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The STEDFAST ADHERENCE to the PROFESSION of our FAITH, Recommended in Twenty-one SErmons,
on Heb. x. 21, 22, 23, 24.
PROFESSION OF OUR FAITH,
RECOMMENDED IN SEVERAL SERMONS.
HEBREWS X. 23.
Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering, &c. HAVING insisted at so great length upon the first exhortation of the apostle, concerning drawing near to God, which is built upon the foundations of the Christian's privileges, that the apostle named, and that we have spoke of, from the 19th, 20th, and 21st verses; those exhortations that remain are deduced from the same foundation: wherefore I thought fit not to let them pass. The former exhortation was unto a duty with respect to God, drawing near to him, which the apostle requires to be performed in such a manner, that all Christians, and the best of them, must be learning to answer every day in their life, that they may come up more and more thereunto.
The other two exhortations are with respect to ourselves and others. The first is in the 23d verse, with respect to our own profession; the other, in the 24th verse, is with respect to our brethren and fellow Christians.
The first of these exhortations, which is contained in this 23d verse, plainly divides itself into the duty exhorted to, and the argument to enforce it. The duty is, Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering. The argument to this duty is a strong and a proper one, He is faithful that hath pro
mised. Our faith should always be built on God's promise; it is not the right faith if it be not so; and our faith on the promise should answer the faithfulness of the promiser; the strength of our believing the promise, should bear some proportion to the great faithfulness of the maker of it. Now, it is evident, that the apostle's argument is both pertinent and strong: Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering, for God the promiser does not waver in what he has said.
I shall begin with the first of these at this time, The duty he exhorts to. And you may see here, as I observed from the former exhortations, that the apostle, the penman of this blessed portion of scripture, puts in himself in this exhortation: Let us, says he, draw near, &c. And let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering.
In this duty exhorted to, there are three things to be considered.
1. What that is which is, as it were, the subject-matter of this duty; and that is, the profession of our faith; so we translate it. The words in the Greek, in the original, are cer tainly the confession of our hope. What reason there hath been in the learned translators for altering it, I do not know. However, it is no great matter; for profession and confession, faith and hope, are closely knit together; they are but several words expressing the same thing. Confession and profession are frequently named one for another, and faith and hope are frequently named one for another, in the word of God.
2. The second thing is the act, that the apostle craves about this profession, and we read it, Let us hold it fast. As if the apostle had said, The profession of your faith is very precious, keep it well; it will be attempted upon by your spiritual enemies, and they will be endeavouring to pluck it from you; hold it fast, keep it firm.
3. There is the manner of this duty the apostle craves about your profession: Hold it fast, says he, without wavering, without declining, without turning it to the one hand or to the other, but holding it steady and even. These are the heads that I would discourse upon from this text.
And to begin with the first of these, that are in the duty