(Calvin, Paul to the Hebrews. part 10)

says; he maintains that ceremonies have ceased since the time when Christ
came forth with command to proclaim the new covenant. It is then absurd
hence to conclude, that anything has been transferred to the ministers of
Christ; for Christ himself is alone contrasted here with Moses and Aaron.
Under what pretext then can Antichrist arrogate to himself any such
authority? I do not indeed speak now for the sake of disproving so gross
an arrogance; but it is worth while to remind readers of this
sacrilegious audacity, that they may know that this notorious servant of
the servants of Christ wholly disregards the honour of his Master, and
boldly mangles the Scriptures, that he may have some cloak for his own
=====> 7:13. "For he of whom these things are spoken", or, said, &c. As
the Apostle was speaking to them who confessed Jesus the Son of Mary to
be the Christ, he proves that an end was put to the ancient priesthood,
because the new Priest, who had been set in the place of the old, was of
another tribe, and not of Levi; for according to the Law the honour of
the priesthood was to continue, by a special privilege, in that tribe.
But he says that it was "evident" that Christ was born of the tribe of
Judah, for it was then a fact commonly known. As then they acknowledged
that he was the Christ, it was also necessary that they should be
persuaded that he was the son of David; for he who had been promised
could derive his origin from no other.

=====> 7:15 And it is yet far more evident: for that after the similitude
of Melchisedec there ariseth another priest,
7:16 Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after
the power of an endless life.
7:17 For he testifieth, Thou [art] a priest for ever after the order of
7:18 For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before
for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof.
7:19 For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better
hope [did]; by the which we draw nigh unto God.
7:20 And inasmuch as not without an oath [he was made priest]:
7:21 (For those priests were made without an oath; but this with an oath
by him that said unto him, The Lord sware and will not repent, Thou [art]
a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec:)
7:22 By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament.

