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1: Wherefore, being encompassed with a cloud - A great multitude,
tending upward with a holy swiftness. Of witnesses - Of the power of
faith. Let us lay aside every weight - As all who run a race take care
to do. Let us throw off whatever weighs us down, or damps the vigour of
our Soul. And the sin which easily besetteth us - As doth the sin of
our constitution, the sin of our education, the sin of our profession.
2: Looking - From all other things. To Jesus - As the wounded
Israelites to the brazen serpent. Our crucified Lord was prefigured by
the lifting up of this; our guilt, by the stings of the fiery serpents;
and our faith, by their looking up to the miraculous remedy. The author
and finisher of our faith - Who begins it in us, carries it on, and
perfects it. Who for the joy that was set before him - Patiently and
willingly endured the cross, with all the pains annexed thereto.
And is set down - Where there is fulness of joy.
3: Consider - Draw the comparison and think. The Lord bore all this;
and shall his servants bear nothing? Him that endured such contradiction
from sinners - Such enmity and opposition of every kind Lest ye be weary
- Dull and languid, and so actually faint in your course.
4: Unto blood - Unto wounds and death.
5: And yet ye seem already to have forgotten the
exhortation - Wherein God speaketh to you with the utmost tenderness.
Despise not thou the chastening of the Lord - Do not slight or make
little of it; do not impute any affliction to chance or second causes
but see and revere the hand of God in it. Neither faint when thou art
rebuked of him - But endure it patiently and fruitfully.(Pr 3:11), &c.
6: For - All springs from love; therefore neither despise nor faint.
7: Whom his father chasteneth not - When he offends.
8: Of which all sons are partakers - More or less.
9: And we reverenced them - We neither despised nor fainted under
their correction. Shall we not much rather - Submit with reverence and
meekness To the Father of spirits - That we may live with him for
ever. Perhaps these expressions, fathers of our flesh, and Father of
spirits, intimate that our earthly fathers are only the parents of
our bodies, our souls not being originally derived from them, but all
created by the immediate power of God; perhaps, at the beginning of
10: For they verily for a few days - How few are even all our day on
earth! Chastened us as they thought good - Though frequently they erred
therein, by too much either of indulgence or severity. But he always,
unquestionably, for our profit, that we may be partakers of his holiness
- That is, of himself and his glorious image.
11: Now all chastening - Whether from our earthly or heavenly Father,
Is for the present grievous, yet it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of
righteousness - Holiness and happiness. To them that are exercised
thereby - That receive this exercise as from God, and improve it
according to his will.
12: Wherefore lift up the hands - Whether your own or your brethren's.
That hang down - Unable to continue the combat.
And the feeble knees - Unable to continue the race.(Isa 35:3).
13: And make straight paths both for your own
and for their feet - Remove every hinderance, every offence.
That the lame - They who are weak, scarce able to walk.
Be not turned out of the way - Of faith and holiness.
14: Follow peace with all men - This second
branch of the exhortation concerns our neighbours; the
third, God. And holiness - The not following after all
holiness, is the direct way to fall into sin of every kind.
15: Looking diligently, lest any one - If he do not lift
up the hands that hang down. Fall from the grace of God:
lest any root of bitterness - Of envy, anger, suspicion.
Springing up - Destroy the sweet peace; lest any, not
following after holiness, fall into fornication or profaneness.
In general, any corruption, either in doctrine or practice, is a
root of bitterness, and may pollute many.
16: Esau was profane for so slighting the
blessing which went along with the birth - right.
17: He was rejected - He could not obtain it. For
he found no place for repentance - There was no room for
any such repentance as would regain what he had lost.
Though he sought it - The blessing of the birth - right.
Diligently with tears - He sought too late. Let us use the
18: 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 could be touched - That was of an
earthy, material nature.
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, (De 5:22).
20: For they could not bear - The terror which seized
them, when they heard those words proclaimed, If even a
beast, &c.(Ex 19:12), &c.
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 words were
pronounced, he stood as one of the hearers, (Ex 19:25,Ex 20:19).
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
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 enrolled by Moses; but these are enrolled
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 (Jam 1:18).
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 an higher sense than
any who are still alive. Accordingly, St. Paul, while yet on
earth, denies that he was thus made perfect,(Php 3:12).
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.
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.
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.(Hag 2:6).
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 heavens and the new earth," (Re 21:1).
28: Therefore let us, receiving - By willing and joyful
faith. A kingdom - More 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
unworthiness. And godly fear - A tender, jealous fear of
offending, arising from a sense of the gracious majesty of God.
29: For our God is a consuming fire - in the
strictness of his justice, and purity of his holiness.