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

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This truth prcfcnts itftlf to us from the ufc of the word^
in the Pfnlm from wliich they arc taken. The PfalmJLll
under the confideration of his own frailty and mortality,
Tclieves himfclf with the thoughts of the omnipotence aiu\
eternity of tlic divine Redeemer. ^lan wa^ fo created at


iirft as that every thing in God was fuited to be his re-
ward and fatisfadtion ; but this being wholly loll by fin,
and the whole reprefentation of God to man becoming
full of dread and terror, all gracious intercourfc in fpccial
love on the part of God, and all fpiritual obedience ou
the part of man, were inevitably intercepted. But again
God defigning to take finners into communion with him-
felf, in their love and obedience, it muft be by reprcfcHtln^
unto them his blelfed properties, as fuited to their en-
couragement, fatisfadlion, and reward, which he does in
Chrift. And without fuch a reprefentation in him no
rational ground of communion is conceiveable.

§ 9. Obf. 2. The old creation, even the mofl glorl-*
©us parts of it^ haftening to its period, at leall with re-
gard to its prefent ufe, calls upon us not to fix our hearts
on the fmall perifhing fhares which we have therein, ef-
pecially iince we have him who is omnipotent and eternal
for our inheritance- The figure or fafhion of this world,
its prefent lovely appearance, the apoftle tells us, is paffing
away, is haftening to its period ; it is a fading dying
thing, and therefore can yield us no true fatisfaftion.
Such is the frailty of the nature of man, and fuch the pe
rifhing condition of all created things, that none can ever
obtain the leaft ftable confolation, but what arifeth from
an intercft in the omnipotency, fovereignty, and eternity
of the Lord Chrift. Where fhall man, this poor crea-
ture fo frail in itfelf, in its aftings, in its enjoyments,
fcek for reft, and fatisfad^ion ? In this alone, that * the
' word of the Lord abides for ever ;' the Lord Jefus
Chrift as preached in the gofpel.

§ 10. Man was made for eternity. He was not called
out of nothing to return to it again* When he once is — •
he is for ever. God made him for his eternal glory,
and gave him therefore a fubfiftence without end. He is
confcious of this condition. Men find a witncfs in them-
felvcs, fomewhat ajjhres them of an after-reckoning ; and
that the things they now do w^ill be called over in ano-
ther world. Hence the children of men out of Chrift are
cxpofcd to a twofold trouble and perplexity ; for tlieir



AN EXPOSltlOK OF Ti-IE Ck\\>.l,

eternal fuhfiilence, as to the crijoymcnt of good or bad,
depends upon their prcitnt lite, which is fraiJ, fading,
and pcriihing : and yet no perifhing thing will atford
them rcHef or fupport in this condition. And indeed iiow
Ihould it ? They and thefe are parting every moment,
and that for eternity. And what comfort is there in a
perpetual taking leave of things that are beloved ? Yet
fuch is the life of man, every one mult allow, as to all
earthly enjoyments. It is but a parting with what a maa
hath ; and the longer he is about it, the more trouble he
'hath with it. Created enjoyments will not contiiuie our
lives licrc, becaufe of cur frailty ; they will not accom-
pany us into eternity becaufe of tlieir own frailty ; we
change and they change ; we arc vanity and they are no
better. But an intereft in the omnipotency, fovereignty,
and eternity of the Lord Chrift, will yieI4 a foul relief
and fatisfadion even in this condition ; having tbat in
•them, which is fuitcd to relieve us under our prefent
frailty, and to give us fatisfaclion during our future ever-
lafling exigence. In Chrilt we have liability and un-
changeablenefs : though zve dye, yet he dieth not , and
• becaufe he liveth we fhall live alfo.' But Oh ! the
inifery of thofe who have no intereft in him ; and have
therefore nothing to confole themfelves with againft the
evils of anv condition. AH their hopes are in this life,
and from its flattering but delufive enjoyments ; wlie?i
thefe are once paft, they will be eternally, and univerfally
mifcrable ; miferable beyond our exprelhon or their own
apprcheniion. And what is this life r a vapour that ap-
peareth for a little while, and then vanifheth away. \\ hat
are the cnjovments of this life r dying perilhing things ;
and, with rcfpeft to them, fuel to lu/I, and fo to hell.
h>urcly the contentment that a dying man can take in
dving things is very contemptible in itfeli', and au awful
indicatioii of everlalVing dlfnppointmcnt.



