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The earth, and the multitude of the isles, the heaven, and all peo{)le,
are invited unto this congratulation; neither is any thing excluded
but idols and idolaters, whose ruin God intends in the erection of
the kingdom of Christ. And this they have ground for, —

1. Because in that work consisted the principal manifestation of
the wisdom, power, and goodness of God. The whole creation is
concerned in the glory of the Creator. In his exaltation doth their
honour, interest, and blessedness consist. For this end were they
made, that God might be glorified. The more that is done by any
means, the more is their end attained.

Hence the very inanimate parts of it are introduced, by a '^pacu-
'^rcTroitcc, rejoicing, exulting, shouting, and clapping their hands, when
the glory of God is manifested, — in all which their suitableness and
propensity to their proper end is declared; as also, by their being
burdened and sfroanino- under such an estate and condition of things
as doth any way eclipse the glory of their Maker. Now, in this
work of bringing forth the first-born is the glory of God principally
and eminently exalted ; for the Lord Christ is the " brightness of
Ids glory," and in him all the treasures of wisdom, grace, and good-
ness are laid up and hid. Whatever God had any otherwise be-
fore parcelled out, of and concerning his glory, l)y the works of his
hands, is all, and altogether, and with an unspeakable addition of
beauty and excellency, repeated in Christ.


2. The whole creation receiveth a real advancement and honour
in the Son's being made " the first-born of every creature;" that is,
the especial heir and lord of them all. Their being brought into a
new dependence on the Lord Christ is their honour, and they are
exalted by becoming his possession. For after that they had lost
their first original dependence on God, and their respect unto hin\
grounded on his pronouncing of them exceeding good, — that is, such
as became his wisdom and power to have made, — they fell under the
power of the devil, who became prince of this world by sin. Herein
consisted the vanity and debasement of the creature; which it was
never willingly or of its own accord subject unto. But God setting
up the kingdom of Christ, and making him the first-born, the whole
creation hath a right unto a new, glorious lord and master. And
however any part of it be violently for a season detained under its
old bondage, yet it hath grounds of an "earnest expectation" of a full
and total deliverance into liberty, by virtue of this primogeniture of
Christ Jesus.

o. Angels and men, the inhabitants of heaven and earth, the
principal parts of the creation, on whom God hath in an especial
manner stamped his own likeness and image, are hereby made par-
takers of such inestimable benefits as indispensably call for rejoicing
in a way of thankfulness and gratitude. This the whole gospel de-
clares, and therelbre it needs not our particular improvement in this

And if this be the duty of the whole creation, it is easy to discern
in what a special manner it is incumbent on them that believe, whose
benefit, advantage, and glory, were principally intended in this whole
work of God. Should they be foiind wanting in this duty, God
misfht. as ot old, call heaven and earth to witness afjainst them.
Yea, thankfulness to God for the bringing forth of the first-born
into the world is the sum and substance of all that obedience which
God requires at the hands ot believers.

IV. The command of God is the ground and reason of all reli-
gious worship. The angels are to worship the Lord Christ, the
mediator ; and the ground of their so doing is God's command. He
saith, " Worship him, all ye angels."

Now the command of God is twofold: — L Formal and vocal,
when God gives out a law or precept unto any creature super-
added to the law of its creation. Such was the command given out
unto our first parents in the garden concerning the " tree of the
knowledge of good and evil;" and such were all the laws, precepts,
and institutions which he afterwards gave unto his church, with those
which to this day continue as the rule and reason of their obedience.
2. Real and, interpretative, consisting in an impression of the mind
and will of God upon the nature of his creatures, with respect uuto


that obedience which their state, condition, and dependence on him
requireth. The very nature of an intellectual creature, made for the
glory of God, and placed in a moral dependence upon him and sub-
jection unto him, hath in it the force of a command, as to the v.'or-
ship and service that God requireth at their bands. But this law in
man being blotted, weakened, impaired, through sin, God hath in
mercy unto us collected, drawn forth, and disposed all the directions
and commands of it in vocal formal precepts recorded in his word;
whereunto he hath superadded sundry new commands in the insti-
tutions of his worship. With angels it is otherwise. The ingrafted
law of their creation, requiring of them the worship of God and
obedience to his whole will, is kept and preserved entire; so that they
have no need to have it repeated and expressed in vocal formal com-
mands. And by virtue of this law were they obliged to constant and
everlasting worship of the eternal Son of God, as being created and
upheld in a universal dependence upon him. But now when God
brings forth his Son into the world, and placeth him in a new con-
dition, of being incarnate, and becoming so the head of his church,
there is a new modification of the worship that is due to him brought
in, and a new respect unto things, not considered in the first crea-
tion. With reference hereunto God gives a new command unto the
angels, for that peculiar kind of worship and honour which is due
tinto him in that state and condition which he had taken upon him-

