Hebrews 10:22
let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.
Sermons
A New and Living WayJ. C. Cumming, D. D.Hebrews 10:19-22
A New and Living WayR. W. Dale, LL. D.Hebrews 10:19-22
Approaching GodD. Young Hebrews 10:19-22
Entering into the HoliestJames Kidd, D. D.Hebrews 10:19-22
Objective Religion NecessaryH. Bushnell, D. D.Hebrews 10:19-22
The Christian's Access to the Holy PlaceW. Jones Hebrews 10:19-22
The Christian's Exalted PrivilegeJ. Burns, D. D.Hebrews 10:19-22
The House of God and the Way to ItW. Pulsford, D. D.Hebrews 10:19-22
The New and Living WayG. Lawson.Hebrews 10:19-22
The New and Living Way Opened by JesusF. Rendall, M. A.Hebrews 10:19-22
The Priesthood of ChristR. Watson.Hebrews 10:19-22
The Rent VeilC. H. Spurgeon.Hebrews 10:19-22
The True WorshipperJ. W. Reeve, M. A.Hebrews 10:19-22
The Way to God Should be Inquired AboutGideon Ouseley.Hebrews 10:19-22
A Sure PromiseG. Lawson.Hebrews 10:22-24
A Triplet of ExhortationsH. Whittaker.Hebrews 10:22-24
Abiding in the Holiest of AllAndrew Murray.Hebrews 10:22-24
An Evil ConscienceHebrews 10:22-24
An Evil ConscienceHebrews 10:22-24
An Unwavering ConfessionH. O. Mackey.Hebrews 10:22-24
Approach to GodAnecdotes of Luther.Hebrews 10:22-24
Assurance of Faith, and Assurance of SalvationW. L. Alexander, D. D.Hebrews 10:22-24
Christian LifeJ. Colwell.Hebrews 10:22-24
Confidence in DeathHebrews 10:22-24
ConscienceHebrews 10:22-24
Divine PromisesR. W. Dale, LL. D.Hebrews 10:22-24
Drawing Near to GodT. Boston, D. D.Hebrews 10:22-24
Drawing Near to GodT. A. Morris, D. D.Hebrews 10:22-24
Faith, Hope, and LoveA. Saphir.Hebrews 10:22-24
Full Assurance of FaithJ. Trapp.Hebrews 10:22-24
Healing the Evil ConscienceR. Newton, D. D.Hebrews 10:22-24
Holding Fast Our ProfessionC. H. Spurgeon.Hebrews 10:22-24
Saved from an Evil ConscienceF. B. Meyer, B. A.Hebrews 10:22-24
Sins of Ignorance and WeaknessJ. H. Newman, D. D.Hebrews 10:22-24
Standing.FireHebrews 10:22-24
Steady to the PoleColeridge's Aids to Reflection.Hebrews 10:22-24
The Christian ProfessionJ. Burns, D. D.Hebrews 10:22-24
The Cure for an Evil ConscienceJ. Vaughan, M. A.Hebrews 10:22-24
The Effect of Dwelling in the Holiest of AllAndrew MurrayHebrews 10:22-24
The Faithfulness of God the Christian's Support in Life and DeathOwen Clarke.Hebrews 10:22-24
The Security of the PromiseG. Campbell.Hebrews 10:22-24
Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into, etc. Here the sacred writer enters upon the last great division of the Epistle. Having closed the argumentative portion, he opens the hortatory and admonitory part of his work. Our text is an exhortation to avail ourselves of the great privilege of access to the presence of God through the blood of Jesus. We have -

I. A DECLARATION or CHRISTIAN PRIVILEGE.

1. What the privilege is in itself. It is twofold.

(1) The right of approach unto the presence of God. We may "enter into the holy place." There is a reference here to the entrance of the high priest into the holy of holies under the Mosaic economy. The holy place in the text is the Divine sanctuary, "the place of God's essential presence." We have the privilege of access into his presence. We have this at present in prayer. Even now in prayer, and spiritually, we may "reach the inmost recesses of the Divine sanctuary, the very heart of God." And we may do this without the intervention of' any human priesthood, or the presentation of any material sacrifice. Hereafter we may enter into his presence in person. Already our Lord is there. And he prayed for his disciples, "Father, I will that where I am, they also may be with me." Admission into the manifested presence of God is the exalted privilege awaiting every true Christian in the future. "We shall see him even as he is." "I will behold thy face in righteousness," etc. "In thy presence is fullness of joy," etc.

(2) Confidence in approaching the presence of God. We have "boldness to enter into the holy place." This boldness is not rashness, or irreverence, or unreverence. It is rather a holy freedom of access to God because of our assurance that we shall be graciously received by him. See this in the exercise of prayer. We may freely express our wants and wishes to our heavenly Father; for, being our Father, he will not resent our filial confidence, but will welcome us the more because of it.

2. How the privilege has been obtained for us. "By the blood of Jesus." It is by the sacrifice of Christ that we have the right of access to the presence of God. And it is by the infinite love of God manifested in that sacrifice that we have confidence in availing ourselves of this right. In a word, this great privilege has been obtained for us through the mediation of our Lord and Savior. This is here represented as a way: "By the way which he dedicated for us, a new and living way," etc. The description is instructive.

(1) The characteristics of the way. It is a new way; i.e. newly made, recent, or newly opened. Truly and beautifully Stier says, "No believer under the Old Testament dared or could, though under a dispensation of preparatory grace, approach God so freely and openly, so fearlessly and joyfully, so closely and intimately, as we now, who come to the Father by the blood of Jesus, his Son." It is a living way. "The way into the sanctuary of the Old Testament was simply a lifeless pavement trodden by the high priest, and by him alone; the way opened by Jesus Christ is one that really leads and carries all who enter it into the heavenly rest, being, in fact, the reconciliation of mankind with God, once and for ever effected by him through his ascension to the Father - 'a living way,' because one with the living person and abiding work of Jesus Christ" (Delitzsch). "Jesus saith, I am the Way," etc. (cf. John 14:1-6).

(2) The inauguration of this way. "Which he dedicated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh." There is a comparison between the flesh of our Savior and the veil which separated the most holy from the holy place. "While he was with us here below," says Delitzsch, "the weak, limit-bound, and mortal flesh, which he had assumed for our sakes, hung like a curtain between him and the Divine sanctuary into which he would enter; and in order to such entrance, this curtain had to be withdrawn by death, even as the high priest had to draw aside the temple veil in order to make his entry to the holy of holies." In his death our Lord put off the weak, mortal flesh; and at his death "the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom," laying open the holy of holies. Dying, our Lord laid aside those conditions of body which could not be taken into heaven itself, and removed the barriers which kept us from God (cf. Corinthians 1:21, 22).

