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HEBREWS CHAPTER 13
Hebrews 13:1 Exhortations to charity,
Hebrews 13:2 hospitality,
Hebrews 13:3 pity for the afflicted,
Hebrews 13:4 chastity,
Hebrews 13:5,Hebrews 13:6 contentment,
Hebrews 13:7,Hebrews 13:8 to regard the preachers of God’s word,
Hebrews 13:9 to avoid strange doctrines,
Hebrews 13:10-14 to confess Christ,
Hebrews 13:11-15 to offer up our praises to God by him,
Hebrews 13:16 to do good and to communicate,
Hebrews 13:17 to obey spiritual rulers,
Hebrews 13:18,Hebrews 13:19 and to pray for the apostle.
Hebrews 13:20-25 The apostle endeth with a prayer and salutations.
The apostle in this chapter pursueth his counsel to the subjects of the unmoveable kingdom of Christ, for their performing suitable duties to such a privilege, and especially such as more immediately terminate on their neighbour, and are contained in the second table of the Redeemer’s laws; as the chief and fundamental one, brotherly love. Let love, a fruit of the Spirit, show forth itself and its existence in you, in pre-eminence, and in duration, by disposing always the inward man, mind, will, and affections, to seek the good, to speak all the good to and of, and to do all good to their Christian brethren, to all true Christians, eminently styled by the Spirit the brotherhood, Matthew 12:50; Matthew 28:10; John 13:34,John 13:35; John 20:17; 1 Corinthians 13:1-13; Ephesians 4:32; 1 Thessalonians 4:9; 1 John 3:14,1 John 3:16.
The next duty suitable to Christ’s kingdom, is hospitality to Christian strangers.
Be not forgetful to entertain strangers; be neither ignorant nor unmindful: by which charge they are bound strongly and always not to have this out of mind, though it may be out of hand; and the negative confirms the positive duty, removing hinderances, and enjoining it strictly, that they have a love and desire to the duty, bearing affection to the person of a Christian brother though a stranger, unknown and brought by Providence to them, Matthew 22:39; Matthew 25:35; and to the work of being an host, of entertaining such Christians; ξενος signifying an host as well as a stranger or guest. It is a love to be an hospitable person that is here required, Titus 1:8; (such was Gaius to Paul and the church, Romans 16:23); importing a kind, courteous reception of Christians into their houses, being harbourless, which Christ promiseth them, Luke 18:29; 1 Timothy 5:10; a free and cheerful provision for their necessary refreshing, Genesis 18:4-6; with a careful furtherance and assistance of them in the work of God, and helping them to persevere in the same, 3 John 1:6-8.
For thereby some have entertained angels unawares; the advantage that accrues to such hosts of the Christian church and its members is great; for in the exercise of this duty, Abraham and Lot, being strangers, and waiting to entertain such, received angels into their tabernacle and house, Genesis 18:2,Genesis 18:3, and had sweet discoveries of God in the Messiah made to them; were delivered by them from judgment, as Lot, Genesis 19:10,Genesis 19:15-17. And now the general guard of angels goeth along with the saints, and are entertained in them, who never come without a blessing, they attending them in their way, defending them against evil spirits, and offensive ones and places where they are, though their ministry be little observed or acknowledged as it ought, Hebrews 1:14. Not only angels, but Christ himself accompanieth his pilgrim members, and is entertained, fed, comforted, and lodged in and with them, Matthew 10:40-42; Matthew 25:34-36; and for this will he reward them in both worlds.
Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them: a further duty of the subjects of Christ’s kingdom, is sympathy with their Christian brethren, to remember to pray for, visit, and minister all necessary refreshment to those in bonds, fettered, manacled, and imprisoned for Christ’s sake and the gospel; being straitened for them, and partaking of their bonds, bearing them with them, and seeking their deliverance out of them by all just means, Matthew 25:36; Ephesians 6:19,Ephesians 6:20; Colossians 4:18; 2 Timothy 1:16-18.
