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him; by his power are they continued unto them, and all their
actions are influenced thereby. And this, as it argues an all-suffici-
ency in himself, so an absolute sovereignty over all other things.
And this should teach us our constant dependence on him and our
universal subjection unto him.

3. And this abundantly discovers the vanity and folly of them
who make use of the creation in an opposition unto the Lord Christ
and his peculiar interest in this world. His own power is the very
ground that they stand upon in their opposition unto him, and all
things which they use against him consist in him. They hold their
lives absolutely at the pleasure of him whom they oppose ; and they
act against him without whose continual supportment and influence
they could neither live nor act one moment: which is the greatest
madness and most contemptible folly imaginable.

Proceed we now with our apostle in his description of the person
and offices of the Messiah.

This beginning of the epistle, as hath been declared, contains a
summary proposition of those things which theapostie intends seve-
rally to insist upon throughout the whole ; and these all relate to
the person and offices of the Messiah, the principal subject of this
epistle. Having, therefore, first declared him to be the great pro-
phet of the new testament; and, secondly, the lord, ruler, and
governor of all things, as also manifested the equity of the grant of
that universal sovereignty unto him, from the excellency of his
person on the account of his divine nature, and the operations thereof
in the works of creation and providence ; he proceeds to finish and
close his general proposition of the argument of the epistle by a



VER 3.] EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS. 109

brief intimation of his priestly office, with what he did therein, and
what ensued thereon, in the remaining words of this verse.

And this order and method of the apostle is required by the
nature of the things themselves whereof he treats; for the work of
purging sins, which as a priest he assigns unto him, cannot well be
declared without a previous manifestation of his divine nature. For
it is "opus Qiavdpizfjv," — a work of him who is God and man; for as
God takes it to be his property to blot out our sins, so he could not
have done it " by himself" had he not been man also. And this is
asserted in the next words: —

A/' iaurou xadapuSjj^hv vor/jsd/j^svog tuv a/xapriuv ri/j^uiv — "Having by
himself purged our sins."

The Vulgar Latin renders these words, "Purgationem peccatorura
faciens," not without sundry mistakes. For, first, these words, di'
savroj, "by himself," and tj/muv, "our," are omitted; and yet the
emphasis and proper sense of the whole depend upon them.
Secondly, •xoirjsdf/.svog, "having made," is rendered in the present
tense, "making;" which seems to direct the sense of the words to
another thing and action of Christ than what is here intended.
And theretore the expositors of the Roman church, as Thomas,
Lyranus, Cajetan, Estius, Ribera, a Lapide, all desert their own
text, and expound the words according to the original. The
ancients, also as Chrysostom, Theophylact, and CEcumenius, lay the
chief weight of their whole exposition of this place on the words
omitted in that translation.

The doctrine of purging our sins by Christ is deep and large,
extending itself unto many weighty heads of the gospel ; but we
shall iollow our apostle, and in this place pass it over briefly and in
general, because the consideration of it will directly occur unto us
in our progress.

Two things the apostle here expresseth concerning the Messiah ;
and one, which is the foundation of both the other, he implieth or
supposeth : — First, He expresseth what he did, — he " purged our
sins;" Secondly, Hoiv he did it, — he did it "by himself" That which
he supposeth, as the foundation of both these, is, that he was the great
high priest of the church ; they with whom he dealt knowing full
well that this matter of purging sins belonged only unto the priest.

Here, then, the apostle tacitly enters upon a comparison of Christ
with Aaron, the high priest, as he had done before with all the pro-
phetical revealers of the will of God ; and as he named none of them
in particular, no more doth he here name Aaron: but afterwards,
when he comes more largely to insist on the same matter again, he
expressly makes mention of his name, as also of that of Moses.

And in both the things here ascribed unto him as the great high
priest of his church doth he prefer him above Aaron : — First, In that



110 AN EXPOSITION OF THE [CHAP. L

he "purged our sins/' — that is, really and effectually before God and
in the conscience of the sinner, and that " for ever ;" whereas the
purgation of sins about which Aaron was employed was in itself but
typical, external, and representative of that which was true and real :
both of which the apostle proves at large afterwards. Secondly, In
that he did it " by himself," or the offering of himself; whereas what-
ever Aaron did of this kind, he did it by the offering of the blood
of bulls and goats, as shall be declared.

