As thou hast done, it shall be done unto thee. Herein we have an immensely important principle laid down. Sowing and reaping always correspond. "Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap." All actions are seeds, many of which bear fruit in this world, and many in the next. "As thou hast done, it shall be done unto thee." Edom had been merciless and cruel, and the prophet says, "Thy reward shall return upon thine own head." In like manner we find mystic Babylon denounced in Revelation 18:6
(I give the new version as more exact and expressive): "Render unto her even as she rendered, and double unto her the double according to her works: in the cup which she mingled, mingle unto her double." Here you see the principle in force rendering to Babylon as she rendered; doubling to her as she doubled; mingling for her as she mingled. We cannot overestimate the immense importance of this principle. In this life nations and individuals are constantly exemplifying the solemn truth which it involves. We should therefore all carefully remember that we are seed sowing, and sooner or later must come the harvest. (God told Edom, "Thy reward shall be upon thine own head. For as ye have drunk upon my holy mountain, so shall all the heathen drink continually." So Edom drank the cup at the hands of Babylon; Babylon drank it at the hands of the Modes; the Modes and Persians drank it at the hands of the Macedonians; the Macedonians drank it at the hands of the Romans; the Romans, in their turn, drank it at the hands of the barbarians (Dr. Pusey). Thus as they had done, it was done to them. Their reward returned upon their own heed. In Ezekiel 35:15
we have a similar denunciation of Edom: "As thou didst rejoice at the inheritance of the house of Israel, because it was desolate, so will I do unto thee:
and thou shaft be desolate, O Mount Seir, and all Idumea, even all of it." It is, you will notice, exactly the same kind of denuuciation. In Proverbs 26:27
God says, "Whoso diggeth a pit shall fall therein: and he that rolleth a stone, it will return upon him." And in Psalm 9:15
we are told, "The heathen are sunk down in the pit that they made: in the net which they hid is their own foot taken." In Numbers we find Moab plotting to curse Israel, and the curse came upon himself. In Judges we read of Adoni-bezek taken in battle, and maimed in his hands and feet. Adoni-bezek acknowledged that he had himself maimed three score and ten petty princes. His words are not dissimilar to our text, "As I have done, so God hath requited me." He confessed that the law of Nemesis had reached him. The end of Haman will occur to us. Haman dug a pit, and fell therein himself. He set a stone rolling, and it returned upon him. He perished upon the gallows which he prepared for Mordecai. In Psalm 18
. David says, "With the froward thou wilt show thyself froward." He clearly means that Jehovah will be sternly opposed to the sinner's frowardness. A similar passage is in Leviticus 26
., "If ye walk contrary unto me, then will I walk contrary unto you." The stubborn will gain nothing by their obstinacy. God will render to nations and individuals according to their ways. They shall be filled with the fruit of their own doings. The enemies of Daniel, were devoured by the lions which they intended for his destruction. The accusers of the three Hebrews were consumed by the fiery furnace which they kindled for them, The plotters of mischief were taken in their own wickedness and filled with their own ways. "As thou hast done, it shall be done unto thee." In the case of Jezebel we have a terrible example of this kind. In the place where Jezebel caused the dogs to lick the blood of Naboth, the dogs licked her blood. Well said Eliphaz, "I have seen that they who plough iniquity, and sow wickedness, reap the same.
