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1. That God employeth his angels and heavenly ministers in
thunder ,אש להט ,and fire רוחות ,the production of those winds
and lightening, whereby he executeth many judgments in the world.
2. A note of similitude may be understood to complete the sense, which is expressed in the Targum on the Psalm : He maketh,' or sendeth, "his angels like the winds, or like a flaming fire ;' maketh them speedy, spiritual, agile, powerful, quickly and effectually accomplishing the work that is appointed unto them.
Either way this is the plain intention of the Psalm, that God useth and employeth his angels in effecting the works of his providence here below, and that they were made to serve the providence of God in that way and manner. This, saith the apostle, is the testimony which the Holy Ghost gives concerning them, their nature, duty and work wherein they serve the providence of God. But now, saith he, consider what the Scripture saith concerning the Son, how it calls him God, how it ascribes a throne and a kingdom unto him, (testimonies whereof he produceth in the next verses), and you will easily discern his pre-eminence above them.
But before we proceed to the consideration of the ensuing testimonies, we may make some observations on that which we have already passed through: as,
I. Our conceptions of the angels, their nature, office and work, is to be regulated by the Scripture.
The Jews of old had many curious speculations about angels, wherein they greatly pleased, and greatly deceived themselves. Wherefore the apostle, in his dealing with them, calls them off from all their foolish imaginations, to attend to those things which God hath revealed in his word concerning them. This the Holy Ghost saith of them, and therefore this we are to receive and believe, and this alone: For,
1. This will keep us unto that becoming sobriety in things above us, which the Scripture greatly commends, and which is exceedingly suited to right reason. The Scripture minds us, un irip Covery tag • 08. Qgovery, adace Oloysiv sIS TO OWO poveis, Rom. xii. 3. " To keep ourselves within the bounds of modesty, and to be wise to sobriety. And the rule of that sobriety is given us for ever, Deut. xxix. 28. 1399237 233 0323771 939758 7717703 0700377, “ Secret things belong to the Lord our God, but revealed things to us and our children.” Divine revelation is the rule and measure of our knowledge in these things, and that bounds and determines our sobriety. And hence the apostle, condenining the curiosity of men in this very subject about angels, makes the nature of their sin to consist in exceeding these bounds, by an inquiry into things unrevealed; and he makes the rise of that evil to lie in pride, vanity and fleshliness, and the tendency of it to be unto false worship, superstition and idolatry, Col. ii. 18. Neither is there any thing more averse from right reason, nor more condemned by wise men of former times, than a curious humour of prying into those things wherein we are not concerned; and for whose investigation we have no certain, honest, lawful rule or medium. And this evil is increased where God himself hath given bounds to our inquiries, as in this case he hath.
2. This alone will bring us unto any certainty and truth. While men indulge their own imaginations and fancies, as too many in this matter have been apt to do, it is sad to consider low they have wandered up and down, and with what fond conceits they have deceived themselves and others. The world hath been filled with monstrous opinions and doctrines about angels, their nature, offices and employments: some have worshipped them, others pretended I know not what communion and intercourse with them ; in all which conceits there hath been little of truth, and nothing at all of certainty. Whereas if men, according to the example of the apostle, would keep themselves to the word of God, as they would know enough in this matter for the discharging of their own duty, so they would have assurance and evidence of truth in their conceptions, without which pretended high and raised notions, are but a shadow of a dream, worse than professed ignorance.
II. We may hence observe, That the glory, honour and exaltation of angels, lies in their subserviency to the providence of God. It lies not so much in their nature, as in their work and service. The intention of the apostle is to shew the glory of angels and their exaltation, which he doth by the induction of this testimony, reporting their serviceableness in the works wherein they are employed by God. God hath endowed the angels with a very escellent nature; furnished them with many eminent properties of wisdom, power, agility, perpetuity ; but yet what is thus glorious and honourable herein, consists not merely in their nature itself, and in its essential properties, all which abide in the horridest and most to be detested part of the whole creation, namely, the devils; but in their conformity and answerableness unto the mind and will of God, that is in their moral, not merely natural endowments. These make them ami. able, glorious, excellent. Unto this their readiness for and compliance with the will of God, that God having made them for his service, and employing them in his work, their discharge of their duty therein, with cheerfulness, alacrity, readiness and ability, is that whiclı renders them truly honourable and glorious. Their readiness and ability to serve the providence of God, is their glory.
1. The greatest glory that any creature can be made partaker of, is to serve the will, and set forth the praise of its Creator. That is its order and tendency towards its principal end, in which two, all true honour consists. It is glorious even in the angels to serve the God of glory; what is there above this for a creature to aspire to ? what that its nature is capable of ? · Those among the angels, who, as it seems, attempted somewhat farther, somewhat higher, attained nothing but an endless ruin in shame and misery. Men are ready to fancy strange things about the glory of angels, and do Jitile consider, that all the difference in glory that is in any of the parts of God's creation, lies merely in willingness, ability and readiness to serve God their Creator.
2. The works wherein God employs them in a subservience to his providence, are in an especial manner glorious works. For the service of angels, as it is intimated unto us in the Scripture, it may be reduced to two heads. For they are employed either in the communication of protection and blessings to the church, or in the execution of the vengeance and judgments of God against his enemies. Instances to both these purposes may be multiplied ; but they are commonly known. Now these are glorious works. God in them eminently exalts his mercy and justice, the two properties of his nature, in the execution whereof he is most eminently exalted; and from these works ariseth all that revenue of glory and praise which God is pleased to reserve to himself from the world; so that it must needs be very honourable to be employed in these works.
