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SUMMARY OF DOCTRINAL AND PRACTICAL OBSERVATIONS, DRAWN FROM THE EXPOSITION OF THE EPISTLE.
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F12 ______________________ CHAPTERS 1, 2.
PRE-EMINENT DIGNITY OF CHRIST, BOTH ABSOLUTELY AND COMPARATIVELY—HIS SUPERIORITY TO ANGELS.
Chapter 1. Verse. 1,2.— 1. The revelation of the will of God, as to all things which concern his worship and our faith and obedience, is peculiarly, and in a way of eminence, from the Father. 2. The authority of God, speaking in and by the penmen of the Scriptures, is the sole bottom and foundation of our assenting to them, and to what is contained in them, with faith divine and supernatural. 3. God’s gradual revelation of himself, and of his mind and will unto the church, was a fruit of infinite wisdom and care towards his elect. 4. We may see hence the absolute perfection of the revelation of the will of God by Christ and his apostles, as to every end and purpose whatever for which God by Christ and his apostles, as to every end and purpose whatever for which God ever did or ever will in this world reveal himself or his mind and will. 5. That the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the great prophet of his church under the new testament, the only revealer of the will of the Father, as the Son and Wisdom of God, made the worlds, and all things contained in them.
Verse 3.— 1. Our Lord Jesus Christ, as the Son of God, hath the weight of the whole creation upon his hand, and disposeth of it by his power and wisdom. 2. Such is the nature and condition of the universe, that it could not subsist a moment, nor could any thing in it act regularly unto its appointed end, without the continual support, guidance, influence, and disposal, of the Son of God. 3. So great was the work of freeing us from sin, that it could no otherwise be effected but by the sacrifice of the Son of God himself. 4. That there is nothing more vain, foolish, and fruitless, than the opposition which Satan and his agents yet make unto the Lord Christ and his kingdom. 5. That the service of the Lord Christ is both safe and honorable. 6. Great is the spiritual and eternal security of them that truly believe in Christ.
Verse 4. All pre-eminence and exaltation of one above others depends on the supreme counsel and will of God.
Verse 5.— 1. Every thing in Scripture is instructive. 2. It is lawful to draw consequence from the assertions of Scripture; and such consequences, rightly deduced, are infallibly true and de fide . 3. The declaration of Christ to be the Son of God is the care and work of the Father.
Verse 6.— 1. That the authority of God speaking in the Scripture is that alone which divine faith rests upon, and is to be resolved into. 2. That for the begetting, increasing, and strengthening of faith, it is useful to have important fundamental truths confirmed by many testimonies of Scripture. 3. The whole creation of God hath a great concern in God’s bringing forth Christ into the world, and in his exaltation in his kingdom. 4. The command of God is the ground and reason of all religious worship. 5. That the Mediator of the new covenant is in his own person God, blessed for ever, to whom divine or religious worship is due from the angels themselves. 6. The Father, upon the account of the work of Christ in the world, and his kingdom that ensued on it, gives new commandment unto the angels to worship him, his glory being greatly concerned therein. 7. Great is the church’s security and honor, when the Head of it is worshipped by all the angels in heaven. 8. It can be no duty of the saints of the new testament to worship angels, who are their fellow-servants in the worship of Jesus Christ.
Verse 7.— 1. Our conception of the angels, their nature, office, and work, is to be regulated by the Scripture. 2. That the glory, honor, and exaltation of the angels, lie in their subserviency to the providence of God.
Verse 8,9.— 1. The conferring and comparing of Scriptures is an excellent means of coming to an acquaintance with the mind and will of God in them. 2. It is the duty of all believers to rejoice in the glory, honor, and dominion of Jesus Christ. 3. It is the divine nature of the Lord Christ that gives eternity, stability, and unchangeableness to his throne and kingdom: “Thy throne, O God, is for ever.” 4. All the laws, and the whole administration of the kingdom of Christ by his word and Spirit, are equal, righteous, and holy: “His scepter is a scepter of righteousness.” 5. The righteous administrations of the Lord Christ in his government proceed all from his own habitual righteousness and love thereunto. 6. God is a God in especial covenant with the Lord Christ, as he is the mediator: “God, thy God.” 7. The collation of the Spirit on the Lord Christ, and his glorious exaltation, are the peculiar works of God the Father: “God, thy God, hath anointed thee.” 8. The Lord Jesus Christ is singular in this unction. 9. All that serve God in the work of building the church, according to his appointment, are anointed by his Spirit, and shall be rewarded by his power, Daniel 12:3. 10. The disciples of Christ, especially those who serve him in his church faithfully, are his companions in all his grace and glory.
Verse 10-12.— 1. All the properties of God, considered in the person of his Son, the head of the church, are suited to give relief, consolation, and support unto believers in all their distresses. (1.) The properties of God are those whereby God makes known himself to us. (2.) God oftentimes declares and proposeth these properties of his nature to us, for our support, consolation, and relief in our troubles, etc. (3.) That since the entrance of sin, these properties of God, absolutely considered, will not yield that relief and satisfaction unto the souls of men which they would have done, and did, whilst man continued obedient unto God, according to the law of his creation. (4.) These properties of the divine nature are in every person of the Trinity entirely. (5.) The person of the Word, or the eternal Son of God, may be considered either absolutely as such, or as designed in the counsel, wisdom, and will of the Father. 2. The whole old creation, even the most glorious parts of it, hastening to its period, at least of our present interest in it and use of it, calls upon us not to fix our hearts on the small perishing shares which we have therein, especially since we have Him who is omnipotent and eternal for our inheritance. 3. The Lord Christ, the mediator, the head and spouse of the church, is infinitely exalted above all creatures whatever, in that he is God over all, omnipotent and eternal. 4. The whole world, the heavens and earth, being made by the Lord Christ, and being to be dissolved by him, is wholly at his disposal, to be ordered for the good of them that do believe. 5. There is no just cause of fear unto believer from any thing in heaven or earth, seeing they are all of the making and at the disposal of Jesus Christ. 6. Whatever our changes may be, inward or outward, yet, Christ changing not, our eternal condition is secured, and relief provided against all present troubles and miseries. 7. Such is the frailty of the nature of man, and such the perishing nature of all created things, that none can ever obtain the least stable consolation but what ariseth from an interest in the omnipotency, sovereignty, and eternity of the Lord Christ.
Verse 13.— 1. The authority of God the Father in the exaltation of Jesus Christ as the head and mediator of the church, is greatly to be regarded by believers. 2. The exaltation of Christ is the great pledge of the acceptance of the work of mediation performed in the behalf of the church. 3. Christ hath many enemies to his kingdom. 4. The kingdom and rule of Christ is perpetual and abiding, notwithstanding all the opposition that is made against it. 5. The end whereunto the Lord Jesus Christ will assuredly bring all his enemies, let them bluster whilst they please, shall be unto them miserable and shameful, to the saints joyful, to himself victorious and triumphant.
Verse 14.— 1. The highest honor of the most glorious spirits in heaven, is to minister unto the Lord in the service whereunto he appoints them. 2. Unto what ends and purposes doth God make use of the ministry of angels, for the good of them that do believer. 3. The Socratical fancy of one single guardian angel attending every one, as it is, if admitted, a real impeachment unto superstition and idolatry. 4. Believers obtain heaven by inheritance and free gifts of their Father, and not by merit of their own.
Chapter 2. Verse 1.— 1. Diligent attendance unto the word of the gospel is indispensably necessary unto perseverance in the profession of it. 2. There are sundry times and seasons wherein, and several ways and means whereby, men are in danger to lose the word that they have heard, if they attend not diligently unto its preservation. 3. The word heard is not lost without the great sin as well as the inevitable ruins of the souls of men. 4. It is the nature of the word of the gospel to water barren hearts, and to make them fruitful unto God. 5. The consideration of the revelation of the gospel by the Son of God is a powerful motive unto diligent attendance unto it. 6. The true and only way of honoring the Lord Christ as the Son of God, is by diligent attendance and obedience unto his word.
Verse 2-4.— 1. Motives unto a due valuation of the gospel, and perseverance in the profession of it, taken from the penalties annexed unto the neglect of it, are evangelical, and of singular use in the preaching of the word. 2. All punishments annexed unto the transgression either of the law or gospel are effects of God’s vindictive justice, and consequently just and equal. 3. Every concern of the law and gospel, both as to their nature and promulgation, is to be weighed and considered by believers, to beget in their hearts a right and due valuation of them. 4. What means soever God is pleased to use in the revelation of his will, he gives it a certainty, steadfastness, assurance, and evidence, which our faith may rest in, and which cannot be neglected without the greatest sin. 5. Every transaction between God and man is always confirmed and ratified by promises and threatenings, rewards, and punishments: “Every trespass.” 6. The most glorious administrators of the law do stoop to look into the mysteries of the gospel. 7. Covenant transgressions are attended with unavoidable penalties. 8. The gospel is a word of salvation to them that do believe. 9. The salvation tendered in the gospel is great salvation. 10. Men are apt to entertain thoughts of escaping the wrath of God, though they live in a neglect of the gospel. 11. The neglecters of the gospel shall unavoidably perish under the wrath of God.
Verse 5. This is the great privilege of the church of the gospel, that, in the things of the worship of God, it is made subject unto and immediately depends upon the Lord Jesus Christ, and not any other, angels or men. 1. That the Lord Christ is our head. 2. That he is our only head.
Verse 6-9 . The consideration of the infinitely glorious excellencies of the nature of God, manifesting themselves in his works, doth greatly set out his condescension and grace in his regard and respect to mankind. 1. The respect, care, love, and grace of God unto mankind, expressed in the person and mediation of Jesus Christ, is a matter of singular and eternal admiration. 2. That such was the inconceivable love of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, unto the souls of men, that he was free and willing to condescend unto any condition for their good and salvation. 3. The blessed issue of the abasement of Jesus Christ, in his exaltation unto glory and honor, is an assured pledge of the final glory and blessedness of all that believe in him, whatever difficulties and dangers they may be exercised withal in the way. 4. Jesus Christ, as the mediator of the new covenant, hath absolute and supreme authority given unto him over all the works of God in heaven and earth. 5. The Lord Jesus Christ is the only Lord of the gospel state of the church, called under the old testament “The world to come.” 6. The Lord Jesus Christ in his death did undergo the penal sentence of the law, in the room and stead of them for whom he died.
Verse 10.— 1. That the whole work of saving the sons of God, from first to last, their guidance and conduct through sins and sufferings unto glory, is committed unto the Lord Jesus. 2. That the Lord Jesus Christ being priest, sacrifice, and altar himself, the offering whereby he was consecrated unto the perfection and complement of his office was of necessity to be part of that work which, as our priests and mediator, he was to undergo and perform. 3. The Lord Christ, being consecrated and perfected through sufferings, hath consecrated the way of sufferings, for all that follow him to pass through unto glory. 4. Such is the desert of sin, and such is the immutability of the justice of God, that there was no way possible to bring sinners unto glory but by the sufferings and death of the Son of God, who undertook to be the captain of their salvation.
Verse 11-13.— 1. That all the children which are to be brought unto glory, antecedently unto their relation unto the Lord Christ, are polluted, defiled, separate from God. 2. That the Lord Christ is the great sanctifier of the church. He, as the captain of salvation, sanctifies every son whom he brings to glory. 3. The agreement of Christ and the elect in one common nature is the foundation of his fitness to be an undertaker on their behalf, and of the equity of their being made partners of the benefits of his mediation. 4. That notwithstanding the union of nature which is between the Son of God incarnate, the sanctifier, and the children that are to be sanctified, there is, in respect of their persons, an inconceivable distance between them, so that it is a marvelous condescension in him to call them brethren. 5. That which was principally upon the heart of Christ in his sufferings, was to declare and manifest the love, grace, and good-will of God unto men, that they might come to an acquaintance with him and acceptance before him. 6. That the Lord Christ, as the captain of our salvation, was exposed in the days of his flesh unto great difficulties, anxieties of mind, dangers, and troubles. 7. The Lord Christ, in all his perplexities and troubles, betook himself unto the protection of God, trusting in him. 8. He both suffered and trusted as our head and precedent.
Verse 14,15.— 1. That all sinners are subject unto death as it is penal. 2. Fear of death as it is penal is inseparable from sin, before the sinner is delivered by the death of Christ. 3. Fear of death as penal renders the minds of men obnoxious unto bondage. 4. That the Lord Christ, out of his inexpressible love, willingly submitted himself unto every condition of the children to be saved by him, and to every thing in every condition of them, sin only excepted. 5. It was only in flesh and blood, the substance and essence of human nature, and not in our personal infirmities, that the Lord Christ was made like unto us. 6. That the Son of God should take part in human nature with the children, is the greatest and most admirable effect of divine love, wisdom, and grace. 7. That the first and principal end of the Lord Christ’s assuming human nature, was not to reign in it, but to suffer and die in it. 8. All the power of Satan in the world over any of the sons of men is founded in sin, and the guilt of death attending it. 9. All sinners out of Christ are under the power of Satan. 10. The death of Christ, through the wise and righteous disposal of God, is victorious, all-conquering, and prevalent. 11. One principal end of the death of Christ was to destroy the power of Satan.
Verse 17,18.— 1. The promised Messiah was to be the great high priest of the people of God. 2. The assumption of our nature, and his conformity unto us therein, was principally necessary unto the Lord Jesus on the account of his being a priest for us. 3. Such was the unspeakable love of Christ unto the brethren, that he would refuse nothing, no condition that was needful to fit him for the discharge of the work which he had undertaken for them. 4. The principal work of the Lord Christ as our high priest, and from which all other actings of his in that office do flow, was to make reconciliation or atonement for sin. 5. The Lord Christ suffered under all his temptations, sinned in none. 6. Temptations cast souls into danger. 7. The great duty of tempted souls is to cry out unto the Lord Christ for help and relief.
CHAPTER 3., 4:1-13 CHRIST’S SUPERIORITY TO MOSES, THE AGENT IN FOUNDING THE OLD DISPENSATION.
Chapter 3. Verses 1,2.— 1. All the doctrines of the gospel, especially those concerning the person and offices of Christ, are to be improved unto practice in faith and obedience. 2. Dispensers of the gospel ought to use holy prudence in winning upon the minds and affections of those whom they are to instruct. 3. Believers are all related unto one another in the nearest and strictest bond of an equal relation. 4. All true and real professors of the gospel are sanctified by the Holy Ghost, and made truly and really holy. 5. No man comes to a useful, saving knowledge of Jesus Christ in the gospel, but by virtue of an effectual heavenly calling. 6. The effectual heavenly vocation of believers is their great privilege, wherein they have cause to rejoice, and which always ought to mind them of their duty unto him that hath called them. 7. The spiritual mysteries of the gospel, especially those which concern the person and offices of Christ, require deep, diligent, and attentive consideration. 8. The business of God with sinners could be no way transacted but by the negotiation and embassy of the Son. 9. Especial privileges will not advantage men, without especial grace. 10. The Lord Christ is all in all and unto his church, the king, priest, and apostle or prophet of it, all in one. 11. A diligent, attentive consideration of the person, offices, and work of Jesus Christ, is the most effectual means to free the souls of men from all entanglements of errors and darkness, and to keep them constant in the profession of the truth. 12. The union of believers lies in their joint of faith in the person and offices of Christ, upon a participation in the same heavenly calling. 13. The ordering of all things in the church depends on the sovereign appointment of the Father. 14. The faithfulness of the Lord Christ in the discharge of the trust committed unto him is the great ground of faith and assurance unto believers, in the worship of the gospel. 15. All things concerning the worship of God in the whole church or house, now under the gospel, are no less completely and perfectly ordered and ordained by the Lord Jesus Christ than they were by Moses under the law.
So was Moses. 2. That the Lord Christ is worthy of all glory and honor upon the account of his thus building his church, the house of God. 3. The honor and glory of all that ever were, or all that ever shall be, employed in the work and service of the house of God, jointly and severally considered, is inferior, subordinate, and subservient to the glory and honor of Jesus Christ, the chief builder of the house. 4. The building of the church is so great and glorious a work as that it could not be effected by any but him who is God. 5. The greatest and most honorable of the sons of men, that are employed in the work of God in his house, are but servants and part of the house itself. 6. The great end of all Mosaic institutions, was to present, or prefigure, and give testimony unto the grace of the gospel by Jesus Christ. 7. It is an eminent privilege to be of the house of Christ, or a part of that house: “Whose house are we.” 8. The greatness of this privilege requires an answerableness of duty. 9. In times of trial and persecution, freedom, boldness, and constancy in profession, are a good evidence unto ourselves that we are living stones in the house of God, and are duties acceptable unto him. 10. Interest in the gospel gives sufficient cause of confidence and rejoicing in every condition. 11. So many and great are the interveniences and temptations that lie in the way of profession, so great is the number of them that decay in it or apostatize from it, that as unto the glory of God, and the principal discovery of its truth and sincerity, it is to be taken from its permanency unto the end.
Verse 7-11.— 1. No divine truth ought in its delivery to be passed by, without manifesting its use, and endeavoring its improvement unto holiness and obedience. 2. In times of temptations and trials, arguments and exhortations unto watchfulness against sin, and constancy in obedience, are to be multiplied in number, and pressed with wisdom, earnestness, and diligence. 3. Exhortations unto duty ought to be built on a stable foundation, and to be resolved into an authority which may influence the consciences of them to whom they do belong. 4. What was given by inspiration from the Holy Ghost, and is recorded in the Scripture for the use of the church, is of all our obedience consists in its relation to the voice or authority of God. 6. Every thing in the commands of God, relating unto the manner of their giving out and communicating unto us, is to be retained in our minds, and considered as present unto us. 7. Consideration and choice are a stable and permanent foundation of obedience. 8. Such is the nature, efficacy, and power of the voice or word of God, that men cannot withstand or resist it without a sinful hardening of themselves against it. 9. Many previous sins make way for the great sin of finally rejecting the voice or word of God. 10. Old Testament examples are New Testament instructions. 11. Especial seasons of grace and obedience are in an especial manner to be observed and improved. 12. That the examples of our forefathers are of use unto us, and objects of our deepest consideration. 13. It is a dangerous condition, for children to boast of the privileges of their fathers, and to imitate their sins. 14. A multitude joining in any sin gives it thereby a great aggravation. 15. The sinful actings of men against those who deal with them in the name of God, and about the works or will of God, are principally against God himself. 16. Unbelief manifesting itself in a time of trial is a most provoking sin. 17. There is commonly a day, a time, wherein unbelief riseth to its height in provocation. 18. To distrust God, to disbelieve his promises, whilst a way of duty lies before us, after we have had experience of his goodness, power, and wisdom, in his dealing with us, is a tempting of God, and a great, provoking sin. 19. No place, no retiredness, no solitary wilderness, will secure men from sin or suffering, provocation or punishment. 20. Great works of providence are a great means of instruction; and neglect of them, as to their instructive end, is a great aggravation of the sin of those who live when and where they are performed. (1.) To profit by these, it is required that we consider and be well acquainted with our own condition. (2.) That we consider what peculiar impressions of his will God puts upon any of his works. 21. The greater evidence that God gives of his power and goodness in any of his works, the louder is his voice in them, and the greater is the sin of them that neglect them. 22. The end of all God’s works, of his mighty works of providence, towards a person, a church, or a nation, is to bring to faith and dependence. 23. God is pleased ofttimes to grant great outward means to those in whom he will not work effectually by his grace. 24. No privilege, no outward means of grace, no other advantages whatever, will secure men in a course of sinning from the wrath and justice of God. 25. There are determinate bounds fixed unto God’s patience and forbearance towards obstinate sinners. 26. The heart of God is greatly concerned in the sins of men, especially of those who on any account are his people, and so esteemed. 27. In all the sins of men, God principally regards the principle, that is the heart. 28. The error of the heart in preferring the ways of sin before obedience, with its promises and rewards, is the root of all great provoking sins and rebellions against God. 29. A constant persisting in a course of sin, is the utmost, highest, and last aggravation of sin. 30. None despise or desert the ways of God but those that know them not. 31. When God expresseth great indignation in himself against sin, it is to teach men the greatness of sin in themselves. 32. God gives the same firmitude and stability unto his threatenings that he doth unto his promises. 33. When men have provoked God by their impenitency to decree their punishment irrevocably, they will find severity in the execution. 34. It is the presence of God alone that renders any place or condition good or desirable.
Verse 12.— 1. There is a need of great care, heedfulness, watchfulness, and circumspection, for a due continuance in our profession, to the glory of God and advantage of our own souls. 2. Godly jealousy concerning, and watchfulness over the whole body, that no beginnings of backslidings from Christ and the gospel be found amongst them, is the duty of all churches, of all believers. 3. It is the duty of every individual believer to be intent on all occasions, lest at any time, or by any means, there should be found in him an evil heart of unbelief. Unbelief rejects the peculiar doctrines of the gospel; such as, (1.) That Jesus of Nazareth, poor and despised as he was in the world, was the Son of God, the Savior of the world, and is both Lord and Christ. (2.) That by the obedience, death, and blood-shedding of this same Jesus, who was crucified and slain, are redemption, forgiveness of sins, deliverance from the wrath to come, righteousness, and acceptation with God, to be obtained, and by him only. (3.) That the way and means whereby forgiveness of sin, righteousness, and acceptance with God for sinners, is obtained by this Jesus Christ, is, that by the sacrifice of himself, his death, and bloodshedding, with the punishment for sin which he voluntarily underwent, God was atoned, his justice satisfied, and his law fulfilled; and that because he had ordered, in his infinite wisdom and sovereignty, with the will and consent of Christ himself, to charge all the sin of the all the elect upon him, and to accept of his obedience for them, he undertaking to be their Surety and Redeemer. 4. The root of all backsliding, of all apostasy, whether it be notional or practical, partial or total, lies in unbelief. 5. The malignity and venom of sin is apt to hide itself under many, under any shades and pretences. 6. The best way to antidote the soul against sin, is to represent it unto the mind in its true nature and tendency. 7. Whoever departs from the observance of the gospel and the insitutions thereof, doth in so doing depart from the living God. 8. When a heart is made evil by unbelief, it is engaged in a course of sinful defection, of revolt from the living God.
Verse 13.— 1. Sedulous mutual exhortation is an eminent means to obviate and prevent the design of the deceitfulness of sin. 2. Gospel duties have an effectual efficacy attending them in their special seasons. 3. We have but an uncertain season for the due performance of most certain duties. 4. The deceit which is in sin, and which is inseparable from it, tends continually to the hardening of the heart.
Verse 14.— 1. Union with Christ is the principle and measure of all spiritual enjoyments and expectations. 2. Constancy and steadfastness in believing is the great touchstone, trial, and evidence of union with Christ, or a participation of him. (1.) There are many appearing evidences of union with Christ that may and do fail. (2.) There may be certain and undeceiving evidences of a present participation of Christ. (3.) No grace, no sign or mark, will any longer or any further be an evidence or testimony in this matter, but only as the soul is effectually influenced unto perseverance thereby. (4.) Perseverance is an evidence of union in that it is an effect of it. (5.) Whatever profession hath been made by any, whatever fruits of it have been brought forth, whatever continuance in it there hath been, if it fail totally, it is sufficient evidence that those who have made it were never partakers of Christ. 3. Persistency in our subsistence in Christ unto the end is a matter of great endeavor and diligence, and that unto all believers. 4. Not only our profession and existence in Christ, but the gracious beginnings of it also, are to be secured with great spiritual care and industry.
Verse 15.— 1. That every circumstance of the Scripture is instructive. 2. God hath filled the Scripture with truth.
Verse 16.— 1. Many hear the word or voice of God to no advantage, but only to aggravate their sin. 2. In the most general and visible apostasies of the church, God still preserves a remnant unto himself, to bear witness unto him and for him by their faith and obedience. 3. God lays a few, ofttimes a very few, of his secret ones in the balance against the greatest multitude of rebels and transgressors.
