A vindication of the discipline and constitutions of the Church of Scotland, for preserving purity of doctrine : in reply to a book entitled The Religious Establishment in Scotland examined upon Prot. (page 38 of 121)
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 â€” 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
reconciliation,' ' to purge sin,' f to purge the conscience,' ' to abolish
sin,' ' to bear it.' And that which he intendeth in all these expressions,
which he denies of the law and its sacrifices, and ascribes unto that of
Christ, is the whole entire effect thereof, so far as it immediately res-
pected God and the law. For all these expressions respect the guilt of
sin, and its removal, or the pardon of it, with righteousness before God,
acceptance and peace with him. To take away sin, is to make atone-
ment for it, to expiate it before God by a satisfaction given, or price
paid, with the procurement of the pardon of it, according unto the
terms of the new covenant.
The interpretation of these words by the Socinians, is contrary unto
the signification of the words themselves, and to the whole design of
the context. ' Impossibile est' (saith Slichtingius) 'ut sanguis taurorum
et hircorum peccata tollat ; hoc est, efficiat ut homines in posterum a
peccatis abstinerent, et sic nullam amplius habeant peccatorum consci-
entiam, sive ullas eorum pcenas metuant ; quam enim quaeso vim ad
hsee praestandum sanguis animalium habere potest ? Itaque hoc dicit,
taurorum et hircorum sanguinem earn vim nequaquam habere, et ut
habeat, impossibile esse, ut homines a peccatis avocet, et ne in pos-
terum peccent, efficiat.' And Grotius after him speaks to the same
purpose, ' A(paipÂ£iv ap.apriag, quod supra aStretv et avaepsiv, est ex-
tinguere peccata, quod sanguis Christi facit, cum quia fidem in nobis
parit, turn quia Christo jus dat nobis auxilia necessaria impetrandi ;
pecudum sanguis nihil efficit tale.'
1st. Nothing can be more alien from the design of the apostle, and
scope of the context. They are both of them to prove, that the sacri-
fices of the law could not expiate sins, could not make atonement for
them, could not make reconciliation with God, could not produce the
effect which the sacrifice of Christ alone was appointed and ordained
unto. They were only signs and figures of it. They could not effect
that which the Hebrews looked for from them, and by them. And
that which they expected by them was, that by them they should make
atonement with God for their sins. Wherefore, the apostle denies that
it was possible they should effect what they looked for from them, and
nothing else. It was not that they should be arguments to turn them
from sin unto newness of life, so as that they should sin no more. By
what way, and on what consideration, they were means to deter men
from sin, I have just declared. But they can produce no one place in
the whole law, to give countenance unto such an apprehension that
this was their end ; so that the apostle had no need to declare their in-
sufficiency with respect thereunto. Especially, the great anniversary
sacrifice on the day of expiation, was appointed so expressly to make
atonement for sin, to procure its pardon, to take away its guilt in (he
sight of God, and from the conscience of the sinner, that he should not
be punished according unto the sentence of the law ; as that it cannot
be denied. This is that which the apostle declares, that of themselves
230 AN EXPOSITION OF THE [CH. X.
they could not effect or perform, but only typically, and by way of re-
2dly. He declares directly and positively what he intends by this
taking away of sin, and the ceasing of legal sacrifices thereon, ver. 17,
18, ' Their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more ; now
where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin.' The
cessation of offerings for sin, follows directly on the remission of sin,
which is the effect of expiation and atonement ; and not upon the turn-
ing away of men from sin for the future. It is therefore our justifica-
tion, and not our sanctification, that the apostle discourseth of.
3dly. The words themselves will not bear this sense. For the object
of cHpatptiv, that which it is exercised about, is afiapnag. It is an act
upon sin itself, and not immediately upon the sinner. Nor can it sig-
nify any thing but to take away the guilt of sin, that it should not bind
over the sinner unto punishment ; whereon conscience for sin is taken
away. But to return.
4. The manner of the negation is, that adwarov, it was ' impossible'
that it should be otherwise. And it was so,
1st. From divine institution. Whatever the Jews apprehended, they
were never designed of God to that end, and therefore had no virtue
or efficacy for it communicated to them. And all the virtue of ordi-
nances of worship depends on their designation to their end. The
blood of bulls and goats as offered in sacrifice, and carried into the
most holy place, was designed of God to represent the way of taking
away sin, but not by itself to effect it, and it was therefore impossible
that so it should do.
