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♦theological seminary, i 

Princeton, N. J/?2_ C% 


A H 




V/ i T H THE 

By JOHN (6 W E N, p. D. 





Search the Scriptures. ^ohn v. 39. 



Printed for T. Pitcher, No. 44, Barbican; 

And Ibid alfo by C. Dilly, Poultry; T. Parsons, Paternoftcr- 

Rowj and T. Mathews, Strand. 


C^nteretr at @tationers#alI.] 

A N 


Chap. V. Ver. i. 


|, I. IntroduSfion. § 2. 'The chapter., and particularly thh 
verfey anallzed, § 3. (I.) The High Prieji's origin, 
§ 4. (11.) The nature of his office, § 5. (III.) The end 
of the priefthood. § 6.. Obfervations, 

§ I. XF we confider the relation of thefe words to the 
foregohig parts of the cpiflle, (which treated of the perfon 
of Chriil, his kingly and prophetical offices) they contain 
an entrance into a full and particular defcription of the 
facer dotal office of the Meffiah, with its excellency and 
benefits, which was the principal delign ot the epiille. 
And it was a defign highly important ; for bef des the 
excellency of the dodrine in itfelf, and the ineftimable 
benefits which the whole church received thereby, it 
was, on many accounts, peculiarly neceflary for the 

§ 2. There are three general parts of this chapter. 
Firfl ; a defcription of the office and duties of an high 
prieft, [verfe i — 4.] Secondly; the application of this 
general defcription to the perfon and priefthood of Jefu> 

Vol. III. E ^'h'*^ 

^ AN EXrOSlTlON OF THE Chap. *^ 

Chrift in particular, [verfc 5 — 10.] Thirdly; an occa- 
lioiial reproof and expoftulatiou about their backwardnefs 
in learning the myfteries of the goi'pe], [ver. 11 — 4.] 

In this verfc, the general defcription of an high prieft 
is given, from his original; ' he is taken from among 
' men.' Fiom the nature of his office; he 'is ordained 

* for men ni things pertaining to God.' From the fpecial 
end of it ; * to offer both gifts and facrifices for fin/ 
And this fubjedl, now firft profefledly entered upon, (but 
flill with refpeft to the Old Teflament church) is purfued 
with fundry occafional digreflions, to the end of the tenth 

§ 3. (I.) We have the defcription of an high priefl 
from his originaL- * For every high prieft taken from 

* among men.' All the males of the family of Aaron 
were equal as to the prlejlhoody but there v^as one who was 
tlie head and prince of the reft, whofe office was not dif- 
tindl from theirs, but in the dlfcharge of which, and his 
preparation for it, there were many things peculiarly ap- 
propriated to him,, which are diftindly appointed and 
enumerated in fevsral places. The whole office was pri- 
marily vefted in him, the other priefts being as it w.ere- 
his affiftants, and a nurfery for future fucceftion. The 
whole nature of the type was preferved in him alone. 

.On^ Jingle high prieft had been fufficient to have repre- 
fcnted the priefthood of Chrift ; but becaufe God would 
have that done conjiantly, during the continuance of that 
church ftate, they were to be multiplied by fucceffion; 
And fince by reafon of their multiplied carnal fervlces, no 
one man w^as able to difcharge the whole office, there were 
others added to affift' him, which were fo far alfo types of 
Chrift, as they were partakers of his office. But becaufp 
the office was principally conferred on and vefted in the 
high prieft, and becaufe many important parts of the duty 
of it were appropriated to him ; as alfo, becaufe his glo- 
rious veftmcnts, made for beauty and glory, to reprefent 
the excellency and hoHnefs of the perfon of Chrift, were 
to be worn by none but him j he alo7ie is lingled out as the 



principal reprefentative of the Lord Jefus Chrift in his- 

(E^ €>^y9pM7rMi/ Kcc^Mf^oi/o^Evog.) "lakenfrom among men. 
This expreffion is not a part of the fubjeft of the propofi- 
tion, but what is attributed to every high prieil ; every 
one who is fo, is to be taken from among men. The 
{^\\{t may be fuppHed by a copulative — * and is ordained.' 
— He is (X(zy.(ioi,voij.svogi ajjumptus) taken from among, men, 
feparated from them, is no more of the fame rank ; 
(ij ocv>^o:jC7rujy) from among men ; that is, firjl, he is 
(nature bumame particeps) ' partaker in common of human 
"- natwc^' v;ith the reft of mankind ; — neither the divine 
nature, nor the angelic is' capable of the exercife of it for 
men ; which is principally intended : and fecandly, before 
his aflumption to this office, he was among the number of 
common men ; a& listing nothing in his nature to prefer 
him above them. So was it with Aaron ; he was a com- 
mon man amongft his brethren, yea, a mean man in 
bondage before his call to office. T\\t former of thefe de- 
clares what every high prieft is and ought to be ; the latter 
what the firft legal high priefl a^ually was. Whatever is 
effential to the office of high prieft, without which it could 
not be duly executed, is found in Chrift, in a far more per* 
fe6: and excellent manner than in the priells of the law, 
without any of their imperfedions. It was ejfsntial to the 
office itfelf that he fhould be partaker of human nature, 
but it was not fo, that he fliould be abfolutely in the 
common {late of all men, antecedently to his call to 

§ 4. (II.) The next part of the general defcription of 
a high priefl is from the nature of his office. He ' is or- 
* dained for men in things pertaining to God.' (Ttt.-;) 
ocv^^cjottcajv) for men\ the propoiitlon (uttc^) is fometimes 
(vice, or, loco) in the fiead, fometimes (pro) for, only as it 
denotes the final caufe ; as to do a thing ' for' the good 
of men. [II. Tim. il. 10.] And both thcfc fenfes may 
have place here. For where the firft intention is, the lat- 
ter is always included. He that doth any thing in the flead 
cf another, doth it always for his good. And the high 
2 priefl 


pried might be fo far faid to {land and aft injiead of other 
men, as he appeared in their behalf, reprefented theii; 
perfons, pleaded their caufe, and confefled their lins : but, 
in their behalf, or * for their good,' and advantage, to 
perform what on their part is with God to be performed, 
is evidently intended in this place. — {Kcc9i(fjoijOii tcc Trpog 
70V ©soy) is ordahicd in things pertaining /© God. T he verb 
3s ufed moll; frequently in a neuter or pailive fenfe, and in 
this place it can be no otherwife. So the apoftle explains 
himfelf, [chap. viii. 3.] ' Every high priefl {Koc>Qi(f]ocloiL) 
:s ordained to offer gifts and facrifices ; which place ex- 
poundeth this. And two things are intended in the word ; 
God's dejignation and appointment \ and — actual confecration 
according to the law. So was it in the cafe of Aaron. 
And this latter part of his ordination belonged to the 
weaknefs and imperfeftion of that prieilhood, fo that he 
could not be confecrated without the facrifices of other 
things. But the Lord Chrifl, being both priefl and facri- 
lice himfelf, needed no fuch ordination, nor was capable 
of it. His ordination therefore confifled merely in the 
divine defignation and appointment, as we fhall fee. 

* In things pertaining to God.' The expreffion {tcc 
'irpog TovGeov) is elliptical and facred, but what is intended 
by it, is fufficiently manifefl. The things that were ' to 
' be done with or towards God,' in his worfhip, to an- 
fwer the duties and ends of the prieflly office ; that is, to 
do the things whereby God might be appeafed, and recon-^ 
cilcd, his anger being turned away, [chap. ii. 17.] 

§5. (III.) The remaining part of the defcription, in 
this verfe, is from the end of the prieflhood. (^ho^ 
'Trpo(r(pzP-/j hoopoe rjxi Bva-icKg) * That he may offer gifts and 
* facrifices for fins.' The Hebrew word, (3"ip) com- 
prifeth the whole facerdotal performance, from firfl to 
lafl ; in bringing, fl^yi^gt *^'^<i burning the facrifices accord- 
ing to the law, (lee Lev. i. 2 — 5. and our Exercitations 
concerning the Sacrifices of the Jews.) The objedl of 
this facerdotal action is, (^(Ajpa, yjzi Bu(ricig) gifts and 
offerings ; if a diflinftion be here fuppofed, I fliould think 
that by ' gifts,' all free-will offerings might be intended ; 



and by * facrifices,' thofe that were determined as to 
occafions, times, and feafons, by the law. But I rather 
judge that the apoflle ufeth thefe tzvo ivords in general to 
cxprcfs all forts of facrificcs for fins, and therefore that ex- 
preilion (vttz^ ot^a,^TLCAjv) for fins, may refer to (Iml(x) gfts, 
as well as (Bvcriag) facrificcs. 

§ 6. (IV.) From the words thus expounded we mav 
draw the following hv'iQ^ obfcrvations : 

1. Chrlfl's participation of our nature, as necefliiry for 
the difcharge of the office of an High Pricft on our behalf, 
is a great ground of confolation to believers, a manifefl evi- 
dence that he is, and will be compalTionate towards them. 
[See chap ii. ver. lo, ii, &c.] 

2. It was the entrance of fin that made the office of 
priefthood neceffary; and therefore it was of infinite grace 
that fuch an appointment was made. Without it all holy 
intercourfe between God and man muft have ceafed ; for 
neither were thtperfons of finners meet to approach God ; 
nor was 2l\\j fcrvlce which they could perform, fuited to 
the great end which man was to look after — peace with 
God. Again, men in their own perfons had nothing to 
offer to God but their moral duties, which the law of their 
creation and the covenant of works required of them. 
Now thefe were no way meet nor able to make atonement 
for lin, — the great work now to be done with God^ ^nd 
without which every thing elfe that can be done by linners 
is of no conlideration. God therefore appointing a new 

fcrvicc for this end — that of facrifices ; appointed alio a 
new way, — the performance of a priefl in the name and 
behalf of others. And a moft gracious appointment it 
was, as that on which all blelfed intercourfe with God, 
and all hopes with him, folely depend. Though the occa- 
flon was grievous, the relief is glorious. 

3. Where there is no proper propitiatory facviiice, there 
is no proper priefl. Every priefl is to offer facrificcs for 
hn ; that is, to make atonement ; and tl>erefore Jefus 
Chrifl alone is the High Priefl of his people, for he 
alone could offer a facrificc for our lins to make atone- 

Vol, m, C 4- U 


4. It was a great privilege which the church enjoyed 
of old, in the divinely appointed reprefentation of the 
prieflhood and facrifice of Chrift, in their own typical 
priefls and facrifices : but much more glorious is our 
privilege under the gofpel, fmce our Lord Jefus hath 
taken upon him and aftually difcharged this part of his 
office, in offering an abfolutely perfeft and complete fa« 
orifice loi fin. Here is the foundation of all our peace 
and happinefs. 

5. What is to be done with God on the account of 
fin, that it may be expiated and pardoned, and that the 
people of God, who have finned, may be accepted an4 
blclTcd, is all a£tually done for them, by Jefus Chriil 
their High Prieft, in the facrifice for fin which he offered 
on their behalf. He was ordained {tcc iroog tov 0cOv) 
* to do all things with God,' that were to be done for 
us ; tliat we might be pardoned, fan£lified, and faved. — 
Thi"^ he undertook when he undertook his office. If any 
one thing be omitted, as good all were fo ; for aiTuredly 
iio'ie btfides himfelf in heaven or earth could do ought 
in this matter ; but he hath faithfully, mercifully, and 
fully done all that was to be done with God on our be- 
half. Particularly, as the grand and only foundation of 
l:app intercourfe between heaven and earth, he hath of- 
fered that great facrifice which was promifed and repre- 
fented from the foundation of the world. 



Verse 2. 

who can have compassion on the ignorant, 
and on them that are out of the way, for 
he himself is compassed with infirmity. 

§ I. Introdu^ory remarks, and the fuhjccf Jiatcd. § 2. (I.) 

u^ necefjliry qualificathn of a High Fr'iejir, § 3. (II.) 

'The peculiar objed of hh facerdctal a^s. §4. (III.) A 

fpecidl reafon of the qualification. § 5 — 8. (IV.) Obfer- 

vat ions. § 9-. Additional cbfervations: 

§ I. X HE apoftle having befot-e jircJpofed-, doth iii this 
and the enfuing verfes farther purine, a defcription of an 
High Prieft, according to the law ; that whatever was 
'ufcful or excellent in fuch an High Prieft, was to be 
ifound in a more eminent rrtanner in Jefus Chriil, the 
only real and proper High Prieft of the church ; as alfo 
that whatever was weak and infirni in fnch a Priefl — - 
i^eceflarily attending his frail aild iinful condition, which 
feither eclipfed the glory, or weakened the efrlcacy of the 
office he difcharged — had no place in him vt all. To 
"linderlland, therefore, aright the comparifon here made 
between the High Priefl under the law, and Jefus Chrifl;, 
we muft obferve : 

1. That all real, neceflary, ufeful conditions and qua- 
lifications of an High Prieft, required by the law, were 
ifound in Jefus Chrift, as our High Prieft ; whereby lie 
anfwered the reprefentations that were made of him 
isnder the Old Teftament. 

2. Tliat whatever adhered neceftarily to the perfons of 
the High Priefts, as they v/ere iinful men, ' partakers of 
* our nature as depraved,' was not to be fought for, nor 
found in him. And to thefe there is added, as a necef- 
fary refult of both, 

C z 3. Thai 


3. That fandry tilings wherein the lingular eminency 
and pert"e£tion of this office doth confifl, were fo peculiar 
to him, as that they never were nor could be reprelented 
by the High Priefl: conilituted fuch by the law. To this 
purpofe is the obfervation of Chrysostom on the place: 

* Firrt, he fets down the things that are common to both j 
« — then declares wherein he* (Chrift) excelleth ; for fo 
' an excellency is fct out by compar'ifon, when in fome 

* things there is an equality, in others an excellency on 

* one fide, — and, if it be otherwife, there is no com- 
' parifon.' 

There are tliree things in the words : 
Hrft, a great and neceflary qualification or endowment 
of an High Priefl i he is one who is * able to have com- 

* paflion.* 

Secondly, the peculiar ohjccl of his office — a^s, pro- 
ceeding from, and fuited to that qualification ; * tliofe 

* who are ignorant, and who wander from the way.' 

Thirdly, a fpecial reafon of the qualification ; becaufe 
' he himfclf is compafled with infirmity.' 

§ 2. (I.) ' Who can have companion.' * Who catt,^ 
the word (^v^JHHii^aL) properly fignifies natural ability ; but^ 
in a fecondary fenfe, denotes alfo a inoral poiuer, with 
rcfpeft to the bounds of our duty. So (illud poffiimus 
quod jure pojjumusj ' that we can do, which we can do 

* lawfully.' Men can do many things naturally, that 
tlicy cannot do morally; that is, juflly. One (Si;;^^yxcyc^, 
potens) able, is as much as one {iKuvog, idoneus) meetly 
cj^uallfied, with difpofitions and inclinations fuited to his 
work. It includes — both the denial of an incapacity for 
what is affirmed; he is not of fuch a nature, of fuch a 
condition, or fo qualified, as that he fliould be unable ; 
that is, unmeet, or unfit for this work ; — and alfo an 
aljertion of a_politive inclination and ability for it ; who 
is able, hath nothing in nature or flate to hinder him ; is 
difpofed to it, and ready for it. 

The word, {^^^iottcc^hv) to have compajfion, is no 
where ufed in the New Teftament, but in this place ; and, 
as mofl fuppofe^ it is here ufed in a fenfe new and pecu- 


liar. Hence have interpreters fo varioufly rendered it. 
In other writers it figniiies conflantly * to moderate aiFec- 
' tions/ Thence {^e]pi07roi97ig, is modicet or moderate 
affect us ; qui modu?n tenet in animi f>£rturbaUonibusJ ' one 
* who is moderate in his afFedlions ; who exceeds not due 
' meafures in perturbations of mind.' So {uijoioTr^zOo^ is 
moderate fenej to bear any thing, elpecially provocations 
to anger, moderately, without any great commotion of 
aiFeftions, fo as to be ftirred up to wrath, feverity, and 
difpleafure. If the word be ufed in this fenfe, then re- 
ipe£t is iiad to wliat of provocation and exafperation in 
thofe who are ignorant and out of the way. The High 
Pried is one who is fit and able to bear, « moderately' and 
quietly, with the failings, mifcarriages, and lins of thofe 
for whom he executes his office, not breaking out into 
any anger, or ' excefs' of indignation againfl them, by 
reafon of their infirmities. And this applied to Jefus 
Chriil is a matter of the highefl encouragement and con- 
folation to believers. Were there not an abfolute fuffi- 
ciency of this difpofition in him, and that as to all 
occurrences, he mull needs cafl us off in difpleafure. — 
But rather, by the original word {^.fjniog) in this com- 
pofition, the apoflle intends the jufl and due meafure of a 
difpofition to compaflion ; yet not implying that he fcts 
hounds to it with refpe£l to any excefs \ he is one that doth 
not comt JJjort herein, who will not fail in any inflance, 
who hath a fufficient meafure of it to anfwer the condition 
and necefiities of all with whom he hath to do. And 
this doth not infer a new fenfe diflindl from that before- 
mentioned ; but farther explains it, according to the in- 
tention of the apoflle, in the peculiar ufe of the word. 

I fee no reafon to confine myfelf to either of thefe 
fenfes precifely ; but do rather think, that the apoflle on 
purpofe made ufe of this term to include them both. 
For fuppofe the obje£l of this qualification of the High 
Priefl to be the ignorance and wanderings of his people, 
confidered as provoking to him [elf, as every fin is attended 
with provocation, then the word imports one (qui poteji 
moderate ^crrc) * vy^ho is able to hear with them, vjith that 

* due 


* due moderation of mind and affe£tion, as not to have any 
' vehement commotions of the one or the other againffc 

* them/ For, if he Ihould be liable to fuch impreflion, 
he would be provoked to call them * rebels/ as did Mofes, 
and to fay, as in the prophet, I will feed you no more, 

* that that dieth let it die,' [Zech. xi. 9.] But he is able 
to bear with them patiently and meekly^ fo as to continue 
in the faithful diicharge of his office towards them. This 
Mofes was not able always to do, [Num. xi. 12.] * Have 

* I conceived all this people ? Have I begotten them^ that 
' thou fliouldell fay to me, carry them in thy bofom, as 

* a nurfing father beareth the fucking child ?' Yet this is 
required in an High Prieft, and that he fhould no more 
caft off poor linners for their ' ignorance and wanderings,' 
than a nurling father fhould call away a fucking child 
for its crying or forwardnefs. So our apoille, in his 
imitation of Jefus Chrift, affirms^ that in the church he 

* was gentle among them, as a nurfe cherifheth her 
' children/ [I. Thef. ii. 7.] Not eafy to be provoked, 
not ready to take offence, or call off the neceffary care. 
Jefus Chrift our High Prieft is able, with all meeknefs 
and gentlenefsj with patience and moderation, to bear the 
infirmities, lins, and provocations of his people, even as 
a nurfe, or a nurfmg father, beareth with the w^eaknefs 
and forwardnefs of a poor infant. —On the other hand : 
fuppofe the immediate objc£l of this qualification of the 
High Priefl, to be the fins, temptations, and infirmities 
of his people, as they are grievous, troublcfome, and 
dangerous to themfelvcs^ then the term fignifies his tiatur^ 
and difpofition, as meet, prepared and inclified fo to 
commiferate, and confequently to relieve, as Ihall be 

fufficient on all occaiions. He is one that wants no part 
nor degree of a compafBonate frame of heart towards 
them. Both thefe the v/ord fignifies as diverfly applied, 
and both of them, if I miftake not, are intended by the 
apoflie ; and for this end, that they might be both included, 
did he make ufe of this fingular word. At leafl, I am 
not able to embrace either of thefe fenfes to the exclufion 
of the other. An High Prielt, therefore, is one who 6a« 




quietly bear with the weakaeiTes and finful provocations 
of them that are ignorant and wander out of the way ; as 
alfo to pity them to fuch a degree as never to be wantino- 
to their help. 

§ 3. (II.) The compaffion defcribed, accompanied 
with meek and patient bearing, is exercifed towards — . 

* the ignorant, and them that are out of the way.' . 

Whereas there are amongft the people of God fome, nay 
many, that are ignorant and cut of the way ; the com- 
paffion of the High Priell is to be extended to them a/l ; 
yea, this qualification doth refpedl: them c/rn^y, fo that 
they need not to be difcouraged, but may boldly make 
ufe of his gracious aids in every time of dillrefs. But 
properly it is the ' whole people of God,' who are thus 
defcribed, as they lie under the care and eye of theif 
High Prieft. Bat bccaufe alfo it is their duty to make 
application to him for their relief, wdiich they will not 
do without a fen^e of their want ; it is required, more^ 
over, in this defcription, that they be burdened with an 
apprehenfion of the guilt and danger of their < ignorance 

* and wanderings/ (Toig ty.yvoiiri) « To them that are 

* ignorant ;' not the mere affedion of the mind, or igno- 
rance itfelf, but the confequence and efFeds of it ia 
a£lual fms, are principally intended. To fuch as arc 
obnoxious to finning, and adlually do fin, through the 
ignorance and darknefs of their minds. There was under 
the law a facrifice provided for them who finned, (njj trn) 
through ignorance, or error, [Lev. iv. Num. xv. 27 — 30.] 

* If any foul fin through ignorance, then he fliall bring 

* a fhe-goat of the firft year for a fin-ofFering ; and the 

* Prieft flialj make atonement for the foul that finneth 

* ignorantly ; when he finneth by ignorance before the 

* Lord, to make an atonement for him, and it Ihall be 

* forgiven him. But the foul that doth ought prcfump^ 

* tuQuJly, with an high hand, the fame reproacheth the 

* Lord, and that foul fhall be cut off from among his 

* people.' And it is fo alfo under the gofpel ; for after 
men profefs an intereft in the facrifice of Chriil for their 
j unification and faudification, there are fins they may 

a faH 


fall into prefumptuoufly, and with an high handj for 
which there is no relief. * For if we iin wilfully after we 

* have received the knowledge of the truth, there remain- 
' eth no more facrifice for fins ; but a fearful looking for 

* of judgement, and fiery indignation, which fhiall devour 

* the adverfarics,' [Heb. x. 26, 27.] All other iins 
whatever come within the rank of them which are com- 
mitted by * ignorance,' or error of mind. Of thcfe there 
is no man that liveth, and is not guilty. [Ecclef. vii. 20, 
I. Sam. ii. 2.] Yea, they are fo multiplied that no man 
living can underfland them, [Pfal. xix. 13.] By fins of 
jgnorance then are not undcrftood merely thofe which 
arofe fex Ignorantia juris) * from ignorance of the law,' 
doing what it forbade, as not knowing it was forbidden, 
and omitting what was commanded, as not knowing it 
was commanded ; but fins of ignorance are alfo comrnitted 
when the mind, or practical underftanding (being corrupted 
or entangled by the power of fm, and its apparently ad- 
vantageous circumflances) doth not attend to its duty, or 
the rule of a'll its actions, whence arifes actual fin. And 
this is the principal caufe of all the fins of our life. He 
adds; {kocl TrKocvcoixsvoig) * them that ivandcr out of the way. ^ 
This epiftle mentions the error of the heart, * They err 

* always in their hearts \ and the error of our waysy as 
here. The former is the heart's diflike of the ways of 
God, and voluntary rellnquifliment of them, which 
anfwers to the prefumptuous finning before mentroned, 
and is no obje£l of compailion either in God, or our High 
Prieft, [fee chap. iii. 11.] A wandering in men's ways 
may be, when yet their hearts are upright with God ; lb 
it is faid of Afa, that his heart w^as perfect all his days, 
[II. Chron. xv. 17.] yet his great wanderings from the 
ways of God are recorded, [chap. xv. 7 — 12.] Who then 
are thefe (01 TfKc/.ycoLLsyoi) wanderers ? Even thofe who, 
by the power of their temptations, have been feduced and 
turned from the flralt paths of holy obedience, and have 
wandered in fome crooked paths of their own. 

§ 4. (III.) The fpecial rcafoyi of the qualifications is, 
* — ' for that he himfelf alfo is cornpaffed \Vith inlirmity,.' 



(Etts/, qimilamj feeing it is lb, [^lai (zvjoc) ' that even he 
hhnfclf\ his own ftate and condition will mind him of hi? 
duty in this matter {7rspix,si]oci oio-Qiviiocv) is compajfed whb 
infirmity : this is more than if he had faid that he was 
(oca-9cvrig) weak and infirm. He is befet, and * compaiTed 
* about on every hand with infirmity.' Nothing hinders 
but that we may take the word here in its moft compre- 
henfive fi^nification, for infirmities of all forts, natural, 
moral, and occafional. For the firft fort do naturally at- 
tend the condition of human nature, and therefore are 
infeparable from him that would difcharge aright the office 
of a prieft. And the following verfe affirming, that for 
' this caufe,* it was neceffary for him to * offer a facrifice 
' for himfelf,' declares dire£lly, that his moral or fimple 
infirmities are included. The High Prieft himfelf was 
fubje£l to fin as the reft of the people. Whence there 
were peculiar facrifices appointed for the anointed Prieft 
to offer for himfelf and his own fin. And for the laji^ or 
infirmities in bodily diftempers, ficknefs and death, it is a 
mecelfary confequent of the former. Wherefore, as thefc 
Words refped them that go before, or yield a reafon why 
the High Prieft is fuch a one as can have compaffion oil 
the ignorant, they exprefs the infirmity of nature, which, 
inclined him thereunto from a fenfe of his own weaknefs 
and fufferings. As they refped what enfues, [ver. 3.] 
they intend his moral or fimple infirmities, with their con- 
fequences, from wdience it was neceffary that he fhould 
offer facrifice for himfelf. And in the latter {q\\{q, the 
things intended belong intirely to the real High Prieft ; 
that natural infirmity whereof our Lord Chrift had full 
experience, is every way fufficient to anfwer the ends of 
the prieftly office. And this alone was that which qualified 
the legal high prieft with due compaffion ; for his moral 
ii.lfirmity was of no advantage to him, fo as to help his 
Gompafiion towards the people, which was, as all other 
graces, weakened thereby: it is therefore mentioned by 
the apoflle only, as a reafon why he was appointed to 
offer facrifice for himfelf, which Chrift was not to do. 
Now Chrift being abfolutely free from this kind of in- 
VoL. HI. ' D firmity. 


firmity, yet made fenfible of one by the other, doth in a 
moll perfect manner perform all that is needful to be done 
on our behalf. 

§ 5- (^^0 O'V- ^' * CompafTion,' and meek forbear-* 
ance in thofe from whom we expeft help and relief, is a 
great tnotrve and encouragement to faith, affiance, and ex- 
pe«flatioil of thofe favours. No man will expe6l any good 
or kindnefs from one whom he looks upon as fevere, in- 
compalTionatc, and ready to lay hold on occafions of 
WTathful anger. Wherefore God him.felf doth not more 
properly, or in a more engaging manner, fet forth any 
property of his nature, than he doth his compa£ion, long, 
fufFering, and forbearance towards finners. And as he 
propofeth them to us for our encouragement, fo he de- 
clares his approbation of our faith in them. * He de- 
' lighteth in them that hope in his mercy,' [Pfal. xxxiii. 
1 8.] Wherefore the great recompence that God gives to 
linners from firft to laft, is from his compajjioyi and for- 
bearance. And for our Lord Jefus Chrift, as mediator, we 
have evinced, that all things were fo ordered with refpe<^ 
to him, as that he might be filled with tender compaffion 
and forbearance towards finners, which we greatly iland 
in need of, and which is the greateft encouragement of 
which v/e are made partakers. Confidered either as to- 
our fins or fufferings, we cannot maintain a life of faith 
without a due apprehenfion of it. 

§ 6. Ohf. 1, Wherefore the life of our fouls is princi- 
pally maintained upon this * compaflion' of our High 
Prieii : being able to bear with us in our provocations, and 
to pity us in our weaknefs and difiirefies. To this purpofe 
is the promife concerning him. If. xl. 1 1.] What believer 
is there that doth not conftantly admire how the Lord 
Jefus Chrift hath patiently borne with him in the fre- 
quency of his daily failings ? There is not a day wherein 
we make good the engagements of our own hearts. And 
that we are yet accepted with him, is wholly owing to his 
being able to bear with us in all patience and gracious 

§ 7- 

Ver.2, epistle to the HEBREWS. i^ 

§ 7- ^kf' 3- Though every fin hath In it the whole 
nature of iin, rendering che finner obnoxious to the curie 
of the law, yet there are feveral degrees of fm, fome being 
accompanied with a greater guilt than others. The papifts 
have a diltinftion of lins into mortal and venial^ which is 
the foundation of one moiety of their fuperflition. The 
former, they fay, are fuch as in their own nature defervc 
death eternal, fo that there is no deliverance from the 
guilt of them without a£lual contrition and repentance : 
but the latter are flight and fmall lins, fuch as are eafily 
expiated by an obfervance of fome outward rites of the 
church, at leafl they endanger no man's eternal falvation, 
whether repented of or not. The w^orft is but a turn in 
purgatory, or the ^^j>^«<:^ of a pardon. Bccaufe this dif- 
tin6lion is rejefted by proteflants, they accufe them for 
teaching that all fins are equal. But this they dp un- 
juftly ; for we maintain that there is a diftm^lion of fins 
with refped to — the perfons that commit them. But 
whence is this difference ? Is it that the fin is lefs in belie- 
vers than in other men ? or is it becaufe God is lefs dif- 
pleafed with fin in them than the unbelieving ? Nay, God 
is equally difpleafed with equal fins in whomfoever found ; 
and if there be any difference, he is more difpleafed. with 
fin in believers than in any others ; but the difference 
arifeth merely from the event. Regenerate perfons will, 
through grace, certainly ufe the means of grace and repen- 
tance for the obtaining of pardon, which the other will not; 
and \{ they alio are affifted fo to do, even they in like man- 
ner fhall obtain forgivenefs. No man therefore can take 
any true relief againfl the guilt of fin from his fiatc and 
condition ; which may be an aggravation, but can be no 
alleviation of it. — Again, there are degrees of fin amongfl 
the unrcgenerate, who live in a courfe of fin all their days. 
And fometimes here, but certainly hereafter, God deals 
with them not only according to theiry?^/^ of fin, and their 
courfe of fin, but according to the degrees and aggra-jations 
of fin in great variety. All do not fin equally, nor fiiall 
all be equally puniflied. 

D 2 f 8, 


§ 8. Obf. 4. Our * ignorance' is both our calamity, 
our fin, and an occafion of many fms to us. Having 
declared that the high priefl was firll to offer facrifices for 
the fins of men, and then that he was to be compaflionate 
towards them, both in their fins and forrows ; the firfl 
inflance which the apoflle gives of thofe who are concern- 
ed herein, is of * them that are ignorant/ How fmall a 
portion is it that w:e know of God ! We cannot by 
fearching find out the Almighty to perfection, fuch know- 
ledge is too wonderful for us. If we know him fo as to 
believe, fear, aiid obey him, it is all that is promifed us 
in this life. Wherefore let y;he befl of us take care that 
we be not puffed up with a vain conceit of our knowledge, 
Alas ! hozu many things are to be known in God, that we 
have no knowledge of; and nothing do we know as w^e 
ought, or as it fhall be known. Let us endeavour, 
therefore, in the conftant ufe of all means, to grow in 
the knowledge of God, and our Lord and Saviour Jefus 
Chrifl ; and the more we learn, the more we iliall fee is 
to be learned. Let us long for the time, or rather that 
eternity, when all thefe fhades fliall fly away ; all dark- 
nefs be renioved from our minds, and all intercepting 
veils from about the divine being and glory ; when we 
fliall fee him as he is, with open face, and know as we 
are known, which is the eternal life and bleflednefs of our 
fouls. But while we are on earth, who is not fenfible of 
the inconveniences and perplexities that he is continually 
cafl into by the remains of darknefs and ignorance ? who 
is not fenfible how much his love and obedience are weak- 
ened by them ? Herein then our merciful High Priefl exer- 
cifeth * compaflion' towards us, and leads us on, if we 
are net flothfully wanting to ourfelves, with frefh difco- 
verles of divine light and truth, which — although they are 
not abfolutely fatisfa^Slory to the foul, nor do utterly take 
away its thirft after the all-fulnefs of the eternal fountain 
of them ; yet — hold our fouls in life, relieve us from fre- 
quent furprifals, and conflantly increafe our knowledge 
to the perfeft day, 

§ 9^ 


§ 9. We fhall conclude with the following additional 

1. Sin is a wandering from the wav ; [fee chap. iii. 10.] 

2. No fort of finners are excluded from an interefl in. 
the care and Icve of our compafiionate High Prieft, but 
only thofe who exclude themfelves by their unbelief. 

3. It was well for us, and enough for us, that the 
Lord Chrift was encompailed with the Jinlefs infirmities of 
our nature. 

4. God can teach a fan^lified ufe of fuiful infirmities; 
as he did to the priefts under the law. 

Verse 3, 

and by reason hereof he ought as for the 
people, so also for himself, to offer for 


§ I. (I.) The words explained. § 2. j^n ohjedion an^ 
fwpred. § 3. (II.) Obfervations. I. The abfolute holi- 

nefs of Chrift had a fignal influence on the efficacy of his 
facrifice^ and is a great encouragctncjit to us. § 4. 2, 

fVhoever daaleth zvith God or' man about the fins of others, 
Jhould look well in the firfi place to hii own^ 

§ I. (I.) x\ND by reafon hereof:' the pronoun 
(ra,'j]yj]/) this, plainly and immediately refers to (cco-9svciczv, 
propter banc, or if am infirmitatemj * infirmity.'' Had the 
high prieft under the law been without any linful infirmi- 
ty, as the Lord Chrift was, he fhould have had nothing 
to do, but to offer facrifice for the fins of the people. 
B.ut it was otherwife with him; (o(pi/Ac/) he ought to fufFer 
for his own fins ; the condition wherein he was, as well 
as the divine appointment, required it. (¥s.cc9oog Trspi th 
Mki) ^ h\ like meaner as f^ the people,' that is, either 



the whole people collecllvely, or all the people diftribu- 
tively, as their occafions required. In tht former way the 
great anniverfary facrifice, which he celebrated in his own 
perfon for the whole body of the people, is principally in- 
tended: [Levit. xvi. 16, 24.] to which we may add the 
daily facritice belonging to the conflant fervice of the 
temple, which is therefore ufed fynechdochically for the 
whole worfhip thereof, [Dan. viii. 11, 12.] For herein 
alfo was the whole church equally concerned. In the 
latter way it refpe^ls all thofe occafional facrifices, whether 
for fin or trefpaffes, or free-will offerings, which were 
continually to be ofrered by the priefts alone, fo for him- 
fef\ in like manner, on the fame grounds, and for the 
fame reafons, that he offered for the people. He had a 
common intereft with 'them in their daily facrifices, which 
was the public worlhip of the whole church : and therein 
he offered facrifice for himfelf alfo, together with the peo- 
ple, becaufe he was encompafled with infirmities, and ob- 
noxious to fin, and fo flood in no lefs need of atonement 
and expiation than they. Expofitors generally and juftly 
agree, that this is peculiar to the High Priefl according to 
the law, the Lord Jefus Chrifl being neither intended nor 
included in this expreffion. 

§ 2. There remaineth one difficulty only to be re^ 
moved, which may arife from the confederation of this dif-, 
courfe, for if the high priefl of old, notwithflanding his 
own fins, could firfl offerTor himfelf, and then for the 
people, and fo make expiation for all fin, what neceffity 
was there that our High Priefl fliould be abfolu^tely free 
from all fin, as our apoflle declares he was, and that it 
was neceffary he fhould be? [Chap. vii. 25, 26.] For 
it fcems, according to this precedent, he might firfl have 
offered for his own fin, and then for ours. — We reply, 

I. It is one thing to expiate fin typically, and another 
to do it really. One thing to do it in reprefentation by 
virtue of fomewhat elfe, another to do it effe^lually by 
itfelf. The firfl mi^^ht be done by them that were finners, 
the latter could not, 

7, 2c That 



2. That a real atonement might be made for fin, it was 
required that our nature, which was to fuiier and to be 
offered, fliould be united to the divine nature in theperfon 
of the Son of God • but this it eould not be, had it not 
been abfolutcly finlefs. 

§ 3. (II.) Obf. I. The abfohjte holinefs and fpctlefs 
innocency of Jefus Chrifi: in his offering himfelf, had a 
fignal influence on the efHcacy of his lacrifice, and is a 
great encouragement to our faith and confolation. Had 
he any fin of his own he could never have taken all fin 
from us. From hence it was, that what he did was fo 
acceptable to God, and that what he fuftered v/as juflly 
imputed to us, feeing there was no caufe in himfeif why 
he fliould fufFer at all, [II. Cor. v. 21.] ' He made him 
' to be fin for us, who knew no fin, that we might be 

* made the righteous of God in him.' The apoftle Peter, 
mentioning the redemption which we have by his blood, in 
the facrifice of himfelf, fays, it was ' as of a lamb without 
^ fpot, and without blemifh,' [I. Pet. i. 19.] And treat- 
ing again of the fame matter, he adds, ^ who did no fixn, 

* neither was guile found in his mouth, [chap. ii. 22.] 

§ 4. Obf. 2. Vv^hoever dealeth v^ith God or man about 
the fin of others, fhould look well in the firfl place to his 
own. The high prieft was to take care about, and firfb 
to offer for his own fins, and then for the fins of the pto- 
pie. And they who follow not this method, will mif- 
carry in their work. It is the greatefl evidence of hypo- 
crify for men to be fevere toward the fins of others^ and 
carelefs about their own. By fuch perfons are the fouls 
of men ruined ; they undertake the difpenfation of the 
gofpel for their converfion to God, and yet know nothing 
of it themfelves. With what confidence, with what con- 
fcience can we endeavour this towards others, if we do not 
firfl take the highefi: care of the matter ourfclves ? Some 
that fhould watch over others, are open and profligate fin- 
ners themfelves. The preaching, exhortations, and re- 
proofs of fuch perfons, do but render them the more con- 
temptible, and on many accounts tend to the hardening 
of thofe whom they pretend to inilrudl. And where men 




reo-ard iniquity in their hearts, although there be no no- 
toriety in their tranfgreffions, they will grow languid and 
carelefs in their watch over others: and if they keep up 
the outward form, it will be a great means of hardening 
themielves ni their own fin. I look on this as one of the 
createft blefTings of the miniftry, that we have that en- 
joined us to do with refped to others, which we neither 
can, nor will diligently attend to, if we do not iirft en- 
deavour to have its effeft upon ourfelves. It behoves us 
therefore in all things, wherein we may deal with others 
about fin, to take care of ourfelves in the firll place, that 
our confciences may be purged from dead works, whils 
we ferve the living God. 

Verse 4. 


§ I, 2. (L) The words explained. § 3. (II.) Obferva-^ 
t'lons. I . It is an ad of fovereignty in God to call whom 
he will to his work, efpecially to that of honour and dignity 
in his houfe. § 4. Wherein confifts an ordinary call to the 
miniftry. § 5. 2. 7V(? work for God will warrant our 
engaging in it, unlefs we are called thereto,- 

§ I. (I.) 1 HE foregoing verfes declare \ht perfonal qua- 
lifications of high prlefls ; but thefe alone are not fuiicient 
aftually to inveil any one with that office ; it is required 
moreover, that he be lawfully called. The former makes 
him meet for it, and this gives him his right to it. There 
is no difficulty in rendering thefe words, and confequent- 
ly very little difference among tranllators. The words 
may be taken as a negative univerfal propofition, w^ith a 
particular exception fubjoined. No man taketh this ho- 

Ver.4. epistle to THE HEBREWS, if 

nour to himfelf, but only he who is called. Or; they 
may be refolved into two disjunftivc propolitions ; the 
one univerfally negative without exception or limitation ; 
no man taketh this honour to himfelf: the other particu- 
larly affirmative, he that is called of God doth receive the 

(Ovx, Eciv]^ Tig Ka'iJL[3c^v:-i) * Any one doth not take to 
* himfelf,' that is, no man doth. And this verb (Xoiy^f^oiVCAi) 
is not here fimply named (fumo) to take ; but (affumo) to 
take upon^ to take to him ; or as it fometlmes fignifies, 
(frehendo^ corriplo) to take unduly, by laying hold of any 
thing. No man taketh, that is, according to the law, or 
divine inllitution, {tyiv TijJiYiv) the honour, either the office 
itfelf, or the dignity of it, this honourable office, without 
authority from God, fuch as men would naturally defiie, 
and obtrude themfelves into, had not God fet bounds to 
their ambition by his law, 

§ 2. {AXKoi KccXii^svog) * But he that is called of 
^ God;' he hath, he receiveth the honour of his office, 
God doth, as it were, look on a perfon among others, 
and calls him out to himfelf, [Exod. xxviii. i.] — 
(Kcc^uTTcp Koci AccpcAjv) * Even as Aaron,* in like manner 
as Aaron. The note of iimilitude is regulated, either by 
the word called, or by the fuhjeSt of the in fiance, Aaron. 
If by the former, no more is intended but he muft have a 
^ call' from God, as Aaron had ; but if by the latter, thtn 
the * fpecial manner and nature of the call' is limited and 
determined ; he muft be called immediately, and in an ex- 
traordinary way\ which laft is the fenfe of the words and 
place. Our apoftle difputes here about the ere£lion of a 
new priefthood, fuch as was that of Chrift. Herein no 
ordinary call, no legal conftitution, rio fucceffion, could 
take place. Again, the note of fimilitude exprefleth an 
agreement in an * extraordinary call,* but not in its man- 
ner and fpecial kind ; for that of Chrift, as to the manner, 
was incomparably more excellent and glorious than that 
of Aaron. 

§ 3. (II.) Obf. I. It is an a£l of fovereignty in God 
to call whom he pleafeth to his work and fpecial fervice, 

Vol. IIL E and 


and eminently fo, when it is to any place of honour and 
dignity in his church. The office of priefthood among 
the Jews was, at the firft plantation of the church, the 
highefl and moil honourable ; and who would not think 
now but that God would call Mofes to this dignity, and fo 
fecure alfo the honour of his poilerity after him ? But he 
takes another courfe, and calls Aaron and his family, 
leaving Mofes and his children after him in the ordinary 
Tank of Levites. By a mere aft of fovereign pleafure, 
God chofe him from the many thoufands of his brethren. 
Under the New Teflament none was ever called to greater 
dignity, higher honour, or more eminent employment, 
than the apoflle Paul. Chrift takes him in the midll of 
his perfecuting madnefs and blafphemy, turns his heart 
to himfelf, and calls him to be his apoflle, and honoured 
witnefs, bearing his name to the ends of the earth. And 
this he himfelf mentions, on all occafions, as an effeft of 
fovereign grace and mercy. What merit was there, what 
previous difpolition to their work, in a few iifhermeu 
about the lake of Tiberius, or fea of Galilee, that our 
Lord Jefus Chrifl fhould call them to be his apoflles, ad- 
vancing them to twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes 
of Ifrael ? 

§ 4. In his ordinary calls there is the fame fovereignty, 
though fomewhat otherwife exercifed? for in fuch a call 
there are three things: 

1. A providential defignation of a perfon to fuch an 
office or employment. When any office in the houfe of 
God, fuppofe that of the min'iftry^ is fixed and eflablifhed, 
the firft thing that God doth in the call of any one 
to it, is the providential difpofition of the circumftances 
of his life, direfting his thoughts and defigns towards fuch 
an end. 

2. It is a part of this call of God, when he bleffeth 
and profpereth the endeavours of men to prepare them- 
felves with thofe previous difpofitions and qualifications 
as are necelTary to the aftual fafception of this office. 
8uch as an inclination of their hearts in compliance with 



his defignation: an efpecial bleffing of their endeavours 
for the due improvement of their natural faculties and 
abilities in ftudy and learning; the commuaication of 
peculiar gifts, rendering diem able to difcharge the duty 
of their office ; and an outward call according to rule, 
for admiffion into the church : in all which God a£ts 
according to his own will and pleafure. Hence we Ihould 
cultivate an awful reverence of God, and an holy rea- 
dinefs to comply with his call, and not run away from 
it, as did Jonah, [chap, i.] Nor be weary of it becaufe 
of difficulty and oppolition, as at fundry times it was rea- 
dy to befall Jeremiah, [chap. XV. 10. chap. xx. 7 — q.] 
much lefs defert it on any earthly account whatever; fee- 
ing that he who fets his hand to this plough and takes it 
back again, is -unworthy of the kingdom of heaven: and 
it is certain that he who deferts his calling on worldly 
accounts, firft took it up on no other. We may alfo 
learn hence, not to envy one another, on account of what- 
ever God is pleafed to call any to. 

§ 5. We may further obferve — The higheft excellency 
and utmofl neceffity of any work to be done for God in 
this world, will not warrant our engaging in it, unlefs 
we are called thereto. Yea, — The more excellent any 
Work of God is, the more exprefs ought our call to be. 
And — It is a great dignity and honour to be duly called 
to any feryice, or office, in the houfe of God, 

E % Versb 


Verse ^i 


§ I — 3. (I.) Explanatio7t of the words. § 4. (II.) Ohfer- 
vat'ions. I. T^he office of a High Prieft over the houfe of 
God, was an honour and glory to Jefus Chri/i. § 5. 2. 
Relation and love are the caufe of God's committing all au-^ 
thority over the church to Jefus Chrifi, 

§ I. (I.) X HE defcription of an High Pried according 
to the law, with refped to his nature and employment, 
(ver. I.) his qualifications, (ver 2.) his fpecial duty with 
regard to himfelf and others, (ver. 3.) and his call, (ver. 
4.) being completed, we have in this verfe an application 
of the whole to our Lord Jefus Chrift. 

(Ovju) Kcci) ^ fo alfof' and foy or, in like manner, re- 
ferring to the lafl exprefs initance of a call to office. As 
they were called of God, ' fo,' or in like manner, was 
* Chrill alfo.* This is primarily regarded, though refpedl 
may be had to it in all the particular inflances of analogy 
smd limilitude which follow. 

Chrift is an High Prieft. Had he been of the tribe of 
Levi, and of the family of Aaron, he would have been fo 
acknowledged by all ; but how he fhould become fo who 
was a ftranger to that family, who fprang of the tribe of 
Judah (concerning which Mofes fpake nothing of the 
priefthood) might be highly queftioned. Fully to re- 
ttiove the whole difficulty, the apoftle in the preceding 
verfe lavs down a conceffion in an univerfal maxim, that 
none — who had not a right thereto by virtue of an ante- 
cedent confutution, which Chrift had not, as not being 

Ver- s* epistle to the HEBREWS. ftj 

of the tribe of Levi — could be a prieft, without an im- 
mediate call from God, fuch as Aaron had, and therein ac- 
knowledgeth, that if he were not extraordinarily called of 
God, he could be no High Prieft. 

§ 2. * He glorified not himfelf to be made an High 
' Prieft.' Outward call by men, or in virtue of a divine 
legal ordinance he had none ; if, therefore, he be a Prieft 
he muft be made fo by God. Hence the Sociniam (join- 
ing with the JewsJ vainly raife a cavil againfl the Deity of 
Chrill. If he were God, fay they, why did another glorify 
him? why did he not glorify himfelf 9 There were, indeed, 
fome force in the objection againfl us, if we held that the Lord 
Meffiah were God only. But our doftrine concerning his per^ 
fon is that which is declared by our apoflle, [Phil. ii. 6 — 8.] 

* Being in the form of God, he thought it no robbery to be 
' equal with God ; but he made himfelf of no reputation, 

* and took upon him the form of a fervant, and was in 
' the likenefs of men.' But although he was perfe£lly 
and completely conflituted an High Priefl, by the a^ls of 
God the Father (which we need not here repeat) yet his 
folemn confecration and dedication, not to his office, but 
to the a£lual di [charge of it, were cfFefted by ads of his 
own, in his preparation for, and a£lual offering up him- 
felf a facrifice once for all. And fo he was perfected and 
confecrated by his own blood. Wherefore he did not 
glorify himfelf to be * made an High Priefl ;' that was an 
a£l of the will and authority of God. But how is it faid 
that Chrifl ' glorified not himfelf?* Was there an addition. 
of glory or honour made to him thereby ? Nay, doth not 
the fcripture every where declare this as an a£l of the high- 
cfl condcfcenfon in him ? How, therefore, can he be faid 
not to glorify himfelf therein? Let thofe anfwer this in- 
quiry, who deny his divine nature and being. They will 
find thcmfelves in the fame condition as the Pharifees, 
when ouv Saviour pofed them with a queilion to the fame 
purpofe, viz. how David came to call Chrifl his Lord, 
.who was to be his fon fo long after ? To us thefc tilings 
are clear and evident ; for if we confider the divine nature 
©f Chriil^ it v/as an infinite condcfcenuon in him to take 



our nature, and therein to execute the office of a prlell 
for us ; yet with refpeft to the nature affumed, the office 
itlclf was an honour and dignity to him. 

§ 3. * But he that faid unto him.' There is an elhpfis in 
the words, which muft be fupphed to complete the anti- 
theiis ; ' hut hQ glorified him who faid, 5cc.' 

It is not eafily apprehended how the apoftle confirmeth 
the priefthood of Chrift, or his call to office by thefe 
words : they are twice ufed elfewhere by himfelf to 
other endsy [Heb. i. 5. Afts xiii, 33.] for thefe originally 
iignify the^fd^rw^/ relation that fubfifls between the Father and 
the Son. Various have been the opinions of interpre- 
ters about the precife import of this tellimony ; but not 
to recount them, we may obferve towards afcertaining 
the true fenfe, that it is not the priejihood of Chrift, but his 
call to it, which the apoftle aflerts ; — and that he intends 
to fhew only that it was God the Father, from whom he 
had all his mediatory power, as king, prieft, and prophet 
to his church. And — this is evidently proved by the tef- 
timony, in that God declares him to be his Son^ and accepts 
of him in the difcharge of his commiiTion. For this folemn 
declaration of his relation to God the Father in his eternal 
fonfliip, and the Father's approbation of him, prove that he 
undertook nothing, but what he was defigned for -, which 
defignation is more particularly declared in the enfuing 

§ 4. Obf. I. The office of the high priefthood over 
the church of God was an honour and glory to Jefus 
Chrift. There w^as a glory upon him from the nature of 
the work itfelf; {o it was prophefied, [Zech. vi. 13.J 

* He ftiall build the temple of the Lord, and fhall bear 

* the glory.' The work was no lefs than the ' healing of 

* the breach' made between God and the whole creation 
bytheftrft apoftacy. Sin had put variance between God 
and all his creatures, [Gen. iii. Rom. viii. 20.] No way 
was left (without this wondrous plan) but that God muft 
be perpetually difl^onoured, or all creatures everlaftingly 
curfed. How great, how glorious a work muft it needs be, to 
put a ftop to this entrance of confufion ; to lay hold on the 




perilliing creation, running headlong into eternal ruin, 
and to preferve it, or at leaft fome portion, fome firil fruits 
of it, from deftrudion ? Herein then was the Lord Jefus 
Chrift exceedingly glorious in his prieflly office, becaufe 
in the difcharge of it he was the only means of reftoring 
the eclipfed glory of Jehovah, and of more advan- 
tageoufly difplaying its adorable luftre ; the greatnefs of 
which work no heart can conceive. Moreover, he has 
a glory with which he is dehghted, that all his faints, in 
all parts of the world, do feveraliy and in their aflembhes, 
with all humility, love, and thankfulnefs, worfhip, blefs, 
praife, and glorify him, as the author and finiiher of their 
recovery to God, and eternal falvation. Every day do 
they come about his throne, cleave to him, and Jive in the 
admiration of his love and power. And this glory will 
be full at the latter day, and will fo hold to all eternity, 
when all his faints from the beginning to the end of the 
world fhallbe gathered to him, and Ihall abide with him, 
adoring him as their head, and Ihouting for joy while 
they behold his glory. For thefe and the like reafons it 
was that our bleifed Saviour, knowing how unable we are 
in this world to comprehend his glory, as alfo how great 
a part of our blefTednefs confills in the knowledge of it, 
makes that great requefl for us, that, after we are carried 
through our courfe of this tranfitory life, we may, as a 
principal part of our refb and reward, * be with him where 

* he is, to behold his glory.'* [John xviii. 24.] 

§ 5. Obf. 1. Relation and the /oi;^ are fountain and caufc 
of God committing all authority over the church to Jefus 
Chrift. By this exprelTion of relation and love, ' thou 

* art my Son, this day have I begotten thee,' doth the 
apoftle prove that God called him to be the High Prieft of 
the church. To the fame purpofe himfelf fpeaketli [John 
"'• 35-] ' The Father loveih the Son, and hath given all 
' things into his hand.' And this relation to God ma- 
nifefted itfelf in all he did in the difcharge of his office \ 
for faith the evangelift, * we beheld his glory, the glory as 

* of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and 
^ truth,' [John i. 14.] Now the relation intended is, 



that one fingle eternal relation of his being the Son of 
God, the only begotten of the Father. And as God de- 
clares the greatnefs of this work which none could eiFe£l 
but his Son, he who was God with himfelf ; [John i. i, 
2.] fo it is the will of God ' that all men fhould honouj 
* the Son as they honour the jFather,' [John v. 23.] The 
^ iove* intended is two-fold ; the natural and eternal love 
of the Father to the Son, and his delight in him, as par- 
ticipant of tht fame nature with himfelf, — and his a^ual 
hve towards him, on account of his infinite condefcenfton 
and grace, in undertaking this work, wherein his glory 
was fo eminently concerned, [fee Phil. ii. 6 — 11.] 

Vep-se 6, 

^s he saith also in another place, thou art a 
priest fojl ever after the orper of melchi^ 


€ I. *The connexion of the words. § 2, ^e manner of hi^ 
troducing this tejiimony. § 3. 7'he teftimony itfef. § 4, 
^he manner of Chrif*s call compared with that of Aaron. 
§ 5. Obfervatlon. 

§ I. X HIS verfe gives us a farther confirmation of the 
call of Chrifl to his office, by another teftimony taken 
from Pfal. ex. 4. And that the whole pfalm was prophe- 
tical of Jefus Chrift, I have proved before againft the ex- 
ception of the Jews, both in our exercitations and ex- 
pofition on the firfl chapter. The fubjed matter alfo fpo- 
ken of, or the priefthood of Melchifedec, with the ' order' 
thereof, the apoftle exprefily rcfumes and handles at large, 
[chap.vii.] where it muft be confidered. There is, there- 
fore, only one thing here to be inquired into, viz. how 
f^r, ov v^herein they give teftimony to the aflertlon — that 

* Chrift 


* Chriil did not glorify hinifelf to be made an High Prieft, 

* but that he was defigned thereto of God even the Father.' 
There are two things in the words: (i.) The manner 
of the introdu£lion of this new teftimony. (2.) The 
tfjlimony itfelf. 

§ 2. The/r/?; * as he faith in another:' (Kcx^^Mg ^wi) 
m the fame manner^ as he had faid in Pfah ii. * Thou art 
' my Son, this day have I begotten thee.' So great and 
important a truth had need of folemn confirmation. The 
tiling fignified is principally here intended ; and {"Kzyii) 
he faith, refers imm'sdiately to God the Father himfelf. 
That which the apoftle defigned to prove, is, that Chrift 
was called and conftituted an High Prieft by the authority 
of God the Father, by his immediate fpeaking to him. 
The Holy Ghoft by the mouth of David fpeaks thefe 
things to us, but he doth only therein declare, what the 
Father faid to the Son ; and that was it which the apofi:le 
intended to prove. * He (God) faith (ej/ ij^poo) z« another^ 
that is {\]^uXiJL(M)) pfalm, [Pfal. ex.] 

§ 3. Secondly, the tcftimony ttfelf, or the words of the 
Father to the Son, whereby the apoftle's aiTertion is con* 
firmed ; * thou art a Prieft for ever after the order of Mel- 
' chifedec' It was fufficient for the apoftle at prefent to 
produce thefe wvrds only ; but he will elfewhere make ufe 
of the manner how they were uttered, with the ' oath of 
' God,' as in the pfalm ; ' The Lord hath fworn and 
' will not repent, thou art a Prieft,' &c. And thefe words 
of verfe 4th in the pfalm, indiflblubly depend on the firft 
verfe ; ' The Lord faid unto my Lord ;' that is, God the 
Father faid to the Son, with refp^d to his incarnation and 
mediation. And this word « thou art; is (verbum con- 
Jiituttvum) a * conftituting word,' wherein the priefthood 
of Chrift v/as founded. And it may be confidcrcd, (i.) 
As declarative of God's eternal decree, with the covenant 
between Father and Son, whereby he was defigned to this 
office ; as demonftrative of his mifiion to the difcharge of 
bis office ; including alfo a fuppofition that God would 
prepare a body for him, wherein he might exercife his 
priefthood, and which he might offer to him. On the 

Vol. IU. F ^^^^^^^ 


whole, it is undeniable from this teftimony, that God 
called and appointed him to be a Prieft, which was to be 

§ 4. Thus Chrifl was called of God asr was Aaron ;■ 
that is, immediately, and in an extraordinary manner, 
which was necelTary in the iirfl eredion of that office. 
But yet, as to the fpecial manner of his call, it was every 
way more excellent and glorious than that of Aaron, 
There v^as no need of any outward ceremony to exprefs 
it ; it conlifled in the words of God fpoken immediately 
to himfelf ; which being prefent, effedlive, authoritative^ 
and not merely declarative of what God would do — by 
them, was he called and made priefl, and they are expref- 
iive of infinite love and acquiefcence. ' I'hoii art my Son, 
* thou art a Priell for ever.' They were fpoken alfo with 
the folemnity of an oath, ' the Lord hath fworn.' He 
was not, therefore, only called of God, as was Aaron, 
"but alfo in a way far more eminent and glorious. 

§ 5. We may hence obferve ; that in all things wherein 
God hath to do with mankind, Jefus Chrifh fhould have an 
abfolute pre-eminence. It was neceffary that fome things 
Ihould be made ufe of to reveal and exhibit him, which 
muft, as appointments of God, and effefts of his wifdom, 
be precious and excellent. But yet, it is in his perfouy 
that he hath the tranfcendant pre-eminence ; becaufe, 
there was in all the typical prefigurations a natural im- 
perfc£lion, fo that they could not perfe<Slly reprefent him. 
So Aaron was called in an extraordinary manner, to pre- 
figure his call to his priellhood ; but that call was ac- 
companied with much weaknefs and imperfe£lion. The 
principal dignity of all thefe reprefentations depended oil 
their refpe£t and relation to him, which exalts him in- 
finitely above them. And fo alfo is it with all the means 
of grace, whereby at prefent he is exhibited, and the be- 
nefits of his mediation communicated to us. 



Verse 7. 

who in the days of his flesh, when he had of- 
fered up prayers and supplications, with 
strong crying and tears unto him that was 
able to save him from death, and was heard 
11^ that he feared. 

§ I. Connexion of the words. § 2. (I.) The firji qtmlifica' 
t'lon of Chrift as a High Prieji, his te?nporary infirmity, 
§ 3. (11.) JVhat he did in this capacity. The ad of his 
oblation. § 4. The matter of it. § 5, 6. The manner 
of it, § 7. Its ohjed. § 8. General caufcs. §9. The 
true frame of his foul. § 10. Its effects. § 11. Limi- 
tations of thofe effects. § 12. Chrifl s prayers. § 13. 
His being heard. § 14 — 2 1. (III.) Obfervations, 

^ I. XN this verfe, two inllances of the quaUfications of 
an High Priefl are accommodated to our Lord Jefus Chrift, 
and that in the retrogade order before propofed ; /;;/?, 
an high prieft according to the law ' was compafTed with 
^ infirmities,' [ver. 3.] which is here applied to Chrift, 
even from the time he entered upon the difcharge of his 
office, ' the days of his flelh ;' fecondly, the acTing of the 
High Prieft, as fo qualified, is accommodated to him. 
For an High Prieft was appointed * that he might offer 
* gifts and fiicrifices for fins ;' and fo here it is affirmed of 
our Saviour, that he alfo ' offered' to God 5 which is ex* 
preffive of a facredotal acl. 

§ 2. (I.) Wherein confifts the qualifications of Chrift 
here firft mentioned ? ' Who in the days of his flefli.* 
(og) Who, that is {%pi(ficg) Chrifi, mentioned ver. 4. to 
whofe priefthood thence forward tcftimony is given. In 
the days of his flcfo. We may here inquire, what is 
meant by the flefh of Chrift ? And— what were the days 
qf his fiefti ? 

F 2 f^y^s 


Firft^ the fiejh of Chrifl is taken two ways, for his 
whole human nature; [John i. 14.] 'The v;ord was 

* made fieJh,' [I. Tim. iii. 16.] ' God was manifeft 

* in xhtfejh,'' [Rom. ix. 5.] * Of whom was Chriil ac- 

* cording to the 7?^,' [Heb ii. 9, 10.] ' He partook of 

* fe/h Tiud blood, &c.' In the flejh, in this fenfe, as to 
the fubflance of it, Chriil Hill contiunes. The body 
wherein he fuiTered and rofe from the dead, was altered 
\ipon his refurre(^ion and afcenfion, as to its qualities, 
"but not as to its fubftance ; it confifted ftill of flelh and 
bones. [Luke xxiv. 39.] * This ^£/^' he carried entire 
with him into heaven, where he flill continues, though 
exalted and glorified beyond our apprehenfion, [Afts i. 
II.] And in this flefh fhall he come again to judgement. 
For the union of this ' flefh' with the divine nature in 
the perfon of the Son of God, is eternally indiffoluble. 
And they overthrew the foundation of faith, who fancy 
that Lord Chrift hath another body in heaven than what 
he had on the earth ; as they (the Papi/h) alfo do make 
him to have fuch ' flefh' as they can eat every day. It is 
not therefore the flefh of Chrift in this fenfe, as abfolute\y 
confidered, which is here intended. Again, 

* Flejh^ as applied to Chrift, fignifles the frailties, 
weaknelTes, and infirmities of our nature ; or our nature 
as it is weak and infirm, during this rnortal life. So is 
the word often ufed, [Pfalm Ixxviii. 39.] 'He remem- 

* bereth that they are but (nu^n) fiejh^ that is, poor, weak, 
mortal creatures. [Pfalm Ixx, 2.] * Unto thee fhall all 

* fiefi) come \ poor, helplefs creatures, ftanding in need of 
divine aififtance. So flefh and blood is taken for that 
frinciple of corruption which muft be done away before w^e 
enter into heaven, [I. Cor. xv. 50.] And that is meant 
by the flefh of Chrift in this pUce ; he was ' compafled 

* with infirmities. ' 

Secondly, what were the ^ days* of his flefh Intended? It 
^s evident^ that in general his wholp courfe and walk in 
this world may be comprifcd herein. From his cradle to 
his grave he bare all tLe infirmities of our nature, with 
all the dolorous and grievous efFeds of thenio But the 



feafon peculiarly intended is the clofe of thofc days, in his 
laji fufferings, when all his forrows, trials, and temptations 
came to an head. The fole deiign of this expreffion is to 
Hiew that when he offered up his facriiice, he was compafT- 
ed with infirmities, which hath an efpecial influence on our 
faith and confolation. 

§ 3. (II.) An account is given oiwhat he did in thcfc 
* days of his flefh;' which in general, was his ading as a 
prieft, as 

Firjl ; the aft of his oblation, [77^00- 'zviyv^(x,q) who offcr^ 
ed. The word (7rpoo-(pspMf acccdo, appropinquoy or acce- 
dere facioj when applied to perfons or things in common, 
is to approach, to draiu yicar. But when applied to things 
facred (like mp) it iignifies (cfferoj to offer. And although 
it be fometimes ufed in the New Teftament, in the com- 
mon fenfe before mentioned, yet it alone, and no other, 
is made ufe of to exprefs an accefs with gifts and facri- 
fices, or offering on the altar. Hence it is manifelf, that 
a facredotal offering is here intended ; he offered as a 

§ 4, Secondly ; The matter of his offering is expreffed 
by (fe^xTJ/f Kcci iKfjTjpiocg) ' prayers and fupplications.' 
Both thbfe words have the fame general fignification ; and 
they alfo agree in this, that they refped an efpecial kind 
of prayer^ which is for the averting of impending evils, 
or fuch as are deferved or juftly feared. The iirft term, 
{^syjoretg, preces deprecator'icv) we properly render fuppUca- 
i'lons, (I. Tin7. ii, i.) And fupp/icationes are the fame with 
fopplicia; which term fignifies both pu7ji/7jmcnts and prayers 
for the averting of them, as in the Hebrew, the fame 
word (ni^^n) is both Jin and a facrifice for the expiation 
of it. 

The other term [iyI\viC>ioL) is no where ufed in the fcrip- 
ture but in this place. In other authors it originally iig- 
nifies a hough y or oUve-hranch, wrapped about with wool 
or bays, or fomething of the like nature, which tlicy car- 
ried in their hands, and lifted up, who were fupplicants 
^o others for obtaining peace, or averting their difplca- 
fufc. Hence is th? phrafe (vclamantQ pretcndcrc) to hold 



forth fuch covered branches. Herodian calls them (iKfl'/j- 
£iocg 9oiXXi^g} ' branches of fupphcation.' Hence the word 
came to denote a fupplicatory prayer. And this fenfe {in- 
gularly fuits the fcopc jf tiie place ; as having refped to 
the f/rffcriiigs of Chiii}., and the fear which befci him in 
the apprehenlion of them, as they were pena/. 

But it mull: alfo be here farther obferved, that whenever 
this laft mentioned term is ufed in heathen authors, with 
refpe£l to their gods, it was always accompanied with an 
expiatory facrifice ; or v\ras the peculiar name of thofe 
prayers and fupplications which they made with thofe 
facriiices. And the Jewifh high prieft was appointed in 
the great facrifice of expiation, to confcfs^ over the head of 
the fcape goat, * all the iniquities of the children of Ifraej, 
^ and all their tranfgrefTions,' [Levit. xvi. 2i.J which he 
did not without prayers for the expiation of them, and 
deliverance from the curfe of the law due to them. And 
they are not the mere fupplications of our bleiTed Saviour 
that are here intended, but as they accompanied and were 
a necelTary adjunft of the offering up of himfelf, his foul 
and body, a real and propitiatory facrifice to God. And 
therefore wherever our apofble eifewhere fpeaks of the 
oifering of Chrifi, he calls it the offering of himfelf, or of 
|iis body, [Ephef, x. 2. Hcb. ix. 14, 25, 28. chap. 
X. 10.] Here tl^erefore he exprelTeth t\\t whole facrifice of 
Chrift by the ' prayers and fupplications' wherewith it 
was accompanied. And he defcribes the facrifice or of- 
fering of Chriil by this adjuncl, for the following rea- 
Ions : 

1. To evince what he before declared, that in the days 
of his fiefli, when he ofiered up himfelf to God, he was 
encompaffed with the wcakncfs of our nature, which made 

* prayers and ^applications' necefiary for him ; when he 
cried * from the lion's mouth,' and ' the horns of uni- 

* corns,' [Pfalm xxii. 21.] He was in earnefl, and preir" 
ed to the utmoft, in the work that lay before him. 

2. That we niiglit ferioufly confider how great a work 
it was to expiate fin. As it was not to be done without 
fuffcring, fo a bare fuffering v<^ould not cfFed it. Not 

a onl-r 


only death, and a bloody death, was required, but fuch 
as was to be accompanied v;ith ' prayers and fupplicdtions.' . 
The redemption of fouls was precious, and mull have 
ceaied for ever, had not every thing been fet on work 
which is acceptable and prevalent with God. And, 

3. To fliew that the Lord Chrift had now made this 
bulinefs his own\ he had taken the whole work, and the 
whole debt of lin upon himfelf. He was now therefore to 
manage it, as if he alone v/as the perfcn concerned. And 
this rendered his ' prayers and fupplications' necelTary to 
his facrifice. And, 

4. That we might be irflrudted how to plead, and make 
life of his facrifice in our Head. If it was not, if it could 
not, be offered by him but with prayers and fupplications, 
and thofe for the averting divine wrath, and making peace' 

"with God, we may not think to be int,crefl:ed therein 
whilft under the power of lazy and fiothful unbelief. Let 
him that would go to Chrift, conlider well hov/ Chirit 
went to God for him ; which is yet farther declared, 

§ 5. Thirdly, In the manner of his oitering thefe prayers 
and fupplications, whereby he offered up himfelf alfo unto 
God. He did it {iJ.i]o6 xpocvyvic io-%vpccg) zuith Jlrcrig crf- 
ing, or a ftrong cry, and tears. To acquaint ourfelves 
fully with what is here intended, we may confider — both 
how it was exprefTed in prophecy, — and how it is related 
in his hljlory, as explanatory of what is reported here by 
our apoftle. 

In prophecy, the fupplications here intended are called 
his * roaring,' (Pfalm xxii. i.) * My God, my God, why 

* haft thou forfaken me?' Why aft thou {q far from 
helping me, and from ('n.5Mti^ nm) ' the words of my 

* roaring?' Rogitus, the proper cry of a lion is [yj^c^.vy'/\ 
iG-yjuoo'., clamor valldus) ' a ftrong and vehement outcry.' 
And it is ufed to exprefs fuch a vehemency in fupplica- 
tions, as cannot be compreflcd, but w^ill ordinarily break, 
out into fervent outcries^ [Pfalm xxx. 3.] * When I 

* kept filence,' that is, whilft he was under his perplexities 
from the guilt of fm, before he came to a full and clear 
acknowledgement of it, [as verfe 5.] * my bones waxed 



* old through my roaring all the day long/ The vehe- 
mency of his complainings confumed his natural ftrengtli. 
It is not merely the outward noile, but the inward earneft 
intenfenefs and engagednefs of heart and foul, with the 
greatnefs and depth of the occaiion, that is principally 

§ 6. We may confider the fame matter as related by 
the cvangel'ifis. The * prayers' intended are thofe which 
he offered to God during his paffion, both in the garden, 
and on the crofs. The firfl are declared, [Luke xxii. 
44.] ' And being in an agony he prayed more earneilly/ 
and his fweat was as drops of blood falling on the earth.' 
The inward frame is here declared, which our apoillc 
fhadow^s out by the external expreffions and ligns of it, 

* in ftrong cries and tears.' He prayed {sKJsvc-cfjsoov) ' with 

* more vehement intention' of mind and body. For the 
word denotes not a degree of the a£ling of grace in Chrift, 
as fome have imagined, but the higheft degree of earned- 
3iefs in the ading of his mind and body, another token of 
that wonderful conflid wherein he was engaged, which 
no heart can conceive. This produced that preternatural 
fweat, wherein (^pojU-/3o/ a-t^ajog) thick drops of blood ran 
from him to the ground. [See Pfalm xxii. 4.] Some 
would place the caufe of this agony, in thofe previous ap^ 
prehenfions he had of the corporal fufFerings which w^ere ta 
come upon him. Where then is the glory of his fpiritual 
Itrength and fortitude ? Where the beanty of the example 
he fet before us ? His outward fufFerings were indeed 
grievous; but yet confidered merely as fuch, they were 
beneath what fundry of his martyrs have been called to 
undergo for his name's fake^ And yet we know that 
many, yea, through the power of his grace, moft of them 
in all ages, have cheerfully, joyfully, and without the 
leafl conflernation of fpirit, undergone the mofl; exquifite 
tortures. And Ihall we imagine that the Son of God, who 
had advantages for his fupport and confolation infinitely 
above v/hat they had, ihould be given up to this tremen- 
dous contiift, wherein his whole nature was almoU dif- 
folyed, out of a mere apprehenjion of thofe corporal fufFer- 


ings which were coming on him ? Were thefe what de- 
prived his mind of refrefhments and confolations ? God 
forbid, that we Ihould have fuch mean thoughts of what 
he was, of what he did, of what he fuf^rcd. There 
were other caufes of thefe things, as we fhall fee immcdi- 
atelv- Again -, oi\ the crofs itfelf it is faid, (o^j/f/Doz/cre 
(poor/) [J^syccK^/], Matth. xxvii. 46.) ' he cried with a loud 
* voice ;' that is, plainly, * he prayed (p7^ xpocvyvig 
KTXvpocc) with a great outcry,'' or loud voice with a llrong 
cry. This was the manner of the facerdotal prayers of 
Chrift, with refped to his oblation ; but the other part 
which expreffed his interccjfion, as founded on his offering, 
he performed with all calmnefs and fedatenefs of mind, 
with all affurance and joyful glory, as if he were aftually 
already in heaven. [John xvii.] If therefore we com- 
pare the xxii. Pfalm, as explained by the evangelifl and 
our apoftle, with the xvii. of John, we fhall find the 
above-mentioned double facredotal prayer of our Saviour 
in behalf of the whole church, pointed out in the clearefl 
manner. He offered up prayers and fupplications with 
flrong cries and * tears.' His ' tears,* indeed, are not ex- 
preflly mentioned in the facred ffory; hxit^^'cepingv^^s one 
of thofe infirmities of our nature which he was fubjed 
to, [John xi. 35.] ' Jefua wept.' He expreffed his for- 
row thereby : and now being in the greateft diftrefs and 
forrow that reached to the foul, we may well judge that he 
poured out tears with his prayers, as here diredly men- 
tioned. So did he here offer up himfelf through the eter- 
nal Spirit. -n 1 

§ 7. Fourthly, The oZyV^ of this offering of Chrift : he 
to whom he offered up prayers and fupplications, was, 
* He that was able to fave him from death ;' that is, God, 
« To him who was able.' Ability or power is either na- 
tural or moral : natural power is ftrength and aaive 
efficiency; ill God, omnipotency. Moral power is right 
and authority ; in God, abfolute fovcreignty. And the 
Lord Chrift hath refped to the ability or power of God 
in both thefe fenfes ; in the former, as that winch he re- 
lied upon for deliverance , in the latter, as that to which 

Vol. IIL G ^^ 


he fubmittcd himfelf. The former was the objeft of his 
faithy that God by the greatnefs of his power could fup- 
port and deliver him. The latter was the objed of his 
fear^ as to the dreadful work which he had undertaken. 
Now becaufe our apoflle is upon the defcription of that 
frame of heart, and thofe actings of foul, wherewith our 
High Priefl offered himfelf for us to God, which was 
with prayers and fupplications, accompanied with flrong 
cries and tears ; I fhall conlider from thefe words three 
things : 

Firji^ What were the general caufes of the ftate and con- 
dition wherein Chrift is defcribed by our apoflle, and of 
the actings afcribed to him therein. 

Secondly, What were the immediate effe^s of the f^fFer* 
ings of our Lord in his own foul. 

thirdly. What limitations are to be alligned to them. 

§ 8. Firji, The general caufes of this wonderful ilate 
and condition. 

He coniidered God at that inftant as the Supreme Re^or 
and judge of all, the author of the law, and its avenger ; 
who had power of life and death, as the one was to be 
dellroyed and the other inflicted according to the law. He 
now coniidered God as adlually putting the law in execu- 
tion, having abfolute power and authority to give up to 
the {ling of it, or to fave therefrom. God reprefented 
himfelf to him firfl, as attended with infinite holinefs, 
tighteoufnefs, and feverity, as one that would not pafs by 
jin, nor acquit the guilty; and then as accompanied with 
fupreme or fovereign authority over him, the law, life, 
and death. He confidered death, not naturally as a fepa- 
ration of foul and body, nor yet merely as a painful fepa- 
ration ; but he looked on it as the curfe of the law, due 
to fin, infli£ted by God as a juft and righteous judge. 
Hence he himfelf is faid to be made a curfe. [Gal. iii. 
13.] This curfe was now coming on him as the fponfor 
or furety of the new covenant. For although he confi- 
dered himfelf, and the effect of things upon himfelf, yet 
he offered up thefe prayers as our Sponfor^ that the work 



of mediation which he had undertaken might have a good 
and blefled ilTue, 

§ 9. From hence we may take a view of th^Lt frame of 
foul which our Lord Jefus Chiifl was in, when he offered 
up prayers and fupplications with flrong cries and tears, 
conlideriqg God as he who had authority over the law, 
and the fentence of it that was about to be inflifted on 
him. Some have thought that upon the confidence of 
the indiffhlublenefs of his perfon, and the adlual affurance^ 
which they fuppofe he always had of the love of God, his 
fufferings couJd have no efFeft oifear^ forrow^ trouble, or 
perplexity on his foul, but only what refpefted the natural 
.enduring of pain and fliame, which he was expofed to. 
But the fcripture gives us another account of thefe things ; 
it informs us, that * he began to be afraid, and fore a- 

* mazed,' that * his foul was heavy and forrowful ta 

* death,* that he was in an agony, and afterwards cried 
out, * My God, rny God, why haft thou forfaken me?* 
under a {Q\\{t of divine dereli£tion. There was indeed a 
mighty a£ling of love in God towards us, in giving up his 
fon to death for us; and there were always in him, a great 
love to the perfon of his Son, and an ineffable complacency 
in his mediatorial ohdience, efpecially that which he exer- 
cifed in his fufferings. But yet the curfe and punifhment 
which he underwent, was an effect of vindidJive juflice^ 
and as fuch did he look upon it ; whatever was due to us 
from the juftice of God, and fentence of the law, he 
underwent and fuffered, which was the caufe of the ftate 
and condition of Chrift here defcribed. 

§10, Secondly. The effids of his fufferings in himfelf 
may be reduced to thefe two kinds : 

I . His derelidion. He was under a fufpenfion of the 
comforting influences of his relation to God. Hence was 
a part of that cry, * My God, my God, why haft thou 

* forfaken me?* And from hence, he was filled with * hea- 

* vinefs and forrow.' He fays of himfelf, that his * foul 

* was exceeding foxrov;ful even to death,' [Matt. xxvi. 
38.] which expreffions declare a forrow that is abfolutcly 
inexpreffible. And this forrow was ^he cffc£t of his penal 

G z 4cfertioni 


defeition ; for forrow was the life of the curfe. And this 
dereli£lion proceeded hence, in that, all communications 
from the divine nature to the human, beyond fubiillence, 
were voluntary, 

2. He had an Intimate fenfe o^tht wrath and difpleafure 
of God againfl the lin that was then imputed to him. 
All our fins were then caufed, by an a£l of divine and 
fupreme authority, to meet on him ; or * God laid on 
* him the iniquity of us all,' [Ifa, hii, 6,] Even all our 
guilt was imputed to him, or none of the punifliment 
due to our fins could have been juflly inflicted on him. 
In this flate of thmgs — in that great hour, and wonderful 
tranfa£lion of divine wifdom, grace, and righteoufnefs, 
whereon the glory of God, the recovery of fallen man, 
with the utter condemnation of Satan, depended — God 
v/as pleafed for a while- — to hold the fcaks of jujlice in an 
cquipoife ; that the turning of them might be more con- 
fpicuous and glorious, In the one fcale, as it were, there 
was the weight of the firll fin and apoflacy from God, 
with all its confequents, covered with the fentence of the 
law, and th? curfe of vindidtive juflice ; a weight that all 
the angels in heaven could not Hand under one moment : 
-« — In the other, were the obedience, holinefs, righteouf- 
nefs, and penal fufferings of the Sou of God, all having 
weight and worth from the infinity dignity and worthi- 
nefs oi his divine perfon. Infinite juflice kept thefe 
things for a feafon at a poife, until the Son of God, as our 
Great High Priell, by ' his prayers, tears, and fupplica-^ 
tions' prevailed. 

§11. 'Thirdly, As to the limitations of the effe£ls of 
Chriil's fufferings with refpe£l to himfelf, we may con- 
clude in general; (i.) That they were fuch only as were 
confiflent with abfolute purity, holinefs, and freedom from 
the leaft appearance of fin. (2.) Not fuch as did in the 
leail impeach the glorious union of his natures in the fame 
perfon: nor (3.) Such as took off from the dignity of his 
obedience, and the merit of his fufferings ; but were all 
jiecefTary thereto. But then (4.) as he underwent what- 
ever is grievous, dolorous, afflidive, and penal in the 



wrath of God, and fentence of the law executed ; fo thefe 
things really wrought in him forrow, amazement, anguifh, 
fear, dread, with the like pe?ia/ cfe^s of the pains of hell ; 
from which caufe it was that he offered up * prayers and 

* fupplications with ftrong cries and tears, to him that was 

* able to fave him from death ;' the event of which is de- 
fcribed in the lafl claufe of the verfe. 

§ 12. * And was heard in that which he feared.' To 
be heard in fcripture flgnifies either to be accepted in our 
requefts — or to be anfwered in them. In the firft way 
there is no doubt but the Father heard the Son always, 
[John xi. 42.] But our inquiry is here, how far the 
Lord Chrift was heard in the latter way, fo heard as to be 
delivered from what he prayed againft. Concerning this 
obfervc, that the prayers of Ghnfl in this matter were of 
two ibrts : 

1 . Conditional ; Such was that prayer for the palling of 
the cup from him, [Luke xxii. 42.] * Father, if thou 

* wilt let this cup pafs from me.' Chrift could not have 
been a man and not have an extreme averhon to the things 
that were coming upon him. Nothing is fuffering, nor 
can he penal to us, but what is grievous to our nature; 
but his mind was fortified againft the dread and terror of 
nature, fo as to come to a perfeft compofure in the will 
of God : * neverthelefs, not my will but thine be done.* 
He was heard herein, fo far as he defired to be heard. 
For although he could not but deftre deliverance from the 
the whole as he was a man ; yet he defired it not abfo- 
lutely, he was wholly fubje£led to the will of God. 

2. Abfolute\ The chief and principal fupplications that 
he offered up to him who was able to fave him from 
death were abfolute, and in them he was abfolutciy heard 
and delivered. For upon the prefentation of death to 
him, as attended with the wrath and curfc of God, he 
had deep and dreadful appreheniions of it ; and he well 
knew how unable the human nature was to undergo it, 
and prevail againft it, if not mightily fupportcd and car- 
ried through by the power of God. In this condition, it 
was part of his obedience, it was his duty to pray, that 



be might be delivered from the abfolute prevalency of it, 
that he might not be caft in his trial, that he might 
not be confounded nor condemned. This he hoped and 
believed, and therefore prayed abfolutely for it, [Ifa. L 
jy 8.] and he was abfolutely heard. For it is faid ; 

§ 13. * He was heard {o^ttq tyj$ cvKocl^siccg) from his 
fear,^ The word here ufed is in a lingular conilru£lioii 
of fpeech, and is itfelf of various fignifications. Some- 
times it is ufed for a religious reverence \ but fuch as hath 
the fear of evil joined with it. Frequently it lignifies fear 
itfelf, fuch as is accompanied with a reverential care, and 
holy circumfpedion. The adjective, {svXaj3yig) every 
where denotes a religious fear, [chap. xi. 7.) We render 
the verb in its participial form, {svXccfSyj^cig) by moved with 
fear ; that is, a reverence of God mixed with a dreadful 
apprehenfion of an approaching judgen^ent. And the ufe 
of the preposition (^tto) from^ added to (na-aKiia'Qsig) 
heard, is alfo lingular; (auditus ex metu) * heard from his 

* fear.' Therefore is this pafTage fo varioufly interpreted. 
Some read it, he was heard ' becaufe of his reverence,' or 
reverential obedience to God. Some would have the re- 
verence intended to relate to God ; the reverential refpe£t 
that God had to him, God heard him * frorn the holy 

* refped' he had for him. But thefe things are fond, and 
fuit not the deiign of the place. Others render it, (pro^ 
metu) * out of fear.' And becaufe heard * from fear,' is 
an expreffion fomewhat harih, they explain (auditus) 

* heard' by (Uberatus) ' delivered' from fear; and this is 
not improper: So Grotius; Cum mortem vehementer per ^ 
horrefcere, in hoc ex auditus fuit ut ah ifo metu liberaretur. In 
this fenfe fear internal and fubjedive is intended ; God re- 
h'eved him againft his fear^ removing it by ftrengthening 
and comforting him. Others by fear intend the thing 
feared, which fenfe our tranllators follow. He was 

* heard,' that is, ' delivered from the things which he fear- 

* ed as coming upon him.' — And to deny that the foul of 
Chrifl was engaged in an ineffable confli6l with the wrath 
of God, that his faith and truft in God were tried to the 
utmoft by the oppofition made to them, by fear, dread, 


Ver.> epistle to the HEBREWS. 45 

and a terrible apprehenfion of divine difpleafure due to our 
fins— is to renounce the benefit of his paffion, and to turn 
the whole of it into an empty ihow. 

§ 14. (IIL) It remains that we confider the obfcr- 
vations which thefe words afford us for inftruaion, 
wherein alfo their fenfe and import will be farther ex- 

Obf. 1. The Lord Jefus Chrifl himfelf had a time of 
infirmity in this world. It is true, his infirmities were 
al'i finlefs, but all troublefome and grievous. By them he 
was expofed to all forts of temptations and fufferings, 
which are the two fprings of all that is evil and dolorous 
to our nature. And thus it was with him, not for a few 
days, or a fhort feafon only, but during his whole courfe 
in this world. This the {lory of the gofpel gives us an 
account of, and the inllance of * his offering up pravcrs 

* with ilrong cries and tears,' puts out of all queftion. 
Thefe things^were real, and not adled to make a mere re- 
prefentation of them. And of this he himfelf teflifies, 
[Pfalm xxii. 6, 7.] * I am a worm and no man ; a re- 

* proach of men, and defpifed of the people : all that fee 

* me laughs me to fcorn ;' how can the infirmities of our 
nature, and a fenfe of them, be more emphatically ex- 
prefTed ? So, Pfalm Ixix. 20. * Reproach hath broken 

* my heart, and I am full of heavinefs ; I looked for fome 

* to take pity, but there was none ; and for comfor- 

* ters, but I found none.' Let us not then think it 
ilrange, if we have our feafon of weaknefs and infir- 
mity in this wcrld; whereby we are expofed to temp- 
tation and fufFering. Apt we are indeed to complain ; 
the whole nation of profefibrs is full of complaints ; one 
is in want, itreights, and poverty; another in pain, and 
a variety of troubles ; fome are in diflrefs on account of 
their relations ; fome are perfecuted, fome are tempted, 
fome prefied with private, fome with public concerns ; 
fome fick, and fome weak, and fome arc fallen aflccp. 
And thefe things are apt to make us faint, to defpond, and 
foe weary. I know not how others bear up their hearts 
and fpiritSi for my part, I have much ado to keep from 

t continual 


continual longing after the embraces of the dufl and fhades 
of the grave, as a curtain drawn between us and cverlafl- 
ing reft. In the mean time, every momentary ^^«;y/ that 
interpofeth a little between us and the wind and fun, is too 
much valued by us. But what would we have ? Do we 
coniider wh^^t and where we are, when we think firange 
of thefe things ? Thefe ate the * days of our flefli,' wherein 
thefe things arc both due to us, and unavoidable ; * Man 

• is born to trouble as the fparks fly upward,* CJf?b v. 7.] 
Our only relief in this condition, is, a due regard to our 
great example; what he did, how he behaved himfelf in * the 

* days of his fiefh,' when he had more difficulties and 
miferies to conflict with than we all. His patience was 
immovable in all; * he did not cry (with a murmuring 

* difcontent,) nor lift up, nor caufe his voice to be heard 

• in the ftreets,* [I fa. xlii. 2.] Whatever befell him he 
bore it quietly and patiently. Being bufFetted, he threa- 
tened not, being reviled, he reviled not again. As a flieep 
before her fhearers is dumb, fo he opened not his mouth. 
The whole life of Chrift was a life of fubmillion and tru/i 
in God, To this he added Q?ixnti!i fervent prayer:^ and fup^ 

§ 15. Ohf. 2. A life of glory may enfue after a life of 
infirmity. If, faith our apoftle, we have hope in this life 
tnly, then we are of all men the moft mifcrable. For be- 
iides that we are obnoxious to the fame common infirmi- 
ties within, and calamities without, with all other men, 
there is always a peculiar fort of diftrefs that they are ex- 
pofed to who live godly in Chrift Jefus. But there is no- 
thing can befall us, (unbelief excepted) but what may 
ilfue in eternal glory. 

§ 16. Obf. 3. The Lord Chrift is no more now in a 
flate of weaknefs and temptations ; the ' days of his ll.elh' 
are paft and gone, [Rev. i. 18.] * I am he that liveth, and 
'was dead, and behold I am alive for evermore.' The 
flate of infirmity and weaknefs, wherein he was obnoxi- 
ous to death is now paft, and he * lives for evermore.' 
Henceforth he dieth no more, death hath no more power 
over him ; nor any thing elfe that can give him the leaii 



trouble. With his death ended * the days of his flefh.' 
His revival, or return to life, was into abfoiute, eternal, 
unchangeable glory. He is indeed flill hated as much as 
ever, maligned as much as in the days of his flefh ; and in 
his concerns on earth, expofed to the utmofl power of 
hell and the world. But he laughs all his enemies to 
fcorn, he hath them in derifion, and in the midft of their 
wife counfels, and mighty deligns, difpofes of them, and 
all their undertakings, to his own ends and purpofes, not 
theirs : he is pleafed indeed as yet to fufFer, and to be per- 
fecuted in his faifits and fervants, but that is from a gra- 
cious condefcenfion, by virtue of a fpiritual union, not 
from any neceffity of ftate or condition. And fome may 
hence learn IkO^ff to fear him, as others to put their triifiia 

§ 17. Ohf. 4. The Lord Chrift filled up every feafon 
with the proper duty of it. The * days of his flefh' were 
the only feafon wherein he could offer to God, which he 
accordingly did. Some would not have Chrift offer him- 
feif until he came to heaven ; but then the feafon of offer- 
ing was paj}. Chrill was to ufe no * flrong cries and 
' tears' in heaven, which yet were neceffary concomitants 
of his oblation. Then only was his body capable of 
pain, his foul of forrow, his nature of difl!blution, all 
which were neceflTary to this duty. Then was he in a 
condition wherein faith, and trufl, and prayers, and tears, 
were as neceffary to himfelf as to the perfection of his 

§ 18. Ohf. 5. The Lord Jefus Chrift in offering him- 
felf for us laboured and travailed in foul to bring the 
work to a good ilfue. An hard labour it was, he went 
through it with fears, forrows, tears, outcries, prayers, 
and humble fupplications. This is called {^^Dl ^m) the 
preffing, weary, laborious travail of his foul. [Ifa. Hii. 
ir.) He laboured, was flraightened, and pained to bring 
forth his glorious birth. Let us take a httlc profpeft of 
this travail of the Redeemer's foul. 

I. All the holy mtiiral affe^lions of his foul were filled 
and extended to the utmofl capacity, in ading and fuffer- 

VoL. III. H ing. 


ing. The travail of our fouls lies much in the engage- 
ment and adings of our affedions. Who is there tkat 
hath been acquainted with grc^t fears, grt^.tf arrows, great 
defires, &c. who knows it not? Thefe had now their fails 
filled in Chrift, and that about the higheft, nobleft aiid 
inoll glorious objeds that they are capable of. 

2. All his graces^ the gracious qualifications of his mind 
and afreftions, were in like manner in the height of their 
cxercife. Both thofe whofe immediate objeft was God 
himfelf, and thofe which refpeded the Church, were ;ill 
of them excited and engaged. K^ faith and trujl in God; 
for he was to give an inftance of the excellency of faith, 
rifing above the inftance of provocation, there was in the 
unbelief of our firll parents, whereby they fell from God. 
Lov£ to mankind; as this in his divine nature was the pe- 
tuliar fpring of that infinite condefcenfion whereby he 
took our nature on him for the work of mediation; 
[Phil. ii. 6, 8.] So it wrought mightily and effedually 
in his human nature in the w4iole courfe of his obedience, 
but efpecially in his offering himfelf to God for us. Hence 
where there is mention made of his * giving himfelf for us»' 
which was in the facrifice of himfelf, commonly the caii/e 
of it is expreffcd to have been his love. The Son of God 

* loved me, and gave himfelf for me,' [Gal. ii. 20.] * ChriH 

* loved the church, and gave himfelf for it,* [Ephef. v. 25, 
26.] 'He Uved us and wafhed us from our fins in his 

* own blood,* [Rev. i. 5.] With ibis love his foul now 
travailed, and laboured to bring forth the bleffed fruits of 
it. The workings of this love in the heart of Chrill, 
during his great trial, whereby he balanced the forrow and 
diftrefs of his fufferings, no tongue can exprefs, no heart 
can conceive. — Zeal for the glory of God ; zeal is the height 
of careful felicitous love. The love of Chrift was great to 
the fouls of men ; but the life of it lay in his love to God 
and zeal for his glory. This he now laboured in, that 
God might be glorified in the falvation of the eled. 
This was committed to him, and concerning this he took 
care that it might not mifcarry. — The higheft exercife of 

'obedience to God : it is obfervcd as the height of his con^ 

■ defcenfion 


defceiifion, that ' he was obedient to death, the death of the 

* crofs,' [Phil. ii. 8.] This was the higheft inllance of 
obedience that God ever had from a creature, becaufe per* 
formed by him who was God alfo, and therefore was aa 
abundant compenfation for the difobedience of Adam. 
[Rom. V. 19.] So did he travail in the exercife of grace. 

3. He laboured alfo with refpe£t to that confiuencc of ca^ 
lam'itiesy cliftrefles, pains, and miferies, which was upon 
his whole nature. In that death of the body which he 
underwent, and the manner of it, much of the curfe of the 
]a V was executed. Hence our apoflle proves, that he was 
made a curfe for us from that of Mofes, ' Carfed is every 
' one that hangeth on a tree \ [Gal. iii. 13. Deut. xxi. 22, 
23.] for the ignominy of being ' hanged on a tree,' was 
peculiarly appointed to reprefent the * execution of the 

* curfe* of the law on Jefus Chrift, who * in his own body 
' bore our fins upon the tree,' [I. Pet. ii. 24.] And herein 
lies no fmall myftery of the wifdom of God. He would 
have a refemblance of the fufferings of Chrifl among them 
that fuffered under the fentence of the law ; but in the 
whole law there was no appointment that any one fhould 
be put to death by being ^ hanged.' Now as God fore- 
knew, that at the time of the fuffering of Chrifl the Jewifh 
nation would be under the power of the Romans, and that 
the fentence of death would be infii£led after their man- 
lier, which was by being nailed to, and * hanged on a 

* crofs,' he ordered for a prefiguration of it, that fome 
great tranfgreflbrs, as blafphemers, and open idolaters, 
(fter they were il:oned fliould be * hanged upon a tree,' to 
make a declaration of the curfe of the law inflidled on 
them. Hence it is peculiarly faid of fuch .a, one, ' He 

* that is hanged on a tree is the curfe of God ;' becaufe 
God did therein reprefent the fuffering of him, who un- 
derwent the u>hole curfe for us. 

And in this manner of his death fundry things concur- 
red ; and among thefe, may we not conhdcr it as a natu- 
ral fgn of his readinefs to embrace all Imners that lliould 
come to him, his arms, as it were, being flretchcd out to 
receive them? [Ifa, xliii. 22. and Ixv. i.] and alfo as a 

H 2 ^^^''^^ 


moral token of his condition, being left as one rejefted of 
all between heaven and earth for a feafon ; but yet really 
interpoiing between heaven and earth, the juilice of God 
and the fins of men, to make reconciliation and peace ? 
{Ephef. ii. 1 6, 17.] And may we not confider it as the 
accomplifhment of fundry types as of him who was ' hanged 
* on a tree,' as curfed of the Lord? [Deut. xxi. 22.] — 
Of the brazen ferpent, which was lifted up in the wilder* 
iiefs ? [John iii. 14. xii. 32.] — Of tht wave-offhring ? 
[Exod. xxix. 26.] Durmg all thefe things there was- 
continually in his eye that unfpeakable glory which was 
fet before him of being the repairer of the breaches of the 
creation — the recoverer of mankind — the captain of faU 
vation to all that obey him — the deftru£tion of Satan, 
with his kingdom of fin and darknefs — and in all, the 
great reftorer of divine glory, to the eternal praife of 
Jehovah. Whilft all thefe things were in the height of 
their being tranfa£l:ed, is it any wonder that the Lord 
Chrifl laboured and travailed in foul, according to the 
dcfcription here given of him ? 

§ 19. Obf. 6. The Lord Jefns at the time of his fuf- 
ferings, confidering God as the fovereign Lord of life and 
death, as the Supreme Re£lor and Judge of all, cails him- 
felf before him with moll fervent prayers for deliverance 
from the fentence of death and curfe of the law. This 
gives the true account of the deportment of our Saviour in 
his trial here defcribed. There are two great miilake$ 
about his fufFerings, and the condition of his foul therein. 
Some place him in that fecurity^ in that fenfe and enjoy- 
ment of divine Icj-ve, that they leave neither room nor rea- 
fon for tht fears, cries^ and wrejilings here mentioned ; as if 
there was nothing real in all this tranfaftion, but all things 
were alone rather for oftentation and Ihow : for, they fup- 
pofe, if Chrift was always in a full comprehenfion of di- 
vine love, and that in the light of the beatific vifion, what 
«an thefe confii£ts and complaints fignify ? Others grant, 
that he was in real diflrefs and anguiih ; but, fay they, 
it was merely on account of thofe outward fufFerings which 
were coming on him. But this, as we observed before, is 


Ver.7- epistle to the HEBREWS. ^^^ 

an intolerable Impeachment of his holy fortitude and con- 
ilancy of mind ; for the like outward things have been 
tmdergone by others, without any tokens of fuch confter- 
nation of fpirit. Wherefore to difcern aright the true 
frame of the fpirit of Chrift, with the intenfenefs of his 
cries and fupplications, the things before infilled on arc 
duly to be confidered. Hence infer ; 

§ 20. How great a matter it was to make peace witH 
God for finners, to make atonement for fin, and efiabliih. 
our reconciliation with God. This is the life and fpirit of 
our religion, the center wherein all the lines of it meet, 
[Phil. iii. 8— lo. I. Cor. ii. 2. Gal. vi. 14.] And thofe 
by whom a conllant confideration of it is neglected, arc 
Grangers to the animating fpirit of that religion whtca 
they outwardly profefs ; and therefore Satan employs ali 
)iis artifices to divert the minds of men from exercifing 
faith and a due meditation on it. To this caufe we afcribe 
much of the devotion of the Romanifs, which efFedually 
draws off the mind not only from a fpiritual contempla- 
tion of the excellency of Chrifl's offering, and its glo- 
rious benefits, but alfo from the rational comprehenfion 
of the truth of the do£lrine concerning what he did and 

On the other hand, the Socinians pleafe themfelves and 
deceive others, with a vain imagination, that there was 
no fuch ivcn-k to he done. If we may believe them, there 
y^as no atonement to be made for fin, no expiatory facrijice 
to be offered, no peace thereby to be made with God, na 
compenfation to his juftice, by anfwering the fentencc 
and curfe of the law due to fin. But furely, if they had 
not an unpardonable mixture of confidence and dexterity, 
they could not find out evafions againft fo many exprefs 
divine teftlmonies as are direftly oppofitc to their fond 
imagination, even tolerably to fatisfy their own minds ; 
or to fuppofc that any man can with patience bear the 
account they mull give of the agency, prayers, cries, 
tears, fears, wreftling, and travail of the foul of Chrifl 
on their fuppofition. But wc may pafs them over at pre- 
fent as exprefs enemies of the crofs of Chrift ; that is, of 



that crofs whereby he * made peace with God for finners,* 
[Ephef. ii. 14 — 16.] 

Others there are, who by no means approve of any 
diligent inquiry into theie myfleries. Our whole duty, 
according to them, is to be converfant m morality : but 
as for this fountain of grace ; this bafis of eternal glory; 
this demonftration of divine wifdom, holinefs, righteouf- 
iiefs, and love ; this great difcovery of the purity of the 
law, and vilenefs of fin ; this firll, great, principal fub- 
je£l of the gofpel, and motive of faith and obedience ; 
this root and caufe of all peace with God ; all fincere and 
uncorrupted love towards him ; of all joy and confolation 
from him — they think it fcarcely defer ves a place among 
the ob'jefVs of their contemplations. But fuch as are ad- 
niitted into the fellowJJyip of the fnfferings of Chrift, w^iU 
not fo eafily part with their immortal intereft therein : 
yea, I fear not to fay it, that he is likely to be the befl, 
the mofl humble, the moil holy and fruitful Chriilian, 
who is moll diligent in fpiritual inquiries into this great 
myilery of reconciliation by the blood of the crofs, and 
\n the exercife o^ faith about it. Nor is there any fuch 
powerful means of preferving the foul in a conftant ab- 
horrency of fin and watchfulnefs againfl it, as a due ap-, 
prehenlion of what it coft to make atonement for it, 
^nd we may alfo learn hence, 

. •• § 21. I. That a fight and fenfe of the wrath of God 
due' to fin, will be full of dread and terror, and will put 
men to a great confiift with wrellling for deliverance. 
We find how it was with our Lord in that condition ^ 
and fuch ^ view of the wrath of God all men will be 
brought to, fooner or later. There is a view to be had 
of it in the curfe of the law at prefent ; but there will be 
a more terrible difplay of it in the execution of that curfe 
at the lafl day, and no way is there to obtain a delive- 
rance from either, but by obtaining a fpiritual view of it 
in the crofs of Chrill, and acquiefcing by faith in that 
atonement. Hence obferve, 

§ 21. I. In all the prelTures that were on the Lord 
Jefus Chriftj in all the diflreffes he had to conflid with 

Ver.6. epistle to the HEBREWS. 


in his fufFering, his faith for deUverance and fucccfs was 
firm and unconquerable : this was the ground he ftood 
upon in all his prayers and fupplications. 

2* The fuccefs of our Lord in his trials, as our head 
and furety, is a pledge and affurance of fuccefs to us in 
siil our fpiritual confiifts. 

Verse 8. 

though he were a son, yet learned he obe* 
dience by the things which he suffered. 

§ I. IntroduBion and dependence of the words. § 2, 3. ^heir 
explanation. §4. (LJ The obedience of Chr'ift. §5. (IL) 
His learning it. § 6. (IIL) By what means. § 7. (IV.) 
Obfervations ; I . Infinite love prevailed with the Son of 
God to fuffcr for us. §8.2. Notwithjianding all his 
fufferings^ Chrift was fiill the Son of God. § 9. 3. A 
pra^ical experience of obedience^ in fome cafes, will cojl us 
dear. § 10. Other obfervations. 

§ I. X HE things difcourfed in the foregoing verfe feem 
to have an inconfiflency with the account given us con- 
cerning the perfon of Jefus Chrift, at the entrance of this 
tpiftle. For he is therein declared to be * the Son of 

* God,' and that in fuch a glorious manner as to be de- 
fervediy exalted above all the angels in heaven. He is (o 
faid to be the Son of God, as to be ' the brightnefs of 

* the Father's glory, and the exprcfs image of his perfon,' 
ieven partaker of the fame nature with him ; God, by 
whom the heavens were made, and the foundations of the 
earth were laid, [chap. i. 8 — 10.] But here he is rc- 
prcfented in a low diftreffed condition, humbly begging 
for his hfe, and pleading with ftrong cries and tears bdorc 
him who was able to deliver him. Thcfe things might 



feem to the Hebrews, and indeed are to many to this day< 
a ftone of Humbling and a rock of offence ; they are not 
able to reconcile them in their carnal minds. Wherefore 
fince it is by all acknowledged, that he was really in the 
low, diftrefled condition here defcribed, they will not allow 
that he was the ' Son of God,* in the way declared by the 
apoflle ; but invent othey- rcafons of their own, for which he 
Ihould be fo termed. The aim of the apoflle in this place 
is not to refute the objections of infidels, but to build up 
the faith of believers in the truth and reafon of thefe 
things. For he doth not only manifefl that they are all 
pjftble, on account of his ' participation of flefh and 
' blood,' who was himfelf the eternal Son of God ; but 
alfo that the whole of his humiliation and diflrcfs was 
necejjary with refpe£l to the office which he had undertaken 
to difcharge* 

§ 2. (Koj/TT^p, ^amvls^ tametji) although \ an adverfa- 
tive, with a conceiTion. An exception may be fuppofed 
to what was before delivered ; if he were a Son, how came 
he to pray and cry, fo as to fland in need of help ? But, 
faith the apoflle, although he was a Son, yet thefe other 
things were nece(]ary. And according to the apoflle's ufual 
mode of reafoning in this epiflle, there is alfo a profpe£t 
in this word towards the neceflity and advantage of his 
being brought into the condition defcribed ; which in our 
tranflation is fupplied by the addition of * yet.^ 

{Tiog ca;v) He was a Son ; and yet, * being a Son ;' that 
is, fuch a fon as we have defcribed, or, that Son of GoA, 
It was no Jingular thing for a fon or child of God by 
adoption to be chaflifed, to fufFer, and thereby to be in* 
ilruded to obedience. He therefore fpeaks not of him as 
a fon on any account, or fuch as any mere creature can 
claim an interefl in ; but he was God's ' own Son,' [Rom. 
viii. 32 ] the * only begotten of the Father, [John i. 14.] 
who was alfo * in \\it form of God^^ [Phil. ii. 7.] That 
he fhould do the things here fpoken of, is great and mar- 
vellous ; therefore it is faid, he did thus, * although he 
* was a fon.' Here is implied both the nccejfity of doing 
what was here afcribed to him, and his love^ that he would 



fubmit to this condition for our fakes. Oil his own ac- 
count no fuch thing v/as required, or any way needful to 
him ; but for our fakes (fuch was his love) he would do 
it, ' although he was a Son.' B^fides, whereas the apofllc 
is comparing the Lord Ghrift as an high priefl, with Aaroa 
and thofe of his order, he intimates a double advantage 
which he had above them — That he was a Son, v/hereas 
they were fervants only ; as he had before exprefTed the 
fame difference in comparing him with Mofes, [chap. iii. 
4 — 6.] — That he learned obedience by what he fuffered, 
which few of them did, and none of them in the fame 

§ 3. As to the phrafeology; {a,(p^ oov) ^ from the things,* 
feems to be put for (s^ oov) ' out of, by, from, the things.* 
And moreover, there is an ellipfs in the words — ' by the 

* things %uh'ich he fuffered.* There is fome correfpondence 
in the whole to that ancient faying, {to, 7r^f/;/x^7^ ^a^rr 
uccjcc) * afflidions are inflrudlions.' 

Three things we are to inquire into : (i.) What is the 
<?^f^/V«c^ which is here intended. {2-) How Chrift is faid 
to learn it. (3.) By what means he did fo. 

§ 4. (L) * He learned obedience,* (vTrcuKO'/j) an * obe^ 

• diential attendance' to the authoritative commands of 
another; the word originally fignifying to * hear;' hence 
to hearken, or to hear, is frequently ufed in fcripture for 
to obey ; and to refufe to hear is to be Hubborn and dif^ 
obedient, becaufe obedience refpefts the commands of ano- 
ther, which we generally receive by hearing. The term 
{'^j'Kcc'A.o'/\) therefore, imports an obediential compliance with 
the commands of another, when we hear and thereby 
know them. 

This obedience in Chrifl was two-fold : 

I. General, in the whole courfe of his holy life in our 
world : every thing he did was not only materially holy, but 
formally obediential ; he did all things, becaufe it was the 
will of God that he fhould. And this obedience to God 
w^as the life and beauty of the holinefs even of Chiift 
hirpfelf ; but yet this is not the obedience here peculiarly 
intended, although no part of it caa be abfolately ex- 

VoL. m, I c^^<^"^ 


eluded from the prefcnt conlideration. For whereas this 
obedience hath refpe£t to Juffermgy * he learned it from 

* the things that he fuffered i* his whole life was a lite of 
fuffering. One way or other he fuffered in all that he 
did. His flate in this world was a flate of humiliation 
and exinanition, which things have fomewhat of fuffering 
in their nature. His outward condition in the world was 
low and indigent, from which fufferings are infeparable. 
And he was in all things expofed to temptations, and all 
forts of oppofltions from Satan and the world, which alfo 
added to his fufferings. 

2. But yet, there was a peculiar ohedlence of Chrift, 
which is intended here in an efpecial manner. This was 
his obedience in dyings and in all things that tended im- 
mediately thereto. He became ' obedient to death, even 

* the death of the crofs \ for this commandment had he 
of his Father, that he fhould * lay down his life \ and 
therefore did it in a way of obedience. And this obe- 
dience to the command of God for fuffering and dying, 
is what the apofiie here refpe£ls. With regard to this 
all-momoitous event, he faid of old, * Lo I come, in the 

* volume of the book it is written of me ; I delight to 
' do thy will, O mv God,' [Pfal. xl. 7, 8.] which was in 
offering himfelf a facrifice for us, as our apoflle declares, 
[Heb. X. 9, 10.] And concerning the things which be- 
fel him herein, he fays, * he was not rebellious, but gave 

* his back to the finners, and his cheeks to them that 

* plucked off the hair,' [Ifa. I. 6.] 

§5. (II.) Concerning this obedience, it is faid, that 
(^jMu^s) he learned it. The word {KLa.v(j(y:joo) fignifies to 
learn as a difdple ; with a humble, willing fubje^lion to, 
and a ready reception of the inflru£lions given : but of 
Chrift it is faid here, he ' learned obedience ;' not that 
he ' learned to obey ;' which diftindion will give us light 
into the meaning of the whole. For to * learn obe- 

* dience,* may have a three-fold fenfe : 

I. To learn it materially, by coming to know that to 
be our duty, which before we knev/ not, or at leail did 
r.ot confider as we ought. So fpeaks the Plalmifl: *.Be- 

. * fore 

Ver.9. epistle to THE H^BllEWS. ^5 

* fore I was affll£led I went aftray, but now have I learned 

* thy commandments.' God, by his chaftifements, and 
while he was under the correcting rod, taught him the 
duties he required of him, and what diligent attendance 
to them was neceifary for him. But thus our Lord Jefus 
Ciirift neither did nor could learn obedience ; for he 
knew beforehand what he was to do and to undergo. 
And the law of the whole of it was * in his heart j' no 
command of God was nevu to him, nor t\tv forgotten by 

2. To learn it formally ; that is, to be guided, in- 
ilru<5led, directed, and helped in the various afts of the 

* obedience' required. This is properly to * learn to 

* obey;' fo it is with us, who are rude and unikilful in 
holy obedience ; we learn (and that, alas 1 but imperfectly 
at bed) partly by the word, partly by affliftions, as God 
is pleafed to make them efFeClual. But thus the Lord 
Jefus neither did nor could learn obedience. He had a 
gonflant fulnefs of grace always inclining, directing, guid- 
ing, and enabling him to all aCts of obedience. Being 
full of grace, truth, and wifdom, he was never at a lofs for 
what he had to do ; nor wanted any thing of a perfeft 
readinefs of mind and will for its performance. Where- 

3. He can be faid to * learn obedience' only on the ac- 
count of having an experience of it in its exercifc. So a 
man knoweth the tafte and flavour of meat by eating it. 
As our Saviour is faid * to tafte of death ;' or to expe^ 
r'tence what was in it, by undergoing it : the * obedience' 
he learned was a fubmiffion to undergo great, hard, and 
terrible things, accompanied with patience and quiet en- 
durance under them, and faith for deliverance from them. 
This he could have no < experience' of, but by fuffering 
the things he was to undergo, and the exercife of his 
graces. Thus he * learned obedience,' or experienced in 
h'lmfelf what difficulty it is attended with. And this u^'ay 
of his learning obedience is that which is fo ufeful to us, 
and fo fall of confolation ; for if he had only knou.'n 
obedience, though never fo perfedly in the notion of it, 

J 2 what 


what relief could have accrued to us from it? How could 
it have been a fpring of fuitable compaiTion towards us ? 
But now, whereas he himfelf took, in our perfon^ full 
experience of the nature of that fpecial obedience which is 
yielded to God in a fufFering condition, what difficulty it 
is attended with, what oppolition is made to it, how great 
an exercife of grace is required in it, he is conflantly 
ready to give us relief, as the matter requireth. 

§ 6. (III.) We have, in the laft place, the way or 
means of his learning obedience, [o.Q^ oov iiva^i) ^Jrom 

* the things that he fuffered,^ \ng cannot exclude from hence 
any thing that Chrift fuffered\ but feeing the apoille 
treats of him as an High Priefl, and with a fpecial refpe£t 
%o his offerings the ' fufFering of death' mull be principally 
intended. Sufferings, in their own nature, are not in- 
ilruclive. All things that come outwardly upon us are 
(fj6 Twy iMcO-CAjy) indifferent^ in this fenfe, that they may be 
cither abufed, or improved. But in believers they give 
eccajton to the exercife of thofe graces wherein our obe^ 
dience then confilleth. ^o from them, or hy them^ did 
our Lord himfelf learn obedience ; for by reafon of them 
he had occafion to exercife the graces of humility, felf-de- 
nial, meeknefs, patience, faith, &c. which were habitually 
Tcfident In his holy nature. To which we mufl: add the 
Gonfideration of 2. finkfs perfon fufFering for iinners, * the 

* jufl foi the unjuf!:/ which was peculiar to Chrift, and 
of whicb we can have no experience. — We now proceed 
to the obfervatlons : 

§ 7. (IV.) Ohf I, Infinite love prevailed with the 
Son of God to lay aflde the privilege of his infinite dig- 
nity, that he might fufFer for us and our redemption. 

* Although he was a Son, yet he learned,' &c. The 
name of ' Son* carrieth with it infinite dignity, as our 
apoflle proves at large, [chap. i. 3, 4, &c.] Nor could 
the whole creation divefl him of it. But he voluntarily 
laid aflde the confideration, advantage, and exercife of it, 
that he might fufFer for us. This our apoilie fully ex- 
prelFeth, [Phil. ii. 5 — 8.] * Let this mind be in you, 
I which was alfo in Chriil Jefus j who being in the form 

I ' pf 


* of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God ; 

* but made himfeif of iio reputation, and took upon him 

* the form of a fervant, and was made in the hkenefs of 
\ men: and being found in falhion as a man, he humbled 
< himfeif, and became obedient unto death, even the 
\ death of the crofs.' And here we may,' 

(i.) As it were, lofe ourfelves in an holy admiration of 
^his infinite love of Chrift. Our apoflle prays for the 
Ephefians, that they might be * able to comprehend with 

* all faints, what is the breadth, and length, and depth, 

* and height, and to know the love of Chrift which 

* palTeth knowledge,' [Ephef. iii. 18, 19.] This, 1% 
feems, is the defign and endeavour of all faints, — to 
come to an acquaintance with, or to live in contempla- 
tion of the love of Chrifl. Which way foever we exer- 
cife our thoughts about it, there is Hill a fuhahle objefi for 
them ; and yet he fo prays for the knowledge of it, as to 
let us know that ahfolutdy it is incomprehenfible; it 
' P^£^^^^ knowledge.'* Then do we in our meafure know 
the love of Chrift, when we know that it ' pafleth know- 
^ ledge ;' and thereby we have the benefit and confolation 
of what we do not conceive, as well as of w^hat we do. 
For as contemplation is an a6l of faith, with refpecl to our 
meafure of compreheniion ; fo is admiration^ with refpeft 
to what exceeds it. What way foever faith afts itlelf to- 
wards Chrift, it will bring advantage and refrefhment to 
the fouL ' And we are never nearer Chrift, than when 
we find ourfelves — loft in an holy amazement at his un- 
fpeakable love ! — On the contrary, 

(2.) Here we may, if I mav fo exprefs it, find our^ 
Jslves. The due confideration of this love of Chrift is 
that alone which will fatisfy our fouls and confciences with 
the grounds of our acceptance in the prefcnce of the Holy 
God. What will not this love, and its unparalleled ef- 
fefts, prevail for ? What can ftand in its way ? 

§ 8. Gbf. 2. • Notwithftanding all his fufterings, Chrift 
was ftiil the Son of God. He had in them all {.htjlate 
of a fon, and the love of a fon. It is true, during the 
.^nie of his, a common eye, an eyp oi fenfe 
■ . and 


and mere reafon, could fee no appearance of this fonfhip,' 
His outward circumilances rather eclipfed than maiiifefted 
his glory^, [Ifa. liii. 2, 3.] Hence he was to the world 
^ aftone of Humbling and rock of offence,' [Rom. ix. 3 3. J 
The comparative meanntfs of his condition, the poverty 
of his life, and lliairie of his death, proved an offence to 
both Jews and Gentiles. How could fuch a one be 
thought to be the Son of God ? Beiides, God himfelf laid 
Ins ciirfe upon hhn, as it is written, ' curled is every one 

* that hangeth on a tree.' And in all this ilate of 
things, he fpeaks of himfelf as one made fo much be4 
neath the condition of glory which was due to the Soa 
of God, as that he was lower than any ; * I am a worm 
< and no man ; a reproach of men, and defpifed of the 
' people,* [Pfal. xxii. 6.] Yet during all this he was 
flill the * Son of God ;' hence it is faid, that ' God 

* fpared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us 

* all,' that is, to fuffering and death, [Rom. viii. 33.] 
And yet (great is the myftery of godlinefs !) in all he 
underwent, neither was the union of his nature diffolved ; 
nor the love of the Father to him as a Son in the leall 

§ 9. Obf. 3. A pra<^ical experience of obedience to 
God, in fome cafes, will cofl us dear; we cannot 'learn* 
it, but through * fuffering.' I intend not here the dif- 
ficulties we meet with in mortifying the internal lufls and 
corruptions cf our nature ; for thefe had no place in the 
example propofed to us : thofe only are refpe£^ed which 
come upon us from without. And it is an efpecial kind 
of obedience alio, which holds fome conformity to the 
obedience of Chrift, that is intended. Wherefore, 

(i.) It muft \yt fingular \ it mufl have fomewhat in it 
that may in an efpecial manner turn the eyes of others 
towards it. A common caufe of obedience, cloathed witli 
a common profellion, may efcape at an eafy rate in the 
world. There feems to be fomewhat lingular in that ex- 
prefiion ; * He that will live godly in Chrift Jefus,' &c. 
[II. Tim. iii. 12.] To live in Chrift Jefus, is to live 
and walk i;i the profeffion of the gofpel, to be a profe fling 
^ - , branch 


branch in Chriil, (John xv. 2.) but of thefc there- are 
two forts ; fome that live '■godly in him ; fome branches 
that * bring forth fruit ;' that is, in an emin-nt and fin- 
gular degree. Every branch in the true vine hath that 
whereby it is diftinguifhcd from brambles and thorns ; 
and every one that lives in the profelhon of the gofpel, 
bath fomewhat whereby he is diflinguifhed from the 
world and its ways. But there is a pecuhar, ^Jtngular 
fruit'hearlngmQWi^, which will attrad attention. So 
our apollle fays, that they were made ' a fpedlacle unto 

* the world, to angels, and to men,' by the efpccial mi- 
niilry which was committed to them, [I Cor. iv. 9.] 

