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world. Does the meanest house or cottage declare itself to be the work of some intelligent agent? And does it not much more evidently appear, that this commodious and magnificent structure must have been planned and reared by proportionable wisdom, grandeur, and power? Itis the work of Christ ; and let it often be devoutly surveyed and contemplated in this view ; and from thence let us infer his divine glories, and read in them his matchless condescensions. Let us learn with how much security and delight we may commit our immortal souls to him who stretched out the heavens, and laid the foundations of the earth, and shall endure the same when they shall be dissolved and perish. Let us view him also as the Lord of the Church ; and consider the fabric of grace as raised to his honour ; that in that as his temple, every one might speak of his glory ; and let all the churches, and every member of each, make it their faithful care to honour him more and more.
In this vicw may we hold fast the confidence, and rejoicing of our hope, stedfast unto the end, and never suffer any one to take our crown, or terrify, or allure us, from that faithful subjection of soul to Christ, which his perfections and our obligations, concur to demand. Who of us can say, he is beyond all danger of being enshared by an evil heart of unbelief, of being hardened through the deceitfulness of sin ? Let us then, in compliance with so salutary and necessary an exhortation, redouble our guard ; let us watch over ourselves and each other; exhorting one another daily, while it is called to-day, and charging our souls by the awful authority of the living God, that after having approached so near him, that after having so solemnly professecl to devote ourselves to him, nothing may ever prevail upon us deliberately and wickedly to depart from him.
He repeats the caution against unbelief, as what would firevent their entcring
into a rest much nobler than that in Canaan. Ch. iii. 14.-iv.111.
14 THESE cautions are of the highest importance : For we are
I made partakers of the grace of Christ, if we hold fast the 15 beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end ; forasmuch as it · is said, “ To-day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, 16 as they did in the provocation in the wilderness.” For some who
heard that was spoken by the mouth of God himself, provoked him
to indignation; but not all they who came out of Egypt by Moses. 17 And by whom was he provoked forty years ? Was it not with those 18 who sinned? whose carcases fcll in the wilderness? And to whom
did he swear that they should not enter into his rest, but unto those 19 who were disobedicnt? o We see then that] they could not enter iv. because of unbelief. Let us therefore fear, lest a promise being
left unto us of entering into his rest, any of us should seem* to 2 come short of it. For we are made partakers of the good tidings
of the promised rest, as they also were. But the word which they
heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that 3 heard it. For we believing, have* entered into rest ; as he said,
“ So I sware in my wrath they should not enter into my rest;"
although r his works were finished (and the seventh-day rest was 4 instituted] from the foundation of the world. For het somewhere
saith concerning the seventh day thus, “ And God rested the 5 seventh day from all his works" (Gen. ii. 2.) And in this
place again, “ I have sworn they shall not enter into my rest.” 6 Seeing then it remaineth that some must enter into it, and
they to whom the good tidings were at first declared, did not 7 enter because of unbelief; he again determineth a certain day,
saying (by] David, “ This day, after so long a time had passed
since ihe institution of the sabbath, I as it is said, this day if ye 8 will hear his voice, harden not your hearts." Now if Joshuail
had given them the rest here referred to, he would not after that 9 have spoken concerning another day. Therefore it is plain there
remaineth a rest for the people of God: the celebration of a sab10 bath, which will be eternal. For he who hath entered into this his
final rest, hath also himself ceased from his works, as God rested 11 from his own. Let us therefore labour to enter into that rest, that
no one may fall into final ruin by the same example of disobedience, which hath proved futal to 80 many thousands.
