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the LorJ, high'y pleased therewith, accepted of the Sacrisice he had thus ofsered, of thofe audacious Transgressors,as anAtonement for theirWkkedness, and immediately the Plague was stayed. Nor did Pbinebas himself go unrewarded, for this his seasonable and holy Zeal for the Honour of his great Creator, for the Lord gave him his Blessing, and assured him, the Priesthood should remain in his Family for many Generations, as it accordingly did.
Thus have we a remarkable Example both of the good Effects of Zeal aganst Idolatry, and of the fatal Effects of being given to thac heinous Sin; no sooner are the Israelites drawn away by the Midianiti/h Women, to join themselves unto Baelfeor, than they are smitten with the Plague, and in a sew Days, nay, for aught we know to the contrary, in a sew Hoursi Twenty-four Thoufand arc Cut off. Whereas, on the other hand, Phinehas, by a seasonable Sacrisice of an audacious Offender, not only appeases Gon, and slays thePIgue, but intails the Priesthood, the second Dignity amongst, the Je'wi, upon himself and his Family. To fay the Truth, the Israelites themselves, as prone as they were otherwise to Idolatry, leem to have taken Notice hereof, and kept it in their Remembrance for some considerable Time; for we hear no more of their Idolatry all the Days of Moses, nor yei ot yo/hua who succeeded Moses, nor of the Elders who out-lived Jishua, and had known all the Works the Lord had done for Israel,
But not long after, we sind, when they had not those Monitors, to put them in Remembrance of the Lord's mighty Deeds, they again rev-clr, intermarry with the Heathen that are arourd them in the Land o! Canaan, and serve their Gods. Hereupon the Lord immediaiely forsook them, and delivered them into the Hand of Cbusban-iishathaim, F 2 King King of Mesopotamia, whom they were forced to serve for Eight Years; and no doubt their Servitude was hard enough. For, towards the Expiration of that Time, they returned unto their Gad, and cried uuto him, and immediately he raised them up a Deliverer, in the Person of Othnid the Son of Kenaz, who deseated Chushan-rishatbaim,ini secured to the Is ae/ites.the Enjoyment of Peace forty Years.
This was but a short Time, and yet it was as long as that unthanksul People could remember their Deliverance, or even their Sufferings ; for we sind they sell again into their old Sin, and accordingly the Lord again delivered them into the Hand of iheir Enemies, namely, of Eghn, King of Moah, whom they were forced to serve Eighteen Years. Being by that Time come a little to themselves, and returning to their God, he raised them up a Deliverer, in the Person of Ehud, a Benjamite, who by the Death of the King of Moab, whom he Killed with his own Hand, and by the Slaughter of Ten Thoufand of his People, rescued the Israelites fiom Bondage, and procured them the Enjoyment of their Liberty for fourscore Years.
Towards the Expiration of that Term, they returned, like a Dog to the Vomit; upon which the Lord delivered them into the Hands of Jabin King of Canaan, who oppressed them grievously for Twenty Years. Whereupon they became sensible of their Folly, and turned again unto their God, and he again had Pity on them, and sent them Deliverance by the Means of Dehorab, Barak, and Jael, who utterly deseated the Army of Jabin, leaving not a Man of them alive, and flew Si/era his General, so that the Israelites were sully avenged of, and delivered from their Oppressors. It is not mentioned in Scripture how long they enjoyed the Libeny Heaven thus sent them . but of one Thing _ . we we may be well assured, namely, that they were not disturbed in the Enjoyment thereof, as long as they continued obed.ent to their God; as also, that no sooner did they revolt from him, than he severely chastised them, by delivering them again into ihe Hinds of their Enemies.
Accordingly we sind them soon aster groaning under the Tyranny of the Midianitei, who almost starved them, having utterly deprived them of all Mar.ner of Sustenance, and not suffering them to enjoy even the Fruits of the Earth in Peace; insomuch that, after having threshed their Corn, they were forced to hide it, for sear of their rapacious Enemies. Under this seve'e Scourge -did they groan Seven Years; the Midianites coming upon them ev'ery Season with innumerable Flocks and Herds, and devouring the Increase of the Land for which the poor Israelites h id toiled, as fast as the Earth, gave it. At the End of that Time, upon their cry-, ing to the Lord, he had Mercy upon them, and sent them Deliverance by the Hands of Gideon, who with no more than Three Hundred Men, gave an intire Overthrow to the united Powers of Midian and Amaltk, putting to the Swoid One Hundred and Twenty Thousand, with Oreb and Zeeb, two of their Princes, as also Zebab and Zalmannab, two of their Kings.
