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practice of those things which consti- | and sow in hope, both in the field of tute likeness to God; but man has nature and of grace. Where no corn disfigured the image, and therefore, is sown there can be no harvest. man naturally grows up after the like- These are the principles on which I ness of their fallen parent Adam, not of ask you to give to the institution which their all-perfect Creator. They must interests us to-day. It is that you be brought to a form which by nature may restore the likeness of God in they have not, through such means as man, to restore that image in which he we are capable of employing. For was created, but which has been lost this reason the Israelites were ordered and ruined by the effects of sin. There to teach the commandments to the is in Scripture a promise of a time young, and to train up a child in the when they shall not teach every man way he should go, that when he is his neighbour, and every man his broold he may not depart from it; to give ther, saying, “Know the Lord, for to all that knowledge which St. Paul all shall know him from the least to mentions as having especially belonged the greatest.” O, that that time were to Timothy, that he had known the come, that we even might witness the Scriptures from his youth. And for accomplishment of such a prophecy ! this reason all persons are exhorted in but it is for us so far as in us lies to the sacred writings~"to add to their realize it. God has a right to the love, faith knowledge”_"to get wisdom, the fear, the allegiance of his creatures; that is the principalthing”_"to search but how shall they love Him whom the Scriptures”—“to use all diligence, they have never known, or fear Him that they may grow in grace and in the of whom they have never heard, or knowledge of God, and of Christ Jesus obey Him whose laws are strange to whom he hath sent, and not remain them? And how should they know, or children in understanding.”

hear, or learn without a teacher? When That these means may fail we do by instruction in the ways of righteousnot deny, we know that such is the ness we bring a sinner from Satan to corruption of the heart exposed to God, when by inculcating the faith of the temptations of the world, that Christ we train a child in God's serthe child does not always walk in the vice and preserve him from Satan and way he has been formed, but all sin, then are we instruments in restoring those features of meekness, and tem- a soul to that likeness in which it was perance, and honesty, and godliness, created, to the image which it was dewhich we have endeavoured to im- signed to bear. Was it not so, print on him, are sometimes obli. instance, with those Corinthians of terated and lost. But it is not com

whom St. Paul writes—“Some of you monly so, it is not often so. The were adulterers, and thieves, and Spirit usually blesses the labours and drunkards, and revilers, and extorthe prayers of the Christian parent, tioners.” I need not ask what image and the Christian teacher, and the they bear now? We too often find Christian minister, and allows the among those surrounded by Christian fruit of their pains to grow up unto light, many who still remain in heaan harvest. Even if it prove where then darkness. They were of their Christian instruction is given, as it father the devil, and the works of their proves where corn is sown, that all father they did; but now the Apostle does not spring up, and that some proceeds—" but ye are washed, ye are which does spring up, fails of coming sanctified, ye are justified in the name to perfection, still we plough in hope, of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of


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our God.” Their Christian teachers, blessed, but how much happier he of had brought them to conformity with whom it is said, “ Son, thou art ever their Maker's likeness, had enlightened with me, and all that I have is thine?” them that they should look beyond And such if they do not throw away things seen, had purified their moral their birthright, such may be the case nature that they should study what- with those children whom you see ever things were honourable and just before you this morning—for whom I and pure and lovely, and of good re- seek your interest. For them you do port. This teaching had given light what you can, when you take them to their souls, had begotten them from the dangers by which they are again to the lively hope of the Gospel, surrounded, and give to them a carehad hidden under the robe of Christ's ful Christian education. You cannot righteousness the multitude of their alter the nature of this fallen world, sins, and reinstated them in the fa- which abounds with temptation, but vour of their Creator.

you do what is in your power, if, beGo then, my brethen, and do like-fore they are involved in temptation, wise. Lay up for yourselves this crown you teach them to resist it—if, before of rejoicing against the great day, and they have yielded to the corruption of this you may do in the most sure and their nature, you teach them that it satisfactory manner by keeping that must be renewed—you do what you soul in the service of Christ which has can, if, before they are led astray by been covenanted and dedicated to him the artifices of Satan, you acqaint in infancy. It is well to reclaim the them with One who is mighty to save, wandering; and happy those who are and by whom it is expressly declared, privileged to do so; but it is far better " that it is not the will of his heavenly to keep them from wandering. It is Father that one of these little ones well to ring back those who have should perish.” Take, therefore, a erred from the way of truth to the part in this good work, and rememknowledge of Him who will lead them to ber who it is that says, “inasmuch as life and happiness. But how far more you have done it unto the least of blessed is it that they should never these my brethren you have done it leave Him to whom baptism has bound unto me.” them? The prodigal who returns is

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A Sermon


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Joshua, xxiv. 15.——“ And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose ye this day

whom ye will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served, that were on the other side of the Amorites in whose land ye dwell : but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.


