Now, conscience is God's alarum-clock. They met for many nights behind the gun, reading and praying. WE MAY DRAW NEAR TO GOD. We have made A PROFESSION OF OUR FAITH, AND A CONFESSION OF OUR HOPE, By the memories of the day when you made that profession, be firm in it to the end. Because He loves you. Let us embrace Him in the arms of faith, give the love of the heart to Him a full vent (Song of Solomon 8:6).4. He has promised to reward our profession; and " He is faithful."Application:1. Christians are enjoined to examine themselves, so as to ascertain whether they are in a state of salvation or not; to be very earnest and diligent to certify their calling and election of God; to desire and aim at the attainment of firm and steadfast hope of eternal blessedness: and to regard the possession of joy in the Lord as a blessing to be asked of God, and a state of mind to be continually cherished by the believer. (2)By the constraining influence of Christ's love. "To provoke one another." Conscience is no longer defiled; it is washed, purged. W. Dale, LL. God is omnipotent, and therefore it is not the want of power that can render Him unfaithful.6. Not to say: "I am safe," or, "I shall enjoy religion"; but to consider the work of your fellows and the wants of others. "He is faithful that promised." God is on a throne of grace in Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 5:19).2. Who will dare go on day after day in neglect of earnest prayer, and the Holy Communion, while each day brings its own fearful burden, coming as if spontaneously, springing from our very nature, but not got rid of without deliberate and direct acts of faith in the Great Sacrifice which has been set forth for its removal? )Hold fast the profession of our faith.Holding fast our professionC. In chapter 10 the text then turns to the reader’s desired application put into the form of three “let us” statements. We are exhorted to hold fast the profession of our hope without wavering. This is held by those who teach that the faith which justifies is a confident assurance that the individual is himself in Christ, and so saved; and it is involved in the opinion of those who teach that every man who is in Christ knows this, and so is assured of his own safety. Adam had a way to it, but that is blocked up; there is a new and living way consecrated for us (ver. or refuse to go forward? Learn that religion requires both the devotion of the heart and the profession of the life.2. Not to say: "How little can I do," but how much.2. Hereby we profess that we are strangers and pilgrims upon earth, that we are seeking heavenly things, labouring for heavenly rewards, laying up for ourselves heavenly treasures. I said, "I am very thankful; for it will save you the trouble of quitting them. We must keep the shutters open and the windows clean, so that plenty of pure light can get in if we wish to see things plainly. Gratitude for past mercies. The promises upon the accomplishment so much of our comfort depends are promises of grace.3. Oh for that grace which sprinkles our hearts from an evil conscience!Saved from an evil conscienceF. No; great as this privilege is, God has meant something for us infinitely greater. We are secure; when one that is able hath passed his word, and by promise bound himself unto us, then we make sure thus far of the thing promised. No. The form in which they are directed is not always the same, but sometimes assumes a more absolute, and sometimes a more conditional, appearance.4. Renew it.IV. Have you found Him faithful? (2) In the holy sacrament of the supper. To this day it fulfils its original purpose of impressing upon man his great guilt and feebleness. 1. (4)More glory to God.Application:1. And God makes use of conscience as His detective police to find out those who have sinned secretly. Burns, D. D.)An unwavering confessionH. None of the promises, how conditional soever in their form, are altogether beyond the reach of sinners, so long as they are in the land of the living and place of hope.5. All our powers surrendered to God.2. Not to say: "How little can I do," but how much.2. TO draw near "with a true heart," means to worship God with sincerity, which is an indispensable ingredient in Christian piety. God. Colwell.I. When we look through the red glass what colour will the things be that we are looking at? (Owen Clarke. (3)He Himself has invited us to draw near-"Come unto Me," &c.II. So that all is sure on God's part, and man hath no cause to waver, except he neglect his duty; and if he perish, his destruction must be of himself. No; great as this privilege is, God has meant something for us infinitely greater. Are we not enriched with the grace of God? And so, when we look through the blue glass all things will be blue, they will be yellow when we look through the yellow glass, and green when we look through the green glass. So in the heart of every man there is, deep down, the buried power of conscience, and in days of pain and sickness and loneliness and bereavement, of holy ministry and quickening, the voice of conscience, fathoms deep, is heard in the breast of man, speaking for God and truth, and of judgment to come.