Duty Exhorted

My son, let not them depart from thine eyes: keep sound wisdom and discretion:
~ Proverbs 3:21

Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.
~ Galatians 3:19

I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not.
~ Jude 1:5

And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God?
~ Romans 2:3

Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:
~ Acts 2:22

And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.
~ John 15:27

A Commentary on Hebrews 2:1-3, by John Owen.

Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip. For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward; How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him;
~ Hebrews 2:1-3

1. To manifest that the duty which he exhorts them unto is of general concernment unto all to whom the gospel is preached, so that he lays no singular burden on them; and,

2. That he might not as yet discover unto them any jealousy of their inconstancy, or that he had entertained any severe thoughts concerning them, apprehensions whereof are apt to render exhortations suspected, the minds of men being ready enough to disregard that which they are persuaded unto, if they suspect that undeserved blame lies at the bottom of the exhortation. The like condescension hereunto, upon the like account, we may see in Peter, 1 Peter 4:3.

These are the persons spoken unto. That which is spoken to them consists in an exhortation unto a duty, and an especial enforcement of it. The exhortation and duty in the first words, “The more abundantly to attend unto the things heard ;” and the enforcement in the close of them, “Lest at any time we should flow out.”

In the exhortation is expressed an especial circumstance of it, the duty itself, and the manner of its performance.

The first is included in that word,” more abundantly;” which may refer either unto the causes of the attendance required, or unto the manner of its performance.

In the words as they lie in the text, Διὰ τοῦτο περισσοτέρως δεῖ ἡμας προσέχειν , the word περισσοτέρως , “more abundantly,” is joined unto διὰ τοῦτο , “therefore,” “for this cause,” and seems immediately to respect it, and so to intimate the excellent and abundant reason that we have to attend unto the gospel. But if we transpose the words, and read them as if they lay thus, Δεῖ ἡμᾶς περισσοτέρως , then the word περισσοτέρως , “more abundantly,” respects the following word προσέχειν , “to attend unto,” and so expresseth somewhat of the manner of the performance of the duty proposed. And so our translators report the sense, “We ought to give the more diligent heed,” or “give heed the more diligently.” The reader may embrace whether sense he judgeth most agreeable to the scope of the place. The former construction of the word, expressing the necessity of our attention to be intimated from the cogency of the reasons thereof before insisted on, is not without its probability. And this the meaning of the word agrees unto, whether we take it absolutely (for so, as Chrysostom observes, it may be taken, though of itself it be of another form) or comparatively, in which form it is. Take it absolutely, and the apostle informs them that they have abundant cause to attend unto the things spoken or heard, because of him that spake them; for concerning him alone came that voice from the excellent glory, “This is my beloved Son, hear him.” So also in the other sense, the apostle is not comparing the manner of their attending unto the doctrine of the law (which certainly they ought to have done with all diligence) and their attendance unto the gospel, but shows the reasons which they had to attend unto the one and the other, as the following verses clearly manifest. This, then, may be that which the apostle intimates in this word, namely, that they had more abundant cause and a more excellent reason for their attending unto the doctrine of the gospel than they had unto that of the law, on this account, that he by whom the gospel was immediately preached unto us was the Son of God himself. But the other application of the word is more commonly received, wherein it intends the duty enjoined.

In reference unto the duty exhorted unto, there is expressed the object of it, “the things heard.” Thus the apostle chooseth to express the doctrine of the gospel, with respect unto the way and manner whereby it was communicated unto them, namely, by preaching; for

“faith cometh by hearing, and hearing is of the word preached,” Romans 10:14-15; Romans 10:17.

And herein doth he magnify the great ordinance of preaching, as everywhere else he maketh it the great means of begetting faith in men. The Lord Christ himself first preached the gospel, Acts 1:1, and Acts 1:3 of this chapter. Concerning him it was said from heaven, “Hear him,” Matthew 17:5, as he who revealed the Father from his own bosom, John 1:18. From him the gospel came to be the word heard. When he had finished the course of his personal ministry, he mitred the same work unto others, sending them as the Father sent him. They also preached the gospel, and called it “the word;” that is, that which they preached. See 2 Corinthians 1:18. So in the Old Testament it is called שְׁמֻעָה , Isaiah 53:1, “auditus,” “a hearing,” or that which was heard, being preached. So that the apostle insists on and commends unto them not only the things themselves wherein they had been instructed, but also the way whereby they were communicated unto them, namely, by the great ordinance of preaching, as he further declares, Isaiah 53:3. This as the means of their believing, as the ground of their profession, they were diligently to remember, consider, and attend unto.

