(Calvin, Paul to the Hebrews. part 16)

have done so: but they had willingly banished themselves from it, nay,
they had disowned it, as though it did not belong to them. By another
country, then, they meant, that which is beyond this world.
=====> 11:16. "Wherefore God is not ashamed", &c. He refers to that
passage, "I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of
Jacob." (Exod. 3: 6.) It is a singular honour when God makes men
illustrious, by attaching his name to them; and designs thus to have
himself distinguished from idols. This privilege, as the Apostle teaches
us, depends also on faith; for when the holy fathers aspired to a
celestial country, God on the other hand counted them as citizens. We are
hence to conclude, that there is no place for us among God's children,
except we renounce the world, and that there will be for us no
inheritance in heaven, except we become pilgrims on earth; Moreover, the
Apostle justly concludes from these words, - "I am the God of Abraham, of
Isaac, and of Jacob," that they were heirs of heaven, since he who thus
speaks is not the God of the dead, but of the living.

=====> 11:17 By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and
he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten [son],
11:18 Of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called:
11:19 Accounting that God [was] able to raise [him] up, even from the
dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.
11:20 By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come.
11:21 By faith Jacob, when he was a dying, blessed both the sons of
Joseph; and worshipped, [leaning] upon the top of his staff.
11:22 By faith Joseph, when he died, made mention of the departing of the
children of Israel; and gave commandment concerning his bones.

=====> 11:17. "By faith Abraham", &c. He proceeds with the history of
Abraham, and relates the offering up of his son; and it was a singular
instance of firmness, so that there is hardly another like it to be
found. Hence for the sake of enhancing it, he adds, "when he was
tempted", or tried. Abraham had indeed already proved what he was, by
many trials; yet as this trial surpassed every other, so the Apostle
would have it to be regarded above all his trials. It is then as though
he had said, "The highest excellency of Abraham was the sacrificing of
his son:" for God is said to have then in an especial manner tried him.
And yet this act flowed from faith; then Abraham had nothing more
excellent than faith, which brought forth such extraordinary fruit.
    The word, "tempted" or tried, means no other thing than proved. What
James says, that we are not tempted by God, is to be understood
differently, (Jas. 1: 13;) he means that God does not tempt us to do
evil; for he testifies that this is really done by every man's own lust.
At the same time he says not that God does not try our integrity and
obedience, though God does not thus search us, as if he knew not
otherwise what is hid in our hearts; nay, God wants no probation that he
may know us; but when he brings us to the light, that we may by our works
show what was before hid, he is said to try or prove us; and then that
which is made openly manifest, is said to be made known to God. For it is
a very usual and frequent mode of speaking in Scripture, that what is
peculiar to men is ascribed to God.
    The sacrificing of Isaac is to be estimated according to the purpose
of the heart: for it was not owing to Abraham that he did not actually
perform what he was commanded to do. His resolution to obey was then the
same, as though he had actually sacrificed his son.
    "And offered up his only-begotten son, &c. By these various
circumstances, the Apostle intended to show, how great and how severe the
trial of Abraham was; and there are still other things related by Moses,
which had the same tendency. Abraham was commanded to take his own son,
his only begotten and beloved son Isaac, to lead to the place, which was
afterwards to be shown to him, and there to sacrifice him with his own
hands. These tender words God seems to have designedly accumulated, that
he might pierce the inmost heart of the holy man, as with so many wounds;
and then that he might more severely try him, he commanded him to go a
three-days' journey. How sharp, must we think, was his anguish to have
continually before his eyes his own son, whom he had already resolved to
put to a bloody death! As they were coming to the place, Isaac pierced
his breast with yet a new wound, by asking him, "Where is the victim?"
