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TWELFTH SECTION

TWELFTH SECTION.-xiii.
Of Love and Good Works.

CXXlI. OF LOVE. XHt.—1. Let love of the brethren continue.

2. Forget not to shew love unto strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.

3. Remember them that are In bonds, as bound with them; them that are evil entreated, as being ourselves also In the body.

4. Let marriage be had in honour among all, and let the bed be undented: for fornicators and adulterers God will judge.

At the door of the Holiest, coupled with the invitation to enter in (x. 19-25), we heard the name of the three sisters—Faith, Hope, and Love. The life into which faith leads us has been set before us in chap. xi.; that of hope and its patience in chap xii. 1-13. We now have the life of love and good works. Our author begins with pointing out four of the chief characteristics of the life of love. These are, the love of the brethren, hospitality, sympathy with those who are in bonds or persecuted, and the love of the married state.

Let love of the brethren continue. The word love, used of God or Christ, is not found in the Epistle. lt was not needed: its whole teaching is the revelation of that love. Of the lov« and loving care of the saints for each other mention has more than once been made. He that enters the Holiest finds there the God of love. The life and the blessing he receives is nothing but the nature of God, the love of God shed abroad in his heart . He cannot truly enter the presence of God or enter His love without finding his brethren there: he cannot but prove his love to God and his joy in God in love to his brethren. On Mount Sion is the city of God, where God makes the solitary to dwell in families: we cannot share its blessings in any way but as we share them with our fellow-citizens.

The command of our text reminds us of how love may wax cold, and how it may be sadly wanting in the Church. ln divisions and separations, in indifference and neglect, in harsh judgments and unloving thoughts—alas, how little has Christ's Church proved that it has its birth from the God of love, that it owes its all to Him who loved us, gave us the new commandment of love, and asked us to prove our love to Him by bestowing it on our brethren. lf our study of the Epistle has not been in vain, if we have seen or tasted aught of the power of the eternal redemption it reveals, let us yield ourselves to live lives of love. Let every child of God, be he ever so feeble or erring or unlovable, be to us the object of a deep, Christlike love. Let us show it in the humility and gentleness, the kindliness and helpfulness, with which we give ourselves to care for them and to comfort them. The life in the city of the living God is a life of love: the more we love, the more the mists will roll away and our souls see it in sunshine and beauty. The greatest of all is love: he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.

Forget not to shew love unto strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. Love must prove itself in deeds. Our Lord's words: / was a stranger, and ye took Me in, teach us the sacredness and the blessedness of hospitality, shown not only to friends, but to those whose only claim is that they are Christ's. lt is too sadly true that, with the increase of riches and luxury, the simplicity that loves to entertain strangers is often lost. Scripture lays down no rules, it only points us to the law of love. It addresses us as those who have entered the Holiest, who are come to Mount Sion, and asks us, who, apart from all worthiness or merit, have been so freely and wonderfully loved and received into the home of God, that we in turn should open our home to the stranger and the needy. The Holiest is the abode of perfect love: let him who enters live in love. Let us remember the deep spiritual mystery, that our actions often mean more than we know; we may be entertaining angels, or even their Lord: He that receivetk you, receiveth Me.

Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; them that are evil entreated, as being yourselves also in the body. We know so well in our own body that when one member suffers all the members suffer with it. The word points to loving union with Jesus and His body on earth as close and real. This feeling of sympathy may and must be as quick and real in the spiritual as in the natural body. We are to feel towards the prisoners and the persecuted as if we ourselves were suffering. We have been admitted to a life in the home and the love of God ; they who abide there will learn thus to love.

Let marriage be had in honour among all, and let the bed be undented: for fornicators and adulterers God will judge. From the wider we are now led to the inner circle. Marriage is the God-ordained type of the love of Christ to His Church. Alas, how its holy union has been abused and denied! Christianity raised marriage out of the deepest degradation, and made it, with the home that gathers round it, what it has been in the Christian Church. Love, the love of God in Christ alone, can keep it pure and holy.

Ye are come to the city of the living God. Let your life be one of love. lts claims appear too high and exacting, they appear impossible to one who stands outside the gate. They become the joy of him who knows what it is to have entered the rest of God, where He works all. They become the very nature of Him who has, in fulness of faith, accepted Jesus as His High Priest, in the power of the endless life, bringing him nigh, giving him entrance into the life of God. The covenant, of which He is the Mediator, has written on the new heart the one law of love, has given us the spirit of love.

1. The first half of the Epistle opened our eyes to the heavenly glory of Jesus, and of that heavenly sanctuary into which He lifts us. The second shows us how we are to lioe that heavenly life on earth. The more a man lives in heaven, the better fitted he is to lioe on earth.

2. Love is the new nature we recelve from heaven, and is renewed from heaven day by day. The fruit of the Spirit is love. When the Spirit was poured out from heaven, love filled the hearts. Let us beware of attempting to fulfil these commands of love by our own will: it is only a lose gioen from God that can love all, at all times and in all circumstances.

3. Ye are not come to Mount Sinai, the life of law and effort, of strain and failure. Butyt are come to Mount Sion, a life in the Holy Spirit, in the power of Jesus, in joy and strength and perfect love.

CXXIII.

FALSE AND TRUE RICHES.

XIII.—5. Be ye free from the love of money; content with such things as ye have: for himself hath said, I will In no wise fall thee, neither will I In any wise forsake thee.

6. So that with good courage we say,

The Lord is my helper; I will not fear:
What shall man do unto me?

