5 Joshua 9. first part
And the Lord said unto Joshua, This day have I rolled away the Reproach of Egypt from off you. As to the Penman of this Book there are variety of apprehensions: but famous Calvin, & some others, suspend their determinate judgments about it as not having sufficient grounds to bottom any certainty upon.42
The Scope of this Book is of great excellency & usefulness upon sundry accounts. As
- 1. To discover to us the sufficiency of a divine promise for Faith to build upon, & (as I may say) rest it self in. God for many years before had promised to give Abraham & his Seed ye Land of Canaan: but in the interim he seems (as it were) to have forgotten that Promise. But yet in his own good & promised time, he doth most punctually notwithstanding all intervening difficulties, seeming impossibilities, & naturally reall invincible impediments fully perform every part of yt promise. Hince then all true Israelites have enough to stay upon in all ages as long as they have a Divine promise to build & bottom upon.
- 2. To discover to us the sufficiency of a divine threatening to strike terrour into Heavens Rebells. God had threatened ye Canaanites for their Idolatry & other wickednesses that he would root them out of the earth, & give their Land to another & a better people: but this threatning was long delayed before it was brought unto execution: & very likely ye carnall Canaanites thought it altogether impossible. Well but at length wn those wo were to cut them off drew near, & impediments were miraculously removed, namely Jordan driven back, so as to give way to the Israelites dry passage, as soon as ever the Priests wo bare ye Ark were dipped in the brim of the water: now these poor cursed Canaanites tremble. 5. Chap. 1. And this doctrine, or lesson, is exceeding usefull for our unbelieving dayes. Alas! unless there be a present fulfilling of an evil threatned many, too many, will little regard it. What the wise man saith is sadly applicable to multitudes in our dayes. 8. Eccl. 11. Because sentence against an evil work——sinners see no hell, & therefore they fear none. Oh Sinners! time enough, time enough, have but a little patience, & you shall see an hell time enough, wrath will overtake you time enough, if you prevent it not by true Repentance.
- 3. To discover to us the true, & most shining, ornaments of a good Ruler whither in Church, or Commonwealth, namely that he be endued wth true piety, prudence, valour, diligence, patience &c as Joshua here. Such a one should have his eyes so fastened upon Religion as no Basilisk should remove them. Such a one should be so much for the advancement of Gods pure worship that he should resolve to carry it on as far as he can, when he cannot carry it as far as he would, & tho he cannot get one soul from abroad to joyn with him in it. 24 Josh. 15.
- 4. To discover to us the very best way for the attaining of a flourishing Common wealth. Many very anxiously have disputed about this point, but the unerring word of God, in this book & elsewhere, & also experience gives full proof that there is no readier way to prosperity than to walk heedfully in the paths of piety. New-England knows very well this to be true.
- 5. To discover to us ye spiritual conduct Gods true Israel have by Christ Jesus thro ye Wilderness of this world into the other Canaan, yt blessed land afar off. Joshua both in name & deeds was a type of Christ Jesus. Joshua must convey Israel thrô ye swellings of Jordan Se put them into a peaceable possession of Canaan, the promised typicall Rest. In all which was typified what Christ Jesus doth for beleivers.
- 6. Last. To discover to us wt Xtians must look for whilst they appertain to the Church Militant, & so are warriours under ye Lord Jesus: namely laborious & hazardous combats both publick & private till they are brought to the Rest above
But so much for ye severall generall usefull instructions this book offers us.
In this book of Joshua is described
The history of Joshua’s
- Joshua’s life is set forth principally in reference to ye great office committed to him of being chief Governr over Israel to conduct them into the promised land after Moses’s death
- Touching this his Office two things are observable
- 1. His vocation to this Office 1. Chap. Wherein you find God com̄anding him to this work, instructing him in it, & encouraging him to go about it
- 2. His administration, or Execution, of this his Office, & yt
both in times of
- In time of peace after his conquest, by his distributing ye conquered land, & appointing cities of refuge, & laying out fourty & eight cities for the Levites, all which were done according to Gods fore appointing & com̄andment.
- In time of war we have an acco or narrative of his prudent, valiant, & martiall acts for dispossessing and destroying of the Canaanites. As
- 1. His Com̄anding the people by their officers to make ready for their passing over ye River Jordan. 1. Cap. 10. 10. v.
