in a gracious disposition towards such duties as are attended with diffi-
culties and charge. Such as that here commanded to us, without
which, we shall fail in what is required of us.
Secondly. The second thing in the words is the enforcement given
to the command, from the consideration of the advantage which some
formerly had received by a diligent observance of this duty. ' For
thereby some have entertained angels unawares/
Am raurjjc -yap, ' For thereby,' for by this philoxeny, the virtue in-
clining and disposing the mind to the entertainment of strangers, is in
the first place intended. And hereby some being in a readiness for the
discharge of this duty, had the privilege of receiving angels under the
appearance of strangers. Had they not been so disposed, they had ne-
glected the opportunity of so great divine grace and favour. So, the
mind inlaid with virtue and grace, is equally prepared to perform duties,
and to receive privileges,
Tiveq, 'some,' did so. This is usually referred to Abraham and
Lot, whose stories to this purpose are recorded, Gen. xviii. 1 â€” 3, &c,
and Gen. xix. 1 â€” 3. And there is no doubt but they are referred to in
an especial manner, as what they did is recorded expressly by the Holy
Ghost. Yet I dare not ascribe it to them alone, exclusively to all
others. For I question not but that in those ancient times, wherein
God so much used the ministry of angels about the church, that sundry
other believers were visited by them unawares in like manner ; as also,
that they were disposed to the receiving of this privilege by their
readiness on all occasions to entertain strangers. But these instances,
left on the sacred record, are sufficient to the purpose of the apostle.
Now, this reception of angels was a great honour to them that re-
ceived them, and it was so intended of God. And herein lies the force
of the reason for diligence in this duty ; namely, that some of them who
were so diligent, had the honour, the favour, the privilege of entertain-
ing angels. These angels stood in no need of their hospitality, nor did
make any real use of the things that were provided for them : but they
honoured them in a particular manner with their presence, and gave
them thereby a pledge of the especial care and favour of God. How
VOL. IV. Y Y
690 AN EXPOSITION OF THE [CH. XIII.
could they have any greater, than by sending his glorious angels to
abide and confer with them ? And both of them, on this entertainment
of angels, were immediately made partakers of the greatest mercies
whereof in this life they were capable. And,
Obs. IV. Examples of privileges annexed to duties, whereof the
Scripture is full, are great motives and incentives to the same, or the
like duties. For the motive used by the apostle does not consist in
this, that we also in the discharge of this duty may receive angels as
they did, nor are we hereby encouraged to expect any such thing. But
he shows hereby how acceptable this duty is to God, and how highly
it was honoured, whereon we may, in the discharge of the same duty,
hope for divine approbation, in what way soever it seems good to God
to signify it to us.
This they did eXaOov, ' unawares.' Of the meaning of the Greek
phrase, and the corruption of the Vulgar Latin, reading placuerunt for
latuerunt, we have spoken before. It is obsei'ved, that at the appear-
ance of these angels to Abraham in the heat of the day, he sat in the
door of his tent, Gen. xviii. 1. And at their appearance to Lot in the
evening, he sat in the gate of Sodom, where strangers were to enter,
ch. xix. 1, probably both of them at those seasons had so disposed
themselves on purpose that if they saw any strangers, they might invite
and receive them, whereon they did so on the first occasion that offered
itself. And this also shows their readiness and disposition to this duty,
which they waited and sought occasion for.
This they did unawares, not knowing them to be angels ; that is,
they did not so when first they invited and entertained them. For
afterwards they knew what they were. But at first, both of them made
such entertainments for them of bread and meat, as they knew well
enough that angels stood in no need of. And this may be laid in the
balance against all those fears and scruples which are apt to arise in
our minds about the entertainment of strangers ; namely, that they are
not so good as they appear or pretend to be ; seeing some were so much
better and more honourable than what at first they seemed to be.
And in some likeness hereunto, the poet, after he hath discoursed
sundry things excellently about poor and strangers, with the care of
God over them, adds, as the highest consideration of them :
Kcu re Qsoi Zeivoiatv eoiKoreg aWoScnroicn
HavToioi TeXsSovrtc, tiriarpioipovcji Tro\r}ag,
AvSpwTTiDv vfipiv re Kat Evvo/ur)v t(popu)VTeQ. â€” Odyss. P. ver. 485.
