(Calvin. Paul to the Hebrews. part 2)

the Almighty so highly to advance, being also a favourer and defender of
the truth, and of all good causes; would permit this works to pass under
your Honours protection: that it would be both better esteemed, and the
more acceptably received of all.
    Lastly, my good Lord. As I cannot conceal that deep and inward
affection of love and duties which I owe unto your Honour, in regard of
the near employments which sometimes a dear friend of mine had about your
Lordship in your young years: so by this dedication it was my desire to
testify part of a thankful mind, in respect that you have not suffered
neither length of time, nor your H. weighty affairs in matters of state,
to wear the same out of your Honorable remembrance: as by the great
favours your H. has lately showed in that behalf, does plainly appear.
    Thus in most humble manner craving pardon for my great boldness, I
humbly end; beseeching the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth,
to pour out the abundance of all blessings both upon you and yours in
this life, and to crown your H. and them with immortals blessedness in
his kingdoms of Gloria, through Christ.

                         Your Honours in all humble and dutiful affection,
ever to be commanded,          

                                                       Clement Cotton     

To the Reader

    Dear Christian Reader, among the many helps wherewith God has
furnished thee for the furtherance of thy godly Meditations and spiritual
growth in Christ, I pray thee accept of this amongst the rest; of which
(if I may so speaks) thou has been too long unfurnished. Diverse good and
godly men have laboured, some by their own writings, and some again by
translating the works of others, to store thee with Sermons and
Expositions in English, upon all the books of the New Testament, this
Epistle to the Hebrews lonely excepted: which lack, rather than it should
be unsupplied, has caused me (the unfittest I confess at many thousands)
to undertake the translation of the Commentary ensuing: which being
finished, I have been bold (for thy benefit Christian Reader) now to
publish. Hoping therefore of thy friendly allowance and acceptance of
these my poor endeavours: I beseech thee, if thou reap that benefit
thereby, which I heartily with thou may, to give God the praise, and to
help me with thy prayers. Thus commending thee and thy studies to the
grace of God, I bid thee farewell.

                                                     Thine ever in Christ,


Calvin's Epistle Dedicatory
                                John Calvin
                to the Most Mighty and Most Serene Prince,
                            Sigismund Augustus,
                 by the Grace of God, the King of Poland,
                 Great Duke of Lithuania, Russia, Prussia,
                    and Lord and Heir of Muscovy, etc.

