ascribes unto his faith : ttkttu, ' by faith he was translated.' He was
so, 1. Not efficiently. Faith was not the efficient cause of this transla-
tion ; it was an immediate act of divine power. 2. Not meritoriously ;
for it is recorded as an act of sovereign grace and favour. But, 3. In-
strumentally only, in that thereby he was brought into that state and
condition, so accepted with God, as that he was capable of so great
grace and favour. But his being made an instance of this divine grace,
for the edification of the church in all ages, was an act of sovereignty
And this is peculiar unto these two first instances of the power of
faith ; that in the one it led him unto death, a bloody death ; in the
other it delivered him from death, that he did not die at all.
In the field of conjectures used on this occasion, I judge it probable,
1. That his rapture was visible in the sight of many that feared God,
who were to be witnesses of it unto the world, that it might be his ordi-
nance for the conviction of sinners, and the strengthening of the faith
of the church, as also an exposition of the first promise. 2. That it
was by the ministry of angels, as was that of Elijah. 3. That he was
carried immediately into heaven itself, and the presence of God therein.
4. That he was made partaker of all the glory which was allotted
unto the heavenly state before the ascension of Christ ; concerning
which, see our Discourse of the Person of Christ. But,
Obs. I. Whatever be the outward different events of faith in be-
lievers in this world, they are all alike accepted with God, approved by
him, and shall all equally enjoy the eternal inheritance.
Obs. II. God can and doth put a great difference as unto outward
things, between such as are equally accepted before him. Abel shall
die, and Enoch shall be taken alive into heaven.
Jelly. I am fully satisfied, from the prophecy of Enoch, recorded by
.hide, that he had a great contest with the world about faith, obedience,
the worship of God, and the certainty of divine vengeance on ungodly
sinners, with the eternal reward of the righteous. And as this contest
for God against the world is exceedingly acceptable unto him, as he ma-
nifested afterwards in his taking of Elijah to himself, who had managed
it with a fiery zeal ; so in this translation of Enoch upon the like con-
test, he visibly judged the cause on his side, confirming his ministry,
to the strengthening of the faith of the church, and condemnation of
Wherefore, although it be a dream, that the two witnesses mentioned,
Rev. xi. 3 â€” 5, are Enoch and Elias personally, yet because their mi-
nistry is to bear testimony for God and Christ against the world, thereby
plaguing and tormenting the men that dwell on the earth, ver. 10, as
they also did, there may be an allusion unto them and their ministry.
384 AN EXPOSITION OF THE [cH. XI.
And whereas there are two ways of the confirmation of a ministry.
First. By suffering, and that sometimes to death, as did Abel ; and,
Secondly. By God's visible owning of them, as he did Enoch : both
these are to befal these two witnesses, who were first to be slain, and
then taken up unto heaven ; first to suffer, and then to be exalted.
Obs. III. There is no such acceptable service unto God, none that
he hath set such signal pledges of his favour upon, as zealously to con-
tend against the world in giving witness to his ways, his worship, and
his kingdom, or the rule of Christ over all. And,
Obs. IV. It is a part of our testimony, to declare and witness that
vengeance is prepared for ungodly persecutors and all sorts of impeni-
tent sinners, however they are and may be provoked thereby.
Obs. V. The principal part of this testimony consists in our own
personal obedience, or visible walking with God in holy obedience,
according to the tenor of the covenant, 2 Pet. iii. 11, 14. And this the
apostle affirms of Enoch in the last place ; ' for before his translation he
had this testimony, that he pleased God.'
Sixthly. These words are an entrance into the proof of the apostle's
assertion, namely, that it was by faith that Enoch was translated, which
he pursues and confirms in the next verse. He was translated by faith ;
for before that translation he had that testimony. For it is said of him,
' that he walked with God three hundi-ed years,' after which he was
translated. The apostle doth not say, that this was testified of him be-
fore his translation, as signifying the time of the giving that testimony
unto him, for it was not until many generations afterwards. But this
testimony, when given him, did concern the time, 7rpo ttjq /ueraS-co-fwc
avrov, ' before his translation,' as it doth evidently, Gen. v. 22, 24.