This verse forms part of that address most eminent types of the Lord Jesus which Joshua presented to the tribes Christ to be found in the Old Testaof Israel after he had assembled them ment. It was his peculiar office and at Schechem. Joshua was one of the distinction to conduct the sacred tribes

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to the land of rest and of promise. day whom you will serve, whether Although Moses brought them forth the gods which your fathers served, out of the land of Egypt and led them that were on the other side of the through the wilderness, yet he was not flood, or the gods of the Amorites in permitted to complete the work which whose land ye dwell: but as for me he first introduced, it failed in his and my house, we will serve the LORD.” hands in consequence of his miscon- There are several observations which duct; and the great honour of settling arise out of the occasion of these words the tribes of Israel, after a successful to which I shall FIRST direct your atseries of wars in the land of Canaan, tention. In the Second place, I shall was allotted to Joshua. In this re- give a brief illustration of what is inspect he bears a great resemblance to cluded in serving the Lord. And the Lord Jesus Christ, who accom- THIRDLY, Refer to the reason why we plished for us what the law could should come to the resolution expressed never effect: he brings us into that by Joshua on the present occasionland of promise, and makes us pos- why we should resolve, that we and our sessors of that eternal inheritance houses will serve the Lord. which was forfeited by our transgres- It is too frequently found that persions. The name that was given to sons in elevated stations, or persons Joshua was given to him for a similar engaged in active secular service, imareason as that which is assigned for gine those things a sufficient reason its being afterwards given to our Sa- for the neglect of personal piety, and viour. Joshua was placed under Mo- still more of any zealous attempts to ses, and the qualities he displayed in promote its general influence. Now that situation marked him for his we see in Joshua a person of the greatfuture elevation. Before he had the est activity and enterprise, and who honour of conducting the tribes to had the secular interests of a great nathe sacred land—before he became tion to uphold, but, instead of nethe ruler of spiritual Israel he sub- glecting religion he makes it his first mitted himself to the very law which concern; and when he meets the sahe himself afterwards administered. tribes, to whom he directs his address, And Jesus Christ in like manner was he proposes no new law, explains first put under the law. It was be- none, lays down no new maxim of cause he loved righteousness and hated government, but keeps his attention iniquity-because in his state of hu- entirely on promoting the fear of miliation, where he appeared as a ser- God, and enforcing on the people the vant executing the will of his hea- service of the Most High. Here he venly Father, he displayed those quali. affords a most noble example to all ties which exalted him above his fel- who call themselves Christians who lows, that God gave him the oil of exercise the authority they do exercise gladness above them.

under Him, who is the King of Kings, But it is our business to consider, and Lord of Lords, and before whose more particularly, the glorious reso-judgment seat they must shortly aplution to which Joshua here arrived. pear. After having laid before Israel the rea- He calls the tribes together at Shesons why they should adhere to his chem, a place distinguished before by service and his worship, he makes the some very remarkable events. It was noble declaration contained in the words the first place at which the Divine first read." And if it seem evil unto Being manifested his favour to them you to serve the Lord, choose ye this after they arrived in the land of Canaan; there He renewed with them ing to fasten on them the great duties the covenant he had made with them of religion, and to enjoin them to enter before, when he called them out of into a covenant again, or to renew that Egypt, and in consequence of which covenant into which they had preAaron built an altar to the Lord. viously entered with the Lord. Shechem was near to Shiloh, where “ If it seem evil unto you to serve the ark was, at which the people were the Lord, choose ye this day whom ye accustomed to assemble. It was near will serve.” Here it is evident, that the abode of Joshua, who had allotted religion was supposed to be a matter to him Timmath-serah, a town or city of choice. Religion cannot be comwhich he built, and was near to the pelled; the external acts of it may be place of rendezvous. He had before, compelled, but still these are separated on other occasions, assembled the from the internal principles. Religion people of Israel for the same purposes itself cannot be the subject of compulas that which prompted him here. He sion, and any attempt to enforce it in had called them together to meet him this way may multiply hypocrites, but at Shechem, and there he made it his can never make saints. When it is business to deliver a discourse to them said, that we are to “Go out and comin his character of religious teacher, pel them to come in,” it is not any laying aside every thing that applied thing but strong persuasion that is to to his military habits, and directed be used : the messengers of the Gospel their attention to the precepts and or- are not armed with any military force, dinances of religion. His life being all seems rested on pathetic persuaspared longer than most men (for he sion. God deals with men as reasonis declared to be old) 'he at this time able creatures, and though they are recame forward and enjoining what lay so sponsible to Him, yet they are to none near to his heart, he assembled the else: it is left to their choice. The people again in the most public form, Divine Being deals with them accordgathering together the heads of the ing to their reasonable faculties, and separate tribes, their governors and while he presents, he leaves it to them rulers.

