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terms were simply, Do this and live1: and, for an example of its inexorable rigour, Moses himself was, for one unadvised word, excluded from the land of promise. The office of saving men must belong to another; and, for this reason, it was transferred to Joshua, who had been both appointed to it, and thoroughly qualified by God for the discharge of it1.
Jesus also was commissioned to bring his followers into the Canaan that is above. He, probably in reference to Joshua, is styled the Captain of our salvation: and he appeared to Joshua himself in this very character, proclaiming himself to be the Captain of the Lord's host1. "What the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh," the Lord Jesus Christ came to effect. He has been divinely qualified for the work; and, like Joshua, was "encouraged to it, and strengthened in it," by an assurance of God's continual presence, and support". He leads his people on from grace to grace, from strength to strength, from victory to victory". Nor will he ever desist from his work, till he shall have subdued his enemies, and established his people in their promised inheritance.]
Happily for us the resemblance may be likewise traced,
3. In his success
[Nothing could oppose any effectual bar to Joshua's progress. Though Jordan had overflowed its banks, its waters were divided, to open him a path on dry land P. The impregnable walls of Jericho, merely at the sound of rams' horns, were made to fall. Confederate kings fled before him. City after city, kingdom after kingdom, were subjected to his allconquering arms: and almost the whole accursed race of Canaanites were extirpated, and destroyeds. The promised land was divided by him amongst his followers: and he appealed to them with his dying breath, that not so much as one, of all the promises that God had given them, had ever failed ".
And shall less be said respecting our adorable Emmanuel? He "triumphed over all the principalities and powers" of hell; and causes his followers to trample on the necks of their mightiest foes. He leads them safely through the swellings of Jordan, when they come to the border of the promised land'; and, having given them the victory, he divides among
them the heavenly inheritance. Thus will all of them be put into possession of " that rest, which remained for them," in the hope and expectation of which they endured the labours of travel, and the fatigues of war.]
Having traced the resemblance between Joshua and Christ, I will,
II. Take occasion to suggest from it some salutary advice
1. To those who desire to possess the promised land
[Grieved I am to say, that many desire that good land, yet never attain unto it; first, because they do not seek it with sufficient earnestness; and next, because they do not seek it in God's appointed way. Respecting the former of these our blessed Lord says, "Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many shall seek to enter in, and not be able":" and of the latter, the Apostle Paul, speaking of the great mass of the Jewish people, says, that, though they "followed after the law of righteousness, they did not attain to the law of righteousness; because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law." He bare them record that they had a zeal of God: but it was not according to knowledge: for, being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, they would not submit themselves to the righteousness of God. Christ was the end of the law for righteousness to every one who believed. "But they, instead of believing in him for salvation, stumbled at him as a stumbling-stone and a rock of offence;" and thus they perished, whilst the Gentiles by believing in him were saved. my brethren, I cannot too earnestly impress upon your minds the necessity of abandoning altogether the law of Moses as a ground of hope before God, and of trusting entirely in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation. If Moses himself was not suffered to lead his followers into the earthly Canaan, or even to go in thither himself, much less can he lead you into the heavenly Canaan. As a guide through the wilderness, Moses is excellent: but as a Saviour, he will be of no use. Joshua alone can give you the possession of the promised land; that is, Jesus alone can effect your complete salvation. If you read the epistles of St. Paul to the Romans and Galatians, you will find the main scope of both is to establish and enforce this truth. Bear in remembrance then that you must "die to the law,"
z Matt. xxv. 34.
c Rom. ix. 30-33. VOL. II.
a Heb. iv. 1, 9, 11. b Luke xiii. 24.
d Rom. x. 2-4.
and seek salvation by Christ alone: for "by the deeds of the law shall no flesh be justified."]
2. To those who are fighting for the possession of it
[Though Canaan was promised to the Israelites, yet they must fight for it. And you must also fight for the promised inheritance of heaven. Remember however, that you are not to fight in your own strength. You must "be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might," if you would gain the victory over your spiritual enemies. And this is your great encouragement: for through Him the weakest shall be strong, yea, shall prove more than conqueror" over all his enemies." What took place in the contest of Israel with the Midianites shall be accomplished in God's Israel throughout all the world. Against the numerous hosts of Midian only twelve thousand armed Israelites (a thousand from each tribe) were sent to fight: and when the whole Midianitish army was destroyed, it was found, on investigation, that not a single Israelite was slain. So shall it prove with you, my brethren, in your spiritual warfare. Only fight manfully in the Saviour's strength; and what he said to his heavenly Father in reference to his disciples while he was yet upon earth, he will repeat before the whole assembled universe in the day of judgment, "Of those whom thou hast given me, not one is lost." True, there are Anakims of gigantic stature to contend with, and cities walled up to heaven to besiege: but "greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world:" and all your enemies, with Satan at their head, "shall be bruised under your feet shortly.' They all are but, as it were, bread for you," and not one shall ever be able to stand before you.]