' The gods themselves, like to wandering strangers (seeing they are
every where) do come and visit cities, beholding what is done right or
wrong among men.'
Those that appeared unto Abraham are called ' three men,' because
of the outward shape they had assumed, and the manner of their com-
munication. Two of them were angels by nature, one of them by office
only, for he was the Son of God, for he is called ' Jehovah,' ver. 1, 13,
17. And he deals with him in his own name as to the worship and co-
venant-obedience which he required of him, ver. 18, 19. And when
VER. 3.] EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS. 691
the other angels departed, who entered Sodom at even, Gen. xix. 1, he
continues still with Abraham, 'and Abraham stood yet before the Lord,'
ver. 22. And all the passages between them were such, as if a divine
person be not openly avowed therein, we can have no assurance that
God ever spake or transacted any of those things which are ascribed to
him in the Scripture, as the making of the world and the like. Thus
Abraham entertained angels, two of them who were so by nature, and
him who was then so by office. But when they appeared to him, they
are not in the Scripture called angels, though those two of them which
came to Sodom are so, Gen. xix. 1.
Slichtingius, to oppose the appearance of the Son of God in that
place to Abraham, takes great pains to confute an opinion, that those
three men were the three persons of the Trinity ; and because Abraham
spake to one, that signified the unity of the divine essence in them all.
The same notion doth Kimchi oppose on the place; so doth Eniedinus
in his explications, which makes me think that some have expressed
themselves to that purpose. And indeed there are passages in some
of the ancients, intimating such a sense of the words, but it is univer-
sally rejected long ago. And by these men, it is raised again for no
end, but that they may seem to have something to say against the ap-
pearances of the Son of God, under the Old Testament. Neither hath
Slichtingius here any one word, but only exceptions against that opi-
nion which no man owns or defends. But it is plain that he who ap-
peared here to Abraham, who also appeared to Jacob, Moses, and
Joshua, is expressly called Jehovah, speaks and acts as God in his own
name, hath divine works, and divine worship assigned to him, was
adored and prayed to by them to whom he appeared ; and in all things
so carries it, in assuming all divine properties and works to himself, as
to beget a belief in them to whom he appeared, of his being God him-
self. And we may observe,
Obs. V. Faith will make use of the highest privileges that ever were
enjoyed on the performance of duties, to encourage unto obedience,
though it expects not any thing of the same kind on the performance
of the same duties.
Obs. VI. When men designing that which is good, do more good
than they intended, they shall or may reap more benefit thereby than
Ver. 3. â€” The first branch of the exercise of brotherly love enjoin-
ed, ver. 1, is towards strangers, ver. 2. The next is, towards sufferers,
Ver. 3. â€” M)ctkÂ£(x3'Â£ rwv Sto-jutwv, J>c avvStdeusvoi' twv kcikov)(ov-
fXtVWV, Wf KÂ£U aVTOl OVTBg EV (TO)fXaTl.
Mifxvt)(TKÂ£(T^e, Mementote. Vul. Memores estote, ' Be mindful of.'
It is more than a bare remembrance that is intended.
KdKov \ovfieviov. Vul. Laborantium, ' of them that labour,' that is,
under distresses ; but the word is of the passive voice, and is not well
rendered by the active. Eorum qui malis premuntur. Bez. Malis
Y Y 2
692 AN EXPOSITION OF THE [CH. XIII.
afficiuntur ; ' that are pressed or affected with evils or sufferings.' See
ch. xi. 37, where the same word is used in the same sense.
'Q,g Km avroL ovteq ev (TtojxaTi. Syr. ' As men who are clothed with
flesh,' not amiss. Ac si ipsi quoque corpore afflicti essetis. Bez. ' As
if you yourselves were afflicted in the body,' which interpretation we
must afterwards examine : Tanquam et ipsi in corpore existentes, ' As
being yourselves in the body.'
Ver. 3. â€” Remember (be mindful of) them that are in bonds (or
bound) as bound with them ; and (of) them which suffer adversity
(are pressed with evils,) as being yourselves also in the body.
This is the second branch of the duty of brotherly love enjoined in
the first verse : the first concerned strangers, this concerns sufferers.
And because strangers are unknown as unto their persons, before the
exercise of the duty of love towards them, the injunction respects the
"duty in the first place, Forget not the duty of entertaining strangers.
