Hebrews 11:24
By faith Moses, when he was grown, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter.
Sermons
Moses Relinquishing Earthly AdvantagesD. Young Hebrews 11:24, 25
A Noble PreferenceD. Bancroft.Hebrews 11:24-26
ChoosingJ. Trapp.Hebrews 11:24-26
Desiring and ChoosingH. W. Beecher.Hebrews 11:24-26
Faith the Means of Overcoming the WorldC. New.Hebrews 11:24-26
Faith's Sight of Sinful PleasuresW. Gurnall.Hebrews 11:24-26
For a SeasonLife of Father Taylor.Hebrews 11:24-26
Happiness of the Self-DenyingHebrews 11:24-26
He Had Tried BothHebrews 11:24-26
Lessons from the Choice of MosesC. Brown.Hebrews 11:24-26
Modern Instances of a Right ChoiceF. W. Farrar, D. D.Hebrews 11:24-26
Moses' ChoiceR. Watson.Hebrews 11:24-26
Moses' ChoiceMatthew Henry.Hebrews 11:24-26
Moses' DecisionC. H. Spurgeon.Hebrews 11:24-26
Moses Suffering AfflictionE. Monro.Hebrews 11:24-26
Moses the Uncrowned KingC. H. Payne, . D. D.Hebrews 11:24-26
Murderous Though BeautifulScientific Illustrations and SymbolsHebrews 11:24-26
PleasureBp. Ryle.Hebrews 11:24-26
Religious DecisionB. D. Johns.Hebrews 11:24-26
Sinful PleasuresR. Fuller.Hebrews 11:24-26
The Choice of MosesW. M. Punshon, D. D.Hebrews 11:24-26
The Choice of MosesA. Gilmour.Hebrews 11:24-26
The Choice of Mosesor. Burns, D. D.Hebrews 11:24-26
The Choice of MosesJames Stark.Hebrews 11:24-26
The Faith of MosesJames Kidd, D. D.Hebrews 11:24-26
The Faith of Moses and the Faith of ChristJ. Service, D. D.Hebrews 11:24-26
The Great Choice of MosesW. Jones Hebrews 11:24-26
The Great RefusalG. Lawson.Hebrews 11:24-26
The Highest Form of FaithE. Lewis, B. A.Hebrews 11:24-26
The Pleasures of SinW. M. Taylor, D. D.Hebrews 11:24-26
The Poisonous Lurking in the PleasurableScientific Illustrations and SymbolsHebrews 11:24-26
The Power of a Good LifeArchdeacon Farrar.Hebrews 11:24-26
The Self-Denial of MosesHebrews 11:24-26
True GoodnessJ. Trapp.Hebrews 11:24-26
Worldly Honours RefusedJames Kirkwood, M. A.Hebrews 11:24-26
Worldly PleasuresW. Mason.Hebrews 11:24-26
By faith Moses, when he was come to years, etc. In the providence of God the adoption of the infant Moses by the daughter of Pharaoh was the means by which he received the education and training necessary for the great work for which God had destined him. To the human mind, taking into consideration the condition of the Israelites at that time, there ages not seem to have been any other means by which he could have obtained instruction so complete and discipline so thorough. "By means of this princely education," says Kitto, "he became a person most accomplished in his temper, demeanor, and intellect; he was also trained in that largeness of view and generosity of spirit which are supposed to result from such relations, and which qualified him to sustain with dignity and authority the offices of ruler of a people and general of armies, which eventually devolved upon him. This education, also - involving, as it must have done, an intimacy with the highest science and philosophy of Egyptian sages - was well calculated to secure for him the attention and respect of the Egyptians when he stood forth to demand justice for an oppressed race." "Moses was instructed in all the wisdom of the Egyptians; and he was mighty in his words and works" (Acts 7:22). The choice of which our text speaks was his calm and deliberate decision to separate himself from the Egyptians among whom he had hitherto lived, and to identify himself with the Israelites to whom he belonged by descent and parentage. He freely chose the oppressed people of God as his people. This involved the great avowal that their God was his God; that he rejected the gods of Egypt, and reverently and heartily accepted Jehovah as his God - the Sovereign of his being and his Supreme Good. But brought up in the Egyptian court, instructed by Egyptian teachers, how would Moses become acquainted with his connection with the Israelites, with their history anti their hopes, and with the sublime character of the God whom they acknowledged? In the providence of God it was so ordered that his own godly mother was his nurse, and she would instill these things into his active and receptive mind, and teach him the simple and holy faith of their religion. Moreover, when we call to mind the place which, in the Divine purposes, he was to occupy and the work he was to do, we cannot but conclude that God communicated directly with his mind and. spirit, and he received immediate enlightenment and impulse from him. And thus prepared, in due season he makes the great decision actual, and openly chooses the living and true God for his own and only God, and the down-trodden people of God for his people. Several aspects of this choice are mentioned in the text.

I. IT WAS MADE AT A SIGNIFICANT SEASON OF LIFE. "When he was grown up." "When he was full forty years old" (Acts 7:23). Moses made the great choice neither in the heat and impulsiveness of youth, when the judgment is immature and the decisions hasty, nor in the decadence of age, when the faculties are failing, and the mind no longer perceives with its former clearness or considers with its former comprehensiveness and force. He came to the great decision at a time when his mental faculties may reasonably be held to have been in full maturity and vigor, and when he was able correctly to estimate the significance and importance of that decision. Moreover, the choice was made at a time when it would require an effort to break away from old associations and modes of life. Generally speaking, a person's habits are formed and fixed at forty years old; and he does not easily take to new circumstances and associations and customs. But Moses did so. These considerations point to the conclusion that the choice was made intelligently, deliberately, and with entire decision.

II. IT INVOLVED GREAT SACRIFICES.

1. Eminent position and brilliant prospects. "Moses... refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter." He was the adopted son of the king's daughter; but he sacrificed that princely position. If Jewish traditions are at all reliable, he occupied a position of great eminence and influence amongst the Egyptians. His prospects also were dazzling. Some say that he would probably have succeeded to the throne. All these things he renounced in making his great choice.

2. The pleasures of the world. Moses declined "to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season." What are these?

(1) The gratifications which are prohibited by God: "The lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the vain-glory of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world."

(2) The pursuits which are condemned by conscience. "To him who accounteth anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean." "He that doubteth is condemned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: and whatsoever is not of faith is sin" (Romans 14:14, 23).

(3) Anything which diminishes spiritual susceptibility or strength, or retards spiritual progress. There is pleasure in some of the things which are divinely prohibited. There are gratifications connected with sin. It were folly to deny it. But they are only "for a season." They will not bear reflection even in this present life. They will have no existence in the future life. All these pleasures Moses cast aside.

3. The treasures of the world. Moses turned away from "the treasures of Egypt." It seems beyond doubt that he must have lived in affluence in Egypt; and as the son of Pharaoh's daughter, he must have had prospects of great wealth for his own portion. How strong the fascination of riches is for many persons! And this fascination is more fully realized when men have reached the age of Moses than in earlier days. At the age when he made his great decision it costs no small effort to relinquish voluntarily the almost certain prospect of great wealth. Yet Moses did so.

III. IT INVOLVED THE PROBABILITY OF GREAT SUFFERINGS.

1. The endurance of evil treatment. Moses was well aware that by reason of his choice he would very likely have "to suffer affliction with the people of God." The Israelites were treated by the Egyptians as slaves; they were an oppressed, a cruelly ill-used people. Moses knew this when he determined to cast in his lot with them. "To be evil entreated" was almost certain to be his portion; but it would be "with the people of God." An important fact that. They were a people of a pure faith, sustained by a mighty hand, and inspired by a glorious destiny.

2. The endurance of bitter reproach Moses looked forward to "the reproach of Christ" as a probable result of his choice. "He would be exposed to ridicule for his folly in leaving his brilliant prospects at court to become identified with an oppressed and despised people." "The writer," says De Wette, "calls the reproach which Moses suffered the reproach of Christ, as Paul (2 Corinthians 1:5; Colossians 1:24) calls the sufferings of Christians the sufferings of Christ, i.e. of Christ dwelling, striving, suffering, in his Church as in his body; to which this reproach is referred according to the idea of the unity of the Old and New Testaments, and of the eternal Christ (the Logos) already living and reigning in the former." Reproaches do not strip a man of his worldly goods or break his bones; but to some they are even harder to bear than these things. They enter terribly into the soul. Thus David cried, "Reproach hath broken my heart."

IV. IT WAS ASSOCIATED WITH A GREAT EXPECTATION, Moses "had respect unto the recompense of reward." He looked forward to the fulfillment of the promises made unto their fathers - that they should possess the land of Canaan, that they should be a great and independent nation, and that in them all nations should be blessed. And beyond earth and time he looked for a great reward and an eternal. He had yearnings for immortality. And his hopes reached beyond the bounds of time and space to a perfection heavenly, everlasting, and Divine. This was not the grand motive for his great choice. He did not consecrate himself to the true God because of the rewards of his service. Higher and purer were the motives which determined his choice. But the prospect of these rewards encouraged him in making the choice. And as to ourselves, we should choose to believe the true, do the right, lore the beautiful, and reverence the holy, even if no advantage accrued to us by so doing. But there is an advantage in godliness, there is a peerless prize for the faithful servant; and we may take encouragement in the duties and difficulties, the sufferings and crosses of life, by the contemplation thereof.

V. IT NECESSITATED A GREAT EXERCISE OF FAITH. If he had been guided by his senses, Moses would have viewed these matters in an entirely different light, and have made the directly opposite choice. He was guided by his soul. He listened to the higher voices of his being, and complied with them. He looked at things with the eye of faith. By faith he saw the vanity and transitoriness of the things he was renouncing, the reality and righteousness, the essential and abiding worth of the things he was embracing, and he made the choice - the true, the wise, the blessed choice. Let those who are not yet decidedly religious copy the example of Moses. To be guided simply by sight and sense in making the great election is irrational and ruinous. Let faith and reason be brought into exercise, and then your choice will be hearty and earnest for the service of the Lord Jesus Christ. - W.J.







Moses.
At Rome there is a colossal statue of Moses by Michael Angelo — one of the greatest statues in the world. He is represented with long hair streaming over his robe, and as you gaze on the awful statue you are smitten with awe; love and admiration are lost in dread. There is nothing attractive in mere human greatness; it is beyond our reach; but when greatness is but the attribute of goodness it instantly becomes refreshing. For goodness is in the power of every one of us, and is greater than any greatness. We are in some sense bidden to be perfect as our Father in heaven is perfect, and every human character who has been great in goodness helps us to live and strive after this ideal. To make the rivers flow swiftly across the plain they must have their springs high up amid the immaculate snows of the everlasting hills, and to make a man his faith and hope must be among the heights of heaven. Now this is the very force which moved those good men who inspire us with fresh faith in God, humanity, and ourselves. The race must be worth working for which produces such specimens. And then it comes home as a revelation to us that we, too, can be great as they were in goodness, and if we be great in goodness it matters supremely little to God or man how small we are in all things else. Every servant in a house, every workman in a factory, every member of an ordinary profession in his counting house, may, and is, called upon almost every day of his life, in a high or a low measure, to make the very same choice which has influenced the greatest lives. You will see, then, why I think it may be profitable for us to look at one scene in the life of Moses. Now, what was it which at the ripe age of forty altered his career? If we look at the paintings on Egyptian tombs we may see what he saw. One of our great painters years ago drew a picture, in which thousands of Jews are dragging along images of an Egyptian king; they are tugging at the ropes under the burning sun, and youths and men in the prime of life are punting, sweating, straining every nerve while their wretched slave women are beating cymbals, and over their backs falls the torturing scourge of their taskmasters. Such sights Moses saw. He saw them, too, labouring in the brickfields as in a burning fiery furnace, or treading at the water-mills on the banks of the Nile as Fellaheen of Egypt do now, with their monotonous chant, "They starve us, they starve us, they beat us, they beat us; but there is One above." A sight of oppression, a sight of misery, a sight of manhood humiliated out of its natural dignity, and defrauded out of its indefeasible rights. And what was worse, this nation of slaves was contented in its misery. Moses pitied them all the more because they had, for the time being, sunk too low to pity themselves. The glory of the faith of Moses was that he still saw them to be men. The great sculptor looks upon the rough, shapeless block of marble and sees in it the angel whom he will hew out of it; the man of faith sees in the debased man the potentialities of a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people which should be to the glory of God, who had called them out of darkness to His marvellous light. That was the sight which Moses saw without. What did he see at home? He belonged to these slaves no longer; he was an Egyptian prince; his life was ranked among the lords of these labouring myriads. What should hinder him from enjoying pomp and pleasure, and becoming himself, perhaps, a conquering Pharaoh, and in due time having some vast, godlike statue reared to him, with some pompous inscription such as this: "My name is king of kings; look on my works, ye mighty, and despair"? Moses might have done this, and if he had he would have lived for a few years like other Pharaohs and passed away; and history, reclining half asleep upon a pyramid, might have muttered some name, and we should not have known what it was. Happily for Israel, happily for mankind, Moses chose differently. He chose rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season. Moses became the first founder of that religion which was the cradle of Christianity. What was it but pity for human misery that made John Howard leave a comfortable home to breathe the sickening atmosphere of prisons? What was it but pity for human misery that sent David Livingstone straight from the splendours and triumphs of a London season to face the scorching wastes of Africa, and to die homeless, wifeless, childless, in a hut? It is the same spirit of self-sacrifice, which is the most potent engine for good in all the world; it is this spirit alone which is adequate to uplift our lives from their vulgarity and sensualism, and to place us, each in our humble degree, by the side of those who preferred, "to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season." Whence came this spirit? Came it not from Christ? Did He not make for us men the most infinite sacrifice? Ah! let us follow His footsteps, bearing His cross as Moses did, and as all of His servants have ever done, trying to escape averages, trying to rise from the vulgar herd and the false, worldly, sensual pleasure into the high service of the saints of God. Remember that this choice did not come only to Moses, or to some great man now and then. It comes to all of us, it comes practically whenever we are called upon to choose between the paltry action from which we gain, and the right action from which we lose; whenever we are called upon to yield something to our neighbour and disappoint him not, though it were to our own hurt; whenever we seek for strength, even at the cost of bitter tears.

