He valued disgrace for Christ above the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking ahead to his reward.
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.
Respect unto the recompense.I. DUTY, CONSIDERED BARELY AS DUTY, DOES NOT CARRY IN IT A SUFFICIENT MOTIVE TO ENGAGE THE WILL OF MAN IN THE CONSTANT PRACTICE OF IT.
1. If in the soul of man its averseness to duty be much stronger than its inclination to it, then duty, considered barely in itself, is not sufficient to determine the will of man to the constant performance of it; which, in my judgment, is an argument so clear, that one of greater force cannot well be desired. No; sooner may the fire be attracted by the centre of the earth, or the vine clasp about the bramble, than any faculty of the soul have its inclinations drawn forth by a contrary and distasteful object. And then for the ground of this argument, to wit, that the soul has originally such an averseness to duty; this, I suppose, is but too evident to need any further probation.
2. The second reason, for the proof of the same truth, is this, that those affections and appetites of the soul, which have the strongest influence upon it, to incline and bias it in all its choices, to wit, the appetites belonging properly to the sensitive part of man's nature, are not at all moved or gratified by anything in duty, considered barely as duty, and therefore, as so considered, it is not a sufficient motive to induce men to the practice of it. Now this reason also, I conceive. carries its own evidence with it. For the soul of man, as the present state of nature is, generally moves as those forementioned appetites and affections shall incline it; and therefore, if that which thus inclines it be not some way or other first made sure of, all persuasions addressed immediately to the will itself, are like to find but a very cold reception.
3. The third and last reason that I shall allege is this: that if duty, considered barely in itself, ought to be the sole motive to duty, without any respect to a subsequent reward, then those two grand affections of hope and fear ought to have no influence upon men, so as to move or engage them to the acts of duty at all. The consequence is most clear; because the proper objects upon which these affections are to be employed are future rewards and future punishments; and therefore, if no regard ought to be had of these in matters of duty, it will follow, that neither must those affections, which are wholly conversant about rewards, have anything to do about duty, wherein no considerations of a reward ought, upon this principle, to take place. This, I say, would be the genuine, unavoidable consequence of this doctrine. But now, should any one venture to own such an odd and absurd paradox, in any of those sober, rational parts of Christendom, which have not depraved their judging and discerning faculties! For all the world acknowledges, that hope and fear are the two great handles by which the will of man is to be taken hold of, when we would either draw it to duty, or draw it off from sin. They are the strongest means to bring such things home to the will as are principally apt to move and work upon it. And the most renowned actions that were ever achieved upon the face of the earth, have first moved upon the spring of a projecting hope, carrying the mind above all present discouragements, by the prospect of some glorious and future good.
II. THE PROPOSAL OF A REWARD ON GOD'S PART, AND A RESPECT HAD TO IT ON MAN'S ARE UNDOUBTEDLY NECESSARY TO ENGAGE MEN IN A COURSE OF DUTY AND OBEDIENCE.
1. And first for the necessity of them.(1) A thing may be said to be necessary when by the very essence or nature of it, it is such, that it implies in it a contradiction, and consequently an impossibility, even by the power of God Himself, that (the said nature continuing) it should be otherwise. And thus, I shall never presume to affirm (though some I know do) that God cannot induce a man (being a free agent) to a course of duty and obedience, without proposing a competent reward to such obedience.(2) A thing may be said to be necessary, not absolutely, but with respect to that particular state and condition in which it is. And thus, because God has actually so cast the present condition of man as to make his inclination to good but imperfect, and during this life to continue it so, and withal to place him among such objects as are mightily apt to draw him off from what is morally good, it was necessary (upon the supposal of such a condition) that, if God would have men effectually choose good and avoid evil, He should suggest to them some further motives to good, and arguments against evil, than what the bare consideration of the things themselves prohibited or commanded by Him can afford. For otherwise, that which was morally good, meeting with so feeble an inclination in the will towards it, will never be able to make any prevailing impression upon that leading faculty. From all which you see, in what sense we affirm it necessary for God to propose rewards to men, thereby to engage them to their duty; namely, because of that imperfect estate which God has been pleased to leave men under in this world.
