of a testament; which, as the apostle showeth in the next verse, it is
not, but only unto its execution. In the case of a testament, namely,
that it may be executed, is the meaning of the word ' where ;' that is,
' wherever.' Amongst all sorts of men, living according unto the light
of nature and the conduct of reason, the making of testaments is in use.
For without it, neither can private industry be encouraged, nor public
peace maintained. Wherefore, as was before observed, the apostle
argueth from the common usage of mankind, resolved into the principles
of reason and equity.
2. What is required unto the validity of a testament, and that is, the
death of the testator. And the way of the introduction of this death
unto the validity of a testament, is by, Savarov tov SiaStfitvov (ptptaZai,
' being brought in :' (psptaSat, ' that it enter ;' namely, after the ratify-
ing of the testament, to make it of force, or to give it operation. The
testament is made by a living man; but whilst he lives it is dead, or of
no use. That it may operate and be effectual, death must be brought
into the account. This death must be the death of the testator, tov
StaStntvov. 'O SiaSifnvo*:, is he who disposeth of things, who hath
right so to do, and actually doth it. This in a testament is the testa-
tor. And ciuztitai and SiaZ'ziitvoc, have in the (/reek the .same respect
110 AN EXPOSITION OF THE [CH. IX.
unto one another, as testamentum and testator in the Latin. Where-
fore, if the new covenant hath the nature of a testament, it must have a
testator, and that testator must die before it can be of force and efficacy,
which is what was to be proved.
This is further confirmed,
Ver. 17. For a testament is of force after men are dead ; other-
wise it is of no strength at all whilst the testator liveth.
It is not of the making and constitution of a testament, but of the
force and execution of it, that he speaks. And in these words he gives
a reason of the necessity of the death of the testator thereunto ; and this
is because the validity and efficacy of the testament depends solely
thereon. And this reason he introduceth by the conjunction, -yap, ' for.'
A testament, E7rt vtKpoic; fi&aia, ' is of force,' say we ; that is, firm,
stable, not to be disannulled. For if it be but a man's testament, yet if
it be confirmed, no man disannulleth or addeth thereunto, Gal. iii. 15.
It is ratified, made unalterable, so as that it must be executed accord-
ing unto the mind of the testator. And it is so, tin veicpoig, ' among
them that are dead ;' after men are dead ; that is, those who make the
testament. For it is opposed unto 6te Zij 6 SiaStjuevoQ, ' whilst the
testator liveth ;' for testaments are the wills of dead men. Living men
have no heirs. And this sense is declared in those words, eiret fit] irore
without this accession unto the making of a testament. As yet it pre-
vaileth not, it is not of force for the actual distribution of the inherit-
ance, or the goods of the testator.
Two things must yet farther be declared. 1. What are the grounds
or general reasons of this assertion. 2. Where lies the force of the
argument from it.
First. The force of a testament depends on the death of the testator;
or the death of the testator is required to make it effectual, for these
1. Because a testament is no act or deed of a man, whereby he pre-
sently, and in the making of it, conveys, gives, or grants, any part of
his possession unto another, or others ; so as that it should immedi-
ately thereon cease to be his own, and become the property of those
others ; all such instruments of contract, bargain, sale, or deeds of
gift, are of another nature, they are not testaments. A testament is
only the signification of the will of a man, as to what he will have done
with his goods after his death. Wherefore, unto the force and execu-
tion of it his death is necessary.
2. A testament that is only so, is alterable at the pleasure of him
that makes it whilst he is alive. Wherefore, it can be of no force
whilst he is so ; for that he may change or disannul it when he pleaseth.
The foundation, therefore, of the apostle's argument from this usage
amongst men, is firm and stable.
Secondly. Whereas the apostle argueth from the proportion and
similitude that is between this new testament or covenant, and the tes-
taments of men, we may consider what are the things wherein that
VER. 1G, 17.] EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS. 141
similitude doth consist, and show also wherein there is a dissimilitude
whereunto his reasonings are not to be extended. For so it is in all
comparisons ; the comparatives are not alike in all things, especially
where things spiritual and temporal are compared together. So was it
also in all the types of old. Every person or every thing that was a
type of Christ, was not so in all things, in all that they were. And
therefore it requires both wisdom and diligence to distinguish in what
they were so, and in what they were not, that no false inferences or
conclusions be made from them. So is it in all comparisons ; and there-
fore in the present instance we must consider wherein the things com-
pared do agree, and wherein they differ.
