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world would become like heaven. How much, my young friend, have you of this spirit ? How much are you endeavoring to diffuse it all around
Reasons for building the altar. Joshua one hundred and
ten years of age. He assembles the heads of the Israel. ites, to give them his counsels.
The two tribes and a half who had built the altar on the east side of Jordan, replied promptly and kindly to the inquiry of their brethren. They appealed to the great Searcher of hearts for the purity of their intentions in what they had done, and declared that they were ready to abide their doom, if their conduct had in it aught of disobe. dience to the divine commands. Let the Lord himself requite them, they said, if they had erected the altar, to turn away from following him, or that they might offer thereon burnt-offering, meat-offering, or peace-offerings. Nay, it was for the
the love and service of God among their descendants, that they had done it. For, in after times, those on the west side of the Jordan might say to those on the east; " What have
to do with the Lord God of Israel ? For the Lord hath made Jordan a border between us and you, ye children of Reuben and children of Gad; ye have no part in the Lord.” Claiming thus their exclusive privilege to the protection and blessing of Jehovah, because they were on that side of the river where his altar stood, and the place of his worship was established, and denouncing those on the east of the Jordan, the latter might, at length, consider themselves as a repudiated race, degenerate into a forgetfulness of the true God, and adopt the practices of heathenism.
It was especially to guard against this great evil, that they had built the altar. Being made after the pattern of the one on the west side of Jordan, while the use of it for sacrifice was scrupulously to be avoided, it would stand an imperishable monument of their belonging to the true Israel; and their descendants could always appeal to it as proof of this, and thus meet with a triumphant reply any reproach that might be cast upon them in the way that has been mentioned. "God forbid," said they, "that we should rebel against the Lord, and turn this day from following the Lord, to build an altar for burnt-offerings, for meat-offerings, or for sacrifices, besides the altar of the Lord our God that is before his tabernacle.”
Phinehas and his associates were perfectly satisfied with the explanation, and rejoiced that there was nothing which had been done by their brethren in the affair, to draw down the divine displeasure upon them and the whole nation. On the contrary, they indulged the cheering reflection, that the motives which had led to the erection of the altar, and the spirit which it manifested, was evidence of the continued presence and favor of God with his people. " This day we perceive,” said they, " that the Lord is among us, because ye have not committed this trespass against the Lord: now ye have delivered the children of Israel out of the hand of the Lord.”
The return of the deputation, with the report that they brought back, was matter of great joy to those who sent them. The Israelites blessed God for this removal of their fears, and, of course, entirely abandoned their design of going up in battle against their brethren, to destroy them.
Those who erected the altar gave it the name of Ed, (a Hebrew word signifying witness ;)
for," said they," it shall be a witnes z between us, that the Lord is God.”
After this event there are no others on record in the sacred Scriptures, till we come to those immediately connected with the death of Joshua. We have reason to conclude that none of any great importance occurred. Thirteen or fourteen years had elapsed since the conquest of Canaan, and seven since the division of the land among the respective tribes. The Israelites were in possession of their long-wished-for inheritance, and, under the administration of Joshua, were settling down in their various homes, giving order and regularity to their employments, and beginning to realize that the country was their
Joshua had now reached the advanced
of one hundred and ten years.
He felt that his de. parture from the world could not be far distant, and before leaving it he wished to impress upon the minds of his countrymen his affectionate counsels. They needed such counsels, exposed as they would be to the temptations peculiar to their condition, and especially to the insidious influence of the remaining heathen around them. With a heart full of attachment to those who, with very few exceptions, were greatly his inferiors in age, and whom he might well regard as his children from the paternal care which he had exercised over them, Joshua made the necessary arrangements for carrying his purpose into effect.
He caused to be assembled together, probably at Shiloh, where the ark of the covenant was sta
tioned, the princes of the various tribes, the chiess of families, the judges, and the different public officers, civil and military. These having received his advice and injunctions, could afterwards readily communicate them to the great body of the people.
The assembly was large, and the occasion one of the most solemn and affecting kind. The ve. nerable leader of their nation stood before them, to whose wisdom, energy, and valor, under God, they were indebted for the success of their late achievements, and for the peaceful distribution and occupancy of the country which they had conquered. He was one of the few who had come out of Egypt; and faithful to Jehovah, through the toils and the trials of the wilderness
-the intimate friend, and at length official col. league of Moses—he had been signalized, from among the thousands of his countrymen, as the successor of that distinguished individual, and the chosen instrument of God to conduct his people into the promised land. What a host of tender associations, inspiring affectionate reverence to the man, and gratitude to the Almighty, must have pervaded the breasts of these assembled chiefs and officers of the Israelites, as they hung in breathless attention upon the lips of their beloved Joshua.
And what must have been his emotions as he