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in its share of the general calamity, the people of Israel, probably drawn together during the suspension of all labor, caused by the former calamities, or assembled in Goshen to celebrate the new national festival already organized by a sort of discipline among the separate tribes; with all their flocks and herds, with sufficient provisions for an immediate supply, and with the booty they had extorted from their masters, stood prepared as one man for the signal of departure. During the night the permission, or rather entreaty, that they would instantly evacuate the country, arrived, yet no one stirred before the morning, perhaps apprehensive lest the slaughter should be attributed to them, or in religious fear of encountering the angel of destruction. The Egyptians became only anxious to accelerate their departure, and thus the Hebrew people set forth to seek a land of freedom, bearing with them the bones of their great ancestor Joseph."

Thus were the Jews organized, and fairly committed before the world as the chosen people, and submitted to that long train of change and discipline, by which they were fitted to be the vehicle for communicating the truth of God, to the nations of the modern civilized world.

Hence their long sojourn in the wilderness, their reception of the law from Sinai, their final

planting in Canaan, and the peculiar institutions, rites, and usages by which they were distinguished from all the world besides. The whole was intended to extinguish idolatry, and introduce both among Jews and Gentiles the reign of God.

It is on this ground we may justify the command to exterminate the Canaanites, inveterate and even bestial idolaters, indulging as they did in the grossest sensuality, and making their children pass through the fire to Moloch. It was absolutely necessary to the preservation among the Jews of any thing like purity of character, or spirituality of worship. Nothing, indeed, but a special divine injunction could legalize the proceding; but this given, it was found the strongest protest against idolatry, and the most effectual means of preserving the national virtue. Had it been fully carried out, the Jews would have remained in their own land, a beacon light to the surrounding nations. That many of the Canaanites were left in the country, and permitted to form alliances with Hebrew families, and finally, through the influence of Jeroboam and others, " who made Israel to sin," to introduce their pagan rites among the Jews, is a fact well known. It is also the only one which accounts for their final apostasy, from the fatal consequences of which they were saved only by foreign exile. Their long captivity under the kings of

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Chaldea and Persia, brought out more distinctly the national character, and finally saved them froin idolatry.

Being separated at first, as was meet, from all the nations of the earth, by a severe, and what some have deemed a barbarous discipline, they were subsequently, by a series of the most singular dispersions, such as no other nation has ever experienced without extinction, scattered over the world in Assyria, Babylonia, Persia, Greece and Rome, in Egypt and in the parts about Libya and Cyrene." They were very numerous in Babylon, where they long remained, first through captivity, and then through choice, and in that and many of the adjacent countries, became the teachers of their conquerors. They had synagogues in all the principal cities of Asia Minor, in Persia, and even in India. Temple worship was performed in Alexandria, and thousands, both of Jews and Gentiles, in Egypt, read in their own vernacular, the translation of the Old Testament, called the Septuagint. Many Jews lived in Arabia, and so spread their Messianic hopes among the tribes of the wilderness, as well as among the more cultivated communities of the ancient world. Other nations passed away; but they remained, partly among the heathen, partly in their own land; their views

the same, their hopes the same. They had gained numerous proselytes in heathen lands about the time which preceded the advent of Christ. Hence the universal expectation of this event, cherished through the Oriental world. Hence, especially, the existence of this hope among the sages of Babylon, or Arabia, according to some, and its final realization by the Magi, who came to Jerusalem to worship the new-born King.

*

* See Appendix, Note C.

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CHAPTER VI.

THE CENTRAL RACE. - PRELUDES AND PREPARATIONS.

That the Hebrews, as "a peculiar people," possessed the character and performed the functions ascribed to them in the preceding chapter, can admit of no reasonable doubt; for the fact stands before us, account for it as we may, that ancient history, in its higher relations, revolved around them, and finally converged at Jerusalem in the cross of Christ.

The most inveterate sceptic, at all familiar with the annals of the past, must allow that one of the great purposes, served by this old Hebrew stock, was the preparation of the world for the Messiah, and his actual advent, in the fulness of the times, from the very bosom of the race that rejected him as their king. Strange that they should reject him, and yet give him to the world. Yet such is the actual fact. So that they and all other nations have been “as clay in the hands of the potter," for the production of this sublime result. Let the rationale of the thing be as it may in the view of speculative minds, the hand of God is visible in the whole history of the Jews,

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