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Works of Jonathan Edwards, Volume Two
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[173] Josh. vi. 26. and 1 Kings xvi. 34. “And Joshua adjured them at that time, saying, Cursed be the man before the Lord that riseth up and buildeth this city Jericho: he shall lay the foundation thereof in his firstborn, and in his youngest son shall he set up the gates of it.” Jericho herein was a remarkable type of the church of the elect. Jericho was a devoted cursed city, it was devoted to perfect and to eternal destruction. To perfect destruction, in that every man, woman, and child, ox, sheep, and ass, were destroyed by God’s command, and it was forbidden ever to be built again. So the elect are naturally under the curse of the law, which devotes those that have broke it to perfect and eternal destruction. However, this city was one very capable of being redeemed from that curse; but that was only by the curse being transferred upon him that built it. So the church of the elect could have the curse removed no other way but by its being laid upon Christ, who undertook to restore it. So Hiel the Bethelite represented Christ, who is from the true Bethel, or house of God, even heaven. He was to lay the foundation of it in his first-born, and in his youngest son to set up the gates of it. So his eldest son represented Christ who is the first-born of every creature, and is our elder brother. The foundation of the redeemed and restored church is laid in the blood of the first and only-begotten Son of God. The gates of it were to be set up in his youngest son: so after the church is redeemed by Christ, the gates of it are to be set up in the blood of the martyrs. It is in that way the church is to be erected and finished, and brought to its determined glory and prosperity in the world, even through the sufferings and persecutions of believers. Jericho, though once an accursed city of the Canaanites; yet, after it was thus redeemed from the curse, became a school of the prophets. 2 Kings ii. and iv. 38. vi. 1, 2.

[209] Josh. x. 12, 13, 14. Concerning the sun and moons standing still. This great event was doubtless typical; and as the sun was made to be a type of Christ, and is the most eminent type of him in all the inanimate creation, and is used as a type of Christ in Scripture, for he is the “Sun of righteousness,” and “the light of the world,” &c.; so doubtless the sun here, when it stands still to give the children of Israel light to help them against their enemies, is a type of Christ. The sun did as it were fight for the Israelites by his light; so Christ fights for his people: and the way that he does it, is chiefly by giving them light. Hereby he helps them against the powers of darkness, and overthrows the kingdom of darkness. Christ was at that time actually fighting for Israel as the captain of the host; he had a little before appeared in a visible shape with a sword drawn in his hand, and told Joshua that as the Captain of the host of the Lord he was come, Josh. v. 13, 14. And there was now a double type of Christ’s fighting for his people against their spiritual enemies; Joshua was then fighting as the captain of the host of Israel, who bore the name of Christ; for Joshua is the same with Jesus, and he was an eminent type of him; and at the same time the sun stood over Joshua fighting for Israel against their enemies. While Joshua or Jesus thus fought, the sun appeared also fighting in the same battle, being a type of the true Joshua or Jesus. It was a great thing for the sun to stand still to fight for Israel, and to help them to obtain the possession of Canaan, but not so great a thing as for Christ, who is the brightness of God’s glory, and the express image of his person, the Creator and Upholder of the sun, to appear as he did, to deliver his people from their spiritual enemies, and to make way for their obtaining the heavenly Canaan. The sun, though so great and glorious a heavenly body, and though so high above the earth, yet did forego its natural course was greatly put out of the way, and deprived of that which naturally belonged to it, for the sake of Israel, laid aside its glory as the king of heaven, was as it were divested of the glory of its dominion over heaven and earth, which it has by its course through all heaven and round the earth. For it is by its course that nothing is hid from its light and heat, by which it has influence over all, and as it were rules over all. Psal. xix. 6. The influence of the heavenly bodies is called in Scripture their dominion. Job xxxviii. 32, 33. But this glory as king of heaven and earth was laid aside to serve and minister unto Israel. But this was not so great a thing as for the eternal Son of God, the infinite fountain of all light, who is infinitely above all creatures, the Sun of righteousness, in comparison of whose brightness the sun is but darkness, and therefore will be turned into darkness when he appears. I say it was not so great a thing as for him to lay aside his glory as King of heaven and earth, and appear in the form of a servant to serve men, and came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and should even give his life to destroy and confound our enemies, and obtain for us the possession of the heavenly Canaan. The sun, who by its course was wont to fill heaven and earth, now confined itself to the land of Canaan, for the sake of Israel, so Christ, who, being in heaven filled all things, Eph. iv. 10. by his incarnation confined himself to the land of Canaan, and to a tabernacle of flesh. Hence it is not any way incredible, not at all to be wondered at, that God should cause such a miracle for the sake of the Israelites, or that nature in so great an instance should be made to yield and give place to Israel’s interest, when the God of nature did as it were deprive himself of the glory that he had from the beginning of the world, yea, before the world was, even from all eternity, (John xvii. 5.) the glory that naturally belonged to him, and as it were give up all for man, that he should become incarnate, and deliver up himself to death for the spiritual Israel.

