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  • CHAPTER 3.


    THE general nature of this whole epistle, as in the former part of our exposition was declared, is parenetical. And therefore the doctrines proposed and insisted on in it are constantly improved to press and enforce the exhortations intended; as such is the end and use of all principles in sciences that are practical, especially of that taught us in the Scripture, which is a wisdom and a knowledge of living unto God.

    Wherefore our apostle, having in the foregoing chapters manifested the excellency of Christ (who was the author of the gospel), both in his person and his work, and that both absolutely and comparatively with the angels, the most glorious ministers employed in the dispensation of the will of God unto the church of old, with some respect unto Joshua, the captain of the people, under whose conduct they entered into Canaan, — in the entrance of this chapter he acquaints the Hebrews to what end he insisted on these things, namely, that by the consideration of them they might be prevailed with unto constancy and perseverance in the faith and worship of God, by him declared and revealed. This is the design of his discourse in this chapter. But, as his manner is throughout this epistle, he hath no sooner intimated his intention in the first verse, but he adds a new enforcement to his exhortation, unto the end of the sixth verse. From thence again he proceedeth unto his general exhortation, with a supply of new reasons, arguments, and inferences, taken from the consideration or enforcement newly and occasionally insisted on.

    There are therefore three general parts of this chapter: — 1. An exhortation unto constancy and perseverance in the profession of the gospel. And therein are observable, (1.) The means of accomplishing the duty exhorted unto, verses 1, 8, 9, 12, 13; (2.) The nature of it, verses 6, 14; (3.) The things that are contrary unto it, verses 12, 15; (4.) The benefits of it, verse 14; (5.) The danger of its neglect, verses 8-11, 15-19. 2. A new enforcement of the exhortation, taken from the fidelity of Christ in the discharge of the office committed unto him, verses 2-6: wherein occur, (1.) The reason itself, or the fidelity of Christ asserted; (2.) The manner of its proposal, by comparing him with and preferring him above Moses. And therein the apostle [1.] Prevents an objection that might yet remain on the behalf of the Judaical church-state upon the account of Moses, the principal revealer of it; and [2.] Lays down a concession of the faithfulness of Moses in his trust and employment; with [3.] A comparison of him with the Lord Christ as to the dignity of his person and work; and [4.] The evictions of his coming short of him therein. 3. Especial reasons relating unto his general argument, taken from express testimonies of Scripture, verse 7-11, and the dealings of God towards others failing in the duty exhorted unto; which he pursues at large in the next chapter. The whole, therefore, of this chapter is a pathetical exhortation, pressed with many cogent reasons, unto constancy and perseverance in the faith and obedience of the gospel.

    Verses 1, 2. — [Oqen , ajdelfoi< a[gioi , klh>sewv ejpourani>ou me>tocoi , katanoh>sate tostolon kai< ajrciere>a th~v oJmologi>av hJmw~n , Cristosanti aujto The Vulgar leaves out Cristo>n , “Christ;” all ancient copies and translations beside retain it. \Oqen , that is, “unde,” properly “from whence.” But these words are used as illatives; as “proinde,” “itaque,” “quamobrem,” “quocirca” “quare;” all which are made use of by translators in this place, — “wherefore.”

    Respect is had unto the preceding discourse, from whence the apostle infers his ensuing exhortation: ‘Seeing that things are thus, that the author of the gospel is such an one as hath been described.’

    Klh>sewv ejpouraniou , “vocationis coelestis,” “of the heavenly calling.”

    Syr., ˆmeD] aY;mæv] , “which is from heaven.” Some render it, “supracoelestis,” “above the heavens;” as ejpicqo>nia are things upon the earth, and so above it. And Plato, Apolog. Socrat., opposeth ta< uJpo< gh>n , “things under the earth,” and ta< ejpoura>nia , “things above the heavens.”

    And this word is almost peculiar unto our apostle, being used frequently by him in this and his other epistles, and but twice besides in the whole New Testament, Matthew 18:35; John 3:12. See 1 Corinthians 15:40,48,49; Ephesians 1:3,20, 2:6, 3:10, 6:12; Philippians 2:10; 2 Timothy 4:18; Hebrews 6:4, 8:5, 9:23, 11:16, 12:22.

    And as he useth this word frequently, opposing it to ejpi>gaiov , so he expresseth the same thing in other words of the same signification: Philippians 3:14, h[ a]nw klh>siv , “the supernal calling;” that is, ejpoura>noiv . For oujrano>v , saith Aristotle, de Mund., is tou~ ko>smou to< a]nw , Qeou~ oijkhth>rion , “that of the world which is above, the dwellingplace of God.” And as our apostle opposeth ta< ejpoura>nia , “heavenly things,” so he doth also ta< a]nw , “things above,” absolutely, unto ta< ejpi< th~v gh~v , “things that are on the earth,” Colossians 3:1,2. This phrase of speech is therefore the same, and peculiar unto our apostle. And both these expressions denote God, the author of this callings, who is l[æM;mi lae , Job 31:28, “God above ;” Qeontwn , “God over all,” Ephesians 4:6; ejpoura>noiv , “heavenly,” Matthew 18:35.

    Me>tocoi , “participes,” “partakers;” “consortes,” Beza. To the same purpose, Syr., ˆWtyriq]j]aD] , “who are called with an holy calling,” omitting the force of this word, intended to express their common interest in the same calling. The signification of this word was declared on chapter 2:14. The matter intended is fully expressed by the same apostle, Ephesians 4:4, [En sw~ma kai< e[n Pneu~ma , kaqwqhte ejn mia~| ejlpi>di th~v klh>sewv ujmw~n , — “One body and one Spirit, even as ye were called in one hope of your calling;” that is, partakers of and companions in the same heavenly calling.

    Katanoh>sate , “considerate,” “contemplamini,” — “consider,” “meditate on.” Katanoe>w is properly “animadverto,” — to set the mind diligently to mark and consider, so as to understand the thing considered; whence it is often rendered (as by Cicero) by “intelligo,” and “perspicio,” “to understand,” and “perceive.” See Romans 4:19, where it is denied of Abraham. “Consider diligently.”

    Tostolon , “apostolum, “legatum,” — “the apostle,” “legate,” “ambassador.” Syr., an;j; hj;yliv] “hune apostolum,” “this apostle.” He is so only; he that was “sent of God,” namely, to the work of revealing him by the gospel. And by a periphrasis hereof he often describes himself, calling his Father tolanta , “ him that sent him.” Ethiopic, “apostolum vestrum,” “your apostle.”

    Th~v ojmologi>av hJmw~n , “et pontificem,” “and the high priest,” or “chief priest;” Syr., bræ arem;WK, “prince of priests;” whereof we have spoken before, chapter 2:17.

    Jomologi>a is properly a “joint agreement,” “consent,” or “concurrence” in the declaration of anything. It is used also in good authors for a “convention,” “covenant,” or “agreement.” Syr., ˆjæydiy]tæD] ,” of our confession;” and so the Vulgar, “confessionis nostrae:” both with respect unto the Greek translation of the Old Testament, wherein hr;y; in Hiphil, signifying properly “to celebrate,’’ “to praise,” to set forth praise by words, is constantly rendered ejxomologe>w , “to confess.” Hence these words of our apostle, 2 Corinthians 9:13, Doxa>zontev toav uJmw~n eijv to< ejuagge>lion tou~ Cristou~, are rendered by the Vulgar, “Deum glorificamus quod subjecti sitis confessioni evangelii;” — “We glorify God that you are subject to the confession of the gospel;” very imperfect]y, and without any clear sense. “The subjection of your profession” is a Hebraism for “professed subjection,” as ours well render the words. JOmologe>w is but once used in the New Testament for to “confess,” 1 John 1:9, any otherwise than as to confess is coincident in signification with to profess or make profession.

    And this hath obtained in common use; whence the doctrines that men profess, or make profession of, being declared, are called their confession, or the confession of their faith. So our apostle calls it th~n kalhan , “that good confession,” 1 Timothy 6:12,13; and absolutely than , “profession,” chapter 4:14 of this epistle; and than th~v ejlpi>dov gi>an , chapter 10:23, “the profession of hope.” And it is to be observed that this word also is peculiar unto our apostle, and by him frequently used. It is public or joint profession. Some copies of the Vulgar read “vestra,” “your” profession, but without countenance from ancient copies or translations.

    Tw~ poih>santi aujto>n , “facienti ipsum,” “ei qui fecit ipsum,” — “to him that made him.” Some Socinians from these words would prove that Christ is a mere creature, because God is said to make him. But it is not of the essence or nature of Christ that the apostle treateth, as Schlichtingius himself acknowledgeth, but of his office and work. See Acts 2:36, Ku>rion kai< Criotohse , — “God hath made him both Lord and Christ;” the same with e]qhke , Hebrews 1:2, — he hath “made,” “appointed,” “designed,” “exalted” him. So in the Hebrew, hc;[; , “fecit,” “he made,” is used and applied 1 Samuel 12:6, ˆwOrh\aæAta,w] hv,mAta, hc;[; rv,a\ which the LXX. render, oJ poih>sav ton Mwush~n , “who made Moses and Aaron;” that is, ldæG; or µmewOr , “raised up,” or “exalted,” or “appointed them,” — that is, to their office. For whom God raiseth up or exalteth, he doth it unto some work and service; and whom he appointeth unto any service, he doth therein exalt.

    J Wv kai< Mwsh~v ejn opgw| tw~| oi]kw| aujtou~ , “Even as Moses in his whole house.” These words, “in his whole house,” may be referred unto the former expression concerning Christ, “Faithful to him that appointed him in his whole house, even as was Moses.” So the Arabic translation disposeth the words. Thus a comma is to be placed after Moses, or, “even as Moses,” is to be enclosed in a parenthesis. Or they may be referred unto Moses, and then they are to be rendered, as by ours, “as was Moses;” and then the sense is to be supplied by repeating pisto>v “faithful:” “As Moses was faithful in his whole house.” But as to the matter itself, both are intended, and the same words are used of Moses elsewhere. Numbers 12:7. f20 Verse 1, 2. — Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider [diligently ] the apostle and high priest of our profession, Christ Jesus, who was faithful [being faithful ] to him that appointed him [made him so ], even as Moses in all his house [in his whole house. ] The apostle in these two verses entereth upon the application of the doctrine which he had declared and confirmed in the two foregoing chapters. Herewithal, according to his constant method in this epistle, he maketh way for what he had further to deliver of the same nature and importance.

    The first word respects that which went before, “wherefore,” or, ‘seeing things are as I have manifested, — namely, that he of whom I speak unto you is so excellent and so highly exalted above all, and that whereas he was humbled for a season, it was unspeakably for the benefit and advantage of the church, — it cannot but be your duty to consider him; that is, both what he is in himself, and what he is unto us.’ His design is to press upon them his general exhortation unto constancy and perseverance in the profession of the gospel; but he doth not express it in these verses, insisting only upon an intermediate duty, subservient unto that principally intended. Now, this is their diligent consideration of Jesus Christ, with what he had delivered concerning him, and what he was yet further to declare unto them. And this he urgeth as the only way whereby they might be prevailed on unto and assisted in the stability aimed at. This is the connection of his discourse and the intention of his inference; whence observe, that, — I. 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.

    This course our apostle insists on: having before laid down the doctrine of the person and offices of Christ, here he applies it unto their duty and establishment in the profession of the truth. These things are not revealed unto us only to be known, but to be practically used for the ends of their revelation. We are so to know Christ as to live to him in the strength of his grace, and unto the praise of his glory. “If ye know these things,” saith he, “happy are ye if ye do them,” John 13:17. It is our privilege to know them, a great privilege; but it is our blessedness to do them. When men content themselves with the notion of spiritual things, without endeavoring to express their power and efficacy in the practical conformity of their minds and souls unto them, it proves their ruin. That word which is preached unto us ought to dwell in us. See what it is to “learn Christ” in a due manner, Ephesians 4:20-24. There is a miserable profession, where some preach without application, and others hear without practice.

    To hear that we may learn, to learn that we may learn, is but part of our duty; indeed, in and for themselves no part of it. To hear and to learn are good, but not for themselves, for their own sake, but only for the practice of what we hear and learn. The apostle tells us of some who are “always learning, but are never able to come eijv ejpi>gnwsin ajlhqei>av ,” Timothy 3:7; that is, to a practical acknowledgment of it, so as to have an impression of its power and efficacy upon their souls. And such are some who are pa>ntote manqa>nontev , — such as make it their business to hear and to learn, so that they scarcely do any thing else. Gospel truths are “medicina animae,” — physic for a sin-sick soul. Now, of what use is it to get a store of medicines and cordials, and never to take them? No more is it to collect, at any price or rate, sermons, doctrines, instructions, if we apply them not, that they may have their efficacy in us and proper work towards us. There is in some a dropsy of hearing; — the mere they hear, the more they desire. But they are only pleased with it at present, and swelled for the future, — are neither really refreshed nor strengthened. But every truth hath, as the Hebrews express it, wypb dyx , “meat in its mouth,” something for our own nourishment. We should look unto sermons as Elijah did to the ravens, that “brought him bread and flesh in the morning, and bread and flesh in the evening,” 1 Kings 17:6. They bring food with them for our souls, if we feed on it; if not, they are lost.

    When the Israelites gathered manna to eat, it was a precious food, “bread from heaven, angels’ meat,” food heavenly and angelical, — that is, excellent and precious; but when they laid it up by them, “it bred worms and stank,” Exodus 16:20. When God scatters truths amongst men, if they gather them to eat, they are the bread of heaven, angels’ food; but if they do it only to lay them by them, in their books, or in the notions of their mind, they will breed the worms of pride and hypocrisy, and make them an offensive savor unto God. When, therefore, any truth is proposed unto you, learn what is your concernment in it, and let it have its proper and perfect work upon your souls.

    Secondly, In the manner of his pressing his exhortation two things occur: — 1. His compellation of them, in these words, “Holy brethren.” 2. His description of them by one property or privilege, “Partakers of the heavenly calling.” 1. In the former, two things also are observable: (1.) The appellation itself which he makes use of, “Brethren.” (2.) The adjunct of that appellation, “Holy.” (1.) This term of relation, “brethren,” is variously used in the Scripture; sometimes naturally, and that most strictly, for children of the same father or mother, Genesis 42:13; or more largely for near kinsmen (and among the Hebrews the descendants of the same grandfather are almost constantly so called; whence is that expression of the brethren of our Lord Jesus Christ, who were descendants of his grandfather according to the flesh, Genesis 13:8, 24:27; Matthew 12:46, 13:55; Mark 3:31; John 2:12, 7:3, 5, 10; Acts 1:14,): or, in analogy thereunto, for all the branches of one common stock, though a whole nation, yea, though of many nations. So all the Hebrews were brethren, Deuteronomy 15:12; and the Edomites are said to be their brethren, because of the stock of Abraham, Deuteronomy 23:7. And in this sense, in another place, our apostle calls all the Jews his brethren; that is, his kinsfolk in the flesh, Romans 9:3. Sometimes it is used civilly, and that, [1.] On the mere account of cohabitation, Genesis 19:7; [2.] Of combination in some society, as, 1st. For evil, Genesis 49:5; 2dly. For good, Ezra 3:2. And sometimes it expresseth a joint profession of the same religion; on which account the Jews called themselves brethren all the world over, Acts 28:21. Lastly, It is also an expression of spiritual cognation, founded on that of our Savior, “All ye are brethren..... and one is your Father, which is in heaven,” Matthew 23:8,9. And herein is an allusion to the first, proper signification of the word. That men be brethren, properly and strictly, it is required that they have one father, be of one family, and be equally interested in the privileges and advantages thereof. This is the nearest bond of alliance that is or can be between equals, the firmest foundation of love. And thus it is with those who are brethren spiritually, as will afterwards appear.

    Now, though the apostle stood in the relation intimated with the Hebrews upon a natural account, yet he here calls them brethren principally in the last sense, as spiritually interested in the same family of God with himself; although I am apt to think that in the use of this expression to the Jews the apostle had respect also unto that brotherhood which they had among themselves before in their ancient church-state. So Peter, writing to some of them, tells them that the same afflictions which they suffered would befall th~| ejn ko>smw| uJmw~n ajdelfo>thti , “the whole brotherhood of them in the world,” I Epist. 5:9; that is, all the believing Jews. And whereas they had a particular and especial mutual love to each other on that account, our apostle warns them that they should not think that that relation or love was to cease upon their conversion to Christ, Hebrews 13:l: J JH filadelfi>a mene>tw , — ‘Let that brotherly love continue which hath been amongst you.’ But principally I suppose he respects their new relation in Christ; which further appears from the adjunct of this compellation annexed, “holy.” (2.) “Holy.” This is the usual epithet wherewith our apostle adorns believers, Romans 1:7; 1 Corinthians 1:2; 2 Corinthians 1:1; Ephesians 1:1; Philippians 1:1. And in many places he joins their calling with it, which here he subjoins unto it. And this is peculiar to Paul.

    What he means by a[gioi , “holy,” he declares, where he terms the same persons hJgiasme>noi , “sanctified ones,” 1 Corinthians 1:2; Ephesians 5:26; 1 Corinthians 6:11; 1 Thessalonians 5:23; John 17:19. He accounted them holy, not upon the account of an external separation, as of old all the people were holy, but also of internal, real sanctification and purity. This he judged the professing Hebrews to be interested in, as being “called by an holy calling.” And it may be, in the present use of this expression, he hath respect unto what he had before affirmed of believers, namely, their being ajgiazo>menoi , “sanctified,” or made holy by Christ, chapter 2:11; considering that from thence he infers their relation unto Christ as his brethren, verse l2, and so becoming in him brethren to one another, even all of them ajdelfo>thv , “a brotherhood,” or “fraternity,” 1 Peter 5:9. And by this compellation of “holy brethren” doth the apostle manifest his high regard of them or respect unto them, looking on them as persons sanctified by the Spirit and word of Christ, and a dear affection for them as his brethren. By this treatment also of them he gives a great evidence of his sincerity in dealing with them; for they might not fear that he would impose any thing on them whom he honored as holy, and loved as brethren. And hereby he smooths his way to his ensuing exhortation. 2. He describes them from their calling, Klh>sewv ejpourani>ou me>tocoi .

    This is usual with our apostle: “Called to be saints” — ‘‘Sanctified in Christ Jesus.” And this calling or vocation he first describes by its quality; it is heavenly,” or “super-celestial;” or, as elsewhere, “the calling that is from above:” and then ascribes an interest unto them therein. And he calls it “heavenly,” (1.) From the fountain and principal cause of it; that is, God, even the Father, which is in heaven. As our election, so our calling is in an especial manner ascribed unto him, 1 Corinthians 1:9; 1 Thessalonians 2:12; Romans 8:28-30; 1 Peter 1:1.5, 2:9, 5:10; Philippians 3:14; Galatians 5:8: for no man can come unto the Son, unless the Father draw him. Believers, indeed, are termed Klh>toi tou~ jIhsou~ Cristou~ , Romans 1:6, — “The called of Jesus Christ;” that is, to him, not by him; or, by him as executing the counsel and dispensing the grace of the Father, 2 Corinthians 5:20. (2.) In respect of the means whereby this calling is wrought, which are spiritual and heavenly, namely, the word and Spirit, both from above, John 16:7-11: for the word of the gospel is on many accounts heavenly, or from heaven; whence our apostle calls it “the voice of him that speaketh from heaven,” Hebrews 12:25. And Christ, who is the author of it, is called “The Lord from heaven,” 1 Corinthians 15:47; and that on this account, that he who was in heaven came down from heaven to reveal the gospel, John 3:13, 6:38. And so also the Spirit is poured out from above, being given of Christ after he was ascended into heaven, Acts 2:33. (3.) Of the end also; which is to heaven and heavenly things, wherein lies the hope of our calling, Ephesians 1:18, 4:4. So that effectual vocation from God above, in his grace and mercy by Jesus Christ, is here intended.

    Herein the apostle assigns a participation unto these Hebrews; they were “partakers” of it, had an interest in it, — together with himself were so called. And this he doth for several reasons: — (1.) That he might manifest wherein their great privilege consisted, and which, as such, they were to value. They were apt to boast of the privileges they enjoyed in their Judaism, John 8:33, Romans 2:17,18; which also were great, Romans 3:1,2, 9:4, 5: but they were all of no esteem in comparison of what they had now obtained an interest in, by the grace of Jesus Christ, in their high, holy, and heavenly calling. This he manifests in the instance of himself, Philippians 3:4-9. The call of Abraham, which was the foundation of all their privileges in their Judaism, was but an earthly call, — on the earth and to the earth; but this is every way more excellent, being heavenly. (2.) To set forth the grace of God towards the Jews, and his own faith concerning them, that they were not all rejected of God, notwithstanding the hardness and obstinacy of the most of them, as Romans 11:2,4,5.

    And, on the other hand, he insinuates that they were not to make an enclosure of this privilege, like those wherewith of old they were intrusted. The Gentiles being fellow-heirs with them therein, they were “partakers” with others in this “heavenly calling;” as Ephesians 3:6. (3.) He declares his own communion with them in that great privilege, whereby they might understand his intimate concernment in their state and condition. (4.) He minds them of their duty from their privilege. Being partakers of this calling unto Christ, it must needs be their duty diligently to “consider” him; which he exhorts them unto. But we may make some observations on the words unfolded already.

    II. Dispensers of the gospel ought to use holy prudence in winning upon the minds and affections of those whom they are to instruct.

    So dealeth Paul with these Hebrews. He minds them here of their mutual relation; calls them brethren; ascribes unto them the privileges of holiness and participation of a heavenly calling; — all to assure them of his love, to remove their prejudices against him, and to win upon their affections. And, indeed, next unto our Lord Jesus Christ himself, he is the most signal pattern and example of holy wisdom, tenderness, companion, and zeal, unto all ministers of the gospel. The image of his spirit, expressed in his instructions given unto his two beloved sons, Timothy and Titus, sufficiently testify hereunto. Yea, so great was his wisdom and condescension in dealing with his hearers, that seducers and false apostles took occasion from thence to say, that being crafty he caught them with guile, 2 Corinthians 12:16. The words are an objection of his adversaries, not a concession of his. He shows how in all things he was tender towards them, and put them neither to charge nor trouble. Hereunto he supposeth a reply by the false apostles: ]Estw de< , ejgw< ouj katiba>rhsa uJma~v ajll j uJpa>rcwn panou~rgov , do>lw| uJma~v e]lazon? — “Be it so, that I myself did not burden you, nor put you to charge, yet being every way crafty, I took you by deceit.” This is their reply unto his plea, and not any concession of his; for both the words, panou~rgov and do>lov , are such as will admit no interpretation in a good sense, so that the apostle should ascribe them unto himself. But wherein did that craft and deceit consist which they would impute unto him? It was in this, that though he himself put them to no charge, he burdened them not, yet when he was gone, and had secured them unto himself, then he sent those to them which should receive enough for him and themselves. Unto this calumny the apostle replies, 2 Corinthians 12:17,18, showing the falseness of it. “Did I,” saith he, “make a gain of you by any of them whom I sent unto you?” This was that which was imputed unto him, which he rejects as false and calumnious. And he confirms what he says by an especial instance: “I desired Titus, and with him I sent a brother.

    Did Titus make a gain of you? walked we not in the same spirit? walked we not in the same steps?” So that this reproach is every way false, and such as may be evicted so to be. And this is the true sense of this place.

    This was not his way. But this he always did, and on all occasions, — he testified unto them his great affection, his readiness to spend and to be spent for them, 2 Corinthians 12:14,15. His.gentleness towards them, — cherishing them as a nurse cherisheth her children, 1 Thessalonians 2:7, or as a father his, verse 11, — forewent that which in earthly things was due to him by the appointment of Christ, that he might no way burden them, 2 Corinthians 11:9-11, Acts 20:33-35; enduring all things for their sakes, 2 Timothy 2:10, — amongst which were many able to make the stoutest heart to tremble. His care, pains, travail, watchfulness, patience, love, compassion, zeal, who can declare or sufficiently admire! By these means he removed or rendered ineffectual the great peddle of forsaking Judaism, kept up a regard in his hearers against the insinuations of seducers and false apostles, raised their attention, prepared them every way for instruction, and won them over to Christ.