1. They agree principally in the death of the testator. This alone
among men makes a testament effectual and irrevocable. So is it in
this new testament. It was confirmed and ratified by the death of the
testator Jesus Christ, and otherwise could not have been of force. This
is the fundamental agreement between them, which therefore alone the
apostle expressly insisteth on, although there are other things which
necessarily accompany it, as essential to every testament ; as,
2. In every testament amongst men there are goods disposed and
bequeathed to heirs or legatees, which were the property of the testa-
tor. Where a man hath nothing to give or bequeath, he can make no
testament. For that is nothing but his will concerning the disposal of
his own goods after his decease. So is it in this new testament. All
the goods of grace and glory were the property, the inheritance of
Christ, firmly instated in him alone. For ' he was appointed heir of
all things.' But in his death, as a testator, he made a bequeathment of
them all to the elect, appointing them to be heirs of God, co-heirs with
himself. And this also is required to the nature and essence of a testa-
3. In a testament there is always an absolute grant made of the goods
bequeathed, without condition or limitation. So is it here also ; the
goods and inheritance of the kingdom of heaven are bequeathed abso-
lutely to all the elect, so as that no intervenience can defeat them of it.
And what there is in the gospel, which is the instrument of this testa-
tament, that prescribes conditions to them, that exacts terms of obedi-
ence from them, it belongs to it, as it is a covenant, and not as a testa-
4. It is in the will and power of the testator, in and by his testament,
to assign and determine both the time, season, and way, whereby those
to whom he hath bequeathed his goods shall be admitted to the actual
iv.)>session of them. So is it in this case also. The Lord Christ, the
great testator, hath determined the way whereby the elect shall come to
be actually possessed of their legacies, namely, 'by faith that is in
him,' Acts xxvi. 18. So also he hath reserved the time and season of
their conversion in this world, and entrance into future glory, in his own
hand and power.
These tilings belong to the illustration of the comparison insisted
on, although it be only one thing that the apostle argues from it,
touching the necessity of the death of the testator. But notwithstand-
ing these instances of agreement between the new covenant and the tes-
142 AN EXPOSITION OF THE [dl. IX.
taments of men, whereby it appears to have in it, in sundry respects,
the nature of a testament, yet in many things there is also a disagree-
ment between them, evidencing that it is also a covenant, and abideth
so, notwithstanding what it hath of the nature of a testament, from
the death of the testator. As,
1 . A testator amongst men ceaseth to have any right in or use of
the goods bequeathed by him, when once his testament is of force.
And this is by reason of death, which destroys all title and use of
them. But our testator divests himself neither of right nor pog^ession,
nor of the use of any of his goods. And this follows on a twofold dif-
ference, the one in the persons, the other in the goods or things be-
1st. In the persons. For a testator amongst men dieth absolutely ;
he liveth not again in this world, but lieth down, and riseth not till the
heavens be no more. Hereon all right to and all use of the goods of
this life ceaseth- for ever. Our testator died actually and really to con-
firm his testament; but, 1. He died not in his whole person. 2. In that
nature wherein he died he lived again, and is alive for evermore. Hence
all his goods are still in his own power.
2dly, In the things themselves. For the goods bequeathed in the
testaments of men are of that nature, that the propriety of them cannot
be vested in many, so as that every one should have a right to and the
enjoyment of all, but in one only. But the spiritual good things of
the new testament are such, as that in all the riches and fulness of
them, they may be in the possession of the testator, and of those also
to whom they are bequeathed. Christ parts with no grace from him-
self; he diminisheth not his own riches, nor exhausts any thing from
his own fulness, by his communication of it to others. Hence also,
2. In the wills of men, if there be a bequeathment of goods made
to many, no one can enjoy the whole inheritance, but every one is
to have his own share and portion only. But in and by the new testa-
ment, every one is made heir to the whole inheritance. All have the
same, and everyone hath the whole. For God himself thence becomes
their portion, who is all to all, and all to every one.
