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 XII.

THE GOOD FIGHT OF FAITH.

"THE People Passed Over Right Against Jericho."--(Josh. iii. 16.) "and The Lord Said Unto Joshua, See, I Have Given Into Thine Hand Jericho."--(Josh. vi. 2.)

The time was past for leading the people about, lest they should repent at the sight of war. They had come over Jordan to possess the land, and were thoroughly advised that they must therefore dispossess their enemies. Moreover, it was well for them to learn at the very outset, that their God was able to save them in their sorest straits, and to show Himself stronger than the strongest, that so they might be set free from the fear of every foe. Therefore, even while passing over Jordan, they faced the Fortress, the key to all the Land. Joshua had fully understood its importance, when he sent the two men from Shittim, to view the land, even Jericho. The terror that fell upon that stronghold, might well cause "all the inhabitants of the country to faint," because of this advancing host. Here, then, the work was to begin, which was to result in the driving out of seven nations mightier than they. The conquest of this one city forecast the whole campaign.

The question now arises, Wherein do these new enemies differ from those already encountered? Egypt had been their enemy, but God in delivering them from that oppression, had said, "The Egyptians whom ye have seen to-day, ye shall see them again no more forever." [1] Pharaoh and his host, hardly letting the people go, are vivid types of the bondage of this world, and the tyranny of "the god of this world." But, however sore the struggle, or hot the pursuit, God so delivers His own, that henceforth they are "not of the world," nor the "servants of sin." But now follow conflicts of another character. The next encounter of Israel was with Amalek. [2] This tribe which took its name from the grandson of Esau, cherished all the bitter hatred that sought to avenge a bartered birthright. Its mode of attack, as recounted by Moses, was full of malice. "He met thee by the way, and smote the hindmost of thee, even all that were feeble behind thee, when thou wast faint and weary." [3] Here is the fitting type of the Flesh, with which name the Scriptures stamp the whole natural man, with his wild and wayward nature. "As then, he that was born after the flesh, persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now." [4] Only too closely does that stealthy attack of their own kin, in an unguarded moment, resemble those temptations which waylay the soul, when "the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak;" when the inward man delights indeed in the law of God, but finds "another law" in this same flesh, warring against him. Only discomfited and held at bay in this attack, Israel was charged to "remember what Amalek did," and when the Lord had given them rest from all other enemies in the land, then they were to "blot out his remembrance from under heaven." [5] So Moses builded his altar, and "called the name of it Jehovah Nissi; for he said, Because the Lord hath sworn, that the Lord will have war with Amalek from generation to generation." [6] Again and again in the history of the Judges, we find this nomad nation helping to oppress Israel. Saul lost his kingdom because he did not execute the fierce wrath of the Lord against Amalek; while David was established in his, only after he had returned from that slaughter, in which he recovered all that he had lost. [7] So that the first foe encountered after their redemption was the last to be utterly subdued.

This conflict with Amalek was the only contest up to the time of the Provocation. Immediately after that, when the people attempted to enter the land presumptuously, in their own strength, we find a significant combination of the Amalekites and Canaanites, which resulted in Israel's discomfiture and flight to Hormah. [8] Near the expiration of the forty years, on their return to this same place, the Canaanites "took some of them prisoners." It was then that "Israel vowed a vow unto the Lord," to put all their cities under a ban, as He should deliver them into their hand. After the victory "they called the place Hormah," i. e. "the banning-place." [9] These few contests were intermediate.

The next phase of warfare is totally different. Israel is at last prepared to assume the aggressive. We have upon the east of Jordan a sort of rehearsal of the main conquest. "Rise ye up, take your journey, and pass over the river Arnon: behold I have given into thine hand Sihon the Amorite, king of Heshbon, and his land: begin to possess it, and contend with him in battle." [10] Then follows the overthrow, so often celebrated in their songs, of Sihon, king of the Amorites, and Og, king of Bashan, whose lands became their possession. This was introductory warfare. [11]

Still the main struggle awaited them over Jordan; and the summons was now--"Hear, O Israel: Thou art to pass over Jordan this day, to go in to possess nations greater and mightier than thyself, cities great and fenced up to heaven; a people great and tall, the children of the Anakims, whom thou knowest, and of whom thou hast heard say, Who can stand before the children of Anak!" [12] Again and again they are mentioned by their names, as "seven nations greater and mightier than thou." Such were the enemies who held the inheritance given to Abraham centuries before, and whom they must now dispossess and destroy. War now opens in earnest.

