will not be wiped from them.
Obs. XI. We are not only exposed unto afflictions during this life,
but we ought to live in the continual expectation of them, so long as
there are any in the world who do actually suffer for the gospel.
to expect our share in trouble and persecution, is a sinful security, pro-
ceeding from very corrupt principles of mind, as may be easily disco-
vered on due examination.
Obs. XII. The knowledge that we ourselves are continually obnoxious
VER.4.] EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS. 697
unto" sufferings, no less than they who do actually suffer, ought to in-
cline our minds unto a diligent consideration of them in their sufferings,
so as to discharge all duties of love and helpfulness towards them.
Obs. XIII. Unless it do so, we can have no evidence of our present
interest in the same mystical body with them, nor just expectation of
any compassion or relief from others, when we ourselves are called unto
sufferings. When we are called to suffer, it will be a very severe self-
reflection if we must charge ourselves with want of due compassion and
fellow-feeling with those who were in that condition before us.
These are some instances of the acts and duties of that brotherly love
which is required among Christians ; that love which is so much talked
of, so much pretended unto by some who would have it consist in a
compliance with all sorts of men, good and bad, in some outward reli-
gious rites, unto the ruin of religion, which indeed is already almost
lost in the world.
VER. 4. — Ti/hoq 6 ya/^oQ ev iracri, nai r) koitt\ afiiavToq' wopvovg Se icai
fjioi\ovg npivti 6 Qeog.
'O yajuoc, conjugium, connubium, 'marriage, wedlock, the state of it.'
Ev iraau Syr. ^33, In omnibus. Bez. Inter quosvis, inter omnes,
so is ev commonly used for inter.
Koiti}, Thorus, cubile. Syr. "priD-iyi, et cubile eorum, ' and their
bed.' For so it reads this sentence, ' Marriage is honourable in all,
and their bed, s rr N s 3"r, is pure, undefiled;' which, as I judge, well de-
termines the reading and sense of the words.
Ilopvovg. Vul. Fornicatores. Bez. Scortatores; which we render
' whoremongers,' not amiss. The difference between them and fxoi^ove
we shall see.
Koivei. Syr. ]>n, judicat ; judicaturus est, judicabit, damnabit. Bez.
Arab. ' Marriage is every way honourable, and the bed thereof is
Ver. 4. — Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled ; but
whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.
There is a double difficulty in the translations of the words of the
first propositions, arising from a double defect in the original. The first
is of the verb substantive or the copula of the proposition, which some
supply by tan, ' is ;' others by tarw, ' let it be,' or be accounted. The
other is from the defect of the noun substantive, which naai, ' all,' refers
unto. Some supply ' men ;' ' in all sorts of men,' others ' things,' or ' every
manner of way.' For the first, the most of late incline to make it pre-
ceptive, and not judicative : ' let it be,' ' let it be so esteemed.' We
follow Beza, and render it indicatively, 'it is;' 'marriage is honour
The sole reason used by any for the former interpretation, is, that the
duties mentioned both before and after, are expressed preceptively by
way of command in words imperative; and there is no reason why this
should be inserted in another form. The Vulgar supplies not the de-
698 AN EXPOSITION OF THE [CH. XIII.
feet in the original ; and our Rhemists render the words from thence,
' Marriage honourable in all ;' but in their annotations contend for this
preceptive sense, 'Let marriage be honourable in all,' hoping thereby
to shield their tyrannical law of caelibate from the sword of this divine
testimony, but in vain. Neither is the reason which others plead, of
any force for this exposition; for the other duties mentioned are such
as were never by any called in question, as unto their nature, whether
they were universally good or not, nor ever were like so to be. There
was no need therefore to declare their nature, but only to enjoin their
practice. But it was otherwise in the case of marriage, for there al-
ways had been, and there were then, not a few, both of the Jews, as
the Essenes, and of the Gentiles, who had unworthy thoughts of mar-
riage, beneath its dignity, and such as exposed it to contempt. Be-
sides, the Holy Ghost foresaw, and accordingly foretold, that in the
succeeding ages of the church, there would arise a sort of men that
should make laws prohibiting marriage unto some, 1 Tim. iv. 3 ;
wherefore it was necessary that the apostle, designing to give unto the
Hebrews a charge of chastity and purity of life, should give a just
commendation of the means that God had ordained for the preserva-
tion of them. And the following words, wherein 'the bed undefiled'
is entitled unto the same honour with 'marriage/ can have no just
sense without a relation to the verb in the present tense, as it is ac-
cordingly expressed in the Syriac translation.
