(Calvin, Paul to the Hebrews. part 13)

me,) to do thy will, O God.
10:8 Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and
[offering] for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure [therein];
which are offered by the law;
10:9 Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the
first, that he may establish the second.
10:10 By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the
body of Jesus Christ once [for all].

=====> 10:5. "Wherefore, when he comes", &c. This entering into the world
was the manifestation of Christ in the flesh; for when he put on man's
nature that he might be a Redeemer to the world and appeared to men, he
is said to have then come into the world, as elsewhere he is said to have
descended from heaven. (John 6: 41.) And yet the fortieth Psalm, which he
quotes, seems to be improperly applied to Christ, for what is found there
by no means suits his character, such as, "My iniquities have laid hold
on me," except we consider that Christ willingly took on himself the sins
of his members. The whole of what is said, no doubt, rightly accords with
David; but as it is well known that David was a type of Christ, there is
nothing unreasonable in transferring to Christ what David declared
respecting himself, and especially when mention is made of abolishing the
ceremonies of the Law, as the case is in this passage. Yet all do not
consider that the words have this meaning, for they think that sacrifices
are not here expressly repudiated, but that the superstitious notion
which had generally prevailed, that the whole worship of God consisted in
them, is what is condemned; and if it be so, it may be said that this
testimony has little to do with the present question. It behaves us,
then, to examine this passage more minutely, that it may appear evident
whether the apostle has fitly adduced it.
    Everywhere in the Prophets sentences of this kind occur, that
sacrifices do not please God, that they are not required by him, that he
sets no value on them; nay, on the contrary, that they are an abomination
to him. But then the blame was not in the sacrifices themselves, but what
was adventitious to them was referred to; for as hypocrites, while
obstinate in their impiety, still sought to pacify God with sacrifices,
they were in this manner reproved. The Prophets, then, rejected
sacrifices, not as they were instituted by God, but as they were vitiated
by wicked men, and profaned through unclean consciences. But here the
reason is different, for he is not condemning sacrifices offered in
hypocrisy, or otherwise not rightly performed through the depravity and
wickedness of men; but he denies that they are required of the faithful
and sincere worshippers of God; for he speaks of himself who offered them
with a clean heart and pure hands, and yet he says that they did not
please God.
    Were any one to except and say that they were not accepted on their
own account or for their own worthiness, but for the sake of something
else, I should still say that unsuitable to this place is an argument of
this kind; for then would men be called back to spiritual worship, when
ascribing too much to external ceremonies; then the Holy Spirit would be
considered as declaring that ceremonies are nothing with God, when by
men's error they are too highly exalted.
    David, being under the Law, ought not surely to have neglected the
rite of sacrificing. He ought, I allow, to have worshipped God with
sincerity of heart; but it was not lawful for him to omit what God had
commanded, and he had the command to sacrifice in common with all the
rest. We hence conclude that he looked farther than to his own age, when
he said, "Sacrifice thou wouldest not". It was, indeed, in some respects
true, even in David's time, that God regarded not sacrifices; but as they
were yet all held under the yoke of the schoolmaster, David could not
perform the worship of God in a complete manner, unless when clothed, so
to speak, in a form of this kind. We must, then, necessarily come to the
kingdom of Christ, in order that the truth of God's unwillingness to
receive sacrifice may fully appear. There is a similar passage in Ps. 16:
10, "Thou wilt not suffer thine holy one to see corruption;" for though
God delivered David for a time from corruption, yet this was not fully
accomplished except in Christ.
    There is no small importance in this, that when he professes that he
would do the will of God, he assigns no place to sacrifices; for we hence
conclude that without them there may be a perfect obedience to God, which
could not be true were not the Law annulled. I do not, however, deny but
that David in this place, as well as in Ps. 51: 16, so extenuated
external sacrifices as to prefer to them that which is the main thing;
but there is no doubt but that in both places he cast his eyes on the
kingdom of Christ. And thus the Apostle is a witness, that Christ is
justly introduced as the speaker in this Psalm, in which not even the
lowest place among God's commandments is allowed to sacrifices, which God
had yet strictly required under the Law.