The duty itself directed unto, and the manner of its performance, are expressed in the word προσέχειν , to “attend,” or “give heed.” What kind of attendance is denoted by this word was in part before declared. An attendance it is with reverence, assent, and readiness to obey. So Acts 16:14, “God opened the heart of Lydia, προσέχειν τοῖς λαλουμένοις ,” “to attend unto the things that were spoken;” not to give them the hearing only; there was no need of the opening of her heart for the mere attention of her ear; but she attended with readiness, humility, and resolution to obey the word. The effect of which attention is expressed by the apostle, Romans 6:17. To attend, then, unto the word preached, is to consider the author of it, the matter of it, the weight and concernment of it, the ends of it, with faith, subjection of spirit, and constancy, as we shall with our apostle more at large afterwards explain. The duty exhorted unto being laid down, a motive or enforcement unto it is subjoined, taken from the danger that would ensue from the neglect thereof. And this is either from the sin or punishment that would attend it, according unto the various interpretations of the word παραῤῥυῶμεν , “flow out,” or” fall,” before mentioned. If it signify to “fall” or “perish,” then the punishment of the neglect of this duty is intimated. We shall perish as water that is poured on the earth. Thereunto is the frail life of man compared, 2 Samuel 14:14. This sense of the word is embraced by few expositors, yet hath it great countenance given unto it by the ensuing discourse, 2 Samuel 14:2-3, and for that reason it is not unworthy our consideration. For the design of the apostle in those verses is to prove that they shall deservedly and assuredly perish who should neglect the gospel. And the following particles, εἰ γάρ , “and if,” in 2 Samuel 14:2, may seem to relate unto what was before spoken, and so to yield a reason why the unbelievers should so perish as he had intimated; which, unless it be expressed in this word, the apostle had not before at all spoken unto. And in this sense the caution here given is, that we should attend unto the word of the gospel, lest by our neglect thereof we bring upon ourselves inevitable ruin, and perish as water that is spilt on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again.

But the truth is, that the word ποτέ prefixed will not be well reconciled unto this sense and interpretation, unless we should suppose it to be redundant and insignificative, and so μή ποτε παραῤῥυῶμεν , “lest at any time we should flow out,” should be the same with μή παραῤῥυῶμεν , absolutely, “that we fall not.” But there is no just reason to render that word so useless. Allow it, therefore, to be significative, and it may have a double sense,

1. To denote an uncertain time, “quando,” “aliquando,” “at any time;”

2. A conditional event, “forte,” “ne forte,” “lest it should happen.”

In neither of these senses will it allow the words to be expounded of the punishment that shall befall unbelievers, which is most certain both as to the time and the event. Neither doth the apostle in the next verses threaten them that neglect the gospel, that at some time or other they may perish, but lets them know that their destruction is certain, and that from the Lord.

It is, then, our sinful losing of the word and the benefits thereof which the apostle intendeth. And in the next verses he doth not proceed to prove what he had asserted in this verse, but goes on to other arguments to the same purpose, taken from the unquestionable event of our neglect of the word, and losing the benefits thereof. The especial reason, therefore, why the apostle thus expresseth our losing of the doctrine of the gospel by want of diligent attendance unto it, is to be inquired after. Generally the expression is looked on as an allusion unto leaking vessels, which suffer the water that is poured into them one way to run out many: as he speaks in the “Comedian” who denied that he could keep secret some things if they were communicated unto him: “Plenus rimarum sum, huc atque illuc effluo;” “I am full of chinks, and flow out on every side.” And the word relates unto the persons, not to the things, because it contains a crime. It is our duty to retain the word which we have heard; and therefore it is not said that the word flows out, but that we as it were pour it out. And this crime is denoted by the addition of παρά to ῥυεῖν : for as the simple verb denotes the passing away of any thing as water, whether it deserve to be retained or no, so the compound doth the losing of that perversely which we ought to have retained.

But we may yet inquire a little further into the reason and nature of the allegory. The word or doctrine of the Scripture is compared to showers and rain: Deuteronomy 32:2,

“My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distil as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass.”

