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[339] Heb. iii. 6, 7, 8. to chap. iv. 11. “Whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence, and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end. Wherefore, as the Holy Ghost says, To-day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation,” &c. The apostle here supposes that when the psalmist here says, ”To-day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts;” it is as much as if he had said,” Although that was a long time ago, and though their day was long since past, yet hear his voice, and do not harden your hearts now in this your day, and see that you never harden your hearts while your day lasts; for if ye do not harden your hearts, there is a rest of God, that you may enter into as well as they; but if you continue to harden your hearts, your day in a little time will be past as well as theirs.” The former part of this sense, viz. that by the expression, ”To-day,” the psalmist means, In this day that you now have so long after their day is past, is evident by chapter iv. 7. and the latter part of it, viz. that he means. Take heed that your heart be at no time hardened during your day, is evident, because in that8th verse. the words are brought in as a motive to perseverance. It is still more evident by the manner of the apostle’s bringing in the words in the l1th and 12th, as also in the 14th and 15th verses., and by the apostle’s paraphrase of the words, or gloss he puts upon them there, while it is called To-day, verse 13. and while it is said Today, ver. 15. which is the same thing as during the continuance of the day.

From the psalmist exhorting us to hear God’s voice today, so long a time after the carcasses of the children of Israel fell in the wilderness, and so they failed of entering into God’s rest, and so long a time after others that believed entered into that temporal rest that Joshua brought them into; the apostle would argue that there remains still another rest for the people of God, to be entered into, as God spake concerning the children of Israel in the wilderness, as if there was a rest of God still to be entered into, though there had been a rest of God many ages before that, viz. that rest, or sabbatism of God, which God enjoyed on the seventh day of the creation, resting from the works of creation, which had been distinguished as God’s rest, or his sabbatism; but yet there then remained another rest of God to those that believed, viz. Christ’s rest in Canaan after the Egyptian bondage, and his redemption of his people out of Egypt, as is implied in his swearing in his wrath that those that did not believe should not enter into rest. So there still remains another rest also besides God’s rest from that redemption, as is implied in the psalmist, when speaking so long after of the unbelievers in the wilderness failing of entering into that rest, he still exhorts and says, “To-day if you will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as they did;” implying that it will not be in vain for us even now to hearken, but we shall enter into God’s rest still if we hearken, even that rest that Christ entered into in heaven, after his great bondage here on earth, and his finishing the work of redemption. By which may be understood the force of the apostle’s reasoning in ver. 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9,10,11. of the next chapter.

[142] Heb. v. 9. “And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.” By obeying, here, is not meant believing, but obedience to the law and commands of God, as it is understood in the foregoing verse.

[74] Heb. vi. 4, 5, 6. “For it is impossible for those that were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift,’’ &c. What is meant by those things here mentioned, may be gathered from the foregoing verses. The apostle exhorts us, when we have begun in Christianity, to go on, and make progress to higher attainments, and not to have all to begin again; that whenever we had laid the foundation, we should go on and build the superstructure, and not to keep always laying the foundation, or have occasion to lay it the second time, which foundation, or beginning, or first setting out in Christianity, consists in these things, in repentance from dead works, and in faith towards God; which foundation was laid when they first turned from their erroneous and wicked ways, and embraced Christianity, and believed the gospel. And nextly, in the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, because when they first entered upon a profession of the gospel, they were baptized, and had hands laid on them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost. By the doctrine of baptisms and laying on of hands, the apostle means those plain instructions that were given them, to prepare them for baptism, and laying on hands; and lastly, as to the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment, the doctrine of the resurrection and the future state, or world to come, were the first principles of religion, that they first began with.

Now, by those who were once enlightened, the apostle means those that were once indoctrinated in Christianity, and brought so far to understand and believe it, as to make them forsake their former errors and vicious courses in their unbelief, as is evidently understood, chap. x. 32. Tasting of the heavenly gifts, and being made partakers of the Holy Ghost, are the same, and mean their receiving the Holy Ghost, as they did by the laying on of hands; and lastly, in tasting of the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, though it is probable those were everywhere made partakers of the gift of the Holy Ghost, by the laying on of hands, that were true saints; yet I believe that when it was not accompanied with gracious exercises, it was always accompanied with great common illuminations and affections. It is not probable that they should have the Holy Ghost dwelling in them with respect to his miraculous influences, and not feel any thing of the power of it in their souls. When the Holy Ghost was given them, they felt his influence, not only outwardly, but inwardly; not only in their understandings, but affections. I believe never any had the Holy Ghost, with respect to his extraordinary operations, (see Numb. xxiii. 10. xxiv. 5, 6. 1 Sam. x. 6.) more than Balaam and Saul. They were unconverted men, but yet they felt his influence in this way. Thus they tasted of the good word of God, and the power of the world to come. They tasted of the good word of God as the stony-ground hearers, who anon with joy receive the word, and as the Galatians did who thought it such a blessedness to hear the word of God, and would have plucked out their eyes, and given them to the apostle. They experienced in themselves the power of the world to come, that is, of the invisible world; see Ephes i. 21. and Heb. ii. 5. and felt the powers of the invisible agent of that world upon their minds. It is certain none exercised miraculous gifts without extraordinary influence of the Spirit of God to convince the judgment. 1 Cor. xiii. 2. “Though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing;” and doubtless there was commonly an answerable or proportional effect on the affections, as there was on the judgment. As that faith there mentioned is there distinguished from true grace or charity, and therefore differed in kind from saving faith, so do these things here mentioned from saving grace.

[299] Heb. vi. 4, 5, 6. If any think that the apostle here used expressions too high to denote any gifts of the Spirit common to good and bad men, though miraculous gifts, I answer, that the drift of the apostle, and his argument in those words, led him to set forth the greatness of the privilege that such persons had received, that he might the better show the exceeding aggravations of their apostacy, whence what the apostle says might be the more easily believed, viz. that it was impossible to renew them again to repentance. For it is certain that he intends the aggravatedness of their crime, as a reason of it, because he himself gives it as a reason of it, ver. 6. in those words, “Seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.”

[107] Heb. xi. 1. “Faith is the evidence of things not seen:” that is, it is their being evident. This verse is as much as if he had said, Faith is the being present of things that are to come, and the being clearly seen of things that are not seen. The substance of things hoped for, might have been translated the subsistence, that is, their now subsisting.

