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By Andrew Murray






PREFACE.

When first I undertook the preparation of this exposition in Dutch for the Christian people among whom l labour, it was under a deep conviction that the Epistle just contained the instruction they needed. In reproducing it in English, this impression has been confirmed, and it is as if nothing could be written more exactly suited to the state of the whole Church of Christ in the present day. The great complaint of all who have the care of souls is the lack of whole-heartedness, of stedfastness, of perseverance and progress in the Christian life. Many, of whom one cannot but hope that they are true Christians, come to a standstill, and do not advance beyond the rudiments of Christian life and practice. And many more do not even remain stationary, but turn back to a life of worldliness, of formality, of indifference. And the question is continually being asked, What is the want in our religion that, in so many cases, it gives no power to stand, to advance, to press on unto perfection? And what is the teaching that is needed to give that health and vigour to the Christian life that, through all adverse circumstances, it may be able to hold fast the beginning firm to the end.

The teaching of the Epistle is the divine answer to these questions. ln every possible way it sets before us the truth that it is only the full and penect knowledge of what Christ is and does for us that can bring us to a full and perfect Christian life. The knowledge of Christ Jesus that we need for conversion does not suffice for growth, for progress, for sanctification, for maturity. Just as there are two dispensations, the Old Testament and the New, and the saints of the Old, with all their faith and fear of God, could not obtain the more perfect life of the New, so with the two stages in the Christian life of which the Epistle speaks. Those who, through sloth, remain babes in Christ, and do not press on to maturity, are ever in danger of hardening their heart, of coming short and falling away. Only those who hold fast the beginning firm to the end, who give diligence to enter the rest, who press on unto perfection, do in very deed inherit and enjoy the wonderful new covenant blessings secured to us in Christ. And the great object of the Epistle is to show us that if we will but follow the Lord fully, and yield ourselves wholly to what God in Christ is ready to do, we shall find in the gospel and in Christ everything that we need for a life of joy and strength and final victory.

The cure the Epistle has for all our failures and feebleness, the one preservative from all danger and disease, is-the knowledge of the higher truth concerning Jesus, the knowledge of Him in His heavenly priesthood. ln connection with this truth, the writer has three great mysteries he seeks to unfold. The one is that the heavenly sanctuary has been opened to us, so that we may now come and take our place there, with Jesus in the very presence of God. The second, that the new and living way by which Jesus has entered, the way of self-sacrifice and perfect obedience to God, is the way in which we now may and must draw nigh. The third, that Jesus, as our heavenly High Priest, is the minister of the heavenly sanctuary, and dispenses to us its blessings, the spirit and the power of the heavenly life, in such a way that we can live in the world as those who arc come to the heavenly Jerusalem, and in whom the spirit of heaven is the spirit of all their life and conduct; the heavenly priesthood of Jesus, heaven opened to us day by day, our entering it by the new and living way, and heaven entering us by the Holy Spirit. Such is the gospel to the Hebrews the Epistle brings, such is the life to which it reveals the way and the strength. The knowledge of the heavenly character of Christ's person and work is what alone can make heavenly Christians, who, amid all the difficulties and temptations of life on earth, can live as those whom the superior power of the upper world has possessed, and in whom it can always give the victory.

ln offering these meditations now to a wider circle of readers, l do so with the prayer that it may please God to use them to inspire some of His children with new confidence in their blessed Lord, as they learn to know Him better and give themselves up to expect and experience all that He is able to do for them. l have not been afraid of continually repeating the one thought: Our one need is, to know Jesus better; the one cure for all our feebleness, to look to Him on the throne of heaven, and really claim the heavenly life He waits to impart.

Just as l was about to write the Preface to the Dutch issue, in the first week of last year, I received from my beloved colleague as a New Year's text, with the wish that it might be my experience, the words: "Jesus taketh with Him Peter and James and John, and bringeth them into a high mountain, apart by themselves, and He was transfigured before them." I at once passed the word on to my readers, and l do so again. May the blessed Master take us with Hirnself into the high mountain, even the Mount Sion, where He sits as Priest-King upon the throne in power, each of usapart by himself, and prepare us for the blessed vision of seeing Him transfigured before us,seeing Him in His heavenly glory. He will then still be to us the same Jesus we know now. And yet not the same; but His whole Being, bright with the glory and the power of the heavenly life which He holds for us, and waits to impart day by day to them who forsake all to follow Him.

ln humble trust and prayer that it may be so, I commend all my readers to His blessed teaching and guidance.

ANDREW MURRAY.

September 1894.

INTRODUCTION.

Here we enter upon the study of our Epistle, there are some questions on which it is desirable to have some light. lt is well to know what can be told as to its author, the Church to which it was addressed, the object the author had in view, and the plan he adopts to attain that object. The reader then knows something of what he is to expect, and has a point of view suggested from which to overlook the whole.

1. The Author Of The Epistle.

From the very earliest times there have been some among the Church Fathers who maintained that the Epistle was not written by Paul, while those who held the opposite view have admitted that they had no decisive evidence to offer to prove that authorship. All admit that the literary style is not that found in Paul's writings. And some say that the substance of the teaching differs too, and that the great truth which he had been set apart to announce, that the Gentiles are fellow-heirs, and of the same body, is entirely wanting. The Epistle speaks as if salvation was for the Jew only: it is absolutely silent as to the existence of a heathen or Christian world outside the Church it addresses.

On the other hand, it may be said that the Epistle contains so much of what had been specially revealed to Paul more than to others concerning the fulfilment of the law in Christ and its passing away, concerning the glory of Christ seated on the throne of heaven and the alone power of faith, that it is almost impossible not to recognise his spirit in its teaching. What adds special weight to this view is that, while from the style it is certain that it cannot be the work of any other of our Bible writers, it appears strange that the history of the Church does not even mention the name of a man who had been favoured with such special revelations from God as the Epistle bears witness to.

The difficulty has led from the earliest times to the supposition that Paul either wrote the letter to the Hebrews in their tongue, and that we only have it in the Greek translation, or that he gave the substance of its contents to someone who gave expression to them in his own peculiar style. The names have been suggested of Barnabas, of Luke (to whose style in the Acts there is considerable resemblance), of Aquila, of Apollos the Alexandrian (eloquent and mighty in the Scriptures), and Clement of Rome. There is such an entire absence of material for forming a decision that we are compelled to rest in the certainty that the name of the author cannot be known. All the more we praise God that we know for certain that the Holy Spirit spake in him who wrote, and that it is He who has given us in the Epistle one of the deepest and fullest revelations which the Bible contains of the counsel of redemption, and the glory of the Son who makes us partakers of it.

2. TO WHOM THE EPISTLE WAS WRITTEN.

The Jews had the name of Hebrews from Abraham, who, in Gen. xiv. 13, is spoken of as "the Hebrew." lt was counted a title of honour, as we see in Paul's, " an Hebrew of the Hebrews." Some have thought that, because no special place or church is mentioned, it was meant for all Christians among the Jews. But expressions as, "Pray that l may be restored to you the sooner," "With Timothy, if he come shortly, l will see you," compel us to think of some special community. The most probable view is that it was addressed, in the first place, to the Christians in Jerusalem. From Acts xxi. 20, we know that there were many thousands of them, who, while believing in Christ, yet clung to the temple and its worship. Nowhere were they in greater danger of yielding to the temptation of conformity to the spirit of the world around them, and losing the boldness and the brightness of their Christian life; and nowhere would there be better opportunity of securing for the letter the widest possible circulation through all the scattered Christian churches among the Jews.

3. The Object Of The Epistle.

What was it that led the writer to take his pen? The Epistle itself gives us the answer. The religious state of those to whom it was addressed was far from right or satisfactory. Some had grown "slothful," were "not giving earnest heed," were "neglecting the great salvation." They were no longer "holding fast their profession " or " their confidence." The Christian life was feeble and ready to die. Others had "gone back," were in danger of " coming short of the promises," and, yielding to "wilful sin," "drawing back to perdition." Still others were in danger of " refusing Him who speaks from heaven," of giving up their faith in Jesus. Expressions such as we have quoted, and others, indicate clearly that there had been much backsliding, and that the Church was in a state thab needed most solemn and pointed warning.

Great stress has been laid upon the difficulties that arose in the mind of the Hebrews from the circumstances in which they were placed. They had hoped that their countrymen would speedily accept the Messiah: they had been signally disappointed. They still clung to the old worship; but felt more and more that, suspected and despised as they were, they could no longer be at home there. The prophecies appeared to fail them, both in regard to the power with which Christ should reign, and the blessing He would bestow. To meet these difficulties, it is said, the Epistle seeks to open up the true glory of the religion of Christ, and to show that all that they lost in the old worship was a hundredfold restored in the "something better" God had now provided. lt seeks to solve the problem that troubled them in the light of the gospel.

There is doubtless a measure of truth in this view. And yet, the more l study the Epistle, the more confident l feel that this was not the chief trouble; the main difficulty lay in the want of religious earnestness. Their case was very much what has been the story of almost every Church, and what marks the state of the greater part of Christendom at the present day.

lt was to meet this spirit of backsliding, to warn against the disease and its danger, and to make known the infallible cure, that our author takes up his pen. He saw that the one cause of all the feebleness and faithlessness was this: the want of the knowledge and the faith of what Christ and His salvati'on truly are. He sets himself to show them how wonderfully, how divinely, all the prophecies and types of the Old Testament have their fulfilment in the salvation the Son of God has wrought for us. He unceasingly places their weakness and Christ's person side by side: he is sure that, if they but know Christ, all will be well.

4. The Plan Of The Epistle.

ln what way does the writer propose to attain his object? ln the opening verses we find the substance of his whole argument. God, who spoke to the fathers in the prophets, hath now spoken to us in the Son. There have been two revelations of God to man. The first was through men; the second through the Son. As much more glorious as God's Son is than His servants, has the new revelation more of life and of glory than the old. He not only writes to prove the superiority of the new above the old, but specially to show what that intrinsic excellence is which gives it that superiority. In the knowledge of this its excellence, both faith and experience will find their strength. The contents of the Epistle, taking its doctrinal and practical aspect together, may be summarised-the knowledge of the Son of God, the power of the Christian life.

The Epistle is divided into two parts. ln the first, the doctrinal half (i. i-x. 18), we have the glory of the person and work of Christ set forth. ln the second, or practical half (x. 19-xiii. 25), the life is described which the knowledge of Christ and His salvation will enable us to live.

l have had the Epistle printed at the beginning of the book, with headings showing the contents of the different parts, with the view of inviting and helping the reader to make himself master of the writing as a whole. It is of great consequence that the student of God's word should not only seek his edification from individual texts or passages, but that each book should be to him a living and connected organism, all alive with the Spirit that dwells in it. The more we thus take time and trouble to accept the great thoughts of God, the more will our life be brought to that unity and breadth, in which the purpose of God will be perfectly fulfilled.

The first three verses give us the summary of the doctrinal part.

Then follow twelve sections.

1. Christ, as Son of God, is more than the angels (i. 4-14).

2. Jesus, as Son of Man, is more than the angels too.

Reasons for His being made lower than the angels (ii. S-18).

3. Christ Jesus more than Moses (iii. 1-6).

4. Jesus, our High Priest, more than Aaron (iv. 14-v. 10).

5. The New Priesthood after the order of Melchizedek

(vii.).

6. The New Sanctuary and the New Covenant (viii.).

7. The power of Christ's blood to inaugurate the New

Sanctuary and the New Covenant (ix.).

8. The New Way into the Holiest (x. 1-18).

Here commences the second, the practical, half, with its call to a life corresponding to our privileges.

9. Of entering the Holiest and dwelling there (x. 19-25).

10. Of the Fulness of Faith (xi. 1-40).

11. Of the Patience of Hope (xii. 1-13).

12. Of Love and Good Works (xiii. 1-25).

ln this summary of contents l have not taken up the passages containing the solemn warnings by which the Epistle is characterised. They are so inserted that they could in each case be left out, without the argument suffering. ln some cases, the connection would in fact be clearer. l have had this indicated in the printing, because I am sure that it is of importance, if we would thoroughly master the lesson given us, that we should fully apprehend the danger which threatened, and in some right measure see how the only deliverance for Christians from all that weakens and hinders them, is the full knowledge of the person and work of Jesus.

The Warnings.

1. After the proof of Christ being more than the angels

-Not to neglect so great salvation (ii. 1-4).

2. After the proof of Christ being more than Moses-Not

like Israel in the wilderness to come short of the promised rest (iii. 7-iv. 13).

3. After the mention of Christ being more than Aaron-

Against the danger of sloth, standing still, and falling away (v. 1 i-vi. 21).

4. After the call to enter the opened Holiest-Against

sinning wilfully, and drawing back to perdition (x. 26-39).

5. After the exhortation to patience - Against falling

short of the grace of God and refusing Him who speaks (xii. 15-29).

The deeper our impression is of the danger that existed, the clearer will be our insight into the truth that the only source of health and strength to the Church is the knowledge of Christ Jesus.

5. The Epistle And The Church Of Our Days.

There is one more point in which an lntroduction can help the reader. lt is to suggest the relation in which a book stands to the special needs of our present times.

ln the Christian Church of our day the number of members is very large, whose experience corresponds exactly with that which the Epistle pictures and seeks to meet. How many Christians are there yet who, after the profession of faith in Christ, come to a standstill. "Taking more abundant heed to what they hear"; "giving diligence to enter into the rest of God "; "pressing on to perfection "; "running with patience the race "-just these are the things which are so little found. So many rest contented with the thought that their sins are pardoned, and that they are in the path of life, but know nothing of a personal attachment to Christ as their Leader, or of a faith that lives in the invisible and walks with God. With many this is the consequence of the hopelessness that came from the failure of their utmost efforts to live as they desired. They struggled in their own strength; they knew not Christ as the secret of strength; they lost heart, and went back. The profession of faith is not cast away; religious habits are kept up; but there is nothing to show that they have entered or are seeking to enter the Holiest to dwell there. The power of the world, the spirit of its literature, the temptations of business and pleasure, all unite to make up a religion in which it is sought to combine a comfortable hope for the future with the least possible amount of sacrifice in the present. The Epistle, with its warnings, is indeed a glass in which the Church of the present day may see itself.

But it is a glass too, thank God, in which we can also see the glory of Jesus on the throne of heaven, in the power that can make our heart and life heavenly too. What the Hebrews needed is what we need. Not in ourselves or our efforts is salvation, but in Christ Jesus. To see Him, to consider Him, to look to Him, as He lives in heaven, that will bring the healing. As little as the Hebrews with the Old Testament, its God-given law, its temple service, and its prophecy, could withstand the temptation to "wax weary and grow faint," can the New Testament, with a sound Church and Church doctrine, and its religious services, give us the true life and power of godliness. lt is Jesus Christ we must know better. lt is He who lives to-day in heaven, who can lead us into the heavenly sanctuary, and keep us there, who can give heaven into our heart and life.The knowledge of Jesus in His heavenly glory and His saving power; it is this our Churches and our Christians need. lt is this the Epistle will bring us, if we yield to that Spirit who speaks in it, to reveal it in us.1

lt is, therefore, with great confidence that l invite all who long for the rest of God, for a life in the holiest of God's love, for the fulness of faith and hope and love, to take up the study of the Epistle, with the confident assurance of finding in its revelation of what Christ and His salvation are, the deliverance from sin and sloth, the joy and the strength of a new life.

1 I have had the texts referring to the heavenly place and work of our Lord printed in red. To direct attention to this, the central thought of our Epistle,-that because Christ came from heaven, and went back to heaven, and opened heaven for us, and does His work in the spirit and power of heaven, Christians can live a supernatural, a heavenly life.
















THE THEME.-i. 1-3.
The Glory of the Son in His Person and Work



Chapter I

THE SON IN WHOM GOD HATH SPOKEN

1. God, having of old time spoken unto the fathers In the prophets by divers portions and In divers manners,

2. Hath at the end of these days spoken onto us In his Son.

God hath spoken! The magnificent portal by which we enter into the temple in which God is to reveal His glory to us! We are at once brought into the presence of God Himself. The one object of the Epistle is to lead us to God, to reveal God, to bring us into contact with Himself. Man was created for God. Sin separated from God. Man feels his need, and seeks for God. This Epistle comes with the gospel message of redemption, to teach us where and how to find God. Let all who thirst for God, for the living God, draw nigh and listen.

God hath spoken! Speaking is the vehicle of fellowship. lt is a proof that the speaker considers him he addresses as capable of fellowship with himself; a token that he longs for that fellowship. Man was created for fellowship with God. Sin interrupted it . Nature speaks of God and His work, but of Himself, His heart, and His thoughts of love towards us as sinners, nature cannot tell. ln his deepest misery man seeks for God-but how often, to all appearance, in vain. But, God be praised, not for always. The silence has been broken. God calls man back to fellowship with Himself. God hath spoken!

God hath spoken! For a time, imperfectly and provisionally in the prophets, in preparation for the more perfect revelation of Himself. But now at length the joyful tidings are heard -God hath spoken in His Son! God, the infinite, incomprehensible, unseen One, hath spoken! And that in His Son! Oh the joy and the glory! who can measure it? "Hear! O heavens, and give ear! O earth, for the Lord hath spoken."

God hath spoken! When man speaks it is the revelation of himself, to make known the otherwise hidden thoughts and dispositions of his heart. When God, who dwells in light that is inaccessible, speaks out of the heights of His glory, it is that He may reveal Himself. He would have us know how He loves us and longs for us, how He wants to save and to bless, how He would have us draw nigh and live in fellowship with Himself.

God hath spoken in His Son! The ministry of angels and prophets was only to prepare the way; it never could satisfy the heart either of God or man; the real power of the life of God, the full experience of His nearness, the true deliverance from sin, the shedding abroad of the love in the heart,- this could not be communicated by the ministry of creatures. The Son Himself had to come as the Word of God to us, the bearer of the life and love of the Father. The Son Himself had to come to bring us into living contact with the divine Being, to dwell in our heart, as He dwells in God's heart, to be in us God's word as He is in God, and so to give us the living experience of what it means that God speaks to us.

God hath spoken! The words of a man carry weight according to the idea l have of his wisdom, his veracity, his power, his love. The words of God! Oh, who can express what they ought to be worth to us! Each word carries with it all the life of God, all His saving power and love. God speaking in His Son! Surely they who have begun to know Him will be ready to cast aside everything for the sake of hearing Him.

God hath spoken! The words of men have often exerted a wonderful and a mighty influence. But the words of God- they are creative deeds, they give what they speak. "He spake, and it was done." When God speaks in His Son, He gives Him to us, not only for us and with us, but in us. He speaks the Son out of the depth of His heart into the depths of our heart. Men's words appeal to the mind or the will, the feelings or the passions. God speaks to that which is deeper than all, to the heart, that central depth within us whence are the issues of life. Let us believe the mighty, quickening power God's word will have.

God hath spoken! Speaking claims hearing. God asks but one thing; it is so simple and right; that we should listen. Shall we not hearken, in holy reverence and worship, with whole-hearted attention and surrender, to what He would say to us in this Epistle too? We too shall know what the power and the joy is of God speaking to us in His Son. God is a Spirit. As such He has no other way of communicating to us His life or His love, but by entering our spirit and dwelling and working there. There He causes Christ to dwell, and there He speaks to us in Christ these words of redeeming love and power which bring life to us. The words of Christ can bring us no profit, except as they unfold to us what God is working in us, and direct us to what is to be revealed in our heart. lt is the heart God wants; let us open the whole heart to listen and to long.

God hath spoken in His Son! The living Jesus, come forth from the fiery furnace of God's holiness, from the burning glow of everlasting love, He Himself is the living Word. Let us seek in the study of this Epistle, in which His glory is so wondrously revealed, to come into contact with Him, to receive Him into our hearts, to take Him as our life, that He may bring us to the Father. ln the beginning God spake: "Let there be light! and there was light." Even so now He speaks with creative power in His Son, and the presence and the light of Christ become the life and the light of the soul.

1. What trouble pevple take to learn a foreign language, to have access to lts writers. Let no trouble be too great to understand the language of God, His Word, His Son. To learn a foreign language l get somevne who knows it to teach me. The language of God is heavenly, spiritual, supernatural-altogether dioine; only the Holy Spirit can teach me to understand it, to think God's own thoughts. Let me take Him as my teacher.

2. "And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him." As personally and directly, even more wonderfully and effectually, will God speak to me in His Son; but deep, holy reverence, and an intense desire to know what God says, must be the spirit in which l study the Epistle and hearken to the blessed Son.

3. "Heavenly truth is nowhere spoken but by the voice of Christ, nor heard but by the power of Christ, lioing in the hearer." "He that is of God heareth God's words." lt is only he who yields himself to the new nature who can truly know what God's speaking in Christ is.

4. During Christ's life the word of God was thrice heard. Each time it was: "This is My beloved Son : hear Him." "l have glorified Him." Let us allow God to speak this one word into our hearts-Mybeloved Son. O my God! speak to me in Thy Son. Oh, speak that one word out of the depth of Thy heart into the depth of my heart.
















II

THE SON-MORE THAN THE PROPHETS.

1. Ood, having of old time spoken unto the fathers in the prophets by divers portions and in divers manners,

2. Hath at the end of these days spoken unto us In his Son.

We all know that there are two Testaments-the Old and the New. These represent two dispensations, two modes of worship, two sorts of religions, two ways in which God has intercourse with man, and man draws nigh to God. The one was provisional, preparatory, and intended to pass away. What it gave and wrought was not meant to satisfy, but only to awaken the expectation of something better that was to come. The other was the fulfilment of what had been promised, and destined to last for ever, because it was itself a complete revelation of an everlasting redemption, of a salvation in the power of an endless life.

ln both Old and New Testament it was God who spake. The prophets in the Old, and the Son in the New, were equally God's messengers. God spake in the prophets no less truly than in the Son. But in the Old everything was external and through the mediation of men. God Himself could not yet enter and take possession of man and dwell in him. ln the New all is more directly and immediately divine-in an inward power and reality and life, of which the Old had only the shadow and hope. The Son, who is God, brings us into the very presence of God.

And wherefore was it that God did not, could not, from the very beginning, reveal Himself in the Son? What need was there of these two ways of worshipping and serving Him? The answer is twofold-lf man were indeed intelligently and voluntarily to appropriate God's love and redemption, he needed to be prepared for it . He needed first of all to know his own utter impotence and hopeless wretchedness. And so his heart had to be wakened up in true desire and expectancy to welcome and value what God had to give.

When God speaks to us in Christ it is as the Father dwelling in the Son. "The words that l say unto you, I speak not from Myself, but the Father abideth in Me doeth the works." Just as God's speaking in Christ was an inward thing. So God can still speak to us in no other way. The external words of Christ, just like the words of the prophets, are to prepare us for, and point us to, that inner speaking in the heart by the Holy Spirit, which alone is life and power. This is God's true speaking in His Son.

lt is of the utmost consequence for our spiritual life that we should rightly understand these two stages in God's dealing with man. In two ways, not in one; not in more than two; in two ways has God spoken.

They indicate what, in substance, is God's way with every Christian.1 There is, after his conversion, a time of preparation and testing, to see whether he willingly and heartily sacrifices all for the full blessing. lf in this stage he perseveres in earnest effort and striving, he will be brought to learn the two lessons the Old Testament was meant to teach. He will become more deeply conscious of his own impotence,

1 "The characteristics which before marked the revelation itself, now mark the human apprehension of the final revelation."-Westcott.

and the strong desire will be wakened after a better life, to be found in the full revelation of Christ as able to save completely. When these two lessons are learned-the lesson of despair of self and hope in God alone-the soul is prepared, if it will yield itself in faith to the leading of the Holy Spirit, to enter truly into the New Testament life within the veil, in the very Holiest of All, as it is set forth in this Epistle.

Where Christians, through defective instruction, or through neglect and sloth, do not understand God's way for leading them on unto perfection, the Christian life will always remain full of feebleness and failure. lt was thus with the Hebrew Christians. They belonged to the New Testament, but their life was anything but the exhibition of the power and joy Christ came to reveal. They were far behind what many of the Old Testament saints had been; and the reason was this- they knew not the heavenly character of the redemption Christ had brought. They knew not the heavenly place in which He ministers, nor the heavenly blessing He dispenses, nor the heavenly power in which He secures our enjoyment of these blessings. They knew not the difference between the prophets and the Son; what it means that God has now spoken to us in His Son. The one object of the Epistle is to set before us the heavenly priesthood of Christ and the heavenly life to which He in His divine power gives us access. lt is this gives the Epistle its inestimable value for all time, that it teaches us the way out of the elementary stage of the Christian life to that of full and perfect access to God.

Let us grasp and hold firmly the difference between the two stages. ln the one, the action of man is more prominent: God speaks in the prophets. ln the other, the divine presence and power are more fully revealed: God speaks in the Son, who bears and brings the very life of God, and brings us into living contact with God Himself. In the one, it is the human words that occupy and influence and help us to seek God; in the other, the divine indwelling Word reveals its power within. In the one, it is multiplicity of thoughts and truths, of ordinances and efforts; in the other, the simplicity and the unity of the one Son of God, and faith in Him alone.

How many have sought by study and meditation and acceptance of the words of the Bible to find God, and yet have failed. They knew not that these were but the finger-posts pointing to the living Son,-words coming indeed from God, most needful and profitable, and yet not sufficient; only yielding us their true blessing when they have brought us to hear God Himself speaking in His Son.

7. Let none of us rest content with the lower stage. Let us see that personal fellowship with God, through the Holy Spirit, is what Christ glves. God calls us to lt: Christ lioes in heaven to work lt, through the Spirit He gioes from heaven.

2. One mag know much of the Bible and the words of God, and get remain feeble. What one needs is to know the lioing Word, in whom God speaks within, in life and power.

3. All the prophets point to the Son, as the true Prophet. Let us take them very definitely as our teachers, to reveal God in us.

4. When l speak a word, l desire all lts meaning and force to enter into him whom l address. God has in these last days but one Word. He desires to have all that Word is and means enter in and lioe in us. Let us open our hearts, and God will speak into lt that one Word, This is My Son, in such a way that He will indeed be all our own.
















III

THE SON-THE GLORY OF HIS PERSON.

1. God hath spoken unto us in his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom also he made the worlds;

3. Who being the effulgence1 of his glory, and the very image of his substance, and upholding all things by the word of his power.

We know that whatever a man sets his heart on exercises a mighty influence on the life, and leaves its stamp upon his character. He that follows after vanity becomes vain. He that trusts in a god of his own fancy will find his religion an illusion. He that sets his heart upon the living God will find the living God take possession and fill the heart. lt is this that makes it of such infinite consequence that we should not only have a general idea of the Christ through whom God speaks to us, but should know Him aright and have our heart filled with all that God has revealed of Him. Our knowledge of Him will be the food of our faith, and as our faith is will be our experience of His saving power, and of the fellowship with God to which He leads. Let us listen to what we are taught of the Son in whom God speaks to us.

Whom He appointed Heir of all things. The great object and aim of God in creation was to have an inheritance for His Son, in which He might show forth His glory and find His blessedness. The Son is the Final Cause, the End of all things.

He is the Beginning too. Through whom He also made the worlds. He is the origin and Efficient Cause of all that exists. "Without Him nothing was made that was made." The place the Son had in the divine Being was such that God's relation to all that was outside of Himself was only through the Son. Of all that exists the end and the beginning meet in Him.

And He is the Middle, too. Upholding all things by the word of His power. He bears all things, "all things consist in Him." As little as they were created without Him, can they exist without Him? Heupholds them every moment by the word of His power, even as by His word they were created. This is the Son through whom God speaks to us.

And what is it that makes Him worthy of taking this high place between the Creator and the creature? Because, as the Son, it is He alone in whom the unapproachable and utterly incomprehensible glory of God is made manifest, through whom as Mediator the uncreated God, and the works of His hand, can come into contact and fellowship. His relation to creation rests on His relation to the Father. He is the outshining of God's glory, and the express image of His substance. As we only know the sun by the light that shines from it, so is Christ the outshining, the revelation of God's glory. As the light that shines from the sun is of the same nature with it, so the Son is of one nature with the Father- God of God. And as a son bears the likeness of his father, because he has his life and nature from him, so the Son of God is the express image of His substance. He is of one substance with the Father-its express image-and hath therefore life in Himself, even as the Father hath life in Himself.

