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An exposition of the Epistle to the Hebrews; with the preliminary exercitations (Volume 2) online

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work of making this gofpel eifeftual on the minds of men,
doth peculiarly belong to the Father, which he accom-
plilheth by his Spirit, [II. Cor. iii. 18. iv. 6.]

§ 26. And from the appropriating of this work origi-
nally and principally to the Father, there are three things
that are particularly intimated unto us :

1 . The authority that is to be coniidered in it : the Fa-
ther is the original of all power and authority ; of him
the whole family of heaven and earth is named, [Eph.
iii. 15.] He is the Father of the whole family, from
whom Chrill himfelf receives all his power and authority
as mediator, [Matth. xxviii. 18.] which, when his work
is accompliflied, he fhall give up again into his hand,
[I. Cor. XV. 28.] He fent him into the world, fet him
over his houfe, gave him command and commiflion for
liis work. The very name and title of ' Father' carries
authority along with it; [Mai. i. 6.] he hath all power
clTcntiallv in him over the fouls and eternal conditions of
them to whom he fpeaks. And what holy reverence,
humility, and univerfal fubjedlion of foul to the word
doth this require ? In this reprcfcntation,

2. There is alfo love. In the oeconomy of the blefied
Trinity, about the work of our falvation, that which
is eminently and in an efpccial manner afcribcd to the
Father is love, [I. John iv. 9, 10. 16.] * God,' that is,
the Father^ * is love.' To be love, full of love, to be

Vol. II. E the


the fpccial fpring of all fruits of love, is peculiar to him
as the Father. It is out of love, infinite love, mercy and
compalhon, that CtocI would at all reveal his mind and
will to iinners. He might for ever have locked up the
treafures of his wifdom and prudence, wherein he abounds
towards us in his word, in his own eternal brcaft. He
might have left all the fons of men to that woeful dark*
nefs, whereunto by fm they had call thcmfclves, and
kept them under the chains and power of it, with the
angels that finned before them, unto the judgement of
tlie great day. But it was from infinite love that he made
this condcfccnfion to reveal himfelf and his will unto us.
This mixture of authority and love, which is the fpring
of the revelation of the will of God to us, requires all
readinefs, willingnefs, and cheerfulnefs in our rcceptiou
of it. Befides thefe,

3. There is alfo care peculiarly difcoverable in it. The
great care of the church is eminently in the Father. He
is the hufbandman that takes care of the vine and vine-
yard, [John XV. I, 2.] And thence our Saviour, who
had a delegated care of his people, commends them to
the Father, [John xvii.] as to whom the care of them
did principally and originally belong. Care i^ proper to
a father as fitchy and efpecially to God as a Father. Care
is infcparable from paternal love.

§ 27. As for the difpnifcrs of the word, let them take
heed of purfuing that work negligcntlv, which hath its
fpring in the authoritv, love, and care of God, [fee I. Tim.
iv. I ;^ — i^.] Let them know to whom to look for fup-
port, ability, and encouragement in their work, [Ephef.
vi. 19, 20. J And let them not be difcourngcd whatever
oppoiition they meet with in the difchargc of their duty,
conlidering whofe work they have in liand, | 11. Cor. iv.
15, 16.] Let them learn how thcv ought to difpcnfe the
word fo as to anfwer the fpring from whence it comes ;
namely, with authority, love to, and care for the fouls
of men. And, let them confider to whom they arc to
give an account of tlic work they arc called to difchargc,



and the talents with which they are entruflcd, [Heb.
xiii. 7-] ^

§ 28. And for them to whom the word is preached, let
til em coniider,

With what reverence and godly fear they ought to at-
tend to the difpenfing of it, feeing it is a proper efFe£t
and ifTue of the authority of God, [Heb. xii. 25.] How
they will efcape if they negled fo great a falvation declared
to them from the love and care of God, [Heb. ii. 3.^
And, with what holinefs and fpiritual fubje6lion of foul
to God they ought to be converfant with all his appoint-
ed ordinances ofworfhip, [Heb. xii. 28, 29.]

§ 29. Ol^f, 2, The authority of God fpeaking by the
infpired penmen, is the fole foundation of our affenting
to the fcriptures, and what they contain, with divine
faith. He once fpake in thcm^ he flill continues to fpeak
by them, and therefore is their word to be received,
[II. Pet. iii. 2 I, 22.]

