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tolerably be applied unto him, and the most of it would declare
him to be that which he is not at all : so that the words as used to
his purpose must needs be both false and ambiguous. Who, then,
can but believe, on this testimony of the apostle, that Christ the
Lord made heaven and earth? And if the apostle intended not to
assert it, what is there in the text or near it as a buoy to warn men
from running on a shelf, there where so fair a harbour apjaears
unto them? From all that hath been said, it is evident that this
whole testimony belongs to Christ, and is by the apostle asserted so
to do.

Proceed we now to the interpretation of the words. The person
spoken of and spoken unto in them is the Lord: 20 Kvpis,
" Thou, Lord." The words are not in the psalm in this "'""

verse, but what is spoken is referred unto V^, " my God :" "I said,
O my God, take me not away in the midst of my days;" comfort-
ing himself, under the consideration of the frailty and misery of his
life, with the thought and faith of the eternity and power of Christ,
For be our lives never so frail, yet as to life eternal, because he
liveth we shall live also, and he is of power to raise us up at the last
day, John xiv. 19; 1 Cor. xv. 20; and that is the ground of all our
consolation against the brevity and misery of our lives. Whereby
it also further appears that it is the Lord Christ whom the psalmist
addresses himself unto ; for from the absolute consideration of the
omnipotency and eternity of God no consolation can be drawn.
And, indeed, the people of the Jews having openly affirmed that
they could not deal immediately with God but by a mediator, —

VOL. Xll.— 14


which God eminently approved in them, wishing that such an linait
would always abide in them, Deut. v. 25-29, — so as he sutfered
them not to approach his typical presence between the cheruLdiu
but by a typical mediator, their high priest, so also were they in-
structed in their I'eal approach unto God, that it was not to be made
immediately to the Father but by the Son, whom in particular the
apostle declares the psalmist in this place to intend.

Concerning this person, or the " Lord," he affirms two things, or
attributes two things unto him. 1. The creation of heaven and
earth; 2. The a6o^^Y^o?^ or change of them. From that attribution
he proceeds to a comparison between him and the most glorious
of his creatures, and that as to duration or eternity; frailty and
cliange in and of himself, one of the creatures, being that which in
pcirticular he addresseth himself to the Lord about.

Tlie time or season of the creation is first intimated: Kar dp-
•^dg, for h dpy^fi, — that is, '^''P''!}^^ " in the beginning," or
«?x« • ^^^ ^i^g word is here, ^"'^??, " of old," before they were
or existed: ' They had their being and beginning from thee: of old
they were not; but in thy season thou gavest existence or being
unto them. " Thou hast laid the foundation of the earth, and the
heavens are the works of thy hands,"' verse 10.

Two things are observable in this expression of the creation of all
thinors: — 1. The distribution made of them into heaven and earth
being distinctly mentioned. In the consideration of the works of
God, to admire his greatness, power, and wisdom in them, or to set
forth his praise for them, it is usual in the Scripture to distribute
them into parts, the more to fix the contemplation of the mind upon
them, and to excite it unto faith, admiration, and praise. So deal-
eth the psalmist with the works of God's providence in bringing the
children of Israel out of Egypt, Ps. cxxxvi. He takes, as it were,
tliat whole curious work into its several pieces, and subjoins that in-
ference of praise to every one of them, " For his mercy endureth for
ever." And so he dealeth with the works of creation, Ps. xix., and
in sundry other places. 2. What is peculiar in the expressions with
respect unto each of them. (1.) Of the earth it is said he founded
it, because of its stability and unmovableness ; which is the language
of the Scripture, — he set it fast, he established it, that it should not
be moved for ever. It may be, also, the whole fabric of heaven and
earth is compared to an edifice or building, whereof the earth, as
the lowest and most depressed part, is looked on as the foundation
of the whole; but the stability, unmovableness, and firmness of it,
is that which the word expresseth, and which is most properly in-
tended. (2.) Of the heavens, that they are the works of his hands ;
alluding to the curious frame and garnishing of them with all their
iiost of glorious lights wherewith they are adorned. The '^'iPW, Jub


xxvi. 13, the beautifulness, adorning, or garnishing of the heavens,
in the curious, glorious forming and fashioning of them, is that which,
in a way of distinction, the psalmist aims to express in these words,
" The heavens are the work of thy hands," — that which thy liands,
thy power, with infinite wisdom, hath framed, so as to set off and
give lustre and beauty to the whole fabric, as a master work-
man doth the upper and more noble parts of his building. This
is the first thing assigned to the Lord in this testimony of his

