shall be eternally damned. And there is included herein,
Obs. IX. Whatever light thoughts men may have of sin, of any
sin, the judgment of God concerning all sin, which is according to
truth, must stand for ever. â€” To have slight thoughts of sin, will prove
no relief unto sinners.
Obs. X. Fornication and adultery are sins in their own nature, de-
serving eternal damnation. â€” If the due wages of all sin be death,
much more is it so of so great abominations.
Obs. XI. Men living and dying impenitently in these sins, shall
eternally perish; or an habitual course in them is utterly inconsistent
with any spark of saving grace ; see Eph. v. 5 ; 1 Tim. i. 10 ; Rev. xxi.
8, xxii. 15.
And there is an emphasis in the expression, 'God will judge;'
wherein we may see,
Obs. XII. That the especial aggravation of these sins do, in a pe-
culiar manner, expose men unto a sore condemnation, 1 Cor. iii. 17,
Obs. XIII. All occasions of, all temptations leading unto these sins,
are to be avoided, as we take care of our souls.
Obs. XIV. Although the state of men may be changed, and divine
wrath due to those sins, be finally escaped by repentance, yet it may
be observed, that of all sorts of sinners, those who are habitually
given up unto these lusts of the flesh, are of all others, the most
rarely called, and brought to effectual repentance. Yet,
Obs. XV. Many of those persons, bv reason of their convictions,
received in the light of a natural conscience, do live in a kind of seem-
ing repentance, whereby they relieve themselves after some acts of
uncleanness, until by the power of their lust they are hurried again
into them. But I must not here further discourse these things.
Ver. 5, 6. â€” Aoi roig irapovaiv' ovtoq
yap tiprjKEv' Ov prj ere avu), oiÂ»S' ov pi) as eyKaraXiTTd)' 'Qote
Sappovvrag ripag Xeyeiv' Kvpiog tpoi fiorjdog, kcu oiÂ» ^>oâ‚¬rj0ijcro/xat
ti TroiY]au pot avOpwTrog.
'O Tpo7roe Syr. pD^jn, ' your mind :' as rpo7roe doth sometimes si^-
VER. 5, 6.] EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS. 705
nify, ingenium, animum, mentetn, indolem, the mind with its bent and
inclination. Other interpreters render it by mores, and supply vestri,
' your manners/ the way and manner of your conversation, as it is
well rendered by ours. ' Your conversation,' though that be properly
avaarpocpi], which we render ' conversation,' ver. 8. But we have no
other word whereby to express the force of the Latin mores. Tpo7roc
is men's ' moral conversation,' or their conversation in morals : So we
read Yj)>?(n-oe tqottoq, ' honest manners ;' an honest conversation ;
and j3eAiv(ttoc rpowog, ' excellent manners ;' and rpo7roc Sucaiog, ' a
just righteous conversation,' and rpoirog baiog, ' holy manners ;' and
on the contrary, ttikooq rpoTroq, * bitter, fro ward manners.'
of silver,' love not silver, according to the original signification of the
word ; but its use is of larger extent ; sine avaritia, alieni ab avaritia,
' not inclined unto,' ' alien from covetousness.'
Ver. 5, 6. â€” Let your conversation be tvithout (free from) covetous-
ness ; and be content with (present things) such things as you have.
For he hath said, I will never leave thee nor forsake thee. So that
we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear
what man can do unto me.
From particular duties, the apostle proceeds unto that which is
.more general, which relates unto our whole course of walking before
God. And the vice prohibited, is frequently joined with that foregoing,
* fornication and covetousness,' Eph. v. 3 â€” 5; Col. iii. 5; 1 Thess. iv.
3 â€” 6. Not that they have any especial affinity one with the other,
but that they are both of them such as corrupt the whole Christian
There is in the words, 1. A duty prescribed. 2. An enforcement of
it from its reason and causes. 3. An inference from that reason, in an
application of it unto all cases wherein the duty is required. The two
latter consisting in two divine testimonies, one concerning the promises
of God, the other concerning the experience of believers.
First. The duty is enjoined, 1. Negatively; ' Let your conversation
be without covetousness.' 2, Positively; ' be content with such things
as you have.' Covetousness and contentment are absolutely opposite
and inconsistent in the same mind.
