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will easily discern his pre-eminence above them.'

But before we proceed to the consideration of the ensuing testi,
monies, we may make some observations on that which we have
already passed through; as, —

I. Our conceptions of the angels, their nature, office, and work,
is to be regulated by the Scripture.

The Jews of old had many curious speculations about angels,
wherein they greatly pleased and greatly deceived themselves.
Wherefore the apostle, in his dealing with them, calls them off from
all their foolish imaginations, to attend unto those things which
God hath revealed in his word concerning them. This the Holy
Giiost saith of them, and therefore this we are to receive and be-
lieve, and. this alone ; for, —


1. This will keep us unto that becoming sobriety in things above
us which both the Scripture greatly commends and is exceed-
ingly suited unto right reason. The Scripture minds us fir, brfpfpo-
vuv iraf hi7 tppovsiv dXXa (ppovsTv it; to cc/jfpon7v, Rom. xii. 3, " to kt-ep
ourselves within the bounds of modesty, and to be wise to sobiiety."
And the ride of that sobriety is given us for ever, Deut. xxix. 28,
^rjnijni^^ri^ani ^rn^s- nin>^ nhn 93 n;_" Secret things belong unto the
Lord our God : but revealed things unto us and to our cliiidren"
Divine revelation is the rule and measure of our kuowledcre in these
things, and that bounds and determines our sobriety. And hence
the apostle, condemning the curiosity of men on this very subject
about angels, makes the nature of their sin to consist in exceeding
these bounds by an inquiry into things unrevealed; and the rise of
that evil to lie in pride, vanity, and fleshliness ; and the tendency of
it to be unto false worship, superstition, and idolatry. Col. ii. 18.
Neither is there any thing more averse from right reason, nor more
condemned by wise men of former times, than a curious humour of
prying into those things wherein we are not concerned, and for
whose investigation we have no certain, honest, lawful rule or me-
dium. And this evil is increased where God himself hath given
bounds to our inquiries, as in this case he hath.

2. This alone will bring us unto any certainty andtruth. Whilst
men indulge to their own imaginations and fancies, as too many in
this matter have been apt to do, it is sad to consider how they have
wandered up and down, and with what fond conceits they have
deceived themselves and others. The world hath been filled
with monstrous opinions and doctrines about angels, their nature,
offices, and employments. Some have worshipped them, others pre-
tended I know not what communion and intercourse with them ;
in all which conceits there hath been little of truth, and nothing
at all of certainty. Whereas if men, according to the exan'wple
of the apostle, would keep themselves to the word of God, as they
would know enough in this matter for the discharcincj of their own
duty, so they would have assurance and evidence of truth in their
conceptions; without which pretended high and raised notions are
but a shadow of a dream, — worse than professed ignorance.

II. We may hence observe, that the glory, honour, and exalta-
tion of angels lies in their subserviency to the providence of God.
It lies not so much in their nature as in their work and service.

The intention of the apostle is to show the glory of angela
and their exaltation ; which he doth by the induction of this testi-
mony, reporting their serviceableness in the works wherein of God
they are employed. God hath endowed the angels with a very
excellent nature, — furnished them with many eminent properties,
of wisdom, power, agility, perpetuity: but yet what is glorious

VOL. xu.— 12


and honourable herein consists not merely in their nature itself and
its essential properties, all which abide in the horridest and most-
to-be-detested part of the whole creation, namely, the devils; but in
their conformity and answerableness unto the mind and will of God,
— that is, in tlieir moral, not merely natural endowments. These
make them amiable, glorious, excellent. Unto this their readiness
for and compliance with the will of God, — that God having made
them for his service, and employing them in his work, — their dis-
charge of their duty therein with cheerfulness, alacrity, readiness,
and ability, is that which renders them truly honourable and glo-
rious. Their readiness and abihty to serve the providence of God
is their glory ; for, —

1. The greatest glory that any creature can be made partaker of,
is to serve the will and set forth the praise of its Creator. That is
its order and tendency towards its principal end; in which two all
true honour consists. It is glorious even in the angels to serve tlie
God of glory. What is there above this for a creature to as-pire
unto? what that its nature is capable of? Those among the angels
who, as it seems, attempted somewhat further, somewhat higher,
attained nothing but an endless ruin in shame and misery. Men
are ready to fancy strange things about the glory of angels, and do
little consider that all the difference in glory that is in any parts of
God's creation lies merely in willingness, ability, and readiness to
serve God their Creator.

