all grace, in faith, love, submission to the will of God, zeal for his
glory, and compassion for the souls of men in their highest degree.
Obs. VII. If he went so through his suffering, and was victorious
in the issue, we also may do so in ours, through his assistance, who is
the author and finisher of our faith. â€” Arid,
Obs. VIII. We have in this instance, the highest proof that faith
can conquer both pain and shame. â€” Wherefore,
Obs. IX. We should neither think strange of them, nor fear them on
the account of our profession of the gospel, seeing the Lord Jesus hath
gone before, in the conflict with them, and conquest of them.
Especially considering what is added in the last place, as to the fruit
and event of his sufferings, namely, that he is set down at the right
hand of the throne of God, in equal authority, glory, and power with
God in the rule and government of all. For the meaning of the words,
see the exposition of ch. i. 3, viii. 1.
In the whole we have an exact delineation of our Christian course in
a time of persecution ; 1 . In the blessed example of it, which is the
sufferings of Christ. 2. In the assured consequent of it, which is eter-
nal glory. If we suffer with him, we shall also reign with him. 3. In
a direction for the right successful discharge of our duty, which is the
exercise of faith on Christ himself for assistance, 1st. As a sufferer and
a Saviour. 2ndly. As the author and finisher of our faith. 4. An in-
timation of the great encouragement which we ought to fix on under
all our sufferings ; namely, the joy and glory that are set before us, a
the issue of them.
Ver. 3. â€” And the apostle carries on the same argument, with re-
spect to an especial improvement of it, in this verse.
Ver. S. â€” AvaXoyuracrSt yap tov TOiavrr\v viro/mefxev^KOTa vtro tiov
o/japrwXwv tig avrov avriXoyiav, Iva /urj Ka}j.r)TÂ£, raig \pvyaig vfitov
AvaXoyiaaaSe. Syr. rtrr, ' see,' ' behold.' Vul. Recogitate. Rhem.
VER. 3.] EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS.
' Thiak diligently on,' not unfitly. Bcz. Reputate quis ille sit, '
ing,' 'reckoning,' 'judging who lie is,' referring it to the pers>.
rap. Vul. Enim. Syr. ^OfT, 'therefore,' for in some copies of the
Greek, it is ovv ; but when yap is a note of inference, from what was
said, and not redditive of the reason of what was said, it is better ren-
dered in Latin by nam, than enim, and includes the force of ow,
Toiavrtiv avTiXoyiav. Syr. N733. Quantum or quanta, ' how great
things,' referring to the suffering of Christ. And indeed avnXoyia,
signifies not only a contradiction in words, but an opposition in things
also, or else the translator quite left out this word, rendering roiavTt)v,
by ned. Vul. Talem contradictionem, ' such contradiction.'
'Y7to r(ov ctfiapTojXwv. Syr. yon Nnarr p, 'from those wicked ones,'
referring it to them by whom he was crucified.^
here departs from the original ]vnTD3^> N^mpD nrr "pirn, ' who were ene-
mies,' or ' adversaries to their own souls,' intimating the ruin that the
persecutors of him brought on themselves.
*Iva fir] kÂ«juj)7-Â£. Syr. "pr^ pNn n^t, ' That you be not weary,' that
it be not irksome to you. Vul. Lat. Ut ne fatigemini. Rhem. ' That
you be not wearied,' in a passive sense : fatiscatis, ' faint not.'
EÂ»cAuo/.tfvot. Deficientes, fracti, remissi, ' faint,' ' be broken in your
minds.' We read the words, 'lest you be wearied and faint in your
minds;' but 'and' is not in the original; and the introduction of it
leads from the sense of the words. For that which is exhorted against,
is expressed in /cajuyre, ' to be wearied,' or faint ; and the other words
express the cause of it, which is the sinking of our spirits, or the break-
ing of our resolution, or fainting in our minds.
Ver. 3. â€” For consider him (call things to account concerning him)
that, endured such (so great) contradiction of sinners against him-
self, that you be not xoearied through fainting in your minds.
The introduction of the close of this exhortation, from the looking
unto Jesus, is by yap ; this renders not a reason of what was spoken
before, but directs to an especial motive to the duty exhorted to. Some
copies read ovv, ' therefore,' in a progressive exhortation.