(Archdeacon Farrar.)

I. WHAT DID THAT IMPORTANT CHOICE INVOLVE? HOW MUCH OF SACRIFICE AND OF SELF-RENUNCIATION?

1. Rank and royalty he thereby renounced the highest honour and the greatest power that earth can give — the very prizes for which men toil most zealously and pay most largely.

2. This decision also involved the renunciation of temporal riches. Let any man measure, if he can, the influence which the desire for a competency of worldly good has upon himself, and he may better judge how strong was the power of Egypt's incalculable wealth, which failed to swerve Moses from his holy purpose.

3. And there, too, were the pleasures of a life amid courtly splendours, which he voluntarily renounced. Within his reach were all the sensual enjoyments that the mind could devise or the heart desire. He could have lived in an atmosphere of earthly pleasure, breathing the perfume of sweetest flowers of delight, feasting the eye with all forms of beauty, regaling the senses with every carnal joy. All honour to Moses, then, for his signal victory over this fair-visaged and subtle foe, who has taken captive so many of earth's fairest sons, and led them by the silken bonds of a willing captivity to the bitter wages of death! And all honour and certain reward to every youth who, like Moses, will spurn the sinful pleasure, and choose the higher though hidden good! But in that choice was involved more than the renunciation of all these forms of worldly good.

4. With him, to reject them was to accept their opposites; and not less lustre is shed upon that decision by what he accepted than by what he renounced. Think of that race of bondmen whom henceforth he was to call his brethren: taking his place by their side, and sharing the reproach which belonged to them. There, too, were the envy and ill-will of this very people he sought to benefit. They would not understand him. They were sure to misinterpret his good intentions. All this he must have foreseen. And not only was there the dishonour of becoming the companion of these degraded Hebrews; he accepted also the "reproach' which attached to the worship of their God and faith in their promised Messiah. His former associates among the lords and princes, the priests and the philosophers of Egypt would look upon him with contempt for adopting a religion so despised in their eyes. Think of this, O youth of this Christian land, where the true God is honoured and worshipped by the learned and the great, and the religion Christ is admitted to be the one hope of humanity 1 And yet, you, perchance, hesitate to adopt this revered faith, to choose this infinite good, through cowardly fear of a few godless associates. Look on this princely reared son of fortune, turning away from rank and wealth, from honour and pleasure, from friends and genial pursuits, to humiliation and poverty, to dishonour and reproach, to uncongenial associates and the curses of those He would bless; and summon your fainting heart to a like worthy choice. Moses places on the scales of decision, on the one side the world's best, on the other religion's worst, and with deliberate judgment chooses the latter; "affliction with the people of God," "the reproach of Christ," outweighing a throne with its dazzling honours, the wealth of a proud monarchy, and the pleasures of a royal palace.

II. Turn we now to consider UPON WHAT PRINCIPLE AND BY WHAT INSPIRING MOTIVE SUCH A CHOICE WAS MADE. And here we are left in no doubt. The apostle solves the problem for us: "By faith," etc. Standing on that summit of observation he looked not alone with the eye of sense upon the inviting scene before him, but with the clear and penetrating eye of faith he surveyed the whole prospect. And when you look upon earth's most entrancing scenes with the eye of a clear-visioned faith, their beauty fades, their glory pales, their wealth vanishes, their pleasure dies. He saw thus that all this fair-promising good was more seeming than real — a tinseled glory that would not withstand the corroding atmosphere of adversity and death — pleasing to the" sense but not satisfying to the heart. He saw by faith, also, that all this glitter and glamour of earthly treasures were but " for a season" — a flower of earth that blooms to-day and fades to-morrow; a summer's day that wanes and darkens into deepest night; a song of tremulous joy that ends in a wail of despair; a transitory pleasure that while it might make life agreeable would make a death-bed terrible. Moses' faith in God also gave him the assurance that the promises concerning His people Israel should be fulfilled; that however degraded they were then, they should be exalted, and a Delivering Hand should wrest them from the oppressor's grasp. Faith brought to his view far more than the natural eye could compass. It was to him "the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Go forth, and look with naked eye over the limited field presented to your view, bounded by the sensible horizon, and the seemingly not-distant arch of heaven shutting down upon it. Now place the telescope to your eye, and lo! the field of vision is enlarged, and distant worlds appear. Faith is such a telescope, and through this Moses looked. And what did he see? Fields more fair and fruitful than the fertile valley of the Nile; the river of life surpassing far the sacred stream of Egypt; riches infinitely transcending Egypt's garnered treasures; a crown more effulgent than that of the Pharaohs; a palace whose splendour outdazzled that of the magnificent City of the Sun. There is but one way to conquer this world — and it must be conquered, or it will conquer you — and that way is to look from this, through the telescope of faith, to the other world. "This is the victory that overcometh the world, even your faith." If you would be a winner in the life-race, you must do as Moses did — take in the whole and not a part of life, sacrifice the present for the future, pleasure for principle, gold for godliness, wealth for worth, reputation for character, the blossoms of immediate promise for the golden fruits of the eternal years.

III. THE REWARD OF HIS ILLUSTRIOUS CHOICE. He was rewarded by being called to a mission of most distinguished service and resplendent honour. He became the leader and deliverer of God's chosen people — a lawgiver in comparison with whom the names of Solon and Lycurgus lose their brightness; an author of the most illustrious books the world has ever read; a prophet with a shining record of glory; a hero whose fame has filled the earth. The honour that he renounced was but "for season"; the honour that he gained is lasting as the years of God.

(C. H. Payne, . D. D.)

This chapter is a kind of gazette extraordinary of the holy war, a muster roll of the heroes of faith. Among these worthies stands conspicuously, Moses.

I. THE CHOICE. Egypt's gold had lost its power to charm, and the treasures of Rameses and Succoth were esteemed as trash. Not that there is any necessary opposition between the present and the future. Man is a being formed for both worlds; what we want is, as it were, to strike the balance between the claims of each. I do not ask you when trouble comes; but when fortune is with you, when friends smile upon you, when you feel the flutterings of dear life within you, can you then give all up for Christ?

II. THE MOTIVE. "The recompense of the reward." The reward of grace is certain, complete, and eternal. Irrespective of the illumination of God's Word, the voice of conscience, the inequalities of providence, and the sanctions of law and human governments, all point to a state of future rewards and punishments; every promise breathes in balmier sweetness, and every warning rolls in deeper thunder by this thought, that you and I must give an account. Oh, it is a solemn thought! You and I have life upon our hands, and we cannot get rid of it.

(W. M. Punshon, D. D.)

I. THE DECIDED ACTION OF MOSES.

1. Who he was that did this.

(1)A man of education.

(2)A person of high rank.

(3)A man of great ability.

2. What sort of society he felt compelled to leave. Jesus left the angels of heaven for your sake; can you not leave the best of company for His sake?

3. But I marvel most at Moses when I consider not only who he was and the company he had to forego, but the persons with whom he must associate, for in truth the followers of the true God were not, in their own persons, a loveable people at that time.

4. Consider now what Moses left by siding with Israel.

5. Consider yet once more what Moses espoused when he left the court. He espoused abounding trial, "choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God."

II. Now what WAS THE SOURCE OF MOSES' DECISION? Scripture says it was faith, otherwise some would insist that it was the force of blood. "He was by birth an Israelite, and therefore," say they, "the instincts of nature prevailed." Our text assigns a very different reason. We know right well that the sons of godly parents are not led to adore the true God by reason of their birth. Grace does not run in the blood; sin may, but righteousness does not. Neither was it eccentricity which led him to espouse the side which was oppressed. We have sometimes found a man of pedigree who has associated with persons of quite another rank and condition, simply because he never could act like anybody else, and must live after his own odd fashion. It was not so with Moses. All his life through you cannot discover a trace of eccentricity in him: he was sober, steady, law-abiding; what if I say he was a concentric man, for his centre was in the right place, and he moved according to the dictates of prudence. Neither was he hurried on by some sudden excitement when there burned within his soul fierce patriotic fires which made him more fervent than prudent. No, there may have been some haste in his slaying the Egyptian on the first occasion, but then he had forty more years to think it over, and yet he never repented his choice, but held on to the oppressed people of God, and still refused to think of himself as the son of Pharaoh's daughter. It was faith alone, that enabled the prophet of Sinai to arrive at his decision, and to carry it out. What faith had he?

1. He had faith in Jehovah. He knew in his own heart that there was one God, one only God, and he would have nothing to do with Amun, Pthah, or Maut.

2. The faith of Moses also rested in Christ. "Christ had not come," says one. He cast his eyes through the ages that were to intervene, and he saw before him the Shiloh of whom dying Jacob sang.

3. But then, in addition to this, Moses had faith in reference to God's people. He knew that the Israelites were God's chosen, that despite all their faults, God would not break His covenant with His own people, and he knew, therefore, that their cause was God's cause, and that it was the cause of right and truth.

4. Once again, Moses had faith in the " recompense of the reward." He said thus within himself, "I must renounce much, and reckon to lose rank, position, and treasure; but I expect to be a gainer notwithstanding, for there will be a day when God shall judge the sons of men; and I expect that those who serve God faithfully shall then turn out to have been the wise men, while those who truckled to gain a present ease, shall find that they missed eternity while they were snatching after time, and that they bartered heaven for a paltry mess of pottage."

III. Thirdly, we are going to run over in our minds some of THE ARGUMENTS WHICH SUPPORTED MOSES in his decided course of following God.

1. The first argument would be, he saw clearly that God was God and therefore must keep His word, must bring His people up out of Egypt and give them a heritage.

2. Then, we have it in the text that he perceived the pleasures of sin to be but for a season. Oh that men would measure everything in the scales of eternity!

3. And, then, again, he thought within himself that even the pleasures, which did last for a season, while they lasted were not equal to the pleasure of being reproached for Christ's sake. This ought also to strengthen us, that the worst of Christ is better than the best of the world, that even now we have more joy as Christians, if we are sincere, than we could possibly derive from the sins of the wicked.I have only this to say —

1. We ought all of us to be ready to part with everything for Christ, and if we are not we are not His disciples.

2. We ought to abhor the very thought of obtaining honour in this world by concealing our sentiments or by making compromises.