(3) The encouragement to tread this way. "And having a great Priest over the house of God." The description is suggestive. "A great Priest." One who is both Priest and King; "a royal Priest and priestly King." He is "over the house of God," i.e. the Church; the one great communion of saints both in heaven and upon earth; the Church triumphant above and the Church militant below. Here is encouragement to tread the new and living way. Our great Priest has trod the way before us. He has entered the heavenly sanctuary, and abides in the glorious and blessed Presence. He is there on our behalf; as our Representative, as our Forerunner, and as an attraction to draw his people thither also.

II. AN EXHORTATION TO AVAIL OURSELVES OF THIS PRIVILEGE, "Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith," etc. Consider how we are to avail ourselves of this privilege.

1. With perfect sincerity. "With a tree heart." A heart free from hypocrisy and from self-deception. "God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth."

2. With assured confidence. "In full assurance of faith." Not questioning our right of access, or the certainty of our gracious acceptance, through Christ. Not with divided confidence, but "in fullness of faith" in Christ. The full undivided faith is required, as Ebrard says, "not a faith such as the readers of the Epistle to the Hebrews had, who to the questions, 'Is Jesus the Messiah? Is he the Son of God?' replied in the affirmative indeed with head and mouth, but yet were not satisfied with the sacrifice of Christ, but thought it necessary still to lean on the crutches of the Levitical sacrifices, and on these crutches would limp into heaven." We fear that there is much of this divided faith at present, or at least a great lack of "fullness of faith" in the Savior. The faith of some is divided between the Christ and the Church, or some human priesthood; others, between the Christ and the sanctions of reason or philosophy; and others, between the Christ and what they conceive to be their own personal merits. If we would draw near to God acceptably, we must do so "in full assurance of faith" in our great Priest as the only and all-sufficient Mediator.

3. With purity of heart and life. "Having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our body washed with pure water." There is a reference here to the Levitical purifications (cf. Exodus 29:21; Leviticus 8:30; Leviticus 16:4, 24; Hebrews 9:13, 14, 21, 22; 1 Peter 1:2). And in the last clause of the text there is probably a reference to Christian baptism, which is symbolic of spiritual cleansing (cf. Acts 22:16). The idea seems to be that to approach God acceptably we must be morally pure in heart and in action. But "who can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin?" And so we draw near to God at present trusting in the Christ for pardon and for purity. Through him we are justified before God by faith, and have daily cleansing for daily impurities. And hereafter we shall draw near to his blessed presence "having washed our robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb," and shall appear before him as members of "a glorious Church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing, but holy and without blemish."

CONCLUSION.

1. How great are our privileges of present access to God in prayer, and hope of future approach to him in person!

2. How solemn are our obligations to avail ourselves of our privileges, and to walk worthily of them! - W.J.







Let us draw near.
I. DRAWING NEAR. Observe by way of contrast —

1. Moses at the burning bush. "Draw not nigh hither." Fire symbolic of judgment. God cannot thus be approached unto.

2. Children of Israel of Mount Sinai. The injunction given to stand off from the mount, God present in holiness, requiring perfect obedience to His law. This man could not render. Therefore there was no hope of being reconciled to God by the law.

3. Yet now the apostle says, "Let us draw near." How is this? Because

(1)Christ hast fulfilled the law — He has become a daysman between us and God,

(2)God has drawn near to us.

(3)He Himself has invited us to draw near-"Come unto Me," &c.

II. HOLDING FAST. A very necessary injunction in these days of apostasy from the faith.

1. What not to hold fast —

(1)Human traditions. These are useful in so far as they are in accordance with Divine revelation, but are to be specially shunned when they make the Word of God of none effect.

(2)The speculations of theologians. These vary as the wind, and are not to be relied upon.

2. But —

(1)The profession or confession of our faith without wavering — "If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus thou shalt be saved."

(2)The faith itself once delivered to the saints. Why? That others may see the good works that spring from a lively faith, and be led to ask for the old paths.

III. CONSIDERING ONE ANOTHER.

1. HOW may we do this?

(1)By loving rebuke — not from the love of fault-finding. Faithful are the wounds of a friend.

(2)By showing love to our fellows. Christ's new commandment: "Love one another."

(3)By obeying the injunction — "Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep." Bear one another's burdens. Wash one another's feet.

2. What would be the result of thus considering one another?

(1)More unity among believers.

(2)More power in the Church.

(3)More blessing in the world.

(4)More glory to God.Application:

1. To the sinner. You are yet afar off. Christ invites you to Him. He will abundantly pardon.

2. To the believer. You need, every day — yea, every hour — to be coming to Christ for blessing.

(H. Whittaker.)

I. "LET US DRAW NEAR." "Us." All Christians. Christianity is a spiritual democracy. "Near." The "middle wall" is gone; Jews and Gentiles are near to each other. How?

1. With the heart. Some honour God "with their lips, bug their heart is far from Him." You meet an acquaintance, and complain that he was distant, i.e., he was not hearty.

2. With sincerity. "A true heart." We may be hearty without being honest.

3. With faith. Note the relative position of this. Only hearty and honest seekers will ever be true believers, such always will "in an honest and good heart receive the word." Bug though faith is placed after heartiness and honesty, let it not be overlooked-otherwise our coming is vain.

4. "With a pure heart." Sprinkled from an evil conscience, &c. Conscience no longer accuses; our sins are forgiven. Conscience no longer sleeps, allowing us to sin, but is restored to its original office. Conscience is no longer defiled; it is washed, purged. Outward life is, therefore, right — "Our bodies washed with pure water."

II. "LET US HOLD FAST."

1. What to? "The profession of our faith," or, "the confession of our hope." This is a better rendering. Christianity is a hope — "Christ in you the hope of glory." That is Christianity in a sentence. The confession is the outward sign of the invisible hope. Duty to confess, and to hold fast to the confession.

2. "Hold fast." A drowning man, holding a rope, brings all the nervous force of his system into his hands, and clings for dear life. Put all the force of the soul into faith, and so cling to Jesus.

3. "Without wavering." Very fashionable now to doubt; and we are told if, we certainly believe anything we cannot grow. Be it so. We can only be safe, happy, strong, or useful, by being fully decided — by ceasing to waver.

III. "LET US CONSIDER." A Christian man is a thoughtful man. From the nature of his position — saved from the wreck — he is in a position to look around — to think.

1. "To provoke one another." Not to say: "I am safe," or, "I shall enjoy religion"; but to consider the work of your fellows and the wants of others. Not to say: "How little can I do," but how much.

2. "Provoke one another."

3. "To love and good works." Who shall love most, who shall do most, is the only question worth asking- the only provocation Christianity allows.

(J. Colwell.)

The apostle's great argument is concluded, and the result is placed before us in a very short summary. We have boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way; and we have in the heavenly sanctuary a great Priest over the house of God. On this foundation rests a threefold exhortation.

1. Let us draw near with a true heart, in the full assurance of faith.

2. Let us hold fast the profession of hope without wavering.

3. Let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works, labouring and waiting together, and helping one another in the unity of brethren. Faith, hope, and love — this is the threefold result of Christ's entrance into heaven, spiritually discerned.A believing, hoping, and loving attitude of heart corresponds to the new covenant revelation of Divine grace.