2. And now, in the next place, for the proof of this necessity.(1) And first for Scripture. It has been more than sufficiently proved from thence already, how deplorably unable the heart of man is, not only to conquer, but even to contend with the difficulties of a spiritual course, without a steady view of such promises as may supply new life, spirit, and vigour to its obedience. To all which, let it suffice at present to add that full and notable declaration of St. Paul, in 1 Corinthians 15:19.(2) The other proof of the same assertion shall be taken from the practice of all the noted lawgivers of the world; who have still found it necessary to back and fortify their laws with rewards and punishments; these being the very strength and sinew of the law, as the law itself is of government. No wise ruler ever yet ventured the peace of society upon the goodness of men's nature, or the virtuous inclination of their temper. Nor was anything truly great and extraordinary ever almost achieved, but in the strength of some reward every whit as great and extraordinary as the action which it carried a man out to. Thus it was in the virtue of Saul's high promises that David encountered Goliath. If we look further into the politics of the Greeks and the Romans, and other nations of remark in history, we shall find, that whensoever the laws enjoined anything harsh, and to the doing of which men were naturally averse, they always thought it requisite to add allurement to obligation, by declaring a noble recompense (possibly some large pension, or gainful office, or title of honour to the meritorious doers of whatsoever should be commanded them. For in vain do we think to find any man virtuous enough to be a law to himself, or any law strong enough to enforce and drive home its own obligation; or lastly, the prerogative of any lawgiver high enough to assure to him the subject's obedience. For men generally affect to be caressed and encouraged, and, as it were, bought to their duty (as well as from it too sometimes). For which and the like causes, when God, by Moses, had set before His own people a large number of the most excellent, and, as one would think, self-recommending precepts on the one hand, and a black roll of the very worst and vilest of sins on the other, sins that seemed to carry their punishment in their very commission; yet nevertheless in the issue God found it needful to bring up the rear of all with those decretory words in Deuteronomy 30:19.
(R. South, D. D.)I. CONSIDER THAT ONWARD LOOK, WHICH TURNS UPSIDE DOWN THE WORLD'S ESTIMATES OF GOOD AND EVIL. Christian faith should dwell in the future. True! that onward look is secondary, and not primary. We look forward simply because God has told us what that future is to be, and we are to trust Him. Our conceptions of the future must always be limited by, as well as founded exclusively on, the revelation which God has made. And that is the distinction between the wholesome and ennobling anticipation of the future which is proper to Christianity, and should be familiar to all professing Christians, and every other forecast of possibilities or probabilities to come beyond the grave. The one is mist, the other is solid earth. The one is a torturing, though it sometimes be an attractive peradventure; the other loots itself upon a "Verily! verily! I say unto thee." Then, further, note here how this onward look should reverse the world's estimate of good and evil. As long as the theatre is only lit by artificial light, the tawdry Dutch metal upon the cotton velvet robes, and the glass jewels upon the paltry crowns of the strutting pretenders to royalty and wealth look genuine, solid, and rich. Let the daylight in, and how shabby and seamy and poor they all look. If we want to know what the world's wealth is, let us only lift our eyes unto, and keep them fixed upon, that realm of light to which Christ invites us, and then these have no glory at all "by reason of the glory that excelleth." As a candle against the sun, so is the "abundance" that a man "possesses" as contrasted with the durable riches and righteousness to which the Christian soul hastens. Nothing that can be stripped from us is truly ours. Only that which is incorporated with the very substance of the soul belongs to me; and the only true wealth is the wealth of a Christ-love in my heart, and a Christ-truth in my understanding, and a Christ-spirit in my life, and a Christ the law of my will. He that hath these is rich, and he that looks for the perfecting of these things in the perfect world beyond has a charm which turns all the fairy-gold by which men are deceived in the dark into the bundle of rotting leaves which, according to the old legend, it truly is. And then there is the other side of the world's fascinations, which equally are stripped of their masquerading pomp by the eye that looks onwards to the recompense of reward. "The pleasures for a season" come to be known for the poor paltry things that they are when they are set by the side of the calm "pleasures for evermore " which await us if we will. We never realise the true transiency of the transient until we measure it against the eternity of the eternal. "For a season"; "for evermore." Who will compare these two? Then, further, let me remind you how the analysis of our text shows us that this estimate made by faith, and reversing the world's judgment, ought to lead to a deliberate surrender. There are miserable multitudes of Christian men and women, good enough kind of people in their way, and with some reality of Christian faith towards that great Lord, who have no doubt whatever, if you come to put the question to them, that this world's goods are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us. And yet there is a fatal schism between judgment and choice; and a paralysis, as it were, of the powers that would carry the estimate into action. How comes this to be? You and I are not called to surrender in the fashion of the heroic renunciation of our text, but we are called upon to use the lower in subordination to the higher. And unless our faith has in it an onward look that truly estimates the relative worth of the things seen and temporal and the things eternal, and that impels by that estimate to a deliberate choice which we carry out in action, we have little right to say that we are soldiers in this great army, the heroes of which are marshalled in the roll-call of this chapter.
