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as could not possibly have been avoided, if that member, which is a mere periphrasis, or description of the persons possessing that consolation, had not intervened.

But can "consolation" properly be called "an anchor of the soul?" Most assuredly it may for where consolation is wanting, the soul is liable to be tempest-tost, and driven to and fro by every wind of temptation; but where consolation abounds, there the soul is kept firm and immoveable; agreeably to what God himself has said, " The joy of the Lord is our strength"." And hence St. Paul unites the two, in his prayer for the Thessalonian converts: "Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work."

I say then, that the word "consolation" should, if my view of it be right, have been here supplied; even the consolation arising from a view of "the immutability of God's counsels," which are made over to us in express promises, and confirmed to us with an oath it is this consolation, I say, which is indeed the anchor of the soul" spoken of in our text. And it is remarkable, that in other parts of this same epistle, the Apostle speaks of his consolation in precisely the same view: "We," says he, "are Christ's house, if we hold fast the confidence, and the rejoicing of the hope, firm unto the end:" and again; "We are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end':" and again; "Cast not away your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward"."

That "hope" may be fitly represented as an anchor, there can be no doubt; but the doubt is, what is the anchor here spoken of: and THAT, I say again, is the consolation arising from an assured confidence in the promise and oath of an unchanging God.

d Neh. viii. 10.

e 2 Thess. ii. 16, 17.

Heb. iii. 6, 14. Beßaiav Karáσxwuer, in both places.
Heb. x. 35.

Let us now proceed to consider,

II. On what ground it must be cast

It is said to "enter into that within the vail." Other anchors descend into the deep: this ascends to the highest heavens, and lays hold on the very throne of God.

We might here speak of the things which were within the vail; as the mercy-seat, on which abode the bright cloud, the Shechinah, the symbol of the Deity; and the ark, which contained the law, and which was covered by the mercy-seat: and we might shew how this anchor of the soul fixes on them, even on a reconciled God and Father, and on the Lord Jesus Christ, who has fulfilled the law for us. But it will be better to adhere more simply to the preceding context, and to speak of the anchor as fixing on the immutability of a promise-keeping God. This is a proper foundation for it to rest upon: nor can we by any means lay too fast hold upon it. For, God has from all eternity entered into covenant with his only-begotten Son; engaging, if he would assume our nature, and "make his soul an offering for sin, he should see a seed who should prolong their days, and the pleasure of the Lord should prosper in his hand"." To this the Son consented: and, having taken our nature upon him, he has fulfilled every part of his engagement; never ceasing from his work till he could say, "It is finished." Now, will the Father recede from his engagements? Assuredly not: for "He is not a man, that he should lie; or the son of man, that he should repent'." Having confirmed "his promise with an oath, it is impossible for him to lie;" since "both the one and the other are absolutely immutable." On this covenant, then, we may lay hold; and on it we may rest, as "ordered in all things, and sure!" In it, every thing is provided for us that we can stand in need of, whether for time or for eternity it engages to impart to every one that

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has been given to Christ, pardon and peace, and holiness and glory.

On nothing short of this must our anchor fix. It must rest on nothing that is in us; no frames, no feelings, no experiences, no attainments. From God's covenant all our hopes flow; and on that must they all rest. We, alas! are changeable; and on us can no confidence be placed: but God is unchangeable, in all his purposes, which are unalterably fixed, "according to the counsel of his own will," in all "his promises, which are all yea, and amen, in Christ Jesus";" and in all his gifts, for "his gifts and calling are without repentance." This is a foundation which will hold us fast; as it is said, "The foundation of God standeth sure; the Lord knoweth them that are his"."

But, as this anchor is said to be sure and steadfast, it will be proper for me to shew,

III. From whence it derives its power and tenacity

In order that a tempest-tossed vessel may be preserved in safety, it is necessary that the anchor itself should be of a good quality, and that the anchorage should be firm. And both these are requisite for the establishing of the soul: the "consolation" must be, not like "that of the hypocrite, which is but for a moment;" or that of the novice, which will give way on the very first assault of temptation': it must be far more solid; but it must be formed in us by God, even by the Holy Ghost, the Comforter: and it must lay hold on God himself, and derive all its efficacy from him.

