The fulness of blessing

by Sarah Frances Smiley

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The Creation Concept

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Contents

Introduction

I. The land of Promise

II. The failure of unbelief

III. Change of Leadership

IV. The Boundary Line

V. The Triple Preparation

VI. The Ark of the Covenant

VII. Memorial Stones

VIII. The Reproach of Egypt

IX. The Passover in Canaan

X. The New Corn And Fruit of the Land

XI. Seeing The Captain

XII. The Good Fight of Faith

XIII. Failure and Mistakes

XIV. Choice Possessions

XV. The Last Charge of Joshua

CHAPTER V.

THE TRIPLE PREPARATION.

I.--COURAGE.

BE STRONG AND OF A GOOD COURAGE; BE NOT THOU DISMAYED: THE LORD THY GOD IS WITH THEE WHITHERSOEVER THOU GOEST."--(Josh. i. 9).

The first element of success in this vast undertaking of obtaining the Land of Promise was Courage. Hitherto the people had not set their heart aright, and fearing had failed. A new attitude of heart must, therefore, be assumed. The Hebrew words which are so often repeated fix very clearly the special character of this courage, "Be strong and firm." [1] This meaning is brought out very distinctly in our own version of the words of Isaiah, "Strengthen ye the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees." [2] To be strong signifies that the hands were fitted to take sure hold of the land; to be firm, that the feet should be so planted that they could not be dislodged. Again, this meaning appears very literally in the charge addressed to the saints in the Epistle to the Hebrews, "Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; and make straight paths for your feet." [3]

But how is it that such courage is commanded? And being commanded, who can possibly create it in his heart? The command was based upon an assurance--"I will be with thee; I will not fail thee nor forsake thee. Be strong and firm." [4] This strength was to come, therefore, from believing in the presence and power of God. The courage was to be the courage of Faith. The fear which had been so disastrous to them was the result of looking away from God, and forgetting Him; and so the courage could only result from again looking unto Him, and ever remembering Him. The revelation of a personal, present, and all-powerful God, is given as the basis of their faith and its consequent courage.

Further, it was to be sustained by meditation upon the Word of God; as we find in close connection the charge, "This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night." Deep and quiet thought which revolves day by day the thoughts of God, feeds the strength of faith. We are assured in the first Psalm, that to "delight in the law of the Lord," and to " meditate in it day and night," is the secret of constant growth and fruitfulness. For faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God. And so it is the "word of faith" which is presented. Apart from some such revelation of God there could be no faith. Along with that word proceeding out of the mouth of God, there ever flows a vital effluence of the Spirit, by which the soul that receives it is enlightened and strengthened. And so believing, it also obeys. It "observes to do " according to this revelation of the mind of God. And so brought into harmony with Him, it prospers and has good success.

And thus there comes at last a holy confidence in God, that seeing Him always, cannot be afraid--as when in this brief charge to Joshua, we find for the third time the words, "Be strong, be firm;" it is added, "For the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest." No minute direction, no specific precept whatever, could at all compare in importance with this fundamental charge. Nothing must distract the servant of God in the clear reception of this one grand truth: God is with thee; therefore be strong, be firm. Take hold of His promises, and keep that hold.

It was thus that the Lord Jesus provided for the faith and courage of His disciples in the great work He gave them in the world: "Lo I am with you all the days, even unto the end of the world." "Fear not," is the gracious charge He is ever giving as He more and more reveals Himself. [5]

And what need is there still of this charge! The experience of ages has not taken away our weakness; and the fears and the waverings of many a Christian--the weak hands and feeble knees--are even now pitiable to consider. Until this element is eliminated, Christian heroism is an, impossibility, as is, indeed, anything noble in character or service. Nothing so demoralizes the forces of the soul as fear. But if we answer the question of our Lord, "Why are ye so fearful?" we can give no reason save the absence of that faith that is ever looking unto Jesus. Nothing fosters fear like solitude; and nothing is more quick to catch contagion from evil converse. Only as we recognize the presence of the Lord, does fear give place to faith--a faith that is communicated by Him. The child that in the hour of danger has been always by his father's side, and has never seen him flinch, receives his courage from him. As we dwell consciously in the presence of God, as our thought is ever of His Love and Power, our souls, despite all their natural fears, will uprise in their strength. We can say calmly in the midst of darkness and tumult, "The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life, of whom shall I be afraid?"

