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like an intelligent faith, the plainest statements of facts in the life of Jesus.
And so with everything else in the Christian system. It is a fearful thing to be a minister of Christ, if it is no other than the flock of God, which He hath redeemed with His own Blood, which we have to feed. It will require all your prayers on our behalf to enable us to fulfil such a ministry.
And so with the calling of every one who names the Name of Christ. It is a fearful and yet a most blessed thing to have named upon us the Name, to be baptized into the Body, to be instructed in the doctrine, to be fed with the Flesh and Blood, and at last to be admitted to dwell for ever as His brethren, in the presence, of the Only Begotten Son of God.
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HEBREW8 xiii, 8. “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever.”
THOSE of you who have taken pains to get something more than a superficial knowledge of the Word of God, by consulting the works of pious and learned men who have spent their lives in endeavouring to elucidate its meaning, are doubtless aware that in the oldest copies of the New Testament there is nothing answering to our stops or pauses between sentences, or the various parts of a sentence. There is no division of the sacred text even into paragraphs, much less into chapters and verses.
This fact affects somewhat the meaning of the passage upon which I am now preaching. It is impossible to say whether we should take it in connection with the verse before it, or with the verse after it. It makes a good sense with either. If we take it with the previous verse it seems to teach us that certain rulers of the Church were to be remembered, and their faith followed, inasmuch as the end of their conversation
6. Jesus Christ the same * Such a mode of taking the text is, however, hardly admissible. Olshausen remarks : “ Verse 8 is rather to be understood as an explanation of the author's, intended as a motive to enforce the exhortation in verse 7. “Imitate their faith ; (for) Christ is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever.' (8 ajtós is predicate.) The same Christ, trusting in whom those died, still lives to-day, and is also our consolation.” Alford remarks : “As to the connexion, the verse stands in a transition from what has past to what follows. It was Christ whom these ηγουμενοι preached, ελάλησαν τον Tóyou toû Beoû: Christ who supported them to the end, being the author and finisher of their faith ; and He remains still the same with regard to you.”
yesterday, to-day, and for ever." If we take the text in connection with what follows, it seems to be an exhortation to stability of doctrine. “Jesus Christ [is] the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever, therefore be not carried away with divers and strange doctrines.”
But the text, taken by itself, without any reference to its context, contains a wonderful mine of Divine truth, and as such we will linger a little upon it, particularly as we shall be able to associate with it much practical Christian doctrine suggested by the High Festival of the past week, and also some practical exhortation connected with the coming in of a new year.
On Christmas Day we glorify God for the coming of the Son of God in our nature: He Who was begotten of the Father before all time, was born in time, on a particular hour of a particular day, of a particular year.
Wonderful fact-most wonderful of all facts that either man or angel can ponder. The Eternal God becoming so that His times could be measured by days and years. The unchangeable God coming into a changeable world, and to all appearance affected by the changes of life, so that He should be an infant, and grow up to manhood through boyhood and youth.
Now it is a question whether the Apostle, in speaking of Jesus as unchangeable, refers to His Godhead. Of course on the answer to this question depends the sense in which we are to take the first word of the text-the word “yesterday.” If the sacred writer refers to His eternal unchangeable Godhead, then the word yesterday comprehends the whole of the past eternity; and so the text may be taken as teaching the same as what the Psalmist teaches us when, referring to this same Son of God, he writes: “Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the Heavens are the works of Thine hands : they shall perish; but Thou remainest ; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment; and as a vesture shalt Thou fold them
and they shall be changed: but Thou art the same, and Thy years shall not fail."*
Now I think that the text has more consolation for us sinners and wayfarers in this * Psalm cii. 24, as rendered H rews i.
changing world than it would have if it simply referred to Christ as being, as to His Divine nature, the unchangeable God. I believe that it refers to the Union between His nature and ours-His original Divine and our human nature; and so I believe that the “yesterday” does not mean the past eternity of the eternal Word, but the thirty years or so, beginning with His Birth, and ending with His Ascension, during which He manifested Himself and His Father to us sinners. So that “yesterday ' means, in fact, the time covered by the narratives of the four Evangelists.
As Jesus was in the days of His flesh-as He then loved, and cared for, and toiled for, and sympathized with, and warned, and rebuked, and watched over, His own, and kept them from the evil one—so He is now—now that He is sitting at the right hand of His Father; and so He will be for ever. He will be for ever the same loving, tender, sympathizing, protecting, pitying, and yet sin-hating High Priest and King. Time will affect His love or His holiness as little as it will affect His power. Opinions may change, but His cannot. Kingdoms and empires may rise and fall, but He calmly surveys all, and controls all, and orders all, and makes all work His purposes, and there is no change in those purposes. All through the working out of those wondrous visions that we read in the closing book of God's word