Hebrews 4:1
Therefore, while the promise of entering His rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be deemed to have fallen short of it.
Sermons
Fear of Failing to Realize the Promised RestW. Jones Hebrews 4:1
The Two GospelsD. Young Hebrews 4:1
A Check to PresumptionThe Congregational PulpitHebrews 4:1-2
Believers in Israel and in ChristJ.S. Bright Hebrews 4:1, 2
Cause of the Unprofitable Hearing of the WordAlex. Nisbet.Hebrews 4:1-2
Christ's Legacy of RestM. Henry.Hebrews 4:1-2
Coming Short of the Promised RestT. J. Judkin, M. A.Hebrews 4:1-2
Faith Increased by FaithA. J. Begel.Hebrews 4:1-2
Faith not to be Mixed with FanciesD. Dickson, M. A.Hebrews 4:1-2
Faith, the Necessary GraceWilliam Colvill.Hebrews 4:1-2
Fear and RestA. Saphir.Hebrews 4:1-2
Fear of PerishingD. Dickson, M. A.Hebrews 4:1-2
Fearful of Coming ShortC. H. Spurgeon.Hebrews 4:1-2
Hearing Bat not ProfitingC. H. Spurgeon.Hebrews 4:1-2
Necessity for Religious CautionG. T. Noel, M. AHebrews 4:1-2
Not Being Mixed with FaithBp. Phillips Brooks.Hebrews 4:1-2
On Hearing the Word PreachedJ. Sinclair, M. A.Hebrews 4:1-2
Preaching and PractisingJ. Parker, D. D.Hebrews 4:1-2
Profitable MixtureC. H. Spurgeon.Hebrews 4:1-2
Profitless HearingW Jones, D. D.Hebrews 4:1-2
The Appearance of FailureH. Melvill, B. D.Hebrews 4:1-2
The Christian's Privilege, Danger and DutySketches of SermonsHebrews 4:1-2
The Danger of Falling Short of the Heavenly RestJ. P. Wright, M. A.Hebrews 4:1-2
The Fear of Losing the Promised RestNeville Jones.Hebrews 4:1-2
The Gospel Must be BelievedThe ChurchHebrews 4:1-2
The Gospel of RestA. B. Bruce, D. D.Hebrews 4:1-2
The Gospel Preached Under the Old TestamentS. Mather.Hebrews 4:1-2
The Mercy of the GospelG. Lawson.Hebrews 4:1-2
The Preached GospelJohn Owen, D. D.Hebrews 4:1-2
The Promise of Entering into God's RestE. D. Solomon.Hebrews 4:1-2
The Promised RestAbp. Wake.Hebrews 4:1-2
The Word Preached, Net ProfitlessA. Boyd, M. A.Hebrews 4:1-2
Unprofitable HearingBaxendale's AnecdotesHebrews 4:1-2
Use of FearH. W. Beecher.Hebrews 4:1-2
The More Terrible Result of Apostasy from Christ Seen in the Better Rest to Which Christ LeadsC. New Hebrews 4:1-11
Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left, etc. Let us notice -

I. THE GREAT PROMISE. "A promise being left of entering into his rest." Later in the chapter (vers. 6-9) the writer shows from the Old Testament that such a promise was left to Christians. The rest promised is God's rest - "his rest;" because:

1. It corresponds with his.

(1) It is not the rest of inactivity, but of harmonious activities. "My Father," said Christ, "worketh hitherto, and I work." The highest rest is not in quiescence, but in unwearying and joyful endeavors; and it is illustrated, not by the stillness and silence of the sepulcher, but by the swift and serene movements of the planets.

"Absence of occupation is not rest;
A mind quite vacant is a mind distrest."


(Cowper.) Robertson well says, "In creation the rest of God is exhibited as a sense of power which nothing wearies."

(2) It is not material, but spiritual; not of the senses, but of the soul. He who has this rest will have peace in his spirit even when sorely pained in his body. Like St. Paul, he may be enabled even to glory in physical "infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon" him.

(3) It is not in circumstances, but in the being. Circumstances are variable, uncertain, unreliable; no real and abiding rest can spring from them or depend upon them. But the rest which is promised in the sacred Word is not dependent upon circumstances or upon any outward things. It is a deep inward rest even amidst outward conflict.

"And central peace subsisting at the heart
Of endless agitation."


(Wordsworth.) These things have I spoken unto you, that in me ye may have peace. In the world ye have tribulation, etc.

2. It is conferred by him. God is the Giver of this rest. He bestows it

(1) through the mediation of his Son Jesus Christ. Through him he removes the hindrances to this rest; e.g. guilt, servile fear, distrust of God, etc. And he inspires the spiritual conditions and constituents of this rest; e.g. the assurance of pardon, the possession of peace, the exercise of confidence in God, etc. "Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest," etc.; "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give unto you," etc. God bestows this rest

(2) by the agency of his Holy Spirit. He brings the redemptive powers of the gospel into relation with the hearts of men. "He shall take of mine," said our Lord, "and shall declare it unto you." How great and gracious is this promise!

II. THE GRAVE POSSIBILITY. "Lest any one of you should seem to have come short of it." The grave possibility is that when the great testing-time shall come any one should be found without a personal participation in the promised rest. The word "seem" does not indicate the apparent as distinguished from the real; but is, as Alford says, "a mild term, conveying indeed a sterner intimation behind it." But how should any one come short of the promised rest? Clearly by unbelief, even as the Israelites who left Egypt came short of the rest of Canaan. To these Hebrew Christians there was more than a possibility of the failure of their faith in Jesus Christ. His system had no imposing ceremonial, no pomp or pageantry to commend it, as Judaism had. He himself was despised and rejected by the conventionally and officially great and noble, and was condemned and crucified. The claims of Christianity upon the acceptance of men were spiritual, and could only be spiritually discerned. Hence the danger of those to whom the text was primarily addressed. And still men are in danger of coming short of the attainment of the great promise. This peril arises from the temptation to seek satisfaction in visible and material things rather than in invisible and spiritual things; or to seek for ease and happiness rather than for peace and rest; or to seek for rest in the creature rather than in the Creator. Or the danger may arise from the temptation to absorption in present pursuits without due consideration of their relation to the future and the eternal.

III. THE SOLEMN EXHORTATION. "Let us therefore fear," etc. This fear is not synonymous with dread or terror; but it indicates a humble, reverent, watchful, prayerful spirit. "Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling," etc. How would this fear guard one against coming short of the promised rest?

1. This fear is the antithesis and corrective of self-will and presumption. In humility there is security. "Gird yourselves with humility; for God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble."

2. This fear will lead to wariness and watchfulness. It will incite to the exercise of caution and care.

3. This fear will lead to distrust of self and confidence in God. "In the fear of the Lord is strong confidence; and his children shall have a place of refuge." And he who puts his trust in God shall not fail to attain unto the promised rest. "Let us therefore fear, lest," etc. - W.J.







Let us therefore fear.
I. WITH WHAT DOES THE FEAR ENJOINED IN THE TEXT MAINLY CONCERN ITSELF? Now, the apostle cannot mean that we are to fear lest we should come short of heaven for want of merit. There is not a man living who will not come short of heaven if he tries that road.

1. The great point is lest we come short of the heavenly rest by failing in the faith which will give us rest. Note, then, that it becomes us to be peculiarly anxious that we do not come short of fully realising the spirituality of faith. Many are content with the shells of religion, whereas it is the kernel only which can feed the soul.

2. The exhortation of our text leads us to say that we must take heed lest we fail to discern the fact that the whole way of salvation is of faith.

II. WHAT CIRCUMSTANCES MAY SUGGEST THE NECESSITY FOR THIS FEAR?

1. First, it is certain that many professors apostatise. Now, if others apostatise, may not we also?

2. Note, again, that we ourselves know others who are, we fear, much deceived, and fall short of true salvation. Though we have very much that is morally excellent, it may be that we are destitute of the real work of grace, and so come short of the rest which is given to faith,

3. Yet more, remember there are some professors who know that they are not at rest. "We that bare believed do enter into rest," but you know you have no peace.

III. WHAT SOLEMN TRUTHS DEMAND THE FEAR SUGGESTED IN THE TEXT? If we should really come short of heaven we shall have lost all its bliss and glory for ever. And we shall have lost heaven with this aggravation, that we did begin to build, but were not able to finish. Oh, fear lest ye come short of it. Nay, begin sooner, fear lest ye seem to come short of it, for he that is afraid of the seeming will be delivered from the reality.

IV. HOW DOES OUR FEAR EXERCISE ITSELF? Our fear of coming short of the rest must not lead us to unbelief, because in that case it would make us come short at once.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

The Congregational Pulpit.
I. The gospel is not only a revelation, but A PROMISE, and a promise exceeding great and precious. It not only holds forth to our view, but it proposes to our hope eternal life, and whatever is previously necessary to the acquisition of it. The promise was early made, and was often renewed with enlargements. Yes, in this blessed Book we have " a promise left us of entering into His rest." But what is this rest? We may view it as it is begun upon earth, or completed in heaven. Even while the believer is upon earth, this rest is not only ensured, but begun.

