Hebrews 4* Humble, cautious fear is urged, lest any should come short ofthe promised rest, through unbelief. (1-10) Arguments andmotives to faith and hope in our approaches to God. (11-16)1-10 The privileges we have under the gospel, are greater thanany had under the law of Moses, though the same gospel forsubstance was preached under both Testaments. There have been inall ages many unprofitable hearers; and unbelief is at the rootof all unfruitfulness under the word. Faith in the hearer is thelife of the word. But it is a painful consequence of partialneglect, and of a loose and wavering profession, that they oftencause men to seem to come short. Let us then give diligence,that we may have a clear entrance into the kingdom of God. AsGod finished his work, and then rested from it, so he will causethose who believe, to finish their work, and then to enjoy theirrest. It is evident, that there is a more spiritual andexcellent sabbath remaining for the people of God, than that ofthe seventh day, or that into which Joshua led the Jews. Thisrest is, a rest of grace, and comfort, and holiness, in thegospel state. And a rest in glory, where the people of God shallenjoy the end of their faith, and the object of all theirdesires. The rest, or sabbatism, which is the subject of theapostle's reasoning, and as to which he concludes that itremains to be enjoyed, is undoubtedly the heavenly rest, whichremains to the people of God, and is opposed to a state oflabour and trouble in this world. It is the rest they shallobtain when the Lord Jesus shall appear from heaven. But thosewho do not believe, shall never enter into this spiritual rest,either of grace here or glory hereafter. God has always declaredman's rest to be in him, and his love to be the only realhappiness of the soul; and faith in his promises, through hisSon, to be the only way of entering that rest. 11-16 Observe the end proposed: rest spiritual and eternal; therest of grace here, and glory hereafter; in Christ on earth,with Christ in heaven. After due and diligent labour, sweet andsatisfying rest shall follow; and labour now, will make thatrest more pleasant when it comes. Let us labour, and quickeneach other to be diligent in duty. The Holy Scriptures are theword of God. When God sets it home by his Spirit, it convincespowerfully, converts powerfully, and comforts powerfully. Itmakes a soul that has long been proud, to be humble; and aperverse spirit, to be meek and obedient. Sinful habits, thatare become as it were natural to the soul, and rooted deeply init, are separated and cut off by this sword. It will discover tomen their thoughts and purposes, the vileness of many, the badprinciples they are moved by, the sinful ends they act to. Theword will show the sinner all that is in his heart. Let us holdfast the doctrines of Christian faith in our heads, itsenlivening principles in our hearts, the open profession of itin our lips, and be subject to it in our lives. Christ executedone part of his priesthood on earth, in dying for us; the otherhe executes in heaven, pleading the cause, and presenting theofferings of his people. In the sight of Infinite Wisdom, it wasneedful that the Saviour of men should be one who has thefellow-feeling which no being but a fellow-creature couldpossibly have; and therefore it was necessary he should actualexperience of all the effects of sin that could be separatedfrom its actual guilt. God sent his own Son in the likeness ofsinful flesh, #Ro 8:3|; but the more holy and pure he was, themore he must have been unwilling in his nature to sin, and musthave had deeper impression of its evil; consequently the moremust he be concerned to deliver his people from its guilt andpower. We should encourage ourselves by the excellence of ourHigh Priest, to come boldly to the throne of grace. Mercy andgrace are the things we want; mercy to pardon all our sins, andgrace to purify our souls. Besides our daily dependence upon Godfor present supplies, there are seasons for which we shouldprovide in our prayers; times of temptation, either by adversityor prosperity, and especially our dying time. We are to comewith reverence and godly fear, yet not as if dragged to the seatof justice, but as kindly invited to the mercy-seat, where gracereigns. We have boldness to enter into the holiest only by theblood of Jesus; he is our Advocate, and has purchased all oursouls want or can desire.
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