Sermon 1063. Moses' Decision
A SERMON DELIVERED ON LORD'S-DAY MORNING, JULY 28, 1872,
BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON.
"By faith Moses, when came of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, choosing rather to suffer afflictionwith the people of God than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches thanthe treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompense of the reward." Hebrews 11:24,25,26.
LAST Sunday we spoke upon the faith of Rahab [RAHAB, #1061]. We had then to mention her former unsavory character and to showthat, notwithstanding, her faith triumphed and both saved her and produced good works. Now it has occurred to me that somepersons would say, "This faith is, no doubt, a very suitable thing for Rahab and persons of that class. A people destituteof sweetness and light may follow after the Gospel and it may be a very proper and useful thing for them, but the better sortof people will never take to it."
I thought it possible that, with a sneer of contempt, some might reject all faith in God as being unworthy of persons of ahigher condition of life and another manner of education. We have, therefore, taken the case of Moses, which stands as a directcontrast to that of Rahab, and we trust it may help to remove the sneer, though, indeed, that may be of small consequence-forif a man is given to sneering it is hardly worth while to waste five minutes in reasoning with him. The scorner is usuallya person so inconsiderate that his scoffing deserves to be unconsidered. He who is great at sneering is good for nothing else,and he may as well be left to fulfill his vocation.
It occurred to me, also, that nevertheless, some might in all seriousness, say, "I have, through the Providence of God andthe circumstances which surround me, been kept from outward sin. Moreover, I am not a member of the lowest ranks and do notbelong to the class of persons of whom Rahab would be a suitable representative. In fact, I have, by the Providence of God,been placed in a choice position and can, without egotism, claim a superior character." It is possible that such persons mayfeel as if they were placed under a disadvantage by this very superiority! The thought has passed over their mind, "The Gospelis for sinners. It evidently comes to the chief of sinners and blesses them. We are free to admit that we are sinners, butperhaps because we have not sinned so openly we may not be so conscious of the sin, and consequently our mind may not be sowell prepared to receive the abounding Grace of God which comes to the vilest of the vile."
I have known some who have almost wished that they were literally like the prodigal son in his wanderings, that they mightbe more readily like he is in his return! It is altogether a mistake under which they labor, but it is by no means an uncommonone. Perhaps, as we introduce to their notice one of the heroes of faith who was a man of noble rank, high education and purecharacter, they may be led to correct their thoughts. Moses belonged to the noblest order of men, but he was saved by faith,alone, even by the same faith which saved Rahab! This faith moved him to the faithful service of God and to an unparalleledself-denial. My earnest prayer is that you who are moral, amiable and educated may see in the action of Moses an example foryourselves.
No longer despise a life of faith in God! It is the one thing which you lack-the one thing above all others necessary. Areyou young men of high position? Such was Moses. Are you men of spotless character? Such, also, was he. Are you now in a positionwhere to follow out conscience will cost you dearly? Moses endured as seeing Him who is invisible and though for a while aloser, he is now an eternal gainer by the loss! May the Spirit of God incline you to follow in the path of faith, virtue andhonor where you see such a man as Moses leading the way!
We shall first consider the decided action of Moses. Secondly, the source of his decision of character-it was "by faith."Thirdly, we shall look into those arguments by which his faith directed his action, after which we shall briefly reflect uponthose practical lessons which the subject suggests.
I. And first let us observe THE DECIDED ACTION OF MOSES. "When he had come to years he refused to be called the son of Pharaoh'sdaughter." We need not narrate the stories which are told by Josephus and other ancient writers with regard to the early daysof Moses, such as, for instance, his taking the crown of Pharaoh and trampling upon it. These things may be true, but it isequally possible that they are pure fiction. The Spirit of God has certainly taken no notice of them in Holy Scripture andwhat He does not think worth recording we need not think worth considering.
