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the only begotten Son of God; but no where the first-born, or first-begotten. And in respect of the latter, indeed, he is called the first-begotten Son of the virgin, because she had none before him, but not absolutely the first-born, or first-begotten, which title is here and elsewhere ascribed unto him in the Scripture. It is not therefore the thing itself, of being the first-born, but the dignity and privilege that attended it, which are designed in this appellation. So, Col. i. 15. he is said to be mQWTOTOXOS T&TYS XTOosws, the first-born of the creation,' which is no more, but he that hath power and authority over all the creatures of God.
The word which the apostle intends to express is 7992, which oft-times is used in the sense now pleaded for, namely, to denote not the birth in the first place, but the privilege that belonged thereto. So Psal. Ixxxix. 27. God is said to make David his 7102, his first-born,' which is expounded in the next words, « higher than the kings of the earth.” So that the Lord Christ being the first-born, is but the same which we have insisted on, of his being heir of all, which was the privilege of the first-born. And this privilege was sometimes transmitted unto others that were not the first-born, although the natural course of their nativity could not be changed, Gen. xxi. 10. ch. xlix. 3, 4. 8. The Lord Christ then, by the appointment of the Father, being entrusted with the whole inheritance of heaven and earth, and with authority to dispose of it, that he might give out portions to all the rest of God's family, is, and is called, the first-born thereof.
There remains now but one word more to be considered for the opening of this introduction of the ensuing testimony, and that is diyei, he saith ;' that is, “God himself saith : they are his words which shall be produced. Whatever is spoken in the Scripture in his name, it is his speaking, and he continueth to speak it unto this day. He speaks in the Scripture unto the end of the world. This is the foundation of our faith, that which it riseth from, and that which it is resolved into -God speaketh. And I suppose we need no interposition of church or tradition, to give authority or credit unto what he says or speaks.
This then is the suin of these words of the apostle :-Again, in another place, where the Holy Ghost foretels the bringing forth into the world, and amongst men, him that is the Lord and Heir of all, to undertake his work, and to enter into his kingdom and glory, the Lord speaks to this purpose, “ Let all the angels of God worship him.”
To manifest this testimony to be apposite unto the confirmation of the apostle's assertion, three things are required.
1. That it is the Son who is intended and spoken of in the place from whence the words are taken, and so designed as the person to be worshipped.
2. That they are angels that are spoken unto, and command. ed to worship him.
3. That on these suppositions, the words prove the pre-eminence of Christ above the angels.
For the two former, with them that acknowledge the divine authority of this Epistle, it is sufficient in general to give them satisfaction. The place is applied unto Christ, and this passage unto the ministering angels, by the same Spirit who first wrote that Scripture. But yet there is room left for our inquiry how these things may be evidenced, whereby the strength of the apostle's reasonings with them who were not yet convinced of the infallibility of his assertions, any farther than they were confirmed by testimonies out of the Old Testament, and the faith of the ancient church of the Hebrews in this matter, may be made to appear : as also a check given to their boldness, who upon pretence of the impropriety of these allegations, have questioned the authority of the whole Epistle.
And our first inquiry must be, whence this testimony is taken. Many of the ancients, as Epiphanius, Theodoret, Euthymius, Procopius, and Anselm, conceive the words to be cited from Deut. xxxii. 43. where they expressly occur in the translation of the LΧΧ. Ευφρανθητε ερανοι αμα αυτό, και προσκυνήσατωσαν αυτω πανTES gye2o. Ois, • Rejoice ye heavens with him, and let all the angels of God worship him.' But there are two considerations that put it beyond all pretensions that the words are not taken from this place of the LXX.