§ 30. Obf, 3. " God's gradual revelation of his mind
and will to the church, was a fruit of infinite wifdom and
care towards his eled." — •' Thefe are parts of his ways,
^ fays Job, but how little a portion is heard of him ?*
[Job. xxvi. 14.] Though all his ways and difpenfations
are ordered in infinite wifdom, yet we can but ftand at
the verge of the ocean, and admire its glory and great-
nefs. Little it is that we can comprehend ^ yet what
may be inflru<n:ive to fi^rther our faith and obedience
is not hidden from us. And the following things are
evident \\\ this matter :

(i.) That he did not overfill their veflels ; he admir
nlftered light as they were able to bear it : though we
know not perfe6tly what their condition was, yet this we
know, that as they needed no more light than they had in
their refpedive generations for the difcharge of the duty
God required of them j fo more light would have unfitted
tliem for fon^ewhat or other^ that; was their incun^ibent;-

(2.) He kept than continually dependent upon hiin-^
felf, waiting for their rule and direclioii from his fove-

E 2^ X^%^\


reign plcafurc, which, as it tended to his glory, fo it was
exceedingly fuitcd to their lafcty to keep them in an
humble, waiting frame.

(3.) He lb gave out the light and knowledge of him-
fclf, as that the great work which he hadfo accomplilhed,
which lay in the ilores of his infinitely w^ifc will, might
not be impeded. He gave light enough to believers to
enable them to receive the Redeemer, and not fo much,
as to hinder obdurate finners from crucifying him.

(4.) He did this work fo, that the pre-eminence of a
full and ultimate revelation might be refcrved for him, in
whom all things were to be ' gathered unto an head.' And
(5.) There was tender care joined to this infinite wif-
dom. None of his ele£t in any age were left without
that inftru^tion which was needful for them in their re-
(pe£live circv.mflances and generations : and this was fo
difpenfed to them, as that they might have frelh confo-
lation and fupport as their occafions required. Whilfl the
church of old was under this difpenfation, they were ilill
hearkening in hopes to hear new tidings from heaven for
their teaching and refrelhment. And if any difficulty
befell them, they were fure not to want relief in this
V:ind ; which appears to have been a procedure equally
proper and necellary, before the final hand was fet to the

And this difcovcrs the w^ocful (late of the prcfent Jews.
They maintain that divine revelation is not perfected ;
and yet, notwithilanding all their miferics, darkncfs, and
diftrcffes, they dare not pretend that they have heard one
\Nord from heaven thefe two thoufand years ! that is,
from the davs of Malachi ; but (awful ftate ') they flill
labour to keep tiie veil upon their eyes.

§ 31. Ohf. 4. '* We may fee hence the abfolute per-
fc6\ion of the revelation made by Chrifl and his apoiUcs,
as to every end and purpol'e whatever, for which God
ever did or ever will reveal himfclf to mortals.'* For as
this was the iq/i way and means that God ever defigncd
for that intcrcfling purpofc, ib the pcrfon by whom he
accomplifhcd this work makes it indifpcnfably nccefTary,



that it be alio abfolutely perfeft ; from whicli nothing
can be taken, and to which nothing mu ft be added, under
the penalty of tliat extermination threatened to all that
will not attend to the voice of that prophet.

§ 32. Obf. 5. *' The Lord Jefus Chrift who is the
great prophet of his church under the New Teftament,
the only revealer of the will of the Father, as the Son
and wifdora of God, made the worlds and all things
contained in them." And herein we have.

An illuflrious teftimony given to the eternal Godhead
and power of the Son of God, for * he who made all
* things is God,' as the apoftle elfewhere affirms ; and,
to the equity of his being made heir, Lord and judge
of all. No creature can decline the authority, or
wave the tribunal of him that made them all. And,
a firm bafis for faith, hope, patience, and contentment
is adminiftered to the faints in all difpenfations. He
w^ho is their Redeemer, he who bought them with his
blood, hath all that intereft in all the things wherein
they are concerned, that the fovereign right of crea-
tion can afford him ; befides that grant which is made
to him for this very end, that they may be difpofed of
for his own glory to their advantage, [Ifaiah iv. 4, 5.]
From this order of things, that Chrift as the eternal Son
of God, having made the worlds, hath them and all things
in them put under his power as mediator and head of the
church ; we may fee in what fubferviency to the intereft
of the faints of the Moft High, the whole creation is
placed. And, hence we learn the way of obtaining a fane-
lificd intereft in, and a right ufe of all created things ;
namely, not to receive them merely on the general ac-
count as made by the Son of God, but on the more fpe-
cial account of their being granted Kim as mediator of the