3. We ought to take our place with those who truly follow God and the Scriptures, even if they are not altogether what we should like them to be.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

As no two men are alike, so it may be said no two lives are alike, though the lives of all men have many things in common. That life is the most interesting which embraces the largest amount of experience, and by the varieties and extraordinariness of its experiences differs most from other lives. But in estimating the interest of any individual life, we must ever bear in mind the fact that each life is double — it has its external and internal form. A life of mental struggle and soul triumphs like that of Plato, may have no external incidents of any importance, and set be interesting in the highest degree. Other lives may consist almost exclusively of external ups and downs. The most interesting life of all is one which embraces these two kinds of motion, and assumes a variety of phases in each department. Estimated according to this rule, few lives are so interesting as that of Moses. His external life was one of special variety. His internal life was one of hopes and fears; struggles, failures, and triumphs; passion and peace; discovery and perplexity; adversity and success; lamentations and songs; and work and leisure. He was a great and a good man in combination.

I. THE GOOD WHICH MOSES REJECTED. Paul gives us a summary of the sacrifices which Moses was led to make at the shrine of principle in the words, "He refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter." This is mentioned as a real good which he abandoned.

1. This sacrifice involved the abandonment of wealth. It is a matter of importance to estimate aright the value of wealth. A man who has but little sense and less religion may desire to possess wealth for its own sake: but a man whose nature is refined and good finds no pleasure in gold or acres in themselves. He desires them simply as means — as instruments. To him they are of no value except as they help him to some higher good. Viewed in this light, wealth is a blessing, and like every other blessing it brings with it its own responsibilities, for in all things man is but a steward over God's property. Wealth is the real property of God who gives it, and not of the man who has it in his possession. The offer made to Moses involved wealth — "all the treasures of Egypt." In it itself he could care nothing for it, but as means to ends — as an additional talent to be used for man's good and God's glory — it was a blessing to be eagerly grasped. And then there was this further consideration, that if he refused the offer, it would be made to another and accepted, and this other might actually employ the wealth of Egypt to promote evil and clog the wheels of progress. Moses might say, "If this wealth becomes mine, I shall make good use of it. Money is a blessing though the love of it is a curse. If I reject it, another may take it arid use it to do evil." Here lay the force of the temptation.

2. This sacrifice on the part of Moses involved the abandonment of influence. A man who has lost the good opinion of his fellows can never hope to do them good, for our words have power as men have confidence in our wisdom and integrity. By rejecting the honour which the Egyptians proposed to confer upon Moses, he would lose their good opinion because they could not comprehend principles so lofty as those which led him thus to act. Then the influence which arose from his position as king of Egypt was immense. As king he could have purified the morals of courtiers by setting them a good example. He might introduce regulations, with the consent of the people, which would have crippled the power, in after ages, of tyrannical kings. He might even abolish slavery, and thus restore the Jews to their former splendour. His influence might go far toward the abolition of idolatry and the instruction of the people in the knowledge of the true God. Then, as the king of the mightiest nation then existing, his influence would be great in foreign states; and by means of the power which he derived from inexhaustible riches, and the influence which arose from his official position, and the place which he held in public esteem, the good which he might have effected would have extended to all nations and for ever. It required no small resolution to reject those means and opportunities of doing good.

II. THE EVILS WHICH MOSES SELECTED.

1. The mental anxiety which was inseparable from his position as the leader into liberty of a nation of slaves.

2. The many privations which must have been connected with the journey across Arabia.

3. The precarious prospects of his own family. What became of his children is not known, but their secular position proved very different from what it would have been had he accepted the crown of Egypt.

III. THE REASON OF THIS CHOICE. The sinful pleasures referred to in the text are not allied to those which are so called now. The pleasures of sin, according to modern notions, are pleasures of a gross or animal nature, such pleasures as could have had no attraction for a man of Moses' refined culture and pure habits. Paul refers, it seems to me, to the things which Moses rejected. These were the pleasures of sin — wealth, honour, and influence, or what was involved in being called " the son of Pharaoh's daughter." But, it may be asked, is wealth, or honour, or influence a pleasure of sin? Is it sinful for a man to be rich, respected, and obeyed? Is it wrong for a man to occupy the throne of a powerful and civilised country? In certain cases it is sinful; in others, it is not. If riches are gotten by being screwed out of the flesh and blood of the poor, then are riches the pleasures of sin. If the applause of others is obtained by sacrificing truth, honour, and goodness, as they were sacrificed by Herod, Pilate, and Felix, then is replication a pleasure of sin. If a man climbs to a throne of state, as many have done, by trampling on the rights of others, by crushing men's lives and liberties, then does regal power become a pleasure of sin. Did any such obstacles stand in the .way of Moses? Was he not offered the crown by those who had a right to bestow it? True; still must Moses have sinned had he become the monarch of Egypt. The kings of Egypt were both kings and priests. If the king did not belong to the sacerdotal class, he was adopted into that class at the time of his appointment, and instructed in the mysteries of the national religion. The king had to appear in the temple to offer sacrifices to the gods. He represented the national religion, premised to be faithful to the gods of his country, as well as administer justice to his subjects. It is evident, thus, that Moses in accepting the crown of Egypt, must have pretended that he was an idol worshipper. He was thus required to act, if not to utter, at least one falsehood. He was required to subscribe to what he did not believe — to promise to do, what, as a good man, he never could intend to perform.

IV. THE MAINSPRING OF A GOOD CONSCIENCE. Moses acted nobly because he acted conscientiously. But the question suggests itself to us, What enabled Moses to act thus conscientiously when a sacrifice so great was required of him? What gave to his conscience such unconquerable power?

1. Moses seems to have had the most satisfactory view of heaven — "the recompense of the reward." The blessedness of the future will not only be a reward, but also a recompense. All present evils and sufferings will be recompensed. The joy of the future will be in proportion to the sorrow of the present.

2. Moses, moreover, realised the presence of the invisible world, for the Greek means no more than this, or rather, it means all this — "as seeing the invisible." It is a general form of speech which embraces not only the Divine presence, but the actual presence of all invisible things. Moses had other means of vision than the mere eye of the body, and that was the reason of his triumph over the trials of this life.

(E. Lewis, B. A.)

I. The faith of Moses appears in "REFUSING TO BE CALLED THE SON OF PHARAOH'S DAUGHTER."

1. "Pharaoh's daughter" is your mother. No; my mother is of. "the people of God."

2. "Pharaoh's daughter" saved your life. Yes; but my mother brought me into life.

3. "Pharaoh's daughter" gave you education. Yes; but my mother taught me the "things of God."

4. "Pharaoh's daughter" made you a prince. Yes; but my mother taught me to become " a child of God."

5. "Pharaoh's daughter" brought you to court. Yes; but my mother brought me to "the Church of God."

II. The faith of Moses was TRIED BY AFFLICTION. YOU will be afflicted with poverty, with labour, with taxes, and with contempt and persecution as a Hebrew; but you shall be looked up to and respected as "the son of Pharaoh's daughter." Be it so; I prefer the favour of God to the approbation of men.

III. The faith of Moses appears in "ESTEEMING THE REPROACH OF CHRIST GREATER RICHES THAN THE TREASURES OF EGYPT."

1. In Egypt you shall have a splendid palace — that in which Pharaoh lives, in all its beauty and grandeur. My parents taught me that the Lord would give me " a mansion" in glory; I prefer it.

2. In Egypt you shall wear a very costly and beautiful crown, all sparkling with diamonds. My parents taught me that the Lord will give me "a crown of righteousness" in glory; I prefer it.

3. In Egypt you shall sit on a throne of the most magnificent and costly splendour, with all your courtiers about you. My parents taught me that the Lord "will grant to me to sit with Him in His throne"; I prefer that.

4. In Egypt you shall reign over the most extended and wealthy kingdom on the earth. My parents taught me that the Lord will give me "a kingdom, prepared for me from the foundation of the world"; I prefer it.

5. In Egypt you shall have all the enjoyment which this world can afford. My parents taught me that the Lord will give me an "exceeding and eternal weight of glory"; I prefer that.

IV. The faith of Moses appears IN HIS FLIGHT FROM EGYPT.

V. IN "HIS KEEPING THE PASSOVER AND THE SPRINKLING OF BLOOD."

(James Kidd, D. D.)

As the son of Pharaoh's daughter Moses would have at his command all that is called pleasure; pleasures of intellect and taste, besides all the pleasures of sense, the pleasures of the man of the world, and of the man of fashion. There never was a great man whose temptations were not as great as his gifts. I do not mean to say that his pleasures, those open to him in the position he held, were sins. By no means. In themselves and apart from duties with which they might chance to be incompatible, these things were pleasures, and yet not in the smallest degree sins. It was what made them sins to Moses which shows us what sort of man he was, what nobleness of character there was in him by faith. There is an exquisite simplicity in the story in Exodus concerning the change in Moses from youth to man, from Egyptian to Israelite, from courtier to patriot. The deed which he did was unpremeditated, the work of a moment. It was done not without alarm; but it marked the critical moment when his life passed into a higher and nobler phase. He went forth an Egyptian courtier; he came back a Hebrew patriot. After this, whatever they might be to others, the pleasures of Pharaoh's court, were to him the pleasures of sin; the best and most refined and most innocent of these pleasures were sinful. To go on enjoying his old pleasures after this wakening up of his manhood, this recognition of the fact that there was an oppressed people in existence, and that that people was his people, was a crime of which he could not be guilty. There was in him that nobleness of nature which, besides tending to sympathy with the oppressed, revolts from all that is selfish and cruel; and this nobleness was stirred up in him, by seeing the state of his kindred, and comparing it with his own. This was his faith. Faith saved him from being content to be idle and useless, and gave him zeal and courage to play the part of a man and of a hero in the liberation of his people. Faith made him refuse idleness and luxury as sin, when he saw that there was work to be done and suffering to be endured in a good cause. Faith made him despise the honours of a court when, by identifying himself with the shame and sorrow of a race of slaves, he could help them out of bondage worse than death. In a word, faith, in the case of Moses, was another name fur manliness or heroism. Every man who fights for his country, not from fear or by compulsion, but freely and bravely; every man who sacrifices time, or comfort, or health, or ease, for the good of his fellow-men; every man who makes a stand for truth, fair play, honesty, against lies and meanness and treachery and wrong; every man who thinks himself despicable if he is idle and useless, and respectable if he has duty to do and does it; every such man has in him something of the faith of Moses. It was a marvellous faith which Moses exhibited in his long and eventful life. With one or two mysterious lapses he played his heroic part in the most heroic fashion. It was not what he risked, or what he suffered in the execution of his great task at the hands of the Egyptians or other enemies of his race; it was what he had to endure from his countrymen; it was their murmurings and backslidings, their servile spirit, the bondage to sense which they carried with them out of the house of bondage — it was this which tried what manner of man he was, and of what stuff was his faith. As with all the greatest, as with Christ Himself, his conflict was not so much with force as with stupidity and baseness — those ancient and indomitable foes which never fail to rise up against the man whose purpose is to elevate his fellows. To make a nation, a chosen nation, a peculiar people, a commonwealth of righteousness, out of a horde of slaves, was a noble task. But it was a task in which he who undertook it had to suffer as much affliction, and refuse as much of what is called pleasure, as could well be suffered or refused. Herein Moses, as the language of this passage suggests, connects himself with Christ. His faith was the faith of Christ. The choice which the son of Pharaoh's daughter made in his time was the same choice which was made again when He who was rich for our sakes became poor. It is striking to notice the conjunction here of these two names, the greatest in the history of mankind. A superficial account can be and often is given of it, from which we get no lesson worth learning: — it is that, by a marvellous second-sight, Moses anticipated Christ's day, and by faith in Christ as the Saviour of the world was enabled to make his choice. There is a sense, no doubt, in which it is true that Moses, like Abraham, saw Christ's day and was glad. But it was not certainly in the way in which we see it, now that it has been or, rather, is. To fancy that the Old Testament worthies had substantially all the light we have concerning Christ is to fancy what, in the first place, is very incredible, and what, in the second, distorts and confuses the whole teaching of the Bible. Christ's life is the perfect life. As far as any one in times before He came approached to that life, he was a Christian — he saw Christ's day; he believed in Christ; he esteemed the reproach of Christ the greatest of treasures. Moses was not only a Christian before Christ; he came as near almost as a man can come to the stature of a perfect man in Christ Jesus, inasmuch as, like Christ Himself, he had to be good and do good, he had to be a man, and live a man's true life, at the expense of having to count life-long afflictions great gain, and to turn away as from sin from all that common men call pleasure. It is a great thing to remember how old Christianity is — to remember that it is as old as Moses, nay, as old as man. Every true and noble life that was ever lived in this world, no matter where, or when, or how, was Christian. Above all, every hour of suffering that was ever endured in the way of duty to God and man was Christian. Nor does this make Christianity less or Christ less — it makes them greater. It is only an expression of the fact that Christianity is eternal truth gad eternal life. There are two remarks which I think ought to be made in conclusion.(1) As to the relation of Judaism, of which Moses was the founder, and Christianity, which began with Christ. Moses, whose faith was that of Christ, did not found a system which was destined to put ages of no faith, or different faith, between himself and Christ. There is but one faith — that which Moses had, and which Judaism, in its own way, inculcated — that faith which is another name for love to God and man.(2) Lastly, remark this as to the enjoyment of the world and what are called its pleasures. Many Christian people are much perplexed in their minds on this point. Where to draw the line between lawful and unlawful pleasure is a difficulty which they find great or insuperable. But there is one rule as to the enjoyment and the renunciation of what are called pleasures, which is good for practice, and it is that which is suggested to us here: we may safely enjoy pleasures, as long as they do not interfere with our duty as Christians — to be good and to do good; and if there are pleasures, as there are many, which help us to do this duty, we ought to enjoy them. Give up your pleasures and call them sins when they hinder you from doing Christian work. Till then enjoy them with a good conscience, giving God thanks for them.

