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VER. 11.-Περι και τολυς ημιν ο λογος και δυσερμηνευτος λέγειν, ιτιι νοι
ξοι γέγονατι ταις ακοαις. nego ; De quo, • Of whom.' The Syriac, xin by jong other porabo, or whom, even of the same Melchisedec,' which no other translation followeth. Florus sau sayos : Vulg. Grandis nobis serma. Rhem. Of whom we have great speech,' impro perly and unintelligibly. Arias, vultus nobis sermo ; "We have much to say.' Eras. Multa nobis foreut dicenda ; • Mapy things should be spoken by us ;' intimating as if they were pretermitted, namely, what might have been spoken. Beza, Multa nobis sunt dicenda ; . We have many things to say.' Syr. : Mulia : Translat. Polyglot. •We might use many words.' Tremel . Multus est nobis sermo quem eloquamur ; · We have much dis course that we may utter or speak;' properly, . We have many words to be spoken.' Keo dureguemveutos asys. Vulg. Lat. Et interpretabilis ad dicendum. Valla corrected this translation. Erasmus first suspected that it was originally in the translation, in interpretabilis, which although a barbarous word, yet evidently intends the sense of the original. Hence it is rendered by the Rbemists, inexplicable to utter ;' which expresseth neither the Latin nor the original. The expositors who follow that translation, contend, whilst the word 'doth signify negatively
, • that cannot be interpreted ;' or affirmatively, that needs isterpretation,' with wonderful vanity, as Erasmus manifests ; if the word have any signification, it is, ó that which is easy to be interpreted,' contrary to the original. Arias, Difficilis interpretalio dicere. Eras. Difficilia explicatu ; • things hard to be explained. So Beza: Ours, “ hard to be uttered ;' difficult to be expounded in speaking. Syr. minipork spor, Et labor ad exponendum ; or as Tremel. Et occupatio ad exponendum illud; • And it is hard labour to expound it,' a laborious work; of whom we have many things to say, and those difficult to be expounded. Et vous cornyeyovati. Vul. Quoniam imbecilles facti estis, • because you are become weak,' improperly. Arias, Segres
, slothful. So Erasmus and Beza, dull.' 'Syr. XT73, infirm, weak.' T 2015 anodis. Vul. Lat. ad audiendum, weak to hear.' Arias, auribus : So Erasmus and Beza. But snow signifies the faculty of hearing, and the act of hearing, as well as the instrument of it: dull of hearing.' VER. 11.--Concerning whom we have many things lá speak, and
difficult to be explained, seeing you are become slothful in keara
ing, or dull of hearing. There are four things combined in this verse in the way of a summary of the discourse that is to ensue. 1. The subject
whereof he would treat-Concerning whom. 2. The manner how he would treat concerning it--lle had many things to say. 3 The nature of those things, not so much absolutely in themselves, as out of respect unto the Hebrews—They were difficult to be explained and understood. 4. The reason hereot'; namely, because they were become dull in hearing.
Nlige ov, Concerning whom ;' that is, Melchisedec, not Christ; and so the Syriac translation expresseth it. But he intends not to treat of him absolutely, neither of his person nor his office. These were things now past ; and to search curiously into them was not for the edification of the church. And the apostle had no design to trouble the minds of believers with things undecessary or curious. And it had not been amiss, if this had been well considered by them who have loaded us with so many needless speculations about his person and office, and some of them directly opposite to the scope and design of the apostle. But the purpose of the apostle is to treat of him, so far, and wherein he was a type of Christ, and as such is represented in the story concerning him. Hence some render tips o, by de qua re, ' of which matter;' that is, the similitude and conformity between Melchisedec and Christ, which was a great, necessary, and instructive truth.