(F. TO draw near "with a true heart," means to worship God with sincerity, which is an indispensable ingredient in Christian piety. There must be perseverance in practice. "Near." Now, conscience is God's alarum-clock. If we be concerned only for our own security, our faith is vain, and we are yet in our sins." L. Alexander, D. D.The full assurance of faith is a firm and full reliance on God and on. But if our consciences are troubled on account of our sins against God, then how are they to be healed. "LET US DRAW NEAR." If you are to appear before the Lord, go, dip, wash, bathe in the fountain opened for sin and for uncleanness (Zechariah 13:1) that you may be clean. H. Newman, D. D.Among the reasons which may be assigned for the observance of prayer at stated times, there is one which is very obvious, and yet perhaps is not so carefully remembered and acted upon as it should be. But obviously all this would be in vain if it be not possible for Christians to have some well-founded assurance that they are in a state of salvation. Constant in duties; especially prayer, praise, reading the Divine Word, etc. A. (2 Corinthians 1:20). The name of the Lord is faithful and true.2. When a robbery has taken place, or a murder has been committed, the business of these men is to try and find out the guilty ones. Guilt is again contracted, and must be again repented of and washed away.1. Sinners stand at a distance from God till they be called, and that powerfully (John 6:44). Then it begins to strike and ring, and makes such a racket as is sure to wake any ordinary sleeper. Christ's new commandment: "Love one another. And this is what the apostle refers to in the text when he speaks of "having our hearts sprinkled from an evil .conscience."(R. Burns, D. D.)An unwavering confessionH. Come back, sinners, draw near towards God and duty. But whilst this seems unquestionably true, and whilst, therefore, there is such a thing as personal assurance of salvation, the doctrine has often been presented in such a way as to engender serious mistakes and lead to very dangerous errors. Not weary, but faithful unto death.4. Further, consider how many sins are involved in our obedience, I may say from the mere necessity of the case; that is, from not having that more vigorous and clear-sighted faith which would enable us accurately to discern and closely to follow the way of life. Conscience no longer sleeps, allowing us to sin, but is restored to its original office. Now nothing can be more unscriptural than such doctrines. You know we have what are called detective police. If we profess hope, we must also rejoice, though we be in tribulation; we must view the sufferings and trials of this present life as not worthy to be compared with the coming glory. The doctrine of the Atonement is a promise; it explains the ground on which God grants the pardon of sin. One evening he perceived a shadow by the side of the gun. Religion has cost many of its disciples somewhat dear: but it has cost nothing compared with its worth. The one is, that no man can in this life be absolutely sure that he is sated, because no man in this life can become perfectly holy; the other is, that as holiness of heart and life is salvation, it is only in proportion as this is attained that we have any real ground for believing that we are personally saved. W. Dale, LL. For some nights they were the only occupants, but by and by the curtain was opened, and a blue-jacket said, "May I come in?" We are to please not ourselves, but our brother unto edification. Conscience is God's scribe or private secretary; it writes down all that we do, or say, or think, or feel. And the apostle means to say that if we do not mind what our consciences tell us we shall injure them just as the skin of our hand is injured by being "seared with a hot iron." There they are! Lawson.1. The history of redemption, if it is to be effectual, must begin from the beginning with every individual of us, and be curried on through our own life. What I have said is a call upon you, in the first place, to daily private prayer. But —(1)The profession or confession of our faith without wavering — "If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus thou shalt be saved. Next, it is a call upon you to join the public services of the Church, not only once a week, but whenever you have the opportunity; knowing well that your Redeemer is especially present where two or three are gathered together. To draw near to God, in the sense of our text, is to seek Him in the use of the appointed means of grace, that we may be restored to His favour and image, and enjoy a heartfelt sense of that restoration.1. Now nothing can be more unscriptural than such doctrines. THE DUTY HERE ENJOINED. When we look through the red glass what colour will the things be that we are looking at? And why did He send them? H. Newman, D. D.Among the reasons which may be assigned for the observance of prayer at stated times, there is one which is very obvious, and yet perhaps is not so carefully remembered and acted upon as it should be. )Hold fast the profession of our faith.Holding fast our professionC. "Dear father," at once added the young man, "I will take to my God in heaven a penitent, humble heart, sprinkled