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THE EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS.
1. 1, 2. God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in times past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath &c.
That God, who, in the several times and ages of the world, did, in many and divers ways and manners, reveal himself to our forefathers, by his prophets, in dreams, in visions, in secret inspirations and instincts, in apparitions of angels; sometimes in the cloud, sometimes in the fire, sometimes in whirlwinds, sometimes in a still voice, Hath now in these, &c.
I. 3. Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high ;
Who, being in respect of his divine nature, very God, of very God; light of his Father's light, the brightness of those glorious beams of his eternal essence and infinite majesty; and being so the express and clear representation of his Father's person, as that the substance of the Father doth perfectly shine forth in him, and all that is to be known concerning God is manifested to us in and by him; and giving supportation, maintenance, preservation to all things which he hath made, by that almighty power of his; when he had, by his own all-sufficient satisfaction, expiated and done away all our sins, even by himself and his own precious blood shed for us; he then took up his rest in the full possession of heavenly glory, even as Man, at the right hand of his Father;
I. 4. Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.
Being, in his very human nature advanced so much bigher than the greatest angels of heaven, by how much he hath obtained a more excellent and glorious Name than they, viz. to be called and to be, The Son of God; not by grace or adoption as we are, but by nature and eternal communication of essence.
1. 7. And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire.
And of the angels he saith, Who makes these invisible and spiritual natures, so swift messengers, as the very winds that pass suddenly round about the earth, and return not; and makes those his ministering spirits, as quick, piercing, forceable, operative, as flames of fire.
I. 8. But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.
Thus he speaks ever of the angels, as servants; but, of the Son, he speaks as of the God and Lord of the Angels; Thy
throne O God, &c. Thy kingdom, and government, is most just and righteous.
I. 9. Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, &c. See Psalm xlv. 7.
I. 11. They shall perish: but thou remainest : and they all shall wax old as doth a garment. See Isaiah xxxiv. 4.
II. 1. Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard.
Since therefore it is so, that the Son of God, which hath now last spoken to us by himself, is so much more excellent than the angels, we ought to give so much more diligent heed, and reverent respect to the things, which we have heard spoken by him.
II. 2, 3. For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and erery transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward; How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, fc.?
For if that law, which was given by the ministration of angels, were of so great awfulness; and every transgression thereof, and disobedience thereunto, carried away a terrible judgment from the just hand of God; How shall we escape, if we neglect the sweet and gracious word of the Gospel, the message and means of our eternal salvation; which first began to be personally preached by the Lord himself, &c. ?
II. 6. But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, fc.?
But the holy Psalmist in his eighth Psalm testified, saying, O God, what is man, &c. ?
II. 7. Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands.
Thou hast made that very Son of Man, for the little time of his humiliation here on earth, somewhat lower than the Angels; but thou soon advancedst him again, and crownedst him with infinite glory and majesty ; and didst make him, as Mediator the Lord and King over all the works of thy hands.
II. 8. But now we see not yet all things put under him.
But now, as yet, we do not indeed see all things actually so subjected to his government, as that none of the rebellious enemies of Christ do rise up against him: it is enough, that he hath taken possession of his glory; and will, in his own due time, subdue all the adverse powers.
II. 9. Who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.
But, in the mean time, we see that Jesus, who was indeed made a little lower than the Angels, in respect of his suffering of death, which those blessed spirits are not capable of, we see him, I say, crowned with glory and honour, who was before humbled by his own voluntary dispensation, and by the wonderful grace and favour of God towards mankind, that he might undergo that death for man, which every one is liable unto; and, by his tasting of death, sweeten it to all his faithful ones.
II. 10. For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
For it well stood with the justice and mercy of that infinitely wise, powerful, and holy God, who is the Maker and Preserver of all things; for the effecting of that his gracious decree, in saving many sons of his and bringing them to their full glory, to fit this great author and ringleader of their salvation, for that wonderful and unspeakable glory, wherewith his humanity was to be invested, through many and great sufferings.
II. 11. For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one : for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren.
For both that Saviour of ours by whom we are sanctified, and we that are sanctified, are all of one nature, namely, we have all one common humanity: for which cause he being, as he is, God, blessed for ever, is not ashamed to call us, miserable men, by the name of his brethren.
