(Calvin, Paul to the Hebrews. part 11) this cause the new covenant was introduced as a remedy; and thus it appears unjust, that if the blame was in the people it should be transferred to God's covenant. Then the argument seems not valid, for though God might have a hundred times blamed the people, yet the covenant could not on that account be deemed faulty. The answer to this objection may be easily given. Though the crime of violating the covenant was justly imputed to the people, who had through their own perfidy departed from God, yet the weakness of the covenant is also pointed out, because it was not written in their hearts. Then, to render it perfect and valid, God declares that it needed an amendment. It was not, therefore, without reason that the Apostle contended that a place was to be sought for a second. =====> 8:8. "Behold, the days come", &c. (Jer. 31: 31-34.) The Prophet speaks of future time; he arraigns the people of perfidy, because they continued not faithful after having received the Law. The Law, then, was the covenant which was broken, as Cod complains, by the people. To remedy this evil, he promised a new and a different covenant, the fulfilment of which prophecy was the abrogation of the old covenant. But it may be said, the Apostle seems unreasonably to turn this prophecy to suit his own purpose; for here the question is respecting ceremonies, but the Prophet speaks of the whole Law: what has it to do with ceremonies, when God inscribes on the heart the rule of a godly and holy life, delivered by the voice and teaching of men? To this I reply that the argument is applied from the whole to a part. There is no doubt but that the Prophet includes the whole dispensation of Moses when he says, "I have made with you a covenant which you have not kept." Besides, the Law was in a manner clothed with ceremonies; now when the body is dead, what is the use of garments? It is a common saying that the accessory is of the same character with his principal. No wonder, then, that the ceremonies, which are nothing more than appendages to the old covenant, should come to an end, together with the whole dispensation of Moses. Nor is it unusual with the Apostles, when they speak of ceremonies, to discuss the general question respecting the whole Law. Though, then, the prophet Jeremiah extends wider than to ceremonies, yet as it includes them under the name of the old covenant, it may be fitly applied to the present subject. Now, by the days which the prophet mentions, all agree that Christ's kingdom is signified; it hence follows, that the old covenant was changed by the coming of Christ. And he names "the house of Israel and the house of Judah", because the posterity of Abraham had been divided into two kingdoms. So the promise is to gather again all the elect together into one body, however separated they may have been formerly. =====> 8:9. "Not according to the covenant", &c. Here is expressed the difference between the covenant which then existed and the new one which he caused them to expect. The Prophet might have otherwise said only: "I will renew the covenant which through your fault has come to nothing;" but he now expressly declares that it would be one unlike the former. By saying that the covenant was made in the day when he laid holds on their hand to rescue them from bondage, he enhanced the sin of defection by thus reminding them of so great a benefit. At the same time he did not accuse one age only of ingratitude; but as these very men who had been delivered immediately fell away, and as their posterity after their example continually relapsed, hence the whole nation had become covenant-breakers. By saying that he disregarded them or cared not for them, he intimates that it would profit them nothing to have been once adopted as his people, unless he succoured them by this new kind of remedy. At the same time the Prophet expresses in Hebrew something more; but this has little to do with the present question. =====> 8:10. "For this is the covenant that I will make", &c. There are two main parts in this covenant; the first regards the gratuitous remission of sins; and the other, the inward renovation of the heart; there is a third which depends on the second, and that is the illumination of the mind as to the knowledge of God. There are here many things most deserving of notice. The first is, that God calls us to himself without effect as long as he speaks to us in no other way than by the voice of man. He indeed teaches us and commands what is right but he speaks to the deaf; for when we seem to hear anything, our ears are only struck by an empty sound; and the heart, full of depravity and perverseness, rejects every wholesome doctrine. In short, the word of God never penetrates into our hearts, for they are iron and stone until they are softened by him; nay, they have engraven on them a contrary law, for perverse passions rule within, which lead us to rebellion. In vain then does God proclaim his Law