THE FOURTH WARNING.
Chap. x. 26-39.
Of them that sin wilfully and draw back.
OF WILFUL SIN.
X—26. For If we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remalneth no more a sacrifice for sins,
27. But a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and a fierceness of fire which shall devour the adversaries.
Ln mentioning those who forsake the assembling together of God's people, the writer has touched one of those sore places which, to him, are the symptom of imminent danger. This neglect of Christian fellowship is at once the indication of that indifference which is so dangerous, and the cause of further backsliding. All this leads him once again to sound the alarm, and to point out how neglect of outward, apparently secondary duties, opens the way to positive sin and eternal loss. He has scarcely finished his wondrous exposition of the glory of the heavenly Priest and the heavenly sanctuary and the way into it,
he has only just begun to speak of the life and walk to which that opened sanctuary calls us, when, thinking of the state of the Hebrews, he sounds a trumpet-blast of warning more terrible than any we have heard yet. ln the three previous warnings he had spoken first of neglect (ii. 1-4), then of unbelief and disobedience (iii. 1 ; iv. 13), then of sloth, leading to hopeless falling away (v. 13; vi. 19): here he now speaks of wilful sinning, with the awful rejection of God's mercy it implies, and the sore and certain punishment it will inevitably bring. John Bunyan, in his dream, saw a way leading from the very gate of heaven down to the pit . It is not only the Holiest of All that is set wide open for us; the gate of hell is opened wide, too, to receive all who neglect or refuse to enter the gate of mercy and of heaven. Let all who believe that it is indeed God who, by His Spirit speaks in this word, listen with holy fear.
For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more a sacrifice for sins. As we had in chap. vi. mention of those who were once enlightened, and tasted the heavenly gift and the good word of God, and who yet fell away, so here he speaks of those who, after having received the knowledge of the truth, yet sin wilfully. The expressions used show us that in the case of these the enlightening and the acceptance of the truth had been more with the mind than with the heart. Their judgment had been convinced, through the mind their desire and will had been affected and wrought upon; and yet, the heart, the whole inner life, had never been truly regenerate, had never received that eternal life, which cannot be taken away. And so there was a possibility of their still sinning wilfully and being shut out for ever from the one sacrifice for sin. As we saw before, the true assurance of salvation, the assuring of our hearts before God, can only be enjoyed in a life under the teaching of the Spirit, and a walk in obedience to God's will (i John iii. 19-24.) True assurance of faith is the witness of the Holy Spirit that is given in living fellowship with and obedience to Christ as Leader.
If we sin wilfully. The question will be asked, But what is wilful sin? How are we to know when we are guilty of it? No answer can be given; no one on earth can draw the line between what is and what is not wilful sin. Only He who sits on the throne, and who knows the heart, can judge. But how will this warning profit, if we cannot see what wilful sin is? The warning will just thus profit us most—it will make us fearful of committing any sin, lest it might be, or lead us into wilful sin. He that would know what wilful sin is, with the thought that he is safe, as long as he keeps from that extreme, deceives himself. The only sure way of being kept from wilful sin is to keep far from all sin.
A captain of a ship, sailing between two harbours on a rocky coast, was once asked by an anxious passenger if the coast was not very dangerous. The answer was, Very. And was he not afraid ?—No; our way is perfectly safe; you can be at ease. But how, if the rocks are so dangerous? Oh, very simply!—l put out to sea, and keep far from the rocks. O Christian! here is thy only safety: launch out into the deep of full obedience to all the will of God; keep far from all sin, and thou shalt be kept from wilful sinning.
For if we sin wilfully, there remaineth no more a sacrifice for sins. What a terrible contrast to the same expression as we had it before (x. 18): No more offering for sin. There it was the blessed secret of the glory of the gospel and redemption, the joy of Christian faith and life—no more offering for sin: salvation finished and perfected for ever. Here it is the awful revelation of the highest sin and its terrible doom: the one sacrifice rejected, and now no more a sacrifice for sins ever to be found. How awful to sin wilfully.
There remaineth no more a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and a fierceness of fire, which shall devour the adversaries. Fearful judgment, fierceness of fire, devouring the adversaries,—these words are in God's gospel; they follow close on its highest teaching; they are words He speaks to us in His Son. ln the religion of the world—alas, in a great deal of the Christian teaching and the religious literature of our day, professing to honour the God of love whom the Bible reveals—these words are set aside and rejected. And yet there they stand, and behind them stand the divine realities they express. God help us to believe them with our whole heart, and to exhort one another, if so be we may save some, snatching them out of the fire!
7. Let all who have entered the Holiest of All turn round and ook to the hole of the pit—the horrible pit—whence they have been drawn up. And as they see the multitudes going down to the pit, oh let them remember that the highest glory of life in the Holiest is, even as it is of Him who opened it with His blood and sits on the throne, to go out and bring others in.
2. Even though thou hnewest, through grace, that thou hadst escaped the judgment and the fire, take time to gaze upon them. Take upon thee the burden of those who are asleep, and plead with Christ to use thee to warn and to save them.
THE SIN AGAINST THE TRIUNE GOD.
X.—28. A man that hath set at nought Moses' law dieth without compassion on the word of two or three witnesses:
29. Of how much sorer punishment, think ye, shall he be judged worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?
30. For we know him that said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense. And again, The Lord shall judge his people.
31. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
The Epistle has set before us the more excellent glory of the New Testament. We can draw near to God as lsrael never could; God hath indeed made His grace to abound more exceedingly. But let no one think that greater grace means less stringency with sin, or less fierceness of the fire of judgment. Nay, the very opposite. Greater privilege brings greater responsibility, and, in case of failure, greater judgment. As elsewhere (ii. 2; xii. 25) we are reminded that the New Testament exceeds the Old not only in its blessing but also in its curse. As he had asked "How much more will the blood of Christ cleanse?" so here he asks, "How much more sore will the punishment be?" Oh that men would believe it; the New Testament, with its revelation of God as love, brings on its rejectors a far more fearful judgment than the Old. May God in mercy show us what it means, for our own sakes and that of others.
A man that hath set at nought Moses' law dieth without compassion—note this terrible word, without compassion: of how mnch sorer punishment, think ye, shall he be judged worthy, who sins against New Testament grace? The measure of the superior greatness of the New Testament will be the only measure of the greater fearfulness of the punishment sent; as in the first warning the greatness of salvation was connected with the part each person in the Holy Trinity had taken in it, so here too. The Father gave His Son: of how much sorer punishment shall he be counted worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God. The Son gave His blood: here is one who hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing. The Father and the Son gave the Spirit: he hath done despite to the Spirit of grace. Under Moses' law a man died without compassion: how much sorer punishment, without compassion, shall be the fate of them that reject Christ. Hear what all this means.
Who hath trodden under foot the Son of God! There was once an aged father, who had often pleaded in vain with a dissipated son to forsake his evil ways. One night, as the son was preparing again to go out, the father, after renewing his entreaties, went and stood in the door, saying, "My son, I cannot let you go—if you do, it will be over my body." The son tried to push the father aside. The old man fell, and in rushing out he trod on the father! Jesus Christ, God's Son, comes and stands in the sinner's way, pleading with him to turn from his evil way. He casts Himself in the way, with His wounded, bleeding body. And the sinner, not heeding what he does, passes over it: he hath trodden under foot the Son of God! What a sin against the Father and the love that gave the Son!
And hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing. The Father gave the Son. And the Son gave His blood—the blood of the covenant, securing and conveying to us all its wondrous privileges—the blood with which he was sanctified, admitted to the Holiest of All and the Holy One, he hath counted an unholy thing. When l come to water in which l wish to wash, and find it impure, l reject it; l throw it out . Christ calls the sinner to wash in His blood and be clean. He rejects it as an unclean thing. Yes, the blood that speaks of the love of Jesus, and remission of sins, and the opened heaven, is rejected and cast aside! Oh, what sin! lf the rejectors of the blood of bulls and goats died without compassion, how much more — the despisers of the blood of the Son of God!
And hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace! I can put no greater affront on my king, or my father, than by shutting my door in his face. lf they come to me with a message or a gift of love in my wretchedness, to turn them away is to do them despite. The Spirit comes as the Spirit of grace, to convince of sin and stir to prayer and lead to Jesus. To close the door, to refuse surrender, to open the heart to the spirit of the world instead of Him, is to do despite to the Spirit of grace! The Son trodden under foot, the blood counted unclean, the Spirit of grace despised and rejected,—alas, what terrible sin!
For such there remaineth no more a sacrifice for sins! And such are they among us and around us who reject the Christ of God! And such their fate! For we know Him that said, Vengeance belongeth unto Me, I will recompense. And again, the Lord shall judge His people.—For we know Him! How many there are who profess to believe in Scripture, and to worship God, but who do not know this God. They have framed to themselves a God, after their own instincts and imagination; they believe not in the Holy One in whom righteousness and love meet in perfect harmony. They refuse to say, We know Him that said, Vengeance belongeth unto Me, I will recompense. Oh, let us seek so to know Him, that our hearts may be filled with compassion for all who are still exposed to this fearful vengeance. For it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. Let us think in love on all who are still exposed to this judgment, until it stir us to thanksgiving for our own redemption, to an infinite compassion for all who are in danger, to new fervency of prayer for their salvation, and to a consecration of ourselves to the one work of warning them of their danger and leading them to Christ.
1. in accepting God's word let us remember that as little as we could have devlsed or understood the glorious redemption in Christ, such as God's love has provided, without a dlolne revelation, can we arrange for or understand a judgment day such as God's rightevusness requires. The one is a mystery of love and the other a mystery of wrath, beyond all we can think or know.
2. lt was to meet the judgment and the wrath of God Christ's blood was needed. The blood stands midway between the judgment threatened and the judgment yet to be poured out . As we believe in the judgment we shall honour the blood; as we believe in the blood we shall fear the judgment
THE FORMEK DAYS.
X.—32. But call to remembrance the former days. In which, after ye were enlightened, ye endured a great conflict of sufferings;
33. Partly, being made a gazlng-stock both by reproaches and afflictions; and partly, becoming partakers with them that were so used.
34. For ye both had compassion on them that were In bonds, and took joyfully the spoiling of your possessions, knowing that ye yourselves have a better possession and an abiding one.
THE solemn warning now, just as was the case in chap. vi. (ver. 9), turns to encouragement and exhortation. As there, the Hebrews are reminded of the former days, when they were first enlightened—the time of their first love. But, in the previous instance, they were told that God was not unrighteous to forget their work and love; here they are urged themselves not to forget what had taken place. Call to remembrance the former days. The retrospect would call up ihe joy with which they once had sacrificed all for the name of Jesus, would humble them in view of past backsliding and present coldness, would stir within the desire and the hope of regaining the place they once had occupied. Call to remembrance, he says, the former days, in which ye endured a great conflict of sufferings, in not only bearing reproaches and taking joyfully the spoiling of your possessions, but also in compassion towards and being partakers with others who were in bonds.
lt is a sad thought that a community that had so remarkably proved its faithfulness to the Lord, in the midst of persecution and suffering, should in a few years have gone so far back as to need the warnings that have just been given. And yet it has often been so. ln some cases it happened that the persecution ceased, and the spirit of ease and of sloth, or of worldly prosperity, obtained the mastery. ln others, the persecution lasted too long, and those who had appeared to forsake all, succumbed to the severity and length of the trial. The Hebrews were not only an instance of such defection, but of so many other cases, in which Christians, after having begun well, wax weary, fainting in their souls. They stand out as beacons to warn us of the danger the Epistle so strongly urges—that the best beginning will not avail unless we endure to the end (iii. 14; vi. 11; xii. 3). They call us to remember that we need a faith and a religion that stands fast and lasts; because it has its steadfastness, as the Epistle teaches, in the promise and the oath of God; in the hope within the veil; in Him the surety of the covenant, who is seated on the right hand of God, the Priest after the power of an endless life, the surety of an everlasting covenant.
In reminding them of the past a very remarkable expression is used to indicate what the power was that enabled them at first to endure so bravely. Ye took joyfully the spoiling of your possessions, knowing that ye yourselves have a better and abiding possession. The Christian stands between two worlds; each offers him its goods as possessions. In unceasing conflict the two compete for mastery. The one has the advantage of being infinitely more worthy than the other—giving infinite satisfaction, and lasting for ever. The other is in no wise to be compared with it—it cannot satisfy, and it does not last. But, in the conflict, it has two immense, two terrible advantages. The one is, it is nearer; it is visible; it has access to us by every sense; its influence on us is natural and easy and unceasing. The other, that our heart is prepossessed; the spirit of the world is in it. And so it comes that the possessions of this world with the most actually win the day, even against the better and abiding possession.
