Hebrews 13:7
Remember your leaders who spoke the word of God to you. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.
Sermons
Christ Does not ChangeJ. Hamilton, D. D.Hebrews 13:7
Duty to Spiritual RulersThos. Main, D. D.Hebrews 13:7
Experiences May Change, But not ChristG. Cutting.Hebrews 13:7
Honour God's MinistersBp. Taylor.Hebrews 13:7
How to Honour the Saintly DeadEdward Lake, D. D.Hebrews 13:7
Instructions and Consolations from the Unchangeableness of ChristJ. Erskine, D. D.Hebrews 13:7
Jesus Always the SameT. Guthrie, D. D.Hebrews 13:7
Jesus Christ Ever the SameR. N. Young, D. D.Hebrews 13:7
Jesus Christ ImmutableC. H. Spurgeon.Hebrews 13:7
Ministers to be Remembered After They are DeadJames Stillingfleet, M. A.Hebrews 13:7
Preachers Speak After DeathC. H. Spurgeon.Hebrews 13:7
Sameness Without MonotonyM. Eastwood.Hebrews 13:7
The Changelessness of ChristA. Raleigh, D. D.Hebrews 13:7
The Church in Relation to Her PastJ. O. Dykes, D. D.Hebrews 13:7
The Duty of Imitating the Primitive Teachers and PatternsArchbp. Tillotson.Hebrews 13:7
The Immutability of ChristE. Bersier, D. D.Hebrews 13:7
The Immutability of GodH. W. Beecher.Hebrews 13:7
The Immutable Mercy of Jesus ChristT. Adams.Hebrews 13:7
The Remembering of Departed Christian MinistersG. Johnston.Hebrews 13:7
The Remembrance of Past TeachersJohn Owen, D. D.Hebrews 13:7
The Unchangeableness of ChristHomilistHebrews 13:7
The Unchanging ChristA. Maclaren, D. D.Hebrews 13:7
The Unchanging ChristA. Mackennal, D. D.Hebrews 13:7
The Unchanging SaviourF. B. Meyer, B. A.Hebrews 13:7
The Unchanging SaviourC. Vince.Hebrews 13:7
The Uniformity of God in His GovernmentJ. Saurin.Hebrews 13:7
Treatment of the LeadersD. Young Hebrews 13:7
Yesterday and To-DayS. Martin.Hebrews 13:7
In properly treating all Christian leaders and rulers four acts are enjoined, coming in a regular and appropriate sequence.

I. LISTENING. These men lead and rule because they speak the Word of God. If they spoke their own word then it would not be right to follow them. And because they speak the Word of God we have no choice but to listen. The writer has just been quoting a word of God intended to guard against a great spiritual peril - the love of money. All who really speak the Word of God are to be reckoned as our leaders, Jesus himself in the very front, giving in his own words a sure test whereby every other word is to be tried.

II. REMEMBERING. All instructions and promises must be at hand in the mind when they are wanted. Spoken before being wanted, they were ready when the want came. Hence the value of regularly and penetratively reading the New Testament. We cannot go far anywhere in it without coming across the most profitable directions for our daily life.

III. STUDYING THE EXPERIENCE OF THE LEADERS. As they spoke they acted. The Word of God they pressed on others they first of all believed themselves. There was no inculcated duty in which they did not lead by practice as well as by precept. Some of these leaders, at least, had now passed beyond the vicissitudes of earth. Their whole Christian life was open to observation. Results could be seen. Take a life, for instance, like that of Stephen, consummated by a revelation of glory and reward such as might well inspire any follower. And especially the faith of the leaders is to be studied. Examine the true riches that have come to men by trusting in God.

IV. IMITATING THEM, or rather imitating one particular thing in them - their faith. We are no real followers of any Christian leader unless we do this. It is not peculiarities in a man's teaching, commanding influence of a personality, that should make him a leader. It is the reality of his faith in God. Such a leader we follow most and honor most when his example makes us as true believers as himself. - Y.







Remember them which have the rule.
of Christianity: —

I. THE DUTY ENJOINED. If we would preserve that purity of faith and manners, which our religion requires, we should have frequent recourse to the primitive teachers and patterns of Christianity, and endeavour to bring our belief and lives to as near a conformity with theirs as is possible. Who so likely to deliver the faith and doctrine of Christ pure, as the primitive teachers of it, who received it from our Lord Himself; and were, by an extraordinary assistance of the Holy Spirit, secured from error and mistake in the delivery of it? And who so likely to bring their lives and conversations to an exact conformity with His holy doctrine, as they, who were so thoroughly instructed in it by the best Master, and shown the practice of it in the most perfect example of holiness and virtue?

II. WHEREIN WE SHOULD IMITATE THESE PATTERNS.

1. We are to imitate these primitive patterns, in the sincerity and purity of their faith; I mean, that the faith which we profess be the sincere doctrine of Christianity, and the pure word of God, free from all mixture of human additions and inventions.

2. We are to imitate them, in the stability and firmness of our faith, and not suffer ourselves to be shaken, and removed from it, by every wind of new doctrine; the faith of Christ being unchangeable as Christ Himself.

3. We are to imitate them, in the constancy and perseverance of their faith; and that, notwithstanding all the discountenance and opposition, persecution and suffering, which attend the profession of this faith.

4. We should imitate them in the efficacy and fruitfulness of their faith, in the practice and virtues of a good life; " whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation," that is, their perseverance in a holy course to the end. And these must never be separated; a sound faith and a good life.

III. THE ENCOURAGEMENT TO THIS, from the consideration of the happy state of those persons, who are proposed to us for patterns, and the glorious reward which they are made partakers of in another world. "Considering the end of their conversation," τὴν ἔκβασιν, their egress or departure out of this life into a blessed and glorious state, where they have received the reward of their faith and patience, and pious conversation in this world; or else (which comes much to one)considering the conclusion of their lives, with what patience and comfort they left the world, and with what joyful assurance of the happy condition they were going to, and were to continue in for ever.

(Archbp. Tillotson.)

I. THIS IS OUR BEST, THIS IS OUR ONLY WAY OF REMEMBERING THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN OUR GUIDES, LEADERS, AND RULERS IN THE CHURCH, WHETHER THEY HAVE BEEN APOSTLES, OR EVANGELISTS, OR ORDINARY PASTORS; NAMELY, TO FOLLOW THEM IN THEIR FAITH AND CONVERSATION.

II. THIS OUGHT TO BE THE CARE OF THE GUIDES OF THE CHURCH; NAMELY, TO LEAVE SUCH AN EXAMPLE OF FAITH AND HOLINESS, AS THAT IT MAY BE THE DUTY OF THE CHURCH TO REMEMBER THEM, AND FOLLOW THEIR EXAMPLE. Alas! how many have we had, how many have we, who have left, or are likely to leave, nothing to be remembered by, but what it is the duty of the Church to abhor! how many, whose uselessness leads them into everlasting oblivion!

III. THIS WORD OF GOD IS THE SOLE OBJECT OF THE FAITH OF THE CHURCH, THE ONLY OUTWARD MEANS OF COMMUNICATING THE MIND AND GRACE OF GOD UNTO IT. Wherefore upon it, the being, life, and blessedness of the Church doth depend.

IV. A DUE CONSIDERATION OF THE TRUTH OF THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN BEFORE US, ESPECIALLY OF SUCH WHO WERE CONSTANT IN SUFFERINGS; ABOVE ALL, OF THOSE WHO WERE CONSTANT UNTO DEATH, AS THE HOLY MARTYRS IN FORMER AND LATTER AGES, IS AN EFFECTUAL MEANS TO STIR US UP UNTO THE SAME EXERCISE OF FAITH WHEN WE ARE CALLED UNTO IT.

(John Owen, D. D.)

The feeling which underlies these words of reverential admiration for the saintly dead, the founders and confessors of the Church gone to their rest, is one which at a later age wrought to Christianity much mischief. Yet it is in itself an eminently natural and proper sentiment. It was surely becoming in the early Church to keep green the names of her noble apostles; to guard with pious care the dust of her martyrs; to connect with each local congregation the memory of those missionaries who had planted, of those pastors who had nourished it. Customs in their origin so inoffensive and beautiful as these led speedily to serious abuse. Out of beginnings the most harmless there grew up all over Christendom, as pure religion degenerated, a mighty system of holy places, holy days, and holy relics; a system of saint-worship, sustained by lying miracles and discredited by acts of the grossest superstition; a system the vastness and persistency of which must still provoke the astonishment of a Christian historian. Yet our text reminds us that at the root of such abuses there really lay, after all, a valuable truth. It is this: The Church of Christ is the heir of her own past. That inheritance she ought never to disown. Her successive periods, like the stages of human existence, have a link of natural piety to bind them together. The present grows out of that which has been; and the generation which is now alive has lessons to learn from the dead generations that are gone before. God has written Himself and His truth upon the lives of our godly fathers, and on their triumphant witnessing deaths, in such wise that we their children shall lose much if we fling away the memory of it. Inspiration we shall lose; for what kindles imitation like the examples of the beloved and revered dead? Continuity we shall lose; for in the children there ought to live anew the spirit of their fathers. Experience we shall lose; of which the lessons are for our warning as well as guidance; experience that is the child of history and the parent of wisdom. Steadfastness we shall lose; when, lightly forsaking the devotion and the beliefs that made our forerunners strong, we suffer our religion to vary with the passing moods of every age, and are carried about with divers and strange doctrines. Let it be asked, first of all, why should it be worth our while to review with close attention the career of dead saints, and reflect in what their course of Christian living issued at the last? For this reason, that He who was the object of their faith, and the source of their life, and the prize of their fidelity, He in whose truth and fellowship lay all the glory and hope of their career, is to us exactly what He was to them — the same unaltered, undiminished object of trust and source of power! "Christ Jesus is the same yesterday and to-day; for ever." But yesterday your eyes beheld your leaders. The names you venerate as you recall them were living names. He it was in whom their life was lived, and their words uttered, and their deeds of witness-bearing done. If the issue of their career was memorable for its fearless martyr-devotion or its unshaken trust in death, who but He was the Lord in whom and for whom they died? To-day we are in their place; and we miss them, and the times are evil, and timid hearts are quaking. But today, as yesterday, Jesus, for His part, abides the same; passed into the heavens, able to save to the uttermost, ruling a kingdom which cannot be moved. Thus the lives and deaths of departed believers become instinct with lessons of encouragement so soon as you perceive how they were but the temporary organs through whom an enduring Saviour discovered to the world His truth and grace. Christ is Himself the sum of His own faith, as well as the Head of His whole Church. In a sense in which no other founder of a religion ever was identified with the faith He founded, He is Christianity. Therefore in His unchangeableness there lies a permanent factor, an element of perennial life and youth, for Christian history. If the dead fathers spoke to us the Word of God, it was because they found it in the person of Christ. If the end of their conversation, the last exit scene of their earthly walk, was edifying and saintly, He who gave them steadfast endurance and grace for dying need has not bade us farewell, but is as able to hold us in His peace and keep us from falling and conduct us across the sullen river to the shining shores beyond! Courage, then, for the desponding Christian heart! Hope for every generation that mourns its vanished leaders! New times bring new perils and impose new labours; but no time can rob us of Him in whose strength all past saints grew strong, or quench or dim the deathless presence which burns on through all the ages.