The peculiar manner of the respect of faith to Christ is expressed
by avaXoyiaaaSs, which we render ' consider.' So we are directed to
' consider him,' ch. iii. 1. But there in the original, it is KaTavorjaaTe,
a word of another form, used again, ch. x. 24. So we also render
ZciopeiTe, ch. vii. 4. This word is nowhere else used in the New Tes-
tament AvaXoyia, from whence it is taken, is used once only, Rom.
xii. 6; where we render it 'proportion,' ' the proportion of faith :' and
so is the word used in mathematical sciences, whereunto it doth belong ;
the due proportion of one thing to another. So as the verb is to
compare things by their due proportion one to another. Whether they
respect the person of Christ, or his sufferings., we shall see immedi-
o o 2
AN EXPOSITION OF THE [CH. XII.
., object of this consideration is, â– him that endured.' Of this en-
f g we spake in the verse foregoing. But whereas mention is made
iiim who endured, and of what lie endured, we must inquire where
Me emphasis lies, that determines the object of the computation by pro-
portion, whereunto we are directed, though neither of them be ex-
In the first way, the force of the apostle's exhortation is taken from
the person of Christ, in the latter from his sufferings. As, 1. Consider
him ; qualis sit ; make a just estimate between him and us. If he suf-
fered, if he endured such things, why should we not do so also ? For
he was the Son of God, the author and finisher of our faith. He had
all glory and power in his own hand. And as to the event of his suf-
ferings, is set down at the right hand of God. Compute thus with
yourselves, that if he, being so great, so excellent, so infinitely exalted
above us, yet endured ^ich contradiction of sinners, ought we not so
to do if we be called thereunto.
In the latter way, supposing the proposal of his person to us, in the
foregoing verse, he calls us to the consideration of what he suffered in
particular, as to the contradiction of sinners ; ' such,' so greatcontra-
diction. And the word is applied to all manner of oppositions, and not
to contradiction only, and so may include all the sufferings of Christ.
These he calls us to consider, by comparing our own with them. And
this sense the following words incline to, ' For you have not yet re-
sisted unto blood,' as he did.
But although these things are thus distinguished, yet are they not to
be divided. Both the person of Christ, and what he suffered, are pro-
posed to our diligent consideration and computation of them, with
respect to us and our sufferings. There is in this verse,
1. A caution against, or a dehortation from, an evil that is contrary
to the duty exhorted to, and destructive of it, ' that you be not wea-
2. The way whereby we may fall into this evil, and that is, by fainting
in our minds.
3. The means to prevent it, and to keep us up to our duty, which is
the diligent consideration of the Lord Christ, whom we are to look to ;
and that, 1 . As to the excellency of his person ; 2. As to his sufferings
in one peculiar way, of enduring the contradiction of sinners. 3. As
to the greatness of that contradiction, 'such contradiction,' or so
4. The force of this consideration to that end is to be explained.
First. That which we are cautioned about is, ha fxr\ ica/i^TS. ' that
we be not wearied.' KÂ«juvw, is ' to labour,' so as to bring on weari-
ness ; and ' to be sick,' which is accompanied with weariness, James
v. 15, Secret rov Ka/ivovra, 'shall save the sick;' and 'to be spent
with labour,' so as to give over; so here, and Rev. ii. 3, in which places
alone the word is used. KfK/urjicoTEc, in war and games for victory, are
opposed to eucjurjree, ' those that are courageous and successful ;' signi-
fying such as despond, faint, and give over. Lucian. in Hermit. KÂ«t
Â£OTt TOVTO OV JLUKpa Â£VTV\ld TOV (i6\t}TOV, TO fXiWilV CtK/iJjra TOIQ KiKfXr)-
VER. 3.] EPISTLE TO THE HEBRiu\
lie that is bold and courageous, falls in contention with fai.
persons.' And the apostle, treating before of a race, and our .
therein, may easily be supposed to have respect to such as fan.
