Deuteronomy 12
Biblical Illustrator
Destroy all the places.
The first thing Israel had to do appears to be a work of violence. All idols were to be destroyed. Israel could understand no other language. This is not the language of today; but the thing inculcated upon Israel is the lesson for the present time: words change, but duties remain. Violence was the only method that could commend itself to infantile Israel. The hand was the reasoner; the breaking hammer was the instrument of logic in days so remote and so unfavoured. Forgetting this, how many people misunderstand instructions given to the ancient Church; they speak of the violence of those instructions, the bloodthirstiness even of Him who gave the instructions to Israel. Hostile critics select such expressions and hold them up as if in mid-air, that the sunlight may get well round about them; and attention is called to the barbarity, the brutality, the revolting violence of so-called Divine commandments. It is false reasoning on the part of the hostile critic. We must think ourselves back to the exact period of time and the particular circumstances at which and under which the instructions were delivered. But all the words of violence have dropped away. "Destroy," "overthrow," "burn," "hew down," are words which are not found in the instructions given to Christian evangelists. Has the law then passed away? Not a jot or tittle of it. Is there still to be a work of this kind accomplished in heathen nations? That is the very work that must first be done. This is the work that is aimed at by the humblest and meekest teacher who shoulders the Gospel yoke and proceeds to Christianise the nations. Now we destroy by reasoning, and that is a far more terrible destruction than the supposed annihilation that can be wrought by manual violence. You cannot conquer an enemy by the arm, the rod, or the weapon of war; you subdue him, overpower him, or impose some momentary restraint upon him; fear of you takes possession of his heart, and he sues for peace because he is afraid. That is not conquest; there is nothing eternal in such an issue. How, then, to destroy an enemy? By converting him — by changing his motive, by penetrating into his most secret life, and accomplishing the mystery of regeneration in his affections. That mystery accomplished, the conquest is complete and everlasting; the work of destruction has been accomplished; burning and hewing down, and all actions indicative of mere violence have disappeared.

(J. Parker D. D.)

Unto His habitation shall ye seek.
I. God was pleased to choose out certain places to stand in A SPECIAL RELATION OF HOLINESS UNTO HIMSELF under the Old Testament. This holiness of places was two-fold, either transient and merely for the present time, or else more permanent.

1. The transient holiness of places was where the Lord gave visible appearances of Himself in His glorious majesty to the eyes of His servants; such places were holy during the time of such Divine appearances (Exodus 3:5; Exodus 19:11-25; Joshua 5:15 2 Peter 1:18).

2. There was also a more abiding holiness of places under the law.(1) The land of Canaan (Zechariah 2:12).(2) The cities of refuge.(3) The tabernacle, the temple, the ark, and all the places where they came (2 Chronicles 8:11).(4) Jerusalem was very eminent as being the place of the temple, and ark, and all the public worship thereunto belonging (Psalm 76:2; Psalm 87:2).


1. The Lord is said to choose these places to set His name there, and therefore they are called His habitation.(1) Here were the standing symbols and tokens of His presence.(2) In these places were visible appearances of His glory upon special occasions (Exodus 40:34; Numbers 12:5; 1 Kings 8:10, 11; Isaiah 6:1).(3) These places had their typical significations of Christ and Gospel mysteries.(4) These places were appointed by God to be parts, yea, principal parts, of His worship (Exodus 20:24; Ezekiel 20:40).(5) They were, by God's appointment, the seat of all the public church worship of those times.

2. "Thither shalt thou seek," i.e. for answers and oracles from the holy places, and from the priest by Urim and Thummim (Exodus 25:22; Numbers 7:8, 9; Numbers 27:21).

3. "Thither shalt thou come," i.e. at all the appointed festivals, three times a year (Exodus 23:14, 17), and whensoever they offered sacrifice (ver. 6).Lessons:

1. The cessation of this holiness of places under the New Testament (John 4:21-23; Matthew 18:22; 1 Timothy 2:8; Malachi 1:11). Every place is now a Judaea, every house a Jerusalem, every congregation a Zion.

2. Learn to present your worship unto God by Jesus Christ, for He is the true Temple and Tabernacle (Hebrews 7:25; 1 Peter 1:21; John 14:6; Colossians 3:17).

3. Remember that there is a church worship (Acts 2:42; Acts 20:7).

4. Labour everyone, that his soul may be a habitation for the Lord, a temple of the Holy Ghost.

(S. Mather.)