THE first duty the Christian who has drawn near to God in Christ has to learn is, what his relation is to his fellow-men, how his life is to be one of love. The second concerns his relation to the world and its goods. The outer world surrounds him on every side, he is in contact with it every moment. With a never-ceasing solicitation it asks his care, his interest, his affections. lt tempts him with its offer of pleasure and its threat of pain; it comes to him holding life and death in its hand. The world, which was meant to be transparent with the light of God's presence and goodness, has, since sin blinded man's eyes, become the veil that hides God from him. One of the first things the Christian, who is running the race, must watch most carefully, is the power that the world has, with its lawful needs and interests and pleasures, to become the weight that keeps him back, and too often cause the loss of the prize.

ln money we have the concrete embodiment of all that the possessions of the world can offer. And so in the love of money we have the very spirit of the world. Our text says: Be ye free from the love of money. The temptation comes so unobservedly, both to the rich man who has money, and to him who is still seeking for it The tempter comes like a very angel of light . ln money itself there is no sin. ls it not one of God's good gifts? May not the possession of it be the proof of honest labour and diligence and forethought, of self-denial and wise economy; a token of God's blessing on our work; a power to help others and benefit society. ls not poverty frequently a sign of sloth and sin? Is not money one great means for attaining God's purpose, that man should bring the whole world into subjection to himself?

Scripture knows and teaches all this. And yet it raises its voice aloud and cries: Beware of covetousness. The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil{i Tim. vi. 9,10, 16, 17,18). So insidious is the approach and entrance of this sin, so many and specious are the arguments by which it can be cloaked and made to wear the garments of the truest virtue, that the Christian, to whom prosperity comes, needs ever to be on his guard. lt is only the man who truly seeks first the kingdom of God, who longs after the utmost conformity to the Master, and seeks to be taught by Himself what and how to own, who holds all He has, not in name but in actual practice, at the disposal of Jesus, who will escape the snare. Be content with such things as ye have. Here is the safety of the Christian. Study well the Master's teaching in the Sermon on the Mount; learn from His Spirit in thee to breathe its spirit. Let the treasure in heaven, the being rich in God and in good works, let the blessedness of living in the love and the will of God, in the heavenly riches of a holy character, and a life of Christlike beneficence, fill the heart, and we shall be content in any lot, and shall in contentment find our safeguard against anxious care or love of money.

For Himself hath said, I will in no wise fail thee, nor in any wise forsake thee. Yes, when God is the portion of the soul, it may well be content with what it has of earth. lt is the consciousness of the favour and nearness of God that makes the soul rise above all that the world can offer. To lead the truly Christian life, the life of faith amid daily duties and daily care, we need the presence of God as our better and abiding possession. Our earthly and our heavenly life are more closely linked than we know. Too much of interest in or attachment to earthly things inevitably weakens our hold on God. True fellowship with God at once brings us into the right relation to earthly things. Let our faith study and feed on the promise: Himself hath said, I will in no wise leave thee, nor in any wise forsake thee. The faith that clings to its fulfilment will overcome the world.

So that with good courage we say, The Lord is my helper; I shall not fear: what shall man do unto me? God's promise ever claims an answer. Here the answer is given us with which our hearts ought to respond to His I will in no wise leave thee; with good courage we say, the Lord is my helper, I shall not fear. Let us speak the words loud out, and repeat them until we feel that they are ours. Whether it be in temporal need, or in our many spiritual requirements, we are often tempted to faint and fear. A promise of God, such as we have here, is meant for the hour of trial. Everything may at times appear very dark; we cry and no answer comes; it almost looks as if God had forgotten us. Let, in the fulness of faith, the voice of the cloud of witnesses, all bidding us be of good courage and to wait patiently, enter our hearts, and let us say: Himself hath said, I will in no wise leave thee. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope that it waver not, for He is faithful that promised, and boldly say, The Lord is my helper, I will not fear.

Free from the love of money, content with what he has, holding fast what Himself has said, and with good courage answering, The Lord is my helper, such is the life which the man who has entered the Holiest is able to live amid the cares and needs of daily life.

1. The promise—1 will ln nowise leave thee was first gioen to Jacob, then to Joshua, and again to Sotomon, and afterwards to israel. lt teaches us how every promise of the Old Testament may be appropriated by us. We in our dally life are to God of as deep interest as those on whom of old the working out of His purpose depended. The abiding, uninterrupted presence of Bod is our one great need in dally life. It is the one greet blessing which in Christ is made doubly clear and sure.

2. Himself bath said: So that we say. As we listen to and repeat what God the Everlasting has said, we shall know what to say in response, and say it with good courage.

3. Be content: the power that conquers the love of money, and opens the heart for the faith in God's promise and abiding presence.

CXXlV.

JESUS CHRIST, THE SAME FOR EVER.

XTTT.—7. Remember them that had the rule over you, whloh spake unto you the word of God; and considering the Issue of their life, Imitate their faith.

8. Jesus Christ Is the same yesterday and to-day, yea and for ever.

Remember them that had the role over you, and imitate their faith. The reference may be to teachers who had been with them for a time, and then had gone elsewhere, or to those who had been called away by death. The Hebrews are called to consider what the issue, the result, of their life had been, the impression they had left, and to imitate their faith, as the power that brought forth their life. Happy the church where the holy life and manifest faith of the leaders can be pointed to, even more than their teaching. Happy the church that imitates and emulates the faith of its leaders.

We remember the contrast we had in chap. vii. between the priests who die and are succeeded by others, and the unchanging priesthood of Jesus. The thought here of the loss of those who had taught them, but had now left them, appears to suggest the words that follow: Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and to-day, yea and for ever. There may be loss and change of men who are beloved and of great worth as teachers. Jesus we can never lose,—in Him there is no change. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and to day, yea and for ever. Through all the changes in the Church around us, through all the changes in the spiritual life within us, He changeth not,—He is ever the same. As our faith sees and seizes hold upon this, and rests upon Him as the same for ever, it will participate in His unchangeableness; like Him it will know no change, but always be the same.

