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disposal of the conquerors; and a partial remission of claims which no one, in these happier days, would be entitled to make, was extolled as the excess of liberality. It was not the object of the divine Being, in the exercise of a peculiar providence towards the Israelites, to inspire them with transcendent virtue by a perpetual miracle; but to preserve uncontaminated, those religious and moral principles which should, in the ordinary course of his providence, ultimately improve the human race. However, it is expressly declared, that the Israelites were restrained from inflicting the horrors of war, in the manner wars were at that period conducted, until the iniquities of the inhabitants of the land should render them ripe for destruction. In the promise to Abraham, after predicting that his seed shall be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and they "shall serve them, and they shall afflict them four hundred years," it is added, "but in the fourth generation, they shall come hither again; for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full." When the important period was arrived, had the Israelites deviated from the usual laws of war, in this respect, the designs of Providence could not have been accomplished. It is, however, a great and triumphant peculiarity, observable in the legislation of Moses, and unknown in every other

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leader, that the most delicate attention to the received principles of justice, was enjoined upon their martial bands. They were commanded not to invade any rights They never commenced hostilities. The nations whom they fought against were always the aggressors. Thus we are told that Moses sent messengers unto the king of Edom, when they arrived at the borders of his land, informing him who the people were, and what they had suffered, soliciting a passage through his country, and promising, "we will not pass through the fields nor through the vineyards, neither will we drink of the wells; we will go by the king's highway; we will not turn to the right hand nor to the left." Those who permitted them to pass unmolested, were treated with the good faith due to the confidence reposed in them. Although the Gibeonites, amazed at the marvellous reports that were spread concerning the Hebrews, and terrified at their power, obtained a league with them by the artful manner in which they imposed upon Joshua, the agreement was religiously observed until the days of Saul; and he was punished for a violation of it. When the surrounding nations resented the conduct of the Gibeonites, by which the combination against these dangerous strangers was weakened, and attacked them

as enemies, they were defended by the Hebrews with vigour and success. The descendants of Esau and Ishmael having retained, to a certain degree, the religion and manners of their pious ancestors, and not being as yet deeply contaminated by the gross idolatry of the neighbouring nations, were preserved, by the express command of God, from the calamities that awaited the more abandoned nations. "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, take ye heed unto yourselves therefore; meddle not with them, for I will not give you of their land, no not so much as a foot breadth: because I have given mount Seir unto Esau for a possession."-" And the Lord said unto me, 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 for a possession.”*— These injunctions, replete with clemency, are a beautiful illustration of the declaration of God, that although he " visit the iniquities of the fathers upon the children, to the third and fourth generations, yet he will have mercy upon thou

* See Deuteronomy, ch. ii. 4, passim.

sands of them who love him and keep his commandments."

Thus it manifestly appears to be a grand characteristic of this Dispensation, that it communicates a knowledge of the one true God, and of his moral attributes; enjoins the practice of every moral duty from a principle of Obedience; and presents us with numerous instances of exemplary rewards and punishments, according to the moral character, and religious conduct of his peculiar people.

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IN the preceding chapter we have shewn, that under the Jewish Dispensation, it was an important object to inculcate just, reverential, and sublime sentiments of religion, and to impress upon the mind the grand duty of Obedience. It was also proved, that this obedience consisted in a perfect confidence in the Divine administration, unreserved submission to the Divine will, and a strict conformity to all the duties of morality that is, in principles and dispositions essential to human happiness.

The Jewish people were instructed in the doctrines of religion and morality, in a manner, and to an-extent, totally unknown to the Pagan world. As this people were, in the course of human events, to be perpetually exposed to all

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