Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, September 27th, 2023
the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25
Take our poll

Bible Commentaries
Hebrews 2

Owen's Exposition of HebrewsOwen on Hebrews

Search for…
Enter query below:
Additional Authors


IN this second chapter the apostle declares his design, and what his especial aim was with respect unto them to whom he wrote. It was not merely their instruction, or the information of their minds and judgments that he intended; though that also was in his eye, and necessary unto his principal purpose. They had, by their instability and fainting in trials, administered occasion unto him of other discourse. Besides, he foresaw that they had great difficulties and temptations to contend withal, and was jealous lest they should miscarry under them, as he also was over other professors, 2 Corinthians 11:2-3. His principal end, therefore, in this whole epistle, (as hath been declared,) was to prevail with the Hebrews unto steadfastness in the faith of the gospel, and diligence in attendance unto all those ways and means whereby they might be established. The foundation of his exhortations unto this purpose he lays in the incomparable excellency of the Author of the gospel. Hence just and cogent inferences unto constancy in the profession of his doctrine and obedience unto him, both absolutely and in respect of the competition set up against it by Mosaical institutions, do naturally flow.

And these considerations doth the apostle divide into several parts, interposing, in great wisdom, between the handling of them, those exhortations which pressed towards his especial end, before mentioned. And this course he proceeds in for several reasons; for,-

First, He minds them and us in general, that in handling of the doctrines of the gospel concerning the person and offices of Jesus Christ, we should not satisfy ourselves in a bare notional speculation of them, but endeavor to get our hearts excited by them unto faith, love, obedience, and steadfastness in our profession. This doth he immediately apply them unto. Instances unto this purpose doth he give us in this chapter, upon his foregoing declaration of the excellencies of Christ and the glory of his kingdom, that so his hearers might not be barren and unfruitful in the knowledge of him.

Secondly, As to the Hebrews in particular, he had, as it were, so overwhelmed them with that flood of divine testimonies which he had poured out in the beginning of his epistle, and that heavenly, glorious declaration which he had made of the person of the Messiah, that he thought it needful to give them time to consider what was the tendency of that sublime discourse, and what was their especial concernment therein.

Thirdly, The apostle interposeth his exhortation in this place, as to be an application of what was before delivered, so to lead them on thereby unto the consideration of arguments of another nature (though of the same use and tendency), taken from the sacerdotal or priestly office of Christ, and the works or effects thereof. And herein doth a great part of the apostolical wisdom, in the various intertexture of doctrines and exhortations, in this epistle consist, that as every exhortation flows naturally from the doctrine that doth precede it, so always the principal matter of it leads directly unto some other doctrinal argument, which he intends nextly to insist upon. And this we shall see evidenced in the transition that he makes from the exhortation laid down in the beginning of this chapter, unto the sacerdotal office of Christ, Hebrews 2:6-9.

The first verses, then, of this chapter are purely parenetical or hortatory, with a mixture of some considerations serving to make the exhortation weighty and cogent.

Verse 1

The first verse contains the exhortation itself intended by the apostle, those following the especial enforcements of it.

Hebrews 2:1 . Διὰ τοῦτο δεῖ περισσοτέρων ἡμᾶς προσέχειν τοῖς ἀκουσθεῖσι , μήποτε παραῤῥυῶμεν .

Περισσοτέρως , “abundantius,” V. L., Arias, “more abundantly;” “eo amplius,” Beza, “so much the more;” דּיְתִירָאִית , Syr., “magis,” “the rather;” “ut magis,” “ut abundantius,” “as the rather,” “as more abundantly;” “summa attentione,” Arab., “with all attention.” The word denotes somewhat more than ordinary in the act it relates unto, or the persona to whom it is applied. And diligence being especially required in attention unto any thing, or in those that attend, which extends itself unto the whole deportment of the mind in that work (if that be respected herein, which we shall consider), it may be not unmeetly rendered “more diligently,” directly; “more abundantly.” ῝Προσέχειν , “observare,” V. L., “to observe,” improperly; “adhibere,” Ar. M.: a word of an imperfect sense, unless supplied with our minds, or understandings, or diligence, “ adhibere animum,” “adhibere diligentiam;” but immediately affecting the object, as “adhibere auditis,” it gives no perfect sense. “Attendere,” Beza, “to attend unto,” “to give heed;” נֶהָזֵא זְהִירִין , “simus cauti, attenti,” Syr., “that we be wary,” or “heedful.” Προσέχω is usually in other authors, when it refers to persons, “ausculto,” or “obtempero,” to hearken, attend, and give heed to any one with an observant or obedient mind. And sometimes it signifies to hope, or place trust or confidence in him that is attended unto. It is also used for to assent, to agree, or subscribe unto what is spoken by another. In the New Testament it is principally used in two senses:

1. To beware, or look to ourselves, as to things or persons that might hurt us; and then it is attended with ἀπό or ἐπί , as Matthew 7:15; Matthew 10:17; Matthew 16:6; Matthew 16:11-12; Luke 12:1; or so to beware as to look diligently unto our own concernments absolutely, Luke 17:3, Matthew 6:1; Acts 20:28.

2. To attend with diligence and submission of mind unto the words of another, or unto any business that we are employed in, Acts 8:6, 1Ti 1:4 ; 1 Timothy 4:1; 1 Timothy 4:13; Titus 1:14. So it is said of the Samaritans, that they much heeded Simon Magus: Προσεῖχον αὐτῷ τάντες , Acts 8:10. And it is the same word whereby the reverential obedience of that people unto the preaching of Philip is expressed, Acts 8:6. An attendance, then, with a mind ready for obedience is that which the word imports.

Τοῖς ἀκουσθεῖσι , “auditis,” “to the things heard;” בְּמֵדֵם דַּשְּׁמַעַן , Syr., “in eo quod audivimus,” “in that which we have heard,” to the things heard, that is by us, who are required to attend unto them.

Παραῤῥυῶμεν . This word is nowhere else used in the New Testament. In other authors it is as much as “praeterfluo,” “to run by.” So Xenoph. Cyropaed., lib. iv., Πιεῖν ἀπὸ τοῦ παραῤῥέοντος ποτμοῦ , “ to drink of the river running by.” “Pereffiuamus,” V. L., “ne forte pereffiuamus,” “lest perhaps we should run out.” Μήτοτε , “ne forte,” “lest perhaps,” improperly; it respects times and seasons, “lest at any time;” דְּלָא נֶפֵל , “ne forte cadamus,” “decidamus,” “lest we fall,” “fall down,” that is, “perish.” So is the word also interpreted by Chrysostom, Μήποτε παραῤῥῶμεν , τουτέστι μή ἀπολώμεθα , μή ἐκπέσωμεν , “ that we perish not,” “that we fall not.” And he confirms this sense from that saying in the Proverbs 3:21, Τἰὲ μὴ παραὀῥυῇς , “My Son, fall not.” So he interprets the word. In the original it is, אאלאּיָלֻיוּ , “Let them not depart,” the word respecting not the person spoken unto, but the things spoken of. Nor do the LXX. in any other place render לוז by παραῤῥέω , but by ἐκλείπω , as in the next chapter, Proverbs 3:21, and words of the like signification, “to decline,” “draw back,” “give over,” by negligence or weariness. Other ancient translations read, “ne decidamus ab honestate,” “that we fall not from honesty,” and, “et nequaquam rejicias,” “and by no means to reject.” What sense of the word is most proper to the place we shall afterwards consider. [1]

[1] VARIOUS READINGS. Tischendorf reads παραρυῶμεν , on the authority of A B D J; which, says Ebrard, is nothing more than an Alexandrine orthography. EXPOSITION. Παραρ . Stuart remarks, that two senses have been attached to the word: 1. To full, stumble, or perish. Chrysostom, Theophylact, Theodoret, and others, render, the clause, “So that we may not stumble,” or “fall.” And, 2. To suffer to flow from the mind; in proof of which he quotes from Clem. Alex. Paedagog., 3. p, 246, and he shows that Proverbs 3:21 really bears the samemeaning, “Do not pass by, but keep my counsel.” The translation therefore, which he proposes for this verse is, “Lest we should slight them. Παραρ . Allow them to flow past us;’ i.e., ‘allow them to pass by our ears without being listened to.’Erasmus Schmid. Bos, in like manner. Any place which a river flows past is said παραῤῥυεῖσθαι . Metaphorically, any thing is said in general παραῤῥυεῖσθαι , which is passed by and omitted through carelessness.” Wolfius. ED.

Hebrews 2:1 . Therefore [ for this cause ] the more abundantly ought we to attend [or, give heed ] to the things heard [ by us ], lest at any time we should flow out [or, pass away ].

Διὰ τοῦτο , “for this cause;” as much as διό , “therefore,” “wherefore.” There is in the words an illation from the precedent discourse, and the whole verse is a hortatory conclusion from thence. From the proposition that he hath made of the glory and excellency of the Author of the gospel he draws this inference, “Therefore ought we,” for the reasons and causes insisted on. And thus the word ταραῤῥυῶμεν , “flow out,” expresseth their losing by any ways or means the doctrine of the gospel wherein they had been instructed, and the benefits thereof. Seeing the gospel hath. such a blessed Author, we ought to take care that we forfeit not our interest in it. But if we take παραῤῥυῶμεν in the sense chosen by Chrysostom, to express the fall and perishing of them that attend not as they ought unto the word (which interpretation is favored by the Syriac translation), then the word, “therefore,” “for this cause,” respects the commination or threatening included therein. As if the apostle had said,

‘Therefore ought you to attend;’that is, ‘Look to it that you do attend, lest you fall and perish.’I rather embrace the former sense, both because the interpretation of the word used by Chrysostom is strained, as also because the apostle doth evidently in these words enter upon an exhortation unto obedience, upon his former discourse about the person of Christ; nor without an especial regard thereunto had he laid any foundation for such a threatening unto disobedience as is pretended to be in the words; of which yet further afterwards. Δεῖ ἡμᾶς , “Ought we,” the persons unto whom he makes the application of his doctrine, and directs his exhortation. Some think that Paul joins himself here with all the Hebrews upon the account of cognation and country, as being himself also a Hebrew, Philippians 3:5, and therefore affectionately respecting them, Romans 9:3; but the expression is to be regulated by the words that follow, ‘All we, who have heard the gospel preached, and made profession thereof.’And the apostle joins himself with them, not that there was any danger on his part lest he should not constantly obey the word, or [as if he] were of them whose wavering and instability gave occasion to this caution; but,

1. To manifest that the duty which he exhorts them unto is of general concernment unto all to whom the gospel is preached, so that he lays no singular burden on them; and,

2. That he might not as yet discover unto them any jealousy of their inconstancy, or that he had entertained any severe thoughts concerning them, apprehensions whereof are apt to render exhortations suspected, the minds of men being ready enough to disregard that which they are persuaded unto, if they suspect that undeserved blame lies at the bottom of the exhortation. The like condescension hereunto, upon the like account, we may see in Peter, 1 Peter 4:3.

These are the persons spoken unto. That which is spoken to them consists in an exhortation unto a duty, and an especial enforcement of it. The exhortation and duty in the first words, “The more abundantly to attend unto the things heard ;” and the enforcement in the close of them, “Lest at any time we should flow out.”

In the exhortation is expressed an especial circumstance of it, the duty itself, and the manner of its performance.

The first is included in that word,” more abundantly;” which may refer either unto the causes of the attendance required, or unto the manner of its performance.

In the words as they lie in the text, Διὰ τοῦτο περισσοτέρως δεῖ ἡμας προσέχειν , the word περισσοτέρως , “more abundantly,” is joined unto διὰ τοῦτο , “therefore,” “for this cause,” and seems immediately to respect it, and so to intimate the excellent and abundant reason that we have to attend unto the gospel. But if we transpose the words, and read them as if they lay thus, Δεῖ ἡμᾶς περισσοτέρως , then the word περισσοτέρως , “more abundantly,” respects the following word προσέχειν , “to attend unto,” and so expresseth somewhat of the manner of the performance of the duty proposed. And so our translators report the sense, “We ought to give the more diligent heed,” or “give heed the more diligently.” The reader may embrace whether sense he judgeth most agreeable to the scope of the place. The former construction of the word, expressing the necessity of our attention to be intimated from the cogency of the reasons thereof before insisted on, is not without its probability. And this the meaning of the word agrees unto, whether we take it absolutely (for so, as Chrysostom observes, it may be taken, though of itself it be of another form) or comparatively, in which form it is. Take it absolutely, and the apostle informs them that they have abundant cause to attend unto the things spoken or heard, because of him that spake them; for concerning him alone came that voice from the excellent glory, “This is my beloved Son, hear him.” So also in the other sense, the apostle is not comparing the manner of their attending unto the doctrine of the law (which certainly they ought to have done with all diligence) and their attendance unto the gospel, but shows the reasons which they had to attend unto the one and the other, as the following verses clearly manifest. This, then, may be that which the apostle intimates in this word, namely, that they had more abundant cause and a more excellent reason for their attending unto the doctrine of the gospel than they had unto that of the law, on this account, that he by whom the gospel was immediately preached unto us was the Son of God himself. But the other application of the word is more commonly received, wherein it intends the duty enjoined.

In reference unto the duty exhorted unto, there is expressed the object of it, “the things heard.” Thus the apostle chooseth to express the doctrine of the gospel, with respect unto the way and manner whereby it was communicated unto them, namely, by preaching; for

“faith cometh by hearing, and hearing is of the word preached,” Romans 10:14-15; Romans 10:17.

And herein doth he magnify the great ordinance of preaching, as everywhere else he maketh it the great means of begetting faith in men. The Lord Christ himself first preached the gospel, Acts 1:1, and Acts 1:3 of this chapter. Concerning him it was said from heaven, “Hear him,” Matthew 17:5, as he who revealed the Father from his own bosom, John 1:18. From him the gospel came to be the word heard. When he had finished the course of his personal ministry, he mitred the same work unto others, sending them as the Father sent him. They also preached the gospel, and called it “the word;” that is, that which they preached. See 2 Corinthians 1:18. So in the Old Testament it is called שְׁמֻעָה , Isaiah 53:1, “auditus,” “a hearing,” or that which was heard, being preached. So that the apostle insists on and commends unto them not only the things themselves wherein they had been instructed, but also the way whereby they were communicated unto them, namely, by the great ordinance of preaching, as he further declares, Isaiah 53:3. This as the means of their believing, as the ground of their profession, they were diligently to remember, consider, and attend unto.

The duty itself directed unto, and the manner of its performance, are expressed in the word προσέχειν , to “attend,” or “give heed.” What kind of attendance is denoted by this word was in part before declared. An attendance it is with reverence, assent, and readiness to obey. So Acts 16:14, “God opened the heart of Lydia, προσέχειν τοῖς λαλουμένοις ,” “to attend unto the things that were spoken;” not to give them the hearing only; there was no need of the opening of her heart for the mere attention of her ear; but she attended with readiness, humility, and resolution to obey the word. The effect of which attention is expressed by the apostle, Romans 6:17. To attend, then, unto the word preached, is to consider the author of it, the matter of it, the weight and concernment of it, the ends of it, with faith, subjection of spirit, and constancy, as we shall with our apostle more at large afterwards explain. The duty exhorted unto being laid down, a motive or enforcement unto it is subjoined, taken from the danger that would ensue from the neglect thereof. And this is either from the sin or punishment that would attend it, according unto the various interpretations of the word παραῤῥυῶμεν , “flow out,” or” fall,” before mentioned. If it signify to “fall” or “perish,” then the punishment of the neglect of this duty is intimated. We shall perish as water that is poured on the earth. Thereunto is the frail life of man compared, 2 Samuel 14:14. This sense of the word is embraced by few expositors, yet hath it great countenance given unto it by the ensuing discourse, 2 Samuel 14:2-3, and for that reason it is not unworthy our consideration. For the design of the apostle in those verses is to prove that they shall deservedly and assuredly perish who should neglect the gospel. And the following particles, εἰ γάρ , “and if,” in 2 Samuel 14:2, may seem to relate unto what was before spoken, and so to yield a reason why the unbelievers should so perish as he had intimated; which, unless it be expressed in this word, the apostle had not before at all spoken unto. And in this sense the caution here given is, that we should attend unto the word of the gospel, lest by our neglect thereof we bring upon ourselves inevitable ruin, and perish as water that is spilt on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again.

But the truth is, that the word ποτέ prefixed will not be well reconciled unto this sense and interpretation, unless we should suppose it to be redundant and insignificative, and so μή ποτε παραῤῥυῶμεν , “lest at any time we should flow out,” should be the same with μή παραῤῥυῶμεν , absolutely, “that we fall not.” But there is no just reason to render that word so useless. Allow it, therefore, to be significative, and it may have a double sense,

1. To denote an uncertain time, “quando,” “aliquando,” “at any time;”

2. A conditional event, “forte,” “ne forte,” “lest it should happen.”

In neither of these senses will it allow the words to be expounded of the punishment that shall befall unbelievers, which is most certain both as to the time and the event. Neither doth the apostle in the next verses threaten them that neglect the gospel, that at some time or other they may perish, but lets them know that their destruction is certain, and that from the Lord.

It is, then, our sinful losing of the word and the benefits thereof which the apostle intendeth. And in the next verses he doth not proceed to prove what he had asserted in this verse, but goes on to other arguments to the same purpose, taken from the unquestionable event of our neglect of the word, and losing the benefits thereof. The especial reason, therefore, why the apostle thus expresseth our losing of the doctrine of the gospel by want of diligent attendance unto it, is to be inquired after. Generally the expression is looked on as an allusion unto leaking vessels, which suffer the water that is poured into them one way to run out many: as he speaks in the “Comedian” who denied that he could keep secret some things if they were communicated unto him: “Plenus rimarum sum, huc atque illuc effluo;” “I am full of chinks, and flow out on every side.” And the word relates unto the persons, not to the things, because it contains a crime. It is our duty to retain the word which we have heard; and therefore it is not said that the word flows out, but that we as it were pour it out. And this crime is denoted by the addition of παρά to ῥυεῖν : for as the simple verb denotes the passing away of any thing as water, whether it deserve to be retained or no, so the compound doth the losing of that perversely which we ought to have retained.

But we may yet inquire a little further into the reason and nature of the allegory. The word or doctrine of the Scripture is compared to showers and rain: Deuteronomy 32:2,

“My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distil as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass.”

Hence the same word, מוֹרֶה , signifies “a teacher” and “rain:” so that translators do often doubt of its special sense, as Psalms 84:7, בְּרָכוֹת יַעְמֶה מוֹרֶח , “The rain filleth the pools,” as in our translation; others, as Jerome and Arias Montanus, render them, “Benedictionibus operietur docens,” “The teacher shall be covered with blessings;” both the words being ambiguous. So also Isaiah 30:20, מוֹרֶיךָ , which we translate “thy teachers,” is by others rendered “thy showers,” or “rain.” So these words, Joel 2:23, אֶתאּהמּוֹרֶה לִצְדָקָה כִּיאּנָתַן לָכֶם , which our translators render in the text, “He hath given you the former rain moderately,” in the margin they render, “a teacher of righteousness.” And the like ambiguity is in other places. And there is an elegant metaphor in the word; for as the drops of rain falling on the each do water it and make it fruitful, whilst it takes no notice of it, so doth the doctrine of the word insensibly make fruitful unto God the souls of men upon whom it doth descend. And in respect unto the word of the gospel it is that the Lord Christ is said to come down as the showers on the mown grass, Psalms 72:0. So the apostle calls the preaching of the gospel unto men the watering of them, 1 Corinthians 3:6-7; and he compares them unto whom it is preached unto the earth that drinketh in the rain, Hebrews 6:7. In pursuit of this metaphor it is that, men are said to pour out the word preached unto them, when by their negligence they lose all the benefits thereof. So when our Savior had compared the same word unto seed, he sets out men’s falling from it by all the ways and means whereby seed cast into the earth may be lost or become unprofitable, Matthew 13:0. And as he shows that there are various ways and means whereby the seed that is sown may be lost and perish, so there are many times and seasons, ways and means, wherein and whereby we may lose and pour out the water or rain of the word which we have received. And these the apostle regards in that expression, “lest at any time.”

We are now entered on the practical part of the epistle, and that which is of great importance unto all professors at all times, especially unto such as are, by the good providence of God, called into the condition wherein the Hebrews were when Paul thus treated with them; that is, a condition of temptation, affliction, and persecution. And we shall therefore the more distinctly consider the useful truths that are exhibited unto us in these words, which are these that follow:

I. Diligent attendance unto the word of the gospel is indispensably necessary unto perseverance in the profession of it. Such a profession I mean as is acceptable unto God, or will be useful unto our own souls. The profession of most of the world is a mere not-renunciation of the gospel in words, whilst in their hearts and lives they deny the power of it every day. A saving profession is that which expresseth the efficacy of the word unto salvation, Romans 10:10. This will never be the effect of a lifeless attendance unto the word. And therefore we shall first consider what is required unto the giving heed to the gospel, here commended unto us. And there are in it (amongst others) the things that follow:

1. A due valuation of the grace tendered in it, and of the word itself on that account. Προσέχειν denotes such an attendance unto any thing as proceeds from an estimation and valuation of it answerable unto its worth. If we have not such thoughts of the gospel, we can never attend unto it as we ought. And if we consider it not as that wherein our chief concernment lies, we consider it not at all as we ought. The field wherein is the hid treasure is so to be heeded as to be valued above all other possessions whatsoever, Matthew 13:44. They who esteemed not the marriage- feast of the King above all avocations and worldly occasions, were shut out as unworthy, Matthew 22:7-8. If the gospel be not more unto us than all the world besides, we shall never continue in a useful profession of it. Fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, wives and children, must all be despised in comparison of it and in competition with it. When men hear the word as that which puts itself upon them, attendance unto which they cannot decline without present or future inconveniences, without considering that all the concernments of their souls lie bound up in it, they will easily be won utterly to neglect it. According as our esteem and valuation of it is, so is our heeding of it and attendance unto it, and no otherwise. Hearkening unto the word as unto a song of him that hath a pleasant voice, which may please or satisfy for the present, is that which profits not men, and which God abhors, Ezekiel 33:32. If the ministration of the gospel be not looked on as that which is full of glory, it will never be attended unto. This the apostle presseth, 2 Corinthians 3:8-9. Constant high thoughts, then, of the necessity, worth, glory, and excellency of the gospel, as on other accounts, so especially of the author of it, and the grace dispensed in it, is the first step in that diligent heeding of it which is required of us. Want of this was that which ruined many of the Hebrews to whom the apostle wrote. And without it we shall never keep our faith firm unto the end.

2. Diligent study of it, and searching into the mind of God in it, that so we may grow wise in the mysteries thereof, is another part of this duty. The gospel is “the wisdom of God,” 1 Corinthians 1:24. In it are laid up all the stores and treasures of that wisdom of God which ever any of the sons of men shall come to an acquaintance with in this world, Colossians 2:2-3. And this wisdom is to be, sought for as silver, and to be searched after as hid treasures, Proverbs 2:4; that is, with pains and diligence, like unto that of those who are employed in that inquiry. Men with indefatigable pains and danger pierce into the bowels of the earth, in the search of those hid treasures that are wrapped up in the vast womb of it. Silver and treasures are not gathered by every lazy passenger on the surface of the earth. They must dig, seek, and search, who intend to be made partakers of them; and they do so accordingly. And so must we do for these treasures of heavenly wisdom. The mystery of the grace of the gospel is great and deep, such as the angels desire to bow down and look into, 1 Peter 1:12; which the prophets of old, notwithstanding the advantage of their own especial revelations, inquired diligently after, 1 Peter 1:10-11: whereas now, if any pretend, though falsely, to a revelation, they have immediately done with the word, as that which, by the deceit of their imaginations, they think beneath them, when indeed it is only distant from them, and is really above them; as if a man should stand on tiptoe on a molehill, and despise the sun appearing newly above the horizon as one beneath him. Diligent, sedulous searching into the word belongs unto this heeding of it, Psalms 1:2; or a laboring by all appointed means to become acquainted with it, wise in the mystery of it, and skilled in its doctrine. Without this, no man will hold fast his profession. Nor doth any man neglect the gospel but he that knows it not, 2 Corinthians 4:3-4. This is the great principle of apostasy in the world: men have owned the gospel, but never knew what it was; and therefore leave the profession of it foolishly, as they took it up lightly. Studying of the word is the security of our faith.

3. Mixing the word with faith is required in this attention. See Hebrews 4:2. As good not hear as not believe. Believing is the end of hearing, Romans 10:10-11; and therefore Lydia’s faith is called her attention, Acts 16:14. This is the life of heeding the word, without which all ether exercise about it is but a dead carcass. To hear and not believe, is in the spiritual life what to see meat and not to eat is in the natural; it will please the fancy, but will never nourish the soul. Faith alone realizeth the things spoken unto the heart, and gives them subsistence in it, Hebrews 11:1; without which, as to us, they flow up and down in loose and uncertain notions. This, then, is the principal part of our duty in heeding the things spoken; for it gives entrance to them into the soul, without which they are poured upon it as water upon a stick that is fully dry.

4. Laboring to express the word received, in a conformity of heart and life unto it, is another part of this attention. This is the next proper end of our hearing. And to do a thing appointed unto an end without aiming at that end, is no better than the not doing it at all, in some cases much worse. The apostle says of the Romans, that they were cast into the mould of the doctrine of the gospel, Romans 6:17. It left upon their hearts an impression of its own likeness, or produced in them the express image of that holiness, purity, and wisdom which it revealeth. This is to behold with open face the glory of the Lord in a glass, and to be changed into the same image, 2 Corinthians 3:18; that is, the image of the Lord Christ, manifested unto us and reflected upon us by and in the glass of the gospel. When the heart of the hearer is quickened, enlivened, spirited with gospel truths, and by them is moulded and fashioned into their likeness, and expresseth that likeness in its fruits, or a conversation becoming the gospel, then is the word attended unto in a right manner. This will secure the word a station in our hearts, and give it a permanent abode in us, This is the indwelling of the word, whereof there are many degrees, and we ought to aim that it should be plentiful

5. Watchfulness against all opposition that is made either against the truth or power of the word in us belongs also unto this duty. And as these oppositions are many, so ought this watchfulness to be great and diligent. And these things have we added for the further explication of the duty that is pressed on us by the apostle, the necessity whereof, for the preservation of the truth in our hearts and minds, will further appear in the ensuing observation.

II. There are sundry times and seasons wherein, and several ways and means whereby, men are in danger to lose the word that they have heard, if they attend not diligently unto its preservation. Μήποτε , “at any time,” or “by any way or means.” This our Savior teacheth us at large in the parable of the seed, which was retained but in one sort of ground of those four whereinto it was cast, Matthew 13:0; and this the experience of all times and ages confirmeth. Yea, few there are at any time who keep the word heard as they ought.

1. We may briefly name the seasons wherein and the ways whereby the hearts and minds of men are made as leaking vessels, to pour out and lose the word that they have heard.

(1.) Some lose it in a time of peace and prosperity. That is a season which slays the foolish. Jeshurun waxes fat and kicks. According to men’s pastures they are filled, and forget the Lord. They feed their lusts high, until they loathe the word. Quails often make a lean soul. A prosperous outward estate hath ruined many a conviction from the word; yea, and weakened faith and obedience in many of the saints themselves. The warmth of prosperity breeds swarms of apostates, as the heat of the sun doth insects in the spring.

(2.) Some lose it in a time of persecution. “When persecution ariseth,” saith our Savior, “they fall away.” Many go on apace in profession until they come to see the cross; this sight puts them to a stand, and then turns them quite out of the way. They thought not of it, and do not like it” We know what havoc this hath made amongst professors in all ages; and commonly where it destroys the bodies of ten, it destroys the souls of a hundred. This is the season wherein stars fall from the firmament; in reference whereunto innumerable are the precepts for watchfulness, wisdom, patience, enduring, that are given us in the gospel.

(3.) Some lose it in a time of trial by temptation. It pleaseth God, in his wisdom and grace, to suffer sometimes an “hour of temptation” to come forth upon the world, and upon the church in the world, for their trial, Revelation 3:10. And he doth it that his own thereby may be made conformable unto their head, Jesus Christ, who had his especial hour of temptation. Now, in such a season temptation worketh variously, according as men are exposed unto it, or as God seeth meet that they should be tried by it. Every thing that such days abound withal shall have in it the force of a temptation. And the usual effect of this work is, that it brings professors into a slumber, Matthew 25:5. In this state many utterly lose the word. They have been cast into a negligent slumber by the secret power and efficacy of temptation; and when they awake and look about them, the whole power of the word is lost and departed from them. With reference unto these and the like seasons it is that the apostle gives us this caution, to “take heed lest at any time the word which we have heard do slip out.”

2. The ways and means also whereby this wretched effect is produced are various, yea, innumerable. Some of them only I shall mention, whereunto the rest may be reduced; as,

(1.) Love of this present world. This made Demas a leaking vessel, 2 Timothy 4:10, and chokes one fourth part of the seed of the parable, Matthew 13:0. Many might have been rich in grace, had they not made it their end and business to be rich in this world, 1 Timothy 6:9. But this is too well known, as well as too little regarded.

(2.) Love of sin. A secret lust cherished in the heart will make it “plenum rimarum,” “full of chinks,” that it will never retain the showers of the word; and it will assuredly open them as fast as convictions stop them.

(3.) False doctrines, errors, heresies, false worship, superstition, and idolatries, will do the same. I place these things together, as those which work in the same kind upon the curiosity, vanity, and darkness of the minds of men. These break the vessel, and at once pour out all the benefits of the word that ever were received. And many the like instances might be given.

And this gives us the reason of the necessity of that heeding of the word which we before insisted on. Without it, at one time or other, by one means or other, we shall lose all the design of the word upon our souls. That alone will preserve us, and carry us through the course and difficulties of our profession. The duty mentioned, then, is of no less concernment unto us than our souls, for without it we shall perish. Let us not deceive ourselves; a slothful, negligent hearing of the word will bring no man to life. The commands we have to “watch, pray, strive, labor, and fight,” are not in vain. The warnings given us of the opposition that is made to our faith, by indwelling sin, Satan, and the world, are not left on record for nothing; no more are the sad examples which we have of many, who beginning a good profession have utterly turned aside to sin and folly.

All these things, I say, teach us the necessity of the duty which the apostle enjoineth, and which we have explained.

III. The word heard is not lost without the great sin as well as the inevitable ruin of the souls of men. Lost it is when it is not mixed with faith, when we receive it not in good and honest hearts, when the end of it is not accomplished in us and towards us. And this befalls us not without our sin, and woeful neglect of duty. The word of its own nature is apt to abide, to incorporate itself with us, and to take root; but we cast it out, we pour it forth from us. And they have a woeful account to make on whose souls the guilt thereof shall be found at the last day.

IV. It is in the nature of the word of the gospel to water barren hearts, and to make them fruitful unto God. Hence, as was showed, is it compared to water, dew, and rain; which is the foundation of the metaphorical expression here used. Where this word comes, it makes

“the parched ground a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water,” Isaiah 35:7.

These are the waters of the sanctuary, that heal the barren places of the earth, and make them fruitful, Ezekiel 47:0; the river that maketh glad the city of God, Psalms 46:4; that river of living water that comes forth from the throne of God, Revelation 22:1. And the places and persons which are not healed or benefited by these waters are left to barrenness and burning for evermore, Ezekiel 47:11; Hebrews 6:8. With the dew hereof doth God water his church every moment, Isaiah 27:3; and then doth it “grow as a lily, and cast forth its roots as Lebanon,” Hosea 14:5-7. Abundant fruitfulness unto God follows a gracious receiving of this dew from him. Blessed are they who have this dew distilling on them every morning, who are watered as the garden of God, as a land that God careth for.

V. The consideration of the revelation of the gospel by the Son of God is a powerful motive unto that diligent attendance unto it which we have before described. This is the inference that the apostle makes from the proposition that he had made of the excellency of the Son of God: “Therefore.”

And this is that which in the greatest part of the ensuing chapter he doth pursue. This is that which God declares that he might so justly expect and look for, namely, that when he sent his Son to the vineyard, he should be regarded and attended unto.

And this is most reasonable upon many accounts:

1. Because of the authority wherewith he spake the word. Others spake and delivered their message as servants; he as the Lord over his own house, Hebrews 3:6. The Father himself gave him all his authority for the revealing of his mind, and therefore proclaimed from heaven that if any one would have any thing to do with God, they were to “hear him,”

Matthew 17:5; 2 Peter 1:17. The whole authority of God was with him; for him did God the Father seal, or he put the stamp of all his authority upon him; and he spake accordingly, Matthew 7:29. And therefore he spake both in his own name and the name of his Father: so that this authority sprung partly from the dignity of his person, for being God and man, though he spake on the earth, yet he who was the Son of man was in heaven still, John 3:13, and therefore is said to speak from heaven, Hebrews 12:25, and coming from heaven was still above all, John 3:31, having power and authority over all, and partly from the commission that he had from his Father, which, as we said before, gave all authority into his hand, John 5:27. Being then in himself the Son of God, and being peculiarly designed to reveal the mind and will of the Father (which the prophet calls his “standing and feeding in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God,” Micah 5:4), all the authority of God over the souls and consciences of men is exerted in this revelation of the gospel by him. It cannot, then, be neglected without the contempt of all the authority of God. And this will be a sore aggravation of the sin of unbelievers and apostates at the last day. If we attend not unto the word on this account, we shall suffer for it. He that despiseth the word despiseth him; and he that despiseth him despiseth him also who sent him.

2. Because of the love that is in it. There is in it the love of the Father in sending the Son, for the revealing of himself and his mind unto the children of men. There is also in it the love of the Son himself, condescending to teach and instruct the sons of men, who by their own fault were cast into error and darkness, Greater love could not God nor his eternal Son manifest unto us, than that he should undertake in his own person to become our instructor. See 1 John 5:20. He that shall consider the brutish stupidity and blindness of the generality of mankind in the things of God, the miserable fluctuating and endless uncertainties of the more inquiring part of them, and withal the greatness of their concernment in being brought unto the knowledge of the truth, cannot but in some measure see the greatness of this love of Christ in revealing unto us the whole counsel of God. Hence his words and speech are said to be “gracious,” Luke 4:22; and “grace to be poured into his lips,” Psalms 45:2. And this is no small motive unto our attention unto the word.

3. The fullness of the revelation itself by him made unto us is of the same importance. He came not to declare a part or parcel, but the whole will of God, all that we are to know, all that we are to do, all that we are to believe. “In him are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge,” Colossians 2:3. He opened all the dark sentences of the will of God, hidden from the foundation of the world.

There is in his doctrine all wisdom, all knowledge, as all light is in the sun, and all water in the sea, there being nothing of the one or the other in any other thing but by a communication from them. Now, if every word of God be excellent, if every part and parcel of it delivered by any of his servants of old was to be attended unto on the penalty of extermination out of the number of his people, how much more will our condition be miserable, as now are our blindness and obstinacy, if we have not a heart to attend unto this full revelation of himself and his will!

4. Because it is final. “Last of all he sent his Son,” and hath “spoken unto us by him.” Never more in this world will he speak with that kind of speaking. No new, no further revelation of God is to be expected in this world, but what is made by Jesus Christ. To this we must attend, or we are lost for ever.

VI. The true and only way of honoring the Lord “Christ as the Son of God, is by diligent attendance and obedience unto his word. The apostle having evidenced his glory as the Son of God, makes this his only inference from it. So doth he himself. “If ye love me,” saith he, “keep my commandments.” Where there is no obedience unto the word, there is neither faith in nor love unto Jesus Christ. But this whole argument the apostle further pursues in the following verses:

Verses 2-4

In these three verses the apostle follows on his exhortation, laid down in that foregoing, and giveth many peculiar enforcements unto a due compliance with it, as we shall see in our exposition of them.

Hebrews 2:2 . Εἰ γὰρ ὁ δι᾿ ἀγγέλων λαληθεὶς λόγος ἐγένετο βέβαιος , καὶ πᾶσα παράβασις καὶ παρακοὴ ἔλαβεν ἔνδικον μισθαποδοσίαν·

Εἰ γάρ , “si enim,’ “etenim,”” and if,” “for if.” ῾῾Ο λόγος λαληθεὶς , “sermo dictus;” מֶלְּתָא דֵּאתְמֵלַלֵת Syr., “sermo qui dictus est,” or “pronuntiatus,” “the word which was spoken or pronounced” properly, as we shall see. Δι᾿ ἀγγέλων , Syr., בְּיַד מַלָאכֵא “by the hand of angels;” a Hebraism for their ministry. “The word pronounced by the ministry of angels.” The Arabic refers these words to the testimonies before insisted on about angels, and renders them, “If that which is spoken concerning the angels be approved,” or confirmed to be true; that is, περὶ ἀγγέλων , not δι᾿ ἀγγέλων . ᾿Εγένετο βέβαιος , “factus est firmas,” At., V. L., “was made firm” or “stable,” became sure;” “fuit firmus,” Eras., Beza, “was firm ;” or, as ours, “steadfast;” אֶשְׁתַּיְיַת Syr., “confirmatus fuit,” “was confirmed or established.” Καὶ πᾶσα παράβασις καὶ παρακοή , “et omnis prevaricatio et inobedientia,” V. L., Ar., “prevarication and disobedience;” Rhem., “omnisque transgressio et contumacia;” Beza, “every transgression and stubborn disobedience;” the Syriac, a little otherwise, וְכֻל דְּשַׁמְעָהּ וַעֲבַי עֲלַיְהַ “and every one that heard it and transgressed it,” with peculiar respect, as it should seem, to παρακοή , which includes a disobedience to that which is heard. ῎Ελαβεν ἕνδικον υισθαποδοσίαν , “accepit justam mercedis retributionem,” V. L., Bez.; “retulit, praemii,” Eras., all to the same purpose, “received a just recompence,” “reward,”” a just compensation;” Syr., “received a retribution in righteousness.”

Hebrews 2:2 . For if the word spoken [ pronounced ] by angels was sure [steadfast], and every transgression and [ stub born] disobedience received a just [ meet, equal ] retribution [or, recompence of reward ];

Hebrews 2:3 . Πῶς ἡμεῖς ἐκφευξόμεθα τηλικαύτης ἀμελήσαντες σωτηρίας ; ἥτις ἀρχήν λαβοῦσα λαλεῖσθαι διὰ τοῦ Κυρίου , ὑπὸ τῶν ἀκουσάντων εἰς ἠμᾶς ἐβεβαιώθη ,

῾᾿Αμελήσαντες , “si neglexerimus,” V. L., Eras., Beza, “if we neglect;” אִן נֶבְסֵא , Syr., “si contemnamus,” “if we despise,” “ if we care not about” “if we take no care of.” Τηλικαύτης σωτηρίας , “tantam salutem,’” so great salvation;” the Syriac a little otherwise, אִילֵין דְּהָנוּן אִנוּ תַיַּין על , “super ea ipsa quae sunt vitae,” “those things which are our life;” or, as others render the words, “eos sermones qui vivi sunt,” “those words which are living.” The former translation, taking the pronoun in the neuter gender, and חַיַּין substantively, with respect unto the effects of the gospel, most suits the place. ῝Ητις ἀρχὴν λαβοῦσα λαλεῖσθαι , “quae cum primum enarrari coepit,” Eras., Bez., “which when it was begun to be declared;” and so the Syriac, “which began to be declared,” which was first, at first spoken, declared pronounced.

Hebrews 2:3 . How shall we escape [ fly or avoid ], if we neglect [ not taking care about ] so great salvation, which began to be [ was first of all ] spoken [ declared ] by the Lord, and was confirmed [ assured, established ] unto us by them that heard [ it of him ],

Hebrews 2:4 . Συνεπιμαρτυροῦντος τοῦ Θεοῦ σημείσοις τε καὶ τέρασι , καὶ ποικίλαις δυνάμεσι , καὶ Πνεύματος ἀγίου μερισμοῖς , κατὰ τὴν αὐτοῦ θέλησιν .

Συνεπιμαρτυροῦντος , “contestante Deo,” V. L.; “attestante Deo,” Eras.; “testimonium illis praebente Deo,” Beza; “God withal testifying, attesting it, giving testimony unto them.” It is doubtful whether it be the word itself or the preachers of it that God is said to give testimony unto. Syr., כּר סָהֵר עֲלַיְהוּן אַלָהָא , “when God had testified unto them.” Arab., “whose truth was also proved unto us, besides the testimony of God with wonders;” separating between God’s testimony to the word and the signs and wonders that accompanied it. Τέρασι , “prodigiis,” “portentis,” “miraculis.”

Hebrews 2:4 . God bearing witness with signs and wonders [ prodigies ], and divers [ various ] mighty works [ powers ], and distributions [ divisions ] of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?

The design of the apostle in these three verses is to confirm and enforce the inference and exhortation laid down in the first, as that which arose from the discourses of the foyer chapter. The way he proceeds in for this end, is by interposing, after his usual manner in this epistle, subservient motives, arguments, and considerations, tending directly to his principal end, and connatural unto the subject treated on. Thus the main argument wherewith he presseth his preceding exhortation unto attendance and obedience unto the word is taken “ab incommodo,” or “ab eventu pernicioso,” from the pernicious end and event of their disobedience thereunto. The chief proof of this is taken from another argument, “a minori;” and that is, the confessed event of disobedience unto the law, Hebrews 2:2. To confirm and strengthen which reasoning, he gives us a summary comparison of the law and the gospel; whence it might appear, that if a disregard unto the law was attended with a sure and sore revenge, much more must and would the neglect of the gospel be so. And this comparison on the part of the gospel is expressed,

1. In the nature of it, it is “great salvation;”

2. The author of it, it was “spoken by the Lord;”

3. The manner of its tradition, being “confirmed unto us by them that heard him,”

and the testimony given to it and them, by “signs and wonders, and distributions of the Holy Ghost:” from all which he infers his proof of the pernicious event of disobedience unto it or disregard of it. This is the sum of the apostle’s reasoning, which we shall further open as the words present it unto us in the text.

The first thing we meet with in the words is his subservient argument “a minori,” Hebrews 2:2, wherein three things occur :

1. The description that he gives us of the law, which he compares the gospel withal, it was “the word spoken by angels.”

2. An adjunct of it, which ensued upon its being spoken by them, it was “firm” or “steadfast.”

3. The event of disobedience unto it, “every transgression” of it “and stubborn disobedience received a just recompence of reward.” How from hence he confirms his assertion of the pernicious consequence of neglecting the gospel, we shall see afterwards.

The first thing in the words is the description of the law, by that periphrasis, ῾Ο λόγος δι᾿ ἀγγέλων λαληθείς , “The word spoken” (or “pronounced”) by “angels.” Λόγος is a word very variously used in the New Testament. The special senses of it we shall not need in this place to insist upon. It is here taken for a system of doctrine; and, by the addition of λαληθείς , as published, preached, or declared. Thus the gospel, from the principal subject-matter of it, is called, ὁ λόγος ὁ τοῦ σταυροῦ , 1 Corinthians 1:18, the word, the doctrine, the preaching concerning the cross, or Christ crucified. So ὁ λόγος here, “the word,” is the doctrine of the law; that is, the law itself spoken, declared, published, promulgated. Δι ᾿ἀγγέλων , “by angels;” that is, by the ministry of angels. It is not the νομοθέτης , he from whom the law was given, that the apostle intends; but the ministerial publishers of it, by whom it was given. The law was given from God, but it was given by angels, in the way and manner to be considered.

Two things we may observe in this periphrasis of the law:

1. That the apostle principally intends that part of the Mosaical dispensation which was given on mount Sinai; and which, as such, was the covenant between God and that people, as unto the privilege of the promised land.

2. That he fixes on this description of it rather than any other, or merely to have expressed it by the law,

(1.) Because the ministry of angels, in the giving of the law by Moses, was that by which all the prodigious effects wherewith it was attended (which kept the people in such a durable reverence unto it) were wrought, This, therefore, he mentions, that he might appear not to undervalue it, but to speak of it with reference unto that excellency of its administration which the Hebrews even boasted in.

(2.) Because having newly insisted on a comparison between Christ and the angels, his argument is much strengthened when it shall be considered that while the law was the word spoken by the angels, the gospel was delivered by the Son, so far exalted above them. But the manner how this was done must be a little further inquired into. That the law was given by the ministry of angels the Jews always confessed, yea, and boasted. So saith Josephus, one much ancienter than any of their rabbins extant: ᾿Αρχαιολ lib, v., ᾿᾿Ημῶν τὰ κάλλιστα τῶν δογμάτων , καὶ τὰ ὁσιώτατα τῶν ἐν τοῖς νόμοις , δι᾿ ἀγγέλων παρά τῷ Θεῷ μαθόντων· “We learned the most excellent and most holy constitutions of the law from God by angels.” The same was generally acknowledged by them of old. This Stephen, treating with them, takes for granted, Acts 7:53, “Who received the law by the disposition of angels.” And our apostle affirms the same, Galatians 3:19, “It was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.” A word of the same original and sense is used in both places, though by ours variously rendered: διαταγή , διαταγείς . This, then, is certain. But the manner of it is yet to be considered.

1. First, then, nothing is more unquestionable than that the law was given from God himself. He was the author of it. This the whole Scripture declares and proclaims. And it was the impious abomination of the Valentinians and Marcionites of old to abscribe the original of it unto any other author.

2. He who spake in the name of God on mount Sinai was no other than God himself, the second person of the Trinity, Psalms 68:17-19. Him Stephen calls “the angel,” Acts 7:30; Acts 7:38; even the angel of the covenant, the Lord whom the people sought, Malachi 3:1-2. Some would have it be a created angel, delegated unto that work, who thereon took on him the presence and name of God, as if he himself had spoken. But this is wholly contrary to the nature of ministerial work. Never did ambassador speak his own name, as if he were the king himself whose person he doth represent. The apostle tells us that the preachers of the gospel were God’s ambassadors, and that God by them doth persuade men to be reconciled in Christ, 2 Corinthians 5:20. But yet if any on that account should take on him to personate God, and to speak of himself as God, he would be highly blasphemous. Nor can this be imagineded in this place, where not only he that speaks, speaks the name of God, (“I am the LORD thy God,”) but also elsewhere it is frequently affirmed that Jehovah himself did give that law; which is made unto the people an argument unto obedience. And the things done on Sinai are always ascribed unto God himself.

3. It remains, then, to consider how, notwithstanding this, the law is said to be “the word spoken by angels.” It is nowhere affirmed that the law was given by angels, but that the people received it “by the disposition of angels,” and that it was “ordained by angels;” and here, “spoken by them.” From hence it is evident that not the original authoritative giving of the law, but the ministerial ordering of things in its promulgation, is that which is ascribed to angels. They raised the fire and smoke; they shook and rent the rocks; they framed the sound of the trumpet; they effected the articulate voices which conveyed the words of the law to the ears of the people, and therein proclaimed and published the law; whereby it became “the word spoken by angles.”

Grotius on this place contends that it was a created angel who represented the person of God on mount Sinai; and in the confirmation of his conjecture, after he had made use of the imagination before rejected, he adds, “that if the law had been given out by God in his own person” (as he speaks), “then, upon that account, it would have been preferred above the gospel.” But as the apostle grants, in the first words of this epistle, that the law no less than the gospel was primitively and originally from God, so we say not that God gave the law immediately, without the ministry of angels; but the comparison which the apostle is pursuing respects not the first author of law and gospel, but the principal ministerial publishers of them, who of the one were angels, of the other the Son himself.

And in these words lies the spring of the apostle’s argument, as is manifest in those interrogatory particles, ει᾿ γάρ , “for if;” ‘For if the law that was published unto our fathers by angels was so vindicated against the disobedient, how much more shall the neglect of the gospel be avenged?’

Secondly, He affirms concerning this word thus published, that it was βέβαιος , “firm,” or “steadfast;” that is, it became an assured covenant between God and the people. That peace which is firm and well grounded is called εἰρήνη βεβαία , “a firm, unalterable peace;” and τὸ βέβαιον , is public security. The law’s becoming βέβαιος , then, “firm, sure, steadfast,”

consists in its being ratified to be the covenant between God and that people as to their typical inheritance: Deuteronomy 5:2, “The LORD our God made a covenant with us in Horeb.” And therefore in the greater transgressions of the law, the people were said to forsake, to break, to profane, to transgress the covenant of God, Leviticus 26:15; Deuteronomy 17:2, Hosea 6:7; Joshua 7:11; 2 Kings 18:12; 1 Kings 19:14; Jeremiah 22:9; Malachi 2:10. And the law thus published by angels became a steadfast covenant between God and the people, by their mutual stipulation thereon, Exodus 20:19; Joshua 24:21-22; Joshua 24:24. Being thus firm and ratified, obedience unto it became necessary and reasonable; for hence,

Thirdly, The event of disobedience unto this word is expressed: “Every transgression and every stubborn disobedience received a meet retribution.” Sundry things must be a little inquired into for the right understanding of these words, as,

1. The difference between παράβασις and παρακοή . And the first is properly any transgression, which the Hebrews call פֶּשַע ; the latter includes a refusal so to attend as to obey, contumacy, stubbornness, rebellion, סרִי . And so the latter word may be exegetical of the former, such transgressions the apostle speaks of as were accompanied with contumacy and stubbornness, or they may both intend the same things under diverse respects.

2. How may this be extended to every sin and transgression, seeing it is certain that some sins under the law were not punished, but expiated by atonement?

Ans. (1.) Every sin was contrary τῷ λόγῳ “to the doctrine of the law,” its commands and precepts.

(2.) Punishment was assigned unto every sin, though not executed on every sinner. And so the word ἔλαζεν denotes not the actual infliction of punishment; but the constitution of it in the sanction of the law.

(3.) Sacrifices for atonement manifested punishments to have been due, though the sinner was relieved against them. But,

(4.) The sins especially intended by the apostle were such as were directly against the law as it was a covenant between God and the people, for which there was no provision made of any atonement or compensation; but the covenant being broken by them, the sinners were to die without mercy, and to be exterminated by the hand of God or man. And therefore the sins against the gospel, which are opposed unto those, are not any transgressions that professors may be guilty of, but final apostasy or unbelief, which renders the doctrine of it altogether unprofitable unto men.

3. Εςδικος μισθαποδοσία is a recompence just and equal, proportionable unto the crime according to the judgment of God, that which answers δικαιώματι τοῦ Θεοῦ , that “judgment of God,” which is, “that they which commit sin are worthy of death,” Romans 1:32. And there were two things in the sentence of the law against transgressors:

(1.) The temporal punishment of cutting off from the land of the living, which respected that dispensation of the law which the Israelites were subjected unto. But the several sorts of punishment that were among the Jews under the law have been declared in our Prolegomena; to discover the nature whereof, let the reader consult the 21st Exercitation. And,

(2.) Eternal punishment, which was figured thereby, due unto all transgressors of the law, as it is a rule of obedience unto God from all mankind, Jews and Gentiles. Now, it is the first of these which the apostle directly and primarily intendeth; because he is comparing the law in the dispensation of it on Horeb unto the Jews, with all its sanctions, unto the present dispensation of the gospel; and from the penalties wherewith the breach of it, as such, among that people, was then attended, argues unto the “sorer punishment” that must needs ensue upon the neglect of the dispensation of the gospel, as he himself expounds, Hebrews 10:28-29. For otherwise the penalty assigned unto the transgression of the moral law as a ride is the very same, in the nature and kind of it, with that which belongs unto despisers of the gospel, even death eternal.

4. Chrysostom observes some impropriety in the use of the word μισθαποδοσία , because it rather denotes a reward for a good work than a punishment for an evil one. But the word is indifferent, ἐκ τῶν μέσων , and denotes only a recompence suitable unto that whereunto it is applied. So is ἀντιμισθία , used by our apostle, Romans 1:27, excellently expressed by Solomon, Proverbs 1:31, “Sinners shall eat of the fruit of their own ways, and be filled with their own devices.” Such rewards we have recorded, Numbers 15:32-34; 2 Samuel 6:6-7; 1Ki 13:4 , 2 Kings 2:23-24; 2 Chronicles 32:20-21.

This the apostle lays down as a thing well known unto the Hebrews, namely, that the law, which was delivered unto them by angels, received such a sanction from God, after it was established as the covenant between him and the people, that the transgression of it, so as to disannul the terms and conditions of it, had, by divine constitution, the punishment of death temporal, or excision, appointed unto it. And this in the next words he proceeds to improve unto his purpose by the way of an argument “a minori ad majus:” “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation,” etc.

There is an antithesis expressed in one branch, as we observed before, between the law and the gospel, namely, that the law was the word spoken by angels, the gospel being revealed by the Lord himself. But there are also other differences intimated between them, though expressed only on the part of the gospel; as that it is, in its nature and effects, “great salvation;” that is, not absolutely only, but comparatively unto the benefit exhibited to their forefathers by the law, as given on mount Horeb. The confirmation also of the gospel by the testimony of God is tacitly opposed unto the confirmation of the law by the like witness. And from all these considerations doth the apostle enforce his argument, proving the punishment that shall befall gospel neglecters.

In the words, as was in part before observed, there occur:

1. The subject-matter spoken of, “so great salvation.”

2. A further description of it;

(1.) From its principal author, it “began to be spoken by the Lord;”

(2.) From the manner of its propagation, it “was confirmed unto us by them that heard him;

(3.) From its confirmation by the testimony of God; which,

(4.) Is exemplified by a distribution into,

[1.] Signs;

[2.] Wonders;

[3.] Mighty works; and

[4.] Various gifts of the Holy Ghost. Whereof there is,

3. A neglect supposed, “ if we neglect.” And,

4. Punishment thereof intimated; wherein,

(1.) The punishment itself, and,

(2.) The manner of its expression, “How shall we escape,” are to be considered. All which are to be severally explained.

1. The subject-matter treated of is expressed in these words, “So great salvation.” And it is the gospel which is intended in that expression, as is evident from the preceding verse; for that which is there called “the word which we have heard,” is here called “great salvation:” as also from the following words, where it is said to be declared by the Lord, and further propagated by them that heard him. And the gospel is called “salvation” by a metonymy of the effect for the cause: for it is the grace of God bringing salvation, Titus 2:11; the word that is able to save us; the doctrine, the discovery, the instrumentally-efficient cause of salvation, Romans 1:16; 1 Corinthians 1:20-21. And this salvation the apostle calls great upon many accounts, which we shall afterwards unfold. And calling it, “so great salvation,” he refers them unto the doctrine of it, wherein they had been instructed, and whereby the excellency of the salvation which it brings is declared.

Now, though the apostle might have expressed the gospel by “The word which was declared unto us by the Lord,” as he had done the law by “The word spoken by angels;” yet to strengthen his argument, or motive unto obedience, which he insists upon, he chose to give a brief description of it from its principal effect; it is “great salvation.” The law, by reason of sin, proved the ministry of death and condemnation, 2 Corinthians 3:9; yet, being fully published only by angels, obedience was indispensably required unto it; and shall not the gospel, the ministry of life, and great salvation, be attended unto?

2. He further describes the gospel,

(1.) From its principal author or revealer. It “began to be spoken by the Lord,” ἀρχὴν The words may have a twofold sense; for ἀρχήν may denote either “principium temporis,” “the beginning of time;” or “principium operis, the beginning of the work” In the first way, it asserts that the Lord himself was the first preacher of the gospel, before he sent or employed his apostles and disciples in the same work; in the latter, that he only began the work, leaving the perfecting and finishing of it unto those who were chosen and enabled by him unto that end. And this latter sense is also true; for he finished not the whole declaration of the gospel in his own person, teaching “viva voce,” but committed the work unto his apostles, Matthew 10:27. But their teaching from him being expressed in the next words, I take the words in the first sense, referring unto what he had delivered, Hebrews 1:1-2, of God’s speaking in these last days in the person of the Son. Now, the gospel hath had a threefold beginning of its declaration: First, In prediction, by promises and types; and so it began to be declared from the foundation of the world, Luke 1:70-71. Secondly, In an immediate preparation; and so it began to be declared in and by the ministry of John the Baptist, Mark 1:1-2. Thirdly, In its open, clear, actual, full revelation; so this work was begun by the Lord himself, and carried on to perfection by those who were appointed and enabled by him thereunto, John 1:17-18. Thus was it by him declared, in his own person, as the law was by angels.

And herein lies the stress of the apostle’s reasonings with reference unto what he had before discoursed concerning the Son and angels, and his pre- eminence above them. The great reason why the Hebrews so pertinaciously adhered unto the doctrine of the law, was the glorious publication of it. It was “the word spoken by angels;” they received it “by the disposition of angels.” ‘If,’saith the apostle, ‘that were a sufficient cause why the law should be attended unto, and that the neglect of it should be so sorely avenged as it was, though in itself but the ministry of death and condemnation, then consider what is your duty in reference unto the gospel, which as it was in itself a word of life and great salvation, so it was spoken, declared, and delivered by the Lord himself, whom we have manifested to be so exceedingly exalted above all angels whatever.’

He further describes the gospel,

(2.) From the way and means of its conveyance unto us. It was “confirmed unto us by them that heard him.” And herein also he prevents an objection that might arise in the minds of the Hebrews, inasmuch as they, at least the greatest part of them, were not acquainted with the personal ministry of the Lord; they heard not the word spoken by him. For hereunto the apostle replies, that though they themselves heard him not, yet the same word which he preached was not only declared, but “confirmed unto them by those that heard him.” And herein he doth not intend all of them who at any time heard him teaching, but those whom in an especial manner he made choice of to employ them in that work, namely, the apostles. So that this expression, “Those that heard him,” is a periphrasis of the apostle’s, from that great privilege of hearing immediately all things that our Lord taught in his own person; for neither did the church of the Jews hear the law as it was pronounced on Horeb by angels, but had it confirmed unto them by the ways and means of God’s appointment And he doth not say merely that the word was taught or preached unto us by them; but ἐβεβαιώθη , it was “confirmed,” made firm and steadfast, being delivered infallibly unto us by the ministry of the apostles, There was a divine βεβαίωσις , “firmness,” certainty, and infallibility in the apostolical declaration of the gospel, like that which was in the writings of the prophets; which Peter, comparing with miracles, calls βεβαιότερον λόγον , “a more firm, steadfast, or sure word.” And this infallible certainty of their word was from their divine inspiration.

Sundry holy and learned men from this expression, “Confirmed unto us,” wherein they say the writer of this epistle placeth himself among the number of those who heard not the word from the Lord himself, but only from the apostles, conclude that Paul cannot be the penman thereof, who in sundry places denieth that he received the gospel by instruction from men, but by immediate revelation from God. Now, because this is the only pretense which hath any appearance of reason for the adjudging the writing of this epistle from him, I shall briefly show the invalidity of it. And

(1.) It is certain that this term, “us,” comprises and casts the whole under the condition of the generality or major part, and cannot receive a particular distribution unto all individuals; for this epistle being written before the destruction of the temple, as we have demonstrated, it is impossible to apprehend but that some were then living at Jerusalem who attended unto the ministry of the Lord himself in the days of his flesh, and among them was James himself, one of the apostles, as before we have made it probable: so that nothing can hence be concluded to every individual, as though none of them might have heard the Lord himself.

(2.) The apostle hath evidently a respect unto the foundation of the church of the Hebrews at Jerusalem by the preaching of the apostles, immediately after the pouring out of the Holy Ghost upon them, Acts 2:1-5; which, as he was not himself concerned in, so he was to mind it unto them as the beginning of their faith and profession.

(3.) Paul himself did not hear the Lord Christ teaching personally on the earth when he began to reveal the great salvation.

(4.) Nor doth he say that those of whom he speaks were originally instructed by the hearers of Christ, but only that by them the word was confirmed unto them; and so it was unto Paul himself, Galatians 2:1-2. But,

(5.) Yet it is apparent that the apostle useth an ἀνακοίνωσιν , placing himself among those unto whom he wrote, though not personally concerned in every particular spoken, a thing so usual with him that there is scarce any of his epistles wherein sundry instances of it are not to be found. See 1 Corinthians 10:8-9; 1 Thessalonians 4:17. The like is done by Peter, 1 Peter 4:3. Having therefore, in this place, to take off all suspicion of jealousy in his exhortation to the Hebrews unto integrity and constancy in their profession, entered on his discourse in this chapter in the same way of expression, “Therefore ought we,” as there was no need, so there was no place for the change of the persons, so as to say “you” instead of “us.” So that on many accounts there is no ground for this objection.

He further yet describes the gospel

(3.) By the divine attestation given unto it, which also adds to the force of his argument and exhortation: Συνεπιμαρτυροῖντος τοῦ Θεοῦ . The word is of a double composition, denoting a concurring testimony of God, a testimony given unto or together with the testimony and witness of the apostles. Of what nature this testimony was, and wherein it consisted, the next words declare, “By signs and wonders, and mighty works, and distributions of the Holy Ghost;” all which agree in the general nature of works supernatural, and in the especial end of attesting to the truth of the gospel, being wrought according to the promise of Christ, Mark 16:17-18, by the ministry of the apostles, Acts 5:12, and in especial by that of Paul himself, Romans 15:19, 2 Corinthians 12:12. But as to their especial differences, they are here cast under four heads:

The first are σημεῖα , אוֹתֹת , “signs;” that is, miraculous works, wrought to signify the presence of God by his power with them that wrought them, for the approbation and confirmation of the doctrine which they taught. The second are τέρατα , מֹפְתִים , “prodigies,” “wonders,” works beyond the power of nature, above the energy of natural causes; wrought to fill men with wonder and admiration, stirring men up unto a diligent attention to the doctrine accompanied with them: for whereas they surprise men by discovering τὸ θεῖον , “a present divine power,” they dispose the mind to an embracing of what is confirmed by them. Thirdly, δυνάμεις , הגְּבוּרוֹת , “mighty works,” wherein evidently a mighty power, the power of God, is exerted in their operation. And fourthly, Πνεύματος ἀγίου μερισμοί ; מץנוֹת הָרוּחַ הַקָּדוֹש , “gifts of the Holy Ghost,” enumerated 1 Corinthians 12:0, Ephesians 4:8; χαρίσματα , “free gifts,” freely bestowed, called μερισμοί , “divisions,” or “distributions,” for the reason at large declared by the apostle, 1 Corinthians 12:7-11. All which are intimated in the following words, Κατὰ τὴν αὐτου θέλησιν . It is indifferent whether we read αὐτοῦ or αὐτοῦ , and refer it to the will of God, or of the Holy Ghost himself, his own will, which the apostle guides unto, 1 Corinthians 12:11.

As we said before, all these agree in the same general nature and kind of miraculous operations, the variety of expressions whereby they are set forth relating only unto some different respects of them, taken from their especial ends and effects. The same works were, in different respects, signs, wonders, mighty works, and gifts of the Holy Ghost; but being effectual unto several ends, they received these various denominations.

In these works consisted the divine attestation of the doctrine of the apostles, God in and by them giving testimony from heaven, by the ministration of his almighty power, unto the things which were taught, and his approbation of the persons that taught them in their work. And this was of especial consideration in dealing with the Hebrews; for the delivery of the law and the ministry of Moses having been accompanied with many signs and prodigies, they made great inquiry after signs for the confirmation of the gospel, 1 Corinthians 1:22; which though our Lord Jesus Christ neither in his own person nor by his apostles would grant unto them, in theft time and manner, to satisfy their wicked and carnal curiosity, yet in his own way and season he gave them forth for their conviction, or to leave them inexcusable, John 10:38.

3. The gospel being of this nature, thus taught, thus delivered, thus confirmed, there is a neglect of it supposed, Hebrews 2:3, “If we neglect,” ἀμελήσαντες . The conditional is included in the manner of the expression, “If we neglect,” “if we regard not,” “if we do not take due care about it.” The word intimateth an omission of all those duties which are necessary for our retaining the word preached unto our profit, and that to such a degree as utterly to reject it; for it answers unto those transgressions of and that stubborn disobedience unto the law, which disannulled it as a covenant, and were punished with excision or cutting off. “If we neglect,” that is, if we continue not in a diligent observation of all those duties which are indispensably necessary unto a holy, useful, profitable profession of the gospel

4. There is a punishment intimated upon this sinful neglect of the gospel: “How shall we escape,” “flee from,” or “avoid?” wherein both the punishment itself and the manner of its expression are to be considered. For the punishment itself, the apostle doth not expressly mention it; it must therefore be taken from the words going before. “How shall we escape;” that is ἔνδικον μισθαποδοσίαν , “a just retribution,” “a meet recompence of reward?” The breach of the law had so; a punishment suitable unto the demerit of the crime was by God assigned unto it, and inflicted on them that were guilty. So is there unto the neglect of the gospel, even a punishment justly deserved by so great a crime; so much greater and more sore than that designed unto the contempt of the law, by how much the gospel, upon the account of its nature, effects, author, and confirmation, was more excellent than the law: χειρὼν τιμωρία , “a sorer punishment,” as our apostle calls it, Hebrews 10:29; as much exceeding it as eternal destruction under the curse and wrath of God exceeds all temporal punishments whatever. What this punishment is, see Matthew 16:26; Matthew 25:46; 2 Thessalonians 1:9. The manner of ascertaining the punishment intimated is by an interrogation, “How shall we escape?” wherein three things are intended:

(1.) A denial of any ways or means for escape or deliverance. There is none that can deliver us, no way whereby we may escape. See 1 Peter 4:17-18. And,

(2.) The certainty of the punishment itself. It will as to the event assuredly befall us. And,

(3.) The inexpressible greatness of this unavoidable evil: “How shall we escape?” We shall not, there is no way for it, nor ability to bear what we are liable unto, Matthew 23:33; Matthew 23:33; 1 Peter 4:18.

This is the scope of the apostle in these verses, this the importance of the several things contained in them. His main design and intendment is, to prevail with the Hebrews unto a diligent attendance unto the gospel that was preached unto them; which he urgeth by an argument taken from the danger, yea certain ruin, that will undoubtedly ensue on the neglect of it; whose certainty; unavoidableness, greatness, and righteousness, he manifests by the consideration of the punishment assigned unto the transgression of the law, which the gospel on many accounts doth excel. The observations for our own instruction which these verses offer unto us are these that follow:

I. Motives unto a due valuation of the gospel and perseverance in the profession of it, taken from the penalties annexed unto the neglect of it, are evangelical, and of singular use in the preaching of the word: “How shall we escape, if we neglect?”

This consideration is here managed by the apostle, and that when he had newly set forth the glory of Christ, and the greatness of the salvation tendered in the gospel, in the most persuading and attractive manner. Some would fancy that all comminations and threatenings do belong unto the law, as though Jesus Christ had left himself and his gospel to be securely despised by profane and impenitent sinners; but as they will find the contrary to their eternal ruin, so it is the will of Christ that we should let them know it, and thereby warn others to take heed of their sins and their plagues.

Now, these motives from comminations and threatenings I call evangelical,

1. Because they are recorded in the gospel. There we are taught them, and by it commanded to make use of them, Matthew 10:28; Matthew 24:50-51, Mark 16:16, John 3:36, 2Co 2:15-16 , 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9, and in other places innumerable. And to this end are they recorded, that they may be preached and declared as part of the gospel. And if the dispensers of the word insist not on them, they deal deceitfully with the souls of men, and detain from the counsel of God. And as such persons will find themselves to have a weak and an enervous ministry here, so also that they will have a sad account of their partiality in the word to give hereafter. Let not men think themselves more evangelical than the author of the gospel, more skilled in the mystery of the conversion and edification of the souls of men than the apostles; in a word, more wise than God himself; which they must do if they neglect this part of his ordinance.

2. Because they become the gospel. It is meet the gospel should be armed with threatenings as well as attended with promises; and that,

(1.) On the part of Christ himself, the author of it. However the world persecuted and despised him whilst he was on the earth, and he “threatened not,” 1 Peter 2:23, on his own account, however they continued to contemn and blaspheme his ways and salvation, yet he lets them know that he is armed with power to revenge their disobedience.

And it belongs unto his honor to have it declared unto them. A scepter in a kingdom without a sword, a crown without a rod of iron, will quickly be trampled on. Both are therefore given into the hand of Christ, that the glory and honor of his dominion may be known, Psalms 2:9-12.

(2.) They become the gospel on the part of sinners, yea, of all to whom the gospel is preached. And these are of two sorts:

[1.] Unbelievers, hypocrites, apostates, impenitent neglecters of the great salvation declared in it. It is meet on this account that the dispensation of the gospel be attended with threatenings and comminations of punishment; and that,

1 st . To keep them here in awe and fear, that they may not boldly and openly break out in contempt of Christ. These are his arrows that are sharp in the hearts of his adversaries, whereby he awes them, galls them, and in the midst of all their pride makes them to tremble sometimes at their future condition. Christ never suffers them to be so secure but that his terrors in these threatenings visit them ever and anon. And hereby also doth he keep them within some bounds, bridles their rage, and overpowers many of them unto some usefulness in the world, with many other blessed ends not now to be insisted on.

