Chapter I
Chapter II
Chapter III
Chapter IV
Chapter V
Chapter VI
Chapter VII
Chapter VIII
Chapter IX
Chapter X
Chapter XI
Chapter XII
Chapter XIII
Chapter XIII

It is agreed by the general tenor of antiquity that this epistle was written by St. Paul, whose other epistles were sent to the gentile converts; this only to the Hebrews. But this improper inscription was added by some later hand. It was sent to the Jewish Hellenist Christians, dispersed through various countries. St. Paul's method and style are easily observed therein. He places, as usual, the proposition and division before the treatise, Heb 2:17; he subjoins the exhortatory to the doctrinal part, quotes the same scriptures, Heb 1:6; 2:8; 10:30,38,6; and uses the same expressions as elsewhere. But why does he not prefix his name, which, it is plain from Heb 13:19 was dear to them to whom he wrote? Because he prefixes no inscription, in which, if at all, the name would have been mentioned. The ardour of his spirit carries aim directly upon his subject, (just like St. John in his First Epistle,) and throws back his usual salutation and thanksgiving to the conclusion.

This epistle of St. Paul, and both those of St. Peter, (one may add, that of St. James and of St. Jude also,) were written both to the same persons, dispersed through Pontus, Galatia, and other countries, and nearly at the same time. St. Paul suffered at Rome, three years before the destruction of Jerusalem. Therefore this epistle likewise, was written while the temple was standing. St. Peter wrote a little before his martyrdom, and refers to the epistles of St. Paul; this in particular.

The scope of it is, to confirm their faith in Christ; and this he does by demonstrating his glory. All the parts of it are full of the most earnest and pointed admonitions and exhortations; and they go on in one tenor, the particle therefore everywhere connecting the doctrine and the use.

The sum is, The glory of Christ appears,

 I. From comparing with him the prophets and angels,........ C. i. 1-14
     Therefore we ought to give heed to him,................ C. ii. 1-4
 II. From his passion and consummation.
        Here we may observe,
   1. The proposition and sum,..................................... 5-9
   2. The treatise itself. We have a perfect author of
       salvation, who suffered for our sake, that he might be,
       (1.) a merciful, and, (2.) a faithful, (3.) high priest,.. 10-13
     These three are particularly explained, his passion
     and consummation being continually interwoven,
   1. He has the virtues of an high priest
     a. He is faithful,.................................... C. iii. 1-
        Therefore be ye not unfaithful...................... C. iv. 13
     b. He is merciful,........................................... 15-
        Therefore come to him with confidence................. C. v. 3
   2. He is called of God an high priest.  Here,
     a. The sum is proposed,..................................... 4-10
        With a summary exhortation....................... 11-C. vi. 20
     b. The point is copiously,
       1. Explained.  We have a great high priest,
         1. Such as is described in the hundred and tenth Psalm
            After the order of Melchisedec,.............. C. vii. 1-19
            Established by an oath,............................. 20-22
            For ever,........................................... 23-28
         2. Therefore peculiarly excellent-
            Heavenly,.................................... C. viii. 1-6
            Of the new covenant,................................. 7-13
            By whom we have an entrance into the
            sanctuary                                         C. ix. 1
                                                              C. x. 18
       2. Applied.  Therefore,
          1. Believe, hope, love................................ 19-25
             These three are farther inculcated,
            a. Faith, with patience,............................ 26-39
               Which, after the example of the ancients,..... C. xi. 1
                                                             C. xii. 1
               And of Christ himself,............................. 2,3
               Is to be exercised,............................... 4-11
               Cheerfully, peaceably, holily,................... 12-17
            b. Hope,............................................ 18-20
            c. Love,...................................... C.xiii. 1-6
          2. In order to grow in these graces, make use of
             The remembrance of your former,..................... 7-16
             The vigilance of your present, pastors,............ 17-19
          To this period, and to the whole epistle, answers
             The prayer, the doxology, and the mild
             conclusion,........................................ 20-25

There are many comparisons in this epistle, which may be nearly reduced to two heads : 1. The prophets, the angels, Moses, Joshua, Aaron, are great; but Jesus Christ is infinitely greater 2. The ancient believers enjoyed high privileges; but Christian believers enjoy far higher. To illustrate this, examples both of happiness and misery are everywhere interspersed: so that in this epistle there is a kind of recapitulation of the whole Old Testament. In this also Judaism is abrogated, and Christianity carried to its height.

Chapter I

1 God, who at sundry times - The creation was revealed in the time of Adam; the last judgment, in the time of Enoch: and so at various times, and in various degrees, more explicit knowledge was given. In divers manners - In visions, in dreams, and by revelations of various kinds. Both these are opposed to the one entire and perfect revelation which he has made to us by Jesus Christ. The very number of the prophets showed that they prophesied only "in part." Of old - There were no prophets for a large tract of time before Christ came, that the great Prophet might be the more earnestly expected. Spake - A part is put for the whole; implying every kind of divine communication. By the prophets - The mention of whom is a virtual declaration that the apostle received the whole Old Testament, and was not about to advance any doctrine in contradiction to it. Hath in these last times - Intimating that no other revelation is to be expected. Spoken - All things, and in the most perfect manner. By his Son - Alone. The Son spake by the apostles. The majesty of the Son of God is proposed,
  1. Absolutely, by the very name of Son, verse 1, and by three glorious predicates, - "whom he hath appointed," "by whom he made," who "sat down;" whereby he is described from the beginning to the consummation of all things, Heb 1:2,3
  2. Comparatively to angels, Heb 1:4. The proof of this proposition immediately follows: the name of Son being proved, Heb 1:5; his being "heir of all things," Heb 1:6 - 9; his making the worlds, Heb 1:10 - 12 his sitting at God's right hand, Heb 1:13, &c.
2 Whom he hath appointed heir of all things - After the name of Son, his inheritance is mentioned. God appointed him the heir long before he made the worlds, Eph 3:11; Prov 8:22, &c. The Son is the firstborn, born before all things: the heir is a term relating to the creation which followed, Heb 1:6. By whom he also made the worlds - Therefore the Son was before all worlds. His glory reaches from everlasting to everlasting, though God spake by him to us only "in these last days."
3 Who sat down - The third of these glorious predicates, with which three other particulars are interwoven, which are mentioned likewise, and in the same order, Col 1:15,17,20. Who, being - The glory which he received in his exaltation at the right hand of the Father no angel was capable of; but the Son alone, who likewise enjoyed it long before. The brightness of his glory - Glory is the nature of God revealed in its brightness. The express image - Or stamp. Whatever the Father is, is exhibited in the Son, as a seal in the stamp on wax. Of his person - Or substance. The word denotes the unchangeable perpetuity of divine life and power. And sustaining all things - Visible and invisible, in being. By the word of his power - That is, by his powerful word. When he had by himself - Without any Mosaic rites or ceremonies. Purged our sins - In order to which it was necessary he should for a time divest himself of his glory. In this chapter St. Paul describes his glory chiefly as he is the Son of God; afterwards, Heb 2:6, &c., the glory of the man Christ Jesus. He speaks, indeed, briefly of the former before his humiliation, but copiously after his exaltation; as from hence the glory he had from eternity began to be evidently seen. Both his purging our sins, and sitting on the right hand of God, are largely treated of in the seven following chapters. Sat down - The priests stood while they ministered: sitting, therefore, denotes the consummation of his sacrifice. This word, sat down, contains the scope, the theme, and the sum, of the epistle.
4 This verse has two clauses, the latter of which is treated of, Heb 1:5; the former, Heb 1:13. Such transpositions are also found in the other epistles of St. Paul, but in none so frequently as in this. The Jewish doctors were peculiarly fond of this figure, and used it much in all their writings. The apostle therefore, becoming all things to all men, here follows the same method. All the inspired writers were readier in all the figures of speech than the most experienced orators. Being - By his exaltation, after he had been lower than them, Heb 2:9. So much higher than the angels - It was extremely proper to observe this, because the Jews gloried in their law, as it was delivered by the ministration of angels. How much more may we glory in the gospel, which was given, not by the ministry of angels, but of the very Son of God! As he hath by inheritance a more excellent name - Because he is the Son of God, he inherits that name, in right whereof he inherits all things His inheriting that name is more ancient than all worlds; his inheriting all things, as ancient as all things. Than they - This denotes an immense pre - eminence. The angels do not inherit all things, but are themselves a portion of the Son's inheritance, whom they worship as their Lord.
5 Thou art my Son - God of God, Light of Light. This day have I begotten thee - I have begotten thee from eternity, which, by its unalter able permanency of duration, is one continued, unsuccessive day. I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son - I will own myself to be his Father, and him to be my Son, by eminent tokens of my peculiar love The former clause relates to his natural Sonship, by an eternal, inconceivable generation; the other, to his Father's acknowledgment and treatment of him as his incarnate Son. Indeed this promise related immediately to Solomon, but in a far higher sense to the Messiah. Psa 2:7; 2Sam 7:14
6 And again - That is, in another scripture. He - God. Saith, when he bringeth in his first - begotten - This appellation includes that of Son, together with the rights of primogeniture, which the first - begotten Son of God enjoys, in a manner not communicable to any creature. Into the world - Namely, at his incarnation. He saith, Let all the angels of God worship him - So much higher was he, when in his lowest estate, than the highest angel. Psa 97:7.
7 Who maketh his angels - This implies, they are only creatures, whereas the Son is eternal, Heb 1:8; and the Creator himself, Heb 1:10. Spirits and a flame of fire - Which intimates not only their office, but also their nature; which is excellent indeed, the metaphor being taken from the most swift, subtle, and efficacious things on earth; but nevertheless infinitely below the majesty of the Son. Psa 104:4.
8 O God - God, in the singular number, is never in scripture used absolutely of any but the supreme God. Thy reign, of which the sceptre is the ensign, is full of justice and equity. Psa 45:6,7.
9 Thou hast loved righteousness and hated iniquity - Thou art infinitely pure and holy. Therefore God - Who, as thou art Mediator, is thy God. Hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness - With the Holy Ghost, the fountain of joy. Above thy fellows - Above all the children of men.
10 Thou - The same to whom the discourse is addressed in the preceding verse. Psa 102:25,26
12 As a mantle - With all ease. They shall be changed - Into new heavens and a new earth. But thou art eternally the same.
13 Psa 110:1.
14 Are they not all - Though of various orders. Ministering spirits, sent forth - Ministering before God, sent forth to men. To attend on them - In numerous offices of protection, care, and kindness. Who - Having patiently continued in welldoing, shall inherit everlasting salvation.