(2.) It is required that this obedience be umvctjal. If 
there be in any one hiftance an allowed compliance with 
the world, or other enemies of our obedience, the trou- 
ble of it will be much abated. For men, by indulging 
themfelves in any crooked Heps, as it were, compound iox 
outward peace ; and when they obtain their aims, hovT 
greatly is it to their fpiritual difadvantage ! But the gof- 
pel obedience which we refer to, is fuch as agrees in con- 
formity to Chrift in all things ; and this will coft us 
dear. ' Sufferings' will attend it. They that * live god- 

* ly in Chrift Jefus, fhall fufFer perfecution.' For this 
kind of obedience will be obferved in the world. It can- 
not efcape obfervation becaufe it is fingular. And it pro- 
vokes the world, becaufe it is univerfal, and will admit 
of no compliance with it. And where the world is iirll 
roufedy and then enraged^ trouble and fufPering of one 
kind or another will enfue. If it do not bite and tear, 
it will bark and rage; and Satan will fee enough in 
them to make them his efpecial mark. Yea, and God 
himfelf oftentimes delighteth to try eminent graces, where 
he endows any with them. For he gives them not 
merely for their peculiar advantage on whom they are 
beftowed, but that he himfelf may have a revenue of 
glory from their exercife. — We may further obferve : 

§ 10. I. Sufferings undergone according to the will 
of God, are highly inflruBive, Even Chrilt himfelf 
/ learned' by the things that he fulfercd, and much more 



hiay we do fo, who have much more to learn. God de* 
figns our fufFerings to this end, and to this end he bJelTeth 
them. And this hath frequently been the ifTue of God's 
dealing with men ; thofe who have fufFered moll, have 
been moft affli£led, moft chaflifed, have been the moft 
humble, moll holy, fruitful, and wife among them. 

2. In all thefe things, both as to fuffering, and learn- 
ing, or profiting thereby^ we have a great example in the 
Lord Jefus Chrill. As fueh he is propofed to us in all 
his courfe of obedience, efpecialiy in his fuiferings, [I. Pet; 
ii. 2 1.'] 

^, The love of God towards any, and the relation of 
any to God, hinders not but that they may undergo great 
fufFerings and trials ; Chrill did fo although * he was a 
* fon.' And this inllance irrefragably confirms our ob- 
fervation. For the love of God to Jefus Chrifl was An- 
gular and fupereminent ; he doth not love any with a 
love fo much as of the fame kind. The relation alfo of 
Chrill to God was lingular; none ever Handing in the 
fame relation to him, he being his * only begotten Son.* 
And yet his fufferings and trials were lingular alfo. No 
forrows, no pains, no diftrelTes of foul and body, no fuf- 
ferings like his. And in the whole courfe of the fcrip- 
ture we may obferve, that the nearer any have been to 
God, the greater have been their trials. For — There is 
not in fuch trials any thing that is abfolutely evil^ but are 
all fuch as may be rendered good^ ufeful, yea in the event 
honourable and glorious. — The love of God in its gra- 
cious emanations, abundantly compenfates the temporal 
evils which any do undergo according to his will. And 
finally — The glory of God, which fhall infallibly enfue 
upon all the fuiferings of his people, is fuch a good u\ 
their elteem, as far furpalTes any fuppofcd evil in theic 



Verse 9, 

and being made perfect, he became the att- 
thor of eternal salvation to all them 
that obey him. 

§ I. Introdunlon, and Jiatcment of the fuhjcd, § 2. (I.) 
fVhat Chr'ijl accomplice d by his Juffer'ings, on his own part, 
§ 3 — 5. (IL) JVhat with refpe^ to believers. § 6. 
(III.) Obfervations. I. All that befell Chriji was necef- 
fary to his becoming the caufe of eternal falvation to any, 
§ 7. 2. He alone is the principal caiife of it, § 8. 3. 
Salvation is confined to believers, 

§ I . X H E words and defign of this verfc have fo great 
a coincidence v/ith thofe of chap ii. 10. that we fhall 
have the lefs need to inlift upon them ; excepting what is 
neceflary to point out their relation to the context. The 
apoftle, having declared the fufFerings of Chriit, as our 
High Prieft, in his offering of himfelf, with the neceffity 
thereof, proceeds to declare what was effedled thereby, 
and what was the fpecial defign of God therein \ which 
was, that the Lord Redeemer might be every way fitted to 
be a perfe£l caufe of eternal falvation to all them that obey 
him. There are therefore two things in the words, as 
accomplifhed in the fufFerings of Chrifl : 

Firjl, On his own part, that he might be ' made per- 
* fe6l,' with rcfped to the adminifiration of his office ia 
behalf of finners. 

Secondly, With refpefl to believers, that he might be to 
them an ' author of eternal falvation.' 

§ 2. (I.) [TiXu'jo^iiq) ' being perfeBed: The word 
is facred, and the fenfe of it here anfwcrs dircftly to its 
ufe, chap. ii. 10. [tiXhoc^ccl) ' to perfcft by fuffcrlng.' 
Only there it is ufed adively, with rcfpcd to God t]:e 
Father; it ' became him to make pcrfed' the captain of 

Vol. IIL K 9wr 


our falvation ; here it is ufed pajjively, with refpeft to the 
t{itc\. of that ad. The fum is, that it iignifics to dedicate^ 
to courecrate, to fet apart by fome kind of fafrering or 
other. So the legal high priefts were confecrated by the 
death and fuiFerings of the bealls offered in facrifice at 
their confecration, [Exod. xxix.] But it belonged to 
the perfection of Chrill as a Priefl:, that he be confecrated 
by his ozvn fuiferings ; which was neceffary both from the 
7iature of his office, to which he was folemnly to be fet 
apart, and to anfwer the types of the Aaronical prieflhood. 
This alone hath any difficulty attending it ; how the Lord 
Jefus can be faid to be ' confecrated by his own fufferings 
' in his offering,' when his offering itfelf was an a6l of 
that office to which he was confecrated ? But I anfwer ; 
that, feeing an external means of his confecration was ne- 
ceffary, it was impoffible that he fhould be confecrated by 
any other facrince ; any other offering for the purpofe 
would have been repugnant to the whole defjgn of God, 
and deftru£live of the Redeemer's office. Again ; he 
could not confecrate himfelf, by an antecedent offering of 
himfelf (which would involve an abfurdity) ; it was there- 
fore indifpenfably neceffary, that he fhould be confecrated 
by the facrifice of himfelf, and the fufferings wherewith it 
was accompanied. But this was only the external means of 
his confecration, by way of evidence, that he was really 
confecrated by the a£ls of God the Father and himfelf 

§ 3. (II.) Being thus confecrated, (c-ysyfjo) he was 
made, he became, or he zvas the ' author,'' (oc-ijiog) a caufe 
in general ; and fomctimes an efficient, at other times a 
meritorious caufe is expreffed by it. The apoflle there- 
fore hath refpe£l to all the ways and means whereby the 
Lord Chrifl either procured falvation for us, or doth ac- 
tually beflow it upon us. — We may therefore confider 
him as the author of eternal falvation, either with refpeft 
to his own acts, whereby he procured it; or with refpeft 
to the effeils of them, whereby it is aflually communi- 
cated to us ; and when he is faid to be the author of our 
falvation, nothing appears neceffarv to be excluded where- 

. , by 

Ver.9. epistle to THE HEBREWS. 63 

by he is {o. As the mcntonous caufe of our falvation, he 
is the author of it by his oblation and his interceflion. 
And his oblation contains — The faUsfadion he made for 
iins, with the expiation of our guilt, and — the merit of 
his obedience, by which he procured this falvation for us, 
[Heb. ix. 14.] On thefe two accounts w^as he in his 
oblation the author or caufe of our falvation. He is fo 
likewife on account of his intercejjion ; for this is that way 
whereby, w^ith refpe£l to God, he makes efFedual to us 
what he procured, [Heb. vii. 25 — 27.] But he is alfo 
the efficient caufe of our falvation; inafmuch as he doth 
it by his fpirit, his grace, and his glorious power actually 
communicate and confer it upon us. He teacheth us the 
w^ay of falvation, and leads us into it ; he makes us meet 
for it, and faves us from the power of fin, quickening, 
enlightening, and fandlifying us; he preferves and fccures 
it to us, gives an entrance into it, and alTurance of it, in 
j-uflification and peacp with God. He will actually by his 
glorious power beftow upon us immortal life and glory ; 
or give us the full pofTeffion of this falvation. In all thefe 
refpe£ls, with thofe many other ftreams of grace whicli 
fiow from them, is Chrift faid to be the * author of our 
< falvation.* 

§ 4. This falvation is faid to be * eternal' — abfolutely, 
comparatively, and emphatically. — Abfolutely; it is endlefs 
and unchangeable. - By fin w^e had made ourfelves obnox- 
ious to damnation abfolutely eternal ; and if the falvation 
procured for us were not equally eternal, it w^ould not be 
perfe£l, nor fuited to our condition. — Comparatively ; or in 
oppofition to thofe temporal falvations, which the people 
under the lav/ were made partakers of, by the intcrpofirion 
of their legal priefts and facrifices. And perhaps alio re- 
fpe£l may be had to the deliverance of the people of God 
out of bondage, with their introduftion into the land of 
Canaan, v>rhich was a temporary falvation only. — Empha- 
tically \ \\. takes off indeed all temporal punifliments, all 
cfFeas of the curfe of the law ; it gives temporal deliver- 
ance from fear and bondage by reafon thereof; it fupplies 

K 2 ^ 


us with mercy, grace, and peace with God in this world : 
but, all thefe things ifTuing in eternal bleflednefs, that 
being the end of them, being all bellowed on us in a ten- 
dency thereto, the whole is emphatically called eternal. 

§ 5. Laflly, there is a limitation of the fubjeds of this 
falvation; it is, * to all them that obey him,' (joig vvroc' 
Jinaa-i]/ a-ojod ttcho-iv-) The expreflion is emphatical ; * to 

* all and every one of them that obey him ;' not any one 
of them fhall be excepted from an intereft in this falva- 
tion ; and it belongs only to them that obey him ; v;hether 
there be any other ' author of falvation' to thofe who are 
wilfully ignorant, and habitually difobey him, they may 
do well to inquire who fuppofe that fuch may be faved.-^ 
The Greek term (vTrocKidoo) imports to ' obey him upon 

* hearing,' (Di^o obedire \) originally it lignifies only to 
hearken, or to hear with a readinefs or fubjection of mind 
to what is heard accordingly. Hence it is faith^ which 
Cometh by hearing, that in the firfl place is intended in 
this obedience; partly, becaufe the obje£l of it, which is 
the promife, is propofed outwardly to it in the word ; and 
partly, becaufe the preaching of the word, which we re- 
ceive by hearing, is the only ordinary means of ingene- 
rating faith. Hence to believe is exprefled by * to hear^ 
fo as to anfwer the end of what is propofed to us. The 
confequent fubjeding of our fouls to Chrifl, in the keep- 
ing of his commands, is the obedience of faith. We may 
now draw fome obfervations from the words for our fur- 
ther inflrudion. As, 

.- §6. (HI.) Ohf. I. All that befell the Lord Redeemer, 
all he did or fuffered, was necefTary to this end, — 
that he might be tlie caufe of eternal falvation to believ- 
ers. Some have faid that one drop of the blood of Chriil 
was fufficient for the falvation of the whole world. And 
others have improved the hint, pretending that the over- 
■plus of his merit is committed to their difpofal, which they 
manage to advantage. But the truth is, every drop of 
his blood, that is, all he did, and all he fuffered, for 
Blatter and manner, in fubilance and circumflance, was 



jndifpenfably necefTary for this end. For God did not 
afflia his Son without caufe in any thing, and his whole 
obedience was affliaive. And hence it is evident, how 
great a matter it is to have fumers made partakers of re- 
demption ; how great and infinite was that wifdom, that 
love and grace, which contrived and efFeded it; how 
great and terrible will be the ruin of them by whom fal- 
vation is defpifed, when tendered according to the 
gofpel ! 

§ 7. Obf. 2. The Lord Chrifl alone is the only princi- 
pal caufe of our falvation. There are many inllrumental 
caufes of it in fundry kinds. So is faith ; the word ; and 
all gofpel ordinances. They inllrumentally farther fal- 
vation, but all in fubordination to Chrift, who is the 
principal, and who alone gives efficacy to all others. So 
much as they have of Chrifl in them, fo much as they 
convey of Chrifl to us, of fo much ufe they are and no 
more. This, therefore, is the great wifdom of faith, to 
efleem Chrifl, and to refl upon him, as the only author 
of falvation. 

§ 8. Obf. 3. Salvation is confined to * believers ;' and 
thofe who look for falvation by Chrifl, mufl fecure it to 
themfelves by faith and obedience. He came to fave fin- 
ners, but not fuch as choofe to continue * difobedient,' 
and in their fins. Though the gofpel be full of love, of 
grace, of mercy and pardon, yet herein the fcntence of it 
is peremptory and decreed, ' He that believeth notfliall be 
« damned.' 

Verse 10. 

called of god an high priest after. the order, 
of melchisedec. 

§ I. The dcjign and connection of the words. § 2. (I.) 
Their explanation. § 3. (II.) Obfcrvation, God luas 



plea fed to put a Jignal honour upon Melchifcdcc as a repre- 
fentative of Chr'ifi. § 4. Additional objcrvations. 

§ I . A N this verfe the apoftle returns to the improvement 
of the teftimany given to the priefthood of Chrill:, from 
Pfahn ex, And hereby he makes way for another necef- 
fary digreflion, without which he could not profitably 
purfue his intended inflruftion from that teftimony. He 
had as yet only inferred from it thatChrift was a prieft in 
general, with Ills necelTary facerdotal actings ; but he had 
vet a farther intention in producing it — to declare the 
fpecial nature and pre-eminence of his priellhood, as fnadowed 
out by that of Melc hi fed ec. The demonftration of this 
he now defigns. But fo foon as he hath laid down his 
general alTertion in thefe words, conlidering the greatnefs 
and difticultv of the matter in hand, w^ith regard to the 
Hebrews, he diverts to a preparatory digreffion, whereia 
he continues the remainder of this, and the whole enfuing 
chapter, rcfuming his purpofe here propofed in the begin^ 
ning of the feventh. 

§ 2. (I.) [n7^0(rayc^'z\)^cig) called; he refers to the teflin 
mony produced, ver. 6, — that Chrift, the Son of God, 
was a prieft after the order of Melchifedec. But now the 
priefthood of Chrift and of Melchifedec were not \\\^ fame. 
He is not faid to be a priell of the order ^ but (♦mm hiiy 
xccjoi' ra^tv) according to the things; fpaken of Melchifedec, as 
he was a priefl ; after the manner of what is related con- 
cerning him. And this, in my judgement, is the reafon 
of uling the word (7roQO'oiyo(^-v9sic) called^ in this place ; 
for it doth not fignify a call to office (that is, xoi7^.Y^Gc^ coii- 
flantly), but is the denomination of him who is called, for 
fome certain reafon. Becaufe, faith the apoftle, of the 
fpecial refemblancc that was between what Melchifedec 
was, and what Chrift was to be, God called his priell- 
hood Melchifedccian, and not Aaronical. 

Called of God, (c^py^/e'pcuc) an High 'Priefl ; every high 
prieil was a pried abfolutely ; but fome facerdotal duties 
were peculiarly, refe.rved to the former. For inAance, the 



offering of fome facrifices, as that of the great atonement, 
which were peculiariy typical of the facerdotal anions of 
Chrifl, was committed to him alone. So is Chrill called 
(is^ivg) a Pricji abfoiutely, as being invefled with the real 
office of the prieilhood, and he is termed (a-6')(^tiO:Vg) the 
Chief or High Prie/?, (not becaufe there were any other of 
the fame order with himfelf, but) becaufe all the pre-emi^ 
nences of the prieilhood v/ere in. him alone. He was thus 
called an high prieft, {-no^lcy. ryjv tcc^iv MzXyjo-ehK) accord- 
ing to the order of Melchifedec. This is not a limitation of 
the priefthood to a certain order, (as before obferved) but 
a reference to that priefthood whereby his was moft emi- 
nently pre-figured. And herein our apoftle intends ; Firfl^ 
A conceflion that he was not an high prieft according to 
t^ie order of Aaron : Sccoridly^ That there was a prieft- 
hood antecedent to, and diverfe from, that of Aaron, ap- 
pointed of God to reprefent the manner how he w^ould 
call the Lord Meffiah to his prieftly office. For as hc^ 
without ceremony, without facrifice, without viftble con- 
fecration, without the law of a carnal commandment, was 
conftituted an high prieft, fo was Chrift alio by an imme- 
diate order of the Father, faying unto him, ' Thou art 

* my Son, a prieft for ever, after the power of an endlefs 

* life.' And in this fenfe he is called a prieft ' after the 

* order of Melchifedec' 

§ 3. (II.) Obf God was pleafed to put a fignal honour 
upon the perfon and office of Melchifedec, that in them 
there fhould be an early and excellent reprefentation made 
of the perfon and priefthood of Jefus Chrift. Who this 
Melchiefdec was, and wherein coniifted the nature of hi^ 
priefthood, will be afterwards conildered. In the mean 
time, obferve in general that — all the real honour that 
God did to any perfon under the Old Teftamcnt, was in 
order to pre-figure the perfon of Chrift, that in all he 
might have the pre-eminence. He was the {uii perfonal 
type of Chrift in the world. After him there were other?, 
as Ifaac, and Aaron, Joflma, David, and Solomon , but 
he was the firft, — he was a type of Chrift in thole two 
great offices of a King and a FrieJJ, which none but he 



ever was. — ^To which we may add, that no other was 
* made like the Son of God,' or reprefented his perfon. 

§ 4. To the foregoing obfervation, the following may 
be added : 

I. As the Lord Chrift received all his honour as me- 
diator from God the Father, fo the ground and meafure of 
our giving glory to him, as fuch, depend an the revela- 
tion and declaration of it to us. He was declared of God 
an high prieft after the order of Melchifedec. He made 
him fo, which was his honour ; he declared him to be {o^ 
whence we ought to give all honour to him. And from 
the refpedl thefe words have to the preceding verfe, we 
may obferve, 

2. It is an evidence and teftimony that the Lord Chrifl 
was able to be, and really isj the author of eternal falva- 
tion to all that obey him, becaufe he is a prieft after the 
order of Melchifedec, that is, that his priefthood is 

Verse ii. 


§ I. Introdunlon. § 2 — ^4. (I.) Expofition. § 5. (II.) O^- 
fervat'ions. i . Many revealed truths are deep and myjie- 
r'lous, and demand our diligent attention, § 6, 7" 

2. Min'ijlers Jhould fomc times infij} on the moji difficult 
truths, § 8. 3. Men s criminal Jlothfulnefs the caufe of 
their non-improvement. Preparation for hearing. § 9. 
Afliud hearing. § ID. After hearing. § 1 1. Other 

^ I. XN this verfe, the apoflile enters upon his defigned 

digreilion, exprciling the occafon of it. And it confifts in 

2 fuch 


fuch awakening admonitions, as we now Hand in need of 
(no Ids than they) when we are to be excited to a due at- 
tendance to fpiritual and myflerious truths. 

§2. (I.) (lisp/ a) * concerning whom/ that is, Mel- 
chifedec. The apoftle's purpofe is to treat of him fo far 
as he was a type of Chrift ; hence fome render the w^ords 
(ttedi y) by dc qua re \ of which matter :y that is, the limili- 
tude and conformity between Melchifedec and Chrift, 
which alfo is a great and inftru£live truth. 

{X\oX\jq v\^jj.v Xoyog) * We have much to fay ;' not 
only the multitude of the things which he had to fpeak, but 
alfo the importance of them is intended. However, I deny 
not, but that the apoftle intimates that there were many 
things of that importance to be inliiled on, on this occa- 
sion ; but would not immediately engage in that work, 
tmtil he had fpoken to them, what was needful to prepare 
their due attention. 

§ 3. (Aoyog ^vo-c^iJL7}y:-vjcg Ksysiy) *,A difcourfe hard to 
* be uttered.' It may be the things which Paul himfelf 
here calls (Su(r5pp/Jv5i;7«) ' hard to be uttered,' are thofe 
which Peter intends in his epiftle, calling them (Ww>j7^, 
II. Peter iii. 16.) * Things hard to be underftood.' 
When it is fpoken (Ksysiv put for sv too Ksysiv, in dicendo) 
It is hard to be interpreted ; that is, to be underjlood ; for 
the interpretation intended is not that of the apoftle in 
fpeaking, but that made in the underftanding of them 
that hear it. He that hears a thing uttered interprets it 
to himfelf. The apoftle doth not intimate that it would 
be any difficult matter for him to declare the conformity 
between Melchifedec and Chrift ; for what he received by 
revelation was no matter Of difficulty to him ; nor that his 
manner of declaring it would be obfcure ; for it is of 
things themfelves, and not of the manner of their decla- 
ration, that he fpeaks, as alfo doth Peter in the place 
mentioned. He doth not fpeak of thefe things only witli 
; tefpeft to their own nature^ but to our undcrjlandings^ which 

I are weak and imperfect. This is what the apoftle chargeth 
in particular upon thefe Hebjrews in this verfe. 
Vol, hi. L . § 4- The 


§ 4. The rcafon is added ; * Seeing you are Jlothjuly 

* Jlowy or dull in hearingJ* This word is no where ufed in 
the New Teflament, but here and chap. vi. 12. where 
we render it ^ flothful.' (No^po^ eji qui non facile potejiy 
uj9ct(r9aii) * one that is not eafily ftirred or moved -,' heavy, 
unadive, dull, oppofed to diligence in his bulinefs ; [as 
Prov. xxii. 29.] (Tocig iZKOOiig) * dull in hearing;* the 
word (ocTioyi) is ufed both for the ear, xht faculty of hear- 
ing, the ad of hearing, and the things heard. Where- 
fore * flothful in hearing^ whereby the apoftle declares the 
faults of thefe Hebrews, is a metaphorical expreffion, and 
imports as much as this : ' You are in hearing the word, 
' like flothful perfbns, who accomplifli no endeavours, at- 

* tain no good end, becaufe of their dulnefs and ina£livity.* 
Such perfons Solomon paints to thfe life, [Prov. xii. 27* 
and xy. 19, &c.] He abounds in reproving it, as being 
one of the mod pernicious vices that our nature is fubje£l 
to. And in the reproach that Chrill will call upon un- 
faithful minifters at the lalt day, there is nothing greater 
than that they were 'flothful,' [Matt. xxv. 26.] It is 
not a natural imbecility of mind that he blames in them ; 
nor a want of learning, to fearch into things deep and dif- 
ficult ; for thefe are not crimes ; but it is a moral negli- 
gence and inadvertency, a want of the difcharge of theif 
duty according to their ability, in attending to the means 
of inflruftion, he chargeth them with. The natural duU 
ncfs of our minds in receiving fpiritual things is, it may be, 
included ; but our depraved afFe£lions, a negle6l of out- 
duty, are here condemned. And there are fundry things 
wherein we Rre hereby inftruifted : as, 

§ 5. (II.) Obf. I. There are revealed in the fcriptures 
fundry deep and myllcrious truths, which require a pecu-- 
liar diligence in our attendance to their declaration, that 
we may rightly uilderftand, or receive them in a due man- 
ner. We may fafely grant that what is not clearly delivered 
in the fcripturc, is of no indifpenfiible neccflity to be 
known and believed. And furely the myfleries that are 
clearly revealed in the fcripture^ as to the doftrine of them, 
arc fufficient to exercife the utmofl of our fober inquiries 



and humble fpeculations. Therefore — to create heavenly 
niyfteries, like the pretended ^reopagite ; to fqueeze them 
out of fingle letters, or exprelIions,like the cabalifikal Jews ; 
to vent out our own fancies for myfteries, or to cover plain 
and fober truths with raw and uncouth terms ^ that they 
may put on the vizard of being myfteiious, is to forfakc 
the word, and to give up ourfelves to the condu£l of our 
own imaginations. — -On the other hand, a negledt and 
contempt of <:/f«r, open revelations, bccaufe the things tq- 
yealed are myfterious, is that poifon which fec^etly in- 
fiuenceth many amongft ourfelves to an open contempt of 
the mofl important gofpel truths. They will not indeed 
declare them to htfalfe, bqt they judge that they fhould 
be let alone, as things not to be underflood, 

§ 6. Obf. 2. It is necefTary for the minifter? of the gof- 
pel fometimes to iniift on the moil abftrufe and difficult 
truths that are revealed for our edification. The apoftle 
doth not only infift upon the facerdotal office of Chrift, but 
alfo judgeth it neceflary to explain the myflical prefigura- 
tion of it in the priefthood of Melchifedec, Why might 
not that have been omitted, feeing \ie expreilly acknow- 
ledgeth that the things concerning it were difficult, and the 
do-flrine be taught without it? Is not this a needlefs curi- 
ofity, rather amufing and perplexing, than tending to edi- 
fication ? No ; and to dire£t our duty in this matter, we 
irnay confider, 

( I .) That it ought to, be the defign af every faithful mi- 
Tiifter, in the courfe of his miniflry, to withhold nothing 
from thofe committed to his charge that belongs to their 
edification ; but to declare to them the whole counfel of 
God, fo far as he himfclf hatli atitained, [A£ls xx,. 
jiO — 27.] 

(2.) That his duty is, as niuch as. in him lieth, to 
carry on his hearers to perfe£lion, [chap. vi. i.] For; 
t;he rpiniftry itfclf being given to the church for the per-i 
fefting of the faints, [Ephef. iv. 12, 13.] or the bring- 
ing of them all to a perfe^ man in Chrift Jefus, every one 
who is faithful in that office, ought to make it his Mi):, \ 
Sittd work. 

L % (3-) B* 


(3.) But whereas the greateil part of our congregations, 
it may be, are frequently fuch as iland in need of milk, 
and are not ikilful as yet in the word of righteoufnefs ; it 
is our duty alfo to infill on thofe plainer truths, which 
are fuited to i/:?^/r edification, 

§ 7. Thofe who are called by the Hate of their flocks 
to engage fometimes in the expofition of abllrufe and myf- 
terious pafTages, may do well to obferve the enfuing rules ; 
all which may be evidently gathered from the manner of 
our apoflle's treating concerning Melchifedec and his 

1. That their interpretations be openly and evidently 
conformable to the analogy of faith. 

2. That the things contained in them do belong to 
fome important truth plainly declared, for the fubflance 
of it, in other places. Thus our apoftle doth not deiign- 
edly, for its own fake, choofe out that myilerious paffage 
about MeJchiledec. But whereas he was engaged about 
the priefthood of Chrift, he taketh it in, as what would 
add light and argument to the truth he had in hand. And 
herein coniifls our greateil wifdom in treating of fuch 
places, vi%> when we can reduce them juilly to that pro- 
per head of do6lrine to which they belong ; which is our 
fure guide in their interpretation. To choofe out fuch 
places for our fubjeft to fpeak on feparately^ and to make 
them the fole bafis of our difccurfe, may have fomewhat 
of an unwarrantable curiofjty. 

3. When they offer themfelves in the courfe of our 
miniftry, and where God gives light into the fenfe of the 
Holy Ghofl: in them, they are not to be waved, as we 
would be efleemed faithful in our v^ork. 

4. Always to remember that which is abflrufely ex- 
prelTed, is fo on purpofe ; for the exercife of our faith, 
humility, and fubjeftion of mind to the authority of the 
Holy Ghofl ; and of our diligence and dependence on him 
for inflruftion. 

5. That the difficulty and necefTity of treating concern- 
ing fuch things be intimated to them Who are to be in- 



flrufted, that fo they may be prepared to attend witU 
diligence, and judge with fobriety, of what is delivered, 

§ 8. Ohf. 3. It is men's llothfulneis in hearing that is 
the fole caufe of their not improving the means of grace, 
or thriving under the difpenfation of the word. Or, all 
our mifcarriages, with refpecl to the gofpe], are to be re- 
folved into our own floth, negligence, and depraved 
afFe£lions. For it is not any one particular fault in hear- 
ing, that the apoflle reproveth, but the want in general of 
fuch an attendance to the word as to be edified thereby, 
proceeding from corrupt affections and negled of duty. 
Three things in this {t\\{Q concur to the duty intended ; 
— What is preparatory thereunto : — Atlual hearing or at- 
tendance on the word preached : — What is aftcrvjards re-^ 
quired to render our hearing ufeful and eiFeftual. 

F'irJ}y we may confider what is necelTary by v^ay of 
preparation, that we be not flothful hearers. The fcripturc 
doth not draw up fo heavy a charge againft any one caufe 
o^ unprofitable hearing, as it doth againft the cares and love 
of the world. God himfelf gives this reafon, why a pro- 
fefling people profited not by the word ; ' becaufc their 

* hearts went after their covetoufnefs,' [Ezek. xxxiii. 31.] 
The prophet preached, and the people fat diligently before 
him, but their minds being prepolIefTed with the love of 
the world, the word to them was of no ufe. Where men 
are over-diligent about thefe things, they certainly deceive 
themfelves, if they fuppofe they are not flothful in hear- 
ing. Covetoufnefs, the apoflle tells us, is idolatry, 
[Col. iii, 5,] and the covetous hearts of men do never 
worfhip the idol of this world with fo much devotion, as 
when they fet it up under the preaching of the word ; for 
then they aftually ereft it in the room of God himfelf. 
Unlefs therefore the cares and bufinelTes of this world arc 
effe6lually cad out, we fliall be (yo^po/ Taig coccuig) * dull 

* of hearing,' and fall under the guilt of what is herg 

Again ; the end which we propofc to ourfelves in bear- 
ing, hath a great influence towards rep;ulating the whole 
duty. Some hear to fatisfy their convicficns, fomc their 



hiYioJity^ fome to pleafe themfelvcs, fome out of cujiom^ 
fome for company^ and many know not why. It is no 
wonder if fuch perfons be *flothful* and unprofitable 
hearers. Wherefore, in order to a riglit difcharge of this 
duty, it is required of us that we conlider what is our fpi^ 
ritual condition, our ftature in Chrifh ; how lliort we are 
in faith, knowledge, light, and love^ compared with what 
we ought to be. To fupply us with this grovjth, the 
preaching of the word is appointed of God tisfood for our 
fouls ; and we ihall never receive it aright, unlefs we dejtre 
it, and long for it, to this end. 

Moreover ; when the mind is filled with things of ano- 
ther nature, there is no room into which the ' feed of the 

* word' may have admiliion, [Jam. i. 21.] ' Lay apart 

* all filthinefs and fuperfluity of naughtinefs, and receive 

* with meeknefs the ingrafted word.' If the one be not 
^o[\^, the other will not follow. If filthinefs and a fuperr 
fluity of naughtinefs be not thruil from tlie mind, the 
word will not be received, at lead not with meeknefs, 
feeing it will be fure to wander after its idols. For men's 
minds filled with their lulls, are like Ezekiel's ' chambers. 

* of imagery,' containing all manner of reprefentations 

* pourtrayed on the wall ;' which way foever they turned 
their eyes, they had idolatrous objects to entertain them, 
[chap. viii. 10 — 12.] Such pictures do the corrupt ima- 
ginations of fenfual perfons fill their minds with ; every 
thought has an objedl ready for its entertainment, effec- 
tually diverting the foul from the word of truth. 

§ 9. Secondly ; in the aSi of hearing itfelf, there ar<; 
fundry things required of them who vvould not incur the 
guilt of the crime reproved. As — a due reverence of th^ 
word for its own fake. Spiritual reverence is, our hum- 
ble religious refpe£t of any thing on account of its autho-t 
rity and holinefs ; and is due to every thing that God hatl:^^ 
put his name upon. 

Whereas, therefore, God hath magnified his word abov^ 
all his name, [Pfal. cxxxviii. 2.] Or every ordinance 
whereby he reveals hhnfelf to us, it is due to it in a fpe- 
cial manner. 



, It may be objefted, that this reverence is due only to 
the word as written, which is purely and wholly the 
word of God ; but not to it as preached by men, wherein 
there is a mixture of human inlirmities. 

We reply ; God hath been pleafed to ordain, that the 
tvord fhould be difpenfed to us by weak iinful men like 
ourfelves, whence it unavoidably follows, that they may, 
and probably fometimes will, mix fome of their infirmities 
with their work. To except perfedion therefore in this 
cafe, is to except againfl the wifdom of God, and that 
fpecial order which he hath defigned for his own glory, 
{II. Cor. iv. 7.] In a pipe which conveys water into an 
houfe there may be fuch a flaw as will fometimes admit 
fome dCift or earth to mix itfelf with the water ; will you 
therefore reject the water itfelf, and fay, that if you may 
iiot have it juft as it rifeth in the fountains, you will not 
regard it, when you live far from the fountain itfelf, and 
can have no water but what is conveyed in pipes liable to 
fuch defects ? Here lies the proper exercife of our fpirltual 
vmderftanding in the gofpel, whereby we are enabled to 
* try all things, and hold fafl that which is good.* To 
this end the apoftle requires that we flioiild have our fenfes 
cxercifed to try both good and evil. Hereby, according 
to our duty, we feparate the chaff from the wheat. This 
coniideration ought to keep us in a conflant dependence 
on, and prayer to the Lord Jefus Chrift for his Spirit to 
lead us, according to his promife, into all truth ; which 
is the great referve he hath given us in this matter. 

And hence follows — an immediate fubjeBion of foul and 
confcience to whatever is delivered in the difpenfation of the 
word. When we are not in this frame, we fhall be un- 
profitable hearers ; for the immediate end of our hearing 
is practice. Herein then lies the great wifdom of faith in 
hearing, — in delivering up the foul and confcience to the 
•commanding authority of God in the word, [Rom. vi. 

17.] And to this end it is required, among other tlimgs, 
that the heart have no apprtived referve for any luft, whole 
life it would fave from the fword of the word ; that vrc 
be afraid of no duty, on account of the difficulties and 



dangers with which it may be attended ; that we be di- 
ligent and watchful againll fpiritual d'lflra^ions^ efpecially 
fuch as are growing to be habitual. 

§ 10. Thirdly ; there are duties alfo confequentlal to ac- 
tual hearing ; as, a due examination of what was new or 
doubtful in the things delivered to us. When the gofpel 
itfelf was lirft preached to the Bereans, it being new to 
♦hem, they are recommended for examining it by the 
fcriptures which they had before received, | Acls xvii. i i.] 
And we are commanded to ' try all things, and to hold 
' fafl: that which is good,' [I. Thcf. v. 21.] As alfo to 

* try the fpirits,' [I. John iv. i.] or what is taught under 
pretence of any fpiritual gift whatever. Not that any- 
thing is fpoken to encourage that cavilling humour which 
will be excepting and difputing againll every thing. Nei- 
ther ough.t what is delivered by any faithful minifter of 
the gofpel, whofe way and do6lrine have been knov/n, be 
lightly called into queflion ; nor, without manifefl evi- 
dence of miflake, be made the matter of doubtful dif- 
putations ; t\{t it will prove the bane of all profitable 
hearing. The apoftle complains of fome who are ' al- 

* ways learning, but never come to the knowledge of the 
« truth,' [II. Tim. iii. 7.] Of this fort are many frill 
among us ; and hence it is, that after they have been 
long under the means of the moH valuable inftrudion, 
they are ready greedily to embrace any fancy that offers. 
The reafon is, they did not truly learn what -they were fo 
long In learning. To learn any truth as we ought, is to 
karn it in its proper principles, true nature, and peculiar 
life ; fo to learn it, as to get an experience of its ufe- 
fulncfs in a life of holy obedience. That we learn doc^ 
irmally, what refpect every truth hath to Chrift, the cen- 
ter of them all ; pra^ically, what influence they have upoi^ 
our holinefs and obedience. 

§ 1 1. The remaining obfervations are : 

I. Many who receive the word at firfl with fome rea- 
dinefs, do yet afterwards make but flow progrefs either 
ia knov/lcdge or grace. 

3 a. It 



2. It is a grievous matter to the dilpeiifers of the 
gofpel, to find their hearers unapt to learn and thrive 
iinder their miniftry through negHgence and floth. The 
apoftle complaineth of it here as a caufe of forrow ; and 
fo it is to -^W faithful minifiers^ whofe lot it is to have fucli 
hearers. As for others, who are themfdves negligent or 
flothful in their work, they will be of courfe regardlefs 
of the flate of their flock. 

Verses 12, 13, 14. 

for when for the time ye ought to be teach- 
ers, ye have need that one teach you again, 
which be the first principles of the oracles 
of god ; and are become such as have need 
of milk, and not of strong meat. for every 


^ I — 7, (I.) Expofition of the words. § 8. (II.) Oh- 
fervations. i . The time of hearing the gofpel muft be par- 
ticularly accounted for, § 9. 2. Churches are the fchools 
of Chr'ift. § 10. 3. Gofpel mlmflcrsfhould endeavour to 
bring on their hearers to be able to inftrutl others. § II. 4. 
The holy fcriptures Jhould be regarded as the oracles of God, 
\ 12. 5. The fcriptures contain firfi principles to fa- 
cilitate our infirutlioyi. § 13. 6. Alfo proviftons of truth 
for all Chriflians. § 1 4- 7- ^'^^ Z^fP^^ ^^ ^^^ ^"^^ ^^"''"^ 
of righteoufnefs. § 15, 1 6. ^. God requires we fhould 

he fkilful in the word, § i 7- 9- 'T^^'- '^'^^'^ 'f ^^' Z^fP^^ 
Vol. III. M '^^ 


h food for fouls ^ §i8. lO. It is a fign of thriving when 
any have a regular appetite for gofpel myferies. § 19- 
Other obfervatlons. 

% I. (I.) J\S thefe three verfes all treat of the fame mat- 
ter with that foregoing, fo they have all the fame defign 
in themfelves, and cannot be fevered in their expolition* 
The intention of the apoflie is to reprefent to the He- 
brews herein their true {late, arifing from their being dull 
in hearing. He fhews that they were yet babes, unfk'ilful ' 
in the word of righteoufnefs, and fuch as had need to be 
fed with w'llk. 

The firft thing is an aggravation of the fault reproved ; 
(S/^ TO]/ yuovov-) pro ratione temporis) * conlidering the 

* time' and feafon you Hebrews have had, you might 
have been otherwife long ago : or it may not intend the 
fpace of time, but the nature of the feafon which they 

were under. There is no inconvenience in this fenfe, 
and it hath good inflruftion in it ; but I will rather ad- 
here to that which is more commonly received. {Aicc 
Tov yoovov) for the i'me^ is as much as * with refpedt to the 

* time paft and gone' fince their firfl calling, and profef- 
iion of the gofpel. But it may happen that men may 
have time enough, and have no advantage by it for want 
of other neceflary helps. Wherefore it is fuppofed, that 
during, the time intended, thefe Hebrews wanted no ne- 
ceffary means of inflruftion. They had for a feafon the 
miniilry of all the apoflles, and of feveral of them for a 
longer continuance, and it is highly probable they had 
yet one of them furviving. Moreover, they had in com- 
mon ufe the fcriptures of the Old Tefament, which tefti- 
fied to all concerning Chrift ; and moll of the writings of 
the New Tc/lament were before this time communicated to 
them. Wherefore, during the feafon intended, they en- 
joyed fufficient means of ' growing in grace, and in the 

* knowledge of our Lord Jefus Chrift.' 

§ 2. (0(psiXovj:-g sivc/a — ^i^cticrstc^Ao;) * You ought to 

* have been teachers.' This is the word {l)i^,oc(TKaXog) 


Ver. 12— 14. EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS. 79 

whereby the writers of the New Teftament exprefs Rabbi, 
which was the ufual name of the pubUc teachers of the 
law among the Jews. He is fuch a one as — not only 
is Jit to teach, but alfo — hath difciples learning from 
him. And it is the name of the teaching officer in the 
church, [I. Cor. xii. 28. Ephef. iv. 11.] 

{0(pciXovTig eiya,i) Tou ought to he \ he doth not only 
fay, that they had enjoyed fuch opportunities of inflruc- 
tion, as that they might have been able to teach and in- 
Uruct others ; but this he declares was excepted from them 
as their duty. Every church was then 2^feminary^ wherein 
provifion was made, not only for the continuation of 
gofpel preaching in itfelf, but alfo for the gathering and 
teaching of other churches. When therefore a church 
was firft planted by the miniftry of the apojiles^ it was for 
a while continued under their own immediate care ; and 
then ufually committed by them to the miniflry of fome 
evangelijh ; until fome among themfelves were found meet 
to be made overfeers and inftruftors of the reft, [IL Tim. 
ii. 2, A£ls xiv. 23. Tit. i. 5.] Upon their deceafe, 
others were to be chofen by the church from among them- 
felves to the fame work. And thus was the prefervation 
of the churches provided for; it being fuited to the na- 
ture of all focietics, as alfo to the inftitution and love of 
Chrift to his churches, that they fhould be able to prc- 
ferve their being and order. And this alfo was the man- 
ner before in the fynagogues of the Jews. 

But they did not only learn in the church, that they 
might be able afterwards to teach in the fame^ but alfo 
that they might be inftrumental in the work of the gof- 
pel in other -places. Thus, in thofe days, what is here 
referred to might be the duty of many^ efpecially in that 
church of the Hebrews ; for this was the great fcminary of 
preachers for the nvhole world at that time, — the law was to 
go forth from Zion, and healing waters from Jerufalem. 
It was in the fynagogues of the Jews, throughout their dif- 
perfions in the world, that the preachers of the gofpel be- 
gan to divulge their meflage ; for God had fo ordained, 
that, in all places, the accomplifhment of the promife 

M 2 ^^^^ 


made to their fathers fhoiild be firft declared to them, 
[Acts xiii. 32, 33, 46.] Now this could not be done 
but by Jews ; for the Gentile converts, being uncircum- 
cifed, could have no accefs, either to themfelves or their 
fynagogues. On this account, it was greatly incumbent 
on thefe Hebrews to thrive in knowledge, that they might 
be able to * teach' others, when God in his providence 
fhoirld call them to it. 

§ 3. The fecond branch of the apoflolic reproof con- 
fifls in a declaration of the efTe^l of their negligence : 
* You have need that one fhould teach you again, which 
^ be the firil principles of the oracles of God.' 

(Xpsia-v s%fls} * Tou have need ;' if you are not thus 
taught again, you will not know the principles of the 
oracles of God. We are faid td need thofe things na- 
turally, without which we cannot well live, [Mat. vi. 8.] 
and, morally, without which we cannot perform our 

{T^ ^i^oiCTKSiv vucng) * That one Jhoidd teach yoii — It is 
thus fallen out by your negligence, that, inftead of being 
teachers of others, of being mafters of the alTemblies, 
you had need to be placed in the loweft form of thofe 
who learn; the hrghefl evidence of your dulnefs and want 
of proficiency. 

(Tivcc Ta> (fjor/SLoc) ' Which he the firji principles' — not 
only which they are, but what they are ; the very nature of 
the things themfelves is intended. The word {cfjoiy^siov) 
is ufed by our apoftle indifferently, in a good or bad fenfe, 
according as its adjuncts require ; frequently he applies it 
to the principles and rudiments of the Jewifh religion, or 
Mofaical inftitutions, [Gal. iv. 3.] Nor doth he at any 
time make ufe of this word, but when he treateth with 
either the Jews themfelves, or thofe that judaized. — - 
The term plurally {(fjoiyjioc) denotes the ' firfl principles' 
of any art or fcience, as the letters of the alphabet arc 
the {(fjoi'XjSioi) prtnciplcsy rudiments, elements of reading. 

(Tccv Koyioov tj^ ©.-«) * Of the oracles of God.'' — The 
fcriptures^ ufually called fo in the New, when applied to 
thofe of the Old Teflament, [Ads vii. 3 8. J ' oracles,^ 


Ver. i2-~i4. epistle to THE HEBREWS. %t 

becaufe they were given out from God by infpiration 
[11. Tim.iii. i6. II. Pet. i. 2 1.] 

The ufe and main end of thefe ' inflitutions', as de-- 
clared in the ^ oracles of God,' were to typify jefus 
Chrift. This was the fr-JI thing that the Jews were to 
learn in them, and in which the Hebrews were fo defi- 
cient, that they had need to be taught them again. 

§ 4.. * And are become fuch as have need of milk, and 

* not of flrong meat.' This alluiion the apoftlc purfues 
to the end of the chapter. (Tc-yovtzjc-) ' Ve arc become — • 
the word may be taken in a two-fold ftnfe : it may fig- 
nify, — it appears what you are, and what you lland in 
need of; upon trial it is made manifcfl how dull and 
llothful you have been, how ignorant you are, an J how 
little you have improved your feafon. — Or, it may be, the 
apoille by this exprefiion denotes a decleniion in them ; 
' Vqu are become ^^ that is, iiow^ what formerly you were 
not. So Chrysostom on the place : * This is what 

* you have now brought yourfelves to.' This is no un- 
ufuai thing among profelTors. I'lirough their inadver^ 
tency, iinful negligence, and worldly mindednefs, they 
lofe the knowledge they had attained ; and on a pcrverfe 
continuance in fach an evil courfe, through tlie righteous 
judgement of God, even all they feemed to have, is taken 
from them. * Tou have jiecd of tii'ilk:'' the whole word of 
God is, it may be, fometimes compared to milk ; be* 
caufe of its freedom from corrupt mixtures, and litnefs 
for nourifliment, [I. Pet. ii. 2.] 'As new-born babes, 

* defire the lincere milk of the word, that ye may grow 

* thereby.' Nothing is of a more natural nouriihment 
than milk ; and is never hurtful, but vv^herc the body is 
prepoffelTed with obflruclions. And it denotes thofc plain 
do(5lrines of truth, wliich were meet for them who, as 
yet, were not capable of higher myftcries. So our apoftlc 
ufeth the fame iimilitude, [I. Cor. iii. 1,2.] ' And I, 

* brethren, could not fpeak unto you as .unto fpiritual, 

* but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Chriil. I 

* have fed you with in'iik^ and not with meat ; for hirhcr- 

* to ve were not able to bear it, neither vet now are yc 

' able.' 


* able.' Such doftrines of truth as he calls the *" firji 

* -principles of the oracles of God,' plain and fundamental 
truths. The greatell part of his epiflles is taken up with 
the deepeft myfteries of the will and counfel of God ; and 
for this caufe he is now by fome retie£led as a perfon, 
whofe writings are obfcure, and hardly to be underflood ; 
for men begin not to fear to cail the fhame and guilt of 
their own ignorance on a pretended obfcurity in his wri- 
tings. Thus thefe Hebrews had need of milk; not 
through the tendernefs of their conftitution, but by hav- 
ing contracted an ill habit of mind. 

They had not need of ftvong meat. He alludes to the 
pricflhood and facrifice of Chriil : thefe are folid meat 
to the fouls of found believers. And hereby Chriftians 
may take a due eftimate of their fpiritual health, ftrength, 
and growth. If the folid doftrmes concerning the offices 
of Chrifl, efpecially his pricjihood and facrifice, are fuited 
to their minds and affeftions, and afford fpiritual nouriih- 
ment, it is a good evidence of their progrefs in the know- 
ledge of Chrifl and the gofpel. 

§ 5. {l\a,g ^ilsy^MV yccKocn]og, qmfquis lacie participa- 
turj ' Every one of tacni who, by reafon of their infirm 

* Hate, ought to be fed with milk,* is C^TTc/po^, rudisy in^ 
experiusj unjkilful^ fay we ; properly one that hath no ex^ 
pericnce (Xoy^ ^iTiociocrvvYjg) '■ of the word of righteonfnefs^ 
or doftrine of the gofpel. Therein is the righteoufnefs of 
God revealed to us ; (Rom. i. 17.) even Chrifl, as the end 
of the law for righteoufnefs; [Rom. x. 4.] And fo alone 
declares the vray of righteoiifnefs. — Now thefe Hebrews 
are not faid to be utterly ignorant^ but only to be * unikil- 
ful,* efpecially in the great myileries of it ; tliey had not 
attained to a clear undtrftanding of the gofpel truths, fo 
as to improve them to their proper ends; or they had not 
experience in themfelves of their proper power and reality. 
—The genera] reafon is, {v'/pncg yocrj so^i) ' feeing he is 

* but a babe.' He intends therefore in the former words, 
not fuch as ufe milk occafionally, but fuch as feed on milk 
Qnly\ fuch as tlirough lloth and negligence have made 
little or no proficiency in fpiritual knowledge, and are not 


Ver. 12-^14. EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS. 83 

capable of inllru^lion in the more heavenly myilcries of 
the gofp^L 

§ 6. ' But flrong meat belongeth to them that arc 
* (rsXsioi, as oppoled to vvjTTioi) adult^'' come to full 
age. So our apoftle makes the oppOiirion, [Ephef. iv. 
13, 14.] He would have us come (-,ig ocvlocc tsKsiov) to a 
ferfetl man ; that we Ihould be no more [vYiT^ioi] children^ 
tolfed up and down. As the one therefore denotes perfons 
weak, ignorant, and unliable In fpiritual things ; fo the 
other does thofe who have their underftandings enlarged, 
and their minds fettled, in the knowledge of Chrift, and 
the myfteries of the gofpel. Hence alfo, when any grace 
is raifed to a conftant iincere exercife, it is faid to be per- 
fca, [L John iv. 18.] 

§ 7. This allufion is flill continued between infants 
and adults. Infants have all their (o^icr^'/ijripicCi fcnfuum 
organa) the organs of the external fenfes; eyes, ears, and 
the like : and they have their internal {twit in its princi- 
ple. But they know not how to ufc either to advantage. 
They cannot by their taile dlftlnguifh between wholefome 
food, and that which is pernicious. The ' fenfes' intend- 
ed, are the neceffary faculties for underflanding and judg- 
ing of fpiritual things. And thefe abilities in tlieir feve- 
ral degrees, are in both forts — ' babes,' and ' thofe of full 

* age;' but here lies the difference, in thofe of ' full age,* 
thefe fenfes are {ycyv^.ycy.crijLsy(x) exercifed; the w^ord doth 
not denote an atlual cxcrcife, but that readinefs, ability, 
and fitnefs for any thing which is attained by affiduous 
exercife. As a foldier who is trained, is ready for his 
duty ; or a wrefller for prizes (whence the allufion is 
taken) to encounter his antagonift. Wherefore, to have 
our ' fenfes exercifed,' intends — to have our minds, 
through fedulous meditation, prayer, hearing the word, 
and the like, to become ready and able to receive fpiritual 
truths, and to turn them into nourilhment for our fouls. 

(IIpo^ h(ZKpi(riv xaJ.ii t3 xc/a nccxi^) ' to the difcerning of 

* good and evil.' The word {^iaxpi(ric) imports an (.".ctd 
judgement, putting a difference between the diflerent na- 
tures of things ; and here it is faid to be exercifed about 

2 * Z^od 


* good and evil.' The fame ailofion he ftill carries on. 
Of food, fome is v^holefome and fome hurtful ; the one is 
^ood., the other is evil. That may be propofed to us, as 
Taken from the fcripture, which indeed is not fo, and 
which is not wholefome food, but mere poifon to the fouls 
of men. To avoid thefe dangers, it is neceffary that we 
have our * fenfes exercifed' (^icc tviv spiv) * by reafon of 
' ufe.' The word [spjg) fignifies an habit ; v/hich is a 
firmly rooted difpofition, giving readinefs and facility in 
a£is about its proper object. And the apoftle intending 
fuch an liabit as is acquired by ufc and exercife, we ren- 
der it ufe. The firft principle of fpiritual light is infu- 
fed by the Holy Ghofl: ; its improvement into a fixed ha- 
bit, is by confrant and continual exercife about the myfte- 
ries of the gofpel. 

§ 8. (II.) Obf. I. The time wherein we enjoy the 
great privilege of having the golpel difpenfed to us, muft^ 
as a precious talent, be particularly accounted for. It 
was expected from thefe Hebrews, that they fliould grow 
and thrive in knowledge and holinefs proportionably to 
their time and means ; and not doing fo, it is charged on 
them as a great aggravation of their guilt. And we all 
may do well to confider it. [See Expofition on chap, 
iii. 13, 15.] 

§ 9. Gbf. 2. Churches are the fchools of Chrifl, 
wherein his difciples are trained up to perfcdion, every 
one according to his appointed meafure, and his ufeful- 
nefs in tlie body. Every one that belongs to it, ought to 
have a double aim; firft, his own edification, and then his 
ufefulnefs in refpe£l of others. The church is the garden 
of Chriil, enclofed aiid watered, and every plant which 
continueth in a Vv'ithering, unthrifty condition, will at 
length be plucked up and call out.^ We are fo to learn 
in the church as to become ufeful to others; a matter 
which few trouble themfelves about. But this Chriil: ex- 
pects from us all. One way or other, every one may 
contribute to this, building ; all may cafl into this trea= 
.fuiy, fome their talents, fome their mites. They who 
-Miave not flocks to watch over, may yet have families, re- 



iatlons, children, fervants, &c. who may be benefitted 
by their knowledge. It may not be the duty of every one 
to convince gain-fayers, but it is incumbent on all to be 
*■ always ready to give an anfwer to every man that aikcth 

* a reafon of the hope that is in them, with meeknefs and 

* fear,' [I, Pet. iii. 15,] It is a fad condition, when a 
perfon can return no tolerable anfwer to that inquiry j 

* of what ufe are you in the church of Chrill ?' 

§ 10. Ohf. 3. It is the duty of gofpel minifters to en- 
deavour after their hearers increafe in knowledge, until 
they alfo, according to their calls and opportunities, .are 
able to inflrudl others. Some, it may be, are apt to fear 
left their hearers fhould know too much. Even good 
men had need to watch againft difcompofares of mind, 
when they find on trial, perhaps, that fome of their hear- 
ers are, like David, wifer in the things of God than their 
teachers. And Jolhua himfelf was earneil: with Mofes to 
forbid Eldad and Medad from prophefying ; out of no 
good frame, as appeareth by the reply of Mofes ; * Enviejl 
' thou for my fake ?' He then adds this truly benevolent 
wifh: * Would God that all the Lord's people were pro- 
' phets.' In reality, a faithful minifler has a very great 
caufe of rejoicing, when inftrumental fo to carry on any 
of his hearers towards perfection, as that their gifts and 
abilities may out-fliine his own, efpecially if they are ac- 
companied with humility and holinefs. 

§ 1 1. Obf. 4. That the holy fcriptures are to be con- 
fulted and fubmitted to, as the oracles of God. Not a 
dead letter, but the life-giving oracles, by which God 
conveys a living power to the fouls of men, and in which 
he fliil fpeaks to us. So faith Stephen: Mofes ' received 

* the living oracles to give unto us ;' not to our fathers 
only, who lived in thofe days, but to us alfo, now fo 
many generations after. They are the oracles of that 
God who is the firfl truth, whofe being is truth, and who 
therefore cannot lie. 

§ 12. Obf. 5. God hath In Infinite love and wifdom 
fo difpofed of his word, as that there are firfl principles, 
plain and neceffary, laid down in it, to facilitate our inftruc- 

VoL. IIL N ''-^on. 


tion. Men have found it neceflary in teaching all arts' 
and fciences, liril to lay down general principles, which 
they make the balis of all their following deduftions. 
This being what the prefent ex'gence of ov.v nature re- 
quires, accordingly there arc * firfl principi^^ of the ora- 
* cles of God.' And this is neceiTariJy required to tlie 
nature of iiril princif'.les; they rnufc be maxims, plainly de- 
clared, or elfe they are very unmeet to be the iirft princi- 
ples of knowledge in any kind. The minds of men being 
duly in-laid with thefe nrfc principles, it is inconceivable 
how they may thrive in the knowledge of the deepeft myf- 
teries. But he that lays tlie foundation of an houfe, and 
negle£ls carrying oh the building, v^ill find but a forry 
fhelter in a riorm. — Again, fiiH principles are fuch as, 
without which, and if the mind be not duly poifefTed with 
them, all endeavours after higher attainments are prepof- 
terous, and will undoubtedly prove fruitlefs. Thofe who 
aim at ahftraSf /peculations without thefe principles, are 
cither always learning, and never come to the knowledge 
of the truth, wearying themfelves in fearch of what they 
cannot comprehend ; or elfe, are vainly puft up in their 
iicihy minds, upon a prefumption that they know fome 
marvellous thing beyond the common rate of other men ; 
when at the fame time, in reality, they know nothing as 
they ought to know, nothing with refpeft to its proper 
principles. Hence it is, that multitudes are fo eafiiy fe- 
duced to foolilli and deflru6live errors. Things are pro- 
pofed to them under fpecious pretences, which at firfl 
feem to have fomewhat excellent and peculiar, and as far 
as they can difcern, are of no evil tendency; but after 
they have embraced them and are* brought under their 
powder, it is found that they have virtually renounced the 
foundation of the gofpel. — Moreover, thefe principles arc 
fuch as infure falvation, though they alone are known and 
obeyed, provided men's progrefs in knowledge be not! 
obflrufled by their own fault. And as this confideration 
will not give the leaft countenance to the floth or negli- J 
gence of any ; fo it is a relief to them who are not fup- 
piied with the means of higher improvement. 

§ ^3! 

Ver. 12-^14. EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS. 87 

§ 13. Obf. 6. There are provifions of truth in the 
fcripture, iuitable to the fpiritual inftrii£lioni and edifica- 
tion of all forts of perfons that belong to Jefus Clirifl. 
There is in it both milk Txndijirong meat. .The difciples of 
Chrifl ever were, and ever will be in this world, of fovcral 
lizes and capacities. In the houfe of God there are all 
forts of veflels, fmaller and greater, cups and fiagons, [Ifa. 
xxii. 24.] There are in the church, babes, young men, 
and fathers ; [I. John ii.] and there are among the hear- 
ers of the gofpel, perfons found, healthy, and thriving; 
and thofe that are weak, iickly, and feeble; as in the fame 
pock there are lambs, and Iheep, and ewes great with 
^young. Now in an houfe where there dwell together, old 
men, and flrong men, and children, or babes ; thofe that 
are healthy, and thofe that are fick ; if they fhould be all 
confined to the fame diet, fome of them mufl necellarily 
perilh. But a wife houfeholder will provide for them dif- 
ferently ; according to their feveral flates and capacities, 
that which Ihall be wholefome and convenient for them 
^11 ; wherefore, hence it will follow in general ; 

(i.) That it is the wifdom of the difpenfers of the 
gofpel, to coniider what doftrincs are mofl fuitable to 
the capacity and condition of their hearers. And in par- 

(2.) That it is a prepofcerous and unprofitable courfe 
to endeavour to inflrufl any in the greater myfteries of the 
gofpel, who have not as yet been well grounded in the 
more common and obvious principles of it. 

§ 14 Obf. 7. The gofpel is the only word of righte- 
oufnefs in itfelf and to us. That declaration of the righte- 
oufnefs of God which remains in the laiv, however pure 
and holy in itfelf, tends not to beget in us righteoufnefs 
and peace. 

Again ; the gofpel is the word of righteoufnefs dcclara- 
tively, becaufe it alone reveals to us, what righteoufnefs 
God requireth in us, and will accept from us. This is 
the great inquiry of mankind not utterly hardened in fin ; 
that is, who are not halfway in hell already — what they 
^iil do for a righteoufnefs wherewith to appear before 


God? It mud anfwer the demands ofjuflice, or it will 
not avail us. Here mankind, left to thenrifelves, would 
wander everlailii gly, until they were fwallowed up in eter- 
nal riiin. And a thoufand paths have they been tracing 
to this purpofe. But here the gofpel arifeth as iht fun in 
its brightnefs^ difpelling all darknefs and mills, and evi- 
dently declares a righteouinefs fatisfafloiy to all the wants 
of the foul — the righteoufnefs of Chrifl ; what he did and 
fuffercd in our ilead. This is declared in the gofpel ahncy 
and indeed the whole gofpel is nothing but the declara- 
tion of it in its nature, caufes, efFeds, and confequences : 
hence principally is the gofpel called a ' word of righte- 
* oufnefs/ The dodlrine of the gofpel is univerfally a 
doftrine of holinefs and righteoufnefs^ allowing not the leaft 
criminal indulgence, but feverely condemning the inmoft 
diforders of the heart, as well as the outward perpetration 
of aftual lin. [See Tit. ii. ii, 12.] And there is no 
more required of us in this world, but that our conver- 
fation be * fuch as becometh the gofpel.' To all which 
we may add, that it is the infirument of communicating 
righteoufnefs to us, or of miaking us righteous. 

§ 15. Ohf. 8. That God requires of all thofe who live 
■underUhe difpenfation of the gofpel, that they fhould be 
^ JkilfuV in the word of righteoufnefs. To know the na- 
ture of this duty, we mufl confider what are thofe ends of 
the gofpel^ with refped to which it is required of us, that 
we be able fkilfully to ufe and improve the truths of it. I 
ftiall name only three of them : 

(i.) The increafe and eftablifhment of our faith, 
Chrifl- IS the peculiar, immediate, and proper object of 
faith ; herein therefore confifls our fldll in the word of 
righteoufnefs, in readily and duly applying by faith the 
do£lrine and promifes concerning Chrift and his media- 
tion. The great way of preferving our faith in the af- 
faults of Satan is to have in a readinefs fome fuitable 
and feafonable divine word ; then will faith be able to 
hold up its fhield, whereby the fiery darts of Satan will be 
quenched. There is a peculiar antidote in the fcripture 
againfl the poifon of every temptation. — Again \ hereby- 

Ver. 12— 14. EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS. ^9 

alone is faith fecured againft the cunning craft of men that 
lie in wait to deceive. The fcripture is like the tower of 
David, ' built for an armory, wherein there hang a thou- 

* fand bucklers, all fhields of mighty men.' There are 
weapons in abundance prepared for the defence of faith, if 
we are but ready and dexterous in managing them. If 
men be but fldlful and ready in the fcriptures, though 
deftitute of other learning, it is inexprcffible how able they 
will be to confound the fophiftries of the moll fubtile ad- 
verfaries of the truth. But without this abiliry, men 
iland ready to be feized on as a prey by the next fc- 

(2.) Another end for which we need this /?•/// is, our 
guidance in the whole courfe of our duties, that we be not 
out of our way, nor at a lofs about it. The word is our 
rule, our guide, our light in all our walking before God ; but 
if we have not an acquaintance with it, if we are not ready 
to ufe and apply it, we fhali never walk fleadily nor up- 
rightly. Where men are unfkilful in the word, particular 
difficulties either entangle them, and fill them with per- 
plexities, fo that they know not Vv^hat to do \ or elfe (like 
\indifciplined foldiers) they violently and prefumptuoufly 
break through them, to the wounding of their confciences, 
and the hardening of their fpirits againfl a fenfe of fin. — ■ 
Another end is, 

(3.) Confolatlon in diftrcfs. It is unavoidable that we 
muft be left to darknefs and forrow, or mufl: betake our- 
felves to reliefs that are worfe than our troubles, if wg 
have not in readinefs thofe grounds of fol'id confoJat'ion which 
the fcripture is florcd with. But whatever thefe forrows 
or troubles are, if we are * fkilful in the word of righ- 

• teoufnefs,' we may at all times and places, in prifons, 
dungeons, or exiles, have wherewith to fupport and re- 
frelh our fouls. 

§ 16. Again; the word fignifies ' want of experience? 
Now by this ' experience,' I intend, a fpiritual {cw^a, 
tafte, or relifli of the goodncfs, fvvcctncfs, ufcful excellency 
of gofpel truths, endearing our hearts to God, and caufmg 
US to adhere tp him with dehght and conllaiw:y. And 



this experience, which is of fo great ufe and advantage, 
confifls of three things : 

1. A thoraygh mixture of the promifes iv'iih faith. It is 
that lively adi ng of faith which the fcripture exprefleth 
by tafting, eating, drinking, which gives a real incorpora- 
tion of the things we are made partakers o£ When faith 
afTiduoufiy acis upon the promifes, fo that the mind is 
filisd with their contents, (and the mind will be influ- 
enced by every obje£l it is filled with) then the founda- 
tion of this experience is laid. This the apoftle intends, 
[Eph. iii. 17.] * That Chriil may dwell in your hearts 
< by faith.' Faith by its freqaent lively adtings on Chrill, 
"brings him, as it were, to make a conflant refidence in the 
heart, where lie always puts forth his power, and the 
efiicacv of his grace. — It conhfcs moreover, 

2. In a fpir'uual fcnfe of the excellency of the things 
believed, wherewith the afFe£f ions are touched and filledo 
No tongue can exprefs that fatisfaftion which the fou\ 
receives in the gracious communication of a fenfe of di- 
vine goodnefs, in Chrifl:, whence it ' rejoiceth with joy 
* unfpeakabie and full of glory.' The love, delight, and 
joys of the experienced Chriilian have their root within^ — i 
in thofe actings of faith before defcribed. They are the 
fruits and flowers of it, which may be excited by external 
occafions, but proceed from the internal root of faith. — - 
Once more, this experienc conlifls, 

3. In experiments of the power of the word, on all oc- 
cafions, efpecially as it is ' a word of righteoufnefs.' It 
gives peace with God. This is the moll difficult thing in 
the world, to be imprefled on the mind of man, really and 
ferioufly convinced of the guilt of fin ; and all attempts^ 
independent of the divine prefcription, utterly fail. But 
when the foul doth really clofe with the gofpel plan, when 
it ' mixeth it zvith faith as a word of righteoufnefs,' the 
authority of the word in the confcience prevails, and the 
believer's peace is iirm and liable. It fatisfies the heart ii^^ 
its preferring fpiritual, invifible, and eternal things, before 
thofe that are prefent. When we are fatisfled that it is 
good for us, that it is htfi for us, to forego prefent earthly 

2, things^ 

Ver. 12-»-i4, epistle to THE HEBREWS, ^t 

things, for thofe things which eye hath not fecn, nor ear 
heard, merely on the authority of the vjord, teftifying to the 
excellency and certainty of thefe invifible things j then 
have we an experiment of its divine power. 

§ 17. Obf. 9. The word of the gofpel, in the difpen- 
fatioii of it, is ' food' provided for the fouls of men. 
There is a new fpiritual life wrought in all that believe — 
the life by virtue, of which, they live to God. The 07^/- 
"juard means of communicating this life is the word of the 
gofpel, [I. Pet. i. 23.] and God takes czre to preferz'e it. 
Now as every thing is increafed by the fame means where- 
by it is ingenerated, the food God prepareth for this new 
creatute is his word, [I. Pet. ii. i — 3.] Hence where- 
ever God will have a church, there he will preferve his 
wordo And where he abfolutely takes this away, he hath 
no more family, no more church. So when the woman, 
through the perfecution of the dragon, was driven into the 
wildernefs, in an obfcure diflrelTed condition, God took. 
care that there fhe fhould ht fed, [Ktv. xii. 6.] He will 
never fufFer this heavenly provifion to be fo removed from 
any that are truly his, but that a diligent hand fliall find 
^r^^^ enough. Hence, 

(i.) No judgement is fo to be feared and deprecated, 
as a being deprived of the ' difpenfation of the word.' 
No judgement is like famine. * They that are flain with 

* the fword, are better than they that are flain with hun- 
' ger; for thefe pine away, ftr^cken through for want of the 

* fruit of the field,' [Lam. iv. 9.] And no famine like 
that of the word^ which God threateneth as the foreft of 
his judgements, [Amos viii. 11.] 

(2.) As no temporal mercy is fo liable to be abufcd, at 
fulnefs of bread; which, joined with />;7V^ and idlcnefs^ its 
ufual companions, produced the fins of Sodom; [Ezek. 
xvi. 49.] So is it with tht fullnefs of this fpiritual food \ 
fpiritual pride and fpiritual foth are apt to grow up with 
it, to corrupt and abuie it. Some are apparently proud 
and delicate, waxing wanton under their enjoyments, (o 
that wholefome food is defpifed by them ; nothing will 
ferve them but fome poifonous dainties. And fome arc 



flothful, thinking all pains and charge about the word too 
much — though the ward of eternal life. The curiolity 
and floth of thefe days bode no good. 

(3.) Thofe who, by any means, endeavour to obftruft 
the difpenfation of the woid, do their endeavour toyiiw//^ 
the fouls of men. They keep their * food' from them, 
without which they cannot live. Whether this be done 
by negligence, ignorance, or difability in thofe who take 
tipon them to be God's llewards, but have none of his 
provifion under their difpolal ; or, whether it be done out 
of a real hatred to the word ; the cruelty is dreadful, and 
the crime will be avenged. 

(4.) The word is to be efleemed and fought after, as 
our daily food, Ncghgence and carelelTnefs about the food 
of our fouls are too great an evidence that there is no prin- 
ciple of life in vis. Think not too much about your 

§ 18. Ohf. 10. It is an evidence of a thriving and 
Iiealthy flate of foul, to have an appetite ' to the deepeft 
niyfteries of the gofpel, or moil folid do£lrines of truth, 
and to be able profitably to digeil them. Whereas if you 
take others beyond milk^ or firft principles, ordinarily 
they are at a lofs, and very little benefited by any provifiom 
you can make for them. But yet fometimes it falls out in 
i\\t{^ fplrituaU as it doth in natural things. Some perfons 
under diflempers, having a falfe appetite, and their tafle 
vitiated, greatly defire ftrong food, which is no way meet 
for them, and which, when they liave eaten it, doth but 
heighten their diflemper. That we may not be deceived, 
nor deceive ourfelves in this matter, I fhall give fome dif- 
ferences between this property of thriving, healthy fouls, 
and the inordinate longing of fpiritually fick and dlftem- 
per«d minds, after thofe things which are not meet for 

(i.) The defires of the former are kept always withm 
the bounds of what is plainly revealed in the ivntten 
word ; they have learned in all things to think foherly, 
< according to the analogy of faith.' [Rom. xii. 3.] As 
for the other fort, — if any thing be new, curious, feem- 



ingly myflical, removed from the common fqiife and ap- 
prehenlioas of Chriflians, without any due confideration 
whether it be a truth of God or no, are fure inftantly 
to run greedily after it, and catch at the empty cloud. . 

(2-) The one, upon difcovering any important myf- 
tery of the gofpel, are greatly taken up with an holy ad- 
miration and reverence of God, whofe thefe things are ; 
the other fort fatisfy themfelves in their own Jpecf^'ationy 
without being much afPefted about the greatnefs and glory 
of God in the things which they imagine they know. 

(3.) The former fort find real food and nourifhment 
in this ilrong meat, {o that their faith is llrengrl.eied, 
their love increafed, and holinefs promoted in their fouls 
by them ; the others, whofe defires proceed from the 
diftempers o^ pride and curiofity, find none of thefe thi'^.gs.' 
Hence it is, that we hardly ever fee one of tliefe notional 
perfons either fruitful in themfelves, or ufeful to others ; 
neither can they bear that part of the yoke of Oirifl:, 
"which makes neceflary the conftant exercife of faith and 

(4.) The former are always more and more humbled, 
the latter more and more puffed up by their fancied at- 
tainments, [Col. ii 18.] 

§ 19. To the foregoing obfervations we may add, 

1. The afliduous exercife of our minds about fpiritual 
things, in k fpiritual manner, is the only means to make 
us profit in hearing the word. When our fpiritaal /^w/^^ 
are exercifed, by reafon of conftant ufe, they are properly 
qualified to embrace and improve what is offered them. 

2. The fpiritual fenfe of believers, well exercifed in 
the word of truth, is the beft h Ip in judging of what is 
good or evil, what is true or falfe, when propofcd to 

Vol. III. O C"^^' 


Cha?. VL Ver. I — 3. 


§ I. The fuhje^ Jlated. § 2. (I.) 7he general propofiilon,. 
§ 3. (IL) The amplification of it, § 4, 5. Repentance 
from dead works. § 6. Faith towards Gcd, § 7, 8> 
The refurre£lion of the dead. § 9 — ii. Eternal judg- 
ment. § 12. The dodrine of baptifms. § 13. The im- 
fojltion of hands. § 14. (III.) The apoftW s refolution of 
going on to perfe^ion^ as before propofed. § 15— 25* 
(IV.) Obfervations. 

I I . X N the firfl part of this chapter, comprifed in the 
three firft verfes, there are three things confiderable : — ■ 
A general propofition^- containing the apoftle's refolution 
to proceed to the more perfeft do£lrines of the gofpcl, 
and his paffing over the firft principles of Chriftianity : — > 
an amplification of this proportion : — and a renovation of 
his refolution, with fubmiilion to the divine pleafure. 
§ 2. (I.) The general propoiition is ; ' therefore leav- 

* ing the principles of the do£trine of Chrift, let us go 

* on unto perfection.' 

(Aio) fVherefore—Thh illative manifefts that there is 
a dependence in what enfues, on what was difcourfed on 
before ; and that which follows may be either an i^fe^ 
rence from it, or be the effed of refolution occa-(ione4 by it ; 
either this duty will hence follow, or feeing it is fo, I am 
jt ^yms rcfolved to do. If the words be taken the former 



way, they declare his refoiutlon in teaching ; if in the lat- 
ter, their duty in learning. It may be the apoftle intends 
hoth ■ that he fhould proceed to their farther inftruaion, 
and that they fhould ftir up themfelves to profit according- 
iy. (A(ps-^c-g) we leaving ; omitting thofe difcourfes ; lay- 
ing afide farther fpeech concerning thefe things. But it 
deferves particular notice, that the lignification of the 
- word is to be limited to the prefent occafion. For con- 
fider the things here fpoken of ahfolutely, and they are 
never to be left either by teachers or hearers. There is a 
neceiTity that teachers fhould often inHft on the rudiments, 
or firft principles of religion ; not only with refped to 
them who are continually to be trained up in knowledge 
from their infancy, but alfo thofe who have made a far- 
ther progrefs in knowledge. And this courfe we find our 
apoflle to have fleered in all his epiflles. Nor are any 
hearers fo to leave thefe principles, as to forget them, or 
not duly to make ufe of them. Cafl afide a conflant re- 
gard to them, in their proper place, and no progrefs can 
be made in knowledge, no more than a building can be 
carried on when the foundation is taken away. Refpe£t 
therefore is had on the lide of teacher and hearers, to the 
prefent Qccafon. 

Let us wot always dwell upon the teaching and learning 
of thefe things, but, omitting them for a feafon, as what 
you are, or might be, well acquainted with, let us pro* 
ceed to what is further necefTary for you. 

That which is * paiTed over' here, he calls (roy tyj; 
c^pxrig TH XpigyXoyoy) * the word of the beginning of Chrif,' 
The wo}'d of Chrifl is no other but the do£lrine of the gof- 
pel, as preached and taught. The limitation {vfig apx'^d . 
«_of the beginning,' refpefts thofe parts of the Chriflian 
do6lrine, which men were ufually and properly firfl in* 
llru£led in ; and which he immediately enumerates, They 
are the fame with « the firfl principles of the oracles of 
* God,' whereof mention was made before. 

The end is {Ti{kiio\r\q) perfe^ion ; that is, fuch a know- 
ledge of the myfteries and fublime do6trines of the gofpel, , 
gs thofe who were completely initiated, and thoroughly 

Z. inflrudlcdj 


inftru£led, were partakers of, [I. Cor. ii. 6.] * We 
* fpeak wifdom among the perfed ;* or declare the deep 
myflerics of the gofpel, the wifdom of God in a myilery, 
|to them, that are capable of them. It is a comparative, 
I not an ahfolute perfeclion, for the latter is not attainable 
in this life. Take therefore the 'perfection' here aimed 
at, ah]e£lively^ and it is the more fublime myfleries of the 
' gofpel ; take \\. Juhjetl'ively^ it is fuch a clear perception of 
them, efpecially of thofe which concern the perfon and 
offices of Chrift, and particularly his prieflhood, 2iS grown 
lelievers do ufually attaiq to. 

The manner of arriving at this end, he exprefleth by 
{(ps^ooiLS^oi) * let us he carried on.^ The vvord is empha- 
tical, intimating fach a kind of progrefs as a fhip makes 
when it is under fail. * Let us be carried on' with the 
full bent of our minds and affedions, with the utmoft en- 
deavours of our whole fouls. We have abode long 
enough by the Ihore ; let us now hoiil our fails, and 
launch forth into the deep. 

§ 3. (II.) Now follows the amplification: * Not lay- 
' * ing again the foundation of repentance,' &c. The 
word {^ciLzXioq) foundation, includes an allulion to an ar-* 
chited:, and his building. Firfl he lays the 'foundation;'' 
and he is a foolilh builder who either doth not lay a good 
one, or refts therein, or who is always fetting it up and 
pulling it down, without making progrefs. Indeed that 
foundation, which hath not an edifice erefled on it, is na 
foundation ; for that which is materially fo, becomes fo 
formally only with refpecl to the building upon it. And 
thofe who receive the doftrines of Chrift here called the 
* foundation,' if they build not on them, they will prove 
none unto them, whatever they are in themfelves. It is in 
allufion to a foundation with refpeft to its firfl property,— 
that it \% firfl laid in the building, that thefe do£lrines are 
called the 'foundation.' And the apoflle intends the 
fame" things by the three-fold expreflion which he maketh 
ufe of, .[chap. v. 12.] ' The firfl principles of the oracles 
' of God,' [chap. vi. i.] ' The do6lrIne of the beginning 
« of Qirifl,' and * the foundation.' Concernipg thefe 
2 fhing^ 


things he fays, ' Not laying again.* Thefe things, faith 
he, you have ah'eady been inilru(fled in by others, and 
therefore, (as alfo on other confiderations) 1 will not go 
over them again. 

§ 4. We come next to confider the particular injiances 
in their order : and the fiyji is (^sjavoiag cctto na^^ccv 
spyoov) * VGpenia.nce from £iead works.^ This was taught in 
the firfl place to all thofe who would give up themfelves 
to the difeipline of Chrift and the gofpel. This exprefTion 
—- ' dead works,' is peculiar to this epiflle. The converts, 
before their initiation, were inftru£ted in the neceffity of 
forfaking the fins wherein they lived before their conver- 
sion, which Peter calls their eld ox former fins, [I. Epift. 
chap. iv. 3.] * For the time paft of our lives may fuffice 

* us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we 

* walked in lafcivioufnefs, lufts, excefs of wine, revel- 

* lings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries.' The 
fins of unregfnerate perfons, a repentance of wdiich was to 
be exprelfed before baptifm, are called * dead vjorks^ in 
jrefpedt of their nature and their end. For as to their 
nature^ they proceed from a principle under tlie power of 
fpiritual death ; they are the works of perfons ' dead in 

* trefpafTes and fins.' And with refpeft to their end^ they 
are (mor.tua) dead, becaufe (mortfera) deadly ; they procure 1 
death, and end in death. * Sin when it is finiflied bring-' 

* eth forth death,' [Jam. i. 15] They proceed from 
death fpiritual, and end in death eternal. On the fame 
account are they called, * unfruitful works of darknefs,' 
[Ephef. V. II.] They proceed from a principle of fpi- 
ritual darknefs, and end in darknefs everlafting. Thefe 
the primitive converts were taught to abandon and repent 
of; for it was not then, as now, that any one might be 
admitted into t\\t fociety of the faithful, and yet continue in 
open fins unrepented of. 

That which is required, with refpe£l to thefe deadj 
works, is [jj^iTavoicc) repentance. This being the firfi thing' 
required of them who take upon them the profefiion of the! 
gofpel, is confequently the frf principle of the Chrillian 
4o£lrine as here placed by the apoflle. Without this, 



whatever elfe Is attempted or attained, it is only a dijhonour 
o Chiill, and a difappointment to men. This is the true 
method of preaching, confirmed by the example and com- 
mand of Chriil: himfelf : * Repent and believe the gofpel,* 
[Matt. iv. 17. Mark i. 15.] 

§ 5 . Bat, moreover, we mufl confider this {^?\uvql(/.) 
repentance in its own nature, at leaft in general: it 

1. A change of mind, or an after-confideration and 
judgement. Men, whilft they live in ^^^^^a'cr^^j, do never 
make a right judgement concerning either their nature, 
tlieir guilt, or their end. Hence are they fo often ca]le4 
to remember and conjzder things aright, to deal about thetn 
with the reafoii of men ; and for want thereof, are faid to 
be fooliih, brutifh, and to have no underflanding. The 
mind is pra£licaUy deceived about them. There are degrees 
in this deceir, but all finners are adlually more or lefs de- 
ceived. All impenitent linners may be reduced to either 
■ — fuch as defpijing their convictions, go on in an un- 
bridled courfe of licentioufnefs, as not judging their lan- 
guage worth inquiring into ; or, — fuch as do in fome 
meafure attend to them, but yet pradlcally they refufe 
them, and embrace m.otives to fin which turn the fcale on 
that fide, as occafions and temptations occur. Wherefore 
the firft thing in this repentance is a thorough change of 
the mind a.nd judgement concerning thefe dead works. The 
awakened finner, cafting out all prejudices, laying afide 
all pleas, excufes, and paUiations, finally concludes that 

Jzn, all and every fin, every thing that hath the ?taiurc of 
fin, is univerfally evil : evil in itfelf, evil to the finner, 
evil in its prefent efFeCls and fu^iure confequences ; evil in 
every kind, fiiamefully, incomparably evil, yea, the only 
thing that deferves the name of evil in the wcrld. 

2. It refpefts the tcvV/and affections. It is our turning 
unto God. Our turning/row him being in the bent and 
inclination of our wills and affections to fin ; the change 
of the will, or the taking away of the iviil of finning, is 
the principal part of repentance. In virtue of this peni- 
tential change in the foul, contrary affedions are alfo fub- 



llituted and fet at work, with refped to the fame obje£l. 
There are pleafures in iin, and it hath its wages, Thofc 
that live in * dead works,' both delight in fin, and have 
complacency in the accomplilhment of it. Thefe are aifec- 
tions which the foul exercifeth about lin committed, or to 
be committed. Inftead of them, repentance, by which 
they are utterly banifhed, fets at work forrow, grief, felf- 
deteflation, revenge, and the like afflidive palTions of the 
mind. Nothing ilirs but it affeds the foul with refped to 

3. It refpe£ts th^ courfe of life, or the converfation. IC| 
is a repentance ^ from dead works,' that is, they are re- A 
linquifhed. Without this no profellion of repentance 'is 
of any worth. To profefs a repentance of lin, and yet 
live to fin, is to mock God, deride his law, and deceive 
our own fouls. This is that change which alone can evi- 
dence the internal change of the mind, will, and affec- 
tions, to be real and lincere, [Prov. xxviii. 13.] What- 
ever is pretended without this, is falfe and hypocritical ; 
like the repentance of Judah, * not with the whole hearts 
* but feignedly,' [Jerem. iii. 10. npttM] There was a //> in 
it ; for their works anfwered not their words. The adual 
relinquifhing of dead works is in fcripture univerfally re- 
quired ; and it includes, — A full purpofe of heart to re- 
nounce every fin ; — conflant endeavours to annate and fulfil 
this purpofe ; — an a^ual reHnqidJJjment of all fins in the 
courfe of our walking before God. This property of re- 
pentance will be prevalent againfl the common fins of the 
world, which they alfo lived in before their converfion, — 
and againfl a courfe in any fin or fins, either fpiritual or 
flefhly, internal or external, [I. John iii. 9. Rom. vi. 2.] 
§ 6. The fecond inflance of the dodrinal foundation 
fuppofed to be laid among the Hebrews, is that ' offutb 
* towards God.* He rcpcntcth not, who hath not faith to- 
wards God ; and he hath not faith towards God who re- 
penteth not. And in this expreffion, where * repentance* 
is firfl placed, and * faith in God' afterwards, only tlic 
diflinhion that is between them is intended, but not an 
%rder of nature in the things themfelvcs, or in the method 



, of teaching them. For in the order of nature, * faith to- 
] * wards God' mufl precede * repentance from dead works.' 
\ No man can ufe any argument to prevail with others to re- 
pentance, but it muft be taken from the word of the law 
or gofpel, the precepts, pro>Tiifes, and threatenings of 
them. If there be no faith towards God with refpedl to 
law and gofpel, promifes and threatenings, whence fliauld 
repentance from dead works, or the neceffity of it, be de- 
monilrated ? On the other hand, no man ought to be 
confidered as making a due profejfion of faith towards God, 
who doth not firil declare his repentance from dead works. 
Nor can any other have the comfort of faith in God, but 
fuch as have in themfelves fome evidence of the fincerity 
of their repentance. Hence the difference between the 
order of nature^ and that of profcjpan.^ 'Faith in God,' 
cannot here intend faith in the mofl general notion of \ty 
becaufe it is reckoned as a principle of the dodrine of 
Chrtft \ but faith in God abfolutely taken is a duty of the 
law of nature. Upon an acknowledgement of the being of 
God, it is thereby required that we believe in him as the 
£r{l eternal Truth, the fovereign Lord, and Judge of all. 
And the Jews needed to have been inflruded in this, as a 
part of the do£lrine of Chrift. It is, therefore, ' faith irk 

* God' as accomplifhing the promife given to Abraham, 
in fending Jefus Chrill, and granting remillion of lins by 
him, is here intended. For this, in faft, was that faith 
in particular which, at the iiril preaching of the gofpel, 
the Hebrews were inflru6led in. And, therefore, with 
refpeft to It our apoflle fays, that he would not * lay again 

* the foundation.' 

§ 7. The third principle, according to the order and 
fenfe of the words is, the refurredlon of the dead. And 
this was a fundamental principle of the Jewilh church, 
and indeed of all religions, properly lb called, in the 
world. But how is it a fundamental principle of all reli- 
gion P And how a fundamental principle of xht gofpel ? 
As to the lirfi:, if it be once granted that men were made 
only for this world, that they have no other continuance 
alTign^d to their being, but what is common to them with 




the beafls that perifh, there would be no more religion 
amongft them, than there is amongflthe beafls themfelves. 
But it will be afkcd, whether the belief of the immortality 
of the foul be not fufficient to fecure rehgion, without the 
addition of this article ? No ; eternal judgement cannot be 
believed, on fatisfaftory grounds, without an antecedent 
acknowledgement of the rcfurre(5lion of the dead. For 
what juflice is it, that the whole of bleflednefs, or of mi- 
fery, fhould fall on the foul only, where the body hath 
had a great Ihare in the procurement of the one, or L.^e 
other ? Efpecially confidering what influence the body 
hath towards evil, on the one hand ; and what it often un- 
dergoeth for that which is good on the other ? Shall we 
think that God gave bodies to the holy martyrs, only to 
endure inexpreffible tortures and miferies for the fake of 
Chrifl, and then to perilh for ever ? A great number of 
the Jews had now apoftatized into this atheifm of denying 
the refurreftion of the dead ; and this, in particular, was 
the principal herefy of the Sadducces. They were very con- 
fident in their infidelity ; and though they were confounded 
by our Saviour, (with whom they would needs difpute 
about it,) yet after the manner of obflinate infidels, were 
not convcrtedj [Matt. xxii. 23, 24, &c.] 

This principle, therefore, both on account of its im- 
portance in itfelf, as alfo of the oppofition made to it 
among the Jews by the Sadducees, the apoflle took care 
to eftablifh it in the firft place ; for thofe truths are, in 
an efpecial manner, to be confirmed, which are at any 
time peculiarly oppofed. Befides ; all they had to preach 
turned on this hinge — that Chrift was raifed from the 
dead — -whereon our refurre6tion follows. They ingenu- 
oufly confefTed, that without this * principle,' all their 
preaching was vain, and, of courfe, that all Chriftian 
faith was alfo vain, [Cor. xv. 12 — 14.] This, there- 
fore, was always one of the * firft principles,' which our 
apoftle infilled on in preaching the gofpel ; a fignal in- 
ilance whereof we have in his difcourfe at Athens. He 
firft reproves their fins and idolatries, declaring that God 
called them to repentance from thofe dead works. He then 

Vol, HL J» taught 


tanght ihcm faith in God^ the living ana true God, who 
fo called rhem by Jefcs Ghrift ; confirming the neceffity 
of both by the doftrine ot ' the r c fur retTion from the clead^ 

* and' a future judgement,' [Ads xvii. 23, 24^30, 31. J' 
He feems, therefore, in the pallage we are expounding,. 
dire£tly and fummarily to lay down thofe principles in the 
order which he confLantly obierved ia his hril declaration 
of the gofpel. 

§ 8. This truth being of fo great importance, as that 
nothing in religion can fubfiil without it, the apoftles 
very diligently confirmed it in the firfl churches. And' 
for the fame caufe it was early alTauited by Satan, and 
oppofed by many: — Some by an open denial of any fuch 
thing, [1. Cor. xv.' 12.] ' How fay fome among you, 

* that there is no refurreftion of the dead V Others laid, 

* the rcfurredion was paji ah-eady,' [II. Tim. ii. 18.] It 
is generally thought that Hymeneus and Philetus placed 
the rcfurre^lion in convcrfion, or reforynation of life, as thd 
Marcionites ^\^ afterwards. And fome among ouffelvei* 
begin to mutter, that the reviving of a i^ew lights iXz. is 
the refurre6lion intended in the fcriptures. But, that 
'■ the refurrcnion is a re-union of the foul and ]:!ody, as 
death is their feparation, the fcripture is too exprefs for 
any one to deny, and not virtually to rejeft it wholly. 
And it may be obferved, that our apoftle doth not only 
condemn thefe errors as falfe, but declares pofitively that 
their admiirion 'overthrows the faith/ and renders the 
preaching of the gofpel vain and ufelefs. — Therefore wd 
inaintain'that this ' refarre^ion of the dead,'' is ' the reilau- 

* ration, by the power of God, of the fame numerical 

* body which died, in all the efTential arid integral parts of 

* it, rendering it, in its re-union with the foul, i'mmor- 

* tal, or of an eternal duration in bleifednefs or mifery.' 

§ 9. The fourth principle is (Kpii^oi oclmvlov) eternal 
';iidgement. This is the immediate confcquent of the re- 
furreftion of the dead. Men fhall not be raifed again to 
live, another life in this w^o rid, and, as it were, therein to 
make a new adventure ; but it is to give an account of 
what is paft, and to receive what they have done in the body, 



whether it be good or evil. And becaufe there are no 
vuHvard tyanfatlions between God and the fouls of men af- 
ter their departure out of this world, aor any alteration to 
be made as to their eternal flate and condition, this judge- 
ment is fpoken of as that which immediately fucceeds 
d/-"ath itfelf, [Heb. ix. 27.] * It is appointed to men once 
* to die, but after this the judgement.' The word (}cf>iy.u) . 
is commonly ufed for a condemnatory fcntcnce. Therefore, 
fome think that it is only the judgement of the wicked is 
intended. And indeed the day of judgement is mofi: fre- 
quently fpoken of in fcripture with rcfpcdt to them, [See 
II. Thef i. 7 — 10. Jude 14, 15. II. Pcrer ii. 4.] part- 
ly, becaufe the remembrance of it is fuited to put an aw^ 
vpon the pride and rage of men, rulhing into {iw as the 
horfe into the battle ; and partly, that it migiit be a relief 
to the godly under all their trials. But, in reality, the 
judgement is general, and all men, both good and bad,. 
muft there ftand in their lot. As the refurredion of the t^ 
dead, that precedes, ^belongs to all ; fo doth the judgement \ 
that follows. 

§ 10. Two things muft be yet noticed, to clear this, 
great principle of our faith, — Tiie general nature of this | 
eternal judgement — and then the evidences we have of its'i 
truth and certainty. 

F'lrji^ The general concerns of it being plainly exprcffed 
in the fcripture, will declare its naiure.. As to its time, 
in general, there is a determined and unalterable day fixed 
for it ; ' God hath appointed a day wherein he will judge 
' the world in righteoufnefs,' [A6ls xvii. 31.] But a§ 
to the preclfe time, the knowledge of it is among the prin- 
cipal fecrets of his fovereignty. When all things foretold 
in the fcriptures are accomplished, when the obedience ot 
ail the eleft is completed, and the meafure allotted to the 
wickednefs of the world, through the forbearance of God, 
is filled up ; then, and not before, fliall the end be. In 
tlie mean time, when we fee a man old, weak, difeafed, 
nature being decayed, and infirmities abounding, we may 
judge that his death is not afar off, though we know not 
\yhcn he will die. Thus alio we may form a guefs abou^ 

P 2 ' ^^^? 


the Hate of the world. — The judge is Jefus Chrift, 
Originally and abfolutely this is the judgement of God, of 
him who made the world ; and therefore it is often faid, 
that * God Ihall judge the world,* [Deut. xxxii. 35, '1,6. 
Ecclef. xii. 14.] ' God the judge of all,' [Heb. xii. 23.] 
But the aftual admimjlration of it is committed to Jefus 
Chrift alone, to be exercifed vilibly in his human nature, 
[Rom. xiv. II, &c.] And herein he fhall a£t the pro- 
perties of both his natures. For as he (hall vifibly and 
glorioufly appear in his human nature, exalted in the fu- 
preme place of judicature, and invefted with fovereigri 
power and authority over all flefh ; fo he fhall ac^ the 
power and omnifcience of his Deity in upholding the 
whole flate of the creation in judgement, and in difcover- 
ing the hearts, and comprehending the words, thoughts, 
and aftions of the children of men, from the beginning 
to the end of the world. And, as all the holy angels fliali 
accompany him, as miniflers and witnefles to his righte- 
ous judgements, [Matt. xxv. 31. Luke ix. 26. Jude xii, 
Dan. vii. 10.] So alfo in judging y^/Z^/z angels^ and the 
reprobate world, the 1A. r rs — acquitted, jullified, and glo- 
rified, in the firft place— r-fhall concur with him in this 
judgement, by applauding his, righteoufnefs and holinefs 
with their unanimous fuffrage, [I. Cor, vi. 2, 3.] For — as 
to the OUTWARD MANNER of this judgement, it fhall be 
with, folemnity and great glory, [II. Thef. xi. 7, 8, 9, lO. 
Jude 14, 15. Dan. vii. 9. Rev. xx. 4, 5.] partly, for 
the demonflration of the glory of Jefus Chrift, who hath 
been fo defpifed, reproached, pcrfecuted in the world ; 
and partly, to fill the hearts of finners with dread and ter- 
ror, [Rev. vi. 17, 18.] — The order of it will be, that 
all the eleci ihall^;y? be acquitted and pronounced bleffed ; 
fmce they join the Lord Chrifl in judging the world, which 
they could not do, if themfelves were not firfl freed and 
exalted. — The persons to be judged are fallen angels,^ 
[I. Cor. vi. 3. II. Peter ii. 4. Jude 6. Matt. xxv. 41.] 
j^ll men without exception, [Ifa. xlv. 23. Rom. xiv. 9, 
10. Matt. xxv. 31.] whether godly or ungodly. But, 
^yhether all the f.ns of the former (hall be then called over, 


and made known to others, feeing they are known to him 
who is more than all the world belides, — I queflion. The 
RULE whereby all men fliall be judged, is, * the law of 
* their obedience made known to them.' The Gentiles 
fhall be judged by the law of nature, [Rom. ii. 12 — 14.] 
The Jews before the coming of Chriil, by the doftrine, 
precepts, and promifes of the law and the prophets ; and 
all men, to whom the gofpel hath been offered, according 
to it, [Rom. ii. 16.] No man fhall be able to complain 
of a furprifal, or pretend ignorance of the law whereby he 
was to be judged. The fentence of it is propofed to mea 
continually. In the word of the gofpel is the eternal con- 
dition of all the fens of men pofitively determined. 

§ II. Secondly f The evidence which God hath given 
concerning this future judgement may be alfo briefly con- 
iidered — God hath planted a presumption and fenfe of 
it on the minds and confciences of all men. Confcience is 
nothing but that judgement which men make, and which 
they cannot but make, of their moral adions with reference 
to the fupreme future judgement of God. Hence the 
apoftle treating of this future judgement, [Rom. ii. 
12 — 16.] and fhewing what evidence ail mankind had, in 
the mean time, that fuch a judgement fhould take place, 
[ver. 14, 15.] declares that it confifls in their own un- 
avoidable thoughts concerning their own a£lions, good or 
evil, which in the mean while accufed them, and forced 
them to own a judgement to come. Yes, this is the pro- 
per language of confcience to finners on all occafions. And 
fo effectual was this evidence in the minds of the Heathen, 
that they generally allowed the force of it, though mixed 
with abundance of fabulous inventions and traditions, 
[Rom. i. 21.] But this fenfe being that which keeps man- 
kind within fome tolerable bounds in finning, the pfalmifl 
prays that it may be increafed in them, [Pfal. xix. 13. 
See Gen. xx. 11.] — To thefe diftates of confcience, we 
may add the working of reason. The final impunity of 
flagitious finners in this world ; the unrelieved opprcflions,^ 
gffliaions, and miferies of the bell ; the profperity ot 
wicked devilifh deligns ; the defeating and overthrow of 



holy, juft, righteous endeavours ; promifcuons accidents 
to all Ibrts of perions, however diftinguifhed by piety and 
impiety ; the profperous courfe of men proud and blaf- 
phemous, who oppofe God in principles and practice ; 
the fecret undifcovered murderers of martyrs and innocents ; 
the extreme confafion that feems to be in all things here 
below; with Innumerable other things of the like kind, 
are ready to perplex the minds of men in this matter. 
They have greatly exercifed even the faints of God, 
JPfai. Ixxiii. ver. 4 to 17, &c.J and this coniideration 
turned fome of the wifefl Heathens into atheifm or out- 
xageous blafphemies. But even reafoyi, rightly exerted, 
will lead men to conclude, that upon the fuppoHtion of a 
divine Being and Providence, it mufl needs be that all 
thefe things Ihall be called over again, and then receive a 
£nal dccifion, of which in this world they are not capable. 
For, upon a due examination it will quickly appear, that 
the moral a^t'mis of men, with refpedt to God, are fuch as 
Jtis utterly impoffible judgement fliould be finally exercifed 
towards them, in things viiible and temporal ; or that in 
this world they fhould receive a jull recompence of reward. 
.Suppofe God fhould, in this worlds -diftribute rewards and 
puniiliments conftantly, according to what he fees in the 
hearts and inward difpofitions of men ; it is evident, that 
it would fill all men with unfpeakable confulions, and lead 
them to infer, that indeed there Is no certain rule of judge- 
ment, no limits of good and evil ; feeing it would be abfo-* 
lutely impoffible that, by them, the judgements of God 
Ihould be reduced to any fuch rules or bounds ; the reafoii 
<)f them being altogether unknown, [Pfalm Ixxvii. 19. 
xxxvii. 6.] 

Should God vilibly and conftantly difpenfe lewardsand 
punifhments in this world, according to the rule of men's 
knowledge, which alone hath the appearance of being fa- 
-tisfadlory, it would be a principle, or at leaft the occafion, 
of a worfe kind of atheifm than anv yet the earth hath 
httn peflered with. For it could not be but that the mod 
would make the judgement of men the only rule of all 
l)]ey did, which God mull be obliged to comply with, qr 



be unrighteous ; which is abfolutely to dethrone him, and 
leave him only to be the executioner of the wills and rea- 
fons of men. But from all thefe and the like perplexities, 
reafofi itfelf may quietly take fandtuary in fubmiffion to 
fovereign wifdom ; according to which it is not only fuit- 
able to juftice but neceiTary, that there Ihould be a future 
eternal judgement, to pafs according to truth upon all the 
ways and actions of men. — Again : To the verdicl of rea- 
ion we may alio add extraordinary judgements. 
In great judgements the wrath of God is revealed from 
heaven againft the ungodlinefs of men, [Rom. i. 18.]. 
and an intimation is given of what he will do hereafter. 
For as he leaves not hiniielf without witnefs in rcfped of 
his goodnefs and patience, in that he ' doth good, and 

* giveth rain from heaven, and fruitful feafons, filling 

* men's hearts with food and gladnefs,' [Afts xiv. 17.] 
So he gives teftimony to his righteoufnefs and holinefs, \xi 
the judgements that he executes, [Pfalm ix. 16.] He will" 
fometimes reach out his hand from heaven in extraordi- 
nary initances of vengeance, on purpofe that men may 
know that things fhali not always be paffcd over in fuch a 
promifcuous manner, but that he hath appointed another 
day in which he will judge the world in righteoufnefs.. 
And, for this reafon, fuch temporary fignal judgements 
as are evidences of the future eternal judgement of God, 
are fometimes expieffed in words as feem to declare that: 
judgement itfelf, rather than the types of it, [Ifa. xxxiv, 
4. Rev. vi. 13. Dan. vii. 9, icr. Matt. xxiv. 29, 30.] 
But, notwithftanding, God hath not abfolutely intruded 
the evidence and perfuafion of this important truth, which 
is the foundation of all religion, to the remains of hinats 
light in the minds and confciences of men, which may be 
varioufly obfcured, until it be almoll: extinguifhcd , nor 
yet to the exercife of reafon inquiring into the prefent ad- 
minrftration of Providence in this world, which is often- 
times fo corrupted,, as to be nearly ufelcfj ; nor yetto thff 
influence which extraordinary judgements may have on the 
minds of men, and which fome fortify themfclves againft 
by their obflinacy in fin and fecurity ; but he hath abun- 

^ aantlf 


dantly tellified to it by exfrefs revelation from the begin- 
ning of the world, now recorded in his word, by which 
all men muft be tried, whether tliey will or no. It may 
not be doubted but that Adam was acquainted with this 
truth immediately from God himfeif j and * Enochs the 
* feventh from Adam, prophefied on the fame fubje£l,' 
[Jude, ven 14, 15.] 

§ 12. Thefe, therefore, (that we may return to the 
text) are thofe fundamental principles of the Chriftian re- 
ligion, which the apoflle calls the ' dodtrine of baptifms,* 
and the * laying on of hands." 

But there occurs no fmall difficulty from the ufe of the 
word ' baptifms'* in the plural number ; for it is no where 
elfe fo ufed, when the baptifm of the g.ofpel is intended,- 
and the Jewifii wafhings are often fo called. 

All perfons who began to attend the gofpel were diligently 
in{lru<fted in the forementioned principles, with others 
of a like nature, (for they are mentioned only as in- 
fiances) before they were admitted to partake of this or- 
dinance, with impofition of hands ; thefe, therefore, are 
called the ' do£lrine of baptifms, or the catechetical, fun- 
damental truths, being the things whereof they were ta 
inake a folemn profeffion.- — This expofition I adhere to. 

But if we fuppofe that this * do<9:rine of baptifms ' is 
a diflin£i principle by itfelf, then the word cannot by any 
means be reftrained to the baptifm of water only : for 
although the ufe and end of our facramental initiatiors 
into Chrift, and the profclTion of the gofpel, be an im- 
portant head of Chrillian doftrine, yet no reafon can be 
given, why that fhould be called * hapifms,^ feeing then 
it would refpe£l only the one thing itfelf, and not the 
many perfons who are made partakers of it. If, however^ 
the , do£lrine concerning baptifms' be intended, the whole 
of what is taught by the outward iign concerning the pu-^ 
rification of the fouls of men, muft be contained in it. 
And though, indeed, the do^rine of baptifm, -in this fenfe, 
is among the rudiments of the Chriftian religion, yet I 
prefer the other interpretation ; and the rather, becaufc 
to * baptifms' is immediately added * impofition of hands.* 


§ 13. Some fuppafe, tkat by * impofition of hands'" is 
intended that rite in the church, which was afterwards 
.called confirmation ; whereas it has been pleaded, there 
were two forts of perfons baptized, viz. ad^ilts at their 
iiril hearing of the gofpel, and the infant children of be-- 
I'levers^ who were admitted to be members of the church; 
the firft fort were inflrufled in the above principles before 
they were admitted to baptifm ; but the other, being 
received as branches of a family on which the bleffiiig of 
Abraham was to come, and to whom the promife of the 
covenant was extended, being thereon baptized in th&ir 
infancy, were to be inftru£ted in them as they grew up 
to years of underftanding. Afterwards, when they were 
cilabhfhed in the knowledge of thefe necelTary truths, 
and were refolved on perfonal obedience to the gofpe], 
they were offered to the fellowlhip of the faithful, and 
hereon, giving the account of their faith and repentance, 
which others had done before they were baptized, they 
were admit4:ed into the communion of the church, the 
elders thereof laying their hands on them in token of 
dieir reception, and praying for their confirmation in the 
faith. Hence the fame do6lrines became previoufly ne- 
ceflary to both thefe rites ; before baptfm to them that 
were adult, and towards them who were baptized in infancy 
before the impofitim of hands. And I acknowledge that 
this was the ftate of things in the apofolical churches^ and 
■that it ought to be fo in all others. Perfons baptized in 
their infancy ought ta be inftru6led in the fundamental 
principles of religion, and make profeffion of their own 
faij:h and repentance before they are admitted into the 
foclety of any particular church ; but that, in thofe firft 
days, perfons were ordinarily after baptifm admitted 
into their focieties ' by impofition of hands,' is no where 
intimated in fcripture ; and tltfe v/hole bufinefs of confir- 
mation is of a much later date, fo. that it cannot be here 
intended ; for the * laying on of brands' in the text muft 
have refpe^t to famewhat then in ii9mmon ufe. 

Now there is mention in fcripture ''pf a four-fold * im- 
* pofition of hands' ufed by Chrift ari'd his apollles : the 

Vol. III. CL \ fi'i^ 


jirji was peculiar to his own perfon by way of authorita- 
tive henedinlon \ the fccond was ufed in the healing of dif- 
cafes \ the third in fetting apart perfons to the work of 
the miniftry ; and tXiQ fourth was ufed by the apoftles in 
conferring fupernatural gifts. The firft of thefe was only 
a perfonal action, in one iingle inflance ; the fecond was 
extraordinary and occalional, and therefore utterly im- 
poffible to be here intended ; the third, though a rite of 
Handing ufe in the church, is not likewife here meant^ 
for there is no juft reafon why the apoftle fhould proceed 
from the dodrine of baptifm to the ordination of mi- 
nifters ; wherefore the impoiition of hands in the fourth 
fenfe, which was for the collation of fupernatural gifts, 
is moft probably intended by our apoftle. For, adhering- 
to our firft interpretation as the moft folid and firm, the 

* impofition of hands,' in the text ..... is a defcrip- 
lion of the perfons to be hfiru£ied in the other fundamental 
principles^ but is itfelf no principle ; which conlideration 
iieceffarily excludes the other fenfes ; befides, this laying 
on of hands commonly, if not conftantly, in thofe days, 
accompanied or immediately followed baptifm, [Afts viii. 
14 — 17. xix. 6,] and this was a thing of lingular pre- 
fent ufe, wherein the glory of the gofpel, and its pro- 
pagation, were highly concerned : and this, next to the 
preaching of the word, was the great means for propaga- 
ting the gofpel. — To which we may add, that in the fol- 
lowing verfe (immediately connected with thisj mention 
is made of thofe who were made * partakers of the Holy 

* Ghoft,' that is, of his miraculous gifts and operations, 
which were communicated hy this impoiition of hands. 

f§ 14. (III.) We come next to the apoftle's refolu- 
iion, and the limitation of that refolution ; * and this will 
' we do, if God permit.* (Koii tovto TriYiO-oii^^v) * jind 

* this will tve do,'' that is, either we will ' go on to per- 
' fe£lion,' (as ver. i.) which is the more remote ante- 
cedent ; or this will we do, ' laying again the founda- 

* tion,* which is the next antecedent. There are fome 
things which make it evident^ that (tcvto) * this' refers 
to the former — going on to perfedion j for he repeatedly 



intimates his intention to omit handling thofe fundamen- 
tal principles ; and he not only declares his refolution to 
omit them, but alio gives a fufficient reafin for it, in the 
lafl verfe of the foregoing chapter. They had been al- 
ready fufficiently inftrufted in thofe * principles ;' to in- 
culcate them farther on thofe by whom they were learn- 
ed, was needlefs, and equally fo with refpe£l to thofe who 
had either not received, or elfe rejefted them ; which he 
confirms with a fevere reafon and dreadful confideration, 
(ver. 4—8.) On the other hand, he fpeaks of * going 

* on to perfection' pojitively^ as being his main purpofe 

* and defign ; * Let us,'' faith he, ' go on to perfe^ion,'' me 

* in teaching, you in learning ; and this will we do, if 

* God permit. For the reafons before infilled on, and 
^ afterwards to be added, I will proceed to declare the 

* principal myfteries of the gofpel, efpecially thofe which 

* concern the priellhood of Chrift, and thereby raife up 

* the building of your faith and profeffion upon tht foun^ 

* dation that hath been laid ; whereby, through the grace 

* of God, you may be carried on to perfedlion, and be- 

* come fkilful in the word of righteoufnefs/ 

(E«.y 7r5p STTiTpSTrri <dsog) ' If God permit :^ There, 
may be in thefe words a refpeCl to three things in thc; 
will of God, and confequently they admit a three-fold 
expofition ; for they may either exprefs the fovereign will 
and pleafure of God, and our abfolute dependence upon 
him, with which all our refolutions ought to be limited; 
- — or refpe6l may be had to the condition of the Hebreivs, 
whofe floth and negligence in hearing the word he is now 
reproving ; here intimating, that there may be fome fear 
left God fhould be fo provoked by their former mifcar- 
riagcs, as that he would not afford them the means of 
farther inftru£lion ; — or there is a meiojis in the words, 
wherein a farther refpcft to the will of God is included 
than expreffed. For it is not a mere naked permiffion in 
God that the apofrle intends, as if he fhould have faid, 

* If God let me alone^ and as it were wink at what I am 

* doing ;' but there is a fuppofition of the continuance 
of God's gracious afTiftance and efpecial prefcncc with 

CL 2 him. 


him, without which he frequently declared he could nei- 
ther undertake nor accomplifh any thing. God can in 
the begiriuing or middle of an epiftle or fermon take us 
off when he pleafeth, if he does but withdraw his aflif- 
tance from us. And all thefe refpe£ls to the will of God 
are not only confident, fo that the cloiing with one ex- 
cludeth not the other, but they are all of them plainly 
included in the apoilie's intention. — Let us now advert 
to the cbferyations. 

§ 15. (IV.) Obf. I. It is the duty of gofpel minifters 
to take care, not only that the doftrine they preach be 
true, but alfo that it may be feafonable with refped to- 
the ftate and condition of their hearers : unfeafonable 
truths are like ' fliowers in harveft.' It is a * word fpo- 

* ken in feafon,' that is beautiful, [Prov. xxv. 11.] and 
to this purpofe two things are efpecially to be conll- 
dered : 

(i.) The condition and capacity of the hearers: fup- 
pofe them to be perfons, as the apollle fpeaks, of full 
age, fuch as can receive and digeft ftrong meat, that have 
already attained fome good acquaintance with the myfte- 
ries of the gofpel; in preaching to fuch an auditory, if 
men for want of ability to do otherwife, fhall conllantly 
treat of firfl principles, things common and obvious, it 
will not only be unufeful to their edification, but alfo at 
length will make them weary of the ordinance itfelf ; and 
the efFe£l will be 'no better on the other fide ; where the 
hearers being moflly weak, abflrufe myflerics are infifled 
on without a prudent accommodation of things to their 
capacity : it is, therefore, the duty of the flewards in the 
houfe of God to give to all ihGir proper portion. This is 
the blelTed advice our apoftle gives to Timothy, [II. Tim,, 
ii. 15.] * Study to fhew thyfelf approved to God, a work- 
' man that needeth not to be alhamed, rightly cutting out 

* the word of truth* This is that whereby a minifter may 
evince himfelf to be a workman that ' needeth. not to be 

* afhamed :' it is the duty and wifdom of a minifler to 
apply himfelf in the dodrine he preachcth, and the mode 
of his delivery to the more general Jlatc of his hearers, 



(2.) The circumflanccs of time arc duly to be confi- 
dered ; for inftance, thofe of known public temptations^ 
of prevalent errors and hereiies, of fpecial cppo/itwns and 
hatred to any important truths, are always to be regarded^ 
For I could eafily manifeft, that the apoflle in his epiflles 
hath continually an efpecial refpedl to them all. 

Again : Some important dodlrines of truth may, n\ 
preaching, be omitted for a feafon ; but none muil ever 
be neglected or forgotten, 

§ 1 6. Obf, 2. That it is a neceffary duty of the dif- 
penfers of the gofpel to excite their hearers, by all pref- 
ling confiderations, to make a progrefs in the knowledge 
of the truth : thus our apoflle deals with, thefe Hebrews. 
He vv^ould not have them always Hand at the porch, but 
enter into the fanduary, and behold the hidden glories 
of the houfe of God; elfev\/here, [H. Tim. iii. 4.] he 
complains of fome who are * always learning,' that is^ 
under the means of it, but yet, by i^afon of their ne- 
gligence and carelefTnefs, * never come to a clear knsiv- 

* ledge of the truth.' la the fame fpirit he com.plains of 
the Corinthians, for their want of proficiency in fpirituat 
things, fo that he was forced, in his dealing with them^ 
to dwell ftill on the rudiments of reHgion, [I. Cor. iii, 
I, 2.] In all his epiftles he is continually preffing this on 
the churches, that they fliould * labour to grow in gracc^ 
' and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jefus 

* Chriil \ and this was a principal matter of his prayers 
for them, [Ephef. iii. 14 — 19. chap. i. 16 — 19. Col.ii. 
I, 2.] And they are utter flrangers to his fpirit and ex- 
ample, who are carelefs in this matter. Wherefore this 
duty of minifterial incitements is necellary to the difpen- 
fcrs of the gofpel on fundry accounts : 

(i.) Becaufe their hearers do greatly 7iccd ihc ^xcrc'i^c 
©f it: they are apt to be flothful and v;eary ; many be- 
gin to run well, but are quickly ready to fiiint. Weari- 
nefs of the flefli, felf-conccit of having attained what is 
fufficicnt, perhaps more than others ; curiofity and itch- 
ijig ears in attending to novelties ; diflike of holincJs 
and fruitfulncfs of Ufc ; the difficulty of coniij^g to the 



knowledge of the truth in a due manner, making the 
iluggard cry there is a lion in the flreets, &c. are ready 
to difcourage men in their progrefs. And if there be rlone 
to excite, to warn and admonifh them, to difcover the 
variety of pretences whereby men in this matter deceive 
themfelves, to lay open fnares and dangers which they 
call themfelves into, to remind tiiem of the excellency of 
divine things and the knowledge of them, it cannot be 
but that their fpiritual condition will be prejudiced, if not 
their fouls ruined. 

(2.) The advantages which profeiTors have, by a pro- 
grefs in the knowledge of fpiritual things, make it a necef- 
fary duty. — Of what fort are they whom we fee every day 
feduced ? Are they not perfons who are — either, brutifh- 
ly ignorant of the very nature of the Chriftian religion, 
and the firll principles of it ? Or, fuch as have obtained 
a little fuperficial knowledge and confidence therein, with- 
out ever laying a firm foundation, or carrying on an or- 
derly fuperllrudure in wifdom and obedience ? The foun- 
dation of God flandeth fure at all times ; God knoweth 
who are his, and he will fo preferve his ele£l as to render 
their total fedu£lion impoHible. But (this not being the 
rule of duty, we may fay) it will be very difficult for any 
to hold out firm and unfliaken to the end, if their minds 
be r.ot inlaid and fortified with a found, well-grounded 
knowledge of the myflerics of the gofpel. It is the teach- 
ing of the Spirit, the unftion of the Holy One, whereby 
we know all neceffary truths, that muft preferve us in fuch 
a feafon, [I. John ii. 27.] — PropGrtlonable to our growth 
in knowledge will be our increafe in holinefs and obedi- 
ence. If this at any time fall out otherwife, it is from the 
iins and wickednefs of the perfons in whom it is, and not 
from the nature of the things themfelves, [fee Ephef. iv. 
21 — -24. Rom. xij. 2.] That ignorance is the mother of 
devotion, is a maxim that came from hell to fetch the 
fouls of men, and (awful to think!) what multitudes 
have been carried back with it — where let it abide. Now 
the reafon why the improvement of knowledge tends to 
the improvement of holinefs and obedience, is, becaufe 
2 - faith 


faith acts itfcif on Chrifl only by the things which we 
know^ whereby fpi ritual flrength is derived for the per- 
formance of them. Our ufefulnefs in the church, our 
families, and among all men, greatly depends hereon ; as 
every man's experience will readily fuggeft to him. If 
therefore, the minifters of the gofpel have any care for, 
and love to the fouls of their hearers ; if they underfland 
any thing of the nature of the office and work they have 
undertaken, or the account they muft one day give of the 
difcharge of it, they cannot but elleem it among the moft 
neceifary duties incumbent on them, to excite, provoke, 
perfuade, and carry on their believing charge, tov^ards the 
fcrfen'ion before defcribed. 

The cafe of that people is deplorable and dangerous, 
whofe teachers are not able to carry them on in the know- 
ledge of the gofpel myileries. The key of knowledge may 
be taken away by ignorance as well as malice, and which, 
alas ! is but too common. And when knowledge has pe- 
rilhed from them whofe office it is to preferve it, muft not 
their people alfo perifii for want of knowledge ? [Hof. iv- 
6. Matth. XV. 14.] 