1. Because indeed there are no such words in the original text, nor any thing spoken that might give occasion to the sense expressed in them; but that whole verse is inserted in the Greek version quite besides the scope of the place. Now though it may perhaps be safely granted, that the apostles in citing the Scripture of the Old Testament, did sometimes use the words of the Greek translation then in use, yea, though not exact accord. ing to the original, whilst the sense and meaning of the Holy Ghost was retained in them; yet to cite that from the Scripture as the word and testimony of God, which indeed is not therein, nor was ever spoken by God, but by human failure and corruption had crept into the Greek version, is not to be imputed to them. And indeed I no way question, but that this addition unto the Greek text in that place, was made after the apostle had used this testimony. For it is not unlikely, but that some considering of it, and not considering from whence it was taken, because the words occur not absolutely and exactly in the Geeek any where, inserted it into that place of Moses, amidst other words of a similar sound, nd somewhat alike in import; such as immediately precede and collow the clause inserted.
2. The Holy Ghost is not treating in that place about the introduction of the first-born into the world, but about quite
that this testimony is evidently not taken from this place, nor would, nor could the apostle make use of a testimony liable to such just exceptions.
Later expositors generally agree, that the words are taken out of Psal. xcvii. 7. where the original is rendered by the LXX. προσκυνήσατε αυτο παντες αγγελοι αυτ8, which, with a very small variation in the words, and none at all in the sense, is here expressed by the apostle, “ And let all the angels of God worship him."
The Psalm hath no title at all in the original, which the Greek version noteth, affirming that it is ανεπιγραφος παρ' Εβραιοις ; but it adds one of its own, namely, fanplos Tw AdBid óre yn 'UTY xabartaTO, "A Psalm of David, when his land was restored.' Hence it is referred by some to the time of his return unto Jerusalem, after he had been expelled the kingdom by Absalom ; by others, with more probability, to the time of his bringing the ark into the tabernacle from the house of Obed-edom, when the land was quieted before him. And unquestionably in it, the kingdom of God was shadowed out under the type of the kingdom of Da. vid ; which kingdom of God was none other but that of the Messiah.
It is evident that this Psalm is of the same nature with that which goes before, yea a part of it, or an appendix unto it. The first words of this take up and carry on what is affirmed in the tenth verse, or close of that ; so that both of them are but one continued Psalm of praise. Now the title of that Psalm, and consequently this, is 077 7'0", " A new Song,' which Psalms, as Rashi confesseth, are to be referred to the world to come, that is, to the time and kingdom of the Messiah. So Kimchi affirms, that this Psalm, and that following, respect the time when the people shall be delivered from the captivity out of all nations, that is the time of the Messiah. And Rakenati affirms, that the last verse of it, “ He cometh to judge the earth,” can respect nothing but the coming and reign of the Messiah. Thus they, out of their traditions.
Some of the ancients, I confess, charge them with corrupting this Psalm in the version of the 10th verse, affirming that the words sometimes were ó xugros eßariasucev OTO Ty Lune, • The Lord reigned from the tree,' denoting, as they say, the cross. So Justin Martyr, in his Dialogue with Trypho. And after him the same words are recorded by Tertullian, Ad. Judæ. cap. 10. Ad. Marci. lib. 3. and Augustin. Enarr. in Psal. xcv. And though the fraud and corruption pretended be improbable, indeed
27 Trypho. Ya he cross. S. Lord
impossible, nor are the words mentioned by Justin acknowledged by the Targum, or any Greek translator, or Hierome ; yet it is evident, that all parties granted the Messiah and his kingdom to be intended in the Psalın, or there had been no need or colour for the one to suspect the other of corruption about it. It is then evident, that the ancient church of the Jews, whose tradition is herein followed by the modern, acknowledged this Psalm to contain a description of the kingdom of God in the Messiah, and on their consent doth the apostle proceed. And the next Psalı, which is of the same import with this, is entitled by the Targumist, 178121 Snavn, - A Prophetical Psalm,' namely of the kingdom and reign of the Messiah.
