Sermon 3492. God's Word Not to Be Refused

(No. 3492)




"See that you refuse not Him who speaks. For if they escaped not who refused Him who spoke on earth, much more shall not weescape, if we turn away from Him who speaks from Heaven." Hebrews 12:25.

WE are not a cowering multitude gathered in trembling fear around the smoking mount of Horeb-we have come where the greatcentral figure is the mercy of God in Christ Jesus. We have gathered virtually in the outer circle of which the saints aboveand holy angels make the inner ring. And now, tonight, Jesus speaks to us in the Gospel. So far as His Gospel shall be preachedby us, here, it shall not be the word of man, but the Word of God. And although it comes to you through a feeble tongue, yetthe Truth of God, itself, is not feeble, nor is it any less Divine than if Christ, Himself, should speak it with His own lips!"See that you refuse not Him who speaks." The text contains-


It does not say, "Refuse not Him who speaks," but, "See that you refuse not Him who speaks"-that is, "be very circumspectthat by no means, accidental or otherwise, you refuse the Christ of God, who now, in the Gospel, speaks to you! Be watchful,be earnest, lest even through inadvertence you should refuse the Prophet of the Gospel dispensation-Jesus Christ, the Sonof God, who speaks in the Gospel from Heaven to the sons of men." It means, "Give earnest heed and careful attention, thatby no means, and in no way you refuse Him who speaks." My objective tonight will be to help you, beloved Friends, especiallyyou that have not laid hold on Christ-who are not the children of Zion, who are joyful in their king-to help you, tonight,that you may see to it.

And to go to our point at once, we shall have many things to say, and we shall speak them in brief sentences, hoping thatthe thoughts, as they arise, may be accepted by your mind and may, by God's Spirit, work upon your hearts and conscience.There is great need of this exhortation from many considerations not mentioned in the text. A few of these we will hint atfirst.

First, from the excellence of the Word of God, itself "See that you refuse not Him who speaks." That which Jesus speaks concernsyour soul, concerns your everlasting destiny-it is God's wisdom, God's way of mercy-God's plan by which you may be saved!If this were a secondary matter, you need not be so earnest about receiving it, but of all things under Heaven, nothing soconcerns you as the Gospel. See, then, that you refuse not this precious Word of God, more precious than gold or rubies, whichalone can save your souls!

See to this, again, because there is an enemy of yours who will do all he can that you may refuse Him who speaks. Satan isalways busiest where the Gospel is most earnestly preached! Let the sower scatter handfuls of seeds-and birds will find theseeds and soon devour them! Let the Gospel be preached, and these birds of the air, fiends of Hell, will soon by some meanstry to remove these Truths from your hearts, lest they should take root in your hearts and bring forth fruit unto repentance.

Give earnest heed, again, "that you refuse not Him who speaks," because the tendency of your own mind'will be to refuse Christ.Oh, Sirs, you are fallen through your first father, Adam, and the tendencies now of your souls are towards evil-not towardsthe right-and when the Lord comes from Heaven to you, you will reject Him if left to yourselves! Watch, then, I say! See thatyou refuse not! Stir up your souls, awaken your minds, lest this delirious tendency of sin should make you angry with yourbest Friend and constrain you to thrust from you that which is your only hope for the

hereafter! When a man knows that he has a bad tendency which may injure him, if he is wise, he watches against it. So, knowingthis, which God's Word tells you, watch, I pray you, lest you refuse Him who speaks!