- 2. His Reminding the two tribes & a half (whose Lot was assigned them on this side Jordan) of their engagement to Moses to help their Brethren, in ye war till ye Lord had given them Rest: whereunto is annexed their profession of Obedience unto Joshua. 12. v. ad finem.
- 3. His sending, or dispatching, of two Spies to view ye Land wo being received & entertained by Rahab do therefore Covenant wth her by oaths to save her, & her houshold, & wo at their return make a faithfull & encouraging report unto their Generall Joshua. 2. Cap ⅌ totū To adnomine
- 4. Last: His, & all Israels, miraculous passage through ye River Jordan, 3. & 4. Cap.
- And so we come to this 5th Cap. wherein instead of many things (for brevity’s sake) we may take notice of two. As
- 1. Of the wonderfull terrour wch fell upon ye Canaanitish Kings upon Israel’s thus passing over ye River Jordan 5. Cap. 1. God had long before threatned them with destroying judgments but they trusting in their own strength were secure & slighted divine threatnings. But now wn they understand yt ye enemie had passed over Jordan their hearts melted, i.e. their wisdom, valour, & the like failed them.
Jordan was their great Bulwark: a defense to their whole Countrey, & therefore they feared little. They heard no doubt of Israels prodigious travelling thrô ye Red Sea. I but yt was a great while agoe. & besides very far from them, therefore this terrified ym not, or else time had eaten up yt terror. I but now the like is done near themselves, & mining enemies are upon their very banks, at the presence of whom their very Bulwark Jordan as affrighted gives way, & this strikes terrour into their sinfull souls. What ye holy Ghost sais 20. Job. 22. of the oppressor is many times fulfilled, & particularly here. In the fulness of his sufficiency he shall be in straights. When wicked men think themselves most secure many times they are most in danger. As here ye Canaanites never dreamt of any Invasion this way, on this side their Countrey because it was their strongest post but lo here they are invaded, & their defense opens to the enemy, this strikes terrour into them.
- 2. Of Joshua’s renewing Circumcision 2–10. verse. Concerning wch we may take notice of two things: namely the Causes & the Consequents thereof.
- 1. The causes of Joshua’s circumcising ye children of Israel: & they are two, namely Gods com̄and, & ye Peoples former omission.
- 1. Gods com̄and 2. v. therefore he dos it in ye 3d. verse.
- Quest: But it may be asked wt is meant by circumcising ye Second time mentioned in the 2 verse.
- Answ: Only in a very few words (thô there are wo do considerably controvert about it) It is not meant by the second time, yt those wo were already circumcised should again be circumcised, wch is inconsistent both wth Religion & Nature. Seing yt could not be cut off again wch was cut off before. But the meaning is restore the Sacrament of Circumcision, to its primitive use at ye first institution of it to Abraham & his seed wch now for a long time had been neglected, or at least omitted, if not during their abode in Egypt, yet during their travel in the wilderness. So yt not ye same individual person is com̄anded to be circumcised, wo was before circumcised, but ye same people wo were at first circumcised in their Parents, is now com̄anded to be circumcised in their children.
- 2. The peoples omission of this duty & ordinance before as you read in the 4. 5. 6. 7. verses.
- II. Now follows to be taken notice of ye consequents of Joshua’s circumcising the Israelites. Namely
- 1. Their forbearing to prosecute their Enemies ye Canaanites. 8. v. The reason was because of their present inability for war as appears in the instance of the Shechemites. 34. Gen. 25. And it is worthy our noting what a notable advantage ye Canaanites now had for doubtless they had spies abroad wo could tell them what was doing among the Israelites, I but God overawed them. Obedience to God is the best defense against the greatest hazards. 34. Exod. 23. 24.
- 2. Gods speech to Joshua hereupon. Text. And ye Lord said unto Joshua, This day have I rolled away ye Reproach of Egypt from off you. In this speech to be short we may take notice of these following things. Viz.
- 1. God tells us yt an Evil was removed, namely ye evil of Reproach. Reproach, contempt, disgrace &c wch are synonomous words every one will readily own to be an Evil. Well sais God this Evil is removed, or rolled away.
- 2. God tells us the kind or quality of this Evil or Reproach namely the Reproach of Egypt. Not a bare & naked Reproach, but a grand Reproach, a very foul Reproach indeed: the Reproach of Egypt, i.e. yt being uncircumcised they were like the Egyptians, namely profane & strangers unto God, not being interested in his covent wch is a very great shame, obloquie & Reproach to any person or people as is by & by to be hinted
- 3. God tells us wo removed this Evil, namely he himself
- 4. God tells us frō whom this Evil was removed, namely Israel. I have rolled away the Reproach of Ægypt from off you.