II. CONSIDER THE UPWARD LOOK, WHICH DELIVERS FROM FEAR, AND NERVES FOR SERVICE. I am prepared to maintain that the knowledge which a believing heart has of God is as valid, and more so, than the evidence of sense; and that the sight of faith is better, truer, deeper, more to be relied upon as giving us verities than the sight of these senses that may be befooled and diseased and deceive us. "He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father," and he that hath trusted hath seen God revealed in Christ. But, then, mark how this vision of the invisible, which is the bliss of the Christian life, and without which no faith worth calling by the name is possible, should have in it a power of steadying us for persistent endurance of difficulty and continuance in duty. When soldiers pass the saluting-point where the commander-in-chief sits, they dress up their ranks and pull themselves together. If we realised that we were ever in the presence of that great Lord, that lie was ever there before us, how the world would change its aspect, and life and its difficulties would become easy! The great white throne dims everything else. And then, further, this upward look should bring glad courage. Soldiers tell us that the bravest man has a spasm of terror when he goes into the battle; and courage is but the rebound of the heart from fear. "What time I am afraid, I will trust in Thee." "I will trust and not be afraid." Whoso has the recompense of reward, and Him that is invisible who is the "exceeding great reward," clear before him, is delivered from all other fear, and through fear is driven to God, whose presence drives it out.
(A. Maclaren, D. D.)I. WHAT WAS IMPLIED IN THAT REWARD TO WHICH MOSES HAD RESPECT.
1. The glory of God was implied in it. In bringing about this event, God would necessarily display His power, His sovereignty, His justice, His mercy, and His faithfulness.
2. The good of His nation was another thing implied in the reward to which Moses had respect.
3. He had reason to expect a distinguished mansion in heaven, to which he had a proper respect. His own future and eternal happiness was a truly important and desirable object.
II. MOSES WAS TRULY DISINTERESTED IN SEEKING THE REWARD SET BEFORE HIM.
1. He does not appear to have been selfish by his conduct. This was such as plainly manifested pure, disinterested love to God and man.
2. If Moses had been selfish in having respect to the recompense of reward, his conduct would not have been virtuous and pleasing to God.
3. If Moses had not sought a recompense of reward from pure and holy motives, he would not have been admitted to heaven.
4. Holy love, or true benevolence, would naturally lead Moses to have respect to such a reward as God set before him. He must desire, in the exercise of pure, disinterested, and universal benevolence, that God should be glorified; that his nation should be happy; and that he himself should be blessed in the everlasting enjoyment of God. These were the things contained in the reward set before him; and these were the things which were set before all other sincere servants of God.Improvement:
1. If Moses was really disinterested in having respect to the recompense of reward, then real saints may be as disinterested in seeking their own good, as in seeking the good of others.
2. If Moses had respect, in the exercise of disinterested benevolence, to a future and eternal reward, then saints may and do regard their own eternal good more than sinners.
3. If those who act from disinterested benevolence deserve to be rewarded, then those who act from selfish and mercenary motives deserve to be punished.
4. If Moses acted virtuously and acceptably to God in the view of a future and eternal reward, then it is no just objection against the gospel that it proposes future rewards and punishments to men, to induce them to shun the broad road to destruction, and walk in the strait and narrow way to eternal life.
5. If Moses, in the exercise of disinterested love, obtained the recompense of reward to which he had respect, then all real saints have great encouragement to persevere in their religious course.
6. If Moses and other good men were governed by disinterested love in seeking and obtaining a future and eternal reward, then none have any reason to expect to obtain a crown of righteousness, without exercising true disinterested love.
7. This subject now asks of all, whether they are walking in the straight and narrow way to heaven. Have you that respect to recompense that Moses had? His life, his death, and his present state are recorded. He has arrived at heaven safe. Look at his character and conduct, and compare your own with his.