Such simple, childlike faith in God has made more heroic souls upon this earth than the stoic could ever dream. Not through the long training of the iron nerve, but by the trusting glance at the risen Lord, have the tender woman and the timid child been strong and firm, in the midst of peril and of terrible torture. They "endured as seeing Him who is invisible." Would that all could be persuaded that it is not a question of nature, but of grace; not of temperament, but of trust. What an instance of this is found in the lives of these three men--Peter, Nicodemus, and Joseph of Arimathea. Studying the natural characteristics of Peter, any of us would have trusted his courage before its failure; and by all their antecedents we would look for anything but heroic discipleship from the other two. We see Peter ever ready to do and dare; Nicodemus stealing stealthily by night to Jesus Joseph full of fear of the Jews. So stand the three by nature. But look at them again, when Grace has outstripped nature. Peter, lying and cursing for fear of a maid-servant; Joseph, going boldly to Pilate to beg the body of Jesus; and Nicodemus, in the full daylight, staggering beneath his hundred pounds of spices, to the tomb of the Teacher, sent from God--these two out of weakness made strong, even as the other shall be, when he has learned his own weakness.

Timid soldier of Christ, called to pass over this Jordan and possess the good land and large--listen to the first charge of all, "Be strong! be firm!" And to win this holy courage, look unto Jesus. Never look downward to thy fear--never around to thy foes--look solely unto Jesus!

And looking thus, meditate also upon His law, remembering that this holy law is now a gospel, and that we are to observe to do according to all that is written therein--not only according to all its precepts, but also according to all its promises, all its privileges.

If ever your hands grow weak, and your knees feeble, it is because you see too little; because, like Elisha's servant, you see only the hosts and chariots of the enemy close around. Therefore you ask, "Alas! how shall we do?" The Lord open your eyes, that you may look further, and see the mountains beyond, full of the hosts of God encamping round about you!

It was to Joshua, that this charge to be firm and strong was given primarily. His own exhibition of these qualities was to inspire the people. The Lord Jesus was the living embodiment of this holy courage. We see Him strong to endure the cross, firm to despise the shame. We see Him taking the straight path toward that joy which was set before Him, and we know that He will not fail nor be discouraged till He has set judgment in the earth. As we watch Him thus--Prince and Perfecter of Faith--how our weak hands grow strong and our feeble knees firm.

This thrice repeated charge to Joshua had been already given thrice before. We find it in the last words of Moses, addressed first to the people at large, and then twice in the sight of all Israel to Joshua, so that six times in all, the chosen Leader heard the words of God--"Be strong, be firm." We also need their repetition. Not all at once are such qualities established in the soul. How often the Lord finds us, like Daniel, with no strength in us. He lifts us first, from that utter prostration to our knees. Again, at His words of command and cheer we stand trembling. But He does not leave us until once more, with all the similitude and sympathy of one of the sons of men, he touches us, saying, "O greatly beloved, fear not; be strong, yea, be strong!" And when He has so spoken unto us we are strengthened; for "our God hath commanded our strength."

How exquisite the tenderness that breatnes through these commands of Jesus: "Son, take courage!" "Daughter, take courage!" "Take courage, doubting disciples, It is I" [6] Thus, by His own presence and power, He inspires us with that which we shall need all our life long--a high resolve, an undaunted spirit, an intrepid bravery--and coupled with these, steadiness, constancy, and endurance. By all our growth in the knowledge of Christ will these heroic virtues be sure to grow. "Be," then, "of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the Lord."

II.--CONSECRATION.

The second element of success is thus indicated: "Joshua said unto the people, 'Sanctify YourSelves, FOR TO-MORROW THE LORD WILL DO WONDERS AMONG YOU.'" Elsewhere in similar commands, we find acts of purification and abstinence enjoined. The word itself means simply bodily purity; and as washing was the preparation for each religious service, the term came to signify to set apart; and as so used, is rendered in our Bibles "to consecrate," or "sanctify;" so that the charge now given to the people was virtually this, "Set yourselves apart to God"-- Yield yourselves to Him--Put yourselves in that attitude in which He can with perfect readiness take you up.--Draw nigh unto God, for He is drawing nigh unto you.

