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institution. Without this, all that we do is lost, as being no obedience unto God. Yea, it is an open setting up of our own wills and wisdom against him, and that in things of his own especial concernment, which is intolerable boldness and presumption. Let us deal thus with our rulers amongst men, and obey them not according to their laws but our own fancies, and see whether they will accept our persons ? And is the great and holy God less to be regarded ? Besides, when we have our own inventions, or the commands of other men as the ground and reason of our doing any thing, we have nothing but our own or their warrant for its acceptance with God; and how far this will secure us, it is easy to judge.
We might hence also farther observe,
V. That the Mediator of the new covenant is in his own person God blessed forever, to whoin divine or religious worship is due from the angels themselves. As also that,
VI. The Father, upon the account of the work of Christ in the world, and his kingdom that ensued on it, gives a new commandment unto the angels to worship him, his glory being great. ly concerned therein. And that,
VII. Great is the church's security and honour, when the head of it is worshipped by all the angels in heaven. As also
VIII. It can be no duty of the saints of the New Testament to worship angels, who are their fellow servants in the worship of Jesus Christ.
VER. 7.-HAVING in one testimony from the Scripture, expressing the subjection of angels unto the Lord Christ, signally proved his main design, the apostle proceedeth to the farther confirmation of it in the same way, and that by ballancing single testimonies concerning the nature and offices of the angels, with some others concerning the same things in the Lord Christ of whom he treats. And the first of these relating unto angels, he lays down in the next verse. VER. 7.-Kat Kigos pley 786 a[y£285 asysa O moW T8 apyeass
αυτο πνευματα, και τες λειτεργες αντε πυρος φλογα. • There is not much of difficulty in the words : mpos ayye2.86, « unto the angels.' Syr. Non v', 'of or concerning the angels.' box is often used for by, and on the contrary, and teos for wigs, so that orgos T85 dyys8s, to the angels,' is as much as Frigo twy cyrenwy, of or concerning the angels. But as concerning the angels,' or 'and of the angels he saith ;' for these words are not spoken unto the angels, as the following words are directly spoken unto the Son; he is the person as well spoken
to, as spoken of, but so are not the angels in the place from whence this testimony is taken, wherein the Holy Ghost only declareth the providence of God concerning them.”
deyse, he saith, that is, God the Father saith, or the Holy Ghost in the Scripture saith, as was before observed.
T85 21178@y8s. Autreyos, is minister publicus, a' public minister,' or agent, from anetos, which is the same with onplocios, as Hesychius renders it public. He that is employed in any great and public work is auteeyos. Hence, of old magistrates were termed Asitreyou bewy, as they are by Paul, droixovo. Osov, Rom. xiii. 4. “ The ministers of God.” And chap. viii. 2. of this epistle, he calls the Lord Jesus in respect of his priestly office, twy ényes dutoveyou, the public minister of holy things ;' and himself, in respect of his apostleship, astroveyou incou Xeratov, Rom. xv. 16. o a minister of Jesus Christ.”. So the name is on this account aquipollent unto that of angels; for as that denoteth the mission of those spirits unto their work, so doth this their employment therein.
This testimony is taken from Psal. civ. 4. where the words are to the same purpose. 0773 WX 10707 ni7777.70852 wy. The translation now in the Greek is the same with that of the apostle, only for rugos Praya, “a flame of fire, some copies have it tue preyov, a flaming fire,' more express to the original ; and the change probably was made in the copies from this place of the apostle; Symmachus, True naogor, a devouring fire.' Ver. 7.But unto (of) the angels he saith, Who maketh his an.
gels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fore, or faming fire. The apostle here entereth upon his third argument to prove the pre-eminence of the Lord Christ above angels, and that by comparing them together, either as to their natures, or as to their employments, according as the one and the other is set forth, declared and testified to in the Scriptures of the Old Testament. And this first place which he refers unto angels, we shall now explain and vindicate. And in so doing, inquire both who they are of whom the Psalmist speaks, and what it is that he affirmeth of them.
There is a threefold sense given of the words of the Psalmist, as they lie in the Hebrew text.
1. The first is that of the modern Jews, who deny that there is any mention made of angels; affirming the subject that the Psalmist treats of to be the winds, with thunder and lightening, which God employs as his messengers and ministers to accom. plish his will and pleasure. So he made the winds his inessengers when he sent them to raise a storm on Jonah, when he fled from his presence; and a flaming fire his minister, when by it he consumed Sodom and Gomorrab; and this opinion makes n1117, which it interprets winds,' and 073 wx, a flaming fire,' to be the subject of the proposition, of which it is affirmed that God employs them as his messengers and ministers.
That this opinion, which is directly contradictory to the authority of the apostle, is also contrary to the design of the Psalmist, to the sense of the words, to the consent of the ancient Jews, and so no way to be admitted, shall afterwards be made to appear.
2. Some aver that the winds and meteors are principally intended, but yet so, as that God affirming that he makes the winds his messengers, doth also intimate that it is the work and employment of his angels above to be his messengers also ; and that because he maketh use of their ministry to cause those winds and fires, whereby he accomplisheth his will. And this they illustrate by the fire and winds caused by them on mount Sinai, at the giving of the law. .