Verse 13.


§ I. Introdu^'ion. § 2 — 5. The words explained. § 6
— 9. (I.) Who are the enemies of Chriji, and how they
are to he made his footjiool. § lO, 11. (II.) By whom
they Jhall be Jo made. § I2, 13. Inferences.

§ I. 1 HE ufefulnefs of this teftimony for confirming
the dignity and authority of the Meffiah, appears by the
frequent quotation of it in the New Teflament. See par-*
ticularly Matt. ^xii. 44.

In the interrogation, a vehement negation is included ;
he faid not at any time to any of the angels : he never
fpeak thefe words or the like concerning them ; there is
no teftimony to that purpofe recorded in the whole book
of God, the only means of fuch knowledge, and rule of
our faith, in fuch things. The manner of the expref-
lion puts an emphafis on the denial ; and he makes appli-
cation of this teftimony to every angel in heaven, feve-
raliy confidcred. For whereas he had before fufficiently
proved the pre-eminence of the Meftiah above the angels
in general; to obviate any remaining obje6lion that might
be left in rcfcrve, he applies the prefent teftimony to every
one of them fingly and individually. ' Unto which of
* the angels faid he at any time ?* That the teftimony it-
fclf clearly proves the intendment of the apoftlc, provided
the words are juftly applied, (and furcly no Chriftian will
deny that) is beyond all exception. For they contain an
eloginm, an aftignation of honour and glory, beyond what-
ever was or can be afcribcd to any angel whatever,

yOL= II. O ^2,


§ 2. * Tlie Lord faid unto my Lord.' ^ In the Greek
both the pcrfon fpeakhig and the perlbn fpoken to, are
expreffed by tha fame name, (KvDiog) Lord; but in the
Hebrew they have different denominations. The perfon
ipeaking is Jehovah, that is, God the Father ; for
though this name be often ufed where the Son is diflindlly,
fpoken of, yet where Jehovah fpeaketh to the Son, or of
liim, as here, it is the perfon of the Father that is deno-
ted* The perfon fpoken to therefore is the Son ; (tn«)
the Z5;y/, David's Lord. In rei'pe6l of his divine nature,
being of the fame efkiice, power, and glorv, with the Fa-
ther, he is, abfolutely confidered, capable of no fubordi-
naiion or exaltation ; vet, oeconomlcally, the eternal Son
of God J?umhlcd himfclf, and emptied himfelf of this glory ;
[Phil. ii. 7, 8.] not properly by parting with it, but by
the affumption of human nature into perfonal union with
himfelf; being thus made flcfh, [ John i. 14.] wherein
liis eternal glory was clouded for a feafon, [John xviii. 5.]
and liis perfon humbled to the difcharge of thofe media-
torial afts which were to be performed in the human na-
ture, (Phil. ii. 9, 10.) But we mud carefully obferve,
that the pcrfon of Chriil is here addreffcd, not in rcfpeft
of his divine nature only, which is not capable of exalta-
tion or glory by way of free donation; nor in rcfpc£l of
liis human nature only, which does not conllitute exclu-
fively the Jsing and head of the church ; but with refped
to his whole perfon complexly, wherein the divine nature,
exerting its power and glory with the underllanding and
will of the human nature, is the prbiciple of thofe acls,
whereby ChriO: rulclh over all in the kingdom given him
of his Father, (Rev. i. 17, 18.) as he was God, he was
David's Lordy but not his i'o;/, as he was man, he was Da-
vid's fon, and fo abfolutely could not be his Lord. In
his perfon god-man he was his Lord and his Son : which
is the import of our Saviour's queftion. Matt. xxii. 4,

