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the expression absolutely to denote the whole progress of divnie re-


velation from the beginniDg of the world, and it compriseth four
piincipal parts or degrees, with those that were subservient unto

The first of these was made to Adam in the promise of the seed,
which was the principle of faith and obedience to the fathers before
the flood; and unto this were subservient all the consequent parti-
cular revelations made to Seth, Enos, Enoch, Lamecli, and others,
before the flood.

The second to Noah after the flood, in the renewal of the cove-
nant and establishing of the church in his family, Gen. viii. 21-22,
ix. 9, 10; whereunto were subservient the revelations made to Mel-
chizedek, Gen. xiv. ] 8, and others, before the calling of Abraham.

The third to Abraham, in the restriction of the promise to his
seed, and fuller illustration of the nature of it, Gen. xii. 1-3, xv.
1], 12, xvii. 1, 2; confirmed in the revelations made to Isaac, Gen.
xxvi. 24; Jacob, Gen. xlix. ; Joseph, Heb. xi. 22, and others of their

The fourth to Moses, in the giving of the law, and erection of the
Judaical church in the wilderness ; unto which there were three prin-
cipal heads of subservient revelations: —

1. To David, which was pecuharly designed to perfect the reve-
lation of the will of God concerning the old testament worship in
those things that their wilderness condition was not capable of,
1 Chron. xxiii. 25-32, xxviii. 11-19. To him we may join Solo-
mon, with the rest of the prophets of their days.

2. To the prophets after the division of the kingdom unto the cap-
tivity, and during the captivity, to whom pleading with the people
about their defection by sin and false worship was peculiar.

3. To Ezra, with the prophets that assisted in the reformation of
the church after its return from Babylon, who in an especial manner
incited the people to an expectation of the coming of the Messiah.

These were the principal parts and degrees of the revelation of
the will of God, from the foundation of the world until the coming
of Christ in his forerunner, John the Baptist. And all this I have
fully handled and unfolded in my discourse of the rise, nature, and
progress of Scripture divinity or theology.^

But, as I showed before, if we attend unto the special intention of
the apostle, we must take in the date of these revelations, and begin
-.with that to Moses, adding to it those other subservient ones men-
tioned, peculiar to the Judaical church, which taught and confirmed
the worship that was established amongst them.

This, then, is that which in this word the apostle minds the
Hebrews of, namely, that the will of God concerning his worship and

• See the Theologoumena of our author, in vol. xvii. of his works. — Ed.


our obedience was not formerly revealed all at once to his church,
by Moses or any other, but by several parts and degrees,— by new
additions of light, as in his infinite wisdom and care he saw meet.
The close, and last hand was not to be put unto this work before the
coming of the Messiah. He, they all acknowledged, was to reveal
the whole counsel of God, John iv. 25, after that his way had been
prepared by the coming of Elias, Mai. iv. ; until when they were to
attend to the law of Moses, with those expositions of it which they h;id
received, verses 4, 5. That was the time appointed, i^''^,^! prn h'nrh ,
"to seal," complete, and finish, "vision and prophet;" as also QOC^
nixtijn^ "to seal up sin," or, as we render it, "to make an end of
sin," or the controversy about it, which had held long agitation by
sacrifices, that could never put an end to that quarrel, Heb. x. 1,
2, 14.

Now, in this very first word of his epistle doth the apostle clearly
convince the Hebrews of their mistake, in their obstinate adherence
unto Mosaical institutions. It is as if he had bidden them consider
the way whereby God revealed his will to the church hitherto. Hath
it not been by parts and degrees? hath he at any time shut up tiie
progress of revelation? hath he not always kept the church in exjiec-
tation of new revelations of his mind and will? did he ever declare
that he would add no more unto what he had commanded, or make
no alteration in what he had instituted? What he had revealed was
to be observed, Deut. xxix. 29, and when he had revealed it; but
until he declare that he will add no more, it is folly to accoimt what
is already done absolutely complete and immutable. Therefore
Moses, when he had finished all his work in the Lord's house, tells
the church that God would raise up another prophet like him; that
is, who should reveal new laws and institutions as he had done,
whom they were to hear and obey on the penalty of utter extermi-
nation, Deut. xviii. 18.

