(Calvin, Paul to the Hebrews. part 18)

things will happen daily affording occasion for discords. This is the
reason why the Apostle bids us to follow peace, as though he had said,
that it ought not only to be cultivated as far as it may be convenient to
us, but that we ought to strive with all care to keep it among us. And
this cannot be done unless we forget many offences and exercise mutual
    As however peace cannot be maintained with the ungodly except on the
condition of approving of their vices and wickedness, the Apostle
immediately adds, that "holiness" is to be followed together with peace;
as though he commended peace to us with this exception, that the
friendship of the wicked is not to be allowed to defile or pollute us;
for holiness has an especial regard to God. Though then the whole world
were roused to a blazing war, yet holiness is not to be forsaken, for it
is the bond of our union with God. In short, let us quietly cherish
concord with men, but only, according to the proverb, as far as
conscience allows.
    He declares, that without holiness "no man shall see the Lord"; for
with no other eyes shall we see God than those which have been renewed
after his image.
=====> 12:15. "Looking diligently", or, taking care, or, attentively
providing, &c. By these words he intimates that it is easy to fall away
from the grace of God; for it is not without reason that attention is
required, because as soon as Satan sees us secure or remiss, he instantly
circumvents us. We have, in short, need of striving and vigilance, if we
would persevere in the grace of God.
    Moreover, under the word "grace", he includes our whole vocation. If
any one hence infers that the grace of God is not efficacious, except
live of our own selves cooperate with it, the argument is frivolous. We
know how great is the slothfulness of our flesh; it therefore wants
continual incentives; but when the Lord stimulates us by warning and
exhortation, he at the same time moves and stirs up our hearts, that his
exhortations may not be in vain, or pass away without effect. Then from
precepts and exhortations we are not to infer what man can do of himself,
or what is the power of freewill; for doubtless the attention or
diligence which the Apostle requires here is the gift of God.
    "Lest any root", &c. I doubt not but that he refers to a passage
written by Moses in Deut. 29: 18; for after having promulgated the Law,
Moses exhorted the people to beware, lest any root germinating should
bear gall and wormwood among them. He afterwards explained what he meant,
that is, lest any one, felicitating himself in sin, and like the drunken
who are wont to excite thirst, stimulating sinful desires, should bring
on a contempt of God through the alluring of hope of impunity. The same
is what the Apostle speaks of now; for he foretells what will take place,
that is, if we suffer such a root to grow, it will corrupt and defile
many; he not only bids every one to irradiate such a pest from their
hearts, but he also forbids them to allow it to grow among them. It
cannot be indeed but that these roots will ever be found in the Church,
for hypocrites and the ungodly are always mixed with the good; but when
they spring up they ought to be cut down, lest by growing they should
choke the good seed.
    He mentions "bitterness" for what Moses calls gall and wormwood; but
both meant to express a root that is poisonous and deadly. Since then it
is so fatal an evil, with snore earnest effort it behoves us to check it,
lest it should rise and creep farther.
=====> 12:16. "Lest there be any fornicator or profane person", &c. As he
had before exhorted them to holiness, so now, that he might reclaim them
from defilements opposed to it, he mentions a particular kind of
defilement, and says, "Lest there be any fornicator." But he immediately
comes to what is general, and adds, "or a profane person;" for it is the
term that is strictly contrary to holiness. The Lord calls us for this
end, that he may make us holy unto obedience: this is done when we
renounce the world; but any one who so delights in his own filth that he
continually rolls in it, profanes himself. We may at the same time regard
the profane as meaning generally all those who do not value God's grace
so much as to seek it and despise the world. But as men become profane in
various ways, the more earnest we ought to strive lest an opening be left
for Satan to defile us with his corruptions. And as there is no true
religion without holiness, we ought to make progress continually in the
fear of God, in the mortifying of the flesh, and in the whole practice of
piety; for as we are profane until we separate from the world so if we
roll again in its filth we renounce holiness.
    "As Esau", &c. This example may be viewed as an exposition of the
word profane; for when Esau set more value on one meal than on his
birthright, he lost his blessing. Profane then are all they in whom the
love of the world so reigns and prevails that they forget heaven: as is
the case with those who are led away by ambition, or become fond of money
or of wealth, or give themselves up to gluttony, or become entangled in