The death of a son, under any circumstances, must have been very
grievous, a bloody death would have still caused a greater sorrow; but
when he was bidden to slay his own, - that indeed must have been too
dreadful for a father's heart to endure; and he must have been a thousand
times disabled, had not faith raised up his heart above the world. It is
not then without reason, that the apostle records that he was then
    It may, however, be asked, why is Isaac called the only begotten, for
Ishmael was born before him and was still living. To this the answer is,
that by God's express command he was driven from the family, so that he
was accounted as one dead, at least, he held no place among Abraham's
    "And he that received the promises", &c. All the things we have
hitherto related, however deeply they must have wounded the heart of
Abraham, yet they were but slight wounds compared with this trial, when
he was commanded, after having received the promises, to slay his son
Isaac; for all the promises were founded on this declaration, "In Isaac
shall thy seed be called," (Gen. 21: 12;) for when this foundation was
taken away, no hope of blessing or of grace remained. Here nothing
earthly was the matter at issue, but the eternal salvation of Abraham,
yea, of the whole world. Into what straits must the holy man have been
brought when it came to his mind, that the hope of eternal life was to be
extinguished in the person of his son? And yet by faith he emerged above
all these thoughts, so as to execute what he was commanded. Since it was
a marvelous fortitude to struggle through so many and so great obstacles,
justly is the highest praise awarded to faith, for it was by faith alone
that Abraham continued invincibly.
    But here arises no small difficulty, How is it that Abraham's faith
is praised when it departs from the promise? For as obedience proceeds
from faith, so faith from the promise; then when Abraham was without the
promise, his faith must have necessarily fallen to the ground. But the
death of Isaac, as it has been already said, must have been the death as
it were of all the promises; for Isaac is not to be considered as a
common man, but as one who had Christ included in him. This question,
which would have been otherwise difficult to be solved, the Apostle
explains by adding immediately, that Abraham ascribed this honour to God,
that he was able to raise his son again from the dead. He then did not
renounce the promise given to him, but extended its power and its truth
beyond the life of his son; for he did not limit God's power to so narrow
bounds as to tie it to Isaac when dead, or to extinguish it. Thus he
retained the promise, because he bound not God's power to Isaac's life,
but felt persuaded that it would be efficacious in his ashes when dead no
less than in him while alive and breathing.
=====> 11:19. "From whence also", &c. As though he said, "Nor did hope
disappoint Abraham, for it was a sort of resurrection, when his son was
so suddenly delivered from the midst of death. The word "figure", which
is here used, is variously explained. I take it simply as meaning
likeness; for though Isaac did not really rise from the dead, yet he
seemed to have in a manner risen, when he was suddenly and wonderfully
rescued through the unexpected favour of God. However, I do not dislike
what some say, who think that our flesh, which is subject to death, is
set forth in the ram which was substituted for Isaac. I also allow that
to be true which some have taught, that this sacrifice was a
representation of Christ. But I have now to state what the Apostle meant,
not what may in truth be said; and the real meaning here, as I think, is,
that Abraham did not receive his Son otherwise than if he had been
restored from death to new life.
=====> 11:20. "By faith Isaac", &c. It was also the work of faith to
bless as to future things; for when the thing itself does not exist and
the word only appears, faith must necessarily bear rule. But first we
must notice of what avail is the blessing of which he speaks. For to
"bless" often means to pray for a blessing. But the blessing of Isaac was
very different; for it was as it were an introduction into the possession
of the land, which God had promised to him and his posterity. And yet he
had nothing in that land but the right of burial. Then strange seemed
these high titles, "Let people serve thee, and tribes bow down to thee,"
(Gen. 27: 29;) for what dominion could he have given who himself was
hardly a free man? We hence see that this blessing depended on faith; for
Isaac had nothing which he could have bestowed on his children but the
word of God.
    It may, however, be doubted whether there was any faith in the
blessing given to Esau, as he was a reprobate and rejected by God. The
answer is easy, for faith mainly shone forth, when he distinguished
between the two twins born to him, so that he gave the first place to the
younger; for following the oracle of God, he took away from the firstborn
the ordinary right of nature. And on this depended the condition of the
whole nation, that Jacob was chosen by God, and that this choice was
sanctioned by the blessing of the father.
=====> 11:21. "By faith Jacob", &c. It was the Apostle's object to
attribute to faith whatever was worthy of remembrance in the history of
the people: as, however, it would have been tedious to recount
everything, he selected a few things out of many, such at this. For the
tribe of Ephraim was so superior to the rest, that they in a manner did
lie down under its shade; for the Scripture often includes the ten tribes
under this name. And yet Ephraim was the younger of the two sons of
Joseph, and when Jacob blessed him and his brother, they were both young.