=====> 7:15. "And it is yet far more evident", &c. He proves by another
argument, that the Law is abolished. He reasoned before as to the person
of the priest, but now as to the nature of the priesthood, and the reason
for which it was appointed. The ancient priesthood, he says, had to do
with external rites; but in Christ's priesthood there is nothing but what
is spiritual. It hence appears, that the former was evanescent and
temporary; but that the latter was to be perpetual.
=====> 7:16. "Carnal commandment", &c. It was called carnal, because it
refers to things corporal, that is, to external rites. We know how Aaron
and his sons were initiated into their office. What was fulfilled in
Christ by the hidden and celestial power of the Spirit, was shadowed
forth under the Law by ointment, various vestments, the sprinkling of
blood, and other earthly ceremonies. Now this kind of institution was
suitable to the nature of the priesthood; it hence follows, that the
priesthood itself was liable to change. At the same time, as we shall
hereafter see, the priesthood was not so carnal, but that it was still
spiritual; but the Apostle here refers only to the difference between
Christ and Aaron. However spiritual then might have been the meaning of
these shadows, they were yet but shadows in themselves; and as they were
made up of the elements of this world, they may justly be called earthly.
    "After the power of an endless life", or, of an indissoluble life. As
Christ is a perpetual priest, it was necessary, that he should be
different from Aaron as to the manner of his appointment; and so it was,
for it was not Moses, a mortal man, who consecrated him, but the Holy
Spirit, and that not with oil, nor with the blood of goats, nor with the
outward pomp of vestments, but with celestial power, which the Apostle
here sets in opposition to weak elements. We hence wee how the eternity
of his priesthood was exhibited in Christ.
=====> 7:17. "Thou art a priest forever", &c. It is on the single word
"forever", that the Apostle lays stress in this passage; for he confirms
what he said of an indissoluble life. He then shows that Christ differs
from the whole race of Levi, because he is made a priest for ever.
    But here it may be objected, as the Jews also do, that the word,
|la'ulam|, does not always mean eternity, but the extent of one age, or,
at farthest, a long time; and it is added, that when Moses speaks of the
ancient sacrifices, he often uses this expression, "This ordinance shall
be forever." (Exod. 12: 17, and 19: 9.) To this I answer that whenever
the sacrifices of the Law are mentioned, "forever" is to be confined to
the time of the Law; nor ought this to be deemed strange; for by the
coming of Christ a certain renovation of the world was effected.
Whenever, then, Moses speaks of his own ministration, he extends the
longest time no farther than to Christ. It must yet be also observed,
that "forever" is applied to the ancient sacrifices, not with regard to
the external ceremony, but on account of their mystical signification. On
the present occasion, however, this reason ought to be sufficient, that
Moses and his ministrations were for ever; that is, until the coming of
the kingdom of Christ, under whom the world was renovated. Now when
Christ is come, and a perpetual priesthood is given to him, we can find
no end to his age, so that it cannot terminate after a certain period of
time. So when applied to him, the word ought to be understood in the
sense of eternity; for by the context we are always to judge of the
meaning of the word, |la'ulam|.
=====> 7:18. "For there is verily a disannulling", or abrogation, &c. As
the Apostle's discourse depends on this hinge, that the Law together with
the priesthood had come to an end, he explains the reason why it ought to
have been abolished, even because it was weak and unprofitable. And he
speaks thus in reference to the ceremonies, which had nothing substantial
in them, nor in themselves anything available to salvation; for the
promise of favour annexed to them, and what Moses everywhere testifies
that God would be pacified by sacrifices and that sins would be expiated,
did not properly belong to sacrifices, but were only adventitious to
them. For as all types had a reference to Christ, so from him they
derived all their virtue and effect; nay, of themselves they availed
nothing or effected nothing; but their whole efficacy depended on Christ
