Hebrews 13* Exhortations to various duties, and to be content with whatProvidence allots. (1-6) To respect the instructions of faithfulpastors, with cautions against being carried away by strangedoctrines. (7-15) Further exhortations to duties, that relate toGod, to our neighbour, and to those set over us in the Lord.(16-21) This epistle to be seriously considered. (22-25)1-6 The design of Christ in giving himself for us, is, that hemay purchase to himself a peculiar people, zealous of goodworks; and true religion is the strongest bond of friendship.Here are earnest exhortations to several Christian duties,especially contentment. The sin opposed to this grace and dutyis covetousness, an over-eager desire for the wealth of thisworld, with envy of those who have more than ourselves. Havingtreasures in heaven, we may be content with mean things here.Those who cannot be so, would not be content though God raisedtheir condition. Adam was in paradise, yet not contented; someangels in heaven were not contented; but the apostle Paul,though abased and empty, had learned in every state, in anystate, to be content. Christians have reason to be contentedwith their present lot. This promise contains the sum andsubstance of all the promises; "I will never, no, never leavethee, no, never forsake thee." In the original there are no lessthan five negatives put together, to confirm the promise: thetrue believer shall have the gracious presence of God with him,in life, at death, and for ever. Men can do nothing against God,and God can make all that men do against his people, to turn totheir good. 7-15 The instructions and examples of ministers, who honourablyand comfortably closed their testimony, should be particularlyremembered by survivors. And though their ministers were somedead, others dying, yet the great Head and High Priest of thechurch, the Bishop of their souls, ever lives, and is ever thesame. Christ is the same in the Old Testament day. as in thegospel day, and will be so to his people for ever, equallymerciful, powerful, and all-sufficient. Still he fills thehungry, encourages the trembling, and welcomes repentingsinners: still he rejects the proud and self-righteous, abhorsmere profession, and teaches all whom he saves, to loverighteousness, and to hate iniquity. Believers should seek tohave their hearts established in simple dependence on freegrace, by the Holy Spirit, which would comfort their hearts, andrender them proof against delusion. Christ is both our Altar andour Sacrifice; he sanctifies the gift. The Lord's supper is thefeast of the gospel passover. Having showed that keeping to theLevitical law would, according to its own rules, keep men fromthe Christian altar, the apostle adds, Let us go forth thereforeunto him without the camp; go forth from the ceremonial law,from sin, from the world, and from ourselves. Living by faith inChrist, set apart to God through his blood, let us willinglyseparate from this evil world. Sin, sinners, nor death, will notsuffer us to continue long here; therefore let us go forth nowby faith and seek in Christ the rest and peace which this worldcannot afford us. Let us bring our sacrifices to this altar, andto this our High Priest, and offer them up by him. The sacrificeof praise to God, we should offer always. In this are worshipand prayer, as well as thanksgiving. 16-21 We must, according to our power, give to the necessitiesof the souls and bodies of men: God will accept these offeringswith pleasure, and will accept and bless the offerers throughChrist. The apostle then states what is their duty to livingministers; to obey and submit to them, so far as is agreeable tothe mind and will of God, made known in his word. Christiansmust not think themselves too wise, too good, or too great, tolearn. The people must search the Scriptures, and so far as theministers teach according to that rule, they ought to receivetheir instructions as the word of God, which works in those thatbelieve. It is the interest of hearers, that the account theirministers give of them may be with joy, and not with grief.Faithful ministers deliver their own souls, but the ruin of afruitless and faithless people will be upon their own heads. Themore earnestly the people pray for their ministers, the morebenefit they may expect from their ministry. A good consciencehas respect to all God's commands, and all our duty. Those whohave this good conscience, yet need the prayers of others. Whenministers come to a people who pray for them, they come withgreater satisfaction to themselves, and success to the people.We should seek all our mercies by prayer. God is the God ofpeace, fully reconciled to believers; who has made a way forpeace and reconciliation between himself and sinners, and wholoves peace on earth, especially in his churches. He is theAuthor of spiritual peace in the hearts and consciences of hispeople. How firm a covenant is that which has its foundation inthe blood of the Son of God! The perfecting of the saints inevery good work, is the great thing desired by them, and forthem; and that they may at length be fitted for the employmentand happiness of heaven. There is no good thing wrought in us,but it is the work of God. And no good thing is wrought in us byGod, but through Christ, for his sake and by his Spirit. 22-25 So bad are men, and even believers, through theremainders of their corruption, that when the most important,comfortable doctrine is delivered to them for their own good,and that with the most convincing evidence, there is need ofearnest entreaty and exhortation that they would bear it, andnot fall out with it, neglect it, or reject it. It is good tohave the law of holy love and kindness written in the hearts ofChristians, one towards another. Religion teaches men truecivility and good breeding. It is not ill-tempered oruncourteous. Let the favour of God be toward you, and his gracecontinually working in you, and with you, bringing forth thefruits of holiness, as the first-fruits of glory.
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