Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together
Or the episynagogue of one another; which word is used to distinguish Christian assemblies from Jewish synagogues, and to denote the coalition of Jews and Gentiles in one church state, and to express the saints' gathering together to Christ; see ( 2 Thessalonians 2:1 ) and their act of meeting together in some one place to attend his worship, word, and ordinances. Now to "forsake" such assembling, signifies a great infrequency in attending with the saints, a rambling from place to place, and takes in an entire apostasy. It is the duty of saints to assemble together for public worship, on the account of God, who has appointed it, who approves of it, and whose glory is concerned in it; and on the account of the saints themselves, that they may be delighted, refreshed, comforted, instructed, edified, and perfected; and on account of others, that they may be convinced, converted, and brought to the knowledge and faith of Christ; and in imitation of the primitive saints. And an assembling together ought not to be forsaken; for it is a forsaking God, and their own mercies, and such are like to be forsaken of God; nor is it known what is lost hereby; and it is the first outward visible step to apostasy, and often issues in it.
As the manner of some is;
or custom; and this prevailing custom among these Jews might arise from contempt of the Gentiles, or from fear of reproach and persecution: and in our day, this evil practice arises sometimes from a vain conceit of being in no need of ordinances, and from an over love of the world, and from a great declension in the exercise of grace; the consequence of it is very bad. The Jews F1 reckon among those that go down to hell, and perish, and have no part in the world to come, (rwbu ykrdm Myvrwph) , "who separate from the ways of the congregation"; that is, who do not do the duties thereof, attend with it, and fast when that does, and the like:
but exhorting one another;
to prayer, to attend public worship, to regard all the duties of religion, to adhere to Christ, and a profession of him, and to consider him, and walk on in him: or "comforting one another"; by meeting privately together, and conferring about experience, and the doctrines of grace; and by observing to one another the promises of God, relating to public worship; and by putting each other in mind of the bright day of the Lord, that is coming on:
and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching;
either of death, or the last judgment, or rather of Jerusalem's destruction; which at the writing of this epistle was near at hand; and was an affair that greatly concerned these Hebrews; and by various symptoms might be observed by them, as approaching; and which was no inconsiderable argument to engage them to a diligent discharge of their duty; unless the day of darkness, infidelity, and blasphemy in the last days of the world, should be intended, after which will succeed the latter day glory.
F1 T. Bab. Roshhashanah, fol. 17. 1. Maimon. Hilch. Teshuba, c. 3. sect. 6, 11.