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fallen, and the city would not have been captured. their faith and obedience without their tests. What could be a greater test of faith than the belief that a city, tall and formidable as Jericho, would fall by means so insignificant ? Had there been, in those days, guns like Armstrong's and Whitworth's, worked by soldiers as hardy and skilful as those of the nineteenth century, but little faith would have been needed to credit the belief that, in a very brief period, there would be openings in those walls to admit the easy entry of hundreds of soldiers. But in the absence of such appliances and agencies, I cannot conceive of any faith being harder than that now imposed. Indeed, it had no background or basis of reason on which it could rest, except the promise and pledge of God. Moreover, their obedience was put to an equal test. What could possibly test the genuineness and heartiness of their obedience more than processions, in themselves so mechanical and apparently so meaningless, as those in this instance enforced ? Naaman started aback in indignation, and almost insult, when the prophet told him to “go and wash in Jordan seven times," as if it were unreasonable to expect the cure of his dire leprosy from an instrumentality so insignificant and impotent. But, humanly speaking, there was, perhaps, more to encourage faith in his ultimate success, if obedient to the prophet's mandate, than there was to stimulate the Israelites. Yet they obeyed, and day by day their faith stimulated their obedience, and, as ever in such cases, their obedience strengthened their faith. Hence, in the list supplied by Paul of faith’s bright heroes and faith's brilliant conquests, this of Jericho is prominent. “By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed about seven days."
From the whole let us learn-(1.) That God works by the use of means.—For any real utility that they answered, the means used in the overthrow of Jericho might as well never have been employed. What effect could the processions of the people, the blasts of the Jubilee trumpets, and the united voices of the thousands of Israel have upon the fall of a great city? None. As well might we expect a great city to rise by persuasion, or sink again into heaps of shattered and worthless ruins by argument, as expect Jericho's fall from Israel's proceedings. The effect was altogether independent of the cause ; the cause was totally inadequate to the effect. Then why were the means employed at all? Simply, as we have seen, to teach the people great lessons. To teach them that God usually works by the employment of means ; that he would have his people to become co-workers with him; and that when, by their combined agency, glorious results
1; follow, they may, from the simplicity of the means employed, perceive that he is the worker and they are but the weapon; and so render unto him, in endless song and life-long service, “the kingdom, the power, and the glory."
And are not these the lessons we are to learn to-day? God still works by the studied and skilful use of means. In the material world so many secondary causes are at work that an undevout philosophy or a daring scepticism is ready to exclude or overlook the presence and personality of the Great First Cause. In Providence there are proverbially " wheels within wheels,” and often the sublimest effects are brought about by the most trival causes. In the Gospel economy men are ever used as the agents through which God in Christ reaches, reclaims, and elevates men. Nay, in the highest heaven, the highest intelligences themselves become “ ministering spirits sent forth to minister unto the heirs of salvation.” Thus, too, men are joined with God as “workers together with him” in the execution of plans that contemplate the universal enlightenment and eternal blessedness of the human race. And thus, too, “ the glory” manifestly comes to rest on the brow of him who is “Lord of all ;” for all true workers for God find Paul the veritable exponent of their hearts when he said, “We have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God and not of us."
(2.) That we cannot always comprehend the means that God employs.-How singular and strange were the means employed in the conquest of Jericho ! The besieged, on the one hand, would be ready to resort to mockery. “Doubtless these inhabitants of Jericho," says Bishop Butler, “made themselves merry with this sight. When they had stood six days on their walls, and beheld nothing but a walking enemy, 'What,' say they, 'could Israel find no walk to breathe them with but about our walls ? Have they not travelled enough in their forty years' pilgrimage, but they must stretch their limbs in this circle ? We see they are good footmen, but when shall we try their hands ? Do these vain men think Jericho will be won by looking at it? Or do they only come to count how many paces it is about our city? If this be the manner of siege, we shall have no great cause to fear the sword of Israel.” On the other hand, the Israelites would be filled with perplexity. I dare say, every morning when the priests and the people surrounded the city, they were ready to ask, “ What does this mean? What will all this effect? How can the end we desiderate be brought about by the means we employ?" These were questions which it was left to time alone to settle and the event itself to solve. Work and wait, wait and work, were the watchwords for that age, as they are for most ages; and by-and-by, “Wisdom was justified in her children," and the marvellous event, when realized, vindicated the simplicity, and as it had appeared to some the mystery, and to others the folly, of the means employed.
