Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

who keep the faith, and follow the steps, and look for the reward of their father Abraham.

That we may understand these things better every day, may God of his mercy grant, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

To whom, &c.

SERMON XXXII.

BY FAITH THE WALLS OF JERICHO FELL DOWN, AFTER THEY WERE COMPASSED ABOUT SEVEN DAYS.

BY FAITH THE HARLOT RAHAB PERISHED NOT WITH THEM THAT BELIEVED NOT, WHEN SHE HAD RECEIVED THE SPIES WITH PEACE. HEB. xi. 30,

31.

IT is the doctrine of the Gospel, that salvation is

from faith, and destruction from unbelief. In this Scripture the Apostle sets before us a striking example of both, in the fall of the city of Jericho, and the deliverance of Rahab the harlot.

Faith is the evidence of things not seen by which it is to be understood, that faith proves to the mind of a believer what cannot be proved by other evidence: viz. that the promise of God shall be brought to pass, while as yet there is neither sign, nor appearance, nor any reason to expect it, other than the word which has foretold it. Thus, in the case before us, the walls of Jericho were to be overthrown, and the people within the city were to be destroyed. In order to this, priests were commanded to blow with trumpets, and the walls

were to be encompassed seven days. It certainly did not appear how this harmless ceremony could tend to destroy a besieged city; no city had ever been destroyed by means of such a cause; but the people, believing it would be made the cause, complied with the ceremony, and the effect followed.

You are not in the situation of the Jews in the land of Canaan-but their case is nevertheless your own. You are tried; that is, your faith is tried, after the same manner as theirs was-you are taught to expect things, of which the producing cause is no cause, till God shall make it so; no more than the sound of a trumpet can shatter the wall of a city. You are commanded to be washed with water, that you may be born of the spirit; and that your sins may be forgiven; you are to receive power from above, by the laying on of the hands of man; but what relation is there between water and the spirit of God? What relation between the hands of man, and the powerful grace of God? Who sees all this? No man. But faith believes what it does not see: and this is the great trial by which God is pleased to prove his servants. The man of the world, who with an opinion of his own wisdom, has no faith in God, can never abide this test; but in order to maintain his own ground, he ridicules the whole plan of Christianity, or persecutes the preachers of it: he has no other wea pons of controversial warfare. Such an one is not of the number of those that encompass the city, but of those who are shut up within it, and are consequently devoted to destruction. The men of Jericho, when they saw from the wall how the priests and the people were occupied, and how fruitlessly they were employed, must have judged the whole to be no better than an unmeaning pageantry, dictated by folly and madness they could see no relation between the ap

parent cause that was acting, and the effect that was to follow; and in all probability were deriding the Hebrews, and encouraging one another in their unbelief and insolence, till the moment, when, at the command of God, his people shouted, and sudden destruction came upon them.

[ocr errors]

From this destruction, one person of the city is delivered; and she, as we should think, a most unlikely. person; even the harlot Rahab. But the text gives us the reason of this; by FAITH the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace. All the people of Jericho had heard of Israel, and of what God had done and was doing for them, as well as Rahab: but they did not believe, and she did. I know, said she, that the Lord hath given you the land; now therefore swear unto me, that ye will shew me kindness, and deliver our lives from death. When the king of Jericho was informed that the spies were with her, he sent to demand them; but she hid them till the danger was past. She did all this at the peril of her own life; for had she been discovered in what she had done, she would surely have been put to death: but she brought herself into present danger, to obtain future deliverance for herself and her relations, which accordingly was granted soon after; and she is an example to us at this day. For this history of Jericho and Rahab is to be fulfilled upon the world, and those that dwell therein the world will be destroyed like Jericho, and the faithful will be saved like Rahab. The apostle speaks of the future judgment of the world in such terms as certainly allude to this history of Jericho. The Lord himself, says he, shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the Archangel, and with the trump of God. Observe here; it shall be the

Lord himself, not Jesus the servant of Moses, but Jesus the son of God; the true captain of our salvation and as the people shouted when Jericho fell, so shall there be a great shout of the host from heaven when this world shall fall. O how will the righteous be encouraged, and the wicked terrified, at the hearing of that shout! The trumpets also that sounded at Jericho, shall then prove figurative of the trumpet of the last judgment, called the trump of God: a thing not unknown to the people of Israel; for they had already heard the sound of it on Mount Sinai, as a prelude and earnest of that last sound which will shake the world. At that time will the faithful be delivered as Rahab was; whose example teaches us this lesson, that we are to believe what we have heard of the judg ment which is soon to come upon us, and to make our peace against that time of vengeance, not regarding what the world may say, and what men may threaten, to terrify those who dare to take a better part, for the sake of securing their own future deliverance. Rahab knew all that was said by the people of the city; but she was not moved from her purpose; the King's command did not terrify her; and at last she saved her life, by having ventured the loss of it: she perished not with them that believed not,

Such is the history of Jericho and of Rahab: on the particulars of which many important reflexions must arise to those who consider it. And first; the city of Jericho presents itself to us as a figure of this world, in which we now live: as being wicked; as being in opposition to God; as being blind to impending judgments. The people of Jericho are distinguished by the title of those that believed not. In this consisted the difference between them and Rahab. Had they believed as she did, they might have been saved as she

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »