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not by his word, whereby he made the world ; not by his power,
whereby he sustains and rules the things that he hath made ; not by
paying a price of corruptible things; not by revealing a way unto
us only whereby we ourselves might escape that condition wherein
we were, as some foolishly imagine: but by the " sacrifice of himself,"
"making his soul an offering for sin," and " offering up himself unto
God through the eternal Spirit," — by " laying down his life for us ;"
and greater love can no man manifest than by so doing. And, (4.)
The infinite condescension that he used, to put himself into that con-
dition wherein by himself he might purge our sins; for to this pur-
pose, when he was " in the form of God, he emptied himself of his
glory, made himself of no account, was made flesh, took on him the
form of a servant, that he might be obedient unto death, the death
of the cross." And, (5.) The end of his undertaking for us, which



VER. 3.] EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS. J \ 7

was the " bringing of us unto God," into his love and favour here, and
the eternal enjoyment of him hereafter. All these things, I say,
doth the Scripture insist frequently and largely upon, to set forth
the excellency of the love of Christ, to render it admirable and ami-
able unto us. And these things should we lay up in our hearts, and
continually ponder thera, that we may give due acceptance and en-
tertainment to this wonderful love of the Son of God.

The apostle having thus asserted in general the sacerdotal office
of Christ, and the sacrifice that he offered, with the end of it, be-
cause that could not be done without the greatest dejection, humi-
liation, and abasement of the Son, that we may not conceive that he
was left in, or doth yet abide under, the same condition, adds the
blessed event and consequent of his great work and undertaking: —

' ExdOiSiv h hi^ia rr^g yO.syaXwffui'jjs iv u-^^riXoTg' — " He sat down on the
right hand of the Majesty on iiigh."

These words we have already opened, as to their sense and im-
portance. The design and meaning of the Holy Ghost in them is
nextly to be considered. The things to be inquired after to this end
are, — first. The scope of the apostle in these words; secondly, The
manner of his expressing his intendment, and the particulars therein
intended; thirdly, What he referred unto in the Musaical economy,
whereby he strengthened the argument which he had in hand.

Two things the apostle in general designs in these words: —

1. That the Lord Christ, undertaking to purge our sins, did by
the one offering of himself perfectly effect it, so discharging the
whole work of his priesthood, as to the making atonement for sin-
ners. This the blessed issue of his undertaking doth demonstrate.
Immediately upon his work, he entered into the glorious condition
here expressed, — a signal pledge and evidence that his work was
perfected, and that God was fully satisfied and well pleased with
what he had done.

2. The blessed and glorious condition of the Lord Jesus after
his humiliation is expressed in these words. His Spirit did of old
signify both his " sufferings" and the "glor}'- that should follow,"
1 Pet. i. 11; as himself interpreted the Scriptures unto iiis disciples,
Luke xxiv. 26. And this, upon the close of his work, he requ( sted,
as due unto him upon compact and promise, John xvii. o. These
are the things in general designed by the apostle in these words.

Secondly, The manner of his expression of the glory and blessed
condition of the Son of God after his purging our sins, and what is
particularly intimated therein, is to be considered. Some mistakes
or groundless curiosities must first be removed, and then the real
importance of the words declared.

Some contend that the left hand of old was most honourable; so



118 AN EXPOSITION or THE [chap. L

that the placing of Christ at the right hand of God, as it denotes
his honour and glory, so also an inferiority unto the Father. To
this purpose they produce sonae sayings out of some ancient writers
among the heathen, giving the preference of place or dignity unto
tlie left hand: and these sayings are made use of by the E-omanists
to answer an objection of very little moment against Peter's su-
premacy, taken from some ancient episcopal seals, whereon the
lii^'ure of Paul was placed on the right hand of that of l^eter. But
this conjecture may be easily disproved by testimonies innumerable
out of approved authors among the Gentiles; and in Scripture the
right hand doth constantly denote dignity and pre-eminence. The
instance of Jacob's blessing Joseph's children testifies also the con-
stant usage of those ancient times, from the intimation of nature
itself, Gen. xlviii. 17-19; and the disposal of the sheep and goats
at the last day to the right hand and left gives the privilege to the
former. So Basil: 'H bs^ia ;^w/^C6 briXoT rh rrig cc^iag o/Jj67i//,ov' — "The
right hand place denoteth a quality of dignity." And Chrysostom :
E/ yap sXdrTOjgiv rih'ki bi^Xuaai oux civ ii-Tiii ex, di^iMV uXX' s^ api-
cnpujv' — '■ If he would have signified any lessening or diminution,
he would not have said, ' Sit on my right hand,' but on my left."
So that it is honour and glory which is signified by this expression,
and that only.