Ye shall not do after all the things that we do here this day.
Plain Sermons by Contributors to, Tracts for the Times.
The blessing, of which it is now proposed to speak more particularly, is that of being more under control — of having our lives and ways more exactly ordered — than as if we were not Christians. We are now come to the rest and to the inheritance which the Lord our God was so long preparing for us, and therefore we are no longer to think of doing every man what is right in his own eyes. And therefore the gate, into which we must strive to enter, is called "strait," and the way which leadeth unto life, "narrow." And our Saviour, inviting us to the blessings of the Gospel, describes them as a yoke and a burthen; easy indeed, and light, yet still a yoke and a burthen. And this very circumstance He mentions as a blessing; as the very reason why, coming to Him, the weary and heavy laden might find rest (Matthew 11:28). So that it appears that both the law and the Gospel, both Moses and Jesus Christ, consider it a great blessing, a great increase of comfort and happiness, to be kept under strict rules. The Gospel was more strict than the law; and on that very account its subjects were happier. Canaan was a place where men could not do what pleased themselves so much as they could in the wilderness: and it was the more entirely and truly a place of rest. But now this way of thinking is by no means the way of the world. People in general like nothing so much as having their own choice in all things. They account it a burthen, and not a privilege, to be under the government of others. And there is not, one may venture to say, one man in a thousand who would not rather be rich than poor, for this very reason — that a rich man is much more his own master, has much more of his own way in choosing how to spend his time, what company to keep, what employments to follow, than a poor man generally can have. Again, everyone has observed, I might say has experienced, the hurry which children are usually in to get out of the state of childhood and to be left to judge and act for themselves. But the worst, and, unfortunately, the most common instance of this ungovernable temper in mankind is, our unwillingness to let God choose for us, and our impatience under the burthens He lays upon us. How very commonly does it happen that the very condition people chose beforehand, the very place they wished to live in, and the persons they wished to live among, being obtained, becomes the ground of continual complaint and vexation. If they could but change at will, they say, they should like their situation well enough, but now they are tied down to it they cannot, that is, they will not, help being fretful and impatient. Yet this very circumstance of being tied down to rules and not having the power to change at will, is, as we have seen, reckoned a great blessing, both in the Old and New Testament, both by Moses and Jesus Christ. And the contrary (the having to choose for ourselves, and to do what is right in our own eyes), is spoken of as a great disadvantage. So different is the judgment of God from the judgment of men. To have this thought steadily fixed within us, will prove, indeed, the greatest of all blessings, both as to our rest in this world, and as to our inheritance in that which is to come. In whatever counsel and pursuit we are sure we are guided by God, that, we are equally sure, must turn out well in the end; and soberly speaking, what can we wish for more? Once make up your mind to this most certain truth, that what is right in God's eyes is far better for you than what is right in your own eyes, and you will have but one care in the whole world, i.e. how to please God in making the best use of the present time, a care in which, by His gracious assistance, you are sure not to fail. But it was further said, that this temper of not choosing for ourselves leads directly to our everlasting inheritance in the other world, as well as making sure of our rest and refreshment in this. For it helps us greatly in the performance of our duty, because, in truth, it leaves us nothing else to do. It prepares and trains us for everlasting happiness in heaven. For the very secret of our enjoyment there will be that God's will shall be ours. We shall behold His works and ways, especially the glory which He has given to His beloved Son our Saviour, and shall rejoice in them as in so much good done to ourselves, more and more thankfully forever. What a beautiful and comfortable thought is this, of the high and noble uses to which, if we will, we may turn all our worst disappointments — the bitterest thoughts of shame and remorse which ever come upon us. We may consider them as part of our heavenly Father's way of breaking us in, as it were, and training us to the desire and enjoyment of His own blessed presence in heaven. And if even the bitter thought of our past sins may be accompanied with so much of what is comfortable and hopeful, surely we may well leave it to Almighty God to do what He will with us in every other respect.

