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only the greater grievousness of trespass against a better grace. Moses is shown as faithful in God's house, “Christ as Sox over His own house, whose house we are if we hold fast the confidence and boasting of our hope firm unto the end." I find Christians marvellously afraid of an “if"; but here it is, and is to be found elsewhere, as in Col. i. 23. This is not any “if” in the fulness of the work of Christ, or in the peace of His blood, but in the abiding in the calling to which the hope of the Gospel, i.e., the hope of the Gospel of Glory, is attached. It is emphatically repeated in the fourteenth verse of the chapter we are considering.
In the fourth, comes the “rest to the children of God”; after showing how room was left for the introduction of this rest after others had been fulfilled. It is the “rest with us," spoken of in 2 Thessalonians. Let us labour to enter into this rest. “He died for our sins, to deliver us out of this present evil age, according to the will of God and our Father.” We have to pass through the wilderness as belonging to God. Separated to God as sons in the midst of an evil age, we have this rest set before us—we rest in the atmosphere of death when we rest anywhere here. At the end of the chapter we are considering, a compassionate priest fitted to help us through our trial in the desolateness of the way. We are now introduced to the considerations we have entered upon. Enough has been said to shew the structure of the book in respect of the comparison carried on. After the comparison of the priesthood, which we now enter upon, we have, at the beginning of the eighth chapter, the difference of the value of the blood of the offerings and covenant, and the full consequences repeated of turning aside and falling into this sin against God, namely, of falling away from the better ordinance of God in Christ. The eleventh requires no elucidation. It is the nature of faith. The twelfth shews the difference of the place from whence the call cometh. He will call again from earth. The thirteenth turns on a remarkable fitness of the blood, carried into the holiest to the defiled condition of the sinner before God; being the blood of the victim that was burned without the gate,
carrying the application much farther than in chaps. viii., ix., x. In the thirteenth, it is not merely trespass, it is the body of sin, the defilement of the whole being, “He became sin for us”; and we are again manifestly on the high ground, and with the saints of the high places, who are called to come out of the camp and suffer with Him in following Him out of it, or addressed to those who are to advance to this point. We cannot give the whole of the Epistle to the Hebrews to the future relationship of the earthly people to the Lord.
The fifth chapter begins with the mention of a priest, taken from among men. The end of the former chapter should be read with the beginning of this. The neglect of the distinction made in the words, “taken from among men,” has been the means of displacing the Son of God, and lowering his nature, for some have not come short of making that which attaches to one taken from among men, to attach to the Son of the living God.
The likeness between Aaron and Christ is the calling of God, not his being taken from among men, and then to offer for his own sins, and that (observe) not offering of himself for himself, a condition which destroys with it capacity of atonement. Being encompassed with infirmity for the competency to the office of compassion as a faithful high-priest, is no part of his vicarious sacrifice. How blessed to be clear in what we are suffering for, unmixedly for His name and gospel! How sure the comfort of this comparison ! At the end of the chapter he turns distinctly to the Hebrews; though how true it may be of any! They were unskilful in the word of righteousness. The meat of the advanced is strong meat. And what good and evil are the senses of such exercised in, but the good and evil according to the hope of the calling now proposed to them?
We now come, in the next chapter, to the manifest proof of this in finding a list of things on which Hebraising Christians rest to this day. But those whom He addressed were to advance. Those that now Hebraise are going back with little hope of repentance, save when the joy of the Lord had once been present enough to make it necessary in extremity. And observe the case in
this chapter; they must go on or they will fall back. Christ had offered up Himself to purge their conscience from every obligation to dead works, and had entered into the Holiest, having been made a high-priest, after the order of Melchisedek, our fore-runner into the HEAVENLIES.
Now, beloved brethren, who have added nothing to me, I beg you to consider the place to which the Lord is here brought, and then what He has to do there; He will be as Melchisedek to those who in that day have the law written in their hearts, and will come forth thence as such, though that statement does not enter here. But as Son-Son as risen and perfected evermoreentered there, He shall not merely come forth as priest after the order of Melchisedek. It is as entering b there, not as coming forth thence, that He is here presented to us; He whose genealogy is not counted from Abraham nor to Abraham as after the flesh, is our priest.