But the matter of the Psalm itself makes it manifest, that the Holy Ghost treateth in it about God's bringing in the first-born into the world, and the setting up of his kingdom in him. A kingdom is described, wherein God would reign, which should destroy idolatry and false worship; a kingdom wherein the isles of the Gentiles should rejoice, being called to an interest therein; a kingdom that was to be preached, proclaimed, declared unto the increase of light and holiness in the world, with the manifestation of the glory of God unto the ends of the earth; every part whereof declareth the kingdom of Christ to be intended in the Psalm, and consequently that it is a prophecy of the bringing in of the first-begotten into the world.
2. Our second inquiry is, whether the angels be intended in these words. They are, as was before observed, nahaha, omnes dii ; and are so rendered by Hicrome, Adorate eum omnes dii; and by ours, Worship him all ye gods. The preceding words are, Confounded be all they that serve graven images, 0959783 09577027, that beast themselves in, or of idols ; vanities, nothings, as the word signifies: whereon ensues this apostrophe, Worship him, on778-52, all'ye gods. And who they are, is our present inquiry.
Some, as all the modern Jews, say, that it is the gods of the Gentiles, those whom they worship, that are intended; so making 1 x and 0950sx, gods and vain idols, to be the same in this place: But,
1. It cannot be, that the Psalmist should exhort the idols of the heathen, some whereof were devils, some dead men, some inanimate parts of the creation, unto a reverential worshipping of God reigning over all. Hence the Targumist, seeing the vanity of that interpretation, perverts the words, and renders them, • Worship before him all ye nations which serve idols.'
2. 0973x, Elohim, is so far in this place from being exegetical of 13058, gods, or vain idols, that it is put in direct opposition to it, as is evident from the words themselves.
3. The word Elohim, which most frequently denoteth the true
God, doth never alone, and absolutely taken, signify false gods or idols, but only when it is joined with some other word discovering its application; as his god, or their gods, or the gods of this or that people ; in which case it is rendered by the LXX. sometimes sidwoy, an idol, sometimes yes [O064709, an idol made with hands, sometimes Borsuaque, an abomination ; but here it hath no such limitation or restriction.
Whereas therefore there are some creatures, who by reason of some peculiar excellency and likeness unto God, or subordination unto him in his work, are called gods, it must be those, or some of them that are intended in the expression ; now these are ei. ther magistrates or angels.
First, Magistrates are somewhere called Elohim, because of the representation they make of God in his power, and their peculiar subordination unto him in their working. The Jews indeed contend, that no other magistrates but only those of the Great Sanhedrim are any where called gods; but that concerns not our present inquiry. Some magistrates are so called, but none of them are here intended by the Psalmist, there being no occasion administered unto him of any such apostrophe unto them.
Secondly, Angels also are called Elohim, Asy ouesvou Otos, 1 Cor. viii. 5. They have the name of God attributed unto them, as we have shewed before in some instances. And these alone are they whom the Psalmist speaks to. Having called on the whole creation to rejoice in the bringing forth of the kingdom of God, and pressed his exhortation upon things on the earth, he turns to the ministering angels, and calls thein to the discharge of their duty unto the king of that kingdom. Hence the Targumist in the beginning of Psal. xcvi. which is indeed the beginning of this, expressly mentioneth x2179 522x, his high angels, joining in his praise and worship, using the Greek word ayyidos, for distinction sake ; as on the same account it often occurs in the Targum.
We have thus evinced, that the Psalın treats about the bringing in of the first-born into the world ; as also that they are the ministering angels who are here commanded to worship him.
For the command itself, and the nature of it, it consisted in these two things. 1. A declaration of the state and condition of the Messiah, which is such, as that he is a meet object of religious adoration unto the angels, and attended with peculiar motives to the discharge of their duty. The former he hath from his divine nature, the latter from his work, with his state and dignity that ensued thereon, 2. An intimation of the pleasure of God to the angels, not that divine worship was absolutely due to the Son of God, which they knew from the first instant of their creation ; but that all honour and glory were due to him on the ac