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adds, "Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after; but Christ, as a Son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end,” ver. 5, 6. He then shews how particularly applicable to their case was the exhortation of the Psalmist. (Ps. xcv. 7.) “To-day if ye will hear his voice; harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness,” &c. ver. 7-10. From this example he takes occasion to renew his work of exhortation—"Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called to-day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end,” ver. 12–14. Recurring to the example of the ancient Israelites, (ver. 15—18,) he makes this remark—“So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief;" and exhorts thus, “Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you
should seem to come short of it,” ver. 19. iv. 1. Returning again to the consideration of the same subject, (ver. 2–10) he draws an inference of a similar nature. “ Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief,” ver. 11. To induce them to exercise a godly fear over themselves, he assures them, that "the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword,” &c. ver. 12, 13. And for their encouragement, he also assures them, “ that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God,” (ver. 14.) and adds, “let us," therefore," hold fast our profession.” But lest any should be intimidated by a consideration of the dignity of their high priest, he declares, that he is exceedingly compassionate, (ver. 15.) and, on this ground, exhorts them to “ come boldly to the throne of grace, that they may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need,” ver. 16.
The apostle having thus called the attention of his brethren to the foregoing consideration of the priestly character of Christ, prolongs his remarks on the subject, (chap. v. 1–10.) and intimates his readiness to proceed still further, provided they were able to enter fully into the discussion; but, judging that they were unable, he declines the undertaking, at the same time assuring them that they had “need that one teach them again which be the first principles of the oracles of God,” ver. 11–14. exhorts them, therefore, to endeavour to be wellgrounded in the first principles of the doctrine of Christ,” and to “go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God," chap. vi. 1. “And this will we do,” says he, “ if God permit,” ver. 3. But not leaving the matter here, he adduces a powerful motive, by which they might be induced to “go on to per
fection :--For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, &c. if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance.” The substance of this motive seems to be, that, if any one should so far retrograde in bis Christian course as to stand in need of applying that first principle of Christ which regards repentance from dead works, his case would be truly hopeless, seeing, that if he should deliberately renounce his allegiance to Christ, and hold him forth as an impostor, there could be no hope that he should be convinced of his error by evidence which he already possesses, and consequently, that it might justly be deemed impossible for any preacher of the word to be able to bring him to that state of repentance from dead works, in which he stood at the commencement of his Christian career.
Having asserted the awful possibility of apostatizing from Christianity in the manner above described, the apostle, anxious to clear himself from the charge of insinuating, that those to whom he particularly addressed his epistle, were in danger of falling into such foul apostasy, expresses his full conviction of the contrary, resting his hopes on the evidences of their faith and love, and on the divine faithfulness in reference to those who put their trust in God: “For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister. And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto
the end; that ye be not slothsul, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises,” ver. 10–12. Having intimated the necessity there is for the continued exercise of faith and patience in order to inherit the promises, he shews how reasonable it is so to do, seeing that God has shewn himself to be faithful to his promises, (ver. 13—18.) and has laid a firm foundation for the support of the Christian's hope; "which hope,” says he, "we have as an anchor, both sure and steadfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec." ver. 19, 20. From this point he digresses, in order to draw a contrast between Melchisedec and Jesus Christ, which contrast introduces one between Jesus Christ and the Jewish high priest, (chap. vii. 1–28. viii. 1–6) and this again gives the apostle an opportunity (viii. 6.) of contrasting the Mosaic and Christian covenants, the discussion of which runs on to chap. x. 18. Here again, the apostle, according to his usual method, practically applies the discussion on the abovementioned topics, and says, “Having, therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; and having an high priest over the house of God; let us draw near with a true heart, in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with
Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering ; (for he is faithful that promised,) and let us consider one another, to provoke unto love and good works: not forsaking the assembling of yourselves together, as the manner of some is, but exhorting one another: and so much the more as ye see the day approaching. For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins," &c. He then adds, “For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God," ver. 30, 31. After thus warning his brethren, he reminds them of their past fidelity under severe afflictions, (ver. 32—34) and exhorts them not to “ cast away their confidence, which hath great recompense of reward,” ver. 35. For their encouragement, he assures them, that “he that shall come, will come, and will not tarry,” ver. 37. He then, in the language of prophecy, shews who shall be saved, when the deliverer shall make his appearance,
-“ Now the just shall live by faith : but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.' ver. 38.
But lest he should make any of his brethren disconsolate without cause, he adds, “But we, [who have hitherto given proof of our stability, by enduring “a great fight of afflictions," and manifesting in our respective capacities a growing attachment to the cause of God,] are not of them who draw back unto