What did Jacob observe in the younger, to prefer him to the first born?
Nay, when he did so, his eyes were dim with age, so that he could not
see. Nor did he lay his right hand by chance on the head of Ephraim, but
he crossed his hands, so that he moved his right hand to the left side.
Besides, he assigned to them two portions, as though he was now the lord
of that land, from which famine had driven him away. There was nothing
here agreeable to reason; but faith ruled supreme. If, then, the Jews
wish to be anything, they should glory in nothing else, but in faith.
    "And worshipped on the top", &c. This is one of those places from
which we may conclude that the points were not formerly used by the
Hebrews; for the Greek translators could not have made such a mistake as
to put staff here for a bed, if the mode of writing was then the same as
now. No doubt Moses spoke of the head of his couch, when he said |al rosh
hamitah|; but the Greek translators rendered the words, "On the top of
his staff" as though the last word was written, "mathaeh". The Apostle
hesitated not to apply to his purpose what was commonly received: he was
indeed writing to the Jews; but they who were dispersed into various
countries, had changed their own language for the Greek. And we know that
the Apostles were not so scrupulous in this respect, as not to
accommodate themselves to the unlearned, who had as yet need of milk; and
in this there is no danger, provided readers are ever brought back to the
pure and original text of Scripture. But, in reality, the difference is
but little; for the main thing was, that Jacob worshipped, which was an
evidence of his gratitude. He was therefore led by faith to submit
himself to his son.
=====> 11:22. "By faith Joseph", &c. This is the last thing which Moses
records respecting the patriarchs, and it deserves to be particularly
noticed; for wealth, luxuries, and honours, made not the holy man to
forget the promise, nor detained him in Egypt; and this was an evidence
of no small faith. For whence had he so much greatness of mind, as to
look down on whatever was elevated in the world, and to esteem as nothing
whatever was precious in it, except that he had ascended up into heaven.
In ordering his bones to be exported, he had no regard to himself, as
though his grave in the land of Canaan would be sweeter or better than in
Egypt; but his only object was to sharpen the desire of his own nation,
that they might more earnestly aspire after redemption; he wished also to
strengthen their faith, so that they  might confidently hope that they
would be at length delivered.

=====> 11:23 By faith Moses, when he was born, was hid three months of
his parents, because they saw [he was] a proper child; and they were not
afraid of the king's commandment.
11:24 By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the
son of Pharaoh's daughter;
11:25 Choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than
to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;
11:26 Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures
in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of the reward.
11:27 By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for
he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.

=====> 11:23. "By faith Moses", &c. There have been others, and those
heathens, who from no fear of God, but only from a desire of propagating
an offspring, preserved their own children at the peril of life; but the
Apostle shows that the parents of Moses were inducted to save him for
another reason, even for this, - that as God had promised to them, under
their oppression, that there would come some time a deliverer, they
relied confidently on that promise, and preferred the safety of the
infant to their own.
    But he seems to say what is contrary to the character of faith, when
he says that they were induced to do this by the beauty of the child; for
we know that Jesse was reproved, when he brought his sons to Samuel as
each excelled in personal appearance; and doubtless God would not have us
to regard what is externally attractive. To this I answer, that the
parents of Moses were not charmed with beauty, so as to be induced by
pity to save him, as the case is commonly with men; but that there was
some mark, as it were, of future excellency imprinted on the child, which
gave promise of something extraordinary. There is, then, no doubt but
that by his very appearance they were inspired with the hope of an
approaching deliverance; for they considered that the child was destined
for the performance of great things.
    Moreover, it ought to have had a great weight with the Jews, to hear
that Moses, the minister of their redemption, had been in an
extraordinary manner rescued from death by means of faith. We must,
however, remark, that the faith here praised was verse weak; for after
having disregarded the fear of death, they ought to have brought up
Moses; instead of doing so, they exposed him. It is hence evident that
their faith in a short time not only wavered, but wholly failed; at least
they neglected their duty when they cast forth the infant on the bank of
the river. But it behaves us to be more encouraged when we hear that
their faith, though weak, was yet so approved by God as to secure that
life to Moses, on which depended the deliverance of the Church.
