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A General Introduction, &c.

ix. 1-14.) And having enlarged on the necessity of shedding Christ's blood, and the sufficiency of the atonement made by it, (chap. ix. 15, to the end,) and proved that legal ceremonies could not by any means purify the conscience, and from thence argued the insufficiency of the Mosaic law, and the necessity of looking beyond it, (chap. x. 1-15,) the apostle urges the Hebrews to improve the privileges which such an High Priest and covenant conferred on them, to the purpose of a fiducial approach to God, a constant attendance on his worship, and most benevolent regards to each other. (chap. x. 15-25.

The apostle having thus at length obviated the insinuations and objections of the Jews to the gospel of Christ, as inferior to the Mosaic dispensation, by showing its transcendent excellence in a clear and convincing light, for the satisfaction and establishment of the believing Hebrews, proceeds,

II. To awaken their attention, and fortify their minds against the storm of persecution, which had come, and was further likely to come upon them, for the sake of the Christian faith. To this end, he reminds them of the extremities they had already endured in defence of the gospel, and of the fatal consequences which would attend their apostacy; (chap. x. 26, to the end.) Calling to their remembrance the renowned examples of faith and fortitude which had been exhibited by holy men mentioned in the scriptures of the Old Testament, and particularly by Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham and Sarah, (chap. xi. 1-16,) by Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph and Moses. (chap. xi. 17-29.) Concluding his discourse with glancing on many other illustrious worthies; and besides those recorded in scripture, referring also to the case of several who suffered under the persecution of Antiochus Epiphanes. (chap. xi. 30.—xii. 2.)

And having thus executed his design in the argumentative part of the epistle, he applies the whole by exhorting the Hebrew Christians to sustain and improve the afflictions to which they were exposed, and to exert themselves vigorously to promote the united interests of peace and holiness, (chap. xii. 3-14.) Cautioning them against disparaging the blessings of the gospel, and making them a sacrifice either to any secular views or sensual gratifications; representing the incomparable excellence of these blessings, and the wonderful manner in which they were introduced, which even the introduction of the Jewish economy, glorious and magnificent as it was, did by no means equal; (chap. xii. 15-29.) Exhorting them to brotherly affection, purity, compassion, dependence on the Divine care, stedfastness in the profession of the truth, and to a life of thankfulness to God, and benevolence to man, from the consideration of the inestimable privileges derived to us from Christ; which ought always to encourage us resolutely to endure any infamy and suffering which we may meet with in his cause; (chap. xiii. 1-16.) Concluding the whole, with recommending to them some particular regard to their pious ministers; and intreating their prayers; adding some salutations, and a solemn benediction. (chap. xiii. 17, to the end )









The Apostle reminds the Hebrews to whom he writes, of the great favour God had done them in sending them a revelation by his own Son; on whose glory he expatiates as far superior to that of angels, intending by this representation to engage them to embrace and retain the gospel. Heb. I. 1. to the end.






I. 1.

GOD, who at sundry times, and in di- THE great and wise God, who in his wonvers manners, spake in derful condescension hath at many times, time past unto the fa- and in various manners, of old, spoken to the Heb. thers by the prophets, fathers of the Jewish nation, by the prophets whom he hath in successive raised up employed as the messengers of his will to them, 2 Hath in these last In these last days hath magnified his mercy in a 2 days spoken unto us by his yet more amazing manner; for he hath spoken unto us by the Son, his only-begotten, and best

a God who, &c.] Though St. Paul was the author of this epistle, as we have already observed, yet he does not begin it, as he does most of his other epistles, by prefixing his name to it; the reason of which probably was, that those to whom he was now writing were under strong prejudices against his name; and he was not willing to alarm those prejudices at the beginning of his letter.

b Many times, and various manners.]