any other pleasures; they allow in their thoughts and cares no place, or
it may be the last place, to the spiritual kingdom of Christ.
    Most appropriate then is this example; for when the Lord designs to
set forth the power of that love which he has for his people, he calls
all those whom he has called to the hope of eternal life his firstborn.
Invaluable indeed is this honour with which he favours us; and all the
wealth, all the conveniences, the honours and the pleasures of the world,
and everything commonly deemed necessary for happiness, when compared
with this honour, are of no more value than a morsel of meat. That we
indeed set a high value on things which are nearly worth nothing, arises
from this, - that depraved lust dazzles our eyes and thus blinds us. If
therefore we would hold a place in God's sanctuary, we must learn to
despise morsels of meat of this kind, by which Satan is wont to catch the
=====> 12:17. "When he would have inherited the blessing", &c. He at
first regarded as a sport the act by which he had sold his birthright, as
though it was a child's play; but at length, when too late, he found what
a loss he had incurred, when the blessing transferred by his father to
Jacob was refused to him. Thus they who are led away by the allurements
of this world alienate themselves from God, and sell their own salvation
that they may feed on the morsels of this world, without thinking that
they lose anything, nay, they flatter and applaud themselves, as though
they were extremely happy. When too late their eyes are opened, so that
being warned by the sight of their own wickedness, they become sensible
of the loss of which they made no account.
    While Esau was hungry, he cared for nothing but how he might have his
stomach well filled; when full he laughed at his brother, and judged him
a fool for having voluntarily deprived himself of a meal. Nay, such is
also the stupidity of the ungodly, as long as they burn with depraved
lusts or intemperately plunge themselves into sinful pleasures; after a
time they understand how fatal to them are all the things which they so
eagerly desired. The word "rejected" means that he was repulsed, or
denied his request.
    "For he found no place of repentance", &c.; that is, he profited
nothing, he gained nothing by his late repentance, though he sought with
tears the blessing which by his own fault he had lost.
    Now as he denounces the same danger on all the despisers of God's
grace, it may be asked, whether no hope of pardon remains, when God's
grace has been treated with contempt and his kingdom less esteemed than
the world? To this I answer, that pardon is not expressly denied to such,
but that they are warned to take heed, lest the same thing should happen
to them also. And doubtless we may see daily many examples of God's
severity, which prove that he takes vengeance on the mockings and scoffs
of profane men: for when they promise themselves tomorrow, he often
suddenly takes them away by death in a manner new and unexpected; when
they deem fabulous what they hear of God's judgment, he so pursues them
that they are forced to acknowledge him as their judge; when they have
consciences wholly dead, they afterwards feel dreadful agonies as a
punishment for their stupidity. But though this happens not to all, yet
as there is this danger, the Apostle justly warns all to beware.
    Another question also arises, Whether the sinner, endued with
repentance, gains nothing by it? For the Apostle seems to imply this when
he tells us that Esau's repentance availed him nothing. My reply is, that
repentance here is not to be taken for sincere conversion to God; but it
was only that terror with which the Lord smites the ungodly, after they
have long indulged themselves in their iniquity. Nor is it a wonder that
this terror should be said to be useless and unavailing, for they do not
in the meantime repent nor hate their own vices, but are only tormented
by a sense of their own punishment. The same thing is to be said of
"tears"; whenever a sinner sighs on account of his sins, the Lord is
ready to pardon him, nor is God's mercy ever sought in vain, for to him
who knocks it shall be opened, (Matt. 7: 8;) but as the tears of Esau
were those of a man past hope, they were not shed on account of having
offended God; so the ungodly, however they may deplore their lot,
complain and howl, do not yet knock at God's door for mercy, for this
cannot be done but by faith. And the more grievously conscience torments
them, the more they war against God and rage against him. They might
indeed desire that an access should be given them to God; but as they
expect nothing but his wrath, they shun his presence. Thus we often see
that those who often say, as in a jest, that repentance is sufficiently
in time when they are drawing towards their end, do then cry bitterly,
amidst dreadful agonies, that the season of obtaining repentance is past;
for that they are doomed to destruction because they did not seek God
until it was too late. Sometimes, indeed, their break out into such words
as these, "Oh! if - oh! if;" but presently despair cuts short their
prayers and chokes their voice, so that thee proceed no farther.

