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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 Israel prepared to stone to death these faithful servants of the Most High. The divine indignation was awakened. God instantly deItroyed the ten spies who had impelled the Ifraelites to transgress :: and pronounced this aweful sentence on all among the rebel lious congregation who had attained the age of twenty years, that they should 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 fiedfast obedience, he repeated his gracious assurance, that they fhould enter into the land and possess it."
The events, which on this occasion took place in the host of Israel, bear a striking refemblance 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 the steps of Caleb and Joshua. On the conduct of persons of each of these two defcriptions
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!
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 defirous 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 fentest us, and surely it floweth 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
w it. We admit that the Scriptures are excelsc lent books ; and that the gospel gives many « admirable directions. We are fully of opi“ 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 6 not that it fecures great rewards in re“ version to all who lead exemplary lives.” On the spiritual nature of true piety, on the intrinsic odiousness of sin, 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 case 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 it, 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.
they ftudiously represent it as unattainable, and labour to render it unacceptable. Intent on framing apologies for declining to devote themselves to God; and folicitous to vindicate themselves by the authority and support of companions in sin: they scruple not to delineate the Father of mercies as a hard Master; and his service as difficult and toilsome beyond the ability of man, and therefore, as in forgetfulness or contempt of the promised grace of the Holy Spirit they blindly and prefumptuously pronounce, exceeding in its prescribed extent the bounds of human duty.
II. But my fervant Caleb, faith the Lord, bad another Spirit with him, and bath followed me fully. He filled the people before Mosess and said, together with Joshua ; Let us go up at once and pollefs the land: for we are well able to overcome it. If the Lord delight in us, then he will bring us into the land, and give it Us; a land which floweth with milk and honey. Only rebel not ye against the Lord: neither fear ze the people of the land; for they are bread for us. Their defence is departed from them; and the Lord is with us. Fear them not. Caleb had no apprehensions ; he looked not around for objections; he raised up no diffi
culties. And why? Because' be followed the Lord fully. He placed entire confidence in God. He knew that whatever God promised, he was able to perform. The strong people that dwelt in the land, the cities walled and very great, the sons of Anak who were giants, he regarded as nothing. He beheld with the eye of faith the Lord of hosts going before him to battle, and casting down all enemies under his feet. His heart was with his God. He delighted to obey the divine commands. Only rebel not ye against the Lord. This was his main desire both for his countrymen and for himself. To the protection of the God whom he loved, he com- : mitted himself. Consequences he left to Omnipotence. His own concern was duty. “ All the labours, all the sufferings, to which “ it may please my heavenly King to summon “ me, will be lightened by his never-failing “ goodness, and will be abundantly overpaid “ by his promised inheritance." His heart spoke thus; and was at rest. . . * Through the grace of God, and it is through that grace alone, there are those among the Christians of our own days who are animated by the spirit of Caleb and of Jolhua. They follow the Lord fully. ; Reli