The Berean Expositor
Volume 12 - Page 71 of 160
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heirs of promise therefore possessed no merit whereby they could lay claim to the land.
The movement which ended in their deliverance was entirely the work of God:--
"Speak not thou in thy heart . . . . . saying, For my righteousness the Lord hath brought
me in to possess this land . . . . . Not for thy righteousness, or for the uprightness of thine
heart dost thou go to possess their land . . . . . but that He may perform the Word which
the Lord sware unto thy fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob" (Deut. 9: 4-6).
There is yet one further reason for the long sojourn in Egypt before the occupation of
the land, which bears upon the purpose of every individual life, and that is experience.
They were destined to be a Kingdom. The law was to come forth from their holy city
unto all the earth. They were to be the custodians of the written revelation of God, and
the guardians of His holy Law. Moses himself was most thoroughly trained under
Pharaoh for his future great work, being learned in all the arts of the Egyptians. Israel,
too, during their stay would become possessed of a wide knowledge and ability, which,
humanly speaking, could never have come to them had they remained in Canaan in the
same station and manner of life as that of the twelve sons of Jacob.
Every child of God is gathering experience. He may never perform in the life to come
the occupation wherewith he earns his bread in this life, but he that is faithful in that
which is least is faithful in that which is much. A faithful and honest fulfillment of life's
little duties here may be fitting one for higher service there. In Building there are the
great fundamental principles of righteousness expressed in the line and the plummet, the
square and the foundation. In Agriculture there is the ploughing and the sowing before
the reaping. All spheres of life contribute their quota, and like Israel in Egypt we are
being prepared for higher things.
The Author of the Natural History of Enthusiasm may be quoted here with advantage.
After having spoken of the misconception of heaven as a place of inertness and quiescent
bliss, he says:--
"But if there be a real and necessary, not merely a shadowy, agency in heaven as well
as on earth; and if human nature is destined to act its part in such an economy, then its
constitution, and the severe training it undergoes, are at once explained; and then also the
removal of individuals in the very prime of their fitness for useful labour ceases to be
impenetrably mysterious. This excellent mechanism of matter and mind, which, beyond
any other of His works, declares the wisdom of the Creator, and which under His
guidance is now passing the season of its first preparation, shall stand up anew from the
dust of dissolution, and then, with freshened powers, and with a store of hard-earned and
practical wisdom for its guidance, shall essay new labours in the service of God, Who by
such instruments chooses to accomplish His designs of beneficence. That so prodigious a
waste of the highest qualities should take place, as is implied in the notions which many
Christians entertain of the future state, is indeed hard to imagine. The mind of man,
formed as it is to be more tenacious of its active habits than even of its moral
dispositions, is, in the present state, trained, often at an immense cost of suffering, to the
exercise of skill, of fore-thought, of courage, of patience; and ought it not to be inferred,
unless positive evidence contradicts the supposition, that this system of education bears
some relation of fitness to the state for which it is an initiation? Shall not the very same
qualities which here are so sedulously fashioned and finished, be actually needed and
used in that future world of perfection?  Surely the idea is inadmissible, that an
instrument wrought up at so much expense to a polished fitness for service, is destined to