The context of this command, which gives such prominence to the wonders which God will do, is a happy correction of a very common notion respecting consecration, as though it were some great giving to God by us, some surrender or sacrifice of what we previously held; in fact, a sort of favor conferred upon Him, whereas it is only the readiness to receive from Him. Consecration is not a meritorious work of our own, but a willingness to let the Lord work His wonders upon us. It simply means a ready recipiency.

Yet even this recipiency may involve surrender in a subordinate way, as it evidently did in the case of the Israelites. They could not possibly receive Canaan, without giving up the wilderness. That command, therefore, "Sanctify yourselves," was a call to heart-searching. It pressed home to all their thoughts this recognition, "We are the Lord's." It could not long remain a matter of doubt with any, whether they stood ready for God to lead them over Jordan or not. The command given them was completely overshadowed by the promise that followed, and yet it was the Promise itself that tested and tried the very intents of their hearts.

It continues to be a part of the manifold wisdom of God to furnish such tests, even in providing our richest blessings. He who becomes a man must put away his childish things. The lingering child-nature struggles and shrinks from the sacrifice, but the spirit of the strong man uprising, spares not the old treasures as he reaches on to the new. God can not fill our hands with His great and good gifts till we drop the baubles they have held. And so in every onward step, calling us to some surrender, to some sacrifice, He clears away the superficial wrappings of our nature to learn what soundness exists beneath. Jesus Himself is even to be a sign spoken against, that so the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed. How often, when on earth, did He disclose to themselves, the true nature of many a half-hearted follower, by some sharp requisition; or, in the same manner, call out the deepest faith of those who left all and followed Him! We may well thank Him for everything in the discipline of life, or in the secret conflicts of our own hearts, that gives us this knowledge of ourselves, and brings us to the solemn decision whom we will choose.

The time which is fixed for the blessing of God, follows close upon the preparation--"Sanctify yourselves, for to-morrow the Lord will do wonders among you." It is always thus. It is we ourselves who set the times in which our God shall bless us; for whatever day it be in all our life, that we take for our consecration to Him, He will take the morrow for His wonders. There is no real delay with God, beyond that which we occasion. There may be seeming delay, for often He works in secret, and mysteriously; but He always works, and that wondrously, so soon as we are set apart to Him--even as from the first day that Daniel set his heart to understand, and to chasten himself, the Lord Himself came forth to answer him.

Yet precisely here, what misapprehension is there of His ways! Men fancy that they are all ready--even eager for blessing--and they marvel why God delays. He does not delay. If we have, indeed, consecrated ourselves, He has already begun His work; not where we, perhaps, desired it, nor in a way we looked for, but in the surest way. When the great Builder declares His work begun, we look at once for the imposing structure--and what if we see only an excavation! By seeming delay, then, as well as by tests of service and of sacrifice, He searches our hearts, and reveals our thoughts to ourselves, as He already beholds them. And if still we see not the wonders which were promised us, shall we not at least hear a voice saying, "Art thou, then, truly consecrated? Art thou ready for God to work? Is there nowhere any holding back? Is there no sparing of self?--no secret stipulation?--no subtle ambition?--no love of reputation?--no unhallowed affection?" And He who so searches us will hold us waiting, until we are ready to look and see as He sees, and are really willing to give up our all to God.

Such is the position, doubtless, of not a few who are even perplexed by their failure to go further. They are earnest souls even, that have pressed on beyond their comrades; souls that have gone far enough to see what there is for them over this Jordan. They are servants of the Master, and they have wrought in His field unweariedly. But they long for richer results. They want these ideal possibilities of the Gospel realized. They desire to see one of the days of the Son of Man--to exult in some new Pentecost. But no morrow with its wonders dawns for them. And standing thus upon the very verge of blessing, they ask, as they suppose, in all sincerity, "What doth hinder me?"--and as they see nothing lacking in their consecration, they are disposed to be faithless as to God's fulfilment of His promise. Alas! for the long, weary waiting of those who thus begin to question God's ways, instead of their own hearts! He will surely be silent unto them, until they heed what He has already spoken--"Sanctify yourselves--set yourselves apart."