There are at this day many foolish men, who everywhere, through a vain
desire for writing, engage the minds of ignorant and thoughtless readers
with their trifles. And to this evil, most illustrious King, is added
another indignity - that while they inscribe to kings and princes their
silly things, to disguise, or at least to cover them by borrowed
splendour, they not only profane sacred names, but also impart to them
some measure of their own disgrace. Since the unreasonable temerity of
such men makes it necessary for serious and sober writers to frame an
excuse, when they publicly dedicate their labours to great men, while yet
there is nothing in them but what corresponds with the greatness of those
to whom they are offered, it was necessary to make this remark, lest I
should seem to be of the number of those who allow themselves, through
the example of others, to render public anything they please, however
foolish it may be. But it has not escaped me how much it has the
appearance of foolish confidence, that I, (not to speak of other things,)
who am an unknown and obscure man, should not hesitate to address your
royal Majesty. Let my reasons be heard, and if you, O King, approve of
what I do, what others may judge will cause me no great anxiety.
    First, then, though I am not forgetful of mine insignificance, nor
ignorant of the reverence due to your Majesty, yet the fame of your
piety, which has extended almost to all who are zealous for the sincere
doctrine of Christ, is alone sufficient to remorse any fear; for I bring
with me a present which that piety will not allow you to reject. Since
the Epistle inscribed to the Hebrews contains a full discussion
respecting the eternal divinity of Christ, his government, and only
priesthood, (which are the main points of celestial wisdom,) and as these
things are so explained in it, that the whole power and work of Christ
are set forth in the most graphic manner, it deservedly ought to obtain
in the Church the place and the honour of an invaluable treasure. By you
also, who desire that the Son of God should reign alone and be glorified,
I doubt not but that it will be valued.
    In the interpretation which I have undertaken, I say not that I have
succeeded; but I feel confident that when you have read it you will
approve at least of my fidelity and diligence. And as I claim not the
praise of great knowledge or of erudition, so what has been given me by
the Lord for the purpose of understanding the Scripture, (since this is
to glory in him,) I am not ashamed to profess; and if in this respect I
have any capacity to assist the Church of God, I have endeavoured to give
an evident proof of it in these my labours. I therefore hope that the
present (as I have said) which I offer will not only avail, O King, as an
excuse to your Majesty, but also procure for me no small favour.
    This may possibly be also a new encouragement to your Majesty, who is
already engaged in the work of restoring the kingdom of Christ, and to
many who live under your government to further the same work. Your
kingdom is extensive and renowned, and abounds in many excellences; but
its happiness will then only be solid, when it adopts Christ as its chief
ruler and governor, so that it may be defended by his safeguard and
protection; for to submit your sceptre to him, is not inconsistent with
that elevation in which you are placed; but it would be far more glorious
than all the triumphs of the world. For since among men gratitude is
deemed the proper virtue of a great and exalted mind, what in kings can
be more unbecoming than to be ungrateful to the Son, by whom they have
been raised to the highest degree of honour? It is, therefore, not only
an honorable, but more than a royal service, which raises us to the rank
of angels, when the throne of Christ is erected among us, so that his
celestial voice becomes the only rule for living and dying both to the
highest and to the lowest. For though at this day to obey the authority
of Christ is the common profession, made almost by all, yet there are
very few who render this obedience of which they boast.
    Now this obedience cannot be rendered, except the whole of religion
be formed according to the infallible rule of his holy truth. But on this
point strange conflicts arise, while men, not only inflated with pride,
but also bewitched by monstrous madness, pay less regard to the
unchangeable oracles of our heavenly Master than to their own vain
fictions; for whatever pretences they may set up, who oppose us and
strive to assist the Roman Antichrist, the very fountain of all the
contentions, by which the Church for these thirty years has been so
sorely disturbed, will be found to be, that they who seek to be deemed
first among Christ's disciples, cannot bear to submit to his truth.
Ambition as well as audacity has so far prevailed, that the truth of God
lies buried under innumerable lies, that all his institutions are