In like manner, the main struggle of the Christian is not found among his earlier experiences. The World and the Flesh may have caused him many a conflict, but what were these compared to the more direct power of the Devil, as he resists with all his combined forces the advancing soul. The Epistle to the Ephesians, which describes most fully our rich spiritual blessings, gives also the strongest statements of this warfare, and the profound nature of it. "Our wrestling is against governments, against powers, against the world rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual armies of wickedness in heavenly places!" It is thus against "the schemes of the Devil" that we are to stand. [13]

This subject involves some of the profoundest mysteries that surround our being. While naturalism has proudly denied the existence of Satan, even Christendom has largely ignored it. Where the Scriptures speak simply and strongly, and doubtless with the profoundest philosophic truth, of the Devil and of Demons, of their power to bind, and afflict, and oppress--giving us their very numbers--whether one, or seven, or a legion--expressing their fears, which are like no human fears, and their instant knowledge of Christ, with much else that clearly characterized them, how many Christians think of this language as only an accommodation to the superstition of the times. May it not be possible that the pride of Science, and the presumption of Christian Reason have both of them yet to be humbled, by some substratum of terrible truth glaring through the darkness and deceit of "Spiritualism?"

Very plainly by all the assertions of Revelation, the chief conflict is not between our souls and the World that lieth in the Wicked One; nor is it only between the good and evil in our own natures. The chief contending powers upon both sides are supernatural: they are the Spirit of God, and the Prince of the power of the air. The existence of this supernatural region--the fact, that the rebellion originated there, and is to be encountered there, even in heavenly places--invests our share in the warfare with the utmost importance. It was another fall, that makes our fall the fearful thing it is; and our susceptibility to influences, reaching us not only from nature, and our fellow-beings, but from other worlds, is the fateful element of all.

For the dominion once allotted to man, and lost through sin, is not unoccupied--it is usurped: the active forces of evil are astir over the entire region. One part of that dominion was this earth; but, as the result of this usurpation, we find Creation marred, and its laws disordered, and "it groaneth." We find the same disorder, but still more rife, in the body of man; its sickness and its sufferings, its frequent deformity, and its common shame--these surely are no part of that work which was "very good." "An enemy hath done this." But the Usurper has seized the intellect of man, and sometimes sinking it below the intelligence of the beasts, has more often stolen the gifts which only God could give, to make them subtle as himself in all evil ends. Again, as no man is a unit by himself, but much of his life the composite life of his race, we behold Society in all its ramifications, from government down to family life, poisoned by this same Serpent. Hence, the oppression of Rulers, violence and strife among men, malice and fraud, envy and evil-speaking, and the Destroyer pressing closer and closer to the great centres of society--at last man's chief sufferings spring from the very affections which were meant to link him to his kind. The highest civilizations of earth, apart from the Gospel, have left the social relations as they found them, a wreck. Finally, the Foe entered the Citadel also, and so seized the noblest part of man--his spirit--as to consign it to very death--so that to regain it he must even be born again.

All this wide dominion which he has usurped, is the dominion to be regained. Whether it be sin, or whether it be sorrow, or whether it be only straitness, the Lord Jesus came to "destroy the works of the Devil." His Gospel announces the final recovery of all that was lost--a time of "restitution of all things," not only down to the redemption of our body, but the deliverance of Creation also.

But this is not all that the Gospel pledges. To His own Church, Christ will give His own glory. Man in Him is to be made higher than the angels. Our original estate in Adam was blessed, our inheritance vast. But what shall be said of the glory of this?--this Hope of our Calling--the riches of glory of our inheritance in Christ? Such a result of Redemption as this--

"Greater good because of evil,
Larger mercy through the fall"--

must needs enrage our Adversary to resist to the utmost the purpose of God, and to keep us, if possible, from its realization.