Chapter II

In this and the two following chapters the apostle sub - joins an exhortation, answering each head of the preceding chapter.

1 Lest we should let them slip - As water out of a leaky vessel. So the Greek word properly signifies.
2 In giving the law, God spoke by angels; but in proclaiming the gospel, by his Son. Steadfast - Firm and valid. Every transgression - Commission of sin. Every disobedience - Omission of duty.
3 So great a salvation - A deliverance from so great wickedness and misery, into so great holiness and happiness. This was first spoken of (before he came it was not known) by Him who is the Lord - of angels as well as men. And was confirmed to us - Of this age, even every article of it. By them that had heard him - And had been themselves also both eye - witnesses and ministers of the word.
4 By signs and wonders - While he lived. And various miracles and distributions of the Holy Ghost - Miraculous gifts, distributed after his exaltation. According to his will - Not theirs who received them.
5 This verse contains a proof of the third; the greater the salvation is, and the more glorious the Lord whom we despise, the greater will be our punishment. God hath not subjected the world to come - That is, the dispensation of the Messiah; which being to succeed the Mosaic was usually styled by the Jews, the world to come, although it is still in great measure to come Whereof we now speak - Of which I am now speaking. In this last great dispensation the Son alone presides.
6 What is man - To the vast expanse of heaven, to the moon and the stars which thou hast ordained! This psalm seems to have been composed by David, in a clear, moonshiny, and starlight night, while he was contemplating the wonderful fabric of heaven; because in his magnificent description of its luminaries, he takes no notice of the sun, the most glorious of them all. The words here cited concerning dominion were doubtless in some sense applicable to Adam; although in their complete and highest sense, they belong to none but the second Adam. Or the son of man, that thou visitest him - The sense rises: we are mindful of him that is absent; but to visit, denotes the care of a present God. Psa 8:4.
7 Thou hast made him - Adam. A little lower than the angels - The Hebrew is, a little lower than (that is, next to) God. Such was man as he came out of the hands of his Creator: it seems, the highest of all created beings. But these words are also in a farther sense, as the apostle here shows, applicable to the Son of God. It should be remembered that the apostles constantly cited the Septuagint translation, very frequently without any variation. It was not their business, in writing to the Jews, who at that time had it in high esteem, to amend or alter this, which would of consequence have occasioned disputes without end.
8 Now this putting all things under him, implies that there is nothing that is not put under him. But it is plain, this is not done now, with regard to man in general.
9 It is done only with regard to Jesus, God - Man, who is now crowned with glory and honour - As a reward for his having suffered death. He was made a little lower than the angels - Who cannot either suffer or die. That by the grace of God, he might taste death - An expression denoting both the reality of his death, and the shortness of its continuance. For every man - That ever was or will be born into the world.
10 In this verse the apostle expresses, in his own words, what he expressed before in those of the Psalmist. It became him - It was suitable to all his attributes, both to his justice, goodness, and wisdom. For whom - As their ultimate end. And by whom - As their first cause. Are all things, in bringing many adopted sons to glory - To this very thing, that they are sons, and are treated as such To perfect the captain - Prince, leader, and author of their salvation, by his atoning sufferings for them. To perfect or consummate implies the bringing him to a full and glorious end of all his troubles, Heb 5:9. This consummation by sufferings intimates,
  1. the glory of Christ, to whom, being consummated, all things are made subject.
  2. The preceding sufferings.
Of these he treats expressly, Heb 2:11 - 18; having before spoken of his glory, both to give an edge to his exhortation, and to remove the scandal of sufferings and death. A fuller consideration of both these points he interweaves with the following discourse on his priesthood. But what is here said of our Lord's being made perfect through sufferings, has no relation to our being saved or sanctified by sufferings. Even he himself was perfect, as God and as man, before ever be suffered. By his sufferings, in his life and death, he was made a perfect or complete sin - offering. But unless we were to be made the same sacrifice, and to atone for sin, what is said of him in this respect is as much out of our sphere as his ascension into heaven. It is his atonement, and his Spirit carrying on "the work of faith with power" in our hearts, that alone can sanctify us. Various afflictions indeed may be made subservient to this; and so far as they are blessed to the weaning us from sin, and causing our affections to be set on things above, so far they do indirectly help on our sanctification.
11 For - They are nearly related to each other. He that sanctifieth - Christ, Heb 13:12. And all they that are sanctified - That are brought to God; that draw near or come to him, which are synonymous terms. Are all of one - Partakers of one nature, from one parent, Adam.
12 I will declare thy name to my brethren - Christ declares the name of God, gracious and merciful, plenteous in goodness and truth, to all who believe, that they also may praise him. In the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee - As the precentor of the choir. This he did literally, in the midst of his apostles, on the night before his passion. And as it means, in a more general sense, setting forth the praise of God, he has done it in the church by his word and his Spirit; he still does, and will do it throughout all generations. Psa 22:22.
13 And again - As one that has communion with his brethren in sufferings, as well as in nature, he says, I will put my trust in him - To carry me through them all. And again - With a like acknowledgment of his near relation to them, as younger brethren, who were yet but in their childhood, he presents all believers to God, saying, Behold I and the children whom thou hast given me. Isa 8:17,18
14 Since then these children partake of flesh and blood - Of human nature with all its infirmities. He also in like manner took part of the same; that through his own death he might destroy the tyranny of him that had, by God's permission, the power of death with regard to the ungodly. Death is the devil's servant and serjeant, delivering to him those whom he seizes in sin. That is, the devil - The power was manifest to all; but who exerted it, they saw not.
15 And deliver them, as many as through fear of death were all their lifetime, till then, subject to bondage - Every man who fears death is subject to bondage; is in a slavish, uncomfortable state. And every man fears death, more or less, who knows not Christ: death is unwelcome to him, if he knows what death is. But he delivers all true believers from this bondage.
16 For verily he taketh not hold of angels - He does not take their nature upon him. But he taketh hold of the seed of Abraham - He takes human nature upon him. St. Paul says the seed of Abraham, rather than the seed of Adam, because to Abraham was the promise made.
17 Wherefore it behoved him - It was highly fit and proper, yea, necessary, in order to his design of redeeming them. To be made in all things - That essentially pertain to human nature, and in all sufferings and temptations. Like his brethren - This is a recapitulation of all that goes before: the sum of all that follows is added immediately. That he might be a merciful and faithful High Priest - Merciful toward sinners; faithful toward God. A priest or high priest is one who has a right of approaching God, and of bringing others to him.
  • Faithful is treated of, Heb 3:2, &c., with its use;
  • merciful, Heb 4:14, &c., with the use also;
  • High Priest, Heb 5:4, &c., Heb 7:1, &c. The use is added from Heb 10:19.
    In things pertaining to God, to expiate the sins of the people - Offering up their sacrifices and prayers to God; deriving God's grace, peace, and blessings upon them.
  • 18 For in that he hath suffered being tempted himself he is able to succour them that are tempted - That is, he has given a manifest, demonstrative proof that he is able so to do.