1. View him with regard to his understanding, and you will find that he has rest.

2. View him with regard to his conscience, and you will find that he has rest. He is freed from the torment of fear and the horrors of guilt.

3. View him with regard to his passions and appetites, and you find he has rest. While pride, and envy, and malice, and avarice, and sensual affections, reigned within, often striving with each other, and always fighting against the convictions of his judgment, the man's breast was nothing but a scene of tumult; he was "like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest."

4. view him once more with regard to his "condition and circumstances," and you will find that he has rest. He is freed from those anxieties which devour others, who make the world their portion, and have no confidence in God. With all his advantages here, a voice perpetually cries in his ears, "Arise and depart, for this is not your rest." However favourable the voyage, they are now on the treacherous ocean; and by and by they will enter the harbour — "then are they glad because they are quiet; so He bringeth them unto their desired haven." At death we are told the righteous enter into rest. And this rest is pure, undisturbed, and everlasting. They shall rest from " their labours." Though all activity, they shall be incapable of fatigue, for their powers will be fully equal to their work.

II. THE STATE OF MIND IN WHICH WE SHOULD REGARD IT — "Let us therefore fear," &c. The fear here enjoined is not that of the sluggard dismayed by difficulties, or of the unbeliever who suspects that the promise shall not be accomplished; but a fear of caution, vigilance; a fear which leads us to examine ourselves, and allows us, in this awful concern, to be satisfied with nothing less than evidence whether we have a title to heaven and are in a fair way to obtain this blessedness.

1. To excite in you this fear, remember the possibility of your coming short. Remember that out of six hundred thousand Israelites who came out of Egypt to possess the land of Canaan, two only entered!

2. Consider the consequence of coming short. Is it not dreadful to be deprived of that "fulness of joy" which God hath promised to them that love Him? What would it be to lose your business, your health, your friends, compared with the loss of the soul? And remember, there is no medium between heaven and hell; if you miss the one, the other is unavoidable. And remember also the aggravations which will attend the misery of those who perish in your circumstances. There is nothing so healing, so soothing, as the expectation of hope; and of course there is nothing so tormenting as the disappointment of it, especially where the object is vastly important. Yea, remember also that you will not only be disappointed in coming short, but you will be punished for it.(1) Let us observe, first, how thankful we should be for such a promise left us of entering into His rest! For surely we could not have reasonably expected it.(2) Let us, secondly, see how necessary it is in religion to avoid passing from one extreme into another. The gospel encourages our hope; but then it enlightens it and guards it. "Pass the time of your sojourning here in fear. Be not highminded, but fear. Work out your salvation with fear and trembling."(3) What are we to say of those of you who know nothing of this salutary concern?

(The Congregational Pulpit.)

I. WE HAVE ACTUALLY A PROMISE MADE TO US OF AN ETERNAL REST. Christianity is no cunningly devised fable, but a certain offer of inconceivable felicity. It finds us wretched, and poor, and blind, and miserable. It finds us exposed to the inflictions of Divine wrath; it brings near to us the good news of pardon, grace, and mercy through the mediation of Jesus Christ. The adaptation of this rest to the weariness of man is very striking.

II. THIS REST IS PROMISED TO THE PEOPLE OF GOD, AND TO THEM ALONE. Into that world of light and of love nothing enters that defiles. No revolt, no alienation, no reluctance, no coldness towards God is felt in heaven; God is love, and all who dwell near Him "dwell in love"; love to Him and to each other.

III. THE POSSIBILITY OF COMING SHORT OF THE BLESSEDNESS OF HEAVEN IS AN IDEA SO TREMENDOUS, THAT IT MAY WELL AFFECT THE MIND WITH AWE. The apostle says, "Let us therefore fear," &c. The apparent improbability of retrieving error after death is so plainly stated, that the supposition of carelessness in so great a matter, is a supposition fearful is the extreme. All human evils are tolerable, because they are momentary. Earthquake, shipwreck, loss of property, death of friends — these calamities are limited; but the loss of salvation is an intolerable evil, because it is an evil which seems to admit of no termination. There is no object more pitiable than that of an immortal being wasting the few precious hours of life in the frivolous occupations of pleasure, or in the severer pursuits of gain, while yet he is reckless of the pains and pleasures, the gains and losses of eternity!

(G. T. Noel, M. A)

The two words which claim our special consideration in this section are "fear" and "rest."

I. We know only in part, in fragment. It is difficult for us to combine different aspects of truth. The earnest counsel of the apostle in this chapter, "Let us fear," may seem to be incompatible with his emphatic teaching that we have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; that he is persuaded that nothing shall be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus; that we are to rejoice in the Lord always. Yet a superficial glance at the Epistles, and at the Scriptures in general, will show that fear is an essential feature of the Christian. When Christ is accepted, there is peace; but is there not also fear? "With Thee is forgiveness of sin, that Thou mayest be feared." Where do we see God's holiness and the awful majesty of the law, our own sin and unworthiness, as in the atonement of the Lord Jesus? We rejoice with fear and trembling. It is because we know the Father; it is because we are redeemed by the precious blood of the Saviour; it is as the children of God that we are to pass our earthly pilgrimage in fear. This is not the fear of bondage, but the fear of adoption. Looking to God, our loving Father, our gracious Saviour, our gentle and indwelling Comforter, we have no reason to be afraid. The only fear that we can cherish is that of reverence and awe, and a dread lest we displease and wound Him who is our Lord. But when we look at ourselves, our weakness, our blindness; when we think of our path and our work, of our dangers, we may well feel that the time for repose and unmixed enjoyment has not come yet; we must dread our own sinfulness and our temptations; we must fear worldly influences.

II. BUT THE RELIEVER HAS REST NOW ON EARTH, AND HEREAFTER IN GLORY, Resting in Christ, he labours to enter into the perfect rest of eternity. But what did God mean by calling it His rest? Not they enter not into their rest, but His own. Oh, blessed distraction! God gives us Himself, and in all His gifts He gives us Himself. Does God give us righteousness? He Himself is our righteousness, Jehovan-tsidkenu. Does God give us peace? Christ is our peace. Does God give us light? He is our light. Does God give us bread? He is the bread we eat; as the Son liveth by the Father, so he that eateth Me shall live by Me (John 6.). God Him-elf is our strength. God is ours, and in all His gifts and blessings He gives Himself. By the Holy Ghost we are one with Christ, and Christ the Son of God is our righteousness — nay, our life. "I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me." Or again, "I can do all things through Christ, which strengtheneth me." Or as the Lord Himself, in His last prayer before His crucifixion, said to the Father, "I in them, and Thou in Me." Thus God gives us His lest as our rest. Our souls long for rest. "Oh, that I had the wings of a dove! Then would I fly away and be at rest! " is the sigh of every soul. And this rest is only in God's rest. Death brings no rest to our souls. It is Jesus Christ who alone can give rest to man; for only in Him we are restored and brought into communion with God. The great promise of Christ is rest. For He is the Restorer. We enjoy rest in Christ by faith. But the perfect enjoyment of rest is still ,n the future. There remaineth a sabbatism for the people of God. Believers will enter into rest after their earthly pilgrimage, labour, and conflict, and the whole creation will share in the liberty and joy of the children of God The substance and foretaste of this rest we have even now in Christ.

(A. Saphir.)

God planted fear in the soul as truly as He planted hope or courage. Fear is a kind of bell, or gong, which rings the mind into quick life and avoidance upon the approach of danger; it is the soul's signal for rallying.

(H. W. Beecher.)

A promise... of entering into His rest
Man from the first has been a restless creature. He lives by hope. His best pleasures are not in the things he actually possesses, but in the things he hopes for. He is always looking forward to to-morrow. Man's true life is the heavenly, and his earthly life is true only as it tends towards that.

I. THE REST THAT GOD HAS PROMISED TO MAN. It is the undisturbed peace, the holy joy of the Divine nature, which nothing but likeness to the Divine can bring.

II. THE POSSIBILITY OF COMING SNORT OF GOD'S REST.

1. A man may come short of the rest of the Sabbath.

2. Many of the Jews, to whom the rest of Canaan was promised, came short of it.

3. Man will never enter fully into the ideal life until he believes in God fully, trusts God with all his heart, ceases from his own self-will to be and do in harmony with the will Divine.

III. HOW TO GUARD AGAINST THE POSSIBILITY OF COMING SHORT OF THE DIVINE REST.

1. Guard against unbelief.

2. Guard against presumption.

3. Cling to the great hope itself, and rejoice in it evermore. Think about it often, and all other hopes will pale when placed beside this.

(E. D. Solomon.)

I. GOD HAS LEFT US A PROMISE OF ENTERING INTO HIS REST; a promise enough to satisfy all our desires, and to engage our heartiest endeavours after it.

1. The greatness of that reward which God has promised to us in the gospel.

2. Of this rest we should most certainly be made partakers, if we live so as we ought to do.

II. IT IS AS CERTAIN THAT WE MAY BY OUR OWN FAULT COME SHOAT OF IT. For the promise of this rest is not absolute, but conditional It depends upon a covenant in which there are duties to be fulfilled on our part, as well as a reward to he made good on God's. And if we fail in the one, there is no reason to expect that He should perform the other.