(J. O. Dykes, D. D.)

I. THE SPECIAL DUTY TO WHICH WE ARE SUMMONED. It is very instructive to observe, that when the apostle fastens our attention on those servants of God who have gone to their rest, he does not call up before our minds the gifts with which they were endowed, or the attainments by which they were distinguished; he says nothing of the learning of which they were possessed, or the eloquence with which they were adorned. Nay, it is not on that which was official or personal that he fastens; not on aught that was distinctive or peculiar to them, as the commissioned ambassadors of Christ, but on that which they professed in common with all saints. Now when the apostle here singles out the faith by which they were distinguished, and bids us be followers of that, it is not because that was the one solitary feature of Christian character by which they were distinguished. Nay, faith never stands alone; but it is singled out just because it is the one great fundamental principle which ministered to the vitality of all the other graces of the Christian character. It is faith that unites the soul to Christ; and so it is the spring of their spiritual life. It is faith that keeps the soul leaning upon Christ, and thereby secures their safety. It is faith that keeps the soul ever near to Christ, and so it promotes their holiness and conformity to Christ. It is faith that draws out of the fulness that is treasured up in Christ, and supplies the believer with the nourishment needed for the ripening of his Christian character, that he may reach "the measure of a perfect man."

II. THE CONTEMPLATION THAT IS TO ANIMATE US TO THE IMITATION OF THEIR FAITH.

1. The word rendered "considering" signifies looking at, or beholding with attention. It is a metaphor from the art of painting. When a pupil is learning his art, he is set to copy a picture of his master — to imitate that picture, and reproduce it if he can; and in order to do this he must keep carefully looking to it, keeping it ever before him. In like manner, the apostle summons us, while engaged in this work of imitating the faith of departed believers, to keep steadfastly before us the end of their faith.

2. The word rendered "the end" signifies not only termination, but also exit. It means an end accompanied with, and consisting in, an escape or deliverance from the trials and temptations to which they were exposed.(1) It conveys the idea that they are not lost, but gone before; not dead, but living. Their place here is empty, but their place in heaven is filled. What to us was an end, to them was only a beginning — not the sunset, but the dawn — not the blotting out and extinguishing of their life, but the rising of new stars on yon glorious firmament.(2) There is more than mere survival; there is escape from all the toil and weariness of this earthly scene. No note of sadness in their song; no drop of bitterness in their cup.

(Thos. Main, D. D.)

When we have followed the remains of our departed pious friends to the house appointed for all living, we are apt to conclude that our connection with them has, for the present, entirely ceased. But it is not so. They are gone; but we have not done with them. We are to embalm their memory in our heart, to recollect the instructions which we have received from them — to consider their life, and especially how they died; that we may be taught, both how we are to live, and how to be prepared to die.

I. THE NATURE OF THE PASTORAL OFFICE.

1. A Christian minister must be a guide to his flock. It is true that it is God alone who efficiently leads His people like a flock through this wilderness to the heavenly Canaan. But it is also true that Christian ministers are undershepherds of the great Bishop of souls. In the exercise of these important functions, however, they have no dominion over the faith of the flock; no authority to constrain the conscience, except by the presentation of the truth and the influence of love.

2. A Christian minister must preach the Word of God. He is to beware of preaching himself, or of teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

3. Such being the nature of the pastoral office, and the duty of those who hold it, what ought to be their character? They should be like those described in the text. These were, in the first place, men who were strong in faith, giving glory to God; and, in this point of view, were worthy of the imitation of all believers. But, further, they were men whose conversation was worthy of their profession. They lived as Christians; they glorified that Saviour "who is the same yesterday, today, and for ever." To promote His cause was the object of their existence. In Him they placed their confidence; in Him their affections centred. And they consecrated their time, their talents, their property, and life itself, to the promotion of his cause in the world; and their end was like their life.

II. THE DUTY WHICH WE OWE TO FAITHFUL DEPARTED MINISTERS.

1. We ought to remember pious ministers. Remember what they were — the ministers of God to you — the messengers of the King of kings, invested with the high commission of proclaiming to you those glad tidings of great joy which bring glory to God and salvation to men.

2. We ought to follow their faith, that is, imitate them in their steadfastness in the profession of the faith which they preached, and, like them, be faithful unto the death,

3. We ought to consider the end of their conversation — we should attentively, and with a view to our own profit, consider their deportment its object, and its issue.

(G. Johnston.)

Men naturally desire to be remembered, though dead and gone, to have their names perpetuated to after ages; nor has there been wanting among the heathen such, who, though not inspired with the hopes of a future reward, yet have taken care to have their memories conveyed to posterity. Witness the Egyptian pyramids, as also certain statues among the Greeks, with the names of their founders inscribed On them. And indeed so it is; for otherwise God would never have assured it to righteous men that they should be had in everlasting remembrance, that their righteousness should remain for ever, and their memories never perish. Whereas God hath threatened the wicked with excision, even of their very names, that their memory should perish; or, if it did out-live them, it should rot. How very exact too were the primitive Christians in honouring the memories of their martyrs and deceased bishops? For this were the diptychs read in the church, which were two leaves or tables, on the one whereof were written the names of those pious men and confessors who were yet alive; and on the other those who had died in the Lord and were at rest. For this were altars erected over their graves; for this were their pictures hung up in their private shops and houses; for this were churches, though dedicated to God, made to boar the names of saints to preserve their memories; for this were their feast days celebrated, panegyrics made on them, and their lives written. St. Basil wrote the life of Barlaam, who was but a poor shepherd; Nazianzen, of Basil and others, which, he saith, he left to posterity as a common table of virtue for all the world to look on. We do not read of any worship in those times addressed to them; we do not read of any prayers for them to be delivered out of purgatory; nor of adoring their relics; nor of making vows or oblations unto them. But the greatest honour which they did them was to follow or imitate them, which is the second duty inculcated in the text. The very remembrance of good men is an approach to holiness, otherwise St. Paul would not have required it. By virtue of this imitation it is that we become influenced, nay, ecstasied with the spirits of those who are gone before us; that we become meek with Moses, patient with Job, chaste with Joseph, devout with David. Would they have unworthily betrayed their holy faith? With what courage, with what patience were they endowed! And indeed, as I intimated even now, this is the highest honour we can do them, to propound them to ourselves as our patterns, and to follow them in their constant love to God, to religion, and to all mankind, whatsoever we suffer for it. By this we raise them as it were from the dead to life again, we revive their memories, we personate them in this world, and act their parts. Our actions are the resultances of theirs, our praises the echoes of their songs, and our selves the living images of them. And those who do thus honour God's saints and friends, God Himself will honour everlastingly. Here are two graces expressed in the text in which especially we are obliged to follow them.

1. Their faith.

2. Their perseverance and constancy even unto the end of their conversation.As to faith, we here understand by it the grace rather than the rule of faith, and by it we mean a constant dependence upon God for the performance of His promises; a being convinced of the truth of those things of which we have no ocular or sensible demonstration. Intuentes, looking upon seriously, and diligently, again and again, their exit, their going out of the world. Revolve with yourselves how holily they adorned their faith, how constantly they persevered in the profession of it, how gloriously they attested and signed it with their blood! Faithful they were unto death, or, as Clemens Alexandrinus expresseth it, to the very last gasp, as they did run the race set before them, so they did it with patience and perseverance.

(Edward Lake, D. D.)

I. WHAT A TRUE MINISTER OF JESUS CHRIST LEAVES TO BE REMEMBERED BY HIS PEOPLE AFTER HIS DECEASE.

1. And the first thing which offers itself to our observation herein, is, his doctrine — sound and true; perfectly agreeable to the oracles of God with which he is entrusted, and which he has taken in charge to deliver to the souls of men.

2. The next thing which a true minister of Christ leaves to be remembered is — his example as a true follower of Jesus Christ.

3. Another particular which a faithful minister leaves to be remembered, is his injunctions and admonitions.

4. The last thing which I shall mention, that a true minister of Jesus Christ leaves to be remembered by his people after his decease, is his love to their souls.

II. THE DUTY WHICH IS INCUMBENT ON THE PEOPLE, TO FOLLOW THE SOUND FAITH OF SUCH A TRUE AND FAITHFUL MINISTER. "Whose faith follow."

III. THE REASON WHY THE PEOPLE SHOULD THUS REMEMBER AND FOLLOW THE FAITH OF SUCH A MINISTER, FROM THE CONSIDERATION OF THE GOOD END WHICH HE HAD IN VIEW IN ALL HIS LABOURS, AND THE CHRISTIAN MANNER IN WHICH HE IS ENABLED TO FINISH HIS COURSE. "Considering the end of their conversion," I shall use these words in two senses.