(J. Service, D. D.)

It is not meant that he was base and unthankful as not acknowledging her tender compassion towards him when he was ready to perish, or her singular love to him, and special care of him, manifested in his education and advancement. No doubt he did account her as his best friend under heaven, and his greatest benefactrix under God, and he did give her all respect and honour due unto her as his mother. His own natural mother might have been willing, but was no ways able, to do so much for him. This refusal therefore was no unworthy incivility, disrespect, or base ingratitude, but a free and noble act of his sanctified soul, whereby he being illuminated from heaven did see the baseness, uncertainty, and danger of that great estate of honour, wealth, power, and rare contents of the world; and did judge the enjoyment of it, if not consistent with, yet prejudicial to. his spiritual and eternal happiness. And upon this account he was willing to part with them for a better end, and a great good. Whilst we are seeking the eternal bliss of heaven's kingdom, we must be willing to part with and forsake all things, even the most delicious and glorious, though we affect them much. Man devoid of grace and heavenly wisdom is strongly inclined to the glory, honour, wealth, and delights of this world; they seem so glorious, and taste so sweet, that they much take the soul; they promise some rare content and perfect happiness. Therefore men seek and pursue them eagerly, hoping and expecting much from them; and if they once are possessed of them, and enjoy them, oh, how unwilling are they to part with them! They prefer them before heaven and the eternal felicity thereof. Hence it doth appear how highly elevated, and how excellently qualified, the soul of Moses was, who could so fully and freely refuse to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter. This perhaps was not done without some great conflict, the issue whereof was a clear and glorious victory.

(G. Lawson.)

I. IT EVINCED GREAT SELF-DENIAL, He despised the pleasures of a court for the still greater luxury of doing good; he relinquished the enjoyments of a fine mind, a cultivated taste, and a splendid imagination, cradled in affluence, for the still loftier rewards of morality and religion; he turned a deaf ear to the voice of ambition which promised him the crown. Nor can it be said of Moses, what has been sneeringly declared of Solomon by the disciples of Kant and the shallow imitators of Voltaire, that he renounced the pleasures of this world only when his infirmities unfitted him for enjoying them. He was now in the vigour of his youth, and in all the prime of his manhood. Have you the moral courage and the self-denial to do what Moses did? You cannot refuse, like him, to be called the son of a princess. But have you the self-denial and the moral fortitude of character to be perfectly satisfied with the humble station in which Providence has placed you? Is it your aim to use this world as not abusing it, and to devote to His glory those talents with which you are intrusted?

II. THE CHOICE OF MOSES DISPLAYS SINGULAR RESOLUTION.

III. THE CHOICE OF MOSES DISPLAYS CALM AND COOL DELIBERATION ON THE MOST PAINFUL CONSEQUENCES OF SUCH A CHOICE. He insulted the princess, he outraged the royal favour, and he poured contempt upon the whole courtiers of the land. And the wrath which would now run high against him would bear some proportion to the love which adopted him as a son. These were consequences which Moses could not overlook in coming to such a resolution, and they were every way calculated to excite the deepest regret. Instead of his conduct being imputed to the true motives, he knew that it would be traced to principles to which he was an utter stranger. Nor could he vindicate himself; he was gone, and vile ingratitude was stamped upon his character. Nor were these the only difficulties which would present themselves to his generous mind. He was offering his services to men who scarcely knew the sacrifices which he was making — who could not appreciate his exertions on their behalf. These were the immediate consequences of his choice; they were far too palpable for such a man as Moses was, not to perceive; and they were far too important for him not to consider. Yet, notwithstanding all this, he deliberately " chose to suffer affliction with the people of God, rather than enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season." Such should be the principles by which you are actuated in making a profession of religion now. If your profession of religion is not founded on real principle, if it is not guided by solid information, and if it is not animated by love to the truth, then there is no stability in your character.

IV. THE CHOICE OF MOSES DISPLAYS EARLY ATTENTION TO RELIGION. The apostle here tells us that, when Moses came to years, he made this choice, which fully warrants us in concluding that he had given very early attention to this matter. He considered the subject in all its bearings, and he traced out its consequences in time and eternity. And the result of this investigation was the choice which is here recorded. We enjoy far greater privileges than ever Moses knew. We are taught to look back to the incarnation, the life, and the sacrificial death of Christ, as a part of recorded history, instead of a part of those prophecies which were darkly unfolded, or of those ceremonies which were imperfectly understood. In conclusion —

1. Notice the great folly of those men who prefer the pleasures of sin to the enjoyments of religion.

2. Those men are wise who make the same choice that Moses did.

(A. Gilmour.)

I. THE CHOICE OF MOSES.

II. THE PRINCIPLE WHICH INFLUENCED THIS CHOICE. That principle was faith; a firm and cordial, not a cold and cursory, faith in the revelations of that truth which constituted the patriarchal religion.

1. He concluded that to be associated with the people of God, though in affliction, was better than to enjoy the pleasures of sin; and he judged right. But what are the advantages of union with the people, the Church, of God?(1) Instruction. The Church is the depositary of truth; and God perpetuates a people to confess it. He raises up ministers also to teach it.(2) Worship. The people of God worship Him in religious assemblies, in the use of pure forms, and in spirit and in truth. The advantages of such a service are unspeakable. A holy and cheering influence from God is vouchsafed to those who thus draw near to Him.(3) An interest in God's covenant. The people with whom Moses chose to suffer affliction were the people of God. He had been merciful to their unrighteousness, cancelled their guilt, renewed their nature, and received them as a peculiar treasure to himself.(4) The communion of saints. In Egypt Moses might have had communion with her princes, her philosophers, her artists; but they were "of the world"; and intercourse with them would have been very different in its effects from intercourse with the devout worshippers of God. One would have tended to produce hardness of heart, and a worldly spirit; the other, to elevate and purify the mind, and prepare it for God and heaven.

2. Faith enabled him to take a right estimate of the pleasures of sin. They "are but for a season." But what are sinful pleasures?(1):Every pleasure which arises from what God has forbidden.(2) Every pleasure which, if not expressly forbidden, cannot be reconciled to the general principles of the Word of God.(3) All such pleasures as weaken the tone of our piety, and dissipate our thoughts, so that we lose our taste and relish for Divine things. Such are the pleasures of gaiety, of unhallowed reading, and often those of imagination; and they are tacitly contrasted with those which spring from God, and which lead the mind to Him. They are but for a season, short-lived. They are so denominated because they are only occasional. Man must labour and suffer, and can only occasionally enjoy his pleasures. Besides, the appetite for them palls. Spiritual pleasures follow us everywhere, and are the perpetual sunshine of the breast. Sinful pleasures are said to be only for a season, because they are dissipated by reflection. This destroys them. Spiritual enjoyments are so far from appearing less desirable as we advance in life and knowledge, that the first prayer of the heart when God has been forsaken, and we are made sensible of our loss, is, "Return, we beseech Thee, O Lord of Hosts." Come back, and restore to me the joy of Thy salvation.

3. His faith regarded a future world. "He had respect unto the recompense of the reward." There is a two-fold reward mentioned in Scripture. One is a righteous reward to the sinner; the other is a reward of mercy conferred upon the man who has renounced all for God. Faith respects both; for it is "the evidence of things not seen."

III. THE INSTRUCTION WHICH THE SUBJECT CONVEYS TO US.

1. We are taught that true religion is a reasonable matter of choice. All carelessness and sin God has stamped with the name of folly. In recommending to you the renunciation of the world and sin, and the surrender of yourselves to God, we challenge your reason.

2. We are taught that no man serves God for nought. No man loses by Him. Moses refused to be king in Egypt; and he became king in Jeshurun. He turned his eye from the splendours of Egypt's seductive philosophy; and the Lord passed by, and showed him His own glory, and proclaimed tits name. Moses learned in that sight, he heard in those few sentences, more than the study of years in the schools of Egyptian philosophy could have supplied.

3. We are taught that, if we are come to years, we ought to make our choice; and we are also taught what choice to make.

(R. Watson.)

1. A fine illustration of the power of faith in overcoming the world. Here is a victory infinitely more noble than the conquests of Alexander, won by Moses over his own spirit and an ungodly world.

2. True faith is an operative principle, manifesting itself in such victories as these. Try by this test what your faith is worth. Did it ever manifest itself in mortification of the flesh, in the casting away of sinful pleasures for the sake of Christ?

3. True religion is the result of deliberation.

4. Those sinful pleasures which the Christian is called to renounce are by him renounced the more easily, through the power of those glorious realities which faith opens up to his view; as, on the other hand, the trials which he is called to endure are by the same means more easily borne.

5. The worst of Christ's cause is preferable to the best of the world's — Christ's reproach to the world's riches.

6. It is a sight peculiarly grateful to witness a man exchanging the pleasures of sin for the service of God, while he might yet shine among the world's votaries were he so disposed.

7. Christians may and ought to have respect to " the recompense of the reward," to quicken them in duty, and strengthen them in the midst of difficulties and temptations.

8. Let us make use of the whole subject for encouragement in the good ways of the Lord. Are we called to suffer afflictions for Christ's sake? "Our light affliction which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding, even an eternal weight of glory." Reproach? "If we be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are we: for the Spirit of glory and of God resteth upon us. Let us go forth, therefore, unto Him without the camp, bearing His reproach."

(C. Brown.)

I. His RENUNCIATION.

II. His CHOICE.

1. Of the people of God as his associates.

(1)They are the wisest companions (Job 28:12-19).

(2)The most honourable companions.

(3)The most safe companions (Proverbs 3:23).

(4)The most useful companions. "He that walketh with wise men shall be wise." Their conversation, their example, their influence, will prove beneficial to us.

(5)They shall be our companions for ever.

2. Of the afflictions of God's people.

3. Of the reproach of Christ.

III. THE PRINCIPLE BY WINCH HE WAS INFLUENCED.

1. "By faith" he learned rightly to estimate the things of this world.

(1)Unsatisfying in their nature.

(2)Uncertain in their possession.

(3)Evanescent in their duration.

(4)Evil in their influence. By faith, therefore, he esteemed them not. Then, his faith had particular reference —

2. To the recompense of reward.

(or. Burns, D. D.)

I. A MAN SORELY TEMPTED TO CHOOSE THE WORLD.

1. Consider the strong reasons which would urge him to this.

2. Consider the fact which would appeal to him against these.

3. Consider the battle which thus raged within him.

II. THIS TEMPTATION VANQUISHED BY FAITH

1. Faith in God, the God of his fathers.

2. Faith in the Deliverer from sin.

3. Faith in the glorious future of God's people.

III. THIS FAITH ABUNDANTLY JUSTIFIED IN THE SEQUEL. Think of the blessings that come from choosing God before the world —

1. A good conscience, and this opens the way for satisfying communion with God.

2. Moreover, the character of God is the pledge that none can lose by fidelity to righteousness.

3. And God has promised eternal reward to the conqueror.

(C. New.)

