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7 burnt offerings, and sin-offerings thou hadst no complacency: then
I said, Behold, I come (in the volume of the book of ancient 8 prophecies* it is written of me) to do thy will, () God.” Having
said above, As for sacrifice and offering, burnt-offerings or • sacrifices for sin, thou didst not desire them, or take pleasure in 9 them, which were offered under the law ; then he said, “ Behold I
come to do thy will, () God." So that, you see, he taketh away
the first (burnt-offerings and sacrifices) that he may establish the 10 second : doing the will of God. By p which will we are sanctifi
ed, through the offering up the body of Jesus Christ once for all. 11 And indeed every priest standeth daily ministering, and offering 13 the same sacrifices often, which can never take away sins : But
He, having offered one sacrifice for sins, hath for ever sat down 13 at the right hand of God; thenceforth r waiting till his enemies • 14 shall be made the foot-stool of his feet. For by one offering he
: hath for ever perfected them that are sanctified by it.
REFLECTIONS. Since the shadows are now fled away, and the substance is come ; since the most substantial blessings are bestowed by the gospel ; let us celebrate the praises of him by whom we have received them; of him who so cheerfully presented himself a spotless sacrifice to God for us. In the body which God hath prepared for him, he fulfilled all righteousness, and made a most perfect atonement : in that he, once for all, made full expiation for the sins of his people, having no sins of his own to expiate. And O! with what grateful emotions of heart should we commemorate his love; reflecting that when all other sacrifices would have been vain, he should so readily cry out, Lo I come, I delight to do thy will, O God; when that will of his heavenly father was, that his body should be offered in so painful and so tragical a manner! With such readiness let us concur in every intimation of the divine good pleasure: let us, like the blessed man whom David described, not only fear the Lord, but delight greatly in his commandments, and labour that the law of God may be inscribed on our hearts, and the characters grow larger and deeper there. This shall please God better than the most costly sacrifices, even of his own ritual ; better than any whole burnt-offering, and sin-offering, though it were an ox or a bullock, which hath horns or hoofs. May we be so sanctified through the sacrifice of Christ, according to the will of God, that we may approach the divine Being with acceptance. And may we daily be looking to Jesus as sat down at his Father's right-hand, where he waits till his enemies are made his footstool. Let us likewise expect that great event in full assurance of faith. Let our affections be there where Jesus sits; and let us live in cheerful confidence, that the Saviour, in whose cause we are engaged, will finally appear triumphant over all his enemies, and ours. Amen.
* The Pentateuch: q.d. I rejoice that I am registered in thy book as thy servant.
Christians urged to improve the privileges of such an High-Priest and cove,
nant to practical purposes. Ch. x. 15--25,
15 TOR even the Holy Ghost testifieth to us what I have been as. 16 T serting : after having said, as before quoted, “ This is the
covenant, which I will make with them after those days, saith the
Lord; I will give my laws on their hearts ; I will also inscribe 17 them upon their minds :” he adds, “ And their sins and their 18 transgressions I will never remember any more." But where
there is remission of these, there is no more sacrifice for sin. 19 Therefore, brethren, having liberty to enter into the holy places 20 by the blood of Jesus; having that new and living way, which he 21 hath consccrated for us, through the vail, that is, his flesh; and 22 having a great priest over the house of God: let us draw near
with a sincere heart, in the full assurance of faith, having our
hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed 23 with pure water. Let us hold fast the profession of our hope 24 without wavering; for he is faithful who hath promised. And let 25 us consider each other to provoke to love, and to good works, not
deserting the assembling ourselves together, as the manner of some is, but exhorting one another, and so much the rather, as ye see the day approaching.
