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done unto all these nations because of you; for the Lord your God is he that hath fought for you. Behold I have divided unto you by lot these nations that remain, to be an inheritance for your tribes, from Jordan, with all the nations that I have cut off, even unto the great sea westward."* Joshua next seeks to impress the minds of the Israelites by a declaration of the divine readiness to continue former benefits and to increase present blessings. « The Lord your God, he shall expel these nations that remain, from before you, and drive them from out of your sight; and ye shall possess their land, as the Lord your God hath promised unto you.” + “ One man of you shall chase a thousand: for the Lord your God, he it is that fighteth for you, as he hath promised you,”! And then he concludes by putting the assembly in mind that the Almighty had hitherto made good all his word, and by assuring them of the fatal consequences which would inevitably follow should they transgress the covenant which the Lord their God commanded them.” “Ye know," he says, “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 con, cerning 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 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." 11
Such are the arguments which the Leader of Israel brought forward, and they are addressed to the three most * Josh. xxiii. 3, 4. + Josh. xxiii. 5. (Josh. xxiii. 10. Josh. xxiii. 15. influential feelings of the human heart. Joshua first of all appeals to the Gratitude of his Auditors. He reminds them of the great things which the Almighty Ruler of the universe had so graciously performed on their behalf. In the twentyfourth chapter, which records his second assembling of the Tribes of Israel immediately before his death, he presents them with a brief history of the benefits conferred by God upon their nation even from the first choice of Abraham their Father. And surely when they called to mind the exceeding honour which was put upon them in being chosen as the peculiar people of that omnipotent Being " which made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that therein is ;'* when they recollected the signs and wonders with which the Lord had delivered their Fathers from the cruel bondage of Egypt; the sudden and dreadful destruction which came upon the first-born of Pharaoh and all his subjects; the triumphant departure of Israel for the wilderness; their wonderful guidance and preservation by the pillar of cloud and of fire ; their safe and surprising passage of that Red Sea, whose waters at the outstretching of Moses' hand “returned and covered the chariots and the horsemen and all the host of Pharaoh;" their miraculous supply of sustenance in the desert; and the gift from Sinai of the holy and salutary « Oracles of God;" when, I say, the assembly thought on these Divine dealings with their Fathers, and, then, at the bidding of Joshua, remembered how the Lord led themselves in safety over Jordan, and delivered Jericho by miracle into their hands, and made good the command of their captain, when he exclaimed, “Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon; and thou Moon in the Valley of Ajalon,"'+ thus giving them a “country for which they did not labour; and cities which they builded not; and vineyards and olive yards which they planted not,” even a goodly heritage in Canaan, the land of promise and of plenty; surely, on such a reriew of the past mercies of their Almighty Benefactor, the voice of gratitude must have echoed the language of my text, “ Take good heed therefore unto yourselves, that ye love the Lord your God.” The leader of Israel, however, appeals no less to their hope, for the future than to their gratitude for the past and the present: he assures them that the Lord is still waiting to be gracious, and that they may calculate upon the continuance of the divine protection and assistance until all their enemies be vanquished, and the full inheritance which the God of their Father Abraham promised, be possessed in peace by his posterity. And lest neither the sense of thankfulness for benefits already received, nor the expectation which they were authorised to entertain of blessings yet to come, should suffice to make the Israelites “ very courageous to keep and to do all that is written in the Book of the law of Moses,"'* Joshua seeks to awaken the fear of his auditors by a prophetical assurance conveyed in these plain yet striking words; " 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.”+ The inspired histories of Israel and Judah, and the past and present peculiar condition of " the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad,”f afford testimony as convincing as it is awful, that the language of
the Prophet was none other than the language of the Allwise and Almighty bimself; and since the exhortation of Joshua, and the consequences of its being obeyed and disobeyed are alike “written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come,”* it will be my endeavour to show that arguments similar to those which the Israelitish leader employed towards his countrymen, are no less applicable to us, both as a nation and as individuals; and, moreover, that gratitude, hope, and fear, unite in addressing to us the counsel of the text, “ Take good heed therefore unto yourselves, that ye love the Lord your God.”
It is my object first to shew that such is the case with regard to us as a nation.
There is, I am aware, a general objection to the introduction of political allusions into those discourses which the “ Stewards of the mysteries of God” address to their congregations from the pulpit, and when such allusions are made in any degree for the promotion of party purposes, or the display of party feeling, no man can more cordially join in reprehending their introduction than the humble indivi-. dual who is now speaking; but when the Christian Minister duly appreciates the advantages which he enjoys as a citizen, and traces, the Bible teaching him so to do, all his earthly as well as all his heavenly benefits to that Father of lights from whom every good and perfect gift cometh down, surely he may, not only without impropriety but with obvious advantage, instance civil blessings as calls to national thanksgiving.
* 1 Cor. s. 11.
Born as we are in a land where as much freedom of speech and of action, as can consist with the good of the community and the real welfare of each member of that community, is the birthright of every man amongst us, of the peasant no less than of the prince, the very commonness of our privileges often renders us forgetful of their value, and conse. quently unthankful for the enjoyment of them: but if I know those privileges to be not less important than they are common; if the voices of reason and revelation alike assure me that it is “ the living God, who giveth us richly” these and “ all things to enjoy,'' * since it is the power of the Lord alone which “ stilleth the tumult of the people,”+ and the wisdom of the Lord alone by which “ Kings reign, and princes decree judgment;"I and if the inspired Apostle of my divine Master exhorts his followers to give “thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,”Ş then am I persuaded that in reminding you of the advantages which our country possesses, and in teaching you to regard those advantages as the special mercies of that Almighty Being whose “ kingdom ruleth over all,” || I am only performing a duty which the responsibility of my office demands. It is not, however, my intention here to enlarge either upon the manner or the measure of God's gracious dealing towards us ; I have done enough in adverting to the subject, as, with regard to the past, you will generally know that whilst the nations of the Continent were more or less exposed, during many years, to the ravages and horrors of war, the highly favoured inhabitants of these happy islands passed their lives in peace, none making them afraid ; and, with respect to the present, your own observa* 1 Tim. vi. 17. + Psa. Ixv. 7. $ Prov. viii. 15. § Ephes. v. 20. || Psa.ciii. 19.