Someone may be tempted to think that these are theological mysteries too deep for the ordinary Christian, and not needful for our Christian faith and life. And they are inclined to ask, of what importance it can be to a simple believer to know all this? My brother, think not thus. lt is all important that we know the glory of Jesus. The more the soul is filled with that glory, and worships Him in it, the more it will see with what confidence it can count upon Him to do a divine and supernatural work in us, and to lead us to an actual living fellowship with God as our Father. Oh, let us not be so selfish and mean as to be content with the hope that Jesus saves us, while we are careless of having intimate personal acquaintance with Him. lf not for our sake, then for God's sake, for the sake of His infinite love and grace, let us seek to know aright this blessed Son whom the Father has given us. Let us turn away from earth, let us meditate and gaze and worship, until He, who is the outshining of the divine glory, shines into our very heart, and He, to whom the Father hath given such a place as Creator and Upholder and Heir of ali, take that place with us too, and be to us the beginning and the centre and the end of all.

It is through this Son God speaks to us. Not through the words of the Son only, for they too are human words, and may, just like the inspired words of the prophets, bring in but little profit. It is through the Son-the living, mighty, divine Son, direct-that God speaks: it is only in direct living contact with the Son that the words can profit. And the Son, not as we superficially think of Him, but the real divine Son as God has revealed Him, known and worshipped and waited on as the outshining of the divine glory,-it is this Son of God, entering into our heart and dwelling there, in whom God will speak to us, and in whom we shall be brought nigh to God. When Christ reveals the Father, it is not to the mind, to give us new thoughts about Him, but in the heart and life, so that we know and experience the power in which God can dwell and work in man, restoring him to the enjoyment of that blessed fellowship for which he was created, and which he lost by the fall. The great work of God in heaven, the chief thought and longing of His heart is, in His Son, to reach your heart and speak to you. Oh, let it be the great work of your life, and the great longing of your heart, to know this Jesus; as a humble, meek disciple to bow at His feet, and let Him teach you of God and eternal life. Yes, even now, let us bow before Him in the fourfold glory in which the word has set Him before us. He is the Heir of all that God has. He is its Creator. He is the Upholder too. He is the Outshining of God's glory, and the perfect lmage of His substance. O my Saviour! anything to know Thee better, and in Thee to have my God speak to me!

1. "No man knoweth the Son, save the Father, neither doth any know the Father save the Son, and he to whomsvever the Son wllleth to reveal him." How dependent we are on the Father to know the Son; on the Son to know the Father. Let us acknowledge this dependence in deep humility, and believe and wait in meekness of sout for the dioine revealing.

2. There are times when there arises in the soul a deep longing to know God. External teaching dves not satisfy. Treasure such longing as God's loving drawing. Turn from the world in stillness of soul, and exercise faith in the secret power that Jesus can exert in the heart. Become a disciple of Jesus, one who follows Him and learns of Him.

3. O Thou who art Heir, Creator, Upholder of all, the brightness of the Father's glory, the express image of His substance,-O my Lord Jesus, reveal the Father to me, that l may know that God speaks to me.
















IV

THE SON-THE GLORY OF HIS WORK.

1. Who, when he had made purification1 of sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.

THE description of the glory of Christ's person is followed by that of the work of this Son in whom God speaks to us. God's words are deeds. It is in what Christ is and works that God speaks to us. In His divinity and incarnation we see what God has given us. In His life and death and ascension we see how the gift of God enters and acts in all our human life, how complete our salvation is, and what God now asks of us. All Christ's work is God's word to us.

That work consists in two parts: the one on earth, the other in heaven. Of the former it is said, When He had effected the cleansing of sins; of the latter, He sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high. ln a healthy Christian life we must know and hold fast both parts of Christ's work. The work He did upon earth was but a beginning of the work He was to do in heaven; in the latter the work on earth finds its perfection and its glory. As Priest He effected the cleansing of sins here below; as Priest-King He sits on the right hand of the throne to apply His work, in heavenly power to dispense its blessings, and maintain within us the heavenly life.

When He had effected the cleansing of sins. The cleansing of sins, as something effected by Christ ere He went to heaven, is the foundation of all His work. Let us learn, at the very outset, that what God has to speak to us in Christ begins here: sinmust be cleansed away. This is the root-thought of redemption. As long as we seek salvation chiefly from the desire of personal safety, or approach the study of Christ's person and work as the revelation of what is true and beautiful and good, we cannot enter fully into its power. It is the cleansing of sin God insists on; in a desire so intense that He gave His Son to die for it! lt is in the intense desire after the cleansing of sins, that, all the way through the Christian life, the spiritual capacity to approach and enter into the salvation of Christ will be found. lt lies at the root of all. lt is the secret of Christian perfection. lt was only when He had effected this that heaven opened to Him. The full acceptance of the cleansing of sins, as the meaning of the word will be unfolded later on, will be to us, too, the entrance into the heavenly life.

When He had effected the cleansing of sins, He sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high. There He lives, opening up and keeping open the blessed access to God's presence and fellowship for us; lifting us up into and maintaining us in its enjoyment; and in the power that prevails there, making the kingdom of heaven a reality within the heart. lt is the great object of the Epistle to bring home to us the heavenly glory of Christ as the ground of our confidence, the measure of our expectation, and the character of that inward salvation He imparts. That Christ as our Leader and Forerunner has rent asunder the veil, and in the power of His blood has taken possession and secured access into the Holiest of All, does not mean only that we are to enter heaven when we die. The whole practical teaching of the Epistle is summed up and applied in the one word: "We have boldness for entering in: let us draw nigh: let us enter in." Christ seated on the throne in heaven means our being actually brought, in the supernatural power which the coming down of the Holy Spirit supplies, into God's holy presence, and living there our daily life. lt was because the Hebrews did not know this, because they had rested content with elementary truths about faith and conversion, and then the life in heaven after death, that they had so signally failed. Truly to know Jesus at the right hand of God would be the healing of their diseases, the restoration to the joy and the strength of a life in accordance with their heavenly calling.

The Church of our days is suffering from the same cause, and needs the same cure. lt is so much easier to appropriate the work of Christ on earth than that in heaven. lt is so much easier to take in the doctrine of a Substitute and an atonement, of repentance and pardon, than of a High Priest bringing us into God's presence, and keeping us in loving communion with Him. lt is not the blood-shedding upon earth only, it is the blood-sprinkling in lieaven, and the blood-sprinkling from heaven on heart and conscience, that brings the power of the heavenly life unto us. And it is this alone that makes us Christians, who not only seek to enter the gate, but who daily press on in the living way that leads ever deeper into the Holiest.

Let no one think that l speak of what is too high. l speak of what is your heritage and destiny. The same share you have in Jesus on the cross, you have in Jesus on the throne. Be ready to sacrifice the earthly life for the heavenly; to follow Christ fully in His separation from the world and His surrender to God's will; and Christ in heaven will prove in you the reality and the power of His heavenly priesthood. Let the cleansing of sins be to you, as it was to Christ, the entrance to the Holiest . He who effected the cleansing on earth, and applies it in person from heaven, will assuredly lead you into all the fulness of blessing it has opened up for Him and for you.

7. Faith has in its foundation four great corner-stones on which the building rests-the Dlvinity of Christ, the incarnation, the Atonement on the Cross, the Ascension to the Throne. The last is the most wonderful, the crown of all the rest, the perfect revelation of what God has made Christ for us. And so in the Christian life it is the most important, the glorious fruit of all that gves before.

2. The Holy Spirit was sent down after the ascension. Why? That He might witness to us of a heavenly Christ, and bring the kingdom of heaven into our hearts and lioes.

3. "Cleansing of sins." Some one says: "At this time l saw plainly that whatever the Lord would communicate and make known of Himself and the mystery of His kingdom, He would do it in a way of purity and holiness." There are two sides from which we can apprvach the higher truth of God's word as to holiness and likeness to Jesus. The one is the desire to know all Scripture truth fully, and to have our system of doctrine complete and perfect. The other is the deep, intense longing to be made free from sin, as free as God can make us in this life. lt is only from this side that real access will be given into the heavenly life of Christ.
















FIRST SECTION-i. 4-14.
The Son of God more than the Angels.



V

THE SON-A MORE EXCELLENT NAME.

L-4. Having become by so muoh better than the angels, as he hath Inherited a more excellent name than they.

5. For unto which of the angels said he at any time,
Thou art my Son,
This day have I begotten thee?
and again,

I will be to him a Father,
And he shall be to me a Son?

The superior excellence of the New Testament above the Old consists in this, that God has spoken to us, and wrought salvation for us in, His Son. Our whole Epistle is the unfolding of the glory of the person and work of the Son. The more completely we apprehend this, and have our heart permeated by it, the better we shall apprehend the completeness of the salvation God hath now provided for us. To know Jesus Christ in His glory is the great need, the only safeguard, the sure growth of the Christian life.

There is often no better way of knowing a thing than by placing it in contrast with what is less perfect . Our Epistle would teach us the glory of the New Testament by placing it in contrast with the Old, especially with those who were its great mediators and representatives. lt will show us the superiority of Christ over the angels, over Moses, over Joshua, over Abraham and Levi and Aaron.

It begins with the angels. .Having become so much better1 than the angels, as He hath inherited a more excellent name than they. Though these words belong grammatically to the preceding verses, they are in reality the heading of what follows. They form the transition from the theme to the first part of the argument - the excellence of Christ as Son of God above the angels. The Jews counted it one of their great privileges that the law was given by the ministration of angels (ch. ii. 2; Acts vii. 38, 53; Gal. iii. 19), heavenly spirits, who came direct from the throne of God. The manifestation of God had frequently been in the form of an angel: "the angel of the Lord" had been Israel's leader. And yet great as was the privilege, it was as nothing to that of the new revelation. Angels were but creatures; they might show signs of heavenly power, and speak words of heavenly truth; as creatures, they could not bring down the life of God itself, nor truly reach into the life of man. They had indeed as a title of honour been called "sons of God" (Ps. xxix. I, lxxix. 6); there is but One to whom it was said, Thou art my Son; this day I have begotten Thee. He alone, making us partakers of the very life of God, could indeed bring God nigh to us, and us nigh to God.

It is the superiority of the Son to the angels the writer is going to prove in this first chapter by a series of quotations from Old Testament Scripture. We must not, however, only regard these as so many proof-texts for the divinity of our

'The word "better" is one of the key words of the Epistle. It occurs thirteen times. See References.

Saviour, but as a divine revelation of the glory of that divinity in its various aspects. At the very commencement of his argument he will prove how the Old Testament had all along borne witness to the glory of God's Son, as the great thought that in God's revelation to man ever had the first place in God's heart.

Ere we proceed to study the texts themselves, it is of importance that we notice how the writer uses them. When our Lord on earth, or Paul, cites the New Testament, they say: Moses says, or David says, or the prophets say. Our Epistle mostly quotes the words as coming from the lips of God Himself. In the seven quotations in our chapter it always is, "He saith." Farther on we find more than once, "The Holy Ghost saith." Scripture has two sides, the human and the divine. The knowledge of all that can illustrate the Scriptures as human compositions has its very great value. But it is of still more importance never to forget the divine side, and to be full of the conviction that Scripture is indeed God's word; that God Himself, through His Spirit, spoke in the prophets, and that it has the power of God dwelling in it.

This conviction will teach us two things, absolutely necessary to the profitable study of the Epistle. The one, that we recognise that these words of God contain a divine depth of meaning which the human mind never could have grasped or expounded. The wonderful exposition of Ps. ii. and the Son of God; of Ps. viii. and the human nature of Jesus; of Ps. xcv. and the rest of God; of Ps. ex. and the priesthood of Melchizedek; all prove to us how they were inbreathed by that Spirit of Christ who knew what was to come, and how it was that same Spirit who alone could have taught our writer to apprehend and unfold their divine meaning.

The other lesson is this, that the divine thoughts, thus deposited in the Old Testament as a seed by the Holy Spirit and unfolded by that same Spirit in the New, still need the teaching of the Spirit to make them life and truth to us. It is God who must shine in our hearts to give the knowledge ot His glory in the face of Jesus Christ. Christ is the Word, "that was God," that speaks to us as coming out of- the depth of God's heart, a living person; it is only the heart that yields to be led by the Holy Spirit that can expect to profit by the teaching of the word, and truly to know Christ in His divine saving power. The truths of Christ's sonship and divinity and priesthood and redemptionwere given in charge to the Holy Spirit; He revealed them from time to time; He alone can reveal them to us. To the written words all have free access; our mind can see their purport; but their life and power and blessing, the glory of the Son of God as a power of salvation - this is given to none but those who wait humbly on God's Spirit to teach them.

1. The angels brought wonderful messages from God of old: but God is now drawing far nearer to thee, and waiting to speak in a far more wonderful and blessed way, by revealing the eternal Word in thy heart.

2. Words and wonders, these angels could bring. But to bring the life and the love of God, and gioe lt in the heart-this the Son alone can do. But He dves lt. Christ is the dioine nature manifesting and communicating ltself; l have no contact with Christ or God in Him, but as l receioe Him, as the divine nature imparting itself, as manifested in His human life, and will, and character.

3. lf l were favoured this day with the visit of an angel-what a prioilege l would count lt. But Christ, the Son at the right hand, will not only olslt, but will dwell in me. O my soul, rise to thy prioileges: God speaks to thee in His Son.
















VI

THE SON-THE ONLY BEGOTTEN.

I.-5. For unto which of the angels said he at any time,
Thou art my Son,

This day have I begotten thee? (Fs. 11. 7). and again,

I will be to him a Father,

And he shall be to me a Son? (2 Sam, yll. 14). 6. And when he again brlngeth In the firstborn"into the world, he salth, And let all the angels of God worship him (Fs. xcvil. 7).

It is because Christ is the Son of God that He is higher than the angels, and that the New Testament is so much higher than the Old. If we would grasp the teaching, and get the blessing of our Epistle, and indeed become partakers of the inner power and glory of the redemption Christ hath brought, we must tarry here in deep humility until God reveals to us what it means, that His only Son has become our Saviour. The infinite excellence of the Son above the angels is the measure of the excellence of that heavenly life He brings and gives within us. The angels could tell of God and of life. The Son has, the Son is, that life of God, and gives it. He that hath the Son, hath life.

Thou art My Son, this day have I begotten Thee. The

words are used in Acts xiii. 33, of the resurrection of Christ. So the word firstborn in the next verse also has reference to the resurrection (Col. i. 18; Rev. i. 5). The Son was not only begotten of the Father in eternity, but begotten again in the resurrection. ln the incarnation the union between the divine and the human nature was only begun: it had to be perfected by Christ, in His human will, yielding Himself to God's will even unto the death. In the resurrection (Rom. i. 4), " He was declared to be the Son of God with power"; the full outbirth of humanity into the perfected fellowship and equality with Deity was completed; the Son of Man was begotten into all the likeness and glory of the Son of God. Thus Paul applies it (Acts xiii. 33): "God raised up Jesus, as also it is written in the second Psalm, Thou art My Son, this day have l begotten Thee." He then became the first begotten from the dead.

And again, I will bp to Him a Father, and He shall be to me a Son. The words were spoken to David of a son God should give to him, but with the clear indication that their meaning reached far beyond what any mere man could be. ln the Son of Man, who in the resurrection was raised up in power, and declared to be the Son of God, they find their complete fulfilment.

And when He again bringeth in the firstborn into the world, He saith, And let all the angels of God worship Him. The Psalm speaks of Jehovah coming to redeem His people: the Son is so one with the Father, that as the Father works only through Him, and can only be known in Him, the worship can only arise to God through Him too. The angels worship the deliverer as Jehovah.

Christ is the Son of God! What does this mean to us, and what is the blessing it brings our faith? lt points us first to the great mystery that God has a Son. This is the mystery of divine love; and that in a double sense. Because God is love He begets a Son, to whom He gives all He is and hasHimself, in whose fellowship He finds His life and delight, through whom He can reveal Himself, with whom He shares the worship of all His creatures. And because God is love, this Son of God becomes the Son of Man, and the Son of Man, having been perfected for evermore, enters through death and resurrection into all the glory that belonged to the Son of God. And now this Son of God is to us the revelation, the bearer, of the love of the divine Being. ln Him the love of God dwells in us; in Him we enter and rest in it. When God speaks to us in this His Son, it is the infinite love imparting itself to us, becoming the inward life of our life.

And if we ask how this can be done, our answer is the second great lesson taught us by the truth that Christ is the . Son of God! lt was by being begotten of God, by a divine birth, that Christ became the Son. ln eternity it was a birth; in the resurrection it was a birth from the dead. And so it is only by a divine birth that the Son, that the love of God, can enter and possess us. lt is by an eternal generation that the Son is God. ln eternity there is no past; what God is and does is all in the infinite power of an ever-present now. And so it is in the power of that eternal generation that the Father begetteth us in His Son (i John v. I-18), and begetteth His Son in us; that the Father speaks the eternal Word to us and in us. The Word of God is the Son, coming from the heart of the Father, spoken into our hearts, and dwelling there. The Son is the Love of God; as the Son, so the Love of God is begotten within us, making us, by a new birth, partakers of its own nature and blessedness.

lf we would learn the lesson of the Epistle, and experience in our Christian life the full power of the everlasting redemption, we must above all learn to know Jesus better. The general knowledge we had of Him before and at conversion is not enough for a strong and healthy growth. God desires that we come to a close friendship, to an intimate acquaintance, with His beloved Son, that we should be the loving, happy witnesses of how completely He can save. Let us do so. Remembering that angels and prophets could only point to Him who was to come, that the words of Scripture, and even of Christ Himself, only profit as they waken the expectancy of something higher, let us wait on God to speak in His Son to us. God's speaking in us will be a mighty act of creative power, a birth of His love within us.

O God! teach us that the blessed secret of a full salvation is this-Christ, our Saviour, is the Son of God.

1. Christ, the Son of God's love: in His heart and in mine.

2. "Let all the angels of God worship Him." All the servants around His throne point to Him: it is to Him we must look. And that in worship. lt is worship, worship, worship, the Son must have. lt is to the heart that worships Him He will make Himself known. Let our study of the glory of Christ in the Epistle be all in the spirit of worship, all tend to make us fall down in adoring worship.

3. The Son is a Son only in the power of a dioine birth. And that not only in eternity, and in the resurrection, but in our heart too. This is the mystery of the dioine life: let us bow in deep impotence and ignorance, and wait on Qod Almighty to reveal the Son to us.

4. The Son is the Word, becavse the dioine speaking is but another aspect of the dioine begetting. Speaking to us in His Son is all in the power of a dioine life. The speaking, just as the begetting, is love lmparting and communicating itself in dioine power as an inward life, it is by God speaking to us in the First Begotten that we are begotten of God.
















VII

THE SON HIMSELF GOD.

I.-7. And of tbe angels he saith,

Who maketh his angels spirits,"

And his ministers a flame of fire: (Ps. oiv. 4). 8. But of the Son he saith,

Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever;

And the sceptre of uprightness is the sceptre oi thy kingdom. 0. Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity;

Therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee

With the oil of gladness above thy fellows (Ps. xlv. 7, 8).

Ln contrast to what is said of the angels as servants, the Holy Spirit hath said of the Son, Thy throne, 0 God, is for ever and ever. Christ is not only the Son, but is God. He is one with the Father: as Son He is partaker of the Father's own nature and being.

Christ is God: to many Christians this has been a dead article of faith, held fast and proved out of Scripture, but without any living influence on the soul. To the true believer it is one of the deepest and most precious truths for the nourishment of the inner life. Christ is God: the soul worships Him as the Almighty One, able to do a divine work in the power of divine omnipotence. Christ is God:even as God works in all nature from within, and in secret, so the soul trusts Christ as the everywhere present and the lndwelling One, doing His saving work in the hidden depths of its being. Christ is God: in Him we come into living contact with the person and life of God Himself. The truth lies at the foundation of our Epistle, and the Christian life it would build up: Christ is God.

Thy throne, 0 God, is for ever and ever. As God, Christ is King: the throne of heaven belongs to Him. When an earthly father has begotten a son, they may be separated from each other by great distance, both in place and character, and know each other no more. ln the divine Being it is not so. The Father and the Son are inseparable, one in life and love; all that the Father is and has, the Son is and has too. The Father is ever in the Son, and the Son in the Father. God is on the throne and Christ in Him: the throne and the kingdom are Christ's too.

For ever and ever. Christ is the King eternal. His dominion is an everlasting dominion. The full meaning of the word eternal will become clear to us later on. Eternal is that which each moment and always exists in its full strength, immoveable, unchangeable. "We receive a kingdom that cannot be moved," because our King is God, and His kingdom for ever and ever. The rule of Christ our Priest-King, even now, in our souls, is in the power of an endless, an imperishable life: the faith that receives this will experience it.

And the sceptre of uprightness is the sceptre of Thy kingdom. Christ is a righteous King: He is Melchizedek, the King of Righteousness. In His kingdom all is righteousness and holiness. There "grace reigns through righteousness." lt is the kingdom of heaven: in it the will of God is done on earth as in heaven. And when it is farther said, Thou hast loved righteousness and hated iniquity, we are reminded that the righteousness is not only His as a divine attribute, but His too as the fruit of His life on earth. There He was tested, and tried, and perfected, and found worthy as man to sit upon the throne of God. The throne which belonged to Him, as Son of God and heir of all things, He had as Son of Man to win. And now He reigns over His people, teaching them by His own example, enabling them by His own Spirit to fulfil all righteousness. As the King of Righteousness He rules over a righteous people.

Therefore God, Thy God, hath anointed Thee with the oil of joy above Thy fellows. He is an anointed King. Therefore, because He loved righteousness and hated iniquity, therefore God anointed Him. When He ascended to heaven, and sat down on the right hand of the throne, He received from the Father anew and in fullest measure, as the Son of Man, the gift of the Holy Ghost to bestow on His people (Acts ii. 33). That Spirit was to Him the oil of joy, the joy that had been set before him, the joy of His crowning day when He saw of the travail of His soul. An anointing above His fellows, for there was none like Him; God gave Him the Spirit without measure. And yet for His fellows, His redeemed, whom, as Head, He had made members of His body. They become partakers of His anointing and His joy. As He said, "The Lord hath anointed Me to give the oil of joy." Christ, our King, our God, is anointed with the oil of joy, anointed, too, to give the oil of joy: His kingdom is one of everlasting gladness, of joy unspeakable and full of glory.

O ye souls, redeemed by Christ, behold your God! the Son in whom the Father speaks. Let this be the chief thing you live for-to know, to honour, to serve your God and King. This is the Son in whom God speaks to you in all the divine mystery, but also in all the divine power and blessing, which marks all God's speaking. Let our hearts open wide to receive the King God hath given us.

And as often as we are tempted with the Hebrews to sloth or fear or unbelief, let this be our watchword and our strength: My Redeemer is God! ln this faith let me worship Him. My Redeemer is God! let my whole heart be opened to Him, to receive, as a flower does the light of the sun, His secret, mighty, divine working in me. My Redeemer is God I let me trust this omnipotent Lord to work out in me His every promise, and to set up His throne of righteousness in my soul in a power that is above all we ask or think. My Redeemer is God! let me wait for Him, let me count upon Him, to reveal Himself in the love that passeth knowledge. Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: My Redeemer is God!

1. Who is God? And what is God to us? "He in whom we lioe and move and have our being." He is the life of the unioerse. And how wonderfully perfect all that life is in nature. When we know this God as our Redeemer, "in whom we lioe and move and have our being " in a higher sense, what an assurance that He will make His new life in us as wonderful and perfect.

2. "Thou hast loved rightevusness and hated iniquity, therefore "... This was His way to the throne; this is the only way for us, lioing and doing right, and hating everything that is sin.
















VIII

THE SON-THE EVERLASTING CREATOR. L 10. And,

Thou, Lord, In the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth,

And the heavens are the work of thy hands:

11. They shall perish; but thou continuest:

And they all shall wax old as doth a garment;

12. And as a mantle Shalt thou roll them up,
As a garment, and they shall be changed:
But thou art the same,

And thy years shall not fail (Ps. cil. 26, 27).

COME and hearken once more to what the divine message has to tell us of the glory of the Son, in whom the Father speaks to us. Come and see how truly He is one with God, and shares with him all His glory. The deeper our insight into the true Godhead of our Lord Jesus Christ, His perfect oneness with God, the more confident shall we be that He will, in a divine power, make us partakers of His work, His life, His indwelling.

We find Christ here set before us as the Creator, to whom all owes its existence, as the everlasting and unchangeable One, to whom alone, when all waxeth old and perisheth, can be said, Thou continuest; Thou art the same; Thy years shall not fail. In Isaiah God speaks of Himself: "Hast thou not heard, the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth fainteth not, neither is weary." ln our text we see the Son as the Almighty Creator, the everlastingly unchangeable One, that we may know who it is through whom God speaks to us, and to whom He has intrusted the work of our salvation.

The words are taken from Ps. cii. The ordinary reader would not think that the Messiah or the Son was here spoken of. But, taught by the Holy Spirit, our writer sees how all redemption is wrought only through the Son, and how, therefore, the building up of Zion and the appearing in His glory (ver. 16), the looking down from the sanctuary and the loosing those who are appointed unto death (ver. 20), all points to the Son as Redeemer. And then what follows is true of Him too. It is: "Thou hast laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the work of Thy hands: they shall perish, but Thou shalt endure." God is the Almighty and everlasting: these are the attributes of Him to whom our salvation is entrusted.

Listen, believer! Christ, thy Redeemer, is the Almighty One. God saw that none but His Son could meet thy need: hast thou so seen it, too, that this, His almighty power, has been claimed and appropriated for thy daily life? Hast thou learnt never to think of Him otherwise than as the One who calleth the things that are not as though they were, and creates what otherwise could not be?

Christ, thy Redeemer, is the everlasting and unchangeable One: hast thou heard Him speak ?" l, Jehovah, change not; therefore ye are not consumed," and learnt to trust Him as the One who is each moment to thee all that He can be, and who will, without variation or shadow of turning, maintain in neverceasing power His life within thee? Oh learn that God saw it needful to speak to thee through none other than such a One as could reach the heart and fill it with the power of His eternal Word. The Almighty Son, through whom God hath created all things, who upholdeth and filleth all things by the word of His power; this is He who will even so, in the power of His Godhead, uphold and fill thy whole life and being. Thy Creator is thy Redeemer! One great cause of feebleness and backsliding in the Christian life is the power of circumstances. We often say that temptations that come to us from our position in life, from the struggle to live, from the conduct of our fellow-men, draw us away from God, and are the cause of our falling into sin. lf we but believed that our Redeemer is our Creator! He knows us; He appoints and orders our lot; nothing that comes to us but what He has in His hands. He has the power to make our circumstances, however difficult, a heavenly discipline, a gain and a blessing. He has taken them all up into the life-plan He has for us as Redeemer. Did we but believe this, how we should gladly meet every event with the worship of an adoring faith. My Creator, who orders all, is my Redeemer, who blesses all.

And now let me once again urge my reader to mark well the lesson this chapter is teaching us and the object it has in view. Let no one think, as l myself long thought, that, because we firmly believe in the divinity of our Saviour, this chapter, with its proof-texts, has no special message for our spiritual life, and that we may therefore hasten on to what the Epistle has to teach farther on. No, let us remember that this is the foundation chapter. The divinity of Christ is the rock on which we rest. lt is in virtue of His divinity that He effected a real cleansing and putting away of sin, that He can actually communicate and maintain the divine life in us, that He can enter into our inmost being, and dwell there. lf we open our hearts and give them time to receive the full impression of the truth, we shall see that all that we are to learn of the person and work of Christ has its value and its power from this-that He is God. Our Creator, from whom we have our life-it is He who alone can enter into us to give the new life; it is He, blessed be His name, who will do it now. As God, He is the hidden ground of all existence, and has the power to enter all and fill it with Himself. Every part of His work has the character and the power of a divine work. lf we would but believe that Christ the Son is God, is Jehovah, the Eternal, the Creator, how He would make our inner life the proof of His Almighty power!

Paul said: "l count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord." Let us do so, too. In the Christian life the chief thing, the one thing needful, is the knowledge of Christ. Not the intellectual apprehension of the truth, but the living experimental heart knowledge that comes from faith and fellowship with Him, from love and obedience. May it be ours!