polluted by the basest corruptions; his worship is in every part
vitiated, the doctrine of faith is wholly subverted, the sacraments are
adulterated, the government of the Church is turned into barbarous
tyranny, the abominable sale of sacred things has been set up, the power
of Christ has been abused for the purpose of sustaining the tyranny of
the ungodly, and in the place of Christianity is substituted a dreadful
profanation, full of the grossest mummeries of every kind. When for these
so many and so atrocious evils we bring this one remedy - to hear the Son
of God speaking from heaven, we are instantly opposed by these Atlases,
not those who support the Church on their shoulders, but who elevate on
high by vain boastings of empty titles an idol devised and formed by
themselves. They also adduce this as a pretext for their fierce
recriminations, that we by our appeals disturb the peace of the Church.
When we come to know things aright, we see that these subtle artifices
devise for themselves a Church wholly different from that of Christ! And
what else is this but a wicked and sacrilegious attempt to separate the
body from its head? It hence appears how frivolous is the boasting of
many as to Christianity; for the greatest part suffer themselves to be
governed by nothing less than by the pure teaching of the Gospel.
    But what you acknowledge, O King, that in order that Christ may take
an entire possession of his own kingdom, it is necessary to clear away
all superstitions, is a proof of singular wisdom; and to undertake and
attempt what you judge to be thus necessary, is an evidence of rare
virtue. That you are indeed like another Hezekiah or Josiah, destined by
God to restore shortly to the kingdom of Poland a purer teaching of that
gospel, which has been throughout the world vitiated by the craft of
Satan and perfidy of men, there are many things which give almost a
certain hope to all good men. For, to omit other superior qualities,
which even foreigners proclaim and men of your own kingdom observe with
great advantage, there has ever appeared in you a wonderful concern for
religion, and religion itself appears eminent in you in the present day.
But the chief thing is, that Christ, the Sun of Righteousness, has so
irradiated your mind with the light of his Gospel, that you understand
that the true way of governing the Church is no other than what is to be
derived from him, and that you at the same time know the difference
between that genuine form of religion which he has instituted, and that
fictions and degenerate form which was afterwards introduced; for you
wholly understand that God's worship has been corrupted and deformed, as
innumerable superstitions have crept in, that the grace of Christ has
been unworthily involved in great darkness, that the virtue of his death
has been annihilated, that he himself has been almost lacerated and torn
in pieces, that assurance of salvation has been plucked up by the roots,
that consciences have been miserably and even horribly vexed and
tormented, that wretched men have been led away from the sincere and
right worship of God into various and perplexed labyrinths, that the
Church has been cruelly and tyrannically oppressed; and, in short, that
no real Christianity has been left.
    It is not to be believed, O most noble King, that you have been in
vain endowed by God with this knowledge; doubtless he has chosen you as
his minister for some great purposes. And it has hitherto happened
through God's wonderful Providence that no innocent blood has been shed
in the renowned kingdom of Poland - no, not a drop, which by calling for
vengeance might retard so great a benefit. It was through the clemency
and gentleness of King Sigismund, of happy memory, the father of your
Majesty, that this did not take place; for, while the contagion of
cruelty was spreading through the whole of the Christian world, he kept
his hands pure. But now your Majesty and some of the most eminent of your
princes not only receive Christ willingly when offered to them, but
anxiously desire him. I also see John a Lasco, born of a noble family,
carrying the torch to other nations.
    The presumption of Eckius is by no means to be endured, who dedicated
to King Sigismund, the father of your Majesty, his book on The Sacrifice
of the Mass; for he thus, as far as he could, affixed a base blot to your
illustrious kingdom! At the same time, it was nothing strange in that
Silenus, who, being the prince of drunkards, was wont to vomit at the
altar as well as at the dunghill. Now, by dedicating this my labour to
your Majesty, I shall at least effect this, that I shall wash away from
the name of Poland the base filth of Eckius, so that it may not stick
where it has been so unworthily fixed. And by doing so I shall not, as it
seems to me, attain a small object; and no book of Scripture could hardly
be chosen so suitable for such a purpose. For here our Apostle shows in