2 dly . That they may be left inexcusable, and the Lord Christ be justified in his proceedings against them at the last day. If they should be surprised with “fiery indignation” and “everlasting burnings” at the last day, how might they plead that if they had been warned of these things they would have endeavored to flee from “the wrath to come;” and how apt might they be to repine against his justice in the amazing greatness of their destruction! But now, by taking order to have the penalty of their disobedience in the threatenings of the gospel declared unto them, they are left without excuse, and himself is glorified in taking vengeance. He hath told them beforehand plainly what they are to look for, Hebrews 10:26-27.

[2.] They are so on the part of believers themselves. Even they stand in need to be minded of “the terror of the Lord,” and what a fearful thing it is to “fall into the hands of the living God,” and that even “our God is a consuming fire.” And this,

1 st . To keep up in their hearts a constant reverence of the majesty of Jesus Christ, with whom they have to do. The threatening sanction of the gospel bespeaks the greatness, holiness, and terror of its author, and insinuates into the hearts of believers thoughts becoming them. It lets them know that he will be “sanctified in all that draw nigh unto him;” and so calls upon them for a due reverential preparation for the performance of his worship, and unto all the duties wherein they walk before him, Hebrews 12:28-29. This influenceth them also unto a diligent attendance unto every particular duty incumbent on them, as the apostle declares, 2 Corinthians 5:11.

2 dly . They tend unto their consolation and supportment under all their afflictions and sufferings for the gospel. This relieves their hearts in all their sorrows, when they consider the sore vengeance that the Lord Jesus Christ will one day take on all his stubborn adversaries, who know not God, nor will obey the gospel, 2 Thessalonians 1:5-10; for the Lord Jesus is no less faithful in his threatenings than in his promises, and no less able to inflict the one than to accomplish the other. And he is “glorious” unto them therein: Isaiah 63:11-13.

3 dly . They give them constant matter of praise and thankfulness, when they see in them, as in a glass that will neither flatter nor causelessly terrify, a representation of that wrath which they are delivered from by Jesus Christ, 1 Thessalonians 1:10; 1 Thessalonians 1:10: for in this way every threatening of the gospel proclaims the grace of Christ unto their souls; and when they hear them explained in all their terror, they can rejoice in the hope of the glory that shall be revealed. And,

4thly . They are needful unto them to ingenerate that fear which may give cheek unto the remainder of their lusts and corruptions, with that security and negligence in attending to the gospel which by their means is apt to grow upon them. To this purpose is the punishment of despisers and backsliders here made use of and urged by our apostle. The hearts of believers are like gardens, wherein there are not only flowers, but weeds also; and as the former must be watered and cherished, so the latter must be curbed and nipped. If nothing but dews and showers of promises should fall upon the heart, though they seem to tend to the cherishing of their graces, yet the weeds of corruption will be apt to grow up with them, and in the end to choke them, unless they are nipped and blasted by the severity of threatenings. And although their persons, in the use of means, shall be secured from falling under the final execution of comminations, yet they know there is an infallible connection signified in them between sin and destruction, 1 Corinthians 6:9, and that they must avoid the one if they would escape the other.

5thly . Hence they have in a readiness wherewith to balance temptations, especially such as accompany sufferings for Christ and the gospel. Great reasonings are apt to rise in the hearts of believers themselves in such a season, and they are biassed by their infirmities to attend unto them. Liberty would be spared, life would be spared; it is hard to suffer and to die. How many have been betrayed by their fears at such a season to forsake the Lord Christ and the gospel! But now in these gospel threatenings we have that in a readiness which we may oppose unto all these reasonings and the efficacy of them. Are we afraid of a man that shall die? have we not much more reason to be afraid of the living God? Shall we, to avoid the anger of a worm, cast ourselves into his wrath who is a consuming fire? Shall we, to avoid a little momentary trouble, to preserve a perishing life, which a sickness may take away the next day, run ourselves into eternal ruin? Man threatens me if I forsake not the gospel; but God threatens if I do. Man threatens death temporal, which yet it may be he shall not have power to inflict; God threatens death eternal, which no backslider in heart shall avoid. On these and the like accounts are comminations useful unto believers themselves.

(3.) These declarations of eternal punishment unto gospel neglecters do become the gospel with respect unto them that are the preachers and dispensers of it, that their message be not slighted nor their persons despised. God would have even them to have in a readiness wherewith to revenge the disobedience of men, 2 Corinthians 10:6; not with carnal weapons, killing and destroying the bodies of men, but by such a denunciation of the vengeance that will ensue on their disobedience as shall undoubtedly take hold upon them, and end in their everlasting ruin. Thus are they armed for the warfare wherein by the Lord Christ they are engaged, that no man may be encouraged to despise them or contend with them. They are authorized to denounce the eternal wrath of God against disobedient sinners; and whomsoever they bind under the sentence of it on earth, they are bound in heaven unto the judgment of the great day. On these grounds it is we say that the threatenings and denunciations of future punishment unto all sorts of persons are becoming the gospel; and therefore the using of them as motives unto the ends for which they are designed is evangelical And this will further appear if we shall yet consider,

1. That threatenings of future penalties on the disobedient are far more clear and express in the gospel than in the law. The curse, indeed, was threatened and denounced under the law, and a pledge and instance of its execution were given in the temporal punishments that were inflicted on the transgressors of it; but in the gospel the nature of this curse is explained, and what it consisteth in is made manifest. For as eternal life was only obscurely promised in the Old Testament, though promised, so death eternal under the curse and wrath of God was only obscurely threatened therein, though threatened. And therefore as life and immortality were brought to light by the gospel, so death and hell, the punishment of sin under the wrath of God, are more fully declared therein. The nature of the judgment to come, the duration of the penalties to be inflicted on unbelievers, with such intimations of the nature and kind of them as our understandings are able to receive, are fully and frequently insisted on in the New Testament, whereas they are very obscurely only gathered out of the writings of the Old.

2. The punishment threatened in the gospel is, as unto degrees, greater and more sore than that which was annexed to the mere transgression of the first covenant. Hence the apostle calls it “death unto death,” 2 Corinthians 2:16, by reason of the sore aggravation which the first sentence of death will receive from the wrath due unto the contempt of the gospel. Separation from God under eternal punishment was unquestionably due to the sin of Adam; and so, consequently, unto every transgression against the first covenant, Genesis 2:17; Romans 5:12; Romans 5:17. But yet this hinders not but that the same penalty, for the nature and kind of it, may receive many and great aggravations, upon men’s sinning against that great remedy provided against the first guilt and prevarication; which it also doth, as shall further afterwards be declared. And this ought they to be well acquainted withal who are called unto the dispensation of the gospel. A fond conceit hath befallen some, that all denunciations of future wrath, even unto unbelievers, is legal, which therefore it doth not become the preachers of the gospel to insist upon: so would men make themselves wiser than Jesus Christ and all his apostles, yea, they would disarm the Lord Christ, and expose him to the contempt of his vilest enemies. There is also, we see, a great use in these evangelical threatenings. unto believers themselves. And they have been observed to have had an effectual ministry, both unto conversion and edification, who have been made wise and dexterous in managing gospel comminations towards the consciences of their hearers. And those also that hear the word may hence learn their duty, when such threatenings are handled and opened unto them.

II. All punishments annexed unto the transgression either of the law or gospel are effects of God’s vindictive justice, and consequently just and equal: “A meet recompence of reward.”

What it is the apostle doth not declare; but he doth that it is just and equal, which depends on the justice of God appointing and designing of it. Foolish men have always had tumultuating thoughts about the judgments of God. Some have disputed with him about the equity and equality of his ways in judgments temporal, Ezekiel 18:0, and some about those that shall be eternal. Hence was the vain imagination of them of old who dreamed that an end should be put, after some season, unto the punishment of devils and wicked men; so turning hell into a kind of purgatory. Others have disputed, in our days, that there shall be no hell at all, but a mere annihilation of ungodly men at the last day. These things being so expressly contrary to the Scripture, can have no other rise but the corrupt minds and affections of men, not conceiving the reasons of God’s judgments, nor acquiescing in his sovereignty. That which they seem principally to have stumbled at, is the assignation of a punishment infinite as to its duration, as well as in its nature extended unto the utmost capacity of the subject, unto a fault temporary, finite, and transient. Now, that we may justify God herein, and the more clearly discern that the punishment inflicted finally on sin is but “a meet recompence of reward,” we must consider,

1. That God’s justice constituting, and in the end inflicting, the reward of sin, is essential unto him. “Is God unjust? saith the apostle, ὁ ἐπιφέρων τὴν ὀργήν , Romans 3:5. ᾿Οργή , “anger,” or “wrath,” is not that from whence punishment proceedeth, but punishment itself. God inflicteth wrath, anger, or vengeance. And therefore when we read of the anger or wrath of God against sin or sinners, as Romans 1:18, the expression is metonymical, the cause being designed by the effect. The true fountain and cause of the punishment of sin is the justice of God, which is an essential property of his nature, natural unto him, and inseparable from any of his works. And this absolutely is the same with his holiness, or the infinite purity of his nature. So that God doth not assign the punishment of sin arbitrarily, as though he might do so or otherwise without any impeachment of his glory; but his justice and his holiness indispensably require that it should be punished, even as it is indispensably necessary that God in all things should be just and holy. “The holy God will do no iniquity;” the Judge of all the earth will do right, and will by no means acquit the guilty. This is δικαίωμα τοῦ Θεοῦ , “the judgment of God,” that which his justice requireth, “that they which commit sin are worthy of death,” Romans 1:32. And God cannot but do that which it is just that he should do. See 2 Thessalonians 1:6. We have no more reason, then, to quarrel with the punishment of sin than we have to repine that God is holy and just, that is, that he is God; for the one naturally and necessarily followeth upon the other. Now, there is no principle of a more uncontrollable and sovereign truth written in the hearts of all men than this, that what the nature of God, or any of his essential properties, require to be, is holy, meet, equal, just, and good.

2. That this righteousness or justice of God is in the exercise of it inseparably accompanied with infinite wisdom. These things are not diverse in God, but are distinguished with respect unto the various manners of his actings, and the variety of the objects which he acteth towards, and so denote a different habitude of the divine nature, not diverse things in God. They are therefore inseparable in all the works of God. Now, from this infinite wisdom of God, which his righteousness in the constitution of the punishment of sin is eternally accompanied withal, two things ensue:

(1.) That he alone knoweth what is the true desert and demerit of sin, and but from his declaration of creatures not any. And how shall we judge of what we know nothing of but from him, but only by what he doth? We see amongst men that the guilt of crimes is aggravated according to the dignity of the persons against whom they are committed. Now, no creature knowing him perfectly against whom all sin is committed, none can truly and perfectly know what is the desert and demerit of sin but by his revelation who is perfectly known unto himself. And what a madness is it to judge otherwise of what we do no otherwise understand! Shall we make ourselves judges of what sin against God doth deserve? let us first by searching find out the Almighty unto perfection, and then we may know of ourselves what it is to sin against him. Besides, we know not what is the opposition that is made by sin unto the holiness, the nature, the very being of God. As we cannot know him perfectly against whom we sin, so we know not perfectly what we do when we sin. It is the least part of the malignity and poison that is in sin which we are able to discern. We see not the depth of that malicious respect which it hath unto God; and are we capable to judge aright of what is its demerit? But all these things are open and naked before that infinite wisdom of God which accompanieth his righteousness in all his works. He knows himself, against whom sin is; he knows the condition of the sinner; he knows what contrariety and opposition there is in sin unto himself, in a word, what it is for a finite, limited, dependent creature, to subduct itself from under the government and oppose itself unto the authority and being of the holy Creator, Ruler, and Governor of all things; all [this he knows] absolutely and perfectly, and so alone knows what sin deserves.

(2.) From this infinite wisdom is the proportioning of the several degrees in the punishment that shall be inflicted on sin: for although his righteousness requires that the final punishment of all sin should be an eternal separation of the sinner from the enjoyment of him, and that in a state of wrath and misery, yet by his wisdom he hath constituted degrees of that wrath, according unto the variety of provocations that are found among sinners. And by nothing else could this be done. What else is able to look through the inconceivable variety of aggravating circumstances, which is required hereunto? For the most part, we know not what is so; and when we know any thing of its being, we know nothing almost of the true nature of its demerit. And this is another thing from whence we may learn that divine punishment of sin is always “a meet recompence of reward.”

3. In the final punishment of sin, there is no mixture of mercy, nothing to alleviate or to take off from the uttermost of its desert. This world is the time and place for mercy. Here God causeth his sun to shine and his rain to fall on the worst of men, filling their hearts with food and gladness. Here he endures them with much patience and forbearance, doing them good in unspeakable variety, and to many of them making a daily tender of that mercy which might make them blessed to eternity. But the season of these things is past in the day of recompence. Sinners shall then hear nothing but, “Go, ye cursed.” They shall not have the least effect of mercy showed unto them unto all eternity. They shall then “have judgment without mercy who showed no mercy.” The grace, goodness, love, and mercy of God, shall be glorified unto the utmost in his elect, without the least mixture of allay from his displeasure; and so shall his wrath, severity, and vindictive justice, in them that perish, without any temperature of pity or compassion. He shall rain upon them “snares, fire, and brimstone;” this shall be their portion for ever. Wonder not, then, at the greatness or duration of that punishment which shall exhaust the whole wrath of God, without the least mitigation.

(1.) And this will discover unto us the nature of sin, especially of unbelief and neglect of the gospel Men are apt now to have slight thoughts of these things; but when they shall find them revenged with the whole wrath of God, they will change their minds. What a folly, what a madness is it, to make light of Christ, unto which an eternity of punishment is but “a meet recompence of reward!” It is good, then, to learn the nature of sin from the threatenings of God, rather than from the common presumptions that pass among secure, perishing sinners. Consider what the righteousness, what the holiness, what the wisdom of God hath determined to be due unto sin, and then make a judgment of the nature of it, that you be not overtaken with a woeful surprisal when all means of relief are gone and past. As also know that,

(2.) This world alone is the time and place wherein you are to look and seek for mercy. Cries will do nothing at the last day, not obtain the least drop of water to cool the tongue in its torment. Some men, doubtless, have secret reserves that things will not go at the last day as by others they are made to believe. They hope to meet with better quarter than is talked of, that God will not be inexorable, as is pretended. Were not these their inward thoughts, it were not possible they should so neglect the season of grace as they do. But, alas, how will they be deceived! God indeed is gracious, merciful, and full of compassion; but this world is the time wherein he will exercise them. They will be for ever shut up towards unbelievers at the last day. This is the acceptable time, this is the day of salvation. If this be despised, if this be neglected, expect no more to hear of mercy unto eternity.

III. Every concernment of the law and gospel, both as to their nature and promulgation, is to be weighed and considered by believers, to beget in their hearts a right and due valuation of them. To this end are they here so distinctly proposed; as of the law, that it was “spoken by angels;” and of the gospel, that it is “great salvation,” the word “spoken by the Lord,” and confirmed with signs and miracles: all which the apostle would have us to weigh and distinctly consider. Our interest lies in them, and our good is intended by them. And to stir up our attention unto them, we may observe,

1. That God doth nothing in vain, nor speaks any thing in vain, especially in the things of his law and gospel, wherein the great concernments of his own glory and the souls of men are enwrapped. And therefore our Savior lets us know that there is a worth in the least apex and iota of the word, and that it must have its accomplishment. An end it hath, and that end shall be fulfilled. The Jews have a foolish curiosity in reckoning all the letters of the Scripture, and casting up how often every one doth occur. But yet this curiosity of theirs, vain and needless as it is, will condemn our negligence, if we omit a diligent inquiry into all the things and circumstances of it that are of real importance. God hath a holy and wise end in all that he doth. As nothing can be added unto his word or work, so nothing can be taken from it; it is every way perfect. And this in general is enough to quicken us unto a diligent search into all the circumstances and adjuncts both of law and gospel, and of the way and manner whereby he was pleased to communicate them unto us.

2. There is in all the concernments of the law and gospel a mixture of divine wisdom and grace. From this fountain they all proceed, and the living waters of it run through them all. The times, the seasons, the authors, the instruments, the manner of their delivery, were all ordered by the “manifold wisdom of God;” which especially appears in the dispensation of the gospel, Ephesians 3:9-10. The apostle placeth not the wisdom of God only in the mystery of the gospel, but also in the season of its promulgation. “It was hid,” saith he, “in God,” Ephesians 3:9, that is, in the “purpose” of God, Ephesians 3:11, “from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest,” Colossians 1:26. And herein doth the manifold wisdom of God appear. Were we able to look into the depth of any circumstance that concerns the institutions of God, we should see it full of wisdom and grace; and the neglect of a due consideration thereof hath God sometimes severely revenged, Leviticus 10:1-2.

3. There is in them all a gracious condescension unto our weakness. God knows that we stand in need of an especial mark to be set on every one of them. Such is our weakness, our slowness to believe, that we have need that the word should be unto us “line upon line, and precept upon precept; here a little, and there a little.” As God told Moses, Exodus 4:8, that if the children of Israel would not believe on the first sign they would on the second, so it is with us; one consideration of the law or the gospel oftentimes proves ineffectual, when another overpowers the heart unto obedience. And therefore hath God thus graciously condescended unto our weakness in proposing unto us the several considerations mentioned of his law and gospel, that by some of them we may be laid hold upon and bowed unto his mind and will in them. Accordingly,

4. They have had their various influences and successes on the souls of men. Some have been wrought upon by one consideration, some by another. In some the holiness of the law, in others the manner of its administration, has been effectual. Some have fixed their hearts principally on the grace of the gospel; some on the person of its author. And the same persons, at several times, have had help and assistance from these several considerations of the one and the other. So that in these things God doth nothing in vain. Nothing is in vain towards believers. Infinite wisdom is in all, and infinite glory will arise out of all.

And this should stir us up unto a diligent search into the word, wherein God hath recorded all the concernments of his law and gospel that are for our use and advantage. That is the cabinet wherein all these jewels are laid up and disposed according to his wisdom and the counsel of his will. A general view of it will but little satisfy, and not at all enrich our souls. This is the mine wherein we must dig as for hid treasures. One main reason why we believe not more, why we obey not more, why we love not more, is because we are not more diligent in searching the word for substantial motives unto them all. A very little insight into the word is apt to make men think that they see enough; but the reason of it is, because they like not what they see: as men will not like to look far into a shop of wares, when they like nothing which is at first presented unto them. But if, indeed, we find sweetness, benefit, profit, life, in the discoveries that are made unto us in the word about the law and gospel, we shall be continually reaching after a further acquaintance with them. It may be we know somewhat of those things; but how know we that there is not some especial concernment of the gospel, which God in a holy condescension hath designed for our good in particular, that we are not as yet arrived unto a clear and distinct knowledge of? Here, if we search for it with all diligence, may we find it; and if we go maimed in our faith and obedience all our days, we may thank our own sloth for it. Again, whereas God hath distinctly proposed those things unto us, they should have our distinct consideration. We should severally and distinctly meditate upon them, that so in them all we may admire the wisdom of God, and receive the effectual influence of them all upon our own souls. Thus may we sometimes converse in our hearts with the author of the gospel, sometimes with the manner of its delivery, sometimes with the grace of it; and from every one of these heavenly flowers draw nourishment and refreshment unto our own souls. O that we could take care to gather up these fragments, that nothing might be lost unto us, as in themselves they shall never perish!

IV. What means soever God is pleased to use in the revelation of his will, he gives it a certainty, steadfastness, assurance, and evidence, which our faith may rest in, and which cannot be neglected without the greatest sin: “The word spoken was steadfast.”

Every word spoken from God, by his appointment, is steadfast; and that because spoken from him and by his appointment. And there are two things that belong unto this steadfastness of the word spoken:

1. That in respect of them unto whom it is spoken, it is the foundation of faith and obedience, the formal reason of them, and last ground whereinto they are resolved.

2. That on the part of God, it is a stable and sufficient ground of righteousness in proceeding to take vengeance on them by whom it is neglected. The punishment of transgressors is “a meet recompence of reward,” because the word spoken unto them is “steadfast.” And this latter follows upon the former; for if the word be not a stable, firm foundation for the faith and obedience of men, they cannot be justly punished for the neglect of it. That, therefore, must be briefly spoken unto, and this will naturally ensue as a consequent thereof.

God hath, as we saw on the first verse of this epistle, by various ways and means, declared and revealed his mind unto men. That declaration, what means or instruments soever he is pleased to make use of therein, is called his Word; and that because originally it is his, proceeds from him, is delivered in his name and authority, reveals his mind, and tends to his glory. Thus sometimes he spake by angels, using their ministry either in delivering his messages by words of an outward sound, or by representation of things in visions and dreams; and sometimes by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, enabling them so inspired to give out the word which they received purely and entirely, all remaining his word still. Now, what ways soever God is pleased to use in the communication of his mind and will unto men for their obedience, there is that steadfastness in the word itself, that evidence to be from him, as to make it the duty of men to believe in it with faith divine and supernatural; and it hath that stability which will never deceive them. It is, I say, thus steadfast upon the account of its being spoken from God, and stands in no need of the contribution of any strength, authority, or testimony from men, church, tradition, or aught else that is extrinsical unto it. The testimonies given hereunto in the Scripture itself, which are very many, with the general grounds and reasons hereof, I shall not here insist upon, and that because I have done it elsewhere. I shall only mention that one consideration which this place of the apostle suggests unto us, and which is contained in our second observation from the word “steadfast.” Take this word as spoken from God, without the help of any other advantages, and the steadfastness of it is the ground of God’s inflicting vengeance on them that receive it not, that obey it not. Because it is his word, because it is clothed with his authority, if men believe it not they must perish. But now if this be not sufficiently evidenced unto them, namely, that it is his word, God could not be just in taking vengeance on them; for he should punish them for not believing that which they had no sufficient reason to believe, which suits not with the holiness and justice of God. The evidence, then, that this word is from God, that it is his, being the foundation of the justice of God in his proceeding against them that do not believe it, it is of indispensable necessity that he himself also do give that evidence unto it. From whence else should it have it? from the testimony of the church, or from tradition, or from probable moral inducements that men can tender one to another? Then these two things will inevitably follow:

(1.) That if men should neglect their duty in giving testimony unto the word, as they may do, because they are but men, then God cannot justly condemn any man in the world for the neglect of his word, or not believing it, or not yielding obedience unto it. And the reason is evident, because if they have not sufficient ground to believe it to be his without such testimonies as are not given unto it, it is the highest injustice to condemn them for not believing it, and they should perish without a cause: for what can be more unjust than to punish a man, especially eternally, for not doing that which he had no just or sufficient reason to do? This be far from God, to destroy the innocent with the wicked.

(2.) Suppose all men aright to discharge their duty, and that there be a full tradition concerning the word of God, that the church give testimony unto it, and learned men produce their arguments for it; if this, all or any part hereof, be esteemed as the sufficient proposition of the Scripture to be the word of God, then is the execution of infinite divine justice built upon the testimony of men, which is not divine or infallible, but such as might deceive: and God, on this supposal, must condemn men for not believing with faith divine and infallible that which is proposed unto them by testimonies and arguments human and fallible; “quod absit.”

It remaineth, then, that the righteousness of the act of God in condemning unbelievers is built upon the evidence that the object of faith or word to be believed is from him.

And this he gives unto it, both by the impression of his majesty and authority upon it, and by the power and efficacy wherewith by his Spirit it is accompanied. Thus is every word of God steadfast as a declaration of his will unto us, by what means soever it is made known unto us.

V. Every transaction between God and man is always confirmed and ratified by promises and threatenings, rewards and punishments: “Every trespass.”

VI. The most glorious administrators of the law do stoop to look into the mysteries of the gospel. See 1 Peter 1:12.

VII. Covenant transgressions are attended with unavoidable penalties: “Every transgression,” that is of the covenant, disannulling of it, “received a meet recompence of reward.”

VIII. The gospel is a word of salvation to them that do believe.

IX. The salvation tendered in the gospel is “great salvation.”

X. Men are apt to entertain thoughts of escaping the wrath of God, though they live in a neglect of the gospel. This the apostle insinuates in that interrogation, “How shall we escape?”

XI. The neglecters of the gospel shall unavoidably perish under the wrath of God: “How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation?”

These three last observations may be cast into one proposition, and so be considered together, namely, “That the gospel is great salvation, which whoso neglecteth shall therefore unavoidably perish without remedy.” We shall first inquire how the gospel is said to be salvation, and that great salvation; and then show the equity and unavoidableness of their destruction by whom it is neglected, and therein the vanity of their hopes who look for an escaping in the contempt of it.

By the gospel, we understand with the apostle the word preached or spoken by Christ and his apostles, and now recorded for our use in the books of the New Testament, but not exclusively unto what was declared of it in the types and promises of the Old Testament. But, by the way of eminency, we appropriate the whole name and nature of the gospel unto that delivery of the mind and will of God by Jesus Christ, which included and perfected all that had preceded unto that purpose.

Now, FIRST, the gospel is salvation upon a double account:

First, Declaratively, in that the salvation of God by Christ is declared, taught, and revealed thereby. So the apostle informs us, Romans 1:16-17,

“It is the power of God unto salvation,..... For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith;”

that is, the righteousness of God in Christ, whereby believers shall be saved. And therefore it is called ἡ χάρις τοῦ Θεοῦ ἡ σωτήριος , Titus 2:11, “the saving,” or salvation-bringing, “grace of God;” the grace of God, as that which teacheth and revealeth his grace. And thence they that abuse it to their lusts are said to “turn the grace of God into lasciviousness,” Jude 1:4; that is, the doctrine of it, which is the gospel. And therefore under the old testament it is called the preaching or declaring of glad tidings, tidings of peace and salvation, Nahum 1:15, Isaiah 52:7; and is described as a proclamation of mercy, peace, pardon, and salvation unto sinners, Isaiah 61:1-3: and “life and immortality” are said to be “brought to light” thereby, 2 Timothy 1:10. It is true, God had from all eternity, in his infinite grace, contrived the salvation of sinners; but this contrivance, and the purpose of it, lay hid in his own will and wisdom, as in an finite abyss of darkness, utterly imperceptible unto angels and men, until it was brought to light, or manifested and declared, by the gospel, Ephesians 3:9-10; Colossians 1:25-27. There is nothing more vain than the supposal of some, that there are other ways whereby this salvation might be discovered and made known. The works of nature, or creation and providence, the sun, moon, and stars, showers from heaven, with fruitful seasons, are in their judgment preachers of the salvation of sinners. I know not what else they say, that the reason of man, by the contemplation of these things, may find out of I know not what placability in God, that may incite sinners to go unto him, and enable them to find acceptance with him. But we see what success all the world, and all the wise men of it, had in the use and improvement of these means of the salvation of sinners. The apostle tells us not only that “by their wisdom they knew not God,” 1 Corinthians 1:21, but also, that the more they searched, the greater loss they were at, until they “waxed vain in their imaginations, and their foolish hearts were darkened,” Romans 1:21. And, indeed, whatever they had amongst them, which had any semblance of an obscure apprehension of some way of salvation by atonement and intercession, as in their sacrifices, and mediations of inferior deities (which the apostle alludes unto, 1 Corinthians 8:5-6), as they had it by tradition from those who were somewhat instructed in the will of God by revelation, so they turned it into horrible idolatries and the utmost contempt of God. And this was the issue of their disquisitions, who were no less wise in the principles of inbred reason and the knowledge of the works of nature than those who now contend for their ability to have done better. Besides, the salvation of sinners is a mystery, as the Scripture everywhere declareth, a blessed, a glorious “mystery,” Romans 16:25: “The wisdom of God in a mystery,” 1 Corinthians 2:7; Ephesians 1:9; Colossians 1:25-26; that is, not only a thing secret and marvellous, but such as hath no dependence on any causes that come naturally within our cognizance. Now, whatever men can find out by the principles of reason, and the contemplation of the works of God in creation and. providence, it is by natural scientifical conclusions; and what is so discovered can be no heavenly, spiritual, glorious mystery, such as this salvation is. Whatever men may so find out, if they may find out any thing looking this way, it is but natural science; it is not a mystery, and so is of no use in this matter, whatever it be. Moreover, it is not only said to be a mystery, but a hidden mystery, and that “hid in God” himself, as Ephesians 3:9-10; Colossians 1:25-26; 1 Corinthians 2:7-8; that is, in the wisdom, purpose, and will of God. Now, it is very strange that men should be able, by the natural means forementioned, to discover a heavenly, supernatural wisdom, and that hidden on purpose from their finding by any such inquiry, and that in God himself; so coming unto the knowledge of it as it were whether he would or no. But we may pass over these imaginations, and accept of the gospel as the only way and means of declaring the salvation of God. And therefore every word and promise in the whole book of God, that intimateth or revealeth any thing belonging unto this salvation, is itself a part of the gospel, and so to be esteemed. And as this is the work of the gospel, so is it in an especial manner its proper and peculiar work with respect unto the law. The law speaks nothing of the salvation of sinners, and is therefore called the ministry of death and condemnation, as the gospel is of life and salvation, 2 Corinthians 3:9-10. And thus the gospel is salvation declaratively.

Secondly, It is salvation efficiently, in that it is the great instrument which God is pleased to use in and for the collation and bestowing salvation upon his elect. Hence the apostle calls it “the power of God unto salvation,”

Romans 1:16; because God in and by it exerts his mighty power in the saving of them that believe; as it is again called, 1 Corinthians 1:18. Hence there is a saving power ascribed unto the word itself. And therefore Paul commits believers unto “the word of grace,” as that which “is able to build them up, and give them an inheritance among all them which are sanctified,” Acts 20:32. And James calls it “the ingrafted word, which is able to save our souls,” James 1:21; the mighty power of Christ being put forth in it, and accompanying it, for that purpose. But this will the better appear if we consider the several principal parts of this salvation, and the efficiency of the word as the instrument of God in the communication of it unto us; as,

1. In the regeneration and sanctification of the elect, the first external act of this salvation. This is wrought by the word, 1 Peter 1:23: “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God;” wherein not only the thing itself, or our regeneration by the word, but the manner of it also, is declared. It is by the collation of a new spiritual life upon us, whereof the word is the seed. As every life proceeds from some seed, that hath in itself virtually the whole life, to be educed from it by natural ways and means, so the word in the hearts of men is turned into a vital principle, that, cherished by suitable means, puts forth vital acts and operations. By this means we are “born of God” and “quickened,” who “by nature are children of wrath, dead in trespasses and sins.” So Paul tells the Corinthians that he had “begotten them in Christ Jesus through the gospel,” 1 Corinthians 4:15. I confess it doth not do this work by any power resident in itself, and always necessarily accompanying its administration; for then all would be so regenerated unto whom it is preached, and there would be no neglecters of it. But it is the instrument of God for this end; and mighty and powerful through God it is for the accomplishment of it. And this gives us our first real interest in the salvation which it doth declare. Of the same use and efficacy is it in the progress of this work, in our sanctification, by which we are carried on towards the full enjoyment of this salvation. So our Savior prays for his disciples, John 17:17, “Sanctify them through thy truth, thy word is truth,” as the means and instrument of their sanctification; and he tells his apostles that they were “clean through the word that he had spoken unto them,” John 15:3. For it is the food and nourishment whereby the principle of spiritual life which we receive in our regeneration is cherished and increased, 1 Peter 2:2; and so able to “build us up,” until it “give us an inheritance among them that are sanctified.”

2. It is so in the communication of the Spirit unto them that do believe, to furnish them with the gifts and graces of the kingdom of heaven, and to interest them in all those privileges of this salvation which God is pleased in this life to impart unto us and to intrust us withal. So the apostle, dealing with the Galatians about their backsliding from the gospel, asketh them whether they “received the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the word of faith,” Galatians 3:2; that is the gospel. That was the way and means whereby God communicated unto them his Spirit, by whom, among many other privileges, we are sealed unto the day of redemption. This is the covenant of God, that his Spirit and the word of the gospel shall go and shall abide together with his elect, Isaiah 59:21. And he is given unto us by the gospel on many accounts:

(1.) Because he is the gift and grant of the author of the gospel, as to all the especial ends and concernments of salvation. John tells us that the Spirit was not given when Jesus was not as yet glorified, John 7:39, that is, not in such a manner as God hath annexed unto this salvation; and therefore Peter tells us that when the Lord Christ ascended up on high, he received of the Father the promise of the Spirit, and poured him forth on them which did believe, Acts 2:33. And this he did, according to his own great promise and prediction whilst he conversed with his disciples in the days of his flesh. There was not any thing that he more supported and encouraged them withal, nor more raised their hearts to an expectation of, than this, that he would send unto them and bestow upon them the Holy Ghost, for many blessed ends and purposes, and that to abide with them for ever, as we may see, John 14:15-16. And this is the great privilege of the gospel, that the author of it is alone the donor and bestower of the Holy Spirit; which of what concernment it is in the business of our salvation, all men know who have any acquaintance with these things.

(2.) He is promised in the gospel, and therein alone. All the promises of the Scripture, whether in the Old Testament or New, whose subject is the Spirit, are evangelical; they all belong unto and are parts of the gospel. For the law had no promise of the Spirit, or any privilege by him, annexed unto it. And hence he is called “The Holy Spirit of promise,” Ephesians 1:13; who, next unto the person of Christ, was the great subject of promises from the foundation of the world.

(3.) By these promises are believers actually and really made partakers of the Spirit. They are “vehicula Spiritus,” the chariots that bring this Holy Spirit into our souls, 2 Peter 1:4. By these “great and precious promises” is the “divine nature” communicated unto us, so far forth as unto the indwelling of this blessed Spirit. Every evangelical promise is unto a believer but as it were the clothing of the Spirit; in receiving whereof he receives the Spirit himself, for some of the blessed ends of this great salvation. God makes use of the word of the gospel, and of no other means, to this purpose. So that herein also it is “the grace of God that bringeth salvation.”

3. In our justification. And this hath so great a share in this salvation that it is often called salvation itself; and they that are justified are said to be “saved;” as Ephesians 2:8. And this is by the gospel alone; which is a point of such importance that it is the main subject of some of Paul’s epistles, and is fully taught in them all. And in sundry respects it is by the gospel:

(1.) Because therein and thereby is appointed and constituted the new law of justification, whereby even a sinner may come to be justified before God. The law of justification was, that he that did the works of the law should live in them, Romans 10:5. But this became weak and unprofitable by reason of sin, Romans 8:3; Hebrews 8:7-12. That any sinner (and we have all sinned and come short of the glory of God) should be justified by this law or rule implies a contradiction, and is utterly impossible. Wherefore God by the gospel hath constituted a new law of justification, even “the law of faith,” Romans 3:27; which is the holy declaration of his will and grace that sinners shall be justified and accepted with him by faith in the blood of Christ, “without the works of the law,” that “he that believeth shall be saved.” This is equally constituted and appointed in the law of faith to be proposed unto all that shall believe. And on the account hereof the gospel is salvation.

(2.) Because in every justification there must be a righteousness before God, on the account whereof the person to be justified is to be pronounced and declared righteous, this is tendered, proposed, and exhibited unto us in and by the gospel. This is no other but the Lord Christ himself and his righteousness, Isaiah 45:21-22; Romans 8:3-4, 2 Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 3:13-14. Now, Christ with his whole righteousness, and all the benefits thereof, are tendered unto us, and given unto or bestowed on them that do believe, by the promise of the gospel. Therein is he preached and proposed as crucified before our eyes, and we are invited to accept of him; which the souls of believers through the gospel do accordingly.

(3.) And faith itself, whereby we receive the Lord Christ for all the ends for which he is tendered unto us, and become actually interested in all the fruits and benefits of his mediation, is wrought in us by the word of the gospel: for, as we have declared, it is the seed of all grace whatever; and in especial, “faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God,”

Romans 10:17. Conviction of sin is by the law; but faith is by the gospel. And this is the way and means which God hath appointed on our part for the giving us an actual interest in justification, as established in the law of the gospel, Romans 5:1. Again,

(4.) The promise of the gospel, conveyed unto the soul by the Holy Spirit, and entertained by faith, completes the justification of a believer in his own conscience, and gives him assured peace with God. And thus the whole work of this main branch of our salvation is wrought by the gospel.

4. There is in this salvation an instruction and growth in spiritual wisdom, and an acquaintance with “the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ,” Colossians 2:2; which also is an effect of the gospel. Of ourselves we are not only dark and ignorant of heavenly things, but “darkness” itself, that is, utterly blind, and incomprehensive of spiritual, divine mysteries, Ephesians 5:8; and so under “the power of darkness,”

Colossians 1:13, as that we should no less than the devils themselves be holden under the chains of it unto the judgment of the great day. Darkness and ignorance as to the things of God themselves, in respect of the revelation of them, and darkness in the mind as to the understanding of them in a right manner, being revealed, is upon the whole world; and no heart is able to conceive, no tongue to express, the greatness and misery of this darkness. ‘The removal hereof is a mercy inexpressible, the beginning of our entrance into heaven, the kingdom of light and glory, and an especial part of our salvation. For “God is light, and in him there is no darkness at all;” so that whilst we are under the power of it we can have no intercourse with him; for “what communion hath light with darkness?” Now, the removal hereof is by the gospel: 2 Corinthians 4:6,

“God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, shineth in our hearts, to give us the light of the knowledge of his glory in the face of Jesus Christ;”

and he doth it by the illumination “the glorious gospel of Christ,” 2 Corinthians 4:4. For not only is the object revealed hereby, “life and immortality being brought to light by the gospel,” but also the eyes of our understandings are enlightened by it, savingly to discern the truths by it revealed: for it is by it that both the eyes of the blind are opened and light shineth unto them that sit in darkness; whence we are said to be “called out of darkness into marvellous light,” 1 Peter 2:9. And our calling is no otherwise but by the word of the gospel. And as the implanting of this heavenly light in us is by the word, so the growth and increase of it in spiritual wisdom is no otherwise wrought, 2 Corinthians 3:18; Colossians 2:2. And this spiritual acquaintance with God in Christ, this saving wisdom in the mystery of grace, this holy knowledge and understanding of the mind of God, this growing light and insight into heavenly things, which is begun, increased, and carried on by the gospel, is an especial dawning of that glory and immortality which this salvation tendeth ultimately unto.

5. There belongs unto it also that joy and consolation which believers are made partakers of by the Holy Ghost in this world. Ofttimes their trials are many, their troubles great, and their temptations abound, in the course of their obedience. And these things are ready to fill them with cares, fears, sorrows, and disconsolation. Now, though our Lord Jesus Christ hath foretold his disciples of all the tribulations and sorrows that should attend them in this world, and taught them to uphold and support their spirits with the thoughts and hopes of the glory that shall be revealed; yet in the salvation that he hath purchased for them there is provision of comfort, “with joy unspeakable and full of glory,” even during their pilgrimage here below. Such joy, indeed, it is as the world knoweth not, nor can know. The principles and causes of it, its nature and effects, are all hidden unto them. Yet such it is, that all the contentments and enjoyments of this world are no way to be compared with it; and such do all that have tasted of it esteem it to be. Now, this also is wrought in us and communicated unto us by the gospel. It is the word of promise whereby God gives “strong consolation” unto the heirs of salvation, Hebrews 6:17-18. And upon the receiving of this word by faith it is that believers “rejoice with joy speakable and full of glory.” Not only supportment and comfort in the bearing of troubles, but glorious exultations and ecstasies of joy, are ofttimes wrought in the hearts of believers by the gospel. Now they can endure, now they can suffer, now they can die; joy is upon their heads and in their hearts, and sorrow and sighing flee away. Here is rest, here is peace, here are refreshments, here are pleasures, here is life to be desired. The good Lord sweeten and season all our hearts with all these consolations, these joys of his kingdom, and that by the blessed word of his grace!

6. Lastly, to instance in no more particulars, the gospel is the word of salvation, and the instrument in the hand of God for the conferring of it upon believers, because they shall be taken into the full possession and enjoyment of it at the last day, by and according unto the word and sentence of it. It is the symbol and tessera that gives men final admission into glory. The secrets of all hearts shall be judged according to the gospel, Romans 2:16; and by the word of it shall the elect receive their crown. And in these respects is the gospel a word of salvation.

But, SECONDLY, it is said in our proposition, as in the text, to be great salvation. Now, we have seen that the gospel is called salvation metonymically, the cause being called by the name of the effect. But in this adjunct of great, “so great,” the effect itself, salvation itself, preached and tendered by the gospel, is principally intended. That, then, in the next place, we are to declare, namely, that this salvation preached in the gospel is “great salvation.” Neither is it absolutely said to be great salvation, but “such” (or “so”) “great salvation.” And it is usual in the Scripture, when it would suggest unto our minds and thoughts an inconceivable greatness, to use some such expressions as plainly intimate somewhat more than can be expressed. See 1 Peter 4:17-18; Hebrews 10:29; John 3:16. “So great;” that is, absolutely so, and comparatively so, with respect unto the benefits received by the law; and inconceivably so, beyond what we can conceive or express. There ought, then, to be no expectation that we should declare the real greatness of this salvation, which the apostle intimates to be inexpressible. We shall only point at some of those considerations wherein the greatness of it doth most principally consist and appear:

First, It is great in the eternal contrivance of it. When sin had defaced the glory of the first creation, and the honor of God seemed to be at a stand, no way remaining to carry it on unto that end which all things at first tended unto, all creatures were, and for ever would have been, ignorant of a way for the retrievement of things into the former or a better order, or the bringing forth a salvation for that which was lost; for besides that there was such horrible confusions, and such inextricable entanglements brought upon the creation and the several parts of it, which none could discern how they might be jointed and set in order again, there appeared a repugnancy in the very properties of the divine nature unto any relief or salvation of sinners. Let sinners be saved, and what shall become of the justice, holiness, and truth of God, all which are engaged to see a meet recompence of reward rendered unto every transgression? And this was enough eternally to silence the whole creation, by reason of that indispensable obligation which is on them always and in all things to prefer the honor and glory of their Maker before the being or well-being of any creatures whatever. Should the holy angels have set upon a contrivance for the salvation of sinners, upon the first discovery that it would interfere and clash with the glory of God (as every contrivance of wisdom finite and limited would have done undoubtedly), yea, rise up against his very blessedness and being, they would instantly have cast it from them as an abominable thing, and have rested eternally in the contemplation of his excellencies; for which end they were created. Here, therefore, infinite wisdom, infinite grace, infinite goodness, and infinite holiness, discover themselves in that contrivance of salvation which solves all those difficulties and seeming contradictions, keeps entire the glory of God’s attributes, repairs the honor lost by sin, and reduceth the whole creation into a new order and subserviency to the glory of its Maker. Hence this great projection and design is called “the wisdom of God,” κατ᾿ ἐξοχήν , as that wherein he was pleased principally to lay open the fountain and spring of his eternal wisdom, Romans 11:33, 1 Corinthians 1:24; and not only so, but “the manifold wisdom of God,” Ephesians 3:10, that is, infinite wisdom, exerting itself in great and unspeakable variety of means and ways for the accomplishment of the end designed. Yea, “all the treasures of wisdom” are said to be laid out in this matter, and laid up in Christ Jesus, Colossians 2:3: as if he had said that the whole store of infinite wisdom was laid out herein And thus, though God made all things in wisdom, yet that which he principally proposeth unto our consideration in the creation of all things is his sovereign will or pleasure, joined with infinite power. For his will or pleasure were all things created, Revelation 4:11. But in this work of contriving the salvation of sinners, he minds us of the “counsel of his will,” Ephesians 1:11, that is, the infinite wisdom wherewith the holy acts of his will concerning it were accompanied; and the “mystery of his will,” wherein he designed to gather up all things into one head by Jesus Christ, Ephesians 1:9-10. Certainly the product of infinite and eternal wisdom, of the counsel of the will of the Most Holy, wherein the treasures of it were laid out with a design to display it in manifold variety, must needs be great, very great, so great as cannot be conceived or expressed. Might we here stay to contemplate and admire, in our dim and dawning light, in our weakness, according to the meanness of our apprehensions of the reflections of it in the glass of the gospel, the eternity of this contrivance; the transactions between Father and Son about it; the retrievement of the lost glory of God by sin, and ruined creation in it; the security of the holiness, righteousness, veracity, and vindictive justice of God, provided for in it; with the abundant overflowings of grace, goodness, love, mercy, and patience, that are the life of it; we might manifest that there is enough in this fountain to render the streams flowing from it great and glorious. And yet, alas! what a little, what a small portion of its glory, excellency, beauty, riches, is it that we are able in this world to attain unto! How weak and mean are the conceptions and thoughts of little children about the designs and counsels of the wise men of the earth! and yet there is a proportion between the understandings of the one and the other. But there is none at all between ours and the infinite depth of the wisdom and knowledge of God which are laid out in this matter. We think as children, we speak as children, we see darkly, as in a glass; and the best acting of our faith in this business is humble admiration and holy thankfulness. Now, certainly it is not in the capacity of a creature to cast greater contempt on God, than to suppose he would set all his glorious properties on work, and draw forth all the treasures of his wisdom, to produce or effect that which should be low, mean, not every way admirable. And yet unto that height of impiety hath unbelief arrived amongst many of them unto whom the gospel is and hath been preached, as to reject and contemn the whole mystery of it as mere folly, as an empty notion, fit to be neglected and despised. So hath the god of this world blinded the eyes of men, that the light of the glorious gospel should not shine into their minds. But when God shall come to be admired in all them that believe, on the account of this design of his grace and wisdom, they will with astonishment see the glory of it in others, when it shall be too late to obtain any benefit by it unto themselves.

Secondly, The salvation preached in the gospel is great upon the account of the way and means whereby it was wrought and accomplished, or the great effect of the infinite wisdom and grace of God in the incarnation, sufferings, and death of his Son. Thus was it wrought, and no otherwise could it be effected. We were “not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold,” 1 Peter 1:18. No such price would be accepted with God; salvation is more precious than to be so purchased, Psalms 49:6-7.

‘But it may be it might be effected and brought about by the law, which was God’s own institution? either its precepts or its sacrifices might effect this work, and salvation may be attained by the works of the law?’But yet neither will this suffice. For the law is weak and insufficient as to any such purpose, Romans 8:2-3; nor would the sacrifices of it be accepted unto that end, Hebrews 10:7-8. ‘How then shall it be wrought? is there none worthy in heaven or earth to undertake this work, and must it cease for ever?’No; the eternal Son of God himself, the Word, Power, and Wisdom of the Father, the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, he hath undertaken this work. This renders it great and glorious, that the Son of God in his own person should perform it; it must assuredly be the “great salvation” which he came himself to work out. ‘And how doth he do it, by the mighty word of his power, as he made all things of old?’No; this work is of another nature, and in another manner must it be accomplished. For,

1. To this purpose he must be incarnate, “made flesh,” John 1:14; “made of a woman,” Galatians 4:4. Though he was in the form of God, and equal to God, yet he was to humble and empty himself unto and in the form of a man, Philippians 2:6-7. This is that great “mystery of godliness, God manifest in the flesh,” that “the angels desire to look into.” That the Son of God should take the nature of man into subsistence with himself, in the same person, which was necessary for the effecting of this salvation, is a thing that the whole creation must admire unto eternity. And yet this is but an entrance into this work; For,

2. In this nature he must be “made under the law,” Galatians 4:4; obnoxious to the commands of it, and bound to the obedience which it required. It became him to fulfill all righteousness, that he might be our Savior; for though he were a Son, yet he was to learn to yield obedience. Without his perfect obedience unto the law our salvation could not be perfected. The Son of God must obey, that we may be accepted and crowned. The difficulties also, temptations, and dangers, that attended him in the course of his obedience, are inexpressible. And surely this renders salvation by him very great. But yet there is that remains which gives it another exaltation; for,

3. This Son of God, after the course of his obedience to the whole will of God, must die, shed his blood, and “make his soul an offering for sin.” And herein the glory of this salvation breaks forth like the sun in its strength. He must be “obedient unto death, the death of the cross,” Philippians 2:8. If he will be a “captain of salvation,” to “bring many sons unto glory,” he must himself be “made perfect through sufferings,” Hebrews 2:10. There were law, and curse, and wrath, standing in the way of our salvation, all of them to be removed, all of them to be undergone, and that by the Son of God; for we were

“not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, but with the precious blood of Christ,” 1 Peter 1:18-19.

And therein

“God redeemed his church with his own blood,” Acts 20:28.

And herein assuredly was the love of God manifest, that “he laid down his life for us,” 1 John 3:16. This belongs unto the means whereby our salvation is procured. Nor yet is this all; for if Christ had only died for us, our faith in him had been in vain, and we had been still in our sins. Wherefore,

4. To carry on the same work, he rose from the dead, and now lives for ever to make intercession for us, and to save unto the uttermost them that come unto God by him. By these means was the salvation preached in the gospel obtained; which surely manifest it to be “great salvation.” Would God have sent his Son, his only Son, and that in such a manner, were it not for the accomplishment of a work as well great and glorious in itself as indispensably necessary with reference unto its end? Would the Son himself have so emptied himself of his glory, condescended to so low a condition, wrestled with such difficulties, and undergone at length such a cursed and shameful death, had not the work been great wherein he was employed? O the blindness, hardness, and stupidity of the sons of men! They profess they believe these things to be true, at least they dare not deny them so to be; but for the effect of them, for the salvation wrought by them, they value it the least of all things that they have any acquaintance withal. If this salvation, thus procured, do seize on them in their sleep, and fall upon them whether they will or no, they will not much resist it, provided that it cross them in none of their lusts, purposes, or pleasures. But to see the excellency of it, to put a valuation upon it according to the price whereby it was purchased, that they are utterly regardless of. “Hear, ye despisers! wonder, and perish.” Shall the Son of God shed his blood in vain? Shall he obey, and suffer, and bleed, and pray, and die, for a thing of nought? Is it nothing unto you that he should undergo all these things? Was there want of wisdom in God, or love unto his Son, so to employ him, so to use him, in a business which you esteem of so very small concernment as that you will scarce turn aside to make inquiry after it? Assure yourselves these things are not so, as you will one day find unto your eternal ruin.

Thirdly, This salvation will appear to be great if we shall consider what by it we are delivered from, and what we are interested in, or made partakers of, by virtue thereof. These also may denominate salvation to be great, and they may therefore be considered apart.

1. What are we delivered from by this salvation? In a word, every thing that is evil, in this world or that which is to come. And all evil may be referred unto two heads:

(1.) That which corrupteth and depraveth the principles of our nature in their being and operation; and,

(2.) That which is destructive of our nature as to its well-being and happiness.

The first of these is sin, the latter is punishment; and both of them take up the whole nature of evil. The particulars comprised in them may not here be distinctly and severally insisted on. The former containeth our apostasy from God, with all the consequences of it, in darkness, folly, filth, shame, bondage, restlessness, service of lust, the world, and Satan, and therein constant rebellion against God, and diligence in working out our own everlasting ruin; all attended with a senseless stupidity in not discerning these things to be evil, hurtful, noisome, corruptive of our natures and beings, and, for the most part, with brutish sensuality in the approbation and liking of them. But he who understands no evil in being fallen off from God, the first cause, chiefest good, and last end of all, in being under the power of a constant enmity against him, in the disorder of his whole soul and all the faculties of it, in the constant service of sin, the fruit of bondage and captivity in the most vile condition, will be awakened unto another apprehension of these things when a time of deliverance from them shall be no more. The latter of these consists in the wrath or curse of God, and compriseth whatever is or may be penal and afflictive unto our nature unto eternity. Now, from both these, with all their effects and consequences, are believers delivered by this salvation, namely, from sin and wrath. The Lord Christ was called Jesus, because he “saves his people from their sins,” Matthew 1:21; and he is also the Savior who “delivers them from the wrath to come,” 1 Thessalonians 1:10. And this is “great salvation.” If a man be but the means of delivering another from poverty, imprisonment, or a dangerous disease, especially if such a one could be no otherwise delivered but by him, how great is the kindness of it esteemed to be, and that deservedly! Providential deliverances from imminent dangers of death temporal are looked on as great salvations, and that by good men, and so they ought to be, 2 Corinthians 1:10. But what are all these unto this salvation? What is the sickness of the body unto the disease, yea, the death of the soul? What is imprisonment of the outward man, under the wrath of poor worms like ourselves, and that for a few days, unto the chains of everlasting darkness? What is a little outward want and poverty, to the want of the favor, love, and presence of God unto eternity? What is death temporal, past in a moment, an end of troubles, an entrance into rest, unto death eternal, an eternal dying, under the curse, wrath, and righteous vengeance of the holy God? These things have no proportion one to another. So inexpressibly great is this salvation, that there is nothing left us to illustrate it withal. And this excellency of the gospel salvation will at length be known to them by whom at present it is despised, when they shall fall and perish under the want of it, and that to eternity.

2. This salvation is great upon the account of the end of it, or that which it brings believers unto. The deliverance of the people of Israel of old out of Egypt was great salvation; so doth God everywhere set it forth, and so did the people esteem it, and that justly. They who murmured under it, they who despised the pleasant land, fell all of them under the sore displeasure of God. But yet as this deliverance was but from a temporal, outward bondage, so that which it brought them unto was but outward rest for a few days, in a plentiful country, it gave them an inheritance of houses, and lands, and vineyards, in the land of Canaan; but yet there also they quickly died, and many of them perished in their sins. But as we have seen what we are delivered from by this salvation, so the excellency of the inheritance which we obtain thereby is such as no heart can conceive, no tongue can express. It brings us into the favor and love of God, unto the adoption of children, unto durable rest and peace; in a word, unto the enjoyment of God in glory eternal. Oh the blessedness of this rest, the glory of this inheritance, the excellency of this crown, the eternity and unchangeableness of this condition, the greatness of this salvation! How mean, how weak, how low, how unworthy, are our apprehensions of it!

Yet surely, through the blessed revelation of the Spirit of grace by the word of the gospel, we see, we feel, we experience so much of it as is sufficient to keep us up unto a holy admiration and longing after it all the days of our pilgrimage here on earth.

It remaineth now, THIRDLY, that we declare the unavoidableness of their destruction who neglect this so great salvation. There are three things that make the punishment or destruction of any person to be unavoidable:

1. That it be ju st and equal;

2. That there be no relief nor remedy provided for him; and,

3. That he to whom it belongs to inflict punishment be able and resolved so to do. And they all concur to the height in this case; for,

First, It is just and equal that such persons should be destroyed; whence the sentence concerning them is so decretory and absolute: “He that believeth not shall be damned,” Mark 16:16. And the Holy Ghost supposeth this case so clear, evident, and undeniable, that he refers the proceedings of God herein unto the judgment of sinners themselves, Hebrews 10:29. And they who are judged on this account at the last day will be speechless, have nothing to reply, nothing to complain of. And the sentence denounced against them will appear unto all to be righteous,

1. Because they despise an overture of a treaty about peace and reconciliation between God and their souls. There is by nature an enmity between God and them, a state and condition whereby themselves alone would be losers, and that for ever. God, who hath no need of them, nor their obedience or friendship, tenders them a treaty upon terms of peace. What greater condescension, love, or grace could be conceived or desired? This is tendered in the gospel, 2 Corinthians 5:19. Now, what greater indignity can be offered unto him than to reject his tenders, without so much as an inquiry after what his terms are, as the most do to whom the gospel is preached? Is not this plainly to tell him that they despise his love, scorn his offers of reconciliation, and fear not in the least what he can do unto them? And is it not just that such persons should be filled with the fruit of their own ways? Let men deal thus with their rulers whom they have provoked, that have power over them, and see how it will fare with them. Neither will God be mocked, nor shall his grace always be despised. When men shall see and learn by woeful experience what pitiful poor worms they are, and have some beams of the greatness, majesty, and glory of God shining upon them, how will they be filled with shame, and forced to subscribe to the righteousness of their own condemnation for refusing his treaty and terms of peace!

2. These terms contain salvation. Men in the neglect of them neglect and refuse their own salvation; and can any man perish more justly than they who refuse to be saved? If God’s terms had been great, hard, and difficult, yet considering by whom they were proposed, and to whom, there was all the reason in the world why they should be accepted; and their destruction would be just that should not endeavor to observe them unto the utmost. But now it is life and salvation that he tenders, on whose neglect he complains that men will not come unto him that they might have life. Certainly there can be no want of righteousness in the ruin of such persons. But,

3. That which the apostle principally builds the righteousness and inevitableness of the destruction of gospel neglecters upon, is the greatness of the salvation tendered unto them: “How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation?” How it is so, and wherein the greatness and excellency of it doth consist, have been before declared. Such and so great it is, that there is nothing which a sinner can fear or suffer but it will deliver him from it; nothing that a creature can desire but it will bring him to the possession of it. And if this be despised, is it not righteous that men should perish? If we know not, yet God knows how to set a value upon this great effect of his love, wisdom, and grace, and how to proportion punishment unto its contempt. The truth is, God alone is able sufficiently to revenge the greatness of this sin and indignity done unto him. We have before showed how meet it was that the transgression of the law should be punished with punishment eternal and yet the law had provided no relief for any in distress or misery, only taking men as it found them, in the first place it required obedience of them, and then promised a reward. And a good, holy, and righteous law it was, both in its commands and in its promises and threatenings. It found men in a good estate, and promised them a better on their obedience; wherein if they failed, it threatened them with the loss of their present condition, and also with the super-addition of eternal ruin. And in all this it was a clear effect of the righteousness, holiness, and faithfulness of God. But the gospel finds men in quite another state and condition, in a condition of misery and ruin, helpless and hopeless, and is provided on purpose both for their present relief and future everlasting happiness. And shall they escape by whom it is despised? Is it not just and equal that it should prove “a savor of death unto death” unto them? Is it meet that God should be mocked, his grace be despised, his justice violated, his glory lost, all that sinners may go unpunished? Let them think so whilst they please, God thinketh otherwise, all the angels in heaven think otherwise, all the saints from the beginning of the world unto the end of it think otherwise, and will glorify God to eternity for the righteousness of his judgments on them that obey not the gospel. But,

Secondly, ‘Suppose the destruction of these persons be in itself righteous, yet there may be some remedy and relief provided for them, that they may not actually fall under it; there may yet some way of escape remain for them; and so their ruin not be so unavoidable as is pretended. It hath been showed that it was a righteous thing that the transgressors of the law should perish, and yet a way of escape is provided for them. God is merciful, and things may be found at the last day otherwise than now they are reported; at least, all that faith, diligence, obedience, and holiness which are spoken of, are not required to free men from being neglecters of the gospel. So that they who come short of them may nevertheless escape.’I answer, that we are not now discoursing of the nature of that faith and obedience which are required to interest men in gospel salvation. But certain it is that it will be found to be that which the word requires, and no other; even that faith which purifieth the heart, that faith which reformeth the life, that faith which is fruitful in good works, that faith which bringeth forth universal holiness, “without which no man shall see God.” A faith consisting with the love and service of sin, with neglect of gospel duties, with inconformity to the word, with a sensual, profane, or wicked life, will stand men in no stead in this matter. But this is not the subject of our present discourse. It may suffice in general, that the faith and obedience which the gospel requireth are indispensably necessary to free men from being gospel despisers. What they are is all our concernment to inquire and learn; for where they are wanting there is no relief nor remedy, whatever wind and ashes of vain hopes men may feed upon and deceive themselves withal. It is true, there was a remedy provided for the transgression of the law, and this remedy was,

1. Reasonable, in that there was no mixture of mercy or grace in that dispensation, and God saw meet to glorify those properties of his nature, as well as those which before shone forth in the creation of all things and giving of the law. Pardoning mercy was not sinned against in the breach of the law, and therefore that might interpose for a relief; which was done accordingly. And yet,

2. Neither would this have been either reasonable or righteous, if that only and last way of satisfying the righteousness of the law, by the sufferings and sacrifice of the Son of God, had not intervened. Without this, mercy and grace must have eternally rested in the bosom of God, without the least exercise of them; as we see they are in respect unto the angels that sinned, whose nature the Son of God assumed not, thereby to relieve them. And,

3. This relief was declared immediately upon the entrance of sin, and the promise of it renewed continually until it was wrought and accomplished. And hereby it became the subject of the whole Book of God, and the principal matter of all intercourse between God and sinners. But all these things fully discover that there neither is nor can be any relief provided for them that sin against the gospel; for,

(1.) From what spring, what fountain should it proceed? Mercy and grace are principally sinned against in it, and the whole design of it therein defeated. The utmost of mercy and grace is already sinned against, and what remaineth now for the relief of a sinner? Is there any other property of the divine nature whose consideration will administer unto men any ground of hope? Is there any thing in the name of God, in that revelation that he hath made of himself by his works, or in his word, to give them encouragement? Doubtless nothing at all. But yet suppose that God had not laid out all the riches and treasures of his wisdom, grace, love, and goodness, in gospel salvation by Jesus Christ, which yet he affirmeth that he hath, suppose that in infinite mercy there were yet a reserve for pardon,

(2.) By what way and means should it be brought forth and made effectual? We have seen that God neither would nor could ever have exercised pardoning mercy towards sinners, had not way been made for it by the blood of his Son. What then? Shall Christ die again, that the despisers of the gospel may be saved? Why, besides that the Scripture affirms positively that henceforth he “dieth no more,” and that “there is no more sacrifice for sins,” this is the most unreasonable thing that can be imagined. Shall he die again for them by whom his death hath been despised? Is the blood of Christ such a common thing as to be so cast away upon the lusts of men? Besides, when should he make an end of dying? They who have once neglected the gospel may do so upon a second trial, nay, undoubtedly would do so, and thence should Christ often die, often be offered, and all still in vain, Neither hath God any other son to send to die for sinners; he sent his only-begotten Son once for all, and he that believeth not on him must perish for ever. In vain, then, will all men’s expectations be from such a mercy as there is nothing to open a door unto, nor to make way for its exercise. Nay, this mercy is a mere figment of secure sinners; there is no such thing in God. All the mercy and grace that God hath for his creatures is engaged in gospel salvation; and if that be despised, in vain shall men look for any other.

(3.) Neither is there any word spoken concerning any such relief or remedy for gospel neglecters. Pardon being provided for transgressions of the law, instantly it is promised, and the whole Scripture is written for the manifestation of it; but as for a provision of mercy for them that despise the gospel, where is any one word recorded concerning it? Nay, doth not the Scripture in all places fully and plainly witness against it? “He that believeth not shall be damned.” “There remaineth no more sacrifice for sins.” “He that believeth not, the wrath of God abideth on him.” And will men yet feed themselves with hopes of mercy whilst they neglect the gospel? Well fare them who, being not able to secure sinners against this light and evidence of the want of any relief reserved for them, have carried the whole matter behind the curtain, and invented a purgatory for them, to help them when they are gone from hence, and cannot return to complain of them by whom they were deceived. But this also, as all other reliefs, will prove a broken reed to them that lean on it; for they who neglect the gospel must perish, and that eternally, for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.

Thirdly, Then all hopes of escaping must arise from hence, that he whose right it is, and on whom it is incumbent to take vengeance on them that neglect the gospel, will not be able so to do, or at least not to such a degree as to render it so fearful as is pretended. This need not much be insisted on. It is God with whom men have to do in this matter. And they who allow his being cannot deny him to be omnipotent and eternal. Now what cannot he do who is so? It will at length be found to be “a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” There is unto wicked men the same everlasting cause of being and punishment. The same hand that upholds them shall afflict them, and that for ever. What his righteousness requires, his power and wrath shall execute unto the uttermost, so that there will be no escaping. And these are the holy foundations on which all gospel threatenings and comminations are built; which will all of them take place and be accomplished with no less certainty than the promises themselves.

Now, from all that hath been spoken unto this proposition, we may learn,

1. To admire the riches of the grace of God, which hath provided so great salvation for poor sinners. Such and so great as it is, we stood in need of it. Nothing could be abated without our eternal ruin. But when divine wisdom, goodness, love, grace, and mercy, shall set themselves at work, what will they not accomplish? And the effect of them doth the Scripture set forth in these expressions: “So God loved the world;” “God commendeth his love unto us;” “Greater love hath no man than this;” “Riches of grace;” “Treasures of wisdom;” “Exceeding greatness of power;” and the like. In this will God be glorified and admired unto all eternity. And in the contemplation hereof are we to be exercised here and hereafter; and thereby may we grow up into the image of God in Christ, 2 Corinthians 3:18; 2 Corinthians 3:18. Which way soever we look, whatever we consider in it, here is that which will entertain our souls with delight and satisfaction. The eternal counsel of God, the person of Christ, his mediation and grace, the promises of the gospel, the evil and wrath we are freed from, the redemption and glory purchased for us, the privileges we are admitted unto a participation of, the consolations and joys of the Spirit, the communion with God that we are called unto, how glorious are they in the eyes of believers! or assuredly at all times they ought so to be. How can we enough bewail that vanity, whence it is that the mind suffereth itself to be possessed and filled with other things! Alas, what are they, if compared with the excellency of this love of God in Christ Jesus! Here lies our treasure, here lies our inheritance; why should not our hearts be here also? Were our minds fixed on these things as they ought, how would the glory of them cast out our cares, subdue our fears, sweeten our afflictions and persecutions, and take off our affections from the fading, perishing things of this world, and make us in every condition rejoice in the hope of the glory that shall be revealed! And, indeed, we lose the sweetness of the life of faith, the benefit of our profession, the reward that is in believing, and are made a scorn to the world and a prey unto temptations, because we dwell not enough in the contemplation of this great salvation. To stir us up, then, hereunto we may consider,

(1.) The excellency of the things themselves that are proposed unto our meditations. They are the great, the deep, the hidden things of the wisdom and grace of God. Men justify themselves in spending their time and speculations about the things of nature: and indeed such employment is better and more noble than what the generality of men do exercise themselves about; for some seldom raise their thoughts above the dunghills whereon they live, and some stuff their minds with such filthy imaginations as make them an abomination to God, Micah 2:1-2, they are conversant only about their own lusts, and making provision to fulfill and satisfy them. But yet what are those things which the better and more refined part of mankind do search and inquire into? Things that came out of nothing, and are returning thitherward apace; things which, when they are known, do not much enrich the mind, nor better it at all as to its eternal condition, nor contribute any thing to the advantage of their souls. But these things are eternal, glorious, mysterious, that have the character of all God’s excellencies enstamped upon them, whose knowledge gives the mind its perfection and the soul its blessedness, John 17:3. This made Paul cry out that he accounted all things to be “but loss and dung” in comparison of an acquaintance with them, Philippians 3:8; and the prophets of old to “search diligently” into the nature of them, 1 Peter 1:10-12, as the things which alone deserved to be inquired after; and which inquiry renders them “noble” in whom it is, Acts 17:11, and is that which alone differenceth men in the sight of God, Jeremiah 9:23-24.

(2.) Our interest and propriety in them. If we are believers, these are our things. The rich man is much in the contemplation of his riches, because they are his own; and the great man, of his power, because of his propriety in it. Men take little delight in being conversant in their minds about things that are not their own. Now, all these things are ours, if we are Christ’s, 1 Corinthians 3:22-23. This salvation was prepared for us from all eternity, and we are the heirs of it, Hebrews 1:14. It was purchased for us by Jesus Christ; we have redemption and salvation by his blood. It is made over unto us by the promise of the gospel, and conferred upon us by the Spirit of grace. Are these things to be despised? are they to be cast aside among the things wherein we are least concerned? or can there be any greater evidence that we have no propriety in them than that would be, if our hearts should not be set upon them? What! all these riches ours, all these treasures, this goodly inheritance, this kingdom, this glory, and yet not be constant in thoughts and meditations about them! It is doubtless a sign, at least, that we question our title unto them, and that the evidences we have of them will not endure the trial. But woe unto us if that should be the end of our profession! and if it be otherwise, why are not, our minds fixed on that which is our own, and which no man can take from us?

(3.) The profit and advantage which we shall have hereby, which will be much every way; for,

[1.] By this means we shall grow up into a likeness and conformity unto these things in our inward man. Spiritual meditation will assimilate our minds and souls unto that which is the object of it. So the apostle tells the Romans that they were delivered into the form of the doctrine preached unto them, Romans 6:17. Obeying it by faith, the likeness of it was brought forth upon their souls; and, by the renewing of their minds, they were transformed quite into another image in their souls, Romans 12:2. This the apostle most excellently expresseth, 2 Corinthians 3:18. A constant believing contemplation of the glory of God in this salvation by Christ, will change the mind into the image and likeness of it, and that by various degrees, until we attain unto perfection, when “we shall know even as we are known.” Accustoming of our minds unto these things will make them heavenly; and our affections, which will be conformed unto them, holy. This is the way to have Christ dwell plentifully in us, and for ourselves to “grow up into him who is our head.” And is it nothing, to get our minds purged from an evil habit, inclining unto earthly things, or continually forging foolish and hurtful imaginations in our hearts? This meditation will cast the soul into another mould and frame, making the heart “a good treasure,” out of which may be drawn at all times good things, new and old.

