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are for our present purpose extremely material and extremely satisfactory. First, the passage testifies the principal point, namely, that the Canaanites were the wicked people we represent them to be; and that this point does not rest upon supposition, but upon proof: in particular, , the following words contain an express assertion of the guilt of that people. “ In all these the nations are defiled which I cast out before you ; for all these abominations have the men of the land done." Secondly, the form and turn of expression seems to show, that these detestable
practices were general amongst them, and habitual : they are said to be abominable customs which were committed. Now the word custom is not applicable to a few single, or extraordinary instances, but to usage and to national character; which argues, that not only the practice, but the sense and notion of morality was corrupted amongst them, or lost. And it is observable, that these practices, so far from being checked by their religion, formed a part of it. They are described not only under the name of abominations, but of
abominations which they have done unto their gods. What a state of national morals must that have been! Thirdly, The passage before us positively and directly asserts, that it was for these sins that the nations of Canaan were destroyed. This, in my judgment, is the important part of the inquiry. And what do the words under consideration declare? 66 In all these," namely, the odious and brutal vices, which had been spoken of, “ the nations are defiled, which I cast out before you: and the land is defiled; therefore I do visit the iniquity thereof upon it.” This is the reason and cause of the calamities which I bring on it. The land itself vomiteth out her inhabitants. The
land is sick of its inhabitants ; of their odious and brutal practices ; of their corruption and wicked
This, and no other, was the reason for destroying them. This, and no other, is the reason here alledged. It was not, as hath been imagined, to make way
for the Israelites : nor was it simply for their idolatry
It appears to
me extremely proba
appears from the
ble, that idolatry in those times led, in all countries, to the vices here described: and also that the detestation, threats, and severities, expressed against idolatry in the Old Testament, were not against idolatry simply, or considered as an erroneous religion, but against the abominable crimes which usually accompanied it. I think it quite certain, that the case was so in the nations of Canaan. Fourthly, It passage
and what is surely of great consequence to the question, that God's abhorrence and God's treatment of these crimes were impartial, without distinction, and without respect of nations or persons. The words which point out the divine impartiality, are those in which Moses warns the Israelites against falling into any of the like wicked courses ; “ that the land,” says he, “ cast not you out also, when you defile it, as it cast out the nations that were before you ; for whoever shall commit any of these abominations, even the souls, that commit them, shall be cut off from
their people.” The Jews are sometimes called the chosen and favoured people of God, and, in a certain sense, and for some purposes, they were so; yet is this very people, both in this place, and in other places, over and over again reminded, that if they followed the same practices, they must expect the same fate.
66 Ye shall not walk in the way
of the nations which I cast out before you: for they committed all those things, and therefore I abhorred them ; as the nations which the Lord destroyed before your face, so shall ye perish : because ye were not obedient unto the voice of the Lord
What farther proves not only the justice but the clemency of God, his longsuffering, and that it was the incorrigible wickedness of those nations, which at last drew down upon them their destruction, is, that he suspended as we may so say, the stroke, till their wickedness was come to such a pitch, that they were no longer to be endured. In the 15th chapter of Genesis God tells Abraham, that his descendants of the fourth generation should return into that country, and not before : “for the iniquity,' saith he,“of the Amorites is not yet full.” It should seem from hence, that so long as their crimes were confined within any bounds, they were permitted to remain in their country. We conclude, therefore, and we are well warranted in concluding, that the Canaanites were destroyed on account of their wickedness. And that wickedness was perhaps aggravated by their having had amongst them Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; examples of a purer religion and a better conduct : still more by the judgments of God, so remarkably set before them in the history of Abraham's family; particularly by the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. At least these things prove that they were not without warning, and that God did not leave himself without witness among them.