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But my Servant Caleb, because he bad another Spirit with him and hath followed me sully % him will I bring into the Land.
THE children of Israel, about fifteen month* after their departure from Egypt, were now arrived on the borders of the land of promise. Moses, according to the command of God, sent forth twelve chosen men, one from each tribe, to examine the country: and directed them to bring accurate information to their brethren, whether the soil was rich and fruitful or lean and barren; whether the inhabitants were few and feeble, or numerous and warlike; whether they were P 4 dwellers
dwellers in tents, or in cities and strong holds. The twelve spies, after having been engaged during forty days in executing the commission, returned. They delivered a most favourable account of the fertility of the land of Canaan. They described it as indeed flowing with milk and honey. And among other specimens of the luxuriance of its productions, they brought with them a cluster of grapes so vast in size, that jt was carried between two of them upon a staff. But the remainder of their report filled the camp of Israel with alarm. They represented the people of Canaan as men of great stature, some of them even as giants, and as dwelling in Very large and fortified cities. And ten of the spies vehemently dissuaded the Israelites from attempting to enter the country; and averred that its inhabitants were far too rnighty to be attacked by them with any hope of success. The other two spies, Caleb and Joshua, remained firm in dependence upon God. They protested against the impious cowardice of their associates. They earnestly entreated their countrymen not to rebel against the ordinance of the Lord, who" had commanded them to go up and take possession of the land; who had promised to bestow it upon them and their children for ever; and
who had proved himself able, by his former glorious deeds on their behalf, to crown them with victory over the most powerful enemies. Their entreaties and exhortations were thrown away. The ' congregation of Israelprepared to stone to death these faithful servants of the Most High.. The divine indignation was awakened. God instantly destroyed the ten spies who had impelled the Israelites to transgress: and pronounced this aweful sentence on all among the rebellious congregation who had attained the age t)f twenty years, that they stiould wander "until they died in the wilderness, and should never set their feet on the promised land. But to his servants Caleb and Joshua, who had fully followed him in stedfast obedience, he repeated his gracious assurance, that they stiould enter into the land and possess it.
The events, which on this occasion took place in the host of Israel, bear a striking resemblance to those, which at the present day are frequently seen to occur on the subject of religion. We perceive numbers pursuing the example of the ten spies and their disobedient countrymen. And some, through the blessing of God, we behold walking in tire steps of Caleb and Joshua. On the conduct of persons of each of these two descriptions I propose separately to offer some observations: and shall afterwards endeavour to furnish you with the means of judging for yourselves which of the two classes of men it will be your wisdom to take for your pattern. May the divine grace render what you hear conducive to your edification t
I. Let me in the first place call' your attention to a class of men very numerous in the world; men who allow that piety is commendable, and even profess that they are desirous of paying what they term a reasonable regard to religion: but, having no true love of holiness in their hearts, are continually taking alarm at difficulties, and on the watch to raise objections. Observe how nearly the character and conduct of such persons resemble those of the ten spies. The ten spies acknowledged the excellence of the land which they had searched. They said unto Moses; We came unto the land whither thou fentefl us, and surely itfloweth "with milk and honey: and this, added they, while they pointed to the figs and the pomegranates and the wonderful cluster of grapes, this is the fruit of it. So the professed Christians of whom we speak are ready to say: " We know what religion •* is; we have examined it, and we understand
u it We admit that the Scriptures are excel** lent books; and that the gospel gives many "admirable directions. We are fully of opiM nion that Christianity is well adapted to ** produce tranquillity and good order, and ** honesty, and charitable "actions, and other ** valuable fruits among men. And we doubt u not that it secures great rewards in re*' version to all who lead exemplary lives." On the spiritual nature of true piety, on the intrinsic odiousness of fin, on the necessity of a radical change of heart, and on other distinguishing features of the doctrine which is according to godliness^ such persons commonly are silent. They commend religion, as the ten spies commended the land of Canaan, loudly as to some particulars, but with various objections in reserve: objections which in their cafe weigh, like those of the spieS| much more than all the subjects and circumstances of their praise.
Nevertheless^ said the ten spies, Nevertheless the land through which we have gone to search jty is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof. The heart now began to unfold itself. The real disposition began to produce its natural effects upon the conduct. These men had no sure confidence in God. They placed no firm reliance on his promise of protection.