- 5. God tells us how he removed it, namely, by rolling it away. Now by rolling away a Reproach dos not mean only the removal of contempt disgrace & infamie but also the bestowing honour & dignity upon such: as 119. Ps. 22. Remove from me Reproach & contempt. Not as if the Psalmist aimed at nothing else in his Prayer but the removal of Reproach, but also at promotion & dignity namely yt God would so shine upon him as yt those who would be glad to Reproach & contemn him might not by providence be favoured wth any advantage so to do: but that he might be above the contempt of his wicked adversaries
- 6. Last. God tells us ye time when, the very day wherein he removed this evil from them, & so consequently & implicitely ye way whereby he did remove this evil from them, namely, by admitting ym into covenant wth himself, & confirming it unto them by his Seals the Sacraments; Circumcision mentioned in ye former verses & ye Passover mentioned in the verse following ye text.
- Doctr. It is an Egyptian-like disgrace & Reproach to any people to be out of visible & Sacramental com̄union wth God in his Ordinances, wch Ordinances when God doth gratiously bring a people to the enjoyment of, then, & thereby, God doth not only take away their former disgrace & Reproach, but also most highly exalt promote, & dignify them.43
- 1. Prop: It is an Egyptian-like disgrace & Reproach to be out of visible & Sacramentall com̄union with God in his Ordinances.
If you say how may this appear
- 1. An: From the blessed Gods account. Text. And the Lord said unto Joshua This day, have I rolled away the Reproach of Egypt from off you. i.e. This day I have freed you from that shame & dishonour which did lye upon you whilst ye were bondslaves in the Land of Egypt, by receiving you into covenant & com̄union with my self, & acknowledging yu for my peculiar people, & admitting you to have this priviledge, sealed unto you by this seal of circumcision. Or by this Reproach of Egypt may be meant yt Reproach wch did lye upon the Egyptians themselves, as upon all other Nations in yt being out of Covent wth God, & not partakers of the Seals thereof, they were Aliens, and strangers to God, in an Heathenish & damnable condition, & were so reputed, & had in abomination wth the Church & people of God. For ye was one end for which God appointed ye Sacramt of Circumcision viz, to distinguish between his own peculiar servants, & other people, as may be gathered from ye 12. Exod. 48. And hince it is yt profane Nations are characterized by their being uncircumcised & so out of Covent with God. 34. Gen. 14. 1. Sam. 14. 6. & many other places. So Sais God here: You were before Uncircumcised as ye Egyptians & other Aliene Nations. You were out of Covenant as they. There was no difference between you & my cursed enemies. This was your Reproach: your disgrace but now it is rolled away.44
- 2. An: From mans account, that is to say ye account of the best of men, godly men in all ages have lookt upon it, as indeed it is, a disgrace & Reproach to be void of visible & Sacramentall com̄union with God, & therefore have deeply bewayled such a condition. 42. Ps. 1–5. 74. Ps. 1–11. 79. Ps. ⅌ totū 80. Ps. 1–12. But I must not stay here.
- 3. An: Last in a word. From ye nature of ye thing: Because it is in such a way as God dos offer his seal up to us, & also confirm our Faith in an interest in whatsoever dos or can indeed exalt us. 17. Gen. 11. Ye shall circumcise ye flesh of your Foreskin, & it shall be a token of ye Covenant betwixt you & me. And this Circumcision sais Paul. 4. Rom. 11. was a seal of the righteousness of Faith. It was signū memorativū, introductivum, demonstrativum, prefigurativum, distinctivum.45 But I must but hint at such things. So of ye Lords Supper, sais Christ. 26. Matt. 28. This is my blood of the New-Testament, i.e. a sign & Seal thereof.
- 2. Prop: When God doth graciously bring such a people to ye enjoymt of his Ordinances, then, & thereby God doth not only take away their former Egyptian-like disgrace & Reproach but also most highly exalt dignify & promote them. Before they were Profane as other Nations: now they are holy foederally holy. Before they were grosly ignorant of their best good, last End, & way to it, now they have the knowledge hereof: & these things exalt a people above all others 147 Ps. 19. 20. 3. Rom. 1. 2 Other Nations are said to have been without God, because without Gods lively Oracles & exalting Ordinances. 2. Chr. 15. 3. where its said even of Gods Israel that they were without God, because without ye publick worship & ordinances of God. But on the other hand where God bestows his ordinances the signs of his gracious favour & presence such a people are said to be exalted, yea to be highly exalted, to be exalted unto Heaven as Christ sais of Capernaum. 11. Matt. 23.
