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sufficient for security against any hostile attacks. Such facts deserve mention, to show how easily certain objections which infidels have used against this and other parts of the Sacred History, can be answered, whenever an accurate investigation is made ; and to let us see how careful God was, in the course of his providence, to meet the peculiar exigencies of his people.
We next find the boundaries of the land of Canaan settled by the divine direction, and the men appointed who should apportion it among the several tribes. These were Eleazar and Joshua, in connection with a prince, or chief man, from each tribe. As the Levites were to have no inheritance, the Israelites were commanded to give them fortyeight cities for their residečice, with extensive suburbs around them; and six of which, three on each side of the Jordan, were to be used, as the necessity might occur, for a very peculiar purpose.
It had long been a custom among the Israelites, if one man was killed by another, for the nearest relation of the deceased to avenge his death, by slaying him who had caused it. This custom un. doubtedly originated in the divine command given to Noah, Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed. It was liable, however, sometimes to produce the infliction of punishment when it was not deserved, and when it was, to stir up the feelings of malicious revenge.
In the government of the Israelites God devised a mode of guarding against these evils, and, at the same time, of securing a strict administration of justice. The six cities among those allotted to the Levites, which have just been referred to, were to be cities of refuge ; so that any person killing another unintentionally, might flee to them before being overtaken by the avenger of blood, and there be secure against his assault. They were to furnish this security, as well for the stranger and sojourner, as for the Israelites themselves. But the person claiming their protection, was still amenable to justice, and could be brought before the proper tribunals, to have it ascertained whether he were innocent or guilty. If the latter, he was to suffer the penalty of the law, which, for murder, was death. If innocent, he was to have the privilege of dwelling securely in the city to which he had fled, till the death of the high-priest, when he would be at liberty to go where he chose. Before that period, should he go without the borders of the city, the avenger of blood might slay him with impunity. Provision was made to have this interval of time elapse, that personal and family resentments, which in some cases might be very strong, should have the opportunity of being allayed; while such a mournful event as the national loss of a high-priest would add its softening influence to produce a cordial and entire reconciliation.
The estimate which God placed upon human life, is strikingly evident, both from this provision of the cities of refuge, and from the law against murder promulgated at the same time. The very language employed deserves our notice.
" Whoso killeth any person, the murderer shall be put to death by the mouth of witnesses : but one witness shall not testify against any person to cause him to die. Moreover ye shall take no satisfaction for the life of a murderer, which is guilty of death : but he shall be surely put to death. And ye shall take no satisfaction for him that is fled to the city of his refuge, that he should come again to dwell in the land, until the death of the priest. So ye shall not pollute the land wherein ye are : for blood it defileth the land : and the land cannot be cleansed of the blood that is shed therein, but by the blood of him that shed it. Defile not therefore the land which you shall inhabit, wherein I dwell : for I the Lord dwell among the children of Israel.”
If the life of the body is so precious, how much more so is that of the soul! If the murderer, according to the divine law, was to be put to death, what shall be the punishment of those who destroy, or attempt to destroy the souls of their fellow-men?
You would shrink back with horror at the thought, my young friend, of giving poison, however protracted might be its operation, which would
cause the death of another. Are you horror-struck, also, at the possibility of your saying or doing that which, by its immoral and irreligious influence, may contaminate the soul, and be one of the causes, perhaps the principal one, of ruining a fellow-being for ever!
There are murderers of the soul as well as of the body. They may do their work more slowly, but not less surely. Every moral contamination addressed to the mind of another, partakes of this guilt Beware, lest in look, in word, or in conduct you impart it. Are your example, your influence, your conversation, your actions, my young friend, just what they should be, as you have intercourse daily with those around you ? Examine and see. Watch and pray, lest you and they fall into temptation.
The parting counsels of Moses. His exhortations and
But one short month remained, for Moses to. spend on earth, and finish his important work. He
knew that his departure was near. He felt the necessity that was laid upon him of doing what he had to do, with all the energies of his soul. The book of Deuteronomy spreads before us the last labors of this wonderful man. Let us follow the course of its narrative; and while we omit what Moses found important to recapitulate, of many preceding events, let us give to the rest of the history that attention which it so justly deserves.
It will be recollected, that the Israelites were still encamped near the banks of the Jordan, on the plains of Moab. Every thing in their condition and prospects was well adapted to prepare their minds to receive the parting injunctions and counsels of him who had, through forty years of the most devoted labors, been their faithful leader and friend. Under his command, and with the divine blessing, they had proved victorious over all their enemies, and were now reposing in complete and tranquil security. They had already taken possession of a country in which they found abundant supplies of water, and of pasturage for their flocks; and were separated only by the stream of the Jordan from the long wished-for land of promise, into which they expected soon to enter, and to enjoy its invaluable blessings.
The retrospect of what had past; the propitious circumstances in which they were placed; their high anticipations of the future; the character and