    "But a body hast thou prepared me", &c. The words of David are
different, "An ear hast thou bored for me," a phrase which some think has
been borrowed from an ancient rite or custom of the Law, (Exod. 21: 6;)
for if any one set no value on the liberty granted at the jubilee, and
wished to be under perpetual servitude, his ear was bored with an awl.
The meaning, as they thinks was this, "Thou shalt have me, O Lord, as a
servant forever." I, however, take another view, regarding it as
intimating docility and obedience; for we are deaf until God opens our
ears, that is, until he corrects the stubbornness that cleaves to us.
There is at the same time an implied contrast between the promiscuous and
vulgar mass, (to whom the sacrifices were like phantoms without any
power,) and David, to whom God had discovered their spiritual and
legitimate use and application.
    But the Apostle followed the Greek translators when he said, "A body
hast thou prepared;" for in quoting these words the Apostles were not so
scrupulous, provided they perverted not Scripture to their own purpose.
We must always have a regard to the end for which they quote passages,
for they are very careful as to the main object, so as not to turn
Scripture to another meaning; but as to words and other things, which
bear not on the subject in hand, they use great freedom.
=====> 10:7. "In the volume or chapter of the book", &c. Volume is
properly the meaning of the Hebrew word; for we know that books were
formerly rolled up in the form of a cylinder. There is also nothing
unreasonable in understanding book as meaning the Law, which prescribes
to all God's children the rule of a holy life; though it seems to me a
more suitable view to consider him as saying, that he deemed himself to
be in the catalogue of those who render themselves obedient to God. The
Law, indeed, bids us all to obey God; but David means, that he was
numbered among those who are called to obey God; and then he testifies
that he obeyed his vocation, by adding, "I come to do thy will"; and this
peculiarly belongs to Christ. For though all the saints aspire after the
righteousness of God, yet it is Christ alone who was fully competent to
do God's will.
    This passage, however, ought to stimulate us all to render prompt
obedience to God; for Christ is a pattern of perfect obedience for this
end, that all who are his may contend with one another in imitating him,
that they may together respond to the call of God, and that their life
may exemplify this saying, "Lo, I come". To the same purpose is what
follows, "It is written", that is, that we should do the will of God,
according to what is said elsewhere, that the end of our election is, to
be holy and unblamable in his sight. (Col. 1: 22.)
=====> 10:9. "He taketh away", &c. See now why and for what purpose this
passage was quoted, even that we may know that the full and perfect
righteousness under the kingdom of Christ stands in no need of the
sacrifices of the Law; for when they are removed, the will of God is set
up as a perfect rule. It hence follows, that the sacrifices of beasts
were to be removed by the priesthood of Christ, as they had nothing in
common with it. For there was no reason, as we have said, for him to
reject the sacrifices on account of an accidental blame; for he is not
dealing with hypocrites, nor does he condemn the superstition of
perverted worship; but he denies that the usual sacrifices are required
of a pious man rightly instructed, and he testifies that without
sacrifices God is fully and perfectly obeyed.
=====> 10:10. "By the which will", &c. After having accommodated to his
subject David's testimony, he now takes the occasion to turn some of the
words to his own purpose, but more for the sake of ornament than of
explanation. David professed, not so much in his own person as in that of
Christ, that he was ready to do the will of God. This is to be extended
to all the members of Christ; for Paul's doctrine is general, when he
says, "This is the will of God, even your sanctification, that every one
of you abstain from uncleanness". (1 Thess. 4: 3.) But as it was a
supereminent example of obedience in Christ to offer himself to the death
of the cross, and as it was for this especially that he put on the form
of a servant, the Apostle says, that Christ by offering himself fulfilled
the command of his Father, and that we have been thus "sanctified".  When
he adds, "through the offering of the body", &c, he alludes to that part
of the Psalm, where he says, "A body hast thou prepared for me," at least
as it is found in Greek. He thus intimates that Christ found in himself
what could appease God, so that he had no need of external aids. For if
the Levitical priests had a fit body, the sacrifices of beasts would have
been superfluous. But Christ alone was sufficient, and was by himself
capable of performing whatever God required.