1. "As respecting the end of their conversation in life, or that end which the ministers of Jesus Christ have in view, in the things which they preach and recommend." This end is — the good of your souls.

2. This expression may more particularly mean the end by which the Christian minister finishes his course. And this, I apprehend, is the sense in which it is more generally understood. Now, if here, in the finishing part, he be able to bear a good testimony to the truth of that which he has delivered, it is the fullest human confirmation which we can expect of its truth. For death is a trying hour. However any may be able. in the day of health and strength, firmly to hold to their deceits, yet, unless the mind be overwhelmed with ignorance, or the conscience seared, that hour will tear all such webs asunder; it will try every man's work of what sort it is. But now, the delusions of fancy or the pretensions of the hypocrite are detected by this awful test; if, on the other hand, in this hour of severe trial, the Christian minister's hope stands firm, and instead of retracting anything from the doctrines which he has delivered, he testifies of them as more precious than ever; surely such evidence recommends itself to our fullest attention, and carries with it the greatest force for the conviction of every candid mind.

(James Stillingfleet, M. A.)

There are strange legends extant of churches which have been swallowed by earthquakes, or buried beneath fallen mountains. The rustics declare that they have heard the bells still ringing, far down in the bowels of the earth, just as they did when they hung aloft in the tower. Take the bells to be preachers and the legend is true, for being dead they yet speak, and from their graves they sound forth lessons not less powerful than those with which they made their pulpits resound while they were yet with us.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

Take heed of that; for then God is dishonoured, when anything is the more despised by how much it relates nearer unto God. No religion ever did despise their chiefest ministers; and the Christian religion gives them the greatest honour. For honourable priesthood is like a shower from heaven, it causes blessings everywhere; but a pitiful, a disheartened, a discouraged clergy waters the ground like a waterpot — here and there a little good, and for a little while; but every evil man can destroy all that work whenever he pleases. Take heed; in the world there is not a greater misery can happen to any man than to be an enemy to God's Church. All histories of Christendom, and the whole Book of God, have sad records, and sad threatenings, and sad stories of Korah, and Doeg, and Balaam, and Jeroboam, and Uzzah, and Ananias, and Sapphira, and Julian, and of heretics and schismatics, and sacrilegious; and after all, these men could not prevail finally, but paid for the mischief they did, and ended their days in dishonour, and left nothing behind them but the memory of their sin, and the record of their curse.

(Bp. Taylor.)

Jesus Christ the same.
The author of the Epistle to the Hebrews has just been recalling memories of the first apostles of the gospel. Many of them were dead. Those who had seen Christ, and who had listened to Him, became day by day fewer in number. The flux of time, and the ravages of persecution, had done their work in thinning out the illustrious band. More than one soul had been dismayed and discouraged, and therefore it was necessary to recall to the minds of all that, though men may come and men may go, the cause of Christ is immortal. It is just this thought which the sacred writer expresses in glowing words of lofty exultation, "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever." To be immovable, unchangeable, immortal, is the greatest end men can think of. It is the supreme dream of earthly vanity. In this world nothing remains long. Man is carried to and fro by the sweeping and the swirling of the tide. The very molecules of which his body is composed are changed from time to time with a rapidity which defies the calculating powers of science. Generations come and generations go as rapidly and as transiently as the forest leaves swept by the autumn breeze, and it is precisely this mutability, this feebleness, which man most resents. Was there ever a man — an educated man, at any rate — who did not passionately desire to leave a name which would survive him? There is the dream of literary ambition. There is the dream of military glory for which men face, with cool composure, the cannon's mouth. Well-a-day! Of all those whom the thirst for glory has seized, how many ever attained it? Many were called. How many were chosen? How small, after all, is the number of those who leave behind them an undestroyable memory or fame that no man will dispute! To some it has been vouchsafed to serve with distinction their country on the field of battle, or in Parliament; others have opened up new tracts to civilisation, and have acquired a fame purer than that of arms, or they have guided the consciences, and have made themselves the teachers of humanity. Is it not certain that, in the treasure-house of history, there are reputations which are imperishable, against which time and the changes of this mortal life are powerless to corrode? Now is this an idea similar to that of the text, where we are told that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever? Is it merely a question of saying that, among the sons of men, nobody has left on earth a pro-founder trace or a more indestructible fame? That of itself would be an imperishable glory, but the text has more to say than this. It speaks to you of a truth believed under every sky by the Church's children, that Christ is living, and that He reigns for ever. Christ is in the midst of us by His Eternal Presence. Others have acquired immortality by their work, but it is an immortality limited by questions, whether their work is more durable, more true, more striking, more useful, than that of possible rivals. Jesus Christ is working to-day as He worked yesterday, and as He will work to-morrow. The better to understand this immutability, consider —

I. THE IMMUTABILITY OF HIS TEACHING. He told us that it would be so. Standing one day in view of the Temple, He said, "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My words shall not pass away." It is remarkable that, when He pronounced these words, not one of them was written down. They were confided to the memory of a few poor, ignorant men, who hardly understood them. In the sanctuaries of Thebes, of Delphi, and of Nineveh, the religious thought of millions of worshippers have been engraved on marble and on metal, in the desire to hand down to coming generations the names and the exploits of their gods. What is there left of it all? The memorials of the proud religions of the masters of the world, and those remembrances which one might have expected to be imperishable, have vanished into the sombre depths of the great ocean of oblivion but, like the ark of old, the words of Christ preserved in four little books have become the heritage, and the treasure, not only of all the successive generations of all the superior races on the face of the earth, but also of the humblest and the poorest among the children of men. You will tell me, perhaps, that in this perpetual duration of the teaching of Jesus Christ, there is nothing very extraordinary and nothing peculiar to Himself. I may be told of many thinkers and poets since Homer and Plato whose works have become the property of humanity. But there is; in the teaching of Jesus Christ, another feature. It is unchanging, not only in its duration, but in the nature of the authority it possesses. Here is a gospel which, in every age and in every clime, subjugates and makes captive the human conscience. Hundreds of millions of souls live and die under the same spell which, in the days of our Lord, captivated disciples as they listened to Him for the first time. Ask yourself why this should be so. The object of true religion is to establish and strengthen the double tie existing between God and man, and between man and his fellow man. What is the root of all our knowledge of Jesus Christ if it is not just this? The tie which linked us to God has been broken by sin. It can be re-established by pardon from God and faith from man, and when it has been formed anew it should show itself in the justice and the charity of our lives. That is the substance of all Christ's teaching. Let us take another step. The teaching of Christ is remarkable, not only for what He said, but for what He did not say. His extraordinary sobriety of thought and of language is the best proof that His was not the supreme effort of the human soul aspiring towards the infinite. It is the revelation of God who tells man just as much as it is necessary for him to know and no more. This sobriety is the most striking proof of His immutability. Let us suppose that, like every other religious teacher, He had touched upon political and social questions, that He had pronounced some views on scientific questions, and we found in the pages of the Gospel a system of caste, as in Brahminism, or a code of legal enactments, as in Mahommedanism, or even a religious philosophy, such as that of the schoolmen. Is it not plain that on all sides He would have exposed Himself to unnecessary attacks from the progressive thought of the ages? He might have impressed men by His brilliancy, but in His teaching there would have been the seeds of decay. What do we find it: them? Why, we find that marvellous, that indefinable, thing which we call life. Just in that way, life is always found in the words of Christ, immutable in its essence, infinitely diverse in its applications. They are words which can never grow old. They are as immutable as Justice, fruitful as Love, eternal as Truth.

II. Look, again, at the immutability of Jesus Christ as exemplified in His PERSON. Jesus Christ is not only a Master, a Revealer, but He is also a Revelation. He did not merely say, "Listen to Me"; He said, too, "Look at Me." Not only did He say, "Believe My words," He said, "Believe in Me." In the person of Jesus Christ there are two Beings in unity, the Son of God and the Son of Man, the visible image of the invisible God, and the ideal type of humanity. I am not going to attempt to explain the Mystery. I simply place myself in the presence of Jesus Christ. There I see the Ideal Type of moral perfection. I say that this Type is immutable, and that the words of the text are true of that Type, "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever." Just think of it for a moment — an immutable Ideal! Is there not something bold and even presumptuous in the very phrase? Nothing in the history of the human imagination is so difficult as to create an ideal of perfection which will last. The greatest geniuses have failed in the endeavour. Dante and Milton described with wonderful power the sufferings of hell; they failed, utterly, when they tried to paint the harmonies of heaven. Novelists who have depicted with bitter truth the anguish of remorse, and the consuming tortures of guilty passion, have never yet succeeded in creating an ideal hero. The ideal of one race is not the ideal of another. But in Christ's Person I behold a strange fact. Here is a Being who came forth from the East. Here is a Descendant of Shem who will bend the sons of Japhet. Here is a Representative of the House of Israel in whom representatives of all earth's races have found and adored the absolute Moral Ideal. He has bent before His Throne the art-loving children of Greece, who in His Cross of shame have discovered a creation of beauty which none of their most gifted artists could imitate. Before His sceptre have bowed low the chiefs and the soldiers of Imperial Rome, and when in the ruin of that Empire young and barbarous races streamed forth from the far-off lands of the East, like troubled waves of the ocean tossing and heaving beneath the anger of God, those restless souls bowed down in the dust before a Majesty simpler and purer than any they had ever seen, in fact, or in dream. He restrained the brutality of men in the Middle Ages, when, in the Renaissance, the antiquity which men had rediscovered intoxicated their minds with subtle fancies, He took possession of the strong souls, like Luther and like Calvin, who, by their very faults, checked the shortcomings of their age. So it was in the seventeenth century, the century of positive science, the age which saw masters like Copernicus, like Euler, like Newton, like Pascal, great souls whose glory it was to devote themselves and all their genius to the service of their fellow men. And so it is to-day. After criticism the most pitiless, after scrutiny the most rigid, after all His acts, His works, His life have been dissected, that sublime Figure still remains as sublime and as holy as ever, towering above human ideas of grandeur, above human idols and human follies.