And them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body; be mindful of those suffering any evil for Christ’s sake and the gospel, persecuted, oppressed, or afflicted, who have not deserved any of this from man, so as to carry it suitably to them in these conditions, Hebrews 11:36-38; so feelingly, as if we were the persons in their conditions; carefully, knowing we are in bodies capable and liable to the same, and are ignorant how soon it may be our own case; conscientiously, as knowing we are members in the same body of Christ with them, and of them in particular, 1 Corinthians 12:25-27.
Marriage is honourable in all: the next duty charged on the subjects of Christ’s kingdom, is chastity; the commendation of it is a precept to it. Marriage is that state which God instituted at the beginning, after the creation of Adam and Eve, which was by his law the making of them two to become one flesh, Genesis 2:24; confirmed by Christ, Matthew 19:5. On this state God, the fountain of all honour, hath stamped his own name and excellence, and hath made it, by an irreversible law, a glorious and honourable state. The connection is present, real, and necessary; God saith it, therefore it is so, and must be so; and this after God’s institution in all its concomitants every where, and in all times; but especially in all persons in the kingdom of Christ, true Christians of all sorts and degrees, of what state or calling soever, qualified for and called to it, whether magistrates, ministers, or church members; God by it preventing sin, preserving holy and pure communion between the married, propagating his church, and accomplishing the number of his chosen by it, Psalms 111:3; Malachi 2:15; 1 Corinthians 7:9; 1 Thessalonians 4:3,1 Thessalonians 4:4; 1 Peter 3:1,1 Peter 3:7.
And the bed undefiled; a good, moral use of the marriage bed, the natural and lawful use of the wife by the husband, and of the husband by the wife, according to the law of God; which is so far from being unclean, filthy, and inconsistent with the purity of Christ, as papists, apostates from the faith, assert, 1 Timothy 4:1-4, that it is holy, pure, and chaste in itself, and a most excellent means of preserving chastity among the subjects of Christ’s kingdom, 1 Thessalonians 4:4; Titus 2:5; 1 Peter 3:2; by this they are kept in their bodies from being polluted or dishonoured by fornication or adultery. Marriage is thus honourable in all husbands and wives, of what degree or order soever, whilst they are such; and must be undefiled in all, because their bodies are the members of Christ, and temples of the Holy Ghost, 1 Corinthians 6:15,1 Corinthians 6:17-20.
But whoremongers and adulterers God will judge; but God hates unclean societies of all men and women, but especially of Christians; and as he will certainly judge, and inflict eternal punishment upon, all kind of unclean persons, so especially upon whoremongers and adulterers who profess themselves subjects of Christ’s pure kingdom, 2 Peter 2:6; Jude 1:4,Jude 1:7; Revelation 2:21.
Contentation with our state and condition is a fifth duty charged on the subjects of Christ’s kingdom, and this is expressed privatively and positively, yet both propositions without a verb, which is best supplied by an imperative.
Let your conversation be without covetousness: Ο τροπος strictly signifieth a turning, but here it sets out the motion or turning of a man up and down in the actions of this life, which in common speech is called conversation; not any motion of the heart, nor turn of the eye, nor action of any member, after money or riches, with a sinful, inordinate love to them, or pursuit of them; forbidden, Matthew 6:25,Matthew 6:31; 1 Timothy 6:9,1 Timothy 6:10; James 4:13; 1 John 2:15. The studious endeavour and labour night and day, turning and winding every way, to be scraping together and hoarding up worldly wealth, and lading themselves with thick clay, Ecclesiastes 4:7,Ecclesiastes 4:8; Habakkuk 2:6,Habakkuk 2:9, must not be the case or condition of any Christian, Ephesians 5:3,Ephesians 5:5; Colossians 3:5; 2 Peter 2:3-15.
And be content with such things as ye have; but having a heart acquiescence and satisfitction with that portion or pittance of earthly things which God at present doth allot us, whether more or less, and not with that only which we may think enough to serve our turn, Philippians 4:11,Philippians 4:12; 1 Timothy 6:8.
