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or not: we must be anxious only to know what his will is: and then, though it be to march at midnight, or to continue our journey for many wearisome days and nights together, or to be kept by his providence in a state of inactivity for years, we should rise to the occasion, and endeavour to approve ourselves to him as faithful and obedient children.
In a word, to be continually with him, enjoying his presence, fulfilling his will, and pressing forward to his glory, this is the Christian's duty: this is the very end of his redemption, and the way to his inheritance.] ADDRESS
[Consider yourselves now in the state of Israel advancing through the wilderness: and expect that, “ as God's children, ye shall be led by his Holy Spirity.” Yet be careful not to expect more than God has promised. Do not suppose that you shall be so led as to be kept from all error. It is not God's design to render any man infallible, or so to guide him that he shall have no ground for fear and self-distrust. We must, under all circumstances, feel a jealousy, lest Satan should take advantage of us, or our own deceitful hearts should beguile us. The Israelites, though under the cloud, fell short of the promised land?, because “ their hearts were not right with God, neither were they steadfast in his covenanta.” But, if you will “ follow the Lord fully,” you may look up to him with holy confidence, that now “ he will guide you by his counsel, and hereafter he will receive you to gloryb.”]
y Rom. viii. 14. z 1 Cor. x. 1, 5.
a Ps. lxxviii. 37. Ps. lxxiii. 24.
MOSES' INVITATION TO HOBAB. Numb. x. 29. And Moses said unto Hobab, the son of Raguel
the Midianite, Moses' father-in-law, We are journeying unto the place of which the Lord said, I will give it you. Come thou with us; and we will do thee good: for the Lord hath spoken good concerning Israel.*
HOBAB, it should seem, was the son of Jethro, who is here called Raguel, and in another place Reuel“. He was the brother of Zipporah, whom Moses had married in the land of Midian. Both Jethro, and his son Hobab, had accompanied Moses for a season: but Jethro had left him some time sinceb: and Hobab also now proposed to leave him, and “ to go back to his own country and kindred.” But Moses besought him not to go, but to proceed with Israel to the promised land; assuring him, that, though a Midianite, he should participate in all the blessings which God designed for Israel. On finding that this consideration was not sufficient to influence his mind, Moses urged the services which Hobab might render to Israel in their journey through the wilderness; for though God had undertaken to guide Israel through the wilderness, and to provide for and protect them in the way, yet there were many local circumstances which Hobab was acquainted with, by the communication of which, from time to time, he might render very essential services to Moses and to all Israel.
* If this were the subject of an Address previous to CONFIRMATION, it might be treated thus : I. The invitation
[Whither was Moses going? To the land of Canaan There was not a child in all the camp of Israel, who did not know whence he had been brought, and whither he was bending his course
This is really the state of God's Israel now. They are all sensible that they have been brought out of bondage to sin and Satan : and there is not one amongst them who does not consider himself as a pilgrim here, and is not daily pressing forward to the heavenly Canaan as his rest, his portion, his inheritance.
And is not this the course which you are now about to enter upon? Look at the vows which were made for you in your baptism, and which you are now about to take upon yourselves. Are you not solemnly pledging yourselves to renounce the devil and all his works, the pomps
and vanities of this wicked world, and all the sinful lusts of the flesh, &c. &c. &c. ? This then is the very thing which the journeying of the Israelites in the wilderness shadowed forth, and which all God's Israel at this very time are doing.
We say then to you, yea, to every one of you in particular, “Come thou with us.” Though thou be young, like Hobab, come with us : yea, though thy father Jethro be gone back, “come thou with us”II. The arguments, &c.—
These may be nearly as stated in the Sermon, except that, in the benefits accruing to them, the benefits of early piety may be stated: and, in the benefits which they may confer, it may be shewn what blessings they may be to their young companions, and possibly to their own parents also.
For an Address after confirmation, corresponding with this, see that on Numb. xiv. 3, 4. a Exod. ü. 18.
b Exod. xviii, 27.
Whether Moses prevailed with Hobab to alter his determination, does not certainly appear. But it seems rather that he did succeed, because we find the descendants of Hobab actually settled in Canaan, and dwelling in the midst of the tribe of Judah, not indeed as blended with them, but as a distinct people. This however is of no importance to us. It is the invitation only that we are concerned about: and we hope that, when the arguments with which it is enforced are duly considered, the success with us shall not be doubtful, whatever it might be with him. There is a land of promise towards which the true Israel are yet journeying, under the conduct of our great Lawgiver, the Lord Jesus Christ; and in their name is the invitation addressed to all of us; “ Come thou with us; and we will do thee good.”