2dly. It was impossible from the nature of the things themselves,
inasmuch as there was not a condecency to the holy perfections of
the divine nature, that sin should be expiated, and the church perfected
by the blood of bulls and goats. For, First. In this there would have
been no condecency to his infinite wisdom. For God having declared
his severity against sin, with the necessity of its punishment to the glory
of his righteousness and sovereign rule over his creatures, what con-
decency could there have been herein to infinite wisdom ? What con-
sistency between the severity of that declaration, and the taking away
of sin by such an inferior beggarly means, as that of the blood of bulls
and goats ? A great appearance was made of infinite displeasure
against sin, in the giving of the fiery law, in the curse of it, in the
threatenings of eternal death ; should all have ended in an outward
show, there would have been no manner of proportion to be discerned
between the demerit of sin, and the means of its expiation. So that,
Secondly. It had no condecency to divine justice. For, 1. As I have
elsewhere proved at large, sin could not be taken away without a price,
a ransom, a compensation and satisfaction made to justice, for the in-
juries it received by sin. In satisfaction to justice by way of compen-
sation for injuries or crimes, there must be a proportion between the
injury and the reparation of it, that justice may be as much exalted and
glorified in the one, as it was depressed and debased in the other. But
there could be no such thing between the demerit of sin, and the affront
VER. 4.] EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS. 231
put on the righteousness of God on the one hand, and a reparation by
the blood of bulls and goats on the other. No man living can appre-
hend wherein any such proportion should lie or consist : nor was it
possible that the conscience of any man could be freed from a sense of
the guilt of sin, who had nothing to trust to but this blood to make
compensation or atonement for it. 2. The apprehension of it, (namely,
a suitableness to divine justice, in the expiation of sins by the blood of
bulls and goats,) must needs be a great incentive to profane persons, to
the commission of sin. For if there be no more in sin and the guilt
of it, but what may be expiated and taken away at so low a price, but
what may have atonement made for it by the blood of beasts, why
should they not give satisfaction to their lusts by living in sin ? Thirdly.
It would have had no consistency with the sentence and sanction of
the law of nature, ' In the day thou eatest, thou shalt die.' For
although God reserved to himself the liberty and right of substituting
a surety in the room of a sinner, to die for him, namely, such an one
as should by his suffering and dying, bring more glory to the righteous-
ness, holiness, and law of God, than either was derogated from them
by the sin of man, or could be restored to them by his eternal ruin ;
yet was it not consistent with the veracity of God in that sanction of
the law, that this substitution should be of a nature no way cognate,
but ineffably inferior to the nature of him that was to be delivered.
For these, and other reasons of the same kind, which I have handled
at large elsewhere, it was ' impossible,' as the apostle assures us, ' that
the blood of bulls and goats should take away sin.' And we may
Obs. I. It is "possible that things may usefully represent what it is
impossible that in and by themselves they should effect. â€” TIhs is the
fundamental rule of all institutions of the old testament. Wherefore,
Obs. II. There may be great and eminent uses of divine ordinances
and institutions, although it be impossible that by themselves, in their
most exact and diligent use, they should work out our acceptance with
God. â€” And it belongs to the wisdom of faith, to use them to their
proper end, not to trust to them, as to what they cannot of themselves
Obs. III. It was utterly impossible that sin should be taken away
before God, and from the conscience of the sinner, but by the blood of
Christ. â€” Other ways men are apt to betake themselves to for this end,
but in vain. It is the blood of Jesus Christ alone thatcleanseth us from
all our sins, for he alone was the propitiation for them.
Obs. IV. The declaration of the insufficiency of all other ways for
the expiation of sin, is an evidence of the holiness, righteousness, and
severity of God against sin, with the unavoidable ruin of all unbelievers.
Obs. V. Herein also consists the great demonstration of the love,
grace, and mercy of God, with an encouragement to faith, in that when
the old sacrifices neither would nor could perfectly expiate sin, he would
not suffer the work itself to fail, but provided a way that should be
infallibly effective of it, as is declared in the following verses.
232 AN EXPOSITION OF THE [CH. X.
Ver. 5 â€” 10. â€” The provision that God made to supply the defect
and insufficiency of legal sacrifices, as to the expiation of sin, peace of
conscience with himself, and the sanctification of the souls of the wor-
shippers, is declared in this context. For the words contain the blessed
undertaking of our Lord Jesus Christ, to do, fulfil, perform, and suffer
all things required in the will, and by the wisdom, holiness, righteous-
ness, and authority of God to the complete salvation of the church,
with the reasons of the efficacy of what he so did, and suffered to that
end. And we must consider both the words themselves, so far espe-
cially as they consist in a quotation out of the Old Testament, with
the validity of his inferences from the testimony which he chooseth to
insist on to this purpose.