[227] Heb. vi. 4, 5, 6. “For it is impossible,” &c. Those that the apostle here has respect to, must be such as were guilty of the unpardonable sin. The falling away that he speaks of is an apostacy from Christianity. It could not be otherwise but that those who in those days 809had been Christians, and then openly renounced Christianity, must openly reproach that spirit that Christians were then so generally endued with in his miraculous gifts, which was so notorious, and was so great a thing, and the principal thing in them that drew the eyes of the world upon them, and was the greatest seal that God gave them to evidence in the sight of the world that they were his people, and which was the argument that was principally effectual for the gaining others to them. When they openly renounced Christianity, that they once had appeared to embrace, their renunciation contained a great and open reproach, for it was an avowed casting away and rejecting a thing that has been received, as having found it naught and vile. He that admits and receives another in the capacity of a wife, or husband, or lord, or other relation, and then afterwards on trial rejects them and turns them out of doors, casts a vastly greater reproach on them than those that never received them: much more those that received any one for their God. So these apostates here spoken of, in renouncing Christianity, did openly cast the greatest reproach on Christianity; and therefore the apostle says,ver. 6. they put him to an open shame. And indeed an open, declared renunciation of Christianity after it had been embraced, is itself an open reproaching, and blaspheming of it in words; and they that apostatized and openly renounced Christianity in those days, and the church being in those circumstances that have already been mentioned, must openly renounce and reproach that Spirit that the Christians were endued with, and confirmed by; for that Spirit was the principal and most obvious thing in that Christianity that they renounced and reproached. And especially must it be so, when those openly renounced Christianity that had themselves been endued with the Holy Ghost, as those here spoken of had been. In renouncing Christianity, they must renounce the Spirit, that great seal of Christianity that they had had. And those that had such experience of the evidences of the truth of Christianity that those had, as has been explained, No. 165. must do it against light and the conviction of their own consciences, and so what they did amounts to the sin against the Holy Ghost. And those that apostatized from Christianity under these circumstances, would naturally be abundant in their reproaches of the religion they had renounced, and the Spirit that confirmed it, that they might justify themselves, and that they might not appear inconsistent with themselves in the eye of the world. The same apostates are evidently spoken of in chap. x. 25., &c. where the apostle speaks of their forsaking the assemblies of Christians, and sinning wilfully after they had received the knowledge of the truth, and treading under-foot the Son of God, and renouncing the blood of the covenant, wherewith they had been sanctified, and doing despite to the Spirit of grace.

[501] Heb. vi. 4, 5, 6. Concerning those who were once enlightened, &c. It is an argument, that those here spoken of are such as were never regenerated, that they are compared to the thorny ground, which, however it may seem to receive the seed and to nourish it, so that it may spring up, and appear flourishing awhile, yet never brings forth any good fruit, but the fruit finally produced always is briers and thorns, because the ground is thorny, full of seeds and roots of thorns, which were never purged out to prepare the ground for the good seed; so that whatsoever showers descend upon it, how benign soever they are, yet they only go to nourish the thorns, and make them grow the faster, ver. 8. which representation certainly implies that the ground is nought, it was never so changed as to prepare it to bring forth good fruit. It is a good rule in our endeavours to understand the mind of the Spirit of God, to compare spiritual things with spiritual, and to interpret scripture by scripture. Now it is manifest that Christ represents the thorny ground as different from the good ground. The ground itself is naught, and not fitted so to receive and nourish the seed, as to bring good fruit to perfection; and they that are represented by the thorny ground are, in Christ’s explanation of the parable, distinguished from those that have good and honest hearts. The fault of the way-side, of the stony ground, and of the thorny ground, was, in each, the nature of the ground; and the good fruit in the good ground is ascribed to the better nature of the ground; and therefore, they that are here represented as ground, which, though often receiving refreshing benign showers, always brings forth briers and thorns, are ground that never has been purged, and changed, and made good, but is inveterately evil, and therefore fit for nothing but to be burnt. It is not impossible that thorny ground may be brought to bring forth good fruit, but then it must be changed, the very roots of the thorns must be killed or rooted up. If this is not done, let good seed be sown in it, and good and kindly showers of rain descend upon it never so often, it will bring forth briers and thorns. This killing or rooting up of the lusts of the heart, compared to thorns, is done by a work of regeneration, or circumcising the heart, as is represented, Jer. iv. 4, 5. “Break up your fallow ground, sow not among thorns. Circumcise yourselves to the Lord, and take away the foreskins of your heart, lest my fury come forth like fire and burn that none can quench it.” There the end of the ground that bears briers and thorns, is represented as being to be burned, as here in the 6th chapter of Hebrews. This is the end of those whose hearts do as it were bring forth briers and thorns, and that because their hearts were never circumcised, i. e. never regenerated.

In Luke viii. 18. when Christ had ended the parable of the sower, he concludes, Take heed how you hear; (i. e. that you in hearing the word are not like the way-side, or the stony or thorny ground, on which the good seed fell;) for says Christ, “Whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he seemeth to have;” referring still to the parable, and the taking away, or the withering and perishing, of the seed from the evil sorts of ground; implying that such have no true spiritual life, no real goodness, and that the seeming good they have, they shall lose.

[284] Heb. vi. 19. “Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil.” That which is here called hope, is the same with the grace of faith, but only with respect to one kind of its exercises, viz. those that respect God’s promises, or our own future promised good. It is no other than trust in God, (or rather faith in God,) through Christ, for salvation. This agrees with the context, beginning with the 12th verse, and with the description given of hope in the words themselves; for it is faith in Christ that is the stability of the soul, faith is that by which we are built on that strong rock, so that we cannot be overthrown, and the same is the anchor by which we are held fast, and cannot be driven to and fro of winds and storms, and shipwrecked and lost. That which is here called hope is the very same that is elsewhere called faith; and saving and justifying faith is often in the New Testament called by the name of hope; as in Rom. viii. 24, 25. “For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope; for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.” How are we saved by hope, but as we are saved or justified by faith? It further appears that by hope here is meant faith, by the following words, “But hope that is seen is not hope,” &c. compared with the words of the same apostle, Heb. xi. 1. “Faith is the evidence of things not seen;” and by the next verse., But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it,” compared with the 12th verse of the context in this 6th of Hebrews., “That ye be followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.” And it may be further confirmed by comparing this last place with the foregoing verse,. And we desire every one of you to show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope to the end;” and also comparing both with the 19th verse,. the text we are upon. That faith with the apostle sometimes signifies the same with hope, is manifest from his description of it in the 1st verse of 11th of Heb. “Faith is the substance of things hoped for;” and Gal. v. 5. “We through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness, through faith;” and Colos. i. 23. “If ye continue in faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel:” continuing grounded and settled in faith, and unmoved in the hope of the gospel, are expressions evidently used as exegetical one of another; and Heb. iii. 6. ”If we hold fast our confidence, and rejoicing 810of hope firm unto the end:” our confidence and our hope seem to be synonymous; so, Rom. iv. 18. “Who against hope believed in hope.” 1 Tim. i. 1. “Jesus Christ which is our hope.” So the apostle Peter seems to use the term hope. 1 Peter i. 21. “Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory, that your faith and hope might be in God.” So chap. iii. 15. “Be ready to give a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear;” that is, to give a reason, or declare the grounds, of your faith. So hope seems to be used for faith by the apostle John. 1 John iii. 3. “Every man that hath this hope in him, purifieth himself, even as he is pure.”

Hope, in the New Testament, is often spoken of as a great Christian grace and virtue, and one of the main things that distinguishes a true Christian, which would be difficult to understand or account for, if by hope is meant no more than what we commonly understand by the word, viz. his thinking well of his own state, or hoping well of his future state. That is not hard to do; it is what nature is prone to; but by hope they doubtless meant something more, viz. an embracing the promises of God and fiducial relying on them through Christ for salvation. This is the great Christian grace that the apostle speaks of in the 13th chap. of 1 Cor. where he speaks of faith, hope, charity; and by faith there, and also where it is distinguished from hope, is meant faith in a larger sense, viz. acquiescing in the truth in whatever he testifies or reveals, without any special regard to our own concern and future interest in what he reveals. Hope is our acquiescing and relying on God’s truth and sufficiency as to what concerns our own future happiness.

