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The Historical Faith

The Historical Faith

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Published by GLENN DALE PEASE
BY EDWARD GARBETT, M.A


Heb. xiii. 7, 8

Whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.
Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever.
BY EDWARD GARBETT, M.A


Heb. xiii. 7, 8

Whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.
Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Oct 14, 2013
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THE HISTORICAL FAITHBY EDWARD GARBETT, M.AHeb. xiii. 7, 8Whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever.THE force of these words is in no degree lessenedby separating the two clauses from each other andturning the latter of them into an independent sen-tence. The sequence of thought irresistibly connectsthe person of the Saviour and the doctrine of Hisimmutability with the faith of the saints. As thewhole sentence stands in the authorised version, thewords may simply denote that those who spokethe Word of God to the Hebrews included theunchangeableness of the work and office of Christamong the truths they taught The separation of the two clauses demanded by the critical neces-sities of the passage carries the assertion further,and converts their belief into an inspired and autho-ritative verity : " Jesus Christ is the same yesterday,to-day, and for ever."D 236 The Historical Faith. [Lect.The words thus understood affirm the same con-flict of Christian stedfastness against doctrinal errorwhich has already been shown to be graphicallytaught in the language of St. Jude. It would havebeen unnecessary for the inspired writer to pressupon the Hebrew Christians the duty of followingthe faith of their apostolic teachers unless there had
 
been danger of their behig led away from it. Theexhortation is analogous to the warning of ourLord against the false Christs of the days of theSon of Man : " If they shall say unto you, Behold,he is in the desert ; go not forth : behold, he is inthe secret chambers; believe it not. For as thelightning cometh out of the east, and shineth evenunto the west ; so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be a ." The caution of the text is to the samepurpose. False projDhets would arise, teaching an-other gospel. Varieties of opinion would surroundthem on every side. Men unlearned and unstablewould wrest the Scriptures unto their own destruc-tion. Opinions would change and fluctuate. Butthey were to stand amid all these things firmlyupon this assurance, that the Saviour who had beenpreached unto them could never change. Men'ssubjective notions might vary, but the objectivetruth of the Saviour's nature, person, and work wasthe same for ever ; a solid rock amid the heavingocean of human controversies, fixed and immoveableas Him over whose cloudless being there passes notthe shadow of a change.8 Matt. xxiv. 26, 27.II] The Faith immutable. 37The text is thus another accent of the voice of the Spirit of God in the Word, emphatically re-iterating the assertion of a dogmatic faith givenby God to man. The fact pervades the Scriptureseverywhere, proclaimed in its positive teaching, pro-minent in its examples, repeated in its exhortations,promises, and warnings, and not obscurely latent inits moral precepts. Revelation is a message fromGod to man containing all things necessary to makehim wise unto salvation through faith in Christ
 
Jesus, a complete system of faith invested with theauthority of its Divine Author, and delivered tothe keeping of the saints. Faithfully to maintainit, personally to live upon it, and ministerially topreach it throughout the world, is the appointedoffice of the Church ; — the instrument of her con-flict and the crown of her glory.-Thus Scripture teaches. The fact is not con-clusive in this controversy, because the authorityand character of Scripture are involved in dispute.But the assertion puts it into our power to bringthe question to the test of facts. Could we supposehuman agency to be sufficient to have produced theChristian Scriptures, yet no human agency can havechanged the order of the world, or have mouldedthe course of its events into accordance with itsown predetermined plan. The theory of a revela-tion from the Supreme Governor of the Universeinvolves, certain conditions. Their failure would beat once conclusive against the claims of a dogmaticfaith ; their fulfilment raises a strong presumption38 The Historical Faith. [Lect.in its favour. Let it be supposed, for instance, thatno organised Church existed, dating back its lifeto the times of Christ and to the authority of Hisinstitution; or that on putting the Church to thequestion we found her never to have claimed thepossession of such a deposit of truth ; or that theclaim was a modern claim, and the further it wastraced back into the past the more vague andshapeless it grew; or that the Church, althoughshe claimed to possess such a faith, could give noreasonable account of it nor offer any pledge beyondher own assertion for its antiquity and authenticity,¦ — either of these alternatives would be conclusive

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