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nymy of tbspect of the subst distribution of the heavens is the
come into the public state of matrimony, as by the Greeks on the same account xaloez suctos, one • shut up,' or a recluse,' as the Targumists call a harlot Nia npas, a goer abroad, from that description of her, Prov. vii. 11, 12. 1930
N o naa narra Dyb pinta DYB 77927, 6 her feet dwell not in her own house ; one while she is in the street, another while abroad.” As the mother of the family is called n'ni, “ the dweller at home," Psal. Ixviii. 13. Hence, y signifies the ages of the world in their succession and duration, which are things secret and hidden; what is past is forgotten, what is to come is unknown, and what is present is passing away without much observation. See Eccles. i. 10.
The world then that is visible and a spectacle in itself, in respect of its continuance and duration, is bbw, a'thing hidden.' So that the word denotes the • fabric of the world,' by a metonymy of the adjunct. When the Hebrews would express the world in respect of the substance and matter of the universe, they do it commonly by a distribution of the whole into its most general and comprehensive parts, as the heavens, earth and sea, subjoining, all things contained in them. This the Greeks and Latins, from its order, frame and ornaments, call xoqueos, and mundus, which principally respects that SO 77790, that beauty and ornament of the heavens which God made by his Spirit, Job xxvi. 13. And as it is inhabited by the sons of men, they call it yan, that is, olxxpcern, that is, yg san, Prov. viii. 30. “ The world of the earth," principally the habitable parts of the earth. As “ quickly passing away," they call it 7777; and in respect of its successive duration o n , that is otwev, the word here used.
2. 'Alaves, in the plural number, the worlds,' so called, chap. xi. 3. by a mere enallage of number, as some suppose, or with respect to the many ages of the world's duration. But more. over, the apostle accommodates his expression to the received opinion of the Jews, and their way of expressing themselves about the world. Obw, denotes the world as to the subsistence of it, and as to its duration; in both these respects, the Jews distributed the world into several parts, calling them so many worlds. R. D. Kimchi on Isa. vi. distributes these worlds into three, on the account of which he says, vi7p, holy, was three times repeated by the Seraphim. There are, saith he, nighw owo, three worlds, aw 89777 gobyn Dobry
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heavens and stars ; and havn Bw, this world below.' But in the first respect they generally assign these four, 1. S iya saun, the lower world, the depressed world,' the earth and air in the several regions of it. . 2. QYO777 Bwn, the
world of angels, or ministering spirits, whom they suppose to inbabit high places, where they may superintend the affairs of the earth. 3. Dibakan biy, the world of spheres,' and 4.75yo bw, the highest world,' called by Paul “ the third heaven," 2 Cor. xii. 2. and by Solomon, Diw you, “ the heaven of heavens,” 2 Kings viji. 27. and nown by, Olam hanneshamoth, the world of spirits, or souls departed. In respect of duration they assign a five-fold world. 1. V bbw, called by Peter the “ old world,” or the world before the flood, the world that perished. 2. min sw, the present world," or the state of things under the Judaical church. 3. Bbwy nium 708277, the world of the coming of the Messiah,' or the world to come, as the apostle calls it, chap. ii. 5. 4. 2 Dinan D'in, the world of the resurrection of the dead.' And 5. 7978 W," the prolonged world,' or life eternal. Principally with respect to the first distribution, as also to the duration of the whole world to the last dispensation mentioned in the second, doth the apostle here call it, tous alwas, the worlds.
Thus the apostle having declared the honour of the Son as Mediator, in that he was made “ heir of all,” adds thereto his excellency in himself from his eternal power and godhead, which he not only asserts, but gives evidence to by an argument from the works of creation. And to avoid all straitening thoughts of this work, he expresseth it in terms comprehending the whole creation, in that distribution whereunto it was usually cast by themselves. As John contents not himself by affirming that he made all things, but adds to that assertion, that without him nothing was made that was made, John i. 3.
And this was of old the common faith of the Judaical church. That all things were made, and all things disposed by the Word of God, they all confessed. Evident footsteps of this faith abide still in their Targums. For that by the word of God so often mentioned in them, they did not understand the word of his power, but an hypostasis in the divine nature, is manifest from the personal properties which are every where assigned unto it; as the Word of God did this, said that, thought, went, and the like ; as Psal. Ixviii. 17. they affirm that 5 Word” which, gave the law on Mount Sinai, “ dwells in the highest heavens.” Yea, and they say in Bereschit Rabba, of those words, Gen. i. 2. “The Spirit of God moved on the face of the waters,"
-this is the Spirit of the King Mes • זה רוחו של מלך המשיח
siah,' by whom they cannot deny but that all things were formed. And the apostle in this expression lets the Hebrews know, that Jesus the Messiah was that Word of God, “ by whom all things were made." And so the influence of these words on his present argument is manifest. For the Son, in whom
the Father had now spoken to them, and declared the gospel, being his eternal Word, bv whom the world and all ages were created, there could be no question of his authority to alter their ceremonial worship, which he himself had appointed for a season,
Before we pass to the next verses, we may mark out those instructions, which the words passed through afford us in common, as to the abiding interest of all believers.