Te took joyfully the spoiling of your possessions, knowing that ye have a better and abiding possession. What is this better and abiding possession? It is the love and grace of God. lt is the eternal life within. lt is Christ as our heart's treasure. lt is a life and a character in the likeness of Christ. The old heathen moralists teach us most striking lessons as to the nobility of a man who knows that all earthly possessions are as nothing compared with the being master of himself. How much more reason the Christian has to rejoice in the good things, in the eternal realities which Christ bestows, both in the heaven above and the heart within. The world may rob you of personal liberty or earthly goods; it cannot compel you to commit sin or separate you from the living God in Christ Jesus. Heaven and its blessing in your heart can fill you with a joy that counts every sacrifice a privilege, that makes every loss a gain, and that turns all suffering into an exceeding weight of glory.
Alas that the Hebrews, after knowing this better and abiding possession, and having, for its sake, joyfully taken the spoiling of their possessions, should yet, many of them, have waxed weary, and fainted and turned back! Alas for the terrible possibility of making sacrifices, and enduring reproach for Christ, and then falling away! No wonder that our author at once follows up his appeal to the former days with the exhortation: Cast not away your boldness—ye have need of patience.
Let us learn the solemn lesson: the lawful possessions and pleasures and occupations of this world, its literature and its culture, are unceasingly and most insidiously seeking to undermine the influence of the better and abiding possession. This influence is greater than we know, because they are seen and near and ever active. Nothing can secure us against their power but a life of faith, a life in the Holiest, a life in the power of Christ, the Priest for ever, who works all in the power of the endless life. Alone through Him who abideth continually can we abide continually too, can we endure unto the end.
1. lf there be any reader who has to loob back with shame and regret on his first love, and his leaving it, let him listen to the call; Remember the former days. Think of them. Face the fact of your having gone back. Confess it to God. And take courage in the assurance, there is restoration and delioerance. Trust Jesus.
2. A better and abiding possession. A rich man counts his money. He spends time and thought on preserving lt safe, and making lt more. Our power to resist the world, so that llI possessions shall not tempt us, nor lts threats terrify us, lies in the full consciousness and enjoyment of our heavenly treasures. Take time to know your possessions, draw out an inventory of what you have and what you expect, and all the world offers will have no power.
BOLDNESS AND PATIENCE.
X—35. Cast not away therefore your boldness, which hath great recompense of reward.
35. For ye have need of patience, that, having done the will of God, ye may receive the promise.
We know how often we have had the word boldness in our Epistle. If we hold fast our boldness (iii. 6); Let us draw near with boldness to the throne of grace (iv. 16); Having boldness to enter into the Holiest through the blood of Jesus
(x. 19). The boldness and confidence toward God is one of the strongest roots of the Christian life. Without it there is no strength to persevere, no power to draw nigh to the throne of grace in prayer, no liberty to enter into the full fellowship of God in the Holiest. And so the Hebrews are urged not to cast away their boldness, because it has great recompense of reward. ln the vigour and joy of the Christian life, in the bright and joyous fellowship with God, in the courage for meeting the battle with the world and sin, the reward of boldness is great.
Cast not away your boldness. When l have my hands filled, and something more tempting is offered, l may either directly cast away what l have, or, by trying to take the new object into hands already full, may gradually lose hold of what I first held fast. Casting away our boldness always has its cause in something else that we allow to take its place in the heart. lt may be sin, whether only rising in the heart or breaking out into act, if it be not immediately confessed and cleansed away. lt may be something in itself lawful, but which is allowed too large a share in our interest or affections. lt may be something doubtful, so insignificant that it hardly appears worth considering, and yet which somehow robs us of perfect liberty in looking up into God's face. lt may be care or fear, it may be self-effort, or self-seeking, self-trust; anything that is not in the perfect will of God loosens our hold on the boldness before God, and, ere we know, we have cast it away: it is lost .
But we must not only know how we lose it; we want as much to know how to keep and increase it. The texts we quoted tell us. Among the foundation truths we had it: We have a High Priest able to sympathise, let us come with boldness. And in the fuller teaching it came again: Having boldness to enter through the blood, let us draw nigh. The High Priest and the blood—these are the everlasting and unchanging ground of our confidence. lt is as we consider Christ Jesus, and follow Him; as we grow in the knowledge and the faith of His blood, and enter through it into God's presence, that we shall hold fast our boldness with an ever firmer grasp. As with a true heart we draw nigh, and in the consciousness of our integrity, that in holiness and sincerity of God we are walking in the world, place ourselves in the light of God, we shall receive even in this life something of the great recompense of reward the boldness of faith ever brings.
