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1. False. Because, — (1.) Christ in his sonship is fiovoyivi^g, the
"only -begotten" Son of God: and therefore it is impossible tliat God
should have any more sons in the same kind with him ; for if he had,
certainly the Lord Christ could not be /LLoyoysvrig, his '' only-begotten"
Son. (2.) The only way of filiation, the only kind of sonship, that
believers share in is that of adoption; in any other kind of sonship
they are not partakers. Now, if Christ be the Son of God in this
kind, he must of necessity antecedently unto his adoption be a
member of another family, — that is, of the family of Satan and the
world, as we are by nature, — and from thence be transplanted by
adoption into the family of God; which is blasphemy to imagine.
So that neither can believers be the sons of God with that kind of
sonship which is proper to Christ, he being the only- begotten of the
Father ; nor can the Lord Christ be the Son of God with the same
kind of sonship as believers are, which is only by adoption, and
their translation out of one family into another. So that either to
exalt believers into the same kind of sonship with Christ, or to
depress him into the same rank with them, is wholly inconsistent
with the analogy of faith and principles of the gospel. (3.) If this
were so, that the Lord Christ and believers are the sons of God
by the same kind of sonship, only differing in degrees (which also
are imaginary, for the formal reason of the same kind of sonship is
not capable of variation by degrees), what great matter is in the
condescension mentioned by the apostle, chap. ii. 11, that "he
is not ashamed to call them brethren;" which yet he compares
with the condescension of God in being called their God, chap,
xi. ]6'?

2. This conceit, as it is untrue so it is contrary to the design of the
apostle; for, to assert the Messiah to be the Son of God in the same
way with men, doth not tend at all to prove him more excellent
than the angels, but rather leaves us just ground for suspecting their
preference above him.

3. It is contrary unto other declared principles of the authors of
this assertion. They elsewhere afhrm that the Lord Christ was the
Son of Goil on many accounts; as first and principally, because he
was conceived and born of a virgin by the power of God; now,
surely, all believers are not partakers with him in this hind of son-
ship. Again, they say he is the Son of God because God raised him
from the dead, to confirm the doctrine that he had taught; which is
not so with believers. Also they say he is the Son of God, and so
called, upon the account of his sitting at the right hand of God ;
wliich is no less his peculiar privilege than the former. So that
this is but an unhappy attempt to lay hold of a word for an ad-
vantage, vvhich yields nothine in the issue but trouble and per-
pleiity. ^


Nor can the Lord Christ (which is affirmed in the last plac(-)
be called the Son of God and the First-born, ])ecanse in him was
that holiness tvhich is required in the new covenant ; for both all
believers under the old testament had that holiness and liki,ness
unto God in their degrees, and that holiness consists principally in
regeneration, or being born again by the Word and Spirit out of a
corrupted estate of death and sin, which the Lord Christ was not
capable of. Yea, the truth is, the holiness and image of God in
Christ was, in the kind of it, that which was required under the
first covenant, — a holiness of perfect innocency and perfect righte-
ousness in obedience. So that this last invention hath no better
success than the former.

It appeareth, then, that the Lord Christ is not called " the first-
begotten," or the "first-born," with any such respect unto others as
should include him and them in the same kind of filiation.

To give, therefore, a direct account of this appellation of Christ,
we may observe, that indeed the Loi'd Christ is never absolutely
called the "first-begotten" or "first-born" with respect either to
liis eternal generation or to the conception and nativity of his
human nature. In respect of the former he is called " the Son,"
and " the only-begotten Son of God," but nowhere " the firstborn,"
or " first-begotten;" and in respect of the latter, indeed, he is called
the "first-born son" of the virgin, because she had none before him,
but not absolutely " the first-born" or " first-begotten," which title
is here and elsewhere ascribed unto him in the Scripture. It is not,
therefore, the thing itself of being the first-born, but the dignity
and privilege that attended it, which are designed in this appella-
tion. So Col. i. 15, he is said to be 'rpuroroxog rrdarig zrictu;, "the
first-born of the creation;" which is no more but that he hath
power and authority over all the creatures of God.