III. Let us take the advice of the text, and FEAR LEST WE SHOULD CHANCE SO TO DO. One might justly think that instead of arguing with men upon this subject, we ought rather to apologise for the absurdity of making that an exhortation which all men desire, and therefore must needs endeavour to attain unto. What is this but as if one should go about to argue with a covetous wretch not to neglect a fair opportunity of growing rich.

IV. THE BEST WHY TO SECURE TO OURSELVES THE PROMISE OF THIS REST, is to live in a continual fear of coming short of it.

1. This will be the most likely to engage our own care.

2. It will also be the best means to entitle us to God's favour.(1) This will above anything qualify us for the gracious assistance of His Holy Spirit, to enable us to discharge that duty which is required of us.(2) It will the best dispose us for the pardon of those sins which, when we have done all that we can, we shall still continue more or less to commit. Because he who thus fears will either never willingly fall into any sins, and then there can be no doubt that he shall find a very ready pardon of his involuntary offences. Or if he should be at any time led away by the deceitfulness of sin, yet this fear will soon awaken him, and bring him both to a sense and a deep abhorrence of it.

(Abp. Wake.)

I. THE REST WHICH IS HERE SPOKEN OF. Union with Christ.

II. THE EFFECT WHICH IT SHOULD PRODUCE UPON OUR MINDS. We must fear —

1. Because we have numerous enemies who would rob us of this rest.

2. Because we have great interests at stake.

3. Because we have but a short and uncertain period to secure an interest in Christ, and be washed from the stains of sin.

III. THE DREADFUL CONSEQUENCES OF COMING SHORT OF THIS REST. TO mistake the way to heaven is to sink into hell.

(Neville Jones.)

1. A race must be run ere we come to our full rest.

2. The constant runner to the end getteth rest from sin and misery, and a quiet possession of happiness at the race's end.

3. The apostate, and he who by misbelief breaketh off his course, and runneth not on, as may be, cometh short, and attaineth not unto it.

4. The apostasy of some, and possibility of apostasy of mere professors, should not weaken any man's faith; but rather terrify him from misbelief.

5. There is a right kind of fear of perishing; to wit, such as hindereth not assurance of faith; but rather serveth to guard it, and spurreth on a man to perseverance.

6. We must not only fear, by misbelieving to come short; but to seem or give any appearance of coming short.

(D. Dickson, M. A.)

Sketches of Sermons.
I. THE CHRISTIAN'S PRIVILEGE: promised rest.

1. The character supposed. The promise of entering into the heavenly Canaan peculiarly belongs to those who have turned their backs on spiritual Egypt, and are journeying under Divine direction towards the "better country."

2. The blessing promised: "His rest." In the present we may have rest from the tyranny of sin (Romans 6:12-14); and from the distraction of anxious care, whether it precede our justification, and refer to our soul's safety (see ver. 3), or follow it (Isaiah 26:3; Romans 8:38, 39). Yet, however, the Christian may have rest now from the clamours of conscience, painful forebodings, &c., it is to heaven that he must look for —

(1)A rest from toil.

(2)A rest from pain. Glorified bodies are "safe from disease and decline."

(3)A rest from sorrow.

3. The security offered is that of Almighty God. Men may promise largely, but not be able to fulfil. He is all-sufficient.

II. THE CHRISTIAN'S DANGER: "Lest any of you should seem to come short of it." Unbelief the principle of ruin, hence so earnest (Hebrews 3:11, 12, 18, 19, and Hebrews 4:3, 11). Nor is this without reason, for unbelief may operate destructively.

1. By means of open transgression. In these passages we are cautioned against the principle. In 1 Corinthians 10:1-12, its sad effects are exhibited.

2. By means of secret wickedness. Hence lusting after evil things is deprecated (1 Corinthians 10:6; see also Matthew 5:28; Psalm 66:18).

3. By means of worldly mindedness. Faith apprehends invisible realities, and influences and saves us accordingly. But unbelief is the soul's blindness.

4. By means of indolence. Faith prompts us to do, and sustains us in suffering. Unbelief leads to negligence; and neglect is ruin (Hebrews 2:3).

III. THE CHRISTIAN'S DUTY: "Let us therefore fear." If the apostle feared for the Hebrews, it equally became them to fear.

1. Because of the shame, the personal disgrace of coming short. Not to pursue a worthy object when it is proposed is sufficiently disgraceful. To relinquish the pursuit is doubly so. Even sinners despise such inconsistency.

2. Because of the mischief of coming short. He is like one of the unbelieving spies who tempted Israel into sin and suffering (Numbers 14:4, 23).

3. Because of the ruin of coming short. Apostates sin against greater advantages, have gained a greater enlargement of capacity, fall from a greater elevation; therefore their punishment will be more severe. But how? Not with a desponding paralysing fear.(1) With a fear of caution, that properly estimates difficulty and danger, and induces circumspection (Hebrews 12:12-15).(2) With a fear of vigilance; that narrowly watches first declensions, and promptly opposes the first advances of the enemy.(3) With a provident fear; that leads to husband our resources, to avail ourselves of the assistance of our fellow Christians, and to cry to the strong for strength. And let it be an abiding fear. "Blessed is the man that feareth always." Improvement:

1. God hath promised a rest.

2. In prospect of the promised rest, let saints sustain the hallowed cross: "rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation," &c.

3. Let us exhort one another daily; both by the example of those who have halted, and of those who "inherit the promises" (Hebrews 3:13; Hebrews 6:11, 12).

(Sketches of Sermons.)

The Christian salvation is here presented under a third aspect as a rest, a sabbatism, a participation in the rest of God; the new view, like the two preceding, in which the great salvation was identified with lordship in the world to come and with deliverance from the power of the devil and the fear of death, being taken from the beginning of human history as narrated in the early chapters of Genesis. One aim of the writer of the Epistle in this part of his work was doubtless to enunciate this thought, and so to identify the gospel of Christ with the Old Testament gospel of rest. But his aim is not purely didactic, but partly also, and even chiefly, parenetic. Doctrine rises out of and serves the purpose of exhortation. In so far as the section (vers. 1-10) has a didactic drift, its object is to confirm the hope; in so far as it is hortatory, its leading purpose is to enforce the warning, "let us fear." The parenetic interest predominates at the commencement (vers. 1, 2), which may be thus paraphrased: " Now with reference to this rest I have been speaking of (Hebrews 3:18, 19), let us fear lest we miss it For it is in our power to gain it, seeing the promise still remains over unfulfilled or but partially fulfilled. Let us fear, I say; for if we have a share in the promise, we have also in the threat of forfeiture: it too stands over. We certainly have a share in the promise; we have been evangelised, not merely in general, but with the specific gospel of rest. But those who first heard this gospel of rest failed through unbelief. So may we: therefore let us fear." To be noted is the freedom with which, as in the case of the word "apostle" (Hebrews 3:1), the writer uses the εὐηγγελισμένοι, which might have been supposed to have borne in his time a stereotyped meaning. Any promise of God, any announcement of good tidings, is for him a gospel. Doubtless all God's promises are associated in his mind with the great final salvation, nevertheless they are formally distinct from the historical Christian gospel. The gospel he has in view is not that which "begun to be spoken by the Lord," but that spoken by the Psalmist when he said, "To-day if ye will hear His voice, harden not your hearts." Not less noteworthy is the way in which the abortive result of the preaching of the gospel of rest to the fathers is accounted for. "The word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it." Is the word mixed with faith in the healer, or by faith with the hearer? and what natural analogy is suggested in either case? The one thing certain is, that he deemed faith indispensable to profitable hearing: a truth, happily, taught with equal clearness in the text, whatever reading we adopt. At ver. 3 the didactic interest comes to the front. The new thought grafted into ver. 1 by the parenthetical clause, "a promise being still left," now becomes the leading affirmation. The assertion of ver. 2, "we have been evangelised," is repeated, with the emphasis this time on the "we." "We do enter into rest, we believers in Christ." A rest is left over for the New Testament people of God. The sequel as far as ver. 10 contains the proof of this thesis. The salient points are these two:

1. God spoke of a rest to Israel by Moses, though He Himself rested from His works when the creation of the world was finished; therefore the creation-rest does not exhaust the idea and promise of rest.

