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tie rejoiceth over them to do them good, if he will be a sun and shield, will give them grace and glory, and if he will withhold no good thing from them, who walk uprightly; if eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, nor hath it entered into the heart of man what good things the Lord hath prepared for them that love him; then we may say upon good ground to the daughter of Zion, behold his reward is with him. Before I conclude, permit me to ask, if these things are so, is there any folly upon earth to be compared with that, which those persons are guilty of, who live in the habitual neglect of religion! It matters not how wise or how learned they may be accounted, either by themselves or others, they will one day be obliged to acknowledge that they have strangely neglected the one grand end of their existence, and therefore may say. "\Ve fools counted their lives madness and their end to be without honour," whether these men will now believe it or not, we are obliged to tell them in plain terms, the soul that sinneth it shall die, yea the wicked must be turned into hell, and all the people who forget God. The awful day will surely come, that will burn as an oven, when all the proud, and all who do wickedly shall be as stubble, and the day that cometh shall burn them, and neither leave them root nor branch. Knowing therefore the terrors of the Lord we would persuade all who attend upon our ministry to repent and turn unto him before'iniquity be their ruin, :md O that it was in my power to prevail upon all that are here present, to know the day of their visitation, and to seek the Lord while he may be found,
Many of you know, and are well acquainted with the important truths now delivered, and through the infinite mercy and love of God, you have experienced the saving power of divine grace in your own minds, Blessed are ye of the Lord, for there shall be a performance of all that he hath spoken, and ye shall find every precious promise of the gospel made good to you, be faithful then to him who hath called you, and his mercy and love in Chri?t Jesus, shall abound towards you, and when he hath finished his work in you, and you have finished the work which he sent you into the world to accomplish, then he will say unto each of you; come up hither and take thy seat with me; and so an entrance shall be ministered unto you, abundantly into the everlasting regions of immortal glory. Which God of his infinite mercy grant unto all who are here present, for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.
Hebrews v. 9.
He being made perfect, became the Author of Eterpal Salvation to them who
obey him. /
J.T is evident that the Hebrews to whom this Epistle was originally written, had already received the gospel of Christ, and through the tender mercy and love of God, had happily experienced it to be the power of God unto salvation to their own souls.
One design of the Apostle in writing was, to make them more abundantly sensible of the extraordinary privileges which under the gospel dispensation they enjoyed: And in a particular manner in the former part of the Epistle, he endeavours to heighten their esteem of the Lord Jesus, in whom they had already believed, and by whom they had received salvation. With this view he shews them that our blessed liedeemer is a greater Prophet than Moses.
These Hebrews no doubt had a very great veneration for Moses, and looked upon him as the deliverer of, and lawgiver 10 their Nation, and as an e\traordinary messenger sent from God for the good of the Nation at large in every respect. But the Apostle shews them, that he who built the house hath more honour than the house. And that although Moses was found faithful in his house as a servant, yet Christ was found faithful as a Son, and therefore more honourable than Moses.
He also shews them that this Jesus is a Priest of a far more excellent order than Aaron. Now these Hebrews esteemed Aaron as the Priest of the most high God, being consecrated 1o his office by the Lord himself, and on this account they highly honoured him, But the Apostle shews them that the holy Je.us hath an unchangeable Priesthood given to him by his heavenly Father, and that he therefore remaineUi a Priest after the order of Melchisedec, and for this reason ought to be far more valued than ever Aaron was. But the Apostle rises higher still; and shews them that this Jesus is greater in glory than the angeis of God. For unto which of the Angela said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? But these words were spoken of the Lord Jesus Chris*, therefore he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they, and it is expressly said, "Let all the angels of God worship him." But the Apostle rises still higher, and shews them that tliis same Jesus, is in very deed over all, God blessed for ever and ever. Hence he declares that he is the brightness, or the beaming forth of the Father's glory, and the express image of his person, and that he upholdeth all things by the word of his power. And again, Of the Son he saith thy throne, 0 God, is for ever and ever,- a sc-'plre of righteousness is the Sceplre of thy Kingdom. And thou Lord in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth, and the ktavens are the works of thine hands, they shall perish, but thou remainest: and they shall all wax old as doth, a garment, and as a vesture shaft thou fold them up, and they t-hall be changed, but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail And now in the words of the text, he shews them that this same Jesus, who is a greater Prophet than Moses; who is a Priest of far more excellent order than Aaron; who is greater in glory than the angels of God; who is the most high God himself; being made perfect is become the author of eternal salvation to all them that obey him. From the words we may take occasion to enquire,
First, What are we to understand by our Lord's being made perfect f
Secondly, How is he to be considered as the author of eternal salvation to them who obey him?
