Imatges de pÓgina




So Joshua took the whole land, according to all that the Lord said unto Moses; and Joshua gave it for an inheritance unto Israel, according to their divisions by their tribes. And the land rested from war.

A WISE and politic Roman once declared his preference of the most unequal peace, to the most just and necessary war, in which his country could be engaged. He had good reason

for his choice. Wars between two rival nations seldom make a profitable return to either. If unsuccessful, they terminate in ruin or disgrace. Even when their issue is more fortunate, they very imperfectly repay the mass of individual suffering and woe inflicted upon the victors and the vanquished. Some territory perhaps is gained, so vast and unwieldly, as to be an incum

brance, rather than an advantage to the people whose dominion it extends: or some confined and barren surface has been acquired, which might have been digged up, and cast into the sea, at half the expence of its purchase, and by the easy labour of half the thousands who shed their blood to obtain it.

But amidst the sanguinary pages that constitute so large a part of the history of men and nations, one war has been recorded, so righteous in its origin, so wonderful in its progress, so glorious in its consequences, as to silence every objection which the most ardent lover of peace and concord could possibly make. In this contest the hosts of Israel and the inhabitants of Canaan were the opposing parties. The ally of the former was God himself-of the latter, their numbers, their presumption, or their despair. The consequence of victory was a name and a place in the blessedness of the promised land. The triumph was also gainedone instance only excepted, without the loss of a soldier from among the armies of the Lord.

Of similar character is that spiritual warfare, in which the Christian must engage with the enemies of his eternal peace. There are foes of deadly and unmitigable enmity, with whom he must be incessantly contending. In this strife he is called to be a soldier by the especial ap

pointment of God himself, who is the Almighty helper and ally of his soul. Jesus Christ, the heavenly Joshua is his leader and commander. If he gain the victory, those holy exertions which the all-sufficient Spirit of grace prompted and assisted, will be immeasurably overpaid, in the glory and happiness of the promised land above.

Through such a conflict had the armies of Israel passed, at the point of time recorded in the text. Joshua who had led them on to conquest, was now commanded to divide the countries which they had subdued among their tribes, and to put each into possession of its allotted inheritance. The transaction is quoted by St. Paul,' with unequivocal reference to the blessedness of life eternal, in which the Christian's struggle with the powers of darkness shall terminate. If Jesus, (or as it should be translated Joshua, both here and in the kindred passage,2 the names being entirely the same, and the sense absolutely requiring it)—if Jesus had given them final and everlasting rest, then would not David, who lived five hundred years after the entrance of Israel into Canaan, have spoken of another day. "There remaineth therefore a rest for the people of God."

1 Heb. iv. 7-9

2 Acts vii. 45.

The whole army of Jesus Christ, and every individual soldier who fights beneath the banner of the cross, has an immediate and most important interest in the glad event which this history illustrates and typifies. Men and brethren, unto you is the word of this salvation sent. May the good Spirit of God enable us profitably to consider,



I. Every enemy had been subdued, and the dreadful sentence of extermination—wrung, as it were, by the guilty nations, from the unwilling indignation of the Most High, was executed against them. "All the spoil of these cities, and the cattle, the children of Israel took for a prey unto themselves; but every man they smote with the edge of the sword, until they had destroyed them; neither left they any to breathe." Nothing now remained, but to give each tribe a portion of the land which the might of God had enabled them to conquer in battle. The manner in which the necessary partition should be made had been already settled by divine appointment. "The land shall be divided by lot; according to the names of

the tribes of their fathers shall they inherit." 1 In obedience to this determination, Joshua proceeded: and we are sure,

(1.) That the country which the people received was sufficient for all their tribes. "To many, said God to Moses, thou shalt give the more inheritance, and to few thou shalt give the less inheritance, to every one shall his inheritance be given according to those that were numbered of him."2 Great indeed would have been the disappointment, and loud the indignation, if any man had found his toil and danger unrewarded, and himself altogether left with no dwelling to inhabit, no corn to reap, no vines to press, no hills out of which he might dig brass, no fountains at which his thirst might be allayed. So far however, was any man from such a failure, that the extent of the land, compared with the numbers to whom it should be given, demanded a gradual conquest, lest it should be laid waste, and lest the beasts of the field should prevail against them.

My Christian brethren, and fellow soldiers in the heavenly war, is not such the character of the land of bliss and vision which you aspire to possess? Is that heavenly country, of which some glimpses are reflected to a believer's eye

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