[310] Heb. viii. 1. “We have such an high priest who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens.” This is often taken notice of in this epistle, as chap. i. 3. x. 12. xii. 2. This high priest, when he enters into the holy of holies with his own blood, does not only appear there standing before the throne, or mercy-seat, as the high priests of old were wont to do when they entered into the holy of holies once a year with the blood of others, but sits down on the throne in the holy of holies, on the right hand of God; which shows the exceeding dignity of the priest, his nearness and dearness to God, and the absolute sufficiency of the sacrifice that he had offered, the blood of which he entered in there with, and the dignity and honourableness of the manner of his interceding there; which was not merely by supplicating, as one in humble posture before the throne, but by representing his will to the Father, as one sitting in glory with him on the throne, as John xvii. 24. “Father, I will that they that thou hast given me, be with me,” &c. His thus being admitted and invited of God to sit with him on the throne, denotes God’s full, and perfect, and great satisfaction, and well-pleasedness in, and rest on, this high priest when he had offered his sacrifice, and entered into the holy of holies with the blood of it to obtain of God that for which he shed his blood. God immediately receives him, and accepts him and his plea, and says to him, “Sit thou on my right hand till I make thine enemies thy footstool.” And it is a note of Christ’s perfect assurance of the Father’s acceptance of him as priest, and his rest in him, as having virtually obtained what he intercedes for, having all things put into his hands, being made head over all things to the church, that he does not merely stand before the throne supplicating, hoping, and waiting, as the legal high priests did, but sits down in perfect rest, as being satisfied in his full acceptance and virtual possession of all he seeks. He sits on the throne as a royal priest, as a priest on the throne agreeably to the prophecy in Zech. vi. 13.: being made to reign to accomplish the ends of the priesthood, according to his own will; for God has given all power in heaven and on earth, that Christ may give eternal life to as many as God hath given him.

[312] Heb. ix. 28. “So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many, and unto those that look for him, shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.” The first time that Christ appeared, he in one sense did not appear without sin; for he bare the sins of many, he appeared in that form, in those circumstances, and with those labours and sufferings, that were tokens of imputed sin, or guilt, that lay upon him; but then he perfectly freed himself from this imputed sin, he perfectly abolished this guilt, by those sufferings he underwent, as the apostle is here arguing in the preceding part of the chapter; and therefore when he appears the second time, it shall be without sin, without any of those tokens of imputed guilt which he had in his state of humiliation. He shall be exceedingly far from them, the state in which he will appear will be immensely different from the state of one under the tokens and fruits of guilt and wrath, for he will appear in the glory of his Father, with the holy angels, as the Supreme Head and Judge of the universe, with ineffable and inconceivable glory and magnificence. Had not Christ perfectly satisfied for the sins of men, and so done away all his imputed guilt, he could not have appeared a second time without sin, but must always have remained under the tokens of God’s curse for sin. But at the day of judgment he will appear infinitely far from that. The glory he will appear in at the day of judgment, will be the greatest and brightest evidence of all, of his having fully satisfied for sin. His resurrection is a glorious evidence of it, and therefore is called his justification. His ascension into heaven, and sitting on the right hand of God, is a still brighter evidence, as it is a higher degree of his exaltation; but the glory that he will appear in at the day of judgment, will be the brightest evidence of all, as herein appears the glory of his exaltation in its highest degree of all, and is the highest reward which the Father bestows on him for it, and so is the highest token of his acceptance of it as sufficient and perfect. Beside the glory of the special affair of that day which Christ shall bear, then will be the beginning of the consummate glory and reward of both Christ and his church, to last throughout eternity. And not only the glory that Christ will then appear in, but the nature of the business that he will come upon, will show him perfectly to have done away all the sins of his elect, of which he will be the judge, and will save those that have believed in him. God would not have committed this affair to one that had undertaken for them, unless he had satisfied for them.

He will appear without sin to salvation. The first time he appeared, it was with sin to procure salvation; the second he will appear to bestow salvation, which will in the event show that salvation is fully procured.

[288] Heb. x. 1. “The law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things.” Here a shadow is distinguished from images, or pictures, as having a more imperfect representation of the things represented by it. The types of the Old Testament are compared to this kind of representation of things, not only here, but chap. viii. 5. and Colos. ii. 17. which fitly resemble them on several accounts. The shadow of a thing is an exceedingly imperfect representation of it, and yet has such a resemblance, that it has a most evident relation to the thing of which it is the shadow. Again, shadows are a kind of dark resemblances. Though there be a resemblance, yet the image is accompanied with darkness, or hiding of the light: the light is beyond the substance, so that it is hid. So was it with the types of the Old Testament; they were obscure and dark; the light was beyond the substance. The light that was plainly to reveal gospel things came after Christ, the substance of all the ancient types. The shadow was accompanied with darkness and obscurity; gospel things were then hid under a veil.

[230] Heb. x. 25, 26, 27, 28, 29. That the sin against the Holy Ghost is here intended, is confirmed from the place in the Old Testament that seems to be referred to in the 28th and 29th verses.; for the place that seems especially to be referred to is that in Numb. xv. 30, 31., &c.; where God having been speaking of the sins of ignorance, that should be atoned for with sacrifice, tells what sins should not be atoned for with sacrifice in these words, “But the soul that doeth aught presumptuously, whether he be born in the land or a stranger, the same reproacheth the Lord, and that soul shall be cut off from among his people; because he hath despised the word of the Lord, and hath broken his commandment; that soul shall be utterly cut off:” and then in the words next following, there is an instance given of such a man so sinning presumptuously, viz. the sabbath-breaker, that gathered sticks on the sabbath, and how no sacrifice was accepted for 811him, but he perished without mercy by all the congregation’s stoning him with stones. See margin of the Hebrew Bible. That the apostle here refers to this passage, seems evident by these things. The apostle is here speaking of a sin, for which there remains no more sacrifice, and in that in Numbers shows what sins were not to be atoned for by legal sacrifice. He speaks here of him that despised Moses’s law, which agrees with those words in that place in Numbers, ”Because he hath despised the word of the Lord, and hath broken the commandment:” the reason given in that place why no sacrifice was to be accepted for him, so here the reason given why no more sacrifice remains, is that he sins wilfully. In that place another reason why he should perish without accepting a sacrifice was, that he reproached the Lord; so here the reason given why there remained no sacrifice for this was, that he had insolently and maliciously reproached the Spirit of grace, for so the words in the original signify which are translated hath done despite to the Spirit of grace. (Vide Van Maestricht, p. 363. col. 1.) Another reason there given is, that he had despised the word of the Lord; a reason here given is, that he had trampled on the Son of God, who is the Word of God. The man gathering sticks perished by the hand of all the congregation; the whole congregation were commanded to stone him with stones, to bear testimony that none had mercy on him, agreeably to God’s direction in such a case, Deut. xiii. 8, 9, 10. “Neither shall thine eye pity him, neither shalt thou spare him, but thou shalt surely kill him; thine hand shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people, and thou shalt stone him with stones that he die.” Thus the sabbath-breaker perished without mercy. And he died under the hand of two or three witnesses, as the apostle concluded from the law in such a case.

