Joshua 5:5

The passage of the Jordan has been called a "priestly miracle," a natural event "turned into a miracle" by the historian for the sake of exalting the priestly office. We fail, however, to see that any such special prominence has been given to the priestly clement. It is the ark that is the medium of the miracle working power, the priests are but its servants and attendants. The ark, as the symbol and throne of the Divine presence, is the centre around which all the supernatural glory of the incident gathers. Indeed, there is rather a notable subordination of the priestly element at this period of Hebrew history. Joshua did not belong to the priestly order any more than Moses did. There was no sacerdotal rule. The twelve men who gathered these memorial stones from the bed of the river were not priests, but men chosen by the tribes for that particular work. The priestly functions were not those most brought into prominence by these incidents. There is no sign of anything like undue homage being paid to the priesthood at that period, and even as regards the religion of the people it was, as Stanley says, "a part of the mechanism of that religion rather than its animating spirit." The raising of these stones, then, to commemorate the great event that had just taken place, was the act of the whole people through their chosen representatives. Two piles of stones were raised: the one by direct Divine command; at Gilgal, where the Israelites rested for the night after the passage, and where they observed their first passover in the land of Canaan; the other, apparently without Divine command, on the other side, at the spot where the feet of the priests first touched the brink of the flooded river. The words of Joshua present them in two lights before us:

(1) As a memorial for the men of that generation, and

(2) as a means of instruction for their children.

I. A MEMORIAL FOR THAT GENERATION. The wisdom of God is seen in the command to raise such a memorial. It meets that weakness in human nature by which it comes to pass that the most sacred impressions are prone to die - the lapse of time and the succeeding waves of circumstance obliterate them. Most Divine institutions have rested on this principle. God "set his bow in the cloud" a sign and pledge of His faithfulness. The Sabbath was intended to quicken in men the sense of their Divine relations and their longing for the "rest that remaineth." The passover and other feasts were to be "for memorials;" and when Christ said to His disciples, "Do this in remembrance of me," He asserted the same principle. The sign was to be a stimulus to spiritual apprehension and a help to faith. The history of the olden times is full of examples of the way in which men, as by a natural instinct, have sought to create for themselves some permanent record of the most momentous experiences of their life, by the names they gave to certain scenes, or by the erection of altars, etc. (Abraham at Mount Moriah, "Jehovah Jireh," Genesis 22:19; Jacob at Bethel, Genesis 28:18; Moses at Rephidim, Exodus 17:14; Samuel at Mizpeh, "Ebenezer," 1 Samuel 7:12). All memorials of this kind have their outlook towards the past and towards the future. They serve a double purpose; they keep alive precious memories and awaken buoyant hopes, they excite gratitude and strengthen faith. We do well to set up such way marks in the pilgrimage of our life. Their value lies not so much in the fact that they record the extraordinary - that which happened once and is not likely to happen again - but rather in the fact that they link the past with the future. They show us that through all change something abides. Our nature is the same in its needs, dangers, responsibilities; God is the same in His loving regard for us and His power to deliver. Every passing experience of His grace is a pledge that He will not fail us in emergencies yet to come. Anything is good that deepens this impression, provokes to thankfulness, and rebukes distrust. The darkest passages in our history thus 'leave benedictions behind them, are transformed into occasions of triumphant joy:

"Out of our stony griefs
Bethels we raise."

II. A MEANS OF INSTRUCTION FOR THEIR CHILDREN. "When your children shall ask their fathers," etc. A glimpse here of the simplicity and sanctity of domestic relations which was so important a feature of ancient Hebrew life. The authority of the father over his children almost absolute and unlimited. Something terrible in its despotism, if it had not been modified and softened by certain provisions defining parental duty. Instruction in the sacred traditions of the nation, its memories and hopes - an obligation continually enforced (see Exodus 12:26, 27; Exodus 12:14; Deuteronomy 6:7-20, et seq.).

1. The beauty and worth of a spirit of inquiry in children. It is natural for the child to ask questions. A boundless realm of mystery lies all around the awakening mind, and an irresistible instinct moves it to inquire, "Why these things? What mean ye by these services?" The contact of mind with mind is needful in order to development, and of whom should the children ask, but of "their fathers," for the solution of the problems that perplex them? The most notable chapter, the only recorded chapter, in the early development of Jesus is that scene in which we behold Him in the temple, "sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them and asking them questions."

