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inherit the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears.
18 For ye are not come to the mountain that could be touched, and the burning fire, and the thick cloud, and
19 darkness, and tempest, And the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words: which they that heard entreated,
20 that no more might be spoken to them. For they could not bear that which was commanded, * If even a beast
21 touch the mountain, let it be stoned. And so terrible was the appearance, that Moses said, I exceedingly fear
22 and tremble. But ye are come to Mount Sion, and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an
23 inaumerable company, To the general assembly of angels, and to the church of the first-born, who are inrolled in.
* Exod. xix. 12, &c.
V. I8. For—A strong reason this, why they ought the more to regard the whole exhortation drawn from the priesthood of Christ: because both salvation and vengeance are now nearer at hand: ye are not come to the mountain that toutd be touched—That was of an earthy, material nature.
V. 19. The sound of a trumpet—Formed, without doubt, by the ministry of angels, and preparatory to the words—That is, the ten commandments, which were uttered with a loud voice, Dent, v. 22.
V. 20. For they could not bear—The terror which seized them, when they heard those words proclaimed, If even a beast, &c.
V. 21. Even Moses—Though admitted to so near an intercourse with God, who spake to him as a man speaketh to his friend. At other times he acted as a mediator between God and the people. But while the ten commandments were pronounced, he stood as one of the hearers, Exod. xix. 25, xx. 19.
V. 22. But ye—Who believe in Christ, are come—The apostle does not here speak of their coming to the church militant, but of that glorious privilege of New Testament believers, their communion with the church triumphant. But this is far more apparent to the eyes of celestial spirits, than to ours which are yet veiled. St. Paul here shows an excellent knowledge of the heavenly economy, worthy of him who had been caught up into the third heaven, to Mount Sion—A spiritual mountain, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem—All these glorious titles belong to the New Testament church, and to an innumerable company—Including all that are afterwards mentioned.
V. 23. To the general assembly—The word properly signifies a stated convention on some festival occasion: and church—The whole body of true believers, whether on earth or in paradise, of the first-born—The first-born of Israel were iurolled by Moses: but these are iurolled in heaven, as citizens there. It is observable, that in this beautiful gradation, these first-born are placed nearer to God than the angels, see James i. 18: and to God the judge of all—Propitious to you, adverse to your enemies: and to the spirits—The separate souls, of just men—It seems to mean, of New Testament believers. The number of these, being not yet large, is mentioned distinct from the innumerable company of just men—Whom their judge hath acquitted. These are now made perfect, in a higher sense than any who are still alive. Accordingly St. Paul, while yet on earth, denies that he was thus made perfect, Phil. iii. 12.
heaven, and to God the judge of all, and to the spirits of 21 just men made perfect, And to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, which
25 speaketh better things than that of Abel. See that ye refuse not him that speaketh: for if they escaped not who refused him that delivered the oracle on earth, much more shall not we, who turn away from him that speaketh
26 from heaven: Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he has promised, saying, * Yet once more I will
27 shake, not only the earth, but also the heaven. And this word, Yet once more, sheweth the removal of the things which are shaken, as being made, that the things which
28 are not shaken may remain. Therefore let us, receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, hold fast the grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably, with reverence
29 and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire.
CHAP. XIII. 1. Let brotherly love continue.
* Hag. ii. 6.
V. 24. To Jesus the Mediator—Through whom they had been perfected, and to the blood of sprinkling —To all the virtue of his precious blood shed for you, whereby ye are sprinkled from an evil conscience. This blood of sprinkling was the foundation of our Lord's mediatorial office. Here the gradation is at the highest point. Which speaketh better things than that of Abel—Which cried for vengeance.
V. 25. Refuse not—By unbelief, him that speaketh—And whose speaking even now is a prelude to the final scene. The same voice which spake both by the law and in the gospel, when heard from heaven, will shake heaven and earth ; for if they escaped not—His vengeance, much more shall not we—Those of us, who turn from him that speaketh from heaven—That is, who came from heaven to speak to us.
V. 26. Whose voice then shook the earth—When he spoke from Mount Sinai: but now—With regard to his next speaking, he hath promised—It is a joyful promise to the saints, though dreadful to the wicked, Yet once more I will shake, not only the earth, but also the heaven—These words may refer, in a lower sense, to the dissolution of the Jewish church and state. But in their full sense, they undoubtedly look much farther, even to the end of all things. This universal shaking began at the first coming of Christ. It will be consummated at his second coming.
V. 27. The things which are shaken—Namely, heaven and earth, as being made—And consequently liable to change: that the things which are not shaken may remain—Even the new heaven and the new earth—Rev. xxi. 1.
V. 28. Therefore let us, receiving—By willing and joyful faith, a kingdomMore glorious than the present heaven and earth, hold fast the grace, whereby we may serve God—In every thought, word, and work, with reverence—Literally, with shame, arising from a deep consciousness of our own unworlhiness, and godly fear—A tender, jealous fear of offending, arising from a sense of the gracious majesty of God.
V. 29. For our God is a consuming fire—la the strictness of his justice, and purity of his holiness.
CHAP. XIII. Vex. 1. Brotherly love—U explained in the following verses. 2 Forget not hospitality, for hereby * some have entertained
3 angels unawares. Remember them that are in bonds, as being bound with them, and them that suffer adversity,
4 as being yourselves also in the body. Marriage is hohourable in all men, and the bed undefiled: but whores
5 mongers and adulterers God will judge. Let your disposition be without covetousness; be content with the things that are present; for he hath said, + No, I will not
6 leave thee: verily, I will not forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, J The Lord is my helper; I will not
7 fear what man can do unto me. Remember them that had the rule over you, who spake to you the word of God, whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.
