Discipline and Other Sermons

Discipline and Other Sermons

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EXCERPT: He couched, he lay down as a lion; and as a great lion. Who dare rouse him up? These were the words of the Eastern sage, as he looked down from the mountain height upon the camp of Israel, abiding among the groves of the lowland, according to their tribes, in order, discipline, and unity. Before a people so organized, he saw well, none of the nations round could stand. Israel would burst through them, with the strength of the wild bull crashing through the forest. He would couch as a lion, and as a great lion. Who dare rouse him up? But such a people, the wise Balaam saw, would not be mere conquerors, like those savage hordes, or plundering armies, which have so often swept over the earth before and since, leaving no trace behind save blood and ashes. Israel would be not only a conqueror, but a colonist and a civilizer. And as the sage looked down on that well-ordered camp, he seems to have forgotten for a moment that every man therein was a stern and practised warrior. 'How goodly, ' he cries, 'are thy tents, oh Jacob, and thy camp, oh Israel.' He likens them, not to the locust swarm, the sea flood, nor the forest fire, but to the most peaceful, and most fruitful sights in nature or in art. They are spread forth like the water-courses, which carry verdure and fertility as they flow. They are planted like the hanging gardens beside his own river Euphrates, with their aromatic shrubs and wide-spreading cedars. Their God-given mission may be stern, but it will be beneficent. They will be terrible in war; but they will be wealthy, prosperous, civilized and civilizing, in peace.
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