This the law of their creation in general directed them unto, but
in particular required not of them. It enjoined the worship of the
Son of God in every conditicm, but that condition was not expressed.
This God supplies by a neiv command; that is, such an intimation
of his mind and will unto them as answers unto a vocal command
given unto men, who by that means only may come to know the
will of God. Thus, in one way or other, command is the ground
and cause of all worship: for, —

1. All worship is obedience. Obedience respects authority; and
authority exerts itself in commands. And if this authority be not
the authority of God, the worship performed in obedience unto it is
not the worship of God, but of him or them whose commands and
authority are the reason and cause of it. It is the authority of Goil
alone that can make any worship to be religious, or the performance
of it to be an act of obedience unto him.

2. God would never allow that the will and wisdom of any of his
creatures should be the rise, ride, or measure of his worship, or any
part of it, or any thing that belongs unto it. This honour he hath
reserved unto himself, neither will he part with it unto any other.
He alone knows what becomes his own greatness and holiness, and
what tends to the advancement of his glory. Hence the Scripture


abounds with severe interdictions and comminations against them
who shall presume to do or appoint any thing in his worship beside
or beyond his own institution.

3. All prescriptions of worship are vain, when men have not
strength to perform it in a due manner, nor assurance of acceptance
when it is performed. Now, both these are and must be from God
alone, nor doth he give strength and ability for any thing in his
worship but what himself commands, nor doth he promise to accejt
any thing but what is of his own appointment; so that it is the
greatest folly imaginable to undertake any thing in his worship and
service but what his appointment gives warrant for.

And this should teacii us, in all that we have to do in the worship
of God, carefully to look after his word of command and institution.
Without this all that we do is lost, as being no obedience unto God ;
yea, it is an open setting up of our own wills and wisdom against
him, and that in things of his own especial concernment; which is
intolerable boldness and presumption. Let us deal thus with our
rulers amongst men, and obey them not according to their laws, but
our own fancies, and see whether they will accept our persons?
And is the great and holy God less to be regarded ? Besides, when
we have our inventions, or the commands of other men, as the
ground and reason of our doing it, we have nothing but our own or
their warr^anty for its acceptance with God; and how far this will
secure us it is easy to judge.

We might hence also further observe, —

V. That the Mediator of the new covenant is in his own person
God blessed for ever, to whom divine or religious worship is due
from the angels themselves. As also that, —

VI. The Father, upon the account of the work of Christ in the
world, and his kingdom that ensued it, gives a new commandment
unto the angels to worship him, his glory being greatly concerned
therein. And that, —

VII. Great is the church's security and honour, when the head
of it is worshipped by all the angeJs in heaven. As also that, —

VIIL It can be no duty of the saints of the new testament to
worship angels, who are their fellow-servants in the worship of Jesus

Verse 7.

Having in one testimony from the Scripture, expressing the sub-
jection of angels unto the Lord Christ, signally proved his main
design, the apostle proceedeth to the further confirmation of it in
the same way, and that by balancing single testimonies concerning
the nature and offices of the angels with some others concerning
the same things in the Lord Christ, of whom he treats. And the
first of these, relating unto angels, he lavs down in the next verse :^


Ver. 7. — Kai Tpog /xh rdii? ayysXovg "klysr 'O voiuv roi/g ayyiXove
alrou cri/fu/Aara, zai rovg Xsirovpyovg aiirou '^uplg oXoycc.