2. The generous, sympathetic response this spirit of inquiry should meet with. No tender sensibility of childhood is to be suppressed, least of all any that may lead to the discovery of truth. The inquisitiveness of the child is a precious faculty that demands to be rightly directed. The indifference of many parents to the stirrings of the spirit of inquiry in their children arises from selfish indolence, and is a cruel wrong. No doubt children will often ask questions which the wisest cannot answer, but at least let the difficulty be frankly confessed; let the ground and reason of it be defined in a way adapted to the young intelligence. The very disappointment then becomes a means of Divine instruction. The higher interests of our being - the laws of God's government, the revelations of His love, the workings of His Providence and Spirit - let these especially be unfolded. What nobler office can any parent perform than to mediate between the mind of his child and the mystery of the Unseen - to lift up the veil that hides God's glory, to explain and justify His ways, to be the medium of His truth and Spirit to the young requiring soul?

3. The practical result at which all instruction should aim. "That ye might fear the Lord your God forever." The miracle, the memorial, the teaching, all find here their ultimate issue. All subordinate purposes must lead on to this - the showing forth of God's glory, and the submission of His intelligent creatures to Him in reverence and godly fear. "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter," etc. (Ecclesiastes 12:13). ? W.

Make thee sharp knives and circumcise.
Even those comparatively unenlightened people must have realised that there was deep spiritual significance in the administration of that rite at that juncture. On more than one occasion they had heard Moses speak of circumcising the heart, and they must have felt that God meant to teach them the vanity of trusting to their numbers, or prowess, or martial array. Their strength was nothing to Him. The land was not to be won by their might, but to be taken from His hand as a gift. Self and the energy of the flesh must be set aside, that the glory of coming victory might be of God and not of man. We must be content to be reckoned among the things that are not, if we are to be used to bring to nought the things that are, "that no flesh should glory in His presence." We, too, must have our Gilgal. It is not enough to acknowledge as a general principle that we are dead and risen with Christ, we must apply it to our inner and outer life. We have no warrant to say that sin is dead, or that the principle of sin is eradicated, but that we are dead to it in our standing, and are dead to it also in the reckoning of faith. But for this we need the gift of the Blessed Spirit, in His Pentecostal fulness. It was by the Eternal Spirit that our Lord offered Himself in death upon the Cross, and it is by Him alone that we can mortify the deeds of the body. For, first, the spirit of self is so subtle. It is like a taint in the blood, which, stayed in one place, breaks out in another. Protean in its shapes and ubiquitous in its hiding-places, it requires omniscience to discover, and omnipresence to expel. And, secondly, only the Spirit of God has cords strong enough to bind us to the altar of death; to remind us in the hour of temptation; to enable us to look to Jesus for His grace; to inspire us with the passion of self-immolation; to keep us true and steady to the resolves of our holiest moments; to apply the withering fire of the Cross of Jesus to the growth of our self-conceit and self-energy — for all these the grace of the Spirit is indispensable. He is the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, therefore He must be the Spirit of death to all that pertains to the old Adam. There is a sense in which all believers have been circumcised in Christ; but there is another sense in which it is needful for them to pass one after another through the circumcision of Christ which is not made with hands, and which consists in the putting off of the body of the flesh. To that all who would lead a life of victory and inherit the land of promise must submit. The process may be sharp, for the knife does not spare pain. But it is in the hands of Jesus, the lover of souls. Oh, shrink not from it!

(F. B Meyer, B. A.)