7. God is the incomprehensible One. in all thy thoughts of Him, in all thy efforts to know Him as revealed in Christ, remember the true knowledge of God is something above sense and reason. As the light reveals itself to the open eye that has been created for it, God reveals Himself to the longing heart. All the teaching of angels and prophets, of the words and the truths of the Bible, can but point the way: let God in Christ speak in thy heart. Then shalt thou know Him. Bow in adoring awe, and worship Christ. "Let all His saints worship Him. lt is worship, not study, will prepare us to know Christ."

2. They shall perish: they all shall wax old: this is what the creature is, even though created by God, with every experience, even though coming from God. Thou continuest; thou art the same:this is our security and our joy. Christ my Redeemer is the unchangeable -every moment the same, my Keeper and my Life.
















IX

THE SON-ON THE RIGHT HAND OF OOD.

13. But of which of the angels hath he said at any time,

Sit thou on my right hand,

Till I make thy enemies the footstool of thy feet (Ps. ox.).

14. Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to do service for the sake of them that shall inherit salvation?

Sit thou on My right hand, till I make Thy enemies the footstool of Thy feet. These words we have from Psalm ex. Luther called it the chief of all the Psalms. The first verse, and the fourth about Melchizedek, contain the hidden mysteries, which we never should have understood without the exegesis of the Holy Spirit. It is from this Psalm that the expression, which is become one of the great articles of our faith, Sitting on the right hand of God, has been taken into the New Testament . Our Lord quoted the words when he taught (Matt . xxii. 41) how David, when he said, "jehovahsaid unto my Lord" had acknowledged that the Messiah who was to be His Son, would also be his Lord. Before Caiaphas (Matt. xxvi. 64) Christ spoke of Himself as "the Son of Man, sitting at the right hand of power." Mark (xvi. 19) in the narrative of the ascension, uses the words, " The Lord Jesus was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God." At Pentecost (Acts ii. 35) Peter proved from this text that David had prophesied of the Messiah. Paul (1 Cor. xv. 25) applies the words to the final conquest of all the enemies of the Lord Jesus. And to the Ephesians (chap. i. 20-22) he speaks of the " working of the strength of God's might, which He wrought in Christ when He raised Him from the dead, and made Him to sit at His right hand in the heavenlies." Our Epistle uses the expression five times {see Ref.). The words of David spoken through the Holy Spirit of what he could but very little have apprehended, became, through Jesus and the apostles, the revelation of what is the highest glory of Christ, and the greatest strength of our faith and hope.

The word suggests two thoughts. The one, that as Son of Man He is admitted to the perfect fellowship and equality with God; the other, that He is now possessor of divine, of universal authority and power. We are so familiar with the truth, that its infinite magnificence hardly strikes us. God is a God who is, and must be, infinitely jealous of His honour: His glory He will not give to another. When Jesus, the crucified Son of Man, takes His place at the right hand of the Majesty on high, it can only be because He is also the Son of God, because He is God. And it assures us that now the power and dominion of God Himself are in His hands, to carry out the work of redemption to its full consummation, until all His enemies have been put under His feet, and He shall deliver up the kingdom to the Father.

When the writer quotes the words, it is with the question: Of which of the angels hath He said at any time? And He gives the answer: Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to do service for them who shall be heirs to salvation?

He would impress deep upon us the thought that angels, though they come from God's throne, and are the instruments of His power, are still infinitely distinct from the Son. The redemption from sin, the true fellowship with God, the life and the love of God they cannot communicate. lt is the Son, sitting at the right hand of God, acting in the power of God, to whom we must look for the everlasting redemption, for the true inward deliverance from sin, for a complete salvation. The angels, by contrast, all point us to the Son, seated as Man on the throne, in proof of, and to impart, that perfect restoration to the fellowship of the Most High in the Most Holy Place.

This is the Son in whom God speaks to us. The word, Sit thou on My right hand, is spoken in our hearing and in our behoof. ln that word we have concentrated all God's speaking. See, He says, how l have exalted Him, your Brother, your Surety, your Head, to my right hand, in token of My perfect acceptance of His work; your perfect admittance to My presence and the enjoyment of all the power of the heavenly life; your full participation, in your inmost being, of what the kingdom of heaven is. Sit thou on My right hand: let the word enter and master all our heart and life. I have said that it occurs five times in the Epistle. Compare these passages, and the others having reference to Christ's place in heaven (see Ref. i. 3), and observe how the great truth we are to learn is this: the knowledge of Jesus as having entered heaven for us, and taken us in union with Himself into a heavenly life, is what will deliver the Christian from all that is low and feeble, and lift him to a life of joy and strength. To gaze upon the heavenly Christ in the Father's presence, to whom all things are subject, will transform us into heavenly Christians, dwelling all the day in God's presence, and overcoming every enemy. Yes, my Redeemer, seated at God's right hand-if l only know Him aright and trust Him as able to save completely-He will make me more than conqueror.

lf we would obtain this blessed knowledge of our Lord, and the blessed life in the experience of His power, Scripture has a prayer for us (Eph. i. 17-22), that we will do well to pray often: "That the God of our Lord Jesus would give us the spirit of wisdom and revelation, that we may know what is the exceeding greatness of His power to us-zvard who believe, according to that working of the strength of His might which He wrought in Christ, when He made Him to sit at His right hand in the heavenlies." Let us pray for this spirit of divine illumination; let us study and adore the strength of God's might that lifted Him to the throne; and let us believe joyfully, that that power works in us every day to lift us up and enable us to live as those who are set with Him in the heavenlies. And let us sing without ceasing: Praised be God for such a Saviour!

7. "Now the chief point is this: We have such an High Priest who sat down on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty on high " (oill. 7). Yes, this is the chief point: Jesus in heaven, keeping it open for me, drawing me to enter into the Holiest, and keeping me in it sending down heaven into my heart.

2. "He that descended is the same also that ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things." On earth everything is limited by space and matter, in heaven all is in a dioine, all-pervading power. As the light of the sun pervades all the air, the light and spirit of heaven can fill all our heart. The heavenly Christ fills all things.

3. See how they worship Him who sits on the throne in heaven (Rev. o. B-74, oii. 9-72% and let every thought of Jesus on the throne lead to worship. lt was as, during ten days, the disciples worshipped Him that had just sat down on the right hand of God, that they were filled with the Holy Ghost. The Pentecostal gift is ours: here is the place and the posture in which we shall enter into its full experience.
















THE FIRST WARNING.
Chap. ii. 1-4.
To take heed to what the Son speaks (1-4).



X

THE DANGER OF NEGLECTING SO GREAT SALVATION.

II.-1. Therefore we ought to give more earnest1 heed to the things that were heard lest haply we drift away.

2. For if the word spoken through angels proved stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense of reward;

3. How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation? which having at the first been spoken through the Lord, was confirmed unto us by them that heard;

4. God also bearing witness with them, both by signs and wonders, and by manifold powers, and by gifts5 of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will.

THE first chapter has set before us the divine glory of Christ the Son, in whom God hath spoken to us in these days. ln the second the humanity and the humiliation of Jesus are to be unfolded. Ere the writer proceeds to this, he pauses to sound a note of warning. He reminds his readers of the greater responsibility and greater danger in case of neglect, which greater privileges bring, and to urge them to take more earnest, more abundant heed to what God is speaking in His Son.

'Abundant. 1 Marg., Distributions.

Therefore, this is the link between the teaching of chap, i. with regard to the Godhead and glory of the Son, and the warning that now comes. The everlasting God speaks to us in His Son; we surely ought to give more abundant heed.

More abundant heed: it is the same word as is used in chap, vi. 17. "God being minded to shewmore abundantly unto the heirs of the promise, the immutability of His counsel." In what God speaks and does, it is all with the desire to show to us more abundantly, in full and overflowing measure, what the purpose of His heart is. It is for this He speaks in none less than His own Son. He has a right to claim that we meet Him with a corresponding whole-heartedness, and give more abundant heed to what He speaks. Nothing less will satisfy Him; nothing less, in the very nature of things, will satisfy us, because nothing less than man's more abundant heed is capable of receiving God's more abundant grace. lt is the lack of this taking more earnest heed, the lack of intense earnestness, giving God and religion the first place and the best powers of our life, which is at the root of the feebleness and sickliness of the Christian life. God is speaking to us in His Son, therefore we ought to take more abundant heed.

Lest haply we drift away-and perish more surely and more terribly than those who sinned under the Old Testament. There the word spoken, with its threatening, was stedfast, and every transgression was punished. How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation? The gospel does not, as so many think, lessen-it increases our danger. lt does not diminish, but will terribly intensify, the soreness of the punishment in those who neglect it. Oh, let us sound out the warning: it is not only positive enmity or open sin that will be punished. No, simply "not taking earnest heed," just "drifting away" unconsciously with the current of worldliness and halfhearted religion, "neglecting" to give the great salvation that supremacy, that entire devotion which it claims,-it is this which will render escape impossible.

And why? How can we show men that it is right and meet that it should be so? And what is the motive that will stir men to take heed? The answer is in the one word: So great salvation. The insight into the more abundant glory, the divine, the all-surpassing greatness of this salvation, is what will compel men willingly and joyfully to give up all and buy this pearl of great price.

And wherein does the greatness of this salvation consist? In this that it comes to us from and through THE TRIUNE GOD; the Holy Trinity is revealed as combining to work out this salvation for us. Listen. "So great salvation, which having at the first been spoken by the Lord, was confirmed unto us by them that heard." Christ the Son, the brightness of the Father's glory, and the express image of His substance, it was He in whom God spoke to us; it was He, the Redeemer, God and King, who Himself first preached the kingdom which He established when He effected the cleansing of our sins, and sat down on the right hand of the throne.

So great salvation! First spoken by the Lord, God also bearing witness both by signs and wonders, and by manifold powers. God the Father Himself set His seal from heaven on the preaching of the word. The existence of His church is His standing sign and wonder, the proof of His divine power. Not to take heed, to neglect the great salvation, is nothing less than despising God Himself.

God also bearing witness, by distributions of the Holy Ghost, according to His own will. Not only did God bear witness to the great salvation by signs and wonders and powers, but above all by the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven. The Holy Spirit is God come to dwell on earth, to strive and plead and testify in the hearts of men. There is no fellowship with the Father but through the Son, and no fellowship with the Son and His salvation, but through the Holy Spirit in us. Let us enter the study of Christ's person and work in the Epistle in this faith. Yes, this is the greatness of the great salvation- in its offer THE THREE-ONE God comes to us. The Lord preached, the Father bore witness, the Holy Spirit came as the power of God to work. What a salvation! What sin to neglect it! May God reveal to us, as we study this Epistle, the glory of the so great salvation, that we may indeed more abundantly take heed to it.

7. To know the Son who speaks and reveals the Father; to know the Father to whom, and whose love, the Son brings us in; to know the Holy Spirit with His wonderful gifts of grace and power; to be restored to the image and fellowship of the Holy Trinity: this is salvation.

2. Let every thought of the glory of Christ, and of God, and of the Spirit, and of the great salvation leave this one impression: Take more abundant heed to what you hear! Meet God's abounding grace with abounding desire to listen and believe.

3. To the preaching of Christ and the apostles God bore witness. lf this was needful then, how much more now, at this long distance from those days of heavenly joy and power. Ask, for the study of the Word in the Epistle, that God bear witness of the Holy Ghost. Claim and expect it. Without this, even the teaching of tfie apostles by Christ Himself availed little.

4. Once again. This is the greatness of salvation ; the everlasting Father in His love speaks to mo Himself in the Son. The Son shows and brings and gioes me ail the Father speaks; and l have the Holy Spirit in me, fitting me to hear and know and possess and enjoy all that the Father in the Son speaks and gioes. Let us, above all, hold this fast that there is no dioine witness, or assurance, or experience of the salvation Christ effected, except as the Holy Spirit, which came from heaven, communicates and maintains it within us. Let us, therefore, take more abundant heed to the Holy Spirit ln us, in whom the Father and the Son come to us.

SECOND SECTION.-ii. 5-18.

Jesus, even in His humiliation as Man, more than the Angels. The reason of His humiliation.
















XI

THE WORLD MADE SUBJECT TO MAN, NOT TO ANGELS.

II.-5. For not unto angels did he subject the world to come, whereof we speak.

6. But one hath testified somewhere, saying tPs. vlii. 5),

What Is man, that thou art mindful of him?
Or the Son of man, that thou visitest him?

7. Thou madest him a little lower than the angels;
Thou crownedst him with glory and honour,
And didst set him over the works of thy hands:

8. Thou didst put all things in subjection under his feet.

For in that he subjected all things to him, he left nothing that is not subject to him. But now we see not yet all things subjected to him.

9. But we behold Jesus crowned with glory and honour.

As the Son of God Christ is more than the angels. As the Son of Man Jesus is more than the angels too. He was indeed, as man, made a little lower than the angels, and yet, because to man the world to come, of which the Spirit of Christ in the prophets spake, had been made subject, he had a place of honour and dominion greatly excelling them. Not only the divinity but the humanity of Christ will prove how. infinitely superior the new dispensation is to that which was given by the ministry of angels.

For not unto angels did He subject the world to come,

that world to which the Psalm looks forward, the kingdom of the Messiah, the kingdom of heaven upon earth. The Psalm does not speak directly of the Messiah, but of man and his destiny. But it is applied most justly to the Messiah, because in Him the Psalm and man find the fulfilment of what is promised.

The Psalmist first speaks of man's littleness and the wonder that God should notice him. What is man that Thou art mindful of him? or the son of man that Thou visitest him? He then points out how high the place is which man occupies. His nature is little less than divine. Thou madest Him a little lower than the angels; Thou crownedst him with glory and honour. And universal dominion is assigned to Him. Thou didst set him over the works of thy hands. Thou didst put all things in subjection under his feet. Our Epistle points out how this promise, though not yet true of man, has received its fulfilment in Jesus. Now we see not yet all things subjected to man, but we see Jesus crowned with glory and honour. What was true of man in promise, we see fulfilled in Jesus: what we see in Jesus, will be made true of man. What wonderful thoughts the Psalm suggests.

How glorious is the destiny of man! Created in the image of God, he was to bear God's likeness in this too, that as king he was to be ruler of all. The whole world to come was made subject to him. Man has received from God a life, a nature, a spirit, capable of partaking of His own life and spirit. His will and His holiness, capable of likeness to and fellowship with Himself, even to the sitting on His throne, and sharing with Him the dominion over all creation. What a destiny!

How gloriously we sec that destiny fulfilled in Jesus! It was because man had been created with a nature capable of such a destiny, that the Son of God could become man, and not count it unworthy of His divine glory Himself to work out that destiny. He came and proved what the life of man was meant to be-how humility and subjection to God were the sure path to glory and honour. He came and glorified a life of humiliation as the training-school for the exaltation to the right hand of God; fulfilling man's destiny in Himself as Son of Man, He, as Son of God, fulfilled it for us too.

How gloriously and certainly man's destiny will yet be realised! Jesus, the Son of Man, came as the Second Adam. He stands to us in a relation as close, as real, as intimate, as Adam did. As complete as was Adam's communication of a sinful nature will be His impartation of a new, of His own nature. As Son of God, Creator and Upholder of all, in whom all things consist, He has a divine power of living within us with all that He was in Himself. His humanity is the revelation of what we can be; His divinity the pledge that we can be it. We see not yet all things subject to man, but, and that is enough, we see Jesus crowned with glory and honour.

lt was by His union with us in our life in the flesh, by His identifying Himself with our nature, that Jesus was able to claim and to work out and enter into possession of the glory God had promised to man. lt is by our receiving His nature, and identifying ourselves with Him in this life on earth and in heaven, that what He has achieved for us can really become ours. Let us here, at the very outset of our Epistle, get well hold of the truth that what Christ does for as our Leader, our Priest, our Redeemer, is not anything external. All that God works in nature in heaven or on earth, in the stars or in the trees, He does from within, by laws that pervade their whole existence. All that Adam wrought in us is from within, by a power that rules our inmost life. And all that Christ does for us, whether as Son of God or Son of Man, is equally and entirely a work done within us. lt is when we know that He is one with us and we with Him, even as was the case with Adam, that we shall know how truly our destiny will be realised in Him. His oneness with us is the pledge, our oneness with Him the power, of our redemption.

1. Thy destiny, O man, is to sit with Jesus on His throne. Live as one preparing for it. Cultivate a royal spirit. Abide in Him: He will abide in thee.

2. The world made subject to man. How terrible the ruin of sin, by which man was made subject to the world. lts king became its slavc, and is so just when he appears most to master it. Christ teaches us to conquer the world by denying it; to hold it in subjection by not being of it. lt is in the path of humiliation and self-denial alone that man's destiny can be realised.

3. The Epistle has two things to show us in Jesus, as inseparably connected! the place of glory where He is now; the path of humiliation that brought Him there. Make it thy care to follow Christ in His humility; He will make it His care to bring thee to His glory.

4. Study to see the intimate connection, the real unity between the two. lt is the spirit that is subject to God on earth, to which God makes all things subject in heaven. The soul that in the humiliation of earth makes God all is fit for the heavens, when God is manifested in glory as the All in All.
















XII

WE SEE JESUS CROWNED WITH GLORY AND HONOUR.

II.-8. But now we see not yet all things subjected to him. 9. But we behold Him who hath been made a little lower than the angels, even Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honour.

What a glorious contrast! We see not yet all things subjected to him, that is, to man: but-what is far better -we see Jesus crowned with glory and honour. When we look round upon this world, with all its sin and misery, it does indeed not appear as if man was destined to be higher than the angels, and to have dominion over all the works of God's hands. But when we remember that Jesus became Man, that He might taste death for all men, and that He, a Man upon the throne, now lives as our Surety, our Redeemer, and our Head, it is enough if we see Him crowned with glory and honour. ln that we have the pledge that He will one day bring man to that glory and honour too. ln that we have the assurance that He is using all that glory and honour even now on our behalf. We see not yet all things subjected to man, but -we see Jesus crowned with honour and glory. Blessed contrast!

The right knowledge and use of this antithesis is the secret of the life of faith. We see not yet all things subjected to Him - how exactly this expresses the disappointment and failure which is often the experience of the believer when his first joy and hope begin to pass away. He finds that sin is stronger than he knew; that the power of the world and the flesh and self are not yet made subject to him as he had hoped. At times it is as if he feels that the promises of God, and the expectations they raised in his heart, are vain. Or else, if he acknowledge that God is indeed faithful to fulfil them, the way for one who is as weak as he is, and in his circumstances, to obtain these promises is too hard. The promises of God, to put all things in subjection to us and make us more than conquerors, are indeed most precious, but, alas, ever again the bitter experience comes-man sees not yet all things subjected to him.

Blessed the man who knows, then, in living faith to say: But we see Jesus crowned with glory and honour. Blessed the man who knows to look away from all that he finds in himself of imperfection and failure, to look up and behold all the perfection and glory he finds in Jesus! Yes, blessed the man who finds his delight and his life in meeting every disappointment and every difficulty with the blessed: But- we see Jesus crowned with glory and honour. This is all I need! this satisfies the soul, and gives it peace and joy and strength.

The Epistle is about to expound to us the great mystery, why the Son of God was made a little lower than the angels. lt was that, by the grace of God, He might taste death for every man, and so open up again the entrance into God's presence and favour. The necessity and meaning of His sufferings and death it will present to us in three different aspects. The first (v. 10), that in suffering and death Christ Himself must needs be made perfect, so that as our Leader He might open up to us the path of perfection, and prepare that new nature, that new way of living, in which we are to be led to glory. The second (14, 15), that through death, making propitiation for sin, He might destroy the devil, with his power of death, and give us a perfect deliverance from all fear of it. And the third (16-18), that in what He suffered, He might be made a merciful and faithful High Priest, able to secure our perfect confidence, and to give us the succour we need. But before the writer thus unfolds the meaning of Christ's humiliation, he first points to His glory. lt is this which constitutes the excellency of the New Testament, which gives our faith its power of endurance and victory; we see Jesus now at the right hand of the Majesty of God. Let us hold this fast as the chief thought of the Epistle, as the one great lesson the Hebrews, and all feeble backsliding Christians, need: Jesus, who suffered for us; Jesus who in His suffering as our Leader, opened a way to God for us; Jesus who sympathises with us-this Jesus is crowned with honour and glory. To see Him is to know that we have all we can need.

Would you, my reader, give more abundant heed to the great salvation? would you experience how completely Jesus is able to save? do you long for just as much of the love and the presence, the holiness and the joy and the power of God in you as there is in Jesus for you? here you have the secret of it all! Amid all sin and weakness, all darkness and doubt, all failure and perplexity, hold fast this one truth, engage in this one exercise of faith: We see not yet all things subjected to man, but we see Jesus crowned with honour and glory. This gives peace, and victory, and joy unspeakable.

And if you would know how thus ever to have the heart turned to Jesus, remember, He came to save His people from their sins. lt is the heart that is weary of itself and its sins, that fully accepts the fact of the utter corruption and the utter helplessness of all that is of the old nature and of self, that will find itself attracted with strong desire to this mighty Redeemer. In such a heart Jesus, the crowned One, will not only be a distant object, but, by the Holy Spirit, an indwelling presence. The coming of the Holy Spirit is inseparably connected with, is our only proof of, the glorifying of Jesus (John vii. 38, 39; xvi. 14; xvii. 10), is our only real participation in the blessings that flow from it. Let all our worship of Him, crowned with glory and honour, be in the faith that the Pentecostal Spirit glorifies Him in us, so that our whole inner being is filled with His presence.

7. Jesus, made a little lower than the angels. Jesus, because of the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour. Look not only at the glory, but look well at the place of lts birth, at the way in which it was gained. lt is in the way in which you are walking now. Learn to welcome humiliation and suffering as the seed, the power out of which the glory is brought forth, as the way in which Jesus in glory is preparing you for the glory,

2. We see Jesus crowned with glory and honour. Let every experience of the contrast- we see not yet all things subject to man-become a call and a motive and a help to turn to Jesus. Let us take time and gaze and worship until our whole soul is filled with the faith: this life of humiliation is the bud of the glory everlasting : Jesus in glory is proof that lt is so, the pledge that lt will be so with us. Be this our life: Wc see Jesus, becavse of the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour.
















XIII

JESUS TASTING DEATH FOR EVERY MAN.

n.-9. We behold him who hath been made a little lower than the angels, even Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honour, that by the grace of God He should taste death for every man.

HERE we have the one great reason why it was meet that Jesus should be made a little lower than the angels. lt was that He might taste death for every man. ln the counsel of divine grace, and in the great plan of redemption, this was one of the first objects of the incarnation-the birth was for the sake of the death. Without that wonderful birth,-THE WORD, that was God, made flesh,-the death would not have profited us. Without that wonderful birth the death would have availed us little. What God hath joined together let no man put asunder. Let us beware of exalting the one at the expense of the other. The birth and the death are two inseparable parts of the one process by which He was perfected as the Firstborn from the dead, and became our Deliverer and King. The humanity and humiliation of Jesus was needful for His death for or on behalf of every man.

And what was the meaning of this death? And wherein lies its efficacy? In Scripture there is a twofold aspect in which the death of Christ, as our Head, is set before us. The one is that He died for sin, bearing its curse, and suffering death as God's righteous judgment on account of it . His death opened up the way to God for us. lt did for us what we cannot and need not do; it wrought out a finished salvation, which we have but to accept and repose upon. According to the other aspect, He died to sin. His death was a proof of His resistance to sin and its temptation, of His readiness rather to give up life than yield to sin; a proof that there is no way of being entirely free from the flesh and its connection with sin, but by yielding the old life to death, in order to receive afresh and direct from God a life entirely new. In this view His death was an act of infinite moral and spiritual value,-the consummation of the work God wrought when He perfected Him through suffering.

The former aspect, the death for sin on our behalf, has its value from the second, which reveals what constitutes its true nature and power. And, even so, the faith in the death for sin, must lead us into the death to sin. The one view is that of substitution: Christ doing what l cannot do. The other that of fellowship: Christ working in me what I see in Himself. The former is a finished work, and gives me boldness at once and for ever to trust God. The latter is the power of sanctification, as the death and the life of Christ work in me.

Both views are found in the Epistle in perfect harmony. See how clearly the former comes out in this chapter. It is because of the suffering of death, that He has been crowned with glory and honour. "He was made a little lower than the angels that He might taste death for every man," might drink the cup of death, as the fruit of sin, for all. Some men die without tasting the bitterness of death; Jesus tasted its

bitterness, as the curse of sin, in full measure. Then we read,

ver. 14, that He became man, that through death He might

bring to nought Him that had the power of death, that

is, the devil, and deliver them who were subject to bondage.

His death accomplished for us what we never could, what we

now need not do. And ver. 17 tells us that His being made

Man was that He might be a High Priest in things pertaining

to God; to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.

All these expressions-suffering death, tasting death for all,

bringing to nought the devil, making reconciliation for the

sins of the people-refer to the finished work which Christ

wrought, the sure and everlasting foundation on which our

faith and hope can rest.

ln its subsequent teaching the Epistle will show us what

the building is that rests on that foundation, what the heavenly

power and life, the blessed nearness and service of God, to

which the High Priest, our Forerunner and Leader, brings us in

fellowship with Himself in the way He opened up. But it

would have us begin here and strike the roots of our faith deep

in the work which Christ, as our Substitute, wrought on Calvary.

Let us study the words carefully, and remember them well,

and believe them fully: Christ hath tasted death for all, and

emptied the cup; Christ hath brought to nought the devil;

Christ hath made reconciliation for sin. Death and the devil

and sin: these have been put away, have been brought to

nought . A complete deliverance has been effected. The

sufferings and death of Christ have such an infinite worth

and preciousness in God's sight that no soul, who is resolved

to have nothing more to do with sin, need any longer fear,

but may with boldness meet its God. The death of Christ hath wrought with mighty power in heaven and earth and hell. lt has satisfied, and delighted God; it has conquered death and sin and hell; it has redeemed and delivered mankind. Let that death live in thy heart; it will work there its mighty wonders too. And thou shalt find Jesus in thine heart, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honour.

1. The first Adam tasted the forbidden fruit, and won death for all. The Second Adam tasted this death, and brought life for all. To all who accept Him, the power, the indwelling, the energy of the life is no less true and real than that of sin and death has been. "We see Jesus for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honour."

2. Jesus tasted the bitterness of thy sin and death, O my soul; that thou mightest taste the sweetness of His life and love. O taste and see that the Lord is good.

3. "By the grace of God taste death for every man." "Where sin abounded, grace did abound more exceedingly, that, as sin reigned in death, even so might grace reign through rightevusness unto eternal life."
















XIV

THE LEADER OF OUR SALVATION.

II.-10. For it became Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing1many sons unto glory, to make the author2 of their salvation perfect through sufferings.

VV*E have seen that there is more than one reason for the humiliation of the Lord Jesus, even unto the suffering of death. Here we have the first: that as the Leader of our salvation, through whom God leads His sons to glory, He might open up the path, the way of life, in which we were to go. For this He needed to be made perfect through suffering and death. So only could He become a Leader,3 in the true and full sense of the word. ln suffering, His will was perfected, His character fashioned, His dependence on God and delight in His will was confirmed and made manifest . ln suffering, His obedience unto death opened up the living way in which alone the creature can reach the Creator-the deepest humility and entire surrender. As Leader He opened up the path of life, a mode of living and acting, in which we are to follow.

It is this that we also spoke of as the second aspect of

1 Leading. - Leader.

3 The Dutch version has: "The Leadei-in-Chief." The translation "Leader" makes more clear the connection with what precedes: "God leading {agagon) makes the Z^aair-in-Chief (Axchegos)perfect." Of Captain in A.V. and Author, R.V., Westcott says: "Neither word gives the fulness of sense. The Archtgos Himself first takes part in that which He establishes." In xii. I he adopts the word "Leader" in his translation-Jesus the Leader and Finisher of faith.

Christ's death. That death is not only atonement but fellowship. lt is only in suffering, in being crucified and dead with Christ, that we know Christ and His salvation. Christ was made perfect through suffering that He might be a Leader, that in conformity to Him, and in partaking of His Spirit and likeness, we might find the path to God and to glory.

The work of a leader supposes three things. The first: He must Himself lead the way, passing through all its difficulties and dangers, knowing and showing it to those who follow. The second: those who follow must yield themselves wholly to His guidance, walking even as He walked. The third: He must take charge of His followers, seeing that all hindrances are removed, and providing for all their needs. Let us see how blessedly all this is fulfilled in Jesus, and what a comfort it brings us to know that Jesus bears this name too: the Leader of our salvation.

