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be very rich in this world's goods, and yet be very rich in grace. Truly, it is written, “How hardly shall they that have riches, enter into the kingdom of heaven.” Observation shows how seldom these things go together. The “mammon of unrighteousness,” or this world's good things in plenty, and the “true riches” of faith, and love, and hope, and joy in God. Nor can we wonder, when we search our hearts, and they testify, how but a little of this world's things, nay, even the desire for what we have not got, seals up the heart, chokes the word, shuts out things of faith, and fastens the affections to the things below. It is the “love of money,” and not only its possession which thus becomes the “root of evil,” and it is “they that will be rich," and not only they that are rich, who “fall into temptation, and a snare, and many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.”(1 Tim. vi. 9, 10.) How much more then, must their possession, and all the cares, and interests, and pleasures of the spending them, be hurtful to the soul, and become thick dust, whereby the wicked one can seal up men's hearts and understandings. But all things are possible to God. And as in Abraham's case, the heart may still be God's, and it may be, that the very gifts and treasures which the Lord has poured in His mercy on His people, are instruments whereby they glorify God. They remember whose they are, and that they are stewards only for a time, and while they esteem God's favor, word, and promise, more than thousands of gold and silver, they prove they do so, by the way they dedicate themselves, and then their substance to the Lord. That it was so with Abraham, is plain, because with all those things of sense and sight, his eye and his heart were still fixed on things of faith. His after life proved this, when called on to make sacrifice to God, of things he loved most dearly. Moreover, we may learn it, from another simple fact : his care, lest it should go forth, that what he did possess, he had from any other source than God. Thus, when the king of Sodom, in gratitude for Abraham's help in battle, would have given him much booty; then Abram said to the king of Sodom, “I have lift up my hand unto the Lord, the Most High God, the possessor of heaven and earth, that I will not take from a thread, even to a shoe-latchet, and that I will not take anything that is thine, lest thou shouldest say, I have made Abram rich.” Thus, was he anxious all should know, that he was not careful after this world's things, and that all he had, was given him by God, who according to promise, would sustain him.
Again then, let us ask, if we have Abram's faith, and love, and hope. His journey is ended, -his contest over,--his victory secure,
-and God is not ashamed to be called his God, – for he glorified God, and God will glorify him, in that city which is yet to come. But, here are we, still travellers in this land. As many, nay, more promises are ours, than even Abraham had.
Where then are our affections fixed ?--where is our treasure ? where our hopes ? Are we willing, seeking, striving to be rich, or are we even willing to be poor, so that we may but be rich in grace and heirs of glory? The prince of darkness offers to make us rich, but it is at the cost of our souls, and all the precious things of faith ; -do we therefore resist his offers, lest he should say, “I made you rich," and so should at the last day, have too strong evidence that we have bartered our souls, and yielding to temptation, løst the things of faith and eternity. Oh ! let us lift our hands to God, and pray that we may never be seduced by lying vanities, and by this world's vain, short, and passing joys to forsake our own mercy, and lose that rich portion God gives His heirs, made His through Christ.
O God of Abraham ! thou wast not ashamed to be called the God of those, who but for thy grace, would have been ashamed of thee! I come to ask thee now to be my God. Grant me that precious faith, which thou didst give thy servant, and make me thine. Lord, too long have I been my own, seeking only to please myself, and to live to my own glory,my own ease and comfort. Now, Lord, I would henceforth live to thee. On the altar of thy Son's sacrifice, would I now offer up myself, and in His merits, call upon thy name. I ask for grace, to pass my time more as a stranger and pilgrim here, that my whole life, may declare plainly, that I seek, and I desire, a better and a heavenly home. Make thy promises more worth to me, than all the world. May I learn to feel, and
whom have I in heaven but thee, and there is none on earth I desire, in comparison of thee. Hear me, and accept and bless me now, for Jesus' sake. AMEN.
ABRAHAM JUSTIFIED BY
“After these things the word of the Lord came
unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram : I am thy shield, and thy exceeding
great reward. “And Abram said, Lord God, what wilt thou
give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward
of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus ? “And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given
no seed : and, lo, one born in my house is
mine heir. And, behold, the word of the Lord came unto
him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own
bowels shall be thine heir. "And he brought him forth abroad, and said,
Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them : and he said
unto him, So shall thy seed be. And he believed in the Lord ; and he counted
it to him for righteousness.” Gen. xv. 146.
This is the fourth time we read of God's appearing to Abraham, to encourage his faith. No doubt Abraham felt the need of such helps. It was no easy matter to keep his faith alive,