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the exhortation weighty and cogent.

Verse 1.

The first verse contains the exhortation itself intended by the
apostle, those following the especial enforcements of it.

Ver. 1. — A/a TouTO di?' '^ipiaeor'spug rj/jMg 'xpoe's^nv roTg axovcSiTst, /m^-

VOTi 'TrapUpf'UU/J.iV.

Usptaaorspo);, " abundantius," V. L., Arias, "more abundantly," " eo am-
plius," Beza, •' so much the more;" "''^fr"!"!, Syr., " magis," "the ralhi-r;"
" ut magis," " ut abundantius," — "as the rather," "as more abundantly;
" suniraa attentione," Arab., " with all attention." The word denotes some-


wtat more than ordinary in the act it relates unto, or the persons to whom it
is applied. And diligence bein'j: especially required in attention unto any thing-,
or in tliose that attend, whicli extends itself unto the whole deportment of the
mind in that woik (if that be respected herein, which we shall consider), it may
be not unmeetly rendered " more diligently," directly ; " more abundantly,"

Upodix^iv, " observare," V. L., "to observe," — improperly; "adhibere,"
Ar. M.; a word of an imperfect sense, unless supplied with our minds, or un-
derstandings, or diligence, — " adhibei-e animum," "adhibere diligentiam;" but
immediately affecting the object, as "adhibere auditis," it gives no perfect sense.
" Attendere," Beza, "to attend unto," "to give heed;" VTv! ''."i^.?} " simus
cauti, attenti," Syr., "that we be wai'y," or "heedful." TLpoaix" 's usually in
other authors, when it refers to persons, " ausculto," or " ohtempero," to hear-
ken, attend, and give heed to any one with an observant or obedient mind.
And sometimes it signifies to hope, or place trust or confidence in him that
is attended unto. It is also used for to assent, to agree, or subscribe unto
what is spoken by another. In the New Testament it is principally used in
two senses: — 1. To beware, or look to ourselves, as to things or persons that
might hurt us; and then it is attended with «wo or i^/, as Matt. vii. 15, x. 17,
xvi. 6, 11, 12; Luke xii. 1: — or so to beware as to look diligently unto our own
concernments absolutely, Luke xvii. 3, xxi. 34; Matt. vi. 1; Acts xx. 28. 2. To
attend with diligence and submission of mind unto the words of another, or unto
any business that we are employed in, Acts viii. 6, xvi. 14; 1 Tim. i. 4, iv. 1, 13;
Titus i. 14. So it is said of the Samaritans, that they much heeded Simon
Magus: Upoailxov olvtu "Trdcvng, Acts viii. 10. And it is the same word whereby
the reverential obedience of that people unto the preaching of Philip is expressed,
verse 6. An attendance, then, with a mind ready for obedience is that which
the word imports.

Tor? x.x.ova6u(ii, " auditis," " to the things heard ;" l?^"f "! °7.'?.?, Syr., " in eo
quod audivimus," " in that which we have heard," — to the things heard, that is
by us, who are required to attend unto them.

TLctpctppvui^iv. This word is nowhere else used in the New Testament, In
other authors it is as much as " praeterfluo," "to run by." So Xenopli. Cvro-
paed.,lib. iv., lltslu dz-6 rov TrxpctppsovTo; T^-orct/^ov, — "to drink of the river running
by." " Pereffliiamus," V. L., " ne forte peretfluamus," " lest perhaps we should
runout." M'/j7roT£, "ne forte," " lest perhaps," improperly; it respects times
and seasons, — "lest at any time;" 'S' s<^"i,"ne forte cadamus," "decidamus,"
" lest we fall," "fall down," that is, " perish." So is the word also interpreted by
Chrysostom, M'^xots -Trocpuppvufisv, rovriari fc'/j ci'7ro'Au/iisd», fiii iicT^iauy^iv, — " that
■we perish not," "that we fall not." And he confirms this sense from that saying in
the Proverbs, chap. iii. 21, Tli ft,'/j TrupaopvYig. "My Son, fall not." So he interprets
the word. In the original it is, 'i'^''^"?, "Let them not depart," the word re-
specting not the person spoken unto, but the things spoken of. Nor do the LXX,
in any other place render vh by Trapccppiu, but by exAsiVw, as in the next chapter,
verse 21, and words of the like signification, " to decline," " draw back," '• give
over," by negligence or weariness. Other ancient translations read, " ne decida-
mus ab honestate," " that we fall not from honesty," and, "et nequaqitam rejicia«,"
"and by no means to reject." What sense of the word is most proper to the
place we shall afterwards consider.'

