An Address on Hebrews 9:13-17.
We have seen three grand connected and essential truths of Christianity from the point of view which the Holy Ghost is bringing before us in this Epistle. The first is, that we draw near at once and immediately into the presence of God. I mean "at once," because it is entirely dependent upon the work of Christ; it has nothing at all to do with any measure of attainment on our part, but by the simple faith of the gospel; and I call it "immediately," because there is nothing between God and the believer, as was the case under the Levitical system. It is a cardinal truth of Christianity, in short, that there is no veil between God and him who believes in Jesus Christ. And this is no question of a privilege enjoyed at rare intervals, or under specially happy circumstances; it has nothing at all to do with progress; it is the fruit of Christ's work, and nothing else, except that the Spirit of God has brought a soul to own its sins as well as the Saviour. It is to confess the Saviour in the faith of what the Saviour has done; for it is very possible for a soul to look to the Saviour and still to keep, like the publican in the parable, afar from God, in the consciousness of his failure, beating his breast, and calling upon God to show His compassion to him, the sinner. Now there are a great many souls — perhaps the great mass of those that are born of God — who are in this condition now; but it is not Christianity. I do not mean by this that they are not Christians, but it is not Christianity. Christianity supposes immediate access to God Himself, a privilege which evidently cannot be without the complete removal of every hindrance. This is precisely what the death of Christ on the cross has effected, and now the gospel comes to bring the believer into the confession and enjoyment of it. Till a person therefore enters into that enjoyment it is not really and properly Christianity, although the man may be truly born of God. This then is one thing; but there is another blessing connected with it, that it is not for a time, as it does not depend upon anything transient: Christ obtained eternal redemption. It is in contrast with the temporal deliverance of Israel. It was pointed out last Wednesday that the words "for us" venture to say what no man ought to add. As God has not done so, it is presumptuous for man to insert them. They are not only not necessary to fill up the sense, but introduce another thought which overlays what is meant. For the chief of all requirements is that God should be free to deal with man, and this Christ has amply secured. He entered into the holiest having found eternal redemption. God's rights were upheld, and this for ever. There is a third truth connected with it all, and that is the purging of our conscience.
Under the Jewish system it was a question of flesh being sanctified. A man defiled himself by touching a dead body; a dead man in a tent, or anything that was not according to the exigencies of God's law. Unquestionably there was provision to meet the defilement; but while he remained defiled, he had no right to argue about matters, or reason as to how this could affect God: there was the plain fact that God pronounced him a defiled man, and if he ventured to despise Him, death might have been his portion in a moment. They were under the direct government of God, till this terminated with God's writing Lo-ammi on His people, as we all know. God even removed the last sign of it at the time of the Babylonish captivity. Then every vestige of theocracy was completely swept away, and never since replaced, as it never will be until our Lord returns to govern the earth. There was no doubt the still more wonderful presence of God when our Lord Jesus came down here below, but this was for a still more wonderful purpose, namely, the accomplishment of righteous access to God in all its immediateness: the perfection of redemption in all its eternal character; and, finally, the purging of the conscience by Christ's blood. For if a man has a bad conscience what good end could immediate access to God serve on his behalf? And where would be the value of redemption as eternal if the man abode miserable in his soul? What would take away that misery but the certainty that all his sins were completely remitted, and that his conscience was perfectly purified by the blood of Christ? This was quite a new status for a soul.
"If the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean . . . . ." There are two things — "the blood of bulls and goats" on the one hand; and "the ashes of an heifer" on the other. The distinction was briefly pointed out on the last occasion, and a few words upon it may be well now, because it completely disposes of the common idea of a frequent recurrence to blood, which is one of the tests of a human gospel instead of a divine one. A human gospel always imagines that a man must, when he fails, begin again: that the believer, whenever he may have sinned, must as often go back to the blood. Certainly, if he has lost the blood; but is this true? What sort of a gospel is that? The Christian is eternally redeemed then, which is really the fact. Eternal life is very little believed in by God's children, and eternal redemption, if possible, less. Now it is one of the striking contrasts of Christianity with Judaism that in Judaism all was tentative and experimental in the sense of its being a trial: all was of a temporary character and conditional on the good behaviour of the person; whereas now that Christ is come, all is changed, and all blessing depends upon Him. And what is more, Christ our life produces fidelity toward God no less than self-judgment, and hence humility in presence of His grace.
