Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

ticca that bring the judgments of God upon them. When any of our brethren are found less blameable than we apprehended, when we see their constancy and zeal, let us consider it as a token for good, and give God the glory of it. Blessed be God, who keeps us from sinning against him, who enables us to persevere in religion, and who, we hope, will make us Jiiiilijid even unto death.

CHAP. XXIII.

In this and the following chapter -we have Joshua's farewell addresses to the people, and what he did to promote and preserve religion among them -when he was gone.

1 /\ N D it came to pass a long time after that the Lord .Z~\. had given rest unto Israel from all their enemies round about, that Joshua waxed old [and] stricken in age.

2 And Joshua called for all Israel,* that is, for their representai fives, [and] for their elders, their great council or sanhedrim, and for their heads, the princes of each tribe, and for their judges, inferior magistrates, and for their officers, who saw to the execution of the lam, and said unto them, I am old [and] stricken in age; this may be the last time I shall ever speak to

3 you, And therefore Ihofie you will be peculiarly attentive f ye hare seen all that the Lord your God hath done unto all these nations because of you ; for the Lord your God [is] he that hath fought for you; first reminding them of what God

4 had done, and then adding, Behold I have divided unto you by lot these nations that remain, to be an inheritance for your tribes, from Jordan, with all the nations that I have cut off, even unto the great sea westward, the Mediterranean tea.

5 And the Lord your God, he shall expel them from before you, and drive them from out of your sight; and ye shalj possess their land, as the Lord your God hath promised unto you; though I die, and leave the work unfinished, yet God will

t be with you, and fulfil his promises, if you do your part. Be ye therefore very courageous to keep and to do all that is written in the book of the law of Moses, that ye turn not aside therefrom, [to] the right hand or [to] the left; this is the condition on which God will be with you; and it wilt require great courage to expel the Canaanites, to refrain from commerce

7 with them, and to keep all the law; That ye come not among these nations, these that remain among you ; neither make •mention of the name of their gods, lest such communication should corrupt your heart*; nor cause to SXrear [by them} suffer not your children to swtar by them, and/ft not yourjudget admit such oaths ; neither serve them, nor bow yourselves unto them, give them no inward reverence, or outward adora~

* It i< generally thought the place wu Shiloh, where the arkwai* and at cue *f the three prM team, when all the males inembltd thure.

8 tion: (Psalm xvi. 4.) But cleave unto the Lord your God, with entire affection, constant worship, and faithful obedience, as ye have done unto this day, since ye came into Canaan.

9 For the Lord hath driven, or, then the Lord will drive, out from before you great nations and strong: but [as for] you, no man hath been able to stand before you unto this day ; and this a pledge of what he will further do; therefore, however

10 formidable your enemies may be, fear not, for One man of you

shall chase a thousand: for the Lord your God, he [his] that fighteth for you, as he hath promised you. But be not secure and careless, for you will have more temptations to forget God than y"ou had in the wilderness, from your prosperity, and

11 your wicked neighbours; Take good heed therefore unto yourselves, that ye love the Lord your God; your whole happiness defends upon this care.

12 Else if ye do in any wise go back from God, desert his worship and service, and become friends and cleave unto the remnant of these nations, [even] these that remain among you, and shall make marriages with them, and go in unto them,

13 and they to you: Know for a certainty that the Lord your God will withdraw his assistance, and will no more drive out [any of] these nations from before you ; but they shall be snares and traps unto you, and scourges in your sides, and thorns in your eyes; they will lead you into sin, and you shall suffer for it, as much as a man who is punished by scourging, or who has a thorn run through his eye; until ye perish from off this good land which the Lord your God hath given you; which would be peculiarly grievous, -after you have come to it through so many perils, obtained it by so many miracles, and are comfortably settled there, after many expectations and dis

14 appointments. And, behold, this day I [am] going the way of all the earth, and can bear -my solemn testimony to God's faithfulness; and ye know in'all your hearts and in all your souls,

that not one thing hath failed of all the good things which

«. the Lord your God spake concerning you ; all are come to

pass unto you, [and] not one thing hath failed thereof.

15 Therefore it shall come to pass, [that] as all good things are come upon you, which the Lord your God promised you; so shall the Lord bring upon you all evil things, until he have destroyed you from off this good land which the Lord your God hath given you ; the accomplishment of hit promises is a

16 pledge or assurance of the fulfilment of hi* threatenings. When ye have transgressed the covenant of theLoR D your God, which he commanded you, and have gone and served other gods, and bowed yourselves to them; then shall the anger of the Lord be kindled against you, and ye shall perish quickly from off the good land which he hath given unto you ; ye shall be e/iecdity and remarkably punished.

REFLECTIONS.

|. TT is the duty of aged and dying Christians to do what JL. they can to engage the rising generation for God. What repeated pains did Joshua take! He used every argument, and put them in mind of his own experience of the goodness and faithfulness of God. Christ's old disciples should spend their last days in serving him, in propagating a sense of religion among those that they leave behind ; they cannot spend them better. So Paul commanded Titus, ch. ij. 3. to exhort and charge aired women to be teacher* of good thing*. It is the duty of Christian fathers to speak of the goodness of God; to let the world know the experience they have had of it, that not one thing hath failed cj' ail the good things which the Lord their God tpake concerning them. This will encourage the young to hope and trust in God. The word of aged, experienced saints, is likely to make a lasting impression. Death is hastening on; therefore let them do what they can for God while they live ; and remember, with the holy apostle, a* long a* they are in thit tabernacle to stir up all around them, well knowing that they mutt thortly put off thit tabernacle, 2 Peter \. 13, 14.