Nonus impor o depos, . We have much to say, many things to speak or treat of. But not the multitude of the things only which he had to speak, but the weight and importance also of them, is intended in this expression. So the grandis sermo of the Vulgar intends not loftiness of speech, but the weight of the things spoken of. And when the apostle comes to insist particularly on the things here intended, they appear rather to be mysterious and important, than many. However, I deny not but that the apostle intimates that there were sundry, yea many things of that importance to be declared and insisted on on this occasion. Some translations, as we have seen, supply the words by forent, some by sunt. The former seems to have apprehended, that the apostle intended wholly to forbear treating on this subject, and that because it was so deep and mysterious, that, considering their condition, it would not be profitable unto them, nor for their edification. Wherefore he lets them know, thal although he could treat of many things concerning Melchisedec, and such as were necessary to be declared, yet because of their incapacity to receive them, he would forbear. And sundry interpreters do so apprehend his mind. But this is no way consistent with his express undertaking, to declare all those things unto them, ch. vii. Wherefore he only declares in
general, that he hath many weighty mysteries to instruct them in, but would not immediately engage in that work, until he had spoken that unto them, which was needful to prepare thein unto a due attention. And his ensuing discourses, before he return unto this subject again, are not reasons why he will totally intermit the handling of them, but a due admonition unto them for precedent negligences, whereby they might be excited to prepare themselves in a due manner for the receiving of what he had to declare.
The nature of the things treated of, with respect unto the capacity of the Hebrews, is next declared ; dojos duosqunusutos . yey. How variously these words are rendered, we have seen before. It may be, the things which Paul himself here calls duosqunntuta, are those which Peter intends in this Epistle, calling them durvonta, 2 Pet. iii. 16. “ things hard to be understood," which is the same with what our apostle here intends. The phrase δυσερμηνευτος λέγειν, is somewhat unusual, and the sense of it not easy to be expressed to the full in our language. Aryan » seems to be for sv tw asysı, in dicendo, in the speaking or uttering of it; or when it is spoken and uttered, it is hard to be interpreted, that is, to be understood. For the interpretation intended, is not that of the apostle in speaking, but that wbich is made in the understanding of them that hear it. For he that hears a thing uttered, and considers it, makes the interpretation of it unto himself, as Hierome observes, Epist. ad Evagr. The apostle doth not therefore intimate, 1. That it would be any hard or difficult matter unto him, to declare all things concerning the conformity between Melchisedec and Christ, which were necessary to be known unto the edification of the church. For what he had by revelation and inspiration, (as he had all that he wrote, as a part of the church's canon, or rule of faith and obedience), was no matter of difficulty in him to find out and express. It is true, that being called to be an apostle in an especial manner, not baving conversed with the Lord Christ in the flesh, he was in vision taken up into heaven, and there heard immediately from him, αρρητα ρηματα, και εκ εξον ανθρωπω λαλησαι, 2 Cor. xii. 4. “ unspeakable words, that were not possible or lawful for a man to utter.” The things and manner of Christ's speech unto him, were accompanied with such a glory, as human nature unpei fected cannot bear. But these things belonged unto his own particular confirmation in his office and work, and not to the edification of the church in general. For what he received by revelation unto that end, he freely and fully declared, Acts xx. 20. 27. Nor, 2. that his manner of the declaration of it, would be obscure and hard to be understood; as some have blasphemously accused his writings of obscurity and intricacy. Nor can any pretence be taken hence against the clearness and perspicuity of the Scriptures in the declaration of divine truths and revelations. For it is of things themselves, and not of the manner of their declaration, that he speaks, as
