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AND therefore we also having so great a cloud of witnesses over our head, laying aside every weight and sin which surrounds us, let us run by patience to the fight proposed to us:

Ver. 1.  Laying aside every weight;† i.e. all that may hinder us when we run in the way of virtue.

 

--- To the fight proposed to us.  In the Greek it is more clear: let us run the proposed race.  He compares the condition of Christians to those who run a race, who fight or strive for a prize in the Olympic games, who strip themselves, and make themselves as light as possible, the better to run and fight.  Wi.

 

--- This Christian's life is both a race and a combat.  In baptism we enter the lists; therefore we must fight in running to Jesus Christ, for he is the term, the goal, and the prize.  To run well, we must be as light and disengaged as possible; and the same if we hope to combat with success.  We should look up to the battles fought by our captain, Jesus Christ, and contemplate the glory he now enjoys on that account; for this he means to share with us, if we imitate his virtues: let us then rejoice to suffer with our Captain (archgon) here, and we shall be glorified with him hereafter.

 

[†]  V. 1.  Omne pondus, panta ogkon, omnen sarcinam.


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2 Looking on Jesus, the author and finisher of faith, who having joy set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and now sitteth on the right hand of the throne of God.

Ver. 2.  Who having joyproposed to him, underwent the cross.  The sense seems to be, who by reason of the joy he had to perform the will of his eternal Father, for which he knew he should be exalted above all creatures, underwent willingly the ignominy and death of the cross.  Wi.

 

[†]  V. 2.  Curramus ad propositum nobis certamen, trecwmen ton prokeimenon hmin agwna, without proV, ad.  Certamen is not only pugnando, but contendendo cursu, &c.

3 For think diligently upon him that endured such opposition from sinners against himself; that you be not wearied, fainting in your minds. 4 For you have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin:

Ver. 4.  You have not yet resisted unto blood.  Though you have met with some persecutions, you have not yet shed your blood for his sake who laid down his life, and shed every drop of his blood for you.  Wi.


5 And you have forgotten the consolation, which speaketh to you, as unto children, saying: My son, neglect not the discipline of the Lord; neither be thou wearied whilst thou art rebuked by him.

Ver. 5.  You have forgotten the consolation, &c.  He puts them in mind, that it ought to be a subject of great comfort to them, that God calls them his children, his sons, and treats them as his true and legitimate children, when he admonished them to live under discipline and obedience to him, when, to correct their disobedient and sinful ways, he sends the afflictions and persecutions in this world, which they ought to look upon as marks of his fatherly tenderness; for this is what a prudent kind father does to his legitimate children, of whom he takes the greatest care: and not to use these corrections, is to neglect them, as if they were † illegitimate children.  We reverence the father of our flesh, (v. 10.) our parents in this world, when they instruct and correct us, how much more ought we to obey the Father and Creator of spirits, (i.e. of our souls) that being truly sanctified by him, we may live and obtain life everlasting.  Wi.

 

[†]  V. 5. Ergo adulteri, et non filii, ara noqoi este, kai ouc uioi, adulterini, non germani filii.


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6 For whom the Lord loveth, he chastiseth; and he scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. 7 Persevere under discipline. God dealeth with you as with his sons; for what son is there, whom the father doth not correct? 8 But if you be without chastisement, whereof all are made partakers, then are you bastards, and not sons.

Ver. 8.  In these last four verses we may observe as many subjects of consolation under afflictions.  God, our Father, is the author of them; the chastisement he inflicts is the proof of his love; it is the sign or mark of our divine adoption; it is a necessary condition of our being adopted.


9 Moreover we have had fathers of our flesh, for instructors, and we reverenced them: shall we not much more obey the Father of spirits, and live?

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10 And they indeed for a few days, according to their own pleasure, instructed us: but he, for our profit, that we might receive his sanctification. 11 Now all chastisement for the present indeed seemeth not to bring with it joy, but sorrow: but afterwards it will yield, to them that are exercised by it, the most peaceable fruit of justice.

Ver. 11.  It is true all discipline, all corrections, and sufferings in this present life, are disagreeable to our nature, because they bring not joy, but trouble and grief with them; yet afterwards, they who have been exercised with them, will reap the most peaceable fruit of justice, eternal peace and happiness in heaven.  Wi.

 

--- We must not judge of sufferings by the smart they occasion, but by the fruits of peace, justice, and eternal glory they produce in such as submit to them with patience.


12 Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees,

Ver. 12-14.  Wherefore life up thehands, &c.  Be fervent in piety, walk firmly in the way of virtue, make straight†† steps, without declining to one side or the other, without halting or going astray, and strive to be healed from your sins by his grace.

 

--- Follow and seek peace, as much as lies in you, with all men, and †††purity of life, without which no man shall see and enjoy God.  Wi.

 

[†]  V. 12-14.  Remissas manus, pareimenaV, which signifies hands hanging down in a lazy posture.

 

[††]  Ibid.  Gressus rectos facite, trociaV orqaV poihsate, which is to advance in a straight line, not turning aside, or tottering.

 

[†††]  Ibid.  Sanctimoniam, agiasmon.

13 And make straight steps with your feet: that no one, halting, may go out of the way; but rather be healed. 14 Follow peace with all men, and holiness: without which no man shall see God.

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15 Looking diligently, lest any man be wanting to the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up do hinder, and by it many be defiled.

Ver. 15.  Be wanting to the grace of God, by resisting and abusing his favours, or by falling from the grace of God received.

 

--- Lest any root of bitterness, &c.  He means scandalous wicked persons, by whom others are infected, defiled, and corrupted.  Wi.