Throughout the Epistle we have now so often seen that the great defect in Christians is that there is no steadfast, certain progress, no holding fast firm to the end,—they abide not continually. As with lsrael in the old covenant—they continued not in it. And the great difference of the new covenant, the wonderful perfection of Christ's redemption and eternal priesthood is to be, that now there is to be an end to backsliding. The new life is no longer to be fitful and changing and intermittent; its measure and its power, its anchor within the veil is to be—the unceasing action of Jesus the High Priest after the power of an endless life, maintaining for us in heaven, and within us in the heart, the free, undisturbed, abiding fellowship with God. And, as we have more than once said, the only reason why so many young or earnest Christians never attain to this unchanging life is—They do not know Jesus. They do not know him by faith, as the Epistle has set Him before those who are pressing on to perfection—as a Priest for ever, who ever liveth to pray, and therefore every moment will watch over and keep the soul that trusts Him for it. They do not know that what He has done for one day, or one hour, He will do every day and every hour, because yesterday and to-day, yea and for ever, He ahvays is tlie same.

All that He was yesterday, He is to-day. All that He was yesterday, in the past of the great eternity, as the object of the Father's delight, and the bearer and dispenser of the Father's life and love, He is to-day. All that He was yesterday, in His life upon earth, with His meek and gentle and sympathising heart, He is to-day. All that He has been on His throne, in sending down His Spirit, in working mighty things in and on behalf of His Church, in revealing Himself in joy unspeakable to trusting souls, in meeting and blessing you who read this,— He is to-day. All that He is, He can be to you to-day. And the only reason that you ever had to look back to a yesterday that was better than to-day, was that you did not know, or that you failed to trust, this Jesus, who was waiting to make each to-day a new revelation and a larger experience of the grace of yesterday.

The same yesterday and to-day, and for ever. Yea, all that He has been He will be for ever, even from henceforth, from the present moment, and for evermore. And all that He will be for ever He is at this moment for you. Think of Him in the fullest revelation of His glory, in the inconceivable closeness of the union with Him and His love which shall be yours hereafter, and let faith say, All that He ever will be, He is to-day. ln the external revelation there may be change and advance, in Jesus Christ Himself—none. All that He can in eternity be He is to you to-day—the same to-day and for ever. Amid all the changes in the Church and the circumstances around us, or in our heart within us, in this one word is a strength and a joy nothing can take away: Jesus Christ, the same yesterday and to-day, yea and for ever.

To-day!—Even as the Holy Ghost saith, To-day! Yes, To-day, claim and trust this unchanging Jesus as your life. His unchangeableness enters into the faith that feeds upon it, and communicates itself to it; yea, imparts itself to the soul that clings to Him as such. Look not at yourself, your feelings or attainments, but at Him who changeth not. In the power of the Holy Ghost, strengthening us with might in the inner man, He, this unchanging Christ, dwells in the heart by faith. Let the faith that worships Him on the throne, the same for ever, rejoice in Him as the indwelling Saviour, who abideth continually, who changeth not. According to your faith be it unto you. Even as the Holy Ghost saith, To-day!

1. Jesus Christ, for ever the same. The power in which He gave Hie blood, and roee again and entered heaven, is the power in which He is working each moment in us. The reason we do not experience it is simply, becavse of our unbelief. Let us open our heart, the hidden depth of our inner life, to worship and receioe and experience.

2. Jeeus Christ ever the Same: then my life, too, ever the Same; for Christ is my life.

3. Let us pray for the Holy Spirit's teaching, let us turn inward in stillness of soul, that He may reveal in us this unchanging Saviour as our life. There is no true knowledge of Christ but through the life of Christ in us.

4. As the Holy Jesus is but one—the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever—so His quickening, sanctifying Spirit in fallen man is but one, always working in one and the same power.

cxxv.

LET US QO FORTH, WITHOUT THE CAMP.

XIII.—9. Be not carried away by divers and strange teachings: for It Is good that the heart be stabllshed by grace; not by meats, wherein they that occupied themselves were not profited

10. We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat, which serve the tabernacle. •

11. For the bodies of those beasts, whose body Is brought Into the holy place by the high priest as an offering for sin, are burned without the camp.

12. Wherefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people through his own blood, suffered without the gate.

13. Let us therefore go forth unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach.

14. For we have not here an abiding oity, but we seek after the olty which Is to come.

Among the Hebrew Christians many still clung to the temple and its ritual. And there were among them teachers who inculcated obedience to the laws in regard to food and to eating of the sacrifices as necessary. The writer warns against these strange teachings. For it is good that the heart be stablished by grace, not by meats. No outward observances can sustain the inner life: it is by grace alone, grace that comes from the throne of grace, that the heart must be esiablished. Let OS have grace, we read, whereby we may offer service well-pleasing to God. All that Christ has and gives and works in us by the Holy Spirit—this is the grace by which the heart can be confirmed, and kept from falling.

The Hebrew Christian might not think of returning to fellowship with the old sacrifices. We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat, which serve the tabernacle. Our

altar is the cross: the Levitical priesthood does not share in what it gives ; the old and the new worship are utterly different. The old priesthood has no part in the sacrifice of the cross: the new worship no part in the old sacrifices. What is more, even the sin-offering, of which the blood was brought into the Holy Place by the High Priest, was—not eaten, but—burnt without the camp. It is not a question of eating, but of understanding what it means, the burning of the body without the camp. This we shall see in Jesus. The sin-offering, if you understand it aright, leads you to separation and rejection." Wherefore Jesus, that He might sanctify the people through His own blood, suffered without the gate. He was cast out of the city, as one who was indeed made sin for us. Let us therefore go forth unto Him without the camp, bearing His reproach. We now belong to Jesus, and fear not the rejection of those who rejected Him. For we have not here an abiding city, but we seek after the city which is to come.