This it is which draws out affection by letting in what we can hardly call affection, but divine love — the love of God shed abroad in the heart by the Holy Ghost given to us. Faith in Christ sets agoing the affections of the new man, the Spirit of God giving him power all through his course. Thus you must have your soul settled and established in God's perfect love (1 John 4); for if there were a suspicion whether or not it rested on our souls, would not love be fatally wounded? Now God leaves no room for that because the blood of Christ, according to His word, meets perfectly every lack spoken of. Whether it be approach to God, this is perfect; whether redemption, for securing God's rights also, it is eternal; and now our conscience is brought up to the mark suitably for drawing near to God, and for resting upon this eternal redemption. Consequently here follows the practical effect of it: "How much more shall the blood of Christ, who, through the eternal Spirit, offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God." There you have the religious service of the believer. I do not mean the rendering this or that to a man, which is here entirely excluded by the character of the word used.
Here again is a remarkable instance how the thoughts of men differ from God's word. His thought in giving man such an infinite blessing is not primarily to set him about working for others. In fact, when you do this, you assume a measure of superiority over the person you work upon. As we all know, he who even in a small way is ministering the word, speaks with authority to those who may not know the word. Now this gives the preacher a certain measure of importance in the eyes of others, and, sad to say, sometimes in his own. But here we have another thing: it is serving God; it is not only gospel or church service, to win or to help souls; it is connected with the worship of God. This seems the kind of service, instead of being merely what people call ministry. As you know, scripture has more than one word for service; and this has to be borne here in mind. No doubt ministerial work is excellent in its own place, and of very great importance; but it is of immense moment that we should always recognise God's rights; and were this really before God's children, do you think any person would make it a sort of open matter what they did, where they went, whom they served, and how they worshipped? Certainly not. The blood of Christ is for this express purpose. See what it undertook to do, and does. Of Christ we are told that He "through the eternal Spirit, offered himself up without spot unto God." It is the only place in scripture where "eternal" is applied to the Holy Ghost; and it is introduced here as the qualifying term of the Spirit — in order to show the absolute way for everlasting issues in which the Offering was then presented to God: a Man, but with this truly divine character of never-waning value. Certainly if there be anything which marks the difference between God and the creature, it is this quality of "eternal." Here a man on earth presents Himself in this wonderful character.
Again, He "offered" Himself without spot to God. It is not the word for bearing our sins, strictly speaking. There were two parts always in sacrifice: the one is the victim simply, presented as an offering; the other is the sins laid upon the victim. Now this word expresses only the former element, which, by the way, detects the wrong use of that term in Peter, where it is said that "he bore our sins in his own body" — as the margin and some others say — "up to the tree." Now the usage is strictly limited to the textual sense "on the tree." If it had been the word here called "offered" there might have been some show of reason for it, because "offered" has reference to the presentation of the victim when the sins were not yet laid on it. The fact is that the phraseology excludes a continuous action and asserts a subsequent and transient fact, contradicting the whole idea; in short, the notion confounds the offering of the victim first, with the laying the sins upon him afterwards. Now the passage in Peter speaks expressly of the final moment when the sins were laid upon Christ. Consequently the teaching is as utterly false as it is possible to be. The "offering" is distinct from the bearing of the sins, and each of the two parts has its own moment.
The first thing God looks for in the sacrifice is its perfect acceptability, but if the sins were already laid there, where would be the manifestation of that? It would be merging in one two things wholly distinct for an offering to have already the sins attached to it. In our Lord's case the first was the evidence that He was "without spot." If He had had all our sins ever on Him, could this have been the case? At the last no doubt they were imputed, and this was essential of course. The second part of Christ's work is His perfect identification with our guilt, without which our sins could not have been taken away. But God's making Him sin for us at the end supposes all His previous life when there was no imputation of sin whatever, and our Lord appeared in all His perfection before God. Thus He, "through the eternal Spirit, offered himself without spot to God." This being done, Jehovah "laid upon him the iniquities of us all." It is certain that the passage in Peter refers only to the closing scene. The fact is that the true sense turns not merely on the word "up to," or "upon," but on scriptural usage generally as alone perfectly revealing the truth; and we have seen that the general truth refutes the idea. Undoubtedly one might go a little farther into detail; only this would take us into critical nicety of words, which I do not desire to discuss on such an occasion as this. However, it can be easily shown from the Sept. Vers. of Leviticus and elsewhere, that the word which is rendered "up to" by those who are so anxious so to translate the text, is never used in such a sense in the matter of sacrifice. In such a connection the preposition always means "on," as here, "on the tree," and never "up to" it.
