appetite and 
passion, to develop habits of self-control. It was a part of God's 
great plan for man's recovery from the ruin and degradation 
of sin. 

The warning given to our first parents — " In the day that thou 
eatest thereof thou shalt surely die " l — did not imply that they 
were to die on the very day when they partook of the for- 
bidden fruit. But on that clay the irrevocable sentence would 
be pronounced. Immortality was promised them on condition of 
obedience; by transgression they would forfeit eternal life. That 
very day they would be doomed to death. 

In order to possess an endless existence, man must continue to 
partake of the tree of life. Deprived of this, his vitality would 
gradually diminish until life should become extinct. It was 
Satan's plan that Adam and Eve should by disobedience incur 
God's displeasure; and then, if they failed to obtain forgiveness, 
he hoped that they would eat of the tree of life, and thus per- 
petuate an existence of sin and misery. But after man's fall, holy 
angels were immediately commissioned to guard the tree of life. 
Around these angels, flashed beams of light having the appearance 
of a glittering sword. None of the family of Adam were permitted 
to pass that barrier to partake of the life-giving fruit ; hence there 
is not an immortal sinner. 

The tide of woe that flowed from the transgression of our 
first parents, is regarded by many as too awful a consequence 
for so small a sin; and they impeach the wisdom and justice 
of God in his dealings with man. But if they would look more 
deeply into this question, they might discern their error. God 
created man after his own likeness, free from sin. The earth was 
to be peopled with beings only a little lower than the angels ; but 
their obedience must be tested ; for God would not permit the world 
to be filled with those who would disregard his law. Yet, in his 
great mercy, he appointed Adam no severe test. And the very light- 
ness of the prohibition made the sin exceedingly great. If Adam 

!Gen. 2 : IT. 


could not bear the smallest of tests, he could not have endured a 
greater trial, had he been intrusted with higher responsibilities. 

Had some great test been appointed Adam, then those whose 
hearts incline to evil would have excused themselves by savin-, 
"This is a trivial matter, and God is not so particular about little 
things." And there '••euM be continual transgression in things 
looked upon as small, and which pass unrebuked among men. 
But the Lord has made it evident that sin in any degree is offen- 
sive to him. 

To Eve it seemed a small thing to disobey God by tasting the 
fruit of the forbidden tree, and to tempt her husliand also to trans- 
gress; but their sin opened the flood-gates of woe upon the world. 
AY ho can know, in the moment of temptation, the terrible conse- 
quences that will result from one wrong step ? 

.Many who teach that the law of God is not binding upon man, 
urge that it is impossible for him to obey its precepts. But if this 
were true, why did Adam suffer the penalty of transgression ? The 
sin of our first parents brought guilt and sorrow upon the world, 
and had it not been for the goodness and mercy of God, would 
have plunged the race into hopeless despair. Let none deceive 
themselves. " The wages of sin is death." The law of God can no 
more be transgressed with impunity now than when sentence was 
pronounced upon the father of mankind. 

After their sin, Adam and Eve were no longer to dwell in Eden. 
They earnestly entreated that they might remain in the home of 
their innocence and joy. They confessed that they had forfeited 
all right to that happy abode, but pledged themselves for the 
future to yield strict obedience to God. But they were told that 
their nature had become depraved by sin ; they had lessened their 
strength to resist evil, and had opened the way for Satan to gain 
more ready access to them. In their innocence they had yielded 
to temptation ; and now, in a state of conscious guilt, they would 
have less power to maintain their integrity. 

In humility and unutterable sadness they bade farewell to their 
beautiful home, and went forth to dwell upon the earth, where 
rested the curse of sin. The atmosphere, once so mild and uni- 
form in temperature, was now subject to marked changes, and the 
Lord mercifully provided them with a garment of skins as a pro- 
tection from the extremes of heat and cold. 


As they witnessed, in drooping flower and falling leaf, the first 
signs of decay, Adam and his companion mourned more deeply 
than men now mourn over their dead. The death of the frail, 
delicate flowers was indeed a cause of sorrow ; but when the 
goodly trees cast off their leaves, the scene brought vividly to 
mind the stern fact that death is the portion of every living thing. 

The garden of Eden remained upon the earth long after man 
had become an outcast from its pleasant paths. The fallen race 
were long permitted to gaze upon the home of innocence, their 
entrance barred only by the watching angels. At the cherubim- 
guarded gate of Paradise the divine glory was revealed. Hither 
can?* 1 Adam and his sons to worship God. Here they renewed 
their vows of obedience to that law the transgression of which had 
banished them from Eden. When the tide of iniquity overspread 
the world, and the wickedness of men determined their destruction 
by a flood of waters, the hand that had planted Eden withdrew it 
from the earth. But in the final restitution, when there shall be 
" a new heaven and a new earth," 1 it is to be restored, more 
gloriously adorned than at the beginning. 

Then they that have kept God's commandments shall breathe 
in immortal vigor beneath the tree of life ; 1 and through unending 
ages the inhabitants of sinless worlds shall behold, in that garden of 
delight, a sample of the perfect work of God's creation, untouched 
by the curse of sin, — a sample of what the whole earth would 
have become, had man but fulfilled the Creator's glorious plan. 

J Rev. 21 : 1; 22 : 14. 



The fall of man filled all heaven with sorrow. The world that 
God had made was blighted with the curse of sin, and inhabited 
by beings doomed to misery and death. There appeared no escape 
for those who had transgressed the law. Angels ceased their 
songs of praise. Throughout the heavenly courts there was 
mourning for the ruin that sin had wrought, 

The Son of God, heaven's glorious Commander, was touched 
with pity for the fallen race. His heart was moved with infinite 
compassion as the woes of the lost world rose up before him. But 
divine love had conceived a plan whereby man might be re- 
deemed. The broken law of God demanded the life of the sin- 
ner. In all the universe there was' but one who could, in behalf 
of man, satisfy its claims. Since the divine law is as sacred as 
God himself, only one equal with God could make atonement for 
its transgression. None but Christ could redeem fallen man from 
the curse of the law, and bring him again into harmony with 
Heaven. Christ would take upon himself the guilt and shame of 
sin, — sin so offensive to a holy God that it must separate the 
Father and his Son. Christ would reach to the depths of misery 
to rescue the ruined race. 

Before the Father lie pleaded in the sinner's behalf, while the 
host of heaven awaited the result with an intensity of interest that 
words cannot express. Long continued was that mysterious com- 
muning, — " the counsel of peace " ! for the fallen sons of men. 
The plan of salvation had been laid before the creation of the 
earth; for Christ is "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the 
world; " 2 yet it was a struggle, even with the King of the universe, 
to yield up his Son to die for the guilty race. But " God so loved 
the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever be- 
lieveth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." 3 0, 

1 Zech. 6 : 13. 2 Rev. 13 : 8. 3 John 3 : 16. 

[63 1 


the mystery of redemption ! the love of God for a world that did 
not love him ! Who can know the depths of that love which 
" passeth knowledge " ? Through endless ages, immortal minds, 
seeking to comprehend the mystery of that incomprehensihle 
love, will wonder and adore. 

God was to he manifest in Christ, " reconciling the world unto 
himself." ' Man had become so degraded by sin that it was 
impossible for him, in himself, to come into harmony with Him 
whose nature is purity and goodness. But Christ, after having 
redeemed man from the condemnation of the law, could impart 
divine power, to unite with human effort. Thus by repentance 
toward God and faith in Christ, the fallen children of Adam 
might once more become "sons of God." 2 

The plan by which alone man's salvation could be secured, in- 
volved all heaven in its infinite sacrifice. The angels could not re- 
joice as Christ opened before them the plan of redemption; for 
they saw that man's salvation must cost their loved Commander 
unutterable woe. In grief and wonder' they listened to his words 
as he told them how he must descend from heaven's purity and 
peace, its joy and glory and immortal life, and come in contact 
with the degradation of earth, to endure its sorrow, shame, and 
death. He was to stand between the sinner and the penalty of 
sin : yet fo^v would receive him as the Son of God. He would 
leave his high position as the Majesty of heaven, appear upon 
earth and humble himself as a man, and by his own experience 
become acquainted with the sorrows and temptations which man 
would have to endure. All this would be necessary in order 
that he might be able to succor them that should be tempted. 3 
When his mission as a teacher should be ended, he must be 
delivered into the hands of wicked men, and be subjected to every 
insult and torture that Satan could inspire them to inflict. He 
must die the crudest of deaths, lifted up between the heavens 
and the earth as a guilty sinner. He must pass long hours of 
agony so terrible that angels could not look upon it, but would 
vail their faces from tin; sight. He must endure anguish of soul, 
the hiding of his Father's face, while the guilt of transgression — 
the weight of the sins of the whole world — should be upon him. 

The angels prostrated themselves at the feet of their Com- 
mander, and offered to become a sacrifice for man. But an 

1 2 Cor. :» : 19. 2 1 Jobu 3 : 2. 3 Heb. 2 : 18. 

THE r/..\\ of i: i: i> i:\irri' > x. 65 

angel's life could not pay the debt; only He who created man 
had power to redeem him. Ye1 the angels were to have a part 
to act in the plan of redemption. Christ was to be made "a little 
lower than the angels for the suffering of death."' 1 As he should 
take human nature upon him, Ins strength would not be equal to 
theirs, and they were to minister to him, to strengthen and soothe 
him under his sufferings. They were also to be ministering spirits, 
sent forth to minister for them who should be heirs of salvation. 1 
They would guard the subjects of grace from the power of evil 
angels, and from the darkness constantly thrown around them 
by Satan. 

When the angels should witness the agony and humiliation of 
their Lord, they would be filled with grief and indignation, and 
would wish to deliver him from his murderers; but they were not 
to interpose in order to prevent anything which they should be- 
hold. It was a part of the plan of redemption that Christ should 
suffer the scorn and abuse of wicked men ; and he consented to all 
this when be became the redeemer of man. 

Christ assured the angels that by bis death he would ransom 
many, and would destroy him who bad the power of death. He 
would recover the kingdom which man had lost by transgression, 
and the redeemed were to inherit it with him, and dwell therein 
ft irever. Sin and sinners would be blotted out, nevermore to disturl i 
the peace of heaven or earth. He bade the angelic host to be in 
accord with the plan that his Father bad accepted, and rejoice 
that, through his death, fallen man could be reconciled to God. 

Then joy, inexpressible joy, filled heaven. The glory and 
blessedness of a world redeemed, outmeasured even the anguish 
and sacrifice of the Prince of life. Through the celestial courts 
echoed the first strains of that song which was to ring out above 
the bills of Bethlehem, — "Glory to God in the highest, and on 
earth peace, good will toward men." 2 With a deeper gladness 
now than in the rapture of the new creation, "the morning stars 
sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy." 3 

To man the first intimation of redemption was communicated 
in the sentence pronounced upon Satan in the garden. The Lord 
declared, " I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and 
between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou 
-halt bruise his heel."' This sentence, uttered in the hearing of 

'Ileb. 2 :9 ; 1 : 14. »Lnke2:U. 3 Job 38: 7. 'Gen. 3:15. 


our first parents, was to them a promise. While it foretold wa i 
between man and Satan, it declared that the power of the great 
adversary would finally be broken. Adam and Eve stood as crimi- 
nals before the righteous Judge, awaiting the sentence which 
transgression had incurred ; but before they heard of the life of 
toil and sorrow which must be their portion, or of the decree that 
they must return to dust, they listened to words that could not 
fail to give them hope. Though they must suffer from the power 
of their mighty foe, they could look forward to final victory. 

When Satan heard that enmity should exist between himself 
and the woman, and between his seed and her seed, he knew that 
his work of depraving human nature would be interrupted ; that 
by some means man would be enabled to resist his power. Yet 
as the plan of salvation was more fully unfolded, Satan rejoiced 
with his angels, that, having caused man's fall, he could bring- 
down the Son of God from his exalted position. He declared that 
his plans had thus far been successful upon the earth, and that 
when Christ should take upon himself human nature, he also 
might be overcome, and thus the redemption of the fallen race 
might be prevented. 

Heavenly angels more fully opened to our first parents the 
plan that had been devised for their salvation. Adam and his 
companion were assured that notwithstanding their great sin, they 
were not to be abandoned to the control of Satan. The Son of 
God had offered to atone, with his own life, for their transgression. 
A period of probation would be granted them, and through repent- 
ance, and faith in Christ, they might again become the children 
of God. 

The sacrifice demanded by their transgression, revealed to 
Adam and Eve the sacred character of the law of God; and they 
saw, as they had never seen before, the guilt of sin, and its dire 
results. In their remorse and anguish they pleaded that the 
penalty might not fall upon Him whose love had been the souiv< 
of all their joy ; rather let it descend upon them and their posterity. 

They were told that since the law of Jehovah is the foundation 
of his government in heaven as well as upon the earth, even the 
life of an angel could not be accepted as a sacrifice for its trans- 
gression. Not one of its precepts could be abrogated or changed 
to meet man in his fallen condition; but the Son of God, who 
had ereatnl man, could make an atonement for him. As Adam's 


transgression had brought wretchedness and death, so the sac- 
rifice of Christ would bring life and immortality. 

Not only man hut the earth had hy sin come under the power 
of the wicked one, and was to be restored by the plan of redemp- 
tion. At his creation, Adam was placed in dominion over the 
earth. But hy yielding to temptation, he was brought under the 
power of Satan. " Of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he 
brought in bondage." 1 When man became Satan's captive, the 
dominion which he held, passed to his conqueror. Thus Satar 
became " the god of this world." 2 He had usurped that dominioi. 
over the earth which had been originally given to Adam. But 
Christ, by his sacrifice paying the penalty of sin, would not only 
redeem man, but recover the dominion which he had forfeited. All 
that was lost by the first Adam will be restored by the second. 
Says the prophet, " Tower of the flock, the strong hold of the 
daughter of Zion, unto thee shall it come, even the first dominion." 3 
And the apostle Paul points forward to the " redemption of the 
purchased possession." 4 God created the earth to be the abode of 
holy, happy beings. The Lord "formed the earth and made it; 
he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed *it to 
be inhabited." 5 That purpose will be fulfilled, when, renewed 
by the power of God, and freed from sin and sorrow, it shall be- 
come the eternal abode of the redeemed. " The righteous shall 
inherit the land, and dwell therein forever." " And there shall be 
no more curse ; but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be 
in it ; and his servants shall serve him." G 

Adam, in his innocence, had enjoyed open communion with 
his Maker; but sin brought separation between God and man, 
and the atonement of Christ alone could span the abyss, and make 
possible the communication of blessing or salvation from heaven 
to earth. Man was still cut off from direct approach to his Creator, 
but God would communicate with him through Christ and angels. 

Thus were revealed to Adam important events in the history of 
mankind, from the time when the divine sentence was pronounced 
in Eden, to the flood, and onward to the first advent of the Son of 
God. He was shown that while the sacrifice of Christ would he m 
sufficient value to save the whole world, many would choose 
a life of sin rather than of repentance and obedience. Crime would 

1 2 Peter 2 : 19. > 2 Gov. 4:4. « Mieah 4:8. * Eph. 1 : 14. 

5 Isa. 45 : 18. 6 Ps. 37 : 29 : Rev. 22 : 3. 


increase through successive generations, and the curse of sin would 
rest more and more heavily upon the human race, upon the 
beasts, and upon the earth. The days of man would be shortened 
by his own course of sin ; he would deteriorate in physical stature 
and endurance, and in moral and intellectual power, until the 
world would be filled w T ith misery of every type. Through the 
indulgence of appetite and passion, men would become incapable 
of appreciating the great truths of the plan of redemption. Yet 
Christ, true to the purpose for which he left heaven, would continue 
his interest in men, and still invite them to hide their weakness 
and deficiencies in him. He would supply the needs of all who 
would come unto him in faith. And there would ever be a few 
who would preserve the knowledge of God, and would remain 
unsullied amid the prevailing iniquity. 

The sacrificial offerings were ordained by God to be to man a 
perpetual reminder and a penitential acknowledgment of his sin, 
and a confession of his faith in the promised Redeemer. They were 
intended to impress upon the fallen race the solemn truth that it 
was sin that caused death. To Adam the offering of the first sac- 
rifice was a most painful ceremony. His hand must be raised to 
take life, which only God could give. It was the first time he had 
ever witnessed death, and he knew that had he been obedient to 
God, there would have been no death of man or beast. As he slew 
the innocent victim, he trembled at the thought that his sin must 
shed the blood of the spotless Lamb of God. This scene gave him 
a deeper and more vivid sense of the greatness of his transgression, 
which nothing but the death of God's dear Son could expiate. 
And he marveled at the infinite goodness that would give such 
a ransom to save the guilty. A star of hope illumined the dark 
and terrible future, and relieved it of its utter desolation. 

But the plan of redemption had a yet broader and deeper 
purpose than the salvation of man. It was not for this alone 
that Christ came to the earth ; it was not merely that the inhab- 
itants of this little world might regard the law of God as it should 
be regarded ; but it was to vindicate the character of God before 
the universe. To this result of his great sacrifice — its influence 
upon the intelligences of other worlds, as well as upon man — the 
Saviour looked forward when just before his crucifixion he said : 
" Now is the judgment of this world ; now shall the prince of this 
world be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will 


draw all unto mc.'" The act of Christ in dying for the salvation 
of man would not only make heaven accessible to men, but before 
all the universe it would justify God and his Son in their dealing 
with the rebellion of Satan. It would establish the perpetuity of 
the law of God, and would reveal the nature and the results of sin. 

From the first, the great controversy had been upon the law of 
God. Satan had sought to prove that God was unjust, that his 
law was faulty, and that the good of the universe required it to 
!>e changed. In attacking the law, he aimed t<> overthrow the 
authoritv of its Author. In the controversv it was to be shown 
whether the divine statutes were defective and subject to change, 
or perfect and immutable. 

When Satan was thrust out of heaven, he determined to make 
the earth his kingdom. When, he tempted and overcame Adam 
and Eve, he thought that he had gained possession of this world; 
"because," said he, "they have chosen me as their ruler." He 
claimed that it was impossible that forgiveness should be granted 
to the sinner, and therefore the fallen race were his rightful sub- 
jects, and the world was his. But (rod gave his own dear Son — 
one equal with himself — to bear the penalty of transgression, 
and thus he provided a way by which they might be restored to 
his favor, and brought back to their Eden home. Christ undertook 
to redeem man, and to rescue the world from the grasp of Satan. 
The great controversy begun in heaven was to be decided in the 
very world, on the very same field, that Satan claimed as his. 

It was the marvel of all the universe that Christ should hum- 
ble himself to save fallen man. That he who had passed from 
■star to star, from world to world, superintending all. by his provi- 
dence supplying the needs of every order of being in his vast 
creation, — that lie should consent to leave his glory and take 
Upon himself human nature, was a mystery which the sinless 
intelligences of other worlds desired to understand. When Christ 
came to our world in the form of humanity, all were intensely in- 
terested in following him as he traversed, step by step, the blood- 
stained path from the manger to Calvary. Heaven marked the in- 
sult and mockery that he received, and knew that it was at Satan's 
instigation. They marked the work of counter-agencies going for- 
ward; Satan constantly pressing darkness, sorrow, and suffering 
upon the race, and Christ counteracting it. They watched the 
battle between light and darkness as it waxed stronger. And as 

Uohn 12 : 31, 32. 


Christ in his expiring agony upon the cross cried out, " It is 
finished ! " a shout of triumph rung through every world, and 
through heaven itself. The great contest that had heen so long in 
progress in this world was now decided, and Christ was conqueror. 
His death had answered thy question whether the Father and the 
Son had sufficient love for man to exercise self-denial and a spirit 
of sacrifice. Satan had revealed his true character as a liar and a 
murderer. It was seen that the very same spirit with which he 
had ruled the children of men who were under his power, he 
would have manifested if permitted to control the intelligences of 
heaven. With one voice the loyal universe united in extolling the 
divine administration. 

If the law could he changed, man might have been saved 
without the sacrifice of Christ ; but the fact that it was necessary 
for Christ to give his life for the fallen race, proves that the law of 
God will not release the sinner from its claims upon him. It is 
demonstrated that the wages of sin is death. When Christ died, 
the destruction of Satan was made certain. But if the law was 
abolished at the cross, as many claim, then the agony and death 
of God's dear Son were endured only to give to Satan just what he 
asked ; then the prince of evil triumphed, his charges against the 
divine government were sustained. The very fact that Christ bore 
the penalty of man's transgression, is a mighty argument to all 
created intelligences, that the law is changeless ; that God is right- 
eous, merciful, and self-denying; and that infinite justice and 
mercy unite in the administration of his government. 



Cain and Abel, the sons of Adam, differed widely in character. 
Abel had a spirit of loyalty to God; he saw justice and mercy in 
the Creator's dealings with the fallen race, and gratefully accepted 
the hope of redemption. But Cain cherished feelings of rebellion, 
and murmured against God because of the curse pronounced upon 
the earth and upon the human race for Adam's sin. He permitted 
his mind to run in the same channel that led to Satan's fall, — in- 
dulging the desire for self-exaltation, and questioning the divine 
justice and authority. 

These hrothers were tested, as Adam had been tested before 
them, to prove whether they would believe and obey the word of 
God. They were acquainted with the provision made for the sal- 
vation of man, and understood the system of offerings which God 
bad ordained. Tiny knew that in these offerings they were to ex- 
press faith in the Saviour whom the offerings typified, and at the 
same time to ackn< »wledge their total dependence on him for pardon ; 
and they knew that by thus conforming to the divine plan for 
their redemption, they were giving proof of their obedience to the 
will of (bid. Without the shedding of blood, there could be no re- 
mission of sin; and they were to show their faith in the blood of 
Christ as the promised atonement, by offering the firstlings of the 
tloek in sacrifice. Besides this, the first-fruits of the earth were to 
be presented before the Lord as a thank-offering. 

The two brothers erected their altars .-dike, and each brought an 
offering. Abel presented a sacrifice i':om the flock, in accordance 
with the Lord's directions. " Ino. the Lord had respect unto Abel 
and to his offering." 1 Fire flashed from heaven, and consumed 
the sacrifice. But Cain, disregarding the Lord's direct and explicit 
command, presented only an offering of fruit. There was no token 
from heaven to show that it was accepted. Abel pleaded with his 

1 Gen. 4 : 4. 



brother to approach God in the divinely prescribed way; but his 
entreaties only made Cain the more determined to follow his own 
will. As the eldest, he felt above being admonished by his brother, 
and despised his counsel. 

Cain came before God with murmuring and infidelity in his 
heart in regard to the promised sacrifice and the necessity of the 
sacrificial offerings. His gift expressed no penitence for sin. He 
felt, as many now feel, that it would be an acknowledgment of 
weakness to follow the exact plan marked out by God, of trusting 
his salvation wholly to the atonement of the promised Saviour. 
He chose the course of self-dependence. He would come in his 
own merits. He would not bring the lamb, and mingle its blood 
with his offering*, but would present his fruits, the products of his 
labor. He presented his offering as a favor done to God, through 
which he expected to secure the divine approval. Cain obeyed in 
building an altar, obeyed in bringing a sacrifice ; but he rendered 
only a partial obedience. The essential part, the recognition of 
the need of a Redeemer, Avas left out. 

So far as birth and religious instruction were concerned, these 
brothers were equal. Both were sinners, and both acknowledged 
the claims of God to reverence and worship. To outward appear- 
ance their religion was the same up to a certain point ; but beyond 
this the difference between the two was great. 

" By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than 
Cain." ' Abel grasped the great principles of redemption. He saw 
himself a sinner, and lie saw sin, and its penalty death, standing 
between his soul and communion with God. He brought the slain 
victim, the sacrificed life, thus acknowledging the claims of the law 
that had been transgressed. Through the shed blood he looked 
to the future sacrifice, Christ dying on the cross of Calvary; and 
trusting in the atonement that was there to be made, he had the 
witness that he was righteous, and his offering accepted. 

Cain had the same opportunity of learning and accepting these 
truths as had Abel. He was not the victim of an arbitrary purpose. 
One brother was not elected to be accepted of God, and the other 
to be rejected. Abel chose faith and obedience; Cain, unbelief 
and rebellion. Here the whole matter rested. 

Cain and Abel represent two classes that will exist in the world 
till the close of time. One class avail themselves of the appointed 

illeb. 11 : 4. 


sacrifice for sin; the other venture to depend upon their own 

merits; theirs is a sacrifice without the virtue of divine media- 
tion, and thus it is not ahle to bring man into favor with God. 
It is only through the merits of Jesus that our transgressions can 
be pardoned. Those who feel no need of the blood of Christ, who 
feel that without divine grace they can by their own works secure 
the approval of God, are making the same mistake as did Cain. If 
they do not accept the cleansing blood, they are under condem- 
nation. There is no other provision made whereby they can be 
released from the thralldom of sin. 

The class of worshipers who follow the example of Cain in- 
cludes by far the greater portion of the world ; for nearly every 
false religion has been based on the same principle, — that man 
can depend upon his own efforts for salvation. It is claimed by 
some that the human race is in need, not of redemption, but of 
development, — that it can refine, elevate, and regenerate itself. As 
Cain thought to secure the divine favor by an offering that lacked 
the blood of a sacrifice, so do these expect to exalt humanity 
to the divine standard, independent of the atonement. The his- 
tory of Cain shows what must be the result. It shows what 
man will become apart from Christ. Humanity has no power to 
regenerate itself. It does not tend upward, toward the divine, 
but downward, toward the satanic. Christ is our only hope. 
" There is none other name under heaven given among men, 
whereby we must be saved." " Neither is there salvation in 
any other." ' 

True faith, which relies wholly upon Christ, will be mani- 
fested by obedience to all the requirements of God. From Adam's 
day to the present time the great controversy has been concerning 
obedience to God's law. In all ages there have been those who 
claimed a right to the favor of God even while they were dis- 
regarding some of his commands. But the Scriptures declare that 
by works is " faith made perfect ; " and that, without the works 
of obedience, faith "is dead." 2 He that professes to know God, 
" and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is 
not in him." 3 

When Cain saw that his offering was rejected, he was angry 
with the Lord and with Abel ; he was angry that God did not ac- 
cept man's substitute in place of the sacrifice divinely ordained, 
'Acts 4 : 12. 2 Jaines 2 : 22, 17. 3 1 John 2 : 4. 


and angry with his brother for choosing to obey God instead of 
joining in rebellion against him. Notwithstanding Cain's disre- 
gard of the divine command, God did not leave him to himself; 
but he condescended to reason with the man who had shown him- 
self so unreasonable. And the Lord said unto Cain, " Why art 
thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen?" 1 Through an 
angel messenger the divine warning was conveyed : " If thou doest 
well, shaft thou not be accepted ? And if thou doest not well, sin 
lieth at the door." ' The choice lay with Cain himself. If he 
would trust to the merits of the promised Saviour, and would obey 
God's requirements, he would enjoy his favor. But should he 
persist in unbelief and transgression, he would have no ground 
for complaint because he was rejected by the Lord. 

But instead of acknowledging his sin, Cain continued to com- 
plain of the injustice of God, and to cherish jealousy and hatred of 
Abel. He angrily reproached his brother, and attempted to draw 
him into controversy concerning God's dealings with them. In 
meekness, yet fearlessly and firmly, Abel defended the justice and 
goodness of God. He pointed out Cain's error, and tried to con- 
vince him that the wrong was in himself. He pointed to the com- 
passion of God in sparing the life of their parents when he might 
have punished them with instant death, and urged that God loved 
them, or he would not have given his Son, innocent and holy, to 
suffer the penalty which they had incurred. All this caused 
Cain's anger to burn the hotter. Reason and conscience told him 
that Abel was in the right ; but he was enraged that one who had 
been wont to heed his counsel should now presume to disagree 
with him, and that he could gain no sympathy in his rebellion. 
In the fury of his passion, he slew his brother. 

Cain hated and killed his brother, not for any wrong that Abel 
had done, but "because his own works were evil, and his brother's 
righteous." 2 So in all ages the wicked have hated those who were 
better than themselves. Abel's life of obedience and unswerving 
faith was to Cain a perpetual reproof. " Every one that doeth t-vil 
hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should 
be reproved." 3 The brighter the heavenly light that is reflected 
from the character of God's faithful servants, the more clearly the 
sins of the ungodly are revealed, and the more determined will be 
their efforts to destroy those who disturb their peace. 

1 Gen. 4 : 6, 7. 2 1 John 3:12. 3 John 3 . 20. 



The murder of Abel was the first example of the enmity that 
God had declared would exist between the serpent and the seed of 
thf woman, — between Satan and his subjects and Christ and his 
followers. Through man's sin, Satan had gained control of the 
human race, but Christ would enable them to cast off his yoke. 
Whenever, through faith in the Lamb of God, a soul renounces the 
service of sin, Satan's wrath is kindled. The holy life of Abel 
testified against Satan's claim that it is impossible for man to 
keep God's law. When Cain, moved by the spirit of the wicked 
one, saw that he could not control Abel, he was so enraged that he 
d est roved his life. And wherever there are any who will stand in 
vindication of the righteousness of the law of God, the same spirit 
will be manifested against them. It is the spirit that through all 
the ages has set up the stake and kindled the burning pile for the 
disciples of Christ. But the cruelties heaped upon the follower of 
Jesus are instigated by Satan and his hosts because they cannot 
force him to submit to their control. It is the rage of a van- 
quished foe. Every martyr of Jesus has died a conqueror. Says 
the prophet, " They overcame him [" that old serpent, called the 
devil, and Satan "] by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of 
their testimony ; and they loved not their lives unto the death." ' 

Cain the murderer was soon called to answer for his crime. 
"The Lord said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he 
said, I know not; am I my brother's keeper?" 2 Cain had gone 
so far in sin that he had lost a sense of the continual presence of 
God and of his greatness and omniscience. So he resorted to 
falsehood to conceal his guilt. 

Again the Lord said to Cain, "What hast thou done? The 
voice of thy brother's blood crieth unto me from the ground." 
( rod had given Cain an opportunity to confess his sin. He had 
had time to reflect. He knew the enormity of the deed he had 
done, and of the falsehood he had uttered to conceal it; but he- 
was rebellious still, and sentence was no longer deferred. The 
divine voice that had been heard in entreaty and admonition 
pronounced the terrible words: "And now art thou cursed from 
the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother's 
blood from thy hand. When thou tillest the ground, it shall not 
henceforth yield unto thee her strength. A fugitive and a vag 
abond shalt thou be in the earth." 

»Rev. 12 : 11, 9. "Gen. 4 :9 L3. 


Notwithstanding that Cain had by hie crimes merited the sen- 
tence of death, a merciful Creator still spared his life, and granted 
him opportunity for repentance. But Cain lived only to harden 
his heart, to encourage rebellion against the divine authority, and 
to become the head of a line of bold, abandoned sinners. This 
one apostate, led on by Satan, became a tempter to others, and 
his example and influence exerted their demoralizing power, until 
the earth became so corrupt and filled with violence as to call for 
its destruction. 

In sparing the life of the first murderer, God presented before 
the whole universe a lesson bearing upon the great controversy. 
The dark history of Cain and his descendants was an illustration of 
what would have been the result of permitting the sinner to live 
on forever, to carry out his rebellion against God. The forbearance 
of God only rendered the wicked more bold and defiant in their 
iniquity. Fifteen centuries after the sentence pronounced upon 
Cain, the universe witnessed the fruition of his influence and exam- 
ple, in the crime and pollution that flooded the earth. It was 
made manifest that the sentence of death pronounced upon the 
fallen race for the transgression of God's law was both just and 
merciful. The longer men lived in sin, the more abandoned they 
became. The divine sentence, cutting short a career of unbridled 
iniquity, and freeing the world from the influence of those who 
had become hardened in rebellion, was a blessing rather than a 

Satan is constantly at work, with intense energy and under a 
thousand disguises, to misrepresent the character and government 
of God. With extensive, well-organized plans and marvelous 
power, he is working to hold the inhabitants of tin • world under 
his deceptions. God, the One infinite and all-wise, sees the end 
from the beginning, and in dealing with evil his plans were far- 
reaching and comprehensive. It was his purpose, not merely to 
put down the rebellion, but to demonstrate to all the universe the 
nature of rebellion. God's plan was unfolding, showing both his 
justice and his mercy, and fully vindicating his wisdom and right- 
eousness in his dealings with evil. 

The holy inhabitants of other worlds were watching with the 
deepest interest the events taking place on the earth. In the 
condition of the world that existed before the flood they saw 
illustrated the results of the administration which Lucifer had 


endeavored to establish in heaven, in rejecting the authority of 
Christ, and casting aside the law of God. In those high-handed 
sinners of the antediluvian world, they saw the subjects over whom 
Satan held sway. The thoughts of men's hearts were only evil 
continually. 1 Every emotion, every impulse and imagination, 
was at war with the divine principles of purity and peace and 
love. It was an example of the awful depravity resulting from 
Satan's policy to remove from God's creatures the restraint of his 
holy law. 

By the facts unfolded in the progress of the great controversy, 
God will demonstrate the principles of his rules of government, 
which have been falsified by Satan and by all whom he has 
deceived. His justice will finally he acknowledged by the whole 
world, though the acknowledgment will he made too late to save 
the rebellious. God carries with him the sympathy and approval 
of the whole universe as step by step his great plan advances to 
its complete fulfillment. He will carry it with him in the final 
eradication of rebellion. It will be seen that all who have for- 
saken the divine precepts have placed themselves on the side of 
Satan, in warfare against Christ. When the prince of this world 
shall be judged, and all who have united with him shall share his 
fate, the whole universe as Avitnesses to the sentence will declare, 
"Just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints." 12 

iGen. 6 : 5. 2 Rev. 15 : 3. 



To Adam was given another son, to be the inheritor of the 
divine promise, the heir of the spiritual birthright, The name 
Seth, given to this son, signified " appointed," or " compensation; " 
" for," said the mother, " God hath appointed me another seed 
instead of Abel, whom Cain slew." 1 Seth was of more noble 
stature than Cain or Abel, and resembled Adam more closely than 
did his other sons. He was a worthy character, following in the 
steps of Abel. Yet he inherited no more natural goodness than 
did Cain. Concerning the creation of Adam it is said, " In the 
likeness of God made He him ; " but man, after the fall, " begat a 
son in his own likeness, after his image." 2 While Adam was created 
sinless, in the likeness of God, Seth, like Cain, inherited the fallen 
nature of his parents. But he received also the knowledge of the 
Redeemer, and instruction in righteousness. By divine grace he 
served and honored God ; and he labored, as Abel would have 
done, had he lived, to turn the minds of sinful men to revere and 
obey their Creator. 

" To Seth, to him also there was born a son ; and he called his 
name Enos : then began men to call upon the name of Jehovah." l 
The faithful had worshiped God before ; but as men increased, the 
distinction between the two classes became more marked. There 
was an open profession of loyalty to God on the part of one, as 
there was of contempt and disobedience on the part of the other. 

Before the fall, our first parents had kept the Sabbath, which 
was instituted in Eden ; and after their expulsion from Paradise 
they continued its observance. They had tasted the bitter fruits 
of disobedience, and had learned what every one that tramples 
upon God's commandments will sooner or later learn, — that the 
divine precepts are sacred and immutable, and that the penalty of 
transgression will surely be inflicted. The Sabbath was honored by 

l Gen. 4 : 25. 26. * Gen. 5 : 1, 3. 



all the children of Adam that remained loyal to God. But Cain 
and his descendants did not respect the day upon which God had 
rested. They chose their own time for labor and for rest, regard- 
less of Jehovah's express command. 

Upon receiving the curse of God, Cain had withdrawn from his 
father's household. He had first chosen his occupation as a tiller of 
the soil, and he now founded a city, calling it after the name of his 
eldest son. He had gone out from the presence of the Lord, cast 
away the promise of the restored Eden, to seek his possession? and 
enjoyment in the earth under the curse of sin, thus standing at 
the head of that great class of men who worship the god of this 
world. In that which pertains to mere earthly and material prog- 
ress, his descendants hecame distinguished. But they were re- 
gardless of God, and in opposition to his purposes for man. To 
the crime of murder, in which Cain had led the way, Lamech, the 
fifth in descent, added polygamy, and, boastfully defiant, he ac- 
knowledged God, only to draw from the avenging of Cain an as- 
surance of his own safety. Abel had led a pastoral life, dwelling 
in tents or booths, and the descendants of Seth followed the same 
course, counting themselves " strangers and pilgrims on the earth," 
seeking " a better country, that is, an heavenly." l 

For some time the two classes remained separate. The race of 
Cain, spreading from the place of their first settlement, dispersed 
over the plains and valleys where the children of Seth had dwelt; 
and the latter, in order to escape from their contaminating influ- 
ence, withdrew to the mountains, and there made their home. So 
long as this separation continued, they maintained the worship of 
God in its purity. But m the lapse of time they ventured, little 
by little, to mingle with the inhabitants of the valleys. This associ- 
ation was productive of the worst results. " The sons of God saw 
the daughters of men that they were fair." 2 The children of Seth, 
attracted by the beauty of the daughters of Cain's descendants, dis- 
pleased the Lord by intermarrying with them. Many of the wor- 
shipers of God were beguiled into sin by the allurements that were 
now constantly before them, and they lost their peculiar, holy 
character. Mingling with the depraved, they became like them in 
spirit and in deeds; the restrictions of the seventh commandment 
were disregarded, " and they took them wives of all which they 
chose." The children of Seth went "in the way of Cain;" 3 they 

»Heb. 11:13. 16. 2 Gen. 6:2. s Jude 11. 


fixed their minds upon worldly prosperity and enjoyment, ana 
neglected the commandments of the Lord. Men " did not like to 
retain God in their knowledge;" they " became vain in their 
imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened." Therefore 
" God gave them over to a mind void of judgment." 1 Sin spread 
abroad in the earth like a deadly leprosy. 

For nearly a thousand years, Adam lived among men, a witness 
to the results of sin. Faithfully he sought to stem the tide of evil. 
He had been commanded to instruct his posterity in the way of 
the Lord ; and he carefully treasured what God had revealed to 
him, and repeated it to succeeding generations. To his children 
and children's children, to the ninth generation, he described 
man's holy and happy estate in Paradise, and repeated the history 
of his fall, telling them of the sufferings by which God had taught 
him the necessity of strict adherence to his law, and explaining 
to them the merciful provisions for their salvation. Yet there 
were but few who gave heed to his words. Often he was met 
with bitter reproaches for the sin that had brought such woe 
upon his posterity. 

Adam's life was one of sorrow, humility, and contrition. When 
he left Eden, the thought that he must die thrilled him with 
horror. He was first made acquainted with the reality of death 
in the human family, when Cain, his first-born son, became the 
murderer of his brother. Filled with the keenest remorse for 
his own sin, and doubly bereaved in the death of Abel and the 
rejection of Cain, Adam was bowed down with anguish. He 
witnessed the wide-spreading corruption that was finally to cause 
the destruction of the world by a flood ; and though the sentence 
of death pronounced upon him by his Maker had at first appeared 
terrible, yet after beholding for nearly a thousand years the results 
of sin, he felt that it was merciful in God to bring to an end a life 
of suffering and sorrow. 

Notwithstanding the wickedness of the antediluvian world, that 
age was not, as has often been supposed, an era of ignorance and 
barbarism. The people were granted the opportunity of reaching 
a high standard of moral and intellectual attainment. They pos- 
sessed great physical and mental strength, and their advantages 
for acquiring both religious and scientific knowledge were unri- 
valed. It is a mistake to suppose that because they lived to a 

iRom. 1 : 21, 28 (margin). 


great age their minds matured late; their mental powers were 
early developed, and those who cherished the fear of God and 
lived in harmony with his will, continued to increase in knowledge 
and wisdom throughout their life. Could illustrious scholars of 
our time he placed in contrast with men of the same age who lived 
before the flood, they would appear as greatly inferior in mental 
as in physical strength. As the years of man have decreased, and 
his physical strength has diminished, so his mental capacities have 
lessened. There are men who now apply themselves to study dur- 
ing a period of from twenty to fifty years, and the world is filled 
with admiration of their attainments. But how limited are these 
acquirements in comparison with those of men whose mental and 
physical powers were developing for centuries ! 

It is true that the people of modern times have the henefit 
of the attainments of their predecessors. The men of masterly 
minds, who planned and studied and wrote, have left their work for 
those who follow. But even in this respect, and so far as merely 
human knowledge is concerned, how much greater the advantages 
of the men of that olden time! They had among them for hun- 
dreds of years him who was formed in God's image, whom the 
Creator himself pronounced "good," — the man whom God had 
instructed in all the wisdom pertaining to the material world. 
Adam had learned from the Creator the history of creation; he 
himself witnessed the events of nine centuries; and he imparted 
his knowledge to his descendants. The antediluvians were without 
books, they had no written records ; but with their great physical 
and mental vigor, they had strong memories, able to grasp and to 
retain that which was communicated to them, and in turn to 
transmit it unimpaired to their posterity. And for hundreds of 
years there were seven generations living upon the earth contempo- 
raneously, having the opportunity of consulting together, and prof- 
iting each by the knowledge and experience of all. 

The advantages enjoyed by men of that age to gain a knowl- 
edge of God through his works have never been equaled since. 
And so far from being an era of religious darkness, that was an age 
of great light. All the world had opportunity to receive instruction 
from Adam, and those who feared the Lord had also Christ and 
angels for their teachers. And they had a silent witness to the 
truth, in the garden of God, which for so many centuries remained 
among men. At the cherubim-guarded gate of Paradise the glory 


of God was revealed, and hither came the first worshipers. Here 
their altars were reared, and their offerings presented. It was here 
that Cain and Abel had brought their sacrifices, and that God had 
condescended to communicate with them. 

Skepticism could not deny the existence of Eden while it stood 
just in sight, its entrance barred by watching angels. The order of 
creation, the object of the garden, the history of its two trees so 
closely connected with man's destiny, were undisputed facts. And 
the existence and supreme authority of God, the obligation of his 
law, were truths which men were slow to question while Adam 
was among them. 

Notwithstanding the prevailing iniquity, there was a line of 
holy men who, elevated and ennobled by communion with God, 
lived as in the companionship of heaven. They were men of mass- 
ive intellect, of wonderful attainments. They had a great and 
holy mission, — to develop a character of righteousness, to teach a 
lesson of godliness, not only to the men of their time, but for fut- 
ure generations. Only a few of the most prominent are mentioned 
in the Scriptures ; but all through the ages, God had faithful wit- 
nesses, true-hearted worshipers. 

Of Enoch it is written that he lived sixty-five years, and begat 
a son. After that he walked with God three hundred years. 
During these earlier years, Enoch had loved and feared God, and 
had kept his commandments. He was one of the holy line, the 
])reservers of the true faith, the progenitors of the promised seed. 
From the lips of Adam he had learned the dark story of the fall, 
and the cheering one of God's grace as seen in the promise ; and 
he relied upon the Redeemer to come. But after the birth of his 
first son, Enoch reached a higher experience ; he was drawn into 
a closer relationship with God. He realized more fully his own 
obligations and responsibility as a son of God. And as he saw the 
child's love for its father, its simple trust in his protection; as 
he felt the deep, yearning tenderness of his own heart for that 
first-born son, he learned a precious lesson of the wonderful love 
of God to men in the gift of his Son, and the confidence which 
the children of God may repose in their heavenly Father. The 
infinite, unfathomable love of God through Christ, became the 
subject of his meditations day and night ; and with all the fervor 
of his soul he sought to reveal that love to the people among 
whom he dwelt. 


Enoch's walk with God was not in a trance or a vision, but in 
all the duties of his daily life. He did not become a hermit, shut- 
ting himself entirely from the world ; for he had a work to do for 
( mhI in the world. In the family and in his intercourse with men, 
as a husband and father, a friend, a citizen, he was the stead- 
fast, unwavering servant of the Lord. 

His heart was in harmony witli God's will; for "can two walk 
together, except they he agreed?" 1 And this holy walk was con- 
tinued for three hundred years. There are few Christians who 
would not be far more earnest and devoted if they knew that they 
had but a short time to live, or that the coming of Christ was 
about to take place. But Enoch's faith waxed the stronger, his 
love became more ardent, with the lapse of centuries. 

Enoch was a man of strong and highly cultivated mind, and 
extensive knowledge; he was honored with special revelation* 
from God; yet being in constant communion with heaven, with a 
sense of the divine greatness and perfection ever before him, he 
was one of the humblest of men. The closer the connection with 
God, the deeper was the sense of his own weakness and imper- 

Distressed by the increasing wickedness of the ungodly, and 
fearing that their infidelity might lessen his reverence for God, 
Enoch avoided constant association with them, and spent much 
time in solitude, giving himself to meditation and prayer. Thus 
he waited before the Lord,, seeking a clearer knowledge of his will, 
that he might perform it. To him prayer was as the breath of the 
soul ; he lived in the very atmosphere of heaven. 

Through holy angels, God revealed to Enoch his purpose to 
destroy the world by a flood, and he also opened more fully to 
him the plan of redemption. By the spirit of prophecy he carried 
him down through the generations that should live after the flood, 
and showed him the great events connected with the second com- 
ing of Christ and the end of the w T orld. 

Enoch had been troubled in regard to the dead. It had 
seemed to him that the righteous and the wicked would go to the 
dust together, and that this would be their end. He could not see 
the life of the just beyond the grave. In prophetic vision he was 
instructed concerning the death of Christ, and was shown his 
coming in glory, attended by all the holy angels, to ransom his 
people from the grave. He also saw the corrupt state of the world 

1 .\im.,s3:3. 6 


when Christ should appear the second time, — that there would be 
a boastful, presumptuous, self-willed generation, denying the only 
God and the Lord Jesus Christ, trampling upon the law, and de- 
spising the atonement. He saw the righteous crowned with glory 
and honor, and the wicked banished from the presence of the 
Lord, and destroyed by fire. 

Enoch became a preacher of righteousness, making known to 
the people what God had revealed to him. Those who feared the 
Lord sought out this holy man, to share his instruction and his 
prayers. He labored publicly also, bearing God's messages to all 
who would hear the words of warning. His labors were not re- 
stricted to the Sethites. In the land where Cain had sought to 
flee from the divine presence, the prophet of God made known 
the wonderful scenes that had passed before his vision. " Behold," 
ho declared, " the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, 
to execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are un- 
godly among them of all their ungodly deeds." 1 

Ho was a fearless reprover of sin. While he preached the 
love of God in Christ to the people of his time, and pleaded with 
them to forsake their evil ways, he rebuked the prevailing iniq- 
uity, and warned the men of his generation that judgment would 
surely be visited upon the transgressor. It was the Spirit of 
Christ that spoke through Enoch; that Spirit is manifested, not 
alone in utterances of love, compassion, and entreaty ; it is not 
smooth things only that are spoken by holy men. God puts into 
the heart and lips of his messengers truths to utter that are keen 
and cutting as a two-edged sword. 

The power of God that wrought with his servant was felt by 
those who heard. Some gave heed to the warning, and renounced- 
their sins ; but the multitudes mocked at the solemn message, and 
went on more boldly in their evil ways. The servants of God are 
to bear a similar message to the world in the last days, and it will 
also be received w T ith unbelief and mockery. The antediluvian 
world rejected the warning words of him who walked with God. 
So will the last generation make light of the warnings of the 
Lord's messengers. 

In the midst of a life of active labor, Enoch steadfastly main- 
tained his communion with God. The greater and more pressing 
his labors, the more constant and earnest were his prayers. He 

Uude 14, 15. 


continued to exclude himself, at certain periods, from all society. 
Alter remaining for a time among the people, laboring to benefit 
them by instruction and example, he would withdraw, to spend a 
season in solitude, hungering and thirsting for that divine knowl- 
edge which God alone can impart. Communing thus with God, 
Enoch came more and more to reflect the divine image. His 
face was radiant with a holy light, even the light that shineth in 
the face of Jesus. As he came forth from these divine commun- 
ings, even the ungodly beheld with awe the impress of heaven 
upon his countenance. 

The wickedness of men had reached such a height that de- 
struction was pronounced against them. As year after year 
passed on, deeper and deeper grew the tide of human guilt, 
darker and darker gathered the clouds of divine judgment. Yet 
Enoch, the witness of faith, held on his way, warning, pleading, 
entreating, striving to turn back the tide of guilt, and to stay the 
bolts of vengeance. Though his warnings were disregarded by a 
sinful, pleasure-loving people, he had the testimony that God ap- 
proved, and he continued to battle faithfully against the prevailing 
evil, until God removed him from a world of sin to the pure joys 
of heaven. 

The men of that generation had mocked the folly of him who 
sought not to gather gold or silver, or to build up possessions here. 
But Enoch's heart was upon eternal treasures. He had looked 
upon the celestial city. He had seen the King in his glory in the 
midst of Zion. His mind, his heart, his conversation, were in 
heaven. The greater the existing iniquity, the more earnest was 
his longing for the home of God. While still on earth, he dwelt, 
by faith, in the realms of light. 

" Blessed are the pure in heart ; for they shall see God." 1 For 
three hundred years, Enoch had been seeking purity of soul, that 
he might he in harmony with Heaven. For three centuries he 
had walked with God. Day by day he had longed for a closer 
union ; nearer and nearer had grown the communion, until God 
took him to himself. He had stood at the threshold of the eternal 
world, only a step between him and the land of the blest; and now 
the portals opened, the walk with God, so long pursued, on earth, 
continued, and he passed through the gates of the holy city. — 
the first from among men to enter there. 

1 Matt. 5 : 8. 


His loss was felt on earth. The voice that had been heard 
day after day in warning and instruction was missed. There were 
some, both of the righteous and the wicked, who had witnessed 
his departure ; and hoping that he might have been conveyed to 
some one of his places of retirement, those who loved him made 
diligent search, as afterward the sons of the prophets searched for 
Elijah ; but without avail. They reported that he was not, for 
God had taken him. 

By the translation of Enoch the Lord designed to teach an 
important lesson. There was danger that men would yield to 
discouragement, because of the fearful results of Adam's sin. 
Many were ready to exclaim, "What profit is it that Ave have 
feared the Lord and have kept his ordinances, since a heavy 
curse is resting upon the race, and death is the portion of us 
all ? " But the instructions which God gave to Adam, and which 
were repeated by Seth, and exemplified by Enoch, swept away 
the gloom and darkness, and gave hope to man, that as through 
Adam came death, so through the promised Redeemer would come 
life and immortality. Satan was urging upon men the belief that 
there was no reward for the righteous or punishment for the 
wicked, and that it was impossible for men to obey the divine 
statutes. But in the case of Enoch, God declares " that he is, and 
that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him." 1 He 
shows what he will do for those who keep his commandments. 
Men were taught that it is possible to obey the law of God ; that 
even while living in the midst of the sinful and corrupt, they were 
able, by the grace of God, to resist temptation, and become pure 
and holy. They saw in his example the blessedness of such a 
life; and his translation was an evidence of the truth of his 
prophecy concerning the hereafter, with its award of joy and 
glory and immortal life to the obedient, and of condemnation, woe, 
and death to the transgressor. 

By faith Enoch " was translated that he should not see death ; 
... for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased 
God." 1 In the midst of a world by its iniquity doomed to de- 
struction, Enoch lived a life of such close communion with God 
that he was not permitted to fall under the power of death. The 
godly character of this prophet represents the state of holiness 
which must be attained by those who shall be "redeemed from 

1 Heb 11 : 6, 5. 

s /■:/■// AND KXOCH. 


the earth" 1 at the time of Christ's second advent. Then, as in 
the world before the flood, iniquity will prevail. Following the 
promptings of their corrupt hearts and the teachings of a decep- 
tive philosophy, men will rebel against the authority of Heaven. 
But like Enoch, God's people will seek for purity of heart, and 
conformity 1" Ids will, until they shall reflect the likeness of 
Christ. Like Enoch they will warn the world of the Lord's sec- 
ond coming, and of the judgments 1" be visited upon transgres- 
sion, and by their holy conversation and example they will 
condemn the sins of the ungodly. As Enoch was translated to 
heaven before the destruction of the world by water, SO the living 
righteous will be translated from the earth hefore its destruction 
by lire. Says the apostle: "We shall not all sleep, but we shall 
all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye. at the 
last trump." '"For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven 
with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump 
of God;" "the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised 
incorruptible, and we shall be changed." "The dead in Christ 
shall rise first; then we which are alive and remain shall he 
caught ui> together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in 
the air; and so shall we ever he with the Lord. Wherefore 
comfort one another with these words.'' 2 

1 Rev. 14 : 3. 2 1 Cor. 15 : 51, 52; 1 Thess. 4 : 16-18. 




In the days of Noah a double curse was resting upon the 
earth, in consequence of Adam's transgression and of the murder 
committed by Cain. Yet this had not greatly changed the face of 
nature. There were evident tokens of decay, but the earth was 
still rich and beautiful in the gifts of God's providence. The 
hills were crowned with majestic trees supporting the fruit-laden 
branches of the vine. The vast, garden-like plains were clothed 
with verdure, and sweet with the fragrance of a thousand flowers. 
The fruits of the earth were in great variety, and almost without 
limit. The trees far surpassed in size, beauty, and perfect pro- 
portion, any now to be found ; their wood was of fine grain and 
hard substance, closely resembling stone, and hardly less enduring. 
Gold, silver, and precious stones existed in abundance. 

The human race yet retained much of its early vigor. But a 
few generations had passed since Adam had access to the tree 
which was to prolong life ; and man's existence was still measured 
by centuries. Had that long-lived people, with their rare powers 
to plan and execute, devoted themselves to the service of God, they 
would have made their Creator's name a praise in the earth, and 
would have answered the purpose for which he gave them life. 
But they failed to do this. There were many giants, men of great 
stature and strength, renowned for wisdom, skillful in devising the 
most cunning and wonderful works ; but their guilt in giving loose 
rein to iniquity was in proportion to their skill and mental ability. 

God bestowed upon these antediluvians many and rich gifts ; 
but they used his bounties to glorify themselves, and turned them 
into a curse by fixing their affections upon the gifts instead of the 
Giver. They employed the gold and silver, the precious stones 
and the choice wood, in the construction of habitations for them- 
selves, and endeavored to excel one another in beautifvintr their 
dwellings with the most skillful workmanship. They sought only 

[ 90 1 


to gratify the ilesires of their own proud hearts, and reveled in 
scenes of pleasure and wickedness. Not desiring to retain God in 
their knowledge, they soon came to deny his existence. They 
adored nature in place of the God of nature. They glorified 
human genius, worshiped the works of their own hands, and 
taught their children to how down to graven images. 

In the green fields, and under the shadow of the goodly trees, 
they set up the altars of their idols. Extensive groves, that 
retained their foliage throughout the year, were dedicated to the 
worship of false gods. With these groves were connected beautiful 
gardens, their long, winding avenues overhung with fruit-bearing 
trees of all descriptions, adorned with statuary, and furnished with 
all that could delight the senses or minister to the voluptuous de- 
sires of the people, and thus allure them to participate in the idol- 
atrous worship. 

Men put God out of their knowledge, and worshiped the 
creatures of their own imagination ; and as the result, they became 
more and more debased. The psalmist describes the effect pro- 
duced upon the worshiper by the adoration of idols. He says, 
" They that make them are like , unto them ; so is every one 
that trusteth in them." 1 It is a law of the human mind that 
by beholding we become changed. Man will rise no higher 
than his conceptions of truth, purity, and holiness. If the mind 
is never exalted above the level of humanity, if it is not up- 
lifted by faith to contemplate infinite wisdom and love, the 
man will be constantly sinking lower and lower. The worship- 
era of false gods clothed their deities with human attributes 
and passions, and thus their standard of character was degraded 
to the likeness of sinful humanity. They were defiled in con- 
sequence: "God saw that the wickedness of man was great 
in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his 
heart was only evil continually. . . . The earth also was corrupt 
before God, and the earth was filled with violence." 2 God had 
Liiven men his commandments as a rule of life, but his law was 
transgressed, and every conceivable sin was the result. The 
wickedness of men was open and daring, justice was trampled 
in the dust, and the cries of the oppressed reached unto heav< n. 

Polygamy had been early introduced, contrary to the divine 
arrangement at the beginning. The Lord gave to Adam one 

»Ps. 115 : 8. 2 ( ; en 6 . 5) 11) 7 


wife, showing his order in that respect. But after the fall, men 
chose to follow their own sinful desires ; and as the result, crime 
and wretchedness rapidly increased. Neither the marriage rela- 
tion nor the rights of property were respected. Whoever coveted 
the wives or the possessions of his neighbor, took them by force, 
and men exulted in their deeds of violence. They delighted in 
destroying the life of animals; and the use of flesh for food 
rendered them still more cruel and blood-thirsty, until they came 
to regard human life with astonishing indifference. 

The world was in its infancy ; yet iniquity had become so 
deep and wide-spread that God could no longer bear with it; 
and he said, " I will destroy man whom I have created, from 
the face of the earth." * He declared that his Spirit should not 
always strive with the guilty race. If they did not cease to 
pollute with their sins the world and its rich treasures, he 
would blot them from his creation, and would destroy the 
things with which he had delighted to bless them; he would 
sweep away the beasts of the field, and the vegetation which 
furnished such an abundant supply of food, and would trans- 
form the fair earth into one vast scene of desolation and ruin. 

Amid the prevailing corruption, Methuselah, Noah, and many 
others, labored to keep alive the knowledge of the true God, and 
to stay the tide of moral evil. A hundred and twenty years 
before the flood, the Lord by a holy angel declared to Noah his 
purpose, and directed him to build an ark. While building the 
ark he was to preach that God would bring a flood of water 
upon the earth to destroy the wicked. Those who would believe 
the message, and would prepare for that event by repentance and 
reformation, should find pardon and be saved. Enoch had re- 
peated to his children what God had shown him in regard to 
the flood, and Methuselah and his sons, who lived to hear the 
preaching of Noah, assisted in building the ark. 

God gave Noah the exact dimensions of the ark, and explicit 
directions in regard to its construction in every particular. Hu- 
man wisdom could not have devised a structure of so great 
strength and durability. God was the designer, and Noah the 
master-builder. It was constructed like the hull of a ship, that it 
might float upon the water, but in some respects it more nearly 
•esembled a house. It was three stories high, with but one door, 
1 Gen. 6:7; see Appendix, Note 1. 














THE Fl.ooD. 

which was in the side. The light was admitted at the top, and 
the different apartments were bo arranged that all were Lighted. 
The material employed in the construction of the ark was the 
cypress, or gopher wood which would be untouched by decay for 
hundreds of years. The building of this immense structure was a 
slow and laborious process. On account of the great size of the 
trees, and the nature of the wood, much more Labor was required 
then than now to prepare timber, even with the greater strength 
which men then possessed. All that man could do was done to 
render the work perfect, yet the ark could not of itself have with- 
stood the storm winch was to come upon the earth. God alone 
could preserve his servants upon the tempestuous waters. 

•• By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as 
yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; 
by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the 
righteousness which is by faith." 1 While Noah was giving his 
warning message to the world, his works testified of his sincerity. 
It was thus that his faith was perfected and made evident. He 
gave the world an example of believing just what God says. All 
that he possessed, he invested in the ark. As he began to con- 
struct that immense boat on dry ground, multitudes came from 
every direction to see the strange sight, and to hear the earnest, 
fervent words of the singular preacher. Every blow struck upon 
the ark was a witness to the people. 

.Many at first appeared to receive the warning; yet they did 
not turn to God with true repentance. They were unwilling to 
renounce their sins. During the time that elapsed before the 
coming of the flood, their faith was tested, and they failed to 
endure the trial. Overcome by the prevailing unbelief, they 
finally joined their former associates in rejecting the solemn mes- 
sage. Some were deeply convicted, and would have heeded the 
words of warning; but there were so many to jest and ridicule, 
that they partook of the same spirit, resisted the invitations of 
mercy, and were soon among the boldest and most defiant scof- 
fers ; tor none are so reckless and go to such lengths in sin as do 
those who have once had light but have resisted the convicting 
Spirit of God. 

The men of that generation were not all, in the fullest accepta- 
tion of the term, idolaters. Many professed to be worshipers of 

1 Heb. 11:7. 


God. They claimed that their idols were representations of the 
Deity, and that through them the people could obtain a clearer 
conception of the divine Being. This class were foremost in re- 
jecting the preaching of Noah. As they endeavored to represent 
God by material objects, their minds were blinded to his majesty 
and power ; they ceased to realize the holiness of his character, or 
the sacred, unchanging nature of his requirements. As sin became 
general, it appeared less and less sinful, and they finally declared 
that the divine law was no longer in force ; that it was contrary to 
the character of God to punish transgression ; and they denied 
that his judgments were to be visited upon the earth. Had the 
men of that generation obeyed the divine law, they would have 
recognized the voice of God in the warning of his servant ; but 
their minds had become so blinded by rejection of light that they 
really believed Noah's message to be a delusion. 

It was not multitudes or majorities that were on the side of 
right. The world was arrayed against God's justice and his laws, 
and Noah was regarded as a fanatic. • Satan, when tempting Eve 
to disobey God, said to her, " Ye shall not surely die." ' Great 
men, worldly, honored, and wise men, repeated the same. " The 
threatenings of God," they said, " are for the purpose of intimidat- 
ing, and will never be verified. You need not be alarmed. Such 
a,n event as the destruction of the world by the God who made it, 
and the punishment of the beings he has created, will never take 
place. Be at peace; fear not. Noah is a wild fanatic." The 
world made merry at the folly of the deluded old man. Instead 
of humbling the heart before God, they continued their dis- 
obedience and wickedness, the same as though God had not 
spoken to them through his servant. 

But Noah stood like a rock amid the tempest. Surrounded by 
popular contempt and ridicule, he distinguished himself by his 
holy integrity and unwavering faithfulness. A power attended 
his words ; for it was the voice of God to man through his servant. 
Connection with God- made him strong in the strength of infinite 
power, while for one hundred and twenty years his solemn voice 
fell upon the ears of that generation in regard to events, which, so 
far as human wisdom could judge, were impossible. 

The world before the flood reasoned that for centuries the laws 
of nature had been fixed. The recurring seasons had come in 
their order. Heretofore rain had never fallen ; the earth had been 

1 Gen. 3 : 4. 


"watered by a mist or dew. The rivers had never yet passed their 
boundaries, but lia<l borne their waters safely to the sea. Fixed 
decrees had kept the waters from overflowing their hanks. But 
these reasoners did not recognize the hand of Him who had stayed 
the waters, saying, "Hitherto shall thou come, but no further." 1 

As time passed on, with no apparent change in nature, men 
whose hearts had at times trembled with fear, began to be 
re-assured. Thev reasoned, as many reason now, that nature 
is above the God of nature, and that her laws are so firmly 
established that God himself could not change thorn. Reasoning 
that if the message of Noah were correct, nature would he turned 
out of her course, they made that message, in the minds of the 
world, a delusion, — a grand deception. They manifested their 
contempt for the warning of God by doing just as they had done 
before the warning was given. They continued their festivities and 
their gluttonous feasts; they ate and drank, planted and builded, 
laying their plans in reference to advantages they hoped to gain 
in the future; and they went to greater lengths in wickedness, 
and in defiant disregard of God's requirements, to testify that they 
had no fear of the Infinite One. They asserted that if there were 
any truth in wdiat Noah had said, the men of renown, — the wise, 
tlie prudent, the great men, — would understand the matter. 

Had the antediluvians believed the warning, and repented of 
their evil deeds, the Lord would have turned aside his wrath, as 
he afterward did from Nineveh. But by their obstinate resistance 
to the reproofs of conscience and the warnings of God's prophet, 
that generation filled up the measure of their iniquity, and hecame 
ripe for destruction. 

The period of their probation was about to expire. Noah had 
faithfully followed the instructions which he had received from 
God. The ark was finished in every part as the Lord had di- 
rected, and was stored with food for man and beast. And now 
the servant of God made his last solemn appeal to the people. 
"With an agony of desire that words cannot express, he entreated 
them to seek a refuge while it might be found. Again they 
rejected his words, and raised their voices in jest and scoffing. 
Suddenly a silence fell upon the mocking throng. Beasts of every 
description, the fiercest as well as the most gentle, were -ecu 

i dug from mountain and forest, and quietly making' their way 

toward the ark. A noise as of a rushing wind was heard, and lo, 

Uob 38 : 11. 


birds were flocking from all directions, their numbers darkening 
the heavens, and in perfect order they passed to the ark. Animals 
obeyed the command of God, while men were disobedient. 
Guided by holy angels, " they went in, two and two, unto Noah 
into the ark," 1 and the clean beasts by sevens. The world lookect 
on in wonder, some in fear. Philosophers were called upon to ac- 
count for the singular occurrence, but in vain. It was a mystery 
which they could not fathom. But men had become so hardened 
by their persistent rejection of light, that even this scene pro- 
duced but a momentary impression. As the doomed race beheld 
the sun shining in its glory, and the earth clad in almost Eden 
beauty, they banished their rising fears by boisterous merriment, 
and by their deeds of violence they seemed to invite upon them- 
selves the visitation of the already awakened wrath of God. 

God commanded Noah, " Come thou and all thy house into the 
ark ; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation."' 1 
Noah's warnings had been rejected by the world, but his influence 
and example resulted in blessings to his family. As a reward for 
his faithfulness and integrity. God saved all the members of his 
family with him. What an encouragement to parental fidelity ' 

Mercy had ceased its pleadings for the guilty race. The 
beasts of the field and the birds of the air had entered the place 
of refuge. Noah and his household were within the ark; •"and 
the Lord shut him in." A flash of dazzling light was seen, and 
a cloud of glory, more vivid than the lightning, descended from 
heaven, and hovered before the entrance of the ark. The massive 
door, which it was impossible for those within to close, was slowly 
swung to its place by unseen hands. Noah was shut in, and the 
rejecters of God's mercy were shut out. The seal of Heaven was 
on that door; God had shut it, and God alone could open it. So 
when Christ shall cease his intercession for guilty men, before his 
coming in the clouds of heaven, the door of mercy will be shut. 
Then divine grace will no longer restrain the wicked, and Satan 
will have full control of those who have rejected mercy. They 
will endeavor to destroy God's people ; but as Noah was shut into 
the ark, so the righteous will be shielded by divine power. 

For"seven days after Noah and his family entered the ark, there 
appeared no sign of the coming storm. During this period their 
faith was tested. It was a time of triumph to the world without. 
The apparent delay confirmed them in the belief that Noah's mes- 

JGen. 7 : 9. 1. 


page was a delusion, and that the flood would never come. Not- 
withstanding the solemn scenes which they bad witnessed, — the 
1 leasts and birds entering the ark, and the angel of God closing the 
door, — they still continued their sport and revelry, even making a 
jest of these signal manifestations of God's power. They gathered 
in crowds about the ark, deriding its inmates with a daring vio- 
lence which they had never ventured upon before. 

But upon the eighth day, dark clouds overspread the heavens. 
There followed the muttering of thunder and the flash of lightning. 
Soon large drops of rain began to fall. The world had never wit- 
nessed anything like this, and the hearts of men were struck' with 
fear. All were secretly inquiring, "Can it be that Noah was 
in the right, and that the world is doomed to destruction?" 
Darker and darker grew the heavens, and faster came the falling 
rain. The beasts were roaming about in the wildest tenor, and 
their discordant cries seemed to moan out their own destiny and 
the fate of man. Then "the fountains of the great deep were 
broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened." Water ap- 
peared to come from the clouds in mighty cataracts. Rivers broke 
away from their boundaries, and overflowed the valleys. Jets of 
water burst from the earth with indescribable force, throwing mass- 
ive rocks hundreds of feet into the air, and these, in falling, buried 
themselves deep in the ground. 

The people first beheld the destruction of the works of their 
own hands. Their splendid buildings, and the beautiful gardens 
and groves where they had placed their idols, were destroyed by 
lightning from heaven, and the ruins were scattered far and wide. 
The altars on which human sacrifices had been offered were torn 
down, and the worshipers were made to tremble at the power of 
the living God, and to know that it was their corruption and 
idolatry which had called down their destruction. 

A- the violence of the storm increased, trees, buildings, rocks. 
and earth were hurled in every direction. The terror of man and 
beast was beyond description. Above the roai of the tempest was 
h ard the wailing of a people that had despised the authority of 
God. Satan himself, who was compelled to remain in the midst 
of the warring elements, feared for his own existence. He bad 
delighted to control so powerful a race, and desired them to live 
to practice their abominations, and continue their rebellion against 

the Ruler of heaven. He now uttered imprecations against God, 

7 ' 


charging him with injustice and cruelty. Many of the people, like 
Satan, blasphemed God, and had they been able, they would have 
torn him from the throne of power. Others were frantic with 
fear, stretching their hands toward the ark, and pleading. for 
admittance. But their entreaties were in vain. Conscience was 
at last aroused to know that there is a God who ruleth in the 
heavens. They called upon him earnestly, but his ear was not 
open to their cry. In that terrible hour they saw that the trans- 
gression of God's law had caused their ruin. Yet while, through 
fear of punishment, they acknowledged their sin, they felt no true 
contrition, no abhorrence of evil. They would have returned 
to their defiance of Heaven, had the judgment been removed. So 
when God's judgments shall fall upon the earth before its deluge 
by fire, the impenitent will know just where and what their sin 
is, — the despising of his holy law. Yet they will have no more 
true repentance than did the old-world sinners. 

Some in their desperation endeavored to break into the ark ; 
hut the firm-made structure withstood their efforts. Some clung 
to the ark until they were borne away by the surging waters, or 
their hold was broken by collision with rocks and trees. The 
massive ark trembled in every fiber as it was beaten by the 
merciless winds, and flung from billow to billow. The cries of 
the beasts within expressed their fear and pain. But amid the 
warring elements it continued to ride safely. Angels that excel 
in strength were commissioned to preserve it. 

The beasts, exposed to the tempest, rushed toward man, as 
though expecting help from him. Some of the people bound their 
children and themselves upon powerful animals, knowing that 
these were tenacious of life, and would climb to the highest points 
to escape the rising waters. Some fastened themselves to lofty 
trees on the summit of hills or mountains; but the trees were 
uprooted, and with their burden of living beings were hurled into 
the seething billows. One spot after another that promised safety 
was abandoned. As the waters rose higher and higher, the people 
fled for refuge to the loftiest mountains. Often man and beast 
would struggle together for a foot-hold until both were swept away. 

From the highest peaks, men looked abroad upon a shoreless 
ocean. The solemn warnings of God's servant no longer seemed a 
subject for ridicule and scorning. How those doomed sinners 
longed for the opportunities which they had slighted ! How they 


pleaded for one hour's probation, one more privilege of mercy, one 
call from the lips of Noah! But the sweet voice of mercy was no 
more to-be heard by them. Love, no less than justice, demanded 
that God's judgments should put a check on sin. The avenging 
waters swept over the last retreat, and the despisers of God per- 
ished in the black depths. 

"By the word of God . . . the world that then was, being over- 
flowed with water, perished. But the heavens and the earth 
which are now, by the same Avord are kept in store, reserved unto 
fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men." l 
Another storm is coming. The earth will again be swept by the 
desolating wrath of God, and sin and sinners will be destroyed. 

The sins that called for vengeance upon the antediluvian 
world, exist to-day. The fear of God is banished from the hearts 
of men, and his law is treated with indifference and contempt. 
The intense worldliness of that generation is equaled by that of the 
generation now living. Said Christ, " As in the days that were 
before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and 
giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark. 
and knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so 
shall also the coming of the Son of man be." 2 God did not con- 
demn the antediluvians for eating and drinking; he had given 
them the fruits of the earth in great abundance to supply their 
physical wants. Their sin consisted in taking these gifts without 
gratitude to the Giver, and debasing themselves by indulging 
appetite without restraint. It was lawful for them to marry. 
Marriage was in God's order; it was one of the first institutions 
which he established. He gave special directions concerning this 
ordinance, clothing it with sanctity and beauty; but these direc- 
tions were forgotten, and marriage w r as perverted, and made to 
minister to passion. 

A similar condition of things exists now. That which is law- 
ful in itself is carried to excess. Appetite is indulged without 
restraint. Professed followers of Christ are to-day eating and 
drinking with the drunken, while their names stand in honored 
church records. Intemperance benumbs the moral and spiritual 
powers, and prepares the way for indulgence of the lower passions. 
Multitudes feel under no moral obligation to curb their sensual 
desires, and they become the slaves of lust. Men are living for 

1 2 Peter 3 : 5-7. ■ Matt. 24 : 33, 39. 


the pleasures of sense ; for this world and this life alone. Extrav- 
agance pervades all circles of society. Integrity is sacrificed for 
luxury and display. They that make haste to he rich pervert 
justice, and oppress the poor; and "slaves and souls of men" are 
still bought and sold. Fraud and bribery and theft stalk unre- 
buked in high places and in low. The issues of the press teem with 
records of murder, — crimes so cold-blooded and causeless that it 
seems as though every instinct of humanity were blotted out. 
And these atrocities have become of so common occurrence that 
they hardly elicit a comment or awaken surprise. The spirit of 
anarchy is permeating all nations, and the outbreaks that from 
time to time excite the horror of the world are but indications 
of the pent-up fires of passion and lawlessness that, having once 
escaped control, will fill the earth with woe and desolation. The 
picture which inspiration has given of the antediluvian world, 
represents too truly the condition to which modern society is fast 
hastening. Even now, in this nineteenth century, and in profess- 
edly Christian lands, there are crimes daily perpetrated, as black 
and terrible as those for which the old-world sinners were destroyed. 

Before the flood, God sent Noah to warn the world, that the 
people might be led to repentance, and thus escape the threatened 
destruction. As the time of Christ's second appearing draws near, 
the Lord sends his servants with a warning to the world to pre- 
pare for that great event. Multitudes have been living in trans- 
gression of God's law, and now he in mercy calls them to obey its 
sacred precepts. All who will put awa}^ their sins by repentance 
toward God and faith in Christ, are offered pardon. But many 
feel that it requires too great a sacrifice to put away sin. Because 
their life does not harmonize with the pure principles of God's 
moral government, they reject his warnings, and deny the author- 
ity of his law. 

Of the vast population of the earth before the flood, only eight 
souls believed and obeyed God's word through Noah. For a hun- 
dred and twenty years the preacher of righteousness warned the 
world of the coming destruction ; but his message was rejected and 
despised. So it will be now. Before the Lawgiver shall come to 
punish the disobedient, transgressors are warned to repent, and 
return to their allegiance ; but with the majority these warnings 
will be in vain. Says the apostle Peter, " There shall come in 
the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying,. 


Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell 
asleep, all things continue as the}'' were from the beginning." 1 
Do we not hear these very words repeated, not merely by the 
openly ungodly, but by many who oecupy the pulpits of our 
land? "There is no cause for alarm," they cry. " Before Christ 
shall come, all the world is to he converted, and righteousness is 
to reign for a thousand years. Peace, peace! all things continue 
:is they were from the beginning. Let none be disturhed hy the 
exciting message of these alarmists." But this doctrine of the 
millennium does not harmonize with the teachings of Christ and 
his apostles. Jesus asked the significant question, " When the 
Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth? " 2 And, as 
we have seen, he declares that the state of the world will be as in 
the days of Noah. Paul warns us that we may look for wicked- 
ness to increase as the end draws near: "The Spirit speaketh 
expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the 
faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils." 8 
The apostle says that " in the last days perilous times shall 
come." * And he gives a startling list of sins that will be found 
among those who have a form of godliness. 

As the time of their probation was closing, the antediluvians 
gave themselves up to exciting amusements and festivities. Those 
who possessed influence and power were bent on keeping the 
minds of the people engrossed with mirth and pleasure, lest any 
should be impressed by the last solemn warning. Do we not see 
the same repeated in our day ? While God's servants are giving 
the message that the end of all things is at hand, the world is ab- 
sorbed in amusements and pleasure-seeking. There is a constant 
round of excitement that causes indifference to God, and prevents 
the people from being impressed by the truths which alone can 
save them from the coming destruetion. 

In Noah's day, philosophers declared that it was impossible for 
the world to be destroyed by water; so now there are men of 
science who endeavor to show that the world cannot be destroyed 
by fire, — that this would he inconsistent with the laws of nature. 
But the God of nature, the maker and controller of her laws, can 
use the works of his hands to serve his own purpose. 

When great and wise men had proved to their satisfaction that 
it was impossible for the world to be destroyed by water, when the 
1 2 Peter 3 : 3, 4. 2 Luke 18 : 8. s I Tim. 4 : 1. * 2 Tim. 3:1. 



fears of the people were quieted, when all regarded Noah's proph- 
ecy as a delusion, and looked upon him as a fanatic, — then it was 
that God's time had come. " The fountains of the great deep were 
broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened," ' and the 
scoffers were overwhelmed in the waters of the flood. With all 
their boasted philosophy, men found too late that their wisdom 
was foolishness, that the Lawgiver is greater than the laws of nat- 
ure, and that Omnipotence is at no loss for means to accomplish 
his purposes. " As it was in the days of Noah," " even thus shall 
it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed." 2 " The day of 
the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the 
heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall 
melt with fervent heat, the earth also, and the works that are 
therein shall be burned up." 3 When the reasoning of philosophy 
has banished the fear of God's judgments; when religious teachers 
are pointing forward to long ages of peace and prosperity, and the 
world are absorbed in their rounds of business and pleasure, plant- 
ing and building, feasting and merry-making, rejecting God's 
warnings and mocking his messengers, — then it is that sudden 
destruction cometh upon them, and they shall not escape. 4 
1 Gen. 7:11. ~ Luke 17 : 26, 30. 3 2 Peter 3:10. * 1 Thess. 5 : 3. 



The waters rose fifteen cubits above the highest mountains. It 
often seemed to the family within the ark that they must perish) 
as for five long months their boat was tossed about, apparently at 
the mercy of wind and wave. It was a trying ordeal; but Noah's 
faith did not waver, for he had the assurance that the divine hand 
was upon the helm. 

As the waters began to subside, the Lord caused the ark to drift 
into a spot protected by a group of mountains that had been 
preserved by his power. These mountains were but a little dis- 
tance apart, and the ark moved about in this quiet haven, and 
was no longer driven upon the boundless ocean. This gave great 
relief to the weary, tempest-tossed voyagers. 

Noah and his family anxiously waited for the decrease of the 
waters ; for they longed to go forth again upon the earth. Forty 
days after the tops of the mountains became visible, they sent 
out a raven, a bird of quick scent, to discover whether the earth 
had become dry. This bird, finding nothing but water, continued 
to fly to and from the ark. Seven days later a dove was sent 
forth, which, finding no footing, returned to the ark. Noah waited 
seven days longer, and again sent forth the dove. When she re- 
turned at evening with an olive leaf in her mouth, there was great 
rejoicing. Later " Noah removed the covering of the ark, and 
looked, and, behold, the face of the ground Avas dry." 1 Still he 
waited patiently within the ark. As he had entered at God's com- 
mand, he waited for special directions to depart. 

At last an angel descended from heaven, opened the massive 
door, and bade the patriarch and his household go forth upon the 
earth, and take with them every living thing. In the joy of 
their release, Noah did not forgel Him by whose gracious care 
they had been preserved. Ili> first act after leaving the ark was 

1 Gen, 8 : 13. 

I 105 I 


to build an altar, and offer from every kind of clean beast and 
fowl a sacrifice, thus manifesting his gratitude to God for 
deliverance, and his faith in Christ, the great sacrifice. This 
offering was pleasing to the Lord; and a blessing resulted, not 
only to the patriarch and his family, but to all who should live 
upon the earth. " The Lord smelled a sweet savor; and the Lord 
said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for 
man's sake. . . . While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, 
and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night, 
shaii not cease." 1 Here was a lesson for all succeeding generations. 
Noah had come forth upon a desolate earth ; but before preparing 
a house for himself, he built an altar to God. His stock of cattle 
was small, and had been preserved at great expense; yet he 
cheerfully gave a part to the Lord, as an acknowledgment that 
all was his. In like manner it should be our first care to render 
our free-will offerings to God. Every manifestation of his mercy 
and love toward us should be gratefully acknowledged, both by 
acts of devotion and by gifts to his cause. 

Lest the gathering clouds and falling rain should fill men with 
constant terror, from fear of another flood, the Lord encouraged 
the family of Noah by a promise: "I will establish my covenant 
with you ; . . . neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy 
the earth. ... I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for 
a token of a covenant between me and the earth. And it shall 
come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow 
shall be seen in the cloud ; . . . and I will look upon it, that I 
may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every 
living creature." 2 

How great the condescension of God, and his compassion for 
his erring creatures, in thus placing the beautiful rainbow in the 
clouds as a token of his covenant with men! The Lord declares, 
that when he looks upon the bow, he will remember his covenant. 
This does not imply that he would ever forget ; but he speaks to 
us in our own language, that we may better understand him. It 
was God's purpose that as the children of after-generations should 
ask the meaning of the glorious arch which spans the heavens, 
their parents should repeat the story of the flood, and tell them 
that the Most High had bended the bow, and placed it in the 
clouds as an assurance that the waters should never again overflow 

^en. 8 : 21, 22. 2 Gen. 9 : 11-16. 


the earth. Thus from generation to generation it would testify of 
divine love to man, and would strengthen his confidence in God. 

In heaven the semblance of a rainbow encircles the throne, 
and overarches the head of Christ. The prophet says, "As the 
appearance of the how that is in the cloud in the day of rain, so 
was the appearance of the brightness round about [the throne]. 
This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of Jehovah." • 
The Revelator declares, " Behold, a throne was set in heaven, and 
One sat on the throne. . . . There w r as a rainbow round about the 
throne, in sight like unto an emerald." 2 When man by his great 
wickedness invites the divine judgments, the Saviour, interceding 
with the Father in his behalf, points to the bow in the clouds, to 
the rainbow around the throne and above his own head, as a token 
of the mercy of God toward the repentant sinner. 

With the assurance given to Noah concerning the flood, God 
himself has linked one of the most precious promises of his grace: 
"As I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go 
over the earth, so have I sworn that I would not be wroth with 
thee, nor rebuke thee. For the mountains shall depart, and the 
hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, 
neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith Jehovah 
that hath mercy on thee." 3 

A.s Noah looked upon the powerful beasts of prey that came 
forth with him from the ark, he feared that his family, numbering 
only eight persons, would be destroyed by them. But the Lord 
sent an angel to his servant with the assuring message : " The fear 
of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, 
and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth upon the 
earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they 
delivered. Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; 
even as the green herb have I given you all things." 4 Before this 
time God had given man no permission to eat animal food; he in- 
tended that the race should subsist wholly upon the productions 
of the earth; but now that every green thing had been destroyed, 
lie allowed them to cat the flesh of the clean beasts that had been 
preserved in the ark. 

The entire surface of the earth was changed at the flood. A 
third dreadful curse rested upon it in consequence of' sin. As the 
water began to subside, the hills and mountains were surrounded 

a Eze. 1 : 28. 2 Rev. 4 : 2, 3. :i Isa. 54 : 9, 10. ' *Gen. 9 : 2, 3. 


by a vast, turbid sea. Everywhere were strewn the dead bodies 
of men and beasts. The Lord would not permit these to re- 
main to decompose and pollute the air, therefore he made of the 
earth a vast burial-ground. A violent wind which was caused to 
blow for the purpose of drying up the waters, moved them with 
great force, in some instances even carrying away the tops of the 
mountains, and heaping up trees, rocks, and earth above the 
bodies of the dead. By the same means the silver and gold, the 
choice wood and precious stones, which had enriched and adorned 
the world before the flood, and which the inhabitants had idolized, 
were concealed from the sight and search of men, the violent 
action of the waters piling earth and rocks upon these treasures, 
and in some cases even forming mountains above them. God saw 
that the more he enriched and prospered sinful men, the more 
they would corrupt their ways before him. The treasures that 
should have led them to glorify the bountiful Giver had been 
worshiped, while God had been dishonored and despised. 

The earth presented an appearance of confusion and desolation 
impossible to describe. The mountains, once so beautiful in their 
perfect symmetry, had become broken and irregular. Stones, 
ledges, and ragged rocks were now scattered upon the surface of 
the earth. In many places, hills and mountains had disappeared, 
leaving no trace where they once stood ; and plains had given place 
to mountain ranges. These changes were more marked in some 
places than in others. Where once had been earth's richest treas- 
ures of gold, silver, and precious stones, were seen the heaviest 
marks of the curse. And upon countries that were not inhabited, 
and those where there had been the least crime, the curse rested 
more lightly. 

At this time immense forests were buried. These have since 
been changed to coal, forming the extensive coal beds that now 
exist, and also yielding large quantities of oil. The coal and oil 
frequently ignite and burn beneath the surface of the earth. Thus 
rocks are heated, limestone is burned, and iron ore melted. The 
action of the water upon the lime adds fury to the intense heat. 
As the fire and water come in contact with ledges of rock and ore, 
there are loud explosions, and volcanic eruptions follow. These 
often fail of giving sufficient vent to the heated elements, and the 
earth itself is convulsed, the ground opens, and villages, cities, and 
burning mountains are swallowed up. 


The depths of the earth are the Lord's arsenal, whence were 
drawn weapons to he employed in the destruction of the old 
world. Waters g ushing from the earth united with the waters 
from heaven to accomplish the work of desolation. Since the 
flood, tire as well as water has heen God's agent to destroy very 
wieked eities. These judgments are sent, that those who lightly 
regard God's law and trample upon his authority, may be led to 
tremble before his power, and to confess his just sovereignty. As 
men have beheld burning mountains pouring forth fire and 
flames, and torrents of melted ore, drying up rivers, overwhelming 
populous cities, and everywhere spreading ruin and desolation, the 
stoutest heart has been rilled with terror, and infidels and blasphe- 
mers have been constrained to acknowledge the infinite power of 

Said the prophets of old, referring to scenes like these : " O 
that thou wouldst rend the heavens, that thou wouldst come 
down, that the mountains might flow down at thy presence, as 
when the melting fire burnetii, the fire causeth the waters to boil, 
to make thy name known to thine adversaries, that the nations 
may tremble at thy presence! When thou didst terrible things 
which we looked not for, thou earnest down, the mountains flowed 
down at thy presence." 1 " The Lord hath his way in the whirl- 
wind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet. 
He rebuketh the sea. and maketh it dry, and drieth up all the 

More terrible manifestations than the world has ever yet be- 
held, will be witnessed at the second advent of Christ. "The 
mountains quake at him, and the hills melt, and the earth is 
burned at his presence, yea, the world, and all that dwell therein. 
"Who can stand before his indignation? and who can abide in the 
fierceness of his anger? " 2 " Bow thy heavens, Lord, and come 
down ; touch the mountains, and they shall smoke. Cast forth 
lightning, and scatter them: shoot out thine arrows, and destroy 
them." 3 

" I will show wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth 
beneath; blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke." 4 "And there 
were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a greal 
earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so 
mighty an earthquake, and so great." "And every island fled 

»Isa. 6 t : 1-3. 2 Nah. 1 : 3-6. 3 Ps. 144 : 5, 6. * Acts 2 : 19. 



away, and the mountains were not found. And there fell upon 
men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a 
talent." l 

As lightnings from heaven unite with the fire in the earth, the 
mountains will burn like a furnace, and will pour forth terrific 
streams of lava, overwhelming gardens and fields, villages and 
cities. Seething molten masses thrown into the rivers will cause 
the waters to boil, sending forth massive rocks with indescribable 
violence, and scattering their broken fragments upon the land. 
Rivers will be dried up. The earth will be convulsed ; every- 
where there will be dreadful earthquakes and eruptions. 

Thus God will destroy the wicked from off the earth. But the 
righteous will be preserved in the midst of these commotions, as 
Noah was preserved in the ark. God will be their refuge, and 
under his wings shall they trust. Says the psalmist : " Because 
thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the Most High, 
thy habitation, there shall no evil befall thee." " In the time of 
trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion ; in the secret of his tab- 
ernacle shall he hide me." God's promise is, " Because he hath 
set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him ; I will set him 
on high, because lie hath known my name." 2 

iRev. 16 : 18, 20, 21. 2 Ps. 91 : 9, 10, 14; 27 : 5. 




Like the Sabbath, the week originated at creation, and it has 
been preserved and brought down to us through Bible history. 
God himself measured off the first week as a sample for successive 
weeks to the close of time. Like every other, it consisted of seven 
literal days. Six days were employed in the work of creation ; 
upon the seventh, God rested, and he then blessed this day. and 
set it apart as a day of rest for man. 

In the law given from Sinai, God recognized the week, and the 
facts upon which it is based. After giving the command, " Re- 
member the Sabbath day, to keep it holy," and specifying what 
shall be done on the six days, and what shall not be done on the 
seventh, he states the reason for thus observing the week, by 
pointing back to his own example: "For in six days the Lord 
made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested 
the seventh day; wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, 
and hallowed it." 1 This reason appears beautiful and forcible 
when we understand the days of creation to be literal. The first 
six days of each week are given to man for labor, because God 
employed the same period of the first week in the work of creation. 
On the seventh day man is to refrain from labor, in commemo- 
ration of the Creator's rest. 

But the assumption that the events of the first week required 
thousands upon thousands of years, strikes directly at the founda- 
tion of the fourth commandment. It represents the Creator as 
commanding men to observe the week of literal days in commem- 
oration of vast, indefinite periods. This is unlike his method of 
dealing with his creatures. It makes indefinite and obscure that 
which he has made very plain. It is infidelity in its most insidi- 
ous and hence most dangerous form ; its real character is so dis- 
guised that it is held and taught by many who profess to believe 
the Bible. 

1 Ex. 'in : 8-11. 


" By the word of the Lord were the heavens made ; and all the 
host of them hy the breath of his mouth." " For he spake, and 
it was done ; he commanded, and it stood fast." 1 The Bible rec- 
ognizes no long ages in which the earth was slowly evolved from 
chaos. Of each successive day of creation, the sacred record de- 
clares that it consisted of the evening and the morning, like all 
other days that have followed. At the close of each day is given 
the result of the Creator's work. The statement is made at the 
close of the first week's record, " These are the generations of the 
heavens and of the earth when they were created." 2 But this does 
not convey the idea that the days of creation were other than 
literal days. Each day was called a generation, because that in it 
God generated, or produced, some new portion of his work. 