Without the camp. This expression, which occurs three times, gives us the chief thought . We are ever inclined to seek our religion and its enjoyment in something external. And it is only to be found in felbwship with Jesus. His death is not only an atonement for our sins—it is that, praise God!—but only as an entrance into what is a great deal more and better. lt is the way and the power, a living way of fellowship with Him, so that like Him we come to God in the path of selfsacrifice and separation from the world and death to sin. His death and life work in us as the power that makes us ready and able, even like Him, to go without the gate, to be crucified to the world, bearing his reproach.

To understand this aright, let us look at ihe two distinguishing features of the sin-offering on the day of atonement . The blood was brought into the Holy Place; the body was burnt outside the camp. Even so Christ's blood was brought into heaven, and is the power of our entrance and our abode there: the sign that that is our place. And the call comes: Let us draw nigh, let us enter. But Christ's body was brought without the camp: the sign that that is our place too. Heaven has received Him and us in Him: we belong there. The world has cast Him without the camp, and us with Him : we belong there. In heaven we share His honour; on earth His reproach. Let us therefore go forth unto Him, without the camp, bearing His reproach.

The camp was not Rome with its heathenism, but Jerusalem with its religion and its revelation from God. There Jesus was rejected of the Jews, because He condemned their self-righteousness and formality. lt is not the irreligious but the religious world from which we must go out—that is, from everything that is not in harmony with His cross and its spirit of self-sacrifice. Let us go forth: not from one religious connection to another, which in time proves to have as much of the spirit of the camp. No, let us go forth unto Him! to closer fellowship, to more entire conformity to Him the Cross-bearer, to His meek and patient and loving spirit. Let us not cast our reproach on those we leave behind, but let us bear—His reproach.

Let US go forth. ln the summing up of the Epistle (chap, x.) it was, Let us draw nigh, let us enter in; here it is, Let us go forth. The two words gather up all the teaching of the Epistle, all the need of the Christian life. There are two places appointed for the believer in the power of Christ's redemption—within the veil, to worship ; without the gate, to witness. ln both places he can count upon Christ to keep him. The deeper he enters into the spirit of the one, the more will he realise of the other. The deeper he enters within the veil, the more will he feel withdrawn from the spirit of the camp and the party. And the more he goes forth unto Him, bearing His reproach, the more will he find access through Him to enter in into His glory. ln both places the boldness of which the Epistle has spoken so much will be found: the boldness in God's presence to claim Christ and be one with Him; the boldness in presence of the world to witness for Christ as one with Him. Let us therefore go forth onto Him.

1. Separated from the world, separated unto God—the negatioe and the positioe eide of the Christian life; inseparably and most blessedly joined to each other. lf we die with Him we shall also live with Him.

2. There is perhaps no greater need in our day than that God should open the eyes of His pevple to the solemn truth that the so-called Christian world is the very same world that rejected Christ, We are to bear to lt the same relation He did.

3. Christ the rejected One, Christ the glorified One: the disciples were not fit to testify of Him till the Holy Spirit from heaven had revealed Him in their hearts. Much less can we, who have never seen Him, know Him in truth and power without the Holy Spirit, in the same Pentecostal fulness of life, revealing Him within us.

CXXVl.

WELL-PLEASING SACRIFICES.

XIII.—15. Through him then let us offer a sacrifice of praise to God continually, that Is, the fruit of lips which make confession to his name.

16. But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with Buch sacrifices God is well pleased

17. Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit to them: for they watch In behalf of your souls, as they that shall give account; that they may do this with joy, and not with grief: for this were unprofitable for you.

18. Pray for us: for we are persuaded that we have a good conscience, desiring to live honestly In all things.

19. And I exhort you the more abundantly to do this, that I may be restored to you the sooner.

The Hebrews were in danger, we saw this in the previous verses, of being led to seek the strengthening of their religious life in returning to the old sacrifices. They have been reminded that of the sin-offering of old, the type of Christ, nothing was eaten; it was burnt without the camp. The fellowship of Christ must be sought in another way. By His blood He sanctifies us and leads us into the Holiest; by His example and His life He leads us without the camp. This is the true fellowship of the offering of Christ. The writer will now tell us what the sacrifices are in which we may still take part. In the fellowship of Jesus and His one sacrifice, we may bring the sacrifices of praise, of deeds of love and kindness, of humility and of prayer.

Through Him then let us offer up a sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of lips which make confession of His name. In Hosea we find Israel saying that when God puts away their iniquities, they will render Him the offering of the fruit of their lips. These are the sacrifices God asks and is well pleased with. These we may bring continually—the fruit of lips which make confession of His name. Speech is one of man's most wonderful endowments; the power of revealing and committing himself. Christ has redeemed us wholly for Himself; our lips belong to Him, and He claims that we shall speak of Him and praise Him continually. For our own sake, for His sake, for the sake of those who hear us, it is an indispensable element of a vigorous Christian life. There can be no continuous joyful life within the veil, if we do not as priests continually bring these sacrifices.

But to do good and to communicate forget not. In our Christian fellowship, and in the world around us, Christ has given us the poor and needy that we may show in them what we would like to do to Him, if He were on earth. Let the Christian study to combine a life with God in the Holiest with lips that praise and confess Him. And this, again, with deeds of love and kindness and Christian help that prove that the Spirit of Jesus is in us, that we are walking in practical fellowship with His self-sacrifice. And let every act of love and kindness be laid at God's feet as a sacrifice to Him. For with such sacrifices God is well pleased. They are to Him a sweeter savour than the sweetest incense. And as we offer them indeed to Him in faith, they will bring our hearts the assurance that we are wellpleasing.

Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit to them. Obedience and submission, even to men, for the Lord's sake; these, too, are elements of the self-sacrifice, which is wellpleasing to God. In the New Testament we have no longer a priestly caste, to intervene between God and men; all God's saints are priests. But we have a God-ordained ministry with the gifts and the setting apart, and the duties and the authority, of which the Acts and the Epistles teach us so fully. This is no mere human arrangement, but an appointment of Christ by the Holy Ghost, through which He carries out His work as the great Priest over the house of God. Such rulers are no lords over God's heritage, and yet have a claim to the honour due to them. The relation between the teacher and the taught is of such importance in the Church, the power of the teaching and the watching depends so much on the spirit of harmony and love, that this element of the Christian life must be carefully cultivated if we are to suffer no harm. Obey and submit: these are words that may not be forgotten, for they watch in behalf of your souls, as they that shall give account.

Pray for us: And I exhort you the more abundantly to do this, that I may be restored to you the sooner. Prayer, too, is one of the sacrifices we may offer; Jesus Himself in the garden offered prayers and supplications. The writer, in the very spirit in which Paul writes, not only asks for prayer, but believes that the intercession of the Church will hasten his restoration to them. Our life in the Holiest is indeed to be no selfish luxury; there is work there for us—work that calls for self-denial and self-sacrifice. Let us pray much for God's servants and all His saints; and let us be sure that nowhere may greater wonders be wrought by faith, than as it deals with God in prayer.

Christian, you are a priest! You have access into the Holiest! Christ went in with the blood of His sacrifice. Enter you continually with your sacrifice—the praise of God and the confession of His name; deeds of charity and beneficence; obedience and submission to those over you in the Lord; prayer and intercession—through Him let us continually offer.

1. Through Him! God can have no communication with the creature but through Him, that is, as He la in Hla Son. And we can have no access to God with our service but through Him, Mot is, as we are in the Son, and He le in us. God can delight in nothing but the perfect image of His Son. Let us, by faith, abide in Him, and so through Him offer continually sacrifices that are well-pleasing. As the great High Priest, He works it in us through His Spirit .

2. Through Him a sacrifice of praise: that is, in the joy which He gioes we praise God continually.

3. Self-aacrlfice—thc power and the glory of Christ's life upon earth. What a prioilege that our whole life, like His, may be one of sacrifice too: the sacrifice of praise and confession, of love and beneficence, of humility and submission, of prayer and intercession.

CXXVII.

THE GOD OF PEACE-AND WHAT HE HAS DONE FOR US.

Xm.—20. Now the God of peace, who brought again from the dead the great shepherd of the sheep in the blood of the eternal covenant, even our Lord Jesus,

21. Make you perfect.

THE Epistle began by telling us that in all that Christ is and does it is God speaking in us. The great work of Christ is to bring us to God; His death and His blood, His ascension and sitting on the throne, all mean one thing—our being brought nigh to dwell in God's presence. And with what object? That God may have us, to perfect us, and work in us that which is wellpleasing in His sight. Let no one think that the entrance into the Holiest is the end, it is only the beginning of the true Christian life. lt brings us into the right place and the right position, in which God now, in His divine power, can work out His own power in us, can make us in full truth one with Christ, can work the likeness of Christ into us.

We have reached the close of the Epistle. The writer gathers up all his teaching in the two verses of this beautiful closing prayer. As in it he commits his readers to God, the mention of God's name calls up all that he has said of God's work, and the first of the two verses is a summing up of all that God has done for us to bring us to Himself. Then follows, in the second the prayer, with its promise of all that we can count upon this God to do in us, that we may live worthy of Him. He points to the work God has done for us, as the ground and pledge of what He will do in us. The Epistle has revealed to us God in Christ; it seeks to send us out into life with the assurance that as wonderful and mighty and perfect as was the work of God in Christ for us, will be His work through Christ, by the Spirit, in us. Let each one who has listened to the calL Let us draw nigh, remember that he has been brought to God, that God may now reveal Christ in Him, and, as completely as He perfected Christ, perfect each one of us to do His will. The more we look to what God has done in Christ, as the pledge of what He will do in us, with the more confidence will our faith accept and expect it . And the more our desire is set upon the wonderful work God is yet to do in us, the more will our heart be fixed in adoration on God Himself as our hope and our joy.

The God of peace. This is the name by which we are invited to call upon and trust our God. Peace is the opposite of enmity, of war, of care, of unrest. Where everything is finished and perfect, there is peace and rest. God hath set the Holiest open for us, in token that we may enter into His rest, and trust Him to perfect His work in us. The peace of God, which passeth all understanding, can now keep our hearts and minds by Christ Jesus. Peace, an end of all care and fear and separation, has been proclaimed; the God of peace is now waiting to do His work in us.

Who brought again from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep, in the blood of the everlasting covenant. The Epistle has nowhere directly made mention of the resurrection of Christ. But this was not needful: all its teaching was based upon the fact that He who died and shed His blood is now living in heaven. We have studied the Epistle in vain, and we shall in vain attempt to live the true Christian life, if we have not learnt that our salvation is not in the death of Jesus but in His life—in His death only as the gate to the risen life. And so the God of peace, whom we are now invited to trust in, is spoken of as He who raised Jesus, the Shepherd of the sheep, who gave His life for them, from the dead. Scripture ever points to the resurrection as the mightiest part of God's mighty power; the God of the resurrection is to be the God in whom we trust for the work to be done in us. He has raised Christ, as the Shepherd, who watches and tends His sheep, through whom He will do His work.

