Imágenes de páginas

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

1 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

[ocr errors]


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 selfi-h 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 eonduct. 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 he 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 bis 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 his 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.

There was one other instance of bis 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

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

this flattering proposal, instead of exciting any selfish
feelings, moved his compassion for his people and filled
his mouth with arguments in pleading for their forgive-
ness and preservation. He entreated God to spare
them, though he should blot him out of his book. I
might mention his meekness and patience under his
burdens and trials and amidst the unjust murmurs and
complaints of the discontented multitudes. But
enough has been said to show, that he manifested,
through the course of his long life, a spirit of pure, dis-
interested love. He had the fairest opportunities to
discover true benevolence and he improved those op-
portunities to act out his benevolent heart. And this
affords a very strong presumptive evidence, that his
respect to the recompense of reward flowed from the
most pure and proper motives. We can hardly con-
ceive, that a selfish principle should so long and so uni-
formly put on such striking appearances of disinterest-
ed love.

2. If Moses had been selfish, in having respect to
the recompense of reward, his conduct would not have
been virtuous and pleasing to God. There is no vir-
tue in selfishness. God never required men to feel &
express this spirit; but in all his precepts and com-
mands has always required them to feel and express
pure disinterested love. His law which was given by
Moses and which is called the law of Moses, requires
nothing but disinterested love.

So Moses explained his own law to the people, just before his death. He said, “Now these are the commandments, the statutes and the judgments, which the Lord your God commanded to teach you, that ye might do them in the land whither ye go to possess it."

After this he explains all these precepts as requiring pure, holy love. “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one Lord ; and thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart and with all thy soul and with all thy might.” According to this interpretation, all the precepts of the law are comprised in love. And our Savior explained the law in the same sense to one, who wished to know it

[ocr errors]

first and great commandment. “Jesus said unto him, Thou shall love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” If the law of Moses required nothing but pure, disinterested love, then he did not in the least de. gree obey his own law, nor do any thing acceptable to God, if he had a selfish mercenary view to the recompense of reward. But we find by his history, that he did obey and please God and receive peculiar tokens of his favour, God hearkened to the voice of his sup. plications and intercessions from time to time. He spake to him face to face, as a man speaketh to his friend. In answer to his request, he shewed him his glory. When he was opposed and reviled, God pleaded his cause and justified his conduct. “And he said, , hear now my words ; If there be a prophet among you, I the Lord will make myself known unto him in a vision and will speak unto him in a dream. My servant Moses is not so, who is faithful in all my house. With him will I speak mouth to mouth, even apparently and not in the dark speeches; and the similitude of the Lord sball he behold; wherefore then were ye not afraid to speak against my servant Moses.”---And it is recorded of him after his death, that "there arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face.” Now, if Moses had been selfish in all his conduct, would he have met with such marks of the divine approbation ? and been exhibited to all future ages as one of the greatest prophets and friends to God ? This is altogether incredible. Hence we are constrained to believe, that he had respect to the recompense of reward from pure, benevolent motives, which were pleasing to God.

3. If Moses had not sought a recompense of reward from pure and holy motives, he would not have been admitted to heaven. Though God might hare spoken of him according to his external conduct and directed“bis character to be exhibited to future ages, as an example worthy of imitation, if he had been inwardly selfish; yet we know, he could not have been admitted to heaven with an unholy, selfish heart. But we find that God actually received him into the mansions of the blessed at his death. This we learn from the account of Christ's transfiguration on Mount Tabor. " Jesus taketh Peter, James and John his brother and bringeth them up into a high mountain apart and was transfigured before them ; and behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias, talking with him." It is apparent from this, that Moses, not only had respect to the recompense of reward, but actually obtained it. God not only approved of his character and conduct while living, but amply rewarded him after his death, by admitting him into his immediate presence and employing him to attend the divine Redeemer on a most solemn and glorious occasion. But who can suppose that God, who looketh on the heart and not on the outward appearance, would thus approve and reward Moses. by distinguishing marks of his favor among the spirits of just men made perfect, if he had not been truly virtuous and holy in seeking a future reward ? Had Moses been as selfish, as the Israelites were at the side of the Red Sea and when they refused to go to Canaan, would he not have perished with them in the wilderness ? His admission into heaven, therefore, puts it beyond a possibility of doubt, that he was habitually governed by supreme love to God in both his private and public conduct. I must add,

4. That holy love, or true benevolence, would naturally lead Moses to bave respect to such a reward, as God set before him. He must desire, in the exercise of pure, disinterested and universal benevolence, that God should be glorified, that his nation should be happy and that he himself should be blessed in the everlasting enjoyment of God. These were the things contained in the reward set before him ; & these were the things which were set before all other sincere servants of God. And we find that such men have al

« AnteriorContinuar »