what went before. 2. The subject-matter spoken of: 'the blood of
bulls and goats.' 3. What is denied concerning it : 'it could not take
away sin.' 4. The modification of this negative proposition : ' it was
impossible they should do so.'
1. The illative conjunction, -yap, 'for,' declares what is spoken to be
introduced in the proof and confirmation of what was before affirmed.
And it is the closing argument against the imperfection and impotency
of the old covenant, the law, priesthood, and sacrifices of it, which the
apostle maketh use of. And indeed it is comprehensive of all that he
had before insisted on ; yea, it is the foundation of all his other reason-
ings unto this purpose. For if, in the nature of the thing itself, it was
impossible that the sacrifices consisting of the blood of bulls and goats
should take away sin, then, however, whensoever, and by whomsoever
they were offered, this effect could not be produced by them. Where-
fore in these words the apostle puts a close unto his argument, and
resumes it no more in this Epistle, but only once or twice makes mention
of it in the way of an illustration to set forth the excellency of the sacri-
fice of Christ; as, ver. 11, of this chapter, and ch. xiii. 10 — 12.
2. The subject spoken of is aifia ravpiov kcu rpaycov, ' the blood of
bulls and goats/ The reason why the apostle expresseth them by bulls
and goats, which were calves and kids of the goats, hath been declared
on eh. ix. 11, 12. And some things must be observed concerning this
description of the old sacrifices.
1st That he makes mention of the blood of the sacrifices only;
whereas in many of them the whole bodies were offered, and the fat of
them all was burned on the altar. And this he doth for the ensuing
reasons: 1. Because it was the blood alone whereby atonement was
made for sin and sinners. The fat was burned with incense only, to
show that it was accepted as a sweet savour with God. 2. Because he
had respect principally unto the anniversary sacrifice, unto the consum-
mation whereof and atonement thereby, the carrying the blood into the
holy place did belong. 3. Because life natural is in an especial manner
in the blood, which signified that atonement was to be made by death,
and that by the effusion of blood, as it was in the sacrifice of Christ ;
see Lev. xvii. 11, 12. And in the shedding of it there was an indica-
tion of the desert of sin in the offerer.
2dly. He recals them by this expression of their sacrifices, ' the blood
of bulls and goats,' to a due consideration of what effect might be pro-
duced by them. They were accompanied with great solemnity and
pomp of ceremony in their celebration. Hence arose a great esteem
and veneration of them in the minds of the people. But when all was
done, that which was offered was but the blood of bulls and goats.
And there is a tacit opposition unto the matter of that sacrifice, whereby
sin was really to be expiated, which was the precious blood of Christ,
as Heb. ix. 13, 14.
3. That which is denied of these sacrifices, is, afyaipziv u^apriaq,
1 the taking away of sins.' The thing intended is variously expressed
VER. 4.] EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS. 229
by the apostle, as by iXaaKtaSai rag apiapTiag, Heb. ii. 17 ; KaOapiapov
Trou)(Tai, ch. i. 3; Ka^api^ecrdai, icciOaipuv Tt}v avvttSrjcriv, ch. ix. 14;
aOtTi](jiQ apaprutg, ch. ix. 26 ; ava