Ver. 5 â€” 10, â€” Ato Haepxopzvog Â«C tov KO
irpocrcpopav ovk rj^tArjcac, awpa Sc Karrjortorw juot. 'OXoKavrwpara
kcu 7TÂ£/ot apapTiag ouk twSoKTjcrac. Tote eiirov' loou i^kw, (ev
KiQciXtSi /3tâ‚¬Acov yeypaiTTai irtpi fjuou,) tov 7roÂ»j
StXripa (tov' Avwrspov Xtyiov' otl Sv
oAoKaurwuara kcu irepi apapriag ovk r/S'sAtjcrac, ovde tv$OKt]cra.g'
alriveg Kara tov vopov 7rpoa(j>epovTm. Tort tiprjKev' Icov 7)Kh) tov
7roti](7at, 6 Qtog, to SeXripa gov' Avaipei to irpwrov, Iva to StvTEpov
arijcrrj. Ev a! SeArjuaTt riyiacrptvoi tapev ol Bia Trig irpoopag tov
(Tioparog tov Itjctou Xptarou ztyairac,.
Some few differences may be observed in the ancient and best trans-
Ato. Vul. Lat. ideo quapropter. Syr. x:rr bw ; ' for this, for this
cause.' Qvaiav kcu irpoatyopav : hostiam et oblationem, sacrificium,
victimam. The Syriac renders the words in the plural number, ' sacri-
fices' and 'offerings.' Swua Sf KarTjpricrci) pot, aptasti, adaptasti mihi;
praeparasti, perfecisti; 'a body hast thou prepared,' i. e. fitted for me,
' wherein I may do thy will/ Syr. -onm^ p tn&, ' But thou hast
clothed me with a body ;' very significantly, as unto the thing intended,
which is the incarnation of the Son of God. The Ethiopic renders
this verse somewhat strangely, 'And when he entered into the world,
he saith, Sacrifices and offerings I would not : thy body he hath purified
unto me.' Making them, as 1 suppose, the words of the Father. Ouk
tuSoKÂ»]o-ac; Vulg. non tibi placuerant; reading the preceding words in
the nominative case, altering the person and number of the verb. Syr.
n>NiD xb, ' Thou didst not require,' non approbasti ; that is, ' they were
net well pleasing, nor accepted with God,' as unto the end of the ex-
piation of sin. Idov rjKd), ecce adsum, venio. Ouk ri^eXrjaag ovde
fwSoKijcrac. The Syriac omitteth the last word, which yet is emphatical
in the discourse.
Tore Â£tpr)KÂ£i> ; Vul. tunc dixi, 'then I said;' that is, enrov, for ' he
said ;' for the apostle doth not speak these words, but repeats the words
of the Psalmist.
The reading of the words out of the Hebrew by the apostle, shall be
considered in our passage.
VER. 5 â€” 10.] EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS. 233
Ver. 5 â€” 10. â€” Wherefore, when he cometh into the world, he saith,
Sacrifice and offering thou tvouldst not; but a body hast thou
prepared (fitted lor) me. In burnt-offerings and sacrifices for sin,
thou hast had no pleasure. Then said I, Lo I come, (in the volume of
the book it is written of me) to do thy will O God ; (that I should
do thy will.) Above, when he said, Sacrifice and offering, and
burnt-offerings and offerings for sin, thou wouldst not, neither hadst
pleasure therein, which are offered by the law : then said he, Lo
I come to do thy will (O God.) He ta/ceth away the first, that
he may establish the second. By the which will, we are sanctified,
through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
A blessed and divine context this is, summarily representing unto us,
the love, grace, and wisdom of the Father ; the love, obedience, and
suffering of the Son ; the federal agreement between the Father and
the Son, as to the work of the redemption and salvation of the church ;
with the blessed harmony between the Old and New Testament, in the
declaration of these things. The divine authority and wisdom that evi-
dence themselves herein, are ineffable, and do cast contempt on all
those by whom this Epistle hath been called in question ; as sundry
other passages in it do in a peculiar manner. And it is our duty to
inquire with diligence into the mind of the Holy Spirit herein.
As unto the general nature of the arguing of the apostle, it consists
of two parts. 1. The introduction of a pregnant testimony out of the
Old Testament unto his purpose, ver. 5â€”8, and part of the 9th.
2. Inferences from that testimony, asserting and confirming all that he
had pleaded for.
In the testimony he produceth, we may consider, 1. The manner of
its introduction, respecting the reason of what is asserted, wherefore,
2. Who it was by whom the words insisted on were spoken â€” he saith.
3. When he spake them ; when he came into the world. 4. The things
spoken by him in general ; which consist in a double antithesis. First.
Between the legal sacrifices, and the obedience of Christ in his body,
ver. 5. Secondly. Between God's acceptance of the one and the other,
with their efficacy unto the end treated of, which must be particularly
1. The introduction of this testimony is by the word Sto, ' where-
fore,' 'for which cause,' 'for which end.' It doth not give an account
why the words following were spoken, but why the things themselves
were so ordered and disposed. And we are directed in this word, unto
the due consideration of what is designed to be proved : and this is,
that there was such an insufficiency in all legal sacrifices, as unto the
expiation of sin, that God would remove them, and take them out of
the way, to introduce that which was better, to do that which the law
could not do. Wherefore, saith the apostle, because it was so with the
law, things are thus disposed of in the wisdom and counsel of God, as
is declared in this testimony.