Nor shall I more than hint at answers to the question why it was that Moses remained no less than 40 years in the court ofPharaoh and doubtless, during that time, was called, "the son of Pharaoh's daughter," and if he did not enjoy the pleasuresof sin, at any rate, had his share in the treasures of Egypt. It is just possible that he was not a converted man up to theage of forty. Probably during his early days he was, to all intents and purposes, an Egyptian, an eager student, a great proficientin Egyptian wisdom and also, as Stephen tells us in Acts, "a man mighty in words and in deeds."
During those early days he was familiar with philosophers and warriors, and perhaps in his engrossing pursuits he forgot hisnationality. We see the hand of God in his being 40 years in the court of Pharaoh. Whatever of evil or indecision in him mayhave kept him there we see the good result which God brought out of it, for he became, by his experience and observation,the better able to rule a nation and a fitter instrument in the hand of God for fashioning the Israelite state into its appointedform. Perhaps during the 40 years he had been trying to do what a great many are aiming at just now-he was testing whetherhe could not serve God and remain the son of Pharaoh's daughter, too.
Perhaps he was of the mind of our Brethren in a certain Church who protest against, but still remain in that Church whichgives to ritualism the fullest liberty. Perhaps he thought he could share the treasures of Egypt and yet bear testimony withIsrael. He would be known as a companion of the priests of Isis and Osiris and yet at the same time would bear honest witnessfor Jehovah. If he did not attempt this impossibility, others in all ages have done so! It may be he quieted himself by sayingthat he had such remarkable opportunities for usefulness that he did not like to throw them up by becoming identified withthe Israelite dissenters of the period. An open avowal of his private sentiments would shut him out from good society andespecially from the court where it was very evident that his influence was great and beneficial.
It is just possible that the very feeling which still keeps so many good people in a wrong place may have operated upon Mosestill he was 40 years of age. But then, having reached the prime of his manhood and having come under the influence of faith,he broke away from the ensnaring temptation as I trust many of our worthy Brethren will, before long, be able to do. Surelythey will not always maintain a confederacy with the allies of Rome but will be men enough to be free! If when Moses was achild he spoke as a child and thought as a child-when he became a man he put away his childish ideas of compromise. If, whenhe was a young man he thought he might conceal a part of the Truth of God and so might hold his position-when he came to ripeyears enough to know what the Truth of God fully was, he scorned all compromise and came out boldly as the servant of theliving God.
The Spirit of God directs our eyes to the time when Moses came to years, that is to say, when his first 40 years of life wereover. Then, without any hesitation he refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter and took his part with the despisedpeople of God. I beg you to consider, first, who he was that did this. He was a man of education, for he was learned in allthe wisdom of the Egyptians. Somebody says he does not suppose the wisdom of the Egyptians was anything very great. No, andthe wisdom of the English is not much greater! Future ages will laugh as much at the wisdom of the English as we now laughat the wisdom of the Egyptians.
The human wisdom of one age is the folly of the next. Philosophy, so called, what is it but the concealment of ignorance underhard names and the arrangement of mere guesses into elaborate theories? In comparison with the eternal light of God's Wordall the knowledge of men is "not light but darkness visible." Men of education, as a rule, are not ready to acknowledge theliving God. Philosophy in its self-conceit despises the Infallible Revelation of the Infinite and will not come to the lightlest it be reproved. In all ages, when a man has considered himself to be wise, he has almost invariably despised the InfiniteWisdom. Had he been truly wise he would have humbly bowed before the Lord of All, but being only nominally so, he has said,"Who is the Lord?"
Not many great men after the flesh, not many mighty are chosen. Did not our Lord Himself say it, and His Word is for all time-"Ithank You, O Father, Lord of Heaven and earth, that You have hid these things from the wise and prudent, and have revealedthem unto babes"? But yet, sometimes a man of education like Moses is led, by the blessing of
Heaven, to take the side of Truth and of the right-and when it is so let the Lord be magnified! Beside being a man of education,he was a person of high rank. He had been adopted by Thermuthis, the daughter of Pharaoh, and it is possible, though we cannotbe sure of it, that he was the next heir, by adoption, to the Egyptian crown. It is said that the King of Egypt had no otherchild and that his daughter had no son, and that Moses would, therefore, have become the King of Egypt.