The moon, which is a type of the church, also stood still at that time to fight against the Amorites for the church; for the church fights with Christ against the spiritual Amorites. The church militant is Christ’s army, they go forth with Christ, and under Christ, to fight the good fight of faith, and are soldiers of Jesus Christ. Christ and the church are represented going forth together in battle. Rev. xix. 11., &c. Both the sun and moon stood still at that time, that there might there be a representation of the same thing in heaven that there was on the earth: there was Joshua and Israel fighting God’s enemies on earth, and there the sun and moon fighting against them in heaven, and both represented Jesus and his church fighting against their spiritual enemies.

[209] Josh. x. 12, 13, 14. Concerning the suns standing still. This is supposed to give occasion to the story of Phaeton the son of Sol and Clymene, who, desiring his father to let him guide the chariot of the sun for one day, set the world on fire. So we read that it was about the space of one day that the sun stood still, and this in all probability caused an extraordinary scorching and distressing heat in many parts of the world. And Mr. Bedford, in his Scripture Chronology, observes that mention is made of it in the Chinese history, that in the reign of their seventh Emperor Yao, the sun did not set for ten days together, and that the inhabitants of the earth were afraid that the earth would be burnt, for there were great fires at that time. This happened in the sixty-seventh year of that emperor’s reign, and so the time of it Mr. Bedford observes, according to their account, exactly agrees with scripture history. Scripture Chronology, p. 489. And he observes that it is natural for men in things of great antiquity to enlarge beyond the truth. And what the Chinese history mentions about great fires in many places, agrees with the story of Phaeton’s setting the world on fire. And indeed to have the day more than twenty-four hours, for besides the twelve hours that the sun stood still, the time of the sun’s course above the horizon was probably more than twelve hours, for it was probably later in the year than the vernal equinox: I say to have the sun so long above the horizon, and twelve hours of it together, so extraordinarily near the meridian, shining down with a perpendicular ray all that time, must needs cause exceeding heat in many places.

[169] Josh. x. 13. “And the sun stood still and the moon stayed.” God thereby showed that all things were for his church, all was theirs, the whole earth, and the sun, moon, and stars, were made for them.

[117] Josh. x. 13. “The sun stood still and the moon stayed.” The moon stayed; not that the moon’s staying helped them, but it was because the earth was stopped, and so all the heavenly bodies were stopped, that is, they kept their position with respect to the horizon.

[224] Josh. xi. 8. “And the Lord delivered them into the hand of Israel, who smote them, and chased them even unto great Zidon.” Bedford, in his Scripture Chronology, p. 195, and 493. supposes that great numbers of them made their escape from thence, and from neighbouring sea-ports, by shipping, to all the shores which lay round the Mediterranean and Egean seas, and even to other parts of Europe, Asia, and Africa, of which, says he, the learned Bochart hath given us a large account, in his incomparable Canaan, and particularly shown that the names of most places are of Phœnician or Hebrew extraction. About this time they set up their two pillars at Tangier, with this inscription in the Phœnician language, ”We are they who fled from the face of Joshua the robber, the son of Nun.“ About this time they built the city of Carthage, which at first they called Carthada, which in the Chaldee and Syriac languages signifies The New City. This building of Carthage, says he, p. 195. not only appears from the common consent of all historians, but also from the remains of the Carthaginian language, which we have in Plautus, where he brings in a youth from thence, speaking in such a manner that many learned men have proved it to be the Hebrew, or language of Canaan, and the Carthaginians are frequently called Phœnicians and Tyrians, because they came from this country. Being thus used to sailing and merchandise, they soon carried on a larger trade, and settled other colonies near Gibraltar, both in Europe and Africa. The learned Bochart thus tells us, that these expeditions were computed to be in the times of the heroes. And Bedford says, p. 493, that hence the story of Dido and Eneas, as mentioned in Virgil, must be false and groundless. Neither is it probable, says he, that the widow of a priest flying the country unknown to the king, could carry with her so great a number of men to a new colony, as should undertake to build so great a city. So she brought not inhabitants there, but found them there, and did not so properly build, as repair and enlarge, the town to which she came. She built the tower which was called Bozrah, or A Fort, in Hebrew, and from thence called Byrsa, or A Hide, in Greek, and so occasioned the fabulous story that Dido bought the place to build the city on with little bits of leather marked, which was anciently used instead of money. But others tell us that when she arrived on the coast of Africa she was forbidden to tarry there by Hiarbas, king of the country, lest she, with her company, might seize on a great part of his dominion, and therefore she craftily desired of him only to buy so much ground as might be compassed with an ox hide; which, when she had obtained, she cut it into small thongs, and therewith compassed two and twenty furlongs, on which she built the city afterward named Carthage, and called the castle Byrsa, or Hide. All this we owe to the fertile invention of the Greeks, to make every thing derived from them: whereas Dido, coming from Tyre, knew nothing of that language; and besides, the old Carthaginian language was the Phœnician or Hebrew, as appears by the old remains thereof, which we have in Plautus’s Pœanulus.

