The Duty and Reward of Honouring God
Original Secession Magazine
1 Samuel 2:30
Why the LORD God of Israel said, I said indeed that your house, and the house of your father, should walk before me for ever…

It is abundantly evident that God is eminently worthy of the highest honour.

I. THERE ARE SPECIAL FORMS IN WHICH IN SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES WE MAY BE CALLED UPON TO HONOUR GOD. These are various as the changing nature of our lot in Providence, and the characteristics of the age and place in which we live. But there are common forms of honouring Him which are incumbent upon all who are blessed with gospel privileges.

1. As rebellious lost and ruined creatures, it is a primary and fundamental duty that we honour God by obeying His commend, to believe on His Son whom He hath sent as the Saviour of mankind sinners.

2. Another important way of honouring God is by having a strict regard to the ordinances of His worship. And we honour Him in a special manner by strictly observing, and carefully conserving, and earnestly defending any of these ordinances., which for the time may be corrupted or neglected or denied. Those thus honour Him, for example, who "keep the Sabbath from polluting it" in a time such as this when Sabbath desecration in a variety of open and flagrant forms so generally and lamentably prevails.

3. God is also honouring in our holding fast and holding forth His revealed truths, especially those which are being ignored, made light of, corrupted, or denied.


1. God sometimes honours those who honour Him in the honour they receive during their lives from their fellowmen. He so deals with them in His providence as to mark them out as those whom He delights to honour. Many instances of this are found not only in Scripture, but in everyday life, as in the following case. There was a large mercantile firm whose annual stock taking was done on Sabbath. Mr. C — , a superior clerk in their establishment, had, without scruple always taken a principal part in this work. Having become savingly impressed with Divine things, he felt, when the first annual stock-taking thereafter came round, that he could not again dishonour God by engaging in his secular calling on the Sabbath, whatever might be the consequences of his refusal. He therefore respectfully but firmly informed his employers that he Could not again take part in the usual Sabbath stock-taking. The Saturday came, and he was finally asked whether or not he would be at his accustomed post on the morrow. He firmly declined being present, and received the ominous answer that a letter from the firm would be sent to his home in the evening. Late at night the letter came. Too excited and nervous to do so himself, he asked his sister to open it and read. It began, as he expected, viz., that in consequence of his refusal to perform accustomed duties his employers discharged him from their service; but the letter continued, "we so exceedingly admire your firm, straightforward conscientiousness, and feel so strongly that we can place implicit confidence in you, that we offer you a partnership in our firm, and feel sure that your presence with us will be a blessing." The following stock taking, we may add, was left in Mr. C —'s hands, under whose arrangements it was satisfactorily done without encroaching on the Sabbath. And never again was the sacred day desecrated in the firm in which he bad become so valued a partner.

2. Again, God sometimes honours those who honour Him in the esteem in which they are held by after generation. "The memory of the just is blessed." This is abundantly illustrated in Sacred and Church history. It is seen in the honourable repute in which the Patriarchs and Prophets and Apostles are held wherever the inspired writings are read and received. It is seen in the admiration felt throughout Protestant Christendom for the great leaders of the Reformation, as Luther, Zwingle, Calvin, Wickliffe, Cranmer, and Knox. It is seen in the esteem in which Knox, and Melville, and Henderson are held throughout the Presbyterian world. It is seen on a smaller scale in the honour which, in Scotland at least, attaches to the memory of the Erskines and other Fathers of the Secession, to the memory of Dr. M'Crie, the historian of the Scottish Reformation and Reformers, and to the memory of Chalmers, and other founders of the Free Church, and to the memory of many others who readily suggest themselves.

3. Again, God sometimes honours in their posterity those who honour Him. More than two hundred years ago, the Marquis of Argyle was beheaded in Edinburgh, nominally for the crime of high treason, but in reality for his eminent honouring of God as a pious Christian, a staunch Presbyterian, and a devoted Covenanter. And is it not noteworthy, as illustrative of our theme, that the Argyle family, whilst still Presbyterian, has long occupied a foremost place amongst the Scottish nobility, for talent and character and influence, and that one of his lineal descendants — the present Marquis of Lorne — has been honoured to become son-in-law to our Queen? We may give another and similar recent illustration. The celebrated John Welsh, minister of Ayr, and son-in-law to the illustrious Reformer Knox, was condemned to death as a traitor, for his firm and uncompromising opposition to the Erastian and Prelatic encroachment of King James the Sixth upon the Scottish Church. This sentence was commuted to one of perpetual exile from his native land. The unfeeling and brutal treatment given to his wife the daughter of Knox — by that vain monarch, when she sought some remission of this punishment to save her husband's life, is well known to every reader of Scottish Church History. And what do we now find with regard to their posterity? The Royal House of Stuart has long since been banished from the throne of Great Britain. And, according to the Boston Advertiser, the Honourable John Welsh, who last month arrived in this country as Minister Plenipotentiary of the United States to the British Court, is a lineal descendant of that very Welsh, minister of Ayr, who, for fidelity to the King of Zion, was unjustly condemned for treason against his earthly king. But whether those who honour God be honoured in such respects as we have referred to or not, they are and ever will be honoured by God Himself. They have His present approbation and esteem, both in and for honouring Him And the converse of all this is equally true. Those who despise God — who despise Him by slighting or rejecting His offers of Himself in the gospel to be their God in Christ — who despise Him by neglecting or corrupting the ordinances of His worship — who despise Him by making light of, or parting with, or rejecting any of His revealed truths — "shall be lightly esteemed." They shall be so necessarily, for there can be no true and lasting honour apart from moral excellence. Those who despise God are held in light esteem by those whose esteem is most worth having. They are at heart often despised even by wicked men, who for selfish purposes may fawn upon and flatter them in their outward prosperity. Their posterity often lose any outward honour inherited from them, and become otherwise dishonoured. "The seed of evildoers shall never be renowned." But whether those who despise God be much or little esteemed by their fellowmen, God Himself holds them in light esteem. All the plaudits, and honours, and rewards which the world can heap upon them cannot counterbalance this. "He that sits in heaven shall laugh; the Lord shall hold them in derision."

(Original Secession Magazine.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: Wherefore the LORD God of Israel saith, I said indeed that thy house, and the house of thy father, should walk before me for ever: but now the LORD saith, Be it far from me; for them that honour me I will honour, and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed.

WEB: "Therefore Yahweh, the God of Israel, says, 'I said indeed that your house, and the house of your father, should walk before me forever.' But now Yahweh says, 'Be it far from me; for those who honor me I will honor, and those who despise me shall be lightly esteemed.

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