an especial manner, that the sacrifice which Eckius advocates is
manifestly inconsistent with the priesthood of Christ. There is here,
indeed, no mention of the mass, which Satan had not then vomited out of
hell. But by bidding the Church to be satisfied with the one only true
sacrifice which Christ offered on the cross, that all rites of
sacrificing might cease forever, he doubtless closes the door against all
their new glosses. The Apostle cries aloud that Christ was sacrificed on
the cross once for all, while Eckius feigns that this sacrifice is daily
renewed! The Apostle declares that the only Son of God was the fit priest
to offer himself to the Father, and hence he was constituted by an oath;
but Eckius denies that he alone is the priest, and transfers that
function to hired sacrificers! At the same time, I am not ignorant of the
evasions by which they elude these and similar arguments; but there is no
fear that he will deceive any but those who are blind or who shun the
light. He was at the same time so inebriated with Thrasonic haughtiness
that he laboured more in insolent boasting than in subtle demonstration.
That I may not, however, seem to triumph over a dead dog, I will add
nothing more at present than that my Commentary may serve to wipe off the
filthy stain which that unprincipled and Scottish man attempted to fix on
the name of Poland; and there is no fear that they who will read will be
taken by his baits.
    Moreover, as I wish not in offering this my labour to your Majesty,
only to show privately a regard for you, O King, but especially to make
it known to the whole world, it remains now for me humbly to implore your
Majesty not to repudiate what I do. If indeed a stimulus be thereby given
to encourage your pious endeavours, I shall think it an ample
remuneration. Undertake, then, I pray, 0 magnanimous King, under the
auspicious banner of Christ, a work so worthy of your royal elevation, as
well as of your heroic virtue, so that the eternal truth of God, by which
his own glory and the salvation of men are promoted, may, wherever thy
kingdom spreads, recover its own authority, which has been taken away by
the fraudulent dealings of Antichrist. It is truly an arduous work, and
of such magnitude as is sufficient to fill even the wisest with
solicitude and fear.
    But first, there is no danger which we ought not cheerfully to
undergo, no difficulty which we ought not resolutely to undertake, no
conflicts in which we ought not boldly to engage, in a cause so
necessary. Secondly, as it is the peculiar work of Gods we ought not in
this case to regard so much the extent of human powers as the glory due
to his power; so that, relying on that not only to help us, but also to
guide us, we may venture on things far beyond our own strength; for the
work of restoring and establishing the church is not without reason
everywhere assigned in Scripture to God. Besides, the work itself is
altogether divine; and as soon as any beginning is made, whatever arts of
injury Satan possesses, he employs them all either to stop or to delay a
further progress. And we know that the prince of this world has
innumerable agents who are ever ready to oppose the kingdom of Christ.
Some are instigated by ambition, others by gain. These contests try us in
some degree in our humble condition; but your majesty will have, no
doubt, to experience far greater difficulties. Therefore, all those who
undertake to promote the doctrine of salvation and the well-being of the
Church must be armed with invincible firmness. But as this business is
above our strength, aid from heaven will be granted to us.
    It is in the meantime our duty to have all these promises which
everywhere occur in Scripture inscribed on our hearts. The Lord who has
himself as it were by his own hand laid the foundations of the Church,
will not suffer it to remain in a decayed state, for he is represented as
solicitous to restore it and to repair its ruins; for, by speaking thus,
he in effect promises that he will never fail us when engaged in this
work. As he would not have us to sit down as idle spectators of his
power, so the presence of his aid in sustaining the hands which labour,
clearly proves that he himself is the chief architect. What, therefore,
he so often repeats and inculcates, and not without reason, is, that we
are not to grow weary, however often we may have to contend with enemies,
who continually break forth into hostility; for they are, as we have
said, almost infinite in number, and in kinds various. But this one thing
is abundantly sufficient, that we have such an invincible Leader, that
the more he is assailed the greater will be the victories and triumphs
gained by his power.
    Farewell, invincible King. May the Lord Jesus rule you by the spirit
of wisdom, sustain you by the spirit of valour, bestow on you all kinds
of blessings, long preserve your Majesty in health and prosperity, and
protect your kingdom. Amen.