III. Immutable, too, is He in His WORK. For three years He worked on earth. By the Spirit He works throughout the centuries, and in all time you will see in His work three great characteristics.

1. He saves. For that purpose He came here. He is nothing unless He is the Redeemer.

2. He sanctified. Through the ages He gives humanity new life, transforming man's hearts, changing men's wills and men's lives, working a work in man's souls analogous to that which here below He wrought in their bodies when He healed men's leprosies, delivered men possessed of devils, raised men who had passed into the grasp of death. I know well to what you are going to object. Where, you will ask me, was this sanctifying influence in the days of Constantine, and of Clovis, or, later on, in Christian Gaul when the Merovingian kings illustrated all the infamies of life? Where, we have often asked, has it been in many of our modern churches, which have become worldly and insipid like salt that has lost its flavour? It was there. It may have lain mysterious and hidden in the souls of the faithful, so that the world knew it not — in faithful souls who, mingling with sinners of the most flagrant type, yet preserved to their last breath the Treasure of the Faith and the Eternal Hope. It was there in the narrow cell of a convent, and in the caverns of the Cevennes, in those humble men, those little ones of earth's passing show, who would not bend the knee to Baal. And that is why the Church has lived. That is why she still lives, saved by her Divine Chief, who watches over her, and preserves her.

3. I have said, too, that Christ consoles. It is here that men may see, if they choose, the immutable nature of His work. It is attested beyond all doubt, not by the happiest of men, but by the most afflicted — Jesus Christ consoles. He has shown us an object in grief which makes it endurable. He lightens death with an eternal hope. He tells us of a sympathy profound, immense, infinite. And this is not an hypothesis. It is a reality we experience every hour, every minute. The blind only can deny that this consolation exists. That Christ is unchangeable — let us take, then, this thought as a great power in our faith, a great consolation for our hearts, a great encouragement for our active and militant Christianity. Christ is always the same, yesterday, to-day, and for ever. He was here yesterday, He will be here to-morrow. His wealth of tenderness and of sympathy is always the same. He will be here in all possible troubles. He will be with us in the last moments of weakness, in the last sigh of agony. He will be with us to the very end. We are under the protection of an unchanging Power. When Charlemagne had reconstructed the political edifice of the Caesars, when he had gathered together under his victorious sceptre Germany and Helvetia, Italy and Gaul, the astonished world gazed upon this empire, which extended from the banks of the Baltic to the Pyrenees, and from the Alps to the Ocean. It happened that one day the old Emperor, satiated with glory, sat at a window in his palace on the banks of the Seine, and suddenly his eyes filled with tears. Being asked why he was sad, he pointed to the fields and the vines which the Norman pirates had devastated as they went up the river, and he said: "If they will do this while I live, what will they do when I am dead?" All! what will they do after me? It is the last cry of the great ones of the earth, whether they be called Alexander or Caesar, Charlemagne or Napoleon. It is the last cry of great thinker: like Plato and Spinoza, Leibnitz and Hegel: "What will they do when I am dead?" Imminent change, like a constant menace — heirs to succeed us who may destroy what we have gathered. But we serve an unchanging Master. It has pleased God, says the prophet, that Eternal Empire should rest on His shoulders. Those shoulders will not bend, and that empire will subsist for ever. In this hope, in this faith, in this rest, in this communion of the Universal Church, let us sing the Te Deum of the Christians of old, "Thou art the King of Glory, O Christ."

(E. Bersier, D. D.)

When these words were written they meant: Jesus Christ of to-day (the Gospel day) is the same as Jehovah of yesterday (the Old Testament day). Does not this enlarge our views, ennobling not the Master Himself, but our conception of Him? Now we know who walked with Enoch, who wrestled with Jacob, who walked with Abraham, who revealed Himself to Moses, who led His people like a shepherd — Jesus, the same yesterday and to-day. Always the same. The only (real) difference is the atmosphere through which He is viewed. I used to stay in Cumberland, and right away in line with the street, twenty miles distant, was a grand and venerable mountain-Skiddaw — always there, always the same, and yet different every day, every hour. Some days, however, it could not be seen. Clouds rolled between, but it was there, all the same. Other days it seemed close at hand, seen through the atmosphere that precedes rain, when distant objects grow near — a peculiar sombre atmosphere; then the mountain almost overshadowed one with its solemn grandeur. And some days, when the earth was deluged with golden light, and as sunbeams fell athwart the mountain, it seemed further away and yet much nearer, its details startling in their far-away distinctness. Always there, always the same; and yet, how different! Thus we are reminded not only of the sameness of Christ, but the infinite variety — may I reverently say? — the infinite novelty in Him. In Him there is sameness without monotony. How different from ourselves I We weary one another with our sameness. We repeat the same commonplaces in our conversation; we write the same things in our letters; we utter the same platitudes in our religious exercises — and God has more patience with us than we have with each other. Yet now and then we meet with a man about whom there is continually something new; who is always the same, and yet never twice alike; who always seems to have a chapter in reserve; whose life, as we know it better, ever unfolds in a way that charms the senses, enlightens the understanding, and warms the heart. Think of such a man, superior to all you know, and for whose engaging friendship you sometimes think you would give all you have. Yet even he would weary many. And at best he is a cipher, when contrasted with Him in whom is all the fulness of the Godhead and all the perfection of humanity. Even His enemies never grow tired of Him. And that " for ever": who shall say what it will reveal to us? Yesterday and to-day are ample guarantee of what to-morrow will be. Yesterday — Old Testament day and imperfect dispensation- what variety! Many a dreary life would be charmed by a study of the Old Testament alone, with its infinite variety of light and shadow. To-day — Gospel day — who can read the books, who can see all the pictures, who can hear all the music; who can measure all the good inspired by Him, who maketh all things new?

I. THE SAME COMPANION. What beautiful glimpses we have of the companionship of yesterday, almost tempting us to wish that we had lived then instead of to-day. But yesterday is so vividly pictured in the Gospels that we may know what to expect to-day. Yesterday Jesus began His mission at a homely gathering — a wedding party — changing water into wine and disappointment into gladness. And even when He did not speak or work, how eloquent and comforting would be that silent presence and companionship. Christ in the house, Christ in the home, the same to-day as yesterday. Think what he must have been in His mother's home for thirty years. And, lest we should be discouraged at the thought, we have the assurance that our association with Him may be real and close and beautiful (Matthew 12:49, 50). Yesterday He took the little one up in arms laid his hands upon them, and blessed them. And, no doubt, this is given as a sample of what He often did. Is He the same to-day? What means the band of 500,000 Sunday-school teachers (in our own country alone) every Sunday afternoon gathering around them some 5,000,000 scholars, and, without pay, telling those children the old, old story? What is meant by all the entrancing books and papers published for children to-day? — Jesus Christ, the same Friend of childhood to-day as yesterday; no longer embracing two or three children in the Temple cloister, but a great multitude that no man can number.

II. THE SAME TEACHER. "Lo! I am with you alway." Is He not ascended up on high? Yet to an eminence where all can see Him. When on earth, He said, "The Son of man which is in heaven." If in heaven when on earth, surely on earth when in heaven.

III. THE SAME SAVIOUR. Yesterday the blind received their sight, the deaf were made to hear, the lame to walk, the leper to rejoice as he escaped a living death. All this free, without money, without price, and never one case refused. Jesus — "Saviour" — is the same to-day, and none dare point to a case and say it is too desperate for Him. Yesterday He recalled the maiden scarcely cold in death, the young man some time longer dead, and Lazarus far within the portals of death. Even concerning the body alone, when the Christian considers the marvels of surgery to-day, the progress of nursing, and matters pertaining to health and food, he is bound to ascribe them all to Him who went about doing good to body and soul alike. We feel that the miracles of to-day would not be experienced had not the Saviour come down to this poor, sin-stricken world — if He did not abide in it still. Philosophy and civilisation had their chance for ages to show what the world could do without a Divine Saviour. Last, but not least — in some way we cannot understand — Christ is the same to-day in His dying love. His sympathy is the same. When the heavens were opened to the seer of Patmos, he beheld that which made him think of a Lamb newly slain, yet slain from the foundation of the world.

(M. Eastwood.)

Homilist.
I. HE MUST BE ESSENTIALLY DIVINE.

1. The history of all creature existences shows that they are essentially mutable.

2. The nature of things shows that the uncreated alone can be immutable.

II. His GOSPEL MUST STAND FOR EVER AS THE LIVING EXPRESSION OF HIMSELF.

III. HIS FRIENDS ARE ETERNALLY BLESSED.

(Homilist.)

: —

I. CONSIDER THE OCCASION OF THESE WORDS.

1. The Hebrews had been blessed with public instructors, who had spoken to them the word of God, and who believed and lived what they taught.

2. They had spoken, bat now they ceased to speak the word of God. Their exemplary edifying conversation was now at an end.

3. Ministers, who have thus spoken the word of God, should be remembered, their faith followed, and the end of their conversation considered.

4. From the caution after our text, "Be not carried about with diverse and strange doctrines," it would appear that there were some who endeavoured to turn the Hebrews aside from that purity and simplicity of the gospel which their deceased pastors had inculcated. Even in the primitive Church, tares were sown soon after the wheat, and sprung up in abundance.

II. CONSIDER THE MEANING of my text, and the practical instructions it suggests.

1. The religion of Jesus is ever the same. The doctrines and laws, taught by Christ and His inspired apostles, have been, are, and ever shall be, the only rule of faith and manners.

2. The kind and benevolent affections of Jesus are the same, yesterday, to-day, and for ever. Dispensations of Providence may wear a frowning aspect; clouds and darkness may be round about the Saviour, and hide from His ransomed ones the pleasant light of His countenance; still, however, the love of His heart never expires, never diminishes.