First. As unto the manner of expression in the negative precept, it
is in the original doubly defective, 'Conversation without covetous-
ness;' which we well supply with ' your,' and Met it be,' which is the
intention of the words, And we must inquire, 1. What is our conver-
sation. 2. How it ought to be without covetousness.
1. The word, 6 rpoiroq, here used, may be taken in a threefold sense.
1st. For the mind, or the frame and inclination of it in its acting about,
the things of this life. So it is rendered by the Syriac, ' Let your mind. 1
And respect must be had hereunto, because the evil prohibited is a
vice of the mind ; and the opposite grace a virtue of the mind. 2dly.
For accustomed practice : Live, act, trade, do all things without covet-
ousness. 3dly. For tUe way, and manner, and course we use and take,
vol. iv. z z
706 AN EXPOSITION OF THE [CH. XIII.
in the getting of a livelihood, or food or raiment. And all these sig-
nifications of the word are consistent, nor can any of them be excluded
from the sense of the place. We render it by ' conversation,' which
is comprehensive of them all. But it is in this place alone thus used.
The word which in all other places we render ' conversation,' is
avacFTpofyr), Gal. i. 13 ; Eph. iv. 22 ; 1 Tim. iv. 12 ; James iii. 13, &c.
But the same is plainly here intended, though the word yields some-
what a larger sense than the other.
Wherefore, our conversation here includes both the frame of our
minds, and the manner of our acting, as unto the morality of it, in all
that we do about the things appertaining unto this life. And because
of this restraint of it unto our actings, about the things of this life,
the apostle useth this word rpoirog, mos, or mores, and not avaarpo^r],
which expresseth our universal walk before God in all holy obedience,
Phil. i. 27, iii. 20; James iii. 13 : 1 Pet. i. 15; 2 Pet. i'ii. 11. The
ordering of our conversation aright in this matter, is of great im-
portance in our Christian profession. And for the direction of it, the
apostle gives this rule, that it be atyiXapyvpog, ' without covetousness.'
The word is only once more used'in the New Testament, 1 Tim. iii. 3,
'not covetous ;' as that which it denies is twice, Luke xvi. 14; 2 Tim.
iii. 2 : in both which places we render it ' covetous.' QiXapyvpta, the
substantive, we render, according to its original signification, the 'love
of money,' 1 Tim. vi. 10. The word used constantly in the New Tes-
tament for covetousness, is Tr\zovzÂ£,ia, Mark vii. 22 ; Rom. i. 29 ; 2 k
Cor. ix. 5 ; Eph. v. 3 ; Col. iii. 5 ; 1 Thess. ii. 5. But whereas, as the
wise man tells us, ' money answereth all things,' Eccles. x. 19, and is
therefore the peculiar object of covetous desires, covetousness, and the
love of money, are the same. Wherefore, the word here, being ' with-
out the love of money,' is well rendered by " without/ or alien from
Covetousness is an inordinate desire, with a suitable endeavour
after the enjoyment of more riches than we have, or than God is
pleased to give to us, proceeding from an undue valuation of them, or
love to them. So it is described by our apostle, 1 Tim. vi. 6 â€” 10.
This is a vice which, by its effects, manifests itself always to be con-
trary to the light of nature, as debasing the minds of men, making
them useless, and exposing them to all manner of vile practices.
Hence it was always stigmatized by sober heathens as one of the vilest
affections of the minds of men. And there is nothing which the
Scripture doth more severely condemn, nor denounce more inevitable
punishment to. Two places in our apostle may suffice to confirm it.
In the one, he tells us that ' covetousness is idolatry,' Col. iii. 5. That
is, such an abominable sin as there is no name fit to be given to it but
that which intimates a rejection of God himself; or it may be, respect
is also had to the minds of covetous persons, who even adore their
money, and put their trust in it in the stead of God. 'The rich man's
riches is his strong tower.' The other is, 1 Tim. vi. 9, 10, where he
affirms that it gives men present perplexing anxieties of mind, and
plungeth them into eternal perdition.