The second is in the change or abolition of them. Most suppose
tliat the heavens and the earth at the last day shall only be changed,
altered, or renewed, as to their quality and beauty; some, that they
shall be utterly destroyed, consumed, and abolished. The discussing
of that doubt belongs not directly to the interpretation or exposition
of this place, neither sense of the words conducing particularly to
the apostle's purpose and design in reciting this testimony. It is
enough to his aroument that the work which was of old in thecre:i-
tion of the world, and that which shall be in the mutation or aboli-
tion of it, — which is no less an effect of infinite power than the for-
mer, — are ascribed unto the Lord Christ. Whatever the work be, he
compares it to a garment no more to be used, or at least not to
be used in the same kind wherein it was before; and the work itself
to the folding up or rolling up of such a garment, — intimating the
greatness of him by whom this work shall be performed, and tlie
facihty of the work unto him. The whole creation is as a garment,
wherein he shows his power clothed unto men; whence in particu-
lar he is said to clothe himself with light as with a garment. And
in it is the hiding of his power. Hid it is, as a man is hid with a
garment; not that he should not be seen at all, but that he should
not be seen perfectly and as he is. It shows the man, and he is
known by it; but also it hides him, that he is not perfectly or fully
seen. So are the works of creation unto God. He so far makes
them his garment or clothing as in them to give out some instances
of his power and wisdom; but he is also hid in them, in that by
them no creature can come to the full and perfect knowledge of
him. Now, when this work shall cease, and God shall unclothe or
unveil all his glory to his saints, and they shall know him perfectly,
see him as he is, so far as a created nature is capable of that com-
prehension, then will he lay them aside and fold them up, at least
as to that use, as easily as a man lays aside a garment that he will
wear or use no more. This lies in the metaphor.

On this assertion he insinuates a comparison between this glorious
fabric of heaven and earth and him that made them, as to durabie-
ness and stability, which is the thing he treats about; complaining
of his own misery or mortality. For the heayeus and the earth, he


declares that they are in themselves of a flux and perishing nature ;
f^^n. auT-o/, " isti," — " they shall perish." The word immediately re-
lates to the heavens, but by the figure zeugma compreheuds and
takes in the earth also: "The earth and the heavens shall perish."
This fading nature of the fabric of heaven and earth, with all things
contained in them, he sets forth, first, by their future end, — " They
shall perish;" secondly, their tendency unto that end, — " They wax
old as a garment." By their perishing the most understand their
perishing as to their present condition and use, in that alteration or
change that shall be made on tliem; others, their utter abolition.
And to say the truth, it were very hard to suppose that an altera-
tion only, and that to the better, a change into a more glorious con-
^^5s■' dition, should be thus expressed, ^''i?'^"' ; that word, as the
dvoXov-jrai. Greek also, being always used in the worst sense, for a
perishing by a total destruction. Their tendency unto this condi-
tion is their " waxing old as a garment." Two things may be denoted
in this expression : — 1. l^\\e, gradual decay of the heavens and earth,
waxing old, worse, and decaying in their worth and use; 2. A near
approximatio7i or drawing nigh to their end and period. In this
sense, the apostle in this epistle affirms that the dispensation of the
covenant which established the Judaical worship and ceremonies did
wax old and decay, chap. viii. 13. Not that it had lost any thing
of its first vigour, power, and efficacy, before its abolition. The
strict observation of all the institutions of it by our Saviour himself
manifests its power and obligation to have continued in its full
force: and this was typified by the continuance of Moses in his full
strength and vigour until the very day of his death. But he says
it was old and decayed, when it was lyyvg apavia/ji^ou, " near to a
disappearance," to its end, period, and to an utter uselessness, as then
it was, even as all things that naturally tend to an end do it by age
and decays. And in this, not the former sense, are the heavens and
earth said to wax old, because of their tendency to that period which,
either in themselves or as to their use, they shall receive ; which is
sufficient to manifest them to be of a changeable, perishing nature.
And it may be that it shall be with these heavens and earth at the
last day as it was with the heavens and earth of Judaical institu-
tions (for so are they frequently called, especially when their disso-
lution or abolition is spoken of) in the day of God's creating the
new heavens and earth in the gospel, according to his promise;
for though the use of them and their power of obliging to their ob-
servation were taken away and abolished, yet are they kept in the
world as abiding monuments of the goodness and wisdom of God in
teaching his church of old. So may it be with the heavens and
earth of the old creation. Though they shall be laid aside at the
last day from their use as a garment to clothe and teach the power