In the blood of the everlasting covenant. We know how the blood has been coupled in the Epistle with the redemption of transgressions, the opening of the entrance into heaven, and the cleansing of the heart from all conscience of sin. Were it not for that blood-shedding Christ had never risen from the dead. ln that blood, even the blood of the everlasting covenant, which could only be made after there had been a redemption for transgressions, God raised Jesus from the dead. It was the blood that sealed the covenant, by which the covenant blessings of perfect pardon, of the law written in the heart, and direct fellowship with God were secured to us. It was the blood that had conquered sin and death and hell, that could give the entrance into heaven, and cleanse the sinner's heart for the reception and experience of the heavenly life. And as those who are sprinkled with this blood, the secret of resurrection power, we are invited to trust the God of the resurrection to work in us.

The God of peace, who hath raised Jesus from the dead in the blood of the covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do His will. The God who perfected His Son through suffering to do His will, until He raised Him in triumph over death to His own right hand—O soul! this same God is waiting to do this same work in thee in the same power. What He did in Christ for thee is all for the sake of what He is now day by day to do in thee. All that thou hast learnt of the wonders of His redeeming work, and His receiving thee into the Holiest, is that thou mightest now confidently trust and expect Him to take possession of thee and perfect His work within thee. Oh, let us draw nigh and enter in, in the restful, adoring assurance that God will perfect us in every good thing.

1. Peace is rest. To know the God of peace is to enter the rest of God. And until the soul rests in Him in Sabbath peace, God cannot do His higher, His perfect work.

2. The work of the Father and the Son for us find their completion in the work of the Holy Spirit within us. All the objectlve revelation is for the sake of the subjectiec experience, the mighty power of God working in the heart of His child what He longs to see. lt is in what God makes us, that the power of the redemption in Christ is proved.

3. By faith. Here more than ever this must be our watchword. Faith that sees and accepts and dwells in all God has done for us in Christ, and then counts upon His faithfulness and power to make lt all real within us in Christ through the Spirit.

4. As lt was through the Spirit that God wrought that perfect work in Christ bg which fallen human nature, as He had taken lt upon Himself, was redeemed and raised up and glorified, so nothing can make us partakers of that redeeming and quickening power but that same Spirit, truly lioing and working in our soul and body. ln the same manner as lt did in the humanity of Christ .

cxxviir.

THE GOD OF PEACE-WHAT HE WILL DO IN US. XHI.—20. The God of peace. . . .

21. Make you perfect In every good thing to do hi3 will, working in us that which is well-pleasing In his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be the glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Ln our last meditation we saw what the link is between the two verses of this wonderful benediction. All that God has done in the redemption in Christ is for the sake of what He wishes to effect in our heart. All that He makes known to us of that redemption is to bring us to trust and yield ourselves to Him,— to work out the inner, the subjective redemption in the same power in which the objective, the heavenly redemption, has been effected. The Father longs to have back again the man He lost in paradise, His image and likeness restored within us. All that Christ hath done on earth and in heaven, even to His sitting at His right hand, cannot satisfy the heart of God until He sees the kingdom set up within our heart. There the true power and glory of the Son are manifested.

The God of peace make you perfect in every good thing to do His will. To do His will. This, then, is the object of all that God has done. That the Son, who is God, should be our Redeemer; that the stupendous miracles of the incarnation and the atonement, the resurrection and the seating of a man on the throne of God, should be wrought, that the Holy Spirit of God should be poured out from heaven,—all was with one view, that we should be brought to do the will of God. The whole relation between God and the creature depends on this one thing: without it there can be no true fellowship with God. lt was for this Jesus became man: Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. lt was through this He redeemed us. lt is to make us partakers of the power to do this, that, as Mediator of the covenant, He puts the law in our heart, that we may do the will of God on earth as in heaven. It is for this alone He lives in heaven: the only proof and measure of the success of His work is that we do the will of God. Without this, all His work and ours is in vain.

Now the God of peace make you perfect in every good work to do His will. The doing of God's will depends entirely upon God's fitting us for it. As truly as God Himself perfected Christ and wrought out the redemption in Him, must God perfect us to do His will. As surely as He did the first, He will do the second. The word " perfect" used here means, to put into the right position or condition, to readjust, to equip, to fit a thing perfectly for its purpose. The prayer, God make you perfect in every good thing, teaches that the work of God is not only a general enabling or endowing with power, leaving to us its . use and application, but that He must perfect us in each one of the good things we have to do; so alone can we do His will. It calls us to an absolute dependence upon the Father, as Jesus meant, when He said, The Son can do nothing of Himself. lt seeks to bring us to a helplessness and a humility that just yields itself to God for every moment, and counts upon Him, even as He wrought out the great salvation in Christ as a whole, to work it in us in each minutest particular. With God nothing is small or insignificant. He must be in things, little as great, All in All.

Working in you that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ. Here we have the explanation of how He perfects in us every good thing: He works in us through Jesus Christ. The three persons of the Godhead are indivisibly and inseparably one. The Father works through the Son and the Holy Spirit. When Jesus, our Priest-King, ascended the throne, He sent from the Father the Holy Spirit to be within us, the power and life of His redemption in heaven. Then the ministration of the Spirit, of the inner life, began upon earth—God working in men what is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ dwelling in the heart . Then the fruit of Christ's work was made manifest; men on earth in very deed doing the will of God, and working what was pleasing in His sight, because He Himself worked it in them, through Jesus Christ.

Let this parting prayer teach us a double lesson. lt is a promise of what God will do. He will perfect us—put us in the right position, and give us the right condition of heart— in every good thing, to do His will,—Himself working in us that which is well-pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ. Let us read the words until we know in truth what God is waiting to do. The prayer becomes then a call to us to prayer and faith. Let us fix our hearts in faith on God and what He has wrought through Christ for us. Let us fix them in faith on what He will do in us through Christ, as surely and as mightily. All that God has done in Christ is only a beginning, a promise, a pledge of what He will do in us. Let that faith stir our desire to rest content with nothing less than the actual experience of the truth of this prayer - promise. Let that faith begin in prayer to claim and embrace and own it as our very own, waiting in deep dependence and humility on God to do it. And let every thought of the teaching of the Hebrews just culminate in a blessed act of adoring surrender. O Thou, God of Peace! here l am, thou wilt do it.