The leader must walk in the very path his followers have to go.-The path we sought in vain was one that could bring us out from under the dominion of sin, both in its guilt as transgression against God, and its power as death to all that is holy and good. There was no possible way out of this state of sin and guilt and death, but by the submission to the judgment of God, and by giving proof, in bearing that judgment, of entire and willing surrender to God's will. There was no way to come out of fallen nature, with the power of self and selfwill ruling it, but by entirely dying to it; suffering anything rather than let it have its way. This was the way in which Jesus would have to lead us. And He had to walk in it Himself. It became God, in leading many sons unto glory, to make the Leader of their salvation perfect through suffering. Christ was perfect from His birth; every wish and inclination was as it should be; but only as a disposition, as a power, that needed to be tested and developed and strengthened by trial. What the suffering and the death effected in Christ personally, in perfecting His character, is the groundwork of what it effected on our behalf. lt was needful that God should make Him perfect through suffering; the perfectness that comes through suffering is meekness and gentleness, patience and perfect resignation to God's will. lt was because of the humility and meekness and lowliness of heart, which the Lamb of God showed here upon earth, that He is now the Lamb on the throne. Through suffering He was made perfect, and found worthy to be our High Priest.

A leader must be followed.-His followers must walk in the very path in which he walks. Jesus came and was made like us: we must come and be made like Him. His suffering and death is not only substitution and atonement. lt is that, thank God! but it is much more too. lt calls to fellowship and conformity. The substitution rests on identification : out of that conformity has its growth and strength. The Lamb of God has no salvation and no perfection to give us but His own meek spirit of entire dependence and absolute submission to God. The meekness and humility that it was needful God should perfect in Him are as needful for us. We must suffer and be crucified and die with Him. Death to self and the world, at the cost of any suffering or self-denial, this is the only path to glory the Leader of our salvation has opened up to us.

A leader cares for his followers.-He does not say, Follow me, who can. He watches over everyone, the very feeblest. Remember what care Stanley took in darkest Africa to gather in the stragglers-to leave the feeble ones provided in camp, and then to wait for their coming up. Jesus is a Leader, compassionate and sympathetic, and most faithful: with all the faithfulness and steadfastness with which He walked that path Himself on earth, will He help everyone, who will only in meekness trust and obey Him, to walk in that way to the end.

My brethren! do you understand what it means that the Father, in leading you to glory, has made Jesus the Leader of our salvation. Jesus is responsible for you. Take Him and trust Him as your Leader. The great need in one who follows a leader is a tender, teachable spirit. Rejoice that you have such a Leader, Himself made perfect in meekness and submission through suffering, that He might lead you in the blessed path that brought Him, and will bring you as surely, to the glory of the Father.

And remember who this Leader is-the Son of God, the divine Maker and Upholder of all things. Not only the Son of Man as a Leader outside of us, influencing us by example and instruction, by authority and kindness does He guide us. No, but as the Son of God who works in us by His Spirit, yea who Himself dwells within us. Even as it was God who worked in Him and perfected Him, will He, as God, now work in us and perfect us.

1. Christ came to gioe us an entirely new conception of what true life ie, to show us a new way of thinking and lioing, to teach us that a heavenly life consists in gioing up everything that has the slightest connection with sin for the sake of pleasing the Father perfectly. This is the new and lioing way He opened up through the rent veil of the flesh.

2. "lt became God to perfect Him." All that Christ wrought, and all that was wrought in Him, was wrought by God. He yielded Himself to God: He did nothing of Himself; He allowed God to do all in Him. This is the path of perfection, the path to glory, in which Jesus leads. His dioinity is inexpressibly precious to us for what He can be and do in us. But as inexpressibly precious His humanity, showing us how He was perfected, how God worked in Him, what we must be, what through Him we can most surely be.

3. Seek to get very clear hold of the truth that He is only a Saviour as He is a Leader. Salvation is being led by Him.
















XV

FOR WHOM AND THROUGH WHOM ARE ALL THINGS.

n.-10. For It became Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, In bringing1many sons unto glory, to make the author- of their salvation perfect through sufferings.

For whom are all things. God is the final Cause of all that is. lt exists with the one purpose of showing forth His glory. Every object in nature has its only reason of existence in this that the wondrous goodness and power of God may shine out through it. Above all, man was created that the adorable Being, whose very nature is love, might have the opportunity of proving in Him how freely and how fully he would make him partaker of the riches of His grace and glory.

For whom are all things, that in them His glory and goodness may be made known. "Worthy art thou, O our Lord and our God, to receive the glory and the honour and the power, for thou didst create all things; and because of Thy will they are and were created."

Through whom are all things. God is the efficient cause of all that is. God is the end and aim of all things, because He is their beginning and origin. All must return to Him because all came from Him and exist only through him. There is no life or goodness or beauty, which does not rise up to Him again, its only fountain and source. "There is one God, the 1 Leading, 3 Leader.

Father, of whom are all things, and we unto Him." "One God and Father of all, who is over all, and through all and in all."

The apostle might have written: "lt became God to make the Leader of our salvation perfect through suffering." Not without good reason does he introduce here the character in which God acted in perfecting the Son as Leader of our salvation. When man sinned and fell from God, he lost together the two blessed truths in which his relation to God had stood. His holy allegiance to God, having all things for Him, his blessed dependence on God, having all things through Him; instead of these came the reign of self, with its life for self and through self.

lt was from this life of self Jesus came to redeem us, to bring us back to God, to know and honour Him as the God and Father, for whom are all things and through whom are all things. In doing this he opened again the only way which could lead to glory. He did it first by showing us in His life, as Man, how men ought to live for God and through God. And then by delivering us through His death from the dominion of sin, and winning for us the power of the heavenly life.

For whom are all things, and through whom are all things. It was in this character that God perfected Christ through sufferings. lt was in this character that Christ revealed and honoured God in His sufferings. It is to win and bring us to know and love and serve God in this character that Jesus is Saviour.

For whom are all things. Throughout His whole life there is nothing that Jesus sought to impress more distinctly on His disciples than this, that He was the Father's messenger and servant; that there was no thought of doing His own will or seeking His own honour; that He only sought and did what

would be for the Father's pleasure and glory. He gave us the example of a man on earth living absolutely and entirely for God in heaven. His life on earth was the exhibition here in the flesh, the translation into human language, of the divine claim -" All things for God." His allegiance to God was absolute. He proved to us that man's destiny and blessedness and everlasting glory are to be found in this: Living wholly for God.

Through whom are all things. Of this too Christ's life was the exposition. He was not ashamed continually to say that He could do nothing of Himself, and that only as the Father showed Him or spake to Him, could He work and speak. He counted this His blessedness and His strength- not to be able to do anything of Himself, but in continual dependence to wait on God and His working in Him. He knew and taught us that the man who has said in whole-hearted devotion to God, " All things for God," may confidently say too, "All things through God."

"All for God" "All through God." Jesus Christ has made it possible for us to make these our watchwords. ln all aspirations after a closer walk with God, in all efforts after a purer, truer, higher life, they are the two poles between which the soul ought to move. They are the sure marks of that true scriptural mysticism, which has such attractions for all hungry souls, who long to know and please God perfectly.

All for God! absolutely, without a moment, a thought, a word, a person, a possession, excepted; wholly for God, this becomes the soul's one desire. lt has seen that God is worthy of this, that He claims it, and that in the very nature of things, nothing less can satisfy the heart God made to be filled with Himself.

All through God! The clearer the aim becomes to be all for God, and the deeper the soul sinks into its own emptiness and impotence, under the conviction that with man it is impossible, the sooner does faith rise to see that we can not only say, but that we do dare to say, All for God! because we may also say, All through God! God Himself will work it in us.

This is the God who has revealed Himself to us in His Son. It became Him, for whom all things and through whom are all things, to make the Leader of our salvation perfect through sufferings. Let us worship Him! Let us adore Him! Let us offer Him the sacrifice of full allegiance and childlike dependence, as the words ring through heart and life- All For God! All Through God! God Is All.

1. The practice of the presence of God is a most needful and most blessed spiritual exercise. As the soul bows in stillness and lowliness, and worships in silence, lt gets into the right spirit for recognising lts own nothingness, and realising that God is all-that all is for Him, and all through Him.

2. All for God: that is consecration. All through God: that is faith. This was the spirit in which Christ yielded Himself to God: consecration and faith.

3. This was the God who perfected Christ. To know and honour God in this character is the secret of perfection, for in such He can do His work. This is the God who is leading many sons to glory; to know and honour Him is the path to glory. To reveal this God and His claims, to show how to glve up everything to Him,-this was what Christ came for. This is the life He brought us, the path He opened, the salvation He gioes.
















XVI

JESUS CALLS US BRETHREN.

n.-11. For both He that sanctifleth and they that are sanctified are all of1 One: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying (Ps. zxll. 23),

12. I will declare thy name unto my brethren,

In the midst of the congregation will I sing thy praise.

13. And again, I will put my trust in him (Isa. viii. 17). And again, Behold, I and the children which God hath given me (Isa. viii. 18).

We have here the reason of what precedes. Why was it that it was needful for God, in leading many sons unto glory, to make the Leader of their salvation perfect through suffering? Or, how was it, that making Him perfect could perfect them, and bring salvation to them? The answer is, He that sanctifieth, that is, Jesus, and they who are sanctified, God's sons, are all out of One, that is, of God. ln proof of this three texts are quoted, in which Jesus calls us brethren, takes His place with us in trusting God, and speaks of us as the children God hath given Him. It is because Jesus, the firstborn Son, and the sons He leads to glory, are one in their being begotten of God, that His perfection secures their salvation. It is the oneness of Jesus with us that fits Him to be the Leader of salvation.

This oneness has its root in the truth of the divine life. Both He that sanctifieth, and they that are sanctified are all

1 Out of.

out of One. Jesus is the only begotten, the eternal Son, one with the Father in His divine Being and Majesty. We are sons of God, as we partake of the divine life through and in Him. Notwithstanding the difference between His Sonship and ours, His being original and ours derived, they are at root one; the life of both has its origin in the life of God. It is this oneness of Christ with us in origin, that made it possible for Him to become one with us in our humanity, and so to be the Leader of our salvation. lt is this oneness that makes it possible for Him to communicate to us that perfection, that perfect meekness and delight in God's will, which was wrought out in His human nature through suffering, that holiness of His with which we must be made holy.

For both He that sanctifieth, and they that are sanctified are all of One. Jesus is the sanctifier, we are the sanctified. The object for which Christ became the Leader of our salvation, the great work He has to do for us, the bond of union between the Son and the sons of God, the proof of their bearing His image and likeness, and the mark of their real oneness, is Holiness.

The word Holy is one of the deepest in Scripture. It means a great deal more than separated or consecrated to God. The Triune God is the Thrice-Holy One: Holiness is the deepest mystery of His Being, the wondrous union of His righteousness and His love. To be holy is to be in fellowship with God, possessed of Him. Therefore the Spirit specially bears the name of Holy, because He is the bearer to us of the love of God, and the maintenance of the divine fellowship is His special work. Jesus is the Holy One of God, who makes us holy in filling us with His Holy Spirit.1 The difference between Jesus

1 Here and throughout the Epistle the word holy and sanctify includes much and us is great-the oneness is greater. He and we are of one, together partakers of God's life and God's holiness. Let us give abundant heed to so great salvation.

This oneness finds its manifestation in the Brother-name which Jesus gives us. For which cause He is not ashamed to call them Brethren, saying, I will declare Thy name unto My brethren. The writer had spoken of our inner oneness with Jesus. But oh, what a difference in actual life, such a terrible difference that He might well be ashamed of us! Yes! before angels as well as before the world, how often His saints have put Him to shame, have given Him reason to be ashamed of His relationship! But-blessed be His name-His becoming man was an act of condescension, which had its root in the sense of His oneness with us as being one with Him out of God, which had its strength in the love as of an elder Brother.

Three texts are now quoted; the one from Ps. xxii. 23, in which the suffering Messiah promises to make known the Father's name to His brethren; the second and third from lsa. viii. 17, 18, in which, in prophetic types, His fellowship with all His people in the life of faith and trust, and His place at the head of those whom God has given Him as children, find expression.

What wonderful thoughts! We, as truly as Jesus, are of God! It is in the light of this truth that Jesus looks on us, and loves us, and deals with us! It is in the light of this truth we must look on Jesus, and love Him, and deal with Him. And in the light of this truth let us look on ourselves too. This is the life of faith - to see Jesus and ourselves as He sees us, to think as He thinks, to live in His heart. Then will the promise be fulfilled

more than is ordinarily meant by the doctrine of sanctification. "Sanctify here includes all that God does for our restoration, as He calls, justifies, and glorifies." Rieger in Lange on z. 10 (comp. ix. 13, 14; x. 10, 14, 29; xiii. 12).

to us, " I will declare thy name unto my brethren," "that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them." As we bow in lowly, waiting silence before Him, the soul will hear Him say: My Brother! let me reveal to thee the Father. And the name and the love and the nearness of the Father will have new meaning when l can say, Jesus calls me His brother! God has spoken to me in His Son! And l shall understand that, to faith, the incomprehensible reality of oneness with Jesus becomes the blessed, conscious experience of the soul in its daily life.

1. Union with Jesus in being born of God, in being holy, in being acknowledged by Him as a brother l What a blessed life! what a full salvation!

2. "He that dveth the will of God, the same is My brother." Wouldst thou know the holy joy of Jesus saying to thee, Brother l-let thy life be what His was-the doing of the will of God l lt was in this He was perfected in suffering. lt is in this that His Spirit and life in thee will manifest itself, and the Brother-name will be the index not only of His compassion but of the oneness in Spirit and the likeness in conduct which prove thee a son of God.

3. Sanctification, holiness, is nothing more than a life in union with Jesus. Nothing more, and nothing less. He that sanctifieth, and they who are sanctified, are all of One. To liue in that oneness, to have Jesus lioing in us, is the way to be holy.

4. "And again, l will put my trust in Him." Jesus lioed by faith in God. He is the Leader and Perfecter of faith. He opened up to us the path of faith and leads us in it.
















XVII

THAT HE MIGHT BRING TO NOUGHT THE DEVIL.

H.-14. Since then the children are sharers in flesh and blood, he also himself in like manner partook of the same; that through death he might bring to nought him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;

15. And might deliver all them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.

The previous verses spoke of the oneness of Jesus and His brethren from the divine side: they are all of One. Here we have it put before us from its human side: Since the children are sharers in flesh and blood, He Himself in like manner partook of the same. We have already said that for this, Christ becoming man, there was more than one reason. The first, that, as our Leader, He might Himself be perfected, and so prepare a way-a way or state of living, a nature, a life, in which we might draw nigh to God. The second, that He might deliver us from the power of death and the devil. The third, that in all His work for us and in us, He might be a merciful High Priest in things pertaining to God, able to understand and sympathise with us, and ready to bear and to succour. Here it is the second of these three aspects of Christ's incarnation that is brought out: He became man that He might meet and conquer and destroy the power of death and the devil.

Since the children are sharers in flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise partook of the same. However familiar the thought of the incarnation is, let us again seek to realise fully all that it means. As Adam never could have brought us under the power of sin and death, if he had not been our father, communicating to us his own nature, so Christ never could save us, except by taking our nature upon Him, doing in that nature all that we would need to do, had it been possible for us to deliver ourselves, and then communicating the fruit of what He effected as a nature within us to be the power of a new, an eternal life. As a divine necessity, without which there could be no salvation, as an act of infinite love and condescension, the Son of God became a partaker of flesh and blood. So alone could He be the Second Adam, the Father of a new race.

That through death He might bring to nought him that had the power of death, that is, the devil. Death is a power that has its sanction from God Himself. ln the very nature of things it could not be otherwise than that man, when he turned from God, the fountain of life, to Satan and to self, fell under the power of death. He had yielded himself to Satan, and Satan had power over him. As the jailor keeps the prisoner under the authority of the king, Satan holds the sinner in the power of death so long as no true legal release is given. The only way for us to come from under the power of Satan and death was, to lay off that fallen nature over which they had power, to come out of that sinful life by dying to it, and, in dying, to be entirely freed from it. We had no power to do this. Jesus entered into all the conditions of our fallen humanity. He entered into our death, and endured it as the penalty of sin, and, enduring it, satisfied the law of God. And so, because the law had been the strength of sin, He took from sin and the devil the power of death over us. He endured death as the end of the life of the flesh, in full acknowledgment of God's righteous judgment, yielding up His spirit to the Father. Death, as the penalty of the law, death as the end of the life of nature, death as the power of Satan over man, was destroyed, and he that had the power of death was brought to nought. And now, as little claim or power as death has on Him, has it on those who are in Him, on those in whom the power of His life now works. He also Himself partook of flesh and blood, that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil.

And might deliver all them who, through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. The power of death and the devil has been so completely broken that there is now perfect deliverance from that fear of death which keeps so many in bondage. Under the Old Testament, life and immortality had not yet been fully brought to light. No wonder the older saints often lived and spoke as those subject to bondage. But how sad that the redeemed of Jesus Christ, His brethren, so often prove that they know but little of the reality and power of His deliverance, or of the song of joy: "Death is swallowed up in victory. Thanks be to God who giveth us the victory, through Jesus Christ our Lord."

My brother! art thou living in the full experience of this blessed truth? Because thou sharest in flesh and blood, Christ came and likewise partook of the same, that there might be perfect oneness between Him and thee. Livest thou in this oneness? By His death He destroyed the devil, that thou mightest be entirely freed from out of his power. Is thy life in this liberty? He delivers from the fear of death and the bondage it brings, changing it into the joy of the hope of glory. ls this joy thy portion? Let us believe that he, who is now crowned with glory and honour, is indeed able to make all a reality to us, so that, as those who are one with Him by the double bond of the birth from God, and the birth in flesh and blood, we may be His ransomed, His sanctified ones, His beloved brethren. He gave Himself to be wholly like us and for us-shall we not give ourselves to be wholly like Him and for Him?

7. "Through death destroyed him that had the power of death." Death had its power from the taw. There was no way of conquering it but by fulfilling its claim. Through death He destroyed death. This is the way for us too. As l gioe myself up to death, as 1 gioe up the sinful life, and die to self in the power of Christ's death, the power of His delioerance will work in mi.

2. Through death to life. This is the law of nature, as seen in every corn of wheat. This is the law of the life of Christ, as seen in His resurrection. This is the law of the life of faith, to be felt and experienced every day, as the power of the Hew Death which Christ died, and the Hew Life He lives, works in us.

3. The first chapter revealed to us the dioinity of Christ, as the foundation of the gospel, that we might know that all that He accomplished in His humanity has been effected in dioine reality, and works in us in dioine creatioe power.
















XVIII

A HIGH PRIEST ABLE TO SUCCOUR.

n-16. For verily not of angels doth he take hold, but he taketh hold of the seed of Abraham.

17. Wherefore It behoved him In all things to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be1 a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.

18. For In that he hims3lf hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.

lN the first chapter we saw the writer quoting text after text from the Old Testament, in order that he might bring us to the full apprehension of the truth and the meaning of our Lord's divinity. ln this chapter we see him in the same way, time after time, reiterate the fact of our Lord's humanity, lest we should not fully realise all that it means. So it is here. He had just said, Since the children were sharers of flesh and blood, He also Himself in like manner partook of the same. lt is as if He feels the insufficiency of the words, and therefore once again repeats and confirms his statement: For verily not of angels doth He take hold, but He taketh hold of the seed of Abraham. Man may have been made lower than the angels, but this honour have they not, that He took hold of them-He taketh hold of the seed of Abraham.

And how doth He take hold? There is no way in which God can take hold of a creature other than by entering into

1 Become.

him with His life and spirit, so imparting His own goodness and power, and bringing him into union with Himself. So did Jesus take hold of man. He entered into humanity and became one with it. And so he takes hold of individual souls by entering with each into personal union and fellowship.

Wherefore, being thus minded to take hold of man, it behoved Him, it was divinely right and proper, and, in the nature of things, an absolute necessity, as a consequence of His purpose, it behoved Him in all things to be made like unto His brethren. The laying hold implied His identifying Himself with them, and this again was impossible without being made like them in all things. So only could He save them. lt was indeed needful, that so He might become a merciful and a faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.

Here we have, for the first time, the word High Priest-a word which is used in no other book of the New Testament of our Lord Jesus, but in this Epistle is its central thought. We shall see later (chap, v.) how inseparably His divine sonship and His priesthood are linked. Here we are taught that His real humanity is just as much essential to it. lt is one of the remarkable things in the Epistle that it unfolds so wonderfully the value of the personal development in our Lord's life. It ever connects the person and the work as inseparable.

See it here. The work He had to do was-to make propitiation for the sins of the people. Sin had incurred the wrath of God, and His love could not flow forth towards men till the sin had been covered up, atoned for, taken away. In fulfilment of all that had been taught us in the Old Testament sacrifices, Christ came to do this. He put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself, and obtained everlasting redemption. Of this the Epistle will speak later on. What it here seeks to press, is that Christ became Man, not merely to die and atone, but that in doing this, He might be a faithful and merciful High Priest. His relation to us was to be a personal one. He must Himself minister to us the salvation He worked out. Everything would depend upon His winning our confidence, getting possession of our heart and love, and as a living Leader guiding us into the path to God. lt is this which makes His human life on earth so precious to us. It proved Him faithful: we dare fully trust Him. It found Him merciful: we need not fear coming to Him. He was made in all things like unto His brethren, that He might become a merciful and faithful High Priest.

For in that He Himself hath suffered being tempted, He is able to succour them that are tempted. The work of our High Priest does not only consist in His atonement, nor even in the advocacy and intercession which is the fruit of that atonement. But above all, as the result of all these, in that personal charge of our spiritual life which He takes, in that never-ceasing succour which He is able to give in every temptation. This is the greatest and most blessed part of His work in bringing us to God, that, as the Leader in the path of suffering and perfection, He inspires us with His own dispositions, and, by the mighty operation of His Spirit within us, gives us His help in every time of need. The one thing we need is, to know and trust Him fully. To know Him as High Priest who not only has opened a way to God for us to walk in, and not only in heaven prays for us, but who undertakes to keep us so in fellowship with Himself, and under the covering of His power, and in the experience of His full redemption, that temptation can never conquer us. His divinity secures to us His unfailing and neverceasing presence. His humanity assures us of His sympathy and compassion. More ever-present and more mighty than the temptation, His unfailing love is always near to give the victory. He can and will do it. Our High Priest is a living, faithful helper: let us trust Him. Salvation is not a thing He gives us apart from Himself. Full salvation is nothing but Jesus Himself, most compassionately and most faithfully watching over us in daily life, most really and fully giving and living His life in us. The abiding, indwelling presence of Jesus, able to succour, is the true secret of the Christian life. Faith will lead us into the experience that Jesus is and does all that is said of Him.

1. What a chapter l Jesus crowned with glory and honour. Our Leader, our Sanctifier, our Brother, made like to us, our merciful and faithful High Priest, tempted as we are, our helper in temptation. What a Saviour l

2. No member of my body can be hurt without my feeling it and seeking to guard it. No temptation can touch me without Jesus feeling it at once, and gioing succour. is not the one thing we need to know Him better, in faith to realise His ever-present nearness, and to count on His help 1

3. The knowledge of Jesus that sufficed for conversion will not suffice for sanctificatlon. For the growth of the spiritual life it is essential that we enter more deeply into the knowledge of all that Jesus is. Jesus is the bread of heaven, the food of our spiritual life; knowing Him better is the only way to feed upon Him.

4. Learn to regard every temptation as the blessed opportunity for trusting and realising the succour of your ever-present High Priest.
















THIRD SECTION.-iii. 1-6.
Christ Jesus more than Moses.



XIX

CONSIDER JESUS.

m.-1. Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, even Jesus.

Consider Jesus! This is the central thought of the verse, and of the passage of which it is a part, as it is indeed of the whole Epistle. lt is the one aim of the writer to persuade the Hebrews that, if they but knew aright the Lord Jesus as the faithful, compassionate, and almighty High Priest in heaven, they would find in Him all they needed for a life such as God would have them lead. Their life would be in harmony with their faith, in harmony with the life of Him whom their faith would apprehend. The words might have been taken as the title of my book: Consider Jesus! is indeed the keynote of the Epistle.

The word consider, from the root of the Latin word for Star, originally means to contemplate the stars. It suggests the idea of the astronomer, and the quiet, patient, persevering, concentrated gaze with which he seeks to discover all that can be possibly known of the stars which the object of his study are. And Jesus, who is God, who became man, and perfected our

human nature in His wonderful life of suffering and obedience, and now dwells in heaven to communicate to us its life and blessedness-oh, what reason there is for saying, Consider Jesus. Gaze upon Him, contemplate Him. For some increased knowledge of the stars what devotion, what enthusiasm, what sacrifices are ofttimes witnessed. Oh, let the study and possession of the Son of God waken our devotion and our enthusiasm, that we may be able to tell men what beauty and what glory there is in Jesus.

Holy brethren! Thus the Hebrews are now addressed. ln the previous chapter the word brethrenhad been used twice. He is not ashamed to call them brethren. It behoved Him to be made like unto His brethren. The sacred name is now applied personally: Christ's brethren are brethren in Christ. And the heart of the writer warms to them personally, as he seeks to urge them to what with him is indeed the one aim of the Epistle-Consider Jesus.

Holy brethren! The word holy had also been just used. He that sanctifieth, maketh holy, and they who are sanctified, made holy, are all of one. We saw how holiness is the common mark of Christ and His people: their bond of union, and the great object they both aim at. One of the great mysteries the Epistle is to reveal to us is that our great High Priest has opened the way for us into the Most Holy Place or the Holiest of All. ln Hebrew it is the Holiness of Holinesses. There we have boldness of access, there we are to have our dwelling encircled by the holiness of God. We must know that we are holy in Christ; this will give us courage to enter into the Holiness of Holinesses, to have God's holiness take complete possession, and fill our whole being. lt is Jesus who makes holy: it is we who are to be made holy: what more natural than that the thoughts should be coupled together: holy brethren, consider Jesus.

Holy brethren! partakers of a heavenly calling, consider Jesus! What is elsewhere spoken of as a holy calling is here named a heavenly calling. That does not only mean a calling from heaven, or a calling to the heaven, whence the call proceeds. No, there is much more in it. Heaven is not only a place, but a state, a mode of existence, the life in which the presence of God is revealed and experienced in its unhindered power. And the heavenly calling is that in which the power of the heavenly life works to make our life heavenly. When Jesus was upon earth the kingdom of heaven was nigh at hand; after He had ascended and received the kingdom from the Father, the kingdom of heaven came to this earth in power, through the descent of the Holy Spirit. Christians, at Pentecost, were people who by the new birth entered into the heavenly kingdom or state of life. And the kingdom entered into them. And they were partakers of a heavenly calling, because the spirit and the life and the power of heaven was within them.

lt is to such men the invitation comes. Holy brethren! partakers of the heavenly calling! consider Jesus! If you would know what it is to be holy and to live holy, consider Jesus who makes holy! lf you would know the privileges and powers that belong to you as partakers of a heavenly calling, consider Jesus! He is God, the King of heaven! He is Man who has ascended to heaven as your Priest and Saviour, has opened it for you, and can communicate its life and blessedness. Oh, consider Jesus! set your heart on Him; He will make you holy and heavenly.

There is more than one of my readers who mourns that he knows so little what it is to live a holy and a heavenly life. Listen, God's word speaks to you-Holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling! consider Jesus! This is your weakness: you have looked at yourself and your own strength; you have not studied Jesus! This will be your cure: each day, each hour, consider Jesus, and in Him you will find all the holiness and the heavenliness you need.

1. in the tatter part of the Epistle all the glory of Jesus as He entered heaven, and opened lt for us, as He became a minister of the heavenly sanctuary, and leads us to dwell in the Father's presence, will be opened to us. But let us even now, from the commencement, hold fast the truth that the knowledge of Jesus seated in heaven is the power of the heavenly calling and the heavenly life.

2. Do not think that you know all that can be told about Jesus. Believe that there are wonders of heavenly joy to be revealed to you if you know Him better: His dioine nearness and oneness with you, His ever-present indwelling to succour and lead you, His power to bring you into the Holiest of All, into the Father's presence and love, and to keep you there, will be revealed.
