Verse 17.— 1. God is not displeased with any thing in his people but sin. 2. Public sins, sins in societies, are great provocations of God. 3. God sometimes will make men who have been wickedly exemplary in sin righteously examplary in their punishment. 4. Great destructions in a way of judgment and vengeance are institute representations of the judgment and vengeance to come.
Verse 18.— 1. All unbelief is accompanied with contumacy and rebellion. 2. Unbelief not only justifies but glorifies the greatest severities of God against them in whom it prevails. 3. The oath of God is engaged against no sins but unbelief.
Verse 19.— 1. Whatever we consider in sin, God principally considers the root and spring of it in unbelief, as that which maketh the most direct and immediate opposition unto himself. 2. Unbelief is the most direct and immediate root and cause of all provoking sins. 3. To disbelieve God with respect unto any special design of glorifying himself, is the greatest and highest provocation. 4. Unbelief deprives men of all interest in or right unto the promises of God. 5. No unbeliever shall ever enter into the rest of God.
Chapter 4. Verse 1.— 1. The gospel, in the dispensation thereof, is not only attended with promises and rewards, but also with threatenings and punishments. 2. Gospel comminations ought to be managed towards all sorts of professors promiscuously, be they true believers, temporary, or hypocrites. 3. Fear is the proper object of gospel comminations, which ought to be answerable to our several conditions and grounds of obnoxiousness unto those threatenings. 4. It is a matter of great and tremendous consequence, to have the promises of God left and proposed unto us. 5. The failing of men through unbelief doth no way cause the promises of God to fail or cease. 6. The gospel state of believers is a state of assured rest and peace. 7. Many to whom the promise of the gospel is proposed and preached do or may, through their own sins, come short of the enjoyment of the things promised. 8. Not only backsliding through unbelief, but all appearance of tergiversation in profession, and occasions of them in times of difficulty and trials, ought to be carefully avoided by professors. 9. They who mix not the promises of the gospel with faith shall utterly come of entering into the rest of God.
Verse 2.— 1. It is a signal privilege to have the gospel preached unto us. 2. Barely to be evangelized, to have the gospel preached unto any, is a privilege of a dubious issue and event. 3. The gospel is no new doctrine, no new law. 4. God hath graciously ordered the word of the gospel to be preached unto men, wheron depends their welfare or their ruin. 5. The sole cause of the promise being ineffectual unto salvation, in and towards them to whom it is preached, is in themselves and their own unbelief. 6. There is a failing, temporary faith with respect unto the promises of God, which will not advantage them in whom it is. 7. The great mystery of useful and profitable believing consists in the mixing and incorporating of truth and faith in the souls and minds of believers.
Verse 3.— 1. The state of believers under the gospel is a state of blessed rest. 2. It is faith alone which is the only way and means of entering into this blessed state of rest. 3. There is a mutual inbeing of the promises and threatenings of the covenant, so that in our faith and consideration of them they ought not utterly to be separated. 4. God hath shown us in his own example that work and labor is to precede our rest. 5. All the works of God are perfect. 6. All the works of God in the creation were wrought and ordered in a subserviency unto his worship and glory whereby.
Verse 4.— 1. Whatever the Scripture saith in any place, being rightly understood and applied, is a firm foundation for faith to rest upon, and for arguments or proofs in matters of God’s worship to be deduced from. 2. It is to no purpose to press any thing in the worship of God, without producing the authority of God for it in his word. 3. What the Scripture puts an especial mark upon is especially by us to be regarded and inquired into.
Verse 5.— Many important truths are not clearly delivered in any one single testimony or proposition in the Scripture, but the mind of God concerning them is to be gathered and learned by comparing of several Scriptures, in order and respect to one another.
Verse 6.— 1. The faithfulness of God in his promises is not to be measured by faith or obedience of men at any one season, in any one generation; nor by their sins whereby they come short of them, nor by any providential dispensations towards them. 2. The promises of God are such as belong only to the grace of the covenant, or such as respect also the outward administration of it in this world. 3. Some, yea, many promises of God, may have a full accomplishment, when very few, or it may be none at all, know or take notice that so they are accomplished. 4. Some promises of God, as to their season, although they may have, and indeed have, their use and benefit in all seasons; and until this come there can be no failure charged, though they be not fulfilled. 5. There are many promises whose signal accomplishment God that not limited to any especial season, but keeps it in his own will to act according to them towards his church as is best suited to his wisdom and love. 6. Some concerns of the glory of God in the world may suspend the full and outward accomplishment of some promises for a season. 7. When the accomplishment of promises seemeth to be deferred, we are not to faint in our duty.
Verse 7.— 1. In reading and hearing the Scripture, we ought to consider God speaking in it and by it unto us. 2. Divine inspiration, or the authority of God speaking in and by the penmen of the Scripture, is the ground and foundation of our faith, and is that which gives them authority over our consciences and efficacy in them. 3. The holy Scripture is an inexhaustible treasury or repository of spiritual mysteries and sacred truths. 4. Many important truths lie deep and secret in the Scripture, and stand in need of a very diligent search and hard digging in their investigation, and for their finding out. 5. For searching the Scriptures aright there is required a peculiar humble and teachable frame of spirit; 6. Earnest prayer for the guidance, direction, assistance, and illumination, of the Holy Ghost, to enable us to find out, discern, and understand the deep things of God; 7. Endeavor, in all inquirings into the word, to mind and aim at the same ends which God hath in the giving and granting of it unto us. 8. They that would search the Scriptures, to find out the sacred truths that lie hid in them, ought to take care that they entertain no corrupt lusts in their hearts and minds. 9. Sedulity and constancy in this duty are a great help to a profitable discharge of it. 10. In our search after truth, our minds are greatly to be influence and guided by the analogy of faith; 11. A due consideration of the nature of the discourse wherein any words are used. 12. The proper grammatical sense of the words themselves is duly to be inquired into and pondered.
Verse 8.— 1. There is not true rest for the souls of men but only in Jesus Christ by the gospel. 2. Other things will not give rest to the souls of men. 3. The gospel church-state is a state of spiritual rest in Christ. 4. It is a great mercy and privilege to have a day of rest and worship given unto us.
Verse 9.— 1. Believers under the new testament have lost nothing, no privilege that was enjoyed by them under the old. 2. It is the people of God alone who have a right unto all the privileges of the gospel, and who in a due manner can perform the duties of it. 3. The people of God, as such, have work to do, and labor incumbent on them. 4. God hath graciously given his people an entrance into rest during their state of work and labor, to sweeten it unto them, and to enable them for it. 5. Believers may and do find assured rest in the due attendance unto and performance of the duties of the gospel. 6. There is a weekly sacred rest appointed for believers under the gospel.
Verse 10.— 1. The whole church, all the duties, worship, and privileges of it, are founded in the person, authority, and actions of Jesus Christ. 2. The first day of the week, the day of the resurrection of Christ, when he rested from his work, is appointed and determined for a day of rest or Sabbath unto the church, to be constantly observed in the room of the seventh day, appointed and observed from the foundation of the world under the old testament.
Verse 11.— 1. That great oppositions will and do arise against men in the work of entering into God’s rest. 2. That as the utmost of our labors and endeavors are required to our obtaining an entrance into the rest of Christ, so it doth very well deserve that they should be laid out therin. 3. There is a present excellency in and a present reward attending gospel faith and obedience. 4. Precedent judgments on others are monitory ordinances to us. 5. It is better to have an example than to be made an example of divine vengeance under the guilt of those sins which others, in a like manner guilty of, have not escaped.
Verse12,13.— 1. It is the way of the Spirit of God, to excite us unto especial duties, by proposing unto us and reminding us of such properties of God as the consideration whereof may in an especial manner incline us unto them. 2. The life and power of Christ are continually exercised about the concerns of the souls of professors. 3. The power of Christ in his word is irresistible, as to whatever effects he doth design in it. 4. Though men may close and hide things from themselves and others, yet they cannot exclude the power of Christ in his word from piercing into them. 5. The Lord Christ discerneth all inward and spiritual things, in order to his present and future judgment of those things, and the persons in whom they are. 6. It is no trouble or labor to the Word of God to discern all creatures, and all that is of them and in them, seeing that there is nothing but is evidently apparent, open, and naked, under his all-seeing eye. 7. It is a great and difficult matter really and practically to convince professors of the practical judging omniscience of Jesus Christ in the word of God. 8. That the beginnings or entrances into declensions in profession, or backslidings from Christ and the gospel, are secret, deep, and hardly discoverable. 9. A due and holy consideration at all times of the all-seeing eye of Jesus Christ is a great preservative against blackslidings or declensions in profession. 10. A due and holy consideration of the omnisciency of Christ is a great encouragement unto the meanest and weakest believers, who are upright and sincere in their faith and obedience.
CHAPTER 4:14-16, 5.-8.
SUPERIORITY OF CHRIST AS PRIEST TO THE LEVITICAL PRIESTHOOD, FROM THE ANALOGY OF HIS OFFICE WITH THAT OF MELCHISEDEC, AND OTHER CONSIDERATIONS.
Chapter 4. Verse 14.— 1. That great opposition is, and always will be, made unto the permanency of believers in their profession. 2. It is our duty, in the midst of all oppositions, to hold our profession firm and steadfast unto the end. 3. Believers have great encouragement unto and assistance in the constancy of their profession, by and from the priesthood of Jesus Christ.
Verse 16.— 1. There is, there will be a season, many a season, in the course of our profession or walking before God, wherein we do or shall stand in need of especial aid and assistance. 2. That there is with God in Christ, God on his throne of grace, a spring of suitable and seasonable help for all times and occasions of difficulty. 3. All help, succor, or spiritual assistance in our straits and difficulties, proceeds from mere mercy and grace. 4. When we have, through Christ, obtained mercy for our persons, we need not fear but that we shall have suitable and seasonable help for our duties. 5. The way to obtain help from God, is by a due gospel application of our souls for it to the throne of grace. 6. Great discouragements are used to interpose themselves in our minds and against their faith, when we stand in need of especial help from God, and would make an application unto him for relief. 7. Faith’s consideration of the interposition of Christ in our behalf, as our high priest, is the only way to remove discouragements, and to give us boldness in our access unto God. 8. That in all our approaches unto God, we are to consider him as on a throne.
Chapter 5. Verse 1.— 1. Christ’s participation of our nature, as necessary unto him for the bearing and discharge of the office of a high priest on our behalf, is a great ground of consolation unto believers, a manifest evidence that he is and will be tender and compassionate towards them. 2. It was the entrance of sin that made the office of the priesthood necessary. 3. It was of infinite grace that such an appointment was made. 4. The priest is described by the especial discharge of his duty or exercise of his office, which is his “offering both gifts and sacrifice for sins.” 5.
Where there is no proper propitiatory sacrifice, there is no proper priest. 6. Jesus Christ alone is the high priest of his people. 7. It was a great privilege which the church enjoyed of old, in the representation which it had, by God’s appointment, of the priesthood and sacrifice of Christ in their own typical priests and sacrifices. 8. Much more glorious is our privilege under the gospel, since our Lord Jesus hath taken upon him, and actually discharged, this part of his office, in offering an absolutely perfect and complete sacrifice for sin. 9. What is to be done with God on the account of sin, that it may be expiated and pardoned, and that the people of God who have sinned may be accepted with him and blessed, is all actually done for them by Jesus Christ, their high priest, in the sacrifice for sin which he offered on their behalf.
Verse 2.— 1. Compassion and forbearance with meekness in those from whom we expect help and relief, is the great motive and encouragement unto faith, affiance, and expectation of them. 2. We live, the life of our souls is principally maintained, upon this compassionateness of our High Priest. 3. Though every sin hath in it the whole nature of sin, rendering sinners obnoxious unto the curse of the law, yet as there are several kinds of sins so there are several degrees of sin, some being accompanied with a greater guilt than others. 4. Our ignorance is both our calamity, our sin, and an occasion of many sins unto us. 5. Sin is a wandering from the way. 6. No sort of sinners is excluded from an interest in the care and love of our compassionate High Priest, but only those who exclude themselves by their unbelief. 7. It is well for us, and enough for us, that the Lord Christ was encompassed with the sinless infirmities of our nature. 8. God can teach a sanctified use of sinful infirmities, as he did in it and unto the priests under the law.
Verse 3.— 1. The absolute holiness and spotless innocence of the Lord Christ in his offering of himself had a signal influence into the efficacy of his sacrifice, and is a great encouragement unto our faith and consolation. 2. Whosoever dealeth with God or man about the sins of others should look well, in the first place, unto his own. 3. No dignity of person or place, no duty, no merit, can deliver sinners from standing in need of a sacrifice for sin. 4. It was a part of the darkness and bondage of the church under the old testament, that their high priests had need to offer sacrifices for themselves and for their own sins.
Verse 4.— 1. It is an act of sovereignty in God to call whom he pleaseth unto his work and especial service, and eminently so when it is unto any place of honor and dignity in his house. 2. The highest excellency and utmost necessity of any work to be done for God in this world, will not warrant our undertaking of it or engaging in it, unless we are called thereunto. 3. The more excellent any work of God is, the more express ought our call unto it to be. 4. It is a great dignity and honor to be duly called unto any work, service, or office, in the house of God.
Verse 5.— 1. The office of the high priesthood over the church of God was an honor and glory to Jesus Christ. 2. Relation and love are the fountain and cause of God’s committing all authority in and over the church to Jesus Christ.
Verse 6 .—That in all things wherein God hath to do with mankind, Jesus Christ should have an absolute pre-eminence.
Verse 7.— 1. The Lord Jesus Christ himself had a time of infirmity in this world. 2. A life of glory may ensue after a life of infirmity. 3. The Lord Christ is no more now in a state of weakness and temptation. 4. The Lord Christ filled up every season with duty, with the proper duty of it. 5. The Lord Christ, in his offering up himself for us, labored and travailed in soul to bring the work unto a good and holy issue. 6. The Lord Christ, in the time of his offering and suffering, considering God, with whom he had to do, as the sovereign Lord of life and death, as the supreme Rector and Judge of all, cast himself before him, with most fervent prayers for deliverance from the sentence of death and the curse of the law. 7. In all the pressures that were on the Lord Jesus Christ, in all the distresses he had to conflict withal in his sufferings, his faith for deliverance and success was firm and unconquerable. 8. The success of our Lord Jesus Christ in his trials, as our head and surety, is a pledge and assurance of success unto us in all our spiritual conflicts.
Verse 8.— 1. Infinite love prevailed with the Son of God to lay aside the privilege of his infinite dignity, that he might suffer for us and our redemption. 2. In his sufferings, and notwithstanding them all, the Lord Christ was the Son still, the Son of God. 3. A practical experience of obedience to God in some cases will cost us dear. 4. Sufferings undergone according to the will of God are highly instructive. 5. In all these things, both as to suffering and learning, or profiting thereby, we have a great example in our Lord Jesus Christ. 6. The love of God towards any, the relation of any unto God, hinders not but that they may undergo great sufferings and trials.
Verse 9.— 1. All that befell the Lord Christ, all that he did or suffered, was necessary to this end, that he might be the cause of eternal salvation to believers. 2. The Lord Christ was consecrated himself in and by the sacrifice that he offered for us, and what he suffered in so doing. 3. The Lord Christ alone is the only principal cause of our eternal salvation, and that in every kind. 4. Salvation is confined to believers.
Verse 10.— 1. God was pleased to put a signal honor upon the person and office of Melchisedec, that in them there should be an early and excellent representation made of the person and priesthood of Jesus Christ. 2. As the Lord Christ received all his honor, as mediator, from God the Father, so the ground and measure of our glory and honor unto him as such depend on the revelation and declaration of it unto us. 3. It is an evidence and testimony that the Lord Christ was able to be, and is, the author of eternal salvation unto all that do obey him, because he is a priest after the order of Melchisedec; that is, that his priesthood is eternal.
Verse 11.— 1. There are revealed in the Scripture sundry deep and mysterious truths, which require a peculiar diligence in our attendance unto their declaration, that we rightly understand them or receive them in a due manner. 2. It is necessary for the ministers of the gospel sometimes to insist on the most abstruse and difficult truths that are revealed for our edification. 3. There is a glorious light and evidence in all divine truths, but by reason of our darkness and weakness, we are not always able to comprehend them. 4. Many who receive the word at first with some readiness, do yet afterwards make but slow progress either in knowledge or grace. 5. It is men’s slothfulness in hearing that is the sole cause of their not improving the means of grace, or not thriving under the dispensation of the word. 6. It is a grievous matter to the dispersers of the gospel, to find their hearers unapt to learn and thrive under their ministry, through their negligence and sloth.
Verse 12.— 1. The time wherein we enjoy the great mercy and privilege of the dispensation of the gospel, is a matter which must in particular be accounted for. 2. Churches are the schools of Christ, wherein his disciples are trained up unto perfection, every one according to the measure appointed for him, and usefulness in the body. 3. It is the duty of ministers of the gospel to endeavor to promote the increase of their hearers in knowledge, until they also are able to instruct others, according to their calls and opportunities. 4. The holy Scriptures are to be looked on, consulted, and submitted unto, as the oracles of God. 5. God hath, in infinite love and wisdom, so disposed of his word as that there are first principles, plain and necessary, laid down in it, to facilitate the instruction he intends thereby. 6. They who live under the preaching of the gospel are obnoxious to great and provoking sins, if they diligently watch not against them. 7. There will be a time when false and unprofitable professors will be made manifest and discovered, either to their present conviction or their eternal confusion. 8. Men do ofttimes secretly wax worse and worse under profession and means of grace. 9. There are provisions of truth in the Scripture, suitable to the spiritual instruction and edification of all sorts of persons that belong to Jesus Christ.
Verse 13.— 1. The gospel is the only word of righteousness, in itself and to us. 2. It is a great aggravation of the negligence of persons under the dispensation of the gospel, that it is a word of righteousness. 3. That God requires, of all those who live under the dispensation of the gospel, that they should be skilful in the word of righteousness.
Verse 14.— 1. The word of the gospel, in the dispensation of it, is food provided for the souls of men. 2. Whereas the word is food, it is evident that it will not profit our souls until it be eaten and digested. 3. It is an evidence of a thriving and healthy state of soul, to have an appetite unto the deepest mysteries of the gospel, its most solid doctrines of truth, and to be able profitably to digest them. 4. The assiduous exercise of our minds about spiritual things, in a spiritual manner, is the only means to make us profit in the hearing of the word. 5. The spiritual sense of believers, well exercised in the word, is the best and most undeceiving help in judging of what is good or evil, what is true or false, that is proposed unto them.
Chapter 6. Verse. 1.— 1. It is the duty of ministers of the gospel to take care, not only that the doctrine which they preach be true, but also that it be seasonable with respect to the state and condition of their hearers. 2. Some important doctrines of truth may, in the preaching of the gospel, be omitted for a season, but none must ever be forgotten or neglected. 3. It is a necessary duty of the dispensers of the gospel to excite their hearers, by all pressing considerations, to make a progress in the knowledge of the truth. 4. The case of that people is deplorable and dangerous whose teachers are not able to carry them on in the knowledge of the mysteries of the gospel. 5. In our progress towards an increase in knowledge, we ought to go on with diligence and the full bent of our wills and affections.
Verse 1,2.— 1. There is no full interest in Christ or Christian religious to be obtained without repentance from dead works, nor any orderly entrance into a gospel church-state without a credible profession thereof. 2. Faith in God, as to the accomplishing of the great promise in sending his Son Jesus Christ to save us from our sins, is the great fundamental principle of our interest in and profession of the gospel. 3. The consideration of the accomplishment of this promise is a great encouragement and support to faith with respect to all other promises of God. 4. The doctrine of the resurrection is a fundamental principle of the gospel, the faith whereof is indispensably necessary unto the obedience and consolation of all that profess it. 5. Ministers of the gospel ought to dwell greatly on the consideration of this principle, as it is represented in its terror and glory, that they may be excited and stirred up to deal effectually with the souls of men, that they fall not under the vengeance of that day. 6. Persons to be admitted into the church, and unto a participation of all the holy ordinances thereof, had need to be well instructed in the important principles of the gospel. 7. It is not the outward sign, but the inward grace, that is principally to be considered in those ordinances or observances of the church which visibly consist in rites and ceremonies, or have them accompanying them.
Verse 3.— 1. No discouragements should deter the ministers of the gospel, to whom the dispensation of the mysteries of Christ is committed, from proceeding in the declaration of these, when they are called thereunto. 2. As it is our duty to submit ourselves in all our undertakings unto the will of God, so especially in those wherein his glory is immediately concerned. 3. Let them who are intrusted with means of light, knowledge, and grace, improve them with diligence, lest, upon their knowledge, God suffer not his ministers further to instruct them.
Verse 4-6.— 1. It is a great mercy, a great privilege, to be enlightened with the doctrine of the gospel, by the effectual working of the Holy Ghost. 2. It is such a privilege as may be lost, and end in the aggravation of the sin and condemnation of those who were made partakers of it. 3. Where there is a total neglect of the due improvement of this privilege and mercy, the condition of such persons is hazardous, as inclining towards apostasy. 4. All the gifts of God under the gospel are peculiarly heavenly, John 3:12; Ephesians 1:3. 5. The Holy Ghost, for the revelation of the mysteries of the gospel, and the institution of the ordinances of spiritual worship, is the great gift of God under the new testament. 6. There is a goodness and excellency in this heavenly gift, which may be tasted or experienced in some measure by such as never receive him in his life, power, and efficacy. 7. A rejection of the gospel, its truth and worship, after some experience had of their worth and excellency, is a high aggravation of sin, and a certain presage of destruction. 8. The Holy Ghost is present with many as to powerful operations, with whom he is not present as to gracious inhabitation. 9. There is a goodness and excellency in the word of God, able to attract and affect the minds of men, who yet never arrive at sincere obedience to it. 10. There is an especial goodness in the word of the promise concerning Jesus Christ, and the declaration of its accomplishment.
Verse 7.— 1. The minds of all men by nature are universally and equally barren with respect to fruits of righteousness and holiness, meet for and acceptable unto God. 2. The dispensation of the word of the gospel unto men is an effect of the sovereign power and pleasure of God, as is the giving of rain unto the earth. 3. God so ordereth things in his sovereign, unsearchable providence, that the gospel shall be sent unto, and in the administration of it shall find admittance into what places, and at what times, seem good unto himself, even as he orders the rain to fall on one place, and not on another. 4. It is the duty of those unto whom the dispensation of the word is committed of God, to be diligent, watchful, instant in their work, that their doctrine may, as it were, continually drop and distil upon their hearers, that the rain may fall often on the earth. 5. Attendance unto the word preached, hearing of it with some diligence, and giving of it some kind of reception, make no great difference among men; for this is common unto them who never become fruitful. 6. God is pleased to exercise much patience towards those to whom he once grants the mercy and the privilege of his word. 7. Where God grants means, there he expects fruit. 8. Duties of gospel obedience are fruits meet for God, things that have a proper and especial tendency unto his glory. 9. Wherever there are any sincere fruits of faith and obedience found in the hearts and lives of professors, God graciously accepts and blesseth them.
Verse 8.— 1. Whilst the gospel is preached unto men, they are under their great trial for eternity. 2. Barrenness under the dispensation of the gospel is always accompanied with an increase of sin. 3. Ordinarily God proceeds to the rejection and destruction of barren professors by degrees, although they are seldom sensible of it until they fall irrecoverably into ruin.