    Chapter III

    1 The heavenly calling - God calls from heaven, and to heaven, by the gospel. Consider the Apostle - The messenger of God, who pleads the cause of God with us. And High Priest - Who pleads our cause with God. Both are contained in the one word Mediator. He compares Christ, as an Apostle, with Moses; as a Priest, with Aaron. Both these offices, which Moses and Aaron severally bore, he bears together, and far more eminently. Of our profession - The religion we profess.
    2 His house - The church of Israel, then the peculiar family of God. Num 12:7.
    3 He that hath builded it hath more glory than the house - Than the family itself, or any member of it.
    4 Now Christ, he that built not only this house, but all things, is God - And so infinitely greater than Moses or any creature.
    5 And Moses verily - Another proof of the pre - eminence of Christ above Moses. Was faithful in all his house, as a servant, for a testimony of the things which were afterwards to be spoken - That is, which was a full confirmation of the things which he afterward spake concerning Christ.
    6 But Christ was faithful as a Son; whose house we are, while we hold fast, and shall be unto the end, if we hold fast our confidence in God, and glorying in his promises; our faith and hope.
    7 Wherefore - Seeing he is faithful, be not ye unfaithful. Psa 95:7, &c.
    8 As in the provocation - When Israel provoked me by their strife and murmurings. In the day of temptation - When at the same time they tempted me, by distrusting my power and goodness. Exod 17:7.
    9 Where your fathers - That hard - hearted and stiff - necked generation. So little cause had their descendants to glory in them. Tempted me - Whether I could and would help them. Proved me - Put my patience to the proof, even while they saw my glorious works both of judgment and mercy, and that for forty years.
    10 Wherefore - To speak after the manner of men. I was grieved - Displeased, offended with that generation, and said, They always err in their hearts - They are led astray by their stubborn will and vile affections. And - For this reason, because wickedness has blinded their understanding. They have not known my ways - By which I would have led them like a flock. Into my rest - In the promised land.
    12 Take heed, lest there be in any of you - As there was in them. An evil heart of unbelief - Unbelief is the parent of all evil, and the very essence of unbelief lies in departing from God, as the living God - The fountain of all our life, holiness, happiness.
    13 But, to prevent it, exhort one another, while it is called To - day - This to - day will not last for ever. The day of life will end soon, and perhaps the day of grace yet sooner.
    14 For we are made partakers of Christ - And we shall still partake of him and all his benefits, if we hold fast our faith unto the end. If - But not else; and a supposition made by the Holy Ghost is equal to the, strongest assertion. Both the sentiment and the manner of expression are the same as Heb 3:6.
    16 Were they not all that came out of Egypt - An awful consideration! The whole elect people of God (a very few excepted) provoked God presently after their great deliverance, continued to grieve his Spirit for forty years, and perished in their sin!
    19 So we see they could not enter in - Though afterward they desired it.

    Chapter IV

    2 But the word which they heard did not profit them - So far from it, that it increased their damnation. It is then only when it is mixed with faith, that it exerts its saving power.
    3 For we only that have believed enter into the rest - The proposition is, There remains a rest for us. This is proved, Heb 4:3 - 11, thus: That psalm mentions a rest: yet it does not mean,
    1. God's rest from creating; for this was long before the time of Moses. Therefore in his time another rest was expected, of which they who then heard fell short Nor is it,
    2. The rest which Israel obtained through Joshua; for the Psalmist wrote after him. Therefore it is,
    3. The eternal rest in heaven.
    As he said - Clearly showing that there is a farther rest than that which followed the finishing of the creation. Though the works were finished - Before: whence it is plain, God did not speak of resting from them.
    4 For, long after he had rested from his works, he speaks again. Gen 2:2.
    5 In this psalm, of a rest yet to come.
    7 After so long a time - It was above four hundred years from the time of Moses and Joshua to David. As it was said before - St. Paul here refers to the text he had just cited.
    8 The rest - All the rest which God had promised.
    9 Therefore - Since he still speaks of another day, there must remain a farther, even an eternal, rest for the people of God.
    10 For they do not yet so rest. Therefore a fuller rest remains for them.
    11 Lest any one should fall - Into perdition.
    12 For the word of God - Preached, Heb 4:2, and armed with threatenings, Heb 4:3. Is living and powerful - Attended with the power of the living God, and conveying either life or death to the hearers. Sharper than any two - edged sword - Penetrating the heart more than this does the body. Piercing - Quite through, and laying open. The soul and spirit, joints and marrow - The inmost recesses of the mind, which the apostle beautifully and strongly expresses by this heap of figurative words. And is a discerner - Not only of the thoughts, but also of the intentions.
    13 In his sight - It is God whose word is thus "powerful:" it is God in whose sight every creature is manifest; and of this his word, working on the conscience, gives the fullest conviction. But all things are naked and opened - Plainly alluding to the sacrifices under the law which were first flayed, and then (as the Greek word literally means) cleft asunder through the neck and backbone; so that everything both without and within was exposed to open view.
    14 Having therefore a great high priest - Great indeed, being the eternal Son of God, that is passed through the heavens - As the Jewish high priest passed through the veil into the holy of holies, carrying with him the blood of the sacrifices, on the yearly day of atonement; so our great high priest went once for all through the visible heavens, with the virtue of his own blood, into the immediate presence God.
    15 He sympathizes with us even in our innocent infirmities, wants, weaknesses, miseries, dangers. Yet without sin - And, therefore, is indisputably able to preserve us from it in all our temptations.
    16 Let us therefore come boldly - Without any doubt or fear. Unto the throne of God, our reconciled Father, even his throne of grace - Grace erected it, and reigns there, and dispenses all blessings in a way of mere, unmerited favour.

    Chapter V

    1 For every high priest being taken from among men - Is, till he is taken, of the same rank with them. And is appointed - That is, is wont to be appointed. In things pertaining to God - To bring God near to men, and men to God. That he may offer both gifts - Out of things inanimate, and animal sacrifices.
    2 Who can have compassion - In proportion to the offence: so the Greek word signifies. On the ignorant - Them that are in error. And the wandering - Them that are in sin. Seeing himself also is compassed with infirmity - Even with sinful infirmity; and so needs the compassion which he shows to others.
    4 The apostle begins here to treat of the priesthood of Christ. The sum of what he observes concerning it is, Whatever is excellent in the Levitical priesthood is in Christ, and in a more eminent manner; and whatever is wanting in those priests is in him. And no one taketh this honour - The priesthood. To himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron - And his posterity, who were all of them called at one and the same time. But it is observable, Aaron did not preach at all; preaching being no part of the priestly office.
    5 So also Christ glorified not himself to be an high priest - That is, did not take this honour to himself, but received it from him who said, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee - Not, indeed, at the same time; for his generation was from eternity. Psa 2:7.
    6 Psa 110:4.
    7 The sum of the things treated of in the seventh and following chapters is contained, Heb 5:7 - 10; and in this sum is admirably comprised the process of his passion, with its inmost causes, in the very terms used by the evangelists. Who in the days of his flesh - Those two days, in particular, wherein his sufferings were at the height. Having offered up prayers and supplications - Thrice. With strong crying and tears - In the garden. To him that was able to save him from death - Which yet he endured, in obedience to the will of his Father. And being heard in that which he particularly feared - When the cup was offered him first, there was set before him that horrible image of a painful, shameful, accursed death, which moved him to pray conditionally against it: for, if he had desired it, his heavenly Father would have sent him more than twelve legions of angels to have delivered him. But what he most exceedingly feared was the weight of infinite justice; the being "bruised" and "put to grief" by the hand of God himself. Compared with this, everything else was a mere nothing; and yet, so greatly did he ever thirst to be obedient to the righteous will of his Father, and to "lay down" even "his life for the sheep," that he vehemently longed to be baptized with this baptism, Lu 12:50. Indeed, his human nature needed the support of Omnipotence; and for this he sent up strong crying and tears: but, throughout his whole life, he showed that it was not the sufferings he was to undergo, but the dishonour that sin had done to so holy a God, that grieved his spotless soul. The consideration of its being the will of God tempered his fear, and afterwards swallowed it up; and he was heard not so that the cup should pass away, but so that he drank it without any fear.
    8 Though he were a Son - This is interposed. lest any should be offended at all these instances of human weakness. In the garden, how frequently did he call God his Father! Mt 26:39, &c. And hence it most evidently appears that his being the Son of God did not arise merely from his resurrection. Yet learned he - The word learned, premised to the word suffered, elegantly shows how willingly he learned. He learned obedience, when be began to suffer; when he applied himself to drink that cup: obedience in suffering and dying.
    9 And being perfected - By sufferings, Heb 2:10; brought through all to glory. He became the author - The procuring and efficient cause. Of eternal salvation to all that obey him - By doing and suffering his whole will.
    10 Called - The Greek word here properly signifies surnamed. His name is, "the Son of God." The Holy Ghost seems to have concealed who Melchisedec was, on purpose that he might be the more eminent type of Christ. This only we know, - that he was a priest, and king of Salem, or Jerusalem.
    11 Concerning whom - The apostle here begins an important digression, wherein he reproves, admonishes, and exhorts the Hebrews. We - Preachers of the gospel. Have many things to say, and hard to be explained - Though not so much from the subject - matter, as from your slothfulness in considering, and dulness in apprehending, the things of God.
    12 Ye have need that one teach you again which are the first principles of religion. Accordingly these are enumerated in the first verse of the ensuing chapter. And have need of milk - The first and plainest doctrines.
    13 Every one that useth milk - That neither desires, nor can digest, anything else: otherwise strong men use milk; but not milk chiefly, and much less that only. Is unexperienced in the word of righteousness - The sublimer truths of the gospel. Such are all who desire and can digest nothing but the doctrine of justification and imputed righteousness.
    14 But strong meat - These sublimer truths relating to "perfection," Heb 6:1. Belong to them of full age, who by habit - Habit here signifies strength of spiritual understanding, arising from maturity of spiritual age. By, or in consequence of, this habit they exercise themselves in these things with ease, readiness, cheerfulness, and profit.