1. Having received, through Christ's sacrifice and Christ's present priesthood boldness, a full right of access into the holy of holies, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith. The privilege is right of access unto God, the duty is that of approach; and no man values the right of access who does not desire to approach. There can be nothing which really satisfies the heart of any man in being told that he is at liberty to approach God, if he has no inclination to approach unto God. We can only approach with our heart, and by faith, which has its seat in the heart; with a heart which is in earnest, true, and purposeful in this very work of approach. God desireth truth in the inward part. A true heart is a heart which accepts the testimony of God, which distrusts itself, which believes God's Word, declaring our sin, guilt, and helplessness, and which responds simply, and without reservation, humbly and joyfully to the Divine gospel of the gift of God, eternal life through the righteousness of our Lord Jesus Christ. A true heart is a heart purified by trust in Jesus. A true heart is a heart which desires to be with God and to live unto Him. What is meant by full assurance of faith? Nothing else but faith in full, vigorous, healthy exercise. Faith in what? Not faith in our having faith, in our being accepted; but faith that we have a right of access, that Jesus is the living way, and that He is the High Priest in the holy of holies. The object of faith, of the weakest and smallest spark of faith, as much as of faith in plenitude or full assurance, is not ourselves, but Christ in His person and work. The eye does not see itself; faith is not to stand on itself; your full assurance is to be that Christ's blood is precious, and that He has entered as the Forerunner. Then you are at peace. Faith means trust, reliance, confidence, leaning. There is no other worthy of trust, none else reliable but Jesus. But if you wish to have an additional object of faith in your own progress and spirituality, you are, like Peter, looking away from Jesus unto the unstable sea. Nor have I any other proof of my faith's genuineness yesterday, but my exercising faith this moment. It is an ever-present tense — "He that believeth hath eternal life."

2. We are exhorted to hold fast the profession of our hope without wavering. Before the First Advent believers looked forward in faith and hope to the good things to come. Believing the promise, they expected in hope the glory of Messiah's reign. With us this unity of faith and hope is substantially the same; but it appears now in a twofold manner. Faith rests on the past, the accomplished work of Jesus; hope looks to the future, the return of our Saviour. And the more we realise Jesus as the living Lord, the more shall we look forward, waiting for His coming, and going forth to meet Him. If we believe that He has come, we also hope that He will come. The profession of our hope is most practical and testing. Hereby we profess that we are strangers and pilgrims upon earth, that we are seeking heavenly things, labouring for heavenly rewards, laying up for ourselves heavenly treasures. We must forsake the sins, pleasures, and honours of Egypt; we must purify ourselves, as Christ is pure. If we profess hope, we must also rejoice, though we be in tribulation; we must view the sufferings and trials of this present life as not worthy to be compared with the coming glory. Then hope, resting on faith, supports faith, and fills us with courage and patience. "Till I come," is the voice of the Saviour, when faith beholds His dying love; and going forth to meet Him, going forth out of the world's sin, bondage, gloom, is the response of the bride.

3. But in thus drawing near unto God, and holding fast the profession of our hope, we must bear in mind that we are called to be a brotherhood, and that faith and hope are to be exercised in love. We are the body of Christ, and members one of another. We are to please not ourselves, but our brother unto edification. We are to consider one another as fellow pilgrims; to study our brother's need and sorrow, difficulty and trial; to exercise our mind on our duty and relation to him, that thus we may be helpful to him in his course, and stimulate and encourage him to good works. To consider one another in the right spirit is to look above all at the Christian character of our brother; to regard him, not so much in the light of his natural disposition; to love him, not so much on account of qualities congenial and pleasing to us; still less to exercise criticism, and to cherish suspicion and uncharitable judgment; but to fix our thought on the one great fact of brotherhood in Christ. And running together in a holy rivalry the same race, we should behold in our brother features of Christian character and activity in which we are deficient. And in this spirit of love we should cherish Christian communion; "not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together." Christianity is eminently an individual heart-affair; but it is also eminently social. The promise of Christ's presence is to the assembly gathered in His name.

(A. Saphir.)

I. WHAT IS IMPLIED IN THIS, "Let us draw near."

1. Sin has set us at a distance from God (Isaiah 59:2).

2. Sinners stand at a distance from God till they be called, and that powerfully (John 6:44).

(1)Insensible sinners will .not (John 5:40).

(2)Sensible sinners dare not (Luke 5:8).

II. WE MAY DRAW NEAR TO GOD. Glad news this to poor sensible sinners! Come in, ye blessed of the Lord; why do you stand back? you may draw near to God. For —

1. God is on a throne of grace in Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 5:19).

2. There is a way to the throne never trod, nor designed to be trod, by any but sinners such as you, and the like of you. This is no back entry, but the most glorious way to the throne. Adam had a way to it, but that is blocked up; there is a new and living way consecrated for us (ver. 20).

3. He is a friend of ours who is set over the house of God (ver. 21).

III. WE OUGHT TO DRAW NEAR: "Let us draw near." For —

1. It is the command of God (James 4:8).

2. If we do not draw near to God, we dis-honour His Son, and so dishonour Himself, in so far as we frustrate the great design of the mystery of Christ (John 5:23).

IV. PRACTICAL IMPROVEMENT OF THE SUBJECT, in an use of exhortation.

1. Come back, sinners, draw near towards God and duty. What have you gained by going from Him?

2. Not only draw towards God, but come forward, and draw near to Him as a God in Christ. You may get near to Him ere you come to heaven; in His ordinances in the lower house, there you may have access to Him. Particularly, let us draw near to Him —(1) In prayer (chap. 4:16).(2) In the holy sacrament of the supper. God is again coming to us in that ordinance: an ordinance appointed for the most special nearness out of heaven (1 Corinthians 10:16).

3. Let us draw near in these ordinances —(1) As rebels accepting the King's peace, indemnity in the blood of His Son; draw near, and welcome (Isaiah 27:5).(2) As petitioners to the King.(3) As servants of the house, to serve our Lord, to wait upon Him, and behold His glory (Psalm 116:16).(4) As friends; friends of God, to have fellowship with Him, who may freely converse with Him: to unbosom ourselves to Him, and to be let into the secrets of the covenant (John 15:15).(5) As children to a Father in Christ, to receive the portion of children.(6) As a spouse to a husband, for our Maker is our Husband. Let us embrace Him in the arms of faith, give the love of the heart to Him a full vent (Song of Solomon 8:6).

4. But how must the business of our drawing near to God be managed? The apostle here lays down four directions:(1) Draw near to God sincerely. Hypocrisy is a disease in the vitals of religion; it pretends one thing and intends another.(2) Draw near in the "full assurance of faith." Faith's special object is the blood of Christ.(3) Get your hearts beforehand " sprinkled from an evil conscience." Are you to come to His table? pray that all controversies be done away between you and Him. If you are to appear before the Lord, go, dip, wash, bathe in the fountain opened for sin and for uncleanness (Zechariah 13:1) that you may be clean.(4) Let your outward conversation be blameless, free from scandalous sins (Psalm 24:4).

