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God so nigh unto them as they had. And yet that nearness which he insisted on, was but that of his institutions, and some visible pledges and representations therein of his presence among them. Now, the considerations of this real and spiritual nearness to himself, into which God hath taken us by Jesus, must needs be much more cogent to the same purpose. All that we do, we do it immediately unto this holy God; not only under his eye, and in his presence, but in an especial and immediate relation unto him by Jesus Christ.
Ver. 6.–Tue apostle hath shewed, that the world to come, which the Judaical church looked for, was not made subject to angels, no mention of any such thing being made in the Scripture. That which he assumes to make good his assertion of the pre-eminence of the Lord Jesus above the angels, is, that unto him it was put in subjection. And this he doth not expressly alfirm in words of his own, but insinuateth in a testimony out of the Scripture, which he citeth and urgeth unto that purpose. And this way he proceedeth, for these two ends : 1. To evidence that what he taught was suitable unto the faith of the church of old, and contained in the oracles committed unto it; which was his especial way of dealing with these Hebrews. 2. That he might, from the words of that testimony, take occasion to obviate a great objection against the dignity of Christ, and the mysteries of the gospel, taken from his humiliation and death, and thereby make way to a farther explication of many other parts or acts of his mediation. Many difficulties there are in the words and expressions of these verses, more in the apostle's application of the testimony by him produced, unto the person and end by him intended; all which, God assisting, we shall endeavour to remove : and to that end shall consider,
1. The way and manner of his introducing this testimony, which is peculiar.
2. The testimony itself produced; with an explication of the meaning and importance of the words, in the place from whence it is taken,
3. The application of it unto the apostle's purpose, both as to the person intended, and as to the special end aimed at. And,
4. Farther unfold what the apostle adds about the death and sufferings of Christ, as included in this testimony, though not intended as to the first use and design of it. And,
5. Vindicate the apostle's application of this testimony, with our explication of it accordingly, from the objections that some have made against it. All which we shall pass through, as they present themselves into us in the text itself.
I. The manner of his citing this testimony is somewhat peculiar; “One testified in a certain place;” neither person nor
place being specified, as though he had intended, 91738 vyha, 'a certain person,' whoin he would not name. But the reason of it is plain; both person and place were sufliciently known to them to whom he wrote. And the Syriac translation changeth the expression in the text into, but as the Scripture witnesseth and saith,' without cause. The Hebrews were not ignorant whose words they were which he made use of, nor where they were recorded. The one there mentioned is David, and the certain place is the eighth Psalm, whereof much need not to be
added. A Psalm it is, n18997 nibnin, of the high praises of · God;' and such Psalms do mostly, if not all of them, respect
the Messiah and his kingdom, as the Jews themselves acknowledge. For the time of the composure of this Psalm, they have a conjecture which is not altogether improbable ; namely, that it was in the night, whilst he kept his father's sheep. Hence, in his contemplation of the works of God, he insists on the moon and stars then gloriously presenting themselves unto him, not mentioning the sun which appeared not. So also in the distribution that he makes of the things here below that, amongst others, are made subject unto man, he fixeth in the first place on 1733,flocks of sheep,' which were then peculiarly under his care. So should all the works of God, and those especially about which we are conversant in our particular callings, excite us to the admiration of his glory, and praise of his name; and none are usually more void of holy thoughts of God, than those who set themselves in no way acceptable unto him. This is the place from whence this testimony is taken ; whose special author the apostle omitteth, both because it was sufficiently known, and makes no difference at all whoever was the penman of this or that portion of Scripture, seeing it was all equally given by inspiration from God, whereon alone the authority of it doth depend.
II. The testimony itself is contained in the words following, ver. 6, 7. “ What is man,” &c. Before we enter into a particular explication of the words, and of the apostle's application of them, we may observe that there are two things in general, that lie plain and clear before us: As,
First, That all things whatsoever, are said to be put in subjection unto man; that is, unto human nature, in one or more persons, in opposition unto angels, or nature angelical. To express the former, is the plain design and purpose of the Psalmist, as we shall see. And whereas there is no such testimony any where concerning angels, it is evident, that the meaning of the . word is, unto man, and not unto angels; which the apostle intimates in that adversative de, but ; but of man,' it is said, not of angels.
Secondly, That this privilege was never absolutely nor uni
versally made good in, or unto, the nature of man, but in, or with respect to, the person of Jesus Christ the Messiah. This the apostle calls us to the consideration of, previously unto his application of this testimony in a peculiar manner unto Jesus, ver. 8. “ We see not all things.” Now, there is not any thing absolutely necessary to make good the apostle's reasoning, but what is comprised in these two general assertions, which lie evident in the text, and are acknowledged by all. We shall therefore distinctly consider the testimony itself. The whole of it consists in a contemplation of the infinite love and condescension of God towards man; which is set out, 1. In the manner of the expressing it. 2. In, and by, the words of the expression. 3. In the acts of the mind and will of God, wherein that condescension and grace consisted. And, 4. In the effects thereof, in his dispensation towards him.
First, In the manner of the expression, “ What is man!" by way of admiration, yea, he cries out with a kind of astonishment. The immediate occasion hereof is omitted by the apostle, as not pertinent unto his purpose ; but it is evident in the Psalm. David having exercised his thoughts in the contemplation of the greatness, power, wisdom and glory of God, mani. festing themselves in his mighty works, especially the beauty, order, majesty, and usefulness of the heavens, and those glori. ous bodies which in them present themselves to all the world, falls thereon into this admiration, that this great and infinitely wise God, who by the word of his mouth gave being and existence unto all those things, and thereby made his own excellencies conspicuous to all the world, should condescend unto that care and regard of man, which on this occasion his thoughts fixed themselves upon. “ What is man!” saith he. And this is, or should be, the great use of all our contemplation of the works of God; namely, that considering his wisdom and power in them, we should learn to admire his love and grace in setting his heart upon us, who are every way so unworthy, seeing he might for ever satisfy himself in those other, appearingly more glorious, products of his power and Godhead.