For he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee: the reason enforcing it is, God’s giving by promise a special engagement to provide for them. This God solemnly made to Jacob, Genesis 28:15, then to Israel, Deuteronomy 31:6,Deuteronomy 31:8, then to Joshua, Joshua 1:5, and to all believers as well as them; for God will not let any such see the miseries of his absence, but will vouchsafe to them his presence, with all the blessings which attend it, Psalms 46:1,Psalms 46:5; Isaiah 41:10; Isaiah 43:2; Isaiah 63:9.
So that we may boldly say; upon the account of which promise of God all the true subjects of Christ’s kingdom, together with the apostle, may with an undaunted boldness of heart, above all fears and doubtings, and with a daring confidence, professing that which they believe, nor staggering, nor shrinking, nor being ashamed of their faith, but openly owning it to all the world, own that
The Lord is my helper; the Lord in the infiniteness of his power, wisdom, and goodness, is a real, present, universal, and permanent help against all trouble, and for all supplies in all cases, and at all times, to every one of them. They may say as Moses, Exodus 18:4; as David, Psalms 27:9; Psalms 40:17; Psalms 56:4,Psalms 56:11; Psalms 118:6.
And I will not fear what man shall do unto me: and therefore faith expelleth fearfulness of, and introduceth fearlessness of, any created evils incident to a believer; and of which man may be an instrument inflicting, Psalms 46:2,Psalms 46:3. Implying in it an unshaken settledness of mind, judgment, and thoughts on God’s help, a fixed frame of heart, without tumultuous passions or perturbations, with an unmovable resolution to keep close to God and his word both in word and deed, amidst all oppositions and persecutions of men for it.
Imitation of their godly ministers, is another duty that Christ’s law chargeth on his subjects, both here and Hebrews 13:17.
Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God; be mindful of your spiritual guides and rulers, firmly and constantly to retain their excellencies in memory, esteeming of them, and thanking God for them, which were sent to them and set over them by the Holy Ghost, who were guiding of them by Christ to God, and enjoyment of eternal life with him, which they did by preaching to them, and writing the gospel of Christ for their edification, by the inspiration of the Spirit. Some of which guides were removed by death, slain and martyred for the truth of Jesus, and ascended unto heaven, and others were alive among them; they were to remember all of them, but especially their spiritual fathers that had begotten them to God by the gospel, 1 Corinthians 4:15; 2 Corinthians 2:17; 1 Timothy 5:17; 2 Timothy 3:14-17; 1 Peter 4:11; 1 Peter 5:2,1 Peter 5:3.
Whose faith follow; the best way of remembering such is by imitating them, to believe the doctrine which they taught and practised, and to be as stedfast in the faith as were they, and holding of it out to others, how eminent believers they were, 1 Timothy 4:12; 1 Timothy 6:11; 2 Timothy 2:22.
Considering the end of their conversation; such as their doctrine was, such was their life, conformable to Christ’s, 1 Corinthians 11:1. It was honest, upright, and blameless, much in heaven, 2 Corinthians 10:3; Philippians 3:20. All their turnings and motions in the world, their very life, was hid with Christ in God; all agreeable to, as ordered by, his will. And such was the issue and egress of this life, which it is their concernment to review, they having by it an outlet from the remainders of sin and misery, which did defile and oppress them, Revelation 14:13, and a victory over the world and all its oppositions to them, sealing the truth with their blood which they had preached and practised among them, and were more than conquerors over all by death, having an inlet into life, and peace, and eternal glory, in the inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, and which fadeth not away, reserved for them in heaven, Romans 8:37; 2 Timothy 4:8; 1 Peter 1:4; 1 Peter 3:4.