They who are thus turned back from marvelling over the mysterious delays of God, to suspect rather their own sincerity, will soon learn that consecration implies no hollow, hasty work. They become aware that only Faith can do it--that even as the only true courage was the courage of Faith, so the only true consecration is the consecration of Faith. Even this is to be one of the works of God--"Thy people shall be willing in the day of Thy power." No more mistaken counsel can be given to a soul which is conscious that it is not wholly consecrated, than that so often heard-- 'This is your part of the work. Your will must put forth all its power, and solemnly resolve that it will dedicate itself to God.' He who has learned the extent of his infirmity will answer, 'You bid me do the most difficult task of all myself. Precisely here is my perplexity -- that I can not feel sure that my whole will is honest in this surrender, and that I draw nigh with a true heart. My very desire to do it may still be selfish; and that disinclination which I discover, being a part of my will, holds me helpless. I find that I have neither full knowledge of myself, nor full mastery of myself. It is my will itself that is perverse, and treacherous, and unstable; and how can it possibly furnish the power that shall force it into rectitude?' [7]

Consecration, be it repeated, therefore, can only be the work of Faith. As Faith first encouraged itself in the Lord by looking unto Him, so now Faith yields to this mighty attraction which draws the soul to God. His sovereign will alone can restore to unity and simplicity, the complexity and strife of our being. The kingdom of the heart has been the prey of each new Usurper. Only the Spirit of God can put them all down, and set us up as kings unto Him. Swayed hither and thither by both human and supernatural influences, there can be no stability till Faith elects the Spirit of God as the Sole Possessor.

Ask, then, ye who are seeking to consecrate yourselves to Christ--ask for His fuller revelation. "Look, ye blind, that ye may see."--He looketh upon you. Listen, ye deaf, that ye may hear, for to you He speaketh. Look and listen until your Faith grows into Love, until you see in Him, One who is worthy of all confidence, and the powerful attractions of whose nature so tell upon your yielding soul, that you can not possibly hold back anything, or allow the least reserve between yourself and Him, because "The love of Christ constraineth you." No forced surrender can possibly meet the claim of God upon you. It is the citadel of the Will itself that must be yielded, even to its last reluctance. It is the love and loyalty of your inmost souls, that Jesus calls for, and they are never self-commanded. As you fully believe, you will fully love. As you fully love, you will fully give yourselves to God. Thus only can you be consecrated to Him. Love has no will save this, "I delight to do Thy will." Love makes all labor light; love makes all sacrifices sweet; love sees the crown over every cross; love has no fear; love never stipulates; love never needs to test itself by future possibilities; and love, when Christ Himself tests it, can straightway answer, "Yea, Lord, thou knowest all things, Thou knowest that I love Thee!"

III.--COMMITTAL.

We come now to that preparation which, through the power of God, passes over into performance itself. The heart being full of courage because of its faith, and full of devotion because of its love, must now take the step of a full committal to His ways; and this also must be the work of Faith.

When the Lord led His people through the Red Sea, His winds had been long blowing over it, and they saw a path prepared for them. They saw also the outstretched rod of Moses that seemed to pledge the safety of their passage. So that though it was "by faith," that "they passed through the Red Sea as by dry land," yet it could not be said "they walked by faith, and not by sight." Rather, they walked by a faith, that had sight for its helper.

But now the demand upon their faith was absolute. No sign or token was given. No outstretched rod was seen, and they heard the roarings of no winds. They saw no moving of the waters. They had no outward security. They had only a simple promise of their God. In truth, all outward sight seemed to contradict that promise. Jordan was overflowing all its banks, giving the stream a double breadth. But not even this was to be changed, till faith had ventured upon the word of their God. "It shall come to pass," was the promise, "as soon as the soles of the feet of the priests that bare the ark of the Lord, the Lord of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of Jordan, that the waters of Jordan shall be cut off from the waters that come down from above; and they shall stand upon an heap." [8] The first step was to be taken in the waters. They were called upon not only to face the difficulties, but to enter them. They were not to ask God to prove His power first. They were to trust Him first, and then should they see as they followed on to know the Lord, "His going forth" to be "prepared as the morning." There does not appear to have been a moment's hesitation on the part of the priests.

