Sidor som bilder

the success which should attend the preaching of the gospel among the Gentiles after His death and resurrection. The apostle therefore applies it to the Christian church. Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise.

But he thinks it needful to warn them that they must expect the opposition of the children of this world, in consequence of being the true followers of the Lord Jesus Christ; which was also intimated in the history which he had quoted. Ishmael mocked Isaac, and would have destroyed him, if it had been in his power. So the children of this world may be expected to act in all ages towards the children of God. As then, he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now. As it was in former times, so it will continue to be as long as the world lasts, and these two descriptions of persons are in it.

But hereafter a wide separation will take place. Nevertheless, what saith the scripture, Cast out the bondwoman and her son; for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman; that is, he shall not inherit the blessing promised to the children of God. Though he may have partaken of the outward privileges of the visible church of Christ on earth, he shall not be admitted into the church triumphant in heaven,

19 Genesis xxi. 9.

but shall be cast into outer darkness, into misery and woe inconceivable. This is a subject which calls upon us for serious self-examination, that we may ascertain for ourselves what will be our future condition. May our privileges be blessings to us, and not rise up against us to our condemnation.

The apostle concludes, in the words of the text, in an exulting manner respecting believers in the Lord Jesus Christ: So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free. The spiritual privileges to which believers in Christ are admitted, as the children of the freewoman, or of Jerusalem which is above, are described in the same chapter to the Hebrews as that before quoted respecting the terrors of Mount Sinai. In opposition to the state of bondage which those terrors occasioned, the apostle says to believers in Christ, Ye are come unto Mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels; to the general assembly and church of the first born which are written in heaven; and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect; and to Jesus, the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.20 These things do not relate merely to the

20 Hebrews xii. 22-24.

[ocr errors]

blessedness which shall hereafter be enjoyed by believers in Christ, but to that of which they are put in possession by faith in Him here on earth. They indeed look for a city which hath foundations, whose Builder and Maker is God; but they also actually become citizens of it here below. The apostle says, Our conversation, which some think might be rendered our citizenship," is in heaven. They are the subjects of the living God. He is their King; and they desire to live and walk as strangers and pilgrims on the earth, who are looking for a better city, even a heavenly one, which God hath prepared for them. The living God is the special object of their regard; they therefore live as seeing Him who is invisible. They have for their fellow-servants of the same living God, an innumerable company of angels; and the general assembly of the church of the first born, the congregation of the redeemed. That God, who is the Judge of all, is their God; and even in this awful character they can look up to Him with filial reverence, and with godly fear, knowing that for the sake of their blessed Redeemer, in whom they put their trust, they shall be acquitted from all the charges which the accuser of the brethren can bring against them; and therefore the terrors of the Judge of all do not make them afraid, for they are assured that it is

21 Hebrews xi. 10, 13, 16, 27.

22 Philippians iii. 20.


God that justifieth23 them. They have also fellowship with the spirits of just men made perfect, who are waiting for the general resurrection, when their incorruptible bodies shall put on incorruption, and that which was mortal shall put on immortality,24 for these are not dead, but living. They are come to Jesus, the Mediator of the new covenant, their Mediator, through whose intercession their persons and services are continually rendered acceptable to God; and through whom they enjoy pardon and peace with God, through the blood of sprinkling which is applied to their consciences by faith. For the blood of Christ does not call down vengeance as Abel's did, but speaks peace to the souls of His believing people, for it cleanses them from all sin. How different is all this from the dispensation of Mount Sinai, whose characteristic is terror and alarm. The dispensation of Mount Sion is on the contrary joy and peace. For, as the apostle observes, Godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.26

Are we then the children of promise? Are our hopes directed to the promises of God in Christ Jesus? If our religion does not make us happy and holy, we must be labouring under some grievous mistake. If we receive the religion of Christ, as it is set before us in the word of God,

23 Rom. viii. 33. 241 Cor. xv. 53. 25 Matt. xxii. 32. 26 1 Tim. iv. 8.

if we receive it thus in simplicity and godly sincerity, it cannot but make us happy; because it is a religion which announces pardon and peace to the guilty sinner, who is trembling under the fear of the wrath to come.

If then you have trembled under Mount Sinai at the terrors of the law, come to Mount Calvary and behold the ransom paid for the redemption of lost sinners. Behold peace made through the blood of the cross of Christ between guilty man and his offended Creator. Behold the blood of the Lamb of God crying, not for vengeance, but for pardon; pleading for sinners, Father, forgive them. Behold the gracious declaration made to all who truly turn to Him, and put their trust in His salvation, If any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous, and He is the propitiation for our sins.28 Behold the blood of sprinkling ready to be applied to the guilty conscience, to purge it from dead works to serve the living God.29 Faith in the atonement of Christ assures the soul of forgiveness; and the discovery of this will lead the penitent to say, O Lord, I will praise Thee; though Thou wast angry with me, Thine anger is turned away, and Thou hast comforted me.30 Behold also the Mediator of the new covenant, who ever liveth to make intercession for them that come unto God by Him;29 and

27 Luke xxiii. 34. 281John ii.1, 2. 29 Heb. ix. 14; vii. 25. 30 Is.xii. 1.

« FöregåendeFortsätt »