Though this hath no term of connection, yet it may be referred either to what precedeth or followeth it; for the apostle is not here dropping aphorisms, but pressing on the subjects of Christ’s kingdom known duties. It is here interposed as a weighty reason of the duty foregoing, to remember their guides, imitate their faith, and consider the end of their conversation, for they taught, believed in, conversed with, and at last were perfected by, Jesus Christ; so that they might be saved by him as their guides were, there being no other way to blessedness, but by
Jesus Christ the same, & c., John 14:6. Or a reason enforcing what followeth, that since Jesus Christ is the same, as in his person, so in his doctrine, faith, and conversation, which he enjoineth on his subjects, they should not be carried about with divers and strange doctrines. Jesus Christ personal is immutable in his care and love to his mystical body, and all the members of it, throughout all times and ages, he never leaves nor forsakes them; so Christ doctrinal, in his faith, law, and rule of conversation, Ephesians 4:20,Ephesians 4:21. The pure, full, and entire religion of Christ is unchangeable, being simply, indivisibly, and constantly the same throughout all measures of time, Matthew 5:18; 2 Corinthians 11:3,2 Corinthians 11:4; Galatians 1:6,Galatians 1:7; Ephesians 4:4,Ephesians 4:5; 1 Peter 1:23,1 Peter 1:25.
Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines: the doctrine of Christ being immutable, it is but necessary to dehort his subjects from deserting it, which the apostle doth here; that they should not be wheeling or whirling about with an unstable and inconstant motion of judgment, faith, and practice, about such human doctrines which are vain rules to lead to God, such as are different in nature from Christ, one and the same rule, and those very numerous and various, strange and untrue, taught by false apostles and teachers, taken out of Gentilism and Judaism, and added to the Gospel by them, as necessary, together with Christ, to justification and salvation, Matthew 15:9; 2 Corinthians 11:3; Ephesians 4:14; 2 Thessalonians 2:10,2 Thessalonians 2:12; 1 Timothy 4:1-3; 2 Timothy 4:3,2 Timothy 4:4; 2 Peter 2:1,2 Peter 2:18,2 Peter 2:19; Jude 1:12.
For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; for the goodness of heart establishment unto God is no less than full and complete salvation of the soul, 1 Corinthians 15:58; 2 Peter 3:17,2 Peter 3:18. And this is only wrought by grace, the free love of God put out in Christ, for regeneration and preservation of souls unto life eternal, carried in the simple doctrine of Christ, which is always the same, 2 Thessalonians 2:16,2 Thessalonians 2:17; 1 Peter 5:10.
Not with meats; doctrines of meats and ceremonies, which are divers, and strange from Christ’s, cannot make the heart agreeable to God, but only distract and divide it from him; for whatsoever is not in and from Christ, is strange to God, and abhorred by him, Galatians 5:2; Colossians 2:18,Colossians 2:19,Colossians 2:23; 2 Timothy 2:16; James 1:8.
Which have not profited them that have been occupied therein: those who did converse in these various and strange doctrines, professing and constantly practising them, observed times, and meats, and ceremonies, have not been profited by them; for being carnal and eartidy, they could not justify them as to their state God-ward, nor could they renew or sanctify their souls, nor yield any advantage to their spiritual life; and being perishing, could not profit to the attaining of eternal life, Romans 14:17,Romans 14:18; compare 1 Corinthians 6:13.
We have an altar: these strange doctrines are not only unprofitable, but perilous to Christians, since they disinterest all that entertain them, as to any participation of Christ; since his subjects, adhering to his simple and immutable doctrine, have a right and just claim to, and an actual use of, Christ, as their altar, in opposition to the Mosaical; and from whom they have altar sustenance for their souls, in opposition to the Jewish meats, while they attend on him; all the quickening benefits issuing from the sacrifice of his human nature on the altar of his Godhead, as reconciliation and adoption to God, justification of our persons, renovation of our nature, growth in grace, and perseverance therein, to the perfecting of it in glory, John 6:55-57; 1 Corinthians 9:13; 1 Corinthians 10:16-18. We have altar sanctification of our persons and offerings in our access to God from him, Hebrews 13:15; Matthew 23:19; Ephesians 5:20; Colossians 3:17; so as all is accepted with the Father. We have altar protection and salvation, keeping us who attend on him unto the revelation of God in glory, Exodus 21:14; Revelation 6:9,Revelation 6:11. This is altar individuation to all Christians; God had but one altar under the law, and he prohibited all others, and complained of and threatened the increase of them, Exodus 20:24-26; Exodus 27:1,Exodus 27:2; 2 Chronicles 4:1; Hosea 8:11; Hosea 10:1. This one altar did type out that true one of Christ, by which only sinners can come to God, and find acceptance.
Whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle; of this altar privilege all Jews or Judaizing Christians, who adhered to the Mosaical administration of the covenant in meats and ceremonies, have no lawful right or title to partake; they cannot have this honour while they cleave to them, because they thereby deny this altar, reject the Son of God, and are in it rejected by him.
The illustration of the legal and gospel altar service is added as a typical proof of the foregoing reason; for annexing it to it; that the Jews and Judaizing Christians had no right to eat of the Christian altar, for a law of their own excludes them from it, which is written, Leviticus 6:30; Leviticus 16:27; That the bodies of those living creatures, which were yearly sacrificed as a sin-offering for priests and people, both of the bull and the he-goat, with their skins, &c., were burnt wholly without the camp; so as neither the priests nor any of the people had any part of this bull or goat allowed them to eat, having no right to it by the law of God, which otherwise ordered it. This is the literal sense, yet the use of it is anagogical, leading us to higher things; as that the high priest signified Christ, God-man; the altar, his Godhead; the sanctuary, heaven itself; the sacrifice, his human nature, the true sin-offering, of which neither priest nor people serving the tabernacle ought to eat.
Because that sacrifice for sin was burnt without the camp, therefore Jesus, to fulfil the type,
suffered without the gate; and as they might not eat of that expiatory sacrifice, so neither of this. Jesus, therefore, to fulfil this type, suffered without the gates of Jerusalem, upon Mount Calvary, where skulls and bones of cursed creatures were scattered; as the expiatory sacrifices were burnt without the camp, when Israel was tabernacling within it; without the gates, when Israel dwelt in cities. As the high priest carried the expiatory blood into the holiest of all, on the day of atonement; so Christ with his own blood entered the holiest in heaven, and by it obtained pardon of sin, peace of conscience, and renewing by the Holy Ghost, for all people who repent, believe, and will come unto God by him. Therefore those who will still Judaize, have no right to eat of his sacrifice, no more than of the expiatory one, which was wholly burnt: so that they were not to be justified by meats and ceremonies, but by the blood of Christ alone, the truth of all the sacrifices, Romans 3:25; Romans 5:9; John 1:29.
Therefore shows this to be a necessary duty, inferred from the former privilege; That since we have such an altar and sacrifice as Jesus, sanctifying us by his own blood, which he entered with to God, when he suffered without the gate; we ought and must
go forth (from tabernacle service, consisting of meats and ceremonies, from Judaism, in all its parts abolished, and all erroneous doctrines, how numerous and strange soever, and all worldly things) unto Jesus, who was cursed for us, that we might be blessed, Galatians 3:13, in faith and love; not ashamed of, but glorying in his sufferings, and following and imitating of him, patiently and boldly bearing mockings, revilings, scourgings, crucifyings, and all other persecretions, which are parts of his cross, for his sake, Hebrews 11:9; Romans 6:5,Romans 6:6; 1 Corinthians 1:30; Galatians 2:20; Philippians 3:8-10; making him in all our example, 1 Peter 2:21; 1 Peter 4:12-19.
This is an enforcement of the foregoing duty, as the particle for cleareth; That they have no reason to be discouraged from going forth from Judaism, and those erroneous doctrines, and the world, to him, though it should cost them their lives for it; for at the best this world is not a place fit for us, nor can our state in it be desirable, since it is imperfect, fleeting, and vanishing, and we must die out of it; we may well then go forth, and die with him, and for him. And we have reason to go forth and suffer with him, since it will instantly bring us to that heavenly city, which we profess that we only live to fit ourselves for, and then to enter in and possess it, Hebrews 11:10,Hebrews 11:16; Hebrews 12:22; Philippians 3:20,Philippians 3:21.