Hence we may gather the meaning of the word wilfully in that place, That the apostle means by it in the same sense as the man in Numbers is said to sin presumptuously; the phrase in the original is with an high hand, or rather, a lifted up hand, as of one that is going to strike another. The same word is used of Jeroboam, 1 Kings xii. 26. “He lift his hand against the king.”

[135] Heb. xii. 21. “And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake.” The place referred to seems to me to be, Deut. ix. 18,19. “I fell down, for I was afraid of the anger and hot displeasure,” &c. God at that time manifested his displeasure by the extraordinary burning in the mount. See verse 15.

[289] Heb. xiii. 12, 13, 14. “Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate. Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach, for here we have no continuing city, but we seek one to come.” Christ suffered as one that was not fit to live among men, nor to die in a place where men dwelt; and therefore was carried forth as execrable without the gate to suffer there: such reproach did Christ suffer, and such were the circumstances of the Christian church in those days, that those that would be the faithful followers of Christ must suffer like reproach: they were cast off by the generality of men; they were looked upon as not fit for human society, worthy to be shut out from dwelling with men. Matt. x. 22. “And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake.” If they would cleave to Christ, they must even go forth with him without the camp, and be reputed as unclean as he was: they must be shut without the gates of the city as execrable too, and must bear his reproach, or the same reproach that he bore. So the apostle advises them to be willing to go forth unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach.

But by going forth to Christ without the camp, or the gate of the city, the apostle here seems especially to mean exposing themselves to be shut out as unclean, from the congregation of the Jews, and from the temple and city of Jerusalem, and from the religious society of the Jews in their synagogues, by their forsaking the ancient legal sacrifices and other legal observances for Christ, ver. 9.

[52] James ii. 19. “The devils also believe and tremble.” They believe that Jesus is the Christ, &c. And tremble al the thoughts of the overthrow he will give them.

[264] 1 Pet. i. 3. with the context The apostle directing his epistle to the Christians in Pontus, &c. takes notice, in the foregoing verse, of the hand that each of the persons of the Trinity had in their being so distinguished from the rest of the world, as to be Christians, or saints, “elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ.” And having mentioned the blood of Christ and referred to his death; which is, in itself considered, without what followed, a melancholy subject, as Christ says, Matt. ix. 15. “The days come when the bridegroom shall betaken from them, and then shall they fast; he therefore in this verse leads their thoughts to the resurrection, a more joyful subject. The death of Christ, without a resurrection following, might justly have damped and killed the hope of all his disciples; but his resurrection revives their hearts, and renews and everlastingly establishes their hopes, no more to be thus damped. It is probable that the apostle, when he wrote this, remembered how it was with him and the rest of the apostles, when Christ was dead. Before they were full of hope of being advanced with Christ in his kingdom; but when he was dead, their hopes seemed to be quashed, and dead as it were with him; but when Christ was raised to life again, so were their hopes renewed, and abundantly established, and their hearts were filled with joy. Christ, by his resurrection, is said to be begotten, Acts xiii. 33. “God hath raised up Jesus again, as it is written, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.” When the Father raised Christ from the dead, he was, as it were, begotten again of the Father; and so his disciples were with him begotten again to a lively hope, or as it probably might have been better rendered, a living hope. The expression, a living hope, seems to denote three things:

1. That as Christ since his death is alive again, so their hope was alive, and not dead, as the hope of the disciples was, while Christ was dead, though Christians suffered persecution, verses 6, 7.

2. That their hope by Christ’s resurrection is exceedingly established, and made strong and lively; so that they greatly rejoiced, (verse 6.) yea, rejoiced with joy unspeakable, and full of glory.

3. Which seems more especially to be intended, their hope that is begotten and established by Christ’s resurrection, is an immortal and never dying hope, as the Spirit of grace in the saints is called living water, because it springs up into everlasting life. John iv. And Christ is called the bread of life, because he that eateth thereof shall not die, but live for ever. John vi. The hope that the disciples had before Christ’s death, was in a great measure dead when he was dead. But now Christ is risen, and is alive for evermore; Rev. i. 18. so the hope that is begotten and established by the resurrection of Christ, is a living, never dying hope. It is now too much established by that glorious resurrection of Christ, ever to die again, to that degree, that the hope of the disciples died, when Christ died. God the Father raised Christ incorruptible, never to die more, and thereby begot them to an inheritance incorruptible. A rich father begets a child to an inheritance; so God, the Father of their Lord Jesus Christ, and their Father here spoken of, has begotten them to an inheritance, and this inheritance is incorruptible, and that fadeth not away. And as their inheritance that they are begotten to, is immortal and unfading, so is their hope a living and unfading hope. Verse 4. The same power of God, that raised Christ immortal, will keep their faith alive, that it shall never die; as verse 5. “Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.” So that their faith and hope live still, though they be subject to great trials; even as refined pure gold will bear the fire, verses 6, 7.; and therefore the apostle exhorts them to hope to the end, verse 13. or to hope with a living and never-dying hope.

[480] 1 Peter ii. 7, 8. “Unto you therefore which believe, he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is become the head of the corner, and a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence,” &c. There are several ways and respects, that stones or rocks are valuable and of benefit to 812men, in each of which Christ in Scripture is compared to a stone or rock with regard to believers.

1. Some stones are highly valued for the preciousness of their nature and substance, and beauty of their form, and so are valued as a great treasure, and that which is prized because it enriches and adorns. So Christ is said to be a stone that is precious to believers. He is spoken of as a pearl of great price. So he was typified by the precious or costly stones that were brought for the foundation of the temple.

2. Stones or rocks are a great benefit to mankind, as a sure foundation of a building; so is Christ to believers.

3. Rocks were commonly made use of for defence from enemies; their fortresses were ordinarily built on high rocks, or rocky mountains; so is Christ often spoken of in Scripture as the strong rock, high tower, refuge, and sure defence of believers.

4. Rocks were of great benefit to travellers in the hot parched deserts of Arabia, near to Canaan, by their cool shadows. The benefit believers have by Christ, is compared to this, Isa. xxxii. at the beginning.

5. In a time of inundation, mountains or rocks would be the places to resort to for safety, to keep from being overwhelmed. The benefit believers have by Christ is compared to this, Ps. lxi. 2. “When my heart is overwhelmed, lead me to the rock that is higher than I.”

On the contrary, there are several ways that stones, or rocks, are disesteemed among men, and hurtful to them; wherein Christ is compared to a stone or rock with regard to unbelievers:

1. Nothing is ordinarily looked upon and treated by men as more worthless than common stones; so is Christ disesteemed and rejected by unbelievers: as builders throw away misshapen stones as not for their purpose, and of no value.