=====> 12:18 For ye are not come unto the mount that might be touched,
and that burned with fire, nor unto blackness, and darkness, and tempest,
12:19 And the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words; which [voice]
they that heard intreated that the word should not be spoken to them any
12:20 (For they could not endure that which was commanded, And if so much
as a beast touch the mountain, it shall be stoned, or thrust through with
a dart:
12:21 And so terrible was the sight, [that] Moses said, I exceedingly
fear and quake:)
12:22 But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living
God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,
12:23 To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are
written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of
just men made perfect,
12:24 And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of
sprinkling, that speaketh better things than [that of] Abel.

=====> 12:18. "For ye are not come", &c. He fights now with a new
argument, for he proclaims the greatness of the grace made known by the
Gospel, that we may reverently receive it; and secondly, he commends to
us its benign characters that he might allure us to love and desire it.
He adds weight to these two things by a comparison between the Law and
the Gospel; for the higher the excellency of Christ's kingdom than the
dispensation of Moses, and the more glorious our calling than that of the
ancient people, the more disgraceful and the less excusable is our
ingratitude, unless we embrace in a becoming manner the great favour
offered to us, and humbly adore the majesty of Christ which is here made
evident; and then, as God does not present himself to us clothed in
terrors as he did formerly to the Jews, but lovingly and kindly invites
us to himself, so the sin of ingratitude will be thus doubled, except we
willingly and in earnest respond to his gracious invitational
    Then let us first remember that the Gospel is here compared with the
Law; and secondly, that there are two parts in this comparison, - that
God's glory displays itself more illustriously in the Gospel than in the
Law, - and that his invitation is now full of love, but that formerly
there was nothing but the greatest terrors.
    "Unto the mount that might be touched", &c. This sentence is
variously expounded; but it seems to me that an earthly mountain is set
in opposition to the spiritual; and the words which follow show the same
thing, "that burned with fire, blackness, darkness, tempest", &c.; for
these were signs which God manifested, that he might secure authority and
reverence to his Law. When considered in themselves they were magnificent
and truly celestial; but when we come to the kingdom of Christ, the
things which God exhibits to us are far above all the heavens. It hence
follows, that all the dignity of the Law appears now earthly: thus mount
Sinai might have been touched by hands; but mount Sion cannot be known
but by the spirit. All the things recorded in the nineteenth chapter of
Exodus were visible things; but those which we have in the kingdom of
Christ are hid from the senses of the flesh.
    Should any one object and say, that the meaning of all these things
was spiritual, and that there are at this day external exercises of
religion by which we are carried up to heaven: to this I answer, that the
Apostle speaks comparatively; and no one can doubt but that the Gospel,
contrasted with the Law, excels in what is spiritual, but the Law in
earthly symbols.