[2.] Consolation and supportment under all afflictions will from hence spring up in the soul. When the apostle would describe that property of faith whereby it enables a believer to do and suffer great things joyfully and comfortably, he doth it by its work and effect in this matter. It is, saith he, “the substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen,”

Hebrews 11:1; that is, it brings into the soul, and makes evident unto it, the great things of this salvation, the great things of the love and grace of God therein. And this it doth no otherwise than by a constant contemplation and holy admiration of them. And when this is once done, he multiplies instances to evince what great effects it will produce, especially in its enabling of us to go through difficulties, trials, and afflictions. And the same also he ascribeth unto hope; which is nothing but the soul’s waiting and expectation to be made partaker of the fullness of this salvation, whose greatness and satisfactory excellency it doth admire, Romans 5:2-5. When any affliction or tribulation presseth upon a believer, he can readily divert his thoughts from it unto the rich grace of God in this salvation; which will fill his heart with such a sense of his love as shall carry him above all the assaults of his trouble. And a direction to this purpose the apostle pursues at large, Romans 8:15-18; Romans 8:24-25; Romans 8:31-39. This is a safe harbor for the soul to betake itself unto in every storm; as he teacheth us again, 2 Corinthians 4:16-18. Whatever befalls us in our “outward man,” though it should press so sore upon us as to ruin us in this world, yet “we faint not,” we despond not; and the reason is, because those things which we suffer bear no proportion unto what we enjoy or expect. And the way whereby this consideration is made effectual unto us, is by a constant contemplation by faith on the great unseen things of this salvation, which takes off our minds and spirits from a valuation of the things which we presently suffer and endure. And this experience assures us to be our only relief in afflictions; which undoubtedly it is our wisdom to be provided for.

[3.] The same may be said concerning persecution, one especial part of affliction, and commonly that which most entangles the minds of them that suffer. Now, no man can endure persecution quietly, patiently, constantly, according to the will of God, especially when the devil pursues his old design of brining it home unto their persons, Job 2:5, unless he hath in readiness a greater good, which shall in itself and in his own mind outbalance the evil which he suffers. And this the grace of this salvation will do. The soul that is exercised in the contemplation and admiration of it, will despise and triumph over all his outward sufferings which befall him on the account of his interest therein, as all persecution doth. This the apostle declares at large, Romans 8:0. Romans 8:31-34, he directs us unto a holy meditation on God’s electing love, and on the death and mediation of Christ, the two springs of this meditation; and thence leads us, Romans 8:35-36, to a supposition of the great and sore persecutions that may befall us in this world; and from the former consideration triumphs over them all, Romans 8:37, with a joy and exultation beyond that of conquerors in a battle, which yet is the greatest that the nature of man is capable of in and about temporal things. When the soul is prepossessed with the glory of this grace and his interest therein, it will assuredly bear him up against all the threatenings, reproaches, and persecutions of this world, even as it did the apostles of old, making them esteem that to be their glory and honor which the world looked on as their shame, Acts 5:41; and without this the heart will be very ready to sink and faint.

[4.] This also will greatly tend unto the confirmation of our faith, by giving us a full experience of the things that we do believe. Then the heart is immovable, when it is established by experience, when we find a substance, a reality, a spiritual nourishment in things proposed unto us. Now, how can this be obtained, unless we are conversant in our minds about them? unless we dwell in our thoughts and affections upon them? for thereby do we taste and find how good the Lord is in this work of his grace.

Thus this duty being on many accounts of so great importance, we may do well to consider wherein it consisteth. And there are these four things belonging unto it:

(1.) Intense prayer for the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, to give us an acquaintance with the mystery and grace of this great salvation. In ourselves we have no inbred knowledge of it, nor can we by our own endeavors attain unto it. We must have a new understanding given us, or we shall not “know him that is true,” 1 John 5:20. For notwithstanding the declaration that is made of this mystery in the gospel, we see that the most of men live in darkness and ignorance of it. It is only the Spirit of God which can search these “deep things of God,” and reveal them unto us, 1 Corinthians 2:10. By him must

“he who commanded light to shine out of darkness shine into our hearts, to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ,” 2 Corinthians 4:6.

And therefore the apostle prays for the Ephesians that God would give unto them

“the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him; that, the eyes of their understandings being enlightened, they may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe,” Ephesians 1:17-19;

and for the Colossians, that they might come unto

“all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgment of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ,” Colossians 2:2,

that is, that they might have a spiritual and saving acquaintance with the mystery of this great salvation, the love, grace, and wisdom of God therein, which without this Spirit of wisdom and revelation from above we shall not attain unto. This, then, in the first place, is to be sought after, this are we to abide in, constant prayers and supplications for the teaching, instructing, revealing, enlightening work and efficacy of this Spirit, that we may be enabled to look into these deep things of God, that we may in some measure with all saints comprehend them, and grow wise in the mystery of salvation. Solomon tells us how this wisdom is to be obtained:

Proverbs 2:3-5, “If thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; if thou seekest her as for silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God.” It is by praying, crying, supplications, with diligence and perseverance, that we attain this wisdom. Abide herein, or all other attempts will prove but vain. How many poor souls, otherwise weak and simple, have by this means grown exceeding wise in the mystery of God! and how many more, wise in this world, through the neglect of it, do walk in darkness all their days!

(2.) Diligent study of the word, wherein this mystery of God is declared and proposed unto our faith and holy contemplation; but this hath been spoken unto in part already, and must again be considered, and so need not here be insisted on.

(3.) Sincere love unto and delight in the things that are by the Spirit of God revealed unto us, is another part of this duty. Herein our apostle declares what was his frame of heart, Philippians 3:8. How doth his heart, triumph in and rejoice over the knowledge he had obtained of Jesus Christ! and then, indeed, do we know any thing of the grace of God aright, when our hearts are affected with what we know. Peter tells us that the saints of old, in their believing, “rejoiced with joy unspeakable and full of glory,” 1 Peter 1:8. They discovered that in Christ which made their hearts leap within them, and all their affections to overflow with delight and joy. And this is an essential part of this holy admiration, which distinguisheth it from that barren, fruitless, notional speculation of it, which some are contented withal. This are we to stir up our hearts unto in all our meditations of the grace of God, and not to rest until we find them affected, satisfied, and filled with a holy complacency; which is the most eminent evidence of our interest in and union unto the things that are made known unto us.

(4.) All these things are to be attended with thankfulness and praise. This the apostle was full of, and broke forth into, when he entered upon the description of this grace, Ephesians 1:3-4; Ephesians 1:3-4; and this will be the frame of his heart who is exercised unto a holy admiration of it. When our Lord Jesus Christ considered the grace of God in revealing the mysteries of this salvation unto his disciples, it is said of him that he “rejoiced in spirit,” ἡγαλλιάσατο , Luke 10:21, “his spirit leaped in him;” and he breaks forth into a solemn doxology, giving praise and glory unto God. And is it not their duty to whom they are revealed to do that which, out of love unto them, our Lord Jesus Christ did on their behalf? Thankfulness for the things themselves, thankfulness for the revelation of them, thankfulness for the love of God and the grace of Jesus Christ in the one and the other, is a great part of this duty.

2. This will teach us what esteem we ought to have of the word of the gospel, by which alone this great salvation is revealed and exhibited unto us, the great means and instrument which God is pleased to use in brining us unto a participation of it. This one consideration is enough to instruct us as to what valuation we ought to make of it, what price we should set upon it, seeing we cannot have the “treasure” without the purchase of this

“field.” Some neglect it, some despise it, some persecute it, some look upon it as foolishness, some as weakness; but unto them that believe, it is “the power of God, and the wisdom of God.” To further us in this duty, I shall take up some of those considerations which the words we insist upon do offer unto us, and thereby also pass through what yet remains for our instruction in them. And we may consider,

(1.) The excellency and pre-eminence of the gospel, which ariseth from the first revealer, that is, the Lord Christ, the Son of God. It was” begun to be spoken unto us by the Lord.” Herein the apostle prefers it before the law. It is that word which the Son came to reveal and declare from the bosom of the Father; and surely he deserves to be attended unto. Hence it is so often called “the word of Christ” and “the gospel of Christ;” not only because it treateth of him, but because it proceedeth from him, and on that account is “worthy of all acceptation.’And,

(2.) To neglect the gospel is to neglect and despise the Son of God, who is the author of it, and consequently the love and grace of God in sending him. So the Lord Christ tells them that preach the gospel, “He that despiseth you despiseth me, and he that despiseth me despiseth him that sent me.” Neglect of the gospel reflects immediately upon the Lord Christ and the Father; and therefore our apostle bids us take heed that we despise not him who spake from heaven; which can be no otherwise done but by neglect of his word. Some pretend to honor Christ, but they have no regard for his word; yea, they may say of it as Ahab of Micaiah, that they hate it, and have therefore some of them endeavored to extirpate the preaching of it out of the world, as the Papists have done, at least, have looked on it as a useless thing, that the church might be well enough without. But such men will find themselves mistaken when it is too late to seek after a remedy. The true cause of their hatred unto the word, is because they can find no other way to express their hatred unto Christ himself; neither did ever any man hate or loathe the gospel, but he that first hated and loathed Jesus Christ, But against the word they have many pretences, against the person of Christ none, that are as yet passable in the world. This makes the word to bear that which is intended against Christ himself; and so will he interpret it at the last day. (3.) Consider that this word was confirmed and witnessed. unto from heaven, by the mighty works and miracles which attended the dispensation thereof. So our apostle here informs us. And though we saw not those miracles, yet we have them left on infallible record for our use, that by them we might be yet stirred up to value and attend unto the word in a due manner. God hath so ordered things in his holy providence, that none can neglect the word without shutting his eyes against such light and evidence of conviction as will leave him abundantly inexcusable at the last day. Now, from these and the like considerations the duty proposed may be enforced.

Verses 5-9

The apostle in these verses proceeds in the pursuit of his former design. From the doctrine of the first chapter, he presseth the exhortation at the beginning of this, which we have passed through. The foundation of that exhortation was the pre-eminence of the Lord Christ, the author of the gospel, above the angels by whom the law was spoken and delivered. This he now further confirms, and that by an instance suited to his present purpose, and not as yet by him insisted on. And he doth it the rather because, by the testimonies wherewith he proves his assertion, he is led to the consideration of other concernments of the mediation of Christ, which he thought meet to declare unto these Hebrews also. And this method he is constant unto throughout this whole epistle. In the midst of his reasonings and testimonies for the explanation or confirmation of what he delivers dogmatically, he lays hold on some occasion or other to press his exhortations unto faith, obedience, with constancy and perseverance in the profession of the gospel. And in the arguments which he interweaveth, and testimonies which he produceth for the enforcement of his exhortations, something still offers itself, which accordingly he lays hold upon, leading him to some further explication of the doctrine which he had in hand; so insensibly passing from one thing unto another, that he might at the same time inform the minds and work upon the affections of them with whom he dealt. All which will appear in our ensuing exposition of these verses.

Hebrews 2:5 . Οὐ γὰρ ἀγγέλοις ὑπέταξε τὴν οἰκουμένην τὴν μέλλουσαν , περὶ ἧς λαλοῦμεν·

῾Υπέταξε , “subjecit,” “in ordinem coegit,” “put into subjection,” “brought into order, under rule.” Τὴν οἰκουμένην τὴν μέλλουσαν , Vul., “orbem terrae futurum,” “the habitable earth to come;” Arias, “habitatam futuram,” to the same purpose, improperly; Syr., עָלְמָא דַּעֲתִיד , “mundum,” or “seculum futurum,” “the world” (or “age”) “to come;” Beza, “mundum illum futurum,” “that world to come.” And indeed the repetition of the article, with the words following, “concerning which we speak,” requires that it be so expressed, “That world to come,” or “the world that is to come.” Οἰκουμένη , Hebrew, תֵּבֵל . So most commonly expressed by the LXX.; as sometimes, though seldom, by γῆ , “the earth;” and sometimes by τὰ ὑπὸ οὐρανῶν , “the things under the heavens.” The apostle useth this word from Psalms 8:0, where it denotes a mixture of inhabitants, there described. Περὶ ἧς λαλοῦμεν , that is, διαλεγόμεθα , “concerning which we treat,” “about which we reason.” The Vulgar Latin adds “Deus” to the text: “Deus non subjecit,”” God hath not put in subjection;” needlessly, as is acknowledged. “De quo Christo,” saith the interlinear gloss; but Περὶ ἧς

is not “of Christ.”

Hebrews 2:5 . For unto the angels hath he not made subject that world to come whereof we speak [ concerning which we treat ].

Hebrews 2:6 . Διεμαρτύρατο δέ που τὶς λέγων· Τί ἐστιν ἄνθρωπος , ὅτι μιμνήσκῃ αὐτοῦ ; ἥ υἱὸς ἀνθρώπου , ὃτι ἐπισκέπτῃ αὐτόν ;

Syr., אֶלָּא אֵיךְ דְּמַסְהֵד כְּתָבָא וָאמַר , “But as the Scripture witnesseth and saith;” needlessly limiting what was spoken indefinitely by the apostle, the words themselves declaring who spake them and where. Πού , Vul., “in quodam loco,” “in a certain place ;” Beza, “alicubi,” “somewhere,” that is, Psalms 8:5. Τί ἐστιν ἄνθρσπος ; מָהאּאַנוֹשׁ , “quid homo mortalis?” βροτός , βροτὸς ἀνήρ , “frail, mortal man,” or “the son of man.” בֶן אָדָם , “filius hominis terreni;” γηγενής , “e terra editus,’ “man of the earth,” or “an earthy man.

Hebrews 2:6 . But one [ a certain man ] testified [ hath witnessed ], in a certain place [ somewhere, that is, in the Scripture, from whence he is arguing], saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him?

Hebrews 2:7 . ᾿Ηλάττωσας αὐτὸν βραχύ τι παρ᾿ ἀγγέλους· δόξῃ καὶ τιμῇ ἐστεφάνωσας αὐτόν , καὶ κατέστησας αὐτὸν ἐπὶ τὰ ἔργα τῶν χειρῶν σου , πάντα ὑπέταξας ὐποκάτω τῶν ποδῶν αὐτοῦ .

The latter words, which are commonly placed at the beginning of the eighth verse, I have added unto this seventh, the sense and Hebrew text so requiring it.

᾿Ηλάττωσας αὐτόν . So the apostle renders תְּחַסְּרֵהוּ in the psalmist, and that properly. Vul., “minuisti;” which is not “thou hast made less,” but “thou hast lessened,” which hath another sense than that here intended. Syr, אֲמֶכְתִיהָי , “depressiti,” “thou hast depressed,” or “made him less,” or “lower than he was.” Beza, “fecisti eum inferiorem,” “thou hast made him lower;” and so ours. Rhemists, “thou didst minish him a little less;” obscurely. ᾿Ελαττόω is “imminuo,” “diminuo,” “to make less,” “to take from,” as to state and condition. So in Isocrates, ἐλαττοῦν τὴν πόλιν is to lessen the dignity, state, and condition of the people; as in Latin, “capitis diminutio” is lessening of state or dignity, as by loss of liberty. For when one was made a captive by the enemy he lost his dignity, until he recovered it “jure postliminii;” so Regulus is termed by the poet, “capitis minor,” when a prisoner to the Carthaginians: or by change of family, as when Clodius, a patrician, was adopted by a plebeian: or by banishment. All such are ἠλαττοῦμενοι , lessened in state or dignity. חָסֵר , the word used by the psalmist, hath the same signification; and though it be variously rendered by the LXX., yet they never much depart from its native signification. ᾿Ελαττονέω , “to minish,” “make less,” “take from;” ἐλαττόω , the same; ἐνδεής , “to become indigent;” ἐνδέομαι , “to be in want;” ἐπιδέομαι , προσδέομαι , all to the same purpose; στερίσκω , “to deprive;” ὑστερέω , “to want,” “to be indigent,” “to come short;” and στερέω , and κενὸν ποιέω , “to make empty ;” that is, κενόω , the word used Philippians 2:7. I observe this various rendering of the word by the LXX. only to show that it doth constantly denote a diminution of state and condition, with an addition of indigency; which will give us light into the interpretation of the p]ace.

Βραχύ , “breve quiddam;” Vul., “paulo minus;” Syr., קלִיל , “paululum,” “a little,” or “paulisper,” “a little while.” מְעַט is frequently by the LXX. rendered μικρόν , “parvum,” “paululum,” “a little,” intending quantity; sometimes ὀλίγον , which they refer to number, “a few;” and sometimes βραχύ , and then it constantly respects time, “a little while.” So that βραχύ τι is as much as ἐπὶ βραχεῖ , that is χρόνῳ ; as in that saying, ῾Ο βίος βραχὺς , ἡ τέχνη μακρά , “Life is short,” that is, of short continuance. Whether a little in degree or a short time be here intended we shall afterwards inquire.

Παρ᾿ ἀγγέλους , Syr. מֵן מַלָאכֵא , “prae angelis,” “more than angels,” “above the angels,” “more destitute than the angels;” Hebrew, מֵאַלֹהִים , “the angels of God.” So all old translations render the words. And to render it “a Deo”, in the psalm, is needless, groundless, contradictory to the apostle.

Δόξῃ καὶ τιμῇ ἐστεφάνωσας αὐτόν , “gloria et honore coronasti eum,” “with glory and honor hast thou crowned him;” Syr., תֶשְׁבּוּחְתָּא וַאיְקָרָא סִים בְייּשֵׁה , “glory and honor hast thou placed on his head;” Heb. וְכָבוֹר וְהָדָר תְּעַטְּיֵהוּ “thou hast crowned him” (or “adorned his head”) “with glory and beauty,” or “honor.” The first word denotes the weight and worth, the latter the beauty and splendor of this crown.

Καὶ κατέστησας αὐτόν ἐπί , “thou hast set him over;” that is, appointed him to be in authority, as Pharaoh set Joseph over the land of Egypt. Syr., ואשְׁלַטְתָיְהִי , “authoritatem,” “potestatem ei tribuisti; “thou hast given him power,” or “authority;” made him sultan, or lord. Heb., תּמְשִׁילֵהוּ , “made him lord,” or “ruler,” as Genesis 1:18. So καθίΣτημι ἐπί is used, Acts 6:0, Luke 12:0.

῾Υπέταξας ὑποκάτω τῶν ποδῶν αὐτοῦ , “hast put” “put down,” “subjected all things under his feet.” The words all of them emphatically denote subjection and depression, and as thus conjoined, the most absolute subjection that can be apprehended.

Hebrews 2:7 . Thou madest him lower for a little while than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honor, and didst set him [ gave him authority ] over the works of thy hands: all things hast thou put in subjection under his feet.

Hebrews 2:8 . ᾿Εν γὰρ τῷ ὑποτάξαι αὐτῷ τὰ πάντα , οὐδέν ἀφῆκεν ἀνυπότακτον· νῦν οὔπω ὁρῶμεν αὐτῷ τὰ πάντα ὑποτεταγμένα .

Hebrews 2:8 . For in that he made all things subject unto him, he hath left nothing not put in subjection; but now we see not all things made subject unto him.

Hebrews 2:9 . Τὸν δὲ βραχύ τι παρ᾿ ἀγγέλους ἠλαττωμένον βλέπομεν ῾Ιησοῦν , διὰ τὸ πάθημα τοῦ θανάτου δόξῆ καὶ τιμῇ ἐστεφανωμένον , ὅτως χάριτι Θεοῦ ὑπέρ παντὸς γεύσηται θανάτου . The words of this ἀπόΔοσις have most of them been considered in the πρόθεσις , and they must have the same sense in both places, or the reasoning of the apostle would be equivocal. For χάριτι Θεοῦ , some old copies read, χωρὶς Θεοῦ , “besides God,” “God excepted.” The Syriac copies also vary. Some read, “For God himself by his grace tasted death.” Others, “For he, God excepted, tasted death;” which came from χωρὶς Θεοῦ , and shows that variety to be ancient. Hence some have imagined it to be a corruption of the Nestorians, who, dividing the person of Christ, would not grant that God might be said to die, contrary to Acts 20:28. Χάριτι Θεοῦ , is “gratia,” “beneficentia,” “beneficio Dei,” “by the grace,” “goodness,” “good-will of God,” expressing the first spring and moving cause of the sufferings of Christ. Γεύσηται ζαςάτου , “should taste of death;” an Hebraism for to die, intimating withal the truth, reality, and kind of his death, which was bitter, and which was called his “cup.” ῾῾Ψπὲρ παντός , in the masculine, not neuter gender, for ὑπὲρ πάντων , by an enallage of number, that is, υἱῶν , of whom he treats; all and every one of the children unto whom he was a captain of salvation. [2]

[2] VARIOUS READINGS. The clause, Κατέστησας usque σου , Acts 20:7, is omitted by Griesbach, Scholz, and Tischendorf. Knapp, Lachmann, and Hahn enclose it within brackets, as doubtful. TRANSLATIONS. Βραχύ . “For a little while.” Valckenaer, De Wette, Conybeare and Howson, Ebrard. “A little” (in respect of degree). Stuart, Scholefield, Olshausen, Turner. ED.

Hebrews 2:9 . But we see Jesus crowned with glory and honor, who for the suffering of death was a little while made lower than the angels, that he by the grace of God might taste of death for all.

Hebrews 2:5. The first words of the fifth verse, οὐ γάρ , “for,” declare that the apostle is in the pursuit of his former argument. Γάρ “for,” doth not always intimate the introduction of a reason in the confirmation of what is past, but sometimes a progression unto somewhat else in the like kind with that which precedeth, and so hath not respect unto any especial words or sayings going before, but unto the whole matter in hand, especially that which doth ensue; as “nam” also is used in Latin: “Nam quis tejuvenum confidentissime, nostras jussit adire domos.” A new argument, therefore, to the same purpose with that before is intimated by this particle, “for.”

The whole verse contains an assertion laid down in a negative proposition, the assumption of the apostle’s argument, or the proof of it, supposed in a prosyllogism, consisting in the ensuing testimony, with his explication of it. And it is to this purpose: ‘The world to come is not made subject unto angels; but it was made subject to Jesus: and therefore he is exalted above them.’This he proves from the testimony of the psalmist, to this purpose,

‘All things were made subject to man, who for a little while was made lower than the angels; but this man was Jesus.’And this assumption he proves from the event:

First, On the part of man absolutely considered: ‘We see that all things are not made subject unto him;’therefore he cannot be intended.

Secondly, On the part of Jesus. ‘All things in the event agree unto him; first, he was made for a little while lower than the angels,’ (which he shows the reason of, and thence takes occasion to discourse of his death and sufferings, according to the method before declared;) ‘and then he was crowned with glory and dignity, all things being made subject unto him; from all which it appears, that it is he, and not angels, unto whom the world to come is put in subjection.’This is the series of the apostle’s discourse, wherein are many things difficult and “hard to be understood,” which must be particularly considered.

The first verse, as was said, lays down the principal assertion in negative proposition: “The world to come is not made subject unto angels.” One proof hereof is included in the words themselves; for that expression, “He hath not put in subjection,” is the same with our apostle as, ‘It is nowhere written or recorded in the Scripture,’‘There is no testimony of it,’‘God is nowhere said to have done it.’ See Hebrews 1:5, with the exposition of it.

And these negative arguments from the authority of the Old Testament he esteemed in this matter cogent and sufficient.

In the proposition itself,

1. The subject of it, “The world to come;” with

2. Its limitation, “Whereof we treat;” and

3. The predicate, negatively expressed, “Is not put in subjection to angels,” are to be considered.

The subject of the proposition is, “The world to come” ( עולם הבא the new heavens and new earth ( οἰκουμένη ), which God promised to create, Isaiah 65:17; Isaiah 66:22; which refers unto ימי המשיח , “the days of the Messiah.” The later Jews sometimes call it עולם עתיד , “the future world,” though usually by that expression they intend the world of future bliss. But the world here intended is no other but the promised state of the church under the gospel. This, with the worship of God therein, with especial relation unto the Messiah, the author and mediator of it, administering its heavenly things before the throne of grace, thereby rendering it spiritual and heavenly, and diverse from the state of the worship of the old testament, which was worldly and carnal, was “the world to come” that the Jews looked for, and which in this place is intended by the apostle. This we must further confirm, as the foundation of the ensuing exposition. That this then, is the intendment of the apostle appeareth,

First, From the limitation annexed, περὶ ἧς λαλοῦμεν , “concerning which we treat.” This is the world whereof he treats with the Hebrews in this epistle, namely, the gospel state of the church, the worship whereof he had in the words immediately foregoing pressed them unto the observation of; and not only so, but described it also by that state wherein the miraculous gifts of the Holy Ghost were given and enjoyed. And the mention of them in the words directly preceding is that description of the world to come which the apostle in these words refers unto, “concerning which we speak.” And the tradition of this new world, or the restoration of all things under the Messiah, was one of the principal reports of truth received among the Jews, which the apostle presseth them withal.

Some suppose that λαλοῦμεν , “we speak,” is put for ἐλαλήσαμεν , “we have spoken,” and would have it refer unto Hebrews 1:6. But what the apostle there intendeth by “the world” we have sufficiently evinced and declared. The “world” there, by a usual synecdoche, is put for the habitable earth, the τὰ ἴδια , which the Son of God made and came unto, John 1:11. Here, a certain state and condition of things in the world, about which he treated with the Hebrews, is intended.

Besides, they who would thus change the word (Grotius, Crellius, Schlichtingius), by the world, Hebrews 1:6, understand heaven itself, the state of glory, which is not here insisted on by the apostle; for,

Secondly, He treats of that which was already done, in the crowning of Jesus with glory and honor, as the words following do manifest. This crowning of him was upon his ascension, as we have before proved at large. Then was not the state of glory made subject unto him, because it was not then nor is yet in being. And, therefore, they who turn “we speak” into “we have before spoken,” are forced also to pervert the following words, and to interpret, “He hath made all things subject unto him,” “He hath purposed or decreed so to do;” both without cause or reason. The world whereof the apostle treats was immediately made subject to Jesus, that is, the church of the new testament, when God anointed him king upon his holy hill of Zion; and therefore in the psalm is there mention made of those other parts of the creation, to be joined in this subjection, that have no relation unto heaven.

Thirdly, The apostle doth not treat directly anywhere in this epistle concerning heaven, or the world of the blessed to come. He frequently mentions heaven, not absolutely, indeed, but as it belongs unto the gospel world, as being the place of the constant residence of the high priest of the church, and wherein also the worship of it is through faith celebrated.

Fourthly, The apostle in these words insists on the antithesis which he pursueth in his whole discourse between the Judaical and evangelical church-state; for whatever power angels might have in and over things formerly, this world to come, saith he, is not made subject unto them. Now, it is not heaven and glory that he opposeth to the Judaical church-

state and worship, but that of the gospel, as we shall find in the progress of the epistle; which is therefore necessarily here intended.

Fifthly, If by “the world to come,” the eternal, blessed state of glory be designed, to begin at or after the general judgment, then here is a promise that that blessed estate shall “de nove” be put in subjection to Jesus Christ as mediator; but this is directly contrary unto what is elsewhere revealed by the same apostle, concerning the transactions between the Father and the Son as mediator at that day, 1 Corinthians 15:28:

“And when all shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him who put all things under him, that God may be all in all;”

which words, if they do not absolutely assert the ceasing of the kingdom of the mediator, but only the order of all things unto eternity in their subjection unto God by Christ, yet they are plainly exclusive of the grant of a new power or authority unto him, or of a new making subject of all things unto him. Add unto all this, that the apostle proves the subjection of this world unto the Lord Christ, and not unto angels, by a testimony expressing directly the present things of this world, antecedent unto the day of judgment, From what hath been discoursed, we conclude that “the world to come,” here expressed, is the state and worship of the church under the Messiah, called so by the apostle, according to the usual appellation which then it had obtained among the Jews, and allowed by him until the Mosaical church-state was utterly removed. And he afterwards declares how this comprised heaven itself also, because of the residence of our high priest in the holiest not made with hands, and the continual admission of the worshippers unto the throne of grace. This is the subject of the apostle’s proposition, that concerning which he treats.

Concerning this world the apostle first declares negatively, that it is not made subject unto angels. The subjecting of this world to come unto any, is such a disposal of it as that he or they unto whom it is put in subjection should, as the lord of it, erect, institute, or set it up, rule and dispose of it being erected, and judge and reward it in the end of its course and time. This is denied concerning angels, and the denial proved tacitly, because no such thing is testified in the Scripture. And herein the apostle either preventeth an objection that might arise from the power of the angels in and over the church of old, as some think, or rather proceeds in his design of exalting the Lord Jesus above them, and thereby prefers the worship of the gospel before that prescribed by the law of Moses: for he seems to grant that the old church and worship were in a sort made subject unto angels; this of the world to come being solely and immediately in his power who in all things was to have the pre-eminence. And this will further appear if we consider the instances before mentioned wherein the subjection of this world to come unto any doth consist.

First, It was not put in subjection unto angels in its erection or institution. That work was not committed unto them, as the apostle declares in the entrance of this epistle. They did not reveal the will of God concerning it, nor were intrusted with authority to erect it. Some of them, indeed, were employed in messages about its preparatory work, but they were not employed either to reveal the mysteries of it, wherewith they were unacquainted, nor authoritatively in the name of God to erect it. For the wisdom of God in the nature and mystery of this work, they knew not but by the effects in the work itself, Ephesians 3:9-10, which they looked and inquired into, to learn and admire, 1 Peter 1:12; and therefore could not be intrusted with authority for its revelation, and the building of the church thereon. But things were otherwise of old. The law, which was the foundation of the Judaical church-state, was given “by the disposition of angels, Acts 7:53, Galatians 3:19; and our apostle here calls it “the word spoken by angels.” They were therefore intrusted by God to give the law and the ordinances of it unto the people in his name and authority; which being the foundation of the Mosaical church-state, it was so far put in subjection unto them.

Secondly, It is not put in subjection unto angels as to the rule and disposal of it being erected. Their office in this world is a ministry, Hebrews 1:14, not a rule or dominion. Rule in or over the church they have none, but are brought into a co-ordination of service with them that have the testimony of Jesus, Revelation 19:10; Revelation 22:9; being equally with us subjected unto him, in whom they and we are gathered into one head, Ephesians 1:10. And from their ministerial presence in the congregations of believers doth our apostle press women unto modesty and sobriety in their habit and deportment, 1 Corinthians 11:10. And the church of old had an apprehension of this truth, of the presence of an angel or angels in their assemblies, but so as to preside in them. Hence is that caution relating to the worship of God, Ecclesiastes 5:5-6:

“Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay. Suffer not thy mouth to cause thy flesh to sin; neither say thou before the angel that it was an error: wherefore should God be angry at thy voice, and destroy the work of thine hands?”

By vowing and not paying, a man brought upon his flesh, that is, himself and his posterity, a guilt not to be taken away with excuses of haste or precipitation made unto the angel presiding in their worship, to take an account of its due performance. It is true, the absolute sovereign power over the church of old was in the Son of God alone; but an especial, immediate power over it was committed unto angels. And hence was the name of אַלֹהִים , “god,” “judge,” “mighty one,” communicated unto them, namely, from their authority over the church; that name expressing the authority of God when unto him ascribed. And because of this, their acting in the name and representing the authority of God, the saints of old had an apprehension that upon their seeing of an angel they should die, from that saying of God, that none should see his face and live, Exodus 33:20. So Manoah expressly, Judges 13:22. He knew that it was an angel which appeared unto him, and yet says to his wife, “We shall surely die, because we have seen אַלֹהִים , an angel vested with the authority of God. And hence it is not unlikely but that there might be a respect or worship due unto the angels under the old testament, which themselves declare not to be meet for them under the new, Revelation 19:0; not that they are degraded from any excellency or privilege which before they enjoyed, but that the worshippers under the new testament, through their relation unto Christ, and the exaltation of their nature in his person, are delivered from that underage estate, wherein they differed not from servants, Galatians 4:1, and are advanced into an equality of liberty with the angels themselves, Hebrews 12:22-24, Ephesians 1:10; Ephesians 3:14-15; as amongst men there may be a respect due from an inferior to a superior, which may cease when he is advanced into the same condition with the other, though the superior be not at all abased. And to this day the Jews contend that angels are to be adored with some kind of adoration, though they expressly deny that they are to be invocated or prayed unto. Furthermore, about their power and authority in the disposal of the outward concernments of the church of old, much more might be declared from the visions of Zechariah and Daniel, with their works in the two great typical deliverances of it from Egypt and Babylon. But we must not here insist on particulars.

Thirdly, As to the power of judging and rewarding at the last day, it is openly manifest that God hath not put this world to come in subjection unto angels, but unto Jesus alone.

This, then, is the main proposition that the apostle proceeds upon in his present argument. The most glorious effect of the wisdom, power, and grace of God, and that wherein all our spiritual concernments here are enwrapped, consists in that blessed church-state, with the eternal consequences of it, which, having been promised from the foundation of the world, was now to be erected in the days of the Messiah. ‘That you may,’saith he, ‘no more cleave unto your old institutions, because given out unto you by angels, nor hanker after such works of wonder and terror as attended their disposition of the law in the wilderness, consider that this world, so long expected and desired, this blessed estate, is not on any account made subject unto angels, or committed unto their disposal, the honor thereof being entirely reserved for another.’

Having thus fixed the true and proper sense of this verse, we may stop here a little, to consult the observations that it offers for our own instruction. Many things in particular might be hence educed, but I shall insist on one only, which is comprehensive of the design of the apostle, and it is, That this is the great privilege of the church of the gospel, that, in the things of the worship of God, it is made subject unto and immediately depends upon the Lord Jesus Christ, and not on any other, angels or men.

That this is the privilege thereof, and that it is a great and blessed privilege, will appear both in our consideration of what it is and wherein it doth consist. And, among many other things, these ensuing are contained therein:

1. That the Lord Christ is our head. So it was promised of old that “their king should pass before them, and the LORD on the head of them,” Micah 2:13. He shall be their king, head, and ruler. God hath now gathered all things, all the things of his church, into a head in Christ, Ephesians 1:10. They were all scattered and disordered by sin, but are now all re-collected and brought into order under one head. Him hath he “given to be head over all things to the church,” Ephesians 1:22. The whole sovereignty over all the whole creation, that is committed unto him, is only for this end, that he may be the more perfect and glorious head to the church. He is that head on which the whole body hath its orderly and regular dependence, Ephesians 4:15-16; “The head of the body, the church,” Colossians 1:18; “The head of every man,” that is, of every believer, 1 Corinthians 11:3, Ephesians 5:23. And this is everywhere proposed both as our great honor and our great advantage. To be united unto him, subjected unto him as our head, gives us both honor and safety. What greater honor can we have, than to be freemen of that corporation whereof he is the head, than to be subjects of his kingdom? what greater safety, than to be united unto him inseparably who is in glory invested with all power and authority over the whole creation of God, every thing that may do us good or evil ?

2. That he is our only head. The church is so put in subjection unto the Lord Christ as not to be subject unto any other. It is true, the members of the church, as men on the earth, have other relations, in respect whereof they are or may be subject one to another, children unto parents, servants unto masters, people unto rulers; but as they are members of the church, they are subject unto Christ, and none other. If any other were or might be a head unto them, they must be angels or men. As for angels, we have it here plainly testified that the church is not made subject in any thing unto them. And amongst men, the apostles of all others might seem to lay the justest claim to this privilege and honor; but they openly disclaim any pretense thereunto. So doth Paul, 2 Corinthians 1:24, “We have no dominion,” rule, lordship, headship, “over your faith,” any thing that concerns your obedience to God, and your worship; “but are helpers of your joy.” And again saith he, “We preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord,” the only Lord; “and ourselves your servants for Jesus’sake,” 2 Corinthians 4:5. And Peter, as it should seem, foreseeing that some who should come after would pretend unto such pre-eminence, warns the elders that they should not think themselves “lords over God’s heritage,” 1 Peter 5:3. And this they did in pursuit of the instructions and charge which their Lord and Master gave them, Matthew 20:25-27, where he warns them that they should neither think of dignity nor dominion over the church, but apply themselves with all humility unto the service of it; for which he elsewhere adds his reason, namely, that all his disciples have one Lord and Master, and no more, John 13:13, Matthew 23:8; Matthew 23:10. And it is a woeful confusion that the Papists run themselves into in this matter; for, first, they put the whole church into subjection unto a man, whom they call the Pope, the common father and master of Christians, the head of the church and then subject both him and it unto angels, in the adoration and invocation of them, the greatest subjection possible; when the Scripture assigneth one only head of the church expressly, even the Lord Jesus, and fully declares that it is not put in subjection unto angels at all. But to pass them by, the Lord Christ is not only thus the only head in general unto the whole church, but also unto every individual believer in the church: “The head of every man is Christ,” 1 Corinthians 11:8. He is so to every believer respectively and severally; and that in both those senses wherein he is a head, that is, according to the natural and metaphorical use of the word. For,

(1.) He is the only head of vital influence to the whole church and every member thereof. As from the natural head all influences of life, for subsistence, motion, acting, guidance, and direction, are communicated unto the whole body and to every member thereof; so from the Lord Christ alone, as he is the spiritually vital head of the church, in whom are the springs of life and all quickening grace, there are communicated unto the whole church, and every believer therein, both the first quickening vital principle of life itself and all succeeding supplies and influences of grace, for the enlivening, strengthening, acting, guiding, and directing of them. This himself declares, by comparing the relation of all believers unto him unto that of branches unto the vine, John 15:2; John 15:4; which have no life but by virtue of their union unto the vine, nor sap for fruitfulness but what is derived therefrom; which he teacheth expressly, John 15:5, “Without me,” saith he, “ye can do nothing.” And this the apostle lively sets out unto us in the similitude of the natural body, Colossians 2:19. And this placing of all fullness in the Lord Christ, as the head of the church, that thence the whole and every member of it might derive needful supplies to themselves, is fully taught us in the gospel. Hence the church is called “the fullness of Christ,” Ephesians 1:23; or that whereunto Christ communicates of his all-fullness of grace, until it come unto the measure or degree of growth and perfection which he hath graciously assigned unto it. And none, I suppose, will contend but that the Lord Christ is the alone and only head of the church in this sense. It hath not a spiritual dependence on any other for grace. There is, indeed, I know not what monster lies in the opinion of them who take upon themselves to confer grace upon others, by virtue of such things as they do unto them or for them; but this we do not now consider. If any man think he may have grace from any but Christ alone, be they angels or men, let him turn himself unto them, but withal know assuredly that he “forsakes the fountain of living waters” for “broken cisterns,’’which will yield him no relief.

(2.) He is the only head of rule and government unto the whole church, and every member thereof. This rule or government of the church concerneth all that obedience which it yields unto God in his worship. And unto a head herein it is required that he give perfect rules and laws for all things necessarily belonging thereunto, and take care that they be observed. And here a great contest ariseth in the world. The Papists, in behalf of their pope and others under him, contend to be sharers with the Lord Christ in this his headship; and fain they would persuade us that he himself hath appointed that so it should be. The Scripture tells us that he was faithful in the whole house of God, as was Moses, and that as a lord over his own house, to erect, rule, and establish it. And himself, when he gives commission unto his apostles, bids them to teach men to do and observe all that he had commanded them; and accordingly they tell us that they delivered unto us what they received from the Lord, and command us not to be wise above what is written. But I know not how it is come to pass that these men think that the Lord Christ is not a complete head in this matter, that he hath not instituted all rules and laws that are needful and convenient for the right discharge of the worship of God and obedience of the church therein; at least., that somewhat may be added unto what he hath appointed, that may be much to the advantage of the church. And this they take to be their work, by virtue of I know not what unsealed warrant, unwritten commission. But to add any thing in the worship of God unto the laws of the church, is to exercise authority over it, dominion over its faith, and to pretend that this world to come, this blessed gospel church-state, is put in subjection unto them, although it be not so to angels; a vain and proud pretense, as at the last day it will appear. But you will say, ‘Christ gives his laws only unto his whole church, and not to individual believers, who receive them from the church; and so he is not an immediate head unto every one in particular.’I answer, that the Lord Christ commits his laws unto the church’s ministry to teach them unto believers; but his own authority immediately affects the soul and conscience of every believer. He that subjects himself aright unto them doth it not upon the authority of the church, by whom they are taught and declared, but upon the authority of Christ, by whom they are given and enacted.

3. It appears from hence that as he is our only head, so he is our immediate head. We have our immediate dependence upon him, and our immediate access unto him. He hath, indeed, appointed means for the communicating of his grace unto us, and for the exercising of his rule and authority over us. Such are all his ordinances, with the offices and officers that he hath appointed in his church; the first whereof he requires us to be constant in the use of, the latter he requires our obedience and submission unto. But these belong only unto the way of our dependence, and hinder not but that our dependence is immediate on himself, he being the immediate object of our faith and love. The soul of a believer rests not in any of these things, but only makes use of them to confirm his faith in subjection unto Christ: for all these things are ours, they are appointed for our use, and we are Christ’s, as he is God’s, 1 Corinthians 3:21-23. And so have we our immediate access unto him, and not, as some foolishly imagine, by saints and angels, and by him to God, even to the throne of grace.

4. This privilege is greatly augmented, in that the church being made subject unto Christ alone, and cast into a dependence upon him, he will assuredly take care of all its concernments, seeing unto him only doth it betake itself. The church made it of old part of her plea that she was as one fatherless, Hosea 14:3; that is, every way helpless, that had none to relieve or succor her. And the Lord Christ giveth this as a reason why he stirreth up himself unto the assistance of his people, because there was no man that appeared for their help, no intercessor to interpose for them, Isaiah 59:16. Now, God having placed the church in this condition, as to be ofttimes altogether orphans in this world, to have none to give them the least countenance or assistance; and the church itself choosing this condition, to renounce all hopes and expectations from any else beside, betaking itself unto the power, grace, and faithfulness of the Lord Christ alone; it cannot but as it were be a great obligation upon him to take care of it, and to provide for it at all times. They are members of his body, and he alone is their head; they are subjects of his kingdom, and he alone is their king; they are children and servants in his family, and he alone is their father, lord, and master; and can he forget them, can he disregard them? Had they been committed to the care of men, it may be some of them would have fought and contended for them, though their faithfulness is always to be suspected, and their strength is a thing of nought; had they been put into subjection unto angels, they would have watched for their good, though their wisdom and ability be both finite and limited, so that they could never have secured their safety: and shall not the Lord Jesus Christ, now they are made his special care, as his power and faithfulness are infinitely above those of any mere creature, excel them also in care and watchfulness for our good? And all these things do sufficiently set out the greatness of that privilege of the church which we insist upon. And there are two things that make this liberty and exaltation of the church necessary and reasonable :

1. That God having exalted our nature, in the person of his Son, into a condition of honor and glory, so as to be worshipped and adored by all the angels of heaven, it was not meet or convenient that it should in our persons, when united unto Christ as our head, be made subject unto them. God would not allow, that whereas there is the strictest union between the head and the members, there should be such an interposition between them as that the angels should depend on their head, and the members should depend on angels; which indeed would utterly destroy the union and immediate intercourse that is and ought to be between them.

2. God is pleased by Jesus Christ to take us into a holy communion with himself, without any other medium or means of communication but only that of our nature, personally and inseparably united unto his own nature in his Son. And this also our subjection unto angels is inconsistent withal. This order of dependence the apostle declares, 1 Corinthians 3:22-23, “All things are yours; and ye are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s” As there is no interposition between God and Christ, no more is there between Christ and us, and in and by him alone do we relate unto God himself. And this should teach us,

(1.) The equity and necessity of our universal obedience unto God in Christ. He hath freed us from subjection unto men and angels, that we might serve him and live unto him. He hath taken us to be his peculiar ones, his lot and portion, from whom he expects all his revenue of glory out of this world. And he hath left us no pretense, no excuse, for the neglect of any duties of obedience that he requireth of us. We cannot plead that we had other work to do, other lords and masters to serve; he hath set us free from them all, that we might be his. If a king take a servant into his family, and thereby free and discharge him from being liable unto any other duty or service whatever, may he not justly expect that such a one will be diligent in the observation of all his commands, especially considering also the honor and advantage that he hath by being taken near unto his person, and employed in his affairs? And shall not God much more expect the like from us, considering how exceedingly the privilege we have by this relation unto him surpasseth all that men can attain by the favor of earthly princes? And if we will choose other lords of our own to serve, if we are so regardless of ourselves as that we will serve our lusts and the world, when God hath had such respect unto us as that he would not suffer us to be subject unto the angels of heaven, how inexcusable shall we be in our sin and folly? ‘You shall be for me,’saith God, ‘and not for any other whatever.’And are we not miserable if we like not this agreement?

(2.) For the manner of our obedience, how ought we to endeavour that it be performed with all holiness and reverence! Moses makes this his great argument with the people for holiness in all their worship and services, because no people had God so nigh unto them as they had. And yet that nearness which he insisted on was but that of his institutions, and some visible pledges and representations therein of his presence among them. How much more cogent must the consideration of this real and spiritual nearness which God hath taken us unto himself in by Jesus needs be to the same purpose! All that we do, we do it immediately unto this holy God; not only under his eye and in his presence, but in an especial and immediate relation unto him by Jesus Christ,

Hebrews 2:6 . The apostle hath showed that the world to come, which the Judaical church looked for, was not made subject unto angels, no mention of any such thing being made in the Scripture. That which he assumes to make good his assertion of the pre-eminence of the Lord Jesus above the angels, is, that unto him it was put in subjection. And this he doth not expressly affirm in words of his own, but insinuateth in a testimony out of the Scripture, which he citeth and urgeth unto that purpose. And in this way he proceedeth for these two ends:

1. To evidence that what he taught was suitable unto the faith of the church of old, and contained in the oracles committed unto it; which was his especial way of dealing with these Hebrews.

2. That he might from the words of that testimony take occasion to obviate a great objection against the dignity of Christ and mysteries of the gospel, taken from his humiliation and death, and thereby make way to a further explication of many other parts or acts of his mediation.

Many difficulties there are in the words and expressions of these verses, and more in the apostle’s application of the testimony by him produced unto the person and end by him intended; all which, God assisting, we shall endeavor to remove. And to that end shall consider,

1. The way and manner of his introducing this testimony, which is peculiar;

2. The testimony itself produced, with an explication of the meaning and importance of the words in the place from whence it is taken;

3. The application of it unto the apostle’s purpose, both as to the person intended and as to the especial end aimed at;

4. Further unfold what the apostle adds about the death and sufferings of Christ, as included in this testimony, though not intended as to the first use and design of it; and,

5. Vindicate the apostle’s application of this testimony, with our explication of it accordingly, from the objections that some have made against it, All which we shall pass through as they present themselves unto us in the text itself.

1. The manner of his citing this testimony is somewhat peculiar, “One testified in a certain place,” neither person nor place being specified; as though he had intended פְלֹנִי אַלְמוֹנִי , a certain person whom he would not name. But the reason of it is plain; both person and place were sufficiently known to them to whom he wrote. And the Syriac translation changeth the expression in the text into, “But as the Scripture witnesseth and saith,” without cause. The Hebrews were not ignorant whose words they were which he made use of, nor where they were recorded. The “one” there mentioned is David, and the “certain place” is the eighth psalm; whereof much need not to be added. A psalm it is תְּהִלּוֹת רוֹמְמוֹת אֵל , “of the high praises of God;” and such psalms do mostly, if not all of them, respect the Messiah and his kingdom, as the Jews themselves acknowledge. For the time of the composure of this psalm, they have a conjecture which is not altogether improbable, namely, that it was in the night, whilst he kept his father’s sheep. Hence, in his contemplation of the works of God, he insists on the moon and stars, then gloriously presenting themselves unto him; not mentioning the sun, which appeared not. So also, in the distribution that he makes of the things here below that, amongst others, are made subject unto man, he fixeth in the first place on צֹנֶה , flocks of “sheep,” which were then peculiarly under his care. So should all the works of God, and those especially about which we are conversant in our particular callings, excite us to the admiration of his glory and praise of his name; and none are usually more void of holy thoughts of God than those who set themselves in no way acceptable unto him. This is the place from whence this testimony is taken, whose especial author the apostle omitteth, both because it was sufficiently known, and makes no difference at all whoever was the penman of this or that portion of Scripture seeing it was all equally given by inspiration from God, whereon alone the authority of it doth depend.

2. The testimony itself is contained in the words following, Hebrews 2:6-7, “What is man,” etc. Before we enter into a particular explication of the words, and of the apostle’s application of them, we may observe that there are two things in general that lie plain and clear before us; as,

First, That all things whatsoever are said to be put in subjection unto man, that is, unto human nature, in one or more persons, in opposition unto angels, or angelical nature. To express the former is the plain design and purpose of the psalmist, as we shall see. And whereas there is no such testimony anywhere concerning angels, it is evident that the meaning of the word is, ‘Unto man, and not unto angels;’which the apostle intimates in that adversative δέ , “but:” ‘But of man it is said, not of angels.’

Secondly, That this privilege, was never absolutely or universally made good in or unto the nature of man, but in or with respect unto the person of Jesus Christ, the Messiah. This the apostle calls us to the consideration of previously unto his application of this testimony in a peculiar manner unto Jesus: Hebrews 2:8, “We see not all things,” etc. Now, there is not any thing absolutely necessary to make good the apostle’s reasoning but what is comprised in these two general assertions, which lie evident in the text, and are acknowledged by all. We shall therefore distinctly consider the testimony itself. The whole of it consists in a contemplation of the infinite love and condescension of God towards man: which is set out,

(1.) In the manner of the expression;

(2.) In and by the words of the expression;

(3.) In the act of the mind and will of God wherein that condescension and grace consisted; and,

(4.) In the effects thereof, in his dispensation towards him.

(1.) In the manner of the expression, “What is man!” by way of admiration; yea, he cries out with a kind of astonishment. The immediate occasion hereof is omitted by the apostle, as not pertinent unto his purpose; but it is evident in the psalm. David having exercised his thoughts in the contemplation of the greatness, power, wisdom, and glory of God, manifesting themselves in his mighty works, especially the beauty, order, majesty, and usefulness of the heavens, and those glorious bodies which in them present themselves to all the world, falls thereon into this admiration, that this great and infinitely wise God, who by the word of his mouth gave being and existence unto all those things, and thereby made his own excellencies conspicuous to all the world, should condescend unto that care and regard of man which on this occasion his thoughts fixed themselves upon. “What is man!” saith he. And this is, or should be, the great use of all our contemplations of the works of God, namely, that considering his wisdom and power in them, we should learn to admire his love and grace in setting his heart upon us, who are every way so unworthy, seeing he might for ever satisfy himself in those other appearingly more glorious products of his power and Godhead.

(2.) He further expresseth his admiration at this condescension of God in the words that he useth, intimating the low and mean estate of man in his own nature: מָהאּאַנוֹשׁ ; ‘What is poor, miserable, mortal man, obnoxious to grief, sorrow, anxiety, pain, trouble, and death?’ Τί ἔστιν ἄνθρωπος ; but the Greeks have no name for man fully expressing that here used by the psalmist. βροτός cometh nearest it, but is not used in the Scripture. He adds, וּבֶןאּאָדָם , “and the son of man,” of one made of the earth. This name the apostle alludes to, yea expresseth, 1 Corinthians 15:45; 1 Corinthians 15:47: “The first man Adam..... is ἐκ γῆς χοϊκός “of the earth, earthy.” So was it recorded of old, Genesis 2:7, “The LORD God formed מִןאּהָאֲדָמָה הָאָדָם עָפָר ,” “that man Adam, which was the father of all, of the dust of the ground;” and so again, Genesis 3:19. Poor man, made of the dust of the ground! When the Scripture would express man with reference unto any thing of worth or excellency in him, it calls him אִישׁ ; and בְּנֵאּאִישׁ are “sons of men” in place, power, and esteem. So these words are distinguished, Psalms 62:10, where we translate בְּנֵיאּאָדָם , “sons of Adam,” “men of low degree;” and בְּנֵי אישׁ “sons of Ish,” “men of high degree.” Now the psalmist useth this expression to heighten his admiration at the grace and condescension of God. And as the person of the first Adam cannot be here especially intended, for although he made himself אַוֹש , a miserable man, and subject unto death, yet was he not בֶּןאּאָדָם , “the son of man,” of any man, for he was of God, Luke 3:0 ult., so there is nothing in the words but may properly be ascribed unto the nature of man in the person of the Messiah. For as he was called, in an especial manner, בֵּןאּאָדָם , “The son of man;” so was he made אַוֹשׁ , “a man subject to sorrow,” and acquainted above all men with grief and trouble, and was born on purpose to die.

Hence, in the contemplation of his own miserable condition, wherein unto the dolorous, afflicting passions of human nature which he had in himself, outward oppositions and reproaches were superadded, he cries out concerning himself, וְאָנֹכִי תוֹלַעַת וְלֹאאּאִישׁ , Psalms 22:7, “I am a worm, and not אִיֹש , ” “a man of any consideration in the world;” אַנוֹש at best.

(3.) He expresseth this condescension of God in the affections and acting of his mind towards man: כִּי תִזְכְּרֶנּוּ , “ That thou rememberest him,” or, “art mindful of him.” ῞Οτι μιμνήσκῃ αὐτοῦ , “That thou shouldest be mindful of him.” To remember in the Scripture, when ascribed unto God, always intends some act of his mind and purpose of his will, and that either for good or evil towards them that are remembered, in a signal manner. So also is remembrance itself used. On this account God is said sometimes to remember us for good, and sometimes to remember our sins no more. So that it denotes the affection of the mind of God towards any creature for good or evil, attended with the purpose of his will to act towards them accordingly. In the first way it is here used, and so also by Job, Job 7:17, מָהאּאַנוֹשׂכִּי תְגַדְּלֶבּוּ וְכּיאּתָשִׁית אֵלָיו לִבֶּךָ , “What is man, that thou shouldest magnify him? and that thou shouldest set thine heart upon him?” that is, remember him, or be mindful of him; ‘set thine heart upon him for good.’The frame of the heart and mind of God towards the nature of man in the person of Jesus Christ, in reference unto all the good that he did in it and by it, is intended in this expression. The whole counsel and purpose of God concerning the salvation of mankind, in and by the humiliation, exaltation, and whole mediation of “the man Christ Jesus,” is couched herein.

(4.) There are in this condescension the effects of this act of God’s mind and will in remembering of man; and they are expressed,

[1.] under one general head; and,

[2.] in particular instances of them.

[1.] The general effect of God’s remembering man, is that he “visiteth him;” as the same word is used in Job, in the place before mentioned. פָּקַר , though variously used, yet it constantly denotes the acting of a superior towards an inferior; and though it be often otherwise used, yet commonly it expresseth the acting of God towards his people for good. And in especial is this term of visiting used to express the acting of God in doing of us good by sending of Jesus Christ to take our nature on him: Luke 1:68, “He hath visited and redeemed his people;” and to the same purpose, Luke 1:78, “The day-spring from on high hath visited us:” both relating to the acting of God towards us in the person of his Son incarnate. So Luke 7:16. This term, therefore, of visiting, doth not precisely design God’s acting in the exaltation of him visited, but such an ordering of things towards him as is attended with great care, grace, and love. So was the nature of man in the heart of God to do good unto it, in and by the person of Jesus Christ, and so he acted towards it, or visited it. This is that which was the ground of the psalmist’s admiration, and which will be so in all believers unto eternity. It was not the outward state and condition of mankind in the world, which, since the entrance of sin, is sad and deplorable, that excites this admiration in the psalmist, but his mind is intent upon the mystery of the grace, wisdom, and love of God in the person of the Messiah.

Hebrews 2:7 .

[2.] The especial instances wherein this visitation of God expressed itself are contained in Hebrews 2:7, and therein referred unto two heads:

1 st . Man’s depression and humiliation;

2dly . His exaltation and glory.

1st. The first is expressed in these words, “Thou hast made him lower for a little while than the angels.” This was a part of God’s visitation; and though not that which was immediately intended by the apostle, yet that whereof he intends to make great use in his progress. That these words intend not the exaltation of the nature of mere man, as if they should intimate, that such is his dignity he is made but a little less than angels, and how destructive that sense is unto the apostle’s intention and application of the words, we shall afterwards declare. Three things are here expressed:

(1st.) The act of God, in making of him low, or lessening of him;

(2dly.) The measure of that depression, “than the angels;”

(3dly.) His duration in that state and condition, “a little while.”

(1st.) חָסֵד , the word used by the psalmist is rendered by the apostle ἐλαττόω , and that properly. They both signify a diminution of state and condition, a depression of any one from what he before enjoyed. And this in the first place belongs unto God’s visitation. And the acting of the will of Christ in this matter, suitably unto the will of the Father, is expressed by words of the same importance: ᾿Εκένωσεν ἑαυτόν , “He emptied himself;” and Εταπείνωσεν ἑατόν , “He humbled himself,” Philippians 2:7-8: denoting a voluntary depression from the glory of a former state and condition. In this humiliation of Christ in our nature, how much of that care and ἐπισκοπής , inspection and visitation of God, was contained, is known.

(2dly.) The measure of this humiliation and depression is expressed in reference unto angels, with whom he is now compared by the apostle, he was made less than the angels. This the Hebrews had seen and knew, and might from his humiliation raise an objection against what the apostle asserted about his preference above them. Wherefore he acknowledgeth that he was made less than they, shows that it was foretold that so he should be, and in his following discourse gives the reasons why it was so to be. And he speaks not of the humiliation of Christ absolutely, which was far greater than here it is expressed by him, as he afterwards declares, but only with respect unto angels, with whom he compares him; and it is therefore sufficient to his purpose at present to show that he was made lower than they: מֵאַלֹהִים παρ᾿ἀγγέλους . Jerome renders the words in the psalm, “a Deo,” “than God;” and Faber Stapulensis had a long contest with Erasmus to prove that they should be so rendered in this place; which is plainly to contradict the apostle, and to accuse him of corrupting the word of God. Besides, the sense contended for by him and others is absurd and foolish, namely, that the human nature of Christ was made little less than God, and humbled that it might be so, when it was infinitely less than the divine nature, as being created. The LXX. and all old Greek translations read “angels.” That elohim is often used to denote them we have proved before. The Targum hath מלאכיא , “angels;” and the scope of the place necessarily requires that sense of the word. God, then, in his visitation of the nature of man in the person of his Son, put it, and therein him that was invested with it, into a condition of wants and straits, and humbled him beneath the condition of angels, for the blessed ends afterwards declared. For although, from his incarnation and birth, the angels adored his person as their Lord, yet in the outward condition of his human nature he was made exceedingly beneath that state of glory and excellency which the angels are in a constant enjoyment of.

(3dly.) There is a space of time, a duration, intended for this condition. He made him lower, מְעַט , βραχύ τι , “for a little while,” or, “a short season.” That מְעַט is often used in that sense, and that that is the proper notation of βραχύ τι , we have showed before. But that which renders that sense of the words here unquestionable, is the apostle’s precise restraining them thereunto in Philippians 2:9, as we shall see. It was but for a little while that the person of Christ in the nature of man was brought into a condition more indigent than the state of angels is exposed unto; neither was he for that season made a little, but very much lower than the angels. And had this been the whole of his state, it could not have been an effect of that inexpressible love and care which the psalmist so admires; but seeing it is but for a little continuance, and that for the blessed ends which the apostle declares, nothing can more commend them unto us.

2dly . There is another effect of God’s visitation of man, in his exaltation; expressed,

(1st.) In the dignity whereunto he advanced him; and,

(2dly.) In the rule and dominion that he gave unto him.

(1st.) For the first, he “crowned him with glory and honor.” עֲטָרָה is “insigne regium,” the badge and token of supreme and kingly power. Hence when David complains of the straitening and diminution of his power or rule, he says, his “crown was profaned unto the ground,”

Psalms 89:39; that is, made contemptible and trampled on. To be crowned, then, is to be invested with sovereign power, or with right and title thereunto; as it was with Solomon, who was crowned during the life of his father. Nor is it an ordinary crown that is intended, but one accompanied with “glory and honor.” To be crowned with glory and honor, is to have a glorious and honorable crown, or rule and sovereignty: כָבוֹד וְהָדָר . The first denotes the weight of this crown; כָבוֹד , “weight of glory,” from כָבַד , “to be heavy;” βάρος δόξης , “a weight of glory,” as the apostle speaks in allusion to the primitive signification of this word, 2 Corinthians 4:17: the other, its beauty and glory: both, authority and majesty. How Christ was thus crowned, we have at large showed on the first chapter.

(2dly.) This sovereignty is attended with actual rule; wherein,

[1st.] The dominion itself is expressed; and,

[2dly.] The extent of it.]

[1st.] “Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands. תּמְשִׁילֵהוּ , “madest him to rule; κατέστησας αὐτὸν ἐπί , “appointedst him in authority over.” He had actual rule and dominion given him upon his coronation. And,

[2dly.] The extent of this dominion is “the works of God’s hands,” And lest any, from this indefinite expression, should think this rule limited either to the things mentioned before by the psalmist, 2 Corinthians 4:3, called “the work of God’s fingers,” that is, the heavens, the moon, and the stars; or in the following distribution of things here below; into sheep, oxen, fowls, and fish, 2 Corinthians 4:7-8, that is, all the creatures here below; he adds an amplification of it in a universal proposition, Πάντα ὑπέταξε , “He hath put all things” without exception “in subjection unto him.” And to manifest his absolute and unlimited power, with the unconditional subjection of all things unto him, he adds, that they are placed ὑποκάτω τῶν ποδῶν αὐτοῦ , “under his” very “feet;” an expression setting forth a dominion every way unlimited and absolute.

Hebrews 2:8 . The apostle having recited the testimony which he intends to make use of, proceeds in the eighth verse unto some such explications of it as may make it appear to be proper and suited unto the end for which it is produced by him. And they are two; the first whereof respects the sense of the words, which express the extent of this dominion; the second an instance of some person or persons unto whom this testimony as thus explained cannot be applied.

(1.) For the explication of the objective extent of the rule and dominion mentioned, he adds, “For in that he hath made all subject unto him, he hath left nothing that is not put under him;” for whereas it might be objected, that there is no mention in the psalm of the world to come, whereof he treats, he lets them know that that cannot be excepted, seeing the assertion is universal and unlimited, that all things whatsoever are put under him. It is true, our apostle making use of this very testimony in another place, 1 Corinthians 15:27, adds there, that there is a manifest exception in reference unto him who so put all things under him. And it is evident that it is so indeed; for the psalmist treats not of God himself, but of the works of God; and among them, saith the apostle here, there lies no exception,

they are all brought into order, under this rule. And so by this testimony, thus explained, as necessity requires it should be, he hath fully confirmed that the world to come, being one of the especial works of God, and not put in subjection unto angels, is made subject unto man; which was that he undertook to demonstrate.

(2.) To direct this testimony unto its proper end, and to make way for its application unto him who is especially intended therein, he declares negatively unto whom it is not applicable: “But now we see not yet all things put under him.” Man it was concerning whom the words are spoken, “What is man!” This must denote the nature of man, and that either as it is in all mankind in general and every individual, or in some especial and peculiar instance, in one partaker of that nature. For the first, he denies that this can belong unto man in general, all or any of them, on the general account of being men. And in this negation there are two circumstances considerable:

[1.] The manner of his asserting it, by an appeal to common experience: “We see;” ‘This is a matter whereof every one may judge:’‘We all of us know by experience that it is otherwise:’‘We need neither testimony nor argument to instruct us herein; our own condition, and that which we behold other men in, are sufficient to inform us.’And this is a way whereby an appeal is made as it were to common sense and experience, as we do in things that are most plain and unquestionable.

[2.] There is a limitation of this experience in the word “yet:” “We see not as yet.” And this doth not intimate a contrary state of things for the future, but denies it as to all the time that is past: ‘A long space of time there hath been since the giving out of this testimony, much longer since the creation of man and all other things, and yet all this while we see that all things are far enough from being put under the feet of man.’Or if there be in the word a reserve for some season wherein this word shall in some sense be fulfilled in mere man also, it is for that time wherein they shall be perfectly glorified with Him who is principally intended, and so be admitted as it were to be sharers with him in his dominion, Revelation 3:21. These things make plain what is here denied, and in what sense. All mankind in conjunction are very remote from being invested with the dominion here described, from having the whole creation of God cast in subjection under their feet. It is true, there was given unto man at first, in his original condition, a rule over those creatures here below that were made for the use and sustentation of his natural life, and no other. And this also is in some measure continued unto his posterity, though against the present bent and inclination of the creatures, which groan because of the bondage that they are put unto in serving of their use and necessity. But all this at first was but an obscure type and shadow of the dominion here intended, which is absolute, universal, and such as the creatures have no reason to complain of, their proper condition being allotted unto them therein. Hence we ourselves, by our own observation, may easily discern that this word respects not principally either the first man or his posterity; for we see not as yet, after this long space of time since the creation, that all things are put into subjection unto him.

Having thus unfolded the testimony insisted on, before we proceed unto the apostolical application of it unto the person to whom it doth belong, we may stay here a little, and gather something from it for our instruction. And it is, in general, that The consideration of the infinitely glorious excellencies of the nature of God, manifesting themselves in his works, doth greatly set out his condescension and grace in his regard and respect unto mankind. This the occasion of the words, and the words themselves, do teach us.

This the method of the psalmist, I say, leads as unto. He begins and ends his consideration of the works of God with an admiration of his glorious excellency by whom they were made, Revelation 3:1; Revelation 3:9, “O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name!” ‘How glorious art thou! and thou manifestest thyself so to be.’And from thence doth he proceed to the consideration of his condescension in his regard and love to man, Revelation 3:4. And to direct us in this duty, with the psalmist we may observe, First, That the works of God, those especially which were the peculiar subject of his meditation, the heavenly bodies which we behold, are indeed in themselves exceedingly glorious. Their frame, greatness, beauty, order, course, usefulness, all speak them admirable and glorious. The naked view of them is enough to fill the mind of man with admiration and astonishment. And the more we contemplate on them, the more skillful we are in the consideration of their nature, order, and use, the more excellent do they appear unto us: and yet it is the least part of their greatness and beautiful disposition that we can attain a certain knowledge of; so that still they remain more the objects of our admiration and wonder than of our science. Hence the wisest among the heathen, who were destitute of the teachings of the word and Spirit of God, did with one consent ascribe of old a deity unto them, and worshipped them as gods; yea, the very name of God in the Greek language, Θεός , is taken from θεῖν , “to run,” which they derived from the constant course of the heavenly bodies. They saw with their eyes how glorious they were; they found out by reason their greatness and dreadful motion. Experience taught them their use, as the immediate fountains of light, warmth, heat, moisture; and so, consequently, of life, growth, and all useful things. It may be they had some tradition of that rule and dominion which was at first allotted unto the sun and moon over day and night, Genesis 1:16. On these and the like accounts, having lost the knowledge of the true and only God, they knew not so well whither to turn themselves for a deity as to those things which they saw so full of glory, and which they found to be of so universal a communicative goodness and usefulness. And in them did all idolatry in the world begin. And it was betimes in the world, as we see in Job, where it is mentioned and condemned, Job 31:26-27, “If I beheld the sun when it shined, or the moon walking in brightness; and my heart hath been secretly enticed, or my mouth hath kissed my hand.” He condemns the idolatry, but yet withal shows that the lustre, brightness, and glory of those heavenly lights had a great influence on the hearts of men to entice them unto a secret adoration, which would break out into outward worship, whereof salutation by kissing the hand was one part and act. And therefore God cautions his people against this temptation, Deuteronomy 4:19,

“Lest thou lift up thine eyes unto heaven, and when thou seest the sun, and the moon, and the stars, even all the host of heaven, shouldest be driven to worship them, and serve them, which the LORD thy God hath divided unto all nations under the whole heaven.”