But sufferers were known, and therefore the immediate object of the
command is their persons : ' Be mindful of them that are bound, of
them that suffer.' By them that are bound and suffer, not all that are
so, or do so, are intended : there are those who are bound for their
crimes, and suffer as evil-doers. There is a duty required towards them
also, as we have occasion ; but not that here intended by the apostle.
They are those only which are bound and suffer for the gospel, whom
he recommends unto our remembrance in this place.
Those who then suffered for the gospel, as it is now also, were in a
twofold outward condition. Some were in prisons or bonds, the devil
had cast them into prison ; and some were variously troubled in their
names, reputation, goods, and enjoyments, some being deprived of all,
all of some of these things ; and so it is at this day. The apostle men-
tions them severally and distinctly, varying his charge concerning them,
as the consideration of their several conditions was meet to influence
the minds of those who did not yet so suffer, unto their duty towards
them, as we shall see.
In the first clause of the verse, there is, 1. The object of the duty en-
joined, that is, ' those that are bound,' or in bonds. 2. The duty itself,
which is ' to be mindful of them.' And, 3. The manner of its perform-
ance ; as ' bound with them.'
First. The object of the duty required, are rwv Eeafxicov, ' those that
are bound.' The word signifies any that are in prison, whether they
are actually bound with chains or not, because in those days all pri-
soners were usually so bound, Acts xvi. 26. To be thus in bonds, or a
prisoner, was esteemed a thing shameful, as well as otherwise penal ;
for it was the estate of evil-doers. But the introduction of a new cause,
made it an honourable title ; namely, when any were made prisoners of
Christ, or prisoners for Christ. So this apostle, when he would make
use of a title of especial honour, and that which should give him autho-
rity among those with whom he had to do, so styles himself, and that
emphatically, Eph. iii. 1, E-yw FlauXoc 6 Sea/nog tov XptoTou Irjaov,
* I Paul, vinctus ille, that prisoner of Christ Jesus ;' and so again, ch.
VER. 3.] EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS. 693
iv. 1. See 2 Tim. i. 8 ; Philem. 9. This kind of punishment for the
profession of the gospel began early in the world, and it hath continued
throughout all ages, being most frequent in the days wherein we live.
But the word of God, as the apostle speaks, is not bound, 2 Tim. ii.
9. The devil was never able, by this means, to obscure the light, or
stop the progress of the gospel, nor ever shall be so. He and his
agents do but labour in vain. Men may, but the word of God cannot
be bound. Those therefore that were in bonds, were all that were in
prison for the profession of the gospel. And observe,
Obs. I. If we be called unto this kind of suffering, let us not think
strange of it : it is. no new thing in the world.
Obs. II. Bonds and imprisonment for the truth, were consecrated to
God, and made honourable by the bonds and imprisonment of Christ
himself, and commended unto the church in all ages, by the bonds and
imprisonment of the apostles, and primitive witnesses of the truth.
Obs. III. It is better, more safe, and honourable, to be in bonds
with, and for Christ, than to be at liberty with a brutish, raging, per-
Secondly. The duty enjoined with respect unto those that are bound,
is, that we ' remember them,' or ' be mindful of them,' /jUfivnaKtoSe. It
seems those that are at liberty are apt to forget Christ's prisoners, that
they had need to be enjoined to be mindful of them ; and for the most
part they are so; and we are said to remember them, as we are desired
to remember the poor ; that is, so to think of them, as to relieve them
according to our ability. It is better expressed by being mindful of
them, which carries a respect unto the whole duty required of us, and
all the parts or acts of it. And they are many : I shall name the prin-
cipal of them.
1. The first is, care about their persons and concerns, opposed to
that regardlessness which is apt to possess the minds of those that are
at ease, and, as they suppose, free from danger. This the apostle com-
mends in the Philippians, ch. iv. 10.
2. Compassion; included in the manner of the duty following, 'As
if you were bound with them.' This he commends in these Hebrews
with respect unto himself, ch. x. 34, ' Ye had compassion of me in my
bonds ;' see the exposition. And this he enjoins on them with respect
unto others in the same condition. It is a great relief unto innocent
sufferers, that there are those who really pity them, and have compas-
sion on them, although they have no actual help thereby. And the
want, of it is expressed as a great aggravation of the sufferings of our
Saviour himself, Ps. lxix. 20, ' I looked for some to take pity, and there
was none; and for comforters, but I found none.'