=====> 12:19. "They that heard entreated", &c. This is the second clause,
in which he shows that the Law was very different from the Gospel; for
when it was promulgated there was nothing but terrors on every side. For
everything we read of in the nineteenth chapter of Exodus was of this
kind, and intended to show to the people that God had ascended his
tribunal and manifested himself as a strict judge. If by chance an
innocent beast approached, he commanded it to be killed: how much heavier
punishment awaited sinners who were conscious of their guilt, nay, who
knew themselves to be condemned to eternal death by the Law? But the
Gospel contains nothing but love, provided it be received by faith. What
remains to be said you may read in the third chapter of the Second
Epistle to the Corinthians.
    But by the words the people "entreated", &c., is not to be understood
that they refused to hear God, but that they prayed not to be constrained
to hear God himself speaking; for by the interposition of Moses their
dread was somewhat mitigated. Yet interpreters are at a loss to know how
it is that the Apostle ascribes these words to Moses, "I exceedingly fear
and quake"; for we read nowhere that they were expressed by Moses. But
the difficulty may be easily removed, if we consider that Moses spoke
thus in the name of the people, whose requests as their delegate he
brought to God. It was, then, the common complaint of the whole people;
but Moses is included, who was, as it were, the speaker for them all.
=====> 12:22. "Unto mount Sion", &c. He alludes to those prophecies in
which God had formerly promised that his Gospel should thence go forth,
as in Isaiah 2: l-4, and in other places. Then he contrasts mount Sion
with mount Sinai; and he further adds, "the heavenly Jerusalem", and he
expressly calls it heavenly, that the Jews might not cleave to that which
was earthly, and which had flourished under the Law; for when they sought
perversely to continue under the slavish yoke of the Law, mount Sion was
turned into mount Sinai as Paul teaches us in the fourth chapter of the
Epistle to the Galatians. Then by the heavenly Jerusalem he understood
that which was to be built throughout the whole world, even as the angel,
mentioned by Zechariah, extended his line from the east even to the west.
    "To an innumerable company of angels", &c. He means that we are
associated with angels, chosen into the ranks of patriarchs, and placed
in heaven among all the spirits of the blessed, when Christ by the Gospel
calls us to himself. But it is an incalculable honour, conferred upon us
by our heavenly Father, that he should enrol us among angels and the holy
fathers. The expression, "myriads of angels", in taken from the book of
Daniel, though I have followed Erasmus, and rendered it "innumerable
company of angels".
=====> 12:23. "The firstborn", &c. He does not call the children of God
indiscriminately the firstborn, for the Scripture calls many his children
who are not of this number; but for the sake of honour he adorns with
this distinction the patriarchs and other renowned saints of the ancient
Church. He adds, which are written in heaven, because God is said to have
all the elect enrolled in his book or secret catalogue, as Ezekiel
    "The judge of all", &c. This seems to have been said to inspire fear,
as though he had said, that grace is in such a way altered to us, that we
ought still to consider that we have to do with a judge, to whom an
account must be given if we presumptuously intrude into his sanctuary
polluted and profane.
    "The spirits of just men", &c. He adds this to intimate that we are
joined to holy souls, which have put off their bodies, and left behind
them all the filth of this world; and hence he says that they are
consecrated or "made perfect", for they are no more subject to the
infirmities of the flesh, having laid aside the flesh itself. And hence
we may with certainty conclude, that pious souls, separated from their
bodies, still live with God, for we could not possibly be otherwise
joined to them as companions.
=====> 12:24. "And to Jesus the Mediator", &c. He adds this in the last
place, because it is he alone through whom the Father is reconciled to
us, and who renders his face serene and lovely to us, so that we may come
to him without fear. At the same time he shows how Christ becomes our
Mediator, even through his own "blood", which after the Hebrew mode of
speaking he calls the blood of "sprinkling", which means sprinkled blood;
for as it was once for all shed to make an atonement for us, so our souls
must be now cleansed by it through faith. At the same time the Apostle
alludes to the ancient rite of the Law, which has been before mentioned.
    "That speaketh better things", &c. There is no reason why "better"
may not be rendered adverbially in the following manner, - "Christ's
blood cries more efficaciously, and is better heard by God than the blood
of Abel." It is, however, preferable to take the words literally: the
blood of Christ is said to speak better things, because it avails to
obtain pardon for our sins. The blood of Abel did not properly cry out;
for it was his murder that called for vengeance before God. But the blood
of Christ cries out, and the atonement made by it is heard daily.

=====> 12:25 See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they
escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more [shall not] we
[escape], if we turn away from him that [speaketh] from heaven:
12:26 Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying,
Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven.
12:27 And this [word], Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those
things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things
which cannot be shaken may remain.
12:28 Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have
grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:
12:29 For our God [is] a consuming fire.

