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than he had already obtained. He saw through the mists of humanity, the glories of immortality. He beheld, beyond this vale of suffering, the happiness of the just made perfect. In this faith and this hope, he was willing to sacrifice all that he possessed. For this pearl of great price, he was ready to sell all that he had. Weighing in the balance the present against the future, time against eternity, earth against heaven, he preferred hope to immediate enjoyment, faith to instant fruition. He esteemed the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt.
This is a subject which strikes home to the hearts and feelings of all men. touches the situation and necessities of all mankind. All are exposed to temptation; all are liable to be assailed and drawn aside from the path of holiness, by the allurements of the world. Independently of that innate aversion to the high and paramount calls of duty-independently of that natural tendency of the heart of man to iniquity, of which all
must be sensible, we are continually in danger from external objects, and earthly gratifications. The aspect which duty presents, is ever rigid and uncompromising in its very nature it involves labour it implies a conquest over the unruly will; a force upon the predominant inclinations; a victory over the appetites and passions of the flesh. Many times it calls for loss and suffering; whilst, on the other hand, instant pleasure or immediate profit may accrue, by a departure from rectitude. When the mind is thus wavering between inclination and duty, between interest and obedience; if the treasures of Egypt should be cast into the balance; if a prospect of wealth, or pleasure, or advancement, unbounded, should be opened to the view; what power, but that of faith, could give a preponderance to the scale of righteousness, and make us esteem the reproach of Christ as the greatest riches, and have respect unto the future recompense of the reward?
It is not an easy task to keep through life, from infancy to age, the arduous but undeviating path marked out for the upright. It is not an easy thing, to go through evil report and through good report, through honour and dishonour, for the sake of preserving a conscience void of offence. To deny ourselves perpetually. To give up every thing, how much soever beloved or delighted in, because it is at variance with the commands of God, or even because it has a tendency to withdraw us from our allegiance to him. It is necessary that we should have the faith of Moses, to enable us to make his choice. It is necessary that this faith should be an everliving, ever-watchful, ever-active principle, called into daily and hourly exercise, to meet and encounter daily and hourly trial. It is necessary that our view should be constantly and unceasingly fixed upon the termination of our journey, upon that bright and neverfading crown of glory which is laid up for the righteous.
A choice is in truth proposed to us. We may continue in Egypt; we may acquire its riches, exhaust its pleasures, divide its honours; or we may, by the grace divine, and by the assistance of the Holy Spirit, select the better part, and join ourselves to the people of God, and become partakers of their hopes, sharers in their privileges, fellow heirs of their promises. Good and evil, a blessing and a curse, are set before us; but we must remember, that we cannot embrace the curse, and yet receive the blessing; that we cannot choose the evil, and yet secure the good. The book of life and death is open, and in its ever-during page we must write our own reward or our own condemnation.
If the hopes set before the Jew were thus powerful-if the promises made unto the fathers were thus effectual-if the glimmering twilight which they possessed was sufficient for their guidance; the uncertain prospect which they enjoyed, for their comfort and support; what should be the effect of the hopes, and
promises, and prospects, held out to us?
But strongly as this subject appeals to all; forcibly as it strikes upon every
1 Heb. xii. 22-25.