The record follows almost in the very words of the promise, "And it came to pass when the people removed from their tents, to pass over Jordan, and the priests bearing the ark of the covenant before the people; and as they that bare the ark were come unto Jordan, and the feet of the priests that bare the ark were dipped in the brim of the water, (for Jordan overfloweth all his banks all the time of harvest,) that the waters which came down from above stood and rose up upon an heap very far from the city Adam, that is beside Zaretan; and those that came down toward the sea of the plain, even the salt sea failed, and were cut off: and the people passed over right against Jericho." [9]

How fatal had been a halt, although but one step short of the brim of the waters. Even the foot up lifted, ready to fall as soon as the path was ready, would have waited in vain. The promise was addressed only to the faith that, without seeing signs and wonders, could yet believe. That one step taken which proved their faith, and placed it in a position of entire receptivity--then God could prove His faithfulness and manifest His power. His wonders follow at once.

The lesson which is here taught us is of the utmost importance, showing us the very essence of all true faith. Mature faith must be able to dare and to endure, with no other stay than seeing Him who is invisible. Our Father does, indeed, stretch out the hand of yearning tenderness to steady the tottering steps of a babe. In His pity and compassion He will not forbid the poor cripple his staff; but the faith of full years and of steady strength, can never be developed by continued indulgence. It must be o exercised by reason of use. And so God leads His children out at last beyond all visible stays and props, or even stepping-stones, where hearing only His voice, "Go forward"--

"Nothing before, and nothing behind,
The steps of Faith
Fall on the seeming void, and find
The rock beneath."

Again, that God instead of giving His people some visible aid for their crossing, set before th em a most visible hindrance, doubling the danger and difficulty to the natural eye, is in perfect accord with our advanced experience. Only how often does the simplicity of our faith fail to equal theirs. It would have been a most natural thing for an Israelite to say, rising up that morning and looking wistfully over Jordan, "We can not possibly cross to-day. This can not be the time, for it is high flood. Surely the Lord will have us wait awhile until the waters abate." It would have been natural, even for such doubts to become a denial of God's word, as the suggestion followed--'The days for such wonders are past. There were evident reasons why Jehovah should lead our fathers through the Red Sea, and inaugurate our national life with a miracle. But the necessity has past. Forty years have gone by since the time of those mighty signs and wonders. Is it not presumptuous to look for the repetition of such a miracle? Let us use our own judgment and strength as best we may. When Jordan has fallen again, we can either find its fords, or bridge it at some favorable point.' But happily we have no such record. They had learned at last the dangers of doubt, and the blessedness of believing God.

But what of our own record? In the face of promises as distinct as were given to them, are not many of us found questioning the result? It is the first instinctive impulse of unbelief to seek a sign--to have something to interpose between itself and the bare word of God. And so, how often is the question asked: 'If God be really disposed to bring me into this glorious liberty, will there not be at least some token of it? Shall I find no evidence of it in my own altered feelings; and especially will not the Lord prepare the way by lowering the opposing tide of temptation?' The Word of our God needs neither sign nor surety. Be it a promise, or be it a command, it matters not; for every command has a promise for its kernel. We are to go forward to obey His commands--forward to receive His promises--forward in faith--forward though difficulties double. Not from the withdrawal of these is our strength to come, but from Him who has said, "My grace is sufficient for thee; my strength is made perfect in weakness."

Yet, in the face of this assurance, the complaint is heard on all sides, 'I am at this present time exposed to unusual pressure--Outward circumstances combine against me. Within, temptations and weakness meet, and my peculiar temperament is tried by all that can trouble it most. Is it not too much to expect deliverance? After all, these wonders of grace must have been meant for apostles. At least, they belong to the early ages. It certainly does not please God to work so in our own day, unless it be with some very extraordinary people. Why should I be so presumptuous as to expect it? Should I not even dishonor the Lord in attempting to claim such special promises, when I am well-nigh certain to fail, and draw back in confusion and shame? Surely, the Lord never intended me to obey any such command, or receive any such great promise. I stand, therefore, excused.'

The Word of God allows not a particle of license to any such quibbling. To whom of all mankind has God not said, "Be holy?" Whom does He release from that law of blessing that girds His universe? If we can find a soul excepted from His commands, that soul must also be excepted from His promises. But how significant it is that while our faith is not energetic enough to accept the promises of God, we are not consistent enough to really loose our consciences from the commands, but secretly hope sometime to find a way, under favoring circumstances, to do that which we can not quite believe that God is able, at any time, to do for us.