^33' ^V' ^' ** From the apoftle's defign in this
whole difcourfe we may farther learn, that God in infi-
nite wifdom ordered all things in the firft creation, fo
as that the whole might be fubfcrvicnt to the glory of his
grace in the new creation by Jefus Chrift." By the Son



he mndc the world in the l)cgliinliig of time, that in the
fulncfs of time he might be the juft heir and Lord of all.
The Jews have a laying, that, *' the world was made
for tlie Mclhah ;" which is thus far ttuc, that all things
were originally made and ordered, fo that God might be
cverladingly glorified in the work which the Mclhali was
to accomphlh. Hence the apoftlc John, in the begin-
ning of his gofpel, brings both the creations together ;
the firft by the eternal word, abfolutely ; the other by
liim as incarnate, that the fuitablencfs and correfpondency
of all things in them, might be evident. AH things at
:firft were made by him ; that when they were loil, ruined,
fcattcrcd, they mij}ht again, in the appointed feafon, be

* gathered together into one head' in liim. The apoftlc
declares not only that all things were made h\- him, bjt
alfo for him ; fo made for him, that he might be the
head of the body of the church, that is, that he might
be the fupreme liead and original fountain of the new
creation as he had been of the old. And the end and de- of God in the whole of this myfterious plan, was,
that the Son might have the pre-eminence in all things.

§ 34. It is not for ns to inquire much into the par-,
ticular reafon of this oecanomy ; for * who can by fearch-

* ing find out God, who can iind out the Almighty unto

* protection r' [Jobxi. 7.] It may fuffice us, tliat he dif-
pofcth of all things * according to the counlcl of his own

* will.' [Ephcf. i. 12. J This, antecedently to tiic con-
fidcration of its effects, we cannot, we may not fearch
into. [Dcut. xxix. 29.] The effc(5^s and cojifcqunices of
his infinitely holy and wife counfel^ wherein his glory
fliincs fortli to his creatures, we may confider and contem-
plate, and rejoice in the light that they will afford us
into the trcafurcs gf thefc counfels thcmfclves. Now
lie re in we fee,

I. That it was the eternal defign of God, the whole
creation Ihould be put in fubje^ion to the Word incar-
nate. * God hatli highly exalted him, and given him

* a name which is above cvcrv name, that at the name of

* Jcfus every knee Ihould bow, of things in heaven, and

* things


* things in the earth, and things under the earth ; and

* that every tongue fliould confefs, that Jelus Clirill

* is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.' [PhiL
ii. 9 — II.] God hath put all things whatever in lub-
je£lion to him, [fee I. Cor. xv. 24. Heb. ii. 8. Rom.
xlv. II.] Hence John fa v^ every creature which Is in
-heaven and earth, and under the earth, and fuch as arc
in the fea, afcribing * bleffing and glory and honour*

* and power unto the Lamb for ever and ever,' [Reveh
V. 13.] that is, avowing their duty and fubjedion to him.

^35. 2» God defigned from eternity that his great
and everlafting glory lliould arife from the new creation^
and the work thereof. Herein hath he ordered all things;

* to the praife of the glory of his grace.' [Ephcf. i. 6.]
It is true the works of the old creation did fet forth the
glory of God, [Pfalm xix. i.] they manifefted his eternal
power and godhead, [Rom. i. 20.] but God had not re-
folved, ultimately, to commit the manifeftation of his
glory to thofe works, though verv glorious ; and therefore
did he fufFer fin to enter into the world, which utterly
ilained the beauty of it, and brought it wholly under the
curfe. But he never fuffeted any I'pot or {lain to come-
upon the work of the new creation, [l^phef. v. 6.] no-
thing that might in the leaft defeat, eclipfe, or impair the
glory that he intended fliould accrue to hiliifelf thereby.
God hath fo ultimately laid up his glory in the new crea-
tion, as that he will not lofe any thing of that, which
alfo is due to him from the old : but neither will he re-
ceive it from thence, but as it is transferred into a fubfer-
viency to the work of the new. Now God ordered all
things fo, as that this might be effefted witliout force*
coadtlon, or wrefting of the creation befides its own order.
And is there any thing more natural and proper, than that
the world Ihould come into fubjedllon to him by whom
it was made ? And this I take to be the meaning of what
the apoftle fays about the bondage and liberty of the crea-
ture, which we have, [Rom. viii.- 19 — 22.] He tells u.s
tiiat the creature itfelf had a dclire after the manifeftation