II. 14, 15. That through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil ; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their life time subject to bondage.
That, by the suffering of that death, which was due to us for our sins, he might strip Satan of that power and advantage, which he had over mankind, in the drawing of man into eternal death, by miscarrying him into sin, whose wages is death; And that he might deliver those his chosen children, from the fear and horror of temporal death, who, in the state of nature, were held continually in a slavish fear and dreadful expectation of it.
II. 17. Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.
Wherefore, since he would become man and our elder brother, it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren in all things, both in his substance, and affections, and infirmities, sin only excepted: that, out of his experience, he might be approved unto us a merciful and faithful High Priest, in those things which are requisite to make up a perfect reconciliation with God, for the sins of the people.
II. 18. For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.
For in that he himself in his human nature hath suffered, being assailed by divers difficulties and trials of affliction, he is therefore, out of his own feeling experience, able to succour those that are thus afflicted and assaulted.
III. 1. Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus;
Wherefore, O ye Christian Jews, who are partakers of this heavenly calling, and brethren by your holy profession, consider and set before your eyes Jesus Christ, your blessed Saviour; who, in respect of the Gospel, is our great and prime Apostle, that brings us the glad tidings of salvation; and, in respect to the Law, is our High Priest, who hath offered up a perfect sacrifice for mankind;
III. 2. Who was faithful to him that appointed him, as also Moses was faithful in ali his house.
Who was faithful to God his Father, in all things that were enjoined him to be done; even as (and much more, than ever) Moses was in the Israelitish Church ; which was as the great family of God upon earth.
III. 3. For this man was counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as he who hath builded the house hath more honour than the house.
Ye have a high opinion of Moses ; but know ye, that there is no comparison to be admitted betwixt him and Christ : for Christ is accounted worthy of so much more honour than Moses, by how much the builder and master of the house is worthy of more honour than the house which he hath built or any parcel thereof: now Christ is the Maker and Owner of this great house of his Church, and Moses is a part of this house of God as being a member of his Church; and therefore is worthy of much more honour than Moses.
III. 4. For every house is builded by some man; but he that built all things is God.
The material houses, wherein we dwell, are built by the hand of some man; but Christ, who is the Builder of this great house of the Church, yea of the whole world, is God, and therefore infinitely more excellent than any creature whatsoever.
IJI. 5. And Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after;
And Moses was faithful in the administration of this whole Church or house of God, as a servant; in delivering unto the people all that part of God's will, which he would have then to be declared unto them, and which afterwards was to be more clearly set forth;
III. 6. But Christ as a Son over his own house ; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of ke hope firm unto the end.
But Christ is a faithful Governor, as the Son of God, and therefore as the true Lord and Owner of this house; which house or Church of his we are, if, as we have received the Christian faith and profession, so we do stedfastly hold on the resolute maintenance of the same faith, which only is able to give us confidence, and cause of rejoicing in the assured hope and expectation of our glory to come.
III. 8, 9, 11. Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years.
So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest. See Psalm xcv. verses 8, 9, 10, 11.
III. 12. Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.
Take heed, brethren, lest, after this holy profession made by you, there be found in any of you an evil and unbelieving heart, to fall away and depart from the colours of the living God, to take part with infidelity.
III. 13. But exhort one another daily, while it is called Today; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.
But exhort and stir up one another daily, while God holds forth this happy opportunity unto you ; lest, as it fell out with our forefathers in the wilderness, so it should betide unto you, that any of you should have his heart hardened, and turned back towards the spiritual Egypt, through the deceitful suggestions of sin.
III. 14. For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end.
For we are already made partakers of Christ, in our holy profession, in his word and sacraments; and shall be fully and perfectly possessed of him, if we go on, according to our good beginning, and stedfastly hold that faith, which is only able to give us confidence and assurance, unto the end.
III. 15. While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not fc. See Psalm xcv. 8.
III. 16. For some, when they had heard, did provoke : howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses.
For not all your forefathers, that were brought by the hand of Moses out of Egypt, did provoke God to anger, by tempting of him; but some, and those indeed not a few, when they heard his words, yet went on to tempt and offend him.
III. 19. So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.