Luke 18:2
"In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected men.
Sermons
Continuance in Prayer: Divine DelayW. Clarkson Luke 18:1-7
Answers to PrayerLuke 18:1-8
Belief in Prayer the Outcome of Need RealizedG. Macdonald, LL. D.Luke 18:1-8
Christ Looking in Vain for FaithJ. Vaughan, M. A.Luke 18:1-8
Constant Exercise in PrayerLuke 18:1-8
God Hears the Prayers of His ElectI. Saunders.Luke 18:1-8
God's Response to the Cry of the ElectLuke 18:1-8
Hindrances to PrayerE. W. Shalders, B. A.Luke 18:1-8
Hours Spent in PrayerLuke 18:1-8
Loss of Faith in the Christian VeritiesM. F. Sadler.Luke 18:1-8
Men Ought Always to PrayJ. J. Wray.Luke 18:1-8
Necessity of PrayerBishop Boyd Carpenter.Luke 18:1-8
Oriental JudgesProf. Isaac H. Hall.Luke 18:1-8
Parable of the Importunate WidowJ. Thomson, D. D.Luke 18:1-8
Patient PrayerJ. G. Forbes.Luke 18:1-8
Perseverance in Prayer: Or, Strike AgainLuke 18:1-8
Petitioners At the Court of Heaven EncouragedLuke 18:1-8
Pray Without CeasingJ. A. Alexander.Luke 18:1-8
PrayerA. H. Currier.Luke 18:1-8
Prayer Answered After DeathC. H. Spurgeon.Luke 18:1-8
Prayer is ManlyT. R. Stevenson.Luke 18:1-8
Shall We Pray, or Shall We NotJ. Kennedy, D. D.Luke 18:1-8
The Adaptability of Nature to PrayerProf. J. P. Gulliver.Luke 18:1-8
The Church's WidowhoodH. Bonar, D. D.Luke 18:1-8
The Duty of Persevering in PrayerTheological Sketch-bookLuke 18:1-8
The Faith of the ChurchJames Owen.Luke 18:1-8
The Importunate WidowC. H. Spurgeon.Luke 18:1-8
The Importunate Widow a Type of God's Elect PeopleJ. Stratten.Luke 18:1-8
The Nature and Duty of PrayerEssex RemembrancerLuke 18:1-8
The Necessity of PrayerW. H. Hutchings, M. A.Luke 18:1-8
The Necessity of Praying Always, and not FaintingT. Boston, D. D.Luke 18:1-8
The Search for FaithC. H. Spurgeon.Luke 18:1-8
The Strange Weapon-All-PrayerC. S. Robinson, D. D.Luke 18:1-8
The Unjust Judge and the Importunate WidowT. Guthrie, D. D.Luke 18:1-8
Times Adverse to PrayerBishop Boyd Carpenter.Luke 18:1-8
Times Unfavourable to PrayerBishop Boyd Carpenter.Luke 18:1-8
Universal PrayerJ. D. Wray.Luke 18:1-8
Lessons in PrayerR.M. Edgar Luke 18:1-14
We have first to consider what is -

I. THE ARGUMENT IN THE TEXT. It is one from the less to the greater, or rather from the unworthy to the worthy. If a bad man will, for a poor reason, accede to the request of one for whom he cares nothing, how much more certainly will the Righteous One himself, for a good reason, espouse the cause of those who are so dear to him! The reasons for confidence in God's faithfulness and interposition are therefore threefold.

1. If an unprincipled judge amongst men will finally do justice, assuredly the righteous Judge of all the earth will do so. His character is something which cannot fail; we may build on that as on the most solid rock.

2. If justice is granted by us for so poor a reason as that of fearing vexatious annoyance, surely God will listen and will respond to reverent and believing prayer. He is far more certain to be won by that in us which pleases him than is an unjust judge by that in his appellant which annoys him. And our approach to him in prayer, our reverent attitude, our faith in his goodness, our trust in his Word, - all this is very pleasing unto our Father.