Geologists claim to find evidence from the earth itself that it is 
very much older than the Mosaic record teaches. Bones of men 
and animals, as well as instruments of warfare, petrified trees, etc., 
much larger than any that now exist, or that have existed for 
thousands of years, have been discovered, and from this it is in- 
ferred that the earth was populated long before the time brought 
to view in the record of creation, and by a race of beings vastly 
superior in size to any men now living. Such reasoning has led 
many professed Bible-believers to adopt the position that the days 
of creation were vast, indefinite periods. 

But apart from Bible history, geology can prove nothing. 
Those who reason so confidently upon its discoveries, have no ad- 
equate conception of the size of men, animals, and trees before the 
flood, or of the great changes which then took place. Relics found 
in the earth do give evidence of conditions differing in many 
respects from the present; but the time when these conditions 
existed can be learned only from the Inspired Record. In the 
history of the flood, inspiration has explained that which geology 
alone could never fathom. In the days of Noah, men, animals, 
and trees, many times larger than now exist, were buried, and 
thus preserved as an evidence to later generations that the ante- 
diluvians perished by a flood. God designed that the discovery 
of these things should establish faith in inspired history; but 
men, Avith their vain reasoning, fall into the same error as did the 
people before the flood, — the things which God gave them as a 
benefit, they turn into a curse by making a wrong use of them. 

1 Ps. 33 : 6, 9. a Gen. 2 . 4. 


It is one of Satan's devices to lead the people to accept the 
fables of infidelity; for he can thus obscure the law of God, in 
itself very plain, and embolden men to rebel against the divine 
government. His efforts are especially directed against the fourth 
commandment, because it so clearly points to the living God, the 
Maker of the heavens and the earth. 

There is a constant effort made to explain the work of creation 
as the result of natural causes ; and human reasoning is accepted 
even by professed Christians, in opposition to plain Scripture facts. 
There are many who oppose the investigation of the prophecies, 
especially those of Daniel and the Revelation, declaring them to 
be so obscure that we cannot understand them : vet these very per- 
sons eagerly receive tin; suppositions of geologists, in contradiction 
of the Mosaic record. But if that which God has revealed is so 
difficult to understand, how inconsistent it is to accept mere sup- 
positions in regard to that which he has not revealed ! 

" The secret things belong unto the Lord our God; but those 
things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for- 
ever." 1 Just how God accomplished the work of creation he has 
never revealed to men; human science cannot search out the 
secrets of the Most High. His creative power is as incomprehen- 
sible as his existence. 

God has permitted a flood of light to be poured upon the 
world, in both science and art; but when professedly scientific 
men treat upon these subjects from a merely human point of view, 
they will assuredly come to wrong conclusions. It may be inno- 
cent to speculate beyond what God's word has revealed, if our 
theories do not contradict facts found in the Scriptures; but those 
who leave the word of God, and seek to account for his cre- 
ated works upon scientific principles, are drifting, without chart or 
compass, upon an unknown ocean. The greatest minds, if not 
guided by the word of God in their research, become bewildered 
in their attempts to trace the relations of science and revelation. 
Because the Creator and his works are so far beyond their compre- 
hension that they are unable to explain them by natural laws, 
they regard Bible history as unreliable. Those who doubt the 
reliability of the records of the Old and New Testaments, will be 
led to go a step further, and doubt the existence of God.; and then. 
having lost their anchor, they are left to beat about upon the rocks 
of infidelity. > Deut. 29 : 29. 


These persons have lost the simplicity of faith. There should 
be a settled belief in the divine authority of God's holy word. 
The Bible is not to be tested by men's ideas of science. Human 
knowledge is an unreliable guide. Skeptics who read the Bible 
for the sake of caviling, may, through an imperfect comprehension 
of either science or revela,tion, claim to find contradictions between 
them ; but rightly understood, they are in perfect harmony. Moses 
wrote under the guidance of the Spirit of God ; and a correct theory 
of geology will never claim discoveries that cannot be reconciled 
with his statements. All truth, whether in nature or in revelation, 
is consistent with itself in all its manifestations. 

In the word of God many queries are raised that the most 
profound scholars can never answer. Attention is called to these 
subjects to show us how much there is, even among the common 
things of every-day life, that finite minds, with all their boasted 
wisdom, can never fully understand. 

Yet men of science think that they can comprehend the wis- 
dom of God, that which he has done or can do. The idea largely 
prevails that he is restricted by his own laws. Men either deny 
or ignore his existence, or think to explain everything, even the 
operation of his Spirit upon the human heart ; and they no longer 
reverence his name, or fear his power. They do not believe in the 
supernatural, not understanding God's laws, or his infinite power 
to work his will through them. As commonly used, the term " laws 
of nature " comprises what men have been able to discover with 
/egard to the laws thaf, govern the physical world ; but how 
/united is their knowledge, and how vast the field in which the 
Creator can work, in harmony with his own laws, and yet wholly 
beyond the comprehension of finite beings ! 

Many teach that matter possesses vital power, — that certain 
properties are imparted to matter, and it is then left to act through 
its own inherent energy; and that the operations of nature are 
conducted in harmony with fixed laws, with which God himself 
cannot interfere. This is false science, and is not sustained by 
the word of God. Nature is the servant of her Creator. God does 
not annul his laws, or work contrary to them ; but he is continually 
using them as his instruments. Nature testifies of an intelligence, 
a presence, an active energy, that works in and through her laws. 
There is in nature the continual working of the Father and the 
Son. Christ says, " My Father worketh hitherto, and I work." 1 

1 John 5 : IT. 


Tin- Levites, in their hymn recorded by Nehemiah, sun--, 
"Thou, even thou, art Lord alone; thou hast made heaven, the 
heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth, and all things 
therein, . . . and thou preserved them all." ' As regards this world, 
God's work of creation is completed. For " the works were finished 
from the foundation of the world.''- But his energy is still ex- 
erted in upholding the objects of his creation. It is not because 
the mechanism that has once been set in motion continues to act 
by its own inherent energy, that the pulse beats, and breath fol- 
lows breath; hut every breath, every pulsation of the heart, is an 
evidence of the all-pervading care of Him in whom " Ave live, and 
move, and have our being." 8 It is not hecause of inherent pow T er 
that year by year the earth produces her bounties, and continues 
her motion around the sun. The hand of God guides the planets, 
and keeps them in position in their orderly march through the 
heavens. He "bringeth out their host by number; he calleth 
them all by names by the greatness of his might, for that he is 
-trong in power; not one faileth.'" It is through his power that 
vegetation flourishes, that the leaves appear arid the flowers bloom. 
He " maketh grass to grow upon the mountains," and by him the 
valleys are made fruitful. All the beasts of the forest seek 
their meat from God, 5 and every living creature, from the small- 
est insect up to man, is daily dependent upon his providential 
care. In the beautiful words of the psalmist, "These wait all 
upon thee. . . . That thou givest them they gather ; thou openest 
thine hand, they are fdled with good." His word controls the 
elements, he covers the heavens with clouds, and prepares rain for 
the earth. " He giveth snow like wool ; he scattereth the hoar 
frost like ashes." "When he uttereth his voice, there is a mul- 
titude of waters in the heavens, and he causeth the vapors to 
ascend from the ends of the earth ; he maketh lightnings with 
rain, and bringeth forth the wind out of his treasures." 7 

God is the foundation of everything. All true science is in 
harmony with his works; all true education leads to obedience to 
his government. Science opens new wonders to our view; she 
soars high, and explores new depths; but she brings nothing from 
her research that conflicts with divine revelation. Ignorance may 

k to support false views of God by appeals to science ; but the 
book of nature and the written word shed light upon each other. 

' Nih. 9 : 6. 2 Heb. 4 : 3. "Acta 17 : 28. * Isa. 40 : 26. 

5 Is 147 : 8 ; 104 : 20, SI. 6 Ps. 104 . 27, 28. "> Ps. 147 : 16 ; Jer. 10 : 13. 




We are thus led to adore the Creator, and to have an intelligent 
trust in his word. 

No finite mind can fully comprehend the existence, the power, 
the wisdom, or the works of the Infinite One. Says the sacred 
writer: "Canst thou by searching find out God? canst thou find 
out the Almighty unto perfection? It is as high as heaven ; what 
canst thou do? deeper than hell; what canst thou know? The 
measure thereof is longer than the earth, and broader than the 
sea." 1 The mightiest intellects of earth cannot comprehend God. 
Men may be ever searching, ever learning, and still there is an in- 
finity beyond. 

Yet the works of creation testify of God's power and greatness. 
'• The heavens declare the glory of God ; and tl e firmament show- 
cth his handiwork."' 2 Those who take the written word as their 
counselor will find in science an aid to understand God. " The 
invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly 
seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eter- 
nal power and Godhead." 3 

1 Job 11 : 7-9. 2 Ps. 19 : 1. 3 Rom. 1 : 20. 



To re-people the desolate earth, which the flood had so lately 
swept from its moral corruption, God had preserved hut one 
family, the household of Noah, to whom he had declared, "Thee 
have I seen righteous before me in this generation." 1 Yet in the 
three sons of Noah was speedily developed the same great distinc- 
tion seen in the world before the flood. In Shem, Ham, and 
Japheth, who were to he the founders of the human race, was 
foreshadowed the character of their posterity. 

Noah, speaking hy divine inspiration, foretold the history of 
the three great races to spring from these fathers of mankind. 
Tracing the descendants of Ham, through the son rather than the 
father, he declared, "Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants 
shall he be unto his brethren." 2 The unnatural crime of Ham 
dei hired that filial reverence had long before been cast from his 
soul ; and it revealed the impiety and vileness of his character. 
These evil characteristics were perpetuated in Canaan and his 
] m eterity, whose continued guilt called upon them the judgments 
of God. 

On the other hand, the reverence manifested by Shem and 
Japheth for their father, and thus for the divine statutes, prom- 
ised a brighter future for their descendants. Concerning these 
sons it was declared: "Blessed be Jehovah, God of Shem; and 
Canaan shall be his servant. God shall enlarge Japheth, and 
he shall dwell in the tents of Shem ; and Canaan shall be his 
servant,*' 2 The line of Shem was to be that of the chosen people, 
of God's covenant, of the promised Redeemer. Jehovah was the 
God of Shem. From him would descend Abraham, and the 
people of Israel, through whom Christ was to come. " Happy 
is that people whose God is the Lord." 3 And Japheth "shall 

1 Gen. 7:1. 2 Gen. 9 : 25-27. 3 ?s. 144:15. 



dwell in the tents of Shem." In the blessings of the gospel the 
descendants of Japheth were especially to share. 

The posterity of Canaan descended to the most degrading 
forms of heathenism. Though the prophetic curse had doomed 
them to slavery, the doom was withheld for centuries. God bore 
with their impiety and corruption until they passed the limits of 
divine forbearance. Then they were dispossessed, and became 
bondmen to the descendants of Shem and Japheth. 

The prophecy of Noah was no arbitrary denunciation of wrath 
or declaration of favor. It did not fix the character and destiny 
of his sons. But it showed what would be the result of the course 
•of life they had severally chosen, and the character they had de- 
veloped. It was an expression of God's purpose toward them 
and their posterity in view of their own character and conduct. 
As a rule, children inherit the dispositions and tendencies of their 
parents, and imitate their example ; so that the sins of the parents 
are practiced by the children from generation to generation. Thus 
the vileness and irreverence of Ham were reproduced in his pos- 
terity, bringing a curse upon them for many generations. " One 
sinner destroy eth much good." 1 

On the other hand, how richly rewarded was Shem's respect 
for his father ; and what an illustrious line of holy men appears in 
his posterity ! " The Lord knoweth the days of the upright," " and 
his seed is blessed." 2 " Know therefore that the Lord thy God he 
is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with 
them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand 
generations." 3 

For a time, the descendants of Noah continued to dwell among 
the mountains where the ark had rested. As their numbers in- 
creased, apostasy soon led to division. Those who desired to for- 
get their Creator, and to cast off the restraint of his law, felt a 
constant annoyance from the teaching and example of their God- 
fearing associates ; and after a time they decided to separate from 
the worshipers of God. Accordingly they journeyed to the plain 
of Shinar, on the banks of the river Euphrates. They were at- 
tracted by the beauty of the situation and the fertility of the soil ; 
and upon this plain they determined to make their home. 

Here they decided to build a city, and in it a tower of such 
stupendous height as should render it the wonder of the world. 

JEccl. 9 : 18. 2 Ps. 37 : 18, 26. 3 Deut. 7 : 9. 


These enterprises were designed to prevent the people from scat- 
tering abroad in colonics. God had directed men to disperse 
throughout the earth, to replenish and subdue it; but these 
Babel-builders determined to keep their community united in one 
body, and to found a monarchy that should eventually embrace 
the whole earth. Thus their city would hecome the metropolis of 
a universal empire; its glory would command the admiration and 
homage of the world, and render the founders illustrious. The 
magnificent tower, reaching to the heavens, was intended to stand 
as a monument of the power and wisdom of its builders, perpetu- 
ating their fame to the latest generations. 

The dwellers on the plain of Shinar disbelieved God's covenant 
that he would not again bring a flood upon the earth. Many of 
them denied the existence of God, and attributed the flood to the 
operation of natural causes. Others believed in a supreme being, 
and that it was he who had destroyed the antediluvian world; 
and their hearts, like that of Cain, rose up in rebellion against 
him. One object before them in the erection of the tower was to 
secure their own safety in case of another deluge. By carrying 
the structure to a much greater height than was reached by the 
waters of the flood, they thought to place themselves beyond all 
possibility of danger. And as they would be able to ascend to the 
region of the clouds, they hoped to ascertain the cause of the flood. 
The whole undertaking was designed to exalt still further the 
pride of its projectors, and to turn the minds of future generations 
away from God, and lead them into idolatry. 

When the tower had been partially completed, a portion of it 
was occupied as a dwelling-place for the builders; other apart- 
ments, splendidly furnished and adorned, were devoted to their 
idols. The people rejoiced in their success, and praised the t^ods 
of silver and gold, and set themselves against the Ruler of heaven 
and earth. Suddenly the work that had been advancing so 
prosperously was checked. Angels were sent to bring to naught 
the purpose of the builders. The tower had reached a lofty 
height, and it was impossible for the workmen at the top to com- 
municate directlv with those at the base ; therefore men were 
stationed at different points, each to receive and report to. the one 
next below him the orders for needed material, or other directions 
concerning the work. As messages were thus passing from one to 
another, the language was confounded, so that material was called 


for which was not needed, and the directions delivered were often 
the reverse of those that had been given. Confusion and dismay 
followed. All work came to a stand-still. There, could be no 
further harmony or co-operation. The builders were wholly un- 
able to account for the strange misunderstandings among them, 
and in their rage and disappointment they reproached one an- 
other. Their confederacy ended in strife ar>d bloodshed. Light- 
nings from heaven, as an evidence of God's displeasure, broke off 
the upper portion of the tower, and cast it to the ground. Men 
were made to feel that there is a God who ruleth in the heavens. 

Up to this time, all men had spoken the same language ; now 
those that could understand one another's speech united in com- 
panies ; some went one way, and some another. " The Lord 
scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the 
earth." 1 This dispersion was the means of peopling the earth; 
and thus the Lord's purpose was accomplished through the very 
means that men had employed to prevent -its fulfillment. 

But at what a loss to those who had set themselves against 
God ! It was his purpose, that, as men should go forth to found 
nations in different parts of the earth, they should carry with 
them a knowledge of his will, that the light of truth might shine 
unclimmed to succeeding generations. Noah, the faithful preacher 
of righteousness, lived for three hundred and fifty years after the 
flood, Shem for five hundred years, and thus their descendants 
had an opportunity to become acquainted with the requirements 
of God and the history of his dealings with their fathers. But 
they were unwilling to listen to these unpalatable truths ; they 
had no desire to retain God in their knowledge ; and by the 
confusion of tongues they were, in a great measure, shut out from 
intercourse with those who might have given them light. 

The Babel-builders had indulged the spirit of murmuring 
against God. Instead of gratefully remembering his mercy to 
Adam, and his gracious covenant with Noah, they had complained 
of his severity in expelling the first pair from Eden, and destroy- 
ing the world by a flood. But while they murmured against 
God as arbitrary and severe, they were accepting the rule of the 
crudest of tyrants. Satan was seeking to bring contempt upon 
the sacrificial offerings that prefigured the death of Christ; and ;i^ 
the minds of the people were darkened by idolatry, he led them 
to counterfeit these offerings, and sacrifice their own children 

Mien. 1 1 : 8. 



upon the altars of their godB. As men turned away from God, th< 
divine attributes — justice, purity, and love — were BUpplanted 
by oppression, violence, and brutality. 

The men of Babel bad determined to establish a government 
that should be independent of God. There were some among 
them, however, who feared the Lord, but who had been deceived 
by the pretensions of the ungodly, and drawn into their schemes. 
For the sake of these faithful ones, the Lord delayed his judg- 
ments, and gave the people time to reveal their true character. 
As this was developed, the sons of God labored to turn them from 
their purpose ; but the people were fully united in their Heaven- 
daring undertaking. Had they gone on unchecked, they would 
have demoralized the world in its infancy. Their confederacy 
was founded in rebellion ; a kingdom established for self-exalta- 
tion, but in which God was to have no rule or honor. Had this 
confederacy been permitted, a mighty power would have borne 
sway to banish righteousness — and with it peace, happiness, and 
security — from the earth. For the divine statutes, which are 
" holy and just and good," ' men were endeavoring to substitute 
laws to suit the purpose of their own selfish and cruel hearts. 

Those that feared the Lord cried unto him to interpose. 
" And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which 
the children of men builded." 2 In mercy to the world he defeated 
the purpose of the tower-builders, and overthrew the memorial of 
their daring. In mercy he confounded their speech, thus putting 
a check on their }:>urposes of rebellion. God bears long with the 
perversity of men, giving them ample opportunity for repentance ; 
but he marks all their devices to resist the authority of his just 
and holy law. From time to time the unseen hand that holds the 
scepter of government is stretched out to restrain iniquity. Un- 
mistakable evidence is given that the Creator of the universe, the 
One infinite in wisdom and love and truth, is the supreme ruler of 
heaven and earth, and that none can with impunity defy his power. 

The schemes of the Babel-builders ended in shame and defeat.. 
The monument to their pride became the memorial of their foil v. 
Yet men are continually pursuing the same course, — depending 
upon self, and rejecting God's law. It is the principle that Satan 
tried to carry out in heaven; the same that governed Cain in 
presenting his offering. 

There are tower-builders in our time. Infidels construct their 

'Rom. 7 : 12. 8 Gen. 11:5. 


theories from the supposed deductions of science, and reject the 
revealed word of God. They presume to pass sentence upon God's 
moral government; they despise his law, and boast of the suf- 
ficiency of human reason. Then, " because sentence against an 
evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the 
sons of men is fully set in them to do evil." 1 

In the professedly Christian world, many turn away from the 
plain teachings of the Bible, and build up a creed from human 
speculations and pleasing fables ; and they point to their tower as 
a way to climb up to heaven. Men hang with admiration upon 
the lips of eloquence while it teaches that the transgressor shall 
not die, that salvation may be secured without obedience to the 
law of God. If the professed followers of Christ would accept 
God's standard, it would bring them into unity ; but so long as 
human wisdom is exalted above his holy word, there will be divis- 
ions and dissension. The existing confusion of conflicting creeds 
and sects is fitly represented by the term " Babylon," which proph- 
ecy 2 applies to the world-loving churches of the last days. 

Many seek to make a heaven for themselves by obtaining 
riches and power. They " speak wickedly concerning oppression, 
they speak loftily," 3 trampling upon human rights, and disregard- 
ing divine authority. The proud may be for a time in great 
power, and may see success in all that they undertake ; but in the 
end they will find only disappointment and wretchedness. 

The time of God's investigation is at hand. The Most High 
will come down to see that which the children of men have 
builded. His sovereign power will be revealed; the works of 
human pride will be laid low. " The Lord looketh from heaven; 
he beholdeth all the sons of men. From the place of his hab- 
itation he looketh upon all the inhabitants of the earth." " The 
Lord bringeth the counsel of the heathen to naught ; he maketh 
the devices of the people of none effect. The counsel of the Lord 
standeth forever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations." 3 
1 Eccl. 8 : 11. 2 Rev. 14 : 8 : 18 : 2. 3 Ps. 73 : 8; 33 : 13, 14, 10, 11. 



After the dispersion from Babel, idolatry again became well- 
nigh universal, and the Lord finally left the hardened transgressors 
to follow their evil "ways, while he chose Abraham, of the line of 
Shem, and made him the keeper of his law for future generations. 
Abraham had grown up in the midst of superstition and heathen- 
ism. Even his father's household, by whom the knowledge of 
God had been preserved, were yielding to the seductive influ- 
ences surrounding them, and they " served other gods " ! than 
Jehovah. But the true faith was not to become extinct. God 
has ever preserved a remnant to serve him. Adam, Seth, Enoch, 
Methuselah, Noah, Shem, 2 in unbroken line, had preserved from 
age to age the precious revealings of his will. The son of Terah 
became the inheritor of this holy trust. Idolatry invited him on 
every side, but in vain. Faithful among the faithless, uncor- 
rupted by the prevailing apostasy, he steadfastly adhered to the 
worship of the one true God. "The Lord is nigh unto all them 
that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth." He 
communicated his will to Abraham, and gave him a distinct 
knowledge of the requirements of his law, and of the salvation 
that would be accomplished through Christ. 

There was given to Abraham the promise, especially dear to 
the people of that age, of a numerous posterity and of national 
greatness: "I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless 
thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing." 
And to this was added the assurance, precious above every other 
to the inheritor of faith, that of his line the Redeemer of the 
world should come: "In thee shall all families of the earth be 
Messed." 4 Yet, as the first condition of fulfillment, there was to 
be a test of faith ; a sacrifice was demanded. 

1 Joshua 24 : 2. 2 See Appendix, Note 2. 3 Ps. 145 : 18. 

*Gen. 12 : 3. 

[ 125 | 


The message of God came to Abraham, " Get thee out of thy 
country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto- 
a land that I will show thee." 1 In order that God might qualify 
him for his great work, as the keeper of the sacred oracles,, 
Abraham must be separated from the associations of his early 
life. The influence of kindred and friends would interfere with 
the training which the Lord purposed to give his servant. Now 
that Abraham was, in a special sense, connected with heaven, he 
must dwell among strangers. His character must be peculiar, 
differing from all the world. He could not even explain his- 
course of action so as to be understood by his friends. Spiritual 
things are spiritually discerned, and his motives and actions were 
not comprehended by his idolatrous kindred. 

" By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place 
which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed ; and he 
went out, not knowing whither he went." 2 Abraham's unquestion- 
ing obedience is one of the most striking evidences of faith to be 
found in all the Bible. To him, faith was "the substance of 
things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." 2 Relying 
upon the divine promise, without the least outward assurance of 
its fulfillment, he abandoned home and kindred and native land, 
and went forth, he knew not whither, to follow where God should 
lead. " By faith he became a sojourner in the land of promise as- 
in a land not his own, dwelling in tents, with Isaac and Jacob, the 
heirs with him of the same promise." 3 

It was no light test that was thus brought upon Abraham. 
no small sacrifice that was required of him. There were strong 
ties to bind him to his country, his kindred, and his home. But 
he did not hesitate to obey the call. He had no question to ask 
concerning the land of promise, — whether the soil was fertile, and 
the climate healthful ; whether the country offered agreeable sur- 
roundings, and would afford opportunities for amassing wealth. 
God had spoken, and his servant must obey ; the happiest place 
on earth for him was the place where God would have him to be. 

Many are still tested as was Abraham. They do not hear the 
voice of God speaking directly from the heavens, but he calls them 
by the teachings of his word and the events of his providence. 
They may be required to abandon a career that promises wealth 
and honor, to leave congenial and profitable associations, and sep- 
1 Gen. 12 : 1. 2 Heb. 11 : 8, 1. 3 Hcb. 11:9, Rev. Ver. 

THE <\\l. I, OF ABRAHAM. 127 

arate from kindred, to enter upon what appears to be only a path 
of self-denial, hardship, and sacrifice. God lias a work for them 
to do; but a life of ease and the influence of friends and kindred 
would hinder the development of the very traits essential for its 
accomplishment, lie calls them away from human influences and 
aid, and leads them to feel the need of his help, and to depend upon 
him alone, that he may reveal himself to them. Who is ready at the 
call of Providence to renounce cherished plans and familiar asso- 
ciations? Who will accept new duties and enter untried fields, 
doing God's work with firm and willing heart, for Christ's sake 
counting his losses gain? He who will do this has the faith of 
Abraham, and will share with him that "far more exceeding and 
eternal weight of glory," with which "the sufferings of this present 
time are not worthy to be compared." ' 

The call from heaven first came to Abraham while he dwelt 
in •" Ur of the Chaldees," 2 and in obedience to it he removed to 
Haran. Thus far his father's family accompanied him; for with 
their idolatry they united the worship of the true God. Here 
Abraham remained till the death of Terah. But from his father's 
grave the divine voice bade him go forward. His brother Nahor 
with his household clung to their home and their idols. Besides 
Sarah, the wife of Abraham, only Lot, the son of Haran long since 
dead, chose to share the patriarch's pilgrim life. Yet it was a 
large company that set out from Mesopotamia. Abraham already 
possessed extensive flocks and herds, the riches of the East, and 
he was surrounded by a numerous body of servants and retainers. 
He was departing from the land of his fathers, never to return, 
and he took with him all that he had, "their substance that they 
had gathered, and the souls that they had gotten in Haran." 3 
Among these were many led by higher considerations than those 
of service and self-interest. During their stay in Haran, both 
Abraham and Sarah had led others to the worship and service 
of the true God. These attached themselves to the patriarch's 
household, and accompanied him to the land of promise. "And 
they went forth to go into the land of Canaan ; and into the land of 
Canaan they came." 3 

The place where they first tarried was Shechem. Under the 
shade of the oaks of Moreh, in a wide, grassy valley, with its olive 
groves and gushing springs, between Mount Ebal on the one side 

J 2 Cor. 4 : 17 ; Rom. 8 : 18. 2 Gen. 11:31. 8 Gen. 1:3 : 5. 


and Mount Gerizim on the other, Abraham made his encamp- 
ment. It was a fair and goodly country that the patriarch had 
entered, — "a land of brooks of water, of fountains and depths 
that spring out of valleys and hills ; a land of wheat, and barley, 
and vines, and fig-trees, and pomegranates ; a land of oil olive, and 
honey." ' But to the 7/orshiper of Jehovah, a heavy shadow rested 
upon wooded hill and fruitful plain. " The Canaanite was then in 
the land." Abraham had reached the goal of his hopes to find a 
country occupied by an alien race, and overspread with idolatry. 
In the groves were set up the altars of false gods, and human 
sacrifices were offered upon the neighboring heights. While he 
clung to the divine promise, it was not without distressful forebod- 
ings that he pitched his tent. Then "the Lord appeared unto 
Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land." 2 His faith 
was strengthened by this assurance that the divine presence was 
with him, that he was not left to the mercy of the wicked. " And 
there builded he an altar unto the Lord, who appeared unto 
him." 2 Still a wayfarer, he soon removed to a spot near Bethel, 
and again erected an altar, and called upon the name of the Lord. 

Abraham, " the friend of God," set us a worthy example. His 
was a life of prayer. Wherever he pitched his tent, close beside it 
was set up his altar, calling all within his encampment to the 
morning and the evening sacrifice. When his tent was removed, 
the altar remained. In following years, there were those among 
the roving Canaanites who received instruction from Abraham, 
and whenever one of these came to that altar, he knew who had 
been there before him ; and when he had pitched his tent, he re- 
paired the altar, and there worshiped the living God. 

Abraham continued to journey southward ; and again his faith 
was tested. The heavens withheld their rain, the brooks ceased to 
flow in the valleys, and the grass withered on the plams. The 
flocks and herds found no pasture, and starvation threatened the 
whole encampment. Did not the patriarch now question the 
leadings of Providence? Did he not look back with longing to 
the plenty of the Chaldean plains ? All were eagerly watching to 
see what Abraham would do, as trouble after trouble came upon 
him, So long as his confidence appeared unshaken, they felt that 
there was hope ; they were assured that God was his friend, and 
that he was still guiding him. 

£ Deut. 8 : 7, 8. a Gen. VI: 7. 

THE ('ALL OF Mill All AM. \->§ 

Abraham could not explain the leadings of Providence; he 
had not realized his expectations; but he held fast the promise, 
"I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a 
blessing." With earnest prayer he considered how to preserve the 
life of his people and his flocks, but he would not allow circum- 
stances to shake his faith in God's word. To escape the famine he 
went down into Egypt. He did not forsake Canaan, or in his ex- 
tremity turn back to the Chaldean land from which he came, 
where there was no scarcity of bread ; but he sought a temporary 
refuge as near as possible to the land of promise, intending shortly 
to return where God had placed him. 

The Lord in his providence had brought this trial upon Abra- 
ham to teach him lessons of submission, patience, and faith, — 
lessons that were to be placed on record for the benefit of all 
who should afterward be called to endure affliction. God leads 
his children by a way that they know not ; but he does not forget 
or cast off those who put their trust in him. He permitted afflic- 
tion to come upon Job, but he did not forsake him. He allowed 
the beloved John to be exiled to lonely Patmos, but the Son of 
God met him there, and his vision was filled with scenes of 
immortal glory. God permits trials to assail his people, that by 
their constancy and obedience they themselves may be spiritually 
enriched, and that their example may be a source of strength to 
others. " I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the 
Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil." 1 The very trials that 
task our faith most severely, and make it seem that God has for- 
saken us, are to lead us closer to Christ, that Ave may lay all our 
burdens at his feet, and experience the peace which he will give 
us in exchange. 

God has always tried his people in the furnace of affliction. 
It is in the heat of the furnace that the dross is separated from the 
true gold of the Christian character. Jesus watches the test ; he 
knows what is needed to purify the precious metal, that it may re- 
flect the radiance of his love. It is by close, testing trials that 
God disciplines his servants. He sees that some have powers 
which may be used in the advancement of his work, and he puts 
these persons upon trial; in his providence he brings them into 
positions that test their character, and reveal defects and weak- 
nesses that have been hidden from their own knowledge. He 

^Jer. 29 : 11. 


gives them opportunity to correct these defects, and to fit them- 
selves for his service. He shows them their own weakness, and 
teaches them to lean upon him ; for he is their only help and safe- 
guard. Thus his object is attained. They are educated, trained, 
and disciplined, prepared to fulfill the grand purpose for which 
their powers were given them. When God calls them to action, 
they are ready, and heavenly angels can unite with them in the 
work to be accomplished on the earth. 

During his stay in Egypt, Abraham gave evidence that he was 
not free from human weakness and imperfection. In concealing 
the fact that Sarah was his wife, he betrayed a distrust of the 
divine care, a lack of that lofty faith and courage so often and 
nobly exemplified in his life. Sarah was " fair to look upon," and 
he doubted not that the dusky Egyptians would covet the beauti- 
ful stranger, and that in order to secure her, they would not 
scruple to slay her husband. He reasoned that he was not guilty 
of falsehood in representing Sarah as his sister ; for she was the 
daughter of his father, though not of his mother. But this con- 
cealment of the real relation between them was deception. No 
deviation from strict integrity can meet God's approval. Through 
Abraham's lack of faith, Sarah was placed in great peril. The 
king of Egypt, being informed of her beauty, caused her to be 
taken to his palace, intending to make her his wife. But the 
Lord, in his great mercy, protected Sarah by sending judgments 
upon the royal household. By this means the monarch learned 
the truth in the matter, and, indignant at the deception practiced 
upon him, he reproved Abraham, and restored to him his wife, 
saying, "What is this that thou hast done unto me? . . . Why 
saidst thou, She is my sister? So I might have taken her to me 
to wife. Now therefore behold thy wife, take her, and go thy 
way." 1 

Abraham had been greatly favored by the king; even now 
Pharaoh would permit no harm to be done him or his company, 
but ordered a guard to conduct them in safety out of his domin- 
ions. At this time, laws were made prohibiting the Egyptians 
from intercourse with foreign shepherds in any such familiarity 
as eating or drinking with them. Pharaoh's dismissal of Abraham 
was kind and generous ; but he bade him leave Egypt, for 
he dared not permit him to remain. He had ignorantly been 

JGen. 12 :18, 19. 



about to '1" him a serious injury; l>ut God had interposed, and 
Bavea the monarch from committing so great a Bin. Pharaoh saw 
in this stranger a man whom the God of heaven honored, and he 
feared to have in his kingdom one who was so evidently under 
divine favor. Should Abraham remain in Egypt, his increasing 
wealth and honor would be likely to excite the envy or covetous- 
nesa of the Egyptians, and some injury might be done him for 
which the monarch would be held responsible, and which might 
again bring judgments upon the royal house. 

The warning that had been given to Pharaoh proved a protection 
to Abraham in his after-intercourse with heathen peoples; tor the 
matter could not be kept secret, and it was seen that the God whom 
Abraham worshiped would protect his servant, and that any injury 
done him would be avenged. It is a dangerous thing to wrong one 
of the children of the King of heaven. The psalmist refers to this 
chapter in Abraham's experience when he says, in speaking of the 
chosen people, that God "reproved kings for their sakes, saying. 
Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm." 1 

There is an interesting similarity between Abraham's experience 
in Egypt and that of his posterity, centuries later. Both went down 
into Egypt on account of a famine,, and both sojourned there. 
Through the manifestation of divine judgments in their hehah, 
the fear of them fell upon the Egyptians; and, enriched by the 
gifts of the heathen, they went out with great substance. 

1 Pa. 105 : 14. 15. 



Abraham returned to Canaan " very rich in cattle, in silver, 
and in gold." 1 Lot was still with him,' and again they came to 
Bethel, and pitched their tents by the altar which they had before 
erected. They soon found that increased possessions brought in- 
creased trouble. In the midst of hardships and trials they had 
dwelt together in harmony, but in their prosperity there was 
danger of strife between them. The pasturage was not sufficient 
for the flocks and herds of both, and the frequent disputes among 
the herdsmen were brought for settlement to their masters. It 
was evident that they must separate. Abraham was Lot's senior 
in years, and his superior in relation, in wealth, and in posi- 
tion ; yet he was the first to propose plans for preserving peace. 
Although the whole land had been given him by God himself, he 
courteously waived this right. 

" Let there be no strife," he said, " between me and thee, and 
between my herdmen and thy herclmen ; for we be brethren. Is 
not the whole land before thee? Separate thyself, I pray thee, 
from me. If thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the 
right ; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the 

Here the noble, unselfish spirit of Abraham was displayed. 
How many, under similar circumstances, would, at all hazards, 
cling to their individual rights and preferences! How many 
households have thus been rent asunder ! How many churches 
have been divided, making the cause of truth a by-word and a 
reproach among the wicked ! " Let there be no strife between 
me and thee," said Abraham, " for we be brethren ; " not only 
by natural relationship, but as worshipers of the true God. The 
children of God, the world over, are one family, and the same 
ypirrj of love and conciliation should govern them. " Be kindly 

1 Gen. 13 : 1-9. 

ABRA HA M IN < '. I .V. 1 I V. I'M] 

affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honor prefer- 
ring one another," 1 is the teaching of our Saviour. The cultiva- 
tion of a uniform courtesy, a willingness to do to others as we 
would wish them to do to us, would annihilate half the ills of 
life. The spirit of self-aggrandizement is the spirit of Satan; but 
the heart in which the love of Christ is cherished, will possess that 
charity which seeketh not her own. Such will heed the divine 
injunction, "Look not every man on his own things, hut every 
man also on the things of others." 2 

Although Lot owed his prosperity to his conneetion with 
Abraham, he manifested no gratitude to his benefactor. Courtesy 
would have dictated that he yield the choiee to Abraham; hut 
instead of this, he selfishly endeavored to grasp all its advantages. 
He " lifted up his eyes, and heheld all the plain of Jordan, that 
it was well watered everywhere, . . . even as the garden of the 
Lord, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar." 3 The 
most fertile region in all Palestine was the Jordan valley, remind- 
ing the beholders of the lost Paradise, and equaling the beauty 
and productiveness of the Nile-enriched plains they had so lately 
left. There were cities also, wealthy and beautiful, inviting to 
profitable traffic in their crowded marts. Dazzled with visions 
of worldly gain, Lot overlooked the moral and spiritual evils 
that would be encountered there. The inhabitants of the plain 
were "sinners before the Lord exceedingly;" but of this he was 
ignorant, or, knowing, gave it but little weight. He "chose him 
all the plain of Jordan," and " pitched' his tent toward Sodom." s 
How little did he foresee the terrible results of that selfish choice! 

After the separation from Lot, Abraham again received from 
the Lord a promise of the whole country. Soon after this, he 
removed to Hebron, pitching his tent under the oaks of Mamre, 
and erecting beside it an altar to the Lord. In the free air oi 
those upland plains, with their olive groves and vineyards, their 
fields of waving grain, and the wide pasture grounds of the encir- 
cling hills, he dwelt, well content with his simple, patriarchal life, 
and leaving to Lot the perilous luxury of the vale of Sodom. 

Abraham was honored by the surrounding nations as a mighty 
prince and a wise and able chief. He did not shut away his in- 
fluence from his neighbors. His life and character, in their 
marked contrast to those of the worshipers of idols, exerted a 
1 Rom. 12:10. 2 Phil2:4. 3 Gen. 13 : 10-18. 


telling influence in favor of the true faith. His allegiance to God 
was unswerving, while his affability and benevolence inspired 
confidence and friendship, and his unaffected greatness com- 
manded respect and honor. 

His religion was not held as a precious treasure to be jealously 
guarded, and enjoyed solely by the possessor. True religion can- 
not be thus held ; for such a spirit is contrary to the principles of 
the gospel. While Christ is dwelling in the heart, it is impossible 
to conceal the light of his presence, or for that light to grow dim. 
On the contrary, it will grow brighter and brighter as day by day 
the mists of selfishness and sin that envelop the soul are dispelled 
by the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness. 

The people of God are his representatives upon the earth, and 
he intends that they shall be lights in the moral darkness of this 
world. Scattered all over the country, in the towns, cities, and 
villages, they are God's witnesses, the channels through which 
he will' communicate to an unbelieving world the knowledge of 
his will and the wonders of his grace. ' It is his plan that all who 
are partakers of the great salvation shall be missionaries for him. 
The piety of the Christian constitutes the standard by which 
worldlings judge the gospel. Trials patiently borne, blessings 
gratefully received, meekness, kindness, mercy, and love, habitu- 
ally exhibited, are the lights that shine forth in the character 
before the world, revealing the contrast with the darkness that 
comes of the selfishness of the natural heart. 

Rich in faith, noble in generosity, unfaltering in obedience, 
and humble in the simplicity of his pilgrim life, Abraham was 
also wise in diplomacy, and brave and skillful in war. Notwith- 
standing he was known as the teacher of a new religion, three 
royal brothers, rulers of the Amorite plains in which he dwelt, 
manifested their friendship by inviting him to enter into an alli- 
ance with them for greater security ; for the country was filled 
with violence and oppression. An occasion soon arose for him to 
avail himself of this alliance. 

Chedorlaomer, king of Elam, had invaded Canaan fourteen 
years before, and made it tributary to him. Several of the princes 
now revolted, and the Elamite king, with four allies, again marched 
into the country to reduce them to submission. Five kings of Ca- 
naan joined their forces, and met the invaders in the vale of Sid- 
aim, but only to be completely overthrown. A large part of the 


army was rut to pieces, and those who escaped tied for safety to 
tin 1 mountains. The victors plundered the cities of the plain, and 
departed with rich spoil and many captives, among whom were 
Lot and his family. 

Abraham, dwelling in peace in the oak groves at Mamre, 
learned from one of the fugitives the story of the battle, and the 
calamity that had befallen his nephew. He had cherished no un- 
kind memory of Lot's ingratitude. All his alfection for him was 
awakened, and he determined that he should he rescued. Seeking, 
first of all, divine counsel, Abraham prepared for war. From his 
own encampment lie summoned three hundred and eighteen 
trained servants, men trained in the fear of God, in the service of 
their master, and in the practice of arms. His confederates, 
Mamre, Eschol, and Aner, joined him with their bands, and to- 
gether they started in pursuit of the invaders. The Elamites and 
their allies had encamped at Dan, on the northern border of 
Canaan. Flushed with victory, and having no fear of an assault 
from their vanquished foes, they had given themselves up to revel- 
ing. The patriarch divided his force so as to approach from dif- 
ferent directions, and came upon the encampment by night. His 
attack, so vigorous and unexpected,'resulted in speedy victory. The 
king of Elam was slain, and his panic-stricken forces were utterly 
routed. Lot and his family, with all the prisoners and their goods, 
were recovered, and a rich booty fell into the hands of the victors. 
To Abraham, under God, the triumph was due. The worshiper 
of Jehovah had not only rendered a great service to the country, 
but had proved himself a man of valor. It was seen that right- 
eousness is not cowardice, and that Abraham's religion made him 
courageous in maintaining the right and defending the oppressed. 
His heroic act gave him a wide-spread influence among the 
surrounding tribes. On his return, the king of Sodom came 
out with his retinue to honor the conqueror. He bade him take 
the goods, begging only that the prisoners should be restored. 
By the usage of war, the spoils belonged to the conquerors; but 
Abraham had undertaken this expedition with no purpose of gain, 
and he refused to take advantage of the unfortunate, only stipu- 
lating that his confederates should receive the portion to which 
they were entitled. 

Few, if subjected to such a test, would have shown themselves 
as noble as did Abraham. Few would have resisted the tempta- 


tion to secure so rich a booty. His example is a rebuke to self- 
seeking, mercenary spirits. Abraham regarded the claims of jus- 
tice and humanity. His conduct illustrates the inspired maxim, 
"Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." 1 "I have lifted up 
mine hand," he said, " unto the Lord, the most high God, the 
possessor of heaven and earth, that I will not take from a thread 
even to a shoe-latchet, and that I will not take anything that is 
thine, lest thou shouldst say, I have made Abram rich." 2 He 
would give them no occasion to think that he had engaged in war- 
fare for the sake of gain, or to attribute his prosperity to their 
gifts or favor. God had promised to bless Abraham, and to him 
the glory should be ascribed. 

Another who came out to welcome the victorious patriarch, 
was Melchizedek, king of Salem, who brought forth bread and 
wine for the refreshment of his army. As " priest of the most 
high God," he pronounced a blessing upon Abraham, and gave 
thanks to the Lord, who had wrought so great a deliverance by 
his servant. And Abraham " gave him tithes of all." 

Abraham gladly returned to his tents and his flocks ; but his 
mind was disturbed by harassing thoughts. He had been a man 
of peace, so far as possible shunning enmity and strife ; and with 
horror he recalled the scene of carnage he had witnessed. But 
the nations whose forces he had defeated would doubtless renew 
the invasion of Canaan, and make him the special object of their 
vengeance. Becoming thus involved in national quarrels, the 
peaceful quiet of his life would be broken. Furthermore, he 
had not entered upon the possession of Canaan, nor could he now 
hope for an heir, to whom the promise might be fulfilled. 

In a vision of the night the divine voice was again heard. 
"Fear not, Abram," Avere the words of the Prince of princes; 
"I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward." 3 But his 
mind was so oppressed by forebodings that he could not now grasp 
the promise with unquestioning confidence as heretofore. He 
prayed for some tangible evidence that it would be fulfilled. And 
how was the covenant promise to be realized, while the gift of a 
son was withheld? " What wilt thou give me," he said, "seeing 
I go childless? " " And, lo, one born in my house is mine heir." 
He proposed to make his trusty servant Eliezer his son by adop- 
tion, and the inheritor of his possessions. But he was assured 
1 Lev. 19 : 18. 2 Geu. 14 : 17-24. 3 Gen. 15 : 1-5. 


m:i;m!.\)[ IX r.i.v.i.l \ L37 

that a child of his own was to be lii.s heir. Then he was Led 
outside Ins tent, and told to look up to the unnumbered stars 
glittering in the heavens ; and as lie did so. the words were spoken, 
"So shall thy seed be." "Abraham believed God, and it was 
counted unto him for righteousness." 1 

Still the patriarch begged for some visible token as a confir- 
mation of his faith, and as an evidence to after-generations that 
God's gracious purposes toward them would be accomplished. 
The Lord condescended to enter into a covenant with his servant, 
employing such forms as were customary among men for the rati- 
fication of a solemn engagement. By divine direction, Abraham 
sacrificed a heifer, a she-goat, and a ram, each three years old, 
dividing the bodies, and laying the pieces a little distance apart. 
To these he added a turtle-dove and a young pigeon, which, how- 
ever, were not divided. This 1 icing done, he reverently passed 
between the parts of the sacrifice, making a solemn vow to God 
of perpetual obedience. Watchful and steadfast, he remained 
beside the carcasses till the going down of the sun, to guard 
them from being defiled or devoured by birds of prey. About 
sunset he sank into a deep sleep; and, " lo, a horror of great 
darkness fell upon him."' 2 And the voice of God was heard, 
bidding him not to expect immediate possession of the promised 
land, and pointing forward to the sufferings of his posterity before 
their establishment in Canaan. The plan of redemption was here 
opened to him, in the death of Christ, the great sacrifice, and his 
coming in glory. Abraham saw also the earth restored to its Eden 
beauty, to be given him for an everlasting possession, as the final 
and complete fulfillment of the promise. 

As a pledge of this covenant of God with men, a smoking fur- 
nace and a burning lamp, symbols of the divine presence, passed 
between the severed victims, totally consuming them. And again 
a voice was heard by Abraham, continuing the gift of the land of 
( lanaan to his descendants, " from the river of Egypt unto the great 
river, the river Euphrates." 

When Abraham had been nearly twenty-five years in Canaan, 
the Lord appeared unto him, and said. " 1 am the Almighty ( rod : 
walk before me, and be thou perfect." s In awe. the patriarch fell 
upon his face, and the message continued: "Behold, my covenant 
is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations." In 
1 Rom. 4 : :;. ^Gen. 15 : 7-18. i. 17 : I 


token of the fulfillment of this covenant, his name, heretofore 
called Abram, was changed to Abraham, which signifies, " father 
of a great multitude. " Sarai's name became Sarah, — " princess ; " 
" for," said the divine voice, " she shall be a mother of nations ; 
kings of people shall be of her." 

At this time the rite of circumcision was given to Abraham as 
" a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being 
uncircumcised." l It was to be observed by the patriarch and his 
descendants as a token that they were devoted to the service of God 
and thus separated from idolaters, and that God accepted them as 
his peculiar treasure. By this rite they were pledged to fulfill, on 
their part, the conditions of the covenant made with Abraham. 
They were not to contract marriages with the heathen ; for by so 
doing they would lose their reverence for God and his holy law; 
they would be tempted to engage in the sinful practices of other 
nations, and would be seduced into idolatry. 

God conferred great honor upon Abraham. Angels of heaven 
walked and talked with him as friend with friend. When judg- 
ments were about to be visited upon Sodom, the fact was not 
hidden from him, and he became an intercessor with God for sin- 
ners. His interview with the angels presents also a beautiful 
example of hospitality. 

In the hot summer noontide the patriarch was sitting in his 
tent door, looking out over the quiet landscape, when he saw in 
the distance three travelers approaching. Before reaching his 
tent, the strangers halted, as if consulting as to their course. 
Without waiting for them to solicit favors, Abraham rose quickly, 
and as they were apparently turning in another direction, he 
hastened after them, and with the utmost courtesy urged them to 
honor him by tarrying for refreshment. With his own hands he 
brought water that they might wash the dust of travel from their 
feet. He himself selected their food, and while they were at rest 
under the cooling shade, an entertainment was made ready, and 
he stood respectfully beside them while they partook of hi? hospi- 
tality. This act of courtesy God regarded of sufficient importance 
to record in his word ; and a thousand years later, it was referred 
to by an inspired apostle : " Be not forgetful to entertain strangers ; 
for thereby some have entertained angels unawares." l 

Abraham had seen in his guests only three tired wayfarers, 
little thinking that among them was One whom he might worship 

'Rom. 4:11. 2 Heb. 13 : 2. 


without sin. But the true character of the heavenly messengers 
was now revealed. Though they were on their way as ministers 
of wrath, yet to Abraham, the man of faith, they spoke first <>t' 
blessings. Though God is strict to mark iniquity, and to punish 
transgression, he takes no delight in vengeance. The work of 
destruction is a "strange work" to Him who is infinite in love. 

" The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him." ' Abraham 
had honored God, and the Lord honored him, talcing him into his 
counsels, and revealing to him his purposes. "Shall I hide from 
Abraham that thing which I do?" said the Lord. "The cry of 
Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very 
grievous, I will go down now, and see whether they have done 
altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me. And 
if not, I will know." 2 God knew well the measure of Sodom's 
guilt; but he expressed himself after the manner of men, that the 
justice of his dealings might be understood. Before bringing 
judgment upon the transgressors, he would go himself, to institute 
an examination of their course; if they had. not passed the limits 
of divine mercy, he would still grant them space for repentance. 

Two of the heavenly messengers departed, having Abraham 
alone with Him whom he now knew to be the Son of God. And 
the man of faith pleaded for the inhabitants of Sodom. Once he 
had saved them by his sword : now he endeavored to save them 
by prayer. Lot and his household were still dwellers there ; and 
the unselfish love that prompted Abraham to their rescue from 
the Elamites, now sought to save them, if it were God's will, from 
the storm of divine judgment. 

With deep reverence and humility he urged his plea: "I have 
taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, which am hut dust and 
ashes." There was no self-confidence, no boasting of his own 
righteousness. He did not claim favor on the ground of his 
obedience, or of the sacrifices he had made in doing God's will. 
Himself a sinner, he pleaded in the sinner's behalf. Sucb a spirit 
all who approach God should possess. Yet Abraham manifested 
the confidence of a child pleading with a loved father. He came 
close to the heavenly messenger, and fervently urged his petition. 
Though Lot had become a dweller in Sodom, he did not partake 
in the iniquity of its inhabitants. Abraham thoughl that in 
that populous city there must be other worshipers of the true God. 
And in view of this he pleaded, "That be far from thee, to do after 

x Ps. 25 : 14. -' Gen. 18 : 17-:W. 


this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked ; . . . that be far 
from thee. Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?" 
Abraham asked not once merely, but many times. Waxing bolder 
as his requests were granted, he continued until he gained the 
assurance that if even ten righteous persons could be found in it, 
the city would be spared. 

Love for perishing souls inspired Abraham's prayer. While he 
loathed the sins of that corrupt city, he desired that the sinners 
might be saved. His deep interest for Sodom shows the anxiety 
that we should feel for the impenitent. We should cherish hatred 
of sin, but pity and love for the sinner. All around us are souls 
going down to ruin as hopeless, as terrible, as that which befell 
Sodom. Every day the probation of some is closing. Every hour 
some are passing beyond the reach of mercy. And where are the 
voices of warning and entreaty to bid the sinner flee from this 
fearful doom? Where are the hands stretched out to draw him 
back from death? Where are those who with humility and 
persevering faith are pleading with God for him ? 

The spirit of Abraham was the spirit of Christ. The Son of 
God is himself the great intercessor in the sinner's behalf. He who 
has paid the price for its redemption knows the worth of the 
human soul. With an antagonism to evil, such as can exist only 
in a nature spotlessly pure, Christ manifested toward the sinner a 
love which infinite goodness alone could conceive. In the agonies 
of the crucifixion, himself burdened with the awful weight of the 
sins of the whole world, he prayed for his revilers and murderers, 
" Father, forgive them ; for they know not what they do." l 

Of Abraham it is written that "he was called the friend of 
God," "the father of all them that believe." 2 The testimony of 
God concerning this faithful patriarch is, " Abraham obeyed my 
voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and 
my laws." And again, " I know him, that he will command his 
children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way 
of the Lord, to do justice and judgment; that the Lord may bring 
uj)on Abraham that which he hath spoken of him." 3 It was a 
high honor to which Abraham was called, that of being the father 
of the people who for centuries were the guardians and preservers 
of the truth of God for the world, — of that people through whom 

1 Luke 23 ! 34. 2 James 2: 23; Rom. 4 : 11. 3 Gen. 26 : 5; 18 : 19. 

ABliA II. I M IX < 1 1 X. I . ! X. 1 41 

all the nations of the earth should be Messed in the advent of the 
promised Messiah. But He who called the patriarch judged him 
worthy. It is God that speaks. He who understands the thoughts 
afar off, and places the right estimate upon men, says. ''I know 
him." There would be, on the part of Abraham, no betraying of 
the truth for selfish purposes. He would keep the law, and deal 
justly and righteously. And he would not only fear the Lord him- 
self, but would cultivate religion in his home. He would instruct 
his family in righteousness. The law of God would be the rule in 
his household. 

Abraham's household comprised more than a thousand souls. 
Those who were led by his teachings to worship the one God, 
found a home in his encampment; and here, as in a school, they 
received such instruction as would prepare them to be representa- 
tives of the true faith. Thus a great responsibility rested upon 
him. He was training heads of families, and his methods of gov- 
ernment would be carried out in the households over which they 
should preside. 

In early times the father was the ruler and priest of his own 
family, and he exercised authority over his children, even after 
they had families of their own. His descendants w r ere taught to 
look up to him as their head, in both religious and secular matters. 
This patriarchal system of government Abraham endeavored to 
perpetuate, as it tended to preserve the knowledge of God. It was 
necessary to bind the members of the household together, in order 
to build up a barrier against the idolatry that had become so wide- 
spread and so deep-seated. Abraham sought, by every means 
in his power, to guard the inmates of his encampment against min- 
gling with the heathen and witnessing their idolatrous practices; 
for he knew that familiarity with evil would insensibly corrupt 
the principles. The greatest care was exercised to shut out every 
form of false religion, and to impress the mind with the majesty 
and glory of the living God as the true object of worship. 

It was a wise arrangement, which God himself had made, to 
cut off his people, so far as possible, from connection with the 
heathen, making them a people dwelling alone, and not reckoned 
among the nations. He had separated Abraham from his idola- 
trous kindred, that the patriarch might train and educate his 
family apart from the seductive influences which would have sur- 


rounded them in Mesopotamia, and that the true faith might be 
preserved in its purity by his descendants, from generation to 

Abraham's affection for his children and his household led him 
to guard their religious faith, to impart to them a knowledge of 
the divine statutes, as the most precious legacy he could transmit 
to them, and through them to the world. All were taught that 
they were under the rule of the God of heaven. There was to be 
no oppression .on the part of parents, and no disobedience on the 
part of children. God's law had appointed to each his duties, and 
only in obedience to it could any secure happiness or prosperity. 

His own example, the silent influence of his daily life, was a 
constant lesson. The unswerving integrity, the benevolence and 
unselfish courtesy, which had won the admiration of kings, were 
displayed in the home. There was a fragrance about the life, a 
nobility and loveliness of character, which revealed to all that he 
was connected with Heaven. He did not neglect the soul of the 
humblest servant. In his household there was not one law for the 
master, and another for the servant ; a royal way for the rich, and 
another for the poor. All were treated with justice and compas- 
sion, as inheritors with him of the grace of life. 

He " will command his household." There would be no sinful 
neglect to restrain the evil propensities of his children, no weak, 
unwise, indulgent favoritism ; no yielding of his conviction of duty 
to the claims of mistaken affection. Abraham would not only give 
right instruction, but he would maintain the authority of just ar i. 
righteous laws. 

How few there are in our day who follow this example ! On 
the part of too many parents there is a blind and selfish senti- 
mentalism, miscalled love, which is manifested in leaving children, 
with their unformed judgment and undisciplined passions, to the 
control of their own will. This is the veriest cruelty to the youth, 
and a great wrong to the world. Parental indulgence causes 
disorder in families and in society. It confirms in the young the 
desire to follow inclination, instead of submitting to the divine 
requirements. Thus they grow up with a heart averse to doing 
God's will, and they transmit their irreligious, insubordinate 
spirit to their children, and children's children. Like Abraham, 
parents should command their households after them. Let 


obedience to parental authority be taught and enforced as the first 
step in obedience to the authority of God. 

The light esteem in winch the law of God is held, even by 
religious leaders, has been productive of great evil. The teaching 
which has become so wide-spread, that the divine statutes are no 
longer binding upon men, is the same as idolatry in its effect 
upon the morals of the people. Those who seek to lessen the 
claims of God's holy law are striking directly at the foundation of 
the government of families and nations. Religious parents, failing 
to walk in his statutes, do not command their household to keep 
the wav of the Lord. The law of God is not made the rule of life. 
The children, as they make homes of their own, feel under no 
obligation to teach their children what they themselves have never 
been taught. And this is why there are so many godless families; 
this is why depravity is so deep and wide-spread. 

Not until parents themselves walk in the law of the Lord with 
perfect hearts, will they he prepared to command their children 
after them. A reformation in this respect is needed, — a reforma- 
tion which shall* be deep and broad. Parents need to reform; 
ministers need to reform ; they need God in their households. If 
they would see a different state of things, they must bring his 
word into their families, and must make it their counselor. They 
must teach their children that it is the voice of God addressed to 
them, and is to be implicitly obeyed. They should patiently 
instruct their children, kindly and untiringly teach them how to 
live in order to please God. The children of such a household are 
prepared to meet the sophistries of infidelity. They have accepted 
the Bible as the basis of their faith, and they have a foundation 
that cannot be swept away by the incoming tide of skepticism. 

In too many households, prayer is neglected. Parents feel 
that they have no time for morning and evening worship. They 
cannot spare a few moments to be spent in thanksgiving to God for 
his abundant mercies, — for the blessed sunshine and the showers 
of rain, winch cause vegetation to flourish, and for the guardianship 
of holy angels. They have no time to offer prayer for divine help 
and guidance, and for the abiding presence of Jesus in the house- 
hold. They go forth to labor ae the ox or the horse goes, without 
one thought of God or heaven. They have souls so precious that 
rather than permit them to be hopelessly lost, the Son of God 


gave his life to ransom them; bat they have little more apprecia- 
tion of his great goodness than have the beasts that perish. 

Like the patriarchs of old, those who profess to love God 
should erect an altar to the Lord wherever they pitch their tent. 
If ever there was a time when every house should be a house of 
prayer, it is now. Fathers and mothers should often lift up their 
hearts to God in humble supplication for themselves and their 
children. Let the father, as priest of the household, lay upon the 
altar of God the morning and evening sacrifice, while the wife and 
children unite in prayer and praise. In such a household, Jesus 
will love to tarry. 

From every Christian home a holy light should shine forth. 
Love should be revealed in action. It should flow out in all home 
intercourse, showing itself in thoughtful kindness, in gentle, un- 
selfish courtesy. There are homes where this principle is carried 
out, — homes where God is worshiped, and truest love reigns. 
From these homes, morning and evening prayer ascends to God as 
sweet incense, and his mercies and 'blessings descend upon the 
suppliants like the morning dew. 

A well-ordered Christian household is a powerful argument in 
favor of the reality of the Christian religion, — an argument that 
the infidel cannot gainsay. All can see that there is an influence 
at work in the family that affects the children, and that the God 
of Abraham is with them. If the homes of professed Christians 
had a right religious mould, they would exert a mighty influence 
for good. They would indeed be the " light of the world." The 
God of heaven speaks to every faithful parent in the words 
addressed to Abraham : " I know him, that he will command his 
children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way 
of the Lord, to do justice and judgment; that the Lord may bring 
upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him." 

VjL^ — w 



Abraham had accepted without question the promise of a son, 
but he did not wait for God to fulfill his word in his own time 
and way. A delay was permitted, to test his faith in the power of 
God; but he failed to endure the trial. Thinking it impossible 
that a child should be given her in her old age, Sarah suggested, as 
a plan by which the divine purpose might be fulfilled, that one of 
her handmaidens should be taken by Abraham as a secondary 
wife. Polygamy had become so wide-spread that it had ceased to 
be regarded as a sin, but it was no less a violation of the law of 
God, and was fatal to the sacredness and peace of the family re- 
lation. Abraham's marriage with Hagar resulted in evil, not only 
to his own household, but to future generations. 

Flattered with the honor of her new position as Abraham's 
wile, and hoping to be the mother of the great nation to descend 
from him, Hagar became proud and boastful, and treated her mis- 
tress with contempt. Mutual jealousies disturbed the peace of the 
once happy home. Forced to listen to the complaints of both, 
Abraham vainly endeavored to restore harmony. Though it was 
at Sarah's earnest entreaty that he had married Hagar, she n<>\\ 
reproached him as the one at fault. She desired to banish her 
rival ; but Abraham refused to permit this ; for Hagar was to be 
the mother of his child, as he fondly hoped, the son of promise. 
She was Sarah's servant, however, and he still left her to the con- 
trol of her mistress. Hagar's haughty spirit would not brook the 
harshness which her insolence had provoked. " When Sarai dealt 
hardly with her, she fled from her face." ' 

She made her way to the desert, and as she rested beside a 
fountain, lonely and friendless, an angel of the Lord, in human 
form, appeared to her. Addressing her as " Hagar, Sarai's maid," 
to remind her of her position and her duty, he bade her, " Return 

!Gen. 16 : 6-13. 



to thy mistress, and submit thyself under her hands." Yet with 
the reproof there were mingled words of comfort. " The Lord hath 
heard thy affliction." " I will multiply thy seed exceedingly, that 
it shall not be numbered for multitude." And as a perpetual re- 
minder of his mercy, she was bidden to call her child Ishmael, 
" God shall hear." 

When Abraham was nearly one hundred j^ears old, the promise 
of a son was repeated to him, with the assurance that the future 
heir should be the child of Sarah. But Abraham did not yet un- 
derstand the promise. His mind at once turned to Ishmael, cling- 
ing to the belief that through him God's gracious purposes were to 
be accomplished. In his affection for his son he exclaimed, " O 
that Ishmael might live before thee ! " 1 Again the promise was 
given, in words that could not be mistaken : " Sarah thy wife shall 
bear thee a son indeed ; and thou shalt call his name Isaac ; and I 
will establish my covenant with him." Yet God was not un- 
mindful of the father's prayer. " As for Ishmael," he said, " I have 
heard thee. Behold, I have blessed him, . . . and I will make 
him a great nation." 1 

The birth of Isaac, bringing, after a life-long waiting, the fulfill- 
ment of their dearest hopes, filled the tents of Abraham and Sarah 
with gladness. But to Hagar this event was the overthrow of her 
fondly cherished ambitions. Ishmael, now a youth,, had been 
regarded by all in the encampment as the heir of Abraham's 
wealth, and the inheritor of the blessings promised to his descend- 
ants. Now he was suddenly set aside; and in their disappoint- 
ment, mother and son hated the child of Sarah. The general 
rejoicing increased their jealousy, until Ishmael dared openly to 
.mock the heir of God's promise. Sarah saw in Ishmael's turbulent 
disposition a perpetual source of discord, and she appealed to 
Abraham, urging that Hagar and Ishmael be sent away from the 
encampment. The patriarch was thrown into great distress. How 
could he banish Ishmael his son, still dearly beloved? In his 
perplexity he pleaded for divine guidance. The Lord, through a 
holy angel, directed him to grant Sarah's desire ; his love for 
Ishmael or Hagar ought not to stand in the way, for only thus 
could he restore harmony and happiness to his family. And the 
angel gave him the consoling promise that though separated from 
his father's home, Ishmael should not be forsaken by God ; his life 
should be preserved, and he should become the father of a great 

l Gen. 17 : 18-20. 



nation. Abraham obeyed the angel's word, but it was nol without 
keen suffering. The father's heart was heavy with unspoken grief 
as he sent away Hagar and his son. 

The instruction given to Abraham, touching the sacredness of 
the marriage relation, was to be a lesson for all ages. It declares 
that the rights and happiness of this relation are to be carefully 
guarded, even at a great saeriliee. Sarah was the only true wile of 
Abraham. Her rights as a wife and mother, no other person was 
entitled to share. She reverenced her husband, and in this she is 
presented in the New Testament as a worthy example. But she was 
unwilling that Abraham's affections should be given to another ; 
and the Lord did not reprove her for requiring the banishment of 
her rival. Both Abraham and Sarah distrusted the power of God, 
and it was this error that led to the marriage with Hagar. 

God had called Abraham to be the father of the faithful, and 
his life was to stand as an example of faith to succeeding genera- 
tions. But his faith had not been perfect. He had shown distrust 
of I rod in concealing the fact that Sarah was his wife, and again in 
his marriage with Hagar. That he might reach the highest stand- 
ard, God subjected him to another test, the closest which man was 
ever called to endure. In a vision of the night he was directed to 
repair to the land of Moriah, and there offer up his son as a burnt- 
offering upon a mountain that should be shown him. 

At the time of receiving this command, Abraham had reached 
the age of a hundred and twenty years. He was regarded as an 
old man, even in his generation. In his earlier years he had been 
strong to endure hardship and to brave danger ; but now the ardor 
of his youth had passed away. One in the vigor of manhood may 
with courage meet difficulties and afflictions that would cause his 
heart to fail later in life, when his feet are faltering toward the 
grave. But God had reserved his last, most trying test for Abra- 
ham until the burden of years was heavy upon him, and he 
longed for rest from anxiety and toil. 

The patriarch was dwelling at Beersheba, surrounded by pros- 
perity and honor. He was very rich, and was honored as a 
mighty prince by the rulers of the land. Thousands of sheep and 
cattle covered the plains that spread out beyond his encampment. 
On every Bide were the tents of his retainers, the home of hun- 
dreds of faithful servants. The son of promise had grown up to 
manhood by his side. Heaven seemed to have crowned with it- 



blessing a life of sacrifice in patient endurance of hope deferred. 

In the obedience of faith, Abraham had forsaken his native 
country, — had turned away from the graves of his fathers and the 
home of his kindred. He had wandered as a stranger in the land 
of his inheritance. He had waited long for the birth of the prom- 
ised heir. At the command of God he had sent away his son Ish- 
mael. And now, when the child so long desired was entering upon 
manhood, and the patriarch seemed able to discern the fruition of 
his hopes, a trial greater than all others was before him. 

The command was expressed in Avords that must have wrung 
with anguish that father's heart: "Take now thy son, thine only 
son Isaac, whom thou lovest, . . . and offer him for a burnt-offer- 
ing." l Isaac was the light of his home, the solace of his old age, 
above all else the inheritor of the promised blessing. The loss of 
such a son by accident or disease would have been heart-rending 
to the fond father ; it would have bowed down his whitened head 
with grief; but he was commanded to shed the blood of that son 
with his own hand. It seemed to him a fearful impossibility. 

Satan was at hand to suggest that he must be deceived, for 
the divine law commands, " Thou shalt not kill," and God would 
not require what he had once forbidden. Going outside his tent, 
Abraham looked up to the calm brightness of the unclouded 
heavens, and recalled the promise made nearly fifty years before, 
that his seed should be innumerable as the stars. If this promise 
was to be fulfilled through Isaac, how could lie be put to death? 
Abraham was tempted to believe that he might be under a 
delusion. In his doubt and anguish he bowed upon the earth, 
and prayed, as he had never prayed before, for some confirmation 
of the command if he must perform this terrible duty. He 
remembered the angels sent to reveal to him God's purpose to 
destroy Sodom, and who bore to him the promise of this same 
-on Isaac, and he went to the place where he had several times 
met the heavenly messengers, hoping to meet them again, and 
receive some further direction; but none came to his relief. 
Darkness seemed to shut him in; but the command of God was 
sounding in his ears, "Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, 
whom thou lovest." That command must be obeyed, and he dared 
not delay. Day was approaching, and lie must be on his journey. 

Returning to his tent, he went to the place where Isaac lay 
sleeping the deep, untroubled sleep of youth and innocence. For 

»Gen. 22 : 2. 






a moment the father Looked upon the dear face <>t' hia son, then 
turned tremblingly away. He went to the side of Sarah, who was 
also sleeping. Should he awaken her, that she might once more 
embrace her child? Should he tell her of God's requirement? 
He longed to unburden hia heart to her, and share with herthia 
terrible responaibility j but he was restrained hy the fear that she 
might lander him. Isaac was her joy and pride; her lite was 
hound up in him, and the mother's love might refuse the sacrifice. 

Abraham at last summoned his son, telling him of the 
command to offer sacrifice upon a distant mountain. Isaac had 
often gone with his father to worship at some one of the various 
altars that marked his wanderings, and this summons excited no 
surpriae. The preparations for the journey were quickly com- 
pleted. The wood was made ready, and put upon the ass, and 
with two men-servants they set forth. 

Side by side the father and the son journeyed in silence. The 
patriarch, pondering his heavy secret, had no heart for words. 
His thoughts were of the proud, fond mother, and the day when 
he should return to her alone. Well he knew that the knife would 
pierce her heart when it took the life of her son. 

That day — the longest that Abraham had ever experienced — 
dragged slowly to its close. While his son and the young men 
were sleeping, he spent the night in prayer, still hoping that some 
heavenly messenger might come to say that the trial was enough, 
that the youth might return unharmed to his mother. But no 
relief came to his tortured soul. Another long day, another night 
of humiliation and prayer, while ever the command that was to 
leave him childless was ringing in his ears. Satan was near to 
whisper doubts and unbelief) but Abraham resisted his sugges- 
tions. As they were about to begin the journey of the third day, 
the patriarch, looking northward, saw the promised sign, a cloud 
of glory hovering over Mount Moriah, and he knew that the voice 
which had spoken to him was from heaven. 

Even now he did not murmur against God, but strengthened 
his soul by dwelling upon the evidences of the Lord's goodness 
and faithfulness. This son had been unexpectedly given; and 
had not He who bestowed the precious gift a right to recall his 
own? Then faith repeated the promise, "In Isaac shall thy 
seed be called.'" — a seed numberless as the grains of sand 
upon tin shore. Isaac was the child of a miracle, and could not 

'Gen. 21 : 12. 


the power that L r ave him life restore it? Looking beyond that 
which was e . Abraham grasped the divine word, "accounting 
that God w - le to raise him up. even from the d< 

Yet noneont' >ul<l understand h<>- _ I sthefathi - 

in yielding up his son to death: Abraham desired that 
non t God should witness the parting scent-. He bade his 

rants remain behind, saying, "I and the lad will go yonder 
ahip, and gain I you."* The wood was 1 

upon 1- the one I ffered, the father took the knife and 

fire, and together they ascended toward the mountain summit, 
■ young man silently wondering whence, so far from folds and 
ks. the _ 3 1 .... At last he spoke, "My father," 

ehold the fire and the wood ; hut where - lamb for a hurnt- 

• '. what a test was tin-! How the endearing w< 
■■ my father." pi-. Abrahai tit! Not yet — lie could . I 

tell him now. "My son," - God will provide hims 

lamb for a hurnt-offerii.. 

At " inted plac tl >uilt the altar, and laid the wood 

upon it. with trem . Abraham unfolded to his 

■vine i. --_.-. It was with terror and amazement that 
Isaac learned his ' : but he offered no resistance. He could 
luv. - is 'loom, hail i. sen to do s I grief-s tricken 

old man. exhausted with the strugg I - I terrible da 

could not ha\ - the will of the vigorous youth. But Is 

trained from childhood to ready, trusting 
and - ' ■ purp - - pened him, Med a 

willing submission. II - r in Abraham's faith, and he 

- honored in being called to giv< 
L He tenderly - ..- I lighten the fathei - _ ind 

_ - ss hands to bind th 3 thai . :.. him 

I I altar. 

id now 1 st words of hr - -ken. tl it 1 - are 

1. the lasl - _ lifts the knifi I -lay 

- Idenly - - ~ yed. . k! calls I 

itriarch out of n. "Abraham, Abraham ! " He quickly 

I." And again the vol - i. "Lay] 

hand upon the lad, neither do thou anything unto hi: 
now I know that 1 si I - _ thou hast not withheld 

th; son, from me." 

'H . . - - fen. 22:11-11 


Then Abraham saw "a ram caught in a thicket," and quickly 
bringing the new victim, he offered it "in the stead of his son." 
In his joy and gratitude, Abraham gave a new name to the sacred 
spot. — ■ " Jehovah-jireh," "the Lord will provid 

( >n Mount Moriah, God again renewed his covenant, confirming 
with a solemn oath the blessing t<> Abraham and to his seed 
through all coming generations: " By myself have I sworn, saith 
.1. hovahj for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not with- 
held thy son. thine only son. that in blessing 1 will bless t! 
and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the 
heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea-shore* and thy seed 
shall possess the gate of his enemies ; and in thy seed shall all the 
nations of the earth be blessed ; because thou hast obeyed my voi< 

Abraham's great act of faith stands like a pillar of light, illu- 
minating the pathway of God's servants in all succeeding ag - 

raham did not seek t<> excuse himself from doing tin- will of 
During that three days' journey he had sufficient time to 
reason, and t<» doubt God, if he was disposed to doubt He might 
have reasoned, that the slaying of his son would cause him to be 
looked upon as a murderer, a second Cain: that it would cause his 
teaching to be rejected and despised, and thus destroy his power 
to do good to his fellow-men. He might have pleaded that 
should • \ ise him from obedience. l'«ut the patriarch did not take 
refuge in any of these excuses. Abraham was human ; his p. -- 
and attachments were like our-: but he did not stop to question 
how the promise could he fulfilled if Isaac should be slain. He 
did not stay to reason with his aching heart. He knew that God 
is just and righteous in all his requirements, and he obeyed the 
command to the very letter. 

"Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for 

iteousness; and he was called the friend of God." ' And Paul 

-. •• They which are of faith, the same are the children of Abra- 
ham.'" hut Abraham's faith was made manifest by his works. 
"Was ii"t Abraham our father justified by works, when he had 

red Isaac his .-on upon the altar? Seest thou how faith 
wrought with his work-, and by works was faith made perfect? "' 
There arc many who fail to understand the relation of faith and 
work-. They say, "Only believe in Christ, and you are Bafe. 
You .have nothing to do with keeping the law." Hut gen- 
1 James -J : 28, 81, 


uine faith will be manifest in obedience. Said Christ to the unb< 
lieving Jews, " If ye were Abraham's children, ye would do the» 
works of Abraham." l And concerning the father of the faithful 
the Lord declares, " Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my 
charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws." 2 Says 
the apostle James, " Faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being 
alone." 3 And John, who dwells so fully upon love, tells us, 
" This is the love of God, that we keep his commandments." 4 

Through type and promise, God " preached before tli6 gospel 
unto Abraham." 5 And the patriarch's faith was fixed upon the 
Redeemer to come. Said Christ to the Jews, " Your father Abra- 
ham rejoiced that he should see my day ; and he saw it, and was 
glad." 6 The ram offered in the place of Isaac represented the Son 
of God, who was to be sacrificed in our stead. When man was 
doomed to death by transgression of the law of God, the Father, 
looking upon his Son, said to the sinner, " Live : I have found a 

It was to impress Abraham's mind with the reality of the gos- 
pel, as well as to test his faith, that God commanded him to slay 
his son. The agony which he endured during the dark days of 
that fearful trial, was permitted that he might understand from 
his own experience something of the greatness of the sacrifice made 
by the infinite God for man's redemption. No other test could 
have caused Abraham such torture of soul as did the offering of 
his son. God gave his Son to a death of agony and shame. The 
angels who witnessed the humiliation and soul-anguish of the Son 
of God were not permitted to interpose, as in the case of Isaac. 
There was no voice to cry, " It is enough." To save the fallen 
race, the King of glory yielded up his life. What stronger proof 
can be given of the infinite compassion and love of God? " He 
that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how 
shall he not with him also freely give us all things ? " 7 

The sacrifice required of Abraham was not alone for his own 
good, nor solely for the benefit of succeeding generations ; but it 
was also for the instruction of the sinless intelligences of heaven 
and of other worlds. The field of the controversy between Christ 
and Satan, — the field on which the plan of redemption is wrought 
out, — is the lesson-book of the universe. Because Abraham had 

1 John 8 : 39. 2 Gen. 26 : 5. 3 James 2 : 17. 4 1 John 5 : 3. 

5 Gal. 3:8. 6 John 8 : 56, Rev. Ver. (margin). 7 Rom. 8 : 32. 


shown a lack of faith in God's promises, Satan had accused him 
before the angels and before God of having failed t<> comply with 
the conditions <»f the covenant, and as unworthy of its blessings. 
God desired t<» prove the loyalty of his servant before all heaven, 
t<> demonstrate that nothing less than perfect obedience can be 
accepted, and to open more fully before them the plan of salvation. 

Heavenly beings were witnesses of the scene as the faith of 
Abraham and the submission of Isaac were tested. The trial 
was far more severe than that which had been brought upon 
Adam. Compliance with the prohibition laid upon our first 
parents involved no suffering; but the command to Abraham 
demanded the most agonizing sacrifice. All heaven beheld with 
wonder and admiration Abraham's unfaltering obedience. All 
heaven applauded his fidelity. Satan's accusations were shown 
to be false. God declared to his servant, " Now I know that 
thou fearest God [notwithstanding Satan's charges], seeing thou 
hast not withheld thy son, thine only son, from me." God's 
•covenant, confirmed to Abraham by an oath before the intel- 
ligences of other worlds, testified that obedience will be rewarded. 

It had been difficult even for the angels to grasp the mystery of 
redemption. — to comprehend that the Commander of heaven, the 
Son of God, must die for guilty man. When the command was 
given to Abraham to offer up his son, the interest of all heavenly 
beings was enlisted. With intense earnestness they watched each 
step in the fulfillment of this command. When to Isaac's ques- 
tion, "Where is the lamb for a burnt-offering?'" Abraham made 
-answer, " God will provide himself a lamb ; " and when the 
father's hand was stayed as he was about to. slay his son, and 
the ram which God had provided was offered in the place of 
Isaac. — -then light was shed upon the mystery of redemption, 
ami even the angels understood more clearly the wonderful pro- 
vision that God had made for man's salvation. 

WS~chx^ 6 



Fairest among the cities of the Jordan valley was Sodom, set 
in a plain which was " as the garden of the Lord " ' in its fertility 
and beauty. Here the luxuriant vegetation of the tropics flour- 
ished. Here was the home of the palm-tree, the olive, and the 
vine ; and flowers shed their fragrance throughout the year. Rich 
harvests clothed the fields, and flocks and herds covered the 
encircling hills. Art and commerce contributed to enrich the 
proud city of the plain. The treasures of the East adorned her 
palaces, and the caravans of the desert brought their stores of 
precious things to supply her marts of trade. With little thought 
or labor, every want of life could be supplied, and the whole year 
seemed one round of festivity. 

The profusion reigning everywhere gave birth to luxury and 
pride. Idleness and riches make the heart hard that has never 
been oppressed by want or burdened by sorrow. The love of 
pleasure was fostered 1 >y wealth and leisure, and the people gave 
themselves up to sensual indulgence. " Behold," says the prophet, 
"this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fullness of 
bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, 
neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. And 
they were haughty, and committed abomination before me; 
therefore I took them away as I saw good." 2 There is nothing 
more desired among men than riches and leisure, and yet these 
gave birth to the sins that brought destruction upon the cities of 
the plain. Their useless, idle life made them a prey to Satan's 
temptations, and they defaced the image of God, and became 
satanic rather than divine. Idleness is the greatest curse that can 
fall upon man; for vice and crime follow in its train. It enfeebles 
the mind, perverts the understanding^ and debases the soul. 
Satan lies in ambush, ready to destroy those who are unguarded, 
1 Gen. 13 : 10. 3 Eze. 16 : 49, 50. 



whoso leisure gives him opportunity to insinuate himself under 

some attractive disguise. He is never in. ire successful than when 
he conies to men in their idle hours. 

In Sodom there was mirth and revelry, feasting and drunken- 
ness. The vilest and most brutal passions were unrestrained. 
The people openly defied God and his law, and delighted in deeds 
of violence. Though they had before them the example of the 
antediluvian world, and knew how the wrath of God had been 
manifested in their destruction, yet they followed the same course 
of wickedness. 

At the time of Lot's removal to Sodom, corruption had not 
become Universal, and God in his mercy permitted rays of light to 
shine amid the moral darkness. When Abraham rescued the cap- 
tives from the Elamites, the attention of the people was called to 
the true faith. Abraham was not a stranger to the people of 
Sodom, and his worship of the unseen God had been a matter of 
ridicule among them; hut his victory over greatly superior forces, 
and his magnanimous disposition of the prisoners and spoil, 
excited wonder and admiration. While his skill and valor were 
extolled, none could avoid the conviction that a divine power had 
made him conqueror. And his noble and unselfish spirit, so 
foreign to the self-seeking inhabitants of Sodom, was another 
evidence of the superiority of the religion which he had honored 
by his courage and fidelity. 

Melchizedek, in bestowing the benediction upon Abraham, had 
acknowledged Jehovah as the source of his strength and the 
author of the victory: "Blessed he Abram of the most high 
God, possessor of heaven and earth] and hlessed he the most high 
God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand." 1 God 
was speaking to that people by his providence, hut the last ray of 
light was rejected as all before had been. 

And now the last night of Sodom was approaching. Already 
the clouds of vengeance cast their shadows over the devoted city. 
But men perceived it not. While angels drew near on their mis- 
sion of destruction, men were dreaming of prosperity and pleasure. 
The last day was like every other that had come and gone. 
Evening fell upon a scene of loveliness and security. A landscape 
of unrivaled beauty was bathed in the rays of the declining sun. 
The coolne:-< of eventide had called forth the inhabitants of the 

1 lien. 14 : l'.i, 20. 


city, and the pleasure-seeking throngs were passing to and fro, 
intent upon the enjoyment of the hour. 

In the twilight, two strangers drew near to the city gate. 
They were apparently travelers coming in to tarry for the night. 
None could discern in those humble wayfarers the mighty heralds 
•of divine judgment, and little dreamed the gay, careless multitude 
that in their treatment of these heavenly messengers that very 
night they would reach the climax of the guilt which doomed 
their proud city. But there was one man who manifested kindly 
attention toward the strangers, and invited them to his home. 
Lot did not know their true character, but politeness and hospi- 
tality were habitual with him ; they were a part of his religion, — 
lessons that he had learned from the example of Abraham. Had 
he not cultivated a spirit of courtesy, he might have been left to 
perish with the rest of Sodom. Many a household, in closing 
its doors against a stranger, has shut out God's messenger, who 
would have brought blessing and hope, and peace. 

Every act of life, however small, has its bearing for good or 
for evil. Faithfulness or neglect in what, are apparently the 
smallest duties may open the door for life's richest blessings or 
its greatest calamities. It is little things that test the character. 
It is the unpretending acts of daily self-denial, performed with a 
cheerful, willing heart, that God smiles upon. We are not to live 
for self, but for others. And it is only by self-forgetfulness, by 
cherishing a loving, helpful spirit, that we can make our life a 
blessing. The little attentions, the small, simple courtesies, go 
far to make up the sum of life's happiness, and the neglect of 
these constitutes no small share of human wretchedness. 

Seeing the abuse to which strangers were exposed in Sodom, 
Lot made it one of his duties to guard them at their entrance, by 
offering them entertainment at his own house. He was sitting at 
the gate as the travelers approached, and upon observing them, he 
rose from his place to meet them, and bowing courteously, said, 
" Behold now, my lords, turn in, I pray you, into your servant's 
house, and tarry all night." l They seemed to decline his hospi- 
tality, saying, "Nay; but we will abide in the street." Their 
object in this answer was twofold, — to test the sincerity of Lot, 
and also to appear ignorant of the character of the men of Sodom, 
as if they supposed it safe to remain in the street at night. Their 

1 See Genesis 19. 


answer made Lot the more determined not to Leave them to the 
mercy of the rabble. He pressed his invitation until they yielded,, 
and accompanied him to his house. 

He had hoped to conceal his intention from the idlers at the 
gate by bringing the strangers to his home by a circuitous route; 
hut their hesitation and delay, and his persistent urging, caused 
them to be observed, and before they had retired for the night, a 
lawless crowd gathered ahout the house. It was an immense 
company, youth and aged men alike inflamed by the vilest pas- 
sions. The strangers had been making inquiry in regard to the 
character of the city, and Lot had warned them not to venture 
out of his door that night, when the hooting and jeers of the mob 
were heard, demanding that the men be brought out to them. 

Knowing that it' provoked to violence they could easily break 
into his house, Lot went out to try the effect of persuasion upon 
them. " 1 pray you, brethren," he said, " do not so wickedly," 
using the term " brethren " in the sense of neighbors, and hoping to 
conciliate them, and make them ashamed of their vile purposes.. 
But his words were like oil upon the flames. Their rage became 
like the roaring of a tempest. They mocked Lot as making himself 
a judge over them, and threatened , to deal worse with him than 
they had purposed toward Ins guests. They rushed upon him,. 
and would have torn him in pieces had he not been rescued by 
the angels of God. The heavenly messengers "put forth their 
hand, and pulled Lot into the house to them, and shut to the 
door." The events that followed, revealed the character of the 
guests he had entertained. " They smote the men that were at 
the door of the house with blindness, both small and great; so 
that they wearied themselves to find the door." Had they not 
been visited with double hlindness, being given up to hardness of 
heart, the stroke of God upon them would have caused them to 
fear, and to desist from their evil work. That last night was 
marked by no greater sins than many others before it ; but mercy, 
so long slighted, had at last ceased its pleading. The inhabitants 
of Sodom had passed the limits of divine forbearance, — "the hid- 
den boundary between God's patience and his wrath." The fires, 
of his vengeance were about to be kindled in the vale of Siddim. 

The angels revealed to Lot the object of their mission: "We 
will destroy this place, because the cry of them is waxen great be- 
fore the lace of the Lord : and the Lord hath sent us to destroy it."' 


The strangers whom Lot had endeavored to protect, now promised 
to protect him, and to save also all the members of his family who 
would flee with him from the wicked city. The mob had wearied 
themselves out and departed, and Lot went out to warn his chil- 
dren. He repeated the words of the angels, " Up, get you out of 
this place ; for the Lord will destroy this city." But he seemed to 
them as one that mocked. They laughed at what they called his 
superstitious fears. His daughters were influenced by their hus- 
bands. They were well enough off where they were. They 
could see no evidence of danger. Everything was just as it had 
been. They had great possessions, and they could not believe it 
possible that beautiful Sodom would be destroyed. 

Lot returned sorrowfully to his home, and told the story of 
his failure. Then the angels bade him arise, and take his wife and 
the two daughters who were yet in his house, and leave the city. 
But Lot delayed. Though daily distressed at beholding deeds of 
violence, he had no true conception of the debasing and abomina- 
ble iniquity practiced in that vile city. He did not realize the 
terrible necessity for God's judgments to put a check on sin. Some 
of his children clung to Sodom, and his wife refused to depart 
without them. The thought of leaving those whom he held 
dearest on earth seemed more than he could bear. It was hard to 
forsake his luxurious home, and all the wealth acquired by the 
labors of his whole life, to go forth a destitute wanderer. Stupefied 
with sorrow, he lingered, loth to depart. But for the angels of 
God. they would all have perished in the ruin of Sodom. The 
heavenly messengers took him and his wife and daughters by the 
hand, and led them out of the city. 

Here the angels left them, and turned back to Sodom to 
accomplish their work of destruction. Another — He with whom 
Abraham had pleaded — drew near to Lot. In all the cities of 
the plain, even ten righteous persons had not been found ; hut in 
answer to the patriarch's prayer, the one man who feared God was 
snatched from destruction. The command was given with start- 
ling vehemence: "Escape for thy fife; look not behind thee, 
neither stay thou in all the plain; escape to the mountain, lest 
thou be consumed." Hesitancy or delay now would be fatal. To 
east one lingering look upon the devoted city, to tarry for one 
moment, from regret to leave so beautiful a home, would have cost 


tlair life. The storm <>t' divine judgment was only waiting that 
these poor fugitives might make their escape. 

l'.ut hot, confused and terrified, pleaded that he could not do 
as lie was required, lest some evil should overtake him, and he 
should die. Living in that wicked city, in the midst of unbelief, 
his t'aith had grown dim. The Prince of heaven was by his side, 
yet he pleaded tor his own life as though God, who had manifested 
such care ami love for him, would not still preserve him. He 
should have trusted himself wholly to the divine Messenger, giving 
his will and his life into the Lord's hands without a, doubt or 
a question. But like so many others, lie endeavored to plan for 
himself: "Behold now. this city is near to lice unto, and it is a 
little one. let me escape thither. | is it not a little one?) and my 
soul shall live.'' The city here mentioned was Bela, afterward 
called Zoar. It was hut a few miles from Sodom, and like it was 
corrupt, and doomed to destruction. But Lot asked that it might 
he spared, urging that this was hut a small request; and his desire 
was granted. The Lord assured him, " 1 have accepted thee con- 
cerning this thing also, that I will not overthrow this city, for the 
which thou hast spoken." 0, how great the mercy of Gbd toward 
his erring creatures ! 

Again the solemn command was given to hasten, for the fiery 
storm would he delayed but little longer. But one of the fugitives 
ventured to east a look backward to the doomed city, and she 
became a monument of God's judgment. If Lot himself had man- 
ifested no hesitancy to obey the angels' warning, but had earnestly 
fled toward the mountains, without one word of pleading or 
remonstrance, his wife also would have made her escape. The 
influence of his example would have saved her from the sin that 
scaled her doom. But his hesitancy ami delay caused her to 
lightly regard the divine warning. While her body was upon the 
plain, her heart clung to Sodom and she perished with it. 
She rebelled against God because his judgments involved her 
possessions and her children in' the ruin. Although so greatly 
favored in being called out from the wicked city, she felt that 
she was severely dealt with, because the wealth that it had 
taken years to accumulate must he left to destruction. Instead of 
thankfully accepting deliverance, she presumptuously looked hack 
to desire the life of those who had rejected the divine warning. 


Her sin showed her to be unworthy of life, for the preservation of 
which she felt so little gratitude. 

We should beware of treating lightly God's gracious provisions 
for our salvation. There are Christians who say, " I do not care 
to be saved unless my companion and children are. saved with 
me." They feel that heaven would not be heaven to them, with- 
out the presence of those who are so dear. But have those who 
cherish this feeling a right conception of their own relation to God, 
in view of his great goodness and mercy toward them? Have 
they forgotten that they are bound, by the strongest ties of love 
and honor and loyalty, to the service of their Creator and Re- 
deemer ? The invitations of mercy are addressed to all ; and 
because our friends reject the Saviour's pleading love, shall we 
also turn away ? The redemption of the soul is precious. Christ 
has paid an infinite price for our salvation, and no one who ap- 
preciates the value of this great sacrifice, or the worth of the souk 
will despise God's 'offered mercy because others choose to do so. 
The very fact that others are ignoring his just claims should 
arouse us to greater diligence, that we may honor God ourselves, 
and lead all whom we can influence, to accept his love. 