Cast not away your boldness, for ye have need of patience. Your boldness you cannot dispense with for a single moment; to the end of life it is your only strength. Cast it not away; remember that without patience, in the persevering exercise and daily renewal of faith, you cannot inherit the promise. Between the faith that accepts a promise, and the experience that fully inherits or receives it, there often lie years of discipline and training needed to fit and perfect you for the inward possession , of what God has to give. Whether it be a promise to be realised in this world or the coming, you have need of patience. Therefore cast not away, never for a moment lose hold of, hold fast firm to the end, your boldness—ye have need of patience. ln chap. vi. it was said: Be imitators of them who through faith and longsuffering inherited the promise. This is one of the great practical lessons of the Epistle. Without perseverance, endurance, steadfastness, faith is vain; the only proof that it is a living, saving faith, is that it holds fast its boldness firm unto the end.
Ye have need of patience, that, having done the will of God, ye may receive the promise. Doing the will is the way to receive the promise. Doing the will is to be the one thing that is to occupy us while we patiently wait. Between God's giving the promise to Abraham and his receiving its fulfilment there lay years of the obedience of faith. And each new act of obedience was crowned with new and larger blessing. Doing the will was the proof of his faith, the occupation of his patience, the way to his blessing. lt was even so with our blessed Lord. Between the promise given Him of the Father and His inheriting it in the resurrection and ascension there lay—what? His life of obedience: Lo, I am come to do Thy will, O God. With every Christian who puts his trust in the living Christ, and enters the Holiest of All to live there, doing tlie will of God must be the link that unites the end to the beginning. Between the faith that accepts the promise and the experience that fully inherits it, there may to us, too, be years of waiting and trial. These must be marked by the obedience of faith, by "patient continuance in well-doing," or we never can reach the promised end. If we see to the doing of God's will, He will see to our inheriting the promise. The sure mark of true faith, the blessed exercise of life within the veil, the proof of the power of Christ, the obedient One within us, the blessedness of fellowship with God will all come with this—doing His will. To do the will of God is the only way to God and His presence. Therefore, day by day, hour by hour, let this be our motto: Patience, that having done the will, ye may inherit the promise.
1. We have been eo little accustomed in our Christian life to gioe the doing of God's will lts right place, and there is so much misconception about it, as if it is not actually expected of us, that lt will take time and trouble to get the heart under the complete mastery of the thought—l am every moment to be doing nothing but the will of God. Jesus Christ lived Ml He, our Leader, will teach lt us. He, our life, will lies it in us. He, our High Priest, will by His Spirit, in this new and lioing way, bring us in very deed nigh to God.
2. Boldness, courage, bravery, the chief of the manly virtues. Patience, one of the loveliest of the gentler sisterhood of passioe graces, in each full Christian character the two must be combined. Cast not away your boldness, for— Ye have need of patience. Boldness to undertake, patience to carry out the doing of God's will.
3. O believer, let the truth enter deep into thee—boldly, patiently doing the will is the way to inherit the promise.
BELIEVING OR DRAWING BACK.
X.—36. For ye have need of patience, that, having done the will of God, ye may receive the promise.
37. For yet a very little while,
He that cometh shall come, and shall not tarry.
38. But my righteous one shall live by faith:
And If he shrink back,1 my soul hath no pleasure in him.
39. But we are not of them that shrink back unto perdition; but of them that have faith unto the saving of the soul.
In the summary we had (19-25) of what life in the Holiest means, the last word, after we had been urged to exhort one another, was: And so much the more as ye see the day drawing nigh. And then came the warning of the fearful expectation of judgment, and the terror of falling into the hands of the living God. Here the warning closes with once again pointing to the Lord's coming as not far off. Christian faith lives not only in the unseen present but also in the future ; more especially in the future of the coming of Him who shall appear a second time to them that wait for Hi|?, Him who is now seated on the throne, expecting till all His enemies be made His footstool. Let our faith so live in the future, that all our life may be in the power of eternity, and of Him in whom eternity has its glory.