=====> 12:25. "See that ye refuse not him that speaketh", &c. He uses the
same verb as before, when he said that the people entreated that God
should not speak to them; but he means as I think, another thing, even
that we ought not to reject the word destined for us. He further shows
what he had in view in the last comparison, even that the severest
punishment awaits the despisers of the Gospel, since the ancients under
the Law did not despise it with impunity. And he pursues the argument
from the less to the greater, when he says, that God or Moses spoke then
on earth, but that the same God or Christ speaks now from heaven. 
At the same time I prefer regarding God in both instances as the speaker.
And he is said to have spoken on earth, because he spoke in a lower
strain. Let us ever bear in mind that he refers to the external
ministration of the Law, which, as compared with the gospel, partook of
what was earthly, and did not lead men's minds above the heavens unto
perfect wisdom; for though the Law contained in it the same truth, yet as
it was only a training school, perfection could not belong to it.
=====> 12:26. "Whose voice then shook the earth", &c. Though God shook
the earth when he published his Law, yet he shows that he now speaks more
gloriously, for he shakes both earth and heaven. He quotes on the subject
the testimony of the Prophet Haggai, though he gives not the words
literally; but as the Prophet foretells a future shaking of the earth and
the heaven, the Apostle borrows the idea in order to teach us that the
voice of the Gospel not only thunders through the earth, but also
penetrates above the heavens. But that the Prophet speaks of Christ's
kingdom, is beyond any dispute, for it immediately follows in the same
passage, "I will shake all nations; and come shall the desire of all
nations, and I will fill this house with glory." It is however certain
that neither all nations have been gathered into one body, except under
the banner of Christ, nor has there been any desire in which we ought to
acquiesce but Christ alone, nor was the temple of Solomon exceeded in
glory until the magnificence of Christ became known through the whole
world. The Prophet then no doubt refers to the time of Christ. But if at
the commencement of Christ's kingdom, not only the lower parts of the
world were shaken, but his power also reached the heaven, the Apostle
justly concludes that the doctrine of the Gospel is sublimer than that of
the Law, and ought to be more distinctly heard by all creatures.
=====> 12:27. "And this word, yet once more", &c. The words of the
Prophet are these, "Yet a little while;" and he means that the calamity
of the people would not be perpetual, but that the Lord would succour
them. But the Apostle lays no stress on this expression; he only infers
from the shaking of the heaven and the earth that the state of the world
was to be changed at the coming of Christ; for things created are subject
to decay, but Christ's kingdom is eternal; then all creatures must needs
be brought into a better state.
    He makes hence a transition to another exhortation, that we are to
lay hold on that kingdom which cannot be shaken; for the Lord shakes us
for this end, that he may really and forever establish us in himself. At
the same time I prefer a different reading, which is given by the ancient
Latin version, "Receiving a kingdom, we have grace," &c. When read
affirmatively, the passage runs best, - "We, in embracing the Gospel,
have the gift of the Spirit of Christ, that we may reverently and
devoutly worship God." If it be read as an exhortation, "Let us have," it
is a strained and obscure mode of speaking. The Apostle means in short,
as I think, that provided we enter by faith into Christ's kingdom, we
shall enjoy constant grace, which will effectually retain us in the
service of God; for as the kingdom of Christ is above the world, so is
the gift of regeneration.
    By saying that God is to be served "acceptably", |euarestoos|, "with
reverence and fear", he intimates that though he requires us to serve
with promptitude and delight, there is yet no service approved by him
except it be united with humility and due reverence. Thus he condemns
froward confidence of the flesh, as well as the sloth which also proceeds
from it.
=====> 12:29. "For our God", &c. As he had before kindly set before us
the grace of God, so he now makes known his severity; and he seems to
have borrowed this sentence from the fourth chapter of Deuteronomy. Thus
we see that God omits nothing by which he may draw us to himself; he
begins indeed with love and kindness, so that we may follow him the more
willingly; but when by alluring he effects but little, he terrifies us.
    And doubtless it is expedient that the grace of God should never be
promised to us without being accompanied with threatening; for we see so
extremely prone to indulge ourselves, that without the application of
these stimulants the milder doctrine would prove ineffectual. Then the
Lord, as he is propitious and merciful to such as fear him unto a
thousand generations; so he is a jealous God and a just avenger, when
despised, unto the third and the fourth generation.