2. Stones are offensive to travellers, and an occasion of their stumbling and falling; so is Christ to unbelievers, “a stone of stumbling.”

3. Rocks are very often fatal to sailors, and the occasion of their suffering shipwreck; so those that enjoy the gospel, and have the means of grace, but fail through unbelief, are in Scripture compared to them who suffer shipwreck at sea; 1 Tim. i. 19. “Concerning faith have made shipwreck.”

4. Those high rocks that were most fit for places of defence, had dreadful precipices, which if men fell over, they would be broken in pieces: Isa. viii. 14. “And he shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, &c. And many among them shall stumble, and fall, and be broken, and be snared, and taken.”

[150] 1 Peter iv. 6. “For this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, and live according to God in the spirit; that is, that they might be judged according to what they did when they were alive amongst men in the flesh, as other mortal men, and live according to God in the spirit; that is, that their spirit might live, might continue to exist before God, and as God doth separate from fleshly bodies, and according as God pleases, to fix their state.

[140] 2 Peter i. 10. “Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure; for he that doeth these things shall never fall.” The apostle had exhorted to give diligence to add to our faith, virtue, &c. and tells us that if we do these things we shall not be barren and unfruitful in the knowledge, &c. Now he offers another argument; he tells us that to neglect those things, is the way to doubtfulness about our condition, “He that lacketh those things has forgotten that he was purged from his old sins;” therefore the meaning of this verse is, the rather give diligence in those things, that you may make your calling and election sure; as is evident by the following clause, “for he that doeth these things shall never fall;” “Wherefore the rather,” is as much as to say, the rather for this, viz. “that you may make your,” &c.

[265] 2 Peter i. 11., to the end. Ver. 11. ”So an entrance shall be ministered to you abundantly into the kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” By the kingdom seems to have been intended by the apostle, and to be understood by the Christians in those days, the kingdom that Christ would set up and establish at his second coming, spoken of in the 16th verse. That was the principal accomplishment of that prophecy of the kingdom of the Son of God in the 2nd and 7th chapters of Daniel, and was the greatest thing intended by Christ when he spake of his coming in his kingdom.

Ver. 12.Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth.” By the present truth seems to be intended the doctrine of Christ’s second coming, because there were some apostates and false teachers among them lately risen up, spoken of, chap. ii. 3. that denied it, and opposed it. They denied the Lord that bought them, chap. ii. 1.; and of consequence denied the second coming of Christ, as appears by chap. iii. They were scoffers, walking after their own lusts, saying, Where is the promise of his coming, for the apostle in that chapter does not only speak of such a sort of men as future, but as what was then present, as having been foretold by the apostles of the Lord Jesus, ver. 2. The apostles had foretold of scoffers that should come before the coming of Christ, as they knew, and the apostle speaks of that sort of men he had described in the second chapter as being in part a fulfilment of their prediction, as the apostle John says, 1 John ii. 18. “Little children, it is the last time; and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists, whereby we know that it is the last time.” So here, chap. ii. 3. the apostle Peter puts them in mind, how the apostles of the Lord Jesus had told them, and they knew by their word, that in the last days scoffers should come. Therefore the apostle would not have them shocked by them, now they were come. It is evident that the apostle speaks of them as present, and not merely future, by the following part of that chapter, particularly verses 5, 8, 9, 10, 15, 16, 17. So that it is the doctrine of the second coming of Christ that was the doctrine that was especially opposed by apostates among them at that day, and therefore that doctrine is what the apostle calls the present truth. The apostle, in this verse, signifies to them that he writes this epistle to establish them, and put them in remembrance in what he calls the present truth; but it is that truth of Christ’s second coming that he writes this epistle to establish them in, as appears by the beginning of the 3rd chapter, where he uses the same expression of putting them in remembrance. This second epistle I now write unto you, in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance, that ye may be mindful of the words spoken before by the holy prophets, and the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour;” and that word and commandment was what they told them of Christ’s second coming, as appears by what there follows.

Verse 16.For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” We, i. e. the apostles, have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we taught you this present truth of the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, for he speaks of this as a doctrine that the apostles had taught them before, chap. iii. 2. These apostates gave out that what Jesus had said about his second coming, was only a fable cunningly devised by him, perhaps to maintain the credit of his former pretences of being the Messiah prophesied of, that was to set up the kingdom of heaven, when otherwise he would have lost it all by his sufferings and disgrace that he met with while he lived, and to keep up the zeal of his followers, and so his name and honour, after his death.

Verses 16, 17, 18. “But were eye-witnesses of his majesty,” &c. They, the apostles, had not only heard him say, that he would come in his kingdom in power and great glory, but they were in a sort eye-witnesses of it, in that they were eye-witnesses of something in Christ that was a remarkable and wonderful earnest and prelibation of it, viz. the glory of his transfiguration. The glory of the transfiguration was manifested to Peter, that wrote this epistle, and two other disciples, to that very end, that it might be an earnest of what he had been telling them of his coming in his kingdom, and a specimen of the glory of his second coming. For in each of the three evangelists the account of Christ’s transfiguration follows next after 813Christ’s foretelling them of his coming in his kingdom. What they saw of the glory of Christ’s transfiguration was an evidence of two things that were dependent one on another, both which these apostates denied.

First, It was an evidence that he was the Son of God, the same that was declared by the voice which said, “This is my beloved Son.” This these apostates denied, chap ii. ver. 1. “denying the Lord that bought them.” This was evident by that glory they saw: as,

1. The glory that Christ there appeared in was so divine and admirably excellent, and had such a bright and evident appearance of divinity, such an admirable and ineffable semblance of the infinitely glorious perfection of God, his awful majesty, his purity, and infinitely sweet grace and love, as evidently denoted him to be a divine person. The apostle says, “He received from the Father, honour and glory:” the term is doubled and varied thus to signify the exceeding excellency of the glory.

There was doubtless an inward sight, or lively sense of heart, of Christ’s spiritual glory that accompanied Peter’s sight of the visible glory of Christ. There was an ineffable beauty, majesty, and brightness in his countenance, that held forth and naturally represented the excellencies of his mind, his holiness, his heavenly meekness, and grace, and love, and that majesty that spake his union with the Deity, and by the influence of the Spirit of God accompanying, excited in Peter, and the other two that were with him, a great sense of those perfections, and their immense excellency, adorableness, and sweetness. And the Spirit of God doubtless accompanied the word of God, that Peter and the other then heard, so that that word was spiritually understood, and believed; so that Christ’s glory then was manifested to the disciples three ways: by the rays of light, it was exhibited to their eyes; by the voice, it was declared to their ears; and by the Spirit, to their souls. The last was the most convincing and certain evidence to them of Christ’s divinity.

This glory of Christ, that the apostles then saw, both the outward glory and the spiritual glory, that the outward glory had a semblance of, did most remarkably appear to be such as exceedingly became the only-begotten, dearly beloved, and infinitely lovely Son of God. Therefore, the apostle John, who was another eye-witness of it, speaking probably with special reference to this, John i. 14. says, “We beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” It exhibited not only the divine greatness in the majesty of which the apostle Peter in this place especially speaks, but the divine grace and love in the sweetness of it.