REFLECTIONS. • What can be so desirable as to partake of Christ, and all the saving benefits which believers receive in and by him, by virtue of that relation to which he condescends to admit them? Let us seek this happiness by persevering faith, and holding fast the beginning of our confi. dence stedfast unto the end ; bearing still in our minds the melancholy example of the children of Israel, who though by such wonderful interpositions led out of Egypt, were doomed by the divine vengeance to die in the wilderness for their unbelief. That obstructed their entrance into Canaan; nor can we ever hope to partake of the land of promise above, if we resign that faith, which is the spring of every other grace that is necessary to prepare us for it. Let us take the alarm, and exercise that pious fear which so well consists with a cheerful hope in God, commituing our souls to his fatherly care. We hear the word of salvation ; let us pray that it may profit us ; and for that purpose, let us be often realizing to our minds its divine authority, and those invisible objects which it opens upon us. It speaks of a rest remaining for the people of God; and O! how much nobler a rest, than that of Canaan. Our true Joshua leads us on, as the captain of our salvation. He conquers all our spiritual enemies by his invincible
* “ We believing enter"-9. d. faith is the only way. Pierce, So M.-“We who are believers are to go into that rest, spoken of in this scripture : So I sware, &c. W. + Or rather It, viz. the scripture. W.
Since the entrance of the Jews into Canaan. M.
word, and will divide us an inheritance, an everlasting inheritance there, if we are faithful to the death. To-day, after so long a time, are we still called to pursue it : let us therefore give diligence, that we may enter : and let those sabbaths, which are instituted in kind commemoration of God's having rested on the seventh day from his labours, and which are intended in some degree to anticipate the heavenly rest, be improved for this valuable purpose. So shall we ere long rest from our works, as God did from his, and after the labours of these few mortal days, shall enjoy immortal tranquillity and repose : we shall pass a perpetual sabbath in those elevations of pure devotion, which the sublimest moments of our most sacred and happy days here can teach us but imperfectly to conceive.
The furmer caution enforced by the omniscience of God, and the character.
of Christ as our High Priest. Ch. iv. 12.-1.1-14.
T ET me entreat your most serious attention to these solemn ad. 12 L monitions : For the word of God is living and efficacious,
and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the separating r of the soul and spirit, and of the joints and the marrow:
and is an exact discerner of the thoughts and intentions of the 13 heart. And there is no creature which is not manifested in his
presence: but all things are naked and laid bare before the eyes of 14 him to whom we are to give an account.Having therefore a
great high-priest, who hath passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son 15 of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high
priest who is incapable of sympathizing with our infirmities, but
one who hath been tried in every respect, in like manner with us, 16 yet without sin. Let us therefore approach with freedom of
speech to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy, and
find grace for our seasonable assistance. v. Now* every high-priest taken from among men, is constituted
for men over things which relate to God, that he may offer both 2 gifts and sacrifices for sins; being able to proportion his compas
sion to those that are ignorant and wandering, because he himself 3 also is incident to infirmity. And for this reason it is necessary
that he should offer sacrifice for sins on his own account, as well 4 as for the people. And this office no man taketh to himself, but 5 he who is called of God, as Aaron was. So Christ also did not
glorify himself to be made an high-priest; but he raised him to
This dignity who saith unto him (Ps. ii. 7.) “ Thou art my Son, @ this day have I begotten thee.” As also in another place (cx. 4.)
he saith, “ Thou art a priest for ever according to the order of 7 Melchisedec.” Such a priest is ours, who in the days of his flesh
offered prayers and supplications, with a strong cry and tears, to
Tep is here and in many other places properly rendered Now. M. and w. Vol. II.
him who was able to save him from death : and he was heard in be · ing delivered from that which he feared, and which threw him into an 8 agony. Though he were a son, yet he learned obedience by the 9 things which he suffered : and being consecrated to God by his
blood, he became the author of eternal salvation to all them that 10 obey him ; being called of God an high-priest, according to the 11 order of Melchisedec. Concerning whom we have many things
to say r; and hard to be understood; because you are sluggish of 12 hearing. For whereas you ought, for the time ye have been under
the instructions of the gospel, to be teachers of others, ye have need again that one should teach you what are the first elements
of the divine oracles; and are become persons who have need of 13 milk, and not of strong food. For every one who partaketh of
milk, is unskilful in the word of righteousness*, for he is but an 14 infant. But strong food belongeth to full-grown men, who by
habit have their senses exercised to distinguish both good and evil.
