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you from eternal perdition; and if anything can excite your emotions, you will find them excited there. Aye, the cross, the cross ! the cross first—the cross last—the cross now and forever! Cling to it; rely on it; place your hope in it; and make it the subject of your highest honor. In health and in sickness, in prosperity and in adversity, at home and abroad, among friends and among enemies, in life and in death, in time and in eternity, cleave ye only to the cross. Therein lies your strength, your safety, and your glory. It will be an anchor to your soul, a guide to your path, and a passport to conduct you into the mansions of the redeemed in heaven.
And particularly to those of you who have not yet decided with the whole heart in favor of the religion of Jesus, do I hold up and recommend the cross. Here it is, in all its grandeur, and in all its glory. It is held out to you with all the cordiality and freeness as when this work devolved on apostlic hands. There is not one single blessing, and its blessings are many, which it has conferred on any soul, which it will not confer upon you, if you embrace it as others have done before you. Look then to this as your last and only hope. Pray God in all earnestness to make it the effectual instrument of your salvation. And settling down your whole confidence and dependence in its merit, praise the wondrous love which has provided it, nor once doubt the certainty of your salvation. I tender to you then the gladsome invitation of your Savior, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me: for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light,"
PRIVILEGES AND DUTIES
UNDER THE NEW
Heb. x. 19–25. Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by
the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us through the veil, that is to say, his flesh ; And having an bigh priest over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the profession of our fáilh without wavering ; (for he is faithful that promised ;) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the nianner of some is; but exhorting one another : and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
Having now gone through with the argumentative part of the epistle, the apostle here begins a course of hortatory and somewhat miscellaneous remarks. He had gone into a minute and extensive examination of the Jewish and Christian systems. He had compared their founders and showed how far superior the Son of God is to Moses. He had compared their priesthoods, and showed the great superiority of our High Priest. He had compared their sacrifices, and showed that in all respects the Christian sacrifice was superior to the Jewish. And having thus addressed the judgment of his readers, he now proceeds to exhort them to avail themselves fully of all their superior advantages, and to enjoy to the widest extent
all the privileges which christianity now conferred on them. And ; as we have found much to delight and edify us in our previous en
deavors to follow the apostle, we will doubtless be abundantly rewarded for our toil in endeavoring to follow him to the end.
The first things in the text which will claim our attention, are the declarations which he makes; and when these are disposed of we will consider the duties to which he exhorts.
1. The apostle declares, and the declaration is fully sustained by his previous argument, that a way to heaven has been opened through Jesus Christ. He calls it a “new” way; i. e. fresh-recent. (Passow.) It does not so much convey the idea that it is new in the sense that it had never been in existence before, as new in the sense that it is recent or fresh. It was a way which had just been newly opened-one which was recently disclosed-one which had all the freshness of novelty.
He also calls it a “living” way. It may be thus entitled because it is a method that imparts life, or because it is a way which conducts to life. It may be called a living way in allusion to the fact, that under the old dispensation the blood was to be offered as soon as it was shed, and not after it had once coagulated; and hence fresh. But the word is frequently used in the sense of perennial, perpetual ; as when applied to a fountain always running, in opposition to a pool which dries up. It is a perpetual way. It is a way continually open like a stream always running.
He further calls it a “consecrated” way. To consecrate a way, is to open it for access, to dedicate it to use. The way to heaven then, is a way to be used. It is not for a mere show, but to be walked by sinners--to be travelled to the eternal sanctuary.
He also declares that it is a way over which we have“ boldness," or as the margin of the Bible has it, “ liberty” to pass and enter the holy place above. No enemy-no restraining influences are tolerated on it. “No lion shall be there,” said a prophet of old. It is
open for all, and any one may walk there with full freedom and liberty.
2. A second declaration which the apostle makes in the text, and which is also borne out by the previous discussion, is, that we have an high Priest over the house of God. By the house of God we are to understand the spiritual family of the redeemed—the church. The meaning is, that as under the old dispensation there was a high priest through whom access was had to the mercy-seat, so also under the new there is a great high priest through whom we have access to the throne of
The great and characteristic privileges of the new dispensation are then, that each individual may personally, freely, and continually have access to God and to heaven through Jesus Christ. The securement of these was a cause worthy of the wisdom, goodness and attention of a God. Their conferment upon sinful and undeserving man, should for ever bind him in allegiance to the eternal throne.