=====> 11:24. "By faith Moses, when he was come to years", &c. The
example of Moses ought to have been remembered by the Jews, more than
that of any other; for through him they were delivered from bondage, and
the covenant of God was renewed, with them, and the constitution of the
Church established by the publication of the Law. But if faith is to be
considered as the main thing in Moses, it would be very strange and
unreasonable that he should draw them away to anything else. It hence
follows that all they make a poor proficiency in the Law who are not
guided by it to faith.
    Let us now see what the things are for which he commends the faith of
Moses. The first excellency he mentions is, that when grown up, he
disregarded the adoption of Pharaoh's daughter. He refers to his age, for
had he done this when a boy, it might have been imputed to his levity, or
his ignorance; for as understanding and reason are not strong in
children, they heedlessly rush headlong into any course of life; young
people also are often carried here and there by unreflecting armour. That
we may then know that nothing was done thoughtlessly, and without a long
deliberation, the Apostle says, that he was of mature age, which is also
evident from history.
    But he is said to have disregarded his adoption; for when he visited
his brethren, when he tried to relieve them, when he avenged their
wrongs, he fully proved that he preferred to return to his own nation,
rather than to remain in the king's court: it was then the same as a
voluntary rejection of it. This the Apostle ascribes to faith; for it
would have been much better for him to remain in Egypt, had he not been
persuaded of the blessing promised to the race of Abraham; and of this
blessing, the only witness was God's promise; for he could see nothing of
the kind with his eyes. It hence appears, that he beheld by faith what
was far removed from his sight. 
=====> 11:26. "Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches", &c. This
clause ought to be carefully noticed; for we here learn that we ought to
shun as a deadly poison whatever cannot be enjoyed without offending God;
for the "pleasures of sin" he calls all the allurements of the world
which draw us away from God and our calling. But the comforts of our
earthly life, which we are allowed by pure conscience, and God's
permission to enjoy, are not included here. Let us then ever remember
that we ought to know and understand what God allows us. There are indeed
some things in themselves lawful, but the use of which is prohibited to
us, owing to circumstances as to time, place, or other things. Hence as
to all the blessings connected with the present life, what is ever to be
regarded is, that they should be to us helps and aids to follow God and
not hindrances. And he calls these pleasures of sin temporary or for "a
time", because they soon vanish away together with life itself.
    In opposition to these he sets the "reproach of Christ", which all
the godly ought willingly to undergo. For those whom God has chosen, he
has also foreordained to be conformed to the image of his own son; not
that he exercises them all by the same kind of reproaches or by the same
cross, but that they are all to be so minded as not to decline to
undertake the cross in common with Christ. Let every one then bear in
mind, that as he is called to this fellowship he is to throw off all
hindrances. Nor must we omit to say, that he reckons among the reproaches
of Christ all the ignominious trials which the faithful have had to
endure from the beginning of the world; for as they were the member of
the same body, so they had nothing different from what we have. As all
sorrows are indeed the rewards of sin, so they are also the fruits of the
curse pronounced on the first man: but whatever wrongs we endure from the
ungodly on account of Christ, these he regards as his own. Hence Paul
gloried that he made up what was wanting as to the sufferings of Christ.
Were we rightly to consider this, it would not be so grievous and bitter
for us to suffer for Christ.
    He also explains more fully what he means in this clause by the
"reproach of Christ", by what he has previously declared when he said,
that Moses chose to "suffer affliction with the people of God". He could
not have otherwise avowed himself as one of God's people, except he had
made himself a companion to his own nation in their miseries. Since,
then, this is the end, let us not separate ourselves from the body of the
Church: whatever we suffer, let us know that it is consecrated on account
of the head. So on the other hand he calls those things the "treasures of
Egypt", which no one can otherwise possess than by renouncing and
forsaking the Church.
    "For he had respect unto the recompense of the reward", or for he
looked to the remuneration. He proves by the description he gives, that
the magnanimity of Moses' mind was owing to faith; for he had his eyes
fixed on the promise of God. For he could not have hoped that it would be
better for him to be with the people of Israel than with the Egyptians,
had he not trusted in the promise and in nothing else.