The first word, as some apprehend, refers
to the parcels by which God's will was de-
livered, in opposition to a complete re-
velation; and the last, to the manner in
which it was made known, namely, by
dreams, visions, urim, prophets, voices,

c By the son.] This is no argument
that God did not speak by Christ before;
but only that it was not in so clear and
express a manner.
d Heir




God, in these last days, hath spoken unto us by his Son ;

appointed heir of all things, by whom also


SECT. beloved Son, whom he hath sent into our world his Son, whom he hath
as the Ambassador of his
mercy to us, even
that illustrious person, whom he hath appointed he made the worlds;
1.2. the heir and possessor of all things. He hath
adjusted all things in such a manner, as to ad-
vance the purposes of his glory, and committed
the administration of his providential kingdom
into his hands, by whom, and in reference to
whose honour, he also created all things, and
constituted the ages and dispensations of the
3 church and world. I speak of that great Ema-
3 Who being the
brightness of his glo-
nuel, whom we have so long been taught to
ry, and the express
know and adore; who being the effulgent ray of image of his person,
[his] glory, and the express delineation of his per- and upholding
son, on whom his likeness is instamped in things by the word of
his power, when he
living characters in a manner which no created had by himself purged
nature can admit, and upholding the universe our sins, sat down on
which he hath made by the efficacious word of the right hand of the
Majesty on high;
his Father's power, which is ever resident in
him, as his own, by virtue of that intimate
though incomprehensible union which renders
them one, John x. 30.); was nevertheless set
forth in the feeble dress and humble form of hu-
man flesh, that he might be our atoning sacri-
fice. And accordingly having by himself per-
formed that great transaction, which is the cleans
ing away of our sins, he is now returned to the
celestial world from which he descended for this
gracious purpose, and is sat down on the right-
hand of the Majesty on high, of that glorious
and excellent Being, who reigns supreme in the
heaven of heavens.

4 To this exalted Redeemer would I now call
your thoughts, of whom I have some very im-

d Heir and possessor.] Mr. Pierce learnedly vindicates the latter of these interpretations.

e Constituted the ages.] The sentiment, as thus expressed is a very important one; but if any insist upon rendering aswnas, the world itself, I shall not oppose it; for it is certain, that St. Paul asserts this doctrine, Col. i. 15-17, if not here.

f Delineation of his person.] This is, saith Leigh, answering to the Divine per fections, as the impressions of the war does to the engraving of the seal.-It is observ able, that Philo calls the Logos xagaxing και είκων Θεο. See Scott's Christian Life, Vol. III. P. 559.

Word of his power.] Many explain this of the Father's power, which is the


4 Being made SO much better than the angels,

sense I have given in the paraphrase. Some copies read aurs, which would fully justify our version. But if the power of the Father be the power of Christ, to be used by him at pleasure for the security of his people, it seems to be all that the esta blishment of our faith in him requires.

h Sat down on the right-hand] Some understand this of the right-hand of the Shechinah, in the most honourable place among men or angels; and quote 1 Pet. iii. 22; Eph, i. 20, 21; supposing there may be some glorious appearance of the Father's presence in heaven, as there was upon earth, which hath properly speaking a right or a left-hand. But this I esteem no article of faith. Compare chap. viii. 1.

i Superior

Who was made so much better than the angels.


Consi- SECT.

angels, as he hath by portant and sublime truths to deliver.
inheritance obtained a der, therefore, my brethren, what reverence,

more excellent name than they,


what fidelity, what zeal you owe to him who Heb. was made in exaltation and celestial glory as I. 4. much superior to angels as the name he has inherited, and by which through many succeeding ages he hath been spoken of in the sacred oracles, [is] more excellent than theirs ; For to which of the angels hath he ever said, as we any time, Thou art my know he hath said to the Messiah in that celeSon, this day have I begotten thee? And brated prophecv, (Psal. ii. 7.) Thou art my again, I will be to him son, this day have I begotten thee?

5 For unto which of

the angels said he at

be to mea Son?

And aa Father, and he shall gain, (2 Sam. vii. 14.) I will be a father to him, and he shall be my Son? For if these words were immediately spoken of Solomon, it was chiefly as a type of Christ, the great son of But so far is be

first-begotten into the

6 And again when David, the Prince of peace. he bringeth in the from speaking of the angels in terms expressing world, he saith, And let equal dignity, that when he again introduces his all the angels of God first-begotten Son into the world, and speaks of worship him.