The word which the apostle intends to express is "^i^^, which oft-
times is used in the sense now pleaded for, namely, to denote not
the birth in the first place, but the privilege that belonged there-
unto. So Ps. Ixxxix. 27, God is said to make David his ">i33^ his
" first-born ;" which is expounded in the next words, " Higher than
the kings of the earth." So that the Lord Christ being the first-
born is but the same which we have insisted on, of his being heir of
all, whicli was the privilege of the first-born; and this privilege was
sometimes transmitted unto othei-s that were not the first-born,
although the natural course of their nativity could not be changed,
Gen xxi. 10, xlix. 3, 4, 8. The Lord Christ, then, by the appoint-
ment of the Father, being intrusted with the whole inheritance of
heaven and earth, and authority to dispose of it, that he might give
out portions to all the rest of God's family, is and is called " the first-
born" thereof.

VOL. XII. — li


There remains now but one word more to be considered for the
opening of this introduction of the ensuing testimony, and that is
Xs/s/, " he saith ;" that is, * God himself saith.' They are his words
winch shall be produced. Whatever is spoken in the Scripture in
his name, it is his speaking; and he continueth to speak it unto this
day. He speaks in the Scripture unto the end of the world. This
is the foundation of our faith, that which it riseth troni, and that
which it is resolved into, 'God speaketh;' and I suppose we need
no interposition of church or tradition to give authority or credit
unto what he says or speaks.

This, then, is the sum of these words of the apostle: ' Again, in
another place, where the Holy Ghost foretells the bringing forth into
the world and amongst men him that is the Lord and Heir of ail,
to undertake his work, and to enter into his kingdom and glory,
tlie Lord speaks to this purpose, Let all the angels of God worshi])

To manifest this testimony to be apposite unto the confirmation
of the apostle's assertion, three things are required : — 1. That it is
tlie Son who is intended and spoken of in the place from whence
the words are taken, and so designed as the person to be worshipped.
2. That they are angels that are spoken unto, and commanded to
worship him. 8. That on these suppositions the words prove the
pre eminence of Christ above the angels.

For the two former, with them that acknowledge the divine autho-
rity of this epistle, it is sufficient in general, to give them satisfaction,
to observe that the place is applied unto Christ, and this passage
unto the ministering angels, by the same Spirit who first wrote that
Scripture. But yet there is room left for our inquiry how these
things may be evidenced, whereby the strength of the apostle's
reasonings, with them who were not yet convinced of the infallibi-
lity of his assertions, any further than they were confirmed by tes-
timonies out of the Old Testament and the faith of the ancient
church of the Hebrews in this matter, may be made to appear ; as
also a check given to their boldness who, upon pretence of the im-
propriety of these allegations, have questioned the authority of the
whole epistle.

1 . Our first inquiry must be whence this testimony is taken. Many
of the ancients, as Epiphanius, Theodoret, Euthymius, Procopius, and
Anselm, conceived the words to be cited from Deut. xxxii. 4.3, where
they expressly occur in the translation of the LXX., Eu(ppc/.v()t]rs
oxj/yavoi d/J^a aiiroiJ %u.i 'rpog/CvvriffaTuaav aurtZ rravng ayytKoi ©sot; — •
" Rejoice ye heavens with him, and let all the angels of God wor-
ship him." But there are two considerations that put it beyond
all pretensions that the words are not taken from this place of the


(1.) Because indeed there are uo such words in the original text,
nor any thing spoken that might give occasion to the sense expressed
in them; hut the whole verse is inserted in the Greek version
quite beside the scope of the place. Now, though it may per-
haps be safely granted that the apostles, in citing the Scrij)ture
of the Old Testament, did sometimes use the words of the Greek
translation then in use, yea, though not exact according to the
original, whilst the sense and meaning of the Holy Ghost was re-
tained in them; yet to cite that trom the Scripture as the word and
testimony of God which indeed is not therein, nor was ever spoken
by God, but by human failure and corruption crept into the Greek
veision, is not to be imputed unto them. And indeed I no way
question but that this addition unto the Greek text in that place
was made after the apostle had used this testimony. For it is not
unlikely but that some considering of it, and not considering from
whence it was taken, because the words occur not absolutely and
exactly in the Greek anywhere, inserted it into that place of Moses,
amidst other words of an alike sound, and somewhat an alike
importance, such as immediately precede and follow the clause

(2.) The Holy Ghost is not treating in that place about the intro-
duction of the first-born into the world, but quite of another matter,
as is evident upon the first view of the text : so that this testimony
is evidently not taken from this place; nor would nor could the
apostle make use of a testimony liable unto such just exceptions.