With these brief remarks I will call your attention to the duties to which the apostle exhorts. “Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which he hath consecrated for us through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; and having an high priest over the house of
God; let us draw near with a true heart, in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.
In these words we are exhorted and encouraged to draw near ; some have thought to draw near to God. But a more ready and obvious sense is, to draw near “ the holiest” (or heaven) by passing over this "new and living way” which has been opened for us through the flesh of Christ. The idea is, that we shall avail ourselves of the exalted privileges which the new dispensation presents to us. Since we have liberty to enter into the holiest, we are to exercise this liberty. And since we have an High Priest, we are to employ him and secure all the benefits of his mediation. This is unquestionably the nature of the duty here presented. The manner in which it is to be performed is also clearly laid down.
1st. To be saved, or to secure salvation as it has been provided in Jesus, we must be sincere in our desires and efforts. We are to " draw near with true heart." It is utterly useless to talk or think of being saved, unless we sincerely desire it and seek for it. Many people would like to get to heaven, but they wish to do it dishonestly. I say dishonestly, because they at the same time cleave to the world. They desire heaven greatly, but they love their pleasures and their sins too much to give them up. They sigh anxiously for the joys and privileges of Paradise, but they will not give up their wallowings to go and realize them. With such there is no trueness of heart. Men must act in this matter sincerely. They must set about the thing as if they really desired and were honestly and fully determined by Divine grace to get to heaven. They must be willing to relinquish family-kindred-houseslands—life-every thing for its possession. So strong must be the decision, so resolved must be the purpose, that no circumstances or emergencies whatever will be able to affect or change it. This is the trueness of heart of which the apostle speaks, and which is essential to salvation.
2nd. Another thing which is indispensable to the securement of pardon and final admission into heaven, is “full assurance of faith” --unwavering confidence-a fullness of faith in God which leaves no room for doubt. As the apostle says in another place, “ He that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” And certainly it is not hard
to exercise such a confidence in God. I think this was abundantly shown when we had occasion to consider the immutability of his purpose. If he were in any sense, or in any respect finite and dependent, then there would be room for doubt. But as he is the eternal and infinite sovereign of the universe, and has declared by two immutable things in which it was impossible for him to lie that every true believer in Jesus shall be saved, how can any one doubt or hesitate? Can we ask any blessing which he who holds all the yast resources of the universe at his command cannot confer? Can we question the validity of that contract which was proved by the Divine oath and ratified by the death of his only Son? How easy then to step upon that new and living way in full assurance of faith? God cannot disappoint us if we are faithful.
3d. Another thing necessary in order that we may drar neur in the sense of the text, is, to have our consciences relieved of guilt“our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience.” An evil conscience, is a conscience burdened with unpardoned guilt. To be sprinkled from an evil conscience, is to have that sense of sin removed. The expression is borrowed from the rites of the law, agreeably to which very many ceremonial purifications were made by the sprinkling of blood upon the persons or utensils. And as ceremonial uncleanness was removed under the law, so our self-accusing consciences must be cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ spiritually applied. Our sins must be pardoned—we must be justified. This will be done the very moment we look toward the Savior. The very instant that we entirely relinquish the world and cling to Jesus we have peace, our sins are blotted out, and our hearts are sprinkled from an evil conscience. But this must be done before we can enter upon that new and living way which leads to glory.
4th. But in order to avail ourselves of the benefits of Christ's mediation, there is another thing necessary. We must have “our bodies washed with pure water.” This is another expression borrowed from the frequent washings prescribed by the Levitical law for the sake of external purification. It here denotes the importance and necessity of christian baptism,—at any rate that internal regeneration which baptism represents. And just as the Jewish priest had first to wash his flesh before he could enter into the inner tabernacle, so we must be internally cleansed and renewed before we can have admission into the true sanctuary above. It is