Think well, too, that you have need to see to this, because some of you have rejected Christ already long enough! He has spokento you from this pulpit, from other pulpits, from the Bible, from the sickbed. He spoke to you lately in the funeral knellof your buried friend-many voices, but all with this one note, "Come to Me! Repent and be saved!" But until now you have refused"Him who speaks." Will not the time past suffice to have played this mischievous game? Will not the years that have rolledinto eternity bear enough witness against you? Must you add to all this weight by again refusing? Oh, I implore you to seeto it that you do not again "refuse Him who speaks from Heaven," for there is not a Word of that which He speaks, but whatis love to your souls! Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came not armed with terrors to work wrath among the sons of men! Allwas mercy, all was Grace-and to those who listen to Him, He has nothing to speak but tenderness and loving kindness-your sinsshall be forgiven you! The time of your ignorance, God will wink at. Your transgressions shall be cast into the depths ofthe sea-for you there shall be happiness on earth and glory hereafter! Who would not listen when it is good news to be heard?Who would not listen when the best tidings that God, Himself, ever sent forth from the excellent Glory is proclaimed by thenoblest Ambassador that ever spoke to men, namely, God's own Son, Jesus Christ, the once crucified, but now exalted Savior?For these reasons, then, at the very outset I press upon you this exhortation, "See that you refuse not Him who speaks suchprecious Truth," which the enemy would gladly take out of your minds-the Truth of God which you, yourselves, have refusedlong enough already-and Truth which is sweet and will be exceedingly precious to your souls if you receive it! But now thetext gives us-

II. SOME FURTHER REASONS for seeing to it that we do not "refuse Him who speaks." One reason I see in the text is this-seeto this because there are many ways of refusing Him who speaks, and you may have fallen into one or other of these. See toit! Pass over in examination your own state and conduct, lest you may have been refusing Christ! Some refuse the Savior bynot hearing of Him. In His day there were some who would not listen, and there are such now. The Sabbath days of some of youare not days of listening to the Gospel. Where were you this morning? Where are you usually all the Lord's-Day long? Remember,you cannot live in London, where the Gospel is preached, and be without responsibility! Though you will not came to the Houseof God to hear of it, yet be sure of this-the Kingdom of God has come near unto you. You may close your ears to the invitationof the Gospel, but at last you will not be able to close your ear to the denunciation of wrath! If you will not come and hearof Christ on the Cross, you must one day see for yourselves Christ on His Throne. "See that you refuse not Him who speaksto you from Heaven" by refusing to be found where His Gospel is proclaimed!

Many come to hear it, and yet refuse Him who speaks, for they hear listlessly. In many congregations-I will not judge this-avery large proportion of hearers are listless hearers. It little matters to them what is the subject in hand. They hear thesentences and phrases that come from the speaker's tongue, but these penetrate the ears, only, and never reach their heart.Oh, how sad it is that this should be the case with almost all who have heard the Gospel a long time, but who are not converted!They get used to it. No form of alarm could reach them and, perhaps, no form of invitation could move them to penitence. Thepreacher may exhaust his art. They are like the adder that is deaf. He may know how to charm others, but these he cannot charm,charm he ever so wisely! Oh, see to it, you Gospel hearers up yonder, and you below here, that have been hearing Christ thesemany years, see that you refuse not Him who day by day during so long a time has spoken to you in the preaching of the Gospelout of Heaven!

But there are some who do hear and have a very intelligent idea of what they hear, but who actually refuse to believe it.For diverse reasons best known to themselves, they reject the testimony of the Incarnate God. They hear that God, the Word,was made flesh and dwelt among us, and He has borne testimony that whoever believes in Him is not condemned. They know butthey will not believe in Him. They will give you first, one excuse, and then another, but all the excuses put together willnever mitigate the fact that they do not believe the testimony of God concerning His Son, Jesus Christ! And so they "refuseHim who speaks." How many, how many here are by their unbelief refusing the Christ that speaks out of Heaven?

Some are even offended at the Gospel, as in Christ's day. When He came to a tender point in His preaching they went back andwalked no more with Him. Such there are to be found in our assemblies. The Gospel galls them-there is some point that touchestheir prejudices, something that touches their favorite sin-and they are vexed and irritable. They

ought to be angry-angry with their sin-but they are angry with Christ instead. They ought to denounce themselves, and patientlyseek mercy, but this is not palatable to them! They would rather denounce the preacher, or denounce the preacher's Master.