'Various Readings. — Tischendorf reads -xxp^pvu^iv, on the autliority of
ABD J; which, says Ebrard, is nothing more than an Alexandrine orthography.

Exposition. — Tlapocp. Stuart remarks, th;.t two senses have been att;iehed to
the word: — 1. To fall, stumble, or perish. Chrysostom, Theophylact, Thtodoi-et,
and others, render the clause, "So that we may not stumble," or "fall." And,
2. To sitter tojlowfrom the mind; in proof of which he quotes from Clem. Al^x,
Paedagog., iii, p. 246, and he shows that Prov, iii. 21 really bears the tauie


Ver. 1, — Therefore [/or this cause] the more abundantly
ought we to attend [or, give heed] to the things hoard
[Z*?/ us], lest at any time we should flow out [or, pass

A/a rouTo, " for this cause;" as -much as hi6, "there-
fore," " wherefore/' There is in the words an illa-
tion from the precedent discourse, and the whole verse is a hortatory
conclusion from thence. From the proposition that he hath made
of the glory and excellency of the Author of the gospel he di'aws
this inference, " Therefore ought we," — for the reasons and causes
insisted on. And thus the word 'va.pappvMiiiv, " flow out," expresseth
their losing by any ways or means tlie doctrine of the gospel wherein
they had been instructed, and the benefits thereof. Seeing the
gospel hath such a blessed Author, we ought to take care that we
forfeit not our interest in it. But if we take <7rapappuu//xsv in the
sense chosen by Chrysostom, to express the fall and perishing of
them that attend not as they ought unto the word (which interpre-
tation is favoured by the Syriac translation), then the word, " there-
fore," " for this cause," respects the commination or threatening
included therein. As if the apostle had said, ' Therefore ought you
to attend;' that is, ' Look to it that you do attend, lest you fall and
perish.' I rather embrace the former sense, both because the in-
terpretation of the word used by Chrysostom is strained, as also
because the apostle doth evidently in these words enter upon an
exhortation unto obedience, upon his former discourse about the
person of Christ ; nor without an especial regard thereunto had he
laid any foundation for such a threatening unto disobedience as is
pretended to be in the words ; of which yet further afterwards.

AsT 7]/j,as, " Ought we," — the persons unto whom he _ , ,
makes the application of his doctrine, and directs his
exhortation. Some think that Paul joins himself here with all the
Hebrews upon the account of cognation and country, as being
himself also a Hebrew, Phil, iii, 5, and therefore affectionately re-
specting them, Rom. ix. 3 ; but the expression is to be regu-
lated by the words that follow, * All we, who have heard the gos-
pel preached, and made profession thereof.' And the apostle joins
himself with them, not that there was any danger on his part lest
he should not constantly obey the word, or [as if he] were of them
whose wavering and instability gave occasion to this caution; but,

meaning, "Do not pass by, but keep my counsel." The translation, therefore,
which he proposes for this verse is, "Lest we should slight them." Hcpap. "'Allow
them to flow past us;' i. e., 'allow them to pass by our ears without beinj? listened
to.' Erasmus Selimid. Cos, in 1 ke manner. Any place which a river Hows pat
is said Tnx-^tx.ppvuadut. Meta|ihorieallv. any thing is said in general 'Trxpccpfvuaia.i
which is passed by and omitted through carelessness." — Woljlus. — Ed.


1. To manifest that the duty which he exhorts them unto is of general

concernment unto all to whom the gospel is preached, — so that he lays
no singular burden on them; and, 2. That he might not as yet dis-
cover unto them any jealousy of their inconstancy, or that he had
entertained any severe thoughts concerning them, — apprehensions
whereof are apt to render exhortations suspected, the minds of men
being ready enough to disregard that which they are persuaded
unto, if they suspect that undeserved blame lies at the bottom of
the exhortation. The hke condescension hereunto, upon the like
account, we may see in Peter, 1 Epist. iv. 3.

These are the persons spoken unto. That which is spoken to
them consists in an exhortation unto a duty, and an especial en-
forcement of it. The exhortation and duty in the first words, — " The
more abundantly to attend unto the things heard ;" and the enforce-
ment in the close of them, " Lest at any time we should flow out."

In the exhortation is expressed an especial circumstance of it,
the duty itself, and the manner of its performance.

The first is included in that word, " more abundantly;" which may
refer either unto the causes of the attendance required, or unto the
manner of its performance.