(T. Boston, D. D.)

I. THE DUTY HERE ENJOINED. To draw near to God, in the sense of our text, is to seek Him in the use of the appointed means of grace, that we may be restored to His favour and image, and enjoy a heartfelt sense of that restoration.

1. We draw near to God when we engage properly in the solemn exercise of public worship.

2. Again, we draw near to God when we engage properly in the exercise of social worship.

3. We also draw near to God, in a peculiar sense, when we engage properly in the exercise of secret devotion.

II. How THIS DUTY MAY BE ACCEPTABLY PERFORMED. TO draw near "with a true heart," means to worship God with sincerity, which is an indispensable ingredient in Christian piety. But do not confound sincerity with worthiness: that is another thing altogether. If we wait for a blessing at the hand of God till we are worthy of it, we shall die unblessed, and be lost for ever. We have nothing to plead but the worthy name of Jesus, and we need no other; and while we pray in His name, we may know ourselves sincerer however unworthy. The "assurance of faith" is a firm persuasion, a satisfactory evidence, that God does accept, pardon, save, and bless us, for Christ's sake; and this firm persuasion, this satisfactory evidence, arises, not only from the exceeding great and precious promises of His Word, but chiefly from the direct influence of His Spirit, bearing witness with our spirit that we are His children. "Having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience." There are some evils from which a man may escape; but shall a man flee from a guilty conscience? As well might he endeavour to escape from his shadow when the sun is shining. Wherever he goes, or whatever he does, he feels self-reproach and a sense of the displeasure of the Almighty. Now let us accept the call of grace, be sprinkled from an evil conscience, and restored to the favour and image of God, that, like the apostle, we may "have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men." "And our bodies washed with pure water," in Christian baptism. Water baptism is an outward sign of the inward grace of purification.

III. A FEW BRIEF, PRACTICAL INFERENCES.

1. The first inference from the whole subject is, whoever neglects the means of grace, deprives himself of religious enjoyment.

2. The next inference is, they who use the means of grace will profit thereby.

3. Finally, we infer from this text, what is elsewhere plainly declared, "Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you."

(T. A. Morris, D. D.)

On one occasion the Reformer paid a pastoral visit to a young scholar who was in his last illness, and one of the first inquiries made was, "What do you think you can take to God, in whose presence you are so shortly to appear?" With striking confidence the youth at once replied, "Everything that is good, dear father — everything that is good!" "But how can you bring Him everything good, seeing that you are but a poor sinner?" anxiously asked the Doctor. "Dear father," at once added the young man, "I will take to my God in heaven a penitent, humble heart, sprinkled with the blood of Christ." "Truly that is everything good," answered Luther. "Then go, dear son; you will be a welcome guest to God."

(Anecdotes of Luther.)

Some speak as if the "Let us draw near" meant prayer, and that in our special approach to' God in acts of worship we enter the holiest of all. No; great as this privilege is, God has meant something for us infinitely greater. We are to draw near, and dwell always, to live our life and do our work within the sphere, the atmosphere of the inner sanctuary. It is God's presence makes holy ground; God's immediate presence in Christ makes any place the holiest of all: and this is it into which we are to draw nigh, and in which we are to abide. There is not a single moment of the day, there is not a circumstance or surrounding, in which the believer may not be kept dwelling in the secret place of the Most High.

(Andrew Murray.)

Enter into the holiest of all, and dwell there. It will enter thee, and transform thee and dwell in thee. And thy heart will be the holiest of all, in which He dwells.

(Andrew Murray,)

Full assurance of faith.
The full assurance of faith is a firm and full reliance on God and on. Christ, founded on a firm conviction that what is made known to us in the gospel. is true. It has nothing to do with a belief in, or persuasion of, our own personal salvation. No one need wait, then, for this before he approaches God in prayer. Without any thought of self, except as we are conscious of weakness, of want, and of unworthiness, we may with boldness enter in the holiest of all, if we have a firm faith in God and in Christ. Is there, then, some may be ready to ask, no such thing as assurance of personal salvation? Granting that this is not to be confounded with that full assurance of faith of which the apostle speaks, may there not, nevertheless, be such a thing as this personal assurance of salvation, and may we not speak of it under other and more appropriate phraseology? To this I reply at once that there is such a thing, and that Christians may not only speak of it, but ought to seek earnestly, each one for himself, to attain to it. Christians are enjoined to examine themselves, so as to ascertain whether they are in a state of salvation or not; to be very earnest and diligent to certify their calling and election of God; to desire and aim at the attainment of firm and steadfast hope of eternal blessedness: and to regard the possession of joy in the Lord as a blessing to be asked of God, and a state of mind to be continually cherished by the believer. But obviously all this would be in vain if it be not possible for Christians to have some well-founded assurance that they are in a state of salvation. But whilst this seems unquestionably true, and whilst, therefore, there is such a thing as personal assurance of salvation, the doctrine has often been presented in such a way as to engender serious mistakes and lead to very dangerous errors. To some of them I must now advert.

1. It is an error to suppose that assurance of personal salvation does not admit of degrees; in other words, that it may be as full and strong in one just entering on the Christian life as it can be in one who has kept the faith for many years, and has passed through the varied experience of the Christian course. "In ordinary cases," says a man eminent for his ability, piety, and experience, "I entertain a better opinion of the modest, doubting, and fearful professor than of the bold and assured one."

2. Another error on this head is, that assurance of personal salvation is essential to salvation. This is held by those who teach that the faith which justifies is a confident assurance that the individual is himself in Christ, and so saved; and it is involved in the opinion of those who teach that every man who is in Christ knows this, and so is assured of his own safety. Now nothing can be more unscriptural than such doctrines. In all the New Testament there is not a single instance in which the apostles indicate, in the most distant way, that saving faith is a man's belief in his own salvation. No; their invariable cry was, Repent, and believe in Christ; accept the offered salvation through faith in Him. Trust in Him; rest on Him; come unto God through Him and be saved. It is no doubt true that to believe in Christ is to trust in Him for our own individual salvation, for the forgiveness of our own sins and the salvation of our own souls. But to trust in Him for our salvation is a very different thing from believing that we are actually saved in Him; to have assurance that His work affords a sufficient ground for us to rest upon as well as others, is a very different thing from having assurance that we are actually resting on that work for salvation; to know that Christ "loved the Church, and gave Himself for it," is a very different thing from knowing that He loved us and gave Himself for us. "Nothing," says the sagacious Andrew Fuller, "can be an object of faith except what God has revealed in His Word; but the interest that any individual has in Christ, and the blessings of the Gospel, more than another is not revealed. God has nowhere declared concerning any of us, as individuals, that we shall be saved; all that He has revealed on this subject respects us as characters. He has abundantly promised that all who believe in Him, love Him, and obey Him shall be saved; and a persuasion, that if we sustain these characters we shall be saved is doubtless an exercise of faith; but whether we do or not is an object not of faith, but of consciousness .... The grand object on which faith fixes is the glory of Christ, and not the happy condition we are in as interested in Him .... If we be concerned only for our own security, our faith is vain, and we are yet in our sins." To these wise and weighty words I can add nothing, and nothing needs to be added.