    Blessed Jesus! what cause have we to mourn when we consider the pride, covetousness, ambition, wrath, negligence, self-seeking, and contempt of thy flock, which are found amongst many of them who take upon themselves to be dispensers of thy word, whereby the souls of men are scandalized and filled with offenses against thy holy ways every day!

    III. Believers are all related one unto another in the nearest and strictest bond of an equal relation. They are all brethren, “holy brethren.”

    So the Holy Ghost calls them in truth; so the reproaching world calls them in scorn. They have “one Father,” Matthew 23:8,9; one elder Brother, Romans 8:29, who is “not ashamed to call them brethren,” Hebrews 2:11; and have “one Spirit, and are called in one hope of calling, Ephesians 4:4, — which being a Spirit of adoption, Romans 8:15, interesteth them all in the same family, Ephesians 3:14,15, whereby they become “joint-heirs with Christ,” Romans 8:17. The duties of unity, love, usefulness, and compassion, which depend on this relation, are more known than practiced, and ought to be continually pressed, <19D301> Psalm 133:1, Hebrews 13:1. Of old, indeed, the Pagans spake proverbially of the Christians, “See how they love one another!” in a way of admiration.

    The contrary observation hath now prevailed, to the shame and stain of the profession of these latter days. What through dissensions and divisions amongst them who have any real interest in the privilege of sonship; what through an open, visible defect as to any relation unto God as a father, or unto the Lord Christ as an elder brother, in the most of them that are called Christians, — we have lost the thing intended, and the name is become a term of reproach. But when iniquity abounds, love will wax cold. In the meantime, it were well if those who are brethren indeed could live as brethren, and love as brethren, and agree as brethren. The motives unto it are great and many. That mentioned in the business of Abraham and Lot seems to me of weight: Genesis 13:7,8, “There was a strife between the herdmen of Abram’s cattle and the herdmen of Lot’s cattle: and the Canaanite and the Perizzite dwelt then in the land. And Abram said unto Lot, Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen; for we be men that are brethren.”

    Abraham and Lot were brethren naturally, as near kinsfolk, for Abraham was Lot’s uncle; and spiritually, as the children of God. A difference happening between their herdmen, Abraham, as a wise man, fears lest it should proceed to some distance and variance between themselves.

    Thereupon he takes into consideration the state of things in the place where they were. “The Canaanite and the Perizzite,” saith he, “are in the land;” — ‘The land is full of profane men, enemies to us both, who would rejoice in our divisions, and take advantage to reproach the religion which we profess.’ This prevailed with them to continue their mutual love, and should do so with others. But our condition is sad whilst that description which the Holy Ghost gives of men whilst uncalled, whilst unbelievers, is suited unto them who profess themselves to be Christians, See Titus 3:3.

    IV. All true and real professors of the gospel are sanctified by the Holy Ghost, and made truly and really holy.

    So Paul here terms those Hebrews, exercising towards them the judgment of charity, declaring what they ought to be, and what they professed themselves to be, what he believed them to be, and what, if they were living members of Christ, really they were. It is true, some that profess holiness may not be really holy. But, first, If they do not so profess it as not to be convinced by any gospel means of the contrary, they are not to be esteemed professors at all, Acts 8:20-23; Philippians 3:18,19; Timothy 3:5. Secondly, If that holiness which men profess in their lives be not real in their hearts, they have no right to the privileges that attend profession, John 3:5.

    V. No man comes unto a useful, saving knowledge of Jesus Christ in the gospel, but by virtue of an effectual heavenly calling.

    These Hebrews came to be “holy brethren,” children of God, united unto Christ, by their participation in a “heavenly calling.” We are “called out of darkness into his marvellous light,” 1 Peter 2:9; and this not only with the outward call of the word, — which many are made partakers of who never attain the saving knowledge of Christ, Matthew 20:16, — but with that effectual call, which, being granted in the pursuit of God’s purpose of election, Romans 8:28, is accompanied with the energetical, quickening power of the Holy Ghost, Ephesians 2:5, giving eyes to see, ears to hear, and a heart to obey the word, according unto the promise of the covenant, Jeremiah 31:33,34. And thus no man can come to Christ unless the Father draw him, John 6:44.

    VI. 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.

    For these two ends doth the apostle mind the Hebrews of their participation in the heavenly calling; — first, That they might consider the privilege they enjoyed by the gospel far above and beyond whatever they boasted of under the law; and, secondly, That he might stir them up unto the performance of their duty in faith and obedience, according as God requires of them who are called. And this calling will appear a signal privilege if we consider: — 1. The state from whence men are called, which is a state of death, Ephesians 2:1; and of darkness, Colossians 1:13, 1 Peter 2:9; and of enmity against God, Colossians 1:21, Ephesians 4:18, Romans 8:7; and of wrath, John 3:36, Ephesians 2:3. It is a state of all that misery which the nature of man is capable of or obnoxious unto in this world or to eternity. Or, 2. By whom they are called, even by God above, or in heaven, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 1 Corinthians 1:9, Romans 8:28, 1 Peter 1:15, Philippians 3:14, Galatians 5:8. And, 3. From whence or what inducement it is that he calls them; which is from his own mere love and undeserved grace, Titus 3:3-5. And, 4. The discrimination of persons in this call. All are not thus called, but only those that are, in the eternal purpose of the love of God, designed to so great a mercy, Romans 8:28,31,32. And, 5. The outward condition for the most part of them that are called, which is poor and contemptible in this world, 1 Corinthians 1:26-28, James 2:5. And, 6. The means of this calling, which are the holy Word and Holy Spirit, John 17:17, 1 Corinthians 6:11, 2 Thessalonians 2:14. And, 7. What men are called unto; which is to light, 1 Peter 2:9, Colossians 1:13; and to life, John 5:24,25; to holiness, Romans 1:7, Corinthians 1:2, 1 Thessalonians 4:7; and unto liberty, Galatians 5:13; unto the peace of God, Colossians 3:15, 1 Corinthians 7:15; and unto his kingdom, 1 Thessalonians 2:12, Colossians 1:13; unto righteousness, Romans 8:30; and to mercy, Romans 9:23,24; and unto eternal glory, 1 Peter 5:10. Of all these benefits, with the privilege of the worship of God attending them, are believers made partakers by their heavenly calling. And this minds them of their whole duty ; — (1.) By the way of justice, representing it unto them as meet, equal, and righteous, 1 Peter 1:15; (2.) Of gratitude, or thankfulness for so great mercy,1 John 3:1, Peter 3:9; (3.) Of encouragement, etc. Proceed we again unto the exposition of the words. “Consider the apostle and high priest of our profession, Christ Jesus.”

    The words may be read either, “Consider Christ Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our profession,” and so the person, of Christ is placed as the immediate object of the consideration required, and the other words are added only as a description of him by his offices; or, “Consider the apostle and high priest of our profession, Christ Jesus,” and then the apostle and high priest of our profession are the proper objects of this consideration, and the name added doth but indigitate the individual person who was clothed with these offices.

    This is the immediate duty which the apostle here presseth them unto, namely, the consideration of that apostle and high priest of our profession, whose greatness, glory, excellency, and pre-eminence in all things he had declared. And herein the nature of the duty and the object of it are represented unto us.

    First, The nature of it, in the word “consider.” Some suppose that faith, trust, and confidence,, are intended or included in this word. But katanoe>w is nowhere used in any such sense, nor will the present design of the apostle admit of any such interpretation in this place; for the duty he exhorts unto is in order unto faith, and constancy therein. And this is no other but a diligent intension of mind, in their considerations, thoughts, meditations, and conceptions about Jesus Christ, that they may understand and perceive aright who and what he is, and what will follow upon his being such. And this rational consideration is of singular use unto the end proposed. And as he afterwards blames them for their remissness and backwardness in learning the doctrine of the gospel, chapter 5:11-14; so here he seems to intimate that they had not sufficiently weighed and pondered the nature and quality of the person of Christ, and his offices, and were thereupon kept in their entanglements unto Judaism. This, therefore, he now exhorts them unto, and that by fixing their minds unto a diligent, rational, spiritual consideration of what he had delivered, and was yet further to deliver concerning him and them.

    VII. The spiritual mysteries of the gospel, especially those which concern the person and offices of Christ, require deep, diligent, and attentive consideration.

    This is that which the Hebrews are here exhorted unto: Katanoh>sate , “Consider attentively,” or “diligently.” This is assigned as one means of the conversion of Lydia, Acts 16:14. Prose>cei , — she attended diligently to the things spoken by Paul, as an effect of the grace of God in opening her heart, Careless, wayside hearers of the word get no profit by it, Matthew 13:19. Their nature and worth, with our own condition, call for this duty. 1. In their nature they are mysteries; that is, things deep, hidden, and full of divine wisdom: 1 Corinthians 2:7, Sofi>a Qeou~ ejn musthri>w| , — “The wisdom of God in a mystery;” such as the angels desire to bow down (not in a way of condescension, but of endeavor, ejpiqumou~si paraku>yai ) and look into, 1 Peter 1:12. For in Christ, and through him in the gospel (eijv ejpi>gnwsin tou~ musthri>ou tou~ Cristou~ , ejn w=| , “unto the acknowledgment of the mystery of Christ; in whom,” or “wherein”), “are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge,” Colossians 2:2,3. And hence are we directed to cry after knowledge, to apply our hearts to understanding, to “seek her as silver, to search for her as hid treasures,” Proverbs 2:3,4; and not to consider these things as easily exposed to every wandering eye and lazy passenger. Such persons find not mines of silver or the hid treasures of former generations. Of this search the prophets and holy men of old are proposed for our example, 1 Peter 1:10,11. Unto this purpose they are said ejreuna~n , to “investigate” or “diligently search” into the Scriptures; as we are commanded to do if we intend to attain eternal life, John 5:39. For the most part men content themselves with an overly consideration of these things. It is the pa>rergon of their lives, — what they do on the by, or when they have nothing else to do whereby they come to know no more of them than they must, as it were, whether they will or no, — which upon the matter is nothing at all. Carnal sloth is not the way to an acquaintance with spiritual things or mysteries. 2. The worth and importance of these things bespeaks the same duty.

    Things may be dark and mysterious, and yet not weighty and worthy, so that they will not defray the charge of diligent search after them.

    Solomon’s merchants would not have gone to Ophir had there not been gold there, as well as apes and peacocks. But all things are here secure.

    There are unsearchable treasures in these mysteries, Ephesians 3:8, plou~tov ajnexicvi>astov , — riches not in this world to be searched out to perfection. No tongue can fully express them, no mind perfectly conceive them. Their root and spring lies in the divine nature, which is infinite, and therefore inexpressible and inexhaustible. There is in them margari>thv polu>timov , Matthew 13:46, “an exceeding precious pearl,” a pearl of great and invaluable price; — a stone which, though by some rejected, is yet esteemed of God “elect and precious;” and so also by them that believe, 1 Peter 2:6,7. “The merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold: it is more precious than rubies,” Proverbs 3:14,15. Whatever is of worth and value in the glory of God, and the everlasting good of the souls of sinners, is wrapped up in these mysteries. Now, every thing is (at least comparatively)despised that is not esteemed according unto its proper worth. So undoubtedly are these things by the most of them to whom they are preached. 3. Our own condition calls for diligence in the discharge of this duty. We are for the most part, like these Hebrews, nwqroi> , chapter 5:11, — “ slothful,” or “dull in hearing.” We have a natural unreadiness unto that hearing whereby faith cometh, which is the consideration here called for; and therefore cannot sufficiently stir up our spirits and minds unto our duty herein. The manner of the most in attending unto the mysteries of the gospel should cause our sorrow here, as it will theirs (if not prevented) unto eternity.

    Secondly, The object of this consideration is Christ Jesus, who is the apostle and high priest of our profession. Together with the especial indigitation of the person intended by his name, “Christ Jesus,” we have the description of him as he is to be considered, by his offices, an “apostle,” and a “high priest;” with their limitation, “of our profession.” 1. He is said, and he is here only said, to be an “apostle,” or “the apostle.”

    An apostle is one sent, a legate, ambassador, or public messenger. And this is one of the characteristical notes of the Messiah. He is one sent of God upon his great errand unto the children of men, his apostle. Speaking of himself by his Spirit, Isaiah 48:16, he saith wOjWrw] ynijæl;v] hw;hy’ yn;doa\ — “The Lord GOD, and his Spirit, hath sent me;” and again, chapter 61:1, ynijæl;v]AhwO;hy; , — “The LORD hath sent me,” namely, according unto the promise that God would send him unto the church to be a savior, Isaiah 19:20. And this he tells the church, that they may gather and know from his love and care, namely, that the Lord God had sent him, Zechariah 2:8,9, — that he was his legate, his apostle. And because God had promised from the foundation of the world thus to send him, this became a periphrasis or principal notation of him, “He whom God would send;” that is, his great legate. Hereunto Moses seems to have had respect in these words, Exodus 4:13, an;Ajlæv] jl;v]TiAdyæB] ; — “Send now, I pray thee, by the hand of him whom thou wilt send,” namely, ‘to be the deliverer and savior of thy people.’ Hence in the old church he came to be called emphatically oJ ejrco>menov , — “he that was to come,” “that was to be sent.” So when John sent his disciples to Jesus to inquire whether he was the Christ, he doth it in these words, Su< eij oJ ejrco>menov ; — “Art thou he that was to come?” that is, to be sent of God, Matthew 11:3, John 11:27. And thence the ancient Latin translation renders “Shilo,” Genesis 49:10, “qui mittendus est,” “he that is to be sent,” — it may be deriving the word, by a mistake, from jlæv; , “to send.” But it well expresseth the common notion of him in the church after the giving of the first promise, “He that was to be sent.” And in the Gospel he doth not himself more frequently make mention of any thing than of his being sent of God, or of being his apostle. “He whom God hath sent,” is his description of himself, John 3:34; and him he calls tolanta , “him that sent him,” or made him his apostle, Matthew 10:40. And this is most frequently repeated in the Gospel by John, that we may know of what importance the consideration of it is: see chapter 3:17, 34, 4:34, 5:23, 24, 30, 36-38, 6:29, 38-40, 44, 57, 7:16, 28, 29, 8:16, 18, 29, 42, 9:4, 10:36, 11:42, 12:44, 45, 49, 13:20, 14:24, 15:21, 16:5, 17:3, 18, 21, 23, 25, 20:21. Two things, then, are included in this expression or title: — (1.) The authority he had for his work. He came not of himself, but was sent of God, even the Father; and therefore spake in his name, and fed the church “in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God,” Micah 5:4.

    And as he became the apostle of the Father by his being sent of him, so by his sending of others in his name he made them his apostles, John 20:21.

    As the love, therefore, so the authority of the Father is much to be considered in this matter. (2.) His work itself, which is here included, and elsewhere largely declared.

    It was to reveal and declare the will of the Father unto the children of men, to declare the Father himself, John 1:18, and his name, chapter 17:6, 26; that is, the mystery of his grace, covenant, and whole will concerning our obedience and salvation, Hebrews 1:1,2. For this end was he the apostle and ambassador of the Father, sent into the world by him, Malachi 3:1. In brief, the prophetical office of Christ, with respect unto his immediate authoritative mission by the Father, is intended in this title.

    And it is a title of honor as well as of office that is here given him. Hence the impious Mohammedans, when they would persuade or compel any one to their sect, require no more of him but that he acknowledge Mohammed to be “Resul Ellahi,” “The apostle of God.” In this sense, then, is the Lord Christ called “The apostle of our profession,” in that he was sent of God to declare his mind and will, in his name and with his authority, as ambassadors are wont to do in reference unto them that send them.

    But whereas our Lord Jesus Christ was in an especial manner, as to the time of his conversation in the flesh, and his personal revealing the will of God, sent unto the Jews, and therefore says, Matthew 15:24, that “he was not sent but to the lost sheep of the house of Israel,” — that is, as unto his personal ministry on the earth; and our apostle affirms that he was “a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers,” Romans 15:8; and being only in this place unto the Hebrews called an apostle, — I leave it unto consideration whether there may not be some especial respect unto his peculiar mission, in his person and ministry unto them, intended in his name and title, here only given him. 2. Hereunto is added the “high priest;” — both in one, as the kingdom and priesthood are also promised, Zechariah 6:13. Both the Hebrews and we are now to look for all in him.

    These offices of old were in several persons. Moses was the apostle, or ambassador of God, to declare his will and law unto the people; and Aaron was the high priest, to administer the holy things in the worship of God.

    This was the poverty of types, that no one could so much as represent the work between God and the church. I will not deny but that Moses was a priest in an extraordinary manner before the institution of the Aaronical priesthood; but his officiating in that office being but a temporary thing, which belonged not to the condition of the Judaical church, it was not considered by our apostle in his comparing of him with Christ. To manifest, therefore, unto the Hebrews how the Lord Christ hath the preeminence in all things, he instructs them that both the offices, that of an apostle, which of old was executed by Moses, and that of the high priesthood, committed unto Aaron, were vested in him alone, intending afterwards to evince how far he excelled them both, and how excellent were his offices in comparison of theirs, though they came under the same name. 3. The limitation adjoined is, “of our profession:” “The apostle and high priest of our profession.” The words may be taken objectively and passively, ‘The apostle and high priest whom we profess,’ — that is, believe, declare, and own so to be; or they may actively denote ‘ the author of our profession,’ — ‘the apostle and high priest who hath revealed and declared the faith which we profess, the religion which we own, and therein exerciseth in his own person the office of the priesthood.’ In this sense he is called “The author and finisher of our faith,” chapter 12:2. Our faith objectively, and our profession, are the same. Our profession is the faith and worship of God which we profess.

    This is our ojmologi>a , even the gospel, with the worship and obedience required therein. And the Lord Christ was and is the apostle of this profession, as he revealed the will of God unto us in the gospel, as he brought life and immortality to light thereby, teaching and instructing us in the whole will of God, as Moses did the Jews of old. He is also the high priest of this our profession, inasmuch as he himself offered the one and the only sacrifice which in our religion we own and profess, and continues alone to perform the whole office of a priest therein, as Aaron and his successors did in that of the Jews. It belonged not unto the office of the high priest to institute and appoint any thing in the worship of God, but only to execute his own duty in offering sacrifices and interceding for the people. So the Lord Christ, — who, as the apostle of our profession, instituted the whole worship of God to be observed therein, — as our high priest doth only offer the sacrifice of the church and intercede for the people.

    The word “our” is added by way of discrimination, and is regulated by the compellation and description foregoing: “Holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, he is the apostle and high priest of our profession;” — ‘Whatever by others he be esteemed, he is so to us; and our inestimable privilege and honor it is that he is so.’

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

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

    He must become our apostle; that is, be sent unto us. He did, indeed, at sundry times send servants and messengers into the world about his affair with us; but whereas they could never accomplish it, “last of all he sent his Son,” Matthew 21:37; Hebrews 1:1,2. There was a threefold greatness in this matter, which none was fit to manage but the Son of God: — 1. A greatness of grace, love, and condescension. That the great and holy God should send to treat with sinners for the ends of his message, for peace and reconciliation, it is a thing that all the creation must admire, and that unto eternity. He is every way in himself holy, good, righteous, and blessed for evermore. He stood in no need of sinners, of their service, of their obedience, of their being. But he was justly provoked by them, by their apostasy and rebellion against him, and that unto an indignation beyond what can be expressed. His justice and law required their punishment and destruction; which as he could have inflicted unto his own eternal glory, so they did not in any thing, nor could by any means, seek to divert him from it. Yet in this condition God will send a message unto these poor, perishing rebels, an embassy to treat with them about peace and reconciliation. But this now is so great a thing, includes such infinite grace, love, and condescension in it, that sinners know not how to believe it. And, indeed, who is fit to testify it unto them? Objections that arise against it are able to shake the credit and reputation of any angel in heaven.

    Wherefore God commits this message unto his Son, his only Son, makes him his apostle, sends him with these tidings, that they may be believed and accepted: 1 John 5:20, ‘The Son of God came, and gave this understanding.’ It is true that God sent others with some parts of this message before; for “he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets from the beginning of the world,” Luke 1:70; but yet as the first promise was given out by the Son of God himself, as I have elsewhere declared, so all the messages of the prophets in or about this matter depended on the confirmation of them that he was afterward to give in his own person. So saith our apostle: Romans 15:8, “Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers.”

    The truth of God in this matter delivered by the prophets was further to be attested by Jesus Christ, to whose testimony they referred themselves.

    And with respect hereunto he tells the Pharisees, that if he had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin. If the sealed book of prophecies concerning the judgment of God, in the Revelation, was of so great concernment that “no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth,” that is, no creature, “was able to open it, or look thereon,” Revelation 5:3, until the Lamb himself undertook it, verses 6-8, how much less was any creature meet or worthy to open the eternal secret counsels of the bosom of the Father, concerning the whole work of his love and grace, but the Son only! The grace of this message was too great for sinners to receive, without the immediate attestation of the Son of God. 2. There is a greatness in the work itself that is incumbent on the apostle of God, which required that the Son of God should be engaged therein; for, (1.) As the ambassador or apostle of the Father, he was perfectly to represent the person of the Father unto us. This an ambassador is to do; he bears and represents the person of him by whom he is sent. And no king can more dishonor himself than by sending a person in that employment who, by reason of any defect, shall be unmeet so to do. God had, as was said, sent other messengers unto the children of men; but they were all but envoys of heaven, “anteambulones,” — some that ran before as particular messengers, to give notice of the coming of this great apostle or ambassador of God. But themselves were not to represent his person, nor could so do. See Malachi 3:1. Indeed he once, in a particular business, made Moses his especial legate, to, represent him to Pharaoh; and therefore he says to him, µyhiloa’ ÚyTitæn] h[or]p;l] , Exodus 7:1, — that is, “instead of God,” ‘one that may represent me in my terror and severity unto him:’ but this was in one particular case and business. But who could fully represent the person of the Father unto sinners in this great matter?

    None, certainly, but he who is in himself “the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person,” Hebrews 1:3; and so represents unto us the holiness, the goodness, the grace, the love of the Father, by whom he was sent. Hence he tells his disciples that he who hath seen him hath seen the Father, John 14:9; and that because he is so in the Father, and the Father in him, that he represents him fully unto us, verse 10. He is “the image of the invisible God,” Colossians 1:15; that is, the Father, who in his own person dwells in light, whereunto no creature can approach, hath exhibited and expressed the glorious properties of his nature unto us in the person of his Son, as our apostle expresseth it, Corinthians 4:4. None, then, was fit to be this great apostle but he, for he only could fully represent the Father unto us. Any creature else undertaking this work would, or might, have led us into false notions and apprehensions of God. And the great wisdom of faith consists in teaching us to learn the Father, his nature and will, his holiness and grace, in the person of the Son incarnate, as his apostle and ambassador unto us; for beholding his glory, “the glory of the only-begotten Son of God, full of grace and truth,” we behold the glory of his Father also. So he and the Father are one. (2.) The greatness of the work requires that he who undertakes it be intimately acquainted with all the secret counsels of God that lay hid in his infinite wisdom and will from all eternity. None else could undertake to be God’s apostle in this matter. But who must this be? It is true that God was pleased to reveal sundry particular things, effects of his counsels, unto his servants the prophets; but yet it is concerning them that the Holy Ghost speaks, John 1:18, “No man hath seen God at any time; the only-begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.”

    The best of them had but a partial acquaintance with God. Moses saw but a glimpse of his back parts in his passage before him; that is, had but a dark and obscure revelation of his mind and will, — sufficient for his work and employment. This will not suffice him who is to manage the whole treaty between God and sinners. Who, then, shall do it? “The onlybegotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father.” “In his bosom;” that is, not only in his especial love, but who is partaker of his most intimate and secret counsels. This the design of the place requires to be the meaning of it: for so it follows, “He hath declared him;” — ‘He hath revealed him; he hath made him known, in his nature, his name, his will, his grace; he hath exhibited him to be seen by faith: for he only is able so to do, as being in his bosom; that is, acquainted with his nature, and partaker of his most intimate counsels.’Without this none could in this matter be God’s apostle; for the work is such as wherein God will reveal and make known, not this or that portion of his will, but himself, and all the eternal counsels of his mind, about all that he will have to do with sinners in this world, and the whole glory which he aims at therein to eternity. This knowledge of God and his counsels no creature was capable of. The Son alone thus knows the Father and his mind. If it were otherwise, — if our apostle did not know the whole counsel of God in this matter, all that is in his heart and mind, — it is impossible but that in this great concern sinners would have been left under endless fears and doubts, lest some things might yet remain, and be reserved in the unsearchable abyss of the divine understanding and will, that might frustrate all their hopes and expectations. Their sin, and guilt, and worthlessness would still suggest such thoughts and fears unto them. But in this embassy of the Son there is full and plenary satisfaction tendered unto us that the whole counsel of God was originally known unto him; so that there is no ground of the least suspicion that there is any reserve in the counsels of God concerning us that he hath not made known. (3.) To this end also it was necessary that he should have these counsels of God always abiding with him, that at all times and on all occasions he might be able to declare the mind and will of God. It was not enough that originally, as he was God, he knew all the things of God, but also as he was sent, as he was the apostle of God, the counsel of God was constantly to abide with him. This is another thing; for the wisdom and knowledge of Christ as mediator, to be acted in the human nature, was distinct from his knowledge as he was in himself God over all, blessed for ever. And without this none could have been a meet apostle from God unto sinners; for how else should he reveal the will of God unto them according unto all emergencies and occasions? When the council of Trent was sitting, and any hard matter (indeed almost any thing) came to be determined amongst them, the leaders of them, not knowing what to do, always sent to Rome to the pope and his cardinals for their determination.

    When this came to them, they decreed it under the usual form, “It pleaseth the Holy Ghost, and us” Hence there grew a common by-word amongst the people, that the Holy Ghost came once a week from Rome to Trent in a portmanteau. But when any men are not sufficiently furnished in themselves for the discharge of their duty, according to the variety of occasions and emergencies that they may meet withal, they will put themselves, as will also those with whom they have to do, unto great difficulties and distresses. It was necessary, therefore, that God’s apostle unto sinners should, in the whole discharge of his office, be furnished with a full comprehension of the whole mind of God, as to the affair committed unto him. Now, this never any was nor ever can be capable of, but only Jesus Christ, the Son of God. It wholly exceeds the capacity of any merely created person to comprehend at once, and have resident with him, the whole of the will and mind of God in the business of his transaction with sinners; for after the utmost of their attainments, and the communications of God unto them, they still know but in part. It is true, they may be able to know so much of the mind of God as to declare unto others the whole of their duty, — whence Paul tells the elders of Ephesus that he had “not shunned to declare unto them all the counsel of God,” Acts 20:27, — yet, as to a full, habitual comprehension of the whole mind of God in this matter, to reside with them, answering all occasions and emergencies, and that originally and immediately, that no mere creature was capable of. But as this was needful to the great apostle, so it was found in Jesus Christ, the Son of God. “The Spirit of the LORD did rest upon him” (not came upon him at times, but did rest upon him, remained on him, John 1:32,33), “the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD; and made him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD,” Isaiah 11:2,3.

    It may be you will say, ‘It did so in some degrees of it only, or in a singular measure above others.’ Nay, “God gave not the Spirit by measure unto him,” John 3:34, when he was sent to speak the words of God; not in such a way as that he should only have a greater measure of the Spirit than others, but in a way wholly different from what they received. So that when it is said, he was “anointed with the oil of gladness above his fellows,” Hebrews 1:9, it is not intended only that he received the Spirit in a degree above them, but the same Spirit in another kind; for “it pleased the Father that in him all fullness should dwell,” Colossians 1:19, — all fullness of wisdom and counsel, in a complete comprehension of the whole will and mind of God. And accordingly, “in him were hid” (laid up safely) “all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge,” Colossians 2:3. This also was requisite unto this great apostle, and it was possible to be found only in the Son of God. (4.) The nature of the work required that the ambassador of God to sinners should be able to make his message to be believed and received by them. Without this the whole work and undertaking might be frustrated.

    Nor is it sufficient to say that the message itself is so great, so excellent, so advantageous unto sinners, that there is no doubt but that upon the first proposal of it they will receive it and embrace it; for we find the contrary by multiplied experience. And not only so, but it is certain also that no sinner is able of himself and in his own strength to receive it or believe it; for “faith is not of ourselves, it is the gift of God.” Now, if this ambassador, this apostle from God, have not power to enable men to receive his message, the whole design of God must needs be frustrated therein. And who shall effect or accomplish this? Is this the work of a man, to quicken the dead, to open the blind eyes, to take away the stony heart, to create a new spiritual light in the mind, and life in the will? all which are necessary, that God’s message unto sinners may be savingly received. This also could be done only by the Son of God; for “no man knoweth the Father but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal him,” Matthew 11:27.

    And this he doth by the effectual working of his Spirit, the dispensation whereof is committed wholly unto him, as hath been elsewhere declared.

    By him doth he write the law of his message in the fleshy tables of the hearts of them to whom he is sent, 2 Corinthians 3:3, as Moses wrote his message, or had it written, in tables of stone. So that the nature of this work required that it should be committed unto the Son of God. And so did, — 3. The end of it. This was no less than to proclaim and establish peace between God and man. It is not a place to show how old, fixed, lasting, and universal this enmity was; nor yet how great, excellent, and precious, in the means, causes, and nature of it, that peace was which God sent about. These things are known and confessed. These things were such as none were fit to intermeddle withal but the Son of God only. He alone who made this peace was meet to declare it. “He is our peace ;” and he “came and preached peace,” Ephesians 2:14,17. And on the account of the discharge of this work is he called oJ Lo>gov , “the Word of God,” Revelation 19:13, John 1:1, as by whom God was declared; and µynipæ Ëaæl]mæ Isaiah 63:9, “The angel of God’s presence; and Åyl]me Ëaæl]mæ , Job 33:23, “The angel the interpreter,” the great interpreter of the mind of God; and Å[ewOy , Isaiah 9:5, “The counsellor;” and tyriB]hæ Ëaæl]mæ , Malachi 3:1, “The angel” (or “messenger”) “of the covenant;” as here, “The apostle of our profession.”

    And hence we may see the great obligation that is upon us to hearken unto this message, not only upon the account of the message itself, but also on the account of him that brings it. The message itself is “worthy of all acceptation,” and everlasting woe will be unto them by whom it is rejected. He that refuseth peace with God shall have war and wrath from him to eternity, and that deservedly. But God expects that great weight should be laid on the consideration of the person that brings it. “Surely,” saith he, “they will reverence my Son.” It may be men may think in their hearts that if they heard Christ himself delivering this message, if they had heard him preaching this peace, they would undoubtedly have received and embraced it. So indeed thought the Jews of old, that if they had lived in the days of the former prophets, they would not have dealt with them as their forefathers did, but would have believed their word and obeyed their commands; — as the rich man thought that his brethren would repent if one might rise from the dead and preach unto them. All men have pretences for their present unbelief, and suppose that if it were not for them they should do otherwise. But they are all vain and foolish, as our Lord Jesus manifested in the former instances of the Jews and the rich man in hell. Here there is no pretense of this nature that can take place; for this great apostle and ambassador of God continueth yet to speak unto us, and to press his message upon us. So saith our apostle, chapter 12:25, “See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For how shall we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven?” He did not only speak of old, but he continueth to speak, he speaketh still; he still speaketh in the word of the gospel, and in the administration of it according to his mind and will.

    When from thence we are pressed to believe, and to accept the terms of peace that God hath prepared for us and proposeth unto us, if we refuse them, we reject this great apostle which God hath sent unto us to treat with us in his name. And what will be the end of such men? what will be the end of us all, if the guilt hereof should be found upon us? Another observation also the words will afford us, according to the foregoing exposition, which shall only be briefly mentioned, namely, — IX. Especial privileges will not advantage men without especial grace.

    The Lord Christ was in an especial manner an apostle unto the Jews. To them was he sent immediately. And unto them was his ministry in the flesh confined. Greater privilege could none be made partakers of. And what was the issue? “He came unto his own, and his own received him not,” John 1:11. Incomparably the greatest part of them rejected him, and the tidings of peace that he came to bring. It is worth your consideration who are intrusted with all gospel privileges. They will not save you, they may ruin you. Look after grace to make them effectual, lest they prove “the savor of death unto death” to any of you. Once more, from the ascribing of both these offices to our Lord Jesus Christ, — X. The Lord Christ is all in all in and unto his church, — the king, priest, and apostle or prophet of it, all in one.

    So our apostle tells us that Christ is ta< pa>nta kai< ejn pa~si , unto believers, — “all things, and in all things,” Colossians 3:11; supplying all wants, answering all privileges, the spring of all grace, electing all mercy: so that in him alone they are complete, as chapter 2:10 of the same epistle. Here he proposeth it as a privilege and advantage that we have in him above what was enjoyed under the old testament. And this consisteth in two things: — 1. That what they had in the type only, that we have in reality and substance. 2. Such was the poverty of the types, that no one of them could so much as shadow out or represent all that advantage which we really enjoy; and therefore they were multiplied, and the work distributed amongst them which they were to represent. This made them a yoke, and that grievous and burdensome. The way of teaching in them and by them was hard and obscure, as well as their observation was difficult. It was a hard thing for them to learn the love, grace, and mind of God by them. God revealed himself in them polumerw~v , by many parts and pieces, according as they were capable to receive impression from and make representation of divine wisdom, goodness, and grace; whence our apostle says, that the law had but ski>an , “a shadow,” and not aujthna pragma>twn , Hebrews 10:1, — “the image itself of things.” It had some scattered shades, which the great limner had laid the foundation of symmetry in, but so as to be discernible only unto his own infinite wisdom. A perfect image, wherein all the parts should exactly answer unto one another, and so plainly represent the thing intended, that it had not. Now, it was a work beyond their wisdom, out of these scattered pieces and parts of revelation, especially being implanted on carnal things, to gather up the whole of the grace and good-will of God. But in Christ Jesus God hath gathered all into one bead, Ephesians 1:10, wherein both his person and grace are fully and at once represented. Thus they had no one that was king, priest, and prophet to the church; nor could any be so after the giving of the law, the kingdom being promised unto the tribe of Judah, and the priesthood confined to the house of Aaron, of the tribe of Levi. Neither could any typical person alone of himself answer exactly and completely that wherein he was a type; for besides their own imperfections and failings, even in the discharge of their typical office, — which rendered them a weak and imperfect representation of him who was absolutely perfect in all things, — they could not in and by themselves at all discharge their office. Kings who were his types were to act, and did act, according to the counsel of others, and those sometimes none of the best; as David was much guided by the counsel of Ahithophel, which was to him as if he had “inquired at the oracle of God,” 2 Samuel 16:23. But Christ, our king, hath all stores of wisdom and counsel in himself, and “needed not that any should testify of man; for he knew what was in man,” John 2:25. So it was prophesied of him that “upon one stone,” the foundation-stone of the house of God, “there should be seven eyes,” Zechariah 3:9. Counsellors are ojfqalmoi< basile>wn , — “the eyes of kings.” And in the monarchy of Persia, whence this prophet was newly come, there were always seven of them: Ezra 7:14, “Thou art sent of the king, and of his seven counsellors;” and their names at that time are reckoned up, Esther 1:14. ‘But,’ saith he, ‘all these eyes shall be on the foundation-stone itself, so that he shall no way need the advice or counsel of others.’ Or, to the same purpose, it may denote a perfection of wisdom and knowledge, which by that number is frequently signified. And for the high priest, he could do nothing alone. Unless he had an altar and a sacrifice, fire from above and a tabernacle or temple, his office was of no use. But our Lord Jesus is all this, — both priest, Hebrews 4:14, and altar, Hebrews 13:10, and sacrifice, Ephesians 5:2, and tabernacle or temple, John 2:19,21, Colossians 2:9, and the fire, Hebrews 9:14, all in his own person, as shall, God willing, be afterwards declared. The like may be said of the prophets. Who sees not, then, herein the great privilege of the new testament, seeing we have these things all really which they had only in type, and all in one which among them were distributed amongst so many, and those all weak and imperfect.

    Now, seeing that he is thus all unto us, two things do naturally and necessarily follow: — 1. That we should seek for all in him. To what end were all typical offices, with their attendancies, instituted in the church of old? was it not that in them, one thing in one, another in another, they might find and obtain whatever was needful or useful for or unto the worship of God, their own edification and salvation? And shall we not seek for all in him who was represented, and that but darkly and infirmly, by them all? Whatever any one stood in need of in the commonwealth of Israel, he might have it fully answered either by king, priest, or prophet. And shall we not be perfectly justified by him who is really and substantially all in one? Yea, all our defects, weaknesses, and troubles, arise from hence, that we make not our applications unto him for that assistance which he is able, ready, and willing to give unto us. 2. As we must go to him for all, so we must receive and take him for all, that he may be all and in all. We are not only to address ourselves unto him as our priest, to be interested in his sacrifice and the atonement made thereby, but as our king also, to rule us by his Spirit, and to instruct us as the apostle of our profession. To take Christ, as some do, for a prophet, the apostle of God, but not as a high priest, or a priest properly so called, is to reject the true Christ, and to frame an idol to ourselves in our own imaginations. It is the same to divide him with respect unto any of his other offices or parts of his work whatever.

    The exposition of the second verse yet remaineth, which will make way for that observation which is comprehensive of the principal design of the apostle in this place. Having laid down the sum of his exhortation, by an addition of the fidelity of Christ the apostle maketh a transition to the comparing of him with Moses as to his office apostolical or legatine, as afterwards he proceeds to compare him with Aaron in his office sacerdotal.

    Verse 2. — “Being faithful to him who appointed him, even as Moses in his whole house.”

    Entering upon a comparison of the Lord Christ with Moses as he was the apostle of God, or one sent by him to reveal.his will, he recommends him to the faith of the Hebrews under the principal qualification of a person in that office, “He was faithful.” This being a term of relation, he further describes it by its respect unto God, and that act of God whereunto it answered, “To him that appointed him :” and then in general expresseth the comparison intended; 1. By naming the person with whom he compared him, “Even as Moses;” and, 2. The subject of his employment, “The whole house of God.” First, The chief qualification of an apostle or ambassador is, that he be faithful. God’s apostle is the chief steward or dispenser of his mysteries, and it is principally “required in stewards, that a man be found faithful,” Corinthians 4:2. j Japo>stolov ejn oi]cw| , an “apostle in the house” is oijko>nomov , the steward and dispenser of all things in and unto the house. This, therefore, the apostle expresseth in the first place, and that absolutely and comparatively. He was “faithful,” and “faithful as was Moses.” His faithfulness as a high priest, and wherein that faithfulness did consist, we have declared, chapter 2:17,18. Here, though that expression, pisto Now, the fidelity of a legate, ambassador, or an apostle, consists principally in the full revelation and declaration of the whole mind and will of him by whom he is sent, as to the end for which he is sent., and nothing in his name but what is so his mind and will. Thus, our apostle, to declare his faithfulness in his office apostolical, affirms that he had “kept nothing back” from them to whom he was sent, “that was profitable unto them,” Acts 20:20, nor “shunned to declare unto them all the counsel of God,” verse 27.

    There are two things in faithfulness; — first, trust; and, secondly, the discharge thereof. Faithfulness respects trust. Our Lord, therefore, must have a trust committed unto him, wherein he was faithful: which also he had, for it pleased the Father to lay up in him “all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge,” Colossians 2:3, — to commit unto him the whole mystery of his will and grace, — and so sent him to declare himself, John 1:18; and his “name,” John 17:6, — to make known the last full declaration of his mind and will, as to his worship, with the obedience and salvation of the church, Hebrews 1:1,2, and therewithal to “seal up vision and prophecy,” Daniel 9:24, that no new or further revelation of the will of God should ever be made or added unto what was made by him, Revelation 22:18,19. Being intrusted with this work, his authority for it is proclaimed, the Father giving command from heaven unto all to “hear him,” Matthew 17:5, who was thus sent by him. And therein “he received from God the Father honor and glory,” 2 Peter 1:17, being declared to be that great prophet whom all were obliged to hear on pain of utter extermination, Deuteronomy 18:18,19; Acts 3:22,23.

    This was the trust of the Lord Christ in this matter, and in the discharge hereof did his fidelity consist. And this he manifested in three things: — 1. In that in this great work he sought not his own glory, but the glory of him that sent him, John 8:50; declaring that he came not in his own, but in his Father’s name, John 5:43. He turned not his message unto his own advantage, but unto the advantage or honor of him that sent him. 2. In that he declared his word or message not to be his own, that is originally or principally, but his Father’s: “The word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me,” John 14:24. 3. In that he declared the whole will or word of God that was committed unto him, for the end mentioned: “I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me,” John 17:8; witnessing therein a good confession, Timothy 6:13, sealing the truth with his blood, which he came into the world to bear witness unto, John 18:37. And greater faithfulness could not be expressed.

    Secondly, This faithfulness he discharged towards “him that appointed him.” The apostle mentioning the offices of Christ distinctly, addeth unto every one of them his designation or appointment to them: unto his kingly office, Hebrews 1:2, — ‘He was appointed heir, or lord of all;’ unto his sacerdotal, chapter 5:5, — ‘He took not on himself the office of a priest, without the call of God;’ and here, as to his apostolical or prophetical office, — ‘He was appointed of God.’ And this he doth for two ends; — first, To evidence that the Lord Christ took not any thing upon him in the house of God without call or authority; secondly, That we might see the love and care of God, even the Father, in the mediation of the Lord Christ, as appointing him to his whole office and work. “To him that appointed him.” This appointment of Christ, or his being made the apostle of God, consists in a fivefold act of God in reference thereunto: — 1. In his eternal designation of him to his work and office; for as he was in general proegnwsme>nov pro< katazolh~v ko>smou, 1 Peter 1:20, “foreordained before the foundation of the world,” so was he in particular designed of God to be his apostle for the instruction of his church, Isaiah 48:16; Zechariah 6:13; Proverbs 8:22-31. Hence that eternal life which he was to manifest, 1 John 1:2, and to bring to light by the gospel, 2 Timothy 1:10, is said to be “promised before the world began,” Titus 1:2, even because of this purpose of sending the Son to declare it; on which account also it is said to be with the Father before it was manifested by him, 1 John 1:2. And herein lies the foundation of the appointment of Christ unto his office. 2. In the solemn promise made from the beginning to send him for this purpose. This gave him a virtual law-constitution, whereby he became, as its prophet, the object of the church’s faith and expectation. And this was included in the first promise, Genesis 3:15. Darkness, blindness, and ignorance, being come upon us by sin, he that was to deliver us from all the effects and consequents of it must of necessity be our instructor in the fight and knowledge of God. But the first open, plain expression of it by the way of promise is Deuteronomy 18:18; which is confirmed by following promises innumerable. See Isaiah 11:1-5, 40:11, 42:1-7, 49:1- 4, 8, 9, 52:15; Zechariah 6:12,13; Malachi 3:1-4. 3. In sending him actually into the world to be “the light of men,” John 1:4, and to “manifest that eternal life which was with the Father,” John 1:2; to which end he furnished him with his Spirit and all the gifts thereof in all fullness, for the discharge of his office, Isaiah 11:2,3, 61:1- 3. For to this end he received not the Spirit by measure, John 3:34, but was “anointed with the oil of gladness above his fellows,” Hebrews 1:9; of which unction we have treated at large before. 4. In the declaration he made of him to be his apostle and ambassador by a visible sign. This was done in the descending of the Holy Ghost upon him in the likeness of a dove, John 1:32,33.

    And herewithal did God commit his charge and trust unto him, which he was to keep and preserve, Zechariah 6:12,13. Being thus sent by the Lord of hosts, Zechariah 2:8, and therein clothed with his name, authority, and majesty, Micah 5:4, he acted in all things as his legate and apostle, — by his commission and authority, in his name, and unto his glory. 5. Lastly, Unto these acts of his appointment God added his command, and published it from heaven unto all, to hear and obey him, as the great teacher sent from God, as his apostle, speaking in his name, Matthew 17:5.

    By these means was the Lord Christ appointed to be the apostle of God; and “he was faithful unto him that appointed him,” as hath been declared.

    Thirdly, “As was Moses in his whole house.” The last thing in these words is the further assertion of the fidelity of Christ by a comparison with Moses, who was “faithful in his whole house.” We observed before, that it is not evident unto whom these words are immediately applied. But whomsoever they have respect unto, they belong also to the other; for the one as well as the other was faithful in the whole house of God. But the apostle seems directly to express the words used by God himself concerning Moses, Numbers 12:7: aWh ˆm;a’n, ytiiBeAlk;B] ; — “In tota domo mea fidelis ipse;” — “He is faithful in all my house.” And they are therefore here firstly intended of him. Three things are, then, considerable in these words: 1. The commendation of Moses, — he was “faithful” 2. The extent of his faithfulness, — it was “in all the house of God;” both which are expressed in the words. 3. The comparison implied between Christ and him. 1. “Moses was ˆm;a’n, , “faithful.” It is true, he failed personally in his faith, and was charged of God that he believed him not, Numbers 20:12; but this was in respect of his own faith in one particular, and is no impeachment of his faithfulness in the especial office intended. As he was the apostle, the ambassador of God, to reveal his mind and institute his worship, he was universally faithful; for he declared and did all things according to his will and appointment, by the testimony of God himself, Exodus 40:16, “According to all that the LORD commanded him, so did he.” He withheld nothing of what God revealed or commanded, nor did he add any thing thereunto; and herein did his faithfulness consist. 2. The extent of his faithfulness was in “the whole house of God,” — ejn o[gw| oi]kw| : that is, saith Chrysostom, Ejn o[lw| tw~| law~| , — “ in the whole people.” “In his house;” that is, in his household, his family: Acts 2:36, jAsfalw~v ginwske>to pa~v oi+kov jIsrah>l? — “Let the whole house of Israel know;” that is, the whole family, the posterity of Jacob, or Israel.

    See “house” for “household,” Acts 16:15; 1 Corinthians 1:16; 2 Timothy 1:16. The “house of God,” then, is his household, his family, his church; called his “house,” — (1.) By way of appropriation; his lot, his potion, as a man’s house is to him. Deuteronomy 32:9, “The LORD’s portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance” (2.) Because of his inhabitation. He dwells in his church by his especial and glorious presence, as a man in his own house, Revelation 21:3. Both which are springs of care, love, and delight. In this house was Moses faithful. And this commendation of Moses is on all occasions celebrated by the Jews. So they do in their hymns in the rituals of the Sabbath, in Machzor, part. i, fol. 49, wdm[b ttn wçarb trapj lylk wltarq ˆman db[ yk tbç trymç hb bytkw wdyb dyrwh µynba twjwl ynçw ynys rh l[ °ygpl ; — “Thou calledst him thy faithful servant; and didst put a glorious crown on his head, when he stood before thee in mount Sinai, and brought down the two tables of stone, wherein was written the observation of the Sabbath,” etc. 3. As to the comparison in these words, “as Moses,” we may consider, — (1.) That the apostle was now entering upon the greatest strength of the Hebrews, and that wherein they were most warily and tenderly to be dealt withal; for although they would allow that the angels were in some respect above Moses, yet they adhered unto their old institutions principally on his account, as one who was so eminently testified unto by God himself.

    He was the visible internuncius and mediator between God and their forefathers when their church-state was erected, and they were brought into the enjoyment of those privileges wherein they were exalted above all the nations of the world. The apostle, therefore, deals not with them in this matter directly until he had made such a declaration of the person of Christ, and proved him to be so incomparably exalted above the angels, that they could not be justly prejudiced if he preferred him before Moses also; and which that he should do was of indispensable necessity unto his design. (2.) That whereas, treating concerning the angels, he urgeth those testimonies concerning them which respect their service and subjection, coming to speak of Moses, he produceth the highest and most honorable testimony that is given concerning him in the whole Scripture. And hereby he both at once grants all that they had to plead concerning him in this matter, and removes all suspicion from himself, as though he intended to derogate any thing from him; under a jealousy whereof he suffered much, as is known, amongst the Jews. Moreover, he discovers a consistency between the true honor of Moses and the exaltation of Christ, which as yet many of them did not understand, but thought that if Christ and the gospel were established, Moses must be cast off and condemned. (3.) In this comparison he minds them that the Lord Jesus was the great promised prophet of the church, whom they were to attend unto on pain of being cut off from the people of God. God says unto Moses, Deuteronomy 18:18, “I will raise up a prophet ÚwOmk; ,” “like unto thee,” “as thou art.” And yet it is said, Deuteronomy 34:10, that “there was no prophet in Israel hv;mK] ,” “like unto Moses,” or, “as Moses.” One signal prophet there was to be raised up that should be like unto him; that is, who should give new laws and ordinances unto the church, which no other prophet was to do.

    And thus doth the apostle make an entrance into his intended proof of the preference or pre-eminence of Christ above Moses: — 1. He grants that they were both prophets, both apostles of God, sent by him to declare his mind and will; 2. That they were both faithful in the discharge of their office and trust; 3. That this trust extended itself to the whole church, and all that was to be done therein in the worship of God. Wherein the difference lay he declares in the next verse.

    And in these two verses we may observe much of that wisdom which Peter ascribes unto Paul in his writing of this epistle. He is, as was said, entering upon the strongest hold of the Jews, that whereon they abode most pertinaciously in the observation of their ceremonial institutions, namely, the dignity and fidelity of Moses. At the entrance, therefore, of this discourse, he useth a compellation manifesting his intense love towards them and care of them, calling them his “brethren;” and therewithal minds them of that eminent privilege whereof by Jesus Christ they were made “partakers,” even the “heavenly calling,” which by the gospel they had received. Then, entering upon his designed comparison between Christ and Moses, wherein he was to be preferred above him, he doth it not before he had evinced not only that he was more excellent than the angels, but also far exalted above the whole creation of God, and, besides, the author of such incomparable and unspeakable mercies as no otherwise were or could be communicated unto men. Again, he lets them know that he was so far from derogating any thing from the honor and authority of Moses, as he was falsely accused to do, that he grants as much concerning him, and ascribes as much unto him, as any of themselves could justly grant or ascribe. And therefore, in the entrance of his discourse, he declares him to have been the legate, apostle, or ambassador of God unto the people in the sense before declared; and that in the discharge of his office and duty, he behaved himself with that fidelity which God himself approved of. This being the sum of what was pleaded by the Jews on the account of Moses, it is all granted and confirmed by the apostle. How suitable this course of procedure was to the removal of their prejudices, to inform their minds, to endear their affections, and consequently what wisdom was used in it, is open and evident. It remains that we consider the observation which is principally intended in the words, leaving others to be afterwards expressed.

    XI. 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.

    These are the ends for which it is here called for by the apostle. These Hebrews were yet entangled in their old Judaism, and by reason of their temptations, prejudices, and persecutions, were ready to decline from the truth. To free them from the one, and to prevent the other, the apostle calls them to the consideration of what he had delivered, and what he was yet to deliver, concerning the person, offices, and work of Christ. This being the principal intention of the place, we shall abide a little in the confirmation and application of our observation.

    What is in this duty considered subjectively was declared in the exposition of the words; what is in its manner of performance, and especial object, must be now further unfolded. And, — 1. There are in it these things ensuing: — (1.) A diligent searching into the word, wherein Christ is revealed unto us.

    This himself directs unto, John 5:39. The Scriptures reveal him, declare him, testify of him. To this end are they to be searched, that we may learn and know what they so declare and testify. And this Peter tells us was done by the prophets of old, 1 Peter 1:10,11. They “searched diligently” into the revelation made in them by the Spirit of the person, suffering, and grace of Christ, with the glory that ensued thereon. Christ is exhibited unto us in the gospel; which is therefore called “The gospel of Christ,” and “The word of Christ,” — that is, concerning him, as our apostle declares, Romans 1:1-3. Both the prophets of old, saith he, and the gospel also, treat concerning the Son of God, Jesus Christ our Lord.

    Herein, then, consists the first part of this great duty. “SEARCH the Scriptures,” with all the advantage of help afforded, that you may find out, discern, and understand, what is revealed concerning him in them, as he is the end of the law and the fullness of the gospel, the center in whom all the prophecies, promises, rules, and precepts of them do meet. Without this aim in our reading, hearing, searching the word, we labor in vain, and contend uncertainly, as men beating the air. Unto him, and the knowledge of him, is all our study of the Scripture to be referred. And the reason why some, in the perusal of it, have no more light, profit, or advantage, is, because they have not more respect unto Christ in their inquiry. If he be once out of our eye in searching the Scripture, we know not what we do, nor whither we go, no more than doth the mariner at sea without regard to the pole-star. Truths to be believed are like believers themselves. All their life, power, and order, consist in their relation unto Christ; separated from him, they are dead and useless. (2.) Meditation upon what is discovered unto us is also included in this duty. When a revelation was made of Christ and his work unto the blessed virgin his mother, it is said, she kept the sayings, “and pondered them in her heart,” Luke 2:19; as Eliphaz adviseth all to do, Job 22:22. And the apostle bids us take care that “the word of Christ may dwell in us richly,” Colossians 3:16; — that it may not pass through our minds with some transient effects, as it doth in reading and hearing, if it only casts some glances of light upon the understanding, some motions on the affections; but make its abode and dwell with us, that is, by constant meditation. But this duty is by many spoken unto, and the evil of the neglect of it sufficiently declared. (3.) A spiritual endeavor, in this search and meditation, to bring the soul unto a conformity with that revelation which is made of Christ in the word.

    This is the genuine effect of them, if duly attended unto, 2 Corinthians 3:18. The glory of Christ is revealed in the gospel, as a face is represented in a glass. This we behold by a spiritual search into it, and meditation on it. By this intuition we are assimilated unto the glory so revealed. The Holy Ghost thereby brings upon our hearts that very likeness and image which we so contemplate. And although properly this be rather an effect of the duty treated of than any part of it, yet because it is that which we ought continually to aim at, and without the attainment whereof we labor in vain, I reckon it thereunto. When the image of Christ is wrought upon our hearts, and the dying and life of Christ made manifest in us, Corinthians 4:10, then hath this duty its perfect work. 2. The object of it is to be considered. This in our proposition, following the apostle, is confined unto his person, his offices, and his work. These he dealeth with the Hebrews about. (1.) He treateth about his person, and concerning that proposeth two things especially unto consideration; — [1.] His glorious excellency; [2.] His condescension and grace. The one is the sole subject of the first chapter; the other the principal subject of the second. [1.] He calls them to consider the glorious excellency of the person of Christ. He had instructed them how in his divine nature he was the eternal Son of God, “the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person,” by whom the worlds were made; and therefore deservedly exalted, even as mediator, being incarnate, incomparably above the most glorious beings of all God’s creation. This he would have us especially to regard in our consideration of him. So did the apostles of old. They considered his glory as “the only-begotten of the Father,” therefore “full of grace and truth,” John 1:14. This excellency of the person of Christ brancheth itself into many instances, not here to be recapitulated. It may suffice in general that this is to be the principal object of our meditation.

    The revelation which he made of himself under the old testament had an especial respect unto this glory. Such is the description of him, Psalm 68:17,18, applied unto him, Ephesians 4:8; as that also, Isaiah 6:1-3, applied unto him, John 12:41. And it is a signal promise, that under the gospel we shall “see the king in his beauty,” Isaiah 33:17, or see by faith the uncreated excellencies and glory of this king of saints. And indeed the faith of the saints of the old testament did principally respect the glorious person of the Messiah. In other things they were very dark, and little can be gathered from the Scripture of what spiritual apprehension they had concerning other things whereby they were instructed; but their minds and faith were distinctly fixed on his person and his coming, leaving his work and the mystery of redemption unto his own wisdom and grace. Hence had they so many glorious descriptions of him granted unto them; which were always to keep up their hearts in a desire and expectation of him.

    And now under the new testament, it is the greatest trial of faith, whether it be evangelical, genuine, and thriving, namely, by the respect that it hath to the person of Christ. If that be its immediate and principal object, if it respect other things with regard unto him and in subordination unto him, it is assuredly of a heavenly extract; if otherwise, it may justly be suspected.

    This is that head of gold which the spouse admires in her beloved, Cant. 5:11. And unspeakable is the influence which the consideration of this glorious excellency of Christ, attended with infinite wisdom and power, hath into our preservation in the truth. [2.] His grace and condescension. This the apostle insists upon, Hebrews 2. His design therein is to show what this glorious and excellent person submitted himself unto, that he might save and deliver sinners. And this he greatly presseth, Philippians 2:5-8. This glorious one humbled himself into the form of a man, of a servant, unto death, the death of the cross. A due mixture of greatness and grace or goodness is the most powerful attractive and loadstone of affections. Hence God, who is infinitely great and infinitely good, is the ultimate object of them. In the person of Christ it is incomparably and inimitably, so that there is nothing in the creation to shadow it out unto us. See Revelation 1:5,6,11, 13-16. He who is Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, the prince of the kings of the earth, even he loved us, and washed us in his own blood. Hence unto a believing soul, he becomes “white and ruddy, the chiefest of ten thousand,” Cant. 5:10. See Psalm 45:2-4. This is a means of preservation. Hence the apostle wonders at the Galatians, that they should depart from the truth, after that Jesus Christ had been evidently set forth before their eyes, crucified amongst them, Galatians 3:1; for an evident declaration of him, and representation of his love in the preaching of the gospel, is a sufficient means to preserve men from such miscarriages. We see what a warm, natural, blind devotion will be stirred up in the Papists by the superstitious pictures of Christ which they have amongst them.

    And if a false means shall be effectual to stir up a false love and devotion, shall not the true, proper, instituted means of the representation of the glory of Christ, in the gospel, be effectual to beget constancy and perseverance in faith and obedience? These things the apostle minds them off concerning his person, to be improved unto the ends proposed. (2.) Consider him as to his offices. In these verses the apostle minds the Hebrews of his prophetical and sacerdotal; but he directs them to his regal also, which he had treated of, chapter 1. Neither doth he mind them so directly of the offices themselves, as the qualifications of his person on their account. His authority as a king, his mercifulness as our high priest, and his faithfulness as a prophet, or God’s apostle, are the things he would have them consider. [1.] His authority, as king, lord, and heir of all, chapter 1:1-3. His dealing with the Hebrews was principally about the institution of new ordinances of worship, and abolishing of the old. This, sovereign authority was required unto. This the Lord Christ was furnished withal, as the Son, as the heir and lord of all. A due consideration hereof would thoroughly remove all doubts and scruples in this matter. And the neglect hereof is the cause of all that confusion and disorder that is at this day in the world about the worship of God. Men not considering the authority of Christ, either as instituting the ordinances of the gospel, or as judging upon their neglect and abuse, are careless about them, or do not acquiesce in his pleasure in them. This hath proved the ruin of many churches, which, neglecting the authority of Christ, have substituted their own in the room thereof. The consideration, therefore, of this kingly, legislative authority of the Lord Christ by men, as to their present duty and future account, must needs be an effectual means to preserve them in the truth and from backslidings. See Romans 14:9-12; 2 Corinthians 5:9,10. [2.] His mercifulness, as the high priest of his church. This he had asserted, chapter 2:17, and that upon a full and evident previous demonstration. Consider him that is so, and as he is so. This, because of its importance, he often presseth, chapter 4:14-16, 7:25-28, 9:11- 14, 10:21, 22. And this is of singular use to preserve believers from decays and fainting in the profession of the truth; for from his mercifulness, unspeakable encouragement, strength, and consolation, in obedience and profession of the gospel, may be educed, as in our progress, God assisting, we shall manifest. Want of a due improvement of this encouragement, and the assistance that may be obtained thereby, is the occasion of all the decays and backslidings that are found among professors. What can thrive in the soul, if the love, care, kindness, and ability to save, that are in Christ, — all which are included in this mercifulness, — are neglected? [3.] His faithfulness. This relates unto his office prophetical, which is by the apostle ascribed unto him, and confirmed to be in him in these verses.

    Yea, this is that which he would have them immediately and in the first place to consider, and which being once fixed on their minds, those other things must needs have the more effectual influence upon them. For if he be absolutely faithful in his work, his authority and mercy ought surely diligently to be heeded. To this end the apostle compares him in particular with Moses in these verses, and in the next exalts him above him. And no better medium could be used to satisfy the Hebrews, who were sufficiently persuaded of the faithfulness of Moses. He being, then, ultimately to reveal the will of God, and being absolutely faithful in his so doing, is to be attended unto. Men may thence learn what they have to do in the church and worship of God, even to observe and to do whatever he hath commanded, and nothing else, Matthew 28:20; Revelation 1:5, 3:14. (3.) As his person and offices, so his work also is proposed unto our consideration, for the ends mentioned. This the apostle fully discourseth, chapter 2:9, 10, 14, 15, 17, 18. The specialties of this work are too many to be here so much as recounted. In general, the love and grace that were in it, the greatness of it, the benefit we receive by it, the glory of the wisdom, goodness, grace, holiness, and righteousness that shines forth in it, are the principal immediate objects of our faith and consideration.

    These things we have instanced in particular, as those which, being of great importance in themselves, we are likewise directed unto by the series of the apostle’s discourse; but we mention them not exclusively unto other concernments of the Lord Christ. Whole Christ, and all of him, is by us diligently to be considered, that we may attain, and we shall attain, the ends laid down in the precedent observation: for, — 1. Our faith and our obedience are our walking with God, Genesis 17:1, or our walking in the truth,2 John 1:4; 3 John 1:4: and that which is principally incumbent on them that would walk aright, is to have a due regard unto their way. This way is Christ, John 14:6. “I am the way,” saith he; “no man cometh unto the Father but by me:” such a way as wayfaring men shall not err in, Isaiah 35:8; such a “living way” as is also a guide. In attendance, therefore, unto him, we shall neither err nor miscarry. And as all mistakes in faith arise from a want of a due respect unto him as the real way of going unto God, so all aberrations in doctrine or worship spring out of a neglect of a due consideration of his person and offices, wherein all truths do center, and whereby they are made effectual and powerful. 2. They that consider him in the way and manner explicated, cannot but take him for their only guide in the things of God. See John 1:14, with chapter 6:68, 69. To whom else should they go or betake themselves?

    This is foretold concerning him, Isaiah 42:4. And for this duty we have the command of God, Matthew 17:5, “HEAR HIM.” This they will do who consider him. And to them who do so, he is given to be a guide and a leader, Isaiah 55:4; and a light, chapter 51:4; and a shepherd, to direct them in the fresh pastures of the gospel with care and tenderness, chapter 40:11. And no soul shall miscarry under his conduct, or wander into danger under his care. But here lies the root of men’s failings in this matter, — they seek for truth of themselves and of other men, but not of Christ.

    What they can find out by their own endeavors, what other men instruct them in or impose upon them, that they receive. Few have that faith, love, and humility, and are given up unto that diligent contemplation of the Lord Christ and his excellencies, which are required in those who really wait for his law so as to learn the truth from him.

    If it be yet inquired whether these who duly consider Jesus Christ may not yet mistake the truth and fall into errors? I answer, they may; but, — (1.) Not into any that are pernicious. He will assuredly preserve such persons from destructive errors. As he hath not prayed that they may be taken out of the world, but preserved in it, so he doth not take them out of all possibility of errors or mistakes, but from such only as may prejudice the eternal condition of their souls. (2.) They shall not act their mistakes and errors with a spirit of envy, malice, and disquietment against the truth; for none that duly considereth Jesus Christ can be captivated under the power of such a frame of spirit, seeing there is nothing more unlike unto him. (3.) Even their mistakes are from failures in their consideration of the Lord Christ, either in the matter or manner of it. Either they search not after him with that spiritual diligence which they ought, or they meditate not on the discoveries that are made of him in the word, or they labor not after assimilation and conformity unto him; and upon these neglects it is no wonder if errors and mistakes do arise. 3. Because “all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hid in Christ,” Colossians 2:3; and therefore from him alone are they to be received, and in him alone to be learned. Now, wisdom and knowledge have both of them respect unto truth. Where they are obtained, there truth itself doth dwell. In the due consideration of the Lord Christ are these treasures opened unto us. And although we may not at once clearly and fully discern them, yet we are in the proper way to know them and possess them. There is not the least line of truth, how far soever it may be extended, and how small soever it may at length appear, but the springs of it lie in the person of Christ. And then we learn it aright, when we learn it in the spring, or as it is in him, Ephesians 4:21; which when we have done, we may safely trace it down, and follow it unto its utmost extent.

    But he that looks on gospel truths as sporades, as scattered up and down independently one of another, — who sees not the root, center, and knot of them in Jesus Christ, — it is most probable that when he goes about to gather them for his use, he will also take up things quite of another nature.

    They say that all moral virtues are knit up in one, that is, righteousness; so that he who hath that hath all the rest, at least radically and virtually.

    This I know, that all spiritual truths are knit up and centred in him who is “the truth;” and they who have “learned him,” as the apostle speaks, Ephesians 4:20, have with him received the seeds of all truth: which being watered and attended as they ought, will in due time flourish into all their proper branches and fruits; for all things are gathered into one head in him, Ephesians 1:10. 4. The right performance of this duty enlivens, excites, and acts all those graces and gracious affections, which are effectual to preserve us in the truth, and to keep us from decays in our profession. The Lord Christ being the proper object of them, and this consideration consisting in the application of the faculties of our souls unto that object, by a due exercise of those graces, they must needs be increased and augmented thereby; as all grace grows and thrives in and by its exercise, and ordinarily not otherwise. And when any grace is so applied unto Christ as spiritually to touch him, virtue goes forth from him for its strengthening. The neglect then also hereof must of necessity produce the contrary effect, John 15:5,6.

    Thus in particular is faith increased; for according as the object of it is cleared, manifested, represented suitable and desirable unto the soul, so is faith itself exited, stirred up, and strengthened. Now, this is no otherwise done but when the soul is enabled graciously to ponder on the person and offices of Christ. There it finds all that is needful unto it to make it happy and blessed, — to procure pardon, peace, righteousness, and glory for it.

    This faith receives, and is improved by it. So the apostle informs us, Corinthians 3:18. Having boldness and liberty given us in the gospel to consider and behold by faith the glory of Christ, we are thereby transformed into his likeness and image, — namely, by an increase of faith, whereby we “grow up into him who is the head.” And this brings along with it an increase in all other graces, whereby we are preserved in the profession and practice of the truth.

    By this means, also, a fountain of godly sorrow is opened in the hearts of believers; which is a precious grace, Zechariah 12:10. The consideration of the Lord Christ as pierced for us, or by us, will melt and humble the soul, or it will never yield unto any ordinance of God.

    The spouse, in like manner, in the Canticles, giving an account of her great and incomparable love unto her beloved, manifests that it arose from the exact consideration that she had taken of his person and all that belonged thereunto, chapter 5:9-16. The like may be said of all other graces; and by these must we be preserved, or utterly fail. As to the use of these things, — (1.) We may see hence the reason why so many turn aside, and fall off from the truth and ways of the gospel. They have given over a due consideration of Jesus Christ, his person, offices, and mediation, and so have lost the means of their preservation. They have been weary of him, not seeing form or comeliness in him for which he should be desired. What a sad instance have we hereof in those poor deluded creatures, who, neglecting him, pretend to find all light and life within themselves! This is their Beth-el, the beginning of their transgression; for when men have neglected the person of Christ, is it any wonder if they despise his ways and ordinances, as is their manner? Indeed, the ordinances of the gospel, its worship and institutions, have no excellency, no beauty in them, but what ariseth from their relation unto the person and offices of Christ; and if they are neglected, these must needs be burdensome and grievous. And as it is in vain to draw men unto the embracement of them who know him not, who are not acquainted with him, seeing they appear unto them the most grievous and intolerable of all things that can be imposed on them; so they who on any account cease to consider him by faith, as he is proposed unto them in the gospel, cannot long abide in their observation. Give such men the advantages of liberty, and keeping up a reputation of profession without them, — which they suppose a new and singular opinion will furnish them withal, — and they will quickly cast them off as a burden not to be borne. And as it is with gospel worship, so it is with all the articles of faith, or important truths that we are to believe. The center and knot of them all is in the person of Christ. If they are once loosed from thence, if their union in him be dissolved, if men no more endeavor to learn “the truth as it is in Jesus,” or to acquaint themselves with the will of God, as he hath “gathered all things unto a head in him,” they scatter, as it were, of their own accord from their minds; so that it may be they retain no one of them, or if they do so, yet not in a right manner, so as to have an experience of the power of them in obedience. This is the cause of the apostasies amongst us; Christ is neglected, — not considered, not improved. A light within, or a formal worship without, is enthroned in his stead; and thence all sorts of errors and evils do of their own accord ensue.

    Deal with any whom you see to neglect his ways and truths, and you will find this to be the state of things with them: — they have left off to value and esteem the person of Christ; or they had never any acquaintance with him. And in vain is it to dispute with men about the streams whilst they despise the fountain. The apostle gives us a threefold miscarriage in religion, Colossians 2:18: — [1.] A pretense of a voluntary, uncommanded humility, a pretended mortification, indeed a bare covering of base and filthy pride; [2.] A worshipping of angels, an instance to express all false, self-invented worship; and, [3.] Curiosity in vain speculations, or men’s intruding themselves into the things which they have not seen, setting out things with swelling words of vanity, wherewith in truth they have no acquaintance, whereof they have no experience. And all these, saith he, verse 19, proceed from hence, that they “hold not the Head;” they have let go the Lord Christ, from whom all truths are to be derived, and consequently all truth itself. Here lies the spring of our frequent apostasies. (2.) Again, we may hereby examine and try ourselves. Do we at any time find any of the ways, institutions, or ordinances of Christ grievous or burdensome unto us? do we find a secret dislike of them, or not that delight in them which we have formerly enjoyed? If we search into the root of our distempers, we shall find that our hearts and spirits have not been exercised with that consideration of the person and offices of Christ which our duty calls for. We have not been kept in a constant adoration of his majesty, admiration of his excellency, delight in his beauty, joy in his undertaking, holy thoughtfulness of his whole mediation. This hath betrayed us into our lukewarmness and indifferency, and made us faint and weary in his ways. Hence also all endeavors for a recovery from such a frame, that regard only the particular instances that we are sensible of, are languid and successless. He that finds himself faint in or weary of any of the ways of Christ or any duties of obedience unto him, or that discovers an undervaluation of any of the truths of the gospel, as to their use or importance, and thinks to recover himself and retrieve his spirit only by applying himself unto that particular wherein he is sensible of his failure, will labor in the fire and to no purpose. It may be that after some days, or months, or years, he will find himself more at a loss than ever; and that because although he striveth, yet he striveth not lawfully. If we would recover ourselves, we must go to the source and beginning of our decays. (3.) This tends directly unto our instruction in these perilous days, such as the latter days are foretold to be. All means that ever the devil made use of from the foundation of the world, to draw off or deter men from gospel obedience, are at this day displayed. The world smiles upon apostates, and promiseth them a plentiful supply of such things as the corrupt nature of man esteems desirable. Errors and false worship, with temptations from them, spread themselves with wings of glorious pretences over the ‘face of the whole earth. Trials, troubles, storms, persecutions, attend and threaten on every hand; and “he only that endureth unto the end shall be saved.”

    He that, like Jonah, is asleep in this tempest, is at the door of ruin; he that is secure in himself from danger, is in the greatest danger of falling by security. What, then, shall we do? what means shall we use for our preservation? Take the counsel of our blessed apostle, “Holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the apostle and high priest of our profession;” and again, chapter 12:3, “Consider him who endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.” Be much in the consideration of the person, offices, and work of Christ. This will conform you unto him, derive strength from him, arm you with the same mind that was in him, increase all your graces, keep you from being weary, and give you assured victory. He deserves it, you need it; let it not be omitted. 5. This will give direction unto them who are called unto the work of teaching others. The person and offices of Christ are the things which principally they are to insist upon; for that which is the chiefest object of the church’s faith ought to be the chiefest subject of our preaching. So Paul tells the Galatians, that in his preaching Christ was evidently crucified before their eyes, Galatians 3:1. He proposed Christ crucified unto their consideration, “determining,” as he speaks in another place, “to know nothing amongst them but Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” For if the consideration of Christ be such an important duty in believers, certainly the due proposal of him unto their consideration is no less in preachers.

    Christ alone is to be preached absolutely, and all other truths as they begin, end, and center in him. To propose the Lord Christ as amiable, desirable, useful, and every way worthy of acceptation, is the great duty of the dispensers of the gospel.

    I have insisted the longer on this observation, because it compriseth the main design of the apostle’s words, and is also of singular use to all that profess the gospel. Those which remain shall be only named.

    XII. The union of believers lies in their joint profession of faith in the person and offices of Christ, upon a participation in the same heavenly calling. So it is described by the apostle; and the addition of other things, as necessary thereunto, is vain.

    XIII. The ordering of all things in the church depends on the sovereign appointment of the Father. He appointed the Lord Christ unto his power and his office in the church.

    XIV. 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. To that end is it mentioned by the apostle.

    XV. All things concerning the worship of God, in the whole church or house now under the gospel, are no less perfectly and completely ordered and ordained by the Lord Jesus Christ than they were by Moses under the law. The comparison is to be taken not only subjectively but objectively also, or it will not suit the apostle’s purpose. As the faithfulness of Moses extended itself unto the whole worship of God and all things concerning it under the old testament, so that of Christ must be extended to the whole worship of God and all the concernments of it under the new testament It is true, the faithfulness of Christ intensively would be no less than that of Moses, if he revealed all that was committed unto him of his Father unto that purpose, for Moses did no more: but herein would Moses be preferred before him, if all things any way needful or useful to or in the worship of God, in matter and manner, were committed unto him, so that nothing might be added thereunto, and not so unto Jesus Christ; which surely neither the design of the apostle in this place nor the analogy of faith will allow.

    VERSES 3-6.

    The apostle having made his entrance into the comparison designed by him between Christ and Moses, and showed in general wherein they were alike, and as to his purpose equal (which that those who are compared together should be in some things is necessary), he proceeds to evince the prelation of Christ and his exaltation above him in sundry signal instances, the mater principally aimed at: — Verses 3-6. — Plei>onov gaxhv ou=ton para< Mwush~n hjxi>wtai , kaq j o[son plei>ona timhsav aujto>n? pa~v gazetai uJpo> tinov , oJ de< ta< pa>nta kataskeua>sav , Qeo>v . Kai< Mwush~v mepwn , eijv martu>rion tw~n lalhqhsome>nwn , Cristov ejsmen hJmei~v , eja>per than , kai< to< kau>chma th~v ejlpi>dov me>cri te>louv bezai>an kata>scwmen .

    Pei>onov . Vulg. Lat., “Amplioris enim gloriae iste prae Moyse dignus est habitus.” Retaining the case of the Greek substantive, the Latin is corrupt, Valla, Erasmus, and Vatablus observe. But, the sense is not obscured. The Syriac renders not hjxi>wtai at all, but reads the words “For the glory” (or “honor”) “of this man is more” (or “greater”) “than that of Moses.”

    Erasmus and Beza supply “tanto” at the beginning of the verse, to answer kaq j o[son , which they translate “quanto,” in the next words; or they take that expression to answer “tanto,” “quanto.” Ours, “in quantum,” “inasmuch,” properly.

    Ou=tov , “iste,’ “this man.” A demonstrative pronoun, used sometimes in a way of contempt, as John 9:29, Tou~ton ou~k oijdamen po>qen ejsti>n, where we render it “This fellow,” as being spoken with contempt; but more frequently in a way of excellency, as, Ou=tov ejstin oJ Dhmosqe>nhv , — “This is that Demosthenes.” So Lucian, Dei>xei se< tw| daktu>lw| ou=tov ejkei~nov le>gwn? — He shall point at thee, saying, This is that excellent person.” Which the poet expresseth, — “At pulchrum est digito monstrari et dicier, Hic est.” — Pers. Sat. 1:28.

    Mostly it is simply demonstrative and distinctive, as in this place: “This man of whom we speak,” or “person.”

    The words of comparison are doubled: Plei>onov para< Mwush~n , for hj Mwush~v , or tou~ Mwuse>wv ; or absolutely, Do>xhv Para<. But the conjunction of para> with an adjective comparative, as it is not unusual, so it is emphatical, and denotes the greatness of the prelation of Christ above Moses. jHxi>wtai , “dignus habitus est,” — “is” (or “was”) “counted worthy.” But the word signifies not only a bare being accounted worthy, but so as also to be possessed of that whereof one is so esteemed worthy. jAxiwqeigifts,” or “ rewards,” but he that is “muneribus donatus qaibus dignus censetur;” that is, possessed of the rewards whereof he is worthy. So that ajxiwqeixhv , is he that hath that honor and glory whereof he is esteemed worthy. And therefore the Syriac leaves this out, namely,”esteem” or “accounting,” and expresseth that which is principally intended: “His glory was greater than that of Moses.”

    Plei>ona timhconstruction by the same case, oi]kou by domus, not only is the speech barbarous, but the sense is also perverted; yet the Rhemists retain this ambiguity, “By so much as more ample glory than the house hath he that framed it.” But plei>ona timh Do>xh , and timh> “glory and honor,” are used by the apostle as ijsodunamou~nta , words of the same importance and signification; and so are they frequently used elsewhere in the Scripture.

    Tou~ oi[kou , “the house.” Many of the old translators render it “the temple,” because the temple of old was frequently called tyiBæjæ , “the house.” But the allusion of the apostle is general unto any house, and the building of it.

    And Moses was faithful wJv zera>pwn , “tanquam famulus;” Syr., adb][æ , “servus,” “a servant.’ Qera>pwn is properly and most usually one that doth “inservire sacris,” that attends upon and ministers about holy things, leitourgo>v . So amongst the heathen, zerapeu>ein touv , and hJ peri< toua , — “the sacred service of the gods.” So Pollux Onomast. lib. 1, jOno>mata tountwn? tw~n zew~n zerapeutai< iJerei~v , newko>roi , the same with priests, sacred officers. The word is used in the New Testament only in this place; zerapei>a and zerapeu>w often, but always for being or curing the sick and infirm; which is another sense of the word. And in this sense it is derived from the Hebrew ap;r; “to heal;” whence is µyaip;r; rendered sometimes “physicians,” sometimes “dead men.” Qerapeu>ein , when it is used elsewhere for “to serve,” is applied unto the service of a freeman, and is more honorable than douleu>ein , although that also is translated into an honorable use in the gospel, from the object and lord or author of it:

    Dou~lo>v jIhsou~ Cristou~ , ajfwrisme>nov , Romans 1:1; — “A servant of Jesus Christ separated to the service of the gospel.”

    JO kataskeua>sav , “qui praeparat,” “prepareth,” “frameth it;” and, as respecting tofast than .” Vulg. Lat., “fiduciam,” “trust” or “confidence.” Syr., tWyl]Gæ , “the revelation,” or “opening of the face;” alluding to that of the apostle, 2 Corinthians 3:18, jAnakekalumme>nw| , “With open face behold the glory of God:” an Hebraism for confidence. Beza, “loquendi libertatem,” “freedom” (or “boldness”) “of speaking unto God.” So parjrJhsia>zomai is most frequently used to speak openly or boldly. And as parjrJhsi>a is joined here with kau>chma , “glorying,” or “boasting,” it may have that sense.

    And the rise of the word refers to speaking. It is from rJh~siv , “dictio,” “a saying,” or “speaking,” from ei]rw , “dico;” and is as much as panrhsi>a , the speaking of all that is or ought to be spoken; “fandi libertas,” “a liberty of speaking,” and “boldness in speaking,” notwithstanding opposition and danger. So he in the poet: — “Dicam equidem, licet ille mihi mortemque minetur,” “He would speak truth, though it cost him his life.” And so parjrJhsi>an is to give liberty of speech. Boldness and confidence absolutely is za>rjrJov . Ours leave Beza (which they do seldom), and render this word “confidence.” It is used frequently in the New Testament; sometimes adverbially, for “boldly,” “openly,” “plainly,” especially by John in the Gospel; sometimes substantively, for “boldness,” or “confidence;” but constantly in an indifferent sense. Nowhere doth it denote any Christian grace, but only in this epistle of Paul and the first epistle of John.

    Kai< to< kau>chma th~v ejlpi>dov . Vulg. Lat., “et gloriam spei,” “the glory of hope.” So the Rhemists. “Gloriationem spei,” “the glorying” (or “boasting”) “of hope,” Arias, Erasm., Vatab. Ours,”the rejoicing of hope,” wanting a word to render “gloriatio;” usual, [i. e., indifferent,] and not restrained to an ill sense. And kau>chma is sometimes used for ajgalli>ama . Beza, “Spem illam de qua gloriamur,” “that hope whereof we boast.” This word is peculiar to Paul, and not used in the New Testament but by him, and by him frequently; as are also kamca>omai and kau>chsiv .

    And it is a word, as that foregoing, ejk tw~n me>swn , of an inherent sense and acceptation, which may be applied either unto good or evil. Some kau>chma , or “boasting,” is not good, James 4:16; and there is a kau>chma which here and elsewhere our apostle commends, a rejoicing, or exultation in that which is good.

    Th~v ejlpi>dov . Syr., jyeb]sæD] , “of his hope;” that is, the hope we have in him. Ethiop., “If we hold fast our grace, and our rejoicing, and our hope.”

    Bezai>an kata>scwmen , “firmam retinuerimus.” Bezai>an is properly referred to parjrJsi>an , not agreeing with kau>chma in gender, nor with ejlpi>dov in case; which latter it may have yet respect unto, supposing a trajection in the words. Our translators have fitly rendered these words by “holding fast our hope firm;” for “firm” regards the thing held, and not our manner of holding. Beza supposeth it ought to be Bezai>on , but unnecesarily (as such conjectures were the only fault of that great interpreter), for it refers principally to parjrJhsi>an . The Syriac expresseth it not.

    The rest of the words are plain and obvious. Only the Vulgar Latin stumbles oft in this verse; It renders ou oi+ko>v ejsmen , “quae domus sumus nos,” as the Rhemists; “which house we are,” for “whose house are we.” The translator seems to have read o[v , not ou : and so Beza affirms that he found it in one Greek copy.

    And again, “Christ as a son in domo sua,” “in his house;” that is e]n oi]kw aujtou~ , for ejpi> to Aujtou~ , not aujtou~ , “his own house,”’ not “his house;” or, if the relative be retained, it refers unto Christ, — “I will,” saith he, “build my church,” — and not to God the Father. f21 Verses 3-6. — For this [man ] was counted worthy of more glory [was more honorable ] than Moses; inasmuch as he who hath builded the house [an house ] hath more honor than the house. For every house is builded by some man; but he that built all things is God. And Moses verily [was ] faithful in all his house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were [after ] to be spoken. But Christ [was faithful ] as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of [or glorying in ] the hope firm unto the end.

    The apostle proceeds in these words with his design of evidencing the excellency and prelation of Christ above Moses, as he had done before in reference unto angels and all other revealers of the will of God unto the church, reserving an especial consideration for him who was of especial esteem with the Hebrews. Herewithal he expresseth the reason of his desire that they would seriously “consider” him, namely, in his person and offices.

    Two things in general are to be borne in mind for the right understanding of these words, and the meaning of the apostle in them: — First, That he is now dealing with the Hebrews in the last and greatest instance of the excellency of the gospel, taken from the consideration of his person by whom it was revealed; for here he prefers him above Moses, whose dignity was the last plea and pretense of the Hebrews for retaining their old church-state and customs. But no plea or pretense will prescribe unto the authority and honor of Jesus Christ.

    Secondly, That the subject he here treats of is not his utmost intention; but he useth it as an argument or medium to prevail with them unto constancy and perseverance, as the verses immediately ensuing do manifest.

    The connection of the discourse is denoted in the first word, “for,” a causal conjunction, which sometimes renders a reason of what hath been before spoken; sometimes directs unto an inference of what is afterwards to be introduced, as we have seen, chapter 2:10, 11. In this place it is evident that the apostle doth not render a reason of what he had last affirmed, — namely, that Christ was faithful in all the house of God, as was Moses, — seeing he passeth directly unto a new argument for his general end and purpose, namely, the dignity of Christ above Moses; which he manifests by sundry instances. Neither doth this word respect the ensuing proof of the pre-eminence of Christ asserted, as if he had said, ‘He is worthy of more glory than Moses, because he that buildeth the house,’ etc. But there is a retrospect in it unto the first verse, and a reason of it induced why it was so necessary for the Hebrews diligently to consider “the apostle of our profession,” namely, because of his glory, honor, and dignity, above that of Moses. ‘ Consider him,’ saith he, ‘for he is worthy of more glory than Moses;’ which he demonstrates in these four verses, and then returns again unto his exhortation. This is the order of the discourse; and in it there is a proposition, and two arguments for its confirmation, which contain the subject-matter of it.

    The proposition laid down by the apostle in these verses is plain and evident; so also do the arguments whereby he confirms it seem to be. But the illustration that he makes of them, and the inferences he takes from them, are involved. Wherefore these things in general we shall endeavor to give some light into.

    The proposition is this, that “Christ was counted worthy of more glory than Moses” The first proof of this proposition lies in these words of verse 3, “Inasmuch as he who hath builded the house hath more honor than the house;” and this he further confirms or illustrates, verse 4, “For every house is builded of some; but he that built all things is God;” the latter expressly in verses 5, 6, of which afterwards.

    As for the manner of arguing here used by the apostle, it is educed from the foregoing verses. In the comparison made between Christ and Moses, he allowed Moses to be faithful, proving it by the testimony of God himself, who had said he was “faithful in all his house.” The church or people of God being in that testimony called “The house of God,” and that by God himself, the apostle takes advantage of the metaphor to express the dignity of Christ in his relation to the church under that expression of “The house of God;” for not only the things themselves, but the manner of their expression in the Scripture, is of great importance, and much wisdom, much acquaintance with the mind of God, may be attained by a due consideration thereof. And a double relation unto this house doth he ascribe unto him, which are the principal relations that attend any house whatever. The first is of a builder, whence he takes his first argument, verses 3, 4; the other is of an owner, inhabiter, and possessor, whence he takes his second, verses 5, 6. And these are the principal respects of any house: without the first, it is not; and without the latter, it is of no use.

    In his first argument, verse 3, the proposition only is expressed, the assumption is included, and the conclusion left unto an obvious inference; for plainly the apostle reasons syllogistically in this case.

    The proposition is this, “He that buildeth the house hath more honor than the house.”

    The assumption included is, “But Christ built the house, and Moses was only of the house, or a part of it: and therefore he had more glory than Moses.”

    That this assumption is included in the words is evident both from the necessity of it, to infer the purpose of the apostle, as also from his management of his second argument to the same end, verses 5, 6: for therein the proposition is only supposed, as having been before, for the substance of it, expressed; and the assumption is plainly laid down, as containing the new medium which he insists upon.

    The proposition of the argument in these verses is, ‘A son over his own house is of more honor than a servant in the house of another.’ This is only supposed.

    The assumption is expressed, “But Christ is a son over his own house; Moses was only a servant in another’s house:” whence the conclusion is plain and evident.

    As, then, the proposition in the latter argument is supposed, so is the assumption in the former.

    In the confirmation of the first argument the fourth verse is inserted, “For every house is builded of some; but he that built all things is God.”

    Some say these words are produced in the confirmation of the proposition of the first argument, “He that buildeth the house hath more honor than the house ;” and so, that it is God the Father who is intended in them. For to prove that he who buildeth the house is more honorable than the house, he instanceth in him who is the great builder or creator of all things, even God himself, who is infinitely more glorious than all things built by him; which holds in proportion to all other builders and their buildings. Others say that this is affirmed in confirmation of the minor proposition, namely, that “Christ built the house;” because it being a house, it must be built by some; and being such a house as it is, it could be built by none but him who is God. And these take the Son to be expressed by that name, “God.”

    And some there are who would not have any proof to be intended in these words, but a mere illustration of what was before spoken, by a comparison between Christ and his works about his house, and God and his house in the creation of all; which way the Socinians take. The true intendment of the apostle we hope to evince in the ensuing exposition. “For this [man ] was counted worthy of more glory [was more honorable ] than Moses.” Here lies the proposition that is proposed unto confirmation; wherein two things occur: 1. A supposition, — “that Moses was counted worthy of glory;” 2. An assertion, — “that the Lord Christ was much more worthy of glory.” 1. The apostle grants and supposeth that Moses was ajxiwqei>v do>xhv , “counted worthy of glory;” or “truly glorious and honorable.” Glory is “excellentis virtutis fama cum laude,” — -”the illustrious fame of an excellency with praise.” And in this glory there are two things; — first, an excellency deserving honor; and, secondly, the fame and reputation of that excellency. Where both these concur, there is a person ajxiwqei>v do>xhv , “worthy of glory,” and really honorable. So the glory of God himself consisteth in his essential excellencies, and their manifestation.

    For the first, with respect unto Moses, it consisteth principally in two things: — First, In the work wherein he was employed. The work itself was glorious, and rendered him so who was employed about it. So our apostle declares, 2 Corinthians 3:7, “The ministration of death, written, and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not steadfastly behold the face of Moses, for the glory of his countenance.” It was glorious, and rendered him so; and one part of this ministration is called “the glory,” Romans 9:4. The giving of the law, the erection of the visible church-state in the posterity of Abraham, attended with all that glorious worship which was instituted therein, was a work of exceeding glory. In this work was Moses employed, and that in so high and honorable a manner as to be the sole mediator therein between God and the people, Galatians 3:19; as himself speaketh, Deuteronomy 5:5, “I stood between the LORD and you at that time, to shew you the word of the LORD.” This was his peculiar glory, that God singled him out from amongst all the posterity of Abraham to be thus employed. Secondly, In his fidelity in the discharge of his work and office. This is a singular excellency, which added unto the former dignity makes it complete. It is no glory for a man to be employed in a glorious work and to miscarry therein; it will rather end in his dishonor and reproach: as he in the fable, who would needs drive the chariot of the Sun, which ended in the breaking of his neck. Better never be employed in the work of God, than deal unfaithfully in it. But a glorious trust and great faithfulness therein render the condition of a man really excellent. So was it with Moses, as was declared in the preceding verses. However he might fail personally in his own faith as a believer, he failed not ministerially in his fidelity as the “internuncius” between God and his people; and every personal failing in faith doth not impeach a man’s ministerial fidelity, or faithfulness in his office. In these things was he excellent. It is a thing very glorious, to be faithful in an office committed to us of God.

    Secondly, He had the fame and reputation of these excellencies on a double account: — First, In the testimony that was given him by God himself as to his fidelity in the discharge of his trust. This God gave him during his life, as was showed, and sundry times after his death. This is the great foundation of all his renown. And what greater honor could be done unto any creature, than to be adorned with such an illustrious testimony by God himself?

    Greater honor never had any, but He alone with whom he is compared.

    And thus God gives grace and glory, — grace to be faithful, and glory upon men’s being so. Secondly, He had glory in that honor and esteem which was continued unto him in the church, until the Son himself came. Until that time, the whole church of God was precisely bound unto the observation of the laws and ordinances appointed by him; and thereon did all their happiness in this world and that to come depend. That was the condition of their temporal and eternal welfare. The neglect hereof exposed them unto all misery from God and man. This was the charge that God left on them throughout all their generations: “Remember the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb, for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments,” Malachi 4:4.

    This made his name and remembrance honorable unto the church, and which the sinful abuse of turned afterwards to the snare, temptation, and disadvantage of the incredulous Jews; according to the prophetical imprecation of the psalmist, “Let their table become a snare before them, and that which should have been for their welfare become a trap,” Psalm 69:22: which our apostle declares to have befallen them on their rejection of the gospel, through an obstinate adherence to the letter of the law of Moses, Romans 11:7-10. Yet we may observe, that in all the honor which God gave Moses in the church, he never commanded, he never allowed, that any should worship him or adore him, pray to him or make images of him.

    To give this honor unto saints, angels, or others, is men’s invention, not God’s institution. God knows how to give glory unto his servants without imparting unto them his own, the royalty of his crown: “his glory will he not give unto another,” This, then, was the glory of Moses; and if we shall add hereunto other concernments of him, they will make it the more conspicuous. Such were the care of God over him in his infancy, his miraculous call to his office, the honor he had in the world, the miracles which he wrought, and the signal testimony given him from God, in all the contests about his ministry; and many things of the like nature might be added. But it is the things which appertain unto his office and the discharge of it which are principally intended.

    This, therefore, the apostle grants, that he might not give the least suspicion unto the Hebrews that he would detract from the due praise and honor of Moses, as he was commonly traduced amongst them to do. See Acts 21:28, 25:8. The unbelieving part of them, indeed, boasted of Moses, unto the contempt of the Lord Christ: John 9:29, “We know that God spake unto Moses: as for this fellow, we know not whence he is.” And they generally thought the prevalency of the gospel was derogatory unto his honor and law, Acts 13:45,50. But these things moved not him to deal partially in the truth. He allows unto Moses his due honor and glow, and yet asserts the excellency of Christ above him, showing evidently the consistency of these things, as there neither is nor can be any opposition or contrariety between any ordinances or institutions of God. And we may hence observe, — I. Every one who is employed in the service of God in his house, and is faithful in the discharge of his work and trust therein, is worthy of honor: so was Moses.

    It becometh neither the greatness nor goodness of God that it should be otherwise. And he hath established it by an everlasting law. “Them that honor me,” saith he, “I will honor; and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed,” 1 Samuel 2:30. The honoring of God in the service of his house is that which, by this unalterable edict for its being honored, is ratified and confirmed. They who therein honor God shall be honored, for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it. They are honorable; for, — First, Their work is so. Reputation, glory, and honor, attend honorable works. This work is God’s. The church is “God’s husbandry, God’s building,” 1 Corinthians 3:9. They have a great work in hand, God’s work; and have a glorious sunergo>v , or “associate,” even God himself.

    God so works by them as that also he works with them, and they are sunergoi< Qeou~ , — “laborers together with God.” They work also in the name and on the behalf of God, 2 Corinthians 5:20. Whatever glory and honor, then, can possibly redound unto any from the nature of the work wherein they are employed, it all belongs to them. Hence the apostle commands that we should “esteem such very highly in love for their work’s sake,” 1 Thessalonians 5:13. Their work makes them worthy of estimation, yea, of “double honor,” 1 Timothy 5:17. What that is in particular, it may be, is uncertain; but it is certain that not an ordinary honor, not a common respect or esteem, but that which is double, or abounding, is intended.

    Secondly, Honor is reflected upon them from him who goes before them in their work, and their especial relation unto him. This is Jesus Christ, the great builder of the church. Are they pastors or shepherds? — he is the ejpi>skopov tw~n yucw~n , “the bishop of souls,” 1 Peter 2:25; and the ajrcipoimh>n , “the chief” (or “prince”) of those shepherds, chapter 5:4.

    And to be associated with Christ in his work, to share in office under him, will appear at length to have been honorable. The queen of Sheba counted them happy and blessed who were servants unto Solomon, and stood before him, 2 Chronicles 9:7; and what are they who stand before him who is infinitely greater and wiser than Solomon! The Lord help poor ministers to believe their relation unto the Lord Christ, and his engagement with them in their work, that they may be supported against those innumerable discouragements that they meet withal!

    Thirdly, The especial nature of their work and employment is another spring of honor unto them. It lies about things holy, spiritual, mysterious, and more excellent than all the things of this world. It is their work to discover and to bring forth to light “unsearchable riches,” Ephesians 3:8; to reveal and to declare “all the counsel of God,” Acts 20:27; to prepare and make ready the bride for the Lamb; to gather in God’s revenue of glory, etc.

    Fourthly, The effects of their work do also communicate honor unto them.

    They are such, they are all those things whereon depends all the glory of God in the concernments of the souls of men unto eternity. The ministry of the word is that alone whereby God ordinarily will treat with the souls of men, the means that he will make use of for their conviction, conversion, sanctification, and salvation. These things depend, therefore, on this work of theirs, and are effects of it. And in them will the glory of God be principally concerned unto eternity; in them will his goodness, righteousness, grace, mercy, patience, and all the other excellencies of his nature, shine forth in glory. All of them appear in his dealings with the souls of men by his word.

    Fifthly, Their especial honor will one day appear in their especial reward: Daniel 12:3, µyliyKic]Mæhæ , “instructors,” “teachers,” they that make men wise, that give them understanding, “shall shine as the brightness of the firmament;” µyBir;h; yqeyDx]mæW, “and the justifiers of many,” those that make them righteous ministerially, by revealing unto them the knowledge and righteousness of Christ, whereby they are justified, Isaiah 53:11, “as the stars for ever and ever.” If they have not more glory than others, yet they shall have a distinct glory of their own; for when the prince of shepherds shall be manifested, he will give unto these his shepherds ajmara>ntinon th~v do>xhv ste>fanon , 1 Peter 5:4, — such a peculiar crown as great triumphant conquerors were wont to be crowned withal.

    Only it must be observed, that there is nothing of all this spoken merely with respect unto being employed one way or other, really or in pretense, in this house of God, but only unto a faithfulness in the discharge of the trust committed unto them who are so employed. Moses was worthy of honor, not because he was employed, but because he was “faithful” in his trust and employment. The twelve spies that were sent into Canaan, to search the land, were all equally commissionated and employed; but two of them only were esteemed worthy of honor, the rest died in their sin, as not faithfully discharging their trust, but bringing up an evil report on the land of promise, — as many do on the house of God, by one means or other, who are employed in the service of it. And these are so far from being worthy of honor, that they deserve nothing but reproach, contempt, and shame; for as God says in this matter, “He that honoreth me, I will honor;” so he adds, “and he that despiseth me shall be lightly esteemed.”

    Such persons are rejected of God from any acceptance in their office, Hosea 4:6; and as unsavory salt unto the house itself, are to be cast out on the dunghill, Matthew 5:13. They are servants whom, when their Lord comes, he will tear in pieces, and give them their portion with hypocrites, Matthew 24:50,51. Persons, therefore, who undertake to be builders in the house of God, who have received no skill or ability from the master-builder, or are negligent in their work, or corrupt it, or daub with untempered mortar, or are any way unfaithful, whatever double or treble advantage they may obtain from men in this world, they shall have nothing but shame and confusion of face from God in that which is to come.

    Let, then, those who are indeed faithful in this work be satisfied with the work itself. It will prove in the end to have been a good revenue, a blessed inheritance. Add but that reward which the Lord Christ brings with him unto the reward of honor that is in the work itself, and it will be abundantly satisfactory. We dishonor our master, and manifest that we understand not much of our work, when we are solicitous about any other recompence.

    And this also will serve to strengthen such persons in all the oppositions they meet withal, and all the discouragements they are encompassed with in the discharge of their duty. It is enough to give them a holy contempt and scorn of the worst that can befall them. And this also may teach others their duty towards them; which for the most part they are unwilling to hear, and more unwilling to practice. 2. Let us now return to consider what is positively affirmed in this assertion, with the proof of it. “This man,” ou+tov , a demonstrative pronoun, denoting the person treated of. It is rendered “this man,” but it respects him not merely as man, but directs to his person, God and man, as he is expressly called God in the next verse, as we shall show. “Was counted worthy of more glory,” — much more glory. Do>xhv plei>onov para< Mwush~n . See the explication of the words. Speaking of the ministry of Christ and of Moses, 2 Corinthians 3:10, he saith, “For even that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth.” So doth the manner of the expression here used intimate the glory of Christ to be so far above the glory of Moses that in comparison thereof it might even seem to be “no glory.” “Accounted worthy,” — more honored, had more glory from God, and in the church was more glorious.

    And this glory, although it did attend the person of Christ, yet it is not that which is due unto him upon the account of his person (as afterwards shall be more fully declared), but that which belongs to him in his office, the office which he discharged towards the church (wherein alone he is to be compared with Moses, for in his person he was before exalted above all); which yet is such as none could discharge but he whose person was so excellent, as he declares, verse 4. This the apostle positively asserts, and then proceeds to the proof of it in the next words. His way of proof is, as I observed, syllogistical, wherein the proposition is expressed, “That he who builds a house is of more honor than the house built.” The assumption is supposed and included, “But Christ built the house; Moses was only a part of it.” The force of which argument will appear in our opening of the words.

    The glory of Christ intended the apostle sets forth under the metaphorical terms of a house, its building, and builder. The occasion of this metaphor he takes (as was said) from the foregoing testimony, wherein it is affirmed that “Moses was faithful in the house of God.” A house is either natural, — that is, a family or a household, the children of one parent, that is built by them (as ˆBe , “a son,” is from hn;B;’ , “to build;” so Ruth 4:11, “The LORD make the woman that is come into thy house like Rachel and like Leah, WnB; rç,a\ laer;c]yi tyBeAta, µh,yTev] ,” — “which two built” (“childed”) “the house of Israel”); or artificial, — a building by men for a habitation, as every such house is built by some. And in an allusion thereunto, there is a house that is moral and spiritual, or a mystical habitation, namely, for God himself. Such is the church of God said to be, Ephesians 2:20-22, 1 Timothy 3:15, 2 Timothy 2:20, 1 Peter 2:5; partly by a general allusion unto any house for habitation, partly with particular respect to the temple, that was called the “house of God” under the old testament. The metaphor used by the apostle in this place respects an artificial house, and the things spoken do primarily belong thereunto.

    The application that he makes is unto a spiritual house, — the house of God wherein he will dwell; and thereunto also do the things that are spoken properly appertain. Herein, then, lies the design and force of the apostle’s discourse; the church of God, with all the ordinances of worship in it, is a house, the house of God, as appears in the foregoing testimony.

    Now, as to honor and glory, this is the condition of a house, that he who builds it is much more honorable than the house itself. But this house of God was built by Jesus Christ, whereas Moses was only a part of the house itself, and so no way to be compared in honor and glory with him that built it.

    Both parts of this discourse are obnoxious to some difficulty, the removal whereof will further clear up the sense of the words and meaning of the Holy Ghost.

    First, then, ‘It doth not appear that the proposition laid down by the apostle is universally true in all cases, namely, that he who builds the house is always more honorable than the house, which yet is the foundation of the apostle’s inference in this verse; for Solomon built the temple, yet the temple was far more glorious than Solomon. I do not speak in respect of their essence and being, — for so an intellectual, rational creature is to be preferred above any artificial building whatever, — but in respect of their use in the church of God; and so the temple far excelled Solomon, its builder.’

    I answer, This may so fall out where one builds a house by the authority of another, and for his use, so that it is not his own house when it is built.

    But when one builds a house by his own authority, for his own use, whereby it becomes his own house, and wholly at his own disposal, then he is always more honorable than the house itself. And so is it in this matter. Solomon indeed built the temple, but upon the command and authority of God; he built it as a servant; it was never his in possession, or for his use, to dwell in or dispose of. On all accounts it was another’s. It was the house of God, built by his command, for himself to dwell in. It is no wonder, then, if it were more honorable than Solomon. But things are quite otherwise in the building intended. Christ built his house by his own authority, for his own use, for himself to dwell in. And in such cases the proposition is universally true. And this appears so clearly from the nature of the thing itself that it needs no further confirmation.

    Secondly, ‘For the proof of the apostle’s intention, it is supposed in the assumption that Moses was not the builder of the house of God, but only a part of it; for without that supposition, the assertion of Christ’s being preferred above him as the builder is not confirmed. But the contrary hereunto seems to be true, namely, that Moses was a principal builder of the house of God, at least of the house under the old testament. Paul, upon the account of his preaching the gospel, fears not to term himself “a wise master-builder,” 1 Corinthians 3:10; and shall not at least the same honor be allowed unto Moses? for what was wanting to render him a builder? There were two principal parts of that house of God wherein his ministry was used ; — first, the place and seat of the worship of God, or the tabernacle, with all its glorious utensils and appurtenances; secondly, the ordinances and institutions of worship to be celebrated therein. Of these two that house of God seemed to consist; and they are often so called. And was not Moses the principal builder of both? For the tabernacle and the furniture of it, he received its pattern from God, and gave direction for its building unto the utmost pins, like a wise masterbuilder.

    And, secondly, for the ordinances and institutions of worship, they were wholly of his appointment. He received them, indeed, by revelation from God, and so God spake in him, as he did afterwards in the Son, Hebrews 1:1; but he prescribed them unto the church, on which account they are called “The law of Moses.” So that he seems not to have been a part of the house, but plainly the builder of it.’

    Ans. To remove this difficulty, we must consider both what house it is that the apostle intends, and also what manner of building of it, in the application of his metaphor.

    First, For the house of God in this place, the apostle doth not intend by it the house of this or that particular age, under this or that form or administration of worship, but the house of God in all ages and places, from the foundation of the world unto the end thereof: for as this is evident from what he insists on in the next verse in confirmation hereof, namely, that “he that built all things is God, so it was not sufficient unto the purpose of the apostle to declare that Christ was a builder, and Moses the part of a house, unless he manifested he was so; that is, a part of the house that Christ built. Now, of this house Moses unquestionably was not the builder, but only a part of it, and employed in the ministry of it in one age or season alone.

    Secondly, The building of the house, as to the manner of it, is either ministerial or autocratorical. In the first way, every one who labors by God’s appointment, in the dispensation of the word or otherwise, for the edification of the church, is a builder, a ministerial builder; and those who are employed in that work in an especial and eminent manner, as the apostles were, may be said to be master-builders. And so was Moses in the house of God. But it is a building in the other way and manner that is intended by the apostle, a building with supreme power, and for the builder’s own use.

    Having cleared and vindicated the argument of the apostle in this third verse, our next work is to explain and confirm the severals of his assertion, partly expressed, and partly included therein. And they are these: — 1. That Christ built the church, or the house of God. 2. That he was worthy of glory and honor on that account, and had them accordingly. 3. That this his glory and honor was incomparably greater than that of Moses. 1. Unto the building of the house of God, three things are required: — First, The giving out the design, platform, and pattern of it, in its laws, ordinances, and institutions, that it may answer the end whereunto it is designed. This is the tynib]Tæ , the tu>pov or ejktu>pwma , the “effigiation” or “delineation” of the house. Secondly, The preparing and fitting of the materials of it, and the compacting of them together, that they may grow up unto a house, a holy temple, a habitation for God; and this is properly ˆy;n]Bihæ , or oijkodomh> , the “building of the house.” Thirdly, The solemn entrance of the presence of God into it, for its appropriation, dedication, and sanctification unto God, hk;nuj\ . These three things concurred in both the old typical houses, the tabernacle of Moses and the temple of Solomon.

    The first thing was, that the pattern was prepared and showed unto Moses in the mount: Exodus 25:8,9, “Make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them. According to all that I shew thee, the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make its” And verse 40, “Look that thou make them after the pattern, which thou wast caused to see in the mount.” God had caused Moses to see tynib]Tæ , “a similitude,” a “representation” of the house which he would have built, and also the things that belonged thereunto. This our apostle calls tu>pov , Hebrews 8:5, “an express image” of it; which contained not only the material fabric, but also the laws, ordinances, and institutions of the worship of God belonging thereunto, for all these did God show and declare unto Moses in the mount, as is expressed in the story. Secondly, Upon this Moses prepared all the materials fit for that fabric by the freewill offerings of the people; and, by the skill of Bezaleel and Aholiab, compacted, fitted, and reared up a house, a tabernacle, or a sanctuary. See Exodus 35-40. Thirdly, The glorious presence of the Lord entered into the tabernacle so erected, and God dwelt there: Exodus 40:34, “Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.”

    God came, and in a wonderful manner took possession of this his house.

    So it was also in the preparation and building of the temple: — First, The pattern of it, of the whole fabric, and all the orders, ordinances, and worship of it, was given and showed unto David, who delivered it unto Solomon, his son. So he concludes the account that he gave of all the particular concernments of these things: 1 Chronicles 28:19, “All this, said David, the LORD made me understand in writing by his hand upon me, even all the works of this pattern.”

    Secondly, Solomon prepared materials in abundance, and by the skill of Hiram framed them into a house, and all the holy utensils of it, as is at large expressed in the story. Thirdly, The temple being erected, the glorious presence of God entered there-into, to appropriate, dedicate, and sanctify it unto God: 1 Kings 8:10,11, “And it came to pass, when the priests were come out of the holy place, that the cloud filled the house of the LORD, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud: for the glory of the LORD had filled the house of the LORD.”

    It is evident, then, that these three things are required to the building of the house of God, whereof these material fabrics were a type and representation. And all these were perfectly effected by Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I have said before, that it is not the house or church of this or that age, place, or generation, that is intended in this expression, but the church of God in all ages and places from first to last, I confess the principal instance of this work is in the church of the new testament, whose foundation in himself and erection on himself he did so expressly and particularly undertake. “On this rock,” saith he, “I will build my church,” Matthew 16:18; — the stable rock of faith in himself as the eternal Son of God, and as designed to the great work of God in glorifying himself among sinners. This work of building the house of God was always, from the beginning, performed by himself. The first thing required unto it may be considered two ways: — First, as to the delineation or forming of this house in his own eternal mind, as the Son and Wisdom of the Father. He was in the eternal counsels of the Father about the providing and framing of this habitation for himself. God from all eternity had laid the plot and design of this great fabric and all the concernments of it in the idea of his own mind. And there it was hid, even from all the angels in heaven, until its actual rearing, until the event, Ephesians 3:9-11. This design and purpose of his “he purposed in Christ Jesus;” — that is, this counsel of God, even of Father and Son, Proverbs 8:31,32, was to be accomplished in and by him. And this glorious pattern he had in his mind in all ages, and brought with him into the world when he came to put the last hand unto it. This answered the tynib]Tæ or idea represented to Moses in the mount. He expressed this conception of his mind, when he gave out laws, rules, orders, ordinances, institutions of worship, the whole pattern of the house, as it was in divers manners and at sundry seasons to be erected. I have in the Prolegomena unto the first part of these discourses abundantly manifested that it was the Son who, from the foundation of the world, immediately in his own person transacted the affairs of God with men. Thither I refer the reader. He it was that walked in the garden when Adam had sinned, and gave the first promise unto him; which proved the foundation of the house of God in after ages. He it was that was with the people in the wilderness, which gave them their laws and statutes in Horeb, and so built autocratically the house of God. And for the church of the new testament, when he immediately and visibly transacted all the affairs of the kingdom of God, it is most apparent he spake with and instructed his disciples in all things pertaining to the kingdom of God, Acts 1:3, — that is, of the house. And as God commanded Moses that he should make all things according to the pattern showed him in the mount, so Christ requires of his disciples that they should teach men to do and observe all things whatever he commanded, Matthew 28:20; which is therefore all that belongs unto the house of God.

    Secondly, The second thing required unto the building of this house is the providing of materials, and the framing and compacting of them into a house for God. Now this was a great work indeed, especially considering the condition of all those persons whereof this house was to be constituted. They were dead in trespasses and sins, and the house was to be a living house, 1 Peter 2:5. They were all enemies to God, strangers from him, and under his curse; and the house was to be made up of the friends of God, and such as he might delight to dwell with and among.

    They were dead stones, and the house was to be built of the children of Abraham. This, then, was a great and glorious work, and which none could preform but he that was unspeakably more honorable than Moses or all the sons of men. The particulars of this work are many and great; I shall briefly reduce them into four heads, such as were resembled and represented in the building of the tabernacle by Moses: — First, then, Moses gathered the materials of the tabernacle by a free-will offering from among the people: Exodus 35:4,5, “And Moses spake unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, saying, This is the thing which the LORD commanded, saying, Take ye from among you an offering unto the LORD: whosoever is of a willing heart, let him bring it, an offering of the LORD.”

    By this means, without force, or compulsion, or imposition, were the materials of the tabernacle brought in. And so also doth the Lord Christ provide for the building of the church. He doth not gather men by force or violence, or drive them together into the profession of the truth with the sword, as Mohammed and the Pope do to their idols; but he invites none, receives none, admits of none, but those that willingly offer themselves.

    Such as come unto him, and give up themselves to the Lord, and to the officers of his house, by the will of God, he admits, and no other, Corinthians 8:5; Romans 12:1. And herein he puts forth the greatness of his power, in giving them this will of coming; for they have it not in nor of themselves, but he makes them “willing in the day of his power,” <19B003> Psalm 110:3. And this work we could manifest to be great and glorious, might we insist on the particulars of it. Secondly, The materials of the tabernacle being freely offered, were wisely framed and compacted together, and fashioned into a sanctuary for a habitation of the Lord. This was the work of Bezaleel and Aholiab, by art, wisdom, and skill. But the fashioning of the real spiritual house of God by Christ in all ages is a thing full of mysterious wisdom and holiness. The apostle expresseth it in sundry places; we may touch on some of them: Ephesians 2:20-22, “Jesus Christ himself is the chief corner-stone; in whom all the building, fitly framed together, groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: in whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.”

    The living stones being brought together by their own willing offering themselves to the Lord, they are by him (as the tabernacle of old) fitly framed together into a holy temple or habitation for God. How this is done, as he says in general that it is by the Spirit, so he particularly declares, chapter 4:15, 16, “Growing up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ; from whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.”

    And he expresseth it again to the same purpose, Colossians 2:19. There are various allusions in the words, both unto an artificial house and unto the natural body of a man. The sum is, that in Christ, the head of this body, the lord and builder of this house, there is resident a Spirit of life, which by him is communicated to every stone of the house, which gives it life, usefulness, union unto the head or lord of the body or house, as also order and beauty in reference unto the whole; that is, being all alike united unto Christ, and acted in their places and order by one Spirit, they become one house unto God. In brief, the compacting and uniting of the materials of this house is twofold; — first, physical and living; secondly, legal or moral. The former is, as was said, by the communication of the same Spirit of life unto them all which is in Christ their head, so that they are all animated and acted by the same Spirit. The latter is their regular disposition into beautifully-ordered societies, according to the rules and laws of the gospel. Thirdly, That the house so built and compacted might be a habitation unto God, it was necessary that an atonement should be made for it by sacrifice, and that it should be purified and sanctified with the blood thereof. This our apostle declares, Hebrews 9:19-21: “For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and of goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book and all the people, saying, This is the blood of the testament which God hath enjoined unto you. Moreover, he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry.”

    This also was Christ to do in the building of his church, as the apostle in the same place declares. He was to make atonement for it by the sacrifice of himself, and to sprinkle it wholly with his own blood, that both an atonement might be made for it, and likewise that it might be cleansed, sanctified, and dedicated unto God; which part of his work in building his house the Scripture most largely insists upon. Fourthly, The tabernacle being erected, and sprinkled with blood, it was also with all its utensils to be anointed with the holy oil; and it was so accordingly, Exodus 40:9,10. “Thou shalt,” saith God, “take the anointing oil, and anoint the tabernacle, and all that is therein, and shalt hallow it, and all the vessels thereof: and it shall be holy. And thou shalt anoint the altar of the burnt-offering, and all his vessels, and sanctify the altar: and it shall be an altar most holy.”

    That this unction was a type of the Holy Ghost is known; he is the “oil of gladness” wherewith Christ himself and all his were to be anointed. This, therefore, the Lord Christ in an especial manner takes care for in the building of his house, namely, to have it anointed by the Holy Ghost. This he promised unto them, John 16:7; and this he performeth accordingly, 1 John 2:27. This unction, with all the blessed and glorious effects of it, doth the Lord Christ grant unto this whole house of his. And these are the heads of some of the principal actings of Christ in the building of the house of God; all which are done by him effectually, and by him alone.

    Lastly, Unto the completing of this house for a habitation to the Lord, the glorious entrance of his presence into it was required. And this also is accomplished by him, according to his promise that he will be with us, among us, and dwell in us by his Spirit, unto the end of the world, Matthew 28:20, 1 Corinthians 3:16, 2 Corinthians 6:16, Ephesians 2:19-22.

    And so we have briefly demonstrated the first thing expressed in the words, namely, that Christ was the builder of the house, whereof Moses was a part and a member only. 2. The second thing asserted is, that the Lord Christ is worthy of all glory and honor, upon the account of his thus building his church, the house of God.

    This also is directly taught by the apostle, and included in the comparison that he makes of him with Moses, and his preference above him. He is worthy of much more glory and honor than Moses. What glory it is that the apostle intends we must first inquire; and then show both that he is worthy of it and also hath it; which things comprise what remains of the apostle’s intention in this first argument.

    First, The Lord Christ hath an essential glory, the same with that of the Father. This he had from eternity, antecedent unto his whole undertaking of building the house of God. He and his Father are ONE, John 10:30.

    Before his humiliation “he was in the form of God, and counted it not robbery to be equal with God,” Philippians 2:6, — equal in dignity and glory, because of the same nature with him, which is the fountain of all divine glory and honor. This is “the glory which he had with the Father before the world was;” which being clouded for a season, in his taking on him “the form of a servant,” Philippians 2:7, he desires the manifestation of again, upon the accomplishment of his work in this world, John 17:5, Romans 1:3,4. But this is not the glory intended; for the reason and cause of it is not his building the house of God, but his divine nature, from which it is absolutely inseparable. Had this house never been built, yet he would have been thus glorious to eternity.

    Secondly, There is in Christ the glory and honor of the human nature, as glorified after its obedience and suffering. This nature was rendered glorious by virtue of its union with the Son of God from his incarnation, as it is expressed by the angel, Luke 1:35: “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee; therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.”

    But it received an inconceivable addition of glory, when, being made spiritual and heavenly, and every way glorified beyond what the understanding of man can reach unto (for whereas “our vile bodies shall be made like unto his glorious body,” or we shall be made like unto him, “it doth not appear,” is not conceivable, “what we shall be,” 1 John 3:2), it was received triumphantly into heaven, Acts 1:9, there to continue “until the times of the restitution of all things,” chapter 3:21. Neither is this, as absolutely considered, the glory and honor here intended; for this glory is not merely that which he hath in himself, but that which is due to him from and given to him by the church.

    Thirdly, There is the honor and glory which he hath received in his exaltation as the head of the church. What this glory is, and wherein it doth consist, or what are the effects of his exaltation, have been at large declared on chapter 1:2, 3, etc. See Matthew 28:18, Ephesians 1:20-22, Colossians 1:15-18. In this last place, both the nature and reason and consequents of it are expressed. The nature of it is in this, that he is “the first-born of every creature,” verse 15, or lord and heir of the whole creation of God; “the head of the body,” with an absolute pre-eminence in all things, verse 18. And the reason which makes this exaltation reasonable is taken from the dignity of his person absolutely considered, and the infiniteness of his power: for, in his person he is “the image of the invisible God,” verse 15, or “the express image” of the Father, as Hebrews 1:3; and as to his power, “by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth,” verse 16, as is at large declared, John 1:1-3. This made it equal, that having fulfilled the work assigned unto him, mentioned verses 20-22, he should enjoy all the glory and honor insisted on; that is, that after he had built the house of God, he was thus exalted.

    What this glory or honor of Christ is, with respect unto the church or the house built by him, shall be briefly declared, supposing, as was said before, what hath been already taught concerning it on the first chapter.

    And it may be considered, — First, In respect of the collation of it upon him. His glory as the eternal Son of God was and is personal and natural unto him, even as it is unto the Father; for each person being possessed “in solidum” of the same nature, each of them being God by nature, and the same God, they have the same glory. But this glory of Christ, as the builder of the church, as mediator, is consequent unto, and bestowed upon him by the will and actual donation of the Father. By him was he designed unto his work, and from him doth he receive his glory. He “raised him from the dead, and gave him glory,” 1 Peter 1:21: that is, not only rendered him glorious by his resurrection, as he was “declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead,” as Romans 1:4, — that is, made known by that miraculous, divine operation to be the true, real Son of God, and his divine nature thereby manifested; nor only because he was afterwards “received up into glory,” 1 Timothy 3:16, — that is, gloriously and triumphantly in his human nature received into heaven; but because it was his will that glory and honor should be yielded, ascribed, and paid unto him. For so he speaks concerning the whole intellectual creation: as first, for angels, he saith, “Let all the angels of God worship him,” Hebrews 1:6; and for men, “The Father hath committed all judgment unto the Son, that all men should honor the Son, even as they honor the Father,” John 5:22,23. So that this glory and honor is conferred upon the Lord Christ as the builder of the church, by the grant, donation, and will of the Father.

    Secondly, As to the nature of this glory, it consists in this, that he is the object of all divine religious worship, and the principal author of all the laws thereof whereby it is outwardly and solemnly celebrated or performed. Hence there is a twofold duty incumbent on the church in reference to him who is the builder of it, our mediator, Jesus Christ: — 1. That they serve him, trust him, believe in him, obey him with all religious subjection of soul and conscience. Hence saith he, “Ye believe in God, believe also in me,” John 14:1; — ‘Ye believe in God the Father who sent me, believe also in me who am sent, with the same divine faith and confidence.’ Commands and examples unto the same purpose are multiplied in the Scripture, as I have elsewhere shown at large. Jesus Christ, our mediator, God and man, the builder of the church, is the proper object of our religious faith, love, and fear, even as the Father is. In him do we believe, on his name do we ca!l, to him do we subject and commit our souls unto eternity. This glory is due unto him because he built the church,2. The observation of all his commands, laws, and institutions, as the great sovereign Lord over our souls and consciences in all things; for “to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living,” Romans 14:9 ; — supreme Lord over us whilst alive, requiring obedience to all his laws, as a son over his own house; and when we are dead, to raise us again and to bring us unto his judgment-seat, as verses 10,11. And this obedience he gives in command to all his disciples, Matthew 28:20. And in these things consists that peculiar glory which Christ as this builder of the house hath, or is endowed withal Thirdly, Two things may be considered concerning this glory: — 1. What it is that is the formal reason of it, — that which renders him a meet object of the church’s worship, and the church’s worship to be truly divine or religious. 2. What is the principal motive prevailing with us to give him this glory and honor.