7. God working in us. Look upward in wonder and worship. Turn inward in stillness and meekness of heart, taking time to yield to the Spirit's working. And regard thy heart as indeed the sphere of the working of the lioing God.

2. Pray, pray, pray l The blessing of the Epistle, the power of redemption, must come from above. lt comes certainly to the heart open towards God and thirsting for Him.

S. Make you perfect: fit you perfectly to be subject to Him, and in dependence and humility and faith to work what He works in you. lt is often a misapprehension or a difficulty that hinders. God can restore you in one moment to the right relation or position.

4. A rvad is only good for that to which it brings as its end. The whole gospel is nothing but a way to this end God finding His place in our heart to dwell and work there that »*/«t is pleasing in His sight, so that we do His will.

CXXlX.

GLORY BE TO GOD.

Xin.—21. Working tn you that which ls pleasing In His sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be the glory for ever and ever. Amen.

To whom be the glory for ever and ever. No wonder that the heart of the author bursts out in adoration. ln the closing prayer he had summed up all the glory of what God had done in Christ, and was now waiting to work in us. He has pronounced over his readers the blessing of the God who hath revealed Himself in His Son, and longs to reveal Himself in us for our complete deliverance, and his whole soul bows in wonder, joy, and worship. The sight of the God who has raised Jesus from the dead, drawing nigh to do His mighty work in us too, brings the song to His lips: To Him be glory for ever and ever! Oh that we may ever learn so to study and admire and appropriate the mysteries of redeeming grace that every mention of it leads to the spontaneons outburst: Glory be to God!

lt is doubtful whether the whom refers to God or to Christ. lt appears more probable that the writer meant God, to whom and whose glorious work the whole prayer refers. But the question will cause us no difficulty. ln Scripture the same adoration is given to the Son as to the Father (see 2 Tim. iv. 13; 2 Pet. iii. 18; Rev. i. 6). The throne is that of God and the Lamb. All the honour that goes up to the Faiher goes through the Son; He shares in it. And all the honour given to the Son, goes through Him to the Father. lt is ever of God in Christ we say, To whom be glory.

Without this note of praise it is as if there would have been something wanting in the Epistle. ln God's temple the chief thing is the praise and honour of Him who dwells there. The Epistle has opened up to us the way into the Holiest. lt has spoken to us of the glory of the Priest-King whom God has set at His own right hand, for our sakes, and of His all-prevailing blood, and of the entrance we have into God's presence for Him to reign and work in us, and fit us to enjoy and to serve Him. lt has spoken of the continual sacrifice of praise we ought to render. And yet the writer has never sounded a note of praise. But here, at last, when he calls us to look back to all that God has done for us, and forward to all that He will do in us, the voice of adoration sounds forth: To Him be glory for ever and ever. The joy of heaven consists in this that they rest not day nor night in the worship and praise of God and the Lamb; if we are indeed come to Mount Sion, and into the very presence of God Himself, let our life and walk ever be in the spirit of adoration: To Him be glory for ever! The man who has not learned to praise, with whom it never breaks out spontaneously, has not learned to know his God aright, has not yet tasted the joy of a full salvation.

lf we would learn the secret of a life giving glory to God, on earth as in heaven, it must be found in the faith and the experience spoken of in the prayer to which this doxology belongs. The praise was born out of it, in the heart of the writer; it must be so with our hearts too. The more we gaze upon Christ our Priest-King, and upon His precious, cleansing, saving blood, and upon the new covenant, sealed in that blood, and the new heart with God's Spirit in it as our law, and upon God Himself who hath done it all, the more we shall feel urged to fall down and worship, To Him be glory for ever and ever. But especially as we claim and realise and yield ourselves to the promise which is the outcome of this great redemption, God perfect you in every good thing to do His will, working in you that which is pleasing in His sight, our hearts will swell with joy unspeakable and praise unutterable, that can only find relief in the cry, To Him be glory, to Him be glory!

l know that it is just here a difficulty will come to many. The promise appears so high, and its fulfilment in their experience, God perfecting them in every good thing, so impossible, that even the praise which came, when they thought upon what God had done, passes away. Let me speak one word to such. Just look at this great universe. The God who made it all, the sun and moon and stars, the mighty mountains and the great ocean; this God cares for every blade of grass and gives it its life and beauty. The greatest and the least are alike to Him; He cares for the whole and for each minute detail. And, even so, He who wrought out the mighty redemption in Christ is now still working out, in the same power and love, its application in every soul, in every moment and in every circumstance. God has not done part, and left part dependent on us. God is all, and must in very deed do all. As the God of peace, who raised Christ from the dead, He must work in you every good thing that can be pleasing in His sight. And He will do it. What He began in Christ, He will finish in you. A great artist attends to the minutest details. God is engaged, as He perfected Christ the Head, in perfecting every member of His body. He does this by Himself working in us. The Spirit of God's Son sent into our heart as an inward life, Christ dwelling in our heart, God working in. us—oh, it is when this is believed, and waited for, and in some measure experienced, that the whole life becomes a song of praise: To Him be glory for ever and ever!

Brother! Having boldness through the blood, let us draw nigh, and dwell in God's presence. Let us worship Him for what He hath done. Let us in tenderness of spirit adore Him as the God who is working in us through Christ Jesus. Let us in deep humility yield ourselves to Him, to be made so fully one with Christ that Christ may be seen to dwell in us. And the flame of God's love will break out and burn and rise heavenward without ceasing: To Him be glory! to Him be glory for ever and ever!

