its sprinkling, but of anointing only. Wherefore Moses is said to do
vol. iv. M
162 AN EXPOSITION OF THE [cH. IX.
what he appointed to be done, what the law required which was given
by him. So Moses is frequently used for the law given by him, Acts
xv. 21, ' For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach
him, being read in the synagogues every Sabbath-day;' that is, the law.
Moses then sprinkled the tabernacle, in that by an everlasting ordinance
he appointed that it should be done. And the words following, ver. 22,
declare that the apostle speaks not of dedication, but of expiation and
This sprinkling therefore of the tabernacle and its vessels, was that
which was done annually on the day of atonement^ Lev. xvi. 14, 16, 18.
For, therein, as the apostle speaks, both the tabernacle, and all the
vessels of the ministry, were sprinkled with blood, as the ark, the mercy-
seat, and the altar of incense ; and the end of it was to purge them,
because of the uncleannesses of the people, which is that the apostle
intends. And that which we are taught herein, is, that,
Obs. I. In all things wherein we have to do with God, whereby we
approach unto him, it is the blood of Christ, and the application of it
unto our consciences, that gives us a gracious acceptance with him. —
Without this, all is unclean and defiled.
Obs. II. Even holy things and institutions, that are in themselves
clean and unpolluted, are relatively defiled by the unholiness of them
that use them ; defiled unto them. — So was the tabernacle, because of
the uncleannesses of the people among whom it was. For unto the
unclean, all things are unclean.
From this whole discourse, the apostle makes an inference which he
afterwards applies at large unto his present purpose.
Ver. 22. — And almost all things are by the law purged iviih blood;
and without shedding of blood is no remission.
There are two parts of this verse, or there is a double assertion in it.
1. That almost all things are by the law purged with blood. 2. That
without shedding of blood is no remission.
In the first of these, the assertion itself, and the limitation of it, are
to be considered.
1. The assertion itself is, that by the law all things were purged with
blood ; Kara rov vo/nov, ' according unto the law ;' the rule, the com-
mands, the institution of it ; in that way of worship, faith, and obedi-
ence, which the people were obliged unto by the law. According unto
the law, there was a necessity of the blood of sacrifices for the purging
of sin, and making of atonement. This he infers and concludes from
what he had said before, concerning the dedication of the covenant, and
the purification of the tabernacle, with all the vessels of its ministry.
And from hence he designs to prove the necessity of the death of
Christ, and the efficacy of his blood for the purging of sin, whereof
those legal things were types and representations. Of these legal puri-
fications, or purgings by blood, we have treated already.
2. The limitation of this assertion is in the word ax^ov, ' almost.'
Some few purifications there were under the law that were not by
blood. Such, as some judge, was that by the ashes of a heifer mingled
VER. 18 — 22.] EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS. 163
with water, whereof we have treated on ver. 13. But I am not certain
that this may be esteemed a purification without blood. For the heifer
whose ashes were used in it was first slain, and its blood poured out.
Afterwards the blood as well as the flesh was burnt and reduced to
ashes. Wherefore that way of purification cannot be said to be with-
out blood. And it was a type of the purifying efficacy of the blood of
Christ, who offered himself a whole burnt-offering to God, through the
fire of the eternal Spirit. But there were two sorts of purifications
under the law, wherein blood was neither formally nor virtually ap-
plied or used. The one was by fire in things that would endure it,
Num. xxxi. 23. And the apostle speaks oL flings as well as persons,
as the word iravra declares. The other was by water, whereof there
were many instances. See Exod. xix. 10; Lev. xvi. 26, 28, xxii. 6, 7.
All other representations were ev alfiari, ' in blood;' ev for dm; St
al/uiaTog, ' by the offering and sprinkling of blood.'
From the consideration of the purifications mentioned, the apostle
adds the limitation of 'almost.' For the conceit of some of the
ancients, that (T^eSou is as much as fere, and is to be joined with
' purged,' ' were almost purged,' that is, they were so only ineffectually,
is most improper. For it is contrary to the natural construction of the
words, and the direct intention of the apostle.
Only we may observe, that the purifications which were by fire and
water, were of such things as had no immediate influence into the wor-
ship of God, or in such cases as wherein the worship of God was not
immediately concerned ; nor of such things wherewith conscience was
defiled. They were only of external pollutions, by things in their own
nature indifferent, and had nothing of sin in them. And the sacred in-
stitutions which were not concerning the immediate worship of God,
nor things which in themselves did defile the consciences of men, were
as hedges and fences about those which really did so. They served to
warn men not to come near those things which had a real defilement
in themselves. See Matt. xv. 16 — 20. Thus ' almost all things,' that
is, absolutely all, which had any inward real moral defilement, were
purged with blood, and directed to the purging efficacy of the blood of
Christ. And we may observe, that,
Obs. III. There was a great variety of legal purifications. — For as
all of them together could not absolutely purge sin, but only direct to
what would do so, so none of them by themselves could fully represent
that one sacrifice by blood, whereby all sin was to be purged ; therefore
were they multiplied.
Obs. IV. This variety argues, that in ourselves we are ready to be
polluted on all occasions. — Sin cleaveth to all that we do, and is reach
to defile us even in our best duties.
Obs. V. This variety of institutions was a great part of the bondage-
state of the church under the old testament ; a yoke that they were not
able to bear. — For it was almost an insuperable difficulty to attain an
assurance that they had observed them all in a due manner, the penal-
ties of their neglect being very severe. Besides, the outward observ-
ance of them was both burdensome and chargeable. It is the glory of
the gospel, that we are directed to make our address by faith, on all
164 AN EXPOSITION OF THE [CII. IX-
occasions, to that one sacrifice by the blood of Christ, which cleanseth
us from all our sins. Howbeit many that are called Christians, being
ignorant of the mystery thereof, do again betake themselves to other
ways for the purification of sin, which are multiplied in the church of
Obs, VI. The great mystery wherein God instructed the church
from the foundation of the world, especially by and under legal institu-
tions, was that all purging of sin was to be by blood. This was that
which by all sacrifices from the beginning, and by all legal institutions,
he declared to mankind. Blood is the only means of purging and
atonement. This is the UDguage of the whole law. All was to mani-
fest, that the washing and purging of the church from sin, was to be
looked for from the blood of Christ alone.
The second assertion of the apostle is, that without shedding of
blood there is no remission. Some would have these words to contain
an application of what is spoken before, to the blood of Christ. But
it is manifest that the apostle yet continues his account of things under
the law, and does not enter on the application of them before the next
verse. Wherefore these woi'ds, Kara tov vofiov, ' according to the law,'
or by virtue of its institutions, are here to be repeated. By the law
'without shedding of blood,' that is, in sacrifice, ' there was no remis-
sion.' Yet, though that season be particularly intended, the axiom is
universally true, and applicable to the new covenant ; even under it,
' without shedding of blood, is no remission.'
The curse of the law was, ' that he that sinned should die.' But
whereas ' there is no man that liveth and sinneth not,' God had pro-
vided that there should be a testification of the remission of sins, and
that the curse of the law should not be immediately executed on all that
sinned. This he did by allowing the people to make atonement for
their sins by blood, that is, the blood of sacrifices, Lev. xvii. 11. For
hereby God signified his will and pleasure in two things, 1. That by
this blood there should be a political remission granted to sinners, that
they should not die under the sentence of the law, as it was the rule of
the government of the nation. And in this sense, for such sins as were
not politically to be spared, no sacrifice was allowed. 2. That real
spiritual forgiveness, and gracious acceptance with himself, was to be
obtained only by that which was signified by this blood, wh^h was the
sacrifice of Christ himself. ^^^
And whereas the sins of the people were of va^ous kinds, there
were particular sacrifices instituted to answer that^Wety. This variety
of sacrifices with respect to the various sorts or \^m+ of sins, for which
they were to make atonement, I have elsewM^ discussed and ex-
plained. Their institution and order is recor.d/5, Lev. i. — vii. And if
any person neglected that especial sacrifice^hich was appointed to
make atonement for his especial sin, he w^Jreft under the sentence of
the law ; politically and spiritually, ihere^^ no remission. Yea also,
there might be, there were, sins tha^could not be reduced directly to
any of those, for whose remission' sacrifices were directed in particular.
Wherefore God graciously provided against the distress or ruin of the
church on either of these accounts. For whether the people had fallen
VER. 18 — 22.] EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS. 165
under the neglect of any of those especial ways of atonement, or had
contracted the guilt of such sins, as they knew not how to reduce to
any sort of them that were to be expiated, he had graciously prepared
the great anniversary sacrifice, wherein public atonement was made for
all the sins, transgressions, and iniquities of the whole people, of what
sort soever they were, Lev. xvi. 21. But in the whole of his ordi-
nances he established the rule, that ' without shedding of blood was no
There seems to be an exception in the case of him who was so poor,
that he could not provide the meanest offering of blood for a sin-offer-
ing. For he was allowed by the law to offer the tenth part of an
cphah of fine flour for his sin, and it was forgiven him, Lev. v. 11 — 13.