    But if any one hence concludes, that his faith did not recumb on
God's mercy alone, because he had respect to the reward; to this I
answer, that the question here is not respecting righteousness or the
cause of salvation, but that the Apostle generally includes what belongs
to faith. Then faith, as to righteousness before God, does not look on
reward, but on the gratuitous goodness of God, not on our works but on
Christ alone; but faith, apart from justification, since it extends
generally to every word of God, has respect to the reward that is
promised; yea, by faith we embrace whatever God promises: but he promises
reward to works; then faith lays hold on this. But all this has no place
in free justification, for no reward for works can be hoped for, except
the imputation of gratuitous justification goes before
=====> 11:27. "By faith he forsook Egypt", &c. This may be said of his
first as well as of his second departure, that is, when he brought out
the people with him. He then indeed left Egypt when he fled from the
house of Pharaoh. Add to this, that his going out is recorded by the
Apostle before he mentions the celebration of the Passover. He seems then
to speak of the flight of Moses; nor is what he adds, that he "feared not
the wrath of the king", any objection to this, though Moses himself
relates that he was constrained to do so by fear. For if we look at the
beginning of his course he did not fear, that is, when he avowed himself
to be the avenger of his people. However, when I consider all the
circumstances, I am inclined to regard this as his second departure; for
it was then that he bravely disregarded the fierce wrath of the king,
being armed with such power by God's Spirit, that he often of his own
accord defied the fury of that wild beast. It was doubtless an instance
of the wonderful strength of faith, that he brought out a multitude
untrained for war and burdened with many incumbrances, and yet hoped that
a way would be opened to him by God's hand through innumerable
difficulties. He saw a most powerful king in a furious rage, and he knew
that he would not cease till he had tried his utmost. But as he knew that
God had commanded him to depart, he committed the event to him, nor did
he doubt but that he would in dug time restrain all the assaults of the
    "As seeing him who is invisible". Nay, but he had seen God in the
midst of the burning bush: this then seems to have been said improperly,
and not very suitable to the present subject. I indeed allow, that Moses
was strengthened in his faith by that vision, before he took in hand the
glorious work of delivering the people; but I do not admit that it was
such a view of God, as divested him of his bodily senses, and transferred
him beyond the trials of this world. God at that time only showed him a
certain symbol of his presence; but he was far from seeing God as he is.
Now, the Apostle means, that Moses so endured, as though he was taken up
to heaven, and had God only before his eyes; and as though he had nothing
to do With men, was not exposed to the perils of this world and had no
contests with Pharaoh. And yet, it is certain, that he was surrounded
with so many difficulties, that he could not but think sometimes that God
was far away from him, or at least, that the obstinacy of the king,
furnished as it was with so many means of resistance, would at length
overcome him.
    In short, God appeared to Moses in such a way, as still to leave room
for faith; and Moses, when beset by terrors on every side, turned all his
thoughts to God. He was indeed assisted to do this, by the vision which
we have mentioned; but yet he saw more in God than what that symbol
intimated: for he understood his power, and that absorbed all his fears
and dangers. Relying on God's promise, he felt assured that the people,
though then oppressed by the tyranny of the Egyptians, were already, as
it were, the lords of the promised land.
    We hence learn, that the true character of faith is to set God always
before our eyes; secondly, that faith beholds higher and more hidden
things in God than what our senses can perceive; and thirdly, that a view
of God alone is sufficient to strengthen our weakness, so that we may
become firmer than rocks to withstand all the assaults of Satan. It hence
follows, that the weaker and the less resolute any one is, the less faith
he has.

=====> 11:28 Through faith he kept the Passover, and the sprinkling of
blood, lest he that destroyed the firstborn should touch them.
11:29 By faith they passed through the Red sea as by dry [land]: which
the Egyptians assaying to do were drowned.
11:30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed
about seven days.
11:31 By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not,
when she had received the spies with peace.