    But as the Jews foolishly set up these in opposition to Christ, the
Apostle, referring to this notion, shows the difference between these
things and Christ. For as soon as they are separated from Christ, there
is nothing left in them, but the weakness of which he speaks; in a word,
there is no benefit to be found in the ancient ceremonies, except as they
refer to Christ; for in this way they so made the Jews acquainted with
God's grace, that they in a manner kept them in expectation of it. Let us
then remember that the Law is useless, when separated from Christ. And he
also confirms the same truth by calling it the "commandment going
before"; for it is a well-known and common saying, that former laws are
abrogated by the latter. The Law had been promulgated long before David;
but he was in possession of his kingdom when he proclaimed this prophecy
respecting the appointment of a new priest; this new Law then annulled
the former.
=====> 7:19. "For the Law made nothing perfect", &c. As he had spoken
rather harshly of the Law, he now mitigates or, as it were, corrects that
asperity; for he concedes to it some utility, as it had pointed out the
way which leads at length to salvation. It was, however, of such a kind
as to be far short of perfection. The Apostle then reasons thus: The Law
was only a beginning; then something more perfect was necessarily, to
follow; for it is not fit that God's children should always continue in
childish elements. By the word "bringing in", or introduction, he means a
certain preparation made by the Law, as children are taught in those
elements which smooth the way to what is higher. But as the preposition
|epi| denotes a consequence, when one thing follows another; it ought, as
I think, to be thus rendered, "but added was an introduction into a
better hope." For he mentions two introductions, according to my view;
the first by Melchisedec as a type; and the second by the Law, which was
in time later. Moreover, by "Law he designates the Levitical priesthood,
which was superadded to the priesthood of Melchisedec.
    By a "better hope" is to be understood the condition of the faithful
under the reign of Christ; but he had in view the fathers, who could not
be satisfied with the state in which they were then, but aspired to
higher things. Hence that saying, "Many kings and prophets desired to see
the things which ye see." (Luke 10: 24.) They were therefore led by the
hand of the Law as a schoolmaster, that they might advance farther.
    "By the which we draw nigh", &c. There is to be understood here an
implied contrast between us and the fathers; for in honour and privilege
we excel them, as God has communicated to us a full knowledge of himself,
but he appeared to them as it were afar off and obscurely. And there is
an allusion here made to the tabernacle or the temple; for the people
stood afar off in the court, nor was there a nearer access to the
sanctuary opened to any one except to the priests; and into the interior
sanctuary the highest priest only entered; but now, the tabernacle being
removed, God admits us into a familiar approach to himself, which the
fathers were not permitted to have. Then he who still holds to the
shadows of the Law, or seeks to restore them, not only obscures the glory
of Christ, but also deprives us of an immense benefit; for he puts God at
a great distance from us, to approach whom there is a liberty granted to
us by the Gospel. And whosoever continues in the Law, knowingly and
willingly deprives himself of the privilege of approaching nigh to God.
=====> 7:20. "And inasmuch as not without an oath", &c. Here is another
argument, why the Law ought to give place to the Gospel; for God has set
Christ's priesthood above that of Aaron, since in honour to the former he
was pleased to make an oath. For when he appointed the ancient priests,
he introduced no oath; but it is said of Christ, the Lord swore; which
was doubtless done for the sake of honouring him. We see the end for
which he again quotes the Psalmist, even that we may know, that more
honour through God's oath was given to Christ than to any others. But we
must bear in mind this truth, that a priest is made that he may be the
surety of a covenant. The Apostle hence concludes, that the covenant
which God has made by Christ with us, is far more excellent than the old
covenant of which Moses was the interpreter.