3. The power of Christ is the same, yesterday, to-day, and for ever.

(J. Erskine, D. D.)

St. Paul gives us a very beautiful idea of God, when he says, "The wisdom of God is manifold." The first great cause, the Supreme Being, hath designs infinitely diversified. This appears by the various beings which He hath created, and by the different ways in which He governs them. But, although there be a diversity in the conduct of God, it is always a diversity of wisdom. Whether He creates a material or an intelligent world; whether He forms" celestial or terrestial bodies, men, angels, seraphims, or cherubims; whether He governs the universe by the same, or by different laws; in all cases, and at all times, He acts like a God: He hath only one principle, and that is order. There is a harmony in His perfections, which He never disconcerts.

I. We see in THE ECONOMY OF TIME four remarkable varieties.

1. We see in God's government of His Church various degrees of light communicated. Compare the time of Moses with that of the prophets, and that of the prophets with that of the evangelists and apostles. In these various degrees of knowledge, communicated by God to men, I see that uniformity which is the distinguishing character of His actions, and the inviolable rule of His government. The same principle that inclined Him to grant a little light to the age of Moses, inclined Him to afford more to the time of the prophets, and the greatest of all to the age in which the evangelists and apostles lived. What is this principle? It is a principle of order, which requires that the object proposed to a faculty be proportioned to this faculty; that a truth proposed to an intelligence be proportioned to this intelligence.

2. What justifies the government of God on one of these articles, on the various degrees of light bestowed on His Church, will fully justify Him in regard to the worship required by Him. Conceive of the Jews, enveloped in matter, loving to see the objects of their worship before their eyes, and, as they said themselves, to have gods going before them. Imagine these gross creatures coming into our assemblies, how could they, being all sense and imagination (so to speak), exercise the better powers of their souls without objects operating on fancy and sense? How could they have made reflection, meditation, and thought, supply the place of hands and eyes, they who hardly knew what it was to meditate? How could they, who had hardly any idea of spirituality, have studied the nature of God abstractly, which yet is the only way of conducting us to a clear knowledge of a spiritual being?

3. The same may be said of the evidences, on which God hath founded the faith of His Church. What a striking difference! Formerly the Church saw sensible miracles, level to the weakest capacities; at present our faith is founded on a chain of principles and consequences which find exercise for the most penetrating geniuses. How many times have infidels reproached us on account of this difference! Represent to yourselves the whole world let loose against Christians; imagine the primitive disciples required to believe the heavenly origin of a religion, which called them first to be baptized in water, then in blood. How necessary were miracles in these adverse times, and how hard, with all the encouragement given by them, must the practice of duty be then! Weigh these circumstances against yours, and the balance will appear more equal than ye have imagined.

4. In like manner we observe a similar uniformity in the various laws prescribed to the Church. At all times, and in all places, God required His Church to love Him with all the heart, and with all the soul, and with all the mind: but He did not inform His people at all times and in all places the manner in which He required love to express itself. Expressions of love must be regulated by ideas of Deity;. Ideas of Deity are more or less pure as God reveals Himself more or less clearly.

5. Our fifth article is intended to justify the various conditions in which it hath pleased God to place His Church. At one time the Church enjoys temporal pomp and felicity, at another it is exposed to whatever the world can invent of misery and ignominy. Let us reason in regard to the Church in general, as we reason in regard to each private member of it. Do you think (I speak now to each individual) there is a dungeon so deep, a chain so heavy, a misery so great, a malady so desperate, that God cannot deliver you, were your deliverance suitable to the eminence of His perfections? Why, then, doth He at any time reduce us to these dismal extremities? Order requires God, who intends to save you, to employ those means, which are most likely to conduct you to salvation, or, if you refuse to profit by them, to harden you under them. He wills your salvation, and therefore He removes all your obstacles to salvation. Let us reason in regard to the Church in general, as we do in regard to the individuals who compose it. A change in the condition of the Church doth not argue any change in the attributes of God. The same eminence of perfections which engageth Him sometimes to make all concur to the prosperity of His Church, engageth Him at other times to unite all adversities against it.

II. We have considered Jesus Christ in the economy of time, now let us consider Him in THE ECONOMY OF ETERNITY. We shall see in this, as in the former, that harmony of perfections, that uniformity of government, which made our apostle say, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever." The same principle that formed His plan of human government in the economy of time, will form a plan altogether different in that" of eternity. The same principle of proportion which inclines Him to confine our faculties within a narrow circle during this life, will incline Him infinitely to extend the sphere of them in a future state. The same principle which induces Him now to communicate Himself to us in a small degree, will then induce Him to communicate Himself to us in a far more eminent degree. The same principle that inclines Him now to assemble us in material buildings, to cherish our devotion by exercises savouring of the frailty of our state, by the singing of psalms, and by the participation of sacraments, will incline Him hereafter to cherish it by means more noble, more sublime, better suited to the dignity of our origin and to the price Of our redemption. The same principle which inclines Him to involve us now in indigence, misery, contempt, sickness, and death, will then induce Him to free us from all these ills, and to introduce us into that happy state where there will be no more death, neither sorrow nor crying, and where all tears shall be wiped away from our eyes. Proportion requires that intelligent creatures should be some time in a state of probation, and this is the nature of the present dispensation: but the same law of proportion requires also, that after intelligent creatures have been some time in a state of trial, and have answered the end of their being placed in such a state, there should be a state of retribution in an eternal economy. By this truth let us regulate our faith, our morality, and our ideas of our future destiny.

1. Our faith. Let us adore only one God, and let us acknowledge in Him only one perfection, that is to say, a harmony, which results from all His perfections. If this idea be impressed on our minds, our faith will never be shaken, at least it will never be destroyed by the vicissitudes of the world, or by those of the Church. Why? Because we shall be fully convinced, that the vicissitudes of both proceed from the same cause, I mean the immutability of that God who saith by the mouth of one of His prophets, "I, the Lord, change not."

2. God hath only one principle of His actions, that is proportion, order, fitness of things. Let love of order be the principle of all your actions; it is the character of a Christian, and would to God it were the character of all my hearers. A Christian hath only one principle of action. In Scripture-style this disposition of mind is called "walking with God," "setting the Lord always before us." Glorious character of a Christian, always uniform and like himself! He does nothing, if I may be allowed to speak so, but arrange his actions differently, as his circumstances vary.

3. Finally, this idea of God is very proper to regulate that of your future destiny. Do we wish for a full assurance of a claim to eternal happiness? Let us then by our conduct form an inseparable relation between our eternal felicity and the invariable perfections of that God who changeth not; let us spare no pains to arrive at that happy state, let us address to God our most fervent prayers to engage Him to bless the efforts which we make to enjoy it; and, after we have seriously engaged in this great work, let us fear nothing.

(J. Saurin.)

I. WHAT IS DENIED. It is denied that either time, or mood, or circumstances, or provocation, or death, can alter Jesus Christ our Lord.

1. Time changes us. Your portrait, taken years ago, when you were in your prime, hangs on the walls of your home. You sometimes sadly contrast it with your present self. Then the face was unseamed by care, unscarred by conflict; but now how weary and furrowed I The upright form is bent, the step has lost its spring. But there is a greater difference between two mental than physical portraitures. Opinions alter. And sometimes the question arises, Can time alter Him whose portrait hangs on the walls of our hearts, painted in undying colours by the hands of the four Evangelists? Of course, time takes no effect on God, who is the I AM, eternal and changeless. But Jesus is man as well as God. He has tenses in His being: the yesterday of the past, the to-day of the present, the to-morrow of the future. It is at least a question whether His human nature, keyed to the experiences of man, may not carry with it, even to influence His royal heart, that sensitiveness to the touch of time which is characteristic of our race. But the question tarries only for a second. Time is foiled in Jesus. He has passed out of its sphere, and is impervious to its spell.

2. Moods change us. We know people who are oranges one day, and lemons the next; now a summer's day, and, again, a nipping frost; rock and reed alternately. You have to suit yourself to their varying mood, asking to-day what you would not dare to mention to-morrow; and thus there is a continual unrest and scheming in the hearts of their friends. But it is not so with Jesus. Never tired, or put out, or variable.

3. Circumstances change us. Men who in poverty and obscurity have been accessible and genial, become haughty when idolised for their genius and fawned on for their wealth. New friends, new spheres, new surroundings alter men marvellously. What a change has passed over Jesus Christ, since mortal eyes beheld Him. Crowned with glory and honour; seated at the right hand of the Father. Can this be He who was despised, an outcast, and a sufferer? R is indeed He. But surely it were too much to expect that He should be quite the same? Nay, but He is. And one proof of it is that the graces which He shed on the first age of the Church were of exactly the same quality as those which we now enjoy. We know that the texture of light is unaltered, because the analysis of a ray, which has just reached us from some distant star, whence it started as Adam stepped across the threshold of Eden, is of precisely the same nature as the analysis of the ray of light now striking on this page. And we know that Jesus Christ is the same as He was, because the life which throbbed in the first believers, resulted in those very fruits which are evident in our hearts and lives, all having emanated from Himself.

4. Sin and provocation change us. Our souls close up to those who have deceived our confidence. But sin cannot change Christ's heart, though it may affect His behaviour. If it could do so, it must have changed His feelings to Peter. But the only apparent alteration made by that sad denial was an increased tenderness.

II. WHAT IS AFFIRMED.

1. He is the same in His person (Hebrews 1:12). His vesture alters. He has exchanged the gaberdine Of the peasant for the robes of which He stripped Himself on the eve of His incarnation; but beneath those robes beats the same heart as heaved with anguish at the grave where His friend lay dead.

2. He is also the same in His office (Hebrews 7:24). Unweariedly He pursues His chosen work as the Mediator, Priest, and Intercessor of men.

III. WHAT IT IMPLIES. It implies that He is God.

(F. B. Meyer, B. A.)

