« EdellinenJatka »
mises; they had promises, but there was something of a vail even upon the promises of the Old Testament; a great many spiritual promises were vailed under temporal blessings. The apostle saith concerning them, These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, Heb. xi. 13. That is the second, the way is called new, because it is of a new, lightsome, glorious revelation, under the gospel. The apostle Paul saith, Be it known unto you, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins, &c. Acts xili, 38, 39.
What great difference is there between Paul's preaching, and the bringing of a beast upon the altar?' and the sinner laying his hand upon his head, and the priest cutting his throat ? What a poor thing was this, in regard of the plain gospel-revelation of Jesus Christ's sacrifice ?
3dly, It is said to be a new way, because it is newly and lately made: and the word in the original has something in it, that favours this sense. Some read it a new slain
It is a way that comes by blood, that blood is newly shed; there is no abatement of the virtue of Christ's death, his blood is as warm, cries as loud this day, as the day it was shed: yet, not. withstanding, it had something in it to work upon people the more readily, because it was newly done at this time. Now, when we come to a matter of sixteen hundred years, we are apt to think that the virtue is in a great measure impaired; but this is our sin and folly.
4thly, It is a new way, because it is always new, and never gives place to another. It is never called old, for that which is old is ready to decay, and to vanish away; it is called new, because there is never to be another way to heaven. People had need take heed how they improve this. If we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacriftces for sins, Heb. x. 25. A scripture that, by the cunning of Satan, and by the darkness of the minds of many good people, has raised a storm in many good people's consciences without ground. The meaning is this, God will never provide another way to the end of the world, but only
this one way.
Lastly, It is a new way, because it is well prepared, as new
ways use to be. In the order that God gives about the city of refuge, Deut. xix. 3, 4. Thou shalt prepare thee a way, says the Lord; thou shalt make a new way on purpose, a way that a man may easily find, a way that may be distinguished from all other ways, that may direct itself to the passenger ; whenever a man should stand in need of the city of refuge, that he may find the way ready before him. Christ as slain as the new way to heaven, that is, well prepared, all impediments being removed out of the way, and all furtherances being in it; every thing that may hinder is removed, justice, the law, conscience condemning, and sin working; of all these we find plenty spoken of in the word of God. The Lord puts away sin by the sacrifice of himself, he sprinkles conscience, and gives full assurances of faith; but some of these I have spoken to already. Only now a little of the positive further. ances that are in this way, or the properties of it, as it is a new prepared way.
1. Christ Jesus is a safe and sure way, so that a man needs fear nothing, if he be in Christ: Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? says the apostle, Rom. viii. 35. I know that they that are in Christ will fear often, but that is their weakness. It is a reflection on our Lord Jesus, as to this sure way to heaven, to have trembling travellers walking in it; people should walk confidently, the way is sure and safe, There are many enemies in it, that is certain ; but they are not properly in the way, but are in our way as we travel in it; so that believers cannot walk quietly to heaven for them, but they walk safely for all that. The devil has been busy for above these five thousand years upon the road to heaven, yet he never slew one believer to this day. If a man be in Christ, the ark, he is certainly safe: he may be frightened, he may be disturbed, he may apprehend danger, but he shall
2. This way is a well-provided way. If a man have a great way to go, if there be danger of his being starved by the way, he is in a poor case; but there is no danger of being starved, if we walk in Christ. Here, if I may so speak,
the way; here is a cordial to the soul, food to the soul, Remember our Lord's body was given for us,
his blood was shed for us; the eating his flesh and drinking his blood, is food to the traveller in this way.
3. It is a very pleasant way. All they that know it find it to be pleasing both to God, and to his people. May we conceive, Sirs, how pleasing it is to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to see multitudes of poor sinners coming home to heaven in the arms and heart of his own Son ? to see the strayed sheep come home upon the good Shepherd's shoulders ? to hear him say, Behold, Here am I, and the children thou hast given me ? It is pleasant also to all believe ers; there is no believer that usually hath great trouble, but either when his interest in Christ is hid, or when his enjoyment of Christ is small. When we know we are in him, and when we do feel the blessedness of being in him, it is not ordinary affliction that will work much upon the soul of a believer. With what contempt does the apostle speak of all afflictions ? I know, says he, and am persuaded, that they are not able to separate me from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus. He was walking in the way, and encompassed with the love of God in Christ Jesus; therefore he gives a defiance to things present, and things to come, as not being able to hin der ķim from reaching to his journey's end.