§ 17. Obf. 3. In our progrefs in knowledge, we ought 
to go on with diligence and the full bent of our wills and 
affedions. I intend hereby to exprefs the fenfe of the 
Greek word, ((pspaj^sS(x} which we render, * Let 71s go 
* on.* It is of a pajjive ligniiication, denoting the cffe6l ; 
let us be a^ed, carried on ; but yet includes the a6live ufc 
of means. And the duties intended may be reduced to 
thefe heads : — Diligence in our application to the ufe of 
the beft means, [Hof. vi. 7.] Thofe that would be car- 
ried on towards perfe£lion, muft not be carelefs, or re- 
gardlefs of the opportunities of inftruftion, nor be de- 
tained from them by floth or vanity, nor diverted by the 
bulinefles and occafions of this world. There are fome 
who take no fmall pains to enjoy the means of inftruftion, 
and will fcarce mifs an opportunity ; but when they have 
fo done — they fit down and rej}. It is a fhame to confider 
how little they ftir up their minds to conceive aright the 
things whercm they are inftru6led. So they continue to 



hear from day to day, and from year to year, but are ncft 
carried oa one Jiep towards perfeftion. — Again : It is re- 
quired, that our vjHIs and ajfeclions be idiicerely inclined to, 
and fixed upon the things tiiemfelves which we are taught. 
Thefe are the principal fails whereby wc are carried on iiv 
our voyage. He that knows but a little, and yet loves 
•much, will quickly know and love more. And he who 
♦ bath much knowledge, but little love, will find that he 

* labours in the fire' for the increafe of the one or the 
other. When, in the diligent ufe of means, our 
wills and afFe^tions adhere with delight to the things 
wherein we are inflru£led, then are we in our right courfe; 
then, if the hcly gales of the fpirit of God breath on us, 
are we in a blefTed tendency towards perfection, [II. Thef. 
ii. 10.] — Moreover ; the diligent pra^iice of what we know 
is no lefs necellary. This is the immediate end of all 
teaching and all learning ; this is what makes our know* 
ledge to be our happinefs. ' If you know thefe things, 

* happy are ye if ye do them." Doing what we know is 
the great key to give us an entrance into the knowledge of 
what we knew not before. If we do the will of Chrift, 
we fliall know of his word, [John vii. 17.] 

§ 18. Obf 4. There is no intereft in Chrift, or his 
genuine religion, to be obtained, without ' repentance 
'■ from dead works.* This was one of the firft things 
preached to finners ; Chrift came not only to fave men 
from, their fins, but to turn them from their fins; when 

* he comes out of Sion, as a redeemer, a deliverer, a fa- 

* viour, he turns away ungodlinefs from Jacob ;' that is, 
he turns Jacob from ungodlinefs, [Rom. xi. 26.] viz, 
by repentance. This was one principal end of the birth, life, 
death, and exaltation of Chrift ; the enmity on our part, 
as well as on the part of God, muft alfo be taken away, or 
reconciliation will not be finifhed. Now we were ene- 
mies in our minds by wicked works, [Col. i. 21.] and 
thereby alienated from the life of God, [Ephef. iv. 18.] 
but who can conceive of the removal of this without re-^ 
fentance ? Without this^ whatever notions men may have 
of reconciliation with God, they will find him, in the 



xiTue, ^^ devouring fire ^ or everlafling burnings. All doc- 
trines, notions, or perfualions, that tend to lelFen the ne- 
ceflity oi perjbnal repentance, are pernicious to the fouls of 
men. And there is nothing ib much to be dreaded, fo 
much to be abhorred, as a pretence taken to any fin, with- 
out repentance, from the dodrine or grace of the gofpel. 

* Shall wc continue in fin,' faith our apoftle, * that grace 
' may abound? God forbid!' Thofe who do fo, and 
thereby ' turn the grace of God into lafcivioufnef-/ are 
among the number oi them, whofe * damnation fleepeth 

* not.' 

§ 19. Wc may now inquire after our oivn intcrcft in 
this great and necelTary duty. When the fpirit of grace 
is pour-cd out on men, they fhall mourn apart, [Zech. 
xii. 12 — 14.] that is, they Ihall peculiarly, and folemnly 
Separate themfelves to a right difcharge of this duty be- 
tween God and their own fouls. It refpeds all and every 
fin ; every crooked path, and every ftep in it : it abfo- 
lutely excludes all referves. To profefs repentance, and 
yet with any exprefs referves for any fin, approacheth 
very near the great fin of lying to the Holy Ghoft. It is 
like Ananias's keeping back part of the price, when the 
v/holc was devoted. And thefe foul-deflroying referves, 
which abfolutely overthrow the whole nature of repen- 
tance, commonly arife from one of thefe pretences : — That 
the fin referved may be fmalU and of no great importance. 
Is it not a little one ? But true repentance refpeds the na- 
ture of fin, which is in every fin equally, the leaft as well 
as the greatePc. Thelcaft referve for vanity, pride, con- 
formity to the world, inordinate defires or afFe£tions, ut- 
terly overthrow the truth of repentance, and, of courfe, 
all the benefits of it.— Another pretence is, that it is ufefuU 
at leaft for the prefent, and cannot be parted with. So 
Naaman would referve his bowing before the king in the 
houfe of Rimmon, becabfe his honours and preferments 
depended thereon. So it is with many in their courfe of 
life, or trading in the world ; fome advantages, by indi- 
rect ways, feem as ufcful to them as their ' right hand,' 
which they cannot as yet cut o^and caft from them. But 

Vol. IIL R ^^^ 


he who in this cafe will not part with a right eye, or a 
right hand, mufl be content to go with them both to hell- 
fire. — i^gain : Some have a reierve oi fecrecy. That which 
is hidden from every eye, they fuppofe, may be left be- 
hind. Some fweet morfel of this kind may yet be rolled 
under the tongue. But this is an evidence of grofs hypo- 
crifv, and the higheft contempt of God> who ' feeth in 
* fee ret.' — Once more: The uncertainty of fome things, 
whether they are fms or no, has been made a pretence. 
Some may think fuch negledl of duty, fuch compliances 
with the world, are not lins ; and whereas themfelves 
have not fo full 2l conviftion of their being Unful, as they 
have of other fins which are notorious and againft the light 
of nature, they will break through, and indulge them- 
felves in them. But this alfo impeacheth the truth of re- 
pentance. Where it is fincere, it engageth the foul 
againll * all appearance of evil.' And one that is truly 
humbled, hath no rule more certain in his Chriftian walk^ 
than not to do what he h^th jujl caufe to doubt whether it be 
lawful or no. True repentance, therefore, is univcrjal, and 
inconfiflent with thefe referves. — As to the fcafons m which 
it is wrought, we may obferve, it is ever produced on the 
firji faving view of Jefus Chrift as crucified, [Zech. xii. lO.] 
it is impoffible that any one fhould have fuch a view of 
Chrift crucified, and not be favingly humbled for fin. 
And there is no one fingle trial of our faith in Chrift whe- 
ther it be genuine or no, that is more natural than this ; 
— what have been the effcHs of it, as to humiliation and 
repentance P If thefe enfued not, upon what we accounted 
our believing, we had not a faving view of Chrift cruci- 
fied. — Now there are feveral ways whereby men mifs their 
duty with refpe£l to this frjl principle, and thereby ruin 
their fouls eternally. Some utterly defpife it ; others will 
repent in their dead works, but not from them ; that is, 
•upon convi£lions or dangers, they will be troubled for 
their fins, but yet they will abide in them. There are not 
a few to whom this kind of repentance ftands in the fame 
Head all their days, as confeflion and abfolution doth to 
the papifls ; it gives them prefent eafe, that they may re- 


turn to their former fins. — Some repent from dead works 
in a itn(Q, but are never truly and lavlngly humbled for 
iin : their lives are changed, but their hearts are not re.- 

§ 20. This repentance, in the nature and kind of it, 
is a duty to be continued in the whole courfe of our lives. 
It ceafeth as to thofe efpecial acls which belong to our 
hiitiation into a gofpel ftate, but it abides as to our orderly 
prefervation therein. There mufl be no end of rcpcntanccy 
until there is a full end oi Jin All tears will not be wiped 
from our eyes, until all fin is perfectly removed from our 
fouls. Now repentance in this itn^^ may be confidered 
two ways * 

I. As it is a conftant duty of the gofpel. Thus confi- 
dered, it is our humble mournful v/alking with God, un- 
der a it\\{Q of fin continually manifeiling itfelf in our 
natures and infirmities. He whofe heart is fo lifted up, 
on any pretence, as not to abide in the conjiant exercifc of 
thefe a6ts of repentance, is one in whom the foul of God 
hath no delight. 

2. This continued repentance may be alfo confidered 
as occajional ; when -its exercifes are attended with fingular 
folemnities. When, for inftance, a perfon is furprifed 
into any great a6lual fin, fuch an occafion is not to be 
pafiTed over with the ordinary aflings of repentance. 
David upon his fall brings his renewed repentance into 
fuch a folem.nity, as if it had been his firft converfion. So 
Peter, upon the denial of his mafter, wept bitterly^ which, 
v^ith his following humiliation, and the renovation of his 
faith, our Saviour calls his * converfion, [Luke xxii. 23.] 
A new converfion of him who was before really converted. 
There is nothing more dangerous to our fpiritual ftate, 
than to pafs by particular inftanccs of fin, with the gene- 
ral duties of repentance. — rAgain : The fins of 2. family or 
church to which we are related, call for this peculiar folem- 
nity of repentance, [IL Cor. vii. I i.] To which we may 
add, alfllalons and fore trials ; as we fee in the cafe of 
Job, ,[chap, xlii. 6.] 

R 2 ^^'' 


We may here finally remark, that as this repentance 
is a grace cf the Spirit of ChrifV, whatever unpleafantnefs 
to the Jlejh there may be in its exercife, it is fweet, refrefli- 
ing, and iecretly pleafant to the inner man. Let us not" be ■ 
deterred from abounding in this duty. It is not a morofe, 
fevere felf-maceration ; but an humble, gracious, mourn- 
ful walking with God, wherein the foul finds reft, fweet- 
nefs, joy and peace, being rendered thereby compliant 
with the will of God, benign, ufeful, kind, and compaf- 
iionate towards men. 

§ 2 1. Obf. 5. Faith in God, as to the accomplifliing of 
the great promife in fending his Son Jefus Chriilto fave us 
from our fins, is the great fundamental principle of our 
interefl in, and profeffion of the gofpel. There is nothing 
in the gofpel that God himfelf, our Lord Jefus Ciirift, 
and the holy apoflles, do more infill upon than this — that 
God h2it\\ fulfilled his promife in fending his Son into the 
world. On this one thing depends all religion, the truth 
of the Bible, and all our ialvation. If it be not evident 
that God hath accompUJJyed his promife^ the whole Bible may 
pafs for a cunningly devifed fable ; for it is all built upon 
this fuppofition, that God gave, and hath accompli/hcd 
it ; the firfl being the foundation of the Old Tefi:ament, 
and the latter of the New. And there are fundry things 
that fignalize our faith in God with refpeft hereunto ; as 

(i.) This promife offending Jefus Chrift was the firjl 
exprefs engagement that God ever made of his faithfulnefs 
and veracity to any of his creatures. Hence this was the. 
iirfl and immediate objeft of faith propofed to man after 
the fall — to believe in God, with refped to his faithfulnefs 
in the future accomplifliment of his promife ; and faith 
concerning its adlual accomplifliment, is the firfl thing re- 
quired of us. It is obfervable, that this promife hung 
]ongefl on the file before its accomplifliment. There was 
not lefs thznfour thou fand years between its giving and the 
performance of it. And this long fufpenfion gave fuch 
advantage to Satan, in his oppofition to it, that he pre- 
vailed againft every expeclation, but that a^ faith * tried 
' and more precious than gold.' It w^as all, in a man- 


iier, that the church of God had to Hve upon during that 
long fcafon ; the fole foundation of its faith, obedience, 
and confolation. All other promifes, all precepts, and 
inftitutions, for the diredion and inftruftion of the 
church, were built on this one promife, and refolvablc 
into it. This gave them hfe -jnd Hgnification, therewith 
they were to ftand and fall. The Jewilh church rejecting 
the accompiifliment of this promife, utterly perilned. It 
will be faid, perhaps, that this promife being aftually ac- 
complilhed, and that taken for granted, we have not the 
like concern in it, as they had who lived before the faid 
accompiifliment. But this is a miftake : no man believes 
aright that the Son of God is come in the fiefli, but he 
who believes that he came in the accompiifliment of the 
promife of God, to the glory of his truth and faithful- 
iiefs. And it is from hence that we know aright both the 
occalion, caufe, and end of his coming ; which, whofo- 
ever doth not conlider, his pretended faith is vain. 

(2.) This is the great eft promife that God ever gave to 
the children of men, and therefore faith in him with re- 
fpe£l to it, is both necelTary to us, and greatly tends to his 
glory. Indeed all the concernments of God's glory in the 
church, and our eternal welfare are involved in it. 

Only we mull: add. that the conlideration of the accom- 
plifhment of this promife is a great encouragement and 
fupport to faith with refpe£l to all other promifes of God. 
None ever had fuch oppofition made to its accompiifli- 
ment. Never was any promife more likely to be defeated 
by the unbelief of men ; which, if any thing, or had it 
been fufpended on any condition, might have difappointed 
its event. And fliall we think that God will leave any 
other of his promifes unaccomplillied, that he will not in 
due time engage his omnipotent power and infinite wifdom 
in the difcharge of his truth and faithfulnefs ? Hath he fent 
his Son after four thoufand years expeftation, and will 
he not in due time deflroy anti-chrill:, call again the 
Jews, fet up the kingdom of his Son glorlouHy in the 
world, and finally fave all that fincerely believe i* This 
great inflaace of divine fidelity leaves no room for unbe- 

i2z hl<l EXPOSITION OF THE Chap. VI. 

lieving objections, as to any proiuifcs whatever made un- 
der the fame airurance. 

§ 2 2. Ohf. 6. The do£lrine of the refurre£tion is a 
fundamental principle of the gofpel, the faith whereof is 
indifpenfably neceflary to the obedience and confolatioii 
of all that profefs it. I call it a ' principle of the gofpel/ 
not becaufc it was there abfolutely j^r/? revealed. It was 
made known under the Old I'eflament, and was virtually 
included in the flril: promife. In the faith of it the patri- 
archs lived and died ; and it is tefliiied in the Pfalms and 
prophets. Hence did the ancients confefs that they were 
llrangers and pilgrims in this world, feeking another city 
and country, vvlierein xh&u perfons fhould dwell, [Heb. xi, 
I 5.] And tliis was with relation to God's covenant with 
tliem, wherein, , as it follows, ' God was not afhamed to 

* be called their God ;' that is, their God in covenant, 
which relation could never be broken ; and therefore our 
Saviour proves the refurre6lion from thence, becaufs, if 
the dead rile not again, the covenant relation between God 
and his people muft ceafe, [Matt. xxii. 31, 32.] Not 
to mention many of the patriarchs, Ifaiah is exprefs to the 
fame purpofe, [chap. xxvi. 19.] ' Thy dead fliall live, 
' tcgetjier with my dead body ihall they arife : awake and 

* fing, ye that dwell in dull ; for thy dew is as the dew of 
' herbs, and the eartli (hall cafl out the dead.* This God 
propofeth for the comfqrt of the prophet, and all thofe 
who v/ere either perfecuted or flain in thofe days for righ- 
teoufnefs' fake : for which purpofe their refurreftion is 
direflly and emphatically exprelied. And whereas fome 
\vouid wreft the words to fignify no more than the deli- 
verance and exaltation of thofe who were in great diilrefs, 
yet they mufl acknowledge that jt is exprelTed in alliifion 
to the refurreftlon of the dead, which is therefore, at 
Icaft, implied in the words, and was believed in the church. 
The fame do£lrine is alfo taught in Ezekiel's viiion of the 
yiviiication of dry honcs^ [chap, xxxvii.] which, while it 
.declared the refurredtion of Ifrael from their diftrefled con- 
dition, yet declared it witii allufion to the refurre£lion at 
the iaft day \ and without the fupp.oiition qi the faith of 



it, the vilioii had not been inilruclive. Maiiy other tcf- 
timonies to the lame purpofe might be infilled on. 

§ 23. 1 do not," therefore, reckon this a principle of 
the dodrine of the gofpel abfolutely, and exclulively to 
the revelations of the Old Tellament, but on ihree other 
accounts : — becaufe it is moji clearly, and fully taught 
therein ; — becaufe of thd^t folemn confirmation and pledo-e of 
it which was given in the refurreft ion of Chriil: from the 
dead ; — and becaufe it hath a peculiar infiuence on our obe- 
dience under the gofpel. Under the Old I'eilament the 
church had fundry motives to obedience taken from tcni- 
foral things, fuch as profperity and peace in the land of 
Canaan, with deliverance out of troubles and diftrelfes. 
But we are now left, almoil entirely, to promifes oi invi' 
Jible and eternal things, which cannot be fully enjoyed but 
by virtue of the relurredion from the dead. And there- 
fore thefe promifes are made in a manner unfpeakably 
more clear than they were to them, and fo our motives 
and encouragements to obedience are unfpeakablv ad- 
vanced above theirs. This may w^ell, therefore, be cf- 
teemed as an efpecial principle of tlie gofpel. And 

It is an animating principle of gofpel obedience, becaufe 
we are thereby aiTured, that no ' labours in the Lord' are 
loft. We are affured that they fhall not only be remem- 
bered^ but alfo rewarded. It hath tlie fame refpeft to our 
eonfolation ; for * if in this life only we have hops in Chrift, 
' then are we of ail men moft miferable,' [I. Cor. xv. 19.] 
that is, if we regard only outward things in tliis world, we 
fee that reproaches, fcornings, revilings, troubles, and 
perfecutions have been the lot of moft of them who hoped 
in Chrift. But is this all v/e Ihall have from him ? Stay 
awhile ; thefe things will be called over again, at the re- 
furre£tion (and that is all in good time), when all fliail be 
put into another pofturc, (fee II. Thei". i. 6 — lo.j We 
have, therefore, no reafon to defpond for what may befall 
us in this life, nor at imydiilrefs our iiefh may be put to. 
W^e are, it may be, fomctimes ready to faint, or to think 
mucji of the pains we put ourfelvcs to. in rehgious duties, 
or of v.'hat we undergo for rightcoufnef^' fake ; but the 

2 d-^y 


day of recompence is coniliig ; that will make up all. This 
flefh which we now employ (often weak and crazy) in a 
conflant courfe of the mod difficult duties, fhall be raifcd 
cut of the dull, purified from all its ififirmities^ freed from 
all its weaknelfes, made incorruptible and immortal, to en- 
joy everlafting reft and glory. Let us then * comfort our- 
* felves with thefc words,' [I. Thef. iv. i8.] 

§ 24. Qbf. 7. The doctrine of the eternal judgement 
being a lirft principle, the minifters of the gofpcl ought to 
dwell greatly on the confideration of it, as reprefented in 
its terror and glory, that they may be itirred up to deal ef^ 
fedually with the fouls of men that are about to fall under 
the vengeance of that day. Without this, it cannot but 
be that men will grow cold, and dead, and formal in their 
miniftry. If the judgement -feat of Chr'iji be not continually 
in our eye, whatever other motives we may have to dili- 
gence in our work, we Ihall have comparatively but little 
regard to the fouls of men, nor fhall v;e find ourfelves 
much concerned whether they live and die in their fins or 

§ 25. To the foregoing obfervations we may add the 
following : 

1. Perfons to be admitted into the church, and to a 
participation of all the holy ordinances thereof, had need 
to be well hiftrutled in the important principles of the 

2. No d'lfcotiragcments fliould deter the minifters of the 
gofpel from proceeding to declare, when called to it, th« 
myiteries of Chrift, the difpenfation of which is commit- 
ted to them. Among the various difcouragements they 
meet with, that is not the leaft which arifeth from the 
didnefs of the hearers. This our apoflle had now in his 
eye in a peculiar manner, and yet was refolved to break 
through it, in the difcharge of his duty. God is pleafed 
fomctimes to convey faving light to the minds of men, be- 
fore very dark and ignorant, by the deepeft myileries of 
the gofpel ; without fucli preparatory inftruftion in the 
more obvious principles of it, as is ordinarily required. 
Not knowing, therefore, by what means, how or w4ien, 

'^ God 


God will work upon the fouls of men, it is their dutv to 
proceed in the declaration of the whole counfel of QoA com- 
mitted to them, and kave the fuccefs of all to him by 
whom they are employed. 

3. As it is our duty to fubmit ourfelves, in all our un- 
dertakings, to the vj'ill of God^ fo efpecially in thofc where- 
in his gloty is immediately concerned. In vain fhall any 
H^afv, be his condition at prefent what it may, feek for fa- 
tisfa£lion and fuccefs in any thing independent on the will 
©f God. 

4. Let tliem who are entrufted with the means of know- 
ledge and grace, improve them with diligence, left, upon 
their neglc^ft, God fuffer not his minifters farther to in- 
ilrud them. 

Verses 4 — 6. 

for it is impossible for those who were once 
enlightened, and have tasted of the hea- 
venly gift, and were made partakers of 
the holy ghost, and have tasted the good 
word of god, and the powers of the world 
to come, if they shall fall away, to re- 
ne\y. them again unto repentance; seeing 
thfy crucify to themselves the son of god 
afresh, and put him to an open shame. 

§ I. 1^ he fajf age attended With difficulties. The fubjefl Jlated. 
§ 2. (I.) Connexion of the words. § 3. (II.) The per- 
fins fpoken of, in general, § 4, 5. Once enlightened. 
§ 6. Tafed of the heavenly gift. § 7, A^ade partakers of 
the Holy Ghofl. § 8. Tafted the good word of God. 
§ 9. The powers of the world to come, § 10. (III.) 
Vol. III. S mat 


fVhat Is fuppofed concerning them, Jf they Jh all fall away. 
§ II; 12. Impojfible to renevj them again to repentance. 
§ 13, (IV.) General obfervations, § 14. Additional 

§ I. X HAT this palfage hath been looked upon as 
accompanied with great difficulties, is known to all ; and 
many have been the differences about its interpretation ; 
for both doftrinally and pra£lica]ly, many have ftumbled 
at it. Some contend that they are true believers, who are 
here defcribed, and that their charader is given us by fun- 
dry infcparable properties of fuch perfons. Wence they 
conclude, that fuch believers may totally and finally fail 
from grace, and pcrilh eternally. In facV, the hypothefis 
of the final apoflacy of true believers is that by which 
thcy^are influenced to fuppofe that fuch are here intended. 
Wherefore others, who will not admit that, according to 
the tenor of the covenant of grace in Chriil Jefus, true 
believers can perilh everlaftingly, fay, that they are not 
here intended ; or if they are, the words are only com- 
minatorv. That is, although the onfcqiience be true, on 
tliQ fuppofitlon laid down, yet the fuppoftion itfel/'is not af- 
ferted — that true believers may really fall away, and abib- 
lutely perifh. Thefe things have been the matter of tedi- 
ous contefts among the learned. 

Again : there have been fundry miilakes in the pra^ical 
application of thefe words. Wlien fome perfons have been 
furprized with terrors and troubles of confcience, they 
have withal, m their darknefs and diftrefs, fuppofed them- 
felves to be fallen into the condition here defcribed, and 
confequently concluded theinfelves to be irrecoverably 
lofl:.- — In the words we conlidcr : 

I. Their connexion w^ith thofe foregoing, intimating 
the occalion of this wiiole difcourfe. 

II. The perfons fpoken of, under fundry qualifications. 
'11. What is fuppofed concerning them. 

IV, What is affirmed of them on that fuppofition. 



§ 2. (I.) The connexion of the words is included in the 
caufal particle (yo^o) for ; which introduces a reafon for 
what had been before difcourfed, and alfo refpe^ts the //- 
mitation^ — ' If God permit.' He doth not herein exprefs 
his judgement that they to whom he wrote were fich as he 
defcribes (for he afterwards declares, that he hoped better 
things concerning them), only it was necellary to give 
them this caution^ that they might take due care not to be 
fuch. And w^hereas he had manifelted that they wcrefow 
as to their progrefs in knowledge and fuitable pradice ; he 
lets them here know the danger there was in continuing 
in that flothful condition. For not to proceed m the ways 
of the gofpel, is an untow^ard entrance into a total relin- 
quifhment thereof. That therefore they might be ac- 
quainted with this danger, and be ftirred np to avoid it, 
he gives them an account of thofe who, upon their non- 
pro-ficiency in profelling the gofpel, end in a fnamefui and 
ruinous apoftafy. 

§ 3. (11.) The defcription of the per/on^ fpoken of is 
given m Jive inftances of the evangelical privileges whereof 
they are made partakers ; notwithftanding all which, and 
againft their obliging efficacy to the contrary., it is fup- 
pofed that they may wholly defert the gofpel itfeif. And 
fome things we may previoufly obfervc concerning this 
defcription of them in general : 

1. The apoftle defigning to exprefs the fearful date and 
judgement of thefe pcrfons, defcribes them by fuch things 
as may fully evidence them to be not only unai-oldable but 
Jiighly righteous. 

2. All thefe privileges confifl in certain operations of 
the Holy Ghoft peculiar to the gofpel difpenfation ; fuch 
as they neither were, nor could be, made partakers of in 
their Judaifm. For the Spirit, in this iznk, was ' not 

• received by the works of the law, but by the hearing of 

* faith,' [Gal. iii. 2.] And a participation of that fpiiir, 
which was the great privilege of the gofpel, was a tefli- 
mony to them, that they were delivered from the bondage 
of the law. 


3. Here is no exprefs mention of any covenant grace of 
which they were pofTelTed, nor of any duty of faith whicln 
ihey had performed. Afterwards, when he comes, to de-f 
Glare his pcrfuafion concerning the Hebrews, that they 
were not fuch as thofe whom he had before defcribed— 
fuch as might fall away to perdition — he obferyes, that they 
had fuch things as accompanied falvation \ that is, from 
which ialvation is infeparable ; but he afcribes nothing of 
that nature to thefe in the text. — He alfo defcribes them 
by their duties of obedience^ their ' work of faith and la- 

* hour of love' towards the name of God, [ver. 10.] To 
which he acjds, that in their prefervation, \ht faithfulnefs 
of God was concerned ; ' God is not unrighteous to forget ;* 
but with refpedl to thofe in the text, he doth not intimate 
that either the righteoufnefs or faithfulnefs of God were 
any way engaged for their prefervation, but rather the 
contrary. The whole defcription, therefore, refers to 
fome fpecial gofpel privileges, which profeflbrs in thofe 
days were promifcuoufly made partakers of; and what 
they were in particular we mufl now inquire. 

§ 4. Tht firfi thing in the defcription is, that they 
were (octtocC^ (Pmtlo-^ svTag) once enlightened ; once baptized^ 
faith the Syriac tranflation ; but it was a good while after 
the writing of this epiflle, at leaft an age or two, if not 
more, before this word was ufed myftically to exprefs bap- 
tifm. Wherefore to be * enlightened' in this place, (ac- 
cording to the import of the word) is to be hiftru^ed in 
the doftrine of the gofpel, fo as to have a fiiritual appre^ 
henfion thereof. And this is fo termed on a double ac- 
count : 

I, On account of \\\z ohje^, or the things knowm and 
apprehended ; for ' life and immortality are brought to 

* light through the gofpel,' [II. Tim. i. 10.] Hence it is 
called light. The world, w^ithout the gofpel, is {joTTog 
o^vy^jLYi^og^ II. Pet, i. 19.) a dark place^ wherein igno^ 
ranee, folly, error, and fupcrftition, dwell and reign. By 
the power of this darknefs, are men kept at a diOance 
from God, and know not whither they go. On this ac- 


count is our inflru£lioii in the knowledge of the gofpe^ 
called ^ illumination^* becaufe the gofpel itfelf is light. 

2. On account of the jiibjed^ or the mind itfelf, 
whereby the gofpel is apprehended ; for the knowledge 
which is received thereby, expels that darknefs, ignorance 
and confufion, which the mind before was filled with. 
The knowledge, I fay, of the gofpel doflrine, concern- 
ing God*s being in Chrift reconciling the world to him- 
{t\i^ the Redeemer's perfon, offices, mediation and work, 
and limilar articles of divine revelation, fets up 2. Jpiritiial 
light in the minds of men, enabling them to difcern 
what before, whilfl alienated from the life of God through 
ignorance, was utterly concealed from them. Of this 
light and knowledge there are feveral degrees^ according 
to the means and diligence of different perfons, or of the 
fame perfons at different times. But a competent meafure 
of knowledge, with refpeft to the fundamental principles 
pf the gofpel, is necelTarily implied in the term * illumi^ 
nated.'' Such are, at leaft, freed from the darknefs and 
ignorance they once lived in. [II. Pet. i. 18—20.] 

§ 5. Thus much lies manifeft in the text : but that 
we may more particularly difcover the nature of this cha- 
racter of apollates, we may yet a little more diflindtly ex- 
prefs the nature of that illumination. And, 

1. There is a knowledge of fpiritual things that is 
purely natural and difciplinary, attained without any fpe- 
cial aififlance from the Holy GJiofl. And this is evident 
in common experience, and efpecially among fuch who, 
cafling themfelves on the fludy of fpiritual things, are 
yet utter {grangers to all fpiritual gifts. Some knowledge 
of the fcripture, and its contents, is certainly attainable, 
at the fame rate of pains and fludy with that of any other 
art or fcience. 

2. The ' illumination intended, being a gift of the 
Holy Ghoft, difters from, and is exalted above, this 
knowledge that \s purely yiatural ; making nearer approach- 
es to the light of fpiritual things in their own nature than 
the other doth. It gives the mind {omt fatisf action, de- 
light, and joy, in the things known. The light, it is 



true, fhines in darknefs, which does not fully compre- 
hend it ; yet that hght, which reprefents the way of the 
gofpel as a way of rightcoufnefs, [II. Pet. ii. 21.] reflefts 
•upon the mind a peculiar regard for it. Moreover, the 
knowledge that is merely natural, hath little or no power 
on the foul, either to keep it from iin, or to conftrain it 
to obedience. There is not a more fecure and profligate 
generation of finners in the world, than thofe who are 
under the fole conduct of it. But the illumination here 
intended, is attended with efficacy in the confcience, and 
the whole foul, producing abilinence from fm, and t^e 
performance of known duties. Hence perfons under the 
power of it oftentimes walk blamelefsly in the world, 
Beiides, there is an alliance between fpiritual gifts, that 
where any one of them refides, it hath affuredly fome 
other belonging to its train. Even a fingle talent is m4ade 
up of many pounds. But the light and knov/ledge, 
which is merely natural, \s folltary, deflitute of the Jociety 
and countenance of any fpiritual gift whatever. 

3. There is a faving, fan^ifying light and knowledge, 
which this * fpiritual illumination' rjfeth not up to. For 
though it traniiently afFeft the mind with fome glances of 
the beauty, glory, and excellency of fpiritual things, yet 
it doth not give that diredl, fleady, inftitutive inlight 
into them, which is obtained by grace. [See II. Cor. iii. 
8. chap. iv. 4 — 6.] Neither doth it renew, or transform 
the foul into a conformity to the things known, by plant- 
ing them in the will and aiFe£lions, as a gracious faving 
light doth. [II. Cor. iii. 18. Rom. vi. 17. Rom. xii. i.} 
Thefe things I judged neceffary to be added, to clear the 
nature of the firfl character of apollates, 

§ 6. The fecond thing aifertcd in the defcription of 
them, is, that ' they have tailed of the heavenly gift.' 
— The ^ gift' o( God is fometimes taken for the grant, or 
giving itfelf, and fometimes for the things giz'm. And fo, 
far as I can obferve, (lujpscc) the gift, with refped to. 
God, as denoting the thing given, is no where ufed but to 
iignify the Holy Gholl, who is the gift of God fignally 
imder the New Teftament. He is faid to be (r/^g- e77iipa,vL>i), 




heavenly^ ox from heaven^ with refpe6\: to his work and ef- 
feft, as oppofed to carnal and earthly. But principally it 
regards his miffion by Chrift after his afcenfion into hea- 
ven. [A6ls ii. 33.] Being exalted, and having received 
the promiie of the Father, he fent his Spirit. The pro- 
inife of him was, that he fhoiild be fent/ro^ heaven^ or 
from above. If it be obje£led againft this interpretation, I 
that the Holy Ghoil is expreflly mentioned in the next 
claufe, * and were made partakers of the Holy Ghoft/ 
wx reply, that the following claufe may be exegetkal of 
this, declaring more fully and plainly what is here intend- 
ed. So that nothing can be inferred from this coniidera- 
tion, to difprove an interpretation fo fuited to the fenfc 
of the place, and which the conftant ufe of the word 
makes neceflary. The Spirit of God, therefore, as be« 
flowed for introducing the new gofpeljiate, is the ' heaven- 

* ly gift' here intended. Thus our apoflle warneth thefe 
Hebrews, that they * turn not away from him who fpeak- 

* eth from heaven ;' [chap. xii. 25.] that is, Jefus Chrift 
fpeaking in the difpenfation of the gofpel, by the Holy 
Ghofl fent from Heaven. 

Let us now inquire what it is to * ta/le* of this heaven- 
ly gift. The exprellion is metaphorical, and iignifies to 
make a trial or experiment, [Pfalm xxxiv. 8.] * O tajle 
' and fee that the Lord is good ;* which Peter refers to, 
[L Pet. ii. 3.] ' If fo be ye have tailed that the Lord is 
*' gracious,' or found it fo by experience. It is, therefore, 
properly to make trial of any thing, whether it be received 
or refufed ; that therefore which is afcribed to thefe per- 
fons, is, that they had an experience of the power of the 
Holy Ghofl, that ' gift' of God in the gofpel difpenfa- 
tion ; a privilege which all men are not made partakers of. 
And by this * tafle' they were convinced, that it was far 
more excellent than what they had been before accuflomed 
to, although now they had a mind to leave the finefl 
wheat for their old hufks and acorns. Wherefore, al- 
though * tafling' convey a diminutive idea, if compared 
with the fpiritual eating, drinking, and digeftion, of gofpel 
truths, in real believers ; yet, abfolutely confidered, de- 


noting that appreheniion and experience of the excellency 
cf the gofpei, as adminlflered by the Spirit, it is a greaC 
privilege, and may be called a fpiritual advantage ; the 
contempt of which will prove an unfpeakable aggravatioi^ 
of iin, and the remedilefs ruiii of all apollates, 

§ 7. The i/>W property whereby thefe perfons are de- 
fcribed is — ' and were made partakers of the Holy Ghofl," 
As this is placed in the center of the enumerated privileges^ 
two preceding it and two following after, fo it is the ani- 
mating principle of them all. They arc all effeAs of the 
Holy Ghoft, and depend on the participation of him : and 
he may be * received^ — either, as to perfonal inhabitation 
- — or, as to fpiritual operations. In the firji way> the 

• world cannot receive him,' [John xiv. 17.] the worlds 
as oppofed to true believers ; and therefore thofe here in- 
tended were not in that knio. partakers of him. His ope- 
rations refpe£l his gifts. So to * partake of hlrrl^' is to 
have a fhare or portion in what he diflrlbutes by way of 
fpiritual gifts, anfvverable to that expreflion ; ' All thefe- 

• worketh that one and felf-fame Spirit, dividing unto 

• every one feverally as he will,' [I. Con xii. 11.] So 
Peter told Simon the magician, that he had no part in fpi- 
ritual gifts, he was not * partaker of the Holy Ghoft,* 
[A6ls viii. 21.] Wherefore, to be 'partakers of the 
Holy Ghoft,' is to have a fliare in his fpiritual ope- 

But whereas the other things mentioned are alfo * gifts* 
or operations of the Holy GhoU, on what ground, or for 
what reafon, is it mentioned here in particular, that they 
were made partakers of him P If his operations only be in- 
tended, were they not exprefTed in the other inftances ? 
We reply ; 

I. It is no unufual thing in fcripture, to cxprefs the 
fame thing under various notions, the more cfFedually to 
imprcfs a fenfe of it on the mind ; efpecially where an ex- 
preflion hath a lingular emphaiis, as this hath ; for it is 
an exceeding aggravation of the lins of thefe apoftates, 
that they were thus * partakers of the Holy Ghofl.' 

' 2. It 


2. It exprelTeth their own perfonal inter eft In tlicfe 
things ; not only objedlhcly, as they were propofed to thera 
in the churchj but fubjc^ively in their own perfons. It 
is one thing for a man to have zjharc in, and benefit by 
the gift of the church ; another to be himfelf endowed witlx 

3. It feems to remind them, in an efpecial manner, of 
the privileges they enjoyed under the gofpel, above what 
they had in their Judaifm. For, whereas then they had 
not fo much as heard that there was an Holy Ghoft, that 
is, a blefied difpenfation of him in fpiritual gifts, [A£ls 
yAx. 2.] now they themfelves, in their own perfons, were 
made partakers of him, than which there could be no 
greater aggravation of their apoftacy. 

§ 8. Fourthly, it is added in the defcription, that they 
had tailed * the good word of God ;' that is, the word of 
the gofpel as preached. But it may be faid, that they en- 
joyed the ' word of God' in their ftate of Judaifm. True, 
for ' to them were committed the oracles of God,' [Rom. 
iii. 20.] But it is the word of God, as preached in the di [pen- 
fation of the gofpel, that is eminently thus called ; and con- 
cerning this are defervedly fpoken the moil excellent 
things, [Rom. i. 16. Ads xx. 32. Jam. i. 21.] — The 
word is faid to be {Ka7\ov) good, delirable, amiable ; as 
the word imports. The declaration made of the accom- 
plilliment of the promife of God in fending Jefus Chrill 
for the redemption of the church, is here efpecially in- 
tended ; which is elfewhere emphatically called {or,u.oc 
Oivpik^, I. Peter i. 25.) * the word of the Lord.' So the 
promife of God in particular is called his * good^ word ^ 
[Jer. xxix. 10.] ' After feventy years I will vifit you, 
' and perform my good word towards you,' 

Of this they are faid to taftc, as before, of the heavenly 
gift. The apoflle, as it were, lludioufly keeps himfelf to 
this exprelTion, on purpofe to manifcfl he intendeth not 
thofe, who by faith do readily receive food, and live on. 
Chrill Jefus, as tendered in the word of the gofpel; it is 
as if he had faid, I fpeak not of thofe who have received 
and digefted the fpiritual food of their fouls, and turned 

Vol. IIL ' T i^ 


it into fpiritual nouriflimeiit, -but of fucli as have * tafted' 
fo far of it, as that they ought to have defired it to grow" 

§ 9. LaJIly, it is added, * And the powers of the world 
' to come ;' the mighty miraculous operations of the Holy 
Ghoft. By ' the world to come' our apoftle intends, 
* the days of the Melfiah,' that being the ufual name of it 
in the church at that time, as the new world which God 
had promifed to create^ Wherefore, thefe -povjers of the 
world to come were the gifts whereby thefe ligns, won- 
ders, and mighty works, were then wrought by the Holy 
Ghof};, [fee Joel ii. compared with A6ts ii.] Thefe, the 
perfons fpoken of, are fuppofed to have iaficd^ for the par- 
ticle [y^ai) and, refers to (ysvo-ocac-v^g) tafled. They had 
been wrought either by themfelves, or by others in their 
fight, whereby they had an experience of the glorious and 
powerful working of the Holy Ghofl in the confirmation 
of the gofpel. Yea, I judge that they were perfonally 
partakers of thefe powers in the gift of tongues, and other 
miraculous operations, which was the highefl aggravation 
of their apoflacy ; and what rendered their recovery impof- 
lible : for there is not in fcripture an impoflibility put 
upon the recovery of any, but fuch as peculiarly iin againll 
the Holy Gholl: ; and although that guilt may be other- 
wife contrafted, yet in none fo fignally as this of reje6ling 
that truth which was confirmed f)y his mighty operations 
in them that rejefted it, vvhich could not be done without 
an afcription of his divine power to the devil. Yet I 
would not fix on extraordinary gifts to the exclufion of 
thofe that are ordinary ; they alfo are of " the powers 
' of the world to come ;' fo is every tiling that belongs to 
the erection or prefervation of the new world, or the king- 
dom of Chrifl. To the hril letting up of a kingdom, 
great and mighty pouucr is required, but being fet up, the 
ordinary difpenfation of power will prefcrve it ; fo is it 
in this matter ; the extraordinary miraculous gifts of the 
Spirit were ufed in the eredion of Chrift's kingdom, but 
it is continued by ordinary gifts, which therefore alio be- 
vng ' to the powers of the world to come.' — Hence it is 


Ver.4—6. epistle to the HEBREWS. 135 

evident, that the perfons here intended, are v\o\:fcficerc he- 
licvers^ in the llrid and proper fenfe of that name, at 
kail they are not delcribed there as fach ; fo that from 
hence nothing can be concUided concerning them as to the 
po fibihty of their total and final apoftacy. They are not 
faid, tor inllance, to be called according to God's pur- 
pofe ; tabe horn again, not of the will of man, nor of the 
will of the flefh, but of God : to be jufllficd ox fanc^fijicd^ 
or united to Chrifl ; to be the fons of God by adoption : 
nor have they any other charatlcrijik note of true believers 
afcribed to tliem. They are in the following verfes com- 
pared to the ground on which the rain often falls, and 
beareth nothinc; but thorns and hrlars ; but this is not the 
cafe with true believers. Whom then doth he intend ? 
They v/ere fuch who not long before vrcre converted from 
Judaifm to Chriftianitv, uoon the evidence of the truth 
of its doftrine, and the miraculous operations wherev.'ith 
its difpenfiitlon was accompanied. He intends not the 
common fort of hearers, but fach as obtained fpccial pri- 
vileges ; they had found in themfclves a convincing isvi- 
dence that the kingdom of God was come to them ; and 
they had fome fatisfaclion in the glories of it. Such per- 
fons, as they have a work of light in t\\t\x minds, may alfo 
have, according to the efficacy of their conviftions, facli 
a change in affeclions and converfation, as that they may 
be of great efteeni among profefTors. Nov/ it mufl needs 
be fome horrible frame of fpirit, fome malicious ennjity 
againfl: the truth and holinefs of Chrift and the gofpel, 
fome violent love of lin and the world, that could turn off 
fuch perfons as thefe from the faith, and blot out all that 
light and conviclion of truth which tl.ey had received. But 
the leail grace is a better fecurlty for heaven, than the 
greateft gifts and privileges whatever. 

§ 10. (III.) What is /zi'/)/)^/^^ concerning them? [y^cci 
7roL^a.7ri(To{Pl(xg) ' If they fliall fall away.' Our old tranf- 
lations render it only, "> If they fliall/?//,' which expref- 
fed not the import of the word, and was liable to a (ewi^ 
not at all Intended ; for he doth not mean, — Iftheyfhall 
fall IntQ fin ; Peter fell into fin, and yet was * renewed 


' again to repentance,' and that fpeedily. Wherefore wc 
may lay down this in the firit place as to the fenfe of the 
words ; — there is no particular fin that any man may fall 
into occafionally, through the power of temptation, that 
can caft the finncr under this condemnation, fo that it 
fl'iould be impoiiible to renew him to repentance. It muil, 
therefore, be a c our Je of finning that is intended. But there 
are various degrees herein alfo, yea, there are divers kinds 
of fuch courfes in fin. A man may fo fall into a way of 
fin, as ftill to retain in his mind fuch a principle of light 
and convi£lion, that may be fuitable to his recovery. To. 
exclude fuch from all hopes of repentance is expreffly con- 
trary to [Ezek. xviii. 21. Ifa. Iv. 7, 6cc.] the whole 
fenfe of the fcripture. Wherefore men, after fome con- 
viction and reformation of life, may fall into corrupt and 
wicked courfes, and make a long continuance in them, of 
which we have examples every day, (although it may be, 
all things confidered, none to parallel that of Manaileh) : 
yet whilft there is in fuch perfons any feed of light, or 
conviction of truth, which is capable of revival, fo as to 
put forth its power and efficacy in their fouls, they can- 
not be looked upon as in the condition intended, though 
their cafe be extremely dangerous. Hence it will appear, 
what ' falling away' it is that the apoille here intends. It 
mufl confiil: in a total renunciation of all the conflituent 
principles and dodtrines of Chriftianity. Such, for in- 
llance, was the fin of them who relinquifhed the gofpel to. 
return to antiquated Judaifm, by way of avowed and pro- 
felTed oppofition. For the apoflle difcourfeth concerning 
faith and obedience as profejjed, and fo therefore alfo of 
their contraries. 

' § II. * It is impojfible to renew them again unto repen- 
* tance.' The import of the word {a^vvocjov) is dubious ; 
: fome think an abfolute, and others a moral impoJfibUity^ is 
intended thereby. Moil fix upon the, latter; fo that it is 
a matter rare, difficult, and feldom to be expefted — not 
abfolutely ' impoffible.'* All future events depend on God, 
who alone doth neceiTarily exift. Other things may be, 
pr may not be, as they refpeft him or his will. And fo 



tilings that are future may be * impoffible,* either with re- 
fpecl to the nature of God, or his decrees, or his moral rule. 
I will not affert that the /?;,'? is the meaning of the place ; 
and as to the feeond, it cannot be ; for the defcription here 
is of qualifications ; whereas the decrees of God (thofe fo- 
vereign ads of his will, which afford to us no rule of 
judgement) refpe6t perfons primarily, and not their qualifi- 
cations. When, therefore, in matters of duty, God hath 
neither expreflly comjna^ided them ^ nor appointed means ioT 
the performance of them, then are we to look upon them 
as * impoffible ;' and, with refpe£l to us, they are fo abfo- 
luteiy, and fo to be efteemed. This is the ' impoffibility' 
here principally intended. God gives law to us in thefe 
things, not to himfelf. It may be < poflible with God/ 
for aught we know, if there be not a contradldion in it 
to the holy properties of his nature ; only he will not 
have us expeft any fuch things from him, nor hath he 
appointed any means for us to endeavour it. 

§ 12. That which is f^iid to be thus ' impoffible,' with 
refpe£l to thefc perfons, is ' to renew them again unto 
* repentance •,^ which denotes a gracious change of mind, 011 
gofpel principles and promifes, leading the whole foul to 
found converfion. This is the begiiming of our turning 
unto God ; and, without it, neither the will nor the af- 
feclions will be engaged to him. ' It is impoffible 
•^ {avccKa.iVL(^iLv) to renew,' The conftrudlion of the word 
is defective, and muft be fupplied either by (q-s) them/elves, 
or rather by (rivag) fame, fhould renew them ; which lafl 
I judge is intended. P'or the impojjibility mentioned re- 
fpe6ts the duty and endeavours of others. In vain fhall 
their recovery be attempted by the ufe of any means. But 
what is it to be reneiued again ? — Our [o'.vayMLva-Y.og) yeno- 
vation confifls in the reftoration of the obliterated image 
of God in our natures, whereby we are dedicated again to 
him, froni wiiom our fins had made a feparation. And 
this is e/l'ecled really and internally, in regeneration and 
fandification ; but relatively and externally in the prof effioit 
and pledge of it. Which lafl implies the folcmn conk(- 
fion of faith and repentance by Jefus Chrifl, with the feal 



of baptlfm as an exhibiting pledge of inward renovation.. 
prom this (ccvoczczivicr^og) renovation they fell totally, re- 
nouncing him who is the author of it, his ^race which is 
the caufe of it, and the ordinance which is the pledge 

Hence it appears what it is, UrraKLv (Zvo^kc/avl^hv) to rc^ 
new them again; viz. to bring them'again into this ftate of 
profefiion, by a fecond baptifm as a pledge thereof. For 
the moil part, fuch perfons fo openly fall into biafphemies. 
againll the truth, and engage, if they have power, in fuch . 
perfecution of it, as that they give fufficient directions how 
Others (liould behave towards them : {o the ancient church 
was fatisfied in the cafe of Julian. This is the fum ; that. 
it is impofhble to renew fuch apoilates unto repentance ; i 
that is, fo to ad towards them, as to bring them to that | 
repentance whereby they may be re- inflated in their former 

§ 13. Hence fundry things may be obferved for the 
clearing of the apoflle's delign in this difcourfe ; as, 

1. Here is nothing faid concerning the acceptance or 
refufal of any upon repentance after any fin ; it is not faid, 
that whoever thus falls away, Ihall not, upon their re- 
pentance, be admitted into their former fiate in the church. 
But that fuch is the fcverity of God againfl: them, that he 
will not again give them repentance unto life. 

2. Here is nothing againil fuch as having fallen into 
any great lin, or any courfe in finning, and endeavour 
and defire fincerely to repent of their fins ; yea, fuch a 
delire and endeavour exempt any one from the judgement 
here threatened. Nay, this paifage is full oi encouragement 
to fuch : for, whereas it is here declared concerning thofe 
who are rejcCled of God, that it is ' impoifible to renew 
' them,' or to do any thing that (hall have a tendency to 
r-epentayice ; thofe who are lincerely exerci fed how they may 
attain thereunto, have no concernment in this commina- 
tion, but evidently the door of mercy is flill open to them. 
And although perfons rejected of God may fall under con- 
virions of their fin, attended with defpair, which is to 
^lem a forefight of their future condition, yet they a/ta 

q utter 

■Ver.4-6. epistle to THE HEBREWS. j,^ 

\itter ftrangers to the leafl attempt after repentance, on 
gofpel terms. Wherefore the ' impoffibihty' intended, of 
what fort foever it be, refpe£ls the feverity of God, not 
in rejedling great fmners who feek after being renewed 
unto repentance (which would be contrary to innumerable 
promifes ;) but in giving up finners of the flamp here 
mentioned, to that obduratenefs and obflinacy in finning, 
to that blindnefs of mind and hardnefs of heart, which 
prevents their ever fmcerely feeking after repentance, or 
any divinely appointed means for that end. 

§ 14. The obfcrvatlons that arife from the words thus 
explained, are the following : 

1. The fcvereft commlnaiions are not only ufeful in 
preaching the gofpel, but exceeding nccejfary towards per- 
fons that are obfcrved to be flothful in their profellion. 
And the apoftle would have us know, that 

2. It is a great privilege and mercy to be enlightened 
with the do£lrine of the gofpel, by the efFedual working 
of the Holy Ghoft.— But 

*• 3. It is fuch a privilege as may be loft, and may end 
in the condemnation of thofe who were made partakers of 
it. And 

4. Where there is a total neghn of the improvement of 
tliis privilege and mercy, the condition of fuch pcrfons is 
hazardous, as inclining towards apoflacy. 

5. That all the gifts of God under the gofpel are hea- 
venly \\\ a peculiar manner, [John iii. 12. Ephef. i. 3.] 
in oppofition to earthly things, [CoL iii. 11, 12.] and 
carnal ordinances, [Heb. ix. 23.] Let thcni beware by 
whom they are defpifed. 

6. The Holy Ghoft, for the purpofes of revealing the 
jnyfteries of the gofpel, and inftituting the ordinances of 
fpi ritual worlhip, is the great gift of God under the New 

7. There is goodnefs and excellency in this heavenly 
gift, which may be taftcd or experienced, in fome mcafurc, 
by fuch as never receive it, in its life, power, and effi- 
cacy. They may tafle of the ivord in its truth, and not 

of the ivorf/rp of the church in its outward 



order, and not in its inward beauty; of the gifts of the 
church, and not its graces. 

8. A reje^ion of the gofpel, its -truth and worfliip, 
after fome experience had of their worth and excellency, 
is an high aggravation of lin, and a certain prefage of 

9. The Holy Ghofl is prefent with many, as to pow- 
erful operations, with whom he is not prefent as to 
gracious inhabitation ; or many are made partakers of 
him in his fpirltual gifts, who are never made partakers- 
of him in his faving graces, [Matt. vii. 22, 23.] 

10. There is a goodnefs and excellency in the word of 
God able to attract and aite6l the minds of fome men, 
who yet never arrive at iincerc obedience to it. 

1 1. There is an efpcc'ial goodnefs in the word of promfe 
concerning Jefus Chrift, and the declaration of its ac-^ 

Verses 7, S. 


^ I. Introducllon, § 2. (I.) *The explanation tn general. 
§ 3. In particular, the earth drinking in the rain that 
C07neth oft upon it. § 4. The ftmilitude applied, § 5. 
Bringing forth meet herbs, § 6. Receiving a hlcffing, 
§ 7, 8. Applied, . § 9 — II. The barren ground, and its 
doom. § 12. Its application to barren profeffors. § 1 3 
*~~2i. (II.) Obfcrvations, § 23 — 25. Barrennefs im^ 



der the gofpel is alzvays accompanied with an increafe of Jin. 
§ 26, 27. God ordinarily rejetli by degrees, 

\ I. W HAT the apoftle had doarinally inftruaed the 
Hebrews in before, he layeth before them in thefe verfes, 
under an appofite limiUtude. For his defign herein is to 
reprefent the condition of all forts of perfons who live 
under the difpenfation of gofpel truths, with the various 
events that befall them : he had before treated, direaiy^ 
only of unfruitful and apoftatizing profeffors ? but here, 
moreover, for greater illuftration, he comprifeth in his 
funilitude the contrary {late of true believers znd fruitful 
frofejfors, with their acceptance and bleffing from the God 
of heaven. Contraries thus compared illuftrate each 
other ; and it is a mode of teaching at once compen- 
dious, plain, and infinitive. Be it previoufly remarked, 
that here is not only a threatening of what might come 
to pafs, but a particular predidion of what would come 
to pafs, and a declaration of what was already in part ac- 
complifhed ; for by the * earth,' h« underftands, in aa 
efpeciai manner, the church and nation of the Jews ; 
this was God's vineyard, [Ifa. v. 7, 8.] Hereunto he 
ient all his minillers, and Lift of all his Son, [Matt. xxi. 
35. Jer. ii. 21.] and to them he calls, * O earth, earth, 

* earth, hear the word of the Lord,' [Jer. xxii. 29.] Upon 

* this earth' the rain often fell in the minifterial difpen- 
fation of the word to that people. With refpeft here- 
unto Chrift fays, (7i:o(roox.ig} ' how often would I have ga- 

* thered thy children,' [Matt, xxiii. 37.] As here, the 
Tain is faid to fall (TroKkoi,Kig) often upon it. 

§ 2. (L) This was the * earth,' wherein were the 
plants of God's efpecial planting, and which was diftri- 
buted into two lots ; the firfi confifted of thofe who be- 
lieved and brought forth the fruits of repentance, faith, 
and new obedience. Thefe being effedually wrought by 
the power of God in the new creation, our apoflle com- 
pares to the earth in the old creation, when it was firll: 
made, and bleffed of God ; then, in the firll place, it 

Vol. HL U brought 


brought forth (^^"^ Sept. (Sorar/jy) herh meet for him that 
niade and blefled it, [Gtn. i. 2.] The Jews. were Hill 
to be continued the vineyard of God, a field which he 
cared for ; and that gofpel church compofed of believing 
Hebrews, and which brought forth fruit to the glory of 
God, was blefled of him, being the remnant according 
to the ele£lion of grace, which obtained mercy when 
the reft were bhnded, [Rom. ix. 6, 7.] — The other lot, 
the remainder of this people, the refidue of this ' earth,* 
was made up of — obji'inate unbelievers, on the one hand, 
who pertinaciously reje£led Chrift and the gofpel ; and 
hypocritical apoftates ; on the other, who having for a fea- 
fon embraced its profeiTion, fell off again into their Ju- 
daifm. All thefe the apoftle compares to the earth put 
•under the curfe, when the covenant of God with the 
creation was broken by the fin of man. ' The beft of 
" them was a briar, and the moft upright of them as a 

* thorn hedge.' Of this barren earth (thefe unbelieving and 
fipoftate Hebrews) the apoftle affirmeth, that it was — 

* rejected,' {c^o%i^oq) ''not approved'* of God; and — 

* nigh unto curfmg,' — and this curfe, which was now 
very nigh to them, included not only barrennefs, but alfo 
an irrevocable doom to deftru£tion. Jerufalem, and con- 
fequently the whole church, was now to be made as Je- 
richo ; and the curfe denounced was fpeedily to be exe- 
cuted ; the land was to be alienated from them in point 
of right, and devoted to defolation — ' Whofe end is to 

* be burned.' An univerfal defolation, according to the 
prediftion of our Saviour^ by fire and fword, reprefent- 
ing the eternal vengeance they are liable to, was to come 
upon them. — But whereas all things to the very laft, hap- 
pened to them as types, and the condition of the gofpel 
churches is therefore reprefented in their fin and pu* 
nifhment ; and whereas the fubjeftin queftion is the com- 
mon and conftant concernment of all profeffors heedfully 
to conlider ; — I fhall open the words in their fuller lati- 
tude of fignification, as being peculiarly inftrudive to 




§ 3. The fubjed of the propofition in the rimilitude 
(vjyri) * the earth,' reprefents the hearts and minds to whom 
the gofpel is preached. So it is explained in our Lord's 
parable, wherein he expreiles the word of the gofpel as 
preached, by feed ; and compares the liearers of it to fc- 
veral forts of ground, whereinto that feed is caft.-— And 
the allulion is wonderfully appofite and inflru£live ; for, 
Jeed is the principle of all animate! nature. From the 
vital feed fpring ail growth and fruitfulnefs. So is the 
gofpel word to ail fpiritual life, [I. Pet. i. 23.] And hence 
believers are called vines, plants of God's planting, and 
the like. — Again, as the earth is the only proper fubje£t 
for feed to be put into, and alone is capable of the cul- 
ture ; fo alfo of ttfcfy it brings forth nothing good or 
ufeful. Upon its tirft creation it was impregnated, by 
the bleffing of God, with all feeds of ufeful herbs and 
fruits ; but after the entrance of fin, its womb was curfed 
With barren nefs, and ever iince it brings forth nothing of 
jtfelf but ti^orns, and briars, and noxious weeds. And 
as among the weeds of unmanured earth, foine are paint- 
ed with alluring colours, but they are only weeds flill ; 
{o among the fruits of unfanftified minds, fome may- 
carry a more fpecious appearance than others ; but they 
are all, fpiritually coniidered, no other Hill than fins and 
vices. Of this earth it is faid, that it * drniks in the rain 

* that comes often upon it.' Hereby alone the earth, 
otherwife dry and barren, is impregnated and rendered 
fruitful. A communication of moifture being abfolutely 
neceilary for applying the nourifhing virtue of the earth 
to the radical principles of all fruits whatever, therefore, 
before any rain fell for that purpofe, God caufed a vapour 
to fupply the ufe of it, [Qcvi. ii. 6. J — The rain/^Z/i on 
the ground and that often, {iteratis vicibus.) The Land 
of Canaan is com nendcd, that it was not like the Land 
of Egypt, where the * feed was fowed and watered with 

* the foot ; but was a land of hills and valleys, and did 

* drink water of the rain of heaven ' [Deut. xi. 10, 11.] 
Whilft they had thefe rains in their proper fcafon, the 
land was /r«///«/i but man—! The application h but 

U 2, too 


too eafy. — Again, the earth is faid to drink In the rain. If 
It falls on rocks or ftones, it runs off ; but if on the eartl^ 
it foaks in more or lefs, according to the quality of the 
foil. Its nature is to fuck in the moiilening rains, until i,t 
be, as it were, inebriated. [Pfal. Ixv. lo,] ' Thou vifiteft 

* the earth and watereft it, thou watcrefl the ridges thereof 

* abundantly, thou fettleft (makeji drunk) the furrov^rs. 

* thereof." — Let us now afply the limilitude. 

§ 4. Some fnppofe that by the ' rain,' the gifts of the 
Holy Ghoft are defigned. For in the communication of 
them, the Holy Spirit is frequently faid to be -poured outy 
that is, as water or rain. But this rain is faid Xo fall often 
on the earth, yea upon that earth which continueth utterly 
barren, by one fliower after another ; which cannot be 
accommodated to the gifts of the Spirit. Far thofe once 
communicated, and Jiot improved, were no more given 
in repeated fhowers.. The adminiftration of the word is 
therefore intended in the comparifon ; and this agrees with 
inany other fcripture paffages. [Deut. xxxii. 2.] ' My 
' dodrine fhall drop as the rain, my fpeech fhall diflil as 

* the dew, as the fmall rain upon the tender herb, and as 
' the fhowers upon the grafs.' And when God denies 
his word to any people, he fays, ' Upon them there fhall 

* be no rain,' [Ezek. xxi. 2. Amos vii. 16.] the fhowers 
whereof are fometimes more foft and gentle, fometimes 
more earned and preiTjng. In brief, not to enlarge on 
the allegory, the word of the gofpel is to the fouls of 
men, as the rain to the barren earth. 

This rain is faid to fall often on the earth, which may 
be conlidercd — either, with refpe<^ to the fpecial concern- 
ment of thefe Hebrews — or, to the ordinary difpenfation 
of the gofpel. In xht former way, it expreffeth the y*r^- 
quent addrcfjes made to the Jews in the miniflry of the 
prophets, and that of Chrifl: himfelf. Take it in the 
latter way, for the difpenfation of the word in general, 
the manner of it, with frequency and urgency, is included. 
Where the Lord Chrifl: fends the gofpel to be preached, 
it is his will that it fliould be done * inllantly, in feafan 
'^ and out of feafon,' that it may come as abundant 



Jhowers of rain on the earth. This rain is faid to be 
drunk in ; which intends no more but the outward hearing 
of the word ; for it is afcribed to them who continue 
utterly barren, and who are therefore left to fire and de- 
Urudion. But as it is the natural property of the earth, 
to receive in the water poured on it ; fo men do, in a fenfe, 
receive the do£lrine of the gofpel, when their natural fa- 
culties apprehend and ujjcnt lo it, though it produce no 
truly fpiritual cfrefts in them. There are indeed in the 
earth rocks 2in<\ Jiones, on which the rain makes no im- 
preflion, but the hearers in common are faid to drink it in \ 
but the others lliall not efcape their appointed judgement. 
§ 5. It ' hringeth forth.'' [il-k\'^(too jSojocy/jv) This word 
properly fignifies the * bringing forth' of a pregnant 
woman ; and the apofile James, by an allulion inimitably 
Uriking, comp?a-es the work of 'luft in a tempted foul to 
nn adulterous conception. The feeds of iin are call into the 
mind and will by temptation, where, after they are che- 
lifhed, fn itfef, that ugly monfter, comes forth into the 
world. So the earth is faid to ' bring forth,' as a fruit- 
ful womb in its appointed feafon. And therefore wheix 
the apofile fpeaks of the other fort (ver. 8.) he changeth his 
cxpreffion for fuch a word (iKCp-paoroc) as may fuit a de- 
formed and monflrous production. But the native power 
of the earth, being cheriflied by the rain that falls on it, 
hrings forth, as from a teeming womb, the fruits of thofc 
feeds it is poiTeiled with. It bringth forth * herbs' here 
ufed fingularly, [p)o\mr\v, herham) herb ; the word lignifies 
fuch green herbs as are ufually produced by careful culture 
for the ufe of men, and n^i- of their cattle. The fame 
with the Hebrew word (^tt^n Gtw. i. 2.) which denotes 
all forts of ufeful green herbs ; whether for medicine, for 
food, or for ornament. — '^ Meet ;" (sv^'ftcv both opportuna 
and accommoda) Seafonable ^Lwd ufeful : — it makes no delays, 
but brings forth in its fvo'^cx fcafon, when its owners and 
tillers have juft ground to expert it: — [Pfal. i. 4.] ufeful 
and profitable ; and the fruits of the earth are eminently 
fo, when produced in due feafon. — ' Meet /or them by 
*' whom it is drfjed, ' or tilled. * Even by whom ; or, 



by whom it is alfo tilled. The particle {vml) is not in- 
ligniiicant, but declares an addition of culture to the rain. 
For belides the falling of the rain on the earth, there is 
likevvife need of culture^ for the production of herbs that 
Ihall be feafonable and profitable unto men. Otherwife, 
for one ufeful herb, it will bring forth many weeds. (A/ 
*4z)for whom, or by whom ; there is no need to diilinguifli 
in this place between owner and drefjer ; for God, as he is 
the great hufbandman, is both. He is the Lord of the 
vineyard, and he drelTeth the vines, that they may bring 
forth fruit, (John xv. i, he.) 

§ 6. The ground thus made fruitful * receiveth blefling 

* from God.' He not only ozvns and approves of it, not 
being afliamed that it Ihould be looked on as his ; as op- 
pofed to the rejen'ion of the barren ground afterwards men- 
tioned, but alfo ufcth watchfulnefs and diligent care about 
it, God watcheth over fuch a field or vineyard, to keep it 
night and day that none fliould hurt it, watering it every 
moment, and purging its vines, to make them yet more 
fruitful ; as oppofed to being ' nigh unto curfing,' that is, 
wholly ncgleded, or left to fait and barrennefs. And 
this blefiing further includes, a fiyial prcfcrvation from all 
evil, as oppofed to the burning up of the barren earth 
with the thorns and briars that grow upon it. 

§ 7. The application of the comparifon, though not 
cxpreiTed, is plain and eafy. Tlie ground thus drefied, 
bearing fruit, and bleffed of God, are true and found be- 
lievers. So our Saviour interprets a fimilar comparifon. 
[Matt, xiii.] They are ' fuch' as receive the word of God 
into good and honefl hearts, and bring forth the fruits of 
it in feveral degrees. There is included alfo the manner 
hoiij they bring forth the fruits intended ; and that is, that 
they bring forth in their lives what w^as before conceived 
and cherifhed in their hearts. They have the * root in 
' themfelves' of what they bring forth. They * bring 

* forth,' as the word fignifies, the fruit of an inward con- 
ception. The do6lrine of the gofpel, call ifito their 
hearts, is not only rain hut feed alfo. This Is ciK-rilhed 
by grace, as precious feed^ and, as from a natural root or 

% piincipls 


principle in the heart, brings forth precious fruit. The 
* herbs* or fruits intended, are elfevvhere called the fruits 
of the Spirit, the fruits of righteoufiiefs, of holinefs, 
and the like ; fignifying all we do in compliance with the 
will of God, in the courfe of our profeffion and obe- 
dience. All effefts of faith and love, of mortificatioa 
and fandliiication, that are holy in theinfelves, and ufe- 
ful to others, whereby we exprefs the truth and power of 
the do£lrine we profefs, are the fruits and herbs intended. 
When our hearts are made in their meafure holy^ and our 
lives ufeful by the gofpel, then are viQ fruitful, 

Thefe herbs are faid to be * meet for them by whom, or 
•yorwhom, the earth is dreded.' As it is neither ufeful 
nor fafe to prefs limilitudes beyond their principal fcope, 
by introducing every minute circumftance into the com- 
parifon ; fo we mull not negie£l what is inftrudive in 
them, efpecially what hath countenance in other places of 
fcripture, as in the prefcnt cafe. Wherefore, 

§ 8. To clear the application of this part of the fimi- 
litude we obferve : 

1. That God himfelf is the great hujhandman, [John 
XV. I.] and all believers are his hufbandry, [I.Cor. iii, 
9.] He is fo the huibandman as to be the fovercign Lord 
and owner of this field, and he puts workmen in to 
drefs it. 

2. It is God himfelf who taketh care for the watering 
and drefjing of this field. He dealeth with it as a man 
doth with a field that is his own. The difpenfation of the 
word, and the communication of thefpirit to the church, 
with all other means of light, grace, and growth, depend 
all on his care, and are all fupremely from him. 

3. This tilling or drcfftng of the earth, which is faper- 
added to the rain, or mere preaching of the gofpel, may 
be referred to the minifierial application of the word to the 
fouls and confciences of men, in the difpenfluion of all 
gofpel ordinances ;• — the adminiflration of the cenfures 
and difcipline of the church ; and — wifely ordered af- 
fliaions and trials. By thefe he purgcth his vine that it 
may bring forth yet more fruit ; that is, he tricth, ex-r- ' 



cifeth, and thereby improveth the faith and graces of be- 
lievers, [I. Pet. i. 7. Rom. V. 3 — 5. Jer. 1. 2 — 4.] 

4. God expe£lelh fruit from this field, being his own, 
and for which he focareth. ' I looked for grapes.' [Ifa. v^* 
2.] He fends his fervants to receive the fruits of it. [Matt, 
xxi. 34.] Though he flands in no need of our goodnefs, 
which cannot extend to him ; we cannot profit him, as a 
man may profit his neighbour, nor will he grow rich with 
our fubftance ; yet he is gracioully pleafed to regard the 
fruit of gofpel obedience, the fruit of faith and love, of 
righteoufnefs and hohnefs, as that by which he will be 
glorified ; * Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear 
' much fruit,' [John xv. 3. Matt. v. 16.] 

5. Thefe fruits brought forth, God approveth of them, 
and farther blejjkh the bearers of them. He hath refpe£t 
to them and their ofi^ering, [Gen. iv. 4.] He gracioufly 
increafeth their fruitfuliiefs ; every branch in the vine 
bearing fruit he purgeth, that it may bring forth more fruity 
[John XV. 2i] He multiplies the feed fown, and increafeth 
the fruit of their righteoufnefs, [II. Cor. ix. 10.] He fo 
hiejpth them, that their graces and fruit fhall more and 
more abound. They fhall be fiourifhing, even in old age^ 
and fhall bring forth more fruit to the end. 

§ 9. ' But that which beareth thorns and briars, is re- 
' jeded, and is nigh unto curfing, whofe end is to be 
* burned.' In the foregoing verfe the apollle fheweth, 
how it would fall out with that part of the Jcwifh church 
which embraced the gofpel, and brought forth the fruits 
of faith and obedience. God would accept of them, 
own, preferve, and blefs them. Now follows the end of 
unbelievers and apoilates, which agrees with the fymbo- 
lical adion of our Saviour in curfing the barren fig-tree^ 
whereby the fame thing was reprefented ; [Matt. xxi. 19.] 
which was, that the perfecuting, unbelieving church of 
the Jews, was about to be configned to perpetual barren- 
nefs. They would not before bear any fruit, and they 
Jhall not hereafter ; being hardened by the juft judgement 
of God to their everlafiing ruin. The apoflle fuppofcth 
thefe alfo to be * earth,' as well as the other fort ; ail men 



to whom the gofpel is preached are by nature in the fame 
condition ; none of them, therefore, have any reafon to 
boaft. On this ground alfo the rain often falls. Awful 
to think I thofe who continue unprofitable under the 
means of grace, have oftentimes the preaching of the word 
as plentifully, and as long continued to them, as the moft 
thriving and fruitful in obedience. And herein lies no 
finall evidence that thefe things will be called over again 
another day, to the glory of God*s grace and righteouf- 

§ 10. It bringeth forth {oixa^^iocg KCtt 7pi(2oXiig) ^thorns 

* tind briars ;' all forts of fins, all unfruitful works, [Rom. 
vi. 21. Ephef. V. 2.] And the principal reafon why they 
are here compared to thorns and briars, is with refpe£l to 
the curfe that came on the earth by (in. * Curfed be the 

• ground, thorns and thirties jfhall it bring forth to thee,' 
[Gen. iii. 17, 18.] Whereunto harrennefs, or unaptnefs 
for better fruits, is added, [Gen. iv. 12.] Hence the earth 
of itfelf would bring nothing but thorns and briars, at 

. leaft they would be abfolutely prevalent over all its pro- 
dudions. So the heart of man by nature is wholly over- 
run with finful imaginations, and his life with vicious 
a£lions. [Gen, vi. 5. Rom. ii. 10 — 13.] When a man 
hath a field overgrown with thorns and briars, ferving 
for no good ufe, and affording no profit, he refolves to 
dig them up, or to fet fire to them. Of no other ufe are 
the fins of men in the world. All the works of darknefs 
are unfruitful, [Ephef. v. 2.] The world is no way bene- 
fitted by them ; never was a man the better for his own or 
another man's fin. They are really noxious, choaking and 
hindering good fruits, that otherwife would thrive in the 
field. All the confufion, diforders, and devaflations that 
are in the world, are from them alone. In general, there- 
fore, It hall forts of fins, works of darknefs, w^orks of 
the flefli, &c. that are intended by tXiek thorns and briars. 
But yet, I prefume, the apoftle hath regard to the fun 
which the obftinate Jews were then in an efpecial man- 
ner guilty of, and which would be the caufe of their fud- 
den deflruaion. Now tlofe were, as appeareth from the 
Vol. III. . X ^i^^i^ 


ivholc cpiftle, and recorded matter of fa£l, unbelief , impem-^ 
trncy, and apojiacy. The * thorns and briars,' which were 
thtfuel wherein was kindled the fire of God's indignation, 
were their iins againll the gofpel. Either, they would 
not give their aflfent to its truth— or, woild not amend 
their lives according to its doctrine — or, would not abide 
^ith conftancy to its profeffion. Thefe are the fpecial 
iins, which caft thofe Hebrews, and will cail all that are 
like them, into the dangerous condition here defcribed. 

Chrysostom puts a great emphafis upon the difference 
©f the words ufed by the apoHle to exprefs the manner of 
producing the good and bad fruit. The former {TiTcjiSo-a) 
denotes a natural conception and produ£tion in due order, 
time and feafon ; the latter (57c(p5DScrc*j) denotes a cafting 
of them out in abundance, not only without the ufe of 
means, but againft it. The heart of man needs not ta 
be impregnated with any adventitious feed, to make it 
thrufl forth all forts of fins, or to make it fruitful in un- 
belief and impenitency ; the womb of fin will be, of its 
own accord, continually teeming with thefe things. 

§ 1 1. This being tke condition of the unfruitful 
ground, the apoftle affirms three things concerning it : 

Firfiy It is * difapprovcd \ trial had been made by the 
application of fuitable means,^ but whereas nothing fuc- 
ceeded, it is to be reje^ed, dtfapproved, laid afide as to any 
farther endeavours to make it fruitful. 

Secondly, It is faid to be * nigh unto curjing.^ The huf- 
bandman doth not prefently deftroy a piece of ground, 
but lets it lie negle£led, farther to difcover its own bar* 
Tennefs ; and thereby declares his refolution to lay it 
waile. But before that is done, he gathers out of it alt 
the good plants and herbs that yet remain in it, and 
tranfplants them into a better foil. Then follows his 
cafting down its fences, and laying it w^afte, that all the 
beafts of the field may lodge therein and prey upon it. 
To complete the defolating fcen*', all means of doing it 
good are withheld, watering, manuring, &c. and hereby 
it becomes like to the barren wildernefs, which no man- 
careth for ; it is niih unto that condition wherein it fhall 


Veh. 7,, 8. EPISTI.:E TO THE HEBREWS. x^t 

^ot be known that it ever belonged to his pofleffion. 
> Nigh unto curfing,' As hiej/ing implies an ^Mthn of 
goody fo curfing implies the removing of all kindnefs, and 
•a devoting to dellruilion, 

• Lafily, It is added, * Whofe end is to be burned ;' fire 
^akes a total and dreadful deflrudion of all combuftiblc 
.things to which it is applied, God will not only fliew 
his dilTatisfaftion in fuch barren ground, by his negledt 
-of it, but his vengeance in its deftruclion. And it feems 
to be thus exprelTed, to intimate the temporal deftrudion 
of the obflinate Jevys, and the et-ernal deftruftion of all 

§ 12. The application of this part is obvious; God, 
the great hufbandmaii and owner of the vineyard, would 
deal with the impenitent and unbelieving Hebrews, with 
anfwerable feverjty : 

Firjiy he tried them, and that for a long feafon, by the 
preaching of the gofpel. The rain fell oft upon them, 
for the fpace of about thirty-fix years, God tried, by- 
outward means, to make them fruitful, to bring them to 
faith, repentance, and obedience ; but after this long trial, 
jt appeared that they multiplied, as it were, under his hand, 
the thorns and briars of their unbelief, and all forts of 
provoking fins. Wherefore, God rejefts them, declares 
that his foul had no pleafure in them, and that he would 
be at no farther cofl about thern. Thus he dealt with the 
Hebrews Ihortly after this admonition, and thus he will 
deal with unprofitable hearers and apoflates. There is a 
time after which he cafls them out of his care, and will 
provide no more for them ; and if they any more enjoy 
the word, it is by accident, for the fake of fomewhoare 
approved, but they fhall receive no advantage by it, feeing 
they are no longer God's hufbandry. 

Secondly^ on this rejection of them, they were * ni^h 

* unto curfing ;' that is, were fo difpofed of, as that the 
deftroying curfe of God might come upon them. He 
had now anathematized them, or devoted them to deftruc- 
tion ; and therefore had given them up to all the ways 
gnd incans \Yher.eby it might infallibljr overtake them. 

Jv 2 ' £or, 


For, as he gathered all the good from amongft them, and 
planted them in the Chriftian church ; fo he (li-ll deals 
with all apoflate churches before their utter deftrudiors, 
[Rev. xviii. 4.] He then took away their fences, calling 
them out of his protection, ii^fomuch that when they 
were deftroyed, the General of the Raman army acknow- 
ledged that God had fo infatuated them, that their impreg- 
nable holds and forts were of no ufe to- them. — To this 
we may add, fhat he granted them no more ufe of means 
for their converfion. Thericeforwards they fell into all 
manner of fins, confulions, and tumults, which occa- 
fioned their ruin. After the like manner will God deai 
with any other people whom he rejects, for their reje£tioii 
of the gofpel. And the world hath no fmall reafon to 
tremble at the apprehenfion of fuch a condition. 

Thirdlyy in the end, this whole barren earth was burned 
up. Primarily, this refpe£ls the deftruftion of Jerufalem, 
which enfued not long after, when the temple, and city, 
and people, and country, were all devoured by fire and 
fword, [Matt. xxiv. i.] But yet this, like the dellru£lioii 
of Sodom, was but an emblem of the future judgement. 
Hypocrites, unbelievers, and apofiates are to have anaiher 
end than what they fall into in this world ; an end, 
wherein their eternal condition Ihall be immutably flated, 
in the fire prepared for the devil and his angtis j a fire 
that fhall never be quenched. This final deflruCtion of 
all unprofitable hearers, unbelievers, and apofiates, is that 
which is principally intended in the words. 

§ 13. (II.) Obf. I. The minds of men, by nature, are 
"univerfally and equally barren, with refped to works of 
Tighteoufnefs and holinefs, meet for, and acceptable to 
God. They are all, as the earth, under the curfe. Men 
differ as to intelle£lual abilities, and natural inclinations ; 
but as to a principle of living unto God, our nature is 
tqually corrupt in all. All fpiritual differences between 
mefi are from the power and grace of God. 

§ 14. Cbf. 2. The word of God, in the preaching of 

it, being compared to rain, we may obferve that the dif- 

penfation of it to men is an effedt of the fovereign power 

a and 


and pleafure of God. There is nothing in nature that 
God affuraeth as his prerogative more than this of giving 
rain. The firft mention of it in the world is in thefc 
words , * The Lord God hath not caufed it t6 rain upon 

* the earth/ [Gen. ii. 8.] It is a great pledge of his pro- 
vidence and goodnefs : * He left not himfeif without wit- 

* nefs, in that he did good, and gave rain from heaven,^ 
[A£ls xiv. 17. and Matt. v. 26 ] He calls his people to 
fay in their hearts, ' Let us fear the Lord who giveth rain^ 
[Jer. V. 24.] And he exercifeth his fpvereignty in giving 
it ; * I caufed it to rain upon one city, and not to rain 

* upon another ; one piece was rained upon, and the piece 
^ whereupon it rained not, withered ; fo two or three cities 
^ wandered unto one city to drink water,' [Amos iv. 7, 8.] 
Thus it is in the difpenfation of the gofpel to nations* 
cities, places, and pcrfons ; in which we an«-^ conftrained 
to acknowledge a diftinguifhing fovereignty. His great 
defign is, the converiion, edification, and eternal falva- 
tion of his chofen. In whatever place or nation, time or 
age, he hath any of his ele£>, he will provide that the 
gofpel of peace be preached to them ; or elfe, by one pro- 
vidence or another, will fnatch them like brands out of 
the fire, and convey them under the fhowcrs of his word. 
The gofpel, therefore, doth not pafs up and down the 
world by chance^ but, like the falling of the rain, is regu- 
lated by the fovereign wifdom and pleafure of God. And 
the divine fovereignty is equally evident in his calling and 
fending perfons todifpenfe his heavenly blclBngs. 

§ 15. Obf. 3. God ordereth things in his fovereign un- 
fearchable providence, fo as that the gofpel fliall be fent 
to, and in its adminiftration fliall find admittance, in what 
places, and at what times, it pleafeth him ; even as he 
orders the rain to fall on one place and not on another. It 
were an eafy matter to evince, by evident inftances, that 
the principal national revolutions v/hich have been in the 
f arth, have been fubfervient to the purpofc of God in this 

§ 1 6. Obf. 4. It is the duty of all to whom God com- 
mits the difpenfation of his word, to be diligent, watchful, 



inftaat in their work, that their dodrine may, as it werr, 
continually drop and diftil upon their hearers. In a hot 
•feafon, a fhower or two do but increafe the drought, af- 
fording matter for new exhalations, which iiy off, accom- 
panied with fome of the remaining moifture' of the earth. 
Of no other ufe is that dead and lazy kind of preaching 
wherewith fome fatisfy themfelves, and would force others 
to be contented. The apoftles, when this work was com- 
mitted to them, would not be diverted from a conftant at- 
tendance to it, even by any other Chriilian duty, much 
lefs any common occalion of life^[A6ts vi. 4.] See what 
a charge pur apoftie gives Timothy to this purpofe, 
II. Tjm. iv. I — 3. — And a great example hereof v/e have 
eoncerning his own miniftry in Alia, [Ads xx,] — I con- 
fefs, I cannot but admire to think what fome men con- 
ceive concerning either him or themfelves. Can they fay, 
that from the iirft of their coming into their diocefes or 
dignities, parifhes or places, they have thus behaved them- 
felves ? Have they fo taught, preached^ and warned, witi; 
tears^ night and day, all forts of perfons to whom they 
fuppofe themfelves related ? However, the dilcharge of this 
work is not to be meafured by tXit frequency of preachmg^ but 
in a purpofe of heart to lay out themfelves in the miniile- 
rial work on all occafions^ refolving to fpend and be fpent 

§ 17. Ohf 5. Attendance to the word preached, hear- 
ing it with fome diligence, and giving it a kind of recep- 
tion, make no great difference among men ; being com- 
mon to them who never become fruitful. 4 intend not 
thofe who only hear the word, and no more ; fuch per- 
fons are like flones, on which the rahty however often it 
fall on them, makes no impreffion : but thofe are intended 
who, in fome meafure, receive it and drink it in. They 
give it an entrance into their underfiandings, and become 
doarinally acquainted with the truth of the gofpel. And 
they give it fome entrance, perhaps, into their affeBions^ 
whence they are faid to receive the word iv'ith joy. They 
may do many things gladly ; and yet, folemn to think, 
they may be iliil barren.. 



§ 18. Obf. 6, God Is pleafed to exercife much patienc« 
towards tliofe to whom he grants the mercy and privilege 
of his word. He does not prefently proceed againfl them 
for their barrennefs, but ftays until the rain hath often 
fallen upon the ground. Bat there is an appointed period, 
beyond which he will wait no more, 

§ 19. Obf. 7. Where God grants means there he ex- 
perts fruit. Few men conhder what is the {late of things 
whilft the gofpel is preached to them : fome utterly difre- 
gard it, any farther than as it is fuited to their carnal in- 
teref^s and advantages. But few there are who ferioully 
conlider what is the errand it conies upon, and what the 
work is which God hath in hand thereby. In brief, he 
'i% by it tvateringi manuring^ cultivating, the fouls of men, 
that they may bring forth fruit to his praife and glory. His 
bufinefs by it is to make them holy, humble, felf-denying, 
ufeful, upright, pure in heart and life, that they may- 
abound in good works, and be like himfelf. To effe<5l 
thefe important ends are the holy means appointed perfectly 
fuitable; and therefore God is juflly faid to expeft thefe 
fruits v/here he grants thofe means. 

§ 20. Ohf. 8. Duties of gofpel obedience are fruks 
«neet for God ; things that have a proper and efpeeial ten- 
dency to his glory. As the precious fruits of the earth 
which the hufbandman waiteth for, are meet for his ufe, 
fo do thefe duties of gofpel obedience anfwer all the ap- 
pointed and noble ends of God's glory in the world. 
' Hereby/ faith our Saviour, * is my Father glorified, if 

* yc bring forth much fruit.' — His will of command is ful- 
filled thereby ; and there is in them an expreffion of the 
nature, power, and efficacy of the grace of God, whereby 
alfo he is glorified, for ' he doth all things to the praife 

* of the glory of his grace,' [Ephef. i. 6.] They alfo ex- 
prefs and manifefl the efficacy of the mediation of the Lord 
Chrift, in the obedience of his life, and the facrifice of his 
death. Befides, God in them extends his care, goodnefs, 
and love to others. Their charit}^ their compaffion, 
their love, their bounty, fhall help and relieve others in 
wants, ftreights, forrows, imprifonraent, exile, or the 



like. And fo it is in all other cafes ; their meeknefs, their 
patience, their forbearance, which are of thefe fruits, fhall 
be ufeful to others under their weaknelles and temptations. 
Their ^eal, their labour of love, in teaching and inftrudt- 
irtg, or preaching the word, fliall be the means of others 
convi£lion and converlion. 

And, indeed, this ufually is the firft thing which afFe£ls 
the minds of the faints, in any rehef that God is pleafed 
to hand out to them by the means others. They admire 
and blefs God in his grace towards them by whofe kindncfs 
and compaflion they are relieved : fo is God glorified by 
thefe fruits. 

§ 21. Obf. 9. Wherever there are any fincere fruits of 
faith and obedience found in the hearts and lives of pro- 
fefTors, God gracioufly accepts and blefleth them. No- 
thing is {o fmally \i It ht fincere^ but he will accept; and 
nothing fo great^ but he hath an overflowing reward iov it. 
Nothing fhall be lofl that is done for God ; a cup of cold 
wafer, the leafl refrefhraent given to any for his fake, fhall 
be had in remembrance. All we have and are, is ante- 
cedently due to him, fo as that there can be no merit in 
any thing we do. But we mull take heed, lefl, whilft we 
deny the pride of merit, we lofe not the comfort of faith, as 
to the acceptance of our duties. It is a fruit of the medi- 
ation of Jefus Chrifl that we may ' ferve God without 
* fear, in righteoufnefs and holinefs all our days.' But if 
we are always uncomfortably anxious whether what we do 
be accepted with God or no ; how do we ferve him with- 
out y>^r ? This is the worfc kind of fear we are obnoxious 
to ; moft difhonourable to God, and difcouraging to our 
own fouls, [I. John iv. 18.] For how can we difhonour 
God more than by judging, that when we do our utmoil 
lincerely in his fervice, yet he is not well pleafed with us, 
nor doth accept of our obedience ? Is not this to fuppofe 
him fevere, angry, always difpleafed, ready to take advan- 
tage ; one whom nothing will fatisfy ? Such thoughts are 
the marks of the wicked fcrvant in the parable, [Luke xix, 
20, 21, 22.] Where then is that infinite goodnefs, grace, 
condefcenlion, love, and compafTion, which are fo eiTen- 



tjal to his nature, and which he hath declared himfelf fo 
to abound in ? And if it be fo, what ufe is there of the 
mediation and intercclfion of Jefus Chrifl ? What benefit 
in the promifes of the covenant ? And what is there re- 
maining that can encourage us to duties of obedience? 
Merely to perform them becaufe we cannot do otuerwife, a 
fervile compliance with our conviction, is neither accep- 
table to God, nor any ways comfortable to our own fouls. 
Who would willingly lead fuch a Jife in this world, to be 
always labouring and endeavouring, without the leall fatis- 
faftion that what he does will either pleafe them by whom 
he is fet on work, or any way turn to his own account? 
Yet fuch a life do men lead who are not perfuaded that 
God gracioujly accepts of what they lincerely perform. A 
fufpicion to the contrary arifeth in oppofition to the fun- 
damental principle of true religion ; * he that cometh to 

* God muft believe that he is, and that he is the rewarder 
of all them that diligently feek. him,' [Heb. xi.] 

§ 22, Olf. iQ. Whilil the gofpe^ is preached unto 
men, they are under their great tri^l for eternity. The 
application that is made to them is for an experiment how 
fhey will prove. If they acquit themfelves in faith and 
obedience, they receive * the hlcjjiiig of eternal life from 
God ; if they prove barren and unprofitable, they are re- 
jedled and curfed by him. No other experiment fhall hz 
made upon them, [Heb. x.] Their feafon of enjoying the 
gofpel is their day^ when that is paft, the night comes where- 
in they cannot work. When thefe ' bellows are burnt, 

* and the lead is confumed, the founder founding in vain, 

* men are reje«Sled as reprobate filver, never to be tried any 

* more.' We may do well to confider thefe things^ for 
our concernment in them is very great. We are aJX 
made for an eternal {late, to exift in blellednefs or woe* 
Men may live like beafts, and wifh that they may die like 
them alfo ; but we are all made for another deiign, and 
muft all of us * Hand m our eternal lot at the end of the 

* days,' [Dan. xii. 13.] And this depends on what we 
do in this life. There is neither wifdom nor knowledge, 

. ^utv or obedience, in the grave whither wc arc going. As 


the tree falls fo it mufl lie ; nothing interpofeth to alter 
our flate and condition between death and judgement. 
The do£lrine of purgatory was an invention of Satan to 
delude the fouls of men with hopes of relief, when all 
means and ways of it were irrecoverably paft. The trial 
of our future ftate is made by the preaching of the gofpel 
to us ; and our compliance with it, or rejedion of it. It 
was a fruit of in-finite grace, condefceniion, and mercy, to 
grant a new trial to linners under the curfe, to which we 
all cafl ourfelves. There God might have left us : fo he 
dealt with the finning angels, whom he fpared not. And 
had he dealt fo with all mankind, who could fay to him, 
* what dofl thou r' And it is what we muft all anfwer 
for, that when we were fallen under the fentence of the 
holy and righteous law, God would propofe any terms of 
peace and reconciliation to us, and give us -Si fecond ir'iaL—^ 
Befides, ih^fpecial way of this trial doth mod eminently fet 
out this grace and mercy j a way fo full of infinite wif- 
dom, goodnefs, love, mercy and grace ! When the gof- 
pel is preached to finners, God telieth them, that although 
they have defiro)ed themfelves, and are ready every mo- 
ment to fink into eternal mifery, yet he will, out of infi- 
nite grace and compafiion, try them once more, by the holy 
terms of the gofpel. Would men be fo carelefs, negligent, 
formal, and fiotliful, as for the moft part they are, under 
the hearing of the word, if they duly remembered that it, is 
tiieir trial for eternity : and they know not how fcon it 
inay be over. If we lofe this feafon we are gone ; — for 
ever loft 1 It is, therefore, our wifdom to know how far 
our fruitfulnefs in faith, repentance, and obedience, an- 
fwers the rain and drefilng we have had by the difpenfation. 
of "the word. The axe is laid at the root of the tree, if 
we bring not forth good fruit we fhall, ere long, be hewn 
down and caft into the fire. It is afTuredly high time that 
we call ourfelves to a ftri£l account concerning it. 

§ 23. Obf. I I. Barrennefs under the gofpel is always 
accompanied with an increafe oi ^m. The ground which 
"brings not forth herbs meet for them by whom it is drefiTed, 
thrufts forth thorns and briars. Let it be obferved, that 




fpiritual barrennefs never goes alone, abounding In fin 
will foon follow it. Yea, there are no finners like them, 
nor lin like theirs, by whom the means are rejc6led, or 
not improved. Thefe Hebrews to whom the gofpel has 
been preached, proved a generation no lefs wicked than 
that before the flood, infomuch that their own hiiloriari 
affirms, that he verily believed, " If the Romans had not 
•* come and deflroyed them, God would have poured fire 
" and brimflone upon them from heaven as he did upon 
" Sodom." When men have rejeded the laft means of 
their fpiritual healing, and the reftraints of fin, what can 
be expected from them but an outrage in finning ? What 
remains to fet any bounds to the lufts of men ? Hence you 
may find more honefly and uprightnefs, a more confcien- 
tious abftinence from fin, wrongs, and injuries, more 
cfFeds of moral virtue among Heathens and Mahometans, 
than among perfons who, being unprofitable under the 
gofpel, do thereby tacitly reje6t it. No fields in the world 
are fuller of thorns and briars, than thofe of people, na- 
tions, or churches, who profefs themfelves to be Chrif- 
tians and are not. Suppofe two fields equally barren, let 
one of them be tilled and drefied, and the other be lefi: to 
its own flate and condition. When the field that hath 
been tilled fhall be forfaken for it barrennefs, trafh of all 
forts, incomparably above that which was never tilled, 
will rife up in it. This is what at this day is fuch a fcan- 
dal to Chriilianity, which hath broken up the flood-gateS 
of atheifm, and let in a deluge of profanenefs on the world. 
No finners like to barren Chriflians. Heathens would 
blufh, and infidels fland aftonilhed, at the things they 
praaife in the light of the fun. There was fieeping in 
the bed of uncleannefs, drunkennefs, and revelling among 
the Heathens. But our apoftle, who knew well enough 
their courfe, affirms of them, that they who fieep, flecp 
in the night, and they who are drunken, are drunken in 
the night, [I. Thef. v. 7.] They did their Ihameful 
things in darknefs and fccrefy, [Ephef. v. 11,12.] But, 
alas ! among Chriflians, who have direaiy and wilfully 
defpifed the healing power and virtue of the gofpel i thcfc 

Y % *« 


are works of the day^ proclaimed as in Sodom, and the per- 
petration of tliem is the bufinefs of men's lives. If you 
would fee the greateft reprefentation of hell upon the 
earth, go^into an apoftate church, or to perfons that have 
had the word preached to them, or have heard of it fuf- 
ficientfy for thejr conviction, but are not healed. The 
face of things in Chriftianity at this day is, on this ac- 
count, dreadful, and befpeaks defolation to lie at the 
door ; the ground whereunto the waters of the fan£luary 
do corne, and it is not healed,: is Idft to fait and barren- 
nefs for ever. 

§ 24. And be it known, that k is a righteous thing 
with God judicially to give up fuch perfons to all man- 
ner of filthy fins and wickednefs. 

By leaving them wholly to themfelves, taking off all 
efFe£\:uar reflraint from them ; fo fpake our blefTed Sa- 
viour of the Pharifees, * Let them alone/ faith he, * they 
* are blind leaders of the blind,' [Matt. xv. 14.] Reprove 
them not, help them not, let them alone to take their owrt 
courfe. So faith God of Ifrael, when given up to fin and 
ruin : ' Ephraim is joined to idols, let him alone,* 
[Hof. iv. 14. Ezek. xxix. 13.] And it is the fame judge- 
ment which he denounceth againfl unprofitable hearers of 
the gofpel, [Rev. xxik 2.] * He who is unjuftlet him be 
*■ unjufl flill, and he who is filthy let him be filthy flill;' 
— go on now in your fins and filthinefs without reflraint. 
Now when men are thus left to themfelves, it were hardly 
to be conceived what an outrage and excefs of fin the cor- 
rupted (nay, I may add, the curfed) nature of manvv ill 
run into, were not the v^rorldly daily filled with the frtiits 
and tokens of it. And God doth righteoufly thus with- 
draw himfelf w^r^ abfolutely from gofpel defpifers, than he 
doth from pagan infidels, whom by various a£lings of his 
providence he keeps within bounds of finning fubfervient 
to his holy ends. — God pours on fuch perfons a fpirit of 
of flumber, or gives them up to a profound fecurity, fo that 
they take notice af nothing in the works or word of God 
that fliould flir them up to amendment, or reflrain them 
ijom fin. Nothing Ihall roufe them up, though it thun- 



dcr over their heads, and the tempefts of judgement fall fo 
near them, as if they were perfoiially concerned, yet they 
cry, Peace, peace. When the word is preached to them, 
or they hear by any means the curfe of the law, yet they 
blefs themfelves as thofe who are altogsther unconcerned 
h\ it. Hence God gives them up to all the ways whereby 
they may be farther fortified in their fecurity; love of fin, 
contempt of minillers, carnal and atheiflical confidence, 
the fociety of other prefumptuous linners, ilrengthening 
their hands in their abominations; a prefent fuppfy oi' 
worldly things with which they feed their lufls, and the 
like, fhall all in righteous judgement contribute to their 
fecurity. — ^God abfoiutely and irrecoverably gives them u^ 
to extreme obji'macy, [Ifa. vi. 8 — lO.j When provoking 
iinners fail under this * curfe' they are totally blinded 
and hardened in lin, to their eternal ruin. Now whea 
God thus deals with men, who will not be healed and re- 
formed by the gofpel, can any thing clfe enfae but that 
they will give up themfelves to all wicked and filthy ways 
with greedinefs ? And tliey are even blind themfelves, who 
fee not this to be the condition of many in the world at 
this day. 

§ 25. The righteoufnefs of fuch a re'jec^ian may far- 
ther appear when we obferve, that there are {ins peculiar to 
thefe barren forts of perfons, and fo alfo aggravations of 
fins of which others are not guilty. Now although it be 
not for us to know times and feafons, or to fet abounds t«^ 
the patience of Chrift, yet have viq juji rcafon to dread the 
fpeedy breaking forth of his fcverity in judgement, fpiritua.1 
or temporal, upon moft nations and churches that arc 
called by his name. It is, therefore, the incumbent duty 
of thofe who make a profefiion of the gofpel, in a pecu- 
liar manner, to inquire diligently, whetiier there be grow- 
ing, in their ozjim hearts and ways, any fuch things as ar^ 
•kifually confequent to barrennefs under the word. If it 
prove fo upon fearch, they may juftly fear tlrat' God is 
going to revenge upon them for the ncgled of the gofpci, 
and unprofitablencfs under it. I Ihall, therefore, name 



fome of thofe77«5 and zjuays with refpe£l to which perfons 
ought to be exceeding jealous over themfelves : as, 

1. An allowed indulgence to {om^ fecret^ carnally plea« 
fant, or feemingly proiitable fiu or luji. If this, reader^ 

'be your cafe, it may be there is more in it than you are 
aware of; nor will your deliverance from it be fo eafy as 
you may imagine. God feldom gives up men to fuch a 
way, but as an effect of his difpleafure againit their bar* 
rcnnefs. He declares therein that he doth not approve of 
their profeflion. Take heed left it prove an entrance into 
a more dreadful judgement. Whatever, therefore, it be, 
let it not {tern fm all u\ your eyes. There is more evil in 
the allowed fin of a profefTor, willingly continued in, than 
in the loud and great provocation of open finners. For, 
befides other aggravations, it includes a mocking of 

2. A conftant neglect o{ fecret duties, I mean fuch an 
omilTion of duties as is general \ where men feldom or 
never perform them but when they are prefifed by outward 
occalions. The principal charader of an hypocrite is, 
that he will not pray al-ivays ; nor can there be any gieater 
evidence of a perfonal barrennefs than this neglect. A 
man may have a jninijierial fruitfulnefs, and yet lie under 
2i perfonal barrennefs ; fo he may have 2. family ufefulnefs, 
and yet be perfonally thriftlefs. And negligence in private 
duties is the greateft evidence of that dangerous flate. 
Men may efpecially know (if they examine impartially) 
when thofe lins are confequences of their barrennefs, and 
to be reckoned among the * thorns and briars' intended in 
the text. If thefe things proceed from God's derelidion 
of them, hecaufe of their barrennefs, they will find, 
whatever they may think or refolve, that their recovery is 
not fo eafy. God will make them fcjifible how foolilli 
and evil a thing it is to forfake him under the means of 
fruitful obedience. They may think, like Sampfon, to 
go forth and do as at other times ; but they fhali quickly 
'find their locks cut, and their fpiritual ftrength fo decayed, 
h at they have no power to execute what they thought 
would prove fo eafy to them at any time. They will find 


Vehl. 7, 8. EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS. 163 

their wills and afFe£lions fo entangled and engaged, that 
without a frelli abundant fupply of grace, fcarce lefs thaa 
that adaiiniltcred in their firll converlion, tliey cannot be 
delivered. By thefe, and the hke confiderations, may 
profeilors try their own concernment in this commina- 

§ 26. Ohf. 10. Ordinarily God proceeds to the rejec- 
tion and deftru£tion of barren profcirors l^y degrees ; al- 
though they are feldom fenfiblc of it until they fall irre- 
coverably into ruin. This ground is firfl: dlfapproved or 
rejected, then it is nigh unto curfing, then the curfe en- 
fues, after which it is burned. And God thus proceeds 
with them in compliance with his own patience, good- 
nefs, and long fuffering, whereby they ought to be lead to 
repentance. This is the natural tendency of the good- 
nefs and patience of God towards finners, though it be 
often abufed, [Rom. ii. 4, 5.] Let men and their fin be 
what they will, God will not deal otherwife with them, 
than a^ becomes his own goodnefs and patience. And this 
is that property of God, without a due conception of 
which we can never underftand aright his righteoufnefs 
in the government of the world. Ignorance of the na- 
ture of it, and how ejjcntial it is to the divine Being, is 
the occaflon of fecurity in finning, and the boldefl atheifm. 
[Ecclef. viii. i i — 13. II. Pet. iii. 3, 4.] Moreover, God 
will proceed thus gradually, to evince the righteoufnefs of 
his judgements, even in the confciences of thofe very per-r 
fons whofe end is to be burned ; as alfo in the eftimatior^ 
of all others who fhall wifely confider his ways. God en-r 
dureth all things from the world, that he may be jullifie4 
in his fayings, and may overcome when he is judged ; 
[Rom. iii. 4.] That is, not only all he doth fhall be 
righteous and holy, which is neceflary from his own ef- 
fential righteoufnefs,. whence he will not, whence he can- 
not do evil ; but his vyorks fhall be To wrought and accom-^ 
plifhed, as that the righteoufnefs of them Ihall be emi- 
nently pleadable by his peoplf againft all reflections of un- 
godly men ; efpeciaily fliall his condu£t towards barren, 
^inprofitable churches, which he hath formerly owned and 


i64 AN EXPOSITION ^^'-T THE Chap. VI. 

blelTed, be viiibly righteous. In his dealing with them, 
he will as it were refer the righteoufnefs of his proceed- 
ings to all, even to themfelves. When their confciences 
fhall be awakened, they will come to a dreadful remem- 
brance of all the warnings God gave them, and how {low- 
ly he proceeded in his judgements ; when their mouths 
fhall be flopped and their faces filled with confufion. — - 
i^gain, God's dealings wnth barren apoilates, being prin- 
cipally in fpiritual judgements, the ilTue whereof is the 
total removal of the gofpel from them, he will not do it 
at once, becaufe others, to whom he will have the means 
of grace continued, may be yet mixed among them, 
though unknown to us. [See Romans xi. 2 — 5. J 

§ 27. Farther to clear up this whole matter, it may 
be inquired, v.'liat are thoi'e degrees in fpiritual judgements 
whereby Gqd doth ordinarily proceed againil: barren pro- 
felTors, vv^hich are here intimated in general ? And, 

1. In fuch cafes God doth ufually rejirain the influences 
cf mens' light upon their own conferences and afFe£lions. 
Their light and knowledge may noiionally remain with them, 
but they are not at all affefted with what they know, or 
guided by it in their practice. There is a time when light; 
^wd, knowledge, npt improved, lofe all their efficacy, 
God fuffers fuch an interpoiition to be made between it 
.and their confcienccs, by the a£lings of pride and various 
luils, that it is of no valuable ufe to them. Whereas 
fbrmerly, what they knew of the gofpel excited an en^ 
deavour after fome conformity to it ; now it only floats \x\ 
their fancies, and glances on their memories without 
cffefl. Of this we have but too many fpecimens every 

2. God deprives them of all the gifts which they for- 
merly received. ' Gifts* arc — an ability for the due ex-^ 
crcife of gofpel knowledge in duties of a public concern. 
Of thefe, perfons may be made partakers, who yet prove 
"firfl barren, and then apoftates. But God will not fuffer 
gifts to be long retained wnder a cotafe of hackfiding. As 
pien negk6t their exercife, fo God makes that very neg- 

2, ligenc<;. 



iigence a means of executing this judgement upon them. 
The talent that was but laid up in a napkin is taken away. 

3. God having evidenced his rejeftion of them, he 
gives them up to the temptation of the world, and the fo- 
ciety of ungodly men, whereunto they are engaged by 
their pleafures or profit. Their lulls being- let bofe, efpe- 
daily their love of tiic world, from under the power of their 
light and conviftions, they call the mfe Ives into the fociety of 
prophane and wicked men. Among them they ' w^ax 
» worfe and worfe ' every day, and learn in an efpecial 
manner to hate, defpife, and blafpheme the good ways of 
God, which before they had known and profefTed. 

4. God calls them out of the hearts and prayers of his 
people. This of ail other things they leaft value ; yea, 
tiiey defpife it : but it is one of the greateft efFefts of 
God's feverity towards them. So he commanded his pro- 
phets not to pray for the people when his heart would not 
be towards them, [Jer. vii. 16. chap. xi. 14. chap. xiv. 
II.] And in like cafes, though not by^xprefs command, 

yet by his fecret providence, he takes off the hearts of his 
people from them whom he hath defigned to ruin for their 
fins. And we may obferve, that our apoftle himfelf, wiio 
a long time laboured with unfpeakable zeal and moft fer- 
vent fuppUcations to God for tlie incredulous Hebrews^. 
[Rom. ix. 2, 3. chap. x. 11.] At length fpeaks of them 
as thofe whom he no more regarded, but looked on as 
exprefs enemies of Chrift, [Thef. ii. 15, 16.] And this 
fets them forward in their way towards the fatal curfe. 

5. The curfe itfelf enfues ; God takes off their na- 
tural reflraints from hn ; the rebukes of natural confcience, 
fear, fhame and the like affli£live affedions, fhall have no 
more power on them^ he judicially hardens them, which 
contains the life and power of the curfe here intended ; 
for hereby are men fecured to their final dellrui^ion and 
burning. Oftentimes God fignifies this curfe by wholly 
cafting out fuch perfons from any intereft in the difpen- 
fation of the w^ord. But fuppofe they fhould be able to 
carry it out ftoutly in tins world, fo that themfcWes lh*t*l(i^ 

Vol. IIL Z neither 


neither much feel, nor others muchobferve, the curfe of 
God tipon them, yet the day is haftening wherein aa^al 
cverlalling burning will be their portion. 

Verses 9-^1 2, 

5ut beloved, we are persuaded l^ettek thing5 
of you, and things that accompany salva- 

§ I. The apoflle's dejign. § 2, 3. (I.) The text explained. 
§ 4. The work of faith, § 5 — 9. Labour of love, 
§ 10. The Jhewing of faith and love, § 11, by mini/lering 
to the faints. § 12 — 18. The apoflWs exhortation. 
§ L9 — 38. (II.) Obfervatiom^, 

§ I. JlrXPOSITORS generally agree in pointing out 
from thefe verfes, an inftance of the apollle^s great wif- 
dom and prudence in his dealing with thefe Hebrews. 
His defign in general is two-fold. 

Firft, to mollify tlie feverity of the preceding commina- 
tion and prediftion, that it might not have an effed an 
their minds beyond his intention. If men are difheartened 
in the way wherein they arc engaged, by thofe on whofe 
guidance they depend, and to whofe judgemeat they .arc 



to fubmit, it makes them to defpond, and to give over 
all thoughts of a cheerful progrefs. 

Secondly, Jae maketh ufe of this difcourfe for a tran^ 
fttion to the fecond part of his delign ; and this was to 
propofe to them who were true believers, fuch encourage- 
ments and grounds of confolation, as might confirm 
them in their faith and obedience, which are the fubjefts 
of the remaining part of this chapter. Wherefore, as to 
make way for the fevere threatemngs which he hath ufed, it 
was neceflary for him to defcribc the perfons to whom they 
4id in an efpecial manner belong ; fo it was no lefs re* 
quifite that he ihould defcribe thofe alfo to whom the 
cnfaing prQmifes and confolations pertain, as in thefe 

§ 2. (I.) * Beloved, we are perfuaded better things of 

* you, and things that accompany falvation.' (AyocTri^oi,) 

* Beloved;* it is an expreffion of moft entire afFe£lion. 
Perhaps thefe Hebrews were ready enough to entertain 

jW(7/£/^^5 concerning him, that he had not that afFedlioa 
for them which he had for others ; for he had now fpent 
a long time among the Gentiles. To root this evil fur* 
mife out of their minds, he frequently employs afFedio* 
nate compellations. And notwithftanding all the provo- 
cations and injuries he had received from them, he gavo- 
tliem, on all occafions, the higheft demonftration of his 
moft intenfe affection ; never oppofing or feverely re*. 
fic£iing on them, but when they oppofed the gofpel and 
its genuine liberty.—- ^Again, He hath refpe£l to his pre- 
ceding fevere expreflions, as appears from the clofe of this 
verfe--^* though we thus fpeak ;* as if he had faid, 
*' Notwithftanding this fevere admonition, which, all 
circumftances confidered, I have been forced to ufe ; yet 
my heart ftands no otherwife afFeifted towards you, but cs 
towards my countrymen, my brethren, and the faints of God.'* 
*-^(nc7r5/crp^flt) IVe are perfuaded \ ChRYsosto.M infifts 
much on the force of this word. The apoftle, as he ob- 
ferves, doth not fay we think, or we hope, but he was 

* fully perfuaded.* There is a certain perfuaiion of mind 
that is. founded on moral arguments, fuch as may bring a 


man to a full fatisfa£lion in his mind, but yet fo, that it 
is poffible he may be deceived. Of this nature is that 
perfuafion we have of tlie good condition of other men. 
So our apoftle fpeaks of Timothy and his faith, [II. Tim. 
i. 5.] ' The faith that dwelt in thy mother Unice, 

* (TTiTTSKTiJiOii h) and I am perfvaded in thee alfo.' His 
perfualion here concerning the Hebrews was of this kind ; 
he had fatisfa^lory reafons for it, which prevailed againfl 
all contrary obje(Sions. In like manner he fpeaks of the 
Romans, [chap. v. 14.] ' And I myfelf am perfuaded of 

* you, my brethren, that ye are full of goodnefs.' The 
grounds of this perfuaiion, with refpe£l to the Hebrews, 
he exprefleth in the next verfe, where we fhall coniider 

He was perfuaded concerning them {ia Kp:-ijov(z) better 
things ; * fuch things as accompany falvation ;' fuch as, 
whofoever is made partaker of them lliall never perifh 
eternally. It is ufual to exprefs excellent things in wordj 
of the comparative degree, although no coraparifon be in- 
cluded ; efpecially when they are made mention of with 
refpe£l to others who have no interell in them. How- 
ever, here is certainly an oppojition to what was before af- 
firmed concerning others, who were barren and deftitute 
of all faving grace, and fruits, and who fhould in the 
end be deftroyed. ^ I am perfuaded it will go better with 
' you, than with fuch apoftates.' He was perfuaded that 
thefe Hebrews were not barren^ but fuch as brought forth 
the faving fruits of the fpirit of grace. 

For if thefe things, it is added, [y^oi^i s^o^j^syO' (rujlviptoig) 
and fuch as accompany falvation ; literally, fuch as have faU 
vation 'y that is, fuch as have faving grace in them, and' 
eternal falvation infallibly annexed to them. Things that 
are not bellowed on any, fuch as are not wrought in any, 
but thofe that fhall be faved ; that is, in brief, true 
faith and iincere obedience. For in whofoever thefe are 
found, they fhall be faved by virtue of the faithfulnefs of 
God in the covenant of grace. 

§ 3. ' For God is not unrighteous to forget your works,' 
5cc. The * works' mentioned having been truly gracious 


V£s.9— •^2- EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS. 169 

works, proceeding from faith and love, they evidence 
theii* perfons to be in that Hate of grace wherein th^y 
fhouM be effcdually preferved to tlie t]]d, by virtue of 
God's faithfuhiefs in covenant. They had not the leall 
reafon tp doubt of their future rev/ard ; for who was it 
that called them to thefe duties, and on what account ? 
Is it not God, according to the tenor of the covenant of 
grace ? And hath he not therein promifed to accept their 
perfons and their duties by Jeitis Chrift ? If now he 
fliould not do fo, would he not be unrighteous ? muft he 
not deny himfeif, and not remember his promife ? Where- 
fore the righteoufnefs of God here intended is \\\s faiths 
fulnefs in the promifes of the covenant. And he is not 
faid to be righteous in rewardiiig, or not rewarding, but 
in not forgetting. * He is not unrighteous to forget.' 
Now to ''forget' any thing doth not reflect immediately 
on diftributive juflice, but upon fidelity in making 
good fome engagement. The apofcle in this verfe gives 
an account of the grounds of his perfuafion concerning 
thefe profeffors, exprefled in the verfe foregoing. The 
perfuafion itfelf was of a mixt nature, and had fome- 
thing in it of a divine faith, and fomewhat only of a 
moral certainty. As he drew his conclufion from, or 
built his perfuafion on, God's faithfuhiefs or righteouf- 
nefs, there was in it an infallible affiirance of faith that 
could not deceive him. For what we believe concerning 
God, as he hath revealed himfeif, is infallible. But a^ 
his perfuafion had refped to the faith, love, and obe- 
dience, which he had obferved in them, fo it was only a 
moral afTurance, and fuch as in its own nature might 

§ 4. That which, in the firjl place, he confirms his 
perfuafion with, is (to i^yov) their work. * God is not 
♦ unrighteous to forget your work.' It is not any lin- 
gular work, but a comfe in working, which he intends. 
And what that * work' is, is declared in that parallel 
place of the fame apoftle, [I. Thef i. 3.] (p-.^pj/.Wff 
v^M'j TH c-pyii Tr,g zcrKrjsccg, na.i lii KOins T/jg aytxTTYi;) * re- 
f membering your work of faith and labour of love.' The 



fame expreffions with thofe in our text, which is one of 
thofe numerous coincidences of expreffions in this and the 
other epiflles of the fame writer, all peculiar to himfelf. 
The ♦ work' here intended is the work of faith, the whole 
work of obedience to God, whereof faith is the prin- 
ciple ; and hence it is called the ' obedience of faith,' 
[Rom. i. 5,] ' And this is called {to s^yov) * their work \ 
becaufe it was their chief employment, their calling lay ii% 
it. They did not attend to it occafionally, or when 
they had nothing elfe to do, as is the manner of fome ; 
religion was their bufinefs, and gofpel obedience their 
daily work. This was their whole, even ' to fear God, 
* and to keep his commandments/ [Ecclef xiL 13.] 
B'eiicies, there is work and labour in it, or great pains to 
be taken about it. For hereunto our apoflle, in the next 
verfe, requires their diligence, [ver. 11.] 9s Peter doth all 
diligence, [II. Epift. i. Ii.] 

§ 5. The fecond thing whereon the apoftle grounds his. 
confidence concerning them is their ' labour of love,'' (koci 
T^ KOTT^ T'/jg ccyczTTYigK) For the words exprefs a diflinti 
grace and its exercife, and are not exegetical of the pre- 
ceding expreffions. 

This grace being excellent in itfelf, and its exercife irv 
labour being highly necelTary and yet greatly negle£ted, 
and both in conjun£tion being a principal evidence of an 
interefl in thofe better things which accompany falvation, 
I fhal! dwell a little on the fpecial coniideration of them. 
Love is the fecond great duty of the life of God, which 
is brought to light by the gofpel. It \s faith gives glory 
to God on high, and love brings peace on the earth, 
wherein the angels comprifed the fubftance of our deli^ 
verance by Jefus Chrift, [Luke ii. 14.} 

All things at firlt were made in a Jiaie of love. The 
re£litude, order, peace, and harmony, that fublifted in 
the whole creation, rpay be termed an imprefs from, and 
an expreffion of, the love of God; and, our love towards 
him was the bond of that perfe£lion, and the liability of 
that flate. The whole beauty of the creation below con- 
lifted in man's loving God above all j and all other 
2 things 

Ver. 9— 1^« EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS. i^t 

things in him, and for him, according as they participated 
of and exprelTed his glory and properties. This repre- 
fented that love which was in God towards all his crea- 
tures, which he teflilied by declaring them to be all * very 

* good.* 

When man by fin had broken the fir ft link of this chain. 
of love, when thereby we loft the love of God to us, and 
renounced our own love to him, all things fell into dif- 
•order and confufion in the whole creation ; all things were 
filled with mutual enmity and hatred. The fin of man had 
brought all things into a condition of vanity and hondag-e^ 
which they groan to be delivered from, [Rom. viii. 20, 
21, 22.] After the entrance of this diforder and con- 
fufion, there was nothing of true original love in the 
world, nor was it by any means attainable. For it ali 
arofe from the love of God, and was animated by our lovs 
to him. But now all things were filled with tokens and 
evidences of the anger, difpleafure, and curfe of God for 
fin ; and men were wholly alienated from the life of Qodi, 
No new fpring or life can be given to love, but by a new 
difcovery, that GodwaS' love, and had a love for us. For 
fo the apofllc tells us, ' herein is love, hot that we loved 
' God, but that God loved us, and fent his fon to be the 
^ propitiation for our fins' [I. John iv. 10.] ' But if God 

* fo loved us, we ought alio to love one another,' [ver. it.] 
No love could there be until a frejh revelation vjas made 
that God is love ; for the firfl difcovery of his love in the 
creation was utterly loil, and this after difcovery was done 
by Jefus Chrill. 