Verse 9.— 1. It is the duty of the dispensers of the gospel to satisfy their hearers in and of their love in Jesus Christ to their souls and persons. 2. It is our duty to come into the best satisfaction we may in the spiritual condition of them with whom we are to have spiritual communion. 3. We may, as occasions require, publicly testify that good persuasion which we have concerning the spiritual condition of others, and that unto themselves. 4. The best persuasion we can arrive unto concerning the spiritual condition of any leaves yet room, yea, makes way for gospel threatenings, warnings, exhortations, and encouragements. 5. Among professors of the gospel some are partakers of better things than others. 6. There are, according to the tenor of the covenant of grace, such things bestowed on some persons as salvation doth infallibly accompany and ensue upon. 7. It is the duty of all professors strictly to examine themselves concerning their participation of those better things which accompany salvation.
Verse 10.— 1. Faith, if it be a living faith, will be a working faith. 2. We ought to look on obedience as our work, which will admit neither of sloth nor negligence. 3. It is a due regard unto the name of God that gives life, spirituality, and acceptance, unto all the duties of love which we perform towards others. 4. It is the will and pleasure of God that many of his saints be in a condition, in this world, wherein they stand in need of being ministered unto. 5. The great trial of our love consists in our regard to the saints that are in distress. 6. It is the glory and honor of a church, the principal evidence of its spiritual life, when it is diligent and abounds in those duties of faith and love which are attended with the greatest difficulties. 7. Our perseverance in faith and obedience, though it requires our duty and constancy therein, yet it depends not on them absolutely, but on the righteousness of God in his promises. 8. Nothing shall be lost that is done for God, or in obedience unto him. 9. The certainty of our future reward, depending on the righteousness of God, is a great encouragement unto present obedience.
Verse 11.— 1. Our profession will not be preserved, nor the work of faith and love carried on, unto the glory of God and our own salvation, without a constant studious diligence in the preservation of the one and the exercise of the other. 2. Ministerial exhortation unto duty is needful even unto them who are sincere in the practice of it, that they may abide and continue therein. 3. Whereas there are degrees in spiritual saving graces and their operations, we ought continually to press towards the most perfect of them. 4. Hope, being improved by the due exercise of faith and love, will grow up into such an assurance of rest, life, immortality, and glory, as shall outweigh all the troubles and persecutions that in this world may befall us on the account of our profession or otherwise.
Verse 12.— 1. Spiritual sloth is ruinous of any profession, though otherwise never so hopeful. 2. Faith and patient long-suffering are the only way whereby professors of the gospel may attain rest with God, in the accomplishment of the promises. 3. All the children of God have a right unto an inheritance. 4. The providing of examples for us in the Scripture, which we ought to imitate and follow, is an effectual way of teaching, and a great fruit of the cure and kindness of God towards us.
Verse 13-16.— 1. We have need of every thing that any way evidenceth the stability of God’s promises to be represented unto us, for the encouragement and confirmation of our faith. 2. The grant and communications of spiritual privileges is a mere act or effect of sovereign grace. 3. Where the promise of God is absolutely engaged, it will break through all difficulties to a perfect accomplishment. 4. Although there may be privileges attending some promises that may be peculiarly appropriated to some certain persons, yet the grace of all promises is equal to all believers. 5. Whatever difficulty and opposition may lie in the way, patient endurance in faith and obedience will infallibly bring us unto the full enjoyment of the promises. 6. Faith gives such an interest unto believers in all the promises of God, as that they obtain even those promises,—that is the benefit and comfort of them,—whose actual accomplishment in this world they do not behold. 7. There is, as we are in a state of nature, a strife and difference between God and us. 8. The promises of God are gracious proposals of the only way and means for the ending of that strife. 9. The oath of God, interposed for the confirmation of these promises, is every way sufficient to secure believers against all objections and temptations, in all straits and trials, about peace with God through Jesus Christ. 10. That the custom of using oaths, swearing, cursing, or imprecation, in common communication, is not only an open transgression of the third commandment, which God hath threatened to revenge, but it is a practical renunciation also of all the authority of Jesus Christ, who hath so expressly interdicted it. 11. Whereas swearing by the name of God in truth, righteousness, and judgment, is an ordinance of God for the end of strife among men, perjury is justly reckoned amongst the worst and highest of sins, and is that which reflects the greatest dishonor on God, and tendeth to the ruin of human society. 12. Readiness in some to swear on slight occasions, and the ordinary impositions of oaths on all sorts of persons, without a due consideration on either hand of the nature, ends, and properties of lawful swearing, are evils greatly to be lamented, and in God’s good time, among Christians will be reformed.
Verse 17-20.— 1. The purpose of God for the saving of the elect by Jesus Christ is an act of infinite wisdom, as well as sovereign grace. 2. The life and assurance of our present comforts and future glory depends on the immutability of God’s counsel. 3. The purpose of God concerning the salvation of the elect by Jesus Christ became immutable from hence, that the determination of his will was accompanied with infinite wisdom. 4. Infinite goodness, as acting itself in Christ, was not satisfied in providing and preparing good things for believers, but it would also show and declare it unto them, for their present consolation. 5. It is not all mankind universally, but a certain number of persons, under certain qualifications, to whom God designs to manifest the immutability of his counsel, and to communicate the effects thereof. 6. God alone knows the due measures of divine condescension, or what becomes the divine nature therein. 7. So unspeakable is the weakness of our faith, that we stand in need of inconceivable divine condescension for its confirmation. 8. Fallen, sinful man stands in need of the utmost encouragement that divine condescension can extend unto, to prevail with him to receive the promise of grace and mercy by Jesus Christ. 9. Sense of danger and ruin from sin is the first thing which occasions a soul to look out after Christ in the promise. 10. A full conviction of sin is a great and shaking surprisal unto a guilty soul. 11. The revelation or discovery of the promise, or of Christ in the promise, is that alone which directs convinced sinners into their proper course and way. 12. Where there is the least of saving faith, upon the first discovery of Christ in the promise, it will stir up the whole soul to make out towards him and a participation of him. 13. It is the duty and wisdom of all those unto whom Christ in the promise is once discovered, by an gospel means or ordinance once set before them, to admit of no delay of a thorough closing with him. 14. There is a spiritual strength and vigor required unto the securing of our interest in the promise, krath~sai , “to lay fast and firm hold upon it.” 15. The promise is an assured refuge unto all sin-distressed souls who betake themselves thereunto. 16. Where any souls, convinced of sin by the charge of the law, and of their own lost condition theron, do betake themselves unto the promise for relief, God is abundantly willing that they should receive strong consolation. 17. All true believers are exposed to storms and tempests in this world. 18. These storms would prove ruinous unto the souls of believers, were they not indefeasibly interested by faith and hope in the promise of the gospel. 19. No distance of place, no interposition of difficulties, can hinder the hope of believers from entering into the presence of and fixing itself on God in Christ. 20. The strength and assurance of the faith and hope of believers is invisible unto the world. 21. Hope firmly fixed on God in Christ by the promise will hold steady, and preserve the soul in all the storms and trials that may befall it. 22. It is our wisdom at all times, but especially in times of trial, to be sure that our anchor have a good hold-fast in heaven. 23. After the most sincere performance of the best of our duties, our comforts and securities are centered in Christ alone. 24. As the minds of men are greatly to be prepared for the communication of spiritual mysteries unto them, so the best preparation is by the cure of their sinful and corrupt affections, with theremoval of their barrenness under what they have before learned and beend instructed in. 25. This same Jesus is our Savior in every state and condition,—the same on the cross, and the same at the right hand of the Majesty on high. 26. The Lord Jesus having entered into heaven as our forerunner, gives us manifold security of our entrance thither also in the appointed season. 27. If the Lord Christ be entered into heaven as our forerunner, it is our duty to be following him with all speed we can. 28. We may see whereon the security of the church doth depend, as to the trials and storms which it undergoes in the world. 29. What will he not do for us, who, in the height of his glory, is not ashamed to be esteemed our forerunner? 30. When our hope and trust enter within the veil, it is Christ as our forerunner that in a peculiar manner they are to fix and fasten themselves upon.
Chapter 7. Verse 1-3.— 1. When truths in themselves mysterious, and of great importance unto the church, are asserted or declared, it is very necessary that clear evidence and demonstration be given unto them, that the minds of men be left neither in the dark about their meaning, nor in suspense about their truth. 2. God can raise the greatest light in the midst of the greatest darkness, as Matthew 4:16. 3. He can raise up instruments for his service and unto his glory, when, where, and how he pleaseth. 4. The signal prefiguration of Christ in the nations of the world, at the same time when Abraham received the promises for himself and his posterity, gave a pledge, and assurance of the certain future call of the Gentiles. 5. The Lord Christ, as king of the church, is plentifully stored with all spiritual provisions, for the relief, support, and refreshment of all believers in and under their duties, and will give it out unto them as their occasions do require. 6. Those who go to Christ merely on the account of his priestly office and the benefits thereof, shall also receive the blessings of his kingly power, in abundant supplies of mercy and grace. 7. God in his sovereign pleasure gives various intervals unto places, as to the enjoyment of his worship and ordinances. 8. Acts of munificence and bounty are memorable and praiseworthy, though they no way belong unto things sacred by virtue of divine institution. 9. It is acceptable with God, that those who have labored in any work or service of his should receive refreshments and encouragements from men. 10. Every one is that in the church, and nothing else, which God is pleased to make him so to be. 11. Where God calleth any one unto a singular honor and office in his church, it is in him a mere act of his sovereign grace. 12. A divine call is a sufficient warrant for the acting of them according unto it who are so called, and for the obedience of others unto them in their work or office. 13. The first personal instituted type of Christ was a priest. 14. To keep up and preserve a due reverence of God in our minds and words, we should think of and use those holy titles which are given to him and whereby he is described in the Scripture. 15. It is good at all times to fix our faith on that in God which is meet to encourage our obedience and dependence upon him in our present circumstances. 16. It is a matter of inestimable satisfaction that he whom we serve is the most high God, the sovereign possessor of heaven and earth. 17. Public profession in all ages is to be suited and pointed against the opposition that is made unto the truth, or apostasy from it. 18. All the commotions and concussions that are among the nations of the world do lie in, or shall be brought into, a subserviency unto the interest of Christ and his church. 19. Whatever be the interest, duty, and office of any to act in the name of others toward God, in any sacred administrations, the same proportionately is their interest, power, and duty to act towards them in the name of God in the blessing of them. 20. He who hath received the greatest mercies and privileges in this world may yet need their ministerial confirmation. 21. In the blessing of Abraham by Melchisedec, all believers are virtually blessed by Jesus Christ. 22. It is God’s institution that makes all our administrations effectual. 23. Whatsoever we receive signally from God in a way of mercy, we ought to return a portion of it unto him in a way of duty. 24. The church never did in any age, nor ever shall, want that instruction by divine revelation which is needful to its edification in faith and obedience. 25. It is a great honor to serve in the church, by doing or suffering, for the use and service of future generations. 26. The Scripture is so absolutely the rule, measure, and boundary of our faith and knowledge in spiritual things, as that what it conceals is instructive, as well as what it expresseth. 27. When any were of old designed to be types of Christ, there was a necessity that things more excellent and glorious should be spoken of them than did properly belong unto them. 28. All that might be spoken, so as to have any probable application in any sense unto things and persons typically, coming short of what was to be fulfilled in Christ, the Holy Ghost in his infinite wisdom supplied that defect, by ordering the account which he gives of them so as more might be apprehended and learned from them than could be expressed. 29. That Christ abiding a priest for ever, hath no more a vicar, or successor, or substitute in his office, or any deriving a real priesthood from him, than had Melchisedec. 30. The whole mystery of divine wisdom, expressing all inconceivable perfections, centered in the person of Christ, to make him a meet, glorious, and most excellent priest unto God in the behalf of the church.
Verse 4,5.— 1. It will be fruitless, and to no advantage, to propose or declare the most important truths of the gospel, if those to whom they are proposed do not diligently inquire into them. 2. The sovereign will, pleasure, and grace of God, is that alone which puts a difference among men, especially in the church. 3. Whereas even Abraham himself gave the tenth of all to Melchisedec, the highest privilege exempts not any from the obligation unto and performance of the meanest duty. 4. Opportunities for duty which render it beautiful ought diligently to be embraced. 5. When the instituted use of consecrated things ceaseth, the things themselves cease to be sacred or of esteem. 6. Rule, institution, and command, without regard to unrequired humility, or pleas of greater zeal and self-denial, unless in evident and cogent circumstances, are the best preservatives of order and duty in the church. 7. It is the duty of those who are employed in sacred ministrations to receive what the Lord Christ hath appointed for their supportment, and in the way of his appointment. 8. It is God’s prerogative to give dignity and pre-eminence in the church among them which are otherwise equal, and this must be acquiesced in. 9. No privilege can exampt persons from subjection unto any of God’s institutions, though they were of the loins of Abraham.
Verse 6-8.— 1. We can be made partakers of no such grace, mercy, or privilege in this world, but that God can, when he pleaseth, make an addition thereunto. 2. It is the blessing of Christ, typified in and by that of Melchisedec, that makes promises and mercies effectual unto us. 3. Free and sovereign grace is the only foundation of all privileges. 4. It is a great mercy and privilege, when God will make use of any in the blessing of others with spiritual mercies. 5. Those who are appointed to bless others in the name of God, and thereby exalted unto a pre-eminence above those that are blessed by his appointment, ought to be accordingly regarded by all that are so blessed by them. 6. Let those who are so appointed take heed that, by their miscarriage, they prove not a curse to them whom they ought to bless. 7. In the outward administration of his worship, God is pleased to make use of poor, frail, mortal, dying men. 8. The life of the church depends on the everlasting life of Jesus Christ. 9. They who receives tithes of others, for their work in holy administrations, are thereby proved to be superior to them of whom they do receive them. 10. It is of great concern to us what covenant we do belong to, as being esteemed to do therein what is done by our representative in our name.
Verse 11.— 1. An interest in the gospel consisteth not in an outward profession of it, but in a real participation of those things wherein the perfection of its state doth consist. 2. The pre-eminence of the gospel state above the legal is spiritual and indiscernible unto a carnal eye. 3. To look for glory in evangelical worship from outward ceremonies and carnal ordinances, is to prefer the Levitical priesthood before that of Christ. 4. Put all advantages and privileges whatever together, and they will bring nothing to perfection without Jesus Christ.
Verse 12.— 1. Notwithstanding the great and many provocations of them by whom the priesthood was exercised, yet God took it not away until it had accomplished the end whereto it was designed. 2. The efficacy of all ordinances or institutions of worship depends on the will of God alone. 3. Divine institutions cease not without an express divine abrogation. 4. God will never abrogate or take away an institution or ordinance of worship, unto the loss or disadvantage of the church. 5. God in his wisdom so ordered all things, that the taking away of the priesthood of the law gave it its greatest glory. 6. How it is a fruit of the manifold wisdom of God that it was a great mercy to give the law, and a greater to take it away. 7. If under the law the whole worship of God did so depend on the priesthood, that that failing or being taken away, the whole worship of itself was to cease, as being no more acceptable before God; how much more is all worship under the new testament rejected by him, if there be not a due regard therein unto the Lord Christ, as the only high priest of the church, and to the efficacy of his discharge of that office. 8. It is the highest vanity to pretend use or continuance in the church from possession or prescription, or pretended benefit, beauty, order, or advantage, when once the mind of God is declared against it.
Verse 13.— 1. It is our duty, in studying the Scripture, to inquire diligently after the things which are spoken concerning Jesus Christ, and what is taught of him in them. 2. All men’s rights, duties, and privileges, in sacred things, are fixed and limited by divine institution. 3. Seeing Christ himself had no right to minister at the material altar, the re-introduction of such altars is inconsistent with the perpetual continuance of his priesthood.
Verses 15-17. — 1. Present truths are earnestly to be pleaded and contended for. 2. Important truths should be strongly confirmed. 3. Arguments that are equally true may yet, on the account of evidence, not be equally cogent. 4. In the confirmation of the truth we may use ever help that is true and seasonable, though some of them may be more effectual unto our end than others. 5. What seemed to be wanting unto Christ, in his entrance into any of his offices, or in the discharge of them, was on the account of a greater glory. 6. The eternal continuance of Christ’s person gives eternal continuance and efficacy into his office. 7. To make new priests in the church, is virtually to renounce the faith of his living for ever as our priest, or to suppose that he is not sufficient to the discharge of his office. 8. The alteration that God made in the church, by the introduction of the priesthood of Christ, was progressive towards its perfection.
Verses 18,19.— 1. It is a matter of the highest nature and importance, to set up, take away, or remove any thing from or change any thing in the worship of god. 2. The revelation of the will of God, in things relating unto his worship, is very difficultly received where the minds of men are prepossessed with prejudices and traditions. 3. The only securing principle, in all things of this nature, is to preserve our souls in an entire subjection unto the authority of Christ, and unto his alone. 4. The introduction into the church of what is better and more full of grace, in the same kind with what went before, doth disannul what so preceded; but the bringing in of that which is not better, which doth not communicate more grace, doth not do so. 5. If God would disannul every thing that was weak and unprofitable in his service, though originally of his own appointment, because it did not exhibit the grace he intended, he will much more condemn any thing of the same kind that is invented by men. 6. It is in vain for any man to look for that from the law, now it is abolished, which it could not effect in its best estate. 7. When God hath designed any gracious end towards the church, it shall not fail nor his work cease for want of effectual means to accomplish it. 8. Believers of old, who lived under the law, did not live upon the law, but upon the hope of Christ, or Christ hoped for. 9. The Lord Christ, by his priesthood and sacrifice, makes the church perfect, and all things belonging thereunto. 10. Out of Christ, or without him, all mankind are at an inconceivable distance from God. 11. It is an effect of infinite condescension and grace, that God would appoint a way of recovery for those who had willfully cast themselves into this woeful distance from him. 12. All our approximation unto God in any kind, all our approaches unto him in holy worship, are by him alone who was the blessed hope of the saints under the old testament, and is the life of them under the new.
Verses 20-22.— 1. The faith, comfort, honor, and safety, of the church, depend much on every particular mark that God hath put upon any of the offices of Christ, or whatever belongs thereto. 2. Nothing was wanting on the part of God, that might give eminency, stability, glory, and efficacy, to the priesthood of Christ. 3. Although the decrees and purposes of God were always firm and immutable, yet there was no fixed state of outward dispensations, none confirmed with an oath, until Christ came. 4. Although God granted great privileges unto the church under the old testament, yet still in ever instance he withheld that which was the principal, and should have given perfection to what he did grant. He made them priests, but without an oath. 5. God by his oath declares the determination of his sovereign pleasure unto the subject of it. 6. Christ’s being made a priest by the oath of God for ever, is a solid foundation of peace and consolation to the church. 7. All the transactions between the Father and the Son, concerning his offices, undertakings, and the work of our redemption, have respect unto the faith of the church, and are declared for our consolation. 8. How good and glorious soever any thing may appear to be, or really be, in the worship of God, or as a way of our coming to him, or walking before him, if it be not ratified in and by the immediate suretiship of Christ, it must give way unto that which is better; it could be neither durable in itself, nor make any thing perfect in them that made use of it. 9. All the privileges, benefits, and advantages, of the offices and mediation of Christ, will not avail us, unless we reduce them all unto faith in his person. 10. The whole undertaking of Christ, and the whole efficacy of the discharge of his office, depend on the appointment of God. 11. The stability of the new covenant depends on the suretiship of Christ, and is secured to believers nearby. 12. The Lord Christ’s undertaking to be our surety gives the highest obligation to all duties of obedience according to the covenant.
Verses 23-25.— 1. God will not fail to provide instruments for his work that he hath to accomplish. 2. There is such a necessity of the continual administration of the sacerdotal office in behalf of the church, that the interruption of it by the death of the priests was an argument of the weakness of that priesthood. 3. The perpetuity of the priesthood of Christ depends on his own perpetual life. 4. The perpetuity of the priesthood of Christ, as unchangeably exercised in his own person, is a principal part of the glory of that office. 5. The addition of sacrificing priests as vicars of, or substitutes unto Christ, in the discharge of his office, destroys his priesthood as to the principal eminency of it above that of the Levitical priesthood. 6. Consideration of the person and offices of Christ ought to be improved unto the strengthening of the faith and increase of the consolation of the church. 7. The consideration of the office-power of Christ is of great use unto the faith of the church. 8. It is good to secure this first ground of evangelical faith, that the Lord Christ, as vested with his offices, and in the exercise of them, is able to save us. 9. Whatever hindrances and difficulties lie in the way of salvation of believers, whatever oppositions do rise against it, the Lord Christ is able, by virtue of his sacerdotal office, and in the exercise of it, to carry the work through them all to eternal perfection. 10. The salvation of all sincere gospel worshippers is secured by the actings of Christ in the discharge of his priestly office. 11. Attendance unto the service, the worship of God in the gospel, is required to interest us in the saving care and power of our high priest. 12. Those who endeavor to come unto God in any other way but by Christ, as by saints and angels, may do well to consider whether they have any such office in heaven as by virtue whereof they are able to save them to the uttermost. 13. It is a matter of strong consolation to the church that Christ lives in heaven for us. 14. So great and glorious is the work of saving believers unto the utmost, that it is necessary that the Lord Christ should lead a mediatory life in heaven to make intercession for us. 15. The most glorious prospect that we can take into the things that are within the veil, into the remaining transactions of the work of our salvation in the most holy place, is in the representation that is made unto us of the intercession of Christ. 16. The intercession of Christ is the great evidence of the continuance of his love and care, his pity and compassion towards his church.
Verse 26.— 1. God, in his infinite wisdom, love and grace, gave us such a high priest as, in the qualifications of his person, the glory of his condition, and the discharge of his office, was every way suited to deliver us from the state of apostasy, sin, and misery, and to bring us unto himself through a perfect salvation. 2. Although these properties of our high priest are principally to be considered, as rendering him meet to be our high priest, yet are they also to be considered as an examplar and idea of that holiness and innocency which we ought to be comfortable to. 3. Seeing all these properties were required unto Christ and in him, that he might be our high priest, he was all that he is here said to be for us and for our sakes, and benefit from them doth redound unto us. 4. The infinite grace and wisdom of God are always to be admired by us in providing such a great high priest as was every way meet for us, with respect unto the great end of his office as was every way meet for us, with respect unto the great end of his office, namely, the bringing of us unto himself. 5. The dignity, duty, and safety of the gospel church, depend solely on the nature, the qualifications, and the exaltation, of our high priest. 6. If such a high priest became us, was needful to us, for the establishment of the new covenant and the communication of the grace thereof to the church, then all persons, Christ alone excepted, are absolutely excluded from all interest in this priesthood. 7. If we consider aright what it is that we stand in need of, and what God hath provided for us that we may be brought unto him in his glory, we shall find it our wisdom to forego all other expectations, and to betake ourselves unto Christ alone.
Verses 27,28.— 1. No sinful man was meet to offer the great expiatory sacrifice for the church; much less is any sinful man fit to offer Christ himself. 2. The excellency of Christ’s person and priesthood freed him in his offering from many things that the Levitical priesthood was obliged unto. 3. No sacrifice could bring us to God, and save the church to the utmost, but that wherein the Son of God himself was both priest and offering. 4. It was burdensome and heavy work to attain relief against sin, and settled peace of conscience, under the old priesthood, attended with so many weaknesses and infirmities. 5. There never was, nor ever can be, any more than two sorts of priests in the church, the one made by the law, the other by the oath of God. 6. As the bringing in of the priesthood of Christ after the law, and the priesthood constituted thereby, did abrogate and disannul it; so the bringing in of another priesthood after his will abrogate and disannul that also. 7. Plurality of priests under the gospel overthrows the whole argument of the apostle in this place, and if we have yet priests that have infirmities, they are made by the law, and not by the gospel. 8. The sum of the difference between the law and the gospel is issued in the difference between the priests of the one and the other state, which is inconceivably great. 9. The great foundation of our faith, and the hinge whereon all our consolation depends, is this, that our high priest is the Son of God. 10. The everlasting continuance of the Lord Christ in his office is secured by the oath of God.
