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will not so much as seek for a ford for their mon enemy. If we could do but this to passage, but divides the waters. What a our spiritual adversaries, it were as impose sight was this to their heathen adversaries, sible for us to be surprised, as for Jericho to see the waters make both a lane and a to be safe. Methinks I see how they called wall for Israel! Their hearts could not their council of war, debated of all means choose but be broken, to see the streams of defence, gathered their forces, trained broken off for a way to their enemies. I their soldiers, set strong guards to the gates do not see Joshua hastening through this and walls; and now would persuade one channel, as if he feared lest the tide of another, that, unless Israel could fly into Jordan should return; but, as knowing that their city, the siege was vain. Vain world. watery wall stronger than the walls of Je-lings think their rampires and barricadoes richo, he paces slowly; and, lest this mi. can keep out the vengeance of God; their racle should pass away with themselves, blindness suffers them to look no further he commands twelve stones to be taken out than the means. The supreme hand of of the channel of Jordan by twelve select-the Almighty comes not within the comed men from every tribe, which shall be pass of their fears. Every carnal heart is pitched in Gilgal : and twelve other stones a Jericho shut up; God sits down before to be set in the midst of Jordan, where the it, and displays mercy and judgment in feet of the priests had stood with the ark; | sight of the walls thereof: it hardens itself that so both land and water might testify in a wilful security, and saith, “ Tush, I the miraculous way of Israel: while it shall never be moved.' should be said of the one, These stones Yet their courage and fear fight together were fetched out of the pavement of Jor- within their walls, within their bosoms. dan; of the other, there did the ark rest, Their courage tells them of their own while we walked dry-shod the deeps of strength; their fear suggests the miracuJordan: of the one, Jordan was once as lous success of this (as they could not but dry as this Gilgal; of the other, Those think) enchanted generation; and now, waves which drown these stones, had so while they have shut out their enemy, they drowned us, if the power of the Almighty have shut in their own terror. The most had not restrained them. Many a great secure heart in the world hath some flashes work had God done for Israel, which was of fear; for it cannot but sometimes look now forgotten: Joshua therefore will have out of itself, and see what it would not. monuments of God's mercy, that future Rahab had notified that their hearts faintages might be both witnesses and applau- | ed; and yet now their faces bewray nothing ders of the great works of their God. but resolution. I know not whether the
heart or the face of a hypocrite be more
false ; and as each of them seeks to beguile CONTEMPLATION III.—THE SIEGE OF JERICHO. the other, so both of them agree to deceive
the beholders. In the midst of laughter, Joshua begins his wars with the circum- their heart is heavy. Who would not cision and passover; he knew that the way think him merry that laughs ? yet their reuo keep the blood of his people from shed-joicing is but in the face. Who would not ding, was to let out that paganish blood of think a blasphemer, or profane man, resotheir uncircumcision. The person must be lutely careless? If thou hadst a window in favour, ere the work can hope to pro- | into his heart, thou shouldst see him torsper. His predecessor Moses had like to mented with horrors of conscience. have been slain for neglect of this sacra- Now the Israelites see those walled ment, when he went to call the people out cities and towers, whose height was reof Egypt: he justly fears his own safety, ported to reach to heaven, the fame whereif now he omit it, when they are brought of had so affrighted them, ere they saw into Canaan. We have no right of inheri- them, and were ready, doubtless, to say, in lance in the spiritual Canaan, the church of their distrust, Which way shall we scale God, till we have received the sacrament these invincible fortifications ? what ladof our matriculation. So soon as our co ders, what engines, shall we use to so great venants are renewed with our Creator, we a work? God prevents their infidelity : may well look for the vision of God for the “ Behold, I have given Jericho into thine assurance of victory.