and wisdom of God to men, yet may they be preserved as eternal
monuments of them.

In opposition hereunto it is said of Christ that "heabideth," "ho is
the same/' and "his years fail not." One and the same thing is in-
tended in all these expressions, even his eternal and absolutely im-
mutable existence. Eternity is not amiss called a " nunc stans," a
present existence, wherein or whereunto nothing is past or future,
it being always wholly present in and to itself. This is expressed in
that "loyn nrix^ — " Thou standest, abidest, endurest, alterest not,
changest not." The same is also expressed in the next words, i^^^
i<^n, 6 avrog iJ, — " thou art he," or " art the same;" or, as the Syriac
hath it, " the same that thou art." There is an allusion in these
words unto, if not an expression of, that name of God, "I am;"
that is, who is of himself, in himself, always absolutely and unchange-
ably the same. And this ^^i^ '^^^, " tu ipse," the Hebrews reckon
as a distinct name of God. Indeed, ^)<^1, ^'^^ ^^^, 6 wi/, avrhg iJ, are
all the same name of God, expressing his eternal and immutable

The last expression also, though metaphorical, is of the same im-
portance : " Thy years fail not." He who is the same eternally
properly hath no years, which are a measure of transient time, de-
noting its duration, beo^inning, and ending. This is the measure of
the world and all things contained therein. Their continuance is
reckoned by years. To show the eternal subsistence of God in op-
position to the frailty of the world, and all things created therein,
it is said, his years fail not; that is, theirs do, and come to an end, —
of his being and existence there is none.

How the apostle proves his intendment by this testimony hath
been declared in the opening of the words, and the force of it unto
his purpose lies open to all. We may now divert unto those doc-
trinal observations which the words offer unto us; as, —

I All the properties of God, considered in the person of the Son,
the head of the church, are suited to give relief, consolation, and
supportment unto believers in all their distresses.

This truth presents itself unto us from the tise of the words in
the psalm, and their connection in the design of the psalmist. Un-
der the consideration of his own mortality and frailty, he relives
himself with thoughts of the omnipotency and eternity of Christ,
and takes arguments from thence to plead for relief.

And this may a little further be unfolded for our use in the ensu-
ing observations: —

1, The properties of God are those luherehy God makes known
himself to tis, and declares both what he is and what we shall find
him to be in all that we have to deal with him: he is infinitely
holy, just, wise, good, powerful, etc. And by our apprehension of


these things are we led to that acquaintance with the nature of God
which in this life we may attain, Exod. xxxiv. 5-7.

2. God oftentimes declares and proposeth these properties of his
nature unto us for our supportment, consolation, and relief, in our
troubles, distresses, and endeavours after peace and rest to our souls,
Isa. xl. 27-31.

3. That since the entrance of sin, these properties of God, abso-
lutely considered, vjill not yield that relief and satisfaction unto
the souls of men which they would have done, and did, whilst man
continued obedient unto God according to the law of his creation.
Hence Adam upon his sin knew nothing that should encourage liim
to expect any help, pity, or relief from him ; and therefore fled from
his presence, and hid himself. The righteousness, holiness, puiity,
and power of God, all infinite, eternal, unchangeable, considered
absolutely, are no way suited to the advantage of sinners in any con-
dition, Rom. i. 32; Hab. i. 12, 18.

4. These properties of the divine nature are in every person of
the Trinity entirely; so that each person is so infinitely holy, just,
wise, good, and powerful, because each person is equally partaker of
the whole divine nature and being.