=====> 10:11 And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering
oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins:
10:12 But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever,
sat down on the right hand of God;
10:13 From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool.
10:14 For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are
10:15 [Whereof] the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he
had said before,
10:16 This [is] the covenant that I will make with them after those days,
saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds
will I write them;
10:17 And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.
10:18 Now where remission of these [is, there is] no more offering for

=====> 10:11. "And every priest", &c. Here is the conclusion of the whole
argument, - that the practice of daily sacrificing is inconsistent with
and wholly foreign to the priesthood of Christ; and that hence after his
coming the Levitical priests whose custom and settled practice was daily
to offer, were deposed from their office; for the character of things
which are contrary is, that when one thing is set up, the other falls to
the ground. He has hitherto laboured enough, and more than enough, in
defending the priesthood of Christ; the conclusion then is, that the
ancient priesthood, which is inconsistent with this, has ceased; for all
the saints find a full consecration in the one offering of Christ. At the
same time the word |teteleiooken|, which I render "has consecrated," may
yet be rendered "has perfected;" but I prefer the former meaning, because
he treats here of sacred things.
    By saying, "them who are sanctified", he includes all the children of
God; and he reminds us that the grace of sanctification is sought
elsewhere in vain.
    But lest men should imagine that Christ is now idle in heaven, he
repeats again that he "sat down at God's right hand"; by which phrase is
denoted, as we have seen elsewhere, his dominion and power. There is
therefore no reason for us to fear, that he will suffer the efficacy of
his death to be destroyed or to lie buried; for he lives for this end,
that by his power he may fill heaven and earth. He then reminds us in the
words of the Psalm how long this state of things is to be, even until
Christ shall lay prostrate all his enemies. If then our faith seeks
Christ sitting on God's right hand, and recumbs quietly on him as there
sitting, we shall at length enjoy the fruit of his victory; yea, when our
foes, Satan, sin, death, and the whole world are vanquished, and when
corruption of our flesh is cast off, we shall triumph for ever together
with our head.
=====> 10:15. "The Holy Ghost also is a witness", &c. This testimony from
Jeremiah is not adduced the second time without reason or superfluously.
He quoted it before for a different purpose, even to show that it was
necessary for the Old Testament to be abrogated, because another, a new
one, haa been promised, and for this end, to amend the weakness of the
old. But he has now another thing in view; for he takes his stand on
these words alone, "Their iniquities will I remember no more"; and hence
he concludes, that there is no more need of a sacrifice since sins are
blotted out.
    This inference may indeed seem not to be well founded; for though
formerly there were innumerable promises as to the remission of sins
under the Law and in the prophets, yet the Church ceased not to offer
sacrifices; hence remission of sins does not exclude sacrifices. But if
you consider each particular more closely, you will find that the fathers
also had the same promises as to the remission of sins, under the Law, as
we have at this day; relying on them, they called on God, and rejoiced in
the pardon they obtained. And yet the Prophet, as though he had adduced
something new and unheard of before, promises that there would be no
remembrance of sins before God under the new covenant. Hence we may
conclude, that sins are now remitted in a way different from what they
were formerly; but this difference is not in the promise, nor in faith,
but in the very price by which remissions is procured. God then does not
now remember sins, because an expiation has been made once for all;
otherwise what is said by the Prophet would have been to no purpose, that
the benefit of the New Testament was to be this - that God would no more
remember sins.
    Now, since we have come to the close of the discussion respecting the
priesthood of Christ, readers must be brief reminded, that the sacrifices
of the Law are not more effectually proved here to have been abolished,
than the sacrifice of the mass practiced by the Papists is proved to be a
vain fiction.
    They maintain that their mass is a sacrifice for expiating the sins
of the living and of the dead; but the Apostle denies that there is now
any place for a sacrifice, even since the time in which the prophecy of
Jeremiah has been fulfilled.