Therefore, introducing this duty, shows it not only to issue from the former privilege of having Christ our altar and sacrifice, therefore we should use him, and sacrifice by him; and it is inferred as anticipating an objection of these Hebrews: That if the tabernacle service ceased, then they should have no sacrifice to offer unto God. Yea, saith the apostle,
let us offer, which is not hand work, but heart work, by a spirit of faith on this altar, the sacrifice of praise, 1 Peter 2:5, such as God requireth and accepts above all the sacrifices of beasts, &c., Psalms 50:23; praise for the grace privilege and honour of being denizens of his city, and of being brought home to it by suffering, Colossians 1:11,Colossians 1:12; and this always throughout our life, to the God that is the author and distributer of all these blessings to us. This sacrifice of praise the Spirit interprets to be
the fruit of our lips, which the prophet styleth, calves of our lips, in Hosea 14:2. By both these must synecdochically be understood the Spirit and heart guiding the whole man in this matter, Romans 12:1, confessing that all it is capable of rendering is due from it to God, even all of love, praise, thanksgiving honour, for its redemption through Jesus Christ, whether continually expressed either by lip or life, as Psalms 50:23; 1 Corinthians 6:20; Ephesians 5:20; Philippians 4:6,Philippians 4:7; Colossians 3:17; 1 Thessalonians 5:17,1 Thessalonians 5:18.
But to do good and to communicate forget not: the last duty which Christ sufferings without the gate for his subjects obligeth them to, is liberality and beneficence to others. In which is explicitly denied any carelessness of mind, aversation of affection, or omission of the duty; in which is implicitly enjoined, inclination to, retention in memory of, and constant practice of beneficence and liberality, both as to spiritual and temporal good, vigorously and cheerfully edifying the souls and cherishing the bodies of all necessitous ones, but especially of their poor brethren of the household of faith, Galatians 6:10; 1 John 3:17; glorifying God by obeying his law and rule about it, Matthew 6:1-4; Ephesians 6:5-9.
For with such sacrifices God is well pleased; such doing of good, and communicating to the necessities of poor saints, are part of our evangelical sacrifices, which God requireth of us, instead of the numerous legal ones; and are attending on, concomitant with, and sanctified by, the one true sacrifice of Christ; and being duly terminated on him according to his law, they are highly pleasing and acceptable to God, yea, sometimes above other sacrifices and holy things given to him; and which, as he commands, he will at present greatly reward with temporal and spiritual blessings, and with everlasting riches and glory in heaven, Proverbs 19:17; Micah 6:6-8; Matthew 9:13; Matthew 25:34-40; 2 Corinthians 9:12.
Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: the further duty required by Christ from the subjects of his kingdom, is their due demeanour to their present pastors, and church guides, or rulers. He chargeth them to esteem and account of them, as they are, and he hath constituted them in his church, to attend on their ministry and teaching, yielding full obedience of faith to the doctrine which they delivered from Christ, and to be subject to the power and authority Christ hath given them over them for their edification, and not for destruction; and that they imitate them in their believing and holy conversation, Acts 20:18. And this as to all of them, set over them by the Holy Ghost, whether ordinary or extraordinary, as the apostles, evangelists, elders, pastors, teachers, doing all as commissioned by Christ, and in his name exercising their power and authority, according to his express written law about it, Ephesians 4:11,Ephesians 4:12; knowing that who receiveth or despiseth them, dealeth so with Christ and God, who sent them, Matthew 10:40; Luke 10:16.
For they watch for your souls, as they that must give account: good reason have they to perform this duty, because of their concern in and care for their souls. How great, by Christ’s law, are the night watchings, and day cares, and tears, studies, exhortations, reproofs, comfortings, their preachings, and prayers with tears, and strong cries to God for their souls! Will you pay duty to those who watch to preserve and protect your natural life, and not unto those spiritual watchers, and God’s charge given to them? Acts 20:28-31; 2 Timothy 4:5; Revelation 3:2,Revelation 3:3. And God will exact an account of them for your souls; and they must render it at a dear rate, Ezekiel 3:17-21; Ezekiel 33:7,Ezekiel 33:9. It is at their peril, if they are faithless and neglect their duty, and your souls miscarry, Matthew 18:23; Matthew 25:14,Matthew 25:30.