§ 6. Mutual love among believers is a fruit of the fpirit 
of holinefs, and effect of faith, whereby being knit toge- 
ther in the bond of entire fpiritual afFeclion, on account' 
of their joint intercft in Chrift, and participation of the 
fame new, divine, fpiritual nature from God, they d(v 
value, delight, and rejoice in one another, and are nm- 
tually helpful in a conftant difcharge of thofe duties 
whereby their eternal, fpiritual, and temporal good may 
be promoted. It k ?i fruit of the fpirit of holinefs. Na- 
tural aiFe£tions are inlaid in the conilitutioji of our 

bcingi i 


beings ; carnal afiticlioiis are grown infeparably from our 
nature as Corrupted : but this love hath no root in our- 
felves until it be planted in us by the Holy Ghofl.- It is 
an cffe^^I of faith. ' Faith worketh by love,' [Gal. v. 6.] 
And the more lincere, adive, and firm our faith lit 
Chrili is, the more abundant will our love be towards all 
his faints. Faith in Chrili doth firfl excite love to him, 
from whom, as it were, it defcends to all that it finds of 
him in any others ; and our lo^ue of the faints is but the 
love of Chrifl reprefented and exhibited to us in them. 
Believers are knit together in the bond of an entire affeciion. 
This is that cement whereby the whole myftical body of 
Chrift is fitly joined together and compacted, [Ephef. iv. 
1 6.] Break this bond of perfection, and all fpiritual 
church order ceafeth ; for what remains is carnal and 
worldly. Again : this mutual love among believers 
fprings from and is animated by their mutual interefi in Chrifi, 
in natural love, he that doth moft love and prize himfelf 
commonly doth leait love and prize others. And the 
reafon is, becaufe he loves not himfelf for any thing 
which is common to him with others, but his felf-love is 
the ordering and centering of all things to his ovrn fatis- 
fadion ; but with this fpiritual love he that loves himfelf 
mofl, that is, doth moll prize and value the image of God 
in himfelf, doth moft love others in whom it is. And 
we may know whether we cherifl:i and in^iprove grace in 
our own hearts by that love vv^hich we have to them in 
whom it manifefls itfelf, [John v. i.] It a£ls itfelf by 
valuation, efeem, and delight. Such a love as will always- 
difpofe, and, when we are called, enable us to this duty, is 
required of us, if we are difciples of Chrift. So are we 
to prize and value them, or at leail to be ready to fhare 
with them, in all their conditions. For this love acls 
itfelf by all means, in all ways and duties whereby the 
eternal, fpiritual, and temporal good of others may be 
promoted. 1 have aimed only at fuch a defcription of this 
love as may diflinguiili it from that cold, formal pretence 
of it in fome outward duties, which the moft fatisfy 
themfelves with. 



§ 7. If this love in general be fo a grace of the gofpel ; 
if it fo fpring from the love of God in Chrift, as that 
there neither ever wa?, nor can be, the leaft of it in the 
world which is not an emanation from that love ; and if 
in its efpecial nature it fo particularly relates to the fpirit 
of Chrift and our union with him, it muft needs be 
among the principal evideiices of a good fpiritual condition. 
And the fame will yet farther appear, if we confider the 
grounds whereon it is enforced in the gofpel, which arc 
principally thefe that follow ; 

1. As the head of all other conliderations, it was to 
be the great evidence to the world of the truth and power 
of the gofpel, and of Chrift's million, [John xvii. 21.] 

* That they all may be one, as thou. Father, art in me, 
' and I in thee, that they alfo may be one in us, tiiat the 

* world may believe that thou haft fent me.' He intends 
their unity among them/elves, the life, and fpirit, and bond 
whereof is this love ; for there is 710 other kind of unity 
which may be among Chriftians that carrieth the leaft 
convi£lion with it of the divine mijfion^ truth, and power 
of Chrift ; feeing they may be all carnal, from carnal 
principles, and for carnal ends, wherein the world can 
fee nothing extraordinary, as having many fuch units 
of its own. To fee believers live in love, according to its 
nature, and a6ling the duties of it before mentioned, was 
in ancient times a great means of convincing the world 
concerning the truth and power of the gofpel, and will 
be fo again w4ien God (hall afrefh pour down abundantly 
that fpirit of light and love which we pray for. 

2. Our privilege, and the evidence of our being the 
difciples of Chrift, depend on our mutual Jove, [John xiii. 
34j 35-] ' ^ ^^^ commandment I give unto you, that 

* ye love one another, as I have loved you ; that ye alfo 

* love one another. By this fhall all men know that ye 
« are my difciples, if ye have love one to another.' This 
fpecial commandment of Chrift concerning mutual love 
among his difciples is here and elfewhere called a * new 

* commandment.' The principal imperfeftion of the la-M 
in this matter was, that it gave no example of that love 

Vol. IIL A a which 


ivliich is neeeiTary to reilore us into that condition of 
the love of God and one another which we fell from. 
.This was referved for Chr'iji^ that in all things he might 
have the pre-eminence. Until he fet us an example of 
his hiexprcfftblc love to us, which is fo frequently pro- 
J)ofed to our imitation, we could not know what kind of 
love it was wherewith we ought to love one another. So 
here, * that you love one another as I have loved you.^ 
Hence the command of love becomes a ^ new command- 

* ment \ not only becaufe it was newly revived from Pha- 
rifaical corruptions, but becaufe the example of the love 
of Chrift himfelf gave it new life ; as if he had faid, 
' the great example I have fet before you being that of love^ 

* the new commandment which I have given being that of 

* love, the defign I have to accompli (h in and by you being 

* the renovation of love, how can men' otherwife know 

* you to be my difciples but by your mutual love V With- 
out this, therefore, we can no way evidence ourfelves to 
be the difciples of Chrift. And this one coniideration is 
of more Vv'eight with me than a thoufand wrangling dif- 
putes that would furioufly drive men into fueh outward 
forms and compHances which they call love. 

3. This mutual love is that wherein the communion of 
faints doth principally conflfi. The foundation of it is 
laid in z joint participation of the fame quickening fpirit ; 
and it is exprefj'ed in our joint participation of the fame 
ordinances of worfhip. Hence it is apparent, that where 
this love is not, there is no communion of faints, [Ephef. 
iv. 15, 16.] ' But fpeaking the truth in love may grow 
' up into him in all things, which is the head, even 

* Chrift ; from whom the whole body, fitly joined toge- 

* ther, and compared by that which every joint fupplieth, 

* according to the effectual working in the meafure of 

* every part,' mr.keth inereafe of the bodv, to the edify- 

* ing of itfelf in love.^ There is not a more eminent de- 
fcription of the communion of faints^ efpecially as united 
in church order, in the whole fcripture. And we fee 
that it begins and ends in love ; and fo is it carried on 



from ftrfl to laft. The communion of faints in any- 
thing elfe, without this, is a deceitful figment. 

4. Without this love we are of 710 iifc in the church 
of God. Some men feem to be very ufeful by their gifts, 
and I wiih that none prided themfelves in them ; for if 
alonc^ they are apt to puff us up; but the very truth is, 
that without tliis love^ and the conflant exercife of it, 
they are of little or no ufe to the true fpiritual edification 
of the church. This our apoftle doth not only plainly 
affirm, but alfo largely argue, [Cor. xiii.] For he doth 
not only compare the moil excellent gifts of the Spirit 
with it, preferring it above them all ; but alfo declares 
that without it jio man, by virtue of thofe gifts, is of 
any better ufe in the church than a little ' founding 
* brafs, or a tinkling cymbal^ [ver. i — 3.] Wherefore 
we mav confider, 

5. That whatever grace any man may leem to have, 
whatever profeflion he make, of vyhatever ufe he may 
appear to be, if he have not this lovcy if he liv.e not in 
the exercife of it, he hath indeed no grace in truth, nor 
any real intereft in the benefits of the gofpcl. Faith, 
where it is fincere, worketh by love [Gal. iv.] ; and that 
which doth not fo is vain, dead, and ufelefs, [Jam. ii. 
14-T-16.] If we love one another t we are born of God, 
and know God ; if we do not, we know not God, 
whatever wx pretend ; for God is love-y [I. John iv. 7, 8.] 
For my part, I fhould be forry that any man living fhould 
outgo me in earneft defires that all the people of God 
were agreed and united y as in faith and love, fo alfo in 
the fame way of worfliip, in all thing;s ; however, I 
know my defires to that end ^xe fine ere. But that there 
can be no love, or no due exercife of it, until that be ac- 
complilhed, I do not believe; yea, I judge that if ever 
it be accompUihed, it will rather be the cffed and fruit of 
love than the caufe of it. Let us, therefore, all lay 
hold on the prefent feafon, and not lofe the exercife of 
love whilfl we contend about it. 

§ 8. Let us therefore not wait for other feafons, nor 

think any outward thing previoully iiecclfary to the due 

K2. z difcharge 


difchargc of this great duty of the gofpel. We are in 
our way, let us go about our work. And I fhall only at 
prefent give a few cautions againft the common hindrances 
of it : 

I. Take heed of 2. fr award natural temper. Wherever 
this predominates, it either weakens love, or fullies the 
glory of its exercife. Some good perfons have naturally 
fo much of the Jslabal in them, that a man fcarce knows 
how to converfe with them. They mingle all the fweet 
fruits of love with fo much harfhnefs and fournefs, as 
makes them ungrateful to thofe who mofl need them. 
But let fuch reiled, that if grace maketh not the froward, 
meek ; the angry, patient ; the peevifh and morofe, fweet 
and compliant ; how doth it make the * leopard lie down 

* with the kid, and the wolf dwell with the lamb ?' 
[Ifa.xi. 6.] 

2» Watch againfl the difadvantages of an outward con^ 
dition. Thofe of high degree are ufually encompaffed 
with fo many circumllances of diftance, that they know 
not how to break through them to thd-t familiarity of love 
which ought to be among believers. But as the gofpel, 
on all civil or fecular accounts, leaves to men all their 
advantages of birth, education, offices, power, manner 
of converfe, &c. free and e^itire ; fo with refpefl to 
things purely fpirituaU it lays all level among believers. 

* In Jefus Chrift there is neither Jew nor Greek, Barba- 

* rian nor Scythian, bond nor free, but all are one in 

* Chrift ;' and it is the new creature alone that makes the 
difference. Hence in all church affairs we are forbid to 
have any refpcd to the outward ftate and condition of 
men, [Jam. ii. 1 — 5.] We all ferve the fame common 
Lord and Mafler, who, when he was rich, for our fakes 
became poor. Let therefore the greateft know that there 
3S no duty of fpiritual love that unhecomes them. And if 
their flate keep them from that communion of love which 
3S required of all believers, it is their fnare and tempta- 
tion. If they converfe not familiarly with the loweft of 
them, as they have occasion ; if they viftiXh^Xd not when 
it is requifite ; if they bear them not in their hearts and 

Yer. 9— 12- EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS. 277 

minds as their fpccial church relation requires, they da 
againft the law of this holy love. 

3. Watch againfl: provocations. Where men are apt to 
turn every infirmity, every failing, every negleft, and it 
may be every miftake, into a provocation, and to take 
offence thereat, never expe£l any thing of love from fuch 
perfons ; for as their frame is a fruit of pride and felf- 
conceit, fo it is diametrically oppofite to all the principal 
aftings of love defcribcd by our apoHle, [I. Cor. xiii. 


4. Take heed of rcjihig faUsficd in the outvjard duties of 
love, without the inward workings of it ; as alfo in an 
apprehenfion of brivard /zffe^ions without outward fruits. 
Men may have a convi£lion that all the outward duties of 
love, in warning, admonidiing, comforting, relieving with 
outward fupplies, are to be attended to, and may accord- 
ingly be exercifed in them, and yet exercife little real love 
in them all. Hence our apoftle fuppofeth that a man may 
give all his goods to feed the poor, and yet have no charity ^ 
\\. Cor. xiii. 2.] All fruit partakes of the nature of the 

§ 9. With this love, as an eminent adjunct, the apoftle 
exprelTeth the labour of it ; ' the labour of love,' (Kovrog 
7Yig <y.yoi7r'/]g, labor jofa charltQs) laborious love, laith Beza ; 
and Erasmus (labor is ex char It ate fufceptij * the labour 
* undergone on the account of love,* that is, in the ^.v- 
erctfe of it. The word (KOTTcg) denotes fuch a kind of 
labour as is attended with much difficulty and trouble, a 
painful labour. A la%y love, hke that defcribed by the 
apoftle, [Jam. ii. 15, 16. J and with which moft men fatis- 
fy themfelves, is no evidence of 2. faving faith. But we 
are here taught, that love, if it be true, is laborious and 
diligent', or great and difficult labour is required for its due 
exercife. It is not to itfelf abfolutely, but to its exercife, 
that labour is required ; yet this exereife is fuch as is in- 
feparable from the grace itfelf on account of the difficulties 
and oppoftions that lie in its way. I fhall name a few of 
thofe oppofitions which are moft powerful and Icaft taken 

notice of: 

I. S.V/-. 


1. Self-love \ this is diametrically oppofed to it. Self- 
love is the making a man's felf his own centre. And 
this is the meafure of felf-love ; whatever ia added to it, 
it doth not fatisfy ; it would llill have more : and what- 
ever goeth from it, on one account or other, it is too 
much, it doth not pleafe. Unlefs this be in fome good 
ineafure mortified, and caft out, there can be no exercife 
of genuine divine love ; and hereunto ' labour' is re- 
quired. For man being turned off from God is wholly 
turned into himfelf ; and without an holy violence to all 
our affe£lions, as naturally depraved, we can never be 
freed from an inclination to centre all in felf. Self-love 
and the love of the faints are lik^ two buckets ; in pro- 
portion as the one riles, the other falls. 

2. Evil furmfes rife up with no fmall efficacy againd 
the exercife of love. And they are apt, on various ac- 
counts, to . iniinuate themfelves into the minds of men 
when they are called to the difcharge of this important 
duty. One thing or other, from this depraved affedlion, 
Ihall be fuggelled to intimidate our hearts, and to weaken 
our hands in what we are about. And it requires no 
fmall fpi ritual ' labour' to caft out all fuch furmifes, and 
to give up ourfelves to the conduft of that ' charity which 

* fuffereth long and is kind, which beareth all things, 

* believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all 

* things, [I. Cor. xiii.] 

3. Diftruft of GocPs promifes^ as to fupplies for our- 
felves. Men are afraid, that if they Ihould enlarge 
themfelves by way of bounty towards others, which is 
one duty of love, they themfelves may in time be brought 
even to v/ant. It would be endlefs to recount X.\\^ f acred 
promifes which give affurance of the contrary. But thefe 
are looked upon only as good zvords by the moft, but are 
not really believed. Yea, men are apt to deceive their 
fouls in fuppofing they believe the free promifes of God 
concerning grace and mercy, whiiil they believe not thofe 
which are annexed to duty. But he who difbelieveth any 
promifes of the gofpel, believeth none. Faith doth as 
equally refpefl all God's promifes, as obedience doth all , 

2 hiSi 



his commands. And it was a good dcfiga ia a reverend 
■pcrfon * who wrote a dircoiirfe to prove, from fcripture 
and experience, that largenefs in charity is the beft and 
lafeil way of thriving in tins world. 

4. Where the obje£ls of this exercife of love are mul- 
tiplied, wearinefs is apt to befall us, and infenfibly to take 
us off from the whole. The wifdom and providence of 
God multiply objects of love and charity, to excite us to 
72im'e ads of duty ; and the corruption of our hearts, with 
felf-love, ufeth the coniidcration of them, to make us 
%vcary of all. Men would be glad to fee an oid of their 
trouble, and of the charges of their love, when that only 
is true w^hich has no end. Hence our apoftle in the next 
verfe expreffeth his defire, that thefe Hebrews fliould not 
faint in their work, but ' iliew xht fame diligence X.o the full 
* affurance of hope to the end.'' [See Gal. vi. 9.] And if 
we faint in fpiritual duties becaufe of the increafe of their 
occafions, it is a fign, that what we have done already, 
did not fpring from the proper root of faith and love. 
What is done in the firength of nature and convidion, 
however vigorous it may be for a {tT^iow^ will, in proccfs 
of time, decay and fail ; and this is the reafon why many 
are cxhaufted in the courfe of their profeiiion. Only the 
Spirit of God is living water that never fails. Tiie vv^ay 
of the Lord is llrength to the upright, [Prov. x. 29.] 
Where w^e are upright in the way of God, the very way 
itfelf will fupply us with new llrength continually ; and 
we ih^W go from firength to firength \ [Pfal. Ixxxiv. 7.] From 
one llrengthening duty to another, and not be weary. 

* The author refers, I apprehend, to the Reverend Mr. Tho- 
mas Gouge, and his excellent little piece, entitled, " Ihe fureji 
*' and fafejl ^jjay of thrl'vlng ; *' in which he has inferred fome very 
remarkable and vvell authenticated inftances fromhiftory, in proof 
of an extraordinary bleffing havinc,^ attended the liberal hand of 
charity. And indeed, blelfed be God, it would be no diliiciilt 
thing greatly to enlarge his lift of inftances. I may add, that the 
writer had, to an uncommon degi'ce, an ^a;;^;';-////^;//^/ knowledge of 
the fubied:. (Vide NoncontbrmiiVs INIemorialy Vol. L p. 144-^ 




But to this end, no fmall degree of diligence and labour is 
alfo required. 

From tliefe and the like confiderations it is, that the 
apollle here mentioneth the induflrious ' labour of love ' 
that was in the Hebrews, as an evidence of xht'ir faving 
faith and fincerity. 

§ 10. The next thing exprelTed in thefe words is, 
the evidence they gave of this labour of love, and the 
means whereby the apoftle came to know it ; (cysds/^^cr^c) 
ye have Jbewed, or manifefled ; the fame word that James 
ufeth in the like cafe, (huPov fjioif chap. ii. i8.) * Shczu ?ne 

* thy faith by thy works ;' declare it, make it manifeft. 
To Jhevj the labour of love, is to labour in the duties of 
it, as that it fhall be evident. Yet this f elf -evidencing 
power of the works of love is a peculiar property of 
thofe that are fome way eminent. When we abound in 
them, and when the duties of them are above the ordina- 
ry rate, then are we faid to Poew them, that is, they become 
confpicuous and eminent. To that purpofe is the com- 
mand of our Saviour, [Matt. v. i6.] * Let your light 

* fo fhine before men that tliey may fee your good works, 

* and glorify your Father which is in heaven.' Not only 
let itfhine, but let itfofhincy which refpe£ls the meafure 
and degree of our obedience ; and herein are we required 
fo to abound that our works may be evident to all. No- 
thing is to be done by us that it may be feen ; but what 
may be fecn is to be done, that God may be glorified. 
Wherefore thefe Hebrews (liewed the work oi faith ^ and 
the labour of love, by a diligent attendance to, and an 
abundant performance of the one and the other. 

The eyid or reafon of their performance, which gives 
them fpirit and life, rendering them truly Chriftian and 
acceptable to God, is added, [ng 70 ovo^cc avjn) towards 
his name. And we may obferve, that the phrafe is pecu- 
liarly annexed to the ' labour of love ;' the labour of love 
towards his name. And the faints wctg the immediate ob- 
je«5l of that love ; as follows, ' In that ye have miniftered 

* to the faints, and do minifter.* Wherefore, it is a love 
to xhtfaintSy on account of tiie name of God, that is in- 


Ver.9— 14. EPISTLE TO tHE HELREWS. 18/ 

tended. And this love to the 'faints,' Is * towards the 

• nams of God,* becaufe their relation to God is the 


[on why they laboured in love towards them. The whole, 
therefore, of this duty rightly performed, begins and ends 
with the nafne of God. 

It is not improbable but that there might be fome in the 
church, who, efcaping the common calamities of the 
moil, v/ere able to contribute hoimtifully to the necelfity of 
others, and their difcharge of duty is jcckoned to the whole 
church. And thofe who are furnilhedwith the like ability iii' 
any church, would do well to conlider, that the honour 
and reputation of the whole church, in the iight of God' 
and man, depends much on their diligence and bounty in 
this refpe£l. Hence that diredion to Timothy: ' Charge 

* them that are rich in this world, if they be not hlgh- 
' minded, nor trull in uncertain riches, but in the living 

* God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy, that they 

* do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to dillri- 

* bute, willing to communicate/ [I. Tim. vi. 17, 18.] 

§ 1 1. The fpecial manner of the exercife of this labour 
of love is called mi?iijl ration \ ' in that ye have miniilered" 

* to the faints and do miniilcr ;' importing the common 
ininiftration of brotherly love, what every one doth or 
ought to do in his own perfon. And the acts of it are 
many and various, fuch as — vifitlng them — adminiilering 
advice and counfel — confolation — temporal fupplies — en- 
deavours, in the ufe of means, for their full relief: IVitb 
Gcdy in continual prayers and fupplications ; with meny 
according to our intereils and advantages, not being 
afhamed or afraid to own them in their poverty, diilreffes, 
and fulferings. — -The ride of this miniftration is, every 
man's opportunity, ability, and fpecial call by circum- 
ilances that offer themfeives. To conclude, here we 
have a true chara£ler of a church of found believers : — 
They are fuch a fociety as, being called into the fellowfliip 
and order of the gofpel, walk in faith, exprcffing it in 
fruits of obedience, carefully and diligently exercifnig love 
towards one another, on the account of the nanie of God, 
cfpecially with a continual regard to them who f jfTer or are 

Vot. IlL B b in 


in any dillrefs. Thefe are the things indeed that accompany 

§ 12. * And we dcfirc of you.* It is no fmall part of 
the duty and wifdom of gofpel miniflers to inflru<^ their 
hearers in the proper ufe and due improvement of the pro-- 
inifes and threaten! ngs of God. 

(ETTi^vubUcV Si) * Moreover we de£re.* Chrvsostom 
is large in the conlideration of this word, and the wifdom 
of the apoftle in the ufe of it. It certainly intends an 
tarneji dejire \ and fuch ought to be the dcfire of m'mijiers 
towards the profiting of their people. Where this is 
wanting, there will be but a cold, lifelefs adminiftration 
of the word. How were it to be wifhed, that all who are 
called to the care and charge of fouls, would continually 
propofe to themfelves the example of this apoftle ! Do we 
think that the folicitude, w^atchfuinefs, tender love and 
affeftions, earneft and fervent defires fof their good, ex- 
preiTed in the prayers, tears, travels, and dangers which 
he every where tefliiieth towards all the churches under 
his care, were duties prefcribed to him alone, or graces ne- 
ceflary for him only ? Do we think that they are not re- 
quired of us, according to our meafure, and the extent of 
feur employment? The Lord help men, and open their 
eyes before it be too late ! for either the gofpel is not true, 
©r there are few who in a due manner difcharge that mi- 
jiiftry which they take upon them. 

I fay, without this earncjl and fervent dcfre after the pro- 
fiting and falvation of our people, we fliall have a cold 
and ineite£lual miniftry among them. Neither is it our 
fedulity or earneflnefs in preaching that will relieve us, if 
that be abfent. But whence does this dfre proceed ? 
From ^eal for the glory of God in Chrifl ; — real compaf 
fion for the fouls of men ; — and a confcientious regard to 
our duty and office, with refpe(5l to its nature, trull, end, 
and reward. Thcfe are the principles that both kindle, 
and fupply with fuel, thofe fervent defircs for the good of 
our people, that oil the wheels of all other duties, and 
fpeed them in their courfe. According as thefe principles 
flourilh or decay in our minds, fo will be the acceptable 


Ver. 9--i2. EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS. 183 

cxercife of our miniftry in the fight of Chrlft, and the 
profitable difcharge of it towards the church. And we 
have as much need to labour for this frame in our hearts, 
as for any thing in the outijuard difcharge of duty. We 
muft in the firft place, * take heed to ourfelves/ if we 
intend to * take heed to the flock* as we ought, [Ads xx. 

§ 13. We defire that * every one of you, ^ He had fo 
the care of the tvhole fock, as to be folicitous for the good 
of every individual perfon among them: he fo laboured, 
that, if it were poffible, not one of thofe whom he watch- 
ed over fhould mifcarry. And it is of great advantage 
when w^e can fo manage our miniftry, that no one of 
thofe committed to us, may have any juji caufe to think 
themfelves difregarded. And moreover, he fhews hereby, 
that the matter infifted on concerned them all ; for he 
<dpth not fuppofe that any one of them were in fuch a 
condition of fecurity and perfe£tion, as not to ftand ia 
need of the titmoji diligence for their prefervation and pro- 
grefs ; nor any to have fo fallen under decays, but that in 
the ufe of diligence they might be recovered. So fhould 
the love and care of minifters be extended to all the indi- 
viduals of their flocks, with an efpecial regard to their re- 
fpedive conditions, that none, on the one hand, grow 
fecure ; nor, on the other hand, be difcouraged. * Shew 

* the fame diligence ;' {svXzKvva-^oii) to Jhew^ is fo to do 
any thing, as that the doing of it may be quite evident: 
and the apoftle refpe£ls not merely the duty itfelf, but the 
evidence of its performance, whereon his judgement and 
perfuafion of them was grounded : as if he had faid, 

* Continue in the performance of thefe duties, to give 
•the fame evidence of your ftate and condition as formerly.* 
{^Kcivriv o-7ris'S'/}V, Idem fiudium) ' the fame diligent endeavour.* 
Chrysostom infills much on the apoftle's wifdom in this 
expreflion alfo ; — * the fame diligence* for by it he in- 
iinuates his approbation of what they had done already, 
and manifefts that he required nothing of them to fecure 
their future condition, but what they had already fome 
experience of. That indeed, which he approves and ex- 

B b 2 horts 


horts them to a conilnuance in, is * the work of faith 
* and labour of love in miniflering to the faints.* But 
here he exprelfcth the manner wherein they had attended 
to thole duties, and in which they muft continue, "unlefs 
they intended to defert tlie duties thcmfelves -, namely, 
with diligence and alacrity of mind. For fuch were the op- 
pofitions and difficulties of mind, that they would af- 
iuredly meetvvith, as we have before declared, that unlefs 
they ufed all diligence and watchfuinefs, they would more 
or lets faint in their duty. 

§ 14. * To the full alTa ranee of hope.' The hope here 
intended is a certain affured expe£tation of good things 
•promi fed, tlirough the accomplilhment of thofe promifes, 
accompajiicd with a love, delire, and valuation of them. 
Faith refpe£ts the promife, and hope the thing promifed ; 
wherefore it is a fruit of faith ; it being the proper acting 
of the foul towards things believed, as good, abfent, and 
certain. Hence, where our faith begets no hope, it is 
to be feared it is not genuine; and where our hope ex- 
ceeds the evidence or aflurance of our faith, it is but prcr 
fumption : thefe things are infeparable and proportion' 
able. It is impoffible we fhould believe the promifes aright,. 
but that we fhould hope for the things promifed ; nor can 
we hope for the things promifed, unlefs we believe the 
things promifed ; and this difcards moll of that pre- 
tended hope that is in the world. It doth not proceed 
from, it is not refolved into faith in the promifes ; and 
therefore is prefumption. A valuation and efleem for 
things hoped for, are of the ejjence of hope ; for whatr 
ever expeftation we have of them, if we do not fo va- 
lue them, as to find 2, fatisfadory relief m them in all our 
troubles, and which may for ever balance our prefent fuf- 
ferings, hope is not genuine and truly evangelical. 

There is {^Kspo(pof;ia) the full afflirance of this hope. 
— Hope hath its degrees as well as faith. This ' full af- 
* furance' is not of the nature or effence of it, but an 
efpecial degree of it in its improvement. A weak, im- 
perfeft hope will give but a weak and imperfetl reljief 
under trouble ; but that which rifeth up to full alTurance, 



will c&mpiete our relief. Neverthelefs, our minds in this 
world are not capable of fuch a degree of aflTrrance in fpi- 
:ritual things, as to free us from the affaults to the con- 
trary, and fometimes imprelfions of fear from thofe af- 
faults. But there is fuch a degree attainable as is always 
viflorious, which will give the foul peace at all times, and 
{ometimtsjiii itwkh joy. This, therefore, is the affurancc 
of hope here intended : fuch a fixed, conftant, prevail- 
ing perfuafion proceeding from faith in the promifes, con- 
cerning the good things promifed, our intereft in them, 
and certain enjoyment of them, as will carry us com* 
fortably through all the difficulties and troubles we ha^^ 
to contiid with. 

It may be inquired, how the diligence before defcribed 
tends to this aiTu ranee of hope ? I anfwer, God hath ap- 
pointed it?iS the zvay, [II. Pet. i. lO.] * Give diligence to 
' make your calling and eledion fure, for if you do thofe 
' things, vou fliall never fall ; for fo an entrance fhall be 

* adminiftered unto you abundantly into the everlafting 

* kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jefus Chrift.' Befides, 
it hath a proper and natural tendency to this end. For by 
the ufe of this diligence, grace is increafed in us, where- 
by our evidences of an intereft in the promifes of the 
gofpel are cleared and ftrengthened ; and herein doth our 
affurance of hope coniift. By our diligent attendance to 
the duties of faith and love, every lin wnll be prevented 
whereby our hope would be impaired, (A%p/ TcX^^g) 
unto the end. There is no feafon wherein we maybe dif- 
charged from this duty ; no condition to be attained in this 
life, wherein this diligence will not be necelTary for us ; 
we muft, therefore, attend to it until w^e are abfolutely 
difcharged from this warfare. And he that is difcouraged 
becaufe he cannot have a difpenfation from this duty in 
this world, hath an heart that draw^eth back, and his foul 
is not upright in him. 

§ 15. * That ye be not Jlothf id C or, that ye be not 
{vo^poif fegnes, molks, ignavi) heavy and JlothfuL He had 
before charged them that they were [chap. v. 11.] * Dull 
f cr flothful in hearing^ comparatively ; they were not fo 



dllgent or induftrious therein as tbey ought to hav6 been, 
or the reproof concerned jome of them only. Here he 
Warns them not to be flothful in works or pra£lical duties. 
We are flothful in hearing when we do not learn the 
truths of the gofpel with diligence and indudry ; when 
we do not admit them into our minds and underftandings 
by the diligent ufe of means appointed to that end ; and 
we are flothful in praSilce, when we do not Itir up our- 
felves to the due exercife of thofe graces, and difcharge- 
of thofe duties, which the truth wherein we are inllru£led 
direfts to, and requires of us. This floth is oppofed to 
{tyi a-Tia'^'/j, ver. ii.) a dUigent endeavour in the performance 
of our duty. Shew diligence, and be woX. fiothfuL If wc 
faint or grow negligent in our duty, if carelefs or floth^ 
ful, we fhall never hold out to the end ; or if we da con- 
tinue in fuch a formal courfe as may confiil with this 
Jloth, we fhall never come to the blefTed end which wc 
look for. The oppofitions and difficulties which we fhall 
afTuredly meet with from within and without will not give 
way to faint and languid endeavours, nor will the Holy 
God proftitute eternal rewards to thofe who have no more 
regard to them than to give up themfelves to floth in theij^ 
purfuit. Our courfe of obedience is called * running ia 
* a race,' and fighting as in a battle, and thofe who arc 
{vM^^oi) Jlothful on fuch occafions, will never be crowned, 
with vi£tory. 

§ 1 6, * But be [^lurriloci ':oov) followers of theniy that is, 
the patriarchs of the Old Teflament ; for as he deals on 
all occafions with thefe Hebrews with inflances and ex- 
amples out of the Old Teflament, fo his immediate notice 
of Abraham as the principal of thofe he intended, con- 
fines his defign to thofe under that difpenfation, [as 
chap, xi.] Nor is there any difficulty in the variety of 
his exprcfTions concerning thcfc and thofe in the eleventh 
chapter : of the latter he fays, that all died in faith, and 
obtained a good report, but received not the promife, [ver. 
13 and 39] ; and of the former, that through faith and 
patience they inherited the promifes. But it is one thing to 
receive the promifes, and another to inherit them. By 



receiving the promife the apoflle refpe£ls the a^ual accom* 
^UJhmcnt of the great promife concerning the exhibition 
of Chrifl in the flelh. This they neither did nor could 
receive who died before his incarnation. By inheriting 
of the promifes a real participation of the grace and 
mercy propofed in them with eternal glory ; this they all 
enjoyed, being faved by faith, even as we, [A6ls xv. 10, 
1 1. Heb. iv. 2.] 

§ 17. Concerning thefe perfons he propofeth to them 
the vjay that they took, and the end that they attained ; 
(J/<z 'UL<f\z'jcq v.oci ^(ZKpo9vij,iag) ' who by faith and patience,* 
or long fuffering. Some think that here a conjiant enduring 
faith is only intended ; but rather their faith, joined with 
the conjiant exercife of it againft oppoiitions, is propofed 
to them under the lingle name of ' faith :' for that by 
(lj.a-xpo9viJiio:-) * patience,' a diftin^l grace or duty is in- 
tended, is manifefl from ver. 15, v;here Abraham's car- 
riage, upon his believing and receiving the blefling, is 
exprefTed by (^ifjoo ^(XKpo9 ^r^o-oi-g) * after he had patiently 
' endured,' 

What was that faith, or of what kind, which is here 
afcribed to the patriarchs, is evident from the context. 
For it was that faith v\^hich had Xh^ fpecial promife of God 
in Chriil for its object ; not a general, not a commoni 
faith, but that whioii refpe£led the promife given from the 
foundation of the world, and exprefsly renewed to Abra- 
ham. Some amongft us wholly deny this kind of faith, 
and, beyond the belief of the truth or veracity of God in 
general, will not allow an efpecial faith with refpe£l to the 
covenant and the promife of grace in Chrift Jefus, 
whereas indeed there is no other faith true, ufeful, fav- 
ing, and properly fo called in the world. The fpecial 
^hje^ of it was the future Mcjfiah as a faviour from lin ; 
t\\t formal reafon of it was the truth of God in his pro- 
mifes, with his unchangeablencfs and infinite power to give 
them an accomplifliment. And the means of ingenera- 
ting this faith in them was the promife itfelf By this faith 
were they juflificd and faved, [Gen. xv. 6.] The benefits 
of the Redeemer's mediation were made prefent and efFec- 
3 tual 

r:?a AN EXPOSltlON OF THE Chap. VL 

tual to them by the promife, as well as to us by his a^ual 
exhibition in the llclh ; though to us in a much clearer 

The next thing afcribed to them is [y^ocv^oo^ ^a(x) pa- 
tlcftcc, or rather* long fuffc'rifig^ [i^e II. Tim. iii. lO.J 
which is a gracious, tranqiiil frame of foul, on holy 
grounds of faith, not fubje6l to take provocations, nof 
to be wearied with oppolition. As patience is a gracious 
iubmilhve quietnefs of mind in undergoing prefent troubles 
and miferies, fo tills lon^animtty^ forbearance, tolerance^ 
or long Jufferhig, is a fedate, gracious difpoiitlon of mlnd^ 
enabling us to encounter a feries of difficulties and pro- 
vocations without being exafperated by them fo as to . 
defert the courfe wherein we are engaged. So where it is 
afcribed to God, it ligniiles that goodnefs of his nat^jre, 
and purpofe of his will, that, notwithflanding manifold 
provocations, and, as it were, daily new furprifah, yet h? 
will bear with finners, and not divert from his courfe of 
goodnefs and mercy towards them* 

In the courfe of our faith and profeffion we (ball meet 
with many difficulties and oppoiitions, with many offences ; 
but this is that grace whereby the foul of a believer is 
kept from taking offence, or admitting linful provocations. 
Belides, there arc fundry things in the pronnjcs of God, 
of which beHevers earneflly defire, if it were pofTible, a 
prefent accomplilhment, or a greater degree of evidence in 
tliclr accompli 111 men t, or a greater fpced towards It ; fuch 
as the full fubduing of their corruptions ; fuccefs againft, 
or freedom from, temptations ; deliverance of the church 
from trouble, and the like. Now when thefe things are-, 
delayed, when the heart Is ready to be ' made fick by the 
* deferring of its hopes,' the foul is apt to defpond, to 
give over its expcftations ; and if fo, it will quickly alfo 
forfske its duties. The grace which keeps us up in a 
quiet waiting upon God for the fultilllng of all that con- 
cerns us in his own time and feafon, that preferves us from 
fainting and finful dcfpondencies, is this long fuffering or 

§ i8. 

Ver.9'~i^- epistle to THE HEBREWS. 1^9 

§ 18. {KXyipovofJL^flcAjv T<xg sirocyFiKiccg) ' who inherit 
' the promifes»' It fpeaks in the prefent tenfe, but prin- 
cipally intends, as obferved, thofe who lived before. And 
how come we to inherit the promifes ? Not by merits nor 
by purchafe^ but by being the true heirs to it. And how 
do we become heirs to this inheritance ? By God's gra- 
tuitous adoption, [Rom. viii. 15, 17.] All God's chil- 
dren are heirs ; he hath an inheritance for them all : this 
inheritance is promifed to them, and therefore their en- 
joyment of it is called * inheriting the promifes \ where- 
fore the grace of adoption is the foundation, caufe, and 
Way of our receiving promifed grace and glory. And 
with refpeft hereunto it is that God is faid to be * not un- 

* righteous in our reward,' [ver. 10.] For having freely 
adopted us, and thereby made us heirs, it belongs to his 
faithfulnefs and righteoufnefs to preferve to us our inheri- 
tance. Only we are fuch heirs as have means aliigned uS 
for the attaining of our inheritance, which it is oUr in- 
cumbent duty to apply ourfelves to. 

* They inherited {iiTc/.y^^/\Ki(xr) the promifes.^ Promife 
and promifes are ufed promifcuoufly, as is evident chap. xi. 
ver. 13 and 39, beeaufe they all fp rang from oht ori- 
ginal promife, and all centered in him, in whom, and by 
whom, they were to be accomplifhed, being all * yea and 
*amen in him/ And beeaufe that one which concerned 
his perfon and mediation did virtually include all the 
fefl, they are all frequently intended and included under 
the name * promifc^^ in the fingular number. But beeaufe 
God was pleafed to let out, as it were, fundry rivulets of 
grace and bounty, originally flored in the firfl great pro- 
mife, by feveral particular grants and inftances ; partly 
for the reprefc'ntation of that fullnefs of grace which he 
intended to exhibit thereby ; partly for the encouragement 
of our faith, and its direction in the application of the 
grace promifed on various particular occafions ; and be- 
eaufe he was pleafed frequently to renew the fame great 
original promife'^as to Abraham and David ; in that fenfe 
there are many^ and therefore they are called * the pro- 

* mifes ;' and by reafoil of their union in the fame co- 

VoL. IIL C c venant, 


venaiit, whoever is really interefled in any of them is fo 
in all. 

By the * promifcs' here the things promlfcd are intended ; 
to inherit the promifes is to partake ot the things prornifed. 
And the matter of thcfe projiules was, all grace and glory* 
1'hat which is efpecially regarded is their full completion 
in everialling glorious reil with God by Jefus Chrill. 

§ 19. (IL) Obf. I. It ii, the dutv oi the difpenfers 
of the gofpel to fatisfy their hearers concern^ing their love 
to them in Jefas Chiift. And it is our duty to come to 
the beft fatisfaclion we may in the fpiritual condition of 
them with v<?hom we are to have any fpiritual commu- 
nion : this is neceflary both to miniflers and private 
Chriflians. For the former, they are concerned in the 
advice of the wi'^e man, [Prov. xxvii. 23.] * Be thou 

* diligent to know the Hate of thy flock/ They are not 
only to provide good pafiure for them, but they muft 
kno\7 what they provide for them may be fuitahle and fea- 
fonable. And to this end there were at firll fome in the' 
church who had the immediate infpedion of the ilate and 
walking of its members, and were thereby enabled, as' 
Mofes laid to his father-in-law, [Numb. >s. 3r.] to be 

* tnftcad df eyes* to the teachers, to look into the condi- 
tion of all forts of perfons. Unlefs a man have good fatis- 
fa6lion concerning the fpiritual condition of thofe that are 
committed to his chare:e, how can he approve himfeif 
among them a w^orkman that ncedcth not be afhamed, 
rightly dividing the word of truih^ to give to all their 
proper portion } When men have not a certain dejign to 
deal with tlieir hearers according to what they are per- 
fuaded that their fpiritual ftate doth require, how Ihall 
they inflru£\, how Hiall thev warn, hov/ (hall they com- 
fort any ? In brief, this perfuajion principally regulates 
the whole w^ork o\ the miniilry. He that is a phyficiau 
to the body mull acqusrint himfelf with the efpecial ftate 
and condition of hrs patients, and of their diftemper, 
wherein his ikill is eminently to be exercifed ; let him be 
furnilhcd with the greate-ft {lore of good medicines, with- 
out that knowledge, and if he gives them out pro- 
mi fc\iou fly 


niifcuoufly to all comers, all he doth will be of little ufe. 
It may be, his medicines being lafe, they will do no 
harm ; and it is as probable they will do as little good. 
Nor will it be otherwife with phyiicians of fouls in the 
Jike cafe. 

Four things are required to make the dlfpenfatlon of 
tlie word profitable : ^goodfpring, ^fifi rule, a di/lincl 
dcfign^ and enlivening affudicns. ')l\\^ fivji is the dilpenfer's 
own light and experience. He is to fee, in his work. 
With hi$ divn cyesy and not thole of other men. It is out 
ot the good trcafure of his oivn heart that he is to bring 
forth good things ?iew and old. Wis fa fe rule is the infal« 
lible word of truth. This muft be the tojchftone of 
his light and experience ; and it is fuited to the whole 
work and duties of it. [H. Tim. lii. 16, 17.] — His dif- 
t'nK^i dejign lies in the due confiJeration of the fpiritual 
flate and condition of them to whom the word is to be 
<lifpenfed. And herein conlifts the greateft part of the 
iiiiniflerlal Ikill. Tliis is that which fecretly diflinguilhes 
the c^nftant minifterial difpenfation of the word from the 
4)ccafioyial exercife of gifts. — The enUvimng affetllons that 
ought to accompiiny the difpenfation of the word are, 
%cal for the glory of God, and compaffi^n for the Ibuls of 
men. But thefe things muft not here be inliftedon. 

§ 20. And for private Chrl/iians among themfelves, 
their mutual duties are referred to love 2.\'id^x.\\t fruits of It. 
Now this loye is founded on our pcrfuafwn concerning the 
fpiritual ftate and conditioi) of each other ; I mean, that 
fpecial mutual love which ought to fubfifl among the dif- 
cjples of Chrift a? fuch. They are to love one another 
as members of the fame myftical body and united lo th^ 
fame fpiritual head. And to aft this love aright, as to its 
objeft, as grou:ided on this perfuafAon, take heed of evil 
furmifes ; thefe are the banc p^ evangelical love, for * clia- 
* rity hopeth all things,' namely^ that are good, if we 
have no certain evidence to the contrafyj And thus in 
general we may have this perfu.-^fiQn cqncerning all that in 
every place call upon the name of our Lord Jefus Chrift, 
^Ueir Lord and ours. We have indeed no, obligations to 

C c 2 this 


this purpofe towards fuch as vifibly and evidejitly walk 
vinworthy of that high calling whereby we are called. 
For concerning fuch our apoftle aiTures us, that, whatever 
they profefs, ' they are enemies of the crofs of Chrift ; 

* W'hpfe end is dellruclion, whofe God is their belly, and 

* whofe glory is their fhame, who mind earthly thing^,* 
[Phil. iii. 1 8, 19.J Thus our apollle, in all his epiftles 
to the churches, falutes them all a.s faints, and called in 
Chrift Jefus. For although fome of them might not be 
io really, yet his perfuafion, and his love, being directed 
according to the rule, were acceptable to Chrift. And 
as w^e cannot dire£l our love, no more can we exercife any 
of the duties or fruits of it without his perfuafion in a 
due manner 

§ 21. Ol?f 2. We may, as occafions require, pub- 
licly teftify that good perfuafion which we have concern- 
ing the fpiritual condition of others, even to themfelve?. 
Our apoftle, not only here, but likewife in all his epif- 
tles, ilill declares his hopes and confidence that thofe to 
whom he wrote had a bleffed intereft in Chrill ; and does 
not hefitate to give them all the titles which really and fpi- 
ritvally belong only to the eleft believers. Now this is 
not to be done lightly, in flattering compliance ; but upon 
jufl and fcriptural grounds, particularly in three cafes it i^ 
warrantable and requiiite : — when it is done for due en- 
couragement, juft vindication, and when we have any 
duty todifcharge tov>rards them, which requires we ill ou Id 
lemove any prejudice out of its w^ay, as was the prefent 
cafe with the apoftle. 

§ 22. Oif. 3. The beft perfuafion we can arrive to, 
concerning the fpiritual condition of any, leaves yet room, 
yea makes way for gofpel threatenings, warnings, ex- 
hortations, and encouragements. Whatever men's con- 
dition be under the gofpel, they are flill obliged to the 
means appointed for their edification and prefervation. 
Amongfl: all the vain imaginations about religious things, 
vented in thefe latter days, there is none favours more 
rankly of fatanical pride and human folly, than that of 
fuch a ilate of perfedion attainable in this life, W'herein, 


¥£5.9—12. EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS. 193 

as It is phrafed, men fhould be * above ordinances ;' that 
is, Ihould be ■ vainly puffed up in their flcflily minds,' 
above the authority, and wifdom, and truth of God. 
Whilft we are in the way^ under the condu£l of the gof- 
pel, we need all the advantages it affords in our progrefs. Of . 
this fort are all the threatenings, promifes, exhortations, 
and encouragements contained in it. [See chap. iv. i, 2.] 
Let not hearers fay, or think in their hearts, *' This 
preacher looks upon us as perfons unregenerate, or hy- 
pocrites, perhaps out of ill-will to us." It is certain that 
on fuch occafions, men are apt to give place to fimilar 
furmifes. For an apprchenfion thereof is the reafon why 
the apoflle maketh, as it were, this apology for the feverc 
foregoing comraination. As if he had laid, ** Do not you 
entertain any hard thoughts, or evil furmifes, concerning 
me or my dealings with you in this matter ; there are 
other reafons for it ; for as to your perfonal intereft in 
the grace of Chrift, I have as yet a good perluaflon, al- 
though I thus fpeak." Sharp frofcs are needful to make 
the ground fruitful, as well as the clearefl fun-fhine. 
Sharp reproofs, and earneilnefs in prefling gofpel commi- 
nations are fometimes as needful for the befl of us, as the 
adminiflration of the richeil and moft precious promifes. 
[Hof X. II.] 

§ 23. Obf. 4. Among profciTors of the gofpel fome 
are partakers of better things than others. They were all 
profcjjors concerning whom our apoflle difcourfeth in this 
and the preceding verfes ; and yet, notwithflanding any 
good things that fome might have had, fome of them pof- 
feffed better things than tliey. Some of them had better 
^ifts than ethers, fome as to the fpecial kinds of gifts, but 
inoflly as to the degrees of their ufefulnefs to their proper 
end. And as the whole church fhould hence learn to ac- 
quiefce in the fovereignty of the Spirit of God, who di- 
videth to every man feverally as he will ; fo thofe who 
have received thefe better and differing gifts, either in 
nature or degrees, have fome duties Jingularly incum- 
bent on them, and whofe difcharge will be required at 
their .hands. As particularly that, they walk humbly with 



God, cherifhing a conilaiU care, that a fenfc of their gifts 
and abilities do not puff them up, or fill them with con- 
ceits of themfelves, as if they were fomcvvliat, and fo 
make them exalt themfelves above their brthren. Yea, 
he who is eminently gj/^^^y if he be not emir^ently humble^ 
hath an unquiet life within doors. And if fuch a perfon 
be not truly gracious, he is in the ready way to fail into 
t!)e condemnation of the devil. And it is further required 
of fuch pcrfons that they be not only humble, but alfo in 
an efpccial manner thanJJul. The things whereof they 
are partakers are * gifts', an.d not to be thankful for gifts 
is the moft proper, that i?, the morl: bafe ingratitude. 

Again : a proportionable fruitfulncfs is expe£led. He 
who had received five talents was not only obliged tQ 
trade with them, but to get five talents more. To whom 
much is given, of him not fomcwhut, buj much is required. 
The hiding of many talents is a {in whereof there is no 
inftance in the fcripture ; it is a fm that hath ^ greatnef$ 
m it not to be fuppqfed ; and thofe who may be concern- 
ed therein ought to tremble with the apprehcnfipn of it. 

JVIoreover : there are fpiritual things which differ iri 
their whole kind and nature from others, and are better 
than they, as to their eflence and being. Such, is aliy^;- 
ving grace, with all the fruits of it. True gofpel faith and 
iincere obedience zrc better things than the mofl: glorious 
hypocrite was ever made partaker of. All that eat out« 
wardly, in ordinances, of the bread of life, do not feed 
on the hidden manna. AU that have their names enrol- 
led in the churches, may not yet have tl]em. written ii^ 
the Lamb's book. 

§ 24. Obf. 5. There are, nccprding to the tenour of the 
covenant of grace, fuch things beftowed on fome perfons, 
as infallibly accompany falvation. In that covenant^ 
there is fuch a concatenation of fpiritual things, that ^ 
real participation of fome of them doth infallibly conclude 
an indefeafible interefl: in them all. For inflance, faving 
faith is an effect of God's immutable purpofe of eleftion ; 
if that therefore cannot be changed, this cannot utterly 
faiL ' 

3 § 25; 


§ 25. Obf, 6. It is the daty of all profeflbrs flriaiy 
to examine themfclves concerning their participation of 
thofe better things which accompany falvation. Their 
condition is deplorable who, under an outward profeffion, 
fatisfy themfelves with thole common gifts, graces, and 
duties, which are feparable from falvation. Yet that it 
is fo with many in the world, who thereon cry peace, 
peace, whilfl: fudden dellruaion is coming upon them, is 
but too manifell:. The bell of the hearers of the gofpel 
may have much to be blamed, although their fincerity in 
general be highly approved. Severe threatenings in the 
difpenfation of the gofpel, are ufually propofed to them 
who yet are not abfolutely liable to the penalty threatened. 
They do not predift what will come to pafs, but warn us 
of what is to be avoided. 

§ 26. Obj: 7, Faith, if it be a /iz;;;;^ faith, will be a 
working faith. It is * the work oi faith' which the apoftle 
here commends. This cafe is fo ftated by James, that it 
needs no fartlier confirmation, [chap. ii. 20.] ' Wilt thou 

* know, or, knoweft thou not, O vain man, that faith 

* without works is dead ?* He is a moft vain man who 
thinks otherwife ; who hopes for any benefit from that 
faith which doth not work by love. Satan hath no 
greater defign in the world than to abufe gofpel truths. 
When the dodrine of free juftification by faith, through 
the imputation of the righteoufnefs of Chriil, was firft 
fully revealed and declared, his great' defign then was to 
perfuade men, that there was no need of obedience ; and 
fo that they might live in fin as they pleafed. And al- 
though this be now condemned by all, yet it is no more 
than what, upon the matter, mofi: praclife ; for they fup- 
pofe that by being of this or that religion, Papifts, or 
Proteflants, or the like, they (ball be faved whatever their 
Ways and works arc. So Paplfts, for infiance, are in- 
deed the greateft Solifidlans in the world ; for to own ths 
faith of the church, is enough with them to fecure the 
falvation of any. This abomination, having been early 
llarted, was feafonahly fuppiefied by the writings of the 
apoflles James and John. 

§ 27- 


§ 27. Obf, 8. We ought to look on obedience as our 
work ; which will not admit either of floth or negligence. 
Here lies the occaiion of men's ruin, \vhile they profefs 
the gofpeh The duties of profefTion are things of courfe 
to them, and what does not claih with their principal 
work and bufmefs in the world. This makes their pro- 
fefTion ferve to no other end, than to make them fecure 
in a perifliing condition. Now that our obedience may 
indeed be our ' work,' it is recjuifite, that the carrying of" 
it on to the glory of God, be our principal defign in the 
world. And then is any thing the obje£l of our purpofe 
and principal delign, when we fubordinate all other things 
and occafions to it, that they may not juftle nor ftand in 
competition with it ; when ' to us to live is Chriil,* or 
he is the chief end of our life. When men ufually and 
ordinarily fuffer other things to divert them from duties of 
obedience in their feafon, obedience is not their principal 
defign ; but when any thing polTeireth the chief place in 
our valuation, when it is the o^/Vt? of our chief defign, the 
principal coiitrivances of our minds will be concerning 
it. To which we may add, th^t a c? ua I diligence 2.nd watch- 
fulnefs are required in our obedience, if we make it our 
' work.' 

§ 28. Obf. 9. It is a due regard to the name of God 
that gives life fpiritually, and acceptance to all the duties 
of love which w^e perform towards others. Great things 
have been done in the world, with a great appearance of 
love, which yet have been all loft, as to the glory of God, 
and the fpiritual advantage of the performers. Some have 
,been loft from a principle of fuperftition, fome from a dew 
fign of merit, fome from vain glory, or a defire of re- 
putation, by being feen of men, &c. Now whereas this 
labour of love is a duty which hath fo many difficulties 
attending it, as vve have before declared, it is of the high- 
eft concernment to us to take care that what we do therein 
be not loft. Unlefs it be done with refpedt to the command 
of God, and fo be a part of the * obedience of ' faith ;* 
and unlefs it be influenced with a regard to God's pe- 
culiar concernment in them towards whom our love is 



exerclfed, it will not endure the trial, when the fire Ihall 
confume all hay and ilubblc. What we do iii this khid 
is lb to be done, that the Lord Jefus Chrifl: may own it as 
done to himfelf in the firft place. 

§ 29. Obf. to. That it is the will and pleafiire of 
God, that many of his faints be in a condition, while in 
this world. Wherein they Hand in need of being miniftercd 
Unto. And thofe whofe fpecial lot it is to be thus exercifed, 
may do well to confider always, — that this will and plea- 
fure of God is accompanied with infinite wifdom and holi- 
Hefs, fo as that there is no unrighteoufnefs there! n.-^That 
they Ihall not hz final lofers by their poor afflicted condi- 
tion. God will make up all to them both here and to 
eternity. And if there were no more in it but this, that 
they were brought thereby to a clearer forefight of, and 
more earneft longings after, eternal rcjl and glory, they 
have a fafficient recompence for all their fufferings. Let 
them but confider, how much fpiritual and eternal mer- 
cies, wherein they are intereilcd, exceed things temporal, 
they will find they have no caufe to complain. And 
whereas it is for the glory of God, and the benefit of the 
church, that Ibme fhould be peculiarly in an aitli£led con- 
dition, they ought even to rejoice that God hath chofen 
them to deal by as he pleafeth to thofe twdi^. Bcfides, 
God hereby gives teflimony to all, that the good things 
of this world are no pledges of his love, and that he hath 
ietter things in flore for them whom he careth for ; and 
he maketh way hereby for the vigorous fruitful exercife of 
all the graces of his Spirit, in tlie various conditions 
\\hereinto the members of the church are caft. And let 
every one look to it and know, that according to his out- 
ward condition in tiie world, ^^^hethcr it be of want ot 
abundance, there' is a peculiar exercife of grace to the 
glory of God required of him. 

§ 30. Obf. It. The great trial of our love confifls 
in our regard to the faints that are in diflrefs. On this 
is the commendation of the love of thefe Hebrews found- 
ed ; they * miniflcred to the faints.' Love, or at leafl an 
appearance of love, will be eafilv preferved, where vre 

Vol. IIL D d ' havs 


have little or no need of one another ^ but when the ex- 
ercife of it proves coftly, when it puts us to charge or 
trouble, or expofes to danger, then is it brought to its 
trial. And in fuch a feafon we have experience, that th« 
love of many is fo far from bringing forth more fruit, as 
that the very leaves of it fall off, and they give over its 
profeffion. Wherefore — it is the glory and honour of a 
church, the principal evidence of its fpiritual life, when 
it abounds in thofe duties of faith and love which are at- 
tended with the greateft difficulties. From hence doth 
the apoftle commend thefe Hebrews, and iirmly perfuades 
himfelf, that they vv^ere endued with thofe better things 
which accompany falvation. For hereby, as we might 
fhevv— -God is fingularly glorified — the gofpel is peculiar- 
ly promoted — an efpecial luftre is put upon the graces of 
the Spirit, and — all the ends of Satan and the world in 
their perfecutions, are utterly fruflrated. 

§ 31. Ohf. 12. Our profeffion will not be preferved, 
nor the work of faith and love carried on to the glory of 
God and our own falvation, without a conftant, Jhidioui 
diligence in the prefervation.of the one, and the exercife 
of the other. Our apoftle knew nothing of that la%y 
kind of profeffion which fatisfies the generality of Chrif- 
tians at this day. They qz.w fliew all dihgence in their 
trades, in their callings-, in their iludies ; it may be, in 
their foolifli pleafures, and fometimes in the purfuit of 
their carnal hifi?. Hie duties of divine ivorjhip they will 
attend to, out of cuftom or conviction ; fome acts of cha- 
rity they may, perhaps, be fometimes drawn to, or may 
themfelves purpofe for their reputation, that they may da 
like others of their quality in the world : but to projed 
and delign in their minds how they may glorify God in 
the duties of faith and love, as ' the liberal man devifeth 
*• liberal things,' to keep up an earneii bent and warmth 
of fpirit in them, to lay hold on, and rejoice in all op- 
portunities for them, which yet are required to this dili- 
gence — they utterly rejeft all fuch thoughts. But what 
<;io we imagijie ? Is there another way for us to go to hea- 
¥GD than wliat was prefcribed to the primitive believers "t 


¥er,9--i2. epistle to the HEBREWS. 199 

%VilI God deal with us on more eafy terms, or fuch as 
have a farther compliance with carnal eafe, than tl^iofe 
that were given to them of old ? Let no rnaii miftake ; 
thefe two principles are as certain and facrcd as any thing 
thing in the gofpel : — Unlefs there be in ws a * work of 

* faith* in perfonal holinefs, and a ' labour of love' to- 
wards others, there is nothing in us that ' accompanies 

* falvation.' And — That this work of faith and labour 
of love will not be fuccefsfully carried ou without ftu- 
diaus diligence and earneft endeavours.. That nominal Chrif-- 
iianity which defpifeth thefe things, will perifh with the 
real author of it, which is the devil. 

§ 32. Obf. 13. Minifterial exhortation to duty is need- 
ful even to them who are fincere in the practice of it, that 
they may abide and continue therein. But how few are 
thofe who look upon it as an ordinance of God, whereby 
they are enabled for, and kept up perfeveringly to their 
duty. Such exhortations not only dlreB to duty, but, 
through the appointment of God, they are means of com- 
municating grace to us for the due performance of duties. 

§ 33. Obf. 14. Whereas there are degrees in fpiritual 
faving graces and their operations, we ought continually 
to prefs toward the moll perfe£l of them. Not only are 
we to have hope, but we are to labour for the ' aiTurance 

* of hope.' It is one of the befl evidences that any grace 
is true and faving in its nature and kind, when we labour 
to grow in it, or that it may do fo in us. This is the end 
of all the ordinances and infiitutions of the gofpel. [Eph, 
iv. 13.] Hereby alone do we bring glory to God, adorn 
the gofpel, and grow up into a conformity with Chrift. 

§ 34. Ohf. 15. Hope, being improved by the due ex- 
ercife of faith and love, will grow up into fuch an afTu- 
rance of r.eft, life, immortality, and glory, as fhall out- 
weigh all the troubles and perfecutions that in this world 
may befall us. There is nothing in the world {o vain as 
that common hope, whereby men living in their fins make 
a referve of heaven when they can continue here no lon- 
ger. The more it thrives in the minds of any, the more 
^fefperate is their condition ; it being only anendlefs fpring 

P d 2 ot 


of encouragements to indulged and prefumptuous fin. Its 
beginnings are ufually, indeed, but fmall and weak ; but 
when it luith been (o far cheiiilicd as to be able to defeat 
the power of convidions, it quickly grows up into pre- 
fumption and fecurity. Bat this hope, which is the 
daughter, fifter, and companion of faith, the more it 
grows up and is {Irengthened, the more ufeful is it to the 
foul, as being a living fpring of encouragements to ftabi- 
lity in obedience ; for, being once fully couiirmed, it will 
on every occafion of trial or temptation give fuch a prefent 
exiftence in the mind to future certain glories, as fhall 
deliver it from fnares and fears, and confirm it in its 

§ 35- ^^f' i^» Spiritual ^(5//:? is ruinous to any profef^ 
fion, though otherwife never fo hopefuL The apofile 
was perfu^ided of good things, and fuch as accompany 
falvation, concerning thefe Hebrews; but yet he lets tliem 
know that if they intended to enjoy them, they mull not 
be flothful. Spiritual floth, as to its nature, is an habi- 
tual indifpofition of mind to fpirjtual duties in their pro- 
per time and feafon, arifing from unbelief and carnal af- 
feftions, producing a ncgleft of duties, and dangers, re- 
milTnefs, cnrelefiliefs, or formality, in attending to them, 
or in the performance of them. The beginning of it is 
negligence, and the end of it ruining fecurity. "VVhcri 
men will not only readily embrace occafions that offer ta 
divert them from duty, but wnll be apt to feck out fliifts, 
whereby they may, as they fuppofe, be excufed from it, 
which corrupt nature is exceedingly prone to, they are un- 
der the power of this vicious habit. This is alfo the cafe, 
when in confiids about duties, and particularly with refpe£t 
to prayer, the fcale is often turned on the fide of the fiefli 
and unbelief. Grace in believers will move for an abfo- 
lute compliance. If the contrary reafons, infinuations, 
and objections prevail, the foul ' confults with fiefh and' 
blood/ and is under the power of fpiritual floth ; and io 
are men, by frivolous pretences and arguings from felf and 
the worldj kept ofFfrom the moll important duties. AithougU 


V^s. 9-"^2. EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS. 2ot 

this lloth may have various caufes and occaflons, yet the 
principal of them are thofe which I have mentioned-— 
unbelief and carnal affections. 

(i.) Unbelief is the principal caufe of it, as faith is of 
that diligence and watchfuhitfs, which are oppolite to it. 
As faith will reniove niountains out of our way, or help 
us to conquer the greateil oppolitions, fo unbelief will 
inake mountains of mole-hills, it will make every hin- 
drance like an unconquerable difficulty. The foul made 
ilothful by its cries, * There is a lion in the way, a lion 
f in the ftreets,' [Prov. xxvi. 13.] 

(2.) Carnal affcflions do varioufly promote this evil 
frame of mind. Love of eafe, wealth, profit, pleafure, 
will quickly make men fpiritualiy flothful : where thefe 
are prevalent, every thing in the way of hollnefs and 
and obedience is difficult and irkfome. Strange reprefen* 
tations will be made to the mind of all duties, if not in 
genera], yet in all particular infances that offer themfelves; 
wherefore, if we fee a man flothful, negligent, carelefs 
an the duties of religion, we may be fure that one carnal 
afFe£lion or other is powerful in him. 

The effe^s of this fpiritual floth are in general, — A 
tiegled of knovun duties, in matter or manner ; and where 
this evil is predominant, clear duties will be debated: 
what more clear duty, than that we fhould open our 
hearts to Chrift when he knocketh, or diligently receive 
thofe intimations of his love and mind which he tender- 
eth in his ordinances ? Yet this will a foul difpute, when 
under the power of floth, [Cant. v. 2, 3.] Again — Re- 
gardlefsnefs of temptations, and dangers by them. Whea 
men begin to walk as if they had no enemies, as if in 
their courfe of life, there were no fnares, fpiritual floth 
hath poiTeffied their minds. To which we add, as another 
efFeft — M'earhiefs and heartlefs defpondencies in a time of 
troubles and difficulties. 

§ 36. Obf 17. Faith and patient long-fuffering are 
the only Vv^ay whereby profefibrs of the gofpcl may attain 
reft with God in the accomplifhment of the promifes. 
Ihis will appear when v/e conlider ; 

(i.j Thofe 


(i.) Thofe reproaches to which the profeflioii of a 
faving grace will expofe men. When men faid to David, 
' Where is now thy God r' or, what is become of thy 
religion and profelTion, thy pretended truth in God ? he 
fays it was a killing fword in his bones, it pierced deep 
and pained greatly, [Pf. xlii. lo.] And it is fpoken in 
the perfon of our Saviour, ' Reproaches have broken my 

* heart, and I am full of heavinefs,' [Pf. Ixvii. 20.] 
They * fliook the head at him, faying, He trufled on the 

* Lord that he would deliver him, let him deliver him, 

< feeing he delighted in him.' [Pf. xvii. 8 — 11. Matt, 
xxvii. 43.] What befell ChnU on the crofs. teacheth the 
church what it is to exped ima'cr it ; and patient long-fuf- 
fcnng is our only relief. 

(2.) Violence mul perfecutions. ?)omxi come with the 
fury of a florm, as if they would bear all down before 
them ; others, by their long duration, in vexing and 
confuming troubles, are intended gradually to * wear out 
^ the faints of the Moil High,' [Dan. vii. 25.] Here wq 
liave need of patient long-fufrering if we intend to inherit 
|:he promifes. This is that grace which calmeth and fup- 
porteth the foul under all fuch preffures, 

(3.) M^nj great promifes concernbig the kingdom of Chrl/i 
in the world. For inftance, with relpe£l to the judge- 
ments which God in his own time will execute on the;, 
antichriftian perfecuting world, it is faid, ' He that lead- 

* eth into captivity, fliall go into captivity ; he that kil- 

< leth with the fword, ^niil be killed with the fword; 
^ here is the patience and faith of the faints^ [Rev. xiii. 10.] 
Until thefe things are accomplifhed, the faints mufcexer- 
^ife patient long-fuiFering, waiting in prayer for w'^iat 
they have not yet received, with a ready application of 
mind to prefent duties. [Jolin xxi, 22 ] 

(4.) The pirincipal concerns of our perfonal ohedicnce. 
New llorms arife ; corruptions grov^r flrong, and grace is 
lender decays ; temptations abound, and confolations arQ 
;^r off. It may be they are frequently exercifed with 
changes and diiappointments. This fills them with many 
perplexities, and often makes them ready to faait. Unlefs 
3 ^ thH 


this ' patient long-fufiering ' accompany us in our whole 
courfe, we lliall not finifh it with glory to God, or com- 
fort to our own fouls. 

§ ^j. Ohf. 1 8. All believers, all the children of God, 
iiave a right to an inheritance ; an inheritance, incom- 
parably the beft, both iox fccur'ity and value. — Let an in- 
heritance be never fo excellent and valuable in itfelf, yet 
if it be not feciue, if a man's title to it be not firm and 
unqueflionable, its worth to him is proportionably di- 
miniflied. But this inheritance is conveyed, fettled^ and 
fecured by the proiiiife, covenant, and oath of God, 
[IL Sam. xxiii. 5. Rom. if. 16.] Thefe fecure it from 
all poffibility of our being defrauded. — Beiides, the valu^ 
of it is inexpreffible ; it is a kingdom, [Matt. xxxv. 34, 
Jam. ii. ^.] Salvation, [Heb. i. 14.] The grace of life^ 
[L Pet. iii. 7.] Eternal life, [Titus iii. 7.] God h'lmjclf, 
who hath promifed to be our reward, [Rom. viii. 17.] 

§ 38. Obf, 19. The providing of examples for us in 
the holy fcripture, v/hich we ought to imitate, is an ef- 
fe(ftual way of teaching, and a great fruit of the care and 
kindnefs of God towards us. And if we * follow' them 
not, it is nothing but fpiritual * floth,' or the love of 
the world and lin, that retards us. If their examples 
move us not to the like duties of obedience with them, it 
is an evidence that we have not the fame fpirit of faith 
with them. The courage of a valiant man is enflamed 
by a noble example, but a coward fhrinks back and trem- 
bles at it. There is great force in that diredion, [James 
V. 10.] * Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have 
' fpokeii in the name of the Lord, for an example of 

* fuffering affliaion, and of patience.' Let a minifter of 
the gofpel, for inflance, who is made partaker in his 
meafure of the fame Spirit, confider how Elijah, Jeremiah, 
Peter, Paul, and the reft of thofe holy fouls who fpake 
in the name of the Lord, carried themfelves under their 
affiidions and trials, and it will enflame his heart to en- 
gage cheerfully in the like contlids. All thofe holy fouls 
that are now at reft with God in glory, as having ' inhe- 

* ritcd the promifes,' were foibetimes as we are, conflict- 



ing with corruptions and temptations, undergoing re- 
proaciies and perfecutlons, labouring in duties and a 
conftant courfe of obedience to God : if, therefore, we 
*• follow' them in their work, we fhall not fail to partake 
with them in their rczvard. 

Verses 13 — 16.' 

for when god made promise to abraham, be- 
cause he could swear by no greater, he 
swear by himself, saying surely blessing i 
will bless thee, and multiplying i will mul- 
tiply thee ; and so, after he had patiently 
endured, he obtained the profuse. for men 
verily swear by the greater ; and an oath 
for confirmation is to them an end of 
a.ll strife. * 

§ I. Introdu^ion, § 2. (I.) 'The words explained. God's 
promife to Abraham. § 3. His blcjjirig him. § 4. H'ke 
fromife confirmed. § 5. Abraham by patience obtained 
the ■promifc. ^ 6 . l-^be nature, end, and ufe of an oath. 
§7,8. (II.) Qbfcrvations, § 9. JVhere the promife of 
God is abfolutcly engaged, it will break through all diffi- 
culties. § 10, II. Other obfcrvations. § 12 — 14. I'hat 
a Jolcmn oath, in forne cafes, becomes the necejjary duty of 

§ ^' X^ ^'^-- clofe of the foregoing verfe the apoftle ex- 
prefieth the end cf all his exhortations, viz. that all who 
comply with them, in faith and obedience, may inherit 
the promifes, or enjoy the things promt fed ox God to them 
that believe and obey. Of all intercourfe between God 
and finners, the prornife, on his part, is the fole founda- 
tion whereby be t"?prefFeth his goodnefs, grace, truth, and 


Ver. 33—16. EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS, 20^ 

fovereign power to men ; and, on our part, the inheriting 
of thofe promifes is the end of all our obedience : where- 
fore the apoflle, having arrived in the ferios of his dif- 
courfe to the mention of this great period of his whole 
defign, Hays a while to confider and explain it in thefe 
verfes. From what he had juft faid abouc enjoying the 
promifes, he takes occafion to declare to them the nature 
of the gofpei, and the mediation of Chrifl therein pro- 
pofed to them. To this end he lets them know that ' ths 
' promifes' were nothing but the accompiifhment of the 
great promife made to Abraham. In that promife both 
the great bleffing of Chrifl himfelf, and the whole work 
of his mediation, were included. Wherefore on this 
account doth he infill fo largely on this promife and the 
confirmation of it ; for it was not given him merely on 
his own account, or for his own fake ; but he was fingled 
out as a pattern and example for all believers ; and hence 
he became * the father of the faithful and heir of the 

* world.* 

§ 2. (I.) That which is affirmed concerning this per- 
fon is, that God made promife to him (sTi'c^yFsiXa.iJLSvog 
<^cog.) Divine promifes ?irQ — exprefs declarations of the 
grace, goodnefs, pleafure, and purpofe of God towards 
men, for their good and advantage. That here intended 
was, for the fubftance of it, what God made to Abraham, 
[Gen. xii. 2, 3.] ' I will blefs thee and make thy name 
' great, and thou fhalt be a bleffing, and I will blefs them 
' that blefs thee, and curfe them that curfe thee : and in 

* thee fhail all the families of the earth be bleffed.' And 
it was further confirmed to him by way of a covenant^ 
[chap. XV. 3 — 5.] and afterwards more folemnly, [chap, 
xvii. I — 6.] Thus God gave out the fulnefs of the pro- 
mife by degrees, Firfl, he mentions only his own perfon^ 
without any declaration how the promife fhould be ful- 
filled in his feed, [chap. xii. 2, 3.] Then he exprefsly 
adds his feed, whereby the promife fhould be accompiiflied, 
[chap. XV. 5.] and at length he lets him know the extent 
of his feed, as including believers of all nations ; [chap. xvii. 
5.] to all which a farther confirmation by the oath of God is 

Vol. hi, E e added. 


added, [chap. xxii. 13 — 18.] So are we to embrace and 
improve, as he did, the firll dawnings of divine love 
and grace. If we value not, or improve not, in thank- 
ful obedience, \ht firft intimations of grace, we Ihall make 
110 progrefs towards greater enjoyments. * Surely^"" (tj jjisv, 
certe) truly, undoubtedly. The manner of expveliion 
denotes a rcferved condition, rendering what follows a 
mofl iacred oath ; unlefs I blejh theey let me not be truiled 
in as God, or the like. But the formality of the oath of 
God is not exprelled, either in Genelis or here ; only 
refpeft is had to what he affirms, by myfelf have I /worn. 

The promife itfelf is exprelTed in thefe words, ' bleA- 
' fing I will blefs thee, and multiplying I will multiply 

* thee.' This reduplication is a pure Hebraifm, vehemently 
affirming the thing promifed, and hath in it the nature 
of an oath. ' Blejfing I zvill blefs thee \ I wnll do fo, 
without fail, I will do fo greatly without meafure, and 
eternally without end. 

§ 3. Th^ promife itfelf, or the matter of it was God's 
llefjiyig, which is always (nmi^ r-iDDin) an addition of good 
to him that is blelTed. So it is faid [Gen. xxiv. i.] 

* God hath ^/f^iT^ Abraham in all things,' which- is ex-? 
plained ver. 35. ' The Lord hath greatly bleffed my 

* mailer, and he is become great, and he hath given him 

* flocks and herds, filver and gold.' God increafed him m 
"wealth, riches, and power, until he was efteemed as a, 
mighty prince by the people among whom he dwelt ; 
[Gen. xxiii. 6.] and this was a type and pledge of that full 
idminiflration of grace and fpiritual things which was 
principally intended. Abraham was the firft perfon in 
the world, after our fird parents, to w^hom the promife of 
the Mefllah, as the offspiing of the promife, was con- 
^rmed. It was afterwards once more confirmed to David, 
whence in his genealogy he is faid in a peculiar manner 
to be the fon of David, the fon of Abraham. As he was 
thus to be the natural father of Chrift according to the 
flefh, v/hence all nations were to be blefTed in him, or 
his feed \ fo being xht firfl that received or embraced this 
promife, he became the fpiritual father of all that be- 

jjjeve \ 


lleve ; and in them the heir of the world m -a. fplrltnal 
intereft, as he was in his carnal feed the heir of Canaan 
in a political intereft. Men come to be accepted of God 
on account of their faith in that promife which was made 
to Abraham, that is, in him whom the promife ex- 

§ 4. The next thing coniiderable in the words is the 
fpecial confirmation of the promife by the oath of God ; 

* for God, when he could fwear by no greater, fwear by 

* himfelf ;* {ni:c^y\iL7Ka,]s.:Joq u)^.0(Ti) promifing he fivare. 
He did not iirft promife, and afterivards confirm it with 
his oath; but gave h\s promife in the way of an oath: 
yet are they diilin^lly confidered ; for in the next verfe 
the apuille calls the promife and the oath two things, (Suo 
^QocyuLc^a) two ads of God. But aithoagh he hath 
refpect principally to that fpecial promife^ which was ex- 
plicitly given with an oath^ yet it may be applied to, and 
is included in, all the promifes of God. The nature of 
this oath of God coniifts in an exprefs engagement of 
thofe holy properties whereby he is known to be God to 
the accompliihment of what he proraifeth or threateneth. 
By his being, his life, his holinefs, his power, is he 
known to be God ; and therefore by them he is faid to 
fwear, when they are all engaged to the fulfilling of his 
Word. * Becaufe he Could fwear by none greater.' This 
reafon is built upon the maxim, that the nature of an oath 
confifteth in the invocation of 7i fuperior, in whofe power 
we are ; and a refpe£l to puni/hment is that alone which 
gives force and efficacy to oaths among men. There is a 
principle ingrafted in the minds of men by nature, that 
God is the fupreme ruler and judge of them and their 
aftions ; and alfo that the holinefs of his nature, as well 
as his re£loral righteoufnefs and impartial judgement, re- 
quire fin be punilhed in them who are under his moral 
government. The fame principle informs them alfo of 
his cmnipotent power to punifli all forts of tranfgrefibrs, the 
higheft, greateil, and the moft exempt from human co^ 
nizance. According as the minds of men are actually in- 
fluenced by thefe principles, fo are their oaths valid and 

'E e 2 ufeful. 


lifeful, and no otherwife. But wherefore then is God 
faid tofwcay., who * can have no greater to fwear by/ no 
fuperior to whom in fwearing he fhould have refped^ ? It 
is becaule, as to infinite omnilcience, power, and righte- 
oufnefs, which are relpefted in an oath, God is that ef- 
fentially to hinifelf which he is, in a way of external go- 
vernment, to his creatures ; wherefore, when he will con- 
defcend to give us the utmoft fecurity and alTurance of any 
thing which our nature is capable of, antecedent to a£lual 
enjoyment, by the exprefs engagement of his holinsfs, 
veracity, and immutability, he is faid to ^ fwear ^^ or con- 
firm his Word with his oath. 

§ 5. * And fo, after he had patiently endured^ he ob- 
* tained the promife.' Abraham was not difcompofed or 
exafperated by his trials fo as to ivax weary, or to fall ofF 
from a dependence on God. The apoftle explains fully 
the nieaning of this word, ( U(Xxqo9 uicz) patient endurance^ 
[Rom., iv. I 8- — 21.]. ' Againft hope he believed in hope,' 
Sec. /. e. continuing in his way, a way of believing, he 
truiled to the veracity and power of God againft all diffi- 
culties and oppolitions. He abode a longfcafon in this con- 
dition, waiting on God and truiling to his powder. It is 
not a thing quickly tried v;hether a man be {^ccKpaQvuiog} 
one that will patiently endure or no. It is not from his 
deportment under one or two trials that a man can be fo 
denominated. Wherefore this word exprelleth the life 
and fpirit of that faith of Abraham, which is here pro- 
pofed as an example. The end of the whole was that 
{z'TTSiivyj TYig cTTO'.yFsXiocg, compos foetus ejl promijfionh ; oh- 
ihiuit promijjioneyn) obtained, or enjoyed, the promife. Sun- 
dry expolitors refer this ' obtaining of the promife' to the 
birth' of Ifaac ; but Ifaac was upwards of twenty years 
old when the promife . referred to was confirmed by the 
oath of God. It cannot therefore be that his -birth 
ihould be the thing promifed. Befides, he tv/ice informs 
us, [chap. xi. ver. 13- — 19.] that the ancient patriarchs, 
among whom he reckonetii Abraham, received not the 
promiles : wherefore Abraham's obtaining xht promife was 
no more than his enjoyment of the mercy, benefit, and 


Ver. 13— i^. EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS. 5^,0^ 

privilege of it in every Jiate and condition as he was cs-, 
pable. He who is freely juilified in Chrift, and there- 
withal made partaker of adoption and fandification, may 
well be faid to have ' obtained the promife.' Some 
things there were, therefore, in the promifes which could 
not be adually accomplilhed in his days ; fuch were tha 
birth of the blessing seed, the numeroufnefs and pro- 
fperity of his children according to the fielh, and the 
coming in of a multitude of nations to be his children 
by faith. 

§ 6. ' For men verily fwear by the greater, and an 
* oath for confirmation is to them an end of all flrife.* 
The light of nature witneffeth that the ultimate^ fupreme^ 
and moil fatisfaftory way of confirming what is fpokeii 
or promifed, is by an oath. And the apoftle argueth not 
merely from what men do by common confent, as it were, 
among themfelves, but what the law and order of all 
things, in fubje£lion to God, require. For whereas men 
ought to acknowledge his fupreme government over all, 
ajid when their own rites and concerns cannot be deter- 
mined and peaceably fixed by reafon or teftimony, or any- 
other inflrument whereof they have the ufe, it is necef- 
fary that an appeal be made to God for his interpolition, 
wherein all muft acquiefce. This, therefore, being 
araongfl men the highefl aiTurance and ultimate determi- 
nation of their thoughts, the holy God, intending the like 
aflurance in fpiritual things, confirms his promife by his 
oath, that v/e may know, from w^hat we ourfelves ulti- 
mately centre in, there can h^no accejjion of fecurity. They 
fwear by a greater, a nature fuperior to them, in whofe 
power, and at whofe difpofal, they are. When one 
party avers one thing, and another foraething contradic- 
tory, and no evidence arifeth from the matter controverted, 
there muft of neceffity be amongfl them [ccv^^ iKoy ic/. ccttsi- 
po<.jog) an endlefs ftrife and mutual contradiflion^ which 
would quickly bring all things to violence, confulion, and 
war, if there be no way to bring all parties to anacquiefcency. 
For he who hath peremptorily afferted his right, will not after- 
"^vards voluntarily forego it, not only becaufe of the iofs of 

a ■ his 


his juji clalm^^s he apprehends, but alfo,of his reputation in 
making an iinjidji claim thereto. In fuch cafes an oath is 
neceffiiry to th^ government and peace of mankind, as 
without which flrifes muft be eitlier perpetual, or eife 
ended by force and violence. This the apoitie refpecls 
when he faith, ' an oath among men is an end of flrife/ 
There is,tiierefore, to a lawful oath required -^.jujloccafion^ox. 
2.Jirife cLriiong men otherwife undeterminable; 2l lawful rule^ 
or government with power to propofe and to judge about the 
difference on t'le evidence give-), or a mutual conient of 
perfons concerned ; and, finally, a jolemn invocation of 
Gody as the fupreme governor of the world, for the in- 
ter pofition of his omnifcience and power, to fuppiy the 
defers and weakneiies of the rules and rulers of human 
fociety. This brings in the end of ?.n oath among men^ 
{"uTSCiOct; oiv]i7\oyiag) a termination of firlfe \ that is, to put 
bounds and limits to contentions and mutual contradic- 
tions : the vjay whereby this is done is by interpofing the 
oath {iiq Z'Jc>ociuo(Tiv) for confirmation ; for the avowing of 
the truth, rendering it firm and flable in the minds of 
men, which before did tlnftuate about it. 

If this be the nature, ufe, and end of an oath amongll 
m.rn\ if under the condudl of natural light, they thus 
ilTue all their differences, certainly the Gath of God mud 
o'i ncceiTitv be the moll ef^eftual means to iiiue all dif- 
ferences between him and believers, and to efiablifh their 
fouls in the faith of his promifes againfl all difhculties 

§ 7. fll.) Ohf T. We have need of every thing that 
may cVi.icnce the ftability of God's promifes to be repre- 
fented to us, for the encouragement and confirmation of 
our faith. As God redoubled the word to Abraham for 
the flrengihening of bis faith, fo he does here by the 
apoflle, that it might have the fame effect upon us, while 
it intimates tht fincerity of his intentions without referv'Cj 
and the ftahlllty of liis purpofes without alteration ; and 
thefe things wc have need of. If we think otherwife, we 
know littx of ihe nature of faith, of our own vveaknefs, 



the efficacy of the deceits of Satan, or the manifold op^ 
poikioiis which rile up agauvH beheving. 

§ B. Ohf. 2. Tiie grant and communicatioa of fpi^ 
j-itual privileges is a mere act or effect of fovereign grace. 
Even Abraham, who was fo exalted by ipiritual privi- 
leges, leems originally to have been tainted with the 
common idolatry which was then in the v/orld, [Joih, 
xxiv. 2, 3.] ' Your father dwelt on the other lide of 

* the flood in old time, Terah the father of Abraham, 

* and the father of Nachor, and they fervcd ether Gods^ 

* And I took your father Abraham from the other hde of 

* the flood.' It is true, the charge is exprefs againfl: Te- 
rah only : but it lieth againfl: xhcw fathers in general on 
the other flde of the flood, and it being added that God 
took Abraham from the other flde of the flood, he fctms 
to have been involved in the guilt of the fame (in whilft 
he was in his father's houfe before his call. As it was 
with Abraham, {o it is with all thofe who in any age are 
inade partakers of grace^ or even fpiritual privileges. 

§ 9. Obf. 3. Where the promife of God is abfolately 
engaged, it will break through all difficulties and oppoli- 
tions to a perfect accompliihment. No promife of G d 
fliall ever fliil, or be of none efl^e£l. PFe may fail, or 
come fliort of the promife, by our unbelief; but the pro- 
niifes themfelves fhall never fail. There have been great 
feafons of trial in many ages, wherein the faith of believers 
)iath been exercifed to the utraofl: about the accomplilhment 
of the promifes,' (and eminently in the cafe of Abraham,) 
JDUt the faithfiilnefs of God in them a!l hath hitherto been 
victorious, and will be fo for ever. Here remark : 

(i.) In all ages the faith of true believers hath been 
greatly and [peculiarly exercifed ; which hath been of An- 
gular advantage tp the church. For the exercife of faith 
is that whereon the flourifhing of all other graces doth 
depend. And from hence there hath been a treafnre of 
fervent prayers laid up from the beginning, which ihall \vt 
their proper feafon have a fruitful return. 

(2.) Hence it was that in mofl ages of the church there 
l^ave teen mockers and fcofers, faying, * Where is the 

* pro- 


*" promife of his coming, for fince th^ fathers fell a fleep 
*■ all things continue as from the beginning of the creation.' 
[II. Pet. iii. 4.] The *■ fathers* were thev who received the 
promifes ; efpecially that of the coming of ChriH:. The 
fum of what they fo declared was, that the ele6l of God 
ihould be delivered, and that judgement fliould be executed 
en ungodly men, by tiie coming of the Lord, [Jude xiv. 
15.] But what now is become of thefe * fathers,' with 
all their ' promifes' and preachments concerning them r 
Thus l\\tj feoff ^t all who dare own their expeftation. 

(3.) Some through haile and precipitation have fallen 
into manifold mfakes about the promife on the fame ac- 
count. Some have feigned to themfeives other things 
than God ever promifed ; as the generality of the Jews 
looked for a carnal rule, glory and dominion, at thp 
coming of the Me:iiah, which proved their temporal and 
eternal ruin. But whatever of this or any other kind 
may fall out by the unbehef of men, all the promifes of 
God are yea and amen, and will make their way through 
all difficulties to an affured accomplifliment in their pro-f 
per feafon. 

§ 10. Obf 4. Although there may be privileges at- 
tending fome promifes, peculiarly appropriated to fome cer- 
tain perfons ; yet the grace of promifes is certain to all 
believers. So Abraham had fundry perfonal privileges and 
advantages communicated to him in and by this promifcj 
yet the meaneil believer in the world is equally partaker of 
the fpiritual grace and mercy of the promife with Abra- 
ham himfelf. They are all by virtue hereof made heirs 
of God and co-heirs with Chrifl. 

§ II. The following fhort ohfervations may here be 
added : 

1. Whatever difficulty and oppofition may lie in the - 
way, patient endurance in faith and obedience will irfal^ 
lihly bring us to the full enjoyment of promifes. 

2. Faith gives fuch an intereft to believers in all the 
promifes of God, that they obtain even thofe promifes (that 
is, the benefit and comfort of them) whofe adual accom- 
plilhment in this world they do not behold, 

3. Tha^, 

Yer, 13—16. EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS. 213 

3. That there is, as we are in a ftate of nature, a dif- 
ference and y?r//^ between God and us. 

4. The promifes of God are gracious fropofah of the 
only way and means for the ending of that flrife. 

5. The oath of God interpofed for the confirmation 
of thefe promifes is every way fufficient to fecure believers 
againfl all objections and temptations, in all flreights and 
trials about peace with God through Jefus Chrift. 

6. Where matters are in llrife or controverfy among 
men, (the peace and tranquillity of human focietics de- 
pending on the right determination of them) it is lavvful 
for a Chrillian, being lawfully called, to confirm the 
truth which he knows by the interpofition or invocation 
of the name of God in an oath^ with this defign — to put 
an end to Jlr'ife. Wherefore I Ihall manifell: thefe two 
things : 

(i.) That a folemn oath is a part of the natural wor- 
lliip of God which the light of nature leads to, and is not 
only lawful, but in fome cafes a neceflary duty to Chrif- 
tians, and pofitlvely approved by God in his word. 

(2.) That there is nothing in the gofpcl tliat contradlds 
or controls this light of nature and divine inflitution, but 
there is that whereby they are confirmed. Thefe points de- 
ferve our attention. 

§ 12. For tX\QfirJl, we have the example of God him- 
felf, who, as we have {t^n, is faid fundry times to fivear^ 
and whofe oath is of fignal ufe to our faith and obedience. 
Now if men had not had a fenfe and underflanding of the 
nature, lawfulnefs, and obligation of an oath, from the 
light of nature, this would have been of no ufe, and the 
moft folemn fwearing of God v/as before the law^ as in 
that inilance which our apoftle infills upon of his oath to 
Abrahvim. — Hence holy men, before the giving of the 
law, ^id folemnly fzuear when a lawful occafion called for iL 

* So Abraham fwear to Ahimelek,' [Gen, xxi. 15.] * And 

* gave an oath to his fervant,' [Gen. xxiv. 3 — 9^] * So 

* Jacob fwear with Laban,' [Gen; xxxi. 52.] ' And ]o-^ 

* feph fwear to his father,' [Gen. xlvii. 31.] And thefe 
had no refpe£l to auy legal inflitution^ fa that their pradice 

Vol. IIL F f i^ould 


fhould be thought to be reproved in thofe paffages of the 
gofpel which will be mentioned afterwards. Now that 
oaths were in ufe and approved of under the lavj' is not 

The y^cowflT proportion afferts, that there is m the New 
Teftament nothing againft this practice, yea there is much 
to confirm it. Confidering the foundatian whereon it is 
built, — it is fufficient that there is not any thing in the 
gofpel contrary to it, as it was a pojitive hiftitution, but we 
may appeal to confirming evidence from prophecy and the 
New Teftament. The following prophetic pallage [Ifa, 
xlv. 23.] is expreflly applied to believers under the New 
Teftament, * I hTtSQ fwdrn hy myfelf^ the word is gone out 
*■ of my mouth in righteoufnefs, and fhall not return, that 

* to me every knee fhall bow, every tongue JJmll f wear ,^ [See 
alfo Jerem. xii. 16.] — The apoftle Paul folemnly fwears 
to the truth of his own affirmations concerning his fince-*- 
rity, [Rom. ix. 1. II. Gor. i. 2, 3.] It was not concern- 
ing any dodrines he taught ; they needed no confirmation 
by his oath, as deriving all their authority and alTurance 
from divine revelation ; but it was concerning his owr^ 
heart and purpofe, whereof there might be much hefita- 
tion contrary to the truth ; when yet it was of great con- 
cernment to the church to have them truly known and 
ftated. Had an oath been unlawful under the New Tef- 
tament, God would not have continued the ufe of it hi any 
kind, left Chriftians fliould thereby be drawn to ad againft 
the rule. But this he did in that of the angel, who lifted 
up his hand and ' fwear by him who liveth for ever and 

* ever.* [Rev. x. 5, 6.] To give a great and an approved 
example of that which we may in no cafe imitate, doth 
not become the wifdom of God, and his care towards his- 
church. Add to all thefe confiderations, the exprefs ap-^ 
probation given in this place by our apoftle to the practice 
of folemn fwearing among men to confirm the truth, and 
to put an end toftrife, and the lawfulnefs of an oath will 
be found fufficiently confirmed in the New Teftament as 
well as the Old. 

§ 13- 

Ver. i3-^i6. EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS, ai^ 

§ 13. There are two places in the New Teftament 
which are ufually pleaded in oppofition to this liberty and 
duty, viz. Matt. v. ^2'> — -7 ^^^ J^iri- v. 12. 

It is evident that this place of James is derived from, 
and hath an immediate refpefl to the words of our Savi- 
our ; it being an exprefs inculcation of his precept, and 
is founded on the fame reafon. The fame anfwer, there- 
fore, will ferve both places ; which will not be difficult; 
when we have noticed the reafons and circumftances o^ 
our Saviour's difcourfe. And to this end we may ob- 
ferve ; 

I. That all things prohibited by our Saviour in the 
fermon to the Jews, were in themfelves, and by virtue of 
the law of God, antecedently unlawful. Our Saviour rends 
the veil of their pharifalcal hypocrify, difcovers the cor- 
ruptions of their traditions and interpretations of the law, 
declares the true nature of fin, and in fundry inftances 
fhews how, by thefe falfe glofles, the body of the people 
had been drawn into foul-ruining fins ; whereby he re- 
Hored the law, fo to fpeak, to its prifline glory. Let any 
one of the particulars mentioned by our Saviour be confi- 
dered, and it will be found — that it was before unlawful 
in itfelf or declared fo in the pofitive law of God. That 
therefore which is prohibited, ' fwear not at all,' was 
fomewhat that was even then unlawful^ but pra(Elifed on 
the falfe glofles of the pharifees upon the law. Now this 
was not folemn fwearing in judgement and righteoufnefs, 
as before proved. 

2. Our Saviour exprellly limiteth his precept to our 
communication : ' Let your communication be yea, yea, nay, 
♦ nay,' [ver. 37.] There was amongil them, and that 
countenanced by the pharifees, a curfed way of mixing 
oaths with men's ordinary communication. This blaf- 
phemous wickednefs, as it was a dired violation of the 
third commandment, fo it was frequently rebuked by the 
prophets. But like other public fins, it increafed among 
the people, until their corrupt leaders, in compliance with 
them,' began to diftinguifh what oaths in common communica^ 
tm were lawfuj, and what were unlawful, what wer^ 

Y i ^ obliga- 


obligatory, and what were not. To eradicate this detef- 
table practice, onr Saviour gives this general prohibition 
to all that would be his difciples, * fwear not at all,' that 
is, in communication, which is the iirll defign of the 
third commandment. 

3. The direction and precept of our Saviour is given 
in direct oppolition to the corrupt gloffes and interpreta- 
tions of the law introduced by tradition, and made authen- 
tic by the authority of the pharifees. This is evident 
from the exprefs antithefis in the words ; ' you have heard 
* what hath been faid of old time, — but I fay unto you/ 
Now thefe were two : 

(i.) That there was no evil in aia oath at any time, 
but only in fvjearing falfcly. They concluded that God's 
name was not prophaned in fwearing, unlefs a man fwear 
falfcly^ that is, for/ware himfelf. Herein our Saviour in- 
terpofeth his divine interpretation, and, in oppofition to 
the corrupt exposition of the pharifees, declares, that not 
only falfe fwearing by the name of God in judgement or 
otherwife is forbidden in the command ; but alfo, that 
all vain interpofition of the name of God in our commu^ 
Tiication is utterly prohibited. And it is hence evident to 
me, that no man ought voluntarily to take an oath unlefs 
the matter in controverfy be undeterminable without it, and 
the authority be lawful that requires it, 

(2.) They had found out a way how they might fwear 
&nd fwear on, without the guilt o£ perjury, though what 
they fwore were never fo falfe ; and this was, not to 
fwear by the name of God himfelf (which if they did 
falfely they were perjured) but by the heavens, or by the 
tarth, or Jerufalem, or the temple, or the altar, or their 
Own heads ; for fuch oaths and execrations were then, as 
well as now, in ufe in ordinary converfation. But here* 
in alfo the filthy hypocrites had a farther reach, and had 
imlnuated another peftilent opinion into the minds of the 
people, tending to their own advantage. For they had 
3n]liu(?-cd them that they might freely fwear by the temple, 
but not by the gold of it ; and by the altar, but not by 
the ^//> that was upon it. [Matt, xxiii, 16—19.] For 


Ver. 13— 16. EPISTLE TO, THE HEBREWS. 217 

from the gold offered in the temple, and the gift brought 
to the altar, did advantage arife to thefe covetous hypo- 
crites, who would therefore beget a greater veneration in 
the minds of men towards them, than to the exprefs in- 
ilitutions of God. In oppofition to this corrupt pradice 
our Lord declares, that in all thefe things there is a tacit 
refped to God himfelf, and that his name is no lefs pro- 
phaned in them than if it were expreffly made ufe of. 

§ 14. There are two rules of interpretation which wc 
muft in fuch cafes always carry along with us : — that urn- 
verfal affirmations and negations are not always to be um^ 
verjally miderjlood, but are to be limited by their occafions, 
circumflances, and fubje6t matter treated of. Hence is 
the prohibition of our Saviour here to be limited to rajh 
and irreverent fwearing ; or otherv/ife it would be con- 
trary to the light of nature, the appointment of God, 
and the good of human fociety. The other rule is — 
that where any thing is prohibited in one place, and al- 
lowed in another, not the thing ttfelf abfolutely confidcred is 
fpoken to, but the different modes, caufes, ends and rea- 
fons of it are intended. So here, in one place fwearing 
is forbidden, in others it is allowed, and examples thereof 
are propofed to us ; wherefore it cannot ht fwearing abfo- 
lutely that is intended in either place ; but rajh, caufelefs 
fwearing is condemned in one, and fwearing in weighty 
caufes, for juft ends, with the properties of an oath be- 
fore inlifted on, is recommended and approved in the 
other. I fhall fhut up the difcourfe with three corollaries 
from it : 

I. That the cuftom of ufing oaths, fwearing, curling 
or im^precation, in common difcourfe, is not only an 
open tranlgreilion of the third commandment which God 
hath threatened to revenge, but it is a praftical renun- 
ciation alfo of the authority of Jcfus Chrifl who hath fo 
cxpreflly forbidden it. 

(2.) Whereas fwearing by the name of God in truth, 
righteoufnefs, and judgement, is an ordinance of God for 
an end of firlfc amongft men ; perjury is juftly reckoned 
;among the worft and higheil of lins, and is that which 



iefle(^s the greateft difhonour on God, and tcndeth to the 
luin of human fociety. 

3. Readinefs in fome to fwear on flight occaiions^ and 
the ordinary impoiitions of oaths on all forts of perfons, 
without a due confideration on either hand of the nature, 
ends, and properties of lawful fwearing, are evils greatly 
to be lamented, and in God's good time will be reformed. 

"Verses 17 — 20. 

wherein, god willing more abundantly to 
shew unto the heirs of promise the immu- 
tability of his counsel, confirmed it by 
an oath ; that by two immutable things, 
in which it was impossible for god to ly£^ 
we might have a strong consolation, who 
have fled for refuge to lay hold upon 
the hope set before us ,' which hope we 
have as an anchor of the soul both sure. 
and 5tedfast, and which entereth into 
that within the veil ; whither the 
fore-runner is for us entered, even jesus, 
made an high priest for ever after thjb 
order of melchisedec. 

§ I. 'Thefubje^propofed. § 2. (I.) ^he words Interpreted,. 
§ 3. T^he immutability of Go d* s coiinf el. § 4. Confirmed 
hy an oath. § 5. 'Tvjq immutable things^ ivhat. § 6, 
For confolatmu ^ J. To whom. § 9, 10. Hopey the 
Chrijiiayis anchor. § 11, 12. 'J ejus our fore-runner^ 
§ 13. (II.) Obfervatiom, The fovereign will of God the 
fpring of all grace. § 14. In conjun^ion luith hifinit^ 
w'ljdom. § 15. 1. he purpofe of Gad U immutable^ § ^6 
• — 26. Other obfervatkns, 

§ I. xN this laft part of the chapter two thing.s are far- 
ther defigned by the apoille : 


Ver. 17— 40. EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS. 2t^ 

Firft, an explication of the puq)ofe and end of God ia 
his promife. 

Secondly, a confirmation of the whole privilege. 

§ 2. (I.) * Wherein God willing ' (Ey Z) ' wherein^ 
that is, fay many, (i(p w) for which caufe. Refped may 
be had — either, to the words immediately foregoing, * an 

* oath among men is to them an end of fcrife.' Whereas 
mankind doth confent herein, that an oath, in things ca- 
pable of no other proof or demonllration, fhail end con- 
troverfies, fatisfy doubts, and put an iffue to contradic- 
tions, diiFerences, and flrife ; God took the fame way ia 
an infinite, gracious condefcenfion, to give full fatisfac- 
tion in this matter to the heirs of promife. — Or, this 
cxpreffion (=j/ a!) may refpeft the whole fubjeft matter ; 
in this matter God fware by himfelf, that thereby the heirs 
of promife might not only be fettled in faith, but more- 
over might receive therewith ftrong confolations ; and 
this import of the words we fhall adhere to. (0=0^ (S^Xo" 
■usvog) God willing, is, God in fovereign grace, and from 

fpecial love, freely purpofing and determining in himfelf to 
do the thing exprelTed, for the relief and comfort of be- 

§ 3. ' The immutability of his counfel.' The coufi- 
fel of God is the eternal purpofe of his will ; called his 

* counfel' becaufe of the infinite wifdom wherewith it is 
always accompanied. So that which is called the * good 

* pleafure which he had purpofed in himfelf,' [Ephef i. 
9.] is term-ed the ' counfel of his will,' [ver. 11.] The 
tnd of counfel^ or all rational deliberation, is to find out 
the true and ftable directions of wifdom ; hence the a£ts 
of the will of God, being accompanied with infinite wif- 
dom, are called his counfel. Vot we are not to look upon 
the purpofes and decrees of God as mere a^s of will and 
pleafure, but as thofe that are effefts of infinite wifdom^ 
and therefote moft reafonable, although the reafons of 
them be fometimes unknown to- us. (To oiii.^\o(.^^ov) immu'- 
tabiliiy is [quod uflccji9c(r9oii, nequit) * what cannot be alter- 

* ed.' But the defign of God here was not to make his 
counfel unehangeable, but to declare it to be fo. For all 



the purpofes of God, all the eternal a£ls of his will, con* 
fidered in themfelves, are immutable. 

This immutability God was willing ' more abundantly 
* to fhew to the heirs of promife.' [ETrihi^a^i] to JhevJ^ 
manifeft, declare, make known ; it is not his counfel 
abfolutely, but the immutability of his counfel, that God 
designed to evidence. His counfel he made known in his 
promife ; but whereas God intended not only the confir- 
mation of iho faith of the heirs of promife, but alfo their 
confolaiion under all their difficulties and temptations, he 
would give a peculiar evidence of the * immutability^ of 
that counfel which they embraced by faith as tendered ia 
the promife. Yea he would do it {ttc^io-u-oJsqov) more 
abundantly ; that is, beyond what was abfolutely ncceffary 
ill this cafe ; he fwears by himfelf even he who hath 
taught us not to ufe his name but in things of great con- 
sequence and moment. This is the fenfe of the word if 
it refpeft the affurance given, which is more abundant than 
it could be in or by a fingle promife. But the word {tts- 
m-(ro]ioov) may refer to God himfelf who gives this affu- 
rance ; and then it is as much as ex abundanti ; from a 
fuper abounding love and care he would confirm it by his 
oath. Either fenfe fuits the apoflle's defign. 

' To the heirs of promife,' that is, believers, all be- 
lievers, both under the Old and New Teflament ; who 
are here fo called with refpe£t to the matt-er of the pro- 
mife or the thing promifed, in which they have an a^ual 
interefl by faith ; for it is not the firfr believing of thefe 
heirs of the promife that they might be juflified, which 
is intended, but their eilablilhment in faith, whereby 
they may be comforted^ or have * ftrong confolation.' 

§ 4. To this end God [i^iTLTixxriv o^kcaj, fidejuf/it jure^ 
jurando) interpofed by an oath. He that conlirmeth anything 
by an oath is fidejufjor^ one that gives fecurity to faith, 
and this in the law is interventor^ one who interpofeth or 
Cometh between, and engageth himfelf to give fecurity. 
This ilate of things is therefore here fuppofed : God had 
given out that promife, whole nature vvc have before de- 
clared. Hereon he juflly requiveth the faith of them to 
a whom 

Ver. 17—20. EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS. 221 

whom it was given. For what could any reafonable per- 
fon require farther to give than fufficient ground of aiTu-. 
ranee ? But although all things were clear and fatisfac- 
tory on the part of God, yet many fears, doubts, and 
chjediom would be ready to arife on the part of believers 
themfelves, as there did in Abraham ; yet out of his in- 
finite love and condefcenfion he will give them a higher 
pledge and evidence of his faithfulnefs ; he mediated by an 
oath \ he hiterpofed between the,promife and the faith of 
believers, to undertake the accomplifhment of it ; and 
fvvearing by h'lmfelf^ he takes it on his I'lfe^ his beings his 
holinefs, and his truth, to make it good. 

§ 5. ' That by two immutable th'mgs, (TTDayuLaTOCv) 
aHs^ and deeds, fuch as we make and deliver when we 
convey any thing from one to another. The word (Trpd^jy- 
iLO(.) denotes an tnjlrumcnt of aflurance. But what need 
was there of two fuch things? Is it becaufe one of thefe 
was weak, alterable, and fuch as may be juflly excepted 
againft, that the other is added to ftrengthen and con- 
firm it ? No, faith the apollle, both of them are equally 
immutable. Wherefore we mull flill carry along with us, 
the infinite and inconceivable condefcenfion of God irk 
this matter, who, to obviate our temptations and relieve 
us under our weakneiles, is pleafed to give this variety 
to his divine teflimony, which he did ex abundantly not 
only beyond what he was any way obliged to, but beyond 
whatever we could delire. (Ev otg aSvvccTOV \JjcV(roco-9cci 
Gcov) In or by which it was impofjlble that God Jhould lie or 
deceive. The word ('^svcroi(r9(Zi} is not abfoiutely to lie^ 
but by any means to deceive him who hath caufe to trull 
what we fay or do. The highell fecurity among men 
cdnfifts in a promife confirmed with an oath ; and this 
muft be to them an end of flrife, for higher they can- 
not go. But yet it is poflible there may be a He or de- 
ceit in their teflimony, and he who trulls to them may be 
deceived, as it often happens ; for although the things 
themfelves are good, and fuch as would fecure the in- 
tercll of truth only, yet men that ufe them are change- 
able, yea liars. But it is God that makes ufe of them, 

Vol. IIL G g i* 


m our cafe^ and therefore it is impojjihle that he fliould 
lie. The apoflle fpeaks not of the nature of the things 
themfelves, but of their manifeJiaUon with refpeft ta 
us. God's immutability in promiling, and irapoiri- 
bihty in deceiving, are both equally from his nature ; 
but the diflind propofal of them is needful to our en- 
couragement and eftablifliment, as immediately added. 

§ 6. ' That we might have a llrong confolation.* (Ivo^ 
iyjjoiLcv) ' That we might have :' herein he builds on this 
principle, that whatever God promifed and fware to Abra- 
haniy he did the fame to all believers ; fo that every 
promife of the covenant belongeth equally to him and 
them. — (HapocKXTjcrr^) a confolation^ that arifeth from the 
afjurance of faith j and of our intereft thereby in the pro- 
mife of God: this is that which relieves our fouls againft 
all fears, doubts, and troubles ;— and this confolation is 
{L(ryj)Qocv) Jirong., powerful, prevalent ; *■ llrong,' fo as to 
be prevalent again 11 oppolition ; it is not the abounding 
of confolation in us, but the prevalency of the caufes of 
it againft oppofition, that is intended. 

§ 7. * Who have £ed for refuge.' (O/ 7iaTa<pvyovT5gy 
qui ciirfum corripiunt) that fiy for refuge ; it is the judge- 
lYient of many that here is an allufion to him who had 
flain a man unawares under the law, whofe fafety and 
life depended on his fpeedy flight to one of the cities of 
refuge, [Numb. xxxv. 11, 12.] and hereunto our tranf- 
lators had undoubtedly refpeft, whereon they rendered 
the word * flying for refuge.' And indeed the word itfelf 
iignifies fuch an aftion as is there afcribed to the man- 
flayer ; for the word [v^D(,^a(^\)yiLV^ properly curfum conl- 
pere) hath refpeft to an apprehenjion of danger^ or a real 
furprifal, whereon a man takes his flight for deliverance, 
and likewife fpecd and diligence in an endeavour to attain 
a propofed end, as the means of his deliverance, and 
wliereby he hopes to find fafety. And hereby doth the 
Holy Ghoft exprefs in a lively manner the ftate and con- 
dition of all the heirs of promife in this matter. 

But what is this * hope fet before us ?' Hope, by a me- 
tonymy of the efled for the caufe, may exprefs the pro- 
mi fs^ 

Ver. i;— 20. EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS. 423 

mife itfelf, which is the caufe and means of ingenera- 
ting hope in us ; which I take to be the proper meaning 
of the place ; and this hope is faid to be * fet before us, 
or ■propofcd to us, viz. in the declaration of the promife, 
or the difpenfation of the gofpel. And it is more na- 
tural to allow of this metonymical expreflion in the word 
hope, than to admit of fo rough a catachrejis in the other 
part of the words, wherein the grace of hope within us 
fhould be faid to be ' fet before us.' — * To lay hold/ 
{yi^o:,i:vi(roci, that is, ziq to KpccrY}(r<Xh foniter apprehendercy 
confianter ret'inere.) The iignification of this word, fre- 
quently ufed by our apoftle, I have on fundry occaiions 
before declared ; it is (injeda in manu, totis virlbus ret'inere) 
' to hold fafl what we lay hold on, with all our might 
* and power.' There feer/is in the whole metaphor to be 
an allufion to thofe who run in a race ; for whereas they 
have a prize fet before them, they firll ftir up themfelves 
with all their flrength to fpeed towards the mark, which, 
when they have attained it, they both lay hold fail on, 
and bear it away as their own. 

§ 8e * Which (hope) we have.' Having made men=- 
tion of our hope with refpe^l to the promife of God, he 
adds an account of the ufe of that hope in the courfe of 
our obedience. And he leaves herein the metonymical iig- 
nification of the word, returning to that which is pro- 
per, namely, the grace of hope in us ; but yet, as it in- 
cludes its objed, or the promife laid hold of by faith : 
this hope, then, is a iirm truji in God for the enjoyment 
of the good things contained in his promifes at the ap- 
pointed feafon, raiiing in the foul an earneil deiire after 
them, and expeftation of them. And for want of the 
knowledge of the nature of this grace many live without 
any beneiit of its exercife. It fpr'mgs from faith, ancj 
coniiils in truft in God, or it is the iiduciary ad of faith 
on God in the promifes, as it refpe£^s the good things of 
it, as yet abfent, future, unenjoyed. 

§ 9. * As an anchor of the foul, both fure and iled- 
* fail.* The fouls of believers, it feems, have need of an 
anchor \ the nature and ufe of which is ta hold faft ths 

G g z lnip» 


fhip, and to keep it fteady in ftorms and tempefls, when 

the art and fkill of the mariners are overcome by the 

>ilerccnefs of the wind and fea, that they cannot ileer the 

fhip in its right courfe, nor preferve it from rocks or 

fhelves. When fhlps are in their harbour, that they 

may not be tolTed up and down at uncertainty, which 

our apoHle alludes to, [Ephef. iv. 13, 14.] an anchor is 

cafl to keep the veflel Heady to its pollure. There are 

therefore two things fuppofed in this allufion : 

, I. That the fouls of believers are fometimes expofed 

I to Jlorms and fpiritual dangers ; thefe florms are dange- 

\ rous, becaufe of their violence and their deilrudlive tct\- 

' dency, 

2. That the ordinary occaiions of this life, and our 
duties towards God and men therein, are like the tra- 
dings of fhips in their harbour ; for therein a good and 
fure anchor is neceiTary ; and without that which fpiri- 
tually anfwers thereto, we fhall fiuBiiate up and down in 
all we do, and be in continual hazard of ruin. 

* Sure and iledfaft.' It is as to its nature, {oc<T<po^>7/i) 
* fure,^ will not fail, it may be fafely trufled to ; the fub- 
llance of it is firm, the proportion of it is fuited to the 
burden of the fliip ; and it is no fair promifing, and yet 
deceitful engine. It is alfo, as to its ufe (l2s[3cci(y.y) Jied- 
faji and firm, which no violence of winds and ilorms 
can either break or move from its hold. Such is genuine 
hope to the foul ; it is fure, not a deceiving imagina- 
tion ; * It maketh not afliamed,' [Rom. v. 5.] by any 
failure or difappointment. Groundlefs prefumptions are 
the deceitful engines whereby the fouls of multitudes are 
ruined every day ; of no more ufe than if the mariners 
Ihould call out a log, or a burden of llraw, to flay their 
vefTel in a florm. But hope built on faith is infallible: 
it is firm, invincible againfl all oppofitions, not indeed 
from itfelf, but from the ground which it fixeth upon — • 
Chrift in the promife. 

§ 10. * And which entereth into that within the veiU' 
'Herein there is z diffimiUtiide in the things compared ; for 
an anchor is call downwards^ and fixeth itfelf on the earth 



at the bottom of the fea ; but hope afcendeth upwards^ 
and fixeth itfelf in heaven, or in that which is there. But 
it iliould be here remarked, that to the natural ^Wwdon }\x^ 
mentioned, the apoiile adds alio one that is typical, whicji 
renders the whole context figurative. The ' vail,' there- 
fore, here alluded to, was that which parted the moft holy- 
place from the fanftuary or body of the temple. Now 
that which was denoted hereby with refpeil to Chrifl and 
his prieflhood, were thefe afpcBable heavens through which 
he paiTed in his afceniion into the glorious prefence of 
God. As an anchor jflays not in the ways of the fea, as) 
it cannot fix itfelf in the waters, but pierceth through! 
them until it come to Jolid earth ; no m.ore can the hope 
of a believer fix itfelf on any thing under thefe heavens, 
but it pierceth through all until it come within the veil. 
And what is it that is withm this veil ? Not an ark and a 
mercy feat ; not tables of flones and cherubims, the work 
of men's hands ; but the things fignified by them ; God 
himfelf on a throne of grace, and the Lord Chrifl as the 
High Priefl of the church flanding at his right hand. 
The Father as the author ; the Lord Jefus Chriji as the 
purchafer ; the covenant as the conveyer of ail grace ; 
which were all typically reprefented by things ' within the 

* veil.' And the apoflle makes ufe of this expreflion to 
inflru£l the Hebrews in the nature and ufe of the old ta- 
bernacle inflitutions, and from thence in the true nature 
of the prieflhood of Chrifl, which he is now returning to. 

§ I I. ' Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even 
^ Jefus made an High Priefl for ever after the order of 

* Melchifedec' The apoflle concluded this long digref- 
fion, as he doth all hi-s other difcourfcs, in the perfon of 
Chrifl, being the author and finiflier of our faith ; with 
him he begins, and in him he ends conti'iually. — Here is 
given new afjurancc to the efficacy and pre valency of hope 
fixed in the promife, as it enters into that within the veil; 
namely, becaufe Jefus Chrift our High Prief is there. It 
enters (otts?) vjhither Chrifl is gone. Even heaven itfelf 
would be no fafe place for us to fix the anchor of our 
trufl and hope in, if Chrifl were not tliere. — ' Evea 


{l'/jc'<ig) Jefus.^ This was the name under which he was 
reproached, reviled, crucified, and flain as a inalefadlor, 

* they crucified Jefus,'' It is one and the fame fefus, who 
was humbled and is ej^alted, who died ignominioufly and 
lives for ever in glory. 

§ 12. (ITpoSpo^xo^UTTSp Yi^Mv) A forsYunner for ui. It is; 
indifferent whether we render the words, the forerunner for 
fiSf that is, our forerunner is entered ; or, the forerunner is 
entered for us ; both come to the fame purpofe ; and our 
tranflators {o place the words as if they inclined to the 
latter. — A forerunner, (7rpobpou.og,) pra^ciirfor^ is one who, 
in an affair of public concern, makes fpeed by himfelf to 
the appointed place, to give an account of the affair about 
which fhe is engaged. Commonly indeed fuch a public har^ 
linger is inferior to thofe who come after, being only that 
and nothing moie. But although Chriil be ?i forerunner 
cfo, yet he is more ; he is the perfon in v^hofe hand lieth 
the whole affair \ which office he difcharged becaufe of its 
greatnefs, and which could not be managed by any other. 
When Jefus entered into the holy place, he did it not 
merely for himfelf, but to gc before, to condu£l the whole 
church into the fame glory.— (T9raa ViIjlocv) for us ; that 
5:5, all believers, the whole church, in all places and times. 
Chrift entering into heaven makes an open declaration;, 
that he hath * led captivity captive, fpoiled principalities 

* and pov/ers, and tiiumphed over them ; that he hath ob- 

* tained his portion, and divided the fpoil with the flrong.* 
[Ifa. Ixiii. 12.] That he hath refcued his church from 
the power of fm, Satan, death, and law. Heaven is 
now ready for us, whenever we are meet and ready for hea- 
ven. — He is not faid abfolutely to enter into his glory ; 
but to enter asa pr'iejl, as through a vail, as into the holy 
place, when he continues as our forerunner in the exercife 
of that ofhce, ' made an High Priell after the order of 

* Melchifedtc ;' of which we mull treat in the next 

§ 13. (II.) Ohf. I. The fovereign will of God is the 

fole fpring and caufe of all the grace, mercy, and confo- 

lation that believers are m.ade partakers of in this v/orld, 

2 God 

VL^.t';---zo. ^PlSTLE TO THE HEBREV7S. 2iy 

God wills it fliould be fo. Man being fallen off from 
the grace and love of God, and being every way com« 
Ibort of his glory, had no way left to obtain any re- 
lief, any confolation. Wherefore thefe things couidt 
have no caufe but in a free gracious aft of the fovercign 
vj'dl and pleafure of God. And a due confideration of 
this fovereign fpring of all grace and confolation wiii 
greatly influence our minds to all the principal duties of" 
obedience. Such as thankfidnefs to God, [Ephef. i. 3 — . 
5.] Humility in ourfelves, [I. Cor. iv. 7.] and cofupajjioji 
towards others, [II. Tim. ii. 25, 26.] 