2. This glory that appeared in the person of Christ, did exactly resemble that excellent glory that the apostle speaks of, out of which the voice came, ver. 17. For there was there in the mount an external glory, as a visible symbol of the presence of God the Father, and by which he was represented; as well as an external glory in God the Son, viz. that bright cloud that overshadowed them. There was a glory in that cloud that the apostle calls an excellent glory. When it is said in the evangelists that a bright cloud overshadowed them, it is not meant such a light or white cloud as shines by a cast of light upon it from some shining body, such as are some clouds by the bright reflection of the sun’s light; but a cloud bright by an internal light shining out of it, which light the apostle calls an excellent glory. It probably was an ineffably sweet, excellent sort of light, perfectly differing from and far exceeding the light of the sun. All light is sweet, but this seems to have been immensely more sweet than any other that ever they had; impressing some idea which we cannot conceive, having never seen it, as we can conceive of nothing of light more than we have seen; we could have conceived of no such light as the light of the sun, had not we seen it, nor of any colour, blue, red, green, purple, nor any other. God doubtless can excite other ideas of light in our minds besides any of those that we have had, and far exceeding them; a light affording sweetness and pleasure to the sight, far exceeding all pleasure of the grosser and inferior senses. Therefore, Peter the apostle, that writes this epistle, was exceedingly delighted with it in the time of it, which made him say, “It is good for us to be here;” and made him talk of building tabernacles, and thinking of spending the rest of his days there; and he still (though now old and near his end, verses 13, 14.) retains a lively sense of the exquisite gloriousness and pleasantness of that light, when he expresses himself as he does here, calling it the excellent glory. And there probably was an exact resemblance between the glory that the disciples saw in Christ’s face, and that which they saw in this cloud, which declared him to be the Son of God; for they saw him to be his express image.

The apostle John, who saw this, probably afterwards in his visions, saw the very same sort of light and glory as an emanation of the glory of God, filling the new Jerusalem, which he now saw filling the mount of transfiguration, the type of that which he gives an account of in “Having the glory of God; and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper-stone, clear as crystal.” The light he then saw seems to be perfectly differing in nature from any that is to be seen in this world, and immensely more sweet and excellent. He evidently wants words and similitudes to convey his own impression of it to our minds; he wants something excellent, and sweet, and precious enough to set it forth. He says, “It was like a stone most precious;” he knew none precious, or bright, or excellent enough to the sight; but he says it was “like a jasper-stone,” more resembling that than any other; but that is not sufficient, and therefore he adds, “clear as crystal;” and from the whole we may gather, it was something he could not express, and that there was nothing like it. (Vide Note on the verse.) So it was the same kind of light that this beloved disciple had the glory of God represented by, Rev. iv. 3. “He that sat on it was like a jasper and a sardine stone;” a jasper and a sardine stone were of different colours, one green and the other red. How then could the light appear like both? By this it is plain, that indeed it was like neither, and that the apostle could find nothing to represent it by; there was all that was excellent in both. This is something like his seeing that the street of the new Jerusalem was like pure gold, and yet like transparent glass, Rev. xxi. 18.

3. This glory that they saw in Christ, appeared to them as communicated from that glory in the cloud, for the apostle says he received from the Father honour and glory. The light in Christ’s person appeared to them to be as it were lighted up, or begotten, as it were, by that in the cloud; or the glory in the cloud appeared shining on Christ, and so communicating the same excellent brightness. This again declared him to be the Son of God, for it showed him to be the express image of the Father, and to be from the Father, as begotten of him. Thus the glory of Christ’s transfiguration was an evidence that he was the Son of God.

Secondly. It was also a special and direct evidence that what he had said a little before of his second coming, was true. By it was given a specimen of that glory that he should then appear in, and showed that this was the person that the prophet Daniel foretold would come in so glorious a kingdom, that the Jews called it the kingdom of heaven, by the agreement there was between this glory they saw in Christ, and that which Daniel describes to be in that person that should set up that kingdom, whose garment is said to be white as snow. Dan. vii. 9. As Christ’s garments were said to be white as the light, and so as no fuller on earth can white them.

And nextly, besides the visible glory, the apostle mentions the voice that issued from the excellent glory in the cloud, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear him” (though the last clause, “Hear him,” is not here mentioned). It is observable that it is the very same, which the glory that was in the cloud declared to the eyes of the apostles, which the voice in the cloud declared to their ears. The visible communication from this glory to Christ, one glory as it were begetting another, and the exact resemblance of the glory begotten, declared him to be God’s Son; and the sweet and exact agreement between one and the other, and the union that appeared by communication, denoted the love between the Father and Son, as that he was well pleased in him. And this glory, being given as a specimen of the glory of his second coming, declared the truth of what he had so lately told them of his second coming: the same that the voice implicitly 814declared, when it bid them hear him, or believe what he said, which the disciples that heard it, must especially apply to the things he had most lately told them, and instructed them in.

Verse 19.We have also a more sure word of prophecy, whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day-star arise in your hearts.” By the word of prophecy is here meant, the standing written revelation that God had given to his church, as appears by the two next verses. This is spoken of as surer than a voice from heaven. But the apostle has a special respect to the prophetical part of this written revelation, and most of all those parts that speak of the glory of Christ’s kingdom, which is the principal subject of scripture prophecy, particularly that prophecy in the 7th chap. of Daniel, that speaks of the kingdom of heaven. This word of prophecy is as a light that shines in a dark place. The time of Christ’s coming is here spoken of as the morning, when Christ, who is the Sun, shall arise and appear; and his happy kingdom that he shall then set up, is represented as the day time. But the time that goes before that, is here represented as night time, or a time of darkness, and we that live in that time, as being in a dark place. The word of prophecy is as a light shining in a dark place, or as the light of a bright star in this night, a light preceding the day of Christ’s coming, like the morning-star that is a forerunner of the day. The prophecies of that day foretell it, as the day-star foretells the approaching day. The prophets were harbingers of that blessed season, as the morning-star is the harbinger of the day. By the prophecies of that day that go before it, something of the light of that day is manifested beforehand, and so is reflected to it, so that some of the light of the fire is anticipated, as by the day-star while it is yet night. If we give heed to those prophecies, we shall enjoy this foregoing light in our hearts, and so this day-star will arise; then our faith in these prophecies will be the evidence of that glorious Sun that is now not seen, and will render his light that is hoped for in some measure present in this dark world, and in our dark hearts. We snail in a measure have the joy of the morning of Christ’s coming beforehand; we shall have a light in our hearts that will be an earnest and forerunner of the glorious light of that day, as the dawning of the day before sun-rise.

This world is a dark place without Christ, and therefore is dark till he comes, and until his kingdom of glory is set up. It appeared to be so now, especially in the circumstances of the Christians that the apostle now writes to, a world of heresies, grand delusions, and dreadful wickedness. They were in a dark place; they were not only surrounded with heathens, and subject to persecution, as appears by Peter’s first epistle, that was written to the same Christians, as is evident by chap. iii. 1. but were in the midst of vile heretics and apostacies, as has been said already, and Christ delayed his coming, and they had many temptations to deny the present truth, and lose their hopes of the sun’s rising. When a man is in a dark place, and is in danger of stumbling and falling, and being lost, and has a light held forth to him, to guide him in, it behoves him to take heed to it, and keep his eye upon it, lest he get out of the way and fall into mischief.