So is it yet.' God is ever bringing good to his people by means as apparently tedious and mysterious as those that restored Joseph to Jacob, and made Joseph the saviour of his family and the premier of Egypt. History, whose "ample page” is “rich with the spoils of time," teems with instances in which the most unexpected events have been brought about by the least likely instruments, and the whole current of a nation's progress, or an army's fate, or a dynasty's existence, has been changed by acts as insignificant as thought can compute or fancy conceive. Biography, which should be consulted by the student as he would a looking-glass,” is replete with anecdotes which show how often a great man's greatness or a learned man's discoveries were accelerated by trifles as insignificant in themselves as the fall of the apple which led Sir Isaac Newton to make his great discovery. In short, God is accustomed thus to work and to develop his plans of wisdom and beneficence, often baffling all the conjectures of worldly wisdom, upsetting all the machinations of state policy, and disappointing the expectations of human pride. It is, therefore,
the duty of God's people, now as ever, resolutely to do God's work and calmly await God's will. Nor, in the meantime, should they doubt as to the ultimate result, or murmur at the delayed or protracted advent of their hopes, or repine and fret beneath their burdens or bereavements.
(3.) That the greit en:l contemplated by God, as far as his people are concerned, is to secure their faith and obedience.
We have seen how the faith and obedience of the Israelites were required to give effect to the conditions upon which the capture of Jericho rested. We now go further, and add that this is the end God Almighty always aims to secure, in every dispensation to man and in every part of his intelligent creation. Everywhere God should be believed and obeyed—believed and obeyed because he is God! And the reason for this is clear. As God, his veracity is unimpeachable and his authority absolute. From his very nature he cannot lie. Earth might lose its gravity and heaven its sanctity sooner than we could conceive it possible for God to fail in fidelity. Whịle his omniscience prevents him from being deceived, his holiness gives the pledge that he cannot and will not deceive. “The strength of Israel will not lie.” “He keepeth truth for ever.” Moreover, as his fidelity is without “ the shadow of change," so his authority is without limit. “He ruleth over all.” “Thus saith the Lord, Behold, heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstoo'.” hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him ? Do not I fill heaven and earth ? saith the Lord.”
God should, therefore, be believed because “his word is truth;"' obeyed, because his rule is universal and eternal. But sin sets itself in direct and daring hostility to God's truth and God's rule. If defined, it essentially consists in discrediting and disobeying God. described, it presents Adam and Eve as having first disbelieved God, and then disobeyed him. In short, disbelief and disobedience are related to each as the fruit to the root of a tree, as the spring to the stream ; and they two form the substance and stronghold of all impiety. They are, therefore, to be destroyed root and branch ; dried up in stream and spring. But this object can only be gained by the institution of means that require a simple faith in the place of a sceptical disbelief, and a ready obedience in the place of a rebellious disobedience. And this is exactly the plan and procedure of the Gospel. " Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.” “Without faith it is impossible to please him ; for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” Nor is this faith a mere intellectual acquiescence in the Gospel as a system of sublime truth and ethical science. It is a faith that captivates and constrains our whole nature. It is a faith that perceives the truth, appreciates the truth, embraces the truth, and enjoys the truth, as it is in Jesus. It is a faith that works ! And the works it produces are such as ennoble the worker, enrich society, and glorify God. Have you this faith? If you have not, take warning. The fate of this city and its citizens imperfectly prefigures the wrath that unalterably awaits the finally impenitent. You live in the “ city of destruction," and the cloud of threatened disaster that hovers over you and is ready to burst, is one of eternal
damnation. Repent! Find out sin to forsake it ! Turn your eager eye and direct a quickened step towards the “city of refuge." Aud oh! blessed be God, as in this catastrophe there was mercy, and that mercy alighted upon Rahab, one of the chief of sinners, but now one of the foremost believers, so in Christ, the dying malefactor's Saviour, there is
mercy for yon— for you—for you 1! If you have this faith, join at once the consecrated band of God's spiritual Israel, who, in this stirring age, are labouring to stem the torrent of iniquity in its fearful and fatal flow, and to deluge the earth with the knowledge, the love, and the likeness of God. They, too, have a Jericho to take
—the Jericho of sin. This city is immensely strong and fiercely defended. Its foundations are deep as hell. Its walls, outworks, and fortresses are reared in huge stones from the quarry of ignorance, superstition, pride, and innate depravity. The devil is at the head of the defence. Atheists, sceptics, scoffers, false teachers, and ringleaders in iniquity are his generals. All who love and practise sin, whether man or woman, monarch or subject, philosopher or peasant, are his soldiers. Spleen, sarcasm, persecution, and false doctrine are the weapons with which they fight. But in God's name this big and blasphemous city is surrounded by the hosts of modern Israel. Christ is their Captain ; faith their shield ; truth their sword; and salvation --not destruction—their glorious aim ! Nor can they fail. As truly as Jericho fell before Joshua ; as truly as Dagon split to pieces before the ark; so truly shall “ the kingdoms of this world become the kingdom of our God and of his Christ,” and he shall reign for erer and ever ! “ Amen ! even so come, Lord Jesus !” Belfast.
