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SERMON I.

The Ability of Christ to save to the uttermost.

ever

Heb. vii. 25.-Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost, that conie

untoGod by hin, seeing he ever liveth to make Intercession for them. Av VARIETY of trifles in life are daily breaking in upon us, and hurrying us away into a forgetfulness of God, and ourselves. But how much soever we may be Careful and cumbered, agitated and distracted, about many things, one thing is needful*, viz. the approach of the soul to God, that it may see and enjoy his salvation.—The most important question is that of the awakened and trembling jailor, What shall I do to be saved? And the only pertinent answer to that question, is that which the apostle gave, Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be savedt.

And have these later days, these ages, as we are ready fondly to imagine them, of greater refinement and reason, discovered any new method of salvation? God forbid, there should

be any pretence to it! When we see a person, like our Lord, appearing in an opposite cause, with an equal pomp of miracles, with equal demonstration and power of the spirit, we may perhaps let go that Anchor of our souls, which we now esteem as sure and stedfasts; but till then, we will, by divine grace, strenuously retain that gospel, which is recorded by those, who first Preached it, with the Holy Ghost sent down from heavens: And If an angel was to appear, in robes of the purest light, and with all the charms of a celestial eloquence, to establish any other foundation, far from yielding to the evidence of such a single wonder, in opposition to so many greater, we would hold that angel accursed|| ; as we might certainly conclude, that he wore a deceitful form, and was a messenger from the father of lies.

If the gospel be indeed of divine original, and we are not following Cunningly devised fables, it is most certain that those doctrines, which are peculiar to it, are not only true but infinitely important. And shall we, who are Stewards of the mysteries of God**, decline insisting upon then, because they are such common topics, and because we must in effect, be obliged to say the same things again and again ? As well might we despise bread, because it is an old-fashioned diet, on which our ancestors have fed for a long succession of ages, and on which the lowest of our species are subsisted. As reasonably, and much more safely, might the physician decline the use of all the most celebrated medicines, recommended by the experience of many hundred years, and pride himself in trying only such, as had hitherto been entirely unknown: Nay he might much better do it ; for it is possible, that there may yet lie hid, amongst the secrets of nature, some plant or drug of unknown virtnies, some richer cordial, and more sovereign antidote, than has ever yet been discovered : But we are as sure, as we can be of any thing in the revelation we profess to believe, that There is salvation in no other, neither is there any

§ 1 Pet. i, !2.

• Luke x. 41, 42. + Acts xvi. 30,31, !| Gal. i. 8.

2 Pet. i. 16. VOL. II.

Heb. vi. 19. ** I Cor. iv. I. Dd

other name under heaven given among men, but that of Jesus*, whereby they can obtain righteousness and life.

I hope therefore, it will not, as, I am sure, it should not, be disagreeable to you to hear, that, after the many sacred hours we have spent together in meditations on such subjects as these, I am again to resume the theme, and to discourse to you from it for some succeeding sabbaths. I do it at the desire of a friendt, who has recommended the subject to me with a peculiar regard to the rising generation, for whose use these discourses are to be made yet more public. And I would hope, they will not be the less agreeable to my younger friends or any of my other hearers, because they are equally the concern of all; and such a concern, as to be the very life of our souls, and, as I have largely shewn elsewheref, the only foundation of our eternal hopes.

The holy apostle Paul bad, as he elsewhere very emphatically expresses it, a continual, most tender and zealous affection for his Brethren of the jewish nation, his kinsmen according to the fleshŞ and this cpistle is a remarkable monument of it. It was indeed directed to the believing Hebrews, and its most evident design is, to animate them to adhere resolutely to the christian faith, whatever dangers or difficulties might attend that resolution. But the mind of this excellent man was very capacious and continually filled with a variety of schemes for the advancement of the gospel, the glory of his Lord, and the salvation of souls : And as he could not but know, that it was highly probable, that this, rather than any of his other epistles, would fall into the hands of many, as yet, unconverted Jews, he not only conceals his name, against which he knew they were strongly prejudiced ; but in a very wise and happy manner, makes use of such sentiments, and such language here, as might be

* Acts iv. 12.

* These sermons were first preached and published at the desire of William Coward, Esq.

1 See my Sermons to Young People, Ser. II.

Rom. ix. 3.

very proper to awaken and convince the unconverted, as well as to assist the faith and the joy of them who had Believed in Christ, that they might be justified by him, and not by the works of the law *. And if any have not made this remark, I apprehend they have lost much of the strength and beauty of this excellent epistle.