(N. Emmons, D. D.)I. THE CERTAINTY THAT A FUTURE RECOMPENSE DOES EXIST. In referring to the testimony which we possess upon this momentous subject, we may be allowed to notice some sources of evidence which are frequently considered as existing apart from Divine revelation. We may notice, for instance, the general and simultaneous opinion of all mankind, that there, is a period of future retribution. We may notice also the operations of the human conscience in the decisions it pronounces upon the principles and the actions of man, and in the feelings which it always inspires in the human bosom as the consequence of those decisions. We may also notice the uniform structure of all human governments, whose laws are supported by the promises of reward, or the penalties of punishment, from which it is fair to conclude the existence of an Almighty Lawgiver, and the denial of which is equal to atheism. But the prime source of our assurance upon this momentous subject, and without which every other would be found to be inconclusive, will be found to exist in the records of Divine truth — the revelation which the Almighty has been pleased to make to the children of men respecting Himself, and respecting the highest interests of their being. It may be observed, that in the early portions of Divine truth there is a considerable obscurity resting upon the announcements of a future state, arising not from the weakness, but from the arrangements, of the Divine wisdom in the administration of the affairs of the world. Every promise — every doctrine — every precept is hallowed and enforced by this one inscription, that there is a recompense of reward.
II. THE ATTRIBUTES BY WHICH IT IS DISTINGUISHED.
1. The good and evil which constitute this future recompense are in their nature incessant and perfect.
2. The good and the evil which constitute this future recompense are in their duration changeless and eternal.
III. THE PRINCIPLES ON WHICH THIS FURTURE RECOMPENSE IS BESTOWED.
1. The recompense of good is bestowed upon a principle of grace. The notion which is contrary to this, namely, that the recompense of happiness in heaven arises from man's merit, and that it is granted to him by the justice of God in consequence of that merit, is one that must be exposed, as being at variance with all the conclusions of right reason, and all the declared arrangements of the Word of God. With regard to the former we are to speak of its absurdity. What greater absurdity is there than to speak of everlasting happiness being purchased by a temporary obedience — that obedience, as it is universally acknowledged, being, at the very best, but imperfect and partial?
2. The recompense of future evil is inflicted upon a principle of justice. Not more false, and not more pernicious, is the sentiment which ascribes the damnation of man to the sovereignty of God, than is the notion which ascribes the redemption of man to the justice of God. The lost spirits of the human race are only in the regions of despair because they do wilfully and voluntarily sin against the authority of the Almighty, and that the essential and eternal justice of the Almighty compelled and necessitated the punishment of these violations of His law. Grace is inscribed over the gates of heaven; justice is written over the portals of hell.
IV. THE INFLUENCE WHICH THE KNOWLEDGE OF THIS FUTURE RECOMPENSE SHOULD EXCITE.
1. From the knowledge of this future state of recompense, we ought to be frequent in our contemplations of it. As you go amongst the material works of man, or the material works of God, consider this, which gives you a grandeur superior to them all. Yonder monuments and statues — yonder cathedrals and temples — yonder mansions and edifices shall crumble; yonder green fields and yonder verdant trees — yonder fruitful vales, and yonder lovely mountains shall perish; yonder rivers will soon no longer flow; yonder deep and dreary ocean will no longer heave its mighty rolling billows; yonder stars that adorn the firmament of heaven will soon cease to shine; yonder moon will be turned into blood; yonder sun is but a spark of fire — a transient meteor in the sky; while I, who stand upon this little spot of earth, am destined to outlive the universal wreck, and shall survive them all! I wear upon my brow the stamp of immortality! I am the heir of a recompense of reward!
2. The knowledge of this state of future recompense should make us constantly anxious to obtain the recompense of good, and to avoid the recompense of evil. You have heard of the atonement of Christ — you have heard of the justifying merit of His righteousness — you have heard that those who believe in Him shall not be condemned, but shall be saved with an everlasting salvation. He is the refuge, flee to Him — He is the foundation, build upon Him — and a voice from the judgment-seat will pronounce its own tidings of acceptation, "Enter into the joy of your Lord!"