"And this discovers the obstinacy of the modern Jews, who from
the days of Maimonides, who died about the year of our Lord 1104,
have made it one of the fundamental articles of their religion, which
they have inserted in their prayer-books, that the law of Moses is
never to be changed, and that God will never give them any other
law or rule of worship. And as they further ground that article in
Ezrim Vearba, printed in the end of Bomberg's Bibles, they affirm
that nothing can be added unto it, nothing taken away from it, no
alteration in its obligation be admitted; which is directly contrary
both to the truth and to the confession of all their predecessors, who
looked for the Messiah, as we shall afterwards declare."

In opposition to this gradual revelation of the mind of God under
the old testament, the apostle intimates that now by Jesns, the
Messiah, the Lord hath at once begun and finished the whole rtve-


lation of his will, according to their own hopes and expectation.
So, Jude 3, tlie faith was "once delivered unto the saints ;" not in
owe day, not in one sei^7)ion, or by one person, but at one season, or
under one dispensation, comprising all the time from the entrance
of the Lord Christ upon his ministry to the closing of the canon
of Scripture ; whicli period was now at hand. This season being
once past and finished, no new revelation is to be expected, to the
end of the world. Nothing shall be added unto nor altered in the
worship of God any more. God will not do it; men that attem]3t
it, do it on the price of their souls.

God spake in the prophets ToXur^oVw^, "after divers
sorts or manners. JN ow this respects either the various
ways of God's revealing himself to the propliets, by dreams, visions,
inspirations, voices, angels, every way with an equal evidence of
their being from God ; or the ways of his dealing with the fathers
by the prophets, by promises, threats, gradual discoveries of his
will, special messages and prophecies, public sermons, and the like.
The latter, or the various ways of the prophets in delivering their
messages to the people from God, is principally intended, though
the former be not excluded, it being that from whence this latter
variety did principally arise and flow.

In opposition hereunto, the apostle intimates that the revelation of
God and his will by Christ was accomplished ij^ovonhojg, in one only
way and manner, — by His preaching the gospel who was anointed
with the Spirit without measure.

The last difference or instance in the comparison insisted on by
'ek ro7s -xft- the apostle, is, that of old God spake "in the prophets,"
<pr,Tcni. ]3ut; j^o^v "in the Son:" 'Ev t(,7z Trpr/^j^ra/j, — h for o/a, say

most expositors, "in" for "by," ha rSJv Trp&p'/jrwi/: as Luke i. 70, A/a
G-6/ji.aTog rSJv ayim TpopT^rm, — "By the mouth of the holy prophets."
But h here answers the Hebrew 3, Num. xii. 2, "God spake
•"•P*'^?," "in Moses." The certainty of the revelation and presence
of God with his word is intimated in the expression. So the word
of the Lord was "^1^, "in the hand," of this or that prophet. They
were but instruments to give out what from God they had received.

Now these prophets, in whom God spake of old, were all those
who were divinely inspired, and sent to reveal his will and mind as
to the duty of the church, or any special concernment of his provi-
dence in the rule and government thereof, whether they declared
the insjjirations they had, or revelations they received, by word of
mouth or by writing, "The modern Jews make a distinction be-
tween the gift of prophecy and the inspiration of the Holy Ghost,
following Maimonides in his More Nebuchim, part, ii cap. xxxii. His
opinion, which he calls the opinion or sentence of the law about
prophecy, in general is the same with that of the Gentile philoso-


phers, as he professeth. In one thing only he differs from them,
namely, that 'prophecy doth not so necessarily follow after duo pre-
paration as that a man cannot but prophesy who is rightly pivpinetl.'
But the gift of prophecy he asserts wholly to depend on the tem-
perature of the brain, natural and moral exercises for tlie preparin<T
and raising of the imagination; upon which divine visions will suc-
ceed, A brain-sick imagination, confounding divine revelation with
fanatical distempers! But in the eleven degrees of prophecy which
he assigns, and atteinpts to prove by instances out of Scripture, he
placeth that of inspiration by the Holy Ghost in the last and lowest
place. And therefore by the late masters is the book of Baniel cast
into this latter sort, though eminently prophetical, because they are
so galled with his predictions and calculations; other reason of that
disposition none readily occurs. And this is the ground of their dispo-
sition of the books of the Scripture into ^"}i'^, 'the law,' or five books
of Moses, given in the highest way and degree of prophecy; 0"'^?^,
of two sorts, D''^ii^'"! and !^''^i"}!!!'^, 'prophets, former' (or books histori-
cal), 'and latter;' and D''2^n^^ or t^^Hi^n np^ 'books written by inspi-
ration of the Holy Ghost.' Of the ground of which distinction see
Kimchi in his preface to the Psalms. Tlieir mistake lies in this,
that prophecy consists principally in, and is distinguished into several
degrees, by the manner of revelation; as by dreams, visions, appear-
ances of angels or men, and the like. But as ^^?}, 'a prophet/ and
'^'J''-?, 'proj)hecy,' are of a larger signification than that pretended,
as, Num. xi. 29, 1 Sam. x. 5, 1 Chron. xxv. 1-3, will appear; so
that which made any revelation to be prophecy, in that sense as
to be an infallible rule for the guidance of the church, was not the
means of communicating it to the prophets, but that inspiration of
the Holy Ghost which implanted upon their minds, and gave forth
by their tongues or pens, that which God would utter in them and
by them, 2 Pet. i. 20, 21."