    They try to make an evasion by saying, that it is not a new
sacrifice, or different from that of Christ, but the same; on the
contrary, the Apostle contends that the same sacrifice ought not to be
repeated, and declares that Christ's sacrifice is only one, and that it
was offered for all; and, further, he often claims for Christ alone the
honour of being a priest, so that no one was fit to offer him but himself
    The Papists have another evasion, and call their sacrifice bloodless;
but the Apostle affirms it as a truth without exception, that death is
necessary in order to make a sacrifice.
    The Papists attempt to evade again by saying, that the mass is the
application of the one sacrifice which Christ has made; but the Apostle
teaches us on the contrary, that the sacrifices of the Law were abolished
by Christ's death for this reason, because in them a remembrance of sins
was made; it hence appears evident, that this kind of application which
they have devised has ceased.
    In short, let the Papists twist themselves into any forms they
please, they can never escape from the plain arguments of the Apostle, by
which it appears clear that their mass abounds in impieties; for first,
according to the Apostle's testimony, Christ alone was fit to offer
himself; in the mass he is offered by other hands; - secondly, the
Apostle asserts that Christ's sacrifice was not only one, but was also
once offered, so that it is impious to repeat it; but in the mass,
however they may prate about the sacrifice, yet it is evidently made
every day, and they themselves confess it; - thirdly, the Apostle
acknowledges no sacrifice without blood and death; they then chatter in
vain, that the sacrifice they offer is bloodless; - fourthly, the Apostle
in speaking of obtaining pardon for sins, bids us to flee to that one
sacrifice which Christ offered on the cross, and makes this distinction
between us and the fathers, that the rite of continually sacrificing was
done away by the coming of Christ; but the Papists, in order to make the
death of Christ efficacious, require daily applications by means of a
sacrifice; so that they calling themselves Christians, differ nothing
from the Jews except in the external symbol.

=====> 10:19 Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the
holiest by the blood of Jesus,
10:20 By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through
the veil, that is to say, his flesh;
10:21 And [having] an high priest over the house of God;
10:22 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith,
having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies
washed with pure water.
10:23 Let us hold fast the profession of [our] faith without wavering;
(for he [is] faithful that promised;)

=====> 10:19. "Having therefore, brethren", &c. He states the conclusion
or the sum of his previous doctrine, to which he then fitly subjoins a
serious exhortation, and denounces a severe threatening on those who had
renounced the grace of Christ. Now, the sum of what he had said is, that
all the ceremonies by which an access under the Law was open to the
sanctuary, have their real fulfilment in Christ, so that to him who has
Christ, the use of them is superfluous and useless To set this forth more
fully, he allegorically describes the access which Christ has opened to
us; for he compares heaven to the old sanctuary, and sets forth the
things which have been spiritually accomplished in Christ in typical
expressions. Allegories do indeed sometimes obscure rather than
illustrate a subject; but when the Apostle transfers to Christ the
ancient figures of the Law, there is no small elegance in what he says,
and no small light is attained; and he did this, that we may recognize as
now really exhibited in him whatever the Law shadowed forth. But as there
is great weight almost in every word, so we must remember that there is
here to be understood a contrast, - the truth or reality as seen in
Christ, and the abolition of the ancient types.
    He says first, that we have "boldness to enter into the holiest".
This privilege was never granted to the fathers under the Law, for the
people were forbidden to enter the visible sanctuary, though the high
priest bore the names of the tribes on his shoulders, and twelve stones
as a memorial of them on his breast. But now the case is very different,
for not only symbolically, but in reality an entrance into heaven is made
open to us through the favour of Christ, for he has made us a royal
    He adds, "by the blood of Jesus", because the door of the sanctuary
was not opened for the periodical entrance of the high priest, except
through the intervention of blood. But he afterwards marks the difference
between this blood and that of beasts; for the blood of beasts, as it
soon turns to corruption, could not long retain its efficacy; but the
blood of Christ, which is subject to no corruption, but flows ever as a
pure stream, is sufficient for us even to the end of the world. It is no
wonder that beasts slain in sacrifice had no power to quicken, as they
were dead; but Christ who arose from the dead to bestow life on us,
communicates his own life to us. It is a perpetual consecration of the
way, because the blood of Christ is always in a manner distilling before
the presence of the Father, in order to irrigate heaven and earth.
