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XII.

LET. natural one. « When, in the com-
XII. “ mon course of things, I bring a

“ cloud over the earth, under certain
“ circumstances, I do set my bow in
" it. That bow shall be from hence-
« forth a token of the covenant I now
“ make with you to drown the earth
" no more by a flood. Look upon
" it, and remember this covenant.
" As certainly as the bow is formed,
“ by the operation of physical causes,
" in the cloud, and as long as it conti.
“nues to be thus formed, fo certainly
“and so long shall my covenant endure,
“ standing fast for evermore, as this
« faithful witness in heaven.” Jacob,
we are told, * “ took a stone, and set
“ it up for a pillar, and said, This
6 pillar be witness.” God, in like
manner (if we may fo express it:)
* Gen. xxxi. 45, 52.

u took

X

“ took the rainbow, and said, this LET. “ bow be witness.” Neither the stone XII. nor the rainbow were new created for the purpose. When the Jews behold the rainbow, they bless God, who remembers his covenant, and is faithful to his promise. And the tradition of this it's designation to proclaim comfort to mankind was strong among the heathen ; for according to the mythology of the Greeks, the rainbow was the daughter of Wonder, " a sign “ to mortal men,” * and regarded, upon it's appearance, as the messenger of the celestial deities. Can we any where find a more striking instance of the sublime, than in the following short description of it? “ Look upon o the rainbow, and praise him who " made it: very beautiful it is in the * Tegas Megorwv av9qwqwv. Hom.

N2 “ bright

LET. « brightness thereof: it compasseth XII. « the heaven about with a glorious

“ circle; and the hands of the most “ High have bended it!”

LE T.

LET TER XIII.

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D 10. " What answer shall we 1." give to those who are in- LET. “ clined to deny, that an all-powerful “ and just God could make use of the «s most unjustifiable means to attain “his great purpose of aggrandizing " the posterity of Abraham?”

The answer, without doubt, must be, either that the means in question (all circumstances duly known and considered) were not unjustifiable; or, that they were used by man, and only permitted by God. For men often make use of means to attain their own purposes, by which they unwittingly

N 3 become

XIII

LET. become the instruments of carrying

into execution the counsels of God; yet are they not hereby justified in the use of such means. All the actions of holy men of old, related in Scripture, are not to be deemed blameless, because related in Scripture, or because related of them; though there may often have been circumstances, imperfectly known at this distance of time, which rendered them leis blameable than they now appear to be; and therefore they are not to be judged of, without great caution and circumfpection. These, perhaps, are in no instances more necessary, for that reason, to be observed, than in re. viewing those parts of facred story, which relate to the birthright and blessing of the ancient patriarchs.

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