And hence appears also the vanity of the gloss of a learned man
on these words. "Postquam," saith he, "morte sua causam dedisset
ejus fidei per quam a peccatis purgamur, quod nee Moses fecerat
nee prophetjB," For as we shall see that Ctirist's purging of our
sins doth not consist in giving a ground and cause for faith, whereby
we purge ourselves, so the apostle is not comparing the Lord Christ
in these words with Moses and the prophets, who had nothing to
do in the work of purging sin, but with Aaron, who by office was
designed thereunto.

Let us then see what it is that is here ascribed unto the Lord
Christ: Ka&apiaijjhv iroiriGaiMfvoi. Kadapi^u doth most
" "'" "' frequently denote 7^eal actual purification, either of
outward defilements, by healing and cleansing, as Mark i. 40, vii. 19,
Luke V. 12; or from spiritual defilements of sin, by sanctifying grace,
as Acts XV. 9, 2 Cor. vii. 1, Eph. v. 26. But it is also frequently used
in the same sense with xaSa/pu and xadulpofj^ai, "to purge by expia-
tion or atonement," as Heb. ix. 22, 23. And in the like variety is
xu6apiaf/.6g also used. But •/.a.&apisiJ.hv votrjcai, "to make a purgation,"
or purification of our sins, cannot here be taken in the first sense, for
real and inherent sanctifying: — First, Because it is spoken of as a
thing already past and perfected, " Having purged our sins," when
purification by sanctification is begun only in some, not all at any
time, and perfected in none at all in this world. Secondly, Because
he did it bi havrov, "by himself" alone, without the use or application
of any other medium unto them that are purged ; when real inherent
sanctification is with "washing of water by the word," Eph. v. 26 ; or
by "regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost," Tit. iii. 5. And
the gloss above mentioned, that Christ should purge us from our
sins in his death, by occasioning that faith whereby we are cleansed,
is excluded, as was in part showed before, by the context. That is
assigned unto the death of Christ, as done really and effectually
thereby, which was done typically of old in the legal sacrifices by
the priests; as is evident from the antitljesis couched in that expres-
sion, "By himself." But this was not the way whereby sins were of
old purged by sacrifices, — namely, by the begetting a persuasion in
the minds of men that should be useful for that purpose, — and
therefore no such thing is here intended.



VER. 3. J EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS. Ill

KcDapifffihg, then, is such a purging as is made by expiation, lus-
tration, and atonement; that is, "i3'3 or ^"1.23^ /Xaff/xog,
" propitiatio," — "atonement," "propitiation." 80 is ''"'*/'"'"'"•
that word rendered by the LXX., Exod xxix. 36: Tfj riiMipa roZ y.a-
6af>i6ixou, Q''")23Li"''y, — "the day of atonement," or "expiation." They
do, indeed, mostly render "i?>| by }Xdcy.o/j:,rxi, and i^iy.ds-MiM/,i, — "to
propitiate," "to appease," "to atone;" but they do it also l)y xa&api'Qoi,
" to purge," as Exod. xxix. 37, and chap. xxx. 10. So also in other
authors, xa^a/^/ff/Aog is used lor 7tdQap,aa^ rrsptxddap/ia; that is, " expia-
tio," " ex[)iamentum," " piaculum," — "expiation," "atonement,"
"diversion of guilt." So Lucian: 'Pi-^ofx,iv /ih avrhv rou xprifivov xa-
6apie/j,ov roZ drparou isofiivoy — "We cast him down headlong, for
an expiation of the army;" or, as one that by his death should
expiate, bear, take away the guilt of the army. And such lustra-
tions were common among the heathen, when persons devoted
themselves to destruction, or were devoted by others, to purge, lus-
trate, bear the guilt of any, that they might go free. Such were
Codrus, Menceceus, and the Decii; whose stories are known. This
purging, then, of our sins, which the apostle declareth to have
been effected before the ascension of Christ and his sitting down
at the right hand of God, consisteth not in the actual sancti-
fication and purification of believers by the Spirit, in the applica-
tion of the blood of Christ unto them, but in the atonement made
by him in the sacrifice of himself, that our sins should not be im-
puted unto us. And therefore is he said to purge our sins, and not
to purge us from our sins. And wherever sins, not sinners, are
made the object of any mediatory act of Christ, that act immedi-
ately respecteth God, and not the sinner, and intends the removal
of sin, so as that it should not be imputed. So chap. ii. 17 of
this epistle : " He is a merciful high priest," sig rh 'iXdaniaOai rdg
aiiapriag rou XaoZ, — "to reconcile the sins of the people;" that is,
iXdey.iG&ui rhv Qf.hv inpi rm diMapriojv, — " to make atonement" (or "re-
conciliation with God") "for the sins of the people." And again: "He
underwent death," ug d'jroXijTpuaiv ruv stI tt; 'Trpur'/} diaSrjxp <:rapaZdeicnv,
— " for the redemption of transgressions under the first covenant;"
that is, to pay a price for them, that transgressors might be set free
from the sentence of the law. So that Ka6apiff,whv rrcirjijd./u.ivog tjjv
d/Mapriuiv v/J^ciJv, is as much as, "Having made atonement for our sins."