But hereof there are many degrees. Where i$ is predominant, the
VEIt. 5, G.] F.PISTLE TO THE HEBREWS. 707
Scripture cloth absolutely exclude those in whom it is, from life and
salvation, amongst the most profligate of sinners. But there may be,
and are lesser degrees of inordinate desires after earthly things, which
partake of the nature of this vice, that may abide in believers them-
selves, and are a subject of mortification all their days. And these
inclinations, according to their degree, are obstructive of duties, and are
means of exposing men to various temptations at all times, especially
in those of persecution. And the apostle seems to have respect here to
such a season ; for when men are spoiled of some of their goods, and
in danger of losing all, it is apt to stir up in them earnest and inordi-
nate desires after somewhat more than they have, and not to be con-
tented with what is present, which the apostle here declares to be
covetousness. This he would have us free from at all times, especially
in the times of persecution ; to which, it plainly appears from the sixth
verse, that he hath respect. And we may hereon observe sundry
things ; as,
Obs. I. All covetousness is inconsistent with a Christian conversa-
tion according to the gospel. â€” It is to be alien in all things from
covetousness. Neither is there any thing at this day that doth more
stain the glory of our Christian profession; for in the profligate lives
of debauched persons, their blasphemies, adulteries, drunkenness, and
the like, religion is not concerned. They openly avow themselves to
have no interest in it, neither hath that any in them. But whereas
covetous men, from the predominance of that one lust, do ofttimes
keep themselves from open sins of the flesh, and withal make a pro-
fession of religion, having a form of godliness, this vice is a high
reproach to their profession.
Obs. II. Covetousness, in any degree, is highly dangerous in a time
of persecution, or suffering for the gospel. â€” It is with respect to such
a season, that we are here warned against it. For there is no sin
which so intimidates the spirit, and weakens all resolution in a time of
Buffering, as this doth. For sufferings generally, in the first place,
fall on that wherein its power and interest doth lie, namely, the riches
and possessions of men, whence they are filled with fears about them,
disheartening them in all their resolutions. And it constantly riseth
up against seasonable duties at such a time, such as contributions to
the wants of other sufferers. It is always accompanied with a dis-
trust of God, as we shall see afterwards, and fixeth the soul in an
over-valuation of earthly things, which is directly opposite to the exer-
cise of all grace whatever. It fills the soul at such a season with
anxiety and disquietment of mind, piercing them through with many
sorrows, with equal hopes and fears, irregular contrivances for supply,
and reserves of trust in what men have, with other evils innumerable.
Secondly. In opposition thereunto, we are directed and enjoined to
be apKov/iEvoi, ' content with things that are present,' or such things
as we have. Apjctw, and the passive, are to ' suffice,' to be ' suf-
ficient,' to be that \\hich is enough, Matt. xxv. 9 ; John vi. 7. The
passive is used here, and 1 Tim. vi. 8, to be content or satisfied with
what is sufficient in earthly things, whose measure the apostle gives
there to consist in food and raiment. AvTapntta, is once used to the
z z 2
708 AN EXPOSITION OF THE, [cH. XIII.
same purpose ; which signifies not a self-sufficiency, but a satisfaction
in ourselves, as to what we have, 1 Tim. vi. 6. So also is avTapKrjg,
which we render ' content,' Phil. iv. 11, that is, satisfied in our con-
dition. This is that which the apostle opposeth to that covetousness
which he doth condemn, and they are inconsistent in the same mind,
in any prevalent degree; the assertion of the one denies the other, and
so on the contrary. Wherefore this contentment is a gracious frame
or disposition of mind, quiet and composed, without, 1. Complaining
or repining at God's providential disposals of our outward concerns.
2. All envy at the more prosperous condition of others. 3. Fears and
anxious cares about future supplies; and, 4. Desires and designs of
those things, which* more plentiful condition than what we are in,
would supply us withal.