XX

CHRIST AND MOSES.

HI.-1. Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Jesus.

2. Who was faithful to him that appointed him, as also was Moses in all his house.

3. For he hath been counted worthy of more glory than Moses, by so much as he that built the house hath more honour than the house.

4. For every house is bullded by some one; but he that built all things is God.

5. And Moses indeed was faithful in all his house, for a testimony of those things which were afterward to be spoken:

6. But Christ as a Son, over his house; whose house are we, If we hold fast our boldness and the glorying of our hope firm unto the end.

THE writer had just spoken (ii. 17) of Christ as a merciful and faithful High Priest. Later (iv. 14-v. 7), he will speak again of Him as merciful. Here he wishes first to set before us His faithfulness. To this end he compares Him to Moses, of whom God Himself had spoken (Num. xii. 7): "My servant Moses, who is faithful in all My house." But he goes on at the same time to prove that Christ the Son is more than Moses the servant. We have seen that Christ is more than the angels through whom the law was given; we shall yet see that He is more than Aaron, through whom the law was ministered; He is more than Moses too, the mediator of the law, the servant in the house of God. In every aspect the New Testament has more glory than the Old.

Moses and Aaron together represented God in lsrael; the one as apostle or messenger, the other as high priest. ln the person of Jesus the two offices are united. As High Priest He is merciful as Aaron; as Apostle of our profession He is faithful as Moses. Moses was the great apostle or messenger of God, the Old Testament type of Christ as prophet. He had access to God, and brought the word of God to the people. Christ is the great Apostle or Prophet of the New Covenant. He ever spake of Himself as the one whom the Father had sent; in Him, the Son, God speaks to us. As Apostle He is God's Representative with us, making God known to us; as High Priest, our Representative with God, bringing us into His presence. As High Priest He stands linked to us by His mercy and compassion, as He now, having died for us, helps us in our temptation and weakness; as Apostle He pleads for God with us, and proves Himself entirely faithful to Him. We need to co'nsider Christ Jesus, not only as a High Priest in His mercy, but as the Apostle of our profession who was faithful to Him that appointed Him, as also was Moses in all his house. Faithfulness is trustworthiness. As we see Jesus faithful to Him who appointed Him, our faith and trust will rise into perfect and joyful assurance that He will indeed most faithfully fulfil all God's promises in us, that in us too He will be faithful as a Son over His own house. Nothing gives such strength to faith as resting on the faithfulness of Jesus. The glory of Jesus is the glory of Christianity; is the strength and glory of the Christian life.

Moses was in every respect a type of Christ. In what he suffered from his very brethren; in his rejection by his brethren; in his zeal and his sacrifice of all for God; in his willingness to die for his people; in his fellowship with God; we see the marks of an apostle, as they were to be perfectly revealed in Christ Jesus. And yet it was all only a shadow and a prophecy, a testimony of things to come. For He hath been counted worthy of more glory than Moses, by so much as he that built the house hath more honour than the house. For every house is builded by some one; but He that built all things is God. And Moses verily was faithful in all his house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were afterwards to be spoken; but Christ, as a Son over His house. Moses was himself but a part of the house: Jesus Christ is the builder. Moses was a servant in the house; Jesus was a Son over His own house.

Whose house we are. The true house, the true dwelling of God, is His people. In Christ we are builded together for a habitation of God in the Spirit. Of the Church, as His body, of the individual soul, Christ says: "We will come and make our abode." lt is the characteristic of spiritual things that each part is also a living whole. Collectively and individually we are Christ's house: he that would know the faithfulness of Christ in His house, must yield himself to be His house, must allow Christ as Son over His house to be Master, to have the keys alone, to hold undisturbed possession and rule.

Whose house we are. Later on we shall see how the great work of Christ, as the great High Priest over the house of God, is to open the way into the holiest of God's dwelling, His living, loving presence. The word we have here to-day tells us beforehand that the Holiest is not only with God, and that we must enter into it; it is also with us, and God will come in to us too. God's heart is our habitation; our heart is God's habitation. When Jesus spake, "Abide in me, and I in you," He taught us that mutual relationship. The more my heart goes out to Jesus and lives in Him, the more He comes to live in me.

Whose house we are. Would you have the full experience of all that means and brings? Holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider Jesus, who is faithful to Him that appointed Him, as a Son over His house. Yield yourself to Him as His house, and trust His faithfulness to do His work. And, remember, as the Epistle teaches us the spiritual meaning of the external symbols of the Old Testament, that we must not seek their fulfilment again in other external things, however much we conceive of them as infinitely higher and greater, but in that inward spiritual experience which comes when Jesus dwells in us as His house. lt is as the lndwelling Saviour that He does His work, whether it be Prophet, Priest, or King. Whose house we are.

1. Faithful to God. This is the spirit of God's house, the mark of being of His household. lt was so with Moses the servant. lt was so with Christ the Son. lt must be so through the whole household. Be it so with us: Faithful to God.

2. Whose house we are. Not like a house of stone and wood, in which the indweller has no lioing connection with it. No, Christ dwells in us as a life within a life, inspiring us with His own temper and disposition. Our moral and spiritual being, our power of willing and living and acting, within these He comes and dwells in us a dioine, hidden, but mighty power and operation.

3. Faithful as Son over His house. But He must be Master in His own house. Not only an honoured guest, while thou hast the keys and the care. So it is with many Christians. So it may not be. No, gioe Him the keys: gioe Him entire control over the whole being: as Son over His house. He will blessedly prove how faithful He is to God and to thee.

4. Consider well the faithfulness of Christ: this will work in thee the fulness of faith.
















XXI

IF WE HOLD FAST OUR BOLDNESS FIRM TO THE END.

HI.-6. "Whose house we are, if we hold fast our boldness and the glorying of our hope firm unto the end.

AMONG the Hebrews there were not a few who had gone back and were in danger of falling away. They had given way to sloth, and had lost the joy and confidence of their first faith. The writer is about (iii. 7-iv. 13.) to sound a note of solemn warning, to call them to beware of that evil heart of unbelief, which departs from the living God. As the transition he writes, making the words as it were the text for what follows, Whose house we are, if we hold fast our boldness, and the glorying of our hope firm to the end.

Holding fast firm to the end. Steadfastness, perseverance, this is indeed the great need of the Christian life. There is no question that exercises the earnest minister of the gospel in our days, as in early times, more deeply than what may be the reason that so many converts grow cold and fall away, and what can be done that we may have Christians who can stand and conquer. How often does it not happen, both after times of revival and special effort, and also in the ordinary work of the Church, that those who for a time ran well, got so entangled in the business or the pleasure of life, the literature, or the politics, or the friendships of the world, that all the life and the power of their profession is lost. They lack steadfastness; they miss the crowning grace of perseverance.

The words of our text teach us what the cause of backsliding is, and whence the want of power to stand comes, even in those who strive after it. They show us at the same time what the secret is of restoration, as well as of strength to endure unto the end. Whose house we are, he says, If we hold fast our boldness and the glorying of our hope firm to the end. Or, as it is expressed a few verses further on (ver. 14) If we hold fast the beginning of our confidence firm unto the end. A boldness and confidence that make us abound in hope, that make us glory in hope of the glory of God, and glory in tribulation too,-this it is that makes us strong to resist and overcome. Nothing can make us conquerors but the bold and joyful spirit that day by day glories in the hope of what God will do.

It is in this that so many fail. When first they found peace they learnt that they were saved by faith. They understood that pardon and acceptance and peace and life all come by faith alone. But they did not understand that we can only stand by faith; that we must always walk by faith; that ever and increasingly we must live by faith; and that every day and every hour nothing can help us but a clear, definite, habitual faith in God's power and working, as the only possibility of growth and progress. They sought to hold fast the light and blessing and the joy they had found; they knew not that it was their boldness of faith, the glorying of their hope, the beginning of their confidence,-that this it was they needed to hold fast firm to the end. And even when they learnt something of the need of faith and hope, they did not know how indispensable the boldness of faith and the glorying of hope were. No one can conquer without the spirit of a conqueror. The powers of sin and Satan, of the world and the flesh, are so great, only he who is bold and glories in his hope upon what God will do will have strength to resist them. And he only can be bold to face the enemy who has learnt to be bold with God, and to glory in Him. lt is when faith becomes a joy, and hope is a glorying in God, that we can be more than conquerors.

The lesson is one of the most important the Christian has to learn. We shall see later on how our whole Epistle has been written to teach us that boldness is the only root of steadfastness and perseverance, and therefore the true strength of the Christian life; and how, too, its one object is to show what abundant ground for the boldness we have in the work and person and glory of our Lord Jesus.

Whose house we are, if we hold fast our boldness and the glorying of our hope firm unto the end. Would you know the blessedness of all it means, Whose house we are, Christ as a Son is faithful in His house, see here the open gate. ln spite of all the enemies that surround you, yield yourself boldly to Jesus Christ as His-your heart a home for Him to dwell in. Glory in the hope of all that He has promised to perfect in you. Hold fast the beginning of your confidence firm to the end. Was not that beginning this, that you confessed yourself to be nothing, and Christ to be all? Did you not just cast yourself on His mighty saving power? Hold fast this beginning with the greatest confidence. He will each moment guard and keep His house, and maintain His work within it. Claim boldly and expect confidently that Christ the Son will be faithful over His house as Moses the servant was over his. And when the difficulty arises: But how always to maintain this boldness and glorying of hope, just remember the answer the Epistle gives, Consider Jesus, who was faithful. Yes, just consider Jesus! How faithful, even unto death, He was to God

in all that He had given Him to do for us. Let that be to us the assurance that He, who is still the same Lord, will be no less faithful in all the blessed work He can now do in us, if we hold fast our boldness and the glorying of our hope firm to the end.

1. Faith is the mother of hope. How often a davghter can be a help and a strength to her mother.So, as our hope reaches out to the future and glories in it, our faith will grow into the boldness that can conquer all.

2. Hold fast together what this passage has joined: the faithfulness of Jesus and the boldness or confidence of our faith. His faithfulness is our security.

3. The glorying of our hope. Joy is not a luxury or a mere accessory in the Christian life. lt is the sign that we are really lioing in God's wonderful love, and that that love satisfies us. "The God of hope fill you with all joy in believing, that ye may abound in hope through the power of the Holy Ghost."

4. Christ is faithful as a Son over His house: how confidently l may trust Him to keep charge and rule in it.
















THE SECOND WARNING.
Chap. iii. 7-iv. 13.
Not to come short of the promised Rest.



XXII

ON HEARING THE VOICE OF GOD.

HI.-7. Wherefore, even as the Holy Ghost salth,
To-day, if ye shall hear his voice,

8. Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation,
Like as in the day of temptation in the wilderness,

9. Wherewith your fathers tempted me by proving me,
And saw my works forty years.

10. Wherefore I was displeased with this generation,
And said, They do alway err in their heart:
But they did not know my ways;

11. As I sware in my wrath,

They shall not enter into my rest.

The writer has such a deep impression of the low and dangerous state into which the Hebrews had sunk, that, having mentioned the name of Moses, he makes a long digression to warn them against being like their fathers and hardening themselves against Him who is so much more than Moses. From Ps. xcv. he quotes what God says of lsrael in the wilderness, hardening its heart against Him, so that He sware that they should not enter into His rest. The words of the quotation first point us to what is the great privilege of God's people; they hear His voice; then, to their great danger, hardening the heart against that voice. Not to the unbelieving Jews, but to the Christian Hebrews are these words of warning directed. Christians in our day have no less need of them. Let us take more abundant heed to the word: Even as the Holy Ghost with, To-day, if ye will hear His voice, harden not your hearts.

When God spake to Israel, the first thing he asked of them was a heart that did not harden itself, but that in meekness and gentleness, in tenderness and docility turned itself to listen to His voice. How much more may He claim this, now that He speaks to us in His Son. As the soil must bebroken up by the plough and softened by the rain, so a broken, tender spirit is the first requisite for receiving blessing from God's word, or being in truth made partakers of God's grace. As we read in lsaiah, "To this man will l look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite heart, and trembleth at My word." When this disposition exists, and the thirsty heart truly waits for divine teaching, and the circumcised ear opens to receive it, God's voice will bring real life and blessing, and be the power of living fellowship with Himself. Where it is wanting, the word remains unfruitful, and we go backward, however much head and mouth be filled with Bible truth. Wherefore, even as the Holy Ghost saith, If ye hear His voice, harden not your hearts.

lt is not difficult to say what it is that hardens the hearts. The seed sown by the wayside could not enter the soil, because it had been trodden down by the passers-by. When the world, with its business and its interests, has at all times a free passage, the heart loses its tenderness. When we trust too much to the intellect in religion, and very great care is not taken to take each word as from God into the heart, into its life and love, the heart gets closed to the living voice of God. The mind is satisfied with beautiful thoughts and pleasant feelings ; but the heart does not hear God. When we are secretly content with our religion, our sound doctrine and Christian life, unconsciously but surely the heart gets hardened. When our life does not seek to keep pace with our knowledge, and we have more pleasure in hearing and knowing than obeying and doing, we utterly lose the meekness to which the promise is given, and, amidst all the pleasing forms of godliness, the heart is too hard to discern the voice of the Spirit. More than all, when unbelief, that walks by sight, and looks at itself and all around in the light of this world, is allowed to have its way, and the soul does not seek in childlike faith to live in the invisible, as revealed in the word, the heart gets so hardened that God's word never enters. Yes, it is an unspeakably solemn thought, that with a mind occupied with religious truth, and feelings stirred at times by the voice and words of men, and a life apparently given to religious works, the heart may be closed to the humble, direct intercourse with God, and a stranger to all the blessing the living word can bring. Wherefore, even as the Holy Ghost saith, If ye hear His voice, harden not your heart.

Let all who would seek the blessing to be found in this Epistle, beware of studying it simply as an inspired treatise on divine things. Let it be to us a personal message, the voice of God speaking to us in His Son. Let us, under a sense of the spiritual mystery there is in all divine truth, and the impotence of the human mind rightly to apprehend spiritual things, open our heart in great meekness and docility to wait on God. The whole of religion, and the whole of salvation, consists in the state of the heart. God can do nothing for us, in the way of imparting the blessings of redemption, but as He does it in the heart. Our knowledge of the words of God will profit nothing but as the heart is opened to receive Himself to fulfil His words in us. Let our first care be, a meek and lowly heart, that waits on Him. God speaks in His Son, to the heart, and in the heart. lt is in the heart that the voice and the Son of God must be received. The voice and the word have weight according as we esteem the speaker. As we realise the glory and the majesty of God, His holiness and perfection, His love and tenderness, we shall be ready to sacrifice everything to hear what He speaks, and receive what He gives. We shall bid all the world around us, all the world within us, be silent that we may hear aright the voice of the divine Being speaking to us in the Son of His love.

7. Salvation will be found in these two things-God speaking to me in His Son, and my heart opening to hear His voice. lt is not only in order to salvation, as a means to an end that is something different and higher, that He speaks. No, His speaking gioes and is salvation, the revelaton of Himself to my soul. Let the work of my life be to hearken with a meek and tender spirit.

2. The Lord opened the heart of Lydla to gioe heed to the things which were spoken. This is what we need. God Himself will draw our heart away from all else, and open lt to take heed. Let us ask this very earnestly.

3. Nothing so effectually hinders hearing God's voice as opening the heart too much to other voices. A heart too deeply interested in the news, the literature, the society of this world, cannot hear the dioine voice. lt needs stillness, retirement, concentration, to gioe God the heed He claims.
















XXIII

EVEN AS THE HOLY GHOST SAITH.

HI.-7. Wherefore, even as the Holy Ghost salth, To-day if ye shall hear his voice.

Ln quoting the words of the 95th Psalm the writer uses the expression, Even as the Holy Ghost saith. He regards that Psalm as simply the language of the Holy Spirit. He looks upon the Scriptures as truly inspired by God, God-breathed, because men spake from God, being moved by the Holy Ghost (2 Tim. iii. 16, 2 Pet. i. 21). He regards them as the very voice of God, and attaches to the words all the weight of divine authority, and all the fulness of meaning they have in the divine mind. lt is on this ground that he sees in them a deeper meaning than we would have looked for, and teaches us to find in the words, enter into my rest, the revelation of a deep spiritual mystery and a prophecy of what Christ should bring. As it was the Holy Spirit who of old first gave the word, so it was the same Spirit who taught the apostle to set forth to us its spiritual meaning and lessons, as we have them in the fourth chapter. And even now it is that same spirit alone who can reveal the truth spiritually within us, and make it life and power in our experience. Let us wait on Him as we meditate on these words, Even as the Holy Ghost saith. The words of the Holy Ghost need the Holy Ghost as their interpreter. And the Holy Ghost interprets only to those in whom He dwells and rules.

ln the opening words of the Epistle we were told that it was the same God, who had spoken to the fathers in the prophets, who has now spoken to us in His Son. The inferiority of the Old Testament did not consist in this that the words were less the words of God than in the New. They are equally the words of the Holy Spirit. But the superior excellence of the new dispensation lies in this that, in virtue of the mighty redemption wrought out by Christ, taking away the veil between God and us, and the veil from our eyes and heart (Heb. x. 20, ls. xxv. 7, 2 Cor. iii. 16), the word can enter more fully into us with its life-giving power. The Son of God, as the living Word, dwelling in us through the Holy Spirit, brings the truth and the power of the word as a divine reality into our living experience. The Old Testament was as the bud; in the New the bud has opened and the flower is seen. Even as the Holy Ghost saith. This word assures us that the Holy Spirit will Himself unfold in the New what He had hidden in the words of the Old.

This brings us to a lesson of the very deepest importance in our spiritual life: that what the Holy Ghost hath spoken, He alone can make plain. He uses human words and thoughts, and, as regarded from the human side, human reason can understand and expound them. But even in one who may be a true Christian, this does not bring him farther than the Old Testament, the preliminary stage: "The prophets sought and searched diligently what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did point unto" (1 Pet. i. 11). Beyond this, to the real possession and experience of the redemption they proclaimed, they did not come. lt was only when Christ wasglorified, and the Spirit was given as an indwelling fountain of light and life, that the divine meaning and power could be known. And so it is with ourselves; to understand the words of tlie Holy Spirit I must have yielded myself to be led by the Spirit, I must be living in the Spirit. lt is only one who knows Hebrew who can expound a Hebrew writing; it is only the Spirit of God who knows the mind of God and can reveal it to us. Take, for instance, what is said of entering into the rest of God, anyone who will take trouble, and study it carefully, will be able to form some conception of what it means. But truly to know the rest of God, to enter into it, to enjoy it in living power,-none but the Holy Spirit can teach us this.

Wherefore, even as the Holy Ghost saith, To-day if ye shall hear His voice, harden not your heart. Here is the first lesson the Holy Spirit teacheth. He calls us not to harden or close the heart, but to hearken to the voice of God there; the Holy Spirit cannot possibly lead us into the power and the blessing of God's word unless with our whole heart we hearken to the voice. The Holy Spirit can teach in no way but in a heart that is given up to hearken and obey. When the Son came into the world he spake : Lo, I am come to do Thy will, 0 God. The proof of the Spirit's presence in Him, the sacrifice in the power of the Eternal Spirit, the way to the outpouring of the Spirit, was that of hearkening and obedience. The first message of the Holy Spirit, and the condition of all further teaching is ever, If ye hear His voice, harden not your heart. God has sent the Spirit of His Son into our heart; God asks us to yield our whole heart to His leading; it is as the indwelling Spirit that He will call us and fit us to listen to God's voice.

We are commencing the study of an Epistle of which the keynote is, God speaks to us now in His Son. The wonderful truths of the heavenly priesthood of our Lord Jesus, and of our access into the Holiest of All by the blood, to dwell and worship there, and there in God's presence to be made partaker of the full union with Christ, are to be unfolded. Let us seek a deeper sense of the need, and also the certainty, of the teaching of the Spirit within us: Let us pray "that the Father give us the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Christ." Let us hear God's voice in meekness and tenderness of heart. Let us in deep humility yield ourselves to the Spirit's guidance. We can count upon it that the same Spirit who first of old inspired the words of the Psalm, who then in this Epistle revealed their fulness of meaning, will reveal to us in power all the light and truth they are meant to bring into the believing heart.

1. God speaking to us in His word, and in His Son, is all by the Holy Spirit. Everything depends upon our right relation to the Spirit. Let the word be as a seed in which the life of God dwells. Let us receioe the word, in the faith that the Holy Spirit will open it, and make it work mightily, in us who believe.

2. And as we wait on the Spirit to open the word, we shall through the word be led to and receioe the spirit of heaven, as the dioine seal of our faith in the word.

3. So shall we learn to speak the word in the power of the Spirit. The disciples, however much they knew of Jesus through His intercourse and teaching, and as the witnesses of His death and resurrection, were not allowed to go and preach Him, until they receioed the Spirit from on high. The Spirit-breathed word, the Spirit-opened word, must also be a Spirit-spoken word; we, too, must speak out of a lioing communication of the Spirit from the throne of the glorified Christ. From beginning to end, everything connected with God's word must be in the power of the Holy Spirit.
















XXIV

TODAY.

in.-7. Wherefore, even as the Holy Ghost saith, To-day, if ye shall hear His voice, harden not your hearts.

These words are generally applied to the unconverted; the Psalm in which they occur, and the context in which they stand in this Epistle, both prove that they are meant for God's people. ln all the dealings of the Holy Ghost with believers, be they weak and erring, or strong and glad, His great word to them is, To-day.

The Holy Ghost saith, To-day. What does this mean? God is the Eternal One. With Him there is no yesterday or to-morrow; what we call past and future are with Him an ever-present Now; His life is an ever-blessed, never-ending To-day. One of the great words of this Epistle in regard to Christ and His salvation is the word Eternal, For ever. He has become the author of eternal salvation-that is, a salvation which bears the character of eternity; its chief mark is that it is an ever-present Now-that there is not a moment in which Christ, who ever lives to pray for us, is not able to maintain us in it in the power of an endless life.

Man is the creature of a moment; the past has gone from him, and over the future he has no control; it is only the present moment that is his. Therefore it is that, when he is made partaker of Christ, a High Priest for ever, and the eternal salvation He imparts, God's great word to him is To-day. ln Christ all the blessedness of the great eternity is gathered up in an ever-present Now: the one need of the believer is to know it, to respond to it, and to meet the To-day, the Now, my child! of God's grace with the To-day, the Even now, my Father! of his faith.

If you would understand the meaning of this divine To-day, look at it in its wondrous setting. Even as the Holy Ghost saith, To-day. Satan's word is ever To-morrow, man's favourite word, too, To-morrow. Even with the child of God the word of unbelief is too often To-morrow; God's demand is too great for to-day; God's promise too high; we hope it will come easier later on. The Holy Ghost saith, To-day. That means that He who is the mighty power of God is Himself ready to work in us all that God wills and asks; it is He who is each moment pleading for immediate surrender, for a present trust, because He bears with Him the power of a present salvation.

To-day! it is a word of wonderful promise. lt tells that To-day, this very moment, the wondrous love of God is for thee-it is even now waiting to be poured out into thy heart; that To-day, all that Christ has done, and is now doing in heaven, and is able to do within thee-this very day, it is within thy reach. To-day the Holy Ghost, in whom there is the power to know and claim and enjoy all that the Father and the Son are waiting to bestow, to-day the Holy Ghost is within thee, sufficient for every need, equal to every emergency. With every call we find in our Bible to full and entire surrender; with every promise we read of grace for the supply of temporal and spiritual need; with every prayer we breathe, and every longing that rules in our heart, there is the Spirit of promise whispering, To-day. Even as the Holy Ghost saith, To-day.

To-day! it is a word of solemn command. lt is not here a question of some higher privilege which you are free to accept or reject. lt is not left to your choice, O believer, whether you will receive the fulness of blessing the Holy Spirit offers. That To-day of the Holy Ghost brings you under the most solemn obligation to respond to God's call, and to say, Yes, To-day, Lord, complete and immediate submission to all Thy will; To-day, the surrender of a present and a perfect trust in all Thy grace. Even as the Holy Ghost saith, To-day.

To-day! a word, too, of earnest warning. Even as the Holy Ghost saith, To-day, if ye shall hear His voice, harden not your hearts. They shall not enter into My rest. There is nothing so hardening as delay. When God speaks to us, He asks for a tender heart, open to the whispers of His voice of love. The believer who answers the To-day of the Holy Ghost with the To-morrow of some more convenient season, knows not how he is hardening his heart; the delay, instead of making the surrender and. obedience and faith easy, makes it more difficult. lt closes the heart for to-day against the Comforter, and cuts off all hope and power of growth. O believer, Even as the Holy Ghost saith, To-day, so when you hear His voice, open the heart in great tenderness to listen and obey; obedience to the Spirit's To-day is your only certainty of power and of blessing.

To all Christians whose life has been one of feebleness and of failure, who have not yet entered into the rest of faith, into God's own rest, this word To-day is the key to all their disappointments and to all their failures. You waited for strength, to make obedience easier; for feeling, to make the sacrifice less painful. You did not listen to the voice of God breathing through every word. He speaks that wondrous note, even through the living word, Jesus Christ, that wondrous note ofhope, To-day. You thought it meant for the sinner a call to immediate repentance; you did not know that it means for the believer, each time he hears the voice, immediate, wholehearted submission to all God says, immediate trustful acceptance of all He gives. And yet just this is what it does mean.

ln the Epistle to the Hebrews we have a very wonderful exhibition of what Christ, as a High Priest at the right hand of God, can do for us in the power of an endless life. The entering into the rest of God, the perfect cleansing of the conscience in the blood through which He entered into the presence of God, our access within the veil into the presence of God, the being brought close to the very heart of God, the being taken up and kept in Christ in the love of God,-these blessings are all ours. And over each of them is written the words, Now is the accepted time. Even as the Holy Ghost saith, To-day.

1. Brother, let you and me bow in great stillness before God to hear this wonderful message: the Holy Ghost whispering, To-day, To-day. Let our whole heart open up to take lt in. Let all fear and unbelief pass away as we remember: lt is the Holy Ghost Himself, the giver of strength, the dispenser of grace, the rcvealer of Jesus, who says To-day.

2. Let our faith simply listen to God's voice, until it rings through our soul day by day, and all the day. We shall take God's word To-day, and make it our own. We shall meet this wonderful To-day of God's love with the confident To-day of our faith. And lt will become to us a foretaste of that eternal To-day in which He dwells.

3. The Holy Spirit's To-day, accepted and lived in, will be within us the power of an endless life, the experience of an eternal salvation, as an ever-present, never-ceasing reality. "Even as the Holy Ghost saith, To-day."

4. Just yesterday l heard a servant of God testify that at his conversion he was led to say: l am going to do the will of God to-day, without thinking of to-morrow; and he had found the unspeakable blessing of it. Let anyone begin to lioe a whole-hearted life, by the grace of God, for one day; for to-morrow will be as to-day, and still better.
















XXV

AN EVIL HEART OF UNBELIEF.

HI.-12. Take heed, brethren, lest haply there shall be In any one of you an evil heart of unbelief, in falling away from the living God.

The great practical aim of the Epistle is to call us to faith. lt is with this view that it will show us what a sure ground we have for it in the word and oath of God, in the person and power of our heavenly High Priest. lt will remind us how unbelief has been the cause of all falling away from God, and all failing of entrance into the enjoyment of His promise and His rest, as faith has in all ages been the one power in which God's saints have lived and worked. It has already spoken of " holding fast our boldness and the glorying of our hope firm to the end "; it here uses the word " believe " for the first time in the call to beware of an evil heart of unbelief.

An evil heart of unbelief. Think a moment of what the expression means. And note first the place the heart takes in religion. We have heard the warning (ver. 7), Harden not your hearts. It is in the heart God speaks, and where He longs to give His blessing. On that there followed God's complaint, "They do alway err in their heart; they did not know my ways." It is a heart that goes wrong that cannot know God's ways. And so here again, it is the evil heart that cannot believe, that falls away from the living God. Do let us, in our study of the Epistle and in our whole religious life, beware of rejoicing in beautiful thoughts and happy feelings, while the heart, with its desire and will and love, is not wholly given up to God. ln our intercourse with God, everything depends on the heart. lt is with the heart man believeth and receiveth the salvation of God.