Returning, however, we see here One who acts in entire dependence on God; One who in all the perfectness of a man would not do even this, although He came for the purpose, without the Holy Ghost. This was the perfection of our Lord in presenting Himself. He never acted simply from His own person, but in the power of the Spirit of God, from the time when, to commence His public ministry, He received the Holy Ghost; for scripture is express that our Lord did receive, and was anointed by, the Holy, Ghost. It was not only that He was conceived by the Holy Ghost in coming into the world, but He was scaled by the Holy Spirit, as we know, at the time of His baptism. He is thenceforward the dependent Man; whatever He did, all was done in virtue of the Spirit, even this act of His offering Himself up as a spotless victim. The aim and the effect are eternal redemption. Thus is our conscience purged by His blood, "from dead works" which everything must be until redemption is made good for us, "to serve the living God."
"And for this cause He is the Mediator of a new 'covenant.'" Whoever heard of such a thing as the mediator of a "testament"? "Testament" means a will, and a mediator is entirely out of place in the matter of such a disposal of goods. Let me just take this opportunity of showing that you do not require to be a scholar in order to be perfectly certain when it ought to be "covenant," and when the right meaning is "testament." Each case admits of proof. The men who made the Authorised Version were as learned persons as ever perhaps were found together in this country; yet they only made confusion in the matter. This demands no effort convincingly to show, though I yield to none in respect for themselves and their work. And although there may be none here present as much versed as they were in all of erudition, it seems to me practicable to put the most unenlightened Christian in a position to decide with certainty where they are right and where they are wrong in dealing with this term. How comes this? By the written word; for the word of God is quick and powerful, sharper than a two-edged sword. It is so little a question therefore of learning that every Christian man may have the absolute certainty where the word should be rendered "testament," and where "covenant." Both words are true according to context. Such is the peculiarity of the term; the same word means either, but it cannot mean both in the same sentence. This would be to blunder, not to communicate the truth.
There are certain landmarks in every sentence which determine which of the two senses is meant. The case occurs where it must mean "testament"; there are other instances where nothing will do but "covenant." When the different passages in the New Testament are set out, it will help to ground every believer's trust more and more in the perfectness of scripture. Begin with this very verse, "And for this cause he is mediator of a new covenant." Our translators ought to have seen their error, and that here the word could not possibly mean "testament," because such a functionary is unknown to testamentary business, instead of being universally recognised. Besides, "new" contrasted with "the first," cannot point to "testament," but "covenant." Now the apostle, for I have no doubt he was the writer of this epistle, writes, using a figure that would be known in every country under heaven, and be perfectly familiar to any intelligent persons such as the Jewish believers were. Indeed, there are few things that even ignorant men know more about than "a testament," or "a will." It comes home to men's bosoms and business notoriously. Sons inherit from father or mother, and sometimes they derive from other relatives or friends besides their parents; and as such a thing awakens interest in the dullest, they understand that "a will" only comes into force when the one that devises the property is no more.
That is what the apostle reasons about in vers. 16, 17. He wants to show, both the necessity and the importance of death previously (not here, you observe, of "blood," but of "death"). Hence the figure is so far changed from what preceded. It had been "the blood of Christ" about which he was speaking before in ver. 14. Now, in ver. 15, we have the transition — "for this cause he is mediator of a new covenant, that by means of death," etc. We can all perfectly understand this. "Death" is a larger thought, and this begins the link, though he still speaks only of covenants. But from the idea of "inheritance" he slides off from the meaning of "covenant" into that of "testament." The same word is susceptible of either signification, but the context never leaves it a doubtful thing whether the word means the one or the other. The decisive point, which shows that in this verse it must be "covenant," is not the word "mediator" only, but the contrast of "new" with the "first" covenant which created transgressions. Every one must surely confess that a mediator is most intelligible with, and essential to, the new covenant; but mediator of "a testament" is a relationship that nobody ever heard of at any time, or in any country on the earth. You may find a lawyer, a testator, an executor, and the heirs, which are familiar enough. All these may belong to a testament, but there is no such personage as "mediator" of a testament.