The War of Canaan corresponds to this great contest. Not with the World--not with the Flesh--it is waged directly with the Devil, from whom they derive their power, and who may employ them still as his instruments. Above all it is aggressive. We must advance upon "the strong man keeping his palace with his goods in peace." He cares not to come forth and begin the attack; but so soon as we set our feet upon "the heavenly places," then comes that onset which St. Paul has described as a wrestling, hand to hand, foot to foot. [14]

It has been said, that "all the promises of God to His elect take hold of unfathomable mysteries." And as the natural man can not receive these things, as they can only be spiritually discerned, the first wile of Satan is to keep us from the sight of them. While he wholly blinds the eyes of them that believe not, he succeeds in drawing over the eyes of many a believer, a veil, which so dims these mysteries of Grace, that few suspect what they are missing. For such, the good fight of faith means only defensive warfare.

Then he can carry his wiles still further, and so obscure the conscience, that the definition of sin dwindles into deliberate disobedience; till for the sins of ignorance, and the sins of omission, and the taint of sin through our whole existence, and the tendency to sin in the soul itself, there is no discernment left. Accordingly, many a scheme of so-called Sanctification has been set forth, which resolved Holiness into mere integrity of purpose, and a consciousness which escaped condemnation.

Another wile of Satan, is to make us mistake the field; to regard the battle before us as chiefly the more visible one, between the children of God, and the children of the Wicked one. It is true we must each take our part in this great contest of the whole Body of Believers; but to be efficient in this wider warfare, another victory must precede it, won in the secret of the soul. "He that ruleth his spirit is better than he that taketh a city." [15] It is not first to storm the citadel of stubborn hearts, that our Captain summons us, but to let His banner wave above our own. The work as set before us by the Scriptures is this--"The pulling down of strongholds, casting down imaginations, and every high tower that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and leading captive every intent of the mind into subjection to Christ." [16] Such was the victory won by the Apostle Paul in his own spirit, and which he coveted for others. Such is the struggle, or call it rather the victory, that awaits the consecrated and believing soul.

Let us turn now to trace another lesson in those things which "happened unto them for types." We see that as it did not please the Lord to expel their enemies before their entrance, so it did not please Him even after it, to expel them instantaneously. Each would have been perfectly easy, but would not have accorded with the plan which He had long before announced. It was at Mt. Sinai that He had said--"I will not drive them out from before thee in one year; lest the land become desolate, and the beast of the field multiply against thee. By little and little I will drive them out from before thee, until thou be increased and inherit the land." [17] Such is that principle of deepest wisdom which guides the ways of God, and which may be traced throughout His Creation, and throughout His Providence; which is interwoven in all History, and which in the volume of Inspiration, is seen reaching from the lost Eden, to the Paradise of our God. Everywhere with a gracious accommodation of Truth, in itself unchangeable, is the word spoken unto His people as they are able to bear it. In all things, but most especially in His best things, does our God work on slowly and steadily, but surely, to His great everlasting end. Time in His Eternity, is not the slow thing it is to us, and He builds for Eternity.

Forty years after this announcement of the Divine plan at Sinai, we find Moses repeating it still more explicitly--"The Lord thy God will put out those nations before thee by little and little: thou mayest not consume them at once, lest the beasts of the field increase upon thee. But the Lord Thy God shall deliver them unto thee, and shall destroy them with a mighty destruction, until they be destroyed. And He shall deliver their kings into thine hand, and thou shalt destroy their name from under heaven; there shall no man be able to stand before thee, until thou have destroyed them." [18] Three points are to be noted in this promise:

I. God would drive them out by little and little.

II. This was to end in a mighty destruction.

III. Meantime His people should be constant victors.

As regards the first point, it is clear that this gradual conquest in no way resulted from Israel's unbelief, but was the original plan of God. Not in one year, He had said, would He drive out before them these old inhabitants; and we gather from the history that it was seven years before the land "rested from war." [19] If the inference be correct, it was a year for a nation that was needed. As their enemies represented in their very number the completeness of strength, so may the number of the years, the full course of time.

There was a "needs be" in the thoughts of God for this "little and little." Their enemies were not to diminish too rapidly in proportion to their own increase. Unless for each man driven out, there were found an Israelite to fill his place, then something worse than a man would take it--"the beasts of the field." Even so our Lord has taught us that when the unclean spirit goes out of a man, and finds upon his return to his house, that however swept and garnished, it is empty, with no master to defend it, he not only enters himself, but takes with him seven other still more wicked spirits: "and the last state of that man is worse than the first!" [20]

Yet it is a lesson which the world is slow in learning, that to rescue any part of our being, any of our faculties and powers from the service of sin, without having them at once occupied by the Spirit, is to expose ourselves to still worse danger. Such energy of evil in filling all vacant spaces, might perhaps go far to explain the sudden lapse of God's servants into some great sin, which now and then startles the Church. St. Paul has sketched for us in one of his own strong antitheses the safe procedure--"As ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness, and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness, unto holiness. [21] He could not counsel any putting off of the old man, apart from the putting on of the new.

