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to the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
II. That the leaders of this rebellion, with their wives and little ones, except the children of Korah, who probably partook not their father's sin, for they'died not, and that two hundred and fifty princes of the assembly should thus offend and perish, was a dreadful instance of human iniquity, and divine visitation : but neither the evil nor the punishment rested here. The Israelites also offended, and the wrath of God fell upon them. They seemed at first seized with a dread as salutary as it was wellfounded. “ All Israel that were round about Dathan and Abiram fled at the cry of them; for they said, Lest the earth swallow us up also." Was the feeling then deep, permanent, and abiding; or superficial, and transient? As the ship pursues her path through the waves, makes a long furrow through the deep, and leaves a track of foam behind her, for a little time distinct and well defined, but soon mingling with the world of waters, and seen no more, so was it with the judgment of heaven on Korah, and with Israel's recollection of its terrors. It endured for the night, but discontent and rebellion came in the morning.
I Numbers xxvi. 11.
“On the morrow the congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses, saying, Ye have killed the people of the Lord.” And had not the light cloud, the visible symbol of the Deity, which during this rebellion seems to have retreated within the most Holy place, again left it, and covered the tabernacle of the congregation, the same violence would probably have been offered to the ministers of God, with which Caleb and Joshua were threatened, when they were saved by a like interference. Thus provoked and defied, Jehovah drew as it were his hand from his bosom, and said to Moses · and Aaron, as his discriminating judgment separated the righteous from the wicked, “Get thee up from among this congregation, that I may consume them in a moment." True to their blessed principles, as the friends of Israel whom no insults could move to vengeance, they fell on their faces to intercede for these transgressors, in the moment of their presumptuous sin. But although their prayer was heard in behalf of the congregation generally, the threat was put into such instant execution against the most guilty, that when Moses arose from the posture of prayer, he saw the destroyer doing his work of death in the camp :-the plague was begun. Aaron was commanded, as the only remedy in this most dreadful extremity, “to take a censer
and put fire therein from the altar, and put on incense, and to go quickly unto the congregation, and make an atonement for them.” Time did not permit to offer a burnt sacrifice; but the ashes from the altar on which the victim was consumed would suffice. Aaron ran toward the camp, made the atonement, stood between the dead and the living, and the plague was stayed ; but not until fourteen thousand seven hundred persons had perished by its visitation. Happy they who make the sins of others their caution! Happy we, if Korah, Dathan, and Abiram shall teach us to avoid their iniquity and their death.
The censers which had been hallowed to offer an incense, however mistaken, were made broad plates, as a covering to the altar, and for a memorial to the Israelites of the mercy and judgment of God. But they forgat both, even before the censers could be so applied ; and they were visited with more calamities. The altar is destroyed, the place thereof knoweth it no more. The brazen plates have perished: but the fact is recorded for our instruction, that instead of continuing to provoke the longsuffering of our heavenly Father, in his Son, we may take with us words of penitence, and turn again unto the Lord; lest being often warned in vain, judgment should at length be sent without a warning, and there should be none to deliver us. To day, while it is called to day, harden not your hearts.
(1.) Learn then from hence, the value of that Saviour to whom the infinite compassions of God direct you in the gospel. The sentence of wrath was spoken, and its execution was begun. Moses saw the havoc made by death through the ranks of Israel; and Aaron was sent forth to make atonement and intercession. How then did he proceed to discharge his important office? As became the dignity of his character, the injury done to him by their rebellion, the gravity of his age, or the danger of infection and death in the camp? Nothing of this kind had place within him, or directed his movements. Forgetful of every thing, except the command of Moses, and the need of Israel, he ran into the midst of the congregation: and though the plague was begun, put on incense, and made an atonement for the people. There he stood, self-devoted, and undismayed, the messenger of mercy, the only hope of life to guilty Israel. There he took his dangerous post of duty, between the dead and the living. There his atonement was accepted, his prayer heard, and the plague stayed. So far as depended on his speed, and effort, not a moment was lost, not an Israelite died. Illustrious type of him whom God made to be sin for us, though he knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him! There is an infection of sin in the world, which only the cross and pleading of Jesus Christ can stay, and remove. In mercy to its lost condition, he is sent by the insulted Father. And how does he execute his commission ? slowly, unwillingly, hesitatingly, fearfully? Look into the
gospels, and know-consult the record of salvation, and judge. He descends from the realms of glory, with unreserved chearfulness. One only voice is heard, as he goes to his appointed work, I delight to do thy will, O God, yea thy law is within my heart. Every thing is forgotten, except the glory of his Father, and the need of a guilty rebellious, and perishing world. He enters the defiled and dying camp.
He takes his post of duty, and of suffering, among the stricken thousands. He stands between the dead and the living, between the Eternal Judge, and the souls upon whom a sentence of condemnation has been passed. Does he shrink in the hour of trial? No, He is alike the priest and the victim. The plague must reach him, the chastisement of our peace must be laid upon him, we must have redemption through his blood, even the remission of sins. Nature, indeed, that weak, that timid nature, which he assumed, may shrink from its suffering, and he may cry, Father, if it be possible, let this cup