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Christian Perfection.

Christian Perfection.

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Hebrews, vi., 1. — Therefore, leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection.


Hebrews, vi., 1. — Therefore, leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Apr 18, 2014
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CHRISTIA PERFECTIO. BY REV. JOH SUMMERFIELD, A.M.Hebrews, vi., 1. — Therefore, leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection. Paul's style is parenthetical. In the preceding chapter he had been giving a luminous view of the priesthood of Christ, and that in the highest point of comparison pos- sible : the Melchisedaical. — But, as if feeling the incom- petence of his hearers, he is struck off from his purpose in the eleventh verse of fifth chapter, and through the remainder of that as well as of sixth chapter he follows the train of thought induced, and resumes his plan only in the beginning of seventh chapter : " For this Mel- 200 CHRISTIA PERFECTIO. chisedec, king of Salem, priest of the most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him ; to whom also Abraham gave a tenth part of all ; first being by interpretation King of Righteousness, and after that also King of Salem, which is, King of Peace ; without father, without mother, without descent, having nei- ther beginning of days nor end of life ; but made like unto the Son of God ; abideth a priest continually." Our text is intimately connected with the words prece- ding ; thus, after speaking of Melchisedec, the apostle con- tinues : " For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first prin- ciples of the oracles of God ; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness : for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of
full age, even to those who by reason of use have their sen- ses exercised to discern both good and evil. Therefore, leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection." What may we not infer from this but that our people generally are still dull of hearing ? How little do they know, compared with what they might ; and how often is the minister of Christ obliged again to lay " the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith to- wards God ;" and, consequently, to stop short of those riches of Divine truth which lie scattered so plentifully on the sa- cred page ! or would I have this considered an arrogant train of reasoning. I would preach it to myself also. O how many delightful spots are there yet in the sacred field of Divine truth which my eye never saw ! How many green pastures on which I never reclined ! How many pure fountains whose bubbling waters I never tasted ! Brethren, we are all guilty herein ! How much more might we have known of God, his nature, his perfections ! How much more expe- rience might we have had of his grace in our hearts ! How much more might we have known of the glories of his throne, and how much more frequently might we have been rapt up as into the third heavens ! " Whether in the body I cannot tell," &c. CHRISTIA PERFECTIO. 201 But there is another inference which we may derive from the text : " Leaving these first principles of the doctrine of Christ," let us this morning outstep the ordinary bounds, and " go on unto perfection." I. The object contemplated. II. The manner of its attainment. I. The object contemplated — Perfection.
Much has been said and written on this subject, and yet it is little understood by many. The primary meaning which the apostle applies to the term is doubtless, A preparedness of our intellectual powers to take in the truths of God. From the character which our meditation has assumed, this must be evident. And will any one say that this is not necessary to our receiving the deep things of God ? — There are those, I know, who profess much knowledge of Divine truths, and yet have no experimental enjoyment of them. We see in them that there may be a clear apprehension of the things of God apart from their operation on the heart. But then this is not called the knowledge of Divine things in Scripture. I have no idea of light separate from life ; the word is liv- ing — spirit and life — and it must produce life where it is known in the true sense of the word. There is, I admit, a great difference between the knowledge of a fact and the conviction of it ; but the latter only is the saving knowledge  — knowledge connected with feeling, — Let a man know that he is a sinner, and know it so as to feel the sentence of death in himself, and he will be quickened to cry unto God for mercy. Let him know the remedy in the Saviour of sinners, and his knowledge will not be of that vague and general character which regards him as the Saviour of men : he will have an individual personal property in him as his Saviour. Thus might we trace in all the Christian's life the connexion inseparable between light and life. " The light is the life of men !" After this explanation, you will not startle at my hav- ing commenced the subject of perfection with the primary meaning of the apostle in reference to knowledge. Perfect Cc 202 CHRISTIA PERFECTIO. knowledge touches at every point of the Christian charac- ter : it is connected with perfect love, perfect humility, per-

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