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what has now been proclaimed to you from the word of God, it is nevertheless true.
Hear then, and obey, that your souls may not die, but live for evermore. Amen.
JESUS THE AUTHOR AND FINISHER OF FAITH.
HEBREWS XII. 2.
Jesus, the author and
finisher of our faith.
GLORIOUS things are spoken in Scripture concerning the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the grand subject of the sacred volume, both in the Old and in the New Testament, the centre where all the rays of divine revelation meet, and from which they receive their brightest lustre. Numberless, indeed, and truly magnificent, are the titles with which he is there adorned. He is “ the eternal and only begot“ ten Son of God; the brightness of the “ Father's glory, and the express image
66 Unto us a child is “ born, unto us a son is given, and the
66 of his person.
government shall be upon his shoulder, “ and his name shall be called Wonderful, “ Counsellor, the Mighty God, the ever6 lasting Father, the Prince of Peace.” He is elsewhere styled “ the Alpha and
Omega,—the First and the Last,—the “ Prince of the kings of the earth,—the
King of Kings and Lord of Lords,—the “ King of Glory and the King of Saints." But of all the views that can be given of the Lord Jesus, none, perhaps, is more interesting and encouraging, and none more deserving of our serious and attentive consideration, than that which the Apostle Paul here suggests, when he styles him 6 the Author and Finisher of our $6 faith or salvation.
The object, then, of the following discourse, will be to shew in what respects Jesus Christ may be styled the Author of
In the first place, The honourable appellation in the text may be given to Christ because he hath published salvation
Long indeed before our Saviour's manifestation in the flesh, God had revealed the doctrines of salvation in his written word. But the Jews were the only people on earth who enjoyed this heavenly light; and even among them it was sadly obscured. Divine truths were blended and perverted with human inventions. Captivated with the ceremonial precepts of their law, they utterly neglected the moral; and while they paid their highest attention to those rites which pleased their own imaginations and humours, they undervalued those essential duties that were calculated to purify and improve the heart. By their vain traditions they increased the load of ceremonies; and by their corrupt interpretations of the law, they not only abridged the number of its moral precepts, but in a great measure destroyed the obligation of those that remained, and which they themselves acknowledged to be divine. Their ideas of doctrinal truths were equally erroneous; and their interpretation of the prophecies respecting the Messiah shewed the absurd notions they entertained of the nature of his kingdom. Their teachers were blind leaders of the blind.
But even this knowledge of which I speak, imperfect and corrupted as it was, extended no farther than the narrow limits of Judea, and a few Gentile proselytes. By far the greatest part of the human race was sunk in the grossest ignorance with respect to divine things. Nor was this the character of the barbarous nations alone; for, even in the refined ages of Greece and Rome, when the different arts and sciences were carried to a high pitch of perfection, how miserably defective were their systems of natural religion ?how gross and deplorable was the darkness of even the wisest of men, with respect to the most important of all subjects, -the knowledge of God and his perfections,—the manner in which he ought to be worshipped,—and the way in which his favour is to be obtained,--the relations that man bears to his Maker, and the duties resulting from these relations ! The imperfection both of their moral and religious knowledge, and the inefficacy of all their attempts to instruct and improve mankind, are best seen from the ill success with which they were attended.