Imatges de pÓgina

antly imparted. I said I will confess my transgression unto the Lord, and so thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin.

Eventually, however, this partial servitude was probably overruled for a blessing. These Gibeonites, we may reasonably conclude, were distributed among the cities of the Levites, and served with them in the regular courses of the sanctuary. They are generally supposed to have been the progenitors of those Nethinim, or dedicated men, who were devoted to the service of Jehovah, in the worship of his temple. If it were thus, if they were not only saved from death, but made ministers of divine worship,and especially, if they were called to a saving knowledge of the God of Israel, before whom they served, their condition would be ultimately most enviable and blessed. He who of all men under the ancient law most deeply felt, and loved the privileges of approaching the ark and mercy-seat of the temple, exclaimed of such a state, "I had rather be a door-keeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness." If, coming as humble supplicants to our injured God, through him who is the way, and the truth, and the life, we are employed in his service, and permitted, even in the lowliest station of his church, to glorify him in our bodies and in our spirits which are his, we shall have

little left to want, or wish for, on this side heaven. The prodigal would surely have had his desire, if he had been taken at his word, when he cried, "I am no more worthy to be called thy son; make me, I pray thee, as one of thy hired servants." Thus shall we also be satisfied, if the blessings of pardon, and the distinctions of that service which is perfect freedom are commended to our hearts. If then, there be among you one convinced transgressor,-one in whose mind a dread of danger and a desire for mercy have arisen, though hitherto only like a single star amidst the darkness of a winter's night, let him take consolation and hope from the history of the Gibeonites. Avoiding their deceptions, let him press forward, in simple faith and open confession, to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant and that mediator, instead of dealing out mercies toward him with a stinted hand, willgive to that man a place and a name in his house, and a heritage better than of sons and daughters.

The connecting points of the history, as I have reviewed it, exhibit the evil and danger of hasty decision. Joshua, and the men of Israel, seem at first to have been influenced by a salutary caution and a suspicion of these strangers.

They said, Peradventure ye dwell among us, and how shall we make a league with you?" But

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when the falsehood was repeated, they were thrown off their guard. "The men took of their victuals"-or as the margin probably better reads it," they received the men because of their victuals ;" and thus were deceived into a league and treaty with them. My brethren, sinful seductions always come to us like the Gibeonites to the tents of Israel. Our evil temptations would make us believe their origin to be derived far from the accursed thing, as the men of Gibeon persuaded Joshua and the princes, that they had arrived from a country in no degree connected with the devoted land of Canaan. When unholy seductions find entrance into your minds, do not hastily trust the false and flattering report with which they will endeavour to deceive you. Beloved, believe not every spirit: but try the spirits whether they be of God. "Satan himself may be transformed into an angel of light;" and thus attempt to delude you, as these Hivites the camp of Israel, by declaring that they were come because of the name of the Lord God of Israel. The exterior may be specious, but it is, on that very account, more to be distrusted. Prove all things, and hold fast that which is good. As the Gileadites proved the men of Ephraim at the passages of Jordan, by the test of the Shibboleth, so try the thoughts by which you may be visited, the con

duct to which you may be incited, and the doctrines of religion, which a judgment enlightened by the Spirit and word of God may teach you. To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.

Have you then no other resource? Let the fault and neglect of the leaders of Israel instruct you. They were deceived, because they asked not counsel at the mouth of the Lord. The Urim and Thummim and the High Priest were in the camp, and from them an infallible answer might have been obtained. Go ye then, in the hour of temptation, to God by prayer. Implore his counsel and direction; and the Holy Spirit, in answer to your fervent petition, shall give you a right judgment in all things. Cry, each of you to God, "What I know not, that teach thou me." Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not to thine own understanding: in all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Study the Bible; be instant in prayer: so shall the eyes of your understanding be opened to discern the causes of danger; and so shall you be enabled to live with that holy caution, which, through divine grace, will make a way for you to escape. Watch and pray, lest ye enter into temptation.

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JOSHUA X. 6, 7.

The men of Gibeon sent unto Joshua to the camp at Gilgal, saying, Slack not thy hand from thy servants ; come up to us quickly, and save us, and help us : for all the Kings of the Amorites that dwell in the mountains are gathered together against us. So Joshua ascended from Gilgal, he, and all the people of war with him, and all the mighty men of valour.

TRIAL is the test of principle. The general confides in the valour and discipline of his troops, when both have been displayed in the shock of battle. Joshua relied on the fidelity of the men of Gibeon, when they had resisted the efforts of surrounding nations, to break the treaty between them and Israel, or to avenge their desertion of the common cause. In like manner, the Christian's character must be attested, not by the vivacity of his feelings, nor

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