In the words as they lie in the text, Ai& rovro <!:spieeoTspug S;7
ri/Mug 'zpos's-)(iiv, the word 'ffipiaaoripojg, " more abundantly,'" is joined
unto dia TovTo, " therefore," " for this cause," and seems immediately
to respect it, and so to intimate the excellent and abundant reason
that we have to attend unto the gospel. But if we transpose the
words, and read them as if they lay thus, AsT rti^ag vipieeoripug irpa-
Giyji'i, then the word 'Tripiaaorspug, " more abundantly," respects the
following word Tpcg'sx^iv, " to attend unto," and so expresseth some-
what of the manner ol the performance of the duty proposed. And
so our translators report the sense, " We ought to give the more
diligent heed," or " give heed the more diligently." The reader
may embrace whether sense he judgeth most agreeable to the scope
of the place. The former construction of the word, expressing the
necessity of our attention to be intimated from the cogency of the
reasons thereof before insisted on, is not without its probability.
And this the meaning of the word agrees unto, whether we take it
absolutely (for so, as Chrysostom observes, it may be taken, though
of itself it be of another form) or comparatively, in which form it
is. Take it absolutely, and the apostle informs them that they
have abundant cause to attend unto the things spoken or heard,
because of him that spake them; for concerning him alone came
that voice from the excellent glory, " This is my beloved Sou, hear
him." So also in the other sense, the apostle is not comparing the
manner of their attending unto the doctrine of the law (which cer-
tainly they ought to have done with all diligence) and their attend-


ance unto the gospel, but shows the reasons which they had to
attend unto the one and the other, as the following verses clearly
manifest. This, then, may be that which the apostle intimates in
this word, namely, that they had more abundant cause and a more
excellent reason for their attending unto the doctrine of the gospel
than they had unto that of the law, on this account, that lie by
whom the gospel was immediately preached unto us was the Son of
God himself. But the other application of the word is more com-
monly received, wherein it intends the duty enjoined.

In reference unto the duty exhorted unto, there is expressed the
object of it, " the things heard." Thus the apostle . ,
chooseth to express the doctrine of the gospel, with re-
spect unto the way and manner whereby it was communicated unto
them, namely, by preaching; for " faith cometh by hearing, and hear-
ing is of the word preached," Rom. x. 14, 15, 17. And herein doth
he magnify the great ordinance of preaching, as everywhere else he
maketh it the great means of begetting faith in men. The Lord
Christ himself first preached the gospel, Acts i. 1, and verse 3 of
this chapter. Concerning him it was said from heaven, " Hear him,"
Matt. xvii. 5, as he who revealed the Father from his own bosom,
John i. 18. From him the gospel came to be the word heard.
When he had finished the course of his personal ministry, he com-
mitted the same work unto others, sending them as the Father sent
him. They also preached the gospel, and called it "the word ;" that is,
that which they preached. See 2 Cor. i. 18. So in the Old Testamenc
it is called '^VxV'j I^a. liii. 1, "auditus," "a hearing," or that which
was heard, being preached. So that the apostle insists on and com-
mends unto them not only the things themselves wherein they had
been instructed, but also the way whereby they were communicated
unto them, namely, by the great ordinance of preaching, as he fur-
ther declares, verse 3. This as the means of their believing, as the
ground of their profession, they were diligently to remember, con-
sider, and attend unto.

The duty itself directed unto, and the manner of its perform-
ance, are expressed in the word 'zpoasy^iiv, to "attend," or ,
" give heed." What kind of attendance is denoted by
this word was in part before declared. An attendance it is with reve-
rence, assent, and readiness to obey. So Acts xvi. 14, " God opened
the heart of Lydia, Tpos's'x^siv roig XaXov/jbivoig,"- — " to attend unto the
things that were spoken;" not to give tiiem the hearing only; there
was no need of the opening of her heart for the mere attention of
her ear; but she attended with readiness, humility, and resolution
to obey the word. The effect of which attention is expressed by
the apostle, Rom. vi. 17. To attend, then, unto the word preached,
is to consider the author of it, the matter of it, the weight and


concernment of it, the ends of it, witli faith, subjection of spirit, and
constancy, as we shall with our apostle more at large afterwards