The truth is, the apostle expresseth this blessed declaration of the
truth, in opposition unto some principles and practices that were then
current and prevalent in the world. And these were, that marriage
was at least burdensome, and a kind of bondage unto some men,
especially a hinderance unto them that were contemplative ; and that
fornication at least was a thing indifferent, which men might allow
themselves in, though adultery was to be condemned. In opposition
unto these cursed principles and practices, the apostle, designing to
commend and enjoin chastity unto all professors of the gospel, declares
on the one side the honourable state of matrimony, namely, from di-
vine institution ; and on the other, the wickedness of that lascivious-
ness wherein they allowed themselves, with the certainty of divine
vengeance which would befal them who continued therein. There was
just reason, therefore, why the apostle should insinuate the prescription
of the duty intended, by a declaration of the honour of that state which
God hath appointed for the preservation of men and women in chastity.
And this leads us unto the supply of the other defect, 'in all.'
The preposition ev, applied unto persons, is constantly used in the
New Testament for inter, or ' among :' ' among all,' that is, 'all sorts
of persons ;' or, as Beza, inter quosvis. And it will be granted, if the
words be taken indicatively, that this must be the sense of them. And
persons are here to be taken restrictively for those who duly enter into
that state. The apostle doth not assert that marriage was a thing in
good reputation among all men, Jews and Gentiles, for as with some
it was, so with others it was not. But he declares, that marriage is
honourable in all sorts of persons, who are lawfully called thereunto,
and do enter into it according to the law of God, and righteous laws,
VER. 4.] EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS. 699
among men. For by a defect herein, it may be rendered highly dis-
honourable in and unto men ; as will appear in the ensuing exposition
of the words.
From a prescription of duties towards others, the apostle proceeds
to give directions unto those wherein our own persons and walkings
are concerned. And he doth it in a prohibition of two radical, com-
prehensive lusts of corrupted nature, namely, uncleanness and covet-
ousness; the first respecting the persons of men in a peculiar manner,
the other their conversation. The first, in all the acts of it, is distin-
guished from all other sins, in that it is immediately against a
man's self in his own person. ' Flee fornication : every sin that a man
doth (which is perpetrated in external acts) is without the body ; but
he that committeth fornication, sinneth against his own body,' 1 Cor.
vi. 18. And the other influenceth and corrupts all duties of life
His manner of the injunction of the first duty in this verse, is pe-
culiar, for the reasons before mentioned. And it consists of two parts:
First. A commendation of the remedy of the evil prohibited, which is
marriage. Secondly. A condemnation of the sins prohibited, with a
denunciation of divine judgments against them. And he takes this
way of insinuating the necessity of the duty prescribed. 1. Because
the remedy was by some despised, and by others who were called unto
the use of it, neglected. 2. Because the sins prohibited were thought
by many not so highly criminal ; and if they were, yet usually were
shaded in secrecy from punishment among men. Without the re-
moval of these prejudices, his exhortation could not obtain its due
force in the minds of them concerned. In, the first place, we have a
proposal, 1. Of a state of life, that is marriage. 2. Of the duties of
that state, 'the bed undented.' And of them both it is affirmed, that
they are honourable.
First. The first is, 6 ya/xog, * marriage.' It is that which is lawful
and according to the mind of God, which is intended ; for there may
be marriages, or such conjunction for the ends of marriage between
men and women, so called, that are highly dishonourable. It must be
the marriage of two individual persons, and no more, according to the
law of creation and divine institution : polygamy was never honour-
able. It must be the marriage not of persons within the degrees of
consanguinity laid under divine prohibition; incest being no less dis-
honourable than adultery. The apostle speaks of marriage in a con-
currence of all necessary circumstances both of mind and body in
them that are to be married ; such are, power over their own persons,
freedom in choice or consent, personal mutual vow or contract, natural
meetness for the duties of marriage, freedom from guilt as to the
persons intended, and the like. Wherefore taking marriage for a con-
junction of man and woman by mutual consent, for all the ends of
human life, and it cannot be absolutely pronounced honourable; for
there may be many things in such a conjunction, rendering it sinful
and vile. But that marriage is honourable, which is formed on the
ground and warrant of divine institution, is a lawful conjunction of
one man and one woman, by their just and full consent, into an indis-
700 AN EXPOSITION THE [CH. XIII.
soluble union, whereby they become one flesh, for the procreation of
children, and mutual assistance in all things, divine and human.