(Plain Sermons by Contributors to "Tracts for the Times. ")

"Ye are not as yet come to your rest." The present is a temporary and provisional state of things. Such is the reason (ver. 9) assigned by the great lawgiver of the Jews for the nonobservance of many, and the imperfect observance of nearly all the statutes and ordinances which he was delivering to them. We are all, he says, to blame. Your leader is no more exempt from human infirmities than yourselves. He is as fond of having his own way, of doing what is right in his own eyes, as any of you. We have all done amiss, and we must all try to do better; and so prepare ourselves for that entirely altered state of circumstances which awaits us as soon as we have crossed the narrow dividing stream; you of Jordan, I of death. In applying these words to the objects of Christian instruction, observe —

I. THE UNIFORMITY OF HUMAN CHARACTER. What describes the natural man in one age or country will suit him equally well at all times and in all countries. What were the Israelites doing in the wilderness? "Every man whatsoever was right in his own eyes." This is human nature. We like to have our own way. Restraint is irksome to us. We seek to be independent in our circumstances, in order that we may be so in our actions, and have no one's wishes or feelings to consult but our own. But if human wilfulness shows itself in one direction more than another, it is in our relations to God. Here we meet with no such checks as hem us in on every other side. Here the freedom of our will is not interfered with by the claims of family or the obligations of society. The world looks on, but never thinks of interfering. A man's religion, it holds, is something entirely between God and his conscience. In the concerns of the soul it is commonly said that every man ought to do whatever is right in his own eyes, without any regard to the opinions or feelings of others. What is most agreeable to our feelings, we easily persuade ourselves, is most profitable to our souls; and where we are most profited, where we "get most good," as it is called, there we feel sure it is God's will that we should go. So we "wrap it up" (Micah 7:3). We settle the matter nominally between God and our consciences, but really between ourselves and our own wayward and corrupt wills.

II. THE IMPROPRIETY OF THIS PRINCIPLE of doing "every man whatsoever is right in his own eyes." No day passes without some matters arising which involve the question of not what is right in our own eyes, but what is right in itself, and what is right in the sight of God and man. We are reasonable and accountable creatures. There is a sense of right and wrong implanted in us by nature. We cannot act contrary to it without violating our conscience, and causing a sensible disturbance to our peace of mind. Besides moral, there is also such a thing as positive right, arising out of the declared will of God; and this is just as binding upon our consciences as the other. When it pleased God to promulgate the Fourth Commandment, by that very act He made it a right thing to keep holy the seventh day, and a wrong thing to do our ordinary work thereon, in the eyes of every man who believes in the existence and attributes of the Creator of the world. Unhappily, moral disorder is not attended with the same inconveniences as civil. Men may be "lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents," and many other things equally offensive to piety and virtue, without any particular shock to the peaceful and prosperous course of this world. Still, "these things ought not so to be." Wrong can never be right. There is one Lawgiver, and one holy and righteous and perfect law. To do as we like is to violate the fundamental law of our being. "For none of us liveth to himself," etc. To do that which is right in our own eyes is too often to do that which is abominable in the sight of God.

III. THE NECESSARY IMPERFECTION OF OUR PRESENT STATE OF BEING. Perfect order and perfect happiness are not to be found on earth, but are reserved for that eternal existence to which this world is but a passage.

1. This thought will reconcile us, in a great degree, to the troubles of life.

2. It will encourage us under our moral failings and imperfections. It may be a poor consolation, but a consolation it certainly is, when we have done amiss, to know that "all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God"; and that so long as man is man he will do "whatsoever is right in his own eyes." Hereafter it will be otherwise. In another world "we shall not do after all the things that we do here this day."

3. It will make us tolerant and indulgent to the failings of others. We must take the world as we find it. We must deal with things as they are, not as they ought to be. To bear and to forbear is no small part of our trial. And we cannot be required to show greater forbearance towards others than God is continually exercising towards us.

IV. THERE IS NO SENTIMENT SO JUST AS NOT TO BE LIABLE TO PERVERSION AND ABUSE. The necessary imperfection of our present state might be urged as an excuse for those evils and disorders which need not exist, and therefore are inexcusable. But this must not be allowed. Sin must always be protested against. Our nature is corrupt; but that is a reason for striving against it, not for giving way to it. We live in a wicked world; but that should put us on our guard against an unreserved association with the world, or an undue compliance with its ways. Is this all that is required of us — to contend against the evil of our own hearts, and to keep ourselves unspotted from the world? Not so. A Christian has a higher vocation: to make the world better; to season it with the salt of a pure and uncorrupt conversation; to set an example of that self-denying, self-sacrificing spirit which leads to conduct the very opposite of that described in the text. The Christian must be continually reminding both himself and others that what we are all doing here this day may be excused by considerations arising out of the frailty of human nature, but can never be justified. Let us take every opportunity of mortifying those deeds of the body, those sinful desires and depraved inclinations which, if they do not actually deprive us of "the rest and the inheritance which the Lord our God giveth us," cannot but make us less fit for it. Let us learn the pleasure of giving up our wills, instead of indulging them; of looking "not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others"; of doing, not "every man whatsoever is right in his own eyes," but every man whatsoever is right for him to do — what religion teaches, what conscience justifies, and what God approves.

