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ing unto the place of which the Lord of God in the course of their ministry, said, I will give it you ;" and again, were to take one denial, they might “The Lord hath spoken good concern soon leave off preaching. Oh no, they ing Israel." He did not suggest any- must repeat the invitation ; line upon thing short of the divine authority. It line, precept upon precept, after their might not have been in the power of people have said no, by their conduct Moses to do him good ; he could not perhaps a thousand times; as long as have engaged for anything unless he they live the ministers of God must had been able to back it by the promise still say, “Oh leave us not I beseech of God; but having that promise, he thee.” And so parents, and relatives, could
say to all who were willing to cast and friends must still entreat those who in their lot with him and the people of are not walking in the way to Zion-the God, “Come with us, and we will do good old way—to set their faces Zionthee good.”
ward. Oh, how many invitations have But, notice in the next place, the we ourselves rejected, and how grateful answer of Hobab. “He said, I will ought we to be, if God has not given not go."
This was very rash. We us up to hardness of heart, but has should have thought he might have drawn us to himself. Let the kindness taken time to consider the matter, but and patience of God with us furnish he says at once, "I will not go ;” and us with a rule in our dealings with what is his reason ? He says, “I will others. depart to my own land, and to my kin Moses presses the point by presenting dred.” His country and his kindred two motives: one to his generosity, and seem to have weighed more with him another to his interest. He tells him than the God of Israel. How unlike that he may be useful to himself and was this to the conduct of Ruth, the the people ; “Thou knowest how we Moabitish damsel. Her mother-in-law are to encamp in the wilderness, and said to her, “Go back, my daughter, to thou mayest be to us instead of eyes." thy country and thy kindred ;” but she As if he had said, If you have no regard had no relish for their company after to yourself have a regard to me and to what she had known of the God of my people ; and what an honour was Israel, and she said, “Entreat me not here presented to him, that of having to cease from following after thee : an opportunity of serving a great nation whither thou goest, I will go, and where the nation of whom the Lord had thou lodgest I will lodge : thy people spoken good. But he does not leave shall be my people, and thy God my it there, he repeats in still stronger terms God.” Had but Hobab possessed her what he had before said, “It shall be spirit, how different would have been that if thou go with us, that what his answer. But this is not the only goodness the Lord shall do unto us, the instance in which God has been re same will we do unto thee." Thou shalt fused, in which Jesus Christ has been fare as we fare, and who would wish to neglected out of regard to worldly fare better than the Israel of God? attachments. Ah no ! age after age Here the matter is left. We are not this has been realized in many sad in- told what reply Hobab made. If he stances,
still persisted in rejecting the gracious But Moses will not take this denial, invitation, in setting at naught God's peremptory as it is. “And he said, people, and fellowship with them ; if leave me not, I pray thee.” We must he still persisted, and like Esau, for a not take one denial. If the servants I morsel of meat, sold his birthright, he
would bring upon himself bitter re-way; "Come with us, and we will flections in a future day. One is willing surely do thee good.” to hope that he changed his mind, and In prosecuting this subject a little was at last persuaded to go, for we are more particularly, I would first attempt told in the book of Judges of the family to hold up to you a few of those things of the Kenites, who descended from which are promised to Israel, and to parHobab, being among the Israelites. take of which you are invited. There is reason, therefore, to hope that Secondly. Point out wherein consists these repeated invitations had at last your acceptance of the invitation. their effect, and this should encourage Lastly, I would urge home the invitaus never to despair.
tion, and desire to know what answer There is something in this history ap- you have to make. plicable to the circumstances of some In the first place, what are those good in every congregation, especially the things which God has promised to younger part of it. Who can forbear Israel. You know that they are not addressing this invitation to them, of a worldly nature. There is not now “Will you go with us ?”! True it is, we a land flowing with milk and honey. are not going to such a country as There is nothing tending to gratify Moses and the people of Israel were your natural desire ; peradventure, if going to, but we are going to a better there were, some who are now unwilling country—a heavenly country, and like would be induced to go. But we set Moses, we do not want to possess it before you a better country, even a alone ; like him we long to gather, as in heavenly. The things which you are the arms of our affections, all of you, invited to partake of, are incorruptible, and we say to you,“ Go with us, and it eternal, and never fade away. The shall come to pass that what goodness Canaan of the Israelites might be dethe Lord shall do unto us, the same will scribed. You recollect they sent meswe do unto thee," and we may add, that sengers to spy out the land, and they like Moses, we have the authority of returned and made their report, but God himself to invite you to a partici- "eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, pation of the blessings which we trust neither have entered into the heart we are about to enjoy. As the Israelites of man, the things which God hath
prepassed along they were authorized to in- pared for those who love him.” The joys vite those of the surrounding nations; and reserved in heaven at God's right hand all who were willing to turn from their for those who forsake all for Christ, are idols and to cast in their lot with them, such that one hour's possession of them participated in the privileges of Israel, will infinitely more than counterbalance and we have the same authority to all the tribulations they may have been invite all around to come with us. The called upon to endure. Spirit of God says, come; the church your feet stand on Mount Zion, you of God in every age says, come ; "and will never regret for a moment all the let him that heareth say, come ; and let toil you will have sustained in the prehim that is athirst, come, and take of sent state. The loss of worldly subthe water of life freely.” Some of your stance, the loss of liberty, the loss of best friends, it may be, have passed on life itself is not to be compared with and taken possession of the heavenly the glory which shall be revealed herecountry. You see, perhaps, many of after, and of which they shall partake. your kindred with their faces Zionward. Everything here had a beginning, and We are many of us, I trust, gring that must have an end; but that to which
VOL. X.-FOURTTI SERIES.