The dignity of priesthood is marvellously set forth in this chapter. God knew the need of those who had to walk before Him. He is therefore in the presence of God for us. There must be a mediator, through whom those may be lifted up who fall, and to give effect to the relationship which God grants to man by Him in the · heavenly places. This dignity is distinctly set forth in verse 11. On the strength of (or a sense in this direction, and not under as given in the English version erre and not UTTO) the priesthood the law was given; and the priesthood is not changed because the law was changed; but the law is changed (not written on hearts instead of stone), of necessity changed because the priesthood is changed. The law failed—the introduction is of a better hope. We have no law to sin against, but the law of risen Sons. The law was made for murderers of
b. There is nothing in the Epistle to the Hebrews of His coming forth, but only of His entering in.
• The peculiar subtlety of evil in the formation of the Roman Catholic system is, on this point, very deeply manifest (being ever a representation of truth in falsehood). The whole system (and so with every one that copies this system) is based on the priesthood, taking place of a ministry given to the church (1 Cor. iii. 21-23).
fathers and murderers of mothers; but he that walketh in the Spirit is not under the law. The action of the priesthood of Aaron could apply only to the infraction of the law for which he had been made a priest.
priest." This man also hath somewhat to offer." God's purpose now is that in union with Christ risen, His life should be our existence, and as to our walk on earth the rule of it, as belonging where our life is. We are called up. The prize is to be there, and the presence of Christ is there, and we are called up thither of God. We are Christ's house if we hold fast to the mark. A risen and glorified Son, at the right-hand of God, is our priest, and Himself the offering, a priest for ever. The word of the oath, which was after the law, appointed Son perfected for evermore.
If we die with Him we shall live with Him; if we suffer with Him we shall be glorified with Him, and the blessing of the compassion of this our priest is wanted. It is true, that as Melchisedek-priest he is become surety of the new and better covenant to Israel; we are not deprived of Him because of this. By Him we draw nearer than they. His place to them is one of His glories in which we rejoice.
Cain's sin is not only against God, whom he had not seen, but also against his brother whom he had seen.
There is a thread of promise running through all God's dealings with man, to uphold the faith of those who were mourning under man's failure.
The terrible condition of the world is, that it “ seeth no more" Him in whom was the acting out of all the promises.
(Continued from Page 57). We may now turn (after the proof which the four chapters cited give of the value of confession), in a more general way, to the testimony of Scripture upon the subject. Let us quote a few cases of it. Confession, as used here, consists in the putting into the light that which (in one's own self) the light makes manifest, as not being in itself to our praise. A man oft goes on, where there has been failure in others against himself, without perceiving it: God, never. His Holiness and His justice forbid the thought that His omniscience should not fully, clearly, weigh and judge all evil. Connected with His ways, who pardoneth iniquity, for He is merciful and compassionate, there is a frequent recording of the perception of the evil; sometimes, also, the making of it felt and known, goes on, even to bless.
GENESIS III. (a)—In the third chapter of Genesis-after man has failed, entirely failed, by putting himself into the hands of Satan—we find a remarkable inquisition and investigation made by the Lord as to the facts of the new state of things, their mode of introduction, and their source. Conscience-stricken, Adam and Eve had made themselves a vesture; had tried to avoid the presence of the Lord, for they were naked (vers. 7-10).
The cited Adam accuses Eve (ver. 12), Eve accuses the serpent (ver. 13); the serpent, then, first, gets a double sentence (part present and part future) pronounced upon him (vers. 14, 15); next, Eve hears the sentence of a present judgment to be inflicted upon her pronounced (ver. 16); and, lastly, the same is done as to Adam (vers. 17–19). It may be said, “What has this to do with confession ?" Much, every way; because confession by man derives its whole value from the character and ways of the God to whom he confesses. The portion before us suggests,