Later expositors generally agree that the words are taken out of
Ps. xcvii. 7, where the original is rendered by the LXX., Upocnw^-
cars aiirui vavrig ayyikoi ahroZ: which, with a very small variation in
the words, and none at all in the sense, is here expressed by the
apostle, " And let all the angels of God worship him.''

The psalm hath no title at all in the original; which the Greek
version noteth, afiirming that it is avsviypa^oc 'zap 'ECpaiots: but it
adds one ot its own, namely, Ta'/Aog tui Au^id on ij yr^ abrou zuOiararo,
— " A Psalm of David when his land was restored." Hence it is
referred by some to the time of his return unto Jerusalem, after he
had been expelled the kingdom by Absalom ; by others, with more
probability, to the time of his bringing the ark into the tabernacle
from the house ot Obed-edom, when the land was quieted before
him. And unquestionably in it the kingdom of God was shadowed
out under the type of the kingdom of David; which kingdom of God
was none other but that of the Messiah.

It is evident that this psalm is of the same nature with that which
goes before, yea, a part of it, or an appendix unto it. The first
words of thia take up and carry on what is affirmed in the 10th
verse, to close of that; so that both of them are but one continued


psalm of praise. Now the title of that psalm, and consequently of
this, is ^in T'J!', " A new song," verse 1 ; which psalms, as Rashi
confesseth, are to be referred unto the world to come, — that is, the
time and kingdom of the Messiah. So Kimchi affirms that this
psalm and that following respect the time when the people shall be
delivered from the captivity out of all nations; that is, the time of
the Messiah. And Rakenati affirms that the last verse of it, " He
Cometh to judge the earth," can respect nothing but the coming and
reign of the Messiah. Thus they, out of their traditions.

Some of the ancients, I confess, charge them with corrupting this
psalm in the version of the 10th verse, affirming that the words
at one time were, 'O Kvp/og sZaaiXtuasv a^h tou ^iXou, — "The Lord
reigned from the tree," denoting ; as they say, the cross. So Justin
Martyr, in his Dialogue with Trypho. And after him the same
words are remembered by Tertullian, ad. Juda3. cap. x., ad.Marci. lib.
iii. ; and Augustin, Enarr. in Ps. xcv. And though the fraud and
corruption pretended be improbable, indeed impossible, nor are the
words mentioned by Justin acknowledged by the Targum, or any
Greek translator, or Jerome, yet it is evident that all parties granted
the Messiah and his kingdom to be intended in the psalm, or there
had been no need or colour for the one to suspect the other of cor-
ruption about it. It is evident, then, that the ancient church of the
Jews, whose tradition is herein followed by the modern, acknow-
ledged this psalm to contain a description of the kingdom of God
in the*]\'Iessiah ; and on their consent doth the apostle proceed. And
the next psalm, which is of the same importance with this, is en-
titled by the Targumist, nK"i23 nnnCTl, "A prophetical psalm,"
namely, of the kingdom and reign of the Messiah.

But the matter of the psalm itself makes it manifest that the
Holy Ghost treateth in it about God's bringing in the first-born into
the world, and the setting up of his kingdom in him. A kingdom
is described wherein God would reign, which should destroy idolatry
and false worship ; a kingdom wherein the isles of the Gentiles should
rejoice, being called to an interest therein; a kingdom that was to
be preached, proclaimed, declared, unto the increase of light and
holiness in the world, with the manitestation of the glory of God
unto, the ends of the earth : every part whereof declareth the king-
dom' of Christ to be intended in the psalm, and consequently that it
, is a prophecy of the bringing in of the first-begotten into the

2. Our second inquiry is, whether the angels be intended in these
words. They are, as was before observed, '^'''"'■'f:?'''?, "omnes dii;"
and are so rendered by Jerome, " Adorate eum omnes dii;" and by
ours, " Worship him, all ye gods." The preceding words are, " Con-
founded be all they that serve graven images," C177S3 D77nnri)n^