Yet, great as he was and mighty at court, he joined with the oppressed people of God! May God grant that we may see many eminentmen bravely standing up for God and for His Truth and repudiating the religion of men! But if they do it will be a miracleof mercy, indeed, for few of the great ones have ever done so! Here and there in Heaven may be found a king, and here andthere in the Church may be found one who wears a coronet and prays. But how rarely shall they that have riches enter intothe kingdom of Heaven! When they do so God is thanked for it. In addition to this remember that Moses was a man of great ability.We have evidence of that in the administrative skill with which he managed the affairs of Israel in the wilderness. Thoughhe was inspired of God, yet his own natural ability was not superseded but directed.
He was a poet-"Then sung Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the Lord." That memorable poem at the Red Sea isa very masterly ode and proves the incomparable ability of the writer. The 90th Psalm, also, shows the range of his poeticpowers. He was both Prophet, priest and king in the midst of Israel-and a man second to no man save that Man who was morethan man! No other man I know of comes so near in the glory of his character to Christ as Moses does, so that we find thetwo names linked together in the praise of Heaven-"they sung the song of Moses the servant of God, and of the Lamb."
Thus you see he was a truly eminent man yet he cast in his lot with God's people. It is not many that will do this, for theLord has usually chosen the weak things to confuse the mighty, and the things that are not to bring to nothing the thingsthat are, that no flesh should glory in His Presence. Yet here He who will have mercy on whom He will have mercy, took thisgreat man, this wise man and gave him Grace to be decided in the service of his God. Should I address such an one this morningI would anxiously pray that a voice from the excellent Glory may call him forth to the same clear line of action!
Next, consider what sort of society Moses felt compelled to leave. In coming forth from Pharaoh's court he must separate fromall the courtiers and men of high degree, some of whom may have been very estimable people. There is always a charm aboutthe society of the great, but every bond was severed by the resolute spirit of Moses. I do not doubt that being learned inall the wisdom of Egypt, such a man as Moses would be always welcome in the various circles of science. But he relinquishedall his honors among the elite of learning to bear the reproach of Christ. Neither great men nor learned men could hold himwhen his conscience had once pointed out the path.
Be sure, also, that he had to tear himself away from many a friend! In the course of 40 years one would suppose he had formedassociations that were very dear and tender. But to the regret of many, he associated himself with the unpopular party whomthe king sought to crush and therefore no courtier could acknowledge him. For 40 years he lived in the solitude of the desertand he only returned to strike the land of Egypt with plagues-so that his separation from all his former friendships musthave been complete.
But, O true-hearted Christian, should it break every fond connection-should it tear your soul away from all you love-if yourGod requires it, let the sacrifice be made at once! If your faith has shown you that to occupy your present position involvescomplicity with error or sin, then break away, by God's help, without further parley. Let not the nets of the fowler holdyou, but as God gives you freedom, mount unfettered and praise your God for liberty! Jesus left the angels of Heaven for yoursake-can you not leave the best of company for His sake?
But I marvel most at Moses when I consider not only who he was and the company he had to forego, but the persons with whomhe must associate-for in truth the followers of the true God were not, in their own persons, a loveable people at that time.Moses was willing to take upon himself the reproach of Christ and to bear the affliction of God's people when, I venture toobserve again, there was nothing very attractive in the people themselves. They were wretchedly poor. They were scatteredthroughout all the land as mere drudges, engaged in brick making-and this brick making, which was imposed upon them for thevery purpose of breaking down their spirit-had done its work all too well.