2. The works wherein God employs them, in a subservience unto
his providence, are in an especial manner glorious works. As lor
the service of augels, as it is intimated unto us in the Scripture, it
may be reduced unto two heads; for they are employed either in
the communication of protection and blessings to the church, or in
the execution of the vengeance and judgments of God against his
enemies. Instances to both these purposes may be multiplied, but
they are commonly known. Now these are glorious works. God
in them eminently exalts his mercy and justice, — the two properties
of his nature in the execution whereof he is most eminently ex-
alted : and from these works ariseth all that revenue of glory and
praise which God is pleased to reserve to himself from the world :
so that it must needs be very honourable to be employed in these

o. They perform their duty in their service in a very glorious man-
ner, with great power, wisdom, and uncontrollable efficacy. Thus, one
of them slew one hundred and eighty-five thousand of the enemies of
God in a night; another set fire on Sodom and Gomorrah from
heaven. Of the like power and expedition are they in all their ser-
vices, in all things to the utmost capacity of creatures answering the
will of God. God himself, it is true, sees that in them and their


works which keeps them short of absolute purity and perfection,
which are his own properties; but as to the capacity of mere crea-
tures, and for their state and condition, tliere is a perfection in their
obedience, and that is their glory.

Now, if this be the great glory of angels, and we poor worms of
the earth are invited, as we are, unto a participation with them
therein, what unspeakable folly will it be in us if we be found
negligent in labouring to attain thereunto ! Our future glory con-
sists in this, that we shall be made like xinto angels; and our way
towards it is, to do the will of our Father on earth as it is done by
them in heaven. Oh, in how many vanities doth vain man place
his glory ! Nothing so shameful that one or other hath not gloried
in ; whilst the true and only glory, of doing the will of God, is ne-
glected by almost all ! But we must treat again of these things
upon the last verse of this chapter.

Verses 8, 9.

Having given an account of what the Scripture teacheth and
testifieth concerning angels, in the following verses he showeth how
much other things, and far more glorious, are spoken to and of the
Son, by whom God revealed his will in the gospel.

Ver. 8, 9. — Tlphg hi rhv T/6V * O ''^pcvog eov, 6 Qihg, iig tIv aiuva rov aiuvog*
pdZhog sbdurrjTog t] pdCho; rrig ^aeiXsiag aov. 'HyccTJjffac bixaioirvvrjv,
e/iisriffag dvo/j^iav did rovro 'i'X^pic'i as ,Qihg, 6 &i6g cov, 'sXcx,iov dyaAAidaajg
itafd Toug /j^STo^oug ■co\j.

MS. T., 'H potOtog ivdvrYiTo;: and for di/ofii'xv, cc^ikixv.

Upos li rov rioy, "But unto the Son." Syr., ^K? H *'';^ ^?, "but of the
Son he saith;" which is necessarily suppHed as to the apostle's design. In the
psiilin the words are spoken by way of apostrophe to the Son, and they are re-
cited by the apostle as spoken of him; that is, so spoken to him as to contain a
description of him and his state or kingdom.

' O Spo'j/oj (Tou, 6 Qiog, iig rov uluvot rov otlayo^. Ps. xlv. 7 is the place from
whence the words are taken, '''^l °^^^ °T'?. ~'^?^- The LXX. render these words
as the apostle. Aquila, ' O £)p6vog aov Qsi s'tg aiuvce. x«i 'irf Qee, for o ©so'j" — " Tiiy
throne, O God, for ever and j'et." Symmachus, 'O iipovog aov 6 Qeog uiui/io; xsel
iTi' — "Thy throne, O God, is everlasting and yet;" and that because it is not
said, 0^""?. but S/"-', absolutely; 'O &i6g, Qii, as in the translation of Aquila.

''S? is "a kingly throne," nor is it ever used in Scripture fur -'i^'^, " a common
seat." Metonymically it is used for power and government, and that frequemly.
The LXX. almost constantly render it by ^povog, and ^povog is 'ihivSipiog Ku^i'ipec
avu vTrovooiu, Aihenae, lib. v., — " a free open seat with a footstool." And such a
throne is here properly assigned unto the Lord Christ, mention of his footstool
being immediately subjoined. So God says of himself, " Heaven is my throne,
and the earth is my footstool;" as the heathen termed heaven, Atog Bpit/ov, "The
throne of God."