=====> 10:20. "Through the veil", &c. As the veil covered the recesses of
the sanctuary and yet afforded entrance there, so the divinity, though
hid in the flesh of Christ, yet leads us even into heaven; nor can any
one find God except he to whom the man Christ becomes the door and the
way. Thus we are reminded, that Christ's glory is not to be estimated
according to the external appearance of his flesh; nor is his flesh to be
despised, because it conceals as a veil the majesty of God, while it is
also that which conducts us to the enjoyment of all the good things of
=====> 10:21. "And having a high priest", &c. Whatever he has previously
said of the abrogation of the ancient priesthood, it behaves us now to
bear in mind, for Christ could not be a priest without having the former
priests divested of their office, as it was another order. He then
intimates that all those things which Christ had changed at his coming
ought to be relinquished; and God has set him over his whole house for
this end, - that every one who seeks a place in the Church, may submit to
Christ and choose him, and no other, as his leader and ruler.
=====> 10:22. "Let us draw near with a true heart", &c. As he shows that
in Christ and his sacrifice there is nothing but what is spiritual or
heavenly, so he would have what we bring on our part to correspond. The
Jews formerly cleansed themselves by various washings to prepare
themselves for the service of God. It is no wonder that the rites for
cleansing were carnal, since the worship of God itself, involved in
shadows, as yet partook in a manner of what was carnal. For the priest,
being a mortal, was chosen from among sinners to perform for a time
sacred things; he was, indeed, adorned with precious vestments, but yet
they were those of this world, that he might stand in the presence of
God; he only came near the work of the covenant; and to sanctify his
entrance, he borrowed for a sacrifice a brute animal either from herd or
the flock. But in Christ all these things are far superior; He himself is
not only pure and innocent, but is also the fountain of all holiness and
righteousness, and was constituted a priest by a heavenly oracle, not for
the short period of a mortal life, but perpetually. To sanction his
appointment an oath was interposed. He came forth adorned with all the
gifts of the Holy Spirit in the highest perfection; he propitiated God by
his own blood, and reconciled him to men; he ascended up above all the
heavens to appear before God as our Mediator.
    Now, on our part, nothing is to be brought but what corresponds with
all this, as there ought to be a mutual agreement or concord between the
priest and the people. Away then with all the external washings of the
flesh, and cease let the whole apparatus of ceremonies; for the Apostle
sets a "true heart", and the certainty of faith, and a cleansing from all
vices, in opposition to these external rites. And hence we learn what
must be the frame of our minds in order that we may enjoy the benefits
conferred by Christ; for there is no coming to hire without an upright or
a true heart, and a sure faith, and a pure conscience.
    Now, a "true" or sincere heart is opposed to a heart that is
hypocritical and deceitful. By the term "full assurance", |pleroforia|,
the Apostle points out the nature of faith, and at the same time reminds
us, that the grace of Christ cannot be received except by those who
possess a fixed and unhesitating conviction. The "sprinkling of the heart
from an evil conscience" takes place, either when we are, by obtaining
pardon, deemed pure before God, or when the heart, cleansed from all
corrupt affections, is not stimulated by the goads of the flesh. I am
disposed to include both these things.
    What follows, "our bodies washed with pure water", is generally
understood of baptism; but it seems to me more probable that the Apostle
alludes to the ancient ceremonies of the Law; and so by water he
designates the Spirit of God, according to what is said by Ezekiel, "I
will sprinkle clean water upon you." (Ezek. 36: 25.) The meaning is, that
we are made partakers of Christ, if we come to him, sanctified in body
and soul; and yet that this sanctification is not what consists in a
visible parade of ceremonies, but that it is from faith, pure conscience,
and that cleanness of soul and body which flows from, and is effected by,
the Spirit of God. So Paul exhorts the faithful to cleanse themselves
from all filthiness of flesh and spirit, since they had been adopted by
God as his children. (2 Cor. 7: 1.)