In truth, we are accustomed to discount the promises of God, in a way that would utterly dishonor any fellow-being. Whenever we place full confidence in a friend, a solemn assurance, though it be but a word, is decisive. But if we thus receive the witness of men to their own ability to aid us, how shall we not receive also that witness of God which is so much greater--greater because He is not only full of truth in purposing, but also never forgets His promise, and can never be thwarted in its performance. Our confi dence can not' be misplaced as it rests upon His promises, seeing that the slightest of them is built four square upon these strong foundations--His Righteousness, His Truth, His Love, His Power.

This, then, is the foot dipped in the brimming waters--when we have heard the Lord calling us to follow Him, "To walk worthy of Him unto all pleasing," to have "spirit, soul, and body, preserved blameless unto His coming," to let "the God of Peace sanctify us wholly;"--when we have heard this call, to take then His promise, "Faithful is He that calleth you who also will do it," and to go on, though confronted by temptation, and encompassed with weakness; to go on, as though these were not--so stepping out of self and its limitations, into Christ, and all His boundless possibilities; and finding that it is no longer we, that live, that walk, but Christ, who even as He has promised, dwells in us, and walks in us.

Again, the foot dipped in the brimming waters declares emphatically that faith is to precede feeling. Incalculable mischief has crept into Christian experience through the neglect of this simple truth. A religion that rests upon feeling, for either its security or comfort, will find itself tottering and trembling to the end. Yet so common and so great has been the loss sustained in this way, that, having recognized it, we are now not a little in danger of an extreme reaction. There are some who, at least, seem to teach that faith is not only to precede feeling, but to supersede it. Our feelings, they say, are not at all to be regarded. At no stage can their evidence be taken. This is plainly unscriptural. Very crude indeed must be the conception of truth, where a soul in the midst of unsatisfactory and unsanctified feelings, settles the whole matter, by regarding itself complete in Christ through faith alone, and so allows its evil frames and feelings to go on unchecked.

Nothing that we discover in heart or life, need hinder us in coming to Christ to seek deliverance from it. We may even use our worst discoveries as our plea in coming; "For the whole have no need of a Physician, but they that are sick." Nor will my sickness make the Physician displeased with me in my first application to him. Yet, if he has given me all that should restore me, and my own wilfulness or carelessness still keep me in the same feeble condition, he will be greatly displeased with me. Now, my feelings are not the real seat of the disease, and yet there we find our surest symptoms as a rule. I can not possibly be in health with such disordered feelings. I ignore them at my peril. And so as I come to Christ--feeling no glow of love, no peace that passeth understanding, no joy unspeakable--I am not to regard these as reasons for not coming to Him, or as hindrances. This very trouble gives me a right to come. I can appeal now to the compassion of my Healer--"Lord, I am well-nigh sick unto death." But if after He has healed me, and taught me the conditions of sustaining health, I find myself again unloving, cold, perturbed, fretted, moody, I have not the least right to say that all is well, and that disregarding all this, I am to believe myself fully accepted through Christ. Unless I bring this disturbance to Him for confession, forgiveness, and healing, I am utterly at fault.

Our feelings are of importance. The same Creator who set the faithful nerves as sentinels along all the lines of the senses, to give due warning of danger and disease, gave a corresponding sensitiveness to our souls. Faith is not to discharge this as unnecessary, but to retain it in her service. If it be well with our faith, it will also be well with our feelings. If we have the Spirit of Christ, then the fruits of the Spirit will be ours also; and many of these fruits are precisely what we are accustomed to class loosely under the head of feelings. They are such as love, joy, peace. They are not the root, but they are the fruit; they furnish finally the test, not of God's power, but of our reception of that power.

The Apostle John repeatedly appeals to such tests as these respecting our adoption, and growth in grace. The words so often used by him --"Hereby we know"--most certainly teach us that while looking unto. Jesus, we are to see also, that both in outward acts and inward states, we are becoming like Jesus. Having faith first, we shall have all holy frames, and heavenly feelings.

And now let us take one more glance over this triple preparation of courage, and consecration, and committal. Each of these represents a practical truth. Each is a step in harmony with the will of God. Each is necessary to the development of effectual faith. And yet such are the simplicity and the speed of Faith, that the three will seem as but one step, and in action will need no such analysis.

