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JOSHUA VI. 20.
So the people shouted when the priests blew with the
trumpets: and it came to pass, when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city.
When the Israelites had been delivered from the yoke of Egypt, had passed through the wilderness, and had entered Canaan, their inheritance, though secured by the unchangeable truth of God, was still to be won in battle from the devoted nations. The Christian, made free by the power of the Eternal Son, may have forsaken the house of his spiritual bondage. He may be virtually admitted within the borders of the promised land, by a participation in that gracious adoption, which testifies thát he is a child of God, and if a child, then an heir, an heir of God, and a joint heir with Christ. Will his warfare then have ceased, the moment he is interested in the covenant of redemption, by having fled for refuge to the hope set before him in the gospel : Will he not rather enter upon that succession of conflicts against the principalities and powers of sin, which must cease only when he shall rest in the bliss of heaven, and obtain “the prize of his calling of God in Christ Jesus?” Such, at least, are the representations of Scripture, and such the experience of all who have been arrayed beneath the Redeemer's banner. In fact, no sooner had the Israelites crossed the river which lay between the wilderness and Canaan, renewed their covenant with the Most High by the rite of circumcision, commemorated their deliverance, and the type of that atonement which was to be made for sin, by eating the passover, than they were called to attack Jericho, and utterly to destroy the city. This siege was the first of a series of contests, in which they were long engaged. I know not indeed, that any Scripture regards the conquest of Jericho as an absolute type of a Christian's victory gained over the enemies of his salvation, by the blood of the Lamb. The analogy of faith however, seems to view it, as an event strongly illustrative of this glorious subject; and thus indeed it has been regarded by commentators upon holy writ in all ages of the church. Among the many peculiarities by which
this great event is characterized, it affords an instructive display,
I. OF THE CONDUCT OF ISRAEL.
I. If an adept in the military art had been consulted
upon the best mode of conducting the siege, and of subduing the city, he would undoubtedly have suggested all the usual resources
He would have persuaded Joshua to surround it with a trench; to cast up a bank against it; to shake its walls and bulwarks by the most powerful engines that could be procured; or to overthrow them by the secret device of the mine beneath them. He would have cried, 'Let its defenders be unceasingly attacked by the strength of the warrior's harness, the sharpness of his sword, or the might of his arm, until they should be slain or overcome.' Such advice would have been most natural and judicious, had the Israelites been placed in circumstances requiring no other intervention, than that of visible and secondary causes.
But in this first conflict with the dreaded race of Anak, the Lord determined manifestly to fight and conquer for them. Aware also, of that deeply seated presumption, which, in the event of success would have induced them to cry, in total forgetfulness of the Lord of Hosts, “Our sword, and the might of our arm, hath gotten us the victory,” he resolved to deliver the city into their hands, in a manner which should at once mock the boasted devices of men, and exhibit the Almighty power of God, working by an agency, to human apprehension altogether inadequate and inappropriate. “The Lord said unto Joshua, See, I have given into thine hand Jericho, and the king thereof, and the mighty men of valour. And ye shall compass the city all ye men of war, and go round about the city once. Thus thou shalt do six days. And seven priests shall bear before the ark seven trumpets of ram's horns: and the seventh day ye shall compass the city seven times; and the priests shall blow with the trumpets. And it shall come to pass, when they make a long blast with the ram's horn, and when
hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city shall fall down flat; and the people shall ascend up, every man straight before him."
(1.) To this command the Israelites paid implicit obedience.
Every part of this mysterious order could not fail to contradict the expectation, and excite the astonishment of the people. Was not a single weapon of offence to be employed? Would the tread of the host, or the trumpets of the priests, as they went their appointed circuit, shake the solid walls, and overthrow them to their foundations? Was there any visible or imaginable connexion between the means and the end ? Were not the appointments of God calculated rather to make them objects of mockery and scorn, than of terror to their enemies? To the eye of sense they surely were: yet no sooner did Joshua give the command, than it was implicitly obeyed. The priests, the ark, the armed people, compassed the city. Their duty also, was not only unreservedly, but perseveringly performed. They continued in the use of the instituted means, through the whole seven days, without the recorded expression of a murmur, or the exhibition of rebellious impatience. Their own views might be opposed, and the derision of their enemies excited ; but patience had her perfect work; and they desisted not, until Jericho was taken.
The Christian soldier is called to engage in war against hosts of spiritual enemies. God hath placed him on the lists, and promised him the victory: but the means, by which it is to be achieved, appear to the dark and distorted apprehension of natural man unfit to secure the end. Am I not,' enquires the philosopher in religion, 'endowed with reason to distinguish between the evil and the good, with judgment