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and their possession of it was sacramental. It is worthy of remark, that the words, 'for unto us was the gospel preached even as unto them, seem to import, that we are no less concerned in the gospel declaration, and the promise made unto them, than they were; otherwise the apostle would have rather said, the gospel was preached to them even as to us; seeing of its preaching to the present Hebrews there could be no question. Paul reminds his brethren, that their
progenitors had a promise given them of entering into the rest of God, which, because of unbelief, they came short of, and perished under his displeasure; now, whereas, they might reply, what is that to us, wherein are we concerned in it; can we reject a promise which doth not belong to us? The apostle replies, to us, to all the posterity of Abraham in all generations was the gospel preached, in the promise of entering into the rest of God; and may no less be sinned against at any time by unbelief, than it was by them to whom it was at first granted; when it was preached to them, it was also preached to us, so that the obligation to faith and obedience was no less on the one than on the other generation; for the present dispensation of the gospel was but the continuation of the same gracious promise.
$8. The word preached did not profit them;' (o novos TUS exons) the word of hearing, which expression, being general, is limited by (Eteyyense) the promise, in the verse foregoing. The word (o doyos) may be (ETHYTENIC) a promise in itself, but if it be not the word of hearing, that is, so managed by the appointment of God as that we may hear it, we could have no advantage by it. In short, the phrase (o novos ons axons) imports, the promise preached, and as preached. Of this word it is said, “it profited them not,' they had no advantage by it; for it was a notorious fact, that notwithstanding the promise given of entering into the rest of God, they entered not in. And there seems to be a meiosis in the words also; it was so far from benefiting them, that it became the innocent occasion of their ruin. As if he had said, consider what befell them, how they perished in the wilderness under the indig. nation of God, and you will see how far they were from having any advantage by what they heard; and such will be the issue with all that shall neglect the word in like manner.
$9. Not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.' The word not being mixed (rem ouynexpulsvos) taken in a natural sense, denotes to mix or mingle one thing with another, as water and wine; or to mix compositions in cordials, or in poisons. This mixture which was properly of a cup to drink, was sometimes so made as to give it strength and efficacy to inebriate, or give it any pernicious effect; and hence a cup of mixture is expressed as an aggravation. Sometimes the mixture was made to temperate and alleviate, as water mixed with strong inebriating wine; hence a cup without mixture is an expression of great indignation; Rev. xiv, 10, nothing being added to the wine of fury and astonishment to take off its fierceness. This being the import of the word, expositors illustrate the whole sense by various allusions, whence they suppose the expression to arise: some to the mixture of things to be eaten and drank, that they may be made suitable and useful to the nourishment of the body; some to the mixture of the natural ferment of the stomach with meat and drink, causing digestion and nourishment; and this last allusion seems well to represent the nature of faith in this matter. The sum is, spiritual truths, being savingly believed, are
united with that faith which receives them; so incorporated with it, as that they come to be realized in the soul, and to be turned into the principle of that new nature whereby we live to God. The same promise being left to us as to them, and they came short of it for want of mixing faith with it, we have reason to be watchful against the like miscarriages in ourselves.
ş10. II. The subject will be farther cleared by the ensuing observations:
Obs. 1. Fear is the proper object of gospel communications, which ought to be answerable to our several conditions, and grounds of obnoxiousness to threatenings. This is that which the apostle presseth us to, on the consideration of the severity of God against unbelievers, peremptorily excluding them out of his rest, after they had rejected the promise; “Let us, saith he, 'fear therefore. As the sum of all promises is enwrapped in those words, He that believeth shall be saved; Mark xvi, 16, so the sum of all threatenings is in the following: “He that believeth not shall be damned. And a like summary of gospel promises and threatenings we have again, John iii, 36. 'He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life, and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.' The law (as distinguished from the gospel) knows no more of gospel threatenings than of gospel promises; for the threatenings of the law lie against sinners for sins committed; the threatenings of the gospel are against sinners, forrefusing the remedy provided and tendered to them. They are superadded to those of the law, and in them doth the gospel when rejected become “death unto death;' 2 Cor. ii, 16, by the addition of that punishment contained in its threatenings, to that which was contained in the threatenings of the law. And this duty is always incumbent on them to whom
the dispensation of the gospel is committed; for not only maythey justly suppose that such there are, and always will be, in all churches, but also many do contiually declare themselves to be in no better state; and the discovery of it to them by the word is a great part of our ministerial duty; for they have a respect to the nature of God, and are declarative of his condemning, hating, and forbidding that which the threatening is denounced against; they have a respect to the will of God and declare the connexion there is, by God's institution between the sin prohibited and the punishment threatened; as in that word, “He that believeth not shall be damned,” in which God declares the infallible connexion there is, by virtue of his constitution, between infidelity and damnation. Wherever the one is final, the other shall be inevitable; and in this sense they belong undoubtedly and properly to believers; that is, they are to be declared and preached to them, or pressed upon their consciences; for they are annexed to the dispensation of the covenant of grace as an instituted means, to render it effectual, and to accomplish the ends of it. Noah, when he was warned of God concerning the deluge, being moved with fear, prepared an ark, Heb. ii, 7. A due apprehension of the approaching judgment due to sin, and threatened by the Lord against it, made him wary; (eulebindels) he was
moved by this careful fear,” to use the appointed means for his deliverance and safety. The nature of this fear, as discovering itself in its effects, consists principally in a sedulous watchfulness against all sin by a diligent use of instituted means: and to promote this is the direct design of God in his communications. What is the mind and intention of God in any of his communications, either as recorded in his word, or as declared and preached to us by his appointinent? It is this; that considering the terror of the Lord and the desert of sin we should apply ourselves to that constancy in obedience, which we are guided to, under the conduct of his good Spirit, whereby we may avoid it.
And hence followeth, a constant watchfulness against all carnal confidence and security; “Thou standest by faith,” saith the apostle, “be not high-minded but fear," Rom. ii, 20. And whence doth he derive the caution? From the severity of God in dealing with other professors, and the virtual threats contained therein: “For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he spare not thee.” ver. 21. This fear is the great preventive of carnal security; its stands
its watch to prevent the mind from being influenced by the sloth, or negligence, or any other lusts of the flesh; or by pride, presumption, elation of heart, and other lusts of the spirit. And therefore, this fear is not such a dread as may take a sudden impression on believers by a surprisal, or under some special guilt contracted, but that which ought to accompany us in our whole course, as the apostle Peter adviseth us; “See,” saith he, “that you pass the time of your sojourning here with fear.” 1 Pet. i, 17.
$11. Obs. 2. It is a matter of great and tremendous consequence, to have the promises left and proposed to
When Moses had of old declared the law to the people, he assured them that he had set life and death before them, one whereof would be the unquestionable consequent of that proposal. Much more may this be said of the promises of the gospel; they are “a savor of life unto life,” or “of death unto death,” to all to whom they are revealed, as containing and exhibiting the whole love, goodness, and grace of God towards mankind; the infinite wisdom of the counsel of his will about their salvation. Now even amongst