Thirdly, What is that obedience which is required of those who shall be eternally saved by him?
First, What are we to understand by our Lord's being made perfect?
When we read of our Lord's being made perfect, we are not to suppose that he was imperfect at any time, for whether we consider him as God, or as God made man, manifested in our nature to redeem and save us, he was as perfect as it was possible for him to be. If we speak of him as God, he is a being possessed of all possible perfection, from eter
ttity to eternity, and the words of Liaiah arc properly applied to hiu), when he terms him, The mighty God, the everlasli/ig Father, as well as (he Prince of peace. And if we speak of him as God made man, that he might accomplish the work of our redemption, we may say of him with the church of England, " Perfect God and perfect man, of a reasonable soul and human fte»h subsisting." What then are we to understand by our Lord's being made perfect? The Apostle is riot speaking of the person, but of the work of Ciirisfl, considered as the great mediator between God and man. And therefore by his being made perfect we are to understand, his being made a perfect sin offering, or such an offering and sacrifice for sin, as God the Father did accept, and was infinitely well pleased with, for the redemption and salvation of a lost and ruined world. The truth of this appears trorn the words of the apostle, where he says, For it became him for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. That is,
It was quite agreeable to all the infinite perfections of the blessed God, by whom are all things as their first cause, and for whom are all things as their last end, in order to bring many souls to the enjoyment of eternal glory, to make the Captain of our salvation, the Lord Jesus Christ, perfect through sufferings.
That is, Bv his sufferings and death he made a perfect satisfaction to divine justice for the sins of the whole world. But when the Apostle speaks of our Lord being made perfect thi'ough sufferings, he doubtless includes all that he did, as well as all that he suffered: He takes into the account his holy life> his meritorious death, his glorious resurrection, and his triumphant ascension into heaven, where he ever liveth to make intercession for all those who truly believe in his name. He includes his holy life, for this no doubt was necessary, to qualify him to be that spotless victim who was to bear the punishment due to the sins of the « hole world in his own body upon the tree. He magnified that Law which he was under^ considered as the mediator between God and man, and made it honourable. Had he failed in any one single instance in the performance of that obedience which God tht Father required of him considered as our surety;— Then he must have died for his own personal transgre.-sion. But as he fulfilled all righteousness in his l,fe, and was perfectly free from sin, being holy, harmless and undffiled: He
firorterly prepared* or duly qualified to be ffi'acie a sift, ottering for us. . , , .;'. ,•' '. ',', '..
. But the apostle more especially includes l)is iheritbriouj death upon the altar of the cross. Tim Was absolutely necessary, in as much as it is expressly declared, that witfi'out shedding of blood there is no remission. >\nd it is dgairi declared, that the blood of Bulls and of Goats, which was abundantly shed under the Law, was not of sUfHc'ent value to make reconciliation for the sins Of th'e people. Therefore Jesus our blessed Redeemer; who was God and man united iu one persoh, shed his most precious blood, which was of infinite value in the sight of his heavenly Father. And as he hereby made an atonement for our sins: so he opened a Way for tile mercy and lore of Ood freely to flow to all who shall truly believe in his name.
He also includes our Lord's glorious Resurrection front the dead. As it h written, He (tied for oilr «tas; and rost again for ottr justification. Had he been kepi a prisoner iri the grave, then we might have doubted whether God the Father was satisfied od otir account; with the sufferings and death of his well-beloved Son: But when we see that he was raised from the dead by the gloHoUs po wer of God the Father; 'we may be fully satisfied that his sufferings and death were accepted of God: and that he is reconciled to us, arid consequently willing to receive Us into his favour and fdmilyi
But the Apostle also includes his triumphant ascension into heaven. . He then spoiled principalitiei* atlcl powers, triumphing over them all by the blood of his cross: He ltd Captivity captive, and conquered alt the powers of darkness. He destroyed death and him that had the power of death, that is the Devil, and delivered them who through fear ojdeath Were alt their life time stlojett to bondage. And having: gained this complete victory, be entered Into the holy place not m'ade with hands; eternal in the heavens, by his owrt blood, where he ever liveth to make intercession for all his disciples here upon earth.
Thus was out blessed Lord made perfect; thus did he finish transgression and make an end of sin; and bring id everlasting righteousness for Us. And when we view him thus accomplishing the work of bur redemption) by bearing the punishment due to our sins id his own body upon the tree; We may-well sty,
'...'".'',Hy t-amb of God, was e*W paia