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they relate to this world only, and are but faint shadows of the blessings which God will pour out upon their souls. As for the glory prepared for them in a better world, what tongue can utter it? what heart can conceive it? The very throne of God is not too exalted for them to sit on; nor the kingdom of God too rich for them to possess.
Now then to all who comply with the invitation given them, we do not hesitate to say, as Moses did, “ It shall be, if thou go with us, yea, it shall be, that what goodness the Lord shall do unto us, the same will we do unto thees.” You shall partake of every blessing which God's most favoured people enjoy. Does he go before them in the pillar and the cloud ? Does he feed them with manna, and cause the waters from the rock to follow them in all their way? Does he protect them from every enemy? Does he carry them as on eagles' wings? Does he forgive their sins, and "heal their backslidings, and love them freely ?” Is “he as the dew to them,” causing them to
grow as the lily, and to spread forth their roots as Lebanon?" Does “he love them to the end,” and “never leave them till he has fulfilled to them all that he has promised?” All this shall be
will come with us. “ You shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” You may exhaust all the powers of language in asking, and it shall all be done : you may even stretch your imagination to the utmost bounds that human intellect can reach, and all that also shall be done, and more than all, yea, “exceeding abundantly above all that ye can either ask or think." And shall not this induce
you to accept the invitation? Go to all others that solicit your company, and see what they can do for you: can they ensure to you even the least of all the blessings of grace or glory? No: they are all broken cisterns, that can hold no water, and can present to you nothing but the dregs of sensual enjoyment; whereas with us is "the fountain of living water," of which whosoever drinks shall live for ever.] 2. What benefit you will confer on others
[Every one that gives himself up wholly to the Lord, strengthens the hands and encourages the hearts of God's chosen people. Death is from time to time thinning the ranks of the Lord's armies : and if they were not recruited by voluntary enlistment, they would speedily disappear. But all who accept the invitation become soldiers of Christ, and engage to fight manfully the Lord's battles. All such persons
witnesses for God” amongst an atheistical and rebellious people, whom they practically “condemn,” as “ Noah condemned the world" by constructing the ark in the midst of them. As lights too
8 ver. 32.
i Heb. xi. 7.
in a dark world, they are of great service; for they “hold forth the word of life” to those who would not otherwise behold it; and are “ epistles of Christ, known and read” of thousands, who, but for such instructors, would remain for ever ignorant of his will
If any one be disposed to ask, What good can so weak an individual as I do? I answer, “ If under any circumstances whatever any individual could be justified in offering such an objection, it would have been Hobab: first, because Israel were altogether under the divine guidance, protection, and support; and therefore could not be supposed to need any thing; and next, because he was a Midianite, and therefore incapable, as might be thought, of adding any thing to Moses and the Israelites. But to him Moses said, “ Thou mayest be to us in the stead of eyes u.” The truth is, that no one can foresee of what use he
may be to the Church of God. Had Peter, when employed in fishing, been told what services he should render to the Jewish nation, or Paul what wonders he should effect in behalf of the Gentile world, how little would they have conceived, that such weak instruments should ever accomplish so great a work! The same may be said of others in later times: and so far is the weakness of the instrument from affording any just ground for discouragement, that God has expressly “committed the Gospel treasure to earthen vessels, on purpose that the excellence of the power may the more clearly appear to be of God:” and it still is, as it has ever been, his delight to “ ordain strength in the mouth of babes and sucklings.'
Think then, ye who have tasted any thing of redeeming love, is it possible that ye may be useful in promoting the designs, and in advancing the glory of your Lord and Saviour, and will ye not do it? Shall any earthly interests or attachments prevail with you to put your light under a bushel, when, by suffering it to shine forth, you might aid others in their way to heaven? O! requite not thus your heavenly Benefactor, but join yourselves to his people without delay, and live henceforth altogether for Him who lived and died for you.] ADDRESS
1. Those who have never yet contemplated the invitation given them
[Our blessed Lord, both in the Old and New Testament, says, “ Look unto me, come unto me,” “ follow me.”
But yet, strange as it may appear, we for the most part consider these invitations no more than a mere empty sound; or, if we regard them at all, we satisfy ourselves with vain excuses for refusing them. But, if we wonder at Hobab for proposing to
u ver. 31.
go back, after all that he had seen and heard, what shall be said of us, if we resist all the gracious invitations of the Gospel, after all that we have seen and heard in the New Testament? He was a Midianite by birth and by profession too, whereas we name the name of Christ, and profess ourselves his followers. Let us remember, that the invitation, rejected once, may be lost for ever; and that the Master of the feast, when he hears your vain excuses, may send his invitations to others, and decree that you “shall never taste of his supper."]