That of ' walking with God' in Moses, the apostle renders by jujjoeo -
TiiKtvai tm Qeo), ' pleasing of God ;' for this alone is well-pleasing to
him. His pleasure, his delight is in them that fear him, that walk be-
fore him. And the apostle gives us the whole sense of the divine tes-
timony, that he ' walked with God,' namely, so as that his walk with
God was well-pleasing unto him ; that it was accepted with him, and
his person therein.
And this also is peculiar unto these two first instances, that they had
an especial testimony from God, as unto the acceptance of them and
their services. So it is testified of Abel, that God had respect unto him
and his gifts ; and of Enoch, that he pleased God ; both of them being
declared to be righteous by faith.
And we may observe from the whole, that,
Obs. VI. As it is an effect of the wisdom of God, to dispose the
works of his providence, and the accomplishment of his promises, ac-
cording to an ordinary established rule declared in his word, which is
the only guide of faith ; so sometimes it pleases him to give extraordi-
nary instances in each kind, both in a way of judgment and in a way
of grace and favour. Of the latter sort was the taking of Enoch into
heaven ; and of the former was the destruction of Sodom and Gomor-
rah by fire from heaven. Such extraordinary acts, either the wicked
security of the world, or the edification of the church, do sometimes
VER. 6.] EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS. 385
Obs. VII. Faith in God through Christ hath an efficacy in the pro-
curing of such grace, mercy, and favour in particular, as it hath no
ground in particular to believe. Enoch was translated by faith ; yet
did not Enoch believe he should be translated, until he had a particular
revelation of it. So there are many particular mercies which faith hath
no word of promise to mix itself withal, as unto their actual communi-
cation unto us; but yet keeping itself within its bounds of trust and re-
liance on God, and acting by patience and prayer, it may be, and is,
instrumental in the procurement of them.
Obs. VIII. They must walk with God here who design to live with
him hereafter ; or they must please God in this world who would be
blessed with him in another.
Obs. IX. That faith which can translate a man out of this world, can
carry him through the difficulties which he may meet withal, in the pro-
fession of faith and obedience in this world. Herein lies the apostle's
argument. And this latter the Lord Jesus Christ hath determined to be
the lot and portion of his disciples. So he testifies, John xvii. 15, ' I
pray not that thou shouldst take them out of the world, but that thou
shouldstkeep them from the evil.'
In these two instances of Abel and Enoch we have a representation
of the state of the old world before the flood. There were two sorts of
persons in it; believers, and such as believed not. Among these there
were differences about religion and the worship of God, as between Abel
and Cain. Some of them were approved of God, and some were not.
Hence arose persecution on the part of *he world ; and in the church,
the wicked, scoffing, persecuting world was threatened by predictions of
judgments and divine vengeance to come, as they were in the preaching
and prophecy of Enoch. God, in the meantime, exercised patience
and long suffering towards them that were disobedient, 1 Pet. iii. 20,
yet not without some instances of his especial favour towards believers.
And thus it is at this day.
Ver. 6. â€” There being no direct mention made of faith in the testi-
mony given unto Enoch, but only that by walking with God he pleased
him, the apostle in this verse proves from thence that it was by faith
that he so pleased God, and consequently that thereby he obtained his
Ver. 6. â€” Xwptc St Triartutg acvvarov euapEorjjcrar iriartvaai -yap Â§Â£t
TOV TTDOOtpyOfXtVOV T(,J 06((i, liTl i(TTl, KCU TOlg Â£fcÂ£))TOU(X
EuaoEffrjjow. Tr,> Qtttj is not in the original, but is in all the old
translations, and is to be supplied. We add 'him,' as contained in the
word, and not as a supplement.
Vfr. 6. â€” But without faith it is impassible to please him. For it be-
koveth him that come.th to God, to believe thai he is (a God to him,
or his God,) and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek
VOL. IV. c b
386 AN EXPOSITION OF THE [CH. XI-
The assertion of the apostle, whereon he builds his exhortation, is,
that 'Enoch was translated by faith.' The proof of this assertion he
expresseth in the way of a syllogistical argument. The proposition he
lays down in the verse foregoing. Enoch had a divine testimony that
he pleased God. The assumption consists in this sacred maxim, ' With-
out faith it is impossible to please God.' Whence the conclusion fol-
lows, by the interposition of another argument of the same kind ; namely,
that whereby Enoch pleased God, by that he was translated ; for his
translation was the consequent and effect of his pleasing God. And,
thirdly, he gives an illustration and confirmation of his assumption :
' For he that cometh unto God,' &c.