Chapter 8. Verse 1.— 1. When the nature and weight of the matter treated of, or the variety of arguments wherein it is concerned, do require that our discourse of it should be drawn forth to a length more than ordinary, it is useful to refresh the minds and relieve the memories of our hearers by a brief recapitulation of the things insisted on. 2. When doctrines are important, and such as the eternal welfare of the souls of men are immediately concerned in, we are by all means to endeavor an impression of them on the minds of our hearers. 3. The principal glory of the priestly office of Christ depends on the glorious exaltation of his person.
Verse 2.— 1. The Lord Christ, in the height of his glory, condescends to discharge the office of a public minister in the behalf of the church. 2. All spiritually sacred and holy things are laid up in Christ. 3. He hath the ministrations of all these holy things committed to him. 4. The human nature of Christ is the only true tabernacle wherein God would dwell personally and substantially. 5. The church hath lost nothing by the removal of the old tabernacle and temple, all being supplied by the sanctuary, true tabernacle, and minister thereof. 6. We are to look for the gracious presence of God in Christ only. 7. It is by Christ alone that we can make our approach unto God in his worship. 8. It was an institution of God, that the people in all their distresses should look into, and make their supplications towards, the tabernacle or holy temple. 9. If any one else can offer the body of Christ, he also is the minister of the true tabernacle.
Verse 3.— 1. God’s ordination or appointment gives rules, measures, and ends, unto all sacred offices and employments. 2. There is no approach unto God without continual respect unto sacrifice and atonement. 3. There was no salvation to be had for us, no, not by Jesus Christ himself, without his sacrifice and oblation. 4. As God designed unto the Lord Christ the work which he had to do, so he provided for him, and furnished him with whatever was necessary thereunto. 5. The Lord Christ being to save the church in the way of office, he was not to be spared in any thing necessary thereunto. 6. Whatever state or condition we are called unto, what is necessary unto that state is indispensably required of us.
Verse 4.— 1. God’s institution, rightly stated, do never interfere. 2. The discharge of all the parts and duties of the priestly office of Christ, in their proper order, was needful unto the salvation of the church.
Verse 5.— 1. God alone limits the signification and use of all his own institutions. 2. It is an honor to be employed in any sacred service that belongs unto the worship of God, though it be of an inferior nature unto other parts of it. 3. So great was the glory of the heavenly ministration in the mediation of Jesus Christ, that God would not at once bring it forth in the church, until he had prepared the minds of men, by types, shadows, examples, and representations of it. 4. Our utmost care and diligence in the consideration of the mind of God is required in all that we do about his worship.
Verse 6.— 1. God, in his infinite wisdom, give proper times and seasons to all his dispensations to and towards the church. 2. The whole office of Christ was designed to the accomplishment of the will and dispensation of the grace of God. 3. The condescension of the Son of God to undertake the office of the ministry on our behalf is unspeakable, and for ever to be admired. 4. The Lord Christ, by undertaking this office of the ministry, hath consecrated and made honorable that office unto all that are rightly called unto it, and do rightly discharge it. 5. The exaltation of the human nature of Christ unto the office of this glorious ministry depended solely on the sovereign wisdom, grace, and love of God. 6. It is our duty and our safety to acquiesce universally and absolutely in the ministry of Jesus Christ. 7. The provision of a mediator between God and man was an effect of infinite wisdom and grace. 8. There is infinite grace in every divine covenant, inasmuch as it is established on promises. 9. The promises of the covenant of grace are better than those of any other covenant. 10. Although one state of the church hath had great advantages and privileges above another, yet no state had whereof to complain, while they observed the terms prescribed unto them. 11. The state of the gospel, or of the church under the new testament, is accompanied with the highest spiritual privileges and advantages that it is capable of in this world.
Verse 7.— 1. Whatever God had done before for the church, yet he ceased not, in his wisdom and grace until he had made it partaker of the best and most blessed condition whereof in this world it is capable. 2. Let those unto whom the terms of the new covenant are proposed in the gospel take heed to themselves that they sincerely embrace and improve them, for there is neither promise nor hope of any further or fuller administration of grace.
Verse 8.— 1. God hath ofttimes just cause to complain of his people, when yet he will not utterly cast them off. 2. It is the duty of the church to take deep notice of God’s complaints of them. 3. God often surpriseth the church with promises of grace and mercy. 4. “He saith,” that is, hwO;hy]Aµaun] , “saith the Lord,” is the formal object of our faith and obedience. 5. Where God placeth a note of observation and attention, we should carefully fix our faith and consideration. 6. The things and concerns of the new covenant are all of them objects of the best of our consideration. 7. There is a time limited and fixed for the accomplishment of all the promises of God, and all the purpose of his grace towards the church. 8. The new covenant, as collecting into one all the promises of grace given from the foundation of the world, accomplished in the actual exhibition of Christ, and confirmed in his death and by the shedding of his blood, and thereby becoming the sole rule of new spiritual ordinances of worship suited thereunto, was the great object of the faith of the saints in the old Testament, and is the great foundation of all our present mercies. 9. All the efficacy and glory of the new covenant do originally rise from, and are resolved into, the author and supreme cause of it, which is God himself. 10. The covenant of grace in Christ is made only with the Israel of God, the church of the elect. 11. Those who are first and most advanced as to outward privileges are oftentimes last and least advantaged by the grace and mercy of them.
Verse 9.— 1. The grace and glory of the new covenant are much set off and manifested by the comparing of it with the old. 2. All God’s works are equally good and holy in themselves, but as unto the use and advantage of the church, he is pleased to make some of them means of communicating more grace than others. 3. Though God makes an alteration in any of his works, ordinances of worship, or institutions, yet he never changeth his intention or the purpose of his will. 4. The disposal of mercies and privileges, as unto times, persons, seasons, is wholly in the hand and power of God. 5. Sins have their aggravations from mercies received. 6. Nothing but effectual grace will secure our covenant-obedience one moment. 7. No covenant between God and man ever was or ever could be stable and effectual, as unto the ends of it, that was not made and confirmed in Christ. 8. No external administration of a covenant of God’s own making, no obligation of mercy on the minds of men, can enable them unto steadfastness in covenant-obedience, without an effectual influence of grace from and by Jesus Christ. 9. God, in making a covenant with any, in proposing the terms of it, retains his right and authority to deal with persons according to their deportment in and towards that covenant. 10. God’s casting men out of his special care, upon the breach of his covenant, is the highest judgment that in this world can fall on any persons.
Verses 10-12.— 1. The covenant of grace, as reduced into the form of a testament, confirmed by the blood of Christ, doth not depend on any condition or qualification in our persons, but on a free grant and donation to God, and so do all the good things prepared in it. 2. The precepts of the old covenant are all turned into promises under the new. 3. All things in the new covenant being proposed unto us by the way of promise, it is by faith alone that we may attain a participation of them. 4. Sense of the loss of an interest in and participation of the benefits of the old covenant, is the best preparation for receiving the mercies of the new. 5. God himself, in and by his own sovereign wisdom, grace, goodness, all sufficiency, and power, is to be considered as the only cause and author of the new covenant. 6. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ in the new covenant, in its being, existence, and healing efficacy, is as large and extensive to repair our natures, as sin is in its residence and power to deprave them. 7. All the beginnings and entrances into the saving knowledge of God, and thereon of obedience unto him, are effects of the grace of the covenant. 8. The work of grace in the new covenant passeth on the whole soul, in all its faculties, powers, and affections, unto their change and renovation. 9. To take away the necessity and efficacy of renewing, changing, sanctifying grace, consisting in an internal, efficacious operation of the principles, habits, and acts of internal grace and obedience, is plainly to overthrow and reject the new covenant. 10. We bring nothing to the new covenant but our hearts, as tables to be written on, with the sense of the insufficiency of the precepts and promises of the law, with respect to our own ability to comply with them. 11. The Lord Christ, God and man, undertaking to be the mediator between God and man and a surety on our behalf, is the spring and head of the new covenant, which is made and established with us in him. 12. As nothing less than God becoming our God could relieve, help, and save us, so nothing more can be required thereunto. 13. The efficacy, security, and glory of this covenant, depend originally on the nature of God, immediately and actually on the mediation of Christ. 14. It is from the engagement of the properties of the divine nature that this covenant is ordered in all things and sure. 15. As the grace of this covenant is inexpressible, so are the obligations it puts upon us unto obedience. 16. God doth as well undertake for our being his people as he doth for his being our God. 17. Those whom God makes a covenant withal are his in a peculiar manner. 18. The instructive ministry of the old testament, as it was such, and as it had respect to the carnal rites thereof, was a ministry of the letter, and not of the spirit, which did not really effect in the hearts of men the things which it taught. 19. There is a duty incumbent on every man to instruct others, according to his ability and opportunity, in the knowledge of God. 20. It is the Spirit of grace alone, as promised in the new covenant, which frees the church from a laborious but ineffectual way of teaching. 21. There was a hidden treasure of divine wisdom, of the knowledge of God, laid up in the mystical revelations and institutions of the old testament, which the people were not then able to look into nor to comprehend. 22. The whole knowledge of God in Christ is both plainly revealed and savingly commnicated, by virtue of the new covenant, unto them who do believe. 23. There are, and ever were, different degrees of persons in the church, as unto the saving knowledge of God. 24. Where there is not some degree of saving knowledge, there no interest in the new covenant can be pretended. 25. The full and clear declaration of God, as he is to be known of us in this life, is a privilege reserved for and belonging unto the days of the new testament. 26. To know God as he is revealed in Christ, is the highest privilege whereof in this life we can be made partakers. 27. Persons destitute of this saving knowledge are utter strangers unto the covenant of grace. 28. Free, sovereign, and undeserved grace in the pardon of sin, is the original spring and foundation of all covenant mercies and blessings. 29. The new covenant is made only with them who effectually and eventually are made partakers of the grace of it. 30. The aggravations of sin are great and many, which the consciences of convinced sinners ought to have regard unto 31. There is grace and mercy in the new covenant provided for all sorts of sins and all aggravations of them, if this grace and mercy be received in a due manner. 32. Aggravations of sin do glorify grace in pardon. 33. We cannot understand aright the glory and excellency of pardoning mercy, unless we are convinced of the greatness and vileness of our sins in all their aggravations.
CHAPTERS 9., 10:1-18.
SUPERIORITY OF CHRIST’S PRIESTHOOD FROM THE SUPERIOR VALUE OF HIS SACRIFICE.
Chapter 9. Verse 1.— 1. Every covenant of God had its proper privileges and advantages. 2. There was never any covenant between God and man but it had some ordinances or arbitrary institutions of external divine worship annexed unto it. 3. It is a hard and rare thing to have the minds of men kept upright with God in the observance of the institutions of divine worship. 4. Divine institution alone is that which renders any thing acceptable unto God. 5. God can animate outward, carnal things with a hidden, invisible spring of glory and efficacy. 6. All divine service or worship must be resolved into divine ordination or institution. 7. A worldly sanctuary is enough for them whose service is worldly.
Verse 2.— 1. Every part of God’s house and the place wherein he will dwell is filled and adorned with pledge of his presence and means of communicating his grace. 2. The communication of sacred light from Christ, in the gifts of the Spirit, is absolutely necessary unto the due and acceptable performance of all holy offices and duties of worship in the church. 3. No man, by his utmost endeavors in the use of outward means, can obtain the least beam of saving light, unless it be communicated unto him by Christ, who is the only fountain and cause of it.
Verses 3-5.— 1. The more of Christ, by the way of representation or exhibition, any institutions of divine worship do contain or express, the more sacred and holy are they in their use and exercise. 2. It is Christ alone who in himself is really the Most Holy, the spring and fountain of all holiness unto the church. 3. The time of the burning of the incense was after the sacrifice of the sinoffering. 4. The incense was kindled with fire taken from the altar when the blood of the sacrifices was newly offered. 5. The mediatory intercession of Jesus Christ was a sweet savor unto God, and efficacious for the salvation of the church. 6. The efficacy of Christ’s intercession dependeth on his oblation. 7. The glory of these types did no way answer the glory of the antitype, or that which was represented by them. 8. We are always to reckon that the efficacy and prevalency of all our prayers depends on the incense which is in the hand of our merciful high priest. 9. Although the sovereign will and pleasure of God be the only reason and original cause of all institute worship, yet there is, and ever was, in all his institutions, such an evidence of divine wisdom and goodness as gives them beauty, desirableness, and usefulness unto their proper end. 10. All the counsels of God concerning his worship in this world, and his eternal glory in the salvation of the church, do center in the person and mediation of Christ.
Verse. 6, 7 . — A continual application unto God by Christ, and a continual application of the benefits of the mediation of Christ by faith, are the springs of the light, life, and comfort of the church.
Verse. 7. — 1. A spiritual illumination of the mind is indispensably necessary unto our walking with God. 2. Those who would be preserved from sin must take care that spiritual light do always bear sway in their minds. 3. They ought constantly to watch against the prevalency of corrupt prejudices and affections in their mind. 4. When the light of the mind is solicited by temptations to suspend its conduct and determination on present circumstances, to know that sin lies at the door, this is its last address for admission. 5. If error grow strong in the heart through the love of sin, truth will grow weak in the mind as to the preservation of the soul from it. 6. Nothing ought to influence the soul more unto repentance, sorrow, and humiliation for sin, than a due apprehension of the shameful error and mistake that is in it.
Verse. 8. — 1. The divine ordinances and institutions of worship are filled with wisdom sufficient for the instruction of the church in all the mysteries of faith and obedience. 2. It is our duty, with all humble diligence, to inquire into the mind of the Holy Ghost in all ordinances and institutions of divine worship. 3. Although the Lord Christ was not actually exhibited in the flesh under the old testament, nor had actually offered himself unto God for us, yet had believers then an actual access into the grace and favor of God, though the way, the cause, and means of it were not manifestly declared unto them. 4. The design of the Holy Ghost in the tabernacle, and in all its ordinances and institutions of worship, was to direct the faith of believers unto what was signified by them. 5. Typical institutions, attended diligently unto, were sufficient to direct the faith of the church unto the expectation of the real expiation of sin, and acceptance with God thereon. 6. Though the standing of the first tabernacle was a great mercy and privilege, yet the removal of it was a greater. 7. The divine wisdom in the economy and disposal of the revelation of the way into the holiest, or of grace and acceptance with himself, is a blessed object of our contemplation. 8. The clear manifestation of the way of redemption, of the expiation of sin, and peace with God thereon, is the great privilege of the gospel. 9. There is no access into the gracious presence of God but by the sacrifice of Christ alone.
Verse. 10. — 1. There is nothing in its own nature so mean and abject but the will and authority of God can render it of sacred use and sacred efficacy, when he is pleased to ordain and appoint it. 2. The fixing of times and seasons for the state of things in the church is solely in the hand of God, and at his sovereign disposal. 3. It is a great part of the blessed liberty which the Lord Christ brought into the church, — namely, its freedom and liberty from legal impositions, and every thing of the like nature in the worship of God. 4. The time of the coming of Christ was the time of the final general reformation of the worship of God, wherein all things were unchangeably directed unto their proper use.
Verse. 11. — 1. The bringing forth and accomplishing the glorious effects of the hidden wisdom of God, were the true and real good things intended for and promised to the church from the beginning of the world. 2. These things alone are absolutely good to the church, all other things are good or evil as they are used or abused. 3. So excellent are these good things, that the performance and procuring of them were the cause of the coming of the Son of God, with his susception and discharge of his sacerdotal office. 4. Such a price and value did God put on these things, so good are they in his eyes, that he made them the subject of his promises to the church from the foundation of the world. 5. The human nature of Christ, wherein he discharged the duties of his sacerdotal office, in making atonement for sin, is the greatest, the most perfect, and excellent ordinance of God, far excelling those that were most excellent under the old testament. 6. The Son of God undertaking to be the high priest of the church, it was of necessity that he should come by or have a tabernacle wherein to discharge that office. 7. God is so far from being obliged unto any means tot the effecting of the holy counsels of his will, that he can when he pleaseth exceed the whole order and course of the first creation of all things, and his providence in the rule thereof.
Verse. 12. — 1 . The entrance of our Lord Jesus Christ as our high priest into heaven, to appear in the presence of God for us, and to save us thereby to the uttermost, was a thing so great and glorious as could not be accomplished but by his own blood. 2. Whatever difficulties lay in the way of Christ, as unto the accomplishment and perfection of the work of our redemption, he would not decline them, nor desist from his undertaking, whatever it cost him. 3. There was a holy place meet to receive the Lord Christ after the sacrifice of himself, and a suitable reception for such a person after so glorious a performance. 4. If the Lord Christ entered not into the holy place until he had finished his work, we may not expect an entrance thereinto until we have fnished ours.
Verse. 13, 14. — 1. There is such an evidence of wisdom and righteousness, unto a spiritual eye, in the whole mystery of our redemption, sanctification, and salvation by Christ, as gives an immovable foundation unto faith to rest upon in its receiving of it. 2. The efficacy of all the offices of Christ towards the church depends on the dignity of his person. 3. There is nothing more destructive to the whole faith of the gospel than by any means to evacuate the immediate efficacy of the blood of Christ. 4. Christ’s offering himself was the greatest expression of his inexpressible love. 5. It is evident how vain and insufficient are all other ways of the expiation of sin with the purging of our consciences before God. 6. Faith hath ground of triumph in the certain efficacy of the blood of Christ for the expiation of sin. 7. Nothing could expiate sin and free conscience from dead works but the blood of Christ alone, and that in the offering himself to God through the eternal Spirit. 8. It was God, as the supreme ruler and lawgiver, with whom atonement for sin was to be made. 9. The souls and consciences of men are wholly polluted before they are purged by the blood of Christ. 10. Even the best works of men, antecedently to the purging of their consciences by the blood of Christ, are but dead works. 11. Justification and sanctification are inseparably conjoined in the design of God’s grace by the blood of Christ. 12. Gospel worship is such, in its spirituality and holiness, as becometh the living God.
Verse. 15. — 1. It is an act of mere sovereign grace in God, to provide such a blessed inheritance for any of them who had sinfully cast away what they were before intrusted withal. 2. All our interest in the gospel inheritance depends on our receiving the promise by faith. 3. The conveyance and actual communication of the eternal inheritance by promise, to be received by faith alone, tends exceedingly unto the exaltation of the glory of God, and the security of the salvation of them that do believe. 4. Effectual vocation is the only way of entrance into the eternal inheritance. 5. Though God will give grace and glory unto his elect, yet he will do it in such a way as wherein and whereby he may be glorified also himself. 6. Such is the malignant nature of sin, of all transgression of the law, that unless it be removed, unless it be taken out of the way, no person can enjoy the promise of the eternal inheritance. 7. It was the work of God alone to contrive, and it was the effect of infinite wisdom and grace to provide, a way for the removal of sin, that it might not be an everlasting obstacle against the communication of an eternal inheritance unto them that are called. 8. A new testament providing an eternal inheritance in sovereign grace; the constitution of a mediator, such a mediator, for that testament, in infinite wisdom and love; the death of that testator for the redemption of transgressions, to fulfill the law and satisfy the justice of God; with the communication of that inheritance by promise, to be received by faith in all them that are called, are the substance of the mystery of the gospel. 9. The efficacy of the mediation and death of Christ extending itself to all the called under the old testament, is an evident demonstration of his divine nature, his pre-existence to all these things, and the eternal covenant between the Father and him about them. 10. The first covenant did only forbid and condemn transgressions; redemption from them is by the new testament alone. 11. The glory and efficacy of the new covenant, and the assurance of the communication of an eternal inheritance by virtue of it, depend hereon, that it was made a testament by the death of the mediator, which is further proved in the following verses.
Verse. 16, 17. — 1. It is a great and gracious condescension in the Holy Spirit to give encouragement and confirmation unto our faith, by a representation of the truth and reality of spiritual things in those which are temporal, and agreeing with them in their general nature, whereby they are represented unto the common understandings of men. 2. There is an irrevocable grant of the whole inheritance of grace and glory made unto the elect in the new covenant. 3. As the grant of these things is free and absolute, so the enjoyment of them is secured from all interveniences by the death of the testator.
Verse. 18. — 1. The foundation of a church-state among any people, wherein God is to be honored in ordinances of instituted worship, is laid in a solemn covenant between him and them. 2. Approbation of the terms of the covenant, consent unto them, and solemn acceptance of them, are required on our part unto the establishment of any covenant between God and us, and our participation of the benefits of it. 3. It was the way of God from the beginning, to take children of covenanters into the same covenant with their parents. 4. It is by the authority of God alone that any thing can be effectually and unchangeably dedicated unto sacred use, so as to have force and efficacy given unto it thereby.
Verse. 19. — 1. There can be no covenant between God and men, but in the hand or by virtue of a mediator. 2. A mediator may be either only an internuncius, a messenger, a day’sman, or also a surety and an undertaker. 3. None can interpose between God and a people in any sacred office, unless he be called of God and approved of the people, as was Moses. 4. A covenant that consisted in mere precepts, without an exhibition of spiritual strength to enable unto obedience, could never save sinners. 5. In all our dealings with God, respect must be had unto every one of his precepts. 6. The first eminent use of the writing of the book of the law, that is, of any part of the Scripture (for this book was the first that was written), was that it might be read unto the people. 7. This book was both written and read in the language which the people understood and commonly spake. 8. God never required the observance of any rites or duties of worship without a previous warrant from his word. 9. The writing of this book was an eminent privilege, now first granted unto the church, leading unto a more perfect and stable condition than formerly it had enjoyed. 10. The blood of the covenant will not benefit or advantage us, without an especial and particular application of it unto our own souls and consciences.
Verse. 21, 22. — 1. In all things wherein we have to do with God, whereby we approach unto him, it is the blood of Christ, and the application of it unto our consciences, that gives us a gracious acceptance with him. 2. Even holy things and institutions, that are in themselves clean and unpolluted, are relatively defiled, by the unholiness of them that use them. 3. There was a great variety of legal purifications. 4. This variety argues that in ourselves we are ready to be polluted on all occasions. 5. This variety of institutions was a great part of the bondage state of the church under the old testament. 6. The great mystery wherein God instructed the church from the foundation of the world, especially by and under legal institutions, was that all purging of sin was to be by blood. 7. This is the great demonstration of the demerit of sin, and of the holiness, righteousness, and grace of God.
Verse. 23. — 1. The glory and efficacy of all ordinances of divine worship which consist in outward observances (as it is with the sacraments of the gospel) consist in this, that they represent and exhibit heavenly things unto us. 2. We ought to have a due consideration to the holiness of God in his worship and service. 3. The one sacrifice of Christ, with what ensued thereon, was the only means to render effectual all the counsels of God concerning the redemption and salvation of the church. 4. Neither could heavenly things have been made meet for us or our use, nor we have been meet for their enjoyment, had they not been dedicated and we been purged by the sacrifice of Christ. 5. Every eternal mercy, every spiritual privilege, is both purchased for us and sprinkled unto us by the blood of Christ. 6. There is such an uncleanness in our natures, our persons, our duties and worship, that unless they and we are all sprinkled with the blood of Christ, neither we nor they can have any acceptance with God. 7. The sacrifice of Christ is the one only everlasting fountain and spring of all sanctification and sacred dedication.
Verse. 25. — 1. Such is the absolute perfection of the one offering of Christ, that it stands in need of, that it will admit of, no repetition in any kind. 2. This one offering of Christ is always effectual unto all the ends of it, even no less than it was in the day and hour when it was actually offered. 3. The great call and direction of the gospel is to guide faith, and keep it up unto this one offering of Christ, as the spring of all grace and mercy. 4. Whatever had the greatest glory in the old legal institutions carried along with it the evidence of its own imperfection, compared with the thing signified in Christ and his office.
