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every thing compared with the one attainment, which alone is worthy of you, the approbation of your God.
How greatly do we all need these cautions; for, alas ! how prone we are, to sully every effort, in the cause of Christ, by the mixture of unholy motives, and to desecrate every offering, by an undue estimation of its worth. Observe even Peter, the warm-hearted, the spiritually-minded Peter, unable to restrain those natural feelings, which would make a merit, of the smallest act of self-denial, for the Lord's sake. Behold !”-an exclamation of astonishment
we have left all, and followed thee.” We should imagine, that the man who could speak thus, had come from palaces of cedar, and laid crowns and sceptres at the feet of Jesus! Who would believe, that a paltry fishing-boat and its mended nets, were the all of which he predicates so largely? Yet this is constantly the manner in which men speak
of sacrifices for the sake of Christ. However trifling, however valueless, some questionable pleasure, some unjust or unholy profit, if relinquished at the command of God, how is it magnified into importance, amid the littleness of our obedience! But turn we from the demand of Peter, to the astonishing reply of his indulgent Master : “ Verily, I say unto you, that ye which have followed me in the regeneration, when the Son of man shall sit on the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” Observe, my brethren, how immensely disproportionate, will be the rewards of heaven, to all the self-denials and services of earth! Instead of the forsaken fishing-boats upon the sea of Galilee, thrones of glory, in the eternal kingdom ! instead of the seat of the publican, an assessorship with Christ! Who could have anticipated such a reply to the inquiry, “What shall we have
therefore ?” We can imagine, that the heart of Peter, must have sunk within him, under a sense of utter unworthiness, when he heard of such an unspeakably splendid return, for so poor, and pitiful an offering. 0!
my brethren, I trust that the heart of every one among you, responds to this feeling ; reflect only for a moment, and it cannot be otherwise. When you
have forsaken all for God, what have you
sacrificed ?-Some paltry gratification, which perishes in the using. When you have given up your whole soul and body to him, what have you bestowed ?-A poor, unworthy, blemished offering, which after all, was not your own, but his who had already bought it with a most costly price. When you have done all for him, what are you at your best estate ?—“Unprofitable serv
-66 ants, who have done what was your duty to do.”! Are you not ashamed to be for
1 Luke xvii. 10.
ever talking of merits, and rewards, as if the Most High were your debtor ; as if he were actually enriched by a few indifferent prayers, or an occasional act of self-denial, obedience, or charity ? Does it never occur to you that the condescension and forbearance of God, are infinitely more exercised, by the acceptance of such imperfect services, than your obedience is magnified by the performance of them; and that your debt of gratitude to God is therefore obviously increased, instead of cancelled, by such payments as these? We cannot picture to ourselves an individual, we cannot conceive the state in which that man's heart must be, who can believe that standing before the judgment-seat of Christ, a pardoned sinner, he shall demand repayment for his sufferings, and his services, and his charities upon earth : nay, we cannot imagine one who, when he shall be most graciously reminded of these things by our Lord, shall not rather ask, with feelings of unaffected surprise, “Lord, when saw I thee an hungred and fed thee, naked and clothed thee, a stranger and took thee in ?”? Surely, then, instead of demanding, What shall we have? the inquiry of a grateful heart will be, What shall we do? How can we more promote the honour and glory of God ? How can we more devote ourselves, our time, and our substance, to him who is “not only able, but willing to do abundantly for us, above all that we can ask or think?”3
But while we feel it thus a duty, to discountenance an over-anxious estimation of our own imperfect offerings, it is truly encouraging to observe in the passage before us, that our gracious Redeemer is not unmindful of them. No sooner has he revealed the paramount degrees of blessedness awaiting his disciples, than clearly to demonstrate that his rewards should be as numerous as 2 Matt. xxv. 37.
3 Eph. iji. 20.