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sv w, " unto the acknowledgment of the mystery of Christ; in whom,"
or " wherein"), " are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge,"
Col. ii. 2, 8. And hence are we directed to cry after knowledge, to
apply our hearts to understanding, to " seek her as silver, to search
for her as hid treasures," Prov. ii. 3, 4; and not to consider these
things as easily exposed to every wandering eye and lazy passenger.
Such persons find not mines of silver or the hid treasures of former
generations. Of this search the prophets and holy men of old are
proposed for our example, 1 Pet, i, 10, 11. Unto this purpose they
are said ipswdv, to "investigate" or "diligently search" into the Scrip-
tures ; as we are commanded to do if we intend to attain eternal life,
John V. 39. For the most part men content themselves with an



500 AN EXPOSITION OF THE [CIIAP. III.

overly consideration of these things. Tt is the vapipyov of their hves,
— what they do on the by, or when they have nothing else to do;
whereby they come to know no more of them than they must, as it
were, whether they will or no, — which upon the matter is nothing at
all. Carnal sloth is not the way to an acquaintance with spiritual
things or mysteries.

2. The worth and importance of these things bespeaks the
same duty. Things may be dark and mysterious, and yet not
weighty and worthy, so that they will not defray the charge of a
diligent search after them. Solomon's merchants would not have
gone to Ophir had there not been gold there, as well as apes and
peacocks. But all things are here secure. There are unsearchable
treasures in these mysteries, Eph. iii. 8, vXovrog avi^i^viasrog, — riches
not in this world to be searched out to perfection. No tongue can
fully express them, no mind perfectly conceive them. Their root
and spring lies in the divine nature, which is infinite, and therefore
inexpressible and inexhaustible. There is in them fiapyaplrrig •:roXvu-
fiog, Matt. xiii. 46, " an exceeding precious pearl," a pearl of great and
invaluable price; — a stone which, though by some rejected, is yet
esteemed of God "elect and precious;" and so also by them that be-
lieve, 1 Pet. ii. 6, 7. " The merchandise of it is better than the
merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold: it is more
precious than rubies," Pro v. iii. 14, 15. Whatever is of worth and
value in the glory of God, and the everlasting good of the souls of
sinners, is wrapped up in these mysteries. Now, every thing is (at
least comparatively) despised that is not esteemed according unto
its proper worth. So undoubtedly are these things by the most of
them to whom they are preached.

3. Our own condition calls for diligence in the discharge of
this duty. We are for the most part, like these Hebrews, vuSpoi
raTg dxoaTg, chap. v. 11, — " slothful," or " dull in hearing." We have
a natural unreadiness unto that hearing whereby faith cometh, which
is the consideration here called for; and therefore cannot sufficiently
stir up our spirits and minds unto our duty herein. The manner of
the most in attending unto the mysteries of the gospel should cause
our sorrow here, as it will theirs (if not prevented) unto eternity.

Secondly, The object of this consideration is Christ Jesus, who is
the apostle and high priest of our profession. Together with the espe-
cial indigitation of the person intended by his name, " Christ Jesus,"
we have the description of him as he is to be considered, by his
offices, an "apostle," and a "high priest;" with their limitation,
" of our profession."