hand.” If their walls had their foundations What sure work did the king of Jericho | laid in the centre of the earth; if the bat. think he had made! He blocked up the tlements had been so high built, that an passages, barred up the gates, defended the eagle could not soar over them; this is walls, and did enough to keep out a com- enough, “ I have given it thee." For, on
whose earth have they raised these castles? | All the men of war must compass the out of whose treasure did they dig those city; yet it was not the presence of the piles of stone ? whence had they their great warriors of Israel that threw down strength and time to build? Cannot he the walls of Jericho. Those foundations that gave, recall his own ? O ye fools of were not so slightly laid, as that they Jericho! what if your walls be strong, your could not endure either a look, or a march, men valiant, your leaders skilful, your king or a battery. It was the ark of God whose wise, when God hath said, “ I have given presence demolished the walls of that thee the city!" What can swords or spears wicked city. The same power that drave do against the Lord of hosts! Without back the waters of Jordan before, and after. him means can do nothing; how much less wards laid Dagon on the floor, cast down against him! How vain and idle is that all those forts. The priests bear on their reckoning, wherein God is left out! Had shoulders that mighty engine of God, bethe captain of the Lord's host drawn his fore which those walls, if they had been sword for Jericho, the gates might have of molten brass, could not stand. Those been opened; Israel could no more have spiritual wickednesses, yea, those gates of entered, than they can now be kept from hell, which to nature are utterly invincible, entering when the walls were fallen. What by the power of the word of God (which courses soever we take for our safety, it he hath committed to the carriage of his is good making God of our side. Neither weak servants) are overthrown, and trimen nor devils can hurt us against him ; | umphed over. Thy ark, O God, hath been neither men nor angels can secure us from long amongst us; how is it that the walls him. There was never so strange a siege of our corruptions stand still unruined ? It as this of Jericho: here was no mount hath gone before us, his priests have carried raised, no sword drawn, no engine planted, it: we have not followed it, our hearts Do pioneers undermining; here were trum have not attended it; and therefore, how pets sounded, but no enemy seen; here mighty soever it is in itself, yet to us it were armed men, but no stroke given : | hath not been so powerful as it would. they must walk and not fight; seven se | Seven days together they walked this veral days must they pace about the walls, round; they made this, therefore, their which they may not once look over, to see Sabbath-day's journey; and who knows what was within. Doubtless these inha- whether the last and longest walk, which bitants of Jericho made themselves merry brought victory to Israel, were not on this with this sight: when they had stood six day? Not long before, an Israelite is stoned days upon their walls, and beheld none but to death, for but gathering a few sticks that a walking enemy; What, say they, could day: now, all the host of Israel must walk Israel find no walk to breathe them with, about the walls of a large and populous but about our walls? Have they not tra city, and yet do not violate the day. "God's velled enough in their forty years' pilgrimage, precept is the rule of the justice and hobut they must stretch their limbs in this | liness of all our actions. Or was it, for circle? Surely if their eyes were engines, that revenge upon God's enemies is a holy our wall could not stand : we see they are work, and such as God vouchsafes to pri good footmen; but when shall we try their vilege with his own day? or because, when hands? What, do these vain men think we have undertaken the exploits of God, Jericho will be won with looking at ? or do he will abide no intermission till we have they only come to count how may paces fulfilled them? He allows us to breathe, it is about our city? If this be their man- not to break off, till we have finished. Der of siege, we shall have no great cause It had been as easy for God to have to fear the sword of Israel. Wicked men given this success to their first day's walk; think God in jest, when he is preparing for yea to their first pace, or their first sight of their judgment. The Almighty hath ways Jericho; yet he will not give it, until the and counsels of his own, utterly unlike to end of their seven days' toil. It is the pleaouts; which, because our reason cannot sure of God to hold us both in work, and reach, we are ready to condemn as foolish in expectation; and though he require our ness and impossibility. With us, there is continual endeavours for the subduing of no way to victory but fighting, and the our corruptions, during the six days of our strongest carries the spoil : God can give | life, yet we shall never find it perfectly ef. victory to the feet, as well as to the hands; fected till the very evening of our last day. and, when he will, makes weakness no dis- | In the meantime, it must content us that advantage. What should we do but follow we are in our walk, and that these walls God through by-ways, and know that he cannot stand, when we come to the meawill, in spite of nature, lead us to our end ? I sure and number of our perfection. A pre 20 p
good heart groans under the sense of his I uses in other sieges) for the entrance of forme infirmities, fain would be rid of them, and the eneny, perliaps new supplies of defend strives and prays : but when he hath all dants might have made it up with their si done, until the end of the seventh day it carcases : but now that, at once, Jeriche cannot be. If a stone or two moulder off is turned to a plain field, every Israelite, di from these walls, in the meantime, that without resistance, might run to the next is all; but the foundations will not be re booty; and the throats of their enemies cal moved till then.