also doth Peter in the place mentioned. Two things therefore are intended by the apostle in this expression. First, That in what he bad to speak on this subject, there were some things in their own nature sublime and mysterious. In divine revelations there are great differences in the matter of them. For the man. ner of their declaration in the Scripture they thus far agree, that every thing is declared absolutely as it ought to be, with respect unto the end of the Scripture ; that is, the glory of God, and the edification of the church. But among the things themselves revealed, there is great difference. Some of them are nearer and more exposed unto our understandings and capacities; others of them are more sublime and mysterious, and more exceed our comprehension. And such are the things intended by the apostle. Wherefore, secondly, He doth not speak of these things only with respect unto their own nature, but unto our understandings, which are weak and imperfect. It is a difficult matter for us in any tolerable measure to comprehend divine mysteries, when plainly propounded unto us. But yet neither are these things spoken positively in this place, with respect merely unto the understanding of them to whom they are delivered, but with respect unto a peculiar indisposition in the minds of some, bindering them in the discharge of their duty. This the apostle chargeth in particular upon these Hebrews in this verse, and then aggravates their fault from its causes, nature, circumstances, and consequents, in those that follow to the end of this chapter, and the midst of the next. And when he hath hereby prepared them to a more diligent attention, he returns to declare the things themselves which he here intends. And the Romanists do very weakly shield themselves from the force of an argument which ariseth up of its own accord against the great foundation of their superstition, from the nature of the apostle's discourse in this Epistle. For whereas he professedly treateth of the priesthood and sacrifice of Christ in all their concerns, and in their whole use in the church of God, whence is it, that he makes no mention in the least, nor gives the least intimation of their priesthood, mass, and sacrifice of it, by which alone, if you will believe them, the other things are communicated and made effectual to the church? I do not mention now what (God assisting) I shall prove
afterwards ; namely, that he declares those things which are utterly inconsistent with them, and destructive of them. But we only inquire at present whence it should come to pass, that in this discourse, which, if the things they pretend are true, is neither complete, nor useful, nor scarcely intelligible without them, he should make no mention of them at all? This, say our Rhemists on this place, was because the mass was too great a mystery for St Paul to acquaint these Hebrews withal, and Vol. IV.
therefore he here intimates that he would not acquaint them with it, or impart the doctrine of it unto them. It seems therefore, that the mass is a greater mystery than the sacrifice of Christ on the cross, or any thing that concerned his own personal priesthood. This seems to be a supposition of a competent boldness, wherein it is much if they should believe themselves. Besides, whereas the mass is one of the sacraments of the church, continually to be celebrated among the faithful, whence is it that the apostle should dread to speak of the nature of that to them, which they were made partakers of, and which they were exercised in every day, if it were then known, or in use in the church? They would make Christianity a very strange religion
, wherein it should be a thing dangerous and unlawful to instruct men in their duty. But as we have proved before, the things here intended by the apostle, are all of them resumed and handled by him in the ensuing chapters ; which makes it sufficiently evident, that their mass and priesthood were none of them.
Lastly, The reason of the foregoing assertion is added: • Seeing you are slothful, slow, or dull in hearing,' reagoi seks exodus. Nw9gor: This word is no where used in the New Testa. ment, but here, and ch. vi. 12. where we render it, slothtal' Nw9gos est, qui non facilè potest wbursav, one that is not easily stirred or moved, heavy, slothful, inactive, dull,' opposed to him that is diligent in his business; as Prov. xxii. 29. T215 bris
, Axon is used both for the ear, the faculty of hearing, the act of hearing, and things heard.' Wherefore slothful in bearing, whereby the apostle declares the fault of these Hebreirs, is a metaphorical expression. You are, saith he, in hearing of the word, like slothful persons who do no work, accomplish no endeavours, attain no good end, because of their earthly, dull, isactive constitutions and inclinations. The conditions and qualities of such persons, Solomon paints to the life, Prov. xii. 27. xv. 19. xviii. 9. xix. 24. xxi. 25. xxii. 13. xxiv. 30. Arvi. 13_15. He abounds in the reproof of it, as being one of the most pernicious vices that our nature is subject to. And in the reproach that Christ will cast upon unfaithful ministers at the last day, there is nothing greater than that they were slothful
, Matt. xxv. 26. Unto such persons therefore the apostle com, pares these Hebrews, not absolutely, but as to this one duty of hearing.. The gospel, as preached, he calls, rezor tas axons, word of hearing,' ch. iv. 2. the word that is communicated unto men by hearing, which they so receive, Rom. x. 17. which ought to be heard and diligently attended unto. This duty the Scripture expresseth by neoceyev, Acts xvi. 14. which is • dili. gently to hearken and attend, so as to cleave unto the things heard. A neglect hereof the apostle chargeth the Hebrewrs withal. You stir not up, saith he, the faculties of