2. The rest of Israel in Canaan under Joshua did not realise the Divine idea of rest, any more than did the personal rest of God at the Creation, for we find the rest spoken of again in the Psalter as still remaining to be entered upon, which implies that the Canaan-rest was an inadequate fulfilment. The former of these two points contains the substance of what is said in vers. 3-5, the latter gives the gist of vers. 7, 8; whereupon follows the inference in ver. 9, a rest is left over. A third step in the argument by which the inference is justified is passed over in silence. It is, that neither in the Psalmist's day nor at any subsequent period in Israel's history had the promise of rest been adequately fulfilled, any more than at the Creation or in the days of Joshua. Our author takes the oracle in the Psalter as the final word of the Old Testament on the subject of rest, and therefore as a word which concerns the New Testament people of God. God spake of rest through David, implying that up till that time the long promised rest had not come, at least, in satisfying measure. Therefore a rest remains for Christians. He believed that all Divine promises, that the promise of rest in particular, shall be fulfilled with ideal completeness. "Some must enter in"; and as none have yet entered in perfectly, this bliss must be reserved for those on whom the ends of the world are come, even those who believe in Jesus. "There remaineth therefore a rest for the people of God." A sabbatism our author calls the rest, so at the conclusion of his argument introducing a new name for it, after using another all through. It embodies an idea. It felicitously connects the end of the world with the beginning, the consummation of all things with the primal state of the creation. It denotes the ideal rest, and so teaches by implication that Christians not only have an interest in the gospel of rest, but for the first time enter into a rest which is worthy of the name, a rest corresponding to and fully realising the Divine idea. This final name for the rest thus supplements the defect of the preceding argument, which understates the case for Christians. It further hints, though only hints, the nature of the ideal rest. It teaches that it is not merely a rest which God gives, but the rest which God Himself enjoys. It is God's own rest for God's own true people, an ideal rest for an ideal community, embracing all believers, all believing Israelites of all ages, and many more; for God's rest began long before there was an Israel, and the gospel in the early chapters of Genesis is a gospel for man. We have seen that our author borrows three distinct conceptions of the great salvation from the primitive history of man. It is reasonable to suppose that they were all connected together in his mind, and formed one picture of the highest good. They suggest the idea of paradise restored: the Divine ideal of man and the world and their mutual relations realised in perpetuity; man made veritably lord of creation, delivered from the fear of death, nay, death itself for ever left behind, and no longer subject to servile tasks, but occupied only with work worthy of a king and a son of God, and compatible with perfect repose and undisturbed enjoyment. It is an apocalyptic vision: fruition lies in the beyond. The dominion and deathlessness and sabbatism are reserved for the world to come, objects of hope for those who believe. The perfect rest will come, and a people of God will enter into it, of these things our author is well assured; but he fears lest the Hebrew Christians should forfeit their share in the felicity of that people: therefore he ends his discourse on the gospel of rest as he began, with solemn admonition. "Let us fear lest we enter not in," he said at the beginning; "let us give diligence to enter in," he says now at the close. Then to enforce the exhortation he appends two words of a practical character, one fitted to inspire awe, the other to cheer Christians of desponding temper. The former of these passages (vers. 12, 13) describes the attributes of the Divine word, the general import of the statement being that the word of God, like God Himself, is not to be trifled with; the word referred to being, in the first place, the word of threatening which doomed unbelieving, disobedient Israelites to perish in the wilderness, and by implication, every word of God. The account given of the Divine word is impressive, almost appalling. It is endowed in succession with the qualities of the lightning, which moves with incredible swiftness like a living spirit, and hath force enough to shiver to atoms the forest trees; of a two-edged sword, whose keen, glancing blade cuts clean through everything, flesh, bone, sinew; of the sun in the firmament, from whose great piercing eye, as he circles round the globe, nothing on earth is hid.

(A. B. Bruce, D. D.)

This promise of spiritual rest is a promise left us by the Lord Jesus Christ in His last will and testament, as a precious legacy. Our business is to see to it that we be the legatees; that we lay our claim to that rest and freedom from the dominion of sin, Satan, and the flesh by which the souls of men are kept in servitude, and deprived of the true rest of the soul, and may be also set free from the yoke of the law, and all the toilsome ceremonies and services of it, and may enjoy peace with God, in His ordinances, providences and in our own consciences, and so have the prospect and earnest of perfect and everlasting rest in heaven.

(M. Henry.)

Seem to come short of it
It is a great principle under the Christian dispensation, that " none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself." We are "members one of another," so associated by intimate and indissoluble ties, that we ought never to consider our actions as having a bearing only on ourselves; we should rather regard them as likely to affect numbers, and sure to affect some, of our fellow men, to affect them in their eternal interests, and not only in their temporal. We have again the same principle, the principle that membership should influence actions, involved in a precept of St. Paul to the Thessalonians, "Abstain from all appearance of evil." There is something of a fine sound in advice which is often given, "Do what you know to be right, and care not what others may think"; but, after all, it is not universally, nor perhaps even generally, good and Christian advice. A Christian should consider the opinion of his fellow Christians. Be not engrossed with securing your own salvation; see to it that ye be not, at the same time, endangering the salvation of others. In the chapter preceding that which is opened by our text, St. Paul had been speaking of those Israelites who, though delivered by Moses from Egypt, never reached the Promised Land, but perished, through unbelief, in the wilderness. From this the apostle took occasion to warn Christians that they might have some progress towards heaven, and still be in danger of missing its possession. And if this had been the whole tenor of our text, it would have afforded but little place for commentary, though much for private and personal meditation. But you will observe that St. Paul does not speak of " coming short," but of "seeming to come short." He "seems to come short" of the promised rest, who, in the judgment of his fellow men, is deficient in those outward evidences by which they are wont to try the genuineness of religion. But surely, all the while, he may not actually "come short": human judgment is fallible, and can in no case be guided by inspecting the heart, which alone can furnish grounds for certain decision; and, doubtless, many may be found in heaven at last, of which entrance thither survivors could entertain nothing more than a charitable hope. And is it not enough, if we do not "come short "? why should we further concern ourselves as to the not "seeming to come short"? We might answer, as we did in regard of the "appearance of evil," that it is a dangerous thing to approach danger. He who " seems to come short" must almost necessarily be in some peril of failure; and where heaven is at stake, no wise man, if he could help it, would run the least risk. Besides, it can hardly be that he, who seems to others to come short, should possess decisive and Scriptural evidences of his acceptance With God. But whilst there may thus be many reasons given why we should fear the seeming to come short, even were our personal well-being alone to be considered, the full force of the text, as with that which enjoins abstinence from the appearance of evil, is only to be brought out through reference to our being members the one of the other. We shall, therefore, take the passage under this point of view. In other words, we will examine what there is, in an appearance of failure, to do injury to the cause of Christianity, and therefore to justify the apostle in so emphatically calling upon you to learn, "lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it." Now as there are undoubtedly many ways in which we may actually come short, so must there be many in which we may apparently come short: who can tell up the methods in which the soul may be lost? neither can any one enumerate those in which it may seem to be lost.

1. And it must, we think, commend itself to you in the first place, that none will more "seem to come short," than those whose practice is in any way inconsistent with their profession, so that lookers-on can decide that their conduct is not strictly accordant with the principles by which they declare themselves actuated. He who professes to " walk in the light as God is in the light," may occasionally wander into dark paths, and yet be mercifully restored; but it can hardly fail but that the impression produced on observers, especially on men of the world, will be one as to the weakness of his principles, or a want of power in that religion which professes itself adequate to the renewing the world. And who will pretend to compute the amount of damage done to the cause of vital Christianity by the inconsistencies of those who profess themselves subjected to its laws, and animated by its hopes?

2. But there is another, if a less obvious mode of "seeming to come short." It should be observed that, though the apostle, when speaking of rest, must be considered as referring mainly to that rest which is future, there is a degree of present rest which is attainable by the Christian, and which is both the type and foretaste of that which is to come. Thus St. Paul, in a verse which follows almost immediately on our text, says of Christians, "We which have believed do enter into rest"; and afterwards, "He that is entered into His rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from His," evidently making the entering into rest, a present thing, as well as a future. Our blessed Saviour bequeathed His own peace, as a legacy to His Church; and what Christ entailed on us, may surely be enjoyed by us. The religion of the Bible is a cheerful, happy-making religion: the very word "gospel" signifies "glad tidings"; and he who has received good news into his heart may justly be expected to exhibit in his demeanour, if not much of the rapture of joy, yet something of the quietness of peace. But it is in this that righteous persons are often grievously deficient. Hence, in place of struggling with doubts and endeavouring to extinguish them, they may be said actually to encourage them, as if they befitted their state, and either betokened or cherished humility. A great mistake this. There is commonly more of pride than of humility in doubts; he who is always doubting is generally searching in himself for some ground or reason of assurance; whereas, true, genuine humility, looks wholly out of self, not as forgetting the corruption which is there, but as fastening on the sufficiency which is in Christ. But, without dissecting more narrowly the character of the always doubting Christian, we cannot hesitate to say of him, that he is one of those who "seem to come short." If a present, as well as a future, rest be promised to the righteous — and what else can be denoted by such words as these, "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee"? — certainly he, at least, "seems to come short" of that rest, who is continually the prey of fear and disquietude, who has never anything to express but apprehensions as to his deceiving himself, or who wears always the appearance of one ill at ease in regard of his spiritual interests. It could hardly fail to be a strong motive with religious persons to the cultivating cheerfulness of deportment, if they carefully rein inhered that others will judge religion by its apparent effects, and that, if they see it produce only sadness, they will be likely to shun it as opposed to all joy. A gloomy Christian may not be always able to help his gloom; but he should lament it, and strive with it; for what will a generous leader say of a soldier, who, commissioned to enlist others under the same banner with himself, makes his appearance in the world as a terrified and half-famished prisoner?