In answer unto this speaking of God in the prophets, it is as-
serted tliat in the revelation of the gospel God spake ''in ,^^ _^,.
his Son." This is the main hinge, on which all the
arguments of the apostle in the Avhole epistle do turn ; this benrs
the stress of all the inferences afterw^ards by him insisted on. And
therefore having mentioned it, he proceeds immediately unto tliat
description of him which gives evidence to all that he draws Ironi this
consideration. Now, because no one argument of the apostle can
be understood unless this be rightly stated, we must of necessity
insist somewhat largely upon it; and unto what we principally in-
tend some previous observations must be premised: —

1. I take it at present for granted that the Son of God appeared
unto the prophets under the old testament. Wliether ever he sjmke
unto them immediately, or only by the ministry of angels, is not bO


certain. It is also granted that there was in vision sometimes signs
or representations of the person of the Father, as Dan. vii. But
that the Son of God did mostly appear to the fathers under the
old testament is acknowledged by the ancients, and is evident in
Scripture. See Zech. ii. 8-11. And he it was who is called "The
angel," Exod. xxiii. 20, 21. The reason that is pleaded by some
ihat the Son of God was not the angel there mentioned, namely,
because the apostle says that to none of the angels was it said at
any time, "Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee," which
could not be affirmed if the Son of God were that angel, is not of
any force. For notwithstanding this assertion, yet both the ancient
Jews and Christians generally grant that it is the Messiah that is
called "The angel of the covenant," Mai. iii, 1 : though the modern
Jews foolishly apply that name to Elias, whom they fancy to be
present at circumcision, which they take to be the covenant; a
privilege, as they say, granted him upon his complaint that the chil-
dren of Israel had forsaken the covenant, 1 Kings xix. 14, — that
is, as they suppose, neglected circumcision. The apostle therefore
speaks of those who were angels by nature, and no more, and not of
him who, being Jehovah the Son, was sent of the Father, and is
therefore called his angel or messenger, being so only by office.
And this appearance of the Son of God, though not well under-
standing what they say, is acknowledged by sundry of the post-Tal-
mudical rabbins. To this purpose very considerable are the words
of Moses Gerundensis on Exod. xxiii: "Iste angelu.s, si rem ipsam
dicamus, est Angelus Redemptor, de quo scriptum est, 'Quoniam
nomen meuni in ipso est.' Ille, inquam, angelus qui ad Jacob dice-
bat, 'Ego Dens Bethel;' ille de quo dictum est, *Et vocabat Mosen
Deus de rubo.' Vocatur autem 'angelus' quia mundum gubernat;
scriptum estenim, 'Eduxit nos ex ^Egypto.' Prseterea scriptum est,
*Et angelus faciei salvos fecit eos.' Nimirum ille angelus qui est
'Dei facies;' de quo dictum est, 'Facies niea pr^ibit et efficiam ut
quiescas.' Denique ille angelus est de quo vates, 'Subito veniet ad
templum suum Dominus quem vos quseritis, angelus foederis quem
cupitis;'" — "The angel, if we speak exactly, is the Angel the Re-
deemer, of whom it is written, 'My name isinhitn;' that angel
which said unto Jacob, 'I am the God of Bethel;' he of whom it is
said, 'God called unto Moses out of the bush.' And he is called
'The angel' because he governeth the world: for it is written, 'Je-
hovah brought us out of Egypt;' and elsewhere, 'He sent Ids angel,
and brought us out of Egypt.' And again it is written, 'And the
angel of his presence' ['face'] 'saved them,' — namely, 'the angel
which is the presence' ['face'] 'of God;' of whom it is said, 'My
presence' ['face'] 'shall go before thee, and I will cause thee to
rest.' Lastly, that angel of whom the prophet speaks, 'The Lord