3. To those who yet retain their hostility to the Lord Jesus
[You have seen what was the issue of the contest between Joshua, and all the kingdoms of Canaan. No less than thirtyone kings fell before him1. And be sure that you also must perish, if you continue to fight against our adorable Lord and Saviour. I would earnestly recommend to you the example of the Gibeonites. They felt assured, that they could not withstand Joshua; and therefore, feigning themselves to belong to a nation remote from Canaan, they came, and entreated him to make a league with them. There needs no such collusion on your part. You may come to Jesus, and he will
e Numb. xxxi. 49. h Numb. xiv. 9.
f John xvii. 12.
i Josh. xii. 24.
Rom. xvi. 20.
enter into covenant with you to spare you. And, if your submission to him provoke the hostility of the world against you, he will come to your support, and will save you by a great deliverance1; and will make you eternal monuments of his power and grace. Let me also recommend to you the example of Rahab. She cast herself and all her family on the mercy of Joshua; and bound the cord wherewith she had let down the spies from the walls of Jericho, about her window, as the sign of her affiance in the pledge that had been given her. For this faith of hers, and for her works consequent upon it, was she commended both by St. Paul, and St. James". And, if you also with like faith cast yourselves upon the Lord Jesus, and, like her, evince also by your conduct the sincerity of your faith, you "shall be saved in the Lord with an everlasting salvation," and have a portion accorded to you amongst the Israel of God for ever and ever.]
m Josh. vi. 22, 25. with Heb. xi. 31. and Jam. ii. 25.
MOSES' SOLEMN CHARGE TO ISRAEL.
Deut. iv. 7-9. What nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the Lord our God is in all things that we call upon him for? And what nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous, as all this law, which I set before you this day? Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life; but teach them thy sons, and thy sons'
PRACTICAL religion, however approved in theory, is not always admired when exhibited to our view. Not but that it has a beauty in it which commends itself to those who have a spiritual discernment; but it forms too strong a contrast with the ways of the world to gain its favour: the men of this world "love darkness rather than light;" and therefore agree to reprobate as visionary and gloomy, whatever opposes their evil habits. Nevertheless "the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and to depart from evil, that is understanding :" and, wherever any people are enabled to maintain an uniform and consistent conduct, there their very enemies must honour
them in their hearts, and confess them to be "a wise and understanding people." This at least was the opinion of Moses, who from that very consideration urged the Jews to contemplate their high privileges, and to walk worthy of them. To advance the same blessed end in you, we shall state,
I. The peculiar privileges of the Jewish nationThey were certainly advanced above all the nations upon earth; as in other respects, so particularly, 1. In their nearness to God
[Moses had enjoyed such access to God as no man had ever done before: and "conversed with him face to face, even as a man converseth with his friend"." That generation to whom he ministered, had seen on many occasions the efficacy of his intercessions, and therefore could appreciate the force of that observation in the text, "What nation is there that hath God so nigh unto them, as the Lord our God is in all things that we call upon him for?" Nor was this privilege to be confined to Moses: the high-priest was furnished with an ephod and a breast-plate, by means of which he was to inquire of God in every difficulty, and to obtain answers from him. This was used from time to time, even till the Jews were carried captive to Babylon: and the great privilege of having such means of communion with God may be sufficiently seen in the advantage which David repeatedly derived from it, to learn the intentions of his enemies, and to gain direction respecting his own conduct. The heathen indeed had their oracles, which they consulted; but from which they could derive no certain information. The ambiguity of the answers given by them, left room for opposite constructions, and proved that no dependence whatever could be placed upon them. Those oracles were a compound of lying priestcraft, and diabolic influence: and were no more to be compared with the oracle of God, than the light of a deceitful vapour with that of the meridian sun.] 2. In the excellence of the dispensation under which they lived—
[“ The statutes and judgments" which Moses had delivered to them were altogether "righteous" and good. The judicial law, which was given for the regulation of their civil polity, was founded in perfect equity, and conducive in every point to the happiness of the community. The moral law was a transcript
a ver. 5, 6. with the text. b Exod. xxxiii. 11.