§ 14. Ohf. 2. The purpofe of God for the faving of the 
cleft by Jefus Chrift is an aft of infinite wifdom, as well 
as of fovereign grace ; hence it is called the ' connfel of 

* his will,' or an aft of his will, accompanied with infi- 
nite wifdom, w4iich is the counfel of God. And among 
all the holy properties of his nature, tlie manifeflation of 
whofe glory he defigned therein, there is none more 
€xpre{Ily and frequently mentioned than his wifdom : 
hence our apoftle fhutteth up his contemplation of the 
ways and effefts of this wifdom with that rapture of ad- 
miration, [Rom. xi. 33 — 36.] ' O the depth of the 

* riches of the w^ifdom and knowledge of God 1 \\0\7 

* unfearchable are his judgements, and his. ways paft find- 

* ing oat ! For wlio hath known the mind of the Lord, 

* or who hath been his counfellor ? Or hath firfl gi-* 

* ven him, and it Ihall be recompenfed to him again : 

* for of him, and through him, and to him are all 

* thiiigs, to whom be glory for ever, amen ?' The whole 
iiTue of our contemplation: of the wifdom of God in the 
eternal projeftio-n of our falvation by Jefus Chrifl, is 
only an admiration of that abyfs which we cannot dive 
into, with an humble afcription of glory to God on its 
account. But, alas ! we fee many every day defpife this 
v/ifdom of God. Hence all the principal parts of it, as 
the incarnation of Chrift, the hypojiatical union of his per- 
fen, his facrifice and oblation, the atonement and fatif- 
faftion made by his death, the imputation of his righte- 
©ufiiefs, flie ek^ion of grace, with the power and efficacy 



of it in our converfion — are all either direftly exploded as 
fbolifli, or wreiled to fenfcs fuitcd to their own law and 
carnal apprehenfions. And this fort of men fwarm 
among us at this day like locufi^ when a 7iortheaJi v/ind 
hath filled every place with them. I have named thefe 
things only in order thereby to refle<5i: on that horrible de- 
pravation which, by the corruption of nature, is come 
upon the minds and reajhi of mankind. Nor is it more 
evident in any than in thofe who boail of the contrary. 
We may learn from hence, that we have the greatefl evi- 
dence of thriving in fp'irltual light and underjianding, when we 
find our fouls aire£led with, and raifed to an holy admira- 
tion of the wifdom and counfel of God, declared m the 

§ 15. Obf. 3. The purpofe of God concerning the 
falvation of the ele£t by Jefus Chrifl, became immutable 
from hence, — that the determination of his will was ac- 
companied with infinite wifdom. It was his counfeL He 
faw at once not only what was needful for accomplifhing 
it, but alfo that which would infallibly effed it. Such 
was \\\% fending his Son to be Incarnate ; and the difpenfatioii 
of the grace of the new covenant, which is in its nature 
infallibly efFe£lual to the end whereunto it is deligned. 

§ 16. Obf. 4. Infinite goodnefs, as a£ling itfelf in 
Chrift, was not fatisfied in providing and preparing good 
things for believers, but it would alfo Ihew and declare it 
to them for their prefent confolatlon. God was willing to 
' fhew to the heirs of the promife ;' and the end was, that 
they might have ' flrong confolation :' as it is with a good 
wife father and an obedient fon. The father is pofTefTed 
of a large and profitable eflate ; and as the fon hath a 
prefent allowance fuitable to his condition, fo, being obe- 
dient, he hath a jufl expe6lation that in due time he fhall 
enjoy the whole inheritance. This is ufual among men, 
and what the law ^f nature diredts to ; for ' parents are 
' to lay up for thrir children, and not children for their 
' parents.' But the whole being yet in the father's 
power, it is pojjtble he may otherwife difpofe of it, and it 
may not come to the right heir ; but now if his father 


Veu. i;-"2o. epistle TO THE HEBREWS. 229 

fees that his fan, oi\ fome occafion, wants encourage- 
ment ; or, he putting hiin on any difficult fervice, where 
he may meet with llorcns and dangers, he w]\\y/)ew hhn 
his deeds of fettlement, wherein he hath irrevocably con- 
firmed to him the whole inheritance. So G )d deais with 
believers ; although their llate be thus fecured by their 
being heirs of the promife, yet God knowing that they 
have a difficult work and vjartare to go through, and 
what it is to ferve him in temptations, for their encou- 
ragement and confolation, he produceth and Ihewe h 
them his irrevocable deed of fcttlement \ namely. Ins pro- 
mife, confirmed by his oath, whereby the whole inheri- 
tance is infallibly fecured to them. He was free and 
willing to * Ihew it to the heirs of promif .* He doth 
not, therefore, only propofe his mind and will to us, as 
to grace and glory, but ufeth all ways pofTible fo ingene- 
rate in us to a participation of them ; he d(;rh every 
thing that may dire»St atid encourage us to take a Itedfall 
view of the excellency and immatahihty of his counfel in 
this matter. Hence a great par^ of the fcripture, the 
revelation of God's will, is taken up in .promifes, ex- 
hortations, invitations, Jifc jurfes, and expreffions of love, 
kindnefs, and com jaifion , and in particular, although the 
promife itfclf was an abundant fecurity for faith to reil 
upon as to the immutability of God's counfel, yet to ob- 
viate all pretences, and caft out aU excufes, he confirms it 
with his oath. Hence natur lly iilue, 

I. The unfpeakable encc)urai;ement to believing, whic'i 
is given to all to whom this counfel of God and its im- 
mutabihty is propofed. The eliential truth of God and 
his cath are openly and mat-iteftiy engnged, that nothing 
bjt unbelief Ihall keep off any frorji the cnjovment of 
the promife, and that all believers, whatever difficulties 
they may meet with in themfelves, or objeftioMS againft 
themfelves, lliall certainly and'-lv enjoy the pro- 
mife and be faved : and the immut bijiry rf his counfel 
herein God hath made fo evident, that there is no room 
for any objcaion ?gainft it. This is tendered unto vou 
to whom the gofpel is propolii^d. Greater encouragement 

Vol. liL Hh to 


to believing, and more certainty of the event, you fhall 
never have in this world ; you cannot have. 

2. It difcovers the heinous nature of unbelief. The 
gofpel, which is a meflage of love, peace, mercy, and 
grace, yet never makes mention of unbelief but it an- 
nexeth damnation to it. * He that believeth not fhall be 
* damned.'* 'i hofe that will defpife all that God will doj, 
yea, with reverence be it fpoken, all that he can do, to 
give tliem alTurance of the truth and {lability of his pro- 
inifes, have no reafon to expe£l any thing but what he 
will do in a way of juftice and vengeance. 

§ 17. Ohf. 5. It is not all mankind univerfally, but a 
certain number of perfons, under certain qualifications, 
to whom God defigns to manifefl the immutability of his 
counfel, and to communicate the effeds thereof. It is 
only the ' heirs of promife* whom God intendeth. 
But herein two things are to be confidered ; — the outward 
revelation or adminiJlraUon of thefe things, — and God's 
purpofe therein. l.h^ former is made promifcuoufly and in- 
definitely to all to whom the gofpel is preached, yet the 
grace of it was intended only to the eleft, as our apoflle 
declares, [Rom. xi. 7.] But why then doth God caufe 
the declaration to be made promifcuoufly and indefinitely 
unto all, if it be fome only whom he defigns to a partici- 
pation of the efFe£ls of his counfel and the good things 
promifed ? I anfwer, the nature of the thing itfelf doth 
require this difpenfation of the promife indefinitely to all, 
though the benefit of it be deligned for fome only. Such 
"ways alone appear fuited to glorify God and his grace in 
Xht rational minds of his creatures ; for how could this be 
done but by the declaration and preaching of the promife, 
with commands, motives, and encouragements to be- 
lieving ? 

§ 18. Ohf. 6. God alone knows the due meafures of 
divine condefcenfion, or what becomes the divine nature 
therein. Who could, who durft have once apprehended, 
that the holy God ihouXdi fwcar by himfelf to confirm his 
word and truth to fuch worthlefs creatures as we are i 
And as we are with holy confidence to make ufe of what 


Ver. 17—20. EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS. 231 

he hath done in this kind, feeing not to do fo is to defpife 
the higheft exprefTion of his goodnefs, fo we are not ia 
any thing to draw divine condefcenjion beyond divine ex^ 

§ 19. Obf. 7. So unfpeakable is the weaknefs of our 
faith, that we fland in need of inconceivable divine con- 
defcenfion for its confirmation. The immutability of 
God's counfel is the foundation of our faith ; until this 
be manifelL, it is impoflible that ever faith and hope 
fhould be fure and ftcdfaft. But who would not think 
that God's declaration, therefore, by way of promife, were 
every way futhcient thereunto ? Bat God knew that we 
yet Hood in need of more ; not that there was want of 
fufficient evidence in his promifes, but fuch a want of 
liability in us as flood in need of a fuperabundant con- 

§ 20. Obf, 8. Fallen finful man (lands in need of the 
lUmoft encouragement that divine condefcenfion can ex- 
hibit, to prevail with him to receive and lay hold of the 
promife of grace and mercy by Jefus Chrift. There is 
nothing that vve are fo prone to as to diftruft the promifes 
of God ; nothing that we are with more difficulty won 
over to than to mix them with faith. There are fecret 
thoughts in the hearts of men (which are deceitful above 
all things, and defperately wicked) that neither the pro- 
mifes nor threatenings of God are true in the terms and 
fenfe wherein they are propofed to them. They neither 
think that it fhall be fo bad with any as he threateneth, 
nor fo well as he promifeth ; they think that there are 
ilill fome referves and latent conditions in the promifes and 
threatenings of God, and that God knows it fhall be 
otherwife than they feem to pretend. Whatever may be 
the truth of the promife, yet they cannot conceive that 
God intends them therein ; whereas yet there is no declara- 
tion or intention of God, whereby our duty is to be regu- 
lated, and whereon we fhall be judged, but what is con- 
tained and expreiTed in the propofal of the promife itfelf. 
The curfe of the law having, by the guilt of fin, been 
admitted to exercife dominion over the whole foul, it is 
H h 2 a great 


a great thing to receive and admit of a teflimony to the 
contrary, fuch as the proinife is. What the law fpeaks, 
it (peaks to them that are under it, as all men are by 
nature ; and it fpeaks in the heart of every man, that 
* the finner rnuil die :' confcicnce complies alfo, and adds 
thereto its ready fuffrage ; this fixeth a conclufion in the 
mind, that fo it will be, whatever may be ofTered to the 
contrary. The teflimony of God in the promife is, — 
that there is a way of life and falvation for finners, and 
that God ofFereth this way and an interefl therein to us ; 
now nothing but the exceeding greatnefs of the power of 
grace can enable a guilty iinner, thus circumilajiced, to 
' fet to his feal that God is true :' on thele grounds it is 
that poor linners have fuch need of the reduplication of 
divine alTu ranees. 

§ 2 1. Ohf. 9 Senfe cf danger and ruin from fin is 
j the firft tiling wliich occalions a foul to look out after 
Chrifl in the promife. It is implied in the word {kc^oc- 
(pvySLv) which we render '' fiy for refuge.'' As the Lord 
Chrift came to feek and fave that which was lofl, fo if 
men are not fenfible of their loft condition, of the fin 
and ficknefs of their fouls, they will never in good ear- 
neil look out after him ; and, therefore, thofe by whom 
convidtion of fin and humiliation for it are defpifed, as 
they are by many, Chrlji himfelf alfo, who is the end of 
the law (and all its convictions) for ' righteoufnefs,' is 

§ 2 2. Obf. lo. A full conviction of fin is a great and 
Ihaking furprifai to a guilty foul ; hence is fuch a one 
here tacitly compared to him who had killed a man at 
vinawares. He was juft before in a conditiou of peace and 
fa-e*:-^, fearing no man, but with quietnefs and affurance 
attendii^g liis ovvn occafions ; but liaving now flain a man 
at unawares, he finds all on a fudden changed 
around him : fear from within, and danger from without, 
befet Inm on every hand. If he feeth any man, he fup- 
pofetti him X\-t avenger of blood \ and if he feeth no man, 
f< 1 tude is dreadful to him. No otherwife is it with 
theiii who arc thoroughly convinced of fin. They were 
^ * alive: 

Ver. 17-^20. EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS. 233 

* al'ivc^^ as the apoftle fpeaks, [Rom. vli.] and at peace, 
fearing no more evii than they felt ; perhaps perfuading 
tliemfelves that ali things were well between God and 
their fouls, or not much folicitous whether they were or 
no. In this ilate the commandment comes and difcovers 
tlieir guilt and danger, and unveils the curfe which until 
now was hidden from them, as the avenger of blood 
ready to execute the fentence of" the law. Tliis being a 
thing which they never exoeded nor feared, lills tlieiu 
with great furpnfals. Hence are thofc cries of fuch per- 
fons, ' What Ihall we do to be laved V I'hat argues a 
great diilrefs and no Imall amazenient ; and thofe who 
know nothing of thele things, are utterly ignorant both 
of fin and grace. 

§ 23. Obf. II. The revelation or difcovery of the 
promife, or of Chriil in the promife, is that alone which 
direds convinced iinners in their proper courfe and way^ 
This is the ' fetting of an hope before them ;' and they 
are called to turn into this llrong tower, as prifoners oi 
hope, that they might be brought out of the pit through 
the blood of the eveiiailing covenant. The man flayer 
probably may have many contrivances fuggefted in his 
mind how he might efeape the danger to which he was 
expofed ; but, alas I ali thefe things did but keep him out 
of his way, and divert hi w from his duty ; and the longer 
be entertained them in his thoughts, the more his danger 
was increafed, and his life hazarded. If was the remem- 
brance alone of the city of refuge, fet before him in the 
divine appointment, that direded him to his proper 
work, and fet him in his way to fafety ; juft fo is it with 
perfons under convictions -of iin. 

§ 24. To thefe obfervations we may fubjoin the fol- 
lowing brief ones : 

I. Wherever there is the leail degree of faving faith, 
upon the firfl: difcovery of Chrift in the pro:nife, it will 
flir up the whole foul to make out towards him, and a 
participation of him. As faith is begotten in the foul 
by the promife, fo the iirll: natural genuine ad of it tends 
%Q a farfher participation of that piomifc. 

2. It 


2. It is the duty and wifdom of all thofe to whom 
Chrift in the promife is once difcpvered, by any gofpel 
means or ordinance once fet before them, to admit of n» 
delay of a thorough doling with him. 

3. There is a fpiritual ftrength and vigour required to* 
the fecuring of our interefl in the promife., (Kna]^(Tcci) to 
lay f aft and firm hold upon it. 

4. The promife is an aiTured refuge to all fin -di lire fled 
fouls who betake themfelves to it. 

5. Where any fouls convinced of fin betake themfelves 
to the promife for relief, God is abundantly willing that 
they Ihould receive flrong confolation. 

§ 25. From what the apoflle fays about hope, * hope 
^ as an anchor,' &;c.. we may obferve, 

1. That ail true believers are e^ipofed to florms and 
tcmpefls in this world ; this makes anchors fo neceflary for 
them. The wife God would not have provided an ' an- 

* chor' for them, and enjoined its ufe, if he had not 
known they would be expofed to fcorms. He that dwells 
at peace in his houfe, of all things thinks leafl of an 
anchor ; but we are to look for florms. 

2. Thefe florms would prove ruinous to the fouls of 
believers, were they not indefeafibly interefled by faith 
and hope in the promife of the gofpel. 

3. No diftance of place, no interpofition of diiEcul- 
ties, can hinder the hope of believers from entering into 
the prefence of God, and fixing itfelf on him in Chrifl, 
It pierceth through the clouds, palfeth through the heavens, 
ftops not at their glorious veil, until it comes to the eter- 
nal ground of all grace and mercy. 

4. The flrength and affurance of the faith and hope 
of believers is invifible to the world ; they enter in 

* within the veil,' where no eye of reafon can purfiae 
them ; .however it is effeftual to their good ; for, 

^. Hope firmly fixed on God in Chrift, by the pro- 
mife, will hold fleady, and preferve the foul in all the 
florms and trials that may befal it j it is an anchor ' both 

* fure and iledfafl.* 

6. It 

Ver. 17—20, EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS. 235 

6. It is our wifdom at all times, but efpecially iri 
times of trial, to be fure that our anchor has a good hold- 
faft in heaven ; this alone will be our prefervation and 
fecurity that we are fixed on ' that within the veiL- 

7. After the mofl lincere performance of the beft of 
our duties, our comforts and fccurities are centered in 
Chrift alone : our hope entering within the veil is a fafc 
anchor, becaufe Ghrifl is there. And, 

§ 26. From the character of Jefus, as our * forerun- 
* ner,' we rnay ohferve, 

1. This fame Jefus is our Saviour in every {late and 
condition ; the fame on the crofs, and at the right hand 
of the Majefty on high ; hence he is reprefented in heaven 
^s a Lamb Jla'in^ [Rev. v. 6,] 

2. The Lord Jefus being thus entered into heaven as 
oViX forerunner^ gives us manifold fecurity for entering in 
thither alfo at the appointed feafon, 

3. Again, if the Lord Jefus Chrift be entered into 
lieaven as our forerunner, it is our duty to be following 
him with all the fpeed we can ; and that we burden not 
ourfelves with any thing that will retard us, [Heb. xii. i.] 
Hence alfo, 

4. We may fee whereon the fecurity of the church, 
depends, as to the trials and ftorms which it undergoeth. 
in this world. Jt is Jefus our forerunner, who is v/ithiii 
the veil, taking care of all our concerns, that is alone 
our fecurity. And, 

5. What will he not do for us, who in the height of 
his glory is not afhamed to be efleemed our forerunner ? 
What love, what grace, what mercy, may we not expeft 
from him ? And, 

6. When our hope and truft enter within the veil, it 
is Chrift, as our forerunner, that in a peculiar manner 
^hey are to fix and faften themfelves upono 




Verses i — 3. 

for this melchisedec, king of salem, priest 
of the most high god, who met abraham 
returning from the slaughter of the 
kings, and blessed him : to \vho?.i also 
abraham gave a tenth part of all, first, 
being by interpretation king of righte- 
ousness, and after that also king of sa- 
lem, which is, king of peace: without 
father, without mother, without de- 
scent, having neither beginning of days 


§ I, 2. TJje apo filers dejign and general f cope, § 3. Th& 
connexion of the vjdrds, and the fubjcdl ft ate d. § 4-r— 6, 
(I.) The per [on fpokcn cf § 7, 8. (ll.) His kingly of- 
fee. § 9. (III.) The place where he reigned. § 10. 
His prefcnt to Abraham vjas not a facrifice. § I i. (IV.) 
His Jacerdotal office. § 12. (V.) His meeting Ahra^ 
ham. § 13. (VI.) Two eminent atJs of his facer dotal 
cffcc\ firfl, his hleffing Abraham. § 14. Secondly, his 
receiving tithes. § 15, 16. ff'^oether the law of tithing he 
of perpetual obligation. § 17. (VI I.) The name and title 
ef Melchifedec. § 18 — 2 1. Wherein he ivas made like 
the Son of God. § 22 — 27. Ohfervations. § 28. Doc- 
trinal ohjervations from the whole^ 

§ I. X HE deligii of the apoille in this chapter is not 
to declare the nature or the exercife of the prieilhood of 
Chrill^ though occaaoaally meutioaed : for the nature of 


Ver. i--=3. epistle to THE HEBREWS. 237 

it, he had fpoken to, chap. v. and treats of its ufe at large, 
chap. ix. But it is of its excellency and dignity that he 
difcourfeth in this place, and that not abfolutely neither, 
but in comparifon with the Levitical priefthood, which 
method was both necelTary, and dlre£lly conducive to his 
end ; for if it v/ere not fo excellent^ it was to no purpofe 
to perfuade them to embrace it, who were aftuaiiy in the 
enjoyment of another. This, therefore, he dehgneth to 
prove upon principles avowed by themfelves, with light 
and evidence taken from what was received and acknow- 
ledged in the Jewilli church from the firft foundation of 
it : to this end the apoftle in the firft place declares, that 
antecedently to the giving of the law, and the inftitution 
of the Levitical priefthood ; God had, without any re- 
fpeft thereto, given a typical prefiguration of this prieft- 
hood of Chrift in one who was on all accounts fuperior 
to the future Levitical priefts. This facred truth, which 
had been * hid for fo many ages in the church,' and 
which undeniably manifefts the certain future introduc- 
tion of another and better priefthood, is here brought to 
light and improved. 

§ 2. He in whom this prefiguration of the priefthood 
of Chrift was made, is Melchifedec ; concerning whom 
and his priefthood an account is given in the firji part 
of the chapter, [i — 11.] The y^ro;?^ part [ i i — 24.] 
confifteth in a double inference, with their improve- 
ments, taken from that difcourfe, as refpe£ting Chrift in 
his office. — Having laid this foundation in the necelTary 
removal of the Aaronical pricjihood, and the pre-eminence 
of that of Chrift above it, even whilft it contmued, — • 
he, thirdly, farther declares the nature of it, from the 
dignity and qualifications of his perfoii, with the manner 
of the difcharge of his office, [ver. 24 — 28.] For the 
apoftle's defign throughout, efpecially in this chapter and 
the three following, is to turn afide a double vei! ; the 
one here below, the other above ; that below is the veil that 
covered all the ordinances, infiitutions, ceremonies, and types 
of the law : this is the veil that is to this day upon the 
Jews, that they cannot fee to the end of the things that 

Vol. hi. I i were 


were to be done awavo This he removes by giving a full, 
clear account of the mind of God in them, their ufe and 
Signification. I'he other above^ is the veil of the heavenly 
Jan5luary^ which he opens to ns in a declaration of the 
miniilry of Chrift our high prieft therein. And under 
thefe heads, as the apoille plainly convinceth the He- 
brews of the ceafing of their priefthood and worfhip, and 
that to the unfpeakable advantage of the church, fo to 
•us he unfolds tlie principal defign and end of all the Mo- 
faical types of the. Old Teflament^ with the infli^ution 
of God in them. This may fuffice as a plain view of 
the general fcope of the apoflle in thefe difcourfes. 

§ 3. ' For this Melchifedec, king of Salem, pried of the 

* moil high God,* &c. I'he introdudtion of the whole dif- 
courfe, and therein its connexion with what went be 
fore, is contained in the caufal particle {yuo) ybr, v^hich 
here refpefts the reafon why the apoflle affirmed^ and inlifted 
fo much on. it, that tlie Lord Chrifl was a priefl after the 
order of Melchifedec ; for, both the truth of my afler- 
tion (faith he) and the neceffity of infilling thereon, will 
be fufficicntly manifefl, if you will but confider who thi^ 
Melchifedec was, how he is reprefcnted in fcripture, and 
v/hat is affirmed of him. — * For [iiog] this Melchifedec/ 
The demonilrative pronoun hath always an emphafis : 
the perfon of it is varioufly defcribed — By his name, 
Alelchifedec— By his original office, he w^as a king — The 
place of his rule or dominion, which was Salem ; king 
of Salem — By another office added to the former, which 
principally belongs to the deiign of the apoftle, and in 
connection with which many other particulars occur, as 
in the fequel. 

§ 4. (I.) The PERSON fpokeii of is variouflv defcri- 
bed ; but I Ihall in this place fay no more of him tha»i 
is neceffary for underllanding the text. But that he was 
the Son of God himfelf, in a prelibation of his incarna- 
tion, taking upon him ih^ form of a man, is direftly con- 
trary to the text, wherein he is faid to be made * like to 

* the Son of God.' And indeed all fuch opinions as make 
him more than man, are wholly incoiifillent with tlie 




apofik^s dejtgn^ which is to prove, that even among men^ 
there was a prieit and prieilhood reprelentative of Ciirifi:, 
and his pritllhood fuperior to that of the law ; which 
would have nothing of argument in it, if he were more 
than a man. Befidcs, he lays it down tor a certain prin* 
ciple, that ' every high pried is taken from among men* 
[chap. V. I.] and therefore, if Melchifedec was an high . 
prieft, he was fo taken alio. Among thofe who grant 
him to be a mere man^ very many, following the opinion 
of the Jews, contend he was Sh^^m, the fon of Noah, 
who was certainly then alive, and of great authoriry \x\ 
the world by virtue of his primogeniture. But this alfo 
rifeth up n\ contradiction to our apoftle, beyond all pof* 
libihty of reconciliation ; for he affirms, that he was 

* without father, without mother, without genealogy, 

* havmg neither beginning of days, nor end of life.' 
We are, therefore, not allowecj to interpret thefe things 
of him concerning whom moil of them are ex^reJJIy re^ 

§ 5. Tliefe things, therefore, are certain, and belqng 
to fa'th in this matter : 

Firfl^ That he was a mere man^ and no more ; for 

* every high prieft was to be taken from among men,' 
[■chap. V. I.] fo that the Son of God himfclf could not 
have been a prieft, had he not ailumed our nature ; be- 
lides, if he were more than a man, there were no myjiev^ 
in it, that he is introduced in the fcripture without fa- 
ther, without mother, without pedigree, for none but 
men have thefe things. And finally, without this con* • 
ception of him there is no force in the apoftle's argu* 
ment againft the Jews. 

Secondly^ That he came not to his office by right of 
primogeniture^ which ii. eludes a genealogy, or any other 
JucceJJive way, but was rnifed up and immediately caUed ■ 
of Go I ; for in that refpeB isChrifl faid to be a prieil * af-. 

* ter his ordc r.' 

thirdly. That he had no fucccjjor on earth, nor could 
have ; for there was no law to conftitate an order of fuc- 
Ci?ffion^ and he was a prieft only after an extraordinary^ 


call, Thefe things belong to faith in this matter, and no 

§ 6. Two things every way coniiflcnt with the fcope 
and purpofe of the apolUe, yea, eminently fubfervient 
thereto., I fhall take leave to add ; the one, as my judge^ 
nent \ the other, as 2l probable conjedure only. And the 
frji is, that although he lived and dwelt in Canaan, yet 
he was not of the Jeven nations that were in the curfe of 
Noah devoted to bondage and deftrndion. For whereas 
they were therein by a fpirit of prophecy cafl out of the 
church, and devoted to dellru6lion, God would not raife 
Up among them, that is of their accurfed feed, the moil 
glorious miniilry that ever was in the world, with refpeft 
to typical l^gnification, which was all that could be in the 
world until th.c Son of God came. This I take to be 
true, and do fomewhat wonder that no expo^.tors have 
taken notice of it, feeing it is necelTary to be granted 
from the analogy of facred truth. •% 

My coyijc£iure is, that he was a perfon o'i the poflerity 
of Japhet, the father of the Gentiles to be afterwards cal- 
led. Noah had prophefied, that God fhould ' enlarge the 
* heart of Japhet^" ox perfuade him to dwell in the tents of 
Shem. [Gqw. ix. 27,] To Shem he had before granted the 
prefent bleffing of the covenant in thofe words : * Blefleti 
< be the Lord God of Shem ;' [ver. 26.] and thereby the 
"bringing forth of the promijed Jeed^^^ confined to his pof- 
terity. Hereupon, among them was the church of God 
to be continued, and on the matter confined, until Shilo 
came, to whom the gathering of the Gentiles was to be. 
And whereas the land of Canaan was defigned of God for 
tht feat of the church in the poilerity of Shem, he fufTered 
it to he pofTcfTed by the feed of the curfed Canaan^ — that 
in their de{lru61ion he might give a reprefentation and fe- 
curity of the vi£\ory and final fuccefs of the MeiTiah and 
liis church over all their adverfaries. Before this came to 
pafs, God, as I fuppofe, brought this Melchifedec, and 
fpme others of the poflerity of Japhet, into the land of 
Canaan even before Abraham had polTefiion of it, and 
placed him there in a condition of ofHce fuperior to Abra- 



ham bimfelf. And this might be done, — that a claimi 
might be put in, on the behalf of Japhet, to an intereft 
in the tents of Shem. Melchifedcc, in thofe very places 
which were to be the feat of the church, took as it were 
livery and feijln for the gentile pofterity of Japhet, which, 
was in due time to be brought into the full pofTeffion of 
all the rights and privileges of it. Another reafon might 
be ; — to manifefl, that the ftate of the Gentile converts \\\ 
the promife and fpiritual privileges of the church, fliould 
be far more excellent than was the ftate and privileges of 
the poilerity of Shem whilfl in their feparate condition. 

* God having provided fome better things for us, that they 

* without us fhould not be made perfect/ But thefe 
things are fubmitted to the judgement of every candi4 

I fliall only add 5 that we have herein a lignal inflance 
of the fovereignty and wifdom of God. All the world 
was at that time generally fallen into idolatry and falfe 
worfhip. The progenitors of Abraham, though a prin- 
cipal branch of the poflerity of Shem, ' dwelt beyond the. 

* river and ferved other Gods^ [Jo^« xxiv. 1.'] Probably 
Abraham himfelf was not free from the guilt of that apof- 
tacy before his call. Canaan was inhabited by the Amo^ 
rites, with the reft of the devoted nations, on the one 
hand, and the Sodomites on the other. In the midft of 
thefe iinners above others was this man raifed up, as the 
great type of Chrift, with all his iliuftrious quahfica- 

§ 7. (II.) Melchifedec, as to his office, was (/S^- 
ciKsvg) a king. So in the firft mention of him, [Gen, 
xiv. 18.] * Melchifedec, king of Salem.' Now whereas 
Chrift is not any where faid to be a * ki^tg after the order 

* of Melchifedec,' nor doth the apoftle make any ufe of 
the confideration of this office in him ; we may inquire, 
wherefore God placed him in that ftate and condition ^ 
And there feems to be two ends of it : 

I, To make his typical minifiry the more emment and 
cpnfpicuous. For his pofteffing regal power and authority 
would necefTarily make him more conlpicuous than if he 



had been only a private man. And moreover, by his 
royal wealth he was furnifned for the coftly difcharge of 
his priellly office, in facritices and other folemnities. 

2. Although he was not in his kingly office diretlly typi^ 
cal of Chrift, yet he was by being a king the more meet 
to rcprefent him as a prieft, feeing he was to be the 
only king and prieft of the church, in one perfon ; and it 
may be obferved, that althougii Moles, in Gcneiis, makes 
mention of the ads of both his offices, yet our apollle 
takes notice of tliofe of the one fort only. For Moles 
informs us, in the firft place, that when he went to 
meet Abraham, he brought forth bread and wine, that is, 
for the refreftiment of. him and his army. Now this was 
an a6l of regal power and munificence. This the apoftle 
takes no notice of, but only of his ' receiving tythes,'v 
and ' blelhng Abraham,' which were both of them ads of 
facerdotal ^Qwcr. Wherefore, although it was convenient 
he fhould be a king, yet in what he did as King, he was 
jio type of Chrift, though there might be a moral rejem-" 
^/^«r^ between them. And, 

§ 8. I fee no reafon v/hy we may not hence colie£t 
thcfe two things : 

•I. The Lord Chrift as King of the church is plenti, 
fully ftored vv^ith all fpiritual provifions for the relief and 
refrelhment of all believers in their various duties, and 
willgive it out to them as their occafions require. For as 
Melchifedec reprefented Chrift ; fo Abraham, in his bat- 
tle and victory, was a type of all believers in their war- 
fare and coniiid with all their fpiritual adverfaries. 
Wherefore, as he and all his were refrefhed by the kingly 
bounty of Melchifedec, fo ffiall they be from the munifi^ 
cencc and unfearchable riches of Jefus Chrift. 

2. Thofe who go to Chrift merely on account of his 
friejily office and benefits, fhall alfo receive the bleffing of 
his kingly power, in abundant fupphes of mercy and 
grace. Abraham defigned nothing with Melchifedec but 
the owniing of his facerdotal office, in giving him the 
tithes 'of all, and receiving his hlejjing. But when he met 
him he was refrelhed alfo with his kingly beauty. Many 



{)oor linners go to Chrift principally, if not ow/y, at the 
lirft, upon the account of his facerdotal office^ to have 
an interell in his facrifice and oblation, to be made par- 
takers of mercy and pardon. But when they come to 
him by faith, they find that he is a king alfo^ ready, able, 
powerful to relieve them, and to whom they owe all holy- 

§ 9. (III.) This kingly office of Melchifedec is far- 
ther alTerted by the fpecitication of the place where he 
reigned. He was king of Salem. There hath been great 
inquiry and much uncertainty concerning this place. 
But the moil probable opinion is, that Jerufalem v.'as th« 
feat of his kingdom. For, 

1. It was anciently called Salem,' which name is after- 
wards occalionaliy applied to it, as that whereby it was 
known, [Pfal. ixxiy. 2.] * In Salem is God's tabernacle, 
^ and his dwelling place in Sion.' Where Jerufalem caa 
only be intended. Afterwards fome think that when it 
was poiTeifed by the Jebufites, it began at firfl to be cal- 
led Jcbus-Salem, that is, Salem of the Jebufites, which 
by cuflom was transformed into Jerufalem. But the ap- 
proved etymology from (n^'v) vifiorty and (nW) peace, fo 
that the name Ihomld iignify a fight or 'uifion of peace, i-s 
certainly true, and probably given by God himlelf. 

2. In the days of Jofhua, the king of Jerufalem was 
called Admizedcc, a n-ame of the fame iignification with 
Melchifedec, which, poffibly from him, was the name of 
the kings who afterwards reigned in that city, [Jofli. x. 

J— 4-] 

3. Abraham dwelt at this time at Hebron in the plain 
of Mam re ; and in his return from Hoba or Damafcus, 
the way lay near to Jerufalem, as all m^ps yet declare ; 
and Sychem was more tj the north than that he Ihould 
conveniently pafs that wav.- 

4. Jerufalem being defigwed to be the place where the 
Lord Chrift was to begin and exercife his prieftly office, it 
may well be fuppofed that there this illuftrious type of him 
Was to be manifefled ; efpeciallv, confidering it was to 



be the feat of tlie church till the fignification of the type^ 

• was to be effeded. — But here we mud remark, that, 

§ 10. A fuppolition of fuch a facrificc of bread and 
wine as that pleaded for by the Papifts, from Gen. xiv. 
17, 18. is contrary to the apoille's defign, and quite 
deftrudlive of it ; for whereas he pndeavoureth to prove 
that the priefthood of Melchifedec was far more excellent 
than that of Levi, he could not do it by this, that he 
offered bread and wine in facrifice, for fa alfo did the 
Levitical priefts, [Lev„ vii. 13. xxiii. 13—18.] But all 
.the excellencies which the apollle inlilleth on conlift in 
the dignity of his office and the qualifications of his 
perfon, not in the matter of his facrifice. The truth is, 
that no fuch thing as 2i facrifice could be included in that 
exprelTion, * He brought forth bread and wine/ It was 
the manner in thafe countries, where any forces were oil 
an expedition, that thofe in their way that were at peace 
with them brought forth fuppiies of bread and wine, or 
water, for their refrefhment. For the negleft of this 
duty, wherein they break the laws of hofpitality and 
friendfliip, did Gideon fo feverely punifh the inhabitants of 
Penuel and Succoth, [Judges viii. 5- — 7. xiii. 14 — 16.] 
And the obfervance of this duty is recorded to the com- 
mendation of Barzillai the Giicaditc, who fent refrefh- 
ment to David and his army, faying, * The people are 

* hungry and thirily, and weary in the wildernefs,' 
[II. Sam. xvii. 27 — 29.] In tliis flate of things Mel- 
chifedec, being the neighbour, friend, and confederate of 
Abraham, when he came with his army and abode {o 
near to him, ' brought forth bread and wine' for their 
refrefJ:tment^ which being a mere civil a£tion, our apoftic 
takes no notice of it. And they who can difcover a 
facrifice in this expreiSon, have either more fkill in the 

opening of myflerics than he had, or a better invention 
in coining groundlefs fables and imaginations of their 
own ; w^herefore we need not farther trouble ourfelves 
with thofe forced and frivolous pretences. The reafon 
why the apoflle mentions Melchifedec as king of Salem, 

% is 


is to Intimate his firfl prerogative above the Aaronkal 
priefts, in that he was a king. 

§ 1 1. (IV.) Melchifedec is here principally regarded as 
bearing another office i he v^as * prieji of the moft 

* high God.' 

Firft, He was a prkft by fpecial inftitution. Certain it 
iS:, that the inflitution of the office, and the reprefenta- 
tion of it in the perfon of Melchifedec, gave great light 
and inflruftion into the nature of the firil promife, and 
the work o^ the bkfjtng feed which was to be exhibited. 
In this general aflertion that he was a prleJi, two things 
are included : — that he was truly and really a man, and 
not an angel or an appearance of the Son of God prelu- 
fory to his incarnation. For * every priefl is taken froni 

* among men,' [chap. v. i.] of the fame common na- 
ture with other men, and in the fame flate until he be fe- 
parated to his office. And fo was Melchifedec, a man 
called out from among men, or he was not a priefl. 
Again — that he had an extraordinary call to the office, for 
he falleth likewife under that other rule of our apoflle ; 

* No man taketh this honour unto himfelf unlefs he be 

* called of God.' [Heb. v. 4.] But of what nature thi^ 
call was, and how he received it, cannot pofitively be de- 
termined in particular ; however, his call was pcrfonal, in 
fome a£l oi God towards him, wherein himfelf and no 
other was concerned. He was not fet apart to his office 
by any outward unBion^ or ceremonious invelliture. Thefe 
things belong purely to the law and Aaronical priefthood. 
Befides, there was none in this world greater than he, nor 
nearer to God, to confer^ this office upon him, as Aaron 
was confecrated by Mofes. For in the authoritative col- 
lation of an office there is a bhffing, and, without contro- 
verfy, he who blelTeth is greater tlian he who is blefled by 
him. And therefore God would not make ufe of any- 
outward means in the call or the feparation of the Lord 
Chriil to his offices, becaufe there was none in heaven or 
earth greater than he, or nearer to God to be employed 

Vol. III. K. k Sc^ 


Secondly, He was the * pncji of the mqft high God.'' He 
was (^13 h^h) ' a priejl to God.'' This determines the fenfe 
of the word coben to the office of the prieilhood. Where 
God is propofed as its objccl, a prleji of God or unto Gody 
none can be iignified but one in the prieilly office. Again :' 
He was a prieil to * ibs moft high God.^ This is the firft 
time that this title is afcribed to God in the fcripture, 
which afterwards is frequently repeated ; and is much of 
the lame import as God above, God over alU the God of 
heaven^ and the moft high. And it is either dcfcriptlve or 
dftintlive : 

1. As it is defcr'iptive, the majefly, power, and autho- 
rity of God over all are intended. The moft high God 
is the glorious God, with whom is terrible majefty. 

2. As it is dftinnlve, it refpe£ls other Gods, not in 
truth and reality, but in reputation. For fo there were 
then Lords many and Gods many in the world. They 
were all earthly ; and though fome of them had their 3^i/z^, 
above, as the fun, moon^ and hoft of heaven, yet they 
had all their deity from beneath ; rather, it never had any 
exiftence but in the deluded imaginations of the fons of' 
men : in oppoiltion to them, as diftinguiffied from them, 
God is called the mojl high God. So Abraham expounds 
this title, [ver. 22.] ' The moft high God, polTeffiDr of 
^ heaven and earth,' which he gives as a reafon why he 
would not take ought of the king of Sodom, feeing that 
lie was the fervant of that God who difpofed of all things 
in heaven and earth ; his God could make him rich with- 
out help of the king of Sodom. Wherefore God, undeE 
xliis coniideration of ' the moft high God,* was the princi- 
pal object of the faith of believers in thofe days. And 
this alfo was the principal part of their profeffion, that 
they ferved the moft high God alone, in oppoiirion to all 
the falfc and dunghill deities of the earth. — The Sodmans^ 
in all their difputes againft the deity of Chrift, always 
make ufe of this name, and continually refpeft it : 
* ChriJI, fay they, /j not the mofi high God.'' A God they 
will allow him to be, but not the mo/I high God. But 
whereas this name is ufed in d'lflint'fmi only from all falfe 



'<Gods, if their Chrift be a God, but not en any account 
the moji high God, he is a falfe God, and as fuch to be re-« 
jeded. [See Jer. x. 11.] 

§ 12. (V.) The apoftle defcrlbes this Melchifedec 
from that action of his, with its circumftances, which 
gave occafion to the w^hole account of him. ' Who 
* met Abraham returning from the flaughter of the kings.' 
On this occafion only is he introduced in the fcripture 
llory, as a new perfon never heard of before, nor ever 
afterwards to be made mention of, as to any of his own 
concerns. Abraham did not only overthrow the whole 
{irmy of the kings, but he flew the kings tbcmfelves, as is 
exprellly afhrmed, Gen. xiv. 17. Hence is he here faid 
to return from the ' flaughter of the kings ;' for as he 
includeth in it the deftrudion of their hofl, fo it was 
that which iignaiized his viftory. And the (ocx.po9ivi(z) 
fpoUs afterwards mentioned were the opima fpol'ia taken 
■from the kings themfelves. As Abraham thus returned 
with honour and glory, made very great in the eyes of 
the nations round about, as he llaid in the king's dale, 
to deliver to the King of Sodom his goods and people 
with a royal munificence becoming a fervant of the moll 
high God, who had a better portion than all could be found 
amongft the fpoils ; Melchifedec, knowing the ilate of 
things, and the promife made to Abraham, comes out 
«nto him for the ends mentioned. This meeting of Mel- 
chifedec and Abraham, after Abraham had gotten the 
viclory over all his adverfaries, was a type and reprefen- 
tation of the glorious meeting, of Chrift and the church 
at the laft day, w4ien the whole church fliall have tinifhed 
its v^/arfare and be vi£lorious over the world, fin, the law, 
death, and hell. Then will the Lord Chrift bring out 
the ftorcs of heaven for their eternal refrefhment, with 
the fulnefs of his blefiing, and all things fliall iifue in 
tlic glory of the moft high Go<3. All the promifes are 
^ to him that overcometh.' 

§ 13. (VI.) Melchifedec is farther defcribed by Twa 

^cf & of his facerdotal power, or olKicej which he exer- 

KIcs; cife4 


cifed on this occalion of meeting Abraham* — He hkjjed 
him, and then — he received tithes of him. 

Flrji^ He met Abraham and bleffcd him. This folemn 
benediiflion is fully expreffed, [Gen. xiv. 19, 20.] * And 

* he blelTed him and faid, BleiTed be Abraham of the 

* moft high God, poiTeilor of heaven and earth ; and 

* blefTed be the moft high God who hath delivered thine 

* enem.ies into thine hand.' TliCre are two parls of this 
bleffing ; — that which hath Abraham for its obje£V, a 
hlejjlng of prayer v — thst which hath God for its objed, a 
hlejjing of promlfe. Our apoftle feems to take notice only 
of the firft. But the truth is, the other part whereby he 
blefTed God, being on the account oi Abraham, and as 
it were in his name, it belongs alfo to the bleffing where- 
with he was blefTed. As to the nature of it, bleflings in 
general are the means of communicati g good things ac- 
cording to the power and intereft of them that blefs ; 
[Gen. xxxiii. 11.] fo alfo are curfe^ of evil. Hence it 
is God alone that abfc;lutely can either blefs or curfe, for 
he only hath fovereign power cf all good and evil. And 
therefore he fays to Abraham, ' I will blefs them that 

* blefs thee, and curfe them that curfe thee,' [Gen. xii. 
3.] becaufe he is over them and all their bleffings and 
curfes. There ar? alfo various yom of bleffings. The 
apoflle treats only of fuch bleffings as evidently and un- 
avoidably prove him that blelTetli to be fiperlor to him 
that is blefTed, [ver. 7.] 

Sacerdotal bleffings were authoritative on a double gro"und 
■—Of common right and equity — Of fpecial inftitution. 

1. Of common right and equity. For as he was ap- 
pointed to a£l fot men with God, fo it is reafonable that 
he fliould pronounce bleffings upon them in the name of 
God. And as he minificrially carried their gifts., offer- 
ings and fervices to God, fo in like manner he fliould re- 
turn his acceptance and bleffimgs unto them. And we 
may take notice in our paffiage, that — Whatever be the in- 
tereft, duty and office of any to zC(. in the name of others 
towards God^ in anv facred adminiftrations, the fame pro-* 
fortionaifly is their intereft, power, and duty to ad towards 



them in the name of God in the hkjjing of them. And 
therefore minifters may authoritatively blefs their conorc- 
gations. It is true they can do it only declarntivcly, but 
withal they do it authoritatively, becaufe they do it by 
virtue of the authority committed to them for that pur- 

2. There was an efpecial Inftitution of facerdotal bene- 
di£lion under the Old Tefcament, recorded Numb. vi. 
22—27. * And the Lord fpake unto Mofes, faying, 
^ Speak unto Aaron and his fons, faying, on this wife 

* fhall ye blefs the children of Ifrael, faying, the Lord 

* blefs thee and keep thee, the Lord make his face to 

* fhine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee, the Lord 

* lift up the light of his countenance upon thee, and give 

* thee peace : and they fhall put my name oh the children 

* of Ifrael, and I will blefs them.' Their putting the 
name of God upon the people, was their praying for and 
pronouncing bleffings on them in his name, by virtue of 
this inflitution. This fpecial inflitution, I acknowledge, 
was after the days of Melchifedec, and the ceiTation of his 
office, as to a^lual adminiflration. But it is apparent, 
and may be proved, that many, if not moft of thofe fa- 
cred inftitutions, which were given in one fyftem unto 
Mofes, were lingly and gradually given out by inspira- 
tion and prophecy to the church before the giving of the 
law ; only at Sinai their number was increafed, and the 
feverity of their fan£^ ion heightened. Thus this facerdotal 
benedidion was but a tranfcript from, and expreffive of, 
that power and form of bleffing, which Melchifedec as a 
priefl ufed before. And from what hath been fpoken wc 
may gather, what was the nature of this bl iling of Mel- 
chifedec wherewith he blelfed Abraham. For it had the 
nature of a bleffing in general, whereby one man may 
blefs another, in that it included both prayer for him, 
and thankfgiving to God on his account. And it was au^ 
thoritative and facerdotal ; he was the priefl of the moft 
high God, and he blefled Abraham by virtue of his office. 
It was alfo prophetical, proceeding from an immediate in- 
fpiration, whereby he declares the confirmation of the 



g^reat blelTing. puomifcd to Abraham. ' BlefTed be Abra- 
* ham.' 

§ 14. They^^-j77^ facerdotal sci:, or exercife of prieftly 
power, afcribed to Melchifedec, is, that he received tlthci 
ef all. ' To whom Abraham ah^'o gave the tenth of all.' 
As Abrabaai gave them in a way of duty, fo Melchiledec 
received them in a way of office. The word (ttocvJc/jv) of 
alU is limited to the fpo'ih v/hich he took of the enemies, 
[ver. 4.] * 'i'o whom Abraham gave the tenth of the fpoils.'* 
Whereby he acknovaedged him to be the prieft of the 
moil high God, and the tj^'pe of the Son of God incar- 
nate. I'his receiving of tithes by Mekhifedec was a fa.-^ 
.cerdotal a£l. For, 

1. The tenth thus given v^as primarily given to God; 
and he who received them, received them as God's officer 
and in his name. And, 

2. The things that were fit of this fort, were actually 
to be offered in facriiice unto God. 

3. The mr.tter was afterwards precifely determined in. 
the law, wherein all tithes w^ere appropriated to the prieft. 
I obferve thefe things, only to Ihew that the apoftle had 
very jufl: ground to infer froni hence the facerdotal power 
of Melchifedec, and his pre-eminence in that office above 

§ 15. There is great inquiry ufually on this place, 
whether tithes be due by the light of nature, or at leall 
by fuch a moral poftive command of God, as ffiould be 
perpetually obligatory on all Vi^orfhippers to the end of 
the world. This many contend for; firil, becaufe tithes 
were paid before the law as well as under the law ; fe- 
coiidly, becaufe fcemingly confirmed by our Lord Jefus 
Chrift himfelf And this, it is contended, is a certaiix 
argument, of that which is moral and unalterable, 
nnmely, the appointed ufage of it, before the law, under 
the law, and, as they fuppofe, under the gofpel afeer the 
expiration of the law of ceremonies. And it feems to be, 
if there be the fams reafon of the law in all thefe feafons ; 
for otherwife it is not fo. For inftance, it is fuppofed 
tliat the eating of bkod. was fprbidden hefors the law, an4 


affuredly it was fo under the law, and is fo in the New 
Teilanient, [A£ls xv.] which yet does not prove it to be 
morally evil, and perpetually forbidden ; for it is not fo 
upon the fame grounds and reafons : but where not only 
the fubje£t matter, but the formal reafon of the command 
is the fame, there it is of natural fqu'ity and unalterable. 

§ 1 6. I ihall not enter into any long digreffion about 
this controverted fubjcdl. Be the law and inflitution- 
what it will, nothing is more certain than that for men 
to live in pleafure and idienefs, according to the pomp, 
vanities, and grandeur of the world, neither riling early 
nor going to bed late, nor fpending their time or flrength 
in the ferv ice of the church, according to the duties re- 
quired of all the miniflers thereof in the gofpel, to iing 
unto themfelves ' that tithes are due to them by the ap- 
* pointment and law of God,' is a fond imagination ; a 
dream that will iiii them, when they fl:iall awake, with 
endlefs perplexity. But as to the quefcion in hand, 

1. If the dedicating of 2. certain portion be intended, it 
is with me paft all doubt, tliat a bountiful part of our en- 
joyments is to be feparated for the life and fervice of the 
worfhip of God, particularly for the comfortable and ho- 
uourable fupport of them that are in the minijftry ; and 
I cannot but wonder hov/ fome men can fatisfy their con- 
fciences in this matter, in circumftances I fliall not now 

2. If the llri£l legal courfe of tithing be intended, it 
cannot be proved from this text, nor from aiiy other in- 
ftance before the law ; for Abraham gave only the tenth 
of the fpoils^ which were not tithable by law. For if the 
places taken or deitroyed in war were anathematized, as 
Jericho was, and alfo Amalek, no portion was to l>e re- 
ferved under a pretence of facrifice, or any ather facred 
ufe, as Saul found to his coil ; and if they w^ere ana- 
thematized, all the fpoils were left entirely to the people 
that went to the war, without any facred decimation. 
And as for the inftance of Jacob, v/ho voivcd unto God 
the tenth of all, it is fo far from proving that the tenth 
was due by virtue of any law, tliat it proves the con- 

2 trary ; 


trary ; for had it been fo, it could not have been the 
matter of an extraerdinary vozv. 

3. The precile Jaw of tithing js not confirmed in the 
gofpel J for that faying of our Saviour, approving the 
tithing of mint and cummin, evidently refpefts that legal 
injlhuiioriy which was then in force, and could not be vio- 
lated without fin ; and other mention of tithes in the 
gofpel there is none. 

4. Whereas by the light of nature^ all rules of reafon 
and politive inftitutions, a portion of what God is pleafed 
to give to every man is to be returned to him in the way 
of his worlliip and fervice, wherein it may be ufed ac- 
cording to his appointment ; and whereas before the giv- 
ing of the law fundry holy men fixed upon the tenth parf^ 
as that which was meetefr to be fo dedicated unto God^ 
probably not without fome fpecial conduct of the holy 
fpirit ; and whereas this was afterwards exprejjly confirmed 
under the law by politive inftitutions, the equity whereof 
is urged in the gofpel ; it is the befl d'lreBion that can be 
given to any, what proportion of their eftate fhould be 
fet apart for this purpofe. Herein, I confefs, fo many 
clrcumfla-.ices are in particulra" cafes to be confidered, as 
that it is innpoffible any one certain rule fliould be pre- 
fcribed to all perfons. 

5. On thefe fuppoiitions it is that the apoflle, treating 
of this matter, makes no ufe of the right or law of tithes^ 
though directly to his purpofe, if it had not been abro- 
gated ; for, intending to prove that the mmlfiers of the 
gofpel ought to be liberally fupported in their works with 
the earthly things of them to whom they adminiftcr the 
things of God, he argueth from the light of nature^ the 
general equity of other cafes, the analogy of legal inftitu- 
tions, the rules of juftice, with the fpecial inftitution of 
Chrift in the gofpel, but makes no mention .of the na- 
tural or legal right of tithes, [I. Cor. ix, 7 — 15.J 

§ 17. (VII.) The apoftle puriues his delign and ar- 
gument from the NAME and title of Melchifedec, with 
their interpretation : * firft by interpretation, king of 
* righteoufnefs_, and after that alfo king of Salem, that 



* js, king of peace.' We Ihall confider herein- — the names 
themfelves, with their interpretation — the grvunds of the 
apoflle's arguing from this interpretation of names — • 
what is intended m them, or what he would have us learn 
from them — their order, which he particularly obferves. 

1. He refpe£leth his proper name^ Melchisedec; for 
the fancy of fonie that Sedec was a place where he iirft 
reigned, as he did afterwards at Salem, is very weak.: 
for then his per/on muft be utterly without, a rmme, Be- 
l?.des, had it been foj he would not have been called Mel* 
chifedec, but faid to be Melch Sedec, as he is faid to be 
Ji^ekc Sakm, Some would have the yod (in Melchi) to be 
a pronoun affix ; and then the meaning of the word i?, 

* my king\ and on this fuppofition they would render it, 

* my righteous king.^ But there is nothing more ordinary 
in the compofition of names than the interpofition of 
yod, to foften the pronunciation. So in Adoi\ifedek^ 
Adonibezek, Abimelech, &c. And fo the whole name 
is properly interpreted, and rendered by our apoftle, 
{(^ocTiKsv^ ^Kccioa-vyyig) a king of righteoufnefs. Again, his 
title is (uhm ^hT2) * the king of Salem, of which place we 
have fpoken before. This is, by interpretation, faith 
our apoille, {[^o^o-iKsvg sipYjv/jg) ' the king of peace ;' and, 
without attending to idle inquirers, we ought to acquiefce 
in the authority of the apof\le> who knew better than us 
ali the fignifications of thefe names. 

2. It may next be inquired, what ^rofW the apoflle 
had to argae from the iignification of thefe namts ? The 
apoftle juftly takes it for granted, in general, that every 
thing in the ftory of Melchifedec was myflical and figu- 
rative. And it was ufual under the Old Tellament to 
have names given to children by a fpirit of prophecy, as 
to Noah, Peleg, and others ; alfo to have men's names 
changed upon fome great occafions ; which was highly 
lignificant. Hence people often gave others or themfelves 
other names on fome occafions wherewith they were affec- 
ted. And hence it is that we find the fame perfojis fo 
frequently called by diverfe names^ which gives no little 
difficulty in geneaiogies-v But where this was done by 

Vol., III. L i divine 

454 A^ EXPOSITION OF THE Chap. Vll, 

divine warranty, it was doctrinal and prophetically in- 
l\ru£live ; and at whatever period of life Afclchifcdec had 
this name, certain it is that it was given him by divme 
diretlion : and as for the name of the place where he 
reigned, Salem, I am perfuaded that God himfelf, by 
fome intimation of his mind, gave that name '•peace' firll 
to that city, becaufe there he defigned not only to reft in 
his typical worfhip for a feafon, but alfo, in the fuhiefs 
(>{ time, there to accomplifh the great work of peace-* 
making between himfelf and mankind. Hence it was 
afterwards, by the fame guidance, called Jerufalem, or ' a 

* viiion of peace,* becaufe of the many vifions and pro- 
phecies concerning the fpi ritual and eternal peace which 
was to be wrought and publilhed in that place. Where- 
fore our apoftle doth juftly argue, from the fignification 
of thefe names, which were given both to the perfon and 
place, by divine authority and guidance, that they might 
teach and fore-iignify thefe important things. 

3. The interpretation of the names being proper, it 
muil be inquired, how this man was ' king of rightcouf" 

* nefs and peace. ^ Thefe names have refpe6t X.o\i\% relative 
JIaie, and were given him as a type of it. Really, he 

was a righteous and peaceable king ; typically, he was the 
*■ king of righteoufnefs and peace ;' being the author, 
caufe, and difpenfer of righteoufnefs and peace to others ; 
as God is faid to be ' the Lord our righteoufnefs,* and 

* the God of peace.' 

4. The lad thing tliat the apofile obferves from thefe 
names and titles is their order^ wherein it is natural that 
the name of a man fhould precede the title of his rule* 

* Firft, king of righteoufnefs, and afterwards king of 
' peace,' Righteoufnefs muft go firfi, and then peace will 
follow after. So it is promifed of Chriil and his king- 
dom, that ' in his days the righteous fhall flourifli, and 

* abundance of peace fo long as the moon endureth,' 
[Pfalm Ixxii. 7.] Firil they are made righteous, and thea. 
they have peace, 

§ 18. (VIII.) The apoille proceeds yet to other in- 
flances in the defcription of Melchifedec, wherein he was 



MADE LIKE TO THE SON OF GOD, [vcr. 3.] * wltllOUt 

* father, without mother, without defcent, having nei- 

* ther beginning of days nor end of Hfe.' Thefe things 
muft be taken in a qualified 'icwi^, with refpe6t to his c/*-. 
Jice ; therein, or as he bare that office, he was ' without 

* father, without mother, without defcent,' &c. He was 
(ccysvcOiAoyyflog) without defcent, fay we ; but the Greek 
word (ysv^a'?\C'yio^) from whence the other is derived, is 
a generation, a pedigree ; not ahfolutely, but as rehearfed, 
defcribed, recorded. The poiitivc term {ysv^cuKoy^hg} 
denotes ont whole ftock and defcent is cnicred -upon rccard:^ 
and fo, on the contrary, the negative term (a.y-rzOi:}\zy%* 
']og) is not he who hath no defcent, no genealogy, but 
he whofe defcent and pedigree is no where entered ar r?^ 
corded. Thus the apoflje himfelf plainly expreifeth this 
word, ver, 6. (o ^-7] y^VcccXoy^iA-zVog s^ a^vjoop) vjhoft defcsnt 
IS not counted, that is, reckoned up in record. Thss 
was Melchifedec. He was alTuredly born, and did no lefs 
and certainly die than other men ; bat neither of thefq 
are recorded concerning him. We have no more to do 
with him, to learn from him, nor are concerned in him, 
but only as he is defcribed in the fcripture, and there is na 
mention therein of the beginning of his days, or the end 
of his life. Whatever therefore he might have in h'im^ 

felf, he had none to us. But whence was it that Mofcs 
fhould introduce fo great and excellent a perfon as MeU 
chifedec, without any mention of his race, or llock^ of 
his parents, or progenitors ; of his rife or fall, contrary 
to his own cuftom in other cafes, and contrary to all rules 
of ufeful hiftory ? The true caufe of the omifiion of all 
thefe things was the fame with that of the inrtitution of 
his prieflhood, and the introdu«^ion of his perfon in the 
ilory. And this was, that he might he more exprefs and 
iignal reprefentative of the Lord Chriil: in his priefthood. 
Wherefore, whereas the prieill¥3od of our Lord was to 
depend on no fuch defcent (for it is evident that our Lord 
fprang from Judah, v-;hcreof Mofcs fpake nothing of the 
priefthood) the Holy Ghoft thought meet to mind them, 
|hat a prieil was to come without refpect to any fuch de-? 

LI % (cent 


fceiit or genealogy, in that he was to be after the order of 
Melchifedec who had none, [Pfal. 0X4.] This is the true 
and only reafon why in the hiftorical account of Melchi- 
fedec, as the priefl of the high God, there is no mention 
maJe of father, mother, genealogy, beginning of I'lk or 
^nd of days. 

§ 19. And we may herein confider the foyereign wifdom 
of the Holy Ghoft in bringing forth truth to light according 
as the flate of the church requires. — And firil he propo- 
feth only a naked ftoiy of a pcrfon that was a type of 
Chr ft, and that obfcuvely and fparingly. Something 
the men of the age wherein he lived might learn by his 
;miniflrations, but not much. For that which was prin- 
cipally inftrudive ifi him for the ufe of the church was 
not of force until all his circumftances were forgotten ; 
and the church was now to be inilrucled, not fo much 
ly what hQzvas, as what was recorded of him, wherein the 
fcripture fuperfeded all tradition that might be of him in 
the world. Yea, tlie contrivance of any tradition con- 
cerning his parents, birth and deaths had been contrary to 
the mind of God, and what infl:ru6lion he intended the 
church by him. Afterwards when, it may be, all 
tho'-ghts of any ufe or defign of this ftory in Mofes was 
lo'^, and the church was fully fatisfied in a priefthood 
qviite of another nature, tlie Holy Ghoft, in one word of 
pro hecy, [Pf cXi-©--^ inftru£ls the church, not only that 
the things fpoken concerning Melchifedec were not fo re- 
izorded for his fake, or on his own account, but with re- 
fpeft to another pr'ieft which was afterwards to arife, by him 
reprelented ; which gave a new confederation, 'io^wi^i and 
defign of tlie whole ftory ; but moreover, gives it to 
know that the priefthood which it then enjoyed was not 
aKvavs to continue, but tliat another^ of another nature, 
Vo'^ to be introduced, as was fig.nified long before the in- 
ftitution of that priefthood which they enjoyed. And as 
thi*^^ w's '"'ifficient for the ufe and edification of the church 
in thofe d.ivs, yet it was left greatly in tlie dark as to the 
full defign and meaning of thefe thmgs. And therefore 
it is evident that at the of our Saviour, and the 





accomplifiinient of this type, the church of the Jews had 
nttcily lofl all knowledge and underllanding of the myf- 
tcry of it, and the promife renewed in the Pftlin. For 
they thought it flrange that there Ihould he a prieft that 
had no genealogy, no folenin confecration nor invefliture, 
with his office. Wlierefore, until the fulnefs of time, the 
church was not able to bear the true underflanding of 
this n)yftery, and now they could no longer be withoni 
it. Hence is it here fo fully and particularly declared by 
our apoftle. 

§ 20. Our next inquiry is, wherein Melchifedec was 
typical of Chrill:, or what of all this belongeth to the 
following aflertion, that * he was made like unto the Son 
* of God ;' that is, fo defcribed as that he might have a 
great refemblance of him. It is not of the perfon of 
Chrift abfolutely, nor of either of his natures diftindly, 
that our apoftle trcateth, but merely with refpeft to his 
office of priejihood. And herein all the things mentioned 
concur in him, and make a lively reprefentation of him. 
It was utterly a new do£lrine to the Hebrews that the 
Lord Chrift was a priell, the only high prieft of the 
church, fo as that all other prieflhood muft ceafe. And 
their chief obje£lion againft it was, that it was contrary to 
the law ; becaufe he was not of the line of the priefts, 
neither as to father or mother, or genealogy, nor had 
any to fucceed him ; but our apoftle concludes, that had 
he been on the earth, that is, under the order of law, he 
could not have been a prieft, there being others who by 
virtue of their defcent had alone the right to it. fHeb. 
viii. 3, 4.] Wherefore God in thefe things inftru£led the 
church, that he would ere6t a priefthood which fhould 
no way depend on natural generation, defcent, or genea- 
logy ; whence it inevitably follows, that the ftate of the 
priefthood under the law w^as to ceafe, and^ to give place 
to another, which our apoftle principally deftgns to prove. 
Here he calls him * the Son of God,* to intimate that al- 
though Melchifedec w^ere an excellent perfon, yet was he 
infinitely beneath him whom he reprefented. He was 
not the Son of God, but he had the honour in many 



things to be * made like unto bim.* It is aiHrrned con- 
cerning him that he * abldeth a pr'ieji for ever.'' Things^ 
are fo related concerning him in fcripture, as that there 
is no mention of the ending of the priefthood of his or- 
der, nor of his own perfonal adminiftration of his office. 
Hence is he faid to ' abide a prieft for ever/ This was 
what our apoftle principally deligned to confirm, that there 
■was in the fcripture betore the inllituticn of the Aaronical 
prieilhood, a reprefentation of an eternal, unchangeable? 
prieflhood to be introduced in the church, which he de-» 
inonfl^rates to be that of Jefus Chrifc. 

§ 2 1. It may not be amifs here to reprefent the fevera! 
particulars wherein the apoflle would have us to obferve 
the likenefs between Melchifedec and Chrift, or rather the 
cfpecial excellencies and properties of Chrift that were re- 
prefented in the account given of the name, reign, perfon, 
and office of Melchifedec. As, 

1. He was faid to be, and he really was, and he only, 
firfl ' the king of righteoufnefs,' and then ^ the king of 

* peace ;^ feeing he alone brought in everlafting righteouf- 
nefs and made peace with God for iinners. And in his 
kingdom alone are thcfc things to be found. 

2. He was really and truly the * prieft of the high 

* God,' and properly he was fo alone. He offered that 
facrifice, and made that atonement, iignified by all the 
facrifices offered by holy men from the foundation of the 

3. He bleffeth all the faithful, as Abraham the father 
of the faithful was bleded by Melchifedec. In him they 
were to be bleffed, by him they are bleffed, through him 
delivered from the curfe and all the fruits of it^ nor are 
they partakers of any bleffing but from him, 

4. -He receiveth all the homage of his people, all their 
grateful acknowledgements of the love and favour of God 
in the conqueft of their fpiritual adverfaries, and delive- 
rance from them, as Melchifedec received the tenth of 
the fpoils from Abraham. 

5. He was really without progenitors or predeceffors 
with refpeci to hi? office, nor would \ exclude that myfti- 




cai fenfe from the intention of the place, that he was 
without father as to his human nature, and v/ithout mo- 
ther as to his divine. 

6. He was a prieft writhout genealogy, or derivation 
of his pedigree from the loins of Aaron, or any other 
that ever was a prieft in the world, and moreover, myf- 
terioufly was of a generation which none can declare. 

7. He had in his divine perfon, as the high prieft of 
the church, neither beginning of days nor end of life, as 
no fuch thing \s reported oi Meichifedec. 

8. He v/as really the Son of God, as Meichifedec 
in rnany circumftanccs was made like unto the Son of 

9. He alone abideth a priefl forever, whereof we mufl 
particularly treat afterwards. 

§ 22. And we may obferve, from the call of Meichi- 
fedec ; 

1. That God can raife the greateft light in the midfl of 
the greateft darknefs, [as Matt. iv. 16,] 

2. He can raife up inftruments for his fervice and to 
his glory, when, where, and how he pleafeth. 

3. This lignal prefiguration of Chriil in the nations of 
the world, at the fame time when Abraham received the 
promifes for himfelf and his poilerity, gave a pledge and 
affurance of the certain future call of the Gentiles to an 
intereil in him. 

4. And may we not obferve, that God in his fovereign 
pleafure gives various intervals to places, as to the enjoy- 
ment of his worfhip and ordinances. This Jerufalem, 
%vhich was at firil ennobled by the priefthood of Meichi- 
fedec, was afterwards left for a long feafon to the idola- 
trous Jebufites. In procefs of time it was vifited again, 
and made the fixed ftation of all folemn divine worfhip, 
as it is now left unto fait and barrennefs. 

5. And we may obferve, that a6ls of munificence and 
bounty are memorable and praife-worthy, though they 
no way belong to things facred by virtue of divine infti- 
tution* So was this bringing forth of bread and wine 


56o AN EXPOSITION OF THE ©hap. yil. 

by Melchlfedec to refrefli Abraham and his people, though 
there was nothing of lacrifice therein. 

6. It is acceptable with God that thofe, who have la- 
boured in any work or fervice of his, fhould receive re- 
freihrnents and encouragements from men. For, as fuch 
an acceptable fervice i> the relief given to Abraham and 
his people, by Melchifedcc, celebrated. 

§ 23. On the priellhood of Melchifedec other c^rz;<3:- 
ilons offer : 

1. Every one is that in the church, and nothing elfe, 
which God is pleafed to make him. Wherefore, for us 
to reft in God's vocation is our honour and our fafety, 
as well as our duty. For, 

2. Where God calleth any one to a lingular honour 
and office in the church, it is in him a mere aft of his 
fovereign grace So he took this Melchifedec who had 
nothing of ftock, race, defcent, or fucceflion to recom- 
mend him, ijut as one, as it were, newly fprung out of 
the earth, and raifed him to the higaelt dignity that any 
man in thofe days was capable of. Let us not therefore 
repine or murn:iur at any of God's dealings with othei's, 
nor envy becaufe of liis gifts bellowed on them. May 
he not do what he will with his own ? 

3. A divine call is a fufiicient warranty for the regu- 
lar performances of them who are fo called, and the 
obedience of others to them in their work or office. By 
virtue hereof this Melchifedec arofe in the midfl of the 
nations of tie world, took on him a new office and pow- 
er, being owned and fubmitted to therein, by Abraham 
and all believers. 

4. The firil pcrfonal inftituted type of Chrift was a 
pr'icj} \ this was Melchifedec. There were before re.d in- 
ftituted types of his work, as facrifices ; and there were 
moral types of his perfon, as Adam, Abel and Noah, 
V^rhich reprefented him in fundry things ; but no one be- 
fore Melchifedec was an inftituted perfonal type of Chrift. 
And that which God taugln herein was, that the founda- 
tion of all that the Lord Chrift. had to do in and for the 
church was laid in his p-Uflly office^ whereby he made 

^ atone- 


atonement and reconciliation for fin. Every thing elfe he 
doth is built on that fuppofition. 

§ 24. From the name or title of God — the moil high 
God— as it is defcriptive of his majefly and authority, 
we may obfcrve : 

1. To preferve a due reverence of God in our minds 
and words, we Ihould think of, and ufe with reverence 
thofe holy titles whereby he is defcribed in tlie fcriptures. 
So are we taught to fear that dreadful and glorious name, 
* the Lord thy God,' [Deut. xxviii. 58. lla. xxx. 15. 
chap. Ivii. 15.] Let us always fan£lify him in our hearts 
and words. 

2. It is good at all times to fix our faith on that 'im 
God, which is meet to encourage our obedience and de- 
pendance upon him in our prefent circumftances. The 
believers in thofe days did, in a very particular manner, 
confefs themfelves to be fcrangers and pilgrims on the 
earth, [Heb. xi. 13.] They eyed God in an efpecial 
manner as the ' mofl high God ;' as he that v/as over all, 
and had the difpofal of all things in his own fovereiga 

3. In particular, it is a matter of ineftirnable fatis- 
fadlion that he whom we ferve is the mofl high God, 
the fovereign poffeiTor of heaven and earth. It is, in 
fenfe, the fame with that appellation which God gave 
himfelf when he entered into covenant with Abraham, 
encouraging him thereby to adhere to him in faith and 
obedience, [Gen. xvii. i.] ' 1 am God Almighty.' 

4. Public profeffion in all ages is to be fuited and 
pointed againil the oppofition that is made to the truth, 
or apoflacy from it. The world being now generally 
fallen into idolatry and the worfhip of new earthly gods, 
believers made this the principal part of their profeffion, 
that they ferved the mofl high God, which ought to be 
obferved on all like occafions. 

§ 25. And we may farther obferve^ from w^hat has 
been fpoken, that, 

I. All the commotions and concufiions that are among 
the nations of the world Ihall be brought into a fjbfer- 

VoL. III. M m viency 


viency to the interefl of ChriH and his church. I intend 
thofe places where either the feat of the church is, or is 
to be. In Abraham's glorious victory, and royal munifi- 
cence on the one hand, and in the (acerdotal blefling of 
Mclchifedec on the other, there was fuch a reprefentatioii 
of Chrifk in his principal offices as prieft and king, as had 
never been made in the world before. It will be no 
otherwife with all thofe confufions and diforders that the 
world is filled with, although we can fee nothing of the 
ways and means of their tendency to fuch an end. 

2. There have been and are to be fuch feafons wherein 
God will difpofe of nations and their interefl according 
as the condition of the church requires ; as he did here 
with all thofe nations. [Ifa. xliii. 3, 4. Ix. 67.] 

3. The blefling of God may be expefted on ajufl and 
lawful war. This war and viftory of Abraham, which 
he received the blefling upon, is celebrated elfewhere. 
[Ifa. xli. 2, 3.] And when thefe things occur,— a law- 
ful necefTary immediate caufe of war, as Abraham had 
for the refcue of Lot. — A lawful call to the war, as Abra- 
ham had, being a fovereign prince and railing his army 
of his own people, and that to fecure polTeflions of a 
country granted him by God himfelf : and — a fubfervi- 
cncy to the glory of Chrift and the good of the church 
— when thefe things, I fay, occur, the prefence of God 
in it, and the blefling of God upon it, may be juftly ex* 

§ 26. And we may fee in Abraham receiving the blef- 

1. That he who hath received the greatefl mercies and 
privileges in the world, may yet need their minlfterial 
confirmation. Abraham had before received the bleffing 
from the mouth of God himfelf; and it was no doubt 
a confirmation of his faith, to be now blefied again in the 
name of God by Melchifedec. Elefs God for the minif- 
try, for the word and facraments ; ordinarily our faith 
would not be kept up without them. 

2. In the blefling of Abraham by Melchifedec all be- 
lievers arc virtuaJIv blefTed by Jefus Chrifl:. Melchifedec 



>vas a type of Chrifl, as our apoftles declares. And Abra* 
ham in aJl theTe things reprefented all his poflerity accor- 
ding to the faith. There is therefore more than a hare 
Jlory in this matter ; a hlejfing is in it conveyed to all be- 
lievers by way of an ordinance for ever. 

3. It is God's inftitution that makes all our admJFiif- 
trations eifedaal. So did facerdotal benedi<ftions becoiuc 
authoritative and efficacious. 

4. Whatfoever we receive lignally from God in a way 
of mercy, we ought to return a portion of it to him his a 
way of duty. It is a great fign that a man hath not en- 
gaged God in the getting of any t!)ing, when be will not 
dedicate to him any portion of what is gotten. 

5. That the Lord Jefus Chrift is the only king of 
righteoufnefs and peace to the church. [See Ifa.. xxxii. i. 
21. chap. ix. 6.] He is not only a righteous and peace- 
able King, as were his types Meichifedec and Solomon, 
but he is the author, caufe, procurer, and difpenfer of 
righteoufnefs and peace to the church. So it is declared : 
[Jer. xxiii. 5, 6.] * Behold the days come, faith the 

* Lord, that I will raife unto David a righteous branch, 

* and a king fhall reign and profper, and fhall execute 
*• judgement and juflice in the earth. In his days Judah 

* fhall be faved, and Ifrael fhall dwell fafely, and this is 

* his name wiiereby he Ihall be called, the Lord our 

* RIGHTEOUSNESS.' He is rigliteous and reigneth rightc- 
oufly, but this is not all, he is * the Lord our righte- 


§ 27. And we may obferve, moreover, 

1. That the church never did, in any age, nor ever 
fhall, w^ant that inilruftion by divine revelation which is 
needful to its edifiication in faith and obedience. 

2. It is a great honour to ferve in the church, for the 
ufe and fervice of future generations. This was the ho- 
nour of Meichifedec, that he was emploved in a fervice, 
the true ufe and advantage of which was not given to 
the church until many generations after. 

3. The fcripture is fo abfolutely the rule, meafure, 
^pd boundary of our faith and knowledge in fplrhnal 

M HI 5; things^ 


things, as that which it conceals is in{lru£live, as well as 
■what it exprefleth. , 

■ § 28. The <^o^7ri«fl/ o/^r-z/^/zowj that may be taken from 
thefe verfes are, 

1. When any were of old defigned to be types of 
Chrifl, there was a neceffity that things more 'excellent 
and glorious ihould be fpoken or intimated of them, than 
did properly belong to them. So many things are here 
obferved of Mcichifedec which were not propeily and li- 
terally fulfilled in him. 

2. AH that might be fpoken fo as to have any proba- 
ble application in any fenfe to things and perfons typically, 
coming (hort of wliat was to be fulfilled in Chrifl, the 
Holy Ghofl:, in his infinite wifdom, fuppiied that defe£t 
by ordering the account which he gives of tbem fo, as 
more might be learned from them than could be expref- 
fed. And where the glory of his perfon, as vefled with 
his ofhce, could not be reprefented by pofitive applica- 
tions, it is done by a myflical filence, as in this llory of 

3. That Chrifl, abiding a * priefl for ever,' hath no 
more a vicar ^ or fucceffor, or fubflitute in his office, or 
anv d.Tiving a real pr'iejihood from him, than had Melchi- 

4. The whule myflery of divine wifdom, effecting all 
inconceivable pcrfe6lions, centered in the perfon of Chrifl, 
to make him a meet, glorious, and moll excellent priefl 
unto God, in behalf of the church. 



^ Verses 4, 5, 

:^ow consider how great this man was, unto 
whom even the patriarch abraham gave 
the tenth of the spoils. and verily they 
tpiat are of the sons of levi; who re- 
ceive the office of the priestiiood, have 
a commandment to take tithes of the 
people according to the law, that is, 
of their brethren, tpiough they come out 
of the loins of abrapiam. 

^ I. The connexion and dejign of the pajjage. § 1 — 5. (I.) 
The expojit'ion of the words, § 6. (II.) Obfervations, 
It will be to no advavitage to propofe the moft important gofpel 
truths^ if thofe to whom they are propojcd do not diligently 
inquire into them, § 7. Other obfervations. § b. Ob^ 
fervations on minifierial fupports. § 9. It is God^s prero^ 
gative to give pre-eminence in the church among thofe wha 
are otherwife equal. 

§ I. X HESE verfes proceed to the application of what 
was before difcourfed. For having proved that Chrift, 
the promifed Meffiah, was to be a prieft after the order of 
Melchifedcc, [from Pfal. ex.] and given a defcriptioa 
both of his perfon and office, from the hiftorical narration 
of them as laid down by Mofes, he makes application of 
the whole to his prefent pnrpofe. And from the confide- 
ration of fundry particulars in his defcription, confirms 
in general the argument which he had in hand. For that 
which he principally defigneth to prove, is, that a more 
excellent prieflhood than that of Aaron being introduced 
according to the purpofe and promife of God, it follow- 
ed neceffarily, that that prieflhood, with all the worfhip, 
rites, and ceremonies which belonged to it, was to ceafe, 
^nd to be taken out of thp way. 

§ 2c 


§ 2. (I.) ' Confider then how great this man was,' 
The word here ufed (B^cxjpijs) Hgiiiiies diligently to behold^ 
contemplate, or look into, the things propofed to us. He 
had before warned them, that what he had to difcourfe on 
this fabjeft was difficult, ' hard to be underftood,' but 
withal he adds what was their duty in that refpecl ; which 
was in the firil place, that they w^ould heedfuliy and dili- 
gently look into them. — HyiXltlo^ ifjog, quanius ijh erat ;) ' kow 
♦ great this man was.' The word refpe6:s grcatnefs and ex- 
cellency in any kind ; it here regards alone his dignity 
with refped to his office, and nearnefs to God on that 
account;- and it were well that we were all really con- 
vinced, that all true greatnefs conlills in the favour of God, 
and our nearnefe tP him, on account of our relation to 
Jefus Chrift ; which is general^ abiding, yea, eternal. 

§ 3. ' UntQ whom even the I'atriareh Abraham gave 
< the tenth of the fpoiis.* The conjundlion {yjxi) is em- 
phatical ; and although in the original it is joined wkh 
ihytc^lW^) the tenths yet in conflru(5lion it is to be iinder- 
flood with Abraham. Not unto whom Abraham gave 
€vm the tenth ; but, unto whom even Abraham gave the 
tenth, as it is in our tranflation. He who firfl received, 
the promife, and whom they efteemed next to God him^ 
felf. And their pofterity do now place him in heaveix 
above the angels, hardly allowing that the Meffiah him- 
felf (hould be exalted above him. Hence it is that our 
apoftle exprefTech it fo emphatically, * even Abraham ;* 
(0 Uc^oiOioyjig) the Patriarchy denotes a father, that is, a 
prince or ruler of a family; a ruling father. Wherefore, 
if any one were greater than Abraham in his own time, it 
mult be acknowledged it was on account of fome privilege 
fuperior to all that ever that whole nation, as defcendants 
from Abraham, were made partakers of, (Elccytc) he gave ^ 
yet not arbitrarily, but in the way of a neceiTary duty ; 
not as a mere honorary refpeft, but as a religious office. 
(A-Kc^riVy i.e. ^z^lIol, or, n'trrD) the tithe portion, deliver- 
ing it up to his ufe and difpofal, as the prieft of the 
mofl high God. And this tenth was (tcajv oiv^^o^iviccv) of 
the fpoiis of wary as the apoflle interprets the parage iii 



Mofes. A part of the compound word {B)y), denotes 
acerusy an heap of com ^ or any uieful thing ; and the whole 
word {aKpoSivioy) is the top of the heap, the beft of it, from 
whence the firft fruits were taken for facred fervice. And 
becaufe it was the cuftom of all nations to dedicate or de- 
vote fome portion of what they got in war for religious 
iervices, the word itfelf came to lignify the fpoi/s of war, 

§ 4. ' And verily, &c.' There is in thefe words an 
illuflration and confirmation of the prefent argument, 
proving the preference of Melchifedec above Abraham, 
from his giving the tithe or tenth of all to him, and 
confequently receiving the blcjjing from him. And this 
was taken from what was determined in the law, jmd ac- 
knowledged among the Hebrews, that the priefts who re- 
ceived tithes by the law were fipcrior in dignity and honour 
to the people from whom they received them. Yet this 
was only declared in the law, for the foundation of it was 
in the light of nature, as the apoftle exprefsly intimates in 
the inilance of heneditl'ion, [as ver. 7.] [y^cA 01 ^aiy) and 
verily ; as if he had faid, With regard to this matter of 
tithing, and what may thence juflly be interred, as to 
dignity and pre-eminence, you may coniider how it was 
under the law, and there you will find what I propofed to 
you direftjy confirmed. It is a great advantage to prefs 
them with whom we have to do from their own principles. — 

* The fons of Levi who receive the ofhce of priefthood.' 
It was the priefts direBly whom he intended, or the fons 
of Aaron ; and he might have exprefTed it, * the priells 

* according to the law.' But he varieth his expreffion, 
becaufe all the Levites did receive tithes by the law, yea, 
tithes in the firfl place were paid to them in common. 
Bat becaufe their dignity among the people was lefs con- 
fpicuous than that of the priefls ; and the dciign of the 
xipoflle is not merely to argue from the giving of tithes to 
any, but the giving of them to them as pricfs, as Abra- 
ham gave tithes of all to Melchifedec, as ' priefl of the 
high God,' he thus exprefTeth it, * the fons of Levi, wh^ 
receive the office of the priefhood.' Not all the poilcrity of 
Abraham, but only thofc of Levi were fet apart to receive 

2 tithes ; 


tithes ; and not all the pollerity of Levi, but only the 
family of Aaron received the pri^ilhood. For every man 
to be contented with ins flation ni which God hath fixed 
him by rule and providence, is his fafety and honour. — 

* Have a commandment to take titnes of the people ac~ 

* cording to the jaw.' They • had a command * to take 

* tithes,' and they were to ^d it according to the law ; the 
one was their warranty, and the other their rule ; for fo 
are the commandments and the law here to be diftinguifh- 
ed. God did firil take the tithe to be his peculiar ponion, 
and thereby it was alienated from the people, fo that they 
had. no property in it ; * And all the tithe of the land is 
' the Lord's, [Lev. xxvii. 30. j Hence thofe that with- 
held their tithes are faid to rob God, [Mai. iii, 8.] 

§ 5. The privilege of the priefts in taking the tenth of 
all, is amplified by the conlideration of the perfons of 
whom tliey took them : now thefe were not firangers or 
foreigners, but their ow?i brethren ; who were partakers of 
the fame original privilege with themfelves, which did 
not exempt them from tiie duty of paying tithes of all.- — 
Took tithes of tlieir brethren, ' though they can^e out of 
*■ the loins of Abraham.' Abraham firll received the pro- 
mifes, and was an equal common fpring of privileges to 
his zvhole pofter'ity. The priells were not more children of 
Abraham than the people were ; tlierefore being fo, and 
thereby interefted in all the privileges of Abraham, or the 
church of believers, it is manifeil: how great the honour 
and pre-eminence of the priefts were, in that they took 
tithes of them all. And this the apoflle declares to 
.flrengthen his argument for the greatnefs and excellency 
of Pvlelchifedcc, in that he received tithes from Abraham 

§ 6. (II.) Ohf, It wnll be fruitlefs and to no advantage 
to propofe or declare the moft important truths of the 
gofpel, if tliofe to whom they are propofed do not dili- 
gently inquire into them. * Confider then how great 

* this man was.' If men think they have nothing to do, 
but as it were to give the hearing to fuch as endeavour to 
ciirry them to perfc^lion'j they will lofe all the advantage 

; ' of 


of their mlnillry. If upon' the propofal of facrecl truths 
thac appear hard to be underftood, they begin to think 
that this belongs not to them^ it is for otheri who are 
more exercifed than they ; it is not likely they fhould 
ever endeavour to apprehend them aright. And this very 
frame keeps many in a low form of knowledge all their 
days ; poffibly alfo this negle6l is Incrcafed in many, by 
the fpreading of a late fooliih apprehenfion, that we are, 
upon the matter, to look after nothing but the do£lrines 
and precepts of morality in the fcripture ; but as for tlie 
more fpiritual myfteries of grace, we are not concerned in 
them. Where this principle is once imbibed, men will 
reft and fatisfy themielves in the moil prof ound ignorance \ 
and not only fo, but defplfe all fuch as endeavour to be 
wifer than themfelvcs. 

Again : If the light be not pkafant to ns, as well as 
vfeful^ we fliall not value it, nor feek after it. When 
fuch myfterious truths as that here infifled upon by our 
apoftle, are propofed to men, if they have no delight in 
fuch things, they will never be at the coft and pains of 
inquiring into them with necelThry diligence. 

§ 7. We proceed to other obfervations : 

1. The fovereign will, pleafure, and grace of God alone 
put a diiTerence among men, efpecially in the church. 
He makes men great or fmall, high or low, eminent or 
obfcure, as it feemcth good to him. * He raifcth up the 

* poor from the duft, and lifteth up the beggar from the 

* dunghill, to fet them among princes, and to make them 

* inherit the throne of glory ; for the pillars of the earth 
' are the Lord's, and he hath fet the world upon them,' 
[I. Sam. il. 8.] Whence was it that twelve poor filher- 
fnen were made apoftles to lit on tivelve thrones judgifig 
the twelve tribes of Ifrael, and becoming * princes in all 

* nations?' Who made the mofl glorious apoftle, of the 
firil and fierccft pcrfcciitor ? Was it not he who hath mercy 
on whom he will have mercy, and is gracious to whom 
he will be gracious ? 

2. Opportunities for duty, which render it beautiful, 
ought diligently to be embraced. So did ; hence 

Vol. ill. N 11 the 


the performance of this duty became fo renowned and 
ufefuL It \s ftafon that gives every thing its beauty ; and 
an omiffion of duties in their feafons, or tergiverfations 
under them, arc evidences of an heart much under the 
power of corrupt lulls or unbehef. 

3. When the inftituted ufe of confecrated things 
ceafeth, the things themfelves ceafe to be facred, or of 
any pecuhar efleem. For what became of all thefe dedi- 
cated things after the death of Melchifedec ? They were 
DO more facred, the actual adminiitration of his typical 
priefthood ceaiing. 

§ 8. We may farther obferve the following things : 

1. Rule, inftitution, and command, without regard to 
tinrequired humility, or pleas of greater zeal and felf- 
denial, unlefs in evident and cogent circumllances, are 
the beft prefervatives of order and duty in the church. 
Neither the people's pretence oi poverty, nor the minifler's 
pretence of humility, will regulate this matter as it ought 
to be. But as it is the people's duty to provide for them, 
wherein they exercife grace and obedience towards Jefus 
Chrift ; fo it is the minifter's duty cheerfully to receive 
what is their due by the appointment of Chrift, for they 
have a command fo to do. 

2. As it is the duty of thofe who are employed in 
facred miniftrations to receive what the Lord Chrift hath 
appointed for their fupport, and in the way of his ap- 
pointment ; fo it is their duty likewife without trouble, 
folicitoufnefs, or complaint to acquiefce thtix\n. So was it 
with the priefts of old, they were to receive theii* portion, 
and to acquicfce in their portion ; the negleft of which 
duty was the lin of the fons of EH. We take it for 
granted that the way of minifterial maintenance is changed 
under the New Teftament ; but that the law of maintc- 
nance is taken away, is the higheft folly to imagine, it 
being fo cxprefsly alTerted by our Saviour himfelf and his 
apoftles, [Luke x. 7. I. Cor. ix.] But here it is thought 
lies the difadvantage ; that whereas the priefts under the 
Old Teftament had a certain portion which was legally due 
to them, and they might demand it as their own, it is 



now referred to the voluntary contribution of them wlio have 
the benefit of their labour. But he is unworthy the 
name of a minifterof the gofpel, who is not fatisficd with 
what our Lord hath ordained in every kind. I'his way 
is the moll honourable zuay, and that which cafls the greateft 
refpedl upon them. Even the princes and rulers of the 
world have their revenue and fupport from the fubftance 
of the people. Now I would only ally, whether it would 
be more honourable that the people Ihould willingly and of 
their own accord hnng in their contribution, than merely 
pay under the compulfion of a law ; the latter pofiibly may 
fecure the revenue of minifters, but it will not increafe 
their honour. For, however men may pleafe themfelves 
with the outward appearances of things, true honour con- 
fifls in that refped and reverence which others pay them 
in their minds and hearts. Now when this is fuch, and 
that from a regard of duty^ that men will freely contribute 
to their fupport, I know no more honourable fubfiftence 
in the world. What I will fome fay, to depend on the 
wills and love of the people ; there is nothing more bafe 
and unworthy. Yea, but what if all the honour of Jefus 
Chrifl himfelf hath, or accepts from his people, proceeds 
from their wills and affe^ions ? Our apoftle tells us that 
our Lord hath ordained, that thofe who preach the gof- 
pel ihall live on the gofpel ; and all obedience to his or- 
dinances and inllitutions mufl be voluntary. If they will 
not do fo, their befl way is to leave his fcrvice^ and take 
Tip with that which is — more honourable ! The truth is, 
God hath eftablifhed mutual duty to be the rule and mea- 
fure of all things between minifters and people. J do not. 
condemn any provi/ion that is made by good and righteous 
laws among men for this purpofe, provided it be fuch 
as is accommodated to the furtherance of the work itfelf. 
Yea, if in this degeneracy of Chriftianity under which we 
fufFer, any Ihall, out of love and obedience to the gofpel, 
fet apart any portion of their eftates, and fettle it to the 
fervice of the church in the maintenance of the miniftry, 
it is a good work, which, if done in faith, will be divinely 
accepted. Let thofe who are true difciples know, that it 

N n 2 h 


is greatly incumbent upon them to roll away that re- 
proach which is call upon the inllitutioiis of Chrift, by 
the mifcarriages of the generality of Chriftians. Our 
Lord hath ordained, thofe who are his difciples 
Hiould, in obedience to his commands, fupply with tcm- 
porals thofe by whom fpirhuals are difpenfed to them. If 
this be not done, a, reproach is caft upon his inftitiitions 
ss infufficient to the end for which they were defigned,. 
If it be faid, that whatever men pretend, yet it is im- 
poffible to work tlie people to a due difcharge of their duty 
in this matter ; I grant it, whiift that is only, or even 
principally intended. But if men would not coniider thcm- 
fchcs in the fir^fl place, but really endeavour the recovery 
of their people to faith, love, obedience, and holinefs, 
and that by their own example as well as teaching, it 
may well be hoped tb.i.t tliis duty would revive again in 
the company of others \ for it is certain it will never Hand 

§ 9. Obf. From the privilege of the priefts above their 
brethren we may learn, that it is Gpd*s prerogative to 
give dignity and pre-eminence in the church among thofe 
who are otherwife equal, which is to be acquiefced in. 
Our common vocation by the word flatts us all equally 
in the fame privilege, as all the children of Abraham 
were in that lefpeft in the fame condition ; but in this 
common Hate, God makes by his fovereign prerogative, 
a three-fold difference among believers ; as to grace, as to 
gfls, and as to office. 

(i.) As to grace. Although all true believers have the 
fame grace in kind, yet fome much excel others in the de- 
grees and exercife of it. As one ilar differeih from ano- 
ther, that is, exccllcth another, in glory ; fo here one faint 
excelleth another in grace. As he is gracious to whom 
be v.'ill be gracious ; fo when, and how, and in what 
meafure he pleafeth. Some fliall have grace fooner than 
others, and fome that which is more eminent than others ; 
only he that hath /^^/? fli all have no lack, as to the making 
of him meet for the inheritance of the faints in light \ and 



he that hath moft^ hath no more than he fhall find need 
of, and abundant cxercife for. But fo it is ; fome, God 
will have as pillars in his houfe, and fome are but as 
bruifed reeds. There is no man in the world that hath 
fo little grace, but he hath more than he ever deferved ; 
and none hath fo much, as that any dram of it is of his 
own earning ; and as he who hath nothing but what he 
hath freely received, hath nothing to boafl of; fo he who 
hath that which he never deferved, hath no reafon to 
complain : it is the pleafure of God it fhouid be fo : 
and indeed there is a great deal of glory in the lead degree 
of true grace ; yes, however fmall it may be in compari- 
fon of higher attainments, there is more glory in it than 
all things under the fun belides. No man hath fo little 
grace; who hath any, as that he is ever able to f?t a fuffi- 
cient price upon it, or to be thankful enough for it. 
Thofe Vv^ho are /?ro;/^, who have much grace, ought not 
to boaft or be lifted up ; for, as we obferved before, they 
have nothing but what they have freely received, and it is 
the nature of all true grace to exclude all boalli ng. He 
that, by comparing himfelf with others, fiiids any other 
iifae in his thoughts, but either to admire fovcreig-i grace, 
or to judge himfelf beneath them, is either in an ill condl^ 
tlon , or at leafl in an ill frame. There is no one hath 
fo much grace, as not every moment to need fupplies of 
more ; and he who, like Peter, trufteth to that wherein he 
is above others, will one way or other be brought down 
beneath them all. 

(2.J As to fplritual gfis. Among thofe who are called, 
the fpirit divideth to every one even as he will. To one 
he giveth five talents, to anorlier two, anu to a third 
but Que. And this fovcreign diverlity is vilible in all 
churches ; and as this tends in itfclf to their beauty and 
edification, fo there may be an abufe of it to their difad- 
vantage. For befidcs thofe diforders which tlie apoftie 
declares to have enfued, particularly in the church of 
Corinth, upon the undue ufe and cxcrcife of fi)iritual 
gifts, there ar<; fundry evils which may befall particular 



perfons by reafon of them, if their original and end be 
not duly attended to. Hence have proceeded felf-conceit, 
defpihng of others, emulations and flrifes. Some who have 
received them in the loweil degree may be apt, perhaps, 
to defpond, and refufs to trade with what they have, be- 
caufe tljeir flock is inferior to their neighbours. But 
what is this to us, may not God do what he will with 
h.s own ? If God will have fome of the fons of Abraham 
to -pay tithes, and fome to reccivs them, is there any 
ground of complaint ? To him that hatli the moil emi- 
nent gifts, God hath given of his own, and not of ours ; 
he hath taken nothing from us to endue him with, but, 
fupplied him out of his own ilores. Whoever, therefore, 
is unduly exalted v/ith them, or envies becaui'e of them, 
he dcfplfeth the prsrcgaiive of God^ and contends with him 
that is mighty. 

(3.) God dillinguifheth perfons with refpeft to offiu^ 
He makesy and fo accounts, whom he will faithful, and 
puts them into the miniftry. This of old, Korah repined 
againfl, and there are not a few who free themfelves 
from envy at the miniftry by endeavouring to bring it 
down into contempt ; but the office is honourable, and 
fo are they by whom it is difcharged in a due manner ; 
and it is the prerogative of God to call to it whom he 
pleafeth. — Finally obferve^ That no privilege can exempt 
perfons from fubjeftion to any of God's inflitutions, 
' Though they were of the loins of Abraham/ 



Verses 6 — 10. 

15ut he whose descent is not counted from 
them, received tithes of abraham, and 
blessed him that had the promises. and 
without all contradiction, the less is 
blessed of tfie better ; and here men that 
die receive tithes, but there he receiveth 
thfm of whom it is witnessed that he 
liveth. and as i may say so, levi also 


§ I. The [cope and argument vf the vjords, § 2 — 6. (I.) 
Expojit'ion of their fever al parts, § 7. (II.) Obfervations, 
§ 8. It is a great mercy and privilege when God will make 
life of any in blcjjing others with fpiritual mercies^ parental 
and m.iniferial blcffings, § 9. God is pleafed, in the out- 
ward minif ration of his worf/yip, to make if e of poor frail 
dying men. § 10. Additional obfcrvations^ 

§ I. J^N thefe five verfes the apoftle purfues and con- 
cludes that part of his argument from the coniideration 
of Melchifedec, which concerned the grcatnefs and glory of 
him who was reprefented by him, and his pre-eminence 
above the Levitical priefts ; for if Melchifedec, who was 
but a type^ was in his own perfon in fo many inftances 
more excellent than they, how much more muft Chrift 
he efteemed to be above them who was reprefented by 
him ; for he whom another is appointed to reprefent, 
mud be more glorious than he by whom he is reprefented. 
The apoftle concludes in thefe verfes, and thence pro- 
ceeds to another great inference and deduction from what 
he had taught concerning this Melchifedec — That the 
Levitical pricflhood mull neceffarily ceafe upon the in- 



trodnftion of that better prieflhood which was fore-figiii- 
lied by that of Melcliifedec. 

§ 2. (I.) (M;; yc-v-a-Xoy^iJi^vog) * He whofe defcent is 

* not counted.' The .SV"^^<^ vcrfion, * He who is )?.ot zvrit-' 

* ten in their genecilogies ;' properly enough, for the apoflle 
fpeaks of the genealogies recorded in the book of Geneli?, 
wherein there is none of Mclchifcdec ; and it is the writing 
bv divine infpiration that his argument is founded on. 
Note, It is good ordinarily to be, as it were, gcnealo^ized 
into the miniftry by eftablilhed rule ; but God can, by- 
virtue of his own fovereignty, grant this privilege to 
who ill he pleafeth : and let not any imagine that fuch a 
fuppofition mod needs immediately open a door to con- 
fuiion, for there are invariable rules to try men and their 
miniftry at all times, w^hether they are fent of God or no. 
The do£trine they teach, the ends they promote, the lives 
they lead, the circumliances of the times, he. will fufR- 
ciently man i fell whence fuch teachers are. 

' Received tithes of Abraham.' The Levitical priefts 
received tithes of thofe who come out of the loins of Abra- 
ham, wdlich was an evidence of their dignity by God's 
appointment ; but Melchifcdec received them of Abraham 
himfelf, which evidently declares his fnperiority to both; 
and the apoflle, by iniifting on thefe things fo particularly, 
fhews how difficult a matter it is to difpolfefs the minds of 
men of thofe things w4iich they have long trufted to and 
boafted of. 

* And blefT^d him that had tlie promifes.' This he 
fingles out as the greateft privilege and honour of Abra- 
ham, as it was indeed the foundation of all his other 
mercies. The nature of this promife, with the folemn 
manner of giving it to Abraham, and the benefits included 
in it, he had at large declared before, [chap, vi, ver. 13 — 
16.] Hereby Abraham became the father of the faithful, 
the heir of the wcrld, and the friend of God ; fo th:at 
it exceedingly illuftratcs the greatncfs of Mclchifcdec, in 
that this Abraham paid tithes to him. 

But it may vet be faid, that Abraham had not received 
the promifcs then, when he waS' bledcd of Mclchifcdec j 


Ver. 6— 10. EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS. 277 

we reply, he had before received iht fame pro mife^ for the 
fubilance of it, which was afterwards more folemnly con- 
firmed to him, on the trial of his faith in offering his 
only fon, [Gen. xii. 2, 3. chap. xiii. 15, 16.] He was 
then actually inflated in a right to all that farther confir- 
mation of the promifes which he received on various oc- 
caiiton's ; and what followed added not to the dignity of 
his perfcn, but ferved only to the confirmation of his 
faith. So Melchifedec ' blelTed him who had the pro- 

* mifes.' 

§ 3. But what if Abraham was thus blejjed of Melchi^ 
fedec, doth this prove that he was lefs than he by whom 
he was blelled ? Yes, faith the apoiile, and that by vir- 
tue of an unqueflionable general rule ; * And without all 

* contradi«5tion, the lefs is blefTed of the better.' The words 
(to sKcy^TJo]/ and t8 K^zi{jovog) lefs and greater, are in the 
neuter gender, and fo rendered in moil tranflations ; (Illud 
quod minus eft, l^c). The Syriack reduces them to the maf-^ 
culine \ * He who is the lefs is bleiTed of him who is greater,* 
or more excellent, which is the true fenfe of the place. 
The words prevent an implied objedion : [yjM^ig nT(z<TYiq 
c^fjiKoyiOig) without, beyond, above, all reafonable contra^ 
diSiion , as that which is evident in the light of nature. 
There are feme truths which have fuch an evidence in 
themfelves, and fuch a fuitablenefs to the principles of 
reafon and the light of nature, that no colour of oppofi- 
tion can be made to them. And if any from Itrong 

j)rejudices perfift in oppojing them, they are not to be 
contended with, but negle£led. What is here intimated 
is, that there are fome principles of truth fo fecured in 
their own evidence and light, as that being unquefliona- 
ble in themfelves, they may be ufcd and improved as con^ 
cef/ions, whereon other lefs evident truths may be con- 
ifirmed and eftabliflied. The due confideration hereof is 
of great ufe in the method of teaching, or in the vindica- 
tion of truth. In all teaching, efpecially in matters that 
are controverted, it is of great advantage to fix upon fome 
unqueflionahle principles, whence thofe which are lefs evident y 
or are more • oppofed, may be deduced, or be otherwife 
- Vol. III. O o influenced 


influenced and confirmed. A negled hereof makes popu- 
lar difcourfes weak in their application ; and thofe wherein 
men contend for the truth, infirm in their conclufions. 
Hence the apoftle refolveth his prefent argument into fuch 
an mtqttj9i enable, principle', as reafon and Common fenfc 
muft admit of. 

The propolition i$, * That the lefs is bleffed of the 
* greater j' that is^ he that is bleffed, is therein lefs than 
the othcri or beneath him in dignity* He treats only of 
facerdotal benedi£lions, and, with refped to them, the 
rule is not only certainly true^ but openly evident. But 
to iliuflrate the whole> and to fliew how far the rule 
mentioned may be extended^ we may reduce all forts of 
ble flings iofour heads : 

1. There is (benedi^io pottjlativaj fuch a bleiling as 
confifls in an a^ual, efficacious communKation of the mat* 
icr of the bleffmg to the perfon bleffed^ Thus God alonji 
can blefs abfolutely. 

2. There is fhenediBio author it ativa) a kind of bleffmg 
by which men, in the name, that is, by the appoint* 
ment and warranty of God, declare any to be bleffed ; pro- 
nouncing the bleffxngs to them, whereof they (hall be made 
partakers ; and the bleffing of Melchifedec in this place 
feems to have a mixture in it of both thefe ; for, as it is 
plain that he bleffed Abraham by virtue of his facerdotal 
office, which our apoflk principally confidereth, fo I 
make no queflion but he was peculiarly a£^uated by im- 
mediate infpiration from God, in what he did. And in 
this fort of bleffmg the apoilolical maxim maintams its 
evidence in the light of nature* 

§ 4. {Cl^e fASv^^^^SKSi h) * Here verily^-^but there,^ 
Thefe words, * here^ and * thercy exprefs the feveral dif* 
ferent ftates under confideration. Here^ in th0 cafe of 
the Levitical priejihood j therf^ in the cafe of Melchifedec, 
[Gen. xiv ] 

The foundation of the comparifon, that whereon both 
agreed, is in this, that they received tithes. It is expreffed 
of the one fort only, tlie Levitical priefls, but is under- 
fload of the other alfp, as fuppUed in our tranfJationj 

Ver. 6— lo. EPISTLE TO THE jKEBREWS, 279 

Xhe oppafition and diifcrence He in the ^aaliticaticn uisd 
properties of them by whom they are received. Thofe on 
the one fide were {ocTsr^v/i^^iJ^vlsg av^fi0*n70i^ hcm'^riss. qui «!?>• 
fiuntur i or, homines marmttss.) * msn tP:}at die/ that as, mea 
fubje6t to death, who lived and died in the difcharge of 
their office, accor4ing to tiie coniiBon Saws of moralky. 
They had both * beginung of days and end of Jife/ 

In oppoiitiozi to this ilate of the LevitkraJ psiefls, it is 
affirmed that (^ksi) there, in the cafe of Mekhifedec, (^mp* 
TtApjjuevo^ oji ^J) * Tt h t^itneffed th^t he Irveth* ¥/hat tlic 
fcripture conceals of Melchifedec is to BnflFiJif6l tbs in the 
myilery of his pcrfon and minsftry, as types o^ Chs-ifL 
lience the file nee of fcriptore, m u^h^f if »/?f/; m fxpmsfsy, 
niuft, in this cafe, be interpreted as a tefcitnoDy to the 
contrary. So it imimjjid of him, -that be v/as withoi.-^ 
father, without mother, without defceiit, in that ft* msn* 
tioneth none of them, hndk ^vhereas he had neither begin- 
ning of days nor end of life re€ordid\n the fcriptaretr, it is 
thereby witnefled, that, as to his typical confidsration, 
he Hvcth ; for there are no bounds or periods fixed to his 
prieilhood, nor did it expire by the bringing in that of 
Levi, as that did by the introduction of Chrifl. What 
is reprefented in the type, but is really, fubje£^iveJy, and 
properly found only in the antitype, may be affirmed of 
the type as fueh. So it is in all facramental inflitutions ; 
as the pafchal lamb was <;alled cxprcffly God*s prjjovery 
[Exod. xii. II.] when it was only a pledge and token 
thereof; as -under tlie New Teftament, the bread and 
wine in the facred fupper, are called, * the body and 
* blood of Chrift,' which thev do but reprefent. Thus 
it is true really and abfolutely of our Lord Jefus Clirifl, 
that * he iiveth for ever \ that he is a ' priefl for ever : 
\yhich the apoftle much infifteth on afterwards. This 
eternity, or svf?- Ihing. of Jefus Chrill, was reprefented in 
Melchifedec, in that \t is not faid any where in the fcrip- 
ture that he died ; it is witncifed, therefore, that he liv- 
6th, becaufe he whom he reprcfents doth really fo ; and. 
his own death is not mentioned, on purpofe that he might 
fp represent hina» And the apolllc's argument to the dic^- 


nity and pre-eminence of Melchifedec 'above the Levltical 
priefts in this inftance, is of an unqueftionable evidence. 
For, conlider Melchifedec, not in his, natural being and 
exiftence, which belongs not to this myftery, but in hi8| 
Jcripture being and exiftence, and he is immortal, alv/ays 
Hving, 'wherein he is more excellent than thofe who were 
always obnoxious to death in the exercife of their office. 

§ 5. (Vlg BTTog ir>Hv) * As I may fo fay/ The inftance 
being new, and he arguing from what was virtual only, as 
if it had been a^ual, he gave his alTertion this qualifi- 
cation. Or, rather, as I incline to judge, he ufeth thia 
phrafe for as much as, ut verho d'uam, * to fum up the 

* whole in a word,' to put an ilTue to this difpute be- 
tween the Levitical priefthood and that of Melchifedec ; 
I fay, that not only Abraham, but even Levi hi mfelf, 
•was tUhed by him. By ' Levi' he intendeth his poilerity, 
or the whole tribe proceeding from him, fo far as they 
were intereited in the priefthood ; for Levi himfelf never 
received tithes of any, the priefthood being erefted ia 
his family long after his death in the perfon of his great 
grandchild Aaron. {As^SKcc]u?,a>t ^icc A^^ccc^i^l) ' He was 

* tithed^ or paid tithes, in Ahraham^^ or through him, and 
hy him, as the word denotes. When Abraham himfelf 
'gave tithes to Melchifedec, he did it not in his own name 
only, but in the name of himfelf and his whole pof- 

* For he was yet in the loins of his father when Mel- 

* chifedec met him.'. Abraham was now called of God, 
and feparated to his fervice, fo as to be the foundation 
of a new church in 'the world ; and there is a relation to 
fuch an original {lock in all the branches beyond what 
they have to any other intermediate progenitors. He had 
now received the promife that * God would be a God to 

* him a"nd his feed after him ;' whereby all his feed were, 
tarken into covenant with him. • What God faid and did 
to Abraham, he faid and did to all his feed in him. The 
j>rbmifes v^ere their's, and the inheritance their's ; and, 
on 'the other hand, Abraham a6led as -a. public perfon ia 
the name of his poiterity. Flence when the people ca^ie 


^(^ually to poflfefs the land, they held it always on this 
condition, that the tenths of all fho.uld be given to God\ 
and this Abrah^m^ in. his tdkmgfeifin of ilfor them, paid 
in then' name : fo truly and virtually was Levi hinifelf 
tithed in the loins pf Abraliam when Melchifedcc met 
him. Wherefore it was not merely Levi being in the 
loins of Abraham with refpc«Sl to natural generation, 
whence he is faid to be tithed in him, but his being^^- 
derally in him. Aiid thqs our apo.ftle's reafoning being 
4uly inquired into, we find is - refolved into the firm 
principles of reafcn and religion. 

§ 6. It has been queftioned, whether Chrift himfelf 
may not as well as Levi be faid to pay tithes in Abraham 
as being in his loins ? No; for Chriil was never in 
Abraham as a federate^ one taken in covenant with hiai, 
and fo reprefented by him, as Levi was. Abraham \yas 
taken into covenant with Chrifl, as the furety and me- 
diator of the new covenant. Hereon he was the repre^ 
fentative of Abraham and all believers, and what he did is 
imputed to them ; but he was never taken into covenant 
with Abraham, nor was capable of it. 

And this makes way for the folution of another general 
queftion, How one may be faid to do any, which Ihall be 
reckoned to him as his own a£l ? Which is no otherwife 
than by virtue of a covenant, Abraham was taken into a 
new admhiift ration of the covenant, with new promifes 
and feals ; but he neither was, nor could be, the head 
and reprefentative of that covenant itfelf whereinto he was 
taken, otherwife than typically. Hence his moral good or 
evil could not be reckoned to his poilerity in covenant. 
But yet he was made the head and fpring of the adminiflror- 
tion of its outward privileges. Wherefore, feeing what 
he did to Melchifedec belonged to the adtninijlr ation of the 
covenant committed to him, Levi is rightly faid to have 
done it in him alfo : and thefe things do mutually illuftrate 
one another. But to deny (as Schliftingius does in his 
comment on this place) that we were all in Adam, as the 
head of the firll covenant, that ive fumed in him y and that 


^ny Jtn can be imputed, is not to d}fpuis with m, but ex- 
i)refsly to contradi3 the Holy Ghofl. 

§ 7. (II.) From the pveceding expofition we may 
inake the following ohfervai'ims : 

1 . V/e can be made partakers of no fuch grace, mercy,. 
or privilege in this world, but that God can, when he 
J>lc'afeth, make an addition to- it. He who had received the 
promifes was afterwards bklied. Wherefore^ as it is re- 
quired of us to I5C tliankful for what we have^ or to walk 
worthy of the grice we have received, yet we msy live m 
conilant expectiuion of more from him; and this incHi- 
mable privilege fliould be the great comfort and relief of 
our fouls. 

2. It is the bleffin^ of Chrifl, typified by Melchi fcdec, 
that makes promifes and mercies 5ffe£tud,i to. us. He is 
himfelf the great fubjeft of the promifes, and the whole 
blejjing of them cometh from him alone ; all without him 
is under the curfe. In him, from him-^ and by him only, 
are all bleflings to be obtained. 

3. Free and fovereign grace is the, ojily foundation of 
all privileges. All that is fpoken of the digmty of Abra- 
ham is refolved into this, that * he received the promifes/ 

§ 8^. Ohf, It is a great mercy and privilege when God 
will make ufe of any in bleffing others with fpi ritual 
mercies. It is God alone who originally and efficiently 
can confer a bleffing on any ; yet he generally maketh 
ufe of others, in various degrees of ufefulnefs, inftru- 
mentally to communicate them : fo parents blefs their 
children and houfehold, and mimjlcrs the church. 

Firji\ Parents blefs their children in the name of the 
Lord feveral ways ; particularly, by endeavouring to inflate 
them in their own covenant interefl ; by communicating 
to them the privilege of the initial fcal of the covenant, as 
a fign and pledge of their being blelTed of the Lord ; by 
pleading the promife of the Covenant in their behalf ; aird 
by carefully injiru^ling them in its mercies and duties. 
Wherefore, although this powder of bleiiing be founded; 
in the law of nature,- aild in all nations fomething hath 
-been obferved that looks towards it, yet it is hy faith alone 


Tgn.^— 16. EPiSf LE to THE HEBREWS. 583 

tiiat any parents are able to blefs their children in a due 
jjiamier^ As to parental mjiru^ion^ if parents did truly 
contider how they Hand in the flead of God in that mat- 
ter, they would probably be more diHgent and confcien- 
tious in the di fcharge of their duty than they are ; and 
■if children could but underftand that parental inflru£lion 
h an inftituted means of God's blefTing them with the 
principal bkffing, they would with more diligence and 
reverence apply themfelves to the reception of it than is 
ufual among men* — Again : parents biefs their children 
by their example. Let parents take what pains they pleafc 
in teaching and in{lru£ling their families, unlefs thtiv per- 
fonal walk be holy, and their lives fruitful, they will do 
more for their deftruftion than their ediiication. To 
pray, to read, to catechife^ to inftrudt, and then (by a 
liideous inconliitency) to lead a life of frowardnefs, paf- 
iion, worldly mitidednefs, vain communication, and the 
like, is to pull down with the one hand v/hat we fet up 
with the other ; or, rather, with both our hands to pull 
down our own houfes.— Finally : parents blefs their chil- 
by prapr for them. And I do not underiland how thofe, 
who do not believe the fpecial intereft of their children 
in the covenant of grace, (as externally adminiftered) can 
blefs them in the name of the Lord in a due manner^ 
Thefe are fome few heads of parental benedictions. 

Secondly; Ministers blefs the church, as a part of 
their minifterial duty. Particularly, by the right and or- 
derly celebration of all holy ordinances of worfhip ; and 
the preaching of the word ; and particularly by the minif- 
terial applications of the word to the confciences of men. 
How they blefs the church by prayer and example, may be 
Underftood from what hath been fpoken concerning pa» 
irents. The authority that is in thefe miniflerials afls de- 
pends on God*s inftitution, which difcrimi nates them 
from, and exalts them above the common order of mu- 
tual charitative benediftions. Thofe who are thus ap- 
pointed to blefs others in the name of God, and arc 
thereby exalted into a certain pre-eminence above them, 
ought to be accordingly regarded by all that arc fo bleiled. 
2 In 


In fhort ; it is well if Chriftians rightly confider what 
their duty is to them who are appointed as a means to 
Communicate all fpirituai bleflings to them ; and let thofe 
who are fo appointed take heed left, by their mifcarriage, 
they prove not a curfe to them whom they ought to blefs. 
For if this is the cafe, when they are negligent in the per- 
formance of thefe important duties ; much rrtore, if 
therewith they * put the name of any falfe God* upon>. 

§ 2. Glff, In the outward adminiftration of his wor- 
Ihip, God is pleafed to make ufe of poor, frail, dying- 
n\en. * Our fathers, where are they ? And the prophets, 

* do they live for ever?' [Zech. i. 5.] Yea, oftentimes, 
their bodily infirmities, outward condition, and manifold 
frailties are iignalized above others. And God hath cho- 
fen to make ufe, on this great occalion, of poor, infirm^ 
frail, temptedy Jlnnlng^ dying men. 

(i.) To make it evident that it is his own powers and 
nothing elfe, gives efficacy and fuccefs to all gofpel ad- 
miniilrations, [XL Cor. iv. 7. J * We have this treafure 

* in earthen vejjels^ that the excellency of the power may 

* be of God and not of us.* There is not a foul con- 
vinced, converted, or comforted by their word, but they 
may truly fay of the eiFed wrought, as the apoftles did of 
the miracle, [Adls iii. 12.] * Why look ye fo on Us, as 

though by our own power and holinefs we made this 
man walk \ this blind man to fee, that dead man to 
live. By the coniideration of our meannefs all may dif- 
cern, that the excellency of this power is of God, and not 
of us. What the Jews fpoke blafphemoufly of Chrift 
upon his opening the eyes of him who was born blind, 
may in a fenfe be truly fpoken of any of us upon the open- 
ing the eyes of them that were fpiritually blind ; ' give 

* God the praife, we know that this man is a iinner.' 

(2.) God hath fo ordered things in wifdom and grace, 
that the adminiftrators of holy things to others might have 
experience in themfelves of their ftate and condition, {o 
as to be moved with peculiar compaflion, care, and zeal 
for them. 


Ver. 6— 10. EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS. 285 

(3.) That the power of gofpel grace snd truth may be 
exemplified to the eyes of them to whom they are dif- 
penfed, in the perfon difpenflng them according to God's 

(4.) In particular, God maketh ufe of fuch perfons, 
that their teflimony to the truth of gofpel grace and mer- 
cy may be complete and unqueflionable. Death is the 
great touchjione of all things of this nature, as to their 
efficacy and fincerity. Many things will yield relief in 
///>, and various refrefhments, which, upon the approach 
of deaths vanifh into nothing. God therefore hath or- 
dained, that all thofe who adminifler the gofpel fhali 
bring their own faith to that loft trial ; that fo, giving a 
teftimony to the fincerity and efficacy of what they have 
preached, in, that they commit the eternal falvation of their 
own fouls to them^ (and what higher teftimony can be 
given ?) they may be encouragements to others to follow 
their examples, to imitate their faith and purfue their 
courfe to the end. — But on the other hand, the evil ex- 
amples of any minifters in life and death are unfpeakably 

§ 10. Here the following obfervations may be added: 

1. The life of the church depends on the everlafting 
life of Jefus Chrift. It is laid of Melchifedec, as a type 
of him, * it is witnelTe.d that he liveth.' Chrift doth fo 
really and for ever; and hereon, under the faihngs, in- 
firmities, and death of all other adminiftrators, depend 
the prefervation, life, continuance, and falvation of the 

2. It is of great concernment to us, what covenant 
we belong to, as being efteemed to do therein what is 
done by our reprefentatives in our name. Before we 
make our own perfonal voluntary choice, we are by the 
law of our natures, and of the covenant itfelf, inclofed 
in the fimie condition with our progenitors, as to their 
covenant ftate. And thence It is that in the fevereft 
temporal judgements, children not guilty of the actual 
tranfgreffions of their parents, do yet oftentimes partake 
of the punifluiients they have deferved, being efteemed in . 

Vol. III. P p fom^ 


fome manner to have done what they did ; v'i%. fo far as 
they were included in the fame covenant with them. And 
rnany blelfings, on the other hand, are they partakers of, 
who are included in the covenant of thofe parents who 
are intereiled in the covenant of grace. For fuch pa- 
rents (in this refpe£t) fucceed in the room of Abraham, 
every one of them. And what Abraham did, as to the 
admin'ifiration of the covenant intrufted with him, his pof- 
terity, whofe rcprefentative he was therein, are faid to^ 
have done in h'lm^ as Levi in this place, and therefore had 
the feal of the covenant given to them in their in- 

Verse i i. 

if therefor^ perfection were by the leviti- 
cal priesthood, (for under it the people 
keceivedthe law,) what farther need was 
there that another priest should rise af- 
ter the order of melchisedec, and not be 
called after the order of aaron ? 