An evil heart of unbelief. Many think and speak of unbelief as a frailty; they wish to believe, but do not feel able; their faith, they say, is too weak. And of course they have no sense of guilt or shame connected with it: not being able to do a thing is counted a sufficient excuse for not doing it . God thinks differently. The Holy Ghost speaks of the evil heart of unbelief. The heart is the organ God created in man for holding fellowship with Himself. Faith is its first natural function; by faith and love it lives in God. lt is the ear that hears the voice of God, the eye that can ever see Him and the unseen world; the capacity for knowing and receiving all that God can communicate. lt begins as trust in the word spoken; it grows into fellowship with the Person who speaks; its fruit is the reception of all God has to bestow. Sin turned the heart from the unseen to the seen, from God to self, and faith in God lost the place it was meant to have, and became a faith in the visible world and its good. And now unbelief, whether avowed and definite, or more secret and unconscious, is the great mark of the evil heart, the great proof of sin, the great cause of everlasting darkness and damnation. There is no warning the professing Christian Church needs to have sounded more loudly than this one to the Hebrews: Take heed lest there be in any one of you an evil heart of unbelief in falling away from the living God.

In falling away from the living God. This is the terrible evil of unbelief; it incapacitates a man for holding fellowship with God as the living One. The expression, the living God, occurs four times in the Epistle. ln the Old Testament it contrasted God with the dead idols, who could not hear or speak or help. Alas, how often professing Christians have, instead of a graven image, the more dangerous idol of a thought-image-a conception of the mind to which they bring their worship.The living God, speaking in His Son, hearing them when they speak, working out in them His mighty* salvation-the living God who loves and is loved,-Him they know not. With all their Christian profession and religious exercises there is an evil heart of unbelief, in falling away from the living God.

Let us take the warning. Ere we come to the deeper truth the Epistle has to teach us, let us learn well our first lesson: the one thing God looks to, the one thing we need to receive, the fulness of blessing our great High Priest has for us and waits to bestow, is a heart of faith-a true heart drawing nigh to God in fulness of faith (x. 23). Take heed-we ought to give more abundant heed-lest there be in any of us, even for a moment, an evil heart of unbelief. Let us cast out everything that can cause or can strengthen it, whether it be worldliness or formality, too little knowledge, or too much head-knowledge of God's word, too little looking to the state of our heart or too much occupation with self; let us take heed lest there be at any time in us an evil heart of unbelief. Let a tender heart, hearkening to His voice, listening to and trusting His word, ever be the sacrifice we bring Him.

With the heart man believeth, whether in God or the world. As our heart is, so is our faith, and so our life. Our enjoyment of Christ, our spiritual strength and fruitfulness, our nearness to God, and our experience of His working in us, all depend, not upon single, isolated acts of faith, but upon the state of the heart. Therefore God breathes into us the Spirit of faith, to keep our heart ever tender and open towards Him. Oh, let us above everything beware of an evil heart of unbelief.

And if we would know how true living faith is to be obtained and increased, note the connection. As unbelief falls away from the living God, so faith draws nigh to Him and is fed and nourished in His presence. Practise the presence of God in deep humility and stillness of heart. Thirst for God, the living God. "My soul, be thou silent unto God: for my expectation is from Him." He is the living God. He sees and hears and feels and loves. He speaks and gives and works, and reveals Himself. His presence wakens and strengthens and satisfies faith. Bow in lowly meditation and worship before the living God, and faith will waken up and grow into boldness and the glorying of hope. He is the living God, who makes alive, out of whom life comes into the?n that draw near to Him: tarry in His presence-that, and nothing else, but that, most surely, will free thee from the evil heart of unbelief.

1. Unbelief and falling away from the lioing God: remember with holy fear the oloee connection. They act and react on each other.

2. The faithfulness of Jesus fills the heart with the fulness of faith. You remember the lesson? Here it is the same again: drawing nigh to the living God will fill the heart with lioing faith. And the Epistle is going to teach us how God draws nigh to us in Jesus, and how in Jesus we draw nigh to God.

3. Never speak or think of unbelief as a weakness, but always as the sin of sins, the fruitful mother of all sin.

4. The lioing God in heaven, and the believing heart on earth: these are the two powers that meet and satisfy each other. Let thy faith know of no other measure or limit than the lioing God. Let lt be lioing faith in a lioing God.
















XXVI

EXHORT ONE ANOTHER DAY BY DAY.

m.-13. But exhort one another day by day, so long as it is called to day, lest any one of you be hardened by the deoeitfulness of sin.

Ln the previous verse we read, " Take heed lest there be in any one of you an evil heart of unbelief." That is not only, let each one look to himself, but let all look to it that there be not in any one of you the evil unbelieving heart. The Church is one body; the sickness of one member is a danger to the whole body. Each one must live to care for those around him. Each member is entrusted by Christ to the love and care of his brethren, and is dependent on their help. Believers who are joined together in one house, in a neighbourhood, in a church, are responsible for one another; they must take heed that there be not in anyone the unbelief that falls away from God. They are called to help and encourage each other so that all may at all times continue steadfast in the faith.

ln our meditation on ver. 6 we spoke of the painful fact that in so many cases the first boldness and joy of hope is not held fast firm to the end. Here is one cause. There is not the care and help for each other which the Lord intended. ln caring only for ourselves, our brother not only suffers, but we lose much ourselves. The healthy life of the individual member is dependent on the life around him, and on the part he takes in maintaining that life. The warning has a deeper significance than we think: "Take heed lest there be in any one of you an evil heart of unbelief."

It is this thought our text seeks to enforce: But exhort one another day by day, lest any one of you be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. Christians are bound to exhort one another; it is their duty and their right. lt is implied in the whole constitution of the body of Christ, that the members care for one another. lts life is entirely dependent on the Spirit of Christ, who pleased not Himself, and that Spirit is a love that seeketh not its own, but has its very being in loving and blessing others. As each member humbly yields himself to be helped and to help, the safety and the vigour of all will be secured. The communion of saints in all our Church circles must be proved in the cultivation of a practical ministering love and care for each other.

Exhort one another day by day, so long as it is called To-day. We saw what solemn meaning there was in the Holy Spirit's call, To-day, if ye hear His voice. We sought to apply that personally. Here we are taught that all the urgency that call implies must by each one of us be applied to our neighbour as well as ourselves. We must think of the danger of delay, of the time when it will be no longer To-day for those around us, who are forgetting it, and exhort them day by day. To-day!The work is urgent and must be done immediately. It may be difficult-He who commands will enable. Our conscious unfitness must drive us to Him who can fill us with the love and the boldness, and the wisdom we need. Day by day. The work is slow, and must be done unceasingly,"so long as it is called To-day." The Spirit of Jesus can give us grace and patience and faith to persevere. "In due time we shall reap if we faint not."

Day by day. This word of the Holy Spirit is the complement of that other To-day. The To-day of the Holy Spirit must day by day be afresh accepted and obeyed. It is only as we are ready, every day without one exception, to live fully in the obedience to the voice of God and the faith of Jesus, that our life can grow. What has once, or for a time, been done, will not avail; day by day, our fellowship with Jesus, our consecration io Him, our service for Him, must be renewed. So shall we in our care for others, as much as in our personal walk, hold fast our boldness firm to the end.

"Exhort one another, lest any one of you be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin." We heard the warning, Harden not your hearts. Here is its exposition, Hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. All sin is deceit, its promised pleasures are all a lie. But there are some sins that are open and unmistakable. There are others that are specially deceptive. Where the sanction of the Christian world, or the force of habit and custom, or the apparent insignificance of what we do, makes us think little of the sin, it has a terrible power to deceive the professing Christian. And through this deceitfulness of sin, be it worldliness, or unlovingness, or pride, or want of integrity, hearts are hardened, and become incapable of hearing the voice of God. What a call to all who are awake to their own danger to listen, "Exhort one another day by day, lest any one of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin."

Let me press upon everyone who would siudy this Epistle, the solemn obligation resting upon him to care for those around him-not only the outcast, but those with whom he is associated in church fellowship, very specially any who are in danger of being hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. The Christ unto whom we are to grow up in all things is the Christ " fromwhom all the body, fitly framed and knit together, through that which every joint supplieth, according to the working in its measure of each several part, maketh the increase of the body unto the building up of itself in love." Our connection with the head, the power of our growth unto Him in all things, must be maintained in our love to the members of His body around, however feeble or backward.

And if we would know where, the grace for this work is to be found, the answer is not far to seek. It is in Jesus Christ our Head and in His love shed abroad in our hearts. As in this Epistle we study the compassion of Jesus, as our High Priest and Leader, let us believe that He makes us partakers of His Spirit. He forms us in His own likeness, He leads us in His footsteps, He makes each of us what He was, a Priest with a priestly heart ready to live and die for those around us. Therefore, brethren, exhort one another day by day.

1. This work is most difficult. But strength for it will come as for any other work. First of all, accept the command; get the heart filled with the sense of obligation; yield yourself to your Master in willing obedience, even though you see not the slightest prospect of doing it. Then wait on Him for His light and strength-for wisdom to know how to begin, for boldness to speak the truth in love. Present yourself unto God as one alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of rightevusness in His hands. Let the fire within the heart be kept burning : the grace of obedience will not be withheld.

2. This Epistle is an exposition of the inner life, the life of faith. But with this, work is considered as a matter of course that needs no vindication. Let cvery Christian gioe himself to his Lord to watch over others: let all the fresh grace and the deeper knowledge of Jesus we seek be for the service of those around us. Exhort one another daily.
















XXVII

PARTAKERS OF CHRIST.

III.-14. For we are become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our confidence firm unto the end; while it is said, 15. To-day, if ye shall hear his voice,

Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation.

Ln the second chapter the twofold oneness of our Lord Jesus and His believing people was set before us. On the divine side they are one, for both He that sanctifieth, and they that are sanctified are all of one, that is, of God. Therefore He calls them brethren. On the other, the human side, they are one, because He became man, and took our nature upon Him. Since the children are sharers of flesh and blood, He also Himself in like manner partook of the same. There we have the same word as here. Just as truly as Christ became partaker offlesh and blood we become partakers of Christ. ln partaking with us of flesh and blood, Christ entered into perfect fellowship with us in all we were, our life and our death became His. When we become partakers of Christ, we enter into perfect fellowship with Him in all He was and is; His death and His life become ours.

We are become partakers of Christ! What a mystery! What a treasure! What a blessedness! The whole object of the Epistle is to show what there is in the Christ of whom we are become partakers, and what He can do for us. But here at the outset, amid needful words of remonstrance against giving way to sloth or unbelief, believers are reminded of what their portion and possession is ; they are become partakers of Christ. There is often danger, as we listen to the teaching of Scripture about Christ as our High Priest, of regarding Him as an outward person, and His work as something that is done outwardly for us in heaven. This precious word reminds us that our salvation consists in the possession of Himself, in the being one life with Him, in having Himself as our own. Christ can do nothing for us but as an inward Saviour. Himself being our life, personally dwelling and working in us. As truly and fully as Christ, when He became partaker of flesh and blood, was entirely and eternally identified with man and His nature, so that He and it were inseparably united in one life, so surely, when we become partakers of Christ, do we become indissolubly identified with Him. Since Christ became partaker of flesh and blood, He is known, and will be to all eternity, even upon the throne, as the Son of Man. No less will we, when we truly become partakers of Christ, be known, even now and to all eternity, as one with Christ on the throne of glory. Oh, let us know ourselves as God knows us-partakers of Christ.

It is the one thing God desires. When God set forth His only begotten Son as the only possible way of access to Himself, it meant that He can delight in or have fellowship with nothing in which the likeness of His Son is not to be seen. We can have no farther entrance into God's favour or good pleasure than He can see Christ in us. If God has called us to the fellowship of His Son, and made us participators of all there is in Christ, the sonship, and the love, and the Spirit of the Father, let us live worthy of our privilege-let us live as men who are-oh the riches of the grace!-are become partakers of Christ!

And how can we know in full assurance that it is so, and ever rejoice in the blessed consciousness of all it implies. Just as it was said before, where our blessed relation to Christ was set forth in another aspect, we are His house, if we hold fast our boldness and the glorying of our hope firm unto the end, so we have the answer here again: "We are become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our confidence firm unto the end." The beginning of our confidence must be held fast. We must not, as many think, begin with faith, and continue with works. No, the confidence with which we began must be held fast firm to the end. We must see that when we are made partakers of Christ, that includes all, and that as at first, so all the way unto the end, we can receive out of Christ only by faith and according to our faith. Apart from faith receiving Christ's strength, our works avail not. God works nothing but through Christ, and it is as by faith we live in our riches in Christ that God can work into us all there is in Him for us. lt is this faith through which God can work all our works for us and in us.

For we are become-note, not we shall become-we are become, partakers of Christ, if we hold fast to the end. Our perseverance will be the seal of our being partaker of Christ. The faith by which, at conversion, we know at once that we have Christ, grows clearer and brighter, and more mightily effectual in opening up the treasures of Christ, as we hold it fast firm unto the end. Persevering faith is the witness that we have Christ, because through it Christ exercises His keeping and perfecting power.

Believer! would you enjoy the full assurance and the full experience that you are partaker of Christ? // is alone to be found each day in the living fellowship with Christ. Christ is a living person, He can be known and enjoyed only in a living personal intercourse. Christ is my Leader; l must cling to Him, l must follow Him, in His leading. Christ is my High Priest; l must let Him lift me into God's presence. Christ is the living Son of God, our life; l must live Him. l am His house; l can only know Him as Son in His house as I yield myself to His indwelling.

But, all and only through faith, we are become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our confidence firm unto the end. Begin each day, meet each difficulty, with the renewal of the confidence you reposed in Jesus, when first you came to Him; with a brightness that shines unto the perfect day you will know what boundless blessing it is to be a partaker of Christ.

1. When Christ became partaker of human nature, hom entirely He identified Himself with it, that all could see and know it. l am become partaker of Christ: let me be so identified with Him that my whole life may be marked by it. So may all see and know that l am partaker of Jesus Christ.

2. How did Christ become partaker of our nature? He left His own state of life, forsook all, and entered into our state of life. How do l become partaker of Christ? By coming out from my state of life, forsaking all, glving myself wholly to be possessed of Him and to live His life.

3. If we hold fast the beginning. Christ maintained His surrender to be Man firm to the end, even unto death. Let me maintain my surrender to Christ, live one life with Christ, at any uut.

4. Partaker of Christ, of His life. His dispositions as man, His meekness and lowliness of heart; partaker of a living Christ-who will live His life out in me.
















XXVIII

THE REST IN CANAAN.

m.-16. For who, when they heard, did provoke? nay, did not all they that came oat of Egypt by Moses?

17. And with whom was he displeased forty years? was it not with them that sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness?

18. And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that were disobedient?

19. And we see that they were not able to enter in because of unbelief.'

In the opening verses of the Epistle we saw that God has two dispensations, or ways of dealing with man, and that these find their counterpart in the Christian life. There are believers who always walk in the twilight and bondage of the Old Testament; there are others, who truly know the joy and the power of the New Testament, and have fellowship with God, not as through the prophets, but truly and directly in the Son Himself.

ln the words we are now to meditate on we have the same truth in another aspect. The writer had spoken of Christ as more than Moses. This gives him occasion to speak, in the tone of solemn warning, of the people of lsrael who came out of Egypt. They did not all enter Canaan. There came a separation'among those that God had redeemed out of Egypt; some perished in the wilderness ; others did indeed enter and possess the promised land. The cause of this failure to enter Canaan was, we are told, disobedience, arising out of unbelief. When God commanded them to go up and possess the land, they gave way to fear. They believed not God's promise, and were disobedient. Unbelief is ever the cause of disobedience; they could not enter in because of unbelief and disobedience.

The story has a deep spiritual significance, and teaches a lesson of great solemnity. In our chapter we have twice heard already that it is not enough to begin well; we must hold fast unto the end. Of the people of lsrael we read-" By faith they kept the Passover and the sprinkling of the blood; by faith they passed through the Red Sea." There was the initial faith to go up out of Egypt . But when they were tested to see if they would hold fast the beginning of their confidence firm unto the end, the great majority failed. Their faith was but for a time: they had faith to leave Egypt; they had not faith to enter Canaan.

Among the Hebrews there were Christians who were in the same state. They had begun well, but had been hindered. Some were standing still; some had already turned back. And even so there are many Christians in our churches who never come farther than the initial faith of conversion. They say they know God has saved them from Egypt. They rest content with the thought of having been converted. There is no hearty desire, no earnest purpose to press on to a life of holiness, no readiness at any sacrifice to go up into the promised land of rest and of victory.

When Israel was about to enter the land of Canaan, Moses used the words : " He brought us outfrom thence, that He might bring us in to give us the land." lt is to be feared that there are many Christians who put asunder what God hath joined together. They would fain be brought out from the land of bondage; they are not ready to go all the length with God, to enter the land and conquer every enemy. They would fain be made happy in being delivered from bondage; they long not to be made holy in a life of separation and service. To the voice that calls to enter into God's rest they hearken not, but harden their hearts. It was not in Egypt-let us note this well-it was on the very borders of Canaan that the men God had begun to save hardened their hearts. It is among Christians who profess conversion, who have not only begun the Christian life, but even made some progress in it, that the hardening of the heart is now still found. The call to holiness, the call to cease from the life of wandering and murmuring, and enter into the rest of God, the call to the life of victory over every enemy and to the service of God in the land of promise, is not obeyed. They say it is too high and too hard. They do not believe with Caleb, "We are well able to possess the land "; they fear the sacrifice and cling to the carnal life; in not hearkening to God's voice their heart is hardened. God has sworn, they shall not enter into His rest.

l cannot with too much earnestness urge every Christian reader to learn well the two stages of the Christian. There are the carnal, and there are the spiritual; there are those who remain babes, and those who are full-grown men. There are those who come up out of Egypt, but then remain in the wilderness of a worldly life; there are those who follow the Lord fully, and enter the life of rest and victory. Let each of us find out where we stand, and taking earnest heed to God's warnings, with our whole heart press on to go all the length in following Jesus, in seeking to stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.

What mean all the warnings in our Epistle, specially dedicated to the unfolding of the heavenly life and power, the complete salvation of our great High Priest? lt means this, that no teaching of what Christ is can profit, unless our hearts are longing and ready to follow Him fully. The Epistle will sum up all its teachings in its call to enter into the Holiest of All, into the rest of God. But it wants us to feel deeply that there can be no entering in, except in the path of faith and full obedience, except with a heart that is ready to forsake all its own will, to follow Him who bore the cross, a heart that will be content with nothing less than all that God is willing to give.

1. They were not able to enter in becavse of unbelief. Take heed, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief. Everything depends upon faith. At each step in the teaching of our Epistle, let faith be exercised. Faith in the God who speaks to us; faith in the blessed Son, in the dioine power and all-pervading nearness in which He works, in His true humanity, and the heavenly life He perfected for us and imparts from heaven; faith in the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, and is God's power working in us ;-let faith be the habit of our soul, the every breath of our life.

2. Becavse of unbelief. Just what Jesus says: Because of your unbelief, in answer to our Why? Let us cultioate the deep conviction that the root of all disobedience and failure, of all weakness and trouble in the spiritual life, is unbelief. Let us not think that there is some inexplicable mystery about our prayers not being heard; it is simply unbelief that will not trust God, will not yield itself wholly to God, will not allow God to do what He promises. God save us from unbelief l
















XXlX

THE REST OF FAITH.

IV.-4. Let us fear therefore, lest haply a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to have come short of it.

2. For indeed we have had good tidings preached unto us, even as also they: but the word of hearing did not profit them, because they were1 not united by faith with them that heard.

3. For we which have believed do enter into that rest; even as he hath said,

As I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.

We have seen that with lsrael, after its deliverance from Egypt, there were two stages. The one, the life in the wilderness, with its wanderings and its wants, its unbelief and its murmurings, its provocation of God and its exclusion from the promised rest. The other, the land of promise, with rest instead of the desert wanderings, with abundance instead of want, and the victory over every enemy instead of defeat: symbols of the two stages in the Christian life. The one in which we only know the Lord as the Saviour from Egypt, in His work on the cross for atonement and pardon. The other, where He is known and welcomed as the glorified Priest-King in heaven, who, in the power of the endless life, sanctifies and saves completely, writes God's laws in the heart, and leads us to find our home in the holiest of God's presence. The aim of the writer in this whole section is to warn

1 It was.

us not to rest content with the former, the preparatory stage, but to show all diligence to reach the second, and enter the promised rest of complete deliverance. Let us fear therefore, lest haply, a promise being left of entering into His rest, any of you should come short of it.

Some think that the rest of Canaan is the type of heaven. This cannot be, because the great mark of the Canaan life was that the land had to be conquered and that God gave such glorious victory over enemies. The rest of Canaan was for victory and through victory. And so it is in the life of faith, when a soul learns to trust God for victory over sin, and yields itself entirely, as to its circumstances and duties, to live just where and how He wills, that it enters the rest. It lives in the promise, in the will, in the power of God. This is the rest into which it enters, not through death, but through faith, or rather, not through the death of the body, but the death to self in the death of Christ through faith. For indeed we have had good tidings preached unto us, even as also they: but the word of hearing did not profit them, because it was not united by faith with those that heard. The one reason why they did not enter Canaan was their unbelief. The land was waiting: the rest was provided; God Himself would bring them in and give them rest. One thing was lacking; they did not believe, and so did not yield themselves to God to do it for them what He had promised. Unbelief closes the heart against God, withdraws the life from God's power; in the very nature of things unbelief' renders the word of promise of none effect. A gospel of rest is preached to us as it was to them. We have in Scripture the most precious assurances of a rest for the soul to be found under the yoke of Jesus, of a peace of God which passeth all understanding, of a peace and a joy in the soul which nothing can

145

take away. But when they are not believed they cannot be enjoyed: faith is in its very nature a resting in the promise and the promiser until He fulfil it in us. Only faith can enter into rest. The fulness of faith enters into the full rest.

For we which have believed do enter into rest. It is not, shall enter. No. To-day, even as the Holy Ghost saith, "To-day," now and here, we which have believed do enter into rest . lt is with the rest of faith here as with what we heard of being partakers of Christ-the blessing is enjoyed, if we hold fast the beginning of our confidence firm unto the end. The initial faith, that passes out of Egypt through the Red Sea, must be held fast firm, then it comes to the fulness of faith that passes through Jordan into the land.

Let every student of this Epistle realise how intensely personal its tone is, and with what urgency it appeals to us for faith, as the one thing needful in our dealings with the word of God. Without this the word cannot profit us. We may seek by thought and study to enter into the meaning of the promise -God has sworn that we never shall enter into its possession, or into His rest, but by faith. The one thing God asks in our intercourse with Him and His word is the habit of faith, that ever keeps the heart open towards God, and longs to enter in and abide in His rest. lt is the soul that thirsts for God, for the living God, that will have the spiritual capacity for receiving the revelation of how Jesus, the High Priest, brings us into God's presence. What is to be taught us later on of our entering into the Holiest of All is nothing but the clearer unfolding of what is here called entering into rest. Let us in studying the Epistle above everything have faith.

Would you enter into the rest? Remember what has been

taught us of the two stages. They are represented by Moses and Joshua. Moses the leader, Joshua the perfecter or finisher of the faith of lsrael. Moses brought the people out: Joshua brought them in. Accept Jesus as your Joshua. Let past failure and wandering and sin not cause either despair or contentment with what you are. Trust Jesus who, through the sprinkling of the blood, brought you out of Egypt, to bring you as definitely into the rest. Faith is always repose in what another will do for me. Faith ceases to seek help in itself or its efforts, to be troubled with its need or its weakness; it rests in the sufficiency of the all-sufficient One who has undertaken all. Trust Jesus. Give up and forsake the wilderness. Follow Him fully: He is the rest .

7. Let no one lmagine that this life in the rest of faith is something that is meant only for a favoured few. l cannot too earnestly press lt upon every reader: God calls you-yes you, to enter the rest. He calls you to a life of entire consecration. lf you rest content with the thought of having been converted, lt may be at the peril of your soul: with israel you may perish in the wilderness. "l have sworn in my wrath: they shall not enter into my rest."

2. lf God be indeed the fountain of all goodness and blessedness, ft follows that the nearer we are to Him, and the more we have of Him, the deeper and the fuller our joy will be. Has not the soul, who is not willing at all costs to yield to Christ when He offers to bring us into the rest of God, reason to fear that all its religion is simply the selfishness that seeks escape from punishment, and is content with as little of God here as may suffice to secure heaven hereafter
















XXX

THE REST OF GOD.

IV.-4. For he hath sald somewhere of the seventh day on this wise, And God rested on the seventh day from all his works;

5. And in this place again,

They shall not enter into my rest.

6. Seeing therefore it remaineth that some should enter thereinto, and they to whom the good tidings were before preached failed to enter in because of disobedience,

7. He again deflneth a certain day, saying in David, after so long a time To-day, as it hath been before said,

To-day if ye shall hear his voice,
Harden not your hearts.

8. For if Joshua had given them rest, he would not have spoken afterward of another day.

We speak, with Scripture, of the rest of faith. Faith, however, only gives rest because it rests in God; it rests because it allows God to do all; the rest is in God Himself. lt is His own divine rest into which we enter by faith. When the Holy Ghost says, My rest, His rest, God rested, it teaches us that it is God's own rest into which we enter, and which we partake of. lt is as faith sees that the creature was destined to find its rest nowhere but in the Creator, and that in the entire surrender to Him, to His will and His working, it may have perfect rest, that it dares to cast itself upon God, and have no care. lt sees that God, the cause of all movement and change, is Himself the immovable and unchangeable One, and that His blessed rest can never be disturbed by what is done either by Himself or by others. Hearkening to the loving offer, it forsakes all to find its dwelling-place in God and His love. Faith sees what the rest of God is; faith believes that it may come and share in it; faith enters in and rests, it yields itself to Jesus to lead it in and make it partaker. Because it honours God and counts Him all, God honours it; He opens the door, and the soul is brought in to rest in Him.

This faith is faith in Jesus. It is the insight into His finished work, the complete salvation He bestows, the perfecttion which was wrought in Him personally, and in which we share as partakers of Christ. The connection between the finishing of a work and the rest that follows is clearly seen in what is said of creation. God rested on the seventh day from all His works. He that is entered into His rest, hath himself also rested from his work, as God did from His. The rest of God was His glad complacency in what He had finished in Creation, the beginning of His blessed work of Providence to care for and bring on to perfection what He had wrought. And so it is the finished work of Jesus that is ever set before us in the Epistle as the ground of our faith, the call for us in fulness of faith to draw nigh and enter in and rest. Because Christ hath put away sin, hath rent the veil, and is set down on the right hand of the throne,-because all is finished and perfected, and we have received the Holy Spirit from heaven in our hearts to make us the partakers of that glorified Christ, we may with confidence, with boldness, rest in Him to maintain and perfect His work in us. And, resting in Him, He becomes our Joshua, perfecting our faith, bringing us in, and giving us a home in the rest of God with Himself, now to go no more out for ever.

And if you would know why so few Christians enjoy this rest, it is because they do not know Jesus as their Joshua. We shall see later how Aaron was only a type of Christ in His work on earth. Melchizedek is needed as a type of His work in heaven, in the power and joy of the heavenly life. Moses and Aaron both shadow forth the beginning of Christ's work-His work on earth; Melchizedek and Joshua His work in heaven. They show us clearly how, as in the type God ordained, so in reality there are two stages in Christian knowledge and experience. All the feebleness of our Christian life is owing to one thing: we do not know Jesus in heaven; we do not know that Jesus has entered in for us (vi. 20, ix. 12, 14), and that this secures to us boldness and tlie power of entrance into a heavenly state of life; that He there sits upon the throne as our High Priest in power, maintaining in us His own heavenly life; keeping us in personal fellowship with the living Father, so that in Him we too enter the rest of God. lt is because we do not know Jesus in His heavenly life and power that our life is feeble; if we learn to know Him as He is to be revealed in this Epistle, as our heavenly Joshua, actually bringing us and our inmost nature into the rest of God, we cannot but enter into that rest. When Joshua went before, the people followed at once in fellowship with him. Entering the rest of God is a personal practical experience of the soul that receives the word in living faith, because in it it receives Jesus on the throne.