No one will ever pass over into the fulness of blessing who fails to set his feet in these old way-marks. It is impossible, without the courageous faith that can say, "My heart is fixed, trusting in the Lord." It is impossible unless we can say, "Lord, I am thine, entirely thine." And how can it ever be more than a beautiful ideal to those who can not say, 'I am so taking the promises of God as to act upon them. I am following along their track, fully persuaded that God Himself will perform all that He has promised. I count His promises my open pathway. I venture upon them, and know that it shall come to pass according to His word. I commit my whole being to Him in well doing. He will remove every obstacle from my path. He will guide me. He will endue me with power from on high. I dip my feet in this Jordan. I die to all confidence in myself. I rise to all completeness in Jesus. Life in myself, has been a failure. Life in the Spirit of God, is my hope of triumph now. I pass beyond the bounds of human power, and risen in Christ, I set no bounds to that which He will do for me--exceeding abundantly above all I ask or think. I believe in Jesus, and therefore I shall see the glory of God. I trust Him, and I see Him at once arrest the whole, resistless, swollen tide, holding the waves of terror and temptation, cut off even very far away, so that I fear no evil.' With the Courage Of Faith, the Consecration Of Faith, and the Committal Of Faith, "WE WHO HAVE BELIEVED DO ENTER INTO REST."

Notes

1. Joshua i. 6, ***, "Verbum *** proprie notat vires quae sunt in manibus ad prehendendum retinendum que viriliter; sicut contra *** firmitudinem, quae in genibus est, ad consistendum, ne ab alio quis evertatur."--Michaelis.

"Joshua must lay hold boldly and with a strong hand, and then when he has done so, allow nothing to drive him from his position."--Lange's Com.

2. Is. xxxv. 3.

3. Heb. xii. 12, 13.

4. Josh. i. 5, 6.

5. Stier upon Acts xviii. 9, thus sums up the occasions of its use: "Fear not but speak, and keep not silence ! Still coming first the same word of encouraging grace--so needful to us poor children of men--which runs through the whole of Scripture from beginning to end, Fear not! Simon Peter heard it from the lips of the Lord Jesus when his call to be a fisher of men was repeated, Luke v. 10; Abraham received it first in the Old Testament, Gen. xv. 1,--after a victory, too, like St. Paul here ; for father Adam first of all confessed in behalf of us all--I was afraid! The Lord and His angels often say it in the Old Testament. The New begins with it to Zacharias, Mary, Joseph, the Shepherds. The Lord often utters it during His earthly life, down to John xiv. 1: the angels at the sepulchre of the risen Jesus give it new strength. The ascended and glorified Redeemer inspires vigor into the soul of St. John at Patmos by the same word, Fear not! Rev. i. 17. How needful is this word to His Disciples everywhere and in all ages; and how ready He ever is to utter it to them!

"It is the abiding word of the Divine majesty and mercy for human poverty, weakness, and guilt."--The Words of the Risen Saviour, by Rudolf Stier, p. 72.

6. Cf. Matt. ix. 2, Matt. ix. 22 and Matt. xiv. 27.

7. The searching and sententious lines of Herbert's "Holdfast," will naturally recur to the reader:

"I threatened to observe the strict decree
Of my dear God with all my power and might:
But I was told by one, it could not be;
Yet I might trust in God to be my light.
Then will I trust, said I, in Him alone.
Nay, even to trust in Him, was also Him:
We must confess that nothing is our own.
Then I confess that He my succour is.
But to have naught is ours, not to confess
That we have naught. I stood amazed at this,
Much troubled, till I heard a friend express
That all things were more ours by being His.
What Adam had, and forfeited for all,
Christ keepeth now, who cannot fail or fall."

8. Josh. iii. 13.

9. Joshua iii. 14-16. "On the broken edge of the river--so the scene which follows is placed before us by the narrative--the band of priests stood with the Ark upon their shoulders. At a distance of nearly a mile in the rear stood the great mass of the army. Suddenly the full bed of the Jordan was direct before them. High up the river--'very far' -- 'in Adam, the city which is beside Zaretan'--that is, at a distance of nearly thirty miles from the place of the Israelite encampment, 'the waters which came down from above,' from the Sea of Galilee, stood, and rose up in a barrier; and 'those that came down towards the sea of the Desert, the salt sea failed, and were cut off.' The scene presented to us, therefore, is of the river-bed dried up from north to south, as far as the eye could reach--an image which, however it may be explained, is important to bear in mind, to avoid a confused notion which is often formed from a supposed parallel with the account of the Red Sea."--Dean Stanley's Sinai and Palestine, p. 298.