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THE CREATOR AND HEIR OF ALL THINGS.
Julian Pe- he made the worlds;
Vulgar Era, rity of critics. Dr. Lardner thinks it was probably written from Rome.
St. Paul's first Epistle to the Corinthians was written at Ephesus; nevertheless he says (chap. xvi. 19.) "The churches of Asia salute you." So now he might send salutations from the Christians of Italy, not excluding, but including, those at Rome, together with the rest throughout that country. The argument of L'Enfant and Beausobre, that St. Paul was not yet set at liberty, because he requested the prayers of the Hebrews, that he might be restored to them the sooner, appears to me not of any weight. Though St. Paul was no longer a prisoner, he might request the prayers of those to whom he had written, that he might have a prosperous journey to them, whom he was desirous to visit; and that all impediments of his intended journey might be removed: and many such there might be, though he was no longer under confinement. St. Paul was not a prisoner when he wrote his Epistle to the Romans, yet he was very fervent in his prayers to God, that he might have a prosperous journey, and come to them (chap. i. 10.) For determining the time of this Epistle, it may be observed that, when the apostle wrote the Epistle to the Philippians, the Colossians, and Philemon, he had hopes of deliverance. At the writing of all these Epistles, Timothy was present with him; but now he was absent, as plainly appears from chap. xiii. 23. This leads us to think that this Epistle was written after them. And it is not unlikely that the apostle had now obtained that liberty which he expected when they were written.
Moreover, in the Epistle to the Philippians, he speaks of sending Timothy to them, (chap. ii. 19. 23.)" But I trust in the Lord Jesus, to send Timothy shortly unto you, that I also may be of good comfort, when I know your state. (Timothy, therefore, if sent, was to come back to the apostle.) Him, therefore, I hope to send presently, so soon as I shall see how it will go with me."
It is probable that Timothy did go to the Philippians, soon after writing the above-mentioned Epistle, the apostle having gained good assurance of being quite released from his confinement; and this Epistle to the Hebrews was written during the time of that absence, for it is said, Heb. xiii. 23. "Know ye that our brother Timothy is set at liberty, or has been sent abroad." The word is capable of that meaning, and it is a better and more likely meaning, because it suits the coherence. And I suppose that Timothy did soon come to the apostle, and that they both sailed to Judea, and after that went to Ephesus, where Timothy was left to reside with his peculiar charge.
Thus this Epistle was written at Rome, or in Italy, soon after that St. Paul had been released from his confinement at Rome, in the beginning of the year 63. And I suppose it to be the last written of all St. Paul's epistles which have come down to us, or of which we have any knowledge.
The occasion of writing this Epistle will be sufficiently apparent from an attentive review of its contents. The Jews did every thing in their power to withdraw their brethren who had been converted, from the Christian faith. To persecutions and threats, they added arguments derived from the excellency of the Jewish religion. They regarded the law of Moses as given by the ministration of angels; that Moses was far superior to Jesus of Nazareth, who suffered an ignominious death; that the public worship of God, instituted by their great legislator and prophet, was truly splendid, and worthy of Jehovah while
Julian Pe- 3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the ex- Italy. riod, 4775. Vulgar Era, press image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.
2. HEB. i. 4, to the end.
To prove his Proposition (the Pre-eminence of Christ above all created Beings), St. Paul asserts the divine Character of the Son of God as distinct from, and superior to, the Nature of the Angels-His Name is greater than theirs by Inheritance, or natural Right (Ps. ii. 2.)—He is an Object of Worship to Angels (Ps. xcvii. 7.) who are his spiritual Ministers and Servants (Ps. civ. 4.)— His Government extends over both Worlds, and exists for ever; and for his love of Righteousness, shewn by his Incarnation and Death, he is anointed in his human Nature with the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, above all the Prophets, Priests, and Kings who had preceded him, uniting the three Offices in his own Person-Still further to prove the Superiority of Christ, and to remove the Error that Angels assisted in the Formation of the World, he affirms in the Words of David (Ps. cii. 25-27.) that Christ
the Christians, on the contrary, had no established priesthood,
These arguments, being both plausible and successful, and supported by the doctors, scribes, and elders of Jerusalem, the apostle, who was himself a doctor most learned in the law, wrote this Epistle to prove that the same God who gave the former revelations of his will to the fathers of the Jewish nation, by his prophets, had in these last days spoken to all mankind by his Son; consequently that these revelations, emanating from the same divine source, could not possibly contradict each other. The Epistle may be considered as the key to the Old Testament, unlocking all its hidden mysteries, and may be divided into three separate heads. First, that which relates to the person of the Son of God, as it had described him in the Old Testament. Secondly, to shew that the religion of the Gospel is the same under both Testaments, being shadowed out in the Old. And thirdly, to prove that the Church of Israel was a figure of the Church of Christ.
(a) Michaelis thinks it highly improbable that St. Paul would visit Jerusalem again, and expose his life to the zealots there. But surely, Dr. Hales remarks, he might revisit Judea without incurring that danger. See Analysis of Chronology, vol. ii. book ii. p. 1130.
The word avydoμa signifies splendour in itself. The word añavyaoμa, here used, is derived from it, and significs the emitted, or proceeding splendour; or, as it is expressed in the Nicene Creed, "light of light." As the light proceeding from the sun, although of the same essence, is distinct from the sun, so there is one person of the Father, and another of the Son. The Son is of the Father alone, not made, nor created, but begotten; of the same essence, bearing the very impression of his sub
Julian Period, 4775. Vulgar Æra, 62.
THE LORD OF ANGELS AND OF MEN--CHAP. XV.
created both the Heavens and Earth; that these shall be Italy.
4 Being made so much better than the angels, as he
5 For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?
6 And again, when he bringeth in the first-begotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.
7 And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire.
8 But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom:
9 Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.
10 And,-Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands:
11 They shall perish, but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment;
12 And as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail.
13 But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool?
14 Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?
§ 3. HEB. ii. 1-5.
In application of the preceding Argument, St. Paul shews
Julian Period, 4775. Vulgar Æra, 62.
Gifts of his Holy Spirit; and this Testimony is superior Italy. to that of Angels; for the future World, which the Gospel Promises, is not put in subjection to Angels, but to Christ.
1 Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.
2 For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense of reward:
3 How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him ;
4 God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?
5 For unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak.
§ 4. HEB. ii. 6-9.
The Apostle, in allusion to the Objections entertained by the Jewish Doctors against the Divinity of Christ, proves, in the Words of divine Revelation (Ps. viii. 4-6.) that it had been predicted that he who was God should visit Man, and be made lower than the Angels, that all Things might be subjected to him-At present all Things are not subjected to him, wicked Men and Angels being unsubdued by his Power; but Jesus, in the form of Man, has tasted Death for every one, and has been crowned with Glory and Honour, which are sufficient Proofs that his Power will finally prevail.
6 But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him?
7 Thou madest him a little lower than the angels, thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands:
8 Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him.
9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.
$ 5. HEB. ii. 10, to the end.
The Apostle shews the Benefits accomplished by the Incarnation and Death of Christ—It was the Means appointed by God for the Redemption of Man; that both he who
Julian Period, 4775. Vulgar Æra,
OBJECT OF THE ATONEMENT-CHAP. XV.
sanctifies, or makes Atonement, and those who are sanc- Italy.
10 For it became him, for whom are all things, and by
11 For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanc-
12 Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren ;
14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of
15 And deliver them who through fear of death were all their life-time subject to bondage.
16 For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham.
17 Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and