3. But now, having thus illustrated the text from inconsistency of conduct, and from the harbouring of doubts, either of which will cause a Christian to "seem to come short," let us take one other case, one which is not perhaps indeed as much under our own power, but one against which we may be always endeavouring to provide. The great business of life, as we all confess, is preparation for death. And a Christian's hope, a Christian's desire, should be that he may be enabled to meet death triumphantly. It should not content him that he may pass in safety through the dark valley, though with little of that firm sense of victory which discovers itself in the exulting tone, or the burning vision. This indeed is much — oh! that we might believe that none of us would have less than this. But, in having only this, a Christian may "seem to come short." And there is often a mighty discouragement from the death-beds of the righteous, when, as the darkness thickens, there is apparently but little consolation from the prospect of eternity. Even as, on the other hand, when a righteous man is enabled to meet death exultingly, as though he had to step into the car of fire, and be wafted almost visibly to the heavenly city, there is diffused over a neighbourhood a sort of animating influence; the tidings of the victory spread rapidly from house to house: the boldness of infidelity quails before them; meek piety takes new courage, and attempts new toils. And it ought not, therefore, to satisfy us that we may so die as not to come short of heaven: we ought to labour that we may so die as not even to "seem to come short of it." It is doubly dying, if, in dying, we work an injury to our brethren; it is scarcely dying, if we strengthen them for their departure out of life. This is, in its measure, the doing what was done by the Redeemer Himself, who, "through death, destroyed him that had the power of death": the believer, as he enters the grave, deals a blow at the tyrant, which renders him less terrible to those who have yet to meet him in the final encounter. And by continued preparation for death, by accustoming ourselves to the anticipation of death, that, through God's help, our passage through the valley shall be rather with the tread of the conqueror, than with the painful step of the timid pilgrim.

(H. Melvill, B. D.)

I. THE NATURE OF THIS REST.

1. A rest from sin.

2. A rest from temptation.

3. A rest from trouble.

II. TO WHOM THE PROMISE OF IT IS MADE. It is made, it is left to us; yes, wherever the gospel is preached, this inestimable prize is offered to those who believe in its life-giving doctrines.

III. THE DANGER OF FALLING SHORT OF IT. Let me ask you, or rather ask your own consciences, Have you ever had any fears on the subject? If you have not, it can never have been an object of intense desire; it is impossible to be really in earnest about seeking the kingdom of heaven, without being anxious and fearful about it. Many who die with heaven in anticipation, it is to be feared will lift up their eyes in hell. Tremendous discovery this of their real state, when it is irretrievable, bitter knowledge of the truth, when it is too late to profit by it! I want you to fear now; now, when there is time and opportunity for repentance; now, when God waits to be gracious; now, when the atonement of Christ is available for your salvation: and mark the words of the text, for they are very explicit; like almost every thing in Scripture, they require minute inspection, in order to get their full force and meaning, "Fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it." You are cautioned to startle, as it were, at the very appearance of failure — to be alarmed at the least indication of it.

(J. P. Wright, M. A.)

I. A THREEFOLD CERTAINTY.

1. There is a rest.

(1)A rest resulting from the inward assurance of God's pardoning love.

(2)A rest from sin as a ruling and tyrannising power.

(3)A rest of adoption.

2. There is a promise of this rest.

3. The promise is to believers.

II. AN AWFUL UNCERTAINTY. Thus though the promise is made, there is in the case of many an awful uncertainty hanging over its issue. And how so? There is no accusation against God in the economy of His spiritual government; He does not arbitrarily unfold and withhold — no, God is our Father, full of compassion and tender in mercy. The accusation is proved against man himself. He wilfully shuts the open means of grace; he is the self-excluding and self-excluded from the pale of the promise. He comes short of it — it does not come short of him.

(T. J. Judkin, M. A.)

The gospel preached
I.

1. They had the same gospel blessings and mercies that we have. That God would be their God. This includes —(1) Regeneration, or the new heart, the heart of flesh, the writing of God's law in the heart (Jeremiah 31:33; Deuteronomy 30:6; Ezekiel 36:25-27).(2) Reconciliation and remission of sins (Isaiah 1:18; Jeremiah 31:34; Leviticus 5:6, 10).(3) Everlasting life and salvation in heaven (Psalm 17:15; Psalm 73:24; Psalm 16:11).

2. They had these blessings upon the same account, and in the same way, as we have them now. We receive all from the mere mercy and free grace of God in Christ; and so did they (Psalm 51:1; Daniel 9:8, 9, 18, 19).

II. A second argument might be taken from an historical induction of all those former times, and the several gospel discoveries which the Lord vouchsafed to them all along from time to time.

III. Either the gospel was preached unto them of old, or else it will follow that they were all condemned, or else that they were saved without Christ; which to imagine were infinitely dishonourable to the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 4:12; Romans 3:20; Galatians 2:16; Hebrews 13:8). Objections:

1. Why do we call it the Old Testament, if it was gospel? This is only in regard of the manner of dispensation.

2. That the apostle often speaks of it as "that ancient dispensation," as if it was law and not gospel. We must distinguish between the thing preached, and the manner of preaching, between the shell and the kernel, the shadow and the substance. The thing preached was the gospel, though the manner of preaching it was legal.

(1)It was dark, but the gospel is clear.

(2)It was weak, but the gospel is powerful.

(3)There was much of external splendour, but little of that power and spirituality that is in gospel worship.

(4)It was a burdensome dispensation.

(5)The manner of administration was legal, in regard of the bondage and tenor of it. Uses:

1. Encouragement to study the Old Testament, and the types and shadows of the Law.

2. Direction how to attain to the understanding of those mysteries. Study the gospel.

3. There is no part of the Scripture but is of use. We might see much of God and of the gospel in the chapters of the Levitical law, if we had the skill to search out the meaning and mystery of them.

4. Encouragement to believe and receive the gospel.

(S. Mather.)

I. IT IS A SIGNAL PRIVILEGE TO HAVE THE GOSPEL PREACHED UNTO US; TO BE EVANGELISED. — As such it is here proposed by the apostle; and it is made a foundation of inferring a necessity of all sorts of duties. This the prophet emphatically expresseth (Isaiah 9:1, 2).

II. Barely to be evangelised, to have the gospel preached unto any, IS A PRIVILEGE OF A DUBIOUS ISSUE AND EVENT. All privileges depend as to their advantage on the use of them. If herein we fail, that which should have been for our good will be our snare.

III. THE GOSPEL IS NO NEW DOCTRINE, NO NEW LAW. It was preached unto the people of old. In the preaching of the gospel by the Lord Jesus Himself and His apostles, it was new in respect of the manner of its administration, with sundry circumstances of light, evidence, and power, wherewith it is accompanied. So it is in all ages in respect of any fresh discovery of truth from the word. formally bidden or eclipsed. But as to the substance of it, the gospel is that "which was from the beginning" (1 John 1:1). It is the first great original of God with sinners, from the foundation of the world.

IV. GOD HATH GRACIOUSLY ORDERED THE WORD OF THE GOSPEL TO BE PREACHED TO MEN, WHEREON DEPENDS THEIR WELFARE OR THEIR RUIN. The word is like the sun in the firmament. It hath virtually in it all spiritual light and heat. But the preaching of the word is as the motion and beams of the sun, which actually and effectually communicate to all creatures that light and heat which is virtually in the sun itself.

V. THE SOLE CAUSE OF THE PROMISE BEING INEFFECTUAL TO SALVATION IN AND TOWARDS THEM TO WHOM IT IS PREACHED, IS IN THEMSELVES AND THEIR OWN UNBELIEF.

VI. THERE IS A FAILING, TEMPORARY FAITH, WITH RESPECT TO THE PROMISES OF GOD, WHICH WILL NOT ADVANTAGE THEM IN WHOM IT IS.

VII. THE GREAT MYSTERY OF USEFUL AND PROFITABLE BELIEVING, CONSISTS IN THE MIXING OR IN CORPORATING OF TRUTH AND FAITH IN THE SOULS OR MINDS OF BELIEVERS.

1. There is a great respect, relation, and union, between the faculties of the soul, and their proper objects, as they act themselves. Thus truth, as truth, is the proper object of the understanding.

2. The truth of the gospel, of the promise now under especial consideration, is peculiar, divine, supernatural; and, therefore, for the receiving of it, God requireth in us, and bestoweth upon us a peculiar, divine, supernatural habit, by which our minds may be enabled to receive it. This is faith, which is "not of ourselves; it is the gift of God."

(John Owen, D. D.)

Ever since these words were written the unprofitableness of preaching has been a subject of complaint to some, and of lamentation to others. On one side it has been alleged by the hearers that the word preached is unprofitable, not so much from want of faith or piety in themselves, as from want of zeal, of ability, of energy, or even of originality in the preacher. On the other hand, the person thus unsparingly assailed is led, perhaps unwillingly, to remark, that faults in hearers may be as numerous and as frequent as in him who speaks: and that the very best preaching has, in cases without number, been ineffectual through perverseness, inattention, or unbelief in the auditory.

1. A. very common impediment to edification, and one of which every Christian mind, alive to the importance of social ordinances, must be peculiarly sensible, is the practice of irregular attendance at the house of God.

2. I have already remarked upon those who have created obstacles to their religious welfare by being absent in body from the house of God, I now come to those, who, by being absent in mind and spirit, make their bodily presence of no avail.