3. If a man will yield a demand made by one to whom he does not feel himself related, and in whom he is absolutely uninterested, how confident we may be that God will interpose on behalf of those who, as his own sons and daughters, are dear to his parental heart, and who, collectively, constitute "his own elect " - those who are most tenderly and intimately related to him in Jesus Christ his Son!

II. THE SERIOUS FACT OF THE DIVINE DELAY. "Though he bear long with them" (ver. 7), or, "and he delays [to interpose] in their cause" (Dr. Bruce). It is certain that, from our point of view, God does delay to vindicate his people; his answer does not come as soon as we expect it; it is held back so long that we are ready "to faint" (Lose heart). Thus was it many times in the history of Israel; thus has it been frequently in the history of the Church of Christ. How many times have suffering bands of noble martyrs looked up piteously and despondently to heaven as they cried, "How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood?" Thus has it been in multitudes of individual instances; men have been oppressed, or they have been embarrassed, or they have been disappointed, or they have been otherwise afflicted; they have appealed to God for his delivering grace; and they have looked long in vain for the Divine response. They say, "O my God, I cry,... but thou hearest not" (Psalm 22:2).

III. THE EXPLANATION THAT WILL BE FOUND. The time will come when we shall understand why God did delay to answer us. But we may be quite sure that when it comes it will be seen:

1. That it was not in him - not in his absence from us, nor his indifference to us, nor his unreadiness to help us.

2. That it, was in us - in our unreadiness to receive his interposition, or in the misuse we should make of it, or in the greater and truer good to be gained by our patience than by our relief; and thus in the ultimate gain to our own well-being by his withholding.

IV. THE BLESSED FACT THAT IT IS ONLY A DELAY. "I tell you that he will avenge them speedily."

1. It is probable that when God does manifest his power he will work speedy and overwhelming destruction to the guilty; he will avenge "speedily," i.e. quickly, instantaneously. "How are they brought into desolation, as in a moment! they are utterly consumed with terrors. As a dream when one awaketh; so, O Lord, when thou awakest, thou shalt despise their image" (Psalm 73:19, 20).

2. It is certain that in his own time and way God will defend his people, that he will relieve his children, that he will redeem and bless his "own elect." His faithfulness to his Word; his love for them that love him; his intimacy of relation to those who are "in Jesus Christ;" - this is a sure and absolute pledge that the appeal to him cannot be and will not be in vain. Men ought continuously, perseveringly, to pray, and never to lose heart. The day of Divine appearing is entered in the books of God. - C.







Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?
I. THE FAVOURABLE TRAITS OF CHARACTER EXHIBITED IN THE QUESTION PROPOSED BY THIS YOUNG MAN.

1. The question itself was of supreme importance.

2. The question was a personal one.

3. The question was put at an interesting period of life.

4. The question was put by one who possessed an abundance of riches.

5. The question was put with feelings of great modesty and respect.

6. The question was put with great sincerity and earnestness of spirit.

II. THE DEFECTS WHICH WERE ELICITED BY THE SAVIOUR.

1. He evidently expected salvation by the works of the law.

2. He was held in bondage by one reigning idol.

3. He was unwilling to yield to the extensive requirements of the Saviour.

III. THE LESSONS WHICH HIS HISTORY FURNISHES.

1. The exceeding deceitfulness of earthly riches.

2. That we may go far in religious practices, and yet not be saved.

3. We are in great danger from spiritual deception.

4. Religion requires a total surrender of ourselves to God.

(J. Burns, D. D.)

Thou knowest the commandments
I. INQUIRE INTO THE DESIGN WITH WHICH OUR SAVIOUR SPOKE THESE WORDS. His aim was to expose ignorance, self-righteousness, and insincerity, in one whom the spectators were doubtless admiring for his apparent devotion.