to refuse or accept, setting before them You will here perceive, that the de- life and death, telling them at the same sign of Joshua was to confirm them in time the awful responsibility they intheir intention towards God, to guard cur by neglecting his precepts and serthem against any future seductions ; vices. and for this purpose he calls their at- Religion is not only a matter of tention, in the first place, to the deal choice, but it ought to be a matter of ings of God towards them, tracing deliberate choice; and on this account them up from the calling of Abraham, we may perceive, how judiciously the mission of Moses, their deliver. Joshua managed when he was negoance from Egypt, their conduct on tiating between the God of Israel and being led through the wilderness, their his people. He declares what his rebeing conducted over Jordan, the de- solution shall be in the first place, feat of the kings of the Amorites, the knowing with what deference it would defeat of the seven Canaanitish nations, be received from his high station. and the peaceful and triumphal settle-“ As for me and my house, we will ment they had witnessed in the land serve the LORD.” The effect of this of promise. After having thus laid be- was, naturally, as he expected, to fore them the great mercies of God to draw from the people an immediate wards them, he begins by endeavour. acquiescence and compliance as far as language went. “The people answered and that they might be the objects of and said, God forbid that we should jealous circumspection, lest, by this forsake the Lord to serve other gods, infatuation of theirs, they might taint for the Lord our God, he it is that the whole camp. brought us up, and our fathers out of “ But the people said, We will serve the land of Egypt, from the house of the Lord, although he be an holy bondage, and which did these great God, a jealous God, and a God who is signs in our sight, and preserved us in not to be treated with neglect.” Jo. all the way wherein we went, and shua takes them at this seasonable among all the people through whom moment; he closes the treaty while we passed. And the Lord drove out their minds are yet open, and he says, from before us all the people, even Ye are witnesses against yourselves the Amorites which dwelt in the land, that ye have chosen the Lord, to therefore we will serve the LORD, for serve him. And they said, We are he is our God.”

witnesses.” These declarations, these Joshua is not satisfied with this : he vows, these protestations of devotion knew the deceitfulness of the human to the service of God will rise up heart, and that in general expressions against you ; and you will need no more of acquiescence in the duties of reli- decisive witnesses to condemn you gion, and the obligations of piety, hereafter than the testimony of your there was hid frequently a great deal own consciences, and the recollection of uncertainty. He, therefore, en- of these solemn declarations. “And deavoured to search them more com- Joshua wrote these words in the book pletely, and to bring them to a more of the law of God, and took a great strict and decisive test. He says, stone, and set it up there under an oak Ye cannot serve the Lord, for he is that was by the sanctuary of the LORD. an holy God, he is a jealous God, he And Joshua said unto all the people, will not forgive your transgressions, Behold, this stone shall be a witness nor your sins. If ye forsake the Lord, unto us; for it hath heard all the and serve strange gods, then he will words of the LORD which he spake turn and do you hurt, and consume unto us: it shall therefore be a wityou, after that he hath done you good.”ness unto you, lest you deny your This may appear at first sight dis-God.” couraging. It was presenting religion There was a peculiar reason for Join its severest aspect-it was present- shua proceeding in this manner on this ing it in an aspect more severe than occasion : he knew there was a secret was perfectly consistent with the Old leaning to idolatry still in the hearts of Testament; but it was to detect hypo- some of the people, and therefore, crisy, and make apparent to all that when he brought them, thus far, to he was not a God to be trifled with, make a declaration of adherence to not a God that was to be worshipped God, he says, “ Put away the strange as it best suited themselves, not a gods that are among you, and incline God to be mocked and deceived by your heart unto the LORD God of vain and hypocritical pretences, nor Israel.” There was a secret lingering was he such God as they relished and towards idols, like that which appears approved. Joshua perhaps wished to to have possessed the family of Jacob, detect those who might be disposed, who, at this very place, commanded on this statement, to come forward his household to put away their strange and disavow the Most High, that gods, and they buried them under the thereby his eye might be upon them, very oak beneath whose branches Jo.

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