They were utterly spiritless. They possessed no leaders and were not prepared to have followed them if they had arisen. WhenMoses, having espoused their cause, informed them that God had sent him they received him at first, but when the Prophet'sfirst action prompted Pharaoh to double their toil by an enactment that they should not be supplied with straw, they upbraidedMoses at once, even as 40 years before, when he interfered in their quarrels, one of them said, "Will you slay me as you didthe Egyptian yesterday?" They were literally a herd of broken down slaves, crushed and depressed. It is one of the worst thingsabout slavery that it unmans men and unfits them, even for generations, for the full enjoyment of liberty.
Even when slaves receive liberty we cannot expect them to act as those would do who were free born, for in slavery the ironenters into the very soul and binds the spirit. Thus it is clear that the Israelites were not a very select company for thehighly educated Moses to unite with. Though a prince, he must make common cause with the poor. Though a free man, he mustmingle with slaves. Though a man of education, he must mix with ignorant people. Though a man of spirit, he must associatewith spiritless serfs. Many would have said, "No, I cannot do that! I know what Church I ought to unite with if I follow Scripturesfully and obey in all things my Lord's will-but they are so poor, so illiterate-and their places of worship are so far frombeing architecturally beautiful! Their preacher is a plain, blunt man and they themselves are not refined. Scarcely a dozenof the whole sect can keep a carriage! I should be shut out of society if I joined with them."
Have we not heard this base reasoning till we are sick of it, and yet it operates widely upon this brainless, heartless generation!Are there none left who love Truth even when she wears no trappings? Are there none who love the Gospel better than pomp andshow? Where God raises up a Moses, what cares he how poor his Brethren may be? "They are God's people," he says, "and if theyare very poor I must help them the more liberally. If they are oppressed and depressed, so much the more reason why I shouldcome to their aid. If they love God and His Truth, I am their fellow-soldier and will be at their side in the battle."
I have no doubt Moses thought all this over but his mind was made up and he took his place promptly. In addition to othermatters, one mournful thing must be said of Israel which must have cost Moses much pain. He found that among God's peoplethere were some who brought no glory to God and were very weak in their principles. He did not judge the whole body by thefaults of some, but by their standards and their institutions-and he saw that the Israelites, with all their faults, werethe people of God-while the Egyptians, with all their virtues, were not so.
Now, it is for each one of us to try the spirits by the Word of God and then fearlessly to follow out our convictions. Whereis Christ recognized as the Head of the Church? Where are the Scriptures really received as the rule of faith? Where are theDoctrines of Grace clearly believed? Where are the ordinances practiced as the Lord delivered them? With that people I willgo! Their cause shall be my cause, their God shall be my God! We look not for a perfect Church this side of Heaven, but wedo look for a Church free from Popery and Sacramentarianism and false doctrine! And if we cannot find one we will wait untilwe can-but with falsehood and priestcraft we will never enter into fellowship! If there are faults with the Brethren, it isour duty to bear with them patiently and pray for Grace to overcome the evil. But with Papists and Rationalists we must notjoin in affinity or God will require it at our hands!
Consider now what Moses left by siding with Israel. He left honor-he "refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter."He left pleasure-for he refused to "enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season." And, according to our Apostle, he left wealthas well, for in taking up the reproach of Christ he renounced "the treasures of Egypt." Very well, then, if it comes to this-ifto follow God and to be obedient to Him I have to lose my position in society and become a pariah. If I must give up a thousandpleasures, and if I am deprived of emoluments and income, yet the demands of duty must be complied with. Martyrs of old gavetheir lives-are there none left who will give up their living? If there is true faith in a man's heart he will not deliberatewhich of the two to choose-beggary or compromise with error. He will esteem the reproach of Christ to be greater riches thanthe treasures of Egypt!
Consider yet once more what Moses espoused when he left the court. He espoused abounding trial, "choosing rather to sufferaffliction with the people of God." And he espoused poverty for he, "esteemed the reproach of Christ greater riches than thetreasures of Egypt." O Moses, if you must join with Israel, there is no present reward for you! You have nothing to gain andall to lose! You must do it out of pure principle, out of love to God, out of a full persuasion of the
Truth-for the tribes have no honors or wealth to bestow! You will receive affliction and that is all! You will be called afool and people will think they have good reason for calling you so!