1. The man was ignorant of Christ's real character.

2. He expected life as the reward of his own merit.

3. He was not sincerely willing to sacrifice anything for the kingdom of heaven's sake.

II. ENDEAVOUR TO PROMOTE A SIMILAR DESIGN BY A FAITHFUL APPLICATION OF THEM TO OURSELVES. "If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments." These words, duly considered, may —

1. Convince us of sin. There is no doubt, that we ought to keep the commandments. But, have we done so?

2. Drive us to Christ as a Refuge.

3. Guide the steps of the justified believer. The curse of the law it at an end — not its obligation.

(J. Jowett, M. A.)

Yet lackest thou one thing
When Jesus tells us that we cannot be His disciples so long as we lack one thing, does He mean that we must have supplied every moral defect, must have attained every grace, must have vanquished every spiritual enemy, and, in fact, have ceased to sin, before we can be His disciples? That would be simply saying that none of us can hope to be a Christian unless he is morally perfect; and that of course involves the converse, that every true Christian is thus morally perfect, The shock this statement gives to our common sense, and its manifest contradiction of the whole drift of the New Testament, at once drives us from any such interpretation. We find a consistent meaning, I suppose, if we understand Him as declaring that no heart is really Christianized, or converted, so long as there is any one conscious, deliberate, or intentional reservation from entire obedience to the Divine will. So that if I say, Here is one particular sin which I must continue to practise; all the rest of my conduct I freely conform to God's law, but this known wrong I must continue to do — then I am no Christian. If you single out some one chosen indulgence, however secret — a dubious custom in business, a fault of the tongue or temper — and, placing y our hand over that, reply to the all-searching commandment of the Most High, "This I cannot let go; this is too sweet to me, or too profitable to me, or too tightly inter. woven with my constitutional predilections, or too hard to be put off" — then the quality of a disciple is not in you. There is a portion of your being which you do not mean, or try, to consecrate to heaven. And that single persistent offence vitiates the whole character. It keeps you, as a man, as a whole man, on the self. side or world-side, and away from Christ's side. For it not only shuts off righteousness from one district of your nature, and so abridges the quantity of your life, but it inflicts the much more radical damage of denying the supremacy of the law of righteousness, and thus corrupts the quality. It practically rejects the heavenly rule when that rule crosses the private inclination. And that is the essence of rebellion.

(Bishop F. D. Huntington.)

When Jesus spoke thus of one thing fatally lacking to the Jewish ruler, He spoke to us all. But with this difference: that one subtle passion which spoils the whole character for us may not be his passion. With him it seems to have been avarice; he could not bear to turn his private property into public charity. His religion broke down just there: in other respects he had done admirably; he had kept other commandments to the letter — aye, to the letter; not perhaps in the spirit, for all true obedience has one spirit. But so far his literal, formal obedience came, and there gave out. But then you may happen to be so constituted that such an abandonment of wealth would be a very small sacrifice — one of the least that could be required of you; you are not naturally sordid; you are more inclined to be prodigal; and so this would not be a test-point with you. But there is a test-point about you somewhere. Perhaps it is pride; you cannot bear an affront; you will not confess a fault. Perhaps it is personal vanity, ready, to sacrifice everything to display. Perhaps it is a sharp tongue. Perhaps it is some sensual appetite, bent on its unclean gratification. Then you are to gather up your moral forces just here, and till that darling sin is brought under the practical law of Christ, you are shut out from Christ's kingdom. I have no right to love anything so well that I cannot give it up for God. God knows where the trial must be applied. And we are to know that wherever it is applied, there is the one thing lacking, unless we can say "Thy will be done," and bear it. The gospel does not propose itself as an easy system — easy in the sense of excusing from duty. Were we not right then, in the ground taken at the outset, that the power of Christianity over the character is proved by the thoroughness of its action rather than by the extent of surface over which its action spreads? It displays its heavenly energy in dislodging the one cherished sin, in breaking down the one entrenched fortress that disputes its sway. At the battle of Borodino, Napoleon saw that there was no such thing as victory till he had carried the great central redoubt on the Russian line. Two hundred guns and the choicest of his battalions were poured against that single point, and when the plumes of his veterans gleamed through the smoke on the highest embrasures of that volcano of shot, he knew the field was won. It matters very little that we do a great many things morally irreproachable, so long as there is one ugly disposition that hangs obstinately hack. It is only when we come to a point of real resistance that we know the victory of faith overcoming the world. Finally, our renewing and redeeming religion delights to reach down to the roots of the sin that curses us, and spread its healing efficacy there. It yearns to yield us the fulness of its blessing; and this it knows it cannot do till it brings the heart under the completeness of its gentle captivity to Christ. Submission first; then peace, and joy, and love. "Jesus beholding him, loved him"; yet sent him away sorrowing. How tender, and yet how true! tender in the sad affection — true to the stern unbending sacrifice of the Cross! It is because He would have us completely happy that He requires a complete submission. "One thing" must not be left lacking. Whosoever would enter into the full strength and joy of a disciple must throw his whole heart upon the altar.

