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glory; this evidence and demonstration of divine wisdom, holiness, righteousness and love; this great discovery of the purity of the law, and vileness of sin ; this first, great, principal subject of the gospel, and motive of faith and obedience; this root and cause of all peace with God, of all sincere and incorrupted love towards him, of all joy and consolation from him; they think it scarcely deserves a place in the objects of their contemplation, and are ready to guess that what men write and talk about it, is but phrases, canting, and fanatical. But such as are admitted into the fellowship of the sufferings of Christ, will not so easily part with their immortal interest and concern herein. Yea, I fear not to say, that he is likely to be the best, the most humble, the most holy and fruitful Christian, who is most sedulous and diligent in spiritual inquiries into this great mystery of the reconciliation of God unto sinners, by the blood of the cross, and in the exercise of the faith about it. Nor is there any such powerful means of preserving the soul in a constant abhorrence of sin, and watchfulness against it, as a due apprehension of what it cost to make atonement for it. And we may also learn hence,
2. That a sight and sense of the wrath of God due unto sin, will be full of dread and terror for the souls of men, and will put them to a great conflict with wrestling for deliverance. We find how it was with the Lord Christ in that condition. And such a view of the wrath of God, all men will be brought unto sooner or later. There is a view to be had of it in the curse of the law for the present; there will be a more terrible expression of it in the execution of that curse at the last day, and no way is there to obtain a deliverance from the distress and misery wherewith this prospect of wrath due to sin is attended, but by obtaining a spiritual view of it in the cross of Christ, and acquiescing by faith in that atonement.
Obs. VII. In all the pressures that were on the Lord Jesus Christ, in all the distresses he had to conflict withal in his suffering, his faith for deliverance and success was firm and unconquerable.—This was the ground he stood upon in all his
prayers and supplications.
Obs. VIII. The success of our Lord Jesus Christ in his trials, as our Head and Surety, is a pledge and assurance of success unto us in all our spiritual conflicts.
Ver. 8.-The things discoursed in the foregoing verse, seem to have an inconsistency with the account given us concerning the person of Jesus Christ, at the entrance of this Epistle. For he is therein declared to be the Son of God, and that in such a glorious manner, as to be deservedly exalted above all the angels in heaven. He is so said to be the Son of God, as to be the brightness of the Father's glory, and the express image of his person, even partaker of the same nature with him, Gov, by whom the heavens were made, and the foundations of the earth were laid, ch. i. 8–10. Here he is represented in a low, distressed condition, humbly, as it were, begging for his life, and pleading with strong cries and tears, before him who was able to deliver him. These things might seem unto the Hebrews to have some kind of repugnancy unto one another; and indeed they are a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence unto many at this day : they are not able to reconcile them in their carnal minds and reasonings. Wherefore, since it is by all acknowledged, that he was truly and really, in the low distressed condition here described, they will not allow that he was the Son of God, in the way declared by the apostle, but invent other reasons of their own, for which he should be so termed. Their pleas and pretences we have discussed elsewhere. The aim of the apostle in this place, is not to refel the objections of unbe. lievers, but to instruct the faith of them who do believe, in the truth and reason of these things. For he doth not only manifest that they were all possible, upon the account of his participation of flesh and blood, who was in himself the eternal Son of God, but also that the whole of the humiliation and distress thereon ascribed unto him, was necessary with respect unto the office which he had undertaken to discharge, and the work which was committed unto him. And this he doth in the next ensuing and following verses.
VER. 8.-Καιπις ων υιος, εμαθεν αφ' ων επαθε την υπακοην. I observed before, that the Syriac translation hath transposed some words in these two verses; and thus reads this latter of them, “ And although he were a Son, from the fear and sufferings which he underwent, he learned obedience.” That concerning fear, is traduced out of the foregoing verse, where it is omitted. Some copies of the Vulgar read, Et quidem cum esset Filius Dei; as do our old English translations, restoring it before its connexion, as also in other places. The Rhemists only,
And truly whereas he was the Son ;' no other translation ac. knowledgeth the addition of God. Arias, Existens Filius, which some other translations add some epithet unto to express the emphasis, a faithful Son:' Ethiop. a Son always, Arab. Ver. 8.- Although he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by
(or from) the things which he suffered. Ketig, Quamvis, tamelsi, although ;' an adversative, with a concession. An exception may be supposed unto what was before delivered ; namely, if he were a Son, how came he so to pray and cry, so to stand in need of help and relief? This is
here tacitly inserted : saith the apostle, Although he were so, yet these other things were necessary. And this gives us a connexion of the words unto those foregoing. But according to the apostle's usual way of reasoning in this Epistle, there is also a prospect in this word towards the necessity and advantage of his being brought into the condition described; which in our translation is supplied by the addition of yet.
'Yios wv, ' he were a Son; and yet being a Son ;' that is, such a Son as we have described; or, that Son of God. It was no great nor singular thing for a son or child of God by adoption, to be cbastised, to suffer, and thereby to be instructed unto obedience. He therefore speaks not of him as a Son on any common account, or such as any mere creature can claim interest in. But he was God's own Son, Rom. viii. 3. the only begotten of the Father, John i. 14. who was himself also in the form of God, Phil. ii. 7. That he should do the thing here spoken of, is great and marvellous. Therefore is it said that he did thus, " although he were a Son.” Two things are included herein; namely, in the introduction of Christ in this place under that title of the Son. 1. The necessity of doing what is here ascribed unto him, with respect unto the end aimed at. And this is more fully declared in the next verse. The things that were in themselves necessary, unto the great end of the glory of God in the salvation of the elect, were not to be waved by Christ, although he were the Son. 2. His love, that he would submit to this condition for our sake. On his own account no such thing was required of him, or any way needful unto him; but for our sakes (such was his love) he would do it, " although he were a Son.”
