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prince give a gift unto any of his sons, the inheritance thereof shall be his sons', it shall be their possession by inheritance. But, if he give a gift of his inheritance to one of his servants, then it shall be his to the year of liberty; after, it shall return to the prince: but his inheritance shall be his sons' for them. Moreover, the prince shall not take of the people's inheritance by oppression, to thrust them out of their possession; but he shall give his sons' inheritance out of his own possession; that my people be not scattered every man from his possession,” Ezek. xlvi. 16–18. And the Saviour's comment on these words is, “ Whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance; but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.” Sometimes my Master withheld my daily penny from me, in order to teach my faith to call things that are not as though they were; as sometimes God speaks of things as past which are yet to come; so faith calls things her own which she is not in possession of; and thus faith becomes the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen, Heb. xi. 1. But my friends may object to this my Will, and say, a Testament is of no force while the testator liveth. Though this in some cases is true, yet not in all. We enjoy the legacy of the New Testament; and yet it is witnessed that the testator ever liveth; and many enjoyed the legacy before Christ's death, while the sword
of justice slept. In the course of my ministry I have had several persons come to consult me about making their wills; and their anxiety seemed to be most about pitching upon some stable arm of flesh for an executor, and an honest lawyer to make the will. I thought they would have no better success in their search for an honest lawyer than Solomon had in his search after an honest woman, Eccl. vii. 28. I observed that none of those testators said any thing about Jesus Christ having to do with the settlement of their matters; the Wonderful Counsellor was left quite out of the question; they took counsel, but not of him. However, Abraham goes another way to work; he pitches on Eleazar, his steward, who was a faithful, God-fearing man, to be his executor. He first swears him by God, and then puts his goods into his hands, and tells him how to act; and sends him in faith to fetch a wife for his son and heir; and she is to be one chosen by the Angel of the everlasting Covenant; and if the Angel did not perform what Abraham's faith had engaged him in, the executor was to be cleared from the testator's oath.
Abraham, having thus made his will, and by faith engaged his God and Saviour, who is heir of all things, rich in blessings, just in all his ways, and able to execute whatever faith entrusts him with, dies and leaves his son with Christ in faith. Isaac reaps the benefit of his father's confidence,
First, he gets a valuable wife, Gen. xxiv. 67; and one who was prevalent with God in prayer: a loving, believing, praying wife, is a help-meet indeed, Gen. xxv. 22. Secondly, she is made fruitful, in answer to Isaac's prayer; Isaac sows his ground, and reaps that year “an hundred fold; and the Lord blessed him, and the man waxed great, and went forward, and grew until he became very great,” Gen. xxvi. 12, 13. This is settling matters agreeably to the command of God, “ Leave thy fatherless children; I will preserve them alive; and let thy widows trust in me,” Jer. xlix. 11.
Faith seemed to have the greatest share in Amram's will, both in saving the life of Moses, and in preserving him. Faith saw that he was a proper child, and this weakened the fear of the king's commandment. Faith builds the floating cradle, and for three months hides him; the prayer of faith engages God's protecting care over him, the flags cover him, and no crocodile durst approach him. Poor Moses was condemned as soon as formed; for the sentence fell on the gender, not on the crime: ye shall kill the males. Thus was he dead by the law of a tyrant as soon as formed, and was to enter the valley of death's shadow as soon as brought forth. But, notwithstanding this, faith leaves the little one with God, who withholds the wicked from performing his enterprise. The lawgiver must bring up the child at his own expence;
and he that signed the death warrant
becomes the grandfather of the adopted child. Moses inust live at his own father's house, under the protection of the princess, while the faith of the parents received a double reward: first their son lives; and, secondly, they are paid from the court for nursing their own child. Faith at last appears as an hereditary portion in Moses; he disdains his adoption, eyes the reward promised to faith, chooses the cross of Christ, and sees him who is invisible, becomes a prophet, a mediator, and at last is made king in Jeshurun. These are some of the blessed effects of making God the guardian of our offspring. Isaac and Jacob do the same by their children; first, they bless them in the name of God; leave them, and what they have, with him in faith, and then implore his grace and providence in their behalf.
To make a will, and leave one's offspring in the hands of a rich worldling, without prayer to God or faith in him, is the only way to have our children tossed about by the devil from the cradle, Mark ix. 22. Ilowever, none but those who believe in Christ have this privilege of leaving their property with God, and who leave what is really their own.
An estate gotten by dishonesty will soon be scattered by God's curse: but, if gotten honestly in the fear of God, in answer to the prayer of faith, it is sanctified and sweetened to us with a sense of his everlasting love in Christ Jesus. Thus it is that the blessing of God, and
that only, maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it, Prov. X. 22. Oh! it is sweet to look back, and see every temporal and spiritual blessing appear as so many answers to prayer, and as so many precious promises fulfilled to us! Answers to prayer prove us to be sons of God by faith, 1John v. 14, 15; and spiritual blessings prove us to be the heirs of promise. Oh blessed fraternity! Oh blessed inheritance! I have taken thy precepts to be my heritage for ever, said the sweet Psalmist of Israel, Psal. cxix. 111.
Reader, whatever will and testament thou art obliged to make before men, in order to secure thy property to posterity, be sure to let thy faith make another before God. This last will be the best security. The integrity and the uprightness of men may fail; “ But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him; and his righteousness unto children's children."
Reader, fare thee well.