The adversative particle Be, ' but,' constitutes this form of argument :
He pleased God, but without faith it is impossible, &c.
First. In the proposition itself, the form and matter of it may be
considered. As unto the form, there is a positive affirmation included
in the negative : ' Without faith, it is impossible to please God ;' that is,
faith is the only way and means whereby any one may please God. So
X W PÂ«C is frequently used to intimate the affirmation of the contrary unto
what is denied. John i. 3, % w P f Â£ avTOv, ' without him nothing was
made ;' that is, every thing was made by him. John xv. 5, x w P'C efiov,
' without me you can do nothing ;' that is, by me, or my strength, you
must do all things. Rom. x. 14, ' How shall they hear,' x w P f c Kr/puo -
(tovtoq, ' without a preacher ?' that is, all hearing is by a preacher. See
Heb. vii. 20, ix. 7, 18. Wherefore, 'without faith, it is impossible to
please God,' is the same with, ' all pleasing of God is, and must be,
by faith,' it being impossible it should be otherwise. And this sense
of the words is necessary unto the argument of the apostle, which is to
prove the power and efficacy of faith, with respect unto our acceptance
As unto the matter of the proposition, that which is denied without
faith, or that which is ascribed to the agency of faith alone, is Â£iÂ»o s oÂ£-
(TTt)(rai ' to please,' placere, beneplacere. The verb is used only in
this Epistle in these two verses, and ch. xiii. 16, in the passive voice,
' God is well pleased;' promeretur Deus, Vul. Lat. without any signifi-
cation. The adjective evapearog is used frequently, and constantly ap-
plied unto persons or things that are accepted with God, Rom. xii. 1,2,
xiv. 18; 2 Cor. v. 9; Eph. v. 10 ; Phil. iv. 18; Col. iii. 20. Three
things are here included in it. 1. That the person be accepted with
God, that God be well pleased with him. 2. That his duties do please
God, that he is well pleased with them, as he was with the gifts of Abel,
and the obedience of Enoch; so Heb. xiii. 16. 3. That such a person
have testimony that he is righteous, just or justified, as Abel and Enoch
had, and as all true believers have in the Scripture.
This is that pleasing of God, which is inclosed unto faith alone.
Otherwise there may be many acts and duties which may be materially
such as God is pleased with, and which he will reward in this world,
without faith. Such was the destruction of the house of Ahab by Jehu.
But ' the pleasing of God' under consideration, includes the acceptance
with God of the person and his duties, or his justification before him.
And this regulates the sense of the last clause of the verse. Our
TEE. G.] EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS. 387
coming unto God, and believing in him, must be interpreted with respect
unto this well pleasing of him.
This is so by faith, as that without it, it is advvciTov, ' impossible.'
Many in all ages have attempted thus to please God without faith, and
yet continue so to do. Cain began it: his design in his offering was to
please God ; but he did it not in faith, and failed in his design. And
this is the great difference always in the visible church. All in their
divine worship profess a desire to please God, and hope that so they
shall do. To what purpose else was it to serve him ? But, as our
apostle speaks, many of them seek it not by faith, but by their own
works and duties, which they do and perform, Rom. ix. 32. Those
alone attain their end who seek it by faith ; and therefore God fre-
quently rejects the greatest multiplication of duties where faith is want-
ing, Isa. i. 11 â€” 15; Ps. xl. 6.
Secondly. Wherefore, saith the apostle, this is a fundamental maxim
of religion, namely, 'It is impossible to please God in any other way
but by faith.' Let men desire, design, and aim at it, while they please,
they shall never attain unto it. And it is so impossible, 1. From di-
vine constitution. Hereunto the Scripture bears testimony from first
to last, namely, that none can, that none shall, ever please God but by
faith, as our apostle pleads at large, Rom. iv. 3 â€” 5. 2. From the
nature of the tiling itself, faith being the first regular motion of the soul
towards God, as we shall see immediately.