It is just the same today. If any man today will go outside the camp to seek the Lord. If he goes forth unto Christ outsidethe gate, he must do it out of love to God and to His Christ and for no other motive. The people of God have no beneficesor bishoprics to offer-they therefore beseech men to count the cost. When a fervent convert said to our Lord, "Lord I willfollow You where ever You go," he received for answer, "Foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but I, the Sonof Man, have nowhere to lay My head." To this hour Truth offers no dowry but herself to those who will espouse her. Abuse,contempt, hard fare, ridicule, misrepresentation-these are the wages of consistency-and if better comes it is not to be reckonedon.
If any man is of a noble enough spirit to love the Truth of God for Truth's sake, and God for God's sake, and Christ for Christ'ssake, let him enlist with those of like mind! But if he seeks anything over and above that, if he desire to be made famous,or to gain power, or to be well beneficed-he had better keep his place among the cowardly dirt-eaters who swarm around us!The Church of God bribes no man! She has no mercenary rewards to offer and would scorn to use them if she had. If to servethe Lord is not enough reward, let those who look for more go their selfish way! If Heaven is not enough, let those who candespise it seek their Heaven below.
Moses, in taking up with the people of God, decidedly and once and for all acted most disinterestedly, without any promisefrom the right side, or any friend to aid him in the change. For the Truth of God's sake, for the Lord's sake he renouncedeverything! He was, by God's Grace, content to be numbered with the down-trodden people of God.
II. Now, secondly, what was THE SOURCE OF MOSES' DECISION? Scripture says it was faith, otherwise some would insist upon itthat it was the force of blood. "He was by birth an Israelite, and therefore," they say, "the instincts of nature prevailed."Our text assigns a very different reason. We know right well that the sons of godly parents are not led to adore the trueGod by reason of their birth. Grace does not run in the blood-sin may, but righteousness does not. Who does not remember sonsof renowned lovers of the Gospel who are now far gone in Ritualism? It was faith, not blood, which impelled Moses in the wayof the Truth of God!
Neither was it eccentricity which led him to espouse the side which was oppressed. We have sometimes found a man of pedigreeand position who has associated with persons of quite another rank and condition simply because he never could act like anybodyelse, and must live after his own odd fashion. It was not so with Moses. All his life through you cannot discover a traceof eccentricity in him-he was sober, steady, law-abiding-what if I say he was a concentric man, for his center was in theright place and he moved according to the dictates of prudence. Not thus can his decision be accounted to eccentricity.
Neither was he hurried on by some sudden excitement when there burned within his soul fierce patriotic fires which made himmore fervent than prudent. No, there may have been some haste in his slaying the Egyptian on the first occasion, but thenhe had 40 years to think it over and yet he never repented his choice, but held on to the oppressed people of God and stillrefused to think of himself as the son of Pharaoh's daughter. It was faith then, faith alone, that enabled the Prophet ofSinai to arrive at his decision and to carry it out.
What faith had he? First, he had faith in Jehovah. It is possible that Moses had seen the various gods of Egypt, even as wesee them now in the drawings which have been copied from their temples and pyramids. We find there the sacred cat, the sacredibis, the sacred crocodile and all kinds of creatures which were reverenced as deities. And in addition there were hosts ofstrange idols, compounds of man and beast, and bird, which stand in our museums to this day and were once the objects of theidolatrous reverence of the Egyptians. Moses was weary of all this symbolism. He knew in his own heart that there was oneGod, only one God, and he would have nothing to do with Amun, Pthah, or Maut.