And this the apostle further declareth by manifesting the way
whereb}' he did it; that is, dt' savroj, "by himself,"
— that IS, by the sacrifice and orienng 01 himself, as-
chap. ix. 12, 14; Eph. v. 2. The high priest of old made atonement,
and typically purged the sins of the people, by sacrificing of beasts
according unto the appointment of the law. Lev. xvi. ; this high
priest, by the sacrifice of himself, Isa. liii. 10; Heb. ix. 12. Of the

VOL. XII.— 8



312 AN EXPOSITION OF THE [CITAP. L

nature of propitiatory or expiatory sacrifices we must treat at large
afterwards. We keep ourselves now unto the apostle's general pro-
position, expressing briefly the sacerdotal office of Christ, and the
excellency of it, in that he really purged our sins, and that by the
sacrifice of himself And this was in and by his death on the cross,
with his antecedent preparatory sufferings. Some distinguish be-
tween his death and the oblation of himself. This, they say, he
performed in heaven, when, as the high priest of his church, he
entered into the holiest not made with hands, whereunto his death
was but a preparation. For the slaying of the beast, they say, was
not the sacrifice, but the offering of its blood upon the altar, and
the carr3Mng of it into the holy place. But this utterly overthrows
the whole sacrifice of Christ; which, indeed, is the thing by them
aimed at. It is true, the slaying of the beast was not the whole
sacrifice, but only an essential part of it ; as was also the offering of
its blood, and the sprinkling of it in the most holy place, in the
anniversary sacrifice of atonement, but not in any other. And the
reason why the whole sacrifice could not consist in any one action,
arose merely from the imperfection of the things and persons em-
ployed in that work. The priest was one thing, the beast to be
sacrificed another, the altar another, the fire on the altar another,
the incense added another, each of them limited and designed unto
its peculiar end; so that the atonement could not be made by any
one of them, nor the sacrifice consist in tliem. But now in this
sacrilice of Christ all these meet in .onCj.. because of his perfection.
He himself was both priest, sacrifice, altar, and incense, as we shall
see in our progress; and he perfected his whole sacrifice at once, in
and by his death and blood-shedding, as the apostle evidently de-
clares, chap. ix. 12, 14.

Thus by himself did Christ purge our sins, making an atonement
for them by the sacrifice of himself in his death, that they should
never be imputed unto them that believe.

And this part of this verse will afford us also this distinct obser-
vation. — So great was the work of freeing us from sin, that it
could no otherwise be effected but by the self-sacrifice of the Son
of God.

Our apostle makes it his design, in several places, to evince that
none of those things from whence mankind usually did, or might,
with any hopes or probabilities, expect relief in this case, would
yield them any at all.

The best that the Gentiles could attain, all that they had to trust
unto, was but the improvement of natural light and reason, with an
attendance unto those seeds and principles of good and evil which
are yet left in the depraved nature of man. Under the conduct
and in obedience unto these they sought for rest, glory, and immor-



VER. 3.] EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS. llj}

tality. How miserably they were disappointed in their aims and
expectations, and what a woful issue all their endeavours had, the
apostle declares and proves at large, Rom. i. 18, unto the end.