=====> 11:28. "Through faith he kept the Passover", &c. This ought to
have availed much to commend faith to the Jews; for they held this first
sacrifice of the Passover in the highest esteem. But, he says, that it
was kept by faith, not because the Paschal lamb was a type of Christ, but
because its benefit did not appear, when he sprinkled the doorposts with
blood: when therefore the effect was yet hid, it was necessarily looked
for by faith. Nay, it might have seemed strange, that Moses should set a
few drops of blood, as a remedy, in opposition to God's vengeance; but
being satisfied with God's word alone, that the people would be exempt
from the scourge that was coming on the Egyptians, he did not hesitate.
Hence the Apostle justly commends his faith in this respect.
    They who explain that the Passover was by faith celebrated by Moses,
because he had respect to Christ, say indeed what is true; but the
Apostle here records simply his faith, because he acquiesced in God's
word alone, when the effect did not appear: therefore out of place here
are philosophical refinements. And the reason why he mentions Moses
alone, as celebrating the Passover, seems to be this, that God through
him instituted the Passover.
=====> 11:29. "By faith they passed", &c. It is certain, that many in
that multitude were unbelieving; but the Lord granted to the faith of a
few, that the whole multitude should pass through the Red Sea dry-shod.
But in doing the same thing, there was a great difference between the
Israelites and the Egyptians; while the former passed through safely, the
latter coming after them were drowned. Whence was this difference, but
that the Israelites had the word of God, and that the Egyptians were
without it. The argument then derives its force from what happened to the
contrary; hence, he says, that the "Egyptians were drowned". That
disastrous event was the punishment of their temerity, as on the other
hand, the Israelites were preserved safe, because they relied on God's
word, and refused not to march through the midst of the waters. 
=====> 11:30. "By faith the walls of Jericho fell", &c. As he had before
taught us, that the yoke of bondage was by faith broken asunder, so now
he tells us, that by the same faith the people gained the possession of
the promised land. For at their first entrance the city Jericho stood in
their way; it being fortified and almost impregnable, it impeded any
farther progress, and they had no means to assail it. The Lord commanded
all the men-of-war to go round it once every day, and on the seventh day
seven times. It appeared to be a work childish and ridiculous; and yet
they obeyed the divine command; nor did they do so in vain, for success
according to the promise followed. It is evident, that the walls did not
fall through the shout of men, or the sound of trumpets; but because the
people believed that the Lord would do what he had promised.
    We may also apply this event to our benefit and instruction: for it
is not otherwise, than by faith, that we can be freed from the tyranny of
the Devil, and be brought to liberty; and by the same faith, it is that
we can put to flight our enemies, and that all the strongholds of hell
can be demolished.
=====> 11:31. "By faith the harlot Rahab", &c. Though at the first view,
this example may seem, on account of the meanness of the person, hardly
entitled to notice, and even unworthy of being recorded, yet it was not
unsuitably, nor without reason, adduced by the Apostle. He has hitherto
shown that the Patriarchs, whom the Jews most honoured and venerated, did
nothing worthy of praise except through faith; and that all the benefits
conferred on us by God, even the most remarkable, have been the fruits of
the same faith: but he now teaches us, that an alien woman, not only of a
humble condition among her own people, but also a harlot, had been
adopted into the body of the Church through faith.
    It hence follows, that those who are most exalted, are of no account
before God, unless they have faith; and that, on the other hand, those
who are hardly allowed a place among the profane and the reprobate, are
by faith introduced into the company of angels.
    Moreover, James also bears testimony to the faith of Rahab, (James 2:
2r,) and it may be easily concluded from sacred history, that she was
endued with true faith; for she professed her full persuasion of what God
had promised to the Israelites; and of those whom fear kept from entering
the land, she asked pardon for herself and her friends, as though they
were already conquerors; and in all this, she did not consider men, but
God himself. The evidence of her faith was, that she received the spies
at the peril of her life: then, by means of faith, she escaped safe from
the ruin of her own city. She is mentioned as a "harlot", in order to
amplify the grace of God.
    Some, indeed, render |zonah| a hostess, as though she kept a public
house, or an inn; but as the word means a harlot everywhere in Scripture,
there is no reason why we should explain it otherwise in this place. The
Rabbis, thinking it strange and disgraceful to their nation, were it
said, that the spies entered into the house of a harlot; have invented
this forced meaning. But such a fear was groundless; for in the history
of Joshua, this word, harlot, is expressly added, in order that we may
know that the spies came into the city Jericho clandestinely, and
concealed themselves in a harlot's house. At the same time this must be
understood of her past life; for faith is an evidence of repentance.

