The priests in Israel were allowed to approach nearer to
God than others, and were enriched with many excellent privileges; yet these
favorite ones were to have no possession in the land. Was this because he
loved them less than the other tribes, or would show himself unkind to his
them? No! It was because he loved them extremely, and would give them no
less than himself for their inheritance! Why, then, should it seem hard to
me to have little or nothing in this world—who has such a possession as the
Most High God, possessor of heaven and earth?
But, replies repining Incredulity, "These priests were
secured of the tithe, and a certain portion their sacrifices; now, had I
only means for a sufficient and honest livelihood, I would seek no more."
Ah! wicked fears, impious doubts! Is it not in the power of the same Lord to
furnish two tables alike? They fed at his altar, at the table of his
offerings, that they might ever be present with him. Was not this kindness?
I feed at the table of his providence, that I may daily make my prayer to
him, "Give us this day our daily bread," and depend upon him. Is not this
kindness? Is not the one as sure as the other?
A bad season made a thin harvest, consequently the tithe
was less. The provider is the same Lord—the promise is the same truth—and
all things are still in the same hand. Now, how agreeable and befitting is
it, that such as are 'a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a
people to be his very own'—as all his saints are—should be deprived of these
creature-enjoyments, which might deprive them of nobler privileges, and more
spiritual possessions! It is the wisdom of those who would dwell near God,
to be divorced from the world. But since this, in the greatness of our
folly, is not our choice—it is good in God, in his infinite wisdom, to
confer such kindness on us, as it were against our will; thus keeping us
empty-handed of worldly possessions, that we may inherit eternal glory.
He who is, though deprived of all earthly things, not
only pleased—but transported with this promise, "I am your possession, I am
your inheritance," has a blissful life! If the whole world were bestowed on
that man—that would not make him more happy.
Oh! consummate madness!—to mistake between imaginary and
real happiness; shadowy and substantial pleasures; transient and eternal
joys! This world at best, is under the curse. But the divine inheritance
contains fields of glory, paradises of bliss, rivers of life, oceans of
love, scenes of pleasures, heavens of ecstasy! Yes, in a word, the plenitude