Wherefore the word GxeSov, ' almost,' may be here again repeated, be-
cause of this single case. But the apostle hath respect to the general
rule of the law. And this exception was not an ordinary constitution,
but depended on the impossibility of the thing itself, whereunto it
made a gracious condescension. And this necessity ofttimes of itself,
without any constitution, suspends a positive law, and gives a dispensa-
tion to the infringers of it. So was it in the case of David when he ate
of the shew-bread in his hunger ; and as to works of mercy on the
Sabbath-day ; which instances are given by our Saviour himself.
Wherefore the particular exception on this consideration, did rather
strengthen than invalidate the general rule of the law. Besides the
nearest approach was made to it that might be. For fine flour is the
best of the bread, whereby man's life is sustained ; and in the offering of
it, the offerer testified that by his sin he had forfeited his own life, and
all whereby it was sustained, which was the meaning of the offering of
The expositors of the Roman church do here greatly perplex them-
selves, to secure the sacrifice of their mass, from the destroying sen-
tence of the apostle. For a sacrifice they would have it to be, and that
for the remission of the sins of the living and the dead. Yet they say
it is an unbloody sacrifice, For if there be any blood shed in it, it is
the blood of Christ, and then he is crucified by them afresh every day ;
as indeed in some sense he is, though they cannot shed his blood. If
it be unbloody, the rule of the apostle is, that it is in no way available
for the remission of sins. Those that are sober have no way to de-
liver themselves, but by denying the mass to be a proper sacrifice for
the remission of sins, which is done expressly by Estius on the place.
I'm this is contrary to the direct assertions contained in the mass itself,
and razeth the very foundation of it. Now if God gave them so much
light under the old testament, as that they should know, believe, and
profess, that without shedding of blood is no remission, how great is
the darkness of men under the new testament, who look, seek, or en-
deavour any other way after the pardon of sin, but only by the blood
of Christ !
Obs. VII. This is the great demonstration of the demerit of sin, of
the holiness, righteousness, and grace of God. — -For such was the na-
ture and demerit of sin, such was the righteousness of Cod with re-
spect to it, that without shedding of blood it could not be pardoned.
166 AN EXPOSITION OF THE [cil. IX.
They are strangers to the one and the other, who please themselves
with other imaginations. And what blood must this be ? That the
blood of bulls and goats should take away sin, was utterly impossible,
as our apostle declares. It must be the blood of the Son of God,
Rom. Hi. 24, 25 ; Acts xx. 28. And herein were glorified both the
love and grace of God, in that he spared not his only Son, but gave
him up to be a bloody sacrifice in his death for us all.
Ver. 23. — In the following verses to the end of the chapter, the
apostle makes an application of all that he had discoursed concerning
the services and sacrifices of the tabernacle, with their use, and efficacy,
on the one hand, and the sacrifice of Christ, its nature, use, and effi-
cacy, on the other, to his present argument. Now this was to demon-
strate the excellency, dignity, and virtue of the priesthood of Christ,
and the sacrifice of himself that he offered thereby, as he was the me-
diator of the new covenant. And he doth it in the way of comparison,
as to what there was of similitude between them ; and of opposition,
as to what was singular in the person and priesthood of Christ, wherein
they had no share ; declaring on both accounts the incomparable ex-
cellency of him and his sacrifice, above the priests of the law and theirs.
And hereon he concludes his whole discourse, with an elegant com-
parison and opposition between the law and the gospel, wherein he com-
priseth in few words the substance of them both, as to their effects on
the souls of men.
That wherein in general there was a similitude in these things, is ex-
pressed, ver. 23.
Ver. 23. — Avayioj ow ra juev viroBnyiuiaTa twv tv roig ovpavoig,
TOvroig KaQaptZ,£7ro$Hy[*aTa. The things mentioned were not patterns of the
heavenly things in the first sense; the heavenly things were not framed
by them, to answer, resemble, and represent them ; but they were so in
the latter only. And therefore, in the first constitution of them, those
which were durable and to abide, as the tabernacle, with all its utensils
and vessels, with the positure and disposal of them, were made and
erected according unto an original pattern shown in the mount. Or
they were framed according unto the idea of the heavenly things them-
selves, whereof he made a representation unto Moses, and communi-
cated a resemblance of them unto him, according unto his own good
This is the order of these things. The heavenlv things themselves
168 AN EXPOSITION OF THE [CH. IX.
were designed, framed, and disposed in the mind of God, in all their
order, causes, beauty, efficacy, and tendency, unto his own eternal glory.
This was the whole mystery of the wisdom of God for the redemption
and salvation of the church by Jesus Christ. This is that which is de-
clared in the gospel, being before hid in God from the foundation of the
world, Eph. iii. 8 — 10. Of these things did God grant a typical re-
semblance, similitude, and pattern, in the tabernacle and its services.
That he would make such a kind of resemblance of those heavenly
things as to their kind, nature, and use, that he would instruct the
church by them, was an act of his mere sovereign will and pleasure.
And this is that effect of his wisdom, which was manifest under the old
testament ; whereon the faith and obedience of the church was wholly
to acquiesce in his sovereignty. And this their resemblance of heavenly
things, which they had not from their own nature, but merely from the
pleasure of God, gave them all their glory and worth, which the saints
under the old testament did in some measure understand. The present
Jews do, as their forefathers did under the degeneracy of their church,
conceive their glory to consist in the materials and curious structure of
them, .things that the wealth and art of men might exceed. But in
themselves they were all earthly, carnal, perishing, and liable unto all
sorts of corruption. Much inferior they were in nature and glory unto
the souls of men, which were conversant in their highest and most no-
ble acts about them. But herein alone consisted their honour, worth,
and use ; they were patterns of heavenly things. And we may observe,
Obs. I. The glory and efficacy of all ordinances of divine worship,
which consist in outward observance (as it is with the sacraments of the
gospel) consist in this, that they represent and exhibit heavenly things
unto us. And this power of representation they have from divine insti-
2dly. What they were patterns of is expressed ; namely, tcov tv Totg
ovpavoig, ' of heavenly things.' What these were in particular must be
spoken unto in the exposition of the next proposition, whereof they are
the subject ; 'the heavenly things themselves.'
3dly. Of these things it is affirmed, that they were purified, icaSa-
pi&aSai. The apostle had treated before of a double purification.
1. Of that which consisted in a cleansing from defilements of its own;
sprinkling the unclean, and sanctifying to the purifying of the flesh,
ver. 13, 22. 2. That which consisted in a dedication unto sacred use.
But this also had some respect unto uncleanness. Not unto any that
the things so dedicated had in themselves; but because of the unclean-
ness of them that were to make use of them. This was such as that
God would have the intervention of the sprinkling of blood between
him and them in all their services; as he declares, Lev. xvi. 15—17.
And this he would do that he might teach them the absolute and uni-
versal necessity of the purifying efficacy of the blood of Christ, in all
things between him and sinners. Of this purification he gives us, in
this discourse, two instances. 1st. That which was initial, at the first
solemnization of the covenant, ver. 18 — 20. 2dly. That which was
annual, in the sprinkling of the tabernacle and its vessels, because of
VER. 23.] EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS. 109
the uncleanness of the people, ver. 22. This latter purification is that
which is intended.
4thly. The means whereby they were thus to be purified, is, tovtoiq,
' with these.' In the next proposition, the heavenly things themselves
are said to be purified, Svaiatg, 'with sacrifices.' But the purification
of these patterns was not absolutely confined unto sacrifices. Water,
and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and the ashes of an heifer, in some cases,
were required thereunto. ' With these,' that is, with all those things
which were appointed by the law to be used in their purification or de-
dication unto sacred use.
5thly. If inquiry be made why these patterns were thus purified, the
apostle affirms that 'it was necessary' it should be so ; avayioj. This,
as it respects both propositions in this verse equally, was spoken unto in
general before. The grounds of this necessity, with respect unto these
patterns, were these. 1. The will and command of God. This is that
which originally, or in the first place, makes any thing necessary in di-
vine worship. This is the only spring of rational obedience in insti-
tuted worship; whatever is without it, whatever is beyond it, is no part
of sacred service. God would have them thus purified. Yet also was
there herein this manifest reason of his will, namely, that thereby he
might represent the purification of heavenly things. On this suppo-
sition, that God would so represent heavenly things by them, it was ne-