Hebrews 13

* Exhortations to various duties, and to be content with what

Providence allots. (1-6) To respect the instructions of faithful

pastors, with cautions against being carried away by strange

doctrines. (7-15) Further exhortations to duties, that relate to

God, to our neighbour, and to those set over us in the Lord.

(16-21) This epistle to be seriously considered. (22-25)

1-6 The design of Christ in giving himself for us, is, that he

may purchase to himself a peculiar people, zealous of good

works; and true religion is the strongest bond of friendship.

Here are earnest exhortations to several Christian duties,

especially contentment. The sin opposed to this grace and duty

is covetousness, an over-eager desire for the wealth of this

world, with envy of those who have more than ourselves. Having

treasures in heaven, we may be content with mean things here.

Those who cannot be so, would not be content though God raised

their condition. Adam was in paradise, yet not contented; some

angels in heaven were not contented; but the apostle Paul,

though abased and empty, had learned in every state, in any

state, to be content. Christians have reason to be contented

with their present lot. This promise contains the sum and

substance of all the promises; "I will never, no, never leave

thee, no, never forsake thee." In the original there are no less

than five negatives put together, to confirm the promise: the

true believer shall have the gracious presence of God with him,

in life, at death, and for ever. Men can do nothing against God,

and God can make all that men do against his people, to turn to

their good.
7-15 The instructions and examples of ministers, who honourably

and comfortably closed their testimony, should be particularly

remembered by survivors. And though their ministers were some

dead, others dying, yet the great Head and High Priest of the

church, the Bishop of their souls, ever lives, and is ever the

same. Christ is the same in the Old Testament day. as in the

gospel day, and will be so to his people for ever, equally

merciful, powerful, and all-sufficient. Still he fills the

hungry, encourages the trembling, and welcomes repenting

sinners: still he rejects the proud and self-righteous, abhors

mere profession, and teaches all whom he saves, to love

righteousness, and to hate iniquity. Believers should seek to

have their hearts established in simple dependence on free

grace, by the Holy Spirit, which would comfort their hearts, and

render them proof against delusion. Christ is both our Altar and

our Sacrifice; he sanctifies the gift. The Lord's supper is the

feast of the gospel passover. Having showed that keeping to the

Levitical law would, according to its own rules, keep men from

the Christian altar, the apostle adds, Let us go forth therefore

unto him without the camp; go forth from the ceremonial law,

from sin, from the world, and from ourselves. Living by faith in

Christ, set apart to God through his blood, let us willingly

separate from this evil world. Sin, sinners, nor death, will not

suffer us to continue long here; therefore let us go forth now

by faith and seek in Christ the rest and peace which this world

cannot afford us. Let us bring our sacrifices to this altar, and

to this our High Priest, and offer them up by him. The sacrifice

of praise to God, we should offer always. In this are worship

and prayer, as well as thanksgiving.
16-21 We must, according to our power, give to the necessities

of the souls and bodies of men: God will accept these offerings

with pleasure, and will accept and bless the offerers through

Christ. The apostle then states what is their duty to living

ministers; to obey and submit to them, so far as is agreeable to

the mind and will of God, made known in his word. Christians

must not think themselves too wise, too good, or too great, to

learn. The people must search the Scriptures, and so far as the

ministers teach according to that rule, they ought to receive

their instructions as the word of God, which works in those that

believe. It is the interest of hearers, that the account their

ministers give of them may be with joy, and not with grief.

Faithful ministers deliver their own souls, but the ruin of a

fruitless and faithless people will be upon their own heads. The

more earnestly the people pray for their ministers, the more

benefit they may expect from their ministry. A good conscience

has respect to all God's commands, and all our duty. Those who

have this good conscience, yet need the prayers of others. When

ministers come to a people who pray for them, they come with

greater satisfaction to themselves, and success to the people.

We should seek all our mercies by prayer. God is the God of

peace, fully reconciled to believers; who has made a way for

peace and reconciliation between himself and sinners, and who

loves peace on earth, especially in his churches. He is the

Author of spiritual peace in the hearts and consciences of his

people. How firm a covenant is that which has its foundation in

the blood of the Son of God! The perfecting of the saints in

every good work, is the great thing desired by them, and for

them; and that they may at length be fitted for the employment

and happiness of heaven. There is no good thing wrought in us,

but it is the work of God. And no good thing is wrought in us by

God, but through Christ, for his sake and by his Spirit.
22-25 So bad are men, and even believers, through the

remainders of their corruption, that when the most important,

comfortable doctrine is delivered to them for their own good,

and that with the most convincing evidence, there is need of

earnest entreaty and exhortation that they would bear it, and

not fall out with it, neglect it, or reject it. It is good to

have the law of holy love and kindness written in the hearts of

Christians, one towards another. Religion teaches men true

civility and good breeding. It is not ill-tempered or

uncourteous. Let the favour of God be toward you, and his grace

continually working in you, and with you, bringing forth the

fruits of holiness, as the first-fruits of glory.

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