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Having spoken what was necessary to unfold the meaning of the exhortation, we proceed to,
II. Enforce it
To those who answer the foregoing character we address the exhortation
1. Consider the object set before you—
[As "Jesus," Divine Saviour, he is able to save to the uttermost: As "Christ," he was anointed of God for this very purpose. Had he not been appointed of God, or had he been less than God, you might have been afraid to trust in him; but his names attest his right and ability to save. Think how these words would sound in hell; and let them be as sweet to you as they would be to the unhappy spirits there.]
[As the Apostle or Prophet of the Church, he will instruct all k As the High-priest, he will open a way for us into the holy place1. O reflect on these, till your hearts burn within you with gratitude and love!]
2. Consider more particularly the view given of him in the preceding and following context
His compassion as an High-priest—
[He himself has endured persecution from men, temptation from Satan, desertion from God, &c.m: he will sympathize with you under your trials". Let this be a source of comfort to you under every affliction.]
His faithfulness as a Prophet
[He extends his care to all his people: he never suffered the weakest believer to err finally P; nor will he fail to guide us aright. Go to him then for teaching in every doubt and every difficulty.]
Those who do not answer to the character may reap
benefit from the EXHORTATION—
[Ye who are unholy, and strangers to the heavenly calling, consider this description of our blessed Lord. Consider itwith attention, that you may understand it-with faith, that you may have an interest in it—with affection, that you may
1 Heb. x. 19, 20.
m Heb. ii. 17, 18.
k Matt. xi. 29. n Heb. iv. 15. This may be further illustrated by the care of a refiner, whom Christ is said to resemble, Mal. iii. 3.
• Heb. iii. 2.
P Isai. xxxv. 8.
4 Isai. xxx. 21. Ps. lxxiii. 24.
delight in it-with gratitude, that you may display its influence in your heart'.]
This subject may be reduced to more of unity and simplicity, thus:-Mark,
I. What offices the Lord Jesus Christ sustains for us
Every religion has its apostles, who propagate it, and its priests, who perform its rites. Of our religion our incarnate God, the Lord Jesus Christ, is both the Apostle and High-priest. These offices were assigned to him from eternity, Ps. xl. 6-8, He executed them faithfully when on earth; the prophetic, Heb. i. 2. and ii. 3; the priestly, Heb. i. 3. and ii. 14, 17. He still discharges them for the good of his people; as a prophet, teaching them by his Spirit, John xvi. 7—11; as a priest, compassionating and relieving all their spiritual necessities, Heb. ii. 18. and iv. 15.
II. Our duty towards Him in relation to them—
We should consider him in these characters: with attention, that we may have the fullest knowledge of him; with faith, that we derive all benefit from them; with gratitude, that we may give him the glory of them.
1. Those who profess to be "partakers of the heavenly calling"If indeed you have experienced the power of divine grace, you will need no incentives to this duty. To contemplate the Lord Jesus Christ in all his excellency and glory, will be the richest delight of your souls.
2. To those who are strangers to this holy exercise—
Alas! what do you lose! There is no other subject under heaven that would so repay your labour. The more you delight yourselves in Christ, the more evidence you will have of his grace in your souls, and the better preparation for his glory.
CHRIST'S SUPERIORITY TO MOSES.
Heb. iii. 5, 6. Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after; but Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.
IN order to have a just conception of the Christian dispensation, we must above all things acquire scriptural views of the person of Christ, as God and man, and of his mediatorial character, as Emmanuel,
God with us. It is in this latter view more especially, that we are led to contemplate him throughout this whole epistle. As God, he is "the brightness of his Father's glory, and the express image of his person;" whilst, as man, "he has purged our sins, and is set down on the right hand of the Majesty on high" but it is as God and man in one Christ that his sacrifice becomes effectual for this great end. It is in his mediatorial capacity, as God-man, that he is exalted above all the angels in heaven, who are expressly enjoined to "worship him." And it is in the same capacity that we are now called upon to "consider him as the Apostle and High-priest of our profession." As "the Apostle" of our profession, sent like Moses, to instruct us in the mind and will of God, he is superior to Moses, whose instructions he is sent to supersede. And, in like manner, will his superiority to Aaron also be declared, when we shall come, in a subsequent part of this epistle, to consider his priesthood. It is the comparison between him and Moses which alone we have to notice at this time.