Besides, whereas the apostle is comparing the Lord Christ as a high priest, with Aaron and those of his order, he intimates a double advantage which he had above them. 1. That he was a son, whereas they were servants only; as he had before expressed the same difference in comparing him with Moses, ch. iii. 46. 2. That he learned obedience by what he suffered ; which few of them did, none of them in the same way and manner with him.
Έμαθεν, αφ' ών επαθε, την υπακοην. As to the manner of the expression or phraseology, co w seems to be put for o wy, by, out of, from, the things. And moreover there is an ellipsis, or a metaptosis in the words, being put for εμαθαν απ' εκεινων και επαθε ; and so we express the sense in our translation. Also the paronomasia which is in them, see up av sma), is observed by all. And there is some correspondence in the whole unto that common ancient saying, τα παθηματα, μαθηματα.
Three things we are to inquire into: 1. What is the obedience which is here intended. 2. How Christ is said to learn it. 3. By what means he did so.
1. Traxou, is an obediential attendance unto the commands of another; a due consideration of, a ready compliance with authoritative commands. For the word cometh from that which signifieth to hearken or hear. Hence, to hearken or bear,' is frequently in the Scripture used for “ to obey ;' and ' to refuse to hear,' is to be stubborn and disobedient. Because obedience l'espects the commands of another, which we receive, and become acquainted withal by hearing; and a readiness, with diligence therein, is the great means to bring us unto obedience : ipaxon therefore, is an obediential compliance with the commands of another, when we hear and thereby know them. This obedience in Christ was two-fold.
1. General in the whole course of his holy life in this world. Every thing he did, was not only materially holy, but formally obediential. He did all things, because it was the will and law of God that so he should do. And this obedience to God, was the life and beauty of the holiness of Christ himself; yea, obedience unto God in any creature, is the formal reason constituting any act or duty to be good or boly. Where that consideration is excluded, whatever the matter of any work or duty may be, it is neither holy nor accepted with God. Wherefore the whole course of the life of Christ, was a course of obedience unto God, whereon he so osten professed that he kept the commands, and did the will of him that sent him, thereby fulfilling all righteousness. But yet this is not the obedience bere peculiarly intended, although no part of it can be absolutely excluded from the present consideration. For whereas tbis obedience hath respect unto suffering, he learned it from the things that he suffered : bis whole life was a life of suffering. One way or other, he suffered in all that he did, at least when and whilst be did it. His state in this world, was a state of humiliation and exinanition, which things have suffering in their nature. His outward condition in the world, was mean, low and contemptible, from which sufferings are inseparable. And He was in all things continually exposed unto temptations, and all sorts of oppositions, from Satan and the world: this also added to his sutferings
... 2. But yet moreover there was a peculiar obedience of Christ, which is intended here in an especial manner. This was his obedience in dying, and in all things that tended immediately thereunto. 6 " He became obedient to death, even the death of the cross;" for this commandment had he of his Father, that be should lay don his life, and therefore he did it in a way of obedience. And this especial obedience to the command of God for suffering and dying, the apostle here respects. With regard
hereunto, he said of old, “Lo, I come, in the volume of thy book it is written of me; I delight to do thy will, O my God," Psal. xl. 7, 8. which was in the offering up of himself a sacrifice for us, as our apostle declares, Heb. x. 9, 10. And concerning the things which befel him herein, he says he “ was not rebellious, but gave his back to the smiters, and his cheeks to them that plucked off the hair," Isa. 1. 6.
Concerning this obedience, it is said, that, ah, he learned it.' Marsaw, is to learn as a disciple, with a humble willing subjection unto, and a ready reception of the instructions given. But of the Lord Cbrist it is said here, he learned obedience; not that be learned to obey, which will give us light into the meaning of the whole. For to learn obedience, may have a threefold sense. 1. To learn it materially, by coming to know that to be our duty, to be required of us, which before we knew not, or at least did not consider as we ought. So speaks the psalmist, “ Before I was afflicted, I went astray ; but now have I learned thy commandments.” God by his chastisements, and under them, taught him the duties he required of him, and what diligent attendance unto them was necessary for him. But thus our Lord Jesus learned not obedience, nor could so do. For he knew beforehand all that he was to do, or undergo, what was proposed unto him, what was to come upon him in the discharge of his office, and performance of the work he had undertaken. And the law of the whole of it was in his heart: no command of God was new to him, nor ever forgotten by him. 2. To learn it formally; that is, to be guided, instructed, directed, helped in the acts, and acting of the obedience required of him. This is properly to learn to obey ; so is it with us, who are rude and unskilful in holy obedience, and are by supplies of light and grace gradually instructed in the knowledge and practice of it. This wisdom do we learn, partly by the word, partly by afflictions, as God is pleased to make them effectual. But thus the Lord Christ neither did nor could learn obedience. He had a fulness of grace always in him, and with bim, inclining, directing, guiding, and enabling him unto all acts of obedience that were required of him. Being full of grace, truth and wisdom, he was never at a loss for what he had to do, nor wanted any thing of a perfect readiness of will or mind for its performance. Wherefore, 3. He can be said to learn obedience only on the account of having an experience of it in its exercise. So a man knoweth the taste and savour of meat by eating it; as our Saviour is said to taste of death, or to experience what was in it, by undergoing of it. And it was one especial kind of obedience that is liere intended, as was declared before ; namely, a submission to undergo great, hard and terrible things, accompanied with patience and quiet endurance