(Bishop F. D. Huntington.)

How hardly shall they that have riches enter
Rather, if one asked, What peril have riches? one might ask, What peril have they not? First, then, they are wholly contrary to the life of Christ and His passion. That cannot be the safe, the happy lot, which is in all things most opposite to His. Unlike Him, we must ever here be; for we are sinners, He alone, as man, was holy; we are His creatures, He our God. But can it be safe not to be aiming, herein also, to be less unlike? Can it be safe to choose that which in all its pomp and glory was brought before His eye as man, to be wholly rejected by Him; to choose what He rejected, and shrink back from what He chose? This, then, is the first all-containing peril of riches. They are, in themselves, contrary to the Cross of Christ. I speak not now of what they may be made. As we, being enemies, were, through the Cross, made friends, so may all things, evil and perilous in themselves, except sin, become our friends. The Cross finds us in desolation, and they, He says, "have received their consolation"; it finds us in evil things, and they are surrounded by their good things; it comes in want, and they have abundance; in distress, and they are at ease; in sorrow, and they are ever tempted even to deaden their sorrows in this world's miserable joys. Happy only in this, that He who chasteneth whom He loveth, sprinkles His own healthful bitterness over life's destructive sweetness, and by the very void and emptiness of vanity calls forth the unsatisfied soul no more to "spend money on that which is not bread, or its labour on that which satisfieth not." But if it be so hard for the rich to seek to bear the cross, it must be hard for them truly to love Him who bore it. Love longeth to liken itself to that it loves. It is an awful question, my brethren; but how can we love our Lord if we suffer not with Him?

2. Then it is another exceeding peril of riches and ease that they may tend to make us forget that here is not our home, Men on a journey through a stranger's, much more an enemy's, and linger not. Their hearts are in their home; thither are their eyes set; they love the winds which have blown over it; they love the very hills which look upon it, even while they hide it; days, hours, and minutes pass quickly or slowly as they seem to bring them near to it; distance, time, weariness, strength, all are counted only with a view to this, "are they nearer to the faces they love? can they, when shall they reach it?" What then, my brethren, if our eyes are not set upon the everlasting "hills, whence cometh our help"? what if we cherish not those inward breathings which come to us from our heavenly home, hushing, refreshing, restoring, lifting up our hearts, and bidding us flee away and be at rest? What if we are wholly satisfied, and intent on things present? can we be longing for the face of God? or can we love Him whom we long not for? or do we long for Him, if we say not daily, "When shall I come and appear before the presence of God?"

3. Truly there is not one part of the Christian character which riches, in themselves, do not tend to impair. Our Lord placed at the head of evangelic blessings, poverty of spirit, and, as a help to it and image of it, the outward body of the soul of true poverty, poverty of substance too. The only "riches" spoken of in the New Testament, except as a woe, are the unsearchable riches of the glory and grace of Christ, the riches of the goodness of God, the depth of the riches of His wisdom, or the riches of liberality, whereto deep poverty abounded.