seemed to invite their swords to a despatch When we hear of so great a design as If but one Israelite had knocked at the the miraculous winning of a mighty city, I gates of Jericho, it might have been thought who would not look for some glorious their hand had helped to the victory. Now, means to work it? When we hear that that God may have all the glory, without regard the ark of God must besiege Jericho, who | the show of any rival, yea, of any means, would not look for some royal equipage? | they do but walk and shout, and the walls But behold, here seven priests must go be- give way. He cannot abide to part with : fore it, with seven trumpets of ram's horns. / any honour from himself. As he doth all The Israelites had trumpets of silver, which things, so he would be acknowledged. God had appointed for the use of assem. They shout all at once. It is the pre bling and dissolving the congregation, for sence of God's ark, and our conjoined. war, and for peace: now I do not hear prayers, that are effectual to the beatingthem called for; but instead thereof, trum-down of wickedness. They may not shout pets of rams' horns, base for the matter, till they be bidden. If we will be unsea: and not loud for sound; the shortness and sonable in our good actions, we may hurts equal measure of those instruments could and not benefit ourselves. not afford either shrillness of noise, or va- Every living thing in Jericho- man, wo riety. How mean and homely are those man, child, cattle - must die. Our folly means which God commonly uses in the would think this merciless; but there can le most glorious works! No doubt the citizens be no mercy in injustice, and nothing but 25 of Jericho answered this dull alarm of theirs injustice in not fulfilling the charge of God. from their walls with other instruments of The death of malefactors, the condemi louder report and more martial ostentation: nation of wicked men, seem harsh to us; sul and the vulgar Israelites thought, we have but we must learn of God, that there is a as clear and as costly trumpets as theirs; punishing mercy. Cursed be that mercy oods yet no man dares offer to sound the better, that opposes the God of mercy.
No when the worse are commanded. If we Yet was not Joshua so intent upon the vete find the ordinances of God poor and weak, slaughter, as not to be mindful of God's top let it content us that they are of his own part and Rahab's. First, he gives charge, sin choosing, and such as whereby he will so under a curse, of reserving all the treasure of much more honour himself, as they in for God; then of preserving the family of 759 for themselves are more inglorious. Not the | Rahab. Those two spies that received sin i outside, but the efficacy, is it that God | life from her, now return it to her, and 122 is cares for.
hers: they call at the window with the red his No ram of iron could have been so for-cord, and send up news of life to her, the achie cible for battery, as these rams' horns: for same way which they received theirs. Her har when they sounded long, and were secon- house is no part of Jericho: neither may *so, o ded with the shout of the Israelites, all the fire be set to any building of that city, till lite hor walls of Jericho fell down at once. They Rabab and her family be set safe without non made the heavens ring with their shout: the host. The actions of our faith and the ai but the ruin of those walls drowned their charity will be sure to pay us; if late, yet rent voice, and gave a pleasant kind of horror surely. Now Rahab finds what it is to be to the Israelites. The earth shook under lieve God; while out of an impure idola sem. * them with the fall; but the hearts of the trous city, she is transplanted into the inhabitants shook yet more. Many of them, church of God, and made a mother of a b doubtless, were slain with those walls royal and holy posterity. wherein they had trusted. A man might see death in the faces of all the rest that remained, who now, being half dead with CONTEMPLATION IV.- OF ACHAN. astonishment, expected the other half from the sword of their enemies. They had When the walls of Jericho were fallen, dan now neither means nor will to resist ; for Joshua charged the Israelites but with twee if only one breach had been made (as it I precepts: of sparing Rahab's house, and of the
them on the ml the
e of abstaining froin that treasure which was I do not find them in any disorder. After fen. anathematized to God: and one of them that the law hath brought us under the Eheir is broken; as in the entrance to paradise, conduct of the true Jesus, our sins are che but one tree was forbidden, and that was more rare, and ourselves are more conite, eaten of. God had provided for our weak. scionable. While we are under the law, ext ness in the paucity of commands; but our we do not so keep it, as when we are denies innocency stands not so much in having livered from it: our Christian freedom is ch.) few precepts, as in keeping those we have. more holy than our servitude. Then have the So much more guilty are we in the breach the sacraments of God their due effect, cht of the one, as we are more favoured in the when their receipt purgeth us from our old =W, 1 number.
