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IX. THE PLAN.

The general progress of thought in the Epistle is clear; but, at the same time, in a writing so many-sided, where subjects are naturally foreshadowed and recalled, differences of opinion must arise as to the exact divisions of the argument. The following arrangement gives at least an intelligible view of the main relations of the different parts of the Book.

The Theme of the Epistle; The Finality of Christianity: i. 1 — 4.

I. The Superiority of the Son, the Mediator of the Revelation, to Angels: i. 5 — ii. 18.

II. Moses, Joshua, Jesus, the Founders of the Old Economy and of the New: iii., iv.

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IIΙ. The High-priesthood of Christ, universal and sovereign (Melchizedek): v. — vii.

IV. The Fulfilment of Christ's priestly Work; viii. 1 — x. 18.

V. The Appropriation and vital Application of the Truths laid down: x. 19 — xii.

A personal Epilogue: xiii.

These chief divisions can be followed a little more in detail:

The Theme of the Epistle: The Finality of Christianity: i. 1 — 4.

i. The contrast of the Old Revelation and the New in method, time, persons (vv. 1, 2).

ii. The nature and the work of the Son, in regard to His Divine Personality and to the Incarnation (v. 3).

iii. Transition to the detailed development of the argument (v. 4).

I. The Superiority of the Son, the Mediator of the new Revelation, to Angels: i. 5 — ii. 18.

i. The testimony of Scripture (i. 5 — 14).

ii. The peril of neglecting the new revelation through the Son (ii. 1-4).

iii. The fulfilment of the divine destiny of man in the Son of man (Jesus) through suffering (ii. 5 — 18).

II. Moses, Joshua, Jesus, the Founders of the Old Economy and of the New: iii., iv.

i. Moses and Jesus: the servant and the Son (iii. 1 — 6).

(1) A general view of the dignity of Jesus (1, 2).

(2) Moses represents a house: Jesus the framer of it (3. 4).

(3) Moses a servant: Jesus a son (5, 6).

ii. The promise and the people under the Old and the New Dispensations (iii. 7 — iv. 13).

(1) Faith the condition of blessing (iii. 7 — 19).

(2) The promise remaining (iv. 1 — 13).

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iii. Transition to the doctrine of the High-priesthood, resuming ii. 17, 18 (iv. 14 — 16).

III. The High-priesthood of Christ, Universal and Sovereign (Melchizedek): v. — vii.

i. The characteristics of a High-priest (sympathy and divine appointment) fulfilled in Christ (v. 1 — 10).

ii. Progress through patient effort the condition of the knowledge of Christian mysteries (v. 11 — vi.).

iii. The characteristics of Christ, as absolute High-priest, shadowed forth by Melchizedek (King-priest) (vii.).

IV. The Fulfilment of Christ's priestly Work: viii. 1 — x. 18.

i. A general view of the scene and the conditions of Christ's High-priestly work (c. viii.).

(1) The new Sanctuary (viii. 1—6).

(2) The New Covenant (7 — 13).

ii. The Old Service and the New: the Atonement of the Law and the Atonement of Christ (c. ix.).

(1) The Sanctuary and Priests under the Old Covenant (ix. 1 — 10).

(2) The High-priestly Atonement under the New Covenant (11 — 28).

iii. The Old Sacrifices and the New: the abiding efficacy of Christ's one Sacrifice (c. x. 1— 18). A summary of reassurance.

V. The Appropriation and vital Application of the Truths laid down; x. 19 — xii. 29.

i. The privileges, perils, encouragements of the Hebrews (x. 19—39).

ii. The past triumphs of Faith (xi).

iii. The general application of the lessons of the past to the present season of trial (xii.).

A personal Epilogue: xiii. Detailed and specific instructions. Close.

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One feature in this plan will strike the student. The central portion of each of the first three divisions is mainly occupied with solemn warnings; while the last division is a most grave and earnest exposition of the duties which follow from the confession of Christ's Priestly work. The writer is unwilling, even in the development of the Truth, to allow the loftiest conception of the Gospel to appear to be a theory only. It is for him intensely practical; and the note of entire and reverential awe closes his description of the privileges of Christians (xii. 28 f.).

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