3. In human testaments, the goods bequeathed are such only as
either descended to the testators from their progenitors, or were acquired
during their lives by their own industry. By their death they obtained
no new right or title unto any thing ; only what they had before, is
now disposed of according unto their wills. But our testator, according
unto an antecedent contract between God the Father and him, purchased
the whole inheritance by his own blood, obtaining for us eternal re-
4. They differ principally in this, that a testament amongst men is no
more but merely so ; it is not moreover a solemn covenant that needs a
confirmation suited thereunto. The bare signification of the will of the
testator witnessed unto, is sufficient unto its constitution and confirma-
tion. But in this mystery the testament is not merely so, but a cove-
nant also. Hence it was not sufficient unto its force and establishment,
that the testator should die only ; but it was also required that he should
offer himself in sacrifice by the shedding of his blood, unto its confir-
VER. 18 â€” 22.] EPISTLE TO Till: HEBREWS 1-4.']
lnation. These things I have observed, because, as we shall see, the
apostle, in the progress of his discourse, doth not confine himself unto
this notion of a testament, but treats of it principally as it had the na-
ture of a covenant. And we may here observe,
Obs. I. It is a great and gracious condescension in the Holy Spirit
to give encouragement and confirmation unto our faith, by a represen-
tation of the truth and reality of spiritual things, in those which are
temporal, and agreeing with them in their general nature, whereby they
are presented unto the common understandings of men. â€” This way of
proceeding the apostle calls a speaking, kcito. avSpioirov, Gal. iii. 15,
' after the manner of men.' Of the same kind were all the parables
used by our Saviour ; for it is all one whether these representations be
taken from things real, or from those which, according unto the same
rule of reason and right, are framed on purpose for that end.
Obs. II. There is an irrevocable grant of the whole inheritance of
grace and glory, made unto the elect in the new covenant. Without
this, it could not in any sense Tiave the nature of a testament, nor that
name given unto it. For a testament is such a free grant, and nothing
else. And our best plea for them, for an interest in them, for a parti-
cipation of them before God, is from the free grant and donation of
them, in the testament of Jesus Christ.
Obs. III. As the grant of these things is free and absolute, so the
enjoyment of them is secured from all interveniences, by the death of
\ ER. 18 22. OOeV OUO ?? 7TOWT1] \ojpig al^ctTog CyKZKCUVlOTai'
AaXrjSacrfjc yap 7raor)je fvroXijt,' Kara vojxov viro MwuÂ«wf ttuvti
to) Aaw, Aaâ‚¬(i>v to alfxa ru>v /.joct^wv Kat Tpaywv /mara uSaroc k
tplOV KOKKLVOV KCU V<7(T(i)TrOV, CIVTO TS TO /3
tppavTure. Atywv' Touro to al/ua Ti]g cjoaijKJjf,-, i)c tvErt/Aaro irpog
iifiag 6 Oeog. Kat tj)v oki}vt)V ce kul TravTa tu a-jccurf Ti]g XtiTOvp-
yiac ti,j alutiTi u^ioiojg eppavTiat. Kat (r\tcov tv al pari rcavTa
KaSapi&Tut Kara tov vo/aov, Kat \wpig aifjiaTtK\vaiag ov yiverai
'O0ev, unde, ' hence,' ' therefore.' Syr. ion bun, propter hoc, quia,
propter, ' for this cause,' ' and hence it is.' Arab. EyKEKcttvcorat. Syr.
rmrnTN, ' was confirmed,' dedicatum fuit, ' was dedicated,' consecrated,
separated unto sacred use.
AaXifiticnig yap iraarig evtoAijc Kara vojuoi'. Syr. ' When the whole
command was enjoined.' Vul. Lat. Lecto omni mandato legis : 'The
command of the law being read;' taking Â£vto\i) and vo/jtog for the same.
Arias, Exposito secundum legem. Most, Cum recitasset, ' having re-
peated,' recited, namely, out of the book.
Moaxuv Kai rpaywv. The Syriac reads only Nrfojn, 'of a heifer;'
as the Arabic omits Tpaywv also, 'of goats,' it may be in compliance
with the story in Moses, without cause, as we shall see. ^yj^ov is
omitted in the Syriac.
144 AN EXPOSITION OP THE [CH. IX.
Ver. 18 â€” 22. â€” Whereupon neither the first (testament) was dedi-
cated without blood. For lohen Moses had spoken every precept
to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves
and of goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and
sprinkled both the book and all the people, saying, This is the
blood of the testament which God hath enjoined unto you. More-
over, he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle and all the ves-
sels of the ministry ; and almost all things are by the law purged
with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.