After so signal a Deliverance from so cruel -y Slavery, one would have imagined the Jews would not soon forget their Divine Benesactor; and yet we sind that, even during the Lise of Gideon, they were drawn away to worship an Ephod, of Gideons setting up in Ophrab; and which is yet more strange, that he himself, with his Family, set them the wicked Example: It was ho Wonder, theresore, that after his Decease, they revolted-yet more, and went a whoring, as the Scriptures express it, after Baalim, and made Baal beritb their God. NotF j withstanding withstanding which, so long suffering is the Almighty, that we do not sind that he visited their Sins upon them for some Time, not even during all the Days of Abimeltcht or of Tola, and J air, who judged J/raei at ter him, the former Twenty-three, and the latter Twenty-two Years. One Reason indeed may have been that he lest them to be punished by tfeeir wicked King Abimelech, the Bastard of Gideon, whom they had ungratesully preserred to his lawsul Sons, God sufsering him to be advanced to the Throne, that he might be a Scourge to his Brcthien, (seventy of whom he flew upon one Stone,) for having been the sirst to worship the Efbed, set up by their Father in Opbrab.
However that be, certain it is, that it was not till after the Death of fair the Gileadite, when !/tail, revolting absolutely from the Worship of the Living Gon, served not only Baalim, but Ashtarotb, and the Gods of Syria, Z'don, Moab, the Amonitet, and the Philistines, that the Lord, whom they had so highly provoked by this Complication of Abominations, thought sit ro scourge them again severely by the Hands of their Enemies; and accordingly suffered them to become the Servants of thofe who bore a tyrannous Hate against them, and vexed and oppressed them grievously, namely, the Philistines and Ammonites.
Being thus distressed, they bethink themselves at last, grow sensible of their Folly and Wickedness, and turn again to their mercisul Father ; who being always more ready to forgive than they were to repent, again received his rebellious Children with open Arms, though not without a severe Expostulation with them,and reminding them of their incorrigible and frequent Backslidrngs, ,l Did not '« I deliver you, said the Lorn, from the Egyptians, '« and from the Amorites, and from the Chiidren of "Amman, and from the Philistines? The Zido
«« mans also, and the Amakkites, and the Maonites "' did oppress you, and ye cried to me, and I deli«. vered you out of their Hands. Yet ye have for'« faken me, and served other Gods, wheresore I *' wiil deiiver you no more. Go, and ay unto the "Gods which you have chosen; let them deliveryn "in the rfimt of your Tribulation.
How cutting was this Reproof! What could the guilty Israetites anfwer thereunto, self-condemned as they were? Nothing certainly. They were theresore now in an evil plight, being thus seemingly abandoned by their only Friend and Protector. They take however the wisest Course; they do not ofser at justifying themselves, that they1 well know would be in vain; but putting away their strange Gods, and returning sincerely to the Lord, they consess their Sins, throw themselves upon his Mercy, and resign themselves wholly to his Will. «' We have sinned,/ay they, do thou unto us what «' scemeth good unto thee; deliver us only, we ". pray thee, this Day." And soon did they sind the falutary Efsect of so prudent a Conduct; for we are immediately told, " And hisSoul wasgriev"ed for the Misery of Israel." In efsect, the Almighty, who had only seemed to turn his Back upon them, that he might try the Sincerity of their Repentance, and humble them thoroughly, soon shews them he has not forgot to be gracious, and sends * them Deliverance by the Means of Jepthab.
Ever prone however to revolt, forgetsul of the Hand that sed them, and equally unmoved either by Mercies or Sufserings, we scon sind that stiff-necked People again forfaking their God, and again enslaved by their old Enemies the Philistines: Nevertheless, he did not utterly abandon them for his own Sake, but raised them up a Deliverer in the Person of Sampfon,vtho smote the Philistines from Time to Time, and prevented their F 4 , oppressing