Howbeit, the contrary apprehensions, namely, that men by their
works and duties may please God without faith, as well as by faith, or
in the same manner as with faith, is so deeply fixed in the minds of
men, as that it hath produced various evil consequences. For,
1. Some have disputed with God himself, as if he dealt not equally
and justly with them when he was not well pleased with their duties,
nor themselves accepted with him. Cain was so, being thereon not
more wrathful with his brother than with God himself, as is plain in
the rebuke given unto him, Gen. iv. 5 â€” 7. So did the Jews frequently,
' Wherefore have we fasted, and thou seest not?' Isa. lviii. S. And so
it is with all hypocrites unto this day: should they at any time be con-
vinced that God is not pleased either with their persons or their duties,
especially the duties of religious worship which they perform unto him,
which they judge to be every whit as good as theirs who are accepted,
they are angry in their hearts with God himself, and judge that he deals
not well with them at all.
2. This is that which keeps up hatred, feuds, and persecutions in the
visible church. The greatest part generally are contented with the out-
ward performance of duties, not doubting but that by them they shall
please God. But when they find others professing that the sincerity
of saving faith, and that working in serious repentance, and universal
obedience unto God, is necessary unto this pleasing of God, whereby
their duties are condemned; their countenances fall, and they are full
of wrath, and are ready even to slay their brethren. There is the same
difference, the same grounds and reasons of it, between true believers
and persecuting hypocrites still, as was between Abel and Cain.
All profess a design to please God, as they both did ; all perform the
c c 2
388 AN EXPOSITION OF THE [dl. XI..
same outward duties, the one commonly more attending unto the rule
of them than the other, as they did; but the one sort plead a secret
interest in divine favour, and acceptance by faith, that is invisible, the
other trust unto their outward works ; whence an endless difference
doth arise between them.
3. This hath been the foundation of all superstition in divine wor-
ship. For a secret apprehension that God was to be pleased with out-
ward works and duties, as Cain thought, was the reason of the multi-
plication of innumerable rites and ceremonies in divine service ; of all
the masses, purgatories, pilgrimages, vows, disciplines, idolatries, that
constitute the Roman church. They were all found out in answer unto
the inquiry made, Mic. vi. 6, 7. ' Wherewith shall I come before the
Lord, and bow myself before the high God? Shall I come before him
with burnt-offerings, with calves of a year old ? Will the Lord be
pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil ?
Shall I give my first-born for my transgression, the fruit of my body
for the sin of my soul ?' Hence one pretended duty that shall have
something to commend it, as its charge, its difficulty, or its beauty, as-
it is adorned, must be added unto another; all to please God without
4. This hath stirred up and maintained innumerable controversies in
the church in all ages. Some openly contend, that this pleasing of
God is the fruit of the merit of our own works, and is not attained by
faith. And others endlessly contend to bring our works and duties
into the same order and causality as unto our acceptance before God,
with faith itself. These think it as true, as unto the end of the apostle's
discourse, namely, our pleasing of God, and being accepted with him,
that ' without our works it is impossible to please God ;' as it is, that
' without faith, it is impossible to please him,' which is to overthrow
both his argument and design. Wherefore, unless we hold fast this
truth, namely, Whatever be the necessity of other graces and duties,
yet that it is faith alone whereby we please God, and obtain acceptance
with him, we condemn the generation of the righteous in their cause
from the foundation of the world, take part with Cain against Abel, and
forego our testimony unto the righteousness of God in Christ.
Obs. I. Where God hath put an impossibility upon any thing, it is
in vain for men to attempt it. From the days of Cain, multitudes have
been designing to please God without faith, all in vain; like them that
would have built a tower, whose top should reach to heaven. And,
Obs. II. It is of the highest importance to examine well into the.
sincerity of our faith, whether it be of the true kind or not; seeing
thereon depends the acceptance of our persons, and all our duties.
None ever thought that God was to be pleased without any faith at all :
the very design of pleasing him avows some kind of faith. But that
especial kind of faith whereby we may be justified they regard not. Of
these things I have treated fully in my book of Justification.
Thirdly. Of this assertion the apostle gives a farther confirmation or
illustration, by showing the necessity of faith unto acceptance with God.
And this he doth, by declaring the duty of every one that would be so
accepted. ' For it behoveth him that comes unto God, to believe,' &c.