Truly, my very soul cries to God that noble spirits may, in these days, grow weary of the gods of ivory and ebony and silverwhich are adored under the name of crosses and crucifixes, and may come to abominate that most degrading and sickening ofall idolatries in which man makes a god with flour and water, bows down before it, and then swallows it, thus sending hisgod into his belly, and, I might say, worse! The satirist said of the Egyptians, "O happy people, whose gods grow in theirown gardens." We may say with equal force, O happy people, whose gods are baked in their own ovens!
Is not this the lowest form of superstition that ever debased the intellect of man? O that brave and true hearts may be ledto turn away from such idolatry and cast off all association with it, and say, "No, I cannot, and dare not. There is one Godthat made Heaven and earth. There is a pure Spirit who upholds all things by the power of His might-I will worship Him alone!And I will worship Him after His own Law, without images or other symbols, for has He not forbidden them?" Has He not said,"You shall not make unto you any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in Heaven above, or that is in the earthbeneath, or that is in the water under the earth: you shall not bow down yourself to them, nor serve them: for I, the Lordyour God, am a jealous God"?
Oh that God would give to men faith to know there is but one God and that the one God is not to be worshipped with man-ordainedrites and ceremonies, for He is "a Spirit and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth!" That one Truthof God, if it were to come with power from Heaven into men's minds, would shiver St. Peter's and St. Paul's from their topmostcross to their lowest crypt-for what do these two churches teach us now but sheer clear idolatry-the one of rule and the otherby permission! And now men who boldly worship what they call the "sacred elements" have leave and license to exercise theircraft within the Church of England! Every man who loves his God should shake his skirts clear of these abominations and Ipray God that we may find many a Moses who shall do so!
The faith of Moses also rested in Christ. "Christ had not come," says one. No, but He was to come and Moses looked to thatcoming One. He cast his eyes through the ages that were to intervene and he saw before him the Shiloh of whom dying Jacobsang. He knew the ancient promise which had been given to the fathers, that in the seed of Abraham should all the nationsof the earth be blessed-and he was willing, in order to share in the blessing-to take his part in the reproach.
Dear Friends, we shall never have a thorough faith in God unless we have, also, faith in Jesus Christ! Men have tried longand tried hard to worship the Father apart from the Son-but there it stands and it always will be so-"No man comes unto theFather but by Me." You get away from the worship of the Father if you do not come through the Mediation and Atonement of theSon of God! Now, though Moses did not know concerning Christ all that is now revealed to us, yet he had faith in the comingMessiah and that faith gave strength to his mind. Those are the men to suffer who have received Christ Jesus the Lord. Ifany man should ask me what made the Covenanters such heroes as they were or what made our Puritan forefathers fearless beforetheir foes-what led the Reformers to protest and the martyrs to die-I would reply it was faith in the Invisible God, coupledwith faith in that dear Son of God who is God Incarnate! Believing in Him they felt such love within their bosoms that forlove of Him they could have died a thousand deaths!
But then, in addition to this, Moses had faith in reference to God's people. Upon that I have already touched. He knew thatthe Israelites were God's chosen-that Jehovah had made a Covenant with them and in spite of all their faults God would notbreak His Covenant with His own people. And he knew, therefore, that their cause was God's cause and being God's cause itwas the cause of right-the cause of truth! Oh, it is a grand thing when a man has such faith that he says, "It is nothingto me what other people do, or think, or believe. I shall act as God would have me act. It is nothing to me what I am commandedto do by my fellow creatures.
"It is nothing to me what fashion says or what my parents say as far as religion is concerned. The Truth is God's star andI will follow wherever it may lead me. If it should make me a solitary man. If I should espouse opinions which no one elseever believed in. If I should have to go altogether outside the camp and break away from every connection-all this shall beas immaterial to me as the small dust of the balance. But if a matter is true, I will believe it and I will propound it andI will suffer for its promulgation. And if another doctrine is a lie I will not be friends with it, no, not for a solitarymoment. I will not enter into fellowship with falsehood, no, not for an hour! If a course is right and true, through floodsand flames, if Jesus leads me, I will pursue it."