of the Sons of CiucI, or the bringing forth of the king-
dom of Chrift in glory and power, and gives this reafon
for it, hccaufc it is brought into a condition of vanity,
corruption, and bondage ; wlierein it did, as it were, un-
willingly abide, and groaned to be delivered from it.
That is, by the entrance of fin, the creation was brought
into that condition wherein it could not anfwer its pri-
mitive end, to declare the glory of God, that he might
be worlhippcd and honoured as God ; but was left, ef-
pccially the earth and its inhabitants, to be a ftage on
which men ad their enmity againll God, and a means
for the fulfilling their filthy lulls. This flate being pre-
ternatural, occafional, and forced, the creation is faid to
dillike it, to groan under it, to hope for deliverance ;
doing that according to its nature, which it w-ould do vo^
iuntati/y, were it endowed with a rational undcrfland-
ing. But, faith the apoftlc, there is a better condi-
tion for this creation, after which, vvhilil: it was afar ojf,
it * put out its head,* as if in anxious expcdtation. \\ hat
is this better ftate ? Why the *' glorious liberty of the
Sons of God," the new flate and condition that all things
are rcflored to for the glory of God by Jefus Chrifl. The
creation hath as it were a natural propcnlitv, yea a long-
ing to come into a fubjeclion to Chrift, as that which
retrieves and frees it from the vaiiity, bondage, and cor-
ruption into which it was caft, when put out of its
firll order by fin. And this arifeth from that plot and
dcfign which God firft laid in the creation of all things ;
that they being made bv the Son, Hiould naturally and
willingly, as it were, give up tlicmfclves in obedience to
liim, when he fliould take the rule of them upon the new
account of his mediation. Moreover,

§ 36. God would hereby inftru£l us in the ufe and
improvcnufif we are to make of his cicatum to his glory ;
for it is his will, that we ihould not ufe any thing as
merely made by him, lecing, as they are now in fa£l lo
let'i, they are under the curfc, and thcicforc arc impure
and unclean to them that ufe them, [Tit. i. 15.] but he
would have us look upon them and receive tliem as they



are given over to ChrilT:. For the apoftle in his applica-
tion of the eighth Pfahn to the Lord Mcffiah [chap. ii.
6 — 8.] manifefls, that even the bcails of the field, on
which we live, are transferred in a peculiar manner to his
dominion : and he lays our intercll: in them, as to a clear,
profitable, and fandtified ufe, in the new ll:ate of things
brouglit in by Chrifl, [I. Tim. iv. 4 — 8.] * Every creature

* of God is good, and nothing to be refufcd, if it be re-

* ceived with thankfgiving ; for it is fandlified by the
' word of God and prayer.' The v/hole myftery of lay-
ing the works of the old creation in a fubferviency to the
new being hid from many ages and generations, even from
the foundation of the world, men by the efe^s which
they faw, concluded, that there was an eternal power and
infinite wifdom whereby they were produced. But when
any lb all by faith perceive and confider, that the produc-
tion of all things is originally beholden to the Son of
God ; that the world was made to this very end and pur-
pofe, that, he being afterwards incarnate for our redemp*
tion, they might all be put in fubjedion to him ; they
cannot but be raviflied with admiration of the power, wif-
dom, goodnefs, and love of God, in this holy, wife, beau-
tiful difpofition of all his works and ways !

The moil reafonable and intelligible way of confidering
the order of God's decrees, is that which refers them to
the two general heads which all rational agents refpe£l in
their purpofes and operations ; namely, thofe of the Iq^
endy and the means conduc'mg thereunto. Now the utmoft
end of God, in all his ways towards the fons of men,
being the manifeflation of his own glory, by way of
mercy and juftice, whatever tendeth thereunto, is alfo
jointly to be looked upon as one entire means tending to
that end. The works therefore of the old and new crea-
tion being of this fort — one joint and general mean for
compaffing the afore -mentioned end — nothing can hinder
but that they may have that refpe£t to each other w^hich
we have before declared.

Vol. II. F Verse


Verse 3.


§ I . The fuhje^ propofcd, § 2. (I.) A defcription of
Chr'iJ} as to ivhat he is in him f elf. And^ i . To what of
Chrijl this dcjcription belongs. § 3, 4. 2. The particu-
lar meaning of the cxprejfions. § 5, 6. (II.J irhat
Chrif doth and has done. And, I . He upholds and rules
oil things by the word of his power, § 7. 2. He hath
by himf elf purged our fins. § 8, 9. (III.) ffhathecn-
joyclh as the confequcnce of both. § lO — 1 8. (IV.)

§ I. A HE apofllc proceeds in the dcfcriptioii of the
pcrfoii in whom God fpake in the gofpel revelation, af«
ccnding to fuch a maiiitcftation of him, as that they
might uiulcriland liis cmincncy above all formerly em-f
ployed in limilar miniflration ; as alio how he was point-
ed out by iundry types and figures under the Old Tcfla-
mcnt. Of this defcriptlon there are three parts ; the firll
declaring what he is — the fecond, what he do:h or did —
and the third, as the confequent of both, what he en-
joyi th.