=====> 11:32 And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to
tell of Gedeon, and [of] Barak, and [of] Samson, and [of] Jephthae; [of]
David also, and Samuel, and [of] the prophets:
11:33 Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained
promises, stopped the mouths of lions,
11:34 Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out
of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight
the armies of the aliens.

=====> 11:32. "And what shall I say more?" &c. As it was to be feared,
that by referring to a few examples, he should appear to confine the
praises of faith to a few men; he anticipates this, and says, that there
would be no end if he was to dwell on every instance; for what he had
said of a few extended to the whole Church of God.
    He first refers to the time that intervened between Joshua and David,
when the Lord raised up judges to govern the people; and such were the
four he now mentions, "Gideon, Barak, Samson, and Jephthah".
    It seemed indeed strange in "Gideon", with three hundred men to
attack an immense host of enemies, and to shake pitchers appeared like a
sham alarm. "Barak" was far inferior to his enemies, and was guided only
by the counsel of a woman. "Samson" was a mere countryman, and had never
used any other arms than the implements of husbandry: what could he do
against such proved conquerors, by whose power the whole people had been
subdued? Who would not at first have condemned the rashness of Jephthah,
who avowed himself the avenger of a people already past hope? But as they
all followed the guidance of God, and being animated by his promise,
undertook what was commanded them, they have been honoured with the
testimony of the Holy Spirit.
    Then the Apostle ascribes all that was praiseworthy in them to faith;
though there was not one of them whose faith did not halt. "Gideon" was
slower to take up arms than what he ought to have been; nor did he
venture without some hesitation to commit himself to God. "Barak" at
first trembled, so that he was almost forced by the reproofs of Deborah.
Samson being overcome by the blandishments of a concubine,
inconsiderately betrayed the safety of the whole people. Jephthah, hasty
in making a foolish vow, and too obstinate in performing it, marred the
finest victory by the cruel death of his own daughter. Thus, in all the
saints, something reprehensible is ever to be found; yet faith, though
halting and imperfect, is still approved by God. There is, therefore, no
reason why the faults we labour under should break us down, or dishearten
us, provided we by faith go on in the race of our calling. 
    "Of David", &c. Under David's name he includes all the pious kings,
and to them he adds "Samuel" and the "Prophets". He therefore means in
short to teach us, that the kingdom of Judah was founded in faith; and
that it stood to the last by faith. The many victories of David, which he
had gained over his enemies, were commonly known. Known also, was the
uprightness of Samuel, and his consummate wisdom in governing the people.
Known too were the great favours conferred by God on prophets and kings.
The Apostle declares that there are none of these things which ought not
to be ascribed to faith.
    But it is to some only of these innumerable benefits of God that he
refers, in order that the Jews might from them draw a general conclusion,
- that as the Church has always been preserved by God's hand through
faith, so at this day there is no other way by which we may know his
kindness towards us.
    It was by faith that David so many times returned home as a
conqueror; that Hezekiah recovered from his sickness; that Daniel came
forth safe and untouched from the lions' den, and that his friends walked
in a burning furnace as cheerfully as on a pleasant meadow. Since all
these things were done by faith, we must feel convinced, that in no other
way than by faith is God's goodness and bounty to be communicated to us.
And that clause ought especially to be noticed by us, where it is said
that they "obtained the promises" by faith; for though God continues
faithful, were we all unbelieving, yet our unbelief makes the promises
void, that is, ineffectual to us.
=====> 11:34. "Out of weakness were made strong", &c. Chrysostom refers
this to the restoration of the Jews from exile, in which they were like
men without hope; I do not disapprove of its applications to Hezekiah. We
might at the same time extend it wider, that the Lord, by his hand,
raised on high his saints, whenever they were cast down; and brought help
to their weakness, so as to endue them with full strength.

(continued in part 17...)

file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-3/epl-01: calhb-16.txt