§ 3. The nature of this fpeaking, or when God faid it,
fccms to intend — the original deerec of God concerning the
exaltation of the Son incarnate. So David calls this worci
tJic decree, the flatute or eternal appointment of God,



[Pfalin ii. 7.] — The eternal covenant between the Father
and the Son concerning the work of mediation — The de-
claration of this decree and covenant in the prophecies and
proniifes given out concerning their accomplifhment and
execution from the foundation of the world, [Luke i. 40.
L Pet. i. II, 12. Gen. iii. 15.] ' Ke faid it by the

* mouth of his holy prophets which have been fuice the

* world began.' — The aftual accompUJhmcnt of them all,
when upon the refurreftion of Chrill, and the fulfilling of
his work of humiliation, God aftually inveilcd him with
the prom i fed glory.

§ 4. Hence the manner of exprefTion, * Sit thou at my

* right hand.' It has the force of a promlfc^ having a re^
fpedl to the decree, covenant, and declaration thereof frorp
the foundation of the world ; and God engaging his faith-
fulnefs and power to it in the appointed fcafon, fpeaks
concerning it as a thing inflantly to be done. And as
thofe words refpeft the glorious accomplifliment of the
thing itfelf, (o they denote the acquiefcence of God in the
work of Chrift, and his authority in his glorious exalta-
tion. The ' fitting, at the right hand of God,' hath been
explained before, [verfe 3.] In brief, it is the exaltation
of Chrift into the glorious adminiftration of the kingdom
granted him, with honour, fecurity, and power ; or in
one word^ as our apoftle exprefles it, ' his reigning,' [I.
Cor. XV. 25.] ' For he muft re'ign^ till he hath put all his

* enemies under his feet.'

§. 5. There is in the words the end aimed at in this fit-
ting down at the right hand of God, and that is, the
' making of his enemies his footftool.' This is promifed
him as the exalted Saviour and Sovereign. For the open-^
ing of thefe words we muft inquire,

I. Who are thefe enemies of Chrift, and how they are
to be made his footftool. And,

II. By whom.

§ 6. (I.) We have already fliewn, that it is the glorious
exaltation of Chrift in his kingdom that is here fpoken of;
and therefore the enemies intended muft be the enemies of
his kingdom, or ratherenemies to him in his kingdom. Now

O 2 the


the kingdom of Chrift maybe conficlcrcd cither \i\ refpci^
of the IiUernal fpiritual power and efficacy ot it, in the
hearts of his fubjc<Sls ; or, with rel'peft to the outward
glorious adminillration of it in the world ; and in both
thefc rcfpc£ls it hath enemies in abundance ; all and every
one of which muft be made his footllool. We Ihall con-
fidcr them apart. The kingdom or reigning of Chrifl,
in the firll fenie, confirts in his authority and power,
which he employs for the converfion, fanftification, and
falvation of his eleft. As he is their king he quickens
them by his fpirit, fan6lities them by his grace, prefcrves
them by his faithfulnefs, raifeth them from the dead at the
lall: day by his power, and glorioufly rewardeth them ia
bis righteoufncfs to all eternity.

§ 7. In this work the great MefTiah has many enemies ;
fm, S^tan, the world, death, the grave, and hell : all
thcTe are enemies to the work and kingdom of Chrill,
and confcquently to his perfon, as having undertaken;
that work. — Sin is iiniverfally and in its whole nature
liis enemy ; hence it is, that ilnncrs and enemies are the
fame, [Rom. v. 8. 10.] It is that which makes a fpccial,
dircft, and immediate oppofition to the quickening, fanc-
titying, and faving of his people — Satan is the fvvorn
enemy of Chrift ; the adverfary that openly, conftantly,
and avowedly oppofeth him in his throne. And he ex-
erts his enmity by temptations, accufations, and periecu-
tions, all which are the work of an enemy. — The %vorld
is alfo a profeiTed enemy of the kingdom of Chrift, [John
XV. 18.] The things of it, as under the curie and fubjcdl
to vanity, are fuitcd to alienate the hearts of men from
Chrift, and fo to a^ as enemies againft him. The men
ot the world aft tlie fame part ; by their examples, their
temptations, their reproaches, their pcrfccutions, or by
their allurements, they make it tlicir bufmefs to oppofc
the Meifiah's kingdom. — Death is alfo an enemy, and fo
it is cxprellly called, [I. Cor. xv. 26.] for it comes to exe-
cute the firft curfe and judicial fcntencc even uponbelievers.
- — The graze alfo is aii adverfary s it fights againft the faith
of the fubjefts of Chrift, by reducing their mortahty