"Mediator of a covenant," therefore, is alone meant or possible in ver. 15; although he does purposely bring in "death," and afterwards an inheritance, to pave the way for the idea of "a testament," in vers. 16, 17. As yet, however, in ver. 15, he adheres solely to the notion of "covenant," because he is speaking of a mediator. "For this cause he is mediator of a new covenant, that by means of death for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first," etc. First what? "Testament" is said here, but it is clearly wrong. How speak of "the transgressions of the first 'will'"? What legitimately could be made of such an expression? Whenever there is a second will, the first is of course annulled; whereas here it was painfully efficacious, for it produced "transgressions." A second will renders the first one entirely invalid. You could not therefore have the transgressions of the first. Besides, what have transgressions to do with "a will"? The moment you bring in "first covenant," all is quite easy, plain, and forcible; because the first covenant was the law, and what the law brought in was transgressions. Therefore the immediate context is decisive; as beyond controversy it is the unfailing criterion where we have to judge of the questioned force, not only of any general teaching of the word, but even of the propriety of a single word; or when, as here, the ambiguity admits of two meanings. So perfect is the context of scripture for giving the believer to decide with certainty which of the meanings is the proper one. Both the "mediator" shows that it can only be a new "covenant," and the "transgressions" prove that it was the first covenant, and not a will or testament, that preceded. Where is the law ever styled a "testament" in O.T. Scripture?
"That they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance." It is this last word, evidently, which furnishes the transition to the notion of a will. The moment we come to an inheritance the suggestion of a will is simple. It is the common way of inheriting; and the Jews knew this as well as others. It was possible, doubtless, to inherit without a will, Jewish property — if you can call the land property which was all in the hands of God, being arranged by God to go regularly without any such intervention. Therefore, as far as I recollect, the word for "will" is not once mentioned in the Old Testament, as we all can readily understand. There was God's law, which dispensed with the necessity of a testament, because it was all settled successionally for His people. But the Jews had long been in an abnormal state, and some had houses and land that had nothing whatever to do with the original disposition of things by God; and of these could dispose as they pleased. And so it was perhaps universally with the Gentiles. So that inheriting by "will" was a most familiar idea.
Before entering on this next rather peculiar passage, take notice that as we had "eternal Spirit," so here "eternal inheritance" follows. The Jews were peculiarly sensitive on the subject, for alas they knew to their cost that their "inheritance was most transitory. They had been turned out of their land for many years, and afterwards never got properly into the land again: only a poor remnant and in poor circumstances indeed. And now they had been guilty of such unpardonable sin against God and His Christ and the Holy Spirit, that they were going to be outcast from the land once more, and for an incomparably longer period. They could therefore understand how little they could boast of an "eternal" inheritance. But this is precisely what expresses adequately the promise received by Christians. As it is, "eternal salvation and "eternal" redemption, so is it eternal" inheritance. The privileges peculiar to Christianity are characterised as everlasting. Therefore there is no force whatever in persons reasoning to us from the conditional state of Israel: no doubt such was Judaism, but Christianity is in contrast. The reason is plain: one depended on man, and what is he to be accounted of? The other depends on Christ, and what is He not to be accounted of? There is the sure and blessed difference. Christ, both by the perfection of His person and by the everlasting efficacy of His work, brings us into the blessing which only He deserves, and which is of faith that it might be according to grace, wholly independent of our deserts or failures. Not that we lack provision for failure, as typified even of old and noticeable in verse 13. There is first of all the blood; then the ashes of an heifer. The ashes of the red heifer were for meeting the passing defilements of the one who had been cleansed by blood. The blood remained in all its value; but the ashes of the heifer counteracted defilements by the way. Alas! that distinction has slipped entirely out of the minds of God's children generally, and to their great loss, because to mix them up is to lose the truth. Thereby is weakened the everlasting efficacy of the blood, in order to gain a means of clearing the difficulties of the way.
