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from sin, and made holy. In the following quotation, it is admitted that, in the sense in which the apostle speaks, men may see the Lord in the present life, if duly qualified; hence this text may have its application to the concerns of this life, without special reference to the future.
Lawson. To see God, as many understand it, is immediately and clearly to behold God's glory, which is a privilege reserved for heaven. Thus to see him, is that which they call intuitive knowledge, and beatifical vision, from which, unspeakable joys, and eternal delights, do ever issue. Yet it is an Hebrew expression, and signifies to enjoy ; therefore, to see God is to enjoy him, and to have some special union und communion with him, and derive some happiness from him, either by grace in this life, and glory in the life to come. By holiness we may see and enjoy him ; and according to the measure of our holiness, is the measure of our enjoyments.
The more holy we are, the nearer fellowship we have with him, and derive more joy and comfort from him.' Expos. in loc.
This text can afford no proof that any man shall be endlessly miserable, until it be first proved that such a one shall never become holy. If all become holy, all will see or enjoy the Lord ; their enjoyment will be in proportion to their holiness, whether in this life or the next. It is for the present advantage of men to follow holiness, as thereby they have communion with God, and enjoy him, while they yet tabernacle in the flesh.
ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.'-HEB. xii. 17.
It has been the fancy of some, that Esau must be
excluded from the enjoyment of happiness in the future life: and in support of their opinion they have adduced this text, saying, no one can be saved without repentance; but Esau found no place for repentance; therefore he cannot be saved. That this is a very wrong view of the text, is asserted in the following quotations :
1. CLARKE. • Repentance : here metanoia is not to be taken in a theological sense, as implying contrition for sin, but merely change of mind or purpose ; nor does the word here refer to Esau at all, but to his father, whom Esau could not, with all his tears and entreaties, persuade to reverse what he had done. I have blessed him, said he, yea, and he must be blessed ; I cannot reverse it now. Nothing spoken here by the apostle, nor in the history in Genesis, to which he refers, concerns the eternal state of either of the two brothers. Com. in loc.
2. ROSENMULLER. Eulogia (the blessing, ) signifies the paternal benediction—the invocation especially of the blessings of the land of Canaan, and generally the blessings which were connected with the right of primogeniture. Esau, indeed, received a blessing, but not that which belonged to the first-born ; Gen. xxvii. 32—40. He was not able to persuade his father to change his mind; for metanoia (repentance,) is mentioned in relation not to Esau, but to his father Isaac Metanoia signifies retractation, a change of mind, or of the invocations, to which Esau desired to persuade Isaac, so that he might revoke the blessing bestowed upon Jacob.' Scholia in loc.
3. MACKNIGHT. “He was reprobated : not by God, but by his father, who, when he knew that he had given the blessing to Jacob, refused to retract it, being sensible, from his inward feelings, that he had spoken prophetically, and that God willed him to give the blessing to Jacob.' Note in loc.
4. CALMET. Reprobated : (rejected :) this is not to be understood of endless reprobation, which closes up the way of celestial happiness, but of temporal reprobation, by reason of which, he could not prevail on his
father to revoke the blessing which he had bestowed on Jacob, although he sought it with tears.' Com. in loc.
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 : Whose voice then shook the earth : but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven. 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. Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably, with reverence and godly fear: For our God is a consuming fire.'—HEB. xii. 25—29.
This passage is interpreted by several orthodox commentators, as having especial reference to events which were to occur soon after the writing of this epistle. They do not, like some in our day, go into another state of existence to find the true application of the text, nor do they quote it with the very popular gloss, i. e., God out of Christ is a consuming fire. But they quote it according to the record, and explain it as follows:
1. Lightfoot. The following figures are in the same style ; 2 Pet. iii. 10— The heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat; the earth also, and the works that are therein, shall be burnt up.".