by the voice of man, unless he writes it by his Spirit on our hearts, that is, unless he forms and prepares us for obedience. It hence appears of what avail is freewill and the uprightness of nature before God regenerates us. We will indeed and choose freely; but our will is carried away by a sort of insane impulse to resist God. Thus it comes that the Law is ruinous and fatal to us as long as it remains written only on tables of stone, as Paul also teaches us. (2 Cor. 3: 3.) In short, we then only obediently embrace what God commands, when by his Spirit he changes and corrects the natural pravity of our hearts; otherwise he finds nothing in us but corrupt affections and a heart holly given up to evil. The declaration indeed is clear, that a new covenant is made according to which God engraves his laws on our hearts, for otherwise it would be in vain and of no effect. The second particular refers to the gratuitous pardon of sins. Though they have sinned, saith the Lord, yet I will pardon them. This part is also most necessary; for God never so forms us for obedience to his righteousness, but that many corrupt affections of the flesh still remain; nay, it is only in part that the viciousness of our nature is corrected; so that evil lusts break out now and then. And hence is that contest of which Paul complains, when the godly do not obey God as they ought, but in various ways offend. (Rom. 7: 13.) Whatever desire then there may be in us to live righteously, we are still guilty of eternal death before God, because our life is ever very far from the perfection which the Law requires. There would then be no stability in the covenant, except God gratuitously forgave our sins. But it is the peculiar privilege of the faithful who have once embraced the covenant offered to them in Christ, that they feel assured that God is propitious to them; nor is the sin to which they are liable, a hindrance to them, for they have the promise of pardon. And it must be observed that this pardon is promised to them, not for one day only, but to the very end of life, so that they have a daily reconciliation with God. For this favour is extended to the whole of Christ's kingdom, as Paul abundantly proves in the fifth chapter of his second Epistle to the Corinthians. And doubtless this is the only true asylum of our faith, to which if we flee not, constant despair must be our lot. For we are all of us guilty; nor can we be otherwise released then by fleeing to God's mercy, which alone can pardon us. "And they shall be to me", &c. It is the fruit of the covenant, that God chooses us for his people, and assures us that he will be the guardian of our salvation. This is indeed the meaning of these words, "And I will be to them a God"; for he is not the God of the dead, nor does he take us under his protection, but that he may make us partakers of righteousness and of life, so that David justly exclaims, "Blessed are the people to whom the Lord is God (Ps. 144: 15.) There is further no doubt but that this truth belongs also to us; for though the Israelites had the first place, and are the proper and legitimate heirs of the covenant, yet their prerogative does not hinder us from having also a title to it. In short, however far and wide the kingdom of Christ extends, this covenant of salvation is of the same extent. But it may be asked, whether there was under the Law a sure and certain promise of salvation, whether the fathers had the gift of the Spirit, whether they enjoyed God's paternal favour through the remission of sins? Yes, it is evident that they worshipped God with a sincere heart and a pure conscience, and that they walked in his commandments, and this could not have been the case except they had been inwardly taught by the Spirit; and it is also evident, that whenever they thought of their sins, they were raised up by the assurance of a gratuitous pardon. And yet the Apostle, by referring the prophecy of Jeremiah to the coming of Christ, seems to rob them of these blessings. To this I reply, that he does not expressly deny that God formerly wrote his Law on their hearts and pardoned their sins, but he makes a comparison between the less and the greater. As then the Father has put forth more fully the power of his Spirit under the kingdom of Christ, and has poured forth more abundantly his mercy on mankind, this exuberance renders insignificant the small portion of grace which he had been pleased to bestow on the fathers. We also see that the promises were then obscure and intricate, so that they shone only like the moon and stars in comparison with the clear light of the Gospel which shines brightly on us. If it be objected and said, that the faith and obedience of Abraham so excelled, that hardly any such an example can at this day be found in the whole world; my answer is this, that the question here is not about persons, but that reference is made to the economical condition of the Church. Besides, whatever spiritual gifts the fathers