If men forget the true God, and then lift up their eyes unto, or fall into the contemplation of the heavenly bodies, such is their glory, majesty, and excellency, that they will be driven and hurried unto the adoration and worship of them. And so universal was this folly of old, that from these latter words, “which the LORD thy God hath divided unto all nations,” the Jews affirm that God hath given the sun, moon, and stars, to be the deities of the Gentiles, for them to worship! But the distribution there mentioned is as unto their common use unto all nations, and not as to their veneration. Nor is God the author of idolatry, as they blasphemously imagine; but this their glory and excellency led them unto. And when any of them ascended higher, to apprehend living, intelligent spirits for their deities, they yet conceived at least that they had their glorious habitation in the heavenly bodies. Yea, and some Christians have fallen into vain imaginations, from a false translation of the latter end of the fourth verse of Psalms 19:0 by the LXX. and the Vulgar Latin, which read the words, “He hath placed his tabernacle in the sun,” instead of, “He hath set in them,” that is, in the heavens, “a tabernacle for the sun,” as the words are plain in the original. Why should I mention the madness of the Manichees, who affirmed that Christ himself was gone into, if not turned into the sun? I name these things only to show what influence upon the minds of men destitute of the word the glory and excellency of these heavenly bodies have had. And what inestimable grace God showeth unto us in the benefit of his word! for we are the posterity of them, and by nature not one jot wiser than they, who worshipped those things which are not God. But exceeding glorious works of God they are; and the more we consider them, the more will their glory and greatness appear unto us. And as the children of Israel said of the sons of Anak, “We were before them in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight,” may we not much more say concerning ourselves, compared with these glorious works of the hands of God, ‘We are all but as grasshoppers in comparison of them, and whence is it that God should set his heart upon us?’

Secondly, These glorious works of God do indeed show the infinite glory of him that made them. This is the use that men should have made of their contemplation of them, and not have chosen them for their gods, as they did when “their foolish hearts were darkened,” and “they waxed vain in their imaginations.” This use the psalmist here makes of them, and this the Scripture everywhere directs us unto. This David brings them in preaching unto all the world, Psalms 19:1-6. They have a voice, they speak aloud unto all the world; and by their beauty, greatness, order, usefulness, they make known the incomprehensible glory of him that made them. The τὸ γνωστὸν τοῦ Θεοῦ , “that which may be known of God,” is manifest in them, saith Paul, Romans 1:19. And what is that? “Even his eternal power and Godhead,” Romans 1:20; that is, his infinite power, all-sufficiency, and self-subsistence. These things are clearly seen in them. Being all made and created by him in their season, doth it not manifest that he was before them, from eternity, and that existing without them, in perfect blessedness?

And that he hath made them so beautiful, so glorious, so excellent, and that out of nothing, doth it not declare his infinite power, wisdom, and goodness? Do they not all lead us to the contemplation of his infinite excellencies? And whence is it that he who made all these things of nothing should have such regard to the weak, frail nature of man? But that this consideration may be the more effectual, let us take a little weak view of some of those excellencies of the nature of God which his works declare, and which set an especial lustre on his condescension unto us; as,

First, His greatness. “His greatness is unsearchable,” saith the psalmist, Psalms 145:3; that is, it is infinite. The immensity of his nature is his greatness. “The heaven of heavens,” saith Solomon, “cannot contain him,” 1 Kings 8:27. The infiniteness and ubiquity of his essence are beyond all that the understanding and imagination of man can reach unto. If men would set themselves to think and imagine a greatness, they can reach no higher than heavens above heavens, and that as far as they can fancy; but this expresseth not immensity. Those heavens of heavens cannot contain him. Our thoughts of greatness are apt to consist in adding one thing unto another, until that which we think on be extended unto the utmost of our imagination. But this hath no relation unto the immensity of God, which is not his filling of all imaginary place or space, but an infinite existence in an infinite space. So that as he is present with, indistant from the whole creation, for saith he, “Do not I fill heaven and earth?” Jeremiah 23:24, so is he no less present where there is no part of the creation. And if he should produce thousands of worlds (which he can do by his power), he would be no less present in them all, indistant from every thing in them, than he is in and unto this which he hath already created; and this not by the extending of his essence and greatness, but by the infiniteness of his being. Neither are there parts in this immensity; for that which hath parts cannot be infinite or immense. Somewhat of God is not present in heaven, and somewhat in earth; but God is wholly present in his whole being everywhere. This leaves no place for the imagination of men, but calls us for pure acts of understanding and faith to assent unto it, And thus far reason will go, that it will assent unto the truth of that which it cannot comprehend, because it is convinced that it cannot be otherwise. What remains it leaves to faith and reverential adoration. Reason having, by the help of divine revelation, led the mind and soul thus far, that God is immense, not only present unto the whole creation, but existing in his infinite being where no creature is, and that in his whole essence equally, there it gives them up to admiration, reverence, adoration, and the improvement by faith of this excellency of God, wherever they are. So doth the psalmist, Psalms 139:7-11. Thoughts of God’s omnipresence are of singular use to the soul in every condition. And who can sufficiently admire this excellency of the nature of God? How astonishable is this his greatness! How are all the nations of the world as the “drop of a bucket,” as the “dust of the balance,” as “vanity,” as “nothing” before him! What is a little dust to an immensity of being? to that whose greatness we cannot measure, whose nature we cannot comprehend, whose glory we can only stand afar off and adore? What is a poor worm unto him who is everywhere, and who is everywhere filled with his own excellencies and blessedness? The issue of all our thoughts on this property of God’s nature is admiration and holy astonishment. And whence is it that he should take thought of us, or set his heart upon us? And this greatness of God doth he set forth, by showing what a mean thing the whole creation which we behold is unto him: “Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance?..... Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance: behold, he taketh up the isles as a very little thing..... All nations before him are as nothing; and they are counted to him less than nothing, and vanity,’’ Isaiah 40:12; Isaiah 40:15; Isaiah 40:17.

Secondly, His infinite self-sufficiency doth manifest itself in his works; for all these things are the absolute product of his power, and wisdom, and goodness. From the infinite stores and treasures of them did he bring them all forth. They had no previous matter whereof they were made; no reason, cause, or end was there why they should be made, but only what was in himself and from himself, Romans 11:36, Revelation 4:11. Now, this could not have been without an infinite self-sufficiency in himself, from whence it is that all things begin and end in him. And had he not been every way self-sufficient before the existence of all things, out of nothing, nothing could have been produced. And this ariseth from his fullness of being, which he declareth by his names יְהָֹוה and אֶהְיֶה ; which denote his self-being, his self-existence, his self-sufficiency. All the properties of his nature, being infinite, have that which satisfies them and fills them. “His understanding is infinite.” And as nothing could comprehend the infinite nature of God but an infinite understanding, God could not know himself if his understanding were not infinite. So nothing could satisfy an infinite understanding but an infinite object; the understanding of God could not be blessed and in rest if the object of it, the nature of God, were not infinite. God by his understanding knows the extent of his infinite power, and so knows not only what he hath wrought by his power, but also whatever he can so do. And this suitableness of the properties of God one to another, as it makes them, because infinite, not really to differ from one another, or from his nature itself, so it gives them all rest, blessedness, satisfaction, and self-sufficiency: as, to continue in our former instances, the blessedness of the understanding of God consists in its comprehension of the whole nature of God, nor is capable of more, because it can comprehend no more. Hence is God all-sufficient, and eternally blessed in the contemplation and enjoyment of his own excellencies; for self-sufficiency is the fountain of blessedness. Where any thing is wanting, there is no absolute blessedness. And hence is the blessedness of God absolute, eternal, and essential unto him, because it hath its rise and spring absolutely in himself, his own fullness of being, his own sufficiency unto and for himself. All the blessedness of the creatures that we shall or may ever attain unto is but dependent, derivative, and communicated; because, though nothing shall be wanting unto us, yet the spring of our supplies shall never be in ourselves, but in God. His blessedness is absolute, because it is from himself and in himself, in his being every way self-sufficient. This it is to be absolutely blessed. Hence God made not these things because he had need of them, for if he had had need of them he could not have made them; or that they should add any thing unto him, for that is not infinite unto which any thing can be added; or that he might settle that rest and satisfaction in them which he had not in himself before, for that alone which is infinite must necessarily and unavoidably give eternal satisfaction unto that which is infinite: but only by a most free act of his will, he chose by the creation of all things to express somewhat of his power, wisdom, and goodness in something without himself. Absolutely he was self-sufficient from all eternity, and that both as to rest, satisfaction, and blessedness in himself, as also in respect of any operation, as to outward works, which his will and wisdom should incline him unto; being every way able and powerful in and from himself to do whatever he pleaseth. And this infinite satisfaction and complacency of God in himself, arising from that fullness of divine being which is in all the properties of his nature, is another object of our holy admiration and adoration. ‘This God was, this God did, before the world was created.’Now, what is man, that this every way all-sufficient God should mind, regard, and visit him? Hath he any need of him or his services? Doth his goodness extend to him? Can he profit God, as a man profiteth his neighbor? “If he sin, what doth he against him? or if his transgressions be multiplied, what doth he unto him?’that is, to his disadvantage.

“If he be righteous, what giveth he unto him? or what receiveth he of his hand?” Job 35:6-7.

Nothing but infinite condescension and grace is the fountain of all God’s regard unto us.

Thirdly, His infinite and eternal power is by the same means manifested. This the apostle expressly affirms, Romans 1:20. He that made all these things of nothing, and therefore can also make and create in like manner whatever else besides he pleaseth, must needs be infinite in power, or, as he is called, “the Lord God omnipotent,” Revelation 19:6. This himself sets forth in general, Isaiah 40:28. And to convince Job hereof, he treats with him in particular instances about some few of his fellow- creatures here below, in the earth and in the waters, chapters 38-41. And if the power of God in making this or that creature which we see and behold be so admirable, declaring his sovereignty, and the infinite distance of man from him in his best condition, how glorious is it in the whole universe, and in the creation of all things visible and invisible, and that by a secret emanation of omnipotency in a word of command! The art of man will go far in the framing, fashioning, and ordering of things; but there are two things in the least of the creatures of God that make the creating energy that is seen in them infinitely to differ from all limited and finite power:

1. That they are brought out of nothing. Now, let all creatures combine their strength and wisdom together, unless they have some pre-existent matter to work upon, they can produce nothing, effect nothing.

2. To many of his creatures, of the least of them, God hath given life and spontaneous motion; to all of them an especial inclination and operation, following inseparably the principles of their nature. But as all created power can give neither life, nor spontaneous motion, nor growth to any thing, no more can it plant in any thing a new natural principle, that should incline it unto a new kind of operation which was not originally connatural unto it. There is a peculiar impress of omnipotency upon all the works of God, as he declares at large in that discourse with Job, chapters 38-41. And this power is no less effectual nor less evident in his sustentation and preservation of all things than in his creation of them. Things do no more subsist by themselves than they were made by themselves. He “upholdeth all things by the word of his power,” Hebrews 1:3; and “by him all things consist,” Colossians 1:17. He hath not made the world, and then turned it off his hand, to stand on its own bottom and shift for itself; but there is continually, every moment, an emanation of power from God unto every creature, the greatest, the least, the meanest, to preserve them in their being and order; which if it were suspended but for one moment, they would all lose their station and being, and by confusion be reduced into nothing. “In him we live, and move, and have our being,” Acts 17:28; and he “giveth to all life, and breath, and all things,” Acts 17:25. God needs not to put forth any act of his power to destroy the creation; the very suspension of that constant emanation of omnipotency which is necessary unto its subsistence would be sufficient for that end and purpose. And who can admire as he ought this power of God, which is greater in every particular grass of the field than we are able to search into or comprehend? And what is man, that he should be mindful of him

Fourthly, His wisdom also shines forth in these works of his hands. “In wisdom hath he made them all,” Psalms 104:24. So also Psalms 136:5. His power was that which gave all things their being, but his wisdom gave them their order, beauty, and use. How admirable this is, how incomprehensible it is unto us, Zophar declares to Job, Job 11:6-9, “The secrets of this wisdom are double unto what may be known of it,” infinitely more than we can attain to the knowledge of. Searching will not do it; it is absolutely incomprehensible. He that can take but a little, weak, faint consideration of the glorious disposition of the heavenly bodies, their order, course, respect to each other, their usefulness and influences, their disposition and connection of causes and effects here below, the orderly concurrence and subserviency of every thing in its place and operation, to the consistency, use, and beauty of the universe, will be forced to cry out with the psalmist, “O LORD, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches.” But, alas! what can the best and wisest of men attain unto in the investigation of the wisdom of God? There is not the least creature, but, considered apart by itself, hath somewhat belonging unto it that will bring them unto wonder and astonishment. And what shall we say concerning the most glorious, concerning the order of them all unto one another and the whole? There must all men’s considerations end, and among them this of ours.

Fifthly, His goodness is in like manner manifest in these things. There is in the whole and every part of God’s creation a fourfold goodness:

1. A goodness of being and subsistence. That which is, so far forth as it is, is good. So God saw all things, as he made them, that they were good. The very being of every thing is its first goodness, on which all other concernments of it depend. And this ariseth from hence, because thereby and therein it participates of the first absolute goodness, which is being; whereunto a nothingness, if I may so speak, is negatively opposed “ad infinitum.”

2. A goodness of order. This gives them their beauty, which is the first principle properly of goodness, and convertible with it. Every thing that is good is beautiful, and every thing that is beautiful is good. Now, the pulchritude or beauty of the whole creation, and of every part of it, consists in the order that is given unto it by the wisdom of God, whereof we spake before. This is that τὸ καλὸν κἀγαθόν of all things, which of old, by the light of nature, was so much admired, beautiful goodness, or goodly beauty, whereby every thing becomes comely and desirable, both in itself and its own parts and in that respect which it hath unto all other things.

3. A goodness of usefulness. Nothing is made in vain. Every thing hath its work, service, and operation allotted unto it. If the whole creation had been uniform, if it had been only one thing, it would have wanted this goodness, and been but a dead lump, or mass of being. But in this great variety and diversity of things which we behold, every one hath its proper place and service, and nothing is useless. As the apostle says that it is in the several parts and members of the lesser world, man, that though some of them seem more worthy and comely than others, yet all have their proper use, so that they cannot say one unto another, “I have no need of thee;” so is it in the universe, though some parts of it seem to be very glorious, and others mean and to be trampled on, yet they cannot say one to another, “I have no need of thee,” each having its proper use. The eye is a most noble part of the body; ‘but,’saith the apostle, ‘if the whole body were an eye, the beauty of the whole were lost, and the very use of the eye.’How glorious is the sun in the firmament, in comparison of a poor worm on the earth! yet if the whole creation were one sun, it would have neither beauty nor use, nor indeed be a sun, as having nothing to communicate light or heat unto. But God hath brought forth his works in unspeakable variety, that they might all have this goodness of usefulness accompanying of them.

4. A goodness of an orderly tendency unto the utmost and last end; which is the glory of him by whom they were made. This also is implanted upon the whole creation of God. And hence the psalmist calls upon all the inanimate creatures to give praise and glory unto God; that is, he calls upon himself and others to consider how they do so. This is the point, the center, where all these lines do meet, without which there could be neither beauty nor order nor use in them; for that which errs from its end is crooked, perverse, and not good. On all these considerations it is said that “God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good,” Genesis 1:31. Now, what an infinite, eternal ocean of goodness must that be, which by the word of his mouth communicated all this goodness at once unto the whole creation! How deep, how unfathomable is this fountain! how unsearchable are these springs! This the holy men in the Scripture often express by way of admiration, “How great is his goodness! how great is his beauty!” The first goodness, the fountain of all goodness, must needs be absolutely and infinitely so; in which sense “there is none good but one, that is, God.”

In these things consist somewhat of the glory, excellency, and honor of God, which the psalmist falls into an admiration of upon the contemplation of the works of his hands, and which made him so astonished at his condescension in the regard that he is pleased to bear unto the nature of man. But besides this consideration, he adds also an intimation, as we have showed, of the mean condition of man, unto whom this respect is showed, and that both in the manner of his expression, “What is man?” and in the words or names whereby he expresseth him, “Enosh” and “Adam;” which we shall also briefly add unto our former considerations of the glory of God.

First, “What is man” as to his extract? A little dust, made of the dust of the ground; one that may say “to corruption, Thou art my father; and to the worm, Thou art my mother, and my sister,” Job 17:14. His fabric was not one jot of any better materials than theirs. That God put this honor upon him, to breathe into the dust whereof he was made, that he should become “a living soul,” is part of that goodness wherein he is to be admired. Otherwise we are what God said to Adam: “Dust thou art.” Poor creature, that wouldst be like unto God, thou art dust, and no more! And in the sense of this extraction did holy men of old abase themselves in the presence of God, as Abraham, Genesis 18:27, “Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, which am but dust and ashes?” Poor, proud man! which scornest to touch that which thou art made of, and thinkest thyself I know not what, whilst the remainder of thee, that which was left in the making of thee, lies under the feet of all the creatures which thou despisest, what is this handful of dust that God should regard it? But yet,

Secondly, This fabric, being erected, is perhaps durable, strong, and abiding, and so may be considerable on that account. But, alas! his frailty is inexpressible. It is true, that before the flood the life of man was prolonged unto a great continuance; but as that was not in the least any advantage unto the most of them, giving them only an opportunity to increase their sin and misery, nor to the whole society of mankind, seeing by that means “the earth was filled with violence,” and became a woeful habitation of distress, so they also came to their end, and long since nothing remaineth of their memory but that they lived so many years and then they died, which is the common end of man. But since that, in which our concernment lies, how do the holy men of God set forth, amid as it were complain of, the woeful frailty of our condition! So doth Moses, Psalms 90:5-6, “Thou carriest them away as with a flood ;” which he spake in contemplation of those thousands which he saw die before his eyes in the wilderness. “In the morning they are like grass which groweth up. In the morning it flourisheth, and groweth up; in the evening it is cut down, and withereth.” The like also pleadeth Job, Job 14:1-2; and then turning unto God he saith, “And dost thou open thine eyes upon such an one?” ‘regard such a poor, frail, perishing creature?’And David doth the like, Psalms 102:24. And indeed no tongue can express the miserable, frail condition of this poor creature. From within, from without, from himself, from all other creatures, and principally from the rage and cruelty of those of the same nature with himself, his misery is great, and his life of short continuance. And God abundantly shows that little weight also is to be laid on that duration which he hath here in this world, in that he takes many from the very womb, who scarce ever beheld the light, into the participation of his own eternal glory.

Thirdly, This earthy, frail man hath made himself yet more unspeakably vile by sin. This sets him at the utmost distance from the glory of God, and utterly soils every thing that is in him which of itself is worthy of consideration.

All these things being put together, they make the condescension of God in remembering man, and setting his heart upon him, exceedingly to be admired and adored. And this also will further appear if we might consider what are the blessed effects of this mindfulness of him; but these the apostle insists upon in the next verses, whither we may refer our meditations on them. Only the duty itself arising from hence may be here pressed upon us; and this is, that upon the accounts mentioned we should live constantly in a holy admiration of this infinite condescension and grace of God. To this end,

First, Let us exercise ourselves unto holy thoughts of God’s infinite excellencies. Meditation, accompanied with holy admiration is the fountain of this duty. Some men have over busily and curiously inquired into the nature and properties of God, and have foolishly endeavored to measure infinite things by the miserable short line of their own reason, and to suit the deep things of God unto their own narrow apprehensions. Such are many of the disputations of the schoolmen on this subject, wherein though they have seemed wise to themselves and others, yet indeed for the most part they have “waxed vain in their imaginations.” Our duty lies in studying what God hath revealed of himself in his word, and what is evidently suitable thereunto, and that not with curious searchings and speculations, but with holy admiration, reverence, and fear. This the apostle adviseth us unto, Hebrews 12:28-29. In this way serious thoughts of God’s excellencies and properties, his greatness, immensity, self-sufficiency, power, and wisdom, are exceeding useful unto our souls. When these have filled us with wonder, when they have prostrated our spirits before him, and laid our mouths in the dust and our persons on the ground, when the glory of them shines round about us, and our whole souls are filled with a holy astonishment, then,

Secondly, Let us take a view of ourselves, our extract, our frailty, our vileness on every account. How poor, how undeserving are we! What is a little sinful dust and ashes, before or in the sight of this God of glory? What is there in us, what is there belonging unto us, that is not suited to abase us; alive one day, dead another; quiet one moment, troubled another; fearing caring, rejoicing causelessly, sinning always; in our best condition “altogether vanity?” Though much may be said unto this purpose, yet it must be said after all that in ourselves we are inexpressibly miserable, and, as the prophet speaks, “less than vanity, and nothing.” Would we be wise? we are “like the wild ass’s colt;” would we be honorable? we have “no understanding, but are like the beasts that perish;” would we be strong? we are “as a reed shaken with the wind.” And,

Thirdly, Let the result of these thoughts be a holy admiration of God’s infinite love, care, grace, and condescension, in having any regard unto us. So doth the psalmist teach us to do. Hence will praise, hence will thankfulness, hence will self-abasement ensue. And this will be a good foundation, as of obedience, so of comfort and supportment in every condition.

Hebrews 2:9.

3. These things being spoken indefinitely of man by the psalmist, the apostle, in the application of them unto his present purpose, proceeds to show who it is that was especially intended, and in whom the words had their full accomplishment. “But,” saith he, “we see Jesus,” etc. Many difficulties the words of this verse are attended withal, all which we shall endeavor to clear, first, by showing in general how in them the apostle applies the testimony produced by him unto Jesus; secondly, by freeing them from the obscurity that ariseth from a σύγχυσις , or transposition of expression in them; thirdly, by opening the several things taught and asserted in them; and, fourthly, by a vindication of the whole interpretation from exceptions and objections.

(1.) The apostle positively applies this testimony unto Jesus, as him who was principally intended therein, or as him in whom the things that God did when he minded man were accomplished. And this the Syriac translation directly expresseth: דְּהַוְיוּ יֵשׁוּעַ הָו דֵּין דְּין דְּין דְּמָךְ קָלִיל מֵן מַלָאכֵא חָזֵינַן ; “But him whom he made lower a little while than the angels, we see that it is Jesus.” That is, it is Jesus concerning whom the psalmist spake, and in whom alone this testimony is verified. Two things are expressed concerning man in the words:

[1.] That he was made lower than the angels;

[2.] That he had all things put in subjection unto him.

‘Both these,’saith the apostle, ‘we see accomplished in Jesus;’for that is the meaning of that expression, “We see Jesus,” that is, these things fulfilled in him. And as he had before appealed unto their belief and experience in his negative, that all things are not made subject to man in general, so doth he here in his affirmative, “We see Jesus.” Now, they saw it, partly by what he had before proved concerning him; partly by the signs and wonders he had newly spoken of, whereby his doctrine was confirmed and his power over all things manifested; partly by his calling and gathering of his church, giving laws, rules, and worship unto it, by virtue of his authority in and over this new world. And as unto the former part of the testimony, it was evident by what they had seen with their eyes, or had been otherwise taught concerning his low estate and humiliation: ‘These things,’saith he, ‘we see, they are evident unto us, nor can be denied whilst the gospel is acknowledged.’Now this confession, on the evidences mentioned, he applies to both parts of the testimony.

[1.] Saith he, “We see that for a little while he was made lower than the angels,” or brought into a state and condition of more exigency and want than they are or can be exposed unto. And hereby he evidently declares that those words in the psalm do not belong unto the dignity of man spoken of, as if he had said, ‘He is so excellent that he is but little beneath angels;’for as he ascribes unto him a dignity far above all angels, inasmuch as all things without exception are put under his feet, so he plainly declares that these words belong to the depression and minoration of Jesus, in that he was so humbled that he might die. And therefore he proceeds to show how that part of the testimony concerned his present purpose, not as directly proving what he had proposed to confirmation concerning his dignity, but as evidently designing the person that the whole belonged unto. As also, he takes occasion from hence to enter upon the exposition of another part of Christ’s mediation, as prophesied of in this place; for though he was so lessened, yet it was not on his own account, but that “by the grace of God he might taste death for every man.”

[2.] For the other part of the testimony, ‘We see,’saith he, upon the evidences mentioned, ‘that he is “crowned with glory and honor,” and consequently that “all things are put under his feet.”’So that the whole testimony, in both parts of it, is verified in him, and in him alone. And hereby he fully evinceth what he had before proposed unto confirmation, namely, the pre-eminence of Jesus, the Messiah, above the angels, or principal administrators of the law, in this especial instance, that “the world to come” was put into subjection unto him, and not unto them. And therefore in the state of the church intended in that expression are his teachings, his doctrines, his worship, diligently to be attended unto, by all those who desire to be partakers of the promises and good things thereof.

(2.) There seems to be a σύγχυσις in the words, by a transposition of some expressions from their proper place and coherence, which must be removed: Τὸν δὲ βραχύ τι παρ᾿ ἀγγέλους ἠλαττωμένον βλέπομεν ᾿Ιησοῦν διὰ τὸ πάθημα τοῦ θανάτου , δόξῃ καὶ τιμῇ ἐστεφανωμένον· ὅπως χάριτι Θεοῦ ὑπὲρ πάντος γεύσηται θανάτου . Some would have these words, τὸν βραχύ τι ἠλαττωμένον , to belong to the subject of the proposition, whose predicate alone is, “crowned with glory and honor,” whereof the suffering of death is inserted as the meritorious cause: so reading the words to this purpose, “We see that Jesus, who was for a little while made lower than the angels, for his suffering of death is crowned with glory and honor.” Others would have Jesus alone to be the subject of the proposition; of whose predicate there are two parts, or two things are affirmed concerning him, first, that he was “made lower than the angels,” the reason whereof is added, namely, “that he might suffer death,” which is further explained in the close of the verse by the addition of the cause and end of that his suffering, “that by the grace of God he might taste death for every man:” so reading the words to this purpose, “We see Jesus, made lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned” (or, “and crowned”) “with glory and honor.” The difficulty principally consists in this only, namely, whether the apostle by διὰ τὸ πάθμηα τοῦ θανάτου , “for the suffering of death,” intend the final end of the humiliation of Christ, ‘he was made low that he might suffer death;’or the meritorious cause of his exaltation, ‘for,’or ‘because he suffered death, he was crowned with glory and honor.’And the former seems evidently the intention of the words, according to the latter resolution of them, and our application of the testimony foregoing. For,

[1.] If the cause and means of the exaltation of Christ had been intended, it would have been expressed by Διὰ τοῦ παθήματος τοῦ θανάτου , διά requiring a genitive case, where the cause or means of any thing is intended; but Διὰ τὸ πάθημα expresseth the end of what was before affirmed.

[2.] These words, “For the suffering of death,” must express either the minoration and humiliation of Christ, or the end of it. If they express the end of it, then we obtain that which is pleaded for, he was made less that he might suffer. If they express his minoration itself, then the end of it is contained only in the close of the verse, “That he might taste death for every man;” in which exposition of the words the sense would be, that ‘he suffered death, that by the grace of God he might taste death,’ which is no sense at all.

[3.] If these words denote only the means or meritorious cause of the exaltation of Christ, I inquire what is the medium intended of that end in the close, ῞Οπως χάριτι , “That he by the grace of God might taste death?” The word ὅπως , “that so,” plainly refers unto some preparatory means preceding, which in this way can be nothing but the crowning him with glory and honor, which we know was not the means, but the effect of it. He was humbled, not exalted, that he might taste of death.

[4.] The apostle doth not merely take it for granted that Jesus was for a little while made lower than the angels, but asserts it as proved in the testimony insisted on; whereunto he subjoins the end of that his comparative minoration, because he intended it as the especial subject of his ensuing discourse. This, therefore, is the importance and natural order of the words, “But we see Jesus crowned with glory and honor, who was for a little while made lower than the angels for the suffering of death, that he by the grace of God might taste death for every man.” And the only reason of the transposition of the words consisteth in the apostle’s following the order of the things testified unto by the psalmist, first his humiliation, then his exaltation; and yet connecting that which he would next treat of unto that which was first laid down, passing by the other as now sufficiently confirmed.

(3.) The general design of the words and their order being cleared, we shall open them in particular, seeing that besides the application of the testimony of the psalmist unto the Lord Jesus now vindicated, there is an assertion in them containing that which of all other things was of most difficult acceptation with the Jews, upon the account whereof the apostle confirms it with many reasons in the verses following, to the end of this chapter. And, indeed, we have here the sum of the gospel and the doctrine of it, concerning the person and office of the Messiah, asserted and vindicated from the prejudicate opinions of many of the Jews, under these two heads:

[1.] That the salvation and deliverance that God had promised and intended to accomplish by the Messiah was spiritual and eternal, from sin, death, Satan, and hell, ending in everlasting glory; not temporal and carnal, with respect unto the world and the concomitants of it in this life, as they vainly imagined.

[2.] That this salvation could be no otherwise wrought nor brought about but by the incarnation, suffering, and death of the Messiah; not in especial by arms, war, and mighty power, as the people were of old led into Canaan under the conduct of Joshua, the captain of that salvation, and as some of them expected yet to be saved and delivered by the Messiah. Now, the apostle strengthening his discourse by multiplicity of reasons and arguments, he doth not only in these words apply his testimony to what he had before proposed unto confirmation, namely, the subjection of the world to come unto Christ, but also lays in it the springs of those two other principles which we have mentioned, and whose proof and confirmation in the next verses he pursues.

Sundry things, as we have partly seen, are contained in the words; as,

[1.] the exinanition and humiliation of Christ: ‘We see Jesus for a little while made lower, and brought into a more indigent condition, than the angels are, or ever were, obnoxious unto.” [2.] The general end of that exinanition and depression of Jesus; it was that he might “suffer death.”

[3.] His exaltation unto power and authority over all things, in particular the world to come: “crowned with glory and honor.”

[4.] A numerous amplification subjoined of the end of his depression and the death that it tended unto;

1 st . From the cause of it, the “grace of God;”

2dly . The nature of it, he was to taste of death;”

3dly . The end of it, it was for others; and,

4thly . Its extent, for all: “That he by the grace of God might taste death for all.”

[1.] Τὸν δέ . Δὲ for ἀλλά , an adversative, intimating the introduction of one singular person in opposition to him or them spoken of in the end of the foregoing verse, “We see not yet all things put under his feet” (which some, against the whole context, apply unto Christ), “but we see Jesus.” Had the same person been spoken of in both verses, the expression would have been, αὐτὸν δέ , “but we see him;” but a new antecedent being here introduced, “but we see Jesus,” another person is substituted as the subject spoken of; as the Syriac version declares, “We see him, that it is Jesus”

How and in what sense he was made lower than the angels hath been declared in opening the words as they lie in the πρόθεσις , comprised in that testimony of the psalmist. Only it may be inquired whether this exinanition of Christ, or minoration in respect of angels, did consist merely in his incarnation and participation of human nature, which in general is esteemed beneath angelical, or in the misery and anxiety which in that nature he conflicted withal. And the apostle seems not absolutely to intend the former,

1 st . Because he speaks of “Jesus” as the subject of this minoration. Now that name denotes the Son of God as incarnate, who is supposed so to be when he is said to be made less than the angels.

2 dly . Because the human nature, in the very instant of its union unto the person of the Son of God, was absolutely advanced above the angelical, and might have immediately been possessed of glory if other works in it had not been to be performed. And yet neither doth it intend the low condition wherein he was placed exclusively to his incarnation, though that be afterwards (Hebrews 2:14) particularly spoken unto, but his being incarnate and brought forth, and in that condition wherein he was exposed to suffering, and so consequently to death itself. And thus was he made less than angels in part in that nature which he assumed. He was obnoxious unto all the infirmities which attend it, as hunger, thirst, weariness, pain, sorrow, grief; and exposed unto all the miseries from without that any person partaker of that nature is obnoxious unto; and, in sum, death itself: from all which miseries angels are excepted. This we see, know, and grant to have been the state and condition of Jesus.

But saith he, ‘This was but for a little while, during his conversation with us on the earth, ending at his death.’The apostle knew that he had now fixed upon that which of all things the Jews most stumbled at, the low and mean and despised condition of Jesus, they having inveterate prejudicate opinions of another manner of state and condition for the Messiah; wherefore he immediately subjoins the end why he was humbled into this condition, which he first explains, and then vindicates the necessity of it.

[2.] The end, then, is, Πάθημα τοῦ ζαςάτου , “The suffering of death.” He was so humbled that he might suffer death. This yet more displeased the Jews; the necessity whereof he immediately proves, adding by the way,

[3.] To complete the application of the testimony produced, his exaltation upon his suffering, he was “crowned with glory and honor;” referring us to the testimony itself to declare what was contained in that exaltation, namely, an absolute dominion over all things, God only excepted, and so, consequently, over the world to come, that was not put in subjection to angels. And in these words the apostle closeth his argument for the excellency of Christ above the angels from the subjection of all things unto him, and proceeds,

[4.] To the amplification of that end of the humiliation of Christ which he had before intimated, and that in four things:

1 st . In the impulsive and efficient cause, which in the acts of God’s will are coincident: ῞Οπως χάριτι Θεοῦ . ῝Οπως for ἵνα , denoting the final cause of what was before asserted, relating to the whole clause following. That which is here called χάρις Θεοῦ , “the grace of God,” is elsewhere explained by σωτήριος . Χάρις τοῦ Θεοῦ ἡ σωτήριος , Titus 2:11, “The saving grace of God.” And sometimes it is termed his χρηστότης and φιλαςθρωπία , Titus 3:4, his “goodness,” “kindness,” “benignity,” and “love of mankind;” absolutely, his ἀγάπη , John 3:16, Romans 5:8, 1 John 3:16, “love,” intense love; also his εὐδοκία , Ephesians 1:5, his “good pleasure,” from “the riches of his grace,” Ephesians 1:7; and his πρόθεσις , Ephesians 1:9, Romans 8:28, or “purpose of his will,” being the same with his πρόγνωσις and προορισμός , Romans 8:29-30, his predesignation and predestination of men unto grace and glory. From all which it appears what this χύρις , or “grace” of God is, that was the moving and impulsive cause of the death of Christ; even the gracious, free, sovereign purpose of the will of God, suited unto and arising from his natural grace, love, goodness, benignity, pity, mercy, compassion, exerting themselves therein. It was not out of any anger or displeasure of God against Jesus, in whom his soul was always well pleased; not out of any disregard unto him, whom he designed hereby to be crowned with glory and honor; but out of his love, kindness, and goodness towards others, who could no otherwise be brought unto glory, as in the next verses the apostle declares, that he thus appointed him to die.

2dly . In the manner of his death: ῝Οπως γεύσηται θανάτου , “that he should taste of death,” so die as to experience the sorrows, bitterness, and penalties of death. To “taste of death” is, first, really to die; not in appearance or pretense, in opinion or show, as some foolishly of old blasphemed about the death of Christ, which could have had no other fruit but a shadow of redemption, a deliverance in opinion. See the phrase used, Mark 9:1, Οὐ μὴ γεύσωνται θανάτου “Shall not taste of death;” that is, not die. And that which is called, to “see death,” John 8:51, is called to “taste of death,” John 8:52, where the phrase is applied to the second death, or death eternal. And it being death which was threatened unto those for whom he died, and which they should have undergone, he really tasted of that death also. So, secondly, it is intimated that there was bitterness in the death he underwent. Himself compares unto a “cup,” whose bitterness he declares by his aversation from it, considered absolutely and without reference unto that hand of the will of God wherein it was held out unto him, Matthew 26:39; which ποτήριον , or כּוֹם , “cup,” was his lot or potion, Psalms 16:5, that which prepared for him by his Father. And by the same metaphor he calls the will of God his “meat,” which he tasted of in the doing and suffering of it. To taste of death, as is known, is an Hebraism. So the rabbins speak, Beresh. Rab. sect. 9, יטעום טעם מיתה ראוי היה אדם הראשון שלא ; “The first Adam was worthy that he should not taste of death,” or “die.” And it compriseth somewhat more than merely to die; it expresseth also to find out and experience what is in death. And טָעַם is sometimes rendered by γινώσκειν , “to know,” 2 Samuel 19:36; and sometimes the substantive by σύνεσις , “understanding,” Job 12:20. So that Christ by tasting of death had experience, knew what was in death, as threatened unto sinners. He found out and understood what bitterness was in that cup wherein it was given him. To which purpose the rabbins have a proverb in Jalkut. fol. 265, מאן דאכיל קידרא ידע מה טעמה דחבשילין ; “He that eateth of the pot knoweth the taste of the meat that is in it.’Thus when Agag thought he should escape a violent death by the sword, he expresseth his joy by סָר מַראּהַמָּוֶת , 1 Samuel 15:32, “The bitterness of death is removed,” or taken away. Though die he must, yet he thought he should not taste the bitterness of death, or die by the sword. Thirdly, His conquest over death may be also intimated in this expression: for though the phrase, to “taste of death,” be used concerning other persons also, yet as applied unto Christ, the event showeth that it was only a thorough taste of it that he had; he neither was nor could be defined under the power of it, Acts 2:24. And so is the word “to taste” used; Acts 6:4 of this epistle. And thus by the grace of God did he taste of death.

3dly . The end of this his tasting of death, it was for others; ῾Υπέρ παντός . Of the extent of this end of his death, expressed in that word παντός , we shall speak afterwards; for the present we consider how he died ῾ὑπέρ , “for” them, for whom he died. ᾿Υπέρ , is either “pro,” or “super,” or “supra,” “for,” or “above,” or “over.” The latter signification belongs not unto this place. As it signifies πρό , “for,” it is used sometimes as διὰ , “propter, and with respect unto persons is as much as “alicujus causa,” “for his sake,” or “in alicujus gratiam,” or “bonum,” “for his good and advantage; sometimes as ἀντί , in the stead of another. And this is the constant and inviolable sense of ὑπέρ in Greek, “pro” in Latin, where the suffering of one for another is expressed by it, And that also is the constant sense of the Hebrew תּחַת , when used in that case. Some instances on each word will illustrate our intention. Thus David expresseth his desire to have died in the stead of Absalom, that he might have been preserved alive: 2 Samuel 19:1, מִי יִתֵּן מוּתִי אֲנִי תַחְתֶּיךָ , “Who will grant me to die, I for thee, my son Absalom?” that is, “in thy stead,” or “so that thou mightest be alive.” So Isaiah 43:4. And by that word is still expressed the succeeding of one to another in government, or reigning in the stead of him that deceased, 1Ki 3:7 , 2 Samuel 10:1; and in general, children succeeding in the place and room of their fathers, Numbers 3:12. So that to die תּחַת , “for another,” is to die in his stead the death he should have died, that he might live, or in general to be substituted in the room and place of another. So when Jehu commanded his officers to slay the priests and worshippers of Baal, he tells them that if any one should let any one of them escape, נפְשׁוֹ תַּחַת נַפְשׁוֹ , “his life should go for his life,” or he should die in his stead, 2 Kings 10:24. So is ὐπέρ used, Romans 5:7, expressing the act of an ἀντίψυχος , one that lays down his life instead of another; as Damon for Pythias, and Nisus for Euryalus, “Me, me, adsum qui feci.” See 1 Peter 1:20-21. And it is explained by ἀντί , perpetually denoting a substitution, where opposition can have no place. See Matthew 20:28; Mark 10:45; 1 Timothy 2:6, ᾿Αντίλυτρον . “Pro,” also, as ὐπέρ in this case is to be rendered, hath no other signification. So often in the poet:

“Hanc tibi Eryx meliorem animam pro morte Daretis Persolvo”

..... AEn. 5:483.

He slew the ox and sacrificed it to Eryx instead of Dares, who was taken from him. And Mezentius upon the death of Lausus his son, who undertook the fight with AEneas, upon the wounding of his father, being slain himself,

“Tantane me tenuit vivendi, nate, voluptas,

Ut pro me hostili paterer succedere dextrae,

Quem genui? tuane haec genitor per vulnera servor,

Morte tua vivens?” AEn. 10:846.

“Pro me,” “in my stead.” And of Palinurus, by whose death the rest of his companions escaped, AEn. 5:815,

“Unam pro multis dabitur caput.”

So the Comedian, Ter. And. I. 2:28,

“Verberibua caesum to in pistrinum, Dave, dedam usque ad necem; Ea lege atque omine, ut, si inde to exemerim, ego pro te molam:” “grind in thy stead.” And Juvenal to the same purpose of the Decii, Sat. 8:254,

“Plebeiae Deciorum animae, plebeia fuerunt Nomina. Pro totis legionibus hi tamen, et pr Omnibus auxiliis atque omni plebe Latina, Sufficiunt diis infernis.”

They were accepted in sacrifice for or instead of all the rest. So did they express their doing or suffering who cast themselves into danger in the stead of others, that they might go free, as those who sacrificed themselves, like Menoeceus, for the safety of their country; as Papinius expresses his design, Thebaid. lib. 10:762,

“Armorum superi, tuque o qui funere tanto Indulges mihi, Phoebe, mori, date gaudia Thebis, Quae pepigi, et toto quae sanguine prodigus emi;”

of which afterwards.

In the common constant use of these words, then, to die for another, signifies to die in his room and stead. And this the Jews understood in the use of their sacrifices, where the life of the beast was accepted in the stead of the life of the sinner. Thus Christ “tasted of death ὐπέρ παντός .” He was, by the grace and wisdom of God, substituted as a mediator, surety, ἀντίηυχος , “in their stead,” to undergo the death which they should have undergone, that they might go free, as we shall see in the following verses.

4thly . This dying of Christ is said to be ὐπέρ παντός . The word is either of the masculine or neuter gender; and in the latter it seems to have been taken by them who for χάριτι Θεοῦ , read χωρὶς Θεοῦ , as some Syriac copies do still, and Ambrose ad Gradianum, with some other of the ancients, intimating that Christ died for every thing, God only excepted, alluding it may be unto Ephesians 1:10, of which place we have spoken before. For we may not suppose it a corruption of the Nestorians, when some read so before their days; nor will the words so read give any countenance to their error, none affirming that Christ died any otherwise than in his human nature, though he who is God died therein. But this conjecture is groundless and inconsistent with the signification of the preposition ὐπέρ insisted on, which will not allow that he be said to die for any but those in whose stead he died, and which, therefore, in themselves were obnoxious to death, as he declares, Ephesians 1:14-15. Παντός , then, is put for πάντων by an enallage of number, the singular for the plural, for all men; that is, all those many sons which God by his death intended to bring unto glory, Ephesians 1:10; those sanctified by him, whom he calls his brethren, Ephesians 1:11-12, and children given him by God, Ephesians 1:13; whom by death he delivers from the fear of death, Ephesians 1:14-15; even all the seed of Abraham, Ephesians 1:16.

(4.) And thus, we hope, our whole interpretation of these verses receives light from as well as brings some light unto the text; and that we need no argument to confirm it but its own suitableness throughout to the context and design of the apostle. That wherein divers worthy expositors are otherwise minded and differ from us, is the application of the words of the psalm immediately unto the person of Christ; which they say are referred unto him only by way of allusion. Now, though our exposition sufficiently confirm and strengthen itself by its own evidence, yet because divers learned men, whoso judgment is much to be regarded, have given another sense of the words than that embraced by us, I shall by some further considerations confirm that part of our exposition which is by them called into question, premising unto them, for the further clearing of the place, what we grant in reference unto the sense by them contended for:

[1.] I grant that the psalmist’s design in general is to set forth the goodness, kindness, love, and care of God unto mankind; so that in these words, “What is man,” and “the son of man,” though he principally respects the instance of the person of the Messiah, yet he doth it not exclusively to the nature of man in others, but hath a special regard unto mankind in general, in contradistinction unto other outwardly more glorious works of the hands of God. But it is the especial instance of the person of the Messiah wherein alone he undertakes to make good his assertion of mankind’s pre-eminence.

[2.] I also grant that he hath respect unto the dignity and honor collated on the first man at his creation, not directly and intentionally, as his chiefest scope, but by way of allusion, as it did prefigure and obscurely represent that great glory and honor which mankind was to be advanced unto in the person of the Messiah; but that primarily and directly he, and he alone, according to our exposition, is intended in the psalm; for,

1st . That the whole psalm is prophetical of the Messiah, the passages out of it reported in the New Testament and applied unto him do make evident and unquestionable. See Matthew 21:16, 1 Corinthians 15:27, with this place. So that he must needs be the “man” and “son of man” therein treated of, and who alone did “make to cease the enemy and self-avenger,” 1 Corinthians 15:2; as the apostle declares, 1 Corinthians 15:14-15, of this chapter.

2dly . The general scope of the psalm will admit of no other interpretation. The psalmist, on his contemplation of the great glory of God in framing the heavens and all the host of them, especially those which then appeared unto him, falls into an admiration of his wisdom, goodness, and love in that which was far greater and more excellent, as that wherein his glory was more exalted; which he rejoiceth and triumpheth in, as that wherein his own and the interest of all others did lie. Now, this could not be either the state of man as fallen by sin, which is far enough from a matter of exultation and joy, nor yet the state of Adam in innocency, in no privilege whereof, without a restitution by Christ, have we share or interest.

3dly . There are not any words in the testimony that can properly be applied unto any other man, or be verified in him; not in Adam at his first creation, not in mankind in general, but only in the instance of the person of Christ. For how was Adam diminished and made less than angels, and therein depressed from another state and condition than that he had, or was due to him? or how can this be said of mankind in general, or of believers in a special sense? And how could this be spoken of them as to continue for a little while, seeing the nature of man, in itself considered, is for ever beneath the angelical? Again, if the apostle’s interpretation be allowed, that expression, “He hath put all things under his feet,” is universal, and extends unto all the works of God’s hands, and among them to the world to come; and these were never put in subjection to Adam nor any other man, “the man Christ Jesus” excepted. And this also the apostle plainly avers, 1 Corinthians 15:8. So that the scope of the place, context of the words, and importance of the expression, do all direct us unto the Messiah, and to him alone.

4thly . The uncertainty and mutual contradictions, yea, self-contradictions of the most who apply the words of the psalmist directly unto any other but Christ, may serve further to fix us unto this interpretation, liable to none of those inconveniences which they cast themselves upon. Some would have a double literal sense in the words; the one principal, relating unto Adam or man in general; the other less principal, or subordinate, respecting Christ: which is upon the matter to affirm that the words have no sense at all; for those words which have not one certain determinate sense, as those have not which have two, have indeed no true proper sense at all, for their sense is their determinate signification of any thing. Some would have the literal sense to respect mankind in general, and what is affirmed in them to be mystically applied unto Christ. How far this is from truth we have already declared, by showing that the words cannot so in any measure be verified or made good. By “man,” some understand Adam in his integrity; but how he can be called “the son of man” I know not. Besides, how was his honor not to be thought of or mentioned without the remembrance of his sin and shameful fall such a cause of rejoicing and exultation unto the psalmist? Some understand man in his corrupted condition; which how far he is from the things here mentioned need not be declared. Can we suppose the apostle would prove the subjection of the world to come unto Christ by a testimony principally respecting them who have no interest in it? Some understand believers as restored in Christ; which is true consequentially and in respect of participation, Revelation 2:26-27, but not antecedently unto the investiture of the honor that they are made partakers of in the person of Christ. Besides, which is the great absurdity of this interpretation, they all affirm that the same words are used to express and confirm things directly contrary and adverse unto one another. For those words in the psalmist, “Thou hast made him little less than the angels,” they would have to signify the exaltation of man in his creation, being made nigh unto and little less than angels; and in the application of them by the apostle unto Christ, they acknowledge that they denote depression, minoration, humiliation, or exinanition. How the same words in the same place can express contrary things, prove the exaltation of one and the depression of another, is very hard if not impossible to be understood. Besides, they are compelled to interpret the same phrase in diverse senses, as well as the same sentence in contrary; for those words in the psalmist, βραχύ τι , as applied unto man, they make to denote quantity or quality, as unto Christ, time or duration; which that in the same place they cannot do both is needless to prove. But, as we said, our exposition is wholly free from these entanglements, answering the words of the psalmist, and suited to the words and context of the apostle throughout.

Schlichtingius or Crellius, in his comment on these words, would fain lay hold of an objection against the deity of Christ, p. 112.

“Hinc videmus,” saith he, “cum D. Auctor adeo sollicite laboret, et Scripturae dictis pugnet eum qui angelis fuerit ratione naturae minor, nempe Christum debuisse suprema gloria et honore coranari, angelosque dignitate longe superare; nec ipsi auctori nec cuipiam Christianorum ad quos scribit, divinae praeter humanam in Christo naturae in mentem venisse, nam si hanc in Christo agnovissent, nullo negotio etiam Christum angelis longe praestare, naturamque humanam ei minime obstare vidissent: quid quaeso tanto molimine, tantoque argumentorum apparatu ad rem omnibus apertissimam persuadendam opus fuisset? Quid argumentis aliunde conquisitis laborat auctor, cum uno ictu, unica naturae istius divinae mentione rem totam conficere potuisset?”

The whole ground of this fallacy lies in a supposition that the apostle treateth of the person of Christ absolutely and in himself considered; which is evidently false. He speaks of him in respect of the office he undertook as the mediator of the new covenant; in which respect he was both made less than the angels, not only on the account of his nature, but of the condition wherein he discharged his duty, and also made or exalted above them, by grant from his Father; whereas in his divine nature he was absolutely and infinitely so from the instant of the creation. And whereas those to whom he wrote did hear that he was, in the discharge of his office, for a little while made much lower than the angels, it was not in vain for him to prove, by arguments and testimonies, that in the execution of the same office he was also exalted above them, that part of his work being finished for which he was made lower than they for a season. And most needful it was for him so to do in respect of the Hebrews, who, boasting of the ministry of angels in the giving of the law, were to be convinced of the excellency of the author of the gospel, as such, in the discharge of his work, above them. And the express mention of his divine nature was in this place altogether needless and improper, nor would it have proved the thing that he intended; for how easy had it been for the Jews to have replied, that notwithstanding that, they saw in how low an outward condition he ministered upon the earth, and therefore that would not prove his exaltation above angels in the discharge of his office, seeing notwithstanding that he was evidently made lower than they in that office! It would also have been improper for him in this place to have made any mention thereof, seeing the proof of the excellency of his person, absolutely considered, was nothing unto the business he had now in hand. And it was likewise every way needless, he having so abundantly proved and vindicated his divine nature in the chapter foregoing. Now, to take an argument against a thing from the apostle’s silence of it in one place, where the mention of it was improper, useless, and needless, he having fully expressed the same matter elsewhere, yea, but newly before, is an evidence of a bad or barren cause. Of the like importance is that which he afterwards adds, p. 115,

“Quemadmodum autem Jesus homo verus, et naturali conditione caeteris hominibus similis esse debuit; neque enim eorum servator est, qui natura et dii sunt et homines, sed hominum tantum;”

for we shall demonstrate that it was needful he should have a divine nature who was to suffer and to save them who had only a human. And if this man had acknowledged that end and effect of his suffering, without which we know it would have been of no advantage unto them for whom he suffered, he also would believe the same.

We say not any thing of the sense of the Jews on this place of the psalmist. They seem wholly to have lost the design of the Holy Ghost in it, and therefore, in their accustomed manner, to embrace fables and trifles. The Talmudists ascribe those words, “What is man?” unto some of the angels, expressing their envy and indignation at his honor upon his first creation. The later doctors, as Kimchi and Aben Ezra, make application of it unto man in general, wherein they are followed by too many Christians, unto whom the apostle had been a better guide. But we may here also see what is further tendered unto us for our instruction; as,

I. The respect, care, love, and grace of God, unto mankind, expressed in the person and mediation of Jesus Christ is a matter of singular and eternal admiration.

We have before showed, from the words of the psalmist, that such in general is the condescension of God, to have any regard of man, considering the infinite excellency of the properties of his nature, as manifested in his great and glorious works. That now proposed followeth from the apostle’s application of the psalmist’s words unto the person of Christ; and consequently from the regard of God unto us in his mediation. And this is such, as that the apostle tells us that at the last day it shall be his great glory, and that he will be “admired in all them that believe,” 2 Thessalonians 1:10. When the work of his grace shall be fully perfected in and towards them, then the glory of his grace appeareth and is magnified for ever. This is that which the admiration of the psalmist tends unto and rests in, that God should so regard the nature of man as to take it into union with himself in the person of his Son, and in that nature, humbled and exalted, to work out the salvation of all them that believe on him. There are other ways wherein the respect of God towards man doth appear, even in the effects of his holy, wise providence over him. He causeth his sun to shine and his rain to fail upon him, Matthew 5:45. He leaves not himself without witness towards us,

“in that he doth good, and gives us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness,” Acts 14:17.

And these ways of his providence are singularly admirable. But this way of his grace towards us in the person of his Son assuming our nature into union with himself, is that wherein the exceeding and unspeakable riches of his glory and wisdom are made manifest. So the apostle expresseth it, Ephesians 1:17-23. He hath that to declare unto them, which, because of its greatness, glory, and beauty, they are no way able of themselves to receive or comprehend. And therefore he prays for them that they may have the spirit of wisdom and revelation, to give them the knowledge of Christ, or that God by his Spirit would make them wise to apprehend, and give them a gracious discovery of what he proposeth to them; as also, that hereby they may enjoy the blessed effect of an enlightened understanding, without which they will not discern the excellency of this matter. And what is it that they must be helped, assisted, prepared for to understand, in any measure? what is the greatness, the glory of it, that can no otherwise be discerned? ‘Why,’saith he, ‘marvel not at the necessity of this preparation: that which I propose unto you is the glory of God, that wherein he will principally be glorified, here and unto eternity; and it is the riches of that glory, the treasures of it.’God hath in other things set forth and manifested his glory; but yet as it were by parts and parcels. One thing hath declared his power, another his goodness and wisdom, and that in part, with reference unto that particular about which they have been exercised; but in this he hath drawn forth, displayed, manifested all the riches and treasures of his glory, so that his excellencies are capable of no greater exaltation. And there is also in this work the unspeakable greatness of his power engaged, that no property of his nature may seem to be uninterested in this matter. Now whereunto doth all this tend? Why, it is all to give a blessed and eternal inheritance unto believers, unto the hope and expectation whereof they are called by the gospel. And by what way or means is all this wrought and brought about? Even by the working of God in Jesus Christ; in his humiliation, when he died; and in his exaltation, in his resurrection, putting all things under his feet, crowning him with glory and honor; which the apostle shows by a citation of this place, of the psalmist: for all this is out of God’s regard unto man; it is for the church, which is the body of Christ, and his fullness. So full of glory, such an object of eternal admiration, is this work of the love and grace of God; which, as Peter tells us, the very angels themselves desire to look into, 1 Peter 1:12. And this further appears,

First, Because all God’s regard of man in this way is a fruit of mere sovereign grace and condescension. And all grace is admirable, especially the grace of God; and that so great grace, as the Scripture expresseth it. There was no consideration of any thing without God himself that moved him hereunto. He had glorified himself, as the psalmist shows, in other works of his hands, and he could have rested in that glory. Man deserved no such thing of him, being worthless and sinful. It was all of grace, both in the head and members. The human nature of Christ neither did nor could merit the hypostatical union. It did not, because being made partaker of it from the instant of its conception, all antecedent operations that might procure it were prevented; and a thing cannot be merited by any after it is freely granted antecedently unto any deserts. Nor could it do so; hypostatical union could be no reward of obedience, being that which exceeds all the order of things and rules of remunerative justice. The assumption, then, of our nature into personal union with the Son of God, was an act of mere free, sovereign, unconceivable grace. And this is the foundation of all the following fruits of God’s regard unto us; and that being of grace, so must they be also. Whatever God doth for us in and by Jesus Christ as made man for us, which is all that he so doth, it must, I say, be all of grace, because his being made man was so. Had there been any merit, any desert on our part, any preparation for or disposition unto the effects of this regard, had our nature, or that portion of it which was sanctified and separated to be united unto the Son of God, any way procured or prepared itself for its union and assumption, things had fallen under some rules of justice and equality, whereby they might be apprehended and measured; but all being of grace, they leave place unto nothing but eternal admiration and thankfulness.

Secondly, Had not God been thus mindful of man, and visited him in the person of his Son incarnate, every one partaker of that nature must have utterly perished in their lost condition. And this also renders the grace of it an object of admiration. We are not only to look at what God takes us unto by this visitation, but to consider also what he delivers us from. Now, this is a great part of that vile and base condition which the psalmist wonders that God should have regard unto, namely, that we had sinned and come short of his glory, and thereby exposed ourselves unto eternal misery. In that condition we must have perished for ever, had not God freed us by this visitation. It had been great grace to have taken an innocent, a sinless man into glory; great grace to have freed a sinner from misery, though he should never be brought to the enjoyment of the least positive good: but to free a sinner from the utmost and most inconceivable misery in eternal ruin, and to bring him unto the highest happiness in eternal glory, and all this in a way of mere grace, this is to be admired.

Thirdly, Because it appeareth that God is more glorified in the humiliation and exaltation of the Lord Christ, and the salvation of mankind thereby, than in any of or all the works of the first creation. How glorious those works are, and how mightily they set forth the glory of God, we have before declared. But, as the psalmist intimates, God rested not in them. He had yet a further design, to manifest his glory in a more eminent and singular manner; and this he did by minding and visiting of man in Christ Jesus. None almost is so stupid, but on the first view of the heavens, the sun, moon, and stars, he will confess that their fabric, beauty, and order, are wonderful, and that the glory of their framer and builder is for ever to be admired in them. But all this comes short of that glory which ariseth unto God from this condescension and grace. And therefore it may be the day will come, and that speedily, wherein these heavens, and this whole old creation, shall be utterly dissolved and brought to nothing; for why should they abide as a monument of his power unto them who, enjoying the blessed vision of him, shall see and know it far more evidently and eminently in himself? However, they shall undoubtedly in a short time cease as to their use, wherein at present they are principally subservient unto the manifestation of the glory of God. But the effects of this regard of God to man shall abide unto eternity, and the glory of God therein. This is the foundation of heaven, as it is a state and condition, it denotes the glorious presence of God among his saints and holy ones. Without this there would be no such heaven; all that is there, and all the glory of it, depend thereon. Take away this foundation, and all that beauty and glory disappears. Nothing, indeed, would be taken from God, who ever was and ever will be eternally blessed in his own self-sufficiency. But the whole theater which he hath erected for the manifestation of his glory unto eternity depends on this his holy condescension and grace; which assuredly render them meet for ever to be admired and adored.

This, then, let us exercise ourselves unto. Faith having infinite, eternal, incomprehensible things proposed unto it, acts itself greatly in this admiration. We are everywhere taught that we now know but imperfectly, in part; and that we see darkly, as in a glass: not that the revelation of these things in the word is dark and obscure, for they are fully and clearly proposed, but that such is the nature of the things themselves, that we are not in this life able to comprehend them; and therefore faith doth principally exercise itself in a holy admiration of them. And indeed no love or grace will suit our condition but that which is incomprehensible. We find ourselves by experience to stand in need of more grace, goodness, love, and mercy, than we can look into, search to the bottom of, or fully understand. But when that which is infinite and incomprehensible is proposed unto us, then all fears are overwhelmed, and faith finds rest with assurance. And if our admiration of these things be an act, an effect, a fruit of faith, it will be of singular use to endear God unto our hearts, and to excite them unto thankful obedience; for who would not love and delight in the eternal fountain of this inconceivable grace? and what shall we render unto him who hath done more for us than we are any way able to think or conceive?

II. Observe also, that such was the inconceivable love of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, unto the souls of men, that he was free and willing to condescend unto any condition for their good and salvation.

That was the end of all this dispensation. And the Lord Christ was not humbled and made less than the angels without his own will and consent. His will and good liking concurred unto this work. Hence, when the eternal counsel of this whole matter is mentioned, it is said of him, as the Wisdom of the Father, that “he rejoiced in the habitable part of the earth, and his delights were with the sons of men,” Proverbs 8:31. He delighted in the counsel of redeeming and saving them by his own humiliation and suffering. And the Scripture makes it evident upon these two considerations:

First, In that it shows that what he was to do and what he was to undergo in this work were proposed unto him, and that he willingly accepted of the terms and conditions of it. Psalms 40:6, God says unto him, that sacrifice and offering could not do this great work, burnt-offering and sin-offering could not effect it; that is, no kind of offerings or sacrifices instituted by the law were available to take away sin and to save sinners, as our apostle expounds that place at large, Hebrews 10:1-9, confirming his exposition with sundry arguments taken from their nature and effects. What, then, doth God require of him, that this great design of the salvation of sinners may be accomplished? Even that he himself should “make his soul an offering for sin,” “pour out his soul unto death,” and thereby “bear the sin of many,” Isaiah 53:10; Isaiah 53:12; that seeing “the law was weak through the flesh,” that is, by reason of our sins in the flesh, he himself should take upon him “the likeness of sinful flesh,” and become “an offering for sin in the flesh,” Romans 8:3; that he should be “made of a woman, made under the law,” if he would “redeem them that were under the law,” Galatians 4:4-5; that he should

“make himself of no reputation, and take upon him the form of a servant, and be made in the likeness of men, and being found in fashion as a man, humble himself and become obedient unto death, even the death of the cross,” Philippians 2:7-8.

These things were proposed unto him, which he was to undergo, if he would deliver and save mankind. And how did he entertain this proposal? how did he like these conditions? “I was not,” saith he, “rebellious, neither turned away back,” Isaiah 1:5. He declined them not, he refused none of the terms that were proposed unto him, but underwent them in a way of obedience; and that with willingness, alacrity, and delight. Psalms 40:6-8: “Mine ears hast thou opened,” saith he; or ‘prepared a body for me, wherein I may yield this obedience,’(that the apostle declares to be the sense of the expression, Hebrews 10:0.). This obedience could not be yielded without a body, wherein it was performed. And whereas to hear, or to have the ear opened, is in the Scripture to be prepared unto obedience, the psalmist in that one expression, “Mine ears hast thou opened,” compriseth both these, even that Christ had a body prepared, by a synecdoche of a part for the whole, and also in that body he was ready to yield obedience unto God in this great work, which could not be accomplished by sacrifices and burnt-offerings. And this readiness and willingness of Christ unto this work is set out under three heads in the ensuing words:

1. His tender of himself unto this work. Then said he, “Lo, I come, in the volume of thy book it is written of me;” ‘This thou hast promised, this promise, Genesis 3:15, that the seed of the woman should bruise the head of the serpent; ‘and now thou hast given me, in the fullness of time, and prepared me a body for that purpose; lo, I come, willing and ready to undertake it.’

2. In the frame of his mind in this engagement. He entered into it with great delight: “I delight to do thy will, O my God.” He did not delight in the thoughts of it only of old, as before, and then grow heavy and sorrowful when it was to be undertaken; but he went unto it with cheerfulness and delight, although he knew what sorrow and grief it would cost him before it was brought unto perfection.

3. From the principle whence this obedience and delight did spring; which was a universal conformity of his soul, mind, and will, unto the law, mind, and will of God: “Thy law is in my heart,” “in the midst of my bowels;” ‘Every thing in me is compliant with thy will and law; there is in me a universal conformity thereunto.’Being thus prepared, thus principled, he considered the glory that was set before him, the glory that would redound unto God by his becoming a captain of salvation, and that would ensue unto himself. He “endured the cross and despised the shame,” Hebrews 12:2. He armed himself with those considerations against the hardships and sufferings that he was to meet withal; and the apostle Peter adviseth us to arm ourselves with the like mind when we are to suffer, 1 Peter 4:1. By all which it appears that the good-will and love of Jesus Christ were in this matter of being humbled and made less than angels; as the apostle says expressly that “he humbled himself, and made himself of no reputation,” Philippians 2:7-8; Philippians 2:7-8, as well as it is here said that God humbled him, or made him less than angels.

Secondly, The Scripture peculiarly assigns this work unto the love and condescension of Christ himself; for although it abounds in setting forth the love of the Father in the designing and contriving this work, and sending his Son into the world, yet it directs us unto the love of the Lord Christ himself as the next immediate cause of his engaging into it and performance of it. So saith the apostle, Galatians 2:20, “I live by the faith of the Son of God,” that is, by faith in him, “who loved me, and gave himself for me.” It was the love of Christ that moved him to give himself for us; which is excellently expressed in that doxology, Revelation 1:5-6, blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.”

All this was the fruit of his love, and therefore unto him is all praise and honor to be given and ascribed. And so great was this love of Christ, that he declined nothing that was proposed unto him. This the apostle calls his “grace,” 2 Corinthians 8:9,

“Ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.”

He condescended unto a poor and low condition, and to suffer therein, for our good, that we might be made partakers of the riches of the grace of God. And this was the love of the person of Christ, because it was in and wrought equally in him both before and after his assumption of our nature.

Now, the Holy Ghost makes an especial application of this truth unto us, as unto one part of our obedience: Philippians 2:5, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus;” and what that mind was he declares in the ensuing verses, laying out his infinite condescension in taking our nature upon him, and submitting to all misery, reproach, and death itself for our sakes. If this mind were in Christ, should not we endeavor after a readiness and willingness to submit ourselves unto any condition for his glory?

“Forasmuch,” saith Peter, “as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind,” 1 Peter 4:1.

Many difficulties will lie in our way, many reasonings will rise up against it, if we consult with flesh and blood; but, saith he, “Arm yourselves with the same mind that was in Christ;” get your souls strengthened and fenced by grace against all oppositions, that you may follow him and imitate him. Some that profess his name will suffer nothing for him. If they may enjoy him or his ways in peace and quietness, well and good; but if persecution arise for the gospel, immediately they fall away. These have neither lot nor portion in this matter. Others, the most, the best, have a secret loathness and unwillingness to condescend unto a condition of trouble and distress for the gospel. Well, if we are unwilling hereunto, what doth the Lord Christ lose by it? Will it be any real abatement of his honor or glory? Will he lose his crown or kingdom thereby? So far as suffering in this world is needful for any of his blessed ends and purposes, he will not want them who shall be ready even to die for his name’s sake. But what if he had been unwilling to be humbled and to suffer for us? If the same mind had been in Christ as is in us, what had been our state and condition unto eternity? In this grace, love, and willingness of Christ, lies the foundation of all our happiness, of all our deliverance from misery and ruin; and shall we reckon ourselves to have an interest therein, and yet find ourselves altogether unready to a conformity unto him? Besides, the Lord Christ was really rich when he made himself poor for our sakes; he was in the form of God when he took upon him the form of a servant, and became for us of no reputation. Nothing of this was due to him or belonged unto him, but merely on our account. But we are in ourselves really poor, and obnoxious unto infinitely more miseries for our own sins than what he calls us unto for his name. Are we unwilling to suffer a little, light, transitory trouble in this world for him, without whose sufferings for us we must have suffered misery, and that eternal, whether we would or no? And I speak not so much about suffering itself as about the mind and frame of spirit wherewith we undergo it. Some will suffer when they cannot avoid it, but so unwillingly, so uncheerfully, as makes it evident that they aim at nothing, and act from no principle, but merely that they dare not go against their convictions. But “the mind that was in Christ” will lead us unto it out of love unto him, with freedom and enlargedness of heart; which is required of us.

III. The blessed issue of the abasement of Jesus Christ, in his exaltation unto honor and glory, is an assured pledge of the final glory and blessedness of all that believe in him, whatever difficulties and dangers they may be exercised withal in the way.

His humiliation and exaltation, as we have seen, proceeded out of God’s condescension and love to mankind. His electing love, the eternal gracious purpose of his will to recover lost sinners, and to bring them unto the enjoyment of himself, was the ground of this dispensation; and therefore what he hath done in Christ is a certain pledge of what he will do in and for them also. He is not crowned with honor and glory merely for himself, but that he may be a captain of salvation, and bring others unto a participation of his glory. IV. Jesus Christ, as the mediator of the new covenant, hath absolute and supreme authority given unto him over all the works of God in heaven and earth.

This we have so fully manifested and insisted on upon the foregoing chapter, that we shall not here further pursue it; but only mind by the way, that blessed is the state and condition, great is the spiritual and eternal security of the church, seeing all things are under the very feet of its Head and Savior.

V. The Lord Jesus Christ is the only lord of the gospel state of the church, called under the old testament “the world to come;” and therefore he only hath power to dispose of all things in it relating unto that worship of God which it is to perform and celebrate.

It is not put into subjection unto any other, angels or men. This privilege was reserved for Christ; this honor is bestowed on the church. He is the only head, king, and lawgiver of it; and nothing is it to be taught to observe or do but what he hath commanded. But this will fall more directly under our consideration in the beginning of the next chapter.

VI. The Lord Jesus Christ in his death did undergo the penal sentence of the law, in the room and stead of them for whom he died.

Death was that which, by the sentence of the law, was due unto sin and sinners. For them did Christ die, and therein tasted of the bitterness of that death which they were to have undergone, or else the fruit of it could not have redounded unto them; for what was it towards their discharge, if that which they had deserved was not suffered, but somewhat else, wherein the least part of their concernment did lie? But this being done, certain deliverance and salvation will be the lot and portion of them, of all them, for whom he died; and that upon the rules of justice and righteousness on the part of Christ, though on theirs, of mere mercy and grace.