That seems to me to be the right spirit, but where do you find it now-a-days? The modern spirit mutters, "We are all right,every one of us." He who says, "yes," is right, and he who says, "no," is also right! You hear a man talk with mawkish sentimentalitywhich he calls Christian charity. "Well, I am of opinion that if a man is a Muslim, or a Catholic, or a Mormon, or a Dissenter-ifhe is sincere-he is all right." They do not quite include devil worshippers, thugs and cannibals yet-but if things go on theywill accept them into the happy family of the Broad Church. Such is the talk and cant of this present age, but I bear my witnessthat there is no truth in it and I call upon every child of God to protest against it and, like Moses, to declare that hecan have no complicity with such a confederacy!
There is Truth somewhere-let us find it! The lie is not of the truth-let us abhor it. There is a God-let us follow Him andit cannot be that false gods are gods, too! Surely truth is of some value to the sons of men! Surely there must be somethingworth holding-something worth contending for-and something worth dying for! But it does not appear now-a-days as if men thinkso. May we have a respect for God's true Church in the world which abides by the Apostolic word and doctrine! Let us discoverit and join with it, and at its side fight for God and for His Truth!
Once again, Moses had faith in the "recompense of the reward." He said thus within himself, "I must renounce much and reckonto lose rank, position and treasure. But I expect to be a gainer, nevertheless, for there will be a day when God shall judgethe sons of men. I expect a judgment throne with its impartial balances and I expect that those who serve God faithfully shallthen turn out to have been the wise men and the right men, while those who truckled and bowed down to gain a present easeshall find that they missed eternity while they were snatching after time and that they bartered Heaven for a paltry messof pottage."
With this upon his mind, you could not persuade Moses that he ought to compromise and must not be uncharitable! You couldnot convince him he ought not to judge other good people, but should be large-minded and remember Pharaoh's daughter and howkindly she had nurtured him-and consider what opportunities he had of doing good where he was! You could not persuade himhow he might just befriend his poor Brethren and what influence he might have over Pharaoh-how he might be the means of leadingthe princes and the people of Egypt in the right way-and perhaps God had raised him up on purpose to be there.
Who could tell, and so-on, and so-on, and so-on-you know the Babylonian talk, for in these days you have all read or heardthe plausible arguments of the deceivableness of unrighteousness which in these last days teaches men to do evil that goodmay come! Moses cared for none of these things. He knew his duty and did it-whatever might be the consequences. Every Christianman's duty is to believe the Truth of God and to follow the Truth and leave the results with God. Who dares do that? AgainI ask it, who dares do that in these days?
III. Thirdly, we are going to run over in our minds some of THE ARGUMENTS WHICH SUPPORTED MOSES in his decided course of followingGod. The first argument would be he saw clearly that God was God and therefore must keep His Word, must bring His people upout of Egypt and give them a heritage. Now he said within himself, "I desire to be on the right side. God is almighty, Godis all truthful, God is altogether just. I am on God's side, and being on God's side I will prove my truthfulness by leavingthe other side altogether."
Then, secondly, we have it in the text that he perceived the pleasures of sin to be but for a season. He said to himself,"I may have but a short time to live but even if I live to a good old age, life at the longest is still short. And when Icome to the close of life, what a miserable reflection it will be that I have had all my pleasure and then I have to appearbefore God as a traitorous Israelite who threw up his birthright for the sake of enjoying the pleasures of Egypt." Oh thatmen would measure everything in the scales of eternity! We shall be before the bar of God, all of us, in a few months or years,and then think how we shall feel?