Verse. 26. — 1. It was inconsistent with the wisdom, goodness, grace, and love of God, that Christ should often suffer in that way which was necessary to the offering of himself, namely, by his death and blood-shedding. 2. It was impossible, from the dignity of his person. 3. It was altogether needless, and would have been useless. 4. As the sufferings of Christ were necessary unto the expiation of sin, so he suffered neither more nor oftener than was necessary. 5. The assured salvation of the church of old, from the foundation of the world, by virtue of the one offering of Christ, is a strong confirmation of the faith of the church at present to look for and expect everlasting salvation thereby. 6. It is the prerogative of God, and the effect of his wisdom, to determine the times and seasons of the dispensation of himself and his grace to the church. 7. God had a design of infinite wisdom and grace in his sending of Christ, and his appearance in the world thereon, which could not be frustrated. 8. Sin had erected a dominion, a tyranny over all men, as by a law. 9. No power of man, of any mere creature, was able to evacuate, disannul, or abolish this law of sin. 10. The destruction and dissolution of this law and power of sin was the great end of the coming of Christ for the discharge of his priestly office in the sacrifice of himself. 11. It is the glory of Christ, it is the safety of the church, that by his one offering, by the sacrifice of himself once for all, he hath abolished sin as to the law and condemning power of it.
Verse. 27, 28. — 1. God hath eminently suited our relief, the means and causes of our spiritual deliverance, to our misery, the means and causes of it, as that his own wisdom and grace may be exalted and our faith established. 2. Death in the first constitution of it was penal. 3. It is still penal, eternally penal, to all unbelievers. 4. The death of all is equally determined and certain in God’s constitution. 5. The ground of the expiation of sin by the offering of Christ is this, that therein he bare the guilt and punishment due unto it. 6. It is the great exercise of faith, to live on the invisible actings of Christ on the behalf of the church. 7. Christ’s appearance the second time, his return from heaven to complete the salvation of the church, is the great fundamental principle of our faith and hope, the great testimony we have to give against all his and our adversaries. 8. Faith concerning the second coming of Christ is sufficient to support the souls of believers, and to give them satisfactory consolation in all difficulties, trials, and distresses. 9. All true believers do live in a waiting, longing expectation of the coming of Christ. 10. To such alone as look for him will the Lord Christ appear unto salvation. 11. Then will be the great distinction among mankind, when Christ shall appear, unto the everlasting confusion of some, and the eternal salvation of others. 12. At the second appearance of Christ there will be an end of all the business about sin, both on his part and ours. 13. The communication of actual salvation unto all believers, unto the glory of God, is the final end of the office of Christ.
Chapter 10. Verse. 1. — 1. Whatever there may be in any religious institutions and the diligent observance of them, if they come short of exhibiting Christ himself unto believers, with the benefits of his mediation, they cannot make us perfect, nor give us acceptance with God. 2. Whatever hath the least representation of Christ or relation unto him, the obscurest way of teaching the things concerning his person and grace, whilst it is in force, hath a glory in it, 3. Christ and his grace were the only good things that were absolutely so from the foundation of the world, or the giving of the first promise. 4. There is a great difference between the shadow of good things to come and the good things themselves, actually exhibited and granted unto the church. 5. The principal interest and design of them that come to God, is to have assured evidence of the perfect expiation of sin. 6. What cannot be effected for the expiation of sin at once, by any duty or sacrifice, cannot be effected by its reiteration or repetition. 7. The repetition of the same sacrifices doth of itself demonstrate their insufficiency to the ends sought after. 8. God alone limiteth the ends and efficacy of his own institutions.
Verse. 2, 3. — 1. The discharge of conscience from its condemning right and power, by virtue of the sacrifice of Christ, is the foundation of all the other privileges which we receive by the gospel. 2. All peace with God is resolved into a purging atonement made for sin. 3. It is by a principle of gospel light alone that conscience is directed to condemn all sin, and yet to acquit all sinners that are purged. 4. An obligation unto such ordinances of worship as could not expiate sin, nor testify that it was perfectly expiated, was part of the bondage of the church under the old testament. 5. It belongs unto the light and wisdom of faith so to remember sin and make confession of it as not therein or thereby to seek after a new atonement for it, which is made once for all.
Verse. 4. — 1. It is possible that things may usefully represent what it is impossible that, in and by themselves, they should effect. 2. There may be great and eminent uses of divine ordinances and institutions, although it be impossible that by themselves, in their most exact and diligent use, they should work out our acceptance with God. 3. It was utterly impossible that sin should be taken away before God, and from the conscience of the sinner, but by the blood of Christ. 4. The declaration of the insufficiency of all other ways for the expiation of sin, is an evidence of the holiness, righteousness, and severity of God against sin, with the unavoidable ruin of all unbelievers. 5. Herein also consists the great demonstration of the love, grace, and mercy of God, with an encouragement to faith, in that, when the old sacrifices neither would nor could perfectly expiate sin, he would not suffer the work itself to fail, but provided a way that should be infallibly effective of it.
Verse. 5-10. — 1. We have the solemn word of Christ, in the declaration he made of his readiness and willingness to undertake the work of the expiation of sin, proposed unto our faith, and engaged as a sure anchor of our souls. 2. The Lord Christ had an infinite prospect of all that he was to do and suffer in the world in the discharge of his office and undertaking. 3. No sacrifices of the law, not all of them together, were a means for the expiation of sin, suited to the glory of God or necessities of the souls of men. 4. Our utmost diligence, with the most sedulous improvement of the light and wisdom of faith, is necessary in our search into and inquiry after the mind and will of God in the revelation he makes of them. 5. The constant use of sacrifices, to signify those things which they could not effect or really exhibit to the worshippers, was a great part of the bondage that the church was kept in under the old testament. 6. God may, in his wisdom, appoint and accept of ordinances and duties to one end which he will refuse and reject when they are applied to another. 7. The supreme contrivance of the salvation of the church is in a peculiar manner ascribed unto the person of the Father. 8. The furniture of the Lord Christ (though he was the Son, and in his divine person the Lord of all) for the discharge of his work of mediation, was the peculiar act of the Father. 9. Whatever God designs, appoints, and calls any unto, he will provide for them all that is needful unto the duties of obedience whereunto they are so appointed and called. 10. Not only the love and grace of God in sending his Son are continually to be admired and glorified, but the acting of this infinite wisdom, in fitting and preparing his human nature, so as to render it every way meet unto the work which it was designed for, ought to be the especial object of our holy contemplation. 11. The ineffable but yet distinct operation of the Father, Son, and Spirit, in, about, and towards the human nature assumed by the Son, are, as an uncontrollable evidence of their distinct subsistence in the same individual divine essence, so a guidance unto faith as unto all their distinct actings towards us in the application of the work of redemption unto our souls. 12. It is the will of God that the church should take especial notice of this sacred truth, that nothing can expiate or take away sin but the blood of Christ alone. 13. Whatever may be the use or efficacy of any ordinances of worship, yet if they are employed or trusted unto for such ends as God hath not designed them unto, he accepts not of our persons in them, nor approves of the things themselves. 14. The foundation of the whole glorious work of the salvation of the church was laid in the sovereign will, pleasure, and grace of God, even the Father. 15. The coming of Christ in the flesh was, in the wisdom, righteousness, and holiness of God, necessary for to fulfill his will, that we might be saved unto his glory. 16. The fundamental motive unto the Lord Christ, in his undertaking the work of mediation, was the will and glory of God. 17. God’s records in the roll of his book are the foundation and warrant of the faith of the church, in the head and members. 18. The Lord Christ, in all that he did and suffered, had continual respect unto what was written of him. 19. In the record of these words, “Lo, I come,” etc., — (1.) God was glorified in his truth and faithfulness; (2.) Christ was secured in his work and the undertaking of it; (3.) A testimony was given unto his person and office; (4.) Direction is given unto the church, in all wherein they have to do with God, what they should attend unto, namely, what is written; (5.) The things which concern Christ the mediator are the head of what is contained in the same records. 20. Whereas the apostle doth plainly distinguish and distribute all sacrifices and offerings, into those on the one side which were offered by the law, and that one offering of the body of Christ on the other side, the pretended sacrifice of the mass is utterly rejected from any place in the worship of God. 21. God, as the sovereign lawgiver, had always power and authority to make what alteration he pleased in the orders and institutions of his worship. 22. Sovereign authority is that alone which our faith and obedience respect in all ordinances of worship. 23. As all things from the beginning made way for the coming of Christ in the minds of them that did believe, so every thing was to be removed out of the way that would hinder his coming and the discharge of the work he had undertaken: law, temple, sacrifices, must all be removed, to give way unto his coming. 24. Truth is never so effectually declared as when it is confirmed by the experience of its power in them that believe it and make profession of it. 25. It is a holy glorying in God, and no unlawful boasting, for men openly to profess what they are made partakers of by the grace of God and blood of Christ. 26. It is the best security, in differences in and about religion (such as these wherein the apostle is engaged, the greatest and highest that ever were), when men have an internal experience of the truth which they do profess. 27. The sovereign will and pleasure of God, acting itself in infinite wisdom and grace, is the sole, supreme, original cause of the salvation of the church.
Verse. 11-14. — 1. If all those divine institutions, in the diligent observance of them, could not take away sin, how much less can any thing do so that we can betake ourselves unto for that end! 2. Faith in Christ doth jointly respect both his oblation of himself by death and the glorious exaltation that ensued thereon. 3. Christ in this order of things is the great exemplar of the church. 4. It was the entrance of sin which raised up all our enemies against us. 5. The Lord Christ, in his ineffable love and grace, put himself between us and all our enemies. 6. The Lord Christ, by the offering of himself making peace with God, ruined all the enmity against the church and all the enemies of it. 7. It is the foundation of all consolation to the church, that the Lord Christ, even now in heaven, takes all our enemies to be his, in whose destruction he is infinitely more concerned than we are. 8. Let us never esteem any thing or any person to be our enemy, but only so far and in what they are the enemies of Christ,9. It is our duty to conform ourselves to the Lord Christ in a quiet expectancy of the ruin of all our spiritual adversaries. 10. Envy not the condition of the most proud and cruel adversaries of the church. 11. There was a glorious efficacy in the one offering of Christ. 12. The end of it must be effectually accomplished towards all for whom it was offered. 13. The sanctification and perfection of the church being that end designed in the death and sacrifice of Christ, all things necessary unto that end must be included therein, that it be not frustrated.
Verse. 15-18. — 1. It is the authority of the Holy Ghost alone, speaking to us in the Scripture, whereinto all our faith is to be resolved. 2. We are to propose nothing, in the preaching and worship of the gospel, but what is testified unto by the Holy Ghost. 3. When an important truth consonant unto the Scripture is declared, it is useful and expedient to confirm it with some express testimony of Scripture.
CHAPTERS 10:19-39, 11.
THE OBLIGATION, ADVANTAGE, AND NECESSITY, OF STEADFAST ADHERENCE TO THE GOSPEL INFERRED AND URGED FROM THE PRECEDING DOCTRINES, AND FROM THE TRIUMPHS OF FAITH AS EXEMPLIFIED BY THE SAINTS.
Chapter 10. Verse. 19-23. — 1. It is not every mistake, every error, though it be in things of great importance, while it overthrows not the foundation, that can divest men of a fraternal interest with others in the heavenly calling. 2. This is the great fundamental privilege of the gospel, that believers, in all their holy worship, have liberty, boldness, and confidence, to enter with it and by it into the gracious presence of God. 3. Nothing but the blood of Jesus could have given this boldness, nothing that stood in the way of it could otherwise have been removed, nothing else could have set our souls at liberty from that bondage that was come upon them by sin. 4. Rightly esteem and duly improve the blessed privilege which was purchased for us at so dear a rate. 5. Confidence in an access unto God not built on, not resolved into the blood of Christ, is but a daring presumption, which God abhors. 6. The way of our entrance into the holiest is solemnly dedicated and consecrated for us, so as that with boldness we may make use of it. 7. All the privileges we have by Christ are great, glorious, and efficacious, all tending and leading unto life. 8. The Lord Christ doth peculiarly preside over all the persons, duties, and worship, of believers in the church of God. 9. The heart is that which God principally respects in our access unto him. 10. Universal, internal sincerity of heart is required of all those that draw nigh unto God in his holy worship. 11. The actual exercise of faith is required in all our approaches unto God, in every particular duty of his worship. 12. It is faith in Christ alone that gives us boldness of access unto God. 13. The person and office of Christ are to be rested in with full assurance in all our accesses to the throne of grace. 14. Although that worship whereby we draw nigh unto God be wrought with respect to institution and rule, yet without internal sanctification of heart we are not accepted in it. 15. Due preparation, by fresh applications of our souls unto the efficacy of the blood of Christ for the purification of our hearts, that we may be meet to draw nigh to God, is required of us. 16. Universal sanctification upon our whole persons, and the mortification in an especial manner of outward sins, are required of us in our drawing nigh unto God. 17. These are the ornaments wherewith we are to prepare our souls for it, and not the gaiety of outward apparel. 18. It is a great work, to draw nigh unto God so as to worship him in spirit and in truth. 19. There is an internal principle of saving faith required unto our profession of the doctrine of the gospel, without which it will not avail. 20. All that believe ought solemnly to give themselves up unto Christ and his rule, in an express profession of the faith that is in them and required of them. 21. There will great difficulties arise in, and opposition be made unto, a sincere profession of the faith. 22. Firmness and constancy of mind, with our utmost diligent endeavors, are required unto an acceptable continuance in the profession of the faith. 23. Uncertainty and wavering of mind as to the truth and doctrine we profess, or neglect of the duties wherein it doth consist, or compliance with errors for fear of persecution and sufferings, do overthrow our profession and render it useless. 25. As we ought not on any account to decline our profession, so to abate of the degrees of fervency of spirits therein is dangerous unto our souls. 25. The faithfulness of God in his promises is the great encouragement and supportment, under our continual profession of our faith, against all oppositions.
Verse. 24. — 1. The mutual watch of Christians, in the particular societies whereof they are members, is a duty necessary unto the preservation of the profession of the faith. 2. A due consideration of the circumstances, abilities, temptations, and opportunities for duties in one another, is required hereunto. 3. Diligence, or mutual exhortation unto gospel duties, that men on all grounds of reason and example may be provoked unto them, is required of us, and is a most excellent duty, which in an especial manner we ought to attend unto.
Verse. 25. — 1. Great diligence is required of us in a due attendance unto the assemblies of the church, for the ends of them, as they are instituted and appointed by Jesus Christ. 2. The neglect of the authority and love of Christ in the appointment of the means of our edification, will always tend to great and ruinous evils. 3. No church order, no outward profession, can secure men from apostasy. 4. Perfection, freedom from offense, scandal, and ruinous evils, are not to be expected in any church in this world. 5. Men that begin to decline from their duty in church relations ought to be marked, and their ways avoided. 6. Forsaking of church assemblies is usually an entrance into apostasy. 7. When especial warnings do not excite us unto renewed diligence in known duties, our condition is dangerous as unto the continuance of the presence of Christ amongst us. 8. Approaching judgments ought to influence unto especial diligence in all evangelical duties. 9. If men will shut their eyes against evident signs and tokens of approaching judgments, they will never stir up themselves nor engage into the due performance of present duties. 10. In the approach of great and final judgments, God, by his word and providence, gives such intimations of their coming as that wise men may discern them. 11. To see evidently such a day approaching, and not to be sedulous and diligent in the duties of divine worship, is a token of a backsliding frame, tending unto final apostasy.
Verse. 26, 27. — 1. If a voluntary relinquishment of the profession of the gospel and the duties of it be the highest sin, and be attended with the height of wrath and punishment, we ought earnestly to watch against every thing that inclineth or disposeth us thereunto. 2. Every declension in or from the profession of the gospel hath a proportion of the guilt of this great sin, according unto the proportion that it bears unto the sin itself. 3. There are sins and times wherein God doth absolutely refuse to hear any more from men in order unto their salvation. 4. The loss of an interest in the sacrifice of Christ, on what account or by what means soever it fall out, is absolutely ruinous unto the souls of men. 5. There is an inseparable concatenation between apostasy and eternal ruin. 6. God oftentimes visits the minds of cursed apostates with dreadful expectations of approaching wrath. 7. When men have hardened themselves in sin, no fear of punishment will either rouse or stir them up to seek after relief. 8. A dreadful expectation of future wrath, without hope of relief, is an open entrance into hell itself. 9. The expectation of future judgment in guilty persons is, and will be at one time or another, dreadful and tremendous. 10. There is a determinate time for the accomplishment of all divine threatenings and the infliction of the severest judgments, which no man can abide or avoid. 11. The certain determination of divine vengeance on the enemies of the gospel is a motive unto holiness, a supportment under sufferings in them that believe. 12. The highest aggravation of the greatest sins, is when men, out of a contrary principle of superstition and error, do set themselves maliciously to oppose the doctrine and truth of the gospel, with respect unto themselves and others. 13. There is a time when God will make demonstrations of his wrath and displeasure against all such adversaries of the gospel as shall be pledges of his eternal indignation. 14. The dread and terror of God’s final judgments against the enemies of the gospel is in itself inconceivable, and only shadowed out by things of the greatest dread and terror in the world.
Verse. 28, 29. — 1. It is the contempt of God and his authority in his law that is the gall and poison of sin. 2. When the God of mercies will have men show no mercy as to the temporal punishment, he can and will, upon repentance, show mercy as to eternal punishment. 3. Though there may be sometimes an appearance of great severity in God’s judgments against sinners, yet when the nature of their sins and the aggravation of them shall be discovered, they will be manifested to have been righteous and within due measure. 4. We ought to take heed of every neglect of the person of Christ or of his authority, lest we enter into some degree or other of the guilt of this great offense. 5. The sins of men can really reach neither the person nor authority of Christ. 6. Every thing that takes off from a high and glorious esteem of the blood of Christ as the blood of the covenant, is a dangerous entrance into apostasy. 7. However men may esteem of any of the mediatory actings of Christ, yet are they in themselves glorious and excellent. 8. There are no such cursed pernicious enemies unto religion as apostates. 9. The inevitable certainty of the eternal punishment of gospel despisers depends on the essential holiness and righteousness of God, as the ruler and judge of all. 10. It is a righteous thing with God thus to deal with men. 11. God hath allotted different degrees of punishment unto the different degrees and aggravations of sin. 12. The apostasy from the gospel here described, being the absolute height of all sin and impiety that the nature of man is capable of, renders them unto eternity obnoxious unto all punishment that the same nature is capable of. 13. It is our duty diligently to inquire into the nature of sin, lest we be overtaken in the great offense. 14. Sinning against the testimony given by the Holy Ghost unto the truth and power of the gospel, whereof men have had experience, is the most dangerous symptom of a perishing condition. 15. Threatenings of future eternal judgments unto gospel despisers belong unto the preaching and declaration of the gospel. 16. The equity and righteousness of the most severe judgments of God, in eternal punishments against gospel despisers, is so evident that it may be referred to the judgment of men not obstinate in their blindness. 17. It is our duty to justify and bear witness unto God in the righteousness of his judgments against gospel despisers.
Verse. 30, 31. — 1. There can be no right judgment made of the nature and demerit of sin, without a due consideration of the nature and holiness of God, against whom it is committed. 2. Nothing will state our thoughts aright concerning the guilt and demerit of sin, but a deep consideration of the infinite greatness, holiness, righteousness, and power of God, against whom it is committed. 3. Under apprehensions of great severities of divine judgments, the consideration of God, the author of them, will both relieve our faith and quiet our hearts. 4. A due consideration of the nature of God, his office, that he is the Judge of all, especially of his people, and that enclosure he hath made of vengeance unto himself, under an irrevocable purpose for its execution, gives indubitable assurance of the certain, unavoidable destruction of all wilful apostates. 5. Although those who are the people of God do stand in many relations unto him that are full of refreshment and comfort, yet it is their duty constantly to remember that he is the holy and righteous Judge, even towards his own people. 6. The knowledge of God in some good measure, both what he is in himself and what he hath taken on himself to do, is necessary, to render either his promises or threatenings effectual unto the minds of men. 7. The name of the living God is full of terror or comfort unto the souls of men. 8. There is an apprehension of the terror of the Lord in the final judgment, which is of great use to the souls of men. 9. When there is nothing left but judgment, nothing remains but the expectation of it, its fore-appre-hension will be filled with dread and terror. 10. The dread of the final judgment, where there shall be no mixture of ease, is altogether inexpressible. 11. That man is lost for ever who hath nothing in God that he can appeal unto. 12. Those properties of God which are the principal delight of believers, the chief object of their faith, hope, and trust, are an eternal spring of dread and terror unto all impenitent sinners. 13. The glory and horror of the future state of blessedness and misery are inconceivable, either to believers or sin-nero 14. The fear and dread of God, in the description of his wrath, ought continually to be in the hearts of all who profess the gospel.
Verse. 32-34. — 1. A wise management of former experiences is a great direction and encouragement unto future obedience. 2. All men by nature are darkness and in darkness. 3. Saving illumination is the first-fruit of effectual vocation. 4. Spiritual light, in its first communication, puts the soul on the diligent exercise of all graces. 5. It is suited unto the wisdom and goodness of God to suffer persons, on their first conversion, to fall into manifold trials and temptations. 6. All temporary sufferings, in all their aggravating circumstances, in their most dreadful preparation, dress, and appearance, are but light things in comparison of the gospel and the promises thereof. 7. There is not any thing in the whole nature of temporary sufferings, or any circumstance of them, that we can claim an exemption from, after we have undertaken the profession of the gospel. 8. It is reserved unto the sovereign pleasure of God to measure out unto all professors of the gospel their especial lot and portion as unto trials and sufferings, so as that none ought to complain, none to envy one another. 9. Of what sort or kind the sufferings of any that God employs in the ministry of the gospel shall be, is in his sovereign disposal alone. 10. Faith, giving an experience of the excellency of the love of God in Christ, and the grace received thereby, with its incomparable preference above all outward, perishing things, will give joy and satisfaction in the loss of all our substance, upon the account of an interest in these better things. 11. It is the glory of the gospel that it will, on a just account, from a sense of and interest in it, give satisfaction and joy unto the souls of men in the worst of sufferings for it. 12. It is our duty to take care that we be not surprised with outward sufferings when we are in the dark as unto our interest in these things. 13. Internal evidences of the beginnings of glory in grace, a sense of God’s love, and assured pledges of our adoption, will give insuperable joy to the minds of men under the greatest outward sufferings. 14. It is our interest in this world, as well as with respect unto eternity, to preserve our evidences for heaven clear and unstained. 15. There is a substance in spiritual and eternal things whereunto faith gives a subsistence in the souls of believers. 16. There is no rule of proportion between eternal and temporal things.
Verse. 35, 36. — 1. In the times of suffering, and in the approaches of them, it is the duty of believers to look on the glory of heaven under the notion of a refreshing, all-sufficient reward. 2. He that would abide faithful in difficult seasons, must fortify his soul with an unconquerable patience. 3. The glory of heaven is an abundant recompense for all we shall undergo in our way towards it. 4. Believers ought to sustain themselves in their sufferings with the promise of future glory. 5. The future blessedness is given unto us by the promise, and is therefore free and undeserved. 6. The consideration of eternal life as the free effect of the grace of God in Christ, and as proposed in a gracious promise, is a thousand times more full of spiritual refreshment unto a believer than if he should conceive of it or look upon it merely as a reward proposed unto our own doings or merits.