4. Poverty is, at least, a fostering nurse of humility, meekness, patience, trust in God, simplicity, sympathy with the sufferings of our Lord or of its fellow (for it knows the heart of those who suffer). What when riches, in themselves, hinder the very grace of mercifulness which seems their especial grace, of which they are the very means? What wonder that they cherish that brood of snakes, pride, arrogance, self-pleasing, self-indulgence, self-satisfaction, trust in self, forgetfulness of God, sensuality, luxury, spiritual sloth, when they deaden the heart to the very sorrows they should relieve? And yet it is difficult, unless, through self-discipline, we feel some suffering, to sympathize with those who suffer. Fulness of bread deadens love. As a rule, the poor show more mercy to the poor out of their poverty, than the rich out of their abundance. But if it be a peril to have riches, much more is it to seek them. To have them is a trial allotted to any of us by God; to seek them is our own. Through trials which He has given us He will guide us; but where has He promised to help us in what we bring upon ourselves? In all this I have not spoken of any grosser sins to which the love of money gives birth: of what all fair men would condemn, yet which, in some shape or other, so many practise. Such are, hardness to the poor or to dependents; using a brother's services for almost nought, in order to have more to spend in luxury; petty or more grievous frauds; falsehood, hard dealing, taking advantage one of another, speaking evil of one another, envying one another, forgetting natural affection. And yet in this Christian land many of these are very common. Holy Scripture warns us all not to think ourselves out of danger of them.

(E. B. Pusey, D. D.)

Notice the deceitfulness of all kinds of riches. Riches may corrupt the very simplest of you. Take care. How many men have received hold of the gallows and hanged themselves just through the deceitfulness of riches. We could trace the history of many a man, and see how he died in the bank, that great mortuary. The man began simply, and was a right genial soul. He brought with him morning light and fresh air wherever he came; and as for cases of poverty, his hand knew the way to his pocket so well that he could find that pocket in the dark. As for religious services, he was there before the door was opened. He never thought the Sabbath day too long. He loved the sanctuary, and was impatient until the gates were opened unto him. He even went to the week-evening services. But then he was only a working man, and only working men should go out into the night air! What does it matter about a few working men being killed by the east wind? The man whose course we are tracing doubled his income and multiplied it by five, and then doubled it again, and then found that he must give up the prayer-meeting. Certainly. Then he proceeded to double his income, and then he gave up the Sunday evening service. There was a draught near where he sat, or there was some person in the third pew from his the appearance of whom he could not bear. How dainty my lord is becoming! Oh, what a nostril he has for evil savour! He will leave presently altogether. He will not abruptly leave, but he will simply not come back again, which really means practically the same thing. He will attend in the morning, and congratulate the poor miserable preacher on the profit of the service. Did he mean to do this when he began to get a little wealthier? Not he. Is he the same man he used to be! No. Is he nearer Christ? He is a million universes away from Christ. He is killed by wealth. He trusted in it, misunderstood, misapplied it. It is not wealth that has ruined him, but his misconception of the possible uses of wealth. He might have been the leader of the Church. There was a lady, whose husband's personalty was sworn at millions, who was unable to attend one of the ladies' meetings organized for the purpose of making garments for the poor, and she said that she could no longer attend, and therefore her subscription would lapse. Let it lapse. If it were a case in connection with this Church I would not have named it. It is because distance of space and time enable me to refer to it without identification that I point the moral, and say that where such wealth is, or such use of wealth, there is rottenness of soul.

(J. Parker, D. D.)

If you are going to offer them to Christ and sanctify them to His use, let us know of it. You cannot bring your intellectual pride with you. If you are going to consecrate your intellect to the study of the profoundest mysteries, if you are going to cultivate the child-like spirit — for the greater the genius the greater the modesty — bring it all! You can bring with you nothing of the nature of patronage to Christ. It is because He has so little, He has so much; because He is so weak, He is so strong. You cannot compliment Him: He lies beyond the range of eulogy. We reach Him by His own way — sacrifice, self-immolation, transformation. A great mystery, outside of words and all their crafty uses, but a blessed, conscious, spiritual experience. Blessed are those to whom that experience is a reality.