1. He is said, and he is here only said, to be an " apostle," or " the

^ , , apostle." An apostle is one sent, a legate, ambassador,

or public messenger. And this is one of the character-



VER. 1, 2.] EPISTLE TO THE HEBllEWS. 501

istical notes of the Messiah. He is one sent of God tipon Lis great
errand unto the children of men, his apostle. Speaking of himself
by his Spirit, Isa. xlviii. 16, he saith, in^">} '^D.^tf" nin;^/V"^-^,— " The
Lord God, and his Spirit, hath sent me;" and again, chap. Ixi. 1,
VO?f ""'ji^^, , — "The Lord hath sent me," namely, according unto
the promise that God would send him unto the church to be a sa-
viour, Isa. xix. 20. And this he tells the church, that they mny
gather and know from his love and care, namely, that the Lord God
had sent him, Zech, ii. 8, 9, — that he was his legate, his apostle. And
because God had promised from the foundation of the world thus to
send him, this became a periphrasis or principal notation of him,
" He whom God would send;" that is, his great legate. Hereunto
Moses seems to have had respect in these words, Exodiv. 13, 5<J"npw'
nptJ'n'Tii ; — " Send now, I pray thee, by the hand of him whom thou
wilt send," namely, ' to be the deliverer and saviour of thy people.'
Hence in the old church he came to be called emphatically 6 lfxJ>-
fiivog, — " he that was to come," " that was to be sent." So when
John sent his disciples to Jesus to inquire whether he was the
Christ, he doth it in these words, 2;) u b spyoiMivog; — "Art thou he
that was to come?" that is, to be sent of God, Matt. xi. 3, John
xi. 27. And thence the ancient Latin translation renders >^^^P,
" Shilo," Gen. xlix. 10, " qui mittendus est," " he that is to be sent,"
— it may be deriving the word, by a mistake, from ^7'^, " to send."
But it well expresseth the common notiou of him in the church
after the giving of the first promise, " He that was to be sent,"
And in the Gospel he doth not himself more frequently make men-
tion of any thing than of his being sent of God, or of being his
apostle. " He whom God hath sent," is his description of himself,
John iii. 84; and him he calls rov uToariiXciv-a, " him that sent him,"
or made him his apostle, Matt. x. 40. And this is most frequently
repeated in the Gospel by John, that we may know of what im-
portance the consideration of it is: see chap. iii. 17, 34, iv. 34,
V. 23, 24, 30, 36-38, vi. 29, 38-40, 44, 57, vii. 16, 28, 29, viii. 16,
18, 29, 42, ix. 4, x. 36, xi. 42, xii. 44, 45, 49, xiii. 20, xiv. 24, xv. 21,
xvi. 5, xvii. 3, 18, 21, 23, 25, xx. 21. Two things, then, are includ-
ed in this expression or title: — (1.) The authority he had for his
work. He came not of himself, but was sent of God, even the
Father; and therefore spake in his name, and fed the church " in the
strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his
God," Micah v. 4. And as he became the apostle of the Father by
his being sent of him, so by his sending of others in his name he
made them his apostles, John xx. 21. As the love, therefore, so the
authority of the Father is much to be considered in this mat-
ter. (2.) His wofk itself, which is here included, and elsewhere
largely declared. It was to reveal and declare the will of the Father



502 AN EXPOSITION OF THE [CHAP. III.

unto the children of men, to declare the Father himself, John i. 18,
and his name, chap. xvii. 6, 2(i; that is, the mystery of his grace,
covenant, and whole will concerning our obedience and salvation,
Heb. i. 1, 2. For this end was he the apostle and ambassador of the
Father, sent into the world by him, M-.']. iii. 1. In brief, the pro-
phetical office of Christ, with respect unto his immediate autliorita-
tive mission by the Father, is intended in this title. And it is a
title of honour as well as of office that is here given him. Hence
the impious Mohammedans, when they would persuade or com-
}.el any one to their sect, require no more of him but that he
acknowledge Mohammed to be " Resul Ellahi," '• The apostle of
God." In this sense, then, is the Lord Christ called " The apostle
of our profession," in that he was sent of God to declare his mind
and will, in his name and with his authority, as ambassadors are wont
to do in reference unto them that send them.

But whereas our Lord Jesus Christ was in an especial manner, as
to the time of his conversation in the flesh, and his personal reveal-
ing the will of God, sent unto the Jews, and therefore says, Matt.
XV. 24, that " he was not sent but to the lost sheep of the house of
Israel," — that is, as unto his personal ministry on the earth ; and our
apostle affirms that he was " a minister of the circumcision for the
truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers," Rom.
XV. 8; and being only in this place unto the Hebrews called au
apostle, — I leave it unto consideration whether there may not be
some especial respect unto his peculiar mission, in his person and
ministry unto them, intended in his name and title, hei'e only given
him.