Some will even hear the Gospel, the very Gospel of Christ to catch at words and pervert sentences to make play of the preacher'swords which he uses, when they are honestly the best he can find and, worse still, make play with the sense, too, with thevery Gospel-and find themes for loose jokes and profane and ribald words, even in the Cross! Rolling dice, like the soldiersat the foot of the Cross, with the blood falling on them, so some make merriment when the blood of Jesus is falling upon themto their condemnation! May it not be so with any here, present, but there have been such who have even reviled the Saviorand had hard words for God in human flesh-could not believe that He bore the guilt of sin, could not admire the astoundinglove that made Him suffer for the guilt of His enemies, would not see anything admirable in the heroic Sacrifice of the greatRedeemer-but rather turned on their heels against their Benefactor and poured forth venomous words on Him who loved the sonsof men and died saying, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do."

And some have practically shown they have refused Him who speaks, for they have begun to persecute His people! They have maltreatedthose that sought the Glory of God, and anything that had a savor of Christ about it has been despicable and detestable tothem.

Oh, dear Hearers, I shall ask you, since there are all these ways of refusing Christ, to see to it that you do not fall intoany of them! The grosser forms, perhaps, you would be too shocked at, but don't fall into the others. Do not especially fallinto that indifference which has almost as much insult to the Savior as blasphemy! Is it nothing to you? Is it nothing toyou that God should come from Heaven that He might be just in the salvation of men, and that, coming from Heaven to be thusjust, He should, Himself, suffer that we might not suffer-the Christ of God bleed and die instead of the undeserving, Hell-deservingsinners? Shall this be told you-pressed upon you and will you refuse it? Will you refuse Him who speaks, Himself, in His ownSacrifice? And in the blood which He has carried within the veil continues now to speak-will you, will you refuse Him? PrayGod you may see to it that in no form you do!

And now passing on, but keeping to the same point, striking the hammer on the head of the same nail, there are many reasonswhy men refuse Christ. Therefore, see that for none of these reasons you do it. Some refuse Him out of perfect indifference!Thegreat mass of men have not a thought above their food and their drink. Like the cock that found the diamond on the dunghill,they turn it over and wish it were a grain of barley. What care they for Heaven, or the pardon of sin? Their mind does notreach to that. See that you-that you, none of you, are so sensuous as to "refuse Him who speaks from Heaven" for such a reasonas this! Some reject Him because of their self-righteousness-they are good enough. Jesus Christ speaks against them, theysay! "He does not applaud their righteousness, He rather ridicules them. He tells them that their prayers are long prayersand their many good works are, after all, a poor ground for reliance." So as the Savior will not patronize their righteousness,neither will they have anything to do with Him. Oh, say not you are rich and increased in goods-you are naked, and poor, andmiserable! Say not you can win Heaven by your merits- you have none! Your merits drag you down to Hell. Yet many will refusethe Savior because of the insanity of their self-righteousness!

Some, too, reject Him because of their self-reliant wisdom. "Why," they say, "this is a very thoughtful age." And everywhereI hear it dinned into my ears, "thoughtful preaching," "thinkers," "intellectual preaching." And what a mass of rottennessbefore high Heaven the whole lot is that is produced by these thinking preachers and these intellectual men! For my part Iwould rather say to them, "See that you refuse not Him who speaks," for one Word of God is better than all the thoughts ofall the philosophers-and one sentence from the lips of Christ I do esteem to be more precious than the whole Alexandrian library-andalso the Bodleian, if you will, so much as it comes from man. No, it is the thinking of Christ we have to think about! Otherwiseour thinking may prove our curse. A man, if he is drowning, if he has a rope thrown to him, had better lay hold of it ratherthan merely thinking about the possibilities of salvation by some other means. While your souls are being lost, Sirs, thereis better employment for you than merely indulging in rhapsodies and inventions of your own supposed judgment! Take hold ofthis, the Gospel of Jesus revealed of God, lest you perish, and perish with a vengeance!