'• Thy throne, God, i^1 aVis^"—" in seculura et usque;" "in sempiternum et
perpetuo;" " in seculum seculorutn." The duration denoted by the conjunction
of botli these words is mostly an absolute perpetuity, and a certain, uninterrupted


continuance, where the subject spoken of admits a limitation. Many of the Greek
interpreters render ''.? by en, attending to the sound rather than the use and
signification of the word; so is " yet " in our language. This we express by, "for
ever and ever."

'PaSSoj ivdvrnrog ^ pi.Z'hog ('Kilag aav. The variation of ^ /saSSoj in the
first place, before mentioned, takes off from the elegancy of the expression, and
darkens the sense; for the article prefixed to the last ^«€3oj declares that to be
the subject of the proposition.

The w ords of the psalmist are, "W=^!? ^=^ ^^■'» '^'^^.> " Shebet," is « virga,"
and " sceptrum," and in this place is rendered by Aquiia ax-viirrpav, " a rod,'' " a
staff," " a sceptre;" always a sceptre when referred to rule, as in this place it is
called the sceptre of the kingdom.

A " sceptre," "'"■s'"'?, from "'"i?;, " fuit," to be " right," " straight," " up-
right," principally in a moral sense. EvdvrnTog, " of uprightness." Evdvrns
is properly such a rectitude as we call straight, opposed to crooked; ami me-
taphorically only is it used for moral uprightness, that is, equity and rigiite-
ousness. Syr., ^<■^■'■f^ ^'^^p. Boderianus, "sceptrum erectum," "a sceptre lifted
up," or " held upright." The Paris edition, " sceptrum protensum," " a sceptre
stretched out;" and the stretching out of the sceptre was a sign and token of
mercy, Esth. v. 2. Tremellius, " virga recta;" which answers " mischor" in both
its acceptations. Erpenius to the same purpose, " sceptrum rectum," " a right

" Thou hast loved righteousness and hated ''■J'Tl," dvo/aiuv, dltaixu, "iniquity,"
" unrighteousness," " wickedness." Aiei tovto, 1?"^?, " propterea," "propter quod,"
"quare," "ideo," " idcirco," — " wherefore," "for which cause." Some copies of
the LXX. and Aquiia read sTfl rovru, so that lix roino seems to have been taken
into the LXX. from this rendering of the v\ords by the apostle.

"ExpKTt as @i6g, 6 Q>s6; aov, 'i'Kee.iov dyu.'Khtciasug' — T^'^ T!?r? '"t?'.*^ ^T'?* "r'^i'? ;
— " God, thy God, hath anointed thee." The words in Greek and Hebrew aie
those from whence the names of Christ and Messiah are taken, which are of the
same importance and signification, — " The anointed one." And the same by the
Targumist; Aquiia, ^'?i£/;^£.

" Hath anointed thee 'i'Kot.tov oLyu'h'hici.uiug," — the instrument in doing of the
thing intended, expressed by the accusative ease, whereof there are other instances
in that language. Of old the LXX. read IXa/a dy'hxhi^ov, "with the oil of
delight," or "ornament;" so that s'ha.iov dyot.'K'htccaiug came also into the Greek
version from this place of the apostle, and is more proper than the old reading,
"the oil of rejoicing," "joy" or "gladness."

Uocpd Toi/g ft-SToy^ovg aov' "'^l^^'I;^, — " before," or " above," " those that partake
with thee," " thy fellows," or " companions." So Symmachus, roi>s krxt'povs

Ver. 8, 9. — But unto the Son [he saitli], Thy throne, O
God, is for ever ; the sceptre of thy kingdom is a sceptre
of righteousness. Thou hast loved righteousness, and
hated iniquity; wherefore God, thy God, hath anointed
thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.

This testimony is produced by the apostle in answer unto that

' Various Readings. — Lachmann, on the authority of respectable manuscripts,
gives the reading, K«< '/; pdQog riig sv6vTY,Tog puQlog, k. r. A.

Exposition, — ^'O ©soV is the usual voc, and nearly the only form of it,


fcregoing concerning angels. 'Those words/ saitli he, 'were spoken
by the Holy Ghost of the angels, wherein their office and employ-
ment under the providence of God is described. These are spoken
by the same Spirit of the Son, or spoken to him, denoting his pre-
exiftence unto the prophecies themselves.'