It looks exceedingly probable, that when Joshua had smitten the vast army of Hazor, and the kings that were with him, and chased them into Zidon, that all that could, would flee by ship; for that was a great sea-port, and therefore they had opportunity to escape this way, and they had enough to terrify them to it, for they had heard how Jehovah, the God of Israel, with a strong hand had brought off the people from Egypt, and had divided the Red sea, and drowned the Egyptians there, and fear and dread had fallen upon them, and their hearts had melted at the news, Exod. xv. 14, 15, 16. And they had heard how that God was among the people in the wilderness, and how he was seen face to face, and how that his cloud stood over them, and how he went before them in a pillar of cloud by day, and a pillar of fire by night. Numb. xiv. 14. And their dread and astonishment was renewed by hearing how they had destroyed Sihon, king of the Amorites, and Og, the king of Bashan; they had trembled, and anguish had taken hold on them, at the news. Deut. ii. 25. As Rahab told the spies that terror was fallen upon them, and all the inhabitants of the land did faint, and even melt, neither was there any more courage left in any man because of them. Josh. ii. 9, 10, 11. God did as he promised. Exod. xxiii. 27. “I will send my fear before thee, and I will destroy all the people to whom thou shalt come, and I will make all thine enemies turn their backs unto thee.” Their terror was greatly increased by God’s drying up the Jordan, Josh. v. 1. and then causing the walls of Jericho to fall down flat, and after that his causing the sun to stand still, and so miraculously destroying the five kings of the Amorites in a storm of thunder, and lightning, and hail, and their utterly destroying their cities in all the southern parts of Canaan, and they had heard how that Joshua was positively commanded to smite them, and utterly destroy them, and make no covenant with them, nor show mercy unto them, and how that Joshua had given no quarters to their neighbours. And now when the king and people in all the northern parts of Canaan had gathered together such a vast strength of people, as the sands upon the sea-shore, with innumerable horses and chariots, as Josh. xi. 4. And yet they were suddenly vanquished. Joshua was still pursuing with a design utterly to destroy them according to his order, and had pursued them even to great Zidon. When they therefore came there, they must needs be in the utmost consternation, and if there were any ships there it could be no otherwise, but that all that could fled in them; and that they would not trust to the walls of Zidon, for they did not know but they would fall down flat, as the walls of Jericho had done; and that not only multitudes should be slain, but many of them driven away to the ends of the earth, agrees best with the expression so often used of God’s driving them out before the children of Israel.

And besides there could be no room for such multitudes in Zidon, and a few neighbouring cities; for they, with those that Joshua had slain of them, had before filled all the land of Canaan, north of the tribe of Ephraim, even to mount Hermon, and to Zidon, and they were under a necessity to seek new seats abroad where they could find them.