8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and to-day, and
9 for ever. Be not carried about with various and strange doctrines; for it is good, that the heart be stablished with grace, not with meats, in which they that have walked
10 have not been profited. We have an altar, whereof they
1I have no right to eat who serve the tabernacle. For the
* Gen. xviii. 2, xix. l. f Gen. xxviii. is. Jos. i. 5. 1 Cbron. xxviii. 30. % Ps. cxviii. 6.
V. 2. Some—Abraham and Lot, have entertained angels unawares—So may an unknown guest, even now, be of more worth than he appears, and may have angels attending him, though unseen.
V. 3. Remember—In your prayers, and by your help, them that are in bonds, as being bound with them—Seeing ye are members one of another, and them that suffer, as being yourselves in the body—And consequently liable to the same.
V. 4. Marriage is honourable in, or for, all sorts of men, clergy as well a* laity, though the Romanists teach otherwise: and the bed undefiled—-Consistent with the highest purity; though many spiritual writers, so called, say it is only licensed whoredom: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge — Though they frequently escape the sentence of men.
V. 5. He—God, hath said—To all believers, in saying it to Jacob, Joshua, and Solomon.
V. 7. Remember them—Who are now with God, considering the happy end of their conversation on earth.
V. 8. Men may die: but Jesus Christ (yea, and his gospel,) is the same from everlasting to everlasting.
V. 9. Be not carried about with various doctrines—Which differ from that one faith in our one unchangeable Lord; strange—To the ears and hearts of all that abide in him ; for it is good—It is both honourable before God, and pleasant and profitable, that the heart be established with grace—Springing from faith in Christ, not with meals—Jewish ceremonies, which, indeed, can never establish the heart.
V. to. On the former part of this verse, the 15th and 16th depend; on the latter, the intermediate verses. We have an altar—The cross of Christ, whereof they have no right to eat—To partake of the benefits which we receive therefrom, who serve the tabernacle—Who adhere to the Mosaic law.
V. 11. For—According to their own law, the sin-offerings were wholly conbodies of those animals, whose blood is brought into the holy place by the high-priest for sin, are burnt without
12 the camp. Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people by his own blood, suffered without the gate.
13 Let us then go forth to him without the camp, bearing
14 his reproach. For we have here no continuing city; but
15 we seek one to come. By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise continually to God, that is, the fruit of
16 our lips, giving thanks to his name. But to do good, and to distribute, forget not; for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.
17 Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves; for they watch over your souls, as they that shall give account; that they may do this with joy, and
18 not with groans: for that is unprofitable for you. Pray, for us; for we trust we have a good conscience, desiring
19 to behave ourselves well in all things. And I beseech you, to do this the more earnestly, that I may be restored to you the sooner.
20 Now the God of peace, who brought again from the dead the great Shepherd of the sheep, our Lord Jesus,
sumed, and no Jew ever ate thereof. But Christ was a sin-offering. Therefore they cannot feed upon him, as we do, who are free from the Mosaic law.
V. 12. Wherefore Jesus also—Exactly answering those typical sin-offerings, suffered without the gate—Of Jerusalem, which answered to the old camp of Israel: that he might sanctify—Reconcile and consecrate to God, the people— Who believe in him, by his own blood—-Not those shadowy sacrifices, which are now of no farther use.
V. 13. Let us then go forth without the camp—Out of the Jewish dispensat ion, bearing his reproach—-AM mauner of shame, obloquy, and contempt for his sake.
V. 14. For we have here—On earth, no continuing city—All things here are 'but for a moment; and Jerusalem itself was just then on the point of being destroyed.
V. is. The sacrifice—The altar is mentioned, ver. 10. Now the sacrifices: 1. Praise, 2. Beneficence: with both of which God is well pleased.
V. J7. Obey them that have the rule over you—The word implies also, that lead, or guide, you; namely, in truth and holiness: and submit yourselves— Give up (not your conscience or judgment, but) your own will, in all things purely indifferent; for they watch over your souls—With all zeal and diligence, they guard and caution you against all danger, as they that must give account -—To the great Shepherd, for every part of their behaviour toward you. How vigilant, then, ought every pastor to be! How careful of every soul committed to his charge! That they may do this—Watch over you, with joy, and not with groans—He is not a good shepherd, who does not either rejoice over them, or groan for them. The groans of other creatures are heard: how much more shall these come up in the ears of God? Whoever answers this character of a Christian pastor, may undoubtedly demand this obedience.
V. 20. The everlasting covenant—The Christian covenant, which is not temporary, like the Jewish, but designed to remain for ever. By the application of that blood, by which this covenant was established, may he make you, in every respect, inwardly and outwardly holy!
21 by the blood of the everlasting covenant, Make you perfect in every good work, to do his will, working in you that which is well-pleasing in his sight through Christ Jesus; to whom be the glory for ever and ever. Amen.
22 I beseech you, brethren, suffer the word of exhortation,
23 for I have written a letter to you in few words. Know that our brother Timotheus is set at liberty, with whom, if he come soon, I will see you.
24 Salute all them that have the rule over you, and all
25 the saints. They of Italy salute you. Grace be with you all.
V. 32. Suffer the word of exhortation—Addressed to you in this letter, which though longer than my usual letters, is yet contained in few words, considering the copiousness of the subject.
V. 23. If he come—To me.
V. 25. Grace be with you all—St. Paul's usual benediction. God apply it la •ur hearts!