Perfection here means the state of a full-grown man. There is much, and, in a certain sense, more, contrast than similarity in the allusions in Hebrews to the Old Testament types. We are now in a different position; those things which went before were only a shadow, instead of their giving us a distinct perception of our position. While they were figures, they did not disclose what we have at the present time. We have boldness to enter into the holiest; with them, the vail was there to separate them from it. In this passage it is important to see the contrast. Christ is the high priest. “Every high priest taken from among men (though He was taken from men, I need not say)…can have compassion on the ignorant…for that he himself also is compassed with infirmity.” Here is contrast, though the general image is taken up. They had infirmity, and had to offer for themselves as well as for the people. If we do not see this, we may make great blunders in drawing these analogies. Absolute analogy in them would draw us away from the truth. There are certain landmarks of truth that guard the soul, e.g., the atonement. The priesthood of Christ is in heaven. It has to be exercised as a continual thing in the place where we worship. We worship in spirit in heaven, and there we want our priest. Those sacrifices were the memorial of sin; we have no more conscience of sins. The priest is there, once for all, in virtue of the sacrifice made once and for ever. While, in point of fact, we fail, our place is always in Christ in heaven. When communion is interrupted, priesthood removes the hindrance.
Observe the dignity of the person called to this office. “Thou art my Son.” The glory of His person is owned in order to His priesthood. “This day have I begotten thee.” (Ver. 5). He was as really a man as any of us, without the sinful part of it. He was neither like Adam nor us exactly. Adam had no “knowledge of good and evil.” Christ had—God has. But now men have the knowledge of good and evil and, with it, sin. Christ was born of a woman, but in a miraculous way. The spring was sinless, and yet He had the knowledge of good and evil.
We cannot fathom what He was. Our hearts should not go and scrutinize the person of Christ, as though we could know it all. No human being can understand the union of God and man in his person—“no man knoweth the Son but the Father.” All that is revealed we may know; we may learn a great deal about Him. The Father we know: “no man knoweth the Father but the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son shall reveal him.” We know Him to be holy; we know Him to be love, etc. But when I attempt to fathom the union of God and man—no man can. We know He is God, and we know He is man—perfect man, apart from sin; and if He is not God, what is He to me? What difference between Him and another man? Christ came in flesh. Every feeling that I have (save sin), He had. The quotation here from Ps. 2, “This day have I begotten thee,” does not refer to His eternal Sonship, but to His being born into the world in humiliation. He is called to be high priest. He has this calling as a man, not only being taken from men. The glory of His person comes first. Looked at in the flesh, He was born of God; with us, “that which is born of the flesh is flesh.” But He in His very nature is associated with God, and associated with man. He is the “daysman that can lay his hand upon us both.” Job 9. I may fancy myself clean when away from God, but when I come before God, I know He will “plunge me in the ditch,” etc. “Let not his fear terrify me.” God takes away the fear through Christ. Christ was perfect holiness, and He was ready for everything. His lowliness was perfect; fear is taken away by Him; He is even as a man, the holy one—on that side He lays hold on God, and on the other He lays His hand on us; thus on both He is the daysman to lay His hand upon us both.
The priest in Israel had to take offerings to cleanse himself. Christ is fitted in Himself, without that. Aaron alone was anointed without blood; his sons after the sacrifice.
As to office, there is in Christ perfect competency. He is the Son, and therefore fit for God. He is man, and so fitted for me. I am not speaking of His sacrifice, but of His person. “This day have I begotten thee;” there is His person. Then comes the office, “called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec,” without beginning of days, etc; not like man with descent from one to another, “but after the power of an endless life,” without genealogies. These great principles are thus laid down concerning His person and office—the Son and a priest after the order of Melchisedec. Before He takes the office, there is another qualification necessary. Here would be a difficulty (not in the earthly priesthood, for it was connected with an earthly tabernacle, and earthly worship, but) now it is in a heavenly place, and the worship is in heaven. Then the priesthood must be in heaven. He could not have experience of infirmity there. What must He do? He goes through all first.