V. LET US LEARN FROM THIS SUBJECT TO UNDERSTAND MORE PERFECTLY, AND TO APPRECIATE MORE JUSTLY, THE GOSPEL METHOD OF SALVATION. Moses, we are told, "was faithful in all his house"; as the mediator of that former covenant, he performed his part on the whole faithfully and well; but that was all. He was no redeemer; he could not "save his people from their sins." He was a sinner like themselves: the things which, by reason of their frailty, they did there that day, he also did. Christ alone could say, "Ye shall not do after all the things which ye do here this day"; ye, not we, — excluding Himself from the number of those who do "every man whatsoever is right in his own eyes." Of Himself He says, "I seek not Mine own will, but the will of the Father which sent Me." "I do always those things that please Him." On this principle of seeking God's glory, not His own — He acted through life, and also "became obedient unto death." Without this act we should never have come to that rest, never have attained to that inheritance at all. We should have continued all our lives, as many do to this day, doing "every man whatsoever is right in his own eyes"; because we should have had no motive or inducement to do otherwise. If we have learnt better things, it is only because we have learnt Christ; learnt Him as "the way, the truth, and the life"; "heard Him, and been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus." It remains that we should turn our lessons into practice, by "putting off the old man," etc. So shall we leave off by degrees to "do after all the things which we do here this day"; and under the renewing and sanctifying influence of the Holy Spirit we shall become daily more and more "meet for the inheritance of the saints in light," and ripe for that "rest which remaineth for the people of God."

(Frederick Field, LL. D.)

Ye are not as yet come to the rest and to the inheritance.
That is the beginning — the refrain — the very soul of a hymn. "Not as yet" — it is a blossom-like word — an unfulfilled prophecy. "Not as yet" — why, then, it may be some day. The meaning is that we are on the road: How far have we travelled? Are we home? The voice answers in the night, Not yet. But if we were on the wrong road the voice would not answer so; the voice would then say: Home: why, we are lost, we are on the wrong road; every mile we have travelled these last two days has been a mile in the opposite direction. But the very tone of the voice itself is a gospel. "Not as yet": presently; nearer and nearer. "Not as yet": every step is a battle won; every step is one more difficulty past. "Not as yet; but sufficiently near to be getting ready. What is the meaning of all this stir on the ship, this running to and fro, this calling out from one to another? We have passed something, we have passed a signal, we shall land tonight! Getting ready, saying in effect, It is all over now, what remains to be done is a mere matter of detail; we are waiting, and presently we shall be there. How do we measure our journey? By the middle mile. We seem not to have begun the journey whilst we are on the first half of it, but as soon as we got in the middle of the sea, and are told that the middle mile has been passed, we say, It is all downhill now. Many people are more than half way through life's road: what is it to be during the remainder of the days? Are we leaving heaven behind us, or are we going to it? Many men are leaving behind them the only heaven they have ever prepared for: what wonder if they do not sing during the last half of the voyage or the journey? Others have had a dreary time, a melancholy experience, a troubled disciplinary lot, and when they are told about half-way through that it is all home going and the distance may in some unaccountable way be shortened, behold their faces are alight with a new expression, their soul has come up to look out of the window to see if it be even so. I heard a great voice from heaven saying: Blessed are the dead that die in the Lord: for they shall rest. Rest is promised, not as the reward of selfishness or self-indulgence, but as the crown of service. No man can rest who has not toiled. No man can have real joy who has not had real sorrow. What right have we to rest if we have been resting all the time? The week has Sunday in front of it. Cheer thee! It is Friday. When is Sunday? The day after tomorrow. Is Sunday in every week? Yes. Herein is the goodness of God. We need frequent Sabbaths, we need refreshment by the road, yea, at every seventh step of the journey we must sit down awhile. Sometimes we have a lift by the way. Does the Shepherd not need Himself to be carried sometimes? No: because He is not a shepherd, one of many, but The Shepherd, out of whose shepherdliness all other pastors are struck. The little candle dies, the sun burneth evermore. You need rest — why not have it? You are a very little one, and you are soon tired, and He, I repeat, carrieth the lambs in His bosom. The very principle that Christ went upon was the principle of "Not as yet." "A little while" is the length of time Christ gave Himself. He endured the Cross, despising the shame, because He looked for the joy that lay beyond. Men draw themselves through earth by laying hold of heaven. That is how the earth drags itself along; it is all looped up to the sun. No man has seen the filaments, the threadlets, but the sun feeds them everyone. The tiny earth is hooked on by invisible tentacles to the great central chariot. It is so that life is drawn forward, it is so that life is sanctified; because that by which we are connected with the sun is that through which the centre also communicates to us.

