HEB. XI. 24-26. By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to he called the son of PharoaVs daughter; choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season j esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompense of the reward. If we were to read the early history of Moses by the mere light of human understandings we should most probably come to the conclusion that he acted much like other men. His own account of the first years of his life is so scanty that we could form but a very imperfect estimate of his character. We might pass against him our verdict of manslaughter without justifying circumstances ; we might pronounce him mean-spirited, because of his escape from Pharoah, and for his retirement into private Kfe; we might say, ^^Is this the man for God's great work in delivering His people out of their Egyptian bondage? Is this the man to conduct those many thousands of hesitating, unbelieving,

136 SEBMO XIX. low-minded followers through the dangers of the desert? Is this the man to give them a political constitution^ to establish their religious ordinances, to frame and promulgate their laws?'' But He, Who in His own imsearchable wisdom chose and

appointed Moses for His agent in bringing about the Jewish dispensation^ has been pleased to let us know more about Moses than Moses himself has told us. The Jews, indeed, have their own traditions concerning him; on which, however, we cannot rely, except so far as they may seem to have the countenance of Holy Scripture. But the inspired writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews and the holy martyr St. Stephen give their undeniable testimony to the faith of Moses, and the religious meaning of h^ actions previous to his call. By faith y says our te^^» Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be caU^ the son of Pharoah's daughter ; choosing rather to suj^^^ affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy t^'^ pleasures of sin for a season ; esteeming the rqproa^^ of Christ greater riches than the treasu/res in Egypt ^ for he had respect unto the recompense of the rewart^'* St. Stephen tells us that Moses was learned in oT^ the wisdom of the Egyptians, a man of the highest education, and was mighty in words and in deeds ^ altogether an accomplished person, (and I may add^ according to Josephus, a great general). He further

SERMO XIX. 137 tells us that all this learning and greatness did not so turn his head^ nor corrupt his heart, that he should forget his birthright as an Israelite, or despise his brethren in their deep affliction, for he mpposed that his brethren would have understood how that God hy his hand would deliver them; hut they widerstood not. ow, from all this we learn, on an authority which no true believer ought to question, that Moses was a man of deep religious convictions, and of

the most consistent principles; that to him God's promises were dearer than all the world's pleasures, the knowledge of the truth more precious than the highest earthly grandeur, the service of God more desirable than the utmost favour of man. How soon these convictions forced themselves upon him, or at what stage in his early life he first shewed himself so much above the world and its garish allurements, we cannot say for certain. It would seem, however, from the expression in our text, When he was come to years (that is, when he was grown up), that from a child he had thought upon God's covenant with Abraham, and had made God's promises his study; and so, when called upon in early manhood to choose between his God and Pharoah, he unhesitatingly preferred the future to the present, the unseen to the visible, the spiritual to the carnal. There is something very noble in

138 SEBMO XIX. this choice of Moses^ at whatever age it wm made; and yet^ perhaps^ many of ub ue accustomed to make little account of it^ in our estimate of his chAneter. In those days the people of Israel were utterly looked down upon^ treated as the loweet slaves^ and forced to a hard service at the caprice of cruel taskmasters. To be one of them was indeed to be vile in the eyes of an Egyptian, and to be liable to insult and persecution as well as drudgeryThere were all sorts of civil disabilities attachei to them ; and a bloodthirsty law had consigned their new-born sons to the river. ow Mose^ might have chosen to be one of the ruling people^ and not only one of them, but one of the highest^ among them, by royal adoption. He might hav^ argued with himself: ^^ Why should I not accept my present lot, and, as the world says, ^ Take the goods

the gods provide thee 5^ Why should I not be one of the king^s sons, and enjoy all the pleasures of a life at court ? These things came to me without my seeking; my own parents — the father that begat me, and the mother that bare me — cast me forth on the river ile. I am the foundling of Pharoah^s daughter.^' He might have argued thus ; and haply there were many who plied him with such thoughts. But he chose rather to suffer offliction with the people of God ; to cast in his lot with the sorrowing, oppressed, degraded bondmen;

SERMO XIX. 189 to esteem tie reproach of Christ greater riches than tie treasures in Egypt. There is many a Christian, O ny brethren^ to whom the affliction of God's people and ike nproach of Christ are insurmountable difficulties. They cannot bear the soROifs and self-denials which fall to the lot of pious men; they cannot bear the reproaches^ the contempt^ the taunts and jeers which foolish neighbours cast upon those that lire near to God ; and, consequently, their choice is not like the choice of Moses. They prefer to live at their ease, as the world would have them live ; and to cast in their lot among the children of men ; and thus to forego their birthright as ihe sons of Ood. The life of Moses is divided into three equal periods of forty years. During the first forty years he seems to have dwelt in Egypt, and to have laid up that store of learning which afterwards, under God's blessing, fitted him for his high office as lawgiver and ruler to the people of Israel. During those years also he performed deeds of might, and shewed himself capable of high emprise, and worthy of that influence which he seems

to have acquired in the land of Egypt. The next forty years, which commenced with his flight from the fiwje of Pharoah, were passed in the quiet of pastoral life among the Midianites. It might well have seemed that now his star was set, and that

