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despised Hebrew race was Christ to descend, and by identifying himself with that race alone could Moses secure a relation to him. This, then, was “the recompense of the reward” to which he had respect. Favoured with an enlightened view of the character and kingdom of the Messiah, he preferred taking a part in advancing the process which led to his coming, and securing an interest in the blessings of his reign, to all that Egypt could offer him; and he made his practical choice accordingly.
But, turning now from the particular case of Moses, we may found text the general observation, that in true religion there is an element of reward.
I. We shall make it our business, in the first place, to lay down this doctrine clearly, with the necessary explanations. We say with the necessary explanations, because we allow that explanations are necessary, and that the language we have employed is liable to be misunderstood.
True religion, then, be it observed, is far from being wholly a matter of reward. In regard to the primary aspect of religion, our deliverance from the curse of the law and our acceptance with God, through the mercy of God and the obedience unto death of our Lord Jesus Christ a provision is made, which becomes effectual to us by our faith, or by our submission to God's method of justifying us through his Son. No regard is had in this respect to our faith itself, beyond its instrumentality to give efficacy to the mechanism (80 to speak) which God has contrived and arranged, and which waits for this act of submission on our part in order to avail for our justification.
But a secondary view may be taken of religion. After the primary questions of our deliverance from wrath and acceptance with God are settled, and settled once for all, religion is in continuance a life both of self-denial and of service; and in both these views there may be-there is attached to it an element of reward.
Here let us first make good our position that religion is a life both of selfdenial and of service.
And first for self-denial. Our readers will immediately call to remembrance the language of our Lord, in which he declares self-denial, both in the act and the habit, to be among the great features of the Christian life. “If
any will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me” (Luke ix. 23). And on another occasion, when there went great multitudes with him, he turned, and said unto them, If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple” (Luke i 25—27).
It is true, indeed, that the discipleship of Christ was then to be under circumstances of special difficulty and hazard; but the great the same in all ages and in all circumstances. In the heart wh Jesus all other objects of affection must be subordinated to father and mother, and wife and children, and brethren and sist own life also, must be loved less than Christ, or he is surely frequent, and sometimes costly, sacrifices which his profess require at his hands.
And in the experience of piety we know that it our Lord, the principle of self-preference exchanged for consecration to him. In sni and few of his disciples pass a life in whi into very sensible practical action. It is “ take up his cross daily."
And as religion is a life of self-d reckons us his
servants, and gives
drink, or whatsoever we do, we are to do all to the glory of God. Our mple is to shine to his praise. Our conversation is to minister grace to the rers. Our time, our talents, our property, our domestic and social influence, ire to be employed for him. Of all the gifts bestowed on us in his manifold aty we are stewards, and we shall have to give an account of our employ. it of them. eligion being thus a life at once of service and self-denial, we say that an rent of reward is attached to it. i point of fact, such is the express sta ment of holy Scripture itself. Hear, xample, the words of our Lord: “There is no man that hath left house, or theen, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my ind the Gospel's, but he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, Res, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with vecutions ; and in the world to come eternal life” (Márk-x. 29, 30). It is, of ne, not possible to understand this language literally. Its meaning must be in which it can be fulfilled in destitution, in the dungeon, at the stake; and idea seems to be that the loss of temporal things shall be largely compend by the abundance of spiritual joy. We know that in fact it has been so. tyn at the stake have experienced a triumphant gladness, in which the piness of a whole life, may well be conceived to have been concentrated ; and bare mufferers for Christ in modern days, and indirectly known to ourselves, are joy under persecution seems greatly to overbalance its bitterness. And Ebe so in the present world, how much more amidst
the transcendent glories he world to come! nd as an element of reward is thus attached to self-denial, so is it also to ce. This is made plain by the parable of the talents, in every form in which presented to us. Thus, for example, as we have it in the Gospel by hew: “ And so he that had received five talents came and brought other onts
, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents ; behold, I have beside them five talents more. His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will
thee ruler over many things; enter thou into the joy of thy lord” (Matt. 20,21). And this idea was freely taken up by the apostles. In the Epistle Hebrews, for example, we have the following language : "For God is not hteous to forget your work and labour of love which ye have showed toward me, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister" (Heb. vi. The idea entered largely into the experience of apostles themselves, for speaks the prince of the apostles: “I have fought a good fight, I have ed my course, I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me a pof righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at day, and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appear(2 Tim. iv. 7, 8). d, if it needed further illustration, this might be derived from the second hird chapters of the book of Revelation, where the addresses to the hen are wound up in every instance with a stimulating appeal of this kind. take a single specimen : "To him that overcometh will I grant to sit me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my ir in his throne” (Rev. iii. 21). s thus evident from Scripture that an element of reward doss attach to the lian life. Let us now endeavour to unfold this idea by two or three general the first place, there is in the Christian life an element fitted to reward : ng indeed, by which rowardi can be merited, but something with which d may be congruous. What we mean is love, love to Cürist, the aniprinciple of the Christiap's life, whether in respect of self-denial-or of service. We all feel it is a universal dictate of the human heart that every expression of love is entitled to a kindly, if not a grateful acknowledgment; and He that has constituted man's heart thus has surely made it after the pattern of his own. Every expression of love towards him he may fitly mark with some token of his approval and acceptance. Should we go too far if we were to say that it would be unworthy of him not to do so?