(J. Parker, D. D.)

I. Let us notice THE TERMS IN WHICH THE END OF THE ISRAELITES' JOURNEY IS SPOKEN OF. They are the very same terms which are used in the New Testament as applicable to the Christian's everlasting home, and they point out respectively its blessedness, its certainty, its freeness.

1. For it is called a rest: "Ye are not as yet come to the rest." And this it is well known St. Paul applies to our eternal home, when he says to the Hebrews, "There remaineth, therefore, a rest to the people of God." And in this expression, I repeat, is conveyed to us the great blessedness of that our eternal portion. For if there is one word which seems to contain within it an idea of what is really grateful and enjoyable in this world, it is the word "rest." Condemned, as we are, to eat our bread by the sweat of our brow, "and being born to trouble, as the sparks fly upward," rest is one of the greatest earthly blessings that God can bestow. The believer, then, is one day, and that perhaps no distant day, to rest completely and eternally from all that pains and grieves him here. He shall rest from suffering, "for there shall be no more pain": he shall rest from sorrowing, for "there shall be no more death, neither sorrow nor crying"; but above all he shall rest from sin.

2. But there is another expression here used, which the New Testament warrants us to apply to the rest that remaineth to the people of God, namely "inheritance." This expression denotes the certainty of the believer's portion. There are only three things in the dealings of this world which can disappoint the heir of his inheritance; and, if it can be shown that these cannot take place as regards the believer, the ease is clear. For, in the first place, in earthly things, the parent or the person owning the property may, from some cause or other, change his mind, and cut off the heir from the inheritance. But, in the case now before us, "the gifts and calling of God are without repentance." Or, secondly, the heir may rebel or run away, and so forfeit and give up all claim to the inheritance. But in this case this is provided against; for one part of the adoption into the family of God is the gift of the Spirit, to keep the heir in the love and fear of God, according as it is written: "I will put My fear within them, that they shall not depart from Me." Or, thirdly, the heir may die before the time appointed of the father, and so be disappointed. But, as regards the heavenly inheritance, this can never be: "The soul once quickened shall never die": "The heirs of God are kept by His power through faith unto salvation": "I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish": "Because I live, ye shall live also."

3. But there is yet another expression hers used, which appears to denote the freeness with which it is offered, and which we find used in the New Testament to denote the same idea. It is spoken of as a gift: "Ye are not come to the rest and the inheritance which the Lord your God giveth you." Now, the New Testament invariably speaks of this as a gift: St. Paul says, particularly, "The wages of sin" — i.e. the just reward of sin — "is death; but the gift of God" — observe, not the wages, nor the reward, but the free, undeserved gift of God — "is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord." God is a sovereign: He has a right to do what He will: He is our Sovereign, and He has a right to our services: He is our Maker, and He has a right to ourselves. And there is no obedience, no service, which it is in our power to render Him, to which He has not already an undoubted right; and, consequently, we can never do anything for which God is bound in the least degree to bless us. All His gifts, therefore, to us are free and undeserved, and whatever He gives He gives of His own free and sovereign grace; and as such we must receive it or perish.

II. Such being the terms in which the heavenly inheritance is spoken of, let us turn to THE PROOFS WHICH THE CHRISTIAN HAS THAT HE HAS NOT YET COME TO THE REST WHICH IS RESERVED FOR HIM. These are various, but we will take only a few which come more immediately in connection with the text.