2. Hereunto is added the "high priest;" — both in one, as the king-
dom and priesthood are also promised, Zech. vi. 13. Both

*" "'''^"'^*"' the Hebrews and we are now to look for all in him.
These offices of old were in several persons. Moses was the apostle,
or ambassador of God, to declare his will and law unto the people;
and Aaron was the high priest, to administer the holy things in the
worship of God. This was the poverty of types, that no one could
so much as represent the work between God and the church. I will
not deny but that Moses was a priest in an extraordinary manner
before the institution of the Aaronical priesthood ; but his officiating
in that office being but a temporary thing, which belonged not to
the condition of the Judaical church, it was not considered by our
apostle in his comparing of him with Christ. To manifest, there-
fore, unto the Hebrews how the Lord Christ hath the pre-eminence
in all things, he instructs them that both the offices, that of an
apostle, which of old was executed by Moses, and that of the high
]»nesthood, committed unto Aaron, were vested in him alone, in-
tCiidui;^ afterwards to evince how far he excelled them both, and



VER 1, 2.] EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS. 503

how excellent were his offices in comparison of theirs, though they
came under the same name.

3. The limitation adjoined is, "of our profession:" "The apostle
and high priest of our profession/' The words may-
be taken objectively and passively, ' The apostle and ^/a,"^ °~'°
high priest whom we profess,' — that is, believe, declare,
and own so to be; or they may actively denote 'the author of
our profession,' — * the apostle and high priest who hath revealed
and declared the faith which we profess, the religion which we own,
and therein exerciseth in his own person the office of the priesthood/
In this sense he is called " The author and finisher of our faith,"
chap. xii. 2. Our faith objectively, and our profession, are the
same. Our profession is the faith and worship of God which we
profess. This is our oiJ.o'Koyia, even the gospel, with the worsliip
and obedience required therein. And the Lord Christ was and is
the apostle of this profession, as he revealed the will of God unto us
in the gospel, as he brought life and immortality to light thereby,
teaching and instructing us in the whole will of God, as Moses did
the Jews of old. He is also the high priest of this our profession,
inasmuch as he himself offered the one and the only sacrifice which
in our religion we own and profess, and continues alone to perform
the whole office of a priest therein, as Aaron and his successors did
in that of the Jews. It belonged not unto the office of the high
priest to institute and appoint any thing in the worship of God, but
only to execute his own duty in offering sacrifices and interceding
for the people. So the Lord Christ, — who, as the apostle of our pro-
fession, instituted the whole worship of God to be observed therein,
— as our high priest doth only offer the sacrifice of the church and
intercede for the people.

The word " our" is added by way of discrimination, and is regu-
lated by the compellation and description foregoing: "Holy brethren,
partakers of the heavenly calling, he is the apostle and high priest of
our profession;" — ' Whatever by others he be esteemed, he is so to
us; and our inestimable privilege and honour it is that he is so.'

This is the present exhortation of the apostle. That which he
finally aims at, is to prevail with these Hebrews to hold fast the
beginning of their confidence unto the end. To this purjjose he ex-
horts, warns, and chargeth tbem,by all the bonds of mutual love and
endearedness, by the greatness of the privilege which they are made
partakers of, and the inexpressibleness of their concernment therein,
that they would fix themselves unto a diligent consideration of him
in whom all those offices now in our profession, — which of old were
shared amongst many, in a low, carnal administration of them, — are
gloriously vested. And how useful this would be unto them, and
wherein this consideration doth consist, shall afterwards be made to



504 AN EXPOSITION OF THE [ciIAP. IIL

appear. For the present we shall make some observations on the
passages of the text that have been opened.

VIII. The business of God with sinners could be no way trans-
acted but by the negotiation and embassy of the Son.

He must become our apostle; that is, be sent unto us. He did,
indeed, at sundry times send servants and messengers into the world
about his affair with us; but whereas they could never accomplish
it, " last of all he sent his Son," Matt. xxi. 37; Heb. i. 1, 2. There
was a threefold greatness in this matter, which none was fit to
manage but the Son of God: —