through weariness in those contests. But the sense of the word h
fully explained in that other place, where it is used in the same case,
Rev. ii. 3, ' Thou hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name's
sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted.' To abide and persevere in
suffering and labour for the name of Christ, is ' not to faint,' or be
wearied. Wherefore, to be ' wearied' in this case, is to be so pressed
and discouraged with the greatness or length of difficulties and trials, as
to draw back, to give over partially or totally from the profession of the
gospel. For there is such a weariness, as whereon men do not abso-
lutely give over the work or labour wherein they are engaged, but these
grow very uneasy and tedious to them, so that they are even ready to
give over. And this I judge to be the frame of mind here cautioned
against by the apostle, namely, the want of life, vigour, and cheerful-
ness in profession, tending to a relinquishment of it. And it is hence
Obs. I. Such things may befal us in the way of our profession of
the gospel, as are in themselves apt to weary and burden us, so as to
solicit our minds to a relinquishment of it. Such in particular are the
mentioned reproaches and contradictions of men, making way to farther
Obs. II. When we begin to be heartless, desponding, and weary of
our sufferings, it is a dangerous disposition of mind, tending towards
a defection from the gospel. So it hath been with many, who at first
vigorously engaged in profession, but have been wrought over to a con-
formity with die world by weariness of their trials. And,
Obs. III. We ought to watch against nothing more diligently, than
the insensible, gradual prevailing of such a frame in us, if we intend to
be faithful to the end.
Secondly. There is the way whereby we fall into this dangerous con-
dition, in the last words of the verse ; it is by fainting in our minds.
For so I take the mind of the apostle to be. Trj Tpv\\i ticXveaSai, is
animo defici et concidere, ' to have the strength and vigour of the mind
dissolved,' so as to faint and fall, to be like a dying man, to whom sol-
vuntur frigore membra, 'by a dissolution of all bodily strength.' And
wherein this doth consist we must inquire.
There is a spiritual vigour and strength required to perseverance in
profession in the time of persecution. Hence our duty herein is pre-
scribed to us, under all the names and terms of preparation for a severe
fight or battle. We are commanded to arm ourselves with the same
mind that was in Christ, 1 Pet. iv. 1. To take to ourselves the whole
irmour of God, that we may be able to resist and stand, Eph. vi. 12,
13. To watch, to stand fast in the faith, to quit ourselves like men, to
be strong, 1 Cor. xvi. 13. And it is the constant vigorous acting of
faith that is required in all these things. Wherefore, this fainting in
our minds consists in a remission of the due acting of faith by all graces,
and in all duties. It is faith that stirs up and engageth spiritual cou-
rage, resolution, patience, perseverance, prayer, all preserving graces
rfi* EXPOSITION OF THE [CH. XII.
V_s. If it fail herein, and our minds are left to conflict with
fticulties in their own natural strength, we shall quickly grow
xvy of a persecuted profession. Here lies the beginning of all spiri-
Liial declensions, namely, in the want of a due exercise of faith in all
these graces and duties. Hereon our spiritual strength is dissolved,
and we wax weary. And,
Obs. IV. If we design perseverance in a time of trouble and perse-
cution, it is both our wisdom and our duty to keep up faith to a vigo-
rous exercise, the want whereof is the fainting in our minds. This is
like the hands of Moses in the battle against Amalek.
Thirdly. The third thing in the words is, that which is laid down in
the beginning of the verse, which is the way and means of our preser-
vation from this evil frame and danger thereon. And this is the dili-
gent consideration of the person of Christ and his sufferings ; or of his
person in his sufferings. The meaning of the words hath been before
spoken to. The duty itself enjoined, is built on the direction in the
foregoing verse, to look to him. So look to him, as to consider dili-
gently both who he is, and what he suffered ; and so consider it as to
make application of what we find in him and it to our own case- Are
we called to suffer ? let us weigh seriously who went before us herein.
The excellency of his person, with respect to his sufferings, is in the
first place to be called to an account, and adjusted as to our sufferings.
This our apostle fully proposeth unto us, Phil. ii. 5 â€” 11.
And as to his sufferings, he proposeth the consideration of them in
one especial instance, and therein every word is emphatical. 1. It was
' contradiction' he underwent. 2. It was ' such,' or so great, as is not
easy to be apprehended. 3. It was the contradiction of ' sinners.' 4.
It was ' against himself immediately.
1. He endured avriXoyuw, 'contradiction.' The word, as was ob-
served, is used for any kind of opposition in things as well as words,
and so may include the whole suffering of Christ from men, both in
the cross and in the shame thereof; but no doubt the apostle hath pecu-
liar respect to the revilings and reproaches which he underwent, the
opposition made to his doctrine and ministry, proclaiming himself to be
a deceiver, and his doctrine to be a fable. And yet more especially
regard may be had to their triumphing over him when he was crucified,
' Let the King of Israel come down from the cross, and we will be-
lieve; he saved others, himself he cannot save.' Thus was it with
him ; and,
2. The apostle intimates the severity and cruelty of these contradic-
tions ; and herein he refers us to the whole story of what passed at his
death. Toiavrriv, ' such' contradictions, so bitter, so severe, so cruel,
whatever the malicious wits of men, or suggestions of Satan could
invent or broach, that was venomous and evil, was cast upon him.