Secondly, He farther expresseth his admiration at this condescension of God in the words that he useth, intimating the low and mean estate of man in his own nature. WX7723, - What is poor miserable mortal man,' obnoxious to grief, sorrow, anxiety, pain, trouble and death! TO ESTIV avdgwtos; but the Greeks have no name for man, fully expressing that here used by the Psalmist. Bgotos cometh nearest it, but is not used in the Scripture. He adds, D78°21, " and the son of man,” of one made of the earth. This name the apostle alludes to, yea expresseth, 1 Cor. xv. 45. 47. “ The first man, Adam, is, ex yns xoiros, of the earth, earthly.” So was it recorded of old, Gen. ii. 7. • The
descension ression, to heightligh degre
Lord God formed, 727877 78 nay 0787, that man Adam, which was the Father of us all, of the dust of the ground;' and so again, Gen. iii. 19. - Poor man! made of the dust of the ground. When the Scripture would express man with reference unto any thing of worth or escellency in him, it calls him, wax; and ws y, are sons of men in place, power and esteem. So these words are distinguished, Psal. Ixii. 9. where we translate, 378 32, sons of Adam, men of low degree;' and wx 2, sons of Ish, “men of high degree. Now, the Psalmist useth this expression, to heighten his admiration at the grace and condescension of God. And as the person of the first Adam cannot be here especially intended; for although he made himself wx, ‘ a miserable man,' and subject unto death, yet was he not 7X72, the son of man,' of any man, for he was of God, Luke iïi. ult. So there is nothing in the words but may properly be ascribed unto the nature of man in the person of the Messiah. For as he was called in an especial manner,
TX12, 'the Son of man ;' so was he made viax, 'a man subject to sorrow,' and acquainted above all men with grief and trouble, and was born on purpose to die. Hence in the contemplation of his own miserable condition, wherein unto the dolorous afflicting passions of human nature, which he had in himself, outward oppositions and reproaches were superadded, he cries out concerning himself, WX257 nyin'5381, Psal. xxii. 7. “ I am a worm, and not ~* a man of any consideration in the world :" 228,- at best.'
Thirdly, He expresseth this condescension of God in the af. fections and acting of his mind towards man ; 137210 , • that thou rememberest him,' or 'art mindful of him.' 'Oto piuruskih auts, that thou shouldst be mindful of him. To remember in the Scripture, when ascribed unto God, always intends some act of his mind, and purpose of his will, and that either for good or evil towards them that are remembered, in a signal manner. So also is remembrance itself used. On this account, God is said sometimes to remember us for good, and sometimes to remember our sins no more. So that it denotes the affection of the mind of God towards any creature for good or evil, attended with the purpose of his will to act towards them accordingly. In the first way it is here used, and so also by Job, ch. vii. :7. 723 7 x niena31 225720 ) VUX-7773, “ What is man that thou shouldst magnify him, that thou shouldst set thine heart upon him ?” that is, remember him, or be mindful of him; set ihine heart upon him for good. The frame of the heart and mind of God towards the nature of man in the per. son of Jesus Christ, in reference unto all the good that he did in it, and by it, is intended in this expression. The whole counsel and purpose of God concerning the salvation of mankind, in
and by the humiliation, exaltation, and whole mediation of the man Christ Jesus, is couched herein.
Fourthly, There are in this condescension the effects of this act of God's mind and will in remembering of man. And they are expressed, 1. Under one general head, and, 2. In particular instances of them.
First, The general effect of God's remembering man, is that he visiteth him, as the same word is used in Job, in the place before mentioned. 7pe, though variously used, yet it constantly denotes the acting of a superior towards an inferior. And though it be often otherwise used, yet commonly it expresseth the acting of God towards his people for good. And in especial is this term of visiting used to express the acting of God in doing of us good, by sending of Jesus Christ to take our nature on him, Luke i. 68. “ He hath risited and redeemed his people.” And to the same purpose, ver. 78. “ The Day-spring from on high hath visited us,” both relating to the acting of God towards us in the person of his Son incarnate : so ch. vii. 16. This term therefore of visiting, doth not precisely design God's acting in the exaltation of him visited, but such an ordering of things towards him, as is attended with great care, grace and love. So was the nature of man in the heart of God to do good unto it, in and by the person of Jesus Christ, and so he acted towards it, or visited it. This is that which was the ground of the Psalmist's admiration, and which will be so in all believers unto eternity. It was not the outward state and condition of mankind in the world, which, since the entrance of sin, is sad and deplorable, that excites this admiration in the Psalmist; but his mind is intent upon the mystery of the grace, wis. dom and love of God in the person of the Messiah.
Ver. 7.--Secondly, The especial instances wherein this visitation of God expressed itself, are contained in ver. 7. and therein referred unto two heads : 1. Man's depression and humiliation. 2. His exaltation and glory.
The first is expressed in these words, “ Thou hast made him lower for a little while than the angels." This was a part of God's visitation ; and though not that which was immediately intended by the apostle, yet that whereof he intends to make great use in his progress. That these words intend not the exaltation of the nature of mere man, as if they should intimate that such is his dignity, that he is made but a little less than angels ; and how destructive that sense is unto the apostle's intention and application of the words, we shall afterwards declare. Three things are here expressed: 1. The act of God, in making of him low, or lessening of him. 2. The measure of that de