[484] 1 John ii. 18. “Little children, it is the last time; and as ye have heard that antichrists shall come, even now there are many antichrists, whereby we know it is the last time.” It is not reasonable to think that the apostle supposed, that this time was the latter part of the space that should be from Christ’s ascension to his second coming to the general judgment. For it is evident by what he here says, that he knew that the great antichrist should come before that. And if he supposed that this great antichrist now appeared, it is not likely that he would have expressed himself as he does, even now are there many antichrists. He would rather have said, “Even now antichrist is come;” and would have deciphered him, and pointed him forth. We must therefore understand the apostle thus: “It is now long since the apostles foretold the coming of antichrist, of which they told you in the first age of the Christian church, which reached from Christ’s ascension to the destruction of Jerusalem; and now, since Jerusalem’s destruction, has commenced the last state of things, the last age of the world, which is to continue from the destruction of Jerusalem, and the perfect abolishing of the Old-Testament dispensation to the end of the world, which the apostles had been wont to call the latter days, and last times; during which last age they foretold that antichrist should appear, 2 Thess. ii. 3., &c. 1 Tim. iv. 1., &c. 2 Tim. iii. 1., &c.; and now the spirit of antichrist doth very visibly appear; and there are many apostates and corrupters, that we may look upon as the forerunners of antichrist, and are therefore an evidence that we are now come to that last age in which it has been foretold that antichrist should arise; which should make you behave yourselves more circumspectly, for the apostles often told you that those last times wherein antichrist should appear would be perilous times.”

[287] John iii. 9. “Whosoever is born of God, doth not commit sin,” i. e. he does not relapse, or fall away from righteousness into sin again; [“for his seed remaineth in him,”] i. e. the seed of which he is born of God, the same seed by which he is begotten of God, remaineth in him, and therefore he does not fall away to a state and trade of sin again, out of which he was begotten, and born by that seed.

[104] Jude ver. 9. “He disputed about the body of Moses.” The thing referred to is that mentioned Zech. iii. 2. The church of the Jews is called the body of Moses, as the Christian church is called the body of Christ. Moses was herein a type of Christ.

[188] Jude ver. 14, 15. “Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, to execute judgment,” &c. It is probable that this prophecy of Enoch had the more direct respect to the destruction of the ungodly of the old world by the flood. Those sinners of whom Jude speaks were like them, and their destruction should be like theirs. 2 Pet. ii. 5. It looks very probable that God would reveal his designs to Enoch, of overthrowing the world, seeing that he was so intimately conversant with him, and the world was so much corrupted in his days; which was probably one reason why God took him out of the world, he would not suffer one so dear to him to live in the midst of such a wicked, abominable crew, to have his soul continually vexed by them. Enoch’s son Methuselah lived till the very year that the flood came; and, if so, it is exceedingly probable that God would reveal something to him of his intended destruction of them. This prophecy is applied to those heretics and their destruction, very much after the same manner as many prophecies of the Old Testament are applied in the New to other things, than what they most directly signified. Many of the prophecies of Scripture are applicable to many things; as Christ’s prophecy of the destruction of Jerusalem, is applicable to the destruction of heathenism in the Roman empire, and to the end of the world: the all-knowing Spirit has an eye to many things in what he saith. Where the apostle says, “Enoch prophesied of those,” he may be understood to mean of those that were of this sort, i. e. of this lascivious kind of persons.

[200] That Enoch prophesied of the flood, is yet more probable from the name that he gave his son, Methuselah, for the first part of it Methu, signifies he is dead, and shelah signifies sending; so that what is implied in the name seems to be when he is dead, God. shall send; and probably there is a prophecy couched in it, that when Methuselah was dead God should send that great catastrophe that Enoch had foretold which came to pass accordingly, for the flood came that very year that Methuselah died.

[357] “And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousand of his saints.” It is observable that Enoch, the first of all the prophets, prophesied of the last event that is the subject of prophecy; and that event which is the greatest subject of the prophecies of Scripture, and in which the most of the prophecies of Scripture terminate. Though this is not the most wonderful event that is the subject of prophecy, for that was the death of Christ; yet this is the greatest event that is the fruit of that event. In this is completed the end of Christ’s death; and this last coming of Christ, together with what is accomplished by 815it, is in many respects the greatest of all events; and it is so in this respect, that it is what all that God has made, and all that Christ has done and suffered, and all the events of providence from the beginning of the world, and all that he has foretold, ultimately terminate in. Therefore, with this does scripture prophecy both begin and end; it begins in Enoch’s prophecy, which is the first prophecy we have an account of in Scripture; and it ends with this in the last words of the last of the prophets, even John, in the conclusion of the Revelations.

[270] Rev. iv. 3. “And there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald.” The rainbow we know was appointed of God as a token of his gracious covenant with mankind. God is encompassed with a rainbow, which signifies that as he sits and reigns, and manifests himself in his church, he appears as encompassed with mercy. As of old, the throne of God in the holy of holies, where God manifested himself in the church of Israel, was called the mercy-seat, so here there is a rainbow, the sign of God’s gracious covenant, round about the throne that he sits on. This rainbow was in sight like unto emerald, which is a precious stone of an exceedingly lovely green colour; so green, that this colour appears in nothing else so lively and lovely. This colour is a most fit emblem of divine grace; it is a very lively colour; not so dull as blue or purple, and yet most easy to the sight, more easy than the more fiery colours of yellow and red. It is the colour of the grass, herbs, and trees, and all the growth of the earth, and therefore fitly denotes life, flourishing, prosperity, and happiness, which are often in Scripture compared to the green, flourishing growth of the earth. As the benign influence of the sun on the face of the earth is shown by this colour above all others, so is the grace and benign influence and communication of God fitly represented by this colour. This colour is the colour of joy and gladness. The fields are said to shout for joy, and also to sing, by their appearing in a cheerful green: as the colour red is made use of to signify God’s revenging justice, in Zech. i. 8. and elsewhere; so is green the emblem of divine grace, as Dr. Doddridge observes: this does not imply that the rainbow had no other colour, but that the proportion of green was greater than ordinary.

[109] Rev. iii. 4. “They shall walk with me in white, for they are worthy:” that is, they are fit, as we often use the word.