§ I. A fummary view of the apoflW s plaUi § 2. His de^ 
fig)i more particularly explained. § 3. Ferfedion denied 
to the Lcviilcal pricfthood. § 4. Mlocrein the perfcdion 
mentioned in the text confijh. It is either, firjl^ fuch as be^ 
longs to the church itfcf\ or § 5, 6. Secondly, the wor~ 
fhip of the go [pel. ^ 7 , 8 . The other parts of the words 
explained. § 9 — i 2. Ohfcrvaiions. 

§ I. J.N this verfc, after {o long a preparation and in- 
trodiidion, whcrQby he cleared his Vv»ay from objections, 
and fecurcd his future building, the apoille enters on his 
principal argument concerning the p>icfhood of Chi lit, 
and all the confeouenccs of it with refpccl to righteouf- 

z iicfs, 


ntfs, falvation, and the worfliip of God, which depend 
thereon. This being his main defign, he would not en- 
gage in it before he had in every Tefpe£l declared and vin- 
dicated the dignity and glory of the perfon of Chr'ijl as 
vefted with his bleifed offices. And, from hence to the 
didadlical part of the epiftle, he proceeds in a retrograde 
order to what he had before inlifled on ; for, whereas he 
had firfl declared the glory of the perfon of Chrift in his 
hngly office^ [chap, i.] then h.\s prophetical, [chap. ii. iii.] 
having now entered on his facerdotal, he goes on to en- 
large upon it ; he then returns to his prophetical^ and fhuts 
up the whole with a renewed mention of his khighj power. 
§ 2. * If therefore perfedion were by the Levitical 
* prieflhood.' (E/ jU-iV §y) If therefore \ if things be as; 
we have declared. He laid a peculiar fcope and defign in 
thofe things which he is now introducing. And that 
they might conlider, how what he had to fay was educed 
from what he had before proved, he introduceth it with 
thofe notes of infer-ence. And to comprehend the apof-^ 
tie's deiign in them, we may obferve, 

I. That his reafoning in this cafe is built upon a fup- 
poiition which the Hebrews could not deny, vi%. that 
\T'zKiL(jC(nq) perfctilon^ or confummation, is the end aimed 
at in the priefthood of the church. That prieflhood 
Vi\\\Q.\\perfeds the people in order to their acceptance witli 
God, and future enjoyment of him, their prefent righte- 
oufnefs and future bieiTednefs, is that which the church 
Hands in need of, and without which it cannot reft. 
That prieflhood which leaves men in an imperfc^i ilate, 
whatever ufe it may be of for a feafon, cannot be perpe^ 
tual, to the exclufion of another ; for if fo, either God 
had not defigned to confummate his people, or he muH 
do it fome other way than by a pricfthood. The iirft is 
contradiftory to the truth of God and ah his pron>ifes ; 
yea, would make all religion vain and ludicrous. That 
this Ihould be done any other way than, a pricfthood-^ the 
Hebrews did neither expedl nor believe. For they knev/ 
full well that all the ways appointed by the law, to make 
atonement for linj to attain righteoufnefs and acceptance 
P p a w;tl^ 


with God, depended on the prieflhood and its various 
fervices. If, therefore, the apoflle proves that perfe^ion 
could not be attained by means, of the Levitical prieflhood* 
it neceflarily follows, that there muft be fome more, excels 
lent prieflhood yet to be introduced. This tiierefore he 
undeniably evinceth. For, 

2. Look to the Levitical prieflhood in the days of Da- 
vid and Solomon. Then was that order in its height 
and at the befb ; then was the tabernacle fiifl, and after- 
wards the temple, in their greatefl glory, and the worlhip 
of God performed with the greatefl folemnity, The He- 
brews would grant, that the prieflhood of Levi could ne- 
ver rife to a higher pitch of glory, nor be more ufeful 
than it was in thofe days ; yet, faith he, even then it did 
not confummate the church ; which is demonflrated by the 
teflimony of David himfelf, who prophelied that there 
was to be another pr'ieji ' after the order of Melchifedec' 
For if the perfection of the church was all that God ever 
aimed at by a prieflhood \ and if that were attained, or 
even attainable, by the prieflhood in David's time, to 
what end fhould another be promifed to be raifed up after 
another order ? Wherefore, 

3. The apoflle obviates an objeclion that might be 
raifed againfl the fenfe of that teflimony. For it might 
be faid, that, though after the inflitution of the Levitical 
prieflhood there was yet mention of another priejl to rife, 
it might be fome eminent per f on of the fame order, fuch as 
Jofhua the fon of Jofedec, who was eminently ferviceable 
in the houfe of God after the captivity, and was honoured 
with eminent dignity, [Zech. iii. 4 — 7.] fo that the de- 
fe£l fuppofed might be in the perfons of the priefls, and 
3iot in the order of the priefchood. This the apoflle ob- 
viates by declaring that, if it had been fo, he would have 
been called^ or fpoken of, as one of the order of Aaron. 
But whereas there were two orders of the prieflhood, the 
Melchifedician and Aaron'ical, it is expreflly faid, that this 
other priefl fhould be of the former^ and not of the lat- 

4. He 


4. He hath yet a farther deiign, which is not only to 
prove the neceffity of another prieft and priefthood, but 
thereon alfo an abrcgatlon of the whole law of worfh'ip under ■ 
the Old Teflament. Hence he here introduceth the men- 
tion of the law, ^ for under it the people received the law,' 
as that which was given at the fame time with the priell- 
hood, and had fuch a relation thereto, as that of neceffity 
it mufl Hand or fall with it, And this may fuffice for a 
view of the fcope of this verfe, and the force of the argu- 
ment. We fhall now confider the particulars of it. 

§ 3. * If therefore perfection were (lia, TVjg Ac-viliKvig 

* ispHo-vr/jg) hy the Lev'itical priefihood ;'' the apoille calls tlie 
prieflhood of the law ' Levitical,' not only becaufe Levi 
was their progenitor, the patriarch of their tribe, from 
whom they were genealogized ; but alfo becaufe he would 
comprize in his aflertion not only the houfe of Aaron, to 
whom the right and exercife of the priefthood were con- 
fined, but he would alfo take into coniideration the whole 
Levitical fervice^ which was fubfervient to the prieflhood, 
and without which it could not be difcharged. That 
(TzKsiooa-ig) perfedlon was of this prieflhood, is denied in 
a reflri£live interrogation. If it had been fo, * what 

* farther need,' he that is, it certainly vjould have been 
otherwife with refped to another prieft, than as it is de- , 
clared by the Holy Ghoft. 

§ 4. But our principal inquiry on this verfe will be 
concerning this (rcXsioca-ig) ' pefcclion,^ and wherein it 
confifts. Some men no fooner hear of the word ' per- 

* fe£llon' in fcripture, but they prefently dream of ari 
abfolute Jinlefs, inherent perfedion of hol'inefs \ which, if they 
are not utterly blinded and hardened, they cannot but 
know themfelves to be far enough from. But this w^ord 
hath no fuch meaning ; it denotes no internal holinefs at all, 
and therefore it cannot fignify the perfetVion of it. Nor 
is any fuch perfection attainable in this life, as the fcrip- 
ture every where teftlfies. Wherefore the apoftle had no 
need to prove that it was not attainable by the Levitical 
prieflhood^ or to refleft upon it for that reafon, feeing it 
was not attainable by any other way or means whatever. 



We mufl therefore diligently inquire into the true notion 
of it, which will guide the remaining interpretation of thQ 
words. And concerning it we may obferve in general, 

Firr/I, That it is the effe^7, or end, or necelTary confeqtient 
of a prieilhood. This fuppofition is the foundation of 
the whole apoftolic argument. Now the prieflly office 
and work may be confidered two ways ; — either, with re- 
fpe£l to God, who is the firfl immediate o/?Jec7 of all the 
proper afls of that office ; — or, with refpe<Sl to the churchy 
which is xht fiihjetl of all the fruits and benefits of its ad- 

If we take it in \X\z firji way, then the expiation of Jin is 
intended in this word ; for this was the great act and 
duty of the priefchood towards God, vi%, to make atone- 
ment for lin by facrifice. And if we take the word in this 
fcnfe, the apoftle's afTertion is moft true ; for this pcrfe^tloit 
was never attainable by the Levitical prieilhood. It could 
expiate fin, or make atonement, only typically, by way of 
reprefentation ; but really and effectually, as to all the 
ends of fpiritual reconciliation to God, and the pardon of 
lin, they could not; ' for it was not poffible,' as. our 
apoftle obferves, ' that the blood of bulls and goats fhould 
* take away fin,' [chap. x. 4.] But I do not know that 
this word is any where ufed in this fenfe, nor doth it here 
include that fignification. And, God is the immediate 
obje£l of that facerdotal energy whereby fin is expiated ; 
whereas it is the church that is here faid to be * perfedled ;* 
fo that expiation of fin cannot be intended thereby, though 
it ht fuppofcd. Befides, the apoftle doth not here under- 
i!and facrifices only, by which alone atonement was m^lde, 
but all other adminiilrations of the Levitical priefthood 

SccQndly,^\\\% ' perfeclion,' therefore, refpe£ls the church, 
which is the fubjefl of all the benefits of the prieilhood, 
and is that pcrfcii Jiate of the church hi this ivorld, which 
God from the beginning defigned for it. He entered 
xipon creeling it in the firfl promife, with relpecl to his 
worfhip, and the blefied condition of the church itfelf. 
With relpe^t to this ilate, ther^efore, is that of the Old 



Teflament faid to be weak and Imperfei:!, like that of a 
child under governors and tutors. Hence alfo it had a 
yoke impofed on it, caufing fear and bondage ; God hav- 
ing ordained better things for us, or the church under 

the New Teilament, (/y^ ^); X^P^S" J^/^^v TsXsioo^MTt^ Heb. 
xi. 40.) * That they without us Ihould not be confummated^ 
or made perfed in their church Hate. The foundation of 
it was laid in that word of our Saviour, wherewith he gave 
-tip the ghoft, (ri/cAi/^/) [John xix. 30.] * It \% finijhed^ 
or completed ; that is, all things belonging to that great 
facrifice, v^^hereby the church was to be perfeded, were 
accompliflied. And thofe who v/ere thoroughly inllruded 
in the privileges of this church-flate, and had a fcnfe of 
its benefits, are called (tsAs/ou) perfetl^ [I. Cor. ii. 6.] 

'Thirdly^ This ' perfe£lion' may be conlidcred two 
ways : 

1. As to its ahfolute completenefs in its final iflue. This 
the apoflle denies that he himfelf had as yet attained, [Phil. 
iii. 12.] * Not as though I had already attained,' or 

- (sKccj^ov) received \ that is, the whole of what is purchafed 
for me by Chrifl ; (j^ ^J-4 TsjcKsioo'^ai) ' or were already 
* made perfed,' which could not be without attaining 
the refurreclion of the dead, [ver. 11.] though the 
fpirits of juil men were (Tfj3X:-iocu:-vuiv, Hcb. xii. 23.) 
made pcrfctl. 

2. It may be confidered as to its initial ft ate In this 
« world ; and the Lord Jefus Cbrifi, as the fole procurer 

of this Itate, is faid to be (tcA:/:J/;/c) the confummator, the 
perfefter, the *- fimfner oi omx faith,' or religious v/ordiip, 
[Heb. xii. 2.] as having brought us into a fcate (riAj/o;- 
(Tiocg) of perfeHlon. 

§ 4. The chief thing before us therefore is, to inquire, 
what this ftate of perfection is ? and to fliew, that it 
could not be by \\\^ Levitkal priejlhood^ or the law. Now 
the things that belong to it are of two forts ; — fuch as 
appertain to the fouls and confcl'ences of believers, that is,. 
of the church ; and, fuch as belong to the v/ordiip of 
God itfclf. For with refpe£l to thefe two doth the 
apoflle difcourfe, and aUtrt a ftate of peifedion, in 



oppoHtion to the imperfe£l Hate of the church under the 

F'lrji^ Such as belong to the church. And there are 
feven things concurring to the conilitution of this ftate : 

1. Righteoujnefs. The introduftion of all imperfeftioii 
and weaknefs, that now fublift in the church, was by fin. 
This made the law weak^ [Rom. viii. 3.] and iinners to 
be without Jhength^ [Rom. v. 7.] Wherefore the firfl ftep, 
whereby perfection mail be reftored, is by righteoufnefs* 
And Jehovah himfelf becomes * our righteoufnefs/ fo 
that we may truly fay, * In the Lord (Jehovah) have 
* we righteoufnefs and llrength.' The apoftle denies not 
perfc^lon, and confequently righteoufnefs, to perfons under 
l\\^ Levitical prieflhood, but denies that they were made 
partakers of it thereby. 

2. Peace is what next belongs to this gofpel ftate of 
perfedlion. The kingdom of God is ^ peace,' [Rom. xiv* 
27.] To lay the foundation of this kingdom, Chrift 
both * made peace,"* and *" preached peace,'* [Eph. ii. 14, 17.] 
It is ' peac€ with God,' which is the fruit of that righteouf- 
nefs before mentioned, [Ifa. xxxii. 17.] As enmity and 
diforder entered into the whole world by the (in of man ; 
fo the foundation of univerfal peace and order, from which 
nothing is excluded but the ferpent and his feed, muft be 
laid in peace between God and man. AfTured peace with 
God, delivering the fouls of his difciples from all trouble 
and flavilh fear, is what Chrift peculiarly bequeathed to 
them. But by the Levitical priefthood, this peace could 
neither be a^ually made, nor fully declared. — To this we 
may add, that peace between Jc-ws and Gentiles belongs 
to this perfection, as well as peace omcng believers them- 

3. Spiritual light and knowledge, with refpe6l to the 
myfteuies of divine grace. And this full revelation of the 
divine counfel, God referved for the miniftry of his Son, 
that in all things he might have the pre-eminence. There 
v/as under the Levitical priefthood zjhadoiv of good things 
to come, but no perfeti image, or complete delineation, 
[chap. X. I,] Neither did x\\q prophets theinfelves fee into 


Ver.ii. epistle to THE HEBREWS. 29:^ 

the depth of their own prediclions, [I. Pet. i. 11, 12.] 
Hence the beHeving ciiurch waited, with earnell expedta- 
ton, ' until the day fhould break, and the fhadows flee 

* away ;' [Cant.ii. 17. iv. 6.] they longed for the break- 
ing forth of that glorious light which the Son of God 
was to bring, attending in the mean time to the zuord of 
prophecy^ which was to them as the light of a candle fhining 
in a dark place. 

4. Liberty ayid holdnefs, which believers have In their 
approaches to God. This is frequently mentioned as a 
fpeciai privilege of the gofpel ilate, [Eph. iii. 12. Heb. 
iii. 6, &c.] and, on the contrary, the ftate under the 
Levitical priefthood is defcribed as a ftate oi fear and bon^ 
dagCy that is, in a comparative fenfe. [Rom. viii. 15. IL 
Tim. i. 7, &c.] And well it might, when we confider 
the dreadful manner of giving the law ; the revealed fane- 
tion of it in the carfe ; the continual multiplication of 
their facrifices, from time to time, whereby they were 
taught that by them all there was not an end made of fin, 
nor an everlafting righteoufnefs introduced by them. 
' The law (faith our apoftle, chap. x. i.) could never by 

* thofe facrifices which they offered, year by year continu- 

* ally, (th^ 7rpoa-sp')(^o^sviig rsKsiooa-cci') bring the worjhippers 
*" to this perfe^lion.^ 

5. A clear for efght into a blcjfed ftate of immortality and 
glory, with unqueflionable evidences and pledges of it. 
Death was originally threatened as the final iffue of fin ; 
and the evidence of it was received, under the Levitical 
prieflhood, in the £urfe of the law. Wherefore, their 
apprehenfions of deliverance, couched in the firft promife, 
were but timid and cloudy. They could not look through 
the dark fhades of death into life, immortality, and glory. 
But Chrift dying as our high priefl, entered into the de- 
vouring jaws of death as threatened in the curfc, broke 
through its power, fwallowed it up in vi(fl:ory, rofe in tri- 
umph, and afcended into immortal glory. Hence, in the 
refur- lion of Chrift^ the church had the firfl unqueftion- 
able e'vidence that death might be conquered. Thus hath 

Vol. IIL CLq he 


he not only abolifhed death, but alfo brought Hfe and im- 
mortality to Hght through the golpel. [II. Tim. i. lo.] 

6 Special joy. For this kingdom of God is not only 
righteoufnels and peace, but alfo * joy in the Holy Ghoji* 
And though many of the faints of the Old Teflament 
did greatly rejoice in the Lord, and had the joy of his 
falvation abiding with them ; yet they had it not by vir- 
tue of the Levitical priellhood. It was by the efficacious 
influence of the priellhood that was to be introduced, that 
isj of our everlalling one. This joy is unfpeakable and 
full of glory, and may be thus defcribed ; that inexpref- 
fible fatisfadion which is wrought in the minds of belie- 
vers by the Holy Ghofl, from an evidence of their inte- 
reft in the love of God by Chrift, with all its fruits pre- 
fent and to come, with a fpiritual fenfe and experience of 
their worth and excellency. This gives the foul a quiet 
repofe in all its trials, refrelhment when it is weary, peace 
in trouble, and the higheft fatisfadion in the greatefb 
hardfliips undergone for the name of Chrift. [Rom. v. 

7. Glorying in the Lord. This is the flowering and fruit 
of joy. One great defign of the gofpel is to exclude hoaft- 
hig^ [Rom. iii. 27.] What then, is there 7to glorying left 
us in the profeflion of the gofpel, no triumph, no exul- 
tation of fpirit ? Yes ; there is a triumphant exultation 
of fpirit from our preferring an interefl: in heavenly 
things above things prefent, fo as to defpife every thing 
contrary, however alluring or terrific. 

§ 5. Secondly, This {tcXsicjo<tlq) perfe^ion refpe^ls the 
worjhip of the gofpel ; as well as the perfons of the wor- 
ihippers. God had defigned for the church a more per- 
fed: flate in point of worlhip than it was capable of un- 
der the Levitical priefthood. Nor indeed could any man 
reafonably think, or wifely j^idge, that he intended the 
inftitutions of the law to be the complete, ultimate wor- 
lhip he would require or appoint in this world. For, 

I. They were in their nature carnal, as our apofl:le de- 
clares, ver. 16, and chap. ix. 10. The fubje£l of them 
»ll, and the means of their celebration were carnal things, 




confilling much in meats and drinks, the blood of bulls 
and goats, &c. Certainly God, who is a fpirit, and will 
b-e worfhipped in fpirit and in truth, defigned to intro- 
duce, at one time or other, a worfhip more fuited to his 
own nature, though the impofition of thefe things on the 
church, for a feafon, was necelTaVy. 

2. By i'eafon of their number, nature, and the man- 
mer of exacting them, they were made a yoke, which the 
people were never able to bear with any joy or fatisfaclion, 
[A£ls XV. lO.] and this yoke confifted — partly in the 
multitudes of ceremonies and inllitutions that perplexed 
them, and gave them no reft. What way foever they 
turned themfeives, one precept or other, pofitive or nega- 
tive, * touch not, taile not, handle not,' was upon them ; 
and partly in the veil that was on them, as to their ufe, 
meaning, and end : the worfhippers could not fee to the 
end of the things that were to be done away, nor appre- 
hend fully the reafon of what they did. And who can 
but pity the very woeful condition of the prefcnt Jews^ 
who can conceive of no greater blefiednefs than the re- 
floration of this burdenfome fervice. So true is what the 
apoftie fays, * Even unto this day, when Mofes is read, 
' the veil is upon their heart ;' yea, blindnefs is on their 
minds, that they can fee no beauty, but only in things 
^carnal;'' and — like their fore-fathers, who preferred the 
bondage of Egypt, becaufe of their fleth pots, before all 
the liberty and bleiTings of Canaan — they prefer their old 
bondage before the glorious liberty of the fons of God. 

§ 6. In oppolition to this imperfe£lion, there is a gof- 
pel worfhip which hath fuch properties as are conflitutive 
of that ' perfeftion' intended in the text. By 'go/pel 
* worfhip,'' I underftand the whole way and order of that 
folemn worfhip of God, which the Lord Jefus Chrift hath 
commanded to be obferved in his churches, with all the 
ordinances and inflitutions of it ; and all the private wor- 
fhip of believers, in their whole accefs to God. Here I 
fhall only mention fome few things wherein its excellency 
confills in oppofition to the defeats of that under the law. 


1. It \s fpiritual, in that it is fuited to the nature of 
God, lb that thereby he is glorified as God. For God is 
a fpirit, and will be zuorjhipped in fpirlt, which our Saviour 
aflerts to belong to the gofpel ilate, in oppofition to all the 
the moft glorious carnal ordinances and inftitutions of the 

. law, [John iv. 2 l — 23.] The old worlliip in and by itfelf^ 
anfv/ered not to the nature of God, though commanded 
for a feafon [See Pfal. 1. ver. 8 — 14.] 

2. It is eafy and gentle, in oppofition to the burden and 
infupportable yoke of the old inilitutions. That fo are 
all the commands of Chrift to believers, the whole fyf- 
tera of his precepts, whether for moral obedience or wor- 
ship, himfelf declares : * Take my yoke upon you, faith 
' he, and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, 

* and ye fliall find reft to your fouls ; for my yoke is eafy 

* and my burden is light,' [Matt. xi. 29, 30.] So the 
apoftle tells us, that his commandments are not grievous 
[I. John. V. 3.] All the ordinances of evangelical wor- 
fhip are, as to their nature and appointed fingular end, 
calculated to incite and ftrengthen grace in the worfhip^ 
pers ; as alfo to exhibit and convey a fenfe of the love and 
favour of God to their fouls. The outward rites of it 
are few, lightfome, eafy to be obferved, without fcrupu- 
lous tormenting fears ; not diverting the mind from that 
communion with God of which they are the means. 

3. It is iyiflru^ive \ teaching with clearnefs and evi- 
dence what we are to know and learn. This was a great 
part of the iraperfeftion of legal inftitutions, that they 
taught the things which they fignified and reprefented but 
obfcurcly ; and the mind of God in them was not learned 
but with much difficulty, no fmall part of their obedience 
confifting in a refignation of their underftandings to the 
divine fo ereignty, as to their ufe and end. But all the 
ordinances and inftitutions of the gofpel clearly exhibit 
the tl'ings themfelves to the faith of believers ; they dif- 
cern the reafons and grounds of their ufe and benefit. 
Whence our whole worfhip is called our reafanaMe fervice^ 
[Rom. xii. i,] 



This is a brief declaration of that {Ti?^sia](j-ig) -perfeB'ion^ 
•which the apoflle denies to have been attainable by the 
Levitical priejihood ; and the grounds of his denial he givess 
us in the remaining words of the text. But for the far- 
ther explanation of it, and application to his prefent pur- 
pofe, he adds the refpeft that their priefthood had to the 
law, intending thereby to bring the law itfelf under the 
fame cenfure of difability and infufficiency. 

§ 7. * For under it the people received the law.' The 
fubjeft fpoken of is (0 Xaoq) the people^ that is, in the 
wildernefs ; the body of the church, to whom the law 
and prieilhood were given immediately by the miniftry of 
Mofes. But after this, the whole pollerity of Abraham 
in their fucceffive generations were one people with theni. 
and are fo efteemed. For, ' a people' is ftill the fame, 
and, as a people^ never dies till all the individuals that be- 
long to it are cut off. So by this ' people' the whole church 
of all ages under the Old Teilament is intended. 

Of them he fays, {y::VO^o()sT,]]o) they were legalized. 
The greek word fvo^Lo9fli7v, legem ferre, legem fancire, legem 
imponere) is to make, conjlitute, i?npofe a law. And the paf- 
five (voi^o^ijciQ-^aA) when applied to perfons, is (legi lat^ 
fubjici, legem latam acciperej to be made fubje^ to a law ; to 
receive the law made to oblige them ; we have therefoFC 
not amifs rendered it, * received the law.' But the fenfe 
of the expreffion is farther regulated by the nature of a 
law ; theyfo received it, as to be made fuhje£l to it, to be 
obliged by it. Other things may be otherwife received \ but 
a law is received by coming under its obligation. Or be- 
caufe the law was the foundation and inftrument of their 
whole flate, both in things facred and civil, the meaning 
of the word may be, they were * brought into that fhate 
* and condition whereinto the law difpofed them.' This 
is faid to be done, [cTU ocvj?]) under it \ that is, {r^^ooirvv/i) 
XhQ priejihood. His intention is to prove, that perfection was 
not to be obtained by the Levitical priefthood ; to this 
end he was to confider that prieilhood under all its ad- 
vantages. Now although it was fome commendation of 
that prieflhood that it was appointed of God, or con- 


firmed by a law^ yet was it a far greater advancement that 
the ivhole law was given with it, and depended on it- Be- 
jBdes, the moft probable rcaibn of the introdudlion gf 
tl^iis claufe by^ the particle [yoc^) for^ was to bring in the 
whale law into the fame argument, that perfection was not 
attainable by it, ' Received the law under the priefthood.* 
Was the priefrhood then hjore the lav/ ? No : for the 
word, as before noticed, doth not fignify the ^7V/;2^ of the 
law to them, but their being legalized^ or brought under 
the power of it. Wherefore, although y^!^^ part of the law 
"was given before the inftitution of that priefthood, yet the 
people were not brought into adual ohedlence of it but by 
virtue thereof. But moreover : the apofrle in this place 
Iiath a fpecial rcfpeft to the lavj^ as it was the caufe and 
rule of religious worfliip, of facrifices, ceremonies, and 
other ordinances of divine fervice. For in that part of 
the law the Hebrews placed ail their hopes of perfeftion, 
which the moral law could not give them. And in thh 
refpedt, the priefthood was given before the lav/. Be- 
Udes ; the law of it was not given out to them until after 
the ereftion of the tabernacle, and the feparation of Aaron 
and his fons to the office of the priefthood- Yea, that 
whole law was given by the voice of God out of that ta- 
Icrnacle, whereof Aaron was the minifter, [Lev. i. i, 2.] 
So that the people niay be faid, in the largeft fenfe, to 
receive the law under that priefthood. Wherefore, the 
fenfe of the words is, that together with the priefthood tht peo- 
ple received the law of commandments contained in ordi- 
nances, which yet eifefted not in their conjunSiion the end 
that God deftgned in his worfliip. 

§ 8. ' What farther need was there that another prieft 

* fhould arile after the order of Melchifedec, and not be 

* called after the order of Aaron V 

The rcafon in thcfe words is plain and obvious. For 
after the inftitution of that priefthood, and after the execu- 
tion of it in its greareft glory, fplendour and efficacy, a 
proraife is made in tne time of David, oi another prief^ of 
another order, to arife. Hereof there can be no account 
given but this aloncj that perfedion was not attainable by 
2 that 


that which was already inftltuted and executed. This is 
that invincible argument whereby the holy apoftle utterly 
overthrows xh^ whole fyjlem of the modern Tewilh reUglon, 
and takes it out of the way. — ' That another prieft,' (/ipsu^ 
i\-cOog) a prieft of another fort. Not only a prieft who in- 
dividually was not yet exhibited, but one of another Hock 
and order. — (Avi(f]cca-^^ai) to arfe ; that is ; to be called, 
exalted ; to Hand up in the execution of that oflice. — 
' After the order of Melchifedec' And here the apoftle 
takes in the confideration of what he had before difcourfed 
concerning xX\t greatnefs of Melchifedec. For he defigned 
not only to prove the thing itfclf, which is fufficiently done 
in the teftimony out of the pfalmill ; but alio to evidence 
the advantage and benefit of the church by this change. 
And to that end the confideration of the greatnefs of Mel- 
chifedec was iingularly fubfervient. 

[Y^ccL » na]a tviv ja.^iv Ao'.oouv Asys(T^(Xi) * and not be 
• called after the order of Aaron ;' that is< in the pfahn 
where the riling of this priefb is foretold, there he is faid 
to be or denominated a prieft after the order of Melchife- 
dec, and nothing is fpoken of the order of Aaron. The 
word {X-eyto-^cci) * called' denotes only -an external dcnoml- 
nation, not an internal call. It is not of the fame import 
with the word [iiu7.>f^ivoq) ufed elfewhere by our apoftle, 
(chap. V. 4. K<%A^^aiyof ai70 r^Gs's) ' called of God;* 
that is, by an effedual call and feparation to oftice. But 
anfv/ers (T.-'^oo-a>yo^vj9iig, chap. v. 10,) cognonilnatus, cal- 
' led by external denomination.' For the real call of 
Chrift to his ofrice, by him who faid to him, ' Thou art 
* my Son, this day have I begotten thee,' was fuch as the 
call of Melchifedec himfelf could not reprefent. Where- 
fore the call of Chrift to his office, and that of Melchife- 
dec, are no where compared. 

§ 9. Obf. I. An intereft in the gofpel conftfteth not 
in an outward profeftion of it, but in a real participa- 
tion of thole things wherein the perfection of its ftate 
confifts. Men may have a form of godlinefs, and be ut- 
ter ftrangers to the power of it. M^jltitudcs in all ages 
have made a profelTion of the gofpel, who yet have no ex- 


perience in tliemlelves of its real benefits. All that they 
obtain is but to deceive their fouls into eternal ruin. For 
they live in fome kind of expedation, that in another 
world they fliall obtain reft, and bleffednefs, and glory by 
3t. But the gofpel will do nothijig for them hereafter in 
things eternal, who are not here partakers of its power and 
fruits in things fpiritual. 

§ lo. Obf, 2. The pre-eminence of the gofpel ilate 
above the legal is fpiritual and undecernible to a carnal 
eye. For it is evident that the principal defign of the apof- 
tle in all thefe difcoveries is, to prove the excellency of the 
ilate of the church under the New Teftament in its faith, 
liberty, and worihip, above that of the church under the 
Old. And it is equally evident that he doth not in any 
of them produce inftances of outward pomp, ceremonies 
or vifible glory, in the confirmation of his affertion. In 
Xh^k fpiritual thhigs therefore are we to feek after the glory 
of the gofpel, and its pre-eminence above the law. And 
thofe who fuppofe they render the difpenfation of the gof-^ 
pel glorious by endeavouring to vie with the law in cere- 
monies and an external pomp of worfliip, as doth the church 
of Rome, do wb.oliy crofs the defign of the infpired pen- 

§ II. Ohf. 3. To look for glory in evangelical wor- 
fliip from outward ceremonies and carnal ordinances, is to 
prefer the Levitical priefthood before that of Chrift. 
That which we are to look for in our worfliip is fuch a 
{TiKzrjOQ'Lg) perfedion as we are capable of in this world. 
This the apoftle denies to the Levitical priefthood, and 
afcribes to the priefthood of Chrift. But if fuch a per- 
fection be found in cerc7nomes, and ordinances outw^ardly 
pompous and glorious, of necefiity the contrary Qor\c\\x{io\\ 
muft be made. But yet fo it is come to pafs in the world ; 
that men do order things in their public worfhip, as if 
they judged that the pure unmixed worihip of the gofpel 
"had 710 glory in comparifon of th?it of the law^, to which 
they more or lefs conform themfelves. 

§ 12. Obf, 4. Put all advantages and privileges what- 
ever together, and they will bring nothing to perfcBicn 



without Jefus Chrill. God manifefled this in all his re- 
velations and inllitutions. His revelations from the foun- 
dation of the world were gradual and partial, increaiing 
the light of the knowledge of his glory from age to age. 
But put tlieiii all together from the firfl promife, with all 
its expofitions and additions with prophecies of what 
fhould afterwards come to pafs, taking in all the miniftry 
of John the Baptift ; yet did they not all together make a 
'perfe^ revelation of God's mind and will, [Heb. i. I. John 
i. 18.] So alfo was there great variety in his infl'itutions \ 
fome were of great efficacy, and of clearer fignihcancy 
than others, but all of them put together made nothing per- 
fed. Much more will all the ways that others fhall find 
out to attain righteoufnefs, peace, light, and iife before 
God, come ihort of reft or perfedtion. 

VeP^SE I2v 


§ I. The connexion and principal dejign of the words. § 2. 

(1.) Their explanation. The pricjihood being changed \ it 

follows of nece£ity, § 3. That there is a fimilar change^ or 

abrogation^ of the law, §4. (H.) Obfervations. § 5. 

Other obfervations. 

§ I. XN this verfe the apoflle evidently declares what he 
intended by the law in that foregoing, which the people 
received under the Levitical prieflhood. > It was me 
* whole law of commandments' contained in ordinances, 
or the whole law of Mofes fo far as it was the rul^e of wor- 
fliip and obedience to the church. For that law it is that 
followeth the fates of the prieflhood. And herein lieth 
Vol. III. R r the 


the flrefs of the controverfy which the apoftle then had 
with the Jews, and whi:h wc have at this day with their* 

unbeliciving pofterily. For the queflioii was, whether the 
law of Mofes was to be eternal^ abfolutely, as the rule of 
the cburcli's worfhip, whilfl in this world. And it ap* 
pears in the preaching of the goipel, that what mofl pro- 
voked the Jev;s was, that there was inferred thereby a 
ceffation of Mofaical inflitutions. This was that which 
enraged them to fhed the blood of the church, which they 
were guilty of after the murder of its divine head. For 
they fell on Stephen under pi-etence thit he had faid Jefus 
of Nazareth fhould deftroy * the cuftonis which Mofes de- 
* livered,' [Ads vi. I4.] And this alfo provoked their 
rage againft our apoftle, [A6ls xxi. 28.] yea, the moft of 
t'he'm who were ro/^-z^tv-/^^ to the' faith of the gofpel conti- 
nued obllinate in this perfaaiion, that the law of Mofei> 
was yet to contmue in force, [A6ts xx. 21.] This mat- 
ter, therefore, 42£liiiJi -tlie apoftle. enteretli now upon, was 
to be managed with care and diligence. This I look 
tjpon as the greatcft trial the faith of men ever had in the 
concerns of rehgion ; namely, to believe that God fhould 
take away, and leave as dead and ufelefs, that whole 
fyftem of folemn v/orfhip which he had appointed in fa 
glorious a manner, and accepted for fo rriany generations. 
But yet, as we are to acquiefce in the fovereign pleafure 
/of God, made known by revelation, againft all reafonings 
^ of our own whatfoever ; fo it muft be confeiTed, faith was 
greatly befpoken and prepjtred by the nature, end, and 
ufe of ail thofe inftitutions, which more than intimated, 
that they were appointed only for a time, and ferved to 
introduce a more glorious difpenfatiou of divine wifdom 
and grace. His principal defign is to prove, that the 
cliurch is fo far from being a lofcr by this change, that 
live receiveth thereby the higheft privileges, and greatefi 
bleftings that in thi^ world fhe is capable of. 

§ 2. (I.) * The priefthood being changed \ that is, 
the priefthood of Levi, appointed and exercifed under 
the law, [iL^(x},L^'c^zvy\Q) tranjlatcd^ according to fome, and 
others render it changed. The former rendering does not 


Ver.i«. epistle to the HEBREWS. 303 

Teach the whole fenfe intended. For the office of tlie 
priefthood may be transferred from one perfon to another 
one famrly to another, yea, one tribe to another j and yet 
the priefthood, as to the nature of it, continue the faine^ 
But the proof lies in this, tnat Mofes in the inftitutiori 
of the priefthood made no mention of the tribe of Judah, 
and therefore if that office be transferred to that tribe, it 
muft be oi another kind than that before inftituted. And, 
on this fuppofition, that which he intends to prove fol- 
lows evidently upon the tranflation of the priefthood. 
For all the facred fervices and worlhip, which the law 
required, were fo confined, or at leaft had that refpccl to 
the Levitical priefthood, as that no part of it, no facred 
duty whatever could be performed, on a fuppolition of 
taking away the priefthood from that tribe and family. 
Wherefore, upon a fuppofttion of the cealing or chang- 
ing of the priefthood in that family, the whole law of ordi-. 
nances became impra^icable, ufelefs and without power ; 
efpecialiy feeing there was no provifion made in the law itfelf 
for a priefthood in any other tribe. Beftdes ; fuch Vvras the 
contexture of the law, and fuch the fandlion of it, (curfe4 
is he who continueth not in all things written in the law 
to do them,} that if any thing be taken out of it, if its 
order be difturbed, if any alteration be made, or any 
tranfgrefiion be difpenfed with or exempted from the 
curfe, the whole fabrick muft of neceffity fall to th§ 

But yet it is not a mere transferring of the priefihood 
from one tribe to another, that is here intended by the 
apoftle. For there is fuch a change of the priefthood as 
there is of the law. But the change of the law was 
((z9f]-/jo-ig) a difannulling or abolifhing ; (ver. iS.) fucl^ 
therefore muft the change of the priefthood be. 

It may therefore be inquired on what grounds this 
priefthood was to be fo abolifhed> aud by what means it 
was aftually taken away? 

That it was fo to be abolished the apoftle proves from, 
hence, viz. That before the inftitution of that priefthood 



there was another far more excellent, that of Melchifedec. 
- — That the Holy Ghoft had declared that this more ex- 
cellent one was introduced to reprefent another prieflhood 
afterwards to be eftablifiied, and which could not be that 
of Levi : nay it was impoffible it fliould be confiftent 
with that of Levi ; or that the latter fhould be continued 
after the other was brought in. For this prieft w^as to be 
of another tribe ; and his prieflhood and facrifice was to 
be of another kind. On the other hand, the prieflhood 
of Aaron could never accomplifh the true and proper 
ends of the prieflhood, w^hich the church flood in need 
of, and without Vv^iich it could not be confummate ; and 
■was in its own nature and duties inconfiflent with any 
prieflhood that was not of its own order. It muft there-' 
fore be aholifhed. 

It may therefore be inquired^ how the prieflhood was 
changed? It was done by the appointment of God. For his 
introduclion of another priefl, when that was aftually 
accomplilhed, had the force of a repealing law. The in- 
ilitution of the former was abrogated thereby without 
any other conflitution ; for as to its ufe, it then ceafed 
of itfelf. 

§ 3. The next thing confiderable in thefe words is, the 
inference which the apoflle makers from his alTertion and 
proof of it : * There is made of neceflity a change aifo of 
* the law.' (E^ avc/.yKYtg) Of ncccfji-ty ; from the neceffary 
dependence of the things mentioned, the one on the other. 
For whereas the whole adminiflration of the law, fo far as 
it concerned the expiation of fin by facrifices, and the 
folemn w^orfliip of God in the tabernacle or temple, de- 
pended abfolutcly on the Aaronical prieflhood, fo as that 
without it no one facrifice could be offered to God, nor 
anv ordinance of divine worfhip be obferved ; that priefl- 
hood being abolifhed and taken out of the way, the law 
jtfclf * of neceflity' and unavoidably ccafeth. 

Wherefore there is alfo (yc^ay ^sjcc^Yicrig) * a change of 
* the law ;' that is, an ahoUtion of it. For it is a change of 
the fame nature with the change of the prieflhood-^ which, 



as we have fhewn, was its abolition. And how this caiife 
came to pafs, the word {yivfjey.i) made, declares ; therd is 

* made' a change of the priefthood ; yet not fo, but that 
there was an a^ of the will and authority of God on the 
law in itielf. So is the law of commandments contained 
in ordinances ' taken out of the way,' being * nailed to 

* the crofs of Chrift,' where he left it completely i'ccom- 
pliihed. But moreover, as the law in its inftitutions was 
was an injlru^ive revelation, and taught many things con-p 
cerning the nature of lin, its expiration and cleaning, 
reprefenting, though darkly, good things to coir.e : fo it 
is yet continued as a part of the revealed w'.l of G^d. 
And the light of the gofpel being brought to it, we .nay- 
learn things far more clearly out of it, than ever the Jews 
of old could. 

And the force of the argument here iniifted on by the 
apoftle againft the abfolute perpetuity of the Jewifh law, 
(which was of old, and itill continueth to be the head of 
the controverfy between the Jews and the Chriftiaii 
church) is fo unavoidable, that fome of them have been 
compelled to acknowledge that in the days of the Mefliah 
legal lacrifices and the reft of their ceremonies fhall ceafe ; 
though the moft of them under {land that their caufe is 
given up thereby. And they have no other way to free 
themfelves from this argument, but by denying that 
Melchifedec was a prieft, or that it is the Meffiah who 
is prophefied of Pfal. ex. which evidences of a defperate 
caufe, and more defperate defenders of it, have been elfe- 
where convinced of folly. 

§ 4. (II.) Some obfervations here offer ; and, 
I. Notwithftanding the great and many provocations 
of them by whom the Levitical priefthood was difcharged, 
yet God took it not away until it had acconiplilhed tiic 
end for which it was defigned Neither the wickednefe 
of the people, nor of the priefts themfelves, could pro- 
voke the Lord to revoke his inftitution, until the appointed 
end of it was come. And it is no fmall part of the bliad- 
nefs of the prefent Jews, to think that God would utterly 



abolifh his own ordinance, as they mull acknowledge he 
Jiath done, if he would have it to be of any longer ufe 
in the church. For lixteen hundred years they have not 
had any legal prieil among them, nor is it poiTibJe they 
fhould, according to the law, even though they were 
ad^ually reftored to their own pretended right in Canaan, 
For they have utterly loft the diftin£tion of tribes among 
tliem, nor can any of them in the leaft pretend that they 
are of the lineage of the priefts ; and for any one to 
"ufurp that office who is not lineally defcended from Aaron, 
they own to be an abomination. As therefore they know 
not how to look for a Meffiah from the tribe of Judali, 
feeing all facred genealogy is at an end ; no more can 
|:hey look for a prieil of the houfe of Aaron. Again ob- 

2. The efficacy of all ordinances, or inftitutions of 
worfliip, depends on the will of God alone. 

3. Divine inftitutions ceafe not without an exprefs di- 
vine abrogation. Where they are once granted and erec- 
ted by the authority of God, they can never ceafe without 
an exprefs 2.6: of the fame authority taking them away. 

4. God will never abrogate any inftitution, or ordi- 
nance of worfhip, to the difad vantage of the church. 
He w^ould not aboiifli the priefthood of Levi, until that 
which was incomparably more excellent was introduced 
and eftabliflied. 

5. God in his wifdom fo ordered all things, that the 
taking away of the priefthood of the law, gave it its 
greateft glorv ; and what more honourable ifTue could it 
come to ? The Jews by their pretended adherence to it, 
are they who caft the higheji mjhonour upon it. 

§ 5. We may further infer the following things : 
i. How it is a fruit of the manifold wifdom of God, 
that it was firft a great mercy to receive the law, and af- 
terwards a greater to take it away. And, 

2. If under the law the whole worfliip of God did fo 
depend on the priefthood, that upon that being taken 
away, the v/hole worship of God itfclf was to ceafe, as 



being no more acceptable before God ; how much is all 
worlhip under the New Teliament rejefted by him, if there 
be not a due regard therein to the Lord Chrift as the only 
high prieft of the church, and the efficacy of his dif- 
charge of that office. 

3. It is the higheft vanity to pretend ufe or continuance 
in tlie church, from pofleffion or prefcription ; or pre- 
tended benefit, beauty, order, or advantage, when once 
the mind of God is declared againfl it. 

Verse i^* 


^ I — 3. (I.) Expofition of the text, § 4* (II.) Brief oh- 

§ I. (I.) X HE caufal conjun£lIon (y^p) /or, doth not 
only intimate a purfuit of the foregoing argument, but 
alfo an entrance upon the exprefs application of the whole 
preceding difcourfe to the -per [on of J ejus Chri/i, the true 
and only high prieil of the church. (E(^'* ov K-yijoci Toivjoc^ 
that is, TT.-p/ >iy de quo) he concerning vjhom ; (qiiem defigrui' 
verunt httc ad quern haec pertinent) He who is defigned ia 
all thcfe things, to whom they all belong. He, Vv'ith re- 
fpecSl: to whom, {rccSjoc} thefe things, that is, all that hath 
htcw fpoken concerning Melchifedec and his priefthood, 
and that naturally thence follow. For although fundry 
of them were fpoken immediately coucerning other per- 
fons and things ; vet they all belong ultimately and per-- 
fe(^ly to Chrift alone, whom they reprclentcd and made 
wa7 for, 

§ 3. 


§ 2. It is added ; ' He pertained to another tribe ;' to 
one of the tri'oes excluded from an interefl: in the legal 
prielthood. And this I look upon as the principal reafon 
of the di{lin6tion of that people into their tribes ; namely, 
that God thereb)'- might provide for their inflru6tion, aS 
to the continuance of the legal worfhip among them, 
which could be no longer continued than the priefthood 
was referved to that one tribe ^ to which it was originally 
granted; { ^fj s(r%riK?, fee on chap. ii. ii, 12.) Kis Ihare, 
]ot> and intereft lay in another tribe, 

§ 3. Of which no man gave attendance at the altar ; 
(a,(p' Yjg) whereof, from which, none that was genealogized 
attended at the altar, tlrat is, had right fo to do. That 
exprexlion {'zu-pog fcr^'^;^2 too Bva-ic>iQ-]'/ipiu}) attended, zvaited 
on the altar, may be a fynechdochicai defcription of the 
w^iole prieilly office, from its principal work and duty. 
Bat I fuppofe the apoftie may not only include the priefls, 
to whom the immediate w^ork of facrificing at the altar 
belonged, but all thofe who attended the fervices of it, 
(though they could neither offer burnt incenfe nor facri- 
fice) that is, ail the Levites in their courfes. For he fo 
excludes the trlbe^ whereof he fpeaks, from the leafl rela- 
tion to the facerdotal work or office. 

§ 4. (II.) Two or three brief obfervations here offer 
themfelves : 

1. That it is our duty in flndying the fcripture to in- 
quire dihgently after what is fpoken and taught concern- 
ing Jefus Chriil. This our apoflJe, and this our Lord 
himfelf gives in charge, (John v. 39.) ' Search the fcrip- 
* tures, they are they which teflify of me.* Our princi- 
pal aim in iearching the fcriptures ought to be, that we 
may find out what they fay, and what they teflify con- 
cerning Chriil, (I. P t. i. 11, 12.) Let the pains, and 
induftry, and ildll of men, in reading and interpreting 
the fcriptures, be what they will, without this defign they 
will never rightly be underftood, nor duly imp ^ved. 

2. All men's rights, duties, an.d privileges in facrs-d 
things, are fixed and limited by divine iaflitution. And, 

2 3. Seeing 

Ver. H. epistle to the HEBREWS. 309 

3. Seeing Chrlll himfelf had no right to minlfter at 
the material altar, the re-iiUrodu6lioii oi fuch altars is in- 
confiflent with the perpetual continuance of the priell- 

Vj:rse 14. 

for. it is evident that our lord sprang out 

• *of judah ; of which tribe moses spake no- 
thing concerning priesthood. 

■§ If ^hc evidence of our Lord's defcent from fudah, §2.3, 
^he other ■part of the words explained, § 4. Obfervations,, 

§ I. X HE word {ttoo^'/iXov) evident, feems to intimate 
what was manlfefi before hand \ and this may not only re- 
fpe£t, but be confined to the preceding promifes and decla- 
rations, that the Meffiah fhould be of the tribe of Judah 
and of the family of David. And thus it was manlfefi to 
them beforehand. For to Judah the promife was folemn^ 
ly confined, [Gen, xlix. 8 — 'lO.j and frequently re- 
iterated to David, And none of the unbelieveing Jews 
made ufe of this objeftion, * that he was not of the tribe 

* of Judah,* which, if they could have managed, had ab« 
folutely jufllfied them in their unbelief. 

It was ,in thofe days manifefl by his known genealogy ; 
for by the providence of God his parents were puhllckly 
enrolled of the family of David, in confequence of the 
tax appointed by Auguftus Ca^far, [Luke ii. 4,] And this 
was yet made more famous by the cruelty of Herod, feek- 
ing his deftrudion among the children of Bethlehem, [Matt, 
ii.] The alliance between the blefTed Virgin and Elizabeth 
was doubtlefs by an antecedent Intermarriage of the tribes 
of Judah and Levi, as Elizabeth's mother might be fifter 
to the father or grandfather of the hoiy Virgin, And 

Vql, IIL S f this 


this was not only lawful between the tribes of Judah and 
Levi, or the regal and facerdotal families, whence Jeho-* 
ihabeath, the wife of Jehoiadah, was the daughter of Jeho-» 
ram the king, [II. Chron. xxii. ii.j as fome have ima- 
gined ; but fuch marriages were ufual and lawful among 
all other tribes, where women had no inheritance of land, 
wh ch was e>:preffly provided againft by a particular law. 
And this very law of exception fufhciently proves the 
liberty of all others. Both the exprefs limitation of the 
law to thofe who poffeiTed inheritances, and the reafon of 
it for the prefervation of the lots of each tribe entire, 
[as Num. xxxvi. 3, 4. 8.] manifefl, that all other were 
at liberty to marry any Ifraelite, be he of what tribe foeven 
Anc. thus the genealogies of Matthew and Luke, one by 
a legal, the other by a natural line, were both of them 
from the tribe of Judah, and family of P^vid, 

§ 2. {Avoi'lfja.KKe,) he [prang; the word {ccvccIs70\m) is 
Tifually taken in an aftive fenfe, to caufe to rife ; [Matt, 
V. 45. Tov ViKiov ocvJH (ZVc^eKXci) he caufeth his fun to /i/^; 
and fome think it peculiarly denotes the r'l/ing of the fun^ 
in diflmftion from the other planets. Hence {a.v6^]oXn) 
the eajl, from the riling of the fun. So the coming of 
our Lord Jefus Chrift is called * the rifing of the fun of 
^ righteoufnefs' with healing in his wings ; [Mai. iv. 2.] 
who is {ccva]oXYi s^ uiJ^J?^, Luke i. 78.) * The day-fprmg 
^ from on high ;* a ' light to lighten the Gentiles, and the 
*> glory of his people Ifrael.' 

§ 3. (£/$• YjV (pvXyjVf i. e. de qua trlbu) with reference to 
which tribcy Mofes, as the law-giver, when the office of 
the priellhood was inftituted in the church, and con- 
firmed by fpecial law or ordinance, fpake n^^thing ; for as 
the firft inftitution of it was directly confined to the tribe 
of Levi, and houfe of Aaron, fo there is not in all the 
law of Mofes the leaft intimation, that, on any occafion, 
it fhould be tranflated to the tribe of Judah. Nor was it 
poffible without the alteration and abolition of the whole 
law\ for the whole inflituted worfhip of God was to ceafe, 
rather than any one of that tribe fhould officiate in the 
ofiice of the priellhood. 'VVhatever ;s not revealed and 



appointed in the worftiip of God, by God himfelf^ is to 
be confidered as nothing ; yea, as that which is to be re- 


§ 4. From the whole obfervc : 

1. It pleafeth God to give fufiicient evidence to thfe 
acGomplilhment of his promife; and, 

2. Divine revelation gives bounds, pofuively andne*- 
gativeJy, to the worfhip of God. 

Verse 15— -17- 


i t. the mt'rodualon and fuhjea Jiated, § 2. (I.) 'Tht 
manner of introducing the argument. § 3. 4. (II.) 5^^ 
mgumnt itfelf, § 5. (HI.) I'he illuftratlon of the argu^ 
nient. § 6. (IV.) The confirmation of the whole. § 7-^ 
g. (V.) Ohfcr"JationSk 

§ I. That the Aaronicii priefttiood Was to be changed^ 
4ad confequently the whole law of ordinances that de- 
pended thereon ; 'and that the time wherein this change 
was to be made was now ccme, is that which iS here reca- 
pitulated and confirmed.---And there are four things to 
be confidered in thefe words : 

1. The manner of introdudng this hew argument} 
* and it is yet far more evident.*^ '\ 

2. The medium or argument itfelf; * There was ano- 
« ther prieft to arife after the fimilitude of Melchifedec' 

Sf^ S*Thc 


3. The illuftration of this argument j * who is made 

• not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after 

• the power of an endlefs life/ 

4. The confirmation of the whole with the teflimony 
of David ; ' For he teftifieth, thou art a prieft for ever 

* after the order of Melchifedec' 

§ 2. (I.) * And it is yet far more evident.' — The con- 
jundive particle (kc^i) and, conne£ls this confideration witb 
that foregoing, as of the fame nature and tendency. 
The thing fpoken of is faid to be (x,ixlccln7^ov) yet more 
open and convincingly evident. Hence he adds, that it is 
(TrspKTO'flspov, magis paiet, ahundantius, manifeilum) of an 
abundant efficacy for convidion ; there is more immediate 
force in this confideration to prove the celTation of the 
Leviticai priefthood, * That another priefl was to arife 

* after the fimilitude of Melchifedec,' than was merely irk 
this, * That our Lord fprang of the tribe of Judah.' 

And therefore he adds {sji) yet ; that is, above all that 
hath been collected from the confideration of Melchifedec, 
there is yet this uncontrolable evidence to our purpofe 
remaining. It may be, we fee not why he Ihould infill 
fo much upon, and lb narrowly fcan, all particulars in 
this matter. For being freed by the gofpel from the 
power of temptations about it, and being of the Gentiles 
who were never concerned in it, we cannot be fenfible of 
the juft importance of what is under confirmation. The 
truth is, he hath the greateft argument in hand that was 
ever controverted in the church oiF God, and upon the 
determination of which the fahation or ruin of the 
church depended. The worfhip he treated of was im* 
mediately inftituted by God himfelf, and had now con- 
tinued near fifteen hundred years in the church. All this 
while it had been the certain rule of God's acceptance of 
the people, or his anger towards them ; for whilft they 
complied with it, hib oielling was continually upon them; 
and the negleft of* it was flill punifhed with feverity,, 
And the laft caution that God had given them by the mi- 
niftry of the laft picphet he fent to them, was, that they 
Ihould abide in the obfervance of the law of Mofes, 


Ver. 21—17. EPISTLE to THE HEBREWS. 313 

left he come and fmite the whole earth with a curfe, [MaL 
iv.] It was therefore very neceffary that the apollle Ihouid 
proceed warily, diji'mdly^ and gradually, 

§ 3. (II.) The argument itfelf is ; * if another prieft arlfe 
' after the {imilitude of Melchifedec* — (E/) If, is generally 
taken here to be not a condlttonaty but a caufal conjundion. 
And it is yet far more evident, * if /& be that another 
prieil. — -As to the argument in general, we mufi: obfcrve, 
that the defign of the apoftle in this place is not to de- 
monflrate the dignity and eminency of the prieilhood of 
Chriil from that of Melchifedec his type, which he had 
done before fufficiently ; he doth not produce the fame 
words and arguments again to the fa?ne purpofe ; but what 
he aims at is, to prove from the fatnc tefi-mony, whereby he 
had proved the dignity of Chrift's prieilhood, the ne- 
ceflary abolition of the Levitical. Wherefore he doth 
not infift on the whole of the tcftimony before pler.ded, 
but only of that one thing of another pric/l, neceffarily 

§ 4. The fubjed fpoken of is [rc^^zvg e]:-^oc) another 
priefi ; ' Another' in this cafe is 2. Jirangsr, one that is not 
of the houfe or family of Aaron, . And nothing can be 
more evident than that the Levitical prieflhood, and the 
whole law of divine worfhip, muft be taken away, if it 
appear that any (it sjs^og) firm^ger, may be admitted 
into that office ; much more, if it were neceffary that it 
fhould be fo* For the law of the priefthood took care of 
nothing more than that no flranger, that was not of the 
houfe of Aaron, fhould be called to that office. [See Exod. 
jcxix. 33, &c.] If therefore there muft be * another prieji,* 
that was not of the lineage of Aaron, the latter is abo- 
lifhed. For whereas God had ordered all things in the 
fcripture concerning Melchifedec, that he might be (ven 
3.) ' made like to the Son of God,' he is faid to arife 
{Ka?iGC TYjy oiLOiol'/iloc) according to the likenefs ox fimilitude of 
Melchifedec. For every fimilitude is mutual, one thing 
is as like to another, as that is to it. I'his therefore is 
evident, that there was to be (i/^'^oc) another prieft ; .i)ot 
only [oO\Kq(;) merely another ^ but [cK7\7\.'yiVYig) one of another:' 



Jiock ; and not fo much as after the * fimilitude* of Aaron* 
Chrift riling in his offices puts an end to all other things 
that pretend ufefulnefs to the fame end with them* When, 
for inflance, he arofe as a king^ he did not put an end to 
the oJp.ce and power of kings in the worlds but he did to the 
typical kingdoms over the churchy even as he did to the typical 
^riejihood, by rifing as the priefl of it* 

§ 5. (ill.) Who was made, not after the laWj &c. 
This verfe contains an illuftratlon and confirmation of 
the foregoing ailertion, by a declaration of the way and 
manner how this other prieft, who was not of the i^t^ 
of Aaron, ihould come to that office, (og yiyovi) who was 
made a priefl; that is, by the appointment and defignatioil 
of the Father* For the authority of God alone is the 
foundation of all office, duty, and power in the church* 

* Not according to the law of a carnal commandment;* 
Syriack verfion, * The law of bodily commandments.' It 
is unqueflionable that the apoille by this expreffion in- 
tendeth, in the firfl place, the law of the Levitical priefl* 
hood, or the way and manner whereby the Aaronical 
priefls were firfl called and vefled with their offices ; and 
tlien any other law, conflitution, rule, or order of the 
fame kind. He was made a priefl neither by that law, 
nor any other like it* 

Why doth the apoflle call this commandment carnal of 
flejhly ? It may be on either of thefe three accounts : 

1. With refpe£l to the y2?fr/;?cfj which were the princi- 
pal part of the confecration of Aaron to his office. Thefd 
were fle/I)^ or the bodies of beafls ; as the Syralck reads 
thefe words : ' The commandment of bodies,' that is, of 
beafls to be facrificed. In themfelves, and their relatioa 
to the Jewifh flate, they reached no farther than the * pu«» 

* rifying of thtfc/h.^ 

2. It may be called * carnal,' becaufe that prieflhood 
was to be continued by carnal propagation only, was confined 
to the carnal feed of Aaron, wherein this other priefl had 
no interefl. 

3. Refpefl may be had to the whole fyfierh. of thofe laws 
atid inflitutions of worfhip, iii oppolition to th« difpen* 



fation of the fpirit under the gofpel and its Inftitutlons. 
None of thefe ways was the Lord Chrilt made a prieft. 
He was not dedicated to his office by the facrifice of 
bealls ; he was not of the carnal feed of Aaron ; and no 
conftitution or ordinance of the law conveyed to him 
cither right or title to the prieflhood. It is therefore 
abundantly evident, that he was in no fenfe made a prieft 
according to the law of a carnal commandment, * but ac- 

* cording to the power of an indiflbluble life.' The {tccyi 
ciKcclcx,Kv]og) indiffhluble life here mtended, is the life of 
Chrift himfelf. Hereto belonged, or from hence pro- 
ceeded, that (^v'ja^ig) power, whereby he was made a 
prieft. And both the office itfelf and the difcharge of it 
are here intended. As to the office itfelf this endlefs life 
of Chrift is his life as the Son of God. Hereon depends 
his own mediatory life for ever, and his conferring of 
eternal life on us. [John v. 26, 27.] And to be a prieft 
by virtue of, or according to this power. Hands in dire£t 
oppofition to the law of a carnal commandment ; becaufe 
thereby alone was he rendered meet to difcharge that 
office, wherein God was to redeem his church by his own 
blood, [A£ls XX. 28.] By * power'' therefore here, both 
meetnefs and ability are intended ; and both thefe the Lord 
Chrift had from his divine nature, and his endlefs life in- 
feparable from it. 

I fay, therefore, this life of Chrift was not abfolutely 
the life of the human nature, confidered feparately from 
his divine ; but was the life of the perfon of the Son of God; 
God and man in one perfon. And fo his life was endlefs; 
for although he was once (though a prieft) truly and really- 
dead in his human nature, he was ftill alive in his in- 
diflblubie perfon. 

§ 6. (IV.) The proof of all before afterted is given In 
the teftimony of the pfalmift fo often before appealed to r 

* For he teftifieth, thou art a prieft for ever after the order 

* of Melchifedec' 

The introdudion of this teftimony is by (^oipjvpsi) he 
witnejjethy or teftifieth, that is, David, or rav}ier the Holy 
Ghoft fpeaking by David. Tejiifies \ becaufe he ufed his 



words by way of teftmQny to what he had dehvered ; 
.< 1 iiou art a prieil:,' although a ilranger from the Aaro-. 
-nical line, ' after the order of Melchifedec' The prieft^ 
hood o^ Chriit, in the mind of God, was the eternal idea^ 
or original exemplar of the priellhood of Melchiledec. 
God brought forth the latter, and vefted him with his 
oince, in fuch a manner, as that he might outwardly re- 
prefent, in fuadry things, the original idea of Chriil*s 
prieflhood. Hence he and his prieflhood became an <fr-. 
ternal exemplar of the prieflhood of Chrift as to its actual 
exhibition ; and therefore he is faid to be made a prieft 

* after his order,* that is, fuitably to the reprefentatioa 
made thereof in him. ' A prieft/cr ever.^ This word is, 
alfo applied to the law and legal prieflhood, and fignifies 

* a duration commenfurate to the ilate and condition of 
' the things to which it is applied,' While the (a^>r) age of 

:thelaw continued, ail the promifes annexed to it flood in 
force ; and when afcribed to the nevj Jiate of th'ingi under 
the gofpel, it doth not fignify ahfolute eternity^ but a certain 
unchangeable duration to the end of the time and works 
of the gofpel. 'hx then fhall the exercife of th^ priefl- 
:hoQd of Chriii ceafe with his whole mediatory work and 
'office, (I. Cor. XV. 28.) Chrifl therefore is faid to be a priefl 
for ever — In refpeft of his per /on, endued with^an ' end- 

* lefs life ;' — of the execution of his office to the end of it ; 
(he lives /or ev^r ^o make interceilion) — Of the effe^ oi 
his office, which is to fave believers to the utmofl, or with 
an evcrlafing falvation. 

§ 7. .(V.) Obf, I. Prefent truths are earneflly to be 
contended for. So the apoflle Peter would have believers 
eilablilhed (cv ta 7Totc>^(rn cx,7s:/i^Hoc) ' in the prefent truth.' 
All truth is eternal, and in itfelf equally fubfiftent andpre- 
rfent in all ages ; but it is efpecially fo, either fr m the 
gre;^t ufe of it in fome feafons, or as to any great oppo-^ 
lition made to it» So this do6lrine about the abolition of 
the Mofaical ceremonies and inflitutions, with the intro- 
duftion of a new prieflhood, and a new ordinance of 
worlhip, Wv then the prefent truth, m the knowledge and 
confirmation of which the church v*ras eterualiv concern-' 

Ver. 15—17. EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS. 317 

cd. And fo may other truths be at other feafoas ; as 
for inftance, the Deity ox fatisfa^ion of Chrift, juflificatioa 
hy faith ^ and the hke, being fo oppofed, become the pre^ 
fent truth of the age ; and by requiring a fleady adherence 
to which, God will try the faith of his people ; and he re-, 
quires that they be earneflly pleaded for. Satan is always 
awake and attentive to his advantages ; and therefore though 
he hates all truth, yet doth he not at all times equally 
attempt all, but waits to fee an inclination in men 
from their kfs, or prejudices, or intcrefls in this world, 
againft any fpecial truth, or appointed way of divine wor- 
fhip. When he finds things fo ready prepared, he falls to 
his work ; and then fhould we fall to ours. 

§ 8. Obf 2. Important truths Ihould be ilrongly con- 
firmed ; but arguments that are equally true, may yet, in 
point of evidence, not be equally cogent. Yet in the con- 
firmation of the truth we may ule every help that is true 
2indi feafonable, though fome of them may be more efFe£luaI 
to our end than others. The things which our apoflle 
had difcourfed concerning Melchiiedec and his prieflhood 
were more effe£luaily demonfrative of the change of the 
Levitical prieflhood, than what he had newly obferved 
concerning the rifing of our Lord Jefus Chrifl from the 
tribe of Judah. 

§ 9. To the foregoing obfervations we may add the 
following : 

1. What feemed to be ivantlng to Chrift in his entrance 
into any of his offices, or in the difcharge of them, was on 
the account of ^ greater glory. Aaron was made a prieft 
with a great outward folcmnity ; but yet in reality thefe 
things had no glory, in comparifon of that excelling glory, 
which accompanied thofe invifble afts of divine authority, 
wifdom, and grace, which communicated to him his office. 

2. The eternal continuance of Chrifl's pcrfon gives 
eternal continuance and efficacy to his office. Becaufe he 
« lives for ever,' he is * a priejl for ever'. His life is the 
foundation of his endlefs prieflhood. . Whilft he lives wc 
want not a prieft ; and therefore he fays, that, * becaufe 
♦ he lives, we fhall live alfoZ 

Vol. IIL Tt $• 'Vo 


3. To make new prlejlsm the church, is virtually to re- 
nounce the faith of Chrift's living for ever as our prieft ; 
or tofuppofe that he is not futhcient to the difchargc of 
his office. 

4. The alteration that God made in the church by the 
introduction of the priefthood of Chrifl was progrefTivo- 
towards its perfe^lon. To return therefore to legal cere- 
monies in the worfhip of God, is to go back to poor 
• beggarly elements and rudiments of the world.* 

Verse 18, 19. 

for there is verily a disannulling op the' 
commandment going before, for the weak- 
t^^ess and unprofitableness thereof. for the 
law made nothing perfect, but the bringing 
in of a better hope did '. by the which w£ 
draw nigh unto god. 

§ I. Connexion of the text. § 2. (I.) Expojition of the 
words, § 3. 'The commandment abrogated. How this 
could be, § 4. How it was done, § 5 — 8. The reafon 
why, § 9 — 13. Obfervations, 

§ I . X N the twelfth verfe of this chapter the apoftle af- 
firms, that the prieflhood being changed, there was of ne- 
ceffity a change made of the law alfo. Having proved 
the former, he now proceeds to con£rm his inference from 
it, by declaring that the prieft and prieflhood, that were 
promifed to be introduced, were in all things inconlifient 
with the law. 

. § 2. (1.)" The (svjoKr]) command, is of as large a flgnifi- 
cation (ver. 18. as the voiloc. Law, in ver. 19.) for the 
fame thing is intended in both. It is not therefore the 
peculiar command for the inflitution of the legal priefthood 
that is intended, but the whole fyjlem of Mofaical inftitu- 


Ver. i8, 19. EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS. 3x9 

tions. And indeed it was of fuch a nature and conftitu- 
tion, that, pull one pin out of the fabric, and the whole 
mull fall to the ground. Nor is it the whole ceremonial 
hnv only that is intended, but the moral Law alfo : — fo 
far -as it was compa£led with the other in one body of 
precepts for the fame end. For with refpetl to the ef- 
ficacy of the whole law of Alofcs, as to our drawing nigh 
to God, it is here conlidered, 

* The commandment going before,' is the law w^here- 
by the worlliip of God was regulated before the introduc- 
tion of the gofpel. 

Of this * command' or * Jaw,' it is affirmed, that 
there is an {a.^fYi(TLg) abrogation, which coniifls in taking 
away all its power of obliging to obedience or punifliment. 
The apoftle elfewhere expreifeth that fame a£l by another 
word {KccjoiQyioot Ephef. ii. 15. II. Tim. i. 10.) 

§ 3. It is therefore plainly declared, that the law is 
ahrogated, abolifhed, difannulled : but we muft yet far- 
ther inquire — How this could be done ? — By \si\\z,t. means ? 
and — For what rcafon P 

A law may be abrogated when, on any confideratioa 
whatever, its obligation to pra^ice is taken away. Thus 
was it with this law ; for, as every other law, it may be 
conlidered two ways : 

I. With refped to its main end, and directive power, 
to guide. The moral law, in the firft covenant, had no 
other end but obedience and rewardablencfs. It is the intire 
inllrument of our living to God, and of our eternal con- 
fequent rew^ards. But as in its renovation it was made a 
part of the law here intended, it came with it to be of ano-- 
ther nature, or to have another ufe and end. For the 
whole fcope and defign of this law was to direct men, 
not to look after that good which was its end, in obedience 
to itfclf, but m fQmcthing elfe that it directed to by that obe* 
dience. This end, therefore, is principally to he conli- 
dered in this law, which when it is attained, the law is ef- 
tablifl-ied, although its obligation to obedience to itfclf do 
neceilarily ceafe;., Now this end of the law was Chrilt 
and his right^oufnefs, as the apollk exprelily declares j 

T t a \ Chrift 


* Chrift is the end of the law for righteoufnefs to every 
' one that beheveth,' [Rom. x. 4.] This is called by our 
Saviour, (^vrKspaxroii tov vo^ov) to fulfil the law ; and is op- 
pofed to the dcjiroying of it, [Matt. v. 17.] * I came not 

* {ociroKvQ-oii) to dcjlroy^ or difToive, the law, but to (ttAs^ 

* pooo-ai) fulfil it ;' that is, not to abrogate it, as that 
which either wanted a jufi authority^ or was not good or ufe- 
fal, the common reafons of the abrogating laws ; but I 
came to accomplilli its whole end ; whereon it w^ould ceafe 
to oblige. 

I 2. The law may be confidered with refpeft to the par^ 
iicular duties, that it required and prefcribed. And be- 
caufc the whole law had its end, thefe were appointed only 
until the end was attained. So faith our apoftle, * They 

* were impofed until the time of reformation,' [chap. ix. 
18.] Wherefore two things accompanied this law in its 
£rft inflitution : — That obedience to its commands would 
not produce the good it dire£led to, as formerly refpeding 
the law itfelf ; and — That the duties it required had a li- 
mited time allotted them. Wherefore, without the leafl 
difparagement to the authority whereby it was given, or 
its own holinefs and goodnefs, it might be difannulled as 
to its aftual obligation. For the end of it being fully ac- 
complifhed, it is no lefs eftablilhed than if the obfervance 
of it had been continued "to the end of the world. 

§ 4. We muft next inquire how this was done^r We 
find it was done two ways : 

I. Really and virtually by Chrifl himfelf in his own 
perfon. For the fulfilling of it was that which really and 
virtually took away all its obligatory power. For what 
Ihould it oblige men to ? An anfwer is ready to all its 
demands, viz» that they zrt fulfilled : and as to what was fig- 
nificative in its duties, it is all really exhibited ; fo that on 
no account can it any more oblige the confciences of 
men. This the apoftle explains by the relation that fub- 
fifts between a man and his wife, with the attendant obli- 
gation to mutual duties. [Rom. vi. i — 6.] Whilft the 
hufband is alive, the wife is obliged to all conjugal duties 
towards him, and him alone -, but upon his death that 



obligation ceafetli of itfelf, and fhe is at liberty to marry 
another. So were we obliged to the law, whilft it was 
alive, whilft it ftood in its force and vigour ; but when, 
through the death of Chrift the law was accomplifhed, it 
died as to the relation that fubfifted between it and us, 
whereon all its obliging power was difinnuUed. This 
was that whereby the law was really and virtually abro- 

2. It was abrogated declaratlvely ; in general, by the 
promulgation and preaching of the gofpel, where the ac- 
complifhment and ceflation of it were declared ; and alfo 
by the introduftion of new ordinances of worfliip. Be- 
fides, there was a determination made in the cafe by the 
Holy Ghoft, [A£ls xv.] that the gofpel as preached to the 
gentiles, was not a way of profelyting them to Judaifm, 
but the bringing of them to a new church ftate by an in- 
tereft in the promife and covenant of Abraham, given and 
made four hundred and thirty years before the giving of 
the law. 

As to thofe of the Hebrews who yet would not under- 
fland thefe exprefs declarations ; God, to put an end to all 
difputes about his will in this matter, gave a dreadful 
(cy.9fl'i1(ng) abolition to it, in the total, final, irrevocable de- 
Uruflion of the city and temple, with all the inftruments 
and vefiels of its worfliip, efpecially of the priefthood and 
all that belonged to it. Thus was the law dlfannulledy and 
thus was it declared to be ^o. 

§ 5. The clofe of the verfe gives an efpecial reafon of 
this abrogation of the command^ taken from its own na- 
ture and efficacy ; ' for the weaknefs and unprofitablenefs 
* thereof.' The commandment in this verfe is of equal 
extent and {igniiication with the law in the next ; and the 
law there evidently intends the zuhole law, moral and cere- 
monial, as given by Mofes to the church of Ifrael. And 
this is now charged with * weaknefs and unprofitablenefs,* 
both which make a law fit to be difannulled. But how 
can it be fuppofed that the good and holy God fliould 
prefcribe fuch a law to his people, as was always weak and 
unprofitable ? I anfwer, that the whole law may be con- 



fidered two ways : — As abfolutely in itfelf ; and — with 
refpect to the end for which it was given, and the perfons 
to whom it was given. In itfelf^ no refleftion can be 
made upon it, being an effeft of the wifdom, holinefs, 
and trutli of God. But they to whom it was given beiug 
fmncrs, antecedently to the giving of this law, it Coul4 
never take away any defilement of fin from the foul, but 
became weak and unprofitable to any fuch end. It could 
net be a caufe or means of righteoufnefs to them who 
were fo difabled. V/herefore ' by the deeds of the law 

* fhall no fieih be juiufied,' 

Sinners Hand in need of the expiation of fin ^ for being 
already gijiity, it is to no purpofe to think of a righteouf- 
nefs for the future, unlefs their prefent guilt be firil expi- 
ated. Tl;e moral law hath nothing in it, that refpe£ts the 
guilt of fin, but the cufe only. It mull therefore be ex- 
pelled from the ceremonial law, or no way at ail. This 
indeed reprefented and prefigured what would do fo, but 
all ceremonies in themfeives were infuificient to any fuch 
end ; and in this (late doth the apoftle pronounce it weak 
^nd unprofitahU* 

But it niay be yet farther inquired, why God did give 
this law to the people, which, although it were good in it- 
felf, could not attain the end ? The apoftle gives a full 
anfwer to this inquiry ; firil, * it was added becaufe of 

* tranfgrejfon, till the feed fiiould come to whom the pro- 
' mife was made ;' [Gil. iii. 19.] to difcover the nature oi 
fin, that the confciences of men might be made fenfible 
thereof ; to reflrain fins by its prohibitions, that it might 
not deluge the whole church ; and to reprefent the way 
and means, though obfcurely, whereby fin might be ex«» 
piated. Secondly, it was to fhut up men under a fenfe 
of the guilt of fin, and fo with a degree of feverity drive 
them out of themfelvesj and from ail expeflation of righ- 
teoufnefs by their own works, that fo they might be 
brought to ChriH, firfl in the promife, and then as a«5la-p 
ally exhibited. 

§ 6. ' For the law made nothing perfe£l/ The fub-. 
jeil fpoken pf is (q vo^-lc^) the km ; that i?, as before ohy 


ferved, the whole fyftem of Mofaical ordinances, as it 
U'as the covenant which God made with the people in Ho-, 
reb. For we Ih on Id not forget that the apoftle takes the 
commandn:ient and the law for the fame in this chapter i 
and the covenant in the next, for the fame with them 
both. And he treats of them principally in the inflance 
of the Levitical priefthood ; partly becaufe it was the in- 
troduction of another prielthood, whereby the whole was 

Of this law, commandment, or covenant, it is fald 
that ('dhv fjcXsiCAjos} * it made nothing perfect ;' that is, 
none of the things which we treat of. It did not make 
the church Jlate perfed ; it did not make the 'WorJJ-Ap of 
God perfed ; it did not perfed the promifcs given to Abra- 
ham, in their accomplifhnient ; it did not make a perfed 
covenayit between God and man ; it had a ihadow, an ob- 
fcure reprefentation, of all thefe things, but it made no- 
Thing perfe^, (See on ver. i i. the import ot^ sj^Xsuocr-.) 

§ 7. Perfedion being thus denied to the law, it is ad- 
ded {sTTcKTOcyocyE dc Kpsfjovcg sKTVioog) * but the bringing 
* in of a better hope.' The words are ellipticil, and 
without a fupplement give no certain fenfe. And this 
may be made by the verb fubftantivc (^j/) was, it made 
nothing perfedt, but it was the bringing in of a better 
hope. This fenfe is true, though not, as I judge, di- 
Tediy intended in thefe words. The defedive fpeech 
therefore is to be fupplied by {flsX:^ioocr:-) made -perfcft ; as 
we do it by did\ that is, ' did make all things perfed.' 

This the word {^TTEKrccyooy/i) ' bringing in' leads to. For 
it is as much as the introducfion of one thing after or upon 
another. The prieflhood and facrilice of Chrift were 
brought in after the law, upon it, in the room of it, to eifed 
what the law could not do. 

This therefore is the fenfe of the words : " The intro- 
dudion of the better hope, after, and upon the law, 
when a fufficient difcovery had been made of its weaknefs 
and infufficiency as to this end, made all things perfed, or 
hath brought the church to that ftate of confumraation, 
which was defigned for it. It is called * better' with rc- 



fpecl to the law, with all it contained or could effect. This 

* better hope' was not, nor could be, any thing but Chrift 
himfelf 2in6. his everlafting prieflhood ; for in him we are 
complete, [Col. ii. lo.] And ' by one offering he hath 

* for ever perfected them that are fandified.' 

^ Hope' therefore is ufed here metonymically to deiign the 
thing hoped for. From the giving of the firfl promife, 
Chrift, and his coming into the world were the hope of all 

§ 8. * By the which, we draw nigh unto God ;' (S/ y]q) 
ly which, may refer — ^either, to the remote antecedent 
(cT^'zia-a^yujyYi) the hitrodutllon, or bringing in ; or, to the 
iiearefl [ikn^oc) the hope ; being both of the fame gen* 
der. But the application is more natural to the next an- 
tecedent ' by which hope.'' (liyyii^oc) to draw near, is a 
word belonging to the facerdotal office, denoting the ap- 
proach of the priefts to God in his worjQiip. So the Scp^ 
tuagint for the moll: part renders f:np) the general term 
for all acccfs to God with facrilices and offerings ; and this 
the apoftle intends. Under the Levitical priefthood, the 
pricfls in their facrifices and folemn fervices drew nigh to 
God ; the fame is now done hy all believers under the fa- 
cerdotal miniltration of Jefus Chrift, efpecially in their 
prayers and fupplications, [Ephef. ii. i8.] 

But yet there is a more extenfive figniiication of this 
exprefiion in fcripture, which muft here excluded* 
By nature all men are gone far off from God. The firft 
general apoftacy carried mankind into a moft inconceiv- 
able diflance from him. Our moral diftance from God a? 
our nature is corrupted, is greater with refpe£t to our re- 
lation to him, than our eftentiai diftance from him, as we 
are creatures. It is to be far from the love and favour of 
God, from the knowledge of him, and obedience to hirn. 
Wherefore our drawing nigh to God, denotes our recovery 
from- this eftate. * But now in Chrift Jefus, ye who 

* were fometimes afar off, are made nigh by the blood of 
« Chrift.' [Ephef. ii. 13.] . 

§ 9. (II.) Let us now proceed to the obfervations : 

I. It 


1. It is a matter of the highell nature and importance 
to fet up, remove, or change any thing in the worfhip of 
God. Unlefs the authority of God interpofe and be 
made manifeft, there is nothing, in thefe matters, for 
confcience to reft in. And, 

2. The revelation of the will of God, in things re~ 
lating to his worfhip, is received with great difficulty, 
where the minds of men are prepofTefled with prejudices 
and traditions. Notwithftanding all thofe wavs whereby 
God had revealed his mind concerning the abolition of 
the Mofaical inftitutions, yet thefe Hebrezvs could neither 
underftand nor receive it, until the whole feat of its wor- 
fhip was deftroyed. 

3. The only fecuring principle in all things of this 
nature, is to preferve our fouls in an intire fubje£lion to 
the authority of Chrift, and to his alone. 

§ 10. From what is faid of the weaknefs and unprofl- 
tablenefs of the command, obferve, 

1. The introduction into the church of what is better 
and more full of grace, in the fame kind with what went 
before, doth difannul what fo preceded ; but the bringmg 
in of that which is not better, which doth not commu- 
nicate more grace, doth not. Thus our apoftle expreflly 
difputes that the bringing in of the law four hundred 
years after the giving of the promife^ did not evacuate or 
any way enervate the promife. The fole reafon was, be- 
caufe the promife had more grace and privilege in it than 
the law had. But here the bringing in of another prieft- 
hood, becaufe it was filled with more efFe£lual grace and 
mercy utterly difannuiied that which was inftituted be- 

2. If God would difannul every thing that was weak 
and unprofitable in his fervice, though originally of his 
own appointment, becaufe it came fliort of the grace he 
intended, much more will he condemn any thing of the 
fame kind that is invented by men. 

3. It is vain for any men to look for that from the 
law now it is abolillied, which it could not effe6l in its 

Vol. IIL U u beft 


beft eflate ; and what that is the apoflle declares in the 
next verfe. 

§ II. From the law making nothing perfect, obferve, 

1. When God hath any gracious end towards the 
church, it lliall not fail, nor his work ceafe, for want of 
cffediual means to accomplifh it. But where God hath 
laid alide any means, and fufhciently declared that it is not 
his holy pieafure to do it in fuch a way, or to fuch a 
length as we would deli re for the fulfilling of his promifes, 
it is not duty, but obfliinacy and felfilhnefs to adhere to 
it with any fuch expectations. 

2. Believers of old, who lived under the law, did not 
live upon the law, but upon Chrift hoped for. Chriil is 
the fame (^hat is, to the church) yelterday, to-day, and 
forever. If juftification, if falvation, could be had any 
other way, or by any other means, then was his coming 
needlefs, and .his death in vain. The promife of him, 
and not of the law which he had broken, was the relief 
and falvation of Adam. On the fame promife, which 
virtually contained and exhibited to believers all the be- 
nefits of his mediation, as it was frequently renewed and 
varioufly explained, did all the Old Teflament faints 

0^. The Lord Chrift by his priefthood and facrifice 
perfects the church and all things belonging to it. [Col. 
ii. lo.] 

§ 12. Obf. Out of Chrift, or without him, all man- 
kind are at an inconceivable difiance from God ; and a dif- 
tance it is of the worft kind, even that which has an effefl 
of mutual enmity. The caufe of it w^as on our part vo- 
luntary, and the eife£l of it the height of mifery. And 
however any may iiatter and deceive themfclves, it is the 
prcfcnt condition of all who have not an intereit in Chrift 
by faith. They are far off from God, as he is the foun- 
dation of all goodnefs and bleflednefs ; inhabiting, as the 
prophet fpcaks, the parched places of the wildernefs, and 
iliall not fee when good cometh, [Jer. xvii. 6.] Far 
from the dews and (bowers of mercy, far from divine love 
arid favour ; cafl out of the bounds of them, as Adam 


Ver. i8, 19. EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS. 327 

out of paradife, without any hope or power to return. 
The flaming fword of the law turns every way to keep 
them from the tree of life. Yet let them fiy whither they 
pleafe, wiili for mountains and rocks to fall on them, 
hide themfelves in the darknefs and fhades of their own 
ignorance, like Adam among the trees of the garden, or 
immerge themfelves in the pleafurcs of fin for a feafon ; 
all is one, the wrath of God abideth on them. And they 
are far from God in their own minds alfo ; being aliena- 
ted from him, enemies againft him, and in all things al- 
lied to Satan, the head of tlie apoftacy. Thus, and in- 
conceivably worfe, is it with all that embrace not this 
better hope to bring them nigh to God, 

§ 13. Obf. It is an elfecl of infinite condcfcenfion and 
grace, that God would appoint a way of recovery for. 
thofe who had wilfully caft themfelves into this woful dif- 
tance from him. Why Ihoukl God look after fuch fugi- 
tives any more ? He had no need of us or our fervices in 
our bell condition, much lefs in that ulelcfs, depraved 
frate whereinto we had brought ourfelves. And although 
we had tianfgreffed the rule of our moral dependance on 
him in the way of obedience, and tlicreby done what we 
could to fi:ain and eciipfe his glory ; yet he knew how to 
repair it to advantage by reducing us under the order of 
punifhment. Bv our fins we ourfelves come Ihort of the 
glory of God, but he could lofe none by us, v/hilft it was 
abfolutely fecured by the penalty annexed to the law. 
When upon the entrance of fin, he came and found 
Adam in the bullies, wherein he thought foolifiily to hide 
himfelf, who could expcd,^ (Adam did not,) but that his 
only defign was to apprehend the poor rebellious fusjitive, 
and give him up to condign punilhment ? Bat it was quite 
otherwife ; above all thoughts that could ever have en- 
tered into the hearts of angels or men, after he had de- 
clared the nature of the apoftacy, and his own indigna- 
tion againil it, he propofeth and promifeth a way of de- 
liverance and recovery. This is that which the fcriptures 
{o magnify under the name of divine grace and loz^e, which. 
are beyond cxprcliion or conception, [John iii. 16.] Ar,d 

U u 2 where- 


whereas he might have recalled us to himfelf, and yet 
leave fome mark of difpleafure upon us, to keep us at a 
greater diflance from him than we flood at before ;- as 
David brought back his wicked Abfalom to Jerufalem, 
but would not fufFer him to come into his prefence ; he 
chofe to zd: like himfelf in infinite wifdom and grace, 
to bring us yet nearer to him, than ever we could ap- 
proach by the law of our creation. And as the founda- 
tion, means, and pledge hereof, he contrived and brought 
forth that mofl glorious and unparalleled effeft of divine 
wifdom, in taking our nature into that inconceivable 
iiearnefs to himfelf, in the union of it to the perfon of 
his Son. For as all things in this ' bringing of us nigh 

* to God' who were afar off, are exprellive efFecls of 
wifdom and grace ; fo that of taking our nature into 
union with himfelf is glorious to aflonifliment. * O 

* Lord our God, how excellent is thy name in all the 

* earth ! who haft fet thy glory above the heavens.' 
[Pfal. viii. I.]— Finally ; all our approximation to God 
in any kind, all our approaches to him in holy worfhip, 
is by him alone who was the blelTed hope of the faints 
under the Old Teftament, and is the life of them under 
the New. 

Verses 20 — 22. 

and in as much as not without an oath he 
was made priest. for those priests were 


^ I. Connecilon^ and recapitulation of the ppji argument. § 
2. (L) Expjit'ion of the words. § 3. The Levhical 


Ver. ao,--22. EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS. 329 

prteflhood not confirmed with an oath. § 4. But ChriJTs 
was. § 5. Jefus a furety of a better Tejlament. § 6. 
What that includes. § 7 . I'he per Jon of the furety^ Jefus. 
§ 8. Remarks on the better covenant. § 9. The proper 
office of a furety. § 10. Wherein conffts the furet'ijhip of 
Chrift, §11, 12. (II.) Obfervations, 

§ I. X HE apoflle had warned the Hebrews before, 
that he had many things to fay, and thofe not eafy to 
be underftood, concerning Melchifedec. And herein he 
intended not only thofe things which he expreffeth di- 
reftly concerning that perfon and his office, but the things 
themfclves fignified thereby in the perfon and office of 
Chriil. And therefore he omits nothing which maj 
from thence be any way juftly reprefented. So from that 
one teftimony of the pfalmift he makes fundry inferences 
to his purpofe : — That the Lord Chrift was to be a 
pr'icft^ which included in it the celTation of tlie Levitical 
priellhood, feeeing he was of the tribe of Judah, and 
not of the tribe of Levi ; — That he was to be another 
priefl, that is, a prieft oi another order ; — And that he was 
to be a priefty^r ever^ fo that there ffiould never more 
upon his death or otherwife, be any need of another 
priell, nor any poffibihty of a return of the former 
priefthood into the church. Neither yet doth he reft 
here, but obferves, moreover, the manner how God in the 
teftimony infifted on, declared his purpofe of making the 
Lord Jefus Chrift a prieft, which was conftitutive of his 
office ; VIZ. by his oath ; and thence he takes occalion to 
manifeft how far his priefthood is exalted above that under 
the law. This laft is what lies before us in thefe verfes. 

§ 2. * And inafmuch as not without an oath. (K«/) 
and is oftentimes as much as moreover ; not an immediate 
connexion with, or dependance on what went before in 
particular, but only a procefs in the fame general argu- 
inent. And fo it is here a note of introdutllon^ of a new 
fpecial consideration for confirming the fame defign. (K^^' 
CTcy, eatcnus quantum^ in quantum) * in as much^ fo much. 



Hereto anfwers (x.oc]oc TOo-ifjoVi in tantum, quanto, ta^iicj by 
fo much, ver. 22. The excellency ot the covenant whereof 
Ciinll was made mediator, above the old covenant, had 
proportion with the pre-eminence of his priejibood above 
that of" Aaron, in tliat he was made a prieil by an cathf 
but they were without an oath. Two things the apoftle 
fuppoleth in this negative proportion : — Tiiat there were 
two ways whereby men might be made priefts, either 
with, or witliout an oath ; and — that the dignity of the 
pritlHiood depends on, and is declared in the way where- 
by God was plealed to initiate men into that office. 

Thefe two things being in general laid down, as thofe 
which could not be denied ; the apoftle makes application 
of tl'jem in the next verfe, diftin£liy to the priefts of the 
law, on tlie one hand, and Chrifl; on the other, in a 
comparifon between whom he is now engaged. 

§ 3. ' For thofe priefts were made without an oath.' 
In the application ot tliis aiTertion the apoftle affirms, 
that the prielis under the law were made ' without an 
* oath.' No fuch thing is mentioned in all that is re- 
corded concerning their call and confecration, for indeed 
God did never folemnly interpofe with an oath, in a way 
of privilege, or mercy, but with direft refpe£l to Jefus 
Chrift. This is tlie account the apoftle gives of the 
Aaronical priefts {y^ai 01 ij^zv) and theyi truly, that is, 
Aaron and all his pofterity that exercifed the priefts offi,ce 
in a due maiiner, were all made priefts, that, is, by God 
himfelf. They did»not originally take this honour to 
thenifelves, but were called of God. But neither all of 
them nor aiiy of them were made priefts by an oath. 

§ 4. ' Bat this with an oath ;' (0 Sc) but he, this man, 
he who was to be a prieft after the order of Melchifedec, 
fLCc9' opKCAjULoa-iocg) with an oath. His call, conftitutlon, 
or confecration was confirmed and ratified with an oath ; 
whereas God ufed not an oath about any thing that be- 
longed to the former. The form of it is in thefe words, 
' The Lord fware and will not repent.' 

The pcrfon fwearing is God the Father, who fpeaks to 

the Son in the Pfalm ex, i. * The Lord faid to my 

I Lord :' 


Lord :' and the oath of God is nothing but the folemri 
eternal unchangeable purpofe of his will, under 2i Jpecial 
Wt^de of declaration. 

If then it be demanded, when God thus fvvare to 
Chriil ? I anfwer ; we mull confider the decree itfelf to 
this purpofe, and the peculiar revelation or declaration of 
it, in which two this oath confifls. As to the lirll, it 
belongs entirely to thofe eternal tranfa6lions between the 
Father and the Son, which were the original of the 
priefthood of Chrift ; and as for the fecond, it was when, 
he gave out that revelation of his mind with the force 
and efficacy of an oath in the forementioned Pfahii. 

That additional expreffion, ' and will not repent,' de- 
clares the nature of the oath of God, and of the purpofe 
thereby confirmed. When God makes an alteration in 
any law, rule, order, or conftitution, he may be faid, 
[w^^MTTO'jTcc^CAjg) in accommodation to human feelings, to 
repent. But no alteration or change, no removal or fub- 
ilitution fhall be made in this momentous affair. 

The matter of this oath is, ' that Chrift fhould be a 
* prieft for ever.' He was not only made a prieft with 
an oathj which they were not, but alfo a pricji for ever. 
This adds to the unchangeablenefs of his office, that he 
himfelf in his ow^n perfon was to bear, exercife, and dlf- 
charge it without fubftitute or fuccelTor. 

And this ''for ever^^ anfwers to the * for ever' under 
the law ; each of them being commenfurate to the dif- 
penfation of that covenant which they refped. For ab- 
folute eternity belongs not to thefe things. The * ever* 
of the Old Teftameiit was the duration of the old cove- 
nant difpenfation ; and this ' for ever,' refpefls the new 
covenant, which, is to coFitinue to the confummation of 
all things ; no change therein being any way intimated, 
or appearing confiftent with the wifdom and faithfulnefs 
of God. In fliort, the apoftle declareth and evinceth 
four things ; 

I. That an high prieft was peculiarly defigned for and 
initiated into his office by the oath of God, which none 
©ther ever was before him, 

2. That 


2. That the perfoii of the high prieft is heret^y fo ab- 
folutely determined, as that the church may continually 
draw nigh to God in the full affurance of faith. 

3. That this priefthood is liable to no alteration, fuc- 
ceflion, or fubflitution. 

4. That from hence arifeth the principal advantage of 
the New Teftament above the Old, as is declared in the 
next verfe. 

§ 5. * By fo much was Jefus made a furety of a better 
^ Tellament.' (Kocjoc tco-^Jov) hy fo much, anfwers diredly 
to [xccQ' ocrov^ ver. 20.) in as much. They are therefore 
immediately connected. Hence ver. 21. wherein a con- 
firmation is intended of the principal alTertion, is jullly 
placed in a parenthejis in our tranflation. 

So the fenfe of the words is to this purpofe : * And m 

* as much as he was not made a priell without an oath, he 

* is by fo much made the furety of a better Teftament.' 
The words intend, — either, that his being made a priell 
by an oath made him meet to be a furety of a better 
Teftament ; or, that the Teflament wliereof he was the 
furety mufl needs be better than the other ; becaufe he, 
who was made the lurety of it, was made prieft by an 
oath. In the one way, he proves the dignity of the 
prieilhood of Chrift from the New Teftament ; and in 
the other, the dignity of the New Teflament from the 
priefthood of Chrift. And we may reconcile both thefc 
fenfes by affirming, that really and efficiently, the priefthood 
gives digiiity to the NewTeftament; and declaratively, the 
Nev/ Teftament fets forth the dignity of Chrift's prieft- 

It is owned tacitly, that the frie^fthood of Levi, and 
the Old Tejlament, were good, or thefe could not be faid 
to be ' better^ in coraparifon. But this priefthood and 
Teftament are * better,' by fo much as that, which is 
confirmed with an oath, is better than that which is not 
fo ; which alone gives the juft proportion of comparifoii 
in this place. Wherefore, the defign of the comparifon 
is, that whereas this prieft after the order of Michifedec, 
was defigned to be the furety of another Teftament, he 


Ver.20— 12. EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS. 333 

was confirmed in his office by the oath of God, which 
gives a pre-eminence both to his office and the Teflamcnt 
whereof he was to be a furety. 

§ 6. * Jefus was made a furety of a better Tcflament.* 
Three things are included and fuppofed in this affertion : 
' — That there was another Tejiament that God had made 
with his people — that this was a good Teftamcnt — that this 
Teflament had in fome fenfe a furety. 

1 . It is fuppofed that there was another TeJIament which 
God had made with his people. This the apollle fup- 
pofeth in the whole context ; and he at length brings the 
difcourfe to its iffue in the eighth chapter, where he ex^ 
preflly compares the two Teflaments. 

2. It is fuppofed that this was a good 7'eJIament. It 
had an imprellion of the wifdom and goodnefs of God ; 
was infbruflive in the nature and demerit of fin ; dirci^ed 
to, and reprefented, the only means of deliverance by 
righteoufnefs and falvation in Chrill ; and it eftablifhed a 
vvorfliip which was very glorious and acceptable during its 
appointed feafon. But, as we fhall fhew afterwards, it 
came fhort in all real excellences of this whereof Chrifl 
is the furety ; 

3. It is fuppofed that it had a furety. For this New 
Teflament having a furety, the other mufl have one too. 
— Some would have our Lord Jefus Chrifl to be the 
furety of that Teflament alfo. For our apoflle affirms in 
general, * There is one God, and one Mediator between 
*• God and man, the man Chrifl Jefus, who gave himfelf 

* a ranfom for all to be teflified in due time ;' [I. Tim. 
ii. 5, 6.] But there is fome difference between a Ale^ 
diator at large, and fuch a Mediator as is withal a 

furety. And however, on fome account, Chrifl may 
be faid to be the * Mediator' of that covenant, he 
cannot be faid to be the * furety' of it. Befides, the 
text jufl cited cannot intend the old covenant ^ but is ex- 
clufive of it. The Lord Jefus Chrill is there called a 

• Mediator,^ with refpeft to the ranfom that he paid in his 
death. Again ; the Lord Chrifl was indeed in his divine 
perfon the immediate adminifrator of that covenant, the 

Vol, IIL Xx augel 


angel or meffenger of it ' on the behalf of God the 

* Father ; but this doth not conilitute him a Medrntor 
properly ; for a * Mediator is not of one, but God is 

* one. ^Wherefore the Lord Chriil was a ' Mediator undtr 

* that covenant,* as to the original promife of grace, and 
its efficacy ; but he was not the * Mediator and furcty of 
it' as it was a covenant : for had he been fo, he being the 
fame yellerday, to day, and for ever, that covenant could 
never have been difannulled. 

Some affert Afofes to have been the furety of the Old 
Teftament. For it is faid, that the law was given by 
the difpofition of Angels * in the hand of a Mediator,' 
[Gal. iii. 19.] that is, of Mofes : whom the people de- 
lired to be the tntsrn7incius between God and them., [Exod. 
XX. 19. Deut. V. 24. xviii. 16.] Mofes indeed may be 
faid to be the ' Mediator' of the old covenant in a gene- 
ral fenfe, inafmucli as he went between God and the 
people^ to declare the will of God to them, and to return 
their profeflion of obedience to God ; but he was in no 
fenfe the fm'cty of it. For, on the one fide, God did 
not appoint him in his flead to give afftirance of his 
fidelity to the people. This he took abfolutely to him- 
.felf, wherewith all his laws were prefaced ; ' I am the 

* Lord thy God.' Nor did he, nay, be could not, on the 
ether lide, undertake to God for the people ; and fo 
could not be efteemed in any fenfe the * furety' of the 
covenant. Befides, the apoftle hath no fuch argument 
in hand, as to compare Chrifl: with Mofes. Wherefore, 
it was the high pr'ieft alone who was "Ca^ furety of that co- 
venant. It was made and confirmed hy, facriftces, [Pfal. 
1. 5.] And if Mofes was concerned herein, it was as he 
executed the office of prkf in an extraordinary manner. 
Therefore the high prieft, offering folemn facrifices in 
the name and on the behalf of the people, making atone- 
ment for tliem according to tlie terms of that cove- 
nant, fupplied the place of the furefy of it. 

§ 7. In what is pofitively afferted in the words we 
muft take notice of the perfon fpoken of — ' JefusJ* Two 
things were in quellion among the Hebrews' : — what was 

Ver. 20—22. EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS. 335 

the nature of the MelliaU's office ? and — -who was the 
perfon ? as to the firft of thefe, he proves to them from 
their own acknowledged principles, that he v/as to be a 
pr'teji^ as alfo what v/as the nature of that prieflhood, and 
what would be the neceflary confe^ucnce of fetting it up. 
Now he aflerts the fecond part of the difference, vi%. 
that this prieft was * Jefus ;' becaufe in him alone all 
things that were to be in that priell properly and com- 
pletely concur ; and alfo that he had now difcharged the 
principal part of that office. 

It was fufficient in the Jewifh church to believe in the 
MeJJiah^ and to own the work of redemption which he was 
to accomplifh. Nor did the mere aSiual coming oi Chriil 
make it abfolutely neeeflary that they Ihould immediately 
be obliged to believe him to be the perfon. Many there 
were, I doubt not, who, though they died after his in- 
carnation, v^ent to heaven v/ithout any adual belief that 
it was he who was their Redeemer. But their obligations 
to faith towards that individual perfon arofe from the 
declaration that was made of him, and the evidences given 
to prove him to be the Son of God, the Saviour of the 
world. So he tells thofe to whom he preached, and who 
faw his miracles ; ^ If ye believe not that I am he, yc 

* Ihall die in your lins,' [John viii. 24.] It would not 
now. fuffice for them to believe in the * Mejfuih in gene- 

* ral, ■ but they were alfo to believe, that Jefus was he^ or 
they muft perifli for their unbelief, Howbeit, they only 
were intended who, hearing his words and feeing his 
miracles, had fufficient evidence of his being the Son of 
God. Wherefore the apoftles immediately upon the com- 
ing of the Holy Ghoft, made this the firil and principal 
fubjeft of their preaching — that Jefus was the Chrlfi\ 
[fee A6ts ii. v.] — What is affirmed of him is, that 
{yifovc) ' he was made fo ;* and it lignifies wh^it is ex-r 
prefled by it in chap. v. 5. ^ 

§ 8, It is affirmed that he wj^nus conftituted a furety 
(KDStjovog ^ioc9y]Kyig) of a better covenant. In this word the 
apoille takes many things as granted among the Hebrews,' 


1. That there was to he another covenant, or Teftament 
of God towards the church, befides that which he made 
with Ifrael when he brought them out of Egypt. The 
promifes of which are fo frequently repeated in the 
prophets, efpecially the latter ones, that there could be no' 
queftion about it, and of which they could not be ig- 

2. That this new covenant, or Teftament, fhould be 
letter than the former, which was to be difan nulled thereby. 
This carried along with it its own evidence. For after 
God in his wifdom and goodnefs had made one covenant 
with his people, he would not remove it by another, 
•unlefs that other were better than it. Efpecially declaring 
fo often as he doth, that he granted them this new cove- 
nant as the higheft effe£l of his grace and Vindmfs towards 

3. It is fuppofed that this better covenant muft have a 
furety. The original covenant that God made with Adam 
had none, and therefore was it quickly broken and dif- 
annulled. The fpecial covenant made with Ifrael had no 
furety properly fo called ; only therein the high prieft: 
reprefented what was to be done by him who Ihould un- 
dertake to be fuch a furety. 

§ 9. (E/JL^ or syRjyjjyjg) J furety, is one that under- 
taketh for another wherein he is defe^lve^ really or in 
reputation,. Whatever that undertaking be, whether in 
words of promife, or in depofiting a real fecurity in the 
hands of an arbitrator, or by any other perfonal engage- 
ment of life and body, it refpedls the defeB of the perfon 
for whom any one becomes a furety. Such an one is 
fponfor ox fideju(for in all good authors and common ufe of 
fpeech. And if any one be of abfolute credit himfelf, 
and of a reputation very unqueftionable, there is no need 
of a furety, unlefs in cafe of mortality. The words of 
a furety in the behalf of another, whofe ability or repu- 
tation is dubious, arc, (ad me recipio, faciei aut faclam,) * I 
« take the matter upon me, he fhall do it or I will.' God 
therefore can have m furety properly, becaufe there can be 
no concciveable defe^ on his part. There may be indeed a 


Ver. ?o— 22. EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS. 337 

.qneftion, whether any words or promlfe be his ; but to 
allure us of that is not the work of a furcty, but of any 
means whatever that may give evidence that it is fo. But 
upon a fuppoiition that what is propofed, is his word or 
promife, there cannot be the mofl diflant fear of any 
^tk6i on his part, fo as that there fliould be any need of 
a furety for the performance of it. He doth indeed make 
ufe of witnejjes to confirm his word ; that is, to teftify that 
he hath made fuch promifes ; but the difference is wide 
enough between a w'ltnefs and 2i furety ; for the latter mull 
be of more ability^ or more credit and reputation, than he 
for whom he engages, or there is no need of his furetifhip. 
This none can be for God. And if this be not the no- 
tion of a furety in this place, the apoflle makes ufe of a 
word no where elfe ufed in the whole fcripture, to teach 
us that which it doth never fignify among men ; which is 
fuf?iciently improbable and abfurd. For the fole reafon 
why he made ufe of it was, that from the nature and no- 
tion of it among men in other cafes, we may underlland 
what he afcribes under that name to the Lord Jefus. 
Wherefore, feeing the Lord Chriil is the furety of the 
cowtmnt as a prieji, and all the facerdotal a£lings ofChrifl 
have God for their immediate ohje^, and are performed 
with him on our behalf, he was properly a surety for us, 

§ 10. It remaineth that we fliew pojitiveiy how the 
Lord Chrifl was the furety of the new covenant, and 
what is the benefit we receive thereby ? And in reply we 
afTert, that he was a furety, (fponfor, vas, />r^j, fidejufjor) 
for us by his voluntary undertaking, out of his rich grace 
and love, to do, anfwer, and perform all that is required 
on our parts, that we may enjoy the benefits of the cove- 
nant, the grace and glory prepared, propofed, and pro- 
mifed in it, in the way and manner determined on by 
divine wifdom. And this may be reduced to two heads ; 

I. He undertook, as the furety of the covenant, to 
anfwer for all the fins of thofe who are to he made 
partakers of its benefits ; that is, to undergo the />«- 
niJJjment due to their fins ; to make atonement by offer- 
ing himfelf ^ propitiatory facrifice j redeeming them by 



the price of his blood from their fliate of mifery and 
bondage under the law and its curfe. [Ifa. liii. 4—10. 
Matt. XX. 28. I. Tim. ii. 6. I. Cor. vi. 20. Rom. iii. 
25, 26. Heb. X. 5 — 8. Rom. viii. 2, 3. II. Cor. v. 19 
— 2 I. Gal. iii. 13, &c.] and this was abfolutely necelTary, 
that the grac€ and glory prepared in the covenant might 
be communicated to lis. Without it the righteoufnefs of 
God v/ould not permit, that finners, fuch as had apofta- 
tised from him, defpifed his authority, and rebelled a= 
gainil his majefly, fhould again be received into his favor, 
and made partakers of grace and glory. This therefore 
the Lord Chrill took upon himfelf as the * furety of the 
* covenant.* 

2. That thofe who were to be taken into this cove- 
nant fhould * receive grace enabling them to comply with the 
? terms of it^' fuliil its conditions, and yield the obedi- 
ence which God required therein. For, by the ordina- 
tion of God, he was to procure for them the Holy Spirit 
and all needful fupplies of grace ; to make them new crea- 
tures ; and enable them to yield obedience^ from a new 
frinciple of fpirituai life, faithfully unto the end. So 
was he the furety of this better covenant. 

§ II, (]I.) From what has been faid we may obferve : 

1. The faith, comfort, honour, and fafety of the 
church depend much upon every particular remark that 
God hath put on any of the ofhces of Chrill, or what- 
ever belongs thereto. 

We have lived to fee men endeavouring to the utmoft 
to render Chrifl himfelf, and all his offices, of as little 
life in religion as they can poffibly admit, and yet retain 
the name of Chriftians. And it is to be feared that he 
3S as little valued by fome in their praBice^ as he is by 
others in their jiotions. Ths is not the way of the fcrip- 

2. Nothing was wanting on the part of God that 
might give eminency, liability, and efhcacy to the priefl- 
hood of Chrill. Not without an oath.' Far this was 
due to the glory of his perfon ; and God faw this was 
needful to encourage and fccure the faith of the church. 


Ver. 2o->25. EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS. 339 

There were many things defeaive in the priefthood under 
the law, but hereby did he manifell that this diipenlation 
of his will and grace was abfolutely unchangeable, fo that 
if vv^e comply not therewith we mull perilh for even 

3. Although the decrees and purpofes of God were al- 
ways firm and immutable, yet there was not fixed flate of 
outward difpenfationSj none * confirmed with an oath/ 
until Chrift came. 

4. That although God graiited great privileges to the 
church under the Old Teflament, yet ftiU in every inilance 
he withheld that which was the principal, ai>d which Ihould 
have given perfeftion to what he did grant. He made 
them priefts, but * without an oath.' In all there was 
a referve for Chrift, that he in all things might have the 

5. God by his oath declares the determination of his 
fovereign pleafure to the obje6l of it. Nothing therefore 
in the whole- legal adminiftration being confirmed by the 
oath of God, it was always ready for a removal at the ap- 
pointed feafon. 

6. Chriil's being made a prieft by tlie oath of God for 
ever, is a fohd foundation of peace and confolation to 
the church. For, 

7. All the traiifaftions between the Father and the Son 
concerning his offices, undertakings, and the work of our 
redemption, have refpecl to the faith of the church, and 
are declared for our confolation. 

The things which God propofeth to our faith through 
Chrifl, are exceeding great and glorious, and fuch as, be- 
ing moil remote from our innate apprehenjions, -need the 
highefl confirmation. Things which ' eye hath not feen, 

* nor ear heard, neither have they entered into the heart of 

* man,' [I. Cor. ii. 9.] The things of the gofpel, par- 
don of iin, peace with God, participation of the Spirit, 
grace and glory, are great and marvellous. Men at the 
hearing of them are like them that dream ; wherefore 
God difcovers the fountains of thefe things, tiiat we may- 
apprehend the truth and reahty of them. If therefore 
the engagement of infinite wifdom, grace, aiid power, 



will not excite, and encourage us to believing, there is no 
remedy but we mufl perifli in our fins. It may be fome, 
for ought I know, may be carried on in fuch an eafy 
courfe, and be (o preferved from perplexing temptations> 
as not to be driven to feek their relief fo deep, as arethefe 
fprings of God's confirmation of the office of Chrift by 
his oatb. But yet he that doth not of his own choice re- 
.frefh his faith with the confideration of them, and 
flrengthen it with pleas in his fupplications taken from 
thence, feems to be greatly unacquainted with what it is 
truly to believe. 

§ 12. Other obfervations follow : 

1. How good and glorious foever any thing may be 
in the v/orlliip of God, or as. a way of our coming to 
him, if it be not ratified by the immediate furetifhip of 
Chrill:, it mufl give way to that which is better ; it could 
be neither durable in itfelf, nor make any thing perfed in 
them that made ufe of it. 

2. All the privileges, beneiits, and advantages of the 
offices and mediation of Chriil, will not avail us, unlefs 
we reduce them all to faith in his per/on. Indeed we 
fliould be affedled, not fo much with what is done, though 
that be inconceivably great, as i?y whom it is donCj — Jefus 
the Son of God, God and man in one perfoh. 

It is a matter, fomewhat of a furprifing nature, that 
divers in thefe days endeavour to divert the minds and 
faith of men from a refpeft to the perfon of Chrift, A 
man could but admire how fuch an attempt fliould have 
any countenance, but that the crafts of Satan have pre- 
vailed fo far, that nothing, be it ever fo foolilll and im- 
pious in religion, does now fcem ilrange. For my part 
I mufi: acknowledge, that I know no riiore of Chriilian 
religion, but what makes me judge, that the principal 
trouble of bchevers in this world lies herein, that they can 
no more firmly believe in the person of Christ, than 
what they have as yet attained to. 

3. The whole undertaking of Chrift, and the whole 
efficacy of the difcharge of his office, depend on God even 
the Father. 

4. Th% 

Ver. 20— 22. EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS. 341 

4. The ftability of the new covenant depends on the 
furetifhip of Chrlft, and is fecured to believers thereby. 
The introdu6lion of a furety in any cafe is to give {labi- 
lity and fecurity. For it is never done but upon a fuppo- 
fition of fome weakntfs or defedl on one account or other. 
If in any contrad, bargain, or agreement, a man be 
eiteemed every way refponfible both of ability and fidelity, 
there is no need of a furety. But yet whereas there is a 
defe£t or weaknefs amongfl: all men, that they are all mor- 
tal and fubjeft to death, in which cafe neither ability nor 
fidelity will avail any thing; men in all cafes of impor- 
tance need fureties. Thefe give the utmofi: confirmation 
that affairs among men are capable of; fo doth the fure- 
tifhip of Chrift on our behalf in this covenant. The 
iirfl covenant as made with Adam, had no furety ; for 
there was no fin to be fatisfied for. But as the Lord 
Chrift upon his undertaking the whole work of media- 
tion became an immediate head to the angels that finned not, 
whereby they received their ellablilhment and fecurity 
from any future defeftion ; fo might he have been fuch a 
head to man in innocency. No created nature was un- 
changeable in its condition, mierely on its root of crea- 
tion. As fome of the angels fell at firfr, forfaking' their 
habitation, falling from the principle of obedience which 
had no other root but in themfelves ; fo all the refl might 
afterwards have in like manner apoflatized from their own 
innate Jiability, had they not been gathered up in the new 
head of the creation — the Son of God as mediator ; re- 
ceiving thence a new relation and eftablifliment. So it 
might have been with man in innocency ; but God in 
his infinite fovereign wifdom faw it not meet that it fhould 
be fo. Man (hall be left to the exercife of that ability of 
living to God, which he had received in his creation, and 
which was fufficient ; yet all was loft for want of a furety. 
And this abundantly teftifies the pre-eminence of Chrifl 
in all things. For Adam, with all the innumerable ad- 
vantages he had, that is, all helps necelTary in himfeif; and 
no oppofition or difftculty from himfeif to conflift with, 
utterly broke the or*)ginal covenant. But believers who 

Vol. III. Yy ^ have 


have very little flrength in thecnfelves, and have a power- 
ful inbred oppoiition to their {lability, are yet fecured iri 
their ftation by the interpolition of their divine fponfor. 
Farther : we need a furety, becaufe in the ftate and condi- 
tion of lin we are not capable of immediate dealing or co- 
venanting with God. It could not be on account of 
God's hoUnefs and glorious greatnefs, that there fhould be 
any new covenant at all between God and iinners, with- 
out the interpofition of a furety. Nor did it become the 
infinite w'lfdom of God, after man had broken and dif- 
annulled the covenant made with him in innocency, to> 
enter into a new covenant with him in his fallen condi- 
tion, without an immediate undertaker, that it fliould be 
afTuredly kept and the ends of it attained. If you have 
lent a man a thoufand pounds upon his own fecurity, when, 
his circumftances were good, and he hath not only failed 
in his payment, but contracted other debts innumerable, 
will you lend him ten thoufand pounds on the fame fecurity, 
expe£ling to receive it again ? Wherefore, God knowing 
our inability, laid help upon one that is mighty, he exal- 
ted one chofen from among the people. [Pfal. Ixxxix. 
XQ.] He committed this work to Jefus Chrift, and then 
faid concerning us, * now deliver them, for I have found 
' a ranfom.' 

5. That the Lord Jefus Chrift, undertaking to be our 
furety, confers the higheft obligation to all duties of obe- 
dience according to the covenant. For he hath underta- 
ken for us, that we ih^W yield to God this covenant obcdi-^ 
ence, and faid, ' Surely they are children that will not 
* lie.' He is no believer who underftands not foaiewhat 
of the force and power of this obligation. 



Verses 23, 24. 

and they truly were many priests, because 
they were not suffered to continue by 
reason of death : but this man, because 
he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable 

§ I. Dejign of the words. § 2. (I.) Their expojltion. 
'The yew'ijh high priejis numerous , by reafon of death. § 3. 
Chr'ifVs priefihood perpetual, hecaufe he cont'imieth ever, 
§ 4. (II.) Ohjervat'ions. On the fucccjfion of the former 
priefthoody § 5. and the perpetuity of Chrifi's, 

§ I. X HE apoflle in thefe words proceedeth to his 
laft argument from the coniideration of the priefthood of 
Chrift, as reprefented by that of Melchifedec. And his 
intention is ftill to prove the excellency of it above the 
Levitical, and of his perfon above theirs. And in parti- 
cular he makes it manifeft, that the ' bringing in of this 
* better hope' did perfed all things, which the law could 
not do. 

The words therefore contain in general — The ftate 
and condition of the Levitical priefts by reafon of their 
mortality, [ver. 23.] and — The ftate and condition of the 
priefthood of Chrift on account of his glorious immorta- 
lity, [ver. 24.] 

§ 2. (I.)' ' And they truly were many pjiefts ;' {koci ol 
^zv) * and they truly.^ He doth not fo much aiTert a 
thing that was dubious, as poiitively declare what was 
well known. What he affirms of them is, that they were 
* many priefts ;' there were many made priefls, or executed 
the office of the priefthood. It is of the high priefts 
only, Aaron and his fucceftbrs, of whom he fpeaks. 
There could not be by the law any more than one at the 
time ; and his argument proceeds upon only the divine 
Y y 2 appoint- 


appointment. From Aaron, the firft of them, to Phineas, 
who was deltroyed with the temple, there were indu- 
{ivtXy four /core and three high priefts. Of thefe thirteen 
lived under the tabernacle, eighteen under the iirft temple 
to its dellrudtion by the Babylonians, and all the reft 
lived under the fecond temple, which yet flood no longer 
than the firft. And the multiplication of high priefts un- 
der the fecond temple, the Jews look upon as a token of 
God's difpleafure : for, ' becaufe of the fins of a nation, 

* their rulers are many.' 

Whatever advantages there may be in an orderly fuc- 
cellion, yet it is ablolutely an evidence of iivpcrfe^lon. 
And by the appointment of this order God fignified an 
imperfeftion in that church ftate. Succellion indeed was 
a rehef againft death, yet it was hut a reliefs and therefore 
fuppofed a want and weaknefs. Under the gofpel it is 
not fo. 

The reafon of this multiplication of priefts was, ' be- 

* caufe they were not fufttred to continue by reafon of 
' death.* Death * fuffered them not to contmue' in the 
execution of their office. It forbad them^ in the name of 
the great fovereign Lord of life and deatli ; and hereof 
an inftance was given in Aaron, the Iirft of them. God, 
to fliow the nature of this priefthood to the people, and 
to raanifeft that the everlafting prieft was not yet come, 
commanded Aaron to die ' in the fight of all the congre- 
< gation,' [Numb. xx. 25 — 28.] It is not furely without 
fome fpecial delign that the apoftle thus exprelTeth their 
dying ; ' they were by death prohibited to continue.' 
They were ieized upon by death, whether they would or 
no, when it may be they would have earneftly defired to 
continue, and the people would alfo h^lve rejoiced in it. 
Death came on them, neither defired nor expefted, with 
his prohibition. It kept them under its power, fo that 
they coxi\6. never more attend to their office. 

