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Adam diminished, and made less than angels, and therein depressed from another state and condition than that he had, or was due to him? or how can this be said of mankind in general, or of believers in a special sense ? And how could this be spoken of them for a little while, seeing the nature of man in itself considered, is for ever beneath the angelical. Again, if the apostle's interpretation be allowed, that expression, “ he hath put all things under his feet,” is universal, and extends to all the works of God's hands, and among them the world to come ; and these were never put in subjection to Adam, nor any other man, the man Christ Jesus excepted. And this also tlie apostle plainly avers, ver. 8. so that the scope of the place, context of the words, and importance of the expression, do all direct is unto the Messiah, and to him alone.
4. The uncertainty and mutual contradictions, yea, self-contradictions, of the most who apply the words of the psalmist directly unto any other but Christ, may serve further to fix us unto this interpretation, which is liable to none of those inconveniences which they cast themselves upon. Some would have a double literal sense in the words; the one principal, relating unto Adam, or man in general ; the other less principal, or subordinate, respecting Christ, which is upon the matter to affirm, that the words have no sense at all. For those words which have not one certain determinate sense, as those have not, which have two, have indeed no true proper sense at all ; for their sense is their determinate signification of any thing. Some would have the literal sense to respect mankind in general, and what is affirmed in them to be mystically applied unto Christ. How far this is from truth, we have already declared, by shewing that the words cannot so in any measure be verified or made good. By man, some understand Adam in his integrity ; but how he can be called the son of man, I know not. Besides, how was his honour, not to be thought of or mentioned, without the remembrance of his sin and shameful fall, such a cause of rejoicing and exaltation unto the psalmist ?-Some, man in his corrupted condition ; which, how far he is from the things here mentioned, need not be declared. Can we suppose the apostle would prove the subjection of the world to come unto Christ, by a testimony principally respecting them who have no interest in it. Some, believers as restored in Christ, which is true c01sequentially, and in respect of participation, Rev. ii. 26, 27. but not antecedently unto the investiture of the honour that they are made partakers of in the person of Christ. Besides, which is the great absurdity of this interpretation, they all atfirm, that the same words are used to express and confirm things directly contrary and adverse unto one another. For those words in the psalmist, “ Thou hast made him little less than the angels,” they would have to signify the exaltation of man in his creation, being made nigh unto, and little less than angels; and in the application of them by the apostle to Christ, they acknowledge, that they denote depression, minoration, humiliation, or exinanition. How the same words, in the same place, can express contrary things, prove the exaltation of one, and the depression of another, is very hard, if not impossible to be understood. Besides, they are compelled to interpret the same phrase in divers senses, as well as the same sentence in contrary ; for those words in the Psalmist, Bexxu th, as applied unto man, they make to denote quanlity or quality, as unto Christ, lime or duration ; which that in the same place, they cannot do both, is needless to prove. But, as we said, our exposition is wholly free from these entanglements, answering the words of the Psalmist, and suited to the words and context of the apostle throughout.
Schlictingius, or Crellius, in his comment on these words, would fain lay hold of an objection against the deity of Christ. P. 112. Hinc videmus, saith he, cum D. Author adeo solicite laboret, et Scriptura dictis pugnet, eum qui angelis fucrit ratione na. turæ minor, nempe Christum, debuisse suprema gloria ct honore coronari, angelosque dignitate longe superare; nec ipsi Authori nec cuipiam Christianorum ad quos scribit, divinæ præter hunanam in Christo nalure in mentoni vcuisse, nam si hunc in Christo agnorissent, nullo negotio ctiam Christum angclis longe præstare, naturamque humanam ei minime obstare vidissent: quid quæso tanto molimine, luntoque argumentorum apparatu ad rem omnibus aperiissimai persuadendam opus fuisset ? Quid argumentis aliunde conquisilis laborat author, cun uno iclil, unica nalura istills divine mentione rem totam conficere potuissel? The whole ground of this fallacy, lies in a supposition that the apostle treateth of the person of Christ absolutely, and in himself considered, which is evidently false. He speaks of him in respect of the office be underwent, as the Viediator of the new covenant; in which respect he was both made less than the angels, not only on the account of his nature, but of the condition wherein he discharged his duty, and also made, or exalted above them, by grant from his Father; whereas, in his divine nature, he was absolutely and infinitely so, from the instant of the creation. And whereas those to whom he wrote, did hear that he was in the discharge of his office, for a little while made much lower than the angels, it was not in vain for him to prove by arguments and testimonies, that in the execution of the same office, he was also exalted above them, that part of his work being finished for which he was made lower than they for a season. And most needful it was for him so to do in respect of the Hebrews, who, boasting in the ministry of angels in the giving of the law,
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were to be convinced of the excellency of the Author of the gospel, as such, in the discharge of his work, above them. And the express mention of his divine nature, was in this place altogether needless and improper. Nor would it have proved the thing that he intended; for how easy had it been for the Jews to have replied, that notwithstanding that, they saw in how low an outward condition he ministered upon the earth, and therefore that would not prove his exaltation above angels in the discharge of his office, seeing notwithstanding that he was evidently made lower than they in that office. It would also have been improper for him in this place to have made any mention thereof, seeing the proof of the excellency of his person, absolutely considered, was nothing unto the business he had now in hand. And it was likewise every way needless, he having so abundantly proved and vindicated his divine nature in the chapter fore. going. Now, to take an argument against a thing from the apostle's silence of it in one place, where the mention of it was improper, useless and needless, he having fully expressed the same matter elsewhere, yea, but newly before, is an evidence of a bad, or barren cause. Of the like importance is that which he afterwards adds, p. 15. Quemadmodum autem Jesus homo rerus, et naturali conditione cateris hominibus similis esse debuit ; neque enim eorum servator est, qui natura et dii sunt et homines, sed hominum tantum. For we shall demonstrate, that it was needful he should have a divine nature, who was to suffer and to save them, who had only a human. And if this man had acknowledged that end and effect of his suffering, without which we know it would have been of no advantage unto them for whom he suffered, he also would believe the same.