In pursuit of these great and very harmonious designs, the sacred writer insists largely on the dignity of the person, and offices of our great Redeemer. He represents him, as far superior to the most exalted angelst, and therefore much more to the most excellent of the children of men; superior to Moses, that most honourable servant of the Lord, who was faithful in all his house 1; superior to Abraham, The friend of God, and father of the faithfulş; superior to Aaron, the priest of the Lord, and all the holy family descended from his loins. And it is on this branch of the argument that he is now insisting. He labours at large, by a chain of reasoning, which I have not time to trace, to shew that our Lord was made after the order of Melchizedec, in many glorious and important circumstances, in which the priesthood of Melchizedec was superior to that of Aaron, and his sons: And amongst other instances, this is one of the most considerable, that whereas in the family of Aaron there were successively many high-priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death, this illustrious person, the Lord, Jesus Christ, because he continues ever, in immortal life and glory, hath an unchangeable priesthood, or, as the word ** most exactly signifies, a priesthood which does not pass from one successor to another. Now, from hence the apostle draws that important inference, in the words of my text, Wherefore he is able to save to the uttermost, completely and perpetually to save, all that, in the remotest ages and nations of the world, desire to come unto God by him, or to make use of his mediation, when they approach the throne of God as humble worshippers, seeing

Heb, vii. 4.-7.

• Gal. ii. 16, + Heb. i. and ii. I Heb, iii. 2-6. | Heb. vii. 11, & seq. Heb. vii, 23, 24. Απαραβαιον:

are such common topics, and because we must in effect, be obliged to say the same things again and again ? As well might we despise bread, because it is an old-fashioned diet, on which our ancestors have fed for a long succession of ages,

and on which the lowest of our species are subsisted. As reasonably, and much more safely, might the physician decline the use of all the most celebrated medicines, recommended by the experience of many hundred years, and pride himself in trying only such, as had hitherto been entirely unknown : Nay he might much better do it ; for it is possible, that there may yet lie hid, amongst the secrets of nature, some plant or drug of unknown virtnes, some richer cordial, and more sovereign antidote, than has ever yet been discovered : But we are as sure, as we can be of any thing in the revelation we profess to believe, that There is salvation in no other, neither is there any other name under heaven given among men, but that of Jesus*, whereby they can obtain righteousness and life.

I hope therefore, it will not, as, I am sure, it should not, be disagreeable to you to hear, that, after the many sacred hours we have spent together in meditations on such subjects as these, I am again to resume the theme, and to discourse to you from it for some succeeding sabbaths. I do it at the desire of a friendt, who has recommended the subject to me with a peculiar regard to the rising generation, for whose use these discourses are to be made yet more public. And I would hope, they will not be the less agreeable to my younger friends or any of my other hearers, because they are equally the concern of all; and such a concern, as to be the very life of our souls, and, as I have largely shewn elsewheref, the only foundation of our eternal hopes.

The holy apostle Paul had, as he elsewhere very emphatically expresses it, a continual, most tender and zealous affection for his Brethren of the jewish nation, his kinsmen according to the fleshŞ and this epistle is a remarkable monument of it. It was indeed directed to the believing Hebrews, and its most evident design is, to animate them to adhere resolutely to the christian faith, whatever dangers or difficulties might attend that resolution. But the mind of this excellent man was very capacious and continually filled with a variety of schemes for the advancement of the gospel, the glory of his Lord, and the salvation of souls : And as he could not but know, that it was highly probable, that this, rather than any of his other epistles, would fall into the hands of many, as yet, unconverted Jews, he not only conceals his name, against which he knew they were strongly prejudiced ; but in a very wise and happy manner, makes use of such sentiments, and such language here, as might be very proper to awaken and convince the unconverted, as well as to assist the faith and the joy of them who had Believed in Christ, that they might be justified by him, and not by the works of the law *. And if any have not made this remark, I apprebend they have lost much of the strength and beauty of this excellent epistle.

* Acts iv. 12.

+ These sermons were first preached and published at the desire of William Coward, Esq.

1 See my Sermons to Young People, Ser. II.

Rom. ix. 3.

In pursuit of these great and very harmonious designs, the sacred writer insists largely on the dignity of the person, and offices of our great Redeemer. He represents him, as far superior to the most exalted angelst, and therefore much more to the most excellent of the children of men; superior to Moses, that most honourable servant of the Lord, who was faithful in all his house 1; superior to Abraham, The friend of God, and father of the faithfulş; superior to Aaron, the priest of the Lord, and all the holy family descended from his loins). And it is on this branch of the argument that he is now insisting. He labours at large, by a chain of reasoning, which I have not time to trace, to shew that our Lord was made after the order of Melchizedec, in many glorious and important circumstances, in which the priesthood of Melchizedec was superior to that of Aaron, and his sons: And amongst other instances, this is one of the most considerable, that whereas in the family of Aaron there were successively many high-priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death, this illustrious person, the Lord Jesus Christ, because he continues ever, in immortal life and glory, hath an unchangeable priesthood, or, as the word ** most exactly signifies, a priesthood which does not pass from one successor to another. Now, from hence the apostle draws that important inference, in the words of my text, Wherefore he is able to save to the uttermost, completely and perpetually to save, all that, in the remotest ages and nations of the world, desire to come unto God by him, or to make use of his mediation, when they approach the throne of God as humble worshippers, seeing

$ Heb, vii. 4-7.

Gal, ii, 16, + Heb. i. and ii. | Heb, iji. 2-6. | Heb. vii. 11, & seq. q Heb. vii, 23, 24. Απαραβαιον:

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