3. The last error I notice is, that we can arrive at assurance of our own personal salvation otherwise than by means of a holy life. This is the criterion which Scripture everywhere proposes; and when any other is proposed, the door is opened for all manner of delusions and fanaticism. If men imagine they can directly see the existence of faith in their souls, or if they suppose that a conviction of their being of the number of the elect is borne in on their souls by the Holy Spirit, or if they infer from some pleasant feelings in their own minds that they are the objects of God's favour, they are either deluding themselves with what is impossible, or they are trusting to what may be a mere fancy or passing emotion of their own minds. The only sure evidence of our being in a state of grace, is our being in heart and life holy. From this two things follow. The one is, that no man can in this life be absolutely sure that he is sated, because no man in this life can become perfectly holy; the other is, that as holiness of heart and life is salvation, it is only in proportion as this is attained that we have any real ground for believing that we are personally saved. "By their fruits," said our Lord, "ye shall know them." The great thing for us is to apply the right test to ourselves, and to look for those signs of salvation in ourselves which our Lord and His apostles have laid down, that we might try ourselves by them.

(W. L. Alexander, D. D.)

Not with a quarter or half wind, but with full assurance, such a gale of faith as fills the sails of the soul, and makes it set up its top-gallant as it were.

(J. Trapp.)

Hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience.
Among the reasons which may be assigned for the observance of prayer at stated times, there is one which is very obvious, and yet perhaps is not so carefully remembered and acted upon as it should be. I mean the necessity of sinners cleansing themselves from time to time of the ever-accumulating guilt which loads their consciences. We are ever sinning; and though Christ has died once for all to release us from our penalty, yet we are not pardoned once for all, but according as, and whenever each of us supplicates for the gift. By the prayer of faith we appropriate it; but only for the time, not for ever. Guilt is again contracted, and must be again repented of and washed away.

1. First consider our present condition, as shown us in Scripture. Christ has not changed this, though He has died; it is as it was from the beginning — I mean our actual state as men. The history of redemption, if it is to be effectual, must begin from the beginning with every individual of us, and be curried on through our own life.(1) When this is borne in mind, how important the Jewish Law becomes to us Christians I important in itself, over and above all references contained in it to that gospel which it introduced. To this day it fulfils its original purpose of impressing upon man his great guilt and feebleness. Those legal sacrifices and purifications which are now all done away, are still evidence to us of a fact which the gospel has not annulled — our corruption.(2) Next, to pass from the Jewish law, you will observe that God tells us expressly in the history of the fall of Adam, what the legal ceremonies implied; that it is our very nature which is sinful. Herein is the importance of the doctrine of original sin. It is very humbling, and as such the only true introduction to the preaching of the gospel. "Thy first father hath sinned": this is the legend on our forehead which even the sign of the Cross does no more than blot out, leaving the mark of it. This is our shame; but I notice it here, not so much as a humbling thought, as with a view of pressing upon Tour consciences the necessity of appearing before God at stated seasons, in order to put aside the continually-renewed guilt of your nature. Who will dare go on day after day in neglect of earnest prayer, and the Holy Communion, while each day brings its own fearful burden, coming as if spontaneously, springing from our very nature, but not got rid of without deliberate and direct acts of faith in the Great Sacrifice which has been set forth for its removal?(3) Further, look into your own souls and see if you cannot discern some part of the truth of the Scripture statement, which I have been trying to set before you. Recollect the bad thoughts of various kinds which come into your minds like darts; for these will be some evidence to you of the pollution and odiousness of your nature. Even if you reject them, still do they not answer Satan's purpose m inflaming your mind at the instant, and so evidence that the matter of which it is composed is corruptible?

2. Again, reflect on the habits of sin which we super-added to our evil nature before we turned to God. Instead of checking the bad elements within us, perhaps we indulged them for years; and they truly had their fruit unto death. Then Adam's sin increased, and multiplied itself within us; there was a change, but it was for the worse, not for the better; and the new nature we gained, far from being spiritual, was twofold more the child of hell than that with which we were born. So when, at length, we turned back into a better course, what a complicated work lay before us, to unmake ourselves! And however long we have laboured at it, still how much unconscious, unavoidable sin, the result of past transgression, is thrown out from our hearts day by day in the energy of our thinking and acting!

3. Further, consider how many sins are involved in our obedience, I may say from the mere necessity of the case; that is, from not having that more vigorous and clear-sighted faith which would enable us accurately to discern and closely to follow the way of life. We stand before God as the Israelites at the passover of Hezekiah, who desired to serve God according to the Law, but could not do so accurately from lack of knowledge; and we can but offer, through our Great High Priest, our sincerity and earnestness instead of exact obedience, as Hezekiah did for them. What I have said is a call upon you, in the first place, to daily private prayer. Next, it is a call upon you to join the public services of the Church, not only once a week, but whenever you have the opportunity; knowing well that your Redeemer is especially present where two or three are gathered together. Christ died once, long since: by communicating in His Sacrament, you renew the Lord's death: you bring into the midst of you that Sacrifice which took away the sins of the world; you appropriate the benefit of it, while you eat it under the elements of bread and wine.

(J. H. Newman, D. D.)

Suppose that all the people in the place where we live had some disease of the eye, and that in consequence some were not able to see at all, while none of them were able to see anything clearly. What a sad state of things this would be! We read of persons in the Bible who were just in this condition (2 Kings 6.). It is a good thing that we have no such trouble with our bodily eyes; but the soul has an eye as well as the body. God has put these eyes in our bodies that we may see where to go and what to do. And so God has given to our souls that which we call conscience, and which shows us what is right and what is wrong — what we ought to do and what we ought not to do. But the apostle speaks in our text of "an evil conscience." This means a conscience that has been injured like a diseased eye, so that we cannot see clearly.

I. WHAT IS THE USE OF CONSCIENCE?

1. To guide us and keep us from doing wrong. You know we have reins for our horses to keep them in the way they should go; and our consciences are the reins by which God guides us, and if we only mind the reins we shall save ourselves from sin and sorrow.

2. To keep an account of what we do. Conscience is God's scribe or private secretary; it writes down all that we do, or say, or think, or feel. During the reign of Queen Mary, Bishop Latimer was brought to trial for conscience' sake. In the room in which the trial took place was a curtain, and behind this curtain a man writing. Whenever the bishop answered a question he heard the sound of this man's pen as he wrote down each word that was spoken. The bishop said that the sound of that pen made him very careful to say nothing but what was strictly true. And this shows us how we should act at all times. Conscience, God's secretary, is writing down everything that we do, "whether it be good or whether it be evil." And the book in which this is written is " the book of God's remembrance," of which the Bible tells us, and out of which we are to be judged at last.