=====> 7:23 And they truly were many priests, because they were not
suffered to continue by reason of death:
7:24 But this [man], because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable
7:25 Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come
unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.
7:26 For such an high priest became us, [who is] holy, harmless,
undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens;
7:27 Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice,
first for his own sins, and then for the people's: for this he did once,
when he offered up himself.
7:28 For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the
word of the oath, which was since the law, [maketh] the Son, who is
consecrated for evermore.

=====> 7:23. "And they truly", &c. He had already touched on this
comparison; but as the subject deserved more attention, he unfolds it
more fully, though the point discussed is different from what it was
before; for then he concluded that the ancient priesthood was to come to
an end because they who exercised it were mortal; but now he simply shows
that Christ remains perpetually a priest. This he does by an argument
taken from things unequal; the ancient priests were many, for death put
an end to their priesthood; but there is no death to prevent Christ from
discharging his office. Then he alone is a perpetual priest. Thus a
different cause produces different effects.
=====> 7:25. "Wherefore he is able to save", &c. This is the fruit of an
eternal priesthood, even our salvation, if indeed we gather this fruit by
faith as we ought to do. For where death is or a change, you will there
seek salvation in vain; hence they who cleave to the ancient priesthood,
can never attain salvation. When he says, "them that come unto God", or
who approach God, by this phrase he points out the faithful who alone
enjoy the salvation procured by Christ; but he yet at the same time
indicates what faith ought to regard in a mediator. The chief good of man
is to be united to his God, with whom is the fountain of life and of all
blessings; but their own unworthiness drives all away from any access to
him. Then the peculiar office of a mediator is to bring us help in this
respect, and to stretch out his hand to us that he may lead us to heaven.
And he ever alludes to the ancient shadows of the Law; for though the
high priest carried the names of the twelve tribes on his shoulders and
symbols on his breast, yet he alone entered the sanctuary, while the
people stood in the court. But now by relying on Christ the Mediator we
enter by faith into heaven, for there is no longer any veil intervening,
but God appears to us openly, and lovingly invites us to a familiar
    "Seeing he ever liveth", &c. What sort of pledge and how great is
this of love towards us! Christ liveth for us, not for himself! That he
was received into a blessed immortality to reign in heaven, this has
taken place, as the Apostle declares, for our sake. Then the life, and
the kingdom, and the glory of Christ are all destined for our salvation
as to their object; nor has Christ any thing, which may not be applied to
our benefit; for he has been given to us by the Father once for all on
this condition, that all his should be ours. He at the same time teaches
us by what Christ is doing, that he is performing his office as a priest;
for it belongs to a priest to "intercede" for the people, that they may
obtain favour with God. This is what Christ is ever doing, for it was for
this purpose that he rose again from the dead. Then of right, for his
continual intercession, he claims for himself the office of the
=====> 7:26. "For such an high priest", &c. He reasons from what is
necessarily connected with the subject. These conditions, or
qualifications, as they commonly say, are of necessity required in a
priest - that he should be just, harmless, and pure from every spot. This
honour belongs to Christ alone. Then what was required for the real
discharge of the office was wanting in the priests of the law. It hence
follows, that there was no perfection in the Levitical priesthood; nor
was it indeed in itself legitimate, unless it was subservient to that of
Christ; and, doubtless, the external ornaments of the high priest
indicated this defect; for why were those costly and splendid vestments
used with which God commanded Aaron to be adorned while performing holy
rites, except that they were symbols of a holiness and excellency far
exceeding all human virtues? Now, these types were introduced, because
the reality did not exist. It then appears that Christ alone is the fully
qualified priest.
    "Separate from sinners", &c. This clause includes all the rest. For
there was some holiness, and harmlessness, and purity in Aaron, but only
a small measure; for he and his sons were defiled with many spots; but
Christ, exempt from the common lot of men, is alone free from every sin;
hence in him alone is found real holiness and innocency. For he is not
said to be separate from us, because he repels us from his society, but
because he has this excellency above us all, that he is free from every
    And we hence conclude, that all prayers, which are not supported by
Christ's intercession, are rejected.
    It may, however, be asked as to angels, whether they are separate
from sinners? And if so, what prevents them from discharging the offices
of the priesthood, and from being our mediators with God? To this there
is an easy reply: - No one is a lawful priest, except he is appointed by
God's command; and God has nowhere conferred this honour on angels. It
would then be a sacrilegious usurpation, were they, without being called,
to intrude into the office; besides, it is necessary, as we shall
presently see at the beginning of the next chapter, that the Mediator
between God and men should himself be a man. At the same time the last
thing mentioned here by the Apostle is abundantly sufficient as an answer
to the question; for no one can unite us to God but he who reaches to
God; and this is not the privilege of angels, for they are not said to
have been "made higher than the heavens". It then belongs to Christ alone
to conciliate God to us, as he has ascended above all the heavens. Now,
these words mean the same as though Christ were said to I have been
placed above all orders of creatures, so that he stands eminent above all
=====> 7:27. "Who needeth not", &c. He pursues the contrast between
Christ and the Levitical priests; and he points out especially two
defects, so to speak, in the ancient priesthood, by which it appears that
it was not perfect. And here, indeed, he only touches briefly on the
subject; but he afterwards explains every particular more at large, and
particularly that which refers to the daily sacrifices, as the main
question was respecting these. It is briefly also that I will now touch
on the several points. One of the defects of the ancient priesthood was,
that the high priest offered sacrifices for his own sins; how then could
he have pacified God for others, who had God justly displeased with
himself? Then they were by no means equal to the work of expiating for
sins. The other defect was, that they offered various sacrifices daily;
it hence follows, that there was no real expiation; for sins remain when
purgation is repeated. The case with Christ was wholly different; for he
himself needed no sacrifice, as he was sprinkled with no spot of sin; and
such was the sacrifice, that it was alone sufficient to the end of the
world, for he offered himself.
=====> 7:28. "For the law", &c. From the defects of men he draws his
conclusion as to the weakness of the priesthood, as though he had said,
"Since the law makes no real priests, the defect must by some other means
be remedied; and it is remedied by the "word of the oath"; for Christ was
made a priest, being not of the common order of men, but the Son of God,
subject to no defect, but adorned and endowed with the highest
perfection." He again reminds us, that the "oath" was posterior to the
law, in order to show that God, being not satisfied with the priesthood
of the law, designed to constitute a better priesthood; for in the
institutions of God what succeeds advances the former to a better state,
or it abolishes what was designed to exist only for a time.

