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THE MIDNIGHT CRY.
“Behold the Bridegroom cometh"!-- Matt. xxv.
“He comes! He comes! The Bridlegroom comes !".
The “Morning Star” appears;
Saints quit this vale of tears!
Reproach no longer bear; “He coines! He comes!” Rise, happy sairts,
To meet Him in the air!
The Church is now complete;
A partner for Him, meet.
Her mansion is prepared; “ He comes! He comes!" rise, ready saints,
To meet your ready (or waiting] Lord ! “ He comes! He comes! The Bridegroom comes!"
He shouts, for great his joy;
He tarries in the sky.
No longer hid from men:
As “Son of David" then!
The “ Second Adam,” now
All knees before him bow.
Of promise to install; “ He comes! He comes!” to clear away
The ruins of the fall!
Alas! rejecting world!
In terror you will cry,
Where from Him can we fly?”. “ He comes! He comes! The Bridegroom comes !"
O sinners hear the sound!
His chosen would be found !
No longer turn away,
Come “while 'tis call'd to-day!"
We have gone through, by the goodness of God, the five books of Moses. They have set before us, on the one side, the great principles on which the relations of man with God and of God with man are founded, and on the other, the deliverance of a people set apart for Himself, and the different conditions in which they were placed: whether under grace, under law, or under God's government established over them by the special mediation of Moses.
We have had occasion in them to examine the history of this people in the wilderness; and the pattern presented by the tabernacle, of things to be afterwards revealed; sacrifices and priesthood, means of relationship with God granted to sinners, wherein is indeed wanting the image of our perfect liberty to approach God, the veil not being then rent, but wherein the shadow of heavenly things is placed before our eyes with most interesting detail;finally, we have seen that God, having, at the end of the journey, in the wilderness, pronounced the definitive justification of His people, and caused His blessing to rest upon them in spite of the efforts of their enemies, declares under what conditions the people should retain possession of the land, and enjoy His blessing in it; and what would be the consequences of disobedience; revealing at the same time His purposes with respect to this people, purposes which He would accomplish for His own glory. This brings us to the taking possession of the land of promise by the people under the guidance of Joshua.
This book is full of interest and instruction, as setting before us in type the conflicts of the inheritors of heaven with spiritual wickednesses in heavenly places. If the church is blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places, they were temporal blessings in earthly places which Israel was to enjoy. It is easy to understand, that if we may rightly use the name of Canaan as a figurative VOL.III.PT.II.
expression of the rest of the people of God, that which we have here to do with, is not the rest itself, but the spiritual conflict which secures the enjoyment of the promises of God to true believers. The epistle to the Ephesians presents that which precisely answers to the position of Israel in this book. The church having been quickened and raised up with Jesus, has her conflict in the heavenly places; it is there she gives testimony, the testimony of the infinitely manifold wisdom of God. Joshua then represents Christ, not as coming down in person to take possession of the earth, but as leading His people through the power of the Holy Ghost, who acts and dwells in the midst of this people. Yet in Joshua, as in all other typical persons, those errors and sins are found which betray the weakness of the instrument and the fragility of the vessel in which for the time, God had condescended to put His glory.
Let us apply ourselves now to the study of this book. The first chapter shows us Joshua placed in service by the Lord, who commands him to go over Jordan into the land which He had given to the children of Israel.
Let us pause a moment over this immediate commission from the Lord. Moses here holds the place, not of the living mediator, but of the written word. All that he commanded, being from God, was evidently the word of God for Israel. Joshua is the energy which brings them into possession of the promises.
First of all, we have the principle on which possession is taken. The knowledge of the boundaries assigned by God, was not enough; God had defined them very accurately, but a condition was attached to their possession. “Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you.” They must go there, overcome the obstacles, with the help and by the power of God, and take actual possession. Without that, they could not possess it; and, in fact, that is what happened. They never took possession of all the land which God had given. Nevertheless, to faith the promise was sure. * There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life." The power of the Spirit of God, of Christ by His Spirit (true energy of the believer)
is all-sufficient. For it is, in fact, the power of Christ Himself, who has Almighty power. At the same time, the promise of never being left nor forsaken, maintained all its force. This is what may be reckoned upon, in the Lord's service; such a power of His presence that none shall be able to stand before His servant, a power which will never forsake him.
After this comes the Lord's exhortation, in verse 7 Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law which Moses, my servant (the title always given him here), commanded thee." Spiritual strength and energy, the courage of faith, are necessary, in order that the heart may be free from the influences, the fears, and the motives which act upon the natural man, and that he may take heed unto the Word of God.
There is nothing so unreasonable in the world as the walk set before us in the Word — nothing which so exposes us to the hatred of its prince. If, then, God be not with us, there is nothing so foolish, so mad; if He be with us, nothing so wise. If we have not the strength of His presence, we dare not take heed to His Word; and in that case, we must beware of going out to war. But having the courage, which the almighty power of God inspires by His promise, we may lay hold of the good and precious word of our God: its severest precepts are only wisdom to detect the flesh, and instruction how to mortify it, so that it may neither blind nor shackle us. The most difficult path, that which leads to the sharpest conflict, is but the road to victory and repose, causing us to increase in the knowledge of God. It is the road in which we are in communion with God, with Him who is the Source of all joy; it is the earnest and the foretaste of eternal and infinite happiness.
If only this word from God, the Lord, is heard
Turn not from it, to the right hand nor to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest,” what joy for him who, through grace, comes forward to do the work of God.
The Lord then exhorts him to the diligent study of this book of the law—“For then thou shalt make thy. way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. Here, then, are the two great principles of spiritual life and activity: Ist. The assured presence of the alınighty power of God, so that nothing can stand before His servant; 2nd. The reception of His Word, submission to His Word, diligent study of His Word, taking it as an absolute guide; and having courage to do so, because of the promise and the exhortation of God. In short, the Spirit and the Word are all in all for spiritual life. Furnished with this
faith goes forward, strengthened by the encouraging word of our God. The Spirit and the Word cannot be separated without falling into fanaticism on the one hand, or into rationalism on the other — without putting oneself outside the place of dependance upon God and of His guidance. Mere reason would become the master of some; Imagination, of others. Moreover, there is nothing more imaginative than reason, when destitute of guidance! In result, the enemy of souls would take possession of both. We should have man under Satan's influence, in the place of God. Miserable exchange! for which the unbeliever is consoled by flattering himself that there is nothing beyond his reach, because he reduces everything to the limits of his own mind. Nothing appears to me more pitiful than this unbelief, which pretends that there is nothing in the moral and intellectual sphere beyond the thoughts of man, and which denies man's capacity to receive light from a more exalted mind; the only thing that raises man above himself, while, at the same time, rendering him morally excellent, by making him humble through the sense of superiority in another.
Blessed be God, that some are to be found who have profited by the grace which has communicated to man of His perfect wisdom! Even though the imperfect vessel which received it may have a little impaired its features and its perfection; they have, nevertheless, profited by it so as to take their true place. Happy place, before the presence of Him, whom to know is infinite and everlast
There is yet an important practical rule to be recognised in these words, i. 9, “ Have not I commanded thee?"