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Help them to cut loose from everything else, that they may believe in thee. And to thy name, O Saviour of the world, shall be glory, forever and ever. Amen.

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5. HYMN: "He that goeth forth with weep


The Victory of Faith
“By faith the walls of Jericho fell down."
(Hebrew 11:30.)

The Children of Israel were at their wits' end. They had crossed the Jordan and could get no further. Two miles up the ravine they could see the fortified city of Jericho entrenched among the hills, and standing like a sentinel guarding the way.

It was little wonder that Joshua's heart sank within him. One night he went out to reconnoiter. From the edge of a palm grove in the moonlight he surveyed the city with its barred gates and towering walls. On a sudden "there stood over against him a man with a drawn sword.” A challenge sprang instinctively to his lips. The answer was, "Nay; but as Captain of the Lord's host am I come !"

It was, indeed, the Angel of the Covenant, the same that had gone before Israel in the pillar of cloud and fire. He had come now to mark out a definite plan for the taking of Jericho; and the like of that plan was never seen in military tactics. The arrangement of troops was to be as follows: A

A band of armed men were to lead the way; then seven priests with rams' horns; after that a company of Levites bearing the Ark of the Covenant; then another body of armed men. In this order they were to compass the city once a day for an entire week, keeping silence in the ranks. On the seventh day they were to go round about the city seven times; then the priests were to blow upon the rams' horns, all were to shout with one accord, and the walls of Jericho would come tumbling down!

If ever a man's faith was put to a desperate test, it was in this particular case. The plan proposed would not have passed muster before any military tribunal on earth. What was Joshua to do about it? He was a man of faith; and as such he was under bonds to offer no word of demur or hesitation. The outcome proved his wisdom. “This is the victory that overcometh the world, even your faith.”

Here is the secret of success in all things pertaining to the spiritual life.

The Jericho that blocks our way to the land of milk and honey is sin. Its walls “tower to heaven.” How to get past it into the kingdom of truth and righteousness is the question which concerns the soul of every earnest man. “Men and brethren, what shall we do?"

At this point the Lord holds counsel with us as he did with Joshua under the palm trees. He has a plan to propose which, in its essential features, is as foolish as the proposition to reduce the fortifications of Jericho by silent circumvallation. Its outcome is as certain, but faith alone can realize it.

By faith the walls of Jericho fell down; and by faith the towering heights of sin, which separate between us and our birthright, are removed, so that we may receive an abundant entrance into the kingdom of God.

The matter in hand is one of supreme importance to every man.

There is no occasion for dwelling on the fact of sin. That is as plain as the fortress on the heights. It is equally unnecessary to prove that "without holiness no man shall see God." The question is, “How shall we overcome sin?” The answer is, “Faith is the victory.” Let us see, now, how Faith proceeds:

I. It begins by throwing up its hands.

On that moonlight night, when Joshua gazed on Jericho with its barred gates and impregnable walls, he knew that he was totally unable to overcome it. But just there through faith was the beginning of his strength. “I will glory in my infirmities,” says Paul, “that the power of Christ may rest upon me; for when I am weak then am I strong. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”

So long as a man believes that he can work his own way to heaven, he will not believe in Christ. Put that down as a certainty. Faith begins where eyesight ends. Spiritual power is born at the death bed of self-reliance. God's opportunity is man's extremity. He interposes when we are at our wits' end. If you think you can take Jericho, he will allow you to go ahead and try it. Experience teaches. The opening song in the Psalter of the new life is this:

Not the labors of my hands
Can fulfil thy law's demands.
Could my zeal no respite know,
Could my tears forever flow,
All for sin could not atone;
Thou must save, and thou alone!
Nothing in my hand I bring;
Simply to thy cross I cling;
Naked, come to thee for dress;
Helpless, look to thee for grace;
Foul, I to the fountain fly;
Wash me, Saviour, or I die!

II. Then Faith falls on its knees and calls upon God.

The Children of Israel kept the Passover before they began the silent march. It involved them in a week's delay and gave the enemy a corresponding opportunity of strengthening his defenses. But no matter, the Passover must be kept. The lamb was slain, the altar blazed, the prayers were made; and Israel was brought face to face with God.

The man who is in earnest in the matter of salvation makes a grievous mistake if he does not

pray. God is ever waiting, like the visitor in the moonlight of the palm grove, to confer with us. Why are we so unwilling to talk with him? “Bow, stubborn knees, and, heart with strings of steel, be soft!” The resources of God's wisdom and power are infinite; it is, therefore, the part of immeasurable folly to lean upon our own weakness rather than to confer with him.

III. Faith next finds out the divine plan and falls in with it.

Had Joshua followed the usual method, he would have called a council of war. One of his lieutenants might have advised the reduction of Jericho by sapping and mining; another the planting of catapults on the surrounding hills to batter down the walls; and still another might have insisted that the only hope was in a protracted siege and the slow process of famine. But Joshua did the best thing; he hearkened to what the Captain of the Lord's host had to say about it.

The plan of salvation is divinely marked out. It is an old plan; old as the protevangel, “The seed of woman shall bruise the serpent's head." There are other and newer plans; the pathway of philosophy through the centuries is strewn with them; but not one of them proposes a method of deliverance from the record of past sin. There are ethical systems without number, suggestions of reformation and earnest purpose; but they leave the past uncanceled and the soul unshriven of its

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