There is not rnufh of difficulty in the words. TLpo; dyyi'Aovg," unto the angels."
Syr., ^H^J'? '?, " of" (or "concerning") " the angels " Vs is often used for hy,
and on the contrary, and -^po; for ttso/; so that Trpog rove dyyiT^ov;, " to the
anjiels," is as much as Trip! roiv a,yyihuv, "of" (or '•concerning") " the angel-:"
" But as concerning the angels," (or, " and of the angel.*,") " he saith:" for these
words are not spoken unto the angels, as the following woi'ds are directly .spoken
unto the Son. He is the person as well spoken to as spoken of; but so are not
the angels in the place from whence this testimony is taken, wherein the Holy
Ghost only declareth the providence of God concerning them.

Aiyet, '• he saith ;" that is, God the Father saith, or the Holy Ghost in the
Scripture saith, as was before observed.

Tov; yvsircvpyovg. Aenovpyog is " mini.ster puhlicus,""a public minister," or
agent ; from Tujiroj, which is the same v\ith Z-/iy.6aio;, as Hesychius renders it,
" public." He that is employed in any great and public work is "Karovpyo^.
Hence, of old, magistrates were termed hurovpyot Qiuv, as they are by Paul, o/ci-
X.OUOI Qiov, Rom. xiii. 4, " the ministers of God." And, chap. viii. 2 of this
epistle, he calls the Lord Jesus, in respect of his priestly office, ruu ocytoiu 'ah-
Tovpyov, "the public minister of holy things:" and himself, in respect of his apostle-
ship, 'Kitrovpyou'lnaov Xpi(jrov, Rom. xv. 16, " a minister of Jesus Christ." So
the name is on this account (qui|iollcnt unto that of angels; for as that denoteth
the mission of those spirits unto their work, sodoth this their employment therein.

This testimony is taken from Ps. civ. 4, where the words are to the same pur-
pose: '^tp '^f: ■'^'^T'v'? ^'""''^ "7??- ~"'?^- The translation now in the Greek is the
same with that of the apostle, only for -Trvpog (p'Koyx, " a flame of fire," some
copies have it 'Trvp (p^iyou, " a flaming fire," — more e.xpiess to the original ; and the
change probably was made in the copies from this place of the apostle. Sym-
maehus, vvp T^ct'Zpoi), "a devouring fire."i

Ver. 7. — But unto [o/] tlie angels he saith, Who maketh
his angels sjDlrits, and his ministers a flame of fire,
[or, flaming jire^

The apostle here entereth upon his third argument to prove the
pre-eminence of the Lord Christ above angels, and that by com-
paring them together, either as to their natures or as to their em-
ployments, according as the one or the other is set forth, declared,

' Exposition. — ITo/wj/, x. t. 7^. "Who maketh his angels that serve him the
ministers of his will, as the ^vinds and the lightning are." The angels are em-
ployed simply in a ministerial capacity, while the Son is lord of all. — Stuart.


'■■■ - — a "• ""-"■-. — ^.-,<.^,vv. ,^,^..0 angels

ai-e employed by him in the same way as the more ordinary agents of nature,—
winds and lightnings. — Turner.

Calvin, Beza. Bucer, Grotius, Limborch, Lowth. Campbell, Michaelis, Knapp,
and others, translate the Greek words as equivalent to the Hebrew. Luther,
Calov, Storr, Tholuck, and others, interpret the Hebrew according to the Gre-k.
The Hebrew, it is alleged, must from the contci^t be rendered, '' He makes the


and testified unto in the Scriptures of the Old Testament, And this
first place whicli he refers unto angels we shall now explain and
vindicate; and in so doing inquire both ivho they are of whom tlie
psalmist speaks, and what it is that he afifirraeth of them.

There is a threefold sense given of the words of the psalmist, as
they lie in the Hebrew text: —

1. The first is that of the modern Jews, who deny that there i.«?
any mention made of angels, affirming the subject that the psalmist
treats of to be the winds, with thunder and lightning, which God
employs as his messengers and ministers to accomplish his will and
pleasure. So he made the winds his messengers when he sent them
to raise a storm on Jonah when he fled from his presence; and a fire his minister, when by it he consumed Sodom and Go-
morrah. And this opinion makes ninil, which it interprets " winds,"
and ^<y t''^?, " a flaming fire/' to be the subjects of the proposition,
of which it is affirmed that God employs them as his messengers
and ministers.