whom ye seek shall suddenly come to his temple, the angel of the
covenant whom ye desire/" To the same purpose speaks the same
author on Exod. xxxiii. 14, "My presence shall go before thee:"
" Animadverte attente quid ista sibi velint: Moses enim et IsraeUtae
semper optaverunt angelum primum; caitertim, quis ille esset vere
intelligere non potuerunt; neque enim ah aliis percipiebant, neque
prophetica notione satis assequebantur. Atqui facies Dei ipsum
significat Deum." And again, '"Facies mea prtecedet;' hoc est,
'angelus foederis quern vos cupitis;'" — "Observe diligently what
is the meaning of these words: for Moses and the Israelites always
desired the principal angel, but who he was they could nut ])erfectly
understand; for they could neither learn it of others nor attain it by
prophecy. But the presence of God is God himself: 'My presence'
['face'] 'shall go before thee;' that is, 'the angel of the covenant
whom ye desire.'" Thus he; to which purpose others also of them
do apeak, though how to reconcile these things to their unbelief in
denying the personality of the Son of God they know not. This
was the angel whose li^"J Moses prayed for on Joseph, Deut. xxxiii.
23; and whom Jacob made to be the same with the Gotl that fed
him all his days, Gen. xlviii. 15, lO ; whereof we have treated largely
before. The Son of God having from the foundation of the world
undertaken the care and salvation of the church, he it was who
immediately dealt with it in things which concerned its instruction
and edification. Neither doth tliis hinder but that God the Father
may yet be asserted, or that he is in this place, to be the fountain of
all divine revelation.

2. There is a difference between the Son of God revealing the
will of God in his divine person to the prophets, of which we have
spoken, and the Son of God as incarnate revealing the will of God
immediately to the church. This is the difference here insisted on
by the apostle. Under the old testament the Son of God, in his
divine person, instructed the proj^hets in the will of God, and gave
them that Spirit on whose divine inspiration their infallibility did
depend, 1 Pet. i. 11 ; but now, in the revelation of the gospt_-l, taking
his own humanity, or our nature hypostatically united unto him, in
the room of all the "internuncii," or prophetical messengers he had
made use of, he taught it immediately himself.

There lies a seeming exception unto this distinction, in the giving
of the law; for as we affirm that it was the Son by whom the law
was given, so in his so doing he spake immediately to the whole
church: Exod. xx. 22, the Lord said, "I have talked with you from
heaven." The Jews say that the people understood not one word
of what was spoken, but only heard a voice, and saw the terrilile
appearances of the majesty of God, as verse ] 8 ; for iinmed iately upon
that sight they removed and stood alar off: and the matter is kft


doubtful in the repetition of the story, Deut. v. 4. It is said, in-
deed, "The LoPtD talked with you face to face in the mount,"
but yet neither do these words fully prove that they understood
what was spoken, and as it was spoken, but only that they clearly
discovered the presence of God delivering the law; for so are those
words expounded in verse 5: "I stood," saith Moses, " between the
Lord and you at that time, to shew you the word of the Lokd : for
ye were afraid by reason of the fire, and went not up into the
mount;" — that is, 'Ye understood not the words of the law, but as
I declared them unto you/ And it being so, though the person of
the Son caused the words to be heard, yet he spake not immediately
to the whole church, but by Moses. But,. secondly, we shall after-
wards show that all the voices then heard by Moses and the people
were formed in the air by the ministry of angels, so that they heard
not the immediate voice of God. Now, in the last days did the
Lord take that work into his own hands, wherein from the founda-
tion of the world he had employed angels and men.

3. Though the apostle's argument arise not immediately from the
different ways of God's revealing himself to the prophets and to
Christ, but in the difference that lies in his immediate speaking
unto us in Christ the Son, and his speaking unto the fathers in the
proj)hets, yet that former difference also is intimated by him, in his
affirming that he spake to them variously or divei'sely, as hath been
declared; and therefore we must consider that also. And herein we
are to obviate the great Judaical prejudice against the gospel; to
which end observe, —

(].) That though the apostle mentions the prophets in general,
yet it is Moses whom he principally intends. This is evident in the
application of this argument, which he makes in jDarticular, chap,
iii. 3, where he expressly prefers the Lord Jesus before Moses by
name, in this matter of ministering to the church in the name of
God. For whereas, as was before intimated, the apostle manages
this thing with excellent wisdom in this epistle, considering the in-
veterate prejudices of the Hebrews in their adhei'ing unto Moses, lie
could not mention him in particular until he had proved him whom
he preferred above him to be so excellent and glorious, so far exalted
above men and angels, that it was no disreputation to Moses to be
esteemed inferior to him.