3. As a detector, to find out sin after it has been committed. You know we have what are called detective police. When a robbery has taken place, or a murder has been committed, the business of these men is to try and find out the guilty ones. And God makes use of conscience as His detective police to find out those who have sinned secretly.

II. How MAY CONSCIENCE BE INJURED?

1. By not giving it good light. We have compared conscience to the eye of the soul. We may also compare it to the window of the soul. A window is of use for letting light into room, and also for looking through, that we may see what is outside of the window. But if we wish to have a correct view of the things that we are looking at through a window, what sort of glass is it necessary to have in the window? Clear glass. Suppose that the glass in the window instead of being clear is stained glass — one pane red, another blue, another yellow, and another green. When we look through the red glass what colour will the things be that we are looking at? Red. And so, when we look through the blue glass all things will be blue, they will be yellow when we look through the yellow glass, and green when we look through the green glass. But suppose we have thick, heavy shutters to the window, and keep them closed. Can we see anything through the window then? No. And can we see anything in the room when the shutters are closed? No; it will be dark. And conscience is like a window in this respect. We must keep the shutters open and the windows clean, so that plenty of pure light can get in if we wish to see things plainly. God's blessed Word, the Bible, gives us exactly the kind of light we need in order to have a good conscience. Let us be careful that we do not injure our consciences by not letting in this light.

2. By not minding what they say. The apostle Paul speaks in one place of men's consciences, which, he says, have been "seared with a hot iron" (1 Timothy 4:2). Notice how thin and tender is the skin on your hand or face. It is so delicate that it can feel the slightest touch. Not even a feather can rest upon it without your feeling it. But suppose you should have a red-hot iron applied to your hand. It would burn the skin off, and make a sore which would give you great pain. Afterwards it would heal over, and the skin would grow again, but the new skin would be very different from that on your hand now. Instead of being smooth and tender like this, it would be rough and hard, and have very little feeling. And the apostle means to say that if we do not mind what our consciences tell us we shall injure them just as the skin of our hand is injured by being "seared with a hot iron." You know what an alarm-clock is. It is a kind of clock made to wake persons at a particular hour by making a loud noise. Suppose you have one of these clocks, and you wish it to waken you so that you can rise every morning at four o'clock. You wind it up at night and set the index-finger on the dial-plate pointing to four. The clock keeps on through the night, ticking away, till four o'clock in the morning. Then it begins to strike and ring, and makes such a racket as is sure to wake any ordinary sleeper. This is a very convenient way of being roused from sleep. Yes, it is a sure way, if you only mind the clock, and get up when it calls you. But if you turn over and go to sleep again for two or three mornings, the alarum-clock will lose its power, or rather you will lose your power of hearing it or of being awakened by it. No change will take place in the clock, but a great change will take place in yon. The clock will continue to sound the alarm at the proper hour, and it will make as much noise as ever it did, but it will lose its effect. You will sleep quietly on, just as though the alarm had never been given. Now, conscience is God's alarum-clock. If we stop when it says " stop," if we do what it tells us to do, then we shall always hear it; but if we get into the habit of not heeding its warning, and not doing what it tells us to do, then by and by we shall cease to hear it.

III. How MAY AN EVIL CONSCIENCE BE HEALED? The answer to this question will depend upon the way in which we injure our consciences. We may injure them by doing wrong to those about us, or by sinning against God. And this must be taken into account in saying how the injured conscience can be healed. Suppose we feel distressed in our consciences on account of some wrong done to a friend or neighbour; then the way to get rid of this trouble, and heal our injured conscience, is to go and tell that friend of the fault — to say that we are sorry for it, and ask his forgiveness, thus making up for the wrong we have done. But if our consciences are troubled on account of our sins against God, then how are they to be healed. How are we to get rid of this trouble? Oh, it is dreadful to feel that God is angry with us I When we know that this is the case we never can be happy till our sins are pardoned and our consciences are healed; and it is for this reason that the Bible tells us of Jesus as "the Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the world." He shed His precious blood and died for us on purpose that our sins may be pardoned, and we may be at peace with God. And this is what the apostle refers to in the text when he speaks of "having our hearts sprinkled from an evil .conscience."

(R. Newton, D. D.)

Of course, the expression "sprinkled" is metaphorical. It means that we must receive into our hearts a sense and full belief of the efficacy of the death of Jesus Christ to cancel all our guilt and condemnation, and of the power of the Holy Spirit to make us yet good and holy and fit for the presence of God. And when we use the word "sprinkled," it is to convey the excessive strength and efficacy and virtue of the grace of God — so that even though we may not yet be flooded with that spiritual "blood" and that spiritual "water," its very drops will do the work I And if only you let your heart be imbued with the love of Jesus Christ and the faith which is in Him, and if you accept the gentle distillings of the Holy Ghost upon your soul, you shall be saved — saved from the torment of your own conscience now, and from "the worm that dieth not, and the fire that never shall be quenched" hereafter — because then the conscience that you are in Christ — and the conscience which God will give you of His perfect pardon and love — will entirely neutralise and destroy all power to hurt and distress you — in the conscience of all the sins you have ever done; and "the sprinkled heart" will kill the venom of "an evil conscience." That gnawing canker! that dogging fear! that burden too heavy to be borne! that black future! There they are! Who sent them? God. And why did He send them? Because He loves you. And who shall take them away? God. Only God. Place yourself under the "sprinkling"; if you cannot, ask Him to place you. Beg the great High Priest to "sprinkle" you; to do it at once, because you are at the worst, and just going to die. The "water" and the "blood" are always in His hand. And He is always pouring them out. Only lay bare your secret. Then open your heart of hearts to take it in.

(J. Vaughan, M. A.)

When the compass loses its proper polarity at sea, the whole course of the vessel might be altered by it; and when the conscience loses its right direction, its responsibility to God, its deference and inclination to His law, by its continued violation of the higher duties, the heart is filled with fears, the dispensations of Providence are suspected to be judgments, when they may be real and satisfying mercies.

Neighbour Jones has a conscience that looks forward and keeps him from doing wrong. But neighbour Smith's conscience is of the ex post facto order, never manifesting itself till after the wrong deed is done, and then acting as a terrible avenger. How many there are of this kind, always sinning and always repenting! No class of men, in a moral point of view, suffer so much as they.

When Professor Webster was awaiting his trial, he brought against his fellowprisoners the charge of insulting him through the walls of his cell, and screaming to him, "You are a bloody man!" On examination it was found that the charge was wholly groundless, and that these accusing voices were imaginary, being but the echo of a guilty conscience. If such things can be done in earth's prisons, what are sinners to look for in a future world? Oh, what taunts and curses shall pierce the ears of these who lie down in hell! Conscience will have a terrific power of starting such accusations, and then an ear of keen sensibility to receive the echoes as they roll back upon the soul What an occupation for eternity! What inconceivable agony to be shut up with the ghostly memories of past sin, and to hear, through long centuries of gloom and despair, only the uttered and echoed curses which sin brings down upon the soul! Oh for that grace which sprinkles our hearts from an evil conscience!

