Page images

Julian Pè

23 To the general assembly and church of the first- Italy. riod, 4775. born, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge Vulgar Æra, 62. of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,

[ocr errors]

24 And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.

§ 37. HEB. xii. 25, to the end.

The Apostle, from the superior Excellence of the Gospel
Dispensation, intreats them not to refuse the Mediator of
this better Covenant, for if their Forefathers were de-
stroyed in the Wilderness for Disobedience to Moses, who
spake on the Part of God to them on Earth, their Con-
demnation will be proportionably greater, who turn away
from God, who speaks to them from Heaven, by his Son,
in the Gospel-At the giving of the Law his Voice shook
the Earth-the Power of Heathen Idolatry (Exod. xix.
18.), but now, in the New Dispensation, according to the
Prediction of the Prophet (Haggai ii. 6.), not only the
idolatrous Worship, but the Mosaic Economy, was also to
be shaken, which signifies the Removal and Change of
those Things constituted for a Time, to make way for that
better Dispensation which cannot be changed or shaken,
which is to remain till the End of the World-From the
unchangeable Nature of the Gospel (Dan. vii. 18.), which
being the last Dispensation of God, cannot be moved-
St. Paul exhorts them to hold fast this heavenly Gift that
they may serve God in the Way that pleases him; for
under the Gospel, as under the Law, God is a consuming
Fire to those who apostatize, and are Disobedient to his
Will and Commands.

25 See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if
they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth,
much more shall not we escape if we turn away from him
that speaketh from heaven:

26 Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he
hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the
earth only, but also heaven ".

and most holy place, to signify the presence of angels. There
was a general assembly and congregation of the priests, which
were substituted instead of the first-born, of whose names cata-
logues were kept. There was God, a supreme Judge of con-
troversies, giving forth his oracles. The high-priest was the
mediator between God and Israel, (comp. Luke i. 8-10.) and
the blood of sprinkling was daily used."

1 Some commentators suppose that this passage refers to the
approaching destruction of Jerusalem, and the abolition of the po-
litical and ecclesiastical constitution of the Jewish state-the ope
signified by the earth, the latter by heaven. Others, to the dis-
solution of all things, to the new heavens and earth-to the
future state of glory. The Jewish state and worship are in all

riod, 4775.


Julian Pe- 27 And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the re- Italy,
Vulgar Era, moving of those things that are shaken, as of things that
are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may



28 Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be
moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God
acceptably with reverence and godly fear:
29 For our God is a consuming fire.

§ 38. HEB. Xiii. 1-6.

The Apostle exhorts the Hebrews to brotherly Love, to acts
of Charity and Mercy, receiving into their Houses
Strangers or Travellers, after the Example of Abraham
and Lot (Gen. xviii. 3. xix. 2.); to have Compassion
for the Sufferings of others, as those who are liable to the
same Evils, and to purity of Conduct, from the Fear of
God's Judgments-He admonishes them not to covet what
Providence has given to another, but to be content with
those Things which are given to themselves; for God
himself has promised to protect and provide for them
(Joshua i. 5. 1 Chron. xxviii. 20.)—Christians may
with greater Confidence apply this Promise to themselves,
and trust with David in Poverty and Affliction, on the
Omnipotence of God (Psalm cxviii. 6. LXX.)

1 Let brotherly love continue.

2 Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.

3 Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.

4 Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.

5 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

6 So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.

§ 39. HEB. xiii. 7-16.

The Apostle, further to convince them that the Promises of
God never fail, desires them to remember the Examples of
their deceased Teachers (perhaps James the Apostle, and
James the Bishop of Jerusalem) who presided over them,
and to imitate their Faith, considering the wonderful Sup-

probability described by the prophets as the heavens, because
they were established by God, and because the tabernacle, with
its worship, were typical of heavenly things.-See the Disser-
tation of Lord Barrington, at the end of the Essay on the Dis-


Julian Period, 4775. Vulgar Æra, 62.

port they received at the End of their Lives, when they suf- Italy.
fered a violent Death, in Testimony of Jesus Christ, who is
for ever unchangeable-On this Account they are warned
not to be carried away with various and unapostolical Doc-
trines to have their Hearts established in the Efficacy of
the Sacrifice and Death of Christ, for the Pardon of Sin,
and not of the Levitical Sacrifices of Animals, appointed
for Meat, which cannot avail-Those who eat of the
Flesh of the Sacrifices of the Peace-Offerings and of the
Law, trusting through them to be reconciled to God (Lev.
xvii. 11-15.), have no right to eat of the Sacrifice of
the Christian Altar; for, according to their own Law,
they are not to eat of any part of the Animal whose Blood
had been offered as an Atonement for Sin, for the Flesh
of that Animal was to be burned without the Camp (Lev.
xvi. 27.)-Christ, of which this was the Type, opened the
Heaven of Heavens to Man, by the sprinkling of his own
Blood (chap. xii. 24.), and offered his Flesh as a living
Sacrifice without the Gate of the City-He exhorts them
so to follow Christ, making a living Sacrifice of the Flesh,
renouncing this World, which is not their continuing City,
and offering to God, through him, the only acceptable Sa-
crifice of Praise and Thankfulness, with Acts of Charity
and Mercy to Man, for Christ's sake.