140 SERMO XIX. nothing more would ever be told of him. Lik^ many a holy saint, he might have lived on unhea*^ of and unknown, except in his own little neigh-' bourhood, serving God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. Perhaps, however, during those years of rest and withdrawal from the world, 1*^ gained a deeper wisdom than Egypt could ha'^^ given him. By prayer and meditation, and \ot3S communion with God, he may have added, as eve:»^ saint must add, strength to strength. Perhaps, t(F^^^ he then received Divine commission to Mrrite tt^^ world's history from the beginning down to h:^^^ own time; and so under the gliding influence C^ the Holy Ghost composed the Book of Genesi^^ " Many, indeed, have thought that we should ascrib- ^^ the Book of Job to him, and to this period of hi-^^ life; which opinion is entertained by some of th^^^ more learned Jews. But of this no more. Doubt less those years of retirement were not wasted years^^^ though to the children of this world, who measurc^^" all things by their own measure, they seemed ac^ vain years and empty of good. In them he reaped, the fruit of his own wise choice ; in them he found that peace of Christ which the world can neither give nor take away; in them he learnt to feel that the reproach of Christ — ^that reproach which is laid upon every member of Christ's body — has a 'more sure reward than the gifts and favour of earthly

SERMO XIX. 141 51s j in them he grew fitter and fitter for that 'ious call which God had fore-ordained to grant Lj and which he exercised during the last forty c^ of his long life. if those last forty years I need not speak to .J for Moses himself has left a larger record <^ming them; inasmuch as they were the most :iitfiil and important, not to himself alone, but i;he children of Israel also, and to all the elect ^k of God throughout the world. In those years, 3er the guidance of the Lord Jehovah, he foreidowed by type and ceremony the glorious scheme man^s redemption by God in Christ, and sketched fc, as it were in a figure, the holy pilgrimage of )d^s saints through the deserts of this world to 3 promised rest in heaven. Surely these honours which gild the name of >s€8, while all the glory of the Pharoahs is laid 7, are a worthy recompense of that faith by which chose rather to suffer affliction with the peojile of d, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season. Do you think it was a noble call, though perhaps lard one? It is yours also, O my brethren, and ne. He that suffered reproach in His people •ael, and, according to the prophet, was afflicted all their affliction — ^the Lord Jesus — suffers even w reproach in His saints ; He is ever bearing 8 Cross in them, and by His Spirit with them.

142 SERMO XIX. Each of us has a choice to make; a choice between duty to Christ and the slavish joys of the wwU ; a choice between the seen and the unseen ; a ch<»ce between the present and the future; a choice between God and men. Do not think lightly of this choice on it depend the tone of our life here, and the hope^ of eternity hereafter. Do not say, " ot now, but by and by we will decide.'^ ^^ ow^^ says God, "i* i^ accepted time ; to-day u the day of salvation : I gi^^ you no to-morrow.^' Moses chose at once, and witl*" out relenting; so must we. Moses has this test*''-'^ mony, that Ae was faithful m all God^s house as a se^'^ voMt, May you and I have a like testimony fro^^^ the Lord Jesus, in the day when He cometh t^'^^^ take possession of His kingdom : Well done, good cm^^^ faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord. Moses in his relations to men was of a singula^^^ meekness of temper, willing to suffer affliction undet^ the providence of God. He that resisted wrong' against another even unto blood, was the very last to avenge himself for the continual injuries, spite, and jealousies which beset him in the midst of his own people. He left it to the Almighty to plead his cause against the slanderer and the blasphemer. Oh, how much have you and I to learn, my brethren, on this score, that we may be hind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ? s sake hath forgiven us.

SERMO XIX. 143 liastly, Moses saw by revelation the pattern of ieavenly things, and copied that pattern, as it was

shewed him in the mount.'**' And we, like him, should see in the Gospel law the image of that future holiness which is laid up in the eternal life ^f heaven, and copy it in our life on earth. It IS not for you and me, who have Christ so nigh, ^ "ttink that we may live as the beasts of the earth, ^^ as the heathen who know not God, or as the caildren of this world, who care nothing for their 8o\xls. It was not for this that Jesus Christ lived, **^^ died, and rose again. He came to make heaven ^^ earth. It is not for us to think that whilst ^^ do much to make hell on earth, death will cause ^"together a change ; and that the wicked soul shall ^^ once be transformed into an angel of light, and lie lover of sin shall on a sudden rejoice in purity, ^'^d truth, and love. o ! The pattern of heavenly ^l^ings must be copied now ; ^^r^, during our earthly ^ife-time. Heaven is begun here by those who shall ^Xiter it hereafter. * Heb. viii. 5.



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