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by Dr. John Thomas
Why, I ask, is all mankind's anxiety now about their "souls," and a heaven beyond the skies, when the friends of God, who had all their pilgrimage been the honoured subjects of His fatherly care, manifested no such carefulness; but on the contrary exacted oaths of their survivors expressive of their love for Canaan, and of their concern that their bodies should moulder there?
The reason is that the moderns have no faith in the promises of God.
Neither Protestants nor Papists "believe on God".
They have a system of faith which bears no affinity to the religion of God; and hence they hope for things which He has not promised; and consequently the most pious of them die with a lie in the right hand.
The faith and hope of Protestantism are not the faith and hope of "the fathers," whom God has constituted the "heirs of the world".
The last thoughts of these holy men were on "the exceeding great and precious promises" which are to be manifested in the land of Canaan; where their posterity will yet become "a great and mighty nation" under Shiloh and his saints as the Lords of Israel and the Gentiles.
Seeing this, then, though afar off, they gave expression to their faith by giving commandment concerning their bodies; as it is written, "By faith Joseph, when he died, made mention of the departing of the children of Israel: and gave commandment concerning his bones" He was, therefore, embalmed, and put into a coffin; and at the end of one hundred and fifty-four years his bones were carried out of Egypt by Moses; they accompanied Israel in all their journeyings through the wilderness; and were finally deposited by Joshua in the cave of Machpelah, where his fathers slept.
When professors believe the truth, they will have as much interest in Canaan, and the disposition of their bodies, expressive of their faith, as we find testified of Israel and Joseph by those who are high in the favour of their God.
We must believe the promises concerning Canaan, if we would be immortal of body in the kingdom of God.
JACOB'S PROPHECY OF THE LAST DAYS.
Jacob being a hundred and forty-seven years old, and about to die, called his sons together to tell them "what should befall them in in the last days".
From what has been already advanced on "the end of the world," the reader will understand to what period the prophecy of Jacob principally refers.
But, lest any should have forgotten, I will repeat that it relates to events which were to happen in the last days of the Hebrew commonwealth, under the constitution from Mount Sinai.
It sketches the political fortunes of the twelve tribes which, with the blessing on Joseph's sons, it now constituted; touches upon the peculiar features of the several portions of Canaan which should be allotted to them: and reveals certain principal events in connection with the tribes of Levi, Judah and Joseph.
It will not be necessary for me to do more than to point out these special incidents as bearing upon the kingdom of God.
After Reuben, Simeon and Levi are conjoined in the prophecy.
They had slain Hamor and Shechem, and all the males of their city.
This circumstance is taken as a characteristic of their tribes in the last days.
"Instruments of cruelty," said Jacob, "are in their habitations".
Foreseeing the part they would play in relation to the Seed, he exclaimed, "O my soul, come not thou into their secret; unto their assembly, mine honour be not thou united".
But why not, Jacob?
For in their anger they slew a man, and in their self-will they digged down a wall, that is, overthrew a city.
"Cursed be their anger, for it was fierce: and their wrath, for it was cruel".