The sailors on the French coast have a legend, that beneath the waters as they lap the shore, deep down, there are the ruins of a buried city, and that on still, quiet nights it is possible for a voyager to overhear the music of the church bells as they gently sound fathoms deep. So in the heart of every man there is, deep down, the buried power of conscience, and in days of pain and sickness and loneliness and bereavement, of holy ministry and quickening, the voice of conscience, fathoms deep, is heard in the breast of man, speaking for God and truth, and of judgment to come.

(F. B. Meyer, B. A.)

Hold fast the profession of our faith.
I. WHAT WE ALREADY HAVE by the grace of God. If we read the text according to our present authorised translation, we have faith. We have made a public avowal of our faith. We have obtained what the apostle calls "like precious faith": it is a rare jewel, and he is rich that possesseth it. But another reading — and a very good reading too — runs thus: "The confession of our hope." If we have faith we have hope. We will take both renderings; for they are both correct in fact if not in the letter. We have a blessed hope, a hope most "sure and steadfast, which entereth into that which is within the veil." The day of our Lord's appearing will be the day of the redemption of the body from the dust with which it mingles. We have a joyful, glorious, blessed hope which purifies, and comforts, and strengthens, and sustains us, and this hope is in us now. Are we not enriched with the grace of God? Where faith and hope are found, love cannot be far off; for the three Divine sisters are seldom separated. Let us love the Lord who has given us the first two.

II. We have made A PROFESSION OF OUR FAITH, AND A CONFESSION OF OUR HOPE, By the memories of the day when you made that profession, be firm in it to the end. If you were not false then, if you were not deceivers then, hold fast the confession of your hope without wavering, for" He is faithful that promised." Let us remember also the many times in which we have repeated that profession of faith, that confession of hope; for instead of retracting it, we have gone on to repeat it. We have been marked anew with the King's name. If you ask how you have renewed your vows, I reply: you have done it many a time at the table of communion. You have repeated your profession in the shop, and in the market, and in the place of business, and among your friends, and in your family, and to the partner of your life. Those around you know you to be professedly an heir of heaven, a child of God: it is well that they should. We have considered how we began this profession, and we have also seen how often we have made it since. Let us think for a minute what it has cost us. Religion has cost many of its disciples somewhat dear: but it has cost nothing compared with its worth. What bashfulness it cost you to make the first confession of your faith! What a struggle it then appeared! You cried to God about it and you obtained courage; and now you wonder how you could have been so foolishly timid. Do not in future fall into the same fears. But perhaps some of you lost the friendship of many by becalming disciples of the Lord Jesus. I know one who became a member of this Church: she had moved in high and fashionable circles, but she said to me, "They have left me — everyone of them." I said, "I am very thankful; for it will save you the trouble of quitting them. They will do you no good if they profess to be your friends; and they will do you less harm by giving you the cold shoulder." It is about the best thing that happens to a Christian man when worldlings cut his acquaintance.

III. WHAT ARE WE NOW TO DO?

1. We are called upon to hold fast the profession of our faith.

(1)Of course this includes the holding fast of your faith.

(2)Hold you next to your hope.

2. But that is not the text. It is hold fast your profession of faith, your confession of hope; that is to say, stand to what you have done by way of avowment of these things. Constantly keep up your confession. You made it once. Renew it.

IV. WHY ARE WE TO DO THIS? We are to hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering, because He is faithful that has promised. Have you found Him faithful? Has the Lord failed you? Has the Lord been untrue in His promises to you? If He has, then do not hold fast your profession. If, after all, it has been a mistake and a delusion, then give it up. But if He is faithful that has promised — if till this moment you have proved the power of prayer, the wisdom of providence, and the truth of the Sacred Word, then deal with my Lord as He has dealt with you. Be not faithless to the Crucified.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

I. THE PROFESSION REFERRED TO.

1. It is put on when we become the members of His visible Church.

2. It is one part of religion itself.

3. It will expose to difficulties and sufferings.

(1)Assaults of Satan.

(2)Opposition of world.

(3)Indisposition of our own hearts.

II. THE DUTY ENJOINED.

1. There must be decision of character. Not halting between two opinions. Not half-hearted. All our powers surrendered to God.

2. There must be constancy of spirit. Heart established, mind fixed, soul stayed upon God. Constant in duties; especially prayer, praise, reading the Divine Word, etc. Always setting the Lord before us, etc. Not as the morning cloud and early dew, &c.

3. There must be perseverance in practice. We only retain our hold by pressing onwards, etc. Not weary, but faithful unto death.

4. In short, we must hold fast our profession.

(1)By the exercise of vigorous faith.

(2)By the constraining influence of Christ's love.

(3)By the cheering attractions of a lively hope.

(4)By the supporting and staying effects of holy patience.

(5)By the continual use of all the appointed means of grace.

III. SOME MOTIVES BY WHICH THIS DUTY MAY BE ENFORCED. Love to Jesus is a powerful motive. Gratitude for past mercies. Our present happiness, and our prospect of eternal felicity. But Christ's faithfulness is here laid down as the great motive.

1. He has promised to give us grace to hold fast our profession; and "He is faithful."

2. He has promised to acknowledge our profession; and " He is faithful."

3. He has promised to reward our profession; and " He is faithful."Application:

1. Learn that religion requires both the devotion of the heart and the profession of the life.

2. The way to heaven is associated with conflicts.

3. Stedfastness is essential to our final salvation.

4. God has provided abundant resources for our comfort and safety.

5. The end will amply recompense for the trials of the way.

(J. Burns, D. D.)

Admiral Foote, of the American navy, was a very godly man. While pacing the deck at night, on the lonely seas, and talking with a pious shipmate, he became convinced of his need of a Saviour and became His disciple, remaining true to his profession to the last. He used to be called the "Stonewall Jackson of the Navy." He often preached to his crew on Sundays, and was ever forward in doing good.

(H. O. Mackey.)

Late observations have shown that under many circumstances the magnetic needle, even after the disturbing influence has been removed, will continue wavering, and require many days before it points aright and remains steady to the pole. So is it ordinarily with the soul, after it has begun to force itself from the disturbing forces of the flesh and of the world.

(Coleridge's Aids to Reflection.)