Hence the same word, מוֹרֶה , signifies “a teacher” and “rain:” so that translators do often doubt of its special sense, as Psalms 84:7, בְּרָכוֹת יַעְמֶה מוֹרֶח , “The rain filleth the pools,” as in our translation; others, as Jerome and Arias Montanus, render them, “Benedictionibus operietur docens,” “The teacher shall be covered with blessings;” both the words being ambiguous. So also Isaiah 30:20, מוֹרֶיךָ , which we translate “thy teachers,” is by others rendered “thy showers,” or “rain.” So these words, Joel 2:23, אֶתאּהמּוֹרֶה לִצְדָקָה כִּיאּנָתַן לָכֶם , which our translators render in the text, “He hath given you the former rain moderately,” in the margin they render, “a teacher of righteousness.” And the like ambiguity is in other places. And there is an elegant metaphor in the word; for as the drops of rain falling on the each do water it and make it fruitful, whilst it takes no notice of it, so doth the doctrine of the word insensibly make fruitful unto God the souls of men upon whom it doth descend. And in respect unto the word of the gospel it is that the Lord Christ is said to come down as the showers on the mown grass, Psalms 72:0. So the apostle calls the preaching of the gospel unto men the watering of them, 1 Corinthians 3:6-7; and he compares them unto whom it is preached unto the earth that drinketh in the rain, Hebrews 6:7. In pursuit of this metaphor it is that, men are said to pour out the word preached unto them, when by their negligence they lose all the benefits thereof. So when our Savior had compared the same word unto seed, he sets out men’s falling from it by all the ways and means whereby seed cast into the earth may be lost or become unprofitable, Matthew 13:0. And as he shows that there are various ways and means whereby the seed that is sown may be lost and perish, so there are many times and seasons, ways and means, wherein and whereby we may lose and pour out the water or rain of the word which we have received. And these the apostle regards in that expression, “lest at any time.”

We are now entered on the practical part of the epistle, and that which is of great importance unto all professors at all times, especially unto such as are, by the good providence of God, called into the condition wherein the Hebrews were when Paul thus treated with them; that is, a condition of temptation, affliction, and persecution. And we shall therefore the more distinctly consider the useful truths that are exhibited unto us in these words, which are these that follow:

I. Diligent attendance unto the word of the gospel is indispensably necessary unto perseverance in the profession of it. Such a profession I mean as is acceptable unto God, or will be useful unto our own souls. The profession of most of the world is a mere not-renunciation of the gospel in words, whilst in their hearts and lives they deny the power of it every day. A saving profession is that which expresseth the efficacy of the word unto salvation, Romans 10:10. This will never be the effect of a lifeless attendance unto the word. And therefore we shall first consider what is required unto the giving heed to the gospel, here commended unto us. And there are in it (amongst others) the things that follow:

1. A due valuation of the grace tendered in it, and of the word itself on that account. Προσέχειν denotes such an attendance unto any thing as proceeds from an estimation and valuation of it answerable unto its worth. If we have not such thoughts of the gospel, we can never attend unto it as we ought. And if we consider it not as that wherein our chief concernment lies, we consider it not at all as we ought. The field wherein is the hid treasure is so to be heeded as to be valued above all other possessions whatsoever, Matthew 13:44. They who esteemed not the marriage- feast of the King above all avocations and worldly occasions, were shut out as unworthy, Matthew 22:7-8. If the gospel be not more unto us than all the world besides, we shall never continue in a useful profession of it. Fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, wives and children, must all be despised in comparison of it and in competition with it. When men hear the word as that which puts itself upon them, attendance unto which they cannot decline without present or future inconveniences, without considering that all the concernments of their souls lie bound up in it, they will easily be won utterly to neglect it. According as our esteem and valuation of it is, so is our heeding of it and attendance unto it, and no otherwise. Hearkening unto the word as unto a song of him that hath a pleasant voice, which may please or satisfy for the present, is that which profits not men, and which God abhors, Ezekiel 33:32. If the ministration of the gospel be not looked on as that which is full of glory, it will never be attended unto. This the apostle presseth, 2 Corinthians 3:8-9. Constant high thoughts, then, of the necessity, worth, glory, and excellency of the gospel, as on other accounts, so especially of the author of it, and the grace dispensed in it, is the first step in that diligent heeding of it which is required of us. Want of this was that which ruined many of the Hebrews to whom the apostle wrote. And without it we shall never keep our faith firm unto the end.

