« PoprzedniaDalej »
consummation of everlasting peace.-Christian, need we do more than name the prospect of heaven, as an excitement in your course, before which difficulties and trials should sink into nothing? Is not your spirit kindled to surpassing ardour, and does not the voice hence become irresistible which tells you to “ go forward.”
You now possess the full application we design to make, of the mandate heard by Moses from the pillar of cloud—“ Speak to the children of Israel, that they go forward.”—And amidst the statements presented, respecting the character and course of the people of God, the impediments which oppose their progress, and the command which directs them to proceed, the grand question arises, which it becomes each among you to ponder and decide, whether you are renovated and redeemed, and whether
youl have set your faces towards the celestial Zion ? It is an inquiry which must be anxiously and solemnly pressed ; for awful is the fact, that to remain at home in the world, contented with its possessions, and inconsiderate of its close, is to inflict a deadly injury on the interests of the immortal soul; nor can that soul ever have its prospect brightened by one radiation of future happiness, if it rise not, and renounce its lusts, and pass forth to pilgrimage, by patient continuance in well doing, seeking for glory and honour and immortality.” If you unite not firmly with the people of God, in
their principles, their progress, and their hopes, you are to be recognized but as their enemies, and the enemies of their God. And mournful indeed is a position like this! It may be surrounded with apparent worldly advantage and honour,—but it is characterized by an actual privation of all true comfort, and by an exposure to judgments fearful beyond human ability to describe. To contemplate a continuance in oppressive spiritual slavery, an utter destitution of spiritual dignity and privilege, a constant abiding under the displeasure of an omnipotent Being, who marks all thoughts and deeds for retribution, an ultimate participation in the inflictions of a vengeance which pours out on its victims the vials of remediless perdition,-is not this enough to make the spirit tremble, and decide it to flee where it may be sheltered and secure? Remain in the service of sin and of the evil one,—and in all the woes arising from the condemnation of the Eternal Judge must you be involved ; unite with the ransomed church of the Redeemer,—and to all the blessings procured by the invaluable blood of atonement will you be exalted, irreversibly and for ever. In the name of the whole fellowship of the saints, we proclaim the language of the man of God, as a fervent address to you,—“ We are journeying unto the place of which the Lord said, I will give it you : come with us, and we will do you good : for the Lord hath spoken
good concerning Israel.”* O come, and hesitate not: and thus Jehovah will be your portionand heaven will be
you to “
Christians! who have already undertaken the toils of pilgrimage, and proceeded on the way, forget not, under any circumstances, the mandate to go forward.” Strive that in
every scene it may animate and direct you, as the law by which alone your existence is to be regulated and inspired. All things in earth and in heaven invoke
go forward.” In youth and in age, in sorrow and in joy, in conflict and in go forward.”
“ Go forward,” until you reach the verge of the boundary torrent, and then, as you cross the swellings of Jordan to
repose, leave it as your last call to the pilgrims who have yet to follow you,—“ that they go forward !” And O that they who have now met in the sanctuary, may be guided in the strength of the Lord to his holy habitation, and assemble with the spirits of the just made perfect, where all shall rest from their labours in the beatific presence of God !
* Numb. x. 29.
HEBREWS vi. 4-6.
For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have
tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance ; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.
The great object of the apostle in this part of his writings, was to commend the gospel to his
brethren, his kinsmen, according to the flesh," by illustrations peculiarly adapted to interest and impress them. He aimed to show, that the most important contents of the Christian system were prefigured by the institutions of the Levitical economy, and that there could not be an enlightened contemplation of the law, without perceiving it to be, not an independent and a final revelation, but “a shadow of good things to come,” receiving its consummation in the mediatorial advent and sacrifice of the Son of God. These truths are stated and enforced with wonderful clearness and power, which, while they must have been admirably calculated for usefulness among the people for whose advantage they were originally employed, render the Epistle to the Hebrews one of the most permanently im
portant and delightful portions of the inspired word.
The mode of conveying instruction to the converts from Judaism to Christianity, is frequently characterized by a singular solemnity, -a memorable instance of which is to be observed in the connexion of our text. The writer had announced the doctrine, that the office of Christ was typified by the priesthood of former ages, and that he is, in an eminent manner, to be regarded as “ the high priest of our profession,” _" called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec.” He then stated, that he had to speak of things respecting the Saviour in this character which would
appear difficult and obscure to the disciples he addressed, in consequence of what was much to be lamented -the weakness of their spiritual understanding, and the limited attainments they had made in the sphere of evangelical knowledge. “Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing. For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.” Presuming that the rebuke administered would increase their desire for further and more honourable acquisition, he proposed that they should proceed to the sublime objects of study yet remaining to employ the