sins, and makes our conversation clean and | They needed no command to spare no spiritual.
living thing in Jericho ; but to spare the "Little did Joshua know that there was Ils treasure, no command was encug!.. Im- any sacrilege committed by Israel. That th partiality of execution is easier to perform, sin is not half cunning enough that hath
than contempt of these worldly things; be- not learned secrecy. Joshua was a vigilant
cause we are more prone to covet for our leader, yet some sins will escape him. 2. selves, than to pity others. Had Joshua Only that eye which is every where, finds ed bidden save the men, and divide the trea- us out in our close wickedness. It is no
sure, his charge had been more plausible, blame to authority that some sins are sethan now to kill the men and save the cretly committed: the holiest congregation treasure; or, if they must kill, earthly or family may be blemished with some maleminds would more gladly shed their ene. factors. It is just blame, that open sins are | mies' blood for a booty, than out of obe not punished: we shall wrong government, dience, for the glory of their Maker. But if we shall expect the reach of it should now it is good reason, since God threw be infinite. He therefore, which, if he had down those walls, and not they, that both known the offence, would have sent up the blood of that wicked city should be spilt prayers and tears to God, now sends spies to him, not to their own revenge; and that for a further discovery of Ai; they return the treasure should be reserved for his use, with news of the weakness of their adver. not for theirs. Who but a miscreant can saries; and, as contemning their paucity, grudge that God should serve himself of persuade Joshua that a wing of Israel is his own? I cannot blame the rest of Is-enough to overshadow this city of Ai. The rael, if they were well pleased with their Israelites were so flushed with their former conditions ; only one Achan troubles the victory, that now they think no walls or peace, and his sin is imputed to Israel. men can stand before them. Good success
The innocence of so many thousand Is lifts up the heart with too much confidence; raelites is not so forcible to excuse his one and, while it dissuades men from doing sin, as his one sin is to taint all Israel. their best, ofttimes disappoints them. With
A lewd man is a pernicious creature: God, the mean can never be too weak; that he damns his own soul, is the least without him, never strong enough. part of his mischief ; he commonly draws It is not good to contemn an impotent vengeance upon a thousand, either by the enemy. In this second battle the Israelites desert of his sin, or by the infection. Who are beaten. It was not the fewness of would not have hoped that the same God, their assailants that overthrew them, but which for ten righteous men would have the sin that lay lurking at home. If all the spared the five wicked cities, should not host of Israel had set upon this poor village have been content to drown one sin in the of Ai, they had been all equally discom. obedience of so many righteous ? But so fited: the wedge of Achan did niore fight venomous is sin, especially when it lights against them, than all the swords of the among God's people, that one drachm of it | Canaanites. The victories of God go not is able to infect the whole mass of Israel. by strength, but by innocence.