MECHANICAL AND ARCHITECTURAL WORKS. The magnitude and durability of the public works of ancient Egypt convey the impression that their authors intended them to stand as long as the world should stand. Labour and wealth seem to have been lavished upon them, as if the former had been nothing more than the work of coral insects, and the latter mere clay to be had for the carting. No doubt the energy of the religious principle had something to do with those vast conceptions seen in the Tombs, the Labyrinths, and the Pyramids. Her ancient sages taught the doctrine of the transmigration of souls, and her great works were probably executed in the expectation that one day the spirits of the departed would return to reanimate the dead bodies which were deposited in the vast piles, and which, by the process of embalming, were preserved from decay for thousands of year s. Vastness of conception in relation to architectural display, seems to have been the height of excellence with many of the ancients. In India there are remains of ancient temples which fill all travel lers of modern
* In our last article, pige 98, line 21 from bottom, for “ 700 centuries" read - 700 years."
nations with wonder. The ancient Druids, in their temples, seem to have been inspired with the same spirit, and no one at the present day can conceive how they handled the ponderous stones which are sometimes seen amid the ruins of their rude architecture. The great architect, Stasicrates, it will be remembered, proposed and planned a structure which, we must admit, outstripped even the Pyrainids in grandeur of conception. According to Plutarch, he proposed to Alexander the Great to convert Mount Athos, in Thrace, into a huge statue of that monarch. This statue might surely have satisfied the most extravagant ambition, had the design been carried out. Cutting the whole mountain into a human figure, he would, he said, with Alexander's orders, make it the “most lasting and conspicuous monument in the world;" he would chisel out a city in its left hand, containing 10,000 inhabitants, and from the right, a river should flow out of an urn, with a strong current into the sea. Plutarch tells us that though Alexander did not entertain the idea, he busied himself with his architects in scheming and laying out designs still more expensive and absurd.
One of the greatest mechanical works of the ancient Egyptians was the construction of Lake Moris. Herodotus was at great pains to collect all the information available in relation to this great work of art. He was told that the whole was the work of human hands, but this has been shown by modern travellers to have been impossible. In the time of Herodotus, the lake, he tells us, was 450 miles long, and in its deepest parts it reached 300 feet. The historian himself, at first, doubted the statement, and with his usual shrewdness inquired from the people on the shores what had become of the earth which had been excavated from the lake. The answer, however, though somewhat childish, seems to have satisfied him, for he states that it was evidently the product of human labour, for two huge pyramids stood in the centre, each of which was 200 cubits above, and as many beneath, the water, and that at the top of each was a colossal statue in a sitting attitude. The earth dug from the lake, he was informed, was carried to the Nile, and thence washed into the Mediterranean by the floods. The waters in this great lake, Herodotus tells us, were not the product of springs, as the grounds in the neighbourhood were remarkably dry, but a channel, he says, was cut to the Nile. This channel, according to the same authority, received and poured into the lake, for six months, any excess of the Nile floods, and emptied itself back again into the river during the other six months. During the latter period, we are told, the fishery on the lake yielded the treasury to the amount of a talent of silver daily. Besides the cut into the river, the people told Herodotus the lake had an underground passage westward, right into the Libyan Desert, in a line with the mountain which rises above Memphis. Diodorus Siculus says the lake was 450 miles long, and Pomponius Mela states it at 500 miles. This difference between the two latter authorities may have arisen either from different modes of measuremnent, measuring from different points, taking the reports of others, or from the lake being fuller when Pomponius Mela saw it than
* "Plutarch's Lives," in Aleronder, p. 493.