The Jews, who enjoyed the benefit of divine revelations, having
lost, for the most part, the true spiritual import of them, sought for
the samft ends by the law, and their own diligent observation of it.
They " rested in the lav/," Rom. ii. I 7, namely, that by it they should
obtain deliverance from sin and acceptance with God ; and " followed
after it," chap. ix. 31 ; that is, to attain righteousness and salvation
by it. And this seemed to be a sufficient bottom and foundation
for them to build upon; for having lost the spiritual understanding,
the use and end of the law, as renewed unto them in the cove-
nant of Horeb, they went back unto the primitive use and end of
it upon its first giving in innocency, and foolishly thought, as many
more yet do, that it would do the same things for sinners that it
would have done for men if they had not sinned in Adam ; that is,
have given them acceptance with God here and eternal lite here-
after. Wherefore the apostle in many places takes great pains to
undeceive them, to rectify their mistake, and to prove that God had
no such design in giving them the law as that which they would im-
pose upon him.

And, first, he asserts and proves in general, that the law would
deceive their expectations, that " by the deeds of the law no
flesh should be justified," Rom. iii. 20; and that it would not give
them life. Gal. iii. 21, or righteousness. And that they might not
complain that then God himself had deceived them, in giving a law
that would not serve the turn for which it was given, he declares,
secondly, that they had mistaken the end for which the law was
renewed unto them; which was, not that it might give them life,
or righteousness, but that it might discover sin, exact obedience, and
by both drive and compel them to look out after some other t!iiiig
that mioht both save them from their sin and afford them a right-
eousness unto salvatiuu. And furthermore, he, thirdly, acquaints
them whence it was that the law was become insufficient for tliese
ends; and that was, because it was become "weak through the flesh,"
Rom. viii. 3. The law was able to continue our acceptance with
God in that condition wherein at first we were created; but after
that man by sin became flesh, — to have a principle of enmity against
God in him, bringing forth the fruits of sin continually, — the law
stood aside, as weakened and insufficient to help and save such a
one. And these things the apostle expressly and carefully insists
upon in his Epistles to the Romans and Galatians.

But, thirdly, Though the law, and an earnest endeavour after
the observation of it in general, would not serve to save us from our
sins, yet there were especial institutions of the law that were ap-



114 AN EXPOSITION OF THE [CHAP. L

pointed for that end and purpose, as, namely, the sacrifices in par-
ticular, which were designed to make atonement for the delivery
of sinners, and to procure their reconciliation with God. These the
Jews principally rested on and trusted unto. And, indeed, to
expect righteousness and justification by the Mosaical sacrifices, as
they did, was far more rational than to expect them by the works of
the moral law, as some now do; for all good works whatever are
required in the law, and so far are works of the law. For in the
sacrifices there was a supposition of sin, and an appearance of a
compensation to be made, that the sinner might go free; but in the
moral law there is nothing but absolute, universal, and exact right-
eousness required or admitted, without the least provision of relief
for them who come short therein. But yet our apostle declares
and proves that neither were these available for the end aimed at,
as we shall see at large on the ninth and tenth chapters of this
epistle.

Now, within the compass of these three, — natural light or reason,
with ingrafted principles of good and evil, the moral law, and the
sacrifices thereof, — do lie and consist all the hopes and endeavours
of sinners after deliverance and acceptance with God. Nothing is
there that they can do, or put any confidence in, but may be referred
unto one of these heads. And if all these fail them, as assuredly
they Avill (which we might prove by reasons and demonstrations in-
numerable, though at present we content ourselves with the testi-
monies above reported), it is certain that there is nothing under
heaven can yield them in this case the least relief

Again, This is the only way for that end which is suited unto the
wisdom of God. The wisdom of God is an infinite abyss, which, as
it lies in his own eternal breast, we cannot at all look into. We can
only adore it as it breaks forth and discovers itself in the works that
outwardly are of him, or the effects of it. Thus David, in the con-
sideration of the works of God, falls into an admiration of the wis-
dom whereby they were made, Ps. civ. 24, cxxxvi. 5. The wisdom
of God opens and manifests itself in its effects; and thence, accord-
ing unto our measure, do we learn Avhat doth become it and is suit-
able unto it. But when the Holy Ghost cometh to speak of this
work of our redemption by Christ, he doth not only call us to con-
sider singly the wisdom of God, but his various and " manifold wis-
dom," Eph. iii, 10; and affirms that "all the treasures of wisdom"
are hid in it. Col. ii. 3 ; plainly intimating that it is a work so suited
unto, so answering the infinite wisdom of God in all thinos throuo-h-
out, that it could no otherwise have been disposed and effected ; and
this as well upon the account of the wisdom of God itself absolutely
considered, as also as it is that property whereby God designs and
effects the glorifying of all other excellencies of his nature, whence



VER. 3.] EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS. 115

it is called various, or "manifold :" so that we may well conclude that
no other way of deliverance of sinners was suited unto the wisdom
of God.