=====> 10:23. "Let us hold fast", &c. As he exhorts here the Jews to
persevere, he mentions hope rather than faith; for as hope is born of
faith, so it is fed and sustained by it to the last. He requires also
"profession" or confession, for it is not true faith except it shows
itself before men. And he seems indirectly to touch the dissimulation of
those who paid too much attention, in order to please their own nation,
to the ceremonies of the Law. He therefore bids them not only to believe
with the heart, but also to show and to profess how much they honoured
    But we ought carefully to notice the reason which he subjoins, "for
he is faithful that promised". For we hence first learn, that our faith
rests on this foundation, that God is true, that is, true to his promise,
which his word contains; for that we may believe, the voice or word of
God must precede; but it is not every kind of word that is capable of
producing faith; a promise alone is that on which faith recumbs. And so
from this passage we may learn the mutual relation between the faith of
men and the promise of God; for except God promises, no one can believe.

=====> 10:24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to
good works:
10:25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner
of some [is]; but exhorting [one another]: and so much the more, as ye
see the day approaching.
10:26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of
the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,
10:27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery
indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.

=====> 10:24. "And let us consider one another", &c. I doubt not but that
he addresses the Jews especially in this exhortation. It is well-known
how great was the arrogance of that nation; being the posterity of
Abraham, they boasted that they alone, to the exclusion of all others,
had been chosen by the Lord to inherit the covenant of eternal life.
Inflated by such a privilege, they despised other nations, and wished to
be thought as being alone in the Church of God; nay, they superciliously
arrogated to themselves the name of being The Church. It was necessary
for the Apostles to labour much to correct this pride; and this, in my
judgment, is what the Apostle is doing here, in order that the Jews might
not bear it ill that the Gentiles were associated with them and united as
one body in the Church.
    And first, indeed, he says, "Let us consider one another"; for God
was then gathering a Church both from the Jews and from the Gentiles,
between whom there had always been a great discord, so that their union
was like the combination of fire and water. Hence the Jews recoiled from
this, for they thought it a great indignity that the Gentiles, should be
made equal with them. To this goad of wicked emulation which pricked
them, the Apostle sets up another in opposition to it, even that of
"love"; or the word |paroxusmos|, which he uses, signifies the ardour of
contention. Then that the Jews might not be inflamed with envy, and be
led into contention, the Apostle exhorts them to a godly emulation, even
to stimulate one another to love.
=====> 10:25. "Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together", &c.
This confirms the view that has been given. The composition of the Greek
word ought to be noticed; for |epi| signifies an addition; then
|episunagooge|, assembling together, means a congregation increased by
additions. The wall of partition having been pulled down, God was then
gathering those as his children who had been aliens from the Church; so
the Gentiles were a new and unwonted sedition to the Church. This the
Jews regarded as a reproach to them, so that many made a secession from
the Church, thinking that such a mixture afforded them a just excuse; nor
could they be easily induced to surrender their own right; and further,
they considered the right of adoption as peculiar, and as belonging
exclusively to themselves. The Apostle, therefore, warns them, lest this
equality should provoke them to forsake the Church; and that he might not
seem to warn them for no reason, he mentions that this neglect was common
to many.
    We now understand the design of the apostle, and what was the
necessity that constrained him to give this exhortation. We may at the
same time gather from this passage a general doctrine:
    It is an evil which prevails everywhere among mankind, that every one
sets himself above others, and especially that those who seem in anything
to excel cannot well endure their inferiors to be on an equality with
themselves. And then there is so much morosity almost in all, that
individuals would gladly make churches for themselves if they could; for
they find it so difficult to accommodate themselves to the ways and
habits of others. The rich envy one another; and hardly one in a hundred
can be found among the rich, who allows to the poor the name and rank of
brethren. Unless similarity of habits or some allurements or advantages
draw us together, it is very difficult even to maintain a continual
concord among ourselves. Extremely needed, therefore, by us all is the
admonition to be stimulated to love and not to envy, and not to separate
from those whom God has joined to us, but to embrace with brotherly
kindness all those who are united to us in faith. And surely it behaves
us the more earnestly to cultivate unity, as the more eagerly watchful
Satan is, either to tear us by any means from the Church, or stealthily
to seduce us from it. And such would be the happy effect, were no one to
please himself too much, and were all of us to preserve this one object,
mutually to provoke one another to love, and to allow no emulation among
ourselves, but that of doing "good works". For doubtless the contempt of
the brethren, moroseness, envy, immoderate estimate of ourselves, and
other sinful impulses, clearly show that our love is either very cold, or
does not at all exist.