" that boast themselves in" (or "of") " idols, " — " vanities, nothings,"
as tlie Avord signifies; whereon ensues this apostrophe, "Worship
him, D'n^!;<'?3/' " all ye gods." And who they are is our present

Some, as all the modern Jews, say that it is the gods of the Gentiles,
those whom they worship, that are intended; so making Q'''"'''.^ and
^77^^, " gods," and " vain idols," to be the same in this place. But, —

(1.) It cannot be that the psalmist should exhort the idols of the
heathen, some whereof were devils, some dead men, some inanimate
'parts of the creation, unto a reverential worshipping of God reign-
ing over all. Hence the Targumist, seeing the vanity of that inter-
pretation, perverts the words, and renders them, " Worship before
him, all ye nations which serve idols."

(2.) ^'C-'.?;?, " Elohim," is so far in this place from being exegetical
of ^ V r^, " gods," or " vain idols," that it is put in direct opposition
to it, as IS evident from the words themselves.

(8.) The woixl Elohim, which most frequently denoteth the true
God, doth never alone, and absolutely taken, signify false gods or
idols, but only when it is joined with some other word discovering
its application, as his god, or their gods, or the gods of this or thdt
people: in which case it is rendered by the LXX. sometimes i/d^Xov,
an " idol ;" sometimes ^upoTroij^rov, an " idol made with hands;" some-
times (3dsXvy/j,a, an " abomination." But here it hath no such limita-
tion or restriction.

Whereas, therefore, there are some creatures who, by reason of
some peculiar excellency and likeness unto God, or subordination
unto him in their work, are called gods, it must be those or some of
them that are intended in the expression. Now these are either
magistrates or angels.

(1.) Magistrates are somewhere called elohim, because of the
representation they make of God in his power, and their peculiar
subordination unto him in their working. The Jews, indeed, con-
tend that no other magistrates but only those of the great Sanhedrin
are anywhere called gods; but that concerns not our present in-
quiry. Some magistrates are so called, but none of them are here
intended by the psalmist, there being no occasion administered unto
him of any such apostrophe unto them.

(2.) Augels also are called elohim: Asyo/zivoi ^;ot, 1 Cor. viii. 5.
They have the namg of god attributed unto them, as we liave
showed before in some instances. And these alone are they whom
the psalmist speaks unto. Having called on the whole crea-
tion to rejoice in the bringing forth of the kingdom of God, and
pressed his exhortation upon things on the earth, he turns unto the
ministering angels, and calls on them to the discharge of their duty
unto the Kino- of that kingdom. Hence the Targumist, in the be-


ginning of Psalm xcvi,, which is indeed the beginning of this, ex-
pressly mentioneth t^OIlD ''7J3N, " his high angels," joining in his
praise and worship, using the Greek word ayyikog, for distinction's
sake, as on the same account it often occurs in the Targuni.

We have thus evinced that the psalm treats about the bringing
in of the first born into the world; as also that they are the mmis-
tering angels who are here commanded to worship him.

For the command itself, and the nature of it, it consisted in these
two things: — (1.) A declaration of the state and condition of the
Messiah; wliich is such as that he is a meet object of religious adora-
tion unto the angels, and attended with peculiar motives unto the
discharge of their duty. The former he hath from his divine nature,
the latter from his luork, with his state and dignity that ensued
thereon. (2.) An intimation of the pleasure of God unto the angels.
Not that divine worship was absolutely due unto the Son of God,
which they knew from the first instant of their creation, but that all
honour and glory were due unto him on the account of his wojrk and
office as mediator and king of his church.

3. It remaineth only that we show that this testimony thus ex-
plained was suitable unto the apostle's design and purpose, and did
prove the assertion in the confirmation whereof it was produced.
Now, this is a matter of so full and clear an evidence that it will
not at all detain us; for it is impossible that there should be any
more clear or full demonstration of this truth, that the Lord Christ
liath an unspeakable pre-eminence above the angels, than this, that
they are all appointed and commanded by God himself to adore him
with divine and religious worship. We may now, therefore, con-
sider what observations the words will afford us for our own instruc-
tion. It appears, then, from hence, —

I, That the authority of God speaking in the Scripture is that
alone which divine faith rests upon and is to be resolved into : " He

