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margin of the river. The priests who bore the ark coti. taining the testimony of God's covenant, stept fearlessly into the water, although it was now the time of barley harvest, when Jordan receiving the melted snow from the mountains of Libanus, overflows its banks. There they halted, in obedience to the orders they had received, and lo! the promised miracle appears! A passage, such as had been made for their fathers through the Red Sea, was opened through the Jordan for them, “ the waters above, rising up on an beap before the city of Adam” far beyond the place where the laraelites stood, and those below, flowing rapidly on towards the Dead Sea, whilst the wondering people passed over the dried channel!
CHARLES. That was indeed a signal instance of divine favour-yet the Jordan is, I believe, but a little stream ?
Mrs. M. Your sister, whose geographical knowledge is somewhat fresher than mine, can tell you its size.
CATHERINE. It is a little stream in comparison withi many other rivers, though it is the most considerable in all that region. It is said by some writers to take its name from Jor, a stream, and Dan, a city near its source in the mountains of Lebanon. Passing through the lakes of Samochon and Tiberias, in a course nearly south, and augmented by several rivulets-particularly the wellknown brook Cedron-it terminates in the Dead Sea. Its whole length does not much exceed an hundred miles. It is now so diminished in breadth as to be not more than twenty yards; but it is deep and rapid.
CHARLES. It might however have been forded, for the pursuers of the spies were directed to seek them “ by the fords.” Why then was a miracle performed, for which there seems to have been no necessity ?
MRS. M. There were fords--though, perhaps, not a convenient passage
for a multitude of men, women, and children. Besides, it was the pleasure of the Almighty to indulge the natural timidity of the Israelites, and reprove, at the same time, their habitual distrust of his protection. But the particular reason assigned for the exhibition of this miracle—was to “ magnify their new conductor in their sight,” that they might certainly know that “the Lord of Hosts was with Joshua as he had been with Moses." All their permanent statutes had been communicated immediately to Moses, and by that honoured servant delivered to the chosen nation. In the prosecution of their journey, and the conquest of Canaan, Joshua was likewise to be distinguished above his brethren. When he therefore commanded the priests to stand still in the river—the waters were separated! He then called the twelve men whoin he had selected for this service, and directed them to pass over before the Ark, carrying with them twelve stones from the midst of Jordan to the opposite shore.
The forty thousand from the tribes of Reuben, of Gad and Manasseh, then led the van, and the whole congregation of Israel followed. Twelve stones were set up in the bed of the river, where the sacred Tabernacle rested—the priests still waiting until all was finished. At the command of Joshua, they came up out of the channel of the river, and the waters returned to their place, “ overflowing all their banks as they did before !” That night they encamped between Jordan and Jericho, at a place called Gilgal, and there the twelve stones which they had borne from the midst of the channel were erected for a testimony to their children of the miracle they had witnessed, when they should ask in time to come" What mean these stones p” And “that all the people of the earth might know the hand of the Lord, that it is mighty."
FANNY. If the river were deep, as it is represented to have been, the twelve stones erected in the midst of it, would be covered by the waters, not answering the design of a monument.
MRS. M. Those which were carried to the eastern border, are said to be “ such as a man might carry on his shoulder.” Those which “ Joshua set up where the feet of the priests stood firm on dry ground," are not so described. They may have been of enormous size, for they had thousands of men to labour at the work, and the historian assures us, they were yet to be seen at the time of his writing.
The posterity of Abraham began now to realize the promise that had been given to their forefathers. Immediately after their entrance into Canaan, the manna ceased to fall, and they feasted on the fruits of that delightful land! And it is remarkable that this event took place at a season when they might formally express their gratitude by a national act of religious worship---the time of their Annual Passover. On the tenth day of the first month, they first set their feet on the land of promise---and on the fourteenth, according to their law, precisely forty years from its institution on the night of their departure from Egypt, they celebrated that festival. Thus was the prophecy delivered to Moses* exactly accomplished. [B. C. 1451.]
This last miracle, added to all that had gone before, operated powerfull in favour of the progress of the Israelites. The inhabitants of Canaan trembled before the omnipotence of the God of Israel_but they did not repent of their sins, and endeavour to avert his anger. The king of Jericho did not, like his subject, Rahab, submit to the appointed conqueror, and make terms for himself and his people, but foolishly determined on resistance. His “ city was strictly shut up, none went out, and none came in;" they trusted in the strength of their bulwarks : nor was the singular mode of warfare, adopted by the Hebrew general, at all calculated to weaken their confidence. No
* Numbers, 14, 33.
preparations adapted to a siege could be discerned from the wall of Jericho---nothing could be seen, but the formidable invaders armed indeed in warlike array with their standards waving and bearing their sacred shrine, encircling the city day after day, and returning peaceably at night to their camp. No rude noise---not a voice assailed the ear---the solemn march was alone interrupted by the sound of trumpets, continually blown by the priests who carried the Ark. In these mysterious circuits, the superstitious heathens might imagine some preparatory ceremony like their own futile incantations to propitiate their deities: but while no step more decidedly hostile was taken, they would still rely on their barriers for security. Six days, their flattering hopes deceived them---on the seventh, instead of retiring as usual after a single circuit, the strangers encompassed the city seven times; at the conclusion of the seventh---a long, and louder blast was heard, ---the tremendous shout of victory ascended to heaven, and the walls of Jericho fell prostrate before the Ark of the cove nant! The ministers of divine justice poured in on every side, and the astonished inhabitants received the punishment decreed to their multiplied offences !
Fanny. I hope the promise made to Rahab, was now remembered ?
Mrs. M. It was faithfully observed. She was conducted with all her relatives, and all their moveable property, to the suburbs of the Hebrew camp.
CATHERINE. Why to the suburbs ? --why not into the heart of the camp, where she would be most secure from the resentment of her countrymen ?
Mrs. M. Because aliens might not enter the camp of Israel, until they were at least legally purified; which could not be done in this moment of confusion. They were effectually protected, however: Rahab herself, became afterwards a proselyte to the Hebrew religion, and married Salmon, a prince of the tribe of Judah, and the ancestor in a direct line, of the celebrated David, king of Israel.
Before the city was attacked, it was strictly enjoined, that no part of the spoil should be appropriated by any individual. The silver and gold-the vessels of brass and of iron, were to be reserved for the service of the sanctuary : all else, to be utterly destroyed by fire: nay, so exceedingly obnoxious had it become, for its pre-eminent guilt, that a malediction was pronounced on him who should attempt to rebuild it. “ He shall lay the foundation thereof (said Joshua) in his first-born, and in his youngest son, shall he set
up the gates of it.” Soon after the fall of this execrated city, Joshua despatched a small party to take a little place called Ai, on the eastern side of Beth-el, a name familiar in the history of their ancestor, Jacob. Insignificant, however, as it appeared to an army accustomed only to victory, they