As the apostle speaks of this marriage in general, as unto its nature
and use, so he hath an especial respect unto it in this place, as it is
the means appointed and sanctified of God, for the avoiding and pre-
venting of the sins of fornication and adultery, and all other lusts of
uncleanness, which, without it, the generality of mankind would have
rushed into, like the beasts of the field.
And this marriage he affirms to be rifiiog, ' honourable.' It is so on
many accounts, and so it is to be esteemed. It is so, 1. From the
consideration of the author of it, he by whom it was originally ap-
pointed, which is God himself, Gen. ii. 18, 23, 24 ; Matt. xix. 5, and
all his works are honourable and glorious, Ps. cxi. 3. 2. From the
manner of its institution, being expressed as a peculiar] effect of
divine wisdom and counsel for the good of man, Gen. ii. 18, ' And the
Lord God said, It is not good that man should be alone, I will make
him an help meet for him.' Greater honour could not be put on this
institution and state of life. 3. From the time and place of its insti-
tution, it is coeval with mankind ; for although Adam was created in
single life, yet he was married in the instant of the production of Eve ;
upon the first sight of her he said, 'This is now bone of my bone,
and flesh of my flesh,' Gen. ii.23, which she complying with, was the
formal cause of the matrimony ; and it was in paradise, whilst man
and woman were in the state of innocence and beauty. So foolish is
the law in the church of Rome, prohibiting marriage unto their eccle-
siastics, on pretence of an unsuitableness in it unto their holiness, as
though they were more pure than our first parents in paradise, where
they entered into their married estate. 4. From the many tokens or
pledges of divine favour, communicating honour unto it; he first mar-
ried, and blessed Adam and Eve himself, Gen. ii. 23. He gave laws
for the regulation of it, ver. 24, Matt. xix. 5. He had especial respect
unto it in the decalogue ; yea, all the commands of the second table
arise from, and have respect unto this institution. He by his law ex-
cluded from all administration of office in the congregation, those that
were not born in lawful wedlock, Deut. xxiii. 2, &c. And the Lord
Christ approved of all these things by his presence at a lawful mar-
riage, and a feast thereon, John ii 1, 2, 6. It is so from the use and
benefit of it. The writings of all sorts of wise men, philosophers,
lawyers, and Christian divines, have elegantly expressed these things.
I shall only say, that as the legitimate and orderly continuation of the
race of mankind depends hereon, and proceeds from it, so whatever is
of virtue, honour, comeliness, or order amongst men, whatever is praise-
worthy, and useful in all societies, economical, ecclesiastical, or
political, it depends hereon, and hath regard hereunto. All to
whom children are dear, relations useful, inheritances valuable, and ac-
ceptance of God in the works of nature preferred before sordid un-
cleanness and eternal ruin, this state is, and ought to be accounted
honourable to them.
The apostle adds, that it is thus honourable, ev iracn, 'in all;' that
VER. 4.] EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS. 701
is, amongst all sorts of persons that are called thereunto. There is no
sort, order, or degree of men, by reason of any calling, work, or em-
ployment, but that marriage is an honourable state in them, and unto
them, when they are lawfully called thereunto. This is the plain
sense of the words, as both their signification and occasion in this place
do manifest. Some had rather it should be ,' in all things,' or ' every
manner of way/ or 'in all ages,' 'at all times,' none of which do here
suit the mind of the apostle. For whereas his design is to give direc-
tion for chastity and universal purity of life, with the avoiding of all
sorts and degrees of uncleanness, whereas the proneness unto such sins
is common unto all, though cured in some by especial gift ; he declares
that the remedy is equally provided for all who are called thereunto,
1 Cor. vii. 9, as not having received the gift of continence, at least as
unto inward purity of mind, without the use of this remedy. How-
ever, if it should be rendered 'in all things,' or 'every manner of wayY
the popish csehbate can never be secured from this divine testimony
against it. For if it be not lawful to call that common which God
hath declared clean, is it lawful for them to esteem and call that so
vile, as to be unmeet for some order or sort of men among them, which
God hath declared to be honourable in all things, or every manner of
of way? The reader may, if it be needful, consult the writings of our
divines against the Papists, for the confirmation of this exposition.
