We who are stationed in the common ranks of life may think but little of such a temptation. A crown never having been within the reach of our expectations, it may possess but few charms for us. We cannot be ignorant however, that for such stations, men in high life have frequently sacrificed every thing. Poor Henry iv. king of France, about two hundred years ago, though a protestant in principle, and a truly great man, yet rather than relinquish a crown, abjured his religion. It is true, our James ii. lost his throne, through his attachment to popery; but he meant not so, and even his friends ridiculed him for it. "There is a certain good man, said they, lately come to Rome, who has resigned three crowns for a crucifix!"

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There is no principle that is equal to the choice which Moses made, but faith. Nothing else can find an object that will outweigh it. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he who believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?'

3. In making such a choice, the best of this world was weighed against the worst of religion, the reproaches of Christ, and yet the latter was preferred.-If the best on Christ's side had been weighed against the worst on the side of the world, or even the best on both sides against each other, the triumph had been less glorious. But here we see in one scale the pleasures of sin, and the treasures of a mighty empire; objects for which men are continually sacrificing their health, peace, conscience, character, lives, and souls; in the other, Christ and religion, with the greatest outward disadvantages; yet the latter preponderates. An attachment to the cause of the Messiah, would at any time excite the reproaches of proud men; but at this time more especially, when his kingdom seemed so unlikely to prevail, that his subjects were actually in a state of slavery. The people of God' are at all times, more or less, in an afflicted state; but now the waters of a full cup were wrung out to them: yet with all these disadvantages, faith obtains the victory. Many

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are daily choosing the world, with not a thousandth part of this to choose; and setting light by Christ and his people, with not a thousandth part of this to refuse.

To a mind blinded by carnality, the choice of Moses will appear fanatical and foolish: but it was not so. Faith and right reason are not at variance. His decision was as wise as it was just. He did not choose afflictions and reproaches for their own sake; for he had all the feelings of a man as well as we. His choice terminated on the recompense of reward, which, like the joy that was set before the great Object of his faith, enabled him to endure the cross, and despise the shame.-More particularly,

1. The things which he refused would last only for a season: but the things which he chose were of everlasting duration. We measure periods in all other estimations; and why should we not in this? Who would give so much for a short lease, or rather, an uncertain tenure, as for a full purchase, and a lasting possession?

2. The society of the people of God, though afflicted, reproached, and persecuted, exceeds all the pleasures of sin, while they do last. It is delightful to cast in our lot with them; for the bond of their union is holy love, which is the sweetest of all sweets to a holy mind. If we have once tasted of this, every thing else will become comparatively insipid. How sweet a bond of union is the love of Christ-how sweet is the fellowship of saints! Even when borne down with reproaches and afflictions, how sweet are the tears of sympathy. What are the country and the gods of Moab to Ruth, after having lived in a religious family, and become acquainted with the true and living God? And what are the discouragements which Naomi presented, on the ground of future poverty and neglect? Entreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee,' was her answer: for whither thou goest I will go, and where thou lodgest I will lodge; thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God.

Where thou diest will I die, and there will I be buried. Jehovah do so to me, and more also, if aught but death part thee and me!'-The Lord, moreover, hath spoken good concerning his people, and he delights to do them good. This motive was held up by Moses to Hobab, to induce him to cast in his lot with them; and in persuading his friend, he doubtless made use of the same considerations which had prevailed on himself.

3. The very reproaches of Christ contain greater riches, than all the treasures of this world. They carry with them, not only the testimony of a good conscience, but the approbation of God; and these are substantial riches. They are accompanied with the fellowship of Christ; for in suffering for him, we suffer with him;' and these also are substantial riches. Nor is it a small thing to be counted worthy to suffer for his name sake. It becomes the servants of Christ to consider the reproach of his enemies as their honour, and to bind it to them as a crown.

Let us then enquire what is our choice. We may not have the offer of a crown; or if we had, it might have but little influence upon us. The desires of man are mostly confined to things a little above his present situation, or which are next within his reach. A good estate, or a well-watered plain, might weigh more with many of us than a kingdom. Nor may the people of God in our day lay under such reproaches and afflictions, as in the times of Moses. But this only proves that our temptations are not so strong as his; and consequently, that if the world conquer us, we shall be the less excusable. But the world and Christ are in competition for our choice, and we are required to give a decisive and immediate answer. Choose ye this day whom ye will serve. There are many who can and do say as Joshua did, As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. His people shall be our people, and his cause our cause. If any refuse, and prefer the present world before him, be it known to them, that as is their choice in this world, such will be their portion in that which is to come.


ISAIAH Ixiii. 1-6.

Who is this! that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Boxrah? This! glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength? 1 that speak in righteousness, mighty to save. Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth in the winefat? I have trodden the winepress alone, and of the people there was none with me: for I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury, and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment. For the day of vengeance is in my heart, and the year of my redeemed is come. And I looked, and there was none to help; and I wondered that there was none to uphold; therefore mine own arm brought salvation unto me, and my fury, it upheld me. And I will tread down the people in mine anger, and make them drunk in my fury, and I will bring down their strength to the earth.

It is not uncommon, I believe, to understand this sublime passage of the coming of the Messiah, to shed his blood for the salvation of his people ;* but it is evidently the design of the Holy Spirit to describe the apparel of the conqueror, not as red with his own blood, but with that of his enemies. The event described is not any personal appearance of the Messiah, but a tremendous carnage among the wicked, which he would accomplish by his providence, and which should issue in favour of his church. The dreadful overthrow of Jerusalem, and that of the Roman heathen empire, are each represented by the coming of the Son of man in the clouds of hea

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*This erroneous idea is countenanced by a misprint in one of Dr. Watts's Hymns, where the pronoun 'my' is substituted for their. See book i. hymn 28, verse 5, last line.

ven;' each being a day of judgment, as it were, in miniature.* The objects of his vengeance are described under the name Edom, the ancient enemy of Israel, in much the same way as Rome is called Babylon, as being another Babylon to the church of God.

The period to which the prophecy refers, may I think be collected with a good degree of certainty; partly from the context, and partly from the nineteenth chapter of the Revelation of John, where many things appear to be borrowed from this passage. The foregoing chapter, namely, the sixty-second, is manifestly prophetic of glorious times yet to come; times when the righteousness of the church shall go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth'-when she shall be 'a crown of glory in the hand of her God'-when she shall be called Hephzi-bah, and her land Beulah; for the Lord will delight in her, and her land shall be married'— and when God himself shall rejoice over her, as a bridegroom rejoiceth over his bride.'

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The three last verses seem to have an allusion to the taking of old Babylon, and to the consequent deliverance of the church from her captivity; in which Cyrus and his armies, though messengers of death to the former, were to the latter the harbingers of life and peace. And while they should be going through and through the gates,' the friends of Zion are commanded to prepare the way, and to lift up the standard.' Analogous to this shall be the overthrow of mystical Babylon. Her gates, which have long been barred, must be thrown open. At them destruction shall enter to her, but salvation to those whom she has oppressed and persecuted: and while this is going on by instruments that 'mean not so,' let the friends of Christ be active in their proper sphere, 'preparing the way,' removing obstructions, and lifting up the standard' of evangelical truth. Lo, then 'cometh the salvation of Zion: behold his reward is with him, and his

* Luke xxi. Rev. vi. 12-17.

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