3. I now proceed to the fault of those who are present, and who attend to the Word preached, but who attend with improper dispositions, either in regard to their minister or their fellow-hearers. With respect to their minister, they arc apt to be arbitrary and dictatorial; with respect to their fellow-hearers they are apt to be censorious in their application of the truth or duties inculcated.

(J. Sinclair, M. A.)

Not being mixed with faith.
I. ISRAEL'S HEARING OF THE GOSPEL.

1. We shall notice, first, that the good news brought to Israel was a gospel of rest for slaves, a promise of deliverance for men who cried by reason of sore bondage. This was a fit emblem of that news which comes to us in the gospel of Jesus Christ.

2. The good tidings to Israel was a gospel of redemption in order to their entering into the promised rest. You have heard the word of reconciliation, and you know its meaning. Have you rested in it?

3. Furthermore, it was a gospel of separation. When you read the words of the Lord to His chosen ones, you are compelled to see that He means them to be a people set apart for His own purposes. The Lord has of old separated to Himself, in His eternal purposes, a people who are His; and His they shall still be, even till that day in which He shall make up His jewels. These belong to the Lord Jesus in a special way. These have a destiny before them, even in this world, of separation from the rest of mankind; for Jesus saith, "they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world."

4. Still further, the gospel preached to the Israelites told them of a glorious heritage which was provided for them.

5. They had also preached to them the gospel of a Divine calling; for they were informed that they were not to enter into this land to be idlers in it, but they were to be a nation of priests. This, even this, is the gospel preached unto you. Count not yourselves unworthy of this high honour.

6. Once more: they had a gospel which promised them help to obtain all this. It is a poor gospel which sets heaven before us, but does not help us to enter it. "The Spirit helpeth our infirmities." "God shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly." "Thanks be unto God, who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."

II. ISRAEL'S FAILURE TO PROFIT BY THE GOSPEL WHICH THEY HEARD.

1. Though they heard it from many, they clung to Egypt.

2. Worse still, they provoked the Lord by their murmurings and their idolatry.

3. Moreover, they were always mistrustful.

4. They went so far as to despise the Promised Land.

5. When the time came when they might have advanced against the foe, they were afraid to go up.

6. The end of it was, they died in the wilderness. A whole nation missed the rest of God: it will not be a wonder if you and I miss it, who are but one or two, unless we take earnest heed and are filled with fear " lest, a promise being left us of entering into His rest, any of us should seem to come short of it."

III. THE FATAL CAUSE OF THIS DIREFUL CALAMITY. Why was it the gospel that they heard did not profit them? "Not being mixed with faith."

1. Where there is no faith, men remain slaves to the present. If they did not believe in the milk and honey of Canaan, you see why they hankered for the cucumbers of Egypt. An onion is nothing comparable to an estate beyond Jordan; yet as they think they cannot get the estate, they pine for the onions. When men do not believe in eternal life, they naturally enough cry, "Give me bread and cheese. Let me have a fortune here."

2. If a man hears and has no faith, he learns nothing. What would be the use of your listening to lectures upon science if you disbelieved what the professor set forth? You are no pupil, you are a critic; and you cannot learn. Many professors have no faith, and, consequently, whoever may teach them, they will never come to a knowledge of the truth.

3. The truth did not affect the hearts of Israel, as it does not affect any man's heart till he has believed it. A man's soul touched by the finger of the gospel resounds the music of God. If the gospel is not believed, those fingers touch mute strings, and no response is heard.

4. A man that has no faith in what he hears does not appropriate it. There is gold I Eagerly one crieth, "Let me go and get it." Unbelief restrains him, as it whispers, "There is no gold, or it is beyond reach." He does not go to get it, for he does not believe. A hungry man passeth by where there is entertainment for needy travellers. Believing that there is food for his hunger, he tarries at the door; but if unbelief mutters, "There is a bare table within, you might as soon break your neck as break your fast in that place," then the traveller hurries on. Unbelief palsies she hand, and ,t appropriates nothing. That which is not appropriated can be of no use to you.

5. Lastly, these people could not enter in, because they had no faith. They could go to the border of the land, but they must die even there. They could send their spies into the country; but they could not see the fertile valleys themselves. Without faith they could not enter Canaan. Shall it be so with us, that, for want of faith, we shall hear the gospel, know something about its power, and yet miss its glories, and never enter into possession of the life eternal which it reveals?

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

There is always a pathetic interest, made up of sadness and hope together, in the sight of any good thing which fails of power and of its fullest life because it is a fragment, and does not meet the other part which is needed to complete the whole. A seed that lies upon the rock, and finds no ground; an instrument which stands complete in all its mechanism, but with no player's hand to call its music forth; a man who might do brave and useful things under the summons of a friend's enthusiasm, but goes through life alone, a nature with fine and noble qualities that need the complement of other qualities which the man lacks to make a fruitful life; a community rich in certain elements of character — as, for instance, energy, hopefulness, self-confidence, but wanting just that profound conscientiousness, that scrupulous integrity which should be the rudder to those broad and eager sails; a Church devout without thoughtfulness or liberal without deep convictions — where would the long list of illustrations end? Everywhere the most pathetic sights are these in which possibility and failure meet. Indeed, herein lies the general pathos which belongs to the great human history as a whole and to each man's single life. One of these failures is described in the text. Truth fails because it does not meet what the Scripture calls faith. This is evidently something more than mere assent that the truth is true. The essential relations between truth and the nature of man are evidently comprehended in their whole completeness. All that the hearer might have done to truth, all the welcome that he might have extended, all the cordial and manifold relationship into which he might have entered with the Word that was preached unto him — all this is in the writer's mind. All this is summed up in the faith which the truth has not found. Faith is simply the full welcome which the human soul can give to anything with which it has essential and natural relationship. It will vary for everything according to that thing's nature, as the hand will shape itself differently according to the different shapes of things it has to grasp. Faith is simply the soul's grasp, a larger or a smaller act according to the largeness or smallness of the object grasped; of one size for a fact, of another for a friend, or another for a principle: but always the soul's grasp, the entrance of the soul into its true and healthy relationship to the object which is offered to it. As soon as we understand what the faith is which any object or truth must find and mix itself with before it can put on its fullest life and power, we are impressed with this: that men are always making attempts which never can succeed to give to objects and truths a value which in themselves they never can possess, which can only come to them as they are taken home by faith into the characters of men. We hear men talk about the progress of our country, and by and by we find they mean the increase of its wealth, the development of its resources, the opening of its communications, the growth of its commerce. These do not make a country great. They are powerless until they are mixed with faith; until they give themselves to the improvement of the human qualities which any real national life, like any real personal life, is made, and make the nation more generous, more upright, and more free. They may do that. It is in the power of a nation as of a man to grow greater by every added dollar of its wealth, but a dollar is powerless until it mixes itself with faith and passes into character. And so of far more spiritual things than dollars. You say: "How headlong my boy is! Let me give him a wise friend, and so he shall get wisdom." You say: "Here is my brother, who has been frivolous. Behold, a blessed sorrow is gathering about him, and out of the darkness he will come with a sober heart! " You say: "This man is coarse and brutish; let me set him among fine things, and he will become delicate and gentle." You say: "This selfish creature, who has not cared for his country in what seemed her soft and easy days, let the storm come, let the war burst out, or the critical election rise up like a sudden rock out of the calm sea, and patriotism will gather at his heart and set his brain to lofty thoughts and strengthen his arm for heroic deeds." For ever the same anticipations from mere circumstances, the same trust in mere emergencies, in facts and things, and for ever the same disappointment — no crisis, eyelet, fact, person is of real value to the soul unless it really gets into that soul, compels or wins its welcome, and passes by the mixture of faith into character. So, and so only, does a wise friend make your boy wise, or sorrow make your brother noble, or fine and gentle circumstances make the coarse man fine, or the need of his country make the selfish man a patriot. Now, all this is peculiarly true with reference to religion. We put confidence in our organisations: let us plant our church in this remote village; let our beloved liturgy be heard among these unfamiliar scenes; and so men shall be saved. It is not so much that me have too much confidence, as that we have the wrong kind of confidence in the objective truth. "Let this which I know is verity come to this bad man's life, and he must turn." There is all about us this faith in the efficacy of ideas over character. The orthodox man believes that if you could silence all dissent from the old venerated creed the world would shine with holiness. How like it all sounds to the cry we hear in the parable coming forth from the still unenlightened rain of a wasted life: "Nay, father Abraham; but if one went unto them from the dead they will repent!" Ideas are mighty. There is no real strength in the world that has not an idea at its heart. To declare true ideas, to speak the truth to men, is the noblest work that any man can covet or try to do. To attempt to gain power over men which shall not be the power of an idea is poor, ignoble work. But yet it is none the less certain that no man really does tell the truth to other men who does not always go about remembering that truth is not profitable till it is mixed with faith, that the final power of acceptance or rejection lies in the soul. But we must go farther than this. The mind of man is far too delicate and sensitive for anything unappropriated and not made a part of itself to be in it without doing it harm. The book which you have studied, but whose heart you have not taken into your heart, makes you not a wise man, but a pedant. And so it is with institutions. The government under which you live, but with whose ideas you ere not in loyal sympathy, chafes and worries you, and makes you often all the more rebellious in your heart the more punctiliously obedient you are in outward action. And so especially it is in all that pertains to religion. What is the root and source of bigotry, and of that which goes with bigotry — partisanship? Is not the real reason of these morbid substitutes for healthy belief always this — that truth has been received but not" mixed with faith," not deeply taken into the very nature of the man who has received it? Take any truth the truth, for instance, of the Lord's incarnation. Let it be simply a proved fact to a man, and how easily he makes it the rallying cry of a sect; how easily he comes to hate with personal hatred the men who do not hold it; how ready he is to seek out and magnify the shades of difference in the statements which men make of it who do hold the great truth along with him I But let that same truth be "mixed with faith," let it enter into the depth of a man's nature where it is capable of going, let it awaken in him the deep, clear sense of the unutterable love of God, let it reveal to him his human dignity, his human responsibility, his human need, and then how impossible it will be for him to be a bigot! What the bigot needs is not to be freed from the tyranny of his belief, but to be taught what it is really to believe. The partisan's partisanship is a sign, not of his faith, but of his infidelity. This is what we all need to keep always in our minds as we read religious history, or look around us at the imperfect religious life of to-day. It is possible for us to believe the same everlasting truth which the bigots and the persecutors believed and yet escape their bigotry and terrible intolerance. But we must do it not by believing less deeply, but by believing more deeply than they did. The path to charity lies not away from faith, but into the very heart of faith, for only there true, reasonable, permanent charity abides. How vast a future this idea of faith opens to humanity! We think sometimes that we have come in sight of the end of progress, that we live where we can at least foresee an enchanted world. Our ships have sailed the sphere around; our curiosity has searched to the roots of the mountains and swept the bottoms of the seas. Men have played every role before us which imagination and ambition could suggest. What can there be before the eyes that are to come when we are gone but endless reiteration of old things? Is not the interest of life almost used up? No! Thee interest of life is not in the things that happen, but in the men who see. If man be capable of perpetual renewal by ever-increasing faith, then to the ever new man the old world shall be for ever new. What a light, too, this throws upon the life which many a fellow-man is living now close by our side. How much richer than we can begin to know the world must be to our brother who has a faith which we have not The world is more to every true, unselfish man when he knows that his perception is no measure of its wealth, but that the deeper souls are all the time finding it rich beyond all that he has imagined. This same truth gives us some light upon the everlasting life, the life beyond the grave. Let us be sure that the new name in the forehead is what makes the reality of heaven far more than the gold under the feet. The new circumstances shall be much, but the new man shall be more. We can do nothing now to build the streets and gates, but by God's grace we can do much now to begin to become the men and women to whom one day heaven shall be possible. Then heaven when it comes will not be strange. Only a deepening of the faith by which we sought it shall we receive and absorb, and grow in and by its richness for ever and for ever.