" The sun was risen upon the earth when Lot entered into 
Zoar." The bright rays of the morning seemed to speak only pros- 
perity and peace to the cities of the plain. The stir of active life 
began in the streets ; men were going their various ways, intent on 
the business or the pleasures of the day. The sons-in-law of Lot 
were making merry at the fears and warnings of the weak-minded 
old man. Suddenly and unexpectedly as would be a thunder 
peal from an unclouded sky, the tempest broke. The Lord rained 
brimstone and fire out of heaven upon the cities and the fruitful 
plain ; its palaces and temples, costly dwellings, gardens and vine- 
yards, and the gay, pleasure-seeking throngs that only the night 
before had insulted the messengers of heaven, — all were con- 
sumed. The smoke of the conflagration went up like the smoke 
of a great furnace. And the fair vale of Siddim became a desola- 
tion, a place never to be built up or inhabited, — a witness to all 
generations of the certainty of God's judgments upon transgression. 

The flames that consumed the cities of the plain shed their 
warning light down even to our time. We are taught the fearful 
and solemn lesson that while God's mercy bears long with the 
transgressor, there is a limit beyond which men may not go on in 






sin. When that limit is reached, then the oilers of mercy are 
withdrawn, and the ministration of judgment begins. 

Tin- Redeemer of the world declares that there are greater sins 
than that for which Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed. Those 
who hear the gospel invitation calling sinners to repentance, and 
heed it not, are more guilty before Cod than were the dwellers in 
the vale of Siddim. And still greater sin is theirs who profess to 
know God and to keep his commandments, yet who deny Christ 
in their character and their daily life. In the light of the Sav- 
iour's warning, the fate of Sodom is a solemn admonition, not 
merelv to those who are guilty of outhreaking sin, but to all who 
are trilling with Heaven-sent light and privileges. 

Said the True Witness to the church of Ephesus: "I have 
somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Re- 
member therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do 
the first works ; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will 
remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent." 1 
The Saviour watches for a response to his offers of love and for- 
giveness, with a more tender compassion than that which moves 
the heart of an earthly parent to forgive a wayward, suffering son. 
He cries after the wanderer, " Return unto me, and I will return 
unto you." 2 But if the erring one persistently refuses to heed the 
voice that calls him with pitying, tender love, he will at last be 
left in darkness. The heart that has long slighted God's mercy, 
becomes hardened in sin, and is no longer susceptible to the in- 
fluence of the grace of God. Fearful will be the doom of that soul 
of whom the pleading Saviour shall finally declare, He " is joined 
to idols; let him alone." 3 It will be more tolerable in the day 
of Judgment for the cities of the plain than for those who have 
known the love of Christ, and yet have turned away to choose the 
pleasures of a world of sin. 

You who are slighting the offers of mercy, think of the long ar- 
ray of figures accumulating against you in the books of heaven ; for 
there is a record kept of the impieties of nations, of families, of 
individuals. God may bear long 'while the account goes on, and 
calls to repentance and offers of pardon may be given ; yet a time 
will come when the account will be full ; when the soul's decision 
has been made ; when by his own choice, man's destiny has been 
fixed. Then the signal will be given for judgment to be executed. 

'Rev. 2:4, 5. 2 Mai. 3 : 7. Husea 4 : 1 7. 


There is cause for alarm in the condition of the religious world 
to-day. God's mercy has been trifled with. The multitude make 
void the law of Jehovah, " teaching for doctrines the command- 
ments of men." 1 Infidelity prevails in many of the churches in 
our land; not infidelity in its broadest sense, — an open denial 
of the Bible, — but an infidelity that is robed in the garb of Chris- 
tianity, while it is undermining faith in the Bible as a revelation 
from God. Fervent devotion and vital piety have given place to 
hollow formalism. As the result, apostasy and sensualism prevail. 
Christ declared, " As it was in the days of Lot, . . . even thus shall 
it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed." 2 The daily 
record of passing events testifies to the fulfillment of his words. 
The world is fast becoming ripe for destruction. Soon the judg- 
ments of God are to be poured out, and sin and sinners are to be 

Said our Saviour : " Take heed to yourselves, lest at any time 
your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and 
cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. For 
as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the 
whole earth," — upon all whose interests are centered in this world. 
" Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted 
worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to 
stand before the Son of man." 3 

Before the destruction of Sodom, God sent a message to Lot, 
" Escape for thy life ; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in 
all the plain; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed." 
The same voice of warning was heard by the disciples of Christ 
before the destruction of Jerusalem : " When ye shall see Jerusa- 
lem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof 
is nigh. Then let them which are in Judea flee to the mount- 
ains." * They must not tarry to secure anything from their pos- 
sessions, but must make the most of the opportunity to escape. 

There was a coming out, a decided separation from the wicked, 
an escape for life. So it was in the days of Noah ; so with Lot ; so 
with the disciples prior to the destruction of Jerusalem ; and so it 
will be in the last days. Again the voice of God is heard in a 
message of warning, bidding his people separate themselves from 
the prevailing iniquity. 

x Matt. 15 : 9. 2 Luke 17 : 28, 30. 3 Luke 21 : 34-36. 

*Gen. 19 : 17 ; Luke 21 : 20, 21. 


The state oi corruption and apostasy that in the last days 

would exist in the religious world, was presented to the prophet 
John, in the vision of Babylon, "that great city, which reigneth 
over the kings of the earth." 1 Before its destruction the call is to 
he given from heaven, "Come out of her, my people, that ye he 
not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues." 2 
As in the days of Noah and Lot, there must lie a marked separa- 
tion from sin and sinners. There can he no compromise between 
God and the world, no turning hack to secure earthly treasure. 
"Ye cannot serve God and mammon." 3 

Like the dwellers in the vale of Siddim, the people are dream- 
ing of prosperity and peace. " Escape for thy life," is the warning 
from the angels of God ; hut other voices are heard saying, " Be not 
excited; there is no cause for alarm." The multitudes cry, " Peace 
and safety,"' while Heaven declares that swift destruction is about 
to come upon the transgressor. On the night prior to their de- 
struction, the cities of the plain rioted in pleasure, and derided the 
fears and warnings of the messenger of God ; hut those scoffers 
perished in the flames ; that very night the door of mercy was for- 
ever closed to the wicked, careless inhabitants of Sodom. God will 
not always he mocked ; he will not long be trifled with. " Behold, 
the day of the Lord cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce 
anger, to lay the land desolate ; and he shall destroy the sinners 
thereof out of it." * The great mass of the world will reject God's 
mercy, and will be overwhelmed in swift and irretrievable ruin. 
But those who heed the warning, shall dwell " in the secret place 
of the Most High," and " abide under the shadow of the Almighty." 
His truth shall be their shield and buckler. For them is the 
promise, "With long life will I satisfy him, and show him my 
salvation." 5 

Lot dwelt but a short time in Zoar. Iniquity prevailed there 
as in Sodom, and he feared to remain, lest the city should be de- 
stroyed. Not long after, Zoar was consumed, as God had purposed. 
Lot made his way to the mountains, and abode in a cave, stripped 
of all for winch he had dared to subject his family to the 
influences of a w r icked city. But the curse of Sodom followed him 
even here. The sinful conduct of his daughters was the result 
of the evil associations of that vile place. Its moral corruption 

^ev. 17: 18. 2 Rev. 18 : 4. 3 Matt. 6 : 24. 

4 Isa. 13 : 9. 5 Ps. 91 : 1, 4, 16. 


had become so interwoven with their character that they could 
not distinguish between good and evil. Lot's only posterity, the 
Moabites and Ammonites, were vile, idolatrous tribes, rebels 
against God, and bitter enemies of his people. 

In how wide contrast to the life of Abraham was that of Lot ! 
Once they had been companions, worshiping at one altar, dwelling 
side by side in their pilgrim tents ; but how widely separated now ! 
Lot had chosen Sodom for its pleasure and profit. Leaving 
Abraham's altar and its daily sacrifice to the living God, he had 
permitted his children to mingle with a corrupt and idolatrous 
people ; yet he had retained in his heart the fear of God, for he is 
declared in the Scriptures to have been a "just" man; his right- 
eous soul was vexed with the vile conversation that greeted his ears 
daily, and the violence and crime he was powerless to prevent. 
He was saved at last as " a brand plucked out of the fire," l yet 
stripped of his possessions, bereaved of his wife and children, 
dwelling in caves, like the wild beasts, covered with infamy in his 
old age ; and he gave to the world, not a race of righteous men, but 
two idolatrous nations, at enmity with God and warring upon his 
people, until, their cup of iniquity being full, they were appointed 
to destruction. How terrible were the results that followed one 
unwise step ! 

Says the wise man, " Labor not to be rich ; cease from thine 
own wisdom." " He that is greedy of gain troubleth his own 
house; but he that hateth gifts shall live." And the apostle Paul 
declares, " They that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, 
and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in 
destruction and perdition." 2 

When Lot entered Sodom, he fully intended to keep himself 
free from iniquity, and to command his household after him 
But he signally failed. The corrupting influences about him had 
an effect upon his own faith, and his children's connection with 
the inhabitants of Sodom bound up his interest in a measure with 
theirs. The result is before us. 

Many are still making a similar mistake. In selecting a home 
they look more to the temporal advantages they may gain than to 
the moral and social influences that will surround themselves and 
their families. They choose a beautiful and fertile country, or 
remove to some flourishing city, in the hope of securing greater 
1 Zech. 3:2. 2 Prov. 23 : i ; 15 : 27 ; 1 Tim. 6 : 9. 


prosperity; but their children are surrounded by temptation, and 

too often they form associations that arc unfavorable to the devel- 
opment of piety and the formation of a right character. The 
atmosphere of lax morality, of unbelief, of indifference to religious 
things, has a tendency to counteract the influence of the parents. 
Examples of rebellion against parental and divine authority are 
ever before the youth; many form attachments for infidels and 
unbelievers, and cast in their lot with the enemies of God. 

In choosing a home, God would have us consider, first of all, 
the moral and religious influences that will surround us and our 
families. We may he placed in trying positions, for many cannot 
have their surroundings what they would ; and wherever duty 
calls us. God will enable us to stand uncorrupted, if we watch 
and pray, trusting in the grace of Christ. But we should not 
needlessly expose ourselves to influences that are unfavorable 
to the formation of Christian character. When we voluntarily 
place ourselves in an atmosphere of worldliness and unbelief, we 
displease God, and drive holy angels from our homes. 

Those who secure for their children worldly wealth and honor 
at the expense of their eternal interests, will find in the end that 
these advantages are a terrible loss. Like Lot, many see their chil- 
dren ruined, and barely save their own souls. Their life-work is 
lost; their life is a sad failure. Had they exercised true wisdom, 
their children might have had less of worldly prosperity, hut they 
would have made sure of a title to the immortal inheritance. 

The heritage that God has promised to his people is not in this 
world. Abraham had no possession in the earth, " no, not so much 
as to set his foot on." L He possessed great substance, and he used 
it to the glory of God and the good of his fellow-men; but he 
did not look upon this world as his home. The Lord had called 
him to leave his idolatrous countrymen, with the promise of the 
land of Canaan as an everlasting possession; yet neither he nor 
his son nor his son's son received it. When Abraham desired a 
burial-place for his dead, he had to buy it of the Canaanites. His 
sole possession in the land of promise was that rock-hewn tomb in 
the cave of Machpelah. 

But the word of God had not failed ; neither did it meet its final 
accomplishment in the occupation of Canaan by the Jewish people. 
"To Abraham and his seed were the promises made." 2 Abraham 

x Acts 7 : :>. *GaL 3 : 16. 


himself was to share the inheritance. The fulfillment of God's 
promise may seem to be long delayed — for " one day is with the 
Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day ; " ' it 
may appear to tarry ; but at the appointed time " it will surely 
come, it will not tarry." 2 The gift to Abraham and his seed 
included not merely the land of Canaan, but the whole earth. 
So says the apostle, " The promise, that he should be the heir of 
the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, 
but through the righteousness of faith." 3 And the Bible plainly 
teaches that the promises made to Abraham are to be fulfilled 
through Christ. All that are Christ's are "Abraham's seed, and 
heirs according to the promise," — heirs to " an inheritance incor- 
ruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away," 4 — the earth 
freed from the curse of sin. For " the kingdom and dominion, 
and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall 
be given to the people of the saints of the Most High ; " and " the 
meek shall inherit the earth, and shall delight themselves in the 
abundance of peace." 5 

God gave to Abraham a view of this immortal inheritance, and 
with this hope he was content. " By faith he sojourned in the 
land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles 
with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise : 
for he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder 
and maker is God.'"'' 

Of the posterity of Abraham it is written, " These all died in 
faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar 
off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and con- 
fessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth." 6 We 
must dwell as pilgrims and strangers here if we would gain " a 
better country, that is, a heavenly." Those who are children of 
Abraham will be seeking the city which he looked for, "whose, 
builder and maker is God." 

1 2 Peter 3:8. 2 Hab. 2:3. 3 Rom. 4:13. 4 Gal. 3 : 29 ; 1 Peter 1 : 4. 

5 Dan. 7 : 27 ; Ps. 37 : 11. 6 Heb. 11 : 9, 10, 13, 16. 




Abraham had become an old man, and expected soon to die; 
yet one act remained for him to do, in securing the fulfillment 
of the promise to his posterity. Isaac was the one divinely 
appointed to succeed him as the keeper of the law of God, and 
the father of the chosen people; but he -was yet unmarried. The 
inhabitants of Canaan were given to idolatry, and God had for- 
bidden intermarriage between his people and them, knowing that 
such marriages would lead to apostasy. The patriarch feared the 
effect of the corrupting influences surrounding his son. Abraham's 
habitual faith in God and submission to his will were reflected in 
the character of Isaac; but the young man's affections were strong, 
and he was gentle and yielding in disposition. If united with 
one who did not fear God, he would be in danger of sacrificing 
principle for the sake of harmony. In the mind of Abraham, the 
choice of a wife for his son was a matter of grave importance; 
he was anxious to have him marry one who would not lead 
him from God. 

In ancient times, marriage engagements were generally made 
by the parents ; and this was the custom among those who wor- 
shiped God. None were required to marry those whom they 
could not love; but in the bestowal of their affections the youth 
were guided by the judgment of their experienced, God-fearing 
parents. It was regarded as a dishonor to parents, and even a 
crime, to pursue a course contrary to this. 

Isaac, trusting to his father's wisdom and affection, was satisfied 
to commit the matter to him, believing also that God himself w< »uld 
direct in the choice made. The patriarch's thoughts turned to his 
father's kindred in the land of Mesopotamia. Though not free 
from idolatry, they cherished the knowledge and the worship of 
the true God. Isaac must not leave Canaan to go to them; but 
it might be that among them could be found one who would leave 
her home, and unite with him in maintaining the pure worship of 



the living God. Abraham committed the important matter to 
" his eldest servant," a man of piety, experience, and sound judg- 
ment, who had rendered him long and faithful service. He re- 
quired this servant to make a solemn oath before the Lord, that 
lie would not take a wife for Isaac of the Canaanites, but would 
•choose a maiden from the family of Nahor in Mesopotamia. He 
charged him not to take Isaac thither. If a damsel could not be 
found who would leave her kindred, then the messenger would be 
released from his oath. The patriarch encouraged him in his dif- 
ficult and delicate undertaking, with the assurance that God would 
crown his mission with success. " The Lord God of heaven," he 
said, " which took me from my father's house, and from the land 
of my kindred, ... he shall send his angel before thee." 1 

The messenger set out without delay. Taking with him ten 
camels for the use of his own company and the bridal party that 
might return with him, provided also with gifts for the intended 
wife and her friends, he made the long journey beyond Damascus, 
and onward to the rich plains that border on the great river of the 
East. Arrived at Haran, " the city of Nahor," he halted outside 
the walls, near the well to which the women of the place came at 
evening for water. It was a time of anxious thought with him. 
Important results, not only to his master's household but to future 
generations, might follow from the choice he made ; and how was 
he to choose wisely among entire strangers ? Remembering the 
words of Abraham, that God would send his angel with him, he 
prayed earnestly for positive guidance. In the family of his mas- 
ter he was accustomed to the constant exercise of kindness and 
hospitality, and he now asked that an act of courtesy might indi- 
cate the maiden whom God had chosen. 

Hardly was the prayer uttered before the answer was given. 
Among the women who were gathered at the well, the courteous 
manners of one attracted his attention. As she came from the 
well, the stranger went to meet her, asking for some water from 
the pitcher upon her shoulder. The request received a kindly 
answer, with an offer to draw water for the camels also, a service 
which it was customary even for the daughters of princes to per- 
form for their fathers' flocks and herds. Thus the desired sign was 
given. The maiden " was very fair to look upon," and her ready 
courtesy gave evidence of a kind heart, and an active, energetic 
nature. Thus far the divine hand had been with him. After ac- 

1 See Genesis 24. 


knowledging her kindnesa by rich gifts, the messenger asked hei 
parentage, and on Learning that Bhe was the daughter of Bethuel, 

Abraham's nephew, -'he bowed down his head, and worshiped the 

The man had asked for entertainment at her father's house, 
and in his expressions of thanksgiving had revealed the fact of his 
connection with Abraham. Returning home, the maiden told 
what had happened, and Lahan, her brother, at once hastened to 
bring the stranger and his attendants to share their hospitality. 

Eliezer would not partake of food until he had told his errand, 
his prayer at the well, with all the circumstances attending it. 
Then he said, " And now, if ye will deal kindly and truly with my 
master, tell me; and if not, tell me; that I may turn to the right 
hand, or to the left." The answer was, "The thing proceedeth 
from the Lord ; Ave cannot speak unto thee bad or good. Behold, 
Rebekah is before thee; take her, and go, and let her be thy mas- 
ter's son's wife, as the Lord hath spoken." 

After the consent of the family had been obtained, Rebekah 
herself was consulted as to whether she would go to so great a 
distance from her father's house, to marry the son of Abraham. 
She believed, from what had taken place, that God had selected 
her to be Isaac's wife, and she said, " I will go." 

The servant, anticipating his mastei's joy at the success of his 
mission, was impatient to be gone; and with the morning they 
set out on the homeward journey. Abraham dwelt at Beersheba, 
and Isaac, who had been attending to the flocks in the adjoining 
country, had returned to his father's tent to await the arrival of 
the messenger from Haran. "And Isaac went out to meditate 
in the field at the eventide ; and he lifted up his eyes, and saw, 
and, behold, the camels were coming. And Rebekah lifted up 
Inr eyes, and when she saw Isaac, she lighted off the camel. For 
she had said unto the servant, What man is this that walketh in 
the field to meet ns? And the servant had said, It is my master; 
therefore she tool< a vail, and covered herself. And the servant 
told Isaac all things that he had done. And Isaac brought her 
into his mother Sarah's tent, and took Rebekah, and she became 
his wife; and he loved her: and Isaac was comforted after his 
mother's death." 

Abraham had marked the resull of the intermarriage of those 
who feared God and those who feared him not, from the days of 


Cain to his own time. The consequences of his own marriage 
with Hagar, and of the marriage connections of Ishmael and Lot, 
were before him. The lack of faith on the part of Abraham and 
Sarah, had resulted in the birth of Ishmael, the mingling of the 
righteous seed with the ungodly. The father's influence upon his 
son was counteracted by that of the mother's idolatrous kindred, 
and by Ishmael's connection with heathen wives. The jealousy 
of Hagar, and of the wives whom she chose for Ishmael, sur- 
rounded his family with a barrier that Abraham endeavored in 
vain to overcome. 

Abraham's early teachings had not been without effect upon 
Ishmael, but the influence of his wives resulted in establishing 
idolatry in his family. Separated from his father, and imbittered 
by the strife and contention of a home destitute of the love and 
fear of God, Ishmael was driven to choose the wild, marauding 
life of the desert chief, " his hand against every man, and every 
man's hand against him." l In his latter days he repented of his 
evil ways, and returned to his father's God; but the stamp of 
character given to his posterity remained. The powerful nation 
descended from him were a turbulent, heathen people, who were 
ever an annoyance and affliction to the descendants of Isaac. 

The wife of Lot was a selfish, irreligious woman, and her influ- 
ence was exerted to separate her husband from Abraham. But 
for her, Lot would not have remained in Sodom, deprived of the 
counsel of the wise, God-fearing patriarch. The influence of his 
wife, and the associations of that wicked city, would have led him 
to apostatize from God, had it not been for the faithful instruction 
he had early received from Abraham. The marriage of Lot, and 
his choice of Sodom for a home, were the first links in a chain 
of events fraught with evil to the world for many generations. 

Xo one who fears God can without danger connect himself 
with one Avho fears him not. " Can two walk together, except 
they be agreed ? " 2 The happiness and prosperity of the mar- 
riage relation depends upon the unity of the parties ; but between 
the believer and the unbeliever there is a radical difference of 
fasfes, inclinations, and purposes. They are serving two masters, 
between whom there can be no concord. However pure and 
correct one's principles may be, the influence of an unbelieving 
companion will have a tendency to lead away from God. 

iGen. 16 : 12. 2 Amos 3 : 3. 


He who haa entered the marriage relation while unconverted, 
is by his conversion placed under stronger obligation to be faithful 
to his companion, however widely they may differ in regard to 
religious faith; yei the claims of God should be placed above 
every earthly relationship, even though trials and persecution may 
be the result. With the spirit of love and meekness, this fidelity 
may have an influence to win the unbelieving one. J Hit the 
marriage of Christians with the ungodly is forbidden in the 
Bible. The Lord's direction is, "Be ye not unequally yoked 
together with unbelievers." 1 

Isaac was highly honored by God, in heing made inheritor of 
the promises through which the world was to be blessed; yet when 
he was forty years of age, he submitted to his father's judgment in 
appointing his experienced. God-fearing servant to choose a wife 
for him. And the result of that marriage, as presented in the 
Scriptures, is a tender and beautiful picture of domestic happiness : 
"Isaac brought her unto his mother Sarah's tent, and took Re- 
in kah, and she became his wife; and he loved her: and Isaac 
was comforted after his mother's death." 

What a contrast between the course of Isaac and that pursued 
1 iv the yi tutli of our time, even among professed Christians ! Young 
people too often feel that the bestowal of their affections is a mat- 
ter in which self alone should be consulted, — a matter that neither 
God nor their parents should in any wise control. Long before 
they have reached manhood or womanhood, they think themselves 
competent to make their own choice, without the aid of their par- 
ents. A few years of married life are usually sufficient to show 
them their error, but often too late to prevent its baleful results. 
For the same lack of wisdom and self-control that dictated the 
hasty choice is permitted to aggravate the evil, until the marriag< 
relation becomes a galling yoke. Many have thus wrecked their 
happiness in this life, and their hope of the life to come. 

If there i> any subject which should be carefully considered, 
and in which the counsel of older and more experienced persons 
should be sought, it is the subject of marriage; if ever the Bible 
was needed as a counselor, if ever divine guidance should be 
sought in prayer, it is before taking a step that binds persons 
together for life. 

Parents should never lose sight of their own responsibility for the 
future happiness of their children. Isaac's deference to his father'- 

l 2 Cor. 6 : 14. 17, 18. 


judgment was the result of the training that had taught him to 
love a life of obedience. While Abraham required his children to 
respect parental authority, his daily life testified that that author- 
ity was not a selfish or arbitrary control, but was founded in love,, 
and had their welfare and happiness in view. 

Fathers and mothers should feel that a duty devolves upon 
them to guide the affections of the youth, that they may be placed 
upon those who will be suitable companions. They should feel it 
a duty, by their own teaching and example, with the assisting 
grace of God, to so mould the character of the children from their 
earliest years that they will be pure and noble, and will be 
attracted to the good and true. Like attracts like ; like appreciates 
like. Let the love for truth and purity and goodness be early 
implanted in the soul, and the youth will seek the society of those 
who possess these characteristics. 

Let parents seek, in their own character and in their home life, 
to exemplify the love and beneficence of the heavenly Father. 
Let the home be full of sunshine. This will be worth far more to 
your children than lands or money. Let the home loA'e be kept 
alive in their hearts, that they may look back upon the home of 
their childhood as a place of peace and happiness next to heaven. 
The members of the family do not all have the same stamp of 
character, and there will be frequent occasion for the exercise of 
patience and forbearance ; but through love and self-discipline, all 
maybe bound together in the closest union. 

True love is a high and holy principle, altogether different in 
character from that love which is awakened by impulse, and 
which suddenly dies when severely tested. It is by faithfulness to 
duty in the parental home that the youth are to prepare them- 
selves for homes of their own. Let them here practice self-denial, 
and manifest kindness, courtesy, and Christian sympathy. Thus 
love will be kept warm in the heart, and he who goes out from 
such a household to stand at the head of a family of his own, will 
know how to promote the happiness of her whom he has chosen 
as a companion for life. Marriage, instead of being the end of 
love, will be only its beginning. 



Jacob and Esau, the twin sons of Isaac, present a striking con- 
trast, both in character and in life. This unlikeness was foretold 
by the angel of God before their birth. When in answer to Re- 
bekah's troubled prayer he declared that two sons would be given 
her, he opened to her their future history, that each would become 
the head of a mighty nation, but that one would be greater than 
the other, and that the younger would have the pre-eminence. 

Esau grew up loving self-gratification, and centering all his 
interest in the present. Impatient of restraint, he delighted in the 
wild freedom of the chase, and early chose the life of a hunter. 
Yet he was the father's favorite. The quiet, peacedoving shepherd 
was attracted by the daring and vigor of this elder son, who fear- 
lessly ranged over mountain and desert, returning home with game 
for his father, ami with exciting accounts of his adventurous life. 
Jacob, thoughtful, diligent, and care-taking, ever thinking more of 
the future than the present, was content to dwell at home, occupied 
in the care of the flocks and the tillage of the soil. His patient 
perseverance, thrift, and foresight were valued by the mother. 
His affections were deep and strong, and his gentle, unremitting 
attentions added far more to her happiness than did the boisterous 
ami occasional kindnesses of Esau. To Rebekah, Jacob was the 
dearer son. 

The promises made to Abraham and confirmed to his son, were 
held by Isaac and Rebekah as the great object of their desires and 
hopes. With these promises Esau and Jacob were familiar. They 
were taught , t< > regard the birthright as a matter of great impor- 
tance, for it included not only an inheritance of worldly wealth, 
but spiritual pre-eminence. He who received it was to be the 
priest of his family; and in the line of his posterity the Redeemer 
of the world would come. On the other hand, there were ob- 
ligations resting upon the possessor of the birthright. He who 



should inherit its blessings must devote his life to the service of 
God. Like Abraham, he must be obedient to the divine require- 
ments. In marriage, in his family relations, in public life, he 
must consult the will of God. 

Isaac made known to his sons these privileges and conditions, 
and plainly stated that Esau, as the eldest, was the one entitled to 
the birthright. But Esau had no love for devotion, no inclination 
to a religious life. The requirements that accompanied the spirit- 
ual birthright were an unwelcome and even hateful restraint to 
him. The law of God, which was the condition of the divine 
covenant with Abraham, was regarded by Esau as a yoke of 
bondage. Bent on self-indulgence, he desired nothing so much as 
liberty to do as he pleased. To him power and riches, feasting 
and reveling, were happiness. He gloried in the unrestrained 
freedom of his wild, roving life. Rebekah remembered the words 
of the angel, and she read with clearer insight than did her hus- 
band the character of their sons. She was convinced that the 
heritage of divine promise was intended for Jacob. She repeated 
to Isaac the angel's words ; but the father's affections were centered 
upon the elder son, and he was unshaken in his purpose. 

Jacob had learned from his mother of the divine intimation 
that the birthright should fall to him, and he was filled with an 
unspeakable desire for the privileges which it would confer. It 
was not the possession of his father's wealth that he craved ; the 
spiritual birthright was the object of his longing. To commune 
with God as did righteous Abraham, to offer the sacrifice of atone- 
ment for his family, to be the progenitor of the chosen people, and 
of the promised Messiah, and to inherit the immortal possessions 
embraced in the blessings of the covenant, — here were the privi- 
leges and honors that kindled his most ardent desires. His mind 
was ever reaching forward to the future, and seeking to grasp its 
unseen blessings. 

With secret longing he listened to all that his father told con- 
cerning the spiritual birthright; he carefully treasured what he 
had learned from his mother. Day and night the subject occupied 
his thoughts, until it became the absorbing interest of his life. 
But while he thus esteemed eternal above temporal blessings, 
Jacob had not an experimental knowledge of the God whom he 
revered. His heart had not been renewed by divine grace. He 
believed that the promise concerning himself could not be fulfilled 


so Long as Esau retained the rights of the first-born, and he con- 
stantly studied to devise some way whereby lie might secure the 
blessing which his brother held so lightly, but which was bo 
precious to himself. 

When Esau, coming home one day faint and weary from the 
chase, asked for the food that Jacob was preparing, the latter, with 
whom one thought was ever uppermost, seized upon his advan- 
tage, and offered to satisfy his brother's hunger at the price of the 
birthright. " Behold, I am at the point to die," cried the reckless, 
self-indulgent hunter, " and what profit shall this birthright do to 
me?" 1 And for a dish of red pottage he parted with his birth- 
right, and confirmed the transaction by an oath. A short time at 
most would have seeured him food in Ins father's tents ; but to sat- 
isfv the desire of the moment lie carelessly bartered the glorious her- 
itage that (hid himself had promised to his fathers. His whole in- 
terest was in the present. He was ready to sacrifice the heavenly to 
the earthly, to exchange a future good for a momentary indulgence. 

" Thus Esau despised his birthright." l In disposing of it he 
felt a sense of relief. Now his way was unobstructed ; he could do 
as he liked. For this wild pleasure, miscalled freedom, how many 
are still selling their birthright to an inheritance pure and uncle- 
filed, eternal in the heavens ! 

Ever subject to mere outward and earthly attractions, Esau 
tool#t\\o wives of the daughters of Heth. They were worshipers 
of false gods, and their idolatry was a bitter grief to Isaac and 
Rebekah. Esau had violated one of the conditions of the cove- 
nant, which forbade intermarriage between the chosen people and 
the heathen; yet Isaac was still unshaken in his determination 
to bestow upon him the birthright. The reasoning of Rebekah, 
Jacob's strong desire for the blessing, and Esau's indifference to 
its obligations, had no effect to change the father's purpose. 

Years passed on, until Isaac, old and blind, and expecting soon 
to die. determined no longer to delay the bestowal of the blessing 
upon his elder son. But knowing the opposition of Rebekah and 
Jacob, he decided to perform tie- solemn ceremony in secret. In 
accordance with the custom of making a feast upon such occa- 
sions, the patriarch hade Esau, "Go out to the field, and take me 
some venison; anoV make ine savory meat, . . that my soul may 
bless thee before I die." 2 

Gen. .':> : 32, 34. *Gen. 27 : :;. (. 



Rebekah divined his purpose. She was confident that it was 
contrary to what God had revealed as his will. Isaac was in dan- 
ger of incurring the divine displeasure, and of debarring his 
younger son from the position to which God had called him. She 
had in vain tried the effect of reasoning with Isaac, and she de- 
termined to resort to stratagem. 

No sooner had Esau departed on his errand than Rebekah set 
about the accomplishment of her purpose. She told Jacob what 
had taken place, urging the necessity of immediate action to pre- 
vent the bestowal of the blessing, finally and irrevocably, upon 
Esau. And she assured her son that if he would follow her direc- 
tions, he might obtain it as God had promised. Jacob did not 
readily consent to the plan that she proposed. The thought of 
deceiving his father caused him great distress. He felt that such 
a sin would bring a curse rather than a blessing. But his scruples 
were overborne, and he proceeded to carry out his mother's sug- 
gestions. It was not his intention to utter a direct falsehood, but 
once in the presence of his father lie seemed to have gone too far to 
retreat, and he obtained by fraud the coveted blessing. 

Jacob and Rebekah succeeded in their purpose, but they gained 
only trouble and sorrow by their deception. God had declared 
that Jacob should receive the birthright, and his word would have 
been fulfilled in his own time, had they waited in faith for him to 
work for them. But like many who now profess to be children of 
God, they were unwilling to leave the matter in his hands. Re- 
bekah bitterly repented the wrong counsel she had given her son ; 
it was the means of separating him from her, and she never saw his 
face again. From the hour when he received the birthright, Jacob 
was weighed down with self-condemnation. He had sinned against 
his father, his brother, his own soul, and against God. In one 
short hour he had made work for a life-long repentance. This 
scene was vivid before him in after-years, when the wicked course 
of his own sons oppressed his soul. 

No sooner had Jacob left his father's tent than Esau entered. 
Though he had sold his birthright, and confirmed the transfer by 
a solemn oath, he was now determined to secure its blessings, re- 
gardless of his brother's claim. With the spiritual was connected 
the temporal birthright, which would give him the headship of 
the family, and possession of a double portion of his father's 
wealth. These were blessings that he could value. "Let my fa- 

J A con AND ESAU. ] ,f 

ther arise," he said, "and eat of hia son's venisoiij that thy soul 
may bless me." 

Trembling with astonishment and distress, the blind old father 
Learned the deception that had been practiced upon him. Hia 
long and fondly cherished hopes had been thwarted, and he keenly 
t'elt the disappointment that must come upon his elder son. Ye1 
the conviction Hashed upon him that it was God's providence 
which had defeated his purpose, and brought about the very thing 
he had determined to prevent. He remembered the words of the 
angel to Rebekah, and notwithstanding the sin of which Jacob 
was now guilty, he saw in him the one best fitted to accomplish 
the purposes of God. While the words of blessing were upon his 
lips, he had felt the Spirit of inspiration upon him; and now, 
knowing all the circumstances, he ratified the benediction unwit- 
tingly pronounced upon Jacob: " I have blessed him: yea, and 
he shall he blessed." 1 

Esau had lightly valued the blessing while it seemed within 
his reach, but he desired to possess it now that it was gone from 
him forever. All the strength of his impulsive, passionate nature 
was aroused, and his grief and rage were terrible. He cried with 
an exceeding bitter cry, "Bless me, even me also, my father!" 
•■Hast thou not reserved a blessing for me?' : But the promise 
given was not to be recalled. The birthright which he had so 
carelessly bartered, he could not now regain. " For one morsel of 
meat," for a momentary gratification of appetite that had never 
been restrained, Esau sold his inheritance; but when he saw his 
folly, it was too late to recover the blessing. " He found no place 
of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears." 2 Esau 
was not shut out from the privilege of seeking God's favor by 
repentance; but he could find no means of recovering the birth- 
right. His grief did not spring from conviction of sin; he did not 
de-ire to be reconciled to God. He sorrowed because of the re- 
sults of his sin, but not for the sin itself. 

Because of his indifference to the divine blessings and re- 
quirements, Esau is called in Scripture " a profane person." 2 He 
represents those who lightly value the redemption purchased for 
them by Christ, and are ready to sacrifice their heirship to heaven 
for the perishable things of earth. Multitudes live for the present, 
with no thought or care for the future. Like Esau they cry, " Let 
iGen. 27 : 33. z Heb. 12 : 16, IT. 



us eat and drink ; for to-morrow we die." l They are controlled 
by inclination ; and rather than practice self-denial, they will 
forego the most valuable considerations. If one must be relin- 
quished, the gratification of a depraved appetite or the heavenly 
blessings promised only to the self-denying and God-fearing, the 
claims of appetite prevail, and God and heaven are virtually de- 
spised. How many, even of professed Christians, cling to indul- 
gences that are injurious to health, and that benumb the sensibili- 
ties of the soul. When the duty is presented of cleansing them- 
selves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness 
in the fear of God, they are offended. They see that they cannot 
retain these hurtful gratifications and yet secure heaven, and they 
conclude that since the way to eternal life is so strait, they will no 
longer walk therein. 

Multitudes are selling their birthright for sensual indulgence. 
Health is sacrificed, the mental faculties are enfeebled, and heaven 
is forfeited ; and all for a mere temporary pleasure, — an indulgence 
at once both weakening and debasing in its character. As Esau 
awoke to see the folly of his rash exchange when it was too late to 
recover his loss, so it will be in the day of God with those who 
have bartered their heirship to heaven for selfish gratifications. 

1 1 Cor. 15 : 32. 



Threatened with death by the wrath of Esau, Jacob went out 
from his father's home a fugitive; but he carried with him the 

father's blessing : Isaac had renewed to him the covenant promise, 
and had bidden him, as its inheritor, to seek a wife of his mother's 
family in Mesopotamia. Yet it was with a deeply troubled heart 
that Jacob set out on his lonely journey. With only his staff in 
his hand he must travel hundreds of miles through a country 
inhabited by wild, roving tribes. In his remorse and timidity he 
sought to avoid men, lest he should he traced by his angry 
brother. He feared that he had lost forever the blessing that God 
had purposed to give him ; and Satan was at hand to press temp- 
tations upon him. 

The evening of the second day found him far away from his 
father's tents. He felt that he was an outcast, and he knew that 
all this trouble had been brought upon him by his own wrong 
course. The darkness of despair pressed upon his soul, and he 
hardly dared to pray. But he was so utterly lonely that he felt 
the need of protection from God as he had never felt it before. 
With weeping and deep humiliation he confessed his sin, and 
entreated for some evidence that he was not utterly forsaken. Still 
his burdened heart found no relief. He had lost all confidence in 
himself, and he feared that the God of his fathers had cast him off. 

But God did not forsake Jacob. His mercy was still extended 
to his erring, distrustful servant. The Lord compassionately re- 
vealed just what Jacob needed, — a Saviour. He had sinned ; hut 
his heart was filled with gratitude as he saw revealed a way by 
which lie could be restored to the favor of God. 

Wearied with his journey, the wanderer lay down upon the 
ground, with a stone for his pillow. As he slept, he beheld a 
ladder, bright and shining, whose base rested upon the earth, 
while the top reached to heaven. Upon this ladder; angels wer< 

[188 | 


ascending and descending ; above it was the Lord of glory, and 
from the heavens his voice was heard : " I am the Lord God of 
Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac." The land whereon 
he lay as an exile and fugitive was promised to him and to his 
posterity, with the assurance, " In thee and in thy seed shall all 
the families of the earth be blessed." This promise had been 
given to Abraham and to Isaac, and now it was renewed to Jacob. 
Then in special regard to his present loneliness and distress, the 
words of comfort and encouragement were spoken : " Behold, I 
am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, 
and will bring thee again into this land ; for I will not leave thee, 
until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of." * 

The Lord knew the evil influences that would surround Jacob, 
and the perils to which he would be exposed. In mercy he 
opened up the future before the repentant fugitive, that he might 
understand the divine purpose with reference to himself, and be 
prepared to resist the temptations that would surely come to him 
when alone amid idolaters and scheming men. There would be 
ever before him the high standard at which he must aim ; and the 
knowledge that through him the purpose of God was reaching its 
accomplishment, would constantly jirompt him to faithfulness. 

In this vision the plan of redemption was presented to Jacob, 
not fully, but in such parts as were essential to him at that time. 
The mystic ladder revealed to him in his dream was the same to 
which Christ referred in his conversation with Nathanael. Said he, 
" Ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and 
descending upon the Son of man." 2 Up to the time of man's rebell- 
ionagainst the government of God, there had been free communion 
between God and man. But the sin of Adam and Eve separated 
earth from heaven, so that man could not have communion with 
his Maker. Yet the world was not left in solitary hopelessness. 
The ladder represents Jesus, the appointed medium of communi- 
cation. Had he not with his own merits bridged the gulf that sin 
had made, the ministering angels could have held no commun- 
ion with fallen man. Christ connects man in his weakness and 
helplessness with the source of infinite power. 

All this was revealed to Jacob in his dream. Although his 
mind at once grasped a part of the revelation, its great and myste- 
rious truths were the study of his life-time, and unfolded to his 
understanding more and more. 

1 Gen. 28 : 13-15. sjocn 1 : 51. 



Jacob awoke from his sleep in the deep stillness of night. The 
shining forms of his vision had disappeared. Only the dim out- 
line dt' the lonely hills, and above them the heavens bright with 
stars, now met his gaze. But he had a solemn sense that God was 

with him. An unseen presence filled the solitude. "Surely the 
Lord is in this place," he said, '"and I knew it not. . . . This is 
none other hut the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven." 1 

"And Jacob rose up early in the morning, and took the stone 
that he had put for his pillows, and set it Up tor a pillar, and 
poured oil upon the top of it." In accordance with the custom of 
commemorating important events, Jacob set up a memorial of 
God's mercy, that whenever he should pass that way, he mighl 
tarry at this sacred spot to worship the Lord. And he called the 
place Bethel, or "the house of God." With deep gratitude he 
repeated the promise that ( lod's presence would ho with him ; and 
then he made the solemn vow, "If God will he with me, and will 
keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and 
raiment to put on, so that I come again to my father's house in 
peace; then shall the Lord he my God; and this stone, which 1 
have set for a pillar, shall he God's house; and of all that thou 
shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee." 

Jaeoh was not here seeking to make terms with God. The 
Lord had already promised him prosperity, and this vow was the 
outflow of a heart filled with gratitude for the assurance of God's 
love and mercy. Jaeoh felt that God had claims upon him which 
he must acknowledge, and that the special tokens of divine favor 
granted him demanded a return. 80 does every blessing bestowed 
upon us call for a response to the Author of all ourmercies. The 
Christian should often review his past life, and recall with gratitude 
the precious deliverances that God has wrought lor him, support- 
ing him in trial, opening ways before him when all seemed dark 
and forbidding, refreshing him when ready to faint, lie should 
recognize all of them as evidences of the watchcare of heavenly 
angels. In view of these innumerable blessings he should often 
ask, with subdued and grateful heart, " What shall I render unto 
the Lord for all his benefits toward me? " 2 

Our time, our talents, our property, should he sacredly devoted 
to Him who has given us these blessings in trust. Whenever a 
special deliverance is wrought in our behalf, or new and unex- 

l Gen. 2« : 16-22. '•iPs. 11C : 1 2. 


pected favors are granted us, we should acknowledge God's good- 
ness, not only by expressing our gratitude in words, but, like 
Jacob, by gifts and offerings to his cause. As we are continually 
receiving the blessings of God, so we are to be continually giving. 

" Of all that thou shalt give me," said Jacob, " I will surely give 
the tenth unto thee. " l Shall we who enjoy the full light and 
privileges of the gospel, be content to give less to God than was 
given by those who lived in the former, less favored dispensation? 
Nay, as the blessings we enjoy are greater, are not our obligations 
correspondingly increased? But how small the estimate; how 
vain the endeavor to measure with mathematical rules, time, money 
and love, against a love so immeasurable and a gift of such incon- 
ceivable worth. Tithes for Christ ! O, meager pittance, shameful 
recompense for that which cost so much ! From the cross of 
Calvary, Christ calls for an unreserved consecration. All that we 
have, all that we are, should be devoted to God. 

With a new and abiding faith in the divine promises, and as- 
sured of the presence and guardianship of heavenly angels, Jacob 
pursued his journey to " the land of the children of the East- " 2 
But how different his arrival from that of Abraham's messenger 
nearly a hundred years before ! The servant had come with a train 
of attendants riding upon camels, and with rich gifts of gold and 
silver ; the son was a lonely, foot-sore traveler, with no possession 
save his staff. Like Abraham's servant, Jacob tarried beside a 
well, and it was here that he met Rachel, Laban's younger daughter. 
It was Jacob now who rendered service, rolling the stone from the 
well, and watering the flocks. On making known his kinship, he 
was welcomed to the home of Laban. Though he came portionless 
and unattended, a few weeks showed the worth of his diligence 
and skill, and he was urged to tarry. It was arranged that he should 
render Laban seven years' service for the hand of Rachel. 

In early times, custom required the bridegroom, before the 
ratification of a marriage engagement, to pay a sum of money or 
its equivalent in other property, according to his circumstances, to 
the father of his wife. This was regarded as a safeguard to the 
marriage relation. Fathers did not think it safe to trust the hap- 
piness of their daughters to men who had not made provision for the 
support of a family. If they had not sufficient thrift and energy 
to manage business and acquire cattle or lands, it was feared that 
1 Gen. 28: 22. 2 Gen. 29 : 1, Rev. Yer. 


their life would prove worthless. Bui provision was made to tesl 
those who had nothing t<» pay for a wife They were permitted to 
labor for the father whose daughter they loved, the Length of time 
being regulated by the value of the dowry required. When the 
suitor was faithful in his services, and proved in other respects 
worthy, he obtained the daughter as his wile; and generally the 
dowry which the father had received was given her at her mar- 
riage. In the case of both Rachel and Leah, however, Laban self- 
ishly retained the dowry that should have Keen given them ; they 
referred to this when they said, jusl before the removal from Mes- 
opotamia, "He hath sold us, and hath quite devoured also our 
money." ' 

The ancient custom, though sometimes abused, as by Laban, 
was productive of good results. When the suitor was required to 
render service to secure his bride, a hasty marriage was prevented, 
and there was opportunity to test the depth of his affections, as 
well as his ability to provide for a family. In our time many 
evils result from pursuing an opposite course. It is often the case 
that persons before marriage have little opportunity to become 
acquainted with each other's habits and disposition, and, so far 
as every-day life is concerned, they are virtually strangers when 
they unite their interests at the altar. Many find, too late, that 
they are not adapted to each other, and life-long wretchedness is 
the result of their union. Often the wife and children suffer from 
the indolence and inefficiency or the vicious habits of the husband 
and father. If the character of the suitor had been tested before 
marriage, according to the ancient custom, great unhappiness 
might have been prevented. 

Seven years of faithful service Jacob gave for Rachel, and the 
years that he served "seemed unto him but a few days, for the 
love he had to her." But the selfish and grasping Laban, desir- 
ing to retain so valuable a helper, practiced a cruel deception in 
substituting Leah for Rachel. The fact that Leah herself was a 
party to the cheat, caused Jacob to feel that he could not love her. 
Eis indignant rebuke to Laban was met with the offer of Rachel 
for another seven years' service. But the father insisted that Leah 
should not lie discarded, since this would bring disgrace upon the 
family. Jacob was thus placed in a most painful and trying posi- 
tion; he finally decided to retain Leah and marry Rachel. Rachel 

1 Gen. 31 : 15. 2 Gen. 29 : 20. 


was ever the one best loved; but his preference for her excited 
envy and jealousy, and his life was imbittered by the rivalry be- 
tween the sister-wives. 

For twenty years, Jacob remained in Mesopotamia, laboring in 
the service of Laban, who, disregarding the ties of kinship, was 
bent upon securing to himself all the benefits of their connection. 
Fourteen years of toil he demanded for his two daughters ; and 
during the remaining period, Jacob's wages were ten times changed. 
Yet Jacob's service was diligent and faithful. His words to Laban 
in their last interview vividly describe the untiring vigilance which 
he had given to the interests of his exacting master : " This twenty 
years have I been with thee ; thy ewes and thy she-goats have not 
cast their young, and the rams of thy flock have I not eaten. That 
which was torn of beasts I brought not unto thee ; I bare the loss 
of it; of my hand didst thou require it, whether stolen by day. 
or stolen by night. Thus I was ; in the day the drought consumed 
me, and the frost by night; and my sleep departed from mine 
eyes." 1 

It was necessary for the shepherd to watch his flocks day and 
night. They were in danger from robbers, and also from wild 
beasts, which were numerous and bold, often committing great 
havoc in flocks that were not faithfully guarded. Jacob had many 
assistants in caring for the extensive flocks of Laban; but he him- 
self was held responsible for them all. During some portions of 
the year it was necessary for him to be constantly with the flocks 
in person, to guard them in the dry season against perishing from 
thirst, and during the coldest months from becoming chilled with 
the heavy night frosts. Jacob was the chief shepherd ; the serv- 
ants in his employ were the under-shepherds. If any of the sheep 
were missing, the chief shepherd suffered the loss ; and he called 
the servants to whom he intrusted the care of the flock to a strict 
account if it was not found in a flourishing condition. 

The shepherd's life of diligence and care-taking, and his tender 
compassion for the helpless creatures intrusted to his charge, have 
been employed by the inspired writers to illustrate some of the 
most precious truths of the gospel. Christ, in Ids relation to his 
people, is compared to a shepherd. After the fall, he saw his 
sheep doomed to perish in the dark ways of sin. To save these 
wandering ones he left the honors and glories of his Father's house. 

1 Gen. 31 : 38-40. 


He says, " I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that 

which was driven away, ami will bind up that which was broken, 
and will strengthen that which was sick."' "I will save my dock, 
and they shall n<> more be a prey." "neither shall the beast of 
the land devour them." 1 His voice is heard calling them to his 
fold, "a shallow in the daytime from the heat, and for a place of 
refuge, and for a covert from storm and from rain." 2 His care 
for the Hock is unwearied. Ho strengthens the weak, relieves 
the suffering, gathers the lambs in his arms, and carries them in 
his bosom. His sheep love him. '* And a stranger will they not 
follow, but will flee from him; for they know not the voice of 
strangers." 8 

Christ says, "The good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. 
But he that is a hireling, and not the she] (herd, whose own the 
sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and 
fleeth; and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. 
The hireling fleeth, hecause he is a hireling, and careth not for 
the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am 
known of mine." 3 

Christ, the Chief Shepherd, has intrusted the care of his flock 
to his ministers as under-shepherds; and he bids them have 
the same interest that he has manifested, and feel the sacred 
responsibility of the charge he has intrusted to them. He has 
solemnly commanded them to be faithful, to feed the flock, to 
strengthen the weak, to revive the fainting, and to shield them 
from devouring wolves. 

To save his sheep, Christ laid down his own life; and he points 
his shepherds to the love thus manifested, as their example. But 
'■ he that is a hireling, whose own the sheep are not," has no real 
interest in the flock. He is laboring merely for gain, and he cares 
only for himself. He studies his own profit, instead of the interest 
of his charge; and in time of peril or danger he will flee, and 
Leave the flock. 

The apostle Peter admonishes the under-shepherds : " Feed the 
flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, 
not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a 
ready mind : neither as being lords over God's heritage, hut being 
ensamples to the flock." 4 Paul says, ''Take heed therefore unto 
yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost 
1 Eze. 34 : 16, 22. 28. '•' lea. 4 : 6, 'John 10 : 5, 11-14. ' 1 Peter 5 : 2, 3. 


hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he 
hath purchased with his own blood; for I know this, that after 
my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not 
sparing the flock." 1 

All who regard as an unwelcome task the care and burdens 
that fall to the lot of the faithful shepherd, are reproved by the 
apostle : " Not by constraint, but willingly ; not for filthy lucre, 
but of a ready mind." All such unfaithful servants the Chief 
Shepherd would willingly release. The church of Christ has been 
purchased with his blood, and every shepherd should realize that 
the sheep under his care cost an infinite sacrifice. He should 
regard them each as of priceless worth, and should be unwearied 
in his efforts to keep them in a healthy, flourishing condition. 
The shepherd who is imbued with the spirit of Christ will imitate 
his self-denying example, constantly laboring for the welfare of his 
charge ; and the flock will prosper under his care. 

All will be called to render a strict .account of their ministry. 
The Master will demand of every shepherd, " Where is the flock 
that was given thee, thy beautiful flock?" 2 He that is found 
faithful, will receive a rich reward. " When the Chief Shepherd 
shall appear," says the apostle, " ye shall receive a crown of glory 
that fadeth not away." 3 

When Jacob, growing weary of Laban's service, proposed to re- 
turn to Canaan, he said to his father-in-law, " Send me away, that 
I may go unto mine own place, and to my country. Give me 
my wives and my children, for whom I have served thee, and 
let me go ; for thou knowest my service which I have done thee." 
But Laban urged him to remain, declaring, "I have learned by 
experience that the Lord hath blessed me for thy sake." 4 He saw 
that his property was increasing under the care of his son-in-law. 

Said Jacob, " It was little which thou hadst before I came, and 
it is now increased unto a multitude." But as time passed on, La- 
ban became envious of the greater prosperity of Jacob, who " in- 
creased exceedingly, and had much cattle, and maid-servants, and 
men-servants, and camels, and asses." 4 Laban's sons shared their 
father's jealousy, and their malicious speeches came to Jacob's 
ears: He "hath taken away all that was our father's, and of that 
which was our father's hath he gotten all this glory. And Jacob 

1 Acts 20 : 28, 29. ~ Jer. 13 : 20. 

3 1 Peter 5 : 4. Gen. 30 : 25-27, 30, 43. 


beheld the countenance of Laban, and, behold, it was not toward 
him as before. 1 ' ' 

Jacob would have Left his crafty kinsman Long before, bu1 for 
the fear of encountering Esau. Now he felt that he was in dangei 
from the sons of Laban, who, looking upon his wealth as theii 
own, might endeavor to secure it by violence. He was in greal 
perplexity and distress, not knowing which way to turn. But 
mindful of the gracious Bethel promise, he carried his case to God, 
and sought direction from him. In a dream his prayer was an- 
swered : " Return unto the land of thy fathers, and to thy kindred; 
and I will be with thee." 

Laban 's absence a Horded opportunity for departure. The 
thicks and herds were speedily gathered and sent forward, and 
with his wives, children, and servants, Jacob crossed the Eu- 
phrates, urging his way toward Gilead, on the borders of Canaan- 
After three days, Laban learned of their flight, and set forth in pur- 
suit, overtaking the company on the seventh day of their journey. 
He was hot with anger, and bent on forcing them to return, which 
he doubted not he could do, since his band was much the stronger. 
The fugitives were indeed in great peril. 

That he did not carry out his- hostile purpose was clue to the 
fact that God himself had interposed for the protection of his 
servant. "It is in the power of my hand to do you hurt, 1 ' said 
Laban, " but the God of your father spake unto me yesternight, say- 
ing, Take thou heed that thou speak not to Jacob either good or 
bad; " that is, he should not force him to return, or urge him by 
flattering inducements. 

Laban had withheld the marriage dowry of his daughters, and 
had ever treated Jacob with craft and harshness; hut with char- 
acteristic dissimulation he now reproached him for his secret depart- 
ure, which had given the father no opportunity to make a parting 
feast, or even to bid farewell to his daughters and their children. 

In reply, Jacob plainly set forth Laban's selfish and grasping 
policy, and appealed to him as a witness to his own faithfulness 
and honesty. "Except the God of my father, the God of Abra- 
ham, and the Fear of Isaac, had been with nie," said Jacob, " surely 
thou hadst sent me away now empty. God hath seen mine afflic- 
tion and the labor of my hands, and rebuked thee yesternight." 

Laban could not deny the facts brought forward, and he now 
proposed to enter into a covenant of peace. Jacob consented to 

1 Sce Genesis 31. 



the proposal, and a pile of stones was erected as a token of the 
compact. To this pillar Laban gave the name Mizpah, " watch- 
tower," saying, " The Lord watch between me and thee, when we 
are absent one from another." 

" And Laban said to Jacob, Behold this heap, and behold this 
pillar, which I have cast betwixt me and thee; this heap be 
witness, and this pillar be witness, that I will not pass over 
this heap to thee, and that thou shalt not pass over this heap 
and this pillar unto me, for harm. The God of Abraham, and 
the God of Nahor, the God of their father, judge betwixt us. 
And Jacob sware by the Fear of his father Isaac." To confirm 
the treaty, the parties held a feast. The night was spent in 
friendly communing; and at the dawn of day, Laban and his 
company departed. With this separation ceased all trace of 
connection between the children of Abraham and the dwellers 
in Mesopotamia. 



Though Jacob had left Padan-aram in obedience to the divine 
direction, it was not without many misgivings that he retraced the 
road width he had trodden as a fugitive twenty years before. His 
sin in the deception of his lather was ever before him. He knew 
that his long exile was the direct result of that sin, and he pon- 
dered over these things day and night, the reproaches of an accus- 
ing conscience making his journey very sad. As the hills of his 
native land appeared before him in the distance, the heart of the 
patriarch was deeply moved. All the past rose vividly before 
him. ^'ith the memory of his sin came also the thought of God's 
favor toward him, and the promises of divine help and guidance. 

As he drew nearer his journey's, end, the thought of Esau 
brought many a troubled foreboding. After the flight of Jacob, 
Esau had regarded himself as the sole heir of their father's posses- 
sions. The news of Jacob's return would excite the fear that he 
was coming to claim the inheritance. Esau was now able to do 
his brother great injury, if so disposed, ami he might be moved to 
violence against him, not only by the desire for revenge, but in 
order to secure undisturbed possession of the wealth which he had 
so long looked upon as his own. 

Again the Lord granted Jacob a token of the divine care. As 
he traveled southward from Mount Gilead, two hosts of heavenly 
angels seemed to encompass him behind and before, advancing 
with his company, as it' fur their protection. Jacob remembered 
the vision at Bethel so long before, and his burdened heart grew 
lighter at this evidence that the divine messengers who had brought 
him hope and courage at his flight from Canaan, were to be the 
guardians of his return. And he said, " This is God's host; and he 
called the name of that place Mahanaim " — "two hosts, or camps." ' 

Yet Jacob felt that lie had something to do to secure his own 
safety. He therefore dispatched messengers witli a conciliatory 
I3 ' See Genesis 82. [195] 


greeting to his brother. He instructed them as to the exact words 
in which they were to address Esau. It had been foretold before 
the birth of the two brothers, that the elder should serve the 
younger, and lest the memory of this should be a cause of bitter- 
ness, Jacob told the servants they were sent to " my lord Esau ; " 
when brought before him, they were to refer to their master as 
" thy servant Jacob ; " and to remove the fear that he was returning, 
.a destitute wanderer, to claim the paternal inheritance, Jacob was 
careful to state, in his message, " I have oxen, and asses, flocks, 
and men-servants, and women-servants ; and I have sent to tell my 
lord, that I may find grace in thy sight." 

But the servants returned with the tidings that Esau was ap- 
proaching with four hundred men, and no response was sent to the 
friendly message. It appeared certain that he was coming to seek 
revenge. Terror pervaded the camp. " Jacob was greatly afraid 
and distressed." He could not go back, and he feared to advance. 
His company, unarmed and defenseless, were wholly unprepared 
for a hostile encounter. He accordingly divided them into two 
bands, so that if one should be attacked, the other might have an 
opportunity to escape. He sent from his vast flocks generous 
presents to Esau, with a friendly message. He did all in his power 
to atone for the wrong to his brother, and to avert the threatened 
danger, and then in humiliation and repentance he pleaded for 
divine protection : " Thou saidst unto me, Return unto thy coun- 
try, and to thy kindred, and I will deal well with thee. I am not 
worthy of the least of all the mercies, and of all the truth, which 
thou hast showed unto thy servant; for with my staff I passed 
over this Jordan, and now I am become two bands. Deliver me, 
I pray thee, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau ; 
for I fear him, lest he will come and smite me, and the mother 
with the children." 

They had now reached the river Jabbok, and as night came on, 
Jacob sent his family across the ford of the river, while he alone 
remained behind. He had decided to spend the night in prayer, 
and he desired to be alone with God. God could soften the heart 
of Esau. In him was the patriarch's only hope. 

It was in a lonely, mountainous region, the haunt of wild 
beasts, and the lurking-place of robbers and murderers. Solitary 
and unprotected, Jacob bowed in deep distress upon the earth. 
It was midnight. All that made life dear to him were at a dis- 




tiinee, exposed to danger and death. Bitterest of all was the 
thought that it was his own sin which had brought this peril 
upon the innocent. With earnest cries and tears he made Ins 
prayer before God. Suddenly a Btrong hand was laid upon him. 
He thought that an enemy was seeking his life, and he endeavored 
to wrest himself from the grasp of his assailant. In the darkness 
the two struggled for the mastery. Not a word was spoken, but 
Jacob put forth all his strength, and did not relax his efforts for 
a moment. While he was thus battling for his life, the sense of 
Ins guilt pressed upon his soul ; his sins rose up hefore him, to shut 
him out from God. But in his terrible extremity he remembered 
God's promises, and his whole heart went out in entreaty for His 
mercy. The struggle continued until near the break of day, when 
the stranger placed his finger upon Jacob's thigh, and he was crip- 
pled instantly. The patriarch now discerned the character of his 
antagonist. He knew that lie had been in conflict with a heavenly 
messenger, and this was why his almost superhuman effort had 
not gained the victory. It was Christ, " the Angel of the cove- 
nant," who had revealed himself to Jacob. The patriarch was now 
disabled, ami suffering the keenest pain, hut he would not loosen 
his hold. All penitent and broken, he clung to the Angel; "he 
wept, and made supplication," l . pleading for a blessing. He must 
have the assurance that his sin was pardoned. Physical pain was 
not sufficient to divert his mind from this object. His determina- 
tion grew stronger, his faith more earnest and persevering, until 
the very last. The Angel tried to release himself; he urged, " Let 
me go, for the day breaketh;" but Jacob answered, "I will not 
let thee go, except thou bless me." Had this been a boastful, 
presumptuous confidence, Jacob would have been instantly de- 
stroved ; but his was the assurance of one who confesses his own 
unworthiness, yet trusts the faithfulness of a covenant-keeping God. 

Jacob " had power over the Angel, and prevailed." 1 Through 
humiliation, repentance, and self-surrender, this sinful, erring 
mortal prevailed with the Majesty of heaven. He had fastened 
his trembling grasp upon the promises of God, and the heart of 
Infinite Love could not turn away the sinner's plea. 

The error that had led to Jacob's sin in obtaining the birth- 
right by fraud was now clearly set before him. He had not 
trusted God's promises, hut had sought by his own efforts to 

l Hosea 13:4. 


bring about that which God would 'have accomplished in his 
own time and way. As an evidence that he had been forgiven, 
his name was changed from one that was a reminder of his sin, 
to one that commemorated his victory. " Thy name," said the 
Angel, " shall be called no more Jacob [the supplanter], but 
Israel ; for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, 
and hast prevailed." 1 

Jacob had received the blessing for which his soul had longed. 
His sin as a supplanter and deceiver had been pardoned. The 
crisis in his life was past. Doubt, perplexity, and remorse had 
imbittered his existence, but now all was changed ; and sweet was 
the peace of reconciliation with God. Jacob no longer feared to 
meet his brother. God, who had forgiven his sin, could move the 
heart of Esau also to accept his humiliation and repentance. 

While Jacob was wrestling with the Angel, another heavenly 
messenger was sent to Esau. In a dream, Esau beheld his brother 
for twenty years an exile from his father's house ; he witnessed his 
grief at finding his mother dead ; he saw him encompassed by the 
hosts of God. This dream was related by Esau to his soldiers, 
with the charge not to harm Jacob, for the God of his father was 
with him. 

The two companies at last approached each other, the desert 
chief leading his men of war, and Jacob with his wives and chil- 
dren, attended by shepherds and handmaidens, and followed by 
long lines of flocks and herds. Leaning upon his staff, the patri- 
arch went forward to meet the band of soldiers. He was pale and 
disabled. from his recent conflict, and he walked slowly and pain- 
fully, halting at every step ; but his countenance was lighted up 
with joy and peace. 

At sight of that crippled sufferer, " Esau ran to meet him, and 
embraced him, and fell on his neck, and kissed him; and they 
wept." 2 As they looked upon the scene, even the hearts of Esau's 
rude soldiers were touched. Notwithstanding he had told them of 
his dream, they could not account for the change that had come 
over their captain. Though they beheld the patriarch's infirmity, 
they little thought that this his weakness had been made his 

In his night of anguish beside the Jabbok, when destruction 
seemed just before him, Jacob had been taught how vain is the 

1 Gen. 32 : 28. 2 Gen. 33 : 4. 


help of man, how groundless is all trust in human power. He 
-;i\v that his only help must conic from Him against whom he 
had so grievously sinned. Helpless and unworthy, he pleaded 
God's promise o( mercy to the repentant sinner. That promise 
was his assn ranee that God would pardon and accept him. Sooner 
might heaven and earth pass than that word could fail ; and it 
was this that sustained him through that fearful conflict. 

Jacob's experience during that night of wrestling and anguish 
represents the trial through which the people of God must pass 
just before Christ's second coming. The prophet Jeremiah, in 
holy vision looking down to this time, said : "We have heard a 
voice of trembling, of fear, and not of peace. . . . All faces are 
turned into paleness. Alas! for that day is great, so that none is 
like it : it is even the time of Jacob's trouble ; but he shall be saved 
out of it."' 1 

When Christ shall cease his work as mediator in man's behalf, 
then this time of trouble will begin. Then the case of every soul 
will have been decided, and there will be no atoning blood to 
cleanse from sin. When Jesus leaves his p>osition as man's inter- 
cessor before God, the solemn announcement is made, " He that is 
unjust, let him be unjust still ; and he which is filthy, let him 
be filthy still ; and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still; 
and he that is holy, let him be holy still." 2 Then the restrain- 
ing Spirit of God is withdrawn from the earth. As Jacob was 
threatened with death by his angry brother, so the people of God 
will be in peril from the wicked who are seeking to destroy them. 
And as the patriarch wrestled all night for deliverance from the 
hand of Esau, so the righteous will cry to God day and night for 
deliverance from the enemies that surround them. 

Satan had accused Jacob before the angels of God, claiming the 
right to destroy him because of his sin; he had moved upon Esau 
to march against him; and during the patriarch's long night of 
wrestling, Satan endeavored to force upon him a sense of his guilt r 
in order to discourage him, and break his hold upon God. When 
in his distress, Jacob laid hold of the Angel, and made supplica- 
tion with tears, the heavenly Messenger, in order to try his faith, 
also reminded him of his sin, and endeavored to escape- from him. 
But Jacob would not be turned away. He had learned that God 
is merciful, and he east himself upon his mercy. He pointed 

1 J.r. SO : :>-7. B Kev. '22 : 11. 


back to his repentance for his sin, and pleaded for deliverance. 
As he reviewed his life, he was driven almost to despair; but he 
held fast the Angel, and with earnest, agonizing cries urged his 
petition until he prevailed. 

Such will be the experience of God's people in their final struggle 
with the powers of evil. God will test their faith, their persever- 
ance, their confidence in his power to "deliver them. Satan will 
endeavor to terrify them with the thought that their cases are 
hopeless; that their sins have been too great to receive pardon. 
They will have a deep sense of their short-comings, and as they 
review their lives, their hopes will sink. But remembering the 
greatness of God's mercy, and their own sincere repentance, they 
will plead his promises made through Christ to helpless, repenting 
sinners. Their faith will not fail because their prayers are not im- 
mediately answered. They will lay hold of the strength of God, 
as Jacob laid hold of the Angel, and the language of their souls 
will be, " I will not let thee go, except thou bless me." 

Had not Jacob previously repented of his sin in obtaining the 
birthright by fraud, God could not have heard his prayer and 
mercifully preserved his life. So in the time of trouble, if the peo- 
ple of God had unconfessed sins to appear before them while 
tortured with fear and anguish, they would be overwhelmed ; cle- 
sjDair would cut off their faith, and they could not have confidence 
to plead with God for deliverance. But while they have a deep 
sense of their unworthiness, they will have no concealed wrongs to 
reveal. Their sins will have been blotted out by the atoning blood 
of Christ, and they cannot bring them to remembrance. 

Satan leads many to believe that God will overlook their un- 
faithfulness in the minor affairs of life; but the Lord shows in his 
dealing with Jacob that he can in no wise sanction or tolerate evil. 
All who endeavor to excuse or conceal their sins, and permit them 
to remain upon the books of heaven, unconfessed and unforgiven, 
will be overcome by Satan. I The more exalted their profession, 
and the more honorable the position which they hold, the more 
grievous is their course in the sight of God, and the more certain 
the triumph of the great adversary. 

Yet Jacob's history is an assurance that God will not cast off 
those who have been betrayed into sin, but who have returned unto 
him with true repentance. It was by self-surrender and confiding 
faith that Jacob gained what he had failed to gain by conflict in 


his own strength. God thus taught his servant that divine power 
ami grace alone could give him the blessing ho .'raved. Thus it 
will be with those who live in the last days. As dangers surround 
them, and despair seizes upon the soul, they must depend solely 
upon the merits of the atonement. We can do nothing of our- 
selves. In all our helpless unworthiness we must trust in the 
merits of the crucified and risen Saviour. None will ever perish 
while they do this. The long, black catalogue of our delinquencies 
is before the eye of the Infinite. The register is complete ; none 
of our offenses are forgotten. But He who listened to the cries 
of his servants of old, will hear the prayer of faith, and pardon 
our transgressions. He has promised, and he will fulfill his word. 

Jacob prevailed because he was persevering and determined. 
His experience testifies to the power of importunate prayer. It is 
now that we are to learn this lesson of prevailing prayer, of un- 
yielding faith. The greatest victories to the church of Christ or to 
the individual Christian, are not those that are gained by talent 
or education, by wealth, or the favor of men. They are those 
victories that are gained in the audience chamber with God, when 
earnest, agonizing faith lays hold upon the mighty arm of power. 

Those who are unwilling to forsake every sin and to seek ear- 
nestly for God's blessing, will not obtain it. But all who will lay 
hold of God's promises as did Jacob, and be as earnest and per- 
severing as he was, will succeed as he succeeded. " Shall not 
God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, 
though he bear long with them? I tell you that he will avenge 
them speedily." 1 

J Luke 18 : 7, 8. 



Crossing the Jordan, " Jacob came in peace to the city of 
Shechem, which is in the land of Canaan." 1 Thus the patriarch's 
prayer at Bethel, that God would bring him again in peace to his 
own land, had been granted. For a time he dwelt in the vale of 
Shechem. It was here that Abraham, more than a hundred years 
before, had made his first encampment, and erected his first altar, 
in the land of promise. Here Jacob " bought the parcel of ground, 
where he had spread his tent, at the hand of the children of 
Hamor, Shechem's father, for a hundred pieces of money. And 
he erected there an altar, and called it El-elohe-Israel " ! — " God, 
the God of Israel." Like Abraham, Jacob set up beside his tent 
an altar unto the Lord, calling the members of his household to 
the morning and the evening sacrifice. It was here also that he 
dug the well to which, seventeen centuries later, came Jacob's Son 
and Saviour, and beside which, resting during the noontide heat T 
he told his wondering hearers of that " well of water springing up 
into everlasting life." 2 

The tarry of Jacob and his sons at Shechem ended in violence 
and bloodshed. The one daughter of the household had been 
brought to shame and sorrow, two brothers were involved in the 
guilt of murder, a whole city had been given to ruin and slaughter, 
in retaliation for the lawless deed of one rash youth. The begin- 
ning that led to results so terrible was the act of Jacob's daughter, 
who " went out to see the daughters of the land," 3 thus venturing 
into association with the ungodly. He who seeks pleasure among 
those that fear not God, is placing himself on Satan's ground, and 
inviting his temptations. 

The treacherous cruelty of Simeon and Levi was not unpro- 
voked ; vet in their course toward the Shechemites they commit- 
ted a grievous sin. They had carefully concealed from Jacob their 

KJen. 33 : 18-20, Rev. Ver. 2 John 4 : 14. 3 See Genesis 34. 

r 204 i 

the nirri'RN TO CANAAN. 305 

intentions, and the tidings of their revenge filled him with horror. 
Heart-sick at the deceit and violence of his sons, he only said. 
u Ye have troubled me to make me to stink among the inhab- 
itants of the land ; . . . I being few in number, they shall gather 
themselves together against nu, and slay me; and I shall he de- 
stroyed, I and my house." But the grief and ahhorrence with 
which he regarded their bloody deed is shown by the words in 
winch, nearly fifty years later, he referred to it, as he lay upon his 
death-bed in Egypt : " Simeon and Levi are brethren ; instruments 
of cruelty are in their habitations. O my soul, come not thou into 
their secret; unto their assembly, mine honor, be not thou united. 
. . . Cursed be their anger, for it was fierce ; and their wrath, for 
it was cruel." 1 

Jacob felt that there was cause for deep humiliation. Cruelty 
and falsehood were manifest in the character of his sons. There 
were false gods in the camp, and idolatry had to some extent 
gained a foothold even in his household. Should the Lord deal 
with them according to their deserts, would he not leave them to 
the vengeance of the surrounding nations? 

While Jacob was thus bowed down with trouble, the Lord 
directed him to journey southward to Bethel. The thought of 
this place reminded the patriarch not only of his vision of the 
angels and of God's promises of mercy, but also of the vow which 
he had made there, that the Lord should be his Cod. He deter- 
mined that before going to this sacred spot his household should 
be freed from the defilement of idolatry, lie therefore gave direc- 
tion to all in the encampment, "Put away the strange gods that 
are among you, and be clean, and change' your garments. And 
let us arise, and go up to Bethel; and I will make there an altar 
unto God, who answered me in the day of my distress, and was 
with me in the way which I went."" 

With deep emotion, Jacob repeated the story of his first visit 
to Bethel, when he left his father's tent a lonely wanderer, fleeing 
for his life, and how the Lord had appeared to him in the night 
vision. As he reviewed the wonderful dealings of God with him, 
his own heart was softened, bis children also were touched by a 
subduing power; he had taken the most effectual way to prepare 
them to join in the worship of God when they should arrive at 
Bethel. "And they gave unto Jacob all the strange gods which 
Kten. 49 : 5-7. "Sec Genesis 35. 


were in their hand, and all their earrings which were in their ears ; 
and Jacob hid them under the oak which was by Shechem." 

God caused a fear to rest upon the inhabitants of the land, so 
that they made no attempt to avenge the slaughter at Shechem. 
The travelers reached Bethel unmolested. Here the Lord again 
appeared to Jacob, and renewed to him the covenant promise. 
" And Jacob set up a pillar in the place where He talked with 
him, even a pillar of stone." 

At Bethel, Jacob Avas called to mourn the loss of one who had 
long been an honored member of his father's family, — Rebekah's 
nurse, Deborah, who had accompanied her mistress from Mesopo- 
tamia to the land of Canaan. The presence of this aged woman 
had been to Jacob a precious tie that bound him to his early life, 
and especially to the mother whose love for him had been so 
strong and tender. Deborah was buried with expressions of so 
great sorrow that the oak under which her grave was made, was 
called " the oak of weeping." It should hot be passed unnoticed 
that the memory of her life of faithful service and of the mourning 
over this household friend, has been accounted worthy to be pre- 
served in the word of God. 

From Bethel it was only a two days' journey to Hebron ; but 
it brought to Jacob a heavy grief in the death of Rachel. Twice 
seven years' service he had rendered for her sake, and his love had 
made the toil but light. How deep and abiding that love had 
been, was shown when long afterward, as Jacob in Egypt lay near 
his death, Joseph came to visit his father, and the aged patriarch, 
glancing back upon his own life, said, " As for me, when I came 
from Padan, Rachel died by me in the land of Canaan in the way, 
when yet there was but a little way to come unto Ephrath ; and I 
buried her there in the way of Ephrath." 1 In the famih 7 history 
of his long and troubled life, the loss of Rachel was alone recalled. 

Before her death, Rachel gave birth to a second son. With 
her parting breath she named the child Benoni, " son of my sor- 
row." But his father called him Benjamin, " son of my right 
hand " or " my strength." Rachel was buried where she died, and 
a pillar was raised upon the spot to perpetuate her memory. 

On the way to Ephrath, another dark crime stained the family 
of Jacob, causing Reuben, the first-born son, to be denied the priv- 
ileges and honors of the birthright. 

1 Gen. 48 : 7. 


At last Jacob came to his journey's end, '' unto Isaac his father 
unto Mamre, . . . which is Hebron, where Abraham and Isaac so- 
journed." 1 Here he remained during the closing years of his 
father's life. To Isaac, infirm and blind, the kind attentions of 
this long-absent son were a comfort during years of loneliness and 

Jacob and Esau met at the death-bed of their father. Once the 
elder brother had looked forward to this event as an opportunity 
for revenge ; but his feelings had since greatly changed. And Ja- 
cob, well content with the spiritual blessings of the birthright, 
resigned to the elder brother the inheritance of their father's 
wealth. — the only inheritance that Esau sought or valued. They 
were no longer estranged by jealousy or hatred, yet they parted, 
Esau removing to Mount Seir. God, who is rich in blessing, had 
granted to Jacob worldly wealth, in addition to the higher good 
that he had sought. The possessions of the two brothers " were 
more than that they might dwell together ; and the land wherein 
they were strangers could not bear them because of their cattle." 2 
This separation was in accordance with the divine purpose concern- 
ing Jacob. Since the brothers differed so greatly in regard to re- 
ligious faith, it was better for them to dwell apart. 

Esau and Jacob had alike been instructed in the knowledge of 
God. and both were free to walk in his commandments and to re- 
ceive his favor; but they had not both chosen to do this. The 
two brothers had walked in different ways, and their paths would 
continue to diverge more and more widely. 

There was no arbitrary choice on the part of God, by which 
Esau was shut out from the blessings of salvation. The gifts of 
His grace through Christ are free to all. There is no election but 
one's own by which any may perish. God has set forth in his 
word the conditions upon which every soul will be elected to eter- 
nal life — obedience to his commandments, through faith in Christ. 
God has elected a character in harmony with his law, and any one 
who shall reach the standard of his requirement, will have an en- 
trance into the kingdom of glory. Christ himself said, " He that 
believeth on the Son hath everlasting life; and he that believeth 
not the Son shall not see life." " Not every one that saith unto me, 
Lord. Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that 
doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven." 3 And in the Reve- 

!Gen. 35 : 27. 2 Gen. 36 : 7. 3 John 3 : 36 ; Matt. 7 : 21. 


lation he declares, " Blessed are they that do His commandments, 
that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in 
through the gates into the city." l As regards man's final salva- 
tion, this is the only election brought to view in the word of God. 

Every soul is elected who will work out his own salvation 
with fear and trembling. He is elected who will put on the ar- 
mor, and fight the good fight of faith. He is elected who will 
watch unto prayer, who will search the Scriptures, and flee from 
temptation. He is elected who will have faith continually, and 
who will he obedient to every word that proceedeth out of the 
mouth of God. The provisions of redemption are free to all ; the 
results of redemption will be enjoyed by those who have complied 
with the conditions. 

Esau had despised the blessings of the covenant. He had val- 
ued temporal above spiritual good, and he had received that which 
he desired. It was by his own deliberate choice that he was sepa- 
rated from the people of God. Jacob had chosen the inheritance 
of faith. He had endeavored to obtain it by craft, treachery, and 
falsehood ; but God had permitted his sin to work out its correc- 
tion. Yet through all the bitter experience of his later years, 
Jacob had never swerved from his purpose or renounced his 
choice. He had learned that in resorting to human skill and 
craft to secure the blessing, he had been warring against God. 
From that night of wrestling beside the Jabbok, Jacob had come 
forth a different man. Self-confidence had been uprooted. Hence- 
forth the early cunning was no longer seen. In place of craft and 
deception, his life was marked by simplicity and truth. He had 
learned the lesson of simple reliance upon the Almighty Arm; and 
amid trial and affliction he bowed in humble submission to the 
will of God. The baser elements of character were consumed in 
the furnace fire, the true gold was refined, until the faith of Abra- 
ham and Isaac appeared undimmed in Jacob. 

The sin of Jacob, and the train of events to which it led, had 
not failed to exert an influence for evil, — an influence that revealed 
its bitter fruit in the character and life of his sons. As these sons 
arrived at manhood, they developed serious faults. The results 
of polygamy were manifest in the household. This terrible evil 
tends to dry up the very springs of love, and its influence weakens 
the most sacred ties. The jealousy of the several mothers had 

1 Rev! 22 : 14. 


imbittered the family relation, the children had grown up conten- 
tious, and impatient of control, and the father's life was darkened 
with anxiety and grief. 

There was one, however, of a widely different character, — the 
elder son of Rachel, Joseph, whose rare personal beauty seemed 
hut to reflect an inward beauty of mind and heart. Pure, active, 
and joyous, the lad gave evidence also of moral earnestness and 
firmness. He listened to his father's instructions, and loved to obey 
God. The qualities that afterward distinguished him in Egypt 
— gentleness, fidelity, and truthfulness — were already manifesl 
in his daily life. His mother being dead, his affections clung the 
more closely to the father, and Jacob's heart was bound up in this 
child of his old age. He "loved Joseph more than all his 
children." ' 

But even this affection was to become a cause of trouhle and 
sorrow. Jacob unwisely manifested his preference for Joseph, and 
this excited the jealousy of his other sons. As Joseph witnessed 
the evil conduct of Ins hrothers, he was greatly troubled ; he vent- 
ured gently to remonstrate with them, but only aroused still further 
their hatred and resentment. He could not endure to see them 
sinning against God, and he laid the matter before his lather, hop- 
ing that his authority might lead them to reform. 

Jacob carefully avoided exciting their anger hy harshness or 
severity. With deep emotion he expressed his solicitude for his 
children, and implored them to have respect for his gray hairs, 
and not to bring reproach upon his name, and above all not to dis- 
honor God by such disregard of his precepts. Ashamed that their 
wickedness was known, the young men seemed to be repentant, 
but they only concealed their real feelings, which were rendered 
more bitter by this exposure. 

The father's injudicious gift to Joseph of a costly coat, or tunic, 
such as was usually worn by persons of distinction, seemed to them 
another evidence of his partiality, and excited a suspicion that he 
intended to pass by his elder children, to bestow the birthright upon 
the son of Rachel. Their malice was still further increased as the 
hoy one day told them of a dream that he had had. "Behold," 
he said, "we were binding sheaves in the field, and, lo, my sheai 
arose, and also stood upright; and, heboid, your sheaves stood 
round about, and made obeisance to my sheaf." 

1 See Genesis 37. 


" Shalt thou indeed reign over us ? or shalt thou indeed have 
dominion over us ? " exclaimed his brothers, in envious anger. 

Soon he had another dream, of similar import, which he also 
related : " Behold, the sun and the moon and the eleven stars 
made obeisance to me." This dream was interpreted as readily 
as the first. The father, who was present, spoke reprovingly, 
— " What is this dream that thou hast dreamed ? Shall I and thy 
mother and thy brethren indeed come to bow down ourselves to 
thee to the earth ? " Notwithstanding the apparent severity of his 
words, Jacob believed that the Lord was revealing the future to 

As the lad stood before his brothers, his beautiful countenance 
lighted up with the Spirit of inspiration, they could not withhold 
their admiration ; but they did not choose to renounce their evil 
ways, and they hated the purity that reproved their sins. The 
same spirit that actuated Cain was kindling in men hearts. 

The brothers were obliged to move from place to place to 
secure pasturage for their flocks, and frequently they were absent 
from home for months together. After the circumstances just 
related, they went to the place which their father had bought at 
Shechem. Some time passed, bringing no tidings from them, and 
the father began to fear for their safety, on account of their former 
cruelty toward the Shechemites. He therefore sent Joseph to find 
them, and bring him word as to their welfare. Had Jacob known 
the real feeling of his sons toward Joseph, he would not have 
trusted him alone with them; but this they had carefully 

With a joyful heart, Joseph parted from his father, neither the 
aged man nor the youth dreaming of what would happen before 
they should meet again. When, after his long and solitary jour- 
ney, Joseph arrived at Shechem, his brothers and their flocks 
were not to be found. Upon inquiring for them, he was directed 
to Dothan. He had already traveled more than fifty miles, and 
now an additional distance of fifteen lay before him, but he has- 
tened on, forgetting his weariness in the thought of relieving the 
anxiety of his father, and meeting the brothers, whom, despite 
their unkindness, he still loved. 

His brothers saw him approaching; but no thought of the long 
journey he had made to meet them, of his weariness and hunger, 
of his claims upon their hospitality and brotherly love, softened 

THE fi E TUB .V TO < - 1 A - 1 - 1 N. 2 1 I 

the bitterness of their hatred. The sight of the coat, the token of 
their father's love, tilled them with frenzy. " Behold, this dreamer 
cometh," they cried in mockery. Envy and revenge. Long secretly 
cherished, now controlled them. " Let us slay him," they said, 
"and east him into some pit, and we will say, Some evil beast 
hath devoured him; and we shall see what will hecome of his 

They would have executed their purpose but for Reuben. 
He shrunk from participating in the murder of his brother, and 
proposed that Joseph be east alive into a pit, and left there to 
perish : secretly intending, however, to rescue him, and return him 
to his father. Having persuaded all to consent to this plan, Reu- 
ben left the company, fearing that he might fail to control his feel- 
ings, and that his real intentions would he discovered. 

Joseph came on, unsuspicious of danger, and glad that the 
object of his long search was accomplished; but instead of the 
expected greeting, he was terrified by the angry and revengeful 
glances which he met. He was seized, and his coat stripped from 
him. Taunts and threats revealed a deadly purpose. His en- 
treaties were unheeded. He was wholly in the power of those 
maddened men. Rudely dragging him to a deep pit, they thrust 
him in, and having made sure that there was no possibility of his 
escape, they left him there to perish from hunger, while they "sat 
down to eat hread." 

But some of them were ill at ease ; they did not feel the satis- 
faction they had anticipated from their revenge. Soon a company 
of travelers was seen approaching, it was a caravan of Ishmaelites 
from beyond Jordan, on their way to Egypt with spices and other 
merchandise. Judah now proposed to sell their brother to these 
heathen traders instead of leaving him to die. While he would 
he effectually put out of their way, they would remain clear of 
his blood ; " for," he urged, " he is our brother and our flesh." To 
this proposition all agreed, and Joseph was quickly drawn out of 
the pit. 

ka he saw the merchants, the dreadful truth Hashed upon him. 
To become a slave was a fate more to be feared than death. In 
an agony of terror he appealed to one and another of his brothers, 
but in vain. Some were moved with pity, but tear of derision 
kept them silent ; all felt that they had now gone too far to retreat. 
If Joseph were spared, he would doubtless report them to the 



father, who would not overlook their cruelty toward his favorite 
son. Steeling their hearts against his entreaties, they delivered 
him into the hands of the heathen traders. The caravan moved 
on, and was soon lost to view. 

Eeuben returned to the pit, but Joseph was not there. In 
alarm and self-reproach he rent his garments, and sought his 
brothers, exclaiming, "The child is not; and I, whither shall I 
go ? " • Upon learning the fate of Joseph, and that it would now 
he impossible to recover him, Reuben was induced to unite with 
the rest in the attempt to conceal their guilt. Having killed a kid, 
they dipped Joseph's coat in its blood, and took it to their father, 
telling him that they had found it in the fields, and that they 
feared it was their brother's. " Know now," they said, " whether 
it be thy son's coat or no." They had looked forward to this scene 
with dread, but they were not prepared for the heart-rending an- 
guish, the utter abandonment of grief, which they were compelled 
to witness. " It is my son's coat," said Jacob ; u an evil beast hath 
devoured him.- Joseph is without doubt rent in pieces." Vainly 
his sons and daughters attempted to comfort him. He " rent his 
clothes, and put sackcloth upon his loins, and mourned for his son 
many days." Time seemed to bring no alleviation of his grief. 
" I will go down into the grave unto my son mourning," was his 
despairing cry. The young men, terrified at what they had done, 
yet dreading their father's reproaches, still hid in their own hearts 
the knowledge of their guilt, which even to themselves seemed 
very great. 



Meanwhile, Joseph with his captors was on the way to 
Egypt. As the caravan journeyed southward toward the borders of 
Canaan, the boy could discern in the distance the hills among 
which lay his father's tents. Bitterly he wept at thought of that 

loving lather in his loneliness and affliction. Again the scene at 
Dothan came up before him. He saw his angry brothers, and felt 
their fierce glances bent upon him. The stinging, insulting words 
that hail met his agonized entreaties were ringing in his ears. With 
a trembling heart he looked forward to the future. What a 
change in situation — from the tenderly cherished son to the de- 
spised and helpless slave! Alone and friendless, what would he 
his lot in the strange land to which he was going? For a time. 
Joseph gave himself up to uncontrolled grief and terror. 

But, in the providence of God, even this experience was to 
be a blessing to him. He had learned in a few hours that which 
years might not otherwise have taught him. His father, strong 
and tender as his love had been, had done him wrong by his 
partiality and indulgence. This unwise preference had angered 
his lii-others, and provoked them to the cruel deed that had sep- 
arated him from his home. Its effects were manifest, also, in his 
own character. Faults had been encouraged that were now to he 
corrected. He was becoming self-sufficient and exacting. Accus- 
tomed to the tenderness of his father's care, he felt that he was 
unprepared to cope with the diflieulties hefore him, in the hitter, 
uncared-for life of a stranger and a shive. 

Then his thoughts turned to his father's God. In his child- 
hood he had been taught to Love and fear him. Often in his 
father's tent he had listened to the story of the vision that Jacob 
saw as he fled from Ins home an exile and a fugitive. He had 
been told of the Lord's promises to Jacob, and how they had been 
fulfilled, — how, in the hour of need, the angels of God had come 



to instruct, comfort, and protect him. And he had learned of the 
love of God in providing for men a Redeemer. Now all these 
precious lessons came vividly before him. Joseph believed that 
the God of his fathers would be his God. He then and there 
gave himself fully to the Lord, and he prayed that the Keeper of 
Israel would be with him in the land of his exile. 

His soul thrilled with the high resolve to prove himself true 
to God, — under all circumstances to act as became a subject of 
the King of heaven. He would serve the Lord with undivided 
heart; he would meet the trials of his lot with fortitude, and 
perform every duty with fidelity. One day's experience had been 
the turning-point in Joseph's life. Its terrible calamity had trans- 
formed him from a petted child to a man, thoughtful, courageous, 
and self-possessed. 

Arriving in Egypt, Joseph was sold to Potiphar, captain of 
the king's guard, in whose service he remained for ten years. 
He was here exposed to temptations of. no ordinary character. 
He was in the midst of idolatry. The worship of false gods was 
surrounded by all the pomp of royalty, supported by the wealth 
and culture of the most highly civilized nation then in existence. 
Yet Joseph preserved his simplicity, and his fidelity to God. The 
sights and sounds of vice were all about him, but lie was as one 
who saw and heard not. His thoughts were not permitted to lin- 
ger upon forbidden subjects. The desire to gain the favor of the 
Egyptians could not cause him to conceal his }:>rmciples. Had 
he attempted to do this, he would have been overcome by temp- 
tation ; but be was not ashamed of the religion of his fathers, and 
he made no effort to bide the fact that he was a worshiper of 

" And the Lord was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous 
man. . . . And his master saw that the Lord was with him, and 
that the Lord made all that he did to prosper in his hand." 1 
Potiphar's confidence in Joseph increased daily, and he finally 
promoted him to be his steward, with full control over all his 
possessions. '"And he left all that he had in Joseph's hand; and 
he knew not aught he had, save the bread which he did eat." 

