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of men more than the praise of God.” But all these natural difficulties are surmounted by the energy of divine grace. With God all things are possible. And, taught of him, the rich may learn so to employ their wealth and their influence, as to “lay up for themselves a good foundation against the time to come.”
27. Then answered Peter, and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee : what shall we have therefore ?
28. And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration' when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall
twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29. And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, , or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundred-fold, and shall inherit everlasting life.
30. But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first.
The expressions here, are taken from earthly judgments and dignities. Those who, for Christ's sake and the gospel's, have forsaken what is now dear to them, shall hereafter have high honour, high dignity, in that “new heaven and new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness." As the promise is expressed elsewhere, “ To him that overcometh, will I give to sit with me on my throne.” Then they who now despise and persecute my followers, shall see the men whom they despised and persecuted, ho
5 In the renovation or restoration of all things ; in the new heaven and new earth” which shall be, when “ the first heaven and the first earth are passed away.”— See Revel. xxi. 1.
noured with the first place in the kingdom of God. Seated by the throne of the Judge; nay, sitting in judgment with him, and condemning, by the example of their own faith, those who refused to repent and believe. For many shall change places ; many that are first shall be last, and the last shall be first
One among many lessons to be learnt from the passage before us is, to be certain that we know the
purpose of our own hearts. This young man seemed to desire eternal life. But he did not de. sire it so far as to make a sacrifice for it. He valued his earthly possessions more. Many, in every age, are under the same delusion. They imagine that they have a sincere intention to please God, and lead a Christian life, and seek everlasting bap. piness. They will “ do many things:" things that do not interfere with their old habits, or differ from their neighbour's practice, or injure their worldly interest, or cost them any painful sacrifice. But they lack one thing. They will not so surrender to their Saviour their entire heart, as to do every thing, resign every thing, renounce every thing, fzther than be without a decisive and certain proof of lively faith. Let all consider with themselves. They
value their hopes of heaven. They would not forfeit them for worlds. They desire to have eternal life.
So this young man desired. But when the trial
• Such is probably the meaning of what is said in v. 28, that the apostles shall sit on twelve thrones, judging the troelve tribe of Israel.
came, it appeared that he desired still more to preserve his earthly possessions.
May God teach us all to know our own hearts ! A sincere desire of eternal life is not a mere wish to inherit it, but a determination to seek it at all hazards. A man might desire a livelihood, a fortune ; but if he took no pains to procure or earn it, evidently he would like something else better, namely, his own ease. Now, eternal life is not to be attained, unless it is sought in the first place. It was not attained by him, who preferred his worldly possessions. It cannot be attained by any who refuse to part with every evil habit and sinful indulgence. Riches were the touchstone applied to this man's faith, and showed it to be defective. Any corrupt or even doubtful practice, any thing which in the least offends against conscience or the spirit of the Bible, will equally show our profession to be insincere. It withholds our heart from Christ, as his was withheld. It proves us unworthy of eternal life, as he was proved unworthy. We can only attain that, on the terms of him who offers it; which are, that we “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness,” and make no attempt to “serve God and Mammon."
PARABLE OF TIIE LABOURERS IN THE VINEYARD.
MATT. XX. 1-16.
1. For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his rineyard.
2. And when he had agree with the labourers for penny a-day, he sent them into his vineyard.'
The way of God's dealings with man under the gospel dispensation, is here compared to the conduct of a householder who employs labourers in his vineyard. The householder has a vineyard to be cultivated ; he hires labourers; he assigns them a reward. God too has a work for his reasonable creatures; that they should live righteously, soberly, and godly in this present world, in expectation of his glorious kingdom hereafter. Early in the morning, from their very infancy, are Christians summoned to this service : summoned to renounce the works of the devil, and to keep God's holy will and commandments, and to walk in them all their life. So is it engaged in behalf of every child in baptism; and happy, happy would it be, if all, as they
to age, acknowledged the obligations by which they are bound, and kept that service which
For the customary price of a day's labour in that country.
is "perfect freedom." Great indeed is the honour of the service, and great “the recompense of the reward.” Why has our heavenly King so often reason to expostulate, “If I be a Father, where is mine honour ? And if I be a Master, where is my fear?”
3. And he went out about the third hour, and saw others standing idle in the market-place,
4. And said unto them; Go ye also into the vineyard, and whatsoever is right I will give you. And they went
5. Again he went out about the sixth and ninth hour, and did likewise.
Reckoning the morning, as the Jewish custom was, from the sixth hour of our day, the third hour answers to the period of youth; the sixth to that of manhood; the ninth to that of advancing age. A quarter, or a half, or even three-fourths of the longest life are now past. Is it to be still said, “ The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved ?” Such is the goodness of God, that he does not abandon the rebellious people who have long preferred their own will to his. He does not let them alone, to reap the fruits which they have sown. The Gospel is continually sounding in their ears the offer of reconciliation and acceptance; is inviting them to seek the pardon of sin through the one sacrifice for sin, and so to go into the vineyard and work there their appointed time. Such were those whom John the Baptist brought to repentance; such were those who first listened to the message of the apostles; and such
3 Mal. i. 6.