Ver.13. Epistle to the Hebrews.


into corruption, and holding faft the dead until they ar^
J)Ovvertuny rclcued from the jaws of it. — Finally : Hell
Is that enemy in a fubordination to which all thcfe otlicrs
aft. They all bring men into hell ; which is an eternal
enemy where it prevails. This attends the workings of
thofe other adverfaries to confume an.d deflroy, of it were
polTible, the whole inheritance of Chrift, [Rev. vi. 8.]
All thefe, we may jilftly fay, are enemies to the Redeemer
in his work and kingdom, w^ith v^hatever contributes to
their afhftance, in purfuit of their enmity.

§ 8. Now all thefe enemies, as far as they oppofe tlis
fpiritual and eternal advancement of the work of Chrill,
muft be made ' the footftool of his feet.' The cxprellion
is metaphorical, and is to be interpreted and applied va-
rioufly, according to the nature and condition of the ene-
mies with whom he has to do. The allulion, in general,
IS taken from what was done by Jolhua his type, towards
the enemies of his people, [Jofliua x- 24.] To ihew the
ruin of their power and his abfolute prcvalency againll
them, he caufed the people to fet their feet upon their
necks, [fee II. Samuel xxii. 39. Pfalm viii. 6.] 7'o have
his enemies then brought * under his feet,' is to have an
abfolute and corhplete conqueft over them ; and their
being made * his footftool,' their perpetual and unchange-
able duration in that condition, under the weight of
whatever burden he lliall be pleafed to lay upon them.
And this is accomplished in various refpefts :

1. McriioriQiifly : by his death and blood-fliedding he
hath procured the fentence of condemnation to he pro-
nounced againft them ; fo that their rigjit to exert their
enmity againft him, or his, no more exifts. He \\2X\\
given them all their death wounds, and leaves them to
die at his pleafurc.

2. Exemplary : all thefe adverfaries cxcrcifed, in a pc-
cuhar manner, their enmity againft him, and tried all
their ftrength. Now he abfolutely conquered all them
in his own perfon ; and in his own perfon hath he {itt
an example of what Hiall be done in behalf of the whole

3. Eff..

too An exposition of the Chap.J;

']. EJJictcntly : when he unites any to himfelf, hc^ be-
gins the conqucfi: oF all his enemies, giving them a right
to the complete, total, and final vidlory over them all.
He gradually carries them on towards perfection, treading
down their enemies under them. When having freed
them from the law, and fin, trodden down Satan, pre-
vailed againil the world, recovered them from death, ref-
cued them from the grave, and delivered them from hell,
he fhall be himfelf perfectly vidorious in them, and they
made complete fharers in his vidory.

§ 9. The kingdom of Chrift, in the next place, (fee
§ 6.) may be confidercd with refpe6l to the external ad-
miniftration of it in this world ; which alfo, with the
oppoiition made to it, is intended in this palTage. God
the Father, in the exaltation of Jcfus Chrift, hath given
to him * all nations for his inheritance, and the utter-