we are going shall have no end. The of these refreshing, invigorating, life things you possess here are marred with giving streams, are the loudest in prosin ; every joy is succeeded perhaps by claiming their virtues. “The joy of a sorrow; but there there shall be the Lord" is the strength of his servants, nothing to alloy, nothing to embitter and those who are marching to Zion the bliss of heaven ; it is such as neither sing with a cheerful heart the songs of tongue can describe nor thought con- Zion. ceive. Sometimes it is represented as "Poor, weak, and worthless though I am, "a house not "made with hands, eternal I have a rich Almighty Friend." in the heavens." Were we driven from Secondly, Let us inquire what an our habitations we should know the acceptance of the invitations of the value of this, and there is a time coming gospel includes. On the part of Hobab when you must be driven from earth, undoubtedly it must have included three and launch into an unknown state. things. Had he gone with Moses, he How delightful is it under such circum- must have parted with the idol gods of stances to know with the apostle, “ that the people among whom he dwelt; he if the earthly house of our tabernacle must have taken the people of God to is dissolved, we have a building of God, be his companions; and he must have a house not made with hands, eternal consecrated his heart to the service of in the heavens."
God. Now these three things are inBut you will ask, Is nothing to be cluded in an acceptance of the invitapossessed on this side the grave ? Are ' tions of the gospel. all the good things which the Lord has If you take the God of Israel to promised to Israel, to be waited for?, be your God, in the first place, you Oh no, godliness has the promise of the must relinquish every idol. Hobab life that now is, as well as that which must leave every idol behind him. God is to Cuine. If you cast in your lot cannot admit any rival; he requires with us, and leave all to follow Christ, the supreme place in the heart. It is you shall have that which God's people I not enough that we call him our God, have, and that is no small portion even but we must receive him as such, and in the present life. You shall have the submit ourselves to him as his people. blessing of God with all you possess, Recollect what Jacob said when at you shall have the forgiveness of your i Bethel : “ He dreamed a dream, and he sins, you shall have the Saviour for your vowed a vow, and said, If the Lord will portion, you shall have “ that peace give me food to eat, and raiment to put which passeth all understanding ;" and I on, and be with me in the way I go, and these are no small matters. Those who bring me to my father's house in peace, possess them would not part with them then shall the Lord be my God." Jacob's for all which this world has to bestow. meaning was this ; that he would deNone ever set them at naught but vote himself wholly to God, that no those that never knew them : the igno- idol should have any place in his house rant only are those that despise them, or his heart, but that God alone should and well did our blessed Lord say to be his God. The idols of the present the woman of Samaria, “If thou day in our country are not of brass and knewest the gift of God, and who it of wood. Gross idolatry has been is that saith to thee, Give me to drink, driven out of our land; but the idols thou wouldst have asked of him, and he to which we are exposed, are the lust would have given thee living water." of the flesh, and the lust of the eye, Those who have drunk the most deeply and the pride of life ; and they must
be relinquished before we can become and useful, and happy in the promotion the people of God, as completely as the of the Redeemer's cause in the midst of heathen were called upon to relinquish a dying world. their gods. Anything which interferes Let us proceed in the next place to with our supreme love to God, which inquire, what answer is to be given ? takes that place in our hearts which is This question will receive a variety of due to him alone, must be expelled, answers. It is probable your language and its place given to God.
will be different. Let us instance a The acceptance of the gospel includes few, and let me request you, as we go also that you take the people of God to along, to judge whether that which is be your companions. Hobab must have suggested is your answer. done this—we hope he did it. What In the first place, there are present are your companions? Are they such perhaps, some who will answer in the as prompt you to the downward road language of Hobab, “I will not go." that leadeth to destruction, or such as It is very melancholy to think how draw you towards heaven? You must many there are in whose hearts that is resign all those companions who would the answer suggested. IIow many say prove injurious to your soul; you must with Ephraim, “I have loved idols, and resign them by preference for the people after them will I go.” There are, alas ! of God. You cannot live without so- amongst us those who neither have any ciety, the mind of man cannot be happy religion, nor make a pretence to any, alone; but God has mercifully placed but who say in answer to every enyou in circumstances in which you may treaty, “I will not go.” Is this the find many companions travelling the answer of any one of you ? If it be, and heavenly road. Can you from your if you continue in that state of mind, heart say, These shall be my people, and there is a time approaching when you their God shall be my God: let me must go, when you must leave this have my lot among those who fear the world, your country, your kindred, and Lord ?