(Bp. Phillips Brooks.)

I. In vindication of the principle, that NO UNBELIEVER CAN BE PROFITED BY THE PRIVILEGE AND BLESSINGS OF THE GOSPEL, IT WILL NOT REQUIRE MUCH PAINS TO SHOW THAT SUCH AN APPOINTMENT IS PERFECTLY CONSISTENT WITH GOD'S FAITHFULNESS AND TRUTH. God, no doubt, promised that He would confer upon His ancient people the heritage of Canaan; but surely He is Himself the best interpreter of His own will; and if we find that many, to whom the promise was given, entered not in because of unbelief, it is only reasonable to conclude that the giving of the promise at first was not irrespective of, but dependent on, the character and conduct of those to whom it was given. Jehovah was sincere, but for that very reason He required sincerity. He was willing to fulfil the promise, but His rebellious people were unwilling to receive it. God's promises are all sovereign. If they be laid hold of, they will and must be enjoyed. If, however, they be not laid hold of, if they be disbelieved, then they are void; for this reason, that they are revealed in such a shape that they become our property only when we believe them. The gospel will not enrich us unless we receive it with faith. The two truths, therefore, are quite compatible and harmonious, that salvation is absolutely gratuitous, while we can get it only by vigorously acting in faith upon Jesus Christ. To illustrate the matter by a comparison: When we walk, it is not the material and tangible substance of which our limbs are composed, it is not the bones and sinews which are the cause of motion. They are mere instruments or secondary agents which move only as they are impelled. Taken by themselves, or viewed in their component parts, they are mere masses of organic matter, devoid of all power or energy, and subject only to changes or motions that may be impressed on them. The real cause of motion in the limbs is the vital principle, which, unseen and incomprehensible, controls every function, effects every movement, operates every change. It is not the limbs, then, that cause the motion; they only perform the motion: the cause of the motion is the element of life, the spiritual and nervous energy which pervades the limbs and qualifies them for the task they have to perform. Now, in like manner, it is not the sinner that effects his own redemption, but the grace of God that has appeared unto us and to all men, bringing salvation. This is the sole and the omnipotent agent. No other agent could perform the work. But this agent does not work without means, and these means are just the faculties and powers of the human mind. God's grace operates through the instrumentality of our faculties, and if we chain up these faculties in indolent inaction, we virtually resist the Spirit of God, and say we will not have the Lord to reign over us.

II. EXPLAIN AND ILLUSTRATE THE GROUNDS OF THE DOCTRINE, THAT WANT OF FAITH VITIATES AND NEUTRALISES THE EFFECT OF SPIRITUAL PRIVILEGES. Faith is, if we may so speak, the power of spiritual digestion. And as it does not discredit the excellence of wine or any other nourishing substance, that it is incapable of strengthening the sick and exhausted invalid whose constitution, is irreparably injured; so the promises of Divine grace are no way dishonoured when persons who want faith are found to derive from these promises no spiritual or solid advantage. The Word preached cannot profit when it is not mingled with faith in the hearer, for there can be no nutrition where there is no appropriation of food. There can be no vital circulation in the severed twig unless that twig be engrafted. The Word may be read, heard, studied, loved; but it is only the engrafted Word that is able to save our souls. It is only when believed that the gospel message is profitable. Faith, then, is necessary —

1. Because, according to God's own appointment, it is the preliminary step of our being received into His favour. It is the constituted deed of entitlement.

2. Faith alone can secure us victory over our spiritual enemies. Here, again, the value of faith depends on its being on God's will and promise linked in connection with spiritual conquest. Our foes, Satan, sin, the world, and the flesh, are all mightier than our wills. But God has said this is the victory that overcometh them all, even our faith. Nothing else has such a promise.

3. Faith alone can impart peace to the soul. Such is its nature. For it is in fact just the belief that God is reconciled, attached to us, our Friend, our Father, even the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Unless we be persuaded of this we cannot love Him.

4. Lastly, faith alone can make us holy. If we believe Christ died for our sins, we shall feel the constraining influence of a motive that more than any other will excite us to obey the Divine will. And then the spirit of sanctification accompanies the exercise of faith, and purifies the soul in obeying the truth. Faith, therefore, is universally profitable. It is the harbinger of every other grace.

(Alex. Nisbet.)

1. It's a great mercy in God to vouchsafe us the gospel, and to have it faithfully and constantly preached unto us so that we may hear it.

2. In this gospel there are precious promises, the chiefest whereof is that of entering into God's rest.

3. Men may hear the gospel preached, and yet receive no benefit by it through their own fault.

4. Therefore it concerns us all to fear this sin of apostasy as we fear loss of heavenly rest, God's eternal displeasure, hell, death, and eternal punishments.

(G. Lawson.)

The gospel is a precious pearl, an unspeakable blessing of God, yet all that are partakers of it are not saved. Judas had the gospel, yet it profited him not. Simon Magus, Jerusalem, &e. The sun is not comfortable to all. The most delicate fare doth not make all bodies fat. The rain doth not make all grounds fruitful, neither doth the Word of God, though it be mighty in operation, profit all that partake of it (Luke 13:26; Matthew 8:12); nay, it is the heaping up of a greater men, sure Of condemnation to some through their own default (John 15:22, 9. ult.). Why did the gospel do them no good? Because it was not mixed with faith in themthat heard it. It is a metaphor borrowed from liquid things. A physician prescribes to a man a cup of strong wine, but he wills him to mingle it with sugar, lest it fume into his brain and make him sick; if he mingle it not and temper it well with sugar, he hurts himself. So because they mingled not the wine of the Word with the sweet sugar of faith it was their destruction, it turned them over even into hell. It is faith that makes the Word profitable. For the procuring of an harvest it is not enough to have ground, and seed cast into the ground, but rain must fall from heaven and be mingled with the ground. So it is not sufficient to bring ourselves as the ground to a sermon, to have the immortal seed of the Word sown in our hearts by God's husbandmen, but there must be the drops of faith mingled with this seed to make it fruitful.

(W Jones, D. D.)

There are few things more perplexing than the contrast between the vastness and variety of the means employed for the creation of religious impression, and the scantiness of the results arising from their employment. For all this there must necessarily be a cause. Does the fault lie in the instrument employed? Is the Word itself defective, either from style, topic, or tone, to meet the indifference of man's nature? Something there is in man's nature that stands out against the power of Scripture, that counteracts the medicine which would restore us to health. And this is the assertion that the apostle makes with regard to Israel. Affirming elsewhere the power of the Word, he affirms here the deficiency of man's faith.

