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And thou halt remember all the
Way which the Lord thy God led thee these forty Years in the Wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was
in thine Heart, whether thou qiwouldest keep his Commandments
HE most important part of the T
History of the Old Testament is the Children of Israel's Deliver
ance out of Egypt, their wandering forty Years in the Wilderness, and
SERM. their Settlement in the land of Canaan : A XII. lively Emblem of a Christian's deliverance
from the bondage of Sin, his paffage through this World of temptation and Trial to his Inheritance in Heaven, the state of everlasting Reft. We wander at present in a wild and barren Desert, tending to a better Land, the heavenly Canaan
which therefore we should keep ever in our Eye (as the Israelites did their Earthly one.) to animate and encourage us under all the Hardships and Troubles we may meet with by the Way.
The Israelites had already wandered forty Years in the Deserts of Arabia, called ver. 15. a great and terrible Wilderness. This Year was to terminate their Pilgrimage, and put them into Poffefsion of the promised and long.expected Land of Canaan. But this year they were to lose their faith. ful Leader and Lawgiver Moses, who was not permitted to conduct them into the promised Land. This Chapter therefore, and indeed the greatest part of this Book, (which contains a Repetition of their Law, together with many urgent Motives to Obedience) may be considered as Moses's dying Speech, and the last Advice he gave
them before his Death. One important SERM. Part of which we have in the Words of the XII. Text. Thou shalt remember all the Way which the Lord thy God led thee these forty Years in the Wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine Heart, whether thou wouldest keep his Commandments
From which words I propose to handle these two Observations,
1. That the Israelites wandering through
the Wilderness to Canaan, is a lively
1. The wandering of the Ifnaelites through the Wilderness to Canaan, is a lively Image
SERM. and Representation of a Christian's Passage
The principal Points of Resemblance be-
1. The Passage of the Israelites through the Wilderness was a very unsettled State ; so is ours through this World. For forty Years they dwelt in Tents and Booths (of which their feast of Tabernacles was instituted as an annual Commemoration) wandering from one place to another but fixing no where. Their several Encampments and Decampments were directed by the Pillar of the Cloud. When that arose from over the Tabernacle, and went before it, then all the Congregation decamped ; that is, took up their Tents and followed it. When it stood still and rested over the Tabernacle, then and there the Congregation encamped, that is; pitched their Tents, and continued till the cloudy Pillar moved forward again. And thus were their several Stations determined by a constant Miracle.
Thus moveable and unfixed is our Situation in this world. If we do not continually wander about from place to place, as
the Israelites did, yet we are far from hav. Serm. ing any fixed and constant Abode. The XII. perpetual Alterations we see about us, either in our Friends, our Neighbours, or ourselves, our Persons, Tempers, Estates, Families, or Circumstances; and in short, the vast Change which the compass of a few Years makes in almost every thing around us, is sufficient to convince us that we are in no fixed or settled Condition here. It is only in Heaven we are to dwell in Manhons, that is, in abiding and resting places. Here we dwell, (like the Israelites) in weak and moveable Tabernacles (a), that are foon taken down by Death, which determines our final and everlasting Settlement.
2. The Travel of the Israelites through the Wilderness was not only an unsettled but a troublesome and dangerous State. They endured many Hardships, Fatigues, and Inconveniences; made many a wearisome March through burning Sands, exposed to Heat and Thirst and Danger; not only from the wild Beasts which abounded there (hence called a bowling Wilderness (6),) but from those. Nations through whose Borders Vol. II. U
they (a) 2 Pet. i. 13, 14. (b) Deut. xxxii. 10.