Some, granting the right hand to denote the most honourable
place, inquire whether this be spoken in reference unto God the
Father himself, or unto others that do or may be supposed to sit
on his left hand. For the first sense contends Maldonate on Matt.
xvi. 19; for saith he, " Though it be impossible that the Son in ab-
solute or essential glory should be preferred before or above the
Father, yet as to his immediate rule over the church he may more
show forth his power and glory in the rule and government of all
things." Others contend that it is spoken with respect unto others
sitting at the left hand, above which this is preferred. But this
whole inquiry is both curious and groundless: for, ]. Though sitting
at the right hand be a token of great glory and dignity, yet, as the
apostle speaks in this very case, " it is manifest that He is excepted
who put all things under him," 1 Cor. xv. 27, — he who thus ex-
alted him over all at his right hand is excepted ; and, 2. Here is
no comparison at all, or regard to sitting on the left hand, nor is
there so wherever that expression is used, but only the glory of
Christ the mediator is absolutely declared.

And this may be cleared by other instances. Solomon placed
his mother when she came unto him on his right hand, — a token
ot exceeding honour; but he himself sat down on the throne of the
kino-dom, i Kings ii. 19. The church is said to be at the right
hand of Christ, Ps. xlv. 9 ; which, as it prefers her above all others,



VER. 3.] EPISTLE TO THE HEBUEWS. 119

SO it takes not off her subjection unto Christ. Nero, in Suetonius
when Tiridates, king of Armenia, came to Rome, placed him for his
honour on his right hand, himself sitting on the throne of rule.
And where three sit together, the middle seat is the place of chiefest
honour. Hence Cato in Africa, when Juba would have placed him-
self in the midst between him and Scipio, removed himself to tlie
left hand of Scipio, that Juba might not have the place of pre-emi-
nence above Roman magistrates.

It is not unlikely but that there may be an allusion in this ex-
pression unto the Sanhedrin, the highest court of judicature among
the Jews. He who presided in it was called pT 3t;, or pi n''2 UN,
" The father of judgment," or, " Father of the house of judgment/'
and sat at the right hand of the ''C'J, or " prince" of the Sanhedrin,
next unto him unto whom belonged the execution of the sentence
of the court. Of this ab din mention is made in the Targum, Cant,
vii. 4, yyi \^ii ayi rr^n n.SI; — "The father of the house of judg-
ment, who judgeth thy judgments;" agreeable to that, " The Father
judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment vmto the Son."

The whole expression, then, is plainly metaphorical, and taken
from what is or was in use amongst men, and thence translated to
signify the state and condition of Christ in heaven. And this is
that which the apostle in general intimates ia these words, that as
the greatest honour that can be done unto any one among the sons
of men is for the chief ruler to set him next himself on his right
hand, so is the Son, as mediator, made partaker of the greatest glory
that God hath to bestow in heaven. It is not, then, tlie essential,
eternal glory of the Son of God, that he hath equally with the Father,
which in these words is expressed, and whereof the apostle had
spoken before, but that glory and honour which is hestotved on him
hy the Father, after and upon the sacrifice of himself tor the ex[)ia-
tion of sin. So, then, the right hand of God is not here taken ab-
solutely, as in other places, for the power and strength of God ; but
with the adjunct of sitting at it, it shadows out a place and eminency
of glory, as he is considered on his throne of majesty; and therefore
it is here termed " the right hand of majesty," and not of onniipo-
tency or power.

In particular, two things are intended in this expression: —

1. The security of Christ from all his adversaries and all suf-
ferings for the future. The Jews knew what he suffered from God
and man. Hereof he lets them know what was the reason, — it was
for the purging of our sins; and moreover declares that now he is
everlastingly secured from all opposition, for where he is, thither
his adversaries cannot come, as John vii. 34. He is above their
reach, beyond their power, — secure in the tlirone and presence of God.
Thus the fruit of the church, being secured from the rage and pur-



120 AN EXPOSITION OF THE [CHAP. I

secution of Satan, is said to be " caught up unto God, and to liis
throne," Rev. xii. 5. Hence though men do and will continue their
malice and wrath against the Lord Christ to the end of the world,
as though they would crucify him afresh, yet he dies no more, being
secure out of their reach at the right hand of God.

