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uine and acceptable to him. But it abundantly appears from what has been said, that his obedience flowed from pure disinterested love. He obeyed the mere will of God, without the least regard to his own interest, but in apparent opposition to it. His own apparent interests all plead for disobedience. But he gave up the objects which lay the nearest to his heart. He gave up his son whom he loved, and all the promises of good, which centered in him. He was willing, if God required it, not only to give up his son, but his posterity, though numerous as the stars of heaven, and as the sand upon the sea shore. We know no man, who had so much to give up as Abraham ; but he gave all that he had, which is the utmost, that Christ or God ever required. Abraham's love was not only without interest, but contrary to interest, which justly denominates it disinterested. Moses felt, and expressed the same disinterested love, when he gave up all the treasures of Egypt, and cheerfully consented to suffer affliction with the people of God; and when he was willing to have his name blotted out of the book of life, if it might be the cause of saving his na tion from ruin. Paul felt and expressed the same disinterested love, in wishing for the salvation of the Jews. Christ came not to do his own will, but the will of his Father, and displayed more disinterested love in dying on the cross, than Abraham did in giving up his son, or than Isaac did in giving up his life.
Christ taught his followers to exercise no other, than disinterested love, not to love those only that love them, but even those, who hate them. And Paul declared, that he should have no reason to think, that he was a real christian, if he did not exercise that love or charity,
which seeketh not her own. According to the whole tenor of scripture, there can be no true obedience to the divine commands, which does not flow from disinterested love.
4. It appears from God's design in giving the command in the text, and from the effects of it ; that christians have no reason to think it strange concerning the fiery trials, which they are called to endure. God has a good design in all their trials. He means to do that which they desire him to do. David prayed that God would try him. All christians desire, that God would try them, in order that they may know whether their love is selfish or benevolent, and how far it is selfish. By trials God means to give them an opportunity to know their hearts. And he has another end to answer by trying them; and that is, to give them an opportunity to manifest the reality, beauty and importance of true religion before the eyes of the world. Abraham's trial and obedience has exhibited and will continue to exhibit the nature, beauty, and importance of true religion through the whole world, and to the end of time. Christians by patiently and submissively suffering affliction, do great good in the world, and more good very often than they could do in days of prosperity.
5. This subject calls upon all, who hope they are pious, to examine themselves by the criterion God has given, by the obedience of Abraham. The question to be proposed and answered is, whether they do the works of Abraham. Christ told the Jews if they were the children of Abraham, they would do the works of Abraham. And his works flowed from disinterested love. You are not so much to inquire, whether you
labor six days in the week, as why you labor. You are not so much to inquire, whether you attend public worship one day in seven, as why you attend. You are not so much to inquire whether you do good to others, as why you do it. You are not so much to inquire whether you love God, as why you love him. You are to inquire into the nature of all your religious affections. And this you may very easily determine by the examples of real piety recorded for your instruction in the word of God. If your religious affections do not lead you to universal and disinterested obedience to the will of God, your faith and hope and love are false.
The supreme and final Judge has declared---- Not every one, that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven ; but he, that doeth the will of my Father, who is in heaven.”
THE PRAYER OF MOSES,
Exodus XXXII, 32.—Yet now, if thou wilt, for. give their sin : and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book, which thou hast written.
About three months after the Israelites left Egypt, they came and encamped at the foot of Sinai. There God called Moses into the mount, to deliver to him the ten commandments, written with his own finger on two tables of stone. But when the people saw that Moses delayed to come from the mount, “they gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us ; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him."
It is strange, that the people should make this request ; and stranger still, that Aaron should comply with it. For they had seen the miracles, which God had wrought in Egypt, at the Red Sea, in the wilderness of Sin and at Rephidim ; and had heard the voice of God speaking to them out of the thick darkness, which covered mount Sinai. To forget and to forsake God so soon and run into the grossest idolatry, was extremely displeasing to him. He therefore said unto Moses, “Go, get thee down : for thy people, which thou broughtest out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves : they have turned aside quickly out of the way, which I commanded them ; they have
made them a molten calf, and have worshipped it, and have sacrificed thereunto, and said, These are thy gods, O Israel, which have brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. And the Lord said unto Moses, I have seen this people ; and behold, it is a stiff-necked people. Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them and I will make of thee a great nation." This alluring motive of personal preferment, instead of awakening the least selfish feeling in the heart of Moses, only excited his tender, disinterested desire for the good of his sinful people, which he expressed with peculiar propriety and importunity. " And Moses besought the Lord his God, and said, Lord, why doth thy wrath wax hot against thy people, which thou hast brought forth out of the land of Egypt, with great power, and with a mighty hand ? Wherefore should the Egyptians speak and say, For mischief did he bring them out, to slay them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth ? Turn from thy fierce wrath, and repent of this evil against thy people. Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, thy servants, to whom thou swearest by thine own self, and said unto them, I will multiply your seed as the stars of heaven, and all this land I have spoken of, will I give unto thy seed, and they shall inherit it forever.” Thus Moses interceded with God to spare his people, before he came down from the mount. When he came down and drew near to the camp, he cast the tables out of his hands and dashed them to pieces. Then he destroyed the graven image and severely reproved Aaron for making it. On the morrow, he said to the people, “ Ye have sinned a great sin ; and now I will go up unto the Lord ; per