I. First, the personal names of our Lord here mentioned — "JESUS CHRIST." "Jesus" stands first. That is our Lord's Hebrew name, "Jesus," or, "Joshua." The word signifies, a Saviour, "for He shall save His people from their sins." It was given to Him in His cradle. Jesus in the manger deserves to be called the Saviour, for when it can be said that " the tabernacle of God is with men, and He doth dwell among them," there is hope that all good things will be given to the fallen race. He was called Jesus in His childhood — "The Holy Child Jesus." He was Jesus, too, and is commonly called so both by His foes and by His friends in His active life. It is as Jesus the Saviour that He heals the sick. But He comes out most clearly as Jesus when dying on the cross; named so in a writing, "Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews." There preeminently was He the Saviour, being made a curse for us that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. Still bearing the name of Jesus, our Lord rose from the dead. He is a Saviour for us since He vanquished the last enemy that shall be destroyed, that we, having been saved from sin by His death, should be saved from death through His resurrection. Jesus is the title under which He is called in glory, for "Him hath God exalted with His right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins." As Jesus He shall shortly come, and we are "Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ." There are two words in the name Jesus. The one is a contraction of the word "Jehovah," the other is the word which I have just now explained to you as ultimately coming to mean "salvation." Taken to pieces, the word Jesus means Jehovah salvation. You have the glorious essence and nature of Christ revealed to you as Jehovah, "I am that I am," and then you have in the second part of His name His great work for you in setting you at large and delivering you from all distress. Now reverently consider the second title — Christ. That is a Greek name, a Gentile name — Anointed. So that you see you have the Hebrew Joshua, Jesus, then the Greek Christos, Christ; so that we may see that no longer is there either Jew or Gentile, but all are one in Jesus Christ. The word Christ, as you all know, signifies anointed, and as such our Lord is sometimes called "the Christ," "the very Christ"; at other times "the Lord's Christ," and sometimes "the Christ of God." He is the Lord's Anointed, our King, and our Shield. This word "Christ" teaches us three great truths.

1. It indicates His offices. He exercises offices in which anointing is necessary, and these are three: the office of the King, of the Priest, and of the Prophet. But it means more than that.

2. The name Christ declares His right to those offices. He is not King because He sets Himself up as such. God has set Him as King upon His holy hill of Zion, and anointed Him to rule. He is also Priest, but He has not taken the priesthood upon Himself, for He is the propitiation whom God has set forth for human sin. He comes not as a prophet who assumes office, but God hath anointed Him to preach glad tidings to the poor, and to come among His people with the welcome news of eternal love.

3. Moreover, this anointing signifies that as He has the office, and as it is His by right, so He has the qualifications for the work.

II. His MEMORABLE ATTRIBUTES. Looking at the Greek, one notices that it might be read thus, "Jesus Christ Himself yesterday, and to-day, and for ever." The anointed Saviour is always Himself. He is always Jesus Christ; and the word "same " seems to me to bear the most intimate relation to the two titles of the text, and does as good as say that Jesus Christ is always Jesus Christ, yesterday, and to-day, and for ever. If the goodly fellowship of the prophets could be here to-day, they would all testify to you that He was the same in every office in their times as He is in these our days.

1. Jesus Christ is the same now as He was in times gone by, for the text saith, "The same yesterday, and to-day." He is the same to-day as He was from old eternity. Before all worlds He planned our salvation; He entered into covenant with His Father to undertake it. Whatever was in the heart of Christ before the stars began to shine, that same infinite love is there to-day. Jesus is the same to-day as He was when He was here on earth. When He tabernacled among men, He was most willing to save. Blessed be His name, Jesus Christ is the same to-day as in apostolic days. Then, He gave the fulness of the Spirit. We have had great enjoyments of God's presence; we do remember the love of our espousals, and if we have not the same joys to-day, it is no fault of His. There is the same water in the well still, and if we have not drawn it, it is our fault.

2. Now, further, Christ shall be to-morrow what He has been yesterday and is to-day. Our Lord Jesus Christ will be changed in no respect throughout the whole of our life.

III. OUR LORD'S EVIDENT CLAIMS.

1. If our Lord be "the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever," then, according to the connection of our text, He is to be followed to the end. If the Lord is still the same, follow Him till you reach Him. Your exit out of this life shall bring you where He is, and you will find Him then what He always was.

2. The next evident claim of Christ upon us is that we should be steadfast in the faith. Notice the ninth verse: "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever. Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines."

3. If Jesus Christ be thus immutable, He has an evident claim to our" most solemn worship. Immutability can be the attribute of none but God.

4. He claims also of us next, that we should trust Him. If He be always the same, here is a rock that cannot be moved; build on it.

5. And, lastly, if He is always the same, rejoice in Him, and rejoice always.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)

Changing circumstances have great power to work changes in character. There are few things more admirable than the spectacle of a good man passing through many chequered experiences, and keeping himself unchanged, excepting that his piety shines brighter and brighter unto the perfect day. This, like all other moral beauty and glory, was found in the Son of man, as it has been found in none besides.

I. HIS EARTHLY LIFE LEFT HIS LOVE UNCHANGED. His course was one long trial, from the manger to the cross. What His love was when it went into that furnace, that it was when it came out; not so much as "the smell of fire upon it."

II. DEATH WROUGHT CHANGE IN HIS LOVE. His subjection to its power was real and complete. It would be easy to take up the history of " the great forty days," and show that in word and deed Christ proved that His character was in every respect what it had been before He passed through the mysteries of death,

III. EXALTATION TO HEAVENLY POWER AND GLORY WROUGHT NO CHANGE IN THE LOVE OF CHRIST. Since He has been at the right hand of God, He has four times visibly revealed Himself to men on the earth, and each revelation has been for a merciful purpose. To Stephen, to Paul, to John, to the Seven Churches.

(C. Vince.)

I. IN RESPECT OF THE TRUTH OF WHICH HE IS THE TEACHER. In this respect Divine truth differs materially from human science. Science is tentative and experimental. In the light of the nineteenth century the scientists and philosophers of bygone ages seem little better than jugglers. And though some of the axioms of scientific teaching maintain their hold, yet the most accomplished students of the phenomena of life are ever hesitant and reserved. Nothing more vividly illustrates the unchangeableness of Divine truth than the ever changing phases of unbelief, and the ever varying tactics of its opponents. Theological development does not involve new truths. A deeper experience, a profounder study, a growth of intelligence, may invest a well-worn truth with fresh significance and beauty, just as the practised hand of the lapidary can develop the latent brilliance of a gem — each fresh operation discovering new tints, new possibilities of lustre. Biblical criticism may illumine an obscure passage; single words here and there may be touched with new life; but the cardinal verities remain changeless and unalterable. The unchanging truth, while it is our safety, is our confidence. Whatever changes, the doctrines to which we have yielded our faith will never change. Whatever fails, the truth shall not fail.

II. IN RESPECT OF THE METHODS OF HIS ADMINISTRATION.

III. IN RESPECT OF THE RESOURCES AT HIS COMMAND (Matthew 28:18-20). Anticipating this glorious investment, the Psalmist sang long before of "gifts for men," which were to be the prerogative of the ascended Lord. There is nothing to warrant the theory that these gifts were temporary, that they were limited to any particular age or crisis, or that they were distinctive of certain aspects only of the Messianic reign. It was of Himself, as thus endowed with "all power," that the Lord said, in charging His followers with their great commission: "Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the world." It is impossible now to indicate the many-sided aspects of His mediatorial power. The word "all" defies exhaustion. He can shape the course of history and open doors which prejudice and enmity have closed. By the viewless ministrations of His Spirit He can prepare the minds of men for the reception of saving truth. He can endow the holy life with wealth, and inspire a generosity which will rise to every emergency. He can raise up and qualify men for every branch of Christian service: the heroes of the mission-field, the inventors and administrators of Church economy, the mighty preachers of all ages have been just what He made them.

(R. N. Young, D. D.)

I. THE CENTRE IS JESUS CHRIST. Jesus was His proper name, Christ His appellative. Jesus a name of His nature, Christ of His office and dignity. Jesus, a name of all sweetness. A Reconciler, a Redeemer, a Saviour. When the conscience wrestles with law, sin, death, there is nothing but horror and despair without Jesus. The Word of God, the Son of God, the Christ of God, are titles of glory; Jesus, a Saviour, is a title of grace, mercy, redemption. This Jesus Christ is the centre of this text; and not only of this, but of the whole Scripture. The sum of Divinity is the Scripture; the sum of the Scripture is the gospel; the sum of the gospel is Jesus Christ.

II. THE REFERRING LINE, PROPER TO THIS CENTRE, IS "THE SAME." There is no mutability in Christ; "no variableness, nor shadow of turning" (James 1:17). All lower lights have their inconstancy; but in the "Father of lights" there is no changeableness.

1. This dissuades our confidence in worldly things because they are inconstant. All vanities are but butterflies, which wanton children greedily catch for; and sometimes they fly beside them, sometimes before them, sometimes behind them, sometimes close by them; yea, through their fingers, and yet they miss them; and when they have them, they are but butterflies; they have painted wings, but are crude and squalid worms.

2. This persuades us to an imitation of Christ's constancy. Let the stableness of His mercy to us work a stableness of our love to Him. And howsoever, like the lower orbs, we have a natural motion of our own from good to evil, yet let us suffer the higher power to move us supernaturally from evil to good.

III. THE CIRCUMFERENCE.

1. Objectively. Jesus Christ is the same in His word; and that

(1)Yesterday in pre-ordiuation;

(2)To-day in incarnation;

(3)For ever in application.

2. Subjectively, in His power the same; and that

(1)Yesterday, for He made the world;

(2)To-day, for He governs the world;

(3)For ever, for He shall judge the world.

3. Effectually in His grace and mercy. So He is the same,

(1)Yesterday to our fathers;

(2)To-day to ourselves;

(3)For ever to our children.

(T. Adams.)