obtained, they were accidental as it were to their age; for it was necessary for them to direct their eyes to Christ in order to become possessed of them. Hence it was not without reason that the Apostle, in comparing the Gospel with the Law, took away from the latter what is peculiar to the former. There is yet no reason why God should not have extended the grace of the new covenant to the fathers. This is the true solution of the question. =====> 8:11. "And they shall not teach", &c. We have said that the third point is as it were a part of the second, included in these words, "I will put my laws in their mind; for it is the work of the Spirit of God to illuminate our minds, so that we may know what the will of God is, and also to bend our hearts to obedience. For the right knowledge of God is a wisdom which far surpasses the comprehension of man's understanding; therefore, to attain it no one is able except through the secret revelation of the Spirit. Hence Isaiah, in speaking of the restoration of the Church, says, that all God's children would be his disciples or scholars. (Isa. 28: 16.) The meaning of our Prophet is the same when he introduces God as saying, "They shall know me". For God does not promise what is in our own power, but what he alone can perform for us. In short, these words of the Prophet are the same as though he had said, that our minds are blind and destitute of all right understanding until they are illuminated by the Spirit of God. Thus God is rightly known by those alone to whom he has been pleased by a special favour to reveal himself. By saying, "From the least to the greatest", he first intimates that God's grace would be poured on all ranks of men, so that no class would be without it. He, secondly, reminds us that no rude and ignorant men are precluded from this heavenly wisdom, and that the great and the noble cannot attain it by their own acuteness or by the help of learning. Thus God connects the meanest and the lowest with the highest, so that their ignorance is no impediment to the one, nor can the other ascend so high by their own acumen; but the one Spirit is equally the teacher of them all. Fanatical men take hence the occasion to do away with public preaching, as though it were of no use in Christ's kingdom; but their madness may be easily exposed. Their objection is this: "After the coming of Christ every one is to teach his neighbour; away then with the external ministry, that a place may be given to the internal inspiration of God." But they pass by this, that the Prophet does not wholly deny that they would teach one another, but his words are these, "They shall not teach, saying, know the Lord"; as though he had said, "Ignorance shall not as heretofore so possess the minds of men as not to know who God is." But we know that the use of teaching is twofold; first, that they who are wholly ignorant may learn the first elements; and secondly, that those who are initiated may make progress. As then Christians, as long as they live, ought to make progress, it cannot surely be said, that any one is so wise that he needs not to be taught; so that no small part of our wisdom is a teachable spirit. And what is the way of making progress if we desire to be the disciples of Christ? This is shown to us by Paul when he says, that Christ gave pastors and teachers. (Eph. 4: 11.) It hence appears that nothing less was thought of by the Prophet than to rob the Church of such a benefit. His only object was to show that God would make himself known to small and great, according to what was also predicted by Joel 2: 28. It ought also in passing to be noticed, that this light of sacred knowledge is promised peculiarly to the Church; hence this passage belongs to none but to the household of faith. =====> 8:13. "In that he saith, A new", &c. From the fact of one covenant being established, he infers the subversion of the other; and by calling it the old covenant, he assumes that it was to be abrogated; for what is old tends to a decay. Besides, as the new is substituted, it must be that the former has come to an end; for the second, as it has been said, is of another character. But if the whole dispensation of Moses, as far as it was opposed to the dispensation of Christ, has passed away, then the ceremonies also must have ceased. Chapter 9 =====> 9:1 Then verily the first [covenant] had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary. 9:2 For there was a tabernacle made; the first, wherein [was] the candlestick, and the table, and the shewbread; which is called the sanctuary. 