1. The imperfection and vanity of, every thing connected with this life — its sorrows, disappointments, pain, and bereavements — all these things are enough to remind us, as I believe they are graciously intended to remind us, that this is not our home. Thus the Israelites, wherever they rested, wherever they went, were still in the wilderness: turn where they would, the same barren scene would probably present itself, and remind them that this is not Canaan, this is still the wilderness. Let us be blessed with whatever joy or advantage we will, there is a worm at the root; and, with all its capabilities of affording happiness, still it is not permanent, it perishes in the using. Friends disappoint, children and those dear are removed, health decays, riches make to themselves wings, and fly away; so that, with all our earthly comforts, and they are not few, we are still reminded by them, and it is the crowning mercy of them all that we are reminded by them, that this is not our resting place, and we are strangers and pilgrims here.

2. But the Israelites would be reminded, from time to time, that they had not entered into rest, by the continual attacks to which they were exposed from their enemies, and perhaps also by the continued murmurings and rebellions which arose among themselves. True it is, that even in Canaan, the nations greater and mightier than they, were to be dispossessed; still, even on their road they would feel that they had not yet attained what Moses had promised: "When the Lord God shall have given you rest from all your enemies round about." And this is an especial mark to a Christian that his rest and his inheritance is not here. Wherever he looks the enemy meets his view; whether he look around or within him, the scene is the same. I mean not that he takes a gloomy view of all these things, but he cannot deny the fact that "the world lieth in wickedness." His own experience tells him that he has not yet reached that place or that state where ignorance shall not exist, where every murmuring disposition shall be forever hushed, where every rebellious feeling shall be forever slain, and every thought of his heart shall be brought in complete and eternal captivity to the obedience of Christ.

3. But I think it may be said that our very spiritual blessings are calculated to remind us of this. All our means of grace, and all our privileges, many and blessed as they are, are yet adapted for a state of ignorance and imperfection. The manna which the Israelites gathered from day to day, and the "spiritual Rock that followed them," would especially remind them of the truth adverted to in the text. How different from the grapes of Eshcol! how far short of the land flowing with milk and honey, to which they were repeatedly encouraged to look! and yet they were marvellous blessings in themselves. And so it is with us. The spiritual life is but a small foretaste of that fulness of life which is hid in Christ with God; and the very supplies of the Spirit are but the distant branchings of that river which "makes glad the city of God," issues from the living fountains to which the Lamb shall one day lead His people. How inferior, too, is the very written or preached word on earth to what the believer will hear in glory! How inferior the worship in the earthly courts to the worship of the redeemed! How inferior is that feast of the Lord's Supper, to which we are often invited, to that supper at which the bride of Christ is one day to be present.


1. We learn a lesson of warning, not to fix our habitation here, still less to look back upon the world which we have left. God give you grace to be wise in time, that you may be happy in eternity.

2. But, again, we learn a large lesson of duty. We learn that we must not lay aside our armour while we are in the enemy's neighbourhood; we must not cease our watchfulness while we are beset by foes within and without; we must not be contemplating the length of road we have passed, but looking on to what remains.

3. And, lastly, whenever the following propositions are true, that is —

1. When he cannot see any hope of supporting himself at home.

2. When prospects abroad are decidedly good, and likely to continue such.

3. When the journey can probably be performed free from accident.

4. When the means of paying the emigration expenses are secure; and —

5. When family ties are of such a sort that they may with propriety be severed, or when those dearest to you can accompany you.I am not intending to say much more about emigration. Yet I have some valuable advice to offer you upon the subject. Agents, from various motives, often deceive men about the goodness of the distant country, or the cheapness of the voyage by their ship, or the certainty of employment at high wage when they reach the place of destination. You need not fear deceit in this case. There can be no motive for any deception. I say, then, you will be wise to go thither, for these two reasons —(1) Because sooner or later, you must leave here. "The longest life is but a lingering death," and your life may not be even long enough to prove the saying. "This is not your rest." "Ye are not as yet come to the inheritance, which the Lord your God giveth you."(2) But then again, even if you could live here forever, it would not make you happy. I am sure that if your days were prolonged, you could not, as now constituted, enjoy life. It is really a melancholy sight to see an aged person who has outlived his friends and kinsfolk, and the manners and customs of his age. Everything is wrong with such a man. No sympathy of spirit, no word, no feelings seem in common with him. He stands decaying and shrivelling, like the one old oak, spared when the forest has fallen, only to look more drear as the sprightly new trees spring up about him. So here again is another good reason for your emigration.