That this opinion, which is directly contradictory to the authority
of the apostle, is so also to the design of the psalmist, sense of the
words, consent of the ancient Jews, and so no way to be admitted,
shall afterwards be made to appear.

2. Some aver that the winds and meteors are principally intended,
but yet so as that God, affirming that he makes the winds his mes-
sengers, doth also intimate that it is the work and employment of
his angels above to be his messengers also; and that because he
niaketh use of their ministry to cause those winds and fires whereby
he accomplisheth his will. And this they illustrate by the fire and
winds caused by them on mount Sinai at the giving of the law.

But this interpretation, whatever is pretended to the contrary,
doth not really differ from the former, denying angels to be inten-
tionally spoken of, only hooking in a respect unto them, not to
seem to contradict the apostle, and therefore will be disproved toge-
ther with that which went before.

winds his messengers," etc. To the former view it i> justly ohjected, that the
Greeii rendering would have been, ' O Trotuv a-yyihov^ ccvruv to, ntvivi^a.-ra,. To the
latter, that the analogy of the context requires us in the lluhrew psalm to under-
stand winds as the messengers of God, even as light is his garmeni, the heav^-n
hi-i tent, and the clouds his chariot. Tholuck, Stuart, and Turner hold that the
Hebrew psalm leads to the opposite conclusion, fiom the natural order of the
words, from the connection of angels with natural causes, and from the real scope
of the context, — " Who maketh the clouds his chariot." The form r, says Storr,
like angels and ministers, must be understood literally, and the latter (ch:iri<it),
like winds and lightninffs, figuratively for agents of his will. The translation
adopted by the New Testament from the Septuagint has the sanction also of trie
Chaldee and Syriae versions.

Tra.nslatio'ns. — 'O TToiav, K. T. 7i. Who niaketh his angels wmh.— -Stuart,
Craik, Ebr.ird. Who maketh winds his messengers, and flaniing fire his minis-
ters. — Campbell on GospcU. Dissert, viii. part iii. sect. 10. — Ed.


0. Others grant that it is the angels of whom the apostle treats;
hut as to the interpretation of the words they are of two opinions.

Some make "spirits" to be the subject of what is affirmed, and
"angels" to be the predicate. In this sense God is said to make those
spiritual substances, inhabitants of heaven, his messengers, employing
them in his service ; and them whose nature is " a flaming fire," that
is the seraphim, to be his ministers, and to accomplish his pleasure.
And this way, after Austin, go many expositors, making the term
" angels" here merely to denote an employment, and not the persons
employed. But as this interpretation also takes off from the efficacy
and evidence of tlie apostle's argument, so we shall see that there is
nothing in the words themselves leading to the embracement of it.

It remains, therefore, that it is the angels that are here spoken of;
as also that they are intended and designed by that name, which
denotes their persons, and not tiieir employment.

That angels are primarily intended by the psalmist, contrary to
the first opinion, of the modern Jews, and the second mentioned,
leaning thereunto, appears, —

1. From the scope and design of the psalmist. For designing to
set out tlie glory of God in his works of creation and providence,
after he had declared the framing of all things by his power which
come under the name of " heavens," verses 2, 3, before he proceeds to
the creation of the earth, — passing over, with Moses, the creation of
angels, or couching it with him under the production of light or of
the heavens, as they are called in Job, — he declareth his providence
and sovereignty in employing his angels between heaven and earth,
as his servants for the accomplishment of his pleasure. Neither tioth
it at all suit his method or design, in his enumeration of the works
of God, to make mention of the winds and tempests, and their use
in the earth, before he had mentioned the creation of the earth it-
self, which follows in the next verse unto this. So that these senses
are excluded by the context of the psalm.

2. The consent of the ancient Jews lies against the sentiment of
the modern. Both the old translations either made or embraced by
them expressly refer the words unto angels. So doth that of the
LXX., as is evident from the words; and so doth the Targum, thus
rendering the place, ^?:^'x Tr\ p3"'pn ''^t^'ac' xnn nv"i pnin-iD •'injTN n^yi
fc^nn^VD; — "Who maketh his messengers" (or "angels") "swift as
spirits, and his ministers strong" (or " powerful") " as a flaming fire."
The supply of the note of similitude niakes it evident that they un-
derstood the text of angels, and not winds, and of making angels as
spirits, and not of making winds to be angels or messengers, which
is inconsistent with their words.