The passage quoted is from Habakkuk, the same that forms the text of the Epistles to the Galatians and Romans. The
1 Draw back.
prophet is told by God, in the midst of the oppression of lsrael by the Chaldaeans, that the vision will surely come. Two classes among the people are spoken of. Of one it is said: His soul is puffed up, it is not upright in him. Of the other: But the righteous shall live by his faith. Our writer uses the words to contrast the two classes among the Hebrews. On the one side, those who are not upright; on the other, the righteous who live by faith. The righteous man will in the midst of trouble, and while the vision is delayed, put his trust in God, and live in that trust. He shall live by it too, the God whom He trusts will not fail him but send deliverance.
Our writer introduces the passage of set purpose, to serve as the text of the following chapter. He had in chaps, iii. and iv. spoken of unbelief as the great sin through which lsrael had perished in the wilderness, of faith as the one thing needful if we are to enter into the rest of God. In chap. vi. of the faith by which the fathers inherited the promises. He had in our chapter, in his summing up of the Epistle, said: Let us draw nigh in the fulness of faith. He wishes, after his exposition of what the purpose and the work of Jesus can be to us, to show us the way to a full personal experience and enjoyment of it all, through faith alone. He proposes to do so by proving how all the Old Testament saints had lived and conquered through faith, and how it is the one oifly thing God asks if we are to experience His mighty saving power and the blessedness of His good pleasure. He is going to point out all the variety of circumstances and difficulties in which faith will give us God's help and sure deliverance, as well as all the various tempers and dispositions with which it will be accompanied. For all this he finds a most suggestive text in the words: My righteous one shall live by faith.
That means a great deal more than what many think—the sinner shall be counted righteous by faith; more, too, than the righteous shall have eternal life by faith. lt means, the righteous shall live, his whole life shall be, by faith. This is just the lesson we need. The righteous who lives by faith is contrasted with him who draws back, of whom God says: My soul shall have no pleasure in Him. The one cause of backsliding is the want of faith in the unseen, a yielding of the heart to the visible, and, in the battle against it, a trusting in our own strength and not in Christ. We see here again that there is no other alternative—either believing or drawing back. ln the Christian life nothing will avail to keep us from backsliding but the fulness of faith—always and in everything to live the life of faith. lt is only when faith gives itself up entirely to Christ for Him to do all in us, to keep us standing too, and when faith so dominates our life that every moment and every engagement shall all be under its influence, that we can hope to be safe from drawing back. lf l am to be sure of salvation, if l am to be strong against every temptation, if l am to live daily as one in whom God's soul has pleasure, l must see to one thing—to be a man of faith.
Let us prepare ourselves for the wonderful chapter that is coming, and all its blessed teaching, by looking back on what has been set before us of Christ and His redemption as the object of our faith. He is the Priest for ever, the Priest of God's oath, able to save completely—shall we not throw our whole being wide open to Him in trust? We have Him, a Priest-King upon the throne, the Minister of the sanctuary He has opened for us, and where He presides, to bring us in—oh, shall we not be strong in faith, giving glory to God? We have Him, the Mediator of the new covenant, who with one sacrifice hath perfected Himself and us for evermore, and whose work it is to write and put God's law within us as the power of a living obedience,—again, l say, shall we not believe, and allow this mighty Saviour to do His perfect work in us? We have entered the Holiest of All, we have in faith claimed God's presence, and the life of abiding continually in it as our portion, and we have the great Priest over the house of God to make it all true and sure to us; surely it needs no words to urge us to make faith, faith alone, the faith of the heart, the unceasing sacrifice we bring our God. So may we too say, We are not of them that draw back, but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.
7. The only cure for all the coldness and backsliding in the Church is "the preaching of faith." Holiness by faith, standing by faith, being kept by the power of God through faith, having Christ dwell in our heart by faith,—this must be the daily food of the Christian. A preaching that insists upon salvation by faith chiefly as pardon and acceptance must produce feeble Christians. The fulness of faith is indispensable to the full Christian life.
2. Believing or drawing bach—there is no other alternatioe. Look back over the warning of which these worde form the conclusion, and let us fear at the terrible possibility for ourselves and others. And look forward to the coming chapter, with the one prayer that our whole life may be in the fulness of faith, in the very presence and power of God.