There is little or no difficulty to prove that this testimony belongs
properly unto him to whom it is applied by the apostle. The
ancient Jews granted it, and the present doctors cannot deny it.
One of them says, indeed, D'^UDn bv IX in by -iDS3 "iinTDn nn; — " This
psalm is spoken of David, or the Messiah." These are the words
and this is the opinion of Aben Ezra; who accordingly endeavours
to give a double sense of the chief passages in this psalm, — one as
applied unto David, another as applied unto the Messiah, which he
inclines unto. Jarchi turns it into an allegory, without any tole-
rable sense throughout his discourse. But though it might respect
them both, yet there is no pretence to make David the subject of
it, the title and whole contexture of it excluding such an applica-

The Targura wholly applies the psalm to the Messiah ; which is
a somewhat better evidence of the conception of the ancient Jews
than the private opinion of any later writer can give us. And the
title of the psalm in that paraphrase would make it a prophecy given
out in the days of Moses for the use of the Sanhedrin ; which mani-
fests what account it had of old in their creed concerning the Mes-

Some Christian interpreters have so far assented unto the latei
rabbins as to grant that Solomon was primarily intended in this
psalm, as a type of Christ, and that the whole was an epithalamium
or marriage-song, composed upon his nuptials with the daughter of
Pharaoh, But there want not important reasons against this opi-
nion: for, —

1. It is not probable that the Holy Ghost should so celebrate that
marriage, which as it was antecedently forbidden by God, so it was
never consequently blessed by him, she being aniong the number of
those " strange women" which turned his heart from God, and was

throughout the Septuagint; e. g., Ps. iii. 7, iv. 1, v. 10, vii. 1, et passim

Where is Gnd ever saM to be the throne of his creatures? and what could be the
sen^e of such an expression ? — Stuart. All the ancient versions of the original
passage in the Psahns agree in supporting the cummon construction, so far as
their respective idioms permit a positive conclusion. — P/yc Smith. Thi- at-
tempt of Gesenius to sustain another translation of th^ Hebrew, " The throne
of God," that is, "thy divine throne," is truly surprising: as he must have
known, that in such a case, the second of the two nouns, and not, as here,
the first, would have had the suffix by common usage of the language. — Inr-

Translations. — Tlpog 3e rov TUv, But respecting the Son. — Stuart, De \\ ette.
Concerning. — Boothroyd. — Ed.


cursed with barrenness; the first foreign breach that came upon lii3
family and all his magnificence being also from Egypt, where his
transgression beo^an.

2. There is scarce any thing in the psalm that can with propriety
of speech be applied unto Solomon. Two things are especially in-
sisted on in the former part of the psalm, — first, the righteousness of
the person spoken of in all his ways and administrations, and then
tlie perpetuity of his kingdom. How the first of these can be attri-
buted unto him whose transgressions and sins were so public and
notorious, or the latter to him who reigned but forty years, and then
left his kingdom broken and divided to a wicked, foolish son, is hard
to conceive.

As all, then, grant that the Messiah is principally, so there is no
cogent reason to prove that he is not solely, intended in tliis psalm.
I will not contend but that sundry things treated of in it might be
obscurely typified in the kingdom and magnificence of Solomon;
yet it is certain that most of the things mentioned, and expressions
of them, do so immediately and directly belong unto the Lord Christ
as that they can in no sense be applied unto the person of Solomon;
and such are the words insisted on in this place by our apostle, as
will be made evident in the ensuing explication of them.

We must, then, in the next place, consider what it is that the
apostle intends to prove and confirm by this testimony, whereby we
shall discover its suitableness unto his design. Now, this is not, as
some have supposed, the deity of Christ; nor doth he make use of
that directly in this place, though he doth in the next verse, as a
medium to prove his pre-eminence above the angels, although the
testimonies which he produceth do eminently mention his divine
nature. But that which he designs to evince is this only, that he
whom they saw for a time made " lower than the angels," chap. ii.
9, was yet in his whole person, and as he discharged the ofiice com-
mitted unto him, so far above them as that he had power to alter
and change those institutions which were given out by the ministry
of angels. And this he doth undeniably by the testimonies alleged,
as they are compared together: for whereas the Scripture testifies
concerning angels that they are all servants, and that their chiefest
glory consists in the discharge of their duty as servants, unto him a
throne, rule, and everlasting dominion, administered with glory,
power, righteousness, and equity, are ascribed ; whence it is evident
that he is exceedingly exalted above them, as is a king on his throne
above the servants that attend him and do his pleasure.

And this is sufficient to manifest the design of the apostle, as also
the evidence of his argument from this testimony. The exposition
of the words belongs ])roperly to the place from whence they are
taken. But yet, that we may not leave the reader unsatisfied as to


any particular difficulty that may seem to occur ia them, this expo-
sition shall be here also attended to.