3. They perform their duty in their service in a very glorious manner, with great power, wisdom, and uncontrollable efficacy. Thus one of them slew 145,000 of the enemies of God in a night; another destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah with fire from heaven. Of the like power and expedition are they in all their services; in all things to the utmost capacity of creatures answering the will of God. God himself, it is true, sees that in them, and in their works, which keeps them short of absolute purity and perfection, which are his own properties; but as to the capacity of mere creatures, and for their state and condition, there is a perfection in their obedience, and that is their glory.
Now, if this be the great glory of angels, and we poor worms of the earth are invited as we are into a participation with them therein, what unspeakable folly will it be in us, if we be found negligent in labouring to attain thereunto. Our future glory consists in this, that we shall be made like unto angels; and our way towards it is to do the will of our Father on earth, as it done by them in heaven. O in how many vanities doth vain man place his glory! Nothing so shameful that one or ather hath not gloried in, while the true and only glory of do.
ing the will of God, is neglected by almost all. But we must treat again of these things upon the last verse of this chapter.
Ver. 8, 9.-Having given an account of what the Scripture teacheth and testifieth concerning angels, in the following verses he sheweth how much other things, and far more glorious, are spoken to and of the Son, by whom God revealed his will in the gospel.
Tipos de toy ulov, but unto the Son. Syr. 798 797 872 hy, but of the Son he saith ; which is necessarily supplied as to the apostle's design. In the Psalm, the words are spoken by way of apostrophe to the Son; and they are recited by the apostle as spoken of him; that is, so spoken to him as to continue a description of him and his state or kingdom.
o poros cov OLOS 6.5 TOV GWYUL TOU diwos, Psal. xlv. 7. is the place from whence the words are taken. 70 BSW nbx 70). The LXX. render these words as the apostle. Aquila, • Qgovog rou Ou sus alioyce xeo sto: Or, for ó 0:05. Thy throne o God for ever and yet. Symmachus, ó dgovos cou ó O:05, obwios xolo &ti, Thy throne
O God is everlasting and yet ; and that because it is not said ow, but Sw, absolutely, ó Osos, Ost, as in the translation of Aquila.
NDƏ is a kingly throne ; nor is it ever used in Scripture for av , a common scat. Metonymically it is used for power and government, and that frequently. The LXX. almost constantly render it by θρονος, and θρονος is ελευθεριος καθεδρα συν υποποδια,
Athena, lib. 5. • A free open seat with a footstool. And such a throne is here properly assigned unto the Lord Christ, mention' of his footstool being immediately subjoined. So God says of himself, “ Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool ;" as the heathen termed heaven, Anos Egovor, the throne of God.
Thy throne, O God, 79 obw, In scculum et usque ; in sempia ternum et perpetuo ; in seculum seculorum. The duration denota ed by the conjunction of both these words, is mostly an absolute perpetuity, and a certain uninterrupted continuance, where the subject spoken of admits a limitation. Many of the Greek interpreters render 79 by sti, attending to the sound rather than
the use and signification of the word; so is yet in our language. This we express by for ever and ever.
'Paldos sudutntos Miguedos Bæriasies cov; the variation of iú Bdos in the first place before mentioned, takes off from the elegance of the expression, and darkens the sense; for the article prefix. ed to the last pæ@dos declares that to be the subject of the proposition.
.שבט מישר שבט מלכותך ,The words of the Psalmist are'
Shebet is Virga and Sceptrum, and in this place it is rendered by Aquila, ointtgov, a rod, a staff, a sceptre ; always a sceptre when referred to rule, as in this place it is called, the sceptre of the kingdom.'
A sceptre, 709, from 90°, rectus fuit, to be right, straight; upright principally in a moral sense : sv@vintos, of uprightness. Evdvīns is properly such a rectitude as we call straight, opposed to crooked ; and metaphorically only is it used for moral uprightness, that is, equity and righteousness. Syr. Nowa XbIU. Boderianus, Sceptrum erectum, a sceptre lifted up, or held upright.' The Paris edition, Sceptrum protensum, ' a sceptre stretched out;' and the stretching out of the sceptre was a sign and token of mercy, Esth. v. 2. Tremellius, Virga recta, which answers mischor in both its acceptations. Erpenius to the same purpose, Sceptrum rectum, ' a right sceptre.'
T'hou hast loved righteousness and haled Yv7, avopsev, edixir, iniquily, unrighteousness, wickedness ; duce 78T0, 12-hy, propterea, propter quod, quare, ideo, idcirco ; wherefore, for which cause.' Some copies of the LXX. and Aquila, read 16 TYTW, so that dise 7850 seems to have been taken into the LXX. from this rendering of the words by the apostle.
Exerre os ó Osos ó los or endlov sykdo&rews, 70773x 04758 770 how yow, God, thy God, hath anointed thee. The words in Greek and Hebrew are those from whence the names of Christ and Messiah are taken, which are of the same import and signification, the anointed One. And the same is expressed by the Targumist. Aquila has exacte.
Hath anointed thee, ελαιον αγαλλιάσεως, the instrument in doing of the thing intended, expressed by the accusative case; whereof there are other instances in that language. Of old the LXX. read breww ayncome, with the oil of delight, or ornament;' so that tresor ayanaocoons came also into the Greek version from this place of the apostle, and is more proper than the old reading, the oil of rejoicing, joy or gladness.
Nagu T8S METOX85 сov, 77279, before, or above those that par. take with thee : thy fellows, or companions. So Symmachus, tous STHICOUs rou