Verse 10

The apostle in the verses foregoing made mention of that which, of all other things, the Jews generally were most offended at, and which was of the greatest importance to be believed, namely, the sufferings of the Messiah, wherein a great part of the discharge of his sacerdotal office, whereunto he here makes a transition, did consist. This his own disciples were slow in the belief of, Matthew 16:21-22; Matthew 17:22-23; Luke 24:25-26, and the Jews generally stumbled at. They thought it strange that the Messiah, the Son of God, the Savior of his people, and Captain of their salvation, concerning whom so great and glorious things were promised and foretold, should be brought into a low despised condition, and therein to suffer and die. Hence they cried unto him on the cross, “If thou be the Christ, come down and save thyself;” intimating that by his suffering he was assuredly proved not to be so, for why any one should suffer that could deliver himself they saw no reason.

Besides, they had inveterate prejudices about the salvation promised by the Messiah, and the way whereby it was to be wrought, arising from their love and over-valuation of temporal or carnal things, with their contempt of things spiritual and eternal. They expected a deliverance outward, glorious, and kingly, in this world, and that to be wrought with arms, power, and a mighty hand. And what should they expect from a Messiah that suffered and died? Wherefore the apostle, having asserted the sufferings of Christ, saw it necessary to proceed unto a full confirmation of it, with a declaration of the reasons, causes, and ends of it; partly to evert that false persuasion which prevailed amongst them about the nature of the salvation to be wrought by Christ; partly to show that nothing would thence ensue derogatory unto what he had before delivered about his pre-eminence above angels; but principally to instruct them in the sacerdotal office of the Messiah, the redemption which he wrought, and the means whereby he accomplished it, which was the great business that he had designed to treat with them about. [As] for the salvation itself, he declares that it was not to be of the same kind with that which they had of old, when they were brought out of Egypt and settled in the land of Canaan under the conduct of Joshua, but spiritual and heavenly, in a deliverance from sin, Satan, death, and hell, with a manuduction into life and blessedness eternal. He informs them that the way whereby this was to be wrought, was by the sufferings and death of the Messiah, and that no other way it could be accomplished; on which account they were indispensably necessary. And the first reason hereof he expresseth in this tenth verse.

Hebrews 2:10 . ῎Επρεπε γὰρ αὐτῷ , δι᾿ ὅν τὰ πάντα καὶ δι᾿ τὰ πάντα , πολλοὺς υἱοὺς εἰς δόξαν ἀγαγόντα , τὸν ἀρχηγὸν τῆς σωτηρίας αὐτῶν διὰ παθημάτων τελειῶσαι .

One or two copies read, διὰ παθήματος αὐτὸν τελειοῦαθαι , against the sense and design of the place. Αὐτόν is needlessly repeated unless put for ἑαυτόν , and then it disturbs the whole meaning of the verse, and is inconsistent with the passive verb following in this reading. Παθήματος , in the singular humor, relates only unto death, expressed in the verse foregoing by πάθημα θανάτου but here all the sufferings of Christ, as well those antecedent unto death as death itself, are intended. Τελειοῦθαι , in the passive, is followed by some copies of the Vulgar translation, reading “consummari;” both inconsistent with the sense of the place, as we shall see.

Translations differ but little about these words. ῎Επρεπε γὰρ αὐτῷ . Most, “decebat enim eum,” “for it became him;” Beza, “decebat enim ut iste,” “for it was meet that he,” to make the following words flow regularly. Δι ᾿ ὅν τὰ πάντα , “propter quem omnia;” Syr., לְחָו דְּכֻל , “cui omnia,” “for whom are all things;” Beza, “propter quem sunt haec omnia,” expressing the article as restrictive to the things spoken of, “for whom are all these things.” One Syriac copy adds, בָּאיִדֵהּ , “in his hand;” which somewhat corrupts the sense. Καὶ δι᾿ οὗ τὰ πάντα , “et per quem omnia,” “by whom are all things;” Beza, “haec omnia,” as before, without cause; for the article is frequently prefixed unto πάντα , where all things absolutely are intended; as Ephesians 1:11. Πολλοὺς υἱοὺς εἰς δόξας ἀγαγόντα . Vulg., “qui multos filios ad gloriam adduxerat,” “who had brought many sons unto glory;” Arias, “multos filios ad gloriam adducentem;” Beza, “adducendo,” “bringing many sons unto glory;” Syr., “adduxerat in gloriam suam,” “had brought many sons into his glory.” Τὸν ἀρχηγόν . Vulg., “auctorem,” “the author;” Beza, “principem;” Syr., רִיֹשָא , “the head” (or “prince”) “of their salvation.” Διὰ παθημάτων τελειῶσαι , “per passionem consummare,” “to consummate” (or “complete”) “by suffering;” Beza, “per perpessiones,” “by sufferings;” Syr., “perficere,” “perfectum reddere,” “to perfect,” “to make perfect.” The proper signification of the words in this verse is much to be heeded, as that which will give us much light the the sense of the whole. Πρέπει is “decet,” “convenit,” “dignum est;” “it becometh,” it is “meet,” “convenient, or “just.” Πρέπον Θεοῖς , in Plato, is rendered by Cicero, “Deo decorum,” “that which becometh God;” and saith he, “ Πρέπον , appellant hoc Graeci, nos dicamus sane decorum;” that which becometh any one in his state and condition, in a moral sense; as, “Holiness becometh the house,” that is, the people of God. Κατὰ τὸ πρvεπον , “ut decet,” “ut par est;” that which is equal and right to be done. Πρέπουσα τιμή , is “honor justly deserved;” and πρέπουσα θημία , “just loss” or “punishment.” The word, then, signifies that decency and becomingness which justice, reason, and equity require, so that the contrary would be unmeet, because unequal and unjust. Thus every one’s duty, that which is morally incumbent on him in his place and station, is that which becomes him; and hence in the New Testament, that which is not κατὰ τὸ πρέπον , thus decent, is condemned as evil, 1Co 11:13 ; 1 Timothy 2:10. And itself is commended as a rule of virtue, Matthew 3:15; Ephesians 5:3. Δι ᾿ ὅν . Διά with an accusative case constantly denotes the final cause, “propter quem,” “for whom :” Revelation 4:11, Σὺ ἔκτισας τὰ πάντα , “Thou hast created all things” (all things universally, with the article prefixed, as in this place), καὶ διὰ τὸ θέλημά σου εἰσί , καὶ ἐκτίσθησαν , “and for thy will” (“thy pleasure,” “thy glory”) “they are, and were created.” Romans 11:36, Εἰς ὅν τὰ πάντα , “To whom” (to him, or for him, or his glory) “are all things.” Proverbs 16:4, כֹּל פָעַלּ יְהָֹוה לַמַּעֲנֵהוּ , “The LORD hath made all things for himself;” his glory is the final cause of them all.

Καὶ δι᾿ οὗ τὰ πάντα , “and by whom are all things.” Διά with a genitive denotes the efficient cause. Some from this expression would have the Son to be the person here spoken of, because concerning him it is frequently said that all things are δι᾿ αὐτοῦ , Joh 1:3 , 1 Corinthians 8:6, Hebrews 1:3; but it is used also with reference unto the Father, Romans 11:36, Galatians 1:1. Schlichtingius here gives it for a rule, that when διά relates unto the Father, it denotes the principal efficient cause; when unto the Son, the instrumental. But it is a rule of his own coining, a groundless efflux of his πρῶτον ψεῦδος , that the Son is not God; on which kind of presumptions men may found what Ruth 1:0 es they please. The principal efficiency or supreme production of all things by God is intended in this expression. ᾿Αγαγόντα , “bringing,” a word of common use and known signification, but in this place attended with a double difficulty, from a double enallage in the of it: First, in the case; for whereas it seems to relate unto αὐτῷ , “it became him in bringing,” it should then regularly be ἀγαγόντι , not ἀγαγόντα . Hence some, by supposing a σύγχυσις in the words, refer it unto ἀρχηγόν , “the author;” as if the apostle had said, Τὸν ἀρχημὸν τῆς σωτηρίας αὐτῶν πολλοὺς υἱοὺς ἀγαγόντα , “To make perfect the captain of their salvation, who brought many sons unto glory.” But this transposition of the words, neither the context nor the addition of αὐτῶν , “their,” unto σωτηρίας , “their salvation,” relating unto the sons before mentioned, will by any means allow. Wherefore an enallage of the case is necessarily to be allowed, ἀγαγόντα for ἀγαγόντι , unless we suppose a repetition ἔπρεπε , which frequently admits of the accusative case; but the principal author is unquestionably intended. Again, ἀγαγόντα is a participle of the second aoristus, which usually denotes the time past, and thence is it translated by many, “adduxit,” “adduxerat,” and “filib adductis;” “after he had brought many sons to glory.” And this some refer to the saints who died under the old testament, unto whom the Lord Christ was no less a captain of salvation than to us. And so the apostle shows that after they were saved on his account, it was meet that he should answer for them, according to his undertaking. But neither doth this restraining of the word answer the apostle’s intention: for it is evident he principally minded them unto whom the Lord Jesus became eminently a captain of salvation after he was perfected by sufferings though not exclusively unto them that went before. ᾿Αγαγόντα then, is put for ἅγοντα , unless we shall suppose that the act of God here intended was on purpose thus expressed to comprehend all the sons, both those that lived before and those that lived after the sufferings of Christ, “bringing,” “leading,” “bearing unto glory.” It concerns the whole execution of the design of God for the salvation and glorification of beliveres. Πολλοὺς υἱούς , “many sons,” Jews and Gentiles, all that were by faith to become his sons.

Τὲν ἀρχημόν , “the author.” Wherever this word is used in the New Testament it is applied unto Christ. Acts 3:15 he is called ἀρχηγὸς τῆς ζωῆς , “the prince of life;” and Acts 5:31, God is said to make him ἀρχηγὸς καὶ σωτῆρα “a prince and a savior;” that is, ἀρχηγὸν τῆς σωτηρίας , as here, “the prince of our salvation.” Hebrews 12:2, the apostle calls him, τὸν τῆς πίστεως ἀρχηγὸν καὶ τελειωτήν , as we render it, “the author and finisher of faith;” as here God said τελειῶσαι τὸν ἀρχηγόν , to finish or perfect this author of our salvation. Nowhere else is this word used in in the New Testament. It answers justly the Hebrew נָגִיד , which the LXX. render ἄρχων and ἡγούμενος , the signification of both which words is included in ἀρχηγός , “princeps” “dux” “praeses” “auctor,” “ a prince” “captain,” “ruler,” “author.” And it is used in writers with respect to works good and bad. ᾿Αρχηγὸς διδάσκαλος τὼν ἔργων τοιούτων , Isocrat.; “The author and teacher of such works.” And ἀρχηγὸς τοῦ κακουργήματος , “artifex maleficii,” “the principal contriver of mischief.” It is also used for the author of astock, race, or kindred of men. In this place it is limited by σωτηρίας . It denotes the chief or principal operator or worker of that salvation, with especial reference unto the kingly or princely power whereunto he was advanced after his sufferings; as he is also absolutely a prince, a ruler, and the author or spring of the whole race and kind of believers, according unto the other senses of the word.

Τελειῶσαι . This word is variously used and variously rendered: “to consummate,” “to perfect,” “to make perfect;” “to consecrate,” “dedicate,” “sanctify.” Some would have it in this place to be the same with ἄγειν εἰς δόξαν , “to bring unto glory.” But what is the precise signification of the word we shall clear in the exposition ensuing, when we declare what act of God it is that is here intended.

Before we proceed to the exposition of the several parts of this text, we must consider the order of the words, to prevent some mistakes that divers learned commentators have fallen into about them. Some suppose a hyperbaton in them, and that these expressions, “For whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory,” do intend the Son, the captain of salvation. The word αὐτῷ , “him,” “it became him,” they confess to relate unto Θεοῦ , “God,” in the verse foregoing, and to relate unto the Father. In which order this would be the sense of the words:

“It became him,” that is, God, “to make perfect through sufferings the captain of their salvation, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, who bringeth many sons unto glory.” But there is no just reason why we should arbitrarily thus transpose the words. And that separation of “for whom are all things, and by whom are all things,” from “it became him,” takes away one main foundation of the apostle’s reasoning, as we shall see. And the reason alleged for this ordering of the words is infirm, namely, that it is Christ who brings the many sons unto glory, not the Father; for it is also assigned unto him, as we shall see, upon many accounts.

Some refer the whole words unto Christ, to this purpose, “It became him,” that is, the Son incarnate, “for whom,” etc., “bringing many sons unto glory, to be consummated” or “made perfect by sufferings.” So Tena, and those whom he followeth. But this exposition of the words is directly contrary to the scope of the apostle, declared in the verse foregoing and that following. It leaves also αὐτῷ , “him,” nothing to relate unto, nor allows the causal γάρ , “for,” to give an account of any act of God before mentioned. And, besides, the whole of it is built on the corruption or mistake of one word in the Vulgar translation, “consummari” for “consummare,” and that but in some copies, as is acknowledged by the most learned Romanists, who here adhere unto the original; for taking that word actively, and the object of the act expressed in it being the captain of salvation, some agent distinct from him must needs be signified, which is God the Father.

Some suppose an ἔλλειψις in the words, and therefore in the reading of those, “in bringing many sons unto glory,” they supply, “by afflictions” or “sufferings:” “Having brought many sons to glory by afflictions, it became him to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.” So Cappellus. But this imaginary defect arose merely from a mistake, that the τὸ πρέπον , or condecency here mentioned, hath a respect unto the things done, that seeing the sons had suffered, it was meet and convenient that their captain should do so in an eminent manner. But the truth is, it respects only the doer of them; it was on his part requisite so to do the things mentioned. [3]

[3] EXPOSITION. Τελειῶσαι . This word refers either to Christ’s consecration to office or to his exaltation to his reward. Turner holds it difficult to conceive how suffering could be the means of consecrating Christ to his priestly office, and that he must have been priest before his sufferings commenced, whereas the other view is in accordance with various parts of the New Testament, and with all the places in the epistle in which the word occurs. Conybeare and Howson hold that itmeans literally to bring to the appointed accomplishment, to develop the full idea of the character, to consummate. The last word, they state, would be the best translation, if it were not so unusual as applied to persons. TRANSLATION. “It became him, for whom and through whom all things subsist, to make perfect through suffering the c aptain of their salvation, as one who should bring many sons unto glory.” Ebrard. ED.

Hebrews 2:10 . 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.

There are in the words,

1. The causal connection unto the verse foregoing, “for.”

2. A design of God intimated as the foundation of the discourse, which was, to “bring many sons unto glory.”

3. The means he fixed on for the accomplishment of that design, namely, the appointing unto them a “captain of their salvation.”

4. The especial way of his dedicating him unto that office, he “made him perfect by sufferings”

5. The reason of this his proceeding and dealing with him, it “became him” so to do.

6. An amplification of that reason, in a description of his condition, “him for whom are all things, and by whom are all things.”

1. A reason is rendered in the words of what he had asserted in the foregoing verse, namely, that Jesus, the Messiah, was to suffer death, and by the grace of God to “taste of death for all.” Why he should do this, on what account, what ground, necessity, and reason there was for it, is here declared. It was so to be, “for it became him,” etc.

2. The design of God is expressed in this whole matter, and that was, to “bring many sons unto glory.” And herein the apostle declares the nature of the salvation which was to be wrought by the Messiah, about which the Jews were so greatly mistaken, and consequently in and about the way whereby it was to be wrought. His purpose herein was not now to carry his children into a new Canaan, to bring them into a wealthy country, an earthly kingdom; which must or might have been done by might, and power, and arms, as of old: but his design towards his sons, in and by the Messiah, was of another nature; it was to bring them unto glory, eternal glory with himself in heaven. And so it is no wonder if the way whereby this is to be accomplished be quite of another nature than that whereby their temporal deliverance was wrought, namely, by the death and sufferings of the Messiah himself. And here, in reference unto this design of God, it is supposed, First, That some who were created for the glory of God had by sin come short of it; so that without a new way of bringing them unto it, it was impossible that they should ever be made partakers of it. This is here supposed by the apostle, and is the foundation of all his doctrine concerning the Messiah. Secondly, That the way whereby God will at length bring them who are designed unto glory thereunto, is by taking of them first into a state of sonship and reconciliation with himself; they must be sons before they are brought to glory. There is a double act of God’s predestination: the first is his designation of some unto grace, to be sons, Ephesians 1:5; the other, his appointment of those sons unto glory; both to be wrought and accomplished by Christ, the captain of their salvation. The latter, and the execution of it, namely, the bringing of those unto glory who by grace are made sons, is that which the apostle here expresseth. He dealeth not with the Hebrews in this epistle about the conversion of the elect, the traduction of them into a state of grace and sonship, but of the government of them being made sons, and their guidance unto glory. And therefore the sufferings of Christ, which absolutely and in themselves are the cause of our sonship and reconciliation with God, are mentioned here only as the means whereby Christ entered into a condition of leading sons unto glory, or of saving them who, upon the account of his sufferings, are made sons by grace. But yet this is not so precisely respected neither, but that the apostle withal intimates the necessity of the suffering of Christ, as to the whole effect of it towards the elect. Now these sons, thus to be brought unto glory, are said to be “many;” not all absolutely, not a few, or of the Jews only, which they looked for, but all the elect of God, who are many, Revelation 7:9. And this work, of bringing many sons unto glory, is here signally assigned by the apostle unto God the Father; whose love, wisdom, and grace, believers are principally to eye in the whole work of their salvation, wrought out and accomplished by Jesus Christ. This, therefore, we shall a little insist upon, to declare the grounds and reasons on the account whereof it is to be ascribed unto him, or what acts are peculiarly assigned unto the Father in this work of bringing many sons unto glory; which will secure the ascription of it unto him, and therein our interpretation of the place.

(1.) The eternal designation of them unto that glory whereunto they are to be brought is peculiarly assigned unto him. He “predestinates them to be conformed to the image of his Son,” Romans 8:28-30. The “God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ chooseth us before the foundation of the world,” and “predestinateth us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ unto himself,” Ephesians 1:3-5; and “he hath from the beginning chosen us unto salvation,” 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14. And this electing love of God, this eternal purpose of his good pleasure, which he purposed in himself, is the fountain and spring of all other immediate causes of our salvation. From hence faith, Acts 13:45, sanctification, 2 Thessalonians 2:13, holiness, Ephesians 1:4, preservation in grace, 2 Timothy 2:19, the death of Christ for them, John 3:16, and final glory itself, 2 Timothy 2:10, do all ensue and proceed: so that on the account hereof he may be justly said to be the bringer of many sons to glory.

(2.) He was the spring and fountain of that covenant (as in all other operations of the Deity) that was of old between himself and his Son about the salvation and glory of the elect. See Zechariah 6:13; Isaiah 42:1; Proverbs 8:22-31; Isaiah 1:4-9; Isaiah 53:10-12; Psalms 16:10; Psalms 110:1; Psalms 110:6. He, in his love and grace, is still declared as the proposer both of the duty and of the reward of the mediator, the Son incarnate, as the Son accepts of his terms and proposals, Hebrews 10:5-9. And hence the intenseness of his love, the immutability of his counsel, the holiness of his nature, his righteousness and faithfulness, his infinite wisdom, do all shine forth in the mediation and sufferings of Christ, Romans 3:25-26; Romans 5:8; 1 John 4:9; Hebrews 6:17-18; Titus 1:2. Rather than his love should not be satisfied and his counsel accomplished, he spared not his own Son, but gave him unto death for us.

(3.) He signally gave out the first promise, that great foundation of the covenant of grace; and afterwards declared, confirmed, and ratified by his oath, that covenant wherein all the means of bringing the elect unto glory are contained, Genesis 3:15; Jeremiah 31:31-34; Hebrews 8:8-12. The person of the Father is considered as the principal author of the covenant, as the person covenanting and taking us into covenant with himself; the Son, as the Messiah, being considered as the surety and mediator of it, Hebrews 7:22; Hebrews 9:15, and the purchaser of the promises of it.

(4.) He gave and sent his Son to be a Savior and Redeemer for them and unto them; so that in his whole work, in all that he did and suffered, he obeyed the command and fulfilled the will of the Father. Him did God the Father “send,” and “seal,” and “give,” and “set forth,” as the Scripture everywhere expresseth it. And our Lord Jesus Christ everywhere remits us to the consideration of the love, will, and authority of his Father, in all that he did, taught, or suffered; so seeking the glory of God that sent him.

(5.) He draws his elect, and enables them to come to the Son, to believe in him, and so to obtain life, salvation, and glory by him. “No man,” saith our Savior, “can come to me, except the Father, which hath sent me, draw him,” John 6:44. No man, no, not any one of the elect, can come to Christ, unless the Father, in the pursuit of that love from whence it was that he sent the Son, do put forth the efficacy of his grace to enable him thereunto: and accordingly he reveals him unto some, when he is hidden from others, Matthew 11:25; for the revelation of Christ unto the soul is the immediate act of the Father, Matthew 16:17.

(6.) Being reconciled unto them by the blood of his Son, he reconciles them unto himself, by giving them pardon and forgiveness of sins in and by the promises of the gospel; without which they cannot come to glory. He is in Christ reconciling us unto himself, by the non-imputation or forgiveness of our sins, 2 Corinthians 5:18-21; forgiving us all our trespasses for Christ’s sake, Ephesians 4:32. There are many things concurring unto the pardon of sin that are peculiar acts of the Father.

(7.) He quickens them and sanctifies them by his Spirit, to make them “meet for the inheritance of the saints in light;” that is, for the enjoyment of glory. “He that raised up Jesus from the dead quickens us by his Spirit,” Romans 8:11; so

“saving us by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost, which he shed on us richly by Jesus Christ,” Titus 3:5-6.

This renovation and sanctification by the Holy Ghost, and all supplies of actual grace, enabling us unto obedience, are everywhere asserted as the grant and work of the Father, “who worketh in us both to will and to do of his own good pleasure.” And so in especial is the saving illumination of our minds, to know the mystery of his grace, and discern the things that are of God, 2 Corinthians 4:6; Colossians 2:2; Ephesians 3:14-19; Matthew 11:25.

(8.) As the great Father of the family he adopts them, and makes them his sons, that so he may bring them unto glory. He gives them the power or privilege to become the sons of God, John 1:11; making them heirs and co-heirs with Christ, Romans 8:14-17; sending withal into their hearts the Spirit of adoption, enabling them to cry, “Abba, Father,” Galatians 4:6. The whole right of adopting children is in the Father; and so is the authoritative translation of them out of the world and kingdom of Satan into his own family and household, with their investiture in all the rights and privileges thereof.

(9.) He confirms them in faith, establisheth them in obedience, preserveth them from dangers and oppositions of all sorts, and in manifold wisdom keeps them through his power unto the glory prepared for them; as 2 Corinthians 1:21-22; Ephesians 3:20-21; 1 Peter 1:5; John 17:11.

(10.) He gives them the Holy Ghost as their comforter, with all those blessed and unspeakable benefits which attend that gift of his, Matthew 7:11; Luke 11:13; John 14:16-17; Galatians 4:6. In brief, in bringing the elect unto glory, all the sovereign acts of power, wisdom, love, and grace exerted therein, are peculiarly assigned unto the Father, as all ministerial acts are unto the Son as mediator; so that there is no reason why he may not be said, by the way of eminency, to be the ἀγωγεύς , the leader or bringer of his sons unto glory.

And herein lies a great direction unto believers, and a great supportment for their faith. Peter tells us that

“by Christ we do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that our faith and hope might be in God,” 1 Peter 1:21.

Jesus Christ, considered as mediator, is the next, but not the ultimate object of our faith and hope. We so believe in him as by him to believe in God, that is, the Father, whose love is the supreme fountain and spring of our salvation; which the apostle manifests in that double instance of his raising up Christ and giving him glory, thereby declaring himself the principal author of the great work of his mediation. This he directs us unto, so to believe in Christ as that, discerning in and by him the grace, good- will, and love of the Father himself towards us, we may be encouraged to fix our faith and hope on him, seeing he himself loveth us. So that Christ himself had no need to pray for the love of the Father unto us, but only for the communication of the effects of it, John 16:26-27. And this is the work of faith, when, as we are directed, we pray to the Father in the name of Christ, John 16:23-24; John 16:23-24; and we thus place our faith in God the Father, when we conceive of him as the sovereign leader of us unto glory, by all the instances before mentioned. And then doth faith find rest in him, delight, complacency, and satisfaction, as we have elsewhere declared.

3. There is in these words intimated the principal means that God fixed on for the accomplishment of this design of his, for the bringing of many sons unto glory; it was by appointing a “captain of their salvation.” The Jews generally granted that the Messiah was to be the captain of their salvation; but misunderstanding that salvation, they also mistook the whole nature of his office. The apostle doth here evidently compare him unto Joshua, the captain and leader of the people into Canaan (as he had before preferred him above the angels, by whose ministry the law was given unto the people in the wilderness), which was a type of their salvation, as he further declares, chapter 4. All the sons of God are put under his conduct and guidance, as the people of old were put under the rule of Joshua, to bring them unto the glory designed for them, and promised unto them in the covenant made with Abraham. And he is called their ἀρχηγός , “prince,” “ruler,” and “captain,” or “author” of their salvation, on several accounts:

(1.) Of his authority and right to rule over them in order unto their salvation. So he appeared unto Joshua as שראּצְבָאאּיְהָֹוה , Joshua 5:14, “The captain of the LORD’S host;” intimating thus that there was another captain and other work to do than what Joshua had then in hand, the general of all the people of God, as Joab was to Israel, שׂראּצְבָא .

(2.) Of his actual leading and conduct of them, by his example, Spirit, and grace, through all the difficulties of their warfare. So he was promised as נָגִיד , Isaiah 55:4, “princeps,” “dux,” “antecessor,” ἀρχηγός , “a leader and commander of the people,” one that goes before them for their direction and guidance, giving them an example in his own person of doing and suffering the will of God, and so entering into glory. So he is their πρόδρομος , Hebrews 6:20, “antecessor,” “forerunner;” or, as Daniel calls him, מָשִׁיחַ נָגִיד , Daniel 9:25, “Messiah the prince,” or “guide.”

(3.) As he is unto them αἴτιος σωτηρίας αἰσινίου , as Hebrews 5:9, “the author” (or “cause”) “of eternal salvation;” he procured and purchased it for them. So that the expression denotes both his acquisition of salvation itself, and his conduct or leading of the people of God unto the enjoyment of it. And the Holy Ghost hereby also intimates, that the way whereby God will bring the sons unto glory is full of difficulties, perplexities, and oppositions, as that of the Israelites into Canaan was also; so that they have need of a captain, leader, and guide, to carry them through it. But yet all is rendered safe and secure unto them, through the power, grace, and faithfulness of their leader. They only perish in the wilderness and die in their sins, who, either out of love unto the flesh-pots of Egypt, the pleasures of this world, or being terrified with the hardships of the warfare which he calls them unto, refuse to go up under his command.

4. There is expressed in the words the especial way whereby God fitted or designed the Lord Christ unto this office, of being a captain of salvation unto the sons to be brought unto glory. To understand this aright, we must observe that the apostle speaks not here of the redemption of the elect absolutely, but of the bringing them to glory, when they are made sons in an especial manner. And therefore he treats not absolutely of the designation, consecration, or fitting of the Lord Christ unto his office of mediator in general, but as unto that part, and the execution of it, which especially concerns the leading of the sons unto glory, as Joshua led the Israelites into Canaan. This will give us light into what act of God towards the Lord Christ is intended in this expression, τελειῶσαι αὐτὸν διὰ παθημάτων . And sundry are here pleaded by expositors, not without some probability; as,

(1.) Some think that his bringing him to glory is intended: it became him τελειῶσαι , to bring him to glory, by and through sufferings, so to perfect him But besides that the word is nowhere so used, nor hath any such signification, the apostle doth not declare what God intended to bring him unto, but by what in and about him he intended to bring many sons to glory.

(2.) Some would have it to denote the finishing of God’s work about him; whence in his sufferings on the cross he said Τετέλεσται , “It is finished,” John 19:30. This answers, indeed, the sense of the word τελέω , used in that place by our Savior, but not of τελειόω , the word here used by the apostle, which never signifies to end or finish, or to perfect by bringing unto an end.

(3.) Some think God made the Lord Christ perfect by sufferings, in that he gave him thereby a full sense and experience of the condition of his people, whence he is said to “learn obedience by the things which he suffered,” Hebrews 5:8. And this is true, God did so; but it is not formally and directly expressed by this word, which is never used unto that purpose. This is rather a consequent of the act here intended than the act itself. Τελειῶσαι , then, in this place signifies to “consecrate,” “dedicate,’’to “sanctify” unto an office, or some especial part or act of an office. This is the proper meaning of the word. Τέλη are “mysteries;’’and τελεταί , “sacred acts and offices;” τετελεσμένοι are those who are initiated and consecrated unto sacred offices or employments. See Exodus 29:33; Exodus 29:35, in the LXX. Hence the ancients called baptism τελειωτής , or consecration unto the sacred service of Christ. And ἁγιάζω , the word next insisted on by our apostle, is so used by Christ himself, John 17:19: ῾Υπὲρ αὐτῶν ἐγὼ ὑγιάζω ἐμαυτόν· “For their sakes I sanctify” (that is, “dedicate, consecrate, separate”) “myself” to be a sacrifice. And his blood is said to be that ἐν ᾧ ἡγιάσθη , Hebrews 10:29, “wherewith he was so consecrated.” Nor is this word used in any other sense in this whole epistle, wherein it is often used, when applied unto Christ. See Hebrews 5:9; Hebrews 7:28. And this was the use of the word among the heathen, signifying the initiation and consecration of a man into the mysteries of their religion, to be a leader unto others. And among some of them it was performed, through the instigation of the devil, by great sufferings: Οὐκ ἂν εἰς Μίθραν δυνησαίτο τις τελεσθῆναι εἰ μὴ διὰ τινῶν βαθμῶν παρελθὼν τῶν κολασμῶν δείξῃ ἑαυτὸν ὃσιον καὶ ἀπαθῆ , saith Gregory Nazianzen, Orat. cont. Jul. i.;

“No man could be consecrated unto the mysteries of Mithra” (the sun) “unless he proved himself holy, and as it were inviolable, by passing through many degrees of punishments and trials.”

Thus it became God to dedicate and consecrate the Lord Christ unto this part of his office by his own sufferings. He consecrated Aaron to be priest of old, but by the hands of Moses, and he was set apart to his office by the sacrifice of other things. But the Lord Christ must be consecrated by his own sufferings and the sacrifice of himself. And thence it is that those very sufferings which, as antecedaneous unto his being a captain of salvation, to this end that he might lead the sons unto glory, are the means of his dedication or consecration, are in themselves a great part of that means whereby he procures salvation for them. By all the sufferings, then, of the Lord Christ in his life and death, by which sufferings he wrought out the salvation of the elect, did God consecrate and dedicate him to be a prince, a leader, and captain of salvation unto his people; as Peter declares the whole matter, Acts 5:30-31, and Acts 2:36. And from these things last mentioned, of the Lord Christ being the captain of our salvation, and being dedicated unto that office by his own suffering, it appeareth,

I. That the whole work of saving the sons of God, from first to last, their guidance and conduct through sins and sufferings unto glory, is committed unto the Lord Jesus; whence he is constantly to be eyed by believers in all the concernments of their faith, obedience, and consolation. “Behold,” saith the Lord, “I have given him for a witness to the people, a leader and commander to the people,” Isaiah 55:4; a witness, to testify the truth, in revealing the mind and will of God; a leader, going before them as a prince and captain, as the word signifies; and a commander, that gives out laws and rules for their obedience. God hath set him as a lord over his whole house, Hebrews 3:6, and committed all the management of all its concernments unto him. There is no person that belongs unto God’s design of bringing many sons to glory, but he is under his rule and inspection; neither is there any thing that concerns any of them in their passage towards glory, whereby they may be furthered or hindered in their way, but the care is committed unto him, as the care of the whole army lies on the general or prince of the host. This the prophet sets out in his type, Eliakim, Isaiah 22:21-24. He is fastened as a nail in a sure place; and all the glory of the house, and every vessel of it, from the greatest unto the least, is hanged on him. The weight of all, the care of all, is upon him, committed unto him. When the people came out of Egypt with Moses they were numbered unto him, he being the administrator of the law, and they died all in the wilderness; but they were delivered again by tale and number unto Joshua, the type of Christ, and none of them, not one, failed of entering into Canaan. And, first, he dischargeth this trust as a faithful captain,

(1.) With care and watchfulness: Psalms 121:4, “Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.” There is no time nor season wherein the sons committed unto his care may be surprised through any neglect or regardlessness in him; his eyes are always open upon them; they are never out of his heart nor thoughts; they are engraven on the palms of his hands, and their walls are continually before him; or, as he expresseth it, Isaiah 27:3,

“I the LORD do keep my vineyard; I will water it every moment: lest any hurt it, I will keep it night and day.”

Greater care and watchfulness cannot be expressed; “night and day,” and “every moment” in them, he is intent about this work. Oh how great an encouragement is this to adhere unto him, to follow him in the whole course of obedience that he calls unto! This puts life into soldiers, and gives them security, when they know that their commander is continually careful for them.

(2.) He dischargeth this great trust with tenderness and love: Isaiah 40:11,

“He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.”

These sons are of various sorts and degrees; the best and strongest of them are but sheep, poor, infirm, and helpless creatures; and amongst them some are young and tender, as lambs; some heavy and burdened with sins and afflictions, like those that are with young. In tender compassion he condescends unto all their conditions; feeds and preserves the whole flock as a shepherd; gathers in his arm and bears in his bosom those that otherwise, by their infirmity, would be cast behind and left unto danger. Compassion he hath for them that err and are out of the way; he seeks for them that wander, heals the diseased, feeds them when they are even a flock of slaughter. And where these two concur, care and compassion, there can be no want of any thing, Psalms 23:1. Indeed, Zion is ready sometimes to complain that she is forgotten. The sons in great distresses, afflictions, persecutions, temptations, that may befall them in their way to glory, are apt to think they are forgotten and disregarded, that they are left as it were to shift for themselves, and to wrestle with their difficulties by their own strength and wisdom, which they know to be as a thing of nought. But this fear is vain and ungrateful. Whilst they are found in the way, following the captain of their salvation, it is utterly impossible that this watchfulness, care, love, and tenderness, should in any thing be wanting unto them.

(3.) He leads them with power, authority, and majesty: Micah 5:4, “He shall stand and rule in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God; and they shall abide.” The “name of God” is in him, accompanied with his power and majesty, which he puts forth in the feeding and ruling of his people; whereon their safety doth depend. “They shall abide,” or dwell in safety; because in this his glory and majesty he shall be great, or be magnified unto the ends of the earth. So also is he described in his rule: Zechariah 6:13,

“Even he shall build the temple of the LORD; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne.”

Having built the temple, raised a house and family to God, he shall be the ruler or captain of it, to preserve it unto glory; and this in a glorious manner, bearing the glory of God, sitting upon a throne, in the whole discharge of his office both as a king and priest. Unto this end is he intrusted with all the power and authority which we have before described, God having given him to be “head over all things unto his church.” There is nothing so high, so great, so mighty, that lies in the way of his sons to glory, but it must stoop to his authority and give place to his power. The whole kingdom of Satan, the strongholds of sin, the high imaginations of unbelief, the strength and malice of the world, all sink before him. And thence are they described as so glorious and successful in their way: Micah 2:13,

“The breaker is come up before them: they have broken up, and have passed through the gate, and are gone out by it: and their king shall pass before them, and the LORD on the head of them.”

Many obstacles lie in their way, but they shall break through them all, because of their king and lord that goes before them. And those difficulties which in this world they meet withal, that seem to be too hard for them, their persecutions and sufferings, though they may put a stop unto somewhat of their outward profession, yet they shall not in the least hinder them in their progress unto glory. Their captain goes before them with power and authority, and breaks up all the hedges and gates that lie in their way, and gives them a free and abundant entrance into the kingdom of God.

Secondly, As the manner how, so the acts wherein and whereby this antecessor and captain of salvation leads on the sons of God may be considered. And he doth it variously :

(1.) He goes before them in the whole way unto the end. This is a principal duty of a captain or leader, to go before his soldiers. Hence they that went unto the war were said to go at the feet of their commanders: Judges 4:10, “Barak went up with ten thousand men at his feet;” that is, they followed him, and went where he went before them. And this also became the captain of the Lord’s host, even to go before his people in their whole way, not putting them on any thing, not calling them to any thing, which himself passeth not before them in. And there are three things whereunto their whole course may be referred:

[1.] Their obedience;

[2.] Their sufferings;

[3.] Their entrance into glory;

and in all these hath the Lord Christ gone before them, and that as their captain and leader, inviting them to engage into them, and courageously to pass through them, upon his example and the success that he sets before them.

[1.] As unto obedience, he himself was “made under the law,” and “learned obedience,” “fulfilling all righteousness.” Though he was in his own person above the law, yet he submitted himself to every law of God and righteous law of men, that he might give an example unto them who were of necessity to be subject unto them. So he tells his disciples, as to one instance of his humility, “I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done,” John 13:15; as he calls on all to “learn of him, for he was meek and lowly in heart,” Matthew 11:29, that is, learn to be like him in those heavenly graces. This the apostles proposed as their pattern and ours: 1 Corinthians 11:1, “Be followers of me, as I am of Christ;” that is, ‘labor with me to imitate Christ.’And the utmost perfection which we are bound to aim at in holiness and obedience, is nothing but conformity unto Jesus Christ, and the pattern that he hath set before us, to mark his footsteps and to follow him. This is our putting on of Jesus Christ, and growing up into the same image and likeness with him.

[2.] He goes before the sons of God in sufferings, and therein is also a leader unto them by his example. “Christ,” saith Peter, “hath suffered for us, leaving us an example that we should follow his steps;” that is, be ready and prepared unto patience in sufferings when we are called thereunto, as he explains himself, 1 Peter 4:1, ‘“Forasmuch as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves therefore with the same mind,” that you may follow him in the same way.’And this our apostle presseth much in this epistle, Hebrews 12:2-3,

“Look unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith; who, for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame..... For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.”

The sons of God are sometimes ready to think it strange that they should fall into calamity and distresses, and are apt to say with Hezekiah, “Remember, O LORD, we beseech thee, how we have walked before thee in truth, and with an upright heart, and have done that which is good in thy sight,” and weep sore; supposing that this might have freed them from oppositions and persecutions. And so it was with Gideon. When the angel told him the Lord was with him, he replies, “Whence is all this evil come upon us?” But when they find it is otherwise, and begin to apply themselves unto their condition, yet if their troubles continue, if they are not in their season removed, they are ready to be “weary and faint in their minds.” But saith the apostle, ‘Consider the captain of your salvation, he hath set you another manner of example; notwithstanding all his sufferings, he fainted not.’The like argument he presseth, Hebrews 13:12-13. And the Scripture in many places represents unto us the same consideration. The Jews have a saying, that a third part of the afflictions and troubles that shall be in the world do belong unto the Messiah. But our apostle, who knew better than they, makes all the afflictions of the church to be the “afflictions of Christ,” Colossians 1:24, who both before underwent them in his own person and led the way to all that shall follow him. And as the obedience of Christ, which is our pattern, did incomparably exceed whatever we can attain unto; so the sufferings of Christ, which are our example, did incomparably exceed all that we shall be called unto. Our pattern is excellent, inimitable in the substance and parts of it, unattainable and unexpressible in its degrees, and he is the best proficient who attends most thereunto.

But what is the end of all this obedience and suffering? death lies at the door, as the ocean whereinto all these streams do run, and seems to swallow them up, that there they are lost for ever. No; for,

[3.] This captain of our salvation is gone before us in passing through death, and entering into glory. He hath showed us in his own resurrection (that great pledge of our immortality) that death is not the end of our course, but a passage into another more abiding condition. He promiseth that whosoever believeth on him, they shall not be lost, or perish, or consumed by death, but that he will raise them up at the last day, John 6:39-40. But how shall this be confirmed unto them? Death looks ghastly and dreadful, as a lion that devours all that come within his reach. ‘Why,’ saith Christ, ‘behold me, entering into his jaws, passing through his power, rising from under his dominion; and fear not, so shall it be with you also.’This our apostle disputes at large, 1 Corinthians 15:12-21. He is gone before us through death, and is become “the first-fruits of them that sleep.” And had Christ passed into heaven before he died, as did Enoch and Elijah, we had wanted the greatest evidence of our future immortality. What, then, remains for the finishing of our course? Why, the captain of our salvation, after he had suffered, entered into glory, and that as our leader, or forerunner, Hebrews 6:20. Jesus as our forerunner is entered into heaven. He is gone before us, to evidence unto us what is the end of our obedience and sufferings. In all this is he a captain and leader unto the sons of God.

(2.) He guides them and directs them in their way. This also belongs unto him as their captain and guide. Two things in this are they of themselves defective in:

[1.] They know not the way that leads to happiness and glory; and,

[2.] They want ability to discern it aright when it is showed unto them. And in both they are relieved and assisted by their leader; in the first by his word, in the latter by his Spirit.

[1.] Of themselves they know not the way; as Thomas said, “How can we know the way?” The will of God, the mystery of his love and grace, as to the way whereby he will bring sinners unto glory, is unknown to the sons of men by nature. It was a secret “hid in God,” a sealed book, which none in heaven or earth could open. But this Jesus Christ hath fully declared in his word unto all the sons that are to be brought unto glory. He hath revealed the Father from his own bosom, John 1:18; and declared those “heavenly things” which no man knew but he that came down from heaven, and yet at the same time was in heaven, John 3:12-13. In his word hath he declared the name and revealed the whole counsel of God, and “brought life and immortality to light,” 2 Timothy 1:10. Whatever is any way needful, useful, helpful, in their obedience, worship of God, suffering, expectation of glory, he hath taught it them all, revealed it all unto them; other teachers they need not. Had there been any thing belonging unto their way which he had not revealed unto them, he had not been a perfect captain of salvation unto them. And men do nothing but presumptuously derogate from his glory, who will be adding and imposing their prescriptions in and about this way.

[2.] Again; the way being revealed in the word, he enables them by his Spirit to see, discern, and know it, in such a holy and saving manner as is needful to bring them unto the end of it. He gives them eyes to see, as well as provides paths for them to walk in. It had been to no purpose to have declared the way, if he had not also given them light to see it. This blessed work of his Spirit is everywhere declared in the Scripture, Isaiah 43:16. And by this means is he unto us what he was unto the church in the wilderness, when he went before them in a pillar of fire, to guide them in their way, and to show them where they should rest. And herein lies no small part of the discharge of his office towards us as the captain of our salvation. Whatever acquaintance we have with the way to glory, we have it from him alone; and whatever ability we have to discern the way, he is the fountain and author of it. This God hath designed and called him unto. And all our wisdom consists in this, that we betake ourselves unto him, to him alone, for instruction and direction in this matter, Matthew 17:5. Doth not he deservedly wander, yea, and perish, who in war will neglect the orders and directions of his general, and attend unto every idle tale of men pretending to show him a way that they have found out better than that which his captain hath limited him unto?

(3.) He supplies them with strength by his grace, that they may be able to pass on in their way. They have much work lying before them, much to do, much to suffer, and “without him they can do nothing,” John 15:5.

Wherefore he watcheth over them, to “succor them that are tempted,” Hebrews 2:18, and to give out “help” unto them all “in time of need,” Hebrews 4:16; and hence they who have no might, no sufficiency, “can do all things, through Christ that strengtheneth them,” Philippians 4:13. Nothing is too hard for them, nothing can prevail against them, because of the constant supplies of grace which the captain of their salvation communicates unto them. And this makes the ways of the gospel marvellous both to the world and to believers themselves. Their “life is hid with Christ in God,” Colossians 3:3; and they have “a new name, which no man knoweth,” Revelation 2:17. The world seeing poor, mean, weak, contemptible creatures, willing, ready, and able to suffer, endure, and die for the name of Christ, stand astonished, not knowing where their great strength lies; as the Philistines did at the might of Samson, whom they saw with their eyes to be like other men. Let them, in the height of their pride and rage of their madness, pretend what they please, they cannot but be they really are, amazed to see poor creatures, whom otherwise they exceedingly despise, constant unto the truth and profession of the gospel, against all their allurements and affrightments. They know not, they consider not the constant supplies of strength and grace which they receive from their leader. He gives them the Spirit of truth, which the world neither sees nor knows, John 14:17; and therefore it wonders from whence they have their ability and constancy. They cry, ‘What! will nothing turn these poor foolish creatures out of their way?’They try them one way, and then another, add one weight of affliction and oppression unto another, and think surely this will effect their design; but they find themselves deceived, and know not whence it is. The ways of obedience are hence also marvellous unto believers themselves. When they consider their own frailty and weakness, how ready they are to faint, how often they are surprised, and withal take a prospect of what opposition lies against them, from indwelling sin, Satan, and the world, which they are acquainted with in several instances of their power and prevalency, they neither know how they have abode so long in their course as they have done, nor how they shall continue in it unto the end. But they are relieved when they come to the promise of the gospel. There they see whence their preservation doth proceed. They see this captain of their salvation, in whom is the fullness of the Spirit, and to whom are committed all the stores of grace, giving out daily and hourly unto them, as the matter doth require. As the captain in an army doth not at once give out unto his soldiers the whole provision that is needful for their way and undertaking, which if he should, the most of them would instantly waste it, and so quickly perish for want, but he keeps provision for them all in his stores, and gives out unto them according to their daily necessities; so God gave the people manna for their daily food in the wilderness: even so deals this great leader of the sons of God. He keeps the stores of grace and spiritual strength in his own hand, and from thence imparts unto them according as they stand in need.

(4.) He subdues their enemies. And this belongs unto his office, as the captain of their salvation, in an especial manner. Many enemies they have, and unless they are conquered and subdued, they can never enter into glory. Satan, the world, death, and sin, are the chief or heads of them, and all these are subdued by Christ; and that two ways:

First, in his own person; for they all attempted him, and failed in their enterprise, John 14:30. He bruised the serpent’s head, Genesis 3:15, and “destroyed him that had the power of death, that is, the devil,” Genesis 3:14 of this chapter, destroyed his power in a glorious and triumphant manner. Colossians 2:15, “he spoiled principalities and powers, and made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in his cross,” adding the utmost complement, unto his victory, in a triumph. And he overcame the world: John 16:33, “Be of good cheer,” saith he, “I have overcome the world.” Both it and the prince of it were put under his feet. Death also was subdued by him; he “swallowed it up in victory,” 1 Corinthians 15:54. He plucked out its sting, broke its power, disannulled its peremptory law, when he shook it off from him, and rose from under it, Acts 2:24. Sin also set upon him in his temptations, but was utterly foiled; as all sin is destroyed in its very being where it is not obeyed. And all this was for the advantage of the sons of God. For,

[1.] He hath given them encouragement, in showing them that their enemies are not invincible, their power is not uncontrollable, their law not peremptory or eternal; but that having been once conquered, they may the more easily be dealt withal.

[2.] They know also that all these enemies set upon his person in their quarrel, and as he was the great defender of the faithful: so that although they were not conquered by their persons, yet they were conquered in their cause; and they are called in to be sharers in the victory, although they were not engaged in the battle.

[3.] That he subdued them by God’s ordinance and appointment, as their representative; declaring in his person, who is the head, what should be accomplished in every one of his members.

[4.] And that, by his personal conquest over them, he hath left them weak, maimed, disarmed, and utterly deprived of that power they had to hurt and destroy before he engaged with them. For he hath thereby deprived them,

1 st , Of all their right and title to exercise their enmity against or dominion over the sons of God. Before his dealing with them, they had all right to the utmost over mankind, Satan to rule, the world to vex, sin to enslave, death to destroy and give up unto hell. And all this right was enrolled in the law and hand-writing of ordinances which was against us. This was cancelled by Christ, and nailed to the cross, never to be pleaded more, Colossians 2:14. And when any have lost their right or title unto any thing, whatever their strength be, they are greatly weakened. But he hath herein,

2 dly , Deprived them of their strength also. He took away the strength of sin as a law, and the sting of death in sin, the arms of the world in the curse, and the power of Satan in his works and strongholds.

But this is not all: he not only subdues these enemies for them, but also in them and by them; for though they have neither title nor arms, yet they will try the remainder of their power against them also. But “thanks be to God,” saith the apostle, “who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ,” 1 Corinthians 15:57. He enables us in our own persons to conquer all these enemies. “Nay,” saith he, “in all these things we are more than conquerors,” Romans 8:37; because we have more assurance of success, more assistance in the conflict, more joy in the trial, than any other conquerors have. We do not only conquer, but triumph also. For Satan, he tells believers “that they have overcome the wicked one,” 1 John 2:13-14; and shows how it came to pass that they should be able to do so. It is “because greater is he that is in them than he that is in the world,” 1 John 4:4. The good Spirit, which he hath given unto them to help and assist them, is infinitely greater and more powerful than that evil spirit which rules in the children of disobedience. And by this means is Satan bruised even under their feet. A conflict, indeed, we must have with him; we must “wrestle with principalities and powers in heavenly places;” but the success is secured, through the assistance we receive from this captain of our salvation.

The world also is subdued in them and by them: 1 John 5:4, “Whosoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” Faith will do this work; it never failed in it, nor ever will. He that believeth shall overcome; the whole strength of Christ is engaged unto his assistance. Sin is the worst and most obstinate of all their enemies. This puts them hard to it in the battle, and makes them cry out for aid and help, Romans 7:24. But this also they receive strength against, so as to carry away the day. “I thank God,” saith the apostle, “through Jesus Christ our Lord,” Romans 7:25, namely, for deliverance and victory. Sin hath a double design in its enmity against us; first, to reign in us; secondly, to condemn us. If it be disappointed in these designs it is absolutely conquered; and that it is by the grace of Christ. As to its reign and dominion, it is perfectly defeated for the present, Romans 6:14. The means of its rule is the authority of the law over us; that being removed, and our souls put under the conduct of grace, the reign of sin comes to an end. Nor shall it condemn us, Romans 8:1. And what can it then do? where is the voice of this oppressor? It abides but a season, and that but to endure and die. Death also contends against us, by its own sting and our fear; but the first, by the grace of Christ, is taken from it, and the latter we are delivered from, and so have the victory over it. And all this is the work of this captain of our salvation for us and in us.

(5.) He doth not only conquer all their enemies, but he avenges their sufferings upon them, and punisheth them for their enmity. These enemies, though they prevail not absolutely nor finally against the sons of God, yet, by their temptations, persecutions, oppressions, they put them ofttimes to unspeakable hardships, sorrow, and trouble. This the captain of their salvation will not take at their hands, but will avenge upon them all their ungodly endeavours, from the lowest unto the greatest and highest of them. Some he will deal withal in this world; but he hath appointed a day wherein not one of them shall escape. See Revelation 20:10; Revelation 20:14. Devil, and beast, and false prophet, and death, and hell, shall all together into the lake of fire.

(6.) He provides a reward, a crown for them; and in the bestowing thereof accomplisheth this his blessed office of the captain of our salvation. He is gone before the sons into heaven, to make ready their glory, to “prepare a place for them ;” and “he will come and receive them unto himself, that where he is, there they may be also,” John 14:2-3. When he hath given them the victory, he will take them unto himself, even unto his throne, Revelation 3:21; and, as a righteous judge, give unto them a crown of righteousness and glory, 2 Timothy 4:8, 1 Peter 5:4. And thus is the whole work of conducting the sons of God unto glory, from first to last, committed unto this great captain of their salvation, and thus doth he discharge his office and trust therein; and blessed are all they who are under his leading and guidance. And all this should teach us,

First, To betake ourselves unto him, and to rely upon him in the whole course of our obedience and all the passages thereof. To this purpose is he designed by the Father; this hath he undertaken; and this doth he go through withal. No address that is made unto him in this matter will he ever refuse to attend unto; no case or condition that is proposed unto him is too hard for him, or beyond his power to relieve. He is careful, watchful, tender, faithful, powerful; and all these properties and blessed endowments will he exercise in the discharge of this office. What should hinder us from betaking ourselves unto him continually? Is our trouble so small, are our duties so ordinary, that we can wrestle with them or perform them in our own strength? Alas! we can do nothing, not think a good thought, not endure a reproachful word. And whatever we seem to do or endure of ourselves, it is all lost; for “in us there dwelleth no good thing.” Or are our distresses so great, our temptations so many, our corruptions so strong, that we begin to say, “There is no hope?” Is any thing too hard for the captain of our salvation? Hath he not already conquered all our enemies? Is he not able to subdue all things by his power? Shall we faint whilst Jesus Christ lives and reigns? But, it may be, we have looked for help and assistance, and it hath not answered our expectation, so that now we begin to faint and despond. Sin is not subdued, the world is still triumphant, and Satan rageth as much as ever; his temptations are ready to pass over our souls. But have we sought for his help and assistance in a due manner, with faith and perseverance; unto right ends, of his glory, and advantage of the gospel? Have we taken a right measure of what we have received? or do we not complain without a cause? Let us not “judge according to outward appearance, but judge righteous judgment.” What is it to us if the world triumph, if Satan rage, if sin tempt and vex? we are not promised that it shall be otherwise. But are we forsaken? Are we not kept from being prevailed against? If we ask amiss or for improper ends, or know not what we do receive, or think, because the strength of enemies appears to be great, we must fail and be ruined, let us not complain of our captain; for all these things arise from our own unbelief. Let our application unto him be according unto his command, our expectations from him according to the promise, our experiences of what we receive be measured by the rule of the word, and we shall find that we have all grounds of assurance that we can desire. Let us, then, in every condition, “look unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith,” who hath undertaken the leading of us in the whole course of our obedience from first to last, and we shall not need to faint, nor shall we ever fail.

Secondly, To look for direction and guidance from him. This in an especial manner belongs unto him, as the captain of our salvation. There are two things which we find by experience that professors are apt to be at a great loss in whilst they are in this world, the worship of God, and their own troubles. For the first, we see and find that woeful variance that is among all sorts of men; and for the latter, we are apt ourselves to be much bewildered in them, as unto our duty and our way. Now, all this uncertainty ariseth from the want of a due attendance unto Jesus Christ as our guide. In reference unto both these he hath peculiarly promised his presence with us. With the dispensers of the word he hath promised to be “unto the end of the world,” or consummation of all things, Matthew 28:20; and we find him walking in the midst of his golden candlesticks, Revelation 1:0. In that allegorical description of the gospel church-state and worship which we have in Ezekiel, there is a peculiar place assigned unto the prince. Now, one end of his presence is, to see that all things are done according unto his mind and will. And unto whom should we go but unto himself alone? His word here will prove the best directory, and his Spirit the best guide. If we neglect these to attend unto the wisdom of men, we shall wander in uncertainties all our days. It is so also in respect of our troubles, We are ready in them to consult with flesh and blood, to look after the examples of others, to take the advice that comes next to hand, when the Lord Christ hath promised his presence with us in them all, and that as the captain of our salvation. And if we neglect him, his example, his direction, his teaching, it is no wonder if we pine away under our distresses.

II. We may observe, that the Lord Jesus Christ being priest, sacrifice, and altar himself, the offering whereby he was consecrated unto the perfection and complement of his office was of necessity to be part of that work which, as our priest and mediator, he was to undergo and perform.

When other typical priests were to be consecrated, there was an offering of beasts appointed for that purpose, and an altar to offer on, and a person to consecrate them. But all this was to be done in and by Jesus Christ himself. Even the Father is said to consecrate him but upon the account of his designing him and appointing him unto his office; but his immediate actual consecration was his own work, which he performed when he offered himself through the eternal Spirit. By his death and sufferings, which he underwent in the discharge of his office, and as a priest therein offered himself unto God, he was dedicated and consecrated unto the perfection of his office. This would require our further explication in this place, but that it will again occur unto us more directly.

III. The Lord Christ, being consecrated and perfected through sufferings, hath consecrated the way of suffering for all that follow him to pass through unto glory.

IV. All complaints of sufferings, all despondencies under them, all fears of them, are rendered unjust and unequal by the sufferings of Christ. It is surely righteous that they should be contented with his lot here who desire to be received into his glory hereafter. Now, there are sundry things that follow upon this consecration of the way of suffering by Jesus Christ; as,

(1.) That they are made necessary and unavoidable. Men may hope and desire other things, and turn themselves several ways in their contrivances to avoid them, but one way or other sufferings will be the portion of them that intend to follow this captain of salvation. The apostle tells believers that they are predestinated to be conformed to the image of the Son of God, Romans 8:29; and lets them know, in the close of that chapter, that no small part of this conformity consists in their afflictions and sufferings. The head having passed through them, there is a measure of afflictions belonging unto the body, which every member is to bear his share of, Colossians 1:24. And the Lord Jesus himself hath given this law unto us, that every one who will be his disciple must take up his cross and follow him. Discipleship and the cross are inseparably knit together, by the unchangeable law and constitution of Christ himself. And the gospel is full of warnings and instructions unto this purpose, that none may complain that they were surprised, or that any thing did befall them in the course of their profession which they looked not for. Men may deceive themselves with vain hopes and expectations, but the gospel deceiveth none. It tells them plainly beforehand, that “through much tribulation they must enter into the kingdom of God;” and that they who “will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” If they like not these terms, they may let the way of Christ alone; if they will not do so, why do they yet complain?

Christ will be taken with his cross, or not at all. And the folly of our hearts can never be enough bewailed, in thinking strange of trials and afflictions, when the very first thing that the Lord Christ requireth of them that will be made partakers of him is, that “they deny themselves, and take up their cross.” But we would be children, and not be chastised; we would be gold, and not be tried; we would overcome, and yet not be put to fight and contend; we would be Christians, and not suffer. But all these things are contrary to the eternal law of our profession. And so necessary is this way made, that though God deals with his people in great variety, exercising some with such trials and troubles, that others sometimes in comparison of them seem utterly to go free, yet every one, one way or other, shall have his share and measure. And those exceptions that are made in the providence of God as to some individual persons at some seasons, derogate nothing from the general necessity of the way towards all that do believe.

(2.) It hath made all sufferings for the gospel honorable. The sufferings of Christ himself were indeed shameful, and that not only in the esteem of men, but also in the nature of them and by God’s constitution. They were part of the curse, as it is written, “Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree.” And as such our Lord Jesus Christ looked on them, when he wrestled with and conquered the shame as well as the sharpness. But he hath rendered all the sufferings of his that remain very honorable in themselves, whatever they are in the reputation of a blind, perishing world. That which is truly shameful in suffering, is an effect of the curse for sin. This Christ by his suffering hath utterly separated from the sufferings of his disciples. Hence the apostles rejoiced that they had the honor to suffer shame for his name, Acts 5:41; that is, the things which the world looked on as shameful, but themselves knew to be honorable. They are so in the sight of God, of the Lord Jesus Christ, of all the holy angels; which are competent judges in this case. God hath a great cause in the world, and that such a one as wherein his name, his goodness, his love, his glory, are concerned; this, in his infinite wisdom, is to be witnessed, confirmed, testified unto by sufferings. Now, can there be any greater honor done unto any of the sons of men, than that God should single them out from among the rest of mankind and appoint them unto this work? Men are honored according to their riches and treasures; but when Moses came to make a right judgment concerning this thing, he “esteemed the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt,” Hebrews 11:26. We believe that God gave great honor unto the apostles and martyrs of old in all their sufferings. Let us labor for the same spirit of faith in reference unto ourselves, and it will relieve us under all our trials, This, then, also hath Christ added unto the way of sufferings, by his consecration of it for us. All the glory and honor of the world is not to be compared with theirs unto whom “it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake,” Php 1:29 , 1 Peter 4:14-16.

(3.) He hath thereby made them useful and profitable. Troubles and afflictions in themselves and their own nature have no good in them, nor do they tend unto any good end; they grow out of the first sentence against sin, and are in their own nature penal, tending unto death, and nothing else; nor are they, in those who have no interest in Christ, any thing but effects of the wrath of God. But the Lord Christ, by his consecrating of them to be the way of our following him, hath quite altered their nature and tendency; he hath made them good, useful, and profitable. I shall not here show the usefulness of afflictions and sufferings, the whole Scripture abundantly testifieth unto it, and the experience of believers in all ages and seasons confirms it. I only show whence it is that they become so; and that is, because the Lord Christ hath consecrated, dedicated, and sanctified them unto that end. He hath thereby cut them off from their old stock of wrath and the curse, and planted them on that of love and good-will. He hath taken them off from the covenant of works, and translated them into that of grace. He hath turned their course from death towards life and immortality. Mixing his grace, love, and wisdom with these bitter waters, he hath made them sweet and wholesome. And if we would have benefit by them, we must always have regard unto this consecration of them.

(4.) He hath made them safe. They are in their own nature a wilderness, wherein men may endlessly wander and quickly lose themselves. But he hath made them a way, a safe way, that wayfaring men, though fools, may not err therein. Never did a believer perish by afflictions or persecutions; never was good gold or silver consumed or lost in the furnace. Hypocrites, indeed, and false professors, the fearful, and unbelievers, are discovered by them, and discarded from their hopes: but they that are disciples indeed are never safer than in this way; and that because it is consecrated for them. Sometimes, it may be, through their unbelief, and want of heeding the captain of their salvation, they are wounded and cast down by them for a season; but they are still in the way, they are never turned quite out of the way. And this, through the grace of Christ, doth turn also unto their advantage. Nay, it is not only absolutely a safe way, but comparatively more safe than the way of prosperity. And this the Scripture, with the experience of all saints, bears plentiful witness unto. And many other blessed ends are wrought by the consecration of this way for the disciples of Christ, not now to be insisted on.

5. There remains yet to be considered, in the words of the apostle, the reason why the captain of our salvation was to be consecrated by sufferings; and this he declares in the beginning of the verse, it “became God” so to deal with him; which he amplifies by that description of him, “For whom are all things, and by whom are all things.” Having such a design as he had, to “bring many sons unto glory,” and being he for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, it became him so to deal with the captain of their salvation. What is the τὸ πρέπον here intended, and what is the importance of the word, was declared before. This becomingness, whatever it be, ariseth from hence, that God is he for whom are all things, and by whom are all things. It became him not only who is so, but as he is so, and because he is so. There is no reason for the addition of that consideration of God in this matter, but that the cause is in it contained and expressed why it became him to do that which is here ascribed unto him. We are, then, to inquire what it is that is principally regarded in God in this attribution, and thence we shall learn how it became him to bring the Lord Christ into suffering. Now, the description of God in these words is plainly of him as the first cause and last end of all things. Neither is it absolutely his power in making all of nothing, and his sovereign, eternal will, requiring that all things tend unto his glory, that are intended in the words; but that he is the governor, ruler, and judge, of all things made by him and for him, with respect unto that order and law of their creation which they were to observe. This rule and government of all things, taking care that as they are of God so they should be for him, is that which the apostle respects. This, then, is that which he asserts, namely, that it became God, as the governor, ruler, and judge of all, to consecrate Christ by sufferings: which must be further explained.

Man being made an intellectual creature, had a rule of moral obedience given unto him. This was he to observe to the glory of his Creator and Lawgiver, and as the condition of his coming unto him and enjoyment of him. This is here supposed by the apostle; and he discourseth how man, having broken the law of his creation, and therein come short of the glory of God, might by his grace be again made partaker of it. With respect unto this state of things, God can be no otherwise considered but as the supreme governor and judge of them. Now, that property of God which he exerteth principally as the ruler and governor of all, is his justice, “justitia regiminis,” the righteousness of government. Hereof there are two branches; for it is either remunerative or vindictive. And this righteousness of God, as the supreme ruler and judge of all, is that upon the account whereof it was meet for him, or became him, to bring the sons to glory by the sufferings of the captain of their salvation. It was hence just and equal, and therefore indispensably necessary that so he should do. Supposing that man was created in the image of God, capable of yielding obedience unto him, according to the law concreated with him and written in his heart, which obedience was his moral being for God, as he was from or of him; supposing that he by sin had broken this law, and so was no longer for God, according to the primitive order and law of his creation; supposing also, notwithstanding all this, that God in his infinite grace and love intended to bring some men unto the enjoyment of himself, by a new way, law, and appointment, by which they should be brought to be for him again; supposing, I say, these things, which are all here supposed by our apostle and were granted by the Jews, it became the justice of God, that is, it was so just, right, meet, and equal, that the judge of all the world, who doth right, could no otherwise do, than cause him who was to be the way, cause, means, and author of this recovery of men into a new condition of being for God, to suffer in their stead. For whereas the vindictive justice of God, which is the respect of the universal rectitude of his holy nature unto the deviation of his rational creatures from the law of their creation, required that that deviation should be revenged, and themselves brought into a new way of being for God, or of glorifying him by their sufferings, when they had refused to do so by obedience, it was necessary, on the account thereof, that if they were to be delivered from that condition, the author of their deliverance should suffer for them. And this excellently suits the design of the apostle, which is to prove the necessity of the suffering of the Messiah, which the Jews so stumbled at. For if the justice of God required that so it should be, how could it be dispensed withal? Would they have God unjust? Shall he forego the glory of his righteousness and holiness to please them in their presumption and prejudices? It is true, indeed, if God had intended no salvation for his sons but one that was temporal, like that granted unto the people of old under the conduct of Joshua, there had been no need at all of the sufferings of the captain of their salvation. But they being such as in themselves had sinned and come short of the glory of God, and the salvation intended them being spiritual, consisting in a new ordering of them for God, and the bringing of them unto the eternal enjoyment of him in glory, there was no way to maintain the honor of the justice of God but by his suffering. And as here lay the great mistake of the Jews, so the denial of this condecency of God’s justice, as to the sufferings of the Messiah, is the πρῶτον , of the Socinians. Schlichtingius on this place would have no more intended but that the way of bringing Christ to suffer was answerable unto that design which God had laid to glorify himself in the salvation of man. But the apostle says not that it became or was suitable unto an arbitrary free decree of God, but that it became himself as the supreme ruler and judge of all. He speaks not of what was meet unto the execution of a free decree, but of what was meet, on the account of God’s holiness and righteousness, to the constitution of it, as the description of him annexed doth plainly show. And herein have we with our apostle discovered the great, indispensable, and fundamental cause of the sufferings of Christ. And we may hence observe, that,

V. Such is the desert of sin, and such is the immutability of the justice of God, that there was no way possible to bring sinners unto glory but by the death and sufferings of the Son of God, who undertook to be the captain of their salvation.

It would have been unbecoming God, the supreme governor of all the world, to have passed by the desert of sin without this satisfaction. And this being a truth of great importance, and the foundation of most of the apostle’s ensuing discourses, must be a while insisted on.

In these verses, that foregoing this, and some of those following, the apostle directly treats of the causes of the sufferings and death of Christ; a matter as of great importance in itself, comprising no small part of the mystery of the gospel, so indispensably necessary to be explained and confirmed unto the Hebrews, who had entertained many prejudices against it. In the foregoing verse he declared the cause προηγουμένην , the inducing, leading, moving cause; which was “the grace of God,” by the grace of God he was to taste death for men. This grace he further explains in this verse, showing that it consisted in the design of God to “bring many sons unto glory.” All had sinned and come short of his glory. He had, according to the exigence of his justice, denounced and declared death and judgment to be brought upon all that sinned, without exception. Yet such was his infinite love and grace, that he determined or purposed in himself to deliver some of them, to make them sons, and to bring them unto glory. Unto this end he resolved to send or give his Son to be a captain of salvation unto them. And this love or grace of God is everywhere set forth in the gospel. How the sufferings of this captain of salvation became useful unto the sons, upon the account of the manifold union that was between them, he declares in the following verses, further explaining the reasons and causes why the benefit of his sufferings should redound unto them. In this verse he expresseth the cause, προκατυρκτικὴν , the procuring cause, of the death and sufferings of Christ; which is the justice of God, upon supposition of sin and his purpose to save sinners. And this, upon examination, we shall find to be the great cause of the death of Christ.

