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THE FOOLISH CHOICE.
Reader, what is thy choice, what is thy decision ? Not Barabbas, but Jesus. He is “my Lord and my God.”
The lessons to be learned—Prefer not sin, prefer not the world, to Christ. Lot's wife did, and she became a pillar of salt. Achan did, and he was stoned to death. Gehazi did, and the leprosy of Naaman cleaved to him, Judas did, and he went to his own place. Ananias and Sapphira did, and they were struck down dead. Reader, what can sin or the world do for thee in the season of affliction, or in the hour of death? Beware of compromising virtue and vice. Thou canst not have both Jesus and Barabbas ; thou canst not have both sin and holiness; thou canst not have both the world and Christ. long halt ye between two opinions ?” “Ye cannot serve both God and mammon.” Who, then, wilt thou have? Remember Jesus says, “ He that is not with Me is against Me.” Beware of rejecting Christ. To reject or neglect Christ is to be guilty of a greater crime than ever stained the character even of a Barabbas. The Jews rejected Christ, and what were the consequences to their souls, to their nation, to their posterity? If thou wilt follow their example, similar consequences will follow thee.
“ The loss of time is much,
The loss of truth is more,
As the world can ne'er restore."
THE SIEGE OF JERICHO.
“ By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed about
seven days."—Heb. xi, 30.
Think of the city. Jericho was a fine city, sur-
Think of the compassing—“They were compassed about seven days.” According to divine instructions, Joshua formed a procession, consisting of six hundred thousand warriors, followed by seven priests blowing seven trumpets of ram's horns, followed by the Levites bearing the ark of the testimony, and followed by a strong rearguard. This procession, in perfect order and in perfect silence, went once round the city every day for six successive days. On the seventh day
THE SIEGE OF JERICHO.
this procession began early in the morning, and went round the city seven times, intimating its complete investiture and the certainty of its awful doom. Why seven priests--seven trumpets -seven days—and seven rounds ? The number seven, means perfection. If we take seven shillings and put one for the centre, and the six all round it, there will be a complete circle. All will touch the centre shilling, and all will touch each other, thus giving us an impressive idea of completeness and perfection. In like manner these sevens, in connection with the siege of Jericho, assuredly teach us that under divine direction, the city was completely invested and certainly doomed to immediate destruction. At the close of the last procession, the priests were to give the signal trumpet blast, and the hosts of Israel were to shout with a great shout, when God would deliver the city into their hands.
Think of the confidence—“By faith.” The Lord informed Joshua that he would take and destroy Jericho, and He gave him instructions how to proceed. Joshua believed all this. He informed the thousands of Israel, and they all believed it, hence the faith, the united faith, of the Israelites. Such faith is remarkable, inasmuch as there is no apparent connection between the means and the end. How could thirteen processions take a city! the Israelites must also have been subjected to the ridicule and contempt of the besieged. I think I see them standing on their lofty walls, and laughing at the simplicity of their foes. The delay of divine interference, up to the last moment without any result, must have been sadly trying to their faith, and proves its strength. Reader, believe all that God says, and confide in Him for the accomplishment of all His promises.
Think of the conquest—“The walls of Jericho fell down.” At the right moment God displayed His power, and the strong walls of this fine city miraculously fell down, and the hosts of Israel entered, put the inhabitants to the sword, and took much spoil. This conquest was not of man, but of God, therefore He must bear the glory, and human boasting must be excluded. This conquest was well fitted to alarm all the inhabitants of Canaan. Accordingly, we are informed that their hearts melted for fear; they were all panic-stricken; and they had no strength to resist their victorious foes. This conquest was well fitted to strengthen the faith of the Israelites. Their enemies whom they once feared, from the evil report of the majority of the spies, had, through divine interference, become an easy prey. God himself had wrought for them. Surely their faith in Him will be stronger than before.
THE FIRST THINGS.
“ But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all
these things shall be added unto you."-Matt. vi. 33.
HERE are two invaluable objects—our duty regarding them-and an encouraging promise.
The two invaluable objects-- The first is “the kingdom of God.” God has a kingdom of grace upon earth, as well as a kingdom of glory in heaven. The young especially should be ambitious of admission to the kingdom of grace. This kingdom is managed by Christ, and signifies the setting up of His influence in the heart. In the heart of every sinner the strong man rules, but the aid of Christ must be sought to displace him. Am I willing that Christ should reign over me, and in me, and destroy the dominion of Satan? Let me without delay yield up my heart to His authority, then I shall have the kingdom of God within me. The second object is “His righteousness.” This righteousness consists of Christ's active and passive obedience, in other words, His obedience unto death. It was wrought out by Him in our nature, accepted by the Father as perfect and satisfactory, and is the only ground of our justification before God. It is “unto all and upon all them that believe.” Shall I not then, renouncing all my own righteousness as