And of the angels his

he saith, Who maketh

i Superior to angels.]

him as coming with royal pomp to take posses-
sion of his kingdom, he saith, (Psalm xcvii. 7.)
And let all the Angels of God worship him.
And accordingly he did actually demand their
homage to him, as constituted their Lord and
Sovereign, not only in regard to his originally
superior glories, but in consideration of that
fidelity and zeal with which he had discharged
his important errand to our world.
concerning the angels he saith, (Psal. civ. 4.)

Some have, I think, very precariously imagined, that the apostle, in this and the next chapter, insists so much on Christ's superiority to angels, in order to take off the Jews from that angel-worship to which they were greatly inclined. But it is evident the apostle does not speak expressly on that subject. It is more certain, therefore, that his intention was to exalt their ideas of our blessed Redeemer; as indeed their entertaining high and honourable conceptions of him would be of great importance to their holding fast their Christian profession. It is plain the Jews considered the angels as concerned in the promulgation of their law, on which account they might be the more zealously attached to it, and in this view there was a peculiar propriety in the apostle's labouring the argument he is bere upon, namely, the superiority of our blessed Lord to all the ugelig orders.






k Thou art my son.] These words are taken from Psalm ii. 7. And I think it iş evident (as others have observed,) that this and the rest of the passages here quoted, must refer to Christ in their original sense, and in the strictest propriety of interpretation ; otherwise the argument would be entirely inconclusive; for it might be replied, that supposing these passages to be applicable to Christ, they will not prove him to be superior to the angels, since they originally refer to David and others confessedly inferior to those celestial spirits. It might be easily proved that this second psalm does originally belong to the Messiah. Compare Acts iv. 25, xiii. 33.

1 He shall be my son.] Mr. Pierce hath laboured largely to prove, that these words can in their original and primary sense refer only to Christ.










To him God saith, Thy throne is for ever and ever;

of fire.

he maketh his angels winds", and his ministers his angels spirits, and
a flame of fire. He, who rules the winds and bis ministers a flame
the lightnings, has his angels under equal com-
mand, and employs them with the strength of
winds and the rapidity of lightnings in his ser-


8 But unto the Son, he saith, Thy throne, O

God, is for ever and

a sceptre of

sceptre of thy king


above thy

But to the son [he] speaks in a very different manner, and [suith] in those memorable words, which have an ultimate reference to Christ, ever: (Psal. xlv. 6, 7, Thy throne, O Goda [is] for righteousness is the ever and ever; the sceptre of thy kingdom [is] a dom: 9 sceptre of righteousness. Thou hast in the most 9 Thou hast loved eminent degree, through the whole of thine ad- righteousness, and hated iniquity; thereministration, loved righteousness and hated ini- fore God, even thy quity, and hast taken the most effectual me- God, bath annointed thod to suppress it; therefore God, thy God, and thee with the oil of Father, hath anointed thee plentifully with the fellows. oil of gladness above thy associates P: thou art exalted to superior honour and happiness; so that none of thy brethren, none of the angels whom thou mayest in any instance or degree have condescended to join with thyself, and lead in thy train, can pretend to compare with thee in glory or in joy. Yea, as Divine, thou art fixed in thine eternal throne, that the whole created world may unite its prostrate homage before thee. And it is to him who presided, as is well known, over the Jewish nation and in received the tribute of praise which they paid the to Jehovah their God, that those words are addressed, Psal. cii. 26. Thou, Lord, from the


m He maketh his angels winds.] That is, saith Mr. Cradock (Apost. Hist. p. 363) He, the son, makes use of the angels as his ministers, in producing storms and lightning according to his pleasure. But I would not change the signification of the pronoun. He, which returns here, without absolute necessity.--The rendering πνευμαία winds, very agreeable to the original and the context.

n Thy throne, O God, &c.] To render this, as some would do, God is thy throne for ever and ever, that is, God will estabblish thy throne, (according to 2 Sam. vii. 13, 14: Psalm. lxxxix. 4.) appears to me very unnatural.

o Loved righteousness, hated iniquity.] It may be objected, that, as all the angels have maintained this character, consequently this can be no just reason for preferring Christ to them. But I think the


10 And thon, Lord, the beginning, hast earth; and the bea

laid the foundation of


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