    Chapter VI

    1 Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ - That is, saying no more of them for the present. Let us go on to perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works - From open sins, the very first thing to be insisted on. And faith in God - The very next point. So St. Paul in his very first sermon at Lystra, Acts 14:15, "Turn from those vanities unto the living God." And when they believed, they were to be baptized with the baptism, not of the Jews, or of John, but of Christ. The next thing was, to lay hands upon them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: after which they were more fully instructed, touching the resurrection, and the general judgment; called eternal, because the sentence then pronounced is irreversible, and the effects of it remain for ever.
    3 And this we will do - We will go on to perfection; and so much the more diligently, because,
    4 It is impossible for those who were once enlightened - With the light of the glorious love of God in Christ. And have tasted the heavenly gift - Remission of sins, sweeter than honey and the honeycomb. And been made partakers of the Holy Ghost - Of the witness and the fruit of he Spirit.
    5 And have tasted the good word of God - Have had a relish for, and a delight in it. And the powers of the world to come - Which every one tastes, who has an hope full of immortality. Every child that is naturally born, first sees the light, then receives and tastes proper nourishment, and partakes of the things of this world. In like manner, the apostle, comparing spiritual with natural things, speaks of one born of the Spirit, as seeing the light, tasting the sweetness, and partaking of the things "of the world to come."
    6 And have fallen away - Here is not a supposition, but a plain relation of fact. The apostle here describes the case of those who have cast away both the power and the form of godliness; who have lost both their faith, hope, and love, Heb 6:10, &c., and that wilfully, Heb 10:26. Of these wilful total apostates he declares, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance. (though they were renewed once,) either to the foundation, or anything built thereon. Seeing they crucify the Son of God afresh - They use him with the utmost indignity. And put him to an open shame - Causing his glorious name to be blasphemed.
    8 That which beareth thorns and briers - Only or chiefly. Is rejected - No more labour is bestowed upon it. Whose end is to be burned - As Jerusalem was shortly after.
    9 But, beloved - in this one place he calls them so. he never uses this appellation, but in exhorting. We are persuaded of you things that accompany salvation - We are persuaded you are now saved from your sins; and that ye have that faith, love, and holiness, which lead to final salvation. Though we thus speak - To warn you, lest you should fall from your present steadfastness.
    10 For - Ye give plain proof of your faith and love, which the righteous God will surely reward.
    11 But we desire you may show the same diligence unto the end - And therefore we thus speak. To the full assurance of hope - Which you cannot expect, if you abate your diligence. The full assurance of faith relates to present pardon; the full assurance of hope, to future glory. The former is the highest degree of divine evidence that God is reconciled to me in the Son of his love; the latter is the same degree of divine evidence (wrought in the soul by the same immediate inspiration of the Holy Ghost) of persevering grace, and of eternal glory. So much, and no more, as faith every moment "beholds with open face," so much does hope see to all eternity But this assurance of faith and hope is not an opinion, not a bare construction of scripture, but is given immediately by the power of the Holy Ghost; and what none can have for another, but for himself only.
    12 Inherited the promises - The promised rest; paradise.
    13 For - Ye have abundant encouragement, seeing no stronger promise could be made than that great promise which God made to Abraham, and in him to us.
    14 Gen 22:17.
    15 After he had waited - Thirty years. He obtained the promise - Isaac, the pledge of all the promises.
    16 Men generally swear by him who is infinitely greater than themselves, and an oath for confirmation, to confirm what is promised or asserted, usually puts an end to all contradiction. This shows that an oath taken in a religious manner is lawful even under the gospel: otherwise the apostle would never have mentioned it with so much honour, as a proper means to confirm the truth
    17 God interposed by an oath - Amazing condescension! He who is greatest of all acts as if he were a middle person; as if while he swears, he were less than himself, by whom he swears! Thou that hearest the promise, dost thou not yet believe?
    18 That by two unchangeable things - His promise and his oath, in either, much more in both of which, it was impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation - Swallowing up all doubt and fear. Who have fled - After having been tossed by many storms. To lay hold on the hope set before us - On Christ, the object of our hope, and the glory we hope for through him.
    19 Which hope in Christ we have as an anchor of the soul - Entering into heaven itself, and fixed there. Within the veil - Thus he slides back to the priesthood of Christ.
    20 A forerunner uses to be less in dignity than those that are to follow him. But it is not so here; for Christ who is gone before us is infinitely superior to us. What an honour is it to believers, to have so glorious a forerunner, now appearing in the presence of God for them.

    Chapter VII

    1 The sum of this chapter is, Christ, as appears from his type, Melchisedec, who was greater than Abraham himself, from whom Levi descended, has a priesthood altogether excellent, new, firm, perpetual. Gen 14:18, &c.
    2 Being first - According to the meaning of his own name. King of righteousness, then - According to the name of his city. King of peace - So in him, as in Christ, righteousness and peace were joined. And so they are in all that believe in him.
    3 Without father, without mother, without pedigree - Recorded, without any account of his descent from any ancestors of the priestly order. Having neither beginning of days, nor end of life - Mentioned by Moses. But being - In all these respects. Made like the Son of God - Who is really without father, as to his human nature; without mother, as to his divine; and in this also, without pedigree - Neither descended from any ancestors of the priestly order. Remaineth a priest continually - Nothing is recorded of the death or successor of Melchisedec. But Christ alone does really remain without death, and without successor.
    4 The greatness of Melchisedec is described in all the preceding and following particulars. But the most manifest proof of it was, that Abraham gave him tithes as to a priest of God and a superior; though he was himself a patriarch, greater than a king, and a progenitor of many kings.
    5 The sons of Levi take tithes of their brethren - Sprung from Abraham as well as themselves. The Levites therefore are greater than they; but the priests are greater than the Levites, the patriarch Abraham than the priests, and Melchisedec than him.
    6 He who is not from them - The Levites Blessed - Another proof of his superiority. Even him that had the promises - That was so highly favoured of God. When St. Paul speaks of Christ, he says, "the promise;" promises refer to other blessings also.
    7 The less is blessed - Authoritatively, of the greater.
    8 And here - In the Levitical priesthood. But there - In the case of Melchisedec. He of whom it is testified that he liveth - Who is not spoken of as one that died for another to succeed him; but is represented only as living, no mention being made either of his birth or death.
    9 And even Levi, who received tithes - Not in person, but in his successors, as it were, paid tithes - In the person of Abraham.
    11 The apostle now demonstrates that the Levitical priesthood must yield to the priesthood of Christ, because Melchisedec, after whose order he is a priest,
    1. Is opposed to Aaron, Heb 7:11 - 14.
    2. Hath no end of life, Heb 7:15 - 19,
    but "remaineth a priest continually." If now perfection were by the Levitical priesthood - If this perfectly answered all God's designs and man's wants For under it the people received the law - Whence some might infer, that perfection was by that priesthood. What farther need was there, that another priest - Of a new order, should be set up? From this single consideration it is plain, that both the priesthood and the law, which were inseparably connected, were now to give way to a better priesthood and more excellent dispensation.
    12 For - One of these cannot be changed without the other.
    13 But the priesthood is manifestly changed from one order to another, and from one tribe to another. For he of whom these things are spoken - Namely, Jesus. Pertaineth to another tribe - That of Judah. Of which no man was suffered by the law to attend on, or minister at, the altar.
    14 For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Judah - Whatever difficulties have arisen since, during so long a tract of time, it was then clear beyond dispute.
    15 And it is still far more evident, that - Both the priesthood and the law are changed, because the priest now raised up is not only of another tribe, but of a quite different order.
    16 Who is made - A priest. Not after the law of a carnal commandment - Not according to the Mosaic law, which consisted chiefly of commandments that were carnal, compared to the spirituality of the gospel. But after the power of an endless life - Which he has in himself, as the eternal Son of God.
    18 For there is implied in this new and everlasting priesthood, and in the new dispensation connected therewith, a disannulling of the preceding commandment - An abrogation of the Mosaic law. For the weakness and unprofitableness thereof - For its insufficiency either to justify or to sanctify.
    19 For the law - Taken by itself, separate from the gospel. Made nothing perfect - Could not perfect its votaries, either in faith or love, in happiness or holiness. But the bringing in of a better hope - Of the gospel dispensation, which gives us a better ground of confidence, does. By which we draw nigh to God - Yea, so nigh as to be one spirit with him. And this is true perfection.
    20 And - The greater solemnity wherewith he was made priest, farther proves the superior excellency of his priesthood.
    21 The Lord sware and will not repent - Hence also it appears, that his is an unchangeable priesthood.
    22 Of so much better a covenant - Unchangeable, eternal. Was Jesus made a surety - Or mediator. The word covenant frequently occurs in the remaining part of this epistle. The original word means either a covenant or a last will and testament. St. Paul takes it sometimes in the former, sometimes in the latter, sense; sometimes he includes both.
    23 They were many priests - One after another.
    24 He continueth for ever - In life and in his priesthood. That passeth not away - To any successor.
    25 Wherefore he is able to save to the uttermost - From all the guilt, power, root, and consequence of sin. Them who come - By faith. To God through him - As their priest. Seeing he ever liveth to make intercession - That is, he ever lives and intercedes. He died once; he intercedes perpetually.
    26 For such an high priest suited us - Unholy, mischievous, defiled sinners: a blessed paradox! Holy - With respect to God. Harmless - With respect to men. Undefiled - With any sin in himself. Separated from sinners - As well as free from sin. And so he was when he left the world. And made - Even in his human nature. Higher than the heavens - And all their inhabitants.
    27 Who needeth not to offer up sacrifices daily - That is, on every yearly day of expiation; for he offered once for all: not for his own sins, for he then offered up himself "without spot to God."
    28 The law maketh men high priests that have infirmity - That are both weak, mortal, and sinful. But the oath which was since the law - Namely, in the time of David. Maketh the son, who is consecrated for ever - Who being now free, both from sin and death, from natural and moral infirmity, remaineth a priest for ever.