The marked prosperity which attended everything placed 
under Joseph's care was not the result of a direct miracle; but his 
industry, care, and energy were crowned with the divine blessing. 
Joseph attributed his success to the favor of God, and even his 

1 Sic (lenesis 39. 


idolatrous master accepted this as the secret of his unparalleled 
prosperity. Without steadfast, well-directed effort, however, suc- 
cess could never have been attained. God was glorified by the 
faithfulness of his servant. It was his purpose that in purity and 
uprightness the believer in God should appear in marked contrast 
to the worshipers of idols, — that thus the light of heavenly grace 
might shine forth amid the darkness of heathenism. 

Joseph's gentleness and fidelity won the heart of the chief cap- 
tain, who came to regard him as a son rather than a slave. The 
y< iuth was brought in contact with men of rank and learning, and he 
acquired a knowledge of science, of languages, and of affairs, — 
an education needful to the future prime minister of Egypt. 

But Joseph's faith and integrity were to be tested by fiery trials. 
His master's wife endeavored to entice the young man to transgress 
the law of God. Heretofore he had remained untainted by the 
corruption teeming in that heathen land ; but this temptation, so 
sudden, so strong, so seductive, — how should it bo met? Joseph 
knew well what would be the consequence of resistance. On the 
one hand were concealment, favor, and rewards ; on the other, 
disgrace, imprisonment, perhaps death. His whole future life 
depended upon the decision of the moment. Would principle 
triumph ? Would Joseph still be true to God? With inexpressible 
anxiety, angels looked upon the scene. 

Joseph's answer reveals the power of religious principle. He 
would not betray the confidence of his master on earth, and, what- 
ever the consequences, he would be true to his Master in heaven. 
Under the inspecting eye of God and holy angels, many take 
liberties of which they would not be guilty in the presence of 
their fellow-men; hut Joseph's first thought was of God. " How 
can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God? " he said. 

If we were to cherish an habitual impression that God sees 
and hears all that we do and say, and keeps a faithful record of 
our words and actions, and that we must meet it all, we would fear 
to sin. Let the young ever remember that wherever they are, and 
whatever they do, they are in the presence of God. No part of 
our conduct escapes observation. We cannot hide our ways from 
the Most High. Human laws, though sometimes severe, are 
often transgressed without detection, and hence with impunity. 
But not so with the law of God. The deepest midnight is no 


cover for the guilty one. He may think himself alone ; but to 
every deed there is an unseen witness. The very motives of his 
heart are open to divine inspection. Every act, every word, every 
thought, is as distinctly marked as though there were only one 
person in the whole world, and the attention of heaven were 
centered upon him. 

Joseph suffered for his integrity; for his tempter revenged 
herself by accusing him of a foul crime, and causing him to be 
thrust into prison. Had Potiphar believed his wife's charge 
against Joseph, the young Hebrew would have lost his life; but 
the modesty and uprightness that had uniformly characterized his 
conduct were proof of his innocence ; and yet, to save the reputa- 
tion of his master's house, he was abandoned to disgrace and 

At the first, Joseph was treated with great severity by his 
ailers. The psalmist says, "His feet they hurt with fetters; he 
was laid in chains of iron. Until the time that his word came to 
pass, the word of the Lord tried him." 1 But Joseph's real char- 
acter shines out, even in the darkness of the dungeon. He held 
fast his faith and patience; his years of faithful service had been 
most cruelly repaid, yet this did not render him morose or dis- 
trustful. He had the peace that comes from conscious innocence, 
and he trusted his case with God. He did not brood upon his 
own wrongs, but forgot his sorrow in trying to lighten the sorrows 
of others. He found a work to do, even in the prison. God was 
preparing him, in the school of affliction, for greater usefulness, 
and he did not refuse the needful discipline. In the prison, 
witnessing the results of oppression and tyranny, and the effects 
of crime, he learned lessons of justice, sympathy, and mercy, that 
prepared him to exercise power with wisdom and compassion. 

Joseph gradually gained the confidence of the keeper of the 
prison, and was finally intrusted with the charge of all the pris- 
oners. It was the part he acted in the prison — the integrity of 
his daily life, and his sympathy for those who were in trouble and 
distress — that opened the way for his future prosperity and honor. 
Every ray of light that we shed upon others is reflected upon our- 
selves. Every kind and sympathizing word spoken to the sorrow- 
ful, every act to relieve the oppressed, and every gift to the needy, 
if prompted by a right motive, will result in blessings to the giver. 

x Ps. 105 : is, Rev. Ver. 


The chief baker and chief butler of the king had been cast 
into prison for some offense, and they came under Joseph's charg< . 
One morning, observing that they appeared very sad, he kindly 
inquired the cause, and was told that each had had ;i remarkable 
dream, of which they were anxious to learn the significance. " Do 
not interpretations belong to God?" said Joseph, "tell me them, 
I pray you." 1 As each related his dream, Joseph made known 
its import: In three days the butler was to he re-instated in his 
position, and give the cup into Pharaoh's hand as before, but the 
chief baker would he put to death by the king's command. In 
both cases the event occurred as foretold. 

The king's cup-bearer had professed the deepest -latitude to 
Joseph, both tor the cheering interpretation of his dream and for 
many acts of kind attention ; and in return the latter, referring in 
a most touching manner to his own unjust captivity, entreated 
that his ease be brought before the king. "Think on me," he 
said, "when it shall he well with thee., and show kindness, I pray 
thee, unto me, and make mention of me unto Pharaoh, and bring 
me out of this house. For indeed I was stolen away out of the 
land of the Hebrews ; and hero also have I done nothing that 
they should put me into the dungeon." The chief butler saw 
the dream fulfilled in every particular j hut when restored to royal 
favor, he thought no more of his benefactor. For two years longer, 
Joseph remained a prisoner. The hope that had been kindled in 
his heart gradually died out, and to all other trials was added the 
bitter sting of ingratitude. 

But a divine hand was about to open the prison gates. The 
king of Egypt had in one night two dreams, apparently pointing 
to the same event, and seeming to foreshadow some great calamity. 
He could not determine their significance, yet they continued to 
trouble his mind. The magicians and wise men of his realm 
could give no interpretation. The king's perplexity and distress 
increased, and terror spread throughout his palace. The general 
agitation recalled to the chief butler's mind the circumstances of 
his own dream ; with it came the memory of Joseph, and a pang 
of remorse for his forgetfulness and ingratitude. He at once in- 
formed the king how his own dream and that of the chief baker 
had been interpreted by a Hebrew captive, and how the predic- 
tions had been fulfilled. 

1 See Gem sis 40 


It was humiliating to Pharaoh to turn away from the magicians 
and wise men of his kingdom to consult an alien and a slave ; but 
he was ready to accept the lowliest service if his troubled mind 
might find relief. Joseph was immediately sent for; he put off 
his prison attire, and shaved himself, for his hair had grown long 
during the period of his disgrace and confinement. He was then 
conducted to the presence of the king. 

" And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, I have dreamed a dream, and 
there is none that can interpret it; and I have heard say of thee 
that thou canst understand a dream to interpret it. And Joseph 
answered Pharaoh, saying, It is not in me ; God shall give Pharaoh 
an answer of peace." l Joseph's reply to the king reveals his hu- 
mility and his faith in God. He modestly disclaims the honor of 
possessing in himself superior wisdom. " It is not in me." God 
alone can explain these mysteries. 

Pharaoh then proceeded to relate his dreams : " Behold, I stood 
upon the bank of the river ; and, behold, there came up out of the 
river seven kine, fat-fleshed and well-favored ; and they fed in a 
meadow : and, behold, seven other kine came up after them, poor 
and very ill-favored and lean-fleshed, such as I never saw in all the 
land of Egypt for badness. And the lean and the ill-favored kine 
did eat up the first seven fat kine; and when they had eaten them 
up, it could not be known that they had eaten them ; but they 
were still ill-favored, as at the beginning. So I awoke. And I 
saw in my dream, and, behold, seven ears came up in one stalk, 
full and good : and, behold, seven ears, withered, thin, and 
blasted with the east wind, sprung up after them ; and the thin 
ears devoured the seven good ears. And I told this unto the ma- 
gicians; but there was none that could declare it to me." 

" The dream of Pharaoh is one," said Joseph. " God hath 
showed Pharaoh what he is about to do." There were to be 
seven years of great plenty. Field and garden would yield more 
abundantly than ever before. And this period was to be followed 
by seven years of famine. "And the plenty shall not be known 
in the land by reason of that famine following ; for it shall be very 
grievous." The repetition of the dream was evidence both of the 
certainty and nearness of the fulfillment. "Now therefore," he 
continued, "let Pharaoh lookout a man discreet and wise, and set 
him over the land of Egypt. Let Pharaoh do this, and let him 
appoint officers over the land, and take up the fifth part of the 

1 See Genesis 41. 


land of Egypt in the seven plenteous years. Ami let them gather 
all the food of those good years that come, and lav up corn under 
the hand of Pharaoh, and let them keep food in the cities. 
And that food shall be for store to the land against the seven 
years of famine." 

The interpretation was so reasonable and consistent, and the 
policy which it recommended was so sound and shrewd, that its 
correctness could not be doubted. But who was to be intrusted 
with the execution of the plan? Upon the wisdom of this choice 
depended the nation's preservation. The king was troubled. For 
some time the matter of the appointment was under consideration. 
Through the chief butler the monarch had learned of the wisdom 
and prudence displayed by Joseph in the management of the 
prison; it was evident that he possessed administrative ability in 
a pre-eminent degree. The cup-bearer, now filled with self-re- 
proach, endeavored to atone for his former ingratitude, by the 
warmest praise of his benefactor; and further inquiry by the king 
proved the correctness of his report. In all the realm, Joseph 
was the only man gifted with wisdom to point out the danger 
that threatened the kingdom, and the preparation necessary to 
meet it; and the king was convinced that he was the one best 
qualified to execute the plans which he had proposed. It was 
evident that a divine power was with him, and that there were 
none among the king's officers of state so well qualified to conduct 
the affairs of the nation at this crisis. The fact that he was a 
Hebrew and a slave, was of little moment when weighed against 
his evident wisdom and sound judgment. "Can we find such a 
one as this is, a man in whom the Spirit of God is? " said the king 
to his counselors. 

The appointment was decided upon, and to Joseph the aston- 
ishing announcement was made, " Forasmuch as God hath showed 
thee all this, there is none so discreet and wise as thou art. Thou 
shalt he over my house, and according unto thy word shall all my 
people he ruled; only in the throne will I he greater than thou." 
The king proceeded to invest Joseph with the insignia of his high 
office. " And Pharaoh took off his ring from his hand, and put it 
upon Joseph's hand, and arrayed him in vestures of fine linen, and 
put a gold chain about his neck; and he made him to ride in the 
second chariot which he had; and they cried before him, Bow 
the knee." 


" He made him lord of his house, and ruler of all his sub- 
stance ; to hind his princes at his pleasure, and teach his senators 
wisdom." ' From the dungeon, Joseph was exalted to he ruler 
over all the land of Egypt. It was a position of high hon<5r, yet 
it was beset with difficulty and peril. One cannot stand upon a 
lofty height without danger. As the tempest leaves unharmed 
the lowly flower of the valley, while it uproots the stately tree 
upon the mountain-top, so those who have maintained their in- 
tegrity in humble life, may be dragged down to the pit by the 
temptations that assail worldly success and honor. But Joseph's 
character bore the test alike of adversity and prosperity. The 
same fidelity to God was manifest when he stood in the palace of 
the Pharaohs as when in a prisoner's cell. He was still a stranger 
in a heathen land, separated from his kindred, the Avorshipers of 
God ; but he fully believed that the divine hand had directed his 
steps, and in constant reliance upon God he faithfully discharged 
the duties of his position. Through .Joseph the attention of the 
king and great men of Egypt was directed to the true God; and 
though they adhered to their idolatry, they learned to respect the 
principles revealed in the life and character of the worshiper of 

How was Joseph enabled to make such a record of firmness of 
character, uprightness and wisdom ? — In his early years he had 
consulted duty rather than inclination; and the integrity, the 
simple trust, the noble nature, of the youth, bore fruit in the 
deeds of the man. A pure and simple life had favored the 
vigorous development of both physical and intellectual powers. 
Communion with God through his works, and the contemplation 
of the grand truths intrusted to the inheritors of faith, had ele- 
vated and ennobled his spiritual nature, broadening and strength- 
ening the mind as no other study could do. Faithful attention to 
duty in every station, from the lowliest to the most exalted, had 
been training every power for its highest service. He who lives 
in accordance with the Creator's will is securing to himself the 
truest and noblest develojmient of character. " The fear of the 
Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding."' 2 

There are few who realize the influence of the little things of 
life upon the development ,of character. Nothing with which we 
have to do is really small. The varied circumstances that we meet 
1 Ps. 105 : 21, 22. Mob 28 : 2S. 



day by day arc designed to test our faithfulness, and to qualify us 
for greater trusts. By adherence to principle in the transactions 
of ordinary life, the mind becomes accustomed to hold the claims 
of duty above those of pleasure and inclination. Minds thus dis- 
ciplined arc not wavering between right and wrong, like the reed 
trembling in the wind j they are loyal to duty because they have 
trained themselves to habits of fidelity and truth. By faithfulness 
in that which is least, they acquire strength to be faithful in greater 

An upright character is of greater worth than the gold of ( >phir. 
Without it none can rise to an honorable eminence. But character 
is not inherited. It cannot be bought. Moral excellence and fine 
mental qualities are not the result of accident. The most precious 
gifts are of no value unless they are improved. The formation of 
a noble character is the Work of a lite-time, and must be the result 
of diligent and persevering effort. God gives opportunities ; suc- 
cess depends upon the use made of them. 



At the very opening of the fruitful years began the prepara- 
tion for the approaching famine. Under the direction of Joseph, 
immense store-houses were erected in all the principal places 
throughout the land of Egypt, and ample arrangements were 
made for preserving the surplus of the expected harvest. The 
same policy was continued during the seven years of plenty, until 
the amount of grain laid in store was beyond computation. 

And now the seven years of dearth began to come, according 
to Joseph's prediction. " And the dearth was in all lands ; but 
in all the land of Egypt there was bread. And when all the land 
of Egypt was famished, the people cried to Pharaoh for bread; 
and Pharaoh said unto all the Egyptians, Go unto Joseph ; what 
he saith to you, do. And the famine was over all the face of the 
earth. And Joseph opened all the store-houses, and sold unto the 
Egyptians." 1 

The famine extended to the land of Canaan, and was severely 
felt in that part of the country where Jacob dwelt. Hearing of 
the abundant provision made by the king of Egypt, ten of Jacob's 
sons journeyed thitherto purchase grain. On their arrival they 
were directed to the king's deputy, and with other applicants they 
came to present themselves before the ruler of the land. And they 
" 1 towed down themselves before him with their faces to the earth." 
" Joseph knew his brethren, but they knew not him." 1 His He- 
brew name had been exchanged for the one bestowed upon him 
by the king ; and there was little resemblance between the prime 
minister of Egypt and the stripling whom they had sold to the 
Ishmaelites. As Joseph saw his brothers stooping and making 
obeisance, his dreams came to his mind, and the scenes of the 
past rose vividly before him. His keen eye, surveying the group, 
discovered that Benjamin was not among them. Had he also fal- 

1 Tien. 41 : 54-5(5 ; chapters 42-50. 
[ v.?A | 


len a victim to the treacherous cruelty of those savage men? Hi; 
determined to Learn the truth. *'Yeare spies." he said sternly; 
•■ to see the nakedness of the land ye arc come." 

They answered, " Nay, my lord, hut to buy food arc thy serv- 
ants conic. We arc all one man's sons: we arc true men; thy 
servants are no spies/' He wished to learn if they possessed the 
same haughty spirit as when he was with them, and also to draw 
from them sonic information in regard to their home; yet he well 
knew how deceptive their statements might be. He repeated the 
charge, and they replied, " Thy servants are twelve brethren, the 
sons of one man in the land of Canaan ; and. behold, the youngest 
is this day with our father, and one is not." 

Professing to doubt the truthfulness of their story, and to still 
look upon them as spies, the governor declared that he would 
prove them, by requiring them to remain in Egypt till 'one of their 
number should go and bring their youngest brother down. If 
they would not consent to this, they were to be treated as spies. 
But to such an arrangement the sons of Jacob could not agree, 
since the time required for carrying it out would cause their fam- 
ilies to sutler for food; and who among them would undertake the 
journey alone, leaving his brothers- in prison? How could he 
meet his father under such circumstances? It appeared probable 
that they were to be put to death or to be made slaves; and if 
Benjamin were brought, it might be only to share their fate. 
They decided to remain and suffer together, rather than bring 
additional sorrow upon their father by the loss of his only remain- 
ing son. They were accordingly cast into orison, where they re- 
mained three days. 

During the years since Joseph had been separated from his 
brothers, these sons of Jacob had changed in character. Envi- 
ous, turbulent, deceptive, cruel, and revengeful they had been; 
but now when tested by adversity, they were shown to be unself- 
ish, true to one another, devoted to their father, and, themselves 
middle-aged men, subject to his authority. 

The three days in the Egyptian prison were days of bitter 
sorrow, as the brothers reflected upon their past sins. Unless 
Benjamin could be produced, their conviction as spies appeared 
certain, and they had little hope of gaining their father's consent 
to Benjamin's absence. On the third day, Joseph caused the broth- 
ers to be brought before him. He dared not detain them longer. 


Already his father and the families with him might be suffering 
for food. " This do, and live," he said ; " for I fear God. If ye be 
true men, let one of your brethren be bound in the house of your 
prison ; go ye, carry corn for the famine of your houses. But bring 
your youngest brother unto me ; so shall your words be verified, 
and ye shall not die." This proposition they agreed to accept, 
though expressing little hope that their father would let Benjamin 
return with them. Joseph had communicated with them through 
an interpreter, and having no thought that the governor under- 
stood them, they conversed freely with one another in his pres- 
ence. They accused themselves in regard to their treatment of 
Joseph : " We are verily guilty concerning our brother, in that we 
saw the anguish of his soul, when he besought us, and we would 
not hear; therefore is this distress come upon us." Reuben, who 
had formed the plan for delivering him at Dothan, added, " Spake 
I not unto you, saying, Do not sin against the child ; and ye would 
not hear? therefore, behold, also his blood is required." Joseph, 
listening, could not control his emotions, and he went out and 
wept. On his return, he commanded that Simeon be bound be- 
fore them, and again committed to prison. In the cruel treatment 
of their brother, Simeon had been the instigator and chief actor, 
and it was for this reason that the choice fell upon him. 

Before permitting his brothers to depart, Joseph gave direc- 
tions that they should be supplied with grain, and also that each 
man's money should be secretly placed in the mouth of his sack. 
Provender for the beasts on the homeward journey was also sup- 
plied. On the way, one of the company, opening his sack, was 
surprised to find his bag of silver. On his making known the fact 
to the others, they were alarmed and perplexed, and said one to 
another, "What is this that God hath done unto us?" — should 
they regard it as a token of good from the Lord, or had he suffered 
it to occur to punish them for their sins, and plunge them still 
deeper in affliction? ■ They acknowledged that God had seen their 
sins, and that he was now punishing them. 

Jacob was anxiously awaiting the return of his sons, and on 
their arrival the whole encampment gathered eagerly around them 
as they related to their father all that had occurred. Alarm and 
apprehension filled every heart. The conduct of the Egyptian 
governor seemed to imply some evil design, and their fears were 
confirmed, when, as they opened their sacks, the owner's money 


was found in each. In his distress the aged father exclaimed. 
"Me have ye bereaved of my children. Joseph is not, ana 
Simeon is not, and ye will take Benjamin away. All th< 
thin-- arc against me."' Reuben answered, "Slay my two sons, 
if 1 bring him not to thee ; deliver him into my hand, and I will 
bring him to thee again." This rash speech did not relieve the 
mind of Jacob. His answer was, " My son shall not go down witli 
you; tor his brother is dead, and hi' is left alone. If mischief 
befall him by the way in the which ye go, then shall ye bring 
down my gray hairs with sorrow to the grave." 

But the drought continued, and in process of time the supply 
of grain that had been brought from Egypt was nearly exhausted. 
The sons of Jacob well knew that it would he in vain to return to 
Egypt ■without Benjamin. They had little hope of changing their 
father's resolution, and they awaited the issue in silence. Deeper 
and deeper grew the shadow of approaching famine; in the anx- 
ious faces of all in the encampment, the old man read their need ; 
;it lasl he said, " Go again, buy us a little food." 

Judah answered, "The man did solemnly protest unto us, say- 
ing, Ye shall not see my face, except your brother he with you. If 
thou wilt send our hrother with us, we will go down and buy thee 
food : hut if thou wilt not send him, we will not go down ; for the 
man said unto us, Ye shall not see my face, except your hrother he 
with you." Seeing that his father's resolution hegan to waver, he 
added. ••Send the lad with me, and we will arise and go; that 
we may live, and not die, both we, and thou, and also our little 
one- ; " and he offered to he surety for his brother, and to hear the 
blame forever if he failed to restore Benjamin to his father. 

Jacob could no longer withhold his consent, and lie directed 
his sons to prepare for the journey. He hade them also take to 
the ruler a present of such things as the famine-wasted country 
afforded, — "a little halm, and a little honey, spices and myrrh, 
nuts and almonds." also a double quantity of money. " Take also 
your hrother." he said, "and arise, go again unto the man." A- 
his Bons wen- about to depart on their doubtful journey, the aged 
father arose, and raising his hands to heaven, uttered the prayer^ 
" ( rod Almighty give yon mercy before the man, that he may send 
away your other brother, and Benjamin. If I be bereaved of my 
children, I am bereaved." 

Again they journeyed to Egypt, and presented themselves 


before Joseph. As his eye fell upon Benjamin, his own mother's 
son, he was deeply moved. He concealed his emotion, however, 
but ordered that they be taken to his house, and that preparation 
be made for them to dine with him. Upon being conducted to 
the governor's palace, the brothers were greatly alarmed, fearing 
that they were to be called to account for the money found in 
their sacks. They thought that it might have been intentionally 
placed there, to furnish occasion for making them slaves. In their 
distress, they consulted with the steward of the house, relating to 
him the circumstances of their visit to Egypt; and in proof of 
their innocence informed him that they had brought back the 
money found in their sacks, also other money to buy food ; and 
they added, " We cannot tell who put our money in our sacks." 
The man replied, " Peace be to you, fear not ; your God, and 
the God of your father, hath given you treasure in your sacks. I 
had your money." Their anxiety was relieved, and when Simeon, 
who had been released from prison, joined them, they felt that 
God was indeed gracious unto them. 

When the governor again met them, they presented their gifts, 
and humbly "bowed themselves to him to the earth." Again his 
<lreams came to his mind, and after saluting his guests he hastened 
to ask, " Is your father well, the old man of whom ye spake? Is 
he yet alive ? " " Thy servant our father is in good health, he is 
yet alive," was the answer, as they again made obeisance. Then 
his eye rested upon Benjamin, and he said, " Is this your younger 
brother, of whom ye spake unto me ? " " God be gracious unto thee, 
my son ; " but overpowered by feelings of tenderness, he could say 
no more. " He entered into his chamber, and wept there." 

Having recovered his self-possession, he returned, and all pro- 
ceeded to the feast. By the laws of caste, the Egyptians were 
forbidden to eat with people of any other nation. The sons of 
Jacob had therefore a table by themselves, while the governor, on 
account of his high rank, ate by himself, and the Egyptians also 
had separate tables. When all were seated, the brothers were 
surprised to see that they were arranged in exact order, according 
to their ages. Joseph " sent messes unto them from before him ; " 
but Benjamin's was five times as much as any of theirs. By 
this token of favor to Benjamin lie hoped to ascertain if the 
youngest brother was regarded with the envy and hatred that had 
been manifested toward himself. Still supposing that Joseph did 

Joseph AM) Ills BROTHERS. 229 

not understand their language, the brothers freely conversed with 
one another; thus he had a good opportunity to learn their real 
feelings. Still ho desired to test them further, and before their 
departure he ordered that his own drinking-cup of silver should 
be concealed in the saek of the youngest. 

Joyfully they set out on their return. Simeon and l>enjamin 
were witli them, their animals were laden with grain, and all felt 
that they had safely escaped the perils that had seemed to sur- 
round them. But they had only reached the outskirts of the city 
when they were overtaken hy the governor's steward, who uttered 
the scathing inquiry, " Wherefore have ye rewarded evil for good ? 
Is not this it in which my lord drinketh, and whereby indeed he 
divineth? Ye have done evil in so doing." This cup was sup- 
posed to possess the power of detecting any poisonous substance 
placed therein. At that day, cups of this kind were highly valued 
as a safe-guard against murder by poisoning. 

To the steward's accusation the travelers answered, " Wherefore 
saith my lord these words? God forbid that thy servants should 
do according to this thing. Behold, the money which we found 
in our sacks' mouths, we brought again unto thee out of the land 
of Canaan ; how then should we steal out of thy lord's house silver 
or gold ? With whomsoever of thy servants it be found, both let 
him die, and we also will be my lord's bondmen." 

" Now also let it be according unto your words," said the stew- 
ard; "he with whoru it is found shall be my servant; and ye 
shall be blameless." 

The search began immediately. " They speedily took down 
every man his sack to the ground," and the steward examined 
each, beginning with Reuben's, and taking them in order down to 
that of the youngest. In Benjamin's saek the cup was found. 

The brothers rent their garments in token of utter wretchedness, 
and slowly returned to the city. By their own promise, Benjamin 
was doomed to a life of slavery. They followed the steward to the 
palace, and finding the governor yet there, they prostrated them- 
selves before him. "What deed is this that ye have done? "he 
said. "Wot ye not that such a man as I can certainly divine?" 
Joseph designed to draw from them an acknowledgment of their 
sin. He had never claimed the power of divination, but was will- 
.ingtohave them believe thai he could read the secrets of their lives. 

Judah answered, "What shall we say unto my lord? what 


shall we speak? or how shall we clear ourselves ? God hath found 
out the iniquity of thy servants. Behold, we are my lord's serv- 
ants, both Ave, and he also with whom the cup is found." 

" God forbid that I should do so," was the reply ; " but the 
man in whose hand the cup is found, he shall be my servant ; and 
as for you, get you up in peace unto your father." 

In his deep distress, Judah now drew near to the ruler, and 
exclaimed, "0 my lord, let thy servant, I pray thee, speak a 
word in my lord's ears, and let not thine aimer burn against thy 
servant ; for thou art even as Pharaoh." In words of touching 
eloquence he described his father's grief at the loss of Joseph, and 
his reluctance to let Benjamin come with them to Egypt, as he 
was the only son left of his mother, Rachel, whom Jacob so dearly 
loved. ''Now therefore," he said, "when I come to thy servant 
my father, and the lad be not with us; seeing that his life is 
bound up in the lad's life; it shall come to pass, when he seeth 
that the lad is not with us, that he .will .die; and thy servants 
shall bring down the gray hairs of thy servant our father with sor- 
row to the grave. For thy servant became surety for the lad unto 
my father, saying, If I bring him not unto thee, then I shall bear 
the blame to my father forever. Now therefore, I pray thee, let 
thy servant abide instead of the lad a bondman to my lord ; and 
let the lad go up with his brethren. For how shall I go up to my 
father, and the lad be not with me ? lest peradventure I see the 
evil that shall come on my father." 

Joseph was satisfied. He had seen in his brothers the fruits of 
true repentance. Upon hearing Judah's noble offer, he gave or- 
ders that all but these men should withdraw ; then weeping aloud, 
he cried, " I am Joseph ; doth my father yet live? " 

His brothers stood motionless, dumb with fear and amaze- 
ment, The ruler of Egypt their brother Joseph, whom they had 
envied and would have murdered, and finally sold as a slave ! All 
their ill-treatment of him passed before them. They remembered 
how they had despised his dreams, and had labored to prevent 
their fulfillment. Yet they had acted their part in fulfilling these 
dreams; and now that they were completely in his power, he 
would, no doubt, avenge the wrong that he had suffered. 

Seeing their confusion, he said kindly, " Come near to me, I 
pray you; "and as they came near, he continued, " I am Joseph 
your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt. Now therefore be not 

JOS/-: I'll AM) Ills BB0THEB8. 231 

grieved, nor angry witli yourselves, thai ye sold me hither; for 
God did send me before you to preserve life." Feeling thai thej 
had already suffered enough for their cruelty toward him, he 
nobly sought to banish their tears, and lessen the bitterness of 
their self-reproach. 

•• For these two years.'" he continued, " hath the famine been in 
the land: ami yet there are live years, in the which there shall 
neither he earing nor harvest. And God sent me before you to 
preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a 
great deliverance. So now it was not you that sent me hither, hut 
God; an«l he hath made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all 
his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt. Haste 
ye, and go up to my father, and say unto him, Thus saith thy son 
Joseph, God hath made me lord of all Egypt: comedown unto 
me. tarry not; and thou shalt dwell in the land of Goshen, and 
thou shalt be near unto me, thou, and thy children, and thy chil- 
dren's children, and thy flocks, and thy herds, and all that thou 
hast, and there will I nourish thee : for yet there are five years of 
famine ; lest thou, and thy household, and all that thou hast, come 
to poverty. And, behold, your eyes see, and the eyes of my 
brother Benjamin, that it is my mouth that speaketh unto you. " 
"And he fell upon his brother Benjamin's neck, and wept; 
and Benjamin wept upon his neck. Moreover he kissed all his 
hrethren, and wept upon them; and after that his brethren 
talked with him.'' They humbly confessed their sin, and en- 
treated his forgiveness. They had long suffered anxiety and 
remorse, and now they rejoiced that he was still alive. 

The news of what had taken place was quickly carried to the 
king, who, eager to manifest his gratitude to Joseph, continued 
the governor's invitation to his family, saying, "The good of all 
the land of Egypt is yours." The brothers were sent away abun- 
dantly supplied with provision and carriages, and everything 
necessary for the removal of all their families and attendants to 
Egypt. On Benjamin, Joseph bestowed more valuable gifts than 
upon the others. Then, fearing that disputes would arise among 
them on the homeward journey, he gave them, as they were about 
leaving him, the charge, "See that ye fall not out by the way." 

The sons of Jacob returned to their father with the joyful 
tidings, "Joseph is yet alive, and he is governor over all the land 
of Egypt." At first the aged man was overwhelmed; he could 


not believe what he heard ; but when he saw the long train of 
wagons and loaded animals, and when Benjamin was with him 
once more, he was convinced, and in the fullness of his joy ex- 
claimed, " It is enough ; Joseph my son is yet alive. I will go 
and see him before I die." 

Another act of humiliation remained for the ten brothers. They 
now confessed to their father the deceit and cruelty that for so 
many years had imbittered his life and theirs. Jacob had not 
suspected them of so base a sin, but he saw that all had been 
overruled for good, and he forgave and blessed his erring children. 

The father and his sons, with their families, their flocks and 
herds, and numerous attendants, were soon on the way to Egypt. 
With gladness of heart they pursued their journey, and when they 
came to Beersheba, the patriarch offered grateful sacrifices, and 
entreated the Lord to grant them an assurance that he would go 
with them. In a vision of the night the divine word came to 
him : " Fear not to go down into Egypt ; for I will there make 
of thee a great nation. I will go down with thee into Egypt ; and 
I will also surely bring thee up again." 

The assurance, " Fear not to go down into Egypt, for I will 
there make of thee a great nation," was significant. The promise 
had been given to Abraham of a posterity numberless as the stars ; 
but as yet the chosen people had increased but slowly. And the 
land of Canaan now offered no field for the development of such 
a nation as had been foretold. It was in the possession of power- 
ful heathen tribes, that were not to be dispossessed until "the 
fourth generation." If the descendants of Israel were here to 
become a numerous people, they must either drive out the in- 
habitants of the land or disperse themselves among them. The 
former, according to the divine arrangement, they could not do ; 
and should they mingle with the Canaanites, they would be in 
danger of being seduced into idolatry. Egypt, however, offered 
the conditions necessary to the fulfillment of the divine purpose. 
A section of country, well-watered and fertile, was open to them 
there, affording every advantage for their speedy increase. And 
the antipathy they must encounter in Egypt on account of their 
occupation — for every shepherd was " an abomination unto the 
Egyptians" 1 — would enable them to remain a distinct and sepa- 
rate people, and would thus serve to shut them out from par- 
ticipation in the idolatry of Egypt. 

1 Gen. 46 : 34. 

JOSE I'll AM) Ills BROTHERS. 23 

_. i. > 

Upon reaching Egypt, the company proceeded directly to the 
land of Goshen. Thither came Joseph in his chariot of state, 
attended by a princely retinue. The splendor of his surround- 
ings and the dignity of his position were alike forgotten; one 
thought alone filled his mind, one longing thrilled his heart. As 
he beheld the travelers approaching, the love whose yearnings had 
for so many long years been repressed, would no longer be con- 
trolled. He sprung from his chariot, and hastened forward to 
bid Ins father welcome. "And he fell on his neck, and wept on 
his neck a good while. And Israel said unto Joseph, Now let me 
die, since I have seen thy face, because thou art yet alive." 

Joseph took five of his brothers to present to Pharaoh, and re- 
ceive from him the grant of land for their future home. Gratitude 
to his prime minister would have led the monarch to honor them 
with appointments to offices of state; but Joseph, true to the 
worship of Jehovah, sought to save his brothers from the, tempta- 
tions to which they would be exposed at a heathen court; there- 
fore he counseled them, when questioned by the king, to tell him 
frankly their occupation. The sons of Jacob followed this counsel, 
being careful also to state that they had come to sojourn in the 
land, not to become permanent dwellers there, thus reserving the 
right to depart if they chose. The king assigned them a home, 
as offered, in "the best of the land," the country of Goshen. 

Not long after their arrival, Joseph brought his father also to 
be presented to the king. The patriarch was a stranger in royal 
courts; but amid the sublime scenes of nature he had communed 
with a mightier Monarch; and now, in conscious superiority, he- 
raised his hands and blessed Pharaoh. 

In his first greeting to Joseph, Jacob had spoken as if, with 
this joyful ending to his long anxiety and sorrow, he was ready to- 
die. But seventeen years were yet to be granted him in the 
peaceful retirement of Goshen. These years were, in happy con- 
trast to those that had preceded them. He saw in his sons evi- 
dence of true repentance; he saw his family surrounded by all the 
conditions needful for the development of a great nation ; and his 
faith grasped the sure promise of their future establishment in 
Canaan. He himself was surrounded with every token of love and 
favor that the prime minister of Egypt could bestow; and happy 
in the society of his long-lost son, he passed down gently and 
peacefully to the grave. 


As he felt death approaching, he sent for Joseph. Still holding 
fast the promise of God respecting the possession of Canaan, he 
said. "Bury me not, I pray thee, in Egypt. But I will lie with 
my fathers, and thou shalt carry me out of Egypt, and bury me 
in their burying-place." Joseph promised to do so, but Jacob was 
not satisfied; he exacted a solemn oath to lay him beside his 
lathers in the cave of Machpelah. 

Another important matter demanded attention; the sons of 
Joseph were to be formally instated among the children of Israel. 
Joseph, coming for a last interview with his father, brought with 
him Ephraim and Manasseh. These youths were connected, 
through their mother, with the highest order of the Egyptian 
priesthood; and the position of their father opened to them the 
avenues to wealth and distinction, should they choose to connect 
themselves with the Egyptians. It was Joseph's desire, however, 
that they should unite with their own people. He manifested his 
faith in the covenant-promise, in behalf of his sons renouncing 
all the honors that the court of Egypt offered, for a place among 
the despised shepherd tribes, to whom had been intrusted the 
oracles of God. 

Said Jacob, " Thy two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, which 
were born unto thee in the land of Egypt, before I came unto thee 
into Egypt, are mine; as Reuben and Simeon, they shall be 
mine." They were to be adopted as his own, and to become the 
heads of separate tribes. Thus one of the birthright privileges, 
which Reuben had forfeited, was to fall to Joseph, — a double 
portion in Israel. 

Jacob's eyes were dim with age, and he had not been aware of 
the presence of the young men ; but now, catching the outline of 
their forms, he said, " Who are these? " On being told, he added, 
"Bring them, I pray thee, unto me, and I will bless them." 
As they came nearer, the patriarch embraced and kissed them, 
solemnly laying his hands upon their heads in benediction. Then 
he uttered the prayer, " God, before whom my fathers Abraham 
and Isaac did walk, the God which fed me all my life long unto 
this day, the Angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the 
lads." There was no spirit of self-dependence, no reliance upon 
human power or cunning now. God had been his preserver and 
support. There Avas no complaint of the evil days in the past. 
Its trials and sorrows were no longer regarded as "things that were 


Lnst him." Memory recalled only His mercy and Loving-kind- 
ness who had been with him throughout his pilgrimage. 

The blessing ended, Jacob gave his son the assurance, -leav- 
ing for the generations to come, through long years of bondage 
and sorrow, this testimony to his faith, — " Behold, I die : but < rod 
shall be with you. and bring you again unto the land of your 

At the last, all the sons of Jacob were gathered about his 
dying bed. And Jacob called unto his sons, and said. "Gather 
yourselves together, and hear, ye sons of Jacob; and hearken unto 
Israel your father," " that I may tell you that which shall befall 
you in the last days." Often and anxiously he had thought of 
their future, and had endeavored to picture to himself the history 
of the different tribes. Now as his children waited to receive his 
last blessing, the Spirit of inspiration rested upon him ; and before 
him in prophetic vision the future of his descendants was unfolded. 
One after another, the names of his sons were mentioned, the 
character of each was described, and the future history of the 
tribe was briefly foretold. 

"Reuben, thou art my first-born. 
My might, and the beginning of my strength. 
The excellency of dignity, and tbe excellency of power." 

Thus the father pictured what should have been the position 
of Reuben as the first-born son; but his grievous sin at Edar had 
made him unworthy of the birthright 1 >lessing. J acob continued. — 
"Unstable as water, 
Thou shalt not excel." 

The priesthood was apportioned to Levi, the kingdom and the 
Messianic promise to Judah, and the double portion of the inher- 
itance to Joseph. The tribe of Reuben never rose to any eminence 
in Israel; it was not so numerous as Judah, Joseph, or Dan, and 
was among the first that were carried into captivity. 

Next in age to Reuben were Simeon and Levi. They had 
been united in their cruelty toward the Shechemites, and they 
had also been the most guilty in the selling of Joseph. Concern- 
ing them it was declared, — 

" I will divide them in Jacob, 
And scatter them in Israel.'' 

At the numbering of [srael, just before their entrance to 
Canaan. Simeon was the smallest tribe. Moses, in his last bless- 


ing, made no reference to Simeon. In the settlement of Canaan,, 
this tribe had only a small portion of Judah's lot, and such 
, families as afterward became powerful formed different colonies, 
and settled in territory outside the borders of the Holy Land. 
Levi also received no inheritance except forty-eight cities scat- 
tered in different parts of the land. In the case of this tribe, 
however, their fidelity to Jehovah when the other tribes aposta- 
tized, secured their appointment to the sacred service of the sanctu- 
ary, and thus the curse was changed into a blessing. 

The crowning blessings of the birthright were transferred to 
Judah. The significance of the name — which denotes praise — is 
unfolded in the prophetic history of this tribe : — 

"Judah, thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise ; 
Thy hand shall be in the neck of thine enemies ; 
Thy father's children shall bow down before thee. 
Judah is a lion's whelp : 
From the prey, my son, thou art gone up : 
He stooped down, he couched as a lion, 
And as an old lion ; who shall rouse him up ? 
•The scepter shall not depart from Judah, 
Nor a lawgiver from between his feet, 
Until Shiloh come ; 
And unto him shall the gathering of the people be." 

The lion, king of the forest, is a fitting symbol of this tribe, 
from which came David, and the Son of David, Shiloh, the true 
" Lion of the tribe of Judah," to whom all powers shall finally 
bow, and all nations render homage. 

For most of his children, Jacob foretold a prosperous future. 
At last the name of Joseph was reached, and the father's heart 
overflowed as he invoked blessings upon " the head of him that 
was separate from his brethren : " — 

"Joseph is a fruitful bough, 
Even a fruitful bough by a well ; 
Whose branches run over the wall. 
The archers have sorely grieved him, 
And shot at him, and hated him ; 
But his bow abode in strength, 
And the arms of hi? hands were made strong 
By the hands of the mighty God of Jacob 
(From thence is the shepherd, the stone of Israel) ; 
Even by the God of thy father, who shall help thee ; 


And by the Almighty, who shall blesfl thee 
With blessings of heaven above, 
Blessings of the deep thai lieth under. 
Blessings of the breasts, and of the womb ; 
The blessings of thy father have prevailed 
Above the blessings of my progenitors 
Unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills: 
They shall be on the head of Joseph, 

And on the crown of the head of him that was separate from 
his brethren." 

Jacob had ever been a man of dee}) and ardent affection; his 
love for Ins sons was strong and tender, and his dying testimony 
to them was not the utterance of partiality or resentment. He 
had forgiven them all, and he loved them t<> the last. His pater- 
nal tenderness would have found expression only in words of en- 
couragement and hope ; but the ] tower of God rested upon him, 
and under the influence of inspiration he was constrained to de- 
clare the truth, however painful. 

The last blessings pronounced, Jacob repeated the charge con- 
cerning his burial-place : " I am to be gathered unto my people. 
Bury me with my fathers ... in the cave that is in the field of 
Michpelah." "There they buried Abraham and Sarah his wife; 
there they buried Isaac and Rebekah his wife ; and there I buried 
Leah." Thus the last act of his life was to manifest his faith in 
God's promise. 

Jacob's last years brought an evening of tranquillity and re- 
pose after a troubled and weary day. Clouds had gathered dark 
above his path, yet his sun set clear, and the radiance of heaven 
illumined his parting hours. Says the Scrijiture, " At evening 
time it shall be light." 1 " Mark the perfect man, and behold the 
upright ; for the end of that man is peace." 2 

•Jacob had sinned, and had deeply suffered. Many years of 
toil, care, and sorrow had been his since the day when his great 
sin caused him to flee from his father's tents. A homeless fugi- 
tive, separated from his mother, whom he never saw again; labor- 
ing seven years for her whom he loved, only to be basely cheated; 
toiling twenty years in the service of a covetous and grasping 
kinsman; seeing his wealth increasing, ami sons rising around 
him, but finding little joy in the contentious and divided house- 
hold ; distressed by his daughter's shame, by Iter brothers' revenge, 

1 Zech. 14:7. -i Ps. 87 : 37. 


by the death of Rachel, by the unnatural crime of Reuben, by 
Judah's sin, by the cruel deception and malice practiced toward 
Joseph, — how long and dark is the catalogue of evils spread out 
to view! Again and again he had reaped the fruit of that first 
wrong deed. Over and over he saw repeated among his sons 
the sins of which he himself had been guilty. But bitter as had 
been the discipline, it had accomplished its work. The chasten- 
ing, though grievous, had yielded "the peaceable fruit of right- 

Inspiration faithfully records the faults of good men. those who 
were distinguished by the favor of God; indeed, their faults are 
more fully presented than their virtues. This has been a subject 
of wonder to many, and has given the infidel occasion to scoff at 
the Bible. But it is one of the strongest evidences ot' the truth 
of Scripture, that facts are not glossed over, nor the sins of its 
chief characters suppressed. The minds of men are so subject 
to prejudice that it is not possible for human histories to be abso- 
lutely impartial. Had the Bible been written by uninspired 
persons, it would no doubt have presented the character of its 
honored men in a more flattering light. But as it is, we have a 
correct record of their experiences. 

Men whom God favored, and to whom he intrusted great 
responsibilities, were sometimes overcome by temptation and 
committed sin, even as we at the present day strive, waver, and 
frequently fall into error. Their lives, with all their faults and 
follies, are opened before us, both for our encouragement and 
warning. If they had been represented as without fault, we, with 
our sinful nature, might despair at our own mistakes and fail- 
ures. But seeing where others struggled through discourage- 
ments like our own, where they fell under temptation as we have 
done, and yet took heart again, and conquered through the grace 
of God. we are encouraged in our striving after righteousm 3S. 
A- they, though sometimes beaten back, recovered their ground, 
and were blessed of God, so we too may be overcomers in the 
strength of Jesus. On the other hand, the record o( their lives 
may serve as a warning to as. It shows that God will by no 
means clear the guilty. He sees sin in his most favored one-;, 
and he deals with it in them even more strictly than in those 
who have less light and responsibility. 

1 Beb. f2 : 11. 


Alter tne burial of Jacob, tear again filled the hearts of 
Joseph's brothers. Notwithstanding his kindness toward them, 
conscious guilt made them distrustful and suspicious. It might 
be that he had but delayed Ids revenge, out of regard to their 
father, and that he would now visit upon them the long-deferred 
punishment for their crime. They dared not appear before him 
in person, hut sent a message: ' Thy tat her did command before 
he died, savin-, So shall ye say unto Joseph, Forgive, I pray thee 
now. the trespass of thy brethren, and their sin; for they did 
unto thee evil. And now, we pray thee, forgive the trespass of the 
servants of the God of thy father." This message affected Jo- 
seph to tears, and, encouraged by this, his brothers came and fell 
down before him, with the word-. "Behold, we be thy servants." 
Joseph's love for his brothers was deep and unselfish, and he was 
pained at the thought that they could regard him as cherishing 
a spirit of revenge toward them. " Fear not," he said ; " for am 
I in the place of God ? But as for you, ye thought evil against 
me; hut God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this 
i lay. to save much people alive. Now therefore fear ye not : I will 
nourish you, and your little ones." 

The life of Joseph illustrates the life of Christ. It was envy 
that moved the brothers of Joseph to sell him as a slave ; they 
hoped to prevent him from becoming greater than themselves. 
And when he was carried to Egypt, they flattered themselves that 
they were to be no more troubled with his dreams ; that they had 
removed all possibility of their fulfillment. But their own course 
was overruled by God to bring about the very event that they de- 
signed to hinder. So the Jewish priests and elders were jealous 
of Christ, fearing that he would attract the attention of the people 
from them. They put him to death, to prevent him from becom- 
ing king, but they were thus bringing about this very result. 

Joseph, through his bondage in Egypt, became a saviour to his 
father's family ; yet this fact did not lessen the guilt of his broth- 
ers. So the crucifixion of Christ by his enemies made him the 
redeemer of mankind, the saviour of the fallen race, and ruler 
over the whole world; but the crime of his murderers was just as 
heinous as though God's providential hand had not controlled 
events for his own glory and the good of man. 

As Joseph was sold to the heathen by his own brothers, 30 


Christ was sold to his bitterest enemies by one of his disciples. 
Joseph was falsely accused and thrust into prison because of his 
virtue ; so Christ was despised and rejected because his righteous, 
self-denying life was a rebuke to sin; and though guilty of no 
wrong, he was condemned upon the testimony of false witnesses. 
And Joseph's patience and meekness under injustice and oppres- 
sion, his ready forgiveness and noble benevolence toward his un- 
natural brothers, represent the Saviour's uncomplaining endur- 
ance of the malice and abuse of Avicked men, and his forgiveness, 
not only of his murderers, but of all who have come to him con- 
fessing their sins and seeking pardon. 

Joseph outlived his father fifty-four years. He lived to see 
" Ephraim's children of the third generation ; the children also 
of Machir the son of Manasseh were brought up upon Joseph's 
knees." He witnessed the increase and prosperity of his people, 
and through all the years his faith in God's restoration of Israel 
to the land of promise was unshaken. 

When he saw that his end was near, he summoned his kinsmen 
about him. Honored as he had been in the land of the Pharaohs, 
Egypt was to him but the place of his exile ; his last act was to 
signify that his lot was cast with Israel. His last words were, 
" God will surely visit you, and bring you out of this land unto 
the land which he sware to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob." 
And he took a solemn oath of the children of Israel that they 
would carry up his bones with them to the land of Canaan. " So 
Joseph died, being an hundred and ten years old ; and they em- 
balmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt." And through 
the centuries of toil which followed, that coffin, a reminder of the 
dying words of Joseph, testified to Israel that they were only so- 
journers in Egypt, and bade them keep their hopes fixed upon the 
land of promise, for the time of deliverance would surely come. 



The people of Egypt, in order to supply themselves with food 
■during the famine, had sold to the crown their cattle and lands, 
and had finally hound themselves to perpetual serfdom. Joseph 
wisely provided for their release; he permitted them to become 
royal tenants, holding their lands of the king, and paying an 
annual tribute of one-fifth of the products of their labor. 

But the children of Jacob were not under the necessity of 
making such conditions. On account of the service that Joseph 
had rendered the Egyptian nation, they were not only granted a 
part of the country as a home, but were exempted from taxation, 
and liberally supplied with food during the continuance of the 
famine. The king publicly acknowledged that it was through the 
merciful interposition of the God of Joseph that Egypt enjoyed 
plenty while other nations were perishing from famine. He saw. 
too, that Joseph's management had greatly enriched the kingdom, 
and his gratitude surrounded the family of Jacob with royal favor. 

But as time rolled on, the great man to whom Egypt owed 
so much, and the generation blessed by his labors, passed to the 
grave And "there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew 
not Joseph." 1 Not that he was ignorant of Joseph's services to 
the nation, but he wished to make no recognition of them, and, 
so far as possible, to bury them in oblivion. " And he said unto 
his people. Behold, the people of the children of Israel are more 
and mightier than we. Come on, let us ileal wisely with them; 
lest they multiply, and it come to pass, that, when there falleth 
out any war, they join also unto our enemies, and fight against 
us, and bo get them up out of the land." 

The Israelites had already become very numerous; "they 

wire fruitful, and increased abundantly, and multiplied, and 

waxed exceeding mighty; and the land was filled with them." 

x Ex. 1 ; 2 : 1-10. 



Under Joseph's fostering care, and the favor of the king who was 
then ruling, they had spread rapidly over the land. But they 
had kept themselves a distinct race, having nothing in common 
with the Egyptians in customs or religion; and their increasing 
numbers now excited the fears of the king and his people, lest 
in case of war they should join themselves with the enemies of 
Egypt. Yet policy forbade their banishment from the country. 
Many of them were able and understanding workmen, and they 
added greatly to the wealth of the nation; the king needed such 
laborers for the erection of his magnificent palaces and temples. 
Accordingly he ranked them with the Egyptians who had sold 
themselves with their possessions to the kingdom. Soon task- 
masters were set over them, and their slavery became complete. 
"And the Egyptians made the children of Israel to serve with 
rigor, and they made their lives bitter with hard bondage, in 
mortar, and in brick, and in all manner of service in the field; 
all their service, wherein they made them serve, was with rigor." 
" But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and 

The king and his counselors had hoped to subdue the Israelites 
with hard labor, and thus decrease their numbers and crush out 
their independent spirit. Failing to accomplish their purpose, 
they proceeded to more cruel measures. Orders were issued to 
the women whose employment gave them opportunity for ex- 
ecuting the command, to destroy the Hebrew male children at 
their birth. Satan was the mover in this matter. He knew that 
a deliverer was to be raised up among the Israelites; and by 
leading the king to destroy their children he hoped to defeat 
the divine purpose. But the women feared God, and dared not 
execute the cruel mandate. The Lord approved their course, and 
prospered them. The king, angry at the failure of his design, 
made the command more urgent and extensive. The whole 
nation was called upon to hunt out and slaughter his helples< 
victims. " And Pharaoh charged all his people, saying, Every 
sen that is born ye shall cast into the river, and every daughter 
ye shall save alive." 

While this decree was in full force, a son was born to Amram 
and Jochebed, devout Israelites of the tribe of Levi. The babe 
was " a goodly child ; " and the parents, believing that the time of 
Israel's release was drawing near, and that Clod would raise up a 

V08E8. 243 

deliverer for his people, determined that their Little one should not 
be sacrificed. Faith in God strengthened their hearts, " and they 
were not afraid of the king's commandment." 1 

The mother succeeded in concealing the child for three months. 
Then, finding that she could no longer keep him Bafely, she pre- 
pared a little ark of rashes, making it water-tight by means of 
Blime and pitch ; and laying tjie babe therein, she placed it among 
the flags at the river's brink, she dared not remain to guard it, 
lest the child's life and her own should be forfeited : but his sister, 
Miriam, lingered near, apparently indifferent, but anxiously watch- 
ing to see what would become of her little brother. And there 
were other watchers. The mother's earnest prayers had com- 
mitted her child to the care of God ; and angels, unseen, hovered 
above Ins lowly resting-place. Angels directed Pharaoh's daughter 
thither. Her curiosity was excited by the little basket, and as she 
looked upon the beautiful child within, she read the story at a 
-lance. The tears of the babe awakened her compassion, and her 
sympathies went out t<» the unknown mother who had resorted to 
this means to preserve the life of her precious little one. She 
determined that he should be saved ; she would adopt him 

her own. 

Miriam had keen secretly noting every movement ; perceiving 
that the child was tenderly regarded, she ventured nearer, and 
at last said, "Shall I go and call to thee a nurse of the Hebrew 
women, that she may nurse the child forthee?" And permission 
was given. 

The sister hastened to her mother with the happy new-, and 
without delay returned with her to the presence of Pharaoh's 
daughter. "•Take this child away, and nurse it lor me, and I will 
give thee thy wages," said the princess. 

God had heard the mother's prayers; her faith had been re- 
warded. It was with deep gratitude that she entered upon her 
now sale and happy task. She faithfully improved her oppor- 
tunity to educate her child for God. She felt confident that 
he had keen preserved for some great work, and she knew thai he 
must soon he given up to his royal mother to be surrounded with 
influences that would tend to lead him away from God. All this 
rendered her more diligent and careful in his instruction than in 
that of her other children. She endeavored to imbue his mind 
with the fear of God and the love of truth and justice, and ear- 

1 Heb. 11 : -.'a. l6 


nestly prayed that he might be preserved from every corrupting 
influence. She showed him the folly and sin of idolatry, and 
early taught him to bow down and pray to the living God, who 
alone could hear him and help him in every emergency. 

She kept the hoy as long as she could, but was obliged to give 
him up when he was about twelve years old. From his humble 
cabin home he was taken to the royal palace, to the daughter of 
Pharaoh, " and lie became her son." Yet even here he did not 
lose the impressions received in childhood. The lessons learned 
at his mother's side could not be forgotten. They were a shield 
from the pride, the infidelity, and the vice that flourished amid 
the splendor of the court. 

How far-reaching in its results was the influence of that one 
Hebrew woman, and she an exile and a slave! The whole future 
life of Moses, the great mission which he fulfilled as the leader of 
Israel, testifies to the importance of the work of the Christian 
mother. There is no other work that can equal this. To a very 
great extent, the mother holds in her own hands the destiny of her 
children. She is dealing with developing minds and characters, 
working not alone for time, but for eternity. She is sowing seed 
that will spring up and bear fruit, either, for good or for evil. She 
has not to paint a form of beauty upon canvas or to chisel it from 
marble, but to impress upon a human soul the jmage of the 
divine. Especially during their early years the responsibility 
rests upon her of forming the character of her children. The im- 
pressions now made upon their developing minds will remain with 
them all through life. Parents should direct the instruction and 
training of their children while very young, to the end that they 
may be Christians. They are placed in our care to be trained, 
not as heirs to the throne of an earthly empire, but as kings 
unto God, to reign through unending ages. 

Let every mother feel that her moments are priceless; her 
work will be tested in the solemn day of accounts. Then it will 
be found that many of tbe failures and crimes of men and women 
have resulted from the ignorance and neglect of those whose duty 
it was to guide their childish feet in the right way. Then it will 
be found that many who have blessed the world with the light of 
genius and truth and holiness, owe the principles that were the 
mainspring of their influence and success to a praying, Christian 


At the court of Pharaoh, Moses received the highest civil and 
military training. The monarch had determined to make hie 
adopted grandson his successor on the throne, and the youth was 
educated for this high station. "And Moses was learned in all 

the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and ill 
deeds." 1 His ability as a military leader made him a favorite 
witli the armies of Egypt, and he was generally regarded as a re- 
markable character. Satan had been defeated in his purpose. 
The very decree condemning the Bebrew children to death had 
been overruled by God tor the training and education of the future 
leader of his people. 

Tin' elders of Israel were taught by angels that the time for 
their deliverance was near, and that Moses Avas the man whom 
God would employ to accomplish this work. Angels instructed 
Moses also that Jehovah had chosen him to break the bondage oi 
his people. He, supposing that they were to obtain their freedom 
by force of arms, expected to lead the Hebrew host against the 
armies of Egypt, and having this in view, he guarded his affec- 
tions, lest in his attachment to his foster mother or to Pharaoh 
he WOUld not be free to do the will of ( rod. 

By the laws of Egypt, all who occupied the throne of the 
Pharaohs musl become members of the priestly caste; and Moses, 
as the heir apparent, was to be initiated into the mysteries of the 
national religion. This duty was committed to the priests, lint 
while he was an ardent and untiring student, he could not be 
induced to participate in the worship of the gods, lie was 

threatened with the loss of the crown, and Warned that he WOUld 

he disowned by the princess should he persist in his adherence 
to the Hebrew faith, lint he was unshaken in his determination 
to render homage to none save the one ( rod, the Maker of heaven 
and earth. He reasoned with priests and worshipers, showing 
the tolly of their superstitious veneration of senseless objects. 
None could refute his arguments or change his purpose, yet for 
the time his firmness was tolerated, on account of his high posi- 
tion, and the favor with which he was regarded both by the king 

and tin- people. 

" By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to he 
called the mhi of Pharaoh's daughter; choosing rather to suffer 
affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures or 
sin for a season; esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches 

1 Acts 7 : 22. 


than the treasures in Egypt : for he had respect unto the recom- 
pense of the reward." 1 Moses was fitted to take pre-eminence 
among the great of the earth, to shine in the courts of its most 
glorious kingdom, and to sway the scepter of its power. His 
intellectual greatness distinguishes him above the great men of 
all ages. As historian, poet, philosopher, general of armies, and 
legislator, he stands without a peer. Yet with the world before 
Mm, he had the moral strength to refuse the nattering prospects 
■of wealth and greatness and fame, " choosing rather to suffer 
affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of 
sin for a season." 

Moses had been instructed in regard to the final reward to 
he given to the humble and obedient servants of God, and worldly 
gain sank to its proper insignificance in comparison. The mag- 
nificent palace of Pharaoh and flic monarch's throne were held 
out as an inducement to Moses ; but he knew that the sinful 
pleasures that make men forget God were in its lordly courts. 
He looked beyond the gorgeous palace, beyond a monarch's 
crown, to the high honors that will be bestowed on the saints 
of the Most High in a kingdom untainted by sin. He saw by 
faith an imperishable crown that the King of heaven would place 
on the brow of the overcomer. This faith led him to turn away 
from the lordly ones of earth, and join the humble, poor, de- 
spised nation that had chosen to obey God rather than to 
serve sin. 

Moses remained at court until he was forty years of age. His 
thoughts often turned upon the abject condition of his people, and 
he visited his brethren in their servitude, and encouraged them 
with the assurance that God would work for their deliverance. 
Often, stung to resentment by the sight of injustice and oppression, 
he burned to avenge their wrongs. One day while thus abroad, 
seeing an Egyptian smiting an Israelite, he sprung forward, and 
slew the Egyptian. Except the Israelite, there had been no wit- 
ness to the deed, and Moses immediately buried the body in the 
sand. He had now shown himself ready to maintain the cause of 
his people, and he hoped to see them rise to recover their liberty. 
" He supposed his brethren would have understood how that God 
by his hand would deliver them; but they understood not." 2 
They were not yet prepared for freedom. On the following day, 

1 Heb. 11 : 24-26. 2 Acts 7 : 25. 

MOSES. 2 I 7 

Mum- .-aw two Hebrews striving together, one of them evidently 

at fault. Moses reproved the offender, who at once retaliated 

upon the reprover, denying his right to interfere, and basely ac- 
cusing him of crime : " Who made thee a prince and a judge over 
us?" he said. "Intendest thou to kill me, as thou killedst the 
Egyptian?" 1 

The whole matter was quickly made known to the Egyptians, 
and. greatly exaggerated, soon reached the ears of Pharaoh. It 
was represented to the king that this act meant much; that Moses 
designed to lead his people against the Egyptians, to overthrow 
the government, and to seat himself upon the throne; and that 
there could he no security for the kingdom while he lived. It was 
at once determined by the monarch that he should die; but be- 
coming aware of bis danger, he made bis escape, and fled toward 

The Lord directed his course, and he found a home with 
Jethro, the priest and prince of Midian, who was also a worshiper 
of God. After a time, Moses married one of the daughters of 
Jethro; and here, in the service of his father-in-law, as keeper of 
his flocks, he remained forty years. 

In slaying the Egyptian, Moses had fallen into the same error 

•■ft en committed by his fathers, of taking into their own hands 
the work that God had promised to do. It was not God's will to 
deliver his people by warfare, as Moses thought, but by his own 
mighty power, that the glory might be ascribed to him alone. Yet 
even this rash act was overruled by God to accomplish his pur- 
poses. Moses was not prepared for his great work. He had 
yet to learn the same lesson of faith that Abraham and Jacob had 
been taught, — not to rely upon human strength or wisdom, but 
upon the power of God for the fulfillment of his promises. And 
there were other lessons that, amid the solitude of the mountains,. 
Moses was to receive. In the school of self-denial and hardship 
he was to learn patience, to temper his passions. Before he could 
govern wisely, he must be trained to obey. His own heart must 
be fully in harmony with God hefore he could teach the knowl- 
edge of his will to Israel. By his own experience he must he pre- 
pared to exercise a fatherly care over all who needed his help. 

Man would have dispensed with that long period of toil and 
obscurity, deeming it a greal loss of time. But Infinite Wisdom 

'Ex. -1 : 14. 


called him who was to become the leader of his people, to spend 
forty years in the humble work of a shepherd. The habits of care- 
baking, of self-forgetfulness and tender solicitude for his flock, thus 
developed, would prepare him to become the compassionate, long- 
suffering she] iherd of Israel. No advantage that human training 
<or culture could bestow, could be a substitute for this experience. 

Moses had been learning much that he must unlearn. The 
influences that had surrounded him in Egypt, — the love of his 
foster mother, his own high position as the king's grandson, the 
dissipation on every hand, the refinement, the subtlety, and the 
mysticism of a false religion, the splendor of idolatrous worship, 
the solemn grandeur of architecture and sculpture, — all had left 
•deep impressions upon his developing mind, and had moulded, to 
some extent, his habits and character. Time, change of surround- 
ings, and communion with God, could remove these impressions. 
It would require on the part of Moses himself a struggle as for life 
to renounce error and accept truth ; .but God would be his helper 
when the conflict should be too severe for human strength. 

In all who have been chosen to accomplish a work for God the 
liuman element is seen. Yet they have not been men of stereo- 
typed habits and character, who were satisfied to remain in that 
condition. They earnestly desired to obtain wisdom from God, 
and to learn to work for him. Says the apostle, " If any of you 
lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, 
and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him." 1 But God will 
not impart to men divine light, while they arc content to remain 
in darkness. In order to receive God's help, man must realize his 
weakness and deficiency ; he must apply his own mind to the 
great change to be wrought in himself; he must be aroused to 
earnest and persevering prayer and effort. Wrong habits and 
customs must be shaken off; and it is only by determined en- 
deavor to correct these errors, and to conform to right principles, 
that the victory can be gained. Many never attain to the position 
that they might occupy, because they wait for God to do tor them 
that which he has given them power to do for themselves. All 
who are fitted for usefulness must be trained by the severest men- 
ial and moral discipline; and God will assist them by uniting 
divine power with human effort. 

Shut in by the bulwarks of the mountains. Moses was alone 

1 James 1 : 5. 




MOSES. 251 

with God. The magnificent temples of Egypt no longer impressed 
his mind with their superstition and falsehood, in the solemn 
grandeur of the everlasting lulls he beheld the majesty of the Mosl 
High, and in contrasi realized how powerless and insignificant 
were the pods of Egypt. Everywhere the Creator's name was 

Written. Moses seemed to stand ill his presence, and to he over- 
shadowed by his power. Here his pride and self-sufliciency were 
swept away. In the stern simplicity of his wilderness life, the re- 
sults of the ease and luxury of Egypt disappeared. Moses became 
patient, reverent, and humhle. " very meek, above all the men 
which were upon the face of the earth,"' yet strong in faith in the 
mighty God of Jacob. 

As the years rolled on, and he wandered with his flocks in 
solitary places, pondering upon the oppressed condition of his 
people, he recounted the dealings of God with his fathers, and 
the promises that were the heritage of the chosen nation, and 
his prayers for Israel ascended !>y day and by night. Heavenly 
angels shed their light around him. Here, under the inspiration 
of the Holy Spirit, he wrote the hook of Genesis. The long year- 
spent amid the desert solitudes were rich in blessing, not alone to 
Moses and his people, but to the world in all succeeding ages. 

" And it came to pass in process of time, that the king of Egypt 
died: and the children of Israel sighed by reason of the bondage, 
and they cried, and their cry came up unto God by reason of the 
bondage. And God heard their groaning, and God remembered 
his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. And 
God looked upon the children of Israel, and God had respect 
unto them. 1 "" The time for Israel's deliverance had come. But 
God's purpose was to be accomplished in a manner to pour 
contempt on human pride. The deliverer was to go forth as a 
humble shepherd, with only a rod in his hand; hut God would 
make that rod the symbol of his power. Leading his docks one 
day near Horeb, "the mountain of God," Moses saw a bush in 
flames, hranches, foliage, and trunk, all hunting, yet seeming not 
to he consumed. He drew near to view the wonderful sight, when 
a voice from out of the flame called him by name. With trembling 
lips he answered, " Here am I." He was warned not to approach 
irreverently: " Put off thy shoes from off thy feet; tor' the place 
whereon thou standest is holy ground. ... 1 am the God of thy 
•Num. 12 : 3. " K\. 2 : 23 25. 


lather, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of 
Jacob." 1 It was He who, as the Angel of the covenant, had 
revealed himself to the fathers in ages past. " And Moses hid 
his face ; for he was afraid to look upon God." 

Humility and reverence should characterize the deportment of 
all who come into the presence of God. In the name of Jesus we 
may come before him with confidence, but we must not approach 
him with the boldness of presumption, as though he were on a 
level with ourselves. There are those who address the great and 
all-powerful and holy God, who dwelleth in light unapproachable, 
as they would address an equal, or even an inferior. There are 
those who conduct themselves in his house as they would not pre- 
sume to do in the audience-chamber of an earthly ruler. These 
should remember that they are in His sight whom seraphim 
adore, before whom angels vail their faces. God is greatly to be 
reverenced ; all who truly realize his presence will bow in humil- 
ity before him, and, like Jacob beholding the vision of God, they 
will cry out, " How dreadful is this place ! This is none other 
but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven." 

As Moses waited in reverent awe before God, the words con- 
tinued : " I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are 
in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters ; 
for I know their sorrows ; and I am come down to deliver them 
out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out oi 
that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with 
milk and honey. . . . Come now, therefore, and I will send thee 
unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people, the chil- 
dren of Israel, out of Egypt." 

Amazed and terrified at the command, Moses drew back, say- 
ing, " Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should 
bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt?" The reply was, 
"Certainly I will be with thee; and this shall be a token unto 
thee, that I have sent thee: When thou hast brought forth the 
people out of Egypt, ye shall serve God upon this mountain." 

Moses thought of the difficulties to be encountered, of the 
blindness, ignorance, and unbelief of his people, many of whom 
were almost destitute of a knowledge of God. "Behold."' he said, 
"when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto 
them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you, and they 

1 See Ex. 3; 4 : 1-26. 

MOSES, :'"- ; > 

shall say to me, What is his name? what shall 1 say unto them?" 

The answer was. — 

"I AM THAT 1 AM." "Thus shalt thou say unto the chil- 
dren of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you." 

Moses was commanded first to assemble the elders of Israel. 
the most noble and righteous among them, who had long grieved 
because of their bondage, and to declare to them a message from 
■God, with a promise of deliverance. Then lie was to go with the 
elders before the king, and say to him, — 

"The Lord God of the Hebrews hath met with us; and now let 
us go, we beseech thee, three days' journey into tin' wilderness, that 
we may sacrifice to the Lord our God." 

Moses was forewarned that Pharaoh would resist the appeal to 
let Israel go. Yet the courage of God's servant must not fail ; for 
the Lord would make this the occasion to manifest his power be- 
fore the Egyptians and before his people. "And I will stretch out 
my hand, and smite Egypt with all my wonders which I will do 
in the midst thereof; and after that he will let you go." 

Direction was also given concerning the provision they were to 
make for the journey. The Lord declared, " It shall come to pass, 
that, when ye go, ye shall not go empty; hut every woman shall 
borrow of her neighbor, and of her that sojourneth in her house, 
jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment." The Egyptians 
had been enriched by the labor unjustly exacted from the Israel- 
ites, and as the latter were to start on the journey to their new 
home, it was right for them to claim the reward of their years of 
toil. They were to ask for articles of value, such as could be easily 
transported, and (rod would give them favor in the sight of the 
Egyptians. The mighty miracles wrought for their deliverance 
would strike terror to the oppressors, so that the requests of the 
bondmen would he granted. 

Moses saw before him difficulties that seemed insurmountable. 
What proof could he give his people that God had indeed sent 
him? '"Behold,"' he said, "they will hot believe me, nor hearken 
unto my voice; for they will say. The Lord hath not appeared 
unto thee."' Evidence that appealed to his own senses was now 
given. He was told to cast his rod upon the ground. As he did 
so, "it became a serpent; 1 and Moses fled from before it." He 
was commanded to seize it. and in his hand it became a rod. He 

1 Sec Appendix, Note '■'<- 


was bidden to put his hand into his bosom. He obeyed, and 
" when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous as snow." 
Being told to put it again into his bosom, he found on withdraw- 
ing it, that it had become like the other. By these signs the Lord 
assured Moses that his own people, as well as Pharaoh, should be 
convinced that One mightier than the king of Egypt was manifest 
among theru. 

But the servant of God was still overwhelmed by the thought 
of the strange and wonderful work before him. In his distress 
and fear he now pleaded as an excuse a lack of ready speech: 
" O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since 
thou hast spoken unto thy servant ; but I am slow of speech, and 
of a slow tongue." He had been so long away from the Egyp- 
tians that he had not so clear knowledge and ready use of their 
language as when he was among them. 

The Lord said unto him, "Who hath made man's mouth? 
or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? 
Have not I the Lord ? " To this was added another assurance 
of divine aid : " Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, 
and teach thee what thou shalt say." But Moses still entreated 
that a more competent person be selected. These excuses at first 
proceeded from humility and diffidence ; but after the Lord had 
promised to remove all difficulties, and to give him final success, 
then any further shrinking back and complaining of his unfitness- 
showed distrust of God. It implied a fear that God was unable 
to qualify him for the great work to which he had called him, or 
that he had made a mistake in the selection of the man. 

Moses was now directed to Aaron, his elder brother, who, hav- 
ing been in daily use of the language of the Egyptians, was 
able to speak it perfectly. He was told that Aaron was coming 
to meet him. The next words from the Lord were an unqualified 
command : — 

" Thou shalt speak unto him, and put words in his mouth ; 
and I will . be with thy mouth, and with his mouth, and will 
teach you what ye shall do. And he shall be thy spokesman 
unto the people ; and he shall be, even he shall be to thee instead 
of a mouth, and thou shalt be to him instead of God. And thou 
shalt take this rod in thine hand, wherewith thou shalt do signs." 
He could make no further resistance; for all ground for excuse 
was removed. 


The divine command given to Moses found him self-distrust- 
ful, bIow of speech, and timid. He was overwhelmed with a 
sense of his incapacity to be a mouth-piece for God to Israel. 
Bui having once accepted the work, he entered upon it with his 
whole heart, putting all his trust in the Lord. The greatness of 
his mis-ion called into exercise the besl powers of his mind. God 
blessed his ready obedience, and he became eloquent, hopeful, 
self-possessed, and well fitted for the greatest work ever given to 
man. This is an example of what God does to strengthen the 
character of those who trust him fully, and give themselves unre- 
servedly to his commands. 

A man will gain power and efficiency as he accepts the re- 
sponsibilities that God places upon him, and with his whole soul 
seeks to qualify himself to hem- them aright. However humble 
his position or limited his ability, that man will attain true great- 
ness who. trusting to divine strength, seeks to perform his work 
with fidelity. Had .Moses relied upon Ins own strength and 
wisdom, and eagerly accepted the great charge, he would have 
evinced his entire unfitness tor such a work. The fad that a 
man feels his weakness, is at least some evidence that he realizes 
the magnitude of the work appointed him, and that he will make 
God his counselor and his strength. 

Moses returned to his father-in-law, and expressed his desire 
to visit his brethren in Egypt. Jethro's consent was given, with 
his blessing, "Go in peace." With his wife and children, Moses 
set forth on the journey. He had not dared to make known the 
object of his mission, lest they should not he allowed to accom- 
pany him. Before reaching Egypt, however, he himself thought 
it best, for their own safety, to send them back to the home in 

A secret dread of Pharaoh and the Egyptians whose anger had 
been kindled against him forty years before, had rendered Moses 
still more reluctant to return to Egypt; hut after he had set out 
to obey the divine command, the Lord revealed to him that his 
enemies were i\(-.k\. 

On the way from Midian, Moses received a startling and terri- 
ble warning of the Lord's displeasure. An angel appeared to him 
in a threatening manner, as if he would immediately destroy him 
No explanation was given; hut Moses remembered that he had 
disregarded one of (iod*s requirements; yielding to the persuasion 



of his wife, he had neglected to perform the rite of circumcision 
upon their youngest son. He had failed to comply with the con- 
dition by which his child could he entitled to the blessings of 
God's covenant with Israel; and such a neglect on the part of 
their chosen leader could not but lessen the force of the divine 
precepts upon the people. Zipporah, fearing that her husband 
would be slain, performed the rite herself, and the angel then 
permitted Moses to pursue his journey. In his mission to Pha- 
raoh, Moses was to be placed in a position of great peril ; his life 
could be preserved only through the protection of holy angels. 
But while living in neglect of a known duty, he would not be 
secure ; for he could not be shielded by the angels of God. 

In the time of trouble just before the coming of Christ, the 
righteous will be preserved through the ministration of heavenly 
angels ; but there will be no security for the transgressor of God's 
law. Angels cannot then protect those who are disregarding one 
of the divine precepts. 

Sa» \ > 




Aaron, being instructed by angels, went forth to meet his 

brother, from whom he had been .so long separated; and they met 
amid the desert solitudes, near Horeb. Here they communed to- 
gether, and Moses told Aaron "all the words of the Lord who had 
uent him, and all the signs which lie had commanded him;" 1 To- 
gether they journeyed to Egypt; and having reached. the land of 
Goshen, they proceeded to assemble the elders of Israel. Aaron 
repeated to them all the dealings of God with Moses, and then the 
signs which God had given Moses were shown hefore the people. 
"The people believed; and when they heard that the Lord had 
visited the children of Israel, and that he had looked upon their 
affliction, then they bowed their heads and worshiped." 1 

Moses had been charged also with a message for the king. The 
two brothers entered the palace of the Pharaohs as ambassadors 
from the King of kings, and they spoke in his name: " Thus saith 
Jehovah, God of Israel, Let my people go, that they may hold a 
feast unto me in the wilderness." 

"Who is Jehovah, that I should obey his voice to let Israel 
go?" demanded the monarch; "I know not Jehovah, neither will 
I let Israel go." 

Their answer was, " The God of the Hebrews hath met with 
ns ; let us go, we pray thee, three days' journey into the desert, 
and sacrifice unto the Lord our God, lest he fall upon us with 
pestilence, or with the sword." 

Tidings of them and of the interest they were exciting among 
the people had already reached the king. His anger was kindled. 
*" Wherefore do ye, Moses and Aaron, let [hinder] the people from 
their works?" he said. "Get you unto your burdens." Already 
the kingdom had suffered loss by the interference of these stran- 
gers. At thought of this he added, " Behold, the people of the 

»Ex. 4 : 27-31; chapters 5-10. 
1 7 I 859 J 


land now are many, and ye make them rest from their burdens." 

In their bondage the Israelites had to some extent lost the 
knowledge of God's law, and they had departed from its precepts. 
The Sabbath had been generally disregarded, and the exactions of 
their taskmasters made its observance apparently impossible. But 
Moses had shown his people that obedience to God was the first 
condition of deliverance ; and the efforts made to restore the observ- 
ance of the Sabbath had come to the notice of their oppressors. x 

The king, thoroughly roused, suspected the Israelites of a de- 
sign to revolt from his service. Disaffection was the result of 
idleness; he would see that no time was left them for dangerous 
scheming. And he at once adopted measures to tighten their 
bonds and crush out their independent spirit. The same day, 
orders were issued that rendered their labor still more cruel and 
oppressive. The most common building material of that country 
was sun-dried brick ; the walls of the finest edifices were made of 
this, and then faced with stone; and the manufacture of brick 
employed great numbers of the bondmen. Cut straw being inter- 
mixed with the clay, to hold it together, large quantities of straw 
were required for the work ; the king now directed that no more 
straw be furnished ; the laborers must find it for themselves, while 
the same amount of brick should be exacted. 

This order produced great distress among the Israelites through- 
out the land. The Egyptian taskmasters had appointed Hebrew 
officers to oversee the work of the people, and these officers were 
responsible for the labor performed by those under their charge. 
When the requirement of the king was put in force, the people 
scattered themselves throughout the land, to gather stubble in- 
stead of straw ; but they found it impossible to accomplish the 
usual amount of labor. For this failure the Hebrew officers were 
cruelly beaten. 

These officers supposed that their oppression came from their 
taskmasters, and not from the king himself; and they went to him 
with their grievances. Their remonstrance was met by Pharaoh 
with a taunt : " Ye are idle, ye are idle ; therefore ye say, Let us go 
and do sacrifice to the Lord." They were ordered back to their 
work, with the declaration that their burdens were in no case to be 
lightened. Returning, they met Moses and Aaron, and cried out 
to them, " The Lord look upon you, and judge ; because ye have 
made our savor to be abhorred in the eyes of Pharaoh, and in the 
eyes of his servants, to put a sword in their hand to slay us." 

1 See Appendix, Note 4. 

Till-: /'/.At; FES OF EGYPT. -''"'1 

A- Moses listened to these reproaches, he was greatly dis- 
tressed. The sufferings of the people had heen much increased, 
All »>ver the land a cry of despair went up from old and young, 
and all united in charging upon him the disastrous change in 
their condition. In bitterness of soul he went before God, with the 
cry, " Lord, wherefore hast thou so evil entreated this people? 
Why is it that thou hast sent me? For since I came to Pharaoh 
to speak in thy name, he hath done evil to this people; neither 
hast thou delivered thy people at all." The answer was, ''Now 
shalt thou see what I will do to Pharaoh; for with a strong 
hand shall he let them go, and with a strong hand shall he 
drive them out of Ids land." Again he was pointed back to 
the covenant which God had made with the fathers, and was 
assured that it would be fulfilled. 

During all the years of servitude in Egypt, there had heen 
among the Israelites some who adhered to the w r orship of Jeho- 
vah. These were sorely troubled as they saw their children daily 
witnessing the abominations of the heathen, and even bowing 
down to their false gods. In their distress they cried unto the 
Lord for deliverance from the Egyptian yoke, that they might be 
freed from the corrupting influence of idolatry. They did not 
conceal their faith, but declared to the Egyptians that the object 
of their worship was the Maker of heaven and earth, the only 
true and living God. They rehearsed the evidences of his exist- 
ence and power, from creation down to the days of Jacob. The 
Egyptians thus had an opportunity to become acquainted with 
the religion of the Hebrews; but disdaining to Tie instructed by 
their slaves, they tried to seduce the worshipers of God by promises 
of reward, and, this failing, by threats and cruelty. 

The elders of Israel endeavored to sustain the sinking faith of 
their brethren by repeating the promises made to their fathers, 
and the prophetic words of Joseph before his death, foretelling 
their deliverance from Egypt. Some would listen and believe. 
Others, looking at the circumstances that surrounded them, re- 
fused to hope. The Egyptians, being informed of what was 
reported among their bondmen, derided their expectations, and 
scornfully denied the power of their God. They pointed to their 
situation as a nation of slaves, and tauntingly said, " If your God 
is just and merciful, and possesses power above that of the 
Egyptian gods, why does he not make you a free people? " They 
called attention to their own condition. They worshiped deities 


termed by the Israelites false gods, yet they were a rich and 
powerful nation. They declared that their gods had blessed 
them with prosperity, and had given them the Israelites as serv- 
ants, and they gloried in their power to oppress and destroy the 
worshipers of Jehovah. Pharaoh himself boasted that the God 
of the Hebrews could not deliver them from his hand. 

Words like these destroyed the hopes of many of the Israel- 
ites. The case appeared to them very much as the Egyptians 
had represented. It was true that they were slaves, and must 
endure whatever their cruel taskmasters might choose to inflict. 
Their children had been hunted and slain, and their own lives 
were a burden. Yet they were worshiping the God of heaven. 
If Jehovah were indeed above all gods, surely he would not thus 
leave them in bondage to idolaters. But those who were true to 
God understood that it was because of Israel's departure from 
him, — because of their disposition to marry with heathen nations, 
thus being led into idolatry, — that the Lord had permitted 
them to become bondmen; and they confidently assured their 
brethren that he would soon break the yoke of the oppressor. 

The Hebrews had expected to obtain their freedom without 
any special trial of their faith, or any real suffering or hardship. 
But they were not yet prepared for deliverance. They had little 
faith in God, and were unwilling patiently to endure their afflic- 
tions until he should see fit to work for them. Many were con- 
tent to remain in bondage, rather than meet the difficulties attend- 
ing removal to a strange land ; and the habits of some had become 
so much like those of the Egyptians that they preferred to dwell 
in Egypt. Therefore the Lord did not deliver them by the first 
manifestation of his power before Pharaoh. He overruled events 
more fully to develop the tyrannical spirit of the Egyptian king, 
and also to reveal himself to his people. Beholding his justice, 
his power, and his love, they would choose to leave Egypt and 
give themselves to his service. The task of Moses would have 
been much less difficult, had not many of the Israelites become so 
corrupted that they were unwilling to leave Egypt. 

The Lord directed Moses to go again to the people, and repeat 
the promise of deliverance, with a fresh assurance of divine favor. 
He went as he was commanded; but they would not listen. 
Says the Scripture, " They hearkened not ... for anguish of spirit, 
and for cruel bondage." Again the divine message came to 


Moses, "Go in, speak unto Pharaoh king of Egypt, thai he let 
the children of Israel go out of his land." In discouragement he 
replied, "Behold, the children of Israel have not hearkened unto 
me; how then shall Pharaoh hear me?" He was told to take 
Aaron with him, and go before Pharaoh, and again demand 
"that he send the children of Israel out of his land." 

He was informed that the monarch would not yield until God 
should visit judgments upon Egypt, and bring out Israel by the 
signal manifestation of his power. Before the infliction of each 
plague, Moses was to descrihe its nature and effects, that the king 
might save himself from it if he chose. Every punishment re- 
jected would he followed by one more severe, until his proud 
heart would he humbled, and he would acknowledge the Maker 
of heaven and earth as the true and living God. The Lord would 
give the Egyptians an opportunity to see how vain was the wis- 
dom of their mighty men, how feehle the power of their gods, 
when opposed to the commands of Jehovah. He would punish 
the people of Egypt for their idolatry, and silence their boasting 
of the hlessings received from their senseless deities. God would 
glorify his own name, that other nations might hear of his power 
and tremble at his mighty acts, and that his people might he led 
to turn from their idolatry and render him pure worship. 

Again Moses and Aaron entered the lordly halls of the king 
of Egypt, There, surrounded by lofty columns and glittering 
adornments, by the rich paintings and sculptured images of 
heathen gods, before the monarch of the most powerful kingdom 
then in existence, stood the two representatives of the enslaved 
race, to repeat the command from God for Israel's Release. The 
king demanded a miracle, in evidence of their divine commission. 
Moses ami Anion had been directed how to act in case such 
a demand should he made, and Aaron now took the rod, and 
cast it down hefore Pharaoh. It became a serpent. The mon- 
arch sent for his " wise men and the sorcerers," who " cast 
down every man his rod, and they became serpents ; but Aaron's 
rod swallowed up their rods." Then the king, more determined 
than hefore, declared his magicians equal in power with Moses 
and Aaron, he denounced the servants of the Lord as impostors, 
and felt himself secure in resisting their demands. Yet while 
he despised their message, he was restrained by divine power 
from doing them harm. 


It was the hand of God, and no human influence or power 
possessed by Moses and Aaron, that wrought the miracles which 
they showed before Pharaoh. Those signs and wonders were 
designed to convince Pharaoh that the great " I AM " had sent 
Moses, and that it was the duty of the king to let Israel go, that 
they might serve the living God. The magicians also showed 
signs and wonders ; for they wrought not by their own skill alone, 
but by the power of their god, Satan, who assisted them in coun- 
terfeiting the work of Jehovah. 

The magicians did not really cause their rods to become ser- 
pents ; but by magic, aided by the great deceiver, they were able 
to produce this appearance. It was beyond the power of Satan 
to change the rods to living serpents. The prince of evil, though 
possessing all the wisdom and might of an angel fallen, has not 
power to create, or to give life ; this is the prerogative of God 
alone. But all that was in Satan's power to do, he did ; he pro- 
duced a counterfeit. To human sight the rods were changed to 
serpents. Such they were believed to be by Pharaoh and his 
court. There was nothing in their appearance to distinguish 
them from the serpent produced by Moses. Though the Lord 
caused the real serpent to swallow up the spurious ones, yet even 
this was regarded by Pharaoh, not as a work of God's power, but 
as the result of a kind of magic superior to that of his servants. 

Pharaoh desired to justify his stubbornness in resisting the 
divine command, and hence he was seeking some pretext for 
disregarding the miracles that God had wrought through Moses. 
Satan gave him just what he wanted. By the work that he 
wrought through the magicians, he made it appear to the Egyp- 
tians that Moses and Aaron were only magicians and sorcerers, 
and that the message they brought could not claim respect as 
coming from a superior being. Thus Satan's counterfeit accom- 
plished its purpose, of emboldening the Egyptians in their rebell- 
ion, and causing Pharaoh to harden his heart against conviction. 
Satan hoped also to shake the faith of Moses and Aaron in the 
divine origin of their mission, that his instruments might prevail. 
He was unwilling that the children of Israel should be released 
from bondage, to serve the living God. 

But the prince of evil had a still deeper object in manifesting 
his wonders through the magicians. He well knew that Moses, in 
breaking the yoke of bondage from off the children of Israel, pre- 
figured Christ, who was to break the reign of sin over the human 


family. Ho know that when Christ should appear, mighty miracles 
would be wrought as an evidence to the world that God had sent 
him. Satan trembled for his power. By counterfeiting the work 
of God through Moses, lie hoped not only to prevent the deliver- 
ance of Israel, but to exert ;m intluence through future ages to 
destroy faith in the miracles of Christ. Satan is constantly seeking 
to counterfeit the work of Christ, and to establish his own power 
and claims. Ho leads men to account for the miracles of Christ 
by making them appear to be the result of human skill and power. 
' In many minds he thus destroys faith in Christ as the Son of God, 
and leads them to reject the gracious offers of mercy through the 
plan of redemption. 

Moses and Aaron were directed to visit the river-side next 
morning, where the king was accustomed to repair. The over- 
flowing of the Nile being the source of food and wealth for all 
Egypt, the river was worshiped as a god, and the monarch came 
thither daily to pay his devotions. Here the two brothers again 
repeated the message to him, and then they stretched out the rod 
and smote upon the water. The sacred stream ran blood, the fish 
died, and the river became offensive to the smell. The water 
in the houses, the supply preserved in cisterns, was likewise 
changed to blood. But " the magicians of Egypt did so with 
their enchantments," and "Pharaoh turned and went into his 
house, neither did he set his heart to this also." For seven days 
the plague continued, but without effect. 

Again the rod was stretched out over the waters, and frogs 
came up from the river, and spread over the land. They over- 
ran the houses, took possession of the bed-chambers, and even the 
ovens and kneading-troughs. The frog was regarded as sacred by 
the Egyptians, and they would not destroy it; but the slimy pests 
had now become intolerable. They swarmed even in the palace of 
the Pharaohs, and the king was impatient to have them removed. 
The magicians had appeared to produce frogs, hut they could not 
remove them. Upon seeing this, Pharaoh was somewhat humbled. 
He sent for Moses and Aaron, and said, "Entreat- the Lord, that 
he may take away the frogs from me, and from my people; and 
I will let the people go, that they may do sacrifice unto the 
Lord." After reminding the king of his former boasting, they 
requested him to appoint a time when they should pray for the 
removal of the plague. He set the next day, secretly hoping that 
in the interval the frogs might disappear of themselves, and thus 


save him from the hitter humiliation of submitting to the God of 
Israel. The plague, however, continued till the time specified, 
when throughout all Egypt the frogs died, but their putrid bodies, 
which remained, polluted the atmosphere. 

The Lord could have caused them to return to dust in a 
moment ; but he did not do this, lest after their removal, the 
king and his people should pronounce it the result of sorcery or 
enchantment, like the work of the magicians. The frogs died, 
and were then gathered together in heaps. Here the king and 
all Egypt had evidence which their vain philosophy could not 
gainsay, that this work was not accomplished by magic, but 
was a judgment from the God of heaven. 

" When Pharaoh saw that there was respite, he hardened his 
heart." At the command of God, Aaron stretched out his hand, 
and the dust of the earth became lice throughout all the land of 
Egypt. Pharaoh called upon the magicians to do the same, but 
they could not. The work of God was thus shown to be superior 
to that of Satan. The magicians themselves acknowledged, " This 
is the finger of God." But the king was still unmoved. 