REFLECTIONS. What can be more desirable than to approach to God! what more effectually encourage that approach, than the consideration which the Apostle here urges : the new and living way which this great High Priest hath consecrated ! Let us then see to it that we thus approach in the way of his own appointment. But if we desire acceptance, let us attend to the strength of our faith, and the purity of our consciences ; that inward purity, without which our baptismal washing will stand us in little stead. To establish us in a resolution of retaining the profession of our faith and hope, amidst all the attempts that may be made to wrest it out of our hands, let us often reflect on the importance of those promises we have received, and the infallible fidelity of that God, who hath condescended to enter himself into such engagements. Let the community of that blessed hope which these sacred engagements afford, unite us in the bonds of the most affectionate love. Instead of watching over each other for evil, let us consider one another's circumstances with the most friendly and compassionate eye. And whatever we behold of necessity or distress, let us immediately be instigated and quickened kindly to attempt relief and assistance ; that every one may be, as it were in a confederacy against the evil by which any one may be attacked.
Much will this benevolent disposition be promoted, by a diligent attendance on the ordinances of religious worship ; and much is it to bc lamented, that it is the manner of so many to forsake them, even the assemblies which are honoured with the promise of the divine presense ; a promise, to the accomplishment of which thousands can bear testimony. Let us guard against so ungrateful and pernicious a neglect ; and set ourselves to promote as far as possible, mutual edification ; and so much the rather, as we see the day approaching ; that solemn day, when all our opportunities in this world being come to a period, we must render up an account of all. It is a day, in which God will bring every work into judgment, and every secret things whether it be good or evil : let us therefore give all diligence to prepare ourselves for it ; and remember how happily the ordinances of public worship are calculated to promote that preparation.
A steady adherence to the Christian faith, enforced by what they had suffer
ed in its defence, and the fatal consequences of apostacy. Ch. X. 26, &c.
I MUST inculcate this caution against apostacy with the greatest 26 I seriousness : for if we sin wilfully after having received the
- knowledge of the truth, there remaineth yet no more sacrifice for 27 sin, but a certain fearful expectation of the judgment of God,
and fiery indignation, which is ready to devour the adversaries. 28 Any one who set at nought the law of Moses, died without mercy, 29 on ihe evidence of two or three witnesses : Of how much severer
punishment do ye suppose he shall be counted worthy, who hath trampled upon the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the
covenant, by which he was sanctified, a common thing, and offer. 30 ed contemptuous injury to the Spirit of Grace ? For we know him
that hath said, “ Vengeance belongeth to me; I will render re
compence, saith the Lord” (Deut. xxxii. 35.): And again (v. 31 36.) “ The Lord will judge his people.” It is dreadful to fall into 32 the hands of the living God. But that you may escape 80 terrible
a ruin, call to remembrance the former days, in which having
been enlightened, you endured a great contest of sufferings ; 33 partly, as ye were made a public spectacle both by reproaches and
afflictions ; and partly, as ye were made partakers with those who 34 were so treated. For ye sympathized with me in my bonds; and
ye took the plunder of your goods with joy : knowing in your
selves that you have a better and an enduring substance in the heavens. 35 Therefore cast not away that confidence of yours, which hath 36 great recompence of reward. For ye have still need of patience,
that having done the will of God, ye may receive the promise. 37 For yet a very little time, and he that cometh, even the Lord Je. 38 8u8, will come, and will not delay. But in the mean time, the just
shall live by faith (Hab. ii. 3.) Yet if he draw back, my soul 39 shall have no complacency in him. But we are not of them that
draw back to destruction, but of them that believe to the salvation of the soul.
REFLECTIONS. We see the dreadful consequences of sinning wilfully, after we have received the knowledge of the truth : how diligently should we guard against every, even the least appearance of it. Should we fall into so great an evil, there would remain no more sacrifice for sin : and O, how c!readful, to lose our part in that great sacrifice, and be consigned over to a certain fearful expectation of wrath and fiery indignation ! but blessed be God, it is not yet our case. It is not every wilful sin which thus seals up the wretched soul to condemnation ; for who then could hope for heaven? or who in the utter despair of heaven, could enjoy this world ? may we not say, who could endure it ?- If we would avoid this dreadful doom, let us guard against every approach toward any thing which might be interpreted treading under foot the Son of God, or doing despite unto the Spirit of grace. On the contrary, let us ever retain the most reverent affection for the Son of God, and ever cherish the influences of the Spirit. So shall we avoid the threatening vengeance, and escape that infinitely dreadful thing, the falling into the hands of the living God.