* molt parts of the earth for his polTcffion, [Pfalm ii. 8.]
Upon this grant a right enfued, to call^ gather, and erefV
his church, in any nation or part of the w^orld ; to give
to it his laws and ordinances of worfliip. Alfo a right
and authority to difpofe of all nations and perfons, for the
good and advantage of his kingdom. Now in purfuit of
his afferting \\\U grant and right, great oppofition is made
to him by all forts of perfons, inftigated thereunto by
Si^tan. The world undcrftands not his right, hates his
government, aiul would not have him to reign : but
hitherto his kingdom and intereil iii the world hath been
maintained againft all ihcir enmity and oppofition, and
themfclves brought to dtftru£\ion one after another ; {o by
virtue of this proniilc he Ihall reign in fccurity and glory,
until all their hearts be broken, their ftrcngth ruined,
and themfclves brought ' under his feet.* Now,

§ 10. (II.) We arc to confider by wJyom thefc enemies
of Chrift Ihall be made thus his footftool : ' I will make

* them,' faith God the Father. It is not the work of
Chrift himfelf, to ful)duc and conquer his enemies : Is it
not faid, that he fliall do fo ? We reply ; that work which
is immediately wrought by the Son, may, as here, by
way of cmincncy be afcrlbcd to the Father. Power and



authority to fubdue and conquer his enemies, is given to
the Lord Chrift by the Father as a rcvjard ; it is therefore
fsiid to be his work, becaufe the authority for it is from
lijm, {fee Ifaiah iii. 12.] Befides, the work of fubduing
enemies is itfelf a work of power and authority, Now
in the oeconomy of ^the bleiTed Trinity, the works of
power and authority are peculiarly afcribed to the Father ;
as thofe oi wifdom are to the Son, who is the eternal
wifdom of the Father. And on this account the fame
\yorks are afcribed to the Father and th^i Son. But the
Son alfo, confidered as mediator, receives and holds his
kingdom by grant from his Father, to whom therefore
this work of fubduing enemies may be afcribed.

§ 1 1. The laft thing is the limitation of this all conquer-
ing work (:u» iwg- cAv) until \ * until I make thine enemies,'
&c. The Son of God fliali continue eternally in the
e^fl^ential and natural dominion he has over all creatures,
and they in their dependence upon him and fubjedlion tQ
Lira. But as to the oeconomical kingdom of Chrift over
the church, and ail other things for its protedlion and
f^lvation, the immediate ends of it will ceafe, and all
his faints being faved, all his Sons brought to glory, all enemries fubdued ; the end of that rule, which con-
fided in the guidance and protciftlon of the one, the re-
flraint and ruin of the other, mufl neceffarily ceafe. The
Lord Jefus, however, fliall not fo leave his kingdom at
the lail day, as that the Father Ihould take upon himfelf
the adminiflratlon of it. Upon the giving up of the
kingdom, whatever it be, the apoftle doth not fay, the
Father fhall rule, or reign, as though he Ihould exercifc
tiie fame kingdom ; but that ' God Ihould be all in all ;*
that is — God, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghoft, without
the ufe or intervention of fuch ways or means as were
in ufe before, during the full continuance of the difpenfa-
;iLory kingdom of Chrili, Ihall fill and fatlsfy all his faints,
ihall fupport and difpofc of the remnant of creation. —
Moreover: this ceafing of the kingdom of Chrift is no
way derogatory to his glory, or the perpetuity of his
kingdom ; no more than his ceafing to intercede for his



people is to the perpetuity of his priefthood, which is con-
firmtd to him hy oath. — -The kingdom of Chrii\ may be
fzid to abide for ever, in that all his faints and angels lliall
eteiTially adore and worfhip him on account of the glory
which he hath received as the king and head of the church ;
and in that all the faints Ihall abide in their ftate of union
to God, through him as their head. God communica-
ting o( his fiilnefs to tliem in this way, will be the me-
diator's eternal glory, when all his enemies fhall be his
foQttlool. Befides, as the righteous judge of all, he fhall
continue, and that to all eternity, the punilLment of his

§ 12, Hence we may iiifer the following remarks,

1. The authority of God the Father in the exaltation
of jefus Chriil as the head and mediator of the church,
is greatly to be regarded by believers. ' Sit thou. on my
•^ right hand.* Much of the confolation and fecurity of
the church depends on this coniideration.

