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word ensured him of all the success he afterwards enjoyed. “ The Lord looked upon him, and said, “ Go in this thy might, and thou shalt save Israel $from the hand of the Midianites : have not I
sent thee « ?” But his might was not to be the proper mean of the salvation of Ifrael. The honour of this salvation was not to pertain to an arm of flesh. He had at first an army of thirtytwo thousand men. But the LORD said to him, “ The people that are with thee are too many for “ me to give the Midianites into their hands, “ left Ifrael vaunt themselves against me, saying, “ Mine own hand hath saved me.” They were therefore reduced to ten thousand. But “the LORD $ said to Gideon, The people are yet too many." Accordingly they were reduced to three hundred. Thore, to whom the honourable work of delivering Ifrael was assigned, are brought fo low, as to have a dog's mark set on them. For those only, who, in drinking of the water, “ lapped, as a dog
lappeth,” were chosen as the instruments of this deliveranced. The only arms with which these men were provided, were trumpets with pitchers, and lamps within the pitchers. We have no evidence that a sword was drawn by one of them, or that a single sword was left among all the three hundred. For that expression, which was their word of war, “ The sword of the LORD and of
, tai Gideon," is entirely metaphorical. They were to “ fand still and see the salvation of the * LORD their God." They were to use no other means of victory than to blow the trumpets, to break the pitchers, and to cry as instructed by their captain. They had no other weapons than“ lamps in their left hands, and trumpets in their
Judg. vi, 14.
Judg. vii. 2.7
right hands to blow withal.” But by means of these they obtained a complete victory over their enemies. For “ the LORD set every man's sword “ against his fellow."
Here we have a most striking representation of the manner in which the enemies of Christ are made to fall under him. It is not by the sword of civil power, by the force of human eloquence, or by the influence of moral fuafion. In general he employs not the mighty, the noble, or the wife in this warfare; “ left Israel should vaunt " themselves." It is still a cake of barley-bread, that overturns the tents of Midian. When the trumpet of the gospel is blown, finners are awakened; and, according to the promise, Chrift gives them light. Thus the apostle Paul, when speaking of the efficacy attending the gospel, says; “ For God who commanded the light to shine out 46 of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give “ the light of the knowledge of the glory of God, “ in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this 4 treasure,” that is, the inestimable treasure of this divine light,“ in earthen vessels, that the excellen“cy of the power may be of God, and not of use." Poor, sinful men, however, may engage in this work, only as receiving his commission. No one can expect any success, but in as far as the language of God to Gideon is applicable to him ; “ Have not I sent thee?"
guage e 2 Cor. iv. 5.7.
Shamgar, the son of Anath, flew fix hundred Philistines with an ox-goad, and thus delivered Ifrael f. Samson flew a thousand of the same hoftile nation with the jaw-bone of an ass k. By means of a smooth stone out of the brook, thrown from a fling, the stripling David afterwards flew their gigantic champion, who had defied the armies of the living God h. These were striking proofs of the contemptible character of the means which God employs, for carrying on his conquests in the Church, and over her enemies. The proud Philistine disdained David because of his youth, and was filled with indignation at the despicable equipment of his antagonist, as an insult to his own power, and as robbing him of every shadow of honour in that conquest about which he did not entertain a single doubt. “ Am I a dog,” faid he, “ that thou comest against me with " staves ?" But David knew that all the human means he could use were inadequate to such a victory. His confidence was therefore wholly in divine power. To Saul he said, “ The Lord that " delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and “out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me
out of the hand of this Philistine." To him alfo David said, “ Thou comeft to me with a “ sword, and with a spear, and with a shield; « but I come to thee in the name of the LORD of " hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom
Judg. iii. 31.
8 Judg. xv, 15
h 1 Sam. xvii. 40.48
“thou hast defied. This day the Lord will de“ liver thee into mine hand, -that all the earth
may know that there is a God in Israel. And “ all this allembly shall know that the Lord sa“ veth not with sword and spear.” The following reflection is made by the inspired writer of this history : “ So David prevailed over the Phi“ listine, with a sling, and with a stone ;-but “ there was no sword in the hand of David ." A. David was an eminent type of Christ, the muner in which he obtained this victory, remarkably prefigured the conquests of his Son and Lord. Did David cut off the head of Goliath with his own sword ? Jesus foiled Satan on the cross; and “ by death destroyed him that had the
power of death.” David went forth to battle, with a staff, and with a stone. As Jesus is himself the “ stone cut out of the mountain without “ hauds;" the word of the gospel is “ the rod “ of his strength,” by which he rules in the midst of his enemies, and the staff by means of which he guides, sustains, comforts, and protects his people!
v. God taught his ancient Israel to have all their dependinnce on himself. Some notice has been taken of this in a former part of the work : but it deserves our particular attention here. When they were about to enter into the promised land, he put them in mind that they had no power
k Dan, ji. 34. 45.
i Sam. xvii. 37 45. 47. 50. I Pfal. cx. 2. ; xxiii. 14.
in themselves to subdue the nations that possessed it. “ Hear, O Israel, thou art to pass over Jor“ dan this day, to go in to possess nations greater " and mightier than thyself, cities great and fen“ced up to heaven ; a people great and tall, the " children of the Anakims, whom thou knoweft, " and of whom thou hast heard say, Who can " stand before the children of Anak? Understand " therefore this day, that the LORD thy God is he * which goeth over before thee as a consuming “ fire : he shall destroy them, and he shall bring “ them down before thy face.-Speak not in thine * heart, after that the LORD thy God hath caft " them out from before thee, saying, For my righ-. “ teousness the Lord hath brought me in to possess “ this land: but for the wickedness of these na6 tions the LORD doth drive them out from before “ thee m.” He in the strongest terms expresses his displeasure at carnal confidence : “ Curfed be “the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh * his arm, and whose heart departeth' from the " LORD.” On this account he often punished his people with the greatest severity, and made the very object of their confidence the instrument of their destruction. “ Wo to the rebellious chil
dren, faith the LORD,—that walk to go down " into Egypt, (and have not asked at my mouth), * to strengthen themselves in the strength of Pha“raoh, and to trust in the shadow of Egypt. -- Therefore all the strength of Pharaoh be your flame, and the trust in the shadow of Egypt
“ your m Deus, ix. 1.-74.
n Jer. xvii. s.