To have experienced in any degree the power and efficacy of religion, is the great preservative against apostacy. They who have already, like those believing Hebrews, made great sacrifices to their conscience, ought to feel the force of the obligation. The struggles through which they have already passed, the combats they have already maintained, should have a powerful influence on their future resolution, that they may not stain the lustre of their former victories. If such trials be appointed for us, may our faith be proportionably strengthened ; that we may take joyfully, not only the spoiling of our goods, but the torture of our bodies; knowing that we have in heaven a better and more enduring substance than worldly wealth, and a far more glorious abode than these tabernacles of clay. Let the recompence of reward be kept continually in our view ; that thereby that patience may be supported, of which we ever stand in such evident need, that after we have done the will of God, we may go to inherit the promises.
Let the certain and speedy approach of him that is to come, daily comfort us, and confirm the faith by which we live; and let us stiil pour out our fervent supplications before God, that we may not draw buck, which if we do, it will be infinitely fatal. Then instead of beholding us with complacency, God's soul will abhor us; and that abhorrence will be proportionable to our violated engagements, and dishonoured profession. Perdition pursues our retreat. Let every consideration therefore, of honour, of gratitude, of interest, and of safety, concur to urge us on, and to support the steadiness of our faith, till we receive the glorious crown of it, in the complete salvation of our souls.
Illustrious examples of faith mentioned in scripture, particularly in Abel,
Enoch, Noah, Abraham, and Sarah. Ch. xi. 1—16.
INTOW faith is the confident expectation of things hoped for, 2 TV the conviction of things not seen. For by it the elders ob3 tained an honourable testimony. By faith we understand that the
worlds were adjusted by the word of God, as the things which 4 are seen were not made of things which do appear. By faith
Abel offered to God a greater sacrifice than Cain ; by means of which he obtained a testimony that he was righteous, God bear
ing witness to his gifts ; and by it he being dead yet speaketh. 5 By faith Enoch was translated, that he should not see death; and
he was not found, because God had translated him: For before 6 his translation he obtained witness that he pleased God. But
without faith it is impossible to please him ; for he who approacheth to God, must believe that he existeth, and that he is the rewarder of them that diligently seek him. By faith Noah, being admonished by a divine oracle concerning things which were not yet seen, being impresscd with fear, prepared an ark for the sal
vation of his house ; by which he condemned the world, and be8 came heir of the righteousness which is by faith. By faith Abra
ham, being called to go out to a place which he should afterwards
receive for an inheritance, obeyed, and went out, though he knew : 9 not whither he was going. By faith he sojourned in the land of
promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and 10 Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he
expected a city which hath foundations, of which God is the buildIl er and former*. By faith Sarai herself received strength for con
ception, o and brought forth a child [when she was) beyond the time
of age, because she accounted him who had promised to be faith12 ful. Therefore there sprang even from one, and he in this res
pect dead, a poslerity in multitude as the stars of the heaven, and 13 as the sand upon the sea-shore innumerable. All these died in
faith, not having received the pronises, but haring seen them afar off, and having been persuaded of them, and embraced them, and
having confessed that they were strangers and sojourners on earth. 14 For they who say such things as these, plainly express that they 15. seek a country t different from that in which they dwell. And if in
deed they had been mindful of that from which they came out, they 16 might have had an opportunity of returning. Now therefore il
appears they were desirous of a better, that is, a heavenly country: therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, because he had prepared them a city such as they sought. * Rather, “ Ruler.” Smulepyos signifies one who forms a people by institutions and laws. M.
+ The word signifies a native country, or that where their fathers dwelt. D.' So M. renders it.