2. Religion, or the service of Clod, requires great care and watchfulness, in order to be steady and constant in it. Joshua plainly intimates this, when he exhorts Israel to be courageous, to keep, and do all that was written in the law of Motes; to take good heed to themtelves. They had many temptations to neglect it ( they had a strange disinclination to it; and were ready to hearken to the solicitations of the Canaanites, who were enemies to God and religion. This is our case. Let us then put on resolution. Never does manly courage more become us, than when exerted in the cause of God and religion. Let us keep our heart* with all diligence; watch all their secret workings and desires; take good heed to our souls, that they be furnished with useful knowledge, that our good habits be strengthened ; and guard against those things that would debase, enslave, and corrupt them. Keep yourselves then in the love of God, and in patient waiting for Jesus Chritt.

3. Let us urge the experience we have had of God's goodness, fcs a powerful motive to induce others to serve and fear him. Joshua calls the Israelites to consider how kind and faithful God had been to them, as a motive to cleave to him. If we have any sense of decency and gratitude, it will make us ashamed to affront so kind a benefactor, to forsake a friend, -who has always been s» generous and faithful to us ; especially as our dependence on him is constant and necessary ; we cannot do without him. And hi» threatenings are as sure as his promises. The punishment of disobedient children will be dreadful in proportion to the goodness of God to them, and the mercy he hath bestowed on them and their parents, and the promises of eternal happiness he hath given them on their obedience. Let all the grace of God's promises and the terror of his threatenings, join to engage us to cleave to Km ell our days. Let us holdfast the profession of ourfaitk without wavering, seeing he is faithful -who hath firomised.

4. Let us frequently consider death as the way of all the earth, as the way in which we must go. This Joshua takes notice of, to excite his own solicitude about the honour of God and the welfare of his people, and to excite their care and attention. // it aftpointed to all men once to die; there is no discharge in that war ; we are all going to our long home. Joshua; as great and good a man as he was, must go this way. Let us seriously think of this; and each say to ourselves,( When a few years are come, perhaps a few days, / must go the way of all the earth, the way whence I shall not return.' Let this rouse our inactive spirits, quicken our languid zeal, and animate our endeavours to do good. We see our neighbours and acquaintance continually going this way, and we must soon follow. How suitable and important is Solomon's advice, Eccles. ix. 10. Whatsoever thy handfindeth to do, do it with thy might ; for there is no wort, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wit, in the grave, whither thou goest.

CHAP. XXIV.

Joshua had warned Israel in the last chapter, when he thought

himself near death : he mas now probably a little recruited, and

in this chapter makes another attempt to fix them for God and

religion, and takes a solemn farewell of them : he begin* with an

account of the great things God had done for them.

N D Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel to Shechem, whither the ark was probably removed, because it wot near to Joshua's abode, and called for the elders of Israel, and for their heads, and for their judges, and for their officers; and they presented themselves before God. Jfere the cave* nant was first made with Abraham, and with the people at JEbal and Gerizim, near to which Shechem lay. And Joshua said unto all the people, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel 5 language which shows that he spoke under a divine impulse; not inly as a ruler, but at a prophet; Your fathers dwelt on the

[ocr errors]

•ther side of the flood, in Mesopotamia, beyond Euphrates, k» old time, [even] Terah, the father of Abraham, and the father of Nachor: and they served other gods ; so that they had reason to be proud of their ancestors; all done for them wat

3 from the free grace of God. And I took your father Abradant

from the other side of the flood, apprehended him by my grace,

and snatched Mm out of that idolatrous and tricked place, and

took him into acquaintance and covenant with myself; and / led

. him throughout all the land of Canaan, to SAechem, and then

4 to Bethel, and multiplied his seed, and gave him Isaac. And I gave unto Isaac Jacob and Esau: and I gave unto Esau mount Seir, to possess it, that I might leave Canaan entire for Jacob ; but Jacob and his children went down into Egypt.

5 I sent Moses also and Aaron, and I plagued Egypt, according to that which I did among them: and afterward I brought

i you out. And I brought your fathers out of Egypt: and ye came unto the sea; and the Egyptians pursued after your

7 fathers with chariots and horsemen unto the Red sea. And when they cried unto the Lord, he put darkness between you and the Egyptians, and brought the sea upon them, and covered them; and your eyes have seen what I have done in Egypt: and ye dwelt in the wilderness a long season; many of those •were now living, who, when under twenty years ofaget came out of Egypt: but their fathers fell in the wildernest.

S And I brought you into the land of the Amorhes, which dwelt on the other side Jordan ; and they fought with you: and I gave them into your hand, that ye might possess their

9 land ; and I destroyed them from before you. Then Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab, arose and warred against Israel, and sent and called Balaam the son of Beor to curse you ; he intended to make war, and, in order thereto, mould

10 jftrst have them cursed: But I would not hearken unto Balaam ; therefore he blessed you still: so I delivered you out

11 of his hand. And ye went over Jordan, and came unto Jericho: and the men of Jericho fought against you, the Amo> rites, and the Perizzites, and the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Girgashites, the Hivites and the Jebusites; and I

13 delivered them into your hand. And I sent the hornet before you; which terrified and stung them before they were attacked by you; and during the engagement these terrible creature* sunk their spirits, and made them an easy prey to you; which drave them out from before you, [even] the two kings of th« Amorites; [but] not with thy sword, nor with thy bow, it

13 -was all owing to my power. And I have given you a land for which ye did not labour, and cities which ye built not, and ye dwell m them ; of the vineyards and oliveyards which y« planted not do ye eat ; you had a good land, and all desirable plenty, without your own labour.

« AnteriorContinuar »