(J. Parker, D. D.)

Who
? — The difficulties of salvation, however, do not arise from the want of power in God, for nothing is too hard for Him; He can as easily save a world as He could at first create one. Nor does it arise from any want of sufficiency in Christ, for "He is able to save to the uttermost them that come unto God by Him"; yes, to the uttermost of our desires and necessities, and in the last extremity. The difficulties therefore arise from the nature of salvation itself, and our sinful aversion to It.

I. LET US NOTICE MORE PARTICULARLY SOME OF THE DIFFICULTIES IN THE WAY OF OUR SALVATION.

1. The truths to be believed are some of them very mysterious, and, as Peter says, "Hard to be understood."

2. The sacrifices to be made are also in some degree painful. That which cost our Saviour so much must surely cost us something.

3. The dispositions to be exercised are such as are contrary to the natural bias of our depraved hearts.

4. The duties to be performed. Is there no difficulty more especially in renouncing a customary or constitutional evil, and keeping ourselves from our own iniquity?

5. The trouble and danger to which religion exposes its professors.

II. ATTEMPT TO ANSWER THE INQUIRY IN OUR TEXT. "Who, then, can be saved?" If men were left to themselves, either in a natural or renewed state, and if God were not to work, or to withhold His hand after He had begun to work, none would be saved, no, not one.

1. Such shall be saved as are appointed to it. Of some it is said, "God hath chosen them to salvation, through sanctification of the Spirit, and belief of the truth."

2. Those shall be saved who are truly desirous of it.

3. Those who come to Christ for salvation shall be sure to obtain it.

4. Such as endure to the end shall be saved.

(B. Beddome, M. A.)

Lo, we have left all and followed Thee
I. SELF-DENIAL IS TO BE EXPLAINED.

1. In the first place, it does not consist in giving up one temporal and personal good for a greater temporal and personal good. For this is self-gratifying instead of self-denying. Any entirely selfish person would be willing to do this. One man will sacrifice his property to gratify his ambition, which he esteems a greater good. Another man will sacrifice his property to gratify his appetite, which he esteems a greater good. Another will sacrifice his property to gratify his revenge, which he esteems a greater good. But none of these persons, in these cases, exercise the least self-denial.

2. Nor, secondly, does self-denial consist in giving up a less temporal and personal good for a greater personal and eternal good. The most corrupt and selfish men in the world are willing to give up any or all their temporal and personal interests for the sake of obtaining future and eternal happiness.

3. But, thirdly and positively, self-denial consists in giving up our own good for the good of others. Such self-denial stands in direct contrariety to selfishness.

II. TRUE SELF-DENIAL IS PRODUCTIVE OF THE HIGHEST PRESENT AND FUTURE HAPPINESS. This will appear if we consider —

1. The nature of true self-denial. It consists, as we have seen, in giving up a less private or personal good for a greater public good; or in giving up our own good for the greater good of others. And this necessarily implies disinterested benevolence, which is placing our own happiness in the greater happiness of others. When a man gives up his own happiness to promote the greater happiness of another, he does it freely and voluntarily, because he takes more pleasure in the greater good of another than in a less good of his own.

2. Those who have denied themselves the most have found the greatest happiness resulting from their self. denial.

3. The great and precious promises which are expressly made to self. denial by Christ Himself.Conclusion:

1. It appears, then, that self-denial is necessarily a term or condition of salvation.

2. It appears, also, that the doctrine cannot be carried too far.

3. If Christianity requires men to exercise true self. denial, then the Christian religion is not a gloomy, but a joyful, religion. It affords a hundredfold more happiness than any other religion can afford.

4. It appears from the nature of that self-denial which the gospel requires that the more sinners become acquainted with the gospel, the more they are disposed to hate it and reject it. All sinners are lovers of their own selves, and regard their own good supremely and solely, and the good of others only so far as it tends to promote their own private, personal, and selfish good.