7 Remember them which have the rule over you, who
have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith fol-
low, considering the end of their conversation:

8 Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and to-day, and for


9 Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines for it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein.


10 We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle.

11 For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned without the camp.

12 Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate.

13 Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach:

14 For here have we no continuing city, but we seek

one to come.

15 By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to his name.

16 But to do good, and to communicate, forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.

Julian Period, 4775.



$ 40. HEB. xiii. 17-21.

Vulgar Era, The Apostle desires them to obey their lawful Pastors and Teachers, who are appointed to direct and govern them in spiritual Things, and to give an Account of their Conduct to God-He desires their Prayers also for himself, that he may be restored to them the sooner— That though they may not approve his Doctrines, he has delivered them faithfully, ever anxious to fulfil the Duties of his Apostleship-He solemnly prays that God, who brought back Jesus Christ from the Dead, through the Blood of his unchangeable Covenant, may make them perfect in every good Work, through the Influences of the Holy Spirit, given to them by Jesus Christ, to whom the Glory of Man's Salvation is to be for ever ascribed.

17 Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account: that they may do it with joy, and not with grief for that is unprofitable for


18 Pray for us: for we trust we have a good conscience, in all things willing to live honestly.

19 But I beseech you the rather to do this, that I may be restored to you the sooner.

20 Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant,

21 Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

§ 41. HEB. xiii. 22, to the end.

The Apostle, in conclusion, beseeches the Hebrews not to be
so prejudiced against him as to prevent their receiving the
brief Instructions he has given them-He mentions his
Desire of visiting them with Timothy-His Salutation
and Benediction.

22 And I beseech you, brethren, suffer the word of
exhortation for I have written a letter unto you in few

23 Know ye that our brother Timothy is set at liberty; with whom, if he come shortly, I will see you.

24 Salute all them that have the rule over you, and all the saints. They of Italy salute you.

25 Grace be with you all. Amen.



Julian Pe




Vulgar Era, After his Liberation, St. Paul visits Italy, Spain, Britain, Britain.


12 and the West 12.

12 We cannot be certain what were the travels of St. Paul between his first and second imprisonments at Rome. The probable accounts must be collected from the remaining testimony of the Second Epistle to Timothy, and the desire he had expressed in his Epistles written before his liberation.

Bishop Pearson, with many very eminent and learned theologians, have been of opinion, that when he left Italy he first proceeded to Spain, and the West. Bishop Stillingfleet, and since his time the learned Bishop Burgess, in our own day, have strenuously defended this opinion.

In his Epistle to the Romans (chap. xv. 24.) be had long before expressed his determination to go into Spain-" Whensoever I take my journey into Spain, I will come to you. For I trust to see you in my journey, and to be brought on my way thitherward by you, if first I be somewhat filled with your company."

There appears to be sufficient traditional evidence to satisfy us that the apostle eventually fulfilled his determination.

The testimonies of the first six centuries, either expressly record St. Paul's journey to the West and to Britain, or offer such evidence of the propagation of Christianity in Spain and Britain, as coincides with these testimonies.

1. The first and most important is the testimony of Clemens Romanus, "the intimate friend and fellow-labourer of St. Paul." He says, that St. Paul, in preaching the Gospel, went to the utmost bounds of the West, ἔπι τὸ τερμα τῆς δυσεῶς. This is not a rhetorical expression, as Dr. Hale supposes, but the usual designation of Britain. Catullus calls Britain, ultima Britannia, and ultima occidentis insula. The West included Spain, Gaul, and Britain. Theodoret speaks of the inhabitants of Spain, Gaul, and Britain, as dwelling in the utmost bounds of the West, τας της έσπερας εσχατιας. The connection between Britain and the West, will be seen in other passages quoted by Bishop Stillingfleet (a); and in the following of Nicephorus(b)—ñρòç ¿oñεριον ωκεανόν εισβαλων και τας Βρεταννικας νήσους ευαγγελισαMEVOC. The utmost bounds of the West, then, is not rhetorical language in itself, for it is a common appellation of Britain; nor as applied to St. Paul, for it was said of others of the apos


2. In the second century (A.D. 176,) Irenæus speaks of Christianity as propagated to the utmost bounds of the earth, iwc TEOATWV TNS YNS, by the apostles and their disciples; and particularly specifies the churches planted (εν ταις ̔Ιβεριαις, and ἑν KEλros) in Spain, and the Celtic nations (c). By the Kɛλro were meant the people of Germany, Gaul, and Britain (d).

3. At the end of the second and the beginning of the third century (A.D. 193-220,) Tertullian mentions, among the Christian converts, Hispaniarum omnes termini, et Galliarum diverversæ nationes et Britannorum inaccessa Romanis loca, Christo vero subdita (e). Though Irenæus and Tertullian, in their testimonies, do not expressly mention St. Paul, yet the conversion of Britain to Christianity is recorded as the work of the apostles and their disciples. It is most interesting to find such wri. ters speaking of their proximity to the origin of the Christian Church, and consequently of the perfect competency of their

« PreviousContinue »