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S E'R MON CXXII.
Christ the author, and obedience the con
dition of salvation.
HE B. V. 9.
And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.
HIS is spoken of Christ,our great High-priest un,
der the gospel; upon the excellency of whose
person, and the efficacy of his facrifice for the eternal benefit and salvation of mankind, the A. postle infifts fo largely in this, and the following cha pters; but the sum of all is briefly comprehended in the text, that our High-priest being made perfect, became the author of eternal salvation to them that 0. bey him.
In which words we have these four things consi, derable :
ift, The great blessing and benefit here spoken of, and that is eternal salvation; and this implies in it, not only our deliverance from hell, and redemption from eternal misery; but the obtaining of eternal life and happiness for us.
2dly, The author of this great blessing and bene. fit to mankind; and that is Jesus Christ the son of God; who is here represented to us under the notion of our High-priest, who by making, atonement for us, and reconciling us to God, is said to be the author of eternal salvation to mankind.
3dly, The way and means whereby he became the author of our salvation; being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation. The word is 7eeweis, having consummated his work and finished his course, and received the reward of it. For
this word hath an allusion to those that run in a race, where he that wins receives the crown. And to this the Apostle plainly alludes, Phil. iii. 12. where he says, not as though I had; already attained, oux oti nan enabov, not as if I had already taken hold of the prize; but I am pressing, or reaching forward towards it ; ý ý fon TETENGWw.al, or were already perfeft; that is, not as if i had finished my course, or had the prize or crown in my hand; but I am presfing forward towards it. In like manner, our blessed Saviour, when he had finished the course of his humiliation and obedience, which was accomplished in his sufferings, and had received the reward of them, being risen from the dead, and exalted to the right hand of God, and crowned with glory and ho
he is said to be teasiwb is, made perfect; and therefore, when he was giving up the ghost upon the cross, he said, John xix. 30. Teléresas, it is finished, or perfected; that is, he had done all that was neceffary, to be done, by way of suffering for our re. demption. And the sainc word is likewise used, Luke xiii. 32. concerning our Saviour's sufferings, í do cures to day and to morrow, xj rñ tpéia Tea GollHall, and the third day I shall be perfected; this he spake concerning his own death.
And therefore, chap. ii. 10. God is said to make the captain of our falvation perfect through sufferings; I did ahnUSTAV TEAEWO ul. And thus our High-priest being made perfeet in this sense, that is, having finished his course, which was accomplished in his sufferings, and having received the reward of them, in being exal. ted at the right hand of God, he became the author of eternal salvation to us.
4thly, You have here the qualifications of the persons who are made partakers of this great benefit, or the condition upon which it is suspended, and that is obedience; he became the author of eternal salvation to them that obey him.
These are the main things contained in the text. 'For the fuller explication whereof, I shall take into confideration these five things : VOL. VI.
ift, How ift, How and by what means Christ is the author of our salvation.
2dly, What obedience the gospel requires as a condition, and is pleased to accept as a qualification, in those who hope for eternal salvation.
3dly, We will consider the poflibility of performing this condition, by that grace and assillance which is offered, and ready to be afforded to us by the gospel.
4thly, The necessity of this obedience, in order to eternal life and happiness.
And sthly, I shall Thew that this is no prejudice to the law if faith, and the free grace and mercy of God, declared in the gospel.
ift, We will consider how and by what means Christ is the author of our salvation ; . and this is contained in these words, being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation ; that is, ( as I told you before ) having finished his course, which was accomplished in his last sufferings; and having received the reward of them, being exalted at the right hand of God, he became the author of eternal salvation to us; so that by all he did, and suffered for us, in the days of his felh, and in the state of his humiliation, and by all that he still continues to do for us, now that he is in heaven at the right hand of God; he hath effected and brought about the great work of our salvation. His doctrine and his life, his death and sufferings, his resurrection from the dead, and his powerful intercession for us at the right hand of God, have all a great influence upon the reforming and saving of mankind; and by all these ways and means, he is the author and cause of our salvation; as a rule, and as a pattern, as a price and propitiation, and as a patron and advocate that is continually pleading our cause, and interceding with God on our behalf, for mercy and grace to help in time of need.
And indeed our condition required an High-priest who was qualified in all these respects, for the recovery of mankind out of that corrupt and degenerate ftate into which it was sunk; an High-prielt whose lips frould preserve knowledge, and from whose mouth we might learn the law of God; whose life should be a perfect pattern of holiness to us, and his death a propitiation for the fins of the whole world; and by whose grace and assistance we should be endowed with power and strength to mortify our lufts, and to perfect holiness in the fear of God; and therefore such an High-prieft became us, who was holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from finners, who might have compassion on the ignorant, and them that are out of the way, and being himself compassed with infirmities, might have the feeling of ours, being in all points tempted as we are, only without sin; and in a word, might be able to save to the uttermost all chose that come to God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for us.
By these qualifications our High-priest is described in this epiftle; and by these he is every way suited to all our defects and infirmities, all our wants and necessities; to instruct our ignorance by his doctrine, and to lead us in the path of righteousness by his most holy and most exemplary lite; to expiate the guilt of our sins by his death; and to procure grace and affiftance for us, by his prevalent intercession on our behalf. By all these ways, and in all these refpects, he is said to be the author of eternal salvation.
ift, By: the holiness and purity of his doctrine, whereby we are perfectly instructed in the will of God and our duty, and powerfully excited and persuaded to the practice of it. The rules and directions of a holy life were very obscure before, and the motives and encouragements to virtue but weak and ineffectual, in comparison of what they are now rendered by the revelation of the gospel. The general corruption of mankind, and the vicious practice of the world, had in a great measure blurred and defaced the natural law; To that the heathen world for many ages, had but a very dark and doubtful knowledge of their duty, especially as to several instances of it. The custoin of several vices had so prevailed among mankind, as almost quite to extinguish the natural sense of their evil and deformity. And the Jews,
who enjoyed a considerable degree of divine revelation, had no itriêt regard to the morality of their actions; and contenting themselves with some kind of outward conformity to the bare letter of the ten commandments, were almost wholly taken up with little ceremonies and observances, in which they placed the main of their religion, almost wholly 'ne. glecting the greater duties, and weightier matters of the law.
And therefore our blessed Saviour, to free mankind from these wanderings and uncertainties about the will of God, revealed the moral law, and explained the full force and meaning of it, clearing all doubts, and supplying all the defects of it, by a more parti. cular and explicit declaration of the several parts of our dury, and by precepts of greater perfection, than the world was sufficiently acquainted withal before of greater humility and more universal charity; of abstaining from revenge and forgiving injuries, and returning to our enemies good for evil, and love for ill-will, and blessings and prayers for curses and per. secutions. These virtues indeed were fometimes, and yet but very rarely, recommended before in the counsels of wisé men; but either not in that degree of perfection, or not under that degree of necessity, and as having the force of laws, and laying an univerfal obligation of indifpensible duty upon all mankind.
And as our blessed Saviour hath given a greater clearness, and certainty, and perfection, to the rule of our duty, so he hath revealed, and brought into a clearer light, more powerful motives and encouragements to the constant and careful practice of it; for life and immortality are brought to light by the gospel; the resurrection of Christ from the dead be: ing a plain and convincing demonstration of the im. mortality of our souls, and another life after this, and an evidence to us both of his power, and of the fi. delity of his promise, to raise us from the dead. Not but that mankind had some obscure apprehensions of these things before. Good men had always good hopes of another life, and futute rewards in