What we have before observed is fully confirmed in this discourse ;
namely, that the apostle intended not to argue absolutely and precisely
from the name and nature of a testament, properly so called, and the
use of it among men. For he makes use of these things no further,
but as unto what such a testament hath in common with a solemn co-
venant ; which is, that they are both confirmed and ratified by death.
Wherefore it was necessary that the new testament, as it was a testa-
ment, should be confirmed by death ; and as it had the nature of a co-
venant, it was to be so by such a death, as was accompanied by blood-
shedding. The former was proved before from the general nature and
notion of a testament ; the latter is here proved at large from the way
and manner, whereby the first covenant was confirmed or dedicated.
But the apostle in this discourse doth not intend merely to prove that
the first covenant was dedicated with blood, which might have been
dispatched in a very few words. He declares moreover, in general,
what was the use of blood in sacrifices on all occasions under the law ;
whereby he demonstrates the use and efficacy of the blood of Christ, as
unto all the ends of the new covenant. And the ends of the use of
blood under the old testament he declares to have been two ; namely,
purification and pardon, both which are comprised in that one of the
expiation of sin. And these things are all of them applied unto the
blood and sacrifice of Christ, in the following verses.
In the exposition of this context we must do three things. 1. Con-
sider the difficulties that are in it. 2. Declare the scope, design, and
force of the argument contained in it. 3. Explain the particular pas-
sages of the whole.
First. Sundry difficulties there are in this context which arise from
hence, that the account which the apostle gives of the dedication of the
first covenant and of the tabernacle, seems to differ in sundry things
from that given by Moses, when all things were actually done by him,
as it is recorded, Exod. xxiv. And they are these that follow.
1. That the blood which Moses took was the blood of calves and
goats ; whereas there is no mention of any goats, or of their blood, in
the story of Moses.
2. That he took water, scarlet wool, and hyssop, to sprinkle it
withal ; whereas none of them are reported in that story.
3. That he sprinkled the book in particular, which Moses doth not
VER. 18 â€” 22.] EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS. 145
4. That he sprinkled all the people, that is, the people indefinitely,
for all the individuals of them could not be sprinkled.
5. There are some differences in the words which Moses spake in
the dedication of the covenant, as laid down ver. 20.
6. That he sprinkled the tabernacle with blood, and all the vessels
of it ; when at the time of the making and solemn confirmation of the
covenant, the tabernacle was not erected, nor the vessels of its ministry
For the removal of these difficulties some things must be premised
in general ; and then they shall all of them be considered distinctly.
1. This is taken as fixed, that the apostle wrote this epistle by divine
inspiration. Having evidence hereof abundantly satisfactory, it is the
vainest thing imaginable, and that which discovers a frame of mind dis-
posed to cavil at things divine, if from the difficulties of any one pas-
sage we should reflect on the authority of the whole, as some have
done on this occasion. But I shall say with some confidence, he never
understood any one chapter of the epistle, nay, nor any one verse of it
aright, who did or doth question its divine original. There is nothing
human in it, that savours, I mean, of human infirmity, but the whole
and every part of it is animated by the wisdom and authority of its au-
thor. And those who have pretended to be otherwise minded on such
slight occasions as that before us, have but proclaimed their own want
of experience in things divine. But,
2. There is nothing in all that is here affirmed by the apostle,
which hath the least appearance of contradiction unto any thing that
is recorded by Moses in the story of these things. Yea, as I shall
show, without the consideration and addition of the things here men-
tioned by the apostle, we cannot aright apprehend nor understand the
account that is given by Moses. This will be made evident in the
consideration of the particulars, wherein the difference between them
is supposed to consist.
3. The apostle doth not take his account of the things here put to-
gether by him from any one place in Moses, but gathers up what is
declared in the law, in several places, unto various ends. For, as hath
been declared, he doth not design only to prove the dedication of the
covenant by blood, but to show also the whole use of blood under the
law, as unto purification and remission of sin. And this he doth, to
declare the virtue and efficacy of the blood of Christ under the new
testament, whereunto he makes an application of all these things, in
the verses ensuing. Wherefore he gathers into one head, sundry things
wherein the sprinkling of blood was of use under the law, as they are
occasionally expressed in sundry places. And this one observation re-
moves all the difficulties of the context ; which all arise from this one
supposition, that the apostle gives here an account only of what was
done at the dedication of the first covenant. So in particular, by the
addition of those particles, kcu, St, ver. 21, which we well render
1 moreover,' he plainly intimates, that what he affirms of the tabernacle
and the vessels of its ministry, was that which was done afterwards, at
another time, and not when the covenant was first confirmed.