2. Diligent study of it, and searching into the mind of God in it, that so we may grow wise in the mysteries thereof, is another part of this duty. The gospel is “the wisdom of God,” 1 Corinthians 1:24. In it are laid up all the stores and treasures of that wisdom of God which ever any of the sons of men shall come to an acquaintance with in this world, Colossians 2:2-3. And this wisdom is to be, sought for as silver, and to be searched after as hid treasures, Proverbs 2:4; that is, with pains and diligence, like unto that of those who are employed in that inquiry. Men with indefatigable pains and danger pierce into the bowels of the earth, in the search of those hid treasures that are wrapped up in the vast womb of it. Silver and treasures are not gathered by every lazy passenger on the surface of the earth. They must dig, seek, and search, who intend to be made partakers of them; and they do so accordingly. And so must we do for these treasures of heavenly wisdom. The mystery of the grace of the gospel is great and deep, such as the angels desire to bow down and look into, 1 Peter 1:12; which the prophets of old, notwithstanding the advantage of their own especial revelations, inquired diligently after, 1 Peter 1:10-11: whereas now, if any pretend, though falsely, to a revelation, they have immediately done with the word, as that which, by the deceit of their imaginations, they think beneath them, when indeed it is only distant from them, and is really above them; as if a man should stand on tiptoe on a molehill, and despise the sun appearing newly above the horizon as one beneath him. Diligent, sedulous searching into the word belongs unto this heeding of it, Psalms 1:2; or a laboring by all appointed means to become acquainted with it, wise in the mystery of it, and skilled in its doctrine. Without this, no man will hold fast his profession. Nor doth any man neglect the gospel but he that knows it not, 2 Corinthians 4:3-4. This is the great principle of apostasy in the world: men have owned the gospel, but never knew what it was; and therefore leave the profession of it foolishly, as they took it up lightly. Studying of the word is the security of our faith.

3. Mixing the word with faith is required in this attention. See Hebrews 4:2. As good not hear as not believe. Believing is the end of hearing, Romans 10:10-11; and therefore Lydia’s faith is called her attention, Acts 16:14. This is the life of heeding the word, without which all ether exercise about it is but a dead carcass. To hear and not believe, is in the spiritual life what to see meat and not to eat is in the natural; it will please the fancy, but will never nourish the soul. Faith alone realizeth the things spoken unto the heart, and gives them subsistence in it, Hebrews 11:1; without which, as to us, they flow up and down in loose and uncertain notions. This, then, is the principal part of our duty in heeding the things spoken; for it gives entrance to them into the soul, without which they are poured upon it as water upon a stick that is fully dry.

4. Laboring to express the word received, in a conformity of heart and life unto it, is another part of this attention. This is the next proper end of our hearing. And to do a thing appointed unto an end without aiming at that end, is no better than the not doing it at all, in some cases much worse. The apostle says of the Romans, that they were cast into the mould of the doctrine of the gospel, Romans 6:17. It left upon their hearts an impression of its own likeness, or produced in them the express image of that holiness, purity, and wisdom which it revealeth. This is to behold with open face the glory of the Lord in a glass, and to be changed into the same image, 2 Corinthians 3:18; that is, the image of the Lord Christ, manifested unto us and reflected upon us by and in the glass of the gospel. When the heart of the hearer is quickened, enlivened, spirited with gospel truths, and by them is moulded and fashioned into their likeness, and expresseth that likeness in its fruits, or a conversation becoming the gospel, then is the word attended unto in a right manner. This will secure the word a station in our hearts, and give it a permanent abode in us, This is the indwelling of the word, whereof there are many degrees, and we ought to aim that it should be plentiful

5. Watchfulness against all opposition that is made either against the truth or power of the word in us belongs also unto this duty. And as these oppositions are many, so ought this watchfulness to be great and diligent. And these things have we added for the further explication of the duty that is pressed on us by the apostle, the necessity whereof, for the preservation of the truth in our hearts and minds, will further appear in the ensuing observation.

II. There are sundry times and seasons wherein, and several ways and means whereby, men are in danger to lose the word that they have heard, if they attend not diligently unto its preservation. Μήποτε , “at any time,” or “by any way or means.” This our Savior teacheth us at large in the parable of the seed, which was retained but in one sort of ground of those four whereinto it was cast, Matthew 13:0; and this the experience of all times and ages confirmeth. Yea, few there are at any time who keep the word heard as they ought.

1. We may briefly name the seasons wherein and the ways whereby the hearts and minds of men are made as leaking vessels, to pour out and lose the word that they have heard.