Sameness is not a quality of things much loved for its own sake. In common things we soon grow wearied of sameness, and the whole earthly system of things is founded on the principle of variety and change. In what department of this universe shall we find immobility? Take your stand on the quietest day in the stillest place you can find — change is going on around you with every moment of time, so restless is nature down to its very heart. The same law holds in providence. Indeed, there could be no providence without change; no providing and no rule would be possible if no new circumstances arose. The same constitution of things holds in the higher sphere of man's moral progress and religious life. We make progress only in change — we put off the old and put on the new — we learn and unlearn — we fall and rise again; and as nature and providence are never the same on two successive days, so our souls are never in exactly the same moral state on one day as they were on the day before. The prayer of every Christian heart is: "Oh! unchanging One, let me change from day to day, until I gain Thine image and reach Thy presence!" And may we not believe this to be the prayer of angels too? Are they not thirsting for change " from glory to glory, as by the Spirit of the Lord? "And yet many hearts thrill with a sacred joy on hearing the words, "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever." How comes it that when we are pleased and profited by variety everywhere else, we are conscious of a sublime satisfaction in finding fixedness here? Is it not because we are created to find rest and portion only in God? Behind all changes in nature we press to unchanging power and law, and feel that these can reside only in an unchanging God. The text is a declaration of the immutability of Jesus Christ, and so takes for granted His divinity. It can be said of no creature that he is the same yesterday and to-day. That language can only have reference to a Divine Being, and it can only he with regard to His Divine qualities that Jesus Christ can be said to be immutable. In fact, He is not the same yesterday and to-day in the forms and aspects of His existence. In these there has been great change. He was "with God," then with man, now with God again. In regard to these visible, sensible manifestations, Jesus Christ is different to-day from what He was yesterday, and (we speak with reverence), for anything said in the Scriptures, He may be different to-morrow from what He is to-day. Some such change may be suggested in 1 Corinthians 15:24, 28. But these mortal, formal changes, whatever they are, do not affect the substantial meaning of the text. Jesus Christ, in all that constitutes His personality and in all that pertains to His character, is the same, and cannot change. In His will, in His purposes, in His principles, in His affections, He is for ever the same. These things constitute being and character, and these in Him are without change.

(A. Raleigh, D. D.)

I. I apply these words as a New Year's motto, in two or three different directions, and ask you to consider, first, THE UNCHANGING CHRIST IN HIS RELATION TO OUR CHANGEFUL LIVES. The one thing of which anticipation may be sure is that nothing continues in one stay. Blessed are they who, in a world of passing phenomena, penetrate to the still centre of rest, and looking over all the vacillations of the things that can be shaken, can turn to the Christ and say, Thou who movest all things art Thyself unmoved; Thou who changest all things, Thyself changest not. Let the fleeting proclaim to you the permanent; let the world with its revolutions lead you up to the thought of Him that is the same for ever. For that is the only thought on which a man can build, and, building, be at rest. The yesterday of my text may either be applied to the generations that have passed, and then the "to-day" is our little life; or it may be applied to my own yesterday, and then the to-day is this narrow present. In either application the words of my text are full of hope and of joy. "Jesus Christ is the same to-day." We are always tempted to think that this moment is commonplace and insignificant. Yesterday lies consecrated in memory; to-morrow, radiant in hope; but to-day is poverty-stricken and prose. The sky is furthest away from us right over our heads; behind and in front it seems to touch the earth. But if we will only realise that all that sparkling lustre and all that more than mortal tenderness of pity and of love with which Jesus Christ has irradiated and sweetened any past is verily here with us amidst the commonplaces and insignificant duties of the dusty to-day, then we need look back to no purple distance, nor forward to any horizon where sky and earth kiss, but feel that here or nowhere, now or never, is Christ the all-sufficient and unchanging Friend. He is faithful. He cannot deny Himself.

II. So, secondly, I apply these words in another direction. I ask you to think of THE RELATION BETWEEN THE UNCHANGING CHRIST AND THE DYING HELPERS. God's changeful providence comes into all our lives, and parts dear ones, making their places empty that Christ Himself may fill the empty places, and, striking away other props, though the tendrils that twine round them bleed with the wrench, in order that the plant may no longer trail along the ground, but twine itself round the Cross and climb to the Christ upon the throne. He lives, and in Him all loves and companionships live unchanged.

III. So, further, we apply, in the third place, this thought to THE RELATION BETWEEN THE UNCHANGING CHRIST AND DECAYING INSTITUTIONS AND OPINIONS. Man's systems are the shadows on the hillside. Christ is the everlasting solemn mountain itself. Much in the popular conception of Christianity is in the act of passing. Let it go; Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever. We need not fear change within the limits of His Church or of His world. For change there means progress, and the more the human embodiments of Christian truth disintegrate, the more distinctly does the solemn unique figure of Christ the same rise before us. His sameness is consistent with an infinite unfolding of new preciousness and new powers, as new generations with new questions arise, and the world seeks for fresh guidance. "I write no new commandment unto you"; I preach no new Christ unto you. "Again a new commandment I write unto you," and every generation will find new impulse, new teaching, new shaping energies, social and individual, ecclesiastical, theological, intellectual, in the old Christ who was crucified for our offences and raised again for our justification, and remains "the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever."

IV. Lastly, look at these words in their application to THE RELATION BETWEEN THE UNCHANGING CHRIST AND THE ETERNAL LOVE OF HEAVEN. The "for ever" of my text is not to be limited to this present life, but it runs on into the remotest future and boundless prospect of an eternal unfolding and reception of new beauties in the old earthly Christ. For Him the change between the "to-day" of His earthly life and the " for ever" of His ascended glory made no change in the tenderness of His heart, the sweetness of His smile, the nearness of His helping hand.

(A. Maclaren, D. D.)

Employing the word "yesterday" to represent past time in general, we ask, who beside Jesus Christ is the same to-day as yesterday? Yesterday our fathers and our mothers were young, and hale, and strong — to-day they lean towards the earth like half-felled trees, or they lie prostrate as trees wholly cut down. Yesterday the hair of the husband was black as a raven — to-day it is white as wool. Yesterday the children were like olive plants round about the table — to-day one is not, another withers in the place that still knows him, and others are transplanted to a foreign soil. Yesterday kindred and friends were a wide social circle — to-day but a poor segment of that circle is left. And these changes will continue — not absolutely, and for ever, but to-morrow, and for days in succession, until the last man, and the last day. And with the changes to which men are subject is associated mutation, which, like waves flowing over sand, affects the condition and appearance of all things. Yet here, where nothing is abiding but change — here where we "should imagine that we should get accustomed to change — we are always sighing for that which is the same to-day as yesterday, and which will be the same for ever. The Divine in Jesus Christ is ever the same, His power in heaven, in earth, and in hell — His knowledge — all that hath been, all that is, and all that will be — His wisdom for device and design, for ruling and over-ruling, for ordering all beings and things — His presence in all places — His spotless purity, and undeviating righteousness — His unbounded love — are all "the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever." The humanity of Jesus Christ is in all its essential features the same. Eighteen centuries ago it was said of Him that "He manifested forth His glory." This glory — the fulness of grace and truth — is "the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever." And is He the same in His devotedness to the work of redemption? Yesterday that work was His. He gave Himself to it in the beginning; undertook it when man fell; made ready for His advent during four thousand years; came in the fulness of time. He came to live as a man — He did live as a man. He came to suffer as a substitute. He came here, not to stay, but to return. Yesterday Jesus Christ did all this — and what of to-day? To-day I This is the favourable time — this is the day of Jesus Christ's salvation. And for ever will Jesus Christ be our Redeemer. "Of His kingdom there shall be no end." "He continueth ever." "He hath an unchangeable priesthood." "He ever liveth to make intercession for us." "He shall reign for ever and ever." He has made great promises to His disciples. He has said that they shall never hunger and shall never thirst, they shall never die, they shall do great works, they shall not abide in darkness, they shall have peace, they shall join Christ in His glory. Will He fulfil these words? Can He? In disposition to fulfil them, and in power, Jesus Christ " is the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever." He is the revealer of what the apostle Paul calls present truth — and in His exhibition of that which it is essential for us to know, and essential for us to believe, He changeth not. Still, too, He assures His disciples, "I will come again." He said this yesterday. And to-day many of you are found among those who wait for His appearing, and who love His appearing — and as the vision seems to tarry, and as the time appears to be delayed, often do you hear Him say, "I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there ye may be also." Jesus Christ is the same in His influence upon those who believe in Him. Yesterday it was testified, "The love of Christ constraineth us "-it carries us out of the course of the world. To-day, moved by His love, multitudes are acting and suffering as those only can work and endure who live, not unto themselves, but unto Him who died for them and rose again. And what say you of His love? His eye is the same — bright as a flame of fire, and strong enough to view all things, whether great or small. His ear is the same — quick and sensitive; embracing the harmonies of creation, and receiving at the same time the whisper of a little one's prayer. His hand is the same — strong even to almightiness. And His heart is the same — sympathetic, patient, generous, tender as a woman's, strong in its personal attachment, and filled with a love which surpasseth knowledge. In all respects, and in all aspects, Jesus Christ is " the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever." To-day, brethren, Jesus Christ is the same as when Peter and Johu rejoiced "that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name" — not counted worthy to wear some crown for His name, unless the crown be a crown of thorns, but " that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name." Then to-day let us boldly confess Him. To-day Jesus Christ is the same as when Paul said, "I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed to Him until that day." Then let us with all our heart confide in Him to-day. Let us renew our confidence. Let us give everything up to Him, ourselves and our all. To-day Jesus Christ is the same as when He said, "I am the vine; ye are the branches." Then let us abide in Him to-day. To-day Jesus Christ is the same as when it was said, "We are all one in Christ Jesus." Then let us to-day promote the manifestation of the true unity of all believers.

(S. Martin.)