I. And here, let us first remind you, THAT MAN IS SO CONSTITUTED, THAT HE MUST HAVE AN OBJECT, A SOMETHING TO DESIRE, A SOMETHING TO PURSUE. The object which at some particular season fixes his attention may be trivial; but it is not by any demonstration of its worthlessness that you may look to turn him from it. You must show him a worthier, one which shall more commend itself to his esteem, and then will the stronger cast out the strong, and the "treasures in Egypt" be dispossessed by yet brighter wealth. We summon the man of pleasure to come with us. We will tell him of joys which distance imagination, of happiness without alloy and without end; and we will show him how he may have a share in a blessedness which he cannot exhaust, and of which he cannot grow weary. We say to the man whose passion is for wealth, Come with us; we have to place before you treasures not to be computed, whose lustre makes the brightest gold dim, and of which nothing can deprive you. We say to the man of ambition, Behold the loftiest of honours, crowns and thrones and sceptres — a place amid the nobles of creation. Ay, if you would all indeed but fix your gaze on the inheritance revealed by the gospel of Christ, you would all, as a necessary consequence, cease from unduly pursuing what is earthly. You will not be left without an object; that were unnatural, that were impossible. It is not a process of extinction, but simply a process of exchange, which you are to attempt. This, however, only touches the case of the comparison of one good with another; whereas the case commonly submitted in urging men to religion, is that of a present evil and a prospective advantage. This was the case with Moses; and our business is to see whether the principles which regulated his decision cannot still be applied in the urging men to a similar. Take the case of the young, who, with life just opening before them, and the attractions of the world soliciting their pursuit, are urged to the duty of remembering their Creator, and setting their affections on things that are above. We say to them, It is true you must renounce cherished gratifications; and we do not suppose you can go along with us in decrying those gratifications. You seek your wealth in earthly treasures, and your honours in earthly fame, and you are not prepared to disregard the treasures and to despise the fame. But at whose call, and at whose command, are you summoned to the sacrifice? Is it for the service of one who has nothing to bestow that we ask you to exchange the sonship of Pharaoh? Is it to make friendship with a being who has nothing good and nothing great at his disposal? On the contrary, we address you in the name of the living God, "whose is the earth, and the fulness thereof." We invite you to be reconciled to your Creator, who can supply your every want out of His riches in Christ. We offer you the favour of a Being who can impart a "peace which passeth all understanding," a " hope full of immortality," and a joy with which no stranger intermeddles. We propose to you the placing yourself under the guardianship of Him who hath spread out the heavens. And are we, then, to hear of the extent of the sacrifice, and to hear nothing of the wealth and the happiness secured by the surrender? Oh! it is to your zeal for your own welfare, to your love for your own selves, to your wish for riches, to your appetite for honours, to your longing for pleasures, that we make our appeal. If we ask the surrender of the corruptible, we offer the incorruptible; of the transitory, we offer the enduring; of the visionary, we offer the substantial. And now we go on to observe, that it is the apparent conflict between interest and duty which causes us in a variety of cases to disobey God, and withstand the pleadings of conscience. We speak of apparent conflict, because we deny altogether that interest and duty can ever be really opposed. It is but vindicating the righteousness of the moral government of God, to maintain, that whatever He has made it our duty, He has made it also our interest to do. Indeed, the world would cease to be a scene of probation, and there would no longer be any trial of obedience, were it always manifestly for our advantage to follow the course which God's law prescribes. It is only by carrying onward our calculation, bringing the future, as well as the present, into the account, that we reach the conclusion, that what is duty, is in the long run also interest. There is, therefore, no passage of Scripture more deserving than is our text, to be carried by all of you into the scenes of ordinary occupations; for there is nothing which you have more need to keep in mind, than what we have called the remunerating power of God, seeing that the life of a Christian must, in a great measure, be a life of surrender and of sacrifice. We need scarcely add, that our text should be a preservative, not only to those who may be tempted to the so engrossing themselves with business as to leave no time for religion, but to others who may be solicited to turn aside, be it ever so little, from rectitude and integrity. We would have you animate yourselves for the moral warfare, by considering what "recompense of reward" is promised to the faithful. Is the gold seducing you? are the precious stones dazzling you? Then think of that city whose streets are pure gold, and whose every gate is a costly pearl. Is earthly honour, the being Pharaoh's son, alluring you? Then think of that throne which the righteous are to ascend; of their being "heirs of God, yea, joint-heirs with Christ." Are "the pleasures of sin" themselves tempting you? Then think of pleasures so deep and overflowing, that they are spoken of as a "river of gladness," so unmeasured, that he who partakes thereof will be abundantly satisfied. It is now the appointment of God, as in early days, that through much tribulation you must enter into rest. Egypt is still to be forsaken, and the wilderness to be traversed, and the reproach to be endured. Oh! for the faith which ruled in the bosom of Moses!
(H. Melvill, B. D.)
(J. W. Hardman, LL. D.)
(Christina G. Rossetti.)
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Hebrews 11:26 French Bible
Hebrews 11:26 German Bible
Hebrews 11:26 Commentaries