(1.) Some lose it in a time of peace and prosperity. That is a season which slays the foolish. Jeshurun waxes fat and kicks. According to men’s pastures they are filled, and forget the Lord. They feed their lusts high, until they loathe the word. Quails often make a lean soul. A prosperous outward estate hath ruined many a conviction from the word; yea, and weakened faith and obedience in many of the saints themselves. The warmth of prosperity breeds swarms of apostates, as the heat of the sun doth insects in the spring.

(2.) Some lose it in a time of persecution. “When persecution ariseth,” saith our Savior, “they fall away.” Many go on apace in profession until they come to see the cross; this sight puts them to a stand, and then turns them quite out of the way. They thought not of it, and do not like it” We know what havoc this hath made amongst professors in all ages; and commonly where it destroys the bodies of ten, it destroys the souls of a hundred. This is the season wherein stars fall from the firmament; in reference whereunto innumerable are the precepts for watchfulness, wisdom, patience, enduring, that are given us in the gospel.

(3.) Some lose it in a time of trial by temptation. It pleaseth God, in his wisdom and grace, to suffer sometimes an “hour of temptation” to come forth upon the world, and upon the church in the world, for their trial, Revelation 3:10. And he doth it that his own thereby may be made conformable unto their head, Jesus Christ, who had his especial hour of temptation. Now, in such a season temptation worketh variously, according as men are exposed unto it, or as God seeth meet that they should be tried by it. Every thing that such days abound withal shall have in it the force of a temptation. And the usual effect of this work is, that it brings professors into a slumber, Matthew 25:5. In this state many utterly lose the word. They have been cast into a negligent slumber by the secret power and efficacy of temptation; and when they awake and look about them, the whole power of the word is lost and departed from them. With reference unto these and the like seasons it is that the apostle gives us this caution, to “take heed lest at any time the word which we have heard do slip out.”

2. The ways and means also whereby this wretched effect is produced are various, yea, innumerable. Some of them only I shall mention, whereunto the rest may be reduced; as,

(1.) Love of this present world. This made Demas a leaking vessel, 2 Timothy 4:10, and chokes one fourth part of the seed of the parable, Matthew 13:0. Many might have been rich in grace, had they not made it their end and business to be rich in this world, 1 Timothy 6:9. But this is too well known, as well as too little regarded.

(2.) Love of sin. A secret lust cherished in the heart will make it “plenum rimarum,” “full of chinks,” that it will never retain the showers of the word; and it will assuredly open them as fast as convictions stop them.

(3.) False doctrines, errors, heresies, false worship, superstition, and idolatries, will do the same. I place these things together, as those which work in the same kind upon the curiosity, vanity, and darkness of the minds of men. These break the vessel, and at once pour out all the benefits of the word that ever were received. And many the like instances might be given.

And this gives us the reason of the necessity of that heeding of the word which we before insisted on. Without it, at one time or other, by one means or other, we shall lose all the design of the word upon our souls. That alone will preserve us, and carry us through the course and difficulties of our profession. The duty mentioned, then, is of no less concernment unto us than our souls, for without it we shall perish. Let us not deceive ourselves; a slothful, negligent hearing of the word will bring no man to life. The commands we have to “watch, pray, strive, labor, and fight,” are not in vain. The warnings given us of the opposition that is made to our faith, by indwelling sin, Satan, and the world, are not left on record for nothing; no more are the sad examples which we have of many, who beginning a good profession have utterly turned aside to sin and folly.

All these things, I say, teach us the necessity of the duty which the apostle enjoineth, and which we have explained.

III. The word heard is not lost without the great sin as well as the inevitable ruin of the souls of men. Lost it is when it is not mixed with faith, when we receive it not in good and honest hearts, when the end of it is not accomplished in us and towards us. And this befalls us not without our sin, and woeful neglect of duty. The word of its own nature is apt to abide, to incorporate itself with us, and to take root; but we cast it out, we pour it forth from us. And they have a woeful account to make on whose souls the guilt thereof shall be found at the last day.

IV. It is in the nature of the word of the gospel to water barren hearts, and to make them fruitful unto God. Hence, as was showed, is it compared to water, dew, and rain; which is the foundation of the metaphorical expression here used. Where this word comes, it makes

“the parched ground a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water,” Isaiah 35:7.