That they may do it with joy, and not with grief; that they may not only do their work cheerfully and comfortably among you, but that they may give up their account joyfully about you to God, when they have brought you home to him, 1 Thessalonians 2:19,1 Thessalonians 2:20; and which will be an eternal comfort unto you, 2 Thessalonians 1:7,2 Thessalonians 1:10. If you be disobedient to them, though they will have their reward for their fidelity from their Lord, yet with what sighs, tears, groans, sorrow, and heaviness of heart, must they see their labours and your souls lost, and to charge you before God with it! 2 Corinthians 3:15,2 Corinthians 3:16; 2 Corinthians 12:21.
For that is unprofitable for you: and what damage will both your disobedience to the word of God and them, and their account of it to God, bring on yourselves! Will it then quit the cost to find your punishment more intolerable than that of Sodom and Gomorrah, Matthew 10:15; Matthew 11:22,Matthew 11:24, when he will give you your portion with hypocrites, Matthew 24:51, and punish you with everlasting destruction? 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9.
Pray for us: the closing duty becoming the subjects of the kingdom of Christ, is prayer, upon some special accounts, Hebrews 13:18,Hebrews 13:19, that they would with their renewed souls, influenced and assisted by the Spirit of grace and supplication, pour forth their desires to God with faith, fervency, and importunity, for his vouchsafing to the apostle himself, and for their spiritual guides and rulers, that the things they need, and God hath promised to them, as to the successful course of their ministry, may be bestowed on them, which the Spirit specifieth elsewhere, 2 Corinthians 3:5,2 Corinthians 3:6; Ephesians 6:18-20; Colossians 4:3,Colossians 4:4; 2 Thessalonians 3:1,2 Thessalonians 3:2.
For we trust we have a good conscience, in all things willing to live honestly: he urgeth this on them, for that he was a fit subject to be prayed for, however any might accuse or charge him for rejecting Judaism out of singularity, prejudice, or some evil design; he assures them from the Spirit of God, that he had a rightly informed conscience by God’s word, and which testified his innocency and sincerity, and which did dictate and influence him to be communicating and promoting, with all and to all, the truth of the gospel; and that his own life and conversation in the world was agreeable to the gospel rule, in all godliness and honesty, Acts 23:1; Acts 24:14; compare 1 Corinthians 4:4; 2 Corinthians 1:12.
He is the more urging and pressing them to the exercise of this duty more fervently, instantly, and abundantly, at this time, that they might prevail with God to remove hinderances by his enemies, freeing him from his chain and restraint at Rome, and to speed his liberty for a return to them, that it might be in the fulness of the blessing of the gospel. So the church prayed for Peter, and prevailed, Acts 12:12, and he had hopes that God would hear them for him also, Philemon 1:22.
As the apostle desires the church’s prayers for himself, so he poureth out his for them; with the which he introduceth the conclusion of this Epistle, Hebrews 13:20,Hebrews 13:21. Now God the Father, the God and Author of peace and reconciliation of sinners to himself, the propagator and lover of peace among all the subjects of his kingdom, the dispenser of the fulness of good, blessing, and happiness, Romans 15:3; Philippians 4:9; 1 Thessalonians 5:23, who gloriously manifested his power by the resurrection of our Lord Jesus from the dead, Ephesians 1:19,Ephesians 1:20; Romans 1:4, who is the great Shepherd of his sheep, exalted to this office, because he poured out his blood a sacrifice for sins, to purchase them, justify and sanctify them, a peculiar flock for himself, according to the covenant of grace that God made with them, and in him with and for sinners, who should repent and believe in him, John 10:9-30; 1 Corinthians 6:11; Philippians 2:7,Philippians 2:10; Titus 2:14; 1 Peter 1:18,1 Peter 1:19, and to perfect them with himself above, 1 Peter 5:4, by the same power wherewith he was raised, perfect you, &c. Ephesians 1:19.
Make you perfect in every good work to do his will: may this God dispose, incline, and fit you for, may he finish and perfect in you, grace to perform all the forementioned duties, and every other good work, which he enjoineth on you towards God, one another, and all men, 2 Corinthians 13:9; Ephesians 4:12; Titus 3:14; 1 Peter 4:2; 1 Peter 5:10, according to his written will and law, Ephesians 2:10.
