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by a way
ye have not passed heretofore. Ye know not one step, save as the word of truth and the Spirit of Christ inform you.
Forsake not then, the only, but the infallible guide. Search the Scriptures. Pray for heavenly light upon their
not the appointed bounds of inquiry; lest the ark be hidden from your view; and lest, forsaking the grace and knowledge of salvation, you “ walk in the sight of your own eyes, and in the imagination of your own hearts,” until ye learn at length, in the present delusion, in the future obduracy, and in the final condemnation of the infidel, that the very light which was in you was darkness.'
When the officers had given their preliminary directions to the people, Joshua said unto them, “Sanctify yourselves, for to-morrow the Lord will do wonders among you.” In all probability, this order involved more than purification from ceremonial defilement. Now what doth it teach us? Surely, that we should prepare to receive our father's mercy, by putting away the defilement of all iniquity. It may be said, that the unspeakable and unimaginable blessings purchased by the cross are freely bestowed upon guilty transgressors. I fully believe it; and as my soul's only resting place, and refuge from despair, I cling to the assurance, that “ Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” But
every page of this very proclamation of mercy testifies by a voice from the throne of truth in heaven, that while men live in the wilful commission of any sin, they turn their backs upon the provisions of God's compassion in his Son, with scorn and defiance.
At this season of the year, the river, near which the tribes of Israel lay encamped, being increased by the melted snows from the neighbouring summits of Lebanon, overflowed its banks, and made the difficulty of crossing it more formidable than usual. Yet, no sooner did its waters feel the feet of the priests that bare the ark, than they were divided. The armies of Israel passed through dryshod; and not an individual of all their multitudes perished. The miracle became thus more amazing—the power by which it was wrought more undeniable. And, to what end are the trials sent, by which the servants of God are beset in their heavenward way; the afflicting providences that befal them; and the circumstances of almost hopeless difficulty in which they often find themselves entangled ? Surely, that the interference of the Most High, and the might of an omnipotent Saviour may be most effectually exhibited in their deliverance. Are the three children of the captivity to be cast into the fiery furnace? It is heated seven times more than on other occasions. Why? That the preservation may be more astonishing: and that the king may bless the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Is Lazarus laid in the grave, and when our Saviour comes, does his resurrection seem impossible i “Lord by this time he stinketh, for he hath been dead four days.". Why is this, but for a inore undeniable display of the Redeemer's power? “Said I not unto thee, that if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?” Do I address the tried, the tempted, or the suffering i Do not faint beneath your burdens. In your patience possess ye your souls. “You have the sentence of death in yourselves, that
should not trust in yourselves, but in God who raiseth the dead." He will make it appear that your good, and his own glory were intimately concerned in your afflictions. As your day is so shall your strength be. Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed. Jordan may overflow his banks: but the ark will go before your way, and the waters will be divided. After having tempered his providences according to your ability, God will,“ with the temptation, make a way for you to escape.” And when ye have come up from the depths, he will raise
your hearts to him in the adoring wonder of grateful love, for the omnipotence of the support, and the completeness of the deliverance.
(2.) The miracle may also be regarded, as a subject of emblematical reference. Joshua the leader of Israel has been universally considered as a type of Jesus Christ, the head and captain of our salvation. His glorious office of leading the chosen tribes into the land of promise, remarkably prefigured the gracious work of that Lord whose name he bore, and who, having “overcome the sharpness of death, opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers.” Look then, in imagination upon the thousands of Israel passing through the river, with one part of its waters flowing on towards the Dead Sea, and the other piled up, and held back, by the almighty hand of God, until all the people had clean passed over. Then say, whether they do not fitly illustrate the walk of a Christian through that dark and dreary stream which separates time from eternity, probationary grace from consummated glory; and the spirit of a holy believer from the vision of bis Saviour. If the ark had not preceded the hosts of Israel, they would have perished in attempting the passage, for there were no other means of crossing the stream. The deep would utterly have overwhelmed them. Their destruction would have
been as entire, as that of Pharaoh and his host in the Red Sea ; and not one would have entered Canaan. But the Lord of the whole earth went before them. The sea saw that and fled ; Jordan was driven back; and his depths became a way
for the ransomed of the Lord to pass over. We must all cross the tremendous boundary between earth and heaven. It is appointed unta all men once to die. Are we following the ark? Is God in our camp? Are we looking to a mercyseat sprinkled with the blood of his Son. Surveying that Son in the matchless glories of his character, and as “able to save to the uttermost. all them that come unto God by him," can we appropriate him and his salvation to ourselves by faith, and say, “This God is my God for ever and ever?” Then may we hear that voice which addresses the dying Christian, When thou passest through the waters I will be with thee, and through the rivers they shall not overflow thee.. Did Christ rebuke the storm, when the trembling disciples awoke him, saying, “Lord, save us, we perish?” Were they compelled to cry, “What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him ? ” and is he from his throne of dominion in heaven less mighty now to save? Death is an awful termination of Christian warfare. The conflict with the last enemy is a stern trial of faith, and hope, and strength, and pa