These are the waters of the sanctuary, that heal the barren places of the earth, and make them fruitful, Ezekiel 47:0; the river that maketh glad the city of God, Psalms 46:4; that river of living water that comes forth from the throne of God, Revelation 22:1. And the places and persons which are not healed or benefited by these waters are left to barrenness and burning for evermore, Ezekiel 47:11; Hebrews 6:8. With the dew hereof doth God water his church every moment, Isaiah 27:3; and then doth it “grow as a lily, and cast forth its roots as Lebanon,” Hosea 14:5-7. Abundant fruitfulness unto God follows a gracious receiving of this dew from him. Blessed are they who have this dew distilling on them every morning, who are watered as the garden of God, as a land that God careth for.

V. The consideration of the revelation of the gospel by the Son of God is a powerful motive unto that diligent attendance unto it which we have before described. This is the inference that the apostle makes from the proposition that he had made of the excellency of the Son of God: “Therefore.”

And this is that which in the greatest part of the ensuing chapter he doth pursue. This is that which God declares that he might so justly expect and look for, namely, that when he sent his Son to the vineyard, he should be regarded and attended unto.

And this is most reasonable upon many accounts:

1. Because of the authority wherewith he spake the word. Others spake and delivered their message as servants; he as the Lord over his own house, Hebrews 3:6. The Father himself gave him all his authority for the revealing of his mind, and therefore proclaimed from heaven that if any one would have any thing to do with God, they were to “hear him,”

Matthew 17:5; 2 Peter 1:17. The whole authority of God was with him; for him did God the Father seal, or he put the stamp of all his authority upon him; and he spake accordingly, Matthew 7:29. And therefore he spake both in his own name and the name of his Father: so that this authority sprung partly from the dignity of his person, for being God and man, though he spake on the earth, yet he who was the Son of man was in heaven still, John 3:13, and therefore is said to speak from heaven, Hebrews 12:25, and coming from heaven was still above all, John 3:31, having power and authority over all, and partly from the commission that he had from his Father, which, as we said before, gave all authority into his hand, John 5:27. Being then in himself the Son of God, and being peculiarly designed to reveal the mind and will of the Father (which the prophet calls his “standing and feeding in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God,” Micah 5:4), all the authority of God over the souls and consciences of men is exerted in this revelation of the gospel by him. It cannot, then, be neglected without the contempt of all the authority of God. And this will be a sore aggravation of the sin of unbelievers and apostates at the last day. If we attend not unto the word on this account, we shall suffer for it. He that despiseth the word despiseth him; and he that despiseth him despiseth him also who sent him.

2. Because of the love that is in it. There is in it the love of the Father in sending the Son, for the revealing of himself and his mind unto the children of men. There is also in it the love of the Son himself, condescending to teach and instruct the sons of men, who by their own fault were cast into error and darkness, Greater love could not God nor his eternal Son manifest unto us, than that he should undertake in his own person to become our instructor. See 1 John 5:20. He that shall consider the brutish stupidity and blindness of the generality of mankind in the things of God, the miserable fluctuating and endless uncertainties of the more inquiring part of them, and withal the greatness of their concernment in being brought unto the knowledge of the truth, cannot but in some measure see the greatness of this love of Christ in revealing unto us the whole counsel of God. Hence his words and speech are said to be “gracious,” Luke 4:22; and “grace to be poured into his lips,” Psalms 45:2. And this is no small motive unto our attention unto the word.

3. The fullness of the revelation itself by him made unto us is of the same importance. He came not to declare a part or parcel, but the whole will of God, all that we are to know, all that we are to do, all that we are to believe. “In him are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge,” Colossians 2:3. He opened all the dark sentences of the will of God, hidden from the foundation of the world.

There is in his doctrine all wisdom, all knowledge, as all light is in the sun, and all water in the sea, there being nothing of the one or the other in any other thing but by a communication from them. Now, if every word of God be excellent, if every part and parcel of it delivered by any of his servants of old was to be attended unto on the penalty of extermination out of the number of his people, how much more will our condition be miserable, as now are our blindness and obstinacy, if we have not a heart to attend unto this full revelation of himself and his will!

4. Because it is final. “Last of all he sent his Son,” and hath “spoken unto us by him.” Never more in this world will he speak with that kind of speaking. No new, no further revelation of God is to be expected in this world, but what is made by Jesus Christ. To this we must attend, or we are lost for ever.

VI. The true and only way of honoring the Lord “Christ as the Son of God, is by diligent attendance and obedience unto his word. The apostle having evidenced his glory as the Son of God, makes this his only inference from it. So doth he himself. “If ye love me,” saith he, “keep my commandments.” Where there is no obedience unto the word, there is neither faith in nor love unto Jesus Christ. But this whole argument the apostle further pursues in the following verses…