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fhall never ftand in need of any far ther Change or Alteration. Thefe are Sermon the heads of thofe Arguments which the Author of this Epiftle does largely difcourfe upon.
Now the Gospel having in these refpects the advantage of the Legal Difpenfation, the Apoftle doth all along in this Epiftle earnestly exhort the Jews to a constant Profeffion and steadfast Belief of the Gofpel, and not to return back from Chriftianity to Judaifm, which was a far less perfect Inftitution. Ch. 2. 1. Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, left at any time we should let them flip, Tpappuwμev, left we should fall away, fo the word may be render'd. And Ch. 3. 12. Take heed, brethren, left there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. And Ch. 4. 1. Let us therefore fear, left a promife being left us of entring into his reft, any of you should Seem to come short of it. And Ch. 10. 23. Let us hold fast the Profeffion of our faith without wavering.
After which he declares the danger of Apoftacy, or falling off from the Belief and Profeffion of the Gofpel which they had entertained ; v. 26. For if we fin wilfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more facrifice for fin. He tells them they would be Threwdly tempted to Apoftacy by the Reproaches, Afflictions and Perfecutions that they would meet withal: but the Promises of the Gofpel were fufficient to fupport and bear up good men under thefe, if they were but firmly perfwaded of the truth of them; and tho' they did not for the prefent receive the things promifed, yet a firm belief of them would carry them through all Sufferings, and make them hold out under them. The just shall live by faith. v. 38.
And having mention'd the power of Faith, that is, of a confident perfwafion of the truth and reality of the Promifes of the Gofpel to fupport Men under Sufferings, he gives an account, how Faith uses to have this influence,
ver. 1. Faith is the fubftance of things Sermon hoped for, fo we render the word ὑπόφασις: but it might be much better render'd, both according to the frequent use of it in the Septuagint, and in the New Testament, a confidence of things hoped for, that is, a confident expectation of things hoped for, or a firm perfwafion that our Hopes will not be fruftrated. And as this is more agreeable to the Scope and Defign of the Apostle, fo likewise to the common acceptation of this word in the New Testament, for which I will appeal to two places. 2 Cor. ix. 4. That we be not put to fhame in this confidence of boafting, ἐν τῇ ὑποφάσει ταύτῃ. The other Text is in this Epift. Ch. iii. 14. That we hold faft the beginning of our confidence, τὴν ἀρχὴν ὑποτάσεως, which is of the very fame fenfe with rappnoia, at the 6th ver. If we hold fast the confidence rappnoiav, and rejoycing. of the hope firm unto the end. And the evidence of things not seen, hey, the conviction,a being convinced,or perfwaded of the truth of those things, for which we have no occular or fenfible demonftration. Now if Faith in the Promifes of the Gofpel do perfwade us B 3
and give us fatisfaction that we shall Volume receive a Reward, which will outXII. weigh and countervail our present Sufferings, then Faith is likely to support us under Sufferings.
And that this is no ftrange thing which the Apostle speaks of Faith, he fhews that in all Ages Faith hath been the principle of all Holy and Heroick Actions. By it the Elders obtained a good report; it is that which made the Holy Men of the Old Teftament fo famous; and this he proves throughout this Chapter, by a large indu&tion of particular Inftances, in which we fee the power of Faith, the wonderful effects of it, and the mighty works it hath done in the World.
But because he faid before that Faith is the evidence, or conviction of things not feen, as well as a confident expectation of things hoped for, before he comes to inftance in the effects of Faith upon particular perfons in the Old Teftament, he proves it to be The evidence of things not feen, that is, being convinc'd and perfwaded of things of which we have no fenfible and ocular
cular demonstration, ver. 3d. Thro' Faith we understand that the Worlds Sermon were framed by the word of God, fo that the things which are feen, were not made of things which do appear; that is, tho' we were not prefent at the ma-. king of the World, nor did fee it framed; yet we are fatisfied, and do believe that it was made by the powerful word of God, and that all those things which we fee were not produced out of things which do now appear, but either immediately out of nothing, or a dark confused Chaos.
And having thus prov'd that we may be perfwaded of things we do not fee, of things paft, or future, he comes to the particular inftances of the Holy Men of the Old Teftament, in whom the power of Faith did appear. He begins with Abel, who being perfwaded of the Being of God, and the Perfection and Excellency of the Divine Nature, and confequently that he was worthy to be ferved with the beft, by virtue of this Faith offer'd up to God a more excellent Sacrifice than Cain. The fecond Inftance is in Enoch, who being perfwaded of the Being of God, B 4