2. Those who having once accepted it are disposed to turn back
[Many such we read of in the Scriptures; and many such we behold amongst ourselves. But, if any who are here present be halting, we would ask them, “ To whom will ye go?" Where, but in Christ Jesus, will ye find the words of eternal life? You have not forgotten Lot's wife, or the judgments that overtook her for only looking back to the city whence she had escaped: nor can you reasonably doubt but that they who turn back, turn back unto perdition y." I charge you then, Be steadfast; and harbour not so much as a thought of “returning with the dog to his vomit, and with the sow that was washed to the wallowing in the mire." “ If, after you have once escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, you are again entangled therein and overcome, your last end will be worse with you than your beginning?." Do not, like Orpah, kiss, and part; but, like Ruth, be steadfast in cleaving to the Lorda. Be faithful unto death, and God will give you a crown of life."]
3. Those who, having given themselves up to Christ, are cleaving to him with full purpose of heart
[You have doubtless met with some trials in your way, and been called to make some sacrifices: for where was there ever a true follower of Christ who had not his cross to bear? Then I will ask you, Have you ever had cause to regret any sacrifice you made for him? He has said, that “if any man leave father and mother, and house and lands, for His sake and the Gospel's, he shall receive an hundred-fold more in this life; and in the world to come, eternal lifeb." Is not this true? Have you not found it to be so by actual experience? Go on,
in the Lord and in the power of his might." Only, with Caleb, “ follow the Lord fully," and you shall with him assuredly obtain a blessed portion in the promised land. “Faithful is He that hath called you; who also will do it.”]
z 2 Pet. ii. 20.
x John vi. 67, 68.
y Heb. x. 39.
CXLIX. MOSES' PRAYER AT THE REMOVAL AND RESTING OF THE ARK. Numb. x. 35, 36. And it came to pass, when the ark set for
ward, that Moses said, Rise up, Lord, and let thine enemies be scattered ; and let them that hate thee flee before thee. And when it rested, he said, Return, O Lord, unto the many thousands of Israel.
PATRIOTISM, according to the general acceptation of the term, consists in such a partial regard for our native land, as would advance the interests of one's own country at the expense of all others, and trample upon the most sacred rights of justice for the attainment of its ends. In this view, it is no better than a specious cloak for cruelty and oppression : but, when freed from selfishness and injustice, it is a good principle, and nearly allied to religion itself. Such was the patriotism of Moses: he wished well to his own country, and sought to promote its best interests. That he sought to occupy the territory of others, is true: but his right to their land was founded on the grant of Jehovah himself, the great Proprietor of heaven and earth: and his desire to possess it originated, not in a thirst for dominion, but in a persuasion that the possession of it was combined with spiritual blessings, and would tend as much to the advancement of God's honour as of Israel's good. He wished ill to none, any further than as they were enemies of Almighty God: it was their opposition to Him which he prayed to be rendered ineffectual. All his desire was, that Israel might be happy in their God, and in the ultimate possession of those privileges which God, in his sovereign mercy, had destined them to enjoy. This was the one object for which he prayed, whenever the ark removed, and whenever it became stationary. And from this prayer of his we may learn, what we also should do, I. In times of trial
It is not to be expected that we should pass through this wilderness without meeting with manifold trials in our way.' The Church of old had much to contend with ; and so must every individual that advances towards the heavenly Canaan
But our help is in God: and to Him we must look, 1. In earnest prayer
[Prayer is the appointed means of obtaining succour from above: and it shall prevail when urged with fervent importunity - The uplifted hands of Moses prevailed against Amalek more than Joshua's sword : nor can we doubt but that, in all their journeys, the Israelites owed much of their safety to his continual intercession. Without prayer the whole Christian armour would leave him open to the assaults of his enemies: but, with it, he is altogether invincible ---] 2. In humble trust
[However numerous or powerful our enemies may be, we must remember, that “ He who dwelleth on high is mightier.” “ If He be for us, none can with any effect be against us.” With His help “ a worm shall thresh the mountains” It is manifest that Moses never doubted for a moment the allsufficiency of Jehovah: nor should we: but, like David in the most perilous circumstances, we should banish all unbelieving fears with this thought, “ The Lord is in his holy temple; the Lord's throne is in heaven" -] 3. In confident expectation
[Moses did not pray as to an unknown God, but as to a God whom by experience he knew to be “abundant in goodness and truth.” Thus we should have our expectations raised: we should ask in faith, persuaded and assured that “God will do more for us than we can either ask or think”. we were “not straitened in ourselves," we should not find ourselves straitened in our God.]
Similar to this should be our conduct, II. In seasons of rest
There were even in the apostolic age some seasons when “ the Churches had rest :” and there are times of comparative rest which the saints experience in every age. But these are pregnant with danger to the soul no less than times of trial. At those seasons we are apt to relax our vigilance, and to be “ settled on our lees.” It becomes us therefore, then more especially, to seek the presence of our God; to seek it, 1. As our only safeguard
[Moses never deemed himself secure but under the divine protection. Hence he was as anxious to have God present with