§ 3. * But this man, becaufe he contiimeth ever, hath 
* an unchangeable priefthood.' (0 11) but this ; v;e render 
it, this man, not iiuproperly ; he was the mediator be- 
tween God and man, * the man Chrift Jefus.' Nor doth 



the calling of him * this man^ exclude his divine nature ; 
for he was truly a man, though God and man in one 
perfon. — * Hoth an unchangeable priefthood ;' the ground 
and reafon whereof is, ' becaufe he continueth ever.' 

The fole reafon here infifted on by the apoftle, why the 
Levitical priefts were many, is, becaufe they were forbid- 
den by death to continue. It is fufficient therefore, on 
the contrary, to prove the perpetuity of the priefthood of 
Chriil that he abideth for ever. 

This was the faith of the Jews concerning the Mefliah 
and his office. We have heard, fay they, out of the law, 
{oTi 'K^io^og ^svsi sig to 'ocioova^ John xii. 34.) * that 
' Chrilt abideth for ever ;' whereon they could not under- 
fland what he told them about his being ' lifted up by 
death- And fo the word {usvh) fignifieth to abidc\\.o continue 
in any ilate or condition, [John xxi. 22, 23.] And this 
was what he was principally typified in by Melchifcdec, 
concerning whom there is no record, as to the beginning 
of days or end of fife, but, as to the fcriptttre defcrlpt'ion of 
him, he is faid to ' abide a prieil for ever.' 

It may be faid, in oppofition to this, that Chrifl died 
alfo : true ; yet he was not forbid by death to abide by 
his office as they were. He died as a prieft, they died from 
being priejls. He died as a prieft becaufe he was alfo to 
be 2. facrifice ; but he continued not only vefced with his 
office, bat in the execution of it, even in the ftate of 
death. Through the indiffolublenefs of his perfon, his 
foul and body flili fubfifting in the perfon of the Son of 
God, he was a capable fubjed. for his office ; and his being 
in l\\Q JIate of the dead^ belonged to the adminiflration of 
his office no lefs than his death itfelf. So that from the 
firfl moment of his being a priefl he abode fo always^ with- 
out interruption or intermiffion. This is the meaning of 
the pafTage, Q>icc 10 ^.-]/i;y a\?iov) ' he in his own perfon 
' abideth.' Nor doth the apollle fay, that he did not die, 
but only that he abideth alzvays. It followeth from hence, 
that he hath (i-^oa-vvi] •7ra.^a.i2,cPiog) ' an unchangeable prief- 
*■ hood,' a prieflhood that doth not pafs from one to ano- 
ther ; which the apoflle diredly intends, as is evident from 

I the 


the antlthefis. The priefls after the or(ier of Aaron were 
many, by reafon of death ; wherefore it was neceiTary that 
their priellhood fhould pafs from one to another by fuc- 
ceflion : but Chrift, as he received his priefthood from 
none, fo he hath none to fucceed him. 

The expofitors of the Roman church are greatly per- 
plexed in reconciling this pafTage with the prefent prieil- 
hood of their church ; and well they may, feeing they are 
undoubtedly irreconcilable. 

§ 4. (11.) From the number and fucceffion of the Levi- 
tical priefts obferve, 

1. God will not fail to provide inflruments for the work 
he hath to accomplifli. If many prieils be needful, many 
the church fhall have. 

2. There is fuch a neceffity of the continual admini- 
flration of the Hicerdotal office in behalf of the church,- 
that the interruption of it by the death of the priefls was 
an argument of the weaknefs of that priefthood. 

The High Prieft is the fponfor and mediator of the 
covenant ; wlierefore all covenant tranfa£tions between 
God and the church mufl be through him : he is to offer 
up all facrifices, and therein reprefent all our prayers. 
And it is evident from thence, what a ruin it would be to 
the church to be without an high prieft one moment. 

§ 5. On the perpetuity and unchangeablenefs of Chrifl's 
priellhood obferve, 

1 . The perpetuity of the priefthood of Chrift depends 
on his own perpetual life. 

2. The perpetuity of Chrlft's priefthood as unchange- 
ably exercifed in his own perfon, is a principal part of the 
glory of that office. Hereon depends the church prejer- 
vation and (lability. And his ' abiding for ever,' mani- 
fefts the continuance of the fame care and love for us that 
he ever had. The fame love wherewith, as our high 
prieft, he laid down his life for us, ftill continues in him ; 
and every one may with the fame confidence, go to him 
now as poor difeafed perfons went to him when he was 
lipoa eaith — befides, hereon depends the union and com^ 


Ver.53,s4- epistle TO THE HEBREWS. 347 

munlon of the church with itfelf in all fuccefTive genera- 
tions. The prayers of the church trom tirft to lail are 
lodged in the hand of the fame High Prielt, who abides 
for ever. He returns the prayers of one generation to 
another ; we enjoy the fruits of the prayers, obedience^ 
and blood of thofe that went before us ; and if we are 
faithful in our generation, ferving the will of God, thofe 
who come after ihall enjoy the fruits of ours. Our joint 
intereil in this our abiding prieft gives, as it were, a line 
of communication to all believers in all generations : 
moreover, the confolation of the church depends on ChrilVs 
unchangeable prieflhood. Do we meet with troubles, 
trials, difficulties, temptations, and diilreires ; hath not 
the church done fo in former ages ? What do we think 
of thofe days wherein prifons, tortures, fvvords, and flames 
were the portion of the church all the world over ? But 
did any of them mifcarry ? Was any true believers loll 
for ever ? And did not the whole church prove victorious 
in the end ? Did not Satan rage, and the world gnafli 
their teeth, to fee themfelves conquered, and their power 
broken, by the faith, patience, and fufferiiigs of them 
whom they hated and defpifed ? And was it from their 
Qwn wifdom and courage that they were fo prcferved ? Did 
they overcome merely by their own blood, or were they 
delivered by their own power ? No, but all their preferva- 
tion and fuccefs, their deliverance and eternal falvation, 
depended merely on the care and power of their merciful 
High Priefl. It was through his blood, the ' blood of 
* the Lamb,' or the efficacy of his facrifice, that they over- 
came their adverfaries, [Rev. xii. 11.] By the fame blood 
were their ' robes Vv^alhed and made white,' [chap. vii. 14.] 
Is he not the fame that he ever was, veiled with the fame 
office ? and hath he not the fame qualifications of love, 
compaffion, care, and power for the difcharge of it, as he 
always had ? Whence then can any juft caufe of defpon- 
dency in any trials or temptations arife ? We have the 
fame High Priefl to take care of us, to affift and help us, 
as they had, who were all finally victorious. 

3- The 


3, The addition o^ facrificing prleJIs, as vicars of Chrifl 
in the difcharge of his office, deftroys his priefthood as to 
the principal eminency of it above the LeviticaL 

Verse 25. 

wherfore he is able also to savp them to 
the uttermost that come unto god by him, 
seeing he ever liveth to make intercession 


§ I. The apojlle's defign^ and the fuhjed Jlated. § 2. (I.) 
'The note of inference. § 3. (II) Chriff s ah'dity, § 4, 
(III.) As the effed of that power, he is able to fave, § 5. 
to the uttermojl, § 6. thofe who come to God, ^ J- by him. 
§■• 8. (IV.) The fpecial reafon of this efficacious power. 
§ 9. Firf, he lives for ever. § lO. Secondly, he ads 
with God for us ; he intercedes. § I I . Thirdly, the con- 
.neciion between the mediatory life of Chrifty and his intercef- 
Jian. § \%- — 16. (V.) Obfervations. 

§ I. An this verfe the apo flic brings his whole preceding 
myfterious difcourfe to an ilTiie, in the appHcation of it to 
the faith and comfort of the church. It was not his de- 
fign merely to open myfterious truths in the mtion of 
them, bi t to demonftrate the fpiritual and eternal advan- 
tages of all true beHevers by thefe things. 

There are in the words, — A note of inference, for he 
is, &c. — An afcription of pozucr to this High Prieft, * he 
' is able.' — The end or effefl of that power, ' to fave to 

* the uttermoft thofe that come to God by him.' And — 
The reafon of the whole, ' becaufe he ever liveth to make 

* interceliion for them ;' his perpetual life and his per- 
petual work. 


Ver.2^. epistle to TH£ HEBREWS. 


§ 2. (I.) The note of inference {o9sv) wherefore^ may 
iefped the whole foregoing difcourre, as aflerting that 
which necefTarlly follows thereon ; or it may have rcfpe(^ 
only to the cnfuing claufe in this verfc, as if the apoftle 
had only pretended in particular, that the Lord Chrlll is 
able to fave to the uttermoft, * hecaufe he ever abideth :' 
but he rather feems to make ^n inference from the vjhole 
foregoing difcourfe^ and the clofe of the verfe is only ah ad- 
dition of the way and manner how the Lord Chrift ac- 
complilheth what is afcribed to him by virtue of his of- 
fice. Being fuch an High Prieft as we have evidenced 
him to be, ' made by an oath,' and, ' abiding for ever,* 
lie is able to fave. 

§ 3. (IL) That which is Inferred to be in {his prieft, is; 
power and ability ; (lvva\a,i) he is ahle ; he can. It is not 
an ability of nature^ but of office^ that is intended. Hence 
doth our apoille prefs his ability-— not abfolutely, but — • 
as the High Frieil of the church ; as if a man who is 
mighty in wealth, riches, and powei: be alfo made a judge* 
it is one thing what he can do by his might and power, 
another what he can do as a judge ; and he who hath to 
do with hirh as a judge, is to cohfidei: only what he is 
able for in the difcharge of that office. This is the abi- 
lity here intended ; not an abfolute divine power inherent 
in the perfon of Chrift, but a moral power'^ a (jul) rights 
and what can be effected in the jull difcharge of this of- 

§ 4. (III.) As the eiFe<^ of that pov;er it is added, 

• He is able to fave,* (kixi crcc^siv) even to fave, to fave alfo \ 
not for this or that particular twdi, but ahfolutely, ' even to 

* fave. Not any temporal deliverance, but that v/hich is 
fupernatural, fpiritual, and eternal, is intended. 

1. The word includeth in it a fuppofition of fome evil 
or danger we are delivered from. Wherefore it is faid of 
Chrift, that he ' faves his people from \X\'t\x fns^ [Matt. i. 
21.] from the curfe, [Gal. hi, 13.] and froiii the wrath to 
come, [I. Thef. i. 10.] 

2. The bringing of us into an eftate of prefent grace!, 
and right to future bleiTednefs, with the enjoyment of it 

Vol. IIL Z 2 in 


in its appointed fcafon, is intended in it. For although 
this be not included in the firft notion of the word, yet it 
belpngs to the nature of the thing intended. This falva- 
tion, called, therefore * great' and * eternal,' doth not mere- 
ly refpe<^ the evil we are delivered from, but the contrary- 
good alfo in. the prefent favour and future enjoyment of 
God. There is therefore no fmall ability required to this 
work. It v^as no cafy thing to take away fin, to fubdue 
Satan, to fulfil the law, to make peace with God^ to pro- 
cure pardon, grace, and glory. 

§ 5. lie is able to fave alfo [sig ro rrotvjzKzg) * to the ut- 
* tcrmolL'' The word may have a double fenfe ; for it 
may refpeft the pcrfccllon of tiic work, or its duration ; and 
fv> it is varioufiy rendered. 

Take it in x\\^ former fenfe, and the meaning is, that 
he will not do one thing or another that belongs to it, and 
leave what remains to ourfeh/es or others ; but he is our 
rock, and his v.'ork is perfe£l. — In the latter fenfe, (as the 
SyriGc verfion has it) two things may be intended : 

i. That after an entrance is made into this work, and 
men begin to be made partakers of deliverance thereby^ 
there may be great oppofitlon made againft it in tempta- 
tions, trials, iins, and death, before it be brought to per- 
fection : but our Lord Chrifi, as our faithful High Prieft^ 
fainteth not In his work, but is able to carry us through 
ail thefe difncultleSj and will do fo until it be finifhedyir 
sver in heaven. 

2. That this falvation is durable, perpetual, eternal, 
[Ifa. xlv. I 7. 1 — But nothing hinders us to take the words 
in fuch a compreheniive fenfe, as to include the meaning 
of both thefe interpretations. He is able to fave com- 
pletely, as to all parts ; fully, as to all caufes ; and for 
ever in duration. 

§ 6. The whole is farther declared by inflancing in' 
thofe who are to be faved or made partakers of this falva-^ 
tion. Fle is able to fave to the uttermoft all thofe, and 
only thofe, ' who come to God by him.' 

To * come to God' hath a double {^wi^ in ih^t fcrip- 
tiiie ; for it is fometinKS expreliive oifaith^ fometimes of 

v^'orjhh, . 

Ver.25- epistle to the HEBREWS. 351 

xvorjhip. ' The latter fenfe is principally here intended ; 
for the apoflle*s difcourfe is concerning the ftate of the 
church under the New Tcflament, with the advantage of 
jt above that of the Old, by its relation to the pricdhood 
of Chriil. They of old * came to God' in their worniip 
by the High Pricfl of the iaw ; but thofe high priefls 
could not fave them in any fenfc. But the High Prieft- 
of the New Teftament can ' fave to the utQiofl' all gofpd 
wor//)?ppcrs, * all that come to God by him.' — But th$ 
former fenfe of the word is alfo included and fupported. 

§ 7. {/Xl oivj'd) hy h'lm^ as an High Priei}, [chap, x. 
19 — 21, 22.] Now to ' come to God hy Jcfus Chriji' \\\ 
all holy v/orfliip, fo as to be intercfted in his faving power 
as the High Prieft of the church, is — fo to come, in 
obedience to his authority, as to the way and manner of it ; 
with ajfiance to his mediation, as to the acceptance of itj 
with faith in his perfon, as the foundation of it. It is 
not by legal inftitutions, much lefs by our own inven- 
tions, but by his ovvm appointment, [Matt, xxviii. 20.] to 
come to God any other way, gives us no intereft in the 
care or faving power of Chrift, [John xv, 7, 8.] Faith 
hath refpe£l to two things : — i\\q facrlfice he hath offered, 
and — his interecffon, whereby he procures acStual accep- 
tance for our perfons and our duties, [Heb. v. 26. I. 
John ii. 2.] The foundation of the whole h. faith m his 
per/on as veiled with his holy office^ and in the difchajge 
pf it. 

§ 8. (IV.) The clofc of this verfe gives us the fpecial 
reafon and confirmation of all the ef^cacy that the apoftle 
hath affigned to the priefthood of Chrift : ♦ Seeing he 
^ ever liveth to make intercclfion for them.* And three 
things muft be coniidered in thefe words : 

Flr/t, The ftate and condition of Chrift as an high 
prieft. '• He liveth always,' or for ever. 

Secondly, What he doth as an high prieft in that ftatQ 
and condition : * He maketh intercemon for us/ 

Thirdly, The connexion of thefe things, or the rela-» 

tion of the work cf C^^^ift to, his ftate and condition ^ 

Z z 2 tfe 


the one is the end of the other ; ' He lives for ever to 

* make interceffion for us.* 

§ 9. Firfl as to his ftate and condition, * He lives for 

* ever.' He is always living. The Lord Jefqs Chrill iii 
his divine perfon hath a three-fold life in heaven. The 
one he lives in h'lmjdf \ the oxh^x for himfelf^ and the lail 
for us, 

i". The eternal life of God m his divine nature. This 
he liveth in himielf. * As the Father hath life in himfelf, 

* fo hath he given to the Son to have life in himfelf,' 
[John v. 26.] And he that hath life in himfelf, a life 
independent on any other, he is the living one^ the living 
God. No creature can have ' life in himfelf;' for in God 
all creatures live, move, and have their being ; he is 
hereby * Alpha and Omega, the iirft and lafl, the begin - 

* ing and the end of all,' [Rev. i. ii.] becaufe he is 
{0 ^oov) ' the living one,' [ver. 18.] 

2. There is a life which he liveth for himfelf viz. a 
life of inconceivable glory in his human nature. He led 
a life, in this world, obnoxious to mifery and death, and 
died accordhigly. This life is now changed into that of 
immortal eternal glory, ' Henceforth he dieth no more, 

* death hath no. more power over him.' This life is attend- 
ed with hipffahle glory which he now enjoys in heaven ; he 
lives it for himfelf; it is his reward, the * ^lory and 
' honour' with w^hich he is crowned. 

3. A mediatory life^ a life for us. So faith our apoflle, 

* he was made a priefh after the power of an endlefs life.' 
He lives as king, prophet, and prieft of the church. So 
he defcribes himfelf, [Rev. i. 18,] 'I am he that liveth 

' * and was dead, and behold I am alive for evermore, and 

* have the keys of hell and death.' As he died for us, fo 
he liveth for us ; and is entrulled with all power over the 
church's adverfaries, for its good. 

§ 10. Secondly, Bv virtue of this life he a^s with God 
in behalf of the church. ' He lives for ever to make 

* intercelTion for them.' Now this expreffion containing 
the whole of what the Lord Jefus Chrifl, as the High 
priefl of the church, doth now with God for them, and 



whereon the certainty of our falvatipn depends, it niufb 
with feme diligence be inquired into. 

The Sochiian figment about the nature of the intercef- 
lion of Chrift is of no confideration. For by a ftrange 
violence offered to the nature of things, and the fignifica- 
tion of words, they contend, that this intercejjion is no- 
thing but the * power of Chrift to communicate ^.^WdWy 
* ail good things,' the whole efFe£l of this mediation to 
believers. That Chrift hath fuch a power is no way 
queftioned ; but that the exercife of this power is h\% 
intercejjion, is a moft fond imagination That which cafts 
them on this abfurd conception of things, is their hatred 
of the priejily office of Chrift as exercifed towards God oil 
our behalf. Bat I have elfewhere fufficienrly difputed 
againft this fi£lion. 

The interceffion of Chrift was under the Old Tefta- 
ment typified three ways :~by the living lire that was 
<:ontiuually on the altar ; — by the daily Jacrifice of morn-*, 
ing and evening for the whole people ; and — by the incenfe 
that was burned in the fan£luary ; and this was of two 

%. That wherewith the High Prieft entered once a year 
into the moft holy place on the day of expiation. For 
he might not enter in, yea, he was to dte if he did, unlefs 
in his entrance; he filled the place and covered the ark and 
ynercy feat with a cloud of incenfe, [Lev. xvi. 12, 13.] 
which incenfe was to ho, fired with burning coals from the 
altar of burnt ofFerhigs ; fo did our High Prieft. Hq filled 
heaven at his ent^-ance with the fweet favour of his inter- 
ceffion, kindled with the coala of that eternal fire, where- 
with he offered himfelf to God. 

2. The incenfe tliat was burned evcj-y dm in the fan6lu- 
ary by the priefts in their courfes. This repiefented 
-prayer, [Pfal. cxli. 2.] and v/as always accompanied with 
it, [Luke i. 9, 10.] This alfb was a type of the continual 
efficacy of the intercelTion of Chrift, [Rev. viii. 4.] an.d 
as the fire on the altar kindled all the renewed facrifices, 
which were to be repeated and multiplied becaufe of their 
wer.knefs and imperfedion ; fo doth the interceffion of 
■ ^ Chrift 

^^.?. AN EXPOSITION OF THE Chap. Vli; 

Clirift make effe£lnal the one perfedl facrifice, which he 
offered once for all, the various applications of it to the 
confciences of behevers, [Heb. x. 2.] 

The oMual intercefjlon of Chrift in heaven, as the fecond 
aft of his facerdotal office, is a fundamental article. 
Wherefore whatever apprehenfions we may attain of the 
manner of it, the thing itfelf is the center of our faith, 
hope, and confolation. 

It is no way unbecoming the human nature of Chrifl, 
t^-^tw in its glorious exaltation, to pray to God ; for, 
however exalted and glorified, it is hiinmn natiire ilill 
fubfifling in dependence upon God and fubjeflion to 
him. Hence God gives him new revelations now in his 
glorified condition, [Rev. i. 5. PfaL ii. 8.] * Afk of me' 
refpedls his flate of exaltation at the right hand of God, 
when he was declared to be the Son of God with power 
from the refurredion from the dead, [ver. 7, 8.] and 
the incenfe which he oftereth with the prayers of the 
faints, [Rev. viii. 3, 4.] is no other but his own in- 
terceliionj whdreby their prayers are made acceptable to 

This praying of Ghrifl at prefent is no other but fuch 
as may become htm who * fits down at the right hand of the 
^ Majeily on high.' There mufl therefore needs be a great 
difference as to the outward manner of his prefent intercef- 
iion in heaven, and his praying whilft on earth, efpecially 
at fome feafons. For being encompaffed here with temp- 
tations and difficulties, he cafl himfelf before God with 
ilrong cries, tears, and fupplications, [chap. v. 7.] this 
would not become his prefent glorious flate. His fuffer- 
ings were lis the breaking and bruifing of thofe fpices. 
which he had before prepared, [John xvii.] wherein all. 
his graces had their mofl fervent exercifes, as fpices 
yield their flrongefl favour under their bruifing. At his. 
entrance into the holy place this incenfe was fired with 
coals from the altar ; that is, the efficacy of his oblation, 
wherein he had offered himfelf to God, through the eternal 
fpirit, rendered his prayer as ijicciife covering the ark 



and mercy feat, and procuring the fruits of the atone- 

It mull be granted that there is no need of words in 
the immediate prefence of God. He needs not our words 
whilft we are on earth, all things are open and naked be- 
fore him ; though we need the ufe of them for many 
reafons. But the glorious prefence of God, when v/e 
Ihall behold him as Chrift doth, in the moil eminent 
manner face to face, it cannot be underflood what need 
or ufe we can have of vjords to exprefs ourfelves to God, 
in prayer or praifcs. Belides the fouls of men, in their 
feparate ilate, can have no ufe of voice or words, yet 
are they faid to cry and ptay with a loud voice ; becaufe 
.they diO fo virtually and effedtually ; [Rev. vi. 9, 10.] 
However, I will not determine what outward tranfa£tions 
are necelTary to the glory of God in this matter before 
the angels and *faints about his throne. It is certain^ 
however, that there is yet a church ftate in heaven with 
which v/e have communion, [chap, xih 22 — 24.] but 
what folemn outward, and as it v/ere vifible tranfadlions 
of worlliip are required thereto, we know not. Some- 
what there is, we may infer, which fliall not be any 
more after the day of judgement, [I. Cor. xv. 26 — -28,] 

It muft be granted that the virtue and prevalency of 
Chriil's interceffion depends upon, and flows from, his 
oblation and facrifice : this we are plainly taught from 
the antient types. Wherefore the fafeft conception of it 
we can have, as to the manner in general, is Chrift's con- 
tinual appearance for us in the prefence of God by virtue of 
his office, as High Prieil over the houfe of God, repre-; 
fentlng the efficacy of his oblation ; accompanied with tender 
care, love, and de/ires for the welfare, fupply, deliverance, 
and falvation of the church. * If any man fin we have 

* an advocate,' &c. but what belongs to the particular man'- 
ntr of tranfa£ting thefe things in heaven, I know not. 

§ 1 1. Thirdly, We muft confider the connexion of the 
two things mentioned, or their relation one to another, 
namely, the perpetual life of Chrift and his Interccjfion: 

* He lives for ever to make interceiTion.' His intercelliori 



is the principal end of his mediatory life. He hves to 
rule his church ; he lives to fubdue his enemies ; (for he 
mufl reign until they are all made his footflool) he lives 
to give his Holy Spirit in all his bleffed effefts to believers. 
But though all thefe things proceed originally by an ema- 
nation of power and grace from God, yet becaufe they 
are given to Chriil upon his inter cejfi on ^ that may well be 
eileemed the principal end of his mediatory life. This 
intercelTion of Chrifl; is the great ordinance of God, for 
the exercife of his power, and the communication of his 
grace to the church, to his eternal praife and glory. So 
doth our High Prieft live to make intercefHon for us. 

§ 12. (V.) From the whole we are furnifiied with a 
few obfervations : 

1. Confiderations of the perfon and offices of Chrifl 
ought to be improved to the itrengthening of faith, and 
increafe of the church's confolation. So they are here by 
the apoflie after the great and ample declaration he hatli 
made of the excellency of his prieflly office with refpeft 
to his perfon, he applies all to the encouragement of the 
faith and hope of fuch as endeavour to ' go to God by 
' him.' 

2. And hereon, the confideratioh of the office and 
power of Chrifl is of great ufe to the faith of the church. 
It was owing to his infinite condefcenlion that he under- 
took the office of a mediator between God and man ; yet 
having undertaken it, all the a£lings of it arc circum- 
fcribed and limited by that office. We hav^ no ground 
of faith to expecl any thing from him but what belongs to 
ihe office he hath undertaken. We can look for no rnore 
from a king but what he can do juftly as a king. Yet the 
principal reafon of the all-fufficiency of his office, power, 
and ability is taken front his own pcrfm^ which alone w^as 
capable of fuch a trufl ; he alone, who was God and 
man in one perfon, v/as capable of being fuch a king, 
prieft, and prophet, as was able to ' iave the church to the 
* uttermofl.' 

§ 13. Fro^m v^hat ha^ been faid W6 may farther ob- 

I. It 

Ver.25. epistle to the HEBREWS. 3$; 

I. It is good to fecure this flrft ground of evangelical 
faith, that the Lord Chrift, as vefled with his offices, and 
their exercife, is able to fave us. When perlbns are re-i 
duced to look for falvation 07tly by Chrijt, and apprehend 
in general that he can fave linners, yet, oftentimes when 
they come to inquire into the way and manner of it, in 
the exercife of his prieftly office, they cannot clofe with it. 
Thus difappointed, away they turn again into themfelves ; 
and if they are not recovered from this fatal miftake, they 
mufl die in their iins. Unlefs therefore we do well and 
diilinclly fix this foundation of faith, that * Chrifl as a 
' prieft is able to fave us,' we fhall never make one firm 
flep in our progrefs. Wherefore we are to look to this 
prieflhood of Chrifl, as what Divine Wifdom hath appoint- 
ed to be the only way whereby we may be faved. The 
way propofed in it to fave finners by the crofs of Chrift^ is 
accounted as folly by all unbelievers, whatever elfe they 
pretend as the reafon of their unbelief. But \\\\% faith is 
to fix upon ; — that although we yet fee not how it may be 
done, yet this being the way which Infinite Wifdom hatli 
fixed on, there is no defeft in it j but Chrifl by it is 
* able to fave us.' For the very firfl notion which we 
have of wifdom, as divine and infinite, is, that we are to 
acquicfcc in its contrivances and determinations, though wc 
cannot comprehend \hz reafons or ways of them. Befides, 
the Lord Chrifl is herein alfo the pQiver of God. This is 
the w^ay whereby Infinite Wifdom hath chofen to a£l om-« 
nipotent power. 

2. Whatever hindrances and difficulties lie in the way 
of the falvation of believers, whatever oppofitions rife 
againfl it, Chrifl is able, by virtue of his facerdotai 
office, to carry the work through them all to eternal per- 

3. The falvation of all fincere gofpel worfhippers 13 
fecured by the aftings of the Lord Jefus Chrifl in the dif- 
charge of his prieflly office. But yet, attendance to the 
worfliip of God in the gofpel, is required to interefl us 
in the faving care and power of our High Priefl. Men 

Vol. IIL Aaa de-. 


deceive themfelves who look to h^ faved by him, but take 
no care to coine to God in holy wbrjhip by him. 

4. Thole who endeavour to come to God any other 
tvay but by Chrift, as by faints and angels, may do well 
to conlider,' whether they have any fuch office in heaven 
as by virtue of which they are able to ' lave them to the 
• uttermoft/ If they can do fo without any office^ 
they can do more than Jefus Chriil himfelf could do ; for 
he is able to do it only by virtue of his office. If they 
do it by virtue of any office committed to them, let it be 
named what it is. Are they priefts in heaven for ever 
after the order of Melchifedec ? Or are they the kings or 
prophets af the church ? Under v>^hat name or title is this 
power eritrufled v/ith them ? Such imaginations are mofl 
foreign from true Chriltian religion. An holy, painful 
minifler on the earth can do much more towards the fa- 
ving of the fouls 01 men, than any faint or angel in hea^ 
ven. Yes ; there is more love, pity and compaffion in 
Chrifl Jefus towards every poor iinner that comes to God 
by him, than all the faints in heaven are able to compre- 
hend ! And if kindred or alliance may be of conlideration 
in this matter, he is more nearly related to us, than father or 
mother, or wife or children, or altogether, we being not 
only bone of his bone, and flelTi of his flefh, but fo joined 
to him, as to be one fpirit with him. He is an unbe» 
lever, to whom the glorious exaltation of the Lord Chrift 
is a difcouragement from going to him, or by him to God 
on the throne of grace. For all the glory, power, and 
majefly of Chrift in heaven is propofed to believers, to 
encourage them to come to him, and put their truft in 

§ 14. Obf. It is a matter of ftrong confolation to the 
churcli, that Chrift lives in heaven for us. It is a fpring 
of unfpcakable joy to all true believers, that Chrift lives a 
life of immortality and glory even for himfelf. Who can 
Call to n)ind all the miferies which he underwent in this 
world, all the reproach and fcorn that was caft upon him 
by his enemies of all forts, all that the w^ath of the 
whole world is yet filled with againll him, but i5 refrcfhed, 



rejoiced, tranfported, with a fpiritnal view by faith of all 
that majefty and glory, which he is now in the eternai 
poiTeffion of? So was it with Stephen, [Afts vii. 56.] 
/iiid therefore in all the reprefentations he li^^th made of 
himfelf lince his afcenfion into heaven, he hath manifeil^ 
ed his prcfent glory, [Aftsxxvi. 13. Rev. i, 14 — 18.] 
And the due conhderation hereof cannot but be a matter 
of unfpeakable refrefhmcnt to all that love him in fni- 

But herein lleth the life of the churches confolation^ 
that he continues to live a mediatory life iu heaven yir us 
alfo. It is not, I fear, fo confidered, nor fo improved, 
as it ought to be. That Chrift died for us, all who own 
the gofpel profefs in words ; though fome fo explaii] their 
faith, or rather their infidelity, as to deny its proper uf? 
and evacuate its proper ends. What mofl: men regard ii^ 
this matter is, that Chrift now live$ a life of glory in hea- 
ven, for himfelf alone. But the text fpeaks quite the con- 
trary : ' He lives for ever to make intr/cefjion for us.' 
And it deferves peculiar notice, that he lives for ever to 
fend the Holy Spirit to his difciples. Without this conftant 
effect of the mediatory life of Chrift, the very being of 
the church would fail. Did he not live this life for 
us in heaven, neither xXiq whole church, nor any one 
member of it, could be preferved one moment from utter 
ruin. But hereby are all their adverfarjes continually dif* 

15. Ohf So great and glorious is the w^ork of fav^ng 
believers to the utmoft, that it is nsceftary the Lord 
Redeemer fhould lead a mediatory life in heaven, for 
the perfe£ling of it. * He lives for ^v^r to make inter- 
* ceftion for us.* It is generally acknowledged that fin- 
ners could not be fayed without the death of Chrift ; 
but that they could not be faved without his life fol- 
lowing it, is not fo much confidered. [See Rom. v, 10, 
Chap, viih 34, 35, &c.] Jt is thought by fomei proba- 
bly, that when he had declared the name of Godj an4 
levelled the whole counfel of his will; when he had given, 
^§ XhQ great example of love ^nd holin^fs in his life ; 
A a ^ :^ wb^a 


when he had fulfilled all righteoufnefs, redeemed us by 
his blood, and made atonement for our fins by the obla- 
tion of himfeif ; confirming the truth he taught, and his ac- 
ceptance with God in all by his refurredion from the dead, 
wherein he was ' declared to be the Son of God with 
* power ;' — that he might have now left us to manage for 
ourfelves, and to build our eternal fafety on the founda- 
tion he had laid. But, alas ! when all this was done, if 
he had only afcended into his ovm glory, to enjoy his ma- 
jefly, honour, and dominion, without continuing his 
life and office on our behalf, we had been left miferably 
poor and helplefs ; fo that both we and all our right to 
an heavenly inheritance, fhould have been made a prey to 
every fubtil and powerful adverfary. He could therefore 
no otherwife comfort his difciples, when he was leaving this 
world, but by promifing that he w^ould not leave them or- 
fhansy (cp(pa'V^gi John xiv. 18.) that is, he would Hill 
continue to aft for them, to be their patron, and to exer- 
cife the office of a mediator and advocate with the father 
for them. Without this, he knew they mufl: be * orphans,* 
fuch as are not able to defend themlelves from injuries, 
nor fecure their own right to their inheritance, 

§ 16. Ol>/. The mofl glorious profpe£t we can have of 
the things within the veil, the remaining tranfa£lions of the 
work of our falvation in the mofl holy place, is in the 
reprefentation that is made to us of the interceffion of 

§ 17. Obf. The interceffion of Chrill is the great evi- 
dence of the continuance of his love and care, his pity 
and compaffion towards his church. Mercy and compaf- 
lion, love and tendernefs, are conllantly afcribed to him as 
bur High Prieil. [See chap. iv. 15. chap. v. i, 2.] So 
the great exercife of his facerdotal office in laying down 
his life for us, and expiating our fins by his blood, is Hill 
pecuharly afcribed to his love, [Gal. ii. 20. Ephef. v. 2, 
Kev. i. 5.] 

But how fhall we know that the divine Redeemer con- 
tinues thus tender, loving, and compaffionate ? What 
evidence or teflimony have we of it ? Herein we have an 



iilfallible demonjlratwn of it. As our High Priefl {owof,- 
LLZvov <T\)UffVC('^Woci) * he h able to fiAffcr,'' to condole with, 
to have compaffion on his poor tempted ones, [chap. iv. 
1 5.]! All thefe affeftions doth he contuiually exercife in his 
interceffion. It is from a fenfe of their wants and w^eak- 
neiles, of their diflreffes and temptations, of their ftates 
and duties, accompanied with inexpreffible love and com- 
paffion, that he continually intercedes for them ; — that 
their lins may be pardoned, their temptations fubducd, 
their forrows removed, their trials fanftified, and their per- 
fons faved : and doing this continually as an High 
Prieft, he is in the continual exercife of lov*e, care, and 

Vr^RSE 26. 


§ 1 . 7'he fcope of the words, whence appears the deplorahle 
Jiate of the prcfent Jews. § 2, 3. (I.) The ivords ex-^ 
plained. § 4 — 6. Tlje Socinian notion of Chrift'*s priefl- 
hood confuted and expofcd. §7. (II.) Obfervationh 

§ I. XN this verfe the apoftle renders a reafon of his 
whole preceding difcourfe, and why he laid fo great 
weight upon the defcription of our High Pricft. And he 
hath in it, probably, a refpe£l to wiiat he lall aflerted in 
particular concerning his ability to fave them that came 
to God by him ; * For fach an High Priell became us, 
* who is holy,' &c. There is fuppofcd and included in 
this affertlon, that if we intend to come to God, we had 
Reed of an High Prieft to encoiirage and enable us for it. 



And if ill particular we need fuch an High Prieft, it is 
fuppofed that without an High Prieft, in general^ we cai:^ 
do nothing in this n:iatter. This therefore is the founda- 
tion which in this argument the apoflle proceedeth on ; 
that fiiiners, as we all are, can have no accefs to God 
but by an High Fried, God had not only by the infti- 
tution of that office among the Hebrews, declared that this 
\vas th.e way whereby he would be w^orlhipped ; but alfo 
with legal prohibitions, fortified with fevere penalties, he 
llad forbidden all men, the higheft, the greateft, the beft 
and mod holy, to come to him any other way. And 
lierein lies a great aggravation of the prefent mifery of 
the Jews. High priefls of their own they have none, 
nor have had for jnany ages. Hereon all their folemn 
worfnip of God utterly ceafeth. They are the only per- 
fbns in the world, who, if all mankind would give thein 
leave and airill; them in it, cannot worihip God as they 
themfelves judge they cught to do. ' For if Jerufalena 
V/ere reftored into their poirefhon, and a temple rebuild 
in it more glorious than that of Solomon, yet they coul4 
not offer one iamb in facrifice to God. For they know 
that this cannot be done without an high prieft, and 
priefcs who infallibly derive their pedigree ffom Aaron, 
of whom they have not amongfl them one in all the 
world. And fo rauft they abide under a fenfe of being 
judicially excluded froiii al! folemn worfhip of God, un- 
til the veil fhall be taken from their hearts, and, leaving 
Aaron, they return to him who was typified by Melchi- 
fedec, to whom even Abrah^im their ^ather acknowledged 
his fubjeftion. 

§ 2, * Such an high pried (sTrpSTTSv Vi^jv) hecame wj.' 
B.efpe(Et may be had therein either to the wljdom of God, 
or to oxxv Jiate and condition, or to both; fuch an high 
pried it was needful ih-^t we fhould have. If the condeceiicy 
of the matter^ v/hich lies iti a contrivance of proper means 
to an end, b© intended, then it is God w^ho is refpected 
in this word ; if the t^ccejfity of tlie kind or relief men- 
tioned be meant, then it is we who are refpefted. Such 
d, one hecame us as could make atonement for our iins, 



purge our confciences from dead works, procure accep- 
tance with God for us, adminifter fupplies of fpiritual 
grace, give us afTurance and confolation in our trials, pre- 
ferve us by his power, be in a continual readiiiefs to re- 
ceive us in all our addrelTes to him, and to beftow upon us 
eternal life. Unlefs we have an High Priefl that can do 
all thefe things for us, we cannot be faved to the uttermojl. 
Such an High Priefl we flood in need of, and fuch an one 
it became the wifdom and grace of God to give us. And 
here let us gratefully refledl, that God in infinite wifdom, 
love and grace, gave us fuch an High Priefl, as in the 
qualifications of his perfon, the glory of his condition, 
and the difcharge of his ofhce, was every way fuited to 
deliver us ffom the Hate of apoflacy, fin and mifery, and 
to bring us to himfelf through a perfe£l falvation. This 
the enfuing particulars will fully manifefl. 

§ 3. * Such an High Prieft became us, as is holy, harm- 

* lefs, undefiled, feparate from iinners.' There is fome 
allufion in all thefe things to what was tvpically repre- 
fented in the inflituted prieflhood under the law. For the 
high priefl was to be a perfon without blemilh, not 
maimed in any part of his body. He was not to marry 
any one that was defiled, nor was he to defile himfelf 
among the people. In his miniHration he wore on his 
forehead a plate of gold with that infcription ; ' Holi- 

* nefs to the Lord.' But all thefe things Vs'ere only out- 
Ward reprefeiltations of what v^as really required in fuch 
an high priefl as the church flood in need of. Tiie church 
was taught by them from the beginning that it flood in 
need of an High Priefl whofe ;f^/ qualifications fhould an- 
Iv/er all thefe typical reprefentations of them, it Is poffi- 
ble that our apoflle, in this defcription of our Fligh Priefl, 
defigned to obviate the prejudicate opinion of fome of 
the Hebrews, concerning their McfTiah ; for generally 
they looked on him as one that was to be a great earthly 

• prince 'and warrior, that Hiould conquer many nations, and 
fubdue all their enemies with the fvvord, fhedding the 
blood of men in abundance. In oppofition to this vain, 
and pernicious imagination, our Saviour teflifirs unto 



them, that he came « not to kill, but to fave, and to keep 

* alive.* And our apoftle here gives fuch a defcription of 
him in thefe holy gracious qualifications, as might atteft his 
perfon anc* work to be quite of another nature than w^hat 
they defired or expeded. Wherefore we may obferve, 
that all thefe qualifiGations of our High Prieft were pecu- 
liarly neceflary on account of the facrifice which he had 
to offer. They were not only neceilary for him, as he 
was to be \\\t facriftcer, but alfo as he was to be t\\t facri- 
fice ; not only as he was to be the prieft, but as he was to 
be the Lamb. For the facrifices were to be without ble- 
mijlos as well as the facriiicer. So were we ' redeemed 

* with the precious blood of Chrift, as of a lamb without 

* blemifh and without fpot,' [I. Pet. i. 19.] 

§ 4. We mull not pafs by the welling of this text by 
the Socinians ; nor omit its due vindication. For they 
contend that this whole defcription of Chriil doth * not 

* refpeft his internal qualifications in this world before 
^ and in the ofi'ering of himfelf by his blood ; but his glo- 
' rious Hate in heaven.* For they fear (as well they may) 
that if the qualifications of a priejl were necejjary to him, 
whilil he was in this world, that then he was fo indeed. 
He v/ho fays fuch an Fligh Prieft became us as is holy, 
harmlefs, undefiied, feparate from linners, doth affirm 
that when he was fo, he was our High Prieft. In that 
Jiate, beyond difpute, wherein thefe things were neceffary 
to him, he was a prieft. To avoid this ruin to their pre- 
tenlions, they offer violence to the text, and the fignifi- 
cation of every word in it, and dangeroufly infniuate a 
negation of the things intended, to be in Chrift in this 
world. Their expofition is contrary to the or^^r of the 
apoftie's v/ords ; for he placcth all thefe properties as qua- 
lifications of his perfon antecedently to his exaltation. He 
vvas_;?r/?, holy, harmlefs, undefiied; and then made higher 
than the heavens. But according to this expofition, his 
being ' made higher than the heavens* is the antecedent 
caufe of his being made holy, &c. — It is highly falfe that 
the glorious ftate pretended was antecedent to his being a 
prieft, and the facrifice which he offered ; yea, fuch a 




ilate was inconfiftent with the oblation of himfeh": for 
heoifered himfelf unto God in his blood-, [Heb. ix. 14.] 
and that ' with ftrong cries and tears,' [chap. v. 7.] 
Again ; their expofition is in exprefs contradiftion to 
their own main hypothecs. For hj fins they underftand 
iveaknejTes and infirmities ; and whereas they will not allow 
Chrift to have offered himfelf before his entrance into the 
holy place^ and make it neceflary that he Ihould be an- 
tecedently freed from all Weaknefles and infirmities, it is 
the higheft contradidion to affirm that he offered for thcm\ 
feeing he could not offer himfelf Until he was delivered 
from them* 

§ 5. The vanity and falfehood of this novel cxpoli- 
tlon will be yet farther and more fully evinced in an in- 
quiry into the proper fignification of the words them- 
felves ; every one of which is wrelled to give it counte- 

I. He was to be (ocr/o^) holy, (that is, -^^on for A6i:f? 
ii. 22.) the Hebrew word, C^l'on) is rendered [lo-j ocrtyj 
cry) * the holy one,' from Pfalm xvi. 10. And the Lord 
Jefus Chrift is there faid to be (otloc) * holy,' antecedent 
to his' refurredion ; which mufl be with refpe£t to his in- 
ternal holinefs -, * thou wilt not fuffer thine holy one to fee 
* corruption.' And in the New Teftament the word is 
every where ufed for one internally holy, [L Tim. ii. 8. 
Tit. i. 8.] Hence from the womb Chrift was that (TGccyi'- 
oj/) holy thing of God, [Luke i. '^^.] All others fmCe the 
fall have ^polluted nature and are originally unholy; but 
his conception being miraculous, by the immediate ope- 
ration of the Holy Ghofl ; and his nature filled with all 
habitual feeds of grace, he Was emphatically (^ocrioc) holy. 
And fi^cb an High Priefl as was fo became us. Had his 
nature been touched with liii, he had not been meet to be 
cither a prieft or facrifice. This holinefs of nature was 
needful unto him, who was to anfvvcr for the tinhoHnefs of 
our nature, and to take it away. Unholy finners Hand 
in need of an holy priefl, and an holy 'facrifice. What 
we haVe not in ourfelves we mufl have in himj or we 

Vol. UL B b b ihall 

366 AN EXt»0SIT10I^ OF THE Chap. VH,. 

Ihall not be accepted with the Holy God, who is of purer 
eyes thaa to behold iniquity. 

2. He was to be (oiKor/^og) free from all evil ^ fraud, or 
fin ; the fame abfolutely with that of the apoille Peter, 
[I. Epift. ii. 22.] * who did no fin, neither was guile 

* found in his mouth.' (Ocnog,) Holy^ is his epithet 
tvith refpe6t to his nature ; (a,y^ay.oc^) harmlefs, refpe£ls 
his life. The firfl includes all poiitive holiaefs ; the other 
an abnegation of all unholinefs. Had he not been 'mna^ 
cent, and every way blamelefs in himfelf, he would have 
had other work, to do than always to take care of our 
falvation, as the apoflle obferves in the next verfe. He 
muft firft have offered for his own fins, as the high prieft 
did of old, before he could have offered for ours^ 

3. He was to be (aiMoc'^og) undcfiled, unpolluted, that 
is, morally, with any lin or evil ; this the word properly 
lignifies, and it is not ufed in the New Teftamcnt in any 
other fenfe. But wherein ddes this differ from ( 
harmlefi f I anfvVer ; the one is, he did no evil in himfelf \ 
the other, that he contra^cd none from any other. 

' 4. He was (xsy^MpicriJLsyog airo tcjov (x^c^ujXmv^) ' fepa- 
^ rate from iinners ;' from linners as fuch, and in their fns. 
He was like unto us in all things, fn only excepted. He 
was not feparate from them as to community of nature., for 
God fent his own Son in the ' likenefs of finful flefh ;' 
[Rom. viii. 3.] ' made of a woman, made under the 

* law,' [Gal. iv. 4.] * the word was made ilelh,' [John i. 
14.] but yet he fent him only in the * likenefs of linfu] 

* lielh :' and that becaufe he ' made him fin, who knew 

* no fin,' [II. Cor. v. 21.] Again ; he was wo/ feparated 
from finners as to the duties of outward converfation. He 
lived not in a wildernefs, nor faid to the children of men, 

* Stand off, I am holier than you.' He converfed freely 
with all forts of perfons, even publicans and harlots, for 
which he was reproached by the proud hypocritical phari- 
fees. Moreover ; he was not feparate from finners, in 
flate and condition, as kings and potentates are from 
perfons poor and mean ; who therefore out of fenfe of 
the;ir own mcannefs, and the other's dignified ilate, and 



perhaps greatnefs of mind, dare not approach them. 
No, but as he was meek, and lowly, and took up his 
whole converfation with the lower fort of the people, the 
poor of this world, fo, by all engaging ways and means, 
he Invited and encouraged all forts of finners to come 
unto him. Once more ; he is not fald to be fep.rate 
from finners, as though he had ever been in any com- 
munication with them, in any thing wherein he was af- 
terwards feparated from them. The participle (jcsp/^c/cr- 
^v^cg) hath the fenfe of an adjedive^ declaring what he 
is, and not how he came to be fo. On the whole, it 
appeareth hence plainly wherein it was that he was fepa- 
rate from Unners ; namely^ whatever he underwent was 
upon our account and not his ovvn. He was every way, 
in the perfe£t holinefs of his nature and life, dillingulfhed 
from all linners ; not only from the greateft, but from 
thofe who ever had the leafl taint of fin, and who other- 
wife were mofl holy. 

§ 6. Thefe are the invaluable properties of the human 
nature of our High Prieft, and which were neceiTary an^ 
tecedently to the difcharge of any part of his ofHce. His 
prefent Jlate and condition is in the next place exprefTed j 
* and made higher than the heavens \ (v'^'/]Xflspog ysvoiJ.5vog) 
made higher. He was not made higher than the heavens 
that he might be a prieft ; but being our High Prieft he 
was fo made, for the difcharge of that part of his office 
Which yet remained to be performed. He was fo ex- 
alted, as to the place of his refidence from the earth, 
above thofe afpeftable heavens, as withall to be placed 
in honour, dignity, and power above all the inhabitants 
of heaven, he only excepted, who put all things under 

§ 7. (H,) We may obferve, from the paftage thus ex- 

I. Although thefe properties of our High Prieft are 
principally to be conlidered as rendering him m.eet to be 
our High Prieft, yet are they alfo to be conlidered as aa 
exemplar of that holinefs and innocency, which we ought 
to be conformable unto. None can more dilhonour the 
JB b b 2 Lord 


Lord Chrift, nor more pernicioufly deceive and betray 
their own fouls, than by confelTing hnn to be their Prieli 
and Saviour, and yet do not endeavour to be like him. 

2. Seeing all theie properties were required in Chrift, 
that he might be our High Pr'iefi, he vras poffeiTed of them 
for our fakes and benefit. For fuch an High Prieil became 
VS, and fuch an High Priefl we have. 

3. The infinite grace and wifdom of God are always 
to be admired by us in providing fuch an High Priefl as 
was every way meet for us, to bring us to himfelE 

4. The dignity, duty, and fafety of the gofpel church 
depend folely on the nature, quahfications, and exaltatioa 
of our High Prieft. 

5. If fuch an High Priefl hecame us, was needful to 
ns, for the eflabhlliment of the new covenant, and the 
communication of its grace to the church, then all per- 
fons, Chrifl only excepted, are abfolutely excluded from 
all fhare in his priejihood. He that takes upon himfelf to 
be a priefl: under the gofpel, mufl be holy, harmlefs, un- 
defiled, feparate from finners ; that is, abfolutely fo ; or 
he is an impollor, who endeavours to deceive the fouls of 

6. If therefore we confider aright what it is that we 
Hand ill need of, and what God hath gracioufly provided 
for us, "that Vv'e may be brought to him in his glory, wc 
Hiall find it our wifdom to forego all other expedtationSj 
and to betake ourfelves to Chrifl alone. 

Verse 27. 

who needeth kot baily, as those high priests, 
to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, 


^ I, 2. (I.) I'he words explained. § 3. The S'ociman expoji* 
tion particularly confuted, § 4. How and what Chrijl 


Ver.27- epistle to THE HEBREWS. 369 

offered for the fins of the people. § 5. (11.) Brief Oh* 
fervatlons upon the whole, 

§ I. (I.) * W HO needeth not daily as thofe high priefts,* 
(Ovii c%£L oiVtxyKYiv,) he needeth not ; it is not neceffary for 
him. Other prieils being weak, infirm, and finful, and 
their offerings being only of earthly things that could 
never perfectly expiate fin, thefe things were neceffary 
for them, and fo God had ordained, (wcrTrfp 0/ cc^y^rz^ziq) 
* as the high prieft,' that is, thofe of the law concerning 
whom he had treated. All thefe priefts had need to offer 
in the manner here expreffed : no fooner was one offering 
pail, but they were making another neceffary. And what 
perfection could be comprized in an everlafting rotation 
of fins and facrifices ? Is it not manifeil that this priefl-* 
hood and thefe facrifices could never of themfelves ex- 
piate fin, nor make perfe£t them that came to God by 
them ? Their inftru<^ive ufe was excellent, they both 
dire£ied faith to look to the great future priell and facrifice, 
and eftablifhed faith in that they were pledges given of 
God to affure them thereof. 

{JLaJJ" Tiuc-pocv) daily i that is, fo often as occafion required 
according to the law ; for there is no reafon to confine 
the apofile's intention to the annual expiatory facrifice ; 
nor is it the (i^dh) daily facrifice alone that is intended ; 
though that be included alfo. For that (juge facrificium) 
continual facrifice^ had refpe£t to the fins of the whole 
church, both priefts and people. As we are obliged to 
pray for the pardon of fin every day, by virtue of that 
facrifice, which is (7rpo(r(pc^og 7tcci ^occrcy.^) * new and liv- 

* ing' in its continually, and as occafion requires ; fo 
there was an obligation on the prieft to offer for himfelf 
a fin offering, ' as often as he finned according to the fins 

* of the people,' [Lev. iv. 3.] 

§ 2. (Olkt/o^^ oiva.(pspciv VTTSp c&jjia^fluvv) * To offer facri- 

* fices for fins.' Propitiatory and expiatory facrifices arc 
intendfid j but poflibly a principal regard is had to the 


great anmvcrfary facrifice in the feafl of expiation, [Lev* 

The order of thefe facrifices Is exprelTed by (TTDojcpoVf) 
fir/I, and {eTTtijcy.) then ; * Firfl for his own fins, and then 

* for thofe of the people.' Either the whole difchargc of 
the office of the high pried may be intended in this order, 
or that which was peculiar to the feall of expiation. For 
he was in general to take care in the firft place about 
offering for his own fins according to the law, [Lev. iv.] 
for if that were not done in due order, if their own legal 
guilt were not expiated in its proper feafon according to 
the law, they were no way meet to offer for the fins of 
the congregation ; yea, they expofed themfelves to the 
penalty of exclfion. — (Tvicp iccv i^lcajv a^j.0i^u»jv) for his 
ewnjzns ; and this upon a double account. Firfl, becaufe 
he was really a Jinner, as the rell of the people were : ' If 

* he do fin according to the fin of the people,' [Lev. iv. 
3.] Secondly, that upon the expiation of his own fins in 
the firfl place, he might be the more meet to reprefent 
him who had no fin. And therefore he was not to offer 
for himfelf in the offering that he made for the people, 
but flood therein as a Jlnlcfs per/on, as our High Prieft 
was really to be : — * for the fins of the people,' {tcov 7» 
Xd's) that is, for the whole congregation of Ifrael, [Lev. 
xvi. 21.] this v/as the duty ; and all that could be learned 
from it was, that fome more excellent priefl and facrificc 
was to be introduced. 

§ 3. Our High Priefl had no need to offer facrificc in 
this way ; daily, many facrifices, or any for himfelf. 

* For this he did once when he offered himfelf.' {T^9 
ya.p c'TTOL'/josv) this he did \ (t^o) this, refers only to one of 
the antecedents, namely, * offering for the fins of the 

* people.' This he did ence, when he offered himfelf; for 
of the whole church of God, contrary to the analogy 
of faith, and with no fmall danger in the expreifion, 
himfelf he did not offer. — Contrary therefore to the fenfe 
SociNus firfl afSrmed, that the Lord Chrift offered alfo 

for hlmfcf or his own infirmities and fufferings, a^ her 
and his followers explain themfelves. But nothing can 


be more abhorrent from truth and piety than this aller- 
tion : for, 

1. If Chrift oiFered for hlmfelf, then the apoftle ex- 
preflly, in terms, affirms, that Chrift offered for his own 
Jinsy and that diftin£lly from the fins of the people. And 
from this blafphemy we are left to relieve ourfelves by an 
interpretation that the fcriptiire no where countenances j 
v/z. that hj JinSy * infirmities or miferies' are intended, 

2, The fole reafon pretended in favour of this abfurd 
affertion is, that the article {t^o) this, muft anfwcr to 
the whole preceding propofition as its antecedent.. But 
to anfwer the whole antecedent, in both its parts, it is 
indifpenfably necelTary that he muft, as they did, offer 
tivQ dijiintl offerings^ the firft for himfelf, and the other 
for the people. But this is expreilly contradi<3:ory to 
what is here affirmed, that he offered himfelf once only ; 
and if but once, he could not offer for himfelf and for 
the people, which none could no, 

3» This infinuation not only enervates, but is con-> 
tradidory to the principal dclign of the apoftle in the 
verfe foregoing and that which follows. For ver. 26. 
he, on purpofe, defcribes our High Prieft by fuch proper- 
ties and qualifications as might evidence him to have no 
need to offer for his own fins, as thofe priefts had. For 
from this confideration that he was ' holy, hannlefs, un- 

* defiled, feparate from finners,* the apoftle makes this in- 
ference — that he needed not to offer for himfelf as thofe 
high priefts did. But, according to this interpretation, 
no fuch thing follows ; but> notwithftanding all qualifi- 
cations, he had need to offer for his ' own lins.' Wherefore 
the whole delign of the apoftle in thefe verfes is by fuch 
interpretation utterly perverted and overthrown. 

4. Again ; when thofe priefts offered for their ^ own 

* fins,* their fins were of the fame nature with thofe of 
the people, [Lev. iv. 3.] If therefore this be repeated 
anew, ' This he did when he offered,' &c. fins being ex- 
preffed only in the firft place, and nndsyfood in the latter ; 
fins properly fo called muft be intended, which is the 
height of blafphemy. 

5. If 


5. If Chrifl offered for liis own infirmities, then thofc 
infirmities were hindrances to his offering for others. For 
that is the only reafon why he Ihoivid offer for their 
removaL But this is fo far otherwife that indeed what 
infirmity he had was even neceffary for a meet high prieft 
and facrifice ; for fo was every thing that is infeparable 
from human natare ; which confideration is utterly de- 
Urudlive of this figment. 

6. Befides ; this imagination will admit of no tolerable 
fenfe in its expofition or application. For how can we 
conceive that Chrill offered for his own infirmities, that 
is, his forrows, fufferings and obnoxioufnefs to death ? It 
muft be by his fufferings and death ; for by them he offered 
himfelf to God. But this is abfurd and foolifli ; by his 
fujff-erings he ofi^red for his fufferings ! What he offered 
for, he 1-ook away, as he did * the fins of the people ;' but 
his own forrov;s he took not away, but underwent thera 

7. It is contradi£tory to the principal maxim of the . 
Socinians themfeives, with refped to the priefthood of 
Chritl ; for they maintain, that this one perfe£l offering 
or expiatory facrifice was in heaven only, and not on earth* 
But he could not at his appearance in the holy place offer 
for his own infirmities and miferies, for they were all pall 
and finifhed, himfelf being exalted in immortality and 
glory. Chiift offered himfelf (s(pc67r^) once, faith the 
apoille ; at one tifne. This I fuppofe is agreed. Then 
he * offered for himfelf, and his own fins,' or not at allj 
for he offered but once, and at one time ; where then did 
lie thus offer himfelf, and v/hen ? In heaven upon his 
afcenfion, fay the Socinians with one accord. Where therl 
and when did he offer/?;- himfef? * On the earth,^ Then 
he offered himfef twice. No, by no means, he offered not 
himfelf on the earth ; how then did he offer for himfef on 
, the earth ? He did not indeed ffer himfef on the earth, 
but he prepared himfef {or his offering on the earth, and 
therein he offered for himfelf; that is, he did,' and he did 
not' offer himfelf upon the earth ! 

I 4. The 

Ter.i;- Epistle to the HEBREWS. 373 

§ 4. The way and manner of Chrifl's ofFcring is di- 
reftly oppofed to the frequency of the legal facrifices refered 
peated dally as there was occaiion. Thofe high priefls of- 
(x(z9^ TjusLocv) daily, on ajl occafions ; he (c(pc4,7ra^) 07ice 
Only. And cannot but obferve, by 'the way, that this 
aflertion is rio lefs abfolutely exclufivc of the mijfaiical fa- 
crifices of the Roman priefts, than it is of the Levitical fa- 
crifices of the high prieil of the Jewifli church. In their 
mafs itfelf they expreffly * offer it to God a facrifice for 
' the lins of the living and the dead ;' and this they do 
a thoufand times more frequently, than the expiatory fa- 
crifices were among the Jews. Whatever ends they there- 
fore fancy to themfelves, by pretending to offer the fam& 
fkcriflce that Chriil did, they contradict the words of the 
apoflle, and v/holly evert the force of his argument. For 
li xXiQ fame facriiice which Chriil offered be cftcn offered^ 
and had need fo to be, the whole argumciit to prove the 
excelling of his pricflhood, in that he offered himfelf but 
once, above them Vt^ho often offered the fame facrifice, falls 
to the ground. And hence alfo, that Chriil offered him- 
felf at tlie fupper the night before he was betrayed, as the 
Trent council affirms, [SeiT. xx. cap. i.] is to give the 
apoflle the lie. 

PVhat he offered is exprefled in the lafl place, and there- 
in the reafon is contained why he offered but once, and 
needed not to do fo daily, as thofe priefls did. And this 
gives the hjghefl preference of the prieflhood of Chrifl 
above that of Levi. For thefe priefls had nothing of 
their ovjn to offer, but Chriil had that which was origi- 
nally and abfolutely his own, himself, a facrifice able to 
atone for all the fins of mankind* 

§ 5. (II.) Hence we may obferve, 

1. God requireth our faith and obedience in nothing 
but what is at once abfolutely needful for us, and highly 
reafonable to every enlightened mind. Such was this 
priefchood of Chrifl, now propofed to the faith of the 
church, in comparifon of what v/as before enjoyed. 

2. That no f^inful man was meet to offer the great ex- 
piatory facrifice far the church; muckiefs,is any finfui 

Vol. IIL C c c man 

man fit to offer Chrlft hlmfelf. As the firft part of this af- 
fertioii declares the infufficiency of the Jewifh priefts, fo 
doth the latter the vain pretence of the priefts of Rome* 
The former the apoflle proves and confirms exprefHy ; 
and the latter is, on many accounts, a vile prefumptuous 
imagination. For a poor finful worm of the earth to in- 
terpofe himfelf between God and Chrifl and offer the one 
in facrifice to the other, what an iiTue is it of pride and 

3. The e:5CcelIency of Chrift's perfon and prieflhood 
freed him in his offering from many things that the Le- 
vitical prieflhood was obliged to. No purificatians, repe- 
titions, fuceefiion, &c. belong to him. 

, 4. No facrifice could bring us to God, and fave the 
church to the utmoft, but that wherein the Son of God 
himfelf was both priefl and offering. Such an High 
Priefl became us who offered himfelf once for all. How 
precious is a view of the glory of this miftery ; how fa- 
tisfa£lory to the fouls of believers ! What corJd not thi? 
priefl prevail for in his interpolitlon on our behalf? Mufl 
he not needs be abfolutely prevalent in all he amis at ? 
Were our caufe entrufled in any other hand, what fecu» 
rlty could we have that it fhould not mifcarry ? And what 
could not this offering make atonement for ? What fin, 
or whofe, could it not expiate ? ' Behold the Lamb q£ 
^ God that taketh away the fms of the world !* 

Verse 28, 
for the law maketh men high priests which 


§ I, The fuh'jen ftated, § 2. (I.) I'he different means of 
conJUtutlng the differ erit priejls, § 5, (II.j The different 



times, § 4. (III.) The difference of the per fins, § c\ 
(IV.) The differ £)K^ in their Jlate and condition. § 6, 

§ I. A HE apoille in this verfe fammeth up the whole 
of his preceding difcourfe, fo as to evidence the true an4 
proper foundation, which all along he hath built and pro- 
ceeded on, with wonderful brevity in an elegant antithe^. 
lis ; wherein he confidcrs, 

1. The different means of the conflitution of thefe dif- 
ferent priefts : on the one hand, the law ; and on the 
other, the word of the oath. 

2. The different times of their conftitution ; the one 
{n the giving of the law ; the other after the law. 

3. The difference of their perfons ; thofe of the firft 
fort were men, and no more ; the other was the Son, 

4. The difference in their J!ate and condition ; the 
forrner had infirmities, the latter is confecrated for ever, 

§ 2. (I.) (O voixog) the law, that is, the ceremonial 
Jaw, as we call it ; the law given in Horeb, concerning 
religious rites, the way and manner of the folemn worfhip 
pf God in the tabernacle. And what doth the law do ? 
(Ko:>9i(r]Yj(ri) It appolnteth. He fpeaks in the prefent time. 
So long as the law continueth jn force and efficacy it ap-^ 
pQinteth fuch priefls, Hereunto is oppofed (Koyo$ v/ig cp^ 
Koc^uoa-iotg) the word of the oath, as the conftituting caufc 
of this new priefl. It was the ' word,' the promife of 
God declared by his oath. And herein hath it many ad- 
vantages above the law ; for it implies particularly both 
an high federal folemnliy, and the immutability of that 
counfel whence the matter fworn to proceeds, 

§ 3. (IL) The difference of the time wherein thefe 
priefthoods were ordained, is included, on the one hand, 
and expreffed on the other. For the former, it was whei> 
the law was given, whereby they were made priefts ; the 
Jat^er was f^ai]^. tov vo^cg) aft^r the Jaw, or the giving 

QtQ 2, J, Tli« 


1. The prieflhood confirmed by an oath, and introdu- 
ced after the law, was utterly inconliilent with the law 
and prieflhood thereof. Wherefore, of necefTity, either 
the law and the prieflhood of it mufl be difannulled, or 
the oath of God mufl be of none efFe<St ; for what he had 
fworn to, was inconfiflent with the continuance of what 
was before appointed for a time. 

2. This nezv prieflhood could no way be made fnhordi- 
naie o\' fubfervlent to the other, fo as to leave it a place in 
the church. But as it w^as eminently above it in dignity 
and benefit, fo the life of the other was only to be an in- 
trpdu£lion lo it, and therefore mufl ceafe thereon. 

3. This new -prieflhood had its reafons, grounds, an4 
leprefentations long before the giving of the law ; for be- 
£des a virtual conflitution in the fiiiipromfe, two thoufand 
years before the giving of the law, it had aifo a typical 
reprefentation in the priefthood of Mekhfcdec ; and it re- 
ceived only a declaration and confirmation in the account 
given of the oath of God after the law. 

§ 4. (III.) The third difference is, that the law made 
(ccv9po7i"dg) men^ to be high priefls j that is, thofe wha 
were mere mcn^ and no more. In oppolition hereunto, 
the word of the oath makes (xhov) ' the Son^ an High 
Priefl ; that Son who is Lord over the whole houfe, and 
whofe the houfe is. Many ways there were, w^hereby he 
v/as manfeficd to be fo ; efpecially by his miraculous con- 
ception and nativity, and by his refurre£lion from the 
dead. Hence with refpe£l to them he is fometimes called 
* the Son of God ;' not that he became fo thereby, but 
was only declared to he fuch. Into this therefore the apof- 
tle refoives the force of his argument — the dignity of the 
perfon of our High Priefl, the Son of God ; for hereon the 
whole excellency and efficacy of his prieflhood depends. 

§ 5. (IV.) It is added in the lafl place, that the lavs: 
made men priefls, {zy^ovjocg aa-^svEioiv) that had infirmity ; 
fubjeft to infirmities ; and thofe were of two forts, moral 
and natural ; neither could they be freed from either of 
them during the whole time of their prieflhood. H^nce 
they were obliged continually, tq the lafl day of their 



lives, to offer facrifices for their own fuis ; znd the iifue 
of their natural weaknefs was death itfelf ; this feized 
every one of them, fo as to put an everlafting end to 
their faccrdotal adminiilrations, Jut wherefore did the 
Jaw make fnch priefts, men, mere men, that had infir- 
n^ity, fubject to lin and death, fo as to put an end to 
the^r office ? The reafon is plain, becaufe it could not 
iind any better. The law mufl be content with fuch as 
were to be had, and in itfelf it had no power to make 
them better. In oppoiitlon hereunto it is faid, * the 

* word of the oath made the Son (T3Js?\;:ociji:-yoy sig rov 

* alC^JVc^) con fe crated for ever.'* What the apoflle intends 
here, in a fpeciai manner, is his abfolute freedom from 
the linful infirmities of other priefts ; and for which pri- 
marily facrifice was to be offered. And the apoltle here 
oppofing the confccrotion of Chrifl: to their having infirmU 
iieSf fheweth fufhciently he intended not to infinuate that 
he offered for any infirmities of his ozvn. If he had any, 
why oppofcd to them who had ? And if he had offered for 
his own infirmities, the apoflle could not have charged 
the /^^y with weaknefs, that it made priefts which had Infir- 
mity ; for, on that fuppofition, ' the word of tlie oath' 
Ihould have done fo alfo. But whereas his exaltation 
into heaven for the difcharge of the remaining duties of 
his priefthoodj in his interceflion for the church, belong- 
ed tQ the perfection of his confecration, he was therein 
alfo freed from all thofe natural infirmities which were |ie- 
^effary to him as a facrifice. 

§ 6. The enfuing obfervations offer themfelves ; 

1. There never was, nor can be any more than two forts 
cf priefts in the church, the one made by the law, the 
pther by the oath of God. Wherefore, 

2. As the bringing in of the priefthood of Chrift af-> 
ter the law, and the priefthood conftituted thereby, did 
abrogate and difannul it ; fo the bringing in of another 
priefthood after his, will abrogate and difannul that alfo. 
And therefore, 

3. Plurality of priefts under the gofpel overthrows the 
V^hole arguix^ent of the apoftlp in this place, and if we 


have yet priefts that have infirmities, they are made hf 
the law and not by the gofpel. 

4. The fum of the di§^erence between the law and the 
gofpel, terminates in the difference between the priefls of 
the one and the other Hate. 

5. The great foundation of our faith, and the hinge 
whereon all our confolation depends, is this, that our 
High Prieft is the Son of God. 

6. The everlailing continuance of the Lord Chrift }r\ 
Jiis office is fecured by the oath of God, 

Verse i. 


§ I. The general contents of this chapter. § 2. The expo^ 
ptlon of thefe words, § 3. Continued, § 4. Obfervar- 
t'lon. The principal glory of the priejily office of Chrijl 
depends on the glorious ep^altation of his perfqn^ 

§ I. X HERE are two general parts of this chapter ,' 

Firf, A farther explication of the excellency of the. 
prieflhood of Chrift, or of Chrifl himfe|f as vefted witl^ 
that office. 

Secondly, A farther confirmation thereof; wherein is in-f 
troduced the confideration of two covenants — -the Old and 
the New. For to the /orw^r was the adminiftration of the 
Levitical priefls confined ; of the latter Chrift as our 
Prieft, is the mediator and furety. And therefore the 
apoftle fully p3;-0Yes the excellency of this new covenant 


Ver.!. epistle to tHE HEBREWS. 3^^ 

Jibovc the old, which redounds to the glory of its media* 

§ 2. * Now of the things which we have fpoken, this 

* is the fum,' {x,c(pcc?\.iov, capltulum, caput^ properly the 
head of any living creature. But the moll frequent ufe 
of it is in a metaphorical fenfe, as here. The following 
words (sTiL 701$ KsyoiJLSyoig) ' of the things which we have 

* fpoken,' are capable of a double interpretation. The 
prepofjtion may be put for (sv) in or among ; or it may be 
in a manner redundant, and no more then is intended but 
(toov Kcyo^zvcAjv) of the things fpoken. Both thefe fenfes- 
are confiflent ; for the apollle in this and the cnfuing verfes 
both briefly recapitulates what he had evinced by his pre- 
ceding arguments^ and alfo declares what is the principal 
thing he had contended for. I incline to the latter figni- 
fication, which is refpecled in our tranflation ; yet fo as 
that the former alfo is true, and fafely applicable to the 

* We have fuch an High Priefl.' (E%o/^sy) JVe have. 
Whatever you think of us, whatever you boall of your- 
felves, we have an exalted High Prieil in the Chriftian 

He would moreover teach us, by this word, that what- 
ever is the glory and dignity of our High Prieft, all will 
not fuffice without an interell in him, and an efpecial re- 
lation to him. And we may know whether ' we have* 
an high prieft or no, really and fubflantially, by the ufe 
we make of him, as fuch, in all our approaches unto God, 
(To/y7ov) fuch ; he doth not now fay, merely, that we 
have an high prieft^ nor another high prieft, but moreover 
^ fuch* an one as hath that dignity, and thofe excellencies^ 
which he afcribes to him. The falvation of the church 
doth not depend merely on its having an high prieft, which 
yet is in itfelf abfolutely neceffary, but on his dignity and 
excellency, his exaltation and glory. And this it is the 
npoftle's deiign to prove, as we before obferved ; and not 
the reality of his priefthood, nor yet abfolutely the qua- 
lifications of his perfon. He is incomparably exalted 
Jtbove the legal high prieft ; for what did he do, after he 


5^0 An Ext^osiTioN OF ttlE chapj vnf7 

bad offered the anniverfary facrlfice of expiation to God ? 
He entered, indeed, into the holy place with the blood of 
the facrifice ; and prefented it there before the augufl 
pledges of the prefence of God^ But all the while he 
was there htjiood before the typical throne with holy awe 
and reverence* And immediately on the difcharge of his 
duty he was to withdraw^ and go out of the holy place. 
But what was this to the glory of our High Priefl ? After 
he had offered his great facrifice to God, he entered — not 
into the holy place made with hands, but — -into heaven tt'- 
fclf! not to jl and with humble reverence before the throne^ 
hxitiofit on the throne of Godj at his right hand^ and that 
for evermore. 

§ 3. (E.yM^io-iv) He fat down. Of this there was no- 
thing typical in the legal High Prieil, who never fat down 
in the holy place. But as he was in many things typified 
by the Levitical prlefls, fo in what they could not reach he 
was reprcfented in Melchifedec, who was both king and 
frie/I. And hence he is prophefied of as a ' priefl upon 
' his throne;' [Zech. vi. 12.] and the immutable {lability 
of his Hate and cond'tlon is alfo intended. 

The dignity itfelf confifls in the place of his refidence^ 
(s,/h^^Lu) at the right hand. (See the expofition of chap. 

This * right hand* is faid to be {tH 9povS 7'/jg jjisyaKcAj'- 
(TV'.'sg) ' of the throne of the Majefly.' There is frequent 
mention in fcripture of the throne of God. A * throne' 
is {injigne regium) an * enfign of royal power.* That in- 
tended by it is, the manifeflation of the glory and power 
of God in his authority and fovereign rule over all. 
* Majefly' denotes the glorious greatnefs and power of 
God himfelf : for his effential glory and power is intended. 
The right hand of the * throne of Majefty,' is the fame 
with the right hand of God. Only God is reprefented in 
ell his glory, as on his throne. Higher expreflion there 
cannot be ufed to lead us into an holy adoration of the 
tremendous invifible glory which is intended. And this 
is the eternal liable condition of tae Lord Chrifl our 
Jligh Priefl, (cj/ apoivoig) in the heavens ; wherein is the 


fpeclal manifeftation of the glorious prefence of God. 
Hence our Saviour hath taught us to call on God, as ' our 

* Father who is in heaven.' 

§ 4. From the words we may obferve, 

The principal glory of the prieflly office of Chrill de- 
pends on the glorious exaltation of his perfon. To this 
end is it here pleaded by the apoftle, and thereby he evin- 
ceth his glorious excellency above all the other high 
prieils. The divine nature of Chrill is capable of no 
real exaltation by an addition of glory, but only by mam- 
feftation. In his incarnation, and his whole converfe on 
the earth, he call a veil over his eternal glory, fo that it 
appeared not in its own native luflre. Thofe indeed who 
believed on him, faw his glory, * the glory as of the only 

* begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth,* [John 
i. I4.}43ut they faw it darkly, as in a glafs. The per- 
fon of Chrift, as to his divine nature, was always on the 
throne : he came down from heaven, and defcended into 
the lower parts of the earth ; was obedient to death, 
and redeemed his church with his own blood, by means 
of the human nature he aflumed. His divine perfon can 
no more really leave the throne of Majefty, than ceafe to 
be. He was Hill in heaven ; * the fon of man who is in 

* heaven ;' even on the throne of Majefty ^ this being an 
infeparable property of divine authority. 

It is, then, Chrift in the human nature that is Capable 
of this exaltation, by a real addition of glory. Not the 
manifejlation of his glory with refpcdt to his human nature, 
but the real collation of glory upon him after his afcen- 
lion, is intended. And though this glory be not abfo- 
lutely infinite, and elTentially divine, (which indeed can- 
not be communicated,) yet is it not abfolutely above, but 
alfo of another kind than the utmoft of any other created 
being either hath or is capable of. This exaltation of 
Chrift gives glory to his office ; it is alfo a manifeft 
pledge, and a demonftrative evidence, of the abfolute per- 
fection of his oblation \ ".nd that by one offering he hath 
for ever perfe£led them that are fan6lified. By his glori- 
ous power he makes all things fubferyicnt to the end of 

Vol, IIL D d d his 


his mediation. For he is given to be * head over all 
* things to the church.' x\nd he is able to render the 
perfons and duties of believers accepted in the light of 
God. To prefent them to God is the great remaining 
duty of his office ; and that they be fo, is their only real 
concern in this world ; and what greater fecurity can 
they have of acceptance, than the interefl and glory 
which their Priefl hath in heaven? [I. John ii. i, 2.] 

Verse 2. 

a minister of the sanctuary, and of the 
true tabernacle ; which the lord pitched, 
and not man. 

§ I . ^he general fcope of the text, and the fuhje£i Jiatcd. 
§ 2. (I.) What IS affirmed of our High PrleJI. A ml- 
mfler of the fan cl nary. § 3. And of the true tahernacle, 
§ 4. (II.) Ayi amplification of what is affirmed, § 5. 
(III.) Obfervations, 

^ I. X HIS verfe contains the fecond pre-eminence of 
Chrifl as our High Priefl, which the apoflle calls over in 
this fummary of this difcourfe. The words confifl of 
two parts : 

1. What is affirmed of our High Priefl; that he was 

* a minifler of the fanduary, and of the true taberna- 

* cle.' 

2. An amplification of what is fo affirmed ; * which 

* the Lord fixed, and not man.* 

§ 2. (I.) * Minifter of the fanfluary.* It is affirmed 
that he is {Xefji^pycg) a minfter\ having declared the glory 
and dignity which he is exalted to, as fitting down at the 
right hand of the throne of the Majefly in heaven ; what 
can be farther expeded from him ? There he lives, eter- 

Ver»2. epistle to the HEBREWS. 3^3 

nally happy in the enjoyment of his own blelTednefs and 
glory. Is it not reafonable it ihould be fo, after all the 
hardfhips and miferies he underwent in this world ? Who 
can exped that the Son of God fhouM any longer con- 
defcend to office and duty ? Neither generally have men 
any other thoughts concerning him. But where then 
Ihould lie the advantage of the church in his exaltation, 
which the apollle defigns, in an efpecial manner, to de- 
monftrate ? Wherefore to the mention of it he immedi- 
ately fubjoins the continuation of his office ; he is Hill 
a public minijter for the church. For, be it obferved, that 
it is a name of his prieflly office, wherein he a6ls towards 
God, and before God on our behalf, according to the 
duty of a priefl. And by virtue thereof, he alfo com- 
municates all things from God to us ; for the whole ad- 
nillration of things facred between God and the church 
is committed to him. {Toov ayicov) of the fantluary ; the 
inmofl part of the tabernacle, which our apoftle calls 
(chap. ix. 3. (zyia, ayioov, i. e. CD>ii>np ti^np) * the holy of 
' holies,' the moft holy place ; and abfolutely he calls 
it {ayia,) the holies, [chap. ix. 8, 12, 24, 25. xiii. 11.] 
And hence the word is rendered by moll interpreters, ' the 
*- fanduary^ And this, in the prefent application of it, is 
nothing but heaven itfclf, as the place of God's glorious 
prefence ; the temple of the living God, [i^fal. cii. 19.] 

* He looked down from the height of \\\% fantluary, from 

* the heaven did the Lord behold the earth.* And fo the 
apoflle himfelf, chap. ix. 24. * Chrift is not entered into 

* the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of 

* the true, but into heaven itfelf.' And this is called the 
fanduary becaufe there is really what was but typically re- 
prefented in the fan£luary below. — It was a joyful time 
with the church of old when the high priefl; entered into 
the holy place ; for he carried with him the blood where- 
with atonement was made for all their fins ; yet he was 
again to leave that place and his miniftrations. But our 
High Priefl abides in the true fanftuary for ever, always 
reprefenting the efficacy of that blood whereby atone- 
ment was made foj all our fins. As no interpofition be- 

D d d 2 tween 


tween heaven and us fhould difcourage us, while Chrifl 
is there on our behalf, fo his being there will draw our 
hearts and minds thither continually, if fo be we are 
really interefled in his holy miniftrations. 

§ 3. (K^/ T'/jg o-KTjVYig a.Xvi^iv/ig) and of that true iaher^ 
fiacle. — Expofitors generally agree, that by trne^ in this 
place is intended that which is fuhftantial and abiding, 
as oppofed to that which is umbratile and tranlitory. 
The old tabernacle was figurative and typical, denoting 
fomewhiat that was to be the * true' and fubilantial taber- 
nacle of God. So is the exprefTion interpreted, [John vi, 
a3w] ' Mofes gave you not the true bread from heaven, 

* but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven/ 
that is, fpiritually jubftantial and abiding, nourifhing the 
foul to eternal life. Moft expofitors take the tabernacle, as 
they do the fan£luary, for heaven itfelf ; but by this * true 

* tabernacle', the human nature of Chrift himfelf is in- 
tended. For, 

1. Of this the old tabernacle was a type. Thence is 
the expreifion taken, and to that is the oppofition made 
in the epithet * irue.^ This therefore is our befi: direftion. 
and rule in the interpretation of this expreffion. Now 
that tabernacle was not ereded to be a type of heaven, 
nor is any fuch thing intimated in the fcrlpture : a 
token, pledge, and means it was of God's prefence with 
his people here on earth, whence alfo he is faid to dwell 
among them. But this he doth not really and fub- 
Hantially only through Chrift : he therefore alone is this 
true tabernacle. For, 

2. In anfwcr to this, when he came into the world. 
It is faid that (sctkYiV coo's) * he fixed his tabernacle among us,* 
[John i. 14.] becaufe the tabernacle of old was the way 
and means of God's dwelling among the people, in the 
pledges of his gracious prefence. 

3. He himfelf calleth his oivn body his temple, with rc- 
fped to the temple at Jerufalem, which was of the fame 
nature and ufe with the tabernacle, [John ii. 19 — 22-] 
becaufe his body was that true and fuhftantial temple and 
tabernacle whereof he was the minifter. 

4. That 


4. That Is the * true tabernacle' which God truly and 
really inhabiteth, and on accotint whereof he is our God. 
This was the nature, ufe, and end of the tabernacle of 
old. God dwelt therein in the figns and pledges of his 
prefence, and was on account thereof the God of the 
people, according to the terms of the covenant between 
them, [Exod. xxv. 3. Rev. xxi. 3.] That, therefore, 
wherein God dwells really and fubflantially, and on the 
account whereof he is our God in the covenant of grace ; 
that, and no more, is the ' true tabernacle.* But this is 
in Chrift alone ; for ' in him dwelleth all the fulnefs of 
* the godhead bodily,' [Col. ii. 9.] thus the human nature 
of Chrift is that true fubllantial tabernacle, wherein God 
dwelleth perfonally. 

5. He is the only way and means of our approach to 
God in holy worfhip, as the tabernacle was of old. He 
was in his own perfon, and what he did therein, to 
anfwer all thofe types of prieft, facrilice, altar, tabernacle, 
and what belonged thereto. He was the body and fub- 
llance of them all, [Col. ii. 17.] 

§ 4. (H.) ' Which the Lord pitched, and not man/ 
{y(v sttcPsv YLvoLog) the article (^v) ivhich^ confines the re- 
ference to the tabernacle, and proves that it extends not 
to the fanduary mentioned before. Of the true taber^ 
-nacle which * the Lord -pitched,' or fixed. It is a word 
pecuharly proper to exprefs the erection and fixing of a 
tabernacle. The preparation of the body of Chrift is 
that which is intended. * A body haft thou prepared me : 
[chap. X. 5.] And this body was to be taken down and 
folded up for a feafon, and afterwards to be erefted again, 
without breaking or lofing any part of it. This pro- 
perty, of all buildings, was peculiar to a tabernacle, and 
fo was it with the body of Chrift in his death and refur- 

The author of this work was (0 Kupio?) the Lord. 
This is the word whereby the writers of the New Tefta- 
ment exprefs the name Jehovah. And whereas, in the 
revelation of that name, God declared that felf-fubfifting 
formitude and unchangeabknefs of his nature, whereby 



he would infallibly give fubfillence to his word, and ac- 
complifhment to his promifes, the apoftle hath refped to 
it in this great work wherein all the promiles of God 
became yea and amen. — * Jnd not 77ian.' Some fuppofe 
that this expreffion is redundant ; for it may feem that to 
fay it was pitched by the Lord fufficiently includes it was 
not done by man. But rather tlie expreffion is emphaticaly 
and the apoille hath an efpecial refpe£l to the mcarnatiori 
of Chr'iil, without the concurrence of man in natural 
o-eneration ; in anfwer to that inquiry of the bleffed 
virgin, * how fliall this be, feeing I know not a man ?' 
[Luke i. 34, 35.] This was the true tabernacle which 
tlie Lord pitched, and whereof Chrift is the minifler. 
§ 5. (IIL) Hence we may obfcrve the following things: 

1. The Lord Chrift in the height of his glory, conde- 
fcends to difcharge the office of a public minifter in behalf 
of the church. As all the ffiame, reproach, mifery, and 
death that he was to undergo on earth deterred him not from 
undertaking this work ; fo all the glory which he is 
environed with in heaven, diverts him not from con- 
tinuing the difcharge of it. 

2. All fpiritually facred and holy things are laid up in 
Chrift. All the utenfils of holy worfhip of old, all means 
of facred light and purification were laid up in the taber- 

3. He hath the miniftratlon of all thefe holy things 
committed to him. He is the minifter both of the fanc- 
tuary and tabernacle and of all things contained in them. 
Herein he ftands in no need of affiftance, nor can any 
take his w^ork off his hands. 

4. The human nature of Chrift is the only true taber- 
nacle wherein God would dwell perfonally and fubftan- 
tiallv. The dwelling of God with men was ever looked 
upon as an infinite condefcenfion. So Solomon, at the 
dedication of the tem.ple ; * but will God indeed dwell 

* on the earth ? Behold the heaven, and heaven of hea- 

* vens cannot contain thee,' [L Kings viii. 27.] But his 
dwelling in the human nature of Chrift is quite of ano- 
ther nature, and his loving condefcenfion inconceivably 


Ver.2. epistle to the HEBREWS. ' ^%y 

more confpicuons. Hence is that expreffioTi of our apofllc, 
' in him dwelt the fulnefs of the godhead bodily,' [Col. 
ii. 9.] It is not any lign or iokc^n, it is not any effl'i^ of 
the divine power, goodnefs and grace, that dwells in him, 
but the fulnefs f the godhead^ tliat is, the divine nature 
itfelf. And this dwelleth in him bodily ; that is, by the 
alTumption of the body, or the human nature into per- 
fonal fubiiftence with the Son of God. How glorious 
fhould this be in our eyes ! How did they of old admire 
the condefcenfion of God, in his dwelling in the taber- 
nacle and temple by the glorious ligns of his prefence ! 
And yet was it all but a dark reprefentation, a fliadow of 
this love and grace, whereby he dw^ells in our nature in 
Chrift I 

5. The church hath loll nothing by the removal of 
the old tabernacle and temple, all being fupplied by this 
fanfluary, true tabernacle , and minifter thereof. It is 
almofl incredible how the vain mind of man is addifted 
to an outward beauty and fplendor in religious worfhip. 
Take it away, and with the moft you deflroy all religioa 
itfelf; as if there were no beauty but in painting, no 
evidence of health, or vigour of body, but in warts and 
wens ! An hard thing it is to raife the minds of men to a 
fatisfaftion in things merely fpiritual and heavenly. Hence 
is there at this day fo great a contefl in the world, about 
tabernacles and temples, modes of worfhip, and ceremo- 
nies which men have found out in the room of thofc 
very things which they cannot deny but God would have 
removed. But to them that believe Chrifl is precious jT 
and this true tabernacle, with his miniftration, is more 
to them than all the old pompous ceremonies and fervices 
of divine inftitution, much more the fuperftitious obfer- 
vances of human invention. 

' 6. We are to look for the gracious prefence of God 
only in Chr'ifi. As of old, all the fymbols of God's pre- 
fence were confined to the tabernacle ; fo neither the love, 
nor grace, nor goodnefs, nor mercy of God are elfewherc 
to be found but in Chrift, nor can we by any other 
«ieans be made partakers of them. 

7. It 


7. It is by Chrifi: alone that we can make our ap- 
proach to God in his worfliip. All facrifices of old were 
to be brought to the door of the tabernacle ; what was 
offered elfewhere was an abomination to the Lord. With 
the inflruments, with the iire, with the incenfe that be- 
longed to the tabernacle, v/ere they to be offered, and no 
otherwife. ' And it is now by Chrift alone that we have 
* accefs by one fpiritunto the Father,* [Ephef. ii. 18.] He 
is the only v/ay of going to him, [John xiv. 6.] and by 
his blood is confecrated a new and living way to the holy 
place, [chap. x. 19, 20.] 

8. It was an inflitution of God, that the people in all 
tlieir diftrefTes fhould make their fupplications towards 
the tabernacle or holy temple. [I. Kings viii. 29, 30.] 
And it is to the Lord Chrift alone, who is both the true 
tabernacle and the minifler thereof, that we care to look, 
in all our fpiritual diflre'lTes. 

Verse 3. 

fok every high priest is ordained to offer 
gifts and sacrifices ; wherefore it is of ne- 
cessity that this man have somewhat also 

TO OFFER. ' , 

§ I. 7%e fuhjec^ Jiatcd. § 2. (I.) ^ general ajjertlon coU" 
cerning every high prieji, § 3. (II.) A particular infe- 
rence of what neccjjarily belongs to Chriji, ^he offering 
cf himfelf, § 4. (III.) Obfervations. 

§ I. X HE fummary defcription of our High Priefl is 
carried on in this verfe. And the apoflle manifefts, that 
as he wanted nothing which any other high priefl had, 
tiiat was necefTary to the difcharge of his office, fo he had 



it all ill a more eminent manner than any other. There 
are two things in the words : 

I. A general ajfertion of the nature, duty, and office of 
every high prieft. 

II. A particular inference from them, of what neceffa- 
rily belonged to the Lord Chrifl in the fufception and 
difcharge of his office. 

§ 2. (I.) ' Every high priefl is ordained to offer gifts 

* and facrifices.' The univerfaHty of the expreffion is to 
be obferved ; (Trag a-py^ic-psvg) every high priejl. The apoftle 
thus expreffeth it, becaufe there lay no exception againil 
his argument, feeing that in the whole multitude of high 
priefls, in their fucceffion from firfl to laft, there was no 
one but was appointed to this end, and had this duty in- 
cumbent upon himj yet it is not one fpecial duty of their 
office that he iniifteth on, but the general end for which 
they were appointed. — {Koi9i(r]ocla.i) is ordained, appointed 
of God by the law, [fee chap. v. 12.] — * To offer gifts 

* and facrifices.' This appears in their original infiitutlon, 
[Exod. xxviii. 29.]- and none but they might approach 
to God, to offer any thing facredly unto him. The 
people might hring their offerings to God, but they could 
not Gffer them upon the altar. And God hereby taught 
the people that nothing Ihould ever be accepted from them, 
but by the hand of the High Prieil who was to come. 
And whoever he be, if as great and profperous as King 
Uzziah, v^ho fhall think to approach God immediately 
without the interpoiition of this High Prieft, he is fmit- 
ten with the -plague of fpiritual leprofy. — * (y'fts and fa- 
crifices ;' (^:t;p<p;, mv.nera, donaria, dona.) Sometimes all 
(cs'Jlip) the corhans \\\ general are intended by this word ; 
for all facred offerings^ of what fort foever, were called 
corhans, (Qvo-ioci) bloody facrifices \ facrifices by immolation, 
or kiUing, of whatever fort the matter of it was, or to 
w^iatever fpecial end it was defigned. And the Mlnchoth 
were offerings of dead things, as of corn, oil, meats and 
drinks. To offer all thefe was the office of the priell- 
hood ordained ; and we are taught thereby, that there 
is no approach to God without continual refpedl to facri- 

VoL. III. ' E e e fxce 


fice and atonement for fin ; and fo neceflary was this to 
be done, that the very office of the prieilhood was ap- 
pointed for it. Men do but dream of the pardon of fin, 
and acceptance with God, without atonement. This the 
apoflle layeth down as that which was neceflary for every 
high pr'icji by God's inflitution. There never was any 
high priefl, but his very office and eiTential duty was to 
offer gifts and facrificcs, for to that end was he ordained of 

§ 3. (II.) Hence he infers, that it was necelTary ' this 
* man Ihould have fomewhat to offer.* For being a mi- 
nifter of the heavenly fan6luary, and the true tabernacle, 
he was an high priefl ; yet this he could not be^ unlefs 
he had ^ fomezvhat to offer' to God. An high priefl that 
had nothing to offer, and who was not ordained to that 
very end, is indeed no priefl at all — {0(^sv) ' wherefore^ 
the whole force of this inference depends on this fup- 
pofition, — that all the old typical inflitutions did reprefent 
what was really to be accomplifhed in Chrifl ; whence it 
was neceffary that he Ihould be what they fignified and 
reprefented. — ['Xi\ov) * T^hh man,'* He of whom we 
fpeak, this high priefl of the New Teflament, before 
fpecified by his name Jefus^ and by his dignity, the Son 
of God. This priefl muil have fomewhat to offer, (ojy^y- 
-juziov) of neceffity ; for whatever otherwife this glorious 
perfon might be, yet an high priefl he could not be, 
unlefs he had fomewhat to offer, (Exsiv) ' that he fhould 
* have,'* It is not pofjffion only that is intended ; but 
pofjeffion with refpe£l to ufe. He was fo to have fome- 
what to offer, as to offer it accordingly ; for it would 
not avail the church to have an High Priefl that Hiould 
have fomewhat to offer, if it were not a^ually offered, 
— {Ti Trpbasvi'yyj/j) fomewhat to offer ; that is, in facri- 
fice to God. The apoflle expreflcth it indefinitely, (r/ 0) 
fomewhat, but he elfewhere declares expreflly that this 
was ' himfelf,* his whole human nature, foul and body. 
For it is impoifible, as he declares, that the blood of 
bulls or goats Ihould ever take a way fin, or purge the 



confcience of the {Inner ; [chap, x. 1 — 3, &c.] where- 
fore, as it was neceflary that he ihould have fomeivhat to 
offer, fo it was neceffavy ^h^t this fomewhat Ihould be 
himfelf^ and nothing elfe. 

§ 4. (III.) And from thcfe words we may obferve, 

1. That there was no falvation to be had for us, no 
not by Jefus Chriil himfeif, without his facrifice and 
oblation. It was of ncccjfity that he fhould have fome- 
what to offer, as well as the legal pxiefls. Some would 
have it that Chrift is our Saviour, only beqaufe he de~ 
(lar^d to us the way of falvation, and gave us an example 
of the way whereby we may attain it, in his own per- 
fonal obedience. But whence then was it of neccjjity- that 
he mufl have fomewhat to offer to God as our prieft, that 
i%for us P For this belongeth not to his doftrine nor ex- 
ample. Wherefore there was no other w^ay for our Sal- 
vation, but by a real propitiation or atonement made 
for our fins ; and whofoever looketh for falvation from 
any other quarter, will be deceived. 

2. As God defigned for the Lord Jefus Chrift his pro- 
per work, fb he furnifhed him with whatever was neceflary 
for him that he might accomplifh the important purpofe. 
Wherefore a body did God prepare for him, [chap. x. i. 
—8, &c. 

3. The Lord Chrift being to fave the church in the 
way of office, he was not to be fpared in any thing necef- 
fary thereto. And, in conformity to him, 

4. Whatever ftate or condition we are called to, what 
is neceffary to that ftate is indifpenfably required of us. 
So, in general, holinefs and obedience are required in a 
itatc of recpnciliation and peace with God. 

E e e 2 Verse 


Verse 4. 

for if he were on earth, he should not be 
a priest, seeing that there are priests that 
offer gifts according to the lavy. 

§ I . Introdu^ion, and fcope of the words. § 2 . ^he necef- 
fity of Chr'iffs exercifing his priejihood in heaven, § 3. 
T'he fubje^ farther explained. § 4. Firfl, why might not 
Chrift he a prieft on earth. § 5. Secondly ^ why did he not 
firfi ahoUfh the Levitical priejihood to make way for his 
own. § 6. The fenfe afcertained. § 7, 8. (III.) Obr 

§ I. Xn the preceding difcourfes the apoflle hath fully- 
proved, that the introduction of this new prieilhood un- 
der the gofpel had put an end to the old ; he proceeds in 
this verfe to fhew how neccfjary it was that he fhould 
neither \ offer the things appointed in the law,' nor yet 
^ abide in the ftate and condition of a prieft here on 
' earth," as thofe other priefts did. For whereas it might 
be objected, if Chrift was an High Prieft as he pleaded, 
why then did he not minifter the holy things of the 
church according to the duty of a prieft ? To which he 
replies, that fuch a fuppofttion was inconfiftent with his 
office, and deftrudlive both of the law and the gofpel. For 
it would thereby overthrow the law^ for one that was not 
of the line of Aaron to officiate in the holy place ; the 
law provided others, fo that there was no room for his 
ininiftry. And the gofpel alfo would have been of no 
ufe thereby, feeing on that fuppofition the facrifice it 
was built upon would have been of the fame nature with 
tliofe under the law. 

§ 2. ' For if he were on the earth, he fhould not be 
* a prieft.* (E/ u:y} * if indeed he were on earth.' The 
cmphafis of the particle is not to be omitted. If really 



it were fo ; or, therein is force granted to the conceflion, 
truly it muji be fo., ' If he were on earth,' (referring to 
his prefent ftate and condition,) if he were not exalted 
into heaven in the difcharge of his office ; if he were not 
at the right hand of God in the heavenly fanftuary, but 
could have difcharged his whole office on earth, — * If h® 
* were on earth/ (referring to his facrifice and taberna- 
cle,) had a prieflhood of the fame order and conflitutioa 
with that of the law ; if he were to have offered facri- 
fices of the fame kind with them, which were to be per-* 
j^eded on the earth ; if he were not to have offered him- 
felfy wherein his facrifice could not be abfolutely con- 
fummate without the prefentation of himfelf in the moft 
holy place not made with hands — on this fuppofition, 
the apoftle grants that ' he could not be a prieft' at all in 
siny fenfe. He offered his great expiatory facrifice not on 
the earthy in the fenfe of the law. Although the facrifice 
of himfeJf was complete on the earth ; yet the whole 
fervice belonging to it, to make it effectual in the behalf 
of them for whom it was offered, was not nor could be ; 
becaufe the church could then have enjoyed no benefit 

' Seeing that there are priefts that offer gifts according 
* to the law.' (^Ofjccv toov ispoov, Sacerdotibus exijlentibus \ 
cum lint facerdotes) whereas there are pricfls. The apoflle 
doth not grant that at the time when he wrote this 
apoflle, there were legal priefts, de jure, offering facrifices 
according to the law. Indeed, de fado, there were ; 
wherefore, (ovJcjcv) being, or feeing there are, refpe^ls the 
legal inflitutions of the priefts and their right to officiate 
when the Lord Chrift offered his facrifice. Then there 
were priefts who had a right to officiate in their office, 
and to ' offer gifts according to the law.' 

§ 3. Two things are to be inquired into, to give us 
the fenfe of thefe words and the force of the reafons in 

Firfi, Why might not the Lord Chrift be a prieft, and 
^ffer his facrifice, continuing on the earth, to confum- 



ma^te it, notwithftanding the continuance of thefe priefls 
according to the law ? 

Secondly t Why did he not firft aboHlh this order of 
priefts, and fo maice way for the introdu£lion of his own 
priefthood ? 

§ 4. I anfwer to the firj}^ that if he had been a prieft 
€n the earthy to have difcharged the whole work of his 
priefthood, then he mull either have been of the fame 
prder with them, or of another ; and have offered facri- 
flces of the fame kind as they did, or facrifices of another 
kind. But neither of thefe could be. For he could not; 
{>e of the fame order with them, being of the tribe of Ju- 
dah, which vras excluded from the priefthood. And there- 
fore he could not offer Xh^ fame facrifices with them, for 
inone might do fo by the law but themfelves. And of ano- 
tlier order together with them he could not be. For there 
is nothing foretold of pr^efts (yi fever al orders in the church 
at tae fame time. Wherefore, whilll: they continue priefts 
according to the law, Chrift could not be a prieft among 
them, neither of their order nor of another ; that is, if the 
whole adminiftration of his office had been on the earth 
together with theirs, he could not be a prieft among them. 

§ 5. Unto t\iQ fecond inquiry, I fay, the Lord Chrifl 
tovild not by any means take away that other priefthood", 
until he himfelf had accompliflied all that was ftgnified 
thereby, according to God's in.ftitution. The whole end 
anddefign of God in its inftitution had been fruftrated, if 
the ofHce had ceafed, de jure^ before the whole of what 
was prefigured was fulfilled. And therefore although 
there was an interceflion of its admhi'iftrations for feventy 
years during the Babylonifn captivity, yet was the office it- 
y^^ continued in its right and dignity, becaufe vrhat it dt- 
{igned to prefigure was not yet attained. And this was 
not done till the Lord Redeemer afcended into the hea- 
venly fanduary^ to adminifter in the prefence of God for 
th€ church. 

§ 6, This therefore is the fenfe of the apofUe^s rea- 
foning in this place : the priefts of the order of Aaron 
coiUinued, de jure^ their adminiftrations of holy things, 


Ver»4- epistle to the HEBREWS. 


until all was accompliflied that was fignified thereby ; 
which was not done until the afcenfion of Chrift into hea- 
ven. For the firfl tabernacle was to ftand until the way 
was made open into the holieil of all ; now the Lord 
Meffiah was not a prieft after their order, nor could he 
offer the facrifices appointed by the law. Hence it is 
evident, that he cou/d not have been a pr'icjl^ had he been to 
continue and adminifter on earth, for fo their prieflhood, 
with which his was inconfiilent, could never have had an 
end. For this could not be without his entrance as a 
prieft into the heavenly fandluary. 

It appears therefore how vain is the pretence of the So^ 
cinians from this place, to prove that Chrift did not offer 
his expiatory facrifice on the earth. For the apoftle fpeaks 
nothing of his oblation^ (which he had before declared to 
have been once for all) before he entered into heaven to 
make interceffion for us ; but only of the order of his 
priefthood, and the flate and condition wherein the pre- 
lent adminiflration of it was to be continued. 

§ 7. (III.) Obf. I. God's inflitutions rightly flated 
do never interfere. So we fee thofe of the ancient prieft- 
hood and that of Chrift did not. They had both of 
them their proper bounds and feafons ; nor could the lat- 
ter completely take place, until the former had expired. 
The entrance of Chrift into the holy place, which ftated 
him in that condition wherein he was to continue theex- 
ercife of his priefthood to the confummation of all things, 
put an abfolute period to the former priefthood, by ac- 
complilhingall that was thereby fignified. 

§ 8. Obf. 2. The difcharge of all the parts and du- 
ties of the prieftiy office of Chrift in their proper order 
were needful to the falvation of the church. His obla- 
tion was to be on the e^rth, but the continued difcharge 
of his office was to be in heaven. Without this the for- 
mer would not profit us ; if he had done no more he 
could not have been a prieft. Unlefs the foundation of 
a propitiation for four fins be firft laid we can have no 
hopes of acceptance with God ; but when this is done, 
unlefs we have a continual application of the efficacy of 



it to our fouls, neither our peace with God nor our accefs 
to him can be maintained. 

Verse 5. 


§ I. 'The connexion of this p^JJ^g^ with the preceding dif" 
CQurfe, § 2. (L) Expojition of the words. § 3. God'^s 
admonition to Mofes, § 4. Concerning the pattern Jhewn 

. to A'lofes on the mount. Not an ^therial fabric ; hut § 5» 
The incarnation and mediation of Chrifl. § 6. Ohjeciio}t 
anfwered, § 7. (H.) Ohfervations* 

\ 1. X HE connexion of thefe words with the pre^ 
ceding difcourfe, which gives us the general delign of the 
spoftle, is to be previoiiily conlidered. He had before in- 
timated — that the high priefts according to the law did 
not minifter the heavenly things — and that the Lord 
Chriil alone did io : whence he concludes his dignity and 
pre-eminence above them. The argument in general 
whereby the apoftlc proves that they ferved to the * exam- 
• pie and fliadow of heavenly things,* and no more, is taken 
from the words of God to Mofes. And the force of it 
is evident ; for God in thofe words declares that there 
was fomething above and beyond that tnaterial tabernacle 
which was prefcribed to him. For he Ihewed him an 
crhginal or an exemplar, when on the top of the mount, 
which the tabernacle below did but rcprefent ; and there- 
fore they who miniftercd in it could ferve only as ' the ex- 
I * ampls 



* ample and fhadov/ of heavenly things.* This therefore 
is the apoftle^s argument from this teftimony ; * If God 

* fhewed to Mofes on the top of the mount that which 

* was heavenly, and he v/as to make an example or Iha* 

* dow of it, then they that miniftered therein ferVed only 

* to the example and fhadow of heavenly things/ 

§ 2* (L) * Who ferve unto the example and fhadovf 
' of heavenly things.* [Oijivsg) who, refers to the priefis 
mentioned ver. 4. * Seeing that they are priefis,' &c. par- 
ticularly to the high priejh, ver. 3. {TTocg yc&p apxispsvg) 

* for every high prieil ;' which high priefis (Xoclpsvao-i) cf& 
ferve ; it is a facred word, and fignifies only to minifler in 

holy worfhip and fervice ; it refpefls therefore all that the 
high priefis did, in the worfhip of God, in the taberna- 
cle or temple.—* Unto the example,^ {\>iVQ^iiy\j,u\i^) for a 
fpecimen ; that whereby any things is manifefted by a 
part or inflame ; a refemblance, an obfcure reprefentation* 
Hence it is added, (?ca/ cryuoi) * and thzjhadow,^ Some 
fuppofe a fhadow is here taken artificially, and oppofed to 
an exprefs image or complete delineation of any thing ; as 
the firfl lines in comparifon of any thing that is afterwards 
to be drawn to the life. Others take it naturally^ as op* 
pofed to body or material fubflance. [See Col. ii. 17.] 
It is indifferent in whether fenfe we here t. ke the word, 
for what is affirmed is true in both. If we take it in the 
firfl way, it intends that obfcure delineation of heavenly 
myfleries, which was in the legal inflitutions. If it be 
nfed in the lafl way, then it declares that tht fubflance of 
what God intended in all his worfhip was not contained 
in the fervices of thofe priefis. There were fome lines 
and fhadows to reprefent the body, but the body itfelf 
was not there.— ^* Of heavenly things.' The things 
which God fhewed to Mofes on the mount. 

§ 3. * As Mofes {K2y^pYi^oc]i(floii') was admonifhed of 

* God. [See Rom. xi. 4. Matt, ii* 22, &c.] Mofes had 
an immediate word, command, or oracle from God to the 
purpofc ; and was to ufe great caution about what was en- 
joined him, that there might be no miflake. The origi- 
nal denotes admonition : (Exod. xxVo 40* ntyi?» n«T) * and 

Vol. III. Fff Mook 


* look to it and do,* take diligent care about it. The 
fame is the fenfe of the Greek word (opcz) when thus 
ufed, take heed, look well to it. When John, upon furpri- 
fal^ would have fallen down before the angel to worfliip 
him, he replieth ; {opoi, ^.i) * See thou do it not ;' avoid 
it with care, [Rev. xxii. 9.] ' If'hcn he ivas about to make 

* tlie tabernacle.' The original word (ilzKK'jov) exprclTeth 
that which is immediately futxire. It was given him upon 
the entrance of his work, that it might make an elfedtual 
imprefnon upon his mind. — ' To make the tabernacle ;' 
fc7ri]:-K8iy, pcrficerej to accompll/h, to perfedl, to finifh ; it 
includes here the beginning as well as the end of the 
work. The fame with another Greek word, {ttoi'/io-ui) in 
A6ls vii. 44. where this whole palTage is fomcwhat other- 
wife orpreffed, but to the fame purpofe. 

§ 4. The warning and change itfclf is, that he flioirld 

* make all things accor.ling to the pattern (hewed him in 

* the mount.' What this pattern was, how it \N-A.%Jhewed 
to Mofes, and how he was to make all things according to 
it, are not eafy to be explained. 

For the pattern itfelf, expofitors generally agree, that 
on the top of the mount God caufed to appear to Mofes 
the form, falliion, dimenfions and utenlils of that taber- 
nacle which he was to ere£l. Whether this- repreienta- 
tion was made to Mofes by way of internal vifion, as the 
temple was reprefented to Ezekiel ; or whether there was 
an a^therial fabric propofed to his bodily fenfes, is hard 
o determine. However, this (riDin) exemplar^ or pattern, 
oar apoftle here calls * heavenly things.' 

I kno'V not that there is any thing in this expofition 
contrary to the analogy of faith, or inconiiftent with the 
defign of the apoflle. But withal I muft acknowledc^e, 
that it is iuch as I know not how fully to embrace, for 
the reaibns following : 

I. If fiic^ ^ reprefentation were made to Mofes in the 
mount, and that be the pattern intended, then the taberr 
nacle with all its miniilry was ^.j^adow of that. But thi-s 
is contrary to our apoftle in another place, who tells us 
that indeed all legal inftitutions were only a fhadow, biR 



withal that the fuhftance or ' body was of Chrift,' [Col. 
ii. 17.] 

2. I do not fee how the priefls could minifler in the 
earthly tahernacle as an ' example and Ihadow' of fuch an 
(stherial tabernacle. For, if there were any fuch tiling, it 
immediately vanifhed after its appearance ; it ceafcd to be 
any thing, and therefore could not any longer be any hea- 
venly thing ; wherefore, with refpecl to that, they 
could not continue to ferve to the example of heavenly 

3. No tolerable account can be given of the vi^afon sr 
life of fuch a reprefcntation. For God doth not dwell 
in any fuch tabernacle in heaven, that it fliould be to re- 
prefent his holy habitation. And as to that which was to 
he made on earth, he had given fuch punftual inllruc- 
tions to Mofes, confirming the remembrance and know- 
ledge of them in his mind by the Holy Spirit, by whom 
he was a6ted and guided, as that he needed no help from 
his i.magi nation. 

4. Whatever Mofes did, it was for a teftimony to the 
things which were to be fpoken afterwards, [chap. iii. ^.] 
But thefe were the things of Chrift and the -nfpel, which 
therefore he was to have an immediate refpe£t to. 

§ 5. The kn^Q of the v/ords muft be determmed from 
the apoflle himfelf. And it is evident, 

1. That the heavenly things^ to the refemblance of 
which the legal priefts did miniiler, and the pattern Ihewed 
to Mofes in the mount, were the fame. Hereon depends 
the whole force of his proof from this teftimony. 

2. Thefe heavenly things, he exprellly tells us, were 
thofe which were confecrated, dedicated to God, ard puii* 
£ed by the facrilice of the blood of Chrift, [chap. ix. 


3. That Chrift by his facriHce did dedicate both him- 
felf, the whole church and its worfhip to God. From 
thefe things it follows, 

4. That God did fpiri^ually and myftically represent 
to Mofes, the incarnation and mediation of Chrift, with tlie 
fhurck of the de6iy and its fpirltv^al worihip, wbigh was to 

F f f i? be 


be gathered thereby ; and how the tabernacle, with all 
that belonged tp it, reprefented the fame. 

That the tabernacle which Mofes made was a fign and 
fgure of the body of Chrift, we have before proved, ver. 
2. and it is pofitively affirmed by the apoftle, Col. ii. 17. 
And the tabernacle was but to reprefent ' the real fubftan- 

* tial inhabitation of the Godhead in the body, or human 

* nature of Chrift,* 

§ 6. It will be faid, that what was fhcwed to Mofes on 
the mount was only (no:in rvirogi) a likenefs^ limilitude, 
and typ.s of other things. This therefore could not be 
Chrift himfelf and his mediation, which are the fub« 
llance of heavenly things, and not a refemblance of them^ 
I anfwer, 

1. All reprefeniations of Chrift himfelf, antecedent to 
bis a£lual exhibition in the flefh, (as his appearances in 
the human fhape of old) were but refemblances and type$ 
of what Ihould be afterwards. 

2. His manifeflation to Mofes is fo called, not that it 
was a type of any other things above, but becaufe it was 
the prototype of all that was to be done below. This was 
the foundation of the faith of the church of Ifrael in all 
generations. Their faith in God was not confined to the 
outward things they enjoyed, but on Chrill reprefented by 
them, They believed that they were only refemblances of 
him and his mediation, and when they loll the faith of 
that, they lofl all acceptance with God, in their worfhip. 
The relation of their ordinances to him, as their proto- 
type and fqbflance, was the line of life, wifdom, and 
beauty, that ran through them all. This being now ta- 
ken away, they are all as a dead thing. When Chrill waa 
in them, they were the delight of God, and the Joy of his 
faints. Now he hath uncloathed himfelf of them, and 
left them to he rolled up as the garments he thought meet 
to wear in the immature age of the church, but which are 
310W of no more ufe. Who now can fee any beauty, any^ 
glory in the old temple adrpiniftrations Ihouid they be re- 
vived ? Where Chrift is, there is glory, if we have the 
lights of faith to difcern it ; and ^9 nji^y fay of every 



thing where he is not, be it never fo pompous to the eye 
of flelh, * Ichahod^^ where is the glory of it ? 

Jude tells us of a conteft between Michael and the de- 
vil about the body of Mofes, [ver. 9.] It is generally 
thought that the devil would have hindered the burial of 
it, that in procefs of time it might have been the occafion 
of idolatry among the people. But, however that was,- 
what was fignlfied hereby, what was the contcil he made 
to keep the body of Moles, the whole fyjtcm of Mofaical 
worfhip and ceremonies, from being buried, when the 
life and foul of it was departed. And this hath proved 
the ruin of the Jews to this day. 

§ 7. (II.) From the words and preceding expolitioii 
we may obferve, 

I. God alone limits the iignification and ufe of all his 
own inftitutions. He hath inftituted his \\o\y facraments^ 
and hath put this virtue into them, that they fhould ex^ 
hibh to the faith of believers the grace he defigneth by 
them ; but men have not been contented v^rith this, and 
therefore they will put more into them than God hath fur- 
nifhed them with. They will have them to contain th^ 
grace which they exhibit, and to communicate it to all who 
are partakers of them. Thus fome would have baptlfm to 
b« regeneration itfelf, and that there is no other evangelical 
regeneration ; nothing can be invented more pernicious 
to the fouls of men. On the other hand, fome fuppofe 
it to be fuch a diftinguifhing or rather feparating ordinance 
that the adminiflration of it in fuch a way^ or fuch a 
feafon^ is the fundamental rule of all church fellowfhip and 
communion ; whereas God never defigned it to any fuch 

In the /upper of the Lord, the church of Rome, in 
particular, is not contented that we have a reprefentation 
and inftituted memorial of the death of our Lord Jefus 
Chrift, in the figns of his body as broken, and his blood 
as (hed for us, with an exhibition of grace in the word of 
promife, or the gofpel ; but they will have the natural 
body and blood of Chrift, his flefh and his bones, to be 
contained therein, and to be eaten of devoured by all that 



partake of the outward %ns. This is to put that iiito 
an ordinance which God never put into it ; to turn 
the wifdoin of faith into a carnal imagination. It re- 
quires the light of faith to apprehend the general exhibi- 
tion of Chriil to us in the facraments. 

2. It is an honour to be employed in any facred fer- 
vice that belongs to the worfhip of God, though it be of 
an inferior nature. This was the greateft honour that 
any were made partakers of under the Old Tellament, 
that they ferved only to the example and ' fhadow of hea- 
* venly things.' 

3. So great was the glory of heavenly miniftration in 
the mediation of Jefus Chrift, that God would not at 
once bring it forth in the church, until he had prepared 
the minds of men by types, fhadows, examples, and re- 
prefentations of it. This was the end of all legal inflitu- 
tions of divine worfnip and fervice ; and well is it for 
us, if we have a due apprehenfion of the glory of the 
heavenly miniftration of Chrift, now it is introduced. 

4. That our utmoft care and diligence in the coniidera- 
tion of the mind of God, is required in all that we do 
about his worfliip. 

The generality of men have been ftupidly negligent here- 
in, as if it were a matter wherein they were not at all con- 
cerned. When once men come to fuch an unconcerned- 
nefs In the worfliip of God, as to engage in it they know 
not w/t)', and to perform it they care not hovj, all man- 
ner of impiety will enfue in their lives, as is manifeft 
from experience beyond the evidence of a thoufand argu- 

It were no hard thing to demonftrate, that the principal 
way and means whereby God expecis we fhould give glory 
to him in this world, is by a due obfervance of the divine 
worlhip he hath appointed. For herein do we in an ef- 
pecial manner afcribe to him the glory of his fovercignty, 
of his wifdom, of his grace and hollnefs ; when in his 
worfhip webow down our fouls under his authority alone. 
And when we fee fuch an imprefs of divine wifdom on 
all his ijiftitutions, as to judge 5II other v/ays fo^Iy in, 



comparifoii of them ; when we have experienced of the 
grace reprefented and exhibited thereby, then do we glo- 
rify God aright. 

Verse 6, 

lut now hath he obtained a more excelleltt 
ministry, by how much also he is the medi- 
atorof a better covenant : which was esta- 
blished upon better promises. 

§ X. Connexion of the words, and the fiihje6l Jiatedi § 2» 
Firjl, the comparative excellence of the min'iftry of Chrifi, 
§ 3. Secondly, the proof the affertion. § 4. (I.) Chrifl 
is a Mediator. § 5, 6. (IL) Of a better covenant. § 7, 
(III.) EJiabllfhed on better promfes. § 8, 9. IPbether 
the tivo covenants are really d'lflhitl, or oyily differ in adml" 
yiljlration. § lO. To what end did the old covmant fcrve? 
§11. How It came to be a fpecial covenant to Ifrael ? 
\ 12. IP herein the two covenants differ? § 13. ^hc So-^ 
cinian glofs refuted. § 14 — 16. (IV.) Obfervations. 

§ I. Xn this verfe begins the fecond part of the chap- 
ter, concerning the difference between the two covenants, 
the Old and the New, with the pre-eminence of the latter 
above the former ; and of the miniftry of Chriil above 
the High Priefts upon that account. — There are two 
parts of the words : 

Firji, The excellency of the miniftry of Chrifl avert- 
ed, by way of comparifon ; * He hath obtained a more 

* excellent minifcry : and the degree of that comparifon ; 

* by how much alfo.* 

Secondly, He annexeth the proof of this affertion ; m 
that he is the ' Mediator oi a better covenant, eflablilLed 
' oil better, or more excellent, promifes.* 


§ 2. Firfiy The excellency of the minlftry of Chrift 
alTerted by way of comparifon. * But now hath he ob- 
^ tained a more excellent miniftry, by how much.* As 
there is an oppojit'wn intended to the old covenant, and 
the Levitical priefthood ; fo the feafon is intended of the 
introduction of that covenant, and the better miniftry 
wherewith it was accompanied. 