The more a man learns of God, the more he knows of grace. If we would apply to ourselves spiritually the lessons of the circumcision in the land, we must give the grace of God, which led to the circumcision, full place, and remember that God asks for the devotion of His people, because He has, in Christ, brought them into perfect favour. Was it by observing God's ordinances, or was it through God's almighty grace that Israel entered the land of promise? They entered it as a nation in uncircumcision, and therefore exclusively by God's sovereign grace. And why did God not seek for circumcision from the people of Israel, so long as they walk in the wilderness? The wilderness was the scene of their distrust of God. A distrusting spirit is ignorant of God's real character, and consequently is not morally fitted for separation to Himself; but God, having brought us by His grace to know ourselves to be in the heavenly places in Christ, seeks separation to Himself, corresponding with the liberty into which He has brought us. Grace known and realised is the only true power for heart separation to God. Circumcision with Israel was merely a carnal ordinance, and, in common with all ordinances, gave neither power for communion with God, nor for conflict with His enemies. It was a sign that the children of Israel were God's earthly family, and a people separated from all the rest of mankind. The circumcision made without hands, with which the Christian is circumcised, in Christ, is a separation to God from the whole world. As the people of Israel, because brought through the Jordan, were enjoined by God to be circumcised, and their careless wilderness ways were allowed no longer, so the Christian, because he has died with Christ to the world, and to his old self, is exhorted to mortify his members, and his worldly ways are no longer permitted. This mortification is simply self-denial, by the power of the Holy Spirit. Man naturally loves sin; he loves his own way which is the essence of sin; but he who lives in Christ is called to die to himself in daily walk and conduct. There is no way of living to Christ but by dying to self. It was by no means sufficient to Israel to know that they went across the Jordan, in order to enjoy the riches of the inheritance; for until circumcision was effected none of Canaan's food was spread before them, nor were they called to conflict. And we may be sure that so long as we walk in the flesh and please ourselves, there can be no communion — no feeding upon Christ. Neither can there be any victories for the Lord, unless self is subdued. Satan would beguile the youthful believer into the misty atmosphere of a Canaan of the imagination, where the flesh is allowed to work. In this aerial Christianity, circumcision — self-mortification — is not permitted; the practical result of being dead. with Christ is not allowed to wound the will. But there is no stability of soul, no solid devotedness. Such a believer is like the insect, which, well-nigh composed of wings, and possessing scarcely any weight, is driven from the flower garden by the first storm. Sorrowful as is the result of letting the imagination carry away the soul, perhaps the effect of accepting Divine truth in intellectualism is more so. A Christian holding the doctrine of death with Christ, and resurrection with Christ, in the understanding only, goes out from the sunlight of God's presence into a land of deathlike coldness. If circumcision in its spiritual signification were rightly valued, such abuses of the truth of God would certainly find no place in the believer's heart. To mortify our members is not a painless exercise. Saying, "We are dead," is not mortifying; but it is to deny the wishes of our old nature because "we are dead" (Romans 8:13). The mere fact of the people of Israel's entrance into Canaan did not constitute them at liberty before God. They were brought into the land of promise by the passage of the Jordan, but were not pronounced free by Jehovah until circumcised. God's liberty for His people is that of His own making, and therefore perfect. It is what He thoroughly approves and delights in. And the means by which, step by step, He brings His people into the enjoyment of this liberty, is grace. If we are God's free men, it is evidently in the land of promise that we have liberty, for only in the fulness of God's favour can we experience His rolling away the reproach of our bondage.

(The Gospel in the Book of Joshua.)

Some have said that, owing to the circumstances in which the people were, it would not have been convenient, perhaps hardly possible, to administer the rite on the eighth day. Moving as they were from place to place, the administration of circumcision would often have caused so much pain and peril to the child, that it is no wonder it was delayed. And once delayed, it was delayed indefinitely. But this explanation is not sufficient. There were long, very long periods of rest, during which there could have been no difficulty. A better explanation, brought forward by Calvin, leads us to connect the suspension of circumcision with the punishment of the Israelites, and with the sentence that doomed them to wander forty years in the wilderness. When the worship of the golden calf took place, the nation was rejected, and the breaking by Moses of the two tables of stone seemed an appropriate sequel to the rupture of the covenant which their idolatry had caused. And though they were soon restored, they were not restored without certain drawbacks — tokens of the Divine displeasure. Probably the suspension of circumcision was included in the punishment of their sins. They were not to be allowed to place on their children the sign and seal of a covenant which in spirit and in reality they had broken. But it was not an abolition, only a suspension. The time might come when it would be restored. The natural time for this would be the end of the forty years of chastisement. These forty years have now come to an end. Doubtless it would have been a great joy to Moses if it had been given him to see the restoration of circumcision, but that was not to take place until the people had set foot on Abraham's land. We may well think of it as an occasion of great rejoicing. The visible token of his being one of God's children was now borne by every man and boy in the camp. In a sense they now proved themselves heirs to the covenant made with their fathers, and might thus rest with firmer trust on the promise — "I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee." Two other points demand a word of explanation. The first is the statement that "all the people that were born in the wilderness... they had not circumcised" (ver. 5). If the view be correct that the suspension of circumcision was part of the punishment for their sins, the prohibition would not come into operation for some months, at all events, after the exodus from Egypt. We think, with Calvin, that for the sake of brevity the sacred historian makes a general statement without waiting to explain the exceptions to which it was subject. The other point needing explanation is the Lord's statement after the circumcision (ver. 9). The words imply that, owing to the want of this sacrament, they had lain exposed to a reproach from the Egyptians, which was now rolled away. What seems the most likely explanation is, that when the Egyptians heard how God had all but repudiated them in the wilderness, and had withdrawn from them the sign of His covenant, they malignantly crowed over them, and denounced them as a worthless race, who had first rejected their lawful rulers in Egypt under pretext of religion, and, having shown their hypocrisy, were now scorned and cast off by the very God whom they had professed themselves so eager to serve. But now the tables are turned on the Egyptians. The restoration of circumcision stamps this people once more as the people of God.

