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MY SERVANT CALEB.
“ But My servant Caleb, because he had another spirit with him, and
hath followed Me fully, him will I bring into the land, whereunto he went; and his seed shall possess it."-Numbers xiv. 24.
Let us attend to the character mentioned, the commendation given, and the reward enjoyed.
The character mentioned—“My servant Caleb.” He was one of the twelve spies, chosen from the twelve tribes, sent by Moses to explore the land of Canaan, and he joined with Joshua in opposing the discouraging reports of the other ten. While so many were false and faint-hearted, he was true and courageous. God required Caleb to be as faithful as He requires us, and surely to serve God faithfully is reasonable. God gives us life, health, friends, and all our enjoyments, and therefore we ought to serve Him.
He never requires anything that we cannot perform, and while He daily loadeth us with benefits, it is but right that we render Him service. To serve God is delightful. He is a kind Master, and a loving Father, and nothing should be so pleasing to us as to render Him willing and devoted service. To serve God is profitable. We may serve masters on earth with loss to ourselves, but no faithful servant of God ever loses his reward. Sooner or later He will own us, and discriminate between us and others. Every faithful servant of God will be commended and rewarded, and there is no distinction of which we ought to be so ambitious as to be called by God “My servant.”
The recommendation given—"He had another spirit with him, and hath followed Me fully.” Caleb had a believing and courageous spirit. While ten out of twelve were faithless and fainthearted, he was bold as a lion, and faithful to his God. He believed that God was fully able to bring the hosts of Israel into the promised land. He believed that the Israelites, by divine aid, were more than a match for all the nations of Canaan. He never for a moment doubted either the promise of God or the ability of the people. Let us cherish and imitate his noble spirit. His conduct corresponded with his spirit. He followed the Lord. All that God required he did. He followed the path of duty with his eye fixed on the God of his fathers, and he did this in spite of difficulties, and opposition, and temptations, leaving all the consequences to God. He followed the Lord fully. He did not fail in any one thing committed to his charge. He did not turn either to the right hand or the left, but persevered from youth to manhood, and from manhood to old age. His character stands out conspicuous as a towering mountain, and brilliant as a star of the first magnitude, the
MY SERVANT CALEB.
most complete and beautiful on record, and there is no wonder that God commended and rewarded him. Let us imitate his faithfulness, his piety, and his perseverance, and we shall receive his commendation and reward.
The reward enjoyed—“Him will I bring into the land whereunto he went; and his seed shall possess it.” Caleb had a great
Hundreds of thousands of fighting men left Egypt, under the leadership of Moses, bound for the land of Canaan, but Caleb and Joshua were the only two that reached it. All the rest, being a wicked and faithless generation, died in the wilderness. Even Moses was not permitted to enter the promised land. Caleb obtained a select and superior inheritance. The very land occupied by the Anakims, of whom the Israelites were so afraid, was given to him by special grant. It is also believed that Caleb outlived Joshua, so that ere he died, he stood alone among the thousands of Israel, a pillar and a monument, commended and rewarded for his faithfulness. Besides, his reward was a benefit to his family and descendants, while his memory was revered and blessed through many generations. But this did not exhaust his reward. From the land of Canaan, he was transported to the land of pure delight, and at this moment serves God fully in heaven, without intermission, without fatigue, and without end.
THE BACKSLIDER WARNED.
“ If any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him."
Heb. x. 38.
The truly just shall never perish. They live by faith, and they live for ever. Nevertheless, some of the righteous for a time do turn aside, and draw back from the cause of God. This is a great sin, and must incur the displeasure of God. Let us inquire, What backsliding is ? What are the evidences of it? And what are its consequences ?
What is backsliding?-_“If any man draw back." Backsliding is falling away from the faith or practice of religion. It is often only partial. This is the case with all genuine believers. They forget God for a time, and stumble, and fall. Thus did the Israelites—thus did David-and thus did Peter. It is generally gradual. Some small duty is neglected, some little sin is committed, secret prayer is omitted, and God is forgotten ; and a defective course once begun, soon becomes worse. Like rust upon iron or rottenness upon wood, it eats in gradually, and unless checked, will weaken and destroy. It is voluntary and blameable. The backslider, regardless of present and future consequences, winks at sin, and cherishes some darling lust. It
THE BACKSLIDER WARNED.
is sometimes final, as in the case of Judas, and Demas, and Hymeneus, and Alexander, who made shipwreck of their faith and of a good conscience. These backsliders had all the appearance of real believers, but they had nothing more; and, as the result proved, they had not the root of the matter within them. They erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows."
What are the evidences of it?—Among many evidences we select the following. Occasional observance or neglect of divine ordinances. When a young person has no relish for the preaching of the gospel, but merely attends occasionally to please friends and keep up appearances, surely his heart is not right with God, or if it has once been right, he is drawing back, Omission of secret duties is another evidence of backsliding. If we do not wish to hold communion with God when alone, and if we habitually exclude Him from our thoughts, we are surely ready to fall into sin. The backslider shuns religious conversation. “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.” Hence, if religion has no place in our conversation, it is evident that the heart is away from God. Wicked and worldly men are his chosen friends, and he loves to be silent in the presence of the good. The backslider generally makes light of sin, and readily commits occasional acts of immorality,