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Midianites? "The Lord said unto him, the people that are with thee are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel vaunt themselves against me, saying, Mine own hand hath saved me. Now therefore go to, proclaim in the ears of the people, saying, Whoever is fearful and afraid, let him return and depart early from mount Gilead. And there returned of the people twenty and two thousand. And the Lord said unto Gideon, The people are yet too many, bring them down to the water, and I will try them there." Three hundred only stood the test, and with these Gideon accomplished what thirty-two thousand had been afraid to attempt, and unable to perform.
We have before observed, how carefully the Almighty selects his instruments, and with what attention he prepares them. But he does not choose as man would choose them; he does not prepare as man would prepare them. He delights to make "the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and the weak
things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised, yea and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: that no flesh should glory in his presence 1." Independently, however, of the instance of Gideon's army, many others of individuals so selected, will readily occur to every one. The apostles serve as a memorable example. St. Paul declares of himself, that, with all his learning, displayed in the weight and power of his letters, yet the Corinthians might say with justice, that "his bodily presence was weak, and his speech contemptible '." Indeed, some bodily infirmity is generally supposed to be meant by that "thorn in the flesh," from which he prayed to be delivered. Even Christ himself, if we may understand literally the prophetic description given of him by Isaiah, did not assume a form of human beauty. "His
11 Cor. i. 27-29.
3 Ibid. xii. 7.
22 Cor. x. 10.
visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men ':" "He hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him2;" so ;" so careful is the Almighty to preserve his own glory and to make his power visible unto
Thus qualified to be the agent of the Most High, even by his own infirmity, and fitted for an instrument of his will, even by his own weakness, Moses came, moved by the Spirit, to the sacred mount of Horeb. "And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed. And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt. And when the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him, and said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place
'Is. lii. 14.
Ibid. liii. 2.
whereon thou standest is holy ground. Moreover, he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God. And the Lord said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their task-masters; for I know their sorrows; and I am come down to deliver them. Come now, therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt. And Moses said unto God, Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt? And he said, Certainly I will be with thee." The answer thus given by Moses seems, both from the mode of expression, and from his known character, to have been prompted by unfeigned humility; by a natural and judicious distrust of his own qualifications for so important an office. Therefore he receives the most seasonable encourage
ment: "Certainly I will be with thee." The Almighty farther declares to him, first of all mortal men, his own peculiar and incommunicable appellation, the awful name of the self-existing God, Jehovah. "Thus shalt thou say to the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you." "This is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations." The mode in which he is to proceed, and the circumstances of the deliverance to be effected, are then detailed. Signs are also given to remove his doubts. The rod in his hand is changed into a serpent, and again resumes its previous form:-his hand thrust into his bosom becomes leprous, and again appears clean as the other.
The difficulties and dangers of the undertaking, however, crowd upon his mind, and his faith is yet only in its infancy. " O, my Lord," says he, "I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue." As this still bears the semblance of humility,