9:3 And after the second veil, the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of all; 9:4 Which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein [was] the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron's rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant; 9:5 And over it the cherubims of glory shadowing the mercyseat; of which we cannot now speak particularly. =====> 9:1. "Then verily the first", &c. After having spoken generally of the abrogation of the old covenant, he now refers specially to the ceremonies. His object is to show that there was nothing practiced then to which Christ's coming has not put an end. He says first, that under the old covenant there was a specific form of divine worship, and that it was peculiarly adapted to that time. It will hereafter appear by the comparison what kind of things were those rituals prescribed under the Law. Some copies read, |proote skene|, the first tabernacle; but I suspect that there is a mistake as to the word "tabernacle;" nor do I doubt but that some unlearned reader, not finding a noun to the adjective, and in his ignorance applying to the tabernacle what had been said of the covenant, unwisely added the word |skene|, tabernacle. I indeed greatly wonder that the mistake had so prevailed, that it is found in the Greek copies almost universally. But necessity constrains me to follow the ancient reading. For the Apostle, as I have said, had been speaking of the old covenant; he now comes to ceremonies, which were additions, as it were, to it. He then intimates that all the rites of the Mosaic Law were a part of the old covenant, and that they partook of the same ancientness, and were therefore to perish. Many take the word |latreias| as an accusative plural. I agree with those who connect the two words together, |dikaioomata latreias|, for institutes or rites, which the Hebrews call |chukim|, and the Greeks have rendered by the word |dikaioomata|, ordinances. The sense is, that the whole form or manner of worshipping God was annexed to the old covenant, and that it consisted of sacrifices, ablutions, and other symbols, together with the sanctuary. And he calls it a "worldly sanctuary", because there was no heavenly truth or reality in those rites; for though the sanctuary was the effigy of the original pattern which had been shown to Moses; yet an effigy or image is a different thing from the reality, and especially when they are compared, as here, as things opposed to each other. Hence the sanctuary in itself was indeed earthly, and is rightly classed among the elements of the world, it was yet heavenly as to what it signified. =====> 9:2. "For there was a tabernacle", &c. As the Apostle here touches but lightly on the structure of the tabernacle, that he might not be detained beyond what his subject required; so will I also designedly abstain from any refined explanation of it. It is then sufficient for our present purpose to consider the tabernacle in its three parts, - the first was the court of the people; the middle was commonly called the sanctuary; and the last was the inner sanctuary, which they called, by way of eminence, "the holy of holies". As to the first sanctuary, which was contiguous to the court of the people, he says that there were the candlestick and the table on which the "show-bread" was set: he calls this place, in the plural number, the holies. Then, after this is mentioned, the most secret place, which they called the holy of holies, still more remote from the view of the people, and it was even hid from the priests who ministered in the first sanctuary; for as by a veil the sanctuary was closed up to the people, so another veil kept the priests from the holy of holies. There, the Apostle says, was the |thumiaterion|, by which name I understand the altar of incense, or fumigation, rather than the censer; then "the ark of the covenant, with its covering, "the two cherubim, the golden pot" filled with "manna, the rod of Aaron, and the two tables". Thus far the Apostle proceeds in describing the tabernacle. But he says that the pot in which Moses had deposited the manna, and Aaron's rod which had budded, were in the ark with the two tables; but this seems inconsistent with sacred history, which in I Kings 8: 9, relates that there was nothing in the ark but the two tables. But it is easy to reconcile these two passages: God had commanded the pot and Aaron's rod to be laid up before the testimony; it is hence probable that they were deposited in the ark, together with the tables. But when the Temple was built, these things were arranged in a different order, and certain history relates it as a thing new that the ark had nothing else but the two tables. =====> 9:5. "Of which we cannot now", &c. As nothing can satisfy, curious men, the apostle cuts off every occasion for refinements unsuitable to his present purpose, and lest a longer discussion of these things should break off the thread of his argument. If, therefore, any one should disregard the Apostle's example, and dwell more minutely on the subject, he would be acting very unreasonably. There might be, indeed, an occasion for doing this elsewhere; but it is now better to attend to the subject of which he treats: it may further be said, that to philosophize beyond just limits, which some do, is not only useless, but also dangerous. There are some things which are not obscure and fitted for the edification of faith; but discretion and sobriety ought to be observed, lest we seek to be wise above what God has been pleased to reveal. =====> 9:6 Now when these things were thus ordained, the priests went always into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service [of God]. 