    Chapter VIII

    1 We have such an high priest - Having finished his description of the type in Melchisedec, the apostle begins to treat directly of the excellency of Christ's priesthood, beyond the Levitical. Who is set down - Having finished his oblation. At the right hand of the Majesty - Of God.
    2 A minister - Who represents his own sacrifice, as the high priest did the blood of those sacrifices once a year. Of the sanctuary - Heaven, typified by the holy of holies. And of the true tabernacle - Perhaps his human nature, of which the old tabernacle was a type. Which the Lord hath fixed - Forever. Not man - As Moses fixed the tabernacle.
    4 But if he were on earth - If his priesthood terminated here. He could not be a priest - At all, consistently with the Jewish institutions. There being other priests - To whom alone this office is allotted.
    5 Who serve - The temple, which was not yet destroyed. After the pattern and shadow of heavenly things - Of spiritual, evangelical worship, and of everlasting glory. The pattern - Somewhat like the strokes pencilled out upon a piece of fine linen, which exhibit the figures of leaves and flowers, but have not yet received their splendid colours and curious shades. And shadow - Or shadowy representation, which gives you some dim and imperfect idea of the body, but not the fine features, not the distinguishing air; none of those living graces which adorn the real person. Yet both the pattern and shadow lead our minds to something nobler than themselves: the pattern, to that holiness and glory which complete it; the shadow, to that which occasions it. Ex 25:40.
    6 And now he hath obtained a more excellent ministry - His priesthood as much excels theirs, as the promises of the gospel (whereof he is a surety) excels those of the law. These better promises are specified, Heb 8:10,11: those in the law were mostly temporal promises.
    7 For if the first had been faultless - If that dispensation had answered all God's designs and man's wants, if it had not been weak and unprofitable unable to make anything perfect, no place would have been for a second.
    8 But there is; for finding fault with them - Who were under the old covenant he saith, I make a new covenant with the house of Israel - With all the Israel of God, in all ages and nations. It is new in many respects, though not as to the substance of it:
    1. Being ratified by the death of Christ.
    2. Freed from those burdensome rites and ceremonies.
    3. Containing a more full and clear account of spiritual religion.
    4. Attended with larger influences of the Spirit
    5. Extended to all men. And,
    6. Never to be abolished. Jer 31:31, &c.
    9 When I took them by the hand - With the care and tenderness of a parent. And just while this was fresh in their memory, they obeyed; but presently after they shook off the yoke. They continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not - So that covenant was soon broken in pieces.
    10 This is the covenant I will make after those days - After the Mosaic dispensation is abolished. I will put my laws in their minds - I will open their eyes, and enlighten their understanding, to see the true, full, spiritual meaning thereof. And write them on their hearts - So that they shall inwardly experience whatever I have commanded. And I will be to them a God - Their all - sufficient portion, and exceeding great reward. And they shall be to me a people - My treasure, my beloved, loving, and obedient children.
    11 And they who are under this covenant (though in other respects they will have need to teach each other to their lives' end, yet) shall not need to teach every one his brother, saying, Know the Lord; for they shall all know me - All real Christians. From the least to the greatest - In this order the saving knowledge of God ever did and ever will proceed; not first to the greatest, and then to the least. But "the Lord shall save the tents," the poorest, "of Judah first, that the glory of the house of David," the royal seed, "and the glory of the inhabitants of Jerusalem," the nobles and the rich citizens, "do not magnify themselves," Zec 12:7.
    12 For I will justify them, which is the root of all true knowledge of God. This, therefore, is God's method. First, a sinner is pardoned: then he knows God, as gracious and merciful then God's laws are written on his heart: he is God's, and God is his.
    13 In saying, A new covenant, he hath antiquated the first - Hath shown that it is disannulled, and out of date. Now that which is antiquated is ready to vanish away - As it did quickly after, when the temple was destroyed.

    Chapter IX

    1 The first covenant had ordinances of outward worship, and a worldly - a visible, material sanctuary, or tabernacle.
  • Of this sanctuary he treats, Heb 9:2 - 5.
  • Of those ordinances, Heb 9:6 - 10.
  • 2 The first - The outward tabernacle. In which was the candlestick, and the table - The shewbread, shown continually before God and all the people, consisting of twelve loaves, according to the number of the tribes, was placed on this table in two rows, six upon one another in each row. This candlestick and bread seem to have typified the light and life which are more largely dispensed under the gospel by Him who is the Light of the world, and the Bread of life.
    3 The second veil divided the holy place from the most holy, as the first veil did the holy place from the courts.
    4 Having the golden censer - Used by the high priest only, on the great day of atonement. And the ark, or chest, of the covenant - So called from the tables of the covenant contained therein. Wherein was the manna - The monument of God's care over Israel. And Aaron's rod - The monument of the regular priesthood. And the tables of the covenant - The two tables of stone, on which the ten commandments were written by the finger of God the most venerable monument of all.
    5 And over it were the cherubim of glory - Over which the glory of God used to appear. Some suppose each of these had four faces, and so represented the Three - One God, with the manhood assumed by the Second Person. With out - spread wings shadowing the mercy - seat - Which was a lid or plate of gold, covering the ark.
    6 Always - Every day. Accomplishing their services - Lighting the lamps, changing the shewbread, burning incense, and sprinkling the blood of the sin offerings.
    7 Errors - That is, sins of ignorance, to which only those atonements extended.
    8 The Holy Ghost evidently showing - By this token. That the way into the holiest - Into heaven. Was not made manifest - Not so clearly revealed. While the first tabernacle, and its service, were still subsisting - And remaining in force.
    9 Which - Tabernacle, with all its furniture and services. Is a figure - Or type, of good things to come Which cannot perfect the worshipper - Neither the priest nor him who brought the offering. As to his conscience - So that he should be no longer conscious of the guilt or power of sin. Observe, the temple was as yet standing.
    10 They could not so perfect him, with all their train of precepts relating to meats and drinks, and carnal, gross, external ordinances; and were therefore imposed only till the time of reformation - Till Christ came.
    11 An high priest of good things to come - Described, Heb 9:15. Entered through a greater, that is, a more noble, and perfect tabernacle - Namely, his own body. Not of this creation - Not framed by man, as that tabernacle was.
    12 The holy place - Heaven. For us - All that believe.
    13 If the ashes of an heifer - Consumed by fire as a sin - offering, being sprinkled on them who were legally unclean. Purified the flesh - Removed that legal uncleanness, and re - admitted them to the temple and the congregation. Nu 19:17,18,19.
    14 How much more shall the blood of Christ. - The merit of all his sufferings. Who through the eternal Spirit - The work of redemption being the work of the whole Trinity. Neither is the Second Person alone concerned even in the amazing condescension that was needful to complete it. The Father delivers up the kingdom to the Son; and the Holy Ghost becomes the gift of the Messiah, being, as it were, sent according to his good pleasure. Offered himself - Infinitely more precious than any created victim, and that without spot to God. Purge our conscience - Our inmost soul. From dead works - From all the inward and outward works of the devil, which spring from spiritual death in the soul, and lead to death everlasting. To serve the living God - In the life of faith, in perfect love and spotless holiness.
    15 And for this end he is the Mediator of a new covenant, that they who are called - To the engagements and benefits thereof. Might receive the eternal inheritance promised to Abraham: not by means of legal sacrifices, but of his meritorious death. For the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first covenant - That is, for the redemption of transgressors from the guilt and punishment of those sins which were committed in the time of the old covenant. The article of his death properly divides the old covenant from the new.
    16 I say by means of death; for where such a covenant is, there must be the death of him by whom it is confirmed - Seeing it is by his death that the benefits of it are purchased. It seems beneath the dignity of the apostle to play upon the ambiguity of the Greek word, as the common translation supposes him to do.
    17 After he is dead - Neither this, nor after men are dead is a literal translation of the words. It is a very perplexed passage.
    18 Whence neither was the first - The Jewish covenant, originally transacted without the blood of an appointed sacrifice.
    19 He took the blood of calves - Or heifers. And of goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop - All these circumstances are not particularly mentioned in that chapter of Exodus, but are supposed to be already known from other passages of Moses. And the book itself - Which contained all he had said. And sprinkled all the people - Who were near him. The blood was mixed with water to prevent its growing too stiff for sprinkling; perhaps also to typify that blood and water, John 19:34. Ex 24:7,8
    20 Saying, This is the blood of the covenant which God hath enjoined me to deliver unto you - By this it is established. Ex 24:8.
    21 And in like manner he ordered the tabernacle - When it was made, and all its vessels, to be sprinkled with blood once a year.
    22 And almost all things - For some were purified by water or fire. Are according to the law purified with blood - Offered or sprinkled. And according to the law, there is no forgiveness of sins without shedding of blood - All this pointed to the blood of Christ effectually cleansing from all sin, and intimated, there can be no purification from it by any other means.
    23 Therefore - That is, it plainly appears from what has been said. It was necessary - According to the appointment of God. That the tabernacle and all its utensils, which were patterns, shadowy representations, of things in heaven, should be purified by these - Sacrifices and sprinklings. But the heavenly things themselves - Our heaven - born spirits: what more this may mean we know not yet. By better sacrifices than these - That is, by a better sacrifice, which is here opposed to all the legal sacrifices, and is expressed plurally, because it includes the signification of them all, and is of so much more eminent virtue.
    24 For Christ did not enter into the holy place made with hands - He never went into the holy of holies at Jerusalem, the figure of the true tabernacle in heaven, Heb 8:2. But into heaven itself, to appear in the presence of God for us - As our glorious high priest and powerful intercessor.
    26 For then he must often have suffered from the foundation of the world - This supposes,
    1. That by suffering once he atoned for all the sins which had been committed from the foundation of the world.
    2. That he could not have atoned for them without suffering.
    At the consummation of the ages - The sacrifice of Christ divides the whole age or duration of the world into two parts, and extends its virtue backward and forward, from this middle point wherein they meet to abolish both the guilt and power of sin.
    27 After this, the judgment - Of the great day. At the moment of death every man's final state is determined. But there is not a word in scripture of a particular judgment immediately after death.
    28 Christ having once died to bear the sins - The punishment due to them. Of many - Even as many as are born into the world. Will appear the second time - When he comes to judgment. Without sin - Not as he did before, bearing on himself the sins of many, but to bestow everlasting salvation.

