Original Douay Rheims Bible (1582 & 1610)

The Epistle of Saint Pavl the Apostle to the Hebrews

THAT the Hebrewes were not al the Iewes, but only a part of them, it is manifest Act. 6. where the primitiue Church of Hierusalem, although it consisted of Iewes only, as we read Act. 2. yet is said to consist of two sorts, Greekes & Hebrewes. Which againe is manifest Phil. 3. where S. Paul comparing himself with the Iudaical false-Apostles, saith, that he also is, an Hebrew of Hebrwes. Finally, they seeme to haue been those Iewes which were borne in Iurie, which for the most part dwelled also there. Therfore to the Christian Iewes in Hierusalem and in the rest of Iurie, S. Paul writeth this Epistle, out of Italie: saying thereupon, The brethren; of Italie salute you. Heb. 13. By which words, and by these other in the same place, Know ye our brother Timothee to be dismissed, with whom (if he come the sooner) I wil see you, it is euident, that he wrot this, not only after he was brought prisoner to Rome, wherein S. Luke endeth the Actes of the Apostles, but also after he was set at libertie there againe.
Many causes are giuen of the Doctours, why writing to the Iewes, he doth not put his name in the beginning,
Paul an Apostle, &c. as he doth lightly in his Epistles to the Churches and Bishops of the Gentils. 2. Tim. 1.
1. Tim. 2.
The most likely cause is, for that he was the Preacher and Apostle and Maister of the Gentils. And againe in another place he saith, that himself was appointed the Apostle of the Gentils, as Peter of the Iewes. Gal. 2. Only S. Peter therfore writing to the Iewes, doth vse this stile: Peter an Apostle of IESVS Christ 1. Pet. 1. &c. because he was more peculiarly their Apostle, as being the Vicar of Christ, who was also himself Yet was Christ head of the Gentils also. So likewise his vicar S. Peter, notwithstanding his more peculiar Apostleship ouer the Iewes. more specially the Minister of the Circumcision, that is (as himself speaketh) not sent but to the sheep which were lost of the house of Israël. Mat. 15. Rom. 5.
The Argument of the Epistle S. Paul himself doth tel vs in two words, calling it verbum solatij, the word of solace and comfort. Heb. 13. Which also is plaine in the whole course of the Epistle, namely in the tenth chapter. v. 32. &c. Where he exhorteth them to take great comfort and confidence in their manifold tribulations sustained of their owne Countrie-men the Iewes, whereof the Apostle also maketh mention to the Thessalonians. 1. Thess. 2. v. 14. Those persecutions then of the obstinate incredulous Iewes their countrie-men, was one great tentation vnto them. Another tentation was, the persuasions that they brought vnto them out of Scriptures, to cleaue vnto the Law, and not to beleeue in IESVS the dead man.
And whereas the Iewes did magnifie their law, by the Prophets, and by the Angels by whom it was giuen, and by Moyses, and by their land of promise, into which Iosue brought them, and by their father Abraham, and by their Aaronical or Leuitical priesthood and Sacrifices, by their Tabernacle, and by their Testament: he sheweth, that our Lord IESVS, as being the natural Sonne of God, passeth incomparably the Prophets, the Angels, and Moyses: that the rest or quietnes which God promised, was not in their earthly land, but in heauen: that his figure Melchisedech farre passed Abraham: and that his priesthood, Sacrifice, Tabernacle, and Testament, farre passed theirs. In al which he shooteth often at these three markes: to take away the scandal of Christes death, by giuing them sundrie good reasons and testimonies of it: to erect their minds from visible and earthly promises (to which only, the Iewes were wholy bent) to inuisible and heauenly: and to insinuate that the Ceremonies should now cease, the time of their correction by Christ being now come.
The Epistle may be deuided into these parts: the first, of Christes excellencie aboue the Prophets, Angels, Moyses, and Iosue, c. 1. 2. 3. 4. The second, of his priesthood and excellencie thereof aboue the Priesthood of the old Testament: c. 5. vnto the middest of the 10. The last part is of exhortation c. 10. v. 9. to the end of the Epistle.