But secondly, although the conquest was a work of time, there was to be a limit to it. The history abundantly confirms the promise of a mighty destruction. In the eleventh and twelfth chapters of Joshua, we have the statistics and summary of the war--"All the kings were thirty and one;"--"Joshua made war a long time with all those kings;"--"So Joshua took the whole land;" -- "And the land rested from war." The "until" of the promise was no endless chain; the warfare was as sure to be limited as it was to be by little and little.

And so also read the promises of victory which the Gospel gives to us. "The God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly;" [22] "The God of all grace who hath called us unto His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered awhile, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you." [23] And with this promise, the experience of some, at least, agreed. The beloved disciple wrote to young men, in terms which show plainly that a whole life is not required for victory--"I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one." [24] That in the experience of many, the land never rests from war, except now and then to enjoy some brief Truce of God, is to be charged solely to their unfaithfulness, and by no means to His purpose. The subsequent history proves, however, that this rest was no immunity from danger apart from their fidelity; and that subject remnants of their enemies in their own borders, or hostile fugitives without, were capable of becoming at any moment, snares, and traps, and scourges in their sides, and thorns in their eyes. [25]

The third point to note in this Promise of God, that meantime His people should be constant victors, is the most important of all--"There shall no man be able to stand before thee, until thou have destroyed them." In all those years of warfare, it is a striking fact that, with the exception of the defeat at Ai, where they justly forfeited the promise, we are not told of the loss of a single man, nor of any even temporary defeat. Even if we can not positively assume that these were bloodless victories on their side, we have here at least one of the significant silences of Holy Scripture. The career of Israel in Canaan was a career of continual conquest.

And herein it is that the good fight of Faith differs from the contest that is all too common; for a continued conflict being admitted even in this case, it might be asked, Where then is the advantage? It is this, the advantage of constant victory over frequent defeat; for a constant victory it will be if we keep the faith. Never yet did the Captain of the host of the Lord lose a single battle. Nay, more, the good soldier of Christ Jesus learns to welcome the sight of his enemies, knowing that it really means larger possessions; learns to "count it all joy, when he falls into divers temptations," knowing that it means completer triumph. Of that old warfare in Canaan, it stands written, "It was of the Lord to harden their hearts, that they should come against Israel in battle, that He might destroy them utterly, and that they might have no favor." [26] Even so, it is of the Lord that the evil hitherto lying latent in our nature should be discerned; it is of the Lord that the trials even league themselves together; for it is that the evil may be dislodged and destroyed, and that the dominion of Grace may be enlarged.

While the good Fight of Faith may be regarded as almost synonymous with the work of Sanctification, it may be well to trace the application of these lessons more definitely under that head. The word Sanctification (***), which occurs only ten times in the New Testament, is rendered in half that number by another word in our version--Holiness. So again, it is simply the same allied term (***), which is rendered holy and saint, as is the corresponding verb (***) by hallow and sanctify. But none of them appear, from their context, to be held to a single fixed meaning. Christians are addressed as saints, and epistles are written to the sanctified, when they were evidently far from being in a state of practical purity. In the Epistle to the Hebrews, we find a key to the right understanding of this; where first we read -- "We have been sanctified, through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all;" [27] and very soon after this, "For by one offering, He hath perfected forever them who are being sanctified." [28] So then He hath sanctified, while we are being sanctified. He hath perfected, while we are going on unto perfection. The "once-for-all-ness," marked the power of Christ's Cross; while our practical partaking of it, is plainly a process. But everywhere, the ultimate standard even of this, is to be "sanctified wholly," and to "perfect holiness."

Those who claim that entire sanctification is to be instantaneously received, would appear to confound the two uses of the word. In its highest sense, as wrought out by the Sanctifier, and so imputed by the Head of the Body to all its members, it must be entire; but such a word can not be used of a process which is still going on.