And this contentment is with respect to rote Trapovaiv, ' such
things as we have/ or ' things that are present,' as it is in the
original. Now things present are not here opposed to things that are
future ; as though we should be content with them, and not look after
the future reward. But they are opposed to things which are not pre-
sent with us in our present state and condition, though so they might
be ; and, therefore, as to the sense it is rendered by ' such things as
we have.' Yet are not things only intended, but in general the state
and condition wherein we are, be it of poverty, or affliction, or perse-
cution, or of more enlargement in earthly things. So it is declared by
our apostle, Phil. iv. 11, ' I have learned,' ev olg Eifii avTapicriQ tivai,
' in whatever state I am/ (say we) ' therewith to be content ;' in the
condition and circumstances wherein I am, whether it be of abounding
or need, as he explains it in the next verse. And it respects the things
that are present with us, such things as we have, namely, for the use
of this natural life. And the measure of them in ordinary cases, 'is
food and raiment, as the rule is given us, 1 Tim. vi. 8, ' having food
and raiment let us be therewith content.' Not that we are allowed to
be discontented if we want them ; but that these are such a suf-
ficiency as are a rational obligation to contentment, a man need seek
no further. But among other evils that we may undergo for the gos-
pel, we may be called to hunger and nakedness, Rom. viii. 35, by
which many witnesses of Christ have been destroyed ; and when we
are so, we are obliged to be therewithal content also. For contenta-
tion or satisfaction of mind in things present, doth not arise from, nor
depend on any measure, great or small, of the things themselves
which we do enjoy, but on the presence of God with us, and the
reward that is therein, as the next words declare. It may not be im-
pertinent, to observe some few things for the declaration of the virtue
of it. As,
1. Contentment with what we have, is not exclusive of honest
industry, to make an addition to it, and so to enlarge the provision of
earthly things for ourselves and our families. Honest industry, even
to this end, is the command of God, who hath given us six days in
seven for the exercise of it. Wherefore,
2. It doth not consist in a slothful neglect of the occasions of this
life, nor in a pretended apathy or regardlessness of them ; nor in the
VER. 5, 6.] EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS. 709
relinquishment of an industrious course of life, to betaice ourselves to
monastic idleness, under a pretence of contempt of the world. But,
3. It is a gracious disposition of mind, arising solely from trust in,
and satisfaction with God alone, against all other things whatever,
that may appear to be evil, as the next words declare.
4. It is utterly exclusive, 1. Of covetousness, or an inordinate in-
clination of mind, and desire after an increase of our present enjoy-
ments, with all the ways and means whereby they usually act them-
selves. 2. Of all anxious care, distrust of things future, or complaints
of things present. 3. Of that foolish elation of mind, and contempt
of others, which riches give to men of weak minds. For contentment
is a grace in the rich, as well as in the poor.
5. It is opposed in this placa to, and as a remedy of a double evil.
I. Of distress and distrust under an apprehension of want. 2. Of
despondency under oppression, persecution, and suffering the things
that men can do to us, or bring on us. And both these evils arise
from covetousness, or an inordinate desire after, and valuation of
Secondly. Having prescribed the duty, the apostle adds an enforce-
ment of its practice, from the cause which renders it just and reason-
able, ' For he hath said.' This is from something that was said or
spoken to this purpose, concerning which he prouoseth, 1. Who spake
it. 2. What he spake; wherein is included the consideration of him
to whom he spake it, and when, and with reference to what occasion
First. ' He hath said.' That this is causal, as to the duty pro-
posed, is declared in the conjunction yap, ' for.' Do so, ' for he hath
said.' He nameth not the person that spake, but by way of eminence
calleth him ' He,' Kin WW, ' Thou art He,' Ps. cii. 28, which the
apostle renders, av avrog ei, Heb. i. 12, ' Thou art He,' is a name of
God. ' He,' who alone hath all being and existence in himself; He
who with us, as in himself, is ' All and in all.' Avtoq Â£<Â£Â»j, was an
ascription of honour to a man, but this avrog tipr)Kev, is infinitely
abo\e it. And hereby the apostle refers us to the greatness and
power of God. He who is over all, the supreme disposer of all things
in heaven and earth, in whose hand and power are all the concerns of
men, who can do whatever he pleaseth ; he hath said it. For,
Obs. III. All the efficacy, power, and comfort of divine promises,
arise from, and are resolved into the excellencies of the divine nature.
â€” He hath said it who is truth, and cannot deceive. He who is
Secondly. What hath he said to this purpose, ov jury
observed by all, that there is a vehement negation in the last clause
by a multiplication of the negative particles, ouS', ov, jmj, as two of
them are used in the former. And the design hereof is, to obviate all
objections which fear and unbelief may raise against the assurance
given, from such circumstances as men may fall into ; be they what
they will, 1 will not at any time, on any occasion, for any cause, leave
thee or forsake thee. In these negative expressions, positive bles-
sings are contained, and those distinct also as the expressions are.
710 AN EXPOSITION OF THE [cil. XIII.
By the first, the continuance of God's presence is intended, by the
other the continuance of his help, which the apostle takes notice of in
the next verse. ' I will not leave thee.' Whatever be thy state and
condition, I will never withdraw ray presence from thee, I will never
forsake thee, or suffer thee to be helpless in any trouble ; ray aid and
help shall be continued with thee. Only these things are expressed
negatively, directly and immediately, to obviate the fears which in dif-
ficult trials believers are apt to be exercised withal, and they are the
principal way of the secret working of unbelief. Wherefore,
Obs. IV. The vehemency of the expression, by the multiplication
of the negative particles, is an effect of divine condescension, to give
the utmost security to the faith of believers in all their trials. That
God doth design in general so to do, our apostle declares at large,
Heb. vi. 17, 18, whereon see the exposition.