(G. W. Blaikie, D. D.)

By this reproach we are to understand all that stigma which clung to Israel through its relation to Egypt. This stigma had two aspects, an inner and an outer; an active and a passive. It consisted in that feeling of humiliation and self-reproach, which must have rested on the heart of every intelligent and pious Israelite during the wilderness wanderings. And it also consisted in the feeling of scorn and contempt with which their great oppressors the Egyptians must have looked upon them during all that period. In its inward aspect, the reproach of Egypt was caused by spiritual assimilation to Egypt. Moses had said, "The Lord will put a difference between the Egyptians and Israel." This difference was manifested in many striking ways, during the progress of Israel's gradual emancipation. But when this rite was in abeyance, this difference was lost in a measure. Physically, there was no difference between the children born in Egypt after the Exodus and those born in the wilderness. Circumcision was, as it were, God's brand on His people marking them for His own. Its lack proclaimed that they were "Lo Ammi," not God's people. But there could be no greater outward stigma than this. It was Israel's glory to be Jehovah's peculiar people and to bear in their bodies the seal of His covenant. From this height of privilege they looked down on all men. For an Israelite, therefore, to consider his position during the forty years, would be to acknowledge that there was no difference, so far, between him and an Egyptian. Jehovah was no longer, in this mode of outward recognition, his God. But there was a deeper and more potent assimilation, of which the outward and physical was only the sign. There was on the part of Israel assimilation to Egypt in spirit. They reproached God for their redemption, saying that He had brought them from Egypt to destroy them; they actually went the length of appointing a leader to guide them back to the house of bondage. What could be more grievous than such sin? what could more plainly show their assimilation in heart to Egypt? Therefore to a pious and penitent Israelite there was here cause for the deepest abasement. His cry in self-reproach would be, "My sin is ever before me." This also would be implied in the inner aspect of the reproach of Egypt. But in addition to this inner aspect of the reproach, there is also the outer to be considered. The reproach of Egypt not only consisted in those feelings which must have taken possession of a pious Israelite, but also in those taunts which must have been hurled at them by Egypt. Their haughty taskmasters would no doubt make their former bondmen a subject of reproach and mocking scorn. They would look down upon them, and speak of them with unutterable contempt. They would describe them as a despicable race of worthless runaways. And they would also find good cause for merriment in the prolonged wanderings in the wilderness. "Where are all their high hopes?" they might have said. "They have ended in smoke. A great deal better off they are now than they were with us, hungering and thirsting in that desert, instead of living on the fat of the land! A nice wild-goose chase that famous Moses has led them." Such was the reproach of Egypt; but here and now it is rolled away. By this act at Gilgal Israel is no longer assimilated to Egypt in body. The knives of flint have again put a difference between Israel and Egypt. Each man bears in his body the mark of Jehovah's covenant. And seeing the land of Canaan was God's gift to them as Abraham's seed, and to Abraham's seed as faithful to Jehovah, i.e., as circumcised, this act was a Divine and formal conveyance of the land to these men of Israel. Thus at Gilgal the title-deeds of Canaan were signed, sealed, and delivered; and thus again, the reproach of Egypt was rolled away. Israel is no longer a homeless wanderer but an heir of God. Also the assimilation to Egypt in spirit has come to an end. No longer are they uncircumcised in heart. Never again do they cast a longing, lingering look behind. Surely this transaction is also recorded for our instruction and reproof. Gilgal says, "Put off the old man with his affections and lusts; put off all moral and spiritual assimilation to the world. Crucify the flesh and its deceitful lusts. Mortify the deeds of the body." The great need of the present age is to be brought in spirit to Gilgal, i.e., to learn to the very centre of our souls the spirit of self-sacrifice. The process may be painful, like cutting off a right arm or plucking out a right eye; yet it is the necessary sequel of entrance into God's inheritance. And as it is the necessary sequel of entrance, so is it the necessary prelude to worship and to victory. There can be no true worship of God except our hearts are cleansed from the filthiness of the flesh. There can be no true victory for God, either within or without, except our souls are purged from the power of sin.