1. A. greatness of grace, love, and condescension. That the great
and holy God should send to treat with siuners for the ends of his
message, for peace and reconciliation, it is a thing that all the crea-
tion must admire, and that unto eternity. He is every way in him-
self holy, good, righteous, and blessed for evermore. He stood in
no need of sinners, of their service, of their obedience, of their being.
But he was justly provoked by them, by their apostasy and rebellion
against him, and that unto an indignation beyond what can be ex-
pressed. His justice and law required their punishment and de-
struction; which as he could have inflicted unto his own eternal
glory, so they did not in any thing, nor could by any means, seek to
divert him from it. Yet in this condition God will send a message
unto these poor, perishing rebels, an embassy to treat with them
about peace and reconciliation. But this now is so great a thing,
includes such infinite grace, love, and condescension in it, that
sinners know not how to believe it. And, indeed, who is fit to tes-
tify it unto them? Objections that arise against it are able to shake
the credit and reputation of any angel in heaven. Wherefore God
commits this message unto his Son, his only Son, makes him his
apostle, sends him with these tidings, that they may be believed and
accepted: 1 John v. 20, 'The Son of God came, and gave this
understanding.' It is true that God sent others with some parts of
this message before; for " he spake by the mouth of his holy pro-
phets from the beginning of the world," Luke i. 70 ; but yet as the
first promise was given out by the Son of God himself, as I have
elsewhere declared, so all the messages of the prophets in or about
this matter depended on the confirmation of them that he was after-
ward to give in his own person. So saith our apostle : Rom. xv, 8,
"Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for
the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers."
The truth of God in this matter delivered by the prophets was
further to be attested by Jesus Christ, to whose testimony they re-
ferred themselves. And with respect hereunto he tells the Pharisees,
that if he had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had
sin. If the sealed book of prophecies concerning the judgment of



VEK. 1, 2.] EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS. 505

God, in the Revelation, was of so great concernment that "no man
in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth," that is, no crea-
ture, "was able to open it, or look thereon/' Rev. v. 3, until the Lamb
himself undertook it, verses 6-8, how much less was any creature
meet or worthy to open the eternal secret counsels of the bosom of
the Father, concerning the whole work of his love and grace, but
the Son only ! The grace of this message was too great for sinners
to receive, without the immediate attestation of the Son of God.

2. There is a greatness in the work itself that is incumbent on
the apostle of God, which required that the Son of God should be
engaged therein; for, (1.) As the ambassador or apostle of the
Father, he was perfectly to represent the 'person of the Father unto
us. This an ambassador is to do; he bears and represents the per-
son of him by whom he is sent. And no king can more dishonour
himself than by sending a person in that employment who, by
reason of any defect, shall be unmeet so to do. God had, as was
said, sent other messengers unto the children of men ; but they
were all but envoys of heaven, " anteambulones," — some that ran
before as particular messengers, to give notice of the cortiing of this
great apostle or ambassador of God. But themselves were not to
represent his person, nor could so do. See Mai. iii. 1. Indeed he
once, in a particular business, made Moses his especial legate, to re-
present him to Pharaoh ; and therefore he says to him, ^^'V^ T'^'?:'
riiTiQp^ Exod, vii. 1, — that is, *' instead of God," * one that may repre-
sent me in my terror and severity unto him:' but this was in one
particular case and business. But who could fully represent the
person of the Father unto sinners in this great matter ? None, cer-
tainly, but he who is in himself " the brightness of his glory, and
the express image of his person," Heb. i. 3 ; and so represents unto
us the holiness, the goodness, the grace, the love of the Father, by
whom he was sent. Hence he tells his disciples that he who hath
seen him hath seen the Father, John xiv. 9 ; and that because he is
so in the Father, and the Father in him, that he represents him
fully unto us, verse 10. He is "the image of the invisible God,"
Col. i. 15 ; that is, the Father, who in his own person dwells in light,
whereunto no creature can approach, hath exhibited and expressed
the glorious properties of his nature unto us in the person of his
Son, as our apostle expresseth it, 2 Cor. iv, 4. None, then, was tit
to be this great apostle but he, for he only could fully represent the
Father unto us. Any creature else undertaking this work would, or
might, have led us into false notions and apprehensions of God. And
the great wisdom of faith consists in teaching us to learn the Father,
his nature and will, his holiness and grace, in the person of the Son
incarnate, as his apostle and ambassador unto us; for beholding his
glory, " the glory of the only-begotten Son of God, full of grace and



506 AN EXPOSITION OF THE [CHAP. III.

truth," we behold the glory of his Father also. So he and the Father
are one.