The duty exhorted unto being laid down, a motive or enforcement

unto it is subjoined, taken from the danger that would ensue from

the neglect thereof. And this is either from the sin or punishment

that would attend it, according unto the various inter-

apapfunj . . pj-g^g^^^Q^^g Qf j-j^g word -Trapappvu/Miv, " flow out," or " fall,"
l^efore mentioned. If it signify to "fall" or "perish," then the punish-
ment of the neglect of this duty is intimated. We shall perish as
water that is poured on the earth.' Thereunto is the frail life of
man compared, 2 Sam. xiv. 14. This sense of the word is embraced
by few expositors, yet hath it great countenance given unto it by
the ensuing discourse, verses 2, 3, and for that reason it is not un-
worthy our consideration. For the design of the apostle in those
verses is to prove that they shall deservedly and assuredly perish
who shoidd neglect the gospel. And the following particles, £/' yap,
" and if," in verse 2, may seem to relate unto what was bel'ore
spoken, and so to yield a reason why the unbelievers should so
perish as he had intimated; which, unless it be expressed in this
word, the apostle had not before at all spoken unto. And in this
sense the caution here given is, that we should attend unto the word
of the gospel, lest by our neglect thereof we bring upon ourselves
inevitable ruin, and perish as water that is spilt on the ground,
which cannot be gathered up again.

But the truth is, that the word Torg prefixed will not
be well reconciled unto this sense and interpretation,
unless we should suppose it to be redundant and insignificative,
and so /ajj mrB ■■^apappvoJ/Mv, "lest at any time we should flow out,"
should be the same with //,^ rrapappvufisv absolutely, " that we fall
not." But there is no just reason to render that word so useless.
Allow it, therefore, to be significative, and it may have a double
sense, — 1. To denote an uncertain time, " quando," " aliquando," " at
any time;" 2. A conditional event, "forte," " ne forte," "lest it
should happen." In neither of these senses will it allow the words
to be expounded of the punishment that shall befall imbelievers,
which is most certain both as to the time and the event. Neither
doth the apostle in tlie next verses threaten them that neglect the
gospel, that at some time or other they maij perish, but lets them
know that their destruction is certain, and that from the Lord.

It is, then, our sinful losing of the word and the benefits there-
of which the apostle intendeth. And in the next verses he doth
not proceed to prove what he had asserted in this verse, but goes on
to other arguments to the same purpose, taken from the unques-
tionable event of our neglect of the word, and losing the benefits


thereof. The especial reason, therefore, why the apostle thus ex-
presseth our losing of the doctrine of the gospel by want of diligent
attendance unto it, is to be inquired after. Generally the expres-
sion is looked on as an alhision unto leaking vessels, which suffer
the water that is poured into them one way to run out many : as
he speaks in the " Comedian" who denied that he could keep secret
some things if they were communicated unto him : " Pleuus rima-
rum sum, hue atque illuc effluo \" — " I am full of chinks, and flow
out on every side." And the word relates unto the persons, not to
tJje things, because it contains a crime. It is our duty to retain the
word which we have heard ; and therefore it is not said that the
word flows out, but that we as it were pour it out. And this
crime is denoted by the addition of Ta^a to '^vuv: for as the simple
verb denotes the passing away of any thing as water, whether it
deserve to be retained or no, so the compound doth the losing of
that perversely which we ought to have retained.

But we may yet inquire a little further into the reason and na-
ture of the allegory. The word or doctrine of the Scripture is
compared to showers and rain : Deut. xxxii. 2, " My doctrine shall
drop as the rain, my speech shall distil as the dew, as the small
rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass."
Hence the same word, 'lli^, signifies " a teacher" and "rain:" so
that translators do often doubt of its special sense, as Ps. Ixxxiv. 7,
nniD noy^nbnB — "The rain filleth the pools," as in our translation ;
others, as Jerome and Arias Montanus, render them, " Bene<lic-
tionibus operietur docens," — "The teacher shall be covered with
blessings;" both the words being ambiguous. So also Isa. xxx.
20, T*"}.}^, which we translate " thy teachers," is by otliers rendered
" thv showers," or " rain." So these words, Joel, ii. 23, ^^? in:i"''3
•^^IP '"'"J'"^'"!'"^^, which our translators render in the text, " He hath
given you the former rain moderately," in the margin they render,
"a teacher of righteousness." And the like ambiguity is in other
places. And there is an elegant metaphor in the word ; lor as the
drops of rain falling on the earth do water it and make it fruitful,
whilst it takes no notice of it, so doth the doctrine of the word in-
sensibly make fruitful unto God the souls of men upon whom it
doth descend. And in respect unto the word of the gospel it is
that the Lord Christ is said to come down as the showers on the
mown grass, Ps. Ixxii. So the apostle calls the preaching of the
gospel unto men the watering of them, 1 Cor. iii. 6, 7 ; and he com-
pares them unto whom it is preached unto the earth that drinketh
in the rain, Heb. vi. 7. In pursuit of this metaphor it is that men
are said to pour out the word preached unto them, when by their
negligence they lose all the bentfits thereof. So when our Saviour
had compared the same word unto seed, he sets out men's falling