16 Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau; who for one mess, sold his first birthright.

Ver. 16.  Or profane person, as Esau, who had so little regard for the blessing and inheritance of his father, that he sold his right of first-begotten for one mess of broth, and afterwards found no place for repentance, although with tears he had sought for it; that is, he could not make his father repent or change what he had once done, though he endeavoured with his tears and lamentable outcries.  Or if any one will have repentance referred to Esau himself, still the Novatian heretics can have no advantage in favour of their error, when they deny that sinners can repent, because Esau's tears might only be for a temporal loss, not for God's sake, nor for the guilt of his sins, so that he wanted the dispositions of a true penitent and of a contrite heart.  Wi.

 

--- BebhloV, profane, like Esau, who for a trifling meal could forfeit his right of primogeniture, and the honour of priesthood thereto attached.  Oh, how many give up all right to a heavenly and eternal inheritance for even a mere trifling consideration!  And how will they one day, with Esau, regret the same inflexibility on the part of God, their Father!



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17 For know ye that afterwards, when he desired to inherit the benediction, he was rejected; for he found no place of repentance, although with tears he had sought it.

Ver. 17.  He found, &c.  That is, he found no way to bring his father to repent, or change his mind, with relation to his having given the blessing to his younger brother, Jacob.  Ch.



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18 For you are not come to a mountain that might be touched, and a burning fire, and a whirlwind, and darkness, and storm,

Ver. 18.  For you are not come to a mountain,† &c.  That is, to a mountain on earth that can be touched; to wit, to Mount Sinai, where the law was given to Moses, where the mountain seemed all on fire, with dreadful thunder and lightning, whirlwinds, darkness, tempests, sounding of trumpets, voices, &c. which they who heard excused themselves, begging that Moses only, and not God, might speak to them, for they could not without exceeding consternation think of what was then said; that if any man, or even beast, should touch the mountain, he should be stoned to death.  Ex. xix. 15.  Nay Moses himself, trembling, was frightened.  This particular is nowhere mentioned in the Scripture, but the apostle might know it by revelation, or by some tradition among the Jews.  Wi.

 

[†]  V. 18.  Ad tractabilem montem, yhlafwmenw orei. palpabilem.


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19 And the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words, which they that heard excused themselves, that the word might not be spoken to them: 20 For they did not endure that which was said: And if so much as a beast shall touch the mount, it shall be stoned.

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21 And so terrible was that which was seen, Moses said: I am frighted, and tremble. 22 But you are come to mount Sion, and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to the company of many thousands of angels,

Ver. 22.  But you are come to Mount Sion, where not a law of fear, like that of Moses, but a new law of love and mercy hath been given you, preached by our Saviour himself, and by his apostles, testified by the coming of the Holy Ghost, and by the effusion of God's spirit upon the believers.  Here you are called to the city of the living God, (to the Christian Church on earth) and even to the celestial Jerusalem, there to be for ever happy in the company of many millions of Angels; to the church of the first-born, who are written in heaven, (v. 23.) to be happy with those who have been chosen by a special mercy of God, and blessed with an endless happiness; to be there in the presence of God, the judge of all men, with all the celestial spirits and souls of the just and perfect in the kingdom of God.  Jesus Christ is the mediator of this new testament, the redeemer of mankind by his death on the cross, by the sprinkling and effusion of his blood, which speaketh better than that of Abel: the blood of Abel cried to heaven for vengeance, and the blood of Christ for mercy and pardon.  Wi.




23 And to the church of the firstborn, who are written in the heavens, and to God the judge of all, and to the spirits of the just made perfect, 24 And to Jesus the mediator of the new testament, and to the sprinkling of blood which speaketh better than that of Abel. 25 See that you refuse him not that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spoke upon the earth, much more shall not we, that turn away from him that speaketh to us from heaven.

Ver. 25.  Refuse not then to hearken to him; for if the Jews escaped not God's severe judgments, for being deaf to his admonitions, given by an Angel to Moses on Mount Sinai, and by him to the people, much less shall we escape, if we turn away our minds, and harden our hearts against the instructions of our Redeemer, who came from heaven to speak to us, and teach us the way to our eternal salvation.  Wi.


26 Whose voice then moved the earth; but now he promiseth, saying: Yet once more, and I will move not only the earth, but heaven also.

Ver. 26.  Whose voice then moved the earth, by such signs and prodigies on Mount Sinai: but now he promiseth, saying by the prophet Aggeus: yet once; and I will move not only the earth, but heaven also.  These words of the prophet are commonly understood of Christ's first coming at his incarnation, when at his birth a star appeared, Angels were sent, and sung his praises, when the heavens opened at his baptism, when the earth trembled at his resurrection, when the sun and moon were darkened at his death, &c.  Yet others expound these words of Christ's coming to redeem mankind, so as to comprehend all the time of the law of grace, and even his second coming to judge all men, at the end of the world, of which may particularly be understood those words, (v. 27.) of the translation of the moveable things; that is, of the elements, and of the heavens changed to a more perfect state.  See here S. Chrys. S. Aug. l. 18. de civ. Dei. c. xxxv. p. 517. Nov. Editionis.  Wi.



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27 And in that he saith, Yet once more, he signifieth the translation of the moveable things as made, that those things may remain which are immoveable.

Ver. 27.  Some refer these words to the tabernacle, to the ark, the altar, and other parts of the Jewish religion; which, as figures were to be altered and to be replaced by the more lasting and more perfect dispensation of the gospel.  Estius.


28 Therefore receiving an immoveable kingdom, we have grace; whereby let us serve, pleasing God, with fear and reverence. 29 For our God is a consuming fire.

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