In the second place, God is in possession of means by which tokens of love to him
may be suitably rewarded. There may not unnaturally be a kind of recoil from the idea of reward under the forms in which it is usually presented to us in the Scriptures-such as that of wearing a crown, or being seated on a throne; but we should recollect that these, and all other expressions of the same class, are figures of speech, and not descriptions. Through the difficulty, the impossibility rather, of expressing in mortal words celestial things, the most beautiful of earthly objects are used as metaphors ; but we should not allow the glitter of the metaphor to hide from us the very dissimilar, but far greater, glory of the reality. The thing which crowns and thrones denote is the love of God, responsive to, and in gracious acceptance of, our love to him ; and while this, in its highest expressions, confers an honour infinitely higher than the earthly baubles which are put into comparison with it, it constitutes a recompense
which we cannot for a moment despise, but must, on the contrary, most highly appreciate. The love of God is the blessedness not only of angels, but of Christ him. self; it is the utmost blessedness of our own hearts, and every degree and every mode in which it may be expressed towards us must be acknowledged to bring new honour and new delight. Our service and self-denial therefore God can reward in a method of which we cannot but intensely feel the value.
And, in the third place, that such reward should be wanting on God's part is a conception not to be entertained. It is not for a moment to be supposed that he will lay himself under unrequited obligation to his creatures, or permit acts of service, often laborious, or acts of self-denial, often severe, to be rendered to him, and not repay them. He rather takes the opportunity of illustrating the boundless riches of his grace by a reward, appropriate indeed, but unspeakably glorious. Not for our sakes, but for his own, he confers reward, and he does it according to his own fulness. Acknowledgments of service on earth correspond with the means of the party making them. The gratitude of the poor may be expressed in words; but the
rich return thanks after the measure of their wealth, and princes according to the style of royal bounty. What, then, shall be the magnificence of the rewards conferred by the King of kings ?
II. We thus complete the first part of our discourse, in which we proposed to lay down clearly the Christian doctrine of reward, with the necessary explanations. We now, in the second place, propose to show the claim which the doctrine has to a practical regard.
It is evident that the doctrine is not speculative, but adapted to exercise a direct and powerful practical influence. Our religion is a life of service and self-denial, and various motives conspire to sustain us. Duty requires it, gratitude impels it, and love will make it sweet; but more than this
, it will have a “recompense of reward.” Every token of our love presented to God will be met by a token of his love in return, constituting a reward unutterably precious.
O what a thought it is that our poor fleeting lives may be applied to such a purpose ! that we may be continually doing such things as God will kindly accept, and gratefully own! O what a value should this teach us to attach to our moments and opportunities as they pass! Shall we suffer them to slide idly by, when a diligent improvement of them will provide us with inestimable joys for heaven and immortality ? How great is the folly of our sloth, by which we lose so much! How wise would be a wakeful diligence and an earnest zeal, that should suffer no opportunity "o !e lost, no moment to be void !
