These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them…
1. A stranger is no medler in the country wherein he is; he takes that which is requisite for hint; he looks to his own business; but he doth not interpose himself in the affairs of the commonwealth, he leaves them to those that be of the country. Even so being strangers in the world, let us meddle no more with the world than needs must. But we are drowned in the world, our minds are on the world all the week, all the year long; we meddle little with the Scripture, with prayer, heavenly meditations; we are altogether in and about the world.
2. Strangers must not think to bear sway in the town and country where they dwell, the natural inhabitants will not digest that (Genesis 19:9); the Sodomites could not endure that Lot should be asking among them. So we, being strangers in the world, must not make account to domineer in it, to have all men at our control, we must be content to be underlings here that we may be aloft hereafter; the faithful are often put to the wall and the wicked are lords over them. This we must take patiently because we are strangers.
3. Strangers and pilgrims are wont to be abstemious (1 Peter 2:11); a stranger, a traveller, if he be a wise man, doth not set his mind on feasting and banquetting, he takes a morsel, and so away. So, being strangers here, we must lead a sober life, take no more of the world than will serve us for our journey; we must reserve our feasting till we come to that place where we shall eat bread with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob,
4. Strangers must look for no great love; for the most part they are hated in the country where they be, and they are wished to be out of it; even so the world loveth her own; we are not of the world, we are men of another world, therefore marvel not that we find little friendship in the world.
5. Strangers have a longing desire to be at home. If an Englishman be in Spain, Turkey, India, he thinks every day two till he be in England. Oh that I were with my wife and children, with my friends and neighbours at home! So, being strangers in this world, let us not make too great account of it; let us desire to be at home in our heavenly Jerusalem; let us say with St. Paul, I desire to be dissolved and to be with Christ, which is best of all.
6. Strangers do not heartily love that country wherein they be; they may love it in some sort, but nothing to their own country; so being viatores we may take viaticum; but let us not love the world; let us use it as if we used it not. Let the heavenly Canaan, our native country, have all our love.
7. If a stranger come to an inn he looks about hint and says, This is a fair inn, here I have a goodly chamber; I fare well for my money; but this is no place for me to tarry in. So we should think and say of the world, I have a convenient dwelling, meat and drink enough; I thank God I want nothing; but this is not my place of abode, I am but a stranger here, all these things I must forego. I would to God that this were deeply engraven in the hearts of us all that we did effectually consider we were strangers on the earth. We say we are strangers, but we live as lords. A strange thing that strangers should be so bewitched with a strange country as we are with the earth.
(W. Jones, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.