O righteous people of Israel, that had Doubtless these men of Ai insulted in but one Achan! How had their late cir- this foil of Israel, and said, Lo, these are cumcision cut away the unclean foreskin the men, from whose presence the waters of their disobedience! How had the blood of Jordan ran back; now they run as fast of their paschal lamb scoured their souls away from ours. These are they, before from covetous desires! The world was well whom the walls of Jericho fell down; now mended with them, since their stubborn they are fallen as fast before us. And all murmurings in the desert. Since the death their neighbours took heart from this vicof Moses, and the government of Joshua, tory. Wherein, I doubt not but, besides the punishment of Israel's sin, God intended thought he miglit have lain as close in all the further obduration of the Canaanites : / that throng of Israel, as the wedge of gold like as some skilful player loses on purpose lay in his tent. The same hope of secrecy, at the beginning of the game, to draw on which moved him to sin, moved him to the more abetments. The news of their confidence in his sin : but now, when he overthrow spread as far as the fame of their saw the lot fall upon his tribe, he began to speed ; and every city of Canaan could say, start a little; when upon his family, he Why not we as well as Ai?
began to change countenance ; when upon But good Joshua, that succeeded Moses, his household, to tremble and fear; when no less in the care of God's glory than in upon his person, to be utterly confounded his government, is much dejected with this in himself. Foolish men think to run away event. He rends bis clothes, falls on his with their privy sins, and say, Tush, no face, casts dust upon his head, and, as if eye shall see me; but, when they think he had learned of his master how to expose themselves safest, God pulls them out with tulate with God, says, “ What wilt thou shame. The man that hath escaped justice, do to thy mighty name?"
| and now is lying down in death, would That Joshua might see God took no think, My shame shall never be disclosed; pleasure to let the Israelites lie dead upon but, before men and angels, shall he be the earth before their enemies, himself is brought on the scaffold, and find confusion taxed for but lying all day upon his face, | | as sure as late. before the ark. All his expostulations are What needed any other evidence, when answered in one word: “ Get thee up; God had accused Achan? Yet Joshua Israel hath sinned." I do not hear God will have the sin out of his mouth, in whose say, Lie still, and mourn for the sin of heart it was hatched : “ My son, I beseech Israel. It is to no purpose to pray against thee, give glory to God.” Whom God punishment, while the sin continues. And had convinced as a malefactor, Joshua be. though God loves to be sued to, yet he seeches as a son. Some hot spirit would holds our requests unseasonable, till there have said, Thou wretched traitor! how be care had of satisfaction. When we have hast thou pilfered from thy God, and shed risen, and redressed sin, then may we fall the blood of so many Israelites, and caused down for pardon.
the host of Israel to show their backs, withı Victory is in the free hand of God, to dishonour, to the heathen? Now shall we dispose where he will; and no man can fetch this sin out of thee with tortures, and marvel, that the dice of war run ever with plagne thee with a condign death. But, hazard on both sides : so as God needed like the disciple of Him whose servant he not to have given any other reason of this was, he meekly entreats that which he discomfiture of Israel, but his own pleasure; might have extorted by violence: “ My yet Joshua must now know, that Israel, son, I beseech thee." Sweetness of comwhich before prevailed for their faith, is pellation is a great help towards the good beaten for their sin. When we are crossed entertainment of an admonition: roughness in just and holy quarrels, we may well and rigour many times harden those hearts, think there is some secret evil, unrepented which meekness would have melted to reof, which God would punish in us; which, pentance. Whether we sue, or convince, though we see not, yet he so hates, that or reprove, little good is gotten by bitterhe will rather be wanting to his own cause, ness. Detestation of the sin may wel than not revenge it. When we go about stand with favour to the person; and these any enterprise of God, it is good to see two not distinguished, cause great wrong, that our hearts be clear from any pollution either in our charity, or justice; for either of sin ; and when we are thwarted in our we uncharitably hate the creature of God slopes, it is our best course to ransack our- or unjustly affect the evil of men. Subjects selves, and to search for some sin hid from are, as they are called, sons to the magis. us in our bosom, but open to the view of trate. All Israel was not only of the God.
family, but as of the loins of Joshua. Such The oracle of God, which told him a must be the corrections, such the provi. great offence was committed, yet reveals sions of governors, as for their children; as not the person. It had been as easy for again, the obedience and love of subjects him to have named the man, as the crime. must be filial. Neither doth Joshua request it; but refers God has glorified himself sufficiently, in that discovery to such a means, as whereby | finding out the wickedness of Achan ; the offender, finding himself singled out by neither needs he honour from men, much the lot, might be most convinced. Achan | less from sinners. They can dishonour