Let us do what lsrael did in crossing Jordan; they allowed Joshua to bring them in; they followed him. Let us follow Jesus in the path He trod. ln heaven God's will is all. On earth Jesus made that will all. He lived in the will of God, in suffering and doing, in meeting trial, in waiting for the Father's guidance; in giving up everything to it, He proved that God's will was His path. Follow Him. Yield thyself, in the death to self, to the will of God ; have faith in Jesus on the throne, as thy Head and life, that He has brought thee in and will make it true in thy experience; trust Jesus, as being partaker of His nature and life, to work all in thee that the Father seeks; and thou shalt know how blessed it is to enter the rest of God.

1. Deep restfulness, even amid outward actioity, is one of the most beavtiful marks and aids of the life of faith. Cultioate that holy stillness that seeks to abide in Gods presence, and dves not yield too much to things around.

2. This rest is Gods rest: lt is found in His fellowship. Think of all He sees, of all He feels, and has to bear; think of the dioine peace and patience with which He guides all; and learn to be patient and trustful, and to rest in Him. Believe in Him, as the one God who worketh all in all, and works in thee that which is well-pleasing in His sight, and thou shalt have perfect rest in letting Him do all for thee and in thee.

3. God is a supernatural, incomprehensible Being ; we must learn to know Him in a way that is above reason and sense. That way is the adoration of faith, and the deep humility of obedience. Through these the Holy Spirit will work the work of God in us.

4. All entering in means a coming out from the place wc were in before. Forsake all, and follow Jesus into God's presence.

5. O my soul, listen to this word of the great God, and let His unspeakable love draw thee- To-day, enter into My rest.
















XXXI

REST FROM WORKS.

IV.-9. There remaineth therefore a sabbath rest for the people of God. 10. For he that Is entered Into his rest hath himself also rested from his works, as God did from his.

There remaineth therefore a sabbath rest for the people of

God: taken in connection with what precedes about the seventh day or Sabbath, the rest is here called a sabbatism or sabbath rest. lt is spoken of as remaining, with reference to the rest in Canaan. That was but a shadow and symbol: the real sabbath rest remained, waiting its time, till Christ the true Joshua should come, and open it to us by Himself entering it.

In ver. io we have here another proof that the rest does not refer to heaven. How needless it would be in that case to say of those who have died, For he that hath entered into his rest, hath himself also rested from his works, as God did from His.

The remark would have no point. But what force it has in connection with the rest of faith in this life, pointing us to what is the great secret of this entrance into rest-the ceasing from works, as God did from His.

ln God we see, as it were, two distinct stages in His relation to His work. The first was that of creation-until He had finished all His work which He created and made. The second, His rest when creation was finished, and He rejoiced in what He had made, now to begin the higher work of watching the development of the life He had intrusted the creature with, and securing its sanctification and perfection. lt is a rest from work which is now finished, for higher work now to be carried on. Even so there are the two stages in the Christian life. The one in which, after conversion, a believer seeks to work what God would have him do. The second, in which, after many a painful failure, he ceases from his works, and enters the rest of God, there to find the power for work in allowing God to work in him.

lt is this resting from their own work which many Christians cannot understand. They think of it as a state of passive and selfish enjoyment, of still contemplation which leads to the neglect of the duties of life, and unfits for that watchfulness and warfare to which Scripture calls. What an entire misunderstanding of God's call to rest. As the Almighty, God is the only source of power. ln nature He works all. ln grace He waits to work all too, if man will but consent and allow. Truly to rest in God is to yield oneself up to the highest activity. We work, because He worketh in us to will and to do. As Paul says of himself, " l labour, striving according to His working who worketh in me with might" (lit. "agonising according to His energy who energises in me with might"). Entering the rest of God is the ceasing from self-effort, and the yielding up oneself in the full surrender of faith to God's working.

How many Christians are there who need nothing so much as rightly to apprehend this word. Their life is one of earnest effort and ceaseless struggling. They do long to do God's will, and to live to His glory. Continued failure and bitter disappointment is their too frequent experience. Very often as the result they give themselves up to a feeling of hopelessness: it never will be otherwise. Theirs is truly the wilderness life- they have not entered into God's rest. Would that God might open their eyes, and show them Jesus as our Joshua, who has entered into God's presence, who sits upon the throne as High Priest, bringing us in living union with Himself into that place of rest and of love, and, by His Spirit within us, making that life of heaven a reality and an experience.

He that is entered into rest, hath himself also rested from his works, as God did from His. And how does one rest and cease from his works? lt is by ceasing from self. lt is the old self life that always insists upon proving its goodness and its strength, and presses forward to do the works of God. lt is only in death that we rest from our works. Jesus entered His rest through death; each one whom He leads into it must pass through death. "Reckon yourself to be indeed dead unto sin, and alive unto God in Christ Jesus our Lord." Believe that the death of Christ, as an accomplished fact, with all that it means and has effected, is working in you in all its power. You are dead with Him and in Him. Consent to this, and cease from dead works. "Blessed are the dead that die in the Lord. Yea, saith the Spirit, for they do rest from their labours." That is as true of spiritual dying with Christ as of the death in the body. To sinful nature there is no rest from work but through death.

He that is entered into rest hath rested from his works.

The ceasing from our works and the entering the rest of God go together. Read the first chapter of Joshua, and hear God's words of strength and encouragement to everyone who would enter. Exchange the wilderness life with your own works for the rest-life in which God works. Fear not to believe that Jesus came to give it, and that it is for you.

1. Not l, but Christ. This is the rest of faith in which a man rests from his works. With the unconverted man it is, Not Christ, but I. With the feeble and slothful Christian, l and Christ: / first, and Christ to fill up what is wanting. With increasing earnestness it becomes, Christ and l: Christ first, but still l second. With the man who dies with Christ it is, Not l, but Christ: Christ alone and Christ all. He has ceased from his work: Christ llveth in him. This is the rest of faith.

2. God salth of His dwelling among His pevple, "This is My rest; here will l dwell." Fear not to say this too. lt is the rest of God in His delight and pleasure in the work of His Son, in His love to Jesus and all who belong to Him. lt is the rest of Jesus in His finished work, sitting on the throne, resting in the Father's love. lt is the rest of our faith and love in Jesus, in God, in His lout.
















XXXII

GIVE DILIGENCE TO ENTER INTO THE REST.

IV.-11. Let us, therefore, give diligence to enter Into that rest, that no man fall after the same example of disobedience.

OUR Epistle is intensely practical. How it detains and holds us fast in hope of persuading us not to be content with the knowledge or the admiration of its teaching, but personally to listen to the message it brings from God by the Holy Ghost, and indeed do the thing God would have us do-enter into His rest. Let us give diligence to enter into that rest.

Let us give diligence. The word means, Make haste-be in earnest, put your whole heart into it, see that you do it; enter into the rest. That no man fall after the same example of disobedience. The danger is imminent-the loss will be terrible. God has sworn in His wrath that unless we hearken and obey, we shall not enter His rest. Let us give diligence to enter in. All the wonderful teaching the Epistle contains farther on, as to the Holiest that is opened for us as the place where God wants to receive us into His rest and live, as to the great High Priest who has opened the way and entered in and lives as our Joshua to bring us in, will profit us nothing, unless there be the earnest desire, the willing readiness, the firm resolve, to enter in. lt is this disposition alone that can fit a man spiritually to apprehend the heavenly mysteries the Epistle opens up.

And surely it ought not to be needful to press the motives that should urge us to obedience. Ought not the one motive to suffice ?-the unspeakable privilege God offers me in opening to me the entrance into His own rest . No words can express the inconceivable greatness of the gift. God speaks to me in His Son as one who was created in His image, capable of fellowship with Himself; as one whom He has redeemed out of the awful captivity of sin and death, because He longs to have me living with Him in His love. As one for whom He has made it possible to live the outer life in the flesh, with the inner life in Christ, lifted up, kept safe in the Holiest of All, in God's own rest, - oh, can it be that anyone believes this and does not respond? No, let each heart say, Blessed be God, into this rest would I enter, here would l dwell.

We are so accustomed to the wilderness life of stumbling and sinning, we have so learnt to take the words God speaks of that life (iii. 10), "They do alway err in their heart," as descriptive of what must be daily Christian experience, that we hardly count it a practical possibility to enter into the rest. And even when the desire has been awakened, the path appears so dark and unknown. Let me for the sake of such once again gather up what has been said as to the way to enter in: it may be God, of His great mercy, may help some to take the step. The instructions need be very simple.

First, settle it in your mind, believe with your wlwle heart that there is such a rest, and that To-day.lt is God's rest, in which He lives; into which Jesus, as your Joshua, has entered. lt is your rest, prepared for you; your land of promise; the spiritual state of life which is as surely yours as Jesus is; into which Jesus will bring you, and where He will keep you. It is the rest in which you can live every hour, free from care and anxiety, free from weariness and wanderings, always resting in the rest that trusts God for all. Believe this.

Then cease from your own works. Not as if you had to attain this perfectly before entering into God's rest. No, but consent, yield, be willing that all self-working should come to an end. Cease from self. Where there is life there is action; the self-life will seek to work, except you give up self into the death of Christ; with Him you are buried, in Him you live. As Christ said, Hate your own life, lose it. Cease from your own works, and bow in deep humility and helplessness of all good, as nothing before God.

Trust Jesus as your Joshua, who brings you in, even now. Israel had simply to trust and obey and follow Joshua. Set your heart on Him who has entered the heavens to appear before God for us. Claim Jesus as yours, not only in His cross and death and resurrection, but above all in His heavenliness, in His possession of the rest of heaven. Claim Him, and leave Him to do His blessed work. You need not understand all. Your feelings may not be what you would wish. Trust Him, who has done all for you in earth and heaven, to do all in your heart too.

And then be a follower of them who through faith and patience have inherited the promises. Israel passed in one day through Jordan into Canaan, but did not in one day come to the perfect rest. It is at the end of the life of Joshua we read, "The Lord gave them rest round about." Enter to-day into the rest . Though all may not be bright at once, look to Jesus, your Joshua, and leave all in His hands. Come away out of self, and live in Him. Rest In God whatever happen. Think of HisRest, and Jesus who has entered it in your name, and out of it fills you with its Spirit, and fear not.To-day, if you hear His voice, enter in.

7. Jesus said, "Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me, for l am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls." lt was through meekness and lowliness of heart that Jesus found His rest in God: He allowed God to be all, trusted God for all-the rest of God was His abode. He invites us to share His rest, and tells us the secret. in the meekness and lowliness of Jesus is the way to the rest.

2. israel did not enter Canaan. And why? lt is twice said becavse of disobedience, and thrice because of unbelief. The two things always go together. Yield yourself in everything to obey. This will strengthen you to trust for everything He has promised to do.

3. The rest includes victory: "The Lord will gioe thee rest from all thy enemies round about, and thou shalt dwell in safety." "And the Lord gave them rest round about, all their enemies gave He into their hand."
















XXXIII

THE HEART-SEARCHING WORD OF GOD.

IV.-12. For the word of God 1b living, and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and quick to discern the thoughts and intents of the heart.

13. And there is no creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and laid open before the eyes of him with whom we have to do.

They have been earnest words with which the writer has been warning the Hebrews against unbelief and disobedience, hardening the heart and departing from. God, and coming short of the promised rest. The solemn words of God's oath in Ps. xcv., / have sworn in My wrath, they shall not enter into My rest, have been repeated more than once to urge all to give diligence lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief. He is about to close his warning. He does so by reminding them of the power of the word of God as the word of the omniscient One, of Him with whom we have to do, before whose eyes all things, our hearts and lives too, are naked and open. Let each student of the Epistle make a very personal application of the words. Let us take the oath of God concerning His rest, and the command to labour that we may enter in, home to our heart, and say whether we have indeed entered in. And if not, let us all the more yield ourselves to the word to search and try us: it will without fail do its blessed work in us, and prepare us for following with profit the further teaching concerning our Lord Jesus.

For the word of God is living and active. At times it may appear as if the word effects so little. The word is like seed: everything depends on the treatment it receives. Some receive the word with the understanding: there it cannot be quickened. The word is meant for the heart, the will, the affections. The word must be submitted to, must be lived, must be acted out. When this is done it will manifest its living, quickening power. lt is not we who have to make the word alive. When, in faith in the life and power there is in the word, the heart yields itself in humble submission and honest desire to its action, it will prove itself to be life and power.

And sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow. The first action of God's word is to wound, to cut, to divide. ln the soul the natural life has its seat; in the spirit the spiritual and divine. Sin has brought confusion and disorder; the spirit is under the mastery of the soul, the natural life. God's word divides and separates; wakens the spirit to a sense of its destiny as the faculty for the unseen and eternal; brings the soul to a knowledge of itself as a captive to the power of sin. lt cuts deep and sure, discovering the deep corruption of sin. As the knife of the surgeon, who seeks to heal, pierces even to the dividing of the joints and marrow, where it is needed, so the word penetrates all; there is no part of the inner being to which it does not pass.

And quick to discern the thoughts and intents of the heart. It is specially with the heart that God's word deals. In chap. iii. we read of the hardened heart, the evil heart of unbelief, the erring heart. When the word heart occurs later in the Epistle we shall find everything changed; we shall read of a heart in which God's law is written, of a true heart, a heart sprinkled with the blood, a heart stablished by grace (viii. 10, x. 22, xiii. 9). We have here the transition from the one to the other. God's appeal was, To-day, if ye hear His voice, harden not your heart. The heart that will but yield itself to be searched by God's word, to have its secret thoughts and intents discerned and judged by it, will be freed from its erring and unbelief, and quickened and cleansed, and made a living table on which the word is written by God Himself. Oh, to know how needful it is, but also how blessed, to yield our hearts to the judgment of the word.

And there is no creature that is not manifest in His sight.

God's word bears the character of God Himself. He is the

all-knowing and all-pervading: nothing can hide itself from

the judgment of His word. If we will not have it judge us now,

it will condemn us hereafter. For all things are naked and

laid open before the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.

Yes, the God with whom we have to do is He of whom we later

read: " lt is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living

God." And again: "Our God is a consuming fire." lt is this

God who now pleads with us to enter into His rest.

Let each of us gladly yield ourselves to have to do with

Him. If perhaps there be a secret consciousness that all is not

right, that we are not giving diligence to enter into the rest, oh,

let us beware of setting such thoughts aside. lt is the first

swelling of the living seed of the word within us. Do not

regard that thought as coming from thyself, or from man who

brings thee God's word; it is God waking thee out of sleep.

Have to do with Him. Be willing that the word should show

thee what is wrong. Be not afraid of its discovering to thee thy sin and wretchedness. The knife of the physician wounds to heal. The light that shows thee thy sin and wrong will surely lead thee out. The word is living and will give thee life.

1. God has spoken to us in His Son. This is the keynote of the Epistle. To-day, lf ye hear His voice, harden not your heart: this is the keynote of this long and solemn warning. Let us hearken, let us yield to the word. As we deal with the word, so we deal with God. And eo will God deal with us.

2. Judge of thy life not by what thy heart says, or the Church, or the so-called Christian world-but by what the word says. Let it have lts way with thee: it will greatly bless thee.

3. All things are naked before the eyes of Him with whom we have to do. Why, then, through indifference or discouragement, shut thine eyes to them 7 Oh, lay everything open before God, the God with whom we have to do, whether we will or not.

4. The word is lioing and active. Have great faith in lts power. Be sure that the Holy Spirit, that the lioing Word, that God Himself works in it. The word ever points to the lioing God, who is present in it, and makes it a lioing word, in the heart that is seeking for life and for God.
















FOURTH SECTION.-iv. 14-v. 10.
Jesus our High Priest more than Aaron.



XXXIV

A GREAT HIGH PRIEST.

IV.-14. Having, then,1 a great High Priest, who hath passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.

After his digression, in the warning to the Hebrews, not, like their fathers with Moses, to harden their hearts through unbelief, our writer returns to his argument. He had already twice used the words High Priest (ii. 16, iii. i), and is preparing the way for what is the great object of the Epistle-the exposition of the heavenly priesthood of the Lord Jesus, and the work He has by it accomplished for us (vii.-x. 18). ln this section (iv. 14-v. 10) he first gives the general characteristics of that priesthood, as typified by Aaron, and exhibited in our Lord's life here on earth. In chaps, i. and ii. he had laid the foundation of his structure in the divinity and the humanity of our Saviour: he here first speaks of Him in His greatness as a High Priest passed through the heavens, then in His sympathy and compassion, as having been tempted like as we are.

Having, therefore, a great High Priest. The therefore refers to the previous argument, in which Christ's greatness had

1 Therefore.

been set forth, and in view of the dangers against which he had been warning, the readers had been urged to steadfastness in holding fast their confession. The force of the appeal lies in the word Having. We know the meaning of that word so well in earthly things. There is nothing that touches men so nearly as the sense of ownership of property. l have a father, l have money, lhave a home-what a world of interest is awakened in connection with such thoughts. And God's word comes here and says: You have,-O best and most wonderful of all possessions,-You havea great High Priest. You own Him; He is yours, your very own, wholly yours. You may use Him with all He is and has. You can trust Him for all you need, know and claim Him as indeed your great High Priest, to bring you to God. Let your whole walk be the proof that you live as one, having a great High Priest.

A great High Priest who hath passed through the heavens. We have said more than once, and shall not weary of repeating it again, that one of the great lessons of our Epistle has been to teach us this: The knowledge of the greatness and glory of Jesus is the secret of a strong and holy life.lts opening chapter was nothing but a revelation of His divine nature and glory. At the root of all it has to teach us of Christ's priesthood and work, it wants us to see the adorable omnipotent divinity of Christ. ln that our faith is to find its strength, and the measure of its expectation. By that our conduct is to be guided. That is to be the mark of our life-that we have a Saviour who is God. A great High Priest, who hath passed through the heavens. Later on we read (vii. 26): Such an High Priest became us, made higher than the heavens. It is difficult for us to form any conception of what heaven is, so high, and bright, and full of glory. But all the heavens we can think of were only the vestibule through which he passed into that which is behind, and above and beyond them all-the light that is inaccessible, the very life and presence of God Himself. And the word calls us to follow our great High Priest in thought, and when thought fails, in faith and worship and love, into this glory beyond and above all heavens, and, having Him as ours, to be sure that our life can be the counterpart of His, the proof of what a complete redemption He has wrought, the living experience of what he has effected there.

A great High Priest, Jesus the Son of God. The name Jesus speaks of His humanity, and of His work as a Saviour from sin. This is the first work of the priest-the cleansing, the putting away of sin. The name Son of God speaks of His divinity, and His power as High Priest, really to bring us to God, into the very life and fellowship of the Holy One. lt is in His Son God speaks to us; it is to the perfect fellowship and blessedness of the ever-blessed One that our great High Priest that is passed through the heavens can, and does indeed, bring us.

Having, therefore, a great High Priest, let us hold fast our confession! He is (iii. i) the Apostle and High Priest of our confession. The knowledge of what He is is our strength to hold fast our confession. Twice the Hebrews had been told how much would depend on this (iii. 6, 14). "We are His house, ifwe hold fast" "We are become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast." Our faith in Christ must be confessed. lf we have Him as our great High Priest, He is worthy of it; our souls will delight in rendering Him this homage; without it, failure will speedily come; without it, the grace of steadfastness, perseverance, cannot be maintained.

O brethren, having a great High Priest, who is passed through the heavens, let us hold fast our confession. Let every thought of Jesus, in heaven for us, urge us to live wholly for Him; in everything to confess Him as our Lord.

1. Ought it not to fill our hearts with worship and trust, and love without end, this wondrous mystery: the Son of God, become Man; the Son of Man, now God on the throne; that we might be helped.

2. Who bath passed through the heavens 1 beyond all thought of space and place, into the mystery of the dioine glory and power 1 And why? That He might in dioine power breathe that heavenly life into our hearts. His whole priesthood has, as lts one great characteristic, heavenliness. He communicates the purity, the power, the life of heaven to us. We lioe in heaven with Him; He lioes with heaven in us. With Him in our hearts we have the kingdom of heaven within us, in which God's will is done, as in heaven, so on earth. Let us believe it can most surely be.

3. After all the solemn warning, about falling in the wilderness, coming short of the rest, see here your safety and strength-Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Jesus. Having Jesus, let us hold fast.
















XXXV

A HIGH PRIEST, ABLE TO SYMPATHISE.

IV.-15. For we have not a high priest that cannot be touched with the feeling1 of our Infirmities;3but one that hath been tempted In all things like as we are, yet without sin.

May God in His mercy give us a true insight into the glory of what is offered us in these words-even this, that our High Priest, whom we have in heaven, is one who is able to sympathise with us, because He knows, from personal experience, exactly what we feel. Yes, that God might give us courage to draw nigh to Him, He has placed upon the throne of heaven one out of our own midst, of whom we can be certain that, because He Himself lived on earth as man, He understands us perfectly, is prepared to have patience with our weakness, and to give us just the help we need. lt was to effect this that God sent His Son to become Man, and as Man perfected Him through suffering. That not one single feeble soul should be afraid to draw nigh to the great God, or in drawing nigh should doubt as to whether God is not too great and holy fully to understand, or to bear with his weakness. Jesus, the tried and tempted One, has been placed upon the throne as our High Priest. God gives us a glimpse into the heart of our compassionate, sympathising High Priest!

1 Who is not able to sympathise with. a Weaknesses.

For we have not a high priest who is not able to sympathise with our weaknesses. The writer uses the two negatives to indicate how common the thought is which he wishes to combat. A rich king, who lives every day in luxury, can he, even though he hear of it,-can he fully realise what it means for the poor sick man, from year to year, never to know where his daily bread is to come from? Hardly. And God, the glorious and ever-blessed, can He truly feel what a poor sinner experiences in his daily struggle with the weakness and temptations of the flesh? God be praised! Jesus knows, and is able to sympathise, He is one who hath been in all things tempted like as we are, yet without sin.

In all things! The thought of Jesus as a sympathising High Priest, is ordinarily applied to those who are in circumstances of trial and suffering. But the truth has a far deeper meaning and application, lt has special reference to the temptation which meets the soul in the desire to live wholly for God. Jesus suffered, being tempted: it was the temptation to refuse the Father's will that caused His deepest suffering. As the believer, who seeks in all things to do the will of God, understands this, the truth of the sympathising High Priest becomes doubly precious.

What is the ordinary experience of those who set themselves with their whole heart to live for God? lt happens very often that it is only then they begin to find out how sinful they are. They are continually disappointed in their purpose to obey God's will. They feel deeply ashamed at the thought of how often, even in things that appear little and easy, they fail entirely in keeping a good conscience and in pleasing God. At times it is as if the more they hear of the rest of God and the life of faith, the fainter the hope of attaining it becomes.

At times they are ready to give up all in despair: a life in the rest of God is not for them.

What comfort and strength comes at such a time to a soul, when it sees that Jesus is able to sympathise and to succour, because He has Himself been thus tempted. Or did it not become so dark in His soul, that He had to wrestle and to cry, "If it be possible?" and " Why hast thou forsaken Me?" He, too, had to trust God in the dark. He, too, in the hour of death had to let go His spirit, and commit it, in the darkness of death, into God's keeping. He knew what it was to walk in darkness and see no light. And when a man feels utterly helpless and in despair, Jesus can sympathise with him; He was tempted in all things like as we are. If we would but rest in the assurance that He understands it all, that He feels for us with a sympathy, in which the infinite love of God and the tenderness of a fellow-sufferer are combined, and is able to succour him, we should soon reach the rest of God. Trusting Jesus would bring us into it.

Holy brethren! partakers of a heavenly calling! would you be strong to hold fast your confession, and know in full the power of your Redeemer God to save; listen to-day to the voice of the Holy Spirit:' Jesus was in all things tempted just as you are. And why? that He might be able to help you. His being able to sympathise has no other purpose than that He should be able to succour.Let the one word be the food of your faith; the other will be its fruit, your blessed experience. Just think of God giving His Son to come and pass through all the temptations that come to you, that He might be able to sympathise, and then lifting Him up to the throne of omnipotence that He might be able to succour, and say if you have not reason to trust Him fully. And let the faith of theblessed High Priest in His infinite and tender sympathy be the foundation of a friendship and a fellowship in which we are sure to experience that He is able to save completely.

7. Some time ago l asked a young lady who had come from Keswick, and spoke of her having been a happy Christian for years before, and having found such a wonderful change in her experience, how she would describe the difference between what she had known before and now enjoyed. Her answer was ready at once: "Oh, it is the personal friendship of Jesus l" And here is one of the gates that lead into this blessed friendship: He became a Man just that l might learn to trust His gentle, sympathising kindness.

2. Study well the three ables of this Epistle. Jesus able to sympathise, able to succour, able to save completely. And claim all.

3. Tempted like as we are. He was made like to us in temptation, that we might become like Him in victory. This He will accomplish in us. Oh, let us consider Jesus, who suffered being tempted, who experienced what temptation is, who resisted and overcame lt, and brought to nought the tempter, who now lioes as High Priest to succour the tempted and gioe the victorylet us consider Jesus, the ever-present Delioerer: He will lead us in triumph through every fve. XXXVI.

LET US DRAW NEAR WITH BOLDNESS.

IV.-16. Let us therefore draw near with boldness unto the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy, and may find grace to help us In time of need.1

In the first two chapters the true divinity and the real humanity of our Saviour were set before us, as the very foundation of our faith and life. ln the two verses we have just been considering these two truths are applied to the priesthood of Christ. Having a great High Priest who hath passed through the heavens; having an High Priest who is able to sympathise; let us draw near. The one work of the High Priest is to bring us near to God. The one object of revealing to us His person and work is to give us perfect confidence in drawing near. The measure of our nearness of access to God is the index of our knowledge of Jesus.

Let us therefore, with such an High Priest, draw near with boldness to the throne of grace. The word, draw near, is that used of the priests in the Old Testament. lt is this one truth the Epistle seeks to enforce, that we can actually, in spiritual reality, draw near to God, and live in that nearness, in living fellowship with Him, all the day. The work of Christ, as our High Priest, is so perfect, and His power in heaven so divine, that He not only gives us the right and liberty to draw

1 For timely help.

nigh, but by His priestly action He does in very deed and truth, so take possession of our inmost being and inward life, and draw and bring us nigh, that our life can be lived in God's presence.

Let us draw near. The expression occurs twice; here and x. 21. The repetition is significant. ln the second passage, after the deeper truths of the true sanctuary, and the rent veil, and the opening of the Holiest, have been expounded, it refers to the believer's entrance into the full blessing of a life spent in the power of Christ's heavenly priesthood, in the presence of God. Here, where all this teaching has not yet been given, it is applied more simply to prayer, to the drawing nigh to the throne of grace, in a sense which the feeblest believer can understand it . lt is as we are faithful in the lesser, the tarrying before the throne of grace in prayer, that we shall find access to the greater-the life within the veil, in the full power of the Forerunner who hath entered there for us.

Let us draw near, that we may receive mercy. This has reference to that compassion which we need when the sense of sin and guilt and unworthiness depress us. In drawing nigh to the throne of grace, to the mercy-seat, in prayer, we first receive mercy, we experience that God pardons and accepts and loves. And we find grace for timely help. This refers to that strengthening of the inner life by which He, who was tempted in all things like as we, meets us and enables us to conquer temptation. Grace is the divine strength working in us. "My grace is sufficient for thee; my power is made perfect in weakness." The Holy Spirit is "the Spirit of grace." The believing supplicant at the throne of grace not only receives mercy, the consciousness of acceptance and favour, but finds grace, in that Spirit whose operation the Father always delights to bestow. And that grace is for timely help, lit. "well-timed help," just the special help we need at each moment. The infinite mercy of God's love resting on us, and the almighty grace of His Spirit working in us, will ever be found at a throne of grace, if we but come boldly, trusting in Jesus alone.

And now comes the chief word, " Let us therefore draw near with boldness." We have already been taught to hold fast our boldness. We shall later on be warned, cast not away your boldness. And the summing up of the Epistle will tell us that the great fruit of Christ's redemption is that we have boldness to enter in. It is the expression of the highest form of confidence, in the unhesitating assurance that there is nothing that can hinder, and in a conduct that corresponds to this conviction. lt suggests the thought of our drawing nigh to God's throne without fear, without doubt, with no other feeling but that of the childlike liberty which a child feels in speaking to its father.