3. Prayer ; as it was in the case of Peter when he was in bonds,
Acts xii. 12. And indeed this is the principal way wherein we ought
to be mindful of them that are in bonds ; that which testifies our faith,
sincerity, and interest, in the same common cause with them, as gives
life and efficacy unto every other thing that we do in their behalf.
4. Assisting of them, as unto what may be wanting unto their relief,
unto the utmost of our ability and opportunity. Those who are pri-
soners for the gospel, do not usually suffer only in their restraint,
694 AN EXPOSITION OF THE [CH. XIII.
Wants and straits, with respect unto their relations and families, do
usually accompany them. To be mindful of them as we ought to be,
is to supply their wants according to our ability.
5. Visiting of them, is in an especial manner required hereunto,
which the Lord Christ calls the visiting of himself in prison, Matt.
xxv. 36, 43. And in the primitive times, there were some designed to
visit those who were in prison, which they did frequently, unto the
danger, sometimes unto the loss of their lives.
These, and the like duties in particular, are contained in the present
injunction. And it is a signal evidence of grace in the church, and of
all professors in their particular capacities, when they are thus mindful
of those that are in bonds on the account of the gospel, as it is an argu-
ment of a hypocritical state when men, being satisfied with their own
liberties and enjoyments, are careless of the bonds of others ; see 1 Cor.
xii. 25, 26. And,
Obs. IV. Whilst God is pleased to give grace and courage unto some
to suffer for the gospel unto bonds, and to others to perform this duty
towards them, the church will be no loser by suffering.
Obs. V. When some are tried as unto their constancy in bonds,
others are tried as unto their sincerity in the discharge of the duties re-
quired of them. And,
Obs. VI. Usually more fail in neglect of their duty towards suffer-
ers, and so fall from their profession, than do so fail under, and on the
account of their sufferings.
Thirdly. We are thus to be mindful of them that are bound, wq
SeSejuLevoi, ' as bound with them.' To be mindful of them, as bound
with them, is an act of union with them. And this is threefold between
suffering believers, and those that are at liberty. 1. Mystical, an union
of conjunction in the same mystical body. Being both sorts members
of the same body, when one suffers, the others do so also, as the apostle
disputes, 1 Cor. xii. 25, 26. And this some think is intended peculiarly
by the next clause, of ' being in the body.' But this union alpne will
not answer the expression ; for men may be in the same body, and yet
be negligent of their duty. 2. An union of sympathy or compassion ;
an union by spiritual affection from a spiritual cognation. Hereby our
minds are really affected with grief, sorrow, and trouble at their suffer-
ings, as if they were our own ; as if we felt their chains, were restrained
in their durance. 3. An union of interest in the same cause. Those
who are free, are equally engaged in the same cause, in all the good and
evil of it, with them that are in bonds. These things give us the mea-
sure of our suffering with others, the frame of our minds, and the prin-
ciple of our acting toward them. Wherefore,
To suffer with them that are bound, as if we were ourselves in bonds
with them, requires, 1. An union in the same mystical body, as fellow-
members of it with them. 2. The acting of the same common princi-
ple of spiritual life in them and us. 3. A compassion really affecting
our minds with that kind of trouble and sorrow which are the effect of
suffering. 4. A joint interest with them in the same common cause for
which they suffer. 5. A discharge of the duties towards them before
mentioned. And where it is not thus with us, it argues a great decay
VER. 3.] EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS. 695
in the power of religion. And there are none who are more severely
reflected on, than those who are at ease while the church is in affliction,
Ps. cxxiii. 4; Zech. i. 15.
Having given an especial instance of the exercise of brotherly love
towards sufferers for the gospel, namely, the prisoners of Christ, to-
wards whom especial duties are required, that we may not suppose our
love and duty with respect unto suffering to be confined unto them
alone, he adds unto them, under the charge of our mindfulness, all that
undergo evil, or trouble of any sort for the profession of the gospel ;
1 and of them which suffer adversity,' &c.
And there is, in the remaining words of this verse, 1. A designation
of the persons in general whom we ought to be mindful of; and, 2. A
motive unto the duty required of us.