with the blood of Christ." Heart established, mind fixed, soul stayed upon God. Campbell.I. Again, reflect on the habits of sin which we super-added to our evil nature before we turned to God. But if He is faithful that has promised — if till this moment you have proved the power of prayer, the wisdom of providence, and the truth of the Sacred Word, then deal with my Lord as He has dealt with you. Instead of checking the bad elements within us, perhaps we indulged them for years; and they truly had their fruit unto death. WHAT IS IMPLIED IN THIS, "Let us draw near."1. That others may see the good works that spring from a lively faith, and be led to ask for the old paths.III. And so, when we look through the blue glass all things will be blue, they will be yellow when we look through the yellow glass, and green when we look through the green glass. What I have said is a call upon you, in the first place, to daily private prayer. that black future! Faith, hope, and love — this is the threefold result of Christ's entrance into heaven, spiritually discerned.A believing, hoping, and loving attitude of heart corresponds to the new covenant revelation of Divine grace.1. The "assurance of faith" is a firm persuasion, a satisfactory evidence, that God does accept, pardon, save, and bless us, for Christ's sake; and this firm persuasion, this satisfactory evidence, arises, not only from the exceeding great and precious promises of His Word, but chiefly from the direct influence of His Spirit, bearing witness with our spirit that we are His children. In all the New Testament there is not a single instance in which the apostles indicate, in the most distant way, that saving faith is a man's belief in his own salvation. Hope gives a definite shape to the absolute confidence of Faith. We are to draw near, and dwell always, to live our life and do our work within the sphere, the atmosphere of the inner sanctuary. Let us embrace Him in the arms of faith, give the love of the heart to Him a full vent (Song of Solomon 8:6).4. There must be constancy of spirit. It will enter thee, and transform thee and dwell in thee. We are ever sinning; and though Christ has died once for all to release us from our penalty, yet we are not pardoned once for all, but according as, and whenever each of us supplicates for the gift. Boston, D. D.)Drawing near to GodT. This is no back entry, but the most glorious way to the throne. Faith, hope, and love — this is the threefold result of Christ's entrance into heaven, spiritually discerned.A believing, hoping, and loving attitude of heart corresponds to the new covenant revelation of Divine grace.1. Then open your heart of hearts to take it in.(J. He was welcomed. The way to heaven is associated with conflicts.3. As a detector, to find out sin after it has been committed. But the eye of faith contemplates the Infinite Being. (1)Insensible sinners will .not (John 5:40). The history of redemption, if it is to be effectual, must begin from the beginning with every individual of us, and be curried on through our own life. For example, by faith Noah began physical construction on an arc as commanded, having never seen rain. His beautiful reply was, "Sir, I long for those springing flowers which shall never fade away." They flow solely from the free and sovereign good pleasure of Jehovah.2. But to trust in Him for our salvation is a very different thing from believing that we are actually saved in Him; to have assurance that His work affords a sufficient ground for us to rest upon as well as others, is a very different thing from having assurance that we are actually resting on that work for salvation; to know that Christ "loved the Church, and gave Himself for it," is a very different thing from knowing that He loved us and gave Himself for us. There must be constancy of spirit. Very fashionable now to doubt; and we are told if, we certainly believe anything we cannot grow. Notice how thin and tender is the skin on your hand or face. "Thy first father hath sinned": this is the legend on our forehead which even the sign of the Cross does no more than blot out, leaving the mark of it. If we wait for a blessing at the hand of God till we are worthy of it, we shall die unblessed, and be lost for ever. If we have faith we have hope. Suppose you have one of these clocks, and you wish it to waken you so that you can rise every morning at four o'clock. Because He loves you. What have you gained by going from Him?2. Bug though faith is placed after heartiness and honesty, let it not be overlooked-otherwise our coming is vain.4. You need, every day — yea, every hour — to be coming to Christ for blessing.(H. That promise has been fulfilled. B. Meyer, B. A.The sailors on the French coast have a legend, that beneath the waters as they lap the shore, deep down, there are the ruins of a buried city, and that on still, quiet nights it is possible for a voyager to overhear the music of the church bells as they gently sound fathoms deep. (2) As petitioners to the King. Be it so. He often preached to his crew on Sundays, and was ever forward in doing good.