Appeal and warning were ineffectual, and another judgment 
was inflicted. The time of its occurrence was foretold, that it 
might not be said to have come by chance. Flies filled the houses 
and swarmed upon the ground, so that " the land was corrupted 
by reason of the swarm of flies." These flies were large and ven- 
omous ; and their bite was extremely painful to man and beast. 
As had been foretold, this visitation did not extend to the land of 

Pharaoh now offered the Israelites permission to sacrifice in 
Egypt ; but they refused to accept such conditions. " It is not 
meet," said Moses ; " lo, shall we sacrifice the abomination of the 
Egyptians before their eyes, and will they not stone us?" The 
animals which the Hebrews would be required to sacrifice were 
among those regarded as sacred by the Egyptians ; and such was 
the reverence in which these creatures were held, that to slay one, 
even accidentally, was a crime punishable with death. It would 
be impossible for the Hebrews to worship in Egypt without giving 
offense to their masters. Moses again proposed to go three days' 
journey into the wilderness. The monarch consented, and begged 
the servants of God to entreat that the plague might be removed. 
They promised to do this, but warned him against dealing 

THE PI.A<;lES OF EdYPT. 267 

deceitfully with them. The plague was stayed, but the king's 
heart had become hardened by persistent rebellion, and lie still 
refused to yield. 

A more terrible stroke followed. — murrain upon all the Egyp- 
tian cattle that were in the held. Both the sacred animals and 
the beasts of burden — kine and oxen and sheep, horses and 
camels and asses — were destroyed. It had been distinctly stated 
that the Hebrews were to he exempt; and Pharaoh, on sending 
messengers to the home of the Israelites, proved the truth of this 
declaration of Moses. "Of the cattle of the children of Israel died 
not one." Still the king was obstinate. 

Moses was next directed to take ashes of the furnace, and 
" sprinkle it toward the heaven in the sight of Pharaoh." This act 
was deeply significant. Four hundred years before, God had 
shown to Abraham the future oppression of his people, under the 
figure of a smoking furnace and a burning lamp. He had declared 
that he would visit judgments upon their oppressors, and would 
bring forth the captives with great substance. In Egypt, Israel 
had long languished in the furnace of affliction. This act of Moses 
was an assurance to them that God was mindful of his covenant, 
and that the time for their deliverance had come. 

As the ashes were sprinkled toward heaven, the fine particles 
spread over all the land of Egypt, and wherever they settled, pro- 
duced boils "breaking forth with blains upon man and upon 
beast." The priests and magicians had hitherto encouraged Pha- 
raoh in Ins stubbornness, but now a judgment had come that 
reached even them. Smitten with a loathsome and painful dis- 
ease, their vaunted power only making them contemptible, they 
were no longer able to contend against the God of Israel. The 
whole nation was made to see the folly of trusting in the magicians, 
when they were not able to protect even their own persons. 

Still the heart of Pharaoh grew harder. And now the Lord 
sent a message to him, declaring, " I will at this time send all my 
plagues upon thine heart, and upon thy servants, and upon thy 
people; that thou mayest know that there is none like me in all 
the earth. . . . And in very deed for this cause have I raised 
thee up, for to show in thee my power." Not that God had given 
him an existence for this purpose ; but his providence had over- 
ruled events to place him upon the throne at the very time ap- 
pointed for Israel's deliverance. Though this haughty tyrant had 


by his crimes forfeited the mercy of God, yet his life had been 
preserved that through his stubbornness the Lord might manifest 
his wonders in the land of Egypt. The disposing of events is of 
God's providence. He could have placed upon the throne a more 
merciful king, who would not have dared to withstand the mighty 
manifestations of divine power. But in that case the Lord's 
purposes would not have been accomplished. His people were 
permitted to experience the grinding cruelty of the Egyptians, 
that they might not be deceived concerning the debasing in- 
fluence of idolatry. In his dealing with Pharaoh, the Lord 
manifested his hatred of idolatry, and his determination to pun- 
ish cruelty and oppression. 

God had declared concerning Pharaoh, " I will harden his 
heart, that he shall not let the people go." * There was no exercise 
of supernatural power to harden the heart of the king. God gave 
to Pharaoh the most striking evidences of divine power ; but the 
monarch stubbornly refused to heed the light. Every display of 
infinite power, rejected by him, rendered him the more deter- 
mined in his rebellion. The seeds of rebellion that he sowed 
when he rejected the first miracle, produced their harvest. As 
he continued to venture on in his own course, going from one 
degree of stubbornness to another, his heart became more and 
more hardened, until he was called to look upon the cold, dead 
faces of the first-born. 

God speaks to men through his servants, giving cautions and 
warnings, and rebuking sin. He gives to each an opportunity to 
correct his errors before they become fixed in the character ; but 
if one refuses to be corrected, divine jDower does not interpose to 
counteract the tendency of his own action. He finds it more 
easy to repeat the same course. He is hardening the heart 
against the influence of the Holy Spirit. A further rejection of 
light places him where a far stronger influence will be ineffectual 
to make an abiding impression. 

He who has once yielded to temptation will yield more readily 
the second time. Every repetition of the sin lessens his power of 
resistance, blinds his eyes, and stifles conviction. Every seed of 
indulgence sown will bear fruit. God works no miracle to pre- 
vent the harvest. " Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he 
also reap," 2 He who manifests an infidel hardihood, a stolid 
indifference to divine truth, is but reaping the harvest of that 
1 Ex. 4:21. 2 Gal. 6:7. 


which In' has himself sown. It is thus that multitudes come to 
listen with stoical indifference to the truths that once stirred their 
very souls. They sowed neglect, and resistance to the truth, 

and such is the harvest which they reap. 

Those who are quieting a guilty conscience with the thought 
that they can change a course of evil when they choose, that they 
can trifle with the invitations of mercy, and yet be again and again 
impressed, take this course at their peril. They think that after 
casting all their Influence on the side of the great rebel, in a mo- 
ment of utmost extremity, when danger compasses them about, 
tiny will change leaders. But this is not so easily done. The 
experience, the education, the discipline of a life of sinful 
indulgence, has so thoroughly moulded the character that they 
cannot then receive the image of Jesus. Had no light shone 
upon their pathway, the case would have been different. Mercy 
might interpose, and give them an opportunity to accept her 
overtures; but after light lias been long rejected and despised, 
it will he finally withdrawn. 

A plague of hail was next threatened upon Pharaoh, with the 
warning, "Send therefore now, and gather thy cattle, and all that 
thou hast in the field ; for upon every man and heast which shall 
be found in the field, and shall not he brought home, the hail shall 
come down upon them, and they shall die." Rain or hail was 
unusual in Egypt, and such a storm as was foretold had never 
been witnessed. The report spread rapidly, and all who be- 
lieved the word of the Lord gathered in their cattle, while those 
who despised the warning left them in the field. Thus in the 
midst of judgment the mercy of God was displayed, the people 
were tested, and it was shown how many had been led to fear (Jod 
by the manifestation of his power. 

The storm came as predicted, — thunder and hail, and fire 
mingled with it, "very grievous, such as there was none like it in 
all the land of Egypt since it became a nation. And the hail 
smote throughout all the land of Egypt, all that was in the field, 
both man and beast; and the hail smote every herb of the field, 
and brake every tree of the field." Ruin and desolation marked 
the path of the destroying angel. The land of Goshen alone was 
spared. It was demonstrated to the Egyptians that the earth is 
under the control of the living God, that the elements obey his 
voice, and that the only safety is in obedience to him. 


All Egypt trembled before the awful outpouring of divine judg- 
ment. Pharaoh hastily sent for the two brothers, and cried out, 
" I have sinned this time ; the Lord is righteous, and I and my 
people are wicked. Entreat the Lord (for it is enough) that there 
be no more mighty thunderings and hail ; and I will let you go, 
and ye shall stay no longer." The answer was, " As soon as I am 
gone out of the city, I will spread abroad my hands unto the 
Lord ; and the thunder shall cease, neither shall there be any more 
hail ; that thou mayest know how that the earth is the Lord's. But 
as for thee and thy servants, I know that ye will not yet fear the 
Lord God." 

Moses knew that the contest was not ended. Pharaoh's con- 
fessions and promises were not the effect of any radical change in 
his mind or heart, but were wrung from him by terror and anguish. 
Moses promised, however, to grant his request ; for he would give 
him no occasion for further stubbornness. The prophet went 
forth, unheeding the fury of the tempest, and Pharaoh and alj 
his host were witnesses to the power of Jehovah to preserve his 
messenger. Having passed without the city, Moses " spread abroad 
his hands unto the Lord ; and the thunders and hail ceased, and 
the rain was not poured upon the earth." But no sooner had 
the king recovered from his fears, than his heart returned to its 

Then the Lord said unto Moses, " Go in unto Pharaoh ; for I 
have hardened his heart, and the heart of his servants, that I might 
show these my signs before him ; and that thou mayest tell in tht- 
ears of 'thy son, and of thy son's son, what things I have wrought 
in Egypt, and my signs which I have done among them ; that ye 
may know how that I am Jehovah." The Lord was manifesting his 
power, to confirm the faith of Israel in him as the only true and 
living God. He would give unmistakable evidence of the differ- 
ence he placed between them and the Egyptians, and would cause 
all nations to know that the Hebrews, whom they had despised 
and oppressed, were under the protection of the God of heaven. 

Moses warned the monarch that if he still remained obstinate, 
a plague of locusts would be sent, which would cover the face of 
the earth, and eat up every green thing that remained; they 
would fill the houses, even the palace itself; such a scourge, he 
said, as " neither thy fathers, nor thy lathers 1 fathers have seen, 
since the day that they were upon the earth unto this day." 


The counselors of Pharaoh stood aghast. The nation had 
sustained great loss in the death of their cattle Many of the 
people had been killed by the hail. The forests were broken 
down, and the crops destroyed. They were last losing all that 
had been gained by the labor of the Hebrews. The whole land 
was threatened with starvation. Princes and courtiers pressed 
about the king, and angrily demanded, " How long shall this man 
be a snare unto us? Let the men go, that they may serve the 
Lord their ( rod. Knowest thou not yet that Egypt is destroyed? " 

Moses and Aaron were again summoned, and the monarch 
said to them, " Go, serve the Lord your God; but who are they 
that shall go?" 

The answer was, "We will go with our young and with our 
old, with our sons and with our daughters, with our flocks and 
\vith our herds will we go; for we must hold a least unto the 

The king was filled with rage. "Let the Lord be so with 
you," be cried, " as I will let you go, and your little ones. Look 
to it ; for evil is before you. Not so: go now ye that are men, and 
serve the Lord; for that ye did desire. And they were driven out 
from Pharaoh's presence." Pharaoh had endeavored to destroy the 
Israelites by hard labor, but he now pretended to have a deep 
interest in their welfare and a tender care for their little ones. 
His real object was to keep the women and children as surety for 
the return of the men. 

Moses now stretched forth his rod over the land, and an east 
wind Mew, and brought locusts. "Very grievous were they; be- 
fore them there were no such locusts as they, neither after them 
shall be such." They filled the sky till the land was darkened, 
and devoured every green thing remaining. Pharaoh sent for the 
prophets in haste 1 , and said, " I have sinned against the Lord 
your God, and against you. Now therefore forgive, I pray thee, 
my sin only tins once, and entreat the Lord your God, that he 
may take away from me this death only."' They did so, and a 
strong west wind carried away the locusts toward the Red Sea 
Still the king persisted in his stubborn resolution. 

The people of Egypt were ready to despair. The scourges 
that had already fallen upon them seemed almost beyond endur- 
ance, and they were filled with fear for the future. The nation 
had worshiped Pharaoh as a representative of their god ; but 


many were now convinced that he was opposing himself to One 
who made all the powers of nature the ministers of his will. The 
Hebrew slaves, so miraculously favored, were becoming confident 
of deliverance. Their taskmasters dared not oppress them as 
heretofore. Throughout Egypt there was a secret fear that the 
enslaved race would rise and avenge their wrongs. Everywhere 
men were asking with bated breath, What will come next ? 

Suddenly a darkness settled upon the land, so thick and black 
that it seemed a " darkness which might be felt." Not only were 
the people deprived of light, but the atmosphere was very oppress- 
ive, so that breathing was difficult. " They saw not one another, 
neither rose any from his place for three days ; but all the chil- 
dren of Israel had light in their dwellings." The sun and moon 
were objects of worship to the Egyptians; in this mysterious dark- 
ness the people and their gods alike were smitten by the power 
that had undertaken the cause of the bondmen. 1 Yet fearful as 
it was, this judgment is an evidence of God's compassion and his 
unwillingness to destroy. He would -give the people time for re- 
flection and repentance before bringing upon them the last and 
most terrible of the plagues. 

Fear at last wrung from Pharaoh a further concession. At 
the end of the third day of darkness he summoned Moses, and 
consented to the departure of the people, provided the flocks and 
herds were permitted to remain. " There shall not a hoof be left 
behind," replied the resolute Hebrew. " We know not with what 
we must serve the Lord until we come thither." The king's angei 
burst forth beyond control. " Get thee from me," he cried, " take 
heed to thyself, see my face no more ; for in that day thou seest 
my face thou shalt die." 

The answer was, " Thou hast spoken well ; I will see thy face 
again no more." 

" The man Moses was very great in the land of Egypt, in the 
sight of Pharaoh's servants, and in the sight of the people." Moses 
was regarded with awe by the Egyptians. The king dared not 
harm him, for the people looked upon him as alone possessing 
power to remove the plagues. They desired that the Israelites 
might be permitted to leave Egypt. It was the king and the 
priests that opposed to the last the demands of Moses. 

1 See Appendix, Note 5. 



When the demand for [srael's release had been first presented 
to the king of Egypt, tbe warning of tbe most terrible of the 
plagues bad been given. Moses was directed to say to Pharaoh, 
••Thus saith the Lord, Israel is my son, even my first-born ; and 
I say unto thee, Let my son go, that be may serve me. And if 
thou refuse to let him go, behold, I will slay thy son, even thy 
first-born." 1 Though despised by the Egyptians, the Israelites 
had been honored by God, in that they were singled out to be 
the depositaries of his law. In the special blessings and privi* 
leges accorded them, they had pre-eminence among tbe nations, 
as the first-born son has among brothers. 

The judgment of which Egypt had first been warned, was to 
be the last visited. God is long-suffering, and plenteous in mercy. 
He has a tender care for the beings formed in his image. If the 
loss of their harvests and their flocks and herds had brought 
Egypt to repentance, the children would not have been smitten; 
but the nation had stubbornly resisted the divine command, and 
now the final blow was about to fall. 

Moses had been forbidden, on pain of death, to appear again in 
Pharaoh's presence; but a last message from God was to be deliv- 
ered to the rebellious monarch, and again Moses came before him, 
with the terrible announcement : " Thus saith the Lord, About mid- 
night will I go out into the midst of Egypt; and all the first-born 
in the land of Egypt shall die, from the first-born of Pharaoh that 
sitteth upon his throne, even unto the first-born of the maidservant 
that is behind the mill, and all the first-born of beasts. And there 
shall be a great cry throughout all the land of Egypt, such as there 
was none like it, nor shall be like it any more. But against any of 
the children of Israel shall not a dog move his tongue, against man 
or beast; that ye may know how that the Lord doth put a dili'er- 

1 Ex. 4 : 22, 23. 

I 273 1 


ence between the Egyptians and Israel. And all these thy servants 
shall come down unto me, and bow down themselves unto me, 
saying, Get thee out, and all the people that follow thee ; and after 
that I will go out." l 

Before the execution of this sentence, the Lord through Moses 
gave direction to the children of Israel concerning their departure 
from Egypt, and especially for their preservation from the coining 
judgment. Each family, alone or in connection with others, was 
to slay a lamb or a kid " without blemish," and with a bunch of 
hyssop sprinkle its blood on " the two side-posts and on the upper 
door-post" 2 of the house, that the destroying angel, coming at 
midnight, might not enter that dwelling. They were to eat the 
flesh roasted, with unleavened bread and bitter herbs, at night, as 
Moses said, "with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, ana 
your staff in your hand ; and ye shall eat it in haste ; it is the 
Lord's passover." 2 

The Lord declared : " I will pass through the land of Egypt this 
night, and will smite all the first-born in the land of Egypt, both 
man and beast ; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute 
judgment. . . . And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the 
houses where ye are ; and when I see the blood, I will pass over 
you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I 
smite the land of Egypt." 

In commemoration of this great deliverance, a feast was to be 
observed yearly by the people of Israel in all future generations. 
" This day shall be unto you for a memorial ; and ye shall keep it 
a feast to the Lord throughout your generations ; ye shall keep it 
a feast by an ordinance forever.'' As they should keep the feast 
in future years, they were to repeat to their children the story of 
this great deliverance, as Moses bade them : " Ye shall say, It is the 
sacrifice of the Lord's passover, who passed over the houses of the 
children of Israel in Egypt, when he smote the Egyptians, and 
delivered our houses." 

Furthermore, the first-born of both man and beast were to be the 
Lord's, to be brought back only by a ransom, in acknowledgment 
that when the first-born of Egypt perished, that of Israel, though 
graciously preserved, had been justly exposed to the same doom 
but for the atoning sacrifice. u All the first-born are mine," the 
Lord declared ; " for on the day that I smote all the first-born in 

•Ex. 11:4-8. 2 Ex. 12 : 1-28. 

/. Sprinkling the Blood. 
III. The Passover Supper. 


//. Tie Destroying . \ngel. 

IV. The First-born Slain. 


the land of Egypt, I hallowed unto me all the first-born in Israel. 
both man and beast: mine they shall be." 1 After the yistitu- 
tion of the tabernacle service, the Lord chose unto himself the 
tribe of Levi for the work of the sanctuary, instead of the first- 
born of the people. " They are wholly given unto me from among 
the children of Israel," he said. " Instead of the first-horn of all 
the children of Israel, have 1 taken them unto me." 1 All the 
people were, however, still required, in acknowledgment of God's 
mercy, to pay a redemption-price for the first-horn son. 3 

The Passover was to he both commemorative and typical, not 
only pointing back to the deliverance from Egypt, but forward 
to the greater deliverance which Christ was to accomplish in 
treeing his people from the bondage of sin. The sacrificial lamb 
represents " the Lamb of God," in whom is our only hope of 
salvation. Says the apostle, " Christ our passover is sacrificed 
for us." 4 It was not enough that the paschal lamb be slain; its 
blood must be sprinkled upon the door-posts; so the merits of 
Christ's blood must be applied to the soul. We must believe, 
not only that he died for the world, but that he died for us in- 
dividually. We must appropriate to ourselves the virtue of the 
atoning sacrifice. 

The hyssop used in sprinkling the blood was the symbol of 
purification, being thus employed in the cleansing of the leper 
and of those defiled by contact with the dead. In the psalmist 'a 
prayer also its significance is seen: "Purge me with hyssop, and 
I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow." 5 

The lamb was to be prepared whole, not a bone of it being 
broken; so not a bone was to be broken of the Lamb of God, 
who was to die for us. 8 Thus was also represented the complete- 
ness of Christ's sacrifice. 

The flesh was to be eaten. It is not enough even that we 
believe on Christ for the forgiveness of sin ; we must by faith he 
constantly receiving spiritual strength and nourishment from him 
through his word. Said Christ, " Except ye eat the flesh of the 
Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso 
eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life." And 
to explain his meaning he said, "The words that I speak unto 
you, they are spirit, and they are life." 7 Jesus accepted hi? 

1 Num. 3 : 13. 2 Num. 8 : 16. :! Num. 18: 15, 16. *1 Cur. 5:7. 

5 Ps. 51 : T. «E.\. 12 : 46; John 10 : 36. ' John 6 : 53, 54. 68. 


Father's law, wrought out it> principles in his life, manifested its 
spirit, and showed its beneficent power in the heart. Says John, 
" The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us (and we beheld 
his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father), full of 
grace and truth." l The followers of Christ must be partakers of 
his experience. They must receive and assimilate the word of 
God so that it shall become the motive power of life and action. 
By the power of Christ they must be changed into his likeness, 
and reflect the divine attributes. They must eat the flesh and 
drink the blood of the Son of God, or there is no life in them. 
The spirit and work of Christ must become the spirit and work of 
his disciples. 

The lamb was to be eaten with bitter herbs, as pointing back 
to the bitterness of the bondage in Egypt. So when we feed upon 
Christ, it should be with contrition of heart, because of our sins. 
The use of unleavened bread also was significant. It was ex- 
pressly enjoined in the law of the Passover, and as strictly observed 
by the JeAVS in their practice, that no leaven should be found in 
their houses during the feast. In like manner the leaven of sin 
must be put away from all who Mould receive life and nourish- 
ment from Christ. So Paul writes to the Corinthian church, 
" Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump. 
. . . For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us ; therefore let 
us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of 
malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sin- 
cerity and truth." 2 

Before obtaining freedom, the bondmen must show their faith 
in the great deliverance about to be accomplished. The token of 
blood must be placed upon their houses, and they must separate 
themselves and their families from the Egyptians, and gather 
within their own dwellings. Had the Israelites disregarded in 
any particular the directions given them, had they neglected to 
separate their children from the Egyptians, had they slain the 
lamb, but failed to strike the cloor-post with blood, or had any 
gone out of their houses, they would not have been secure. They 
might have honestly believed that they had done all that was nec- 
essary, but their sincerity would not have saved them. All who 
failed to heed the Lord's directions, would lose their first-born by 
the hand of the destroyer. 

1 John 1: 14. 2 1 Cor. 5 : 7, S. 


By obedience the people were to give evidence of their faith. 
So all who hope to be saved by the merits of the blood of Christ 
should realize that they themselves have something to do in se- 
curing their salvation. While it is Christ only that can redeem us 
from the penalty of transgression, Ave are to turn from sin to obedi- 
ence. Man is to be saved by faith, not by works; yet his faith 
must be shown by bis works. God has given his Son to die as a 
propitiation for sin, he has manifested the light of truth, the way 
>f life, he has given facilities, ordinances, and privileges; and now 
aian must co-operate with these saving agencies; he must appre- 
liate and use the helps that God has provided, — believe and obey 
dl the divine requirements. 

As Moses rehearsed to Israel the provisions of God for their de- 
liverance, "the people bowed the head and worshiped." 1 The 
idad hope of freedom, the awful knowledge of the impending 
udgment upon their oppressors, the cares and labors incident to 
■'.heir speedy departure, — all were for the time swallowed up in 
gratitude to their gracious Deliverer. Many of the Egyptians had 
been led to acknowledge the God of the Hebrews as the only true 
God, and these now begged to be permitted to find shelter in the 
homes of Israel when the destroying angel should pass through the 
'and. They were gladly welcomed, and they pledged themselves 
henceforth to serve the God of Jacob, and to go forth from Egypt 
with Ins people. 

The Israelites obeyed the directions that God had given. 

Swiftly and secretly they made their preparations for departure. 

Their families were gathered, the paschal lamb slain, the flesh 

roasted with tire, the unleavened bread and bitter herbs prepared. 

The father and priest of the household sprinkled the blood upon 

tfie door-post, and joined his family within the dwelling. In haste 

and silence the paschal lamb was eaten. In awe the people prayed 

uad watched, the heart of the eldest-born, from the strong man 

down to the little child, throbbing with indefinal >le dread. Fathers 

and mothers clasped in their arms their loved first-born, as they 

thought of the fearful stroke that was to fall that night. But no 

Lwelling of Israel was visited by the death-dealing angel. The 

iign of blood — the sign of a Saviour's protection — was on their 

lours, and the destroyer entered not, 

At midnight " there was a great cry in Egypt; for there was 

1 Ex. 12 : 27. 



not a house where there was not one dead." All the first-born in 
the land, " from the first-born of Pharaoh that sat on his throne 
unto the first-born of the captive that was in the dungeon ; and 
all the first-born of cattle," l had been smitten by the destroyer. 
Throughout the vast realm of Egypt the pride of every household 
had been laid low. The shrieks and wails of the mourners filled 
the air. King and courtiers, with blanched faces and trembling 
limbs, stood aghast at the overmastering horror. Pharaoh re- 
membered how he had once exclaimed, " Who is Jehovah, that 
I should obey his voice to let Israel go? I know not Jehovah, 
neither will I let Israel go." Now, his heaven-daring pride 
humbled in the dust, he " called for Moses and Aaron by night, 
and said, Rise up, and get you forth from among my people, both 
ye and the children of Israel ; and go, serve the Lord, as ye have 
said. Also take your flocks and your herds, as ye have said, and 
be gone ; and bless me also." The royal counselors also and the 
people entreated the Israelites to depart " out of the land in haste j 
for they said, We be all dead men." 

1 Ex. 12 : 29-33. 



With their loins girt, with sandaled feet, and Btaff in hand, the 
people of Israel had stood, hushed, awed, yet expectant, awaiting 
the royal mandate that should bid them go forth. Before the 
morning broke, they were on their way. During the plagues, as 

the manifestation of God's power had kindled faith in the hearts 
of the bondmen and had struck terror to their oppressors, the 
Israelites had gradually assembled themselves in Goshen; and 
notwithstanding the suddenness of their flight, some provision 
had already been made for the necessary organization and con- 
trol of the moving multitudes, they being divided into companies, 
under appointed leaders. 

And they went out, " about six hundred thousand on foot that 
were men, beside children. And a mixed multitude went up also 
with them." 1 In this multitude were not only those who were 
actuated by faith in the God of Israel, but also a far greater num- 
ber who desired only to escape from the plagues, or who followed 
in the wake of the moving multitudes, merely from excitement and 
curiosity. This class were ever a hinderance and a snare to Israel. 

The people took also with them " flocks and herds, even very 
much cattle." These were the property of the Israelites, who had 
never sold their possessions to the king, as had the Egyptians. 
Jacob and his sons had brought their flocks and herds with them 
to Egypt, where they had greatly increased. Before leaving Egypt, 
the people, by the direction of Moses, claimed a recompense for 
their unpaid Labor; and the Egyptians were too eager to be freed 
from their presence to refuse them. The bondmen went forth 
laden with the spoil of their oppressors. 

That day completed the history revealed to Abraham in pro- 
phetic vision centuries before: " Thy seed shall be a stranger in a 
land that is not theirs, and shall serve them ; and they shall afflict 
them four hundred years ; and also that nation, whom they 

'Ex. 12 : 34-39. 



shall serve, will I judge ; and afterward shall they come out with 
great substance." 1 The four hundred years had been fulfilled. 
" And it came to pass the selfsame day, that the Lord did bring 
the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt by their armies." 2 
In their departure from Egypt the Israelites bore with them a 
precious legacy, in the bones of Joseph, which had so long awaited 
the fulfillment of God's promise, and which, during the dark years 
of bondage, had been a reminder of Israel's deliverance. 

Instead of pursuing the direct route to Canaan, which lay 
through the country of the Philistines, the Lord directed their 
course southward, toward the shores of the Red Sea. " For God 
said, Lest peradventure the people repent when they see war, and 
they return to Egypt." 3 Had they attempted to pass through 
Philistia, their progress would have been opposed ; for the Phil- 
istines, regarding them as slaves escaping from their masters, 
would not have hesitated to make war upon them. The Israel- 
ites were poorly prepared for an encounter with that powerful and 
warlike people. They had little knowledge of God and little 
faith in him, and they would have become terrified and dis- 
heartened. They were unarmed, and unaccustomed to war, their 
spirits were depressed by long bondage, and they were encum- 
bered with women and children, flocks and herds. In leading 
them by the way of the Red Sea, the Lord revealed himself as a 
God of compassion as well as of judgment. 

" And they took their journey from Succoth, and encamped in 
Etham, in the edge of the wilderness. And the Lord went before 
them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way ; and 
by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light ; to go by day and 
night. He took not away the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the 
pillar of fire by night, from before the people." Says the psalmist, 
" He spread a cloud for a covering ; and fire to give light in the 
night." 4 The standard of their invisible Leader was ever with 
them. By day the cloud directed their journeyings, or spread as 
a canopy above the host. It served as a protection from the 
burning heat, and by its coolness and moisture afforded grateful 
refreshment in the parched, thirsty desert. By night it became 
a pillar of fire, illuminating their encampment, and constantly 
assuring them of the divine presence. 

1 Gen. 15 : 13, 14; see Appendix, Note 6. 2 Ex. 12 : 40, 41, 51; 13 : 19. 
3 Ex. 13 : 17, 18, 20-22. *Ps. 105 : 39; 1 Cor. 10 : 1, 2. 


In one of the most beautiful and comforting passages of Isaiah's 
prophecy, reference is made to the pillar of cloud and of fire to 
represent God's care for his people in the great final struggle with 
the powers of evil: "The Lord will create upon every dwelling- 
place of Mount Zion, and upon her assemblies, a cloud and smoke 
by day, and the shining of a flaming fire by night; for above all 
the glory shall be a covering. And there shall be a tabernacle for 
a shadow in the daytime from the heat, and for a place of refuge, 
and for a covert from storm and from rain." J 

Across a dreary, desert-like expanse they journeyed. Already 
they began to wonder whither their course would lead; they were 
becoming weary with the toilsome way, and in some hearts began 
to arise a fear of pursuit by the Egyptians. But the cloud went 
Forward, and they followed. And now the Lord directed Moses to 
turn aside into a rocky defile, and encamp beside the sea. It was 
.wealed to him that Pharaoh would pursue them, but that God 
vould be honored in their deliverance. ■ 

In Egypt the report was spread that the children of Israel, in- 
stead of tarrying to worship in the desert, were pressing on toward 
„he Red Sea. Pharaoh's counselors declared to the king that their 
bondmen had fled, never to return. The people deplored their 
folly in attributing the death of the first-born to the power of 
God. Their great men, recovering from their fears, accounted for 
*he plagues as the result of natural causes. " Why have we done 
this, tbat we have let Israel go from serving us?" 2 was the 
bitter cry. 

Pharaoh collected his forces, " six hundred chosen chariots, 
and all the chariots of Egypt," horsemen, captains, and foot sol- 
diers. The king himself, attended by the great men of his realm, 
headed the attacking army. To secure the favor of the gods, 
and thus insure the success of their undertaking, the priests also 
accompanied them. The king was resolved to intimidate the 
Israelites by a grand display of his power. The Egyptians 
feared lest their forced submission to the God of Israel should 
subject them to the derision of other nations; but if they should 
now go forth with a great show of power and bring back the fugi- 
tives, they would redeem their glory, as well as recover the 
services of their bondmen. 

The Hebrews were encamped beside the sea, whose waters 

1 Isa. 4 : 5, 6 (margin). 2 Ex. 14 : 5-9. 


presented a seemingly impassable barrier before them, while on 
the south a rugged mountain obstructed their further progress. 
Suddenly they beheld in the distance the flashing armor and 
moving chariots betokening the advance guard of a great army. 
As the force drew nearer, the hosts of Egypt were seen in full 
pursuit. Terror filled the hearts of Israel. Some cried unto the 
Lord, but far the greater part hastened to Moses with their com- 
plaints : " Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken 
us away to die in the wilderness? Wherefore hast thou dealt 
thus with us, to carry us forth out of Egypt? Is not this the word 
that we did tell thee in Egypt, saying, Let us alone, that Ave may 
serve the Egyptians ? For it had been better for us to serve the 
Egyptians, than that we should die in the Avilderness." ' 

Moses was greatly troubled that his people should manifest so 
little faith in God, notwithstanding they had repeatedly witnessed 
the manifestation of his power in their behalf. How could they 
charge upon him the dangers and difficulties of their situation, 
when he had followed the express command of God? True, 
there was no possibility of deliverance unless God himself should 
interpose for their release; but having been brought into this 
position in obedience to the divine direction, Moses felt no fear of 
the consequences. His calm and assuring reply to the people 
was, " Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, 
which he will show to you to-day ; for the Egyptians whom ye 
have seen to-day, ye shall see them again no more forever. The 
Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace." 

It was not an easy thing to hold the hosts of Israel in waiting 
before the Lord. Lacking discipline and self-control, they became 
violent and unreasonable. They expected speedily to fall into 
the hands of their oppressors, and their wailings and lamentations 
were loud and deep. The wonderful pillar of cloud had been 
followed as the signal of God to go forward ; but now they ques- 
tioned among themselves if it might not foreshadow some great 
calamity; for had it not led them on the wrong side of the 
mountain, into an impassable way ? Thus the angel of God ap- 
peared to their deluded minds as the harbinger of disaster. 

But now, as the Egyptian host approached them, expecting to 
make them an easy prey, the cloudy column rose majestically 
into the heavens, passed over the Israelites, and descended between 
them and the armies of Egypt. A Avail of darkness interposed 

1 Ex. 14 : 10-22. 

THE EX OB I - 287 

between the pursued and their pursuers. The Egyptians could 
no longer discern the camp of the Helnvws, and were forced fco 
halt. But as the darkness of night deepened, the wall of cloud 
became a great litrlit to the Hebrews, Hooding the entire encamp- 
ment with the radiance of day. 

Then hope returned to the hearts of Israel. And Moses lifted 
up his voice unto the Lord. "And the Lord said unto Moses, 
Wherefore criest thou unto me? Speak unto the children of 
Israel, that they go forward. Hut lift thou up thy -rod, and 
stretch out thine hand over the sea, and divide it ; and the chil- 
dren of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea." 

The psalmist, describing the passage of the sea by Israel, 
sung, " Thy way was in the sea, and thy paths in the great waters, 
and thy footsteps were not known. Thou leddest thy people like 
a flock, by the hand of Moses and Aaron." 1 As Moses stretched 
out his rod, the waters parted, and Israel went into the midst of 
the sea, upon dry ground, while the waters stood like a wall upon 
each side. The light from God's pillar of fire shone upon the 
foam-capped billows, and lighted the road that was cut like a 
mighty furrow through the waters of the sea, and was lost in the 
obscurity of the farther shore. 

" The Egyptians pursued, and went in after them to the midst 
of the sea, even all Pharaoh's horses, his chariots, and his horse- 
men. And it came to pass, that in the morning watch the Lord 
looked unto the host of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire 
and of the cloud, and troubled the host of the Egyptians." 2 The 
mysterious cloud changed to a pillar of fire before their astonished 
eyes. The thunders pealed, and the lightnings flashed. "The 
clouds poured out water ; the skies sent out a sound ; thine arrows 
also went abroad. The voice of thy thunder was in the whirl- 
wind : the lightnings lightened the world; the earth trembled and 
shook." 3 

The Egyptians were seized with confusion and dismay. Amid 
the wrath of the elements, in which they heard the voice of an 
angry God, they endeavored to retrace their steps, and flee to the 
shore they had quitted. But Moses stretched out his rod. and the 
piled-up waters, hissing, roaring, and eager for their prey, rushed 
together, and swallowed the Egyptian army in their black depths. 

As morning broke, it revealed to the multitudes of Israel all 
that remained of their mighty foes, — the mail-clad bodies cast 

l Ps. 77 : 19, 20, Rev. Ver. 2 Ex. 14 : 23, 24. 3 Ps. 77 : 17, 18, Rev. Ver. 


upon the shore. From the most terrible peril, one night had 
brought complete deliverance. That vast, helpless throng — bond- 
men unused to battle, women, children, and cattle, with the sea 
before them, and the mighty armies of Egypt pressing behind — 
had seen their path opened through the waters, and their ene- 
mies overwhelmed in the moment of expected triumph. Jehovah 
alone had brought them deliverance, and to him their hearts were 
turned in gratitude and faith. Their emotion found utterance in 
songs of praise. The Spirit of God rested upon Moses, and he led 
the people in a triumphant anthem of thanksgiving, the earliest 
and one of the most sublime that are known to man. 

"I will sing unto Jehovah, for he hath triumphed gloriously; 
The horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea. 
The Lord is my strength and song, 
And he is become my salvation; 
This is my God, and I will praise him; 
My father's God, and I will exalt him. 
The Lord is a man of war; 
Jehovah is his name. 

Pharaoh's chariots and his host hath he cast into the sea; 
And his chosen captains are sunk in the Red Sea. 
The deeps cover them; 

They went down into the depths like a stone. 
Thy right hand, O Lord, is glorious in power; 
Thy right hand, O Lord, dasheth in pieces the enemy. . . . 
Who is like unto thee, O Lord, among the gods ? 
Who is like thee, glorious in holiness, 
Fearful in praises, doing wonders ? . . . 

Thou in thy mercy hast led the people which thou hast redeemed; 
Thou hast guided them in thy strength to thy holy habitation. 
The people have heard, they tremble. . . . 
Terror and dread falleth upon them; 
By the greatness of thine arm they are as still as a stone; 
Till thy people pass over, O Lord, 
Till the people pass over which thou hast purchased, 
Thou shalt bring them in, and plant them in the mountain of thine 

The place, O Lord, which thou hast made for thee to dwell in." 1 

Like the voice of the great deep rose from the vast hosts of Is- 
rael that sublime ascription. It was taken up by the women of 
Israel, Miriam, the sister of Moses, leading the way, as they went 

*Ex. 15 : 1-16, Rev. Ver. 

77//: EXODUS. 289 

forth with timbrel and dance. Far over desert and sea ran- the 
joyous retrain, and the mountains re-echoed the words of their 
praise, — - " Sin-' ye to Jehovah, for he hath triumphed gloriously." 

This Bong and the greal deliverance which it commemorates 
made an impression never to he effaced from the memory of the 
Ilehrew people. From age to age it was echoed by the prophets 
and singers of Israel, testifying that Jehovah is the strength and 
deliverance oi' those who trust in him. That song does not belong 
to the Jewish people alone. It points forward to the destruction 
of all the foes of righteousness, and the final victory of the Israel 
of God. The prophet of Patnios beholds the white-rohed multi- 
tude that " have gotten the victory," standing on the " sen of glass 
mingled with fire," having "the harps of God. And they sing the 
song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb." 1 

" Not unto us, Lord, not unto us, hut unto thy name give 
glory, for thy mercy, and for thy truth's sake." 2 Such was the 
Bpirit that pervaded Israel's song of deliverance, and it is the spirit 
that should dwell in the hearts of all who love and fear God. In 
freeing our souls from the bondage of sin, God has wrought for us 
a deliverance greater than that of the Hebrews at the Red Sea. 
Like the Hebrew host, we should praise the Lord with heart and 
soul and voice for his "wonderful works to the children of men." 
Those who dwell upon God's great mercies, and are not unmind- 
ful of his lesser gifts, will put on the girdle of gladness, and make 
melody in their hearts to the Lord. The daily blessings that we 
receive from the hand of God, and above all else the death of Jesus 
to bring happiness and heaven within our reach, should be a theme 
for constant gratitude. What compassion, what matchless love, 
has God shown to us, lost sinners, in connecting us with himself, 
to lie to him a peculiar treasure! What a sacrifice has been made 
by our Redeemer, that we may be called children of God! We 
should praise God for the blessed hope held out before us in the 
great plan of redemption, we should praise him for the heavenly 
inheritance, and for his rich promises ; praise him that Jesus lives 
to intercede for us. 

•Whoso ofl'ereth praise," says the Creator, "glorifieth me." 3 
All the inhabitants of heaven unite in praising God. Let us learn 
the song of the angels now, that we may sing it when we join their 
shining ranks. Let us say with the psalmist, " While I live, will I 

1 Rev. 15 : 2, 3. 2 Ps. 115 : 1. s Ps. 50 : 23. 


praise the Lord : I will sing praises unto my God while I have 
any being." " Let the people praise thee, O God ; let all the people 
praise thee." ' 

God in his providence brought the Hebrews into the mount- 
ain fastnesses before the sea, that he might manifest his power 
in their deliverance, and signally humble the pride of their op- 
pressors. He might have saved them in any other way, but he 
chose this method in order to test their faith and strengthen their 
trust in him. The people were weary and terrified, yet if they 
had held back when Moses bade them advance, God would never 
have opened the path for them. It was "by faith" that "they 
passed through the Red Sea as by dry land." 2 In marching 
down to the very water, they showed that they believed the word 
of God as spoken by Moses. They did all that was in theii 
power to do, and then the Mighty One of Israel divided the sea 
to make a path for their feet. 

The great lesson here taught is for all time. Often the Chris 
tian life is beset by dangers, and duty seems hard to perform. 
The imagination pictures impending ruin before, and bondage 
or death behind. Yet the voice of God speaks clearly, " Go 
forward." We should obey this command, even though our eyes 
cannot penetrate the darkness, and we feel the cold waves abom, 
our feet. The obstacles that hinder our progress will never dis 
appear before a halting, doubting spirit. Those who defer obe- 
dience till every shadow of uncertainty disappears, and there re 
mains no risk of failure or defeat, will never obey at all. Unbe 
lief whispers, " Let us wait till the obstructions are removed, and 
we can see our way clearly ; " but faith courageously urges ar. 
advance, hoping all things, believing all things. 

The cloud that was a wall of darkness to the Egyptians was 
to the Hebrews a great flood of light, illuminating the whole 
'•amp, and shedding brightness upon the path before them. So 
the dealings of Providence bring to the unbelieving, darkness and 
despair, while to the trusting soul they are full of light and peace. 
The path where God leads the way may lie through the desert or 
the sea, but it is a safe path. 

!Ps. 146 : 2 ; 67 : 5. 2 Heb. 11 : 29. 



From the Red Sea the hosts of Israel again set forth on their 
journey, under the guidance of the pillar of cloud. The scene 
around them was most dreary, — hare, desolate-looking mount- 
ains, barren plains, and the sea stretching far away, its shores 
strewn with the hodies of their enemies; yet they were full of 
joy in the consciousness of freedom, and every thought of discon- 
tent was hushed. 

But for three days, as they journeyed, they could find no 
water. The supply which they had taken with them was ex- 
hausted. There was nothing to quench their hurning thirst as 
they dragged wearily over the sun-burnt plains. Moses, who was 
familiar with this region, knew what the others did not, that at 
Marah, the nearest station where springs were to be found, the 
water was unfit for use. With intense anxiety he watched the 
guiding cloud. With a sinking heart he heard the glad shout, 
"Water! water!" echoed along the line. Men, women, and chil- 
dren in joyous haste crowded to the fountain, when, lo, a cry of 
anguish burst forth from the host, — the water was bitter. 

In their horror and despair they reproached Moses for having 
led them in such a way, not remembering that the divine presence 
in that mysterious cloud had been leading him as well as them- 
selves. In his grief at their distress, Moses did what they had 
forgotten to do ; he cried earnestly to God for help. " And the 
Lord showed him a tree, which when he had cast into the waters, 
the waters were made sweet.*" Here the promise was given to 
Israel through Moses. " [f thou wilt diligently hearken to the 
voice of the Lord thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his 
sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all hi- 
statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee which I have 

1 Ex. 15 : 25. 
19 [291] 


brought upon the Egyptians ; for I am the Lord that healeth 
thee." l 

From Marah the people journeyed to Elim, where they found 
" twelve wells of water, and threescore and ten palm-trees." Here 
they remained several days before entering the wilderness of Sin. 
When they had been a month absent from Egypt, they made their 
first encampment in the wilderness. Their store of provisions had 
now begun to fail. There was scanty herbage in the wilderness, 
and their flocks were diminishing. How was food to be supplied 
for these vast multitudes? Doubts filled their hearts, and again 
they murmured. Even the rulers and elders of the people joined 
in complaining against the leaders of God's appointment : " Would 
to God we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, 
when we sat by the flesh-pots, and when we did eat bread to the 
full ; for ye have brought us forth into this wilderness, to kill this 
whole assembly with hunger." 2 

They had not as yet suffered from hunger ; their present wants 
were supplied, but they feared for the future. They could not 
understand how these vast multitudes were to subsist in their 
travels through the wilderness, and in imagination they saw their 
children famishing. The Lord permitted difficulties to surround 
them, and their supply of food to be cut short, that their hearts 
might turn to Him who had hitherto been their deliverer. If in 
their want they would call upon him, he would still grant them 
manifest tokens of his love and care. He had promised that if 
they would obey his commandments, no disease should come 
upon them, and it was sinful unbelief on their part to anticipate 
that they or their children might die of hunger. 

God had promised to be their God, to take them to himself as 
a people, and to lead them to a large and good land ; but they 
were ready to faint at every obstacle encountered in the way to 
that land. In a marvelous manner he had brought them out 
from their bondage in Egypt, that he might elevate and ennoble 
them, and make them a praise in the earth. But it was necessary 
for them to encounter difficulties and to endure privations. God 
was bringing them from a state of degradation, and fitting them 
to occupy an honorable place among the nations, and to receive 
important and sacred trusts. Had they possessed faith in him, 
in view of all that lie had wrought for them, they would cheer- 
l Ex. 15 : 26. 2 Ex. 16 : 3. 


fully have borne inconvenience, privation, and even real Buffering; 
1 mt they were unwilling to dust the Lord any further than they 
could witness the continual evidences of his power. They forgot 
their bitter service in Egypt. They forgot the goodness and power 

of God displayed in their behalf in their deliverance from bond- 
age. They forgot how their children had been spared when the 
destroying angel slew all the first-born of Egypt. They forgot the 

grand exhibition of divine power at the Red Sea. They forgol 
that while they had crossed safely in the path that had been 
opened ibr them, the armies of their enemies, attempting to follow 
them, had been overwhelmed by the waters of the sea. They 
saw and felt only their present inconveniences and trials; and 
instead of saying, "God has done great things for us; whereas we 
were slaves, he is making of us a great nation," they talked of the 
hardness of the way, and wondered when their weary pilgrimage 
would end. 

The history of the wilderness life of Israel was chronicled for 
the benefit of the Israel of God to the close of time. The record 
of God's dealings with the wanderers of the desert in all their 
marchings to and fro, in their exposure to hunger, thirst, and 
weariness, and in the striking manifestations of his power for 
their relief, is fraught with warning and instruction for his peo- 
ple in afl ages. The varied experience of the Hebrews was a 
school of preparation for their promised home in Canaan. God 
would have his people in these days review with a humble heart 
and teachable spirit the trials through which ancient Israel passed, 
that they may be instructed in their preparation for the heavenly 
( lanaan. 

Many look back to the Israelites, and marvel at their unbelief 
and murmuring, feeling that they themselves would not have been 
30 ungrateful ; but when their faith is tested, even by little trials, 
they manifest no more faith or patience than did ancient Israel. 
When brought into strait places, they murmur at the process by 
which God has chosen to purify them. Though their present 
needs are supplied, many are unwilling to trust God for the future, 
and they are in constant anxiety lest poverty shall come upon 
them, and their children shall be left to suffer. Some are always 
anticipating evil, or magnifying the difficulties that really exist. 
30 that their eyes are blinded to the many blessings which demand 


their gratitude. The obstacles they encounter, instead of leading 
them to seek help from God, the only source of strength, separate 
them from him, because they awaken unrest and repining. 

Do we well to be thus unbelieving? Why should we be un- 
grateful and distrustful ? Jesus is our friend ; all heaven is inter- 
ested in our welfare; and our anxiety and fear grieve the Holy 
Spirit of God. We should not indulge in a solicitude that only 
frets and wears us, but does not help us to bear trials. No place 
should be given to that distrust of God which leads us to make a 
preparation against future want the chief pursuit of life, as though 
our happiness consisted in these earthly things. It is not the will 
of God that his jDeople should be weighed down with care. But 
our Lord does not tell us that there are no dangers in our path. 
He does not propose to take his people out of the world of sin 
and evil, but he points us to a never-failing refuge. He invites 
the weary and care-laden, " Come unto me, all ye that labor 
and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." Lay off the yoke 
of anxiety and worldly care that you have placed on your own 
neck, and "take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; fori am 
meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest unto your souls." 1 
We may find rest and peace in God, casting all our care upon 
him ; for he careth for us. 2 

Says the apostle Paul, " Take heed, brethren, lest there be in 
any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living 
God." 3 In view of all that God has wrought for us, our faith 
should be strong, active, and enduring. Instead of murmuring 
and complaining, the language of our hearts should be, " Bless the 
Lord, my soul ; and all that is within me, bless his holy name. 
Bless the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits." 4 

God was not unmindful of the wants of Israel. He said to 
their leader, " I will rain bread from heaven for you." And direc- 
tions were given that the people gather a daily supply, with a 
double amount on the sixth day, that the sacred observance of the 
Sabbath might be maintained. 

Moses assured the congregation that their wants were to be 
supplied : " The Lord shall give you in the evening flesh to eat, 
and in the morning bread to the full." And he added, '' What are 
we? Your murmurings aro not against us, but against the Lord." 
He further bade Aaron say to them, " Come near before the Lord ; 

1 Matt. 11 : 28, 29. 2 1 Peter 5 : 7. 3 Heb. 3:12. *Ps. 103 : 1, 2. 


for he hath heard your murmurings." While Aaron was speak- 
ing, "they looked toward the wilderness, and, behold, the glory 
of the Lord appeared in the cloud." 1 A splendor such as they 
had never before witnessed, symbolized the divine presence. 
Through manifestations addressed to their senses, they were to 
obtain a knowledge of God. They must he taught that the Most 
High, and not merely the man Moses, was their leader, that they 
might fear his name and obey his voice. 

At nightfall the camp was surrounded by vast flocks of quails, 
enough to supply the entire company. In the morning there lay 
upon the surface of the ground " a small round thing, as small as 
the hoar frost." " It was like coriander seed, white." The people 
called it manna. Moses said, " This is the bread which the Lord 
hath given you to eat," 2 The people gathered the manna, and 
found that there was an abundant supply for all. They "ground 
it in mills, or heat it in a mortar, and baked it in pans, and made 
cakes of it." "And the taste of it was like wafers made with 
honey." They were directed to gather daily an omer'for every 
person ; and they were not to leave of it until the morning. Some 
attempted to keep a supply until the next day, but it was then 
found to be unfit for food. The provision for the day must be 
gathered in the morning; -for all that remained upon the ground 
was melted by the sun. 

In the gathering of the manna it was found that some obtained 
more and some less than the stipulated amount; but " when they 
did mete it with an onier, he that gathered much had nothing 
over, and he that gathered little had no lack." 5 An explana- 
tion of this scripture, as well as a practical lesson from it, is given 
by the apostle Paul in his second epistle to the Corinthians. He 
Bays, " I mean not that other men be eased, and ye bur- 
dened ; but by an equality, that now at this time your abundance 
may be a supply for their want, that their abundance also may be 
a supply for your want; that there may lie equality ; as it is writ- 
ten, He that had gathered much had nothing over; and he that 
had gathered little had no lack." 6 

On the sixth day the people gathered two omers for every per- 
son. The rulers hastened to acquaint Moses with what had been 
done. His answer was, " This is that which the Lord hath said, 

'Ex. 16 : 8-10. 2 Ex. 16 : 14, 15, 31. 3 Num. 11 : 8 ; Ex. 16 : 31. 

'Nearly three quarts. B Ex. 16 : IS. 6-2 Cor. 8 : 13-15. 


To-morrow is the rest of the holy Sabbath unto the Lord. Bake 
that which ye will bake to-day, and seethe that ye will seethe ; 
and that which remaineth over lay up for you to be kept until 
the morning." They did so, and found that it remained un- 
changed. And Moses said, " Eat that to-day ; for to-day is a Sab- 
bath unto the Lord. To-day ye shall not find it in the field. Six 
days ye shall gather it ; but on the seventh day, which is the Sab- 
bath, in it there shall be none." l 

God requires that his holy day be as sacredly observed now 
as in the time of Israel. The command given to the Hebrews 
should be regarded by all Christians as an injunction from Jehovah 
to them. The day before the Sabbath should be made a day of 
preparation, that everything may be in readiness for its sacred 
hours. In no case should our own business be allowed to en- 
croach upon holy time. God has directed that the sick and suf- 
fering be cared for ; the labor required to make them comfortable 
is a work of mercy, and no violation of the Sabbath ; but all un- 
necessary work should be avoided. Many carelessly put off till 
the beginning of the Sabbath little things that might have been 
done on the day of preparation. This should not be. Work 
that is neglected until the beginning of the Sabbath should re- 
main undone until it is past. This course might help the mem- 
ory of these thoughtless ones, and make them careful to do their 
own work on the six working days. 

Every week during- their long sojourn in the wilderness, the 
Israelites witnessed a threefold miracle, designed to impress their 
minds with the sacredness of the Sabbath : a double quantity 
of manna fell on the sixth day, none on the seventh, and the 
portion needed for the Sabbath was preserved sweet and pure, 
when if any were kept over at any other time it became unfit 
for use. 

In the circumstances connected with the giving of the manna, 
we have conclusive evidence that the Sabbath was not instituted, 
as many claim, when the law was given at Sinai. Before the 
Israelites came to Sinai they understood the Sabbath to be oblig- 
atory upon them. In being obliged to gather every Friday a 
double portion of manna in preparation for the Sabbath, when 
none would fall, the sacred nature of the day of rest was contin- 
ually impressed upon them. And when some of the people went 

'Ex. 1G : 23, 25, 26. 



out on the Sabbath to gather manna, the Lord asked, " How 
long refuse ye to keep my commandments and my laws?" 

"The children of Israel did eat manna forty years, until they 
came to a land inhabited; they did eat manna, until they came 
unto the borders of the land of Canaan." 1 For forty years they 
were daily reminded by this miraculous provision, of God's un- 
failing 'arc and tender love. In the words of the psalmist, God 
gave them "of the corn of heaven. Man did eat angels' food," 
— that is, food provided for them by the angels. Sustained by 
"the corn of heaven," they were daily taught that, having God's 
promise, they were as secure from want as if surrounded by 
fields of waving grain on the fertile plains of Canaan. 

The manna, falling from heaven for the sustenance of Israel, 
was a type of Him who came from God to give life to the world. 
Said .le.<n<. '• I am that bread of life. Your fathers did eat manna 
in the wilderness, anil are dead. This is the bread which corneth 
down from heaven. . . . If any man eat of this bread, he shall 
live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I 
will give for the life of the world." 3 And among the promises of 
hlcssing to God's people .in the future life it is written, " To him 
that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna." 4 

After leaving the wilderness of Sin, the Israelites encamped 
in Rephidim. Here there was no water, and again they dis- 
trusted the providence of God. In their blindness and presump- 
tion the people came to Moses with the demand, " Give us water, 
that we may drink." But his patience failed not. "Wny chide 
ye with me?" he said; "wherefore do ye tempt the Lord?" 
They cried in anger, " Wherefore is this, that thou hast brought 
us up out of Egypt, to kill us and our children and our cattle 
with thirst?" 5 When they had been so abundantly supplied with 
food, they rememhered with shame their unbelief and mur- 
murings, and promised to trust the Lord in the future; but they 
soon forgot their promise, and failed at the first trial of their faith. 
The pillar of cloud that was leading them seemed to vail a 
tearful mystery. And Moses, — who was he? they questioned, 
and what could be his object in bringing them from Egypt ? Sus- 
picion and distrust tilled their hearts, and they boldly accused 
him of designing to kill them and their children by privations 
1 Ex. 16 : 35. - IV 78 : 24, 25. 3 John 6 : 48-51. 

4 Rev. 2 : IT. 5 Ex. 17 : 1-7. 


and hardships that he might enrich himself with their posses- 
sions. In the tumult of rage and indignation they were about to 
stone him. 

In distress Moses cried to the Lord, " What shall I do unto 
this people?" He was directed to take the elders of Israel and 
the rod wherewith he had wrought wonders in Egypt, and to go 
on before the people. And the Lord said unto him, " Behold, I 
will stand before thee there, upon the rock in Horeb ; and thou 
shalt smite the rock, and there shall come Avater out of it, that 
the people may drink." He obeyed, and the waters burst forth 
in a living stream that abundantly supplied the encampment. 
Instead of commanding Moses to lift up his rod and call down 
some terrible plague, like those on Egypt, upon the leaders in 
this wicked murmuring, the Lord in his great mercy, made the 
rod his instrument to work their deliverance. 

" He clave the rocks in the wilderness, and gave them drink as 
out of the great depths. He brought streams also out of the rock, 
and caused waters to run down like rivers." 1 Moses smote the 
rock, but it was the Son of God who, vailed in the cloudy pillar, stood 
beside Moses, and caused the life-giving water to flow. Not only 
Moses and the elders, but all the congregation who stood at a 
distance, beheld the glory of the Lord ; but had the cloud been 
removed, they would have been slain by the terrible brightness 
of Him who abode therein. 

In their thirst the people had tempted God, saying, " Is the 
Lord among us, or not?" — "If God has brought us here, why 
does he not give us water as well as bread? " The unbelief thus 
manifested, was criminal, and Moses feared that the judgments of 
God would rest upon them. And he called the name of the place 
Massah, " temptation," and Meribah, " chicling," as a memorial of 
their sin. 

A new danger now threatened them. Because of their mur- 
muring against him, the Lord suffered them to be attacked by 
their enemies. The Amalekites, a fierce, warlike tribe inhabiting 
that region, came out against them, and smote those who, faint 
and weary, had fallen into the rear. Moses, knowing that the 
masses of the people were unprepared for battle, directed Joshua 
to choose from the different tribes a body of soldiers, and lead 
them on the morrow against the enemy, while he himself would 

J Ps. 78 : 15, 16. 


stand on an eminence near by with the rod of God in his hand. 
Accordingly the next day Joshua and his company attacked the 
foe, while Moses and Aaron and Ilnr were stationed on a hill over- 
looking the battle-field. With arms outstretched toward heaven, 
and holding the rod of God in his right hand, Moses prayed for 
the smcess of the armies of Israel. As the battle progressed, it 
was observed that so long as his hands were reaching upward, 
Israel prevailed, hut when they were lowered, the enemy was 
victorious. As Moses became weary, Aaron and Ilur stayed up 
his hands until the going down of the sun, when the enemy was 
put to flight. 

As Aaron and Hur supported the hands of Moses, they showed 
the people their duty to sustain him in his arduous work while 
he should receive the word from God to speak to them. And the 
act of Moses also was significant, showing that God held their 
destiny in his hands; while they made him their trust, he would 
fight for them and subdue their enemies; hut when they should 
let go their hold upon him, and trust in their own power, they 
would he even weaker than those who had not the knowledge of 
God. and their foes would prevail against them. 

As the Hebrews triumphed when Moses was reaching his hands 
toward heaven and interceding in their behalf, so the Israel of God 
prevail when they by faith take hold upon the strength of their 
mighty Helper. Yet divine strength is to lie combined with 
human effort. Moses did not believe that God would overcome 
their foes while Israel remained inactive. While the great leader 
was pleading with the Lord, Joshua and his brave followers were 
] >utting forth their utmost efforts to repulse the enemies of Israel 
and of God. 

After the defeat of the Amalekites, God directed Moses, " Write 
this for a memorial in a book, and rehearse it in the ears of 
Joshua; for I will utterly put out the remembrance of Amalek 
from under heaven." 1 Just before his death the great leader 
delivered to his people the solemn charge: "Remember what 
Amalek did unto thee by the way, when ye were come forth out 
of Egypt; lmw he met thee by the way, and smote the hindmost 
of thee, even all that were feeble behind thee, when thou wast 
faint and weary ; and he feared not God. . . . Thou shalt blot out 
the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven ; thou shalt not 

l Ex. 17 : 14. 


forget it." 1 Concerning this wicked people the Lord declared, 
" The hand of Amalek is against the throne of Jehovah." 2 

The Amalekites were not ignorant of God's character or of his 
sovereignty, hut instead of fearing before him, they had set them- 
selves to defy his power. The wonders wrought by Moses before the 
Egyptians were made a subject of mockery by the people of 
Amalek, and the fears of surrounding nations were ridiculed. 
They had taken oath by their gods that they would destroy the 
Hebrews, so that not one should escape, and they boasted that 
Israel's God would be powerless to resist them. They had not been 
injured or threatened by the Israelites. Their assault was wholly 
unprovoked. It was to manifest their hatred and defiance of God 
that they sought to destroy his people. The Amalekites had long 
been high-handed sinners, and their crimes had cried to God for 
vengeance, yet his mercy had still called them to repentance; 
but when the men of Amalek fell upon the wearied and defense- 
less ranks of Israel, they sealed their nation's doom. The care of 
God is over the weakest of his children. No act of cruelty or 
oppression toward them is unmarked by Heaven. Over all who 
love and fear him, his hand extends as a shield ; let men beware 
that they smite not that hand ; for it wields the sword of justice. 

Not far distant from where the Israelites were now encamped 
was the home of Jethro, the father-in-law of Moses. Jethro had 
heard of the deliverance of the Hebrews, and he now set out to 
visit them, and restore to Moses his wife and two sons. The great 
leader was informed by messengers of their approach, and he went 
out with joy to meet them, and, the first greetings over, conducted 
them to his tent. He had sent back his family when on his way 
to the perils of leading Israel from Egypt, but now he could again 
enjoy the relief and comfort of their society. To Jethro he re- 
counted the wonderful dealings of God with Israel, and the patri- 
arch rejoiced and blessed the Lord, and with Moses and the elders 
he united in offering sacrifice, and holding a solemn feast in com- 
memoration of God's mercy. 

As Jethro remained in the camp, he soon saw how heavy were 
the burdens that rested upon Moses. To maintain order and dis- 
cipline among that vast, ignorant, and untrained multitude was 
indeed a stupendous task. Moses was their recognized leader and 
magistrate, and not only the general interests and duties of the 

1 Deut. 25 : 17-19. 2 Ex. 17 : 16 (margin). 


people, but the controversies that arose among them, were re- 
ferred to him. He had permitted this, for it gave him an opportu- 
nity to instruct them; as he said, "I do make them know the 
statutes of God, and his laws." But Jethro remonstrated against 
this, saying, "This thing is too heavy forthee; thou art not able 
to perform it thyself alone." " Thou wilt surely wear away," and 
he counseled Moses to appoint proper persons as rulers of thou- 
sands, and others as rulers of hundreds, and others of tens. They 
should be " able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating cov- 
etousness." 1 These were to judge in all matters of minor conse- 
quence, while the most difficult and important cases should still 
be brought before Moses, who was to be to the people, said Jethro, 
"to God-ward, that thou mayest bring the causes unto God. And 
thou shaft teach them ordinances and laws, and shaft show them 
the way wherein they must walk, and the work that they must 
do." This counsel was accepted, and it not only brought relief to 
Moses, but resulted in establishing more perfect order among the 

The Lord had greatly honored Moses, and had Wrought won- 
ders by his hand ; but the- fact that he had been chosen to instruct 
others did not lead him to conclude that he himself needed no in- 
struction. The chosen leader of Israel listened gladly to the sug- 
gestions of the godly priest of Midian, and adopted his plan as a 
wise arrangement. 

From Rephidim, the people continued their journey, following 
the movement of the cloudy pillar. Their route had led across bar- 
ren plains, over steep ascents, and through rocky defiles. Often as 
they had traversed the sandy wastes, they had seen before them rug- 
ged mountains, like huge bulwarks, piled up directly across their 
course, and seeming to forbid all further progress. But as they 
approached, openings here and there appeared in the mountain 
wall, and beyond, another plain opened to view. Through one of 
these deep, gravelly passes they were now led. It was a grand 
and impressive scene. Between the rocky cliffs rising hundreds of 
feet on either side, flowed in a living tide, far as the eye could 
reach, the hosts of Israel with their flocks and herds. And now 
before them in solemn majesty Mount Sinai lifted its massive 
front. The cloudy pillar rested upon its summit, and the people 
spread their tents upon the plain beneath. Here was to be their 

1 Ex. is : 13-26. 



home for nearly a year. At night the pillar of fire assured them 
of the divine protection, and while they were locked in slumber, 
the bread of heaven fell gently upon the encampment. 

The dawn gilded the dark ridges of the mountains, and the 
sun's golden rays pierced the deep gorges, seeming to these weary 
travelers like beams of mercy from the throne of God. On every 
hand, vast, rugged heights seemed in their solitary grandeur to 
speak of eternal endurance and majesty. Here the mind was im- 
pressed with solemnity and awe. Man was made to feel his 
ignorance and weakness in the presence of Him who " weighed the 
mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance." ' Here Israel was 
to receive the most wonderful revelation ever made by God to 
men. Here the Lord had gathered his people that he might im- 
press upon them the sacredness of his requirements by declaring 
with his own voice his holy law. Great and radical changes were 
to be wrought in them ; for the degrading influences of servitude 
and a long-continued association with idolatry had left their mark 
upon habits and character. God was working to lift them to a 
higher moral level by giving them a knowledge of himself. 

Usa. 40 : 13. 



Soox alter the encampment at Sinai, Moses was called up into 
the mountain to meet with God. Alone he climbed the steep and 
rugged path, and drew near to the cloud that marked the place 
of Jehovah's presence. Israel was now to he taken into a close 
and peculiar relation to the Most High, — to be incorporated as a 
church and a nation under the government of God. The message 
to Moses for the people was, — 

" Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare 
you on eagles' wings, and brought you unto myself. Now there- 
fore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then 
ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people ; for all 
the earth is mine. And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, 
and a holy nation." 1 

Moses returned to the camp, and having summoned the elders 
of Israel, he repeated to them the divine message. Their answer 
was, " All that the Lord hath spoken we will do." Thus they 
entered into a solemn covenant with God, pledging themselves 
to accept him as their ruler, by which they became, in a special 
sense, the subjects of his authority. 

Again their leader ascended the mountain ; and the Lord said 
unto him, " Lo, I come unto thee in a thick cloud, that the peo- 
ple may hear when I speak with thee, and believe thee forever." 
When they met with difficulties in the way, they were disposed 
to murmur against Moses and Aaron, and accuse them of leading 
the hosts of Israel from Egypt to destroy them. The Lord would 
honor Moses before them, that they might lie led to confide in his 

God purposed to make the occasion of speaking his law a 

scene of awful grandeur, in keeping with its exalted character. 

The people were to be impressed that everything connected with 

the service of God must be regarded with the greatest reverence. 

x See Exodus 19. 



The Lord said to Moses, " Go unto the people, and sanctify them 
to-day and to-morrow, and let them wash their clothes, and 
be ready against the third day; for the third day the Lord will 
come down in the sight of all the people upon Mount Sinai." 
During these intervening days, all were to occupy the time in 
solemn preparation to appear before God. Their person and 
their clothing must be freed from impurity. And as Moses should 
point out their sins, they were to devote themselves to humilia- 
tion, fasting, and prayer, that their hearts might be cleansed from 

The preparations were made, according to the command ; and 
in obedience to a further injunction, Moses directed that a barrier 
be placed about the mount, that neither man nor beast might 
intrude upon the sacred precinct. If any ventured so much as 
to touch it, the penalty was instant death. 

On the morning of the third day, as the eyes of all the people 
were turned toward the mount, its summit was covered with a 
thick ck»ud, which grew more black and dense, sweeping down- 
ward until the entire mountain was wrapped in darkness and 
awful mystery. Then a sound as of a trumpet was heard, sum- 
moning the people to meet with God; and Moses led them forth 
to the base of the mountain. From the thick darkness flashed 
vivid lightnings, while peals of thunder echoed and re-echoed 
among the surrounding heights. " And Mount Sinai was alto- 
gether on a smoke, because the Lord descended upon it in fire; 
and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and 
the whole mount quaked greatly." " The glory of the Lord was 
like devouring fire on the top of the mount " in the sight of the 
assembled multitude. And " the voice of the trumpet sounded 
long, and waxed louder and louder." So terrible were the tokens 
of Jehovah's presence that the hosts of Israel shook with fear, and 
fell upon their faces before the Lord. Even Moses exclaimed, " I 
exceedingly fear and quake." ' 

And now the thunders ceased; the trumpet was no longer 
heard ; the earth was still. There was a period of solemn silence, 
and then the voice of God was heard. Speaking out of the thick 
darkness that enshrouded him, as he stood upon the mount, sur- 
rounded by a retinue of angels, the Lord made known his law. 
Moses, describing the scene, says: "The Lord came from Sinai, 

J Heb. 12 : 21. 


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. Yea, he loved the peo- 
ple ; all his saints are in thy hand ; and they Bat down at thy feet; 
every one shall receive of thy words." ' 

Jehovah revealed himself, not alone in the awful majesty of 
the judge and lawgiver, but as the compassionate guardian of his 
people: ' ; 1 am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out 
of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage." 2 He whom 
they had already known as their guide and deliverer, who had 
brought them forth from Egypt, making a way for them through 
the sea, and overthrowing Pharaoh and his hosts, who had thus 
shown himself to be above all the gods of Egypt — He it was who 
now spoke his law. 

The law was not spoken at this time exclusively for the ben- 
efit of the Hebrews. God honored them by making them the 
guardians and keepers of his law, but it was to be held as a sacred 
trust for the whole world. The precepts of the decalogue are 
adapted to all mankind, and they were given for the instruction 
and government of all. Ten precepts, brief, comprehensive, and 
authoritative, cover the duty of man to God and to his fellow- 
man ; and all based upon the great fundamental principle of love. 
"Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with 
all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; 
and thy neighbor as thyself." 3 In the ten commandments these 
principles are carried out in detail, and made applicable to the 
condition and circumstances of man. 

" Thou shalt have no other gods before me."* 

Jehovah, the eternal, self-existent, uncreated One, himself the 
source and sustainer of all, is alone entitled to supreme reverence 
and worship. Man is forbidden to give to any other object the 
first place in his affections or his service. Whatever we cherish 
that tends to lessen our love for God or to interfere with the 
Service due him. of that do we make a god. 

"Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any 
likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the 
earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou 
shalt not how down thyself to them, nor serve them. ' 

1 Dent. 33 : 2, 3. '-' Ex. 20 : 2. 

3 Luke 10 : 27; Deut 0:4. 5; Lev. 19: IS. ' Ex. 20 : 3-17 


The second commandment forbids the worship of the true 
God by images or similitudes. Many heathen nations claimed 
that their images were mere figures or symbols by which the De- 
ity was worshiped ; but God has declared such worship to be sin. 
The attempt to represent the Eternal One by material objects 
would lower man's conception of God. The mind, turned away 
from the infinite perfection of Jehovah, would be attracted to the 
creature rather than to the Creator. And as his conceptions of 
God were lowered, so would man become degraded. 

" I the Lord thy God am a jealous God." The close and sacred 
relation of God to his people is represented under the figure of 
marriage. Idolatry being spiritual adultery, the displeasure of 
God against it is fitly called jealousy. . 

" Visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto 
the third and fourth generation of them that hate me." It is in- 
evitable that children should suffer from the consequences of 
parental wrong-doing, but they are not punished for the parents' 
guilt, except as they participate in their sins. It is usually the 
case, however, that children walk in the steps of their parents. 
By inheritance and example the sons become partakers of the 
father's sin. Wrong tendencies, perverted appetites, and debased 
morals, as well as physical disease and degenerac}^ are trans- 
mitted as a legacy from father to son, to the third and fourth 
generation. This fearful truth should have a solemn power to 
restrain men from following a course of sin. 

" Showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and 
keep my commandments." In prohibiting the worship of false 
gods, the second commandment by implication enjoins the wor- 
ship of the true God. And to those who are faithful in his service, 
mercy is promised, not merely to the third and fourth generation 
as is the wrath threatened against those who hate him, but to 
thousands of generations. 

" Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain ; 
for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in 

This commandment not only prohibits false oaths and common 
swearing, but it forbids us to use the name of God in a light or 
careless manner, without regard to its awful significance. By the 
thoughtless mention of God in common conversation, by appeals 
to him in trivial matters, and by the frequent and thoughtless rep- 


etition of his name, we dishonor him. ''Holy and reverend is Ins 
name." 1 All should meditate upon his majesty, Ids purity and 
holiness, that the heart may be impressed with a sense of his ex- 
alted character; and his holy name should be uttered with rever- 
ence and solemnity. 

"Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. Six days shalt 
thou labor, and do all thy work ; hut the seventh day is the Sab- 
hath of the Lord thy God ; in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, 
nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maid- 
servant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates; 
for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all 
that in them is, and rested the seventh day; wherefore the Lord 
blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it." 

The Sabbath is not introduced as a new institution, but as hav- 
ing been founded at creation. It is to be remembered and ob- 
served as the memorial of the Creator's work. Pointing to God as 
the maker of the heavens and the earth, it distinguishes the true 
God from all false gods. All who keep the seventh day, signify by 
this act that they are worshipers of Jehovah. Thus the Sabbath 
is the sign of man's allegiance to God as long as there are any 
upon the earth to serve him. The fourth commandment is the 
only one of all the ten in which are found both the name and the 
title of the Lawgiver. It is the only one that shows by whose 
authority the law is given. Thus it contains the seal of God, af- 
fixed to his law as evidence of its authenticity and binding force. 

God has given men six days wherein to labor, and he requires 
that their own work be done in the six working days. Acts of 
necessity and mercy are permitted on the Sabbath, the sick and 
suffering are at all times to be cared for; but unnecessary labor is 
to be strictly avoided. " Turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, 
from doing thy pleasure on my holy day ; and call the Sabbath a 
delight, the holy of the Lord, honorable; and . . . honor him, not 
doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure." 2 Nor 
does the prohibition end here. " Not speaking thine own w r ords," 
says the prophet. Those who discuss business matters or lay plans 
on the Sabbath, are regarded by God as though engaged in the 
actual transaction of business. To keep the Sabbath holy, we 
should not even allow our minds to dwell upon things of a worldly 
character. And the commandment includes all within our gates. 

J Ps. Ill : 9. Msa. 58 : 13. 



The inmates of the house arc to lay aside their worldly business 
during the sacred hours. All should unite to honor God by will- 
ing service upon his holy day. 

" Honor thy father and thy mother ; that thy days may be 
long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee." 

Parents are entitled to a degree of love and respect which is 
due to no other person. God himself, who has placed upon them 
a responsibility for the souls committed to their charge, has or- 
dained that during the earlier years of life, parents shall stand in 
the place of God to their children. And he who rejects the rightful 
authority of his parents, is rejecting the authority of God. The 
fifth commandment requires children not only to yield respect, 
submission, and obedience to their jDarents, but also to give them 
love and tenderness, to lighten their cares, to guard their reputa- 
tion, and to succor and comfort them in old age. It also enjoins 
respect for ministers and rulers, and for all others to whom God 
has delegated authority. 

This, says the apostle, " is the first commandment with prom- 
ise." 1 To Israel, expecting soon to enter Canaan, it was a pledge 
to the obedient, of long life in that good land ; but it has a wider 
meaning, including all the Israel of God, and promising eternal 
life upon the earth when' it shall be freed from the curse of sin. 

" Thou shalt not kill." 

All acts of injustice that tend to shorten life; the spirit of 
hatred and revenge, or the indulgence of any passion that leads 
to injurious acts toward others, or causes us even to wish them 
harm (for " whoso hateth his brother is a murderer " ) ; a selfish 
neglect of caring for the needy or suffering; all self-indulgence or 
unnecessary deprivation or excessive labor that tends to injure 
health, — all these are, to a greater or less degree, violations of 
the sixth commandment. 

" Thou shalt not commit adultery." 

This commandment forbids not only acts of impurity, but sen- 
sual thoughts and desires, or any practice that tends to excite 
them. Purity is demanded not only in the outward life, but in 
the secret intents and emotions of the heart. Christ, who taught 
the far-reaching obligation of the law of God, declared the evil 
thought or look to be as truly sin as is the unlawful deed. 

" Thou shalt not steal." 

1 Eph. (i : 2. 2 1 John 3 : 15. 


Both public and private sins are included in this prohibition. 
The eighth commandment condemns man-stealing and slave-deal- 
ing, and forbids wars of conquest. It condemns tlieft and robbery. 
It demands strict integrity in the minutest details of the affairs 
of life. It forbids overreaching in trade, and requires the pay- 
ment of just debts or wages. It declares that every attempl to 
advantage one's self by the ignorance, weakness, or misfortune of 
another, is registered as fraud in the books ot* heaven. 

" Thou shalt not hear false witness against thy neighbor." 

False-speaking in any matter, every attempt or purpose to de- 
ceive our neighbor, is here included. An intention to deceive is 
what constitutes falsehood. By a glance of the eye, a motion of 
the hand, an expression of the countenance, a falsehood may be 
told as effectually as by words. All intentional overstatement, 
every hint or insinuation calculated to convey an erroneous or ex- 
aggerated impression, even the statement of facts in such a man- 
ner as to mislead, is falsehood. This precept forbids every effort 
to injure our neighbor's reputation by misrepresentation or evil 
surmising, by slander or tale-hearing. Even the intentional sup- 
pression of truth, by which injury may result to others, is a viola- 
tion of the ninth commandment. 

" Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's house, thou shalt not 
covet thy neighbor's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidserv- 
ant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor anything that is thy neighbor's." 

The tenth commandment strikes at the very root of all sins, 
prohibiting the selfish desire, from which springs the sinful act. He 
who in obedience to God's law refrains from indulging even a 
sinful desire for that which belongs to another, will not be guilty 
of an act of wrong toward his fellow-creatures. 

Such were the sacred precepts of the decalogue, spoken amid 
thunder and flame, and with a wonderful display of the power 
and majesty of the great Lawgiver. God accompanied the procla- 
mation of his law with exhibitions of his power and glory, that his 
people might never forget the scene, and that they might be 
impressed with profound veneration for the Author of the law, the 
Creator of heaven and earth. He would also show to all men the 
sacredness, the importance, and the permanence of Ins law. 

The people of Israel were overwhelmed with terror. The 
awful power of God's utterances seemed more than their trem- 
bling hearts could bear. For as God's great rule of right was 


presented before them, they realized as never before, the offensive 
character of sin, and their own guilt in the sight of a holy God. 
They shrank away from the mountain in fear and awe. The mul- 
titude cried out to Moses, " Speak thou with us, and Ave will hear ; 
but let not God speak with us, lest we die." 1 The leader an- 
swered, " Fear not ; for God is come to prove you, and that his 
fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not." The people, how- 
ever, remained at a distance, gazing in terror upon the scene, while 
Moses " drew near unto the thick darkness where God was." 

The minds of the people, blinded and debased by slavery and 
heathenism, were not prepared to appreciate fully the far-reaching 
principles of God's ten precepts. That the obligations of the dec- 
alogue might be more fully understood and enforced, additional 
precepts were given, illustrating and applying the principles of the 
ten commandments. These laws were called judgments, both be- 
cause they were framed in infinite wisdom and equity, and be- 
cause the magistrates were to give judgment according to them. 
Unlike the ten commandments, they were delivered privately to 
Moses, who was to communicate them to the people. 

The first of these laws related to servants. In ancient times, 
criminals were sometimes sold into slavery by the judges ; in some 
cases, debtors were sold by their creditors ; and poverty even led 
persons to sell themselves or their children. But a Hebrew could 
not be sold as a slave for life. His term of service was limited to 
six years ; on the seventh he was to be set at liberty. Mansteal- 
ing, deliberate murder, and rebellion against parental authority, 
were to be punished with death. The holding of slaves not of Is- 
raelitish birth was permitted, but their life and person were 
strictly guarded. The murderer of a slave was to be punished ; 
an injury inflicted upon one by his master, though no more than 
the loss of a tooth, entitled him to his freedom. 

The Israelites had lately been servants themselves, and now 
that they were to have servants under them, they were to beware 
of indulging the spirit of cruelty and exaction from which they 
had suffered under their Egyptian taskmasters. The memory of 
their own bitter servitude should enable them to put themselves 
in the servant's place, leading them to be kind and compassionate, 
to deal with others as they would wish to be dealt with. 

The rights of widows and orphans were specially guarded, and 
a tender regard for their helpless condition was enjoined. " If 

1 Ex. 20 : 19-21. 


thou afflict them in any wise," the Lord (Iceland, "and they cry 
at all unto me, I will surely hear their cry; and my wrath shall 
wax hot, and 1 will kill you with the sword ; and your wives shnll 
be widows, and your children fatherless." 1 Aliens who united 
themselves with Israel were to be protected from wrong or oppres- 
sion. ''Thou shalt not oppress a stranger ; for ye know the heart 
of a stranger, seeing ye were strangers in the land of Egypt." 2 

The taking of usury from the poor was forbidden. A poor 
man's raiment or blanket taken as a pledge, must be restored to 
him at nightfall. He who was guilty of theft was required to restore 
double. Respect for magistrates and rulers was enjoined, and judges 
were warned against perverting judgment, aiding a false cause, or 
receiving bribes. Calumny and slander were prohibited, and acts 
of kindness enjoined, even toward personal enemies. 

A.gain the people were reminded of the sacred obligation of the 
Sabbath. Yearly feasts were appointed, at which all the men of 
the nation were to assemble before the Lord, bringing to him their 
offerings of gratitude, and the first-fruits of his bounties. The 
object of all these regulations was stated: they proceeded from no 
exercise of mere arbitrary sovereignty ; all were given for the good 
of Israel. The Lord said, "Ye shall be holy men unto me," 3 — 
worthy to be acknowledged by a holy God. 

These laws were to be recorded by Moses, and carefully treas- 
ured as the foundation of the national law, and, with the ten 
precepts which they were given to illustrate, the condition of the 
fulfillment of God's promises to Israel. 

The message was now given them from Jehovah : " Behold, I 
send an Angel before thee, to keep thee in the way, and to bring 
thee into the place which I have prepared. Beware of him, and 
obey his voice, provoke him not; for he will not pardon your 
transgressions; for my name is in him. But if thou shalt indeed 
obey his voice, and do all that I speak, then I will be an enemy 
unto thine enemies, and an adversary unto thine adversaries." 4 
During .all the wanderings of Israel, Christ, in the pillar of cloud 
and of fire, was their leader. While there were types pointing to 
a Saviour to come, there was also a present Saviour, who gave com- 
mands to Moses for the people, and who was set forth before them 
as the only channel of blessing. 

Upon descending from the mountain, "Moses came and told 
the people all the words of the Lord, and all the judgments, and 

'Ex. 22 : 23, 24. 2 Ex. 23 : 9. 3 Ex. 22 : 31. *Ex. 23 : 20-22. 


all the people answered with one voice, and said, All the words 
which the Lord hath said will we do." l This pledge, together 
with the words of the Lord which it bound them to obey, was 
written by Moses in a book. 

Then followed the ratification of the covenant. An altar was 
built at the foot of the mountain, and beside it twelve pillars 
were set up, " according to the twelve tribes of Israel," as a testi- 
mony to their acceptance of the covenant. Sacrifices were then 
23resented by young men chosen for the service. 

Having sprinkled the altar with the blood of the offerings, 
Moses " took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience 
of the people." Thus the conditions of the covenant were sol- 
emnly repeated, and all were at liberty to choose whether or not 
they would comply with them. They had at the first })romised to 
obey the voice of God ; but they had since heard his law pro- 
claimed ; and its principles had been particularized, that they 
might know how much this covenant Involved. Again the people 
answered with one accord, " All that the Lord hath said will we 
do, and be obedient." " When Moses had spoken every precept to 
all the people according to the law, he took the blood, . . . and 
sprinkled both the book and all the people, saying, This is the 
blood of the testament which God hath enjoined unto you." 2 

Arrangements were now to be made for the full establishment 
of the chosen nation under Jehovah as their king. Moses had 
received the command, " Come up unto the Lord, thou, and Aaron, 
Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel ; and worship 
ye afar off. And Moses alone shall come near the Lord." While 
the people worshiped at its foot, these chosen men were called up 
into the mount. The seventy elders were to assist Moses in the 
government of Israel, and God put upon them his Spirit, and 
honored them with a view of his power and greatness. " And 
they saw the God of Israel ; and there was under his feet as it 
were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of 
heaven in his clearness. 5 ' They did not behold the Deity, but they 
saw the glory of his presence. Before this they could not have 
endured such a scene ; but the exhibition of God's power had awed 
them to repentance; they had been contemplating his glory, 
purity, and mercy, until they could approach nearer to Him who 
was the subject of their meditations. 

1 See Exodus 24. 2 Heb. 9 : 19, 20. 


Moses and " his minister Joshua " were now summoned t<> meet 
wich < rod. Ami as they were to he Borne time absent, the leader 

appointed A.aron and Hur, assisted by the elders, to net in his 
stead. •• And Moses went up into the mount, and a cloud covered 
the mount. And the glory of the Lord abode upon Mount Sinai. - ' 
For six days the cloud covered the mountain as a token of God'a 
special presence; yet there was no revelation of himself or com- 
munication of his will. During tins time, Moses remained in 
waiting tor a summons to the presence-chamber of the Most High. 
He had been directed, " Come up to me into the mount, and be 
there," and though his patience and obedience were tested, he did 
not grow weary of watching, or forsake his post. This period of 
waiting was to him a time of preparation, of close self-examination. 
Even this favored servant of God could not at once approach into 
his presence, and endure the exhibitions of his glory. Six day- 
must l>e employed in devoting himself to God by searching of 
heart, meditation and prayer, before he could he prepared for di- 
rect communion with his Maker. 

Upon the seventh day, which was the Sabbath, Moses was 
called up into the cloud. The thick cloud opened in the sight of 
all Israel, and the glory of the Lord broke forth like devouring 
fire. " And Moses went into the midst of the cloud, and gat him 
up into the mount. And Moses was in the mount forty days and 
forty nights." The forty days' tarry in the mount did not in- 
clude the six days of preparation. During the six days, Joshua 
was with Moses, and together they ate of the manna, and drank of 
"the brook that descended out of the mount." But Joshua did 
not enter with Moses into the cloud, lie remained without, and 
continued to eat and drink daily while awaiting the return of 
Moses; but Moses fa-ted during the entire forty day-. 

During his stay in the mount, Moses received directions for the 
building of a Banctuary in which the divine presence would be 
specially manifested. "Let them make me a sanctuary, that I 
may dwell among them," 1 was the command of God. For the 
third time the observance of the Sabbath was enjoined. "It is a 

i between me and the children of Israel forever," the Lord de- 
clared, •• that ye may know that I am Jehovah that doth sanctify 
you. Ye shall keep the Sabbath therefore; for it is holy unto 
you. . . . Whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall In- 
cut off from among his people." 2 Directions had just been given 

J Ex. 25 : 8. 2 Ex. 31 : 17, 13, 14. 


for the immediate erection of the tabernacle for the service of God ; 
and now the people might conclude, because the object had in view 
was the glory of God, and also because of their great need of a place 
of worship, that they would be justified in working at the building 
upon the Sabbath. To guard them from this error, the warning 
was given. Even the sacredness and urgency of that special work 
for God must not lead them to infringe upon his holy rest-day. 

Henceforth the people were to be honored with the abiding 
presence of their King. " I will dwell among the children of 
Israel, and will be their God," " and the tabernacle shall be 
sanctified by my glory," 1 was the assurance given to Moses. As 
the symbol of God's authority, and the embodiment of his will, 
there was delivered to Moses a copy of the decalogue engraved by 
the finger of God himself upon two tables of stone, 2 to be sacredly 
enshrined in the sanctuary, which, when made, was to be the vis- 
ible center of the nation's worship. 

From a race of slaves the Israelites had been exalted above 
all peoples, to be the peculiar treasure of the King of kings. God 
had separated them from the world, that he might commit to 
them a sacred trust. He had made them the depositaries of his 
law, and he purposed, through them, to preserve among men the 
knowledge of himself. Thus the light of heaven was to shine out 
to a world enshrouded in darkness, and a voice was to be heard 
appealing to all peoples to turn from their idolatry to serve the 
living God. If the Israelites would be true to their trust, they 
would become a power in the world. God would be their defense, 
and he would exalt them above all other nations. His light and 
truth would be revealed through them, and they would stand 
forth under his wise and holy rule as an example of the supe- 
riority of his worship over every form of idolatry. 

J Ex. 29 : 45, 43. 2 Deut. 9 : 10 ; Ex. 32 : 15, 16. 



While Moses was absent, it was a time of waiting and sus- 
pense to Israel. The people knew that he had ascended the 
mount with Joshua, and had entered the cloud of thick darkness 
which could be seen from the plain below, resting on the mount- 
ain peak, illuminated from time to time with the lightnings of 
the divine presence. They waited eagerly for his return. Ac- 
customed as they had been in Egypt to material representations 
of deity, it had been hard for them to trust in an invisible being, 
and they had come to rely upon Moses to sustain their faith. 
Now he was taken from them. Day after day, week after week, 
passed, and still he did not return. Notwithstanding the cloud 
was still in view, it seemed to many in the camp that their leader 
had deserted them, or that he had been consumed by the devour- 
ing fire. 

During this period of waiting, there was time for them to 
meditate upon the law of God which they had heard, and to pre- 
pare their hearts to receive the further revelations that he might 
make to them. They had none too much time for this work; 
and had they been thus seeking a clearer understanding of God's 
requirements, and humbling their hearts before him, they would 
have been shielded from temptation. But they did not do this, 
and they soon became careless, inattentive, and lawless. Espe- 
eially was this the case with the mixed multitude. They were 
impatient to be on their way to the land of promise, — the land 
flowing with milk and honey. It was only on condition of obedi- 
ence that the goodly land was promised them; but they had lost 
sight of this. There were some who suggested a return to Egypt, 
but whether forward to Canaan or backward to Egypt, the masses 
of the people were determined to wait no longer for Moses. 

Feeling their helplessness in the absence of their leader, they 
returned to their old superstitions. The " mixed multitude " had 



been the first to indulge murmuring and impatience, and they 
were the leaders in the apostasy that followed. Among the objects 
regarded by the Egyptians as symbols of deity, was the ox or 
calf; and it was at the suggestion of those who had practiced this 
form of idolatry in Egypt, that a calf was now made and worshiped. 
The people desired some image to represent God, and to go before 
them in the place of Moses. God had given no maimer of simili- 
tude of himself, and he had prohibited any material representation 
for such a purpose. The mighty miracles in Egypt and at the 
Red Sea were designed to establish faith in him as the invisible, 
all-powerful Helper of Israel, the only true God. And the desire 
for some visible manifestation of his presence had been granted in 
the pillar of cloud and of fire that guided their hosts, and in the 
revealing of his glory upon Mount Sinai. But with the cloud of 
the Presence still before them, they turned back in their hearts to 
the idolatry of Egypt, and represented the glory of the invisible 
God by the similitude of an ox ! l 

In the absence of Moses, the judicial authority had been 
delegated to Aaron, and a vast crowd gathered about his tent, 
with the demand, "Make us gods, which shall go before us; for 
as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of 
Egypt, we wot not what is become of him." 2 The cloud, they 
said, that had heretofore led them, now rested permanently upon 
the mount; it would no longer direct their travels. They must 
have an image in its place ; and if, as had been suggested, they 
should decide to return to Egypt, they would find favor with the 
Egyptians by bearing this image before them, and acknowledging 
it as their god. 

Such a crisis demanded a man of firmness, decision, and 
unflinching courage; one who held the honor of God above 
popular favor, personal safety, or life itself. But the present 
leader of Israel was not of this character. Aaron feebly remon- 
strated with the people, but his wavering and timidity at the 
critical moment only rendered them the more determined. The 
tumult increased. A blind, unreasoning frenzy seemed to take 
possession of the multitude. There were some who remained true 
to their covenant with God ; but the greater part of the people 
joined in the apostasy. A few who ventured to denounce the 
proposed image-making as idolatry, were set upon and roughly 
1 See Exodus 32. 2 See Appendix, Note 7. 


treated, and in the confusion and excitement they finally lost 
their life. 