Obs. V. Divine presence, and divine assistance, which are insepara-
ble, are the spring and cause of suitable and sufficient relief and sup-
plies to believers in every condition.
Obs. VI. Especially the due consideration of them, is abundantly
sufficient to rebuke all covetous inclinations and desires, which, with-
out it, will be prevalent in us, in a time of straits and trials.
Thirdly. Whereas these words contain a promise made of old to
some or other, we must inquire into the circumstances of it, as to
whom it was made, and when, and on what occasion. There is a pro-
raise to this purpose, yea, in these very words, given to Solomon by
David in the name of God. ' The Lord God, even my God, he will
be with thee, he will not fail thee nor forsake thee,' 1 Chron. xxviii.
20. And it is found frequently repeated to the church, as to the sub-
stance of it; see Isa. xli. 10 â€” 13. But it is generally granted, that
it is the promise which God made to Joshua, when he gave him in
charge the great work of destroying the enemies of the church in the
land of Canaan. So are the words of God to him expressly, Josh. i.
5, ' I will not fail thee nor forsake thee.' The words indeed were
used by Moses to Joshua before, Deut. xxxi. 6, 8, where the transla-
tion of the LXX. is much the same with the words used by the
apostle in this place. But whereas the apostle refers the words
spoken, immediately to the speaking of God himself, ' for he hath
said,' they are taken from that place in the book of Joshua, where
God speaks directly to him, and not from that in Deuteronomy,
which are the words of Moses. Now this promise was personal, and
given to Joshua on the account of that great and difficult undertaking,
which he was called to in the conquest of Canaan. It is not, there-
fore, easily to be understood, how an application may be made of it to
every individual believer in all their straits and trials. To clear this
difficulty we may observe,
1. That the dangers and difficulties which every believer is to
undergo in his spiritual warfare, especially in times of trials and per-
secution, are no less than those that Joshua conflicted withal in his
wars, nor do stand in less need of the especial presence and assistance
of God to overcome them, than his. did. And, therefore, in using
these words to Joshua, God doth but expressly declare for his en-
VER. 5, 6.] EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS. 711
couragement, how he will deal with all believers in every state and
condition that he calls them to.
2. The faith of all believers stands in need of the same support, the
same encouragement with that of Joshua, and is resolved into the
same principles with his ; namely, the presence and assistance of God.
3. All the promises made to the church, and every particular mem-
ber of it, for the use of the church, are made equally to the whole
church and every member of it, in every age, according as the grace
and mercy of it is suited to their state and condition. There was, in
many of the promises of old, something of especial privilege (as in that
of a kingdom to David) and somewhat that respected circumstances,
and the state of the people in the land of Canaan, wherein we are
only analogically concerned. But as to the grace, love, and mercy of
God in them all, with their accommodation to all our cases and neces-
sities, they belong to all believers no less than they did to them, to
whom they were first given and made. Hence,
4. Faith sets every believer in the room or place of him or them to
whom the promises were originally made; and as they are recorded in
the Scripture, wherein God continues to speak to the church, they are
spoken directly to every one of them. So the apostle here declares it;
' He hath said,' that is, to you, and every one of you to whom I
spe;;k, * I will never leave thee;' which is the ground of the inference
which he makes in the next verse. Yea,
5. Whereas those promises which contained especial privileges, as
those made to Abraham and David, and those which respected the
interest of the people in the land of Canaan, did proceed from and
were enlivened by the love and grace of God, in the covenant made
with the church, or with all believers, every one of them may apply to
themselves the same love and grace, to be acted suitably to their con-
dition by mixing those promises with faith. For if ' all things that
were written beforehand, were written for our learning, that we,
through patience and comfort of the Scripture, might have hope,' as
Rom. xv. 4, much more are the promises recorded therein for our use
and benefit. There hath not been in our days a more desperate
attempt against the life of religion, and the whole covenant-relation
between God and the church, than that whereby the application of
the promises recorded in the Scripture, to the present state, condition,