2. His majesty and glory inexpressible; — all that can be given
of God in heaven. God on his throne is God in the full mani-
festation of his own majesty and glory ; on his right hand sits the
Mediator, yea, so as that he also is "in the midst of the throne," Rev.
V. 6. How little can our weak understandings apprehend of this
majesty! See Phil. ii. 9; Matt. xx. 21; Rom. viii. 34; Col. iii. 1;
Epii. i. 20.

These are the things which the apostle sets forth in this expres-
sion. And they are plainly intimated in the context of the psalm
from whence the words are taken, Ps. ex. So that it is not his
rule and authority, but his safety, majesty, and gloiy, which accom-
pany them, that are here intended.

Thirdly, We are to inquire what it was that the apostle had re-
spect unto, in this ascription of glory and majesty unto Christ, in the
old church-state of the Jews, and so what it is that he preferreth
him above.

It is thought by many that the apostle in these words exaltetli
Christ above David, the chiefe-st king among the Jews. Of him it
is said that God would make him his " first-born, higher than the
kings of the earth," Ps. Ixxxix. 27. His throne was high on the
earth, and his glory above that of all the kings about him; but for
the Lord Christ, he is incomparably exalted above him also, in that
he is sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high. But, as
was said, these words denote not the rule, power, or authority of
Christ, typed by the kingdom of David, but his glory and majesty,
represented by the magnificent throne of Solomon. Besides, he is
not treating of the kingly power of Christ, but of his sacerdotal
office, and the glory that ensued upon the discharge thereof

That, therefore, which in these words the apostle seems to have
had respect unto was the high priest's entrance into the holy place,
after his offering of the solemn anniversary sacrifice of expiation.
Then alone was he admitted into that holy place, or heaven below,
where was the solemn representation of the presence of God, — his
throne and his glory. And what did he there? He stood with all
humility and lowly reverence ministering before the Lord, whose
presence was there represented. He did not go and sit down be-
tween the cherubim, but worshipping at the footstool of the Lord,
he departed. It is not, saith the apostle, so with Christ; but as his
sacrifice was infinitely more excellent and effectual than Aaron's, so
upon the offering of it he entered into the holy place, or heaven



VER. 4.] EPISTLE TO THE HEEREV/S. 121

itself above, and into the real, glorious presence of God, not to mi-
nister in humility, but to a participation of the throne of majesty
and glory. He is a king and priest upon his throne, Zech. vi. 13.

Thus the apostle shuts up his general proposition of the whole
matter, which he intends further to dilate and treat upon. In tliis
description of the person and offices of the Messiah he coucheth
the springs of all his ensuing arguments, and from thence enforceth
the exhortation which we have observed him constantly to j^ursue.
And we also may hence observe: —

I. That there is nothing more vain, foolish, and fruitless, than the
opposition which Satan and iiis agents yet make unto the Lord
Christ and his kingdom. Can they ascend into heaven? Can they
pluck the Lord Christ from the throne of God? A little time will
manifest this madness, and that unto eternity.

IL That the service of the Lord Christ is both safe and honour-
able. He is, as a good, so a glorious master, one that sits at the
right hand of God.

III. Great is the spiritual and eternal security of them that truly
believe in Christ. Of all which severally afterwards.

Verse 4.

The design of the apostle, as we have now often showed, is to
evince the necessity of abiding in the doctrine of the gospel, from
the excellency of the person by whom it pleased God to reveal it
unto us. This he hath done already in general, in that description
which he hath given us of his person, power, works, offices, and
glory; whereby he hath made it evident that no creature whom
God was pleased at any time to make use of in the revelation
of his will, or the institution of his worship, was any way to be
compared with him. Having proceeded thus far in general, he de-
scends now to the consideration of particular instances, in all those
whom God employed in the ministration of the law and constitu-
tion of Mosaical worship; and takes occasion from them all to set
forth the dignity and incomparable excellencies of the Lord Christ,
whom in all things he exalts.

Fiist, then, he treateth concerning angels, as those who were the
most glorious creatures, employed in the giving of the law. The
Hebrews owned, yea, pleaded this in their own defence, that besides
the mediation of Moses, God used the ministry of angels in the
giving of the law, and in other occasional instructions of their fore-
fathers. Some of them contend that the last of the proj^heis was
'personally an angel, as the signification of his name imports. Holy
Stephen, upbraiding them with their abuse and contempt of their
greatest privileges, tells them that they "received the law by the
disposition" (" ordering," or " ministry ") "of angels," Acts vii. 53.