The first thing to be attended to in them is the compcllation of
the person spoken unto, " O God :" " Thy throne, God."

Some would have Elohim (6 ©so'g) to be a name common to God
with others, namely, angels and judges; and in that large accepta-
tion to be here ascribed to the Lord Christ; so that though he be
expressly called Elohim, and o ©go'j, yet that proves him not to be
God by nature, but only to be so termed in respect of his oj)ice,
dignity, and authority. And this is contended for by the Socinians.
But this gloss is contrary to the perpetual use of the Scripture ; for
no one place can be instanced in, where the name Elohim is used
absolutely, and restrained unto any one person, wherein it doth not
undeniably denote the true and only God. Magistrates are, indeed,
said to be elohim in respect of their office, but no one magistrate
was ever so called ; nor can a man say without blasphemy to any of
them, "Thou art Elohim," or "God." Moses also is said to be elo-
him, " a god," but not absolutely, but " a god to Pharaoh," and to
"Aaron;" that is, in God's stead, doing and performing in the name
of God what he had commanded him. Which places Jarchi pro-
duceth in his comment to countenance this sense, but in vain.

It is, then, the true God that is spoken unto in this apostrophe,
"Elohim," "O God." This being granted, Erasmus starts a new
interpretation of tlie whole words, though he seemeth not to approve
of his own invention. "'O '^povo; cou 6 ©sJ?. It is uncertain," saith
he, "whether the meaning be, 'Thy throne, God,' or 'God is thy
throne for ever.'" In the first way the word is an apostrophe to
the Son, in the latter it expresseth the person of the Father. And
this interpretation is embraced and improved by Grotius, who,
granting that the word Elohim, used absolutely, siguifieth as much
as, "Elohe elohim," "the God of gods," would not allow that it
should be spoken of Christ, and therefore renders the words, "Gid
shall be thy seat for ever," — that is, "shall establish thee in thy
throne." And this evasion is also fixed on by Abeu Ezra, from
Haggaon, DM^X \'y ^^?D^; — "God shall establish thy throne." May-
men be allowed thus to thrust in what words they please into the
text, leading to another sense than what itself expresseth, there will
not much be left certain in the whole book of God. However, in
this present instance, we have light enough to rebuke the boldness
of this attempt ; for, — 1. The interpretation insisted on is contrary
to all old translations, whose language would bear a difference ia
the word, expressing it in the vocative case, "O God." 2. Contrary
to the received sense of Jews and Christians of old, and in esijecial
of the Targum on the psalm, rendering the words, "Thy throne, O
God, is in heaven, for ever." o. Contrary to the contexture and


design of the apostle's discourses, as may appear from the considera-
tiuu of the preceding enarration of them. 4. Leaves no tolerable
sense unto the words; neither can they who embrace it declare in
what sense God is the throne of Christ. 5. Is contrary to the uni-
versally constant use of the expression in Scripture; for wherever
there is mention of the throne of Christ, somewhat else, and not
God, is intended thereby. 6. The word supplied by Grotius from
Saadias and Aben Ezra, to induce a sense unto his exposition
" shall establish," makes a new text, or leads the old utterly from
the intention of the words; for whereas it cannot be said that God
is the throne of Christ, nor was there any need to say that God was
for ever and ever, — wdiich two things must take up the whole in-
tendment of the words if God the Father be spoken of, — the adding
of, "shall establish," or confirm, into the text, gives it an arbitrary
sense, and such as, by the like suggestion of any other word, as
"sliall destroy," may be rendered quite of another importance.

It is Christ, then, the Son, that is spoken to and denoted by that
name, "Eiohim," "0 God," as being the true God by nature; though
what is here affirmed of him be not as God, but as the king of his
church and people; as in another place God is said to redeem Lis
church with his own blood.

Secondly, We may consider what is assigned unto him, which is
his kingdom ; and that is described, — 1. By the "insignia regalia,"
the royal ensigns of it, — namely, his throne and sceptre. 2. By its
duration, — it is for ever. 3. His manner of administration, — it is
with righteousness; his sceptre is a sceptre of righteousness. 4. His
furniture or preparation for this administration, — he loved righte-
ousness and hated iniquity. 5. By an adjunct privilege, — unction
with the oil of gladnesg; Which, 6. Is exemplified by a comparison
with others, — it is so with him above his fellows.

1. The first "insigne regium" mentioned is his "throne," whereunto
the attribute of perpetuity is annexed, — it is for ever. And this
throne denotes the kingdom itself. A throne is the seat of a king

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