4. Christ is the way to heaven, and he is prepared as a near way. It is not far betwixt Christ and heaven; for as soon as ever a believer sets foot in Christ as the way, he is immediately possessed of begun eternal life. We are to lay hold of eternal life ; that eternal life is in his Son, and he that hath the Son, hath life, saith the apostle, 1 John v. 11, 12. Alas, poor people commonly misreckon most wofully, that we are so far from heaven as from death and the grave; for though heaven's full enjoyment lies beyond both, and such as be young may possibly be a good many years from heaven; yet if so be that you be truly in Christ, Christ is now in heaven, and heaven is in him : we receive eternal life by receiving him ; we do not receive the full enjoyment of it, but we receive a right to it, and earnest of it. It is a near way, man may see heaven when he is in the way. There is a promise in the prophet Isaiah that has its vail on it: Thine eyes shall see the king in his beauty, and they shall behold the land that
is very far off, chap. xxxiii. 17. All that I allude to is, that as soon as a believer by faith takes up Christ Jesus as his Lord and Saviour, immediately he sees the land that is far off; for there is no man can have a believing look of Christ Jesus, but he must see heaven and salvation in his face. We have oce cess, says the apostle, by faith into this grace, wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God, Rom. v. 2.
HEBREWS X. 20,
By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us,
through the vail, that is to say, his flesh. THERE
are two things, that if they were more upon our hearts and minds, would make both the speaking and hearing of this subject sweet and savoury. If our hearts were set on heaven, it would be delightful to hear of the way to it; and if our hearts were filled with love to Christ Jesus, his most lovely appearing would be very desireable ; and the most useful and sweetest sight that believers can have of Jesus Christ, till they come before his throne, is to see him, as by his death and blood, making his way to heaven for them. Christ crucified and Christ glorified is all that we are to study; the one we are to study as long as we are on earth, and the other we shall be admitted to study when we get well to heaven. It is upon this theme I have been speaking again and again, and, if the Lord will, shall do it yet farther, That Jesus Christ as slain is the way to heaven ; or, That the flesh of the slain Son of God is the vail through which we must pass to heaven. This point I have opened in several things; and before I come to the large application of it that I design, I thought fit first to speak of the commendations of this way, that are in the text, and last day spake to the first of them, That it is called a new way, new not for its being newly contriyed, for the contrivance of this way is as old as eternity ; it
was an eternal purpose, that God purposed in himself, about bringing the elect number of Adam's fallen seed to glory by his Son Christ Jesus. It is not new in the revelation of it; for it was revealed as soon as sin came into the world, and sin is as old as the world, within a week or little more.
I mean sin is as old as any creature is ; it may be that sin was on the sixth day, or at least the seventh, it was very quickly. As soon as sin came in, the revelation of this way comes in also. It is not new for the use and benefit of it; it is not this day, nor yesterday, nor from the death of Christ, that believers get entrance to heaven, but from the beginning, from Abel the righteous, unto Zechariah that was slain betwixt the altar and the temple ; and in all the Old Testament times, the access to heaven was the same as it is now. Why then is it called a new way? It is neither newly contrived, nor lately revealed, not lately felt in the profit of it. It is new, because there was another before it; there was a way to heaven before it; but never man got to heaven that way, and never man shall. God never meant that ever man should perfect obedience unto himself by the terms of the first covenant; though life was promised by it, yet the least disobedience was threatened with death. It is new, because it is so clearly and newly revealed in the gospel; therefore the gospel, in the declaration shat we have of it, is called the New Testament. It is new, because it was but lately that this way was actually declared, and made known by the death of the Son of God. It is new, because it is constantly fresh, and is never to give place to a successor; as long as the world lasts, God will never contrive another way to bring men unto eternal life, but this through his Son shall remain for ever. If men sin wil. fully in the contempt of this, says the apostle, there is no more sacrifice for sin ; God will never provide another sacrifice for them that contemn this. It is new, because it is well prepared, and made fit with all the encouragements that may be to the traveller. Of these things I have spoken already.
It remains, that I speak of the second property of this way, it is a living way. Christ slain as the way to heaven is a living way. Now, this is a more marvellous property than the former. Here is, in the preceding verse, a man whose blood