9:7 But into the second [went] the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and [for] the errors of the people: 9:8 The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing: 9:9 Which [was] a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience; 9:10 [Which stood] only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed [on them] until the time of reformation. 9:11 But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; 9:12 Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption [for us]. =====> 9:6. "Now, when these things were thus ordained", &c. Omitting other things, he undertakes to handle the chief point in dispute: he says that the priests who performed sacred rites were wont to enter the first tabernacle daily, but that the chief priest entered the holy of holies only yearly with the appointed sacrifice. He hence concludes, that while the tabernacle under the Law was standing, the sanctuary was closed up, and that only through that being removed could the way be open for us to the kingdom of God. We see that the very form of the ancient tabernacle reminded the Jews that they were to look for something else. Then foolishly did they act who, by retaining the shadows of the Law, wilfully obstructed their own way. He mentions |protoon skenen|, the first tabernacle, in ver. 2, in a different sense from what it has here, for here it means the first sanctuary, but there the whole tabernacle; for he sets it in opposition to the spiritual sanctuary of Christ, which he presently mentions. He contends that this had fallen for our great benefit, for through its fall a more familiar access to God has been obtained for us. =====> 9:7. "For himself and for the errors of the people", or for his own and the ignorances of the people. As the verb |shagag|, means in Hebrew to err, to mistake, so |shgagah|, derived from it, properly denotes error, or mistake; but yet it is generally taken for any kind of sin; and doubtless we never sin except when deceived by the allurements of Satan. The Apostle does not understand by it mere ignorance, as they say, but, on the contrary, he includes also voluntary sins; but as I have already said, no sin is free from error or ignorance; for however knowingly and wilfully any one may sin, yet it must be that he is blinded by his lust, so that he does not judge rightly, or rather he forgets himself and God; for men never deliberately rush headlong into ruin, but being entangled in the deceptions of Satan, they lose the power of judging rightly. =====> 9:9. "Which was a figure", &c. The word |parathole|, used here, signifies, as I think, the same thing with |antitupos|, antitype; for he means that that tabernacle was a second pattern which corresponded with the first. For the portrait of a man ought to be so like the man himself, that when seen, it ought immediately to remind us of him whom it represents. He says further, that it was a "figure", or likeness, "for the time then present", that is, as long as the external observance was in force; and he says this in order to confine its use and duration to the time of the Law; for it means the same with what he afterwards adds, that all the ceremonies were imposed until the time of reformation; nor is it any objection that he uses the present tense in saying, "gifts are offered"; for as he had to do with the Jews, he speaks by way of concession, as though he were one of those who sacrificed. "Gifts" and "sacrifices" differ, as the first is a general term, and the other is particular. "That could not make him that did the service perfect as pertaining to the conscience"; that is, they did not reach the soul so as to confer true holiness. I do not reject the words, "make perfect", and yet I prefer the term "sanctify", as being more suitable to the context. But that readers may better understand the meaning of the Apostle, let the contrast between the flesh and the conscience be noticed; he denies that worshippers could be spiritually and inwardly cleansed by the sacrifices of the Law. It is added as a reason, that all these rites were of the flesh or carnal. What then does he allow them to be? It is commonly supposed, that they were useful only as means of training to men, conducive to virtue and decorum. But they who thus think do not sufficiently consider the promises which are added. This gloss, therefore, ought to be wholly repudiated. Absurdly and ignorantly too do they interpret "the ordinances of the flesh", as being such as cleansed or sanctified only the body; for the Apostle understands by these words that they were earthly symbols, which did not reach the soul; for though they were true testimonies of perfect