[271] The moon is a type of the revelation God made, and of the ordinances he instituted, under the Old Testament, or the Old-Testament constitution and administration, and is so used, Rev. xii. 1. vid. Notes in loc.; and it is made use of in Scripture also as a type of the church; it is so in the festival of the new moon; vid. Notes on Numb. x. 10. The church, under the Old Testament, in the institution of that festival, must be supposed to be represented under the type of the moon before its conjunction with the sun, i. e. Christ, the sun from whom the church borrows her light. The gospel light granted to the Old-Testament church in its different successive ages, was very much like the light of the moon in the several parts of the revolution it performs, which ends in its conjunction with the sun. The first calling of Abraham, the father of the nation and founder of their church, as separated from the rest of the world by God’s revealing, and establishing, and sealing his covenant to him, and his seed, and bestowing the privileges of it upon them; and also the first institution of the administration of the old church of Israel by Moses; may each of them be looked upon as the beginning of the moon’s course in this revolution, wherein it sets out in the beginning of its month for a conjunction with Christ, its sun, at the conclusion of it. Christ’s coming, and so mercifully and remarkably appearing to Abraham from time to time, as his friend, and sometimes in the form of a man, as if incarnate, eating and drinking with him, and doing such great things for him, and by him; and particularly his entering into covenant with him, as the father and founder of this church; may be looked upon as this moon’s first conjunction with the sun, or with Christ, from whence in her revolution she set out for the other conjunction at Christ’s coming by his incarnation and resurrection. Abraham was not only the natural, but in some sense the spiritual, father of the church, (as he is called in the New Testament the father of believers,) and therein is a type of Christ, and was in some respect a father instead of Christ, till Christ came. After this, that nation and church at first was very small and weak, but they gradually grew greater, and more and more flourishing, till Solomon’s time, which was about the middle of the space between Abraham and Christ, or the middle of the revolution from one conjunction to another; and then it was full moon. Then both the nation and church were in their greatest glory; but from that time they were gradually diminished and dwindled, first by the nation’s dividing into two kingdoms, and then by the captivity of the ten tribes, and then by the captivity of the kingdom of Judah, and then after that by various calamities they suffered after the captivity, under the Persian, Grecian, and Roman monarchies; until at last the sceptre departed from Judah, and they were put under a Roman governor, and their light was as it were put out; as the moon, when she is just come to her conjunction with the sun.

But as the calling of Abraham, the father of the church and nation, may be looked upon as the beginning of the revolution with respect to the being and prosperity of the nation or church itself, so Christ’s revealing himself to that people by Moses, the teacher of the church, and the father of the prophets, by whom the administration they were under was first instituted, and who gave the first written revelation to it, may be looked upon as the beginning of the revolution with respect to the light that church had by prophecy and revelation by God’s word, as written in the Old Testament; which Old-Testament revelation is, as has been already observed, compared in Scripture to the reflected light of the moon in the night, to serve in the absence of the sun. Christ’s coming as he did to the children of Israel in Moses’s time, his appearing first to him in the burning bush, and in such a wonderful way redeeming them out of Egypt, (which was, if I may so say, the Old-Testament redemption,) redeeming them, and revealing himself to them by Moses, and entering into covenant with them by Moses; (their great prophet, and king, and intercessor like to Christ, and that was instead of God to Pharaoh, and instead of Christ to the people, and was as it were the Old-Testament Christ, and therefore that church which is called his body, by Jude ver. 9. of his epistle;) his coming down out of heaven to dwell among the people, whereby he as it were bowed the heavens and came down, and the mountains flowed down at his presence; his speaking to the people with an audible voice; his speaking to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend; his appearing in the form of a man to the seventy elders, (when they saw the God of Israel, and did eat and drink, which is spoken of as a new thing,) and afterwards leading them into Canaan, and working such wonders for them by Joshua, who bears the name of Jesus, and was called the shepherd and stone of Israel in Jacob’s blessing of Ephraim, and was to the people in Christ’s stead, as their leader and captain of salvation: I say those things were, as it were, the first conjunction of the moon with the sun, whence she set out in her revolution, when the gospel light, or the revelation of Christ, and the great truths respecting him, was but very small and dim, being almost wholly hid under types and shadows. After this, it gradually increased; the prophets that were afterwards in Israel were more clear than Moses was in what they taught of gospel truth. The succession of prophets began in Samuel, and David had much of the spirit of prophecy. Gospel light was much more full and clear in the revelations made by him than it had been in any revelation the church enjoyed before. But in the revelations that were given by the prophet Isaiah, gospel light is fullest and clearest of all beyond what we have in any other Old-Testament revelation. This was at about the middle of the space between Moses and Christ. In Isaiah, the Old-Testament church enjoyed gospel light as it were reflected from a full moon; there was no prophet afterwards that spake so fully of Christ; and afterwards the spirit of prophecy diminished. It continued in a smaller degree, till some time after the captivity, and then wholly ceased in Malachi, or a little after his time; and the minds of the people became more and more darkened, as to their notions 816of Christ, and his kingdom, till Christ’s time; when they were exceeding corrupt and carnal, expecting a temporal Messiah. They were under blind guides that led them into the ditch, and had in a great measure made void the commandment of God by their tradition, as the light of the moon ceases as she approaches her conjunction with the sun.

[306] Rev. xxi. 22. “And the street of the city was pure gold, like unto transparent glass.” This does most livelily represent the perfect purity of that city and its inhabitants. In the most stately and magnificent cities in the world, however beautiful the buildings are, yet the streets are dirty and defiled, being made to be trodden under-foot; but the very streets of this heavenly city are so pure, that their being like pure gold does not sufficiently represent the purity of them, but they appear also like clear glass, or crystal. If there be the least dirt or defilement, it discovers itself in that which is transparent; but those golden streets appeared perfectly clear, without the least speck to lessen the transparency. Christ represents as though the saints that he has washed, though they are clean, yet while in this world have defiled feet, they need to be often washing their feet, but in that world their feet shall be perfectly pure, so as not at all to defile the streets. This is an evidence that what is treated of in those two last chapters of Revelations is the heavenly state of the church.

[470] Rev. xxii. 11. “He that is unjust, let him be unjust still,” &c. That the thing which is intended by these words was, That now, the revelation of the mind and will of God was finished, the great standing rule of faith and practice sealed, no further means of grace were to be expected, and no additions to the word of God, and no other revelations, should be given till his last coming; and that therefore they that would not well improve those means and this revelation, and were not made righteous and holy thereby, should continue in a state of sin forever. God would never provide any further means than this word, those Holy Scriptures which were now completed and sealed. I say, that this is Christ’s meaning, is much confirmed by the words of the same glorious person, with which are ended and sealed the visions of Daniel, Dan. xii. 9, 10. “Go thy way, Daniel, for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. Many shall be purified and made white and tried, but the wicked shall do wickedly, and none of the wicked shall understand, but the wise shall understand.” Daniel desired a further revelation to be given to him concerning those matters that had been represented to him, as in the preceding verses; but Christ here signified to him that the vision and revelation, that was to be given concerning those matters unto the church of Israel, was now finished, completed, and sealed, and all the rest that he curiously desired to pry into was concealed, and should be so to the time of the end. And moreover signifies that this revelation of them, that already had been given, was sufficient for the ends that God designed it, to give wisdom, and be a means of the sanctification of his own people: but, as for the rest, they will not understand, nor will be reclaimed from their wickedness. If they would not make a good improvement of the revelation that is now given, neither would they if a further revelation should be given. Therefore they that will not be made wise and holy by what is revealed, shall have no further revelation, they shall have no further means to make them wise, or bring them to repentance. They that are wise and holy shall increase in wisdom, and be built up in holiness, by this revelation; but they that are unwise, let them continue without understanding, and they that are unholy and unrighteous, let them continue still to do wickedly.

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