How many have no doubt that this passage is descriptive of the conflagration of the world at the day of judgment. But compare Deut. xxxii. 22“ A fire is kindled in mine anger, and it shall burn unto the lowest hell; and shall consume the earth with her increase, and set on fire the foundations of the mountains.”. Hag. ii. 6—" Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land.” Heb. xii. 26%" I shake not the earth only, but also heaven.” Observe, by the elements, the Mosaic
institutions are to be understood, Gal. iv. 9, Col. ii. 20, as also the apostle has spoken at sundry times; and then you will not doubt that he has here spoken of the conflagration of Jerusalem, the subversion of the nation, and of the Mosaic economy.' Tract. de Spir. Proph. Sv.
2. WHITBY. • This shaking of heaven and earth being to be accomplished at the coming of the Messiah, or the desire of all nations, cannot signify the removal and subversion of the material heavens and earth, they being not thus shaken at Christ's coming, but this is a metaphor frequently used in the prophets, to signify the subversion of a state and kingdom, and of the government which obtains amongst them, Isa. xiii. 13, xxiv. 19, 20, Joel ii. 10, Judges v. 4, Psalm lxxvii. 18.
Consuming fire: to consume thine enemies if thou obey him, and to bring them down before thy face, Deut. ix. 3, but to consume thee, if thou forget the covenant thou hast made with him, Deut. iv. 24. This hath relation to the Shekinah, or glorious presence of God, the sight of which was like devouring fire, Exod. xxiv. 17, and from which went out fire to consume Nadab and Abihu, Lev. x. 2, and those two hundred and fifty persons which burned incense, Num. xvi. 35, and of which the psalmist speaketh in these words: A fire burned in their congregation, the flame burnt up the wicked, Psalm cvi. 18.' Annot. in loc.
3. CLARKE. • Not the earth only, but also heaven : probably referring to the approaching destruction of Jerusalem, and the total abolition of the political and ecclesiastical constitution of the Jews, the one being signified by the earth, the other by heaven; for the Jewish state and worship are frequently thus termed in the prophetic writings.
· For our God is a consuming fire: the apostle quotes Deut. iv. 24, and by doing so he teaches us this great truththat sin under the gospel is as abominable in God's sight, as it was under the law, and that the man who does not labor to serve God with the principle, and in the way already precribed, will find that fire to consume him which would otherwise have consumed his sins.' Com. in loc,
4. HAMMOND. • And, therefore, be sure ye despise not Christ, who is come to deliver God's will unto you; for if they were destroyed, that contemned Moses that delivered the law from Mount Sinai, then much severer destruction is to be expected for them that despise the commandments of Christ, who delivers them immediately from heaven. In giving the law, there was an earthquake when God spake, and that was somewhat terrible; but now is the time of fulfilling that prophecy, Hag. ii. 7, where God professes to make great changes, greater than ever were among them before, even to the destroying the whole state of the Jews. For this is the notation of the phrase which is rendered yet once, which signifies some final ruin, and that very remarkable, as here the total subversion of the Jews, of all their law and policy, as of things that were made on purpose to be destroyed, designed by God only for a time, for that imperfect state, as a forerunner and preparative to the gospel, which, therefore, is a state of which there is no mention of the shaking it, nor, consequently, of any future state that shall succeed it, which signifies that that is most certainly to endure forever, till the end of the world. We, therefore, that are vouchsafed our part in this immutable kingdom, or state under Christ, a condidion that no persecutions, nor even the gates of hell shall prevail against, but it shall be sure, finally, to overcome and survive all opposition-let us take care to hold fast, and not forsake the gospel, through which we may serve God so as he will now accept of, with reverence of so glorious a Master, and with fear of his wrath if we do provoke him by abusing his mercies. For this gracious God, which is our God, will show himself to the provoking christians, as (or more severely than) he threatened to the Israelites, Deut. iv. 24, an emblem of which we have, Exod. xxiv. 17, where the sight of the glory of the Lord—that is, of his presentiating himself—was like deyouring fire on the top of the mountain.' Par. in loc.