But still, it is not from the strength of the anchor that our stability will be derived; but from the Lord Jesus Christ, who will render it effectual for its desired end.

It is not obvious, at first sight, why the Forerunner should be mentioned: for what has Jesus, as our Forerunner, to do with our anchor entering within the vail? But, on a closer inspection, it will be


Eph. i. 11.

P 2 Tim. ii. 19.

n 2 Cor. i. 20.

q Job xx. 5.

• Rom. xi. 29.
r Matt. xiii. 20, 21.

found, that though there is an apparent change in the figure, there is a perfect unity in the subject; the whole power and tenacity of our anchor being derived from Him, who is entered into the very place where that anchor is cast for it is by means of the very same anchor that he himself has entered there, even as all the saints before him dids: and he is entered there expressly "for us," that he may secure to us the very same issue as he himself has attained.

Let us enter a little more distinctly into this. I say, that it was by means of the very same anchor that Jesus himself rode out the storms with which he was assailed, and is now at rest in the desired haven. See him in the midst of all his storms: hear his reply to the most powerful of all his adversaries: "Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above." Here his perfect confidence in an unchanging God is the manifest source of his stability. But to see this anchor in full operation, mark it as described by the Prophet Isaiah: "The Lord God will help me: therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint; and I know that I shall not be ashamed. He is near that justifieth me: who will contend with me? let us stand together: who is mine adversary? let him come near to me. Behold, the Lord God will help me who is he that shall condemn me? lo, they all shall wax old, as doth a garment: the moth shall eat them up"." And was this an empty boast? No: this anchor held him fast, through all the storms that earth and hell could raise against him; as St. Paul informs us, saying, that "for the joy that was set before him he endured the cross, and despised the shame, and is set down on the right hand of the throne of God."

It may still however be asked, what are his triumphs to us? I answer, He is not entered within the vail for himself only, but " FOR US;" that he may appear in the presence of God for us," and secure

s Heb. xi. 10, 14, 16, 26, 35.
u Isai. 1. 7-9.

x Heb. xii. 2.

t John xix. 11. y Heb. ix. 24.

to us the same blessed rest which he himself has attained. Whilst we are casting our anchor within the vail, he, by his grace, enables us to do it, and keeps the anchor itself from losing its hold. And, whilst we are confiding in the promises of God, and pleading them at a throne of grace, he is pleading for us, as our Advocate, before the throne of glory: he is pleading the covenant which the Father has made with him, in behalf of all the members of his mystical body. Thus is he there engaged, on God's part, as it were, to afford us all needful support; and on our part, to remind the Father of his engagements, and to see them all fulfilled.

But there is yet a further connexion between these things, which must by no means be overlooked. The Lord Jesus is entered into heaven, not as our Advocate merely, but as our Head and Representative: so that we may be not unfitly said to be already "sitting with him in heavenly places in Christ Jesus'." We are one with him, as our federal head"; yea, we are one with him also by a vital union, as members of his body: we are even "one spirit with him":" "our life is hid with Christ in God:" he is "our very life" itself: and hence it is that neither earth nor hell can ever prevail against us; according as it is written, "Our life is hid with Christ in God; and therefore when Christ, who is our life, shall appear, we also shall appear with him in glory."

Now this subject may well SHEw us,

1. What is the proper and legitimate use of the deeper doctrines of our holy religion.

Whilst, by some, the doctrines of predestination and election are made for the display of their controversial skill, and are brought forward on all occasions as if they were the very milk of the Gospel, fit indiscriminately for the contemplation of all; to others, the very mention of the words sounds almost as blasphemy. But these doctrines are true, and capable of b John xv. 1, 2.


Eph. ii. 6.

c 1 Cor. vi. 17.

a 1 Cor. xv. 22.
d Col. iii. 3, 4.

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