Some reject the Savior from another cause-they do not like the holiness of Christ's teaching. They refuse Him who speaks becausethey think Christ's religion too strict, too precise-it cuts off their pleasures, it condemns their lusts. Yes, yes, it isso, but to reject Christ for such a reason is certainly to be most unreasonable, for it should be in every man a desire tobe delivered from these passions and lusts-and because Christ can deliver us, shall we, therefore, reject Him? God forbidthat we should be led astray by such a reason!

Some reject Him because they have a fear of the world. If they were Christians, they would probably be laughed at as Methodists,Presbyterians, Puritans, or some other name. And shall we lose our souls to escape the sneers of fools? He is not a man-callhim by some other name-he is no man that flings away his soul because he is such a coward that he cannot bear to do and believethe right thing and bear the frown of fashion!

There are others who refuse the Savior simply out of procrastination. They have no reason for it, but they hope they shallhave a more convenient season. They are young people as yet, or they are not so very old, or if they are old, yet still lifewill linger a little while-and so still they refuse Him who speaks.

I have not mentioned a worthy reason for refusing Him who speaks, nor do I believe there is a worthy reason. It seems to methat if it is so, that God Himself has taken upon Himself human form, and has come here to effect our redemption from oursin and misery, there cannot be any reason that will stand a moment's looking at for refusing Him who speaks! It must be myduty and my privilege to hear what it is that God has got to say to me-it must be my duty to lend Him all my heart, to tryand understand what it is that He says-and then to give Him all my will to do, or to be whatever He would have me to do orto be!

"But did God thus come?" asks one. I always feel that the very declaration is its own proof. No heart could ever have contrivedor invented this as a piece of imagination-the love, the story of the redeeming love of God in Christ Jesus! If I had no evidencebut the mere statement, I think I must accept it, for it wears the Truth of God upon its very forefront! Who should conceiveit? The offended God comes here to redeem His creatures from their own offense. Since He must in justice, punish, He comesto bear the punishment Himself, that He may be just and yet be inconceivably gracious! My soul flies into the arms of thisRevelation! It seems to be the best news my troubled conscience ever had-God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself,not imputing their trespasses unto them! Oh, there cannot be a reasonable motive for rejecting the Savior, and I, therefore,impress it upon you, since so many unreasonable motives carry men away, see that you refuse not Him who speaks! And may theSpirit of God grant that you may not be able to refuse! But now coming to the text again, we have-

III. A VERY HIGH MOTIVE GIVEN for seeing that we refuse not Him who speaks. It is this-because in refusing Him, we shall bedespising the highest possible authority. When Moses spoke in God's name, it was no light thing to refuse such an ambassador!Still, Moses was but a man. Though clothed with Divine Authority, yet he was but a man and a servant of God. But Jesus Christis God by Nature. See that you refuse not Him who is of heavenly origin, who came from Heaven, who is clothed with such DivinePowers that every word He speaks is virtually spoken from Heaven, and who, being now in Heaven, speaks through His ever livingGospel directly out of the excellent Glory! Regard this, I pray you, and remember well the parable which Jesus gave. A certainman planted a vineyard and let it out to vinedressers. And when the time came that he should receive the fruit, he sent aservant, and they stoned him! He sent another, and they beat him. He sent another, and they maltreated him. After he had thussent many of his servants, and the dressers of the vineyard had incurred his high displeasure by the shameful way in whichthey had treated the servants, he sent his own son, and he said, "They will respect my son." It was the highest degree ofguilt when they said, "This is the heir, let us kill him, that the inheritance may be ours." Then they took him and killedhim, and threw him out of the vineyard. You know how the Savior was treated by the sons of men-but here is the point I aimat-it is this-to reject Jesus Christ, to refuse Him, to refuse His Gospel if He did not speak in it, might not be so higha misdemeanor, but to refuse Him-I don't know how it is, but my heart feels very heavy even to sinking at the thought thatany man here should be able to refuse Christ, the Son of God, the Everlasting and the Ever Blessed! But I cannot speak outwhat I feel. It fills my soul with horror to think that any creature should refuse his God, when his God speaks, but muchmore when God comes down on earth in Infinite, wondrous, immeasurable love, takes upon Himself the form of Man and suffers,and then turns round to His rebellious creature and says, "Listen, I am ready to forgive you. I am willing to pardon you.Do but listen

to Me."