But, that we may have clearer views of this matter, let us distinctly consider, I, The invitation
That the journey of Israel in the wilderness was altogether typical of our journey heaven-ward, is well known. When therefore, in the name of all Israel, we say to every individual amongst us, “ Come thou with us,” we must be understood to say,
1. Set your faces in good earnest towards the promised land
[There is a land of which God has said, I will give it you. And it is a good land; “ a land flowing with milk and honey;" a land“ where you shall eat bread without scarceness;" and enjoy a rest” from all enemies, and from all labours, for evermored. Towards that land all the Israel of God are journeying: they consider this world as a wilderness, in which they are pilgrims and sojourners; and the object of every step which they take in it is, to advance nearer to their desired home. Let every one of us join himself to them. Let us estimate aright the inheritance prepared for us Let us lose no further time in commencing our journey towards it
Let us engage in the pursuit of it with all the ardour that the object requires
And let us “ fear, lest a promise being left us of entering into it, any of us should even seem to come short of ite."] © Judg. i. 16. and iv. 11, 17. d Heb.iv. 9. 1 Pet.i. 4. e Heb.iv.1.
2. Let nothing be suffered to retard you
your progress thitherward
[Hobab was solicited to postpone all regard for his family and country to the attainment of the promised land. And such is our duty also. Our blessed Lord has said, “ He that loveth father or mother more than me, is not worthy of me:" “ If any man come to me, and hate not his father and mother, yea, and his own life also in comparison of me), he cannot be my disciple :” “He that will save his life, shall lose it; and he that loseth his life for my sake, shall find it f." There will be difficulties and obstructions which we must meet with; but we must meet them manfully: and, whatever be the cross that lies in our way, we must take it up, yea, and glory in it, and rejoice that we are counted worthy to bear it for His sake. For, what is the favour of man in comparison of the favour of God, or the preservation of earthly interests in comparison of a heavenly inheritance? “ What would it profit us if we gained the whole world, if at the same time we lost our own souls? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul ?" Nor let this sacrifice appear great: it is no other than was made by Abraham, and Moses, and the Apostles of our Lord', and all the primitive Christiansk: nay, it is made daily even for the sake of a connexion with an earthly object?: much more therefore may it be made for an union with Christ; who offers himself to us only on these express terms; "Hearken, O daughter, and consider, and incline thine ear: forget also thine own people and thy father's house : so shall the King have pleasure in thy beauty: for he is thy Lord, and worship thou himm."] 3. Proceed steadily till you are in possession of it
[Hobab had abode with Moses some considerable time: but at last he grew weary of the
and determined to return. It must not be thus with us. We must not run well for a season only, but unto the end, if we would obtain the prize. We must "never be weary of well-doing," or "look back after having put our hand to the plough ;" but" by patient continuance in well-doing must seek for glory and honour and immortality." “ If any one of us turn back," says God,“ my soul shall have no pleasure in him.' “ It were even better for us never to have known the way of righteousness, than, after having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to us." It is “he only who endureth unto the end, that shall ever finally be saved."]
f Matt. x. 37-39. Luke xiv. 26.
m Ps. xlv. 10, 11.
& Gen. xi. 1-4. k Acts iv. 32.
4. Object not, that they who give this invitation are a mere party
[Whose fault is it, if they be a party? Is it theirs who are going heaven-ward; or those who will not advance a step towards it? Are those who “enter in at the strait gate, and walk in the narrow way that leadeth unto life,” to be blamed, because the great mass of mankind prefer “ the broad road that leadeth to destruction?” But if they must be called a party, let me tell you
it is: it consists of such as Moses summoned to his aid, “ Who is on the Lord's side? let him come unto men.” Yes, they are those who are on the Lord's side :” and if that be a fault, let them bear it. But who is at the head of that party? When we know that it is the Lord Jesus Christ himself, and that “the whole world besides lieth under the dominion of the wicked one ?,” we need not be ashamed. If this objection have any force, it had the same force against the Israelites who had come out of Egypt; (for they were but a party, in comparison of those whom they had left behind :) yea, against the Apostles and the primitive Christians it lay with still greater force; for they were, especially at first, as nothing in comparison of their opponents. If those who invite us to join them be but “a little flock," still they are the flock to whom exclusively “the kingdom of heaven shall be given? :" and therefore we would urge you all to join them without delay.]
To give yet further weight to the invitation, I will call your attention to, II. The arguments with which it is enforced
Two considerations Moses proposed to Hobab : first, the benefit that would accrue to himself; and next, the benefit which he would confer on Israel. Similar considerations also may fitly be proposed to us. Consider then, if ye accept the invitation, 1. What benefit will accrue to yourselves
[Truly, “God has spoken good respecting Israel." He calls them his children, his first-born, his peculiar treasure above all the people upon the face of the earth. And whatever can conduce to their present and eternal happiness, he promises them in the richest abundance. Both in their way, and in their end, they shall be truly blessed. What a catalogue of blessings is assigned to them in the space of a few verses!! yet
n Exod. xxxii. 26.
o John viii. 23. and xvii. 16. P John xvii. 14. and xv. 18-20. 1 John v. 19. 9 Luke xii. 32.
r Exod. vi. 6-8.