the performance of duty, otherwise they may miss their reward. The question then arises, What is the precise place which the doctrine of rewards occupies in the Christian system? Man has plainly forfeited. all title to reward; nay, he has become liable to punishment; but we are taught in the sacred Scriptures, that a title to acceptance with God, and a reward from Him, have been purchased by Christ for all His people. The only right then which any man possesses to a reward, is founded on the imputation of Christ's righteousness to him, as the only righteousness which can possibly merit a reward. Still, no sooner has a believer's title to a reward been made good, on the ground of Christ's righteousness, than it becomes a question which the principles of eternal equity alone can determine-What is the amount of the reward which each individual believer shall receive? Hence these remarkable words, "God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love.”

"Thou renderest to Observe, it is not

every man according to his work." on account of his work: this were to make our works the ground of our title to an eternal inheritance. The doctrine of Scripture is, that we receive a reward, not on account of our works, but according to our works. Our works are not the ground on which we receive the reward, but they are the standard or measure according to which that reward is bestowed. Hence, in various passages, we find this doctrine distinctly held

forth" He that giveth to a disciple a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple shall not lose his reward." His reward for what? Plainly for that individual action. "They that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever." In the heavenly firmament there are various degrees of splendour; for " one star differeth from another star in glory," and this glory is proportioned to the progress which believers have made in holiness during the course of their earthly career.

On these principles the warning of Jesus, in the verse before us, has a peculiar force. Every good work, every deed of righteousness must be done with diligence, with alacrity and zeal, and besides, the motive from which it flows must be carefully guarded; for an improper or unscriptural motive may vitiate even an otherwise good action; so vitiate it, that although it may receive the applause of men here, it may altogether miss its expected reward hereafter.

This doctrine is illustrated by our Lord, in the first instance, by a reference to the duty of almsgiving.


MAT. VI. 2-4,

V. 2. "Therefore, when thou doest thine alms, do


not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues, and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward." Almsgiving is a duty which is frequently inculcated throughout both the Old and the New Testaments. We may select a few passages for the purpose of showing how much higher the position which this duty occupies in the Word of God, than it does in the estimation of many amongst ourselves. Deut. xv. 7-11, "If there be among you a poor man of one of thy brethren within any of thy gates, in thy land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not harden thy heart, nor shut thine hand, from thy poor brother; but thou shalt open thine hand wide unto him, and shalt surely lend him sufficient for his need, in that which he wanteth. Beware that there be not a thought in thy wicked heart, saying, The seventh year, the year of release, is at hand; and thine eye be evil against thy poor brother, and thou givest him nought, and he cry unto the Lord against thee, and it be sin unto thee. Thou shalt surely give him, and thine heart shall not be grieved when thou givest unto him: because that for this thing the Lord thy God shall bless thee in all thy works, and in all that thou puttest thine hand unto. For the poor shall never cease out of the land: therefore I command thee, saying, Thou shalt open thine hand wide unto thy brother, to thy poor, and to thy needy, in thy

land." Exod. xxii. 21-24, "Thou shalt neither vex a stranger nor oppress him: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt. Ye shall not afflict any widow, or fatherless child. If thou afflict them in anywise, and they cry at all unto me, I will surely hear their cry: and my wrath shall wax hot, and I will kill you with the sword; and your wives shall be widows, and your children fatherless." In beautiful accordance with the spirit of such injunctions as these, the Israelites were commanded to leave the "forgotten sheaf” in the field in the time of harvest; not to "go over the boughs of the olive-tree a second time;" nor "twice glean the grapes of their vineyard;" but that what remained after the first gathering should be left for "the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow." David declares, Ps. xli. 1, "Blessed is he that considereth the poor; the Lord will deliver him in time of trouble;" and Solomon, to the same purpose, says, Prov. xix. 17, "He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the Lord; and that which he hath given will He pay him again." And passing to the New Testament, we find our blessed Redeemer testing the religion of the amiable young man who came to Him by the trying command, "Go and sell all that thou hast, and give to the poor." The result showed that the living principle of Christianity was awanting: "He went away sorrowful, for he was very rich." In the same spirit John the Baptist commanded the

multitudes who followed him, professing a wish to be baptised of him, "He that hath two coats let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise." Such is the generous spirit of the religion of Christ, and, accordingly, an apostle expressly teaches, 1 John iii. 17, "But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?" The Pharisees are not blamed by our Lord as having neglected this important Christian duty. They appear, on the contrary, to have abounded in it, but from no other motive than to be seen of men. They were wont to give their alms in the most public and ostentatious way; and in using the words, "Do not sound a trumpet before thee," Jesus probably alludes to a custom which prevailed among men of wealth in Eastern countries, of summoning the poor by sound of trumpet to receive alms on a certain day. From a similar spirit of ostentation, the hypocritical Pharisees selected the synagogues and the streets as the most public places for the distribution of their alms; and in doing so, their prevailing desire was to "have glory of men." Nor did they lose their reward: men saw, admired and applauded. So highly were the Scribes and the Pharisees esteemed, that it was a current saying among the Jews, that if only two men were to enter heaven, the one would be a Scribe and the other a

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