    For the first, it is no other but the divine nature. The natural and essential excellencies of the Deity are the formal reason and proper object of all divine worship. We worship the Lord Christ, who is God and man. He is so in one person; and his person who is God and man is the object of that worship. But the formal reason and object of it is the divine nature in that person. Give me leave to say, God himself could not command the Lord Christ to be worshipped with divine religious adoration were he not God by nature, for the thing itself implieth a contradiction. Religious worship is nothing but an assignation of that honor which is due to divine excellencies; namely, to trust, believe, fear, obey, love, and submit unto infinite holiness, goodness, righteousness, power, in the first cause, last end, and sovereign Lord of all. Now, to assign glory proper to divine excellencies, and which receiveth its nature from its object, where divine excellencies are not, is openly contradictory. Besides, God hath said, “I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another,” Isaiah 42:8. He that hath not the name of God, (that is, his nature,) shall not, nor can have this glory, which is to be the object of the worship mentioned. And there are scarcely more gross idolaters in the world than those who profess to worship Christ and to believe in him, in a word, to give him all the glory that is due to God, and yet deny him so to be.

    Now, in our worship of Christ, which is our assignation of glory unto him, he is considered two ways: — (1.) Absolutely, as he is “over all, God blessed for ever,” Romans 9:5. (2.) As he is the mediator between the Father and us. (1.) In the first respect he is the proper and ultimate object of our worship. We believe in him, pray unto him; as Stephen offered his dying prayer unto him in particular. They stoned Stephen, praying or invocating in these words, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit,” Acts 7:59. So are we baptized in his name, and thereby initiated into his service, as our Lord and our God, as Thomas expresseth his confession of him, John 20:28.

    So may we pray unto him directly and distinctly, making his person the ultimate object of our faith, trust, and subjection of soul therein. See Ephesians 5:23-25; 2 Corinthians 5:15; Titus 2:14; Romans 14:9,18. (2.) Consider him in the latter way, as the mediator between the Father and us; so he is the immediate but not the ultimate object of our worship.

    In this sense, “through him we do believe in God, who raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory, that our faith and hope might be in God,” 1 Peter 1:21. He is the means of our faith and hope. By him “we have access by one Spirit unto the Father,” Ephesians 2:18. And according to his command, we ask of God in his name, and for his sake, John 16:23,24,26. And in this sense, in all our worship, internal and external, in our faith, confidence, obedience, and supplications, the Father is considered as the ultimate object of our worship, and the Lord Christ the Son as he who hath procured acceptance for us, who pleads our cause, manageth our affairs, justifies our persons, and prevails for grace and mercy. And this is the most ordinary and standing way of faith in the worship of God. We address ourselves to the Father by Christ the Son as mediator, considering him as vested with his offices in and over the house of God. This the apostle excellently expresseth, Ephesians 3:14-19. However, it is free for us to address our petitions directly unto Christ as he is God, equal with the Father.

    And we may see here the difference that is between our worship of Christ the mediator, and the Papists’ worship of their saints and angels. They go first to their saints, to the blessed Virgin especially. To her they pray; — what to do? To give them grace, mercy, pardon of sins, and salvation.

    This, indeed, many of them have done, and do, and that in a horrible, idolatrous, blasphemous manner. But this they commonly plead, that they only pray to saints that they would pray and intercede with God for them, granting that they may be mediators of intercession, though not of oblation. Well, then, their praying unto saints is one distinct act of worship, whereof the saints are the only object; which, they being mere creatures, is open and express idolatry. But now in our worship of God by Christ, it is the same worship whereby we worship the Father and the Son, the Father in and through the Son; with the same actings of faith and confidence, and by the same invocation, — the one as the object ultimately of our intercession, the other as the mediator of our acceptance. But it will be said, May we not then pray to Christ to pray to the Father for us, which would be a distinct act of religious worship? I answer, — (1.) We have no precedent in Scripture nor warrant for any such address; (2.) It seems not agreeable to the analogy of faith that we should pray unto Christ to discharge his own office faithfully. But this we may do, we may pray unto him distinctly for grace, mercy, pardon, because he is God; and we may pray unto the Father by him, as he is our mediator: which two modes of divine worship are sufficiently revealed in the Scripture. Secondly, Having considered the formal reason of the glory insisted on, we are nextly to inquire after the great motive unto our giving him this glory, that makes him worthy of it, and obligeth us in especial duty to give it unto him. Christ our mediator, God manifested in the flesh, God and man, whole Christ, his divine and human nature in one person, is the object of our religious adoration and worship; and it is just, righteous, equal, that we should constantly and continually worship him, because he hath built the house of God, because of his work of mediation.

    As it is in the first command, so it is in this matter, “I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me,” Exodus 20:2, Declaring himself to be the Lord God, he proposeth the formal reason of all religious worship, and that which makes it indispensably necessary.

    But yet, to stir the people up unto the actual performance of it, he adds that great motive in what he had done for them; — he had brought them out from the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Had he not done so, all worship and honor divine was due unto him; but having done so, it is a strong obligation to bind them to diligence in its observance. So I say it is in this matter. Christ is to be worshipped because he is God, but the great motive hereunto is what he hath done for us in the work of redemption. And unto all that we have said in this matter we have the joint testimony of all the saints and angels of God: Revelation 5:8-13, “And when he had taken the book, the four living creatures and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odors, which are the prayers of saints. And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; and hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth. And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne, and the living creatures, and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing. And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb, for ever and ever.”

    The whole of what we have asserted is here confirmed: for, — (1.) The Lamb here is Jesus Christ the Mediator, the Lamb of God that took away the sins of the world. (2.) The worship and honor ascribed unto him is holy, sacred, and religious, and that from the whole creation. (3.) It is but one and the same worship that is given unto the Lamb and to him that sits upon the throne, even the Father. (4.) The reason hereof and great motive unto it, whence it is said that he is worthy of it, — that is, it is our continual duty to perform it unto him, — is because of the great things he hath done for us in our redemption and salvation; that is, his building of the house of God.

    From what hath been spoken, it is evident in what sense we worship “the man Christ Jesus” with divine honor and worship, even as his human nature, by virtue of personal union, subsisteth in the person of the Son of God, which person is the proper object of our worship.

    To close this matter, here lies a great difference between Christ and Moses, that whereas the work of Moses brought all the honor and glory he had unto his person, and which yet was but an inferior work, the work of a servant or ministerial builder, the person of Christ brought glory and honor unto his work, although it was very excellent and glorious; for he condescended and humbled himself unto it, Philippians 2:6-8. But yet the work being done, is a cause of giving new honor and glory unto his person.

    It remains only that I briefly give the reasons why this building of the house doth render the Lord Christ so worthy of glory and honor. It doth so, — First, Because the work itself was great and glorious. Great works make the authors of them famous and honorable. Hence have been the endeavors of men to eternize their names, to make themselves famous and renowned by their works and buildings. This was one end of that stupendous enterprise of the children of men in the building of Babel; they would build a tower to make themselves a name, Genesis 11:4, — to get them renown and glory. And they have been imitated by their posterity, who in all ages have praised their saying. So Nebuchadnezzar testifieth concerning himself: Daniel 4:30, “Is not this,” saith he, “great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom, by the might of my power, and for the honor of my majesty?” But alas, what poor perishing heaps have been the products of their endeavors! they have all long ago been made a spoil unto time and confusion. When Solomon went about to build a material typical house for God, he tells Hiram, the king of Tyre, in his message unto him, that the house which he built was very great; for, saith he, “Great is our God above all gods,” 2 Chronicles 2:5,6. But he adds moreover, “But who is able to build him an house, seeing the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain him? who am I then, that I should build him an house, save only to burn sacrifice before him;” — ‘The use of this house is, not for God to dwell in, but for us to worship him in. Do not conceive that I am building a temple with such thoughts and apprehensions as the nations build theirs unto their false deities, namely, to confine them to a place and keep them in. The immensity of the nature of our God will admit of no such thing. It is only a place for his service that I intend.’ But now this hath Christ done; he hath built a house for God to dwell in for ever. And this, on many accounts, was a greater work than that of the creation of all things out of nothing. But if from that ancient work of creation was to arise all the glory of God according to the law of nature, how excellent is this honor and glory which ariseth to Jesus Christ, and to God by him, from this new creation, from his forming and creating “new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness!”

    Secondly, It is glorious on all accounts of glory. Glorious in itself: who can set forth, who can express the glory and beauty, the order of this work?

    The tabernacle, with the temple of old, and all their furniture, were exceeding glorious; but yet they and their worship had no glory in comparison of the more excellent glory of this spiritual house, Corinthians 3:10.

    It is glorious in its foundation; which is Christ himself. “Other foundation can no man lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ,” 1 Corinthians 3:11.

    This is the rock on which this house is built, Matthew 16:18. He is laid “in Zion for a foundation, a stone, a tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation,” Isaiah 28:16, — so glorious that when he is brought forth, those concerned in the building shout with crying, “Grace, grace unto it,” Zechariah 4:7. And it is glorious in its superstruction; it is built up of living stones, 1 Peter 2:4; which also are precious and elect, cemented among themselves and wrought into beauty and order by the Spirit of God. It is also glorious in respect of its end; it is built unto the glory of God. This house is the foundation of eternal glory, as being that upon the account whereof God will for ever be glorified. It comes into the place of the whole creation at first, and doubles the revenue of glory unto God. But as unto these things more must be spoken afterwards.

    Our duty is to bear in mind this honor and glory of Christ, as that whereunto he is exalted, that whereof he is every way worthy. And herein our concernment and honor doth lie. For if any one member of the mystical body being honored, all the members rejoice with it, Corinthians 12:26, how much more have all the members cause to rejoice in this unspeakable honor and glory of their head, whence all their honor in particular doth flow! 3. The honor and glory of all that ever were employed, or ever shall so be, 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. He is worthy of more honor than they all. He is the Son, they are servants. He is over the house, they are in it, and parts of it. They are shepherds, but the sheep and the lambs are his. He is the ajrcipoimh>n , the chief or prince of shepherds; all their honor is from him, and if it be not returned unto him, it is utterly lost.

    Verse 4. — “ For every house is builded by some man; but he that built all things is God.”

    In this verse the apostle confirms and illustrates what he had before asserted and proved. Hereunto two things were necessary; for, first, whereas his whole discourse had reference unto the analogy that is between a house and its builder on the one hand, and Christ with his church on the other, — seeing it lies in this, that as the builder is worthy of more honor than the house built by him, so is Christ worthy of more than the whole church or house of God which was built by him, — it was therefore necessary to show that his argument had a real foundation in the things from which the parity of reason insisted on by him did arise. This he doth in the first words, “Every house is builded by some.” Every house whatever hath its builder, between whom and the house there is that respect that he is more honorable than it. This, therefore, holds equally in an artificial house and in an analogical. The respect mentioned is alike in both.

    Secondly, If that building of the house which alone would make good the apostle’s inference and intention (namely, that Christ was more honorable than Moses, because he built the house, Moses was only a part of it), were such as we have described, the building of the church in all ages, who could perform it? to whom must this work belong? Why, saith he, “He who built all things is God.”

    Two things are here to be inquired into; — first, What is intended by the “all things” here mentioned; secondly, Who is intended by “God,” who is said to build them all For the first, ta< pa>nta , “all things,” is put for tau~ta pa>nta , “all these things,” — all the things treated about; which kind of expression is frequent in the Scripture. And therefore Beza well renders the words “haec omnia,” “all these things,” — the whole house, and all the persons that belong unto it, or the parts of it in all ages. And thus is ta< pa>nta constantly restrained to the subject-matter treated of. Besides, the word kataskeua>sav , here used by the apostle, whereby he expressed before the building of the house, plainly declares that it is the same kind of building that he yet treats of, and not the absolute creation of all things, which is nowhere expressed by that word. And this is sufficient to evince what we plead for. This word is nowhere used in the Scripture to express the creation of all things, neither doth it signify to create, but to “prepare” and to “build.” And it is often used in this business of preparing the church or the ways of the worship of God. See Matthew 11:10; Luke 1:17, 7:27; Hebrews 9:2,6. So that there can be no pretense of applying it to the creation of the world in this place. Again, the making of all things, or the first creation, doth not belong unto his purpose; but the mention of it would disturb the series of his discourse, and render it equivocal. There is neither reason for it in his design, nor place for it in his discourse, nor any thing in it to his purpose.

    Secondly, Who is here intended by the name “God.” The words may be so understood as to signify either that God made or built all these things, or, that he who made and built all these things is God; the first sense making God the subject, the latter the predicate of the proposition. But as to our purpose they amount unto the same; for if he who made them is God, his making of them declares him so to be. And it is the Lord Christ who is intended in this expression; for, — First, If God absolutely, or God the Father, be intended, then by “the building of all things” the creation of the world is designed; so they all grant who are of that opinion: but that this is not so we have already demonstrated from the words themselves. Secondly, The introduction of God absolutely, and his building of all things, in this place, is no way subservient unto the purpose of the apostle; for what light or evidence doth this contribute unto his principal assertion, namely, that the Lord Christ was more honorable than Moses, and that upon the account of his building the house of God, the confirmation whereof he doth in these words expressly design. Thirdly, It is contrary to his purpose; for whereas he doth not prove the Lord Christ to be deservedly preferred above Moses, unless he manifest that by his own power he built the house of God in such a manner as Moses was not employed in, according to this interpretation of the words, he here assigns the principal building of the house unto another, even the Father, and so overthrows what he had before asserted.

    This, then, is that which by these words the apostle intends to declare, namely, the ground and reason whence it is that the house was or could be in that glorious manner built by Christ, even because he is God, and so able to effect it; and by this effect of his power he is manifested so to be.

    Verses 5, 6. — “ And Moses verily [was ] faithful in all his house, as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were [after ] to be spoken; but Christ [was faithful ] as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.”

    The apostle in these words proceedeth unto another argument to the same purpose with the former, consisting in a comparison between Christ and Moses in reference unto their relation to the house of God when built. In the building they were both faithful, Christ as the chief builder, Moses as a principal part of the house, ministerially also employed in the building of it. The house being built, they are both faithful towards it in their several relations unto it; — Moses as a servant in the house of God; Christ as a Son over his own house; his own because he built it.

    The Vulgar Latin reads also in the latter place, “in the house,” ejn tw~| oi]kw| for ejpi< toover the house.”

    Some by aujtou~ would have God the Father to be intended, “over his house,” “the house of God.” But the other sense, “his own house,” is evidently intended. Having built the house, and being.the Son or lord over it, it becomes his own house.

    As to Moses, there are in the words, — 1. His relation to the house of God, which was that of a “servant;” 2. The end of his ministry, “For a testimony of those things which were [after] to be spoken.”

    In reference unto the Lord Christ, — 1. His relation to the house is asserted to be that of “a son,” or lord “over the house.” 2. An implication of his faithfulness in that relation, “But Christ as a son;” that is, ‘was faithful as a son.’ 3. A declaration of the state and condition of that house over which as a son he presides, with an application of the things spoken unto the faith and obedience of the Hebrews, “Whose house are we, if we hold fast,” etc.

    The argument of the apostle in these words is obvious: ‘The son faithful over his own house is more glorious and honorable than a servant that is faithful in the house of his lord and master; but Christ was thus a son over the house, Moses only a servant in it.’

    There is one difficulty in the terms of this argument, which must be removed before we enter upon the explication of the words in particular; and this lies in the opposition that is here made between a son and a servant, on which the stress of it doth lie. For Moses was not so a servant but that he was also a child, a son of God; and the Lord Christ was not so a son but that he was also the servant of the Father in his work, and is in the Scripture often so called, and accordingly he constantly professed that as he was sent by the Father, so he came to do his will and not his own. Ans. First, The comparison here made is not between the persons of Christ and Moses absolutely, but with respect unto their relation unto the church or house of God in their offices. M oses was indeed a son of God by adoption (for “the adoption” belonged unto believers under the old testament, Romans 9:4); he was so in his own person; but he was not a son in reference unto the house, but a servant by his office, and no more.

    And the Lord Christ, who was the Son of God upon a more glorious account, even that of his eternal generation, is not here thence said to be a son, he is not as such here spoken of, but as one that had the rule as a son over the house.

    Secondly, It is true, Christ was the servant of the Father in his work, but he was more than so also. Moses was in the house a servant, and no more.

    The Lord Christ was so a servant as that he was also the son, lord, and heir of all. And this, as to the equity of it, is founded originally in the dignity of his person, for he is “over all, God blessed for ever,” Romans 9:5. He was God and Lord by nature, a servant by condescension; and therefore made a son or lord by the Father’s constitution, as our apostle declares at large, Philippians 2:6-9. This, then, is the economy of this matter: being in himself God over all, he became by voluntary condescension, in the susception of human nature, the servant of the Father; and upon the doing of his will, he had the honor given him of being the son, head, and lord over the whole house. So that no scruple can hence arise against the force of the apostle’s argument.

    Two things are in general contained in the words, as they report the relation of Moses to the house of God, — 1. His ministry, 2.The end of that ministry, as was observed. 1. “Moses verily was faithful as a servant in his whole house.” The office ascribed unto him is that of a servant, a servant of God and of the people; zera>pwn , a “servant,” “minister,” or “officer” “in sacris,” in things belonging to religious worship. This was his place, office, dignity, and honor. And this is accompanied with a threefold amplification: — (1.) In that he was “faithful” in his service; which wherein it consisted hath been declared. (2.) In that he was a servant in the house of God; not in the world only, and in compliance with the works of his providence (as all things serve the will of God, and wicked men, as Cyrus and Nebuchadnezzar, are called his servants), but “in his house,” — in that service which is of nearest relation and of greatest concernment unto him. It is an honor to serve the will of God in any duty, but in those especially which concern his house and his worship therein. (3.) In that he was not thus employed and thus faithful in this or that part of the house of God, in this or that service of it, but “in all his house” and all the concernments of it, Herein was he differenced from all others whom God used in the service of his house under the old testament. One was employed in one part of it, another in another; — one to teach or instruct it, another to reform or restore it; one to renew a neglected ordinance, another to give a new instruction: none but he was used in the service of the whole house. All things, for the use of all ages, until the time of reformation should come, were ordered and appointed by him. And these things greatly speak his honor and glory; although, as we shall see, they leave him incomparably inferior to the Lord Christ. 2. “For a testimony of those things which should be spoken after.” The end of the service and ministry of Moses is expressed in these words. It was to be eijv marturi>an “for a testimony.” The word and ordinances of God are often called his “testimony,” that whereby he testifieth and witneaseth his will and pleasure unto the sons of men: tWd[e , “that which God testifieth.” Some therefore think the meaning of the words to be, that Moses in his ministry revealed the testimony of God; and that these words, “Of the things that should be spoken,” are as much as ‘In and by the things that he spake,’ that God would have spoken by him, wherein his testimony did consist. But this exposition of the words is perplexed, and makes a direct coincidence between the testimony and the things spoken, whereas they are distinct in the text, the one being subservient unto the other, the testimony unto the things spoken. Others take “testimony” to be put for a witness, he that was to bear testimony; which it was the duty of Moses to be and to do. He was to be a witness unto the word of God which was given and revealed by him. And both these expositions suppose “the things spoken” to be the things spoken by Moses himself. But neither doth this seem to answer the mind of the Holy Ghost; for, — (1.) This beingtestimony, refers to the whole faithfulness of Moses, which was not confined or restrained unto the things that were spoken, but extended itself unto the whole service of the house wherein he was employed, as well in the building of the tabernacle and institution of ordinances as revealing the will of God in his law. (2.) Lalhqhsome>nwn , respects things future unto what he did in his whole ministry. This our translation rightly observes, rendering it, “The things which were to be spoken after.” And this as well the order of the words as the importance of them doth require. In his ministry he was a testimony, or by what he did in the service of the house he gave testimony. Whereunto? To the things that were afterwards to be spoken, namely, in the fullness of time, the appointed season, by the Messiah, — that is, the things of the gospel. And this, indeed, was the prelect end of all that Moses did or ordered in the house of God.

    This is the importance of the words, and this was the true and proper end of the whole ministry of Moses, wherein his faithfulness was tried and manifested. He ordered all things by God’s direction in the typical worship of the house, so as that it might be a pledge and testimony of what God would afterwards reveal and exhibit in the gospel: for “Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth,” Romans 10:4. And it was revealed unto him, as unto the other prophets, that not unto themselves, but unto us, they did minister in the revelations they made of the things testified unto them by the Spirit of Christ, which was in them, 1 Peter 1:11,12. And whereas it is frequently said that Moses bare witness unto the Lord Christ and the gospel, he did it not so much by direct prophecies and promises of him, as by the whole constitution and ordering of the house of God and all its institutions, especially in the erection of the tabernacle and the appointment of the sacrifices annexed to it: for as the first witnessed and represented the assumption of our human nature by Christ, whereby ejskh>nwsen , “he tabernacled amongst us,” John 1:14, — and therefore after the tabernacle was built, God spake only from thence, Leviticus 1:l, — so did the latter that great sacrifice whereby the Lamb of God took away the sins of the world. Herein was Moses faithful.

    And here the apostle takes his leave of Moses, — he treats not about him any more; and therefore he gives him as it were an honorable burial. He puts this glorious epitaph on his grave, “Moses, a faithful servant of the Lord in his whole house.”

    Ver. 6 . — “But Christ as a son over his own house.” The term “faithful” is here to be repeated, “Was faithful as a son over his own house.” Every word almost proves the pre-eminence asserted. He is a son, Moses a servant; he over the house, Moses in the house; he over his own house, Moses in the house of another.

    In what sense the Lord Christ is said to be the son over his house hath been so fully declared in our exposition of the first chapter, that it need not here be insisted on. Absolute and supreme authority over all persons and things is intended in this expression. All persons belonging unto the house of God are at his disposal, and the institution of the whole worship of it is in his power alone. Which things, as was said, have been already spoken unto. “Whose house are we.” Having confirmed his argument, the apostle returns, after his manner, to make application of it unto the Hebrews, and to improve it for the enforcement of his exhortation unto constancy and perseverance. And herein, first, he makes an explanation of the metaphor which he had insisted on. ‘I have,’ said he, ‘spoken these things of a house and its building; but it is the church, it is ourselves that I intend.’ “Whose house are we.” Secondly, That they might know also, in particular, whom it is that he intends, he adds a further description of them, “If we hold fast our confidence and the glorying of hope unto the end.” “Whose house are we;” that is, believers, who worship him according unto the gospel, are so. And the apostle frequently, both in exhortations and applications of arguments and threatenings, joineth himself with the professing Hebrews, for their direction and encouragement. Now, believers are the house of Christ upon a treble account: — 1. Of their persons. In them he dwells really by his Spirit. Hence are they said to be “living stones,” and on him to be built into a “holy temple,” 1 Peter 2:5. And as such doth he dwell in them, Ephesians 2:20-22, Corinthians 3:16, 2 Corinthians 6:16, John 14:17. 2. Of their being compact together in church-order according to his institution, whereby they are built up, cemented, united, and become a house, like the tabernacle or temple of old, Ephesians 4:16, Colossians 2:19. 3. Of their joint worship performed in that order; wherein and whereby he also dwells among them, or is present with them unto the consummation of all things, Revelation 21:3, Matthew 28:20. “If we hold fast our confidence and the glorying of hope firm unto the end.”

    These words may have a double sense: First, to express the condition on which the truth of the former assertion doth depend: ‘We are his house, but on this condition, that we hold fast,” etc. Secondly, to express a description of the persons who are so the house of Christ, by a limitation and distinction amongst professors, showing that in the former assertion he intends only those who hold fast their confidence firm to the end.

    According unto these several interpretations the words are severally employed. Those who embrace the first sense make use of them to prove a possibility of the falling away of true believers, and that totally and finally, from Christ; for, say they, without the supposition thereof, the words are superfluous and useless. Those who cleave to the latter sense suppose the words irrefragably to confirm the certain permanency in the faith of those who are truly the house of Christ, they being such alone as whose faith hath the adjuncts of permanency and stability annexed unto it.

    For others, whatever they may profess, they are never truly or really the house of Christ; whence it undeniably follows that all true believers do certainly persevere unto the end.

    I shall not here engage into this controversy, having handled it at large elsewhere. Only, as to the first sense contended for, I shall briefly observe, — first, that the supposition urged proves not the inference intended; and, secondly, that the argument from this place is not suited unto the hypothesis of them that make use of it. For, as Paul puts himself among the number of those who are spoken of, whose faith yet none will thence contend to have been liable unto a total failure; so such conditional expressions of gospel-comminations, although they have a peculiar use and efficacy towards believers in the course of their obedience, as manifesting God’s detestation of sin, and the certain connection that there is by God’s eternal law between unbelief and punishment, yet they do not include any assertion that the persons of believers may at any time, all things considered, on the part of God as well as of themselves, actually fall under those penalties, as hath been at large elsewhere evinced. Again, this argument suits not the hypothesis that it is produced in the confirmation of; for if it be the condition of the foregoing assertion, whereon the truth of it doth depend, then are none at present the house of God, but upon a supposition of their perseverance unto the end. But their opinion requires that persons may be really this house by virtue of their present faith and obedience, although they afterwards utterly fall from both, and perish for evermore. This, then, cannot be the sense of the words according to their principles who make use of them for their ends: for they say that men may be the house of Christ although they hold not fast their confidence unto the end; which is directly to contradict the apostle, and to render his exhortation vain and useless.

    The words, therefore, are a description of the persons who are the house of Christ, from a certain effect or adjunct of that faith whereby they become so to be. They are such, and only such, as “hold fast their confidence and glorying of hope firm unto the end,” whereby they are distinguished from temporary professors, who may fall away.

    Two things are observable in the words; — first, what it is that the apostle requires in them that are the house of Christ, namely, “confidence” and “glorying in hope;” secondly, the manner of our retaining them, — we must hold them “fast” and “firm;” whereunto is subjoined the continuance of this duty, — it must be “unto the end.” First, for our “confidence,” most understand by it either faith itself or a fiduciary trust in God, which is an inseparable effect of it. This grace is much commended in the Scripture, and, they say, here intended by our apostle. A reliance they mean, resting and reposing our hearts upon God in Christ, for mercy, grace, and glory; this is our Christian confidence. And the “rejoicing of hope,” is the hope wherein we rejoice. Hope of eternal life, promised by God, purchased by Jesus Christ, and expected by believers, fills them with joy and rejoicing; as Romans 5:5, 1 Peter 1:8.

    These things are true; but whether peculiarly intended in this place by the apostle is questionable, yea, that the words are of another importance, and require another interpretation, is manifest from them and the context. For, — First, The word parjrJhsi>a , translated “confidence,” although it frequently occurs in the New Testament, yet it is never used to signify that fiduciary trust in God which is an effect of faith, and wherein some have thought the nature of it to consist; for, unless where it is used adverbially to signify “openly,” “plainly,” “notoriously,” as it doth always in the Gospel of John (see chapter 18:20), it constantly denotes a freedom, liberty, and constancy of spirit, in speaking or doing any thing towards God or men. See Acts 2:29, 4:13, 29; 2 Corinthians 3:12; Philippians 1:20; 1 Timothy 3:13. And we have before manifested that this is the genuine and native signification of the word.

    Secondly, The “confidence” here intended doth refer unto our “hope” no less than the kau>chma , or “rejoicing,” that followeth. The words are not rightly distinguished when “confidence” is placed distinctly as one thing by itself, and “rejoicing” only is joined with “hope.” And this is evident from the construction of the words; for bezai>an , “firm,” agrees not immediately with ejlpi>dov , “of hope,” which is of another case, nor with kau>chma , “rejoicing,” which is of another gender; but with parjrJhsi>an it agrees in both, and is regulated thereby, which it could not be unless “confidence” were joined with “hope” also, “confidence of hope.”

    Thirdly, Not our hope itself, but the kau>chma , “glorying,” or “rejoicing” in it and of it is intended by the apostle; and therefore no more is our faith in the former expression.

    The genuine sense, then, of these words will best appear from the consideration of the state and condition of the Hebrews, and what it is that the apostle invites and encourageth them unto. This condition, as hath been frequently declared, was a condition of persecution, and danger of backsliding thereon. How, then, are men at such a season usually prevailed upon sinfully to fail and miscarry in their profession? It is not at first by parting directly and openly with faith and hope, but by failing in the fruits of them, and the duties which they require. Now, of that hope which we have concerning a blessed immortality and glory by Jesus Christ, there are two proper effects or duties, or it requires two things of us: — First, A free, bold, and open profession of that truth which our hope is built upon, and that against all dangers and oppositions; for we know that this hope will never make us ashamed, Romans 5:5. This is the parjrJhsi>a th~v ejlpi>dov here mentioned ; — a confident, open, profession of our hope.

    This we are exhorted unto, 1 Peter 3:15, “Be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you.”

    This ejpoimasi>a proan , this promptitude and alacrity in apologizing, avowing, defending, pleading for the grounds of our hope, is the parjrJhsi>a , the “confidence,” or rather “liberty” and “boldness” of profession here intended. Secondly, An open opposing of our hope, or that which is hoped for, unto all difficulties, dangers, and persecutions, with a holy boasting, glorying, or rejoicing in our lot and portion, because the foundation of our hope is sure, and the things we hope for are precious and excellent, and that to the contempt of every thing that riseth against them, is also required of us. This is the kauchma th~v ejlpi>dov intended.

    In these things men are apt to fail in temptations and persecutions; and when any do so faint as that they take off from the confidence of their profession, and when they cannot with joy and satisfaction oppose the foundation and end of their hope unto these dangers, they are near unto backsliding. And these things also are inseparable from that faith whereby we are made the house of Christ; for although they may be intercepted in their acts for a season, by the power of some vigorous temptation, as they were in Peter, yet radically and habitually they are inseparable from faith itself, Romans 10:10.

    These, therefore, are the things which the apostle intends in these words; and by showing them to be indispensable qualifications in them who are the house of Christ, he tacitly persuades the Hebrews to look after and to secure them in themselves, unto the end of his general exhortation before laid down.

    In the last place, the apostle declareth the manner how these things are to be secured: “If we hold fast our confidence firm unto the end.” The duty itself, relating unto the manner of our retaining these things, is to “hold them fast;” the state of them, wherein they are to be retained, is “firm” or “steadfast;” and their duration in that estate is “to the end.”

    The first is expressed by the word kata>scwmen , which signifies a careful, powerful holding any thing to it against opposition. Kate>cein to< plh~qov , is effectually to retain the multitude in obedience when in danger of sedition. And kate>cein , to hold, retain, or keep a place with a guard; as in Latin, “Oppidum praesidio tenere.” Two things, therefore, are represented in this word. First, That great opposition will arise against this duty, against our firmitude and constancy in profession. Secondly, That great care, diligence, and endeavor are to be used in this matter, or we shall fail and miscarry in it. Because of the opposition that is made against them, because of the violence that will be used to wrest them from us, unless we hold them fast, — that is, retain them with care, diligence, and watchfulness, — we shall lose them or be deprived of them.

    Secondly, They are to be kept “firm.” The meaning of this word the apostle explaineth, Hebrews 10:23, “Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering;” bezai>an , that is, ajklinh~ , — without declining from it or shaking in it. It is not enough that we keep and retain, yea, hold fast our profession; but we must keep it up against that uncertainty and fluctuating of mind which are apt to invade and possess unstable persons in a time of trial.

    Thirdly, Herein must we continue “unto the end;” that is, whilst we live in this world, — not for the present season only, but in all future occurrences, until we come unto the end of our faith, or the end of our lives and the salvation of our souls, The observations from these verses ensue: — II. The building of the church is so great and glorious a work as that it could not be effected by any but he who was God. “He that built all things is God.” To him is it ascribed, Acts 20:28,1 John 3: 16. And it requires God to be the builder of it, — First, For the wisdom of its contrivance. When God appointed Bezaleel to the work of building the tabernacle, he says, that he had “filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge,” Exodus 31:3; and none were to be employed in the work with him but such as were “wise-hearted,” and into whom God had put wisdom, verse 6. And yet this was but for the building of an earthly tabernacle, and that not to contrive it, but only to make and erect it according to a pattern which God himself did frame. This they could not do until they were filled with the Spirit of God in wisdom. What, then, must needs be required unto the contrivance of this glorious, mysterious, spiritual, heavenly house of God? Nothing could effect it but infinite wisdom. Yea, “the manifold wisdom of God” was in it, Ephesians 3:10; “all the treasures of his wisdom and knowledge,” Colossians 2:3. In this infinite wisdom of God was the mysterious contrivance of this building hid from the foundation of the world, Ephesians 3:9; and its breaking forth from thence in the revelation of it made in the gospel was accompanied with so much glory that the angels of heaven did earnestly desire to bow down and look into it, 1 Peter 1:12. We have a very dark view of the glories of this building; and where it is mystically represented unto us, as Isaiah 60, Ezekiel 40-48, Revelations 21:22, we may rather admire at it than comprehend its excellency. But when we shall come to see how the foundation of it was laid, at which all the sons of God shouted for joy; how, by the strange and wonderful working of the Spirit of grace, all the stones designed from eternity for the building of this house were quickened and made living in all ages and generations; and how they are, from the beginning of the world unto the end of it, fitly framed together to be a temple unto the Lord; and what is the glory of God’s inhabitation therein, — we shall be satisfied that divine wisdom was required thereunto.

    Secondly, For tke power of its erection. It is the effect of divine power; and that whether we respect the opposition that is made unto it, or the preparing and fitting of the work itself. Those angels who left their first habitation had drawn all the whole creation into a conspiracy against the building of this house of God. Not a person was to be used therein but was engaged in an enmity against this work. And who shall prevail against this opposition? Nothing but divine power could scatter this combination of principalities and powers, and defeat the engagement of the world and the gates of hell against this design. Again, for the work itself; the sins of men were to be expiated, atonement for them was to be made, a price of redemption to be paid; dead sinners were to be quickened, blind eyes to be opened, persons of all sorts to be regenerated; ordinances and institutions of worship for beauty and glory to be erected; supplies of the Spirit at all times, and all ages and places, for its increase in grace and holiness, were to be granted, with other things innumerable; which nothing but divine power could effect. Consider but this one thing, whereas all the parts of this house are subject to dissolution, the persons whereof it consists do and must all die, he that builds this house must be able to raise them all from the dead, or else his whole work about the house itself is lost, Now, who can do this but he that is God? They who think this is the work of a mere man, know nothing of it; indeed, nothing of God, of themselves, of the Spirit of God, of faith, grace, redemption, or reality of the gospel as they ought. It is but a little dark view I can take of the wisdom and power that are laid out in this work, and yet I am not more satisfied that there is a God in heaven than I am that he that built this thing is God. And herein also may we see whence it is that this building goes on notwithstanding all the opposition that is made unto it. Take any one single believer, from the foundation of the world, and consider the opposition that is made, by sin, Satan, and the world, in temptations and persecutions, unto his interest in this house of God, and doth it not appear marvellous that he is so preserved, that he is delivered? How hath it been in this matter with our own souls, if we belong unto this house? That we should be “called out of darkness into marvellous light;” that we should be preserved hitherto, notwithstanding our weakness, faintings, infirmities, falls, sins, etc., — is there not some secret, hidden power that effectually, in ways unknown to us, unperceived by us, puts forth itself in our behalf? Take any particular church in any age, and consider the persons of whom it is composed; — commonly the poor, the weak, the foolish in and of the world, are the matter of it. The entanglements and perplexities that it meets withal from the remainders of its own darkness and unbelief, with the reproach and persecution which for the most part it meets withal in the world, seem enough to root it up, or to overwhelm it every moment, yet it abides firm and stable. Or consider the whole church, with all the individual persons belonging thereunto, and that in all ages, throughout all generations, and think what it requires for its preservation in its inward and outward condition. Divine power shineth forth in all these things. Not one stone of this building is lost or cast to the ground, much less shall ever the whole fabric of it be prevailed against.

    III. 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 parts of the house itself: Verse 5, “Moses verily as a servant.”

    Moses himself, the great lawgiver, was but a servant. And if he were no more, certainly none that followed him under the old testament, being all inferior unto him (seeing there arose not a prophet in Israel like unto him, Deuteronomy 34:10), were in any other condition. So did the principal builders of the church under the new testament declare concerning themselves. “Servants of Jesus Christ,” was their only title of honor; and they professed themselves to be servants of the church for Christ’s sake, 2 Corinthians 4:5. And on that ground did they disclaim all dominion over the faith or worship of the church, as being only “helpers of their joy,” 2 Corinthians 1:24; “not lords over the Lord’s heritage, but ensamples to the flock,” 1 Peter 5:3; — all according to the charge laid upon them by their Lord and Master, Matthew 20:25-27. And this appears, — First, Because no man hath any thing to do in this house but by virtue of commission from him who is the only Lord and Ruler of it. This bespeaks them servants. They are all taken up in the marketplace from amongst the number of common men by the Lord of the vineyard, and sent into it by him. Neither are they sent to rest or sleep there, nor to eat the grapes and fill themselves, much less to tread down and spoil the vines; but to work and labor until the evening, when they shall receive their wages. All things plainly prove them servants; and their commission is recorded, Matthew 28:18-20, which ought carefully to be attended unto.

    Secondly, It is required of them, as servants, to observe and obey the commands of their Lord; and nothing else are they to do, have they to do in his house. It is required of them that they be faithful; and their faithfulness consists in their dispensation of the mysteries of Christ, <460401> Corinthians 4:1, 2. Moses himself, who received such a testimony unto his faithfulness from God, did nothing but what he commanded him, made nothing but according to the pattern showed him in the mount. Nor were the builders under the new testament to teach the church to do or observe any thing in the house of God but what the Lord Christ commanded them, Matthew 28:20. This is the duty of a faithful servant, and not to pretend his own power and authority to ordain things in the house, for its worship and sacred use, not appointed by his Lord and Master. There is a strange spiritual fascination in this matter, or men could not at the same time profess themselves to be servants, and yet not think that their whole duty consists in doing the will of their Lord, but also in giving out commands of their own to be observed. This is the work of lords, and not of servants. And if it be not forbidden them by Christ, I know not what is.

    Thirdly, As servants they are accountable. They must give an account of all that they do in the house of their Lord. This their Master often and solemnly warns them of. See Matthew 24:45-51; Luke 12:42-48. An account he will have of the talents committed to them, — of their own gifts, and of the persons or souls committed to their charge, his sheep; an account of their labor, pains, diligence, and readiness to do and suffer according to his mind and will. An account they must give, Hebrews 13:l7, and that unto the chief Shepherd when he comes, 1 Peter 5:4. It is to be feared that this is not much in some men’s thoughts, who yet are greatly concerned in it. They count their profits, advantages, preferments, wealth; but of the account they are to make at the last day they seem to make no great reckoning. But what do such men think? Are they lords, or servants?

    Have they a Master, or have they not? Are they to do their own wills, or the will of another? Do they fight uncertainly and beat the air, or have they some certain scope and aim before them? If they have, what can it be but how they may give up their account with joy? — joy, if not in the safety of all their flocks, through the sinful neglect and miscarriages of any of them, yet in their own faithfulness, and the testimony of their consciences thereunto.

    Fourthly, As servants they shall have their reward, every one his penny, that which he hath labored for; for although they are but servants, yet they serve a good, just, great, and gracious Lord, who will not forget their labor, but give unto them a crown at his appearance, 1 Peter 5:4.

    See hence the boldness of the “Man of sin” and his accomplices, whose description we have exactly, Matthew 24:48,49, — an “evil servant, who says in his heart that his Lord delayeth his coming, and so smites his fellow-servants, and eats and drinks with the drunken.” He pretends, indeed, to be aSERVANT OF SERVANTS, but under that specious title and show of voluntary humility takes upon him to be an absolute lord over the house of God. There are but two sorts of dominion; — first, that which is internal and spiritual, over the faith, souls, and consciences of men; and then that which is external, over their bodies and estates: and both of these doth he, thisSERVANT OF SERVANTS, usurp in the house of God; and thereby sits in it, making ostentation of himself to be God. And two ways there are whereby supreme dominion in and about things sacred may be exercised; — one by making laws, ordinances, and institutions, religious or divine; the other by corporeal punishments and corrections of them who observe them not: and both these doth he exercise. What the Lord Christ commandeth to be observed in his church, he observeth not, nor suffereth those to do so who would; and what he hath not appointed or commanded, in instances innumerable he enjoineth to be observed. A wicked and evil servant, whose Lord in due time will call him to an account! Is this to be a servant, or a tyrant?

    Others also would do well to ponder the account they are to make. And well is it with them, happy is their condition, whose greatest joy in this world, on solid grounds, is that they are in this work accountable servants.

    IV. The great end of all Mosaical institutions was to represent or prefigure and give testimony unto the grace of the gospel by Jesus Christ.

    To this end was Moses faithful in the house of God, namely, to give testimony unto those things which were afterwards to be spoken. The demonstration of this principle is the main scope of this epistle so far as it is doctrinal, and the consideration of it will occur unto us in so many instances as that we shall not need here to insist on the general assertion.

    V. It is an eminent privilege to be the house of Christ, or a part of that house: “Whose house are we.”

    This the apostle minds the Hebrews of, that a sense of their privilege therein and advantage thereby might prevail with them unto the duties which he presseth them unto. And it is thus an advantage, — First, Because this house is God’s building: 1 Corinthians 3:9, “Ye are God’s building;” — a house that he built, and that in an admirable manner.

    The tabernacle of old was thus far of God’s building that it was built by his appointment, and that according to the pattern that he gave of it unto Moses. But this building is far more glorious: Hebrews 9:11, “A great and perfect tabernacle, not made with hands; that is to say, not of this building.”

    Again; it is so of God’s building that none is employed in a way of authority for the carrying of it on but the Lord Christ alone, the Son and Lord over his own house. And he takes it upon himself: Matthew 16:18, “I will build my church.” But it may be objected, ‘That it is thus also with the whole world. It is the building of God, and was built by the Son, the eternal Word, by whom all things were made, and “without whom was not any thing made that was made,” John 1:2,3. Yea, it was built to be Qeou~ oijkhth>rion , — a habitation for the divine glory, in the providential manifestations of it.’ I answer, All this is true. It is so, and is therefore excellent, and wonderfully sets out the glory of God, as hath been declared in the foregoing chapter. But yet this house whereof we speak on many accounts excelleth the whole fabric of heaven and earth; for, — First, It is not barely a house, but it is a sacred house, a temple, — not an ordinary, but a holy, a dedicated dwelling-place. “Ye are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner-stone; in whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord,” Ephesians 2:20,21. This is God’s mansion, when all other things of the world are let out to farm unto the sons of men. They are cottages for flesh and blood to dwell in; this is God’s place of constant and special residence. Secondly, It is a special kind of temple; not like that built of old by Solomon, of stones, cedar wood, silver, and gold, but it is a spiritual house, 1 Peter 2:5, made up of living stones in a strange and wonderful manner, — a temple not subject to decay, but such as grows continually in every stone that is laid in it, and in the daily new addition of living stones unto it. And although these stones are continually removed, some from the lower rooms in this house in grace, to the higher storeys in glory, yet not one stone of it is, or shall be, lost for ever. Thirdly, The maimer of God’s habitation in this house is peculiar also. He dwelt, indeed, in the tabernacle and temple of old, but how? By sacrifices, carnal ordinances, and some outward appearances of glory. In this house he dwells by his Spirit: “Ye are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit,” Ephesians 2:22; and, “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” Corinthians 3:16. Unspeakable, therefore, is this privilege; and so are the advantages which depend thereon.

    VI. The greatness of this privilege requires an answerableness of duty.

    Because we are this house of God, it becometh us to “hold fast our confidence unto the end.” This is particularly expressed; but the reason is the same unto many other duties which on the account of our being the house of God are incumbent on us; as, — 1. Universal holiness, Psalm 93:5. 2. Especial purity of soul and body, becoming a habitation of the Holy Spirit, 1 Corinthians 3:16,17, 6:19, 20. 3. Endeavors to fill up the place, state, condition, and relation that we hold unto the house, for the good of the whole, Colossians 2:19, Ephesians 4:15,16. For besides the general interest which all believers have in this house, which is equal in and unto them all, every one hath his especial place and order in this building. (1.) In the peculiar season, age, or generation wherein our service in this house is expected; and these require several duties, suited unto the light, enjoyments, and trials, of the whole in them: (2.) In the especial places or offices that any hold in this house: (3.) In the respect that is to be had unto the particular or especial assembly of this house whereunto any living stone doth belong: (4.) With respect unto advantages that any are intrusted withal, for the increase or edification of the house in faith and love; all which call for the discharge of many especial duties.

    VII. 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 duties acceptable unto him. “Hold fast,” saith the apostle, “your parjrJhsi>an ,” — ‘your free, bold profession of the gospel, and your exultation in the hope of the great promises of it which are in it given unto you.’ This duty God hath set a singular mark upon, as that which he indispensably requireth and that whereby he is peculiarly glorified. A blessed instance we have hereof in the three companions of Daniel. They beheld on the one side, “vultum instantis tyranni,” “the form of whose visage was changed with fury,” “furiis accensus, et ira terribilis;” on the other, a flaming, consuming furnace of fire, that they were instantly to be cast into if they let not go their profession. But behold their parjrJhsi>an , their “boldness” and “confidence” in their profession: Daniel 3:16-18, “They answered and said unto the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.

    But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.” They do not ask a moment’s space to deliberate in this matter. And a blessed end they had of their confidence. So Basil answered Julian, when he would have given him space to consult. “Do,” said he, “what you intend, for I will be the same to-morrow that I am this day.” This is readiness and alacrity to witness a good confession with boldness. So it is observed of Peter and John, Acts 4:13. The Jews were astonished, observing their parjrJhsi>an (the word in the text, which we there translate “boldness”), that is, their readiness and promptitude of mind and speech, in their confession of the name of Christ, when they were in prison and under the power of their adversaries. Hence also they that fail in this duty are termed dei>loi “fearful ones,” and are in the first rank of them who are excluded out of the new Jerusalem, Revelation 21:8. Peter, indeed, instructs us to be “ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh us a reason of the hope that is in us, meta< fo>zou ,” — “with fear,” I Epist. 3:15; that is, with reverence unto God and the sacredness of those things wherein his name is concerned. But we must not do it meta< deili>av with “a pusillanimous fear,” a fear of men, or respect unto what from them may befall us for our profession. These deiloi> , “fearful ones,” are those “meticulosi” which shake and tremble at the report of danger; so that when persecution ariseth, straightway they are offended, and give over their profession.

    And in our discharge of this duty is the glory of God greatly concerned.

    The revenue of glory which God hath from any in this world ariseth principally, if not solely, from that profession which they make of the gospel and of their faith in the promises thereof. Hereby do they testify unto his authority, goodness, wisdom, grace, and faithfulness. Other way of giving glory unto God we have not, but by bearing witness unto his excellencies; that is, glorifying him as God. Now, when persecution and trouble arise about these things, a trial is made whether we indeed believe and put our trust in what we profess of God, and whether we value his promises above all present things whatever. And hereby is our heavenly Father glorified. This, therefore, is a singular privilege when it is given to believers, Philippians 1:29.

    Again; by this means the souls of the saints have a trial and experiment of their own grace, of what sort it is; as Abraham had of his own faith and obedience in the great experiment which God gave him of it by his command for the sacrificing of Isaac. Tried graces are exceeding precious, 1 Peter 1:6,7, and are evidences that those in whom they are do belong to the house of God.

    There are other observations, which the words tender unto us, that shall only be named.

    VIII. Interest in the gospel gives sufficient cause of confidence and rejoicing in every condition. “Hold fast the rejoicing of your hope.” The riches of it are invaluable, eternal, peculiar, such as outbalance all earthly things, satisfactory to the soul, ending in endless glory; and he that is duly interested in them cannot but have abundant cause of “joy unspeakable” at all times.

    IX. 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: “Whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.”


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