3. The word Q''?^^P doth usually denote the angels themselves,
and no reason can be given why it should not do so in this placa


Moreover, it appears that that term is the subject of the proposi-
tion: for, —

1. The apostle and the LXX, fixing the articles before ayyiXous
aiul Xsirovpyovg, "angels" and "ministers," do plainly determine the
subject spoken of: for although, it may be, some variety may be ob-
served in the use of articles in other places, so that they do not
always determine the subject of the proposition, as sometimes con-
fessedly they do, as John i. 1, iv. 24; yet in this place, where
in the original all the words are left indefinitely, without any prefix
to direct the emphasis unto any one of them, the fixing of them in
the translation of the apostle and LXX. must necessarily design the
subject of them, or else by the addition of the article they leave the
sense much more ambiguous than before, and give occasion to a
great mistake in the interpretation of the words.

2. The apostle speaks of angels: " Unto the angels he saith." And
in all other testimonies produced by him, that whereof he treats hath
the place of the subject spoken of, and not of that which is attri-
buted unto any thing else. Neither can the words be freed from
equivocation, if "angels" in the first place denote the persons of the
augels, and in the latter their employment only.

0. The design and scope of the apostle requires this construction
of the words; for his intention is, to prove by this testimony that the
angels are employed in such works and services, and in such a man-
ner, as that they are no way to be compared to the Son of God, in
respect of that office which as mediator he hath undertaken: which
the sense and construction contended for alone doth prove.

4. The original text requires this sense; for, according to the com-
mon use of that language, among words indefinitely used, the first
denotes the subject spoken of, which is angels here : ninn 1''9';?fP ^¥^,
— " making his angels spirits." And in such propositions ofttimes
some note of similitude is to be understood, without which the sense
is not complete, and which, as I have showed, the Targum supplieth
in this place.

From what hath been said, I suppose it is made evident both that
the psalmist expressly treats of angels, and that the subject spoken
of by the apostle is expressed in that word, and that following, of

Our next inquiry is after what is affirmed concerning these angels
and ministers spoken of; and that is, that God makes them " spirits,"
and " a flame of fire." And concerning; the meaning of these words
there are two opinions : —

1. That the creation of angels is intended in the words; and
tlie nature whereof they were made is expressed in them. He made
them spirits, — that is, of a spiritual substance; and his heavenly
ministers, quick, powerful, agile, as a flaming fire. Some carry this


sense farther, and affirm that two sorts of angels are intimated, one
of an aerial substance like the wind, and the other igneal or fiery,
denying all pure intelligences, without mixture of matter, as the
product of the school of Aristotle.

But this seems not to be the intention of the words; nor is the
creation of the angels or the substance whereof they consist here
expressed: for, — (1.) The analysis of the psalm, formerly touched on,
requires the referring of these words to the providence of God in em-
ploying the angels, and not to his power in making them. {'Z.) The
apostle in this place hath nothing to do with the essence and nature of
the angels, but with their dignity, honour, and employment; on wiiicli
accounts he preferreth the Lord Christ before them. Wherefore, —

2. The providence of God in disposing and employing of angels
in his service is intended in these words; and so they may have
a double sense: — (1.) That God employeth his angels and hea-
venly ministers in the production of those winds, Dirin, and fire,
^'(P "^"??, thunder and lightning, whereby he executeth many judg-
ments in the world. (2.) A note of similitude may be understood,
to complete the sense, which is expressed in the Targum on tiie
psalm: "He maketh" (or "sendeth") "his angels like the winds,
or like a flaming fire," — maketh them speedy, spiritual, agile,
powerful, quickly and effectually accomplishing the work that is
appointed unto them.

Either way this is the plain intendment of the psalm, — that God
usetli and employeth his angels in effecting the works of his provi-
dence here below, and that they were made to serve the providence of
God in that way and manner. ' This,' saith the apostle, ' is the testi-
mony which the Holy Ghost gives concerning them, their nature,
duty, and work, wherein they serve the providence of God. But
now,' saith he, ' consider v/hat the Scripture saith concerning the Son,
how it calls him God, how it ascribes a throne and a kingaom unto
him' (testimonies whereof he produceth in the next verses), ' and you

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