I. GOD DID PREACH THE GOSPEL TO ISRAEL JUST AS GOD HAS PREACHED THE GOSPEL TO US. In popular thought and in popular language, it is oftentimes supposed that the gospel belongs rather to the Christian than to the Jewish dispensation. The truth is, that never was a moment in this world's history since the fall of man in which the gospel of Jesus Christ has not been proclaimed. We grant you this, that it may have been announced sometimes with more of power, and more of expansion, and more of fulness than at other times. But no sooner did the necessity commence than the blessed remedy was proposed by God. Nay, more than this — so anxious does it appear that God was to make that instrument effective in bringing back wayward sinners to Himself, that we find God has so planned His gospel as to make it speak to the three great departments of man's nature. He has made that gospel speak, in the first place, to man's hopes; in the second place, to man's senses; and lastly, to man's understanding. So, you see, that by enlisting all these faculties of man in His service, by telling man to look hopefully, by telling man to look intelligently upon this system, the Lord has grappled with the obduracy of man's nature, as it were fulfilling in all this His own declaration, "I will not let thee go until I bless thee."... And, as if to make it clear that nothing was left undone which could give God's truth a hold, a lodgment on the human soul, our blessed Master condescended to clothe His appeals in every possible variety of form. Affectionate expostulation, calm appeal, tender invitation, stern admonition — the attraction of promises, the thunders of threats — parable, illustration, allegory — the incidental remark, the studied discourse — the historical allusion, the original thought — the informal address at the sea-side, the deliberate comment in the synagogue. And yet, though thus the gospel was preached to them as to us, "the Word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it."

II. THE CAUSE WHICH PREVENTED ISRAEL, AND PROBABLY PREVENTS US, FROM RECEIVING THE GOSPEL. And, if we are to apprehend this point aright, we must carry our thoughts into two channels, for it is necessary to determine what is meant by the reception of the gospel before we are in a position to admit the reason why the gospel is not received. Now, in reference to the former of these points, we are bold to express our belief that there exist most imperfect views respecting the reception of the gospel. Multitudes there are who conceive that they have accepted it because they listen to its truths and assent to its propositions. But we pray you to understand this, that if that were simply all that Scripture intends by receiving the gospel of Jesus Christ, we should find that there was no work for faith whatsoever. We grant there is all the difference in the world in some respects between a man who receives the truths of the New Testament and a man who rejects those truths. You have, so far as the understanding goes, that which a man has accepted, and so far he may be admitted into the ranks of Christian discipleship. Bat, after all, what is the gospel of Jesus Christ meant for? It is not. meant to be simply a system of instruction. If so it would apply itself to man's mind. It was not meant simply to be a system of illustration. If so it would apply itself simply to man's fancy. It was not intended like abstract rules in scientific matters, as in mathematics for instance, to lay down dry and abstract propositions to be taken up and to be believed by men simply because they could not gainsay the system. No, the gospel was intended for more than this. It was intended doubtless to enlighten us; doubtless to instruct us; doubtless to edify us. But the great use of our Master's gospel is this: to win the whole man — the man of understanding, the man of intelligence, the man of religion — to win the whole man into a state of subjection to Christ Jesus. If there be amongst us any whose reception of the gospel is simply of that scientific kind that I have attempted to describe, it were not too much to say that that man has never received the gospel yet. "Not being mixed with faith in those that beard it." Suffer me to expostulate with you, and to ask you honestly this question, what has the gospel done in the way of profit with you? Has it come down with a power greater than mortal power to your souls, and made you feel that you were sinners? Has it made you feel your own utterly impotent powerlessness to restore yourselves back to God's favour? Has it made you feel this, that none but Jesus can stand between you and God as the effectual Atoner and the effectual Mediator? Has it come down into your conscience, making you to writhe under the sense of transgression? Has it done more than this, altered your habits? Is it building you up into conformity with the laws that are Christ Jesus'? If the gospel has been doing aught of this kind it has brought profit with it. But if it has only brought new ideas to your understanding, if it has only brought new thoughts to your intelligence, if it has qualified you, so to speak, to sit down and be catechised, then has this gospel not done God's intention with regard to it, for it has not reclaimed the whole man and made that rebel a subject of Christ Jesus.

(A. Boyd, M. A.)

1. Faith can stand with nothing, nor be mixed with truth but the Word; and the Word will not join, nor stand, nor mix with conceits, opinions, presumptions, but with faith; that is, it will be received, not as a conjecture, or possible truth, but for Divine and infallible truth; else it profiteth not.

2. Hearers of the Word may blame their misbelief if they get not profit.

3. Albeit a man get light by the Word, and some tasting of temporary joy and honour, and riches also, by professing or preaching of it, yet he receiveth not profit, except to get entry into God's rest thereby; for all these turn to conviction.

(D. Dickson, M. A.)

It is a popular error to mistake that length is the only dimension of a sermon. A man said to a minister, ":/our sermons are too short." Said the minister, "If you will practise all I preach you will find them quite long enough."

(J. Parker, D. D.)

Baxendale's Anecdotes.
A person whose life was immoral urged his sister to go with him to hear his minister; but she smartly replied, "Brother, what are you the better for his preaching?"

(Baxendale's Anecdotes.)

The Church.
A lady, travelling through the Southern States of America in a private carriage, one or two years after the Proclamation of Emancipation had been issued, chanced to be detained for the night in a little country inn, which stood so far off from the usual lines of travel, that it was evident a guest was very seldom entertained there. She was shown into a room, to prepare for tea, which was as full of dust as though it had not been entered or disturbed for years. She requested some attendance, and a poor, wretched looking coloured woman was sent to her, with no apparent life or energy; nothing but utter listlessness and indifference expressed in every movement. After watching bee useless performance for a few minutes, the lady said: "Auntie, I am from the North, and I am not used to having things this way at all. Now, you know, we Northerners set your people free, and I think you ought to try and make things comfortable for us when we come among you. Just see if you cannot make this room a little cleaner while I go down to tea." Saying this, the lady left the room. She returned in about an hour, and found, to her astonishment, the dusty room transformed into a picture of neatness. But more astonishing even than the transformation in the room was the transformation in the woman herself. She stood there looking inches taller. Life and energy were in every muscle and every movement. Her eyes flashed fire. She looked like a new creature. The lady began to thank her for the change she had made in the room; but the woman interrupted her with the eager question; "Oh, missus, is we free?" "Of course you are," replied the lady. "Oh, missus, is you sure?" urged the woman, with intense eagerness. "Certainly I am sure," answered the lady. "Did you not know it?" "Well," said the woman, "we heerd tell as how we was flee, and we asked master, and he 'lowed we wasn't, and so we was afraid to go. And then we heered tell again, and we went to the Cunnel, and he 'lowed we'd better stay with ole massa. And so we's just been off and on. Sometimes we'd hope we was free, and then agin we'd think we wasn't. But now, missus, if you is sure we is free, won't you tell me all about it? " Seeing that this was a case of real need, the lady took the pains to explain the whole thing to the poor woman — all about the war. and the Proclamation of Emancipation, and the present freedom. The poor woman listened with the most intense eagerness. She heard the good news. She believed it; and when the story was ended, she walked out of the room with an air of the utmost independence, saying, as she went: " I'se free! I ain't a-going to stay with ole Master any longer!" She had at last received her freedom, and she had received it by faith. The Government had declared her to be free long before, but this had not availed her, because she had never yet believed in the declaration. The good news had not profited her, not being mixed with faith in the one who heard it. But now she believed, and, believing, she dared to reckon herself to be free.

(The Church.)

Faith is learnt by faith; that is, it is maintained, increased, and strengthened by exercise, just as walking, speaking, writing, &e., are learnt by walking, speaking, and writing.

(A. J. Begel.)

Jedediah Buxton, the famous peasant, who could multiply nine figures by nine in his head, was once taken to see Garrick act. When he went back to his own village, he was asked what he thought of the great actor and his doings. "Oh!" he said, "he did not know; he had only seen a little man strut about the stage, and repeat 7,956 words." Here was a want of the ability to appreciate what he saw, and the exercise of the reigning faculty to the exclusion of every other. Similarly, our hearers, if destitute of the spiritual powers by which the gospel is discerned, fix their thoughts on our words, tones, gestures, or countenance, and make remarks upon us which, from a spiritual point of view, are utterly absurd.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

There must be an union and closing with Christ by faith before there can be any communication from Him of the graces of the Spirit. There must be an ingrafting into the root before there can be a communication of sap from the root to the branches. The grace of faith enlargeth the heart to receive Christ, and after it hath received Him it retains Him. I found Him whom my soul loveth — I held Him, and would not let Him go. The grace of love entertains Him with the embracements of the will and affections. Faith, like Martha, goeth out for Him, and brings Him along with the promise to the soul. Love, like Mary, sits down at His feet, to attend what is His will, and execute His commands. Faith is the only grace whereby a soul properly receives Christ; for to receive Him and to believe in His name are equipollents.

(William Colvill.)

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