2. Who spake the words contained in the testimony: \zyti, 'he
saith.' The words may have a threefold respect.
234 AN EXPOSITION OF THE [CH. X.
1st. As they were given out by inspiration, and are recorded in the
Scripture. So they were the words of the Holy Ghost, as the apostle
expressly affirms of the like words, ver. 15, 16, of this chapter.
2dly. As they were used by the penman of the Psalm, who speaks by
inspiration. So they were the words of David, by whom the Psalm
was composed. But although David spoke or wrote these words, yet
is not he himself the person spoken of, nor can any passage in the
whole context be applied to him, as we shall see in particular after-
wards. Or if they may be said to be spoken of him, it was only as he
bare the person of another, or was a type of Christ. For although
God himself doth frequently prefer moral obedience before the sacri-
fices of the law, when they were hypocritically performed, and trusted
to as a righteousness, unto the neglect of diligence in moral duties ;
yet David did not, would not, ought not, in his own name and person to
reject the worship of God, and present himself with his obedience in
the room thereof, especially as to the end of sacrifices in the expiation
of sin. Wherefore,
3dly. The words are the words of our Lord Jesus Christ ; when he
cometh into the world, ' he saith.' And it is a vain inquiry, when in
particular he spake these words ; unto whom, or where, any mention is
made of them in the story of him. It is no way needful that they
should be literally or verbally pronounced by him. But the Holy
Ghost useth these words in his name as his, because they declare, ex-
press, and represent his mind, design, and resolution in his coming into
the world, which is the sole end and use of words. On the considera-
tion of the insufficiency of legal sacrifices (the only appearing means
unto that purpose) for the expiation of sin, and the making of recon-
ciliation with God, that all mankind might not eternally perish under
the guilt of sin, the Lord Christ represents his readiness and willingness
to undertake that work, with the frame of his heart and mind therein,
The ascription of these words unto the Lord Christ on the reason
mentioned, give us a prospect into, 1. The love of his undertaking for
us, when all other ways of our recovery failed, and were disallowed as
insufficient. 2. Into the foundation of his undertaking for us, which
was the declaration of the will of God concerning the insufficiency of
these sacrifices. 3. Into his readiness to undertake the work of re-
demption, notwithstanding the difficulties that lay in the way of it, and
what he was to undergo in the stead of the legal sacrifices.
Obs. I. We have the solemn word of Christ, in the declaration he
made of his readiness and willingness to undertake the work of the
expiation of sin, proposed unto our faith, and engaged as a sure anchor
of our souls.
3. The season of his speaking these words in the manner declared,
was, EKTepxofJievog tig rov kocf/xov, 'on his coming into the world;'
* wherefore, coming (or when he cometh) into the world, he saith,'
tujupxofievog, veniens or venturus ; when he was to enter into the world,
when the design of his future coming into the world, was declared. So
6 ipxÂ°V*vog is, ' he that is to come,' Matt. xi. 3, and Â£px Â£rm > JÂ° mi 1V '
25. That, therefore, may be the sense of the words ; upon the first
VER. 5 â€” 10.] EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS. 235
prediction of the future coming of the Son of God into the world, the
design, mind, and will wherewith he came, was declared.
Refer the words unto some actual coming of the person spoken of
into the world, and various interpretations are given of them. When
he came in sacrifices typically, say some : but this seems not to be a
word accompanying the first institution of sacrifices ; namely, ' sacrifices
thou wouldst not have.' His coming into the world was his appearance
and public showing of himself unto the world, in the beginning of his
ministry ; as David came out of the wilderness and caves, to show him-
self unto the people as king of Israel, saith Grotius. But the respect
unto David herein is frivolous ; nor are those words used with respect
unto the kingly office of Christ, but merely as to the offering himself in
sacrifice to God.
The Socinians contend earnestly, that this his coming into the world
is his entrance into heaven after his resurrection ; and they embrace
this uncouth interpretation of the words, to give countenance unto their
pernicious error, that Christ offered not himself in sacrifice to God in
his death, or whilst he was in this world. For his sacrifice they sup-
pose to be only metaphorically so called, consisting in the representation
of himself unto God in heaven, after his obedience and suffering.
Wherefore they say, that by the world which he came into, the world to
come, mentioned ch. ii. 5, is intended. But there is nothing sound,
nothing probable or specious in this wresting of the words and sense of
the Scripture. For, 1. The words in the places compared are not the
same. This is kocfuoq only ; those are oikovjulsvti fxaXXovaa, and are not
absolutely to be taken in the same sense, though the same things may
be intended in various respects. 2. Oiicovfievri is the habitable part of
the earth, and can on no pretence be applied unto heaven. 3. I have