    Having said, "Not forsaking the assembling together," he adds, "But
exhorting one another"; by which he intimates that all the godly ought by
all means possible to exert themselves in the work of gathering together
the Church on every side; for we are called by the Lord on this
condition, that every one should afterwards strive to lead others to the
truth, to restore the wandering to the right way, to extend a helping
hand to the fallen, to win over those who are without. But if we ought to
bestow so much labour on those who are yet aliens to the flock of Christ,
how much more diligence is required in exhorting the brethren whom God
has already joined to us?
    "As the manner of some is", &c. It hence appears that the origin of
all schisms was, that proud men, despising others, pleased themselves too
much. But when we hear that there were faithless men even in the age of
the Apostles, who departed from the Church, we ought to be less shocked
and disturbed by similar instances of defection which we may see in the
present day. It is indeed no light offense when men who had given some
evidence of piety and professed the same faith with us, fall away from
the living God; but as it is no new thing, we ought, as I have already
said, to be less disturbed by such an event. But the Apostle introduced
this clause to show that he did not speak without a cause, but in order
to apply a remedy to a disease that was making progress.
    "And so much the more", &c. Some think this passage to be of the same
import with that of Paul, "It is time to awake out of sleep, for now is
our salvation nearer than when we believed." (Rom. 13: 11.) But I rather
think that reference is here made to the last coming of Christ, the
expectation of which ought especially to rouse us to the practice of a
holy life as well as to careful and diligent efforts in the work of
gathering together the Church. For to what end did Christ come except to
collect us all into one body from that dispersion in which we are now
wandering? Therefore, the nearer his coming is, the more we ought to
labour that the scattered may be assembled and united together, that
there may be one fold and one shepherd (John. 10: 16.)
    Were any one to ask, how could the Apostle say that those who were as
yet afar off from the manifestation of Christ, saw the day near and just
at hand? I would answer, that from the beginning of the kingdom of Christ
the Church was so constituted that the faithful ought to have considered
the Judge as coming soon; nor were they indeed deceived by a false
notion, when they were prepared to receive Christ almost every moment;
for such was the condition of the Church from the time the Gospel was
promulgated, that the whole of that period might truly and properly be
called the last. They then who have been dead many ages ago lived in the
last days no less than we. Laughed at is our simplicity in this respect
by the worldly-wise and scoffers, who deem as fabulous all that we
believe respecting the resurrection of the flesh and the last judgment;
but that our faith may not fail through their mockery, the Holy Spirit
reminds us that a thousand years are before God as one day, (2 Peter 3:
8;) so that whenever we think of the eternity of the celestial kingdom no
time ought to appear long to us. And further, since Christ, after having
completed all things necessary for our salvation, has ascended into
heaven, it is but reasonable that we who are continually looking for his
second manifestation should regard every day as though it were the last.
=====> 10:26. "For if we sin wilfully", or voluntarily &c. He shows how
severe a vengeance of God awaits all those who fall away from the grace
of Christ; for being without that one true salvation, they are now as it
were given up to an inevitable destruction. With this testimony Novatus
and his sect formerly armed themselves, in order to take away the hope of
pardon from all indiscriminately who had fallen after baptism. They who
were not able to refute his calumny chose rather to deny the authority of
this Epistle than to subscribe to so great an absurdity. But the true
meaning of the passage, unaided by any help from any other part, is quite
sufficient of itself to expose the effrontery of Novatus.
    Those who "sin", mentioned by the Apostle, are not such as offend in
any way, but such as forsake the Church, and wholly alienate themselves
from Christ. For he speaks not here of this or of that sin, but he
condemns by name those who wilfully renounced fellowship with the Church.
But there is a vast difference between particular fallings and a complete
defection of this kind, by which we entirely fall away from the grace of

(continued in part 14...)

file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-3/epl-01: calhb-13.txt