Priesthood supposes a people reconciled to God. There was the day of atonement, and daily priestly offices went on with the reconciliation for the year. The day of atonement laid the foundation for the priesthood for the year. Then on that day the high priest represented the whole people—laid his hand on the scapegoat in order to their reconciliation; (this was not the continued office;) that Christ did on the cross, as the victim and the representative. He gave His own blood. He suffered as well as represented the people, and then He went within the vail, in virtue of the reconciliation He has made. One of these goats was the Lord’s lot, (the other was the people’s,) and the blood was put on the mercy seat. There was no confession of sins in that. Christ’s blood being on the mercy seat is the ground on which mercy is proclaimed to all the world, even to the vilest sinner in the world. But suppose a person comes and says, “I find sin is working in me; how can I come to God?” I say, Christ has borne your sins; He has represented you there; confessed your sins on His own head, and God has condemned sin in the flesh in Christ. A person is often more troubled at the present working of sin in him than at all the sins past; but I say to that person, God has condemned your sin in Christ. God’s character has been glorified, majesty, righteousness, love—all vindicated on the cross. God’s truth is vindicated. He said, “In the day thou eatest thou shalt surely die,” and Christ dies instead. Then when I get my conscience exercised, it is not enough to see God has been glorified in the death of Christ; I feel my own sin before God. Then I see that He-has confessed my sins; and now, as Priest on high, He maintains me in the power of the reconciliation made.
Before He made the sacrifice, He has gone the path the sheep trod. It was before He began to represent His people,—“who in the days of his flesh”—a past thing, before He exercised His priesthood. When He putteth forth His own sheep, He goeth before them in the paths of temptation, sorrow, difficulty. Therefore it is said of Him, “the author and finisher of faith,” not our faith there. We go through our small portion of exercise of faith. He went through everything. Moses refused the treasures in Egypt; Christ refused the whole world. Abraham “sojourned in the land of promise as in a strange country;” Christ was a stranger in the whole world. In all His path we see him not screening Himself by His divine power, but bearing everything that a human heart could bear. There is not a trial but He felt it. If I speak of a convicted conscience, this is another thing. He did bear that; but it was in our stead, on the cross. In a still deeper way, He took it all upon Himself. What entire dependence! “Prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death,” etc, Especially in Gethsemane did He realize the full power of what He came to meet. In His walk we are to follow Him’, to “walk as he walked.” But in Gethsemane it is another thing—He was alone there.
There are three parts in Christ’s life. In the beginning He was tempted, first to satisfy His own hunger, and then with all the vanities of this world, but He would not have them, He did not come for that. The next thing was more subtle; the answer He gave, “Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God”—thou shalt not try the Lord. Tempting is not trusting. When the people tempted the Lord, they went up to the mountain to see if God would help them. Christ would not take these things from Satan’s hands. He bound the strong man, and he departs for a season; then Christ goes on spoiling his goods—healing the sick, raising the dead, etc. A power had come in grace, perfectly able to deliver this world from the power of Satan, to deliver us as to the consequences of sin—all the misery and wretchedness here. But there was something deeper: man had hatred to God—they would not have Him. “The carnal mind is enmity against God.” They entreated Him to depart out of their coasts in one place. For His love He received enmity. This world would have been a delivered place, if they would have had Him, but they would not; and man profits by the occasion of God’s humbling Himself so as to be within man’s reach, by seeking to get rid of Him! That brings out another point. Having taken up the people, He must take consequences. Satan says, if you do not give me my rights over them, you must suffer. Satan comes and uses all the power he has over man to deter Christ from going through. In the garden of Gethsemane, He calls it “the power of darkness,” and says, “my soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death; tarry ye and watch,” etc; but they could not watch with Him, they went fast asleep. As Satan has power in death, He brings it over Christ. Does Christ go back? No; but being in an agony, He prayed the more earnestly; He does not defend Himself; He might have driven away Satan, but He would not have delivered us if He had. No other cup did He ever ask to be taken away; but He could not be under the wrath of God, and not feel it. He was heard because of His fear. He went down into the depth where Satan had full power over His soul. He was in an agony, in conflict, but there was perfect obedience and dependence, “Not my will, but thine be done;” only He was crying the more earnestly to God, and then let His soul go into the depth under Satan’s power. If He had not given Himself up, they would have gone away who came to take Him; they went backward and fell to the ground. Again He presents Himself to them, “I am Jesus of Nazareth. If ye seek me, let these go their way.” He puts Himself forward into the gap. He goes to the cross; and there, before He gives up His soul to His Father, He has drunk that cup; then His soul re-enters the presence of His Father. Having gone through Satan’s power in death, (“this is your hour and the power of darkness,”) He goes forward; God raises Him from the dead, and gives Him a place in glory. He is the full-grown man, as the second man—perfect. Stephen saw Him as “the Son of man,” on the right hand of God.