Chapter 13

=====> 13:1 Let brotherly love continue.
13:2 Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have
entertained angels unawares.
13:3 Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; [and] them
which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.
13:4 Marriage [is] honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but
whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.
13:5 [Let your] conversation [be] without covetousness; [and be] content
with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee,
nor forsake thee.
13:6 So that we may boldly say, The Lord [is] my helper, and I will not
fear what man shall do unto me.

=====> 13:1. "Let brotherly love", &c. Probably he gave this command
respecting brotherly love, because a secret hatred arising from the
haughtiness of the Jews was threatening to rend the Churches. But still
this precept is general very needful, for nothing flows away so easily as
love; when everyone thinks of himself more than he ought, he will allow
to others less than he ought; and then many offences happen daily which
cause separations.
    He calls love "brotherly", not only to teach us that we ought to be
mutually united together by a peculiar and an inward feeling of love, but
also that we nay remember that we cannot be Christians without being
brethren; for he speaks of the love which the household of faith ought to
cultivate one towards another inasmuch as the Lord has bound them closer
together by the common bond of adoption. It was therefore a good custom
in the primitive Church for Christians to call one another brothers; but
now the name as well as the thing itself is become almost obsolete,
except that the monks have appropriated to themselves the use of it when
neglected by others, while at the same time they show by their discords
and intestine factions that they are the children of the evil one.
=====> 13:2. "Be not forgetful to entertain strangers", &c. This office
of humanity has also nearly ceased to be properly observed among men; for
the ancient hospitality, celebrated in histories, is unknown to us, and
Inns now supply the place of accommodations for strangers. But he speaks
not so much of the practice of hospitality as observed then by the rich;
but he rather commends the miserable and the needy to be entertained, as
at that time many were fugitives who left their homes for the name of
    And that he might commend this duty the more, he adds, that angels
had sometimes been entertained by those who thought that they received
only men. I doubt not but that this is to be understood of Abraham and
Lot; for having been in the habit of showing hospitality, they without
knowing and thinking of any such thing, entertained angels; thus their
houses were in no common way honoured. And doubtless God proved that
hospitality was especially acceptable to him, when he rendered such a
reward to Abraham and to Lot. Were any one to object and say, that this
rarely happened; to this the obvious answer is, - That not mere angels
are received, but Christ himself, when we receive the poor in his name.
In the words in Greek there is a beautiful alliteration which cannot be
set forth in Latin.
=====> 13:3. "Remember them that are in bonds", or, Be mindful of the
bound, &c. There is nothing that can give us a more genuine feeling of
compassion than to put ourselves in the place of those who are in
distress; hence he says, that we ought to think of those in bonds as
though we were bound with them. What follows the first clause, "As being
yourselves also in the body", is variously explained. Some take a general
view thus, "Ye are also exposed to the same evils, according to the
common lot of humanity;" but others give a more restricted sense, "As
though ye were in their body." Of neither can I approve, for I apply the
words to the body of the Church, so that the meaning would be this,
"Since ye are members of the same body, it behoves you to feel in common
for each other's evils, that there may be nothing disunited among you."
=====> 13:4. "Marriage is honourable in all", &c. Some think this an
exhortation to the married to conduct themselves modestly and in a
becoming manner, that the husband should live with his wife temperately
and chastely, and not defile the conjugal bed by unbeseeming wantonness.
Thus a verb is to be understood in the sense of exhorting, "Let marriage
be honorable." And yet the indicative "is" would not be unsuitable; for
when we hear that marriage is honorable, it ought to come immediately to
our minds that we are to conduct ourselves in it honorably and
becomingly. Others take the sentence by way of concession in this way,
"Though marriage is honorable, it is yet unlawful to commit fornication";
but this sense, as all must see, is rigid. I am inclined to think that
the Apostle sets marriage here in opposition to fornication as a remedy
for that evil; and the context plainly shows that this was his meaning;
for before he threatens that the Lord would punish fornicators, he first
states what is the true way of escape, even if we live honourable in a
state of marriage.
    Let this then be the main point, that fornication will not be