Geneva, May 23, 1549

The Epistle to the Hebrews, The Argument

NOT only various opinions were formerly entertained as to the author of
this Epistle, but it was only at a late period that it was received by
the Latin Churches. They suspected that it favoured Novatus in denying
pardon to the fallen; but that this was a groundless opinion will be
shown by various passages. I, indeed, without hesitation, class it among
apostolical writings; nor do I doubt but that it has been through the
craft of Satan that any have been led to dispute its authority. There is,
indeed, no book in the Holy Scriptures which speaks so clearly of the
priesthood of Christ, so highly exalts the virtue and dignity of that
only true sacrifice which he offered by his death, so abundantly treats
of the use of ceremonies as well as of their abrogation, and, in a word,
so fully explains that Christ is the end of the Law. Let us not therefore
suffer the Church of God nor ourselves to be deprived of so great a
benefit, but firmly defend the possession of it.
    Moreover, as to its author, we need not be very solicitous. Some
think the author to have been Paul, others Luke, others Barnabas, and
others Clement, as Jerome relates; yet Eusebius, in his sixth book of his
Church History, mentions only Luke and Clement. I well know that in the
time of Chrysostom it was everywhere classed by the Greeks among the
Pauline Epistles; but the Latins thought otherwise, even those who were
nearest to the times of the Apostles.
    I indeed, can adduce no reason to show that Paul was its author; for
they who say that he designedly suppressed his name because it was
hateful to the Jews, bring nothing to the purpose; for why, then, did he
mention the name of Timothy as by this he betrayed himself. But the
manner it of teaching, and the style, sufficiently show that Paul was not
the author; and the writer himself confesses in the second chapter that
he was one of the disciples of the Apostles, which is wholly different
from the way in which Paul spoke of himself. Besides, what is said of the
practice of catechizing in the sixth chapter, does not well suit the time
or age of Paul. There are other things which we shall notice in their
proper places. 
    What excuse is usually made as to the style I well know  that is,
that no opinion can be hence formed, because the Greek is a translation
made from the Hebrew by Luke or someone else. But this conjecture can be
easily refuted: to pass by other places quoted from Scripture, on the
supposition that the Epistle was written in Hebrew, there would have been
no allusion to the word Testament, on which the writer so much dwells;
what he says of a Testament, in the ninth chapter, could not have been
drawn from any other fountain than from the Greek word; for |diatheke|
has two meanings in Greek, while |berit| in Hebrew means only a covenant.
This reason alone is enough to convince men of sound judgment that the
epistle was written in the Greek languages. Now, what is objected on the
other hand, that it is more probable that the Apostle wrote to the Jews
in their own language, has no weight in it; for how few then understood
their ancient language? Each had learned the language of the country
where he dwelt. Besides, the Greek was then more widely known than all
other languages. We shall proceed now to the Argument.
    The object at the beginning is not to show to the Jews that Jesus,
the son of Mary, was the Christ, the Redeemer promised to them, for he
wrote to those who had already made a profession of Christ; that point,
then, is taken as granted. But the design of the writer was to prove what
the office of Christ is. And it hence appears evident, that by his coming
an end was put to ceremonies. It is necessary to draw this distinction;
for as it would have been a superfluous labour for the Apostle to prove
to those who were already convinced that he was the Christ who had
appeared, so it was necessary for him to show what he was, for they did
not as yet clearly understand the end, the effect, and the advantages of
his coming; but being taken up with a false view of the Law, they laid
hold on the shadow instead of the substance. Our business with the
Papists is similar in the present day; for they confess with us that
Christ is the Son of God, the redeemer who had been promised to the
world: but when we come to the reality, we find that they rob him of more
than one-half of his power.
    Now, the beginning is respecting the dignity of Christ; for it seemed
strange to the Jews that the Gospel should be preferred to the Law. And
first indeed he settles that point which was in dispute, that the
doctrine brought by Christ had the preeminence, for it was the fulfilment
of all the prophecies. But as the reverence in which they held Moses
might have been a hindrance to them, he shows that Christ was far