- Reas: in one word because of the blessed presence of Christ in his Ordinances when duly attended upon. As
- 1. Christ is present there in his Royall & Kingly Majesty. 4. Rev. 1. 2. By wch heaven is by some, & very well may be, meant, not only the third heaven, but also his instituted Churches wherein as in heaven, Christ as a King sits & dwells, holding out ye Sceptre, ye golden Sceptre of grace, and offers most Royall & inestimable bounties.
- 2. Christ is present there in his Mediatoriall Beauty. 27. Ps. 4.—To behold ye beauty of ye Lord. i.e. to enjoy the blessed worship & ordinances of God’s house, wherein Christ Jesus is offered unto, & accepted of, ye beleiver, as his greatest beauty & delight.
- 3. Last: Christ is present there in wayes of Communication & bounty according to yt promise. 20. Ex. 24. Here it is ye Hammer of Gods word by ye hand of his spirit breaks ye Rocks in peices. Here it is yt ye eyes of ye blind are opened, & the ears of ye deaf are unstopped. Here it is yt ye strong man armed (the Devil) meets with one that is stronger than he (wo overmatcheth him, viz Christ Jesus) wo turns him out of his tenement, the Souls of sinners & works deliverance for the lawfull Captive. Here it is yt ye poor are filled, yea feasted: the wounded are anointed: the sorrowfull are comforted: the shagless are reduced: & ye weak confirmed &c
I aim at a word or two of use & so shall shut up wth great brevity because of the shortness & somwhat sharpness of the season; & the considerableness of time yt the remaining work calls for.
- 1. Use Information
- 1. Hince learn we to adore, & in our very souls to magnify, the free grace of God in our Lord Jesus, for the gracious distinction he is pleased to make between us in New-England and millions of others. We are all one by nature wth Egyptians, Turks, Pagans, Indians, Ethiopians, &c: but we differ vastly in holy Priveledges. If we ask ourselves, as Paul dos ye Corinthians 1. Ep. Cor. 4. 7. wo make ye difference? There is a vast difference indeed. But how comes it? Why not from any merit in us, but from the mercy of God to us as to Israel of old. 7. Deut. 6. 7. 8. It is God wo hath rolled away our disgrace & Reproach, & brought this honour & dignity upon us: & seing it is the Lords gracious doing let it be marvellous in our eyes. Sais David, when Zadock brought after him (in his flight from Absalom) ye Ark of the Covenant of God, carry it back: if I shall find favour in the eyes of the Lord he will bring me again & shew me both it & his habitation. 2. Sam. 15 24. 25. So I say we have found favour in Gods eyes, let us thankfully own it, & admire at it: & say not unto us, not unto us, or our merits, but unto Gods Name is due the glory of these distinguishing privelledges
- 2. Hince learn Ye at this place (this Village) yt God hath graciously brought you to a good day this day. This is the day wherein God is giving you hopes yt he will roll away ye Reproach of Egypt from off you. It is true indeed some of you (& yet alas but a few of you) were partakers of visible & Sacramentall com̄union wth God in his Ordinances, by virtue of your Memberships wth other Churches of our Lord Jesus. I but still you had no such settled sacred & Royall dignities, & distinguishing privelledges among your selves. The Reproach of Egypt continued in the place, thô some few persons were exempted from it. Now wt an Egyptian-like disgrace & Reproach was it for such a Number of people (so well able to maintain the Lords Ordinances) in such a land as New-England, so long to continue unlike their professing Neighbours, without ye signs & seals of the blessed Covenant of Grace? In ye eyes of God, & in the eyes of godly persons this was your Reproach. But this day God gives you hopes of rolling away this Reproach from off you.