Now we might suppose that He had come to the end of His service, after humbling Himself and becoming obedient unto death as the servant. What more? See John 13 He is going to be just as much the servant as ever!
Three things we have seen connected with His priesthood, besides His person. He has walked the same path we have to tread, only unfailingly, through it all, and even unto death. That is one thing. He understands the path. When there is sin, He dies. In His living, holiness is seen. The second thing is in making propitiation for the sins of the people—blood is presented. Thirdly, He is a perfect man in the presence of God. I have, then, the path trodden, sin atoned for, and a living man in the presence of God—an Advocate, Jesus Christ, the righteous. The foundation is not altered, righteousness remains. He has made propitiation for our sins. He has gone through all the trials of the way, and is proclaimed or saluted (“declared”) of God an High Priest for ever after the order of Melchizedec. The trial is gone through, and the work is wrought out before He enters in, and He is perfect righteousness in the presence of God. Aaron’s order was not Christ’s order at all. Christ’s is Melchizedec’s order; but the analogy is according to Aaron. What was Melchizedec’s order? Blessing. He blessed Abraham from God, and God from Abraham. When the full time of blessing is come for heaven and earth, He will have it as Melchizedec had it. It will be praise and power. We have the taste of it now. 1 Peter 2:9 When we are with Christ in glory, we shall shew forth His praises. While He is within the vail, not yet come out, He does not publicly take this title; outward blessing is not come. Why? Is He indifferent? slack concerning His promise? No; but if He put all this evil down by judgment, men must perish; but He is long-suffering, not willing any should perish, etc. While Christ is within the vail, the operation of the Spirit is going on, gathering in poor sinners. He has the title now, but not display. It is, therefore, after the analogy of Aaron. We enter with Him in spirit, there to offer up spiritual sacrifices. The display of power is not come, but we are within the vail, therefore the apostle presses them to go on unto perfection, full stature growth. What is my measure of a perfect man? In one sense, Adam was a very imperfect man, and what he had in innocence he soon lost, at any rate; (imperfect, therefore, in the sense of being able to lose it;) and certainly man is not perfect now in the Adam state. Where, then, is perfection? In the man in heaven. I have it in the knowledge of my position now in Christ, not in fact there myself yet, but in Him; and we are to “bear the image of the heavenly;” in that sense perfect. The Father has set Him at His right hand. Then, suppose I have the knowledge of that, I am called to walk as such. Then why perfect? Because I have fellowship with. Him, association with Him where He is.
Does any Christian say, ‘I am at the foot of the cross.’ Christ is not at the foot of the cross. The cross puts a man in heaven. Christ is in heaven. You have not come to Him yet. You are labouring about in the thoughts of your own heart, and have not followed Him in faith to where He is, if you are at the foot of the cross. How do I see the effect of the cross now? By being in heaven. I have come in through this rent vail. (The person is not to be despised who is there; but you have not come in by the cross through the vail, if you are at the foot of the cross.) If you were inside the vail you would know yourself worse—not one good thing in flesh. It is precious to see a soul exercised even in that way, as the prodigal son in the far country; but he had not come to his father then: he had not found out where he was. There was a mixture of self, not knowing his father, and talking about being a hired servant. He had not had the Father on his neck, or he could not have thought of being a servant. It is not humility, as people think, to be away from God, saying, Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, as Peter. Is insensibility to God’s goodness humility? The prodigal could not dictate and prescribe when his Father was on his neck: he had no business to be in the house at all as a hired servant. It is not humility. It is a mixture of self with the knowledge of having got away from God. Where will you put yourself? You must take Christ’s place or none. That is what is meant by perfect here. There is one way of coming in; it is by Christ who is in the glory. We have no title to any other place. How is Christ there? Not in virtue of His High Priesthood, but He is there in virtue of the offering for sin for us. “I have glorified thee on the earth.” “Father, glorify thy Son.” That is the reason the apostle speaks of the gospel of the glory. Christ is in heaven, the witness of the perfectness of the work that He has done. (Ver. 13,14) Milk is fit for a babe and strong meat for a full-grown man; that is all that is meant. Do not let us look for a place the godly Jew had, but the place Christ has. Then he goes on warning them, if they are only on this Jewish ground.