Verse. 37-39. — 1. The delay of the accomplishment of promises is a great exercise of faith and patience. 2. It is essential unto faith to be acted on the promised coming of Christ, to all that look for his appearance. 3. There is a promise of the coming of Christ suited unto the state and condition of the church in all ages. 4. The apparent delay of the accomplishment of any of these promises requires an exercise of the faith and patience, of the saints. 5. Every such coming of Christ hath its appointed season, beyond which it shall not tarry. 6. This divine disposition of things gives a necessity unto the continual exercise of faith, prayer, and patience, about the coming of Christ. 7. Although we may not know the especial dispensations and moments of time that are passing over us, yet all believers may know the state in general of the church under which they are, and what coming of Christ they are to look for and expect. 8. Faith in any church satisfies the souls of men with what is the good and deliverance of that state, although a man do know and is persuaded that personally he shall not see it himself nor enjoy it. 9. Under despondencies as to peculiar appearances or comings of Christ, it is the duty of believers to fix and exercise their faith on his illustrious appearance at the last day. 10. Every particular coming of Christ, in a way suited unto the present deliverance of the church, is an infallible pledge of his coming at the last unto judgment. 11. Every promised coming of Christ is certain, and shall not be delayed beyond its appointed season, when no difficulties shall be able to stand before it. 12. There are especial qualifications of grace required unto steadfastness in profession in times of persecution and long-con-tinued trials. 13. Many things are required to secure the success of our profession in times of difficulties and trials. 14. The continuance of the spiritual life and eternal salvation of true believers is secured from all oppositions whatever. 15. No persons whatever ought to be, on any consideration, secure against those sins which present circumstances give an efficacy unto. 16. It is an effect of spiritual wisdom to discern what is the dangerous and prevailing temptation of any season, and vigorously to set ourselves in opposition unto it. 17. It is much to be feared that in great trials some will draw back from that profession of the gospel wherein they are engaged. 18. This defection is commonly durable, continued by various pretences. 19. It is our great duty to look diligently that we are of that holy frame of mind, and attend to that due exercise of faith, that the soul of God may take pleasure in us. 20. Though there appear as yet no outward tokens or evidences of the anger and displeasure of God against our ways, yet if we are in that state wherein God hath no pleasure in us, we are entering into certain ruin. 21. Backsliders from the gospel are in a peculiar manner the abhorrence of the soul of God. 22. When the soul of God is not delighted in any, nothing can preserve them from utter destruction. 23. The Scripture everywhere testifieth that in the visible church there is a certain number of false hypocrites. 24. It is our duty to evidence unto our own consciences, and give evidence unto others, that we are not of this sort of number. 25. Nothing can free apostates from eternal ruin. 26. Sincere faith will carry men through all difficulties, hazards, and troubles, unto the certain enjoyment of eternal blessedness.
Chapter 11. Verse. 1. — 1. No faith will carry us through the difficulties of our profession from oppositions within and without, giving us constancy and perseverance therein unto the end, but that only which gives the good things hoped for a real subsistence in our minds and souls. 2. The peculiar specifical nature of faith, whereby it is differenced from all other powers, acts, and graces in the mind, lies in this, that it makes a life on things invisible. 3. The glory of our religion is, that it depends on and is resolved into invisible things. 4. Great objections are apt to lie against invisible things when they are externally revealed. 5. It is faith alone that takes believers out of this world while they are in it, that exalts them above it while they are under its rage, and enables them to live upon things future and invisible.
Verse. 2. — 1. Instances or examples are the most powerful confirmations of practical truths. 2. They who have a good testimony from God shall never want reproaches from the world. 3. It is faith alone which, from the beginning of the world (or from the giving of the first promise), was the means and way of obtaining acceptance with God. 4. The faith of true believers from the beginning of the world was fixed on things future, hoped for, and invisible. 5. That faith whereby men please God acts itself in a fixed contemplation on things future and invisible, from whence it derives encouragement and strength to endure and abide firm in profession against all oppositions and persecutions. 6. However men may be despised, vilified, and reproached in the world, yet if they have faith, if they are true believers, they are accepted with God, and he will give them a good report.
Verse. 3. — 1. They who firmly assent unto divine revelation do understand the creation of the world, as to its truth, its season, its cause, its manner, and end. 2. Faith puts forth its power in our minds in a due manner, when it gives us clear and distinct apprehensions of the things we do believe. 3. As God’s first work was perfect, so all his works shall be perfect. 4. The aid of reason, with the due consideration of the nature, use, and end of all things, ought to be admitted of, to confirm our minds in the persuasion of the original creation of all things.
Verse. 4. — 1 . Every circumstance in suffering shall add to the glory of the sufferer. 2. We are to serve God with the best that we have, the best that is in our power, with the best of our spiritual abilities. 3. God gives no consequential approbation of any duties of believers, but where the principle of a living faith goes previously in their performance. 4. Our persons must be first justified, before our works of obedience can be accepted with God. 5. They whom God approves must expect that the world will disapprove them, and ruin them if it can. 6. Where there is a difference within, in the hearts of men, on the account of faith or the want of it, there will for the most part be unavoidable differences about outward worship. 7. God’s approbation is an abundant recompense for the loss of our lives 8. There is a voice in all innocent blood shed by violence. 9. Whatever troubles faith may engage us into in the profession of it, with obedience according to the mind of God, it will bring us safely off from them all at last (yea, though we should die in the cause), unto our eternal salvation and honor.
Verse. 5. — 1. Whatever be the outward different events of faith in believers in this world, they are all alike accepted with God, approved by him, and shall all equally enjoy the eternal inheritance. 2. God can and doth put a great difference, as unto outward things, between such as are equally accepted before him. 3. There is no such acceptable service unto God, none that he hath set such signal pledges of his favor upon, as zealously to contend against the world in giving witness to his ways, his worship, and his kingdom, or the rule of Christ over all. 4. It is a part of our testimony to declare and witness that vengeance is prepared for ungodly persecutors, and all sorts of impenitent sinners, however they are and may be provoked thereby. 5. The principal part of this testimony consists in our own personal obedience, or visible walking with God in holy obedience, according to the tenor of the covenant. 6. As it is an effect of the wisdom of God to dispose the works of his providence and the accomplishment of his promises according to an ordinary established rule, declared in his word, which is the only guide of faith, so sometimes it pleases him to give extraordinary instances in each kind, both in a way of judgment and in a way of grace and favor. 7. Faith in God through Christ hath an efficacy in the procuring of such grace, mercy, and favor in particular, as it hath no ground in particular to believe. 8. They must walk with God here who design to live with him hereafter. 9. That faith which can translate a man out of this world, can carry him through the difficulties which he may meet withal in the profession of faith and obedience in this world.
Verse. 6. — 1. Where God hath put an impossibility upon any thing, it is in vain for men to attempt it. 2. It is of the highest importance to examine well into the sincerity of our faith, whether it be of the true kind or not. 3. God himself in his self-sufficiency and his all-sufficiency, meet to act towards poor sinners in a way of bounty, is the first motive or encouragement unto, and the last object of faith. 4. They who seek God only according to the light of nature do but feel after him in the dark, and they shall never find him as a rewarder. 5. They who seek him according to the law of works, and by the best of their obedience thereunto, shall never find him as a rewarder, nor attain that which they seek after. 6. It is the most proper act of faith to come and cleave to God as a rewarder in the way of grace and bounty, as proposing himself for our reward. 7. That faith is vain which doth not put men on a diligent inquiry after God. 8. The whole issue of our finding of God when we seek him depends on the way and rule which we take and use in our so doing.
Verse. 7. — 1. It is a high commendation to faith, to believe things on the word of God that in themselves and all second causes are invisible, and seem impossible. 2. No obstacle can stand in the way of faith, when it fixeth itself on the almighty power of God and his infinite veracity. 3. It is a great encouragement and strengthening unto faith, when the things which it believes as promised or threatened are suitable unto the properties of the divine nature, his righteousness, holiness, goodness, and the like. 4. The destruction of the world, when it was filled with wickedness and violence, is a pledge of the certain accomplishment of all divine threatenings against ungodly sinners and enemies of the church, though the time of it may be yet far distant, and the means of it may not be evident. 5. A reverential fear of God, as threatening vengeance unto impenitent sinners, is a fruit of saving faith and acceptable unto God. 6. It is one thing to fear God as threatening, with a holy reverence, another to be afraid of the evil threatened, merely as it is penal and destructive. 7. Faith produceth various effects in the minds of believers, according to the variety of objects that it is fixed on; sometimes joy and confidence, sometimes fear and reverence. 8. Then is fear a fruit of faith, when it engageth us into diligence in our duty. 9. Many things tend to the commendation of the faith of Noah. 10. In the destruction of the old world we have an eminent figure of the state of impenitent sinners, and of God’s dealing with them, in all ages, 11.
The visible professing church shall never fall into such an apostasy, nor be so totally destroyed, but that God will preserve a remnant for a seed to future generations. 12. Those whom God calleth unto, fitteth for, and employeth in any work, are therein sunergoi> qeou~ , — “co-workers with God.” 13. Let those that are employed in the declaration of God’s promises and threatenings take heed unto themselves to answer the will of him by whom they are employed, whose work it is wherein they are engaged. 14. It ought to be a motive unto diligence in exemplary obedience, that therein we bear testimony for God against the impenitent world, which he will judge and punish. 15. All right unto spiritual privileges and mercies is by gratuitous adoption. 16. The righteousness of faith is the best inheritance, for thereby we become heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ.
Verse. 8. — 1. It becomes the infinite greatness and all-satisfactory goodness of God, at the very first revelation of himself unto any of his creatures, to require of them a renunciation of all other things, and of their interest in them, in compliance with his commands. 2. In the call of Abraham we see the power of sovereign grace in calling men to God, and the mighty efficacy of faith in complying therewith. 3. It is the call of God alone that makes a distinction amongst mankind, as unto faith and obedience, with all the effects of them. 4. The church of believers consists of those that are called out of the world. 5. Self-denial in fact or resolution is the foundation of all sincere profession. 6. There is no right, title, or possession, that can prescribe against the righteousness of God in the disposal of all inheritances here below at his pleasure. 7. God’s grant of things unto any is the best of titles, and most sure against all pretences or impeachments. 8. Possession belongs unto an inheritance enjoyed. 9. An inheritance may be given only for a limited season. 10. It is faith alone that gives the soul satisfaction in future rewards, in the midst of present difficulties and distresses. 11. The assurance given us by divine promises is sufficient to encourage us to advance in the most difficult course of obedience.
Verse. 9. — 1. Where faith enables men to live unto God as unto their eternal concerns, it will enable them to trust unto him in all the difficulties, dangers, and hazards of this life. 2. If we design to have an interest in the blessing of Abraham, we must walk in the steps of the faith of Abraham. 3. Where faith is once duly fixed on the promises, it will wait patiently under trials, afflictions, and temptations for their full accomplishment. 4. Faith discerning aright the glory of spiritual promises, will make the soul of a believer contented and well satisfied with the smallest portion of earthly enjoyments.
Verse. 10. — 1. A certain expectation of the heavenly reward, grounded on the promises and covenant of God, is sufficient to support and encourage the souls of believers under all their trials, in the whole course of their obedience. 2. Heaven is a settled, quiet habitation. 3. All stability, all perpetuity in every state, here and hereafter, ariseth from the purpose of God, and is resolved thereinto. 4. This is that which recommends to us the city of God, the heavenly state, that it is, as the work of God alone, so the principal effect of his wisdom and power. 5. A constant expectation of an eternal reward argues a vigorous exercise of faith, and a sedulous attendance to all duties of obedience.
Verse. 11. — 1. Faith may be sorely shaken and tossed at the first appearance of difficulties lying in the way of the promise, which yet at last it shall overcome. 2. Although God ordinarily worketh by his concurring blessing on the course of nature, yet is he not obliged thereunto. 3. It is no defect in faith not to expect events and blessings absolutely above the use of means, unless we have a particular warrant for it. 4. The duty and use of faith about temporal mercies are to be regulated by the general rules of the word, where no especial providence doth make application of a promise. 5. The mercy concerning a son unto Abraham by Sarah his wife was absolutely decreed and absolutely promised, yet God indispensably requires faith in them for the fulfilling of that decree and the accomplishment of that promise. 6. The formal object of faith in the divine promises is not the things promised in the first place, but God himself in his essential excellencies of truth, or faithfulness, and power. 7. Every promise of God hath this consideration tacitly annexed to it, “Is any thing too hard for the LORD?” 8. Although the truth, veracity, or faithfulness of God, be in a peculiar manner the immediate object of our faith, yet it takes in the consideration of all other divine excellencies for its encouragement and corroboration.
Verse. 12. — 1. When God is pleased to increase his church in number, it is on various accounts a matter of rejoicing unto all believers. 2. An ungodly, carnal multitude, combined together in secular interests for their advantage, unto the ends of superstition and sin, calling themselves “The church,” like that of Rome, is set up by the craft of Satan to evade the truth, and debase the glory of these promises. 3. God oftentimes by nature works things above the power of nature in its ordinary efficacy and operations. 4. Whatever difficulties and oppositions lie in the way of the accomplishment of the promises under the new testament, made unto Jesus Christ concerning the increase and stability of his church and kingdom, these promises shall have an assured accomplishment.
Verse. 13. — 1. It is the glory of true faith that it will not leave them in whom it is, that it will not cease its actings for their support and comfort in their dying, when the hope of the hypocrite doth perish. 2. The life of faith doth eminently manifest itself in death, when all other reliefs and supports do fail. 3. That is the crowning act of faith, the great trial of its vigor and wisdom, namely, in what it doth in our dying. 4. Hence it is that many of the saints, both of old and of late, have evidenced the most triumphant actings of faith in the approach of death. 5. The due understanding of the whole old testament, with the nature of the faith and obedience of all the saints under it, depends on this one truth, that they believed things that were not yet actually exhibited nor enjoyed. 6. God would have the church, from the beginning of the world, to live on promises not actually accomplished. 7. We may receive the promises, as to the comfort and benefit of them, when we do not actually receive the things promised. 8. As our privileges in the enjoyment of the promises are above theirs under the old testament, so our faith, thankfulness, and obedience, ought to excel theirs also. 9. No distance of time or place can weaken faith as unto the accomplishment of divine promises. 10. Quiet waiting for the accomplishment of promises at a great distance, and which most probably will not be in our days, is an eminent fruit of faith. 11. This firm persuasion of the truth of God in the accomplishment of his promises unto us, upon a discovery of their worth and excellency, is the second act of faith, wherein the life of it doth principally consist. 12. This avowed renunciation of all other things beside Christ in the promise, and the good-will of God in him, as to the repose of any trust or confidence in them for our rest and satisfaction, is an eminent act of that faith whereby we walk with God.
Verse. 14. — This is the genuine and proper way of interpreting the Scripture, when from the words themselves, considered with relation unto the persons speaking them, and to all their circumstances, we declare what was their determinate mind and sense.
Verse. 15. — 1. It is in the nature of faith to mortify not only corrupt and sinful lusts, but our natural affections, and their most vehement inclinations, though in themselves innocent, if they are any way uncompliant with duty of obedience to the commands of God. 2. When the hearts and minds of believers are fixed on things spiritual and heavenly, it will take them off from inordinate cleaving to things otherwise greatly desirable.
Verse. 16. — 1. To avow openly in the world, by our ways, walking, and living, with a constant public profession, that our portion and inheritance is not in it, but in things invisible, in heaven above, is an illustrious act and fruit of faith. 2. Faith looks on heaven as the country of believers, a glorious country, an eternal rest and habitation. 3. In all the groans of burdened souls under their present trials, there is included a fervent desire after heaven, and the enjoyment of God therein. 4. This is the greatest privilege, honor, advantage, and security that any can be made partakers of, that God will bear the name and title of their God. 5. God’s owning of believers as his, and of himself to be their God, is an abundant recompense for all the hardships which they undergo in their pilgrimage. 6. Divine wisdom hath so ordered the relation between God and the church, that that which is in itself an infinite condescension in God, and a reproach unto him in the wicked, idolatrous world, should also be his glory and honor, wherein he is well pleased. 7. Where God, in a way of sovereign grace, so infinitely condescends as to take any into covenant with himself, so as that he may be justly styled their God, he will make them to be such as shall be a glory to himself. 8. We may see the woful condition of them who are ashamed to be called his people, and make that name a term of reproach unto others. 9. Eternal rest and glory are made sure for all believers in the eternal purpose of the will of God, and his actual preparation of them by grace.
Verse. 17. — 1. God alone knows how to ascribe work and duty proportionate unto the strength of grace received. 2. Ofttimes God reserves great trials for a well-exercised faith. 3. Faith must be tried, and of all graces it is most suited unto trial. 4. God proportions trials for the most part unto the strength of faith. 5. Great trials in believers are an evidence of great faith in them, though not understood either by themselves or others before such trials. 6. Trials are the only touchstone of faith, without which men must want the best evidence of its sincerity and efficacy, and the best way of testifying it unto others. 7. We ought not to be afraid of trials, because of the admirable advantages of faith in and by them. 8. Let them be jealous over themselves who have had no especial instances of the trial of their faith. 9. True faith being tried will in the issue be victorious. 10. Where there is a divine command, evidencing itself to our consciences so to be, it is the wisdom and duty of faith to close its eyes against whatsoever seems insuperable in difficulties or inextricable in consequents. 11. Divine revelations did give such an evidence of their being immediately from God to those who received them, that though in all things they contradicted their reason and interest, yet they received them without any hesitation. 12. The great glory and commendation of the faith of Abraham consisted in this, that without all dispute, hesitation, or rational consideration of objections to the contrary, by a pure act of his will he complied with the authority of God. 13. It is a privilege and advantage to have an offering of price to offer to God if he call for it. 14. Obedience begun in faith, without any reserves, but with a sincere intention to fulfill the whole work of it, is accepted with God as if it were absolutely complete. 15. The power of faith in its conflict with and conquest over natural affections, when their unavoidable bent and inclinations are contrary to the will of God, whereby they are exposed to receive impressions from temptations, is an eminent part of its glory, and a blessed evidence of its sincerity.
Verse. 18. — 1. In great and inextricable difficulties, it is the duty, wisdom, and nature of faith, to fix itself on the immense properties of the divine nature, whereby it can effect things inconceivable and incomprehensible. 2. God may justly require the assent and confidence of faith unto all things which infinite power and wisdom can effect, though we can neither see, nor understand, nor comprehend the way whereby it may be accomplished. 3. God’s dealings with his church sometimes are such as that, unless we shut our eyes and stop our ears unto all objections and temptations against his promises, opening them only unto divine sovereignty, wisdom, and veracity, we can never abide in a comfortable course of obedience. 4. This is the glory of faith, that it can spiritually compose the soul in the midst of all storms and temptations, under darkness as unto events. 5. In any surprisal with seemingly insuperable difficulties, it is our duty immediately to set faith at work. 6. There may sometimes, through God’s providential disposal of all things, be an appearance of such an opposition and inconsistency between his commands and promises as nothing but faith bowing the soul unto divine sovereignty can reconcile.
Verse. 19. — 1. It is good for us to have our faith firmly built on the fundamental articles of religion. 2. We ought to remember the privileges and advantages that Abraham obtained on the trial, exercise, and victory of his faith. 3. Faith obtaining the victory in great trials (as suffering for the truth), and carrying us through difficult duties of obedience, shall have a reward even in this life in many unspeakable spiritual privileges and advantages. 4. The example of Abraham was peculiarly cogent unto the Hebrews, who gloried in being the children of Abraham, from whom they derived all their privileges and advantages. 5. If we are children of Abraham, we have no reason to expect an exemption from the greatest trials.
Verse. 20. — 1. The failure, error, or mistake, of any one leading person, with respect unto divine promises and their accomplishment, may be of dangerous consequence unto others.
Verse. 21. — 1. It is an eminent mercy when faith not only holds out to the end, but waxeth strong towards the last conflict with death. 2. It is so also to be able by faith, in the close of our pilgrimage, to recapitulate all the passages of our lives in mercies, trials, afflictions, so as to give glory to God with respect to them all. 3. That which enlivens and encourageth faith as to all other things is a peculiar respect to the Angel, the Redeemer, by whom all grace and mercy is communicated to us. 4. It is our duty so to live in the constant exercise of faith, as that we may be ready and strong in it when we are dying. 5. Though we should die daily, yet there is a peculiar dying season, when death is in its near approach, which requires peculiar actings of faith. 6. In all acts of divine worship, whether solemn or occasional, it is our duty to dispose our bodies into such a posture of reverence as may represent the inward frame of our minds. 7. There is an allowance for the infirmities of age and sickness in our outward deportment in divine worship, so as that there be no indulgence to sloth or custom, but that an evidence of a due reverence of God and holy things be preserved.
Verse. 22. 1. It is of great use unto the edification of the church, that such believers as have been eminent in profession should at their dying testify their faith in the promises of God. 2. Joseph, after his trial of all that this world could afford, when he was dying, chose the promise for his lot and portion. 3. No interposition of difficulties ought to weaken our faith as unto the accomplishment of the promises of God.
Verse. 23. — 1. Where there is an agreement between husband and wife in faith and the fear of the Lord, it makes way unto a blessed success in all their duties; when it is otherwise, nothing succeeds unto their comfort. 2. When difficult duties befall persons in that relation, it is their wisdom each to apply themselves unto that part and share of it which they are best suited for. 3. This is the height of persecution, when private houses are searched by bloody officers to execute tyrannical laws. 4. It is well when any thing of eminence in our children doth so engage our affections unto them as to make them useful and subservient unto diligence in disposing of them unto the glory of God. 5. The rage of men and the faith of the church shall work out the accomplishment of God’s counsels and promises unto his glory, from under all perplexities and difficulties that may arise in opposition unto it.
Verse. 24. — 1. Whatever be the privileges of any, whatever be their work or office, it is by faith alone that they must live to God, and obtain acceptance with him. 2. It is good to fill up every age and season with the duties which are proper thereunto. 3. It is a blessed thing to have the principles of true religion fixed in the minds of children, and their affections engaged to them, before they are exposed to temptations, from learning, wisdom, wealth, or preferment. 4. The token of God’s covenant received in infancy, being duly considered, is the most effectual means to preserve persons in the profession of true religion against apostasy by outward temptations. 5. The work of faith in all ages of the church, as to its nature, efficacy, and the method of its actings, is uniform and the same.
Verse. 25. — 1. Let no man be offended at the low, mean, persecuted condition of the church at any time. 2. The sovereign wisdom of God, in disposing the outward state and condition of his people in this world, is to be submitted to. 3. It is certain there is somewhat contained in this title and privilege of being “the people of God” that is infinitely above all outward things that may be enjoyed in this world, and which doth inexpressibly outbalance all the evils that are in it. 4. The church, in all its distresses, is ten thousand times more honorable than any other society of men in the world; they are “the people of God.” 5. In a time of great temptations, especially from furious persecutors, a sedate consideration of the true nature of all things wherein we are concerned, and their circumstances on every hand, is necessary, to enable us unto a fight choice of our lot and a due performance of our duty. 6. No profession will endure the trial in a time of persecution but such as proceeds from a determinate choice of adhering unto Christ and the gospel, with a refusal and rejection of whatever stands in competition with them, on a due consideration of the respective natures and ends of the things proposed unto us on the one hand and on the other. 7. Moses chose to be afflicted with the people of God, and so must every one do who will be of them unto his advantage. 8. Men fearfully delude themselves in the choice they make about profession in times of persecution.
Verse. 26. — 1. Reproach hath, in all ages, from the beginning of the world, attended Christ and all the sincere professors of faith in him; which in God’s esteem is upon his account. 2. Let the things of this world be increased and multiplied into the greatest measures and degrees imaginable, it alters not their kind. 3. There is an all-satisfactory fullness in spiritual things, even when the enjoyment of them is under reproach and persecution, unto all the true ends of the blessedness of men. 4. Such signal exemplifications of the nature and efficacy of faith in others, especially when victorious against mighty oppositions, as they were in Moses, are high encouragements unto us unto the like exercise of it in the like circumstances. 5. It is our duty, in the whole course of our faith and obedience, to have respect unto the future recompense of reward. 6. It is faith only that can carry us through the difficulties, trials, and persecutions which we may be called unto for the sake and name of Christ. 7. Faith in exercise will carry us safely and securely through all the trials which we have to undergo for Christ and the gospel. 8. Faith is highly rational in all its acts of obedience towards God.
Verse. 27. — 1. In all duties, especially such as are attended with great difficulties and dangers, it is the wisdom of believers to take care, not only that the works of them be good in themselves, but that they have a just and due call to their performance. 2. Even the wrath of the greatest kings is to be disregarded if it lie against our duty towards God. 3. There is a heroic frame of mind and spiritual fortitude required to the due discharge of our callings in times of danger, which faith in exercise will produce. 4. There is nothing insuperable to faith, while it can keep a clear view of the power of God and his faithfulness in his promises.
Verse. 28. — 1. There is always an especial exercise of faith required unto the due observance of a sacramental ordinance. 2. Whatever is not sprinkled with the blood of Christ, the Lamb of God, who was slain and sacrificed for us, is exposed unto destruction from the anger and displeasure of God. 3. It is the blood of Christ alone which gives us security from him that hath the power of death. 4. God hath always instruments in readiness to execute the severest of his judgments on sinners in their greatest security. 5. Such is the great power and activity of these fiery ministering spirits, as that, in the shortest space of time imaginable, they can execute the judgments of God on whole nations as well and as easily as on private persons. 6. Unless we are sprinkled with the blood of Christ, our paschal Lamb, no other privilege can secure us from eternal destruction.
Verse. 29. — 1. Where God engageth his word and promise, there is nothing so difficult, nothing so remote from the rational apprehensions of men, but he may righteously require our faith and trust in him therein. 2. Faith will find a way through a sea of difficulties under the call of God. 3. There is no trial, no difficulty, that the church can be called unto, but that there are examples on record of the power of faith in working out its deliverance. 4. God knows how to secure impenitent sinners unto their appointed destruction, by giving them up unto hardness of heart and an obstinate continuance in their sins against all warnings and means of repentance. 5. God doth not give up any in a judiciary way unto sin, but it is a punishment for preceding sins, and as a means to bring on them total ruin and destruction. 6. Let us not wonder that we see men in the world obstinate in foolish counsels and undertakings, tending unto their own inevitable ruin, seeing probably they are under judiciary hardness from God. 7. There is no such blinding, hardening lust in the minds or hearts of men, as hatred of the people of God and desire of their ruin. 8. When the oppressors of the church are nearest unto their ruin, they commonly rage most, and are most obstinate in their bloody persecutions.
Verse. 30. — 1. Faith will embrace and make use of means divinely prescribed, though it be not able to discern the effective influence of them unto the end aimed at. 2. Faith will cast down walls and strong towers that lie in the way of the work of God.
Verse. 31. — 1. Although unbelief be not the only destroying sin (for the wages of every sin is death, and many are accompanied with peculiar provocations), yet it is the only sin which makes eternal destruction inevitable and remediless. 2. Where there are means granted of the revelation of God and his will, it is unbelief that is the greatest and most provoking sin, and from whence God is glorified in his severest judgments. 3. Where this revelation of the mind and will of God is most open, full, and evident, and the means of it are most express and suited unto the communication of the knowledge of it, there is the highest aggravation of unbelief. 4. Every thing which God designs as an ordinance to bring men unto repentance ought to be diligently attended to and complied withal, seeing the neglect of it or of the call of God therein shall be severely revenged. 5. It is in the nature of true, real, saving faith immediately, or at its first opportunity, to declare and protest itself in confession before men. 6. Separation from the cause and interest of the world is required in all believers, and will accompany true faith wherever it is.
Verse. 32. — 1. It is requisite prudence, in the confirmation of important truths, to give them a full proof and demonstration, and yet not to multiply arguments and testimonies beyond what is necessary, which serves only to divert the mind from attending unto the truth itself to be confirmed. 2. It is not the dignity of the person that gives efficacy unto faith, but it is faith that makes the person accepted. 3. Neither the guilt of sin nor the sense of it should hinder us from acting faith on God in Christ when we are called thereunto. 4. True faith will save great sinners. 5. There is nothing so great or difficult, or seemingly insuperable, no discouragement so great from a sense of our own unworthiness by sin, nor opposition arising against us from both of them in conjunction, that should hinder us from believing and from the exercise of faith in all things when we are called thereunto.
Verse. 33. — 1. There is nothing that can lie in the way of the accomplishment of any of God’s promises but it is conquerable by faith. 2. That faith that hath stopped the mouths of lions can restrain, disappoint, and stop the rage of the most savage oppressors and persecutors of the church.
Verse. 34, 35. — 1. It is the wisdom and duty of faith to apply itself to all lawful ways and means of deliverance from danger. 2. We ought to exercise faith about temporal mercies, as they are ofttimes received by it and given in on the account of it.
Verse. 35-37. — 1. It belongs unto the sovereign pleasure of God to dispose of the outward state and condition of the church, as unto its seasons of prosperity and persecution. 2. Those whose lot falleth in the times of greatest distress or sufferings, are no less accepted with him than those who enjoy the highest terrene felicity and success. 3. Sufferings will stir us up unto the exercise of faith on the most difficult objects of it, and bring in the comforts of them into our souls.
Verse. 36. — There may be sufferings sufficient for the trial of the faith of the church when the world is restrained from blood and death.
Verse. 37. — 1. No instruments of cruelty, no inventions of the devil or the world, no terrible preparations of death, — that is, no endeavours of the gates of hell, — shall ever prevail against the faith of God’s elect. 2. It is no small degree of suffering, for men by law or violence to be driven from those places of their own habitation which the providence of God, and all just right among men, have allotted unto them. 3. He will be deceived who at any time, under a sincere profession of the gospel, looks for any other, any better treatment or entertainment in the world than reproaches, defamations, revilings, threatenings, contempt.
Verse. 38. — 1. Let the world think as well, as highly, as proudly of itself as it pleaseth, when it persecutes it is base and unworthy of the society of true believers and of the mercies wherewith it is accompanied. 2. God’s esteem of his people is never the less for their outward sufferings and calamities, whatever the world judgeth of them. 3. Ofttimes it is better and more safe for the saints of God to be in the wilderness among the beasts of the field than in a savage world, inflamed by the devil into rage and persecution. 4. Though the world may prevail to drive the church into the wilderness, to the ruin of all public profession in their own apprehension, yet it shall be there preserved unto the appointed season of its deliverance. 5. It becomes us to be filled with thoughts of and affections unto spiritual things, to labor for an anticipation of glory, that we faint not in the consideration of the evils that may befall us on the account of the gospel.
Verse. 39, 40. — It is our duty not only to believe, that we may be justified before God, but so to evidence our faith by the fruits of it, as that we may obtain a good report, or be justified before men.
Verse. 40. — 1. The disposal of the states and times of the church, as unto the communication of light, grace, and privileges, depends merely on the sovereign pleasure and will of God, and not on any merit or preparation in man. 2. Though God gives more light and grace unto the church in one season than in another, yet in every season he gives that which is sufficient to guide believers in their faith and obedience unto eternal life. 3. It is the duty of believers, in every state of the church, to make use of and improve the spiritual provision that God hath made for them, always remembering that unto whom much is given of them much is required. 4. God measures out unto all his people their portion in service, sufferings, privileges, and rewards, according to his own good pleasure. 5. It is Christ alone who was to give, and who alone could give, perfection or consummation unto the church. 6. All the outward glorious worship of the old testament had no perfection in it, and so no glory, comparatively, unto that which is brought in by the gospel. 7. All perfection, all consummation, is in Christ alone.
CHAPTERS 12., 13.
EXHORTATIONS TO PERSEVERANCE IN ALL CHRISTIAN DUTY.
Chapter 12. Verse. 1. — 1. In all examples set before us in Scripture, we are diligently to consider our own concern in them, and what we are instructed by them. 2. God hath not only made provision, but plentiful provision, in the Scripture for the strengthening of our faith, and for our encouragement unto duty. 3. It is an honor that God puts on his saints departed, especially such as suffered and died for the truth, that even after their death they shall be witnesses unto faith and obedience in all generations. 4. To faint in our profession whilst we are encompassed with such a cloud of witnesses is a great aggravation of our sin. 5. Universal mortification of sin is the best preparative, preservative, and security for constancy in profession in a time of trial and persecution. 6. Whereas the nature of indwelling sin at such seasons is to work by unbelief towards a departure from the living God, or to the relinquishment of the gospel and the profession of it, we ought to be continually on our watch against all its arguings and actings towards that end. 7. The way whereby this sin principally manifests itself, is by the clogs and hinderances which it puts upon us in the constant course of our obedience. 8. The reward that is proposed at the end of this race is every way worthy of all the pains, diligence, and patience that are to be taken and exercised in the attainment of it Verse. 2. — 1. The foundation of our stability in the faith and profession of the gospel in times of trial and suffering, is a constant looking unto Christ with expectation of aid and assistance. 2. It is a mighty encouragement unto constancy and perseverance in believing, that he in whom we do believe is the author and finisher of our faith. 3. The exercise of faith on Christ, to enable us unto perseverance under difficulties and persecutions, respects him as a Savior and a sufferer, as the author and finisher of faith itself. 4. Herein is the Lord Christ our great example, in that he was influenced and acted, in all that he did and suffered, by a continual respect unto the glory of God and the salvation of the church. 5. If we duly propose these things unto ourselves in all our sufferings, as they are set before us in the Scripture, we shall not faint under them, nor be weary of them. 6. This blessed frame of mind in our Lord Jesus in all his sufferings is that which the apostle proposeth for our encouragement and unto our imitation. 7. If he went so through his sufferings, and was victorious in the issue, we also may do so in ours, through his assistance who is the author and finisher of our faith. 8. We have in this instance the highest proof that faith can conquer both pain and shame. 9. We should neither think strange of them, nor fear them, on the account of our profession of the gospel, seeing the Lord Jesus hath gone before in the conflict with them and conquest of them.
Verse. 3. — 1. Such things may befall us in the way of our profession of the gospel as are in themselves apt to weary and burden us, so as to solicit our minds to a relinquishment of it. 2. When we begin to be heartless, desponding, and weary of our sufferings, it is a dangerous disposition of mind, tending towards a defection from the gospel. 3. We ought to watch against nothing more diligently than the insensible, gradual prevailing of such a frame in us, if we intend to be faithful to the end. 4. If we design perseverance in a time of trouble and persecution, it is both our wisdom and our duty to keep up faith to a vigorous exercise, the want whereof is the fainting in our minds. 5. The malicious contradiction of wicked priests, scribes, and pharisees, against the truth, and those that profess it on the account thereof, is suited to make them faint, if not opposed by vigorous acting of faith on Christ, and a due consideration of his sufferings in the same kind. 6. Whoever they are who, by their contradictions unto the truth and them that do profess it, do stir up persecution against them, let them pretend what they will of righteousness, they are sinners, and that in such a degree as to be obnoxious to eternal death. 7. If our minds grow weak, through a remission of the vigorous acting of faith, in a time of great contradiction unto our profession, they will quickly grow weary, so as to give over if not timely recovered. 8. The constant consideration of Christ in his sufferings is the best means to keep up faith unto its due exercise in all times of trial.
Verse. 4. — 1. The proportioning the degrees of sufferings, and the disposal of them as unto times and seasons, is in the hand of God. 2. It is highly dishonorable to faint in the cause of Christ and the gospel under lesser sufferings, when we know there are greater to be undergone by ourselves and others on the same account. 3. Signal diligence and watchfulness is required in our profession of the gospel, considering what enemy we have to conflict withal. 4. It is an honorable warfare, to be engaged against such an enemy as sin is. 5. Though the world cannot, or will not, yet Christians can distinguish between resisting the authority of men, whereof they are unjustly accused, and the resistance of sin, under a pretense of that authority, by refusing a compliance with it. 6. There is no room for sloth or negligence in this conflict. 7. They do but deceive themselves who hope to preserve their faith, in times of trial, without the utmost watchful diligence against the assaults and impressions of sin. 8. The vigor of our minds, in the constant exercise of spiritual strength, is required hereunto. 9. Without this we shall be surprised, wounded, and at last destroyed by our enemy. 10. They that would abide faithful in their profession in times of trial ought constantly to bear in mind and be armed against the worst of evils that they may be called unto on the account thereof.
Verse. 5. — 1. This is a blessed effect of divine wisdom, that the sufferings which we undergo from men for the profession of the gospel shall be also chastisements of love from God, to our spiritual advantage. 2. The gospel never requires our suffering, but if we examine ourselves we shall find that we stand in need of the divine chastisement in it. 3. When, by the wisdom of God, we can discern that what we suffer on the one hand is for the glory of God and the gospel, and on the other is necessary to our own sanctification, we shall be prevailed with to patience and perseverance. 4. Where there is sincerity in faith and obedience, let not men despond if they find themselves called to suffer for the gospel when they seem to be unfit and unprepared for it, seeing it is the design of God by those sufferings, whereunto they are called on a public account, to purify and cleanse them from their present evil frames. 5. The want of a diligent consideration of the provision that God hath made in the Scripture for our encouragement to duty and comfort under difficulties is a sinful forgetfulness, and is of dangerous consequence to our souls. 6. Usually God gives to believers the most evident pledges of their adoption when they are in their sufferings and under their afflictions. 7. It is a tender case to be under troubles and afflictions, which requires our utmost diligence, watchfulness, and care about it. 8. When God’s chastisements in our troubles and afflictions are reproofs also, when he gives us a sense in them of his displeasure against our sins, and we are reproved by him, yet even then he requires of us that we should not faint nor despond, but cheerfully apply ourselves unto his mind and calls. 9. A sense of God’s displeasure against our sins, and of his reproving us for them, is consistent with an evidence of our adoption, yea, may be an evidence of it. 10. A due consideration of this sacred truth, namely, that all our troubles, persecutions, and afflictions, are divine chastisements and reproofs, whereby God evidenceth unto us our adoption, and that he instructs us for our advantage, is an effectual means to preserve us in patience and perseverance unto the end of our trials.
Verse. 6. — 1. In all our afflictions, the resignation of ourselves unto the sovereign pleasure, infinite wisdom, and goodness of God, is the only means or way of preserving us from fainting, weariness, or neglect of duty. 2. Love is antecedent unto chastening. 3. Chastising is an effect of his love. 4. Unto chastisement is required that the person chastised be in a state wherein there is sin, or that he be a sinner. 5. Divine love and chastening are inseparable. 6. Where chastisement evidenceth itself (as it cloth many ways, with respect unto God the author of it, and those that are chastised) not to be penal, it is a broad seal set to the patent of our adoption. 7. This being the way and manner of God’s dealing with his children, there is all the reason in the world why we should acquiesce in his sovereign wisdom therein, and not faint under his chastisement. 8. No particular person hath any reason to complain of his portion in chastisement, seeing this is the way of God’s dealing with all his children.
Verse. 7. — 1. Afflictions or chastisements are no pledges of our adoption, but when and where they are endured with patience. 2. It is the internal frame of heart and mind under chastisements that lets in and receives a sense of God’s design and intention towards us in them. 3. This way of dealing becomes the relation between God and believers, as father and children, — namely, that he should chastise, and they should bear it patiently.
Verse. 8. — 1. There are no sons of God, no real partakers of adoption, that are without some crosses or chastisements in this world. 2. It is an act of spiritual wisdom, in all our troubles to find out and discern divine paternal chastisements; without which we shall never behave ourselves well under them, nor obtain any advantage by them. 3. There are in the visible church, or among professors, some that have no right unto the heavenly inheritance. 4. The joyous state of freedom from affliction is such as we ought always to watch over with great jealousy, lest it should be a leaving of us out of the discipline of the family of God.
Verse. 9, 10. — 1. It is the duty of parents to chastise their children, if need be, and of children to submit thereto. 2. It is good for us to have had the experience of a reverential submission unto paternal chastisements, as from thence we may be convinced of the equity and necessity of submission unto God in all our afflictions. 3. No man can understand the benefit of divine chastisement who understands not the excellency of a participation of God’s holiness. 4. If under chastisements we find not an increase of holiness in some especial instances or degrees, they are utterly lost; we have nothing but the trouble and sorrow of them. 5. There can be no greater pledge nor evidence of divine love in afflictions than this, that God designs by them to make us partakers of his holiness, to bring us nearer to him, and make us more like him.
Verse. 11. — 1. When God designeth any thing as a chastisement, it is in vain to endeavor to keep off a sense of it; it shall be a matter of sorrow to us. 2. Not to take in a sense of sorrow in affliction is, through stoutheartedness, to despise the chastening of the Lord. 3. The sorrow which accompanies chastisement is that which the apostle terms kata< lu>ph , 2 Corinthians 7:9,10. 4. The nature and end of afflictions are not to be measured by our present sense of them. 5. All the trouble of afflictions is but for the present, at most but for the little while which we are to continue in this world. 6. Those who cannot see an excellency in the abounding of the fruits of righteousness can never apprehend that there is either good or benefit in chastisements. 7. We can never find any benefit in chastisements unless we are exercised by them; that is, unless all our graces are stirred up by them to a constant holy exercise. 8. It is the fruit of righteousness alone that will bring in peace to us, that will give us a sense of peace with God, peace in ourselves and with others, so far as is possible. 9. Grace in afflictions will at length prevail quietly to compose the mind under the storm raised by them, and give rest with peace to the soul. 10. Herein lies the wisdom of faith in this matter, not to pass a judgment on chastisements from the present sense we have of what is evil and dolorous in them, but from their end and use, which are blessed and glorious.
Verse. 12, 13. — 1. It is the duty of all faithful ministers of the gospel to consider diligently what failures or temptations their flocks are liable or exposed to, so as to apply suitable means for their preservation. 2. Despondency is the great evil which, in all our sufferings and afflictions, we are with all intension of mind to watch against. 3. We do well to pity men who are weary and fainting in their courage and under their burdens; but we are to be no way gentle towards ourselves in our spiritual weariness and decays, because we have continued supplies of strength ready for us, if we use them in a due manner. 4. This exhortation is given us in a peculiar manner, namely, that we ought to confirm our minds against all discouragements and despondencies under our sufferings and afflictions by the consideration of God’s design in them, and the blessed success which he will give to them. 5. The recovery of this frame, or the restoration of our spiritual hands and knees to their former vigor, is by stirring up all grace to its due exercise, which is torpid and desponding under sloth in this frame.
Verse. 13. — 1. It is our duty not only to be found in the ways of God in general, but to take care that we walk carefully, circumspectly, uprightly, and diligently in them. 2. To make halts or baulks in our way of profession, or crooked paths, in neglect of duty, or by compliances with the world in times of trial and persecution, is an evidence of an evil frame of heart, and of a dangerous state or condition. 3. A hesitation or doubtfulness in or about important doctrines of truth will make men lame, weak, and infirm in their profession. 4. Those who are so are disposed to a total defection from the truth, and are ready on all occasions to go out of the way. 5. Every vicious habit of mind, every defect in light or neglect of duty, every want of stirring up grace unto exercise, will make men lame and halt in profession, and easy to be turned aside with difficulties and oppositions. 6. When we see persons in such a state, it is our duty to be very careful so to behave ourselves as not to give any occasion to their further miscarriages, but rather to endeavor their healing. 7. The best way whereby this may be done, is by making visible and plain to them our own faith, resolution, courage, and constancy, in a way of obedience becoming the gospel. 8. The negligent walking of those professors who are sound in the faith, their weakness and pusillanimity in times of trial, their want of making straight paths to their feet in visible holiness, is a great means of turning aside those that are lame, weak, and halting. 9. It is good to deal with and endeavor the healing of such lame halters, whilst they are yet in the way.
Verse. 14. — 1. A frame and disposition of seeking peace with all men is eminently suited unto the doctrine and grace of the gospel. 2. They are much mistaken in the Lord Christ, who hope to see him hereafter in glory, and who yet live and die here in an unholy state. 3. If this doctrine be true, that “without holiness no man shall see the Lord,” the case will be hard at last with a multitude of popes, cardinals, and prelates, who pretend that they have the opening of the door into his presence committed unto them. 4. We may follow peace with men, and not attain it; but if we follow holiness, we shall as assuredly see the Lord as without it we shall come short of this enjoyment. 5. The same means is to be used for the securing of our present perseverance and of our future blessedness, namely, holiness.
Verse. 15. — 1. The grace, love, and good-will of God, in the adoption, justification, sanctification, and glorification of believers, is proposed unto all in the gospel, as that which may infallibly be attained in the due use of the means thereunto appointed, namely, sincere faith in Christ Jesus. 2. The outward profession of the gospel, with the performance of the duties and enjoyment of the privileges thereunto belonging, will not of themselves instate any man in the grace of God, or in an assured interest therein. 3. There is no man who, under the profession of the gospel, comes short of obtaining the grace and favor of God, but it is by reason of himself and his own sin. 4. Negligence and sloth, missing of opportunities, and love of sin, all proceeding from unbelief, are the only causes why men, under the profession of the gospel, do fail of the grace of God. 5. The root of apostasy from God and the profession of the gospel may abide invisibly in professing churches. 6. Spiritual evils in churches are progressive. 7. It is the duty of churches, what in them lies, to prevent their own trouble as well as the ruin of others. 8. There is a latent disposition in negligent professors to receive infection by spiritual defilements, if they are not watched against. 9. Church inspection is a blessed ordinance and duty, which is designed by Christ himself as a means to prevent these contagious evils in churches.
Verse. 16, 17. — 1. That church which tolerates in its communion men living in such gross sins as fornication has utterly, as unto its discipline, departed from the rule of the gospel. 2. Apostatizing professors are prone to sins of uncleanness. 3. Evil examples proposed in Scripture light, divested of all colors and pretences, laid open in their roots and causes, are efficacious warnings unto believers to abstain from all occasions leading unto the like evils, and much more from the evils themselves. 4. Where there is in any a latent predominant principle of profaneness, a sudden temptation or trial will let it out unto the greatest evils. 5. This principle of profaneness, in preferring the morsels of this world before the birthright privileges of the church, is that which at this day threatens the present ruin of religion.
Verse. 17. — 1. The example of Esau cuts off all hopes from outward privileges, where there is an inward profaneness of heart. 2. Profane apostates have a limited season only wherein the recovery of the blessing is possible. 3. The severity of God in dealing with apostates is a blessed ordinance for the preservation of them that believe, and the edification of the whole church. 4. Sin may be the occasion of great sorrow, where there is no sorrow for sin, as it was with Esau. 5. No man knows whereunto a deliberate sin may lead him, nor what will be the event of it. 6. Profaneness and despising spiritual privileges is a sin that God at one time or other will testify his severity against. 7. Steadfastness in faith, with submission unto the will of God, will establish the soul in those duties which are most irksome unto flesh and blood.
Verse. 18, 19. — 1. A view of God as a judge, represented in fire and blackness, will fill the souls of convinced sinners with dread and terror. 2. Where God calls sinners to answer the law, there is no avoiding of an appearance; the terrible summons and citation will draw them out whether they will or not. 3. It is a blessed change, to be removed from the summons of the law to answer for the guilt of sin, unto the invitation of the gospel to come and accept of mercy and pardon. 4. Let no man ever think or hope to appear before God with confidence or peace, unless he have an answer in readiness unto all the words of this law, all that it requires of us. 5. No outward privilege, such as this was, to hear the voice of God, is sufficient of itself to preserve men from such sins and rebellions as shall render them obnoxious to divine displeasure. 6. Then is the sinner utterly overwhelmed, when he hath a sense of the voice of God himself in the law. 7. The speaking of the law doth immediately discover the invincible necessity of a mediator between God and sinners. 8. If the giving of the law was so full of terror that the people could not bear it, but apprehended that they must die if God continued to speak it to them, what will be the execution of its curse in a way of vengeance at the last day?