I. RELIGION MAY INVOLVE GREAT SACRIFICE.

1. Rejection of the highest worldly alliance. This meant —

(1)Forfeiture of the brightest prospects.

(2)Apparent ingratitude to a kind benefactress.

(3)Apparent contempt of Providence. His adoption was of Divine instigation.

2. Preference for a painful religious association.

(1)A transition involving an extreme change.

(2)Consciousness of the superiority of religious suffering to worldly enjoyment.

(a)The worthlessness of worldly pleasure. It lacks solidity; it is immoral; it is perishing.

(b)The value of religious suffering. It tests the genuineness, improves the quality, and reveals the helpfulness of religion.(3) A display of personal freedom.

(4)A wise use of the great crisis of life.

(5)A deliberate estimation of religion at its worst being superior to the world at its best.

II. RELIGION WILL INFINITELY COMPENSATE GREAT PERSONAL SACRIFICE.

1. It will be in another world.

2. It will be valuable.

3. It is spiritually visible.

4. It influences beneficially the present life.

(B. D. Johns.)

I. THAT NOBILITY OF BIRTH, AND ALL HONOURS AND DELIGHTS WHATSOEVER, ARE TO BE DENIED FOR CHRIST.

1. For first, though there be something in it, yet there is not so much as any should think it too great a thing to lay down for God.

2. But suppose there were ten thousand times more honour in it than there is, yet the denying of all were not a sufficient testimony of that respect you owe to the great and glorious God.

3. As God is worthy in regard of His infinite excellency, so it is due to Him, because whatsoever excellency and honour there is in the nobility of your birth, it is He that made the difference between men.

4. There is no such way to add glory to your nobility, as to be willing to use it or deny it for God.

5. If we be godly God hath honoured us with a higher birth than what we have by blood from our ancestors.

II. HOW EXTERNAL HONOUR AND NOBILITY IS TO BE DENIED.

1. By being willing to be employed in any, even the meanest, service that God calls to. We must think no work of God too mean for us, but willingly submit to it, though it darken our honours never so much in the eyes of the world.

2. They must deny themselves in being willing to join with those of lower degree.

3. We must deny ourselves by being willing to suffer the most disgraceful thing that can be put upon us for the cause of Christ.

III. How HONOURS, RICHES, AND ALL DELIGHTS WHATSOEVER ARE TO BE DENIED FOR CHRIST.

1. By going on in the ways of godliness in the strictness and power of them, though all these be hazarded.

2. Appear for God and His cause, His truth and His people, though the issue may seem to be dangerous, when none else will.

3. Let all go rather than be brought to commit any sin. We had better have all the world cast shame in our faces, and upbraid us, than that our consciences should cast dirt in them.

IV. WE MUST DENY ALL WORLDLY PLEASURES AND PREFERMENTS IN THE VERY PRIME OF OUR TIME, WHEN WE HAVE OPPORTUNITY TO ENJOY THEM TO THE FULL. Necessity takes away the honour of an action. To do a thing when we must needs, when we are forced to it, whether we will or no, though the thing be good we do, yet the honour of it is lost in great part. Augustus when he was to die could acknowledge all the pomp of the world to be but a fable, but David while he lived could acknowledge all but as a dream. "Commend him, and imitate him," says Seneca, "who is not unwilling to die when he may live delightfully."

V. IT IS A SPECIAL ARGUMENT OF SINCERITY, THAT WHEN THE PROFESSION OF RELIGION PROVES COSTLY TO US, YET WE CONTINUE IN IT.

1. This argues great sincerity. Now the truth of grace appears indeed to he religious, when religion must cost us something. To profess the truth while we may live upon it, this argues no truth; but to profess it when it must live upon us, upon our honours, upon our profits and pleasures, and earthly contentments, this is a strong argument of truth: as to see the beauty of religion through troubles, through all outward disrespects, this is something: for to see the evil of sin through all outward glory, respect, and contentment in this world, when it may be enjoyed to the full, this is much; surely here is truth, here is a piercing eye, that is enlightened and quickened by the Spirit of God.

2. It argues the excellency of grace, that it raises and greatens men's spirits, it lifts them up above the highest of all these things, and so high above them as the things of the world, when at the highest, are looked on as under things, and appear small and contemptible in the eyes of such a raised soul.

3. It argues the power of grace. To resist powerful temptations is powerful grace. It is a strong stomach that can digest much fat, much honey, and sweet things, that usually clog weak stomachs; so it is a strong spirit that is not overcome with the sweet of much prosperity.

4. It is a testimony of dear love to the Lord, to deny oneself for His sake, when one is in the highest of enjoyment of all delights to the flesh. It is an argument, that God is indeed the proper place, the centre of the soul, when, although it hath never so much of the creature to give satisfaction unto it, yet it cannot rest, but works still to God through all and from all. As a stone, though it were in never so good a place, although it were in heaven, yet it would desire to descend, because the proper place of it is below; so let a gracious heart which hath God for the centre be put into any condition never so full of delight, yet it is not satisfied, it is willing to leave all that it may close with God.

5. This gives God the glory of all our prosperity, which shows we acknowledge it to be from Him and for Him, and that we have it not for ourselves, but for the setting forth His praise.

6. This gives testimony to the world, that surely there are wonderful blessed things, that God acquaints the soul withal in the ways of godliness, that there is much sweet and contentment to be had in those ways.

7. Thus to deny oneself is honourable, because wheresoever this is, there surely will be a holding out to the end; no troubles of adversity can ever make such a one to forsake any ways of God. who can deny himself for God in the midst of the pleasures of prosperity.

8. This upbraids those who do greedily embrace the things of the world, and think that it is impossible for any to deny themselves in so great delights as they do enjoy.

VI. COMFORT TO THOSE WHO IN THE MIDST OF EARTHLY CONTENTMENTS HAVE THEIR AFFECTIONS SET UPON HEAVEN.

1. This is a most evident argument, that all the good things they have in the world come from the spiritual favour and love of God to them, and this is no small matter; there is more sweetness in this knowledge of the principle from whence the good things we have do come, than in anything that they afford of themselves.

2. This is an evident sign that God intends to use you in excellent services, for the honour of His name.

3. This is the highest improvement of all outward mercies that may be.

4. This self-denial is highly acceptable to God.

5. If you in the fulness of all your earthly contentments shall acknowledge Jesus Christ, and be willing to lay down all for Him, when He shall come in the fulness of His glory He will acknowledge you, and will put glory upon you, when He shall come with His mighty angels, full of majesty, to be admired of His saints; then He shall own you, and make you partakers of His own glory.

6. If ever you should live to come to any adversity in this world, surely it will be much sweetened to you if you be willing to give God the honour of the sweet of prosperity; though adversity may come, yet God will keep the bitterness of it from you.

7. It is so much the more honourable, and may be so much the more comfortable to you, by how much the more rare it is: God hath but few self-denying spirits in the world.

VII. REPROOF OF THOSE WHO GREEDILY PURSUE SENSUAL DELIGHTS.

1. Do you fear, are you jealous of yourselves, lest you should let out your hearts too far in them? Do you seriously consider that there is a snare in them? That there may be danger, yea, very great danger, if you take not heed?

2. Are your desires as strong in seeking God for grace, to use them for His honour, as your joys are in the use of them for satisfying yourselves?

3. Do you often examine your hearts and ways, for fear God should not have that honour from them that is infinitely due unto Him?

4. What does conscience say when you are in afflictions? when you apprehend God is calling you to an account for them, does it not tell you that your hearts have been let out too greedily after them?

5. Answer as in the presence of God, would you prize a less estate with more opportunity of service more than a great estate with legs opportunity of service, and are you more troubled when you are crossed in opportunity of service, than when you are crossed in your desires and delights in the enjoyment of the creature?

6. Lastly, if you have a care to use that prosperous estate you have for God, either God hath much glory from you in it, or else you have much joy in it; surely where there are great estates, there are great opportunities of glorifying God; but hath God great glory from you? Hath He more than from others in mean estates? If not, is it the grief of your souls that you should enjoy so much from God, and God have so little honour from you?

VIII. THE FULNESS OF CREATURES' COMFORTS TO BE LAID DOWN AT CHRIST'S feet. Are there not arguments enough from all God's love and His merciful dealings with you to prevail with your hearts for such a thing as this? How hath God spared you in your greatest extremities?

IX. FAITH IS THE PRINCIPLE THAT MUST CARRY THROUGH AND MAKE HONOURABLE ALL A CHRISTIAN'S SUFFERINGS.

1. It is the primary work of this grace, wherein the very being of it consists, for the soul to cast itself upon God in Christ for all the good and happiness it ever expects; to make an absolute resignation of all unto Him, so as to betrust Him with all, and to commit all unto Him for ever. Now this implies the taking off the heart from the things of the world, for faith takes off the heart from itself, therefore much more from anything in the world; and where this is, sufferings cannot be very grievous, because the whole good of the soul is now in God (Psalm 37:7).

2. By faith the soul comes to have a higher principle to enable it to see God in His glory and majesty, His greatness and infiniteness, His holiness, His justice, and goodness, than ever it had before.

3. Faith discovers the reality of the beauty and excellence of spiritual, supernatural, and eternal things revealed in the Word, which before were looked upon as notions, conceits, and imaginary things.

4. Faith gives the soul an interest in God, in Christ, in all those glorious things in the gospel, and in the things of eternal life.

5. Faith discharges the soul of the guilt of sin, and that dreadful evil that follows upon it; it gets a general acquittance from God, a pardon of all sin. The soul being made just by faith, is able to live in the midst of many troubles.

X. SIX MORE PARTICULARS WHEREIN THE POWER OF FAITH IS SEEN IN TAKING THE HEART OFF FROM THE WORLD AND CARRYING IT THROUGH ALL AFFLICTIONS.

1. Faith makes the future good of spiritual and eternal things to be as present to the soul and to work upon the soul as if they were present, and makes use likewise of things past as if they were present; and in these operations of faith there is much power to carry on the soul with comfort through sufferings, for present things are apprehended by the mind more fully, and work more strongly upon the will and affections, than things past or to come.

2. Faith is a raising grace, it carries the soul on high, above sense, above reason, above the world; when faith is working, oh, how is the soul raised above the fears and favours of men!

3. Faith is a purifying and healing grace (Acts 15:9). Purifying their hearts by faith. It purges out base desires after the things of the world, and living at ease; base joys and delights in the creature, in satisfying the flesh; the fears of future evils that may come hereafter. "Faith fears not hunger," saith . If the heart be sound it will be strong; this purging of it makes it sound (2 Timothy 1:7).

4. Faith is a quickening grace, it sets all other graces on work, it puts life and activity into them all.

5. Faith is a mighty prevailing grace with God and with Jesus Christ, as it is said of Jacob (Genesis 32:28).

6. Hence from all these it follows that faith is an overcoming grace (1 John 5:4). In this victory there are three things.(1) There is a conquering of the assaults of the world, so as they can do us no hurt, but we are able to repel the force of them.(2) But this is not all, there is something further: namely, the making use of those things of the world for our good that would have undone us, that is a full victory, he is able to use the adversary to serve his own turn; so in this conquest of faith there is not only an overcoming of the temptations, of the pleasures, of the world, but ability to use them for God and the furtherance of our own good.(3) But yet further, there is a third thing in victory, which is triumph: a believer can triumph over the world, over all his allurements and threats. As Christ did not only prevail against His and our enemies, but triumphed over them (Colossians 2:15).

XI. Most MEN ARE STRANGERS TO THIS PRECIOUS FAITH; THE TRIAL THEREOF DISCOVERED.

XII. NO WONDER THAT MEN OF GREAT PARTS (WANTING FAITH) DO FALL OFF FROM CHRIST AND BETRAY HIS CAUSE.

XIII. THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE HEAT OF MEN'S OWN RESOLUTIONS AND THE TRUE HEAT OF THE HEART BY FAITH IN SUFFERING FOR CHRIST.

XIV. How TO KNOW THE ROOT OR PRINCIPLE FROM. WHENCE ALL THAT WE DO OR SUFFER COMES.

1. Where self-denial is from natural principles it is but particular, not universal. In some eminent thing a natural spirit may deny itself; but upon examination it may appear that in other things it makes self its end, even in things where God requires self-denial as much as in the other; whereas if it came from faith it would not be partial, but appear in one thing as well as in another, so far as God calls thereunto.