On these grounds we shall see that the account given of these things
VOL. IV. l
146 AN EXPOSITION OF THE [CH. IX.
by the apostle, is a necessary exposition of the record made of them by
Moses, and no more.
First. He affirms that Moses took the blood, [xoa^wv icai rpaytov,
'of calves and goats.' And there is a double difficulty herein ; for, 1.
The blood that Moses so used, was the blood of oxen, Exocl. xxiv. 5,
6, which seems not to be well rendered by fioay^v, ' of calves.' But
this hath no weight in it. For D s no, the word there used, signifies all
cattle of the herd, great and small ; every thing that is generis bovini :
And there is no necessity from the words, that we should render tnD
there by ' oxen,' nor fxoa\tov here by 'calves;' we might have rendered
both words by ' bullocks.' But, 2. There is no mention at all of goats
in the story of Moses ; and, as we observed, it is here omitted by the
Syriac translator, but without cause.
Answ. 1. There was two sorts of offerings that were made on this
occasion; 1. Burnt-offerings; 2. Peace-offerings, Exod. xxiv. 5.
' They offered burnt-offerings and sacrificed peace-offerings.' The dis-
tinct expression of them, proves the offerings to have been distinct ;
Q y a^r> imn T\b\D "i5jn, ' they offered burnt-offerings, and they sacrificed,
or slew peace-offerings ; and as for the peace-offerings, it is said that
they were of bullocks or oxen ; but it is not said of what sort the
burnt-offerings were. Yea, and it may be, that although bullocks only
are mentioned, yet that goats also were sacrificed in this peace-offering.
For it is so far from being true, what Ribera observes on the place,
that a goat was never offered for a peace-offering, that the contrary unto
it, is directly expressed in the institution of the peace-offering, Lev. iii.
12. Wherefore, the blood of goats might be used in the peace-offering,
though it be not mentioned by Moses. But,
2. The apostle observes, that one end of the sacrifice at the dedica-
tion of the first covenant was purging and making atonement, ver. 22,
23. For in all solemn sacrifices blood was sprinkled on the holy
things, to purify them, and make atonement for them, Lev. xvi. 14, 19,
20. Now this was not to be done, but by the blood of an expiatory
sacrifice, it was not to be done by the blood of peace-offerings. Where-
fore the burnt- offerings mentioned by Moses were expiatory sacrifices,
to purge and make atonement. And this sacrifice was principally of
goats. Lev. xvi. 7. Wherefore the text of Moses cannot be well un-
derstood without this exposition of the apostle. And we may add
hereunto also, that although the blood of the peace-offering was
sprinkled on the altar, Lev. iii. 13, yet was it not sprinkled on the
people, as this blood was ; wherefore there was the use of the blood of
goats also as a sin-offering in this great sacrifice.
3. In the dedication of the priests, these two sorts of offerings were
conjoined ; namely, peace-offerings and sin-offerings, or burnt-offerings
for sin, as here they were. And therein expressly the blood of goats
was used, namely, in the sin-offerings, as the blood of bullocks was in
the peace-offering, Lev. ix. 3, 4. Neither is there mention any where
of burnt-offerings or sin-offerings and peace-offerings to be offered
together, but that one of them was of goats ; and therefore was so in-
fallibly at this time, as the apostle declares.
Secondly. It is affirmed in the text, that he took the blood with water,
VER. 18 â€” 22.] EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS. 147
scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled it; but there is mention of
none of these things in the story of Moses, but only that he sprinkled
the blood. But the answer hereunto is plain and easy. Blood under
the law was sprinkled either in less or greater quantities. Hereon
there were two ways of sprinkling ; the one was with the finger ; when
a small quantity of blood, it may be some few drops of it, were to be
sprinkled, it was done with the finger, Lev. viii. 15, xvi. 14. The quan-
tity being small, though the blood were immixed, and almost congealed,