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2. Fear of death as it is penal is inseparable from sin, before the
ought to mind them of their duty unto him that hath called
rejoicing in every condition,
lie in the way of profession, so great is the number of them that
P R E FAC E.
The general concernments of this Epistle, have all of them been discussed and cleared in the preceding Exercitations and Discourses. The things and matters confirmed in them, we therefore here suppose, and take for granted. And some of these are of such a nature, that without a demonstration of them, a genuine and perspicuous declaration of the design of the author, and of the sense of the Epistle, cannot be well founded or carried on. Unto them therefore we must remit the reader, who desires to peruse the ensuing Exposition with profit and advantage. But yet, because the manner of the handling of things in those Discourses, may not be so suited to the minds of all who would willingly inquire into the Exposition itself, I shall bere make an entrance into it, by laying down some such general principles and circumstances of the Epistle, as may give a competent prospect into the design and argument of the apostle, in the whole thereof.
First, The first of these concerns the persons whose instruction and edification in the faith is here aimed at. These in general were the Hebrews, the posterity of Abraham, and the only church of God before the promulgation of the gospel, who in those days were distributed into three sorts, or parties.
1st, Some of them believing in Christ through the gospel, were perfectly instructed in the liberty given them from the Mosaic law, with the foundation of that liberty, in the accomplishment of that law, in the person, office, and work of the Messiah, Acts ïi. 41, 42.
2d, Some with their profession of faith in Christ as the pro. mised Messiah, retained an opinion of the necessity of observing the Mosaic rites; and these also were of two sorts.
1. Such as from a pure reverence of their original institutions, either being not fully instructed in their liberty, or by reason of prejudices, not readily admitting the consequences of that truth wherein they were instructed, abode in the obsery. VOL. III.