Some time ago, in one of our great ships of war, there was a solitary sailor who was not ashamed to own himself a follower of Christ. For a long time he was alone; no other sailor joined him. His place of prayer was amid the noise and din of the sailors. One evening he perceived a shadow by the side of the gun. Another Jack Tar was creeping along, and said, "May I come?" Oh, the joy of the young sailor to have a comrade with him! They met for many nights behind the gun, reading and praying. They became the butt of the men in two or three messes, but still continued, bearing and forbearing. It came to the ears of the commander, who was a Roman Catholic — but I mention this to his honour. The moment he heard that two of his sailors were meeting for reading and prayer behind one of the guns, he sent for one of them, and instantly ordered a portion of the lower deck to be curtained off, and gave orders that no one should molest them. For some nights they were the only occupants, but by and by the curtain was opened, and a blue-jacket said, "May I come in?" He was welcomed. Another came, and another, and the last account I heard from that ship was this, that every night thirty-two were meeting for prayer, thirty of them believed to be converted characters. And there, by "standing fire," by standing firm, true to what was his duty, God has blessed that solitary sailor, and made him a spiritual father to at least thirty of the men on board the ship.

In the reign of Queen Mary of England, a man named Palmer was condemned to die. Before his death he was earnestly persuaded to recant, and among other things a friend said to him, "Take pity on thy golden years and pleasant flowers of youth before it is too late." His beautiful reply was, "Sir, I long for those springing flowers which shall never fade away." When in the midst of the flames he exhorted his companions to constancy, saying, "We shall not end our lives in the fire, but make a change for a better life; yea, for coals we shall receive pearls."

He is faithful that promised.
1. We have a promise. We are secure; when one that is able hath passed his word, and by promise bound himself unto us, then we make sure thus far of the thing promised. The thing which we desire, and which is promised unto us, is not only the reward of eternal glory, which is the object of our hope, but power and ability with assistance to do all things necessary for the attainment thereof; for in the gospel, not only the reward, but power to perform our duty, are promised (Ephesians 1:16-19).

2. This promise is not the promise of any man or angel, but of God; this is more than if all the best men and all the holy angels had bound themselves unto us and given us all security, which possibly they could. The reason hereof is that His power is absolute and almighty, and nothing can resist or hinder it if once it begin to work. Besides, God's mercy is like His power, and as He is able, so is He willing to do what He hath promised, and He hath signified His will and purpose, through faith, by His power to preserve us unto salvation.

3. Yet one may be able, and for a time willing, and yet upon several reasons and motives change his mind, for the mind and will of man or angel is not absolutely immutable; and so, though perhaps they will not, yet it is possible, they may fail us. But God will not, God cannot, for God who hath promised is faithful; for as He cannot forget or be hindered by any contrary power, so He cannot change His will. If He say the word, it must be done; if He pass His promise, He will perform. This faithfulness presupposeth His power and His promise, and it is the immutability of His will, for as He is unchangeable in His being, so He is in His promise (1 Samuel 15:29; Malachi 3:6). So that all is sure on God's part, and man hath no cause to waver, except he neglect his duty; and if he perish, his destruction must be of himself. And shall we, who have so great advantage, so many helps, so blessed an opportunity, and the promise of a faithful God, neglect and injure ourselves so much as to lose this glorious and incomparable prize? Shall we come out of Egypt, and come so near the borders of the heavenly Canaan, and turn hack? or refuse to go forward? Let us detest and eternally abhor to waver; let us go on whatsoever it may cost us.

(G. Lawson.)

: —

I. IT IS A FACT — "He is faithful that promised."

1. Of whom it is that our text speaks. "He is faithful that promised." Our text points to Him who fills the throne itself; we are contemplating Him as engaged to us by a covenant ordered in all things and sure; and as having communicated in consequence exceeding great and precious promises, while He is faithful to each and every promise which He has thus made.

2. We regard the Divine promises themselves. These promises are not mere movements of the Divine mind arising only under the exigencies of new circumstances or of events which spring up in the progress of time, but they flow from the deep fountains of His own grace and love; they embrace all that which is involved in the gift of His dear Son, the great work of the Saviour, the communications of the Divine Spirit, and in the application of every blessing which God has engaged to bestow on His Church on earth. They are all written with His own hand, they are all stamped with His own authority; and in His own Word they stand out in all their truth and in all their fulness.

3. We now consider the faithfulness of God to His promises. The first promise was that the seed of the woman should arrive in the fulness of time, and that He should bruise the serpent's head; that He should give Himself as a ransom, and purchase the Church with His own blood. That promise has been fulfilled. Then, the promise of the Holy Ghost. The Redeemer ascended up on high; and He has poured forth the Divine Spirit: it has been granted and it is still continued to the Church.

II. As IT IS THE EXPRESSION OF THE CHRISTIAN'S EXPERIENCE — "He is faithful that promised." When you are brought by the Holy Spirit to a just consideration of your own state as sinners, and with your eyes fixed upon the Infinite One, and stripped by transgression of all the rights with which you were originally invested, and when you see the manner in which God bestows everything out of His own fulness, and supplies your daily and your hourly wants; it is not on yourself or fellow-men that you can depend, for they are weak and evanescent as you are. It is not on your own works and your own productions that you can repose. It is not on your toil, your labour, your skill, or your acquisitions, that you can depend; for whatever your gains, they may take to themselves wings and fly and leave you desolate and utterly worthless. But the eye of faith contemplates the Infinite Being. It takes hold of God through His gracious word of promise; it looks at the atoning sacrifice of Jesus; it stands by that sacrifice, and embracing that Saviour as the only hope, the soul contemplates a faithful God.

(Owen Clarke.)

I. THE NATURE OF THE PROMISES.

1. They flow solely from the free and sovereign good pleasure of Jehovah.

2. They have all an immediate connection with the Lord Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 1:20).

3. The form in which they are directed is not always the same, but sometimes assumes a more absolute, and sometimes a more conditional, appearance.

4. None of the promises, how conditional soever in their form, are altogether beyond the reach of sinners, so long as they are in the land of the living and place of hope.

5. They are many and various, every way suited to the numerous and diversified wants both of saints and sinners.

II. SOME CONSIDERATIONS TENDING TO ESTABLISH OUR CONFIDENCE IN THE DIVINE FAITHFULNESS AS A SECURITY THAT THE PROMISES WILL BE FULFILLED.

1. Faithfulness is an essential perfection of the Divine nature. The name of the Lord is faithful and true.

2. The promises upon the accomplishment so much of our comfort depends are promises of grace.

3. The truth of God is pledged in the most solemn manner for the accomplishment of His promises.

4. Nothing unforeseen or unexpected can occur as a reason why we should doubt the Divine faithfulness.

5. God is omnipotent, and therefore it is not the want of power that can render Him unfaithful.

6. God is unchangeable both in His nature and purpose; it is impossible, therefore, that He can ever disappoint the hopes that His goodness has raised.

(G. Campbell.)

The doctrine of the Incarnation is a promise; it assures us that God has become man to save us from sin. The doctrine of the Atonement is a promise; it explains the ground on which God grants the pardon of sin. The doctrine of Justification is a promise that the penalty of sin may be cancelled; the doctrine of Sanctification, that the power of sin may be destroyed.

(R. W. Dale, LL. D.)

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