On the cross, Christ was drinking the cup; in Gethsemane, anticipating it. Death and judgment are gone; Christ cannot die again. The victory is complete. Sins are put away and He is gone into heaven in consequence; and that victory is ours.
Nothing seemed to be a greater burden on the heart of Paul than to keep the saints up to their privileges. They saw Christ had died for them, (and this had not the power over them it ought to have had), but they were risen with Him also; they were in Christ in heavenly places, within the vail; and how were they realizing that?—“Are become such as have need of milk.” There is a great deal of love in the heart when first converted. And there is another thing. When first converted, all these things are easier to understand than when more used to hearing them, and the world conies in. When there is freshness in the heart, the understanding goes with it. Great force is in that word “become” (chap. 5:12,) here. See the state they were in (Heb. 10) when they took joyfully the spoiling of their goods, knowing that they had “a better and an enduring substance.” Because they knew they had substance in heaven, they were willing to sacrifice what was here. When Christ had not that place in the heart, they were not willing to give up those things, and the understanding of the heavenly things would be dulled too. Freshness of affection and intelligence go together. When it is bright sunshine, things at a distance are easily seen. If it is dark, there is more difficulty. In the day one may walk through the streets without thinking about the way—one knows it; but at night one has to look and think which way. Just so with spiritual things; there is less spring, less apprehension, less clearness when our hearts are not happy. My judgment is clear when my affections are warm. Motives that acted before, cease to be motives when my heart is right. I can count all dross and dung, when force is given to my affections. “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
“Strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age;” not persons who have made a great progress, but persons of full age. There were things hard to be uttered, because they were dull of hearing. The freshness of affection being lost was the secret of all this. It is serious to think that freshness of affection and intelligence we may lose; but “to him that hath shall more be given.” There are good and evil to be discerned; therefore I spoke of finding the way.
Take this in connection with the beginning of the next chapter, “Therefore, leaving the word of the beginning of Christ,” etc, instead of wasting your time with what has passed away, go on to the full revelation of Christ; be at home there, and understanding what the will of the Lord is. We cannot separate the knowledge of good and evil from the knowledge of Christ. When I come to separate between them of myself, how can I? How can I walk as He walked, without Him? I cannot do it. “In Him.” What is that? “Ye in me.” Where is Christ? In heaven; then I am there too. My affections should be there too; my hope is to be thoroughly identified with Him. The portion I have is what He has—life, glory; what He has; all my associations are with Himself. There is the difference between the principles of the beginning of Christ and the full perfection “being made perfect,” (chap. 5:9,) glorified. He went through the experience down here, and then went into heaven to be priest, because our blessings, associations, etc, are all above, perfect up there, not down here. He had not received that point of the counsels of God in glory when down here. Now He is there, and He has associated me with Himself in that place. I can see Christ has been through this world so as to sympathize with us in all our sorrows and difficulties. He has borne my sins; and where is He now? In heaven; and I am there too, in spirit, and lie will bring me there in fact. Where He is, is His “being made perfect.” The work is done, and now He is showing me the effect of that—showing me the walk belonging to the righteousness He has wrought out. He has taken my heart, and associated me with Himself; and He says that is the “perfection” for me to go on to. Where did Paul see Christ? In glory. If he had known Christ after the flesh before, he did not know Him so now; (that was the beginning when on earth;) but now he knew Him in heaven; and this great truth was revealed to him, that all the saints on earth were as Christ. Paul had been a hater of Christ, had sought to root out His name from the earth; he had gone on in sin, been a breaker of the law, a rejecter of Christ when on earth, and, more than that, he had resisted the Holy Ghost, refused the testimony by the Holy Ghost given in mercy to those people for whom Christ interceded on the cross. They stoned Stephen who bore witness, and Saul was helping hi it. He was “chief of sinners,” because wasting the Church of God. He discovered the carnal mind to be enmity against God, not subject to God; he proved it in his own experience, and now he found there were saints not in that state—those quickened with Christ, and associated with Christ in glory. “I am Jesus whom thou persecutest.” They were not associated with the first Adam, but with the second man, in Christ; that was their position. These people whom he had been persecuting were Christ. What broke him down was seeing Christ in glory, and all these associated with Him. Now he learns that he is dead to law, dead to flesh. The Christ I want to win is a glorified Christ. To win Christ may cost me my life. Never mind. That is my object. As to the first Adam, he was “weighed in the balance, and found wanting.” He is out of it; not in the flesh, but in Christ. The old thing entirely past; dead to the law, the world, etc; dead and risen again, having another object. He is alive from the dead, because Christ is; he is “accepted in the beloved;” he has the consciousness that this work of Christ put him into a new place: (not glorified yet in the body: ) this was the “perfection.” What was the state of his affections then? “That I may win Christ,” was his desire. “As we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.” This was his object. His mind was full of it.