unpunished, for God will take vengeance on it. And doubtless as God has
blessed the union of man and wife, instituted by himself, it follows that
every other union different from this is by him condemned and accursed.
He therefore denounces punishment not only on adulterers, but also on
fornicators; for both depart from the holy institution of God; nay, they
violate and subvert it by a promiscuous intercourse, since there is but
one legitimate union, sanctioned by the authority and approval of God.
But as promiscuous and vagrant lusts cannot be restrained without the
remedy of marriage, he therefore commends it by calling it "honourable".
    What he adds, "and the bed undefiled", has been stated, as it seems
to me, for this end, that the married might know that everything is not
lawful for them, but that the use of the legitimate bed should be
moderate, lest anything contrary to modesty and chastity be allowed.
    By saying "in all men", I understand him to mean, that there is no
order of men prohibited from marriage; for what God has allowed to
mankind universally, is becoming in all without exception; I mean all who
are fit for marriage and feel the need of it.
    It was indeed necessary for this subject to have been distinctly and
expressly stated, in order to obviate a superstition, the seeds of which
Satan was probably even then secretly sowing, even this, - that marriage
is a profane thing, or at least far removed from Christian perfection;
for those seducing spirits, forbidding marriage, who had been foretold by
Paul, soon appeared. That none then might foolishly imagine that marriage
is only permitted to the people in general, but that those who are
eminent in the Church ought to abstain from it, the Apostle takes away
every exception; and he does not teach us that it is conceded as an
indulgence, as Jerome sophistically says, but that it is honourable. It
is very strange indeed that those who introduced the prohibition of
marriage into the world, were not terrified by this so express a
declaration; but it was necessary then to give loose reins to Satan, in
order to punish the ingratitude of those who refused to hear God.
=====> 13:5. "Let your conversation be without covetousness", &c. While
he seeks to correct covetousness, he rightly and wisely bids us at the
same time to be content with our present things; for it is the true
contempt of money, or at least a true greatness of mind in the right and
moderate use of it, when we are content with what the Lord has given us,
whether it be much or little; for certainly it rarely happens that
anything satisfies an avaricious man; but on the contrary they or who are
not content with a moderate portion, always seek more even when they
enjoy the greatest affluence. It was a doctrine which Paul had declared,
that he had learned, so as to know how to abound and how to suffer need.
Then he who has set limits to his desire so as to acquiesce resignedly in
his lot, has expelled from his heart the love of money.
    "For he has said", &c. Here he quotes two testimonies; the first is
taken, as some think, from the first chapter of Joshua, but I am rather
of the opinion that it is a sentence drawn from the common doctrine of
Scripture, as though he had said, "The Lord everywhere promises that he
will never be wanting to us." He infers from this promise what is found
in Psalm 118, that we have the power to overcome fear when we feel
assured of God's help.
    Here indeed he plucks up the evil by the very roots, as it is
necessary when we seek to free from it the minds of men. It is certain
that the source of covetousness is mistrust; for whosoever has this fixed
in his heart, that he will never be forsaken by the Lord, will not be
immoderately solicitous about present things, because he will depend on
God's providence. When therefore the Apostle is seeking to cure us of the
disease of covetousness, he wisely calls our attention to God's promises,
in which he testifies that he will ever be present with us. He hence
infers afterwards that as long as we have such a helper there is no cause
to fear. For in this way it can be that no depraved desires will
importune us; for faith alone is that which can quiet the minds of men,
whose disquietude without it is too well known.

=====> 13:7 Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken
unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of
[their] conversation.
13:8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.
13:9 Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For [it is]
a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats,
which have not profited them that have been occupied therein.

=====> 13:7. "Remember", &c. What follows refers not so much to morals as
to doctrine. He first sets before the Jews the example of those by whom
they had been taught; and he seems especially to speak of those who had
sealed the doctrine delivered by them by their own blood; for he points
out something memorable when he says, "considering the end of their
conversation"; though still there is no reason why we should not
understand this generally of those who had persevered in the true faith

(continued in part 19...)

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