- 3. Last: (To say no more) This doctrine serves to vindicate & justify the holy & Spirituall disquietness of such who were groaning in spirit under the want of the seals of the Covenant to be brought home to their own doors. If there are any grieved at ye restlessness of such in yt condition, let them but remember ye Reproach such were under, & that is enough to vindicate their labour after the rolling of it away. Therefore
- 2. Use may be of caution & admonition. Let none be offended at the work of this day. Do not Reproach the goodness of God: when he is about rolling away of your Reproach: let none say in their hearts, they were in as good a case before, they see not yt they were under any Reproach; or the like. I may say to such as Moses did to Korah. 16. Num. 9. Seemeth it a small thing to you yt ye God of Israel hath brought you near to himself &c
- 1. Consider by so thinking, or speaking, you contradict God himself. He calls it a rolling away of your Reproach &c
- 2. Consider by so thinking, or speaking, you will be found in Gods eyes (whatever you are in mens) guilty of a profane Esau-like spirit.
- 3. Use. Last: Exhortation
- 1. To all wo belong to this small Congregation. Oh be exhorted to meet God in the gracious work that he is this day about of rolling away your Reproach from off you, by getting into the covenant of grace, & so coming under the Seals of ye covenant.
And to yt end attend heedfully & constantly to the Preaching of the word, by wch ye spirit of God is wont first to move ye soul to entertain Christ, before it sets his Seal upon the Soul of its interest in Christ in ye Sacramts. And remember whilst you keep off from the Seals of the covenant you are maintainers of your own Reproach. The very Seals of the covenant whereby we are initiated into, & confirmed in an interest in Christ is as holy Calvin sais worth an hundered lives.46 And remember it is not the bare privation, but ye contempt of Sacraments (as Bernard sais truly47) is damnable & destructive. Therefore you cannot hereafter live without partaking of ye ordinances, but you will of necessity heighten your sins by such neglects or omissions. But I must not insist
- 2. To all of us who are more especially concerned in the work of this good day: from off whom God is rolling away our Reproach, & upon whom God is about conferring honour & dignity: Oh let us be exhorted in our places most heedfully to Beware of Reproaching & disgracing the work of this day, & for prevention thereof there is no better way in all ye world than to take direction from ye word of God how we are each of us from this day forward to behave our selves. In a word
- 1. I will begin wth my self. Much work is laid, or like to be laid, upon my weak shoulders. I will labour to sum it up in a word
I am to carry it not as a Lord, but as a Servant, yet not as mans but the Lords servant: now the greater the Master, the greater ye service.
I am to be zealous in my Masters service: to give my self wholly to these things.
I am in all godliness to labour to be exēplary.
I am to labour that my doctrine may burn, & my conversation may shine
I am to make difference between ye clean, & unclean: so as to labour to cleanse & purge the one, & confirm & strengthen the other.
As I am to give Cordials to some, so I must be sure to administer corrosives to others. And what I do this way without partial respect to persons, you must not, you cannot, you ought not to be angry, for so I am commanded. Here is some, & but some of my work, & yet here is work enough, & work hard enough: yet this must be attended, or I shall Reproach the work of this day: & therefore for my help herein I crave, & humbly challenge an interest in all your fervent Prayers who would not have your God Reproached.
- 2. I will now come to you my Brethren, & usual hearers: somthing you are to do, & not a little neither. You are to pay me that Reverence which is due to an Embassadour of Christ Jesus. You are to bear me a great deal of love. 1. Thes. 5. 13. You are indeed highly to love every Minister of Christ Jesus: but (if you can notwithstanding the vast disproportion between my self & others) you are to love me best. You are to obey me (at lest) so far as I watch for your souls. 13. Hebr. 17 You are to communicate to me of your carnall good things, both that which is stable, sufficient, & (according to your capacity) honourable: & that not as a piece of alms, or charity, but of justice & duty. 15. Rom. 27. 1. Cor. 9 11. 6. Gal. 6. 1. Tim. 5. 17. 18.
You are to pray for me, & to pray much & fervently alwayes for me, but especially when you expect to hear from God by me.
You are to endeavour by all lawfull means to make my heavy work as much as in you lyes light & cheerfull. 13. Hebr. 17. And not by unchristian like behaviour to my selfe, or one another, or other Churches of God, or any whither within or without, or to God, or man to add to my burthen, & to make my life among you grievous, & my labour among you unprofitable. So yt you see here is work enough for you also: & therefore by your leave, & in your Name, what I just now requested for my self, I will also desire for you of all praying persons that they would pray for a Sufficiency of grace yt you & I may give up a good account in the season thereof: And as every lover of Gods honour will, so let them, say Amen.