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which contains the life and power of the curse here intended; for hereby are men secured to their final destruction and burning. Oftentimes God signifies this curse by wholly casting out such persons from any terest in the dispensation of the word. But suppose they should be able to carry it out stoutly in this world, so that themselves should neither much feel, nor others much observe, the curse of God upon them, yet the day is hastening wherein actual everlasting burning will be their portion.

VERSES 9--12.

But beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak. For God is not unrighteous, to forget your work and labor of love, which ye have shewed towards his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister. And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end, that ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

§1. The apostle's design. §2, 3. (I.) The text explained. $4. The work of faith. 65-9. Labor of love. $10. The shewing of faith and love. §11. by ministering to the saints. §12-18, The apostle's exhortation. §19–58. (II.) Observations.

$1. EXPOSITORS generally agree in pointing out from these verses, an instance of the apostle's great wisdom and prudence in his dealing with these Hebrews. His design in general is two-fold.

First, to mollify the severity of the preceding commination and prediction, that it might not have an effect on their minds beyond his intention. If men are disheartened in the way wherein they are engaged, by those on whose guidance they depend, and to whose judgment they are to submit, it makes them to despond, and to give over all thoughts of a cheerful progress.

Secondly, he maketh use of this discourse for a transition to the second part of his design; and this was to propose to them who were true believers, such encouragements and grounds of consolation, as might confirm them in their faith and obedience, which are the subjects of the remaining part of this chapter. Wherefore, as to make way for the severe threatenings which he hath used, it was necessary for him to describe the persons to whom they did in an especial manner belong; so it was no less requisite that he should describe those also to whom the ensuing promises and consolations pertain, as in these verses.

§2. (I.) "Beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation." (AyaTylo,) "Beloved;" it is an expression of most entire affection. Perhaps these Hebrews were ready enough to entertain jealousies concerning him, that he had not that affection for them which he had for others; for he had now spent a long time among the Gentiles. To root this evil surmise out of their minds, he frequently employs affectionate compellations. And notwithstanding all the provocations and injuries he had received from them, he gave them, on all occasions, the highest demonstration of his most intense affection; never opposing or severely reflecting on them, but when they opposed the gospel and its genuine liberty. Again, He hath respect to his preceding severe expressions, as appears from the close of this verse"though we thus speak;" as if he had said, "Notwithstanding this severe admonition, which, all circumstances considered, I have been forced to use; yet my heart stands no otherwise affected towards you, but as towards my countrymen, my brethren, and the saints of God." (METEOμeba) We are persuaded; CHRYSOSTOM insists much on the force of this word. The

apostle, as he observes, doth not say we think, or we hope, but he was fully persuaded." There is a certain persuasion of mind that is founded on moral arguments, such as may bring a man to a full satisfaction in his mind, but yet so, that it is possible he may be deceived. Of this nature is that persuasion we have of the good condition of other men. So our apostle speaks of Timothy and his faith, 2 Tim. i, 5, "The faith that dwelt in thy mother Eunice, (TETEsopa dε) and I am persuaded in thee also." persuasion here concerning the Hebrews was of this kind; he had satisfactory reasons for it, which prevailed against all contrary objections. In like manner he speaks of the Romans, chap. v, 14, "And I myself am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye are full of goodness." The grounds of this persuasion, with respect to the Hebrews, he expresseth in the next verse, where we shall consider them.

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He was persuaded concerning them (Ta upeilova) better things; "such things as accompany salvation;" such as, whosoever is made partaker of them shall never perish eternally. It is usual to express excellent things in words of the comparative degree, although no comparison be included; especially when they are made mention of with respect to others who have no interest in them. However, here is certainly an opposition to what was before affirmed concerning others, who were barren and destitute of all saving grace, and fruits, and who should in the end be destroyed. "I am persuaded it will go better with you, than with such apostates." He was persuaded that these Hebrews were not barren, but such as brought forth the saving fruits of the Spirit of grace.

For if these things, it is added, (nai Exoμeva oclypics) and such as accompany salvation; literally, such as

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have salvation; that is, such as have saving grace in them, and eternal salvation infallibly annexed to them. Things that are not bestowed on any, such as are not wrought in any, but those that shall be saved; that is, in brief, true faith and sincere obedience. For in whosoever these are found, they shall be saved by virtue of the faithfulness of God in the covenant of grace.

$3. "For God is not unrighteous to forget your works," &c. The "works" mentioned having been truly gracious works, proceeding from faith and love, they evidence their persons to be in that state of grace wherein they should be effectually preserved to the end, by virtue of God's faithfulness in covenant. They had not the least reason to doubt of their future reward; for who was it that called them to these duties, and on what account? Is it not God, according to the tenor of the covenant of grace? And hath he not therein promised to accept their persons and their duties by Jesus Christ? If now he should not do so, would he not be unrighteous? must he not deny himself, and not remember his promise? Wherefore the righteousness of God here intended is his faithfulness in the promises of the covenant. And he is not said to be righteous in rewarding, or not rewarding, but in not forgetting. "He is not uhrighteous to forget." Now to "forget" any thing doth not reflect immediately on distributive justice, but upon fidelity in making good some engagement. The apostle in this verse gives an account of the grounds of his persuasion concerning these professors, expressed in the verse foregoing. The persuasion itself was of a mixed nature, and had something in it of a divine faith, and somewhat only of a moral certainty. As he drew his conclusion from, or built his persuasion on, God's faithfulness or righteousness, there was in it an infallible assur

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ance of faith that could not deceive him. we believe concerning God, as he hath revealed himself, is infallible. But as his persuasion had respect to the faith, love, and obedience, which he had observed in them, so it was only a moral assurance, and such as in its own nature might fail.

§4. That which, in the first place, he confirms his persuasion with, is (To Epyov) their work. "God is not unrighteous to forget your work." It is not any singular work, but a course in working, which he intends. And what that "work" is, is declared in that parallel place of the same apostle, I Thes. i, 3. (μvμovevovles υμων τε έργε της πισίεως, και το κοπ8 της αγαπης) “remembering your work of faith and labor of love." The same expressions with those in our text, which is one of those numerous coincidences of expressions in this and the other epistles of the same writer, all peculiar to himself. The "work" here intended is the work of faith, the whole work of obedience to God, whereof faith is the principle; and hence it is called the "obedience of faith," Rom. i, 5. And this is called (To sprov) "their work;" because it was their chief employment, their calling lay in it. They did not attend to it occasionally, or when they had nothing else to do, as is the manner of some: religion,was their business, and gospel obedience their daily work. This was their whole, even "to fear God, and to keep his command, ments," Eccl. xii, 13. Besides, there is work and labor in it, or great pains to be taken about it. For hereunto our apostle, in the next verse, requires their diligence, ver. 11, as Peter doth all diligence, 2 Epistle i, 11.

$5. The second thing whereon the apostle grounds his confidence concerning them is their "labor of love," (HAI TO NOTH TYS ayaTys.) For the words express a dis

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