Wherein we have,
VER. G.] EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS. 389
1. The assertion of the duty prescribed: 'it behoveth him,' or 'he
2. The subject spoken of, which is, ' he that cometh unto God.'
0. The duty prescribed, which is, 'to believe.'
4. The object of this faith prescribed as a duty, which is twofold:
1st. That God is. 2dly. That he is the rewarder of them that dili-
gently seek him.
That he gives a reason and proof of what he had before asserted, is
declared in the illative conjunction, yap, 'for.' This makes the truth
First. He makes application of his assertion to every one concerned
in particular in a way of duty. Whoever he be that hath this design
to come to God, and to be accepted with him, oh, ' he ought,' ' he
must' do so. This is his duty, from which no one living shall have an
Secondly. The subject spoken of is, irpoaspxupevov to? Gey, ' he that
cometh unto God.' Upocnp^opai, in general, signifies any access, or
coming to any person or thing ; nor is it used in a sacred sense any
where in the New Testament, but only in this Epistle, and 1 Pet. ii. 4.
But the simple verb tp\opai is frequently so used. And this coming
unto God signifies in particular an access or approach unto him in sa-
cred worship; see ch. x. 1, with the Exposition. But in general, as in
this place, and ch. vii. 25, 1 Pet. ii. 4, it denotes an access of the per-
son into the favour of God; including the particular addresses made to
God, and the other duties connected with such an approach. We must
therefore inquire, what it is thus to come to God, and what is required
thereunto ; that we may understand what it is that the apostle makes
believing so necessary unto, and whereby he proves, that ' without faith
it is impossible to please God.' And,
1. There is required thereunto a previous sense of a wanting, lost
condition in ourselves, by a distance from God. No man designs to
come to God, but it is for relief, satisfaction, and rest. It must be out
of an apprehension, that he is yet at such a distance from God, as not
to be capable of relief or rest from him, and that in this distance he is
in a condition indigent, and miserable, as also that there is relief and
rest for him in God. Without, these apprehensions, no man will ever
engage in a design to come unto God, as having no reason for it, nor
end in it. And this can be wrought in none sincerely, but by faith.
All other powers and faculties in the souls of men without faith, do in-
cline and direct them to look for rest and satisfaction in themselves.
This was the highest notion of those philosophers, who raised human
wisdom into an admiration, namely, the Stoics, that every one was to
seek for all rest and satisfaction in himself, and in nothing else;
and so they came at length expressly to make every man a God to him-
self. Faith alone is the gracious power which takes us off from all con-
fidence in ourselves, and directs us to look for all in another, that is,
in God himself. And therefore it must see that in God, which is suited
to give relief in this condition. And this is contained in the object of
it as here proposed, as we shall see.
2. There must antecedently hereunto be some encouragement given
unto him that will come to God, and that from God himself. A dis-
390 AN EXPOSITION OF THE [CH. XI.
covery of our wants, indigence, and misery, makes it necessary that we
should come to God ; but it gives no encouragement so to do. For it
is accompanied with a discovery of our unworthiness so to do, and be
accepted in doing it. Nor can any encouragement be taken from the
consideration of the being of God, and his glorious excellencies abso-
lutely. Nor is that any where in the Scripture absolutely, and in the
first place, proposed for our encouragement. This therefore can be
nothing but his free gracious promise, to receive them that come unto
him in a due manner ; that is, by Christ, as the whole Scripture testi-
fieth. For what some pretend concerning coming unto God by encou-
ragements taken from general notions of his nature, and his works of
creation and providence, without any promise, is an empty speculation.
Nor can they give any single instance of any one person that ever came
to God, and found acceptance with him, without the encouragement of
divine revelation, which hath in it the nature of a promise. Faith
therefore is necessary unto this coming to God, because thereby alone
we receive, lay hold of, embrace the promises, and are made partakers
of them, which the apostle not only expressly affirmeth, but makes it
his design to prove, in a great part of the chapter, as we shall see.
There is nothing therefore more fond, more foreign to the apostle's in-
tention, than what is here ignorantly and weakly by some pretended ;
namely,. that faith here is nothing but an assent unto the truth of the
being of God, and his distribution of rewards and punishments, with-
out any respect unto the promise, that is, unto Christ and his mediation,
as will yet farther appear. Wherefore,
3. To come to God, is to have an access into his favour, to please
God, as did Enoch ; so to come, as to be accepted with him. There
may be a coming to God with our duties and services, as did Cain,