(2.) That the great reason why the Jews adhered so pertinaciously
unto Mosaical institutions was their persuasion of the unparalleled
excellency of the revelation made to Moses. This they retreated
unto and boasted oi" when they were pressed with the doctrine and
miracles of Christ, John ix. 28, 29 ; and this was the main founda-
tion in all their contests with the apostles. Acts xv. 1, xxi. 21, 28.
And this at length they have made a principal root or fundamental


article of their faith, being the fourth of the thirteen articles of their
creed, namely, that Moses was the most excellent and most sub-
lime among the prophets, — so far above that excellency, that de-
gree of wisdom and honour, which men may attain unto, that he
was equal to angels. This Maimonides, the first disposer of their
faith into fundamental articles, expounds at large. More Nebuch.,
p. ii. cap. xxxix. " Declaravimus," saith he, "quod prophetiaMosis
doctoris nostri ab omnium aliorum prophetiis difterat. Dicenms
nunc quod propter solam illam apprehensionem ad legem vocati
sumus ; quia nempe vocatioui illi qua Moses nos vocavit similis ueque
antecessii ab Adamo primo ad ipsum usque neque etiam post ip.sum
apud ullum prophetam sequuta est. Sic fuudamentum legis nostra3
est quod in eeternum finem non sit habitura, vel abolenda; ac prop-
terea etiam ex sententia nostra, alia lex neo unquam fuit, nee erit
prseter imicam banc legem Mosis doctoris nostri;" — "We have de-
clared that the prophecy of Moses, our master, differed from the pro-
phecies of all others. Now we shall show that upon the account of
this persuasion alone" (namely, of the excellency of the revelation
made unto Moses) " we are called to the law ; for from the first
Adam to him, there was never any such call" (from God) "as that
wherewith Moses called us, nor did ever any such ensue after him.
Hence it is a fundamental principle of our law, that it shall never
have an end or be abolished; and therefore also it is our judgment
that tliere was never any other" (divine) " law, nor ever shall be,
but only this of our master Moses." Tliis is their present persua-
sion; it was so of old. The law and all legal observances are to be
continued for ever; other way of worshipping God there can be
none; and this upon the account of the incomparable excellency of
the revelation made to Moses.

To confirm themselves in this prejudicate apprehension, they assign
a fourfold pre-eminency to the prophecy of Moses above that of
other prophets; and those are insisted on by the same Maimonides
in his explication of cap. x. Tractat. Sanhed., and by sundry others
of them.

[1.] The first they fix on is this, " That God never spnke to any
prophet immediately, but only to Moses;" to him he spake without
angelical mediation. For so he affirms that he spake to hiiu
nB'b^ nQ " mouth to mouth," Num. xii. 8.

[2.] " All other prophets," they say, " received their visions either
in their sleep, or presently after their sleep ; hut Moses in the day-
time standing between the cherubim, Exod. xxv. 22." And, —

[.3.] "That when other prophets received their vi.'^ions or revela-
tions, although it was by the mediation of angels, yet their nature
was weakened by it, and the state of their bodies, by reason of tiie
consternation that befell them, Dan. x. 8 ; but Muses had no such i)er-


turbation befalling hitn when the Lord spake unto him, but it was
with him as when a man speaks unto his friend."

[4.] " That other prophets had not inspirations and answers from
God at their own pleasure, but sometimes were forced to wait long
and pray for an answer before they could receive it ; but Moses
was wont when he pleased to say, ' Stay, and I will hear what God
will command you,' Num. ix. 8." So they.

And to reconcile this unto what is elsewhere said, that he could
not see the face of God and live, they add that he saw God not im-
mediately, but Kn^pDDX3, "in speculo" or "speculari" (a word
formed from the Latin), "in a glass," — an expression which the
apostle alludes unto, 1 Cor. xiii. 12; only they add, nv-iispiaDX wn TiOD
Csn D^S*''33n vn, — " Other prophets saw through nine perspec-
tives ; " nnx &?''-i^pDD lino nxi n'C^), — " but Moses saw through one
only," Vaiikra Rabba, sect. 1 ; whereunto they add that his speculum
was clear and hicid, theirs spotted.

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