(H. Boston, D. D.I. Only lay bare your secret. Again, we draw near to God when we engage properly in the exercise of social worship. But Christ's faithfulness is here laid down as the great motive.1. A window is of use for letting light into room, and also for looking through, that we may see what is outside of the window. pray that all controversies be done away between you and Him. (4) As friends; friends of God, to have fellowship with Him, who may freely converse with Him: to unbosom ourselves to Him, and to be let into the secrets of the covenant (John 15:15). It is an error to suppose that assurance of personal salvation does not admit of degrees; in other words, that it may be as full and strong in one just entering on the Christian life as it can be in one who has kept the faith for many years, and has passed through the varied experience of the Christian course. A true heart is a heart which accepts the testimony of God, which distrusts itself, which believes God's Word, declaring our sin, guilt, and helplessness, and which responds simply, and without reservation, humbly and joyfully to the Divine gospel of the gift of God, eternal life through the righteousness of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is not on your toil, your labour, your skill, or your acquisitions, that you can depend; for whatever your gains, they may take to themselves wings and fly and leave you desolate and utterly worthless. There must be decision of character. You cried to God about it and you obtained courage; and now you wonder how you could have been so foolishly timid. )Abiding in the holiest of allAndrew Murray.Some speak as if the "Let us draw near" meant prayer, and that in our special approach to' God in acts of worship we enter the holiest of all. THE NATURE OF THE PROMISES.1. you may draw near to God. No; their invariable cry was, Repent, and believe in Christ; accept the offered salvation through faith in Him. Before his death he was earnestly persuaded to recant, and among other things a friend said to him, "Take pity on thy golden years and pleasant flowers of youth before it is too late." This promise is not the promise of any man or angel, but of God; this is more than if all the best men and all the holy angels had bound themselves unto us and given us all security, which possibly they could. But the eye of faith contemplates the Infinite Being. Again, we draw near to God when we engage properly in the exercise of social worship.3. Let us draw near in these ordinances —(1) As rebels accepting the King's peace, indemnity in the blood of His Son; draw near, and welcome (Isaiah 27:5). A. Morris, D. D.I. Conscience is no longer defiled; it is washed, purged. How?1. (5)By the continual use of all the appointed means of grace.III. They have all an immediate connection with the Lord Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 1:20).3. Let us draw near with a true heart, in the full assurance of faith.2. Our present happiness, and our prospect of eternal felicity. Lawson.1. Adam had a way to it, but that is blocked up; there is a new and living way consecrated for us (ver. 5. W. Dale, LL. (2)Opposition of world. Colwell. One evening he perceived a shadow by the side of the gun. Burns, D. D.I. We will take both renderings; for they are both correct in fact if not in the letter. But perhaps some of you lost the friendship of many by becalming disciples of the Lord Jesus. Newton, D. D.Suppose that all the people in the place where we live had some disease of the eye, and that in consequence some were not able to see at all, while none of them were able to see anything clearly. No change will take place in the clock, but a great change will take place in yon. None of the promises, how conditional soever in their form, are altogether beyond the reach of sinners, so long as they are in the land of the living and place of hope.5. WHAT ARE WE NOW TO DO?1. God is on a throne of grace in Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 5:19).2. Red. Lawson. "LET US HOLD FAST."1. THE NATURE OF THE PROMISES.1. Before his death he was earnestly persuaded to recant, and among other things a friend said to him, "Take pity on thy golden years and pleasant flowers of youth before it is too late." Recollect the bad thoughts of various kinds which come into your minds like darts; for these will be some evidence to you of the pollution and odiousness of your nature. Conscience will have a terrific power of starting such accusations, and then an ear of keen sensibility to receive the echoes as they roll back upon the soul What an occupation for eternity! Constantly keep up your confession. Conscience is God's scribe or private secretary; it writes down all that we do, or say, or think, or feel. He will abundantly pardon.2. : —I. Now let us accept the call of grace, be sprinkled from an evil conscience, and restored to the favour and image of God, that, like the apostle, we may "have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men." Let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works, labouring and waiting together, and helping one another in the unity of brethren. It is an ever-present tense — "He that believeth hath eternal life."2. God is unchangeable both in His nature and purpose; it is impossible, therefore, that He can ever disappoint the hopes that His goodness has raised.