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voice, God delivered the ten commandments, preceded by this solemn introduction, I am the Lord thy God, who brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Exod. xx. 2.
The company who heard these words, and the ten commandments which followed them, was much greater than was necessary for ascertaining the fact of distinct articulation. For they must have been more than two millions, and these were not near the place from which the voice issued, so that if speaking trumpets had been then known, which no person will say is at all probable, it would have been impossible, by any natural means, to have
produced such an effect ; and though the mere found of a human voice may be heard to a considerable distance, distinct articulation cannot be perceived very far. And besides this articulate voice, and the sound of a trumpet, there was thunder and lightning, and a cloud enveloping the whole mountain ; and though thunder and lightning be a natural phænomenon, it was impossible to have foreseen that such an appearance would take place three days before hand; and certainly any thing of this tremendous kind would have interrupted, and disconcerted, any persons who should have been placed on the mount for the purpose of speaking to the people from thence.
This appearance was so awful, that the people seem to have removed to a con, fiderable distance from the mountain before they heard
articulate words. For we read, Exod. xx. 18, And all the people saw the thunder and the lightning, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw it they removed, as they naturally would, and flood afar off. They would probably keep retiring from the mountain during the delivery of the ten commandments, which was probably very slow, so as to take
à considerable time; and this would make the distinct hearing of them much more difficult, and extraordinary.
With this clear manifestation of the divine presence and power the people were fully satisfied, and no doubt remained upon their minds. Thus impressed, they said unto Moses, Deut. v. 24, Behold the Lord our God hath Shewed us his great glory, and we have heard his voice out of the midst of the fire. We have seen this day that God talketh with man and be liveth. Now therefore why should we die? For this great fire will consume us. Go thou near, and bear all the things which the Lord our God
faith, and thou shalt speak unto us; whatever the Lord shall say unto thee, and we will bear, and do it.
In consequence of this, we read, Exod. XX. 21, The people flood afar off, and Moses only drew near to the thick darkness where God was ; and from the communications made to him Moses digested the whole system of the Jewish religion and polity, which is detailed in his writings; and there was then a solemn acceptance of this fystem, and an express formal covenant between God and the people of Israel on the occasion, the account of which immediately follows.
Exod. xxiv. 3. And Moses came and told the people all the words of the Lord, and all the judgments; and all the people answered
with one voice, and said, All the words which the Lord hath said we will do. And Mofes wrote all the words of the Lord, and rose up early in the morning ; and built an altar under the hill, and twelve pillars, according to the twelvé tribes of Israel. And be sent young men of the children of Israel who offered burnt offerings, and facrificed peace offerings, of oxen, unto the Lord. And Moses took half of the blood, and
put it in bafons, and half of the blood he sprinkled on the altar, and he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people, and they said, All that the Lord hath faid will we do, and be obedient. And Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant, which the Lord has made with
you concerning all these words.
After this solemn transaction, Moses was again called up to the mount, and he continued there forty days, in order to receive the particulars of the future constitution, and two tables of stone, containing the ten commandments. While he continued there, a cloud covered the mount, Exod. xxiv. 15. And this cloud, called the glory of God, which assumed the appearance of dark'ness by day, and of fire by night (an appearance which no human art could counterfeit) covered the mount fix whole days; and on the seventh day God called unto Moses out of the midst of the cloud, when we read, Exod. xxiv. 17, And the fight of the glory of God was like devouring fire on the top of the mount, in the eyes of the children of Israel, and Mofes went into the midst of the cloud, and gat him up into the mount ; and Moses was in the mount forty days and forty nights; and when God had made an end of communing with Moses, he two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God. Exod. xxxi. 18.
Thus ended this great transaction, the most important to the Israelitish nation, and eventually to the whole world, that ever was recorded. Such was the origin of that system out of which sprung Christianity as a necessary consequence, and a part, and which we Christians, therefore, are equally concerned to maintain, with the Jews themselves. The foundation of our.