from it by all the ways and means whereby seed cast into the earth
may be lost or become unprofitable, Matt. xiii. And as he shows
that there are various ways and means whereby the seed that is
sown may be lost and perish, so there are many times and seasons,
ways and means, wherein and whereby we may lose and pour out
the water or rain of the word which we have received. And these
the apostle regards in that expression, "lest at any time."

We are now entered on the practical part of the epistle, and
that which is of great importance unto all professors at all times,
especially unto such as are, by the good providence of God, called
into the condition wherein the Hebrews were when Paul thus
treated with them; that is, a condition of temptation, aflfliction,
and persecution. And we shall therefore the more distinctly con-
sider the useful trutlis that are exhibited unto us in these words,
which are these that follow: —

I. Diligent attendance unto the word of the gospel is indispen-
sably necessary unto perseverance in the profession of it.
foffixi'v- ^j^^gj^ ^ profession I mean as is acceptable unto God,
or will be useful unto our own souls. The profession of most of the
world is a mere not-renunciation of the gospel in words, whilst in
their hearts and lives they deny the power of it every day. A sav-
ing profession is that which expresseth the efficacy of the word
unto salvation, Rom. x. 10. This will never be the effect of a life-
less attendance unto the word. And therefore we shall first con-
sider what is required unto the giving heed to the gospel, here
commended unto us. And there are in it (amongst others) the
things that follow : —

1. A due valuation of the grace tendered in it, and of the word
itself on that account. Yipos's-^nv denotes such an attendance unto
any thing as proceeds from an estimation and valuation of it
answerable unto its worth. If we have not such thoughts of the
gospel, we can never attend unto it as we ought. And if we con-
sider it not as that wherein our chief concernment lies, we consider
it not at all as we ought. The field wherein is the hid treasure is
so to be heeded as to be valued above all other possessions whatso-
ever. Matt. xiii. 44. They who esteemed not the marriage-feast
of the King above all avocations and worldly occasions, were shut
out as unworthy. Matt. xxii. 7, 8. If the gospel be not more
unto us than all the world besides, we shall never continue in a
useful profession of it. Fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters,
wives and children, must all be despised in comparison of it and in
competition with it. When men hear the word as that which puts
itself upon them, attendance unto which they cannot decline Avith-
out present or future inconveniencies, without considering that all
the concernments of their souls lie bound up in it, they will easily


be won utterly to neglect it. According as our esteem and valua-
tion of it is, so is our heeding of it and attendance unto it. and no
otherwise. Hearkening unto the word as unto a song of Iiira that
hath a pleasant voice, which may please or satisfy for the present,
is that which profits not men, and which God abhors, Ezek. xxxiii.
32. If the ministration of the gospel be not looked on as that
which is full of glory, it will never be attended unto. This the
apostle presseth, 2 Cor. iii. 8, 9. Constant high thoughts, then, of
the necessity, worth, glory, and excellency of the gospel, as on other
accounts, so especially of the author of it, and the grace dispensed
in it, is the first step in that diligent heeding of it which is required
of us. Want of this was that which ruined many of the Hebrews
to whom the apostle wrote. And without it we shall never keep
our faith firm unto the end.

2. Diligent study of it, and searching into the mind of God in it,
that so we may grow wise in the mysteries thereof, is another part
of this duty. The gospel is " the wisdom of God," 1 Cor. i. 24. In
it are laid up all the stores and treasures of that wisdom of God
which ever any of the sons of men shall come to an acquaintance
with in this world, Col. ii. 2, 3. And this wisdom is to be sought
for as silver, and to be searched after as hid treasures, Prov. ii. 4 ;
that is, with pains and diligence, like unto that of those who are
employed in that inquiry. Men with indefatigable pains and
danger pierce into the bowels of the earth, in the search of those
hid treasures that are wrapped up in the vast womb of it. Silver
and treasures are not gathered by every lazy passenger on the sur-
face of the earth. They must dig, seek, and search, who intend to
be made partakers of them; and they do so accordingly. And so
must we do for these treasures of heavenly wisdom. The mystery

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