2. Where suffering troubles come from a natural root the soul is not conscious to itself of its own weakness; it knows not the power of corruption in the heart, it understands not how self may be sought in denying oneself.

3. When it comes from natural principles there may be some appearance of self-denial in outward actions, and willingness to suffer, but there is little care of mortifying inward lusts; lusts within are suffered to swell, to rankle, and fester.

4. When bearing sufferings arise from natural stoutness and courage, such an one does neither begin nor strengthen himself afterwards upon Divine grounds and arguments, as the believer doth.

5. Where natural stoutness and courage is the principle, there the soul is not raised higher in its courage for God than when the cause only concerns itself; it discovers as much stoutness and courage in natural things as it does in spiritual. But this strength in sufferings, that comes from faith, is a strength far more raised in the cause of God and spiritual things than in any other.

6. The power of resisting sufferings, that comes from natural principles, is not a fruit of much humiliation, brokenness of heart, seeking of God aforehand.

7. If there be only natural strength to enable to a willingness to venture upon any way of suffering, there cannot be that confidence of a good issue that faith brings with it where that is the principle.

8. Natural principles cannot welcome afflictions with such joy and delight as faith can.

9. Where natural strength only enables, there the soul is not more humble after it hath gone through difficulties, but it is puffed up as having passed through hard things and done some great matter; but where faith is the principle, the soul knows that it was not from anything in itself.

10. If the principle be only natural courage, although such an one may be very ready at first in denying himself, yet if after he be crossed more than he expected, and finds worse success than he looked for, if he does not see some natural good coming in, he is soon discouraged, the heart sinks, as not having sufficient to uphold it and carry it out in that it hath undertaken. Yet further, such is the deceit of a man's own heart as a man may suffer much out of the pride of his heart; as a man may serve himself in serving God, so he may seek himself in denying himself in that which is the cause of God.

XV. COMFORT TO THOSE WHO HAVE TRUE FAITH.

1. If your faith be such as carries your souls to God as an universal good, so as you can satisfy yourselves in Him alone, then it is this precious faith that will do this that we speak of.

2. If your faith works a sanctified use of your prosperity, if your faith can carry you through the temptations of prosperity, it will certainly carry you through the trials of adversity; if faith can keep you from swelling in prosperity, it will keep you from breaking in adversity.

3. But especially, in the third place, if your faith can carry you through spiritual difficulties, it will be much more able to carry you through all outward troubles.

XVI. THE MEANS TO MAINTAIN AND STRENGTHEN OUR FAITH.

1. The first is the principle and ground of all, namely, the assurance of your interest in the covenant of grace that you are received by God into that free, rich, glorious covenant of life in Christ.

2. In the assurance of God's fatherly love unto and care over you, in the sorest and hardest afflictions that can befall you.

3. In the assurance of the blessed issue of all, that all will be peace and comfort at the last. If faith be strong in these it will be able to encounter with all assaults whatsoever.

(J. Burroughes.)

Other and inferior men have acted on the same principle with this eminent servant of God. When Napoleon assumed the imperial purple, he resolved to surround himself with a train of nobles in room of the ancient noblesse of France, most of whom had either fallen in the Revolution, or had adhered to the family that had been dethroned. What could he do to give dignity to this creation of upstarts? He learned that a descendant of the ancient and illustrious house of Du Plessis Mornay, which long before had been driven into exile on account of its Protestant principles, was a settler in the Dutch colony of South Africa. To him, Bonaparte made the offer of reinstatement in all the ancient possessions and honours of the family of Du Mornay, if he would return to France and grace the conqueror's throne. The offer was refused; the good man was satisfied with his flocks and herds here, for he entertained the hope of a blessed hereafter. What could worldly rank or title do for him? He refused to be the first peer of France, as Moses refused to be accounted the son of Pharaoh's daughter, because he had respect to the recompense of reward.

(James Kirkwood, M. A.)

I. His CHOICE.

1. Moses made this choice in opposition to all the propensities of our depraved nature, and even to many of those inclinations and aversions which belong to us as human beings. It was a choice which involved the crucifixion in him of the love of eminence, of power of fame, as well as of wealth and pleasure — a choice which necessitated him to subdue feelings that enter into our very constitution, and patiently to bear what an ingenuous mind can least of all bear — disgrace and calumny.

2. Moses made this choice against all the influence of education and habit. What a trial was this! To renounce the views which he had imbibed from men whom he had been taught to venerate.

3. Consider the great sacrifices which Moses made.

4. Moses made this choice with all the sentiments of a martyr. He knew from what he had seen of the king, that, in adjoining himself to the Hebrews, he would incur the royal resentment — deep and deadly. But even with death in his view he did not hesitate.

5. This choice was the result of mature deliberation. Under the influence of a capricious temper, or in some fit of enthusiasm, when their passions have been strongly roused, or from disgust and disappointment, some have done wondrous deeds of self-denial, deeds which, when the effervescence that produced them has subsided, they have deeply regretted. But such was not the manner of Moses' choice.

II. THE INFLUENCE OF FAITH ON MOSES' CHOICE.

1. By this faith Moses was satisfied that true blessedness would be enjoyed only in possessing the favour of the God of Israel, and in serving Him.

2. By faith Moses was fully persuaded that to be related to God and to serve Him constitute true glory.

3. By faith Moses was convinced that reproach and suffering for Christ's sake are at once honourable and beneficial.

4. Through faith Moses "had respect to the recompense of the reward." Future blessedness is denominated "the reward" to teach us the gracious respect which God exercises to the obedience and sufferings of His people. It receives the name of the recompense of the reward, to convince believers that future glory will more than compensate them for all their present losses and sufferings in Christ's service.

III. THE WISDOM OF MOSES' CHOICE.

1. Which yields the greatest present satisfaction?

2. Let us consider whether the pleasures and advantages of true religion in the most unfavourable circumstances, or those of the world in its best state, be most independent of the vicissitudes of life, and most permanent.

3. Let us consider, lastly, which has the best issue — whether a life spent in the prosecution and enjoyment of the pleasures of sin, or in the service of God.Lessons:

1. This subject evinces the absolute necessity of faith.

2. Abide, Christians, by the wise choice you have made through faith,

(James Stark.)

And your affliction must be like his affliction if you are led by his faith.

1. The contempt of your enemies, the scorn of the world.

2. Again, you will be often unkindly treated by God's own people: they will often suspect you:

3. You will have to live a life of hardships in some respects.

4. Again, you must, like Moses, give up many earthly comforts.

5. You will sometimes be unhappy; Christ will sometimes seem to hide His face; you will sometimes feel as if you had trusted a vain hope; Satan will tempt you, and you will be discouraged. This, then, is the example of Moses of the work of faith —(1) You must give up securing " good prospects " if they interfere with religion.(2) You must expect to bear affliction, you must endure the reproach of the enemies of God. But, thank God, it is but " for a season."

(E. Monro.)

Religious self-denial is no such hard and painful duty, as it is generally thought to be. The testimony of the Bible and the experience of Christians concur in refuting the idea. Both these authorities declare that the happiest men in the world are the self-denying, and that they are happy in proportion to their self-denial, and because of it. Look at facts: Moses was a happier man than Pharaoh. Does any one doubt this? Daniel was happier than the Chaldean king. Paul was happier than the emperor Nero. Howard was happier than Bonaparte. And the paradox to the selfish mind is, that these men found their happiness in self-denial The purest, most unmingled happiness tasted on earth is by the men who most nearly approach the pattern of Him who, though He was rich, became poor, that we through His poverty might be rich. True blessedness is in self-denial, not in avoiding it. He who shuns an obvious call to deny himself for Christ's sake, shuns an opportunity of tasting the most exquisite joy permitted to man this side of heaven. Oh! the infinite number of turn-outs and by-paths from the path of self-denial, resorted to in the belief that they are pain-saving paths, when in truth they only turn the traveller off from the highway of joys unspeakable and full of glory.

What, then, is it that a person does when he chooses? Why is it that he sifts the myriad influences that are exerted upon him, appropriating some and rejecting others? There are a thousand things that come in to-day, and there are a thousand things that come in to-morrow, to affect us. Each hour shifts the glass. The world, like a glass, is perpetually turning. We are all the time seeing different combinations. And we learn instinctively to choose from among the things that rise up before us. We have taken the line of our life, and we say, "All that I have must lie parallel with that line. I cannot take this or that at pleasure." And our life is a system of selecting and rejecting. In looking around we put our eye on this or on that, and choose it; and then we follow up that which we have chosen. A desire which is so much a desire that the reason, when it is true to its function approves it as rational, and that the will applies the means to the end, and that you prefer it, together with all the circumstances which are required for getting it — that is a choice. Choosing takes, not the thing alone, but the whole apparatus by which it is to be obtained. Choosing is not only desire, but the machinery by which desire becomes reality. Choosing always carries with it something more potential than mere susceptibility. So that when a man says, "I choose such a thing," it is as if he said, "I think that thing to be not only desirable, but more desirable than other things that are inconsistent with it; and so much more desirable that for its sake I will give them up, and will apply all the forces that are necessary to getting it." Such is choosing.

1. There are a great many young men and young women who desire very much to be cultivated and educated. They have some genuine tastes. They take pleasure in the finer aesthetic elements. They desire to have an education. And if you were to ask them, "Do you choose to be educated?" they would say, "Certainly, I do choose to be educated." But no, they do not. They desire to be educated, but it is one of those desires which everybody is subject to. Myriads of desires we have which never ripen. Have you ever noticed what a profusion of apple blossoms there are every spring, and how few apples there are that come from them? There are a million blossoms to a bushel of apples. Just so it is with desires and choices. Men have a million of desires to a bushel of choices. So that when you say, "I choose to be educated," you are mistaken. You do not choose it; you desire it — that is all. You have sometimes thought to yourself, "How nice it would be if I could speak the modern languages! " but you did not choose to take the pains to learn the French and German and Spanish. You tried once or twice, and got stuck in the grammar the first thing, and gave up. When you saw what such a choice involved you did not venture upon it. Your choice was, "Give me present pleasure; give me good prospects in this world; give me something to eat and something to drink and something to wear; give me a place where I shall be praised and where I shall be honoured, and I will let intelligence go, and I will pick up what little information I need to get through life with." And so it turns out to be nothing more than a fair dream which so many young persons have in early life when they say, "I will be a knowing man." They desire knowledge, but they choose ignorance, or only partial knowledge.

2. There are men who desire to be rich, and make up their minds that they are going to be rich — that is, they say they are, until they begin to find out what it costs. This is the young man that came down to the city to be rich, but the moment he found that gaining wealth required self-denial, painstaking industry and integrity, the moment he found that it required that a man should rebuff the tempters on the right and on the left, and hold himself steadily to his purpose, he did not, choose riches. He chose self-indulgence, he chose the wine-cup, he chose pleasures, he chose companionship, he chose the present and let the future take care of itself. And when he came down to that which he had chosen — pleasure and its outcome — he was bankrupt and destroyed.

3. There are a great many men among you who choose, as you suppose, to so grow up that they shall have an established reputation, and the things which properly belong to a good character. There are many men who come into life, and begin life, feeling that they desire to have an honourable name. They do desire it, but whether they choose it or not we can tell when we see how they act. If they are circumspect, vigilant, and self-denying, if they take a high standard, if they steadily press their way up, if they buffet every temptation, if they are really forming themselves on a high model, and are seeking for honour or glory, then we say that they have chosen such a name. Otherwise we say that they have merely desired it.

4. There are very many persons who desire the happiness which comes from well-doing, and they also desire clandestine enjoyment of evil-doing. There is nothing in this world which more men are mistaken about than the possibility of being wicked underhandedly and having good on the top of it. You cannot grind charcoal downstairs and keep clean upstairs. But many men are trying that which is just as impossible. "You cannot serve God and Mammon." You cannot obey Christ and Belial. You must choose between them, and take one or the other. And desiring is not choosing. When men are doing wrong, and they know it and regret it, as they often do; when wrong puts them into this or that misalliance; when they are filled with shame — which is God's quickener of the conscience; when they come very near the verge of destruction, and are filled with fear; when they come to a sense of their danger, so that they desire to be free from their wickedness, they only desire it. They do not choose it. If they did choose it they could break their bonds and rise up and be free.