Working in you that which is well-pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ: working in you by his Spirit continually, that all these good works may satisfy his expectation, be a sweet savour in his nostrils, and so pleasing in his sight, that his soul may delight in them, Philippians 2:13; Colossians 1:9,Colossians 1:10; that God’s good-will may return unto them, and he may reward them according to their works, Hebrews 11:5,Hebrews 11:6; while all is rendered by Jesus Christ, sprinkled with his blood, and perfumed with his incense, Hebrews 10:19-22. As they are to have all done through Christ, so through his merit and intercession the apostle begs all this from the Father for them.
To whom be glory for ever and ever; to this God the Father, in the Son, and by the Spirit, working all this good in them and for them, be really, truly, heartily, and perpetually, throughout all ages, ascribed the honour and glory due to him for the glorious manifestation of his perfections in them, Ephesians 3:21; Philippians 4:20; 2 Peter 3:18; Revelation 4:11; Revelation 5:13. The firm seal of this, from his believing heart, is his Amen, longing for the addition of God’s Amen, so be it in heaven, to his on earth.
The apostle now drawing to a close, desires them candidly to accept his Epistle; that, considering their relation to him as Christians and Hebrews, he doth affectionately entreat them, that they would fully receive, entertain, and hold fast, as well as bear with, or suffer, all the doctrine, reproof, exhortation, and consolation, even his whole discourse to them in this Epistle, which
the word implies. He had so comprised, summed up, and delivered the revelation of the doctrine of Christ, testified by Moses and the prophets, in a very few words, and sent them kindly and affectionately, in the form of an epistle or letter to them, that it might not be burdensome, either for its matter or length: though how weary are most professing Christians of the shortest heavenly discourse!
He acquaints them with the good news of his dismissing Timothy to them, to acquaint them how it fared with him, as he dismissed and sent Tychicus to the Colossians, Colossians 4:7,Colossians 4:8, Epaphroditus to the Philippians, Philippians 2:25,Philippians 2:28, as he intended to have sent Timothy with them, Hebrews 13:19,Hebrews 13:23,Hebrews 13:24, but he stopped him to see the issue of his appearance before Nero Caesar; which being over, he despatched him with an account of it to these Hebrews, and the rest of the churches, and signifieth his purpose, that if he quickly returns from them again, then he would visit them together with him. That the word απολελυμενος noteth, or signifieth, the dismission of a person about business, is seen, Acts 13:3. To which interpretation the subscription of the Epistle inclines; and the Scripture is silent of any troubles or restraint of Timothy at all, Philippians 2:19,Philippians 2:20.
He sends his salutations, which were good wishes and prayers for the peace, prosperity, health, and happiness of their souls and bodies, and success in all their concernments; first unto their excellent guides and rulers, Hebrews 13:7,Hebrews 13:17, that they may prosper and succeed in their work among the saints; and then unto
the saints themselves, conveying the gospel peace, according to Christ’s command, Matthew 10:12; Luke 10:5. Which saints were all those Hebrews dispersed in several places, and there convening, and maintaining church society; and to whose hand the Epistle first came, they were to receive the salutations themselves, and transmit them to others. With his own he transmits the salutations of all that part of the church of Christ which was in Italy to them. Which salutations, though commonly abused, yet are of great weight and worth where communicated and received by the churches in which the Holy Spirit abideth.
He closeth all with his wonted gracious valediction, wherewith he shutteth up all his Epistles, as he testifieth, 2 Thessalonians 3:17,2 Thessalonians 3:18. He, like an apostle influenced by the Divine Spirit, admiring grace vouchsafed to himself, and heartily and fervently wishing it down upon all to whom he writeth, even all the spiritual fruits of God’s grace and love in Jesus Christ, from election to salvation. And he sealeth up his desire, prayer, and declaration of this, upon them
all who were the true subjects of it, with his
Amen. Even so let the whole earth be filled with the glory of thy grace, O Trinity of relations in Unity of essence, from henceforth and for ever. Amen.
Written to the Hebrews from Italy by Timothy.
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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Hebrews 13". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29