Chapter 8

=====> 8:1 Now of the things which we have spoken [this is] the sum: We
have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of
the Majesty in the heavens;
8:2 A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the
Lord pitched, and not man.
8:3 For every high priest is ordained to offer gifts and sacrifices:
wherefore [it is] of necessity that this man have somewhat also to offer.
8:4 For if he were on earth, he should not be a priest, seeing that there
are priests that offer gifts according to the law:
8:5 Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses
was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See,
saith he, [that] thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to
thee in the mount.
8:6 But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also
he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon
better promises.

=====> 8:1. "Now of the things, &c. That readers might know the subject
he handles, he reminds them that his object is to prove that Christ's
priesthood, by which that of the law had been abolished, is spiritual.
He, indeed, proceeds with the same argument; but as he contends with
various seasonings, he introduced this admonition, that he might keep his
readers attentive to what he had in view.
    He has already shown that Christ is a high priest; he now contends
that his priesthood is celestial. It hence follows, that by his coming
the priesthood established by Moses under the law was made void, for it
was earthly. and as Christ suffered in the humble condition of his flesh,
and having taken the form of a servant, made himself of no reputation in
the world, (Phil. 2: 7;) the Apostle reminds us of his ascension, by
which was removed not only the reproach of the cross, but also of that
abject and mean condition which he had assumed together with our flesh;
for it is by the power of the Spirit which gloriously appeared in the
resurrection and the ascension of Christ, that the dignity of his
priesthood is to be estimated. He then reasons thus - "Since Christ has
ascended to the right hand of God, that he might reign gloriously in
heaven, he is not the minister of the earthly but of the heavenly
=====> 8:2. "Of the sanctuary", or, literally, of holy things, &c. The
word is to be taken, as being in the neuter gender; and the Apostle
explains himself by saying, "of the true tabernacle".
    But it may be asked, whether the tabernacle built by Moses was a
false one, and presumptuously constructed, for there is an implied
contrast in the words? To this I answer, that to us mentioned here is not
set in opposition to what is false, but only to what is typical; as we
find in John 1: 17, "The law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came
by Jesus Christ." Then the old tabernacle was not the empty inventions of
man, but the effigy of the heavenly tabernacle. As, however, a shadow
differs from the substance, and the sign from the thing signified, the
Apostle denies it to have been the true tabernacle, as though he had
said, that it was only a shadow.
    "Which the Lord pitched", or, fixed, &c. What does the Apostle mean
by locating Christ's priesthood in heaven? For doubtless he suffered on
earth, and by an earthly blood he atoned for our sins, for he derived his
origin from the seed of Abraham; the sacrifice of his death was visible;
and lastly, that he might offer himself to the Father, it was necessary
for him to descend from heaven to the earth, and as man to become exposed
to the sorrows of this mortal life, and at length to death itself. To all
this I reply, that whatever of an earthly kind appears at first sight to
be in Christ, it is to be viewed spiritually by the eye of faith. Thus
his flesh, which proceeded from the seed of Abraham, since it was the
temple of God, possessed a vivifying power; yea, the death of Christ
became the life of the world, which is certainly above nature. The
Apostle therefore does not refer to what belongs peculiarly to human
nature, but to the hidden power of the Spirit; and hence it is, that the
death of Christ has nothing earthly in it. When therefore we speak of
Christ, let us learn to raise up all our thoughts to the kingdom of God,
so that no doubt may remain in us.
    Nearly to the same purpose is the language of Paul in 2 Col. 5: l; he
calls Cod the builder of this tabernacle, in order to set forth its
stability and perpetuity; for, on the other hand, what is built by men's
hands, is unstable, and at last sure to perish. But he says this, because
redemption was truly a divine work, attained by the death of Christ; and
in this the power of Christ manifested itself in a wonderful manner.
=====> 8:3. "For every high priest", &c. The Apostle intends to show,
that Christ's priesthood cannot coexist with the Levitical priesthood. He
proves it in this way, - "The Law appointed priests to offer sacrifices
to God; it hence appears that the priesthood is an empty name without a
sacrifice. But Christ had no sacrifice, such as was offered under the
Law; it hence follows, that his priesthood is not earthly or carnal, but
one of a more excellent character."
    Let us now examine every clause. The first thing that deserves
notice, is that which he teachers that no priest is appointed except to
offer gifts; it is hence evident, that no favour from God can be obtained
for men except through the interposition of a sacrifice. Hence, that our
prayers may be heard, they must be founded on a sacrifice; their
audacity, therefore, is altogether pernicious and fatal, who pass by
Christ and forget his death, and yet rush into the presence of God. Now,
if we wish to pray in a profitable manner, we must learn ever to set
before us the death of Christ, which alone sanctifies our prayers. For
God will never hear us unless he is reconciled; but he must be first
pacified, for our sins cause him to be displeased with us. Sacrifice must
necessarily precede, in order that there may be any benefit from prayer.
    We may hence further conclude, that no one either among men or angels
is qualified for pacifying God, for all are without any sacrifice of
their own which they can offer to appease God. And hereby is abundantly
exposed the effrontery of the Papists who make Apostles and martyrs to
share with Christ as mediators in the work of intercession; for in vain
do they assign them such an office, except they supply them with