2. The exaltation of Chrift is the great /)/^^^f of his ac-
ceptance as the furety of the church. Now, faith God,
* fit thou an my right hand ;* the work is done wherein
my foul is well pleafed.

3. Chrift hath manv enemies to his kingdom ; I, faith
God, will deal with all of them.

4. The kingdom and rule of Chrift is perpetual and
abiding, notwithftanding all the oppofition that is made
againft it. His enemies rage, at leaft,fomctimes, as tliough
they would pull him out of his throne. Frultlefs rage I
He hath the faithfulnefs and power, the word niul right
hand of Jehovah, for the fecurity of his kingdom.

5. The end to which the Lord Jefus Chrift will af-
fu redly bring all his enemies, (tremendous yet delighful
thought ?) (hall be to them miferable and ihamcful, to the
faints Iiappy and jovful, to himfclf victorious and triumph-
ant. Yes, ruin to enemies, jov to faints, and glory to
Chrift, will be the momciUous ilTue of all the world's en-
mity and oppolltion I I'hcy come upon the breadth ot the
eartii, ?ud compafs the camp of the faints, and the beloved
city, [Rev. XX. 9.] They go about their work as if they

2 W0UI4


would accomplifh it in a day ; and what is the ifTue ?
The city which they look on as an unvvallcd town, no
way defenfible or tenable, is not yet taken ; no, nor
never fhall be, but they fall before it, one after another,
and their bones lie under the walls of the city they op-
pofe. Difappointment, fliame, and everiafting punilh-
ment is their portion. The people they affail nave their
habitation in a rock. This pledge we have already, that
all who have formerly rifen up in enmity to the kingdom
of Chriil: are dead, gone, periihed under his feet, and have
left their work undone ; as far from accomplifliment as
the firft day they undertook it. The fame fliall be the lot
of thofe that are, and thofe that follow, to the end of the
world. And when they have all done their utmofl, thea
Ihall the end be ; then fliall all their mifery be completed,
ttie joy of the faints filled, and the glory of Chrili ever-
laflingly exalted. Oh ! joyful profpeft to the opprefled
righteous ; all the Nimrods of the earth, that have op-
pofed the kingdom of Chrifl, lying in fliame ? id mifery,
with their necks under the footllool of his feet 1 And
the like profpe£l mr.v they take of what is to come ; they
may by faith fee Babylon fallen, the whole confpiracy
that is in the world againfl them and their Lord dlfap-
pointed, and all his enemies that fhall arlfe, even to the
confummation of all things, brought to ruin ! He will not
fail to put forth his power in the appointed feafon ; he
will bruife them all with a rod of iron, and daiti them
in pieces like a potter's veflel. His glory and honour re-
quire it Ihould be fo. Here they reproach, blafpheme,
dcfplfe, and perfccutc him. But fhall they cfcape and
go free ? Shall they always profper ? What then would
he do to his great name ? The glory of Chrifl indifpenfa-
bly requires that there be a feafon, a day appointed for the
eternal ruin of all his llubborn adverfaries. His enemies
deferve it to the utmoll: : fo that his JuJ^ice, as well as
liis glory, his interefl, and people, is concerned in their
deflrudlion. And thus whilll God is righteous, and the
fcepter of ChrilVs kingdom a fcepter of rightcoufncfs,
themfelvcs call aloud for their own dcliruflion.

Vol. H. P Verse


Versk 14.

are they not all ministering sf»irits, sent
forth to minister for thkm who shall bf
heirs of salvation?

§ I. ConncLl'i'iu of the argument. § 2. — 5. *Thc wordy ex-
plained. § 6, 7. Obfirvatmis. § 8 — ^"14. (I.) JVhy
God ujes the m'unjiry of angels. § 15 — 25. (II.) For
ii'hat Ipecial ends, § 2 2. /Idditional ohjervations.

§ I. A HE apoftic — having proved the prc-cminenc?
ot the Son, as Mediator of the New Tcftamcnt, above all
the angels, from attributes of honour and glory that are

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