The Jews, who were made to serve strange" masters, were told that it was for serving "strange" gods. And our Lord himself has said, "With the same measure that ye mete it shall be measured to you again." Society has been likened to the echoing hills. It gives the speaker his words back again, doleful groan for groan, and joyous song for song. Thus "with the same measure that ye mete it shall be measured to you again." Jacob, who deceived his father, was in turn, and similarly, deceived by his sons. The Egyptians killed the Hebrew children; the God of the Hebrews slew the firstborn of Egypt. "As thou hast done, it shall be done unto thee." The words, we know, were addressed to Esau, and we have had abundant proof of the truth of the principle which they involve. But let us briefly notice the converse. "Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap." If the ungodly cannot sow hemlock, nightshade, and darnel, without reaping the same, so God's servants cannot sow seeds of kindness, seeds of truth, seeds of light, seeds of heavenly blessing, without reaping in duo season. The great harvest of well doing, like that of evil doing, is indeed hereafter, but it has its tokens and firstfruits even now. Lot us notice, for example, our adorable Redeemer's beatitude, "Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy." We know that the merciful are those who upon gospel principles are sympathetic, helpful, loving, and kind. We know also that hereafter Christ will say to those on his right hand, "Come, ye blessed,... inherit the kingdom... I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.... Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it unto one of these my brethren, even these least, ye did it unto me." Hereafter, it is clear, the merciful will obtain mercy. But at present the like principle is at work. "As thou hast done, it shall be done unto thee" The kind and merciful now
enjoy much blessedness; the unmerciful are now
unblest. A man whose sympathies are all dried up lives in a region of wintry blight. He walks in no glorious sunshine and in no joyous liberty. He knows nothing of the bliss that comes from open-hearted sympathy. There is darkness within. Darkness covers the face of the deep, and the Spirit of God does not move on the lace of the waters. But the merciful man, the man who is kind and sympathizing, the man who is forgiving and for bearing, the man who has a kind excuse for others, the man who looks on the charitable side of a case, the man who thinketh no evil, - that man will reap here as well as here after. In his straits and afflictions he will find, as a general rule, the stream of kindness flow back again. The world will learn mercy by his mercy, and show some feeling for one whose wont was to sympathize with adversity. "The merciful man doeth good to his own soul" (Proverbs 11:17
). The widow of Sarepta and the woman of Shunem, for kindness to the Lord's prophets, received a prophet's reward. The alms of Cornelius brought good to his own soul. God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love. "As thou hast done, it shall be done unto thee." Now this is one of the original principles of the creation of God. God said, "Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit, after his kind.
The vine yielded grapes; the fig tree, figs; the olive tree, olives. The principle was universal. So it is in the moral world. What a man soweth, that shall he also reap." There is no altering the law naturally, morally, or spiritually. If a mother spoils a child, we know what the harvest will be. If a man takes to intemperate habits, we know what the harvest will be. And we all expect an idle, indolent man to come to disgrace and shame. Let no one be deceived. "God is not mocked... whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap." Often and often souls have been deceived. Eve was deceived, Jacob was deceived, Ahab was deceived, David was deceived; but as they sowed, they reaped. God was not mocked. And so with us. Our words, our actions, our habits, are seeds - seeds that will spring up. Oh, what will the harvest be
? In this life there is, as I have shown, no little reaping ever going on. Nations and individuals are constantly learning the meaning of God's words to Edom, "As thou hast done, it shall be done unto thee." But the great harvest is at the end of the world. The Lord of the harvest is at hand. My text, which I have said, has a present fulfilment, especially amongst nations, will have its complete accomplishment with regard to individuals when Christ's judgment throne is set up. Then shall every man receive the things done in the body, Everyone shall receive - that it, carry away with him - the things done in the body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. The bad - the sins - must each be as a scorpion sting throughout eternity. Every sinner will be his own hell. The memory of his sins will be perpetual torment. In days when men argue against a future hell, it may be asked - Who will argue that justice must extinguish the memory and take away the remorse of the sinner's wilful transgressions? The recollection of the unpardoned sins of a lifetime will in itself be terrible. Let us, in this day of grace, when Jesus of Nazareth passeth by, offering salvation and everlasting life, let us every one come to him without delay. Let us accept his forgiving mercy, that our sins may be blotted out. Let us yield to the guidance of his Holy Spirit. And let us put on the Lord Jesus Christ, that we may be able to stand in the judgment. Henceforth may this be our language -
"Jesus, thy blood and righteousness
My beauty are, my glorious dress;
Midst flaming worlds in these arrayed,
With joy shall I lift up my head"! A.C.T.
But thou shouldst not have looked on the day of thy brother. The commentary on this prophecy is supplied by every traveller who has explored the recesses of the mountain of Esau. Every people that has the privileges of Edom, and like Edom abuses them, is without right to expect a more favourable issue from the hand of God. The general sentiment implied in this prophecy is, that a nation in prosperity abusing its advantages to the injury of less fortunate peoples, or even neglecting them in their distress, incurs by its conduct the displeasure of God. Apply the subject —
1. To the religious character and improvement of England. It is not easy to form an adequate conception of the diffusive and pervading influence of British power. That extraordinary influence is steadily, continually increasing; England is rising to be the great leader of public opinion among the nations. On all great political, commercial, moral, social, and religious questions the world is now looking to Britain. Then we plead with you on behalf of your country. You are the light of your country, and by making it luminous you become, in it, the light of the world.
2. To the conduct of England towards such people as have a peculiar claim upon its regard. The Edomites ought to have assisted, and not oppressed, the Jews. To us the sister island is surely as intimately related as Israel could have been to Edom. As to the colonies, little need be said. As England sows, so shall it reap.