1. Ask you why? Because sin has defiled and ruined everything, rendering the world unfit for us, and us unfit for life; because we are "to pass, therefore, through the grave and gate of death to our joyful resurrection"; and so, "ye are not as yet come to the rest and to the inheritance, which the Lord your God giveth you."

2. It may be necessary to emigrate; but are the prospects good elsewhere? Here is a description of the allotment offered to emigrants. It is called an inheritance, because an Elder Brother of yours has "gone before" and bought it, and He says "you are joint heirs with Me." It is called "an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, and it is reserved," put by, kept ready, safe, all prepared "for you." Yes, all this in prospect, seen by faith, heard of by letter and by promise! But remember, "ye are not yet come to this rest and inheritance which the Lord your God giveth you."

3. It may be needful to emigrate, and the prospects beyond seem to baffle description in their beauty; but that swelling flood, those tossing waters, are too much for you — you have no great means for paying the costly freightage; and then there is the constant dread lest you should make shipwreck, and so never reach the land whither you would go. The prospects are all you can desire, if only you could get there. I have read the terms of the emigration, and I am confident that He who gives the inheritance grants a perfectly free passage thither. Christ said, when here on earth, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No man cometh to the Father but by Me." The Saviour of sinners offers them a home. It is not a reformatory or a prison, but a home with Himself, He tells you that you must receive it as a gift, and not make bargains about it. And His law upon the matter is, that since, from first to last, it is not of works, but the free gift of Himself, so you are to claim the inheritance and journey thither entirely at His cost. Are family ties of such a character as to hinder you from emigration? I answer, Certainly not, because they, too, both friends and kinsfolk, must leave this place and go elsewhere. Therefore, I say, your course is plain. Resolve that you will, through the grace of the Holy Spirit, pass over from this present world of sin unto the future inheritance of the sons of God. And bring your kinsmen with you.

(S. Venables.)


1. From sin.

2. From temptation.

3. From enemies.

(1)Physical It is astonishing beyond measure to see what seemingly refined men will do to trip a Christian to whom they have taken a dislike.

(2)Spiritual powers of darkness, etc.

4. From weariness.

5. From doubts.


1. Purchased.

2. Prepared.

3. Pure.

4. Sure.

5. For the saints.


1. Not a condition of ceaseless toil.

2. Not a condition of entire exclusion from our inheritance.

3. We here enjoy the means of grace.Lessons:

1. In view of all this we should rejoice —

(1)Because of what God has done for us.

(2)Because of what God is doing for us in heaven.

(3)Because of what God is doing in us now.

2. Are we being fitted for that rest and inheritance?

3. Are there any here who are seeking their rest on earth? Oh! poor miserable souls, ye with all your seeking have not rest here, and will not have rest hereafter!

(Bp. Courtney.)


1. A promised rest.

2. A complete rest.

3. Rest in the possession of an inheritance.

4. An eternal rest.

II. SOME CONSIDERATIONS suggested by the fact that we are not yet come to our rest. And this fact requires us —

1. To endure hardships.

2. To prize comforts.

3. To avoid present resting.

4. To be seeking the rest that is to come.All things encourage us to advance. A better than earthly Canaan before us; a greater Leader than Moses to guide us; and the millions of the glorified invoking us, by their reward, to imitate their example. Oh! be not slothful, but followers of them, who, through faith and patience, are inheriting the promises. We may infer —

1. The infatuation of the wicked, who, besides not having come to this rest, are sedulously shunning it by a contrary course; and —

2. The happiness of the righteous, who, though they have not yet come to this rest, are hourly coming to it, and whose very bereavements teach not more strikingly the vanity of this world than the proximity of a better.

(D. King.)

That it may go well with thee.
Though salvation is not by the works of the law, yet the blessings which are promised to obedience are not denied to the faithful servants of God. The curses our Lord took away when He was made a curse for us, but no clause of blessing has been abrogated. We are to note the revealed will of the Lord, giving our attention not to portions of it, but to "all these words." There must be no picking and choosing, but an impartial respect to all that God has commanded. This is the road of blessedness for the father and for his children. The Lord's blessing is upon His chosen to the third and fourth generation. If they walk uprightly before Him, He will make all men know that they are a seed which the Lord hath blessed. No blessing can come to us or ours through dishonesty or double dealing. The ways of worldly conformity and unholiness cannot bring good to us or ours. It will go well with us when we go well before God. If integrity does not make us prosper, knavery will not. That which gives pleasure to God will bring pleasure to us.