Secondly, This way alone answered the holiness and righteousness
of God. He is "an holy God," who will not suffer the guilty to go
free, " of purer eyes than to behold iniquity;" and his judgment is,
that " they who commit sin are worthy of death." Sin is contrary
to his nature, and his justice requireth that it go not unpunished.
Besides, he is the great and supreme governor of all; and whereas
sin breaketh and dissolveth the dependence of the creature upi'n
him, should he not avenge that defection his whole rule and govern-
ment would be disannulled. But now, if this vengeance and pun-
ishment should fall on the sinnei's themselves, they must perish
under it eternally; not one of them could escape or ever be freed or
purged from their sins. A commutation, then, there must be, that
the punishment due to sin, which the holiness and righteousness of
God exacted, may be inflicted, and mercy and grace showed unto
the sinner. That none was able, fit, or worthy to undergo this pen-
alty, so as to make a compensation for all the sins of all the elect ;
that none was able to bear it, and break through it, so as that the
end of the undertaking might be happy, blessed, and glorious on all
hands, but only the Son of God, we shall further manifest in our
progress, and it hath been elsewhere declared.

And this, — ]. Should teach us to live in a, hohj admiration of
this mighty and wonderful product of the wisdom, righteousness, and
goodness which had found out and appointed this way of deHvering
sinners, and have gloriously accomplislied it in the self-sacrifice of
the Son of God. The Holy Ghost everywhere proposeth this unto
us as a mystery, a great and hidden mystery, which none of the
great, or wise, or disputers of the world, ever did or could come to
the least acquaintance withal. And three things he asserts concern-
ing it: — (1.) That it is revealed in the gospel, and is thence alone
to be learned and attained ; whence we are invited again and again
to search and inquire diligently into it, unto this very end, that
we may become wise in the knowledge and acknowledgment of
this deep and hidden mystery. (2.) That we cannot in our own
strength, and by our own most diligent endeavours, come to a holy
acquaintance with it, notwithstanding that revelation that is made.
of it in the letter of the word, unless moreover we receive from God
the Spirit ot wisdom, knowledge, and revelation, opening our eyes,
making our minds spiritual, and enabling us to discover these depths
of the Holy Ghost in a spiritual manner. (3.) That we cannot hy
these helps attain in this life unto a perfection in the knowledge of
this deep and unfathomable mystery, but must still labour to grow
iu grace and in the knowledge of it, our thriving in all grace and



116 AN EXPOSITION OF THE [CHAP. I.

obedience depending thereon. All these things the Scripture
abounds in the repetition of. And, besides, it everywhere sets forth
the blessedness and happiness of them who by grace obtain a spiri-
tual insight into this mystery; and themselves also find by experi-
ence the satisfying excellency of it, with the apostle. Phil. iii. 8. All
which considerations are powerful motives unto this duty of inquir-
ing into and admiring this wonderful mystery; wherein we have the
angels themselves for our associates and companions.

2. Consider we may, also, the xtnspeakahle love of Christ in this
work of his delivering us from sin. This the Scripture also abun-
dantly goeth before us in, setting forth, extolling, commending this
love of Christ, and calling us to a holy consideration of it. Parti-
cularly, it shows it accompanied with all things that may make love
expressive and to be admired; for, (1.) It proposeth the necessity
and exigency of the condition wherein the Lord Christ gave us this
relief. That was when we were "sinners," when we were " lost," when
we were "children of wrath," "under the curse," — when no eye did pity
us, when no hand could relieve us. And if John mourned greatly when
he thought that there was none found worthy, in heaven or earth, to
open the book of visions, and to unloose the seals thereof, how justly
might the whole creation mourn and lament if there had been none
found to yield relief, when all were obnoxious to this fatal ruin !
And this is an exceeding commendation of the love of Christ, that
he set his hand to that work which none could touch, and put his
shoulders under that burden which none else could bear, when all
lay in a desperate condition. (2.) The greatness of this delivery.
It is from " wrath," and " curse," and " vengeance" eternal. Not
from a trouble or danger of a few days' continuance, not from a mo-
mentary suffering; but from everlasting wrath, under the curse of
God, and power of Satan in the execution of it, which necessarily
attend sin and sinners. And, (3.) The way whereby he did it;



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