superior to all others. And after having briefly referred to those things
in which he excelled others, he mentions by name the angels, that with
them he might reduce all to their proper rank. Thus he advanced prudently
in his course; for if he had begun with Moses, his comparison would have
been more disliked. But when it appears from Scripture that celestial
powers are subordinated to Christ, there is no reason why Moses or any
mortal being should refuse to be classed with them, so that the Son of
God may appear eminent above angels as well as men. 
    After having thus brought the angels under the power and dominion of
Christ, the Apostle having, as it were, gained confidence, declares that
Moses was so much inferior to him as a servant is to his master.
    By thus setting Christ in the three first chapters in a supreme state
of power, he intimates, that when he speaks all ought to be silent, and
that nothing should prevent us from seriously attending to his doctrine.
At the same time he sets him forth in the second chapter as our brother
in our flesh; and thus he allures us to devote ourselves more willingly
to him; and he also blends exhortations and threatening in order to lead
those to obedience who are tardy or perversely resist; and he continues
in this strain nearly to the end of the fourth chapter.
    At the end of the fourth chapter he begins to explain the priesthood
of Christ, which abolishes all the ceremonies of the Law. But after
having briefly showed how welcome that priesthood ought to be to us, and
how gladly we ought to acquiesce in it, he shortly turns aside to reprove
the Jews, because they stopped at the first elements of religion like
children; and he also terrifies them with a grievous and severe
denunciation, that there was danger lest they, if slothful to make
progress, should at length be rejected by the Lord. But he presently
softens this asperity by saying, that he hoped better things of them, in
order that he might encourage them, whom he had depressed, to make
    Then [in the seventh chapter] he returns to the priesthood; and first
shows that it differed from the ancient priesthood under the Law;
secondly, that it was more excellent, because it succeeded it, and was
sanctioned by an oath, - because it is eternal, and remains for ever
efficacious, - because he who performs its duties is superior in honour
and dignity to Aaron and all the rest of the Levitical tribe; and he
shows that the type which shadowed forth all things was found in the
person of Melchisedec.
    And in order to prove more fully that the ceremonies of the Law were
abrogated he mentions that the ceremonies were appointed, and also the
tabernacle, for a particular end, even that they might get forth the
heavenly prototype. Hence it follows, that they were not to be rested in
unless we wish to stop in the middle of our course, having no regard to
the goal. On this subject he quotes a passage from Jeremiah, in which a
new covenant is promised, which was nothing else than an improvement on
the old. It hence follows, that the old was weak and fading.
    Having spoken of the likeness and similitude between the shadows and
the reality exhibited in Christ, he then concludes that all the rituals
appointed by Moses have been abrogated by the one only true sacrifice of
Christ, because the efficacy of this sacrifice is perpetual, and that not
only the sanction of the New Testament is made by it complete, but that
it is also a true and a spiritual accomplishment of that external
priesthood which was in force under the Law.
    To this doctrine he again connects exhortation like a goad, that
putting aside all impediments they might receive Christ with due
    As to the many examples he mentions in the eleventh chapter
concerning the fathers, they seem to me to have been brought forward for
this purpose, - that the Jews might understand, that if they were led
from Moses to Christ, they would be so far from departing from the
fathers, that they would thus be especially connected with them. For if
the chief thing in them was faith, and the root of all other virtues, it
follows that this is especially that by which they should be counted the
children of Abraham and the Prophets; and that on the other hand all are
bastards who follow not the faith of the fathers. And this is no small
commendation of the Gospel, that by it we have union and fellowship with
the universal Church, which has been from the beginning of the world.
    The two last chapters contain various precepts as to the way in which
we ought to live: their speak of hope, of bearing the cross, of
perseverance, of gratitude towards God, of obedience, of mercy, of the
duties of love, of chastity, and of such like things. And lastly, he
concludes with prayer, and at the same time gives them a hope of his
coming to see them.