Oh, it seems monstrous that men should refuse Christ! I don't know how you feel about it, but if you have ever measured thatin your thoughts, it will have seemed to be the most monstrous of all crimes! If, in order to be saved, the terms were hardand the conditions difficult, I could understand a man saying, "It mocks me." But when the Gospel is nothing but this, "Turnyou, turn you; why will you die?" When it is nothing but, "Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved," whatshall I say? I cannot fashion an excuse for any of you and if you, after having heard the Gospel, are cast into Hell, I darenot think that its utmost pains will be too severe for so high an insult to such wondrous love! You will not be saved, Sirs!You put from you, your own life! You will not be saved when the way of salvation is plain, easy, simple, close to your hand-

"What chains of vengeance they deserve That slight the bonds of love!"

I cannot-I could not-conceive a punishment too severe for men who, knowing that their rejection of Christ will bring uponthem everlasting punishment, yet willfully reject Him! You choose your own delusion. If you drank poison and did not knowit, I could pity you-if you made all your veins to swell with agony and caused your death-but when we stand up and say, "Sirs,it is poison! See others drop and die-touch it not!"-when we give you something a thousand times better, and bid you takethat, but you will not take that, but willhave the poison-then if you will, you must. If, then, you would destroy your soul,it, must be so.

But we would plead with you yet again. "See, see that you refuse not Him who speaks." I wish I could raise Him before youtonight-even the Christ of God and bid Him stand here-and you would see His hands and His feet, and you would ask, "What arethese marks we see there?" He would reply, "These are the wounds that I received when I suffered for the sons of men." AndHe bares His side and says, "See here, here went the spear when I died that sinners might live." In Glory now, yet once, saysHe, "This face was defiled with spit, and this body mangled with Pilate's scourge and Herod's rod, and I, whom angels worshipped,was treated as a menial, yes, worse-God Himself forsook Me! Jehovah hid His face from Me, that I, bearing the punishment ofsin, might really bear it, not in fiction, but in fact, and might suffer the equivalent for all the miseries that souls redeemedby Me ought to have suffered had they been cast into Hell!" Will you look at His wounds and yet refuse Him? Will you hearthe story of His love, and yet reject Him? Must He go away and say in His heart, "They have refused Me. They have refusedMe. I told them of salvation-I showed them how I bought salvation, but they have refused Me. I will go My way and they shallnever see My face again till that day when they shall say, 'Mountains fall upon us! Hide us from the face of Him who sitsupon the Throne.'" If you will not have Him in mercy you must have Him in judgment! And if the silver scepter of God willnot touch you, the Christ of God, the Man of Nazareth, will come a second time on the clouds of Heaven, and woe unto you inthat tremendous day! Then shall the nations of the earth weep and wail because of Him. They would not have Him as their Savior-sothey must have Him as their Judge-and out of His mouth shall the sentence come, "Depart! Depart!"

Now I have to close with the last reason that is given in the text why we should see that we "refuse not Him who speaks."It is this-that if we do-

IV. THERE IS A DOOM TO BE FEARED, for if they escaped not who refused Him who spoke on earth, much more shall not we escapeif we turn away from Him who speaks from Heaven. You hear the din that goes up from the Red Sea when the angry billows leapover Pharaoh and his horsemen. Why is the king asleep in the midst of the waters? Why are the chivalry of Egypt cut off? Theyrejected Moses when he said, "Thus says the Lord, Let My people go." If Pharaoh escaped not when he refused him who spokeon earth, oh, dreadful shall be that day when the Christ who this day speaks to you, and whom you reject, shall lift up therods of His anger and the Lake of Fire, more direful than the Red Sea, shall swallow up His adversaries! See you that nextsight? A number of men are standing there holding censers of incense in their hands, and there stands Moses, the servant ofGod, and he says, "If these die the death of common men, God has not spoken by me," for they have rebelled against Moses.Do you see the sight? Can you picture it? If they escaped not who refused him who spoke on earth, how shall we escape if werefuse Him who speaks from Heaven? Go through the peninsular of the Arabian desert. See how the tribes drop, one by one, andleave graves behind them as the track of their march. Of all that came out of Egypt, only two entered into Canaan! Who slewall these? They were all slain there because they resisted the Word of God by His servant, Moses, and He swore in His wraththat they should not enter into His rest. If