I shall only say that their impiety in their law, of imposing the neces-
sity of single life on all their ecclesiastics, wherein they have usurped
divine authority over the consciences of men, hath been openly pur-
sued bv divine vengeance, in giving it up to be an occasion of the
multiplication of such horrid uncleannesses, as have been scandalous
unto Christian religion, and ruinous to the souls of millions. In other
persons they make matrimony a sacrament, which, according to their
opinion, conferreth grace, though they know not well what; but it is
evident, that this law of forbidding it unto their clergy, hath deprived
them of that common gift of continence, which other men, by an or-
dinary endeavour, may preserve or attain unto. But it belongs not
unto my present purpose, to insist on these things. And we may ob-
Obs. I. That divine institution is sufficient to render any state or
condition of life honourable.
Obs. II. The more useful any state of life is, the more honour-
able it is. — The honour of marriage arises much from its usefulness.
Obs. III. That which is honourable by divine institution, and
useful in its own nature, may be abused and rendered vile by the mis-
carriages of men ; as marriage may be.
Obs. IV. It is a bold usurpation of authority over the consciences
of men, and a contempt of the authority of God, to forbid that
state unto any, which God hath declared honourable among all.
Obs. V. Means for purity and chastity, not ordained, blessed, nor
sanctified unto that end, will prove furtherances of impurity, and un-
cleanness, or of worse evils.
Obs. VI. The state of marriage being honourable in the sight of
God himself, it is the duty of them that enter thereunto, duly to consider
702 AN EXPOSITION OF THE [CH. XIII.
how they may approve their consciences unto God in what they
do. — And,
Obs. VII. In the state of marriage, there is required of men a due
consideration of their call unto it, of their ends in it, that they
are those of God's appointment; prayer for, and expectation of his
blessing on it ; reverence of him as the great witness of the marriage
covenant ; with wisdom to undergo the trials and temptations insepa-
rable from this state of life.
Secondly. Unto the state of marriage, the apostle adds the consi-
deration of the duties of it in that expression, koity} a/uaavrog, ' the
bed undefiled.' The word koitt) is three times used by our apostle :
once for the conception of seed in the marriage-bed, Rom. ix. 10 ;
once for excess in lustful pleasures, Rom. xiii, 13, where we render it
'chambering;' and here for the place of marriage-duties, thorus,
lectum, cubile. Its commendation here is, that it is < undefiled.' And
two things are intended herein, 1. An opposition unto the defiled beds
of whoremongers and adulterers, from the honourable state of mar-
riage. The bed of marriage is pure and undefiled, even in the duties of
it. 2. The preservation of marriage duties within their due bounds,
which the apostle giveth directions about, 1 Thess. iv. 3 — 5 ; 1 Cor.
vii. 2 — 5. For there may be many pollutions of the marriage-bed, not
meet here to be mentioned ; and there are some dilated on in the
popish casuists, such as are not fit to be named among Christians, nor
could have been believed, had they not divulged them from their pre-
tended penitents. But that which we are here taught, is that,
Obs. VIII. Conjugal duties, regulated by the bounds assigned
unto them by natural light, with the general rules of Scripture,
and subservient unto the due ends of marriage, are honourable, giving
no cause of pollution or shame.
From this state and use of marriage, the means appointed of God
for the preservation of the purity and chastity of our persons, the ar-
gument is cogent unto diligence in our duty therein, and the aggrava-
tion great of the contrary sins. For whereas God hath provided such
a way and means for the satisfaction of natural inclination, the pro-
creation of children, and comfort of life in mutual society, as are
honourable, and as such are approved by himself, so as no way to
defile the body or mind, or to leave any trouble on the conscience;
who can express the detestable wickedness that is in the forsaking of
them, in a contempt of the authority and wisdom of God, by men
seeking the satisfaction of their lust in ways prohibited of God, inju-
rious to others, debasing and defiling to themselves, disturbing the
whole order of nature, and drowning themselves in everlasting per-
dition, which the apostle declares in the next words.