=====> 8:4. "For if he were on earth", &c. It is now beyond dispute that
Christ is a high priest; but as the office of a judge does not exist
without laws and statutes, so the office of sacrificing must be connected
with Christ as a priest: yet he has no earthly or visible sacrifice; he
cannot then be a priest on earth. We must always hold this truth that
when the Apostle speaks of the death of Christ, he regards not the
external action, but the spiritual benefit. He suffered death as men do,
but as a priest he atoned for the sins of the world in a divine manner;
there was an external shedding of blood, but there was also an internal
and spiritual purgation; in a word, he died on earth, but the virtue and
efficacy of his death proceeded from heaven.
    What immediately follows some render thus, "He could not be a priest
of the number of those who offer gifts according to the Law." But the
words of the Apostle mean another thing; and therefore I prefer this
rendering, "He could not be a priest as long as there are priests who,"
&c. For he intends to show one of these two things, either that Christ is
no priest, while the priesthood of the Law continued, as he had no
sacrifice, or that the sacrifices of the law ceased as soon as Christ
appeared. The first of these is against all reason, for it is an act of
impiety to deprive Christ of his priesthood. It then remains for us to
confess, that the Levitical order is now abolished. 
=====> 8:5. "Who serve unto the example", &c. The verb |latreuein|, to
serve, I take here to mean the performing of sacred rites; and so |en| or
|epi| is to be understood. This is certainly more appropriate than the
rendering given by some, "Who serve the shadow and example of heavenly
things; and the construction in Greek will admit naturally of the meaning
I have proposed. In short, he teaches us that the true worship of God
consists not in the ceremonies of the Law, and that hence the Levitical
priests, while exercising their functions, had nothing but a shadow and a
copy, which is inferior to the prototype, for this is the meaning of the
word |hupodeigma|, exemplar. And he thus anticipates what might have been
raised as an objection; for he shows that the worship of God, according
to the ancient sacrifices, was not superfluous, because it referred to
what was higher, even to heavenly realities.
    "As Moses was admonished by God", &c. This passage is found in Exod.
25: 40; and the apostle adduces it here on purpose, so that he might
prove that the whole service, according to the Law, was nothing more than
a picture as it were, designed to shadow forth what is found spiritually
in Christ. God commanded that all the parts of the tabernacle should
correspond with the original pattern, which had been shown to Moses on
the mount. And if the form of the tabernacle had a reference to something
else, then the same must have been the case as to the rituals and the
priesthood; it hence follows that there was nothing real in them.
    This is a remarkable passage, for it contains three things entitled
to special notice.
    First, we hence learn that the ancient rituals were not without
reason appointed, as though God did by them engage the attention of the
people as with the diversions of children; and that the form of the
tabernacle was not an empty thing, intended only to allure and attract
the eyes by its external splendour; for there was a real and spiritual
meaning in all these things, since Moses was commanded to execute every
thing according to the original pattern which was given from heaven.
Extremely profane then must the opinion of those be, who hold that the
ceremonies were only enjoined that they might serve as means to restrain
the wantonness of the people, that they might not seek after the foreign
rites of heathens. There is indeed something in this, but it is far from
being all; they omit what is much more important, that they were the
means of retaining the people in their expectation of a Mediator.
    There is, however, no reason that we should be here overcurious, so
as to seek in every nail and minute things some sublime mystery, as
Hesychius did and many of the ancient writers, who anxiously toiled in
this work; for while they sought refinedly to philosophize on things
unknown to them, they childishly blundered, and by their foolish trifling
made themselves ridiculous. We ought therefore to exercise moderation in
this respect, which we shall do if we seek only to know what has been
revealed to us respecting Christ.
    Secondly, we are here taught that all those modes of worship are