First. The persons designed are those that suffer adversity : those
that are vexed, pressed, troubled with things evil, grievous, and hard
to be borne. For the word includes both the things themselves under-
gone ; they are ' evil and grievous ;' and the frame of men's minds in
the undergoing of them ; they are ' pressed, vexed, and troubled with
them.' The word is of a large signification, as large as we interpret it,
' that suffer adversity,' extending itself unto all that is adverse or griev-
ous unto us, as sickness, pain, losses, want, and poverty, as well as
other things. But it is here to be restrained unto those evils which
men undergo for the profession of the gospel. And unto all sorts of
them it is to be extended ; such are reproaches, contempt, scorn, turning
out of secular employments, spoiling of goods, stigmatizing, taking away
of children, banishment, every thing which we may undergo in and for
our profession. Of all who are pressed or distressed with any of these,
we are enjoined to be mindful, and that as unto all the ends and pur-
poses before mentioned, according to our ability and opportunity. And
by the distinction here used by the apostle between those that are in
bonds and those who suffer other adversities, yet both laid under the
same charge as unto our remembrance, we are taught, that,
Obs. VII. Although there are peculiar duties required of us towards
those who suffer for the gospel in an eminent manner, as unto bonds ;
yet are we not thereon discharged from the same kind of duties towards
those who suffer in lesser degrees, and other things. We are apt to
think ourselves released from any consideration of sufferings seemingly
of an inferior nature, if it may be we have had regard unto some pri-
soners, or the like ; and,
Obs. VIII. Not only those who are in bonds for the gospel, or suf-
fer to a high degree in their persons, are under the especial care of
Christ, but those also who suffer in any other kind whatever, though
the world may take little notice of them ; and therefore are they all of
them commended unto our especial remembrance.
Obs. IX. Professors of the gospel are exempted from no sorts of ad-
versity, from nothing that is evil and grievous unto the outward man in
(his world; and therefore ought we not to think strange when we fall
Secondly. The motive added unto the diligent discharge of the duty
enjoined, is, wg km avroi ovrtq tv aivfian, ' that we ourselves are
696 AN EXPOSITION OF THE [CH. XIIT.
also in the body.' There is a threefold probable interpretation of these
words. The first is, that by the body, the mystical body of Christ, or
the church, is intended. Whereas we are members of the same mys-
tical body with them that suffer, it is just, equal, and necessary that we
should be mindful of them in their sufferings. This is the exposition of
Calvin ; and it seems to have great countenance given unto it by the
discourse of the apostle to this purpose, 1 Cor. xii. 13, 14, 26, ' Whe-
ther one member suffer, all the members suffer with it.' There is,
therefore, a truth in this exposition, though I conceive it be not directly
intended in this place. Another is that of Beza, both in his translation
and annotations ; for in his translation he adds to the text for its expo-
sition, afflicti, ' as if you yourselves were afflicted in the body.' And
he expounds it, ' as if we suffered the same calamity.' And he gives
this reason of his interpretation, namely, that whereas ' in the former
clause we are enjoined to be mindful of them that are in bonds, as if we
were bound with them ; so in this to be mindful of them that suffer ad-
versity, as if we suffered in our own bodies with them.' But neither do I
think this reason cogent. For it is indeed those who are bound that
suffer in the body in an especial manner ; and in this latter exposition,
those are intended who suffer in any other way. Wherefore, the com-
mon interpretation of the words is most suited unto the scope of the
place. The apostle reminds those who are yet at liberty, and free from
troubles or afflictions, such as others are pressed and perplexed withal,
of what is their own state and condition ; namely, that as yet they are in
the body, that is, in the state of natural life which is exposed to the
same calamities which others of their brethren do undergo. Whence
is it that Satan and the world have this advantage against them, as to
load, oppress, and vex them with all manner of evils, as they do ? It
is from hence alone, that they are yet in that state of being in this life
natural, which is subject and obnoxious unto all these sufferings. Were
they once freed from the body, the life which they lead in it in this
world, none of these things could reach unto them or touch them.
Whereas, therefore, you are yet in the same state of natural life with
them, equally exposed unto all the sufferings which they undergo, be
they of what kind they will, and have no assurance that you shall be
always exempted from them, this ought to be a motive unto you to be
mindful of them in their present sufferings. And this is the sense of the
place. And we may observe from hence,
Obs. X. That we have no security of freedom from any sort of suf-
fering for the gospel, whilst we are in this body, or during the con-
tinuance of our natural lives. Ante obitum nemo. Heaven is the only
state of everlasting rest. Whilst we have our bodily eyes, all tears