« السابقةمتابعة »
III. NONE CAN BE LOSERS BY ANY THING THEY DO FOR GOD. In one way or another he will surely recompense them. Even services done for him by worldly men obtain a temporal reward. The Egyptian females, though strangers to the commonwealth of Israel, "feared God, and did not as the king "commanded them, but saved the men-children "alive; therefore God dealt well with them, and he "made them houses." Jehu was a vain ostentatious, wicked prince, "and departed not from the sins of Je"roboam the sons of Nebat, who made Israel to sin; but the Lord said unto Jehu, Because thou hast "done well in executing that which is right in mine 6 eyes, and has done unto the house of Ahab according to all that was in mine heart, thy children of the fourth generation shall sit upon the throne of "Israel." So here I have given Nebuchadrezzar "the land of Egypt for his labor wherewith he serv "ed against it; because they wrought for me, saith "the Lord God." This is indeed a poor recompense. It may appear splendid and important in the eye of the vain and the sensual, but the righteous are far from envying it. They dread to be excluded from future hope by the sentence "they HAVE their "reward." They are more afraid of the destiny than of the malice of the wicked, and therefore pray “de"liver my soul from the wicked which is thy sword; "from men of the world, who have their portion in "this life, and whose belly thou fillest with thy hid "treasure they are full of children, and leave the rest of their substance to their babes. As for me, I "will behold thy face in righteousness I shall
"be satisfied when I awake with thy likeness." Egypt was all the remuneration of Nebuchadrezzar, and what could it do for him? What is it to him now?
Ye servants of the most high God, who know him and love him, he has provided some better thing for you. You may argue from the less to the greater. Does he reward heathens, and will he abandon Christians? Does he observe slaves, and disregard sons who serve him? Does he honor inftruments, and pass by those who ftrive to please and glorify him? "Fear "not, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure "to GIVE YOU THE KINGDOM." He who noticed
the hardships endured by the poor soldiers before Tyre when every head was bald, and every shoulder peeled, will not suffer you to labour in vain ; he sees your difficulties; considers the burdens under which you bend; he hears your groans, and your sighs, when without are fightings, and within are fears, They who speak often one to another, and they who think only upon his name, are recorded in the book of his remembrance. "God is not unrighteous to forget your work of faith and labor of love." He applauded the widow's mite. He said of Mary, "She "hath done what she could." "He that receiveth "a prophet in the name of a prophet, shall receive a "prophet's reward: and he that receiveth a righteous "man in the name of a righteous man, shall receive "a righteous man's reward. And whosoever shall
"give to drink unto one of these little ones
cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, " verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his "reward."
Christians, let all this animate you to vigorous and increasing exertion. It is condescension and kindness in God to employ you. He needs you not; he does it to improve you, to honor you, to enable you to procure what you can never deserve; to give your happiness the nature of a reward. Do you not long to be employed by him? Is it nothing to be workers together with God? Is it a vain thing to serve the Lord? "Godliness is profitable unto all things, hav❝ing promise of the life that now is, and of that which "is to come." "There is no man that hath left "house or parents, or brethren or wife, or children, "for the kingdom of God's sake, who shall not re"ceive manifold more in this present time, and in the "world to come life everlasting." Be ye strong "therefore; and let not your hands be weak, for your "work shall be rewarded."
Do you ask, how can we work for him? In pulling down the strong holds of sin; in diffusing truth; in supporting the gospel; in maintaining the worship of God; in feeding the hungry; in teaching the ignorant; in reclaiming the vitious; for "it is not the "will of your Father, who is in heaven, that one of "these little ones should perish."
Do you ask, and what will be our reward? You will find it in the very nature of your work; you will find it in the glow of pleasure which attends virtuous exertion; you will find it in the approving testimony of your own conscience; you will find it in the es teem of the wise and good; you will find it in the blessing of them that were ready to perish; you will find it in the applause of your Lord and Saviour;
Well done, good and faithful servant, thou hast "been faithful over a few things, I will make thee "ruler over many things; enter thou into the joy of "thy Lord."
What! some are ready to exclaim, what, are you preaching up the doctrine of merit! God forbid. Merit! when both our disposition and our ability to serve Him come from his Grace. Merit! when there is no proportion between the reward and the work. Merit! when after we have done all, we are unprofitable servants, and have done no more than was our duty to do. Merit! when in many things we all offend, and deserve condemnation for our defects rather than recompense for our doings. Merit! when all who ever served God aright have exclaimed, "Not "unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto thy name 'give we glory, for thy mercy and for thy truth's "sake; by the grace of God I am what I am; I la"boured, yet not I, but the grace of God which was "with me." But let us not under a senseless clamour be afraid to do justice to the language of Scripture; to bring forward motives which we find stated by infinite wisdom; to display the munificence of God, the folly of those who refuse his yoke, the wisdom of those who serve him; "Wherefore, my be"loved Brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch "as ye know your labour is not in vain in the "Lord."
Finally, Let us think of the Saviour. Did God remunerate a despicable tyrant for his labour and hardships, though they were not personal, and for ful
filling His purpose, though it was not intentional? "Behold his Servant whom he upholds, his Elect in "whom his soul delighteth." This was expressly his motive: "Lo! I come to do thy will, O God; "thy law is within my heart." He trod "the winepress alone, and of the people there was none with "him." Behold Him poor, not having where to lay his head; despised and rejected of men; exceeding sorrowful. What a life of suffering! What a death of anguish! What does God think of all this? "He "was obedient unto death, even the death of the cross; WHEREFORE God also hath highly exalted "him, and given him a name which is above every "name that at the name of Jesus every knee should "bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, "and things under the earth; and that every tongue "should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glo"ry of God the Father." "He shall see his seed, "he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the "Lord shall prosper in his hands. He shall see of "the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied. "THEREFORE Will I divide him a portion with the
great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; "BECAUSE he hath poured out his soul unto death: "and he was numbered with the transgressors; and " he bare the sins of many, and made intercession for "the transgressors. Ask of me, and I shall give thee "the heathen for thine inheritance, and the utter"most parts of the earth for thy possession. His "name shall endure for ever; his name shall be con"tinued as long as the sun and men shall be blessed "in him; all nations shall call him blessed. Blessed