(A. B. Mackay.)

The need, the tokens, and the blessedness of this revival are set before us.

(1)Its need appears in the reproach of Egypt.

(2)Its tokens are the restoration of ordinances.

(3)Its blessedness consists in the return of favour.

I. Let us first dwell upon the need of Israel's revival, as seen in THE REPROACH OF EGYPT. There are many among us who have indeed left Egypt. To the questions, "Is the Lord among us, or not? — Are we His people?" they can humbly answer "Yes"; for He has given them sure pledges of their interest in the everlasting covenant. And yet, if asked to give a reason of the hope that is in them, they would not be ready. The answer of faith can scarce find utterance amid the sins and shortcomings that compass them round, and testify against them. Their words, their tempers, their works, their experiences, all seem to give the lie to their Christian profession and to their hope. The world of unbelievers, too, joins issue against them, and, discerning their failures and inconsistencies, derides their religion, calls them hypocrites, and prophesies their doom. This "reproach of Egypt," lies heavy upon God's saints who thus walk in darkness.

II. The narrative goes on to tell of the tokens of Israel's revival, as seen in THE RESTORATION OF ORDINANCES. As the sacrament of baptism perpetuates and expands the teaching of the rite of circumcision, so that of the Lord's Supper repeats the lessons of the Passover. The Christian ordinance looks back, as the Jewish sacrifice looked forward, to the death of Jesus as our substitute. Since the fall of Adam, there has been but this one way of salvation. May we, amid our fuller privileges, and clearer light, approach the same God whom Israel worshipped, confiding in the same atonement, and renew our covenant with Him in the breaking of bread, and the drinking of the cup of blessing. Our feast similarly commemorates the past, the present, and the future: for we herein shew forth an accomplished redemption, our own reconciliation thereby, and our participation in our Saviour's love at the marriage feast above.

III. It remains for us now to speak of the blessedness of Israel's revival, as seen in THE RETURN OF FAVOUR.

1. First, the Lord expressly declares to Joshua, as the head and representative of the nation, "This day have I rolled away the reproach of Egypt from off you." Blessed assurance!

2. Beside the answer of God to Joshua, a second gracious token was granted. The enemy was still as a stone. With blanched cheeks and palpitating hearts, the Canaanites looked on and saw the people all en-camped at Gilgal. Now, shall not Israel, with soldierly decision, seize on the opportunity, and ere they have recovered from their panic, strike a decisive blow, and so possess the land? Such is not the Lord's order: but until the fourteenth day of the month the men of war are shut up in their tents; and then, as though in a land of peace, during a full week the Passover is kept throughout their families.

3. Was it not providentially ordered by a loving Father that Israel should be brought into the land at the time of harvest? Thus temporal supplies shall not fail those whom God accepts and approves: thus, also, spiritual provision shall never fail God's people.

4. The close of the chapter presents us with a fourth token of the return of favour to Israel, in the manifestation to Joshua of the great Angel of the Covenant, with His drawn sword lifted, not in vengeance against Israel, but against their foes. This was the promised angel who should go before them, and lead them to victory.

(G. W. Butler, M. A.