I. Follow for a moment THE SUGGESTIONS OF TRUE CONTEXT; remember those who exercised a blessed, loving, wise " rule " over you, who " spake to you the Word of God," pastors, parents, friends; those who first interpreted to you your soul's yearning and restlessness, and pointed you to Christ for rest; the true and trusty ones who warned you against your dangers, and helped you in your temptations, and solaced you in your griefs; who seemed to read your life, and could speak the very words you needed. Death, or separation, or mutual alienation and distrust put an end to their guidance. Alas that association so blessed should have had an end.

II. The longing for rest, the desire for what is stable and unchanging — THIS IS OUR DEEPEST WANT; IT STRENGTHENS IN US AS WE GROW OLDER, WISER, BETTER MEN. When our impatience has been tamed, and our impetuosity has become subdued; when we have learned to distrust ourselves, and wish for an immutable goodness on which to stay; when we have learned to distrust the world, to look away from things and circumstances; after we have felt weariness and disappointment, we grow to value quiet. Youth will wander and explore; but manhood asks a home wherein to dwell. But a coming rest is not all we ask; is life all to be weary and changing? must we ever be restless? Our text speaks of One who is even now unchanging. All is not fleeting, Christ is the same. What changes need we now fear? We may be troubled, but we cannot be daunted; surprised, but not unmanned. The deep reality of life abides the same; Jesus Christ the same to-day as yesterday.

III. THE WORDS "FOR EVER" FALL STRANGELY ON OUR EARS; THE SOLEMN FUTURE IS UNKNOWN AND UNIMAGINABLE. Here I can work, here I can feel, here I am somewhat at home; but that world will be so unutterably strange. Again the thought of the immutable One bears up out of the confusion of changing things. There will be more familiarity than strangeness there, for " Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever." He will not be unknown; He will be recognised who quickened, and guided, and sustained us, who was the steadfastness and identity of our passing earthly life. To those Christians who would read the words translated "for ever" in their original form, "unto the ages," they would have a further suggestion. They were accustomed to look on God's purpose in the universe as unfolding itself in a series of aeons or dispensations. It had been so in the history of this world; they themselves were living in the end of one dispensation, the old world passing away; a new world, another age, was immediately commencing. Words had come to them from the heavens of old, obscurely referring to at least one other dispensation that had accomplished itself before man was created. Paul speaks of worlds and epochs, of which we now know nothing, that are all to be gathered together, and seen fulfilled in Christ. In the world to come there may be further dispensations, each fulfilling a thought, and all illustrating the mighty being, of God. Here are changes, grand, stupendous, unimaginable. But in the midst of all is seen one unchanging Christ. Let dispensation succeed dispensation, and age follow age, Jesus Christ is "the same unto the ages." New they will be, but they will not be strange; the changes will but illustrate the unchangeable.

IV. You will observe that it is not of a thing that is the same, nor even of a truth conceived to be the same, that our text speaks, BUT OF A PERSON WHO IS THE SAME. It is in our personal relations that we feel the identity or the changes of life. Our life continues the same in many vicissitudes, so long as the persons we have to do with are unchanged. Amidst the flux of things, the flow of events, the heart rests on one unchanging friend. We may stand solitary, where once we stood circled with affection, alone but not alone, for He is with us. Truest companion, trustiest guide; He who "laid down His life for His friends"; Jesus Christ is " the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever."

V. LET ME SPEAK TO YOU PERSONALLY OF THE UNCHANGING SAVIOUR. Well is it for you who trust in Christ. Sorrow cannot long dim your eyes, for He is the unchanging Comforter. Disappointment cannot quench your hopefulness, for He is the unchanging Hope. Difficulties will not daunt you, for He is the unchanging Helper. You will not sink in weakness, for He is the unchanging Strength. You need not fear temptation, for His is an unchanging succour. Sin will not overmaster you, nor guilt drive you to despair; for He whose blood first cleansed you will cleanse you still, and the ear into which you breathed your first penitence is listening still for your repentant prayer. Death has no terror for you, and the endless ages will not see you shaken; for He is " the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever." And you to whom all your life long He has "stretched out His hands"; you who have still rejected Him, you to whom a Christian life has long seemed only a dream in memory, a possibility left far behind; to you too He is still the same. Your conscience may be sluggish, His voice is powerful to arrest; your heart may have grown hard, His love is strong to melt; your will may have become obdurate, His grace is mighty to subdue.

(A. Mackennal, D. D.)

The unchangeableness of God was taught originally as contrasted with the ever changing views entertained when poets, and mythists, and theologists of antiquity were accustomed to weave just such fancies as they pleased, and twine them about an imaginary God, changing to-day the imaginings of yesterday, as one twines every day fresh flowers about some statue. Without revelation, without even the fixed data which science affords, men formed ideal images and called them God. There was perpetual change. As opposed to such a view of God, a creature of fancy, that changed with all the moods of the imagination, God was declared to be unchangeable. His unchangeableness was also taught as opposed to any change of dynasties. The gods of heathen nations made war with each ether, maintaining themselves by the exertion of force against other gods, so that there were revulsions in high and heavenly places, and reigning dynasties were overthrown. As opposed to such a conception as this, the Bible teaches God to be one, from eternity to eternity, sovereign and immutable. God's unchangeableness was taught, also, as opposed to the caprice of heathen divinities. The gods of antiquity were shameful, subject to fits of wrath, and to the most fitful changes of the most desperate feelings. The Bible revealed Jehovah, the unchangeable; who, being once known, was for ever to be obeyed, because His commands were equitable and right, and from whom such as learned His will, and followed the path of obedience, had nothing to fear, but everything to hope. What then, are the respects in which God is to be supposed to be immutable?

1. In the first place, no change is to be imputed to Him such as comes to us by reason of age and the wearing of the body. He is not, as men are, changed by time. It is blessed to think of being eternally young; but the thought that, while men are wrinkled, and bent, and scarred by disease, and toil, and suffering, and are subject to all manner of infirmities, there is One that is unchanged by time, and is for ever in the bloom of youth — this thought comes home with sweetness and comfort to every heart.

2. Nor is there any such change possible to God as belongs to men by reason of their external circumstances.

3. Nor is there any change in the great moral attributes which form the basis of the Divine character — justice, and truth, and love. That which was love in the beginning, is love now, and will be love for evermore. Truth and justice are the same now that they were in the beginning, and that they ever will be. The applications of them vary, but the essential moral qualities themselves never change. God is immutable in the fundamental elements of His being.

4. Nor is there any change in the essential purposes of God's moral government. God saw the end from the beginning; He follows a plan eternally ordained, and the whole vast administration of creation is carried on in pursuance of certain great fixed ideas. In view of these statements, I remark, first, that it is such a view of God as this that inspires confidence and trust in Him. We want to feel that though there are endless variations in goodness and justice, and endless degrees of these things in the Divine mind, yet there is nothing there that traverses justice or good, or that changes these qualities, making that which is evil and unjust in this age just and good in the next age. It has been supposed that the doctrine of God's decrees would repel men, and drive them into infidelity. On the contrary, it draws men. God's decrees may be taught so as to make men feel that they are oppressive; but the thought that the decrees of God run through time and eternity, and that He is true to them, so far from being repulsive, is exceedingly attractive. You might as well say that the laws of nature are repulsive, as to say that God's decrees are so. It is constancy that is the foundation of hope, and civilisation, and everything that is blessed in the world.

(H. W. Beecher.)

Ah! the time comes when the actor must leave the public stage; when the reins drop from the leader's grasp; and the orator's tongue falters; and the workman's stout arm grows feeble; and the fire of wit is quenched; and the man of genius turns into a drivelling idiot; and men of understanding, without any second birth, pass into a second childhood. But the time shall never come when it can be said of Jesus, His hand is shortened that it cannot save. No; "the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever," there is nothing He ever did, in saving, blessing, sanctifying, that He cannot do again. This gives undying value to all the offers, invitations, and promises of the gospel.

(T. Guthrie, D. D.)

Earthly friends are apt to change, and if they do not change they die. When a visitor comes from a foreign land where you once sojourned, you ask eagerly about the different acquaintances you once had there. "And did you see such a one?" "Yes; but you would not know him, he is so greatly altered." "Did he remember me?" "Well, I rather think he was asking for you, but I cannot be very sure. He has got other things to occupy his thoughts since you and he were wont to meet." "And what of such another?" "All, times are sadly changed with him. You would be sorry to see him now. I believe he has the same kind heart as ever; but he has not in his power to show it as he was used to do." "And our old neighbour, who lived next door?" "Your old neighbour? dear good man, he is safe in Abraham's bosom. I found his house shut up, and all his family gone away." And it is very seldom, after years of absence, that you hear of one whose outward circumstances are nowise different from what they were, and rarer still to hear of one whose dispositions are quite unchanged. However, One there is who wears our nature, but is not liable to the variations of mortality. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever.

(J. Hamilton, D. D.)

It is a beautiful moonlight night. The moon is at full, and shining in more than ordinary silver brightness. A man is gazing intently down a deep, still well, where he sees the moon reflected, and thus remarks to a friendly bystander: "How beautifully fair and round she is to-night! how quietly and majestically she rides along 1" He has just finished speaking, when suddenly his friend drops a small pebble into the well, and he now exclaims, "Why the moon is all broken to shivers, and the fragments are shaking together in the greatest disorder!" "What gross absurdity! " is the astonished rejoinder of his companion. "Look up man! the moon hasn't changed one jot or tittle. It is the condition of the well that reflects her that has changed." Now, believer, apply the simple figure. Your heart is the well. When there is no allowance of evil the blessed Spirit of God takes of the glories and preciousness of Christ, and reveals them to you for your comfort and joy. But the moment a wrong motive is cherished in the heart, or an idle word escapes the lips unjudged, your happy experiences are smashed to pieces, and you are all restless and disturbed within, until in brokenness of spirit before God you confess your sin (the disturbing thing), and thus get restored once more to the calm, sweet joy of communion. But when your heart is thus all unrest, need I ask, Has Christ's work changed? No, no.

(G. Cutting.)

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