The Holy Ghost has come down to bring all these things to our remembrance. Believers are united to Christ (it is never said Christ was united to man) in glory. Then the apostle was living by the power of the Holy Ghost. What a trial for him to see these people going back to their “first principles,” “repentance from dead works, faith toward God…eternal judgments”—all true! but if you stop there, you stop short of a glorified Christ. “Who hath bewitched you?” he says to the Galatians. He says of himself, “I know a man in Christ,” and his spirit is broken to find the saints resting with things on earth about Christ. The Holy Ghost was come out to make them partakers of a heavenly calling; to associate them in heart and mind with Christ, and to show them things to separate them from the world; not only to keep them from evil, though that is true, too. They had a temple standing then, where Christ Himself had been. Why should they have left it if Christ had not judged the flesh? The middle wall had been put up: how should they dare break it down, if God had not done it? If God had not said, “I will not have to say to flesh any more,” how could they dare leave the camp and go outside? Christ glorified is the end of all the “first principles,” and we have to go through the world strangers and pilgrims.
The Only thing God ever owned in religion was Jewish. It had to do with the flesh. That is gone by the cross; all is crucified: your life, your home, your associations, are all in Christ. The doctrine of the beginning of Christ was not that. What do I find when Christ is on earth? He is speaking then of judgment to come, which they believe. The Pharisees believed in a resurrection from death; baptisms, which mean washings, etc. All these they had then they formed a worldly religion, and were sanctioned by God until the cross. The Messiah coming on earth was the beginning, but now I leave that. I do not deny these things; they are all true; but I have other things. Saul might have been the brightest saint going under the old things, but not knowing Christ. But suppose persons got into the heavenly thing, being made partakers of the Holy Ghost, having “tasted the good word of God,” and then gave it up, what could they do then? Suppose they had received it all in their minds, and then gave it up: what else was there for them? There might have been a going on from faith in a humbled Christ to a glorified Christ, but there is nothing beyond.
There is nothing of life signified here, in their being partakers of the Holy Ghost. It brings very strongly before us the actual presence of the Holy Ghost, and power through Him; a very different thing from life; and what, notwithstanding, we are in want of knowing. We must have that besides life. Being born of the Spirit, there is power for us through the presence of a person, who may act in another without his having life. There may be light in the soul without the smallest trace of life. In the case of Balaam, we read the Spirit of God came upon him: he had to see the blessedness of God’s people, and speak of it. He had light, but there was sleep on his soul, and he has to say, “I shall see him, but not now.” That was the opposite to having life. You see a man close to life, seeing all the blessing of it, but not having it. Now, if all the heavenly blessing is seen and rejected, what else could there be?
“Tasted the good word of God”—Simon Magus is an example of this.
“Powers of the world to come” or miracles, putting down Satan’s power. In the future day this power will gain the victory over all Satan’s power. Simon Magus wanted this power when he saw it.