3. It was the contradiction of rwv afxapriokwv, ' sinners ;' that is,
such as gave no bounds to their wrath and malice. But withal, the
apostle seems to reflect on them, as to their state and condition. For it
was the priests, the scribes, and pharisees, who from first to last ma-
naged this contradiction, and these all boasted themselves to be just and
righteous ; yea, that they alone were so, all others in comparison of
VER. 4.] EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS.
them being sinners. Herewith they pleased themselves, in i
of their contradiction to Jesus Christ. And so it hath been, and .
all their successors, in the persecution of the church. But the\
deceive themselves ; they were sinners, the worst of sinners, and ha^
the end of sinners.
4. It was an aggravation of his sufferings, that this contradiction
against him was immediate, and as it were unto his face. There is an
emphasis in that expression eig avrov, ' against himself ' in person, so
they told him openly to his face that he had a devil, that he was a se-
All this he 'patiently endured,' as the sense of the word was declared
on the foregoing verse.
Fourthly. The consideration hereof, namely, of the Lord Christ's
patient enduring these contradictions against himself, is proposed as
the means to preserve us from being weary and fainting in our minds.
It is so, 1. By the way of motive ; for if he, who in himself and in his
own person, was infinitely above all opposition of sinners, as the apostle
states the case, Phil. ii. 5 â€” 8, yet for our sakes would undergo and con-
flict with them all ; there is all the reason in the world, that for his
sake we should submit unto our portion in them. 2. By the way of
precedent and example, as it is urged by Peter, 1 Pet. ii. 21, 22. 3.
By the way of deriving power from him. For the due consideration of
him herein will work a conformity in our minds and souls unto him in
his sufferings, which will assuredly preserve us from fainting. And
we may observe,
Obs. V. That the malicious contradiction of wicked priests, scribes,
and pharisees, against the truth, and those that profess it, on the account
thereof, is suited to make them faint, if not opposed by vigorous acting
of faith on Christ, and a due consideration of his sufferings in the same
Obs. VI. Whoever they are, who by their contradictions unto the
truth, and them that do profess it, do stir up persecution against them,
let them pretend what they will of righteousness, they are sinners, and
that in such a degree as to be obnoxious to eternal death.
Obs. VII. If our minds grow weak, through a remission of the vi-
gorous acting of faith, in a time of great contradiction unto our profes-
sion, they will quickly grow weary, so as to give over, if not timely
Obs. VIII. The constant consideration of Christ in his sufferings, is
the best means to keep up faith unto its due exercise in all times of
Ver. 4. â€” OiÂ»7tw fxt\piQ aifxarog avTiKarecTT^TE Trpoc; tÂ»jiÂ» afxapriav
Ver. 4. â€” Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.
Having proposed the great example of Jesus Christ, and given di-
rections unto the improvement of it, the apostle proceeds to more gene-
ral arguments, for the confirmation of his exhortation to patience and
AN EXPOSITION OF THE [CH. XII.
) .ace, in the times of suffering. That in this verse, is taken
lie consideration of their present state, and what yet they might
..ailed to, in the cause wherein they were engaged. For what can
ddeem them from ruin under greater trials, who faint under the
The argument being taken from comparing their present state, with
what they might justly expect, the consideration of the things ensuing
are necessary unto the exposition of the words. 1. What was their
present state with respect unto troubles ? 2. What they might yet be
called unto ? 3. The cause whence their present and future sufferings
did and were to proceed ? 4. The way of opposing these evils, or dan-
ger from them. 5. The force of the argument that is in the words,
unto the end of the exhortation.
First. The first of these, or their present state, is expressed nega-
tively ; oiÂ»7tw jÂ«E\pjc (tlfiarog avTiKarsarrfTe, ' you have not yet resisted
unto blood.' He grants that they had met with many sufferings already ;
but they had been restrained so, as not to proceed unto life and blood.