That which is afcribed to the Lord Chrift is (Af/J^oy/oj) 
a miniftry. The prieils of old had a m'mijiry, * they 
miniftered at the altar ;* and Chrift was (Ksfjigoyog tm/ 
OiytCAjv, ver. 2.) ' A minlfler of the holy things.' Where- 
fore he had a liturgy^ a miniilry, a fervice coramkted to 
liim. With refpeft to the churchy his office fs fupreme, 
accompanied with fovereign authority ; he is * Lord over 
his own houfe ;' but he holds his office n\ fub ordination to 
God, being ' faithful to him that appointed him.' 

The general way whereby our Lord Chrift came to this 
miniftry, v/as (rflvx'.'jTtc) ' he obtained it ;' importing the 
eternal purpofc and counfel of God^ defigning him there- 
unto ; and the atliial call of God, in which many things 
concurred j efpecially his undion with the Spirit above 
meafure, for the holy difcharge of his office. 

The quality of this niiniftry is, that it is (hoipopcSleaocg) 
more excellent. The original word, in the comparative 
degree, denotes a difference with a preference, or a com- 
parative excellency. Our Lord's miniftry fo differed yr(>;?? 
the Levitical as to be better than it, or more excellent. — - 
There is alfo added the degree of this pre-eminence, fo 
far as it is intended in the prefent argument, m the word 
{o(ru),) by hozv much* The excellency of his miniftry 
above that of the Levitical priefts bears proportion with 
the excellency of the covenat whereof he was the medi- 
ator, above the oM covenant wherein they adminiftered. 
It is now he clofetli his difcourfe, which he had fo long 
engaged in, about * the pre-eminence of Chrift in his 
* office above the high priefts of old.' And, indeed, 
tliis being the very hinge whereon his whole controverfy 
with the Jews depended, he could not give it too much 
evidence, nor too full a confirmation, 



§ 3. Secondly, The proof of this afTertion ; 
By how much alfo he is the Mediator of " a better cove- 
nant, eftablifhed on better promifes. The apoftle intends 
to prove the excellency of the covenant y from the excellency of 
the Mediator s miniflry. For on fuppofiti on of a better cq* 
'i-enant to be introduced, it plainly foHows, that he oa 
whofe miniflry the difpenfation of that covenant depended, 
niufl be more excellent in that min'tfiry than they who ap* 
pertained to the covenant now abolifhed. However, it 
may be granted that fuch as the prieft is, fuch is the cor 
venant ; and fuch as the covenant is in dignity, fuch \% 
the prieft alfo. In the words there are three things ob* 
fervable ; 

I. What is in general afcribed to Chrift, declaring the 
nature of his miniftry ; * He was a Mediator.'^ 
. II. The determination of his mediatory office to the 
new covenant ; * Of a better covenant.^ 

III. The proof of the nature of this covenant as to i^? 
excellency ; ' It was eftablifhed on better promifes.' 

§ 4. (I.) (Msa-fl'tig) a mediator , is one who interpofeth 
between God and man, for the doing of all thofe things 
whereby a covenant might be eftablifhed between them, 
and made efFe(9;ual, [I. Tim. ii. 5, 6,] * There is pn^ 
^ God and one Mediator between God and man, the maa 

* Chrift Jefus, who gave himfelf a ranfom for all.' Tlic 
principal part of his mediation confifts in giving himfelf 
a ranfom^ or a price of redemption for the whole church/ 

The Lord Chrift in his miniftry is called (^ic-i]^/jg) the 
Mediator of the covenant, in the fame fenfc as he is cal* 
led {syyvs) tht fir ety, [fee chap. vii. 22.] 

I. To the office of a mediator it is required that there 
be diff'crent pcrfons concerned. * A mediator is not of 

* one, but, God is one,' [Gal, iii. 20.] that is, if there 
were none but God concerned in this matter, as in an 
abfolute promife, or fovereign precept, there would be 
no place for fuch a mediator as Chrift is. — It is further 

a. That the pcrfons entering into covenant be in fuch 

a fate and condition, as that it is no v/ay convenient, or 

Voj,. Ill, G g g even 


even morally polTible, that they fliould treat immediately 
with each other ; otherwife a mediator to go between is 
altogether needlefs. It is moreover required, 

3. That he who is this mediator, be accepted^ trujtedj 
and refied in, on both iides, fo that the parties be ever- 
laftingly obliged in what he undertaketh on their behalf; 
and fuch as admit not of his terms, can have no bene- 
fit by the covenant. ' Behold, faith God, my fervant 

♦ whom I uphold, mine eled in whom my foul delighteth.* 
(Ej/ ^T cL'So;c)7a-o}, Matt. iii. 17.) 'In whom I am well 

* pleafed.* 

4. .A mediator mufl be a middle perjvn, between both 
parties entering into covenant, and if they be of different 
natures, a perfeft complete mediator ought to partake of 
each of their natures in the fame perfon. 

5. A mediator muft be one who voluntarily under- 
taketh the work of mediation. This is required of every 
one who will effectually mediate between any perfons at 
variance to bring them to an agreement on equal terms. ' 

6. In this voluntary undertaking to be a mediator, two 
things were required : — that he fliould remove whatever 
kept the covenanters at a diflance, or v/as a caufe of 
enmity between them ; for fuch an enmity is fuppofed, or 
there had been no need of a mediator : — that he fhould 
procure, in a way fuited to the glory of God, the aftual 
communication of all covenant bleffmgs for them whofe 
furety he was. 

7. To all which we may add, that it is required of 
this mediator as fuch, that he gives affurance to the parties 
mutually concerned, of accomplifhing the terms of the 
covenant, undertaking on each hand for them : — on the 
part of God, towards men, that they fhall have peace and 
acceptance with him in the fure accompliihment of all 
the promifes of the covenant : — on our part towards 
God, for our acceptance of the terms of the covenant, 
and our accomplifhment of them, by his gracious aid. 

§ 5. (II.) Two things are added in the defcription of 
this mediator : — That he was a Mediator of a covenant ; 



and — that this covenant was better than anotlier of which 
he was not the Mediator. 

I . He was the ' Mediator of a covenant.'* And two 
things are therein fuppofed : 

(i.) That there was a covenant prepared between. God 
and man, that is^ God had prepared the terms -of it in a 
i<)vereign a£l of wifdom and grace. 

(2.) That there was need of a Mediator^ that this cove- 
nant might be effectual to its proper ends— the glory of 
God, and the obedience of mankind with their reward. 
tRom. viii. 3.] * For what the law could not do in that it 

* was weak through the tiefh, &c.* The perfons with 
whom this covenant was to be made being Jtnners, apof- 
tatized from God, it became not his hohnefs or righteouf- 
nefs to treat immediately with them any more j nor 
would it have anfwered his holy ends ; for if, when in a 
condition of uprightnefs and integrity, man kept not th© 
terms of that covenant which was made withoat a Medi- 
ator, although the terms were holy, jufl, good, and equal, 
how much lefs could any fuch thing be expe£led from 
them in their depraved condition of apoflacy from God 
and enmity againfl him ? 

2. * He was the Mediator of a better covenant* Where- 
fore it is fuppofed that there was another covenant, where- 
of the Lord Chriit was not the Mediator ; and in the 
following verfes there are two Covenants, a firji and a 
fecond, an old and a new, compared together. Befides the 
original covenant with Adam, (which cannot be here 
intended) there were other foederal tranfa£lions betvveerl 
God and the church, before the giving of the law on 
mount Sinai. 

The firft promife, given to our lirft parents after the 
fall, had in it the nature of a covenant, as being ground- 
ed on a promife of grace, and requiring obedience in all 
that received the promife. — Again, the promife given 
and fworn to Abraham, is cxprellly called * the covenant 

* of God,' and it had the whole nature of a covenant, 
with a folemn outward feal appointed for its confirmation 
and eftablilhment. 

QZZ ^ But 


But hei'tfler of thefe, nor any trahfa£lions between 
God and man that may be reduced to them, as explana » 
tiohs, renovations, or confirmations of them, is the ' firfl 

* covenant' here intended. For they not only coH- 
j^Jtent with the new covenant, fo as that there was no 
necelEty to remove them out of the way for its introduc- 
tion, but indeed contained its elTence and nature, and fb 
were confirmed by it. Hence the Lord Chrill himfelf is 
Taid to be a ' miniiler of the circumciiion for the truth 
'* of God, to confirm the promifes made to the Fathers.' 
tRorh. xV. 8.] As he was the Mediator of the new co- 
venant, he was fo far from abolifiiing thofe promifes y that 
it belonged to ?ii's office to confirm them. Wherefore, 

The Wyer covenant ^ or tellanient, here fuppofed, is none 
Other but that vi^hich God made v;ith the people of Ifrael 
oh mount Sinai, [ver. 9.] ' The covenant which I made 

* with your fathers in the day I took them by the hand, 

* to lead them out of the land of Egypt.* This was the 
covenant which had all the inflitutions of worfhip an- 
nexed to it, [chap, ix* 1 — 3-] 

'§6. It remains that we inquire, what was this covenant 
Whereof Chrift was the Mediator, and what is here af- 
Brmed of it? 

This can be no other, in general, but that which we 
call the covenant of grace. But the apoflle doth not here 
cohfider the liew covenant abfolutely, and as it was vlr- 
"tually adminiftered from the foundation of the world, in 
the viray of promife ; for, as fuch, it was confiflent 
Vith that covenant made with the people at Sinai. And 
the a^poftle proves exprefHy, that the renovation of it' 
made to Abraham, was no way abrogated by the giving of 
the law, [Gal. iii. 17.] nor was there any interruption of 
its adminiflration made by the introduction of the law. 
But he treats of fuch an eftablifhment of the new cove- 
nant, as wherewith the old covenant made at Sinai was 
ahfoluiely inconfftent, and which was therefore to be re- 
moved out of the way. Wherefore he conliders it here 
as it. was aBually completed, fo as to bring along with it all 
the ordinances of worlhip which are proper ' to it, the 

' dif- 


^ifpenfatioii of the fpirit in them, and all the fpiritual 
i>ri"vileges wherewith they are accompanied. It is now fo 
brought in as to become the entire rule of the church's 
faith, obedience, and worihip. 

This is the meaning of the greek word, [vivoiJioQfj'/fjai) 
'which we render eflablijhcd, ' reduced into a fixed ilate of 
* a law or ordinance.' All the obedience required in it, 
•all the worfhip appointed by it, all the privileges exhibited 
in it, and the grace adminiftered with them, are givea 
for a Jiatute, That covenant which had invifibly, by 
way of promife, put forth its efficacy under types and fha- 
dows, was now folemnly fealed, and confirmed in the 
death and refurre£tion of Chrift. Hereon was the other 
"covenant difannulled and removed ; and not only the co- 
venant itfelf, but all i\\2X of facred woribip whereby 
\X. was adminiftered. When the new covenant was givei^ 
out only in the way of prcmife, it did not introduce a 
\iuorJJnp and privileges expreliive of it. Wherefore it was 
conJlftcnt with a form of worfhip, rites, and ceremonies 
compofed into a yoke of bondage. And as thefe beino^ 
•added after it v/as given, did not overthrow its nature as a 
promife^ fo they were inconfiilent with .it, when it was 
completed as a covenant. 

§ 7. (III.) In the laft place the apoftle tells us where- 
on this eftablifhment v/as made, and that is {snn xoc-floTr/ 
'S-TTocyfiXtag) on better proniifes. Here we remark :. 

I. Every covenant between God and man, mufl be 
found on and refolved into prorn.ifcs. Hence effentially a 
promife and a covenant are all one, and God calls an 
■abfolute promife^ founded on an abfoiute decree, his rr?- 
venant^ [Gen. ix. i i .] The very being and efTence of a di- 
vine covenant lies in the promife : hence are they called 
the * covenants of promife,' [Ephef ii. 12.] fuch as are 
founded on and confrfl in promifes. Upon fuppofition 
that God will condefcend to enter into covenan.t with his 
'Creatures, it becometh his greatnefs and goodnefs to givie 
them promifes as the foundation of it ; v\rherein he pro- 
pofeth himfelf to them as the elcrnal Jpring of '•all power 
and goodnefs. Had he treated with us merely bv a /<?w, 



he had therein only revealed his fovereign authority and 
hoHnefs ; the one in the giving of the law, the other ia 
the nature of it. But in promifes he revealeth hirnfclf as 
the eternal fpring oi goodnefs and power. For the matter 
of all promifes is fomewhat good ; and the communica- 
tion of it depends oxv fovereign power. That God fhould 
fo declare hmifclf in his covenant, was abfolutely necef- 
fary to dired and encourage the obedience of the cove- 
nanters : hereby he referves the glory of the whole to 
himfelf. For the matter of thofe promifes wherein the 
.covenant is founded, is free, undeferved, and without 
refped to any thing in us, whereby it may in any fenfe 
be procured. And fo in the firft covenant which was 
given in the form of a law, attended with a penal fanc^ 
tiorii the foundation of it was in a free and undeferved 
reward, even of the eternal enjoyment of God, which 
no goodnefs or obedience in the creature could poffibly 
merit. — It was alfo neceiTary on our part, that every di-^ 
vine covenant fliould be ' founded on promifes.* For 
there is no ilate wherein we may be taken into covenant 
with God, but it is fappofed we are not arrived at that 
perfection and bleiTednefs whereof our nature is capable, 
and which we cannot but deiire. Wherefore, unlefs we 
are gracioufly prevented in the covenant with promifes of 
deliverance from our prefent ftate, and the enjoyment of 
future bleiTednefs, no covenant could be of ufe to us. 
Thus every divine covenant is ' eftablilhed upon promifes." 
2. Thefe promifes are faid to be, ' better promifes.'^ 
The other covenant was indeed principally reprefented un- 
der a fyjiem of precepts, and thofe almofl innumerable. 
Eut it had its promifes alfo ; with refpe£l therefore to them 
is the new covenant, wherefore the Lord Chrift was the 
Mediator, faid to be * eftablilhed on better promifes.* 
That it fhould be founded in promifes, was nccetTary 
from its general nature as a covenant, and more neceffary 
from the fpecial nature of it as a covenant of grace. 
They are not only better^ but they are pojitively good in 
themfclves, and abfolutely the befi that God ever gave, or 
Yriil give to the church. 

§ 8. 


§ 8. This entranee which the apoftle hath made in 
his difcourfe of the * two covenants/ he continues to the 
end of the chapter. But, before we proceed, we muft 
here take notice of a difference of no fm?Jl importance, 
namely, whether thefe are indeed two dlfihift covenants, 
is to the fubftance of them, or only a different admi- 
iiiilration of the fame covenant. It is agreed, 

1. That the way of reconciliation with God, of jufti-. 
£cation and falvation, was always one and the fame ; and 
that from the giving of the firft promife none was ever 
faved but by the new covenant, and Jefus Chrift the Me^ 
diator of it. 

2. That the writings of the Old Teftament, the law, 
pfaims, and prophets, do contain and declare the do£lrine 
of juftification and falvation by Chrifl ; this the church 
of old believed, and in the faith of it walked with God. 

3. That by the covenant of Sinai, properly fo called, 
feparated from its figurative relation to the covenant of 
grace, none w^as ever eternally faved. 

4. That the ufe of all the hijlhutions whereby the old 
covenant was adminiilered, was to reprefent and dire£l to 
Chrifl and his mediation. 

Thefe things being granted, the only w^ay of life and 
falvation by Jefus Chrift under the Old Teftament and 
the New is fecured, which is the fubflance of the truth 
wherein we are now concerned. 

§ 9. Thefe things being obferved, we may confider 
that the fcripture plainly and exprefily makes mention of 
two tejiaments or covenants ; and diftinguifhes between 
them in fuch a way, as what is fpoken can hardly be ac- 
commodated to a two-fold adminiJlratio7i of the fame cove- 
nant. The one is defcribed, Exod. xxiv. 3 — 8. Deut, 
V. 2 — 5. the other is promifed, Jer. xxxi. 31 — 34. 

I fhall here propofe fundry things relating to the nature 
of the firft covenant, which manifeft it to be a diftinft 
covenant, and not a mere adminiftration of the cove- 
nant of grace. 

This covenant, called the old^ was never intended to 
be pf itfelf the abfolute rule and Uw of life and falvation 



to the church, but was made with a particular dejign^ and 
with refpedt to particular ends. Hence it follows, that it 
could abrogate or difanmil nothing v*rhich God at any 
time before had given as a general rule to the church. To 
clear this matter, we remark, 

1. This coveiiant at Sinai did not difannul the covenant 
of works, nor any way fulfil it ; and the reafon is, he^ 
eaufe it was never intended to come in the place of it, as 
a covenant, containing an entire rule of all the faith and 
obedience of the whole church ; yea in fundry things 
it confirmed that covenant. For it revived the com^ 
mands of it in the decalogue ; that being a ddw'iWQ fummary 
of the law written in the heart of man at his creation. 
It revived the fa n/^ ion of it in the fentence of death which 
it denounced againft all tranfgrefTors. To which we 
may add, that it revived the promfe of the covenant, that 
of eternal life upon perfe£l obedience. So the apoille 
tells us, that Mofes thus defcribeth the righteoufnefs of the 
law, that ' the man which doth thefe things ihall live by 

* them,* [Rom. x. 5. Lev. xviii. 5] now this is no other 
but the covenant of works revived. 

2. Neither v/as the promfe abrogated by the introduc- 
tion of this covenant. This promife was given to our 
f^rft parents immediately after the entrance of fin, and 
was eflablilhed as the only way and means of the falva- 
tion of finners ; which could not be abrogated by the in- 
troduflion of this covenant, and a yicw way of juftifica- 
tion and falvation be thereby eflablilhed. For the pro- 
mfe being given out in general for the zvhole church, as a 
CENERAL AND ETERNAL RULE, Containing the way ap- 
pointed by God for righteoufnefs, life, and falvation, it 
eould i:jot be difaniuilled without a chanre in the counfels 


of him, v^ith whom is * no variablenefs nor fhadow of 

* turning.' Much lefs could this be effefted by a part'i- 
cular covenant, fuch as that on Sinai was. Yea divers 
v/ays it cfiahlijhcd that promife, both at firfl given, and as 
afterwards confirmed with tb.c oath of God,- to Abraham. 
It declared the impofihiiity of obtaining reconciliation and 
•peace with God, any other way but by the promife, and 


Veii.6. epistle to THE HEBREWS. 413 

by reprefenting the ways and means of accompliJJnng the 
promife, the death, blood-fhedding, and oblation of Ch rill 
the promifed feed. Wherefore it was fo far from difan- 
nuliing the promife, or diverting the minds of the people 
of God from it, that by all means it eflabHfhed and 
conduced to it. 

§ 10. But if it neither abrogated the firji covenant of 
works, nor difannulled the promife made to Abraham,- 
then to what end did it ferve, or what benefit did the 
church receive thereby ? 

1. If we had no other anfwer to this inquiry, but — ■ 
that in the order of dlfpojlng the feafom of the church before 
the fulnefs of time, God in his manifold wifdom faw it 
neceflary for the prefent ftate of the church in that feafon, 
we may well acquiefce therein. But, 

2. The apoftle acquaints us, in general, with the ex-' 
prefs ends of this divine difpenfation, [Gal. iii. 19 — 24.] 
' Wherefore then ferveth the law ? It was added becaufe 

* of tranfgrcfTions, till the feed fliould come,' &c. The 
promife being given, there feems to have been no need of 
it ; why then was it added to the promife at that feafon ? 
The * fulnefs of time' was not yet come, wherein the pro- 
-life was to be fulfilled ; it v/as tlierefore * added, be- 

* caufe of trayfgreffionz^^ that in the declaration of God*s 
feverity againfl them, fome bounds might be fixed to them ; 

* for the knowledge of fin is by the law.' It was given 
moreover to j9mt up unbelievers — fuch as would not feek' 
for righteoufnefs, life, and falvation by the promife — un- 
der the power of the covenant of works, and the curfe 
attending it. It * concluded (or fhut up) ail under fin,' 
faith the apoftle, [ver. 20.] this was the oid of the law, 
for this purpofe was it added, as it gave a revival to the 
covenant of works. Was it then * contrary to the grace 

* of God?' The apoftle returns a double anfwer: al-' 
though the law doth thus rebuke fin, convince of fin, and 
condemn for fin, fo fetting bounds to tranfgrcfilons, yet 
God never intended it aa a dire£l means of life and rigfite^ 
oufncfs. The end of the promife was, on the contrary, 
to give righteoufnefs, juftification, and falvation by Chrift, 

Vol., III. H h U Wher5, 


Wherefore the pro mife snd the law having diverfe ends, they 
are not contrary to one another ; for the law had a great 
refpetl to the promife, and was given of God for this 
very end — that it might lead and dired men to Chrift. 
Whilft the covenant of grace was contained and propofed 
only in the promife, before it was folemnly confirmed in 
~ the blood and facrifice of Chrift, there alone behevers 
fought for them. And whereas this covenant, introdu- 
ced in the pleafurc of God, had a form of outward wor- 
ship luited to that ftate of the church ; upon the intro- 
du£lion of the new covenant in the ' fulnefs of times' to 
be the rule of all intercourfe between God and the church, 
bdth that covenant and all its worfhip mull be difannulkd. 
This the apoftle proves with ail forts of arguments, ma- 
liifefting the great advantage of the church thereby. 

§ 1 1. But how come this firjl covenant to be an efpecial 
covenant to the Ifraelites ? ^ 

I. This people were the pofterity of Abraham, to 
whom the promife was made, that ' in his feed all the na- 

* tions of the earth fhould be bleiTed.' Wherefore from 
among them was the promifed feed to be raifed up in its 
proper feafon ; from among them was the Son of God 
to take on him the feed of Abraham. To this end were 
neceflary — That they fhould have a certain abiding place 
which they might freely inhabit, diftin£t from other na- 
tions, and under a rule of their own. So it is faid of 
tjiem, that * the people fhould dwell alone, and not be 
*■ reckoned among the nations,' [Numb, xxiii. 9.] And 

* the fceptre was not to depart from them until Shilo 
" came,' [Gen. xiix. 10.] — That there fhould be always 
kept among them an open confeflion and vifihle reprefeniar- 
tion of the end for which they were fo feparated from all 
the nations of the world. This was the end of all their 
ordinances of worfhip, of the tabernacle, prieilhood, fa- 
crifices, and ordinances ; which were all appointed by 
Mofes, on the command of God, * for a teflimony of 
thofe things which fhould be fpoken afterwards/ [Heb, 
iii. 5.] 

2. It 


2. It becomes not the wifdoin, holinefs, and fove- 
reignty of God, to call any people into an efpecial rela- 
tion to hinifelf, to do them good in an eminent and pe- 
culiar manner, and then to lufFer them to live at their 
pleafure, without any legard to what he had done for 
them. Wherefore, having granted to the Jews thefe great 
privileges of the land of Canaan, and the ordinances of 
worfhip relating to the great end mentioned, he moreover 
prefcribed to them laws, rules, and terms of obedience^ 
whereon they fhould hold and enjoy that land, with ail 
the privileges annexed to the pofTeffion of it. 

3. God would not take this people oft from the promife^ 
becaufe they could neither pleafe God, nor be accepted 
with him, but by faith therein. But yet they were to be 
dealt with according as it was meet ; for they were gene- 
rally a people of an hard heart, and ftifr necked, lifted 
•up with an opinion of their own righteoufnefs and worth 
above others. For this caufe God faw it necexTary to 
put a grievous and heavy yoke upon them, to fubdue the 
pride of their fpirits, and to caufe them to breathe after 

4. Into this condition God brought them by a fokmn 
iovenant, confirmed by mutual confent ; [Exod. xxiv. 
3 — 8.] to the terms and conditions of which was the 
whole church indifpenfably obliged on pain of extermi- 
nation, until all was accomplifhed, [Mai. iv. 4 — 6.] 
To this covenant belonged the decalogue, with, all pre- 
cepts of moral obedience thence educed ; their laws of 
political rule, and their whole fyftem of religious wor- 
fhip. It had alfo fpecial promifes and threatenings an- 
nexed, whereof none exceeded the bounds of the land of 
Canaan. For even many of the laws of it were fuch as 
obliged no where elfe ; as the law of the fabbatical year, their 
facrifices, &c. Hence, 

5. This covenant thus made, with thefe ends and pro- 
mifes, did never fave nor condemn any man eternallv* 
All that lived under the adminiftration of it, neither at- 
tained eternal life, nor periflied for ever, by virtue of this 
covenant as formally fuch. It revived, indeed, the cora- 

H h h X manding 


manding power and fandioii of the firft covenant of 
works, and therein, as the apoftle fpeaks, it was the 

* miniftry of condemnation,' [11. Cor. iii. 9.] For by 
the ' deeds of the law can no fiefh be juflified/ And, 
on the other hand, it dire6^ed to the promife, which was 
the way of life and faivation. What it had of its oivn 
was confined to things temporal. Behevers were faved 
tmder it, but not by virtue of it ; finners alfo periflied 
eternally under it, but yet even that was by the curfe of 
the original law of works. And, 

6. Herein occafionally fell out the ruin of that people, 

* their table became a fnare to them, and that which 

* Ihould have been for their welfare, became a trap,' ac- 
cording to the prcdidion concerning our Saviour, [Pfal. 
Ixix. 22.] It v/as this covenant that raifed and ruined 
them ; it raifed them to glory and honour when given of 
God ; it ruined them when abufed by themfelves, con- 
trary to the exprefs declarations of his mind and wilL 
They would have this covenant, contrary to its true end, 
to be the only rule and means of righteoufnefs, life, and faiva- 
tion, [Rom. IX. 31 — 33. chap. x. 3.] 

This is the nature and fnhftance of the covenant which 
God made with that people ; a particular temporary cove- 
nant, and not a mere difpenfation of the covenant of 

• § 12. That which remains for elucidating the mind of 
the Holy Ghoft in this wiiole matter, is to declare the dif- 
ferences there are between thefe two covenants, whence 
the one is faid to be better than the other, and to be ' built 

* upon better promifes.' 

1. Thefe two covenants differ in the circimftance of 
time as to their promulgation and eflabliihment ; tlie firll 
was made when God brought the children of Ifrael out 
of Egypt, and took its date from the third month after 
their coming out, [Exod. xix. 24.] The fecond from the 
death, refurreclion, and afcenlion of Chriil, and the 
fending of the Holy Ghoft. 

2. They differ in the clrcumfiance of p'ace as to their 
promulgation j the one was declared on mount Sinaiy the 



other was proclaimed from mount Zion, and * the law of 

* it went forth from Jerufalem,' [I ("a. ii. 2, 3.] 

3. They differ in the manner ef their promulgation and 
cftabliihment. The firll covenant was aGCompanied witii 
dread and terror on mount Sinai, which filled all the peo- 
ple, yea, Mofes himfelf, with fear and trembling, [Heb- 
xii. 13 — 21.] and it was given by the ' miniflry and dif- 

* polition of angels,' [A6ls vii. 13. Gal. iii. 19.] Hence 
were the people in a fenfe put mfubje^ion to angtis, who 
had an authoritative miniflry in that covenant. 

Things are quite otherwife in the promulgation of the 
new covenant. The Son of God in his own perfon de- 
clared it ; he fpake ' from heaven' in a fpirit of meekneis 
and condefcenlion, compaffion and love. 

4. They differ in their mediators. The mediator of 
the firfl covenant was Mofes ; but the mediator of ths 
new covenant is the Son of God himfelf. 

5. They differ in Xhoivfubje^ matter^ both as to preceptt 
and promlfes, the advantage being flill on the part of tiie 
new covenant. For the old, in the preceptive part of it, 
renewed the commands of the covenant of v.^orks, and 
on their original terms, which, abfolutely conlidered, 
gave no promlfe of grace , to communicate fpi ritual iirengtb, 
or to affifl us in obedience-; nor any of eternal life, but 
as it was contained in the promife of the covenant of 
works, * the man that doth thefe things fhall live ia 

* them ;' to which were fubjoined promiies of temporal 
things in the land of Canaan. In the new covenant all 
tilings are otherwife, as will be declared in the expofitioii 
of the enfuing verfes. 

6. They differ, and that principally, iii the manner of 
their dedication, and their fandicn. The confirm.ation of 
the old covenant was only the facrifice of beafls, whole 
blood was fprinkled on all the people, [Exod. xxiv. 5 — ■ 
9.] but the New Teflament was folemnly confirmed by 
the facritice and blood of Chrifl himfelf ; [Zech. ix. i r. 
Heb. X. 29. xiii. 20.] he dying, as the Mediator . and 
Jurcty of the covenant, purchafed all good things for the 

church, ajnd as a Tcjlator beq^neathed them to it. 

7, They 


7. They differ in the prlejls that were to officiate before 
God in the behalf of the people. In the old covenant 
Aaron and his pofierity alone were to difcharge that office ; 
in the new, the Son of God himfeif was the only priefl of 
the church. 

8. They differ in xS\t facrifices whereon the reconcilia-* 
tion with God, which is tendered in them, depends, 

9. They differ in the manner of their enrollment. The 
old covenant, as to the principal and fundamental part of 
it, was engraven in tables of flones ; but the new cove* 
nant is written in * the ilefhly tables of the heart' of be-> 
lievers, [11. Cor. iii. 3. Jer. xxxi. 2>'i'~\ 

10. They differ in their ends. The principal end of 
the Sinai covenant was to dlfc over Jin ^ to condemn and to 

fet hounds to it. ' It was added becaufe of tranfgreffions.' 
The end of the new covenant is, to declare the love, 
grace, and mercy of God, and therewith to give repen- 
tance, remifTion of fin, and life eternal. 

1 1. They differ in their effe£ls. The firfl coYenant, 
being the miniflration of death and condemnation^ 
brought them who were under it into bondage ; whereas 
fpiritual I'lhcrty is the immediate effed of the New Tefta- 
ment. And it is declared that this was the great end of 
bringing in the new covenant, in the accompli fhment of 
the promife made to Abraham — -* that we being delivered 

* from the hands of all our enemies, might ferve God 

* without fear all the days of our lives,* [Luke i. 72 


12. They differ greatly with refpe£l to the dlfpejifation 
of the Holy Ghojl. It is certain that God did grant the 
gift of the holy Spirit under the Old Teftament, but it is^ 
no lefs certain that there was always a promife of his more 
lignal effufion upon the eflablifliment of the new covenant. 
The old covenant was confirmed by dreadful appearances 
and operations effefted by the miniflry of angels, but the 
new by the immediate operation of the Holy Ghoft him- 
feif, who gracioufly condefcended to bear the office of the 

* comforter'' of the church. 

13. They 

Ver.6. epistle to the HEBREWS. 415 

13. They differ in the declaration made in them of the 
kingdom of God. It is the obfervation of Austin ; " That 
the very name of the kingdom of heaven is peculiar to the 
New Teilament." 

14. They differ in their fuhfiance. The old co- 
venant was typical diwd fhadozvy ; the new is fubflantial and 
permanent, as containing the body, which is Chriil. 

15. They differ in the extent of their adminiftr.ation^ ac- 
cording to the will of God. The one was confirmed to 
the pofterity of Abraham, according to the flefh, and to 
them efpecially in the land of Canaan, with fome few 
profelytes that were joined to them ; [Deut. v. 3.] but 
the adminiftration of the other is extended to all under 
heaven ; none being excluded on account of tongue, lan- 
guage, family, nation, &c. All have an equal interell in 
the riling fun. The * partition wall is broken down,* 
and the gates of the new Jerufalem are fet open to all 
comers upon the gofpel invitation. 

16. They differ in their efficacy. For the old covenant 
made nothing perfe6t, it could effeB none of the things it 
reprefented^ nor introduce that complete flate which God 
had defigned for the church. 

17. Laffly, They differ m\S\t\x duration \ for the one 
was to remove, and the other to abide for ever. And 
thofe who underfland not how excellent and glorious 
thofe privileges are, which are added to the covenant of 
grace as to the Chriflian adminiflration of it, are utterly 
unacquainted with the nature of Ipiritual and heavenly 

§ 13. From the new covenant being eftabHfhed on 

* letter promifes^^ the Socinians conclude, that there were 
no promifes of life under the Old Teilament. How 
llrange a concluiion ! For, 

I. The apoftle in this place intends only thofe ' pro- 

* mifes' whereon the New Teflament was legally ratified, 
and reduced into the form of a covenant; the promifes of 
fpecial pardoning mercy, and the efficacy of grace in the 
renovation of our natures. But it is granted that the 
Other covenant was Icgallj! ejlablijljed on promifes which 



Tcfpefted the land of Canaan. Wherefore it is granted that, 
as to the />rom/^5 whereby the covenants were a^'lually ejlahl'ijh^ 
edy thofe of the new covenant were better than the other. 

2 Eefide the exprefs promife of eternal life on condi- 
tion of perfect obedience^ which the old covenant had, the 
tnftitut'iGn cf worjinp which belonged to it, the whole mi- 
niilry of the tabernacle, as reprefenting heavenly things, 
had the nature of a promife in them ; for they all difefted 
the church to feek for life and falvatiou in and by Jcfus 
Chrift alone. 

3. The queflion is not, what promifes are given in the 
hw Itfcf, or the old covenant formally confidered as fuch ; 
but ^L;hat premife they had who lived under that covenant, 
and which w^ere not difannulled by it? For we have 
proved fufiiciently, that the addition of this covenant did 
ijot aboliih or fuperfede the efncacy of any promife that 
God had before given to the church. And to fay, that 
the fifi promife^ and that given to Abraham confirmed with 
tiie oath cf God, w^ere not proynifes of eternal life, is 
to overthrow the whole Bible, both Old Tellament and. 

§ 14, (IV.} From the foregoing expofition we may 
cbferve : 

J. That the Vv^hole office of Chrift was defigned to the 
accompliiliment of the will and difpenfation of the grace 
of God, For thefe ends was his ' minifrf committed to 

2. The condefcenfion of the Son of God to under- 
take the office of the ' miniftry' on our behalf, is un- 
ipeakable, and for ever to be admired. His miniflry \i\ 
the undertaking of it, was not a dignity, a promotion, a 
revenue, [Matt, xx. 28.] It is true, it iffued in glory ; but 
PxOt till he had undergone all the evils that human nature 
is capable of undergoing. How ought we, then, to un- 
dergo any thing cheerfully for him, who underwent this 
laborious miniftry for us ! 

3. The divine Redeemer, by undertaking this office of 
the * miniflry,' hath confecrated and made honourab'C 
that office to ail who are rightly called, and who rightly 



difcharge it. It is true, his miniftry and ours are not of 
the fame particular nature ; but they agree in this, that 
e^ch of them is a miniftry to God, in the holy things of 
his worfhip. And confidering that Chrift himfelf was 
God's nlinifter, we have far greater reafon to tremble ia 
oUrfclves on an apprehenlion of our own infufficlency for 
fuch an office, than to be difcouraged with all the hard^ 
Jhips and coutefts we meet with in the world upon its ac- 

4. The exaltation of the human nature of Ghrift into 
the office of this glorious miniftry depended folely oa 
the fovereign wifdom, grace, and love of God. And ia 
this defignation we may fee the example and pattern of 
our own. For, if it was not on the forcfight of the bbedi- 
ciice of the human nature of Chrift, that he was predef^ 
tinated and chofen to the grace of the hypoftatical union^ 
with the miniftry and glory which depended thereon, but 
of the mere fovereign grace of God ; how much lefs 
could a forefight of any thing in us, be the caufe why 
God fhould chufe us in him befbre the foundation of the 
world 1 

5. It is our duty and our fafety to acquiefce liniver- 
f^lly and abfolutely irt the miniftty 6f Jefus Chrift. That- 
to which he was fo deligned in the infinite wifdom and 
grace of God ; that for the difcharge oi which he was fo 
furniftied, by the communication of the Spirit to him ia 
ail fulnefs - that on account of which all bther priefthoods 
were removed ; muft needs be effectual for all the ends tO 
which it is defigned. It may be faid, ' This is what all 
* men do ;' all that are called Chriftians fully acquiefce ia 
the miniftry of Jefus Chrift. feut if it be {o, what meaa 
thofe other priefts and i-eiterated facrifices which make up 
the worfhip of the church of Rome ? If they reft in the 
miniftry of Chrift, why do they appoint one of their owa 
to do the fame things that he hath done — ^to offer facrifice 
to God ? 

^ 15. From what has been faid we farther obferve : 
i. That there is infinite grace in every divine covenant, 
inafmuch as it is eftablifhed on promifest Infinite con- 
VoL. III. I i i defcenlion 


defcenfion it is in God, that he will enter into covenant 
with poor worms of the earth. And ail covenant grace pro- 
ceeds from, and difcovers itfelf byfome undefervedpromifes. 
From this divine fpring all the llreams of grace flow ; and 
this was that which became the goodnefs and greatnefs of 
his nature ; thefe are fuitable means whereby we are 
brought to adhere to him in faith, hope, truft, and obe- 
dience. For what is the ufe of promifes P It is to keep us 
in adherence to God, as the firfl original and fpring of all 
goodnefs, ahd the ultimate fatisfaftory reward of our fouls, 
{II. Cor. vii. I.] 

2. The promifes of the covenant of grace are htUr 
than thofe of any other covenant, efpecially becaufe the 
grace of them prevents any condition or qualification on 
our part. I do not fay that the covenant of grace is 
"without conditions, if by * conditions' we intend the 
duties of obedience which God requireth of us in virtus 
of that covenant; but this I fay, that the pjindpal promifes 
thereof arc not in the firft place remunerative of our obe- 
dience in the covenant, but rather ejficacioufy afjumptive of 
"US into covenant. Tlie covenant of works had its promfes, 
but they were all remunerative, refpe£ling an antecedent 
obedience in us ; and they were indeed alfo of grace, in 
that the reward infinitely exceeded the merit of our obe- 
dience. But yet they 2\\ fuppofed obedience, and the fub- 
jeft of them was formally reward only. In the covenant 
of grace it is not fo ; for fundry of the promifes thereof, 
are the means of our being taken 'into covenant with God. 

§ I 6. Upon the comparative nature of the two cove- 
nants obferve : 

I. That although one fiate of the church hath had 
great advantages and privileges above another, yet had no 
ftate room to complain, Vv'hilfl: they obferved the terms 
prefcribed. We have fcen in how many things, and 
thof^ moftly of the higheft importance, the l^ate of the 
church under the new covenaiit excelled that under tlie 
old, yet was that in itfelf a ftate of unfpeakable grace 
and privileges. For it v;as a Hate of near relation to 
God by virtue of a covenant \ a divine covenant, in 



itfelf holy, juft, and equal ; and even in that flate of dif- 
cipline wherein God was pleafed to hold them, they en- 
joyed the way of life and falvation in the promife ^ for, 
as we have (hewed at large, the promife was not difan- 
nulled by the introduction of this covenant. 

2. Theilate of the gofpel, or of the church under the 
New Teftament, being accompanied with the higheft fpi- 
ritual privileges and advantages that it is capable of in this 
world ; thence follow, — the great obligation that is in- 
cumbent on all believers to all holinefs and fruitful obe- 
dience to the glory of God ; and — the heinoufnefs of their 
fin by whom this covenant is negle£ted ordefpifed. 

Verse 7. 

for if that first covenant had been fault- 
less, then should no place have been sought 
for the second. 

§ I . Connection of the words and their general defign* § 2 . 
1'he apofWs argument recapitulated. § 3, 4. The ex^ 
pofition of the words, § 5. Obfervations, 

§ I. XN this verfe, and thofe that follow to the end of 
this chapter, the apoflle defigneth a confirmation of what 
he had before aflerted — that there is a neceffity of a new 
and better covenant, accompanied with better promifes, 
and more excellent ordinances of worlhip than the former. 
What he had before confirmed in fundry particular in- 
llances, he fummarily concludes in one general argument 
in this verfe, an argument built on a principle generally 
acknowledged. And it is this ; all the privileges and ad- 
vantages of the Aaronical priefthood and facrifices be- 
longed to the covenant to which they were annexed ; a 
chief part of its outward adminiftrations confiiling in 
I i i 2 them. 


them. This the Hebrews could not queflion. Where- 
fore, that priefthood, (with all the worlhip belonging to 
the tabernacle or temple) was necelTarily commenfurate to 
that covenant. But there is mention of another covenant 
to be made with the whole church, and to be introduce4 
long after the making of that at Sinai. Neither could 
that be denied by them. However, to put it out of con- 
troverfy, the apoflle proves it by an exprefs tellimony 
cf the prophet Jeremiah, [chap. xxxi. 31 — ^34.] 

From this well-grounded fuppofition the apoille proves, 
that the firft covenant is imperfeSiy hlameable^ and removable y 
for where once a covenant is made and eftablifhed, if it 
will efed all that he who makes it defigns, and if it will 
exhibit all the good which he intends to communicate, 
there is no reafon why another covenant fhould be mad«. 
The making of a new for no other ends or purpofes but 
what the old was every v/ay fufficient for, argues a wanton 
mutability in him that makes it. Wherefore the promife 
of another ^pvenant doth irrefragably prove, that the 
iirfl, and all the fervices of it, were imperfe^, and there- 
fore to be taken away, 

§ 2. Indeed the promife of a new covenant diverfe 
from that made at Sinai, or not like it, as the prophet 
fpeaks, is fufficient of itfelf to overthrow the vain pre- 
tences of the Jews, wherein they are hardened to this 
day. The abfolute perpetuity of the law and its worlhip, 
that is, of the covenant at Sinai, is the principal funda- 
mental article of their prefen^ faith, or rather unbelief. 
But this is framed by tliem in dire£l oppolition to the 
J)romifes of God. For let it be demanded of them^, 
whether they believe that God will make another covenar\t 
with the church, not according to the covenant which he 
made with their fathers at Sinai ? If they Ihall fay they 
* do not believe it,' then do they plainly renounce the 
prophets, and the divine promifes given by them ; if 
they do grant it, I defire to know of them, with what 
facrtfices that new covenant fliould be ellablifled, by what 
fr'icji^ with what worjhip^ it (hall be adminiflered. If they 
fay th?,t they {hall be done by the facrificesi prieils^ aii;^ 



worliilp of the Jaw, they deny what they granted before 
— that it is a new and another covenant. For the facri- 
flees and priefts of the law cannot confirm or admlnifler 
any other covenant but that to which they are already- 
confined. If it be granted that this new covenant mull 
have a new mediator, a new priefl, a new facrificc, as it is 
undeniable it mufl, or it cannot be a new covenant, then 
mult the old ceafe, and be removd^ that this may come 
into its place. Nothing but obftinacy and blindnefs 
can refill the force of this argument. 

§ 3. The general del^gn of the apofllc in this \'tT{^ 
being declared, we may confider the words more parti- 
cularly. * For if that firfl covenant had been blamelefs;* 
{',1 TrpcJjyi SKSir/j) that firjl ; that is, (Ti'pcAjjspa, hc69'/}Ka>) 
* that former covenant ;' the covenant made with tlie 
fathers at Sinai, with all the ordinances of worlhip there- 
imto belonging, (Ei O'ljisuvfjcg vjv) ' if it had httv\ fault - 
Icfs ;' we mufl alcertain the lignification of the word 
from the fubje£l matter treated of in this place ; which 
is the perfcttion a7id confummation^ on the fandificatioii 
and falvation, of the church. And it is with refpecl to 
this alone he afferts the infufficiency and imperfedion of 
the firfl: covenant. The inquiry between him and the 
Hebrews was not whether the firfl covenant was not m 
itfelf good, jufl, holy, and blamelefs, every way perfect 
with refpedl to its own fpecial ends ; but whether it was 
perfe^l andefFe£lual to the general ends mentioned. The 
art of arithmetlck, if perfe£tly taught, is fufficient to in- 
llru£l G learner in the whole fcience of numeration \ if not, 
it is faulty as to its particular end ; but it is no way fuffi- 
cient to the genera/ end of making a man wife in the whole 
compafs of w'lfdom ; be it never fo perfe6l in its own kind. 
Thus in the latter fenfe only the apoftle affirms that the 
firfl covenant was not {oi^^z\jjjf\og) blamelefs. 

In brief, what the apollle defigneth to prove is — ^that 
the firfl covenant was of that conflitution, that it could 
not accomplifh the perfect adminiflration of the grace of 
Qo(!i to the church, nor was ever defigncd to tliat end, as 



the Jews then falfely^ and their poflerlty ilill foollfhly 

§ 4. ' Then fhould no place have been fought for the 
fecond/ [Ovy. ccj hujc-poig e^/j]si]o roTfog.) His argument 
is plainly this : The promife of a new covenant doth un- 
avoidably prove the infufficiency of the former, at leaft as 
to the ends for which the new one is promifed. For 
otherwif-, to what end ferves the promife^ and the cove^ 
nant promifed ? But there is fome difficulty in the mode 
of expreffion. * The place of the fecond had not been 
' fought ,' fo the words lie in the original. But, ' the 
' place of the fecond,' is no more but * the fecond taking 
' place,' the introdudlion and eftablifhment of it. And 
this is faid to be ' fought,' improperly, after the manner 
of men. When men have entered into a covenant which 
proves hifufficicnt for fome end propofed, they take counfel 
^ud feek out other ways and means, and covenant on fuch 
other terms as may be effectual to their purpofe. 

§ 5. From v.^hat has been faid we may obferve ; 

1. That whatever God had done before for the church, 
yet he ceafed not in his wifdom and grace until he had 
made it partaker of the beft and moft blefled condition 
whereof, in this world, it is capable. He found out 
place for this better covenant. 

2. Let thofe, to whom the terms of the new covenant 
^re propofed in the gofpel, take heed to themfelves, that 
they lincerely embrace and improve them ; for there is 
neither promife, nor hopes, of any farther or fuller ad- 
minifiration of divine grace. 


Ver.8. epistle to THE HEBREV/S. 4a; 

Verse 8. 

for finding fault with theim, he saith, be- 
hold the days come, saith the lord, when 
i will make a new covenant with the house 
of israel and with the house of judah. 

§ I, 2. (I.) The connexion and dejign of the paffage^ and 
the words explained. § 3. 'T'he fubjetl matter of the pro^ 
mife\ a covenant. § 4. Its author, § 5. With whom 
the covenant made. § 6. The manner of making it. § 7. 
— 9. (II.) Obfervations. 

§ I. (I.) An this verfe the apoflle entereth -upon the 
proof of his argument laid down in that foregoing ; vi'z, 
that the firfl covenant was not [a^iLcU^ifjog) unblameahle^ or 
every way fufficlent for God's general end, becaufe there 
was room left for the introdudlion of another. — ' For 
*• finding fault with them, he faith,' [ya^) for ; the reafon 
it intimates doth not coniift in the word wherewith it is 
joined,' finding fault with them ;' but refpefts thofe fol- 
lowing, he faith'. '' for he faith ^ the days come;' vrhich 
dire(n:ly proves what he had affirmed. The new covenant 
was not to be introduced abfolutely without the coniide- 
ration of any thing foregoing ; but becaufe the iirft was 
not unblameahle. He did it * finding fault with them.' Place 
-the note of di{lin£lion at (c^'fjoig) the^n^ and then the fenfe 
of the words is rightly exprefled in our EngUdi tranfla- 
tion : * for finding fault with them (that is, the people) 
* he faith •/ and (ocvjoig) them^ may be regula;:ed cither by 
(^supou^svog) finding fault, or (A.-y,-;) he faith. Although 
the iirfl covenant was not every way perfe^, with refpeft 
to God's general end towards his church, yet, it may be, 
it is not fo fafe to fay, that God complained of it ; whereas 
God in this tellimony a^ually complains of the people^ that 



they ' brake his covenant/ and exprelTeth his indignation 
thereon, * he regarded them not/ To which we may 
add, in favour of this interpretation, that there is an 
cfpecial remedy exprelTed in the teilimony againft the evil 
which God complams of, ox finds fault with, in the people ; 
which^v/as, that * they continued not in his covenant.' 
Wherefore, God gives this promife of a ncM covenant, 
together with a complaint againft the people^ that it might 
be known to be an efFe<Sl of free and fovereign grace. 

§ 2. ' Behold the days come, faith the Lord.' (n:irT, 
L^^) Behold. It is ahvays found eminent either in itfeif, 
t>r in fome of its circumftances, and calls for more than 
ordinary attention to what is propofed. It was needful to 
Jignalize this promife ; for the people to whom it was 
given were with great difficulty drawn from their adhe- 
rence to the old covenant, which was inconfiflent with 
that now promifed. And this new covenant is here pro- 
pofed fo evidently and plainly, in the entire nature and 
properties of it, that unlefs men wilfully turn away their 
eyes, they cannot but fee it. (H^?pc^/ cp^oj^^/) the days 
come. Known to God ar^ all things and ways from the 
foundation of the world, and he hath determined the 
time of their accompli fliment. Under the Old Tefcament, 
the days of the Adeffiah were called ' the world to come,' 
fchap. ii. 5.] and it was a periphrafis of him, that he 
was [q spyjui-zvog, Matt. xi. 3.] * He that was to come.* 
And this is the time here intended. The expreliion in 
the original is in the prefent tenfe, from the Hebrew 
(cD'^u CD^tt') the days coming ; denoting the near approach of 
the days intended and a certainty of the thing itfeif, — 
« Saith the Lord.' He who complaineth of the people 
for breaking the old covenant, promifeth to riiake the 

§ 3. The fubje£l matter of the promlfes given Is a 
* covenant,'^ or rather (nnn, Sept. ^ioi9yjKYi) a tejlament. For 
if we take ' covenant** in a flrI6l and proper ferife, it 
hath indeed no place between God and man. For a co- 
venant, flriftly taken, ought to proceed on equal terms ^ 
and a proportionable CQnfideratioa of things On both fides. 



But the covenant of God is founded on grace, and con- 
fifls eflentially in a free undeferved promife. Such a co* 
venant is here intended as is ratified and confirmed by the 
death of him that makes it, which is properly a tejiament : 
And this covenant was confirmed by the death of the tefiator^ 
and the blood of 2i facrifice \ it is a covenant in which he 
that makes it, bequeatheth his goods to others by way of 
a legacy. Wherefore, our Saviour calls it the ' new tef- 

* tament in his blood.' And even the covenant which 
God made with the church of Ifraei at Sinai was called a 

* tejiament' for three reafons : 

1. Becaufe it was confirmed by the death of the facri- 
fices that were flain and offered at the folemn eftablifh- 
ment of it. So faith our apoflle ; * the firfl teflament 

* was not dedicated without blood,' [chap. ix. 15.] 

2. God therein granted to the church of Ifraei the 
good things of the land of Canaan, with the privileges 
of his worlhip. 

3. The principal reafon of this denomination, * the 

* old tejiament,'' is taken from its being typically figni- 
ficative of the death and legacy of the great Teflator, 
There is in the new covenant a recapitulation of all pro- 
mifes of grace ; it implies the aftual exhibition of Chriil 
in the fiefh ; it was ratified by his death and bloodfhedding, 
including all his mediatorial works, and all ordinances of 
Chriflian worfhip. 

§ 4. Next is obfervable, the author of this covenant ;' 
^ I will make, faith the Lord.' God himfelf is the prin- 
cipal party covenanting ; therefore what he doth is fex 
ynera gratia et voluntatej * from mere grace and good will.' 
There was no caufe without himfelf for which he fhould 
make it ; which we are here eminently taught, where he 
exprefTeth no other occafion of his making this covenant, 
hut X.\\Q Jins oj the people in breaking the former; expreffed 
on purpofe to declare the free and fovereign grace, the 
goodnefs, love, and mercy, which alone were the abfolute 
fprings of this covenant. 

§ 5. The promifes with whom, this covenant is made 
are, ' the houfe of Ifraei, and the houfe of Judah.' Long 

Vol. IlL K k k before 


before the giving of this promlfe that people were di- 
vided into two parts. The one part confifled of the ten 
Oibcs which fell off from the houfe of David, under the 
condud of Ephraim^ whence they are alfo in the prophets 
called by that name. The other, conlifting of the tribe 
properly fo called, with that of Benjamin, and the greatell 
part of Levi, took the name of Judah ; and with them, 
both the promife and the church remained in a peculiar 
manner. But whereas they all originally fprang from 
Abraham, who received the prom^ife and fign of circum- 
cilion for them all, and becaufe they were all equally in 
their forefathers brought into the bond of the old cove- 
nant, they are here mentioned diilinftly, that none of 
the feed of Abraham might be excluded from the tender 
of this covenant. Wherefore this ' houfe of Ifracl, and 
* of Judah^ may be confidered two ways : — as that people 
were the whole entire pollerity of Abraham ; and — as 
they were typical, and myllically fignificant of the whole 
church of God. The houfe of Judah was, at the time of 
giving the promife, in the fole polTellion of all the privi- 
leges of the old covenant ; Ifracl^ having cut off them- 
felves by their revolt from the houfe of David, being caft 
out alfo for their fins amongil the heathen. But God, to 
declare that the covenant he defigned had no refped to 
thofe carnal privileges which were then in the pofTelTion of 
Judah alone, but only to the promife made to Abraham, 
equals all his feed with refpe^l to the mercy of this cove- 
nant. But in a typical kn^Q, the vs^hole church of ele6l 
believers is intended under thefe denominations. To thefe 
alone, whether Jews or Gentiles, is the grace of it adualiy 

§ 6. The manner of making this covenant is next ob- 
fervable : {a-vvjiXvio-'jCy pcrficlam, cGufummabo) ' / will per- 
fect,'' or confumtnatc, to the exclulion of all additions 
and alterations. Perfection and unalterable eftablifliment 
are the properties of this covenant. An ' everlafting co- 

* venant ordered in all things and fure.' 

As to its difiinguifliipig characters, it is called a * new 

* covenant i' being fuch with refped to the * old covenant* 



made at Sinai : wherefore by thh covenant, as here con- 
iidered, is not underftood the promife of grace given to 
Jdam abfolutely ; nor that to Abraham, which contained 
the fubilance and matter of it ; but the eftablifhment of 
it, as before defcribed, with its law of worfhip. How- 
beit it may be called a * new covenant/ becaufe of its 
eminency ; as it is faid of an eminent work of God, * Be- 
* hold I work a new thing in the earth ;* and the epithet 
may denotes it duration and continuance as what fhall never 
wax old, 

§ 7. (II.) Hence we may obferve, 

1. God hath oftentimes jufl caufe to complain of his 
people, when yet he will not utterly call them off. 

2. It is the duty of the church to take deep notice of 
God's complaints of them; which we obferve from God's 
complaining or * finding fault' with them. It is the fpe- 
cial duty of all churches, and all believers, to fearch di- 
ligently into what God finds fault with, in his word ; 
and, as far as they find themfelves guilty, to be deeply af- 
fefled therewith, 

3. God often furprifeth the church with promifes of 
grace and mercy. When God here ' findeth fault' with 
the people, it might have been expefled that he would pro- 
ceed to their utter rejeftion ; but inftead of that, he fur- 
prifeth them, as it were, with the mod eminent promife 
of grace and mercy that was ever made to them, — in or- 
der to glorify the riches and freedom of his grace ; and — - 
that none, poiTefTed of the leaft remainder of fincerity, 
may faint and defpond, though under the greatefl conflu* 
ence of difcouragements. 

§8. Obferve farther the following particLilars : 

1. ' The hoK-D faith,'' is the formal obje£^ of our faith 
and obedience. All other foundations of faith, as thus 
faith t\\Q pope \ or thus faith the church ; or thus faid our 
ancejlors \ are all but delufions, ' Thus faith the Lord,' 
gives reft and peace. 

2. Where God placeth a nbte of obfervation and at- 
tention, we fhould carefully fix our faith and confidera- 
tion, God fets not any of his marks in vain. And if, 

K k k a upon 



upon the firft view of any thing {ojignallzed, the evidence 
of it doth not appear, we have a fufficient call to a farther 
diligence in our inquiry. 

3. All the concernments of the new covenant are ob- 
ie£ls of the beft of our confideration ; which obfervation 
is faiiiciently confirmed from the next verfe. 

4. There is a time limited and fixed for the accom- 
plifhment of all divine promifes, and all the purpofes of 
divine grace towards the church ; which may teach 
lis to fearch diligently into that wifdom by which God 
hath difpofed of times and feafons to his own glory, and 
to the trial and ultimate benefit of the church. 

§ 9. Refpe£ling the preceding account of the new 
covenant, obferve, 

1. The new covenant — as colIe£ling into one all the 
promifes of grace given from the foundation of the world, 
accompliflied in the a£lual exhibition of Chrift, and con- 
firmed in his death, and by the facrifice of his blood, 
thereby becoming the fole rule of new fpiritual ordinances 
of worfhip fuited thereunto — v/as the great objeft of the 
faith of the faints of the Old Teflament, and is the great 
foundation of all our prefent mercies. 

2. All the efficacy and glory of the new covenant ori- 
ginally arofe from, and are refolved into, the author and 
fupreme caufe of it — God himfelf. ' O Lord, our Lord, 
* how excellent is thy name in all the earth !* How glori- 
ous art thou in the ways of thy grace towards poor finful 
creatures, who had deftroyed themfelves I He hatli made 
no created good, but is himfelf our reward. 

3. The covenant of grace in Chrift is made only in 
behalf of the Ifrael of God, the church of the ele<ft ; but 
in refpedt of the outward dfpenfation of the covenant, it is 
extended beyond the efiedual communication of its grace. 
Hence the privilege of Abraham's carnal feed. 

4. Thofe who arej/?r/? and moft advanced, as to out- 
ward privileges, are oftentimes laft and leaft advantaged 
by the grace of them ; thus was it with the two houfes 
of Ifrael and Judah. They had the privilege and pre-emi- 
nence above ail nations of the world, as to the firfi tender^ 


Ver.9- epistle to THE HEBREWS. 433 

and all the benefits of the outward difpenfation of the co- 
venant ; yet, though the number of them was as the fand 
of the f^a, a remnant only was faved. 

Vkrse 9. 


§ I. ConneSflon and defign of the words, § 2. Hje covenant 
made with the fathers. § 3. 'The time and manner of ma-' 
king it, § 4. The reafon of God's rejeding Ifrael. § 5. 
His not regarding them, what. § 6, 7. Ohfervations. 

§ I. VJOD before made a covenant with his people, a 
good and holy covenant, fuch as was meet for God to 
prefcribe, and for them thankfully to accept of; yet not- 
withflanding all its privileges and advantages, it proved 
not fo effedual, but that multitudes of them were deprived 
even of the temporal benefits included in it. Wherefore, 
though hereon God promifeth to make a ' new covenant* 
with them, feeing they had forfeited and loft the advan- 
tage of the former, yet if it fhould be of the fame kind 
therewith, it might alfo in like manner prove iaefFec- 

To obviate this objection, God declares it fhall not be 
of tht fame kind with the former, nor liable to bt fo fruf- 
trated as that was. Thefe two things being the only rea- 
fon that God gives, why he will make this new covenant, 
namely, the fins of the people, and the infifpciency of tlic 
iirll covenant to bring the church into that blefled flate 



•which he defigned ; it is manifeft that all his dealings with 
tliem for their fpirituai and eternal good, are of mere fo- 
vereign grace. 

§ 2. ' Not according to the covenant I made with their 

* fathers.* (T'/?y hoi'OriKViv tjv cTroPio-tz) * The covenant 

* which / made,* There is in thefe verfes a repetition 
three times of making covenant ; and in every place in 
the Hebrew the fame words are ufed, (nni 'm3) but the 
apofile changeth the verb in every place. Here he ufeth 
{sTfoiwci,) ' I made y in reference to that covenant which 
the people brake, and God difannulled ; perhaps to dif- 
tinguifli their alterable covenant from that which was to 
to be unalterable^ [chap xii. 27.] The change of the 
things that are lliaken, is [cog TTSTroniusyjoVy) ' as of things 

* that are made C fo made as to abide only for an appoint- 
ed Xuiiz.'—{Ilc6]o&io-LV o^vjoov) JVith their fathers.. Their 
frogenitors were thofe of whom this people always boafted, 
and dciired no more but what might defcend in the right 
of thefe fathers. And to this God here fends them — to 
let them know that he had more grace and mercy to com- 
municate to the church, than ever thefe fathers of theirs 
were made partakers of; fo would he take them off from 
boafling ; and — to give warning by their faithlefs fathers, 
who perilhed in the wildernefs, how they behaved them- 
felves under the tender of this new and greater mercy. 

§ 3, (Ev '/jUcQoc, i. e. EKSiv/j) in that day. That * a day* 
is taken in fcripture for an efpecial time and feafon, where- 
i!\ any work or duty is to be performed, is obvious to alL 

* In the day,' therefore, is at that great eminent feafon fo 
famous throughout all their generations, (^TnXoifioiLSVH 
Lcy TYig %ciowg c6\)Jgv, '*\>''\nr\) ' that I firmly laid hold of their 

* hand.' Wherein is intimated the woful helplefs condition 
they were in when inEgypt. So far were they from being- 
able to deliver thcmfelves out of their captivity and bon- 
dage, that, like children, they were not able to ftand or 
move, unlefs God took them, and led them by the hand.. 
So he fpeaks, [Hof. xi. 3.] ' I taught them to go, taking 

* them by the arms.' And certainly never were weakly 
froward children fo aukward to {land and to go of them- 


Ver.9. epistle to the HEBREWS. ^^^ 

felves, as that people were to comply with God in the 
work of their deliverance. 

It is therefore no new thing, that the church of God 
ihould be in a condition of itfelf able neither to iland nor 
go. But yet, if God will take them by the hand for their 
help, deUverance Ihall enfue. It exprelTeth the infinite 
condefcenfion of God towards this people in that condi- 
tion, — ' a bowing down to take them by the hand;' 
{though to their enemies a work of tremendous power, 
the li/img up of his hand) and we know in how many in- 
ilances they endeavoured frowardly and cbftinately to 
wrefl themfelves out of the hand of God, and to have 
caft themfelves into utter deilruftion. Oh ! that our 
fouls might live in a conilant admiration of that divine 
grace and patience which his chofen live upon ; and that 
the remembrance of the times and feafons wherein, if 
God had not llrengthened his hand upon us, we had ut- 
terly deftroyed ourfelves, might increafe that admiration 
daily, and enliven it with thankful obedience. — This de- 
liverance of Ifrael was glorioufiy typical^ and reprefentative 
cf their own and the wdiole church's fpiritual deliverance 
from fin and hell ; from our bondage to Satan, and a glo- 
rious introduction into the liberty of the fons of Goc, 
And therefore^ did the Lord engrave the memorials of it 
on the tables of flone ; * I am the Lord thy God which 

* brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the houfe 

* bondage.' For what was typified and fignified there- 
by, is the principal motive to obedience throughout all 

Thus great on all accounts was the day^ and the gloiy 
of it, wherein God made the old covenant w-ith the peo- 
ple of Ifrael, yet had it no glory in coraparifon of that 
which excclleth. The light of the fun of righteoufnefs 
and glory is on ow' day *" fevcrifold, as the light of feven 
' days,' [ifa. xxx. 26.] a pcrfc^lon of light and, glory 
was to flow into it. 

§ 4. * Becaufe they continued not in my covenant.' 
The Hebrew word (nu^w) which, is rendered (o]i) becaufe, 
but the rcafon why God made this new covenant not ac- 


cording to the former, was not properly bccaufe they 
^bode not in the firll ; wherefore I had rather render th« 
Greek particle in this place by * zvh'ich,^ as we render the 
Hebrew in the prophet, ' vjlnch my covenant they abode 

* not in j' or, ^ for x\\t^ abode not.' If, however, we 
render it ' becaufe,' it refpeds not God's making a new 
Covenant, but his rejecting them for breaking the old. — ► 
(Oux, EViiL-iycy.v) they continued not, they abode not in the 
covenant made with them. This God calls bis covenant; 
they continued not in ' my covenant ;' becaufe he was 
the autlior of it, the fole contriver and propofer of its 
terms and promifes (>n2n) they brake , they rcfcinded, removed 
it, made it void. The people, though they accepted of 
God's covenant, and the terms of it, (Mofes having 
afcended again into the mount) made a golden calf. 
Wherefore the breaking of the covenant, or their not 
continuing in it, was primarily, and principally, the 
making of the molten calf. After this, indeed that gene- 
ration added many other fins and provocations, but it is 
their fin viho p er f anally firil entered iiUo covenant with God, 
that is reflefted on. That generation with whom God 
made that firfl covenant, immediately ' brake' it, con- 
tinued not in it ; and therefore let that generation look 
well to itfelf to which this new covenant fhali be firjl 

§ 5. ' And I regarded them not.' There feems to be 
a great difference in the tranflation of the words of the 
prophet, and thefe of the apoftle taken from them. In 
the former place we read, ' although I was an hufband to 

* them ;' in this, * I regarded them not.' Nothing of 
the main controverfy^ nothing of the fubllance of the truth 
which the apoftle proves and confirms by this teflimony, 
doth any way depend on the precife fignification of thefe 
words. Take the two different fenfes which the words as 
commonly tranflatcd convey, and there is nothing of con^ 
tradition, or indeed the leafl difagreement between them. 
For the words of the prophet, as we have tranflated therq^ 
exprefs an aggravation of the fin of the people. They 
broke my covenant, * although I was (in that covenant) 



* an hufband to them,' exerclfing fingular kindnefs and 
care towards them. And, as they are rendered by the 
apoflle, they cxprefs.the effetl of that iin fo aggravated. 

* He regarded them not ;' that is, with the fame tender- 
nefs as formerly ; for he denied to go with them as before, 
and exercifed feverity towards them in the wiidernefs 
■until they were confumed. Each way the delign is, to 
Hiew that the covenant was broken by them, and that they 
were dealt with accordingly. 

The apoflle neither in this, nor in any other place, 
doth bind himfelf precifeiy to the tranjlation of the wordsj 
but infallibly gives us the fenfe and meaning, and fo he 
hath done in this place. For whereas the Hebrew word 
(Vrn) fignifies an bujhand^ or to be an hufband or a lord, 
and the Hebrew letter (2) being added to it in conilruc- 
tion, as here (on 'n^rs) it is as much as (Jure ufus fum 
Maritali) * I exercifed the right, power, and authority of 

* an hufoand towards them ;' I dealt with them as an huf- 
band v^ith a wife that breaketh covenant ; that is, faith 
the apoftle, ' I regarded them not,' with the love, ten- 
dernefs, and affedlion of an hufband ; (Xsysi Kuo/o^") 

faith the Lord \ thefe words have a peculiar pathos, as 
ciofing the fentence, and refpeft only the lin of the people, 
and his confequent dealing with them ; * I regarded them 

* not as a wife any more, faith the Lord.'' 

Now God uttereth his feverity towards them, that they 
might confider how he will deal with all thofe who de- 
fpife, break, or negledl his covenant. So, faith he, I 
dealt with them, and fo fhall I deal with others who 
offend in like manner. They received it, entered folemnly 
into the bonds of it, took upon themfelves expreiTly the 
performance of its terms and conditions, were fprinkled 
with the blood of it, but they continued not in it, and 
were dealt with accordingly ; for God ufed the right and 
authority of an hufband with whom a wife breaketh co- 
venant ; he negleded them, fliut them out of his houfe, 
deprived them of their dowry or inheritance, and (his 
authority being ultimate and abfolute) flew them in the 

Vol. hi. L 1 1 Hence 


Hence he fays of it, (« Ko^oi tyjv) * not according to 
* it ;' a covenant agreeing with the former neither in pro- 
mifes, efficacyj nor duration. It is neither a renovation 
of that covenant, nor a reformation of it, but utterly of 
another nature. 

§ 6. (II.) From the whole we may obferve : 

1. The grace and glory of the new covenant are much 
manifefted by comparing it with the old ; which God 
does here on piurpofe for the illuftration of it, 

2. JIl God's works are equally good and holy In 
themfelves, but, as to the ufe and advantage of the church, 
he is pleafcd to make fome of them means of communi- 
cating more grace than others. Even this covenant to 
v/hich the new was not to be iimilar, was in itfelf good 
and holy, and which thofe with whom it was made had 
no reafon to complain of; howbeit God hath ordained 
that by another covenant, he would communicate the 

fuhiefs of hi» grace and love to the church. 

3. Though God makes an alteration in any of his- 
works i or inilitutions, yet he never changcth his intention, 
or the purpofe of his will. In all outward changes there 
is with him ' no variablenefs nor fhadow of turning." 
Known to him are all his works from the foundation of 
the world ; and whatever change there fcems to be in 
them, it is ail effected in purfuance of his unchangeable 

4. The difpofal of mercies and privileges, as to perfon, 
feafons, &c. is wholly in the hand and power of God. 
Some he granted to the fathers, fome to their poflerity, 
tnd not the fame to both. It is our wifdom to improve 
what we enjoy ; not to repine at what God hath done for 
others, or vcill do for them that fliall come after us. Our 
prcfent' mercies are lafiicient for us if we know how to 
ufe them : 

§ 7. The following obfervations may be added. 

I. That iins have their aggravations from mercies 
received. This was what rendered this firfl: fin of that 
people of fuch a iiagitious nature in itfelf, and io pro- 
voking to God, vi%^ that they who perfonally coutrafted 


Ver.9* epistle to the HEBREWS. 43*^ 

the guilt of it, had newly received the honour, and merci- 
f\jl privilege of being taken into covenant with God. 
Let us therefore take heed how we fin againfl received 
mercies, efpecially fpiritual privileges, fuch as we enjoy- 
by the gofpel. 

2. Nothing but effednal grace will fecure our covenant 
obedience one moment. And in the yievj covenant this 
grace is promifed in a peculiar manner, as we Ihall fee 
on the next verfe, 

3. No covenant between God and man ever was or 
-ever could be effe6lual, as to the immediate ends of it, 
that was not made and ' confirmed in Chriil.* God firft 
made a covenant with us in Adam ; in him we all finned 
by breach of covenant, ^o was the other covenant im- 
mediately broken ; and they who fuppofe that the efficacy 
aftd {lability of the prcfcnt covenant folely depend on our 
own will and diligence, had need not only to afTert that 
our nature is free from that depravation which it was un^- 
der when this covenant was broken, but alfo from that 
defe^ibility that was in it before we fell in Adam. And 
fuch as, negle£ling the interpofition of Chrift, betake 
themfelves to imaginations of this kind, fureiy know little 
of themfelves, and lefs of God, 

4. No external adminiftration of a covenant of God's 
own making, no obligation of mercy on the minds of 
men, can enable them to ftedfaflnefs in covenant obedi- 
ence, without an effectual influence of grace from Jefus 
Chrift. For we fliall fee, in the next verfes, that this is 
the only provifion which diviue Wifdom has made tQ 
gnfwer this important end. 

5. God in making a covenant with any, in propofing 
the terms of it, retains his right and authority to deal 
with perfons according to their deportment. * They 
♦ brake my covenant, and I regarded them not.' 

6. God's cafling men out of his fpecial care upon the 
breach of his covenant, is the higheft judgement that ia 
this world can befall any perfons. 

And we are concerned in all thefe things. For although 
the (^QV^Ram of grace be flable and effedqal to all who 


are really partakers of it, yet as to its external adminijiration, 
and our entering into it by a viiible profefTion, it may be 
broken to the temporal and eternal ruin of perfons and 
whole churches. * Take heed of the golden calf.' 

Verses iq^^i2. 

for this is the covenant, that i will make 
with the house of israel after those days, 
saith the lord ; i will put my laws into 
their mind, and write them in their hearts; 
and i will be to them a god, and they 
shall be to me a people : and they shall 
kot teach every man his neighbour, and 
every man his brother, saying, know the 
lob.d ; for all shall know me, from the 
least to the greatest. for i will be merci- 
ful to their unrighteousness, and their 
sins and their iniquities will i remember 


^ I. iHoe general argument i and contents of thefe verfes, § 2.- 
(I.) ^he words explained. § 3. The new covenant in a 
fenfe unconditional. § 4. Its author, and introdudion, 
§ 5. Introduced gradually. ^ 6 — 10. I'he nature of it 
in its promifes, which are not conditional. § I I - Primarily 
made with Chrifl. § I 2 . The nature of the mutual cove-r 
ftani relation. § 1 3 — I 7 . The nature of the teaching 
denied i and that promifed. § i8, 19. The forgivenefs of 
fins. § 20 — 22. (II.) Obfervations. § 23, 24. On 
the teaching, and the knowledge, of God. §2^. Concerning 
fin and its pardon. 

^ I. X HE apoftle's general argument mufl flill be borne 
in mind ; which is to prove, that the Lord Chrift is the 
Mediator and furety of a better covenant than that wherein 


Ver. 10—12. EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS. 441 

the fervice of God was managed by the legal high 
priefts ; for hence it follows that his piefthood is greater 
and far more excellent than theirs. To this end he not 
only proves that God promifed to make fuch a covenant, 
but alfo declares its nature and properties in the words of 
the prophet, [Jer. xxxi. 'i^i^.'] and fo by comparing it 
with the former covenant, he fhews its fuperior excellency« 
In particular, in this tcftimony the imperfection of that 
covenant is demonftrated from its ijjue. For it did not 
effedually continue peace and mutual love between God 
and the people ; but, being broken bv them, they were 
thereon rejeded of God. This rendered all the other 
benefits of it ufelefs ; wherefore the properties here infifled 
on infallibly prevent the like iflue, fecuring the people's 
obedience for ever, and fo the love and relation of God 
to them as * their God.* Wherefore thefc three verfes 
give us a defcription of the Chriftian covenant as to thofe 
properties and effeds wherein it differs from the former. 
That covenant was broken, but this never fhall be. 

§ 2. (I.) The thing promifed is a * covenant, fn'l2, 
2ia>9riK'/j) and the way of making it, as in the prophet (mD«) 
io cut, to Jirike, to divide. It refpefts the facrifices where- 
with covenants were confirmed. Thence alfo vfhtxQ fedus 
per cuter e^ and fedus ferire, [fee Gen. xv. 9, 10. 18.] 
The apoftle renders the word {'^i<z9'/](ro^a.i to olkoo) with a 
dative cafe without a prepolition, ' / will make, or con^ 
^ firm to the houfc of Ifrael.' 

We render the words (nns and ^icc9}-]x.7],} in this place, 
by a * covenant,' though afterwards the fame word is 
tranflated by a * teftament.' In the defcription of a co^ 
venant here annexed there is no mention of any condition 
on the part of man, of any terms of obedience prefcribed 
to him, but the whole confifls in free, gratuitous promifes. 
Some conclude it is only one part of the covenant that is 
here defcribed ; others that the whole covenant of grace, 
as abjolute, without any condition on onr part is intended ; 
but thefe things muft be farther inquired into. 

§ 3. I. The word herith ufed by the prophet, doth not 
only iignify a covenant^ or compad, properly fo called ; 



but alfo a free gratuitous promife. [Jen xxxiii. 20. 25, 
Gen. ix. 10, 11.] Nothing can be argued for the necellity 
of conditions to belong to this covenant from the term 
whereby it is expreffed in the prophet. 

The making of it alfo is declared by a word ('m^) that 
doth not require a mutual ft'ipulation ; and it is applied to 
a mere gratuitous promife, [Gen. xv. 18.] * In that day 

* did God make a cavenant with Abraham, faying, to thy 

* fe?d will / give this land.'' Belides, the Greek, word 
(%ioe,^'/\-iV/\) ligniiies properly a tejiamentary difpofition. And 
this every one knows, may be without any conditions or^ 
the part of them to whom any thing is bequeathed. 

2. The whole covenant intended is exprelled in the 
cnfuing defcription of it. If otherwife, it could not be 
proved from thence, that this covenant was more ex- 
cellent than the former, the principal thing which the 
apoflle here defigns to prove ; and the want of obferving 
•this hath led many expofitors out of the way. 

3. It is evident there can be no condition previouily 
required, in order to our entering into, this covenant ante- 
cedent to the making of it with us. 

4. It is certain, that in its outiuard dlfpenfation, wherein 
the grace, mercy and terms of it are propofed, many 
things are required of us in order to a participation of 
the benefits. For God hath ordained, that all the mercy 
and grace prepared in it Ihall be communicated to us, 
ordinarily, in the ufe of Qutward means. To this end 
hath he appointed all the ordinances of the gofpel, the 
word, facraments, &c. Wherefore thefe things are required 
of us by way of duty^ in order to our participation of 
covenant benefits. And if any will call our attendance 
to.fuch duties, ' t\\t condition of the covenant,' it is not to 
be contended about, though properly it is not fo. For 
God communicates the covenant of grace antecedently to 
all ability to perform any dirties ; as it is with ele£t in-, 

5. It is evident, that the fir ft grace of the covenant, or 
God*s putting his law in our hearts, can depend on no 
condition on our part. For wl^atever is antecedent there- 

Ver. 10-^12. EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS. 443 

tOj being only a work of corrupt nature, can be no con- 
dition on the performance of which the firll grace is 

6. To a full and complete interefl in all the promifes 
of the covenant, y*^/V/?7, on our part, from which evange»> 
iical repentance is infeparable^ is required. But whereas, 
thefe alfo are wrought in us by virtue of that grace of the 
covenant which is abfolute, it is a mere ilrife about words 
to contend whether they may be called conditions or no. 

7. Although (^loc^YinYi) the- word here ufed may fignify, 
and be rightly rendered, a covenant, (as nni doth^;) yet 
that which is intended is properly a tejianient, or a tella- 
mentary difpolition of good things. It is the will of 
God by Jefus Chrift, his death and bloodfhedding, to 
give us freely the whole inheritance of grace and glory. 
Hence, under this notion, the covenant is unconditional. 

§ 4. The author of this covenant is God himfelf. * I 
^ will make it faith the Lord.^ This is the third time that 
the expreffion, * faith the Lord,' is repeated in this tefti- 
mony. The work exprelTed in both the parts of it, the 
difannulling of the old covenant, and the eflablifhment. 
of the new, is fueh as calls for this folemn interpoiition 
of the authority, veracity, and grace of God. And the 
mention of it thus frequently is to beget a reverence in 
us of the work which he fo emphatically aiTumes to him- 
felf. Kote, The abolishing of the old covenant, with the 
introduftion and the eilablilhment of the new, is an a«fl of 
the mere fovereign wifdom, grace and authority of God, 
It is his gratuitous difpofal of us, and of his own grace^ 
— -* With the houfe of Ifrael.' In ver. 8. they are called 
diftinftly * the houfe of Ifrael, and the houfe of Judah/ 
here they are all Jointly exprelTed by their ancient name 
of Ifrael, to manifell that all diftinftions on the account 
of preceding privileges fhould be now taken avi^ay, that 
all Ifrael might be faved. But as we have fnewed before, 
the whole Ifrael of God, or the church of the eleft, are 
principally intended. — * After thofe days.' There are 
various conjedures about the fen fe of thefe words, or the 
determination of the time limited in them. Some fup- 



pofc it refpc6ls the time of giving the law on mount Sinai ; 
fome think, that refpt^ft is had to the captivity of Babylon, 
and the people's return from thence ; and fome judge 
they refer to what went immediately before, ' and I 

* regarded them not :' but ' after thofe days,' is as much 
as in thofe days \ an indeterminate feafon for a certain. So, 

* in that day,' is frequently ufed in the prophets, [Ifa. xxiv. 
21, 22. Zech. xii. ii.] a time therefore certainly f«ture, 
but not determined, is at leail intended. And herewith 
moft expofitors are fatisfied. Yet is there, as I judge, 
more in the v/ords : thofe days feem to me to comprize 
the zuhole time allotted to the oeconomy of the old cove- 
nant. But yet the ufhole of It cannot be limited to any 
one feafon alfolutcly, as though all that was intended in 
God's making of it confifled in any one individual aft. 
The making of the old covenant with the fathers is faid 
to be ' in the day wherein God took them by the hand, to 
' bring them out of the land of Egypt.' During the 
feafon intended there were many things that were pre- 
paraic-ry to its making, or folemn eftablifhment ; fo was 
it alfo in making of the new covenant. It was gradual!;^ 
made and eftablilhed, and that by fundry a6ls preparatory 
for it, or coniirmatory of it. 

§ 5. I. The firil peculiar entrance into it was made by 
the miniftry of John the Baptift ; hence his miniflry is 
called ' the beginning of the gofpel,' [Mark i. i, 2.] 
until his coming, the people v^^ere bound abfolutely and 
iiniverfally to the covenant in Horeb, without alteratioa 
or addition in any ordinance of worfliip. But his mini-* 
ftry was defigned to prepare them, and to caufe them to 
look out after the accomplifliment of this promife of 
making the new covenant, [Mai. iv. 4 — 6.] 

2. The coming in the flefh, and perfonal miniflry of 
our Lord Jefus Chrift himfelf, was an eminent advance 
in it. Hence upon his nativity this covenant was pro- 
claimed from heaven, as that which was immediately to 
take place, [Luke ii. 13, 14.] but it was more fully and 
evidently carried on, in a preparatory view, by his perfo- 
nal miniflry. 

3. Thf 

Ver. 10-^12. EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS. 445 

_ 3. 7'he way for the introdu6lion of this covenant being 
thus prepared, it was folemnly euafted and confinncd by 
his death ; for then h^ offered that to God wliereby it 
was eftabliflied. And hereby the promife properly be- 
come i^ia^Tiyjf^) a tefiament^ as our apoftle proves at large, 
chap. ix. 14 — 16. This was the center wherein all the 
promifes of grace met, and from whence they derived 
their efficacy. From henceforward the old covenant, 
and all its adminiftrations, having received their full ac- 
complifhment, continued only in the patience of God, to 
be taken down and removed out of the way in his ov/ii 
time and manner. For really, and in themfelves, their 
authoritative force was then taken away \ [fee Ephef. ii. 
14 — 16. Col. ii. 14, 15.] But though our obligation to 
obedience, and the obfervance of commands, be formally 
and ultimately refolved into the will of God ; yet imme- 
diately it refpe£ts the revelation of it, by v/hich we are 
<lireftly obliged. Wherefore, although the caufes of the 
j»emoval of the old covenant had already exilled, yet the 
law and its inflitutions were flill continued not only- 
lawful but ufeful to the worfhippers, until the will of 
God concerning their abrogation was/z///y declared, 

4. This new covenant had the complement of its forma- 
tion and ellabhfhment in the refiirre^ion of Chrifl^ Un- 
til the curfe of the law fhould be undergone, it could not 
^uit its claim to power over finners ; and as this curie 
was undergone in the fuffer'ings^ fo it was abfolutely dif- 
charged in the rejurretlion of ChriH. For the pains of 
death being loofed, and he delivered from the flate of the 
dead, the fan6lion of the law was declared to be void, 
and its curfe anfwered. Hereby did the old covenant fo 
expire, as that the worfhip which belonged to it was only 
for a while continued by the forbearance of God towards 
that people. 

'5. The firft folemn promulgation oi this new covenant, 
fo made, ratified, and eitablifhed, was on the day of pen- 
tecojiy feven weeks after our Lord's refurrecflion. And it 
anfwered the promulgation of the law on mount Sinai, 
^he fame fpace of time having intervened after the deli*. 

Vol. OIp M i» ?H V?Rnce 


verance of the people out of Egypt. From this day for- 
ward the ordinances of worihip, and all the inflitutions 
of the new covenant, became obligatory to all believers. 
Then was the whole church abfolved from any duty with 
refped to the old covenant, and the worfhip of it, though 
as yet it was not manifeft in their confciences. 

6. The queftion being ftated about the continuance of 
the obligatory force of the old covenant, the contrary was 
folemnly promulged by the apoflles under the infallible 
condua of the Holy Ghoft, [A£ts xv.] 

Thefe were the degrees of the time intended in that ex- 
prellion, ' after thofe days,* all of them anfwering the 
feveral degrees by which the old vanifhed and difappeared. 
§ 6. The circuraflance of making this covenant being 
thus declared, the nature of it in its promifes is next pro- 
pofed to us. On this important point let it be remarked, 
I. It is the event, or the efe^ itfelf, that is direftly 
promifed, and not any fuch efficacy of means as might 
be fruftrated. For the weaknefs and imperfe£lion of the 
firll covenant was, that thofe with whom it was made 
continued not in it. Hereon God neglected them ; and to 
redrefs this evil, to prevent the like for the future, that 
is, effectually to provide that God and his people may 
always abide in that bleffed covenant relation, he pro- 
mifeth the things themfelvesy whereby it might be fecured. 
What the firfl could not efFeft, God promifed to work 
by the new. 

2. It is no where intimated, that the efficacy of the 
new covenant, and the accomplifhment of its promifes, 
Hiould depend on our reafon, or natural principles, but is 
viniverfaUy and conftantly afcribed to the efficacy of the 
fpirit and grace of God, not only enabling us to obedi- 
ence, but enduing us with a fpiritual, fupernatural prin- 
ciple, from which it may proceed. 

3. It is true, that our own wills, or the free a£lings of 
them, are required in our faith and obedience ; whence 
it is promifed, that we fhall ' be willing in the day of 
* his power ;' but that our wills are left abfolutely to their 
own liberty and power, in this matter, without being in- 

Ver. 10— 12. EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS. 447 

dined and determined by diiine grace, is that proud and 
impotent Pelagianifm which hath long attended the church, 
but which fhall never abfolutely prevail. 

4. The contrary fuppoiition overthrows the nature of 
the new covenant, and the grace of our Lord Jefus Chrift 
which comes by it. For if the effe^ itfelF, or the thing 
mentioned, are not promifed, but only the ufe of means 
left to the liberty of men's wills, whether they will comply 
with them or no, then the very being of the covenant, 
whether it Ihall ever have any exiflence or no, depends 
abfolutely on the wills of men, and fo may not be. 

The Lord Chriil would be made hereby the Mediator 
of an uncertain covenant. For if it depends abfolutely on 
the wills of men, whether they will accept the terms of 
it or no, it is uncertain what will be the event, and whe- 
ther any one will do fo or no. For the will being not 
determined by grace, what its adlings will be is altogether 
uncertain. It would on this fuppoiition follow, that 
God might fulfill his promife of putting his laws into 
the minds of men, and writing them in their hearts, and 
yet none have the law put into their minds, nor written 
in their hearts ; which involves a dire£l contradiction. 
And this covenant is promifed now to be made, not in 
oppoiition to what grace and mercy was derived from it 
both before and under the law, nor as to the firft admi- 
niilration of grace from the Mediator of it ; but in op- 
poiition to the covenant of Sinai, and with refpedl to its 
outward folemn confirmation. 

§ 7. ' I will put my laws in their minds and write 

* them in their hearts.' In general, the reparation of our 
nature, by the reftoration of the image of God in us, is 
promifed in thefe words : the mi7id and heart are in fcrip- 
ture the feat of natural corruption, the refidence of the 
principal of alienation from the life of God. Wherefore 
the renovation of our natures confifls in the re£lifying and 
curing of them, in the furnifhing of them with contrary 
principles of faith, love and adherence to God. The ^ 

* mhuV is (D^p, "hiocvoLOi) the inwart part ; the only fafe and 
xifeful repofitory of the laws of God* When they are 

M m m 2 iioert 


^yere laid up, we fliall not lofe them, neither men nor 
4evils can take them from us. The excellency of cove- 
nant obedience doth not conflft in the conformity o€ 
dutivard anions to the Ijiw, (though thath^ required alfo) 
but principally in the inward parts, wliere God fiarchetU 
for, and r^^^r^^i^ i*^^^ in fincerity, [Pfal. li. 6.] wJiere- 
fore. it is the caufe of the mind and underftmiding^ w-hc-ftf 
B-aturai depravation is the fpring and principle of all dif- 
obedience, is here promifed in the firft place. In the 
outward adminiilration of the means of grace, the af^ 
fetlionsy or, if I may fo fpeak, the more outward part o^ 
riie fouiy are ufaally firll afreded and wrought upon. 
Bait the firft real efFe£l of the internal promifed grace ot' 
the covenant is on the mind^ the moft fpiritual and in- 
ward part of the foul. And this in the New Tellament 
is expreffed by the ' renovation of the W«^,' [ xii. 
\, Col. iii. 5.] and the ' opening of fll€ eyes of our un- 
*-deril:andings/ [Ephef. i. 17, r8.] God ' Ihining into 

* our hearts, to giVe us the knowledge of his glory in the- 
^ face of Jefus Chrift,' [II. Cor. iv. 6.] hereby the 
enmity againfl God ; the vanity, darkncfs, and alienation 
from the life of God, with which the mind is naturally. 
poiTeffed and filled, are taken away. For ' the. law of 

* God in the. mind,' is the faving knowledge of the mind 
aitd will of God, revealed in the lav/, communicated to 
ifc, and implanted in it. 

§ 8'. The way whereby God in the covenant of grace 
thus works on the mind, is exprefled by (S/Shfc) giving^ io- 
l4ve apoftle renders the Hebrew ('nnrr) and I will give \ and 
the Greek word may, by an enallage,- be put for the future 
{&jC(tuo) I will give. So it is expreiTed in the next claufe 
in the future tenfe {zTTiymM) I will write. The word 
in the propliet is, / will give ; wc render it, / ivill put. 
Hut there are two things intimated' in the word : — the 
freedom of the grace promifed; it is a mere grant, or 
donation of grace ; and — the efficacy of it ; this is what 
eijsphaticaily, (^/fecr i. e. c/iu,/) I am ddng in this covenant; 
namely, freely giving that gr?xe whereby my laws fliall be 
irTipb.uted on the mi ads of men. — [Ta^yoy^iig ^.^,^my lawsy' 


Ver. ro-^^ir. EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS. 449^ 

iii the plural number ; the nvhole revelation of the mind 
and will of God. Bv whatever v/ay, or revelation, God 
makes known himfelf and his will to us, requiring our 
obedience, it is all comprifed in that expreffion — ' kis 

* laws.^ 

From thefe' things we may eafily difcern the nature of 
that grace which is contained in this part of the iiffh pro- 
mife of the covenant. And this is the cffc^ual opcrai'iQn 
of his Spirit in the renovation and faving illumination of 
our minds, whereby they are habitually made conform- 
able to the lazu of God^ that is, * the rule of our obedience 

* in the new covenant,' and enabled for ail a6ts and duties 
that are required of us. 

§ 9. The fecond part of this firft promife of the cove- 
nant is expreffed^ in thefe words, * and v/ill write them 
'^ upon their hearts \ which renders the foraier part ac- 
tually eiFectual. 

Expofitors generally and properly obferve, that here is 
an allulion to the giving of the law on mount Sinai, in the 
fr/i covenant. For then the law, (that is, the ten words) 
was written in tables of flone ; not fo much to fecure the 
outward letter of them, as to reprefent the hardnefs of 
the people's hearts to whom they were given. This event 
God promifeth to prevent under the new covenant by 
writing thefe laws now in our heart&^ which he wrote before 
only in tables of fane \ that is, he will effedually work 
that obedience in us which the law requires, for ' he 

* vvorketh in us both to will and to do of his own good 

* pleafure.' — The ' heart,' as diftinguifned from the mind, 
Gomprifeth the will and afedlions, 

§ 10. The lafl thing in the w^ords is, the relation tliat 
enfues between God, and his people ; ' I will be to them 

* a God, and they fliall be to me a people.' This is in- 
deed a diftinfl promife by itfelf, fummarily comprifing 
all the bleffings and privileges of the new covenant ; and 
it is placed in the center of the account, as from whence 
all the grace of it fprings, wherein all the bleflings of it 
coalift, and by which they are fccured> However, it is 



in this place peculiarly mentioned, as that which hath its 
foundation in the foregoing promifes. 

This is the general expreflion of any covenant relation 
between God and men ; — ' He, will be to them a God, 
• and they fhall be a people to him.* And it is frequently 
made ufe of with refpeft to the firji covenant, which 
yet was difannullcd. God owned his people for his pe- 
culiar portion, and they vouched him to be their God 
alone. It is a peculiar expreffian oi an efpecial covenant 
relation ; and the nature of it is to be expounded by the 
nature and properties of the covenant which it refpefls. 

§ II. This now covenant was primarily made with- 
Jefus Chrill tht furety of it. For, 

1. God neither would, nor (falva jujiitla, fapientla et 
honore) could treat immediately with finful rebellious men 
on terms of grace for the future, until fatisfa^ion was 
undertaken to be made for fins pall, and fuch as (hould 
afterwards take place. This was done by Chrift alone ; 
[fee II. Cor v. 19, 20^ Gal. iii 13, 14. Rom. iii. 25.] 

2. No rcjlipulation of obedience to God could be made by 
man, that might be a ground of entering into a covenant 
intended to be firm and ilable. For whereas we had 
broken our firfl covenant engagement with God in our 
beft condition, we v/ere not likely of ourfelves to make 
good a new engagement of an higher nature than the 

3. That grace which was to be the fpring of all the 
blellings of this covenant to the glory of God, and falva- 
tion of the church, was to be depolited in iomQ fafc hand., 
for the accompliihmcnt of tbefe ends. 

4. As he was the Mediator of this covenant, God 
became his God, and he became the fervant of God, in a 
peculiar manner. F'or he ftood before God in this co- 
venant as a public rcprefcntalive of all the eled^. 

5. God being in this covenant a God and Father, to 
Chrift, he became, by virtue thereof, our God and Father^ 
[John XX. 17. Heb. ii. 12, 13.] and we became heirs of 
God and joint heirs with Chrift \ his people to yield 
him ail fincere obedience. 

§ ^2* 

Ver. 10— 12. EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS. 451 

§ 12. The nature of this covenant relation is exprefTed 
on the one iide and the other ; * / will be to them a God,^ or, 
as it is elfewhere exprefTed, / will be their God. Let us 
inquire a little into this unfpeakable privilege, which 
eternity alone will fufficiently unfold. (K«jj/ S(roucci) Jnd 
I will be^ I vjho am that I am \ JEHOVAH, goodneis 
and being itfeif, and the caufe of all being and goodnefs 
to others ; infinitely wife, powerful, righteous, &c. There 
lies the eternal fpring of the infinite treafures and fupplies 
of the church, here and for ever. ' He will be a GOD 

* to us.' Now although this comprifeth abfolutely every- 
thing that is good, yet may the notion of being ' a God* 
to any, be referred to thefe two heads : — an all-fufficient 
freferver ; and — an all-fufficient rewarder. It is included 
in this part of the promife, that they who take him to be 
their God, fhall fay, ' thou art my God,* [Hof. ii. 23.} 
and fhall condu6l themfclves accordingly. 

The other part of the promife is, ' And they JImll be to 

* me a people \ or, they Jhall he my people ; which contains 
God's owning them to be his in a peculiar manner, (Koc>og 
iig TTi^iTror/ia-iVi 1. Pet. ii. 9.) ' a peculiar people.' Let 
others take heed how they meddle with them, left they 
intrench on God's property, [Jer. ii. 3,] — And on the 
other hand is implied their profrjfion of all fubje^ion and 
obedience to him, and all dependence upon him. Their 
avouching this God to be their God. 

§ 13. * And they Ihall not teach every man his neigh- 

* hour, and every man his brother, faying, know the 

* Lord ; for all Ihail know me, from the leail to the 

* greatefi:.' 

The fecond general promife declaring the nature of 
the new covenant, is here exprefled. — (Ou ily} ^i^o^^ooa-iv) 
^hey Jhall by no means teach^ that is, as to a certain way 
and manner of it ; for the negative is not univerfal as to 
teachings but retrained to a certain kind of it, which was 
in ufe, and in a degree neceifary, under the old covenant. 
— (Fvo;^/ Tov K!jp/ov) know the Lord \ intending the whole 
knowledge of God, and of his will as prefcribed in the 
law ; whatever he revealed for their good. {[Deut. xxix. 



^g.] — The manner of teaching, the continuation of 
which is demedy is every man his brother, and every man h'u 
neighbour, — The pofitive part of the promife is, — ' They 

* Jhall all knoiv tne^ The \^{\\\c\^?.\ cffic'mit caufe of our 
learning the knowledge of God under th-j new covenant, 
js included m this part of the promife ; exprelTed in ano- 
ther prophet, ' they fhail be all taught of God.* * Jll of 

* ihem, from the leaji to the greatcft \ 3. proverbial fpeech, 
Signifying the generality intended without exception, [Jer. 
viii. I.] ' every one from the ieafl to the greateil:, is 
' given to covetoufnefs. 

§ 14. From the vehement denial of the ufe of that 
fort of teaching v/hich was in ufe under the Old Tefta-. 
ipent, fome have contended that all outward fiated ways 
of inftru6lion under the New Teflament are forbidden. 
Hence they have reje£led all the ordinances, miniflry, 
and government of the church ; which is, in fa£t, to 
maintain that there is no fuch thing as a profeffing church 
in the world. But yet (fuch is the inconliilency of error) 
thofe who are thus minded, endeavour in what they do to 
ieach others their opinion, * every one his neighbour.* 
The truth is, if all outward ieachhig be abfolutely and 
univerfally forbidden, it would not only foon fill the 
world with darknefs and brutifh ignorance, but it would 
alfo follow, that if any one fhould come to the knowledge 
of this or any other text of fcripture, it would be ab^ 
folutely unlawful for him to communicate it to others ' 

Notwithflanding, fome learned men have been fo 
inoved with this obje£lion, as to afHrm, that the accom- 
plifliment of this promife belongs to the ftate of glory ; 
for therein alone, fay they, we fhall have no more need 
of teaching in any kind. But, as this expofition is di« 
re£llv contrary to the defgn of the apoflle, which refpe£ls 
the teaching of the new covenant in oppoiition t-o the old ; 
fo there is no fuch difficulty in the words as to force us 
Xo ' carry the interpretation of them into another world. !' 

§ 1 5. The teaching intended, tlie continuance of which 
is here denied, Is that which was then in ufe in the 
church ; or, rather, w^s tq be fo w^eu the new covenant 


Ver. 10— fi. EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS. 453 

ftate was folemnly to be introduced. And this was two- 
fold : — That which was injiitutcd hy the Lord himfelf; 
and that which the people had fupperadded in pra^licco 
Now it is plain that no promife of the gofpel evacuates 
any precept of the law of nature ; fuch as that of feeking 
the good of others by fuitable means. 5'Jt as to the 
ceremonial law, which the Jev/s principally relied upon, it 
is by the new covenant quite taken away. 

As to the practice of the Jewifh church in thefe in- 
flitutions, it is not to be exprcffed what extremes they 
ran intp. We may reafonably fuppofe, it was of the 
fame kind with what flouriflied afterwards in their famous 
fihools derived from thefe firft inventors. The firll re- 
cord we have of the manner of their teaching, is in the 
Mifhna : this is their interpretation of the law, or their 
fayings one to another, ' Know the Lord.' And he that 
ihall ferioufly conlider but one feilion or chapter in that 
whole book, will quickly difcern of what kind and 
nature their teaching was ; for of fuch an operous^ curious^ 
fruitlefs work, there is not another inllance to be given in 
the whole world. Thefe were the burdens which th$ 
pharifees bound and laid upon the fhoulders of their difci- 
ples, until they were utterly weary and faint under them. 
And this kind of teaching had poflelTed the whole church 
when the new covenant was folemnly to be introduced ; 
no other being in ufe. This is ahfdutely intended in this 
promife, as what was utterly to ceafe. For God would 
take away the law, which in itfelf was a burden, as the 
apoftles fpeak, ^ which neither they nor their fathers were 
* able to bear.' And the weight of that burden was un- 
fpeakably increafed by the expofitions and additions where- 
of this teaching confiiled \ wherefore, the removal of it is 
here propofed by way of pramife, evidently proving it to 
be a matter of grace and kindnefs to the church. But 
the removal of teaching in general is always mentioned as 
a threatening and punifhment, 

§ 16. But yet, it may he, more clear light into the 
mind of the Holy Spirit may be attained, from a due con- 
iideration of what it is that is fo to be taught ? And this 

VoLo III* N ii u is 


is ' knoiv the Lord.'' Concerning which may be obferved, 
that there was a knowledge of God under the Old Tefla- 
itient, fo revealed as that it was hidden under types, wrapt 
tip in veihy expreffed only in parables and dark Jayings, 
ISlow this kind of teaching by mutual' encouragement to 
look into the veiled things of the myilery of God in 
Chrift, is now to ceafe at the folemn introdu£lion of the 
new covenant, as being rendered ufelefs by the full, clear 
manifejlation of them in the gofpel. They fhall no more 
teach, that is, they fhall need no more fo to teach this 
knowledge of God ; for it fhall be made plain to the 
Tinderfrandings of all believers. And this is what I judge 
to be principally intended by the Holy Ghofl in this part 
of tliie promife, as that to which the pofitive part of it 
doth fo direftly anfwer. 

We have, I hope, fufficiently freed the words from 
the difficulties that feem to attend them, fo as that we 
Ihall not need to refer the accomplifhment of this promife 
to heaven with many ancient and modern expofitors ; 
Bor yet with other^, to reftrain it to the firft converts 
to Chriflianity, who were miraculoufly illuminated; much 
lefs fo to interpret them, as to exclude a flated minillry 
in the church. 

§ 17. The pofitive is part; * for all fhall know me, 
* from the leaft to the greateft.' Thofe to whom it is 
made, are (Trccfjcg cciPjOov) all of them : but the terms of 
the diflribution he rendereth in the fingular number, 
which increafeth the emphafis, (^cctto ^j^ixpi^ avjotjy soog 
LLzy(x>.'8 czvJcajv) ' from the leafl to the greateft.' If only 
the external adminiflration of the grace of the covenant 
be intended, none are excluded from the tender of the 
knowledge of God. But whereas it is the internal, ef- 
fef^ual grace of the covenant, not only the means, but the 
infallible event ; not only that they fhall be all taught to 
know, but they fhall all aBually know the Lord, all the 
individuals are intended. It is not implied that they 
fhall all do fo equally, or have the fame degree of fpiritual 
wifdom and underllanding. < lloey fhall all know mcJ* 
No duty is more frequently commanded than this is, nor 

• any 

¥e5i. io— II. EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS. 455 

any grace more frequently promifed. In brief, it Is the 
knowledge of him as revealed in Jefus Chrifl under the 
New Teftament ; to know God as he is in Chrift pcr-^ 
fonallyj as he will be to us in Chrifl: gracioujly^ and what 
he requires of us, and accepts through the Beloved : but 
notwithftanding the clear revelation of thefe things, we 
abide in ourfelves unable to difcern and receive them ; 
therefore fuch a fpiritual knowledge is intended, as by 
which the mind is renewed, being accompanied with faith 
and love in the heart. 

§ 18. * For I will be merciful to their unrighteoufnefs, 

* and their lins and their iniquities will I remember no 

* more.'^ — This is the great fundamental promife and grace 
of the new covenant ; for though it be lafl exprelTed, 
yet, in order of nature, it precedeth the other mercies and 
privileges mentioned, and is the foundation of their com- 
munication to us. Not only an addition of new grace and 
mercy is exprclled in thefe words, but a reafon is rendered 
why he would bcftow them. The firfl thing, in order of 
nature, is the free pardon of Jin ; vv^hich is the only reafon 
mentioned, why God will give to them the other bleffings 

Sin is here exprefled by three terms {ciSiKia,-, (zuoiplia^ 
avo^icx,) unrighteoufnefs, fn, and iniquities, as we render the 
words. Nor ar^e thefe terms needlefsly multiplied : many 
of thefe whom God gracioufly takes into covenant, arc 
antecedently obnoxious to all forts oi fins : in the grace 
of the covenant there is mercy provided for the pardon of 
them all. Therefore none fhould be difcouraged from 
refting on the faithfulnefs of God in this covenant, who 
are invited to a compliance. 

But there is more intended in the words ; they diftinftly 
cxprefs all thofe refpe£ls of fin in general, by which the 
confcience of a firmer is aiFe(fted, burdened, and terrified. 
{l^iKioc) unrighteoufnefs, expreffeth a general aiFe<i^ion of 
fin with rcfpe£l to God. It is a thing unequal and un^ 
righteous, that man fhould fin againfl God his fovereigii 
ruler and benefaftor. The original perfe£tion of his na- 
ture confifled in this righteoufnefs towards God, by ren- 
N n n 21 dering 


dering to him due obedience* This is overthrown by fm, 
ivhich is therefore both fhameful and ruinous, and which, 
when the confcience is awakened by convi£tion, diftrefleth 
it. (Ajjiaflicy.) fin, is properly an erring from that end 
and fcope which it is our duty to aim at. There is a 
certain end for which we were made, and a certain rule 
proper for attaining it. And this end being our only 
blelledncfs, it is our interelt to be always in a tendency 
towards it. This is the glory of God, and our eternal fal^ 
vation in the enjoyment o( him. To this the law of God 
is a perfeft guide. * To fn^ therefore, \% to forfake that 
rule, and thereby to forego our aim at that end. It is to 
place {t\i and the world as our end, in the place of God 
and his glory, and to take the imaginations of our hearts 
for our rule. Wherefore the perverfe folly of * wander- 

* ing away from the chief good as our end, and the befl 

* guide as our rule,* embracing the greateft evils in their 
ilead, is { lcc) fn, rendering the punifhment righteous^ 
and filling the linner with fhame and fean — {Kvou^ia) ini- 
quity ; * a voluntary unconformity to the law.* Herein 
the formal nature of fm conMs, [I. John iii. 4.] and 
this is that which, in the firfl place, palTeth on the con- 
fcience of a finner. Wherefore, as all forts of particular 
iins are included in thefe terms ; fo the general nature of 
iin, in all its caufes and refpefts, terrifying the iinner, 
and manifefling the righteous curfe of the law, arc de- 
clared by them. 

§ 19. That which is promifed with refpc£t to thefc 
fins, is : 

i. (KKsojc t(roiioii) * I will he merciful ;* propitious, gra^^ 
cious through a propitiation, under the New Teflament^ 
[Rom. iii. 25. I. John ii. 2.] And inChrift alone God 
is merciful to our fins. 

2. (Ov fj.vj jjiyvjo-Gcofji) ' I will rcmemherno more* The 
law with its awful fandion, was the means divinely ap- 
pointed to bring iin to a judicial remembrance and trial. 
Wherefore, the diflblution of the law's obliging power to 
punifh, which is an a£l of God, as the Supreme Re£tor 
«nd judge of all, belongcth to ih^ pardon offm. We may 


Ver. 10— ist. EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS. 457 

farther notice, that the afTertion is fortified by a double 
negative ; fin fhall never be called legally to remembrance* 
§ 20* (11.) The obfervations from the w^hole are the 
following : i. The covenant of grace, as reduced into the 
form of a teftament, confirmed by the blood of Chrift, 
doth not depend on any condition or qualification in our 
pcrfons, but in 2ifree grant and donation of God, and fo 
are all the good things prepared in it. 

2. The precepts of the old covenant are turned into 
promifes under the new. Their preceptive power is not 
taken away, but grace is promifed for the performance 
of them* 

3. All things in the new covenant being propofed to 
us by way of promife, it is hj faith alone we may attain a 
participation of them j [Heb. iii. i.] 

4. A fenfe of the lofs of an intercft in the benefilts of 
the old covenant, is the beft preparation for receiving the 

§ 21. To thefe we may add the following: 

1. The grace of our Lord Jefus Chriil in the new 
covenant, in its being and repairing efficacy^ is large and 
extenfive as fin in its power to deprave our natures. 

2. The work of grace in the new covenant palTeth on 
the whole foul in all its faculties, powers, and affections, 
for their change and renovation. The whole was cor- 
rupted, and the whole mufl: be renewed. 

3. To take away the neceflity and efficacy of renciving 
fanClifying grace, confifting in an internal efficacious 
operation of the principles, habits, and a£ls of internal 
grace and obedience, is plainly to overthrow and rejeii 
the nev/ covenant. 

4. We bring nothing to the new covenant but our 
hearts as tables to be written on, with the fenfe of the in- 
fufficiency of the precepts and promifes of the law^ with 
refpeCl to our own ability to comply with them. 

^. The Lord Chrifl, God and man, undertaking to 
be the mediator between God and man, and a furety on 
our behalf, is the head of the new covenant, which is 
made and eflablilhed with us in him. 

^ 22. 


§ 22. And we may obferve farther: 

1. As nothing/^/} than God becoming our God could 
help and fave us, fo nothing more can be required. 

2. The efficacy, fecurity, and glory of this covenant 
depend ong'nally on the nature of God, immediately and 
adlually on the mediation of Chrifl. 

3. It is from the engagement of the divine properties 
that this covenant is ordered in all things and fure. Inii-* 
iiite wifdom hath provided it, and inlinite power will 
make it eipi-6lual. 

4. As the grace of this covenant is inexpreflibie, fo 
are the obligations it puts upon us to obedience. 

5. God doth as v\^ell undertake for our being his peo- 
ple, as he doth for his being our God. 

6. Thofe whom God makes a covenant with, are his 
in a peculiar manner. 

§ 23. On that part of the fubjeft which relates to 
teachings we may obferve : 

1. The in{lru£live miniflry of the Old Teftament as 
fuch, and with refpeft to the carnal rites thereof, was a 
miniflry of the letter^ and not of t\\&fpirit^ which did not 
really effect in the hearts of men the things v^^hich it 
taught. The fpiritual benefit which was obtained under 
it, proceeded from the promifi, and not from the efficacy 
of the law, or the covenant made at Sinai. 

2. There is a duty incumbent on every man to inflrudl 
others according to his ability and opportunity in the 
knowledge of God ; the law of itj being natural and 
eternal, is always obligatory on all forts of perfons. How 
few are there that take any care to inftruft their ow^n 
children and fervants ! and yet to carry this duty farther 
would be looked upon almofl as madnefs in the days 
wherein V7e live. We have far more who teach one ano- 
ther fin, folly, yea villainy of all forts, than the knowledge 
of God, and the duty we owe him. 

3. It is the fpirit of grace alone, as promifed in the 
new covenant, frees the church from a laborious, but iii- 
effedual, v/ay of teaching. He who, in all his teaching, 
doth not take his encouragement from the internal, effec- 

Ver. lo— 12. EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS. 4^9 

tual teaching of God under the covenant of grace, and 
bends not all his endeavours to be fubfervient to that end, 
hath but an Old 7'eftament minillry. 

4. There was an hidden treafure of divine wifdom, of 
* the knowledge of God,' laid up in the revelations and 
inilitutions of the Old Tcflament, which the people were 
not able to comprehend. They faid one to another, 
^ Know the Lord ;' yet their attainments were but fmall, 
in comparifon of what is contained in the enfuing 

5. The whole knowledge of God in Chrift is both 
plainly revealed, and favingly communicated to believers, 
by virtue of the new covenant. 

§ 24. Refpefting the knowledge of God {"-poken of, ob- 
ferve ; 

1. There are, and ever have been, different degrees of 
the faving knowledge of God in the church, [L John ii. 
1 3, 14.] Let every one be content with what he receives, 
and improve it to the utmoft. 

2. Where there is not fome degree of faving know- 
ledge, no interell in the new covenant can be pretended. 

3. The full and clear declaration of God, as he is to 
be known of us in this world, is a privilege refe;-ved for 
the days of the New Teftament. 

4. To know Godf as revealed in Chrift, is the higheft 
privilege of which in this life we can be made partakers. 
For this is life eternal, that we may know the Father, the 
only true God, and Jefus Chrift whom he hath fent ; 
[John xvii. 3.] 

§ 25. Concerning what is faid of fin and its pardon, 
obferve : 

I. Free, fovereign, undeferved grace in the pardon of 
fin, is the original fpringofall covenant bleftings. Hereby 
all boafting in ourfelves is excluded, which God eminently 
aimed at in its contrivance and eftablifhment, [Rom. iii. 
27. L Cor. i. 29 — 31.] Pardon of Jin is not merited by 
antecedent duties, but is the ftrongeft obligation to future 

3. The 

46o AN EXPOSITION OF THE Chap. vni. 

2. The new covenant (as to its internal form) is made 
with them alone, who effectually and eventually are made 
partakers of the grace of it ; though the propofals of its 
terms are indefinite. 

3. The aggravations of fin are great and many, which 
the confciences of convinced Unncrs ought to have a re* 
gard to. 

4. There is in the new covenant a provifion of gractt, 
and mercy for zli forts ^ and all aggravations of fins. 

5. Aggravations of lin do glorify pardoning grace. 
Therefore doth God here fo exprefs them, that he may 
declare the glory of his grace in their remiilion. 

6. We cannot underftand aright the glory and excel- 
lency of pardoning mercy, unlefs we are convinced of the 
greatnefs and vilenefs of our fms in all their aggravations* 

Verse 13. 

in that he saith, a new covenant, hf. kath 

made the first old. now that which de- 


§ I. Connexion and f cope of the text. § 2. ^he force of ths 
argument. § 3. How the former covenant was made old, 
§ 4. Abrogated by God himfef. § 5. Its vanijhing away, 
§ 6. Why its being dif annulled is fo expreffed. 

§ I . X H E apoflle having in the foregoing verfes proved, 
in general, the infufflciency of the old covenanty the necefftty 
of the yiewy the duffcrence between them, with tht preference 
of the latter above the former ; in alt confirming the ex- 
cellency of the priefthood of Chrift above that of Aaron ; 
in this vcrfe he dr^weth a fpecial inference from one wor4 




In the prophetic teflihnony, wherein the main truth to be 
confirmed was aflerted. Here he fixeth on a new argu-* 
menty in particular, to prove the neceffity and ceitainty 
of its abQlltien ; and hereby, according to his wonted 
manner, he makes a tranfitlon to his foUowing difcourfes, 
wherein he proves the fame truth from the diflin^l confi- 
deration of the ufe and ends of the inftitutions, ordinances, 
and facrifices, belonging to that covenant. This he pur- 
fues to the 24th verfe of the tenth chapter. 

§ 2. (Ev TO "kcyiLV KOrivriv) in that, or whereas ^ it is f aid 
a nevj ; or calleth it, ' a nezv.'' So exprellly in the pro- 
phet ; ' Behold, I will make a 7tew covenant,^ What he 
infers from hence is, that (TTSTTccKo'AodKi ttiV Tr^uojriv) he 
hath made the fir Jl old. The force of the argument lies iii 
this, that he would not have called thft fecond ncib\ had he 
hot made the firji old ; for {nzitoO'^AOov.c) he made old, is 
of an adrje {ignification, and denotes an authoritative a£l 
of God upon the old covenant, whereof the calling the 
other new was a fign and evidence ; but yet, it was the 
defignation of the new covenant that was the foundation 
of making the other old. 

§ 3. The word having refped to the time paji, it refers 
to the prediction and promife of the new coverrant ; for 
the introdu^ion of the new covenant did a dually aboUJh X\\^ 
old, making it to difappear, whereas the a'^l of God here 
intended is only his making it old in order to that end, 
which was done by various degrees. 

1. By calling the faith of the church, from refling in it, 
to the expectation of a better in the room of ir. This 
brought it under a decay in their minds, and g^ve it an 
inferior valuation to what it had before. They were 
now affured, that fomething much better would in due 
time be introduced, 

2. By a plain declaration (by Jeremiah and others) of 
its infirmity, and its infufiiciency for the great ends of a 
perfect covenant between God and the church. 

3. From the giving of this promife, God varioufiy, 
by his providence, weakened its adminiflration, which by 
its decaying age was more and more manifefled ; for, im- 

VoL. III. O o o mediately 


jnediately after the giving this promife, the Babylonilh 
captivity gave a total intercifion and interruption to the 
whole adminiilration of it (or feventy years ; which might 
be fairly deemed an evident token of its approaching pe- 
riod, and that God would have the church to live without 
it. And ev^en after their retiirn, neither the temple, nor 
its worjmp^ the adrainiftrations of tne cc/enant, nor the 
prieflhood, were ever reftored to their priftine beauty and 
glory. And whereas tlie people in general were mucli 
diilrefTed at the apprehenfion of its decay, God comforts 
them — not with any intimation that things under that 
covenant fhould ever be brought into a better condition, 
but — with an expectation of his coming amongft them, 
who would put an utter end to all the adminiflrations of 
it. fHag. ii. 6 — 9.] And from that time forwards it 
were eafy to trace the v/hole procefs of it, and to mani- 
fell how it continually declined towards the end. 

§ 4. Thus did God make It old, by varioufly difpofing 
of it to its end; and, to give a flill fuller evidence, called 
the covenant which he would make, a new one. But no 
inftitution of God will ever wax old of itfelf \ nor can the 
fins of men abate their force. He only who fets them up 
can take them down. 

And this is the apoflle's :fir{l argument from the tefli- 
mony, to prove that the firfl covenant was to be abo- 
lifhed. But whereas it may be queftioned, whether it 
(directly follow, that it mull be taken away becaufe it is 
made old ; he confirms the truth of his inference from a 
general maxim, which hath alfo the nature of a new argu- 
ment : ' now, faith he, that which decayeth and waxeth 
* old is ready to vanifh away.' Old is iigniiicative of 
that which is to have an end, and which a(Slually draws 
towards it. Every thing that can %vax old hath an end ; 
and that which doth fo, draws towards that end. So ths 
pfahnift affirming, that the heavens themfelves ih^W perij/j, 
'adds as ^ proof, * they fliall wax old as a garment ;' and 
then none can doubt but they muft have an endj at leaft 
as to their prefent ufe. 


§ 5. (To ^c) l^ut that, or whatever it be {7ro^K(Ziiiu.-vo)f 
TiOii y/iPcao'Kov) which decayeth and waxeth old ; we exprefs 
the firil by that which decayeth^ to avoid the repetition of 
the fame word, we having no other whereby to exprefs 
waxing old, or made old : but properly it is that which 
hath the effect pajjive of (TrsTTOiXO'iooKc) hath made old \ it 
is that which is made old ; and it properly refpe£leth 
things, not pcrfons. But the other word (y'/\oo(,(rKQv) re-^ 
fpeds perfons, not things. Wherefore the apoflle might 
have ufed a pleonafm to give emphajis to his ^flertion ; yet 
nothing hinders but we may think that he had a diftindt 
refped to the things and perfons belonging to its adminif- 

(Eyyvg ci(pccvi(TiJLi^) * ready to vanifh away,' near ta a 
dtfappearance, an abolition, and taking out of the way.— 
The proportion is univerfal ; whatever brings to decay 
and age, will bring them to an end ; for decay and age 
are the expreffions of a tendency to an end. Let an angel 
live ever fo long, he zuaxcth not old, becaufe he cannot die, 
IVaxing old is abfolutely oppo