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THE FAITH OF CALEB AND JOSHUA.
Joshua and Caleb, through faith, passed over Jordan and entered the promised land. When Moses sent out the twelve spies to view and explore the country, he said, "Getyou up this way southward, and go up into the mountain, and see the land what it is, and the people that dwelleth therein, whether they be strong or weak, few or many; and what the land is that they dwell in, whether it be good or bad, and what cities they be that they dwell in, whether in tents or in strong holds, and what the land is, whether it be fat or lean, whether there be wood therein or not; and be ye of good courage, and bring of the fruit of the land. Now the time was the time of the first‑ripe grapes," Num. 13:17‑20.
They went to and viewed the land, even as Moses had commanded them by the mouth of the Lord, and after forty days they came to Moses and Aaron, and to the whole congregation in the wilderness of Paran to Kadesh, carrying with them grapes, pomegranates and figs, saying, "We came unto the land whither thou sentest us, and surely it floweth with milk and honey, and this is the fruit of it. Moreover, we saw the children of Anak there. And Caleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, Let us go up at once and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it. But the men that went up with him said, we be not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we. And they brought up an evil report of the land which they had searched unto the children of Israel, saying, The land through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof, and all the people that we saw in it are men of great stature; and there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants; and we were in our own sight as 127grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight," Num. 13:27‑33.
"And all the congregation lifted up their voice and cried; and the people wept that night, and all the children of Israel murmured against Moses and against Aaron; and the whole congregation said unto them, Would to God that we had died in the land of Egypt, or would to God we had died in the wilderness, and wherefore hath the Lord brought us unto this land, to fall by the sword, that our wives and our children should be a prey? Were it not better for us to return into Egypt? And they said one to another, Let us make a captain, and let us return into Egypt. Then Moses and Aaron fell on their faces before all the assembly of the congregation of the children of Israel. And Joshua and Caleb rent their clothes; and they spake unto all the company of the children of Israel, saying, the land which we passed through to search it, is an exceeding good land. If the Lord delight in us, then he will bring us into this land and give it us; a land which floweth with milk and honey. Only rebel not ye against the Lord, neither fear ye the people of the land, for they are bread for us; their defence is departed from them, and the Lord is with us; fear them not. But all the congregation bade, stone them with stones," Num. 14:1‑10.
Behold, dear reader, it is because these two faithful men believed the word and promise of God, with all their hearts, that they trusted firmly in his Almighty power, paternal mercy and great works, as if they had already obtained them. They saw the heinous unbelief and heard the bitter murmuring of their brethren, that they thereby detracted from the Almighty Majesty, as if he were not able to fulfil his promises unto them, and that he had deceived them by his enticing words, therefore, they were very sorrowful and sad, and rent their clothes, as has been said. And therefore they were the only two persons of six hundred thousand, that came with Moses out of Egypt, who entered into the promised land. All the rest died in the wilderness during the time of forty years, and they did not reach the promised land, because they did not believe on the Almighty God, the God of their fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, who with such unheard‑of signs and wonders, led them through the Red Sea, and so graciously upheld and guarded them in the wilderness.
Thus, alas, it is with some at the present day. They have spied the pleasant land, have seen and tasted its precious fruits, have been enlightened by the word of the Lord, have tasted the heavenly gifts, have partaken of the Holy Ghost, have tasted of the sweet word of God, and the power of the world to come, and have beheld the grace of the Lord, but since they do not consult God, but their own sinful, disobedient, evil flesh, which always seeks its own pleasure, and will not willingly bear the cross of the Lord. They behold with carnal eyes, and see that so many powerful tyrants and fenced cities are arrayed against them, that they have to pass a howling wilderness, and must ascend many high mountains; that they mustgive as a prey, honor, money, possessions, wife, children, body and life; hence they murmur against Moses and Aaron, and seek to stone Joshua and Caleb. They cause their poor teachers and leaders, who with true love direct to the word and examples of Christ, and preach the pure truth, such intolerable suffering. They backbite and defame them beyond measure, and choose for themselves, here and there a captain, false prophet or teacher, who, with fair words and under the appearance of good, lead them back to Egypt. They prefer temporal to eternal things, they fear perishing man more than the immortal, eternal God, the Lord and Creator of the world. With unbelieving, carnal Israel, they say in their hearts, We are not strong enough to go up against this great and strong people, and are not able to obey the doctrine, ordinances and example of Christ, for all the world is against us, all lords and princes persecute us, the preachers and priests upbraid and defame us, and we must become a by‑word and a derision to all the world. We are much too weak to bear such great misery, therefore they want to transfer it to the Lord. Thus you think and err, for your unbelieving, carnal hearts have so blinded you, that you know not the righteous judgment of God, you hope not that a 128holy life shall be rewarded, and esteem not the honor of an unblamable soul.
Dear reader, take warning, for as true as the Lord lives, I tell you, that all those who thus cast aside the word of the Lord, again become unbelieving in God, and become se earthly and carnal‑minded that they fear those whom they ought not to fear; and fear not those whom they should fear; who think more of the perishable creatures, such as home, lands, gold, silver, wife, children, body and life, than of the everlasting God and his eternal kingdom, and have a greater desire to enjoy in peace, for a season, the dark Egypt of this ungodly world, than to inherit the pleasant fruitful land, in endless peace with God; such shall all fall in the wilderness, and unless they repent, shall never enter into his rest, Heb. 4:1.
But those who, with Joshua and Caleb, hold firmly to the word of the Lord; who firmly believe on Christ, as the Scriptures direct; who are firmly assured in their hearts by the Holy Ghost, that God will not fail in a single word, but that he will fulfill, in its time, all that he has promised; who are not prevailed on by the gates of hell; who suffer not themselves to be deceived by the subtle lies and philosophy of the learned; who are not frightened by the tyranny of the blood‑thirsty; who are not vanquished by carnal lusts; nor enchanted by the fine appearance of false prophets, but walk humbly in the King's highway; who follow Christ, their Shepherd and Leader, and judge all their ways by his Spirit, word, and unblamable example; who turn not aside, neither to the right hand, nor to the left; behold they are those who will victoriously enter the spiritual, promised land, the eternal rest and peace, God's eternal kingdom and glory, with all the saints and believers, and through grace, eternally inherit it with Christ, as Joshua and Caleb inherited the figurative land through faith, and with their children inherit it. O children believe. "All things," says Christ, "are possible to him that believeth," Mark 9:23.
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