REFLECTIONS. • May we all experience more of the efficacy of the divine word upon our hearts. May we all be more and more thoughtful of the account we are to give of ourselves to God; and of that perfect discerning which he has, not only of our actions, but the secrets of our hearts ; that we may never go about to conceal any thing from him, before whom all things are naked and open. When we consider how many evils this all-penetrating eye hath discerned there, let it teach us to rejoice in that compassionate High-Priest, who hath undertaken our cause ; which could never succeed in any other hand. And let it embolden our petitions in humble expectation, that we shall not only receive that mercy, without which we perish, bat grace to strengthen and help us in proportion to all our nccessities. And when pressed with temptations, let it revive us to recollect, that he was in all points teinpted as we are, so far as it was consistent with the perfect innocence which his office required, and which always gained new lustre by erery attempt of the enemy to obscure and pollute it.
Let inferior ministers in God's sanctuary learn to imitate him ; and being theinselves compassed with so many infirmities, have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way. And under a sense of our common weakness, let us all be earnest in our applications to the throne of grace for help. If Christ himself, in the days of his flesh, poured out supplications wiih strong crying and tears, let none of us imagine we can be safe in the neglect of prayer, or that we are ever to despond in any circumstances which leave room for devout ejaculations to God. Still he lives, who is able 10 save from death, and who can also hear us in that which we fear.
Let us wisely prepare for affliction. If Christ, though a Son, learn. ed obedience by sufferings, how much more do we need the salutary lessons they teach. But let no sufferings prevent our adhering to him, who being consccrated by them to so high an office, is become the author
*" The doctrine of justification." W.
of salvation, of eternal salvation, to his faithful followers. Let it ever be remembered, that it is to them that obey him, that this salvation is promised : may we be found in their number; and being entered as obedient disciples into his school, may we become proficients there ; not such dull and forgetful scholars, as need to be led back daily to the first elements and first principles of the divine oracles, not babes in Christ and unskilful in the word of righteousnes8 ; but such as having our senses spiritually exercised to discern good and evil, may be capable of receiving and digesting strong meut, and may thereby grow stronger and stronger.
The necessily of advancing from first principles to sublimer truths : Tl:c
hopeless case of apostates. Ch. vi. 1-9. I N ISMISSING therefore any further discourscon the first prin-'
ciples of the [religion) of Christ, let us be carried on to perfection; not laying again the foundation of Christianity : repentance 2 from dead works, and of faith in God: the doctrine of baptisms,
and of the imposition of hands, and of the resurrection of the 3 dead, and of eternal judgment. And this we will do, if God per
mit, in hope of preserving you froin apostasy. As to those who
have forgot these sacred principles, and renounced the gospel, I give 4 them up as lost. For it is in a manner impossible with regard to
those who have been once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and have been made partakers of the Holy Ghost, 5 and have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the 6 world to come ; if they fall away, again to renew them to repent
ance; since they crucify to themselves the Son of God again, and 7 make an open example of him. For the carth that drinketh in the
rain, which often cometh upon it, and produceth herbage fit for
them by whom it is cultivated, partaketh of the divine blessing: 8 but that which bringeth forth thorns and briars is rejected and 9 near to a curse, whose end shall be burning. But we are persuaded better things of you, beloved, even things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak.
REFLECTIONS. In every respect, both with regard to knowledge and practice, let us go on to perfection : and if we cannot attain to it, let us rise as ncar it, as we can. For this purpose, as Christians, let us remember what foundation has been already laid, of repentance and faith, of bap. lism, of a resurrection, and a future judgment ; a judgment eternal in its consequences, and therefore infinitely important. And let us remember, that as the building, in its highest advances, rests upon the foundation, and owes its stability to its union with it, so in like manner does our progress and advance in Christian piety stand in a near connexion with our retaining these truths, though we by no means confine ourselves to them. It is by a continual care to improve in them, that