they escaped not who refused him who spoke on earth, how shall we escape if we refuse Him who speaks to us from Heaven?

I might multiply instances and give you proof of how God avenged the refusal to listen to His servant, Moses, but how muchmore will He avenge it if we listen not to Jesus Christ the Lord! "Oh," says one, "you preach the terrors of the Lord." Theterrors of the Lord? I scarcely think of them-they are too dreadful for human language! But if I speak severely, even fora moment, it is in love. I dare not play with you, Sinner. I dare not tell you sin is a trifle. I dare not tell you that theworld to come is a matter of no great account. I dare not come and tell you that you need not be in earnest. I shall haveto answer for it to my Master! I have these words ringing in my ears, "If the watchman warns them not, they shall perish,but their blood will I require at the watchman's hands." I cannot bear that I should have the blood of souls upon my skirtsand, therefore, do I again say to you-refuse what I say as much as you will, cast anything that is mine to the dogs, havenothing to do with it-but wherein I have spoken to you Christ's Word and I have told you His Gospel, "Believe and live." "Hethat believes on Him is not condemned," "He that believes and is baptized, shall be saved." Wherein it is Christ's Gospel,it is Christ that speaks! And I again say to you, for your soul's sake, "Refuse not Him who speaks from Heaven to you." MayHis Spirit sweetly incline you to listen to Christ's Word and may you be saved tonight!

If you don't have Christ, tonight, some of you never will have Him. If you are not saved tonight, some of you never will be.'Tis now or never with you. God's Spirit strives with you, conscience is a little awakened. Catch every breeze, catch everybreeze! Do not let this pass by! Oh, that tonight you might seek, and that tonight you might find the Savior! Otherwise rememberif you refuse Him who speaks from Heaven, He lifts His hands and swears that you shall not enter into His rest! Then are youlost, lost, lost, beyond all recall! God bless every one of you and may we meet in Heaven.

I do not know. I sometimes am afraid that there are not so many conversions as there used to be. If I thought there were nomore souls to be saved by me in this place, under God, I would break away from every comfort and go and find out a place whereI could find some that God would bless. Are they all saved that will be? You seat-holders, have I fished in this pond tillthere is no more to come? Is it to be so, that in all the ground where wheat will ever grow, wheat has grown, and there canbe no more? My Brothers and Sisters in Christ, pray God to send His Spirit that there may be more brought to Jesus! If not,it is hard, hard work to preach in vain. Perhaps I grow stale and dull to you-I would not if I could help it. If I could learnhow to preach, I would go to school. If I could find the best way to reach you, I am sure I would spare no pains. I do notknow what more to say, but if Christ, Himself, shall be refused, how shall I speak for Him? Of His dear wounds, if His preciousblood, if His dying groans, if His love to the souls of men all go for nothing, then my words cannot be anything-they maywell go to the wind! But do, do turn to Him! Cast not away your souls. Come to Him! He will receive you! He waits to be gracious!Whoever is heavy laden, let him come tonight. One tear, one sigh, one cry-send it up to Him-He will hear you! Come and trustHim! He will save you! God bless you, for Christ's love's sake. Amen.


Verses l, 2. Therefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight,and the sin which so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us. Looking unto Jesus- TheApostle seems to say, since so many look on from Heaven, and earth, and Hell, and we are runners in the great life race, letus strip to it-let us throw aside everything that would make our running difficult, every weight, however golden, every garment,however richly embroidered, lest it should entangle us in our course. And then when we have set out, let us not conclude thatwe have won the victory, but "run with patience," on, on, on, till at last we reach the goal!

