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gazed round upon those who were before him, the representatives of the nation for whom he had done so much, and suffered so much. He saw among them his long-tried friends and associates in danger ; those on whose fidelity and skill, and bravery he had so often relied, without being disappointed, in overcoming the difficul. ties, great and appalling, which often opposed his career, and in consummating the arduous work that had been assigned him. He saw among them the distinguished and excellent men, on whom, under the direction and blessing of God, the nation must depend for its future welfare. Here were the talent, the worth, the energy, the influence of the best and the wisest of his countrymen, embodied in his presence. Portentous results abide his communications. The welfare of Israel is closely allied to them. How much he needs the divine assistance. That Joshua prayed for it, under a deep sense of his responsibility, we have every reason to believe.
His address, as recorded in the sacred Scriptures, is so touching in its commencement, and so eloquently simple and impressive to the close, that it deserves to be treasured in the memory, and cherished in the heart of all who love their country, and desire that it may prosper in every thing that is great and good.
Joshua's counsels. He dismisses the assembly. He con
venes the Israelites at Shechem, and gives them his last advice. The Israelites renew their covenant with the Lord. The death of Joshua.
In addressing those whom he had assembled for the purpose, the modesty of Joshua, and his unaffected humility, were very apparent. "I am old,” said he, "and stricken in age; and ye have 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."
What carefulness on the part of this great and venerated man, to give to God alone the glory of the late successes of the Israelites. He was but the instrument in the hand of the Almighty in what had been done, and he would have his countrymen feel this truth as deeply as he himself did.
After reminding those before him of the allotments of territory which had been made to the respective tribes, and declaring that the Lord would expel the remaining inhabitants who were still to be found in some parts of the country, Joshua called upon the Israelites to be firm in their obedience to Jehovah; to do all that was written in the book of the law of Moses, and not to turn aside therefrom to the right hand or to the left. He warned them, especially, against having intercourse with the heathen that might remain around them, lest they should fall into their idolatrous practices. He urged them to cleave unto the Lord their God, who had driven out great and strong nations from before them, He assured them, that if they failed to do this, God would certainly forsake them. They would no longer be successful in expelling the Canaanites; but the latter would be sources of grievous temptation and trouble to them ; "scourges in their sides, and thorns in their eyes,” until they should actually perish from the land.
"And behold,” said Joshua, "this day I am going the way of all the earth ; 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. Therefore it shall come to pass, that as all good things are come upon you, which the Lord your God promised concerning 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. When ye have transgressed the covenant of the Lord 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.”
Having concluded his exhortations, Joshua dismissed the assembly. Those who composed it returned to their respective stations among the people, to communicate to them the counsels of their leader, and to set before them the powerful motives which he had suggested, to lead them to be faithful in their obedience to the divine commands.
It was not long before Joshua, in view of his departure, which seemed to him very near at hand, convened the tribes of Israel, and again called the elders and other principal officers more immediately around him, that he might impart to them and to the nation, as it were, his dying counsels. They met at Shechem; and it would seem that the ark of the covenant was conveyed thither from Shiloh, to give the greater solemnity to the occasion. For we are told that "they presented themselves before God”--that is, before the ark and the tabernacle, the visible residence of the Lord among his people.
After referring to what God had done for their
great ancestor Abraham, and his family; and for his descendants, in bringing them out of Egypt and giving them the possession of the promised land; Joshua called upon the Israelites, to fear the Lord and serve him, and to abstain most scrupulously from every species of idolatry. "And if it seem evil unto you,” said he, to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood,” (the river Euphrates,) " or the gods of the Amorites in whose land ye dwell; but as for me and my
house we will serve the Lord.” To this solemn appeal the people replied with great earnestness,
"God forbid that we should forsake the Lord, to serve other gods. For the Lord our God, he it is that brought us up, and our fathers, out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage, and which did those great signs in our sight, and preserved us in all the way wherein we went, and among all the people through whom we passed. And the Lord drave out from before us all the people, even the Amorites which dwelt in the land: therefore will we also serve the Lord; for he is our God.”
To the fears which Joshua expressed in reply to these declarations, that the people were relying too much on the strength of their own good resolutions, especially when the character of