« הקודםהמשך »
felt this. “I am not worthy of one of the least of all thy mercies.” Had we a higher sense of the mercies we possess, we should not have so keen a sense of those we fancy we want. 2. When we refuse all indirect courses to obtain desirable ends. The desire of bettering a man's estate by such means, is an evident argument of discontent. Abram would not take of the King of Sodom from a thread to a shoe-latchet.
3. When roe patiently endure the want of them, if God see fit to deny them.
4. When we quietly resign them at God's will.-Silence before the 'shearer is a great argument of contented godliness6, This prevailed in our Lord. As a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth. Job: The Lord gave, &c. David: I was dumb, because thou didst it, fc. Aaron held his peace.
III. GAIN. The gain of godliness. Paul here reverses the sentiments of corrupt worldlings, and instead of saying, gain is godliness, he says, godliness is gain,
Many think godliness is an enemy to gain. Balak thought so: “I had thought to have advanced thee to honour, but God hath kept thee back from honour.” Ananias and Sapphira thought 80—Demas and Judas thought so, and therefore renounced godliness, to get gain. But those that define loss and gain in this manner, do not try them by the right touchstone, nor weigh them in the balance of the sanctuary. At least they only take one world into the account. Think.
1. That godliness may do a man good, without gain ; but worldly gain can do a man no good without godliness. Paul counted all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ. David preferred God's Word to thousands of gold and silver; and thought nothing of the worldling's store of corn, and wine, and oil, compared with the light of God's favour.
2. That worldly gain may be an occasion of evil, but godliness never can.—“I have seen riches," says Solomon,“ reserved
to the hurt of them that have them, but righteousness saveth from death,” Gehazi would have been better without the talents of silver ; and Ahab without Naboth's vineyard. Godliness assures us all things shall work for good. “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain”-so that death itself, which is the greatest loss to the worldly man, is the greatest good to the Christian. Wisdom is a defence.
3. That worldly distinctions at best can only abide with us a short time; whereas godliness, and the gain of it, will last for ever. Riches make themselves wings-not like the sparrowbut like eagles' wings, flying towards heaven. As when we came into the world we brought them not with us, so when we leave the world we cannot bear them after us. We are like the visitors in Jewish fields or vineyards, who might pluck and eat, while they were there, but might not carry any thing beyond the boundary.
Did men deem godliness gain, they would think they could never have enough of it.—They would strive to excel others in it.-They would not part with it for trifles.
XXVII. NOTES OF A SERMON ON THE FAITH OF MOSES
AND HIS PARENTS.
Heb. xi. 23–26. “BY FAITH MOSES WHEN HE WAS BORN WAS HID THREE MONTHS
OF HIS PARENTS, BECAUSE THEY SAW HE WAS A PROPER CIIILD; AND THEY WERE NOT AFRAID OF THE KING'S COMMANDMENT. BY FAITII MOSES WHEN HE WAS COME TO YEARS, REFUSED TO BE CALLED THE SON OF PHARAOH'S DAUGHTER ; CHOOSING RATHER TO SUFFER AFFLICTION WITH THE PEOPLE OF GOD, THAN TO ENJOY THE PLEASURES OF SIN FOR A SEASON ; ESTEEMING TIIE REPROACH OF CHRIST GREATER RICIIES THAN THE TREASURES IN EGYPT : FOR HE HAD RESPECT UNTO THE RECOY. PENCE OF THE REWARD."
Reason and faith thus differ: the former depends upon its own discoveries, the latter upon those of another, by testimony. Rea. son, indeed, enquires into the character of the testifier, and the meaning of his testimony; but being satisfied, delivers us up to faith for a new source of knowledge.
Reason thus leads to faith. Why then are they ever represented as opposed ? Yet faith is called in scripture the gift of God! Because it is the natural faculty of believing turned to spiritual objects, by a spiritual state of mind, which divine influence alone produces.
Out of this state of mind faith in the scriptures arises, and influences the mind by them; and the mind the conduct. It thus becomes the root of all true moral and spiritual excellence in the chạracter. This chapter, in an admirable selection of ancient instances, celebrates its triumphs, for the encouragement of the persecuted Hebrew Christians in the Apostles' time.
THE FAITH OF THE PARENTS OF MOSES IS NOTICED.
They hid him three months, and then put him in an ark of bulrushes.—How faith? They believed he was to be a preserved child. Why? A deliverer was predicted for Israel of the tribe of Levi—they were of that tribe. He was a child of their advanced years, and so a remarkable one.
There was peculiar mark upon him, “a proper child;" exceedingly fair, or "fair to God.” Or it might be from a divine impulse.
They were “not afraid of the king's commandment."Why then hide the child? Why such pains with the little ark? True confidence in God, of a successful issue in the use of appointed means, leads to their careful observance. See Paul in the ship. This guards the doctrine of final perseverance against a specious objection.
The admirable workings of Providence in their favour are seen.--The princess comes,-the ark is brought to her, -the babe weeps. Though the daughter of a tyrant, she is touchedthe sister appears—the mother is sent for, and the child, adopted by the princess, given her to nurse. How secretly, yet really, God works his own designs! What a liberal rewarder is he of those who diligently seek him! More than the mother expected is her portion : she receives a salary for that which to her was the greatest delight.
The lot of Moses, however, afterwards, was to be persecuted.-So with Abel, the first member of the church ;-so with ts Head and Lord ;-carried out of the cradle was he on that very account, to this very Egypt. So with every convert. THE FAITH OF MOSES HIMSELF, WHICH WAS A PERSONAL ACT, AND
INVOLVED GREAT SACRIFICE, IS STILL MORE IMPORTANT.
“He refused to be called," &c., when he went away from Egypt to Midian. It was a
choice" La deliberate act. Egypt and Israel, the world and the church, were poised before him : he preferred the latter. Grace operates not by impulse, but by inclining us to “ choose” the right way.
The reasons of his choice are given.--The pleasures he forsook were those of “sin;" and, but “for a season.” The people he espoused were " the people of God.” The reproach he incurred was for “Christ's sake.” And there was a recompence of reward.”
It was a proper choice. He could not have continued in his high station, so great had the violence of the king become, without taking part with him against Israel. Joseph, Esther, and Daniel, were not put to the same test, or would have done as he did. To trim between the cause of Christ and of Satan when we are told to be no longer neutral, but to make a declaration, is dastardly and disgraceful.
He refused to be called, &c., not in express words, but by conduct. This is the strongest declaration of sentiment. So the Christian's is declared towards Christ and towards the world; and so is the unconverted man's to sin and to Satan.
It was made " when he came to years”—Not while under the mere influence of parental education, but when well able to judge. Yet, this resolution being deliberate, well and wisely formed, and not the effort of a moment, he had, doubtless, been pious before. Piety, to be eminent, must be early.
They who are come to his years, namely forty, and have not decided, are not likely ever to do so.-Such have no excuse to palliate their folly; they are not likely ever to come to any
thing that is great or good. Falsify, in your own case, if you can, this assertion: it would delight us. Dwell, all who are sincere, upon
recompence of reward.”—Think of immortality; you will be eternal; your conduct in this moment of time will determine your condition for ever. If pious, what a prospect! Realize it by faith! Glory is now in your view!