Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

God and the holiness of his requisitions were considered, and to his denunciations of the divine vengeance, should they prove disobedient, they answered, if possible with a still stronger assurance, “Nay; but we will serve the Lord.”

"Ye are witnesses,” then said Joshua," against yourselves, that ye have chosen you the Lord, to serve him.”

On their replying, "We are witnesses," he continued, "Now therefore put away the strange gods which are among you, and incline your heart unto the Lord God of Israel.” The people again answered; "The Lord our God will we serve, and his voice will we obey."

Joshua then caused the Israelites to renew their solemn covenant with the Lord, offering, probably, the customary sacrifice on the occasion, and writing the words of the covenant in the book of the law of God, as a record of its binding force. He then, as another striking memorial of the transaction, took a great stone, and set it up under an oak that was near the sanctuary of the Lord; not improbably causing some suitable inscription to be made upon it. "Behold,” said he, addressing all the people, " this stone shall be a witness unto us; for it hath hcard all the words of the Lord which he spake unto us : it shall be therefore a witness unto you, lest ye deny your God.” He then directed

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

the people to return to their respective homes. They did so, with many lingering looks of affec. tion towards their beloved leader, now beheld by them all in public for the last time, and probably with a great fear and reverence of God pervading most of their minds.

Very soon after this, as we find the account in the impressive language of Scripture, " Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died, being a hundred and ten years old.”

What a simple epitaph; yet how sublime in its simplicity. What conciseness in the epithet of commendation, The servant of the Lord ; yet how deep its import.

We read of no public mourning, or funeralrites, at the burial of this distinguished man. It may be, that his modesty led him to forbid these exhibitions of respect to his memory, and that, as during his life, so after his death, he would have nothing done to turn the attention of his countrymen from the glory due the Almighty, to one who had been the mere instrument in his hands of accomplishing his benevolent designs for the good of Israel.

His own personal inheritance in Timnath-serah, which was in mount Ephraim, on the north side of the hill of Gaesh, furnished the place of his tomb. There his body reposed; while his spirit ascended to that God whom he had so

faithfully served during a long and laborious life, to enjoy in the bliss of his presence, the fulfillment of his exceeding great and precious promises.

CHAPTER XVII.

The character of Joshua, with reflections.

In bringing his work to a close, the author would invite the attention of the reader to some traits in the character of the great and good man whose history we have been reviewing.

Joshua was, in an eminent degree, like his illustrious predecessor, a man of faith. His whole life shows that he was under the continual influ. ence of a strong confidence in God; in his character and government, his declarations, threatenings, and promises. Among other instances of this, the passage of the Jordan, the taking of Jericho, and the miracle at Gibeon are illustrious examples. How indispensable was this faith to inspire Joshua with the necessary courage and perseverance in attacking the hosts of Canaanites, trained, equipped, and marshalled as they were for war, with whom he and his countrymen had to contend, and who must be vanquished before they could obtain possession of the promised land. What irresolution and dismay would have quickly been spread among the Israelites, if their leader had shown the least symptoms of distrust and fear. Under God, the success of the whole enterprise seems to have hung upon the intrepidity of this one man. And his intrepidity depended on his faith. See thus the absolute need of this faith for the fulfillment of the very promises of God. No wonder that the Scriptures speak of it as a divine gift ; no wonder that they attribute to it such an astonishing efficacy. It comes from God. It goes back to the throne of his grace, taking hold of his almighty arm, and accomplishing his own eternal purposes. What can it not aid us to endure! What can it not enable us to perform! He who has it shall

go,

like Joshua, from strength to strength, till he arrives to the stature of a perfect man in Christ Jesus, and is a triumphant conqueror over all his spiritual enemies. My young friend, hast thou faith in God, in all that he tells thee; in all that he commands thee? Especially, dost thou believe, in the heart, in Christ as thy only Saviour ?

The faith of Joshua unquestionably led him to be a man of prayer. The connection between the

two is inseparable. Faith is the life of prayer. Prayer is the breath of faith. To ask of God what we need is as essential to true piety, as to believe that he is able and willing to supply our necessities. The very fact that the faith of Joshua accomplished such prodigies, proves that his also was the effectual, fervent prayer of the righteous man, which availeth much.

Joshua was a person of remarkable humility, and felt deeply his dependence on God. There was nothing like presumption or self-complacency in this truly modest man. He always points his countrymen to God as the only source of their confidence. He is careful that the Almighty shall have the glory of the great deeds which he was but the instrument of achieving. How profound his humiliation, when, after the discomfiture of the Israelites at Ai, he was sensible that his own sins, and those of the people under his charge, had drawn down the displeasure of Jehovah upon them. He felt, doubtless, throughout the whole of his extraordinary career, how entirely it was owing to divine grace that he was enabled to be what he was, and to do what he did. Happy humility! "He that humbleth himself shall be exalted ;” and most truly was Joshua exalted in the worth of his personal character, in the favor and friendship of God, and in the unspeakable good which he was instrumental of

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »