« ÖncekiDevam »
obedience, would arise unto a greatness disproportionate unto the former, had it been accompanied with the like Exercitations. Whereas therefore I foresaw from the beginning that they must be omitted, I did treat somewhat more fully of those things which should have been the subject of them, than otherwise the nature of an exposition doth require. Such are the person and office of Melchisedec; the nature of the Aaronical priesthood, and of the priesthood of Christ as typified thereby; the framing of the tabernacle, with all its vessels and utensils, with their use and signification; the solemnity of the covenant made at Sinai, with the difference between the two covenants, the old and the new ; the manner of the service of the high priest on the day of expiation, with his entrance into the most holy place; the cessation, expiration, or abrogation of the first cos venant, with all the services thereunto belonging ; with sundry other things of the like importance. Whereas therefore these must have
been the subject of such Exercitations, as might have been prefixed unto this part of the Exposition, the reader will find them handled somewhat at large in the respective places wberein they do occur in the Epistle itself.
3. Concerning the subject-matter of these chapters, I desire the reader to take notice,
First, That the whole substance of the doctrinal part of the Epistle is contained in them, so as that there is nothing of difficulty in the whole case managed by the apostle, but is largely treated of in these chapters.
Secondly, That they do contain a full declaration of that mystery which, from the beginning of the world, was hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ, to the intent that even unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places, miglit be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God. In particular,
1. The wisdom and grace of God in the constitution and making of the covenant at Sinai ; in the institutions of all the worship and divine services thereunto belonging ; in the holy fabrics, offerings and sacrifices of the priests and church of Israel, are declared and manifested therein. For all these things in themselves were carnal, and so used by the generality of the people, in a way unworthy of the wisdom and holiness of God.
But the apostle declares and makes it evident in these chapters, that in the design and intention of God, they had all of them an end and use far more glorious than what appeared in their outward administration. He also declares what intimations God made unto the church of this end of them, and of his intention in themr.
2. There is therefore in these chapters an absolute, infallible interpretation of the whole law, without which it would be a sealed book, and of no use unto us. But as the intention and mind of God in those legal institutions is here declared, there is nothing in the whole Scripture that tends more to the illumi. nation of our minds, and the strengthening of our faith, than doth the law of these institutions, as is manifested on all occasions in our Exposition. By virtue hereof, there is not the ineanest Christian believer, but doth or may understand more of the books of Exodus and Leviticus, see more of the wisdom, holiness and grace of God in them, and know more of the nature and use of these legal institutions, not only than all the present Jews, and their teachers, but than was ever distinctly known in the church of Israel of old.
3. The wisdom, righteousness and faithfulness of God, in the removal of the old covenant, with all the services thereunto belonging, are herein abundantly vindicated. This is the stone of stumbling unto this day to all the Jews. This they quarrel and contend with God and man about; seeming to be resolved, that if they may not enjoy their old institutions, they will part with and leave even God himself. Neither indeed is it God, but a shadow of their old earpal ordinances, which at present they cleave unto, worship and adore. Wherefore the apostle, by all sorts of arguments, doth in these chapters manifest, that before them, under them, by them, and in them, God by various way, taught the church, that they were not to be continued ; that they were never appointed for their own sakes ; that they only fore-signified the introduction of a better, and more perfect church-state than what they could attain to, or be of use in; as also that their very nature was such as rendered them obnoxious unto a removal in the appointed season. Yea, he demonstrates that without their abolition, God could never have aceomplished the design of his love and grace towards the church, which he had declared in his promises from the foundation of the world. And this absolutely determined the controversy between the two churches, that of the Old, and that of the New Testament, with their different worship and services, which was then a matter of fierce contention in the whole world. Wherefore,
4. The work of the apostle in these chapters, is to show the harmony between the law and the gospel, their different ends and uses; to take off all seeming repugnancy and contradiction between them ; to declare the same grace, truth and faithfulness of God in them both, notwithstanding their inconsistent institutions of divine worship. Nay he makes it evident, not only that there is a harmony between them, but also an utter impossibility that either of them should be true, or proceed from God, without the other.
5. Herein a glorious account is given, of the representation that was made of the person and incarnation of Christ, with the whole office of his mediation, according as it was granted unto the church in its infant state. Some have called it the infant state of Christ as unto his incarnation, and affirmed that the ceremonies of the law were as his swaddling bands. But things are quite otherwise. The glorious state of Christ and his office is represented unto the church in its infant state, when it had no apprehension of spiritual things, but such as children have of the objects of reason: in particular, how the ancient church was instructed in the nature and blessed efficacy of his sacrifice, the foundation of its salvation, is made gloriously to appear.
0. Directions are given herein unto all to whom the gospel is preached, or by whom it is professed, how to behave themselves as to what God requireth of them, expressed in clear instructions and pathetical exhortations, accompanied with glorious promises on the one hand, and severe threatenings on the other. Scarcely in the whole book of God, is there such an exact description of the nature and work of faith, the motives unto it, and advantages of it; of the deceitful actings of unbelief, with the ways of its prevalency in the minds, and over the souls of men; of the end of true believers on one hand, and of hypocrites and apostates on the other, as is in this discourse of the apostle. Such a graphical description and account of these things is given us in the sixth chapter, and the latter part of the tenth, as cannot but greatly affect the minds of all who are spiritually enlightened to behold things of this nature. A blessed glass is presented unto us, wherein we may see the true image and portraiture of believers and unbelievers, their different ways, actings and ends.
İn the whole, there is made a most holy revelation and representation of the wisdom of God; of the glory of Christ; of the mystery of grace in the recovery of fallen man, and the salvation of the church; with the future judgment; so as that they have a greater lustre, light and glory in them, unto such as bave the eyes of their understandings opened to behold spiritual things, than is in the sun shining in its strength and beauty to the eyes of flesh, ta which it is sweet and pleasant to behold the light.
These are the holy sayings of God, the glorious discoveries of himself and his grace, the glass wherein we may behold the glory of Christ, until we are transformed into the same image from glory to glory.
What in the exposition of these things, and others of an alike nature, God hath enabled me to attain to, is left unto the use of the church, and the judgment of erery learned, pious, and candid reader.
London, April 17. 1680.
This whole chapter is a continuation of the digression which the apostle had occasionally entered into, in the eleventh verse of the preceding chapter. For upon the consideration of the greatness of the mystery, and the difficulty of the doctrine in which he designed to instruct these Hebrews, and his fear of the disability or unpreparedness, at least of some of them, to receive it in a due manner unto their edification, he engageth in a new discourse, filled up with reasons and arguments, to excite them unto a diligent attendance. And this he so doth, as in the very last words of this chapter, to return, by an artificial connection of his discourse, unto what he had asserted in the tenth verse of that foregoing.
There are four general parts of this chapter. 1. The proposition of what he intended to do, or discourse concerning, with an opposition thereunto of what was by him to be omitted, ver, i-3. 2. An excitation of the Hebrews unto singular diligence in attending unto the most perfect doctrines of Christianity, and making a progress in the knowledge of Christ. And this he doth from the consideration of the greatness of the sin, and inevitableness of the destruction of apostates. For this sort of persons do commonly arise from among such, as having received the truth and made a profession thereof, do not diligently endeavour a progress towards perfection, according to their duty, ver. 48. 3. A lenifying of the severity of this commination, in respect of its application unto these Hebrews. For he expresseth his hope that it did not so belong unto them, or that the sin condemned should not be found in them, or the punishment threatened fall on them. But the warning itself contained in the commination, was, as be showa, good, whole