Growth in Grace is put under the condition of all growth--demanding time. Nor do the Scriptures speak of any state of entire purity, from which we grow on into maturity. It is the purity itself, which is to mature, as St. John tells us, that every man that hath the blessed hope of seeing Jesus as He is, purifieth himself, even as He is pure. He plainly speaks of a continuous work, with which the constant exhortations of all the Apostles agree. They give us no single precept, enjoining any such sudden attainment; and they leave no record of any such experience. It is noticeable that those who claim such entire sanctification as a present experience, are always obliged to limit it in other ways, as extending only to the Affections, to the Will, or to "the essence of the soul," and thus they deprive themselves of the proper term for expressing its practical completeness. As to another limit which has been often set--our consciousness--an Apostle has given us some solemn thoughts on that head--"I am conscious to myself of no delinquency; but I am not hereby justified; but He that judgeth me is the Lord." [29] It is true, that only the evil which comes within the range of our consciousness, can be overcome; but our responsibility extends far beyond this, and includes the most diligent cultivation of the conscience.

As great confusion of thought has thus arisen from the inaccurate use of the word Sanctification, so has still more confusion sprung from loose and unscriptural definitions of sin. The Scriptures give us three--ranging from the negative to the positive, from the lowest to the highest estimate of it. For as we grow more spiritual we grow more sensitive to sin. Our perception of it will advance very much in the order of these definitions.

I. "Sin is the transgression of the Law."

II. "All unrighteousness is sin."

III. "Whatsoever is not of faith is sin."

We are first convicted of special acts of sin. Then we become troubled at the absence of positive righteousness; and it is the sin in our nature that we recognize. Finally, we advance to the full meaning of sin, taught in the very word itself--i. e., missing the mark. Wherever we see ourselves not yet transformed by this renewal of our minds, whatever it be that is still unlike our Lord, whatever deed or word or thought reaches not high enough as yet, for the holy harmony of doing God's will on earth as it is done in heaven, that to the cultivated conscience, coming to share His thought in all things, even that is now our sin.

Another nice distinction is drawn in the Word of God between sin and temptation. It is often claimed, under the system already referred to, that the very "roots of evil are so eradicated" in that "instantaneous sanctification," that temptation comes to the saint, as to his Saviour, "solely from without." Yet it is to saints that the Apostle James writes: "Every man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed." [30] But then how carefully he goes on to show, that this outcome of our own nature is not counted by the Lord as sin, till it is further developed. "Then lust, having conceived, bringeth forth sin." [31] Only the consent of our will turns temptation into sin.

A like distinction is drawn between our confession of sin, and our condemnation for it. As to the condemnation for sin, God is graciously pleased to own our renewed will, and to disown our old nature-- allowing us to take the same view. "It is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me." [32] "There is ... no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus." [33] And yet His Holy Spirit must convict us even of the sin which dwelleth in us, and the lust that enticeth us; even their presence in us calls for a Deliverer. There must be, upon our side, a hearty confession of them as they come to light--a fresh claiming of the cleansing of the blood of Christ, and then a going forward in His name to their conquest. We are told by St. Paul that if we would thus "discern ourselves, we should not be condemned." [34] This discerning in the light of the Spirit will bring to view not merely temptation, but also our neglected duties, our careless ways, our unsanctified habits, our neglected privileges. These will seem set before us as enemies, many and mighty, to be overcome. And along with these we must constantly consider our sins of ignorance as calling for both confession and conquest. "Though he wist it not, yet is he guilty," [35] is the plain decree of justice--to be met only by the decree of Mercy--"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." [36] Our career in the conquest of the Land of promise, may therefore be regarded as a constant discerning of ourselves--a constant coming to the Light, that must still convince, though it be not to condemn, and so a constant overcoming by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of our testimony.