Ah, brethren, are we na far from living under the habitual realization and influence of this thought? How much of our time is idly spent! How many of our means of usefulness are wasted! And we think it hard to labour incessantly, and to take up our cross daily, and esteem a little, and perhaps not a little, sloth and self-indulgence a luxury! Ah, little do we think how precious a treasure is in our hands, and what inestimable joys we are trampling under foot ! What! is it not enough to sweeten labour to think that God will smile approvingly upon our toil P Is it not enough to make our deeds of Christian kindness delightful to think that the eternal Judge will hereafter say, "Inasmuch as ye did it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye did it unto Tae"? Is the future "recompense of reward” 80 trivial that it is outweighed by the fatigues of present labour, or the pains of present sacrifice ? Might we not rather justly say, Would that labours and self-denials might be a thousand times multiplied, if all might in a similar manner be rewarded! Are not they most privileged who have most to do and most to bear, and who bear and do it most cheerfully and most diligently? The idea before us is the more worthy of being deeply pondered, because of the place which it evidently holds in God's method of dealing with us. only is there a natural adaptation in the system of reward to stimulate our zeal and sustain our patience, but it is the method which God, in his infinite wisdom and grace, has devised for this purpose." He knoweth our frame," and estimates justly all the sensibilities with which he has endowed it; and it is in his wisdom that he makes to us this appeal. He thinks that the various tokens of his approbation which it is in his power to confer will recompense in a manner intensely gratifying to us every labour and every sacrifice, however numerous, or however severe, and that in creating opportunities of attaining them he does us an inestimable kindness. And do we, by a practical disregard of his method, mean to tell him that there is nothing in his rewards worth aspiring after, nothing fitted to kindle cur ambition, or to make amends for our endurance ! Ah! how different it was with his first-born Son, who, for the joy set before him, endured
cross, despising the shame "! III
. It will be said, however, probably, that it is not easy to bring this Divine system of reward into practical operation; and we will therefore proceed, in the third place, to some illustration of the mode in which this may be most effectually done. 1. In the first place, the subject should be kept clearly and broadly distinct from the question of our acceptance with God. With that, as we have already said
, the conception of reward has nothing to do, and we cannot allow the two to come into contact in our experience without creating confusion. The proper method is to regard our justification before God as a change already efected in our condition, and complete; a change effected by our exercise of faith in Christ, a transaction past
, and never needing to be renewed. Then there is clear scope for the conception of reward, and facility for its practical application. But if, as is often the case, the question of our justification before God is a question never settled, but always in debate, the conception of reward cannot be entertained without mixing itself up with another, and one from which it ought to be kept entirely separate. Think not of it, therefore, dear reader, until you are satisfied that, being justified by faith, you have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ : after that, not as a rebel still needing release from condemnation, but as a child holding a conscious position in your
heavenly Father's love
, have respect to the recompense of reward by which every token of your filial love to him shall be rendered back into your bosom. 2. In the second place, keep clearly before your eyes the nature of the rewards you are to expect. 'Understood in the letter, the Scriptural descriptions of these may be unattractive to you, inconsistent with your feelings humility now, and with the humble position which you would anticipate for yourself' in the heavenly
world. You should recollect, however, how entirely figurative these descrip tions are, and how utterly unlike them all is the reality which they are intended to exhibit to you. All that God beholds in you to recompense is love—the lov wherewith you render him service, and bear your cross : and, in strictness, al with which he will recompense it is love-+his love to you, in tokens of kindly acceptance and approval of yours to him. This may perhaps—perhaps must be an honour not only equal to, but far exceeding, that of wearing earthly crowns on sitting on earthly thrones ; but, however that may be, it is a recompense which you cannot either despise or reject. It belongs essentially to your renovated character that the love of God should be your greatest happiness. It is so now, and it must be so hereafter. Thrones and crowns you might despise, bu expressions of the love of God you must ever receive with reverent thankful ness and ineffable delight.
3. In the third place, sedulously cultivate the motive which will entitle you to reward. Note carefully, and set it down in your habitual recollection, that what is to be rewarded is neither service in itself, nor self-denial in itself, bu the motive which ought to actuate both the one and the other. This motive is love, for which God looks, and on which he will smile ; but where this is wanting he sees nothing which can afford him gratification. Ah, how sadly we are wanting here! How much, even of religious duty, is done as a mere matter of duty or of routine! How many acts of service and of self-denial are rendered without much, perhaps without any, of the living power of love! And these all lose their reward! There is nothing in them to win Divine recompense Alas, great is our folly! O let us see to it that what we do is done from love that, at all events, it may be not unsusceptible of reward.
In the method which we have thus cursorily illustrated we may pursue ? daily course, having, like Moses, "respect unto the recompense of reward. Faith may be to us, as to him, the realization of things not seen, and the substantiation of things hoped for; while futurity shall grow rich with the accumulating element, and its full manifestation shall constitute an inestimable part of the glory to be revealed.
BY THE REV. BENJAMIN PREECE.
* Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you."-John xiv. 27. THIS passage is generally and rightly re- burden their minds with a long chapter o garded as containing in few words Christ's" promises which they could but imperfectly legacy to his people. Christ was now about remember and but faintly understand, bt leaving his disciples for the home of his compresses this bequest into one shor Father in the skies, and, not wishing to sentence, and in few words gives them th