5. Rising from the question of morality to that of spirituality, there are a great many persons who, all their life long, have the impression that they should be Christians, and mean to be Christians, and hope they shall be. I talk with these persons and say, "Do you not choose to be a good man?" "Yes; oh yes." "Do you not choose to repent?" "Yes." "And to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ?" "Yes." "To rise up into the spirit of communion with Him?" "Yes." "And to live by faith of Christ and love to God and man?" "Yes." "And to purify your life with everything that is consistent with the Divine will?" "Yes, it is eminently desirable," you say. This, then, is precisely the ground on which you stand; you have the moral sensibility to see that it it desirable, but you have not moral stamina enough to choose it.

(H. W. Beecher.)

The same principle which actuated Moses may be shown by the cabman when he gives back the sovereign that was given him by mistake for a shilling; by the orange-woman who shows you the bruised side of the orange; by the working man who comes home through a narrow street in order that he may avoid the temptations of the gin-palace; by the clerk who will not put anything in the gambling lottery in which all his fellows join; by the scholar who guides himself by his conscience; by the servant-girl who speaks the truth whether her mistress, is present or not; by the tradesman who will net have unfair prices or adulterated goods; by the Member of Parliament who will vote according to his conscience, though thereby he will lose his seat.

(F. W. Farrar, D. D.)

Never fearing to openly address a Quaker's meeting, William Penn was soon on the road to Newgate .... "You are an ingenious gentleman," said the magistrate at the trial; "you have a plentiful estate; why should you render yourself unhappy by associating with such simple people?" "I prefer," said Penn, "the honestly simple to the ingeniously wicked."

(D. Bancroft.)

So did choose rather to be a poor catechist in Alexandria than, denying the faith, to be with his fellow-pupil, , in great authority and favour.

(J. Trapp.)

"When he was come to years," not only to years of discretion, but of experience. It was not the act of a child, that prefers counters to gold, but it proceeded from mature deliberation. It is an excellent thing for persons to be seriously religious when in the midst of worldly business and enjoyments, to despise the world when they are most capable of relishing and enjoying it.

(Matthew Henry.)

The pleasures of sin.
Let it be conceded, then, in the outset, that sin has pleasures. This must be true, otherwise men would not commit it. In every instance, at least in the outset of the sinner's career, he is drawn toward iniquity by the belief that in some way or other it will minister to his enjoyment. Now my question is, What are the characteristics of such pleasure? Take it at its best, and suppose you have the greatest joy that it is possible for sin to furnish, of what sort is it, and what is it worth? My answer is that its value is what mathematicians would call a negative quality — it has the minus sign before it; that is to say, "it costs more than it comes to"; in the equation of life it does not add to, but rather takes from, the sum total of your happiness, and leaves you less truly yourself than you were before you enjoyed it.

I. THE PLEASURES OF SIN ARE SHORT-LIVED. In the expressive symbolism of Scripture, they are like water in a broken cistern which speedily runs out; or like the blaze of thorns which crackle and flame up for a little and then die down into a heap of ashes; and the experience of all who have indulged in them will corroborate this statement. There is in them, at best, only a temporary thrill which vibrates for a moment and needs to be reproduced again and again.

"Pleasures are like poppies spread —

You seize the flower, its bloom is shed;

Or like the snow-fall in the river —

A moment white, then melts for ever;

Or like the Borealis race

That flit ere you can point their place;

Or like the rainbow's lovely form

Evanishing amidst the storm."I make my appeal to yourselves. Have you got that amount of pleasure out of sin which you expected from it when you began to yield to it? You know you have not. Think not to say within yourselves that though your little indulgence in it has brought you only disappointment a greater would give you satisfaction. Can you change the character of sin by adding to its enormity? Depend upon it, the greater the sin the greater will be the disappointment. It is only when we come to Christ and find pardon and peace in Him that enduring happiness can be obtained. And we receive it from Him because He works a change upon our inner nature. Sin sends us out of ourselves for joy. Jesus gives us enjoyment by coming into us and supping with us and we with Him. Hence the true Christian carries ever his pleasure within himself. It does not depend on external things; but, itself an internal thing, it sends itself out throughout all his life. It is not an experience separate from everything else in his consciousness so much as an element entering into and pervading all his actions and emotions. As the stop in the organ is not itself a separate note, but gives its own peculiarity to every note which the player sounds for the time, so Christ in the heart is not there dwelling apart in a secluded shrine, but entering into all the experiences of the soul, elevating and ennobling them all. Weigh well this contrast, and I think you will have no difficulty in deciding which you will choose. Pleasure in sin is external and evanescent. Christian happiness is internal and permanent.

II. THE PLEASURES OF SIN LEAVE A STING BEHIND, AND WILL NOT BEAR AFTER-REFLECTION. There is guilt in them, and there never can be happiness in contemplating that. Yet when the brief hour of joy is fled the guilt is the entire residuum of the joy. Have you ever entered a banqueting-hall the morning after some high festival had been held in it, and while yet everything remained precisely as the guests had left it at the midnight hour? The candles burned to the sockets, the floor covered with the evidences of the night's hilarity, the dishes piled confusedly upon the tables, and the decorations which looked so gay in the brilliant lamplight now all withered and dishevelled! You can scarcely believe it is the same place as that which a few hours before resounded with mirth and song, or re-echoed with the applause of some orator's address. It is deserted; nay, it is repulsive; and you turn away from it to moralise on the passing glory of all earthly things. But such an external contrast is nothing to that which is furnished by the history of the votary of pleasure when you compare what he is in the moment of indulgence with what he feels in the hour of reflection. There is no companion he more fears than himself, there is no sound to him half so painful as silence, and so he flees back to the society of his companions, and seeks in the noise of revelry renewed to drown " the still small voice" of conscience. But it will not be always hushed. Shakespeare has shown us how sin "doth murder sleep," and that the stain upon the conscience will not "out," though washed by all the waters of the ocean or sweetened by the perfumes of Arabia, but we must beware of supposing that his representation is true only of such unscrupulous ambition as leads to murder. What saith the wise king about the ruby cup? "Look not upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth its colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright; at the last it biteth like a serpent and stingeth like an adder." At the last! at the last! Oh, that men would learn to forecast the future in this way, and to think of what must be "at the last!" In the powerful picture of Noel Paton, which he has styled the "Dance of Pleasure," you see a motley multitude of young and old, and rich and poor, and men and women, rushing madly after the queen. They care not for each other. In the fury of their selfishness they strike against each other and trample each other down; yet still they follow on, and she is decoying them to the brink of an awful abyss, over which each at length must fall. But the painter shows only its dark and rugged edge, leaving suggestion to preach the warning. So I would only lead you to the border of the unseen state, and leave conscience to testify to the dreadful perdition which is the end of sin. How different from all this is the experience of the Christianly good man! I do not know if there be on earth a more beautiful thing than the old age of a Christian who in youth dedicated himself to God, and has spent his life in keeping that holy resolution. His conscience is peaceful, his heart is happy, his future is glorious. The traveller in Switzerland sees few more lovely sights than that which is associated with the descent of the Great Scheideck through Rosenlaui to Meyringen. The pathway runs now through thickets, and now through green pasture-land, enclosed by forest and enlivened by chalets and herds of cattle. As you move downward you see little or no splendour, and are hemmed in on every side with perpendicular walls of rugged rock; yet, ever as you turn to look behind, you are transported with the scene that meets your view. In the forefront the pine forest, swayed by the breeze, seems bowing its head in lowly reverence to the great Monarch of all, while in the background rise the snowy peaks of the Wellhorn and the Wetterhorn, tinted with the blush of sunset, and forming a battlement of mountain grandeur scarcely surpassed by the range even of Mont Blanc. Such a valley, I think, is the life of the Christian on the earth. As he descends the way seems commonplace enough. The yodel of the herdsmen and the lowing of the cattle are in his ears, and he sees nothing that is remarkable; but when he looks behind the retrospect is full of grandeur, and the grandest thing about it is that its gilded summits point him to the higher glories of the heaven that is awaiting him. Which, then, will you choose?

III. THE PLEASURES OF SIN ARE SUCH THAT THE OFTENER THEY ARE ENJOYED THERE IS THE LESS ENJOYMENT IN THEM. There is a wonderful harmony between God's moral law and the physical, intellectual, and moral nature of man; for every violation of its precepts does, in the end, evoke the protest of all our powers. Sinful indulgence either palls upon the taste, or, by its reaction on the system, destroys the very capacity for con. tinuing in it, in which case the craving remains, while the ability to satisfy it is gone. But with the joys of holiness it is quite different. The oftener we enjoy them they are the higher. The longer and better a man knows Christ the more happiness does he derive from Him.

IV. THE PLEASURES OF SIN ARE MOST EXPENSIVE. Here I refer not to money, though that is by no means unimportant; and when men are inclined to say that they cannot afford to be Christians, I would like them to sit down and calmly reckon up how much their sins cost them. But I speak now of the expense of the man's own nature. The Word of God says, "Bloody men shall not live out half their days"; and notwithstanding the existence of a few exceptions, I am persuaded that, in regard to vicious men generally, this will be corroborated by observation and experience. The sinner is old before his time. His physical power is gone. His intellect has lost its freshness. His will has become powerless. His conscience has become seared. In a word, he is a wreck. Did you ever look upon that wild sea-piece of Stansfield's which he has called "The Abandoned"? The sky is dark and lowering, with a forked flash of lightning shooting athwart it; the ocean is angry, and all over it there lies a dreary loneliness that makes the spectator almost shudder. The one solitary thing in sight is a huge hull, without mast or man on board, lying helpless in the trough of the sea. The men who stood by her as long as it was safe have been picked up by some friendly vessel now entirely unseen, and there that battered, broken thing floats on at the mercy of the winds and waves. That is sad enough, but what is it after all in comparison with the condition of an abandoned man, drifting on the ocean of life all dismantled and rudderless, tossed hither and thither by every wind of appetite or impulse, and soon to disappear beneath the waters! And what then? I dare not trust myself to speak of that. Muse on it yourselves for a moment, and then say if you can calculate the cost of the pleasures of sin? Far otherwise is the experience of the Christian. His pleasure is not expensive. A little goes a great way with him, and the more of Christ he knows the more does he learn to use his body as a temple of the Holy Ghost, his intellect as an instrument of serving God, and his wilt in choosing to run in the way of the Divine commands. His faith brightens his mental powers, not at first, indeed, but through the stimulating influence of the truths which he believes. His love strengthens his will, and his steadfastness in well-doing softens the sensibility of his conscience, making it as quick to the presence of evil as the apple of the eye is to the least particle of dust. Christian faith, indeed, will not make a genius out of a dullard; but it will make the man nobler, physically and mentally as well as morally, than without it he would have been. So far from wasting his energies it economises them, and halos them all with the joy of its own happiness.

(W. M. Taylor, D. D.)

I. I am first to discuss a matter of casuistry, I am to inquire WHAT PLEASURES ARE SINFUL; nor, in fact, can this topic be too carefully explained. For while all, especially among the young, profess to revere the gospel, it is marvellous to observe how almost all so contrive to interpret that gospel as to spare their darling passion. And it is curious to see, too, by what directly opposite courses people manage to arrive at the same conclusion. If you listen to one half of the world the gospel is a system so relaxed that it really requires no self-denial at all. "What harm can there be in such things? such indulgences surely cannot be wrong; a man certainly may be a good Christian and yet comply with these customs and enjoy these gratifications." That is to say, these people are resolved to " live in pleasure and be wanton," to pamper every appetite, "the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, the pride of life"; and the gospel must be as pliant as their passions, as loose as their lives. The theology of the other half of the world is just the reverse of this. They magnify the severity of the gospel and exaggerate its demands. Now with regard to this latter class, I cannot but pause a moment to confess that they are not alone culpable when they describe religion as a dark and gloomy thing, frowning and scowling upon all cheerfulness and relaxation. Too many professed Christians thus represent it. But is this the religion of the Bible? And these same crabbed disciples, is it their religion which makes them sour and crabbed? Not at all, they would have been a great deal worse but for the little piety they have. The gospel has no sort of sympathy with such tempers as these. Jesus a hard man! — perish such impiety; nor was that libel uttered except by the servant who was hard and faithless himself. Besides its own peculiar joys, the religion of Jesus allows every pleasure which a rational being ought to desire. At present the danger is not from this, but from a very different quarter. Little fear lest people become anchorites and eremites, and not allow themselves innocent pleasures; the difficulty is to make them believe that any pleasures are not innocent. Hence the great importance of a correct casuistry as to the question, what pleasures are sinful? And the following maxims will, I think, be sufficient to guide us safely in the inquiry.