    Chapter X

    1 From all that has been said it appears, that the law, the Mosaic dispensation, being a bare, unsubstantial shadow of good things to come, of the gospel blessings, and not the substantial, solid image of them, can never with the same kind of sacrifices, though continually repeated, make the comers thereunto perfect, either as to justification or sanctification. How is it possible, that any who consider this should suppose the attainments of David, or any who were under that dispensation, to be the proper measure of gospel holiness; and that Christian experience is to rise no higher than Jewish?
    2 They who had been once perfectly purged, would have been no longer conscious either of the guilt or power of their sins.
    3 There is a public commemoration of the sins both of the last and of all the preceding years; a clear proof that the guilt thereof is not perfectly purged away.
    4 It is impossible the blood of goats should take away sins - Either the guilt or the power of them.
    5 When he cometh into the world - In the fortieth psalm the Messiah's coming into the world is represented. It is said, into the world, not into the tabernacle, Heb 9:1; because all the world is interested in his sacrifice. A body hast thou prepared for me - That I may offer up myself. Psa 40:6,&c.
    7 In the volume of the book - In this very psalm it is written of me. Accordingly I come to do thy will - By the sacrifice of myself.
    8 Above when he said, Sacrifice thou hast not chosen - That is, when the Psalmist pronounced those words in his name.
    9 Then said he - in that very instant he subjoined. Lo, I come to do Thy will - To offer a more acceptable sacrifice; and by this very act he taketh away the legal, that he may establish the evangelical, dispensation.
    10 By which will - Of God, done and suffered by Christ. We are sanctified - Cleansed from guilt, and consecrated to God.
    11 Every priest standeth - As a servant in an humble posture.
    12 But he - The virtue of whose one sacrifice remains for ever. Sat down - As a son, in majesty and honour.
    13 Psa 110:1.
    14 He hath perfected them for ever - That is, has done all that was needful in order to their full reconciliation with God.
    15 In this and the three following verses, the apostle winds up his argument concerning the excellency and perfection of the priesthood and sacrifice of Christ. He had proved this before by a quotation from Jeremiah; which he here repeats, describing the new covenant as now completely ratified, and all the blessings of it secured to us by the one offering of Christ, which renders all other expiatory sacrifices, and any repetition of his own, utterly needless.
    16 Jer 31:33, &c
    19 Having finished the doctrinal part of his epistle, the apostle now proceeds to exhortation deduced from what has been treated of Heb 5:4, which he begins by a brief recapitulation. Having therefore liberty to enter, -
    20 By a living way - The way of faith, whereby we live indeed. Which he hath consecrated - Prepared, dedicated, and established for us. Through the veil, that is, his flesh - As by rending the veil in the temple, the holy of holies became visible and accessible; so by wounding the body of Christ, the God of heaven was manifested, and the way to heaven opened.
    22 Let us draw near - To God. With a true heart - In godly sincerity. Having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience - So as to condemn us no longer And our bodies washed with pure water - All our conversation spotless and holy, which is far more acceptable to God than all the legal sprinklings and washings.
    23 The profession of our hope - The hope which we professed at our baptism.
    25 Not forsaking the assembling ourselves - In public or private worship. As the manner of some is - Either through fear of persecution, or from a vain imagination that they were above external ordinances. But exhorting one another - To faith, love, and good works. And so much the more, as ye see the day approaching - The great day is ever in your eye.
    26 For when we - Any of us Christians. Sin wilfully - By total apostasy from God, termed "drawing back," Heb 10:38. After having received the experimental knowledge of the gospel truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins - None but that which we obstinately reject.
    28 He that, in capital cases, despised (presumptuously transgressed) the law of Moses died without mercy - Without any delay or mitigation of his punishment.
    29 Of how much sorer punishment is he worthy, who - By wilful, total apostasy. It does not appear that this passage refers to any other sin. Hath, as it were, trodden underfoot the Son of God - A lawgiver far more honourable than Moses. And counted the blood wherewith the better covenant was established, an unholy, a common, worthless thing. By which he hath been sanctified - Therefore Christ died for him also, and he was at least justified once. And done despite to the Spirit of grace - By rejecting all his motions.
    30 The Lord will judge his people - Yea, far more rigorously than the heathens, if they rebel against him. Deut 32:35, &c.
    31 To fall into the hands - Of his avenging justice.
    32 Enlightened - With the knowledge of God and of his truth.
    34 For ye sympathized with all your suffering brethren, and with me in particular; and received joyfully the loss of your own goods.
    35 Cast not away therefore this your confidence - Your faith and hope; which none can deprive you of but yourselves.
    36 The promise - Perfect love; eternal life.
    37 He that cometh - To reward every man according to his works.
    38 Now the just - The justified person. Shall live - In God's favour, a spiritual and holy life. By faith - As long as he retains that gift of God. But if he draw back - If he make shipwreck of his faith My soul hath no pleasure in him - That is, I abhor him; I cast him off. Hab 2:3, &c.
    39 We are not of them who draw back to perdition - Like him mentioned Heb 10:38. But of them that believe - To the end, so as to attain eternal life.