This boldness is what the blood of Christ, in its infinite worth, has secured for us, and what His heavenly priesthood works and maintains in us. This boldness is the natural and necessary result of the adoring and believing gaze fixed on our great High Priest upon the throne. This boldness is what the Holy Spirit works in us as the inward participation in Christ's entrance into the Father's presence. This boldness is of the essence of a healthy Christian life. lf there is one thing the Christian should care for and aim at, it is to maintain unbroken and unclouded the living conviction and practice of this drawing mar with boldness.

Let us, therefore, draw near with boldness! Jesus the Son God is our High Priest . Our boldness of access is not a state we produce in ourselves by meditation or effort. No, the living, loving High Priest, who is able to sympathise and gives grace for timely help, He breathes and works this boldness in the soul that is willing to lose itself in Him. Jesus, found and felt within our heart by faith, is our boldness. As the Son, whose house we are, He will dwell within us, and by His Spirit's working, Himself be our boldness and our entrance to the Father. Let us, therefore, draw near with boldness!

1. Do take hold of the thought that the whole teaching of the Epistle centres in this, that we should so be partakers of Christ and all He is, should so have Him as our High Priest, that we mag with perfect boldness, with the most undoubting confidence enter into, and dwell in, and enjoy the Father's presence. lt is in the heart that we partake of and have Christ: it is Christ, known as dwelling in the heart, that will make our boldness perfect.

2. Each time you pray, exercise this boldness. Let the measure of Jesus' merit, yea more, let the measure of Jesus' power to work in you and lead you on to God, be the measure of your boldness.

3. What tenderness of conscience, what care, what jealousy, what humility, this boldness will work, lest we allow anything for which our heart can condemn us, and we so lose our liberty before God. Then it will truly be our experienceSo near, so very near to God,

More near l cannot be.
















XXXVII

THE HIGH PRIEST BEARING GENTLY WITH THE IGNORANT.

V.-1. For every high priest, being taken from among men, ls appointed for men In things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins:

2. Who can bear gently with the Ignorant and erring, for that he himself also 1b compassed with infirmity;1

3. And by reason thereof is bound, as for the people, so also for himself, to offer for sins.

We know how much the Epistle has already said of the true humanity and sympathy of the Lord Jesus. In chap. ii. we read: It became God to perfect Him through suffering; Since the children are sharers of flesh and blood, He also in like manner partook of the same. It behoved Him in all things to be made like unto His brethren. In that He Himself hath suffered, being tempted, He is able to succour them that are tempted. And in chap. iv. we have just heard, We have not a high priest who is not able to sympathise with our weaknesses, but one who hath in all things been tempted like as we are. And yet the truth is counted of such importance, that once again our attention is directed to it. lt is not enough that we have a general conviction of its truth, but we need to have it taken up into our heart and life, until every thought of Jesus is interpenetrated by such a feeling of His sympathy, that all sense of weakness shall

1 Weakness.

at once be met by the joyful consciousness that all is well, because Jesus is so very kind, and cares so lovingly for all our feebleness and all our ignorance.

Let us listen once again to what the word teaches. Every high priest being taken from among men, is appointed for men in things pertaining to God, that He may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins. Here we have the work of a high priest, and the first essential requisite for that work. His work is in things pertaining to God: he has charge of all that concerns the access to God, His worship and service, and has, for this, to offer gifts and sacrifices. And the requisite is, he must be a man, because he is to act for men. And that for this great reason that he may be one who can bear gently with the ignorant and erring, for that he himself also is compassed with weakness; and who by reason thereof is bound, as for the people, so also for himself to offer for sins. At the root of the priestly office there is to be the sense of perfect oneness in weakness and need of help. In priestly action this is to manifest itself in sacrificing, as for the people, so for himself. And all this, that the priestly spirit may ever be kept alive for the comfort and confidence of all the needy and weary-he must be one who can bear gently with the ignorant and erring.

Glory be to God for the wondrous picture of what our Lord Jesus is. A priest must be God's representative with men. But he cannot be this, without being himself a man himself encompassed with weaknesses, and so identified with and representing men with God. This was why Jesus was made a little lower than the angels. The high priest is to offer as for the people, so for himself. Offering for himself was to be the bond of union with the people. Even so our blessed Lord Jesus offered (see ver. 7), prayers and supplications with strong

crying and tears, yea, in all that, offered Himself unto God.

And all this, that He might win our hearts and confidence as

one who can hear gently with the ignorant and erring. God

has indeed done everything to assure us that, with such an

High Priest, no ignorance or error need make us afraid of not

finding the way to Him and His love. Jesus will care for us-

He bears gently with the ignorant and erring.

Have we not, in our faith in the priesthood of Christ, been

too much in the habit of looking more at His work than at His

heart? Have we not too exclusively put the thought of our

sins in the foreground, and not sufficiently realised that our

weaknesses, our ignorance and errors-that for these too a

special provision has been made in Him who was made like us,

and Himself encompassed with weaknesses, that he might be a

merciful and faithful High Priest, who can bear gently with the

ignorant and erring. Oh, let us take in and avail ourselves to

the full of the wondrous message: Jesus could not ascend the

throne as Priest, until He had first, in the school of personal

experience, learnt to sympathise and to bear gently with the

feeblest. And let our weakness and ignorance henceforth,

instead of discouraging and keeping us back, be the motive and

the plea which lead us to come boldly to Him for help, who can

bear gently with the ignorant and erring. ln the pursuit of

holiness our ignorance is often our greatest source of failure.

We cannot fully understand what is taught of the rest of God,

and the power of faith, of dwelling within the veil or of Christ

dwelling in our heart. Things appear too high for us, utterly

beyond our reach. lf we but knew to trust Jesus, not only as

He who made propitiation for our sins, but as one who has

been specially chosen and trained and prepared, and then elevated to the throne of God, to be the Leader of the ignorant and erring, bearing gently with their every weakness! Let us this day afresh accept this Saviour, as God has here revealed Him to us, and rejoice that all our ignorance need not be a barrier in the way to God, because Jesus takes it into His care.

1. Oh the trouble God has taken to win our poor hearts to trust and confidence. Let us accept the revelation, and have our hearts so filled with the sympathy and gentleness of Jesus, that in every perplexity our first thought shall always be the certainty and the blessedness of His compassion and help.

2. How many souls there are who mourn over their sins, and do not think that they are making their sins more and stronger by not going with all their ignorance and weakness boldly to Jesus.

3. Do learn the lesson i the whole priesthood of Jesus has but this one object, to lead thee boldly and joyfully to draw near to God, and live in fellowship with Him. With this view trust Jesus ae definitely with thy ignorance and weakness as with thy sins.
















XXXVIII

THE HIGH PRIEST, CALLED OF GOD.

V.-4. And no man taketh the honour unto himself, but when he is called of God, even as was Aaron.

5. So Christ also glorified not Himself to be made a high priest, but he that spake unto him.

Thou art my Son,
This day have I begotten thee:

6. As he salth also In another place,
Thou art a priest for ever
After the order of Melchizedek.

A PRIEST sustains a twofold relationship-to God and to man. Every high priest is appointed for men in things pertaining to God. We have just seen what the great characteristic is of his relation to men: he must himself be a man, like them and one with them, with a heart full of gentleness and sympathy for the very weakest. In his relation to God, our Epistle now proceeds to say, the chief requirement is that he should have his appointment from God. He must not take the honour to himself: he must be called of God. All this is proved to be true of Jesus.

The truth that Jesus had His appointment from God was not only of importance to the Hebrews to convince them of the divine and supreme right of Christianity; it is of equal interest to us, to give us an insight into that which constitutes the real glory and power of our religion. Our faith needs to be fed and strengthened, and this can only be as we enter more deeply into the divine origin and nature of redemption.

No man taketh the honour unto himself, but when he is called of God. It is God against whom we have sinned, in separation from whom we are fallen into the power of death. lt is God we need; it is to Him and His love the way must be opened. It is God alone, who can say what that way is, who is able to have it opened up. And this now is what gives the gospel, and our faith in Christ, its security and sufficiency-that it is all of God. Christ has been called of God to be High Priest. The very God who created us, against whom we sinned, gives His Son as our Redeemer.

So Christ also glorified not Himself to be made a High Priest, but He that spake unto Him, Thou art My Son, this day I have begotten thee. As He saith also in another place, Thou art a Priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek. Here it is not merely the fact that Christ was called of God to be High Priest, but the ground upon which He was chosen, that we must specially notice. The two passages quoted teach us that it was as Son of God that He was appointed High Priest. This opens up to us the true nature and character of the priesthood. lt shows us that the priesthood is rooted in the sonship: the work of the priesthood is to reveal and communicate the blessed life of sonship.

As Son, Christ alone was heir of all that God had. All the life of the Father was in Him. God could have no union or fellowship with any creature but through His beloved Son, or as far as the life and spirit and image of the Son was seen in it. Therefore no one could be our High Priest but the Son of God. If our salvation was not to be a merely legal one- external and, l may say, artificial-but an entrance anew into the very life of God, with the restoration of the divine nature we had lost in paradise, it was the Son of God alone who could impart this to us. He had the life of God to give; He was able to give it; He could only give it by taking us into living fellowship with Himself. The priesthood of Christ is the God-devised channel through which the ever-blessed Son could make us partakers of Himself, and with Himself of all the life and glory He hath from and in the Father.

And this now is our confidence and safety-that it was the Father who appointed the Son High Priest. lt is the love of the God against whom we had sinned that gave the Son. It is the will and the power of this God that ordained and worked out the great salvation. lt is in God Himself our salvation has its origin, its life, its power. lt is God drawing nigh to communicate Himself to us in His Son.

Christ glorified not Himself to be made a High Priest: it was God gave Him this glory. Just think what this means. God counts it an honour for His Son to be the Priest of poor sinners. Jesus gave up His everlasting glory for the sake of this new, which He now counts His highest, glory-the honour of leading guilty men to God. Every cry of a penitent for mercy, every prayer of a ransomed soul for more grace and nearer access to God, He counts these His highest honour, the proofs of a glory He has received from His Father above the glory of sonship, or rather the opening up of the fulness of glory which His sonship contained.

O thou doubting troubled soul! wilt thou not now believe this: that Jesus counts it His highest honour to do His work in any needy one that turns to Him? The Son of God in His glory counts His priesthood His highest glory, as the power of making us partake as brethren with Him in the life and love of the Father. Do let Jesus now become thy confidence. Be assured that nothing delights Jesus more than to do His work. Do thou what God hath done; glorify Him as thy High Priest; and, as thou learnest to turn from thyself and all human help, to trust the Son of God, He will prove to thee what a great High Priest He is; He will, as Son, lead thee into the life and love of the Father.

1. Could God Aoue bestowed a more wondrous grace upon us than this, to give His own Son as our High Priest? Could He have gioen us a surer ground of faith and hope than this, that the Son is Priest? And shall we not trust Him ? and give Him the honour God has gioen Him?

2. What is needed is that we occupy and exercise our faith in appropriating this blessed truth: Jesus is the eternal Son, appointed by the Father as our Priest to introduce us into His presence, and to keep us there. He was Himself so compassed with weaknesses and tried with temptations, that no lgnorance or weakness on our part can weary Him, or prevent Him doing His blessed work-if we will only trust Him. Oh, let us worship and honour Him. Let us trust Him. Let our faith claim all He is able and willing to do-our God-appointed High Priest.

3. Faith opens the heart-through faith this dioine Being fills, pervades, the whole heart, dwells in it. He cannot bring thee nigh to God except as He brings thy heart nigh. He cannot bring thy heart nigh except as He dwells in lt. He cannot dwell in lt except as thou believest. Oh, consider Jesus, until thy whole heart is faith in Him and what He is in thee.
















XXXIX

THE HIGH PRIEST LEARNING OBEDIENCE.

V.-7. Who In the days of his flesh, having offered up prayers an supplications, with strong crying and tears, unto him that was able to save him out of death, and having been heard for his godly fear,

8. Though he was a Son, yet learned obedience by the things which he suffered.

We have already noticed with what persistence the writer has sought to impress upon us the intense reality of Christ's humanity-His being made like unto His brethren, His partaking of flesh and blood in like manner as ourselves, His being tempted in all things like as we are. ln the opening verses of our chapter he has again set before us the true High Priest-Himself compassed with weaknesses. He now once more returns to the subject. In ver. 6 he has already quoted the promise in regard to the order of Melchizedek, as the text of his farther teaching, but feels himself urged to interpose, and before repeating the quotation in ver. II, still more fully to unfold what the full meaning is of the blessed humiliation of the Son of God. He leads us in spirit down into Gethsemane, and speaks of the wondrous mystery of the agony there, as the last stage in the preparation and the perfecting of our High Priest for the work He came to do. Let us enter this holy place with hearts bowed under a consciousness of our ignorance, but thirsting to know something more of the great mystery of godliness, the Son of God become flesh for us.

Who in the days of His flesh. The word "flesh" points to human nature in the weakness which is the mark of its fallen state. When Jesus said to His disciples in that dark night, "Watch and pray; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak," He spoke from personal experience. He had felt that it was not enough to have a right purpose, but that, unless the weakness of the flesh were upheld, or rather overcome, by power received in prayer from above, that weakness would so easily enter into temptation, and become sin. The days of His flesh, encompassed with its weaknesses, were to Him a terrible reality. lt was not to yield to this that He watched and prayed.

Who in the days of His flesh, having offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto Him that was able to save Him out of death, and having been heard for His godly fear, having gained the strength to surrender His will and fully accept the Father's will, and the renewed assurance that He would be saved and raised out of it, though He was a Son,-the form of the expression implies that no one would have expected from the Son of God what is now to be said,-yet learned obedience by the things which He suffered. Gethsemane was the training-school where our High Priest, made like to us in all things, learnt His last and most difficult lesson of obedience through what He suffered.

Though He was a Son. As the Son of God, come from heaven, one would say that there could be no thought of His learning obedience. But so real was His emptying Himself of His life in glory, and so complete His entrance into all the conditions and likeness of our nature, that He did indeed need to learn obedience. This is of the very essence of the life of a reasonable creature, of man, that the life and the will he has received from God cannot be developed without the exercise of a self-determining power, without the voluntary giving up to God in all that He asks, even where it appears a sacrifice. The creature can only attain his perfection under a law of growth, of trial, and of development, in the overcoming of what is contrary to God's will, and the assimilating of what that will reveals.

Of Jesus it is written: The child grew, and waxed strong, becoming full of wisdom. What is true of His childhood is true of His maturer years. At each stage of life He had to meet temptation, and overcome it; out of each victory He came with His will strengthened, and His power over the weakness of the flesh, and the danger of yielding to its desire for earthly good, or its fear of temporal evil, increased. In Gethsemane His trial and His obedience reached their consummation.

He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. Suffering is something unnatural, the fruit of sin. God has made us for joy. He created us not only with the capacity, but the power of happiness, so that every breath and every healthy movement should be enjoyment. lt is natural to us, it was so to the Son of God, to fear and flee suffering. In this desire there is nothing sinful. It only becomes sinful where God would have us submit and suffer, and we refuse. This was the temptation of the power of darkness in Gethsemane-for Jesus to refuse the cup. ln His prayers and supplications, with strong crying and tears, Jesus maintained His allegiance to God's will: in wrestlings and bloody sweat He became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. The deepest suffering taught Him the highest lesson of obedience: when He had yielded His will and His life, His obedience was complete, and He Himself was perfected for evermore.

This is our High Priest. He knows what the weakness of the flesh is. He knows what it costs to conquer it, and how little we are able to do it. He lives in heaven, able to succour us; sympathising with our weaknesses; bearing gently with the ignorant and erring; a High Priest on the throne, that we may boldly draw nigh to find grace for timely help. He lives in heaven and in our heart, to impart to us His own spirit of obedience, so that His priesthood may bring us into the full enjoyment of all He Himself has and is.

1. Heard for His godly fear. How it becomes me then to pray in humble, holy reverence, that l may pray in His spirit, and be heard too for His godly fear. This was the very spirit of His prayer and obedience.

2. He learned obedience through suffering. Learn to loot upon and to welcome all suffering as God's message to teach obedience.

3. He learned obedience: This was the path in which Christ was trained for His priesthood. This is the spirit and the power that filled Him for the throne of glory; the spirit and the power which alone can lift us there; the spirit and the power which our great High Priest can impart to us. Obedience is of the very essence of salvation. Whether we look at Christ being perfected personally, or at the merit that gave His death its value and saving power, or at the work wrought in us-obedience, the entrance into the will of God, is the very essence of salvation.

4. He learned obedience. Jesus was obedience embodied, obedience incarnate. l have only as much of Jesus in me as l have of the spirit of obedience.
















XL

THE HIGH PRIEST, PERFECTED THROUGH OBEDIENCE.

V.-8. Though he was a Son, yet learned obedience by the things which he suffered;

9. And having been made perfect, he became unto all them that obey him, the cause of eternal salvation.

Our Lord Jesus learned obedience by the things which He suffered. Through this obedience He was made perfect, and became the cause of eternal salvation to all that obey Him. So he entered heaven as our High Priest, a Son, perfected for evermore.

The word perfect is one of the keywords of the Epistle. It occurs thirteen times. Four times in regard to the Old Testament, which could make nothing perfect. The law made nothing perfect (vii. 19). Sacrifices that cannot, as touching the conscience, make the worshipper perfect (ix. 9). The law can never make perfect them that draw nigh (x. 1). That apart from us they should not be made perfect (xi. 40). As great as is the difference between a promise and its fulfilment, or hope and the thing hoped for, between the shadow and substance, is the difference between the Old and New Testament. The law made nothing perfect: it was only meant to point to something better, to the perfection Jesus Christ was to bring. With the New Testament perfection would come. Thrice the word is used of our Lord Jesus, who in Himself prepared and wrought out the perfection He came to impart. It became God to make the Leader of our salvation perfect through suffering (ii. n). He learned obedience, and being made perfect, became the cause of salvation (v. 9). Appointed High Priest; a Son perfected for evermore (vii. 28). The perfection brought by Christ was that which was revealed in His own personal life. He came to restore to us the life of God we had lost-a life in the will and love of God. This alone is salvation. God perfected Him through suffering - wrought out in Him a perfect human character, in which the divine life was fully united with the human will. He learned obedience through suffering, and manifested perfectly the humility and submission and surrender to God, which is man's duty and blessedness. So, when He had been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him, because He now had that perfected human nature which He could communicate to them. And so He was appointed High Priest-a Son, perfected for evermore. As Son of God, He was to take us up into the very life of God; as High Priest, He was to lift us, in actual spiritual reality, into God's fellowship and will and presence; the way in which He was perfected through obedience was the living way in which He was to lead us ;-as the Son, perfected through obedience, who had found and opened and walked the path of obedience as the path to God, and would animate us with His own Spirit to do it too, He, the perfected One, can alone be our salvation.

Then twice we have the word of what Christ has done for us. By one offering He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified (x. 14); the Leader and Perfecter of our faith (xiL 2). Christ's perfecting us for ever is nothing but His redeeming us by His one sacrifice into the perfect possession of Himself, the perfected One, as our life. His death is our death to sin, His resurrection as the perfected One is our life, His righteousness is ours, His life ours; we are put in possession of all the perfection which the Father wrought out in Him through suffering and obedience. And once of the spiritual sanctuary opened by Christ: The greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands (ix. n). And three times it is used in regard to Christian character: Solid food is for the perfect (v. 14); Let us press on to perfection (vi. 1); The God of peace perfect1 you in every good thing (xiii. 21). The perfect for whom the solid food is, are those who are not content with the mere beginnings of the Christian life, but have given themselves wholly to accept and follow the perfected Master. These are they who press on to perfection- nothing else than the perfection which Christ revealed, as God's claim on men, and as what He has won and made possible for them.

He learned obedience, and being perfected, became the cause of eternal salvation. The perfection of God is His will. There is no perfection for man but in union with that will. And there is no way for attaining and proving the union with that will but by obedience. Obedience to the good and perfect will of God transforms the whole nature, and makes it capable of union with Him in glory. Obedience to God's will on earth is the way to the glory of God's will in heaven. The everlasting perfection of heaven is nothing but the obedience of earth transfigured and glorified. Obedience is the seed, the power, the life of Christ's perfection and ours.

We are approaching the threshold of the Holiest of All, as this Epistle is to open it up to us as the sphere of the heavenly

1 In the Greek here the word used is not the same as in the other passages.

priesthood of Him who was made after the order of Melchizedek. Ere we proceed thither let us learn this lesson well: The distinguishing mark of the earthly life of our High Priest; the source of His heavenly glory and His eternal salvation; the power of His atonement of our disobedience; the opening of the living way in which we are to follow Him our Leader; the inner disposition and spirit of the life He bestows;-of all this, the secret is obedience. Through obedience He was perfected, His sacrifice was perfect, He perfected us for ever, He carries us on to perfection.

1. When the perfect heavenly life of the Lord Jesus comes down from heaven into our hearts,it can assume no form but that which it had in Him-obedience.

2. God must be obeyed: in that one word you have the hey to the life and death of Jesus, His sitting at God's right hand, His priesthood, His dwelling in our hearts, as well as to the whole of the gospel message,-God must be obeyed.

3. Christ, the obedient One, who inavgurated for us the new way of obedience unto death as the way to God. is this the Christ thou lovest and trusteth? is this thy delight in Him, that He now has delioered thee from thy disobedience, and makes thee strong to lioe only to obey God and Him? is Christ precious to thee becavse the salvation He gioes is a restoration to obedience?
















XLI

THE HIGH PRIEST SAVING THE OBEDIENT.

V.-8. Though he was a Son, yet learned obedience by the things which he suffered;

9. And having been made perfect, he became unto all them that obey him, the cause of eternal salvation.

The death of Jesus lias its value and efficacy in obedience, ours as well as His. With Him obedience was God's great object in His suffering; the root and power of His perfection and His glory; the real efficient cause of our eternal salvation. And with us, the necessity of obedience is no less absolute. With God and with Christ our restoration to obedience was the great aim of redemption. lt is the only way to that union with God in which our happiness consists. Through it alone God can reveal His life and power within us. Again l say: The death of Jesus has its value and efficacy in nothing but obedience, ours as well as His. "He learned obedience, and being perfected became to all them that obey Him the cause of eternal salvation." Our obedience is as indispensable as His. As little as He could work out salvation without obedience, can we enjoy it. ln us as much as in Him, obedience is the very essence of salvation.

Let us try and grasp this. God is the blessedness of the creature. When God is all to the creature, when He is allowed in humiliiy and dependence to work all, and when all returns to Him in thanksgiving and service, nothing can prevent the fulness of God's love and joy entering and filling the creature. lt has but one thing to do-to turn its desire or will toward God, and give Him free scope, and nothing in heaven or earth can prevent the light and the joy of God filling that soul. The living centre round which all the perfections of God cluster, the living energy through which they all do their work, is the will of God. The will of God is the life of the universe; it is what it is because God wills it; His will is the living energy which maintains it in existence. The creature can have no more of God than he has of God's will working in him. He that would meet and find God must seek Him in His will; union with God's will is union with Himself. Therefore it was that the Lord Jesus, when He came to this world, always spoke of His having come to do one thing-the will of His Father. This alone could work our salvation. Sin had broken us away from the will of God. ln doing the will of God He was to break the power of sin. He was to prove wherein the service of God and true blessedness consist; He was to work out in Himself a new nature to be communicated, a new way of living to be followed; He was to show that the doing of God's will at any cost is blessedness and glory everlasting. It was because He did this, because He was obedient unto death, that God highly exalted Him. lt was this disposition, His obedience, that made Him worthy and fit to sit with God on the throne of heaven. Union with the will of God is union with God Himself, and must-it cannot be otherwise-bring to the glory of God.

And this is as true of us as of Him. lt is to be feared that there are many Christians who seek salvation, and have no conception in what salvation consists-a being saved from their own will, and being restored to do the will of God alone. They seek after Christ, and trust in Him; but it is not the true Christ, but a Christ of whom they have framed their own image. The true Christ is the incarnate will of God, the incarnate obedience, who works in us what God wrought in Him. Christ came as the Son, to impart to us the very same life and disposition as animated Him on earth. Christ came to be a High Priest, to bring us to God in that very same way of obedience and self-sacrifice in which He drew nigh to God. As Son and Priest, Christ is our Leader and Forerunner; it is only as we follow Him in His path on earth that we can hope to share His glory in heaven. "He learned obedience and became the cause of eternal salvation to them that obey Him."

Let us beware that no wrong or one-sided views of what salvation by faith means lead us astray. There are some who think that salvation by faith is all, and obedience not so essential. This is a terrible mistake. In our justification there is indeed no thought of obedience in the past. God justifieth the ungodly. But repentance is a return to obedience. And without repentance there can be no true faith. Justification, and the faith by which it comes, are only for the sake of obedience, as means to an end. They point us to Christ, and the salvation which is to be found in union with Him. And He has no salvation but for them that obey Him. Obedience, as the acceptance of His will and life, is our only capacity for salvation. This is the reason there is so much complaining that we cannot find and do not enjoy a full salvation. We seek it in the wrong way. Jesus Himself said that the Father would give the Holy Spirit, that is, salvation as it is perfected in Christ in heaven, to them that obey Him. To such would He manifest Himself; with such would the Father and He dwell. The salvation of Christ was wrought out entirely by obedience; this is its very essence and nature; it cannot be possessed or enjoyed but by obedience. Christ, who was perfected by obedience, is the cause of salvation to none but them that obey Him.

God grant that the obedience of Jesus, with the humility in which it roots, may be seen of us to be the crowning beauty of His character, the true power of His redemption, the bond of union and likeness between Him and His followers, the true and real salvation, in the salvation He gives to them that obey Him.

1. Salvation to obedience. Let us draw off our eyes and desires from the too exclusioe thought of solvation as happiness, and fix them more upon that which is its realityobedience. Christ will see to lt that a full salvation comes to the obedient.

2. Let no wrong thoughts of our sinfulness and inability secretly keep us back from the surrender to entire obedience. We are made partakers of Christ, of Himself, with the very life and spirit of obedience which constitutes Him the Saviour. The Son of God came not only to teach and to claim, but to gioe and work obedience. Faith in this Lord Jesus may claim and will receioe the grace of obedience, will receioe Himself.

3. Jesus personally learned and exercised obedience; personally He communicates it in fellowship with Himself; lt becomes a personal link with Himself to those who obey Him.
















THE THIRD WARNING.
Chap. v. 11-vi. 20.
Against Sloth, Standing Still, and Apostasy.



XLII

OF THE SIN OF NOT MAKING PROGRESS IN THE CHRISTIAN LIFE.

V.-10. Named of God a High Priest after the order of Melohlzedek.

11. Of whom we have many things to say, and hard of Interpretation, seeing ye are become dull of hearing.

12. For when by reason of the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need again that some one teach you the rudiments of the first principles1 of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of solid food

13. For every one that partaketh of milk is without experience of the word of righteousness; for he is a babe.

We have here the commencement of the third of the five warnings to be found in the Epistle. The first was against indifference and neglect; the second against unbelief and disobedience; the third deals specially with the sloth that prevents all progress in the Christian life, renders the soul incapable of entering into the full meaning of gospel truth and blessing, and often leads to an entire falling away. In the previous part of the Epistle, the author has been dealing with what he conBeginning.

siders more elementary truths, the divinity and humanity of the Saviour, and His fitness as a merciful and faithful High Priest for the work He has to do for us. He is about to enter on the higher teaching he has to give us on the heavenly priesthood of Christ (vii.-x. 18), but feels that many of his readers are incapable of following or appreciating such spiritual truth. He feels it needful first to rouse them by words of earnest reproof and exhortation, because no teaching can profit where the heart is not wakened up to hunger for it as its necessary food.

In the Christian Church, there are, alas, too many, of whom we would fain hope that they are believers, who are living in this state. They are content with the thought of pardon and the hope of heaven; they rest in their orthodoxy, their attachment to the Church and its services, their correct deportment. But as to any strong desire for the deeper truths of God's word --they have no conception of what is meant, or why they should be needed. When our author speaks of the power of Jesus' blood in heaven, of the opening of the Holiest of All, of our entering in to dwell there, and then of our going out to Him without the camp, the words find no response, because they meet no need of the soul. Let every reader listen earnestly to what God says of this state.

We have many things to say, and hard of interpretation, because ye are become dull of hearing. The writer's complaint is not that they have not sufficient education or mental power to understand what he says. By no means. But spiritual things must be spiritually discerne