« AnteriorContinuar »
TAN REWARD OF MOSES,
Hebrews, xi. 26.- For he had respect unto the recompense of the reward.
The apostle employs the principal part of this chapter, in drawing the beautiful and amiable characters of the pious Patriarchs. He represents them as having true love to God; and living in the habitual exercise of faith in future and eternal realities. Though they lived in this evil world, yet they lived above it. Though they were deeply concerned in the public and private affairs of this life, yet their eyes and hearts were steadily fixed upon the invisible objects of the invisible world. They exercised that faith, without wbich it is impossible to please God ; and that faith, by which both their persons and services met with the divine approbation. But it appears, that these illustrious saints were influenced in the general course of their conduct, by the promises of God and had regard to their future and eternal happiness. They beheld the promises afar off and embraced them; and thought they gave up their earthly good, yet they steadily sought a heavenly inheritance. This is more expressly said of Moses, one of the brightest characters in this constellation of worthies. “By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter; choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season ; esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than all the treasures o gypt : for he had rem spect unto the recompense of the reward.” Here
some may be ready to ask, was not Moses mercenary and selfish in all his conduct, while he acted with a view to a future reward ? To solve this question it is proposed,
1. To show what was implied in the reward, to which he had respect; And,
II. To show that he was truly disinterested, in seeking that reward.
1. Let us consider what was implied in that reward, to which Moses had respect. And,
1. The glory of God. He knew that God meant to glorify himself by fulfilling his promise to Abraham and delivering his seed from the house of bondage and putting them in possession of the land of Canaan. In bringing about this event, God would necessarily display his power, his sovereignty, his justice, his mercy and his faithfulness. Moses expected that the glory of God would be displayed in the eyes of all the nations of the earth, if he led the children of Israel from Egypt to the land of promise, by his instrumentality. Accordingly, he undertook the great and arduous task of conducting the chosen people of God to their promised inheritance, from a supreme regard to the divine glory. He desired to be instrumental of promoting the glory of God, in the view of a stupid, idolatrous & degenerate world. And in doing this he placed his highest happiness and enjoyed an ample reward. All the while he was bearing the messages of God to Pharaoh, working miracles by divine power and authority and transmitting the divine laws to Israel, he saw and enjoyed the glory of God, which he esteemed more precious, than all the glories and treasures of Egypt. Besides, he expected to promote the glory of God through all future generations, by leading his people to the place, where he had determined to establish his Church and maintain bis cause amidst a frowning and opposing world.
2. The good of his nation was another thing implied in the reward, to which Moses had respect. He knew that God chose the seed of Abraham for his peculiar people, whom he designed to set at the head of all the nations of the earth and distinguish by the most signal, temporal and spiritual favours. This was a great and noble object, simply considered. To form three millions of people into a regular and harmonious kingdom, give them the best civil and religious institutions, and prepare them for the enjoyment of the greatest temporal and spiritual blessings, was worthy of the greatest efforts of the Jewish Lawgiver. Moses saw this end in all its magnitude and importance; and took a peculiar satisfaction in contemplating the future peace and prosperity of the people of God. It was to gratify this benevolent feeling towards his people, that God permitted him, just before he left the world to go up to the top of mount Pisgah and take a fair, full, and rapturous view of that Paradisaical spot, where the chosen tribes were to fix their residence and enjoy the peculiar smiles of beaven. As a man and especially as a prophet, Moses had very clear and extensive views of the great interests of his nation, which he highly valued and took peculiar pleasure in promoting. He must, therefore, have had respect to this as a recompense of reward, for his labours and sufferings with the people of God. Besides,
3. He had reason to expect a distinguished mansion in heaven, to which he had a proper respect. His own future and eternal happiness was a truly important and desirable object. All the world would say, that Mo. ses stood entitled to a superior seat among the faithful servants of God; and that he himself ought to have desired to be near as well as like to God in the kingdom of glory; or to be placed in a situation, in which he might behold the brightest displays of the divine perfections. This we know he desired before he died. He said to God, “ I beseech thee shew me thy glory.” Who can say this was an improper desire and request ? But if he might desire and beseech God to shew him his glory in this life ; why might he not as reasonably desire to be rewarded in heaven, by peculiar manifestations of the same glory? Moses had a right to regard his own future and eternal happiness according to its worth ; and to seek to promote it in the way God required him to do it. This was, by leaving Egypt, giving up all his earthly prospects and performing the duties of his self-denying and arduous office. In the discharge of these duties, he had a right to derive courage and consolation, in the prospect of that eternal and unfading crown of glory, which God had laid up as a reward for all his faithful servants. I now proceed to show,
II. That Moses was truly disinterested in seeking the reward set before him. This is a point of importance to establish ; for if he was mercenary and selfish in having respect to a reward in all his conduct, it will be difficult to show the necessity of ever exercising disinterested love. And there are many, who deny the existence of any such thing as truly disinterested benevolence. But if it can be made to appear, that Moses was disinterested in acting under the influence of a future and eternal reward, then the doctrine of disinterested love will be confirmed by his conduct, as well as by that of many other good men, whose characters are recorded by the sacred writers, for the in.. struction of mankind in all future ages. There are but two kinds of love, which are morally and essentially different ; and these are interested and disinterested love. Interested love is selfish and leads a man to seek his own interest, because it is his own. Disinterested love is pure benevolence towards God and all his creatures, and leads men to seek the good of all intelligent and unintelligent creatures, according to their capacity, weight and importance in the scale of being. These two kinds of love are essentially different from and opposite to each other in their nature and tendency. Now, it is easy to perceive, that every moral agent must always act either selfishly, or benevolently, in every instance of his conduct. This must have been the case in respect to Moses. His respect to the recompense of the reward must have flowed either from selfishness, or benevolence. And, of course, if it can
be shown, that he was not selfish in his views and feelings, we must conclude, that he was disinterested. But if we look into his conduct, we shall find abundant reason to think, that he was not selfish and mercenary in the general course of his life. Here then I would observe,
1. He does not appear to have been selfish by his conduct. This was such as plainly manifested pure, disinterested love to God and man. I be apostle says, " When he was come to years, he refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter; choosing to suffer affliction with the people of God, rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season ; esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt.” This is a plain and beautiful description of a truly disinterested man. Had be been governed by selfish and mercenary motives, would he not have been fond of being esteemed the son of Pharaoh's daughter and considered as one of the royal family? Would he not have chosen to avoid being known as related to and connected with a poor, despised people in bondage? Would he not have preferred the living in a prince's court, to spending his days in a dreary wilderness, with an outcast nation? Is it possible to account for the general course of his conduct, from the time be entered upon the stage of life to his dying day upon selfish principles ? Certainly the whole series of his conduct discovers a pure, benevolent heart. But there are particular instances, in which his disinterested spirit was more illustriously displayed. One was, when he risked his life in defence of the life of one of his own nation. Another was, when God called him to take the direction of bis people and lead them to Canaan. He was so far from desiring the office, that he begged to be excused and entreated God to appoint some other person in his room. one other instance of his disinterestedness still more striking. God proposed destroying his rebellious people for refusing to prosecute their journey through the wilderness and making of him a great nation. But