It was the begetting of faith in some of the Hebrews, and the
increase or establishment of it in others, that the apostle aimed at.
That which he proposed to them as the object of their faith, that
which they were to believe, was that excellency of the person and
kingly authority of the Messiah wherein they had not as yet been
instructed. And hereof he endeavours not to beget an opinion in
them, but that faith which cannot deceive or be deceived. To this
end he proposeth that unto them which they ought to submit unto,
and which they may safely rest in. For as faith is an act of religious
obedience, it respects the authority of God requiring it ; and as it is
a religious infallible assent of the mind, it regards the truth and
veracity of God as its object. On this alone it rests, " God saith."
And in whatever God speaks in the Scripture, his truth and autho-


rity manifest themselves to the satisfaction of faith; and nowheje
else doth it find rest.

II. That for the begetting, increasing, and strengthening of faith,
it is useful to have important fundamental truths confirmed by-
many testimonies of Scripture: " Again he saith."

Any one word of God is sufficient to establish the most important
truth to eternity, so as to hang the salvation of all mankind thereon,
neither can any thing impeach or weaken what is so confirmed. No
more is required in any case, to make faith necessary on our part as
a duty of obedience, and infallible as to the event, but that God
hath by any means, by any one word, revealed that which he re-
quires our assent unto. But God dealeth not upon strict terms.
Infinite condescension lies at the bottom of all wherein he hath to
deal with us. He respects not what the nature of the thing strictly
requires, but what is needful unto our infirmity and weakness.
Hence he multiplies his commands and promises, and confirms all
by his oath, swearing to his truth by himself, to take away all pre-
tence of distrust and unbelief. For this cause he multiplies testi-
monies to the truths wherein the concernments of his glory and our
obedience do lie, as might be manifested by the consideration of
instances innumerable. Thus in his name deals the apostle in this
place. And this is useful to faith : for, —

\. What, it may be, is obscure in one is cleared in another; and so
what doubts and fears remain on the consideration of one testimony
are removed by another, whereby the souls of believers are carried
on unto a " full assurance." And therefore, because such is our
weakness that there is need hereof in ourselves, such is the good-
ness of God that there is no want of it in the word.

2. Faith discerns hereby the weight that God lays upon its em-
bracing of the truth so testified unto. He knows our concernment
in it, and thereon urgeth us with its acceptance. This awakens and
excites faith unto attention and consideration, — the eminent means
ot its growth and increase. It knows that it is not for nothing that
the Holy Ghost thus presseth his truth upon it, and attends the
more diligently upon his urgency.

8. Every testimony hath something single in it, and pecidiar
unto it. Though many bear witness to the same truth, yet such is
the fulness of the Scripture, and such the wisdom of God laid up
therein, that every one of them hath also somewhat of its own, some-
what singular, tending to the enlightening and establishment of our
minds. This faith makes a discovery of, and so receives peculiar
profit and advantage thereby.

And this should teach us to abound in the study and search of
the Scriptures, that we may thereby come to establishment in the
truth. God hath thus left us many testimonies to each important


truth; and lie liatli not done it in vain, — he knows our need of it; and
his condescension in so doing, when he might have bound us up to
the strictest terms ot closing with the least intimation of his will, is
for ever to be admired. For us to neglect this great effect and pro-
duct of the wisdom, grace, and love of God, is unspeakable folly. If
Ave think we need it not, we make ourselves wiser than God; if we
think we do, and neglect our duty herein, we are really as unwise
as the beasts that perish. Want of this fortifying of faith, by a dili-
gent search after the testimonies given unto the truth proposed unto
it to be believed, is the cause that so many every day turn away from
it, and therewithal make shipwreck of faith and a good conscience.
Let us, then, never think ourselves safe in the knowledge and pro-
fession of any truth, but whilst we continue sincerely in the investi-
gation of all the confirmation that God hath given it in his word.
The opposition made to every truth is so various, and from so many
hands, that not the least contribution of evidence unto it can be
neglected with safety.

III. The whole creation of God hath a great concernment in
God's bringing forth Christ into the world, and his exaltation in his

Hence in the psalm from whence these words are taken, all tlie
principal parts of it are called on to triumph and rejoice therein.

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