Aaron feared for Ids own safety ; and instead of nobly standing 

ii]» lor the honor of God, he yielded to the demands (il'the multi- 
tude. Hi- firsl act was to direct that the golden earrings lie 
collected from all the people and brought to him, hoping that 
pride would lead them to refuse such a sacrifice. But they 
willingly yielded up their ornaments ; and from these he made a 
molten calf, in imitation of the gods of Egypt. The people pro- 
claimed. "These be thy gods, Israel, which brought thee up oul 
of the land of Egypt." And Aaron basely permitted this insult to 
Jehovah, lie did more. Seeing with what satisfaction the golden 
god was received, he built an altar before it, ami made proclama- 
tion, "To-morrow is a feast to the Lord." The announcement was 
heralded by trumpeters from company to company throughout the 
camp. ''And they rose up early on the morrow, and offered 
burnt-offerings, and brought peace-offerings; and the people sat 
down to eat and to drink, and rose np to play." Under the pretense 
of holding "a feast to the Lord," they gave themselves up to 
gluttony and licentious reveling. 

How often, in our own day, is the iove of pleasure disguised by 
a "form of godliness " ! A religion that permits men, while ob- 
Berving the rites of worship, to devote themselves to selfish or 

sual gratification, is as pleasing to the multitudes now as in the 
days of Israel. And there are still pliant Aarons, who. while 
holding positions of authority in the church, will yield to the 
desires of the unconsecrated, and thus encourage them in sin. 

Only a few flays had passed since the Ilehrews had made a 
solemn covenant with God to obey his voice. They had stood 
trembling with terror before the mount, listening to the words of 
the Lord. "Thou shalt have no other gods before me.'' The glory 
of God still hovered above Sinai in the sight of the congregation j 
but they turned away, and asked for other gods. •"They made a 
calf in Horeb, and worshiped the molten image. Thus they 
changed their glory into the similitude of an ox." 1 How could 
greater ingratitude have been shown, or more daring insult offered, 
to Him who had revealed himself to them as a tender father and 
an all-powerful king ! 

Moses in the mount was warned of the apostasy in the camp. 

1 Ps. 106 : 19, 20. 


and was directed to return without delay. " Go, get thee down," 
were the words of God ; " thy people, which thou hroughtest out 
of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves. They have 
turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them. 
They have made them a molten calf, and have worshiped it." 
God might have checked the movement at the outset; but he 
suffered it to come to this height, that he might teach all a lesson 
in his punishment of treason and apostasy. 

God's covenant with his people had been disannulled, and he 
declared to Moses, " Let me alone, that my wrath may wax hot 
against them, and that I may consume them ; and I will make of 
thee a great nation." The people of Israel, especially the mixed 
multitude, would be constantly disposed to rebel against God. 
They would also murmur against their leader, and would grieve 
him by their unbelief and stubbornness, and it would be a labori- 
ous and soul-trying work to lead them through to the promised 
land". Their sins had already forfeited the favor of God, and 
justice called for their destruction. The Lord therefore proposed 
to destroy them, and make of Moses a mighty nation. 

" Let me alone, that I may consume them," were the words of 
God. If God had purposed to destroy Israel, who could plead for 
them ? How few but would have left the sinners to their fate I 
How few but would have gladly exchanged a lot of toil and 
burden and sacrifice, repaid with ingratitude and murmuring, for 
a position of ease and honor, when it was God himself that offered 
the release. 

But Moses discerned ground for hope where there appeared 
only discouragement and wrath. The words of Go'd, " Let me 
alone," he understood not to forbid but to encourage intercession, 
implying that nothing but the prayers of Moses could save Israel, 
but that if thus entreated, God would spare his people. He 
"besought the Lord his God, and said, Lord, why doth thy wrath 
wax hot against thy people, which thou hast brought forth out of 
the land of Egypt with great power, and with a mighty hand ? " 

God had signified that he disowned his people. He had 
spoken of them to Moses as " thy people, which thou hroughtest 
out of Egypt," But Moses humbly disclaimed the leadership of 
Israel. They were not his, but God's, — " thy people, which thou 
hast brought forth . . . with great power, and with a mighty 
hand. Wherefore," he urged, " should the Egyptians speak, and 

ID OLA TR 7 A T 8 1 X. 1 /. •' 119 

say. For mischief did he bring them out, to slay them in the 

mountains, and to consume them from the tacc of the earth ? " 

During the few months since Israel left Egypt,. the report of 
their wonderful deliverance had Bpread to all the surrounding 
nations. Fear and terrible foreboding rested upon the heathen. 
All were watching to see what the God of Israel would do for liis 
people. Should they now be destroyed, their enemies would 
triumph, and God would he dishonored. The Egyptians would 
claim that their accusations were true, — instead of leading his 
people into the wilderness to sacrifice, he had caused them to be 
sacrificed. They would not consider the sins of Israel; the de- 
struction of the people whom he had so signally honored, would 
bring reproach upon his name. How great the responsibility 
resting upon those whom God has highly honored, to make his 
name a praise in the earth ! With what care should they guard 
against committing sin, to call down his judgments, and cause his 
name to be reproached by the ungodly ! 

As Moses interceded for Israel, his timidity was lost in his deep 
interest and love for those for whom he had, in the hands of God, 
been the means of doing so much. The Lord listened to his 
pleadings, and granted his unselfish prayer. God had proved his 
servant ; he had tested his faithfulness, and his love for that err- 
ing, ungrateful people, and nobly had Moses endured the trial. 
His interest in Israel sprung from no selfish motive. The pros- 
perity of God's chosen people was dearer to him than personal 
honor, dearer than the privilege of becoming the father of a 
mighty nation. God was pleased with his faithfulness, his sim- 
plicity of heart, and his integrity, and he committed to him, as a 
faithful shepherd, the great charge of leading Israel to the prom- 
ised land. 

As Moses and Joshua came down from the mount, the former 
bearing the " tables of the testimony," they heard the shouts and 
outcries of tin' excited multitude, evidently in a state of wild up- 
roar. To Joshua the soldier, the first thought was of an attack 
from their enemies. "There is a noise of war in the camp," he 
said. But Moses judged more truly the nature of the commotion. 
The sound was not that of combat, but of revelry. " It is not the 
voice of them that shout for mastery, neither is it the voice of them 
that cry for being overcome; but the noise of them that sing do 
1 hear." 


As they drew near the encampment, they beheld the people 
shouting and dancing around their idol. It was a scene of heathen 
riot, an imitation of the idolatrous feasts of Egypt ; but how unlike 
the solemn and reverent worship of God ! Moses was overwhelmed. 
He had just come from the presence of God's glory, and though he 
had been warned of what was taking place, he was unprepared for 
that dreadful exhibition of the degradation of Israel. His anger 
was hot. To show his abhorrence of their crime, he threw down 
the tables of stone, and they were broken in the sight of all the 
people, thus signifying that as they had broken their covenant 
with God, so God had broken his covenant with them. 

Entering the camp, Moses passed through the crowds of rev- 
elers, and seizing upon the idol, cast it into the fire. He afterward 
ground it to powder, and having strewed it upon the stream that 
descended from the mount, he made the people drink of it. Thus 
was shown the utter worthlessness of the god which they had been 

The great leader summoned his guilty brother, and sternly de- 
manded, " "What did this people unto thee, that thou hast brought 
so great a sin upon them ? " Aaron endeavored to shield himself 
by relating the clamors of the people ; that if he had not complied 
with their wishes, he would have been put to death. " Let not the 
anger of my lord wax hot," he said ; " thou knowest the people, 
that they are set on mischief. For they said unto me, Make us 
gods, which shall go before us ; for as for this Moses, the man that 
brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become 
of him. And I said unto them, Whosoever hath any gold, let them 
break it off. So they gave it me ; then I cast it into the fire, and 
there came out this calf." He would lead Moses to believe that a 
miracle had been wrought, — that the gold had been cast into the 
fire, and by supernatural power changed to a calf. But his excuses 
and prevarications were of no avail. He was justly dealt with as 
the chief offender. 

The fact that Aaron had been blessed and honored so far above 
the people was what made his sin so heinous. It was Aaron 
"the saint of the Lord," 1 that had made the idol and announced 
the feast. It was lie who had been appointed as spokesman for 
Moses, and concerning whom God himself had testified, " I know 
that he can speak well," 2 that had failed to check the idolaters 

'Ps. 106 : 16. 2 Ex. 4 : 14. 



in their heaven-daring purpose. He by whom God had wrought 
in bringing judgments both upon the Egyptians and upon their 
gods, had heard unmoved the proclamation before the molten 
image, "These be thy gods, <) Israel, which brought thee up oul 
of the land ot' Egypt." It was he who had been with Moses on 
the mount, and had there beheld the glory of the Lord, who had 
seen that in the manifestation of that glory there was nothing of 
which an image could he made, — it was he who had changed 
that glory into the similitude of an ox. lie to whom God had 
committed the government of the people in the absence of .Moses, 
was found sanctioning their rebellion. "The Lord was very angry 
with Aaron to have destroyed him." 1 But in answer to the earnest 
intercession of Moses, his life was spared; and in penitence and 
humiliation for his great sin, lie was restored to the favor of God. 

If Aaron had had courage to stand for the right, irrespective 
of consequences, he could have prevented that apostasy. If he 
had unswervingly maintained his own allegiance to God, if he 
had cited the people to the perils of Sinai, and had reminded 
them of their solemn covenant with God to ohey his law. the 
evil would have heen checked. But his compliance with the 
desires of the people, and the calm assurance with which he 
proceeded to carry out their plans, emboldened them to go to 
greater lengths in sin than had before entered their minds. 

When Moses, on returning to the cam]), confronted the rebels, 
his severe rebukes and the indignation he displayed in breaking 
the sacred tables of the law, were contrasted by the j)eople with 
his brother's pleasant speech and dignified demeanor, and their 
sympathies were with Aaron. To justify himself, Aaron endeav- 
ored to make the people responsible for his weakness in yielding 
to their demand; but notwithstanding this, they were filled with 
admiration of his gentleness and patience. But God seeth not as 
man sees. Aaron's yielding spirit and his desire to please, had 
blinded his eyes to the enormity of the crime he was sanctioning. 
His course in giving his influence to sin in Israel, cost the life of 
thousands. In what contrast with this was the course of Moses, 
who, while faithfully executing God's judgments, showed that the 
welfare of Israel was dearer to him than prosperity or honor or life. 

Of all the sins that God will punish, none are more grievous in 
his sight than those that encourage others to do evil. God would 

1 Dout. 9 : '20. 2i 


have his servants prove their loyalty by faithfully rebuking trans- 
gression, however painful the act may be. Those who are honored 
with a divine commission, are not to be weak, pliant time-servers. 
They are not to aim at self-exaltation, or to shun disagreeable 
duties, but to perform God's work with unswerving fidelity. 

Though God had granted the prayer of Moses in sparing Israel 
from destruction, their apostasy was to be signally punished. The 
lawlessness and insubordination into which Aaron had permitted 
them to foil, if not speedily crushed, would run riot in wickedness, 
and would involve the nation in irretrievable ruin. By terrible 
severity the evil must be put away. Standing in the gate of the 
camp, Moses called to the people, " Who is on the Lord's side? let 
him come unto me." Those who had not joined in the apostasy 
were to take their position at the right of Moses; those who were 
guilty but repentant, at the left. The command was obeyed. It 
was found that the tribe of Levi had taken no part in the idolatrous 
worship. From among otber tribes there were great numbers who, 
although they had sinned, now signified their repentance. But a 
large company, mostly of the mixed multitude that instigated the 
making of the calf, stubbornly persisted in their rebellion. In the 
name of " the Lord God of Israel," Moses now commanded those 
upon his right hand, who had kept themselves clear of idolatry; 
to gird on their swords, and slay all who persisted in rebellion. 
"And there fell of the people that day about three thousand men.'' 
Without regard to position, kindred, or friendship, the ringleaders 
in wickedness were cut off; but all who repented and humbled 
themselves were spared. 

Those who performed this terrible work of judgment were 
acting by divine authority, executing the sentence of the King of 
heaven. Men are to beware how they, in their human blindness, 
judge and condemn their fellow-men; but when God commands 
them to execute his sentence upon iniquity, he is to be obeyed. 
Those who performed this painful act, thus manifested their abhor- 
rence of rebellion and idolatry, and consecrated themselves more 
fully to the service of the true God. The Lord honored their faith- 
fulness by bestowing special distinction upon the tribe of Levi. 

The Israelites had been guilty of treason, and that against a 
King who had loaded them with benefits, and whose authority 
they had voluntarily pledged themselves to obey. That the divine 
government might be maintained justice must be visited upon the 

IDOLA Tli 7 A T 8INA I. 325 

traitors. Yet even here God's mercy was displayed. While he 
maintained his law, he granted freedom of choice, and opportunity 
for repentance to all. Only those were cut off who persisted in 

It was necessary that this sin should be punished, as a testi- 
mony to surrounding nations of God's displeasure against idolatry. 
By executing justice upon the guilty, Moses, as God's instrument, 
must leave on record a solemn and public protest againsi their 
crime. As the Israelites should hereafter condemn the idolatry 
Of the neighboring tribes, their enemies would throw hack upon 
them the charge that the people who claimed Jehovah as their 
God had made a calf and worshiped it in Horeb. Then though 
.(impelled to acknowledge the disgraceful truth, Israel could 
point to the terrible fate of the transgressors, as evidence that 
their sin had not been sanctioned or excused. 

Love no less than justice demanded that for this sin, judgment 
should be inflicted. God is the guardian as well as the sovereign 
of his people. He cuts off those who are determined upon re- 
hellion, that they may not lead others to ruin. In sparing the 
life of Cain. God had demonstrated to the universe what would be 
the result of permitting sin to go unpunished. The influence ex- 
erted upon his descendants by his life and teaching led to the state 
of corruption that demanded the destruction of the whole world 
by a flood. The history of the antediluvians testifies that long 
life is not a blessing to the sinner: God's great forbearance did 
not repress their wickedness. The longer men lived, the more 
corrupt they became. 

•So with the apostasy at Sinai. Unless punishment had been 
speedily visited upon transgression, the same results would again 
have been seen. The earth would have become as corrupt as in 
the days of Noah. Had these transgressors been spared, evils 
would have followed, greater than resulted from sparing the life 
of Cain. It was the mercy of God that thousands should suffer, 
to prevent the necessity of visiting judgments upon millions. In 
order to save the many, he must punish the few. Furthermore, 
as the people had cast oil' their allegiance to God, they had for- 
feited the divine protection, and, deprived of their defense, the 
whole nation was exposed to the power of their enemies. Had 
not the evil been promptly put away, they would soon have 
fallen a prey to their numerous and powerful foes. It was nei 


sary for the good of Israel, and also as a lesson to all succeeding 
generations, that crime should he promptly punished. Ami it was 
no less a merer to the sinners themselves that they should be rut 
short in their evil course. Had their life been spared, the same 
spirit that led them to rebel against God would have been mani- 
fested in hatred and strife among themselves, and they would 
eventually have destroyed one another. It was in love to the 
world, in love to Israel, and even to the transgressors, that crime 
was punished with swift and terrible severity. 

A- the people were roused to see the enormity of their guilt, 
terror pervaded the entire encampment. It was feared that every 
offender was to he cut off. Pitying their distress. Moses promised 
to plead once more with God for them. 

" Ye have sinned a great sin." he said, "and now I will go up 
unto the Lord: peradventure I shall make an atonement for your 
sin." He went, and in his confession before God he said. " 0, this 
people have sinned a great sin. and have made them gods of gold. 
Yet now if thou wilt forgive their sin — ; and if not, blot me, I 
pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written." The answer 
was. " Whosoever hath sinned against me. him will I blot out ot 
my book. Therefore now go, lead the people unto the place of 
which I have spoken unto thee. Behold, mine Angel shall go 
before thee: nevertheless in the day when I visit I will visit 
their sin upon them." 

In the prayer ot' Moses, our minds are directed to the heavenly 
records, in which the names of all men are inscribed, and their 
deeds, whether good or evil, are faithfully registered. The book 
of life contains the names ot all who have ever entered the service 
of God. If any ot these depart from him. and by stubborn per- 
sistence in sin become finally hardened against the influences ot' 
his Holy Spirit, their names will in the Judgment be blotted from 
the book of life, and they themselves will he devoted to destruc- 
tion. Moses realized how dreadful would be the fate of the sin- 
ner; yet if the people of Israel v.- ere to be rejected by the Lord, 
he desired his name to be blotted out with theirs: he could not 
endure to sec the judgments ot' God fall upon those who had been 
- graciously delivered. The intercession of Moses in behalf of 
Israel illustrates the mediation of Christ for sinful men. But the 
Lord did not permit Moses to bear, as did Christ, the guilt of the 


transgressor. "Whosoever hath Binned against me," he Baid, 
"him will I blot «>ut of my book." 

In deep sadness the people had buried their dead. Thi 
thousand had fallen by the sword; a plague had Boon after 
broken out in the encampment; and now the message came to 
them that the divine presence would no longer accompany them 
in their journeyinga Jehovah had declared, '"I will not go up 
in the midstofthee; for thou art a stiff-necked people: lest I 
consume thee in the way."" And the command was given, " Put 
off thy ornaments from thee, that I may know what to do unto 
thee." 1 Now there was mourning throughout the encampment. 
In penitence and humiliation, "the children of Israel stripped 
themselves of their ornaments by the mount Horeb." 

By the divine direction, the tent that had served as a tempo- 
rary place of worship was removed "alar off from the camp." 
This was -till further evidence that God had withdrawn his pres- 
ence from them. He would reveal himself to Moses, but not to 
such a people. The rebuke was keenly felt, and to the conscience- 
smitten multitudes it seemed a foreboding of greater calamity. 
Had not the Lord separated Moses from the camp that he might 
utterly destroy them? But they were not left without hope. Tin- 
tent was pitched without the encampment, but Moses called it "the 
tabernacle of the congregation." All who were truly penitent, 
ami desired to return to the Lord, were directed to repair thither 
to confess their sin- ami seek his mercy. When they returned to 
their tint-. Moses entered the tabernacle. With agonizing inter 
the people watched for some token that his intercessions in their 
behalf were accepted. If God should condescend to meet with 
him, they might hope that they were not to be utterly consumed. 
When the cloudy pillar descended, and stood at the entrance oi 
the tabernacle, the people wept for joy. and they "rose up and 
worshiped, every man in his tent door." 

Moses knew well the perversity and blindness ot those wh( 
were placed under his care: he knew the difficulties with which 
he must contend. But he had learned, that in order to prevail 
with the people, he must have help from God. He pleaded for a 
clearer revelation of God's will, and for an assurance of his pi - 
ence: " See, thou sayest unto me, Bring up this people: and thou 
hast not let me know whom thou wilt send with me Yet thou 

1 See Exodus 33. 


hast said, I know thee by name, and thou hast also found grace in 
my sight. Now therefore, I pray thee, if I have found grace in 
thy sight, show me now thy way, that I may know thee, that I 
may find grace in thy sight ; and consider that this nation is thy 

The answer was, " My presence shall go Avith thee, and I 
will give thee rest." But Moses was not yet satisfied. There 
pressed upon his soul a sense of the terrible results should 
God leave Israel to hardness and impenitence. He could not 
endure that his interests should be separated from those of 
his brethren, and he prayed that the favor of God might be re- 
stored to his people, and that the token of his presence might 
continue to direct their journey ings: " If thy presence go not with 
me, carry us not up hence. For wherein shall it be known here 
that I and thy people have found grace in thy sight ? Is it not 
in that thou goest with us ? So shall we be separated, I and thy 
people, from all the people that are upon the face of the earth." 

And the Lord said, " I will do this thing also that thou hast 
spoken ; for thou hast found grace in my sight, and I know thee 
by name." Still the prophet did not cease pleading. Every 
prayer had been answered, but he thirsted for greater tokens of 
God's favor. He now made a request that no human 1 icing had 
ever made before : " I beseech thee, show me thy glory." 

God did not rebuke his request as presumptuous ; but the 
gracious words were spoken, " I will make all my goodness pass 
before thee." The unvailed glory of God, no man in this mortal 
state can look upon and live; but Moses was assured that he 
should behold as much of the divine glory as he could endure. 
Again he was summoned to the mountain summit ; then the hand 
that made the world, that hand that " removeth the mountains. 
and they know not," l took this creature of the dust, this mighty 
man of faith, and placed him in a cleft of the rock, while the glory 
of God and all his goodness passed before him. 

This experience — above all else the promise that the divine 
presence would attend him — was to Moses an assurance of success 
in the work before him; and he counted it of infinitely greater 
worth than all the learning of Egypt, or all his attainments as a 
statesman or a military leader. No earthly power or skill or 
learning can supply the place of God's abiding presence. 

iJob '.) : 5. 

[I>o LA THY AT SIX AT. 329 

To the transgressor it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of 
the living God; but Moses stood alone in the presence of the 
Eternal Our. and he was not afraid; for his soul was in harmony 
with the will of his Maker. Says the psalmist, "If I regard 
iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me." 1 But "the 
secret of the Lord is with them that fear him, ami he will show 
them his covenant." 8 

The Deity proclaimed himself, "The Lord, The Lord God, mer- 
ciful and gracious, long-sufTering, and abundant in goodness and 
truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and trans- 
gression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty.'" 

•• Moses made haste, and bowed his head toward the earth, and 
worshiped." Again he entreated that God would pardon the 
Iniquity of his people, and take them for his inheritance. Llis 
prayer was granted. The Lord graciously promised to renew his 
favor to Israel, and in their behalf to do marvels such as had not 
been done "in all the earth, nor in any nation." 

Forty days and nights, Moses remained in the mount; and 
luring all this time, as at the first, he was miraculously sustained. 
No man had been permitted to go up with him, nor during the 
time of his absence were any to approach the mount. At God's 
command he had prepared two tables of stone, and had taken 
them with him to the summit; and again the Lord "wrote upon 
r ,he tables the words of the covenant, the ten commandments." ' 

During that long time spent in communion with God, the face 
if Moses had reflected the glory of the divine presence j unknown 
f o himself, his face shone with a dazzling light when he descended 
from the mountain. Such a light illumined the countenance of 
Stephen when brought before his judges; "and all that sat in the 
council, looking steadfastly on him, saw his face as it had been the 
face of an angel." 5 Aaron as well as the people shrunk away from 
Moses, and "they were afraid to come nigh him." Seeing their 
confusion and terror, hut ignorant of the cause, he urged them to 
come near. He held out to them the pledge of God's reconcilia- 
tion, and assured them of his restored favor. They perceived in 
his voice nothing hut love and entreaty, and at last one ventured 
to approach him. Too awed to speak, he silently pointed to the 
countenance of Moses, and then toward heaven. The greal leadev 
l Ps. 60 : 18. ; Pb. 35 . 14. "See Exodus 34. 

4 s<t Appendix, Note S. B Acta 6 : 15. 


understood his meaning. In their conscious guilt, feeling them- 
selves still under the divine displeasure, they could not endure 
the heavenly light, which, had they been obedient to God, would 
have filled them with joy. There is fear in guilt. The soul that 
is free from sin will not wish to hide from the light of heaven. 

Moses had much to communicate to them; and compassionat- 
ing their fear, he put a vail upon his face, and continued to do 
so thereafter whenever he returned to the camp from communion 
with God. 

By this brightness, God designed to impress upon Israel the 
sacred, exalted character of his law, and the glory of the gospel 
revealed through Christ. While Moses was in the mount, God 
presented to him, not only the tables of the law, but also the plan 
of salvation. He saw that the sacrifice of Christ Avas prefigured 
by all the types and symbols of the Jewish age; and it was the 
heavenly light streaming from Calvary, no less than the glory of 
the law of God, that shed such a radiance upon the face of Moses. 
That divine illumination symbolized the glory of the dispensation 
of which Moses was the visible mediator, a representative of the 
one true Intercessor. 

The glory reflected in the countenance of Moses illustrates 
the blessings to be received by God's commandment-keeping 
people through the mediation of Christ. It testifies that the 
closer our communion with God, and the clearer our knowledge 
of his requirements, the more fully shall we be conformed to the 
divine image, and the more readily do we become partakers of 
the divine nature. 

Moses was a type of Christ. As Israel's intercessor vailed 
his countenance, because the people could not endure to look upon 
its glory, so Christ, the divine Mediator, vailed his divinity with 
humanity when he came to earth. Had he come clothed with the 
brightness of heaven, he could not have found access to men in 
their sinful state. They could not have endured the glory of 
his* presence. Therefore he humbled himself, and was made " in 
the likeness of sinful flesh," ' that he might reach the fallen race, 
and lift them up. 

1 Rom. 8 : 3. 



The very first effort of Satan to overthrow God's law, — under- 
taken among the sinless inhabitants of heaven, — seemed for a 
time to be crowned with success. A vast number of the angels 
were seduced; but Satan's apparent triumph resulted in defeat 
and loss, separation from God, and banishment from heaven. 

When the conflict was renewed upon the earth, Satan again won 
a seeming advantage. By transgression, man became his captive, 
and man's kingdom also was betrayed into the hands of the arch- 
rebel. Now the way seemed open for "Satan to establish an inde- 
pendent kingdom, and to defy the authority of God and Ins Son. 
But the plan of salvation made it possihle for man again to be 
brought into harmony with God, and to render obedience to his 
law. and tor both man and the earth to he finally redeemed from 
the power of the wicked one. 

Again Satan was defeated, and again he resorted to deception, 
in the hope of converting his defeat into a victory. To stir up 
rebellion in the fallen race, he now represented God as unjust in 
having permitted man to transgress his law. " Why, " said the 
artful tempter, "when God knew what would he the result, did 
he permit man to he placed on trial, to sin, and bring in misery 
and death ? " And the children of Adam, forgetful ofthe long-suffer- 
ing mercy that had granted man another trial, regardless of the 
amazing, the awful sacrifice which his rebellion had cost the King 
of heaven, gave ear to the tempter, and murmured against the 
only being who could save them from the destructive power of 

There are thousands to-day echoing the same rebellious com- 
plaint against God. They do not see that to deprive man of the 
freedom of choice would he to rob him of his prerogative as an 
intelligent being, and make him a mere automaton. It is not 
(lod's purpose to coerce the will. Man was created a free moral 



agent. LiKe the inhabitants of all other worlds, he must be sub- 
jected to the test of obedience; but he is never brought into such 
a position that yielding to evil becomes a matter of necessity. No 
temptation or trial is permitted to come to him which he is un- 
able to resist. God made such ample provision that man need 
never have been defeated in the conflict with Satan. 

As men increased upon the earth, almost the whole world 
joined the ranks of rebellion. Once more Satan seemed to have 
gained the victory. But omnipotent power again cut short the 
working of iniquity, and the earth was cleansed by the flood from 
its moral pollution. 

Says the prophet, "When thy judgments are in the earth, the 
inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness. Let favor be 
showed to the wicked, yet will he not learn righteousness, . . . 
and will not behold the majesty of Jehovah." 1 Thus it was after 
the flood. Released from his judgments, the inhabitants of the 
earth again rebelled against the Lord. Twice God's covenant and 
his statutes had been rejected by the world. Both the people 
before the flood and the descendants of Noah cast off the divine 
authority. Then God entered into covenant with Abraham, and 
took to himself a people to become the depositaries of his law. 
To seduce and destroy this people, Satan began at once to lay his 
snares. The children of Jacob were tempted to contract mar- 
riages with the heathen ami to worship their idols. But Joseph 
was faithful to God, and his fidelity was a constant testimony 
to the true faith. It was to quench this light that Satan worked 
through the envy of Joseph's brothers to cause him to be sold as a 
slave in a heathen land. God overruled events, however, so that 
the knowledge of himself should be given to the people of Egypt. 
Both in the house of Potiphar and in the prison, Joseph received 
an education and training that, with the fear of God, prepared him 
for his high position as prime minister of the nation. From the 
palace of the Pharaohs his influence was felt throughout the land. 
and the knowledge of God spread far and wide. The Israelites 
in Egypt also became prosperous and wealthy, and such as were 
true to God exerted a wide-spread influence. The idolatrous 
priests were filled with alarm as they saw the new religion finding 
favor. Inspired by Satan with his own enmity toward the God of 
heaven, they set themselves to quench the light. To the priests 

1 Isa. 26 : f>, 10. 


was committed the education of the heir to the throne, and it was 
this spirit of determined opposition t<> God and zeal for idolatry 
that moulded the character of the future monarch, and Led to 
cruelty and oppression toward the Hebrews. 

During the forty years after the flight of .Moses from Egypt, 
idolatry seemed t<» have conquered, Year by year the hopes of 
the Israelites grew fainter. Doth king and people exulted in their 
power, and mocked the God of Israel. This spirit grew until it 
culminated in the Pharaoh who was confronted by Moses. When 
the Hebrew leader came before the king with a message from 
"Jehovah, God of Israel," it was not ignorance of the true God, 
but defiance of his power, that prompted the answer, "Who is 
Jehovah, that I should obey his voice? ... I know not Jehovah." 
From first to last, Pharaoh's opposition to the divine command 
was not the result of ignorance, hut of hatred and defiance. 

Though the Egyptians had so long rejected the knowledge of 
' rod, the Lord still gave them opportunity for repentance. In the 
days of Joseph, Egypt had Keen an asylum for Israel ; God had 
been honored in the kindness shown his people; and now the 
Long-suffering One, slow to anger, and full of compassion, gave 
each judgment time to do its work ; the Egyptians, cursed through 
the very objects they had worshiped,' had evidence of the power 
-if Jehovah, and all who would, might submit to God and escape 
his judgments. The bigotry and stubbornness of the king resulted 
in spreading the knowledge of God, and bringing many of the 
Egyptians to give themselves to his service. 

It was because the Israelites were so disposed to connect them- 
selves with the heathen and imitate their idolatry that God had 
permitted them to go down into Egypt, where the influence of 
Joseph was widely felt, and where circumstances were favorable 
for them to remain a distinct people. Here also the gross idola- 
try of the Egyptians and their cruelty and oppression during the 
latter part of the Hebrew sojourn, should have inspired in them an 
abhorrence of idolatry, and should have led them to lice for refuge 
to the God of their fathers. This very providence Satan made a 
means to serve his purpose, darkening the minds of the Israelites, 
and leading them to imitate the practices of their heathen masters. 
On account of the superstitious veneration in which animals were 
held by the Egyptians, the Hebrews were not permitted, during 

1 See Appendix, Note 5. 


their bondage, to present the sacrificial offerings. Thus their 
minds were not directed by this service to the great Sacrifice, and 
their faith was weakened. When the time came for Israel's deliv- 
erance, Satan set himself to resist the purposes of God. It was his 
determination that that great people, numbering more than two 
million souls, should be held in ignorance and superstition. The 
people whom God had promised to bless and multiply, to make a 
power in the earth, and through whom he was to reveal the knowl- 
edge of his will, — the people whom he was to make the keepers 
of his law, — this very people Satan was seeking to keep in ob- 
scurity and bondage, that he might obliterate from their minds 
the remembrance of God. 

When the miracles were wrought before the king, Satan was on 
the ground to counteract their influence, and prevent Pharaoh 
from acknowledging the supremacy of God, and obeying his man- 
date. Satan wrought to the utmost of his power to counterfeit the 
work of God and resist his will. The only result was to prepare 
the way for greater exhibitions of the divine power and glory, and 
to make more apparent, both to the Israelites and to all Egypt, 
the existence and sovereignty of the true and living God. 

God delivered Israel with the mighty manifestations of his 
power, and with judgments upon all the gods of Egypt. " He 
brought forth his people with joy, and his chosen with gladness ; 
. : . that they might observe his statutes, and keep his laws." 1 
He rescued them from their servile state, that he might bring 
them to a good land, — a land which in his providence had been 
prepared for them as a refuge from their enemies, Avhere they 
might dwell under the shadow of his wings. He would bring 


them to himself, and encircle them in his everlasting arms; and 
in return for all his goodness and mercy to them, they were re- 
quired to have no other gods before him, the living God, and to 
exalt his name and make it glorious in the earth. 

During the bondage in Egypt, many of the Israelites had, to a 
great extent, lost the knowledge of God's law, and had mingled its 
precepts with heathen customs and traditions. God brought them 
to Sinai, and there with his own voice declared his law. 

Satan and evil angels were on the ground. Even while God 
was proclaiming his law to his people, Satan was plotting to tempt 
them to sin. This people whom God had chosen, he would 
wrench away, in the very face of Heaven. By leading them into 

1 Ps. 105 : 43-45. 


idolatry, he would destroy the efficacy of all worship; for how can 
man be elevated by adoring what is no higher than himself, and 
may be symbolized by his own handiwork ? If men could become 
so blinded to the power, the majesty, and the glory of the infinite 
God as to represent him by a graven image, or even by a beast or 
reptile; if they could so forget their own divine relationship, 
formed in the image of their Maker, as to how down to these 
revolting and senseless objects, — then the way was open for foul 
license; the evil passions of the heart would be unrestrained, and 
Satan would have full sway. 

At the very foot of Sinai, Satan began to execute his plans for 
overthrowing the law of God, thus carrying forward the same work 
he had begun in heaven. During the forty days while Moses was 
in the mount with God, Satan was busy, exciting doubt, apostasy, 
and rebellion. While God was writing down his law, to he 
committed to his covenant people, the Israelites, denying their 
loyalty to Jehovah, were demanding gods of gold ! When Muses 
came from the awful presence of the divine glory, with the 
precepts of the law which they had pledged themselves to obey, 
lie found them, in open defiance of its commands, bowing in 
adoration hefore a golden image. 

By leading Israel to this daring insult and blasphemy to 
Jehuvah, Satan had planned to cause their ruin. Since they had 
proved themselves to be so utterly degraded, so lust to all sense of 
the privileges and blessings that God had offered them, and to 
their own solemn and repeated pledges of loyalty, the Lord would, 
he believed, divorce them from himself, and devote them to de- 
struction. Thus would he secured the extinction of the seed of 
Abraham, that seed of promise that was to preserve the knowledge 
of the living God, and through whom He was to come, — the true 
seed, that was to conquer Satan. The great rebel had planned to 
destroy Israel, and thus thwart the purposes of God. But again he 
was defeated. Sinful as they were, the people of Israel were not 
destroyed. While those who stubbornly ranged themselves on the 
side of Satan were cut off, the people, humbled and repentant, 
were mercifully pardoned. The history of this sin was to stand 
as a perpetual testimony to the guilt and punishment of idolatry, 
and the justice and long-suffering mercy of God. 

The whole universe had been witness to the scenes at Sinai. 
In the working out of the two administrations was seen the con 


trast between the government of God and thai of Batan. Again 
the sinless inhabitants of other worlds beheld the results of Satan's 
apostasy, and the kind of government he would have established 
in heaven, had he been permitted to bear sway. 

By causing men to violate the second commandment, Satan 
aimed to degrade their conceptions of the Divine Being. By set- 
ting aside the fourth, he would cause them to forget God alto- 
gether. God's claim to reverence and worship, above the gods of 
the heathen, is based upon the fact that he is the Creator, and 
that to him all other beings owe their existence. Tims it is pre- 
sented in the Bible. Says the prophet Jeremiah: '* Jehovah is 
the true God, he is the living God, and an everlasting King. . . . 
The gods that have not made the heavens and the earth, even 
they shall perish from the earth, and from under these heavens. 
He hath made the earth by his power, he hath established th< 
world by his wisdom, and hath stretched out the heavens by his 
discretion." "Every man is brutish in his knowledge; even 
founder is confounded by the graven image; for his molten image* 
is falsehood, and there is no breath in them. They are vanity. 
and the work of errors; in the time of their visitation they shah 
perish. The portion of Jacob is not like them; for he is the 
former ot' all things." 1 The Sabbath, as a memorial of God's 
creative power, points to him as the Maker oi' the heavens and 
the earth. Hence it is a constant witness to his existence and a 
reminder of his greatness, his wisdom, and his love. Had the 
Sabbath always been sacredly observed, there could never have 
lurii an atheist or an idolater. 

The Sabbath institution, which originated in Eden, is as old 
as the world itself. It was observed by all the patriarchs, from 
creation down. During the bondage in Egypt, the Israelites were 
forced by their taskmasters to violate the Sahhath. and to a great 
extent they lost the knowledge oi' its sacredness. When the law 
was proclaimed at Sinai, the very first words of the fourth com- 
mandment were, " Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy," — 
showing that the Sabbath was not then instituted ; we are pointed 
hack for its origin to creation. In order to obliterate God from 
the minds of men, Satan aimed to tear down this great memorial. 
If men could be led to forget their Creator, they would make 
no effort to resist the power of evil, and Satan would he sure oi' 

his prey. 

!J(>r. 10 : 10-12, 14-16. 

A 17.1V S ENMITY A0AIN8T THE LAW. ;;;; ' 

s,it;m*s enmity against God's law has impelled him to war 
against every precept of the decalogue. To the great principle of 
love and loyalty to God, the Father of all, the principle of filial 
love ami obedience is closely related. Contempt for parental 
authority will booii lead to contempt I'm - the authority of God. 
Hence Satan's efforts t<> lessen the obligation <>t' the fifth com- 
mandment. Among heathen peoples the principle enjoined in 
this precept was little heeded. In many nations, parents vvere 
abandoned or put to death as soon as age had rendered them inca- 
pable of providing for themselves. In the family, the mother 
was treated with little respect, and upon the death of her husband 
-he was required to submit to the authority of her eldest son. 
Filial obedience was enjoined by Moses; but as the [sraeliteg 

departed tV the Lord, the fifth commandment, with othi 

came to he disregarded. 

Satan was "a murderer from the beginning;'" and as Boon as 
he had obtained power overthe human race, he not only prompted 
them to hate and slay one another, but, the more boldly to defy 
the authority of ( rod, he made the violation of the sixth command- 
ment a part of their religion. 

By perverted conceptions of divine attributes, heathen nation- 
were led to believe human sacrifices necessary to secure the 
favor of their deities; and the most horrible cruelties have been 
perpetrated under th<- various forms of idolatry. Anion- these 
was the practice of causing their children to pass through the 
fire before their idols. When one of them came through this 
ordeal unharmed, the people believed that their offerings were 
accepted ; the one thus delivered Avas regarded a- specially favored 
by the gods, was loaded with benefits, and ever afterward held in 
high esteem: and however aggravated* his crimes, he was never 
punished. But should one be burned in passing through the fire, 
his fate was sealed; it was believed that the anger of the nods 
could be appeased only by taking the life of the victim, and he 
was accordingly offered as a sacrifice, in times of great apos- 
tasy these abominations prevailed, to some extent, among t lit 

The violation of the seventh commandment also was early 
practiced in the name of religion. The most licentious and abom- 
inable rites were made a pail of the heathen worship. The gods 

'John 8 : 44. 


themselves were represented as impure, and their worshipers gave 
the rein to the baser passions. Unnatural vices prevailed, and 
the religious festivals were characterized by universal and open 

Polygamy was practiced at an early date. It was one of the 
sins that brought the wrath of God upon the antediluvian world. 
Yet after the flood it again became wide-spread. It was Satan's 
studied effort to pervert the marriage institution, to weaken its 
obligations, and lessen its sacredness; for in no surer way could 
he deface the image of God in man, and open the door to misery 
and vice. 

From the opening of the great controvers} r it has been Satan's 
purpose to misrepresent God's character, and to excite rebellion 
against his law ; and this work appears to be crowned with success. 
The multitudes give ear to Satan's deceptions, and set themselves 
against God. But amid the working of evil, God's purposes move 
steadily forward to their accomplishment; to all created intel- 
ligences he is making manifest his justice and benevolence. 
Through Satan's temptations the whole human race have be- 
come transgressors of God's law ; but by the sacrifice of his Son 
a way is opened whereby they may return to God. Through the 
grace of Christ they may be enabled to render obedience to the 
Father's law. Thus in every age, from the midst of apostasy and 
rebellion, God gathers out a people that are true to him, — a peo- 
ple "' in whose heart is his law." 1 

It was by deception that Satan seduced angels ; thus he has in 
all ages carried forward his work among men, and he will continue 
this policy to the last. Should he openly profess to be warring 
against God and his law, men would beware; but he disguises 
himself, and mixes truth with error. The most dangerous false- 
hoods are those that are mingled with truth. It is thus that errors 
are received that captivate and ruin the soul. By this means, Satan 
carries the world with him. But a day is coming when his 
triumph will be forever ended. 

God's dealings with rebellion will result in fully unmasking the 
work that has so long been carried on under cover. The results 
of Satan's rule, the fruits of setting aside the divine statutes, will 
be laid open to the view of all created intelligences. The law of 
God will stand fully vindicated. It will be seen that all the deal- 

x Isa. 51 : 7. 


ings of < i »ul have been conducted with reference to the eternal 
good of his people, and the good of all the worlds that he has 
created. Satan himself, in presence of the witnessing universe, 
will confess the justice of God's government, and the righteous- 
ness of his law. 

The time is not far distant when God will arise to vindicate Ins 
insulted authority. " The Lord cometh out of his place to punish 
the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity." ] "Bu1 who may 
abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he ap- 
peareth?" 51 The people of Israel, because of their sinfulness, 
were forbidden to approach the mount when God was about to 
descend upon it to proclaim his law, lest they should be consumed 
by the burning glory of his presence. If such manifestations of 
his power marked the place chosen tor the proclamation of God's 
law, how terrible must be his tribunal when he comes for the 
execution of these sacred statutes. How will those who have 
trampled upon his authority endure his glory in the great day 
of final retribution? The terrors of Sinai were to represent to 
the people the scenes of the Judgment. The sound of a trumpet 
summoned Israel to meet with God. The voice of the archangel 
and the trump of Cod shall summon, from the whole earth, both 
the living and the dead to the presence of their Judge. The 
Father and the Son, attended by a multitude of angels, were 
present upon the mount. At the great Judgment day, Christ will 
come "in the glory of his Father with his angels." 3 Pic shall 
then sit upon the throne of his glory, and before him shall he 
gathered all nation-. 

When the divine presence was manifested upon Sinai, the 
glory of the Lord was like devouring tire in the sight of all Israel. 
But when Christ shall 'conic in glory with his holy angels, the 

whole earth shall he aMaze with the terrible light of his presence. 
"Our God shall conic, and shall not keep silence; a lire shall 
devour before him, and it shall be very tempestuous round about 
him. He shall call to the heavens from above, and to the earth, 
that he may judge his people. " ' A fiery stream shall issue and 
come forth from hefore him, which shall cause the elements to 
melt with fervent heat, the earth also, and the works that are 
therein shall be burned up. " The Lord Jesus shall he revealed 

1 [Ba. 26 : 21. 2 Mai. 3 : 2. :i Matt. 16 : 27. 

* Ps. 50 : 3, 4. 21 


from heaven with his mighty angels, in naming fire taking ven- 
geance on them that know not God, and that ohey not the gospel." 1 

Never since man Avas created had there been witnessed such a 
manifestation of divine power as when the law was proclaimed 
from Sinai. " The earth shook, the heavens also dropped at the 
presence of God ; even Sinai itself was moved at the presence of 
God, the God of Israel." 2 Amid the most terrific convulsions of 
nature, the voice of God, like a trumpet, was heard from the cloud. 
The mountain was shaken from base to summit, and the hosts of 
Israel, pale and trembling with terror, lay upon their faces upon 
the earth. He whose voice then shook the earth has declared, 
"Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven." 3 
Says the Scripture, " The Lord also shall roar from on high, and 
utter his voice from his holy habitation ; " " and the heavens and the 
earth shall shake." 8 In that great coming day, the heaven itself shall 
depart " as a scroll when it is rolled together." 4 And every mount- 
ain and island shall be moved out of its place. " The earth shall 
reel to and fro like a drunkard, and shall be removed like a cot- 
tage ; and the transgression thereof shall be heavy upon it ; and it 
shall fall, and not rise again." 5 

" Therefore shall all hands be faint," all faces shall be " turned 
into paleness," " and every man's heart shall melt. And they shall 
be afraid; pangs and sorrows shall take hold of them." "And I 
will punish the world for their evil," saith the Lord, " and I will 
cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the 
haughtiness of the terrible." 6 

When Moses came from the divine presence in the mount, 
where he had received the tables of the testimony, guilty Israel 
could not endure the light that glorified his countenance. How 
much less can transgressors look upon the Son of God when he 
shall appear in the glory of his Father, surrounded by all the 
heavenly host, to execute judgment upon the transgressors of his 
law and the rejecters of his atonement. Those who have disre- 
garded the law of God and trodden under foot the blood of Christ, 
" the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and 
the chief captains, and the mighty men," shall hide themselves 
" in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains," and they shall 
say to the mountains and rocks, " Fall on us, and hide us from the 

1 2 Thess. 1 : 7, 8. 2 Ps. 68 : 8. 3 Heb. 12 : 26 ; Jer. 25 : 30 ; Joel 3 : 16. 

' :: ( v. 6 : 14. 5 Isa. 24 ; 20. B Isa. 13 : 7, 8, 11, 13 ; Jer. 30 : 6 


Cacf of Him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the 
Lamb; for the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall he 
able to stand? W1 " In that day a man shall cast his idols of silver, 
and his idols of gold, ... to the moles and to the hats ; to go into 
the clefts of the rocks, and into the tops of the ragged rocks, for 
fear of the Lord, and for the glory of his majesty, when he ariseth 
to shake terribly the earth." 2 

Then it will he seen that Satan's rebellion against God has re- 
sulted in ruin to himself, and to all that chose to become his 
subjects. He has represented that great good would result from 
transgression ; hut it will he seen that " the wages of sin is death." 3 
"For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all 
the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble; and 
the day that cometh shall hum them up, saith the Lord of hosts, 
that it shall leave them neither root nor branch."* Satan, the root 
of every sin, and all evil-workers, who are his branches, shall be 
utterly cut off. An end will he made of sin, with all the woe and 
ruin that have resulted from it. Says the psalmist, " Thou hast 
destroyed the wicked, thou hast put out their name forever and 
ever. () thou enemy, destructions are come to a perpetual end." 5 

But amid the tempest of divine judgment, the children of God 
will have no cause for fear. "The Lord will be the hope of his 
people, and the strength of the children of Israel." 6 The day that 
brings terror and destruction to the transgressors of God's law, 
will bring to the obedient, "joy unspeakable, and full of glory." 
"Gather my saints together unto me," saith the Lord, "those that 
have made a covenant with me by sacrifice. And the heavens 
shall declare his righteousness; for God is judge himself." 7 

"Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and 
the wicked, between him that serveth God, and him that serveth 
him not." "Hearken unto me, ye that know righteousness, ike 
people in whose heart is my law." "Behold, I have taken out of 
thine hand the cup of trembling, . . . thou shalt no more drink it 
again." "I, even I, am he that comforteth you." 9 "For the 
mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kind- 

^ev. 6 : 15-1 7. 2 Isa. 2 : 20, 21. 3 Roni. 6 : 23. 

4 Mai. 4 : 1. &Ps. 9 : 5, 6. 6 Joel 3 : 16. 

7 1 Peter 1 : 8 ; Ps. 50 : 5, 6. 8 Mal. 3 : 18. 9 Isa. 51 : 7, 22, 12. 



ness shall nut depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my 
peace he removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee." 1 

The great plan of redemption results in fully bringing back the 
world into God's favor. All that was lost by sin is restored. Not 
only man but the earth is redeemed, to be the eternal abode of the 
obedient. For six thousand years, Satan has struggled to main- 
tain possession of the earth. Now God's original purpose in its 
creation is accomplished. " The saints of the Most High shall 
take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom forever, even forever 
and ever." 2 

" From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same, 
the Lord's name is to be praised." 3 " In that day shall there be 
one Lord, and his name one." " And Jehovah shall be king 
over all the earth." 4 Says the Scripture, " Forever, Lord, thy 
word is settled in heaven." " All thy commandments are sure. 
They stand fast forever and ever." 5 The sacred statutes which 
Satan has hated and sought to destroy, will be honored throughout 
a sinless universe. And " as the earth bringeth forth her bud, and 
as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring 
forth; so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to 
spring forth before all the nations." 6 

ilsa. 54 : 10. 2 Dan. 7 : 18. 3 Ps. 113 : 3. *Zech. 14 : 9. 

5 Ps. 119 : 89; 111 : 7, 8. 6 Isa. 61 : 11. 



The command was communicated to Moses while in the mount 
with Clod, "Let them make me a sanctuary, that I may dwell 
among them ; " ' and full directions were given for the construction 
of the tahernacle. By their apostasy, the Israelites forfeited the 
hlessing of the divine presence, and for the time rendered impos- 
sible the erection of a sanctuary for God among them. But after 
they were again taken into favor with Heaven, the great leader 
proceeded to execute the divine command. 

Chosen men were specially endowed by God with skill and 
wisdom for the construction of the sacred building. God himself 
gave to Moses the plan of- that structure, with particular directions 
as to its size and form, the materials to he employed, and every 
article of furniture which it was to contain. The holy places 
made with hands were to he "figures of the true," " patterns of 
things in the heavens," 2 — a miniature representation of the heav- 
enly temple where Christ, our great high priest, after offering his 
life as a sacrifice, was to minister in the sinner's behalf. God 
presented before Moses in the mount a view of the heavenly 
sanctuary, and commanded him to make all things according to 
the pattern shown him. All these directions were carefully re- 
corded by Moses, who communicated them to the leaders of the 

For the building of the sanctuary, great and expensive prepa- 
rations were necessary; a large amount of the most precious and 
costly material was required; yet the Lord accepted only free-will 
offerings. "Of every man that giveth it willingly with his heart 
ye shall take my offering," 3 was the divine command repented by 
Moses to the congregation. Devotion to God and a spirit of 
sacrifice were the first requisites in preparing a dwelling-place for 
the Most High. 

^x.. 25 : 8. «Heb, 9 : 24, 23. "Ex. 25 : 2. 

I :u:> 1 


All the people responded with one accord. " They came, 
every one whose heart stirred him up, and every one whom his 
spirit made willing, and they brought the Lord's offering to the 
work of the tabernacle of the congregation, and for all his service, 
and for the holy garments. And they came, both men and 
women, as many as were willing-hearted, and brought bracelets, 
and earrings, and rings, and tablets, all jewels of gold ; and every 
man that offered, offered an offering of gold unto the Lord." 1 

" And every man with whom was found blue, and purple, and 
scarlet, and fine linen, and goats' hair, and rams' skins dyed red, 
and seal skins, brought them. Every one that did offer an 
offering of silver and brass, brought the Lord's offering; and every 
man with whom was found acacia wood for any work of the 
service, brought it. 

" And all the women that were wise-hearted, did spin with 
their hands, and brought that which they had spun, the blue, and 
the purple, the scarlet, and the fine linen. ' And all the women 
whose heart stirred them up in wisdom, spun the goats' hair. 

" And the rulers brought the onyx stones, and the stones to be 
set, for the ephod, and for the breastplate ; and the spice, and the 
oil; for the light, and for the anointing oil, and for the sweet 
incense." 2 

While the building of the sanctuary was in progress, the 
people, old and young, — men, women, and children, — continued 
to bring their offerings, until those in charge of the work found 
that they had enough, and even more than could be used. And 
Moses caused to be proclaimed throughout the camp, " Let neither 
man nor woman make any more work for the offering of the 
sanctuary. So the people were restrained from bringing." 3 The 
murmurings of the Israelites and the visitations of God's judg- 
ments because of their sins, are recorded as a warning to after- 
generations. And their devotion, their zeal and liberality, are an 
example worthy of imitation. All who love the worship of God, 
and prize the blessing of his sacred presence, will manifest the 
same spirit of sacrifice in preparing a house where he may meet 
with them. They will desire to bring to the Lord an offering of 
the very best that they possess. A house built for ( rod should not 
be left in debt, for he is thereby dishonored. An amount sufficient 
to accomplish the work should be freely given, that the workmen 
1 Ex. 35 : 21, 22. 2 Ex. 35 : 23-28, Rev. Ver. s Ex. 36 : 6. 


may be able to say, as did the builders of the tabernacle, " Bring 
no more offerings." 

The tabernacle was bo constructed that it could be taken apart 
and borne with the Israelites in all their journeyings. It was 
therefore small, being not more than fifty-five feet in length, 
ami eighteen in breadth ami height. Yet it was a magnificent 
structure. The wood employed for the building and its furniture 
was that of the acacia, tree, which was less subject to decay than 
any other to be obtained at Sinai. The walls consisted of upright 
hoards, set in silver sockets, and held firm by pillars and connect- 
ing bars; and all were overlaid with gold, giving to the building 
the appearance of solid gold. The roof was formed of four sets of 
curtains, the innermost of " line-twined linen, and blue, and pur- 
ple, and scarlet, with cherubim of cunning work;" 1 the other 
three respectively were of goats' hair, rams' skins dyed red, and 
seal skins, so arranged as to afford complete protection. 

The building was divided into two apartments by a rich and 
beautiful curtain, or vail, suspended from gold-plated pillars; and 
a similar vail closed the entrance of the first apartment. These, 
like the inner covering, which- formed the ceiling, were of the most 
gorgeous colors, blue, purple, and scarlet, beautifully arranged, 
while inwrought with threads of gold and silver w r ere cherubim to 
represent the angelic host who are connected with the work of the 
heavenly sanctuary, and who are ministering spirits to the people 
of Ciod mi earth. 

The sacred tent was inclosed in an open space called the court, 
which was surrounded by hangings, or screens, of fine linen, 
suspended from pillars of brass. The entrance to this inclosure 
was at the eastern end. It was closed by curtains of costly 
material and beautiful workmanship, though inferior to those of 
the Banctuary. The hangings of the court being only about half 
as high as the walls of the taheinacle, the building could he 

plainly seen by the people without. In the court, and nearest the 
entrance, stood the brazen altar of burnt-offering. Upon this altar 
were consumed all the sacrifices made by fire unto the Lord, and 
its horns were sprinkled with the atoning blood, between the 
altar and the door of the tabernacle was the laver, which was also 
of brass, made from the mirrors that hail been the free-will offer- 
ing of the women of Israel. At the laver the priests were to wash 

l Ex. 26 : 1. 


their hands and their feet whenever they went into the sacred 
apartments, or approached the altar to offer a burnt-offering unto 
the Lord. 

In the first apartment, or holy place, were the table of show- 
bread, the candlestick, or lamp-stand, and the altar of incense. 
The table of show-bread stood on the north. With its ornamental 
crown, it was overlaid with pure gold. On this table the priests 
were each Sabbath to place twelve cakes, arranged in two piles, 
and sprinkled with frankincense. The loaves that were removed, 
being accounted holy, were to be eaten by the priests. On the 
south was the seven-branched candlestick, with its seven lamps. 
Its branches were ornamented with exquisitely wrought flowers, 
resembling lilies, and the whole was made from one solid piece of 
gold. There being no windows in the tabernacle, the lamps were 
never all extinguished at one time, but shed their light by day 
and by night. Just before the vail separating the holy place from 
the most holy and the immediate presence of God, stood the 
golden altar of incense. Upon this altar the priest was to burn 
incense every morning and evening, its horns were touched with 
the blood of the sin-offering, and it was sprinkled with blood upon 
the great day of atonement. The fire upon this altar was kindled 
by God himself, and was sacredly cherished. Day and night the 
holy incense diffused its fragrance throughout the sacred apart- 
ments, and without, far around the tabernacle. 

Beyond the inner vail was the holy of holies, where centered 
the symbolic service of atonement and intercession, and which 
formed the connecting link between heaven and earth. In this 
apartment was the ark, a chest of acacia wood, overlaid within 
and without with gold, and having a crown of gold about the top. 
It was made as a depository for the tables of stone, upon which 
God himself had inscribed the ten commandments. Hence it was 
called the ark of God's testament, or the ark of the covenant, since 
the ten commandments were the basis of the covenant made 
between God and Israel. 

The cover of the sacred chest was called the mercy-seat. This 
was wrought of one solid piece of gold, and was surmounted by 
golden cherubim, one standing on each end. One wing of each 
angel was stretched forth on high, while the other was folded over 
the body l in token of reverence and humility. The position of the 

*SeeEze. 1 : 11. 


cherubim, with their laces turned toward cadi other, and looking 
reverently downward toward the ark, represented the reverence 
with which the heavenly host regard the law of God, and their 
interest in the plan of redemption. 

Above the mercy-seat was the shekinah, the manifestation of 
the divine presence ; and from between the cherubim, God made 
known Ins will. Divine messages were sometimes communicated 
to the high priest by a voice from the cloud. Sometimes a light 
fell upon the angel at the right, to signify approval or acceptance, 
or a shadow or cloud rested upon the one at the left to reveal dis- 
approval or rejection. 

The law of God, enshrined within the ark, was the great rule of 
righteousness and judgment. That law pronounced death upon 
the transgressor; hut above the law was the mercy-seat, upon 
which the presence of God was revealed, and from which, by 
virtue of the atonement, pardon was granted to the repentant 
sinner. Thus in the work of Christ for our redemption, symbol- 
ized by the sanctuary service. " mercy and truth are met together; 
righteousness and peace have kissed each other." 1 

No language can describe the glory of the scene presented 
within the sanctuary, — the gold-plated walls reflecting the light 
from the golden candlestick, the brilliant hues of the richly em- 
broidered curtains with their shining angels, the table, and the 
altar of incense, glittering with gold ; beyond the second vail the 
sacred ark, with its mystic cherubim, and above it the holy she- 
kinah, the visible manifestation of Jehovah's presence; all but a 
dim reflection of the glories of the temple of God in heaven, the 
great center of the work for man's redemption. 

A period of about half a year was occupied in the building of 
the tabernacle. When it was completed, Moses examined all the 
work of the builders, comparing it with the pattern shown him in 
the mount, and the directions he had received from God. "As the 
Lord had commanded, even so had they done it; and Moses 
blessed them.'"'- With eager interest the multitudes of Israel 
crowded around to look upon the sacred structure. While they 
were contemplating the Bcene with reverent satisfaction, the pillar 

of cloud floated over the sanctuary, and descending, enveloped it. 

"And the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle."' There was a 
revealing of the divine majesty, and for a time even Moses could 

! Ps. 85 : 10. 8 Ex. 39 : 43. » Ex. 40 : 84. 


not enter. With deep emotion, the people beheld the token that 
the work of their hands was accepted. There were no loud dem- 
onstrations of rejoicing. A solemn awe rested upon all. But the 
gladness of their hearts welled up in tears of joy, and they mur- 
mured low, earnest words of gratitude that God had condescended 
to abide with them. 

By divine direction the tribe of Levi was set apart for the 
service of the sanctuary. In the earliest times every man was 
the priest of his own household. In the days of Abraham, 
the priesthood was regarded as the birthright of the eldest 
son. Now, instead of the first-born of all Israel, the Lord ac- 
cepted the tribe of Levi for the work of the sanctuary. By this 
signal honor he manifested his approval- of their fidelity, both in 
adhering to his service and in executing his judgments when Is- 
rael apostatized in the worship of the golden calf. The priesthood, 
however, was restricted to the family of Aaron. Aaron and his 
sons alone were permitted to minister before the Lord ; the rest of 
the tribe were intrusted with the charge of the tabernacle and its 
furniture, and they were to attend upon the priests in their minis- 
tration, but they were not to sacrifice, to burn incense, or to see 
the holy things till they were covered. 

In accordance with their office, a special dress was appointed 
for the priests. "Thou shalt make holy garments for Aaron thy 
brother, for glory and for beauty," 1 was the divine direction to 
Moses. The robe of the common priest was of white linen, and 
woven in one piece. It extended nearly to the feet, and was con- 
fined about the waist by a white linen girdle embroidered in blue, 
purple, and red. A linen turban, or miter, completed his outer 
costume. Moses at the burning bush was directed to put off his 
sandals, for the ground whereon he stood was holy. So the priests 
were not to enter the sanctuary with shoes upon their feet. Par- 
ticles of dust cleaving to them would desecrate the holy place. 
They were to leave their shoes in the court before entering the 
sanctuary, and also to wash both their hands and their feet before 
ministering in the tabernacle or at the altar of burnt-offering. 
Tims was constantly taught the lesson that all defilement must be 
put away from those who would approach into the presence of 

The garments of the high priest were of costly material and 
beautiful workmanship, befitting his exalted station. In addition 

1 Ex. 2S : 2. 


to tlic linen dress of the common priest, he wore a robe of blue, 
also woven in one piece. Around the skirt it was ornamented 
with golden bells, and pomegranates of blue, purple, and scarlet. 
Outside of this was the ephod, a shorter garment of gold, blue, 

purple, scarlet, and white. It was confined by a girdle of the same 
colors, beautifully wrought, The ephod was sleeveless, and on its 
gold-embroidered shoulder-pieces were set two onyx stones, hear- 
in- the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. 

Over the ephod was the hreastplate, the most sacred of the 
priestly vestments. This was of the same material as the ephod. 
It was in the form of a square, measuring a span, and was sus- 
pended from the shoulders by a cord of blue from golden rings. 
The border was formed of a variety of precious stones, the same 
thai form the twelve foundations of the city of God. Within the 
border were twelve stones set in gold, arranged in rows of four, 
and, like those in the shoulder-pieces, engraved with the names of 
the tribes. The Lord's direction was, " Aaron shall hear the names 
of the children of Israel in the breastplate of judgment upon his 
heart, when he goeth in unto the holy place, for a memorial before 
the Lord continually." 1 So Christ, the great high priest, plead- 
ing his blood before the Father in the sinner's behalf, hears upon 
his heart the name of every repentant, believing soul. Says the 
psalmist, "I am poor and needy, yet the Lord thinketh upon 

l.le." 2 

At the right and left of the breastplate were two large stones of 
greal brilliancy. These were known as the Urim and Thummim. 
By them the will of Clod was made known through the high priest. 
When questions were brought for decision before the Lord, a halo 
of light encircling the precious stone at the right was a token of 
the divine consent or approval, while a cloud shadowing the stone 
at the left was an evidence of denial or disapprobation. 

The miter of the high priest consisted of the white linen turban, 
having attached to it by a lace of blue, a gold plate hearing the 
inscription, "Holiness to Jehovah." Everything connected with 
the apparel and deportment of the priests was to he such as to im- 
press the beholder with a sense of the holiness of God, the sacred- 
ness of his worship, and the purity required of those who came 
into his presence. 

Not only the sanctuary itself, hut the ministration of the 
priests, was to " serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly 

1 Ex. 28 : 29. "■ Vs. 4(i : \: 


things." 1 Thus it was of great importance; and the Lord, through 
Moses, gave the most definite and explicit instruction concerning 
every point of this typical service. The ministration of the sanct- 
uary consisted of two divisions, a daily and a yearly service. The 
daily service was performed at the altar of burnt-offering in the 
court of the tabernacle, and in the holy place ; while the .yearly 
service was in the most holy. 

No mortal eye but that of the high priest was to look upon the 
inner apartment of the sanctuary. Only once a year could the 
priest enter there, and that after the most careful and solemn 
preparation. With trembling he went in before God, and the 
people in reverent silence awaited his return, their hearts uplifted 
in earnest prayer for the divine blessing. Before the mercy-scat 
the high priest made the atonement for Israel ; and in the cloud 
of glory, God met with him. His stay here beyond the accus- 
tomed time filled them with fear, lest because of their sins or his 
own he had been slain by the glory of .the Lord. 

The daily service consisted of the morning and evening burnt- 
offering, the offering of sweet incense on the golden altar, and the 
special offerings for individual sins. And there were also offerings 
for sabbaths, new moons, and special feasts. 

Every morning and evening a lamb of a year old was burned 
upon the altar, with its appropriate meat-offering, thus symboliz- 
ing the daily consecration of the nation to Jehovah, and their 
constant dependence upon the atoning blood of Christ. God 
expressly directed that every offering presented for the service of 
the sanctuary should be " without blemish." 2 The priests were to 
examine all animals brought as a sacrifice, and were to reject 
every one in which a defect was discovered. Only an offering 
" without blemish " could be a symbol of His perfect purity who 
was to offer himself as " a lamb without blemish and without 
spot." 3 The apostle Paul points to these sacrifices as an illustra- 
tion of what the followers of Christ are to become. He says. " I 
beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye 
present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, 
which is your reasonable service." 4 We are to give ourselves to 
the service of God, and we should seek to make the offering as 
nearly perfect as possible. God will not be pleased with anything 

^eb. 8 : 5. 2 Ex. 12 : 5. 3 1 Peter 1 : 19. 

*Rom. 12 : 1. 


less than the best we can oiler. Those whp Love him w it 1 1 all the 
heart, will desire to give him the best Bervice of the life, and they 
will be constantly seeking to bring every power of their being into 
harmony with the laws that will promote their ability to do 
his will. 

In the offering of incense the priest was brought more directly 
into the presence of God than in any other act of the daily minis- 
tration. As the inner vail of the sanctuary did not extend to the 
top of the building, the glory of God, which was manifested above 
the mercy-seat, was partially visible from the first apartment. 
When the priest offered incense before the Lord, he looked toward 
the ark; and as the cloud of incense arose, the divine glory 
descended upon the mercy-seat and filled the most holy place, and 
often so tilled both apartments that the priest was obliged to retire 
to the door of the tabernacle. As in that typical service the priest 
looked by faith to the mercy-seat which he could not see, so the 
people of God are now to direct their prayers to Christ, their great 
high priest, who, unseen by human vision, is pleading in their 
behalf in the sanctuary above. 

The incense, ascending with the prayers of Israel, represents 
the merits and intercession of Christ, his perfect righteousness, 
which through faith is imputed to his people, and which can 
alone make the worship of sinful beings acceptable to God. Be- 
fore the vail of the most holy place, was an altar of perpetual 
intercession, before the holy, an altar of continual atonement. By 
blood and by incense, God was to be approached, — symbols 
pointing to the great Mediator, through whom sinners may ap- 
proach Jehovah, and through whom alone mercy and salvation 
can be granted to the repentant, believing soul. 

As the priests morning and evening entered the holy place at 
the time df incense, the daily sacrifice was ready to be ottered 
upon the altar in the court without. Tins was a time of intense 
interest to the worshipers who assembled at the tabernacle. Be- 
fore entering into the presence of God through the ministration oi 
the priest, they were to engage in earnest searching of heart and 
confession of sin. They united in silent prayer, with their faces 
toward the holy place. Thus their petitions ascended with the 
cloud of incense, while faith laid hold upon the merits of the 
promised Saviour prefigured by the atoning sacrifice. The hours 
appointed for the morning and the evening sacrifice were regarded 


as sacred, and they came to be observed as the set time for 
worship throughout the Jewish nation. And when in later times 
the Jews were scattered as captives in distant lands, they still at 
the appointed hour turned their faces toward Jerusalem, and 
offered up their petitions to the God of Israel. In this custom, 
Christians have an example for morning and evening prayer. 
While God condemns a mere round of ceremonies, without the 
spirit of worship, he looks with great pleasure upon those who 
love him, bowing morning and evening to seek pardon for sins 
committed, and to present their requests for needed blessings. 

The show-bread was kept ever before the Lord as a perpetual 
offering. Thus it was a part of the daily sacrifice. It was called 
show-bread, or " bread of the presence," because it was ever before 
the face of the Lord. 1 It was an acknowledgment of man's de- 
pendence upon God for both temporal and spiritual food, and that 
it is received only through the mediation of Christ. God had fed 
Israel in the wilderness with bread from heaven, and they were 
still dependent upon his bounty, both for temporal food and 
spiritual blessings. Both the manna and the show-bread pointed 
to Christ, the living bread, who is ever in the presence of God for 
us. He himself said, " I am the living bread which came down 
from heaven." 2 Frankincense was placed upon the loaves. When 
the bread was removed every Sabbath, to be replaced by fresh 
loaves, the frankincense was burned upon the altar as a memorial 
before God. 

The most important part of the daily ministration was the 
service performed in behalf of individuals. The repentant sinner 
brought his offering to the door of the tabernacle, and placing his 
hand upon the victim's head, confessed his sins, thus in figure 
transferring them from himself to the innocent sacrifice. By his 
own hand the animal was then slain, and the blood was carried by 
the priest into the holy place and sprinkled before the vail, be- 
hind which was the ark containing the law that the sinner had 
transgressed. By this ceremony the sin was, through the blood, 
transferred in figure to the sanctuary. In some cases the blood 
was not taken into the holy place ; 3 but the flesh was then to be 
eaten by the priest, as Moses directed the sons of Aaron, saying, 
"God hath given it you to bear the iniquity of the congre- 

»Ex. 25 : 30. 2 Johu 6 : 4S-51. 

3 Sec Appendix, Note 9. 


gation." 1 Both ceremonies alike symbolized the transfer of the 
sin from the penitent to the sanctuary. 

Such was the work that went on day by day throughout the 
year. The sins of Israel being thus transferred to the sanctuary, 
the holy places were defiled, and a special work became necessary 
for the removal of the sins. God commanded that an atonemenl 
be made for each of the sacred apartments, as for the altar, to 
* cleanse it. and hallow it from the uncleanness of the children 
of Israel." 2 

Once a year, on the great day of atonement, the priest entered 
the most holy place for the cleansing of the sanctuary. The work 
there performed, completed the yearly round of ministration. 

On the day of atonement, two kids of the goats were brought to 
the door of the tabernacle, and lots were cast upon them, "one lot 
for the Lord, and the other lot for the SCape-goat." The goat upon 
which the first lot fell was to lie slain as a sin-offering for the peo- 
ple. And the priest was to bring his blood within the vail, and 
sprinkle it upon the mercy-seat. "And he shall make an atone- 
ment for the holy place, because of the uncleanness of the children 
of Israel, and because of their transgressions in all their sins ; and 
so shall he do for the tabernacle of the congregation, that remain- 
eth among them in the midst of their uncleanness." 3 

"And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the 
live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of 
Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them 
upon the head of the goat, and shall send him away by the hand 
of a fit man into the wilderness; and the goat shall hear upon him 
all their iniquities unto a land not inhabited."* Not until the 
goat had heen thus sent away, did the people regard themselves as 
heed from the hurden of their sins. Every man was to afflict his 
soul while the work of atonement was going forward. All business 
was laid aside, and the whole congregation of Israel spent the day 
in solemn humiliation before God, with prayer, fasting, and deep 
searching of heart. 

Important truths concerning the atonement were taught the 
people by this yearly service. In the sin-oll'erings presented dur- 
ing the year, a substitute had been accepted in the sinner's stead ; 
but the blood of the victim had not made full atonement for the 
sin. It had only provided a means by which the sin was trans- JO : 17. *Lev. 16 : 19. s Lcv. IT, : 16 2 3 4Lev - 16 : 21 ' 22, 


ferred to the sanctuary. By the offering of blood, the sinner 
acknowledged the authority of the law, confessed the guilt of his 
transgression, and expressed his faith in Him who was to take 
away the sin of the world ; but he was not entirely released from 
the condemnation of the law. On the day of atonement the high 
priest, having taken an offering for the congregation, went into the 
most holy place with the blood, and sprinkled it upon the mercy- 
seat, above the tables of the law. Thus the claims of the law, 
which demanded the life of the sinner, were satisfied. Then in 
his character of mediator the priest took the sins upon himself, 
and leaving the sanctuary, he bore with him the burden of Israel's 
guilt. At the door of the tabernacle he laid his hands upon the 
head of the scape-goat, and confessed over him " all the iniquities 
of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their 
sins, putting them upon the head of the goat." And as the goat 
bearing these sins was sent away, they were with him regarded as 
forever separated from the people. Such was the service per- 
formed " unto the example and shadow of heavenly things." 1 

As has been stated, the earthly sanctuary was built by Moses 
according to the pattern shown him in the mount. It was " a 
figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts 
and sacrifices ; " its two holy places were " patterns of things in 
the heavens; " Christ, our great high priest, is " a minister of the 
sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and 
not man." 2 As in vision the apostle John was granted a view 
of the temple of God in heaven, he beheld there "seven lamps of 
fire burning before the throne." He saw an angel " having a 
golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that 
he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden 
altar which was before the throne." 3 Here the prophet was per- 
mitted to behold the first apartment of the sanctuary in heaven; 
and he saw there the " seven lamps of fire " and the " golden 
altar " represented by the golden candlestick and the altar of in- 
cense in the sanctuary on earth. Again, " the temple of God was 
opened," 4 and he looked within the inner vail, upon the holy of 
holies. Here he beheld "the ark of His testament," 4 represented 
by the sacred chest constructed by Moses to contain the law of 

Mleb. 8 : 5. ' 2 Heb. 9 : 9, 23; 8 : 2. 

3 Rev. 4 : 5 ; 8 : 3. *Rev. 11 : 19. 


Moses made the earthly sanctuary, " according to the fashion 
that he had seen." Paul declares that "the tabernacle and all 
the vessels of the ministry,'' when completed, were " the patterns 
of things in the heavens." ' And John says that he saw the sanct- 
uary in heaven. That sanctuary, in which Jesus ministers in our 
behalf, is the great original, of which the sanctuary built by Moses 
was a copy. 

The heavenly temple, the abiding-place of the King of kings, 
where "thousand thousands minister unto him, and ten thousand 
nines ten thousand stand before him,''- that temple tided with the 
glory of the eternal throne, where seraphim, its shining guardians, 
vail their faces in adoration, — no earthly structure could represent 
its vastness and its glory. Yet important truths concerning the 
heavenly sanctuary and the great work there carried forward for 
man's redemption were to be taught by the earthly sanctuary and 
its services. 

After his ascension, our Saviour was to begin his work as our 
high priest. Says Paul, "Christ is not entered into the holy places 
made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into 
heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us." 8 As 
Christ's ministration was to consist of two great divisions, each 
occupying a period of time and having a distinctive place in the 
heavenly sanctuary, so the typical ministration consisted of two 
divisions, the daily and the yearly service, and to each a depart- 
ment of the tabernacle was devoted. 

As Christ at his ascension appeared in the presence of God to 
plead his blood in behalf of penitent believers, so the priest in the 
daily ministration sprinkled the blood of the sacrifice in the holy 
place in the sinner's behalf. 

The blood of Christ, while it was to release the repentant sinner 
from the condemnation of the law, was not to cancel the sin; it 
would stand on record in the sanctuary until the final atone- 
ment; so in the type the blood of the sin-offering removed the 
sin from the penitent, but it rested in the sanctuary until the day 
of atonement. 

In the great day of final award, the dead are to be "judged out 
of those things which were written in the books, according to their 
works." 4 Then by virtue of the atoning blood of Christ, the sins of 

1 Acts 7 : 44; Helj. 9 : 21, 23. 2 Dau. 7 : 10. 

a IIeb. 9 : 24. *Rev. 20 : 12. 


all the truly penitent will be blotted from the books of heaven. 
Thus the sanctuary will be freed, or cleansed, from the record of 
sin. In the type, this great work of atonement, or blotting out of 
sins, was represented by the services of the day of atonement, — 
the cleansing of the earthly sanctuary, which was accomplished 
by the removal, by virtue of the blood of the sin-offering, of the 
sins by which it had been polluted. 

As in the final atonement the sins of the truly penitent are to 
be blotted from the records of heaven, no more to be remembered 
or come into mind, so in the type they were borne away into the 
wilderness, forever separated from the congregation. 

Since Satan is the originator of sin, the direct instigator of all 
the sins that caused the death of the Son of God, justice demands 
that Satan shall suffer the final punishment. Christ's work for the 
redemption of men and the purification of the universe from sin, 
will be closed by the removal of sin from the heavenly sanctuary 
and the placing of these sins upon Satan, who will bear the final 
penalty. So in the typical service, the yearly round of ministra- 
tion closed with the purification of the sanctuary, and the confess- 
ing of the sins on the head of the scape-goat. 

Thus in the ministration of the tabernacle, and of the temple 
that afterward took its place, the people were taught each day the 
great truths relative to Christ's death and ministration, and once 
each year their minds were carried forward to the closing events of 
the great controversy between Christ and Satan, the final purifica- 
tion of the universe from sin and sinners. 



After the dedication oi* the tabernacle, the priests were conse- 
crated to their sacred office. These services occupied seven days, 
each marked by special ceremonies. On the eighth day they en- 
tered upon their ministration. Assisted by his sons, Aaron offered 
the sacrifices that God required, and he lifted up his hands and 
blessed the people. All had been done as God commanded, and 
he accepted the sacrifice, and revealed his glory in a remarkable 
manner; fire came from the Lord, and consumed the offering 
upon the altar. The people looked upon this wonderful mani- 
festation of divine power, with awe and intense interest. They saw 
in it a token of God's glory and favor, and they raised a universal 
shout of praise and adoration, and fell on their faces as if in the 
immediate presence of Jehovah. 

But soon afterward a sudden and terrible calamity fell upon 
the family of the high priest. At the hour of worship, as the 
prayers and praise of the people were ascending to God, two of 
the sons of Aaron took each his censer, and burned fragrant in- 
cense thereon, to rise as a sweet odor before the Lord. But 
they transgressed his command by the use of "strange fire." 
For burning the incense they took common instead of the sacred 
fire which God himself had kindled, and which he hail com- 
manded to lie used for this purpose. For this sin, a fire went out 
from the Lord and devoured them in the sight of the people. 

Next to Moses and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu had stood highest 
in Israel. They had been especially honored by the Lord, having 
been permitted with the seventy elders to heboid his glory in the 
mount. But their transgression was not therefore to he excused or 
lightly regarded. All this rendered their sin more grievous. Be- 
cause men have received great light, because they have, like the 
princes of Israel, ascended to the mount, and been privileged to 
have communion with God, and to dwell in the light of his glory, 

[359 J 


let them not flatter themselves that they can afterward sin with 
impunity ; that because they have been thus honored, God will 
not be strict to punish their iniquity. % This is a fatal deception. 
The great light and privileges bestowed, require returns of virtue 
and holiness corresponding to the light given. Anything short of 
this, God cannot accept. Great blessings or privileges should 
never lull to security or carelessness. They should never give 
license to sin, or cause the recipients to feel that God will not be 
exact with them. All the advantages which God has given, are 
his means to throw ardor into the spirit, zeal into effort, and vigor 
into the carrying out of his holy will. 

Nadab and Abihu had not in their youth been trained to habits 
of self-control. The father's yielding disposition, his lack of firm- 
ness for right, had led hnn to neglect the discipline of his children. 
His sons had been permitted to follow inclination. Habits of self- 
indulgence, long cherished, obtained a hold upon them which even 
the responsibility of the most sacred, office had not power to break. 
They had not been taught to respect the authority of their father, 
and they did not realize the necessity of exact obedience to the 
requirements of God. Aaron's mistaken indulgence of his sons, 
prepared them to become the subjects of the divine judgments. 

God designed to teach the people that they must approach him 
with reverence and awe, and in his own appointed manner. He 
cannot accept partial obedience. It was not enough that in this 
solemn season of worship nearh/ everything was done as he had 
directed. God has pronounced a curse upon those who depart 
from his commandments, and put no difference between common 
and holy things. He declares by the prophet : " Woe unto them 
that call evil good, and good evil ; that put darkness for light, and 
light for darkness ! . . . Woe unto them that are wise in their own 
eyes, and prudent in their own sight ; . . . which justify the 
wicked for reward, and take away the righteousness of the right- 
eous from him ! . . . They have cast away the law of the Lord of 
hosts, and despised the word of the Holy One of Israel." * Let no 
one deceive himself with the belief that a part of God's command- 
ments are non-essential, or that he will accept a substitute for that 
which he has required. Said the prophet Jeremiah, " Who is he 
that saith, and it cometh to pass, when the Lord commandeth it 
not?" 2 God has placed in his word no command which men may 

Msa. 5 : 20-24. '•'Lam. 3 : 37. 


obey or disobey at will and not suffer the consequences. It' men 
choose any other path than that of strict obedience, they will find 
that "the end thereof are the ways of death." 1 

"Moses said unto Aaron, and unto Eleazar and unto Ithamar, 
his sons. Uncover not your heads, neither rend your clothes, Lest 
ye die ; . . . for the anointing oil of the Lord is upon you." ! The 
great leader reminded his brother of the words of God, " 1 will be 
sanctified in them that come nigh inc. and before all the people I 
will he glorified." 2 Aaron was silent. The death of his sons, cut 
down without warning, in so terrible a sin, — a sin which he now 
saw to be the result of his own neglect of duty. — wrung the father's 
heart with anguish, hut he gave his feelings no expression. By no 
manifestation of grief must he seem to sympathize with sin. The 
congregation must not be led to murmur against God. 

The Lord would teach his people to acknowledge the justice of 
his corrections, that others may fear. There were those in Israel 
whom the warning of this terrible judgment might save from pre- 
suming upon God's forbearance until they too should seal their 
own destiny. The divine rebuke is upon that false sympathy 
for the sinner which endeavors to excuse his sin. It is the effect 
of sin to deaden the moral perceptions, so that the wrong-doer 
does not realize the enormity of transgression; and without the 
convicting power of the Holy Spirit he remains in partial blind- 
ness to his sin. It is the duty of Christ's servants to show these 
erring ones their peril. Those who destroy the effect of the warn- 
ing, by blinding the eyes of sinners to the real character and results 
of sin, often Hatter themselves that they thus give evidence of their 
charity; hut they are working directly to oppose and hinder the 
work of God's Holy Spirit; they are lulling the sinner to rest on 
the brink of destruction; they are making themselves partakers in 
his guilt, and incurring a fearful responsibility for his impenitence. 
Many, many, have gone down to ruin as the result of this false and 
deceptive sympathy. 

Nadab and Abihu would never have committed that fatal sin, 
had they not first become partially intoxicated by the free use of 
wine. They understood that the most careful and solemn prepa- 
ration was necessary before presenting themselves in the sanctuary 
where the divine presence was manifested ; hut by intemperance 
they were disqualified for their holy office. Their minds became 

M'rov. 14 : 12. 'Lev. 1<» : 6, 7. .3. 


confused, and their moral perceptions dulled, so that they could 
not discern the difference between the sacred and the common. 
To Aaron and his surviving sons Avas given the warning : " Do not 
drink wine nor strong drink, thou, nor thy sons with thee, when 
ye go into the tabernacle of the congregation, lest ye die. It shall 
be a statute forever throughout your generations ; and that ye 
may put difference between holy and unholy, and between un- 
clean and clean ; and that ye may teach the children of Israel all 
the statutes which the Lord hath spoken." f The use of spirituous 
liquors has the effect to weaken the body, confuse the mind, and 
debase the morals. It prevents men from realizing the sacredness 
of holy things or the binding force of God's requirements. All 
who occupied positions of sacred responsibility were to be men of 
strict temperance, that their minds might be clear to discriminate 
between right and wrong, that they might possess firmness of prin- 
ciple, and wisdom to administer justice and to show mercy. 

The same obligation rests upon every- follower of Christ. The 
apostle Peter declares, "Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priest- 
hood, a holy nation, a peculiar people." 2 We are required by God 
to preserve every power in the best possible condition, that we 
may render acceptable service to our Creator. When intoxicants 
are used, the same effects will follow as in the case of those priests 
of Israel. The conscience will lose its sensibility to sin, and a 
process of hardening to iniquity will most certainly take place, 
till the common and the sacred will lose all difference of signifi- 
cance. How can we then meet the standard of the divine re- 
quirements? " Know ye not that your body is the temple of the 
Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are 
not your own ? for ye are bought with a price ; therefore glorify 
God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's." " Whether 
therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory 
of God." 3 To the church of Christ in all ages is addressed the 
solemn and fearful warning, " If any man defile the temple of 
( rod, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which 
temple ye are." 3 

J Lev. 10 : 9-11. ~\ Poter 2:9. 3 1 Cor. 6 : 19^ 20; 10 : 31 ; 3 : 17. 



Adam and Eve, at their creation, had a knowledge of the law 
of Godj they were acquainted with its claims upon them; its 
precepts were written upon their hearts. When man fell hy trans- 
gression, the law was not changed, but a remedial system was 
established to bring him hack to obedience. The promise of a 
Saviour was given, and sacrificial offerings pointing forward to the 
death of Christ as the great sin-offering were established. But had 
the law of Cod never been transgressed, there would have been no 
death, and no need of a Saviour; consequently there would have 
been no need of sacrifices. 

Adam taught his descendants the law of Cod, and it was 
handed down from father to son through successive generations. 
But notwithstanding the gracious provision for man's redemption, 
there were few who accepted it and rendered obedience. By 
transgression the world became so vile that it was necessary to 
cleanse it hy the flood from its corruption. The law was preserved 
by Noah and his family, and Noah taught his descendants the ten 
commandments. As men again departed from God, the Lord 
chose Abraham, of whom he declared, "Abraham obeyed my 
voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and 
my laws." ' To him was given the rite of circumcision, which was 
a sign that those who received it were; devoted to the service of 
God, — a pledge that they would remain separate from idolatry, 
and would obey the law of God. The failure of Abraham's de- 
scendants to keep this pledge, as shown in their disposition to 
form alliances with the heathen and adopt their practices, was the 
cause of their sojourn and bondage in Egypt. But in their inter- 
course with idolaters, and their forced submission to the Egyptians, 
the divine precepts became still further corrupted with the vile 
and cruel teachings of heathenism. Therefore when the Lord 

1 Gen. 26 : 5. 

| 363 ] 


brought them forth from Egypt, lie came down upon Sinai, en- 
shrouded in glory and surrounded by his angels, and in awful 
majesty spoke his law in the hearing of all the people. 

He did not even then trust his precepts to the memory of a 
people who were prone to forget his requirements, but wrote them 
upon tables of stone. He would remove from Israel all possibility 
of mingling heathen traditions with his holy precepts, or of con- 
founding his requirements with human ordinances or customs. 
But he did not stop with giving them the precepts of the deca- 
logue. The people had shown themselves so easily led astray, 
that he would leave no door of temptation unguarded. Moses was 
commanded to write, as God should bid him, judgments and laws 
giving minute instruction as to what was required. These direc- 
tions relating to the duty of the people to God, to one another, 
and to the stranger, were only the principles of the ten command- 
ments amplified and given in a specific manner, that none need 
err. They were designed to guard the sacredness of the ten pre- 
cepts engraved on the tables of stone. 

If man had kept the law of God, as given to Adam after his 
fall, preserved by Noah, and observed by Abraham, there would 
have been no necessity for the ordinance of circumcision. And if 
the descendants of Abraham had kept the covenant, of which cir- 
cumcision was a sign, they would never have been seduced into 
idolatry, nor would it have been necessary for them to suffer a life 
of bondage in Egypt ; they would have kept God's law in mind, 
and there would have been no necessity for it to be proclaimed 
from Sinai, or engraved upon the tables of stone. And had the 
people practiced the principles of the ten commandments, there 
would have been no need of the additional directions given to 

The sacrificial system, committed to Adam, was also perverted 
by his descendants. Superstition, idolatry, cruelty, and licentious- 
ness corrupted the simple and significant service that God had 
appointed. Through long intercourse with idolaters, the people of 
Israel had mingled many heathen customs with their worship; 
therefore the Lord gave them at Sinai definite instruction concern- 
ing the sacrificial service. After the completion of the tabernacle, 
he communicated with Moses from the cloud of glory above the 
mercy-seat, and gave him full directions concerning the system 
of offerings, and the forms of worship to be maintained in the 


sanctuary. The ceremonial law was thus given to Moses, and 
by him written in a hook. But the law of ten commandments 
spoken from Sinai had been written by God himself on the tables 

of stone, and was sacredly preserved in the ark. 

There are many who try to hlend these two systems, using the 
texts that speak of the ceremonial law to prove that the moral law- 
has been aholished; hut this is a perversion of the Scriptures. 
The distinction hetween the two systems is broad and clear. The 
ceremonial system was made up of symbols pointing to Christ, 
to his sacrifice and his priesthood. This ritual law, with its 
sacrifices and ordinances, was to be performed by the Hebrews 
until type met antitype in the death of Christ, the Lamb of God 
that taketh away the sin of the world. Then all the sacrificial 
offerings were to cease. It is this law that Christ "took out of the 
way, nailing it to his cross." 1 But concerning the law of ten 
commandments the psalmist declares, " Forever, O Lord, thy word 
is settled in heaven." 2 And Christ himself says, "Think not 
that I am come to destroy the law. . . . Verily I say unto you," — 
making the assertion as emphatic as possible, — " Till heaven and 
earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, 
till all be fulfilled." 3 Here he teaches, not merely what the 
claims of God's law had been, and were then, but that these 
chums should hold as long as the heavens and the earth remain. 
The law of God is as immutable as his throne. It will maintain 
its claims upon mankind in all ages. 

Concerning the law proclaimed from Sinai, Nehemiah says. 
" Thou earnest down also upon Mount Sinai, and spakest with 
them from heaven, and gavest them right judgments, ami true laws, 
good statutes and commandments."* And Paul, "the apostle to the 
Gentiles," declares, "The law is holy, and the commandment 
holy, anil just, and good." 5 This can be no other than the deca- 
logue ; for it is the law that says, " Thou shalt not covet." 

While the Saviour's death brought to an end the law of types 
and shadows, it did not in the least detract from the obligation of 
the moral law. On the contrary, the very fact that it was necessary 
for Christ to die in order to atone for the transgression of that 
law, proves it to he immutable. 

Those who claim that Christ came to abrogate the law of God 

l Col. 2: 14. 2 ? s. 119 : 89. s Matt 5 : 17, 18. 

1 NCli. 9 : 13. 5 Rom. 7 : 12. 


and to do away with the Old Testament, speak of the Jewish age 
as one of darkness, and represent the religion of the Hebrews as 
consisting of mere forms and ceremonies. But this is an error. 
All through the pages of sacred history, where the dealings of God 
with his chosen people are recorded, there are burning traces of 
the great I AM. . Never has he given to the sons of men more 
open manifestations of his power and glory than when he alone 
was acknowledged as Israel's ruler, and gave the law to his people. 
Here was a scepter swayed by no human hand; and the stately 
goings forth of Israel's invisible King were unspeakably grand 
and awful. 

