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HEBREWS, vi. 1.'
Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let
us go on unto perfection.
W E find the Apostle, in the preceding chapter, blaming the Hebrews for their ignorance concerning certain divine truths, with which they ought, by means of the instruction which was afforded them, to have been acquainted. What he particularly adverted to was the Priesthood of Christ. « Of him,” says he, “ we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing; for when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you what be the first principles of the oracles of God, and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskile ful in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe; but strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those that by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil; therefore,” continues he, in the
words of the text, “ leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on to perfection,” which is an exhortation, I suppose, not less needful for Christians of the present, than for those of former ages, for we are all apt to be too supine and indolent, and to remit that diligent search after divine truth, which we are commanded to make, and which is absolutely necessary, if we would grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. We are led by the text to consider
Ist. What are the principles of the doctrine of Christ ?
2nd. What is it to go on to perfection? · The principles of the doctrine of Christ are those general truths of Christianity, which are contained in the Catechism, and with which every member of our Church is supposed to be acquainted. They consist in the belief, that. there is one only true God, the creator of heaven and earth, and the rewarder of those that diligently seek him; and that, being infinitely holy and just, and of purer eyes than to behold iniquity with complacence, he will render unto every man according to his works, and by no means spare the guilty. They instruct us also to regard Jesus Christ as our Saviour, who was born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified,
dead, and buried, descended into hell, rose again the third day from the dead, and ascended into heaven, from whence he shall come again to judge the quick and the dead; and futher direct us to believe in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of Life, who enlightens, sanctifies, and governs all the elect people of God; that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost are Three in One, and One in Three, a Holy Trinity, in which none is greater or less than the other, none is before or after the other, but the three Persons are co-equal together, and co-eternal. We likewise reckon. it among the principles of the doctrine of Christ, that we should believe in the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and everlasting life in the kingdom of heaven. 'All this we profess to believe as contained in the Bible ; 'and very right it is to give our assent to these truths, and to any others which may be collected from the sacred word; but these, after all, are but the principles of the doctrine of Christ ; and are not of themselves sufficient to save our souls; no, we must leave them, and go on to perfection. We must leave them, not so as, to reject them, as instructions of no value, but only so as not to rest in them. They are a good foundation, upon which to