2, 3. The Author and Finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before Him endured the Cross, despising the shame,and is set down at the right hand at the Throne of God. For consider Him who endured such contradiction of sinners againstHimself, lest you be wearied and faint in your minds. What a runner in the race He was! And what a race He ran! While we seeHim at the end of the course, holding out the crown, let us remember that He knows all the trials of the way, knows what pressuremust be put upon ourselves before we can reach the mark.

4. You have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin. Your battles have been nothing yet-you think yourselves martyrs?What have you done? What have you suffered? What have you endured, compared with your Lord, compared with the saints of old?

5, 6. And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks unto you as unto children, My son, despise not the chastening ofthe Lord, nor faint when you are rebuked by Him: For whom the Lord loves, He chastens and scourges every son whom He receives.Here is another noble reason for patience. That same trial which, on the one hand, comes from man, viewed in another way comesfrom God-and is a chastening. Let us accept it at His hands, regarding it as a token of sonship.

7, 8. If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chastens not? But ifyouare without chastisement, whereofall are partakers, then are you bastards, and not sons. You have not your Father's love-youare not recognized as an honorable member of His family.

9-13. Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much ratherbe in subjection unto the Father of Spirits, and live? For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure;but He for our profit, that we might be partakers of His holiness. Now no chastening for the present seems to be joyous, butgrievous: nevertheless afterward if yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them who are exercised thereby. Thereforelift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees. And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame beturned out of the way; but let it rather be healed. The Apostle cheers up those who are tried, with the reflection that thegood which will come out of their trouble will abundantly recompense them. They are not to expect to see that good at once.It will come afterwards-not yet. No reasonable man expects the harvest at the same time that he sows. You must wait a while-bearwith patience-have confidence in God-and all your trials will end well.

14. Follow peace with all men. You will not always get it, but follow it-run after it.

14-17. And holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord. Looking diligently lest any man fail of the Grace of God; lestany root of bitterness springing up, trouble you, and thereby many be defiled. Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person,as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright For you know how that afterward, when he would have inherited theblessing, he was rejected, for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears. He sold his birthright.He could not have the pottage and the birthright, too, and, therefore, he chose the pottage. He must stand to it. And if here,today, we deliberately choose the pleasures of this world, we must not marvel if we have to stand to them forever.

18-24. For you are not come unto the mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire, nor unto blackness, and darkness,and tempest. And the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words; which voice they that heard entreated that the word shouldnot be spoken to them anymore. (For they could not endure that which was commanded. And if so much as a beast touched themountain, it shall be stoned, or thrust through with a dart. And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, I exceedinglyfear and quake). Butyou are come unto Mount Zion, and unto the city ofthe living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerablecompany of angels. To the general assembly and church ofthe firstborn, which are written in Heaven, and to God the Judge ofAll, and to the spirits of just men made perfect. And to Jesus the Mediator of the New Covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling,that speaks better things than that of Abel.The center around which we gather in these days is not Sinai with its thunderand its fire-it is the Cross-no it is Heaven! It is the enthroned Savior! It is the great Mediator of a better Covenant thanthat of which Moses came to speak! We gather there and we make up a part of that vast throng that now surrounds that center.Oh, that we, while we hear the sweet voice of the Gospel, may lend it a willing ear and may we not be among the number ofthose who reject the voice that speaks from Heaven to us in the Gospel of Jesus Christ!

25-28. See that you refuse not Him who speaks. For if they escaped not who refused Him who spoke on earth, much more shallnot we escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from Heaven, Whose voice then shook the earth: but now He has promised,saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also Heaven. And this word, Yet once more, signifies the removing ofthose things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore we,receiving a Kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have Grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godlyfear For let us not think that we are not to be reverent because we gather at the

Gospel's call. Let us not dream that God who is a consuming fire on the top of Sinai, is less terrible under the Gospel thanunder the Law, for it is not so. 29. For our God is a consuming fire.