In all these revelations of the divine presence, the glory of 
God was manifested through Christ. Not alone at the Saviour's 
advent, but through all the ages after the fall and the promise 
of redemption, " God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto 
himself." ' Christ was the foundation and center of the sacri- 
ficial system in both the patriarchal- and- the Jewish age. Since 
the sin of our first parents, there has been no direct communica- 
tion between God and man. The Father has given the world into 
the hands of Christ, that through his mediatorial work he may 
redeem man, and vindicate the authority and holiness of the law 
of God. All the communion between heaven and the fallen race 
has been through Christ. It was the Son of God that gave to our 
first parents the promise of redemption. It was he who revealed 
himself to the patriarchs. Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, 
and Moses understood the gospel. They looked for salvation 
through man's Substitute and Surety. These holy men of old 
held communion with the Saviour who was to come to our 
world in human flesh; and some of them talked with Christ 
and heavenly angels face to face. 

Christ was not only the leader of the Hebrews in the wilder- 
ness, — the Angel in whom was the name of Jehovah, and who, 
vailed in the cloudy pillar, went before the host, — but it was 
lie who gave the law to Israel. 2 Amid the awful glory of Sinai, 
Christ declared in the hearing of all the people the ten precepts of 
his Father's law. It was he who gave to Moses the law engraved 
upon the tables of stone. 

It was Christ that spoke to his people through the prophets. 
The apostle Peter, writing to the Christian church, says that 

1 2 Cor. 5 : 19. 8 See Appendix, Note 10. 


the prophets "prophesied of the grace thai should come unto 
you, searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ 
which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the 
sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow." 1 [t is the 
voice of Christ that speaks to ua through the Old Testament. 
"The testimony of Jesua is the spirit of prophecy.'" 

In his teachings while personally among men, Jesus directed 
the minds of the people to the Old Testament. He said to the 
Jews. "Yesearch the Scriptures, because ye think that in them 
ye have eternal life; and these are they which hear witness of 
me." At this time the hooks of the < >ld Testament were the only 
part of the Bible in existence. Again the Son of God declared. 
"They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them." And 
he added, " If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will 
they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.' 1 ' 

The ceremonial law was given by Christ. Even after it was no 
longer to be observed, Paul presented it before the .lews in its 
true position and value, showing its place in the plan of redemp- 
tion and its relation to the work of Christ ; and the great apostle 
pronounces this law glorious, worthy of its divine Originator. 
The solemn service of the sanctuary typified the grand truths 
that were to he revealed through successive generations. The 
cloud of incense ascending with the prayers of Israel represents 
His righteousness that alone can make the sinner's prayer accepta- 
ble to God; the bleeding victim on the altar of sacrifice testified 
of a Redeemer to come; and from the holy of holies the visible 
token of the divine presence shone forth. Thus through age after 
age of darkness and apostasy, faith was kept alive in the hearts of 
men until the time came for the advent of the promised Messiah. 

Jesus was the light of his people, — the light of the world, — 
before he came to earth in the form of humanity. The first 
gleam of light that pierced the gloom in which sin had wrapped 
the world, came from Christ. And from him has come every 
ray of heaven's brightness that has fallen upon the inhabitants 
of the earth. In the plan of redemption, Christ is the Alpha and 
the Omega, — the First and the Last. 

Since the Saviour shed his blood for the remission of sins, and 
ascended to heaven " to appear in the presence of < rod for us," 5 light 

1 1 Peter 1 : 10, 11. *Rcv. 19 : 10. *John :> : 39, Rev. Ver. 

4 Luke 16 : 29, 31. 6 Heb. 9 : 24. 


has been streaming from the cross of Calvary and from the holy 
places of the sanctuary above. But the clearer light granted us, 
should not cause us to despise that which in earlier times was 
received through the types pointing to the coming Saviour. The 
gospel of Christ sheds light upon the Jewish economy, and gives 
significance to the ceremonial law. As new truths are revealed, 
and that which has been known from the beginning is brought 
into clearer light, the character and purposes of God are made 
manifest in his dealings with his chosen people. Every addi- 
tional ray of light that we receive gives us a clearer understand- 
ing of the plan of redemption, which is the working out of the 
divine will in the salvation of man. We see new beauty and 
force in the inspired word, and we study its pages with a deeper 
and more absorbing interest. 

The opinion is held by many that God placed a. separating 
wall between the Hebrews and the outside world ; that his care 
and love, withdrawn to a great extent from the rest of mankind, 
were centered upon Israel. But God did not design that his 
people should build up a wall of partition between themselves and 
their fellow-men. The heart of Infinite Love was reaching out 
toward all the inhabitants of the earth. Though they had rejected 
him, he was constantly seeking to reveal himself to them, and 
make them partakers of his love and grace. His blessing was 
granted to the chosen people, that they might bless others. 

God called Abraham, and prospered and honored him; and 
the patriarch's fidelity Avas a light to the people in all the countries 
of his sojourn. Abraham did not shut himself away from the 
people around him. He maintained friendly relations with the 
kings of the surrounding nations, by some of whom he was treated 
with great respect; and his integrity and unselfishness, his valor 
and benevolence, were representing the character of God. In 
Mesopotamia, in Canaan, in Egypt, and even to the inhabitants of 
Sodom, the God of heaven was revealed through his representative. 

So to the people of Egypt and of all the nations connected with 
that powerful kingdom, God manifested himself through Joseph. 
Why did the Lord choose to exalt Joseph so highly among the 
Egyptians? He might have provided some other way for the 
accomplishment of his purposes toward the children of Jacob; 
but he desired to make Joseph a light, and he placed him in the 
palace of the king, that the heavenly illumination might extend 


far and near. By his wisdom and justice, by the purity and 
benevolence of his daily life, by his devotion to the interests of 
the people, — and that peoples nation of idolaters, — Joseph was 
a representative of Christ. In their benefactor, to whom all Egypt 
turned with gratitude and praise, that heathen people were to be- 
hold the love of their Creator and Redeemer. So in Moses also, 
God placed a light beside the throne of the earth's greatest king- 
dom, that all who would, might learn of the true and living God. 
And all this light was given to the Egyptians hefore the hand of 
God was stretched out over them in judgments. 

In the deliverance of Israel from Egypt, a knowledge of the 
power of God spread far and wide. The warlike people of the 
stronghold of Jericho trembled. "As soon as we had heard these 
things," said Rahah, "our hearts did melt, neither did there re- 
main any more courage in any man, because of you ; for Jehovah 
your God, he is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath." 1 
Centuries after the exodus, the priests of the Philistines reminded 
their people of the plagues of Egypt, and warned them against 
resisting the God of Israel. 

God called Israel, and blessed and exalted them, not that by 
obedience to his law they alone might receive his favor, and 
become the exclusive recipients of his blessings, but in order to 
reveal himself through them to all the inhabitants of the earth. 
It was for the accomplishment of this very purpose that he com- 
manded them to keep themselves distinct from the idolatrous 
nations around them. 

Idolatry and all the sins that followed in its train were abhor- 
rent to God, and he commanded his people not to mingle with 
other nations, to " <h> after their vjorks"' and forget God. He for- 
bade their marriage with idolaters, lest their hearts should be led 
away from him. It was just as necessary then as it is now 
that God's people should be pure, "unspotted from the world." 
They must keep themselves free from its spirit, because it is 
opposed to truth and righteousness. But God did not intend 
that his people, in self-righteous exclusiveness, should shut them- 
selves away from the world, so that they could have no inilu- 
ence upon it. 

Like their Master, the followers of Christ in every age were to 
lie the light of the world. The Saviour said. " A city that, is set on 
Mosb. 2 : 11. 2 Ex. 'j:s : 24. 


a hill cannot he hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it 
under a bushel, but on a candlestick ; and it giveth light unto all 
that are in the house," — that is, in the world. And he adds, " Let 
your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, 
and glorify your Father which is in heaven." 1 This is just what 
Enoch, and Noah, Abraham^ Joseph, and Moses did. It is just 
what God designed that his people Israel should do. 

It was their own evil heart of unbelief, controlled by Satan, 
that led them to hide their light, instead of shedding it upon sur- 
rounding peoples ; it was that same bigoted spirit that caused 
them either to follow the iniquitous practices of the heathen, 
or to shut themselves away in proud exclusiveness, as if God's 
love and care were over them alone. 

As the Bible presents two laws, one changeless and eternal, the 
other provisional and temporary, so there are two covenants. The 
covenant of grace was first made with man in Eden, Avhen after 
the fall, there was given a divine promise that the seed of the 
woman should bruise the serpent's head. To all men this cove- 
nant offered pardon, and the assisting grace of God for future 
obedience through faith in Christ. It also promised them eternal 
life on condition of fidelity to God's law. Thus the patriarchs 
received the hope of salvation. 

This same covenant was renewed to Abraham in the promise, 
" In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed." 2 This 
promise pointed to Christ. So Abraham understood it, 3 and he 
trusted in Christ for the forgiveness of sins. It was this faith that 
was accounted unto him for righteousness. The covenant with 
Abraham also maintained the authority of God's law. The Lord 
appeared unto Abraham, and said, " I am the Almighty God ; walk 
before me, and be thou perfect." 4 The testimony of God concerning 
his faithful servant was, " Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my 
charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws." 5 And the 
Lord declared to him, " I will establish my covenant between 
me and thee, and thy seed after thee in their generations for 
an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed 
after thee." 5 

Though this covenant was made with Adam and renewed to 
Abraham, it could not be ratified until the death of Christ. It 

1 Matt. 5 : 14-16. 2 Gen. 22 : IS. »See Gal. 3 : S, 16. 

4 Gen. 17 : 1. 5 Gen. 2(1 : 5; 17 : 7. 


had existed by the promise of God since the first intimation 
of redemption had been given; it had been accepted by faith - 
vt t when ratified by Christ, it is called a new covenant. The 
law of God was the basis of this covenant, which was simply 
an arrangement for bringing men again into harmony with the 
divine will, placing them where they could ohey God's law. 

Another compact — called in Scripture the "old" covenant — 
was formed between God and Israel at Sinai, and was then ratified 
by the blood of a sacrifice. The Abrahamic covenant was ratified 
by the blood of Christ, and it is called the " second," or "new" 
covenant, because the blood by which it was sealed was shed after 
the blood of the first covenant. That the new covenant was valid 
in the days of Abraham, is evident from the fact that it was then 
confirmed both by the promise and by the oath of God, — the " two 
immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie." 1 

But if the Abrahamic covenant contained the promise of re- 
demption, why was another covenant formed at Sinai? — In their 
bondage the people had to a great extent lost the knowledge of 
God and of the principles of the Abrahamic covenant. In deliver- 
ing them from Egypt, God sought to reveal to them his power and 
his mercy, that they might be led to love and trust him. He 
brought them down to the Red Sea — where, pursued by the Egyp- 
tians, escape seemed impossible — that they might realize their utter 
helplessness, their need of divine aid; and then he wrought deliv- 
erance for them. Thus they were filled with love and gratitude 
to God, and with confidence in his power to help them. He had 
bound them to himself as their deliverer from temporal bondage. 

But there was a still greater truth to be impressed upon their 
minds. Living in the midst of idolatry and corruption, they had 
no true conception of the holiness of God, of the exceeding sinful- 
ness of their own hearts, their utter inability, in themselves, to 
render obedience to God's law, and their need of a Saviour. All 
this they must be taught. 

God brou'ht them to Sinai; he manifested his glory; he 
gave them his law, with the promise of great blessings on con- 
dition of obedience: "If ye will obey my voice indeed,. and keep 
my covenant, then ... ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, 
and a holy nation." 4 The people did not realize the sinfulness 
of their own hearts, and that without Christ it was impossible for 
l Heb. 6 : is. 2 Ex .19 : 5, 6. 24 


them to keep God's law ; and they readily entered into covenant 
with God. Feeling that they were able to establish their own 
righteousness, they declared, " Ail that the Lord hath said will we 
do, and be obedient." l They had witnessed the proclamation of 
the law in awful majesty, and had trembled with terror before the 
mount ; and yet only a few weeks passed before they broke their 
covenant with God, and bowed down to worship a graven image. 
They could not hope for the favor of God through a covenant 
which they had broken; and now, seeing their sinfulness and 
their need of pardon, they were brought to feel their need of the 
Saviour revealed in the Abrahamic covenant, and shadowed forth 
in the sacrificial offerings. Now by faith and love they were bound 
to God as their deliverer from the bondage of sin. Now they were 
prepared to appreciate the blessings of the new covenant. 

The terms of the " old covenant " were, Obey and live : " If a 
man do, he shall even live in them;" 8 but "cursed be he that 
confirmeth not all the words of this law to do them." 3 The " new 
covenant " was established upon " better promises," — the promise 
of forgiveness of sins, and of the grace of God to renew the heart, 
and bring it into harmony with the principles of God's law. 
" This shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of 
Israel : After those days, saith the Lord, i" will put my law in their 
inward parts, and write it in their hearts. ... I will forgive their 
iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more."* 

The same law that was engraved upon the tables of stone, is 
written by the Holy Spirit upon the tables of the heart. Instead 
of going about to establish our own righteousness, we accept the 
righteousness of Christ. His blood atones for our sins. His 
obedience is accepted for us. Then the heart renewed by the 
Holy Spirit will bring forth "the fruits of the Spirit." Through 
the grace of Christ we shall live in obedience to the law of God 
written upon our hearts. Having the Spirit of Christ, we shall wal k 
even as he walked. Through the prophet he declared of himself, 
" I delight to do thy will, O my God ; yea, thy law is within my 
heart." 5 And when among men he said, " The Father hath not left 
me alone; for I do always those things that please him." 5 

The apostle Paul clearly presents the relation between faith and 
the law under the new covenant. He says : " Being justified by faith, 

*Ex. 24 : 7. 2 Eze. 20 : 11 ; Lev. 18 : 5. 3 Deut. 27 : 26. 
*Jer. 31 : 33, 34. 5 Ps. 40 : S; Johu S : 29. 


vre have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." ■• Do 
we then make void the Law through faith? God forbid; yea, we 
establish the law." "For what the law could not do, in that it 

was weak through the flesh," — it could not justify man, because 
in his sinful nature he could not keep the law, — "God sending 
his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned 
sin in the flesh ; that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in 
us. who walk not after the flesh, hut after the Spirit." 1 

God's work is the same in all time, although there are different 
degrees of development, and different manifestations of his power, 
to meet the wants of men in the different ages. Beginning with the 
first gospel promise, and coming down through the patriarchal and 
Jewish airs, and even to the present time, there has been a gradual 
unfolding of the purposes of God in the plan of redemption. The 
Saviour typified in the rites and ceremonies of the Jewish law is 
the very same that is revealed in the gospel. The clouds that en- 
veloped his divine form have rolled back ; the mists and shades 
have disappeared ; and Jesus, the world's Redeemer, stands revealed.. 
He who proclaimed the law from Sinai, and delivered to Moses 
the precepts of the ritual law, is the same that spoke the sermon 
on the mount. The great principles of love to God, which he set 
forth as the foundation of the law and the prophets, are only a 
reiteration of what he had spoken through Moses to the Hebrew 
people: "Hear, Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord; and 
thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with 
all thy soul, and with all thy might." "Thou shalt love thy 
neighbor as thyself."- The teacher is the same in both dispen- 
sations. God's claims aic the same. The principles of his govern- 
ment are the same For all proceed from Him "with whom is 
no variableness, neither shadow of turning." 3 

1 Rom. 5:1; 3 : 31 ; S : 3, 4. ~ Deut. 6 : 4, 5; Lev. 19 : is. 

3 James 1:17. 




The building of the tabernacle was not begun for some time 
after Israel arrived at Sinai ; and the sacred structure was first set 
up at the opening of the second year from the exodus. This was 
followed by the consecration of the priests, the celebration of the 
Passover, the numbering of the people, and the completion of 
various arrangements essential to their civil or religious system, 
so that nearly a year was spent in the encampment at Sinai. 
Here their worship had taken more definite form, the laws had 
been given for the government of the nation, and a more efficient 
organization had been effected preparatory to their entrance into 
the land of Canaan. 

The government of Israel was characterized by the most thor- 
ough organization, wonderful alike for its completeness and its 
simplicity. The order so strikingly displayed in the perfection 
and arrangement of all God's created works was manifest in the 
Hebrew economy. God was the center of authority and govern- 
ment, the sovereign of Israel. Moses stood as their visible leader, 
by God's appointment, to administer the laws in his name. From 
the elders of the tribes a council of seventy was afterward chosen 
to assist Moses in the general affairs of the nation. Next came the 
priests, who consulted the Lord in the sanctuary. Chiefs, or prin- 
ces, ruled over the tribes. Under these were " captains over thou- 
sands, and captains over hundreds, and captains over fifties, and 
captains over tens ; " and, lastly, officers who might be employed 
for special duties. 1 

The Hebrew camp was arranged in exact order. It was sepa- 
rated into three great divisions, each having its appointed position 
in the encampment. In the center was the tabernacle, the abid- 
ing place of the invisible King. Around it were stationed the 

1 Deut. 1 : 15. 

FROM six A/ TO KADE8H, 375 

priests and Levites. Beyond these were encamped all the other 

t ri 1 >cs. 

To the Levites was committed the charge of the tabernacle and 
all that pertained thereto, both in the camp and on the journey. 
When the camp set forward, they were to strike the sacred tent; 
when a halting- place was readied, they were to set it up. No 
person of another tribe was allowed to come near, on pain of 
death. The Levites were separated into three divisions, the de- 
scendants of the three sons of Levi, and each was assigned its 
special position and work. In front of the tahernaele, and near- 
est to it, were the tents of Moses and Aaron. On the south were 
the Kohathites, whose duty it was to care for the ark and the other 
furniture; on the north the Merarites, who were placed in charge 
of the pillars, sockets, boards, etc.; in the rear the Gershonites, to 
whom the care of the curtains and hangings was committed. 

The position of each tribe also was specified. Each was to 
march and to encamp beside its own standard, as the Lord had 
commanded : " Every man of the children of Israel shall pitch by 
his own standard, with the ensign of their father's house. Far off 
about the tabernacle of the congregation shall they pitch." " As 
they encamp, so shall they set forward, every man in his place 
by their standards." 1 The mixed multitude that had accom- 
panied Israel from Egypt were not permitted to occupy the 
same quarters with the tribes, but were to abide upon the out- 
skirts of the camp ; and their offspring were to be excluded from 
the community until the third generation. 2 

Scrupulous cleanliness as well as strict order throughout the 
encampment and its environs was enjoined. Thorough sanitary 
regulations were enforced. Every person who was unclean from 
any cause was forbidden to enter the camp. These measures 
were indispensable to the preservation of health among so vast 
a multitude; and it was necessary also that perfect order and 
purity be maintained, that Israel might enjoy the presence of a 
holy God. Thus he declared : " The Lord thy God walketh in 
the midst of thy camp, to deliver thee, and to give up thine 
enemies before thee; therefore shall thy cam]) he holy." 

In all the journeyings of Israel, "the ark of the covenant of 
the Lord went before them, . . . to search out a resting place for 
i Num. 2 : 2, 17. 8 Deut. 2:\ : 7, 8. 


them." ! Borne by the sons of Kohath, the sacred chest contain- 
ing God's holy law was to lead the van. Before it went Moses and 
Aaron; and the priests, bearing silver trumpets, were stationed 
near. These priests received directions from Moses, which they 
communicated to the people by the trumpets. It was the duty 
of the leaders of each company to give definite directions concern- 
ing all the movements to be made, as indicated by the trumpets. 
Whoever neglected to comply with the directions given, was pun- 
ished with death. 

God is a God of order. Everything connected with heaven is 
in perfect order; subjection and thorough discipline mark the 
movements of the angelic host. Success can only attend order 
and harmonious action. God requires order and system in his 
work now no less than in the days of Israel. All who are work- 
ing for him are to labor intelligently, not in a careless, hap-hazard 
manner. He would have his work done with faith and exactness, 
that he may place the seal of his approval upon it. 

God himself directed the Israelites in all their travels. The 
place of their encampment was indicated by the descent of the 
pillar of cloud ; and so long as they were to remain in camp, the 
cloud rested over the tabernacle. When they were to continue 
their journey, it was lifted high above the sacred tent. A solemn 
invocation marked both the halt and the departure. " It came to 
pass, when the ark set forward, that Moses said, Rise up, Lord, and 
let thine enemies be scattered ; and let them that hate thee flee 
before thee. And when it rested, he said, Return, Lord, unto 
the many thousands of Israel." 2 

A distance of only eleven days' journey lay between Sinai and 
Kadesh, on the borders of Canaan ; and it was with the prospect 
of speedily entering the goodly land, that the hosts of Israel re- 
sumed their march, when the cloud at last gave the signal for an 
onward movement. Jehovah had wrought wonders in bringing 
them from Egypt, and what blessings might they not expect, now 
that they had formally covenanted to accept him as their sover- 
eign, and had been acknowledged as the chosen people of the 
Most High? 

Yet it was almost with reluctance that many left the place 
where they had so long encamped. They had come almost to 
regard it as their home. Within the shelter of those granite 
'Num. 10 : 33. a Num. 10 : 35, 36. 


walls. ( }< id hail gathered his people, apart from all other nations, 
to repeat to them his holy law. They loved to look upon the 

sacred mount, on whose hoary peaks and barren ridges the di- 
vine glory had bo often been displayed. The scene was so closely 
associated with the presence of Clod and holy angels that it 
seemed too sacred to be left thoughtlessly, or even gladly. 

At the signal from the trumpeters, however, the entire camp 
set forward, the tabernacle borne in the midst, and each tribe in 
its appointed position, under its own standard. All eyes were 
turned anxiously to see in what direction the cloud would lead. 
As it moved toward the east, where were only mountain masses 
huddled together, black and desolate, a feeling of sadness and 
doubt arose in many hearts. 

As they advanced, the way became more difficult. Their 
route lay through stony ravine and barren waste. All around 
them was the great wilderness, — "a land of deserts and of pits," 
"a land of drought, and of the shadow of death," "a land that no 
man passed through, and where no man dwelt."' The rocky 
gorges, far and near, were thronged with men, women, and chil- 
dren, with beasts and wagons, and long lines of Hocks and herds. 
Their progress was necessarily slow and toilsome; and the multi- 
tudes, after their long encampment, were not prepared to endure 
the perils and discomforts of the way. 

After three days' journey, open complaints were heard. These 
originated with the mixed multitude, many of whom were not 
fully united with Israel, and were continually watching for some 
cause of censure. The complainers were not pleased with the 
direction of the march, and they were continually finding fault 
with the way in which Moses was leading them, though they 
well knew that he, as well as they, was following the guiding 
cloud. Dissatisfaction is contagious, and it soon spread in the 

Again they began to clamor for flesh to eat. Though abun- 
dantly supplied with manna, they were not satisfied. The Israel- 
ites, during their bondage in Egypt, had been compelled to subsist 
On the plainest and simplest food; hut the keen appetite induced 
by privation and hard labor had made it palatable. Many of the 
Egyptians, however, who were now among them, had been accus- 
tomed to a luxurious diet; and these were the first to complain. 

iJcr. 2 : (i. 


At the giving of the manna, just before Israel reached Sinai, the 
Lord had granted them flesh in answer to their clamors ; but it 
was furnished them for only one day. 

God might as easily have provided them with flesh as with 
manna; but a restriction was placed upon them for their good. 
It was his purpose to supply them with food better suited to their 
wants than the feverish diet to which many had become accus- 
tomed in Egypt. The perverted appetite was to be brought into a 
more healthy state, that they might enjoy the food originally 
provided for man, — the fruits of the earth, which God gave to 
Adam and Eve in Eden. It was for this reason that the Israelites 
had been deprived in a great measure of animal food. 

Satan tempted them to regard this restriction as unjust and 
cruel. He caused them to lust after forbidden things, because he 
saw that the unrestrained indulgence jof appetite would tend to 
produce sensuality, and by this means the people could be more 
easily brought under his control. The author of disease and 
misery will assail men where he can have the greatest success. 
Through temptations addressed to the appetite he has, to a large 
extent, led men into sin from the time when he induced Eve to 
eat of the forbidden fruit. It was by this same means that he 
led Israel to murmur against God. Intemperance in eating and 
drinking, leading as it does to the indulgence of the lower pas- 
sions, prepares the way for men to disregard all moral obligations. 
"When assailed by temptation, they have little power of resistance. 

God brought the Israelites from Egypt, that he might establish 
them in the land of Canaan, a pure, holy, and happy people. In 
the accomplishment of this object he subjected them to a course of 
discipline, both for their own good and for the good of their 
posterity. Had they been willing to deny appetite, in obedience 
to his wise restrictions, feebleness and disease would have been 
unknown among them. Their descendants would have possessed 
both physical and mental strength. They would have had clear 
perceptions of truth and duty, keen discrimination, and sound 
judgment. But their unwillingness to submit to the restrictions 
and requirements of God, prevented them, to a great extent, from 
reaching the high standard which he desired them to attain, 
and from receiving the blessings which he was ready to bestow 
upon them. 

Says the psalmist: "They tempted God in their heart by 


asking meal for their lust. Yea. they spake against God; they 
said. Can God furnish a table in the wilderness? Behold, he 
smote the rock, that the waters gushed out, and the streams 
overflowed; can he give bread also? can lie provide flesh for his 
people? Therefore the Lord heard tins, and was wroth." 1 Mur- 
muring and tumults had hcen frequent during the journey from 
the Red Sea to Sinai, but in pity for their ignorance and blindness 
God had not then visited the sin with judgments. But since that 
time he had revealed himself to them at Horeb. They had 
received great light, as they had hcen witnesses to the majesty, the 
power, and the mercy of God; and their unbelief and discontent 
incurred the greater guilt. Furthermore, they had covenanted to 
accept Jehovah as their king, and to obey his authority. Their 
murmuring was now rebellion, and as such it must receive prompt 
and signal punishment, if Israel was to he preserved from anarchy 
and ruin. "The fire of Jehovah burnt among them, and con- 
sumed them that were in the uttermost parts of the camp." 2 
The most guilt} r of the complainers were slain by lightning from 
the cloud. 

The people in terror besought Moses to entreat the Lord for 
them. lie did so, and the fire Avas quenched. Jn memory of this 
judgment he called the name of the place Taberah, "a burning." 

But the evil was soon worse than before. Instead of leading 
the survivors to humiliation and repentance, this fearful judgment 
seemed only to increase their murmurings. In all directions the 
people were gathered at the door of their tents, weeping and 
lamenting. "The mixed multitude that was among them fell a 
lusting; and the children of Israel also wept again, and said, Who 
shall give us flesh to eat? We remember the fish which we did 
eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the 
leeks, and the onions, and the garlic; hut now our soul is dried 
away; there is nothing at all, besides this manna, before our 
eyes." Thus they manifested their discontent with the food pro- 
vided for them by their Creator. Yet they had constant evidence 
that it was adapted to their wants; for notwithstanding the hard- 
ships they endured, there was not a feeble one in all their tribes. 

The heart of Moses sunk. He had pleaded that Israel should 
not be destroyod, even though his own posterity might then 
become a great nation. In his love for them, he had prayed that 

i IV. rs : 18-21. 2 Sce Numbers 11. 


liis name might be blotted from the book of life rather than that 
they should be left to perish. He had imperiled all for them, and 
this was their response. All their hardships, even their imaginary 
sufferings, they charged upon him; and their wicked murmurings 
made doubly heavy the burden of care and responsibility under 
which he staggered. In his distress he was tempted even to 
distrust God. His prayer was almost a complaint. " Wherefore 
hast thou afflicted thy servant? and wherefore have I not found 
favor in thy sight, that thou layest the burden of all this people 
upon me ? . . . Whence should I have flesh to give unto all this 
people? for they weep unto me, saying, Give us flesh, that we 
may eat. I am not able to bear all this people alone, because it is 
too heavy for me." 

The Lord hearkened to his prayer, and directed him to sum- 
mon seventy men of the elders of Israel, — men not only advanced 
in years, but possessing dignity, sound judgment, and experience. 
" And bring them unto the tabernacle of the congregation," he 
said, "that they may stand there with thee. And I will come 
down and talk with thee there ; and I will take of the Spirit which 
is upon thee, and will put it upon them ; and they shall bear the 
burden of the people with thee, that thou bear it not thyself 

The Lord permitted Moses to choose for himself the most 
faithful and efficient men to share the responsibility with him. 
Their influence would assist in holding in check the violence of 
the people, and quelling insurrection; yet serious evils would 
eventually result from their promotion. They would never have 
been chosen had Moses manifested faith corresponding to the 
evidences he had witnessed of God's power and goodness. But he 
had magnified his own burdens and services, almost losing sight of 
the fact that he was only the instrument by which God had 
wrought. He was not excusable in indulging, in the slightest 
degree, the spirit of murmuring that was the curse of Israel. Had 
he relied fully upon God, the Lord would have guided him con- 
tinually, and would have given him strength for every emergency. 

Moses was directed to prepare the people for what God was 
about to do for them. "Sanctify yourselves against to-morrow, 
and ye shall eat flesh ; for ye have wept in the ears of the Lord, 
saying, Who shall give us flesh to eat? for it was well with us in 
Egypt; therefore the Lord will give you flesh, and ye shall eat. 


Ye shall not eat one day, nor two days, nor five days, neither ten 
• lay-, nor twenty days ; but even a whole month, until it come out 
at your nostrils, and it be loathsome unto you; because that ye 
have despised the Lord which is among you. and have wept before 
him, saying, Why came we forth out of Egypt?" 

'•The people among whom 1 am," exclaimed Moses, "are six 
hundred thousand footmen; and thou hast said, I will give them 
flesh, that they may eat a whole month. Shall the flocks and the 
herds he slain for them, to suffice them? or shall all the fish of 
the sea be gathered together for them? " 

He was reproved for his distrust: "Is the Lord's hand waxed 
>hort? Thou shalt see now whether my word shall come to pass 
unto thee or not." 

Moses repeated to the congregation the words of the Lord, and 
announced the appointment of the seventy elders. The great 
leader's charge to these chosen men might well serve as a model of 
judicial integrity for the judges and legislators of modern times: 
" Hear the causes between your brethren, and judge righteously 
between every man and his brother, and the stranger that is with 
him. Ye shall not respect persons in judgment; but ye shall hear 
the small as well as the great; ye shall not be afraid of the face of 
man ; for the judgment is God's." ' 

Moses now summoned the seventy to the tabernacle. " And 
the Lord came down in a cloud, and spake unto him, and took 
of the Spirit that was upon him, and gave it unto the seventy 
elders. And it came to pass, that, when the Spirit rested upon 
them, they prophesied, and did not cease." Like the disciples 
on the day of Pentecost, they were endued with " power from on 
high.' It pleased the Lord thus to prepare them for their w r ork 
ami to honor them in the presence of the congregation, that con- 
fidence might be established in them as men divinely chosen to 
unite with Moses in the government of Israel. 

Again evidence was given of the lofty, unselfish spirit of the 
great leader. Two of the seventy, humbly counting themselves 
unworthy of so responsible a position, had not joined their breth- 
ren at the tabernacle; but the Spirit of God came upon them 
where they were, and they too exercised the prophetic gift. On 
being informed of this. Joshua desired to check such irregularity, 
fearing that it might tend to division. Jealous for the honor of 
his master, "My lord Moses," he said, "forbid them." The an- 

'Deut. 1 : 16, 17. 


swer was, " Enviest thou for my sake ? Would God that all the 
Lord's people were prophets, and that the Lord would put his 
Spirit upon them." 

A strong wind blowing from the sea, now brought flocks of 
quails, " about a day's journey on this side, and a day's journey 
on the other side, round about the camp, and about two cubits 
above the face of the earth." ' All that day and night, and the 
following day, the people labored in gathering the food miracu- 
lously provided. Immense quantities were secured. " He that 
gathered least gathered ten homers." All that was not needed for 
present use was preserved by drying, so that the supply, as prom- 
ised, was sufficient for a whole month. 

God gave the people that which was not for their highest good, 
because they persisted in desiring it ; they would not be satisfied 
with those things that would prove a benefit to them. Their re- 
bellious desires were gratified, but they were left. to suffer the 
result. They feasted without restraint, and their excesses were 
speedily punished. " The Lord smote the people with a very 
great plague." Large numbers were cut down by burning fevers, 
while the most guilty among them were smitten as soon as they 
tasted the food for which they had lusted. 

At Hazeroth, the next encampment after leaving Taberah, a 
still more bitter trial awaited Moses. Aaron and Miriam had occu- 
pied a position of high honor and leadership in Israel. Both were 
endowed with the prophetic gift, and both had been divinely asso- 
ciated with Moses in the deliverance of the Hebrews. " I sent 
before thee Moses, Aaron, and Miriam," 2 are the words of the 
Lord by the prophet Micah. Miriam's force of character had 
been early displayed, when as a child she watched beside the 
Nile the little basket in which was hidden the infant Moses. 
Her self-control and tact God had made instrumental in pre- 
serving the deliverer of his people. Richly endowed with the 
gifts of poetry and music, Miriam had led the women of Israel 
in song and dance on the shore of the Red Sea. In the affections 
of the people and the honor of Heaven she stood second only to 
Moses and Aaron. But the same evil that first brought discord 
in heaven, sprung up in the heart of this woman of Israel, and she 
did not fail to find a sympathizer in her dissatisfaction. 

In the appointment of the seventy elders, Miriam and Aaron 
'Num. 11 : 31, Rev. Ver. 2 Micah 6 : 4. 


had not been consulted, and their jealousy was excited against 

.Mo-cs. At the time of Jethro's visit, while the Israelites were on 
the way to Sinai, the ready acceptance by Moses of the counsel 
of his father-in-law had aroused in Aaron and Miriam a fear that 
his influence with the great leader exceeded theirs. In the organ- 
ization of the council of elders they felt that their position and 
authority had been ignored. Miriam and Aaron had never known 
the weight of care and responsibility which had rested upon Moses; 
yet because they had been chosen to aid him they regarded them- 
selves as sharing equally with him the burden of leadership, and 
they regarded the appointment of further assistants as uncalled for. 

Moses felt the importance of the great work committed to him 
as no other man had ever felt it. He realized his own weakness, 
and he made God his counselor. Aaron esteemed himself more 
highly, and trusted less in God. He had failed when intrusted 
with responsibility, giving evidence of the weakness of his char- 
acter by his base compliance in the matter of the idolatrous 
worship at Sinai. But Miriam and Aaron, blinded by jealousy 
and ambition, lost sight of this. Aaron had been highly honored 
by God in the appointment of his family to the sacred office of 
the priesthood ; yet even this now added to the desire for self- 
exaltation. " And they said, Hath the Lord indeed spoken only 
by Moses ? Hath he not spoken also by us ? " l Regarding them- 
selves as equally favored by God, they felt that they were entitled 
to the same position and authority. 

Yielding to the spirit of dissatisfaction, Miriam found cause 
of complaint in events that God had especially overruled. The 
marriage of Moses had been displeasing to her. That he should 
choose a woman of another nation, instead of taking a wife from 
among the Hebrews, was an offense to her family and national 
pride. Zipporah was treated with ill-disguised contempt. 

Though called a " Cushite woman,"- the wife of Moses was 
a Midianite, and thus a descendant of Abraham. In personal 
appearance she differed from the Hebrews in being of a some- 
what darker complexion. Though not an Israelite. Zipporah was 
a worshiper of the true God. She was of a timid, retiring dis- 
position, gentle and affectionate, and greatly distressed at the 
sight of suffering; and it was for this reason that Moses, when 
on the way to Egypt, had consented to her return to Midian. 

•See Numbers 12. 2 Num. 12 : 1, Rev. Ver. 


He desired to spare her the pain of witnessing the judgments 
that were to fall on the Egyptians. 

When Zipporah rejoined her husband in the wilderness, she 
saw that his burdens were wearing away his strength, and she 
made known her fears to Jethro, who suggested measures for his 
relief. Here was the chief reason for Miriam's antipathy to 
Zipporah. Smarting under the supposed neglect shown to her- 
self and Aaron, she regarded the wife of Moses as the cause, 
concluding that her influence had prevented him from taking 
them into his counsels as formerly. Had Aaron stood up firmly 
for the right, he might have checked the evil ; but instead of 
showing Miriam the sinfulness of her conduct, he sympathized 
with her, listened to her words of complaint, and thus came to 
share her jealousy. 

Their accusations were borne by Moses in uncomplaining silence. 
It was the experience gained during the years of toil and waiting 
in Midian, — the spirit of humility and long-suffering there devel- 
oped, — that prepared Moses to meet with patience the unbelief and 
murmuring of the people, and the pride and envy of those who 
should have been his unswerving helpers. Moses " was very meek, 
above all the men w T hich were upon the face of the earth," and 
this is why he was granted divine wisdom and guidance above all 
others. Says the Scripture, " The meek will he guide in judgment, 
and the meek will he teach his way." l The meek are guided by 
the Lord, because they are teachable, willing to be instructed. 
They have a sincere desire to know and to do the will of God. 
The Saviour's promise is, " If any man will do his will, he shall 
know of the doctrine." 2 And he declares by the apostle James, 
" If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to 
all men liberally, and upbraideth not, and it shall be given him." 3 
But his promise is only to those who are willing to follow the 
Lord wholly. God does not force the will of any ; hence he can- 
not lead those who are too proud to be taught, who are bent upon 
having their own way. Of the double-minded man — he who 
seeks to follow his own will, while professing to do the will of 
God — it is written, "Let not that man think that he shall re- 
ceive anything of the Lord." 3 

God had chosen Moses, and had put his Spirit upon him ; and 
Miriam and Aaron, by their murmurings, were guilty of disloyalty, 

x Ps. 25 : 9. 2 John 7:17. 3 James 1 : 5, 7. 


not only to their appointed leader, l»ut to God himself. The sedi- 
tious whisperers were summoned to the tabernacle, and brought face 
to face with Moses. " And Jehovah came down in the pillar of the 
cloud, and stood in the door of the tabernacle, and called Aaron 
and Miriam." Their claim to the prophetic gift was not denied; 
God might have spoken to them in visions and dreams. But to 
Moses, whom the Lord himself declared "faithful in all mine 
house," a nearer communion had been granted. With him God 
spake mouth to mouth. ''Wherefore then were ye not afraid to 
speak against my servant Moses? And the anger of the Lord was 
kindled against them, and lie departed." The cloud disappeared 
from the tabernacle in token of God's displeasure, and Miriam was 
smitten. She " hecame leprous, white as snow." Aaron was spared, 
but he was severely rebuked in Miriam's punishment. Now, their 
pride humbled in the dust, Aaron confessed their sin, and en- 
treated that his sister might not he left to perish by that loath- 
some and deadly scourge. In answer to the prayers of Moses, the 
leprosy was cleansed. Miriam was, however, shut out of the camp 
for seven days. Not until she was banished from the encampment 
did the symbol of God's favor again rest upon the tabernacle. In 
respect for her high position, and in grief at the blow that had fal- 
len upon her, the whole company abode in Hazeroth, awaiting her 

This manifestation of the Lord's displeasure was designed to be 
a warning to all Israel, to check the growing spirit of discontent 
and insubordination. If Miriam's envy and dissatisfaction had 
not been signally rebuked, it would have resulted in great evil. 
Envy is one of the most satanic traits that can exist in the human 
heart, and it is one of the most baleful in its effects. Says the wise 
man. " Wrath is cruel, and anger is outrageous; hut who is able to 
stand before envy?" 1 It was envy that tirst caused discord in 
heaven, and its indulgence has wrought untold evil among men. 
•" Where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil 
work." 2 

It should not he regarded as a light thing to speak evil of 
others, or to make ourselves judges of their motives or actions. 
k 'lle that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, 
speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law; hut if thou judge 
the law, thou art not a doer of the law, hut a judge." There is 
^rov. 27 : 4. 2 James 3 : 16. 



but one judge, — He "who both will bring to light the hidden 
things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the 
hearts." ' And whoever takes it upon himself to judge and con- 
demn his fellow-men is usurping the prerogative of the Creator. 

The Bible, specially teaches us to beware of lightly bringing 
accusation against those whom God has called to act as his ambas- 
sadors. The apostle Peter, describing a class who are abandoned 
sinners, says, " Presumptuous are they, self-willed, they are not 
afraid to speak evil of dignities. Whereas angels, which are 
greater in power and might, bring not railing accusation against 
them before the Lord." 2 And Paul, in his instruction for those 
who are placed over the church, says, " Against an elder receive 
not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses." 3 He who has 
placed upon men the heavy responsibility of leaders and teachers 
of his people, will hold the people accountable for the manner in 
which they treat his servants. We are to honor those whom God 
has honored. The judgment visited upon Miriam should be a 
rebuke to all who yield to jealousy, and murmur against those 
upon whom God lays the burden of his work. 

1 James 4 : 11 ; 1 Cor. 4:5. 2 2 Peter 2 : 10, 11. 3 1 Tim. 5 : 19. 


■&f-&3 -CZ> 



Eleven days alter leaving Mount Horeb, the Hebrew host 
encamped at Kadesh, in the wilderness of Paran, which was not 
far from the borders of the promised land. Here it was proposed 
by the people that spies be sent up to survey the country. The 
matter was presented before the Lord by Moses, and permission 
was granted, with the direction that one of the rulers of each tribe 
should be selected for this purpose. The men were chosen as had 
been directed, and Moses bade them go and see the country, what 
it was, its situation and natural advantages; and the people that 
dwelt therein, whether they were strong or weak, few or many ; 
also to observe the nature, of the soil and its productiveness, and to 
bring of the fruit of the land. 

They went, and surveyed the whole land, entering at the 
southern border, and proceeding to the northern extremity. They 
returned after an absence of forty days. The people of Israel were 
cherishing high hopes, and were waiting in eager expectancy. 
The news of the spies' return was carried from tribe to tribe, and 
was hailed with rejoicing. The people rushed out to meet the 
messengers, who had safely escaped the dangers of their perilous 
undertaking. The spies brought specimens of the fruit, showing 
the fertility of the soil. It was in the time of ripe grapes, and 
they brought a cluster of grapes so large that it was carried be- 
tween two men. They also brought of the figs and pomegranates 
which grew there in abundance. 

The people rejoiced that they were to come into possession of 
so goodly a land, and they listened intently as the report was 
brought to Moses, that not a word should escape them. "We 
came unto the land whither thou sentest us," the spies began, 
" and surely it floweth with milk and honey ; and this is the fruit 
of it." ' The people were enthusiastic ; they would eagerly obey 

1 Num. 13 : 17-33; chapter 14. 

1387] 25 


the voice of the Lord, and go up at once to possess the land. But 
after describing the beauty and fertility of the land, all but two of 
the spies enlarged upon the difficulties and dangers that lay before 
the Israelites should they undertake the conquest of Canaan. 
They enumerated the powerful nations located in various parts of 
the country, and said that the cities were walled and very great, 
and the people who dwelt therein were strong, and it would be 
impossible to conquer them. They also stated that they had seen 
giants, the sons of Anak, there, and it was useless to think of pos- 
sessing the land. 

Now the scene changed. Hope and courage gave place to 
cowardly despair, as the spies uttered the sentiments of their un- 
believing hearts, which were filled with discouragement prompted 
by Satan. Their unbelief cast a gloomy shadow over the congre- 
gation, and the mighty power of God, so often manifested in 
behalf of the chosen nation, was forgotten. The people did not 
wait to reflect; they did not reason that He who had brought 
them thus far would certainly give. them the land; they did not 
call to mind how wonderfully God had delivered them from their 
oppressors, cutting a path through the sea, and destroying the pur- 
suing hosts of Pharaoh. They left God out of the question, and 
acted as though they must depend solely on the power of arms. 

In their unbelief they limited the power of God, and distrusted 
the hand that had hitherto safely guided them. And they re- 
peated their former error of murmuring against Moses and Aaron. 
" This, then, is the end of all our high hoj>es," they said. " This 
is the land we have traveled all the way from Egypt to possess." 
They accused their leaders of deceiving the people and bringing 
trouble upon Israel. " 

The people were desperate in their disappointment and despair. 
A wail of agony arose, and mingled with the confused murmur of 
voices. Caleb comprehended the situation, and bold to stand in 
defense of the word of God, he did all in his power to counteract 
the evil influence of his unfaithful associates. For an instant the 
people were stilled to listen to his words of hope and courage 
resjjecting the goodly land. He did not contradict what had 
already been said ; the walls were high, and the Canaanites strong. 
But God had promised the land to Israel. " Let us go up at once, 
and possess it," urged Caleb ; " for we are well able to overcome it." 

But the ten, interrupting him, pictured the obstacles in darker 
colors than at first. " We be not able to go up against the people," 


they declared ; " for they are stronger than we. . . . All the people 
that we saw in it are men of a great stature. And there we saw 
the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants; and we 
were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so Ave were in their 

These men, having entered upon a wrong course, stuhhornly 
set themselves against Caleb and Joshua, against Moses, and 
against God. Every advance step rendered them the more deter- 
mined. They were resolved to discourage all effort to gain posses- 
sion of Canaan. They distorted the truth in order to sustain their 
baleful influence. "It is a land that eateth up the inhabitants 
thereof," they said. This was not only an evil report, hut it was 
also a lying one. It was inconsistent with itself. The spies had 
declared the country to be fruitful and prosperous, and the people 
of giant stature, all of which would be impossible if the climate 
were so unhealthful that the land could be said to "eat up the 
inhabitants." But when men yield their hearts to unbelief, they 
place themselves under the control of Satan, and none can tell to 
what lengths he will lead them. 

" And all the congregation lifted up their voice, and cried ; and 
the people wept that night." Revolt and open mutiny quickly 
followed ; for Satan had full sway, and the people seemed bereft 
of reason. They cursed Moses and Aaron, forgetting that God 
hearkened to their wicked speeches, and that, enshrouded in the 
cloudy pillar, the Angel of his presence was witnessing their terri- 
ble outburst of wrath. In bitterness they cried out, " Would God 
that we had died in the land of Egypt! or would God we had 
• lied in this wilderness ! " Then their feelings rose against God: 
"Wherefore hath the Lord brought us unto this land, to fall by 
the sword, that our wives and our children should be a prey? 
Were it not better for us to return into Egypt? And they said 
one to another, Let us make a captain, and let us return into 
Egypt." Thus they accused not only Moses, but God himself, of 
deception, in promising them a land which they were not able to 
possess. And they went so far as to appoint a captain to lead 
them back to the land of their suffering and bondage, from which 
they had been delivered by the strong arm of Omnipotence. 

In humiliation and distress, " Moses and Aaron fell on their 
faces before all the assembly of the congregation of the children of 
Israel," not knowing what to do to turn them from their rash and 
passionate purpose. Caleb and Joshua attempted to quiet the 


tumult. With their garments rent in token of grief and indig- 
nation, they rushed in among the people, and their ringing voices 
were heard above the tempest of lamentation and rebellious grief: 
" The land, which we passed through to search it, is an exceeding 
good land. If the Lord delight in us, then he will bring us into 
this land, and give it us; a land which floweth with milk and 
honey ; only rebel not ye against the Lord, neither fear ye the 
people of the land ; for they are bread for us. Their defense is 
departed from them, and the Lord is with us. Fear them not." 

The Canaanites had filled up the measure of their iniquity, 
and the Lord would no longer bear with them. His protection 
being removed, they would be an easy prey. By the covenant 
of God, the land was insured to Israel. But the false report of 
the unfaithful spies was accepted, and through it the whole con- 
gregation were deluded. The traitors had done their work. If 
only the two men had brought the evil report, and all the ten had 
encouraged them to possess the land in the name of the Lord, they 
would still have taken the advice of the two in preference to the 
ten, because of their wicked unbelief. But there were only two 
advocating the right, while ten were on the side of rebellion. 

The unfaithful spies were loud in denunciation of Caleb and 
Joshua, and the cry was raised to stone them. The insane mob 
seized missiles with which to slay those faithful men. They 
rushed forward with yells of madness, when suddenly the stones 
dropped from their hands, a hush fell upon them, and they shook 
with fear. God had interposed to check their murderous design. 
The glory of his presence, like a flaming light, illuminated the 
tabernacle. All the people beheld the signal of the Lord. A 
mightier one than they had revealed himself, and none dared con- 
tinue their resistance. The spies who brought the evil report, 
crouched terror-stricken, and with bated breath sought their tents. 

Moses now arose, and entered the tabernacle. The Lord de- 
clared to him, " I will smite them with the pestilence, and disin- 
herit them, and will make of thee a greater nation." But again 
Moses pleaded for his people. He could not consent to have them 
destroyed, and himself made a mightier nation. Appealing to the 
mercy of God, he said : " I beseech thee, let the power of my Lord 
be great, according as thou hast spoken, saying, The Lord is long- 
suffering, and of great mercy. . . . Pardon, I beseech thee, the 
iniquity of this people according unto the greatness of thy mercy, 


and as thou hast forgiven this people, from Egypl even until now." 
The Lnnl promised to spare Israel from immediate destruc- 
tion; but because of their unbelief and cowardice he could not 
manifest his power to Bubdue their enemies. Therefore in his 

mercy he bade them, as the only safe course, to turn hack toward 
the Red Sea. 

In their rebellion the people had exclaimed, "Would (rod we 
had died in this wilderness! " Now this prayer was to be granted. 
The Lord declared ; " As ye have spoken in mine ears, so will I do 
to you: your carcasses shall fall in this wilderness ; and all that 
were numbered of you, according to your whole number, from 
twenty years old and upward. . . . But your little ones, which 
ye said should he a prey, them will I bring in, and they shall 
know the land which ye have despised." And of Caleb he said, 
•• My servant Caleb, because he had another spirit with him, 
and hath followed me fully, him will I bring into the land where- 
into he went; and his seed shall possess it." As the spies had 
spent forty days in their journey, so the hosts of Israel were to 
wander in the wilderness forty years. 

When Moses made known to the people the divine decision, 
their rage was changed to mourning. They knew that their pun- 
ishment was just. The ten unfaithful spies, divinely smitten hy 
the plague, perished hefore the eyes of all Israel ; and in their fate 
the people read their own doom. 

Now they seemed sincerely to repent of their sinful conduct: 
but they sorrowed because of the result of their evil course, rather 
than from a sense of their ingratitude and disobedience. When 
they found that the Lord did not relent in his decree, their self- 
will again arose, and they declared that they would not return 
into the wilderness. In commanding them to retire from the 
land of their enemies, God tested their apparent submission, and 
proved that it was not real. They knew that they had deeply 
sinned in allowing their rash feelings to control them, and in 
seeking to slay the spies who had urged them to obey God; but 
they were only terrified to find that they had made a fearful 
mistake, the consequences of which would prove disastrous to 
themselves. Their hearts were unchanged, and they only needed 
an excuse to occasion a similar outhreak. This presented itself 
when Moses, by the authority of God, commanded them to go 
back into the wilderness. 


The decree that Israel was not to enter Canaan for forty years 
was a bitter disappointment to Moses and Aaron, Caleb and 
Joshua; yet without a murmur they accepted the divine decis- 
ion. But those who had been complaining of God's dealings 
with them, and declaring that they would return to Egypt, wept 
and mourned greatly when the blessings which they had despised 
were taken from them. They had complained at nothing, and 
now God gave them cause to weep. Had they mourned for their 
sin when it was faithfully laid before them, this sentence would 
not have been pronounced ; but they mourned for the judgment • 
their sorrow was not repentance, and could not secure a reversing 
of their sentence. 

The night was spent in lamentation; but with the morning 
came a hope. They resolved to redeem their cowardice. When 
God had bidden them go up and take the land, they had refused ; 
and now when he directed them to retreat, they were equally re- 
bellious. They determined to seize upon the land and possess 
it; it might be that God would accept their work, and change 
his purpose toward them. 

God had made it their privilege and their duty to enter the 
land at the time of his appointment; but through their willful 
neglect that permission had been withdrawn. Satan had gained 
his object in preventing them from entering Canaan; and now he 
urged them on to do the very thing, in the face of the divine pro- 
hibition, which they had refused to do when God required it. 
Thus the great deceiver gained the victory by leading them to 
rebellion the second time. They had distrusted the power of God 
to work with their efforts in gaining possession of Canaan ; yet 
now they presumed upon their own strength to accomplish the 
work independent of divine aid. " We have sinned against the 
Lord," they cried ; " we will go up and fight, according to all that 
the Lord our God commanded us." l So terribly blinded had they 
become by transgression. The Lord had never commanded them 
to "go up and fight." It was not his purpose that they should 
gain the land by warfare, but by strict obedience to his commands. 

Though their hearts were unchanged, the people had been 
brought to confess the sinfulness and folly of their rebellion at the 
report of the spies. They now saw the value of the blessing 
which they had so rashly cast away. They confessed that it was 
their own unbelief which had shut them out from Canaan. " We 

x Deut. 1 : 41. 


have sinned," they said, acknowledging that the fault was in 
themselves, and not in God, whom they had so wickedly charged 
with failing to fulfill his promises to them. Though their confes- 
sion did not spring from true repentance, it served to vindicate the 
justice of God in his dealings with them. 

The Lord still works in a similar manner to glorify his name 
by bringing men to acknowledge his justice. When those who 
profess to love him complain of his providence, despise his prom- 
ises, and, yielding to temptation, unite with evil angels to defeat 
the purposes of God, the Lord often so overrules circumstances as 
to bring these persons where, though they may have no real 
repentance, they will be convinced of their sin, and will be con- 
strained to acknowledge the wickedness of their course, and the jus- 
tice and goodness of God in his dealings with them. It is thus 
that God sets counter-agencies at work to make manifest the works 
of darkness. And though the spirit which prompted to the evil 
course is not radically changed, confessions are made that vindicate 
the honor of God, and justify his faithful reprovers, who have been 
opposed and misrepresented. Thus it will be when the wrath of 
God shall be finally poured out. When "the Lord cometh with 
ten thousands of his saints to execute judgment upon all," he will 
also " convince all that are ungodly among them of all their 
ungodly deeds." x Every sinner will be brought to see and ac- 
knowledge the justice of his condemnation. 

Regardless of the divine sentence, the Israelites prepared to 
undertake the conquest of Canaan. Equipped with armor and 
weapons of war, they were, in their own estimation, fully prepared 
for conflict ; but they were sadly deficient in the sight of God and 
his sorrowful servants. When, nearly forty years later, the Lord 
directed Israel to go up and take Jericho, he promised to go with 
them. The ark containing his law was borne before their armies. 
His appointed leaders were to direct their movements, under the 
divine supervision. With such guidance, no harm could come to 
them. But now, contrary to the command of God and the solemn 
prohibition of their leaders, without the ark, and without Moses, 
they went out to meet the armies of the enemy. 

The trumpet sounded an alarm, and Moses hastened after 
them with the warning, "Wherefore now do ye transgress the 
commandment of the Lord? But it shall not prosper. Go not 
up, for the Lord is not among you ; that ye be not smitten before 

»Jude 14, 15. 


your enemies. For the Amalekites and the Canaanites are there 
before you, and ye shall fall by the sword." ' 

The Canaanites had heard of the mysterious power that seemed 
to be guarding this people, and of the wonders wrought in their 
behalf; and they now summoned a strong force to repel the 
invaders. The attacking army had no leader. No prayer was 
offered that God would give them the victory. They set forth 
with the desperate purpose to reverse their fate or to die in battle. 
Though untrained in war, they were a vast multitude of armed 
men, and they hoped by a sudden and fierce assault to bear down 
all opposition. They presumptuously challenged the foe tjiat had 
not dared to attack them. 

The Canaanites had stationed themselves upon a rocky table- 
land reached only by difficult passes and a steep and dangerous 
ascent. The immense numbers of the Hebrews could only render 
their defeat more terrible. They slowly threaded the mountain 
paths, exposed to the deadly missiles of their enemies above. 
Massive rocks came thundering down, marking their path with 
the blood of the slain. Those who reached the summit, exhausted 
with their ascent, were fiercely repulsed, and driven back with 
great loss. The field of carnage was strewn with the bodies of the 
dead. The army of Israel was utterly defeated. Destruction and 
death was the result of that rebellious experiment. 

Forced to submission at last, the survivors " returned, and 
wept before the Lord; " but " the Lord would not hearken to their 
voice." 2 By their signal victory, the enemies of Israel, who had 
before awaited with trembling the approach of that mighty host, 
were inspired with confidence to resist them. All the reports they 
had heard concerning the marvelous things that God had wrought 
/or his people, they now regarded as false, and they felt that there 
was no cause for fear. That first defeat of Israel, by inspiring the 
Canaanites with courage and resolution, had greatly increased the 
difficulties of the conquest. Nothing remained for Israel but to 
fall back from the face of their victorious foes, into the wilderness, 
knowing that here must be the grave of a whole generation. 
1 Numbers 14 : 41-43. 2 Deut. 1 : 45. 



The judgments visited upon the Israelites served for a time to 
restrain their murmuring and insubordination, but the spirit of 
rebellion was still in the heart, and eventually brought forth the 
bitterest fruits. The former rebellions had been mere popular tu- 
mults, arising from the sudden impulse of the excited multitude; 
but now a deep-laid conspiracy was formed, the result of a deter- 
mined purpose to overthrow the authority of the leaders appointed 
by God himself. 

Korah, the leading spirit in this movement, was a Levite, of 
the family of Kohath, and a cousin of Moses ; he was a man of 
ability and influence. Though appointed to the service of the 
tabernacle, he had become dissatisfied with his position, and as- 
pired to the dignity of the priesthood. The bestowal upon Aaron 
and his house of the priestly office, which had formerly devolved 
upon the first-born son of every family, had given rise to jealousy 
and dissatisfaction, and for some time Korah had been secretly 
opposing the authority of Moses and Aaron, though he had not 
ventured upon any open act of rebellion. He finally conceived 
the bold design of overthrowing both the civil and the religious 
authority. He did not fail to find sympathizers. Close to the 
tents of Korah and the Kohathites, on the south side of the taber- 
nacle, was the encampment of the tribe of Reuben, the tents of 
Dathan and Abiram, two princes of this tribe, being near that of 
Korah. These princes readily joined in his ambitious schemes. 
Being descendants from the eldest son of Jacob, they claimed 
that the civil authority belonged to them, and they determined to 
divide with Korah the honors of the priesthood. 

The state of feeling among the people favored the designs of 
Korah. In the bitterness of their disappointment, their former 
doubts, jealousy, and hatred had returned, and again their com- 
plaints were directed against their patient leader. The Israelites 



were continually losing sight of the fact that they were under 
divine guidance. They forgot that the Angel of the covenant was 
their invisible leader, that, vailed by the cloudy pillar, the presence 
of Christ went before them, and that from him Moses received all 
his directions. 

They were unwilling to submit to the terrible sentence that 
they must all die in the wilderness, and hence they were ready 
to seize upon every pretext for believing that it was not God but 
Moses who was leading them, and who had pronounced their 
doom. The best efforts of the meekest man upon the earth could 
not quell the insubordination of this people ; and although the 
marks of God's displeasure at their former perverseness were still 
before them in their broken ranks and missing numbers, they did 
not take the lesson to heart. Again they were overcome by 

The humble shepherd's life of Moses had been far more peace- 
ful and happy than his present position as leader of that vast as- 
sembly of turbulent spirits. Yet Moses dared not choose. In 
place of a shepherd's crook a rod of power had been given him, 
which he could not lay down until God should release him. 

He who reads the secrets of all hearts had marked the pur- 
poses of Korah and his companions, and had given his people 
such warning and instruction as might have enabled them to es- 
cape the deception of these designing men. They had seen the 
judgment of God fall upon Miriam because of her jealousy and 
complaints against Moses. The Lord had declared that Moses was 
greater than a prophet. " With him will I speak mouth to mouth." 
" Wherefore, then," he added, " were ye not afraid to speak against 
my servant Moses ? " 1 These instructions were not intended for 
Aaron and Miriam alone, but for all Israel. 

Korah and his fellow-conspirators were men who had been 
favored with special manifestations of God's power and greatness. 
They were of the number who went up with Moses into the mount 
and beheld the divine glory. But since that time a change had 
come. A temptation, slight at first, had been harbored, and had 
strengthened as it was encouraged, until their minds were con- 
trolled by Satan, and they ventured upon their work of disaffec- 
tion. Professing great interest in the prosperity of the people, 
they first whispered their discontent to one another, and th^en to 
leading men of Israel. Their insinuations were so readily received 

x Num. 12 : 8. 


that they ventured still farther, and at last they really believed 
themselves to be actuated by zeal for God. 

They were successful in alienating two hundred and fifty 
princes, men of renown in the congregation. With these strong 
and influential supporters they felt confident of making a radi- 
cal change in the government, and greatly improving upon the 
administration of Moses and Aaron. 

Jealousy had given rise to envy, and envy to rebellion. They 
had discussed the question of the right of Moses to so great author- 
ity and honor, until they had come to regard him as occupying a 
very enviable position, which any of them could fill as well as he. 
And they deceived themselves and one another into thinking that 
Moses and Aaron had themselves assumed the positions they held. 
The discontented ones said that these leaders had exalted them- 
selves above the congregation of the Lord, in taking upon them 
the priesthood and government, but their house was not entitled 
to distinction above others in Israel; they were no more holy 
than the people, and it should be enough for them to be on a 
level with their brethren, who were equally favored with God's 
special presence and protection. 

The next work of the conspirators was with the people. To 
those who are in the wrong, and deserving of reproof, there is 
nothing more pleasing than to receive sympathy and praise. 
And thus Korah and his associates gained the attention and 
enlisted the support of the congregation. The charge that the 
nmrmurings of the people had brought upon them the wrath of 
God, was declared to be a mistake. They said that the congrega- 
tion were not at fault, since they desired nothing more than their 
rights; but that Moses was an overbearing ruler; that he had 
reproved the people as sinners, when they were a holy people, 
and the Lord was among them. 

Korah reviewed the history of their travels through the wilder- 
ness, where they had been brought into strait places, and many 
had perished because of their murmuring and disobedience. His 
hearers thought they saw clearly that their troubles might 
have been prevented if Moses had pursued a different course. 
They decided that all their disasters were chargeable to him, and 
that their exclusion from Canaan was in consequence of the mis- 
management of Moses and Aaron; that if Korah would be their 
leader, and would encourage them by dwelling upon their good 


deeds instead of reproving their sins, they would have a very 
peaceful, prosperous journey ; instead of wandering to and fro in 
the wilderness, they would proceed directly to the promised land. 

In this work of disaffection there was greater union and har- 
mony among the discordant elements of the congregation than had 
ever before existed. Korah's success with the people increased his 
confidence, and confirmed him in his belief that the usurpation of 
authority by Moses, if unchecked, would be fatal to the liberties 
of Israel; he also claimed that God had opened the matter to him, 
and had authorized him to make a change in the government be- 
fore it should be too late. But many were not ready to accept 
Korah's accusations against Moses. The memory of his patient, 
self-sacrificing labors came up before them, and conscience was dis- 
turbed. It was therefore necessary to assign some selfish motive 
for his deep interest for Israel ; and the old charge was reiterated, 
that he had led them out to perish in the wilderness, that he might 
seize upon their possessions. 

For a time this work was carried on secretly. As soon, how- 
ever, as the movement had gained sufficient strength to warrant 
an open rupture, Korah appeared at the head of the faction, and 
publicly accused Moses and Aaron of usurping authority which 
Korah and his associates were equally entitled to share. It was 
charged, further, that the people had been deprived of their 
liberty and independence. " Ye take too much upon you," said 
the conspirators, " seeing all the congregation are holy, every one 
of them, and the Lord is among them ; wherefore then lift ye up 
yourselves above the congregation of the Lord ? " 1 

Moses had not suspected this deep-laid plot, and when its 
terrible significance burst upon him, he fell upon his face in silent 
appeal to God. He arose sorrowful indeed, but calm and strong. 
Divine guidance had been granted him. " Even to-morrow," he 
said, " the Lord will show who are his, and who is holy ; and will 
cause him to come near unto him : even him whom he hath 
chosen will he cause to come near unto him." The test was to be 
deferred until the morrow, that all might have time for reflection. 
Then those who aspired to the priesthood were to come each with 
a censer, and offer incense at the tabernacle in the presence of the 
congregation. The law was very explicit that only those who had 
been ordained to the sacred office should minister in the sanctuary. 
And even the priests, Naclab and Abihu, had been destroyed for 

1 See Numbers 16. 


venturing to oiler " Btrange fire," in disregard of a divine command. 
Yet Moses challenged his accusers, if they dared enter upon so 
perilous an appeal, to refer the matter to God. 

Singling out Korah and his fellow-Levites, Moses said, '\Scem- 
eth it but a small thing unto you, that the God of Israel hatb 
separated you from the congregation of Israel, to bring you near to 
himself to do the service of the tabernacle of the Lord, and to 
stand before the congregation to minister unto them? And he 
hath brought thee near to him, and all thy brethren the sons oi 
Levi with thee; and seek ye the priesthood also? for which cause 
both thou and all thy company are gathered together against the 
Lord. And what is Aaron, that ye murmur against him ? *' 

Dathan and Abiram had not taken so hold a stand as had 
Korah; and Moses, hoping that they might have been drawn into 
the conspiracy without having become wholly corrupted, sum- 
moned them to appear before him, that he might hear their 
charges against him. But they would not come, and they inso- 
lently refused to acknowledge his authority. Their reply, uttered 
in the hearing of the congregation, was, "Is it a small thing that 
thou hast brought us up out of a land that floweth with milk and 
honey, to kill us in the wilderness, except thou make thyseli 
altogether a prince over us? Moreover thou hast not brought us 
into a land that floweth with milk and honey, or given us inherit- 
ance of fields and vineyards; wilt thou put out the eyes of these 
men ? We will not come up." 

Thus they applied to the scene of their bondage the very 
language in which the Lord had described the promised inherit- 
ance. They accused Moses of pretending to act under divine 
guidance, as a means of establishing his authority; ami they 
declared that they would no longer submit to be led about like 
blind men, now toward Canaan, and now toward the wilderness, 
a- besl suited his ambitious designs. Thus lie who had been as a 
tender father, a patient shepherd, was represented in the blackest 
character of a tyrant and usurper. The exclusion from Canaan, in 
punishment of their own sins, was charged upon him. 

It was evident that the sympathies of the people were with the 
disaffected party; hut Moses made no effort at self-vindication. 
He solemnly appealed to God, in the presence of the congregation, 
as a witness to the purity of his motives and the uprightness of his 
conduct, and implored him to he his judge. 


On the morrow, the two hundred and fifty princes, with Korah 
at their head, presented themselves, with their censers. They 
were brought into the court of the tabernacle, while the people 
gathered without, to await the result. It was not Moses who 
assembled the congregation to behold the defeat of Korah and his 
company, but the rebels, in their blind presumption, had called 
them together to witness their victory. A large part of the con- 
gregation openly sided with Korah, whose hopes were high of 
carrying his point against Aaron. 

As they were thus assembled before God, "the glory of the 
Lord appeared unto all the congregation." The divine warning 
was communicated to Moses and Aaron, " Separate yourselves 
from among this congregation, that I may consume them in a 
moment." But they fell upon their faces, with the prayer, " O 
God, the God of the spirits of all flesh, shall one man sin, and wilt 
thou be wroth with all the congregation? " 

Korah had withdrawn from the assembly, to join Dathan and 
Abiram, when Moses, accompanied by the seventy elders, went 
down with a last warning to the men who had refused to come to 
him. The multitudes followed, and before delivering his message, 
Moses, by divine direction, bade the people, " Depart, I pray you, 
from the tents of these wicked men, and touch nothing of theirs, 
lest ye be consumed in all their sins." The warning was obeyed, 
for an apprehension of impending judgment rested upon all. The 
chief rebels saw themselves abandoned by those whom they had 
deceived, but their hardihood was unshaken. They stood with 
their families in the door of their tents, as if in defiance of the 
divine warning. 

In the name of the God of Israel, Moses now declared, in the 
hearing of the congregation : " Hereby ye shall know that the Lord 
hath sent me to do all these works ; for I have not done them of 
mine own mind. If these men die the common death of all men, 
or if they be visited after the visitation of all men, then the Lord 
hath not sent me. But if the Lord make a new thing, and the 
earth open her mouth, and swallow them up, with all that apper- 
tain unto them, and they go down quick into the pit, then ye shall 
understand that these men have provoked the Lord." 

The eyes of all Israel were fixed upon Moses, as they stood, in 
terror and expectation, awaiting the event. As he ceased speak- 
ing, the solid earth parted, and the rebels went down alive into 


the pit, with all that pertained t<> them, and "they perished 
from among the congregation." The people fled, self-condemned 
as partakers in the sin. 

But the judgments were not ended. Fire flashing from the 
cloud consumed the two hundred and fifty princes who had 
offered incense. These men, not being the first in rebellion, were 
not destroyed with the chief conspirators. They were permitted 
to see their end, and to have an opportunity for repentance; hut 
their sympathies were with the rebels, and they shared their fate. 

When Moses was entreating Israel to flee from the coming de- 
struction, the divine judgment might even then have been stayed, 
if Korah and his company had repented and sought forgiveness. 
But their stubborn persistence sealed their doom. The entire con- 
gregation were sharers in their guilt, for all had, to a greater or less 
degree, sympathized with them. Yet God in his great mercy 
made a distinction between the leaders in rebellion and those 
whom they had led. The people who had permitted themselves 
to be deceived were still granted space for repentance. Over- 
whelming evidence had been given that they were wrong, and 
that Moses was right. The signal manifestation of God's power 
had removed all uncertainty. 

Jesus, the Angel who went before the Hebrews, sought to 
save them from destruction. Forgiveness was lingering for them. 
The judgment of God had come very near, and appealed to them 
to repent. A special, irresistible interference from heaven had ar- 
rested their rebellion. Now, if they would respond to the inter- 
position of God's providence, they might be saved. But while 
they fled from the judgments, through fear of destruction, their 
rebellion was not cured. They returned to their tents that night 
terrified, hut not repentant. 

They had been flattered by Korah and his company until they 
really believed themselves to be a very good people, and that they 
had been wronged and abused by Moses. Should they admit that 
Korah and his company were wrong, and Moses right, then they 
would be compelled to receive as the word of God the sentence 
that they must die in the wilderness. They were not willing to 
submit to this, and they tried to believe that Moses had deceived 
them. They had fondly cherished the hope that a new order of 
things was about to be established, in which praise would lie sub- 
stituted for reproof, and ease for anxiety and conflict. The men 


who had perished had spoken flattering words, and had professed 
great interest and love for them, and the people concluded that 
Korah and his companions must have been good men, and that 
Moses had by some means been the cause of their destruction. 

It is hardly possible for men to offer greater insult to God 
than to despise and reject the instrumentalities he would use for 
their salvation. The Israelites had not only done this, but had 
purposed to put both Moses and Aaron to death. Yet they did 
not realize the necessity of seeking pardon of God for their griev- 
ous sin. That night of probation was not passed in repentance 
and confession, but in devising some way to resist the evidences 
which showed them to be the greatest of sinners. They still 
cherished hatred of the men of God's appointment, and braced 
themselves to resist their authority. Satan was at hand to pervert 
their judgment, and lead them blindfold to destruction. 

All Israel had fled in alarm at the cry of the doomed sinners 
"*>*ho went down into the pit, for they said, " Lest the earth swallow 
us up also." " But on the morrow all the congregation of the 
children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron, 
saying, Ye have killed the people of the Lord." And they were 
about to proceed to violence against their faithful, self-sacrificing 

A manifestation of the divine glory was seen in the cloud above 
the tabernacle, and a voice from the cloud spoke to Moses and 
Aaron, " Get you up from among this congregation, that I may 
consume them as in a moment." 

The guilt of sin did not rest upon Moses, and hence he did not 
fear, and did not hasten away and leave the congregation to 
perish. Moses lingered, in this fearful crisis manifesting the true 
shepherd's interest for the flock of his care. He pleaded that the 
wrath of God might not utterly destroy the people of his choice. 
By his intercession he stayed the arm of vengeance, that a full end 
might not be made of disobedient, rebellious Israel. 

But the minister of wrath had gone forth ; the plague was do- 
ing its work of death. By his brother's direction, Aaron took a 
censer, and hastened into the midst of the congregation to " make 
an atonement for them." " And he stood between the dead and 
the living." As the smoke of the incense ascended, the prayers of 
Moses in the tabernacle went up to God; and the plague was 


staved ; but not until fourteen thousand of Israel lay dead, an 
evidence of the guilt of murmuring and rebellion. 

But further evidence was given that the priesthood had been 
established in the family of Aaron. By divine direction each 
tribe prepared a rod, and wrote upon it the name of the tribe. 
The name of Aaron was upon that of Levi. The rods were laid 
up in the tabernacle, " before the testimony." The blossoming of 
any rod was to be a token that the Lord had chosen that tribe tor 
the priesthood. On the morrow, " behold, the rod of Aaron for the 
house of Levi was budded, and brought forth buds, and bloomed 
blossoms, and yielded almonds." 1 It was shown to the people, 
and afterward laid up in the tabernacle as a witness to succeed- 
ing generations. This miracle effectually settled the question of 
the priesthood. 

It was now fully established that Moses and Aaron had spoken 
by divine authority; and the people were compelled to believe 
the unwelcome truth that they were to die in the wilderness. 
"Behold," they exclaimed, "we die, we perish, we all perish." 
They confessed that they had sinned in rebelling against their 
leaders, and that Korah and his company had suffered from the 
just judgment of God. 

In the rebellion of Korah is seen the working out, upon a nar- 
rower stage, of the same spirit that led to the rebellion of Satan 
in heaven. It was pride and ambition that prompted Lucifer to 
complain of the government of God, and to seek the overthrow 
of the order which had been established in heaven. Since his 
fall it has been his object to infuse the same spirit of envy and 
discontent, the same ambition for position and honor, into the 
minds of men. He thus worked upon the minds of Korah, 
Dathan, and Abiram, to arouse the desire for self-exaltation, and 
excite envy, distrust, and rebellion. Satan caused them to reject 
God as their leader, by rejecting the men of God's appointment. 
Yet while in their murmuring against .Moses and Aaron they 
blasphemed God, they were so deluded as to think themselves 
righteous, and to regard those who had faithfully reproved their 
sins as actuated by Satan. 

Do not the same evils still exist that lay at the foundation of 
Koran's ruin? Pride and ambition are wide-spread; ami when 
these are cherished, they open the door to envy, and a striving 

1 See Numbers 17. , 


for supremacy ; the soul is alienated from God, and unconsciously 
drawn into the ranks of Satan. Like Korah and his companions, 
many, even of the professed followers of Christ, are thinking, plan- 
ning, and working so eagerly for self-exaltation, that in order to 
gain the sympathy and support of the people, they are ready to 
pervert the truth, falsifying and misrepresenting the Lord's serv- 
ants, and even charging them with the hase and selfish motives 
that inspire their own hearts. By persistently reiterating false- 
hood, and that against all evidence, they at last come to believe 
it to he truth. While endeavoring to destroy the confidence of 
the people in the men of God's appointment, they really believe 
that they are engaged in a good work, verily doing God service. 

The Hebrews were not willing to submit to the directions and 
restrictions of the Lord. They were restless under restraint, and 
unwilling to receive reproof. This was the secret of their mur- 
muring against Moses. Had they been left free to do as they 
pleased, there would have been fewer complaints against their 
leader. All through the history of the church, God's servants 
have had the same spirit to meet. 

It is by sinful indulgence that men give Satan access to their 
minds, and they go from one stage of wickedness to another. The 
rejection of light darkens the mind and hardens the heart, so that 
it is easier for them to take the next step in sin, and to reject still 
clearer light, until at last their habits of wrong-doing become 
fixed. Sin ceases to appear sinful to them. He who faithfully 
preaches God's word, thereby condemning their sins, too often 
incurs their hatred. Unwilling to endure the pain and sacrifice 
necessary to reform, they turn upon the Lord's servant, and de- 
nounce his reproofs as uncalled for and severe. Like Korah, they 
declare that the people are not at fault; it is the reprover that 
causes all the trouble. And soothing their consciences with this 
deception, the jealous and disaffected combine to sow discord in 
the church, and weaken the hands of those who would build it up. 

Every advance made by those whom God has called to lead in 
his work, has excited suspicion ; every act has been misrepresented 
by the jealous and fault-finding. Thus it was in the time of 
Luther, of the Wesleys and other reformers. Thus it is to-day. 

Korah would not have taken the course he did, had he known 
that all the directions and reproofs communicated to Israel were 
from God. But he might have known this. God had given over- 


whelming evidence that lie was leading Israel. But Korah and his 
companions rejected light until they became so blinded that the 
most striking manifestations of his power were not sufficient to 
convince them; they attributed them all to human or satanic 
agency. The same thing was done by the people, who the day 
alter the destruction of Korah and his company came to Moses 
and Aaron, saying, "Ye have killed the people of the Lord." 
Notwithstanding they had had the most convincing evidence of 
God's displeasure at their course, in the destruction of the men 
who had deceived them, they dared to attribute his judgments to 
Satan, declaring that through the power of the evil one, Moses and 
Aaron had caused the death of good and holy men. It was this 
act that sealed their doom. They had committed the sin against 
the Holy Spirit, a sin by which man's heart is effectually hardened 
against the influence of divine grace. "Whosoever speaketh a 
word against the Son of man," said Christ, "it shall be forgiven 
him; but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not 
be forgiven him." 1 These words were spoken by our Saviour 
when the gracious works which he had performed through the 
power of God were attributed by the Jews to Beelzebub. It is 
through the agency of the Holy Spirit that God communicates 
with man ; and those who deliberately reject this agency as satanic, 
have cut off the channel of communication between the soul and 

God works by the manifestation of his Spirit to reprove and 
convict the sinner; and if the Spirit's work is finally rejected, 
there is no more that God can do for the soul. The last resource 
of divine mercy has been employed. The transgressor has cut 
himself off from God; and sin has no remedy to cure itself. 
There is no reserved power by which God can work to convict and 
convert the sinner. " Let him alone," z is the divine command. 
Then "there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, but a certain 
fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall 
devour the adversaries." 2 

1 Matt. 12 : 32. z Hosea 4 : 17; Heb. 10 : 26, 27. 



For nearly forty years the children of Israel are lost to view 
in the obscurity of the desert. " The space," says Moses, " in 
which we came from Kadesh-harnea, until we were come over the 
brook Zered, was thirty and eight years ; until all the generation 
of the men of war were wasted out from among the host, as the 
Lord sware unto them. For indeed the hand of the Lord was 
against them, to destroy them from among the host, until they 
were consumed." l 

During these years the people were constantly reminded that 
they were under the divine rebuke. In the rebellion at Kadesh 
they had rejected God ; and God had, for the time, rejected them. 
Since they had proved unfaithful to his covenant, they were not 
to receive the sign of the covenant, the rite of circumcision. Their 
desire to return to the land of slavery had shown them to be 
unworthy of freedom, and the ordinance of the Passover, instituted 
to commemorate the deliverance from bondage, was not to be 

Yet the continuance of the tabernacle service testified that God 
had not utterly forsaken his people. And his providence still sup- 
plied their wants. " The Lord thy God hath blessed thee in all 
the works of thy hand," said Moses, in rehearsing the history of 
their wanderings. " He knoweth thy walking through this great 
Avilderness ; these forty years the Lord thy God hath been with 
thee; thou hast lacked nothing." 2 And the Levites' hymn, re- 
corded by Nehemiah, vividly pictures God's care for Israel, even 
during these years of rejection and banishment: "Thou in thy 
manifold mercies forsookest them not in the wilderness ; the pillar 
of the cloud departed not from them by day, to lead them in the 
way ; neither the pillar of fire by night, to show them light, and 
the way wherein they should go. Thou gavest also thy good Spirit 

JDeut. 2 : 14, 15. ^Deut. 2 : 7. 


W 77777 WJLDBBNE88. 407 

to instinct them, and withheldest not thy manna from their mouth, 
and gavest them water for their thirst. Yea, forty years didst thou 
Bustain them in the wilderness. . . . Their clothes waxed not old, 
and their feet swelled not." ' 

The wilderness wandering was not only ordained as a judgment 
upon the rehels and murmurers, hut it was to serve as a discipline 
for the rising generation, preparatory to their entrance into the 
promised land. Moses declared to them, " As a man chasteneth 
his son, so the Lord thy God chasteneth thee, ; ' " to humble thee, 
and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou 
wouldst keep his commandments, or no. And he . . . suffered 
thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, 
neither did thy fathers know ; that he might make thee know that 
man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceed- 
eth out of the mouth of the Lord doth man live." 2 

" He found him in a desert land, and in the waste, howling 
wilderness ; he led him about, he instructed him, he kept him as 
the apple of his eye." " In all their affliction he was afflicted, and 
the Angel of his presence saved them ; in his love and in his pity 
he redeemed them ; and he bare them, and carried them all the 
days of old." 8 

Yet the only records of their wilderness life are instances of 
rebellion against the Lord. The revolt of Korah had resulted in 
the destruction of fourteen thousand of Israel. And there were 
isolated cases that showed the same spirit of contempt for the di- 
vine authority. 

On one occasion the son of an Israelitish woman and of an 
Egyptian, .one of the mixed multitude that had come up with 
Israel from Egypt, left his own part of the camp, and entering 
that of the Israelites, claimed the right to pitch his tent there. 
This the divine law forbade him to do, the descendants of an 
Egyptian being excluded from the congregation until the third 
generation. A dispute arose between him and an Israelite, and 
the matter being referred to the judges was decided against the 

Enraged at this decision, he cursed the judge, and in the heat 
of passion blasphemed the name of God. He was immediately 
brought before Moses. The command had been given, " He that 

»Neh. 9 : 19-21. B Dcut 8 : 5, 2, 3. 

3 Deut. 32 : 10 ; Isa. 03 : 9. 


curseth his father, or his mother, shall surely be put to death ; " l 
but no provision had been made to meet this case. So terrible 
was the crime that there was felt to be a necessity for special 
direction from God. The man was placed in ward until the will 
of the Lord could be ascertained. God himself pronounced the 
sentence ; by the divine direction the blasphemer was conducted 
outside the camp, and stoned to death. Those who had been 
witnesses to the sin placed their hands upon his head, thus sol- 
emnly testifying to the truth of the charge against him. Then 
they threw the first stones, and the people who stood by afterward 
joined in executing the sentence. 

This was followed by the announcement of a law to meet sim- 
ilar offenses : " Thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel, saying, 
Whosoever curseth his God shall bear his sin. And he that 
blasphemeth the name of the Lord, he shall surely be put to 
death, and all the congregation shall certainly stone him. As well 
the stranger, as he that is born in the land, when he blasphemeth 
the name of the Lord, shall be put to death." 2 

There are those who will question God's love and his justice in 
visiting so severe punishment for words spoken in the heat of 
passion. But both love and justice require it to be shown that 
utterances prompted by malice against God are a great sin. The 
retribution visited upon the first offender would be a warning to 
others, that God's name is to be held in reverence. But had this 
man's sin been permitted to pass unpunished, others would have 
been demoralized ; and as the result, many lives must eventually 
have been sacrificed. 

The mixed multitude that came up with the Israelites from 
Egypt were a source of continual temptation and trouble. They 
professed to have renounced idolatry, and to worship the true 
God; but their early education and training had moulded their 
habits and character, and they were more or less corrupted with 
idolatry and with irreverence for God. They were oftenest the 
ones to stir up strife, and were the first to complain, and they 
leavened the camp with their idolatrous practices and their mur- 
murings against God. 

Soon after the return into the wilderness, an instance of Sab- 
bath violation occurred, under circumstances that rendered it a 
case of peculiar guilt. The Lord's announcement that he would 
x Ex. 21 : 17. 2 Lrv. 24 : 15, 16. 


disinherit Israel, had roused a spirit of rebellion. One of the 
people, angry at being excluded from Canaan, and determined to 

show his defiance of God's law, ventured upon the open transgres- 
sion of the fourth commandment, by going out to gather sticks 
upon the Sabbath. During the sojourn in the wilderness, the 
kindling of fires upon the seventh day had been strictly prohib- 
ited. The prohibition was not to extend to the land of Canaan, 
where the severity of the climate would often render fires a neces- 
sity ; but in the wilderness, fire was not needed for warmth. The 
act of this man was a willful and deliberate violation of the fourth 
commandment, — a sin, not of thoughtlessness or ignorance, but of 

He was taken in the act, and brought before Moses. It had 
already been declared that Sabbath-breaking should be punished 
with death ; but it had not yet been revealed how the penalty was 
to be inflicted. The case was brought by Moses before the Lord, 
and the direction was given, " The man shall be surely put to 
death; all the congregation shall stone him with stones without 
the camp." L The sins of blasphemy and willful Sabbath-breaking 
received the same punishment, being equally an expression of 
contempt for the authority of God. 

In our day there are many who reject the creation Sabbath as 
a Jewish institution, and urge that if it is to be kept, the penalty 
of death must be inflicted for its violation; but we see that blas- 
phemy received the same punishment as did Sabbath-breaking. 
Shall we therefore conclude that the third commandment also is 
to be set aside as applicable only to the Jews? Yet the argument 
drawn from the death penalty applies to the third, the fifth, and 
indeed to nearly all the ten precepts, equally with the fourth. 
Though God may not now punish the transgression of his law with 
temporal penalties, yet his word declares that the wages of sin is 
death ; and in the final execution of the judgment it will be found 
that death is the portion of those who violate his sacred precepts. 

During the entire forty years in the wilderness, the people 
were every week reminded of the sacred obligation of the Sabbath, 
by the miracle of the manna. Yet even this did not lead them to 
obedience. Though they did not venture upon so open and bold 
transgression as had received such signal punishment, yet there 
was great laxness in the observance of the fourth commandment. 

'Num. 15 : 35. 


God declares through his prophet, "My Sabbaths they greatly 
polluted." 1 And this is enumerated among the reasons for the 
exclusion of the first generation from the promised land. Yet 
their children did not learn the lesson. Such was their neglect of 
the Sabbath during the forty years' wandering, that though God 
did not prevent them from entering Canaan, he declared that they 
should be scattered among the heathen after the settlement in the 
land of promise. 

From Kadesh the children of Israel had turned back into the 
wilderness; and the period of their desert sojourn being ended, 
they came, " even the whole congregation, into the desert of Zin in 
the first month; and the people abode in Kadesh." 2 

Here Miriam died and was buried. From that scene of rejoic- 
ing on the shores of the Red Sea, when Israel went forth with song 
and dance to celebrate Jehovah's triumph, to the wilderness grave 
which ended a life-long wandering, — such had been the fate of 
millions who with high hopes had come forth from Egypt. Sin 
had dashed from their lips the cup of blessing. Would the next 
generation learn the lesson ? 

" For all this they sinned still, and believed not for his won- 
drous works. . . . When he slew them, then they sought him; 
and they returned and inquired early after God. And they re- 
membered that God was their Rock, and the high God their 
Redeemer." 3 Yet they did not turn to God with a sincere pur- 
pose. Though when afflicted by their enemies they sought help 
from Him who alone could deliver, yet " their heart was not right 
with him, neither were they steadfast in his covenant. But he, 
being full of compassion, forgave their iniquity, and destroyed 
them not ; yea, many a time turned he his anger away. . . . For 
he remembered that they were but flesh, a wind that passeth 
away, and cometh not again." 3 

1 Eze. 20 : 13-24. * Num. 20:1. 3 Ps. 78 : 32-35, 37-39. 




From the smitten rock in Horeb first flowed the living stream 
that refreshed Israel in the desert. During all their wanderings, 
wherever the need existed, they were supplied with water by a 
miracle of God's merey. The water did not, however, continue 
to flow from Horeb. Wherever in their journeying they wanted 
water, there from the clefts of the rock it gushed out beside their 

It was Christ, by the power of his word, that caused the re- 
freshing stream to flow for Israel. "They drank of that spiritual 
Rock that followed them; and that Rock was Christ." 1 He was 
the source of all temporal as well as spiritual blessings. Christ, 
the true Rock, was with them in all their wanderings. " They 
thirsted not when he led them through the deserts; he caused 
the waters to flow out of the rock for them; he clave the rock 
also, and the waters gushed out." "They ran in the dry places 
like a river." 2 

The smitten rock was a figure of Christ, and through this 
symbol the most precious spiritual truths are taught. As the 
life-giving waters flowed from the smitten rock, so from Christ, 
''smitten of God," "wounded for our transgressions," "bruised for 
our iniquities,'" the stream of salvation flows for a lost race. As 
the rock had been once smitten, so Christ was to he " once offered 
to bear the sins of many." 4 Our Saviour was not to be sacrificed 
a second time; and it is only necessary for those who seek the 
blessings of his grace to ask in tho name of Jesus, pouring forth 
the heart's desire in penitential prayer. Such prayer will bring 
before the Lord of hosts the wounds of Jesus, and then will How 
forth afresh the life-giving blood, symbolized by the flowing of 
the living water for Israel. 

1 l Cor. 10 : 4. "■ Isa. 48 : '21 ; Pa. lor, : 41. 

»Isa. 53 : 4, 5. * Beb. : 28. 



The flowing of the water from the rock in the desert was 
celebrated by the Israelites, after their establishment in Canaan, 
with demonstrations of great rejoicing. In the time of Christ this 
celebration had become a most impressive ceremony. It took 
place on the occasion of the Feast of Tabernacles, when the peo- 
ple from all the land were assembled at Jerusalem. On each of 
the seven days 'of the feast the priests went out with music and 
the choir of Levites to draw water in a golden vessel from the 
spring of Siloam. They were followed by multitudes of the wor- 
shipers, as many as could get near the stream drinking of it, while 
the jubilant strains arose, " With joy shall ye draw water out of 
the wells of salvation." l Then the water drawn by the priests was 
borne to the temple amid the sounding of trumpets and the solemn 
chant, " Our feet shall stand within thy gates, O Jerusalem." The 
water was poured out upon the altar of burnt-offering, while songs 
of praise rung out, the multitudes joining in triumphant chorus 
with musical instruments and deep-toned trumpets. 

The Saviour made use of this symbolic service to direct the 
minds of the people to the blessings that he had come to bring 
them. " In the last day, that great day of the feast," his voice 
was heard in tones that rang through the temple courts, " If any 
man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth 
on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers 
of living water." " This," said John, " spake he of the Spirit, 
which they that believe on him should receive." 2 The refreshing 
water, welling up in a parched and barren land, causing the desert 
place to blossom, and flowing out to give life to the perishing, is 
an emblem of the divine grace which Christ alone can bestow, and 
which is as the living water, purifying, refreshing, and invigora- 
ting the soul. He in whom Christ is abiding has within him a 
never-failing fountain of grace and strength. Jesus cheers the life 
and brightens the path of all who truly seek him. His love, re- 
ceived into the heart, will spring up in good works unto eternal 
life. And not only does it bless the soul in which it springs, but 
the living stream will flow out in words and deeds of righteous- 
ness, to refresh the thirsting around him. 