122 AN EXPOSITION OF THE [CHAP. L

And the Targnm interprets the chariots of God, with the thousands
of angels, Ps. Ixviii. 17, 18, of the angels Ly whose ministry God
taught Israel the law. This, then, might leave a special prejudice
in their minds, that the law being so delivereil by angels must needs
have therein the advantage above the gospel, and be therefore ex-
cellent and immutable.

To remove tins prejudice also, and further to declare the excel-
lency and pre-eminence in all things of Him who revealed the gospel,
the apostle takes occasion, from what he had newly taught them
concerning the exaltation of Jesus Christ at the right hand of God,
to prove unto them, out of the scriptures of the Old Testament,
that he is exceedingly advanced and glorious above the angels
themselves, whose concurrence in the ministration of the law they
boasted in; and to this purpose producetli four signal testimonies,
one after another.

This is the design of the apostle, which he pursues and makes
out unto the end of this chapter; and that we may rightly con-
ceive of his intention, and the meaning of the Holy Ghost in the
whole, we shall, before we consider his proposition laid down in this
fourth verse, or the ensuing confirmations of it, inquire in general
what it is in Christ which he compareth with and preferreth above
the angels, and wherein it is that he so exalts him.

The comparison entered on between the Lord Christ and angels
must be either with respect unto their natures, or unto their dig-
nit'j, office, power, and glory. If the comparison be of nature with
nature, then it must be either in respect of the divine or human
nature of Christ. If it should be of the divine nature of Christ
with the nature of angels, then it is not a comparison of proportion,
as between two natures agreeing in any general kind of being, — as
do the nature of a man and a worm, — but a comparison only mani-
festing a difference and distance without any proportion. So
answereth Athanasius, Orat. ii. adv. Arian. But the truth is, the
apostle hath no design to prove by arguments and testimonies the
excellencies of the divine nature above the angelical. There was
no need so to do. nor do his testimonies prove any such thing.
Besides, speaking of angels, the other part of the comparison, he
treats not of their nature, but their office, work, and employment,
with their honourable and glorious condition therein. Whereas,
therefore, the apostle produceth sundry testimonies confirming the
deity of the Son, he doth it not absolutely to prove the divine nature
to be more excellent than the angelical, but only to manifest thereby
the glorious condition of him who is partaker of it, and consequently
bis pre-eminence above angels, or the equity that it should be so.

Neither is the comparison between the human nature of Christ
and the nature of angels; for that absolutely considered and lu



VER. 4,J EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS. J 23

itself is inferior to the angelical; whence, in regard of his participa-
tion of it, he is said to be made " lower than the angels," chap. ii.

The apostle, then, treats of the 'person of Christ, God and man,
who was appointed and designed of God the Father to be tlie re-
vealer of the gosjDel and mediator of the new testament. As such,
he is the subject of the ensuing general proposition; as such, he
was spoken of in the words immediately foregoing; and concerning
him as such are the ensuing testimonies to be interpreted, even
tliose which testify to his divine nature, being produced to demon-
strate the excellency of his person, as vested with the offices of the
king, priest, and prophet of his church, the great revealer of the will
of God in the last days.

Ve7\ 4. — Toao-JTW Kpstrruv ysvofisvog roJv uyysXuv^ oVw hia^popuinpov
wap alroug zixXripov6/ji,ri'/.iv ovo/jba,

Toaovru xpsirrav yi'joy.ivog. Syr. ^.'!'? ^.r!p '^^v'l. " Et ip^e tantum prjestantior
fuit," Boderian.; — "Ami he was so much more excellent." "At tanto potior
factus est," Tremel. ; — "And he is made so much more better." "At ipse toto
excellit;" or, asDeDieu, " At hoc totum excellit;" — " And he wholly e.xcelleth;"
or, " in all thing.-^ he excelletii." Vulg. " Tanto melior factus angelis." The
translation of x.psirrav by "melior" is blamed by Erasmus, Bezi, Vatablus, and
is generally deserted by the expositors of the Roman church; and it is hard, if
not impossible, to find " melior " in any good author used in the sense that Kpiir-
ru'j is here and elsewhere constantly applied unto. Ours render the \\ord
" better," " made better;" to avoid, I believe, a coincidence with that which they
express ^icttfopoynpou by, " more excellent." Kpsirru!/ is properly " nobilior,"
" potentior." " praestantior," " excellentior," — " more powei'fid," " able," " excel-
lent," as to love, honour, or state and condition ; as in that of Homer, II. A. 80, —