all you now possess. Where will you Further, it includes a consecration, a go when God riseth up to judgment, dedication of your soul to be the Lord's. when death comes and alarms you, and Oh, my dear young friends, how deeply summons you, when it shall be andoes it interest the hearts of your pa- nounced, “ The Bridegroom cometh, go rents, your friends, your minister, to ye forth to meet him ?" You must go. see you early consecrate yourselves to Then the question will not be asked, Him. It was one of the requisitions “Wilt thou go with us ?" There will be under the Jewish law, that the first- no choice left you; you must go into fruits might be rendered to God. We the eternal world, and if your heart be long for the first-fruits of our families ; averse to God you will then reap the the first-fruits of your powers, your bitter consequences of your present zeal, your strength ; and the question refusal. You may then perhaps knock at may now be considered as proposed to the door of mercy, but it will have been every one of you,-Are you willing now shut, and it will be shut, for ever. from this time to consecrate yourselves But there is probably another deto the Lord, and to be wholly his ? scription of hearers. Some who hang As Moses did to Hobab, we address in suspense, who say, “I desire to gomotives to your generosity, as well as to I wish I could go :" but what-ah, there your interest.
We desire to see you is some attachment in the way—what is honoured as the servants of God, active, it? Is it your country, your kindred,
some idol? You do not say like Hobab, | not tell you—there is not a prophet of “I will not go;" I will not regard the the Lord but will direct you—there is concerns of my soul, but I wish to go ;| not an apostle but will point you to I intend to go, but not now. You Jesus Christ as “the way, the truth, would be glad to go to heaven, but you and the life.” They will one and all cannot forego some present indulgence direct you to “the Lamb of God, who which you know to be sinful; you can taketh away the sins of the world," and not go yet, you must stay a little longer, those who come to him shall never be and then you will think of going. To disappointed. such I would say, Do not trifle with Perhaps there is another class of our everlasting realities; remember the hearers. They seem to be all eagerness. language of Him who will be your judge, If permitted to interrupt our solemni“He that loveth houses, or lands, or ties and speak, they would promptly even his own life more than me, is not answer, “ Yes, we will go-that we will." worthy of me." It is probably the But they have not counted the cost. case that you have some sort of regard Think what it implies, what it includes. for the Lord Jesus Christ, some desire You may recollect that there was one to partake of the blessings of the gos- who said to the Saviour, “I will follow pel, but still you love your idols better. thee whithersoever thou goest;" but But he that loves not Jesus Christ better the Saviour replied, “ The foxes have than anything under the sun, loves him holes, and the birds of the air have not at all to any purpose. He must nests, but the Son of man hath not have the supreme place in your hearts, where to lay his head ;" and, alas ! we or he will not dwell there. You would hear no more of this ardent professor. like to die the death of the righteous, Are you willing not only to cast in your but you do not desire to live his life, lot with God's people, but to be exposed and you do not bear in mind that to reproaches and persecutions ? Can which daily observation teaches, that you bear to be pointed at in company, men must generally die as they have if there should happen to be ungodly lived. If you are Christ's you must persons present, as a fanatic, an enbe devoted to him in life. He has thusiast, a methodist ? Can you bear said, “He that is not with us, is the sneers of the ungodly? Say not, against us.” Indecision in religion “ I will go," till you shall have counted is considered as enmity, for we are the cost. If you have done that, and all by nature enemies to God, and can cordially acquiesce and deliberately unless our hearts are changed by grace,
say, “I will go,” give us your hand. we still remain so.
You shall go with us; you shall have There is perhaps another description ; fellowship with the Father and with a class whose answer is quite different. his Son Jesus Christ. “I would go, I desire to go, but I are many whose hearts and minds, rehardly know the way." Perhaps there sembling that of the godly Ruth, are
some such in our assemblies decided to go, who have counted the whose hearts do lean in some degree cost, whose hearts are so decided that towards the Lord God of Israel, and the disappointment, if it were yet they are clouded with darkness. would be worse than death. Are there They scarcely know the way. Is this any, let me ask, who would count it the the case with any one of you ? Blessed be greatest trial. that could be inflicted God you have a sure directory; there upon them to be denied taking up
their is not one of the patriarchs who will lot with God's people ? Are there ang
I trust there