holiness, yet they by no means contained it in themselves, nor could they convey it to men; for the faithful were by such helps led, as it were, by the hand to Christ, that they might obtain from him what was wanting in the symbols. Were any one to ask why the Apostle speaks with so little respect and even with contempt of Sacraments divinely instituted, and extenuates their efficacy? This he does, because he separates them from Christ; and we know that when viewed in themselves they are but beggarly elements, as Paul calls them. (Gal. 4: 9.) =====> 9:10. "Until the time of reformation", &c. Here he alludes to the prophecy of Jeremiah. (Jer. 31: 37.) The new covenant succeeded the old as a reformation. He expressly mentions "meats" and "drinks", and other things of minor importance, because by these trifling observances a more certain opinion may be formed how far short was the Law of the perfection of the Gospel. =====> 9:11. "But Christ being come", &c. He now sets before us the reality of the things under the Law, that it may turn our eyes from them to itself; for he who believes that the things then shadowed forth under the Law have been really found in Christ, will no longer cleave to the shadows, but will embrace the substance and the genuine reality. But the particulars of the comparison between Christ and the ancient high priest, ought to be carefully noticed. He had said that the high priest alone entered the sanctuary once a year with blood to expiate sins. Christ is in this life the ancient high priests for he alone possesses the dignity and the office of a high priest; but he differs from him in this respect, that he brings with him eternal blessings which secure a perpetuity to his priesthood. Secondly, there is this likeness between the ancient high priest and ours, that both entered the holy of holies through the sanctuary; but they differ in this, that Christ alone entered into heaven through the temple of his own body. That the holy of holies was once every year opened to the high priest to make the appointed expiation - this obscurely prefigured the one true sacrifice of Christ. To enter once then was common to both, but to the earthly it was every year, while it was to the heavenly forever, even to the end of the world. The offering of blood was common to both; but there was a great difference as to the blood; for Christ offered, not the blood of beasts, but his own blood. Expiation was common to both; but that according to the Law, as it was inefficacious, was repeated every year; but the expiation made by Christ is always effectual and is the cause of eternal salvation to us. Thus, there is great importance almost in every word. Some render the words, "But Christ standing by," or asking; but the meaning of the Apostle is not thus expressed; for he intimates that when the Levitical priests had for the prefixed time performed their office, Christ came in their place, according to what we found in the seventh chapter. "Of good things to come", &c. Take these for eternal things; for as |melloon kairos|, time to come, is set in opposition to the present |tooi enestekoti|; so future blessings are to the present. The meaning is, that we are led by Christ's priesthood into the celestial kingdom of God, and that we are made partakers of spiritual righteousness and of eternal life, so that it is not right to desire anything better. Christ alone, then, has that by which he can retain and satisfy us in himself. "By a greater and more perfect tabernacle", &c. Though this passage is variously explained, yet I have no doubt but that he means the body of Christ; for as there was formerly an access for the Levitical high priest to the holy of holies through the sanctuary, so Christ through his own body entered into the glory of heaven; for as he had put on our flesh and in it suffered, he obtained for himself this privilege, that he should appear before God as a Mediator for us. In the first place, the word sanctuary is fitly and suitably applied to the body of Christ, for it is the temple in which the whole majesty of God dwells. He is further said to have made a way for us by his body to ascend into heaven, because in that body he consecrated himself to God, he became in it sanctified to be our true righteousness, he prepared himself in it to offer a sacrifice; in a word, he made himself in it of no reputation, and suffered the death of the cross; therefore, the Father highly exalted him and gave him a name above every name, that every knee should bow to him. (Phil. 2: 8-10.) He then entered into heaven through his own body, because on this account it is that he now sits at the Father's right hand; he for this reason intercedes for us in heaven, because he had put on our flesh, and consecrated it as a temple to God the Father, and in it sanctified himself to obtain for us an eternal righteousness, having made an expiation for our sins. It may however seem strange, that he denies the body of Christ to be of this