Having confirmed the exhortation unto personal purity or holiness,
and chastity, included in the words, from the commendation of the
state, and duties whereby they may be preserved, with assurance of
divine acceptation therein, he farther presseth it by a declaration of the
contrary state, and opposite vices of those, who, despising this only
remedy of all uncleanness, or not confining themselves thereunto,
do seek the satisfaction of their lusts in ways irregular and prohibited.
VER. 4.] EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS. 703
This opposition of the two states and acts, is declared in the par-
ticle Se, 'but:' so it is with marriage and its duties; but as unto
others, it is not so with them. And, First. He declares who are the
persons that transgress the rule prescribed ; these are of two sorts, 1.
Whoremongers, 2. Adulterers. Secondly. He declares their state with
respect to God, and what will be their end; God will judge or condemn
First. The distinction between iropvovq kcu poixovg, ' whoremongers/
or * fornicators and adulterers,' is allowed by all to be between single
persons, and those that are both, or one of them, in a married state.
The sin of the first is fornication, of the other, adultery. And al-
though TTopvtvw and iropvua may sometimes be used to denote any
kind of uncleanness in general, and so to comprise adultery also; vet
wherever these words are put together, as they are often, they are so
to be distinguished as the one of them to signify fornication, and the
other adultery, Matt. xv. 19 ; Mark vii. 21 ; Gal. v. 19. And for the
most part, when ttoqvoq and iropvua are used alone, they denote pre-
cisely the sin of unmarried persons, or at least where the woman is so,
that we call fornication, Heb. xi. 31 ; James ii. 25; Acts xv. 20 ; 1 Cor.
vi. 18; Eph. v. 3 ; Col. iii. 5; 1 Thess. iv. 3. Wherefore iropvoi,
which we render here ' whoremongers,' as distinguished from adul-
terers, are persons who, in single or an unmarried state of life, do know
one another carnally, whether it be by single acts, or a frequent repe-
tition of them by the means of cohabitation, without a marriage vow,
or covenant between them.
Some have fallen into that impudence in our clays, as to countenance
themselves with the opinion and practices of some of the heathen,
who thought that this sin of fornication was no sin, or a matter not
much to be regarded. But as it is contrary unto the law of creation,
and consequently the light of nature, being a filthy spring of other
evils innumerable ; so it is expressly condemned in the Scripture, as
Lev. xix. 29; Deut. xxiii. 17 ; 1 Cor. vi. 18; Col. iii. 5, and in the
other places before cited. And this one place, where it is said to ren-
der men obnoxious unto eternal damnation, is enough to determine
this case in the minds of men not flagitiously wicked. And shall we
suppose, that that religion which condemneth the inward lust of the
heart after a woman without any outward act, as a sin worthy of judg-
ment, doth give countenance to, or doth not most severely condemn the
actual abomination of fornication ?
But whatever may be the judgment of any man, or whatever men
may pretend so to be, for I am persuaded that no man who thinks that
there is any such thing as sin at all, can so far debauch his conscience,
and obliterate all impressions of Scripture light, as really to think for-
nication to be no sin, yet the practice of multitudes in all manner of
licentiousness this way at present among us, can never sufficiently be
bewailed. And it is to be feared, that if magistrates, and those who are
the public ministers in the nation, do not take more care than hitherto
hath been used, for the reproof, restraint, and suppressing of this raging
abomination, divine judgments on the whole nation on the account of
it, will speedily satisfy men's scruples, whether it be a sin or not.
704 AN EXPOSITION OP THE [CH. XI II.
Respecting adulterers, who are mentioned in the next place, there
is no question amongst any, about the heinousness of their sin ; and
the common interest of mankind keeps up a detestation of it. But it
is here, together with fornication, reserved in a peculiar manner unto
divine vengeance. 1. Because for the most part it is kept secret, and
so free from human cognizance; and 2. Because, although the divine
law made it capital or punishable by death, as did also some laws
among the Heathens themselves, yet for the most part it ever did, and
doth still pass in the world under a less severe animadversion and
punishment. But whatever such persons think of themselves, or what-
ever others think of them, or however they deal with them, God will
judge and condemn them.
Secondly. God icpivu, ' will judge ;' or damnabit, he will 'condemn,' he
will damn them. It is the final judgment of the last day that is in-
tended ; they shall not be acquitted, they shall not be absolved, they