The same figure Christ had employed in his conversation with 
the woman of Samaria at Jacob's well : " Whosoever drinketh of 
the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water 
J Isa. 12 : 3. 2 John 7 : 37-39. 


that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing 
up iuto everlasting life."' Christ combines the two types. He 
is the rock, he is the living water. 

The same heautit'ul and expressive figures arc carried through- 
out the Bible. Centuries before the advent of Christ, Moses pointed 
to him as the rock of Israel's salvation; 2 the psalmist sung of 
him as " my Redeemer," " the rock of my strength," " the rock that 
is higher than I," "a rock of habitation," "rock of my heart," 
"rock of my refuge." In David's song his grace is pictured also 
as the cool, "still waters," amid green pastures, beside which the 
heavenly Shepherd leads his flock. Again, "Thou shalt make 
them," he says, " drink of the river of thy pleasures. For with 
thee is the fountain of life." 3 And the wise man declares, "The 
wellspring of wisdom is as a flowing brook." 4 To Jeremiah, Christ 
is "the fountain of living waters;" to Zechariah, "a fountain 
opened . . . for sin and for uncleanness." 5 

Isaiah describes him as the "rock of ages," and "the shadow 
of a great rock in a weary land." 6 And he records the precious 
promise, bringing vividly to mind the living stream that flowed 
for Israel : " When the poor and needy seek water, and there is 
none, and their tongue faileth for thirst, I the Lord will hear them, 
I the God of Israel will not forsake them." " I will pour water 
upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground ; " " in 
the Avildcrness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert." 
The invitation is given, " Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to 
the waters." 7 And in the closing pages of the sacred word this 
invitation is echoed. The river of the water of life, " clear as 
crj'stal," proceeds from the throne of God and the Lamb; and 
the gracious call is ringing down through the ages, " Whosoever 
will, let him take the water of life freely." 8 

Just before the Hebrew host reached Kadesh, the living stream 
ceased that for so many years had gushed out beside their encamp- 
ment. It was the Lord's purpose again to test his people. He 
would prove whether they would trust his providence or imitate 
the unbelief of their fathers. 

They were now in sight of the hills of Canaan. A few days' 

Uohn 4 : 14. 2 Deut. 33 : 15. 

s Ps. 19 : 14; 62 : 7; 61 :2; 71 : 3 (margin) ; 73 :26; 94 : 22; 23 :2; 36 : 8, 9. 
*Prov. 18: 4. 8 Jer. 2 : 13; Zech. 13 : 1. «Isa. 26 : 4: 32 : 2. 
7 Isa. 41 : 17; 44 : 3; 35 : 6 ; 55 : 1. 8 Rev. 22 : 17. 


march would bring them to the borders of the promised land. 
They were but a little distance from Edom, which belonged to 
the descendants of Esau, and through which lay the appointed 
route to Canaan. The direction had been given to Moses, " Turn 
you northward. And command thou the people, saying, Ye are 
to pass through the coast of your brethren, the children of Esau, 
which dwell in Seir ; and they shall be afraid of you. . . . Ye 
shall buy meat of them for money, that ye may eat; and 3^e 
shall also buy water of them for money, that ye may drink." 1 
These directions should have been sufficient to explain why their 
supply of water had been cut off; they were about to pass through 
a well-watered, fertile country, in a direct course to the land of 
Canaan. God had promised them an unmolested passage through 
Edom, and an opportunity to purchase food, and also water suf- 
ficient to supply the host. The cessation of the miraculous flow 
of water should therefore have been a cause of rejoicing, a token 
that the wilderness wandering was -ended. Had they not been 
blinded by their unbelief, they Avould have understood this. But 
that which should have been an evidence of the fulfillment of 
God's promise, was made the occasion of doubt and murmuring. 
The people seemed to have given up all hope that God would 
bring them into possession of Canaan, and they clamored for the 
blessings of the wilderness. 

Before God permitted them to enter Canaan, they must show 
that they believed his promise. The water ceased before they 
had reached Edom. Here was an opportunity for them, for a 
little time, to walk by faith instead of sight. But the first trial 
developed the same turbulent, unthankful spirit that had been 
manifested by their fathers. No sooner was the cry for water 
heard in the encampment than they forgot the hand that had 
for so many years supplied their wants, and instead of turning 
to God for help, they murmured against him, in their despera- 
tion exclaiming, " Would God that we had died when our breth- 
ren died before the Lord ; " 2 that is, they wished they had been 
of the number who were destroyed in the rebellion of Korah. 

Their cries were directed against Moses and Aaron: "Why 
have ye brought up the congregation of the Lord into this wil- 
derness, that we and our cattie should die there? And wherefore 
have ye made us to come up out of Egypt, to bring us in unto this 

1 Dent. 2 : 3-fi. 2 Num. 20 : 1-13. 




evil place? It is do place of ^•{■(\, or of figs, or of vines, <>r of 
pomegranates j oeither is there any water to drink." 

The leaders went to the dour of the tabernacle, and fell upon 
their faces. Again "the glory of the Lord appeared," and Moses 
was directed, "Take the rod, and gather thou the assembly to- 
gether, thou and Aaron thy brother, and speak ye unto the rock 
before their eyes ; and it shall uive forth his water, and thou shalt 
bring forth to them water out of the rock." 

The twt> brothers went on before the multitude, Moses with the 
rod of God in his hand. They were now aged men. Long had 
they borne with the rebellion and obstinacy of Israel ; hut now, at 
last, even the patience of Moses gave way. " Hear now, ye rebels," 
he cried ; " must Ave fetch you water out of this rock? " and instead 
of speaking to the rock, as God had commanded him, he smote it 
twice with the rod. 

The water gushed forth in abundance to satisfy the host. But 
a great wrong had been done. Moses had spoken from irritated 
feeling; his words were an expression of human passion rather 
than of holy indignation because God had been dishonored. 
" Hear now, ye rebels," he said. This accusation was true, but 
even truth is not to be spoken in passion or impatience. When 
God had bidden Moses to charge upon Israel their rebellion, the 
words had been painful to himself, and bard for them to bear, yet 
God had sustained him in delivering the message. But when he 
took it upon himself to accuse them, he grieved the Spirit of God, 
and wrought only harm to the people. His lack of patience and 
self-control was evident. Thus the people were given occasion to 
<|Uestion whether bis past course had been under the direction of 
God, and to excuse their own sins. Moses, as well as they, had 
offended God. His course, they said, had from the first been open 
to criticism and censure. They had now found the pretext which 
they desired for rejecting all the reproofs that God had sent them 
through his servant. 

Moses manifested distrust of God. "Shall we bring water?" 
he questioned, as if the Lord would not do what he promised. 
"" Ye believed me not," the Lord declared to the two brothers, "to 
sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel." At the time 
when the water failed, their own faith in the fulfillment of God's 
promise had been shaken by the murmuring and rebellion of the 
people. The first generation had been condemned to perish in the 


wilderness because of their unbelief, yet the same spirit appeared 
in their children. Would these also fail of receiving the promise ? 
Wearied and disheartened, Moses and Aaron had made no effort 
to stem the current of popular feeling. Had they themselves 
manifested unwavering faith in God, they might have set the mat- 
ter before the people in such a light as would have enabled them 
to bear this test. By prompt, decisive exercise of the authority 
vested in them as magistrates, they might have quelled the mur- 
muring. It was their duty to put forth every effort in their power 
to bring about a better state of things before asking God to do the 
work for them. Had the murmuring at Kadesh been promptly 
checked, what a train of evil might have been prevented! 

By his rash act, Moses took away the foree of the lesson that 
God purposed to teach. The rock, being a symbol of Christ, had 
been once smitten, as Christ was to be once offered. The second 
time, it was needful only to speak to the rock, as we have only to 
ask for blessings in the name of Jesus. By the second smiting of the 
rock, the significance of this beautiful figure of Christ was destroyed. 

More than this, Moses and Aaron had assumed power that be- 
longs only to God. The necessity for divine interposition made 
the occasion one of great solemnity, and the leaders of Israel 
should have improved it to impress the people with reverence 
for God and to strengthen their faith in his power and good- 
ness. When they angrily cried, " Must we fetch you water out of 
this rock ? " they put themselves in God's place, as though the 
power lay with themselves, men possessing human frailties and 
passions. Wearied with the continual murmuring and rebellion 
of the people, Moses had lost sight of his Almighty Helper, and 
without the divine strength he had been left to mar his record by 
an exhibition of human weakness. The man who might have 
stood pure, firm, and unselfish to the close of his work, had been 
overcome at last. God had been dishonored before the congrega- 
tion of Israel, when he should have been magnified and exalted. 

God did not on this occasion pronounce judgments upon those 
whose wicked course had so provoked Moses and Aaron. All the 
reproof fell upon the leaders. Those who stood as God's represent- 
atives had not honored him. Moses and Aaron had felt them- 
selves aggrieved, losing sight of the fact that the murmuring of 
the people was not against them but against God. It was by look- 
ing to themselves, appealing to their own sympathies, that they 


unconsciously fell into sin, and foiled to set before the people their 
great guilt before God. 

Bitter and deeply humiliating was the judgment immediately 
pronounced. "The Lord spake unto Moses and Aaron, Because 
ye believed me not, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of 
Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the land 
which I have given them." With rebellious Israel they must (lie 
before crossing the Jordan. Had Closes and Aaron been cherish- 
ing self-esteem, or indulging a passionate spirit, in the face of 
divine warning and reproof, their guilt would have been far 
greater. But they were not chargeable with willful or deliberate 
sin; they had been overcome by a sudden temptation, and their 
contrition was immediate and heartfelt. The Lord accepted their 
repentance, though because of the harm their sin might do among 
the people, he could not remit its punishment. 

Moses did not conceal his sentence, but told the people that 
since he had failed to ascribe glory to God, he could not lead them 
into the promised land. He bade them mark the severe punish- 
ment visited upon him, and then consider how God must regard 
their murmurings in charging upon a mere man the judgments 
which they had by their sins brought upon themselves. He told 
them how he had pleaded w r ith God for a remission of the sen- 
tence, and had been refused. "The Lord was wroth with me for 
your sakes," he said, "and would not hear me." 1 

On every occasion of difficulty or trial, the Israelites had been 
ready to charge Moses with having led them from Egypt, as 
though God had had no agency in the matter. Throughout their 
journeyingSj as they had complained of the difficulties in the way, 
and murmured against their leaders, Moses had told them, "Your 
murmurings are against (bid. It is not I, but God, who has 
wrought in your deliverance." But his hasty words before the 
rock, "Shall we bring water?" were a virtual admission of their 
i harge, and would thus confirm them in their unbelief, and justify 
their murmurings. The Lord would remove this impression for- 
i vet from their minds, by forbidding Moses to enter the promised 
land. Here was unmistakable evidence that their leader was not 
Moses, but the mighty Angel of whom the Lord had said, "Be- 
hold, 1 Bend an Angel before thee, to keep thee in the way, and to 
bring thee into the place which I have prepared. Beware of him, 
and obey his voice ; . . . for my name is in him." 2 

1 Deut. 3 : 26. 2 Ex. 2:3 : 20. 21. 27 


" The Lord was wroth with me for your sakes," said Moses. 
The eyes of all Israel were upon Moses, and his sin cast a reflection 
upon God, who had chosen him as the leader of his people. The 
transgression was known to the whole congregation; and had it 
been passed by lightly, the impression would have been given that 
unbelief and impatience under great provocation might be excused 
in those in responsible positions. But when it was declared that 
because of that one sin Moses and Aaron were not to enter Canaan, 
the people knew that God is no respecter of persons, and that he 
will surely punish the transgressor. 

The history of Israel was to be placed on record for the 
instruction and warning of coming generations. Men of all future 
time must see the God of heaven as an impartial ruler, in no case 
justifying sin. But few realize the exceeding sinfulness of sin. 
Men natter themselves that God is too good to punish the trans- 
gressor. But in the light of Bible history it is evident that God's 
goodness and his love engage him to deal with sin as an evil fatal 
to the peace and happiness of the universe. 

Not even the integrity and faithfulness of Moses could avert 
the retribution of his fault. God had forgiven the people greater 
transgressions, but he could not deal with sin in the leaders as in 
those who were led. He had honored Moses above every other 
man upon the earth. He had revealed to him his glory, and 
through him he had communicated his statutes to Israel. The 
fact that Moses had enjoyed so great light and knowledge, made 
his sin more grievous. Past faithfulness will not atone for one 
wrong act. The greater the light and privileges granted to man, 
the greater is his responsibility, the more aggravated his failure, 
and the heavier his punishment. 

Moses was not guilty of a great crime, as men would view the 
matter; his sin was one of common occurrence. The psalmist 
says that "he spake unadvisedly with his lips." 1 To human 
judgment this may seem a light thing; but if God dealt so 
severely with this sin in his most faithful and honored servant, he 
will not excuse it in others. The spirit of self-exaltation, the 
disposition to censure our brethren, is displeasing to God. Those 
who indulge in these evils cast doubt upon the work of God, and 
give the skeptical an excuse for their unbelief. The more impor- 
tant one's position, and the greater his influence, the greater is 
the necessity that he should cultivate patience and humility. 

1 Ps. 106 : 33. 


If the children of God, especially those who stand in positions 
of responsibility, can be led to take to themselves the glory that is 
due to God, Satan exults. He has gained a victory. It was thus 
that he fell. Thus he is most successful in tempting others to 
ruin. It is to place us on our guard against his devices that God 
has given in his word so many lessons teaching the danger of self- 
exaltation. There is not an impulse of our nature, not a faculty 
of the mind or an inclination of the heart, but needs to be, 
moment by moment, under the control of the Spirit of God. 
There is not a blessing which God bestows upon man, nor a trial 
which he permits to befall him, but Satan both can and will seize 
upon it to tempt, to harass and destroy the soul, if we give him 
the least advantage. Therefore however great one's spiritual light, 
however much he may enjoy of the divine favor and blessing, he 
should ever walk humbly before the Lord, pleading in faith that 
God will direct every thought and control every impulse. 

All who profess godliness are under the most sacred obligation 
to guard the spirit, and to exercise self-control under the greatest 
provocation. The burdens placed upon Moses were very great; 
few men will ever be so severely tried as he was; yet this was not 
allowed to excuse his sin. God has made ample provision for his 
people; and if they rely upon his strength, they will never become 
the sport of circumstances. The strongest temptation cannot ex- 
cuse sin. However great the pressure brought to bear upon the 
soul, transgression is our own act. It is not in the power of earth 
or hell to compel any one to do evil. Satan attacks us at our weak 
points, but we need not be overcome. However severe or unex- 
pected the assault, God has provided help for us, and in his 
strength we may conquer. 



The encampment of Israel at Kadesh was but a short dis- 
tance from the borders of Edom, and both Moses and the people 
greatly desired to follow the route through this country to the 
promised land ; accordingly they sent a message, as God had di- 
rected them, to the Edomite king, — 

" Thus saith thy brother Israel, Thou knowest all the travail 
that hath befallen us ; how our fathers went down into Egypt, and 
we have dwelt in Egypt a long time ; and the Egyptians vexed us, 
and our fathers. And when we cried unto the Lord, he heard our 
voice, and sent an angel, and hath brought us forth out of Egypt. 
And, behold, we are in Kadesh, a city in the uttermost of thy 
border. Let us pass, I pray thee, through thy country. We will 
not pass through the fields, or through the vineyards, neither will 
we drink of the water of the wells. We will go by the king's high- 
way, we will not turn to the right hand nor to the left, until we 
have passed thy borders." x 

To this courteous request, a threatening refusal was returned : 
" Thou shalt not pass by me, lest I come out against thee with 
the sword." 

Surprised at this repulse, the leaders of Israel sent a second 
appeal to the king, with the promise, " We will go by the high- 
way ; and if I and my cattle drink of thy water, then I will pay 
for it; I will only, without doing anything else, go through on 
my feet." 

" Thou shalt not go through," was the answer. Armed bands 
of Edomites were already posted at the difficult passes, so that 
any peaceful advance in that direction was impossible, and the 
Hebrews were forbidden to resort to force. They must make the 
long journey around the land of Edom. 

Had the people, when brought into trial, trusted in God, the 
Captain of the Lord's host would have led them through Edom, 

[ 422 ] 1 Num. 20 : 14-20. 


and tlic fear of them would have rested upon the Inhabitants of 
the laud, so that, instead of manifesting hostility, they would have 
shown them favor. But the Israelites did not act promptly upon 
God's word, and while they were complaining and murmuring, 
the golden opportunity passed. When they were at last ready to 
present their request to the king, it was refused. Ever since they left 
Egypt, Satan had been steadily at work to throw hindrances and 
temptations in their way, that they might not inherit Canaan. 
And by their own unbelief they had repeatedly opened the door 
for him to resist the purpose of God. 

It is important to believe God's word and act upon it promptly, 
while his angels are waiting to work for us. Evil angels are ready 
to contest every step of advance. And when God's providence 
bids his children go forward, when he is ready to do great things 
for them, Satan tempts them to displease the Lord hy hesitation 
and delay; lie seeks to kindle a spirit of strife or to arouse mur- 
muring or unbelief, and thus deprive them of the blessings that 
God desired to bestow. God's servants should he minute men, 
ever ready to move as fast as his providence opens the way. Any 
delay on their part gives time for Satan to work to defeat them. 

In the directions first given to Moses concerning their passage 
through Edom, after declaring that the Edomites should be afraid 
of Israel, the Lord had forbidden Ins people to make use of this 
advantage against them. Because the power of God was engaged 
for Israel, and the fears of the Edomites would make them an easy 
prey, the Hebrews were not therefore to prey upon them. The 
command given them was, " Take ye good heed unto yourselves 
therefore ; meddle not with them; for I will not give you of their 
laud, no, not so much as a foot breadth; because I have given 
Mount Seir unto Esau for a possession." 1 The Edomites were de- 
scendants of Abraham and Isaac, and for the sake of these his 
servants, God had shown favor to the children of Esau. He had 
given them Mount Seir for a possession, and they Were not to be 
disturbed unless by their sins they should place themselves be- 
yond the reach of his mercy. The Hebrews were to dispossess 
and utterly destroy the inhabitants of Canaan, who had filled up 
the measure of their iniquity ; but the Edomites were still proba- 
tioners, and as such were to be mercifully dealt with. God de- 
lights in mercy, and he manifests his compassion before he inflicts 

1 Dent. 2 : 4, 5. 


his judgments. He teaches Israel to spare the people of Edom, 
before requiring them to destroy the inhabitants of Canaan. 

The ancestors of Edom and Israel were brothers, and brotherly 
kindness and courtesy should exist between them. The Israelites 
were forbidden, either then or at any future time, to revenge the 
affront given them in the refusal of passage through the land. 
They must not expect to possess any part of the land of Edom. 
While the Israelites were the chosen and favored people of God, 
they must heed the restrictions which he placed upon them. God 
had promised them a goodly inheritance; but they were not to feel 
that they alone had any rights in the earth, and seek to crowd out 
all others. They were directed, in all their intercourse with the 
Edomites, to beware of doing them injustice. They were to trade 
with them, buying such supplies as were needed, and promptly 
paying for all they received. As an encouragement to Israel to 
trust in God and obey his word, they were reminded, " The Lord 
thy God hath blessed thee; . . . thou hast lacked nothing." 
They were not dependent upon the Edomites ; for they had a God 
rich in resources. They must not by force or fraud seek to obtain 
anything pertaining to them; but in all their intercourse they 
should exemplify the principle of the divine law, "Thou shaft 
love thy neighbor as thyself." 

Had they in this manner passed through Edom, as God had 
purposed, the passage would have proved a blessing, not only to 
themselves, but to the inhabitants of the land ; for it would have 
given them an opportunity to become acquainted with God's 
people and his worship, and to witness how the God of Jacob 
prospered those who loved and feared him. But all this the 
unbelief of Israel had prevented. God had given the people 
water in answer to their clamors, but he permitted their unbelief 
to work out its punishment. Again they must traverse the desert 
and quench their thirst from the miraculous spring, which, had 
they but trusted in him, they would no longer have needed. 

Accordingly the hosts of Israel again turned toward the south, 
and made their way over sterile wastes, that seemed even more 
dreary after a glimpse of the green spots among the hills and 
valleys of Edom. From the mountain range overlooking this 
gloomy desert, rises Mount Hor, whose summit was to be the 
place of Aaron's death and burial. When the Israelites came to 
this mountain, the divine command was addressed to Moses, — 


"Take Aanm and Eleazar his son, and bring them up unto 
Mount llor; and strip Aaron of his garments, and put them upon 
Eleazar his son; and Anion shad be gathered unto his people, and 
shad (He there." ' 

Together these two aged men and the younger one toiled up 
the mountain height. The heads of Moses and Aaron were white 
with the snows of sixscore winters. Their long and eventful lives 
had been marked with the deepest trials and the greatest honors 
that had ever fallen to the lot of man. They were men of great 
natural ability, and all their powers had been developed, exalted, 
and dignified, by communion with the Infinite One. Their life 
had been spent in unselfish labor for God and their fellow-men ; 
their countenances gave evidence of great intellectual power, firm- 
ness and nobility of purpose, and strong affections. 

Many years, Moses and Aaron had stood side by side in their 
cares and labors. Together they had breasted unnumbered dan- 
gers, and had shared together the signal blessing of God ; but the 
time was at hand when they must be separated. They moved on 
very slowly, for every moment in each other's society was precious. 
The ascent was steep and toilsome ; and as they often paused to 
rest, they communed together of the past and the future. Before 
them, as far as the eye could reach, was spread out the scene of 
their desert wanderings. In the plain below were encamped the 
vast hosts of Israel, for whom these chosen men had spent the best 
portion of their lives ; for whose welfare they had felt so deep an 
interest, and made so great sacrifices. Somewhere beyond the 
mountains of Edom was the path leading to the promised land, — 
that land whose blessings Moses and Aaron were not to enjoy. No 
rebellious feelings found a place in their hearts, no expression of 
murmuring escaped their lips; yet a solemn sadness rested upon 
their countenances as they remembered what had debarred them 
from the inheritance of their fathers. 

Aaron's work for Israel was done. Forty years before, at the 
age of eighty-three, God had called him to unite with Moses in his 
great and important mission. He had co-operated with his brother 
in leading the children of Israel from Egypt. He had held up the 
great leader's hands when the Hebrew hosts gave battle to Amalek. 
He had been permitted to ascend Mount Sinai, to approach into the 
presence of God, and to behold the divine glory. The Lord had 
conferred upon the family of Aaron the office of the priesthood, 

1 Nam. 20 : 22-20. 


and had honored him with the sacred consecration of high priest. 
He had sustained him in the holy office by the terrible manifesta- 
tions of divine judgment in the destruction of Korah and his 
company. It was through Aaron's intercession that the plague 
was stayed. When his two sons were slain for disregarding God's 
express command, he did not rebel nor even murmur. Yet the 
record of his noble life had been marred. Aaron committed a 
grievous sin when he yielded to the clamors of the people and 
made the golden calf at Sinai ; and again, when he united with 
Miriam in envy and murmuring against Moses. And he, with 
Moses, offended the Lord at Kadesh by disobeying the command 
to speak to the rock that it might give forth its water. 

God intended that these great leaders of his people should be 
representatives of Christ. Aaron bore the names of Israel upon 
his breast. He communicated to the people the will of God. He 
entered the most holy place on the day of atonement, " not with- 
out blood," as a mediator for all Israel. He came forth from that 
work to bless the congregation, as Christ will come forth to bless 
his waiting people when his work of atonement in their behalf 
shall be ended. It was the exalted character of that sacred office 
as representative of our great High Priest, that made Aaron's sin 
at Kadesh of so great magnitude. 

With deep sorrow, Moses removed from Aaron the holy vest- 
ments, and placed them upon Eleazar, who thus became his 
successor by divine appointment. For his sin at Kadesh, Aaron 
was denied the privilege of officiating as God's high priest in 
Canaan, — of offering the first sacrifice in the goodly land, and 
thus consecrating the inheritance of Israel. Moses was to continue 
to bear his burden in leading the people to the very borders of 
Canaan. He was to come within sight of the promised land, but 
was not to enter it. Had these servants of God, when they stood 
before the rock at Kadesh, borne unmurnmringly the test there 
brought upon them, how different would have been their future ! 
A wrong act can never be undone. It may be that the work of a 
life-time will not recover what has been lost in a single moment of 
temptation or even thoughtlessness. 

The absence from the camp of the two great leaders, and the 
fact that they had been accompanied by Eleazar, who, it was well 
known, was to be Aaron's successor in holy office, awakened a 
feeling of apprehension, and their return was anxiously awaited. 


As the people looked about them, upon their vast congregation, 
they saw that nearly all the adults who left Egypt had perished 
in the wilderness. All felt a foreboding of evil as they remembered 

the sentence pronounced against Moses and Aaron. Some were 
aware of the object of that mysterious journey to the summit of 
.Mount Hor, and their solicitude for their leaders was heightened 
by hitter memories and self-accusings. 

The forms of Moses and Eleazar were at last discerned, slowly 
descending the mountain-side; hut Aaron was not with them. 
Upon Eleazar were the sacerdotal garments, showing that he had 
succeeded his father in the sacred office. As the people with 
heavy hearts gathered about their leader, Moses told them that 
Aaron had died in his arms upon Mount Hor, and that they there 
buried him. The congregation broke forth in mourning and lam- 
entation, for they all loved Aaron, though they had so often 
caused him sorrow. "They mourned for Aaron thirty days, even 
all the house of Israel. " l 

Concerning the hurial of Israel's high priest the Scriptures give 
only the simple record, " There Aaron died, and there he was 
buried." 1 In what striking contrast to the customs of the present 
day was this hurial, conducted according to the express command 
of (lod. In modern times the funeral services of a man of high 
position are often made the occasion of ostentatious and extrava- 
gant display. When Aaron died, one of the most illustrious men 
that ever lived, there were only two of his nearest friends to 
witness his death and to attend his hurial. And that lonely grave 
upon Mount Hor was forever hidden from the sight of Israel, 
(loil is not honored in the great display so often made over the 
dead, and the extravagant expense incurred in returning their 
bodies to the dust. 

The whole congregation sorrowed for Aaron, yet they could not 
feel the loss so keenly as did Moses. The death of Aaron forci- 
bly reminded Moses that his own end was near; hut short as the 
time of his stay on earth must he, he deeply felt the loss of his 
constant companion, — the one who had shared his joys and sor- 
rows, his hopes and fears, for so many long years. Moses must 
now continue the work alone; hut he knew that God was his 
friend, and upon him he leaned more heavily. 

Soon after leaving Mount Hoi', the Israelites Buffered defeat in 
1 Num. 20 : 29. 8 Dcut. ID : •",. 


an engagement with Arad, one of the Canaanite kings. But as 
they earnestly sought help from God, divine aid was granted 
them, and their enemies were routed. This victory, instead of 
inspiring gratitude, and leading the people to feel their depend- 
ence upon God, made them boastful and self-confident. Soon 
they fell into the old habit of murmuring. They were now dis- 
satisfied because the armies of Israel had not been permitted to 
advance upon Canaan immediately after their rebellion at the re- 
port of the spies nearly forty years before. They pronounced their 
long sojourn in the wilderness an unnecessary delay, reasoning 
that they might have conquered their enemies as easily heretofore 
as now. 

As they continued their journey toward the south, their route 
lay through a hot, sandy valley, destitute of shade or vegetation. 
The way seemed long and difficult, and they suffered from weari- 
ness and thirst. Again they failed to endure the test of their faith 
and patience. By continually dwelling on the dark side of their 
experiences, they separated themselves farther and farther from 
God. They lost sight of the fact that but for their murmuring 
when the water ceased at Kadesh, they would have been spared 
the journey around Edom. God had purposed better things for 
them. Their hearts should have been filled with gratitude to him 
that he had punished their sin so lightly. But instead of this, 
they flattered themselves that if God and Moses had not interfered, 
they might now have been in possession of the promised land. 
After bringing trouble upon themselves, making their lot alto- 
gether harder than God designed, they charged all their misfortunes 
upon him. Thus they cherished bitter thoughts concerning his 
dealings with them, and finally they became discontented with 
everything. Egypt looked brighter and more desirable than lib- 
erty and the land to which God was leading them. 

As the Israelites indulged the spirit of discontent, they were 
disposed to find fault even with their blessings. " And the people 
spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought 
us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, 
neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread." 1 

Moses faithfully set before the people their great sin. It was 
God's power alone that had preserved them in "that great and 
terrible wilderness, wherein were fiery serpents, and scorpions, and 

'Num. 21 : 5. 


drought, whore there was no water." 1 Every day of their travels 
they had been kept by a miracle of divine mercy. In all the way 
of God's leading, they had found water to refresh the thirsty, 
bread from heaven to satisfy their hunger, and peace and safety 
under the shadowy cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night. 
Angels had ministered to them as they climbed the rocky heights 
or threaded the rugged paths of the wilderness. Notwithstanding 
the hardships they had endured, there was not a feeble one in all 
their ranks. Their feet had not swollen in their long journeys, 
neither had their clothes grown old. God had subdued before 
them the fierce beasts of prey and the venomous reptiles of the 
forest and the desert. If with all these tokens of his love the 
people still continued to complain, the Lord would withdraw his 
protection until they should be led to appreciate his merciful care, 
and return to him with repentance and humiliation. 

Because they had been shielded by divine power, they had not 
realized the countless dangers by which they were continually 
surrounded. In their ingratitude and unbelief they had antici- 
pated death, and now the Lord permitted death to come upon 
them. The poisonous serpents that infested the wilderness were 
called fiery serpents, on account of the terrible effects produced by 
their sting, it causing violent inflammation and speedy death. As 
the protecting hand of God was removed from Israel, great num- 
bers of the people were attacked by these venomous creatures. 

Now there was terror and confusion throughout the encamp- 
ment. In almost every tent were the dying or the dead. None 
were secure. Often the silence of night was broken by piercing 
cries that told of fresh victims. All were busy in ministering to 
the sufferers, or with agonizing care endeavoring to protect those 
who were not yet stricken. No murmuring now escaped their 
lips. When compared with the present suffering, their former 
difficulties and trials seemed unworthy of a thought. 

The people now humbled themselves before God. They came 
to Moses with their confessions and entreaties. " We have sinned," 
they said, ' ; for we have spoken against the Lord, and against 
thee." 2 Only a little before, they had accused him of being their 
worst enemy, the cause of all their distress and afflictions. But 
even when the words were upon their lips, they knew that the 
charge was false; and as soon as real trouble came, they fled to 
1 Deut. 8 : 15. 2 Num. 21 : 7-9. 


him as the only one who could intercede with God for them. 
" Pray unto the Lord," was their cry, " that he take away the 
serpents from us." 

Moses was divinely commanded to make a serpent of brass 
resembling the living ones, and to elevate it among the people. 
To this, all who had been bitten were to look, and they would 
find relief. He did so, and the joyful news was sounded 
throughout the encampment, that all who had been bitten might 
look upon the brazen serpent and live. Many had already died, 
and when Moses raised the serpent upon the pole, some would not 
believe that merely gazing upon that metallic image would heal 
them ; these perished in their unbelief. Yet there were many 
who had faith in the provision which God had made. Fathers, 
mothers, brothers, and sisters were anxiously engaged in helping 
their suffering, dying friends to fix their languid eyes upon the 
serpent. If these, though faint and dying, could only once look, 
they were perfectly restored. 

The people well knew that there was no power in the serpent 
of brass to cause such a change in those who looked upon it. The 
healing virtue was from God alone. In his wisdom he chose this 
way of displaying his power. By this simple means the people 
were made to realize that this affliction had been brought upon 
them by their sins. They were also assured that while obeying 
God they had no reason to fear ; for he would preserve them. 

The lifting up of the brazen serpent was to teach Israel an 
important lesson. They could not save themselves from the fatal 
effect of the poison in their wounds. God alone was able to heal 
them. Yet they were required to show their faith in the provision 
which he had made. They must look, in order to live. It was 
their faith that was acceptable with God, and by looking upon the 
serpent their faith was shown. They knew that there was no 
virtue in the serpent itself, but it was a symbol of Christ ; and the 
necessity of faith in his merits was thus presented to their minds. 
Heretofore many had brought their offerings to God, and had felt 
that in so doing they made ample atonement for their sins. They 
did not rely upon the Redeemer to come, of whom these offerings 
were only a type. The Lord would now teach them that their 
sacrifices, in themselves, had no more power or virtue than the 
serpent of brass, but were, like that, to lead their minds to Christ, 
the great sin-offering. 


"As Mosea lifted up the serpent in the wilderness," even so 
mm- "the Son of man lifted up, that whosoever believeth in him 
should not perish, but have eternal life." ' All who have ever lived 
upon the earth have felt the deadly sting of "that old serpent, 
called the devil, and Satan." 1 ' The fatal effects of sin can be re- 
moved only by the provision that God has made. The Israelites 
saved their lives by looking upon the uplifted serpent. That look 
implied faith. They lived because they believed God's word, and 
trusted in the means provided for their recovery. So the sinner 
may look to Christ, and live. He receives pardon through faith 
in the atoning sacrifice. Unlike the inert and lifeless symbol, 
Christ has power and virtue in himself to heal the repenting 

While the sinner cannot save himself, he still has something 
to do to secure salvation. " Him that cometh to me," says Christ, 
"I will in no wise cast out." 3 But we must came to him; and 
when we repent of our sins, we must believe that he accepts and 
pardons us. Faith is the gift of God, but the power to exercise it 
is ours. Faith is the hand by which the soul takes hold upon the 
divine oilers of grace and mercy. 

Nothing hut the righteousness of Christ can entitle us to one 
of the blessings of the covenant of grace. There are many who 
have long desired and tried to obtain these hlessings, but have 
not received them, because they have cherished the idea that 
they could do something to make themselves worthy of them. 
They have not looked away from self, believing that .Jesus is an 
all-suflicient Saviour. We must not think that our own merits 
will save us; Christ is our only hope of salvation. "For there 
is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby 
We must he saved." ' 

When we trust Cod fully, when we rely upon the merits of 
Jesus as a sin-pardoning Saviour, we shall receive all the help 
that we can desire. Let none look to self, as though they had 
power to save themselves. Jesus died for us because we were 
helpless to do this. In him is our hope, our justification, our 
righteousness. When we see our sinfulness, we should not de- 
spond, and fear that we have no Saviour, or that he has no 
thoughts of mercy toward us. At this very time he is inviting 
us to come to him in our helplessness, and he saved. 

' John a : 14, 15. *Rev. 12 : 9. s John : 37. ' \<ts 4 : 12. 


Many of the Israelites saw no help in the remedy which 
Heaven had appointed. The dead and dying were all around 
them, and they knew that, without divine aid, their own fate 
was certain; but they continued to lament their wounds, their 
pains, their sure death, until their strength was gone, and their 
eyes were glazed, when they might have had instant healing. If 
we are conscious of our needs, we should not devote all our pow- 
ers to mourning over them. While we realize our helpless con- 
dition without Christ, we are not to yield to discouragement, but 
rely upon the merits of a crucified and risen Saviour. Look and 
live. Jesus has pledged his word; he will save all who come 
unto him. Though millions who need to be healed will reject 
his offered mercy, not one who trusts in his merits will be left 
to perish. 

Many are unwilling to accept of Christ until the whole mys- 
tery of the plan of salvation shall be made plain to them. They 
refuse the look of faith, although they see that thousands have 
looked, and have felt the efficacy of looking, to the cross of Christ. 
Many wander in the mazes of philosophy, in search of reasons and 
evidence which they will never find, while they reject the evidence 
which God has been pleased to give. They refuse to walk in the 
light of the Sun of Righteousness, until the reason of its shining 
shall be explained. All who persist in this course will fail to 
come to a knowledge of the truth. God will never remove every 
occasion for doubt. He gives sufficient evidence on which to base 
faith, and if this is not accepted, the mind is left in darkness. If 
those who were bitten by the serpents had stopped to doubt and 
question before they would consent to look, they would have per- 
ished. It is our duty, first, to look; and the look of faith will 
give us life. 




After passing to the south of Edoni, the Israelites turned 
northward, and again set their faces toward the promised land. 
Their route now lay over a vast, elevated plain, swept by cool, 
fresh breezes from the hills. It was a welcome change from the 
parched valley through which they had been traveling, and they 
pressed forward, buoyant and hopeful. Having crossed the brook 
Zered, they passed to the east of the land of Moab ; for the com- 
mand had been given, " Distress not the Moabites, neither contend 
with them in battle; for I will not give thee of their land for a 
possession; because I have given Ar unto the children of Lot." 1 
And the same direction was repeated concerning the Ammonites, 
who were also descendants of Lot. 

Still pushing northward, the hosts of Israel soon reached the 
country of the Amorites. This strong and warlike people orig- 
inally occupied the southern part of the land of Canaan; but 
increasing in numbers, they crossed the Jordan, made war upon 
the Moabites, and gained possession of a portion of their territory. 
Here they had settled, holding undisputed sway over all the land 
from the Arnon as far north as the Jabbok. The route to the 
Jordan which the Israelites desired to pursue, lay directly through 
this territory, and Moses sent a friendly message to Sihon, the Am- 
orite king, at his capital: " Let me pass througli thy land; I will 
go along by the highway, I will neither turn unto the right hand 
nor to the left. Thou shalt sell me meat for money, that I may 
eat; and give me water for money, that I may drink; only I will 
pass through on my feet." The answer was a decided refusal; 
and all the hosts of the Amorites were summoned to oppose the 
progress of the invaders. This formidable army struck terror to 
the Israelites, who were poorly prepared for an encounter with 
well-armed and well-disciplined forces. So far as, skill in warfare 

1 See Deuteronomy 2. 



was concerned, their enemies had the advantage. To all human 
appearance, a speedy end would be made of Israel. 

But Moses kept his gaze fixed upon the cloudy pillar, and en- 
couraged the people with the thought that the token of God's 
presence was still with them. At the same time he directed them 
to do all that human power could do in preparing for war. Their 
enemies were eager for battle, and confident that they would blot 
out the unprepared Israelites from the land. But from the Pos- 
sessor of all lands the mandate had gone forth to the leader of 
Israel: "Rise ye up, take your journey, and pass over the river 
Anion. Behold, I have given into thine hand Sihon the Amorite, 
king of Heshbon, and his land ; begin to possess it, and contend 
with him in battle. This day will I begin to put the dread of thee 
and the fear of thee upon the nations that are under the whole 
heaven, who shall hear report of thee, and shall tremble, and be in 
anguish because of thee." 

These nations on the borders of Canaan would have been spared, 
had they not stood, in defiance of God's word, to oppose the prog- 
ress of Israel. The Lord had shown himself to be long-suffering, 
of great kindness and tender pity, even to these heathen peoples. 
When Abraham was shown in vision that his seed, the children of 
Israel, should be strangers in a strange land four hundred years, 
the Lord gave him the promise, " In the fourth generation they 
shall come hither again ; for the iniquity of the Amorites is not 
yet full." 1 Although the Amorites were idolaters, whose life 
was justly forfeited by their great wickedness, God spared them 
four hundred years to give them unmistakable evidence that he 
was the only true God, the Maker of heaven and earth. All his 
wonders in bringing Israel from Egypt were known to them. Suf- 
ficient evidence was given ; they might have known the truth, had 
they been willing to turn from their idolatry and licentiousness. 
But they rejected the light, and clung to their idols. 

When the Lord brought his people a second time to the borders 
of Canaan, additional evidence of his power was granted to those 
heathen nations. They saw that God was with Israel in the 
victory gained over King Arad and the Canaanites, and in the 
miracle wrought to save those who were perishing from the sting 
of the serpents. Although the Israelites had been refused a pas- 
sage through the land of Edom, thus being compelled to take the 

JGen. 15 : 16. 


long and difficult route by the Red Sea, yet in all their journeyings 
and encampments, past the land of Edom, of Moab and Ammon, 
they had shown no hostility, and had done no injury to the people 
or their possessions. On reaching the border of the Amorites, 
Israel hail asked permission only to travel directly through the 
country, promising to observe the same rules that had governed 
their intercourse with other nations. When the Amorite king 
refused this courteous solicitation, and defiantly gathered his hosts 
for battle, their cup of iniquity was full, and God would now 
exercise his power for their overthrow. 

The Israelites crossed the river Arnon, and advanced upon the 
foe. An engagement took place, in which the armies of Israel 
were victorious; and following up the advantage gained, they 
were soon in possession of the country of the Amorites. It was 
the ( ';i|it;iin of the Lord's host who vanquished the enemies of his 
people; and lie would have done the same thirty-eight years 
before, had Israel trusted in him. 

Filled with hope and courage, the army of Israel eagerly 
pressed forward, and, still journeying northward, they soon reached 
a country that might well test their courage and their faith in God. 
Before them lay the powerful and populous kingdom of Bashan, 
crowded with great stone cities that to this day excite the wonder 
of the world, — "threescore cities . . . with high walls, gates, 
and bars, besides unwaUed towns a great many." 1 The houses 
were constructed of huge black stones, of such stupendous size as 
to make the buildings ahsolutely impregnable to any force that 
in those times could have been brought against them. It was a 
country tilled with wild caverns, lofty precipices, yawning gulfs, 
and rocky strongholds. The inhabitants of this land, descendants 
from a giant race, were themselves of marvelous size and strength, 
ami so distinguished tor violence and cruelty as to be the terror of 
all surrounding nations; while Og, the king of the country, was 
remarkable for size and prowess, even in a nation of giants. 

But the cloudy pillar moved forward, and following its guid- 
ance the Hebrew hosts advanced to Edrei, where the giant king 
with his forces, awaited their approach. Og had skillfully 
chosen the place of battle. The city of Edrei was situated upon 
the border of a table-land rising abruptly from the plain, and 
covered with jagged, volcanic rocks. It could be approached only 

*See Deut. 3 :1-11. 28 


by narrow pathways, steep, and difficult of ascent. In case of 
defeat, his forces could find refuge in that wilderness of rocks 
where it would be impossible for strangers to follow them. 

Confident of success, the king came forth with an immense 
army upon the open plain ; while shouts of defiance were heard 
from the table-land above, where might be seen the spears of thou- 
sands, eager for the fray. When the Hebrews looked upon the 
lofty form of that giant of giants towering above the soldiers of 
his army; when they saw the hosts that surrounded him, and 
beheld the seemingly impregnable fortress, behind which unseen 
thousands were entrenched, the hearts of many in Israel quaked 
with fear. But Moses was calm and firm ; the Lord had said con- 
cerning the king of Bashan, " Fear him not ; for I will deliver him, 
and all his people, and his land, into thy hand ; and thou shalt do 
unto him as thou didst unto Sihon king of the Amorites, which 
dwelt at Heshbon." 1 

The calm faith of their leader inspired the people with confi- 
dence in God. They trusted all to his omnipotent arm, and he 
did not fail them. Not mighty giants nor walled cities, armed 
hosts nor rocky fortresses, could stand before the Captain of the 
Lord's host. The Lord led the army ; the Lord discomfited the 
enemy ; the Lord conquered in behalf of Israel. The giant king 
and his army were destroyed ; and the Israelites soon took pos- 
session of the whole country. Thus was blotted from the earth 
that strange people, who had given themselves up to iniquity and 
abominable idolatry. 

In the conquest of Gilead and Bashan there Avere many who 
recalled the events which nearly forty years before, had, in Ka- 
desh, doomed Israel to the long desert wandering. They saw that 
the report of the spies concerning the promised land was in many 
respects correct. The cities were walled and very great, and 
were inhabited by giants, in comparison with whom the Hebrews 
w T ere mere pigmies. But they could now see that the fatal 
mistake of their fathers had been in distrusting the power of 
God. This alone had prevented them from at once entering 
the goodly land. 

When they were at the first preparing to enter Canaan, 
the undertaking was attended with far less difficulty than now. 
God had promised his people that if they would obey his voice 
he Avould go before them and fight for them; and he would 

1 Deut. 3 : 2. 


also send hornets to drive out the Inhabitants of the Land. The 
fears of the nations had not been generally aroused, and Little 
preparation had been made to oppose their progress. But when 
tlic Lord now bade [srael go forward, they must advance against 

alert and powerful foes, and must contend with Large and well- 
trained armies that had been preparing to resist their approach. 

In their contests with Og and Sihon the people were brought 
to the same test beneath which their fathers had so signally failed. 
But the trial was now far more severe then when God had com- 
manded Israel to go forward. The 1 1 i lliculties in their way had 
greatly increased since they refused to advance when bidden to 
do so in the name of the Lord. It is thus that God still tests 
his people. And if they fail to endure the trial, he brings them 
again to the same point, and the second time the trial will come 
closer, and be more severe than the preceding. This is continued 
until they hear the test, or, if they are still rebellious, God with- 
draws his light from them, and leaves them in darkness. 

The Hebrews now remembered how once before, when their 
forces had gone to battle, they had been routed, and thousands 
slain. But they had then -gone in direct opposition to the com- 
mand of (hid. They had gone out without Moses, God's appointed 
leader, without the cloudy pillar, the symbol of the divine pres- 
ence, and without the ark. But now Moses was with- them, 
strengthening their hearts with words of hope and faith; the Son 
of God, enshrined in the cloudy pillar, led the way ; and the sacred 
ark accompanied the host. This experience has a lesson for us. 
The mighty God of Israel is our God. In him we may trust, 
and if we obey his requirements he will work for us in as signal 
a manner as he did for his ancient people. Every one who seeks 
t<> follow the path of duty will at times be assailed by doubt and 
unbelief. The way Mill sometimes be so barred by obstacles, a p- 
parently insurmountable, as to dishearten those who will yield to 
discouragement ; hut God is saying to such, Go forward. Do your 
duty at any cost. The difficulties that seem so formidable, that 
fill your soul with dread, will vanish as you move forward in the 
path of obedience, humbly trusting in God. 



Returning to the Jordan from the conquest of Bashan, the 
Israelites, in preparation for the immediate invasion of Canaan, 
encamped beside the river, above its entrance into the Dead Sea, 
and just opposite the plain of Jericho. They were upon the very- 
borders of Moab, and the Moabites were filled with terror at the 
close proximity of the invaders. 

The people of Moab had not been molested by Israel, yet they 
had watched with troubled forebodings all that had taken place 
in the surrounding countries. The Amorites, before whom they 
had been forced to retreat, had been conquered by the Hebrews, 
and the territory which the Amorites had wrested from Moab 
was now in the possession of Israel. The hosts of Bashan had 
yielded before the mysterious power enshrouded in the cloudy 
pillar, and the giant strongholds were occupied by the Hebrews. 
The Moabites dared not risk an attack upon them; an appeal 
to arms was hopeless in face of the supernatural agencies that 
wrought in their behalf. But they determined, as Pharaoh had 
done, to enlist the power of sorcery to counteract the work of 
God. They would bring a curse upon Israel. 

The people of Moab were closely connected with the Mid- 
ianites, both by the ties of nationality and religion. And Balak, 
the king of Moab, aroused the fears of the kindred people, and 
secured their co-operation in his designs against Israel, by the 
message, " Now shall this company lick up all that are round 
about us, as the ox licketh up the grass of the field." l Balaam, 
an inhabitant of Mesopotamia, was reported to possess supernatu- 
ral powers, and his fame had reached to the land of Moab. It 
was determined to call him to their aid. Accordingly, messengers 
of "the elders of Moab and of the elders of Midian," were sent to 
secure his divinations and enchantments against Israel. 

1 See Numbers 2-2-24. 


The ambassadors at once set out on their long journey over 
the mountains and across the deserts, to Mesopotamia ; and upon 
finding Balaam, they delivered to him the message of their king: 
"Behold, there is a people come out from Egypt; behold, they 
cover the face of the earth, and they abide over against me. 
Come now therefore, I pray thee, curse me this people; for they 
are too mighty for me. Peradventure I shall prevail, that we 
may smite them, and that I may drive them out of the land; 
for I wot that he whom thou blessest is blessed, and he whom 
thou cursest is cursed." 

Balaam was once a good man and a prophet of God; but he 
had apostatized, and had given himself up to eovetousness ; yet 
he still professed to be a servant of the Most High. He was not 
ignorant of God's work in behalf of Israel; and when the mes- 
sengers announced their errand, he well knew that it was his 
duty to refuse the rewards of Balak, and to dismiss the ambas- 
sadors. But he ventured to dally with temptation, and urged 
the messengers to tarry with him that night, declaring that he 
could give no decided answer till he had asked counsel of the 
Lord. Balaam knew that his curse could not harm Israel. God 
was on their side; and so long as they were true to him, no ad- 
verse power of earth or hell could prevail against them. But his 
pride was flattered by the words of the ambassadors, " He whom 
thou blessest is blessed, and he whom thou cursest is cursed." 
The bribe of costly gifts and prospective exaltation excited his 
eovetousness. He greedily accepted the offered treasures, and 
then, while professing strict obedience to the will of God, he 
tried to comply with the desires of Balak. 

In the night season the angel of God came to Balaam, with the 
message, " Thou shalt not go with them ; thou shalt not curse the 
people ; for they are blessed." 

In the morning, Balaam reluctantly dismissed the messengers; 
but he did not tell them what the Lord had said. Angry that his 
visions of gain and honor had been suddenly dispelled, he petu- 
lantly exclaimed, " Get you into your land; for the Lord refuseth 
t< > give me leave to go with you." 

Balaam "loved the wages of unrighteousness." 1 The sin of 
eovetousness, which God declares to be idolatry, had made him 
a time-server, and through this one fault, Satan gained entire 

1 2 Peter 2 : 15. 


control of him. It was this that caused his ruin. The tempter 
is ever presenting worldly gain and honor to entice men from the 
service of God. He tells them it is their over-conscientiousness 
that keeps them from prosperity. Thus many are induced to 
venture out of the path of strict integrity. One wrong step 
makes the next easier, and they become more and more pre- 
sumptuous. They will do and dare most terrible things when 
once they have given themselves to the control of avarice and a 
desire for power. Many flatter themselves that they can depart 
from strict integrity for a time, for the sake of some worldly ad- 
vantage, and that having gained their object, they can change 
their course when they please. Such are entangling themselves 
in the snare of Satan, and it is seldom that they escape. 

When the messengers reported to Balak the prophet's refusal 
to accompany them, they did not intimate that God had forbidden 
him. Supposing that Balaam's delay was merely to secure a 
richer reward, the king sent princes more in number and more 
honorable than the first, with promises of higher honors, and with 
authority to concede to any terms that Balaam might demand. 
Balak's urgent message to the prophet was, " Let nothing, I pray 
thee, hinder thee from coming unto me ; for I will promote thee 
unto very great honor, and I will do whatsoever thou sayest unto 
me. Come therefore, I pray thee, curse me this people." 

A second time Balaam Avas tested. In response to the solicita- 
tions of the ambassadors, he professed great conscientiousness and 
integrity, assuring them that no amount of gold and silver could 
induce him to go contrary to the will of God. But he longed to 
comply with the king's request ; and although the will of God had 
already been definitely made known to him, he urged the messen- 
gers to tarry, that he might further inquire of God; as though the 
Infinite One were a man, to be persuaded. 

In the night season, the Lord appeared to Balaam, and said, 
" If the men come to call thee, rise up, and go with them ; but yet 
the word which I shall say unto thee, that shalt thou do." Thus 
far the Lord would permit Balaam to follow his own will, because 
he was determined upon it. He did not seek to do the will of 
God, but chose his own course, and then endeavored to secure the 
sanction of the Lord. 

There are thousands at the present day who are pursuing a 
similar course. They would have no difficulty in understanding 


their duty if it were in harmony with their inclinations. It is 
plainly set before them in the Bible, or is clearly indicated by 
circumstances and reason. Hut because these evidences are con- 
trary to their desires and inclinations, they frequently set them 
aside, and presume to go to God to Learn their duty. With great 
apparent conscientiousness, they pray long and earnestly for light. 
But God will not be trilled with. He often permits such persons 
to follow their own desires, and to suffer the result. "My people 
would not hearken to my voice. ... So I gave them up unto 
their own hearts' lust; and they walked in their own counsels." 1 
"When one clearly sees a duty, let him not presume to go to God 
with the prayer that he may he excused from performing it. He 
should rather, with a humble, submissive spirit, ask for divine 
strength and wisdom to meet its claims. 

The Moabites were a degraded, idolatrous people; yet accord- 
ing to the light which they had received, their guilt was not so 
great in the sight of Heaven as was that of Balaam. As he pro- 
fessed to be God's prophet, however, all be should say would he 
supposed to be uttered by divine authority. Hence be was not to 
be permitted to speak as he chose, but must deliver the message 
which God should give him. "The word which I shall say unto 
thee, that shalt thou do," was the divine command. 

Balaam had received permission to go with the messengers from 
Moab, if they came in the morning to call him. But annoyed at 
his delay, and expecting another refusal, they set out on their 
homeward journey without further consultation with him. Every 
excuse for complying with the request of Balak had now been 
removed. But Balaam was determined to secure the reward; and 
taking the beast upon which he was accustomed to ride, be set put 
on the journey. He feared that even now the divine permission 
might be withdrawn, and be pressed eagerly forward, impatient 
lest be should by some means fail to gain the coveted reward. 

But "the angel of the Lord stood in the way for an adversary 
against him." The animal saw the divine messenger, who was 
unperceived by the man, and turned aside; from the highway into 
afield. With cruel blows, Balaam brought the beast back into 
the path ; but again, in a narrow place shut in by walls, the angel 
appeared, and the animal, trying to avoid the menacing figure, 
crushed her master's foot against the wall. Balaam was blinded 
to the heavenly interposition, and knew not that God was obstruct- 

^s. 81 : 11, 12. 


ing his path. The man became exasperated, and beating the ass 
unmercifully, forced it to proceed. 

Again, "in a narrow place, where there was no way to turn 
either to the right hand or to the left," the angel appeared, as 
before, in a threatening attitude; and the poor beast, trembling 
with terror, made a full stop, and fell to the earth under its rider. 
Balaam's rage was unbounded, and with his staff he smote the 
animal more cruelly than before. God now opened its mouth, 
and by "the dumb ass speaking with man's voice," he "forbade 
the madness of the prophet." ' " What have I done unto thee," it 
said, " that thou hast smitten me these three times? " 

Furious at being thus hindered in his journey, Balaam answered 
the beast as he would have addressed an intelligent being, — " Be- 
cause thou hast mocked me. I would there were a' sword in mine 
hand, for now would I kill thee." Here was a professed magician, 
on his way to pronounce a curse upon a whole people with the 
intent to paralyze their strength, while he had not power even to 
slay the animal upon which he rode ! 

The eyes of Balaam were now opened, and he beheld the angel 
of God standing with drawn sword ready to slay him. In terror 
"he bowed down his head, and fell flat on his face." The an- 
gel said to him, " Wherefore hast thou smitten thine ass these 
three times? Behold, I went out to withstand thee, because thy 
way is perverse before me. And the ass saw me, and turned 
from me these three times. Unless she had turned from me, 
surely now also I had slain thee, and saved her alive." 

Balaam owed the preservation of his life to the poor animal 
that he had treated so cruelly. The man who claimed to be a 
prophet of the Lord, who declared that " his eyes were open," 
and he saw " vision of the Almighty," was so blinded by covet- 
ousness and ambition, that he could not discern the angel of God 
visible to his beast. " The god of this world hath blinded the 
minds of them which believe not." 2 How many are thus blinded! 
They rush on in forbidden paths, transgressing the divine law, and 
cannot discern that God and his angels are against them. Like 
Balaam they are angry at those who would prevent their ruin. 

Balaam had given evidence of the spirit that controlled him, 
by his treatment of his beast. "A righteous man regardeth the 
life of his beast; but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel." 3 
1 2 Peter 2 : 16. 2 2 Cor. 4 : 4. 3 Prov. 12 : 10. 

BALAAM. 445 

Few realize as they Bhould the sinfulness of abusing animals or 
leaving them to suffer from neglect. He who created man made 
the lower animals also, and "his tender mercies are over all his 

works."' 1 The animals were created to serve man, but he has no 
right to cause them pain by harsh treatment or cruel exaction. 

It is because of man's sin that "the whole creation groaneth 
and travaileth in pain together." 2 Suffering and death were thus 
entailed, not only upon the human race, but upon the animals. 
Surely, then, it becomes man to seek to lighten, instead of increas- 
ing, the weight of suffering which his transgression has brought 
upon God's creatures. He who will abuse animals because be 
has them in his power, is both a coward and a tyrant. A dis- 
position to cause pain, whether to our fellow-men or to the brute 
creation, is Satanic. Many do not realize that their cruelty will 
ever be known, because the poor dumb animals cannot reveal it. 
But could the eyes of these men be opened, as were those of 
Balaam, they would see an angel of God standing as a witness, to 
testify against them in the courts above. A record goes up to 
heaven, and a day is coming when judgment will be pronounced 
against those who abuse God's creatures. 

When be beheld the messenger of God, Balaam exclaimed in 
terror, " I have sinned; for I knew not that thou stoodest in the 
way against me. Now therefore, if it displease thee, I will get me 
back again." The Lord suffered him to proceed on his journey, 
but gave him to understand that his words should be controlled 
by divine power. God would give evidence to Moab that the He- 
brews were under the guardianship of Heaven; and this he did 
effectually when he showed them how powerless Balaam was even 
to utter a curse against them without divine permission. 

The king of Moab, being informed of the approach of Balaam, 
went out with a large retinue to the borders of his kingdom, to 
receive him. When he expressed his astonishment at Balaam's 
delay, in view of the rich rewards awaiting him, the prophet's an- 
swer was. "Lo, I am come unto thee; have I now any power at 
all to say anything? The word that God putteth in my mouth, 
that shall I speak." Balaam greatly regretted this restriction ; he 
feared that his purpose could not be carried out, because the 
Lord's controlling power was upon him. 

With great pomp, the king, with the chief dignitaries of his 
*Ps. 145 : 9. z Rom. 8 ; 22. 


kingdom, escorted Balaam to "the high places of Baal," from 
which he could survey the Hehrew host. Behold the prophet as 
he stands upon the lofty height, looking down over the encamp- 
ment of God's chosen people. How little do the Israelites know 
of what is taking place so near them ! How little do they know 
of the care of God, extended over them hy day and hy night! 
How dull are the perceptions of God's people! How slow are 
they, in every age, to comprehend his great love and mercy ! If 
they could discern the wonderful power of God constantly exerted 
in their behalf, would not their hearts he filled with gratitude for 
his love, and with awe at the thought of his majesty and power? 

Balaam had some knowledge of the sacrificial offerings of the 
Hebrews, and he hoped that by surpassing them in costly gifts, he 
might secure the blessing of God, and insure the accomplishment 
of his sinful projects. Thus the sentiments of the idolatrous 
Moabites were gaining control of his mind. His wisdom had be- 
come foolishness; his spiritual vision was beclouded; he had 
brought blindness upon himself by yielding to the power of Satan. 

By Balaam's direction, seven altars were erected, and he offered 
a sacrifice upon each. He then withdrew -to a " high place," to 
meet with God, promising to make known to Balak whatever 
the Lord should reveal. 

With the nobles and princes of Moab, the king stood beside the 
sacrifice, while around them gathered the eager multitude, watch- 
ing for the return of the prophet. He came at last, and the people 
waited for the words that should paralyze forever that strange 
power exerted in behalf of the hated Israelites. Balaam said : — 

"The king of Moab hath brought me from Aram, 
Out of the mountains of the East, 
Saying, Come, curse me Jacob, 
And come, defy Israel. 

How shall I curse, whom God hath not cursed? 
Or how shall I defy, whom the Lord hath not defied? 
For from the top of the rocks I see him, 
And from the hills I behold him. 
Lo, the people shall dwell alone, 
And shall not be reckoned among the nations. 
Who can count the dust of Jacob, 
And the number of the fourth part of Israel? 
Let me die the death of the righteous, 
And let my last end be like his! " 

BALAAM. 117 

Balaam confessed that lie came with the purpose of cursing 
[srael ; but the words he uttered were directly contrary to the sen- 
timents <>t" his heart. He was constrained to pronounce blessings, 

while his soul was filled with curses. 

As Balaam looked upon the encampment of Israel, he beheld 
with astonishment the evidence of their prosperity. They had 
heeii represented to him as a rude, disorganized multitude, infest- 
ing the country in roving hands that were a pest and terror to the 
surrounding nations; but their appearance was the reverse of all 
this, lie saw the vast extent ami perfect arrangement of their 
camp, everything bearing the marks of thorough discipline and 
order. He was shown the favor with which God regarded Israel, 
and their distinctive character as his chosen people. They were 
not to stand upon a level with other nations, hut to he exalted 
ahove them all. "The people shall dwell alone, and shall not 
he reckoned among the nations." At the time when these 
words were spoken, the Israelites had no permanent settlement, 
and their peculiar character, their manners and customs, were 
not familiar to Balaam. But how strikingly was this prophecy 
fulfilled in the afterdiistory of Israel! Through all the years of 
their captivity, through all the ages since they were dispersed 
among the nations, they have remained a distinct people. So 
the people of God, — the true Israel, — though scattered through- 
out all nations, are on earth but sojourners, whose citizenship is 
in heaven. 

Not only was Balaam shown the history of the Hebrew people 
as a nation, but he beheld the increase and prosperity of the true 
[srael of God to the close of time. He saw the special favor of 
of the Most High attending those who love and fear him. He 
saw them supported by his arm as they enter the dark valley of 
the shadow of death. And he beheld them coming forth from 
their graves, crowned with glory, honor, and immortality. He 
saw the redeemed rejoicing in the unfading glories of the earth 
made new. Gazing upon the scene, he exclaimed, "Who can 
count the dust of Jacob, and the number of the fourth part of 
[srael?" And as he saw the crown of glory on every brow, the 
joy beaming from every countenance, and looked forward to that 
endless life of unalloyed happiness, he uttered the solemn prayer, 
" Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be 
like his ! " 


If Balaam had had a disposition to accept the light that God 

had given, he would now have made trne his words ; he would 

flwce have severed all connection with Moah. He would no 
longer have presumed upon the mercy of God, hut would have 
returned to him with deep repentance. But Balaam loved the 
wages of unrighteousness, and these he was determined I -■ are, 

Balak had confidently expected a curs-. : I would fall like a 
withering blight upon Israel; and at the words of the prophet he 
passionately exclaimed, "What hast thou done unto mi I I >ok 
thee to corse mine enemies, and. behold, thou hast blessed them 
altogether." Balaam, seeking to 'make a virtue of necessity, pre- 
ssed to have spoken from a. conscientious regard for the will of 
God the words that had been forced from his lips by divine power. 
His answer w;,s. ""Must I not take heed i sj eak that which the 
Lord hath put in my mouth 3 

Balak eould not even now relinquish his purpose. He decided 
that the imposing spectacle presented by the < si icampn 
the Hehrews, had so intimidated Balaam that he dared not pn - 
tic-e his divinations against them. The king determined to take 
the prop!:-: : e point where only a small part of the host 

might be seen. If Balaam eould he induced to curse them in 
detached par: g the whole camp would soon be devoted 
destruction. On the top of an elevation called Fisgah, anotl 
trial was made. Again seven altars were erected, whereon w 
placed the same offerings as at est The king and his prin - 

remained by the sacrifices, while Balaam retired to meet with 
God. Again the prophet was intrusted with a divine mess _ 
which he was powerless to alter or withhold. 

When he appeared to the anxious, expe I I ompany. the 

question was put to him, "What hath the Lord spoken?" the 

s before, struck terror to the heart of king and princes: — 

•• God is not a man. that he should Ik 

ither the son of man, that he should repent. 
Hath he said, and shall he not do it? 
Or hath 1 - ::. and shall he not task _ id? 

Behold. I have received commandment to bless 
And he hath "blessed ; and I canm tn rae it. 
He hath not beheld iniquity in Jacob, 

ther hath he seen perverseness in Israel: 
The Lord his God is vrith him. 
And the shout of a. King is among them." 

revelations. Balaam exclaimed. '* Purely there 
no enchantment ag; is there any divination 

iel.*' The great magician had tried his power of en- 
chantment, in accordance with the desire of the Moabites: hot 
is very on it should he said of Israel, "What 

hath God wrought!* 7 While they were under the divine pre* 
.. no people or nation, though aided hy all the power of Satan, 
lid he able to prevail against them. All the world should 
wonder at the marvelous work of God in behalf of his people, — 
that a man determined to pursue a sinful course, should be - 
controlled by divine jwwer as to utter, instead of imprecations, the 
richest and most precious promises, in the language of sublime 
and impassioned poetry. And the favor of God at this time 
manifcsted toward Israel, was to be an assurance of his protecting 
care for his obedient, faithful children in all . When Satan 

aid inspire evil men to misrepresent, harass, and destroy 
people, this very occurrence would be brought to their remem- 
brance, and would strengthen their courage and their (faith in God. 
The king of Moab, disheartened and distressed, exclaimed, 
" Neither curse them at all; nor bless them at all. 77 Yet a faint 
hope still lingered in his heart, and he determined to make 
another trial. He now conducted Balaam to Mount Peor, where 
was a temple devoted to the licentious worship of Baal, their god- 
Here the same number of altars were erected as before, and the 
same number of sacrifices were offered; but Balaam went not 
alone, as at • -ther times, to learn Gods wilL He made no pretense 
-oreery. but standing beside the altars, he looked abroad upon 
the * leL Again the Spirit of God rested upon him, 

and the divine mess g came from his lit - — 
" H> :>w goodly are thy tents. O Jacob, 
And thy tabernacle- -.el! 

•he valleys are they spread forth, as gardens by the river's side, 
he trees of lign-aloes which the Lord hath planted, and as cedar-trees 

beside the war 
-hall poor the water oat of his backets, and his seed shall be in many 
" -- 

King shall be higher than Asag, and his kingdom shall be 
He coached, he lay down as a lion, and as a great lion. Who shall stir 
him op? 

.•? that blesseth thee, and cursed is he that enrseth thee." 


The prosperity of God's people is here represented by some of 
the most beautiful figures to be found in nature. The prophet 
likens Israel to fertile valleys covered with abundant harvests ; to 
nourishing gardens watered by never-failing springs ; to the fra- 
grant sandal-tree and the stately cedar. The figure last mentioned 
is one of the most strikingly beautiful and appropriate to be found 
in the inspired word. The cedar of Lebanon was honored by all 
the people of the East. The class of trees to which it belongs is 
found wherever man has gone, throughout the earth. From the 
arctic regions to the tropic zone they flourish, rejoicing in the 
heat, yet braving the cold ; springing in rich luxuriance by the 
river-side, } r et towering aloft upon the parched and thirsty waste. 
They plant their roots deep among the rocks of the mountains, 
and boldly stand in defiance of the tempest. Their leaves are 
fresh and green when all else has perished at the breath of winter. 
Above all other trees, the cedar of Lebanon is distinguished for its 
strength, its firmness, its undecaying vigor ; and this is used as a 
symbol of those whose life is " hid with Christ in God." 1 Says the 
Scripture, " The righteous . . . shall grow like a cedar." 2 The di- 
vine hand has exalted the cedar as king over the forest. " The fir- 
trees were not like his boughs, and the chestnut trees were not like 
his branches, nor any tree in the garden of God." 3 The cedar is 
repeatedly employed as an emblem of royalty, and its use in 
Scripture to represent the righteous, shows how Heaven regards 
those who do the will of God. 

Balaam prophesied that Israel's king would be greater and 
more powerful than Agag. This was the name given to the kings 
of the Amalekites, who were at this time a very powerful nation ; 
but Israel, if true to God, would subdue all her enemies. The 
King of Israel was the Son of God; and his throne was one day 
to be established in the earth, and his power to be exalted above 
all earthly kingdoms. 

As he listened to the prophet's words, Balak was overwhelmed 
with disappointed hope, with fear and rage. He was indignant, 
that Balaam could have given him the least encouragement of a 
favorable response, when everything was determined against him. 
He regarded with scorn the prophet's compromising, deceptive 
course. The king exclaimed fiercely, " Therefore now flee thou to 
thy place. I thought to promote thee unto great honor; but, lo, 
1 Col. 3:3. 2 Ps. 92:12. 3 Eze. 31 : 8. 

BALAAM. 451 

the Lord hath kept thee hack from honor." The answer was that 
the king had been forewarned that Balaam could speak only the 
message given him from God. 

Before returning to his people, Balaam uttered a most beautiful 
and sublime prophecy of the world's Redeemer, and the final de- 
struction of the enemies of God: — 

"I sk;ill see Him, but not now. I shall behold him, but not nigh. 
There shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Scepter shall rise out of Israel, 
And shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth." 

And he closed by predicting the complete destruction of Moab 
and Edom, of Amalek and the Kenites, thus leaving to the Mo- 
abitish king no ray of hope. 

Disappointed in his hopes of wealth and promotion, in disfavor 
with the king, and conscious that he had incurred the displeasure 
of God, Balaam returned from his self-chosen mission. After he 
had reached his home, the controlling power of the Spirit of God 
left him, and his covetousness, which had been merely held in 
check, prevailed. He was ready to resort to any means to gain 
the reward promised by Balak. Balaam knew that the prosperity 
of Israel depended upon their obedience to God, and that there 
was no way to cause their overthrow but by seducing them into 
sin. He now decided to secure Balak's favor by advising the 
Moahites of the course to be pursued to bring a curse upon Israel. 

He immediately returned to the land of Moab, and laid his 
plans before the king. The Moahites themselves were convinced 
that so long as Israel remained true to God, he would be their 
shield. The plan proposed by Balaam was to separate them from 
God by enticing them into idolatry. If they could be led to en- 
gage in the licentious worship ot Baal and Ash taroth, their omnip- 
otent Protector would become their enemy, and they would soon 
fall ;i prey to the fierce, warlike nations around them. This plan 
was readily accepted by the king, and Balaam himself remained 
to assist in carrying it into effect. 

Balaam witnessed the success of his diabolical scheme. He 
saw the curse of God visited upon his people, and thousands fall- 
ing under his judgments ; hut the divine justice that punished sin 
in Israel, did not permit the tempters to escape. In the war of 
Israel against the Midianites, Balaam was slain. He had felt a 
presentiment that his own end was near when he exclaimed, " Let 



me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end he like his." 
But he had not chosen to live the life of the righteous, and his 
destiny was fixed with the enemies of God. 

The fate of Balaam was similar to that of Judas, and their 
characters bear a marked resemblance to each other. Both these 
men tried to unite the service of God and mammon, and met 
with signal failure. Balaam acknowledged the true God, and 
professed to serve him; Judas believed in Jesus as the Messiah, 
and united with his followers. But Balaam hoped to make the 
service of Jehovah the stepping-stone to the acquirement of riches 
and worldly honor ; and failing in this he stumbled, and fell, and 
was broken. Judas expected by his connection with Christ to 
secure wealth and promotion in that worldly kingdom which, 
as he believed, the Messiah was about to set up. The failure 
of his hopes drove him to apostasy and ruin. Both Balaam and 
Judas had received great light and enjoyed special privileges ; but 
a single cherished sin poisoned the entire character, and caused 
their destruction. 

It is a perilous thing to allow an unchristian trait to live in the 
heart. One cherished sin will, little by little, debase the character, 
bringing all its nobler powers into subjection to the evil desire. 
The removal of one safe-guard from the conscience, the indulgence 
of one evil habit, one neglect of the high claims of duty, breaks 
down the defenses of the soul, and opens the way for Satan to 
come in and lead us, astray. The only safe course is to let our 
prayers go forth daily from a sincere heart, as did David, " Hold 
up my goings in Thy paths, that my footsteps slip not." 1 

1 Ts. 17 : 5. 



With joyful hearts and renewed faith in God, the victorious 
armies of Israel had returned from Bashan. They had already 
gained possession of a valuable territory, and they were confident 

of tiie immediate conquest of Canaan. Only the river Jordan lay 
hetween them and the promised land. Just across the river was a 
rich plain, covered with verdure, watered with streams from copi- 
ous fountains, and shaded by luxuriant palm-trees. On the we; :t- 
ern border of the plain rose the towers and palaces of Jericho, so 
embosomed in its palm-tree groves that it was called " the city of 

On the eastern side of Jordan, between the river and the high 
table-land which they had been traversing, was also a plain, 
several miles in width, and extending some distance along the 
river. This sheltered valley had the climate of the tropics ; here 
ilourished the shittim, or acacia tree, giving to the plain the name, 
"Vale of Shittim." It was here that the Israelites encamped, and 
in the acacia groves by the river-side they found an agreeable 

But amid these attractive surroundings they were to encounter 
an evil more deadly than mighty hosts of armed men or the wild 
beasts of the wilderness. That country, so rich in natural advan- 
tages, had been defiled by the Inhabitants. In the public worship 
of Baal, the leading deity, the most degrading and iniquitous 
seems were constantly enacted. On every side were places noted 
for idolatry and licentiousness, the very names being su,L r L r estive of 
the vileness and corruption of the people. 

These surroundings exerted a polluting influence upon the 
Israelites. Their minds became familiar with the vile thoughts 
constantly suggested ; their life oi ease ami inaction produced its 
demoralizing effect; and almost unconsciously to themselves, they 



were departing from God, and coming into a condition where they 
would fall an easy prey to temptation. 

During the time of their encampment beside Jordan, Moses 
was preparing for the occupation of Canaan. In this work the 
great leader was fully employed ; hut to the people this time of 
suspense and expectation was most trying, and before many weeks 
had elapsed, their history was marred by the most frightful de- 
partures from virtue and integrity. 

At first there was little intercourse between the Israelites and 
their heathen neighbors ; but after a time Midianitish women 
began to steal into the camp. Their appearance excited no alarm, 
and so quietly were their plans conducted that the attention of 
Moses was not called to the matter. It was the object of these 
women, in their association with the Hebrews, to seduce them into 
transgression of the law of God, to draw their attention to heathen 
rites and customs, and lead them into idolatry. These motives 
were studiously concealed under the garb of friendship, so that 
they were not suspected, even by the guardians of the people. 

At Balaam's suggestion, a grand festival in honor of their gods 
was appointed by the king of Moab, and it was secretly arranged 
that Balaam should induce the Israelites to attend. He was 
regarded by them as a prophet of God, and hence had little 
difficulty in accomplishing his purpose. Great numbers of the 
people joined him in witnessing the festivities. They ventured 
upon the forbidden ground, and were entangled in the snare of 
Satan. Beguiled with music and dancing, and allured by -the 
beauty of heathen vestals, they cast off their fealty to Jehovah. 
As they united in mirth and feasting, indulgence in wine be- 
clouded their senses, and broke down the barriers of self-control. 
Passion had full sway; and having defiled their consciences by 
lewdness, they were persuaded to bow down to idols. They 
offered sacrifice upon heathen altars, and participated in the most 
degrading rites. 

It was not long before the poison had spread, like a deadly 
infection, through the camp of Israel. Those who would have 
conquered their enemies in battle, were overcome by the wiles of 
heathen women. The people seemed to be infatuated. The 
rulers and the leading men were among the first to transgress, and 
so many of the people were guilty that the apostasy became 
national. " Israel joined himself unto Baal-peor." ' When Moses 

1 See Numbers 25. 

AP08TA8Y AT Til /•; JORDAN. t55 

was aroused to perceive the evil, the plots of their enemies had 
been so successful that not only were the Israelites participating 

in the licentious worship at Mount Peor, hut the heathen rites 
were coming to be observed in the camp of Israel. The aged 
Leader was filled with indignation, and the wrath of God was 

Their iniquitous practices did that for Israel which all the 
enchantments of Balaam could not do — -they separated them 
from God. By swift-coming judgments the people were awakened 
to the enormity of their sin. A terrible pestilence broke out in 

the camp, to which tens of thousands speedily fell a prey. God 
commanded that the leaders in this apostasy he put to death by 
the magistrates. This order was promptly obeyed. The offenders 
were slain, then their bodies were hung up in sight of all Israel, 
that the congregation, seeing the leaders so severely dealt with, 
might have a deep sense of God's abhorrence of their sin, and the 
terror of his wrath against them. 

All felt that the punishment was just, and the people hastened 
to the tabernacle, and with tears and deep humiliation confessed 
their sin. While they were thus weeping before God, at the door 
of the tabernacle, while the plague was still doing its work of 
death, and the magistrates were executing their terrible commis- 
sion, Zimri, one of the nobles of Israel, came boldly into the camp, 
accompanied by a Midianitish harlot, a princess "of a chief house 
in Midian," whom he escorted to his tent. Never was vice bolder 
or more stubborn. Inflamed with wine, Zimri "declared his sin 
as Soiloni," and gloried in his shame. The priests and leaders 
had prostrated themselves in grief and humiliation, weeping " be- 
tween the ] torch and the altar," and entreating the Lord to spare 
his people, and give not his heritage to reproach, when this prince 
in Israel Haunted his sin in the sight of the congregation, as if to 
defy the vengeance of God and mock the judges of the nation. 
Phinehas, the son of Eleazar the high priest, rose up from among 
the congregation, and seizing a javelin, "he went alter the man of 
Israel into the tent," and slew them both. Thus the plague was 
Btayed, while the priest who had executed the divine judgment 
was honored before all Israel, and the priesthood was confirmed to 
him and to his house forever. 

Phinehas " hath turned my wrath away from the children of 
Israel," was the divine message; "wherefore say, Behold, I give 


unto him my covenant of peace. And he shall have it, and his 
seed after him, even the covenant of an everlasting priesthood; 
because he was zealous for his God, and made an atonement for 
the children of Israel." 

The judgments visited upon Israel for their sin at Shittim, 
destroyed the survivors of that vast company, who, nearly forty 
years before, had incurred the sentence, "They shall surely die in 
the wilderness." The numbering- of the people by divine direction, 
during their encampment on the plains of Jordan, showed that 
"of them whom Moses and Aaron the priest numbered, when they 
numbered the children of Israel in the wilderness of Sinai, . . . 
there was not left a man of them, save Caleb the son of Jephunneh, 
and Joshua the son of Nun." ' 

God had sent judgments upon Israel for yielding to the entice- 
ments of the Midianites ; but the tempters were not to escape the 
wrath of divine justice. The Amalekites, who had attacked Israel 
at Rephidim, falling upon those who were faint and weary behind 
the host, were not punished till long after; but the Midianites, 
who seduced them into sin, were speedily made to feel God's 
judgments, as being the more dangerous enemies. " Avenge the 
children of Israel of the Midianites,"' 2 was the command of God 
to Moses; "afterward shalt thou be gathered unto thy people." 
This mandate was immediately obeyed. One thousand men were 
chosen from each of the tribes, and sent out under the leadership of 
Phinehas. " And they warred against the Midianites, as the Lord 
commanded Moses. . . . And they slew the kings of Midian, be- 
side the rest of them that were slain; . . . five kings of Midian; 
Balaam also the son of Beor they slew with the sword." The 
women also, who had been made captives by the attacking army, 
were put to death at the command of Moses, as the most guilty 
and most dangerous of the foes of Israel. 

Such was the end of them that devised mischief against God's 
people. Says the psalmist : " The heathen are sunk down in the 
pit that they made; in the net which they hid is their own foot 
taken." 3 " For the Lord will not cast off Ins people, neither will 
he forsake his inheritance. But judgment shall return unto right- 
eousness." "When men "gather themselves together against the 
soul of the righteous," the Lord "shall bring upon them their own 
iniquity, and shall cut them off in their own wickedness."' 1 

iNum, 20 : 64, 65. 2 See Numbers 31. 

Ps. 'J : 15. 4 I's. 94 : 14, 15, 21, 2)5. 

APOSTASY AT Till-: .loll DAN. t57 

When Balaam was called to curse the Hebrews, he could not, 
by all his enchantments, bring evil upon them ; lor the Lord " had 
not beheld iniquity in Jacob, neither had he seen perverseness in 

Israel." 1 But when through yielding to temptation they trans- 
gressed God's law, their defense departed from them. When the 
people of God are faithful to his commandments, "there is no 
enchantment against Jacob, neither is there any divination against 
Israel.'' Henee all the power and wily arts of Satan are exerted 
to seduce them into sin. If those who profess to be the deposi- 
taries of God's law, become transgressors of its precepts, they 
separate themselves from God, and they will be unable to stand 
before their enemies. 

The Israelites, who could not be overcome by the arms or by 
the enchantments of Midian, fell a prey to her harlots. Such is 
the power that woman, enlisted in the service of Satan, has ex- 
erted to entrap and destroy souls. " She hath cast down many 
wounded; yea, many strong men have been slain by her." 2 It 
was thus that the children of Seth were seduced from their in- 
tegrity, and the holy seed became corrupt. It was thus that 
Joseph was tempted. Thus Samson betrayed his strength, the 
defense of Israel, into the hands of the Philistines. Here David 
stumbled. And Solomon, the wisest of kings, who had thrice 
been called the beloved of his God, became a slave of passion, and 
sacrificed his integrity to the same bewitching power. 

" Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples ; and 
they are written for our admonition upon whom the ends of 
the world are come. Wherefore let him that thinketh he stand- 
eth, take heed lest he fall." 3 Satan well knows the material 
with which he has to deal in the human heart. He knows — 
for he has studied with fiendish intensity for thousands of years 
— the points most easily assailed in every character; and through 
successive generations he has wrought to overthrow the strong- 
est men, princes in Israel, by the same temptations that were 
bo successful at Baal-peor. All along through the ages there are 
strewn wrecks of character that have been stranded upon the 
rocks of sensual indulgence. As Ave approach the close of time, 
as the people of God stand upon the borders of the heavenly 
Canaan, Satan will, as of old, redouble his efforts to prevent 

them from entering the g lly land. He lays his snares for every 

soul. It is not the ignorant and uncultured merely that need to 

'Num. 23 : 21, 23. '■'Prov. 7 : 26. 3 1 Cor. 10 : 11, VI. 


be guarded; he will prepare his temptations for those in the 
highest positions, in the most holy office ; if he can lead them to 
pollute their souls, he can through them destroy many. And he 
employs the same agents now as he employed three thousand 
years ago. By worldly friendships, by the charms of beauty, by 
pleasure-seeking, mirth, feasting, or the wine-cup, he tempts to the 
violation of the seventh commandment. 

Satan seduced Israel into licentiousness before leading them to 
idolatry. Those who will dishonor God's image and defile his 
temple in their own persons will not scruple at any dishonor to 
God that will gratify the desire of their depraved hearts. Sensual 
indulgence weakens the mind and debases the soul. The moral 
and intellectual powers are benumbed and paralyzed by the grati- 
fication of the animal propensities; and it is impossible for the 
slave of passion to realize the sacred obligation of the law of God, 
to appreciate the atonement, or to place a right value upon the 
soul. Goodness, purity, and truth, reverence for God, and love for 
sacred things, — all those holy affections and noble desires that 
link men with the heavenly world, — are consumed in the fires of 
lust. The soul becomes a blackened and desolate waste, the 
habitation of evil spirits, and "the cage of every unclean and 
hateful bird." Beings formed in the image of God are dragged 
down to a level with the brutes. 

It was by associating with idolaters and joining in their festivi- 
ties that the Hebrews were led to transgress God's law, and bring 
his judgments upon the nation. So now it is by leading the 
followers of Christ to associate with the ungodly and unite in 
their amusements, that Satan is most successful in alluring them 
into sin. " Come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith 
the Lord, and touch not the unclean." 1 God requires of his 
people now as great a distinction from the world, in customs, 
habits, and principles, as he required of Israel anciently. If they 
faithfully follow the teachings of his word, this distinction will 
exist ; it cannot be otherwise. The warnings given to the Hebrews 
against assimilating with the heathen were not more direct or 
explicit than are those forbidding Christians to conform to the 
spirit and customs of the ungodly. Christ speaks to us, " Love 
not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any 
man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him." " The 
friendship of the world is enmity with God; whosoever therefore 

1 2 Cor. 6 : 17. 


will be a friend of the world La the enemy <>i* God."' The follow- 
ers of Christ are to separate themselves from sinners, choosing 
their Bociety only when there is opportunity to do them good. 
We cannot be too decided in Bhunning the company of those who 
exert an influence to draw us away from God. While we pray, 
"Lead us not into temptation," we are to shun temptation, so far 
as possible. 

It was when the Israelites were in a condition of outward ease 
and security that they were led into sin. They failed to keep God 
ever before them, they neglected prayer, and cherished a spirit of 
self-confidence. Ease and self-indulgence left the citadel of the 
soul unguarded, and debasing thoughts found entrance. It was 
the traitors within the walls that overthrew the strongholds of 
principle and betrayed Israel into the power of Satan. It is thus 
that Satan still seeks to compass the ruin of the soul. A long 
preparatory process, unknown to the world, goes on in the heart 
before the Christian commits open sin. The mind does not come 
down at once from purity and holiness to depravity, corruption, 
and crime. It takes time to degrade those formed in the image of 
God to the brutal or the satanic. By beholding, we become 
changed. By the indulgence of impure thoughts, man can so 
educate his mind that sin which he once loathed will become 
pleasant to him. 

Satan is using every means to make crime and debasing vice 
popular. We cannot walk the streets of our cities without en- 
countering flaring notices of crime presented in some novel, or to 
be acted at some theater. The mind is educated to familiarity 
with sin. The course pursued by the base and vile is kept before 
the people hi the periodicals of the day, and everything that can 
excite passion is brought before them in exciting stories. They 
hear and read SO much of debasing crime, that the once tender 
conscience, which would have recoiled with horror from such 
scenes, becomes hardened, and they dwell upon these things with 
greedy interest. 

Many of the amusements popular in the world to-day, even 
with those who claim to he Christians, tend to the same end as did 
those ,»!' the heathen. There are indeed few among them that 
Satan does not turn to account in destroying souls. Through 
the drama he has worked for ages to excite passion and glorify 
vice. The opera, with its fascinating display and bewildering 

1 t John 2 : 15 ; James 4 : 4. 


music, the masquerade, the dance, the card-table, Satan employs 
to break down the barriers of principle, and open the door to 
sensual indulgence. In every gathering for pleasure where pride 
is fostered or appetite indulged, where one is led to forget God and 
lose sight of eternal interests, there Satan is binding his chains 
about the soul. 

" Keep thy heart with all diligence," is the counsel of the wise 
man; " for out of it are the issues of life." As man "thinketh in 
his heart, so is he." l The heart must be renewed by divine grace, 
or it will be in vain to seek for purity of life. He who attempts 
to build up a noble, virtuous character independent of the grace 
of Christ, is building his house upon the shifting sand. In the 
fierce storms of temptation it will surely be Overthrown. David's 
prayer should be the petition of every soul : " Create in me a clean 
heart, God; and renew a right spirit within me." 2 And having 
become partakers of the heavenly gift, we are to go on unto perfec- 
tion, being " kept by the power of God, through faith." 3 

Yet we have a work to do to resist temptation. Those who 
would not fall a prey to Satan's devices must guard well the 
avenues of the soul ; they must avoid reading, seeing, or hearing 
that which will suggest impure thoughts. The mind should not 
be left to wander at random upon every subject that the adversary 
of souls may suggest. " Girding up the loins of your mind," says 
the apostle Peter, "be sober, . . . not fashioning yourselves ac- 
cording to your former lusts in your ignorance ; but like as He 
which called you is holy, be ye yourselves also holy in all manner 
of living." 4 Says Paul, "Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever 
things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things 
are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of 
good report ; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, 
think on these things." 5 This will require earnest prayer and 
unceasing watchfulness. We must be aided by the abiding influ- 
ence of the Holy Spirit, which will attract the mind upward, and 
habituate it to dwell on pure and holy things. And we must give 
diligent study to the word of God. " Wherewithal shall a young- 
man cleanse his way ? By taking heed thereto according to thy 
word." "Thy word," says the psalmist, "have I hid in mine 
heart, that I might not sin against thee." 6 

^rov. 4 : 23; 23 : 7. 2 Ps. 51 : 10. 3 1 Peter 1 : 5. 

*1 Peter 1 : 13-15, Rev. Ver. 6 Phil. 4:8. 6 Ps. 119 : 9. 1 1. 


Israel's sin at Beth-peor brought the judgments of God upon 
the nation, and though the same sins may not now be punished as 
speedily, they will as surely meet retribution. " If any man defile 
the temple of God, him shall God destroy." 1 Nature has affixed 
terrible penalties to these crimes, — penalties which, sooner or 
later, will he inflicted upon every transgressor. It is these sins 
more than any other that have caused the fearful degeneracy 
of our race, and the weight of disease and misery with which the 
world is cursed. Men may succeed in concealing their trans- 
gression from their fellow-men, hut they will no less surely 
reap the result, in suffering, disease, imbecility, or death. And 
heyond this life stands the tribunal of the Judgment, with its 
award of eternal penalties. "They which do such things shall 
not inherit the kingdom of God," hut with Satan and evil angels 
shall have their part in that "lake of fire" which "is the 
second death." 2 

"The lips of a strange woman drop as a honey-comb, and 
her mouth is smoother than oil; but her end is bitter as worm- 
wood, sharp as a two-edged sword." " Remove, thy way far from 
her, and come not nigh the door of her house; lest thou give thine 
honor unto others, and thy years unto the cruel: lest strangers 
be filled with thy wealth; and thy labors he in the house of a 
stranger; and thou mourn at the last, when thy flesh and thy 
body are consumed." "Her house inclineth unto death." " None 
that go unto her return again." " Her guests are in the depths of 
hell." ■ 

1 1 Cor. :i : 17. ~ Gal. 5:21; Rev. 20 : 14. 

3 Prov. 5 : 3, 4, 8-11 ; 2 : 18, 19 •, 9 : 18. 



The Lord announced to Moses that the appointed time for the 
possession of Canaan was at hand ; and as the aged prophet stood 
upon the heights overlooking the river Jordan and the promised 
land, he gazed with deep interest upon the inheritance of his peo- 
ple. Would it be possible that the sentence pronounced against 
him for his sin at Kadesh might be revoked ? With deep earnest- 
ness he pleaded, " Lord God, thou hast begun to show thy 
servant thy greatness, and thy mighty hand; for what god is 
there in heaven or in earth, that can do according to thy works, 
and according to thy might? I pray thee, let me go over, and see 
the good land that is beyond Jordan, that goodly mount