One will say, "I never thought about religion at all," and another, "I thought about it, but I did not think enough to cometo any decision upon it. I went the way the current went." Another will say, "I knew the Truth well enough, but I could notbear the shame of it-they would have thought me fanatical if I had gone through with it." Another will say, "I halted betweentwo opinions, I hardly thought I was justified in sacrificing my children's position for the sake of being out and out a followerof the Truth of God." What wretched reflections will come over men who have sold the Savior as Judas did! What wretched deathbedsmust they have who have been unfaithful to their consciences and untrue to their
But oh, with what composure will the Believer look forward to another world! He will say, "By Grace I am saved, and I blessGod I could afford to be ridiculed, I could bear to be laughed at-I could lose that situation, I could be turned out of thatfarm and could be called a fool-and yet it did not hurt me. I found solace in the society of Christ. I went to Him about itall and I found that to be reproached for Christ was a sweeter thing than to possess all the treasures of Egypt! Blessed beHis name! I missed the pleasures of the world, but they were no miss to me! I was glad to miss them, for I found sweeter pleasurein the company of my Lord and now there are pleasures to come which shall never end." O Brothers and Sisters, to be out andout for Christ-to go to the end with Him even though it involve the loss of all
things-this will pay in the long run! It may bring upon you much disgrace for the present, but that will soon be over andthen comes the eternal reward.
And, then, again, Moses thought within himself that even the pleasures which did but last for a season, while they lasted,were not equal to the pleasure of being reproached for Christ's sake. This ought also to strengthen us, that the worst ofChrist is better than the best of the world! That even now we have more joy as Christians, if we are sincere, than we couldpossibly derive from the sins of the wicked. I have only this to say in closing. First, we ought, all of us, to be ready topart with everything for Christ, and if we are not, we are not His disciples. "Master, you say a hard thing," says one. Isay it yet again, for a greater Master has said it-"He that loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me." "Unlessa man forsakes all that he has he cannot be My disciple." Jesus may not require you actually to leave anything, but you mustbe ready to leave everything if required.
The second observation is this-we ought to abhor the very thought of obtaining honor in this world by concealing our sentimentsor by making compromises. If there is a chance of your being highly esteemed by withholding your witness for Jesus, do notrun the risk of winning such dishonorable honor! If there is a hope of people praising you because you are so ready to yieldyour convictions, pray God to make you like a flint never to yield again-for what more damning glory could a man have thanto be applauded for disowning his principles to please his fellow men? From this may the Lord save us!
The third teaching is that we ought to take our place with those who truly follow God and the Scriptures, even if they arenot altogether what we should like them to be. The place for an Israelite is with the Israelites. The place for a Christianman is with Christian men. The place for a thorough-going disciple of the Bible and of Christ is with others who are such-evenif they should happen to be the lowest in the land and the poorest of the poor, and the most illiterate and uneducated personsof the period-what is all this if their God loves them and if they love God? Weighed in the scales of the Truth of God theleast one among them is worth 10,000 of the greatest ungodly men!
Lastly, we must all of us look to our faith. Faith is the main thing. You cannot make a thorough character without sincerefaith. Begin there, dear Hearer! If you do not believe in Christ, if you believe not in the one God, may the Lord convertyou and give you now that precious gift! To try and raise a character which shall be good without a foundation of faith isto build upon sand and to pile up wood, hay and stubble-which wood, hay and stubble are very good things as wood, hay, andstubble-but they will not bear the fire! And as every Christian character will have to bear fire, it is well to build on theRock and to build with such graces and fruits as will endure trial.
You will have to be tried and if you have, by sneaking through life as a coward, avoided all opposition and all ridicule,ask yourself whether you really are a disciple of that master of the house whom they called Beelzebub! Ask yourself whetheryou are truly a follower of that crucified Savior who said, "except a man take up his cross daily and follow Me, he cannotbe My disciple." Suspect the smooth places! Be afraid of that perpetual peace which Christ declares He came to break. He says,"I came not to send peace on the earth, but a sword." He came to bring fire upon the earth and, "how I wish," He said, "itwere already kindled."-
"Must I be carried to the skies
On flowery beds of ease,
While others fought to win the prize,
And sailed through bloody seas?
Surely I must fight if I would reign.
Increase my courage, Lord,
I'd bear the toil, endure the pain,
Supported by Your Word."