Verse. 22-24. — 1. All pleas about church order, power, rights, and privileges, are useless, where men are not interested in this Sion state. 2. It is our duty well to consider what sort of persons they ought to be who are meet to be denizens of this city of God. 3. The church is the safest society in the world. 4. The church is the most honorable society in the world, for all the angels in heaven belong to it. 5. We may hence see the folly of that voluntary humility in worshipping of angels which the apostle condemns, and which is openly practiced in the church of Rome. 6. It is the highest madness for any one to pretend himself to be the head of the church, as the pope doth, unless he assume also to himself to be the head of all the angels in heaven; for they all belong to the same church with the saints here below. 7. The revelation of the glorious mystery of this general assembly is one of the most excellent pre-eminences of the gospel above the law. 8. Jesus Christ alone is absolutely the first-born and heir of all. 9. Under the old testament the promises of Christ, and that he was to proceed from that people according to the flesh, gave the title of sonship unto the church of Israel. 10. All the right and title of believers under the old testament unto sonship, or the right of the first-born, arises merely from their interest in him and participation of him who is absolutely so. 11. It is a glorious privilege to be brought unto this blessed society, this general assembly of the first-born. 12. If we are come unto this assembly, it is our duty carefully to behave ourselves as becometh the members of this society. 13. All contests about church order, state, interest, power, with whom the church is, are vain, empty, fruitless, unprofitable, among those who cannot evidence that they belong unto this general assembly. 14. Eternal election is the rule of the dispensation of effectual grace, to call and collect an assembly of first-born unto God. 15. In Jesus Christ believers are delivered from all discouraging dread and terror in the consideration of God as a judge. 16. Such is the pre-eminence of the gospel state above that of the law, that whereas they of old were severely forbidden to make any approach unto the outward signs of the presence of God, we have now an access with boldness unto his throne. 17. As the greatest misery of unbelievers is to be brought into the presence of this Judge, so it is one of the greatest privileges of believers that they may come unto him. 18. Believers have an access to God, as the judge of all, with all their causes and complaints. 19. However dangerous and dreadful the outward state of the church may be at any time in the world, it may secure itself of final success; because therein God is judge alone, unto whom they have free access. 20. The prospect of an eternal reward from God as the righteous judge is the greatest support of faith in all present distresses. 21. A prospect by faith into the state of the souls of believers departed is both a comfort against the fears of death, and a support under all the troubles and distresses of this present life. 22. This is the blessedness and safety of the catholic church, that it is taken into such a covenant, and hath an interest in such a mediator of it, as are able to save it unto the utmost. 23. The true notion of faith for life and salvation, is a coming unto Jesus as the mediator of the new testament, 24. It is the wisdom of faith to make use of this mediator continually, in all wherein we have to do with God. 25. The glory, the safety, the pre-eminence of the state of believers under the gospel consists in this, that they come therein to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant. 26. The miserable, woful condition of poor convinced sinners under the law, and obnoxious unto the curse thereof, is here set before us. 27. The blessed state of believers is also represented unto us herein, and that not only in their deliverance from the law, but also in the glorious privileges which they obtain by the gospel. 28. We have here a representation of the glory, beauty, and order of the invisible world, of the new creation, of the spiritual catholic church.
Verse. 25-27. — 1. Unbelief under the preaching of the gospel is the great, and in some respect the only damning sin, as being accompanied with, yea, consisting in, the last and utmost contempt of the authority of God. 2. There is in all sins and disobedience a rejection of the authority of God in giving of the law. 3. No sinner can escape divine vengeance if he be tried and judged according to the law. 4. It is the duty of the ministers of the gospel diligently and effectively to declare the nature of unbelief, with the heinousness of its guilt above all other sins whatsoever. 5. It is the duty of ministers to declare the nature of unbelief, not only with respect to them who are open and avowed unbelievers, to convince them of the danger wherein they are, but also to all professors whatever, and to maintain an especial sense of it on their own minds and consciences. 6. This is the issue whereunto things are brought between God and sinners wherever the gospel is preached, namely, whether they will hear the Lord Christ or turn away from him. 7. The grace, goodness, and mercy of God, will not be more illustrious and glorious to all eternity in the salvation of believers by Jesus Christ, than his justice, holiness, and severity will be in the condemnation of unbelievers. 8. The sovereign authority and mighty power of Christ are gloriously manifested in that signal change and alteration which he made in the heavens and earth of the church, in its state and worship, by the promulgation of the gospel. 9. God was pleased to give testimony to the greatness and glory of this work, by the great commotions in heaven and earth wherewith it was accompanied. 10. It was a mighty work, to introduce the gospel among the nations of the earth, seeing their gods and heavens were to be shaken and removed thereby.
Verse. 28, 29. — 1. Such is the nature and use of all divine or theological truths, that the teaching of them ought constantly to be applied and improved to practice. 2. The privileges which believers receive by the gospel are inconceivable. 3. Believers are not to be measured by their outward state and appearance of things in the world, but by the interest they have in that kingdom which it is their Father’s pleasure to give them. 4. It is assuredly their duty in all things to behave themselves as becomes those who receive such privileges and dignity from God himself. 5. The obligation from hence unto the duty of serving God is evident and unavoidable. 6. Spiritual things and mercies do constitute the most glorious kingdom that is in the world, even the kingdom of God. 7. This is the only kingdom that never shall and never can be moved, however hell and the world do rage against it. 8. Without grace we cannot serve God at all. 9. Without grace in actual exercise we cannot serve God acceptably. 10. To have an increase in grace, as unto its degrees and measures, and to keep it in exercise in all duties of the service of God, is a duty required of believers by virtue of all the gospel privileges which they receive from God. 11. This is the great apostolical canon for the due performance of divine worship, namely, “Let us have grace to do it;” all others are needless and superfluous. 12. However God takes us near unto himself in covenant, whereby he is our God, yet he requires that we always retain due apprehensions of the holiness of his nature, the severity of his justice against sinners, and his ardent jealousy concerning his worship. 13. The consideration of these things, and the dread of being by guilt obnoxious unto their terrible consuming effects, ought to influence our minds unto reverence and godly fear, in all acts and parts of divine worship. 14. We may learn how great our care and diligence about the serving of God ought to be. 15. The holiness and jealousy of God, which are a cause of insupportable terror unto convinced sinners, driving them from him, have towards believers only a gracious influence unto that fear and reverence which causes them to cleave more firmly unto him.
Chapter 13. Verse. 1. — 1. The power and glory of Christian religion is exceedingly decayed and debased in the world. 2. Where the pretense of mutual love is continued in any measure, yet its nature is unknown, and its effects are generally neglected. 3. We are especially to watch unto the preservation of those graces, and the performance of those duties, which in our circumstances are most exposed to opposition. 4. Brotherly love is very apt to be impaired and decay if we do not endeavor continually to preserve and revive it. 5. It is a part of the wisdom of faith to consider aright the ways and occasions of the decay of mutual love, with the means of its preservation.
Verse. 2. — 1. Especial seasons are directions and constraining motives unto especial duties. 2. Our hearts are not to be trusted unto in occasional duties if we preserve them not in a continual disposition towards them. 3. The mind ought continually to be on its watch, and in a gracious disposition towards such duties as are attended with difficulties and charge. 4. Examples of privileges annexed to duties, whereof the Scripture is full, are great motives and incentives to the same or the like duties 5. Faith will make use of the highest privileges that ever were enjoyed on the performance of duties, to encourage unto obedience, though it expects not any thing of the same kind on the performance of the same duties 6. When men designing that which is good do more good than they intended, they shall or may reap more benefit thereby than they expected.
Verse. 3. — 1. If we be called unto suffering for the profession of the gospel, let us not think strange of it; it is no new thing in the world. 2. Bonds and imprisonment for the truth were consecrated to God and made honorable by the bonds and imprisonment of Christ himself, and commended unto the church in all ages by the bonds and imprisonment of the apostles and primitive witnesses of the truth. 3. It is better, more safe and honorable, to be in bonds with and for Christ, than to be at liberty with a brutish, raging, persecuting world. 4. God is pleased to give grace and courage unto some to suffer for the gospel unto bonds. 5. When some are tried as unto their constancy in bonds, others are tried as unto their sincerity in the duties required of them. 6. Usually more fail in neglect of their duty towards sufferers, and so fall from their profession, than do so fail under and on the account of their sufferings. 7. Although there are peculiar duties required of us towards those who suffer for the gospel in an eminent manner, as unto bonds, yet are we not thereon discharged from the same kind of duties towards those who suffer in lesser degrees and in other things. 8. Not only those who are in bonds for the gospel, or suffer to a high degree in their persons, are under the especial care of Christ, but those also who suffer in any other kind whatever, though the world may take little notice of them. 9. Professors of the gospel are exempted from no sorts of adversity, from nothing that is evil and grievous unto the outward man in this world, and therefore ought we not to think it strange when we fall into them. 10. We have no security of freedom from any sort of suffering for the gospel whilst we are in this body, or during the continuance of our natural lives. 11. We are not only exposed unto afflictions during this life, but we ought to live in the continual expectation of them, so long as there are any in the world who do actually suffer for the gospel. 12. The knowledge that we ourselves are continually obnoxious unto sufferings, no less than they who actually suffer, ought to incline our minds unto a diligent consideration of them in their sufferings, so as to discharge all duties of love and helpfulness towards them. 13. Unless it do so we can have no evidence of our present interest in the same mystical body with them, nor just expectation of any compassion or relief from others when we ourselves are called unto sufferings.
Verse. 4. — 1. Divine institution is sufficient to render any state or condition of life honorable. 2. The more useful any state of life is, the more honorable it is. 3. That which is honorable by divine institution, and useful in its own nature, may be abused and rendered vile by the miscarriages of men, as marriage may be. 4. It is a bold usurpation of authority over the consciences of men, and a contempt of the authority of God, to forbid that state unto any which God hath declared honorable among all 5. Means for purity and chastity not ordained, blessed, or sanctified unto that end, will prove furtherances of impurity and uncleanness, or worse evils. 6. The state of marriage being honorable in the sight of God himself, it is the duty of them that enter thereinto duly to consider how they may approve their consciences unto God in what they do. 7. In the state of marriage there is required of men a due consideration of their call unto it and of their ends in it, that they are those of God’s appointment. 8. Conjugal duties, regulated by the bounds assigned unto them by natural light, with the general rules of Scripture, and subservient unto the due ends of marriage, are honorable, giving no cause of pollution or shame. 9. Whatever light thoughts men may have of sin, of any sin, the judgment of God concerning all sin, which is according to truth, must stand for ever. 10. Fornication and adultery are sins in their own nature deserving eternal damnation. 11. Men living and dying impenitently in these sins shall eternally perish. 12. The especial aggravation of these sins doth in a peculiar manner expose men unto a sore condemnation. 13. All occasions of, all temptations leading unto, these sins are to be avoided as we take care of our souls. 14. Although the state of men may be changed, and divine wrath due to those sins be finally escaped by repentance, yet it may be observed, that of all sorts of sinners those who are habitually given up unto those lusts of the flesh are of all others the most rarely called and brought to effectual repentance. 15. Many of those persons, by reason of their convictions, received in the light of a natural conscience, do live in a kind of seeming repentance, whereby they relieve themselves after some acts of uncleanness, until, by the power of their lust, they are hurried again into them.
Verse. 5, 6. — 1. All covetousness is inconsistent with a Christian conversation according to the gospel. 2. Covetousness in any degree is highly dangerous in a time of persecution or suffering for the gospel 3. All the efficacy, power, and comfort of divine promises, arise from and are resolved into the excellencies of the divine nature. 4. The vehemency of the expression, by the multiplication of the negative particles, is an effect of divine condescension, to give the utmost security to the faith of believers in all their trials. 5. Divine presence and divine assistance, which are inseparable, are the spring and cause of suitable and sufficient relief and supplies to believers in every condition. 6. Especially the due consideration of them is abundantly sufficient to rebuke all covetous inclinations and desires, which without it will be prevalent in us in a time of straits and trials. 7. The cheerful profession of confidence in God, against all opposition and in the midst of all distresses, is that which believers have a warrant for in the promises that are made to them. 8. As the use of this confidence is our duty, so it is a duty highly honorable to the profession of the gospel. 9. Believers may use the same confidence that David used, seeing they have the same grounds of it that David had. 10. All believers, in their sufferings and under their persecutions, have a refreshing, supporting interest in divine aid and assistance. 11. It is their duty to express with confidence and boldness, at all times, their assurance of the divine assistance declared in the promises, to their own encouragement, the edification of the church, and the terror of their adversaries. 12. Faith duly fixed on the power of God, as engaged for the assistance of believers in their sufferings, will give them a contempt of all that men can do to them. 13. The most effectual means to encourage our souls in all our sufferings, is to compare the power of God who will assist us, and that of man who doth oppress us. 14. That which in our sufferings delivereth us from the fear of men takes out all that is evil in them, and secures our success.
Verse. 7. — 1. This is our best, this is our only way of remembering them who have been our guides, leaders, and rulers in the church, whether they have been apostles, or evangelists, or ordinary pastors, — namely, to follow them in their faith and conversation. 2. This ought to be the care of the guides of the church, namely, to leave such an example of faith and holiness as that it may be the duty of the church to remember them and follow their example. 3. The word of God is the sole object of the faith of the church, the only outward means of communicating the mind and grace of God unto it. 4. A due consideration of the faith of those who have been before us, especially of such who were constant in sufferings, and above all, of those who were constant to death, as the holy martyrs in former and latter ages, is an effectual means to stir us up to the same exercise of faith when we are called to it.
Verse. 8. — 1. The due consideration of Jesus Christ, especially in his eternity, immutability, and indeficiency in his power, as he is always the same, is the great encouragement of believers in their whole profession of the faith, and in all the difficulties they may meet withal upon the account thereof. 2. As no changes formerly made in the institution of divine worship altered any thing in the faith of the church with respect unto Christ, for he was and is still the same; so no necessitudes we may meet withal in our profession, by oppression or persecution, ought in the least to shake us, for Christ is still the same to protect, relieve, and deliver us. 3. He that can in the way of his duty on all occasions retreat to Jesus Christ, and unto the due consideration of his person in the discharge of his office, will not fail of relief, support, and consolation. 4. A steadfast cleaving unto the truth concerning the person and office of Christ will preserve us from hearkening to various and strange doctrines, perverting our souls. 5. Jesus Christ from the beginning of the world, that is, from the giving of the first promise, was the object of the faith of the church. 6. It is the immutability and eternity of Jesus Christ in his divine person, that renders him a meet object of the faith of the church in the discharge of his office.
Verse. 9. — 1. There is a revelation of truth given to the church in the word of God, which is its only doctrinal foundation and rule of faith. 2. This doctrine is cognate and every way suited to the promotion of the grace of God in believers, and the attainment of their own salvation. 3. Doctrines unsuited to this first revelation by Christ and his apostles, as recorded in the Scripture, did soon spring up, unto the trouble of the church. 4. Usually such doctrines as are empty of truth and substance, useless and foreign to the nature and genius of evangelical grace and truth, are imposed by their authors and abettors with a great noise and vehemence on those who have been instructed in the truth. 5. Where such doctrines are entertained, they make men double-minded, unstable, turning them from the truth, and drawing them at length into perdition. 6. The ruin of the church in after ages arose from the neglect of this apostolical caution, in giving heed to various and strange doctrines, which at length overthrew and excluded the fundamental doctrines of the gospel. 7. Herein lies the safety of all believers and of all churches, namely, to keep themselves precisely unto the first complete revelation of divine truth in the word of God. 8. They who decline in any thing from grace, as the only means to establish their hearts in peace with God, shall labor and exercise themselves in other things to the same end, whereby they shall receive no advantage.
Verse. 10. — 1. The Lord Christ in the one sacrifice of himself is the only altar of the church of the new testament. 2. This altar is every way sufficient in itself for the ends of an altar, namely, the sanctification of the people. 3. The erection of any other altar in the church, or the introduction of any other sacrifice requiring a material altar, is derogatory to the sacrifice of Christ, and exclusive of him from being our altar. 4. Whereas the design of the apostle, in the whole of his discourse, is to declare the glory of the gospel and its worship above that of the law, of our priest above theirs, of our sacrifice above theirs, of our altar above theirs, it is fond to think that by “our altar” he intends such a material fabric as is every way inferior to that of old. 5. When God appointed a material altar for his service, he himself enjoined the making of it, prescribed its form and use, with all its utensils, services, and ceremonies, allowing of nothing in it or about it but what was by himself appointed. 6. Sinners under a sense of guilt have in the gospel an altar of atonement, whereunto they may have continual access for the expiation of their sins. 7. All privileges, of what nature soever, without a participation of Christ, as the altar and sacrifice of the church, are of no advantage to them that enjoy them.
Verse 11, 12. — 1. The complete answering and fulfilling of all types in the person and office of Christ testifieth the sameness and immutability of the counsel of God in the whole work of the redemption and salvation of the church, notwithstanding all the outward changes that have been in the institutions of divine worship. 2. The church could no otherwise be sanctified but by the blood of Jesus, the Son of God. 3. The Lord Jesus, out of his incomprehensible love to his people, would spare nothing, avoid nothing, deny nothing, that was needful to their sanctification, their reconciliation, and dedication to God. 4. There was, by divine constitution, a concurrence in the same work of suffering and offering, that satisfaction unto the law and its curse might be made by it, as penal in a way of suffering and atonement, or reconciliation with God by the way of a sacrifice or offering. 5. The whole church is perfectly sanctified by the offering of the blood of Christ as to impetration; and it shall be so actually, by virtue of the same blood in its application. 6. When the Lord Jesus carried all the sins of his own people in his own body unto the tree, he left the city, as a type of all unbelievers, under the wrath and curse of God. 7. Going out of the city as a malefactor, he bore all the reproach that was due to the sins of the church, which was a part of the curse.
Verse. 13, 14. — 1. All privileges and advantages whatever are to be foregone, parted withal, and renounced, which are inconsistent with an interest in Christ and a participation of him. 2. If it were the duty of the Hebrews to forsake those ways of worship which were originally of divine institution, that they might wholly give up themselves unto Christ in all things pertaining unto God, much more is it ours to forego all such pretences unto religious worship as are of human invention. 3. Whereas the camp contained not only ecclesiastical but also political privileges, we ought to be ready to forego all civil accommodations also, in houses, lands, possessions, converse with men of the same nation, when we are called thereunto on the account of Christ and the gospel. 4. If we will go forth to Christ as without the camp, or separated from all the concerns of this world, we shall assuredly meet with all sorts of reproaches. 5. Believers are not like to meet with any such encouraging entertainment in this world as to make them unready or unwilling to desert it, and go forth after Christ, bearing his reproach. 6. This world never did nor ever will give a state of rest and satisfaction to believers. 7. In the destitution of a present satisfactory rest, God hath not left believers without a prospect of that which shall afford them rest and satisfaction to eternity. 8. As God hath prepared a city of rest for us, so it is our duty continually to endeavor the attainment of it in the ways of his appointment. 9. The main business of believers in this world is diligently to seek after the city of God, or the attainment of eternal rest with him; and this is the character whereby they may be known.
Verse. 15. — 1. Every act of grace in God or love in Christ towards us is in its own nature obligatory to thankful obedience. 2. The religious worship of any creature, under what pretense soever, hath no place in our Christian profession. 3. Every act and duty of faith hath in it the nature of a sacrifice to God, wherewith he is well pleased. 4. The great, yea, the only encouragement which we have to bring our sacrifices to God with expectation of acceptance lieth herein, that we are to offer them by him who can and will make them acceptable in his sight. 5. Whatever we tender to God, and not by Christ, it hath no other acceptance with him than the sacrifice of Cain. 6. To abide and abound in solemn praise to God for Jesus Christ, and for his mediation and sacrifice, is the constant duty of the church, and the best character of sincere believers. 7. A constant solemn acknowledgment of the glory of God, and of the holy excellencies of his nature (that is, his name) in the work of the redemption of the church by the suffering and offering of Christ, is the principal duty of it, and the animating soul and principle of all other duties whatever.
Verse. 16. — 1. It is dangerous unto the souls of men, when an attention unto one duty is abused to countenance the neglect of another. 2. The world itself, even in those that believe not, doth receive great advantage by the grace administered from the death of Christ and its fruits, whereof the apostle treats. 3. That religion hath no relation unto the cross of Christ which doth not incline and dispose men unto benignity and the exercise of loving-kindness towards all. 4. Much less hath that religion any relation to the cross of Christ which guides and disposeth its professors unto rage, cruelty, and oppression of others, on the account of an interest of its own. 5. We ought always to admire the glory of divine wisdom, which hath so disposed the state of the church in this world, that there should be continual occasion for the exercise of every grace mutually among ourselves. 6. Beneficence and communication are the only outward evidences and demonstrations of the renovation of the image of God in us. 7. God hath laid up provision for the poor in the grace and duty of the rich, not in their coffers and their barns, wherein they have no interest. 8. The will of God revealed concerning his acceptance of any duties, is the most effectual motive unto our diligence in them. 9. The works and duties which are peculiarly useful unto men are peculiarly acceptable to God.
Verse. 17. — 1. The due obedience of the church in all its members unto the rulers of it, in the discharge of their office and duty, is the best means of its edification, and the chief cause of order and peace in the whole body. 2. An assumption of right and power by any to rule over the church, without evidencing their design and work to be a watching for the good of their souls, is pernicious unto themselves and ruinous unto the church itself. 3. They who do attend with conscience and diligence unto the discharge of the work of the ministry towards their flocks, committed in an especial manner unto their charge, have no greater joy or sorrow in this world than what accompanies the daily account which they give unto Christ of the discharge of their duty amongst them, as their success falls out to be. 4. Much of the life of the ministry and benefit of the church depend on the continual account given unto Christ, by prayer and thanksgiving, of the state of the church and success of the word therein.
Verse. 20, 21. — 1. When we make application to God for any especial grace or mercy, it is our duty to direct and fix our faith on such names, titles, or properties of God, as whereunto that grace doth particularly relate, and from whence it doth immediately proceed. 2. If this be the title of God, if this be his glory, that he is the God of peace, how excellent and glorious is that peace from whence he is so denominated, — which is principally the peace which we have with himself by Jesus Christ! 3. As every thing that is evil to mankind, within them and amongst them, both with reference to things temporal and eternal, proceeds from our original loss of peace with God by sin, and by the enmity which ensued thereon; so peace, on the other side, is comprehensive of all kinds of good, both here and hereafter: and God being styled the God of peace declares him to be the only fountain and cause of all that is good to us in every kind. 4. All the work of God towards Jesus Christ respected him as the head of the church, as our Lord and Savior. 5. The safety, security, and consolation of the church much depend on this greatness of its Shepherd. 6. On this relation of Christ to the church it lives and is preserved in the world. 7. The bringing back of our Lord Jesus Christ, as the Shepherd of the sheep, from the state of the dead, through the blood of the covenant, is the great pledge and assurance of peace with God, or the effecting of that peace which the God of peace had designed for the church. 8. The reduction of Christ from the dead by the God of peace, is the spring and foundation of all dispensations and communications of grace to the church, or of all the effects of the atonement and purchase made by his blood. 9. All legal sacrifices issued in blood and death; there was no recovery of any of them from that state. 10. There is, then, a blessed foundation laid of the communication of grace and mercy to the church, to the eternal glory of God.
Verse. 22. — When ministers take care that the word which they deliver is a word tending unto the edification and consolation of the church, they may with confidence press the entertainment of it by the people, though it should contain things some way grievous to them, by reason of their weakness or prejudices.