« PreviousContinue »
thou fold them up, and they shall be changed; but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail. But to which of the angels said he at any time ; Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool ? Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation ?
Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip. For if the word spoken by angels was steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward, how shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him; God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will ?
For unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak. But one in a certain place testified, saying; What is man that thou art mindful of him ? or the son of man, that thou visitest him ? Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him.
But now we see not yet all things put under him.
But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour ; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.
For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through suffering. For both he that sanctifieth, and they who are sanctified, are all of one; for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying ; I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee. And again; I will put my trust in him. And again ; Behold, I, and the children which God hath given me. Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver them, who, through fear of death, were all their life-time subject to bondage. For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren ; that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that he himself hath suffered, being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.
$ 2. Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus; who was faithful to him that appointed him, as also Moses was faithful in all his house.
For this man was counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as he who hath builded the house, hath more honour than the house. For every house is builded by some man; but he that built all things is God.
And Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after ; but Christ as a Son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence, and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.
Wherefore, as the Holy Ghost saith; To-day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness; when your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years.
Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said; They do always err in their heart, and they have not known my ways.
sware in my wrath; They shall not enter into my rest. Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called Today ; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end ; while it is said ; To-day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts as in the provocation. For some when they had heard, did provoke ; howbeit, not all that came out of Egypt by Moses. But with whom was he grieved forty years ? was it not with them that had sinned ? whose carcases fell in the wilderness. And to whom sware he, that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not ? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief. Let us therefore fear, lest a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.
§ 3. For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them ; but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said ; As I have sworn in my wrath; If they shall enter into my rest ; although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise; and God did rest the seventh day from all his works; and in this place again ; If they shall enter into my rest. Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief;
Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David ; 'To-day, after so long a time ; (as it is said,) To-day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts. For if Jesus had given them rest, then would be not afterward have spoken of another day. There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.
Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief. For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart ; neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight; but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.
$ 4. Seeing then that we have a great High Priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
For every high priest taken from among men, is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins, who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way, for that he himself also is compassed with infirmity; and by reason hereof he ought, as for the people, so also for himself, to offer for sins. And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God as was Aaron. So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest, but he that said unto him; Thou art my Son, to-day have I begotten thee; as he saith also in another place, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec. Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications, with strong crying and tears, unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard, in that he feared, though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered, and, being made perfect, he became the Author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him, called of God an high priest, after the order of Melchisedec.
Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing. For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness; for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. Therefore, leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection ; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith towards God, of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. And this will we do, if God permit. For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance, seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame. For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God; but that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned.
But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak. For God is not unrighteous, to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister. And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end ; that ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises. For when God made promise to Abraham,