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25. And ye shall serve the Lord your God. It is true that this promise is very similar to others, to which I have assigned a peculiar place, but it has this difference, that, in inviting the people to be zealous in keeping the Law, it sets before their eyes the effect of the covenant already made with their fathers, in order that they may more cheerfully receive the Law. Therefore there was good reason for NETWORK+ my saying just before that the promises which refer to the past have their appropriate place here, where their minds are prepared to obey God and keep His Law, because the race of Abraham God had chosen to Himself, that tie may continually visit them with His favor. He therefore promises them His blessing on their bread and water and bodily health, for on these three things depend the condition of our present life. Two other things He adds — fecundity in generation, and length of days. The sum is, that they had been prevented by God’s loving-kindness, in order that they might willingly honor Him, and that now all He had promised them was close at hand, if only they responded to His grace. But, although the fertility of the land was great, and its productions various and abundant, no mention is here made, as in other places, of wine or oil, but only of simple food, as if He had said that the necessary supports of life should not be wanting to them. 27. I will send my fear before thee. It is very clear from these words that God’s fatherly love towards the people is magnified, to prepare their minds to submit themselves to the yoke of the Law. Therefore their reward, if they should keep the Law, is not so much set before them here, as shame is denounced upon them if they should be ungrateful to God their deliverer, who was soon after about to give them the enjoyment of the promised land. Moreover, God is said to sent forth His fear, when by His secret inspiration He depresses men’s hearts. Whence we gather that fear, as well as courage, is in His hand. Of this no doubtful examples exist in every history, if only God obtained His due rights SECURITY+ amongst men. It will often happen that the courage of brave men gives way to alarm, and on the other hand, that the timid and cowardly awake to sudden bravery. Where the cause is not discovered, the profane have recourse to the hidden dominion of fortune to account for it, or imagine that men’s minds have been stupified by Pan or the Satyrs. 269 Let us however learn, that it is in God’s power to bend men’s hearts either way, so as both to cast down the courageous with terror, as well as to animate the timid. From this passage what we read in Ps. 44:2, 3, is taken, — “Thou didst drive out the heathen with thine hand, and plantedst them, (our fathers.) For they got not the land in possession by their own sword, neither did their own arm save them,” etc. Moreover, Rahab, who was both a harlot and belonged to an unbelieving nation, still acknowledged this, when she said to the spies, “our hearts did melt; for the Lord your God is God in heaven above, and in the earth beneath.” (Jos 2:11.) She does not, indeed, express what we have here, that they were smitten from heaven with internal fear, but only says that their terror came from a sense of God’s power; still she admits that it is no human cause which makes them thus to tremble. Moses ascends higher, that God puts to flight or routs their enemies not only by setting before them external objects of terror, but that He works also inwardly in their hearts, that they may fly in confusion and alarm; as it follows in the end of the verse, “I will make them turn their backs,” as much as to say, that He would cause them immediately to retreat, and not even to sustain the sight of the people. 28. And I will send hornets. Although that secret terror, of which He had made mention, would be sufficient to put their enemies to flight, He states that there would also be other ready means, to rout them without any danger, or much difficulty to His people. Yet He does not threaten to send great and powerful warriors, but only insects and hornets; as much as to say, that God would be so entirely propitious to His people that He would prepare and arm even the smallest animals to destroy their enemies. 270 A+ Thus is the easiness of their victory shewn; because, without the use of the sword, hornets alone would suffice to rout and exterminate their enemies. He adds, however, an exception, lest the Israelites should complain, if the land should not immediately lie open to them empty and cleared of its old inhabitants; and He reminds them that it would be advantageous to them that He should consume their enemies by degrees. Although, therefore, God might at first sight seem to perform less than He had promised, and thus to retract or diminish somewhat from His grace; yet Moses shews that in this respect also He was considering their welfare, lest the wild beasts should rush in upon the bare and desert land, and prove more troublesome than the enemies themselves. It came to pass indeed, through the people’s slackness, that they were long mixed with their enemies, because they executed with too little energy the vengeance of God; yea, His menace against them by the mouth of Joshua was then fulfilled,


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