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"gold of which he pretended to have "made a molten calf. Befides pecula"tion, they charged Mofes with ambition; "to gratify which paffion, he had, they "faid, deceived the people, by promif
ing to bring them to a land flowing "with milk and honey; instead of doing "which, he had brought them from fuch "a land; and that he thought light of all "this mifchief, provided he could make "himself an abfolute prince. That, to
'fupport the new dignity with fplendour "in his family, the partial poll tax already levied and given to Aaron † was to "be followed by a general one, which "would probably be augmented from
*Numbers, chap. xvi. ver. 13. "Is it a fmall "thing that thou haft brought us up out of a land flowing with milk and honey, to kill us in this "wilderness, except thou make thyfelf altogether a "prince over us?"
+ Numbers, chap. iii.
Exodus, chap. xxx.
"time to time, if he were fuffered to go "on promulgating new laws, on pretence. "of new occafional revelations of the di
vine will, till their whole fortunes were "devoured by that aristocracy."
Mofes denied the charge of peculation; and his accufers were deftitute of proofs to fupport it; though facts, if real, are in their nature capable of proof. "I "have not," said he (with holy confidence in the presence of God), "I have not "taken from this people the value of an "afs, nor done them any other injury." But his enemies had made the charge, and with fome fuccefs among the popufor no kind of accufation is so rea dily made, or easily believed, by knaves, as the accufation of knavery.
In fine, no less than two hundred and fifty of the principal men "famous in "the congregation, men of renown
Numbers, chap. xvi.
heading and exciting the mob, worked them up to fuch a pitch of phrensy, that they called out, ftone 'em, ftone 'em, and thereby fecure our liberties; and let us choose other captains that may lead us back into Egypt, in cafe we do not fucceed in reducing the Canaanites.
On the whole, it appears that the Ifraelites, were a people jealous of their newly acquired liberty, which jealousy was in itself no fault; but that, when they fuffered it to be worked upon by artful men, pretending public good, with nothing really in view but private intereft, they were led to oppofe the eftablishment of the new constitution, whereby they brought upon themselves much inconvenience and misfortune. It farther appears from the fame inestimable history, that when, after many ages, the constitution had become old and much abused, and an amendment of it was propofed, the populace as they had accused
accufed Mofes of the ambition of making himfelf a prince, and cried out, stone him, stone him; fo, excited by their high-priefts and fcribes, they exclaimed against the Meffiah, that he aimed at becoming king of the Jews, and cried, crucify him, crucify him. From all which we may gather, that popular oppofition to a public measure is no proof of its impropriety, even though the oppofition be excited and headed by men of distinction.
To conclude, I beg I may not be understood to infer, that our general convention was divinely inspired when it formed the new federal conftitution, merely because that conftitution has been unreasonably and vehemently oppofed yet, I muft own, I have so much faith in the general government of the world by Providence, that I can hardly conceive a tranfaction of fuch momentous importance to the welfare of mil