(2.) The greatness of the work requires that he who undertakes it
be intimately acquainted luith all the secret counsels of God that
lay hid in his infinite wisdom and will from all eternity. None else
could undertake to be God's apostle in this matter. But who must
this be? It is true that God was pleased to reveal sundry particu-
lar things, effects of his counsels, unto his servants the prophets; but
yet it is concerning them that the Holy Ghost speaks, John i. 18,
" No man hath seen God at any time; the only-begotten Son, which
is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him." The best of
them had but a partial acquaintance with God. Moses saw but a
glimpse of his back parts in his passage before him ; that is, had but a
dark and obscure revelation of his mind and will, — sufficient for his
work and employment. This will not suffice him who is to manage
the whole treaty between God and sinners. Who, then, shall do it?
" The only-begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father." " In
his bosom;" that i.s, not only in his especial love, but who is par-
taker of his most intimate and secret counsels. This the design of
the place requires to be the meaning of it: for so it follows, " He
hath declared him;" — ' He hath revealed him; he hath made him
known, in his nature, his name, his will, his grace; he hath exhi-
bited him to be seen by faith: for he only is able so to do, as being
in his bosom ; that is, acquainted with his nature, and partaker of his
most intimate counsels.' Without this none could in this matter be
God's apostle; for the work is such as wherein God will reveal and
make known, not this or that portion of his will, but himself, and
all the eternal counsels of his mind, about all that he will have to
do Avith sinners in this world, and the whole glory which he aims at
therein to eternity. This knowledge of God and his counsels no
creature was capable of The Son alone thus knows the Father and
his mind. If it were otherwise, — if our apostle did not know the
whole counsel of God in this matter, all that is in his heart and
mind, — it is impossible but that in this great concern sinners would
have been left under endless fears and doubts, lest some things might
yet remain, and be reserved in the unsearchable abyss of the divine
understanding and will, that might frustrate all their hopes and ex-
pectations. Their sin, and guilt, and worthlessness, would still sug-
gest such thoughts and fears unto them. But in this embassy of
the Son there is full and plenary satisfaction tendered unto us that
the whole counsel of God was originally known unto him; so that
there is no ground of the least suspicion that there is any reserve ia
the counsels of God concerning us that he hath not made known.

(3.) To this end also it was necessary that he should have these
counsels of God always abiding with him, that at all times and on all



VER. 1, 2.] EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS. 50 7

occasions he might be able to declare the mind and -will of God, It
was not enough that originally, as he was God, he knew all the tilings
of God, but also as he was sent, as he was the apostle of God, the
counsel of .God was constantly to abide with him. Tiiis is another
thing; for the wisdom and knowledge of Christ as mediator, to be
acted in the human nature, was distinct from his knowledge as he
was in himself God over all, blessed for ever. And without this
none could have been a meet apostle from God unto sinners; for
how else should he reveal the will of God unto them according unto
all emergencies and occasions? When the council of Trent was sit-
ting, and any hard matter (indeed almost any thing) came to be de-
termined amongst them, the leaders of them, not knowing what to
do, always sent to Rome to the pope and his cardinals for their de-
termination. When this came to them, they decreed it under the
usual form, " It pleaseth the Holy Ghost, and us." Hence there
grew a common by-word amongst the jDeople, that the Holy Ghost
came once a week from Rome to Trent in a portmanteau. But when
any men are not sufficiently furnished in themselves for the discharge
of their duty, according to the variety of occasions and emergencies
that they may meet withal, they will put themselves, as will also
those with whom they have to do, unto great difficulties and dis-
tresses. . It was necessary, therefore, that God's apostle unto sinners
should, in the whole discharge of his office, be furnished with a full
comprehension of the whole mind of God, as to the affciir committed
unto him. Now, this never any was nor ever can be capable of, but
only Jesus Christ, the Son of God. It wholly exceeds the capacity
of any merely created person to comprehend at once, and have resi-
dent with him, the whole of the will and mind of God in the busi-
ness of his transaction with sinners; for after the utmost of their
attainments, and the communications of God unto them, they still
know but in part. It is true, they may be able to know so much of
the mind of God as to declare unto others the whole of their duty, —
whence Paul tells the elders of Ephesus that he had "not shunned to
declare unto them all the counsel of God," Acts xx. 27, — yet, as to a
full, habitual comprehension of the whole mind of God in this mat-
ter, to reside with them, answering all occasions and emergencies,
and that, originally and immediately, that no mere creature was
capable of. But as this was needful to the great apostle, so it was
found in Jesus Christ, the Son of God. " The Spirit of the Lord
did rest upon him" (not came upon him at times, but did rest upon
him, remained on him, John i. 32, 33), " the Spirit of wisdom and



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