And thus the Christian who has not yet in a practical sense been sanctified wholly, may in the meantime be "preserved blameless." Such a distinction is clearly presented in the Scriptures. "The very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit, and soul, and body, be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is He that calleth you, who also will do it." [37] So St. Paul prays. But the Apostle Jude goes further still, and commends the sanctified, and "preserved in Jesus Christ," "unto Him that is able to keep them from falling, and to present them faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy." [38] So then we may be blameless without being faultless: we are to be blameless now: we shall be faultless hereafter:--"preserved blameless," and "presented faultless." Such is the blessed and glorious ideal which is set before the Christian, and which both the ability and faithfulness of God are pledged to make real. If it be asked what practical difference there is in such a distinction, we may take as an example a little child whose loving heart is bent upon pleasing her mother. Her first little task of needlework is put into her hands. But the little fingers are all unskilled, nor has she any thought of the nicety required; still, with intense pleasure she sets stitch after stitch, until at last she brings it to her mother; she has done her best, and does not dream of failure. And the mother taking it, sees two things:--one is a work as faulty as it well can be, with stitches long and crooked; and the other is that smiling, upturned face with its sweet consciousness of love. Not for anything could she coldly criticise that work. She thinks of the effort to please, and how little she could expect in a first attempt. It is the child's best for the time being. So she commends her, and even praises the poor, imperfect work, and then gently and most lovingly shows her how she may do still better. The child is blameless, but her work not faultless. It will be nearer and nearer faultless, as day after day she gathers skill, and even new ideas of care and faithfulness in her tasks; but still in her mother's eyes she is at first, as well as at last, her blameless child. And surely every believing, loving child of God, may regard this blessing of blamelessness, not as one to be finally reached, but as one to enjoy all along the way. Only in this case, there will be not only a life more and more holy, but a heart growing purer and purer in its love. And precious beyond all price will it be day after day of our lives, to hear again and again, our Father's acceptance of our work and of ourselves. "Blameless, my child--still blameless." And yet such a child can not aim at less than His entire approval. He will not abuse such a comfort, or count it the chief thing; but ever seeing more fully the vast importance of all his Father's interests, and His earnest desire to make him a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, he will even beseech Him not to spare His correction, but to show him faithfully every fault.

Such a distinction as this provides for perfect peace with God, but not for any profession of perfection. Such a claim as this, not covering the defects of which we are yet unconscious, nor the conquest which may still be incomplete, does not suggest, as in the case of other claims, a painful sense of discrepancy between profession and possession. Such a claim, as it leaves no room for discouragement, allows none for presumption. It is calm and confident, but very humble. It keeps its eye on Christ, and the power of His resurrection, and it speaks soberly--"Not that I have already won, or am already perfect; but I press onward--if indeed I might lay hold on that, for which Christ also laid hold on me: I count not myself to have laid hold thereon; but this one thing I do--forgetting that which is behind, and reaching forth to that which is before, I press onward, towards the mark, for the prize of God's heavenly calling in Christ Jesus." [39] This is its experience, and its simple exhortation is--"Let us all, then, who are ripe in understanding, be thus minded." [40]

So pass we onward, then, unto our conquest; little by little to drive out our enemies, but still to always win our battles, always to overcome; and even when we reach a rest from the long war, still to watch and pray lest we enter into temptation; and still ever more fully to possess the land.

As to the manner of the Conquest, the secret of victory is so simple, that a few words may set it forth.

It is clearly shown in the capture of the first city: "By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed about seven days." [41] In fact, the victory was won before they even began--"See, I have given into thine hand Jericho." Day after day their faith was disciplined and developed, and patience also had her perfect work, till at last came the command, "Shout; for the Lord hath given you the city." "It was the shout of Faith, that saw not and yet believed; and that, having believed, at once saw the glory of God."

For us also the real battle has been fought, and we can claim an accomplished victory. "Be of good courage," said Jesus, "I have overcome the world" and now "this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith." [42] The prince of all these powers of evil was met by Him in single combat-- and this was the issue: "The prince of this world is judged:" "Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out." [43] The Serpent's head was bruised. Satan is the Saviour's vanquished foe, with not a particle of actual power to assert against Him in His kingdom, mighty as he is in his own. And for us also whose life is in Christ, he is a conquered foe--with not a particle of power to send one of his darts through the shield of faith. But his chief strategy lies in concealing this--in presenting an unbroken front. He would make us believe that we have still as hard a battle to fight, as though Christ had not fought for us. We are charged, indeed, not to be ignorant of his devices--we are to put on the whole armor of God--but so going forth we shall never find a wall so high and strong, that it shall not fall down flat at the shout of our Faith. We may make war a very long time, and manifold may be our enemies; but the way is the same throughout. Whatever God charges us to do, whether it seem to be much or little, the Heavenly Captain and His host win all our victories.

