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truth which came by Jesus Christ. Every precept or incident therefore in the former, by which we are taught to assist our fellow soldiers in the common warfare for salvation, must utter a voice of instruction to those whom the glorious gospel of the blessed God teaches to "bear each other's burdens, and so to fulfil the law of the Saviour's love."
Of this character is the history from which the text is taken. The tribes of Gad and Reuben, struck with the fertility of the land of Jazer, and the land of Gilead, and admiring its fitness for the pasturage of their numerous flocks and herds, besought Moses to fix their heritage within it, and to excuse them from seeking a settlement beyond the river that separated them from the promised land. "The country which the Lord smote before the congregation of Israel is a land for cattle, and thy servants have cattle: wherefore if we have found grace in thy sight, let this land be given unto thy servants for a possession, and bring us not over Jordan." So suspiciously did this request sound in the ear of Moses, or rather so plainly did it appear to speak the language of selfishness, and the love of ease, that the man of God felt himself obliged to rebuke and condemn it. The expostulation was kindly received: and whether the tribes were ashamed of their unworthy purpose, or had
really never meant to desert their brethren, they immediately offered to go forth to battle with the general host-to expel the devoted inhabitants of the land-to establish the heritage of the Most High triumphantly within its borders, and then, to return and take possession of their own portion and choice. The offer was accepted, and conscientiously fulfilled. Half the tribe of Manasseh was also permitted to settle in Gilead; probably because it was too extensive for those to whom it was first granted, and because it had been principally won by their valour and conduct.
Without attempting minutely to examine the whole history, I propose to draw matter for consideration from the question of Moses in the text: "Shall your brethren go to go to war, and shall ye sit here; and wherefore discourage ye the heart of the children of Israel from going over into the land which the Lord hath given them?"
I. Bear it then in mind, that while ye seek an inheritance in the kingdom of God, ye must not overlook the spiritual interests of the Redeemer's church. If he who gave himself to death, that he might open the kingdom of heaven to all believers, had made us independent of each other, we might have walked, every man in the way of life, without sympathy with our fellow-pilgrims. We might have fought the good fight of faith,
without turning round to help, or to save our fellow soldiers in the war. But in that delightful communion of saints which, through the bonds of the everlasting gospel, unites every member of the family in heaven and earth, with him of whom both are named, there is a unity of interest and aim, by which the followers of Christ are unequivocally known. The blessed Jesus, very shortly before he sealed his love to mankind on the cross, prayed for his disciples, "That they all may be one, as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us that the world may believe that thou hast sent me" That charity received into the soul, when it embraces Christ crucified, and glories in his cross, "seeketh not her own but the profit of many, that they may be saved. By this may all men know that we are the disciples of the Lamb of God,-if we love one another." The various denominations of Christians may resemble Joseph's coat of many colours, in the more minute shades of difference and subdivision. But, where the love of God in Christ Jesus is truly shed abroad in the heart, by the Holy Ghost, its possessors will resemble in unity of spirit, the robe of their suffering Master, woven without seam or schism from the top to the bottom. One will not say, "I am of Paul, and another, I am of Apollos, and another, I am of
Cephas, and another, I am of Christ." Nor will each, in selfish abstraction" see his brother have need, and shut up his compassion from him," because of some minute difference; as the Jews had no dealings with the Samaritans. Ill would the tribes of Gad and Reuben have fulfilled their sacred obligations to the Israelites, if, when engaged in the service of God, marching under the pillar of the cloud, as their standard in the war, and led onwards by the Lord of Hosts, they had endeavoured to extort the land of Gilead as their portion; and left their brethren to undergo future combats, while they reposed in ease and luxury. As unworthily would the Christian act, who, having vowed and sworn "manfully to fight under the banner of the cross, against sin, the world, and the devil, and to continue Christ's faithful soldier and servant," should be so much occupied with his own concerns, as to feel no sympathy for his brethren. Is it written, with reference to every believer of the gospel, No man liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself; for whether we live, we live unto the Lord, or whether we die, we die unto the Lord; whether we live therefore, or die we are the Lord's? And can this Scripture be fulfilled by those who profess to seek that gift of God which is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord, and yet are careless of others who need the same mercy,
and of him who should see of the travail of his soul in the conversion of transgressors. The God whose you are by the purchase of his bloodwhom you profess to serve in the gospel of his Son, has made the advancement of your fellowsinners towards heaven a material and solemn part of your duty. Would you desire to be discharged from performing it? Would ye sacrifice the privilege of making known the mercies of redemption, of advancing the salvation of souls, and of awakening the jubilee of the blessed in heaven over sinners that repent?
The two tribes, with the half tribe of Manasseh, were bound to promote the common welfare, victories, and glories of Israel. So, every member of Christ who hath a good hope through grace, that he is admitted into the pale of his Saviour's mercy, is equally engaged to hold forth the word of life, for the common good. He must aim to bring all around him within that fold where he hath found rest, pasture, hope, peace, joy, and life eternal to his own soul. He is bound to omit no practicable effort which may advance the perfecting of the saints, the work of the ministry, the edifying of the body of Christ; until, so far as in him lieth, under the grace and blessing of the Holy Ghost, all whom he can assist, "may come in the unity