Kpii<rcra))i yap fiaa-iXih; on y(^ai7ira.i a.\ihp) x'-P^'-

That is, -TroXT^ov dpitui/, saith Eustathius, " multo potentior," — "more powerful,"
"able to prevail," or "more excellent." Tevojusi/o;, "factus," "effectus," — "made,"
" was," " became." AiaCpopinepoy, " differentiu-," — " different ;" which is some-
times put absolutely for the best things, or things far better t'nan other things
that differ: " make to differ," to prefer, make better, 1 Cor. iv. 7. Syr. "O-f^,
"excellentius," — "more excellent." Aia.(pipu is both to differ and excel; but the
"differentius" of the Vulgar yields no good sense in this place. Ksy,7^Yipoy6,u.-^K£,
*' hsereditavit," " sortitus est," "jure hereditario obtinuit ;" of the importance of
which word before.'

Ver. 4. — Being in so much preferred [exalted, made emi~
nent~\ above angels, as he [obtained'] inherited a more
excellent name than they.
There are five things considerable in and for the exposition of

* Exposition. — The comparison of the Son with angels divides itself info two
sections; — the Son is superior to the angels aire idy, in virtue of his eternal exist-
ence as the Son of God, chap. i. 4-14; in the Son, man also has b. en exalted
above the angels, chap. ii. 5-18. — Ebrard. Tsvopc. points out th;it this exaltation
is true not only of the Logos in abatracto, but of the whole divine-human .mhject.
— Tholuck. The aorist, "having been made" or "become," is amithetic to the pre-



124 AN EXPOSITION OF THE [CHAP. I.

these words: — 1. What it is that the apostle asserts in them as his
general proposition, namely, that the Son, as the great priest and
prophet of the church, was preferred above, and made more gh^ri-
ous and powerful than the angels; and how this was done, and
wherein it doth consist. 2. When he was so preferred above them ;
which belongs unto the explication and right understanding of the
former. 3. The degree of this preference of him above the angels,
intimated in the comparison, *' Being by so much made more excel-
lent, as he hath," etc. 4. The proof of the assertion, both abso-
lutely and as to the degree intimated ; and this is taken from his
name. 5. The way whereby he came to have this name; he ob-
tained it as his lot and portion, or he inherited it.

1. He is inade "more excellent" than the angels, preferred above
them, — that is, say some, declared so to be. " Tum res dicitur fiini,
cum incipit patefieri." Frequently in the Scripture a thing is tiien
said to be made, or to be, when it is manifested so to be. And in
this sense the word jhiG^ai is sometimes used : Rom. iii. 4, TtviaQM
0go5 akri&ni, -^"S ^^ af^^wTos -^rjornc,, — " Let God be true, and every
man a liar ;" that is, manifested and acknowledged so to be. So,
James i. 1 2, Aox//Aoe ytvljinvog, — he that is approved in trial, and thereby
manifested to be sincere and sound. In this sense the apostle tells
us, Rom. i. 4, that the Lord Christ was " declared to be the Son of
God by the resurrection from the dead." The resurrection from the
dead did not make him to be the Son of God, but evidently mani-
fested and declared him so to be. According to this interpretation
of the words, that which the Holy Ghost intimateth is, that whereas
the Lord Christ ministered in an outwardly low condition in this
world, whilst he purged our sins, yet by his sitting down at the right
hand of God he was revealed, manifested, declared to be more excel-
lent than all the angels in heaven.

But I see no reason why we should desert the proper and most
usual signification of the words, nothing in the context persuading us
so to do. Besides, this suits not the apostle's design, who doth not
prove from the Scripture that the Lord Christ was manifested to be
more excellent than the angels, but that really he was preferred and
exalted above them.

sent 6))/, "beino^," in verse 3. — Turner. The name "sons of God" is given to angels.
But it is a difltVrent thing to apply a cominon name in the plural to a class, from
what it is to :ipply the same as ;m individual name in the singular to an indi-
vidual. When Jehovah, in Ps. ii. 2. 7, declares his anointed to he his Sun whom
he has heyiotten, this is something different iiom what is said, when the angels as
a class are called sons of the Elohi-n who has created them. — Ebrard. Kpiir. re-



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