Let us now pass on to the promised illustration, so as to bring out in a few words the special force of verses 16 and 17; the only instances, we may once for all remark, in the whole of scripture where "testament" has a right to stand in our Bible. This is easily remembered, if not so easily proved. For this reason I shall endeavour to make the truth clear, because scarce anything is worse for God's people than vague uncertainty fostered by such as seem to have no other knowledge than of some people saying this and of others who say that, whereby souls are reduced to utter unbelief of the truth and live in a mere see-saw between conflicting opinions. What can more effectually deprive men of the power and happy certainty of the word of God? Uncertain one may be, but is it not my fault? Do not cast the blame on the word or Spirit of God. Never admit that we are doomed to doubt. Assure your soul, scripture is so written as to make it our unbelief if we do not receive and enjoy the true meaning of God's word. Perhaps for want of having that conviction, our translators seem to have thought that the word might be "covenant" or "testament," just as they pleased. They were too fond of change elsewhere. Here it was worse than usual. In every part of the New Testament where the word often occurs, I hope to show that it is "covenant," save in vers. 16 and 17 of this chapter, where it is rightly "testament," and not "covenant." In every other passage it ought to he "covenant," and not "testament."
Begin with the first in Matt. 26:28. Can there be the shade of a doubt here, or in Mark 14:24 (substantially equivalent), about the matter? Our Lord is speaking of the cup that He gave the disciples, saying, "Drink ye all of it; for this is my blood of the new covenant." First, Where would be the propriety of "new" applied to a "testament" or will? Nobody ever talks about a "new" will. But, secondly, there is another and stronger objection. What has "blood" to do with a testament or will? The moment we turn to the new "covenant" all is in place. The blood of Christ is exactly its foundation. The first covenant may have had the blood of victims connected with it, as its sanction, threatening death on those that proved unfaithful. This is the meaning of the blood in the first covenant (Ex. 24), which said as it were: If you fail to obey the law, you must die, as these victims died. The blood of the new covenant has an altogether opposed character. Christ's blood, as a starting-point, secures a perfect clearance for every soul who believes in Him. So the Lord, in giving the cup to the disciples, says, "This is my blood of the new covenant which is shed for many for the remission of sins." What has a "testament" to do with "remission of sins"? What has a will to do with blood? These constitute the strongest proofs that covenant" is the thought, and that "testament has nothing whatever to do with this place.
In Luke 22 you will find similarly, where our Lord is speaking on the same occasion; therefore we need not dwell on it. "This cup is the new covenant," etc. The expression is different, but the same truth appears. It is the "new covenant in my blood which is shed for you." The idea of a will is wholly foreign to the place. If we said, "the new will," what would he the meaning of this? How could there be a "new will" in His blood? "Covenant in His blood" is perfectly intelligible, and is in fact the chief distinction of the new covenant in contrast with the old which sought but found not man obedient. The old had for its sanction the threat of death; the new on the contrary is based on the "blood of Jesus Christ, God's Son, which cleanseth from all sin." Compare also 1 Cor. 11, where the apostle gives language similar to the words in Luke, and therefore calling for no other notice than that "testament" is wholly inappropriate there for the reasons given.
There are places where the Authorised Version gives "covenant," and which we of course pass by, because they are quite right. But we may turn now to 2 Cor. 3, which is the first that occurs in order after these, where "testament" is wrongly given. Ver. 6 says, "Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament." As we have already seen, "new" is out of place with a will. It ought therefore to be "covenant." It may be observed that there are two words for "new," one of which means "freshly made," which might in some cases have been applied to a testament. The other means "of a different character entirely"; new in principle, whether recent or not. Now this last is the word employed here. What has it to do with a will? "Freshly made one" might sometimes apply; but "one of a totally different character" does not apply to a will, but admirably to contrasted covenants. What the apostle implies is that, although the new covenant is not yet formally brought in to the houses of Israel and Judah, the Christian anticipates the blessing, as the Christian servant is characterised by the new covenant, not in letter it is true, but in spirit. We come under the power of the new covenant before it is actually brought to bear on the two houses of Israel. Oh! what a comfort this is. Thus the notion here, too, is "covenant," and not "testament." In this same chapter he says (ver. 14), "For until this day remaineth the same veil untaken away in the reading of the old testament." A great many, no doubt, fancy this means the Old Testament scriptures, and so men have adopted that very term as their title. But what really is the "old covenant" here? The covenant of law that condemned Israel. Here again there would be no good sense in reading the "old will." It can only mislead, whereas if we say "old covenant" we can all understand this, which is exactly what the Jews had to do with.