And he hath respect to what he had affirmed of their past and present
sufferings, ch. x. 32 â€” 34; see the exposition of the place. In all these
they had well acquitted themselves, as he there declares. But they
were not hereby acquitted and discharged from their warfare ; for,
Secondly. He intimates what they might yet expect, and that is
' blood.' All sorts of violent deaths, by the sword, by tortures, by fire,
are included herein. This is the utmost that persecution can rise
unto. Men may kill the body ; but when they have done so they can
do no more. Blood gives the utmost bounds to their rage. And
whereas the apostle says, 'you have not yet resisted unto blood,' two
things are included. First. That those who are engaged in the profes-
sion of the gospel, have no security, but that they may be called unto
the utmost and last sufferings by blood, on the account of it. For this
is that which their adversaries in all ages do aim at ; and that which
they have attained to effect in multitudes innumerable. And God hath
designed in his infinite wisdom, that for his own glory, the glory of
Christ, and of the gospel, and of the church itself, so it shall be.
Secondly. That whatever befal us on this side blood, is to be looked on
as a fruit of divine tenderness and mercy. Wherefore, I do not think
that the apostle doth absolutely determine, that sufferings amongst those
Hebrews would come at length unto blood ; but argues from hence,
that whereas there is this also prepared in the suffering of the church,
namely, death itself in a way of violence, they who were indulged, and
as yet not called thereunto, ought to take care that they fainted not
under these lesser sufferings, whereunto they were exposed. And we
Obs. I. That the proportioning the degrees of sufferings, and the
disposal of them, as unto times and seasons, is in the hand of God.
Some shall suffer in their goods and liberties, some in their lives, some
at one time, some at another, as it seems good unto him. Let us there-
fore every one be contented with our present lot and portion in these
Obs. II. It is highly dishonourable to faint, in the cause of Christ
VER. 4.] EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS. 569
and the gospel, under lesser sufferings, when we know there are greater
to be undergone, by ourselves and others, on the same account.
Thirdly. The third thing, is the cause of their suffering, or rather
the party with whom their contest was in what they suffered ; and this
Mas ' sin,' 7rpog tijv ufiapriav avTayiovi^o/ntvoi. The apostle abides in
his allusion to strife or contest for victory in public games. Therein
every one that was called to them had an adversary, whom he was to
combat and contend withal. So have believers in their race, and this
adversary is sin. It was not their persecutors directly, but sin in them,
that they had to conflict withal. But whereas sin is but an accident
or quality, it cannot act itself, but in the subjects wherein it is. This
therefore we may inquire, namely, in whom it is that this sin doth re-
side, and consequently what it is.
Sin, wherewith we may have a contest, is either in others, or in our-
selves. These others are either devils or men. That we have a con-
test, a fight in our profession, with sin in devils, the apostle declares,
Eph. vi. 12, Â£(ttiv r)jj.iv 17 iraXii, ' our wrestling, our contest, is with or
against principalities and powers, against the rulers of the darkness of
this world, against spiritual wickednesses in high places.' In this sort
of persons, that is, wicked angels, sin continually puts forth, and acts
itself for the ruin and destruction of the church. Especially, it doth
so, in stirring up persecution against it. The devil shall cast some of
them into prison, Rev. ii. 10. Against sin in them, and all the effects
produced thereby, we are to strive and contend. So is it with men
also, by whom the church is persecuted. They pretend other reasons
for what they do ; but it is sin acting itself in malice, hatred of the
truth, blind zeal, envy, and bloody cruelty, that engageth, influenceth,
and ruleth them in all they do. With all the effects and fruits of sin
in them also, believers do contend.
Again. They have a contest with sin in themselves. So the apostle
Peter tells us, that fleshly lusts do war against the soul, 1 Pet. ii. 11.
They violently endeavour the overthrow of our faith and obedience.
How we are to strive against them, was fully declared in the exposition
of the first verse.
So the apostle seems to have respect to the whole opposition, made
to our constancy in profession by sin, in whomsoever it acts unto that
end, ourselves or others. And this is a safe interpretation of the word,
comprehensive of a signal warning and instruction unto the duty ex-
horted to. For it is a subtile, powerful, dangerous enemy which we
have to conflict withal, and that which acts itself in all ways, and by
all means imaginable. And this answers the comparison or allusion
unto a public contest, which the apostle abideth in. Yet I will not
deny, but that not only the sin whereby we are pressed, urged, and
inclined ; but that also whereunto we are pressed and urged, namely,
the sin of defection and apostasy, may be intended. This we are to
contend against. But these things are not separable. And we may
Obs. III. That signal diligence and watchfulness is required in our
profession of the gospel, considering what enemy we have to conflict
withal. This is sin in all the ways whereby it acts its power and sub-
tilty, which are unspeakable.