“Impossible, if they shall fall away… seeing they have crucified to themselves the Son of God afresh,” etc. The nation had crucified Him—they did not know what they were doing. Now these knew what they were doing. The Holy Ghost had poured forth the light, and now they did it for themselves. It was not ignorance, it was will. There are some who anon with joy receive the word—the very thing that proves there is nothing in it. They would have it in joy, and give it away in tribulation. The word of God does not always give joy. When it comes in and reaches the conscience, and breaks up the fallow ground, and judges the thoughts and intents of the heart, that is not joy. It racks the heart when it is to profit, but it is for life and health. Here is not merely the joy of hearing about it, but having tasted of the good word about a glorified, heavenly Christ. It is not quickening that is spoken of here. Moses was quickened, but he was not baptized with the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost did not come till Pentecost. He made the house shake where they were assembled, but that was not for giving life. Power is a different thing from giving life. Those already quickened were to be the habitation of God through the Spirit. There were manifestations of God through these things, tongues, etc, anticipative of the setting up of the kingdom. It is after salvation is given, after the soul is born of God, the Holy Ghost comes to the believer as a seal, an earnest, an unction. I might get a taste of the power without being sealed; but as a believer I have the seal, am broken down in myself, not only “with joy” receiving it. I am a sinner—no good in me. It is a direct question between my soul and God; not like Simon Magus, believing the miracles that He did. Before I was converted, I believed there was Christ, as much as I do now. When Christ was on earth, there were those who saw the miracles, and went home again. But when the Spirit of God works in the heart, He shows what we are and makes us submit to God’s righteousness. It ploughs up the whole soul and being of a man—makes him submit to the righteousness of God—shows him his place in the risen Christ—shows him that all is his. That is a different thing to merely seeing it. If you have rejected these glorious things, there is nothing else for you. If you will not have Christ, there is nothing else. Here this warning is in connexion with the Holy Spirit in the tenth chapter. It is connected with the sacrifice. Then what follows shows no change supposed in the man. “The earth which drinketh in the rain…receiveth blessing from God; but that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected,” etc. The ground is just the same—the rain comes upon it, but it brings forth briers. So in men, there may be nothing in them to produce fruit. The result of life is seen in fruit, not power. The dumb ass might speak, but that was power, not spiritual life.
“But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation.” (Ver. 9). There is the work of love here; then there is life. Perhaps there is only a little bit of fruit; but the tree is not dead if there is any fruit—“things that accompany salvation,” not power merely—not joy merely: that might be without a divine nature. But “though I give all my goods to feed the poor, and though I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.” Judas could cast out devils as well as the rest, but Christ says to His disciples, Rejoice not because the devils are subject to you, but rather rejoice that “your names are written in heaven.”
The connexion of your heart with Christ, the consciousness of God having written your name in heaven, is the blessed thing. Here was fruit; love of the brethren was there—the divine nature was there, and the “full assurance of hope to the end” is the thing desired. We may look for that.
When the seed fell into stony places, it sprang up rapidly; there was no root. When the word does not reach the conscience, there is no root, no life, and therefore no fruit. You might weep over Christ, and have no life, like the women going out of Jerusalem. Flesh could go all that length without divine life. There might be working of miracles, without knowing or being known of Him. One atom of brokenness of spirit is better than filling all London with miracles.
Ver. 6 The nominal church of God is just in this state. There is to be a falling away, and they are to be broken off; prophesied of in Rom 11, to be cut off, if they did not continue in His goodness. The apostacy will come, and no renewing them again unto repentance.
Now, a little word for ourselves, what we have got in Christ. We have heavenly things—we are associated with Christ in heaven; “because I live ye shall live also.” I have all in Christ. He is my life, my righteousness, before God. Then God rests with delight on me, because in Christ. What place have I in Christ? In heaven, and He has given me the Holy Spirit to know it and enjoy it, so that my soul rests on it as the testimony of God. God cannot lie. Abraham got a promise, and he believed in it; an oath, and he believed it. I have more than that. I believe He has performed it. I have a righteousness now in the presence of God; and we have more in hope, viz., the glory that belongs to His righteousness. I have life, righteousness, the Holy Ghost as the seal, and more, the forerunner is gone in, and the Holy Ghost gives me the consciousness of my union with Him; not merely the fact that sin is put away. We have the Spirit in virtue of the righteousness. The Holy Ghost has come to tell me I am in that Christ. What is the practical consequence? If the glory He has is mine, I am going after Him. Then all in the world is dross and dung.
“They might have had opportunity to have returned:” that is, where faith is exercised and put to the test. You who have known the Lord some time have had opportunity to have returned, how has it been with you? A stone left on the ground gradually sinks in. There is constantly a tendency in present things to press down the affections—not open sin, but duties, and nothing is a greater snare than duties. We have one duty, that is, to serve Christ. On the side of God, it is all bright.