§ 2. (1.) We begin with the dcfcription given us of
Chriil, as to what he is in himfclf. And here a double dif-
ficulty prcfcnts itfclf ; to what of Chrijl this dcfcription

belongs ;

Ver.3. epistle to THE HEBKtvvb. 33

belongs ; and what is the particular meaning of the ex-

I. To zvhat nature^ ov u-hat of ChrijI this defcription
belongs. I fliall not examine in particular the reafons
that are alledged for feveral interpretations ; but onlypro-
pofe and confirm that fenfe of the place which on full
and due coniideration appears agreeable to the analogy of
faith, as expreflly anfwering the apoftle's defign. To this
end the following politions are to be obferved :

(i.) It is not the dire£l and immediate defign of the
apoille to treat abfolutely of either ?7atw'e of Chrifl, his
divine or human ; but only of his pejfon. Hence though
feme of the things mentioned may belong to or be the
properties of his divine nature and fome of his human,
yet neither of them is fpokcn of as fuch, but are all con-
lidered as belonging to his perfon, of which he treats pro-

(2.) That which the apoflle principally intends with
refped to the perfon of Chrifl, is to fet forth his dignity ^
pre-eminence, and exaltation above all ; and that not only
confequentially to his difcharge of the ofhce of mediator,
but alfo antecedently, in his w^orth, ability, and fuitable-
nefs to undertake and difcharge it, which in a great mea-
fure depended on his divine nature.

(3.) As none of thefe exprefTions, efpecially in their
prefent connexion, are ufed concerning any other but
Chrifl alone ; fo they plainly exprefs things that are more
fublimc and glorious, than can by fcripture rules, or the
analogy of faith, be afcribed tq any mere creature however
exalted. Unto God afking that queflion, " Whom will
ye compare to me and whom will you liken unto me ?"
We cannot anfwer of any who is not God by nature, that
he is " the brightnefs of his glory, and the exprefs image
of his perfon."

(4.) Though the defign of the apoflle in general be to
fliew how the Father declared himfclf to us in the Son i
yet this could not be done without manifefling what the
fon is in himfclf and in reference to the Father. The

f 2 woi-d!?



words cxprcfs him fuch an one, as in whom the infinite
fcftions and excellencies of God arc revealed to us.

( c.) There is nothing in thcfe words that is not appli-
cable to the divine nature of Chrift. He is in his perfoii
diflinfl from the Father, another, not the Father ; but
yet the fame in nature and all glorious properties and ex-
cellencies. This onenefs in nature, and di{lin£lion ia
pcrfon, may be well Ihadowcd out by thefe exprcllions,
he is ** the brightnefs of his glory and the exprefs image
of his perfon." The bold curiofity of the fchoolmen and
fomc others, in exprelTnig the manner of the generation of
the Son by fimilitudes, is intolerable. Nor are the rigid
impojittons of thofe words and terms, which they or others
have invented to exprefs tiiis profound myftery, of any
better nature. Yet I confefs, that fuppofing with fome
the apoftle intends by *' the brightnefs of glory," to fet
forth to us the relation of the Son to the Father, by an
allulion to tht fun and its bcamsy fome relief may thence
be derived to our weak underftandings, in the contempla-
tion of this myflcry ; provided we obfervc that one known
rule whofe ufe Chrysostom urgeth in this place, namc-
Iv, ** That in the ufc of fuch allufions, every thing of
imperfection is to be removed in their application to God."
To fay that there is only an allufion in the words, and
that the Son is not properly, but by a metaphor, the
*' brightnefs of glory," is to teach the apoflle to exprefs
himfclf in the things of God. For my part, I undcr-
fland as much of the natuic, glory, and properties of the
Son by this cxprcllion, " He is the brightnefs of glory,"
as I do by any of the mod; accurate cxprclTions whicl>
have been arbitrarily invented to lignify the fame thing.
This, and this alone, is clearly iiitcndcd f-)y them — that
lie ifi one diftin£l from God the Father, related unto him,
and partaker of his glory.

(6.) Thefc things being promifcd, wc may difccrn the
general import of the expreilions. The words themfelves
being no where elfc ufcd in fcripturc, we may receive fomc
light from thofe in other places which are nearefl allied
tn t'.un'. Such arc tbcfc and the like: * We >»ave feen

* his

Ver.3. epistle to THE HEBREWS. 35

* his glory, the glory of the only Son of God,* [John i.
14.] ' He is the image of the invihble God/ [Col. i. 15.]

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