The foundation of them is, That the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the great prophet of his church under the New Testament, the only revealer of the will of the Father, as the Son and Wisdom of God, made the worlds, and all things contained in them. And therein,
1. We have an illustrious testimony given to the eternal Godhead and power of the Son of God; for he who made all things is God, as the apostle elsewhere affirms. And,
2. Unto the equity of his being made Heir, Lord, and Judge of all. No creature can decline the authority, or wave the tribunal of him that made them all. And,
3. A stable ground of faith, hope, contentment and patience, is administered unto the saints in all dispensations. He who is their Redeemer that bought them, hath all that interest in all things wherein they are concerned, that the sovereign right of creation can afford to him ; besides that grant which is made to him for this very end, that they might be disposed of to his own glory, in their good and advantage, Isa, liv. 4, 5. And, · 4. From this order of things, that Christ as the eternal Son of God having made the worlds, bath them, and all things in them, put under his power as Mediator and Head of the church, we may see in what a subserviency to the interest of the saints of the Most High, the whole creation is laid and disposed. And,
5. The way of obtaining a sanctified interest in, and use of the things of the old creation; namely, by receiving them not merely on the general account as made by the Son of God, but on the more especial account, of their being granted to him as Mediator of the church. And,
6. How men on both these foundations, are to be accountable for the use or abuse of the things of the first creation.
But besides these particular instances, there is that which is more general, and which we may a little insist upon from the context and design of the apostle in this whole discourse, the consideration of which will not again occur to us; and it is, That God in infinite wisdom ordered all things in the first creation, so as that the whole of that work might be subservient to the glory of his grace, in the new creation of all by Jesus Christ.
By the Son he made the worlds in the beginning of time, that in the fulness of time he might be the just Heir and Lord of all. The Jews have a saying, that the world was made for the Messiah ; which is thus far true, that both it, and all things in it, were made, disposed of, and ordered in their creation, so as that God might be everlastingly glorified in the work which he was designed unto, and which by him he had to accomplish. I shall consider it only in the present instance; namely, that by the Son he made the worlds, that he might be the proper Heir and Lord of them; of which latter we shall treat more particularly on the ensuing words.
This was declared of old, where he was spoken of as the Wisdom of God, by whom he wrought in the creation and production of all things, Prov. viii. 22-30. Here this Son, or Wisdom of God, declares at large, 1. His co-existence with his Father from eternity, before all or any of the visible or invisible creation were by his power brought forth, ver. 22, 23. and so onward. And then sets forth the infinite, eternal and ineffable delight, that was between him and his father, both before, and also in the work of creation, ver. 30. Farther, he declares his presence and co-operation with him in the whole work of making the world, and the several parts of it, ver. 27-30. which in other places is expressed as here by the apostle, that God hy him made the worlds. After which he declares the end of all this dispensation; namely, that he might “ rejoice in the habitable parts of the earth, and his delight be with the sons of men;" to whom therefore he calls to hearken unto him, that they may be blessed, ver. 31. to the end of the chapter ; that is, that he might be meet to accomplish the work of their redemption, and bring them to blessedness, to the glory of the grace of God; which work his heart was set upon, and which he greatly delighted in, Psal. xl. 6.-8.
Hence the apostle John, in the beginning of his gospel, brings both the creations together the first by the eternal Word, absolutely; the other by him as incarnate, that the suitableness and correspondence of all things in them might be evident. s6 The Word was with God," saith he, “ in the beginning," and “ all things were made by him, and without him was not any thing made that was made,” ver. 1-3. But what was this to the Gospel that he undertook to declare? Yes, very much ; for it appears from hence, that when this Word was made flesh, and came and dwelt among us, ver. 14. that he came into the world that was made by him, though it knew him 'not, ver. 10. he came but to his own, whatever were the entertainment that he received, ver. 11. For this end then God made all things by him, that when he came to change and renew all things, he might have good right and title so to do, seeing he undertook
to deal with or about no more but what he had originally made.
The holy and blessed Trinity could have so ordered the work of creation, as that it should not immediately, eminently, and signally have been the work of the Song of the eternal Word. But there was a farther design upon the world to be accomplished by him, and therefore the work was signally to be his; that is, as to immediate operation, though as to authority and order it peculiarly belonged to the Father; and to the Spirit, as to disposition and ornament, Gen. i. 2. Job xxvi. 13.
This, I say, was done for the end mentioned by the apostle, Eph. i. 10. All things at first were made by him, that when they were lost, ruined, and scattered, they might again in the appointed season be gathered together into one head in him; of which place more at large elsewhere.
And this mystery of the wisdom of God, the apostle at large unfoldeth, Col. i. 15–19. Speaking of the Son by whom we have redemption, he informs us, that in himself and his own nature, he is the image of the invisible God; that is, of God the Father, who until then had alone been clearly revealed unto them; and that in respect of other things, he is the first-born of every creature, or as be terms himself, Rev. iii. 14. the Beginning of the creation of God; that is, he who is before all creatures, and gave beginning to the creation of God. For so expressly the apostle explains himself in the next verses : “ By him all things were created that are in heaven and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and he is before all things, and by him all things consist.”. But this is not the full design of the apostle. He declares not only that all things were made by him, but also that all things were made for him, ver. 16. so made for him, that he might be the Head of the body the church; that is, that he might be the fountain, head, spring, and original of the new creation, as he had been of the old. So the apostle declares in the next words, who is the beginning, the first-born from the dead.” As he was the beginning, and the first-born of every creature in the old creation, so he is the beginning and first-born from the dead; that is, the original and cause of the whole new creation. And hereunto he subjoins the end and design of God in this whole mysterious work, which was, that the Son might have the preeminence in all things; as he had in and over the works of the old creation, seeing they were all made by him, and all consist in him; so also he hath over the new on the same account, being the beginning and first-born of them. The apostle in these words gives us the whole of what we intend, namely, that the making of the worlds, and of all things in them, in the first