« ÖncekiDevam »
subject of it is, the two people; those in the wilderness, and the Hebrews to whom the gospel was now preached. Now that rest whereinto they entered not, was the quiet settled state of God's solemn worship in the land of Canaan, or, in other words, a peaceable church state for the worship of God, in the land and place chosen for that purpose. Now it is not the rest of heaven that, in the antithesis between the law and gospel, is opposed to that just mentioned; but the rest that believers have in Christ, with that churchstate and worship, which, as the great prophet of the church, he has erected; and into the possession of which he powerfully leads them, as did Joshua the people of old into the rest of Canaan.
3. The apostle plainly affirms this to be his intention, ver. 3, “For we which have believed do enter into rest;” it is such a rest, it is that very rest, which believers enter into in this world; and this is the rest which we have by Christ in the grace and worship of the gospel.
4. Christ and the gospel were promised of old to the people as a means and state of rest; and in answer to those promises, they are here actually proposed to their enjoyment. This is that which the people of God in all ages looked for, and which in the preaching of the gospel was proposed to them.
5. The true nature of this rest may be discovered from the promise of it; for a promise is said to remain of entering into his rest. Now this promise is no other but the gospel itself, as preached to us, as the apostle expressly declares in the next verse. The want of a due consideration of this particular is what, I presume, hath led expositors into a mistake in this matter. For they eye only the promise of eternal life given in the gospel; which is but a part of it, and that con
sequentially to sundry other promises. That promise concerns only them who actually believe, but the apostle principally intends a promise proposed to men as the prime object of their faith and encouragement to believing, Christ himself, and the benefits of his medation; which we must be first interested in, before we can lay any claim to the promise of eternal life.
6. The apostle's design is_not to prefer heaven, immortality, and glory, above the law, and that rest in God's worship which the people had in the land of Canaan; for who, even of the Hebrews themselves, ever doubted of this? but—to set out the excellency of the gospel, its worship, and the church-state, to which we are called by Jesus Christ, above all prior privileges; and if this be not always duly considered, no part of the epistle can be rightly understood.
$5. This being the rest here proposed, as promised in the gospel; our next inquiry is into the nature of it, or wherein it consists. And we shall find that it consists
1. In peace with God, in the free and full justification of the persons of believers from all their sins by the blood of Christ, Rom. v, 1, “Being justified by faith we have peace with God," Ephes. i, 4. "In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our sins.” This is fully expressed, Acts xiii, 32, 33 38, 39, “We declare unto you glad tidings, how that the promise that was made unto the fathers: God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again. Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins; and by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.” Nor is it of force to except, that this was enjoyed also under the Old Testament; for although it were so in the substance of it, yet it was not so as a complete rest. Justification, and peace with God thereon, are properly and directly ours; they were theirs by a participation in our privileges; God, having ‘ordained some better things for us, that they without us should not be made perfect,' Heb. xi, ult.
2. In our freedom from bondage, a servile frame of spirit in the worship of God. Under the Old Testament they had the spirits of servants, though they were sons; For the heir as long as he is (vxTing) an infant, unableto guide himself, differeth nothing from a servant, but is under tutors and governors, until the time appointed of the Father.' And this kept them from that full and complete rest, which now is to be entered into, and which cannot be but where there is liberty.
3. Evangelical rest consists in a delivery from the yoke and bondage of Mosaical institutions. For as the people of old had a spirit of bondage, so they had upon them (Surov) a yoke. And this rest in the consciences of men, from an obligation to a multitude of anxious scrupulous observances, under most severe revenging penalties, is no small part of that rest, which our Savior proposes as an encouragement to sinners for coming to him, Matt. ii, 28-30.
4. This rest consists in that gospel worship to which we are called. This is a blessed rest on account, for instance, of that liberty of spirit which believers have in obeying it; of the assistance which the worshippers have for the performance of the worship in an acceptable manner; and, finally, the worship itself, and the obedience it requires, are not grievous; but easy, gentle, rational, suited to the principles of the new nature of the worshippers.
5. This also is God's rest; for God resteth, ultimately and absolutely, as to all the ends of his glory, in Christ, as exhibited in the gospel; and through him he rests in his love towards believers also; and this is that worship which he ultimately and unchangeably requires in this world, nor is it liable to any alteration or change to the consummation of all things. This, therefore, is God's rest and ours.
$6. “Lest any of you should seem to come short of it; (TIS EŽ uuwv) any of you. We all ought to take care of one another, or fear each other's dangers and temptations, laboring to prevent their efficacy, by mutual brotherly care and assistance, (doun) should seem, refers to at any time. The apostle intends to warn them against all appearance of any such failing as that he cautions them against; desiring them to take heed that none of them do, by remitting their former zeal and diligence, give any signs of a declension from, or desertion of their profession; let there be no apparent resemblance of any such thing found amongst you. To come short,' (uslapyllevæi) to be left behind, that is, in the work of first receiving the promise when proposed. If men fail in the beginning, probably they will quite give over in their progress. Generally, expositors think here is an allusion to them who run in a race, but the allusion is taken from the people in the wilderness, and their passing into the land of Canaan. Most of them were heavy through unbelief, lagging in their progress, and, as it were, left behind in the wilderness, where they perished, and came short of entering into the promised land.
$7. For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them,' or, For we were evangelized even as they. The word (evæyyenisouces) evangelized, though of various construction, is here used positively, and the nominative case (ufeis) we is included in the verb substantive (equen) we are evangelized; we have the gospel preached unto us. And in what way soever the word is used, it no where denotes the receiving of the gospel in the power of it, by them who are evangelized; that is, it includes not the faith of the hearers, but only expresseth the act of preaching, and the outward enjoyment of it. The gospel, and therein the promise of entering into the rest of God, is preaching to us, (uudetep ne nervou) even as they; they who had, who disbelieved, and rejected the promise of God, and so came short of entering into his rest. The compar. ison therefore intended, is merely between the persons, THEY and we. As they enjoyed the gospel, so do we; as it was preached to them, so to us. The promise made to Abraham, contained the substance of the gospel, and was confirmed to his posterity; all the typical institutions of the law, afterwards introduced, had no other end but to instruct the people in the nature and accomplishment of the promise, and to this purpose they all served until the time of reformation. To the spiritual part of the promise made to Abraham, there was annexed a promise of the inheritance of the land of Canaan, that it might instruct him and his seed in the nature of faith, to live in the expectation of what is not theirs in possession; that it might be a pledge of the love, power, and faithfulness of God, in accomplishing the spiritual part of the promise; that it might be a place of rest for the church, wherein it might attend solemnly to the observance of all those institutions of worship, which were appointed to direct them to the promise. Hence the declaration of the promise of entering into Canaan, and the rest of God therein, became, in an especial manner, the ‘preaching of the gospel to them; the land itself