    Chapter XI

    1 The definition of faith given in this verse, and exemplified in the various instances following, undoubtedly includes justifying faith, but not directly as justifying. For faith justifies only as it refers to, and depends on, Christ. But here is no mention of him as the object of faith; and in several of the instances that follow, no notice is taken of him or his salvation, but only of temporal blessings obtained by faith. And yet they may all be considered as evidences of the power of justifying faith in Christ, and of its extensive exercise in a course of steady obedience amidst difficulties and dangers of every kind. Now faith is the subsistence of things hoped for, the evidence or conviction of things not seen - Things hoped for are not so extensive as things not seen. The former are only things future and joyful to us ; the latter are either future, past, or present, and those either good or evil, whether to us or others. The subsistence of things hoped for - Giving a kind of present subsistence to the good things which God has promised: the divine supernatural evidence exhibited to, the conviction hereby produced in, a believer of things not seen, whether past, future, or spiritual; particularly of God and the things of God.
    2 By it the elders - Our forefathers. This chapter is a kind of summary of the Old Testament, in which the apostle comprises the designs, labours, sojournings, expectations, temptations, martyrdoms of the ancients. The former of them had a long exercise of their patience; the latter suffered shorter but sharper trials. Obtained a good testimony - A most comprehensive word. God gave a testimony, not only of them but to them: and they received his testimony as if it had been the things themselves of which he testified, Heb 11:4,5,39. Hence they also gave testimony to others, and others testified of them.
    3 By faith we understand that the worlds - Heaven and earth and all things in them, visible and invisible. Where made - Formed, fashioned, and finished. By the word - The sole command of God, without any instrument or preceding matter. And as creation is the foundation and specimen of the whole divine economy, so faith in the creation is the foundation and specimen of all faith. So that things which are seen - As the sun, earth, stars. Were made of things which do not appear - Out of the dark, unapparent chaos, Gen 1:2. And this very chaos was created by the divine power; for before it was thus created it had no existence in nature.
    4 By faith - In the future Redeemer. Abel offered a more excellent sacrifice - The firstlings of his flock, implying both a confession of what his own sins deserved, and a desire of sharing in the great atonement. Than Cain - Whose offering testified no such faith, but a bare acknowledgment of God the Creator. By which faith he obtained both righteousness and a testimony of it: God testifying - Visibly that his gifts were accepted; probably by sending fire from heaven to consume his sacrifice, a token that justice seized on the sacrifice instead of the sinner who offered it. And by it - By this faith. Being dead, he yet speaketh - That a sinner is accepted only through faith in the great sacrifice.
    5 Enoch was not any longer found among men, though perhaps they sought for him as they did for Elijah, 2Kin 2:17. He had this testimony - From God in his own conscience.
    6 But without faith - Even some divine faith in God, it is impossible to please him. For he that cometh to God - in prayer, or another act of worship, must believe that he is.
    7 Noah being warned of things not seen as yet - Of the future deluge. Moved with fear, prepared an ark, by which open testimony he condemned the world - Who neither believed nor feared.
    8 Gen 12:1,4,5
    9 By faith he sojourned in the land of promise - The promise was made before, Gen 12:7. Dwelling in tents - As a sojourner With Isaac and Jacob - Who by the same manner of living showed the same faith Jacob was born fifteen years before the death of Abraham. The joint heirs of the same promise - Having all the same interest therein. Isaac did not receive this inheritance from Abraham, nor Jacob from Isaac, but all of them from God. Gen 17:8
    10 He looked for a city which hath foundations - Whereas a tent has none. Whose builder and former is God - Of which God is the sole contriver, former, and finisher.
    11 Sarah also herself - Though at first she laughed at the promise, Gen 18:12. Gen 21:2.
    12 As it were dead - Till his strength was supernaturally restored, which continued for many years after.
    13 All these - - Mentioned Heb 11:7 - 11. Died in faith - In death faith acts most vigorously. Not having received the promises - The promised blessings. Embraced - As one does a dear friend when he meets him.
    14 They who speak thus show plainly that they seek their own country - That they keep in view, and long for, their native home.
    15 If they had been mindful of - Their earthly country, Ur of the Chaldeans, they might have easily returned.
    16 But they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly - This is a full convincing proof that the patriarchs had a revelation and a promise of eternal glory in heaven. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: seeing he hath prepared for them a city - Worthy of God to give.
    17 By faith Abraham - When God made that glorious trial of him. Offered up Isaac - The will being accepted as if he had actually done it. Yea, he that had received the promises - Particularly that grand promise, "In Isaac shall thy seed be called." Offered up - This very son; the only one he had by Sarah. Gen 22:1,&c.
    18 In Isaac shall thy seed be called - From him shall the blessed seed spring. Gen 21:12.
    19 Accounting that God was able even to raise him from the dead - Though there had not been any instance of this in the world. From whence also - To speak in a figurative way. He did receive him - Afterwards, snatched from the jaws of death.
    20 Blessed - Gen 27:27,39; prophetically foretold the particular blessings they should partake of. Jacob and Esau - Preferring the elder before the younger.
    21 Jacob when dying - That is, when near death. Bowing down on the top of his staff - As he sat on the side of his bed. Gen 48:16; Gen 47:31
    22 Concerning his bones - To be carried into the land of promise.
    23 They saw - Doubtless with a divine presage of things to come.
    24 Refused to be called - Any longer.
    26 The reproach of Christ - That which he bore for believing in the Messiah to come, and acting accordingly. For he looked off - From all those perishing treasures, and beyond all those temporal hardships Unto the recompence of reward - Not to an inheritance in Canaan; he had no warrant from God to look for this, nor did he ever attain it; but what his believing ancestors looked for, - a future state of happiness in heaven.
    27 By faith he left Egypt - Taking all the Israelites with him. Not then fearing the wrath of the king - As he did many years before, Ex 2:14. Ex 14:15, &c.
    28 The pouring out of the blood - Of the paschal lamb, which was sprinkled on the door - posts, lest the destroying angel should touch the Israelites. Ex 12:12 - 18.
    29 They - Moses, Aaron, and the Israelites. Passed the Red Sea - It washed the borders of Edom, which signifies red. Thus far the examples are cited from Genesis and Exodus; those that follow are from the former and the latter Prophets.
    30 By the faith of Joshua.
    31 Rahab - Though formerly one not of the fairest character.
    32 After Samuel, the prophets are properly mentioned. David also was a prophet; but he was a king too. The prophets - Elijah, Elisha, &c., including likewise the believers who lived with them.
    33, 34 David, in particular, subdued kingdoms. Samuel (not excluding the rest) wrought righteousness. The prophets, in general, obtained promises, both for themselves, and to deliver to others. Prophets also stopped the mouths of lions, as Daniel; and quenched the violence of fire, as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. To these examples, whence the nature of faith clearly appears, those more ancient ones are subjoined, (by a transposition, and in an inverted order,) which receive light from these. Jephthah escaped the edge of the sword; Samson out of weakness was made strong; Barak became valiant in fight; Gideon put to flight armies of the aliens. Faith animates to the most heroic enterprises, both civil and military. Faith overcomes all impediments effects the greatest things; attains to the very best; and inverts, by its miraculous power the very course of nature. 2Sa 8:1,&c.; 1Sa 8:9,&c.; 1Sa 13:3,&c.; Da 6:22; Da 3:27; Jud 12:3; Jud 15:19,&c.; Jud 16:28,&c.; Jud 4:14,&c.; Jud 7:21.
    34 See note ... "Heb 11:33"
    35 Women - Naturally weak. Received their dead - Children. Others were tortured - From those who acted great things the apostle rises higher, to those who showed the power of faith by suffering. Not accepting deliverance - On sinful terms. That they might obtain a better resurrection - An higher reward, seeing the greater their sufferings the greater would be their glory. 1Kin 17:22; 2Kin 4:35
    36 And others - The apostle seems here to pass on to recent examples.
    37 They were sawn asunder - As, according to the tradition of the Jews, Isaiah was by Manasseh. Were tempted - Torments and death are mentioned alternately. Every way; by threatenings, reproaches, tortures, the variety of which cannot be expressed; and again by promises and allurements.
    38 Of whom the world was not worthy - It did not deserve so great a blessing. They wandered - Being driven out from men.
    39 And all these - Though they obtained a good testimony, Heb 11:2, yet did not receive the great promise, the heavenly inheritance.
    40 God having provided some better thing for us - Namely, everlasting glory. That they might not be perfected without us - That is, that we might all be perfected together in heaven.