There is only another passage outside Hebrews — in Rev. 11:19. "And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in the temple the ark of His testament." And here the Old Testament affirms what one might argue out. "Ark of the covenant" is scriptural; but what is the "ark of a testament"? Has the ark of a will any just sense. As far as my memory serves, I do not recollect any other instance of "testament" employed, excepting in Hebrews, where it has been once or twice before us, and therefore to these I turn to finish the subject, even if it seem a rather minute examination, which I hope may prove a good confirmation of your faith in the word of God as well as in learning how necessary is the Spirit of God to give certainty of understanding the word. Had it not been for these considerations I should not have occupied your time with the matter. In the Authorised Version of Hebrews 7:22 we read, "By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament." There again, Is not surety of a testament" strange language? Surety "of a covenant" is as important as intelligible, as even the Authorised Version uniformly renders in chap. 8 following. Therefore the inference is unavoidable, that the context in every case indicates the right counterpart, whether "covenant" or "testament." But if I am right in interpreting the context in detail, you may rest assured that in the Bible wherever the word "testament" occurs, it ought to be "covenant," except in the two verses immediately before us, Heb. 9:16, 17.
To these, then, let us turn. Can anything be plainer than their reference to a will in order to illustrate the death of our Lord? "For where a testament is, there must of necessity be the death of the testator." This is sufficiently evident. Were "covenant" said it would not even be true. Where men make a covenant, is it in the least necessary that either of the contracting parties should die? Jacob and Laban made a covenant between them; but did it at all demand, in order to its validity, that Jacob or Laban should die? If either had died, there would rather have been an end of it so far. But when he who makes a testament dies, then only can the children, or others to whom he has devised his property, receive the benefit by virtue of the will. "Where a testament (or will) is, there must of necessity be the death of the testator, for a testament is of force after men are dead." In wills only, and not in covenants, is such a necessity universally found. A man makes a will, but it does not come into force so long as he lives — only when he dies. On this hinges the apostolic illustration, which is as apt as it is undeniably evident. The effect of a will is only after the death of the testator. Perhaps something may be contingent upon the death of another; as a man leaves to his children upon the death of his wife. But in any case death must intervene, if any are immediately concerned in the property. It is only after one or more are dead that the living heirs inherit. "Otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth." Nothing can be more telling or simple. In the case of a covenant, is there anything of the kind? A covenant comes into force while people are alive. Take Jacob and Laban, where neither was called to die. Take an earlier covenant, where God makes one between Himself and the earth, as revealed to Noah.
I am aware that some try to slip in the death of sacrifices here; but the word means not a covenanting victim, but a "testator"; and all efforts are vain to upset or change the idea. It is the death of the person who made the testament. It is not necessary to insist on more than the principle generally, but if the application be pressed personally, how does this apply to the Lord? Very exactly indeed; for the Lord became a man in order that He might die, to give us (a vast deal more, but also) an everlasting inheritance. He that had spoken at Sinai is the selfsame One that came to die. The figure, therefore, of a testator applies in all its force. He was pleased thus to die, although One who in His divine nature could not die. He therefore deigned, in the infiniteness of His grace, to partake of blood and flesh that He might die. Therefore, nothing can be simpler, nothing more certain, than His death, in virtue of which we inherit the richest blessing evermore.
Beloved brethren, what wonders in the word of God! and how He delights in conveying the truth in the most striking way to help feeble souls. All turns on the death of Christ. There was no Christianity without it. As long as our Lord was here in the body, it was as the corn of wheat that abode alone by itself till it fell into the ground and died; but after death, "it beareth much fruit." There Christ's own words set forth the effect of His death. As long as the Lord lived, the middle wall of partition stood firm. Neither the Jews could draw near to God, nor the Gentiles be joined with the Jews, who were expressly kept apart. But when our Lord died, the veil was rent, the partition fell; and it was not merely the Gentiles coming into the place the Jews had occupied, but believing Jews and Gentiles entered alike into immediate nearness to God. Along with this, the conscience was purged perfectly, in order to serve the living God in thanksgiving and praise, as well as every other service, and furthermore, every blessing eternally secured. Oh! how wondrous is that which God has given us through the death of His Son!