That the Son of God, who did no sin, in whom his soul was always well pleased on the account of his obedience, should suffer and die, and that a death under the sentence and curse of the law, is a great and astonishable mystery. All the saints of God admire at it, the angels desire to look into it. What should be the cause and reason hereof, why God should thus “bruise him and put him to grief?” This is worth our inquiry; and various are the conceptions of men about it. The Socinians deny that his sufferings were penal, or that he died to make satisfaction for sin; but only that he did so to center the doctrine that he had taught, and to set us an example to suffer for the truth. But his doctrine carried its own evidence with it that it was from God, and was besides uncontrollably confirmed by the miracles that he wrought. So that his sufferings on that account might have been dispensed withal. And surely this great and stupendous matter, of the dying of the Son of God, is not to be resolved into a reason and cause that might so easily be dispensed with. God would never have given up his Son to die, but only for such causes and ends as could no otherwise have been satisfied or accomplished. The like also may be said of the other cause assigned by them, namely, to set us an example. It is true, in his death he did so, and of great and singular use unto us it is that so he did; but yet neither was this, from any precedent law or constitution, nor from the nature of the thing itself, nor from any property of God, indispensably necessary. God could by his grace have carried us through sufferings, although he had not set before us the example of his Son: so he doth through other things no less difficult, wherein the Lord Christ could not in his own person go before us; as in our conversion unto God, and mortification of indwelling sin, neither of which the Lord Christ was capable of. We shall leave them, then, as those who, acknowledging the death of Christ, do not yet acknowledge or own any sufficient cause or reason why he should die.

Christians generally allow that the sufferings of Christ were penal, and his death satisfactory for the sins of men; but as to the cause and reason of his so suffering they differ. Some, following Austin, refer the death of Christ solely unto the wisdom and sovereignty of God. God would have it so, and therein are we to acquiesce. Other ways of saving the elect were possible, but this God chose, because so it seemed good unto him. Hence arose that saying, “That one drop of the blood of Christ was sufficient to redeem the whole world;” only it pleased God that he should suffer unto the utmost. And herein are we to rest, that he hath suffered for us, and that God hath revealed. But this seems not to me any way to answer that which is here affirmed by the apostle, namely, that it became God, as the supreme governor of all the world, so to cause Christ to suffer; nor do I see what demonstration of the glory of justice can arise from the punishing of an innocent person who might have been spared, and yet all the ends of his being so punished have been brought about. And to say that one drop of Christ’s blood was sufficient to redeem the world, is derogatory unto the goodness, wisdom, and righteousness of God, in causing not only the whole to be shed, but also “his soul to be made an offering for sin;” which was altogether needless if that were true. But how far this whole opinion is from truth, which leaves no necessary cause of the death of Christ, will afterwards appear. Others say, that on supposition that God had appointed the curse of the law, and death to be the penalty of sin, his faithfulness and veracity were engaged so far that no sinner should go free, or be made partaker of glory, but by the intervention of satisfaction. And therefore, on the supposition that God would make some men his sons, and bring them to glory, it was necessary, with respect unto the engagement of the truth of God, that he should suffer, die, and make satisfaction for them. But all this they refer originally unto a free constitution, which might have been otherwise. ‘God might have ordered things so, without any derogation unto the glory of his justice or holiness in the government of all things, as that sinners might have been saved without the death of Christ; for if he had not engaged his word, and declared that death should be the penalty of sin, he might have freely remitted it without the intervention of any satisfaction.’And thus all this whole work of death being the punishment of sin, and of the sufferings of Christ for sinners, is resolved into a free purpose and decree of God’s will; and not into the exigence of any essential property of his nature; so that it might have been otherwise in all the parts of it, and yet the glory of God preserved every way entire. Whether this be so or no, we shall immediately inquire.

Others grant many free acts of the mind and will of God in this matter; as, first, the creation of man in such a condition as that he should have a moral dependence on God in reference unto his utmost end was an effect of the sovereign pleasure, will, and wisdom of God. But on supposition of this decree and constitution, they say, the nature, authority, and holiness of God required indispensably that man should yield unto him that obedience which he was directed unto and guided in by the law of his creation; so that God could not suffer him to do otherwise, and remain in his first state, and come unto the end first designed unto him, without the loss of his authority and wrong of his justice. Again, they say that God did freely, by an act of his sovereign will and pleasure, decree to permit man to sin and fall, which might have been otherwise; but on supposition that so he should do and would do, and thereby infringe the order of his dependence on God in reference unto his utmost end, that the justice of God, as the supreme governor of all things, did indispensably require that he should receive “a meet recompence of reward,” or be punished answerably unto his crimes:

so that God could not have dealt otherwise with him without a high derogation from his own righteousness. Again, they say that God, by a mere free act of his love and grace, designed the Lord Jesus Christ to be the way and means for the saving of sinners, which might have been otherwise. He might, without the least impeachment of the glory of any of his essential properties, have suffered all mankind to have perished under that penalty which they had justly incurred; but of his own mere love, free grace, and good pleasure, he gave and sent him to redeem them. But on the supposition thereof, they say, the justice of God required that he should lay on him the punishment due unto the sons whom he redeemed; it became him, on the account of his natural essential justice, to bring him into sufferings. And in this opinion is contained the truth laid down in our proposition, which we shall now further confirm, namely, that it became the nature of God, or the essential properties of his nature required indispensably, that sin should be punished with death, in the sinner or in his surety; and therefore if he would bring any sons to glory, the captain of their salvation must undergo sufferings and death, to make satisfaction for them. For,

(1.) Consider that description which the Scripture giveth us of the nature of God in reference unto sin; and this it doth either metaphorically or properly. In the first way it compares God unto fire, unto “a consuming fire;” and his acting toward sin as the acting of fire on that which is combustible, whose nature it is to consume it: Deuteronomy 4:24, “Thy God is a consuming fire;” which words the apostle repeats, Hebrews 12:29. “Devouring fire and everlasting burnings,” Isaiah 33:14. Hence, when he came to give the law, which expresseth his wrath and indignation against sin, his presence was manifested by great and terrible fires and burnings, until the people cried out, “Let me not see this great fire any more, lest I die,” Deuteronomy 18:16. They saw death and destruction in that fire, because it expressed the indignation of God against sin. And therefore the law itself is also called “a fiery law,” Deuteronomy 33:2, because it contains the sense and judgment of God against sin; as in the execution of the sentence of it, the breath of the Lord is said to kindle the fire of it like a stream of brimstone, Isaiah 30:33: so Isaiah 66:15-16. And by this metaphor doth the Scripture lively represent the nature of God in reference unto sin. For as it is the nature of fire to consume and devour all things that are put into it, without sparing any or making difference, so is the nature of God in reference unto sin; wherever it is, he punisheth and revengeth it according to its demerit. The metaphor, indeed, expresseth not the manner of the operation of the one and the other, but the cer tainty and event of the working of both from the principles of the nature of the one and the other. The fire so burneth by a necessity of nature as that it acts to the utmost of its quality and faculty by a pure natural necessity. God punisheth sin, as, suitably unto the principle of his nature, otherwise he cannot do; yet so as that, for the manner, time, measure, and season, they depend on the constitution of his wisdom and righteousness, assigning a meet and equal recompence of reward unto every transgression. And this the Scripture teacheth us by this metaphor, or otherwise we are led by it from a right conception of that which it doth propose; for God cannot at all be unto sin and sinners as a devouring fire, unless it be in the principles of his nature indispensably to take vengeance on them.

Again, the Scripture expresseth this nature of God with reference unto sin properly, as to what we can conceive thereof in this world, and that is by his holiness, which it sets forth to be such, as that on the account thereof he can bear with no sin, nor suffer any sinner to approach unto him; that is, let no sin go unpunished, nor admit any sinner into his presence whose sin is not expiated and satisfied for. And what is necessary upon the account of the holiness of God is absolutely and indispensably so, his holiness being his nature. “Thou art,” saith Habakkuk, “of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity,” Habakkuk 1:13; ‘Thou canst not by any means have any thing to do with sin.’That is, it may be, because he will not. ‘Nay,’saith he; ‘it is upon the account of his purity or holiness.’ That is such as he cannot pass by sin, or let it go unpunished. The psalmist also expresseth the nature of God to the same purpose, Psalms 5:4-6,

“Thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness, neither shall evil dwell with thee. The foolish shall not stand in thy sight; thou hatest all workers of iniquity. Thou shalt destroy them that speak leasing. The LORD will abhor the bloody and deceitful man.”

What is the formal reason and cause of all these things, that he hates, abhors, and will destroy sin and sinners? It is because he is such a God:

‘Thou art not a God to do otherwise,’ a God of such purity, such holiness. And should he pass by sin without the punishment of it, he would not be such a God as he is. Without ceasing to be such a God, so infinitely holy and pure, this cannot be. The foolish and all workers of iniquity must be destroyed, because he is such a God. And in that proclamation of his name wherein he declared many blessed, eternal properties of his nature, he adds this among the rest, that “he will by no means clear the guilty,” Exodus 34:7. This his nature, this his eternal holiness requireth, that the guilty be by no means cleared. So Joshua instructs the people in the nature of this holiness of God, Joshua 24:19,

“Ye cannot serve the LORD: for he is an holy God; he is a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins.”

That is, ‘If you continue in your sins, if there be not a way to free you from them, it is in vain for you to have any thing to do with this God; for he is holy and jealous, and will therefore certainly destroy you for your iniquities.’Now, if such be the nature of God, that with respect thereunto he cannot but punish sin in whomsoever it be found, then the suffering of every sinner, in his own person or by his surety, doth not depend on a mere free, voluntary constitution, nor is to be resolved merely into the veracity of God in his commination or threatening, but is antecedently unto them indispensably necessary, unless we would have the nature of God changed, that sinners may be freed. Whereas, therefore, the Lord Christ is assigned the captain of our salvation, and hath undertaken the work of bringing sinners unto glory, it was meet, with respect unto the holiness of God, that he should undergo the punishment due unto their sin. And thus the necessity of the sufferings and satisfaction of Christ is resolved into the holiness and nature of God. He being such a God as he is, it could not otherwise be.

(2.) The same is manifest from that principle whereunto the punishment of sin is assigned; which is not any free act of the will of God, but an essential property of his nature, namely, his justice or righteousness. What God doth because he is righteous is necessary to be done. And if it be just with God in respect of his essential justice to punish sin, it would be unjust not to do it; for to condemn the innocent and to acquit the guilty are equally unjust. Justice is an eternal and unalterable rule, and what is done according unto it is necessary; it may not otherwise be, and justice not be impeached. That which is to be done with respect to justice must be done, or he that is to do it is unjust. Thus it is said to be “a righteous thing with God” to render tribulation unto sinners, 2 Thessalonians 1:6; because he is righteous, and from his righteousness or justice: so that the contrary would be unjust, not answer his righteousness. And it is “the judgment of God that they who commit sin are worthy of death,” Romans 1:32; namely, it is that which his justice requireth should be so; that is the judgment of God. Not only doth he render death unto sinners because he hath threatened so to do, but because his justice necessarily requireth that so he should do. So the apostle further explains himself, Romans 2:5-9, where he calls the last day “the day of the revelation of the righteous judgment of God;” wherein, by rendering tribulation unto sinners, he will manifest what his righteousness requires, And what that requires cannot otherwise be, God being naturally, necessarily, essentially righteous. And this property of God’s nature, requiring that punishment be inflicted on sin and sinners, is often in Scripture called his “anger” and “wrath;” for although sometimes the effects of anger and wrath in punishment itself be denoted by these expressions, yet often also they denote the habitude of the nature of God in his justice towards sin. For anger in itself, being a passion and perturbation of mind, including change and weakness cannot properly be ascribed unto God; and therefore when it is spoken of as that which is in him, and not of the effects which he works on others, it can intend nothing but his vindictive justice, that property of his nature which necessarily inclines him unto the punishment of sin. Thus it is said that his “wrath” or anger is “revealed from heaven against all ungodliness,” Romans 1:18; that is, he discovers in his judgments what is his justice against sin. And thus when he comes to deal with Christ himself, to make him a propitiation for us, he is said to have “set him forth εἰς ἔνδειξιν τῆς δικαιοσύνης ,” Romans 3:25-26, “to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins; that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus?” As God would pardon sin, and justify them that believe, so he would be just also. And how could this be? By punishing our sins in Christ; that declared his righteousness. “ ῎Ενδειξις here is as much as ἔνδειγμα , “documentum,” a declaration by an especial instance or example: or as ὐπόδειγμα , as he is said to have punished Sodom and Gomorrah, and to have left them ὑπόδειγμα μελλόντων ἀσεβεῖν , “an example unto them that should live ungodly;” that is, an instance of what his dealings would be with sinners. So God is said here to have “declared his righteousness,” by an example in the sufferings of Christ; which, indeed, was the greatest instance of the severity and inexorableness of justice against sin that God ever gave in this world. And this he did that he might be just, as well as gracious and merciful, in the forgiveness of sin. Now, if the justice of God did not require that sin should be punished in the Mediator, how did God give an instance of his justice in his sufferings; for nothing can be declared but in and by that which it requires? For to say that God showed his righteousness in doing that which might have been omitted without the least impeachment of his righteousness, is in this matter not safe.

(3.) God is the supreme ruler, governor, and judge of all To him as such it belongeth to do right. So saith Abraham, Genesis 18:25, “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” Undoubtedly he will do so, it belongs unto him so to do; for, saith the apostle,

“Is God unrighteous who taketh vengeance? God forbid: for then how shall God judge the world?” Romans 3:5-6.

Right judgment in all things belongs unto the universal rectitude of the nature of God, as he is the supreme governor and judge of all the world. Now, the goodness and rightness of all things consists in the observation of that place and order which God in their creation allotted unto them, whereon he pronounced that they were exceeding good. And that this order be preserved for the good of the whole, it belongs unto the government of God to take care; or if it be in any thing transgressed, not to leave all things in confusion, but to reduce them into some new order and subjection unto himself. That this order was broken by sin we all know. What shall now the governor of all the world do? Shall he leave all things in disorder and confusion? cast off the works of his hands, and suffer all things to run at random? Would this become the righteous governor of all the world? What, then, is to be done to prevent this confusion? Nothing remains but that he who brake the first order by sin should be subdued into a new one by punishment. This brings him into subjection unto God upon a new account. And to say that God might have let his sin go unpunished, is to say that he might not be righteous in his government, nor do that which is necessary for the good, beauty, and order of the whole. But hereof somewhat was spoken in the opening of the words, so that it need not further be insisted on.

(4.) Lastly, there is no common presumption ingrafted in the hearts of men concerning any free act of God, and which might have been otherwise. No free decree or act of God is or can be known unto any of the children of men but by revelation; much less have they all of them universally an inbred persuasion concerning any such acts or actings. But of the natural properties of God, and his acting suitably unto them, there is a secret light and persuasion ingrafted in the hearts of all men by nature. At least, those things of God whereof there is a natural and indelible character in the hearts of all men are natural, necessary, and essential unto him. Now, that God is just, and that therefore he will punish sin, all sin, is an inbred presumption of nature, that can never be rooted out of the minds of men. All sinners have an inbred apprehension that God is displeased with sin, and that punishment is due unto it. They cannot but know that it is “the judgment of God that they who commit sin are worthy of death.” And therefore, though they have not the written law to instruct them, yet “their thoughts accuse them” upon sin, Romans 2:14-15, that is, their consciences, which is the judgment which a man makes of himself in reference unto the judgment of God. And therefore all nations who retained any knowledge of a deity constantly invented some ways and means whereby they thought they might expiate sin, and appease the god that they feared. All which manifests that the punishment of sin inseparably follows the nature of God, and such properties thereof as men have a natural, inbred notion and presumption of; for if it depended merely on the will of God, and his faithfulness in the accomplishing of that threatening and constitution whereof they had no knowledge, they could not have had such an immovable and unconquerable apprehension of it. But these things I have handled at large elsewhere. [4]

[4] In his treatise De Divina Justitia, etc., vol. 10 of the author’s works. ED.

And this fully discovers the vile and horrid nature of sin. “Fools,” as the wise man tells us, “make a mock of it.” Stifling for a while their natural convictions, they act as if sin were a thing of naught; at least, not so horrible as by some it is represented. And few there are who endeavor aright to obtain a true notion of it, contenting themselves in general that it is a thing that ought not to be. What direct opposition it stands in unto the nature, properties, rule, and authority of God, they consider not. But the last day will discover the true nature of it, when all eyes shall see what it deserves in the judgment of God, which is according unto righteousness. Is it a small thing for a creature to break that order which God at first placed him and all things in, to cast off the rule and authority of God, to endeavor to dethrone him, so that he cannot continue to be the supreme governor of all things, and judge of all the world, unless he punish it? Is it a small thing to set up that which hath an utter inconsistency with the holiness and righteousness of God, so that if it go free, God cannot be holy and righteous? If these things will not now sink into the minds of men, if they will not learn the severity of God in this matter from the law, on the threatening and curse whereof he hath impressed the image of his holiness and justice, as was said, they will learn it all in hell. Why doth God thus threaten and curse sin and sinners? Why hath he prepared an eternity of vengeance and torment for them? Is it because he would? Nay, but because it could not otherwise be, God being so holy and righteous as he is. Men may thank themselves for death and hell. They are no more than sin hath made necessary, unless God should cease to be holy, righteous, and the judge of all, that they might sin freely and endlessly. And this appears most eminently in the cross of Christ; for God gave in him an instance of his righteousness and of the desert of sin. Sin being imputed unto the only Son of God, he could not be spared. If he be made sin, he must be made a curse; if he will take away our iniquities, he must make his soul an offering for sins, and bear the punishment due unto them. Obedience in all duties will not do it; intercession and prayers will not do it; sin required another manner of expiation. Nothing but undergoing the wrath of God and the curse of the law, and therein answering what the eternal justice of God required, will effect that end. How can God spare sin in his enemies, who could not spare it on his only Son? Had it been possible, this cup should have passed from him; but this could not be, and God continue righteous. These things, I say, will give us an insight into the nature of sin, and the horrible provocation wherewith it is attended.

And this also opens the mystery of the wisdom, and love, and grace of God, in the salvation of sinners. This is that which he will for ever be admired in: A way he hath found out to exercise grace and satisfy justice at the same time, in and by the same person. Sin shall be punished, all sin, yet grace exercised; sinners shall be saved, yet justice exalted; all in the cross of Christ.

Verses 11-13

The great reason and ground of the necessity of the sufferings of Christ bath been declared. It became God that he should suffer. But it doth not yet appear on what grounds this suffering of his could be profitable or beneficial unto the sons to be brought unto glory. It was the sinner himself against whom the law denounced the judgment of death; and although the Lord Christ, undertaking to be a captain of salvation unto the sons of God, might be willing to suffer for them, yet what reason is there that the punishment of one should be accepted for the sin of another? Let it be granted that the Lord Christ had an absolute and sovereign power over his own life and all the concernments of it, in the nature which he assumed, as also that he was willing to undergo any sufferings that God should call him unto; this, indeed, will acquit the justice of God in giving him up unto death, but whence is it that sinners should come to be so interested in these things as thereon to be acquitted from sin and brought unto glory? In these verses the apostle enters upon a discovery of the reasons hereof also. He supposeth, indeed, that there was a compact and agreement between the Father and Son in this matter; which he afterwards expressly treateth on, chapter 10. He supposeth, also, that in his sovereign authority, God had made a relaxation of the law as to the person suffering, though not as to the penalty to be suffered; which God abundantly declared unto the church of the Jews in all their sacrifices, as we shall manifest. These things being supposed, the apostle proceeds to declare the grounds of the equity of this substitution of Christ in the room of the sons, and of their advantage by his suffering, the proposition whereof he lays down in these verses, and the especial application in those that ensue.

Hebrews 2:11-13 . ῞Ο τε γὰρ ἀγιάζων καὶ οἱ ἀγιαζόμενοι ἐξ ενὸς πάντες· δι᾿ ἥν αἰτίαν οὐκ ἐπαισχύςεται ἀδελφοὺς αὐτοὺς καλεῖν , λέγων· ᾿Απαγγελῶ τὸ ὄνομά σου τοῖς ἀδελφοῖς μου , ἐν μέσῳ ἐκκλησίας ὑμνήσω σε . Καὶ πάλινv ῾Εγώ ἔσομαι πεποιθὼς ἐπ᾿ αὐτῷ· καὶ τάλιν· ᾿Ιδοὺ ἐγὼ καὶ τὰ παιδία ἅ μοι ἔδωκεν ὁ Θεός .

There is no variety in the reading of these words in any copies, nor do translators differ in rendering, the sense of them. The Syriac renders the last testimony as if the words were spoken unto God, “Behold I and the children לִי אַלָהָא דְּיַהֵבְתְּ , whom thou hast given unto me, O God.” The Ethiopic, “Wherefore they who sanctify and they who are sanctified are altogether;” to what purpose I cannot guess.

῾Αγιάζω is used in this epistle both in the legal sense of it, “to separate,” “consecrate,” “dedicate;” and in the evangelical, “to purify,” “sanctify,” to make internally and really holy. It seems in this place to be used in the latter sense, though it includes the former also, κατ᾿ ἀκολούθησιν , “by just consequence,” for they who are sanctified are separated unto God. The word, then, expresseth what the Lord Christ doth unto and for the sons as he is the captain of their salvation. He consecrates them unto God, through the sanctification of the Spirit, and washing in his own blood.

᾿Εξἑνός . It may be of the masculine gender, and so denote one person; or of the neuter, and so one thing, one mass, one common principle; whereof afterwards.

The first testimony is taken from Psalms 22:23, אֲסַפְרָה שִׁמְךָ לְאֶחָי בְּתיִךְ קָהָל אֲהַלְלֶדָּ ; which the LXX. render Διηγήσομαι τὸ ὀνομά σου τοῖς ἀὸελφοῖς μου , ἐν μέσῳ ἐκκλησίας ὑμνήσω σε . The first word, אֲסַפְרָה , “narrabo,” “annunciabo,” the apostle renders by ἀπαγγελῶ , more properly than they by διηγήσομαι . In the rest of the words there is a coincidence, the original being expressly rendered in them. For though חִלֵּל , be rendered simply “to praise,” yet its most frequent use, when respecting God as its object, is “to praise by hymns or psalms;” as the apostle here, Υμνήσω σε , “Tibi hymnos canam,” or, “Te hymnis celebrabo,” “ I will sing hymns unto thee,” or “praise thee with hymns:” which was the principal way of setting forth God’s praise under the old testament.

It is not certain whence the second testimony is taken. Some suppose it to be from Isaiah 8:17, from whence the last also is cited. The words of the prophet there, וְקִיֵּיתִי לוֹ , are rendered by the LXX. Καὶ πεποιθὼς ἔσομαι ἐπ᾿ αὐτῷ , the words here used by the apostle. But there are sundry things that will not allow us to close with this supposal: First, the original is not rightly rendered by the LXX., and, as we shall see, the apostle’s words do exactly express the original in another place. Besides, קָיָה is never but in this place and once more turned into πείθω by the LXX., but is constantly rendered by them μένω , or ὑπομένω : so that it is not improbable but that these words might be inserted into the Greek text out of this place of the apostle, there being some presumptions and likelihoods that it was the place intended by him, especially because the next testimony used by the apostle consists in the words immediately ensuing these in the prophet. But yet that yields another reason against this supposition; for if the apostle continued on the words of the prophet, to what end should he insert in the midst of them that constant note of proceeding unto another testimony, καὶ πάλιν , “and again,” especially considering that the whole testimony speaks to the same purpose?

We shall, then, refer these words unto Psalms 18:3, אֶחֶסֶהאּבּוֹ ; which the LXX. render, “ ᾿Ελπιῶ ἐπ᾿ αὐτόν , “I will hope in him;” the apostle more properly, ῎Εσομαι πεποιθὼς ἐπ᾿ αὐτῷ , “I will put my trust in him.” And that that psalm had respect unto the Lord Christ and his kingdom our apostle showeth elsewhere, by citing another testimony out of it concerning the calling of the Gentiles, Romans 15:9; nor was the latter part of the psalm properly fulfilled in David at all.

The last testimony is, unquestionably taken out of Isaiah 8:18, where the words are, הִנֵּח אָנֹכִי וְהַיְלָדִים אֲשֶׁר נָתַן לִי יְהָֹוה ; and rendered by the LXX., as here by the apostle, ᾿Ιδοὺ ἐγὼ καὶ τὰ παιδία ἅ μοι ἔὸωκεν ὁ Θεός . יִלָדִים is properly “nati,” γεννητοί , or ἕκγονοι , those that are begotten or born of any one, whilst they are in their tender age. But it may be rendered by παιδία , as it is by the LXX., Genesis 30:26; Genesis 32:23; Genesis 33:1-2, which is “children” in a larger sense. [5]

[5] EXPOSITION. ῾Αγιάξ , according to Ebrard, refers neither to sanctification nor to justification, as such, but to the total change in their relation to God whichtakes place in the members of the new covenant, in opposition to the relation of the natural man to God. ᾿Εξ ἑνός , “of one;” that is, Father. Macknight, De Wette, Conybeare and Howson, Tholuck, Ebrard, etc. TRANSLATIONS. ῞Ο τε γὰρ ἀγιάζ . Both the purifier and the purified. Scholefield. He that atoneth, and they that are atoned for. Turner. He who maketh expiation, and they for whom expiation is made. Stuart. ῾Αγιαζόμενοι , literally, who are in the process of sanctification. Conybeare and Howson. ED.

Hebrews 2:11-13 . 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, saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee. And again, I will put my trust in him. And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given me.

The words contain,

First, A further description of the captain of salvation, and the sons to be brought unto glory by him, mentioned in the verse foregoing, taken from his office and work towards them, and the effect thereof upon them, “He that sanctifieth and they that are sanctified;” which is the subject of the first proposition in these words.

Secondly, An assertion concerning them, “They are all of one.”

Thirdly, A natural consequence of that assertion, which includes also the scope and design of it, “He is not ashamed to call them brethren.” Fourthly, The confirmation hereof by a triple testimony from the Old Testament

First, He describes the captain of salvation and the sons to be brought unto glory by their mutual relation to one another in sanctification. He is ὁ ἁγιάζων , “he that sanctifieth;” and they are οἱ ἁγιαζόμενοι , “they that are sanctified.” That it is the Son, the captain of salvation, that is intended by the sanctifier, both what the apostle affirms immediately of him and them, and the ensuing testimonies whereby he confirms it, do make evident. And as in the verse foregoing, giving an account why God would have Christ to suffer, he describes him by that property of his nature which includes a necessity of his so doing; so here, setting forth the causes on our part of that suffering, and the grounds of our advantage thereby, he expresseth him and the children by those terms which manifest their relation unto one another, and which they could not have stood in had they not been of the same nature, as he afterwards declares. Now, the same word being here used actively and passively, it must in both places be understood in the same sense, the one expressing the effect of the other. As Christ sanctifies, so are the children sanctified. And the act of Christ which is here intended is that which he did for the sons, when he suffered for them according to God’s appointment, as Hebrews 2:10. Now, as was said before, to sanctify is either to separate and to dedicate unto sacred use, or to purify and make really holy; which latter sense is here principally intended. Thus, when the apostle speaks of the effects of the offering of Christ for the elect, he distinguisheth between their τελείωσις , or “consummation,” and their ἀγιασμός , or “sanctification:” Hebrews 10:14, Μιᾷ προσφορᾷ τετελείωκεν τοῦς ἀγιαζομένους· . “By one offering he consummated’’(or “perfected”) “the sanctified.” First, he sanctifieth them, and then dedicates them unto God, so that they shall never more need any initiation into his favor and service. This work was the captain of salvation designed unto. The children that were to be brought unto glory being in themselves unclean and unholy, and on that account, separated from God, he was to purge their natures and to make them holy, that they might be admitted into the favor of and find acceptance with God. And for the nature of this work, two things must be considered: first, The impetration of it, or the way and means whereby he obtained this sanctification for them; and, secondly, The application of that means, or real effecting of it. The first consisteth in the sufferings of Christ and the merit thereof. Hence we are so often said to be sanctified and washed in his blood, Ephesians 5:25; Acts 20:32; Revelation 1:5; and his blood is said to cleanse us from all our sins, 1 John 1:7. As it was shed for us, he procured, by the merit of his obedience therein, that those for whom it was shed should be purged and purified, Titus 2:14. The other consists in the effectual working of the Spirit of grace, communicated unto us by virtue of the blood-shedding and sufferings of Christ, as the apostle declares, Titus 3:4-6. And they who place this sanctification merely on the doctrine and example of Christ (as Grotius on this place), besides that they consider not at all the design and scope of the place, so they reject the principal end and the most blessed effect of the death and blood-shedding of the Lord Jesus. Now, in this description of the captain of salvation and of the sons, the apostle intimates a further necessity of his sufferings, because they were to be sanctified by him, which could no otherwise be done but by his death and blood- shedding. Having many things to observe from these verses, we shall take them up as they offer themselves unto us in our procedure; as here,

I. That all the children which are to be brought unto glory, antecedently unto their relation unto the Lord Christ, are polluted, defiled, separate from God.

They are all to be sanctified by him, both as to their real purification and their consecration to be God’s hallowed portion. This, for many blessed ends, the Scripture abundantly instructs us in: Titus 3:3, “We ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another.” A most wretched, defiled, and loathsome condition, that which justly might be an abhorrency to God and all his holy angels! and such, indeed, God describes it to be by his prophet: Ezekiel 16:5-6,

“Thou wast polluted in thy blood; and cast out in the open field, to the loathing of thy person.”

Thus we were, saith the apostle; even we, who are now sanctified and cleansed by the means which he afterwards relates. The like description he gives of this estate, 1 Corinthians 6:11, with an assertion of the same delivery from it. We are naturally very proud, apt to please ourselves in ourselves; to think of nothing less than of being polluted or defiled, or at least not so far but that we can wash ourselves. What a hard thing is it to persuade the great men of the world, in the midst of their ornaments, paintings, and perfumes, that they are all over vile, leprous, loathsome, and defiled! Are they not ready to wash themselves in the blood of them who intimate any such thing unto them? But whether men will hear or forbear, this is the condition of all men, even of the sons of God themselves, before they are washed and sanctified by Christ Jesus. And as this sets out the infinite love of God in taking notice of such vile creatures as we are, and the unspeakable condescension of the Lord Christ, with the efficacy of his grace in cleansing us by his blood, so it is sufficient to keep us humble in ourselves, and thankful unto God all our days.

II. That the Lord Christ is the great sanctifier of the church. His title is ὁ ἁγιάζων , “the sanctifier;” of which more afterwards. The Lord Christ, the captain of our salvation, sanctifies every son whom he brings unto glory.

He will never glorify an unsanctified person. The world, indeed, is full of an expectation of glory by Christ; but of that which is indispensably previous thereunto they have no regard. But this the Scripture gives us as a principal effect of the whole mediation of Christ; of his death, Ephesians 5:26; Titus 2:14; of his communication of his word and Spirit, John 17:19; Titus 3:5-6; of his blood-shedding in an especial manner, 1 John 1:7; Romans 6:5-6; Revelation 1:5; of his life in heaven and intercession for us, Colossians 3:1-3. This he creates his people unto by his grace, Ephesians 2:8, excites them unto by his promises and commands, 2 Corinthians 7:1, John 15:16-17. So that no end of the mediation of Christ is accomplished in them who are not sanctified and made holy. And this was necessary for him to do, on the part,

1. Of God;

2. Of himself;

3. Of themselves.

1. Of God, unto whom they are to be brought in glory. He is holy, “of purer eyes than to behold evil,” no unclean thing can stand in his presence; holy in his nature, “glorious in holiness;” holy in his commands, and “will be sanctified in all that draw nigh unto him.” And this Peter urgeth as that which requires holiness in us, 1 Peter 1:15-16,

“As he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; because it is written, Be ye holy, for I am holy.”

And thence it is said that “holiness becometh his house,” that is, all that draw nigh unto him; and the apostle sets it down as an uncontrollable maxim, that “without holiness no man shall see the Lord.” If the Lord Christ, then, will bring the children unto God, he must make them holy, or they can have no admittance into his presence, no acceptance with him; for no unclean thing, nothing that defileth, can enter into the new Jerusalem, the place where his holiness dwelleth. It is utterly impossible that any soul not washed with the blood of Christ, not sanctified by his Spirit and grace, should stand in the sight of God. And this was expressed in all the typical institutions about cleansing which God appointed unto his people of old. He did it to teach them that unless they were sanctified, washed, and cleansed from their sins, they could be admitted unto no communion with him nor enjoyment of him. Neither can any serve him here unless their consciences be purged by the blood of Christ from dead works; nor can they come to him hereafter, unless they are washed from all their defilements. Their services here he rejects as an unclean and polluted thing; and their confidences for the future he despiseth as a presumptuous abomination. God will not divest himself of his holiness, that he may receive or be enjoyed by unholy creatures. And the day is coming wherein poor unsanctified creatures, who think they may miss holiness in the way to glory, shall cry out, “Who amongst us shall inhabit with those everlasting burnings?” for so will he appear unto all unsanctified persons.

2. Of himself, and the relation whereinto he takes these sons with himself. He is their head, and they are to be members of his body. Now, he is holy, and so must they be also, or this relation will be very unsuitable and uncomely. A living head and dead members, a beautiful head and rotten members, how uncomely would it be! Such a monstrous body Christ will never own. Nay, it would overthrow the whole nature of that relation, and take away the life and power of that union that Christ and his are brought into as head and members; for whereas it consists in this, that the whole head and members are animated, quickened, and acted by one and the self-same Spirit of life, nor doth any thing else give union between head and members, if they be not sanctified by that Spirit, there can be no such relation between them. Again, he takes them unto himself to be his bride and spouse. Now, you know that it was appointed of old, that if any one would take up a captive maid to be his wife, she was to shave her head, and pare her nails, and wash herself, that she might be meet for him. And the Lord Christ taking this bride unto himself, by the conquest he hath made of her, must by sanctification make them meet for this relation with himself. And therefore he doth it: Ephesians 5:25-27,

“Christ loved the church, and gave himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.”

This it became him to do, this was the end why he did it: he sanctifieth his church that he may present it a meet bride or spouse unto himself. The like may be said of all other relations wherein the Lord Christ stands unto his people; there is no one of them but makes their sanctification absolutely necessary.

3. On the part of the children themselves; for unless they are regenerate, or born again, wherein the foundation of their sanctification is laid, they can by no means enter into the kingdom of God. It is this that makes them “meet for the inheritance of the saints in light.” As without it they are not meet for their duty, so are they not capable of their reward. Yea, heaven itself, in the true light and notion of it, is undesirable unto an unsanctified person. Such a one neither can nor would enjoy God if he might. In a word, there is no one thing required of the sons of God that an unsanctified person can do, no one thing promised unto them that he can enjoy.

There is surely, then, a woeful mistake in the world. If Christ sanctifies all whom he saves, many will appear to have been mistaken in their expectations another day. It is grown amongst us almost an abhorrency unto all flesh, to say that the church of God is to be holy. What though God hath promised that it should be so, and Christ hath undertaken to make it so? what if it be required to be so? what if all the duties of it be rejected of God if it be not so? it is all one. If men be baptized whether they will or no, and outwardly profess the name of Christ, though not one of them be truly sanctified, yet they are, as it is said, the church of Christ. Why, then, let them be so; but what are they the better for it? Are their persons or their services therefore accepted with God? are they related or. united unto Christ? are they under his conduct unto glory? are they meet for the inheritance of the saints in light? Not at all; not all, not any of these things do they obtain thereby. What is it, then, that they get by the furious contest which they make for the reputation of this privilege? Only this, that satisfying their minds by it, resting if not priding themselves in it, they obtain many advantages to stifle all convictions of their condition, and so perish unavoidably. A sad success, and for ever to be bewailed! Yet is there nothing at this day more contended for in this world than that Christ might be thought to be a captain of salvation unto them unto whom he is not a sanctifier, that he may have an unholy church, a dead body. These things tend neither to the glory of Christ, nor to the good of the souls of men. Let none, then, deceive themselves: sanctification is a qualification indispensably necessary unto them who will be under the conduct of the Lord Christ unto salvation, he will lead none to heaven but whom he sanctities on the earth. The holy God will not receive unholy persons; this living head will not admit of dead members, nor bring men into the possession of a glory which they neither love nor like.

Secondly, Having given this description of the captain of salvation and of the sons to be brought unto glory, the apostle affirms of them that they are ἐξ ἐνός , “of one ;” which made it meet for him to suffer and for them to be made partakers of his sufferings. The equity hereof lies in the agreement, that he and they are of one; which what it is we must now inquire.

1. The word hath this ambiguity in it, that it may be of the masculine gender, and denote one person, or of the neuter, and signify one thing. If it relate unto the person, it may have a double interpretation:

(1.) That it is God who is intended. They are “all of one;” that is, God. And this may be spoken in several respects, The Son was of him by eternal generation; the many sons, by temporal creation, they were made by him. Or, they are all of him: he ordained him to be the sanctifier, them to be sanctified; him to be the captain of salvation, and them to be brought unto glory. And this sense the last testimony produced by the apostle seems to give countenance unto: “Behold I and the children which God hath given unto me;” ‘me to be their father, captain, leader; they to be the children to be cared for and conducted by me.’And this way went most of the ancients in their exposition of this place. In this sense, the reason yielded by the apostle in these words why the captain of salvation should be made perfect by sufferings is, because the sons to be brought unto glory were also to suffer, and they were all of one, both he and they, even of God. But though these things are true, yet they contain not a full reason of what the apostle intends to prove by this assertion: for this interpretation allows no other relation to be expressed between Christ and the sons than what is between him and angels; they are also, with him, of one God. And yet the apostle afterwards showeth that there was another union and relation between Christ and the elect needful, that they might be saved by him, than any that was between him and angels. And if nothing be intimated but the good pleasure of God appointing him to be a Savior and them to be saved, because they were all of himself, of one God, which was sufficient to make that appointment just and righteous, then is here nothing asserted to prove the meetness of Christ to be a Savior unto men and not to angels, which yet the apostle in the following verses expressly deduceth from hence.

(2.) If it respect a person, it may be “ex uno homine,” “of one man;” that is, of Adam. They are all of one common root and stock, he and they came all of one, Adam. Unto him is the genealogy of Christ referred by Luke. And as a common stock of our nature he is often called the “one,” the “one man,” Romans 5:0. And this, for the substance of it, falls in with what will be next considered.

2. It may be taken in the neuter sense, and denote one thing. And so also it may receive a double interpretation:

(1.) It may denote the same mass of human nature. ᾿Εξ ἑνός φυράματος , of one and the same mass of human nature; or, ἐξ ἑνὸς αἵματος . So it is said of all mankind that God made them ἐξ ἑνὸς αἵματος , “of one blood,”

Acts 17:26, of one common principle; which gives an alliance, cognation, and brotherhood, unto the whole race of mankind. As the making of all mankind by one God gives them all a relation unto him, as saith the apostle, “We are also his offspring;” so their being made of “one blood” gives them a brotherhood among themselves, See Acts 14:15. And this interpretation differs not, in the substance of it, from that last preceding, inasmuch as the whole mass of human nature had its existence in the person of Adam; only it refers not the oneness mentioned formally unto his person, but unto the nature itself whereof he was made partaker. And this sense the apostle further explains, Acts 14:14; as he also observes it, Romans 9:5. (2.) By “one,” some understand the same spiritual nature, the principle of spiritual life which is in Christ the head, and the children his members. And this, they say, is that which is their peculiar oneness, or being of one, seeing all wicked men, even reprobates, are of the same common mass of human nature as well as the children. But yet this is not satisfactory. It is true, indeed, that after the children are really sanctified, they are of one and the same spiritual nature with their head, 1 Corinthians 12:12, and hereby are they differenced from all others: but the apostle here treats of their being so of one that he might be meet to suffer for them; which is antecedent unto their being sanctified, as the cause is unto the effect. Neither is it of any weight that the reprobates are partakers of the same common nature with the children, seeing the Lord Christ partook of it only on the children’s account, as 1 Corinthians 12:14; and of their nature he could not be partaker without being partaker of that which was common to them all, seeing that of one blood God made all nations under heaven. But the bond of nature itself is, in the covenant, reckoned only unto them that shall be sanctified.

It is, then, one common nature that is here intended. He and they are of the same nature, of one mass, of one blood. And hereby he came to be meet to suffer for them, and they to be in a capacity of enjoying the benefit of his sufferings; which how it answers the whole design of the apostle in this place doth evidently appear. First, he intends to show that the Lord Christ was meet to suffer for the children; and this arose from hence, that he was of the same nature with them, as he afterwards at large declares. And he was meet to sanctify them by his sufferings, as in this verse he intimates. For as in an offering made unto the Lord of the first-fruits, of meat or of meal, a parcel of the same nature with the whole was taken and offered, whereby the whole was sanctified, Leviticus 2:0; so the Lord Jesus Christ being taken as the first-fruits of the nature of the children, and offered unto God, the whole lump, or the whole nature of man in the children, that is, all the elect, is separated unto God, and effectually sanctified in their season. And this gives the ground unto all the testimonies which the apostle produceth unto his purpose out of the Old Testament; for being thus of one nature with them, “he is not ashamed to call them brethren,” as he proves from Psalms 22:0. For although it be true, that, as brethren is a term of spiritual cognation and love, he calls them not so until they are made partakers of his Spirit, and of the same spiritual nature that is in him, yet the first foundation of this appellation lies in his participation of the same nature with them; without which, however he might love them, he could not properly call them brethren. Also, his participation of their nature was that which brought him into such a condition as wherein it was needful for him to put his trust in God, and to look for deliverance from him in a time of danger; which the apostle proves in the second place by a testimony out of Psalms 18:0: which could not in any sense have been said of Christ had he not been partaker of that nature, which is exposed unto all kinds of wants and troubles, with outward straits and oppositions, which the nature of angels is not. And as his being thus of one with us made him our brother, and placed him in that condition with us wherein it was necessary for him to put his trust in God for deliverance; so being the principal head and first- fruits of our nature, and therein the author and finisher of our salvation, he is a father unto us, and we are his children: which the apostle proveth by his last testimony from Isaiah 8:0, “Behold I and the children which the Lord hath given unto me.” And further, upon the close of these testimonies, the apostle assumes again his proposition, and asserts it unto the same purpose, Isaiah 8:14, showing in what sense he and the children were of one, namely, in their mutual participation of “flesh and blood.”

And thus this interpretation of the word will sufficiently bear the whole weight of the apostle’s argument and inferences. But if any one list to extend the word further, and to comprise in it the manifold relation that is between Christ and his members, I shall not contend about it. There may be in it,

1. Their being of one God, designing him and them to be one m ystical body, one church, he the head, they the members;

2. Their taking into one covenant, made originally with him, and exemplified in them;

3. Their being of one common principle of human nature;

4. Designed unto a manifold spiritual union in respect of that new nature which the children receive from him; with every other thing that concurs to serve the union and relation between them. But that which we have insisted on is principally intended, and to be so considered by us. And we might teach from hence, that,

III. The agreement of Christ and the elect in one common nature is the foundation of his fitness to be an undertaker on their behalf, and of the equity of their being made partakers of the benefits of his mediation, but that this will occur unto us again more fully, Isaiah 8:14.

And by all this doth the apostle discover unto the Hebrews the unreasonableness of their offense at the afflicted condition and sufferings of the Messiah. He had minded them of the work that he had to do; which was, to save his elect by a spiritual and eternal salvation: he had also intimated what was their condition by nature; wherein they were unclean, unsanctified, separate from God: and withal had made known what the justice of God, as the supreme governor and judge of all, required that sinners might be saved. He now minds them of the union that was between him and them, whereby he became fit to suffer for them, as that they might enjoy the blessed effects thereof in deliverance and salvation.

Thirdly, The apostle lays down an inference from his preceding assertion, in these words, “For which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren.” In which words we have,

1. The respect of that which is here affirmed unto the assertion foregoing: “For which cause.”

2. The thing itself affirmed; which is, that the Lord Christ calls the sons to be brought unto glory his “brethren.”

3. The manner of his so doing: “He is not ashamed to call them so.” And herein also the apostle, according to his wonted way of proceeding, which we have often observed, makes a transition towards somewhat else which he had in design, namely, the prophetical office of Christ, as we shall see afterwards.

“For which cause,” that is, because they are of one, partakers of one common nature, “he calls them brethren.” This gives a rightful foundation unto that appellation. Hereon is built that relation which is between him and them. It is true, there is more required to perfect the relation of brotherhood between him and them than merely their being of one; but it is so far established from hence that he was meet to suffer for them, to sanctify and save them. And without this there could have been no such relation. Now, his calling of them “brethren” doth both declare that they are so, and also that he owns them and avouches them as such. But whereas it may be said, that although they are thus of one in respect of their common nature, yet upon sundry other accounts he is so glorious, and they are so vile and miserable, that he might justly disavow this cognation, and reject them as strangers, the apostle tells us it is otherwise, and that, passing by all other distances between them, and setting aside the consideration of their unworthiness, for which he might justly disavow them, and remembering wherefore he was of one with them, “he is not ashamed to call them brethren.” There may be μείωσις ; in the words, and the contrary asserted to that which is denied: “He is not ashamed;” that is, willingly, cheerfully, and readily he doth it. But I rather look upon it as an expression of condescension and love. And herein doth the apostle show the use of what he taught before, that they were of one, namely, that thereby they became brethren, he meet to suffer for them, and they meet to be saved by him. What in all this the apostle confirms by the ensuing testimonies, we shall see in the explication of them; in the meantime we may learn for our own instruction,

IV. That notwithstanding the union of nature ßwhich is between the Son of God incarnate, the sanctifier, and the children that are to be sanctified, there is in respect of their persons an inconceivable distance between them; so that it is a marvellous condescension in him to call them brethren.

He is not ashamed to call them so, though, considering what himself is and what they are, it should seem that he might justly be so. The same expression, for the like reasons, is used concerning God’s owning his people in covenant, Hebrews 11:16, “Wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God.” And this distance between Christ and us, which makes his condescension so marvellous, relates unto a fourfold head;

1. The immunity of the nature wherein he was of one with us in his person from all sin. He was made like unto us in all things, sin excepted. The nature of man in every other individual person is defiled with and debased by sin. We are every one “gone astray, and are become all together filthy” or abominable. This sets us at no small distance from him. Human nature defiled with sin is farther distanced from the same nature as pure and holy, in worth and excellency, than the meanest worm is from the most glorious angel. Nothing but sin casts the creature out of its own place, and puts it into another distance from God than it hath by being a creature. This is a debasement unto hell, as the prophet speaks: “Thou didst debase thyself even unto hell,” Isaiah 57:9. And therefore the condescension of God unto us in Christ is set out by his regarding of us “when we were enemies” unto him, Romans 5:10; that is, whilst we were “sinners,” as Romans 5:8. This had cast us into hell itself, at the most inconceivable distance from him. Yet this hindered not him who was “holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners,” to own us as his brethren. He says not, with those proud hypocrites in the prophet, “Stand farther off, I am holier than you;” but he comes unto us, and takes us by the hand in his love, to deliver us from this condition.

2. We are in this nature obnoxious unto all miseries, in this world and that which is to come. Man now is “born to trouble,” all the trouble that sin can deserve or a provoked God inflict. His misery is great upon him, and that growing and endless. He, just in himself, free from all, obnoxious to nothing that was grievous or irksome, no more than the angels in heaven or Adam in paradise. “Poena noxam sequitur;” “Punishment and trouble follow guilt only naturally.” He “did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth;” so that God was always well pleased with him. Whatever of hardship or difficulty he underwent, it was for us, and not for himself. Might not he have left us to perish in our condition, and freely enjoyed his own? We see how unapt those who are in prosperity, full and rich, are to take notice of their nearest relations in poverty, misery, and distress; and who among them would do so if it would cast them into the state of those who are already miserable? Yet so it did the Lord Christ. His calling us brethren, and owning of us, made him instantly obnoxious unto all the miseries the guilt whereof we had contracted upon ourselves. The owning of his alliance unto us cost him, as it were, all he was worth; for being rich, “for our sakes he became poor.” He came into the prison and into the furnace to own us. And this also renders his condescension marvellous.

3. He is inconceivably distanced from us in reject of that place and dignity which he was destined unto. This, as we have showed at large, was to be “Lord of all,” with absolute sovereign authority over the whole creation of God. We are poor abjects, who either have not bread to eat, or have no good right to eat that which we meet withal. Sin hath set the whole creation against us. And if Mephibosheth thought it a great condescension in David on his throne to take notice of him, being poor, who was yet the son of Jonathan, what is it in this King of kings to own us for brethren in our vile and low condition? Thoughts of his glorious exaltation will put a lustre on his condescension in this matter.

4. He is infinitely distanced from us in his person, in respect of his divine nature, wherein he is and was “God over all, blessed for ever.” He did not so become man as to cease to be God. Though he drew a veil over his infinite glory, yet he parted not with it. He who calls us brethren, who suffered for us, who died for us, was God still in all these things. The condescension of Christ in this respect the apostle in an especial manner insists upon and improves, Philippians 2:5-11. That he who in himself is thus over all, eternally blessed, holy, powerful, should take us poor worms of the earth into this relation with himself, and avow us for his brethren, as it is not easy to be believed, so it is for ever to be admired.

And these are some of the heads of that distance which is between Christ and us, notwithstanding his participation of the same nature with us. Yet such was his love unto us, such his constancy in the pursuit of the design and purpose of his Father in bringing many sons unto glory, that he overlooks as it were them all, and “is not ashamed to call us brethren.” And if he will do this because he is of one with us, because a foundation of this relation is laid in his participation of our nature, how much more will he continue so to do when he hath perfected this relation by the communication of his Spirit!

And this is a ground of unspeakable consolation unto believers, with supportment in every condition. No unworthiness in them, no misery upon them, shall ever hinder the Lord Christ from owning them, and openly avowing them to be his brethren. He is a brother born for the day of trouble, a Redeemer for the friendless and fatherless. Let their miseries be what they will, he will be ashamed of none but of them who are ashamed of him and his ways when persecuted and reproached. A little while will clear up great mistakes All the world shall see at the last day whom Christ will own; and it will be a great surprisal, when men shall hear him call them brethren whom they hated, and esteemed as the offscouring of all things. He doth it, indeed, already by his word; but they will not attend thereunto. But at the last day they shall both see and hear, whether they will or no. And herein, I say, lies the great consolation of believers. The world rejects them, it may be their own relations despise them, they are persecuted, hated, reproached; but the Lord Christ is not ashamed of them. He will not pass by them because they are poor and in rags, it may be, reckoned (as he himself was for them) among malefactors. They may see also the wisdom, grace, and love of God in this matter. His great design in the incarnation of his Son was to bring him into that condition wherein he might naturally care for them, as their brother; that he might not be ashamed of them, but be sensible of their wants, their state and condition in all things, and so be always ready and meet to relieve them. Let the world now take its course, and the men thereof do their worst; let Satan rage, and the powers of hell be stirred up against them; let them load them with reproaches and scorn, and cover them all over with the filth and dirt of their false imputations; let them bring them into rags, into dungeons, unto death ; Christ comes in the midst of all this confusion and says, ‘Surely these are my brethren, the children of my Father,’and he becomes their Savior. And this is a stable foundation of comfort and supportment in every condition. And are we not taught our duty also herein, namely, not to be ashamed of him or his gospel, or of any one that bears his image? The Lord Christ is now himself in that condition that even the worst of men esteem it an honor to own him: but indeed they are no less ashamed of him than they would have been when he was carrying his cross upon his shoulders or hanging upon the tree; for of every thing that he hath in this world they are ashamed. His gospel, his ways, his worship, his Spirit, his saints, they are all of them the objects of their scorn; and in these things it is that the Lord Christ may be truly honored or be despised. For those thoughts which men have of his present glory, abstracting from these things, he is not concerned in them; they are all exercised about an imaginary Christ, that is unconcerned in the word and Spirit of the Lord Jesus. These are the things wherein we are not to be ashamed of him. See Romans 1:16; 2Ti 1:16 ; 2 Timothy 4:16.

Fourthly, That which remaineth of these verses consisteth in the testimonies which the apostle produceth out of the Old Testament in the confirmation of what he had taught and asserted. And two things are to be considered concerning them, the end for which they are produced, and the especial importance of the words contained in them. The first he mentions is from Psalms 22:22,

“I will declare thy name unto my brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee.”

The end why the apostle produceth this testimony, is to confirm what he had said immediately before, namely, that with respect unto his being one with the children, Christ owns them for his brethren; for this he doth expressly in this place. And we are to take notice that the apostle in the use of these testimonies doth not observe any order, so that one of them should confirm one part, and another, another part of his assertion, in the order wherein he had laid them down. It sufficeth him that his whole intendment, in all the parts of it, is confirmed in and by them all, one having a more especial respect unto one part than another. In this first it is clear that he proves what he had immediately before affirmed, namely, that the Lord Christ owns the children for his brethren, because of their common interest in the same nature. And there needs nothing to evince the pertinency of this testimony but only to show that it is the Messiah which speaketh in that psalm, and whose words these are; which we have done fully already in our Prolegomena.

For the explication of the words themselves, we may consider the twofold act or duty that the Lord Christ takes upon himself in them; first, that he will declare the name of God unto his brethren; and, secondly, that he would celebrate him with praises in the congregation. In the former we must inquire what is meant by the “name” of God, and then how it is or was “declared” by Jesus Christ.

This expression, the “name of God,” is variously used. Sometimes it denotes the being of God, God himself; sometimes his attributes, his excellencies or divine perfections, some one or more of them. As it is proposed unto sinners as an object for their faith, trust, and love, it denotes in an especial manner his love, grace, and goodness, that in himself he is good, gracious, and merciful, Isaiah 50:10. And withal itintimates what God requires of them towards whom he is so good and gracious. This name of God is unknown to men by nature; so is the way and means whereby he will communicate his goodness and grace unto them. And this is the name of God here intended, which the Lord Jesus “manifested unto the men given him out of the world,” John 17:6; which is the same with his declaring the Father, whom “no man hath seen at any time,” John 1:18. This is that name of God which the Lord Jesus Christ had experience of in his sufferings, and the manifestation whereof unto his brethren he had procured thereby.

Hereof he says in the psalm, אֲסַפְרָה , “I will declare it,” recount it in order, number the particulars that belong unto it, and so distinctly and evidently make it known. ᾿Απαλλελῶ , ‘I will make it known as a messenger, sent from thee and by thee.’And there are two ways whereby the Lord Christ declared this name of God:

1. In his own person; and that both before and after his sufferings: for although it be mentioned here as a work that ensued his death, yet is it not exclusive of his teachings before his suffering, because they also were built upon the supposition thereof. Thus in the days of his flesh, he instructed his disciples and preached the gospel in the synagogues of the Jews and in the temple, declaring the name of God unto them. So also after his resurrection he conferred with his apostles about the kingdom of God, Acts 1:0.

2. By his Spirit; and that both in the effusion of it upon his disciples, enabling them personally to preach the gospel unto the men of their own generation, and in the inspiration of some of them, enabling them to commit the truth unto writing for the instruction of the elect unto the end of the world. And herein doth the apostle, according unto his wonted manner, not only confirm what he had before delivered, but make way for what he had further to instruct the Hebrews in, namely, the prophetical office of Christ, as he is the great revealer of the will of God and teacher of the church; which he professedly insists upon in the beginning of the next chapter.

In the second part of this first testimony is declared further:

1. What Christ will moreover do: He will “sing praises unto God;’ and,

2. Where he will do it: “In the midst of the congregation.”

The expression of both these is accommodated unto the declaration of God’s name and of praising him in the temple.

1. The singing of hymns of praise unto God in the great congregation was then a principal part of his worship. And in the first expression two things are observable:

(1.) What Christ undertakes to do; and that is, to praise God. Now this is only exegetical of what went before. He would praise God by declaring his name. There is no way whereby the praise of God may be celebrated like that of declaring his grace, goodness, and love unto men; whereby they may be won to believe and trust in him, whence glory redounds unto him.

(2.) The cheerfulness and alacrity of the spirit of Christ in this work. He would do it as with joy and singing, with such a frame of heart as was required in them who were to sing the praises of God in the great assemblies in the temple.

2. Where would he do this? בְּתוֹךְ קָהָל , “in the midst of the congregation,” “the great congregation,” as he calls it, Acts 1:23; that is, the great assembly of the people in the temple. And this was a type of the whole church of the elect under the new testament. The Lord Christ, in his own person, by his Spirit in his apostles, by his word, and by all his messengers unto the end of the world, setting forth the love, grace, goodness, and mercy of God in him the mediator, sets forth the praise of God in the midst of the congregation. I shall only add, that whereas singing of hymns unto God was an especial part of the instituted worship under the old testament, to whose use these expressions are accommodated, it is evident that the Lord Christ hath eminently set forth this praise of God in his institution of worship under the new testament, wherein God will ever be glorified and praised. This was that which the Lord Christ engaged to do upon the issue of his sufferings; and we may propose it unto our example and instruction, namely,

V. That which was principally in the heart of Christ upon his sufferings, was to declare and manifest the love, grace, and good-will of God unto men, that they might come to an acquaintance with him and to acceptance before him.

There are two things in the psalm and the words that manifest how much this was upon the heart of Christ The most part of the psalm containeth the great conflict that he had with his sufferings, and the displeasure of God against sin declared therein. He is no sooner delivered from thence, but instantly he engageth in this work. As he lands upon the shore from that tempest wherein he was tossed in his passion, he cries out, “I will declare thy name unto my brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee.” And thus we find, that upon his resurrection he did not immediately ascend into glory, but first declared the name of God unto his apostles and disciples, and then took order that by them it should be declared and published to all the world. This was upon his spirit, and he entered not into his glorious rest until he had performed it. The words themselves also do evidence it, in that expression of celebrating God’s name with hymns, with singing. It was a joy of heart unto him to be engaged in this work. Singing is the frame ( εὐθυμοῦντων , James 5:13) of them that are in a glad, free, rejoicing condition. So was the Lord Christ in this work. He rejoiced of old with the very thoughts of this work, Proverbs 8:30-31; Isaiah 61:1-3; and it was one of the glorious promises that were made unto him upon his undertaking the work of our salvation, that he should declare or preach the gospel, and the name of God therein, unto the conversion of Jews and Gentiles, Isaiah 49:1-10. He rejoiced, therefore, greatly to do it; and that,

1. Because herein consisted the manifestation and exaltation of the glory of God, which he principally in his whole work aimed at. He came to do the will, and thereby to set forth the glory, of the Father. By and in him God designed to make his glory known; the glory of his love and grace in sending him; the glory of his justice and faithfulness in his sufferings; the glory of his mercy in the reconciliation and pardon of sinners; the glory of his wisdom in the whole mystery of his mediation; and the glory together of all his external excellencies in bringing his sons unto the everlasting enjoyment of him. Now nothing of all this could have been made known, unless the Lord Christ had taken upon him to preach the gospel and declare the name of God. Without this, whatever else he had done or suffered had been lost, as unto the interest of the glory of God. This, then, being that which he principally aimed at, this design must needs be greatly in his mind. He took care that so great glory, built on so great a foundation as his incarnation and mediation, should not be lost. His other work was necessary, but this was a joy of heart and soul unto him.

2. The salvation of the sons to be brought unto glory, with all their interest in the benefit of his sufferings, depended on this work of his. How much he sought that, his whole work declares. For their sakes it was that he came down from heaven, and “was made flesh, and dwelt among them;” for their sakes did he undergo all the miseries that the world could cast upon him; for their sakes did he undergo the curse of the law, and wrestle with the displeasure and wrath of God against sin. And all this seemed as it were little unto him, for the love he bare them; as Jacob’s hard service did to him for his love unto Rachel. Now, after he had done all this for them, unless he had declared the name of God unto them in the gospel, they could have had no benefit by it; for if they believe not, they cannot be saved. And how should they believe without the word? and how or whence could they hear the word unless it had been preached unto them? They could not of themselves have known any thing of that name of God, which is their life and salvation. Some men talk of I know not what declaration of God’s name, nature, and glory, by the works of nature and providence; but if the Lord Christ had not indeed revealed, declared, and preached these things, these disputers themselves would not have been in any other condition than all mankind are who are left unto those teachers, which is most dark and miserable. The Lord Christ knew that without his performance of this work, not one of the sons, the conduct of whom to glory he had undertaken, could ever have been brought unto the knowledge of the name of God, or unto faith in him, or obedience unto him; which made him earnestly and heartily engage into it.

3. Hereon depended his own glory also. His elect were to be gathered unto him; and in, among, and over them, was his glorious kingdom to be erected. Without their conversion unto God this could not be done. In the state of nature they also are “children of wrath,” and belong to the kingdom of Satan. And this declaration of the name of God is the great way and means of their calling, conversion, and translation from the power of Satan into his kingdom. The gospel is “the rod of his strength,” whereby “his people are made willing in the day of his power.” In brief, the gathering of his church, the setting up of his kingdom, the establishment of his throne, the setting of the crown upon his head, depend wholly on his declaring the name of God in the preaching of the gospel. Seeing, therefore, that the glory of God which he aimed at, the salvation of the sons which he sought for, and the honor of his kingdom which was promised unto him, do all depend on this work, it is no wonder if his heart were full of it, and that he rejoiced to be engaged in it.

And this frame of heart ought to be in them who under him are called unto this work. The work itself, we see, is noble and excellent, such as the Lord Christ carried in his eye through all his sufferings, as that whereby they were to be rendered useful unto the glory of God and the salvation of the souls of men. And, by his rejoicing to be engaged in it, he hath set a pattern unto them whom he calls to the same employment. Where men undertake it for “filthy lucre,” for self ends and carnal respects, this is not to follow the example of Christ, nor to serve him, but their own bellies. Zeal for the glory of God, compassion for the souls of men, love to the honor and exaltation of Christ, ought to be the principles of men in this undertaking.

Moreover, the Lord Christ, by declaring that he will set forth the praise of God in the church, manifests what is the duty of the church itself, namely, to praise God for the work of his love and grace in our redemption by Christ Jesus. This he promiseth to go before them in; and what he leads them unto is by them to be persisted in. This is indeed the very end of gathering the church, and of all the duties that are performed therein and thereby. The church is called unto the glory of the grace of God, Ephesians 1:6, that it may be set forth in them and by them. This is the end of the institution of all the ordinances of worship in the church, Ephesians 3:8-10; and in them do they set forth the praises of God unto men and angels. This is the tendency of prayer, the work of faith, the fruit of obedience. It is a fond imagination which some have fallen upon, that God is not praised in the church for the work of redemption, unless it be done by words and hymns particularly expressing it. All praying, all preaching, all administration of ordinances, all our faith, all our obedience, if ordered aright, are nothing but giving glory to God for his love and grace in Christ Jesus in a due and acceptable manner. And this is that which ought to be in our design in all our worship of God, especially in what we perform in the church. To set forth his praise, to declare his name, to give glory unto him by believing, and the profession of our faith, is the end of all we do. And this is the first testimony produced by our apostle.

His next is taken from Psalms 18:2, “I will put my trust in him.” The whole psalm literally respects David, with his straits and deliverances; not absolutely, but as he was a type of Christ. That he was so the Jews cannot deny, seeing the Messiah is promised on that account under the name of David. And the close of the psalm, treating of the calling of the Gentiles, as a fruit of his deliverance from sufferings, manifests him principally to be intended. And that which the apostle intends to prove by this testimony is, that he was really and truly of one with the sons to be brought unto glory: and that he doth from hence, inasmuch as he was made and brought into that condition wherein it was necessary for him to trust in God, and act in that dependence upon him which the nature of man whilst exposed unto troubles doth indispensably require. Had he been only God, this could not have been spoken of him. Neither is the nature of angels exposed to such dangers and troubles as to make it necessary for them to betake themselves unto God’s protection with respect thereunto. And this the word חָסָה , used by the psalmist, properly signifies, to ‘betake a man’s self unto the care and protection of another,’as Psalms 2:0 ult. This, then, the condition of the Lord Christ required, and this he did perform. In all the troubles and difficulties that he had to contend withal, he put his trust in God; as Isaiah 50:7-9, Psalms 22:19. And this evinceth him to have been truly and really of one with the children, his brethren, seeing it was his duty no less than it is theirs to depend on God in troubles and distresses. And in vain doth Schlichtingius hence endeavor to prove that Christ was the son of God by grace only, because he is said to depend on him, which if he had been God by nature he could not do. True, if he had been God only; but the apostle is now proving that he was man also, like unto us in all things, sin only excepted. And as such his duty it was, in all straits, to betake himself by faith unto the care and protection of God. And some things may hence also be briefly observed; as,

I. That the Lord Christ, the captain of our salvation, was exposed in the days of his flash unto great difficulties, anxiety of mind, dangers, and troubles This is included in what he here affirms about putting his trust in God. And they were all typified out by the great sufferings of David before he came unto his kingdom. In the consideration of the sufferings of Christ, men commonly fix their thoughts solely unto his death. And indeed therein was a recapitulation of all that he had before undergone, with an addition of the wrath of God. But yet neither are the sufferings of his life to be disregarded. Such they were as made his whole pilgrimage on the earth dangerous and dolorous. There was upon him a confluence of every thing that is evil or troublesome unto human nature. And herein is he principally our example, at least so far that we should think no kind of sufferings strange unto us.

II. The Lord Christ, in all his perplexities and troubles, betook himself unto the protection of God, trusting in him. See Isaiah 50:7-9. And he always made an open profession of this trust, insomuch that his enemies reproached him with it in his greatest distress, Matthew 27:43. But this was his course, this was his refuge, wherein at length he had blessed and glorious success.

III. He both suffered and trusted as our head and precedent. What he did in both these kinds he calls us unto. As he did, so must we undergo perplexities and dangers in the course of our pilgrimage. The Scripture abounds with instructions unto this purpose, and experience confirms it; and professors of the gospel do but indulge unto pleasing dreams when they fancy any other condition in this world unto themselves. They would not be willing, I suppose, to purchase it at the price of inconformity unto Jesus Christ. And he is a precedent unto us in trusting as well as in suffering. As he betook himself unto the protection of God, so should we do also; and we shall have the same blessed success with him. There remains yet one testimony more, which we shall briefly pass through the consideration of: “Behold I and the children which God hath given me.” It is taken from Isaiah 8:18. That it is a prophecy of Christ which is there insisted on we have proved at large in our Prolegomena, so that we need not here again further to discourse that matter. That which the apostle aims at in the citation of this testimony, is further to confirm the union in nature, and the relation that ensues thereupon, between the captain of salvation and the sons to be brought unto glory. Now, as this is such that thereon he calls them brethren, and came into the same condition of trouble with them, so they are, by the grant and appointment of God, his children. Being of the same nature with them, and so meet to become a common parent unto them all, God, by an act of sovereign grace, gives them unto him for his children. This is the aim of the apostle in the use of this testimony unto his present purpose. In the words themselves we may consider,

1. That God gives all the sons that are to be brought unto glory to Jesus Christ: ‘The Lord hath given them unto me.’ “Thine they were,” saith he, “and thou gavest them me,” John 17:6. God having separated them as his peculiar portion, in the eternal counsel of his will, gives them unto the Son to take care of them, that they may be preserved and brought unto the glory that he had designed for them. And this work he testifies that he undertook; so that none of them shall be lost, but that, whatever difficulties they may pass through, he will raise them up at the last day, and give them an entrance into life and immortality.

2. He gives them to him as his children, to be provided for, and to have an inheritance purchased for them, that they may become heirs of God and co- heirs with himself. Adam was their first parent by nature; and in him they lost that inheritance which they might have expected by the law of their creation. They are therefore given to “the second Adam,” as their parent by grace, to have an inheritance provided for them; which accordingly he hath purchased with the price of his blood.

3. That the Lord Christ is satisfied with and rejoiceth in the portion given him of his Father, his children, his redeemed ones. This the manner of the expression informs us in, “Behold I and the children;” though he considers himself and them at that time as “signs and wonders to be spoken against.” He rejoiceth in his portion, and doth not call it Cabul, as Hiram did the cities given him of Solomon, because they displeased him. He is not only satisfied upon the sight of “the travail of his soul,” Isaiah 53:11, but glorieth also that “the lines are fallen unto him in pleasantnesses, that he hath a goodly heritage,” Psalms 16:6. Such was his love, such was his grace; for we in ourselves are “a people not to be desired.”

4. That the Lord Jesus assumes the children given him of his Father into the same condition with himself, both as to time and eternity: “I and the children.” As he is, so are they; his lot is their lot, his God is their God, his Father their Father, and his glory shall be theirs.

5. From the context of the words in the prophet, expressing the separation of Christ and the children from the world and all the hypocrites therein, combined together in the pursuit of their sinful courses, we are taught that Christ and believers are in the same covenant, confederate to trust in God in difficulties and troubles, in opposition unto all the confederacies of the men of the world for their carnal security.