    Chapter XII

    1 Wherefore, being encompassed with a cloud - A great multitude, tending upward with a holy swiftness. Of witnesses - Of the power of faith. Let us lay aside every weight - As all who run a race take care to do. Let us throw off whatever weighs us down, or damps the vigour of our Soul. And the sin which easily besetteth us - As doth the sin of our constitution, the sin of our education, the sin of our profession.
    2 Looking - From all other things. To Jesus - As the wounded Israelites to the brazen serpent. Our crucified Lord was prefigured by the lifting up of this; our guilt, by the stings of the fiery serpents; and our faith, by their looking up to the miraculous remedy. The author and finisher of our faith - Who begins it in us, carries it on, and perfects it. Who for the joy that was set before him - Patiently and willingly endured the cross, with all the pains annexed thereto. And is set down - Where there is fulness of joy.
    3 Consider - Draw the comparison and think. The Lord bore all this; and shall his servants bear nothing? Him that endured such contradiction from sinners - Such enmity and opposition of every kind Lest ye be weary - Dull and languid, and so actually faint in your course.
    4 Unto blood - Unto wounds and death.
    5 And yet ye seem already to have forgotten the exhortation - Wherein God speaketh to you with the utmost tenderness. Despise not thou the chastening of the Lord - Do not slight or make little of it; do not impute any affliction to chance or second causes but see and revere the hand of God in it. Neither faint when thou art rebuked of him - But endure it patiently and fruitfully. Pro 3:11, &c.
    6 For - All springs from love; therefore neither despise nor faint.
    7 Whom his father chasteneth not - When he offends.
    8 Of which all sons are partakers - More or less.
    9 And we reverenced them - We neither despised nor fainted under their correction. Shall we not much rather - Submit with reverence and meekness To the Father of spirits - That we may live with him for ever. Perhaps these expressions, fathers of our flesh, and Father of spirits, intimate that our earthly fathers are only the parents of our bodies, our souls not being originally derived from them, but all created by the immediate power of God; perhaps, at the beginning of the world.
    10 For they verily for a few days - How few are even all our day on earth! Chastened us as they thought good - Though frequently they erred therein, by too much either of indulgence or severity. But he always, unquestionably, for our profit, that we may be partakers of his holiness - That is, of himself and his glorious image.
    11 Now all chastening - Whether from our earthly or heavenly Father, Is for the present grievous, yet it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness - Holiness and happiness. To them that are exercised thereby - That receive this exercise as from God, and improve it according to his will.
    12 Wherefore lift up the hands - Whether your own or your brethren's. That hang down - Unable to continue the combat. And the feeble knees - Unable to continue the race. Isa 35:3.
    13 And make straight paths both for your own and for their feet - Remove every hinderance, every offence. That the lame - They who are weak, scarce able to walk. Be not turned out of the way - Of faith and holiness.
    14 Follow peace with all men - This second branch of the exhortation concerns our neighbours; the third, God. And holiness - The not following after all holiness, is the direct way to fall into sin of every kind.
    15 Looking diligently, lest any one - If he do not lift up the hands that hang down. Fall from the grace of God: lest any root of bitterness - Of envy, anger, suspicion. Springing up - Destroy the sweet peace; lest any, not following after holiness, fall into fornication or profaneness. In general, any corruption, either in doctrine or practice, is a root of bitterness, and may pollute many.
    16 Esau was profane for so slighting the blessing which went along with the birth - right.
    17 He was rejected - He could not obtain it. For he found no place for repentance - There was no room for any such repentance as would regain what he had lost. Though he sought it - The blessing of the birth - right. Diligently with tears - He sought too late. Let us use the present time.
    18 For - A strong reason this why they ought the more to regard the whole exhortation drawn from the priesthood of Christ: because both salvation and vengeance are now nearer at hand. Ye are not come to the mountain that could be touched - That was of an earthy, material nature.
    19 The sound of a trumpet - Formed, without doubt, by the ministry of angels, and preparatory to the words, that is, the Ten Commandments, which were uttered with a loud voice, Deu 5:22.
    20 For they could not bear - The terror which seized them, when they heard those words proclaimed, If even a beast, &c. Exod 19:12, &c.
    21 Even Moses - Though admitted to so near an intercourse with God, who "spake to him as a man speaketh to his friend." At other times he acted as a mediator between God and the people. But while the ten words were pronounced, he stood as one of the hearers, Ex 19:25; Ex 20:19.
    22 But ye - Who believe in Christ. Are come - The apostle does not here speak of their coming to the church militant, but of that glorious privilege of New Testament believers, their communion with the church triumphant. But this is far more apparent to the eyes of celestial spirits than to ours which are yet veiled. St. Paul here shows an excellent knowledge of the heavenly economy, worthy of him who had been caught up into the third heaven. To mount Sion - A spiritual mountain. To the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem - All these glorious titles belong to the New Testament church. And to an innumerable company - Including all that are afterwards mentioned.
    23 To the general assembly - The word properly signifies a stated convention on some festival occasion. And church - The whole body of true believers, whether on earth or in paradise. Of the first - born - The first - born of Israel were enrolled by Moses; but these are enrolled in heaven, as citizens there. It is observable, that in this beautiful gradation, these first - born are placed nearer to God than the angels. See Jam 1:18. And to God the Judge of all - Propitious to you, adverse to your enemies. And to the spirits - The separate souls. Of just men - It seems to mean, of New Testament believers. The number of these, being not yet large, is mentioned distinct from the innumerable company of just men whom their Judge hath acquitted. These are now made perfect in an higher sense than any who are still alive. Accordingly, St. Paul, while yet on earth, denies that he was thus made perfect, Php 3:12.
    24 To Jesus, the mediator - Through whom they had been perfected. And to the blood of sprinkling - To all the virtue of his precious blood shed for you, whereby ye are sprinkled from an evil conscience. This blood of sprinkling was the foundation of our Lord's mediatorial office. Here the gradation is at the highest point. Which speaketh better things than that of Abel - Which cried for vengeance.
    25 Refuse not - By unbelief. Him that speaketh - And whose speaking even now is a prelude to the final scene. The same voice which spake both by the law and in the gospel, when heard from heaven, will shake heaven and earth. For if they escaped not - His vengeance. Much more shall not we - Those of us who turn from him that speaketh from heaven - That is, who came from heaven to speak to us.
    26 Whose voice then shook the earth - When he spoke from mount Sinai. But now - With regard to his next speaking. He hath promised - It is a joyful promise to the saints, though dreadful to the wicked. Yet once more I will shake, not only the earth, but also the heaven - These words may refer in a lower sense to the dissolution of the Jewish church and state; but in their full sense they undoubtedly look much farther, even to the end of all things. This universal shaking began at the first coming of Christ. It will be consummated at his second coming. Hag 2:6.
    27 The things which are shaken - Namely, heaven and earth. As being made - And consequently liable to change. That the things which are not shaken may remain - Even "the new heavens and the new earth," Rev 21:1.
    28 Therefore let us, receiving - By willing and joyful faith. A kingdom - More glorious than the present heaven and earth. Hold fast the grace, whereby we may serve God - In every thought, word, and work. With reverence - Literally, with shame. Arising from a deep consciousness of our own unworthiness. And godly fear - A tender, jealous fear of offending, arising from a sense of the gracious majesty of God.
    29 For our God is a consuming fire - in the strictness of his justice, and purity of his holiness.

    Chapter XIII

    1 Brotherly love is explained in the following verses.
    2 Some - Abraham and Lot. Have entertained angels unawares - So may an unknown guest, even now, be of more worth than he appears, and may have angels attending him, though unseen. Gen 18:2; Gen 19:1.
    3 Remember - In your prayers, and by your help. Them that are in bonds, as being bound with them - Seeing ye are members one of another. And them that suffer, as being yourselves in the body - And consequently liable to the same.
    4 Marriage is honourable in, or for all sorts of men, clergy as well as laity: though the Romanists teach otherwise. And the bed undefiled - Consistent with the highest purity; though many spiritual writers, so called, say it is only licensed whoredom. But whoremongers and adulterers God will judge - Though they frequently escape the sentence of men.
    5 He - God. Hath said - To all believers, in saying it to Jacob, Joshua, and Solomon. Gen 28:15; Jos 1:5; 1Chr 28:20.
    6 Psa 118:6.
    7 Remember them - Who are now with God, considering the happy end of their conversation on earth.
    8 Men may die; but Jesus Christ, yea, and his gospel, is the same from everlasting to everlasting.
    9 Be not carried about with various doctrines - Which differ from that one faith in our one unchangeable Lord. Strange - To the ears and hearts of all that abide in him. For it is good - It is both honourable before God and pleasant and profitable That the heart be stablished with grace - Springing from faith in Christ. Not with meats - Jewish ceremonies, which indeed can never stablish the heart.
    10 On the former part of this verse, the fifteenth and sixteenth depend; on the latter, the intermediate verses. We have an altar - The cross of Christ. Whereof they have no right to eat - To partake of the benefits which we receive therefrom. Who serve the tabernacle - Who adhere to the Mosaic law.
    11 For - According to their own law, the sin - offerings were wholly consumed, and no Jew ever ate thereof. But Christ was a sin - offering. Therefore they cannot feed upon him, as we do, who are freed from the Mosaic law.
    12 Wherefore Jesus also - Exactly answering those typical sin - offerings. Suffered without the gate - Of Jerusalem, which answered to the old camp of Israel. That he might sanctify - Reconcile and consecrate to God. The people - Who believe in him. By his own blood - Not those shadowy sacrifices, which are now of no farther use.
    13 Let us then go forth without the camp - Out of the Jewish dispensation. Bearing his reproach - All manner of shame, obloquy, and contempt for his sake.
    14 For we have here - On earth No continuing city - All things here are but for a moment; and Jerusalem itself was just then on the point of being destroyed.
    15 The sacrifice - The altar is mentioned, Heb 13:10; now the sacrifices:
    1. Praise;
    2. Beneficence;
    with both of which God is well pleased.
    17 Obey them that have the rule over you - The word implies also, that lead or guide you; namely, in truth and holiness. And submit yourselves - Give up (not your conscience or judgment, but) your own will, in all things purely indifferent. For they watch over your souls - With all zeal and diligence, they guard and caution you against all danger. As they that must give account - To the great Shepherd, for every part of their behaviour toward you. How vigilant then ought every pastor to be! How careful of every soul committed to his charge! That they may do this - Watch over you. With joy and not with groans - He is not a good shepherd, who does not either rejoice over them, or groan for them. The groans of other creatures are heard: how much more shall these come up in the ears of God ! Whoever answers this character of a Christian pastor may undoubtedly demand this obedience.
    20 The everlasting covenant - The Christian covenant, which is not temporary, like the Jewish, but designed to remain for ever. By the application of that blood, by which this covenant was established, may he make you, in every respect, inwardly and outwardly holy!
    22 Suffer the word of exhortation - Addressed to you in this letter, which, though longer than my usual letters, is yet contained in few words, considering the copiousness of the subject.
    23 If he come - To me.
    25 - Grace be with you all - St. Paul's usual benediction. God apply it to our hearts!

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