Imágenes de páginas

presence. Some of them are preparatory ; and he may use in removing the rubbish, those who could not be employed in the erection of the fair edifice.

And thus Nebuchadrezzar is called the servant of God, as well as the apostle Paul ; but observe the difference between them, and as God will derive glory from all his creatures, inquire which of these characters you are resembling. The former serves God only from the influence of an overruling Providence ; the latter from the operation of divine Grace. “Be“ hold he prayeth ;" his language is, “ Lord, what 6 wilt thou have me to do ?” He catches the spirit of his Master ; enters cheerfully into all his views ; doth his will “ from the heart.”. And so it is with all his sincere followers. Whatever they once were, they are made willing in the day of his power; their minds are enlightened, their dispositions are renewed; they glorify him from conviction and principle ; it is their aím ; the delight of their fouls, and the business of their lives. “ O Lord, other lords beside thee have “ had dominion over us; henceforth by thee only 66 will we make mention of thy name. Speak, Lord, 66 for thy servant heareth. I hold myself at thy dispo66 sal ; prescribe the laws which are to govern me; 6 choose my inheritance for me.”

Such is their language; and never will they have cause to repent of their engagements. They have chosen that good part which shall not be taken from them : in life and in death ; in time and in eternity, they will have reason to say, “ Thou hast dealt well şo with thy fervant, O Lord.” For,



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 fayed the men-children salive; 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 Ifrael to fin;" but “ the Lord said unto Jehu, Because thou hart “ done well in executing that which is right in mine “ eyes, and hast done unto the house of Ahab accord« ing to all that was in mine heart, thy children of " the fourth generation shall fit upon the throne of “ Ifrael.” So here “ I have given Nebuchadrezzar 6 the land of Egypt for his labour wherewith he fery« ed against it, because they wrought for me, faith " 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

6 be fatisfied 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 Chriftians? Does he observe slaves, and disregard sons who serve him ? Does he honour instruments, and pass by those who strive to please and glorify him? « Fear “ not, little flock, for it is your Father's goed 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 fees your dificulties'; considers the burdens under which you bend ; he hears your groans, and your fighs, 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 labour 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 ca righteous man's reward. And whosoever shall “ give to drink unto one of these little ones a 6 cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, “ verily I say unto you, he shall in no wife lose bis “ 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 honour 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 fin; in diffusing truth ; in supporting the gospel ; in maintaining the worlhip 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 efteem of the wise and good ; you will find it in the blessing of them that were ready to perifh ; you will find it in the applause of your Lord and Saviour ; to Well done, good and faithful servant, thou hast “ been faithful over a few things, I will make thee 6 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 of fend, and deferve condemnation for our defects rather than recompense for our doings. Merit! when all who ever served God aright have exclaimed, “Noť “ unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto thy name “ give we glory, for thy mercy and for thy truth's “ fake : by the grace of God I am what I am ; I la« boured, yet not I, but the grace of God which was 66 with me.” But let us not under a fenseless 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 'wifdom 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


« AnteriorContinuar »