1. As in heaven so on earth. What God hath wrought in heaven, through Christ, is the pledge of what He will work in my heart. As l receioe this into my heart, His will will be done ln me, on earth as in heaven, becavse He dves lt Himself. And as in heaven, so in my heart, the praise will never end.

2. My heart, the temple where God dwells and reveals His work and His glory; all in the hidden power of the Holy Spirit.

3. To Him be glory for ever and ever! Lord Jesus l the great High Priest beside the altar, the minister of the sanctuary, it is Thy care that the fire ever burns, and the song never ends, te the glory of the Father.

cxxx.

PARTING WORDS.

Xin.—22. But I exhort you, brethren, bear with the word of exhortation: for I have written unto you in a few words.

23. Know ye that our brother Timothy hath ibeen set at liberty; with whom, if he come shortly, I will see you.

24. Salute all them that have the rule over you, and all the saints. They of Italy salute you.

25. Grace be with you all. Amen.

These closing verses are so entirely in the spirit of Paul, that involuntarily we feel as if we were listening to him. The mention of a Timothy, of his deliverance and of the hope of accompanying him, the greeting to the rulers in the Church and to all the saints, the greetings from the saints of ltaly, and the final benediction, all remind us of what we find in his Epistles.

I exhort you, brethren, bear with the word of exhortation.

Ere the writer closes, one more word of exhortation, and that is, to bear, to submit to and accept the exhortation he has sent them. The word he uses means both admonition or reproof (so xii. 5), and encouragement (so vi. 18). The Epistle has combined both elements most remarkably. ln the five warnings, and in its hortatory parts, its tone has been one of faithful reproof, with a view to convict of sin, to awaken to a sense of danger, and to urge to repentance. At the same time, everything has been done to quicken faith and hope, and to urge to steadfastness by pointing to the strong encouragement to be found in the word of God and the power of Christ .

To us the closing message comes too: Bear, yield yourselves to, the word of exhortation. Exhortation is indeed the main characteristic of the Epistle. lt comes to us as an intensely practical, personal appeal, to give ourselves wholly to the Son of God from heaven, and to live the heavenly life He offers to work within us. We may gather up its chief thoughts in four of the words it has used more than once.

Take heed! lts tone is one of solemn warning against the danger of negligence and sloth, disobedience and doublemindedness, unbelief and falling away. Let us yield to its discovery of sin and danger. Let us beware lest the contentment with beginnings, a resting short of an entire devotion to God and perfect conformity to Jesus, a selfish desire to have salvation and heaven without the very Spirit of Christ and of heaven, deceive us, so that, like lsrael, we perish half-way between Egypt and Canaan.

Press on! Let us accept its teaching of what the true aim of the Christian life is. We are to give due diligence to enter and dwell in the rest of God. We are to press on to perfection; to be like men running a race for life. We are to take Jesus as our Leader and Forerunner, to follow Him in the path of perfect obedience to God's will, and entire self-sacrifice. We are to enter with Him into the Holiest, to make God's presence our home, and His fellowship our daily portion and our chief joy. We are to be like the old saints, to go out from our home, to live in the pilgrim spirit, seeking a heavenly country. Yea, we are to live as those who are come to the heavenly Jerusalem. We are to go forth to Him without the camp bearing His reproach, wholly identified with Him. Let us press on. Let us run. Let us enter in. Let us go forth. This is what the exhortation means.

Consider Jesus. The one sure and effectual remedy the Epistle offers for all the prevailing feebleness and danger of the Christian life, we know. It has been said to us, You do not know Jesus aright. The knowledge that sufficed for conversion, does not avail for sanctification and perfection. You must know Jesus better. Consider Jesus! As God! As Man! ln His sympathy! ln His obedience! ln His suffering! ln His blood! ln His glory on the throne; opening heaven ; bringing you in to God; breathing the law of God and the Spirit of heaven into your heart, as your very life! As little as you can reach heaven with your hand, can you of yourself live such a heavenly life. And yet it is possible, because God has borne witness to the Gospel of His Son with the gift of the Holy Ghost. The Priest-King, on His ascension to the throne, sent down the Holy Spirit into the hearts of His disciples, and with Him returned Himself to dwell in them, that in the power of His heavenly life they might live with Him. Consider Jesus! and you will see that you can live in the hcavenlies with Him, because He lives in you.

By faith! This word is the key to all. By faith! in fulness of faith! we can inherit every promise. Faith is moved with godly fear, and takes heed! Faith obeys and forsakes all, and presses on to enter the land! Faith looks to Jesus, holds fast its boldness, and draws nigh to God, and goes forth without the camp. Faith sees how in Christ God has worked out His will, sees that this God will just as surely work in us too what is pleasing in His sight, and conquers every difficulty and every enemy. By faith we inherit every promise, and dare to sing even now: To Him be glory for ever and ever!

7. You will find it most profitable to look back over the whole Epistle, and see whether you have grasped its teaching. And then to say whether you are making it the one aim of your life to live up fully to its glorious revelation of the life of God.

2. The Holiest of All is the title of our book. l think you see how it expresses the central thought of the Epistle. lt is the spiritual life-state into which Jesus entered, and opened the way for you, and calls you to enter in. Have you entered? Are you dwelling there? Are you there now daily drinking in the Holy Spirit of Jesus, yielding to the Father to make you perfectly conformed to the humble, obedient, holy Jesus, your Leader and Forerunner? Oh, rest not without a full experience of the heavenly priesthood of Jesus, and of the heavenly sanctuary as your abode.

3. Grace be with you all, beloved readers; all the grace this Epistle has so wondrouslg revealed; all the day and for all and every need. With all of you, not one excepted—Amen.

BY THE

REV. ANDREW MURRAY.