And thus by this triple testimony hath the apostle both confirmed his foregoing assertion, and further manifested the relation that is between the children to be brought unto glory and the captain of their salvation, whereby it became righteous that he should suffer for them, and meet that they should enjoy the benefit of his sufferings; which he more fully expresseth in the following verses.

Verses 14-15

The union of Christ and the children, in their relation unto one common root and participation of the same nature, being asserted, the apostle proceeds to declare the ends, use, and necessity of that union, in respect of the work which God had designed him unto, and the ends which he had to accomplish thereby. Of these, two he layeth down in these two verses, namely, the destruction of the devil, and the delivery thereby of them that were in bondage by reason of death; neither of which could have been wrought or effected but by the death of the captain of salvation; which he could not have undergone, nor would what he could otherwise have done been profitable unto them, had he not been of the same nature with the children; as will appear in the opening of the words themselves.

Hebrews 2:14-15 . ᾿Επεὶ ου῏ν τὰ παιδία κεκοινώνηκε σαρκὸς καὶ αἵματος , καὶ αὐτὸς παραπλησίως μετέσχε τῶν αὐτῶν , ἵνα διὰ τοῦ θανάτου καταργήσῃ τὸν τὸ κράτος ἔχοντα τοῦ θανάτου , τουτέστι , τόν διαβολον , καὶ ἀπαλλάξῃ τούτους , ὅσοι φοβῳ θανάτου διὰ παντὸς τοῦ ζῇν ἔνοχοι η῏σαν δουλείας .

᾿Επεὶ ου῏ν . V. L., “quia ergo;” Bez., “quoniam ergo;” “because therefore.” Syr., מֶטול גֵּיר , “for seeing,” or, “for because;” Eras., “posteaquam igitur;” ours, “forasmuch then.” ᾿Ετεί is sometimes used for ἐφ᾿ ου῏ , “postquam,” “ex quo tempore,” “from whence;” so as to express no causality as to that which follows, but only the precendency of that which it relates unto. But it is not in that sense used with ου῏ν , which here is subjoined, but [in the sense of] “quoniam,” “quandoquidem;” the particle ου῏ν , “therefore,” plainly expressing a causality. They are well rendered by ours, “forasmuch then,” or “therefore.”

Τὰ παιδία κεκοινώνηκε σαρκὸς αἵματος . V.L. “Pueri communicaverunt carni et sanguini;” “The children communicated in flesh and blood.” Syr., בְּנָיִּא , “The sons were partakers,” or “do partake.” Eras., “Commercium habent cum carne et sanguine;” “Have communion” (or “commerce”) “with flesh and blood.” Bez., “Pueri participes sunt carnis et sanguinis;” “The children are partakers of flesh and blood ;” as ours. The Vulgar expresseth the time past, which the original requireth. Ethiopic, “He made his children partakers of his flesh and blood;” with respect, as it should seem, to the sacrament of the eucharist.

Καὶ αὐτὸς παραπλησίως μετέσχε τῶν αὐτῶν . V.L., “Et ipse similiter” (“consimiliter,” A.M.,) “participavit eisdem.” Bez., “Ipse quoque consimiliter particeps factus est eorundem;” as ours, “He also himself took part of the same.” And the Syr., א הָו בָּח כדְמוּתָא אֶשְׁהַּיְהַּ בְּהֵין בְּהָלֵין ; “He himself also, in the same likeness” (or “manner”), “was partaker” (or “partook”) “in the same,” (or “self-same things.”) Arab., “He also, like unto them, partook in the properties of the same;” that is, truly partook of flesh and blood in all their natural or essential properties. Ethiop., “And he also was made as a brother unto them.”

῞Ιςα διὰ θαςάτου . Syr., דְּמַיְתָה “ut per mortem suam,” “that by his own death;” properly as to the sense. Καταργήοη , V.L., “destueret;” all other Latin translations, “aboleret” “that he might destroy;” so ours. But to destroy respects the person; “abolere,” in the first place, the power. Τὸν τὸ κράτος ἔχοντα τοῦ θανάτου . “Eum qui tenebat mortis imperium,” Syr., Eras., Vul.; “Him that held” (or “had”) “the rule of death.” Bez., “Eum penes quem est mortis robur;” “Him that had the power of death.” Ethiop., “The prince of death.” Τουτέστι τὸν διάβολον . Syr., דִּאיתַוְהִי סָטָנָא , “which is Satan.” Καὶ ἀπαλλάξῃ (some copies read ἀποκαταλλάξῃ ) τούτους ὅσοι . V., “et liberaret cos;” Bez., “et liberos redderet eos;” “and free them,” “and make them free.” Syr., “and loose them.” Διὰ παντὸς τοῦ ζῆν . “Per omne vivere suum,” “whilst they lived,” “all their lives.”

῎Ενοχοι η῏σαν ὸουλείας . “Obnoxii erant servituti,” Bez.; “Mancipati erant servituti;” properly, “Damnates erant servitutis;” “obnoxious,” “subject unto bondage.”

“Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood.” This expression is not elsewhere used in the Scripture. Κοινωνέω is to have any thing whatever in common with another; ἀκοινώνητος is he who hath nothing in fellowship or common with others. And this word is used in reference unto all sorts of things, good and bad; as nature, life, actions, qualities, works. Here it intimateth the common and equal share of the children in the things spoken of. They are equally common to all. These are σάρξ καὶ αἷμα , “flesh and blood;” that is, human nature, liable to death, misery, destruction. Some would have, not the nature of man, but the frail and weak condition of mankind to be intended in this expression. So Enjedinus, and after him Grotius, who refers us to Hebrews 5:7, 1 Timothy 3:16, 1 Corinthians 4:11, for the confirmation of this sense. But in none of those places is there mention of “flesh and blood,” as here, but only of “flesh;” which word is variously used both in the Old Testament and New. Yet in all the places referred unto, it is taken, not for the quality of human life as it is infirm and weak, but for human nature itself, which is so. As concerning that of 1 Timothy 3:16, it hath at large been declared. And the design of this place rejects this gloss, which was invented only to defeat the testimony given in these words unto the incarnation of the Son of God: for the apostle adds a reason in these verses why the Lord Christ was so to be of one with the children as to take upon himself their nature; which is, because that was subject unto death, which for them he was to undergo. And “flesh and blood” are here only mentioned, though they complete not human nature without a rational soul, because in and by them it is that our nature is subject unto death. We may only further observe, that the apostle having especial regard unto the saints under the old testament, expresseth their participation of flesh and blood in the preterperfect tense, or time past: which by proportion is to be extended to all that believe in Christ; unless we shall say that he hath respect unto the common interest of all mankind in the same nature, in the root of it; whence God is said of “one blood” to have made them all. Παραπλησίως , we see, is rendered by interpreters “similiter,” “consimiliter,” “eodem modo,” “ad eandem similitudinem;” that is, ὁμοίως , or τὸν αὐτὸν τρόπον “ likewise,” or, “after the same manner.” And παραπλήσιος is as much as κατὰ πάντα ὅμοιος , Hebrews 2:17, “every way like.” Here it is restrained by τῶν αὐτῶν , “the same;” that is, flesh and blood, human nature. As to the human nature, he was every way as the children.

Μετέσχε , “partem habuit,”” particeps erat,” “he took part.” And in the use of this word the dative case of the person is still understood, and sometimes expressed. So Plato, ῞Ινα δὴ μετέχοι τῶν τπαγμάτων αὐτοῖς , “That he might share” (or “partake”) “in the same acts with them.” And it is here also understood, ‘That he might partake with them of flesh and blood.’And the apostle purposely changeth the word from that which he had before used concerning the children, Κεκοινώνηκε τὰ παιδία , they had human nature in common; they were men, and that was all, having no existence but in and by that nature. Concerning him, he had before proved that he had a divine nature, on the account whereof he was more excellent than the angels; and here he says of him, μετέσχε , existing in his divine nature, he moreover took part of human nature with them which makes a difference between their persons, though as to human nature they were every way alike. And this removes the exception of Schlichtingius, or Crellius, that he is no more said to be incarnate than the children.

“That by death καταργήοῃ .” This word is peculiar to Paul; he useth it almost in all his epistles, and that frequently. Elsewhere it occurs but once in the New Testament (Luke 13:7), and that in a sense whereunto by him it is not applied. That which he usually intends in this word, is to make a thing or person to cease as to its present condition, and not to be what it was. So Romans 3:3, Μὴ ἡ ἀπιστία αὐτῶν τὴν πίστιν τοῦ Θεοῦ καταργήσει ; “Shall their unbelief make the faith of God of none effect?” cause it to cease, render the promise useless. And Romans 3:31, Νόμον οὗν καταργοῦμεν διὰ τῆς πίστεως ; “Do we make the law void by faith?” take away its use and end. Romans 4:14, Κατήργηται ἡ ἐπαγγελία “The promise is made ineffectual.” Romans 7:2, ᾿Εὰν δὲ ἀποθάνη ὁ ἀνὴρ , κατήργηται ἀπο τοῦ νόμου , “If her husband is dead, she is freed from the law,” the law of the husband hath no more power over her. So Romans 7:6; 1 Corinthians 13:8; 1 Corinthians 13:10-11; 1Co 15:24 ; 1 Corinthians 15:26; 2 Corinthians 3:11; 2 Corinthians 3:13; Galatians 3:17; Galatians 5:4; Galatians 5:11; Ephesians 2:15. The intention of the apostle in this word is the making of any thing to cease, or to be void as to its former power and efficacy; not to remove, annihilate, or destroy the essence or being of it. And the expression here used is to the same purpose with that in Psalms 8:3, לְהַשְׁבִּית איֹיֵב וּמִהְנַקֵּם , “to quiet” or “make to cease the enemy and self-avenger.”

Τὸν τὸ κράτος ἔχουτα τοῦ θανάτου . Κράτος is properly “vis,” “rebur,” “potentia,” “force,” “strength,” “power,” like that of arms, or armies in battle. And sometimes it is used for role, empire, and authority. ᾿Εν κράτει εἷναι , is to be in place of power; and κράτος ἔχειν , is to be able to dispose of what it relates unto. And in both senses we shall see that the devil is said to have κράτος τοῦ θαςάτου , “the power of death.”

Now, there is not any notion under which the devil is more known unto or spoken of among the Jews, than this of his having the power of death. His common apellation among them is, מלאךְ המות , the angel of death;” and they call him Samael also. So the Targum of Jonathan, דמותא והזת אתתא סמאל מלאךְ , Genesis 3:6, “And the woman saw Samael, the angel of death.” And Maimon. More Nebuch. lib. 2, cap. 30, tells us from the Midrash that Samael rode upon the serpent when he deceived Eve; that is, used him as his instrument in that work. And most of them acknowledge Satan to be principally intended in the temptation of Eve, though Aben Ezra denies it in his comment on the words, and disputes against it. And he adds, that by Samael, the angel of death, they understand Satan: which he proves from the words of their wise men, who say in some places that Satan would have hindered Abraham from sacrificing of Isaac, and in others that Samael would have done it; which proves that it is one and the same who by both names is intended. And hence they usually call him ראש כל השדים סמאל הרשע , “the wicked Samael, the prince of all the devils;” and say of him, סמאל גרים מותא לכל עלמא , “Samael brought death upon all the world.” So that by this Samael, or angel of death, it is evident that they intend him who is termed ὁ διάβολος , as the prince and ruler of the rest. So also they speak expressly in Bava Bathra, Distinc. Hashatephir: הוא יצר הרע אר שמעון הוא שטן הוֹא מלאךְ המות ; “Rabbi Simeon said, the same is Satan, and the angel of death, and the evil figment;” that is, the cause and author of it. And they call him the angel of death on many accounts, the consideration whereof may give us some light into the reason of the expression here used by the apostle. The first is that before mentioned, namely, that by his means death entered and came upon all the world. His temptation was the first occasion of death; and for that reason is he termed by our Savior, ᾿Ανθρωποκτόνος ἀπ᾿ ἀρχῆς , John 8:44, “A murderer from the beginning.” And herein he had the power of death, prevailing to render all mankind obnoxious to the sentence and stroke of it. Secondly, Because he is employed in great, and signal judgments to inflict death on men. He is the head of those מלְאֲכֵי רָעִים , “evil angels,” who slew the Egyptians, Psalms 78:49.

So in Psalms 91:5, these words, “Thou shalt not fear מֵחֵ׃ יָעוּ יוֹמָם ” “from the arrow that flieth by day,” are rendered by the Targum, מותא דשדי ביממא מן גרר א דמלאךְ , “from the arrow of the angel of death, which he shooteth by day.” And in the next verse these words, מִקֶּטֶב יָשׁוּד צָהַרָיִם , “from the destruction that wasteth at noonday,” they render, מסיעת שידין דמחבלין בטיהדא , “from the troop of devils that waste at noonday;” the psalmist treating of great and sudden destructions, which they affirm to be all wrought by Satan. And hence the Hellenists also render the latter place by δαιμόνιον μεσημβρινόν , “the devil at noonday;” wherein they are followed by the Vulgar Latin, Arabic, and Ethiopic translations. And this the apostle seems to allude unto, 1 Corinthians 10:10, where he says that those who murmured in the wilderness were destroyed ἀπὸ τοῦ ολοζρευτοῦ “by the destroyer;” ὁ ἄγγελος ὀλοθρευτὴς , that מלאךְ המות , “the destroying angel,” or “the angel of death;” as in this epistle he terms him ὁ ὀλοθρεύων Hebrews 11:28. And it may be this is he who is called בְּכוֹר מָיֶת , Job 18:13, “the first-born of death,” or he that hath right unto the administration of it. They term him also אשמודי , that is, ὀλοθοευτής , “the waster” or “destroyer;” and שד , from שוד , “to waste” or “destroy;” as also אבדון , which, as John tells us, is the Hebrew name of the angel of the bottomless pit, Revelation 9:11, as his Greek name is ᾿Απολλύων that is, מלאךְ המות , and ὀλοθρευτὴς .

Thirdly, The later Jews suppose that this angel of death takes away the life of every man, even of those who die a natural death. And hereby, as they express the old faith of the church, that death is penal, and that it came upon all for sin through the temptation of Satan, so also they discover the bondage that they themselves are in for fear of death all their days; for when a man is ready to die, they say the angel of death appears to him in a terrible manner, with a drawn sword in his hand, from thence drops I know not what poison into him, whereon he dies. Hence they woefully howl, lament, and rend their garments, upon the death of their friends; and they have composed a prayer for themselves against this terror. Because also of this their being slain by the angel of death, they hope and pray that their death may be an expiation for all their sins. Here lies “the sting” of death, mentioned by the apostle, 1 Corinthians 15:55. Hence they have a long story in their Midrash, or mystical exposition of the Pentateuch, on the last section of Deuteronomy about Samael’s coming to take away the life of Moses, whom he repelled and drove away with the rod that had the Shem Hamphorash written in it. And the like story they have in a book about the acts of Moses, which Aben Ezra rejects on Exodus 4:20. This hand of Satan in death, manifesting it to be penal, is that which keeps them in bondage and fear all their days.

Fourthly, They suppose that this angel of death hath power over men even after death. One horrible penalty they fancy in particular that he inflicts on them, which is set down by Elias in his Tishbi in חבוט הקבר , out of the Midrash of Rabbi Isaac, the son of Parnaer; for when a man, as they say, departs out of this world ויושב על קביו בא מלאךְ המות , “the angel of death comes and sits upon his grave.” And he brings with him a chain, partly of iron, partly of fire, and making the soul to return into the body, he breaks the bones, and torments variously both body and soul for a season. This is their purgatory; and the best of their hopes is, that their punishment after this life shall not be eternal. And this various interest of Satan in the power of death both keeps them in dismal bondage all their days, and puts them upon the invention of several ways for their deliverance. Thus one of their solemn prayers on the day of expiation, is to be delivered from הביט or this punishment of the devil in their graves; to which purpose also they offer a cock unto him for his pacification. And their prayer to this purpose in their Berachoth is this, רזזן והעילנו מגזירות רעות ומנדלית מעיות מכל מיני פועניות ומדינה של גהגם ומחבזט של קבר יהי ; “That it may please thee (good Lord) to deliver us from the evil decrees” (or “laws,”) “from poverty, from contempt, from all kind of punishments, from the judgments of hell, and from beating in the grave by the angel of death.” And this supposition is in like manner admitted by the Mohammedans, who have also this prayer, “Deus noster libera nos ab angelo interrogante tormento sepulchri, et a via mala.” And many such lewd imaginations are they now given up unto, proceeding from their ignorance of the righteousness of God. But yet from these apprehensions of theirs we may see what the apostle intended in this expression, calling the devil “him that had the power of death.”

Καὶ ἀπαλλάξῃ τούτους ὅσοι , “Et liberaret ipsos,” “hos,” “quotquot,” “quicunque,” “and free those who.” ᾿Απαλάττω is “to dismiss,” “discharge,” “free;” and in the use of the word unto the accusative case of the person, the genitive of the thing is added or understood: ᾿Απαλάττω σε τούτου , “I free thee from this.” Ταύτας ἀπαλλάξειν σε τῆς σ᾿φθαλμίας , Aristoph. “To deliver thee from this eyesore.” And sometimes the genitive case of the thing is expressed where the accusative of the person is omitted: ᾿Απαλλάττειν φόβου , that is, τινά , “to free or deliver one from fear;” as here the accusative case of the person is expressed and the genitive of the thing omitted: ᾿Απαλλάξῃ τούτους , that is, φόβου or θανάτου , “to deliver them,” that is, from death or from fear because of death. ῎Ενοχοι ἧσαν δουλείας . ῎Ενοχος is “obnoxious,” “obstrictus,” “reus,” “damnas.” He that is legally obnoxious, subject, liable to any thing; that is, law, crime, judge, judgment, punishment, in all which respects the word is used. He that is under the power of any law is ἔνοχος τῷ νόμῳ , “subject unto its authority and penalty.” See Matthew 5:21-22; Matthew 26:66; Mark 3:29; 1 Corinthians 11:27; James 2:10. Now the δουλεία , “servitude,” or “bondage,” here mentioned, is penal, and therefore are men said to be ἔνοχοι , “obnoxious” unto it. [6]

[6] READINGS. Tischendorf, on the strength of a considerable preponderance of MS. authorities, reads αἵματος καὶ σαρκός . EXPOSITION. He, in order to make us partakers in his sonship to God, has first taken part in our sonship to Adam. TRANSLATIONS. Καταργ . Render powerless. Craik. Subdue him. Stuart. Undo him. De Wette. ED.

Hebrews 2:14-15 . Forasmuch then as [or, seeing therefore that ] the children are [ were in common ] partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise [ after the same manner ] took part [ did partake ] of the same; that through [by] death he might destroy [ make void the authority of ] him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and deliver [ free, discharge ] them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.

In the former verses, as was showed, the apostle declared the necessity that there was on the part of God, intending to bring many sons unto glory, to constitute such a union between them and the captain of their salvation as that it might be just for him to suffer in their stead. In these he proceeds to manifest in particular what that nature is in the common participation whereof the union desired did consist, wherein they were all of one, and what were the especial reasons why the Lord Christ was made partaker of that nature. This coherence of these verses Chrysostom briefly gives us: Ει῏τα δείξα ; τὴν ἀδελφότητα , καὶ τὴν αἰτίαν τίθησι τῆς οἰκονομίας , “Having showed the brotherhood” (that was between Christ and the children) “he lays down the causes of that dispensation;’’ and what they are we shall find here expressed.

There are sundry things which the apostle supposeth in these words as known unto and granted by the Hebrews; as, first, that the devil had the power of death; secondly, that on this account men were filled with fear of it, and led a life full of anxiety and trouble by reason of that fear; thirdly, that a deliverance from this condition was to be effected by the Messiah; fourthly, that the way whereby he was to do this was by his suffering. All which, as they are contained in the first promise, so that they were allowed of by the Hebrews of old we have fully proved elsewhere. And by all these doth the apostle yield a reason of his former concession, that the Messiah was for a little while made lower than the angels, the causes and ends whereof he here declares. There are in the words,

First, A supposition of a twofold state and condition of the children to be brought unto glory:

1. Natural, or their natural state and condition; they were all of them in common partakers of flesh and blood: “Forasmuch then as the children were partakers of flesh and blood.”

2. Moral, their moral state and condition; they were obnoxious unto death, as it is penal for sin, and in great bondage through fear of it: “Them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.”

Secondly, There is a double affirmation with respect unto this supposition, on the part of Christ, the captain of salvation:

1. As to their natural condition, that he did partake of it, he was so to do: “He also himself did partake of the same.”

2. As to their moral condition, he freed them from it: “And deliver them.”

Thirdly, The means whereby he did this, or this was to be done, evidencing the necessity of his participation with them in their condition of nature, that he might relieve them from their condition of trouble; he did it by death: “That by death.”

Fourthly, The immediate effect of his death, tending unto their delivery and freedom, and that is the destruction of the devil, as to his power over and interest in death as penal, whereof their deliverance is an infallible consequent: “That he might destroy him,” etc.

In the first place the apostle expresseth, as by way of supposition,

1. The natural condition of the children, that is, the children whom God designed to bring unto glory, those who were given unto Christ; they were in common “partakers of flesh and blood.” I shall not stay to remove the conceit of some, who yet are not a few among the Romanists, who refer these words unto the participation of the flesh and blood of Christ in the sacrament; whereunto also, as we have observed, the Ethiopic version gives countenance: for not only is there not any thing in the expression that inclines unto such an imagination, but also it enervates the whole design of the apostle’s discourse and argument, as from the former consideration of it doth appear. “Flesh and blood” are, by a usual synecdoche, put for the whole human nature; not as though by “blood” the soul were intended, because the life is said to be in it, as not acting without it; but this expression is used, because it is not human nature as absolutely considered, but as mortal, passible, subject unto infirmities and death itself, that is intended. And it is no more than if he had said, ‘The children were men subject unto death;’for he gives his reason herein why the Lord Christ was made a man subject unto death. That he and the children should be of one nature he had showed before. Forasmuch, then, as this was the condition of the children, that they were all partakers of human nature, liable to sufferings, sorrow, and death, he was so also. And this is thus expressed to set forth the love and condescension of Jesus Christ, as will afterward appear.

2. The second thing in these words is the moral condition of the children. And there are sundry things, partly intimated, partly expressed, in the description that is here given us of it; as,

(1.) Their estate absolutely considered, they were subject to death:

(2.) The consequences of that estate,

[1.] It wrought fear in them;

[2.] That fear brought them into bondage:

(3.) The continuance of that condition, it was for the whole course of their lives.

(1.) It is implied that they were subject, obnoxious unto, guilty of death, and that as it was penal, due to sin, as contained in the curse of the law; which what it comprehendeth and how far it is extended is usually declared. On this supposition lies the whole weight of the mediation of Christ. The children to be brought unto glory were obnoxious unto death, and the curse and wrath of God therein, which he came to deliver them from.

(2.) [1.] The first effect and consequent of this obnoxiousness unto death concurring unto their state and condition is, that they were filled with fear of it: “For fear of death.” Fear is a perturbation of mind, arising from the apprehension of a future imminent evil; and the greater this evil is, the greater will the perturbation of the mind be, provided the apprehension of it be answerable. The fear of death, then, here intended, is that trouble of mind which men have in the expectation of death to be inflicted on them, as a punishment due unto their sins. And this apprehension is common to all men, arising from a general presumption that death is penal, and that it is the “judgment of God that they which commit sin are worthy of death,” as Romans 1:32; Romans 2:15. But it is cleared and confirmed by the law, whose known sentence is, “The soul that sinneth it shall die.” And this troublesome expectation of the event of this apprehension is the fear of death here intended. And according unto the means that men have to come unto the knowledge of the righteousness of God are, or ought to be, their apprehensions of the evil that is in death. But even those who had lost all clear knowledge of the consequences of death natural, or the dissolution of their present mortal condition, yet, on a confused apprehension of its being penal, always esteemed it φοβερῶν φοβερώτατον , the most dreadful of all things that are so unto human nature. And in some this is heightened and increased, until it come to be φοβερὰ ἐκδοχὴ κρίσεως , καὶ πυρὸς ζῆλος , ἐσθίειν μέλλοντος τοὺς ὐπεναντίους , as our apostle speaks, Hebrews 10:27,

“a fearful expectation of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.”

And this is the first thing that is in this description of the estate and condition of the children to be brought unto glory. Being obnoxious unto the sentence of death, they could not but live in fear of the execution of it.

[2.] They are by this means brought into bondage. The troublesome expectation of death as penal brings them into bondage, into the nature whereof we must a little inquire. Sundry things concur to make any state a state of bondage; as,

1 st . That it be involuntary. No man is in bondage by his will; that which a man chooseth is not bondage unto him. A man that would have his ear bored, though he were always a servant, was never in bondage; for he enjoyed the condition that pleased him. Properly all bondage is involuntary.

2 dly . Bondage ingenerates strong desires after, and puts men on all manner of attempts for liberty. Yokes gall, and make them on whom they are desire ease. So long as men are sensible of bondage, which is against nature (for that which, is not so is not bondage), they will desire and labor for liberty. When some in the Roman senate asked an ambassador of the Privernates, after they were overthrown in battle, if they granted them peace, how they would keep it, what peace they should have with them? he answered, “Si bonam dederitis, et fidam et perpetuam; si malam, hand diuturnam.” Whereat some in the senate stormed, as if he had threatened them with war and rebellion; but the wiser sort commended him as one that spake like a man and a freeman, adding as their reason,

“An credi posse, ullum populum, aut hominem denique in ea conditione, cujus eum poeniteat, diutius quam necesse sit mansurum,” Liv., lib. 8 cap. 21.

So certain it is that bondage wearieth and stirreth up restless desires in all, and endeavors in some after liberty.

3 dly . Bondage perplexeth the mind. It ariseth from fear, the greatest perturbation of the mind, and is attended with weariness and distrust; all which are perplexing.

4 thly . Where bondage is complete, it lies in a tendency unto future and greater evils. Such is the bondage of condemned malefactors, reserved for the day of execution; such is the bondage of Satan, who is kept in chains of darkness for the judgment of the great day. And all these things concur in the bondage here intended; which is a dejected, troublesome state and condition of mind, arising from the apprehension and fear of death to be inflicted, and their disability in whom it is to avoid it, attended with fruitless desires and vain attempts to be delivered from it, and to escape the evil feared. And this is the condition of sinners out of Christ, whereof there are various degrees, answerable unto their convictions; for the apostle treats not here of men’s being servants unto sin, which is voluntary, but of their sense of the guilt of sin, which is wrought in them even whether they will or no, and by any means they would cast off the yoke of it, though by none are they able so to do: for,

(3.) They are said to continue in this estate all their lives. Not that they were always perplexed with this bondage, but that they could never be utterly freed from it; for the apostle doth not say that they were thus in bondage all their days, but that they were obnoxious and “subject” unto it. They had no ways to free or deliver themselves from it, but that at any time they might righteously be brought under its power; and the more they cast off the thoughts of it, the more they increased their danger. This was the estate of the children whose deliverance was undertaken by the Lord Christ, the captain of their salvation. And we may hence observe that,

I. All sinners are subject unto death as it is penal. The first sentence reacheth them all, Genesis 2:17; and thence are they said to be “by nature children of wrath,” Ephesians 2:3, obnoxious unto death, to be inflicted in a way of wrath and revenge for sin. This passeth upon “all, inasmuch as all have sinned,” Romans 5:12. This all men see and know; but all do not sufficiently consider what is contained in the sentence of death, and very few how it may be avoided. Most men look on death as the common lot and condition of mankind, upon the account of their frail natural condition; as though it belonged to the natural condition of the children, and not the moral, and were a consequent of their being, and not the demerit of their sin. They consider not that although the principles of our nature are in themselves subject unto a dissolution, yet if we had kept the law of our creation, it had been prevented by the power of God, engaged to continue life during our obedience. Life and obedience were to be commensurate, until temporal obedience ended in life eternal. Death is penal, and its being common unto all hinders not but that it is the punishment of every one. How it is changed unto believers by the death of Christ shall be afterward declared. In the meantime, all mankind are condemned as soon as born. Life is a reprieve, a suspension of execution. If during that time a pardon be not effectually sued out, the sentence will be executed according to the severity of justice. Under this law are men now born; this yoke have they put on themselves by their apostasy from God. Neither is it to any purpose to repine against it or to conflict with it; there is but one way of delivery.

II. Fear of death, as it is penal, is inseparable from sin, before the sinner be delivered by the death of Christ. They were in “fear of death.” There is a fear of death that is natural, and inseparable from our present condition; that is but nature’s aversation of its own dissolution. And this hath various degrees, occasioned by the differences of men’s natural constitution, and other accidental occurrences and occasions: so that some seem to fear death too much, and others not at all; I mean of those who are freed from it as it is in the curse and under the power of Satan. But this difference is from occasions foreign and accidental; there is in all naturally the same aversation of it. And this is a guiltless infirmity, like our weariness and sickness, inseparably annexed unto the condition of mortality. But sinners in their natural state fear death as it is penal, as an issue of the curse, as under the power of Satan, as a dreadful entrance into eternal ruin. There are, indeed, a thousand ways whereby this fear is for a season stifled in the minds of men. Some live in brutish ignorance, never receiving any full conviction of sin, judgment, or eternity. Some put off the thoughts of their present and future estate, resolving to shut their eyes and rush into it, when as they can no longer avoid it. Fear presents itself unto them as the forerunner of death, but they avoid the encounter, and leave themselves to the power of death itself. Some please themselves with vain hopes of deliverance, though well they know not how nor why they should be partakers of it. But let men forego these helpless shifts, and suffer their own innate light to be excited with such means of conviction as they do enjoy, and they will quickly find what a judgment there is made in their own souls concerning death to come, and what effects it will produce. They will conclude that it is “the judgment of God, that they which commit sin are worthy of death,” Romans 1:32; and then their own consciences do accuse and condemn them, Romans 2:14-15; whence unavoidably fear, dread, and terror will seize upon them. And then,

III. Fear of death, as penal, renders the minds of men obnoxious unto bondage; which what it is we have in part before declared. It is a state of trouble, which men dislike, but cannot avoid. It is a penal disquietment, arising from a sense of future misery. Fain would men quit themselves of it, but they are not able. There is a chain of God in it not to be broken. Men may gall themselves with it, but cannot remove it; and if God take it from them without granting them a lawful release and delivery, it is to their further misery. And this is, in some measure or other, the portion of every one that is convinced of sin before he is freed by the gospel. And some have disputed what degrees of it are necessary before believing. But what is necessary for any one to attain unto is his duty; but this bondage can be the duty of no man, because it is involuntary. It will follow conviction of sin, but it is no man’s duty; rather, it is such an effect of the law as every one is to free himself from, so soon as he may in a right way and manner. This estate, then, befalls men whether they will or no. And this is so if we take bondage passively, as it affects the soul of the sinner; which the apostle seems to intend by placing it as an effect of the fear of death. Take it actively, and it is no more than the sentence of the law, which works and causeth it in the soul; and so all sinners are inevitably obnoxious unto it. And this estate, as we observed, fills men with desires after, and puts them upon various attempts for deliverance. Some desire only present ease, and they commonly withdraw themselves from it by giving up themselves wholly unto their hearts’lusts, and therein to atheism; which God oftentimes, in his righteous judgment, gives them up unto, knowing that the day is coming wherein their present woeful temporal relief will be recompensed with eternal misery. Some look forward unto what is to come, and according to their light and assistance variously apply themselves to seek relief; some do it by a righteousness of their own, and in the pursuit thereof also there are ways innumerable, not now to be insisted on; and some do it by Christ, which how it is by him effected the apostle in the next place declares.

Two things, as was showed, are affirmed of the Lord Christ, in consequence unto the premised supposition of the children’s being partakers of flesh and blood, and of their obnoxiousness unto death and to bondage:

1. That of their natural condition he himself partook.

2. That from their moral condition he delivered them; which that he might do, it was necessary that he should partake of the other.

1. “He himself likewise did partake of the same.” The word

παραπλησίως , “likewise,” “in like manner,” doth denote such a similitude as is consistent with a specifical identity. And therefore Chrysostom from hence urgeth the Marcionites and Valentinians, who denied the reality of the human nature of Christ, seeing that he partook of it in like manner with us; that is, truly and really, even as we do. But yet the word, by force of its composition, doth intimate some disparity and difference: ‘He took part of human nature really as we do, and almost in like manner with us.’For there were two differences between his being partaker of human nature and ours:

First, In that we subsist singly in that nature; but he took his portion in this nature into subsistence with himself in the person of the Son of God.

Secondly, This nature in us is attended with many infirmities, that follow the individual persons that are partakers of it; in him it was free from them all. And this the apostle also intimates in the word μετέσχε , changing his expression from that whereby he declared the common interest of the children in the same nature, which is every way equal and alike. The whole is, that he took his own portion, in his own manner, unto himself.

And this observation removes what is hence objected against the deity of Christ.

“Cum Christus,” saith Schlichtingius, “hominum mortalium et fragilium dux et fautor sit, propterea is non angelus aliquis, multo vero minus ipse Deus summus qui solus immortalitatem habet, sed homo suo tempore malis, et variis calamitatibus obnoxius esse debuit.”

It is true, it appears from hence that Christ ought to be a man, subject to sufferings and death, and not an angel, as the apostle further declares in the next verse; but that he ought not to be God doth not appear. As God, indeed, he could not die; but if he who was God had not taken part of flesh and blood, God could not have redeemed his church “with his own blood.” But this is the perpetual paralogism of these men: “Because Christ is asserted to have been truly a man, therefore he is not God;” which is to deny the gospel, and the whole mystery of it.

He proceeds with his exceptions against the application of these words unto the incarnation of the Lord Christ; the sum whereof is, ‘That the words παραπλησίως μετέσχε denote a universal conformity or specific identity between Christ and the children, not only as to the essence, but also as to all other concernments of human nature, or else no benefit could redound unto them from what he did or suffered.’But,

(1.) The words do not assert any such thing, as hath been declared;

(2.) It is not true.

The children were partakersof human nature either by creation out of the dust of the earth, as Adam, or by natural generation; the Lord Christ was conceived of a virgin, by the power of the Holy Ghost; and yet the benefit redounds unto the children. It is evident, then, thatthe similitude urged by the apostle is confined to the substance of flesh and blood, or the essence of human nature, and is not to be extended unto the personal concernments of the one or the other, nor to the way whereby they became partakers of the same nature. Nor is the argument for the incarnation of Christ taken merely from the expressions in this verse; but whereas he had before proved him to be above and before the angels, even God over all, and here intimateth his existence antecedent to his participation of flesh and blood, his incarnation doth necessarily ensue.

2. The necessity of this incarnation of Christ, with respect unto the end of it, hath before been declared, evinced, and confirmed. We shall now stay only a little to admire the love, grace, and mystery of it. And we see here,

IV. That the Lord Christ, out of his inexpressible love, willingly submitted himself unto every condition of the children to be saved by him, and to every thing in every condition of them, sin only excepted.

They being of flesh and blood, which must be attended with many infirmities, and exposed unto all sorts of temptations and miseries, he himself would also partake of the same. His delight was of old in the sons of men, Proverbs 8:31, and his heart was full of thoughts of love towards them; and that alone put him on this resolution, Galatians 2:20; Revelation 1:5. When God refused sacrifices and burnt-offerings, as insufficient to make the atonement required, and the matter was rolled on his hand alone, it was a joy unto him that he had a body prepared wherein he might discharge his work, although he knew what he had to do and suffer therein, Psalms 40:7-8; Hebrews 10:5-9. He rejoiced to do the will of God, in taking the body prepared for him, because the children were partakers of flesh and blood. Though he was “in the form of God,”

equal unto him, yet “that mind,” that love, that affection towards us, was in him, that to be like unto us, and thereby to save us, “he emptied himself, and took on him the form of a servant,” our form, and became like unto us, Philippians 2:5-8. He would be like unto us, that he might make us like unto himself; he would take our flesh, that he might give unto us his Spirit; he would join himself unto us, and become “one flesh” with us, that we might be joined unto him, and become “one spirit” with him, 1 Corinthians 6:17. And as this was a fruit of his eternal antecedent love, so it is a spring of consequent love. When Eve was brought unto Adam after she was taken out of him, Genesis 2:23, to manifest the ground of that affection which was to be always between them, he says of her, “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh.” And by this condescension of Christ, saith the apostle, we are “members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones,” Ephesians 5:30; whence he infers that he loves and nourisheth his church, as a man doth his own flesh. And how should this inexpressible love of Christ constrain us to love him and to live unto him, 2 Corinthians 5:14; as also to labor to be like unto him, wherein all our blessedness consisteth, seeing for that end he was willing to be like unto us, whence all his troubles and sufferings arose! Here also we see that,

V. It was only in flesh and blood, the substance and essence of human nature, and not in our personal infirmities, that the Lord Christ was made like unto us.

He took to himself the nature of all men, and not the person of any man. We have not only human nature in common, but we have every one particular infirmities and weaknesses following that nature, as existing in our sinful persons. Such are the sicknesses and pains of our bodies from inward distempers, and the disorder of the passions of our minds. Of these the Lord Christ did not partake. It was not needful, it was not possible that he should do so; not needful, because he could provide for their cure without assuming them; not possible, for they can have no place in a nature innocent and holy. And therefore he took our nature, not by an immediate new creation out of nothing, or of the dust of the earth, like Adam; for if so, though he might have been like unto us, yet he would have been no kin to us, and so could not have been our Goel, to whom the right of redemption did belong: nor by natural generation, which would have rendered our nature in him obnoxious to the sin and punishment of Adam: but by a miraculous conception of a virgin, whereby he had truly our nature, yet not subject on its own account unto any one of those evils whereunto it is liable as propagated from Adam in an ordinary course. And thus, though he was joined unto us in our nature, yet as he was “holy, harmless, and undefiled” in that nature, he was “separate from sinners,”

Hebrews 7:26. So that although our nature suffered more in his person than it was capable of in the person of any mere man, yet, not being debased by any sinful imperfection, it was always excellent, beautiful, and glorious. And then,

VI. That the Son of God should take part in human nature with the children is the greatest and most admirable effect of divine love, wisdom, and grace.

So our apostle proposeth it, 1 Timothy 3:16, a mystery which the angels with all diligence desire to look into, 1 Peter 1:11-12. See John 1:14; Isaiah 9:6; Romans 9:5. Atheists scoff at it, deluded Christians deny it; but the angels adore it, the church professeth it, believers find the comfort and benefit of it. “The heavens,” indeed, “declare the glory of God, and the firmament showeth his handy-work,” Psalms 19:1; and

“the invisible things of God from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead,” Romans 1:20.

In particular, man himself is “fearfully and wonderfully made.” These works of God’s power and providence do greatly manifest the glory of his wisdom, omnipotency, and goodness, and are like the light, which was created on the first day, at the beginning of all things, as we have showed. But in this instance, of assuming human nature into personal subsistence with himself, that scattered light is gathered into one sun, giving out most glorious beams, unto the manifestation of his infinite excellencies far above all other things. And this surely was not done but for the greatest end that can be conceived; and such is the salvation of sinners.

But we must proceed with our apostle; and he gives the reason and end of this wonderful dispensation. The end is, the delivery of the children from the condition before described. And, first, the means whereby he wrought and brought about this end is proposed unto us: “By death,” he was to do it by death.

“That by death he might deliver them;” that is, by his own death. This, as it is placed as one principal end of his being made partaker of flesh and blood, so it is also the means of the further end aimed at, namely, the delivery of the children out of the condition expressed. Some translations add, “By his own death,” which is evidently understood, though it be not literally in the text, the death which he underwent in the nature of man, whereof he was partaker. His death was the means of delivering them from death. Some distinguish between death in the first place which Christ underwent, and that death in the close of the verse which the children are said to be in fear of; for this latter, they say, is more extensive than the former, as comprising death eternal also. But there doth not any thing in the text appear to intimate that the captain of salvation by death of one kind should deliver the children from that of another; neither will the apostle’s discourse well bear such a supposition. For if he might have freed the children by any way or means as well as by undergoing that which was due unto them for sin, whence could arise that indispensable necessity which he pleads for by so many considerations of his being made like unto them, seeing without the participation of their nature which he urgeth he might have done any other thing for their good and benefit, but only suffer what was due to them? And if it be said that without this participation of their nature he could not die, which it was necessary that he should do, I desire to know, if the death which he was to undergo was not that death which they were obnoxious unto for whom he died, how could it be any way more beneficial unto them than any thing else which he might have done for them, although he had not died? There is no ground, then, to pretend such an amphibology in the words as that which some contend for. How, as we observed before, the death of Christ is here placed in the midst, as the end of one thing, and the m eans or cause of another, the end of his own incarnation, and the means of the children’s deliverance. From the first we may see,

VII. That the first and principal end of the Lord Christ’s assuming human nature, was not to reign in it, but to suffer and die in it.

He was, indeed, from of old designed unto a kingdom; but he was to “suffer,” and so to enter into his glory, Luke 24:26. And he so speaks of his coming into the world to suffer, to die, to bear witness unto the truth, as if that had been the only work that he was incarnate for. Glory was to follow, a kingdom to ensue, but suffering and dying were the principal work he came about. Glory he had with his Father “before the world was,” John 17:5; and therein a joint rule with him over all the works of his hands. He need not have been made partaker of flesh and blood to have been a king; for he was the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the King of kings and Lord of lords, the only Potentate, from everlasting. But he could not have died if he had not been made partaker of our nature. And therefore, “when the people would have taken him by force, and made him a king,” he hid himself from them, John 6:15; but he hid not himself when they came to take him by force and put him to death, but affirmed that for that hour, or business, he came into the world, John 18:4-5; John 18:11. And this further sets forth his love and condescension. He saw the work that was proposed unto him, how he was to be exposed unto miseries, afflictions, and persecutions, and at length to “make his soul an offering for sin,” yet, because it was all for the salvation of the children, he was contented with it and delighted in it, And how, then, ought we to be contented with the difficulties, sorrows, afflictions, and persecutions, which for his sake we are or may be exposed unto, when he on purpose took our nature, that for our sakes he might be exposed and subject unto much more than we are called unto!

There yet remain in these verses the effects of the death of Christ: “That he might destroy sin, and deliver,” etc.; wherein we must consider,

1. Who it is that had the power of death;

2. Wherein that power of his did consist;

3. How he was destroyed;

4. How by the death of Christ;

5. What was the delivery that was obtained for the children thereby.

1. He that had the power of death is described by his name, ὁ διάβολος , “the devil;” the great enemy of our salvation; the great calumniator, make-bate, and false accuser; the firebrand of the creation; the head and captain of the apostasy from God, and of all desertion of the law of the creation; the old serpent, the prince of the apostate angels, with all his associates, who first falsely accused God unto man, and continues to accuse men falsely unto God: of whom before.

2. His power in and over death is variously apprehended. What the Jews conceive hereof we have before declared, and much of the truth is mixed with their fables; and the apostle deals with them upon their acknowledgment in general that he had the power of death. Properly in what sense, or in what respect, he is said so to have it, learned expositors are not agreed. All consent,

(1.) That the devil hath no absolute or sovereign, supreme power over death; nor,

(2.) Any ἐξουσία , or “authority” about it, “de jure,” in his own right, or on grant, so as to act lawfully and rightly about it according unto his own will; nor,

(3.) Any judging or determining power as to the guilt of death committed unto him, which is peculiar to God, the supreme rector and judge of all, Genesis 2:17, Deuteronomy 32:39, Revelation 1:18.

But wherein this power of Satan doth positively consist they are not agreed. Some place it in his temptations unto sin, which bind unto death; some, in his execution of the sentence of death, he hath the power of an executioner. There cannot well be any doubt but that the whole interest of Satan in reference unto death is intended in this expression. This death is that which was threatened in the beginning, Genesis 2:17, death penally to be inflicted in the way of a curse, Deuteronomy 27:26, Galatians 3:10; that is, death consisting in the dissolution of soul and body, with every thing tending penally thereunto, with the everlasting destruction of body and soul. And there are sundry things wherein the κράτος , or power of Satan in reference unto this death doth consist; as,

(1.) He was the means of bringing it into the world. So is the opinion of the Jews in this matter expressed in the book of Wisdom, written, as is most probable, by one of them not long before this epistle. They tell us, Wis 1:13 , ῾Ο Θεὸς θάνατον οὐκ ἐποίησε , “God made not death,” it belonged not unto the original constitution of all things; but, Wis 2:24 , Φθόνῳ διαβόλου θάνατος εἱσῆλθεν εἰς τὸν κόσμον , “By the envy of the devil death entered into the world.” And that expression of εἰσῆλθεν εἰς τὸν κόσμον is retained by the apostle, Romans 5:12; only he lays the end of it on the morally-deserving cause, the sin of man, as here it is laid on the efficiently-procuring cause, the envy of the devil. And herein consisted no small part of the power of Satan with respect unto death. Being able to introduce sin, he had power to bring in death also; which, in the righteous judgment of God, and by the sentence of the law, was inseparably annexed thereunto. And, by a parity of reason, so far as he yet continueth to have power over sin, deserving death, he hath power over death itself.

(2.) Sin and death being thus entered into the world, and all mankind being guilty of the one and obnoxious unto the other, Satan came thereby to be their prince, as being the prince or author of that state and condition whereinto they are brought. Hence he is called “the prince of this world,” John 12:31, and the “god” of it, 2 Corinthians 4:4; inasmuch as all the world are under the guilt of that sin and death which he brought them into.

(3.) God having passed the sentence of death against sin, it was in the power of Satan to terrify and affright the consciences of men with the expectation and dread of it, so bringing them into bondage. And many God gives up unto him, to be agitated and terrified as it were at his pleasure. To this end were persons excommunicate given up unto Satan to vex them, 1 Timothy 1:20. He threatens them as an executioner with the work that he hath to do upon them.

(4.) God hath ordained him to be the executioner of the sentence of death upon stubborn sinners unto all eternity; partly for the aggravation of their punishment, when they shall always see, and without relief bewail, their folly in hearkening unto his allurements; and partly to punish himself in his woeful employment. And for these several reasons is Satan said to have the power of death. And hence it is evident that,

VIII. All the power of Satan in the world over any of the sons of men is founded in sin and the guilt of death attending it. Death entered by sin; the guilt of sin brought it in. Herewith comes in Satan’s interest, without which he could have no more to do in the earth than he hath in heaven. And according as sin abounds or is subdued, so his power is enlarged or straitened. As he is a spirit, he is mighty, strong, wise; as sinful, he is malicious, subtle, ambitious, revengeful, proud. Yet none of all these gives him his power. He that made him can cause his sword to pierce unto him, and preserve man, though weak and mortal, from all his force as a mighty spirit, and his attempts as a wicked one. And yet these are the things in him that men are generally afraid of, when yet by them he cannot reach one hair of their heads. But here lies the foundation of his power, even in sin, which so few regard. Then,

IX. All sinners out of Christ are under the power of Satan. They belong unto that kingdom of death whereof he is the prince and ruler. “The whole world lies τῷ πονηρῷ ,” “in the power of this wicked one.” If the guilt of death be not removed from any, the power of the devil extends unto them. A power it is, indeed, that is regulated. Were it sovereign or absolute, he would continually devour. But it is limited unto times, seasons, and degrees, by the will of God, the judge of all. But yet great it is, and answerable unto his titles, the prince, the god of the world. And however men may flatter themselves, as the Jews did of old, that they are free, if they are not freed by an interest in the death of Christ, they are in bondage unto this beastly tyrant; and as he works effectually in them here, he will ragingly inflict vengeance on them hereafter.

3. He is destroyed: “Destroy him.” The sense and importance of the word here used was before declared. It is not applied unto the nature, essence, or being of the devil, but unto his power in and over death; as it is elsewhere declared, John 12:31, “Now is the judgment of this world, now is the prince of this world cast out.”

That which is here called the destroying of the devil, is there called the casting out of the prince of this world. It is the casting him out of his power, from his princedom and rule; as Colossians 2:15,

“Having spoiled principalities and powers, he made an open show of them, triumphing over them in his cross;”

as conquerors used to do when they had not slain the persons of their enemies, but deprived them of their rule, and led them captive. The destruction, then, here intended of “him that had the power of death,” is the dissolution, evacuation, and removing of that power which he had in and over death, with all the effects and consequences of it.

4. The means whereby Satan was thus destroyed is also expressed. It was “by death,” by his own death. This of all others seemed the most unlikely way and means, but indeed was not only the best, but the only way whereby it might be accomplished. And the manner how it was done thereby must be declared and vindicated. The fourfold power of Satan in reference unto death, before mentioned, was all founded in sin. The obligation of the sinner unto death was that which gave him all his power. The taking away, then, of that obligation must needs be the dissolution of his power. The foundation being removed, all that is built upon it must needs fall to the ground. Now this, in reference unto the children for whom he died, was done in the death of Christ, virtually in his death itself, actually in the application of it unto them. When the sinner ceaseth to be obnoxious unto death, the power of Satan ceaseth also. And this every one doth that hath an interest in the death of Christ: for “there is no condemnation unto them that are in Christ Jesus,” Romans 8:1; and this because he died. He died for their sins, took that death upon himself which was due unto them; which being conquered thereby, and their obligation thereunto ceasing, the power of Satan is therewith dissolved. The first branch of his power consisted in the bringing of sin into the world. This is dissolved by Christ’s “taking away the sin of the world,” John 1:29; which he did as “the Lamb of God,” by the sacrifice of himself in his death, typified by the paschal lamb and all other sacrifices of old. Again, his power consisted in his rule in the world, as cast under sin and death. From this he was cast out, John 12:31, in the death of Christ. When contending with him for the continuance of his sovereignty, he was conquered, the ground whereon he stood, even the guilt of sin, being taken away from under him, and his title defeated. And actually believers are translated from under his rule, from the power of darkness, into the kingdom of light and of the Son of God. Nor can he longer make use of death as penal, as threatened in the curse of the law, to terrify and affright the consciences of men: for “being justified by faith” in the death of Christ, “they have peace with God,” Romans 5:1. Christ making peace between God and us by the blood of his cross, Ephesians 2:14-15, 2 Corinthians 5:19-21, the weapons of this part of his power are wrested out of his hand, seeing death hath no power to terrify the conscience, but as it expresseth the curse of God. And, lastly, his final execution of the sentence of death upon sinners is utterly taken out of his hand by the death of Christ, inasmuch as they for whom he died shall never undergo death penally. And thus was Satan, as to his power over death, fully destroyed by the death of Christ. And all this depended on God’s institution, appointing the satisfactory sufferings of Christ, and accepting them instead of the sufferings of the children themselves.

The Socinians give us another exposition of these words, as knowing that insisted on to be no less destructive of their error than the death of Christ is of the power of the devil. The reason hereof, saith Schlichtingius, is,

“Quia per mortem Christus adeptus est supremam potestatem in omnia; qua omnes inimicos suos quorum caput est diabelus, coercet, eorum vires frangit, eosque tandem penitus abolebit.”

But if this be so, and the abolishing of the Power of Satan be an act of sovereign power, then it was not done by the death of Christ, nor was there any need that he should partake of flesh and blood for that purpose, or die. So that this exposition contradicts both the express words of the apostle and also the whole design of his discourse. No proposition can be more plain than this is, that the power of Satan was destroyed by the death of Christ; which in this interpretation of the words is denied.

5. And hence it lastly appears what was the delivery that was procured for the children by this dissolution of the power of Satan. It respects both what they feared and what ensued on their fear; that is, death and bondage. For the delivery here intended is not merely a consequent of the destruction of Satan, but hath regard unto the things themselves about which the power of Satan was exercised. They were obnoxious unto death, on the guilt of sin, as penal, as under the curse, as attended with hell or everlasting misery. This he delivered the Children from, by making an atonement for their sins in his death, virtually loosing their obligation thereunto, and procuring for them “eternal redemption,” as shall afterwards be fully declared. Hereon also they are delivered from the bondage before described. The fear of death being taken away, the bondage that ensues thereon vanisheth also. And these things, as they are done virtually and legally in the death of Christ, so they are actually accomplished in and towards the children, upon the application of the death of Christ unto them, when they do believe. And we may now close our consideration of these verses with one or two other observations; as,

X. The death of Christ, through the wise and righteous disposal of God, is victorious, all-conquering, and prevalent.

The aim of the world was to bring him unto death; and therein they thought they had done with him. The aim of Satan was so also; who thereby supposed he should have secured his own kingdom. And what could worldly or satanical wisdom have imagined otherwise? He that is slain is conquered. His own followers were ready to think so.

“We trusted,” say they, “that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel,” Luke 24:21.

But he is dead; and their hopes are with him in the grave. What can be expected from him who is taken, slain, crucified? Can he save others, who it seems could not save himself? “Per mortem alterius, stultum est sperare salutem;” “Is it not a foolish thing to look for life by the death of another?” This was that which the pagans of old reproached the Christians withal, that they believed in one that was crucified and died himself; and what could they expect from him? And our apostle tells us that this death, this cross, was a stumbling-block unto the Jews and folly to the Greeks, 1 Corinthians 1:18; 1 Corinthians 1:23. And so would it have been in itself, Acts 2:13, had not the will, and counsel, and wisdom, and grace of God been in itself, Acts 4:28. But he ordered things so, that this death of Christ should pull out that pin which kept together the whole fabric of sin and Satan, that, like Samson, he should in his death pull down the palace of Satan about his ears, and that in dying he should conquer and subdue all things unto himself. All the angels of heaven stood looking on, to see what would be the end of this great trial. Men and devils were ignorant of the great work which God had in hand; and whilst they thought they were destroying him, God was in and by him destroying them and their power. Whilst his heel was bruised he brake their head. And this should teach us to leave all God’s works unto himself. See John 11:6-10. He can bring light out of darkness, and meat out of the eater. He can disappoint his adversaries of their greatest hopes and fairest possibilities, and raise up the hopes of his own out of the grave. He can make suffering to be saving, death victorious, and heal us by the stripes of his Son. And, in particular, it should stir us up to meditate on this mysterious work of his love and wisdom. We can never enough search into it, whilst our inquiry is guided by his word. New mysteries, all fountains of refreshment and joy, will continually open themselves unto us, until we come to be satisfied with the endless fullness of it unto eternity. Again,

XI. One principal end of the death of Christ, was to destroy the power of Satan: “Destroy him that had the power of death.” This was promised of old, Genesis 3:15. He was to break the head of the serpent. From him sprang all the miseries which He came to deliver His elect from, and which could not be effected without the dissolution of his power. He was

“anointed to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that were bound,” Isaiah 61:1.

To this end he was to conquer him who detained them; which he did by his death, Colossians 2:15, and so led captivity captive, Psalms 68:18, stilling this enemy and self-avenger, Psalms 8:2, binding the strong man, Matthew 12:29, and dividing the spoil with him, Isaiah 53:12. And this he did by the merit of his blood, and the atonement he made for sin thereby. This took away the obligation of the law unto death, and disarmed Satan. And moreover, by the power of the eternal Spirit, whereby he offered himself unto God, he conquered and quelled him. Satan laid his claim unto the person of Christ; but coming to put it in execution, he met with that great and hidden power in him which he knew not, and was utterly conquered. And this, as it gives us a particular consideration of the excellency of our redemption, wherein Satan, our old enemy, who first foiled us, who always hates us, and seeks our. ruin, is conquered, spoiled, and chained; so it teacheth us how to contend with him, by what weapons to resist his temptations and to repel his affrightments, even those whereby he hath been already subdued. Faith in the death of Christ is the only way and means of obtaining a conquest over him. He will fly at the sign of the cross rightly made

Verse 16

Having asserted the incarnation of the Lord Christ, the captain of our salvation, and showed the necessity of it, from the ends which were to be accomplished by it, and therein given the reason of his concession that he was for a season made less than the angels, the apostle proceeds in this verse to confirm what he had taught before by testimony of the Scripture; and adds an especial amplification of the grace of God in this whole dispensation, from the consideration of the angels, who were not made partakers of the like love and mercy.

Hebrews 2:16 . Οὐ γὰρ δήπου ἀγγέλων ἐπιλαμβάνεται , ἀλλὰ σπέρματος ᾿Αβραὰμ ἐπιλαμβάνεται .

Οὐ γὰρ δήπου . The Syriac quite omits δήπου , and reads only לָא גֵּיר , “non enim;” “for he did not.” V. L., “nusquam enim.” Που he renders “usquam,” “anywhere? and on the consideration of the negative particle, οὐ , “nusquam,” “nowhere.” Beza, “non enim utique,” as ours; “for verily” [he took] “not,” not reaching the force or use of δήπου . Arias, “non enim videlicet;” which answers not the intent of this place. Erasmus fully and properly, “non enim sane usquam,” “for verily not anywhere;” that is, in no place of the Scripture is any such thing testified unto: which way of expression we observed our apostle to use before, Hebrews 1:5.

᾿᾿Αγγέλων ἐπιλαμβάνεται . Syr., מֵן מַלָאכֵא נְסָב , “ex angelis assumpsit,” “he took not of” (or “from among”) “the angels;” that is, of their nature. V. L., Arias, “angelos apprehendit,” “he doth not take hold of angels.” Beza, “angelos assumpsit,” “he assumed not,” “he took not angels to himself: ἐπιλαμβάνεται for ἐπέλαβε , by an enallage of time; which ours follow, “he took not on him the nature of angels.” But this change of the tense is needless; for the apostle intends not to express what Christ had done, but what the Scripture saith and teacheth concerning him in this matter. That nowhere affirms that he takes hold of angels.

The remaining words are generally rendered by translators according to the analogy of these: “sed apprehendit,” “assumit,” “assumpsit, semen Abrahae,” “he laid hold of,” “he takes,” “he took the seed of Abraham;” only the Ethiopic reads them, “Did he not exalt the seed of Abraham?” departing from the sense of the words and of the text. The constant use of this word ἐπιλαμβάνω , in the New Testament, is “to take hold of;” and so in particular it is elsewhere used in this epistle, Hebrews 8:9, ᾿Επιλαβομένον , “In the day that I took them by the hand.” In other authors it is so variously used that nothing from thence can be determined as to its precise signification in this or any other place. The first and proper sense of it is acknowledged to be “to take hold of,” as it were with the hand. And however the sense may be interpreted, the word cannot properly be translated any otherwise than “to take.” As for what some contend, that the effect or end of taking hold of is to help, to vindicate into liberty, whence by Castalio it is rendered “opitulatur,” it belongs to the design of the place, not the meaning of the word, which in the first place is to be respected. [7]

[7] ᾿Επιλαμζ . is now translated differently from the A. V., by almost all expositors. “He doth succor.” Stuart. “He giveth his aid.” Conybeare Howson. “He doth lay hold on.” Craik. “The church fathers and the theologians of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries supplied a φύσιν to the genitive, and rendered thus, ‘He has not assumed the nature of angels, but that of the seed of Abraham.’ Castalio was the first to oppose this monstrous interpretation; after him the Socinians and Arminians. Since 1650 the right interpretation has been the general one.” Ebrard. ED.

Hebrews 2:16 . For verily not anywhere doth he take angels, but he taketh the seed of Abraham.

In the words there is

First the reference that the apostle makes unto somewhat else, whereby that which he declareth is confirmed, “For verily not anywhere;” that is, that which he denieth in the following words is nowhere taught in the Scripture: as Hebrews 1:5, “For unto which of the angels said he at any time;” that is, ‘There is no testimony extant in the Scripture concerning them to that purpose.’So here, ‘Nowhere is it spoken in the Scripture that Christ taketh angels.’And what is so spoken, he is said to do. And thus also the affirmative clause of his proposition, “But he taketh the seed of Abraham,” is to be referred to the Scripture. There it is promised, there it is spoken, and therein it is done by him.

Secondly, That which he asserteth hath the nature of a discrete axiom, wherein the same thing is denied and affirmed of the disparates expressed, and that univocally in the same sense: “He took not angels, but he took the seed of Abraham.” And this, we being referred to the Scripture for the proof and confirmation of, gives light and perfect understanding into the meaning of the words. For how doth Christ in the Scripture take the seed of Abraham, in such a sense as that therein nothing is spoken of him in reference unto angels? It is evident that it was in that he was of the posterity of Abraham according to the flesh; that he was promised to Abraham that he should be of his seed, yea, that he should be his seed, as Galatians 3:16. This was the great principle, the great expectation of the Hebrews, that the Messiah should be the seed of Abraham. This was declared unto them in the promise; and this accordingly was accomplished. And he is here said to take the seed of Abraham, because in the Scripture it is so plainly, so often affirmed that he should so do, when not one word is anywhere spoken that he should be an angel, or take their nature upon him. And this, as I said, gives us the true meaning of the words. The apostle in them confirms what he had before affirmed, concerning his being made partaker of flesh and blood together with the children. This, saith he, the Scripture declares, wherein it is promised that he should be of the seed of Abraham, which he therein takes upon him; and which was already accomplished in his being made partaker of flesh and blood. See John 1:14; Romans 9:5, Galatians 4:4; Galatians 3:16. This, then, the apostle teacheth us, that the Lord Christ, the Son of God, according to the promise, took to himself the nature of man, coming of the seed of Abraham, that is, into personal union with himself; but took not the nature of angels, no such thing being spoken of him or concerning him anywhere in the Scripture. And this exposition of the words will be further evidenced and confirmed by our examination of another, which, with great endeavor, is advanced in opposition unto it.

Some, then, take the meaning of this expression to be, that the Lord Christ, by his participation of flesh and blood, brought help and relief, not unto angels, but unto men, the seed of Abraham. And they suppose to this purpose, that ἐπιλαμβάνεται is put for ναλαμβάνεται , “to help, to succour, to relieve, to vindicate into liberty.” Of this mind are Castalio and all the Socinians: among those of the Roman church, Ribera; Estius also and a Lapide speak doubtfully in the case: of Protestants, Cameron and Grotius, who affirms, moreover, that Chrysostom and the Greek scholiasts so interpret the place and words; which I should have marvelled at, had I not long before observed him greatly to fail or mistake in many of his quotations. Chrysostom, whom he names in particular, expressly referreth this whole verse unto the Lord Christ’s assumption of the nature of man, and not of the nature of angels. The same also is insisted on by Theophylact and OEcumenius, without any intimation of the sense that Grotius would impose upon them.

The Socinians embrace and endeavor to confirm this second exposition of the words: and it is their concernment so to do; for if the words express that the Lord Christ assumed human nature, which necessarily infers his pre-existence in another nature, their persuasion about the person of Christ is utterly overthrown. Their exceptions in their controversial writings unto this place have been elsewhere considered. Those of Enjedinus on this text are answered by Paraeus, those of Castalio by Beza, and the objections of some others by Gomarus. We shall, in the first place, consider what is proposed for the confirmation of their sense by Schlichtingius or Crellius; and then the exceptions of a very learned expositor unto the sense before laid down and confirmed. And Schlichtingius first argues from the context:

“Praeter ipsa verba,” saith he, “quae hunc sensum nullo modo patiuntur ut postea dicemus, contextus et ratiocinatio auctoris id repudiat; qui pro ratione et argumento id sumere non potuit debuitve, quod sibi hoc ipso argumento et ratione probandum sumsisset. De eo enim erat quaestio, cur Christus qui nunc ad tantam majestatem et gloriam est evectus, non angelicam sed humanam, morti et variis calamitatibus obnoxiam habuerit naturam? hujus veto rei, quo pacto ratio redderetur, per id quod non angelicam sed humanam naturam assumpserit; cum istius ipsius rei, quae in hac quaestione continetur, nempe quod Christus homo fuit natus, nune causa ratioque quaeratur. At vero si haec verba, de juvandis non angelis, sed hominibus, deque ope iis ferenda intelligamus, pulcherrime omnia cohaerent; nempe Christum hominem mortalem fuisse, non angelum aliquem, quod non angelis sed hominibus juvandis, servandisque fuerit destinatus.”

But the foundation of this exposition of the context is a mistake, which his own preceding discourse might have relieved him from; for there is no such question proposed as here is imagined, nor doth he in his following exposition suppose it. The apostle doth not once propose this unto confirmation, that it behoved the Lord Christ to be a man, and not an angel. But having proved at large before, that in nature and authority he was above the angels, he grants, Galatians 3:7, that he was for a little while made lower than they, and gives at large the reason of the necessity of that dispensation, taken from the work which God had designed him unto: which being to “bring many sons unto glory,” he shows, and proves by sundry reasons, that it could not be accomplished without his death and suffering; for which end it was indispensably necessary that he should be made partaker of “flesh and blood.” And this he confirms further by referring the Hebrews unto the Scripture, and in especial unto the great promise of the Messiah made unto Abraham, that the Messiah was to be his seed; the love and grace whereof he amplifies by an intimation that he was not to partake of the angelical nature. That supposition, therefore, which is the foundation of this exposition, namely, that the apostle had before designed to prove that the Messiah ought to partake of human nature, and not of angelical, which is nothing to his purpose, is a surmise suited only to the present occasion. Wherefore Felbinger, in his Demonstrationes Evangelicae, takes another course, and affirms that these words contain the end of what was before asserted, Galatians 3:14-15, namely, about Christ’s participation of flesh and blood, which was, not to help angels, but the seed of Abraham, and to take them into grace and favor. But these things are both of them expressly declared in those verses, especially Galatians 3:15, where it is directly affirmed that his design in his incarnation and death was to destroy the devil, and to free and save the children. And to what end should these things be here again repeated, and that in words and terms far more obscure and ambiguous than those wherein it was before taught and declared? for by “angels” they understand evil angels; and there could be no cause why the apostle should say in this verse that he did not assist or relieve them, when he had declared in the words immediately foregoing that he was born and died that he might destroy them. Neither is it comely to say, that the end why Christ destroyed the devil was that he might not help him; or the end why he saved the children was that he might assist them. Besides, the introduction of this assertion, οὐ γὰρ δήπου , will not allow that here any end is intimated of what was before expressed, there being no insinuation of any final cause in them.

The context, therefore, not answering their occasion, they betake themselves to the words:

“Verbum ἐπιλαμβάνεται ,” saith he, “significat proprie, manu aliquem apprehendere; sive ut illum aliquo ducas, sive ut sustentes; hinc ad opitulationem significandum commode transfertur; quos enim adjutos volumus ne cadant, vel sub onere aliquo succumbant, aut si ceciderint erectos cupimus, iis manum injicere solemus, quo sensu Sir 4:11 . De sapientia dictum est, Καὶ ἐπιλαμβάνεται τῶν θητούντων αὐτήν , hoc est, ‘opitulatur quaerentibus se;’eadem est significatio verbi ἀντιλαμβάνεται , quod qui aliquem sublevatum velint illi ex adverso manum porrigere solent.”

It is acknowledged that ἀντιλαμβάνεται doth frequently signify as here is alleged, namely, “to help and assist,” as it were by putting forth the hand for to give relief. But if that were intended by the apostle in this place, what reason can be assigned why he should waive the use of a word proper unto his purpose, and frequently so applied by himself in other places, and make use of another, which signifying no such thing, nor anywhere used by him in that sense, must needs obscure his meaning and render it ambiguous? Whereas, therefore, ἀντιλαμβάνεται , signifies “to help and relieve,” and is constantly used by our apostle in that sense, it being not used or applied by him in this place to express his intention, but ἐπιλαμβάνεται , which signifies no such thing, nor is ever used by him to that purpose, the sense contended for, of help and relief, is plainly excluded. The place of Ecclesiasticus, and that alone, is referred unto by all that embrace this exposition. But what if the word be abused in that place by that writer? must that give a rule unto its interpretation in all other writers where it is properly used? But yet neither is the word used there for to help and relieve, but to take and receive. Wisdom, “suscipit,” “receiveth,” or taketh unto itself, “suo more,” those that seek it; which is the sense of the word we plead for, and so is it rendered by translators. So the Lord Christ, “suo modo,” took to himself the seed of Abraham, by uniting it unto his person as he was the Son of God. In the very entrance also of his discourse this author acknowledgeth that ἐπιλαμβάνεται , doth not directly or properly signify “to help” or “to relieve,” but signifying “to take hold of,” is transferred unto that use and sense. I ask where? by whom? in what author? If he says in this place by the apostle, that will not prove it; and where any will plead for the metaphorical use of a word, they must either prove that the sense of the place where it is used enforces that acceptation of it, or at least that in like cases in other places it is so used; neither of which are here pretended.

But he proceeds:

“Quod hic dicit, ἐπιλαμβάνεσθαι , Sir 4:18 , per βοηθῆσαι , effert; de eadem enim re utrobique agitur, et rationem consequentiae argumenti, quod in hoc versiculo proponit illic explicat.”