(G. Oh, what taunts and curses shall pierce the ears of these who lie down in hell! They will do you no good if they profess to be your friends; and they will do you less harm by giving you the cold shoulder." He is a friend of ours who is set over the house of God (ver. If, after all, it has been a mistake and a delusion, then give it up. Suppose we feel distressed in our consciences on account of some wrong done to a friend or neighbour; then the way to get rid of this trouble, and heal our injured conscience, is to go and tell that friend of the fault — to say that we are sorry for it, and ask his forgiveness, thus making up for the wrong we have done. For some nights they were the only occupants, but by and by the curtain was opened, and a blue-jacket said, "May I come in?" That is Christianity in a sentence. "But how can you bring Him everything good, seeing that you are but a poor sinner?" (2) In the holy sacrament of the supper. You made it once. Herein is the importance of the doctrine of original sin. The eye does not see itself; faith is not to stand on itself; your full assurance is to be that Christ's blood is precious, and that He has entered as the Forerunner. It is not on your toil, your labour, your skill, or your acquisitions, that you can depend; for whatever your gains, they may take to themselves wings and fly and leave you desolate and utterly worthless. Note the relative position of this. So is it ordinarily with the soul, after it has begun to force itself from the disturbing forces of the flesh and of the world. 20).3. This is the criterion which Scripture everywhere proposes; and when any other is proposed, the door is opened for all manner of delusions and fanaticism. And this must be taken into account in saying how the injured conscience can be healed. John 9:22); and by reason of the ritualistic and other attractions of Judaism, and the simplicity and spirituality of Christianity. This is held by those who teach that the faith which justifies is a confident assurance that the individual is himself in Christ, and so saved; and it is involved in the opinion of those who teach that every man who is in Christ knows this, and so is assured of his own safety. Can we see anything through the window then? But the apostle speaks in our text of "an evil conscience." None of the promises, how conditional soever in their form, are altogether beyond the reach of sinners, so long as they are in the land of the living and place of hope.5. But to trust in Him for our salvation is a very different thing from believing that we are actually saved in Him; to have assurance that His work affords a sufficient ground for us to rest upon as well as others, is a very different thing from having assurance that we are actually resting on that work for salvation; to know that Christ "loved the Church, and gave Himself for it," is a very different thing from knowing that He loved us and gave Himself for us. To these wise and weighty words I can add nothing, and nothing needs to be added.3. We have been marked anew with the King's name. How?1. This hope is a perfect hope. And this shows us how we should act at all times. )The faithfulness of God the Christian's support in life and deathOwen Clarke. Cross references. He shed His precious blood and died for us on purpose that our sins may be pardoned, and we may be at peace with God. )The effect of dwelling in the holiest of allAndrew MurrayEnter into the holiest of all, and dwell there. But God will not, God cannot, for God who hath promised is faithful; for as He cannot forget or be hindered by any contrary power, so He cannot change His will. "He is faithful that promised." They flow solely from the free and sovereign good pleasure of Jehovah.2. Then, the promise of the Holy Ghost. From this two things follow. . But the apostle speaks in our text of "an evil conscience." So in the heart of every man there is, deep down, the buried power of conscience, and in days of pain and sickness and loneliness and bereavement, of holy ministry and quickening, the voice of conscience, fathoms deep, is heard in the breast of man, speaking for God and truth, and of judgment to come.(F. With sincerity. (2) In the holy sacrament of the supper. or refuse to go forward? (3) Further, look into your own souls and see if you cannot discern some part of the truth of the Scripture statement, which I have been trying to set before you. If we profess hope, we must also rejoice, though we be in tribulation; we must view the sufferings and trials of this present life as not worthy to be compared with the coming glory. It is put on when we become the members of His visible Church.2. And why did He send them? So that all is sure on God's part, and man hath no cause to waver, except he neglect his duty; and if he perish, his destruction must be of himself. It is God's presence makes holy ground; God's immediate presence in Christ makes any place the holiest of all: and this is it into which we are to draw nigh, and in which we are to abide. Good conscience. saved from the nature of his visible Church.2 always right, it cost... 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