5. It appears from the nature of that self-denial which the gospel requires why sinners are more willing to embrace any false scheme of religion than the true.

(N. Emmons, D. D.)

I. TO BE THE FOLLOWERS OF THE SAVIOUR, IS TO SUSTAIN A CHARACTER OF HIGH AND ESSENTIAL IMPORTANCE.

1. We cannot hold this relationship to the Son of God without believing the testimony given concerning Him, in the Scriptures.

2. Believing in Christ, we must be excited to a practical obedience to His commands, and an imitation of the excellences displayed as an example to man.

3. That same principle of faith will excite also to public profession of the Saviour's name, and active exertion in His cause.

4. Combine in your own characters the principles and the conduct to which we have now adverted. Believe on the Son of God; give an obedience to His perceptive will, and imitate the excellences He displayed; profess publicly that you will be His, and be active and zealous in the promotion of His designs; and then will you indeed and honourably be among those who "follow Him."

II. THAT IN SUSTAINING THIS CHARACTER, PAINFUL SACRIFICES MUST OFTEN BE MADE. Sacrifices for the name's sake of the Son of God are justified and called for, by reasons which might be expanded in very extensive illustration. Remember for whom they are made. For whom? For Him who built the fabric of the universe, and over whose wondrous creation the "morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy." For whom? For Him who is "the brightness of the Father's glory, and the express image of His person," in whom "dwells all the fulness of the Godhead bodily." For whom? For Him who "was rich, but for your sakes became poor," etc. Remember for what these sacrifices are made. They are made for the enjoyment of peace of conscience. They are made for a restoration to the image and the friendship of God. They are made for the refinement and ennobling of the nature. It is to be observed again —

III. THAT PRESENT SACRIFICES IN THE CAUSE, AND AS THE FOLLOWERS OF THE SAVIOUR, ARE TO ISSUE IN A GLORIOUS REWARD.

1. The Saviour promises advantage to be possessed in the present life. In following Christ, we are blessed with repose of conscience; we are exalted to fellowship with God; we are endowed with capacities for improving in the knowledge of mysteries, identified with the highest welfare of our being; we become the companions of the excellent of the earth, and the innumerable company of angels; we are urged to a rapid increase in the graces which dignify the character, and are a pledge of the sublimity of the final destiny; we are supplied with strong consolation for sorrow, and firm support for death; and prospects are opened which stretch away to the immensities of immortality. Are not these "a hundredfold"? Here is the "pearl of great price": and well may we resolve to be as the merchant, and "sell" or "forsake" all we have, and buy it!

2. The Saviour promises advantage to be possessed in the life to come. It is a wise regulation in the decisions of Providence, that our chief reward is reserved for another state of existence. The Almighty intends that, in this world, our lives shall be those of trial; and that the stability of our graces should be proved, by the rigid and sometimes painful discipline to which we are exposed.

(J. Parsons.)

Homes, parents, brethren, wives, children, are things to be desired, because they call forth the highest and purest affections, the exercise of which sheds abroad in the heart the highest and sweetest human joy and satisfaction. Now a man's conversion to the faith of Christ, though it at times, perhaps almost always, estranged him from a heathen home and family, gave him another home, and a far wider family, attached to him in far firmer and closer, and withal more holy bonds, and these were brethren and sisters, fathers and mothers in Christ. The exercise of purified love and affection, and, we may add, reverence towards these, would diffuse through his heart a far holier and deeper joy than he had ever experienced in his former unholy heathen state. Take, for instance, the last chapter of the Epistle to the Romans; look at the number of Christians to whom the apostle sent salutation. In no one case were these salutations a mere heartless form. In every case they were accompanied by the overflow of Christian love, by memories of how they had laboured and suffered together in the same holy cause; in most cases, perhaps, they were the greetings of a father to his children in the faith. What a sea of satisfaction and holy joy does all this disclose! And so it was, though, of course, in different degrees, and under various forms, with every Christian who had given up any worldly advantage for Christ's sake.

(M. F. Sadler.)

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