This is but imagined; the contrary is evident unto every one, upon the first view of the context. Here the apostle discourseth the reason of the humiliation of Christ, and his taking flesh; there, the benefit of his priestly office unto them that do believe. ᾿Επιλαμβάνομαι is therefore properly “assumo,” “accipio,” “to take unto,” or, “to take upon;” and the apostle teacheth us by it, that the Lord Christ took unto him, and took on him, our human nature, of the seed of Abraham.

That the genuine sense of the place may be yet more fully vindicated, I shall further consider the exceptions of a very learned man unto our interpretation of the words, and his answers unto the reasons whereby it is confirmed.

First, he says that “ ἐπιλαμβάνεται , being in the present tense, signifieth a continued action, such as Christ’s helping of us is; but his assumption of human nature was a momentaneous action, which being past long before, the apostle would not express it as a thing present.” It is generally answered unto this exception, that an enallage is to be allowed, and that ἐπιλαμβάνεται is put for ἐπελάβετο , which is usual in the Scripture. So John 1:31; John 21:13. But yet there is no just necessity of supposing it in this place. The apostle in his usual manner, disputing with the Hebrews on the principles wherein they had been instructed from the Old Testament, minds them that there is nothing said therein of his taking upon him the nature of angels, but only of the seed of Abraham. So that “he takes” is, “he doth so in the Scripture,” that affirms him so to do; and in respect hereunto the expression in the present tense is proper to his purpose. This way of arguing and manner of expression we have manifested on Hebrews 1:5.

Again he adds, “This expression, ‘He took not on him angels,’for, ‘the nature of angels,’is hard and uncouth, as it would be in the affirmative to say, ‘Assumpsit homines,’or ‘hominem,’‘He took men,’or ‘a man;’which we say not, although we do that he took human nature.” But the reason of this phrase of speech is evident. Having before affirmed that he was partaker σαρκὸς καὶ αἵματος , “of flesh and blood,” whereby the nature of man is expressed, repeating here again the same assertion with respect unto the promise, and negation of the same thing in reference unto angels, because their nature consisteth not of flesh and blood, he expresseth it indefinitely and in the concrete, “He took not them,” that is, not that in and of them which answers unto flesh and blood in the children, that is, their nature. So that there is no need to assert, as he supposeth some may do, that σαρκὸς καὶ αἵματος ought to be repeated ἐκ τοὕ κοινοῦ , and referred unto those bodies which the angels assumed for a season in their apparitions under the old testament, there being only an ellipsis, easy to be supplied, of that in them which answers unto flesh and blood in the children.

Thirdly, “The apostle,” he saith, “showeth, John 21:17, that Christ ought in all things to be made like unto us, by this reason, ‘Quod non assumpsit angelos, sed semen Abrahae.’But if this be to take on him the nature of man, he comes to prove the same thing by the same; for to be made like unto us, and to assume human nature, differ only in words, and not really or in deed. But take ἐπιλαμβάνεται to signify ‘to help’or ‘relieve,’and all things agree. For because he came to help us and not angels, it became him to be made like unto us.” But herein lies a double mistake: First, In the scope and argument of the apostle; for those words in the beginning of the 17th verse are not an inference or conclusion from what is asserted in this verse, but an affirmation of the necessity of what is there asserted from that which follows in the same verse, “that he might be a faithful high priest.” Secondly, These words, “like unto us,” do not intend his conformity unto us in his participation of human nature, which he had on other reasons before confirmed, but in the sufferings and temptations which there he insists upon.

Fourthly, “The seed of Abraham,” he says, “is a collective expression, and denotes many; at least it must denote the person of some man, which Christ did not assume. And therefore it is the spiritual seed of Abraham that is intended; that is, believers. And the apostle so calls them, because the Hebrews were well pleased with the mention of that privilege.” But this will not abide the examination. The great promise of old unto Abraham was, that in his seed all the nations of the earth should be blessed. The intendment of that promise was, that the Messiah should be his seed, of his posterity. That by this seed one individual was intended our apostle declares, Galatians 3:16; as Christ in like manner is said to be “of the seed of David according to the flesh,” Romans 1:3. Of this promise the apostle minds the Hebrews. So that his taking on him the seed of Abraham is not the assuming of many, nor of the person of any one of them, but merely his being made of the seed of Abraham according to the promise. And to bend these words unto any other sense than the accomplishment of the promise made to Abraham, that Christ should be of his seed, is plainly to pervert them. And this is all of weight that I can meet withal which is objected unto our interpretation of this place; which being removed, it is further established.

Lastly, In the disparate removed, by “angels,” the good angels, not fallen angels, are principally regarded. Of fallen angels he had newly spoken under the collective expression, “the devil,” who had the power of death. Nor are, it may be, the devils anywhere called absolutely by the name of angels; but they are termed either “evil angels,” or “angels that sinned,” “that left their habitation,” “that are to be judged,” “the devil’s angels,” or have some or other peculiar adjunct whereby they are marked out and distinguished. Now, it cannot be that this word ἐπιλαμβάνεται , if it be interpreted “to help,” “assist,” or “relieve,” can in any sense be applied unto the angels that must be intended, if any; for the word must denote either any help, assistance, or relief in general, or that especial help and assistance which is given by Christ in the work of reconciliation and redemption. If the first be intended, I much question the truth of the assertion, seeing the angels owe their establishment in grace unto Christ, and also their advancement in glory, Ephesians 1:10. If it be to be taken in the latter sense, as is pretended, then the nature of the discrete axiom here used by the apostle requires that there be the same need of the help intimated in both the disparates, which is denied as unto the one, and affirmed as unto the other. But now the angels, that is, the good angels, had no need of the help of redemption and reconciliation unto God, or of being freed from death, or the fear of it, which they were never obnoxious unto. And what remains for the clearing of the mind of the apostle will appear yet further in the ensuing observations from the words.

I. The Lord Jesus Christ is truly God and man in one person; and this is fully manifested in these words. For,

1. There is supposed in them his pre-existence in another nature than that which he is said here to assume. He w as before, he subsisted before, or he could not have taken on him what he had not. This was his divine nature; as the like is intimated where he is said to be “made flesh,” John 1:14; to be “made of a woman,” Galatians 4:4; to be “manifested in the flesh,” 1 Timothy 3:16; to “take on him the form of a servant,” Philippians 2:8-9; as here, “he took the seed of Abraham.” He was before he did so; that is, as the Son, the Word of God, the Son of God, as in the places mentioned, eternally pre-existing unto this his incarnation: for the subject of this proposition, “He took on him,” etc., denotes a person pre-existing unto the act of taking here ascribed unto him; which was no other than the Son of God.

2. He assumed, he took to himself, another nature, “of the seed of Abraham,” according unto the promise. So, continuing what he was, he became what he was not. For,

3. He took this to be his own nature. He so took it as himself to become truly “the seed of Abraham,” to whom and concerning whom the promise was given, Galatians 3:16; and was himself made “of the seed of David according to the flesh,” Romans 1:3; and “as concerning the flesh came of the fathers,” Romans 9:5; and so was “the son of David, the son of Abraham,” Matthew 1:1. And this could no otherwise be done but,

4. By taking that nature into personal subsistence with himself, in the hypostasis of the Son of God. The nature he assumed could no otherwise become his. For if he had by any ways or means taken the person of a man to be united unto him, in the strictest union that two persons are capable of, a divine and a human, the nature had still been the nature of that other person, and not his own.

5. But he took it to be his own nature; which it could no ways be but by personal union, causing it to subsist in his own person. And he is therefore a true and perfect man: for no more is required to make a complete and perfect man but the entire nature of man subsisting; and this is in Christ as a man, the human nature having a subsistence communicated unto it by the Son of God. And therefore,

6. This is done without a multiplication of persons in him; for the human nature can have no personality of its own, because it was taken to be the nature of another person who was pre-existent unto it, and by assuming of it prevented its proper personality. Neither,

7. Did hence any mixture or confusion of natures ensue, or of the essential properties of them; for he took the seed of Abraham to be his human nature, which if mixed with the divine it could not be. And this he hath done,

8. Inseparably and for ever. Which things are handled at large elsewhere.

II. The redemption of mankind by the taking of our nature, was a work of mere sovereign grace.

He took the seed of Abraham; he took not the nature of angels. And for what cause or reason? Can any be assigned but the sovereign grace, pleasure, and love of God? nor doth the Scripture anywhere assign any other. And this will the better appear if we consider,

1. That for a sinning nature to be saved, it was indispensably necessary that it should be assumed. The nature of angels being not taken, those that sinned in that nature must perish for ever; and they that fancy a possibility of saving sinners any other way but by satisfaction made in the nature that had sinned, seem not to have considered aright the nature of sin and the justice of God. Had any other way been possible, why doth the perishing of angels so inevitably follow the non-assumption of their nature? This way alone, then, could it be wrought.

2. That we were carrying away all human nature into endless destruction; for so it is intimated: whence Christ’s assumption of it is expressed by his putting forth his hand and taking hold of it, to stop it in its course of apostasy and ruin. Of angels, only some individual persons fell from God; but our whole nature, in every one to whom it was communicated from and by Adam, was running headlong to destruction. In itself there could be no relief, nor any thing to commend it unto God.

Here sovereign grace interposeth, the love of God to mankind, Titus 3:4. As to the angels, he “spared them not,” 2 Peter 2:4. He spared not them, and “spared not his Son” for us, Romans 8:32. And if we consider rightly what the Scripture informs us of the number and dignity of the angels that sinned, of their nature and ability to accomplish the will of God, and compare therewith our own vileness and low condition, we may have matter of eternal admiration suggested unto us. And there was infinite wisdom as well as sovereign grace in this dispensation, sundry branches whereof the apostle afterwards holds out unto us.

Verses 17-18

Having declared the general reasons why the Son or Messiah was for a little while to be made lower than the angels, in his incarnation and sufferings, and showed the ends thereof, the apostle proceeds to declare other especial ends of this divine dispensation, and therein makes way unto what he had to instruct the Hebrews in about the priestly office of Christ; which was the principal ground and foundation of what he intended more fully afterwards to discourse with them about and to inform them in.

Hebrews 2:17-18 . ῞Οθεν ὤφειλε κατὰ πάντα τοῖς ἀδελφοῖς ὀμοιωθῆναι , ἳνα ἐλεήμων γένηται καὶ πιστὸς ἀρχιερεὺς τὰ πρὸς τὸν Θεὸν , εἰς τὸ ἰλάσκεσθαι τὰς ἀμαρτίας τοῦ λαοῦ . ᾿Εν ᾧ γὰρ πέπονθεν αὐτὸς πειρασθεὶς , δύναται τοῖς πειραζομένοις βοηθῆσαι .

῞Οθεν ὤφειλε . V., “unde debuit,” “whence he ought.” So Beza. Syr., חָנָא זָדָק מֶטוּל “for which cause,” (or “wherefore”) “it was just,” “meet,” or “equal.” Others, “wherefore it was due;” “it was convenient;” “wherefore it behoved him;” so ours. ᾿Οφείλω joined with an infinitive mood, as here it is, signifies commonly “oportet me,” or “necesse est” or “debeo,” “I ought,” “it behoveth me,” “it is necessary for me;” and denotes more than a mere congruency, conveniency, or expediency, even such a kind of necessity ariseth from that which in itself is just and equal; which the Syriac expresseth. It is of the same importance with ἔπρεπε , Hebrews 2:10.

Κατὰ πάντα , “per omnia.” Syr., בְּכֻל מֵדֵם , “in omni re,” “in every thing.” Arab., “In cunctis eorum conditionibus,” “in all conditions;” that is, every condition and state of life. Ours, “in all things,” leaving the words where they are placed in the original, “wherefore in all things it behoved him;” whereas a little transposition of them would more clear up the sense, “wherefore it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren in all things.” The Ethiopic quite omits the words here, and placeth them after ἐλεήμων , “merciful in all things.”

Τοῖς ἀδελφοῖς ὁμοιωθῆναι . V., “fratribus simulari;” Eras., “similis reddi;” Beza, “similis fieri;” as ours, “to be made like.” The article prefixed to ἀδελφοῖς restrains the name “brethren” unto those whom he had before discoursed of under the names of “children,” “disciples,” “sanctified ones.”

῞Ινα ἐλεήμων γένηται καὶ πιστὸς ἀρχιερευς , “ut misericors fieret” (or “esset”) “pontifex;” so V., Eras., Bez. The Syriac somewhat otherwise, וְרָב כּוָָּמרֵא דְּיֶהְוֵא מְרַחְמָנָא “that he might be merciful, and a great priest,” or “chief priest,” מְהַיְמָנָא “faithful in the things of God;” so making his mercifulness an attribute of his person absolutely, and faithfulness only to respect him as a high priest. So also the Arabic and Ethiopic. And the word whereby ἐλεήμοιν is rendered signifies “tenderly merciful,” with that kind of mercy which is called “bowels of compassion,” from רָחַם . And it may be here observed that that interpreter throughout the epistle renders ἀρχιερεύς by רב כומרא “rab comara,” though that word be always used in an ill sense in the Old Testament. Three times it occurs therein 2 Kings 23:5, where we render it “idolatrous priests;” Zephaniah 1:4, [where] the name “chemarims” is retained; Hosea 10:5, [where] we express it by “priests,” but place “chemarim” in the margin. For it principally denoted the priests of Baal and Moloch, and their “blackness” (as the word is rendered, Job 3:5), not from the garments they wore, but from the color they contracted in their diabolical sacrifices in the fire. Hence, wherever the word כֹּהֵן is applied unto a priest of a false god, or one engaged in false worship, the Targumists constantly render it by מומרא . See Judges 17:5; Judges 18:4; Judges 18:30. But this translator respected not so much the use, as the original and extraction of the word; for from כָּמַר in Niphal, נִכְמַר , is “to wax hot,” and “to be moved with internal heat;” whence taken to signify compassion and pity, the same with רָחַם . Hence, Deuteronomy 13:18, וְנָתַן לְךָ רַחֲמִים , and shall give thee tender mercy” (“bowels of compassion”), is rendered by Ben Uzziel, ויכמור עלכיין רחמין וירחם עלינון , “and shall wax hot towards you with compassion, and shall have compassion on you,” ‘He shall be warmed and moved with compassion towards you.’In like manner is the word used, Psalms 77:10. With respect unto this heat of affection and abundant compassion, the word may well be applied unto the Lord Christ, our high priest.

Τὰ πρὸς τὸν Θεόν . V., “ad Deum,” “pontifex ad Deum,” “an high priest towards God ;” very defectively. Eras., “in his quae apud Deum forent agenda,” “in the things that were to be done before God:” so also Beza, noting “forent agenda, as a supplement unto the text. So Vatablus and others. Syr., בְּדַאלָהָא “in the things of God.” The apostle explains his own meaning, Hebrews 5:1, where he tells us, that “every high priest καθίσταται τὰ πρὸς τὸν ΘεονV , ἵνα προσφέρη ,” “ is set over the things appertaining unto God, that he may offer sacrifice.” “In things appertaining unto God,” what he hath to do with God in their behalf for whom he ministers in his office before him. Arab., “res nostras apud Deum peragens.”

Εἰς τὸ ἰλάσκεσθαι τὰς ἀμαρτίας τοῦ λαοῦ . V., “ut repropitiaret delicta populi;” aiming to express the sense of the original, it falls upon a barbarous word, yielding no tolerable sense, though that which seems to be intended in it is, to make propitiation or atonement. Ar., Vatab., Eras., Bez., “ad expiandum.” Syr., על חֲטָהַוְהִי דּעַמָּא מְהַסֵא , “expians super peccata populi;” so the word is constantly translated, though it rather signifies to show mercy or pity. ῾Ιλάσκομαι is commonly used actively for “propitium facio,” or “propitio,” “to please,” “appease,” “atone,” “turn away anger;” and when it is taken in a passive or neuter sense, it signifies “to be merciful,” “appeased,” “reconciled,” as Luke 18:13, ῾Ο Θεὸς , ἰλάσθητίμοι τῷ ἁμαρτωλῷ , “God be merciful unto me a sinner.” I much doubt whether any instance can be given of its signifying” to expiate, “though, because of the construction of it in this place, it be generally so rendered. If it be taken in its first proper sense, then sin cannot be the next object of the act denoted by it. Ours, “ to make reconciliation for the sins of the people;” of the sense whereof we shall deal afterwards at large.

Ἐν ᾧ γάρ . V., “in eo enim,” “for in that;” Eras., “nam ex hoc,” “for from hence;” Beza, “nam ex eo;” Vat., “ex eo;” “ob id;” ours, “for in that,” that is, “inasmuch;” not, “in that thing wherein he was tempted,” but, “whereas,” “inasmuch,” “seeing that;” Arab., “for from those things which happened unto him when he was tempted.”

Πέπονθεν αὐτὸς πειρασθείς . V., “passus est ipse tentatus,” “in which himself suffered and was tempted.” “Et,” Erasmus tells us, is not in many ancient copies. Ar., “in quo passus est ipse tentatus,” “in that he suffered himself being tempted.” Bez., “ex eo quod perpessus ipse fuit, quum est tentatus,” “for that which he suffered when he was tempted.” But the words rather signify his sufferings by being tempted, or from his temptations, than his suffering on other accounts when he was tempted. Syr., “for in that he suffered and was tempted;” as the Vul., Eras., “quod whole upon temptation, because in the latter clause mention is made of “them that are tempted,” without any addition of sufferings. It is not certain whether πέπονθα be from πάσχω or from πονέω , from whose active, πεπόνηκα , the middle significtion in πέπονα is formed, and πέπονθα by a usual pleonasm of theta; and if so, not his suffering, but his laboring under temptation, is intended. If, as it is commonly thought, it be from πάσχω , I confess that word is sometimes used it is here rendered by Erasmus, “accidit,” “contigit,” “usu venit,” “it happened,” “it befell;” but it is but rarely, and that not without regard unto suffering. But it being evident that the suffering of Christ is here intended, his temptation being mentioned only as an instance of that whereby he suffered, that is not to be passed over, and the sense carried on unto his temptation only: “He suffered being tempted.” Πειράζω is in itself but to make a trial or experiment; but this being done from various principles, by sundry means, for different ends, and upon diverse subjects, there is a great difference in such trials, and great variety in the nature of temptations. How the Lord Christ was tempted, by whom, and of what sort his temptations were, we shall consider afterwards. The Ethiop. reads, “when he tempted him and afflicted him;” that is, God.

Δύναται βοηθῆσαι . V., “potens est et eis qui tentantur auxiliari.” “Et” again is added, but retained by Beza, as not copulative, but emphatical, “potest et eis qui tentantur succurrere,” “he can” (or “is able to”) “help,” “relieve,” “succor.” Βοηθέω is properly ἐπὶ βοὴν θέω , “to run in to the cry of any one;” that is, to help and relieve him in his distress, to come speedily, and as it were in haste, to the help of him that crieth out in danger. So Thucydides: Ου῏τοι δὲ τοῖς ᾿Αθηςαίοις ἐβεβοηθήκεσαν , “These came in to the help of the Athenians” [in their distress]. And this is the direct sense of the word in this place, as it respects them that are distressed under the power of temptation, crying out for help. And it is plainly expressed in the Latin “succurrere,” and our “succor,” taken from thence. So Chrysostom interprets these words, Δύναται βοηθῆσαι· μετὰ πολλῆς προθυμίας ὀρέξει χεῖρα , “He gives out his hand unto them with all readiness.”

Hebrews 2:17-18 . Wherefore [ hence ] it behoved him to [ it was meet he should ] be made like unto his [ the ] brethren in all things [ every manner of way ], that he might be a merciful and faithful high for the sins of the people. For in that [ whereas ] he hath suffered being [ when he was ] tempted, he is able to succor [ come in to the help of ] them that are tempted.

In these two verses the apostle illustrates what he had taught before, and confirms what he had asserted concerning the Son’s participation of flesh and blood in like manner with the children, from one especial end thereof.

And this end is his being a high priest; which that the Messiah was to be, both the Hebrews granted and he himself intended more largely afterwards to demonstrate. Moreover, he was to be such a high priest as was settled and suited for the discharge of his office unto the benefit of them for whose good he was to minister therein. This the wisdom of God and the nature of the thing itself do require. Now, they being persons obnoxious unto temptations and sufferings of all sorts, he must in an especial manner be able to help, relieve, and save such persons. And all this the apostle declares in these verses, in the opening whereof we may consider,

1. The importance of the illative expression in the entrance: “wherefore,” or “hence.”

2. The necessity intimated of what is here assigned to the Messiah: “it behoved him,” or, “it was meet that he should.”

3. What the apostle repeats and re-asserts namely, that he was “in all things” (or “every manner of way”) “to be made like unto his brethren; 4. The general end of this his necessary conformity unto the brethren: “that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest.”

5. The especial work and end of that office which he was so prepared for: “in the things of God to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.”

6. A further enforcement of the necessity of the foregoing assertion, taken from a double consideration;

(1.) Of what he did, or what befell him, in the condition wherein he was made like unto the brethren: he “suffered being tempted,” or “when he was tempted;”

(2.) Of the blessed effect and consequence thereof, both in his own preparation unto the further discharge of his office, and the benefit of them whom he ministers in it for: “he is able to succor them that are tempted.” may respect either what had been before discoursed, or what is further insisted on in the words ensuing. In the first way the apostle would seem to infer the necessity of his being “made like unto his brethren in all things” from what he had before proved of his participation of human nature; but this seems not to be the meaning of the word. That expression, “To be made like unto his brethren in all things,” is only a recapitulation of what the apostle had before taught concerning his incarnation and sufferings; and here his design is to show the reason or end thereof, namely, that he might be a high priest, and discharge his office unto the benefit of the people. He gives, therefore, an account of what he had delivered, and declares the end of it: “Wherefore” (or “therefore”) “ought he thus to be made like his brethren, that he might be a merciful high priest.” And thus did Chrysostom understand the connection of these words. ῞Ινα οὐν , saith he, προσενέγκῃ θυσίαν δυναμένην ἡμᾶς καθαρίσαι , διὰ τοῦτο γέγονεν ἄνθρωπος· “Therefore was he made man, that he might be a sacrifice able to purge our sins.”

2. The necessity of the matter of the apostle’s assertion is expressed in the word ὤφειλε , “he ought,” “it must be so;” it could not be otherwise, on supposition that he was to be a high priest. God having designed him unto that office and the work thereof, it was indispensably necessary for him to be made like unto his brethren in all things.

3. That which the apostle thus asserts, is his being “made like unto his brethren in all things.” The proposition is of the nature of them that are καθόλου ὠς καθόλου , universal, but not universally to be understood. For that expression, κατὰ πάντα , is capable of sundry limitations; as, first, It respects only all those things which are necessary unto the end assigned; and, secondly, In them also there may be a great difference. The things it respects are nature with the essential properties thereof, attended with temptations and sufferings. But whereas the brethren are sinners, he was not made like unto them in sin; which exception the apostle elsewhere puts in unto this assertion, Hebrews 4:15: for this would have been so far from conducing unto the end aimed at, that it would have been utterly destructive thereof. In the things also wherein he was made like unto them, still the regulation from the end is to be carried along with us. That therein which was needful thereunto, this assimilation or conformity extends unto; that which was otherwise it supposeth not. And as the first part of this double limitation is made evident in the instance of sin, so the truth and necessity of the latter will appear in the consideration of the things wherein this conformity doth consist; as,

(1.) He was made like unto them in the essence of human nature, a rational spiritual soul, and a mortal body, quickened by its union therewithal. This it was necessary he should be like the brethren in, and not have a fantastical body, or a body animated by the Deity, as some have fancied of old. But that he should take this nature upon him by natural generation, after the manner of the brethren, this was not necessary; yea, so to have done would not have furthered the end of his priesthood, but have enervated the efficacy of it, and have rendered him incapable of being such a priest as he was to be; for whereas the original contagion of sin is derived by natural procreation, had he been by that means made partaker of human nature, how could he have been “holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners,” as it became our high priest to be? Hebrews 7:26. Again, it was not necessary that this human nature should have its individuation from itself, and a particular subsistence in and by itself ; yea, this also would have overthrown his priesthood; for whereas the efficacy thereof depends on the excellency of the divine nature, this could not have given its influence thereunto, had not the human nature been taken into the same personal subsistence with itself. Only, as we said, that he should have a human nature, truly and really as the brethren, and therein be like unto them, this was necessary, that he might be an offering priest, and have of his own to offer unto God.

(2.) It was also necessary, that in and with his human nature he should take upon him all the properties and affections of it, that so he might be made like unto the brethren. He was not to have an ubiquitarian body, a body commensurate to the Deity, that is, immense, and consequently no true body at all; nor was his soul to be freed from the affections which are connatural to a human rational soul, as love, joy, fear, sorrow, shame, and the like; nor was his body to be free from being obnoxious unto hunger, thirst, cold, pain, death itself. But now, whereas these things in the brethren are attended with irregular perturbations for the most part; and whereas all the individuals of them have their proper infirmities in their own persons, partly by inordinate inclinations from their tempers and complexions, partly in weaknesses and sicknesses, proceeding either from their original constitutions or other following inordinacies; it was no way needful that in any of these he should be made like unto the brethren; yea, a conformity unto them therein would have absolutely impeded the work he had to do.

(3.) He was also like unto us in temptations, for the reason which the apostle gives in the last verse. But herein also some difference may be observed between him and us; for the most of our temptations arise from within us, from our own unbelief and lusts. Again, in those that are from without, there is somewhat in us to take part with them, which always makes us fail in our duty of resistance, and ofttimes leads to further miscarriages. But from these things he was absolutely free; for as he had no inward disposition or inclination unto the least evil, being perfect in all graces and all their operations at all times, so when the prince of this world came unto him, he had no part in him, nothing to close with his suggestions or to entertain his terrors.

(4.) His sufferings were of the same kind with them that the brethren underwent, or ought so to have done; yet they had far different effects on him from what they would have had on them. For whereas he was perfectly innocent and perfectly righteous, no way deserving them in his own person, he was free from all impressions of those sinful consequents which attend the utmost sufferings under the curse of the law by sinners themselves.

Thus the ὁμοίωσις κατὰ πάντα , the “likeness in all things,” here asserted, is capable of a double limitation; the first concerning some things themselves, as sin; the other, the mode or manner of the things wherein the conformity doth really consist.

Now, thus to be made like unto them it “became him.” It was meet, just, and necessary that God should make him so, because of the office, duty, and employment that he had assigned him unto; which, as the end hereof, is nextly to be inquired after.

4. The general end of his conformity unto the brethren is, that he “might be a merciful and faithful high priest.” Two things are comprised herein: first, The office that he was designed unto, he was to be a “high priest;” secondly, His qualifications for that office, he was to be “merciful and faithful.” His conformity unto the brethren, as we have seen, consisted in two things: first, H is participation of their nature; secondly, His copartnership with them in their condition of suffering and temptation. The first of these was necessary unto his office; the latter unto his qualifications. He was made man, that he might be a high priest; he suffered being tempted, that he might be merciful and faithful. There was no more required, that he might be a high priest, but that he should partake of our nature; but that he might be merciful and faithful, with that kind of mercy and faithfulness which the brethren stood in need of, it was moreover required that he should suffer and be tempted: which things must be distinctly considered.

(1.) That he might be a high priest, it was necessary that he should be partaker of the nature of them for whom he was to administer in the things of God. So the apostle informs us, Hebrews 5:1, “Every high priest for men must be taken from among men.” This is not work for an angel, nor for God himself as such. And therefore, although the benefits of the priesthood of Christ were communicated unto all believers from the foundation of the world, by virtue of the compact and agreement between the Father and him for the undertaking and execution of that office at the time appointed, yet he was not actually, nor could be a high priest, until he was clothed with flesh, and made partaker of the nature of the children. The duty which, as a high priest, he had to perform, namely, to “offer gifts and sacrifices” unto God, Hebrews 8:3, with the especial nature of that great sacrifice that he was to offer, which was himself, his body and soul, prepared and given him for that purpose, Hebrews 10:10, require and make necessary this conformity. For this cause, then, was he made like unto the brethren in a participation of human nature.

(2.) That in this nature he should be perfectly holy, and exactly discharge his duty according unto the mind and will of God, was all that was required of him as to his being a high priest. But this was not all that the estate and condition of the brethren required. Their sorrows, tenderness, weakness, miseries, disconsolations, are such, that if there be not a contemperation of his sublime holiness, and absolute perfection in fulfilling of all righteousness, with some qualifications inclining him to condescension, pity, compassion, and tender sense of their condition, whatever might be the issue of their safety in the life to come, their comfort in this life would be in continual hazard. For this cause, therefore, was he made like unto them in the infirmities of their nature, their temptations and sufferings, from whence all their disconsolations and sorrows do arise. Hence was the necessity of the qualifications for his office which by his sufferings and temptations he was furnished withal; and they are two:

[1.] Mercifulness. He was ἐλεήμων , “merciful,” “tenderly compassionate,’’as the Syriac version renders the word; “misericors,” one that lays all the miseries of his people to heart, so caring for them, to relieve them. Mercy in God is but a naked simple apprehension of misery, made effective by an act of his holy will to relieve. Mercy in Christ is a compassion, a condolency, and hath a moving of pity and sorrow joined with it. And this was in the human nature of Christ a grace of the Spirit in all perfection. Now, it being such a virtue as in the operation of it deeply affects the whole soul and body also, and being incomparably more excellent in Christ than in all the sons of men, it must needs produce the same effects in him wherewith in others in lesser degrees it is attended. Thus we find him at all times full of this compassion and pity towards all the sons of men, yea, the worst of his enemies, expressing itself by sighs and tears, intimating the deep compassion of his heart. And this made him as it were even forget his own miseries in his greatest distress; for when, seeing the daughters of Jerusalem mourn for him, as he was going to his cross, he minds them of that which his compassionate heart was fixed on, even their approaching misery and ruin, Luke 23:28. But yet neither is this mercifulness in general that which the apostle intends; but he considers it as excited, provoked, and drawn forth by his own temptations and sufferings. He suffered and was tempted, that he might be merciful, not absolutely, but a merciful high priest. The relation of the sufferings and temptations of Christ unto his mercifulness, is not as unto the grace or habit of it, but as unto its especial exercise as our high priest. And this mercifulness of Christ is the gracious condolency and compassion of his whole soul with his people, in all their temptations, sufferings, dangers, fears, and sorrows, with a continual propensity of will and affection unto their relief, implanted in him by the Holy Ghost, as one of those graces which were to dwell in his nature in all fullness, excited and provoked, as to its continual exercise in his office of high priest, by the sense and experience which he himself had of those miseries which they undergo: whereof more on the last verse.

[2.] The other qualification mentioned is, that he should be πίστος “faithful” Some understand by πίστος , “verus,” “legitimus,” “true and rightful,” made so in a due manner; whereof the apostle treats expressly, Hebrews 5:5: others, his general faithfulness, integrity, and righteousness, in the discharge of his office, being “faithful unto him that appointed him,” as Hebrews 3:2. But neither of these senses answers the especial design of the apostle, nor his referring of his qualifications unto his conformity with the brethren in sufferings and temptations. It must also answer that mercifulness which we have before described. It consists, therefore, in his exact, constant, careful consideration of all the concernments of the brethren, under their temptations and sufferings. This he is excited unto by his own experience of what it is to serve God in such a condition. It is described, Isaiah 40:11. Not his faithfulness, then, in general, whereby he discharged his whole office, and accomplished the work committed unto him, mentioned John 17:4, but his constant care and condescension unto the wants and sorrows of his suffering and tempted brethren, is here intended.

Before we proceed unto the explication of the remaining passages of these verses, what offers itself from what hath been already discoursed unto our instruction, may be observed; as,

I. The promised Messiah was to be the great high priest of the people of God.

This the apostle here presumes, and proves elsewhere, And this we have elsewhere confirmed. The especial office of priesthood, for one to perform it in the behalf of others, came in after sin, upon the first promise. In the state of innocency every one was to be priest for himself, or perform in his own name the things which with God he had to do, according unto the law of his creation. This privilege failing by sin, which cut off all gracious intercourse between God and man, a new way was provided, and included in the first promise, for the transaction of things between God and sinners. This was by Christ alone, the promised seed. But because he was not to be immediately exhibited in the flesh, and it was the will of God that sundry sacrifices should be offered unto him; partly for his honor and glory in the world, and to testify the subjection of his people unto him; partly to teach and instruct them in the nature and benefits of the priesthood which he had designed for them, and to exemplify it in such representations as they were capable of; he did at several seasons institute various sorts of temporary, fading typical priests. This he did both before and after the law. Not that ever there was amongst them a priest properly and absolutely so called, by whom the things of men might be completely and ultimately transacted with God; only those who were appointed to administer before the Lord in the behalf of others were called priests, as rulers are called gods, because they represented the true Priest, and outwardly expressed his actings unto the people. The true, proper, and absolute high priest is Jesus Christ alone, the Son of God; for he alone had all the solemnities that were necessary for the constitution and confirmation of such a priest: as, in particular, the oath of God was necessary hereunto, that his priesthood might be stable and unchangeable,

1. Now, none was ever appointed a priest by the oath of God but Christ alone, as the apostle declares, Hebrews 7:20-21. And how this differences his office from that of others shall on that place be made manifest.

2. He alone had somewhat of his own to offer unto God. Other priests had somewhat to offer, but nothing of their own; they only offered up the beasts that were brought unto them by the people. But the Lord Christ had a body and soul of his own prepared for him to offer, which was properly his own, and at his own disposal, Hebrews 10:5.

3. He alone was set over the whole spiritual house of God, the whole family of God in heaven and earth. This belongs unto the office of a high priest, to preside in and over the house of God, to look to the rule and disposal of all things therein. Now, the priests of old were, as unto this part of their office, confined unto the material house or temple of God; but Jesus Christ was set over the whole spiritual house of God, to rule and dispose of it, Hebrews 3:6.

4. He alone abides for ever. The true and real high priest was not to minister for one age or generation only, but for the whole people of God unto the end of the world. And this prerogative of the priesthood of Christ the apostle insists upon, Hebrews 7:23-24.

5. He alone did, and could do, the true and proper work of a priest, namely, “make reconciliation for the sins of the people.” The sacrifices of other priests could only represent what was to be done, the thing itself they could not effect; for “it was not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins,” as the apostle shows, Hebrews 10:4; but this was done effectually by that “one offering” which this high priest offered, Hebrews 10:11-14. All which things must be afterwards insisted on in their proper places, if God permit. This, then, is his prerogative, this is our privilege and advantage. II. The assumption of our nature, and his conformity unto us therein, were principally necessary unto the Lord Jesus on the account of his being a high priest for us.

It behoved him to be made like unto us, that he might be a high priest. It is true, that, as the great prophet of his church, he did in part teach and instruct it whilst he was in the flesh, in his own person; but this was in a manner a mere consequence of his assuming our nature to be our high priest: for he instructed his church before and after principally by his Spirit, and this he might have done to the full though he had never been incarnate. So also might he have ruled it with supreme power as its king and head. But our high priest without the assumption of our nature he could not be, because without this he had nothing to offer; and ‘of necessity,’saith the apostle, ‘he must have somewhat to offer unto God.’A priest without a sacrifice is as a king without a subject. Had not God prepared him a body, he could have had nothing to offer. He was to have a self to offer to God, or his priesthood had been in vain; for God had showed that no other sacrifice would be accepted or be effectual for that end which was designed unto this office. On this, therefore, is laid the indispensable necessity of the incarnation of Christ.

III. Such was the unspeakable love of Christ unto the brethren, that he would refuse nothing, no condition, that was needful to fit him for the discharge of the work which he had undertaken for them.

Their high priest he must be; this he could not unless he were made like unto them in all things. He knew what this would cost him, what trouble, sorrow, suffering, in that conformity unto them he must undergo; what miseries he must conflict withal all his life; what a close was to be put unto his pilgrimage on the earth; what woeful temptations he was to pass through: all lay open and naked before him. But such was his love, shadowed out unto us by that of Jacob to Rachel, that he was content to submit unto any terms, to undergo any condition, so that he might save and enjoy his beloved church. See Ephesians 5:25-26. And surely he who was so intense in his love is no less constant therein; nor hath he left any thing undone that was needful to bring us unto God. But we are yet further to proceed with our explication of the words.

The apostle having asserted the priesthood of Christ, describes in the fifth place the nature of the office itself, as it was vested in him: and this he doth two ways.

(1.) By a general description of the object of it, or that which it is exercised about: Τὰ πρὸς τὸν Θεόν , “The things pertaining unto God.”

(2.) In a particular instance taken from the end of his priesthood, and the great work that he performed thereby: “To make reconciliation for the sins of the people.”

(1.) He was to be a high priest in “the things pertaining unto God;” that is, either in things that were to be done for God with men, as the apostle speaks, “We are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us,” 2 Corinthians 5:20; or in things that were to be done with God for men. For there were two general parts of the office of the high priest: the one, to preside in the house and over the worship of God, to do the things of God with men. This the prophet assigns unto Joshua the high priest, an especial type of Christ, Zechariah 3:7,

“Thus saith the Load of hosts, If thou wilt walk in my ways, and if thou wilt keep my charge, then thou shalt also judge my house, and shalt also keep my courts;”

and to Christ himself, “Even he shall build the temple of the LORD; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne,” Hebrews 6:13, that is, “the high priest of our profession,” Hebrews 3:1. He was set authoritatively over the house of God, to take care that the whole worship of it were performed according unto his appointment, and to declare his statutes and ordinances unto the people. And in this sense the Lord Christ is also the high priest of his church, τὰ πρὸς τὸν Θεόν , feeding and ruling them in the name and authority of God, Micah 5:4. Yet this is not that part of his office which is here intended by the apostle. The other part of the high priest’s office was to perform the things toward God which on the part of the people were to be performed. So Jethro adviseth Moses, Exodus 18:19, חַיֵה אַתָּה לָעָם מוּל חַאַלֹהִים , “Be thou unto the people before God:” which words the LXX. render, Γίνου σύ τῷ λαῷ τὰ πρὸς τὸν Θεόν , in the phrase here used by the apostle, “Be thou unto the people in things appertaining unto God.” And this was the principal part of the office and duty of the high priest, the other being only a consequent thereof. And that it was so as to the office of Christ, the apostle manifests in the especial limitation which he adjoins unto this general assertion; he was “an high priest in things pertaining unto God, εἰς τὸ ἰλάσκεσθαι τὰς ἀμαρτίας τοῦ λαοῦ , to reconcile” (that is, “make reconciliation”) “for the sins of the people.”

(2.) Two things are to be considered in these words:

[1.] The object of the priestly action here assigned to the Lord Christ;

[2.] The action itself which with respect thereunto he is said to perform.

[1.] The first is, ὁ λαός , “the people.” That is, say some, the seed of Abraham, whose interest in the mediation of Christ, and their privilege therein, the apostle here minds them of, to provoke the Hebrews to constancy in their faith and profession. And so also they limit the term “brethren” before used; not, as they say, that the elect among the Gentiles are excluded, but that he expressly mentions only the first-fruits in the Jews. But this sense is not necessarily included in the words. The intention of the apostle in the expression, is only to give some light into the effect of the priesthood of Christ, from the office of the high priest under the old testament and the discharge thereof; for as he had a peculiar people for whom he made atonement, so also hath Christ, that is, all his elect.

[2.] The action ascribed unto him is expressed in these words, Εἰς τὸ ἰλάσκεσθαι τὰς ἀμαρτίας , which want not their difficulty, the construction of the verb being inconsistent with its native and proper signification. ῾Ιλάσκομαι is properly and usually, in all writers, sacred and others, to “appease,” “to atone,” “to please,” “to propitiate,” “to reconcile.” But the following word seems not to admit of that sense in this place, for how can any one be said to please, or atone, or reconcile sin? Wherefore some, laying the emphasis of the expression on the construction, do regulate the sense of the verb by the noun, of the act by the object; and so will have it signify to expiate, cleanse, and do away sin, to cleanse the sins of the people, to do away the sins of the people. The Vulgar Latin renders the word “repropitio,” “ut repropitiaret;” which, as Anselm tells us (and he hath those that follow him), is composed of “re,” “prope,” and “cieo,” a barbarous etymology of a barbarous word. “Propitio” is a Latin word, and used not only by Plautus, but by Suetonius and Pliny, and that to “appease,” “atone,” “please,” or “turn away anger.” Most translations render it by “expio,” “ad expiandum peccata;” but the signification of that word is also doubtful. It is, indeed, sometimes used for “to cleanse,” “make pure,” and “to take away sin;” but never in any good author but with reference unto atonement, to take it away by sacrifice, by public punishment, by men’s devoting themselves to destruction. So Livy, lib. 1 cap. 26, speaking of Horatius who killed his sister, “Ita ut caedes manifesta aliquo tamen piaculo lueretur, imperatum patri, ut filium, expiaret pecunia publica.”

“Expiare” is the same with “luere piaculo,” which is to take away the guilt of a crime by a commutation of punishment. There may, then, be a double sense of these words;

1 st . To make atonement and reconciliation for sin, appeasing the anger and wrath of God against it;

2dly . To remove and take away sin, either by the cleansing and sanctifying of the sinner, or by any means prevailing with him not to continue in sin. Against the first sense, the construction of the word with τὰς ἀμαρτίας , “sins,” is objected; against the latter, the constant sense of the word itself, which is not to be deserted. It is the former sense, therefore, which we do embrace, and shall confirm.

(1st.) The constant use of the word in all good authors of the Greek tongue will admit no other. ῾Ιλάσκομαι is of an active importance, and denotes “propitium facio,” “placo,” as we observed before, “to appease” and “atone.” And this is that whereby the heathen generally expressed their endeavors to turn away the wrath of their gods, to appease them; and then they use it transitively, with an accusative case of the object; as Homer, Iliad. 1:386:

᾿Εγὼ πρῶτος κιλόμην Θεὸς ἰλάσκεσθαι·

“To propitiate” or “appease God.”

And Iliad.l:443-445:

Φοίβῳ θ᾿ ἱερὴν ἑκατόμβην

῾Ρέξαι ὑπὲρ Δαναῶν ὄφρ᾿ ἑλασσώμεθ᾿ ἅνακτα

῞Ος νῦν ᾿Αργείοιτι πολύστονα κήδε᾿ ἐφῆκεν·

“To offer a hecatomb unto Apollo for the Greeks, and appease him who hath sent on them so many sorrows,” or “atone him.”

And when it hath the accusative case of the person joined with it, it can bear no other sense. So Plutarch, ῝Ιλασο θυσίαις ἥρωας : and Lucian, ῾ιλάσατο τὸν Θεόν , “to appease God.” Sometimes it is used with a dative case, as Plutarch in Public. ῾Ιλασόμενος τῷ ᾃδῃ , and then it hath respect unto the sacrifice whereby atonement is made, and anger turned away; and is rendered “piaculare sacrum facere,” “to offer up a piacular sacrifice.” So that the word constantly hath regard unto the anger and wrath of some person, which is deprecated, turned away, appeased, by reconciliation made.

(2dly.) The use of the word by the LXX. confirms it unto this sense. Commonly they render the Hebrew כָּפַר , by it; which when regarding God always signifies “atonement,” and “to atone.” So the noun, Psalms 49:8, “No man can redeem his brother, כָּפְרוֹ לֹאאּיִתֵּן לֵאלֹהִים , “nor can he give to God his ransom,” or the price of his redemption, ἐξίλασμα . And unto the verb, where it respecteth the offense to be atoned for, they usually annex περί . Exodus 32:30, “You have sinned a great sin, and now I will go up unto the LORD, אוּלַי אֲכַפְרָה בְּעַד חַטַּאתְכֶם ,” ἵνα ἐξιλάσωμαι περί τῆς ἀμαρτίας ὑμῶν , “that I may atone for your sins.” And it is God who is the object of the act of appeasing or atoning:

‘to make atonement with God for your sin.’ So Numbers 28:22; Numbers 28:30, Nehemiah 10:33. Once in the Old Testament it is used transitively, and sin placed as the object of it: Daniel 9:24, וּלְכַפֵּר עָוֹן , καὶ τοῦ ἐξιλάσασθαι ἀδικίας “to atone sin,” or “unrighteousness;” that is, ἐξιλάσασθαι τὸν Θεὸν περὶ τῆς ἀδικίας , “to make atonement with God for sin.” And so also they express the person with περί for whom the atonement is made: ᾿Εξιλάσασθαι περί αὐτοῦ , αὐτῶν ψυχῆς αὐτοῦ , Exodus 30:15-16, Leviticus 1:4; Leviticus 4:20; Leviticus 4:26, Numbers 15:25-26. And still God is respected as he who is offended and is to be reconciled; as it is expressed, Leviticus 10:17, καὶ ἐξιλάσησθε περί αὐτῶν ἔναντι Κυρίου , “shall make atonement for them before the LORD.” And sometimes they add that wherewith the atonement is made namely, offerings or sacrifices of one sort or another, Leviticus 8:17. And they well give us the sense of the word in another place: Proverbs 16:14, “The wrath of a king is as messengers of death, ἀνὴρ δὲ σοφὸς ἐξιλάσεται αὐτόν ,” “a wise man shall appease him;” referring that to the king which the original doth to his wrath, יְכַפְרֶנָּה , “shall turn away,” that is, by appeasing him. In the use of this word, then, there is always understood,

[1 st .] An offense, crime, guilt, or debt, to be taken away;

[2 dly .] A person offended, to be pacified, atoned, reconciled;

[3 dly .] A person offending, to be pardoned, accepted;

[4 thly .] A sacrifice or other means of making the atonement.

Sometimes one is expressed, sometimes another, but the use of the word hath respect unto them all. And in vain doth Crellius pretend, ad. Grot. ad. cap. 7 p. 360, that ἰλάσκεσθαί τινα and ἰλάσκεσθαι , are the same, and denote the same thing, the former always denoting the person offended, the latter the person offending, or the offense itself. The one is to atone or appease another, the other to make atonement for another; which surely are sufficiently different.

(3dly.) The Jews, to whom Paul wrote knew that the principal work of the high priest was to make atonement with God for sin, whereof their expiation and freedom from it were a consequent; and therefore they understood this act and duty accordingly, it being the usual expression of it that the apostle applies unto it. They knew that the great work of their high priest was to make atonement for them, for their sins and transgressions, that they might not die, that the punishment threatened in the law might not come upon them, as is fully declared, Leviticus 16:10; Leviticus 16:21. And the apostle now instructs them in the substance of what they had before attended unto in types and shadows. Nor is there any mention in the Scripture of the expiation of sin but by atonement, nor doth this word ever in any place signify the real cleansing of sin inherent from the sinner; so that the latter sense proposed hath no consistency with it.

The difficulty pretended from the construction is not of any moment. The sense and constant use of the word being what we bare evinced, there must be an ellipsis supposed, and ἰλάσκεσθαι τὰς ἀμαρτίας is the same in sense with ἰλάσκεσθαι τὸν Θεὸν περὶ τῶν ἀμαρτιῶν , “to make reconciliation with God for sins;” as the same phrase is in other places explained.

6. There is a further double enforcement of the necessity of what was before affirmed, concerning his being “made like unto his brethren in all things,” with reference unto his priesthood; and the first is taken from what he did or suffered in that condition, the other from the benefits and advantages which ensued thereon; the first in these words, “For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted.” ᾿Εν ω῏ ψάρ , “for in that.” That is, say some, “in the same nature,” he suffered in the flesh that he took, being tempted. But the words seem rather only an illation of what the apostle concludes or infers from that which he had before laid down: כּאֲשֶׁר , “whereas,” “inasmuch,” “seeing that.” So both ἐφ᾿ ᾧ and ἐν ᾧ are often used, Romans 5:12.

Now, it is here affirmed of Christ that πέπονθε πειρασθείς , “he suffered being tempted;” not, “it happened unto him to be tempted,” which we before rejected. The Vulgar Latin, and expositors following that translation, “He suffered and was tempted.” But the “and” inserted we have showed to be superfluous; and it is acknowledged to be so by Erasmus, Estius, a Lapide, though Tena with some others contend for the retaining of it. It is not the suffering of Christ in general that is here intended, nor is the end mentioned of it that of his suffering in general, which was to make reconciliation; but the succoring and relieving of them that are tempted, which regards the sufferings that befell him in his temptations. It is not his sufferings absolutely considered, nor his being tempted, that is peculiarly designed, but his suffering in his temptation, as was before observed. To know, then, what were these sufferings, we must inquire what were his temptations, and how he was affected with them.

To “tempt,” and “temptations,” are things in themselves of an indifferent nature, and have no moral evil in them absolutely considered. Whatever attends them of that kind proceeds either from the intention of the tempter or the condition of them that are tempted. Hence God is said to tempt men, but not to induce them unto sin, Genesis 22:1, James 1:13. What of evil ensues on temptation is from the tempted themselves. Moreover, though temptation seems to be of an active importance, yet in itself it is merely for the most part neutral. Hence it compriseth any thing, state, or condition, whereby a man may be tried, exercised, or tempted. And this will give us light into the various temptations under which the Lord Christ suffered; for although they were all external, and by impressions from without, yet they were not confined unto the assaults of Satan, which are principally regarded under that name. Some of the heads of them we may briefly recount:

(1.) His state and condition in the world. He was poor, despised, persecuted, reproached, especially from the beginning unto the end of his public ministry. Herein lay one continued temptation; that is, a trial of his obedience by all manner of hardships. Hence he calls this whole time the time of his temptations, “Ye have continued with me in my temptations;” or in the work that he carried on in a constant course of temptation, arising from his outward state and condition. See James 1:2; 1 Peter 5:9. In this temptation he suffered hunger, poverty, weariness, sorrow, reproach, shame, contempt; wherewith his holy soul was deeply affected. And he underwent it cheerfully, because it was to be the condition of them whose preservation and salvation as their high priest he had undertaken, as we shall see. And his experience hereof is the spring of their comfort and safety.

(2.) Whilst he was in this state and condition, innumerable particular temptations befell him, under all which he suffered:

[1.] Temptations from his relations in the flesh, being disregarded and disbelieved by them, which deeply affected his compassionate heart with sorrow;

[2.] From his followers, being forsaken by them upon his preaching the mysteries of the gospel;

[3.] From his chosen disciples, all of whom left him, one denied him, and one betrayed him;

[4.] From the anguish of his mother, when “a sword pierced through her soul” in his sufferings;

[5.] From his enemies of all sorts; all which are at large related in the Gospel: from all which his sufferings were inexpressible.

(3.) Satan had a principal hand in the temptations wherein he suffered. He set upon him in the entrance of his ministry, immediately in his own person, and followed him in the whole course of it by the instruments that he set on work. He had also a season, an hour of darkness, allowed unto him, when he was to try his utmost strength and policy against him; under which assault from him he suffered, as was foretold from the foundation of the world, the bruising of his heel, or the temporal ruin of all his concernments.

(4.) God’s desertion of him was another temptation under which he suffered. As this was most mysterious, so his sufferings under it were his greatest perplexity, Psalms 22:1-2, Hebrews 5:7.

These are some of the heads and springs of those various and innumerable temptations that the Lord Christ suffered in and under.

Again; The blessed effect and consequent hereof is expressed in these words, “He is able to succor them that are tempted:” wherein we have,

(1.) The description of them for whose sake the Lord Christ underwent this condition;

(2.) The ability that accrued unto him thereby for their relief; and,

(3.) The advantage that they are thereby made partakers of.

(1.) They for whose sakes he underwent this condition, are those whom he reconciled unto God by his sacrifice as a high priest, but they are here described by an especial concernment of their obedience, which, producing all their sorrow and trouble, makes them stand in continual need of aid and assistance. They are οι πειραζόμενοι , “tempted ones.” Notwithstanding their reconciliation unto God by the death of Christ, they have a course of obedience prescribed unto them. In this course they meet with many difficulties, dangers, and sorrows, all proceeding from the temptations that they are exercised withal. Hence is this description of them, they are those who are tempted, and suffer greatly on that account. Others are little concerned in temptations. Outward, it may be, as unto danger, they have not many; and if they have, it is the trouble and not the temptation which they regard; inward, as unto sin, they yield obedience unto; but the trouble from temptation is in the opposition made unto it. It is reconciled persons who emphatically are the tempted ones, especially as temptations are looked on as the cause of sufferings. They are the mark of Satan and the world, against which all their arrows and darts are directed, the subject whereon God himself exerciseth his trials. And besides all this, they maintain a continual warfare within them against temptations in the remainder of their own corruptions. So that with, in, and about them, are they conversant in the whole course of their lives. Moreover, unto this constant and perpetual conflict, there do befall them, in the holy, wise providence of God, certain seasons wherein temptations grow high, strong, impetuous, and are even ready to ruin them. As Christ had an hour of darkness to conflict withal, so have they also. Such was the condition of the believing Hebrews when Paul wrote this epistle unto them. What through persecution, wherein they endured “a great fight of afflictions,” and what through the seductions of false brethren, alluring them unto an apostasy unto Judaism and an acquiescency in Mosaical ceremonies, they were even ready to be utterly ruined. Unto them, therefore, and by them unto all others in the like condition, the apostle hath respect in his description of those whom the Lord Christ is ready to succor; they are tempted ones. This is the proper name of believers. As Satan, from what he doth, is called the tempter; so they, from what they endure, may be called the tempted ones. Their calling is to oppose temptations, and their lives a conflict with them. The high priest having suffered the like things with them, they have an assured ground of consolation in all their temptations and sufferings; which he confirms by what is added in the second place, namely, his ability to help them.

(2.) Δύναται , “he is able.” Now, this ability is such as ariseth from that peculiar mercifulness which he is disposed unto from that experience which he had of suffering under temptation; a moral power, not a natural. It is not δύναμις ἐνεργητική , an executive power, a power of working or operation, not a power of the hand, but δύναμις συμπαθητική , a power of heart and will, an ability in readiness of mind, that is here assigned unto Christ. It is this latter, and not the former, that was a consequent of his temptations and sufferings. A gracious, ready enlargedness of heart, and constant inclination unto the succor of them that are tempted, is the ability here designed; for as this power was originally and radically implanted in the human nature of Christ, by the communication of all habitual grace unto him, so its next inclination to exert itself in suitable effects, with a constant actual excitation thereunto, he had upon the account of his suffering in temptations: for,

[1.] He had particular experience thereby of the weakness, sorrows, and miseries of human nature under the assaults of temptations; he tried it, felt it, and will never forget it.

[2.] His heart is hereby inclined to compassion, and acquainted with what it is that will afford relief. In his throne of eternal peace and glory, he sees his poor brethren laboring in that storm which with so much travail of soul himself passed through, and is intimately affected with their condition. Thus Moses stirs up the Israelites unto compassion unto strangers, from the experience they had themselves of the sorrows of their hearts: “Thou knowest the heart of a stranger.” And the Jews tell us that the שטרים , or officers that he set over the people in the wilderness, were of those elders who were so evilly entreated by the taskmasters in Egypt; that from their own sufferings they might know how to exercise tenderness over their brethren, now put under their rule.

[3.] This compassion moves and excites him unto their relief and succor. This is the proper effect of mercy and compassion. It sets power on work for the relief of them whose condition it is affected withal. So said she,

“Non ignara mali miseris succurrere disco.” Virg. AEn. 1:634.

Being exercised with evils and troubles herself, she had thence learned to relieve the miserable so far as she was able. This is the ability ascribed unto our high priest, compassion and mercy, arising from an experience of the sufferings and dangers of human nature under temptations, exciting his power for the relief of them that are tempted.

(3.) Lastly, The advantage of the brethren from hence lies in the succor that he is thus able to afford unto them. This in general, as we have showed, consists in a speedy coming in with relief unto them, who being in distress, do cry out or call for it. There are three things that tempted believers do stand in need of, and which they cry out for:

[1.] Strength to withstand their temptations, that they prevail not against them.

[2.] Consolation to support their spirits under them.

[3.] Seasonable deliverance from them. Unto these is the succor afforded by our high priest suited. And it is variously administered unto them; as,

1 st . By his word or promises.

2 dly . By his Spirit; and that,

(1st.) By communicating unto them supplies of grace or spiritual strength;

(2dly.) Strong consolation;

(3dly.) By rebuking their tempters and temptations.

3 dly . By his providence disposing of all things to their good and advantage in the issue. And what is more in the words will be manifested in the ensuing observations taken from them. I. The principal work of the Lord Christ as our high priest, and from which all other actings of his in that office do flow, was to make reconciliation or atonement for sin.

This John declares, 1 John 2:1-2, “We have an advocate with the Father,..... and he is the propitiation for our sins.” What he doth for us in heaven as our advocate, depends on what he did on earth when he was a propitiation for our sins. This work was that which was principally regarded in the first promise, Genesis 3:15, namely, that which he was to do by his sufferings. To shadow out and represent this unto the church of old, were all the sacrifices of the law and the typical priesthood itself instituted. They all directed believers to look for and to believe the atonement that was to be made by him. And that this should be the foundation of all his other actings as a high priest, was necessary,

1. On the part of his elect, for whom he undertook that office. They were by nature “enemies” of God and “children of wrath.” Unless peace and reconciliation be made for them in the first place, they could neither have encouragement to go to him with their obedience, nor to accept any mercy from him or acceptation with him; for as enemies they could neither have any mind to serve him nor hope to please him. Here lie the first thoughts of all who have any design seriously to appear before God, or to have to do with him: ‘Wherewith shall we come before him? how shall we obtain reconciliation with him?’Until this inquiry be answered and satisfied, they find it in vain to address themselves unto any thing else, nor can obtain any ground of hope to receive any good thing from the hand of God. This order of things the apostle lays down, Romans 5:8-10. The first thing to be done for us, was to reconcile us to God whilst we were “sinners” and “enemies” This was done by the death, by the blood of Christ, when, as our high priest, he offered himself a sacrifice for us. This being performed, as we have abundant cause of and encouragement unto obedience, so also just ground to expect whatever else belongs unto our salvation, as he also argues, Romans 8:0.

2. It was so on his own part also. Had not this been first accomplished, he could not have undertaken any other act of his priestly office for us. What the Lord Christ doth in heaven on our behalf was prefigured by the entrance of the high priest into the holy place. Now this he could not do unless he had before offered his sacrifice of atonement, the blood whereof he carried along with him into the presence of God. All his intercession for us, his watching for our good, as the merciful high priest over the house of God, is grounded upon the reconciliation and atonement which he made his intercession, indeed, being nothing but the blessed representation of the blood of the atonement. Besides, this was required of him in the first place, namely, that he should “make his soul an offering for sin,” and do that in the body prepared for him which all sacrifices and burnt-offerings of old could not effect or accomplish. And therefore hereon depended all the promises that were made unto him about the success of his mediation; so that without the performance of it he could not claim the accomplishment of them.

3. It was so on the part of God also; for herein principally had he designed to manifest his righteousness, grace, love, and wisdom, wherein he will be glorified: Romans 3:25, “He set him forth to be a propitiation, to declare his righteousness.” The righteousness of God was most eminently glorified in the reconciliation wrought by Christ, when he was a propitiation for us, or made atonement for us in his blood. And herein also “God commendeth his love toward us,” Romans 5:8; John 3:16; 1 John 4:9. And what greater demonstration of it could possibly be made, than to send his Son to die for us when we were enemies, that we might be reconciled unto him? All after-actings of God towards us, indeed, are full of love, but they are all streams from this fountain, or rivers from this ocean. And the apostle sums up all the grace of the gospel in this, that “God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself,” and that by this way of atonement,

“making him to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him,” 2 Corinthians 5:19; 2 Corinthians 5:21.

And so also he declares that this was “the mystery of his will, wherein he abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence,” Ephesians 1:8-10. So that in all things the great glory which God designed in the mediation of Christ is founded alone in that act of his priesthood whereby he made reconciliation for the sins of his people. And therefore,

(1.) They who weaken, oppose, or take away this reconciliation, are enemies to the salvation of men, the honor of Christ, and the glory of God. From men they take their hopes and happiness; from Christ, his office and honor; from God, his grace and glory. I know they will allow of a reconciliation in words, but it is of men to God, not of God unto men. They would have us reconcile ourselves unto God, by faith and obedience; but for the reconciliation of God unto us, by sacrifice, satisfaction, and atonement, that they deny. What would they have poor sinners to do in this case? they are enemies unto God. ‘Go,’say they, ‘and be reconciled unto him; lay aside your enmity, and be no more his adversaries.’‘But, alas! he is our enemy also; we are “children of wrath,” obnoxious to the curse as transgressors of his law, and how shall we be delivered from the wrath to come?’‘Take no care of that; there is no such justice in God, no such indignation against sin and sinners, as you imagine.’‘But our consciences tell us otherwise, the law of God tells us otherwise, the whole Scripture testifies to the contrary, and all the creation is filled with tokens and evidences of this justice and indignation of God against sin, which you deny. And would you have us to give credit unto you, contrary to the constant dictates of our own consciences, the sentence of the law, the testimony of the word, the voice of the whole creation, and that in a matter of such importance and everlasting concernment unto us? What if all these should prove true, and you should prove liars, should we not perish for ever by relying on your testimony? Is it reasonable we should attend unto you in this matter? Go with your sophisms unto men who were never burdened with a sense of the guilt of sin, whose spirits never took in a sense of God’s displeasure against it, who never were brought under bondage by the sentence of the law, who never were forced to cry out, in the bitterness and anguish of their souls, “What shall we do to be saved? Wherewith shall we come before the LORD, or bow ourselves before the high God?” and it may be they will be entangled and seduced by you; but for those who have thus in any measure known the terror of the Lord, they will be secured from you by his grace.’Besides, what ground do such men leave unto the Lord Christ to stand upon, as it were, in his intercession for us in heaven? Do they not take that blood out of his hand which he is carrying into the holy place? And how do they despoil him of his honor in taking off from his work! A miserable employment! when men shall study and take pains to persuade themselves and others that Christ hath not done that for them which he hath done for all that are his, and which if he hath not done for them they must perish for evermore. Is it worth the while for them to weaken faith, love, and thankfulness unto Christ? From whom can such men look for their reward? Can right reason, or a light within, be no otherwise adored but by sacrificing the blood of Christ unto it, no otherwise be enthroned but by deposing him from his office, and taking his work out of his hand; and, by a horrible ingratitude, because they know no other could do that work, to conclude that it is needless? Are men so resolved not to be beholden unto Jesus Christ, that rather than grant that he hath made reconciliation for us by his blood, they will deny that there was any need that any such reconciliation should be made? O the depths of Satan! O the stupidity and blindness of men, that are “taken alive by him, and led captive at his pleasure!”

(2.) They who would come unto God by Christ may see what in the first place they are to look after. Indeed, if they are once brought into that condition wherein they will seriously look after him, they will not be able to look from it, though for a while it may be they will be unwilling to look unto it. Reconciliation they must have, or they can have no peace. This lies straight before them. They are willing, it may be, to look upon the right hand and the left, to see if there be any thing nigh them that will yield them relief; but all is in vain. If any thing else gives them ease, it gives them poison; if it gives them peace, it gives them ruin. Reconciliation by the blood of Christ is the only relief for their souls. And nothing more discovers the vanity of much of that religion which is in the world, than the regardlessness of men in looking after this, which is the foundation-stone of any durable building in the things of God. This they will do, and that they will do, but how they shall have an interest in the reconciliation made for sin they trouble not themselves withal.

II. The Lord Christ suffered under all his temptations, sinned in none.

He suffered, being tempted; sinned not, being tempted. He had the heart of a man, the affections of a man, and that in the highest degree of sense and tenderness. Whatever sufferings the soul of a man may be brought under, by grief, sorrow, shame, fear, pain, danger, loss, by any afflictive passions within or impressions of force from without, he underwent, he felt it all. Because he was always in the favor of God, and in the assurance of the indissolubility of the union of his person, we are apt to think that what came upon him was so overbalanced by the blessedness of his relation unto God as not to cause any great trouble unto him. But we mistake when we so conceive. No sorrows were like to his, no sufferings like unto his. He fortified not himself against them but as they were merely penal; he made bare his breast unto their strokes, and laid open his soul that they might soak into the inmost parts of it, Isaiah 50:6. All those reliefs and diversions of this life which we may make use of to alleviate our sorrows and sufferings he utterly abandoned. He left nothing, in the whole nature of sorrow or suffering, that he tasted not and made experience of. Indeed, in all his sufferings and temptations he was supported with the thoughts of the glory that was set before him; but our thoughts of his present glory should not divert us from the contemplation of his past real sufferings. All the advantage that he had above us by the excellency of his person, was only that the sorrows of his heart were enlarged thereby, and he was made capable of greater enduring without sin. And it was to be thus with him,

1. Because, although the participation of human nature was only necessary that he might be a high priest, yet his sufferings under temptations were so that he might be a merciful high priest for tempted sufferers. Such have need not only to be saved by his atonement, but to be relieved, favored, comforted by his grace. They did not only want one to undertake for them, but to undertake for them with care, pity, and tenderness. Their state required delivery with compassion. God, by that way of salvation that he provides for them, intends not only their final safety in heaven, but also that, in the sense of the first-fruits of it in this world, they may glorify him by faith and thankful obedience. To this end it was necessary that they should have relief provided for them in the tenderness and compassion of their high priest; which they could have no greater pledge of than by seeing him for their sakes exposing himself unto the miseries which they had to conflict withal, and so always to bear that sense of them which that impression would surely leave upon his soul. And,

2. Because, although the Lord Jesus, by virtue of the union of his person and plenary unction with the Spirit, had a habitual fullness of mercy and compassion, yet he was to be particularly excited unto the exercise of them towards the brethren by the experience he had of their condition. His internal, habitual fullness of grace and mercy was capable of excitation unto suitable actings by external objects and sensible experience. It added not to his mercifulness, but occasioned his readiness to dispose it unto others, and shut the door against pleas of delaying succor. He bears still in his holy mind the sense he had of his sorrows wherewith he was pressed in the time of his temptations, and thereon seeing his brethren conflicting with the like difficulties is ready to help them; and because his power is proportioned unto his will, it is said “he is able.” And whatever may be the real effects on the mind of Christ from his temptations and sufferings now he is in heaven, I am sure they ought to be great on our faith and consolation, when we consider him undergoing them for this very end and purpose, that seeing he was constituted our high priest to transact all our affairs with God, he would be sensible of that condition in his own person which he was afterwards to present unto God for relief to be afforded unto it.

III. Temptations cast souls into danger.

They have need under them of relief and succor. Their spring, rise, nature, tendency, effects, all make this manifest. Many perish by them, many are wounded, none escape free that fall into them. Their kinds are various, so are their degrees and seasons; but all dangerous. But this I have elsewhere particularly insisted on. [8]

[8] See the treatise on “Temptation,” vol. 6 p. 88, of the author’s works. ED.

IV. The great duty of tempted souls, is to cry out unto the Lord Christ for help and relief.

To succor any one, is to come unto his help upon his cry and call. This being promised by Christ unto those that are tempted, supposeth their earnest cry unto him. If we be slothful, if we be negligent under our temptations, if we look other ways for assistance, if we trust unto or rest in our own endeavors for the conquest of them, no wonder if we are wounded by them, or fall under them. This is the great “arcanum” for the cure of this disease, the only means for supportment, deliverance, and conquest, namely, that we earnestly and constantly apply ourselves unto the Lord Christ for succor, and that as our merciful high priest, who had experience of them. This is our duty upon our first surprisal with them, which would put a stop to their progress; this our wisdom in their success and prevalency. Whatever we do against them without this, we strive not lawfully, and shall not receive the crown. Were this more our practice than it is, we should have more freedom from them, more success against them, than usually we have. Never any soul miscarried under temptation that cried unto the Lord Christ for succor in a due manner, that cried unto him under a real apprehension of his danger, with faith and expectation of relief. And hereunto have we encouragement given us, by the great qualifications of his person in this office. He is “faithful,” he is “merciful,” and that which is the effect of them both, he is “able;” he is every way sufficient to relieve and succor poor tempted souls. He hath a sufficiency of care, wisdom, and faithfulness, to observe and know the seasons wherein succor is necessary unto us; a sufficiency of tenderness, mercy, and compassion, to excite him thereunto; a sufficiency of power, to afford succor that shall be effectual; a sufficiency of acceptation at the throne of grace, to prevail with God for suitable supplies and succor. He is every way “able to succor them that are tempted.” To him be praise and glory for evermore!

Bibliographical Information
Owen, John. "Commentary on Hebrews 2". "Owen's Exposition of Hebrews". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/joc/hebrews-2.html. 1862.
adsFree icon
Ads FreeProfile