( C. H. Spurgeon.)

And with thy children after thee
God is concerned for posterity. We may mock the suggestion, and put foolish questions concerning the generations yet to come, but the Book of God is as careful about the child unborn as about the old pilgrim born into the higher spaces. God does not insulate Himself by the little present; He contemplates the end from the beginning. All souls are His. He also puts it into our care to regard the welfare of our successors. There is a sense in which we all have a posterity — some in a narrower, some in a larger sense; but we all have a succession: we are influencing tomorrow by our spirit and action today. How mad are they, and how guilty of the cruellest murder, who go on indulging every desire, sating every appetite, satisfying every wish, forgetting that they are involving the yet unborn to pain, weakness, incapacity, and dooming them to lifelong suffering and distress. Here is the greatness of the Bible, the noble condescension of God, the infinite solicitude of the eternal Father. His speech runs to this effect: take care: not only are you involved, but your child and child's child, for generation upon generation: your drunkenness will reappear in the disease of ages yet to come; your bad conduct will repeat itself in a long succession of evil-minded men; your behaviour appears at present to be agreeable, to have some aspects that might be called delightful, but things are not what they seem: actions do not end in themselves; every bad thought you think takes out some spark of vitality from your brain — robs you, depletes you; be careful; have some regard for those who have to succeed you; learn from those who went before you how evil a thing it is to have sown bad seed, and by what you have learned from them conduct yourself aright; if you are true, wise, pure, generous, well-conducted altogether, generations will arise to bless you; if you take care of the poor, if any of your succession be doomed to poverty, with what measure you mete it shall be measured to you and them again; blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy; with what judgment ye judge ye shall be judged. Life is one: touch it where we may, we send a thrill, a vibration, along all the vital lines. The law is two-fold: sow evil, and reap evil; sow good, and reap good. This is no partial law, dealing with penalty and shame only: it is an impartial righteousness, dealing with reward and glory, and promising delight vast and tender as the heaven of God.

(J. Parker, D. D.)

Take heed to thyself that thou be not snared by following after them.
Scientific Illustrations.
It is a remarkable fact, and is proved by Dr. Bell (in his History of British Insects), that the poison of the rattlesnake is even secreted after death. Dr. Bell, in his dissections of the rattlesnakes which have been dead many hours, has found that the poison continued to be secreted so fast as to require to be dried up occasionally with sponge or rag. The immoral author, like these rattlesnakes, not only poisons during his lifetime, but after death: because his books possess the subtle power of secreting the venom to a horrible degree. A moral sponge is constantly called into requisition to obliterate his poison for many years after he himself has been dead.

(Scientific Illustrations.)

As the bough of a tree bent from its usual course returns to its old position as soon as the force by which it had yielded is removed; so do men return to their old habits as soon as the motives, whether of interest or fear, which had influenced them, are done away. "Nature," says Lord Bacon, "is often hidden, sometimes overcome, seldom extinguished. Let not a man trust his victory over his nature too far, for nature will lie buried a great time, and yet revive upon the occasion or temptation; like as it was with AEsop's damsel, turned from a cat to a woman, who sat very demurely at the board's end till a mouse ran before her." The same philosopher gives the following admirable caution: — "A man's nature runs either to herbs or weeds; therefore let him seasonably water the one and destroy the other."

None are so likely to maintain watchful guard over their hearts and lives as those who know the comfort of living in near communion with God. They feel their privilege and will fear losing it. They will dread failing from their high estate, and marring their own comfort by bringing clouds between themselves and Christ. He that goes on a journey with little money about him takes little thought of danger, and cares little how late he travels. He, on the contrary, that carries gold and jewels, will be a cautious traveller; he will look well to his roads, his horses, and his company, and run no risks. The fixed stars are those that tremble most. The man that most fully enjoys the light of God's countenance, will be a man tremblingly afraid of losing its blessed consolations, and jealously fearful of doing anything to grieve the Holy Ghost.

(Bp. Ryle.).

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