[360] Joshua vii. Concerning Achan, the troubler of Israel. Achan was that to the congregation of Israel, that some lust or way of iniquity indulged and allowed, is to particular professors. Sinful enjoyments are accursed things: wherever they are entertained God’s curse attends them. The cursed things that Achan took, were a goodly Babylonish garment, and two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge fifty shekels weight, that when he saw he coveted. So the objects of men’s lusts, which they take and indulge themselves in the enjoyment of, are very tempting and alluring, appearing very beautiful, and seeming very precious. Achan took those and hid them in his tent under-ground, so that there was no sign or appearance of them above-ground, they were concealed with the utmost secrecy. So very commonly the sins that chiefly trouble professors, and provoke God’s displeasure, and bring both spiritual and temporal calamities upon them, are secret sins, as David calls them, hidden by some lust, as Achan’s, as it were under-ground. Lust is exceedingly deceitful, and will hide iniquity, and cover it over with such fair pretences and excuses, that it is exceedingly difficult for persons to discover them, and to be brought fully to see and own their fault in them. The silver and gold was covered over with the goodly Babylonish garment; (as it is said the silver was under it;) so persons are wont to cover their secret wickedness with a very fair hypocritical profession: an hypocritical profession is a Babylonish or antiChristian garment. It is the robe of the false church. God charges Israel not only with stealing, but dissembling, when Israel had transgressed in the accursed thing; and God was not among them; they were carnally secure and self-confident, they thought a few of them enough to subdue the inhabitants of Ai; which represents the frame that professors are commonly in when they indulge some secret iniquity. But they could not stand before their enemies, they were smitten down before them; so, when professors secretly indulge some one lust, it makes them universally weak they lie dreadfully exposed to their spiritual enemies, and easily fall before them. The congregation seem to wonder what is the matter that God hides himself from them; so Christians oftentimes, when they are going on in some evil way that the deceitfulness of sin hides from them, wonder what is the reason that God hides himself from them. They lay long upon their faces, crying to God without receiving any answer. So when persons harbour any iniquity, it is wont to prevent any gracious answer to their prayers: their prayers are hindered, their iniquity is a cloud through which their prayers cannot pass. When they were troubled and destroyed, they took a wrong course they betook themselves to prayer and crying to God, as though they had nothing else to do, whereas their first and principal work ought to have been diligently to have inquired whether there was not some iniquity to be found among them, as implied, ver. 10. So Christians, when God greatly afflicts them, and hides his face from them, and manifests his anger towards them, are commonly wont to do: they cry, and cry to God, as if they had nothing else to do, but still secretly entertain the troubler, and it never comes into their hearts to inquire, Am I not greatly guilty with respect to such a practice or way that I allow myself in, in my covetousness, or in my proud, or contentious, or sensual, or peevish and froward behaviour? God mentions it as an aggravation of the sin of the congregation in Achan, that they had even put the accursed thing among their own stuff; so, when professors allow themselves in any unlawful gain, or enjoyment, they commonly put it among those things that are theirs, that they may lawfully enjoy or make use of. If men continue in such evil ways, and do not depart from them, they are ruinous to the soul, however they may plead that they think there is no hurt in them. There is a way that seems right to a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death. So God says to Israel, ver. 12. “Neither will I be with you any more, except ye destroy the accursed thing from among you.” God directed the congregation of Israel to make diligent search in order to find out the troubler: all were to be examined, tribe by tribe, and family by family, and man by man. So when God hides his face from us and frowns upon us, we ought diligently and thoroughly to examine all our ways, and to take effectual care that none escape thorough examination; to examine them first in their several kinds, as they may be classed with respect to their objects, views, and otherwise, and then to proceed to a more special examination and inquiry, and never leave until we have thoroughly examined every particular way and practice; yea, to examine act by act, and to bring all before God, to be tried by him, by his word and Spirit, as all Israel was brought before the Lord to be tried by him. By this means Achan was thoroughly discovered, and brought to confess his wickedness; so, if we be thorough in trying our ways, and bringing all to the test of God’s word, seeking the direction of his Spirit also with his word, it is the way to discover the sin that troubles us, and thoroughly to convince the conscience, and make it plainly to confess the iniquity. The congregation after they had found out the accursed thing, they brought it out of the earth and out of the tent, and spread it before the Lord. So persons, when they have found out the sin that has troubled them, should confess their sins and spread them before the Lord. And we must not content ourselves only with confessing the sin to God, but must deal with it as the children of Israel did with Achan; we must treat it as a mortal, and most hateful, and pernicious enemy; we must turn inveterate, implacable enemies to it; must have no mercy on it; must not spare it at all, or be afraid of being too cruel to it; must aim at nothing short of the life of it, and must resolve utterly to destroy and extirpate it; we must as it were stone with stones, and burn it with fire. So Samuel hewed Agag in pieces before the Lord. (See Notes on 1 Sam.xv. 32, 33. See also 2 Cor. vii. 11..) And we must not only destroy that sin, but all its offspring, its whole family, and its oxen and asses, and all that belongs to it, every thing that springs from it, every evil that has attended or sprung from it; we must serve them all alike, and as this was done to Achan, not only by a particular individual, but by all Israel, so we must do it with all our hearts and souls; we must be full in it; there must be nothing in our hearts that is favourable to the troubler, or that has not a hand in its death. Israel, after they had thus slain the troubler, raised over him a great heap of stones, as a monument of what had been. So when we have slain the troubler, we must keep a record of the mischief we received by the sin, to be a constant everlasting warning to us to avoid it, and every thing of that nature, for the future. This is the way to have the Lord turn from the fierceness of his anger.

[116] Josh. xx. 6. “And ye shall dwell in that city until ye stand before the congregation.” The seventy elders are here called the congregation or church, which are words of the same signification. So the elders of the church, they are called the church in the New Testament.

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