We proceed then to mark,
I. The superiority of Christ to Moses
The character given of Moses is most exalted
From the first
[He was "faithful in all God's housed." moment of his undertaking the office that was assigned him, he was faithful in the discharge of it. Whatever was commanded him to do, he did; adding nothing, omitting nothing, neglecting nothing. Whether the commands were moral or ceremonial, he was observant of every the minutest direction that was given him. He was aware that all which he was commissioned to say or do, had respect to a future period, and was intended to shadow forth something under a future dispensation and so accurate was he in every particular, that there is not the smallest want of agreement between the Jewish and Christian codes, the one answering to the other, as the coin to the die by which it is stamped. As the tabernacle,
even to the smallest pin, was made according to the pattern shew to him in the mount;" so was that whole dispensation in perfect accordance with that under which we live.
a Heb. i. 3. b Heb. i. 4-6. c ver. 1.
d Numb. xii. 7.
Much he had to try him, and to shake his fidelity: but he was immoveable. Nothing could for a moment divert him from his duty, or cause him to relax his efforts in his Master's cause. And in this fidelity he stood alone. Aaron and Miriam both turned aside from the path of duty; yea, both confederated even against Moses himself. But Moses was steadfast to the end, unmoved, unwearied, unrestrained.]
But Christ in this respect was exalted infinitely above him
[Christ also was faithful in all his house. He delivered nothing which he had not previously heard and learned of his Father: but all which had been given him either to do or teach, he did and taught with all imaginable fidelity: yea, and what he was ordained to suffer also for the sins of men, he patiently endured, drinking the bitter cup even to the dregs, and never stopping till he could say, in relation to it all, ""Tis finished."
Thus far the two may be supposed to have been upon an equality. But there are some points of difference between them, which exalt the office and character of Christ far above that of Moses. Moses was "a servant in the house of another:" Christ was a Son, or Lord, "over his own house." Moses only instructed his house: but Christ was the very source and builder of the house he governed; every member of it having been created by his power, and redeemed by his blood, and converted by his grace. The house itself would have had no existence but for him. Now, as the builder of a house, whether in a literal, political, or religious sense, must be far above the work which he has prepared; so must Christ, who formed his house, be far above every member of it: and as being the only true source of every thing in the Church, he must be truly and properly" Gode;" and consequently have infinitely higher glory than Moses, who was only a member of the very house which he himself was appointed to instruct and govern.]
That this superiority of his is not a mere speculative point, will appear, if we consider,
[The Church is called in Scripture "the house of God":" and if we have truly believed in Christ, we are that house. We are those for whom all the wonders of redeeming love were planned; those for whom all that Christ has ever executed was undertaken; those for whose sake he has hitherto
e ver. 4.
f 1 Tim. iii. 15.
ordered all things both in heaven and earth; those over whom he still watches as his peculiar care; and those for whom he is engaged to complete the work he has begun. Wonderful thought! We are his house, his family, his peculiar people! What an honour! what a privilege! what a blessing!
But it is here taken for granted, that we have believed in him, and made him the one foundation of all our hopes, and boldly confessed him in the presence of an ungodly world:]
And under this character we have appropriate duties and obligations
[We must "hold fast our confidence, and the rejoicing of our hope firm unto the end." We shall have difficulties to encounter, even as Moses and Christ had: but we must endure like them, being "steadfast, unmoveable, and always abounding in the work of the Lord." Whatever we may meet with, we must not for a moment be moved away from the hope of the Gospel: we must stand fast in our principles
for on our stead
And if we believe
our practice h our professionifastness in these things our ultimate acceptance with him depends. "If we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: but if we deny him, he will deny us. not (either the one or other of these sayings), yet he abideth faithful (to his word); he cannot deny himself;" He will be with us, whilst we are with him: if we seek him, he will be found of us but if we forsake him, he will forsake us1.]
1. Let us put ourselves under his direction
[Christ is the great Head and Lord of all. From him we must receive directions, as he did from his Father, and as Moses did also. Nothing is to be done by us but according to his word; nothing to be done which he has forbidden; nothing to be omitted which he has commanded: no deviation is to be admitted in a way of excess or defect. If doubt at any time arise respecting the path of duty, we must consult him, and not proceed, till we have attained, so far as we can attain, the knowledge of his will. Human opinions are to have no weight with us in opposition to his word. And if we see not as yet the reasons of his commands, as Moses certainly did not in relation to the ceremonial law, we are not on that account to disobey them, but in all humility to comply with them, saying, "What I know not now, I shall know hereafter." Nor are we to complain of any commandment as difficult or self-denying; but to disregard even life itself, if by the sacrifice of it He may
Eph. iv. 14. k 2 Tim. ii. 12.
h Heb. x. 26.
i Heb. x. 23. m John xiii. 6, 7.