What shall be said, then, of that precious Faith which our Lord has given us, and endowed with such a power? Faith sees the Land--Faith prepares itself--Faith passes over--Faith goes from strength to strength--Faith waxes valiant in fight --Faith has an eye ever on the Captain, to follow Him whithersoever He goeth --Faith ever listens, for it has received its charge, "Whatsoever He saith unto you, do it"--Faith never needs to measure walls, or count the giants--Faith sees nothing but the exceeding greatness of His power to us-ward who believe--Faith ponders day and night the exceeding great and precious promises--Faith is ever saying, "We are well able to overcome!" and Faith ever hears God saying, "he That Overcometh SHALL INHERIT ALL THINGS."

Notes

1. Ex. xiv. 13.

2. Ex. xvii. 8.

3. Deut. xxv. 18.

4. Gal. iv. 29.

5. Deut. xxv. 17-19.

6. Ex. xvii. 15, 16.

7. 1 Sam. xxx. 19. In this final destruction of Amalek at the setting up of the kingdom, there seems shadowed forth the end of the long warring of the Flesh against the Spirit, in the kingdom of the true David. After all the great distress, and the weeping--"till they had no more power to weep"--David pursued, and recovered all that had been carried captive. "There was nothing lacking to them, neither small nor great David recovered all." So we know that down to the very victory of the grave, Christ will "without fail recover all." Also, as at the Exodus, they had spoiled the Egyptians, so here we read of flocks and herds which were driven back with their own, of which they said, "This is David's spoil."

8. Num. xiv. 40-45.

9. Num. sxi. 1-3. See Keil and Delitzsch.

10. Deut. ii. 24.

11. In a small volume entitled "High Truth," by the Rev. R. Aitken [London: Macintosh], there is a very interesting application of this warfare with Sihon and Og. See pp. 60-70.

12. Deut. ix. 1, 2.

13. Eph. vi. 11, 12. (Dean Alford's rendering).

14. Eph. vi. 12. "*** must be literally taken. It is a hand to hand, and foot to foot 'tug of war'--that in which the combatants close and wrestle for the mastery."--Dean Alford's Creek Test.

15. "We may dream that it would be a grand and glorious work, to overcome sin in the world: we may think of sallying out on such an enterprise for the sake of magnifying ourselves by it: all efforts, however, directed towards such an end will be vain, until we have gone through the far more painful and toilsome task of overcoming sin in ourselves."--Archdeacon Hare's Mission of the Comforter, p. 202.

16. 2 Cor. x. 4, 5.

17. Ex. xxiii. 29, 30.

18 Deut. vii. 22-24.

19. "Joshua made war with the kings of Canaan a long time judging from chap. xiv. 7, 10, as much as seven years, though Josephus Ant. v. 1, 19, speaks of five. From the words, 'The Lord hath kept me alive these forty-five years,' Theodoret justly infers that the conquest of Canaan by Joshua was completed in seven years, since God spake these words towards the end of the second year after the exodus from Egypt, and, therefore, thirty-eight years before the entrance into Canaan."--Keil and Delitzsch on Joshua, pp. 123, 149.

20. Matt. xii. 43-45.

21. Rom. vi. 19.

22. Rom. xvi. 20.

23. 1 Pet. v. 10.

24. 1 John ii. 14. Of course this does not apply to that fullest sense of the Conquest which is realized only in the Resurrection ; nor yet to the Conquest set before the entire Church. In regard to the latter a most interesting parallel exists between the seven nations of Canaan and the seven conquests of the seven churches in the Revelation.

25. Josh. xxiii. 13.

26. Josh. xi. 20.

27. Heb. x. 10.

28. Heb. x. 14.

29. 1 Cor. iv. 4.

30. Jas. i. 14.

31. Jas. i. 15.

32. Rom. vii. 17.

33. Rom. viii. 1.

34. 1 Cor. xi. 31.

35. Lev. v. 17.

36. 1 John i. 9.

37. 1 Thess. v. 23, 24.

38. Jude 24.

39. Phil. iii. 12-14.

40. Phil iii. 15.--As rendered by Conybeare.

41. Heb. xi. 30.

42. 1 John v. 4.

43. John xii. 31.