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yesterday, to day, and for ever; yesterday, under the Law; to day, under the Gospel; and for ever, in the kingdom of Glory : we should learn to be stedfast in this ancient plan, and look with a suspicious eye upon all pretended reformations and improvements of modern Christians, who are inventing new modes of faith, and would shew us what they call a more excellent way. Vanity is always fond of novelty: you see it every day in the common change of fashions : and therefore vain men are carried about with every wind of doctrine, propagated by those who are ignorant of the antiquity of that religion, by which all believers have been and are now to be saved. If men did but study the scripture on a right principle, without a spirit of party, and enquired duly into primitive Christianity, they would be ashamed of the little mean differences and distinctions which divide their hearts, and break them into sects ; filling them with a Pharisaical pride against one another; as if the end of the commandment were not charity, but hatred, contempt, and ill-will.
To prevent this, the Apostle instructs the Hebrews to obey them that have the rule over them, their lawful Pastors and Teachers, whom Christ hath appointed to keep them in the way of peace; and whose studies and labours must qualify them to inform and direct the ignorant better than they can direct themselves. An abuse of the principles of the reformation, which can never be sufficiently lamented, has at length made every man his own teacher, and established a spirit of self-exaltation and opposition, than which no temper is more hateful to God, because none is so destructive of piety and peace. Christians should leave that to the sons of the earth, who are disputing for power, places and pre-eminence; with whom gain is godli
ness, because they have no God but Mammon and Belial, no views nor hopes beyond the present life.
This leads me back to the great source of all moral instruction, on which the Apostle hath so frequently insisted, and with which I shall conclude; I mean, the necessity of a detachment from the world in all those who would be followers of Jesus Christ. Our master was one who came to disown the world, and to be disowned by it; he came to his own and was
reviled for his works of gooduess and mercy, and at his death was led out of the city of Jerusalem to suffer without the gate *, as one disowned, and cast out, and delivered over to the world of the Gentiles; all of which was foreshewn by the great yearly sacrifice, whose blood was first offered in the Tabernacle, and then it was carried out to be burned without the camp. On this the Apostle raises an affecting exhortation, that we ought to go out after him, bearing his reproach: even the reproach of being despised and disowned and cast out by the world as he was. Every Christian, though he is neither with the camp, nor with the city of Jerusalem, has some attachment which he is called upon to leave, and to be despised for so doing: he must go out either from the wisdom of the world, or the fashion of the world, or the party and the interests of worldly people; as Christ went out of the gate of Jerusalem, and as Abraham forsook his family and friends, to obey the calling of God.
The unbelieving Jews looked with contempt on those who left them to follow a crucified Master, whom they had led out of their city as a malefactor and delivered to the Gentiles; and the world will cast re
* Chap. xiii. 12.
proach upon all those who forsake its opinions and customs. But, as the Jews themselves were soon afterwards driven out from their city, and their whole economy was dissolved; so shall the world itself be destroyed, and its inhabitants shall be turned out from the place in which they trusted. When this shall happen, they have no other place in reserve; but we shall find that city, that continuing city, which we have so long looked after, whose builder and maker is God.