Commentaries on the Epistle of St. Paul to the Hebrews

Chapter 1

=====> 1:1. God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time
past unto the fathers by the prophets,
1:2  Hath in these last days spoken unto us by [his] Son, whom he hath
appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;

=====> 1:1. "God formerly," &c. This beginning is for the purpose of
commending the doctrine taught by Christ; for it shows that we ought not
only reverently to receive it, but also to be satisfied with it alone.
That we may understand this more clearly, we must observe the contrast
between each of the clauses. First, the Son of God is set in opposition
to the prophets; then we to the fathers; and, thirdly, the various and
manifold modes of speaking which God had adopted as to the fathers, to
the last revelation brought to us by Christ. But in this diversity he
still sets before us but one God, that no one might think that the Law
militates against the Gospel, or that the author of one is not the author
of the other. That you may, therefore, understand the full import of this
passage, the following arrangement shall be given, -

                                 God spoke
Formerly by the Prophets, . . . . . . . . .Now by the Son;                
Then to the Fathers,. . . . . . . . . . . .But now to us;                 
Then at various times . . . . . . . . . . .Now as at the end of the times.

This foundation being laid, the agreement between the Law and the Gospel
is established; for God, who is ever like himself, and whose word is the
same, and whose truth is unchangeable, has spoken as to both in common.
    But we must notice the difference between us and the fathers; for God
formerly addressed them in a way different from that which he adopts
towards us now. And first indeed as to them he employed the prophets, but
he has appointed his Son to be an ambassador to us. Our condition, then,
in this respect, is superior to that of the fathers. Even Moses is to be
also classed among the prophets, as he is one of the number of those who
are inferior to the Son. In the manner also in which revelation was made,
we have an advantage over them. For the diversity as to visions and other
means adopted under the Old Testament, was an indication that it was not
yet a fixed state of things, as when matters are put completely in order.
Hence he says, "multifariously and in many ways". God would have indeed
followed the same mode perpetually to the end, had the mode been perfect
and complete. It hence follows, that this variety was an evidence of
    The two words I thus understand: I refer "multifariously" to a
diversity as to times; for the Greek word |polumeroos|, which we may
render, "in many parts," as the case usually is, when we intend to speak
more fully hereafter; but |polutropoos| points out a diversity, as I
think, in the very manner itself. And when he speaks of "the last times",
he intimates that there is no longer any reason to expect any new
revelation; for it was not a word in part that Christ brought, but the
final conclusion. It is in this sense that the Apostles take "the last
times" and "the last days." And Paul means the same when he says, "Upon
whom the ends of the world are come." (1 Cor. 10: 11.) If God then has
spoken now for the last time, it is right to advance thus far; so also
when you come to Christ, you ought not to go farther: and these two
things it is very needful for us to know. For it was a great hindrance to
the Jews that they did not consider that God had deferred a fuller
revelation to another time; hence, being satisfied with their own Law,
they did not hasten forward to the goal. But since Christ has appeared,
an opposite evil began to prevail in the world; for men wished to advance
beyond Christ. What else indeed is the whole system of Popery but the
overleaping of the boundary which the Apostle has fixed? As, then, the
Spirit of God in this passage invites all to come as far as Christ, so he
forbids them to go beyond the last time which he mentions. In short, the
limit of our wisdom is made here to be the Gospel.
=====> 1:2. "Whom he has appointed, heir", &c. He honours Christ with
high commendations, in order to lead us to show him reverence; for since
the Father has subjected all things to him, we are all under his
authority. He also intimates that no good can be found apart from him, as
he is the heir of all things. It hence follows that we must be very
miserable and destitute of all good things except he supplies us with his
treasures. He further adds that this honour of possessing all things
belongs by right to the Son, because by him have all things been created.
At the same time, these two things are ascribed to Christ for different
    The world was created by him, as he is the eternal wisdom of God,
which is said to have been the director of all his works from the
beginning; and hence is proved the eternity of Christ, for he must have
existed before the world was created by him. If, then, the duration of
his time be inquired of, it will be found that it has no beginning. Nor
is it any derogation to his power that he is said to have created the
world, as though he did not by himself create it. According to the most
usual mode of speaking in Scripture, the Father is called the Creator;
and it is added in some places that the world was created by wisdom, by
the word, by the Son, as though wisdom itself had been the creator, [or
the word, or the Son.] But still we must observe that there is a
difference of persons between the Father and the Son, not only with
regard to men, but with regard to God himself. But the unity of essence
requires that whatever is peculiar to Deity should belong to the Son as
well as to the Father, and also that whatever is applied to God only
should belong to both; and yet there is nothing in this to prevent each
from his own peculiar properties.
    But the word "heir" is ascribed to Christ as manifested in the flesh;
for being made man, he put on our nature, and as such received this
heirship, and that for this purpose, that he might restore to us what we
had lost in Adam. For God had at the beginning constituted man, as his
Son, the heir of all good things; but through sin the first man became
alienated from God, and deprived himself and his posterity of all good
things, as well as of the favour of God.  We hence only then begin to
enjoy by right the good things of God, when Christ, the universal heir,
admits to a union with himself; for he is an heir that he may endow us
with his riches. But the Apostle now adorns him with this title, that we
may know that without him we are destitute of all good things.
    If you take "all" in the masculine gender, the meaning is, that we
ought all to be subject to Christ, because we have been given to him by
the Father. But I prefer reading it in the neuter gender; then it means
that we are driven from the legitimate possession of all things, both in
heaven and on earth, except we be united to Christ.

(continued in part 3...)

file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-3/epl-01: calhb-02.txt