I. ATTENTION TO THE SPECIAL SERVICES WHICH WE OWE TO GOD OUGHT TO STAND BEFORE ALL OTHER CONSIDERATIONS. What is religion? The question seems a simple one; but, indeed, it is one the true answer to which involves a great deal. The term is a most comprehensive one, including all that men should believe and all that men should do. A religious person is one whose heart has been imbued with Christian truth, and whose affection has laid hold on God as revealed in the Scriptures with a firm grasp; a person whose life, regulated increasingly by such principles, manifests more and more of the beauty of holiness. In religion, then, we come to deal with the doctrine and the practice of the Bible. It tells of what may alarm, and what may soothe. It shows a reality of wretchedness, want, guilt and death in which men are by nature; and a reality of joy, perfection, righteousness and life in which they may be by grace. It appeals to men as immortal beings, urges on them the consideration of their immortal interests, and in the words of Him, around whom all true religion circles and to whom it is intended to lead, charges all thus: "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness." I would ask you, seriously, should not this matter have our first and most solemn consideration? Is there any matter which ought to engage us before this?

II. WE MAY REPOSE IMPLICIT CONFIDENCE IN GOD WHILE WALKING IN HIS WAYS AND AIMING AT HIS GLORY. Men are never losers by religion. The man who can style himself servant of Christ has a Master whose service is the guarantee for every possible good. Affairs and matters come to be so differently weighed and estimated, when heavenly wisdom is granted for the test, that it is no wonder to find men reckoning gains and losses, probabilities and duties, by a standard the reverse of that which they formerly used. What if we had accosted the leader of the hosts of Israel when he promulgated the order for observing circumcision and the Passover at Gilgal? Suppose that we had said, Strike your decisive blow; push on at once; select your picked men, and leave the rest to fortify your position, and to take care of the women and children; go straight up to Jericho. Your rite of circumcision Will render you defenceless, your paschal feast is hardly fitted to such a critical position and such unusual circumstances as yours. Suppose that we had argued with Joshua thus. Would not his reply have been, "We can trust God: we know Him. He has said, 'I will not fail you, nor forsake you'"?

(C. D. Marston, M. A.)

Dr. James Hamilton once related an anecdote which illustrates a vital question in the Christian life. A writer recounts it as follows: "A gallant officer was pursued by an overwhelming force, and his followers were urging him to greater speed, when he discovered that his saddle-girth was becoming loose. He coolly dismounted, repaired the girth by tightening the buckle, and then dashed away. The broken buckle would have left him on the field a prisoner; the wise delay to repair damages sent him on in safety amid the huzzas of his comrades." The Christian who is in such haste to get about his business in the morning that he neglects his Bible and his season of prayer rides all day with a broken buckle.

Amorites, Canaanites, Israelites, Joshua
Canaan, Egypt, Gibeath-haaraloth, Gilgal, Jericho, Jordan River
Along, Birth, Born, Circumcised, Circumcision, Desert, During, Egypt, Forth, Journey, Though, Undergone, Waste, Wilderness, Yet
1. The Canaanites are afraid
2. Joshua renews circumcision
10. The Passover is kept at Gilgal
12. manna ceases
13. An angel appears to Joshua

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Joshua 5:4-8

     7335   circumcision, physical

The Captain of the Lord's Host
And he said, Nay, but as captain of the host of the Lord am I now come. JOSHUA v. 14. The army of Israel was just beginning a hard conflict under an untried leader. Behind them the Jordan barred their retreat, in front of them Jericho forbade their advance. Most of them had never seen a fortified city, and had no experience nor engines for a siege. So we may well suppose that many doubts and fears shook the courage of the host, as it drew around the doomed city. Their chief had his own heavy burden.
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

Whether the Rite of Circumcision was Fitting?
Objection 1: It seems that the rite of circumcision was unfitting. For circumcision, as stated above ([4474]AA[1],2), was a profession of faith. But faith is in the apprehensive power, whose operations appear mostly in the head. Therefore the sign of circumcision should have been conferred on the head rather than on the virile member. Objection 2: Further, in the sacraments we make use of such things as are in more frequent use; for instance, water, which is used for washing, and bread, which we
Saint Thomas Aquinas—Summa Theologica