But this interpretation, whatever is pretended to the contrary, doth not really differ from the former; denying angels to be intentionally spoken of, only hooking in a respect unto them, not to seem to contradict the apostle; and therefore this will be disproved together with that which went before.
3. Others grant, that it is the angels of whom the apostle treats, but as to the interpretation of the words, they are of two opinions.
Some make spirits to be the subject of what is affirmed, and angels to be the predicate. In this sense, God is said to make those spiritual substances inhabitants of heaven his messengers, employing them in his service, and them whose nature is a Haming fire, that is, the seraphims to be his ministers, and to accomplish his pleasure. And this way, after Austin, go many expositors, making the term, angels' here, merely to denote an employment, and not the persons enıployed. But as this interpretation also takes off from the efficacy and evidence of the apostle's argument, so we shall see that there is nothing in the words themselves, which should lead us to embrace it.
It remains therefore, that it is the angels that are here spoken of, as also that they are intended and designed by that name, which denotes their persons and not their employment.
Ist, That angels are primarily intended by the Psalmist, contrary to the first opinion of the modern Jews, and the second mentioned leaning thereunto, appears,
1. From the scope and design of the Psalmist. For designing to set out the glory of God in his works of creation and providence, after he had declared the framing of all things by his power, which come under the name of heaven, ver. 2, 3. before he proceeds to the creation of the earth, passing over, with Moses, the creation of angels, or couching it with him under the production of light, or of the heavens, as they are called in Job; he declareth his providence and sovereignty in employing his angels between heaven and earth, as his servants for the accomplishment of his pleasure. Neither doth it at all suit his method or design, in his enumeration of the works of God, to make mention of the winds and tempests, and their use in the earth, before he had mentioned the creation of the earth itself; which follows in the verse next unto this, so that these senses are excluded by the context of the Psalm.
2. The consent of the ancient Jews lies against the sentiments of the modern; both the old translations either made, or em. braced by them, expressly refer the words unto angels. So doth that of the LXX. as is evident from the words; and so doth the
xanhya xwX 797 7"opn www x777, who maketh his messengers, or angels swift as spirits, and his ministers strong or powerful, as a flaming fire.' The supply of the note of simili. tude makes it evident that they understood the text of angels, and not winds; and of making angels as spirits, and not of making winds to be angels or messengers, which is inconsistent with their words.
3. The word d'Ixbo, doth usually denote the angels them. selves, and no reason can be given why it should not do so in this place.
2d, Moreover it appears that that term is the subject of the proposition. For,
1. The apostle, and the LXX. fixing the articles before anpyinous, and dutx6785, angels' and ministers,' do plainly determine the subject spoken of. For although some variety inay perhaps be observed in the use of articles in other places, so that they do not always determine the subject of the proposition, as sometimes confessedly they do, as John i, 1. iv. 24. yet in this place, where in the original all the words are left indefinitely, without any prefix to direct the emphasis unto any one of them, the fix. ing of them in the translation of the apostle, and LXX. must necessarily design the subject of them, or else by the addition of the article, they leave the sense much more ambiguous than before, and give occasion to a great mistake in the interpretation of the words..
2. The apostle speaks of angels, “ Unto the angels he saith ;" and in all other testimonies produced by him, that whereof he treats, hath the place of the subject spoken of, and not of that which is attributed unto any thing else. Neither can the words be freed from equivocation, if angels in the first place denote the persons of the angels, and in the latter their employinent only.
3. The design and scope of the apostle requires this construc. tion of the words; for his intention is to prove by this testimony, that the angels are employed in such works and services, and in such a manner as that they are no way to be compared to the Son of God, in respect of that office which as mediator he hath undertaken, which the sense and construction contended for, alone doth prove. .
4. The original text requires this sense, for according to the common use of that language, among words indefinitely used, the first denotes the subject spoken of, which is angels here; 017717 73x43 JWY, 'making his angels spirits ;' and in such propositions oft-times some note of similitude is to be understood, without which the sense is not complere, and which, as I have shewed, the Targum supplieth in this place.
From what hath been said, I suppose it is made evident, both that the Psalmist expressly treats of angels, and that the subject spoken of by the apostle is expressed in that word, and that following of ministers.
Our next inquiry is after what is affirmed concerning these angels and ministers spoken of; and that is, that God makes them spirits and a flame of fire. And concerning the meaning of these words, there are two opinions.
First, That the creation of angels is intended in the words; and that the nature whereof they were made is expressed in them. He made them spirits, that is, of a spiritual substance ; and his heavenly ministers, quick, powerful, agile, as a flaning fire. Some carry this sense farther, and affirm that two sorts of angels are intimated; one of an aerial substance like the wind, and the other igneal or fiery; denying all pure intelligences without mixture of matter, as the product of the school of Aristotle..
But this seems not to be the intention of the words; nor is. the creation of the angels, or the substance whereof they consist, here expressed. For,
1 The analysis of the Psalm formerly touched on, requires the referring of these words to the providence of God employing of the angels, and not to his power in making them.
2. The apostle in this place hath nothing to do with the es. sence and nature of the angels, but with their dignity, honour and employment, on which accounts he preferreth the Lord Christ before them. Wherefore,
Secondly, The providence of God, in disposing and employ. ing of angels in his service is intended in these words; and so they may have a double sense.