1. And first, any pleasure which is, in itself, a direct violation of one of the Ten Commandments, or which involves such a violation, is sinful, and, unless renounced, will be fatal to the soul.

2. Any pleasure which takes and keeps the heart from God is sinful, and, unless forsaken, will be fatal to the soul. "My son, give Me thy heart"; this requirement is an epitome of all requirements.

3. Our third maxim regards the disorders of the passions; any pleasure which increases or nourishes these disorders is sinful, and, unless abandoned, will be fatal to the soul. Our passions were originally given us for noble purposes, but depraved as they now are, they render life a long and arduous battle to the holiest. If, then, instead of retrenching these disorders we inflame them, what must be the result?

4. Our devotions suggest a fourth maxim. Any pleasure which unfits us for communion with God is sinful, and, unless relinquished, wilt be fatal to the soul. And apply this maxim to certain company. "Good society," you say; very well, I highly value good society, but what is the influence of this society, which you call good, upon your soul? Do not its vanities dissipate your thoughts and estrange you from God? If Jesus was now upon earth would you find Him in this society?

5. A single maxim more. This points to our besetting sin. Any pleasure is criminal which confirms the empire of this sin. We every day hear people discussing the abstract nature of certain actions, but this is downright folly, since, whatever may be said about the general quality of such acts, these men know that to them they are perfectly disastrous. Fire is a very good thing, and gunpowder may be put to good uses. Very true. Nobody can question either of these propositions. But suppose a man should infer from these premises that he may safely sit upon a barrel of gunpowder and thrust a lighted torch into it. Not less foolish and fatal his reasoning who ventures upon indulgences because they are harmless to others, when he knows that they will inflame his blood and rouse within him passions defying all control. Certain friendships, you insist, a certain kind of reading and conversation — surely there is nothing wrong in these. Why argue this question when you know that — however others may not be injured by these compliances — to you they always proved most pernicious? "But it is a mere trifle, a little thing." As well might you say, It is only a little spark which is about to ignite a train and spring a deadly mine slumbering beneath your feet.

II. Thus far I have been making a concession, and I desire to be very explicit as to this concession, FOR THE DECLAMATIONS ON THIS SUBJECT SOMETIMES UTTERED IN OUR PULPITS ARE REFUTED BY THE EXPERIENCE OF THE AUDIENCE, and, like all falsehoods, do much harm. Not that we ought to be surprised at such strong and sweeping assertions from the ministers of God. Sin can no more make its votary truly happy in this world than it can make him happy in hell, where its power will be complete and uninterrupted. Who can be surprised if, forgetting the few delirious moments, he regards the whole of his past life with unmitigated DISGUST, exclaiming, "What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed?" However, sin has its pleasures. Though "it be the gall of asps within him," yet "wickedness is sweet in his mouth." If, then, you are bent upon a life of sin, vainly would I stand here arguing the ease with you. But, before you adopt this resolution, ponder the two warnings in our text as to sinful pleasures. The text mentions two offsets, and what are these? The first is, that these pleasures are "the pleasures of sin." Revolve this truth in your mind, penetrate its fearful import, and then put the poisoned chalice to your lips if you can. Sin — that word ought to be written in a paragraph, a page, a book by itself, and written in blood. Men and brethren, what sin is I know not; I only know that when God would mark the heinousness of sin no adjective can be found sufficiently energetic but one borrowed from sin itself, and he describes it as "exceeding sinful." I only know that, if God has a government, sin is treason against that government; if God is holy, just, and true, sin defies and outrages these perfections. Nor does sin only attack and insult God and seek to be a deicide; it is a homicide, and in the most dreadful sense; it is the author of all the woes, burthened with which " the whole creation groaneth together." Wherever human forms pine with disease, or writhe with pain, the sickness and the agony are inflicted by sin. Wherever human hearts bleed and are torn with affliction and anguish the blow has been struck by sin. This is not the worst. Pestilence, suffering, death, are only cutaneous symptoms of the interior plague; they are really merciful, for they warn us of the blight within. Sin murders the soul. Enter now into these truths, unite them, think what sin is, what sin has done, what sin is doing, what sin will do in eternity — are you surprised that God pronounces them fools " who make a mock at sin," and that we are exhorted to "resist unto blood striving against sin"? What shall we then say of him who not only sins, but finds his highest pleasure in a life of sin? But the text not only warns us that these indulgences are the pleasures of sin; it sounds another alarm, and bids us reflect how transient these fatal pleasures are. "They are only for a season." Of what does this language remind us? it is the void, the cruel chasm which the pleasures of sin leave, no matter how successful their votary may be. If the whole of life could be one voluptuous exhilaration, still how brief the pleasing degradation. But, alas, few and short the moments of excitement, long and dreary the intervals of lassitude and disgust. "The pleasures of sin for a season." Of what does this language admonish us? it is the sad interruptions which these sinful pleasures must know in such a world. Seasons will come when the sounds of revelry must give way to the sounds of weeping, when the house of mirth must become a house of mourning, when the prodigal will come to himself, when the daughters of music shall be brought low, when on the very spot where we had sat down and said, Come, let us deck ourselves with rosebuds, a grave opens, and one who we had thought could never die is laid there, and the shadow of this death is upon the heart and its bitterness fills the soul. And then, oh, then, how does a life of sinful pleasure appear? Earth, help thine own now. It is in these desolate moments that the promises and consolations of the gospel are ineffably precious; but where can the votary of sin turn in such an hour? "The pleasures of sin for a season." This expression suggests a third reflection. It is a dirge-like warning of those periods when conscience will awake, and ring an alarm in all the chambers of the soul. Let no one hope that he can free himself from conscience. You know better, my dear hearer. No, "sorrow dogs sinne." Vainly do the wicked ascend to a heaven of intoxicating voluptuousness, or make their bed in a hell of imbruting sensuality; vainly do they say, Surely the darkness shall cover us; or take the wings of the morning and flee to the uttermost parts of the earth, seeking to dissipate their gloomy thoughts. It is all in vain. Conscience is still with them, and Will be ever with them. And this brings us to the last thought conveyed in the words "for a season," the thought which the Holy Spirit designed chiefly to impress upon our minds. I mean death, and the retributions after death. These are at hand, these are rushing on, these incessantly cry, "Prepare to meet thy God." Can it be that, with eternity rising in view, we will forget our souls, and waste our little span in a giddy round of sensual pleasure?

(R. Fuller.)

Scientific Illustrations and Symbols.
Beautiful, innocent-looking creatures are sometimes deadly in their influence. The Lucilia homini-vorax is rather more than the third of an inch in length; the head is large, downy, and of a golden yellow. The thorax is dark blue and very brilliant, with gay reflections of purple. The wings are transparent, yet prettily tinged; their margins as well as the feet are black. This innocent-looking insect is very beautiful, yet it is an assassin. M. Coquerel has informed us that it sometimes occasions the death of those wretched convicts who have been transported to the distant penitentiary of Cayenne. When this fly gets into the mouth or nostrils it lays its eggs there, and when they are changed into larvae the death of the victim generally follows. The larvae are lodged in the interior of the nasal orifices and the frontal sinuses, and their mouths are armed with two very sharp mandibles. They have been known to reach the ball of the eye, and to gangrene the eyelids. They enter the mouth, corrode and devour the gums and the entrance of the throat, so as to transform those parts into a mass of putrid flesh, a heap of corruption. What an emblem are these of the pleasures which, in an unsuspicious form, are apt to fasten themselves upon man — beautiful in appearance, yet ruinous in result.

(Scientific Illustrations and Symbols.)

Scientific Illustrations and Symbols.
Bees sometimes collect their honey from poisonous plants, and instances are recorded of persons having died from partaking of this honey. Kirby and Spence quote some proofs of this, such as that given by Dr. Barton, an American physician, who records that in 1790 many persons died in Philadelphia from eating honey. Inquiries were instituted, and it was found that the honey was derived by the bees chiefly from the flowers of the Kalmia lati. folia. Xenophon in his "Anabasis " mentions that some of his soldiers were singularly affected by honey which they took in Asia Minor. Some of them seemed as if intoxicated, others were much excited, and others lay on the ground as if about to die. The poisonous lurks in the pleasurable, not only in matter, but in morals also. How often when enjoying apparently harmless pleasures, men unexpectedly become the victims of moral evil! Wickedness seldom comes to us in its essential bitterness. If it did we should shun it. It generally insinuates itself in some form of attractive sweetness, and frequently by means of unconscious agents as innocent as the bees.

(Scientific Illustrations and Symbols.)

The good soul will not break the hedge of any commandment to avoid any piece of foul way.

(J. Trapp.)

Fabulists relate that Pleasure went to bathe herself: having stripped off her clothes and laid them by the water, Sorrow came, put them on, and departed. Hence, say they, the pleasures of this world are only sorrows in pleasure's garb. It will ever be so, but if Christ be put on as the chief delight of the mind we shall find pleasure arrayed in the garments of joy.

(W. Mason.)

Father Taylor preaching on Moses "choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season," dwelt largely on the last point first — the pleasures of sin. He said, "Sinners, you have your fine horses and farms and houses; but it is for a season. You delight in your ruffled bosoms and gay apparel and gilt ornaments; but it is — for a season. You indulge in your unholy appetites and passions, running riot in pleasurable sin; but it is — for a season — for a season!" Having rung these solemn changes for some time, until the audience was greatly affected, he turned to the Christian side of the parallel — suffering affliction with the people of God. "You are despised of your rich and sinful neighbours; but it is for a season. You are hated and persecuted for righteousness' sake; but it is — for a season. You are cast out as evil, and trodden under foot of men; it is only for a season — for a season!"

(Life of Father Taylor.)

Faith made Moses leap out of the pleasures of the Egyptian court into the fire of affliction, because he saw them "pleasures for a season." Should you see a man in a ship throw himself overboard into the sea, you might at first think him out of his wits, but if a little while after you should see him stand safe on the shore and the ship swallowed up of the waves, you would then think he took the wisest course. Faith sees the world and all the pleasures of sin sinking; there is a leak in them which the wit of man cannot stop.

(W. Gurnall.)

Pleasure is the one thing for which millions live. They differ, perhaps, in their views of what makes up real pleasure, but all agree in seeking first and foremost to obtain it. Pleasure and enjoyment in the holidays is the grand object to which a schoolboy looks forward. Pleasure and satisfaction in making himself independent is the mark on which the young man ill business fixes his eye. Pleasure and ease in retiring from business with a fortune is the aim which the merchant sets before him. Pleasure and bodily comfort at his own homo is the sum of the poor man's wishes. Pleasure and fresh excitement in politics, in travelling, in amusements, in company, in books — this is the goal towards which the rich man is straining. Pleasure is the shadow which all alike are hunting — high and low, rich and poor, old and young, one with another — each, perhaps, pretending to despise his neighbour for seeking it — each in his own way seeking it for himself — each secretly wondering that he does not find it — each firmly persuaded that somewhere or other it is to be found.

(Bp. Ryle.)

A careless man, a reckless sinner, was arrested in the midst of his wild career and brought to repentance. By the great mercy of God he was converted, and began to lead a new life. The great change of his habits excited the remarks of all his neighbours. Meeting with one of his old associates one day, the latter remarked, "I hear you have given up all your pleasures." "No," replied the other calmly, "I never knew what pleasure was until now. And as I have tried the pleasures of sin and religion both, and you only one, I ought to be the best judge."

Links
Hebrews 11:24 NIV
Hebrews 11:24 NLT
Hebrews 11:24 ESV
Hebrews 11:24 NASB
Hebrews 11:24 KJV

Hebrews 11:24 Bible Apps
Hebrews 11:24 Parallel
Hebrews 11:24 Biblia Paralela
Hebrews 11:24 Chinese Bible
Hebrews 11:24 French Bible
Hebrews 11:24 German Bible

Hebrews 11:24 Commentaries

Bible Hub
Hebrews 11:23
Top of Page
Top of Page