Whether Circumcision Bestowed Sanctifying Grace?
Objection 1: It seems that circumcision did not bestow sanctifying grace. For the Apostle says (Gal. 2:21): "If justice be by the Law, then Christ died in vain," i.e. without cause. But circumcision was an obligation imposed by the Law, according to Gal. 5:3: "I testify . . . to every man circumcising himself, that ne is a debtor to do the whole law." Therefore, if justice be by circumcision, "Christ died in vain," i.e. without cause. But this cannot be allowed. Therefore circumcision did not confer
Saint Thomas Aquinas—Summa Theologica

Stones Crying Out
'For the priests which bare the ark stood in the midst of Jordan, until every thing was finished that the Lord commanded Joshua to speak unto the people, according to all that Moses commanded Joshua: and the people hasted and passed over. 11. And it came to pass, when all the people were clean passed over, that the ark of the Lord passed over, and the priests, in the presence of the people. 12. And the children of Reuben, and the children of Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh, passed over armed
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Torments of Giant Bad Feelings
THE TORMENTS OF GIANT BAD FEELINGS I am just a bundle of feelings. I never imagined one could have such a variety of them as I am now experiencing. Most of them are bad ones and I am greatly disturbed by them. Really, I doubt whether I am sanctified, on account of the feelings I have. Do sanctified people always feel joyful? I have heard that they do, and if it is true that they do, then I am not sanctified. Big doubts take up company with me every morning, and so long as I feel as I do I do not
Robert Lee Berry—Adventures in the Land of Canaan

Gilgal, in Deuteronomy 11:30 what the Place Was.
That which is said by Moses, that "Gerizim and Ebal were over-against Gilgal," Deuteronomy 11:30, is so obscure, that it is rendered into contrary significations by interpreters. Some take it in that sense, as if it were near to Gilgal: some far off from Gilgal: the Targumists read, "before Gilgal": while, as I think, they do not touch the difficulty; which lies not so much in the signification of the word Mul, as in the ambiguity of the word Gilgal. These do all seem to understand that Gilgal which
John Lightfoot—From the Talmud and Hebraica

Of Preparation.
That a Christian ought necessarily to prepare himself before he presume to be a partaker of the holy communion, may evidently appear by five reasons:-- First, Because it is God's commandment; for if he commanded, under the pain of death, that none uncircumcised should eat the paschal lamb (Exod. xii. 48), nor any circumcised under four days preparation, how much greater preparation does he require of him that comes to receive the sacrament of his body and blood? which, as it succeeds, so doth it
Lewis Bayly—The Practice of Piety

Peaceable Principles and True: Or, a Brief Answer to Mr. D'Anver's and Mr. Paul's Books against My Confession of Faith, and Differences in Judgment About Baptism no Bar to Communion.
WHEREIN THEIR SCRIPTURELESS NOTIONS ARE OVERTHROWN, AND MY PEACEABLE PRINCIPLES STILL MAINTAINED. 'Do ye indeed speak righteousness, O congregation? do ye judge uprightly, O ye sons of men?'--Psalm 58:1 SIR, I have received and considered your short reply to my differences in judgment about water baptism no bar to communion; and observe, that you touch not the argument at all: but rather labour what you can, and beyond what you ought, to throw odiums upon your brother for reproving you for your error,
John Bunyan—The Works of John Bunyan Volumes 1-3

Fragrant Spices from the Mountains of Myrrh. "Thou Art all Fair, My Love; There is no Spot in Thee. " --Song of Solomon iv. 7.
FRAGRANT SPICES FROM THE MOUNTAINS OF MYRRH. HOW marvellous are these words! "Thou art all fair, My love; there is no spot in thee." The glorious Bridegroom is charmed with His spouse, and sings soft canticles of admiration. When the bride extols her Lord there is no wonder, for He deserves it well, and in Him there is room for praise without possibility of flattery. But does He who is wiser than Solomon condescend to praise this sunburnt Shulamite? Tis even so, for these are His own words, and were
Charles Hadden Spurgeon—Till He Come

The book of Joshua is the natural complement of the Pentateuch. Moses is dead, but the people are on the verge of the promised land, and the story of early Israel would be incomplete, did it not record the conquest of that land and her establishment upon it. The divine purpose moves restlessly on, until it is accomplished; so "after the death of Moses, Jehovah spake to Joshua," i. 1. The book falls naturally into three divisions: (a) the conquest of Canaan (i.-xii.), (b) the settlement of the
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament

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