building; for doubtless he proceeded from the seed of Abraham, and was liable to sufferings and to death. To this I reply, that he speaks not here of his material body, or of what belongs to the body as such, but of the spiritual efficacy which emanates from it to us. For as far as Christ's flesh is quickening, and is a heavenly food to nourish souls, as far as his blood is a spiritual drink and has a cleansing power, we are not to imagine anything earthly or material as being in them. And then we must remember that this is said in allusion to the ancient tabernacle, which was made of wood, brass, skins, silver, and gold, which were all dead things; but the power of God made the flesh of Christ to be a living and spiritual temple. =====> 9:12. "Neither by the blood of goats", &c. All these things tend to show that the things of Christ so far excel the shadows of the Law, that they justly reduce them all to nothing. For what is the value of Christ's blood, if it be deemed no better than the blood of beasts? What sort of expiation was made by his death, if the purgations according to the Law be still retained? As soon then as Christ came forth with the efficacious influence of his death, all the typical observances must necessarily have ceased. =====> 9:13 For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: 9:14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? 9:15 And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions [that were] under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance. 9:16 For where a testament [is], there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. 9:17 For a testament [is] of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth. =====> 9:13. "For if the blood of bulls", &c. This passable has given to many all occasion to go astray, because they did not consider that sacraments are spoken of, which had a spiritual import. The cleansing of the flesh they leave explained of what avails among men, as the heathens had their expiations to blot out the infamy of crimes. But this explanation is indeed very heathenish; for wrong is done to God's promises, if we restrict the effect to civil matters only. Often does this declaration occur in the writings of Moses, that iniquity was expiated when a sacrifice was duly offered. This is no doubt the spiritual teaching of faith. Besides, all the sacrifices where destined for this end, that they might lead men to Christ; as the eternal salvation of the soul is through Christ, so these were true witnesses of this salvation. What then does the Apostle mean when he speaks of the purgations of the flesh? He means what is symbolical or sacramental, as follows, - If the blood of beasts was a true symbol of purgation, so that it cleansed in a sacramental manner, how much more shall Christ who is himself the truth, not only bear witness to a purgation by an external rite, but also really perform this for consciences? The argument then is from the signs to the thing signified; for the effect by a long time preceded the reality of the signs. =====> 9:14. "Who through the eternal Spirit", &c. He now clearly shows how Christ's death is to be estimated, not by the external act, but by the power of the Spirit. For Christ suffered as man; but that death becomes saving to us through the efficacious power of the Spirit; for a sacrifice, which was to the an eternal expiation, was a work more than human. And he calls the Spirit "eternal" for this reason, that we may know that the reconciliation, of which he is the worker or effecter, is eternal. By saying, "without spot", or unblamable, though he alludes to the victims under the Law, which were not to have a blemish or defect, he yet means, that Christ alone was the lawful victim and capable of appeasing God; for there was always in others something that might be justly deemed wanting; and hence he said before that the covenant of the Law was not |emempton|, blameless. "From dead works", &c. Understand by these either such works as produce death, or such as are the fruits or effects of death; for as the life of the soul is our union with God, so they who are alienated from him through sin may be justly deemed to be dead. "To serve the living God". This, we must observe, is the end of our purgation; for we are not washed by Christ, that we may plunge ourselves again into new filth, but that our purity may serve to glorify God. Besides, he teaches us, that nothing can proceed from us that can be pleasing to God until we are purified by the blood of Christ; for as we are all enemies to God before our reconciliation, so he regards as abominable all our worlds; hence the beginning of acceptable service is reconciliation. And then, as no work is so pure and so free from stains, that it can of itself please God, it is necessary that the purgation . (continued in part 12...) ---------------------------------------------------- file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-3/epl-01: calhb-11.txt .