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READINGS FROM HOLY SCRIPTURE.
THE PASSAGE OF JORDAN.
WHEN GOD took His faithful servant Moses to the "rest that remaineth for His people," He did not leave the children of Israel without a leader and guide. Joshua the son of Nun was full of the same Spirit of wisdom, even God's HOLY SPIRIT, which had given Moses strength for all his work. The LORD had told Moses to lay his hands upon Joshua, and appoint or ordain him as God's chosen leader for His people ; and this the people knew; so they obeyed and trusted Joshua as they had obeyed and trusted Moses. For a month all the people mourned and wept their loss, as they had mourned Aaron when he died.
The LORD spoke to Joshua also, saying, “ Moses My servant is dead, now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give unto them, even to the children of Israel. Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses.” Then lest Joshua should be afraid of so great a charge, God promised to help him always, saying, “ There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life; as I was with Moses, so will I be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. Be strong, and of a good courage, for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them. Only be thou strong, and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest."
God also taught His servant Joshua how he was to seek to prosper; and each one of us who hopes to do well in this world as the path to heaven, may take His words as guiding us like Joshua.
“ This book of My law shall not depart out of thy mouth, but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein; for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage, be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed, for the LORD thy God is with thee, whithersoever thou goest.”
Joshua might have made answer in the words that king David sang years later, “ The LORD is my light and my salvation : whom then shall I fear ? the LORD is the strength of my life: of whom then shall I be afraid ?" Then he bade all the people make ready to pass over the river Jordan, and go into the land of Canaan ; and the people answered, “All that thou commandest us we will do, and whithersoever thou sendest us, we will go. According as we hearkened unto Moses in all things, so will we hearken unto thee, only the LORD thy God be with thee, as He was with Moses."
Before crossing the river Jordan, Joshua sent two men over, that they might go and see the land, and bring him word about it. So these two men went to the city of Jericho, and lodged in the house of a woman called Rahab. But some one told the king of Jericho that there had come spies from the Israelites, and he sent to Rahab, and desired her to give up the two men that were lodging with her. But Rahab had heard about this great people who were the chosen of God, and of the many wonders He had done for them ; how He had dried up the Red Sea, and had overcome their foes ; and she had heard too that God had promised them the land of Canaan, and she believed that the LORD their God was “God in heaven above
· and in earth beneath,” and that He could and would do as He had promised. So Rahab's faith and belief in God led her to think she ought not to fight against His will: and she would not give up her guests to the king of Jericho, but she hid them safely on the roof of her house, covering them over with the stalks of flax which had been brought there from the field. The men sent to take Joshua's spies went away in search of them, shutting the gate of the city, close to which Rahab's house was. Then she went up to the roof of the house, and told the men that they were safe, and she asked them as she had showed kindness to them, to show kindness in return to her, and when their armies should take Jericho, to save her and all her family
from death. The men promised this, saying, “Our life for yours, if ye utter not this our business. And it shall be when the LORD hath given us the land, that we will deal kindly and truly with thee.” Rahab asked for a sign or mark by which her house might be known, and the men took a scarlet cord or line, and told her to fasten it in her window, that all the Israelites might know her dwelling: and they charged her to bring her father and mother, her brothers and sisters and all their households to her home, and to keep them within ; and then they promised every one should be safe.
So then Rahab let the two men down by a cord out of her window, safe outside the city wall, for her house was built upon the town wall; and she advised them to go to the mountains and hide there for three days, while their foes were searching for them; and as soon as they were gone she bound the scarlet cord in her window, and waited for what the LORD would send.
Meanwhile the Israelites did as Rahab advised; they hid themselves for three days in the mountains, and when their pursuers had given them up, and were gone back to Jericho, they returned to Joshua, and told him all they