We say not any thing of the sense of the Jews on this place of the psalmist. They seem wholly to have lost the design of the Holy Ghost in it, and therefore, in their accustomed manner, to embrace fables and trisles. The Talmudists ascribe those words, “ What is man !" unto some of the angels, expressing their envy and indignation at his honour upon his first creation. The later doctors, as Kimchi and Aben Ezra, make application of it unto man in general, wherein they are followed by too many Christians, unto whom the apostle had been a better guide. But we may here also see what is farther tendered unto us for our instruction : As,
I. The respect, care, love and grace of God unto mankind, expressed in the person and mediation of Jesus Christ, is a matter of singular and eternal admiration. We have before shewed, from the words of the psalmist, that such in general is the condescension of God, to have any regard of man, considering the infinite excellency of the property of his nature, as manifested in his great and glorious works. That now proposed, fol
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loweth from the apostle's application of the psalmist's words, unto the person of Christ ; and consequently the regard of God unto us in his mediation. And this is such, as that the apostle tells us, that at the last day it shall be his great glory, that he will be admired in all them that do believe, 2 Thess. i. 10. When the work of his grace shall be fully perfected in and towards them, then the glory of his grace appeareth, and is magnified for ever. This is that which the admiration of the psalmist tends to, and rests in. That God should so regard the nature of man, as to take it into union with himself in the person of his Son; and in that nature humbled and exalted, to work out the salvation of all them that believe on him. There are other ways wherein the respect of God towards man doth appear, even in the effects of his holy wise providence over him. *He causeth his sun to shine, and his rain to fall upon him," Matt. v. 45. He " leaves not himself without witness towards us, in that he doth good, and gives us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness," Acts xiv. 17. And these ways of his providence are singularly admirable. But this way of his grace towards us in the person of his Son, assuming our nature into union with himself, is that wherein the exceeding and unspeakable riches of his glory and wisdom are made manifest. So the apostle expresseth it, Eph. i. 17-23. He hath that to declare unto them, which, because of its greatness, glory and beauty, they are no way able of themselves to receive or comprehend. And therefore he prays for them, that they may have the Spirit of wisdom and revelation to give them the knowledge of Christ; or that God by his Spirit would make them wise to apprehend, and give them a gracious discovery of what he proposeth to them; as also that herehy they may enjoy the blessed effect of an enlightened understanding, without which they will not discern the excellency of this matter. And what is it, that they must thus be helped, assisted, prepared for to understand, in any measure? What is the greatness, the glory of it, that can no otherwise be disceryed ? Why, saith he, marvel not at the necessity of this preparation ; that which I propose unto you, is the glory of God; that wherein he will principally be glorified, here and unto eternity; and it is the riches of that glory, the treasures of it. God hath in other things set forth and manifested his glory, but yet as it were by parts and parcels : one thing hath declared his power, another his goodness and wisdom; and that in part, with reference to that particular about which they have been exercised. But in this, he hath drawn forth, displayed, manifested all the riches and treasures of his glory, so that his excellencies are capable of no greater exaltation. And there is also in this work, the unspeakable greatness of his power engaged, that no pro
perty of his nature may seem to be uninterested in this matter. Now, whereunto doth all this tend? Why, it is all to give a blessed and eternal inheritance to believers, unto the hope and expectation whereof they are called by the gospel. And by what way or means is all this wrought and brought about? even by the working of God in Jesus Christ in his humiliation, when he died; and his exaltation, in his resurrection, putting all things under his feet, crowning him with glory and honour, which the apostle shews by a citation of this place of the psalnist; for all this is out of God's regard unto man, it is for the church, which is the body of Christ, and his fulness. So full of glory, such an object of eternal admiration, is this work of the love and grace of God, which, as Peter tells us, the very angels themselves desire to look into, 1 Pet. i. 12. And this further appears,
First, Because all God's regard of man in this way, is a fruit of mere sovereign grace and condescension. And all grace is admirable, especially the grace of God; and that so great grace, as the Scripture expresseth it. There was no consideration of any thing, without God himself, that moved him hereunto. He had glorified himself, as the psalmist shews, in other works of his hands; and he could have rested in that glory. Man deserved no such thing of him, being worthless and sinful. It was all of grace, both in the head and members. The human nature of Christ neither did, nor could, merit the hypostatical union. It did not, because, being made partaker of it from the instant of his conception, all anteccdent operations that might procure it, were prevented; and a thing cannot be merited by any, after it is freely granted antecedently to any deserts. Nor could it do so: hypostatical union could be no reward of obedia ence, being that which exceeds all the order of things, and rules of remunerative justice. The assumption then of our na. ture into personal union with the Son of God, was an act of mere, free, sovereign, inconceivable grace. And this is the foun. dation of all the following fruits of God's regard unto us; and that being of grace, so must they be also. Whatever God doth for us, in and by Jesus Christ, as made man for us, which is all that he so doth, it must, I say, be all of grace, because his being made man was so. Had there been any merit, any desert on our part, any preparation for, or disposition unto the effects of this regard; had our nature, that portion of it which was sanctified and separated to be united unto the Son of God, any way procured, or prepared itself for its union and assumption, things had fallen under some rules of justice and equality, whereby they might be apprehended and measured; but all being of grace, they leave place unto nothing but eternal admiration and thankfulness,