false and spurious, which men allow themselves by their own wit to
invent, and beyond God's command; for since God gives this direction,
that all things are to be done according to his own rule, it is not
lawful for us to do anything different from it; for these two forms of
expression, "see that thou do all things according to the patterns," and,
"See that thou do nothing beyond the pattern," amount to the same thing.
Then by enforcing the rule delivered by himself, he prohibits us to
depart from it even in the least thing. For this reason all the modes of
worship taught by men fall to the ground, and also those things called
sacraments which have not proceeded from God.
    Thirdly, let us hence learn that there are no true symbols of
religion but those which conform to what Christ requires. We must then
take heed, lest we, while seeking to adapt our own inventions to Christ,
transfigure him, as the Papists do, so that he should not be at all like
himself; for it does not belong to us to devise anything as we please,
but to God alone it belongs to show us what to do; it is to be "according
to the pattern" showed to us.
=====> 8:6. "But now has he obtained a more excellent ministry", &c. As
he had before inferred the excellency of the covenant from the dignity of
the priesthood, so also now he maintains that Christ's priesthood is more
excellent than that of Aaron, because he is the interpreter and Mediator
of a better covenant. Both were necessary, for the Jews were to be led
away from the superstitious observance of rituals, by which they were
prevented from advancing directly forward to the attainment of the real
and pure truth of the Gospel. The Apostle says now that it was but right
that Moses and Aaron should give way to Christ as to one more excellent,
because the gospel is a more excellent covenant than the Law, and also
because the death of Christ was a nobler sacrifice than the victims under
the Law.
    But what he adds is not without some difficulty, - that the covenant
of the Gospel was proclaimed on better promises; for it is certain that
the fathers who lived under the Law had the same hope of eternal life set
before them as we have, as they had the grace of adoption in common with
us, then faith must have rested on the same promises. But the comparison
made by the Apostle refers to the form rather than to the substance; for
though God promised to them the same salvation which he at this day
promises to us, yet neither the manner nor the character of the
revelation is the same or equal to what we enjoy. If anyone wishes to
know more on this subject, let him read the 4th and 5th chapter of the
Epistle to the Galatians and my Institutes.

=====> 8:7 For if that first [covenant] had been faultless, then should
no place have been sought for the second.
8:8 For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith
the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and
with the house of Judah:
8:9 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the
day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt;
because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith
the Lord.
8:10 For this [is] the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel
after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and
write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall
be to me a people:
8:11 And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his
brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to
the greatest.
8:12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and
their iniquities will I remember no more.
8:13 In that he saith, A new [covenant], he hath made the first old. Now
that which decayeth and waxeth old [is] ready to vanish away.

=====> 8:7. "For if that", &c. He confirms what he had said of the
excellency of the covenant which God has made with us through Christ; and
he confirms it on this ground, because the covenant of the Law was
neither valid nor permanent; for if nothing was wanting in it, why was
another substituted for it? But another has been substituted; and from
this it is evident that the old covenant was not in every respect
perfect. To prove this he adduces the testimony of Jeremiah, which we
shall presently examine.
    But it seems hardly consistent to say, that after having said that no
place would have been sought for the second covenant, had the first been
faultless, he should then say that the people were at fault, and that for

(continued in part 11...)

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