5. The person of the Word, or the eternal Son of God, may be
considered either absolutely as such, or as designed in the counsel,
wisdom, and will of the Father, by and with his own will and con-
sent, unto the work of mediation between God and man, Prov. viii.
22-31. And in him as such it is that the properties of the
nature of God are suited to yield relief unto believers in every con-
dition; for, —

(1.) It was the design of God, in the appointment of his Son to
be mediator, to retrieve the communion between himself and his
creature that was lost by sin. Now, man was so created at first as
that every thing in God was suited to be a reward unto him, and in
all things to give him satisfaction. This being wholly lost by sin,
and the whole representation of God to man becoming full of dread
and terror, all gracious intercourse, in a way of special love on the
part of God, and spiritual, willing obedience on the part of man, was
intercepted and cut off. God designing again to take sinners into
a communion of love and obedience with himself, it must be by
representing unto them< his blessed properties as suited to their
encouragement, satisfaction, and reward. And this he doth in
the person of his Son, as designed to be our mediator, Heb. i. 2, 3 *,
for, —

(2.) The Son is designed to be our mediator and the head of his
church in a way of covenant, wherein there is an engagement for
the exerting of all the divine properties of the nature of God for the
good and advantage of them for whom he hath undertaken, and

Vm\. ]0-12.] EPISTLE TO THE HEBREWS. 21 y

whom he designed to bring again into favour and communion with
God. Hence believers do no more consider the properties of God
in the person of the Son absolutely, but as engaged in a way of
covenant for their good, and as proposed unto them for an everlast-
ing, satisfactory reward. This is the ground of his calling upon them
so often to behold, see, and consider him, and thereby to be refreshed.
They consider his power, as he is mighty to save; his eternity, as he
is an everlasting reward; his righteousness, as faithful to justify
them; all his properties, as engaged in covenant for their good and
advantage. Whatever he is in himself, that he will be to them in
a way of mercy. Thus do the holy properties of the divine nature
become a means of supportment unto us, as considered in the per-
son of the Son of God, And this is, —

[1.] A great encouragement unto believing. The Lord Christ, as
the Wisdom of God inviting sinners to come unto him, anil to be
made pai takers of him, lays down all his divine excellencies as a
motive thereunto. Pro v. viii, 14, 15, etc. ; for on the account of them
he assures us that we may find rest, satisfaction, and an abundant
reward in him. And the like invitation doth he give to poor sin-
ners: Isa. xlv. 22, " Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the enc^s of
the earth: for I am God, and there is none else." They may justly
expect salvation in him who is God, and in whom all divine attri-
butes are proposed to their benefit, as they find who come unto liiiu,
verses 2-i, 25, The consideration hereof prevents all the fears and
answers all the doubts of them that look up unto him,

[2.] An instruction how to consider the properties of God by faith
for our advantage ; that is, as engaged in the person of the Son of
God for our good. Absolutely considered they may fill us with
dread and terror, as they did them of old Avho concluded, when they
*iiought they had seen God or heard his voice, that they should ilie.
Considered as his properties who is our Redeemer, they are always
relieving and comforting, Isa, liv. 4, 5.

IL The whole old creation, even the most glorious parts of it,
hastening unto its period, at least of our present interest in it and
use of it, calls upon us not to fix our hearts on the small perishing
shares which we have therein, especially since we have Him who is
omnipotent and eternal for our inheritance. The figure or fashion
of this world, the apostle tells us, is passing away, — that lovely ap-
pearance which it hath at present unto us; it is hastening unto its
period; it is a fading, dying thing, that can yield us no true satis-

in. The Lord Christ, the mediator, the head and spouse of the
church, is infinitely exalted above all creatures whatever, in that ho
is God over all, omnipotent and eternal,

IV, The whole v/orld, the heavens and earth, being made by the


Lord Christ, and being to be dissolved by him, is wholly at his dis-
posal, to be ordered for the good of them that do believe. And
therefore, —

V. There is no just cause of fear unto believers from any thing in
heaven or earth, seeing they are all of the making and at the dis-
posal of Jesus Christ.

VI. Whatever our changes may be, inward or outward, yet Christ
chano-ing not, our eternal condition is secured, and relief provided
against all present troubles and miseries. The immutability and
eternity of Christ are the spring of our consolation and security in
every condition.

The sum of all is, that, —

VII. Such is the frailty of the nature of man, and such the perish-
ino- condition of all created things, that none can ever obtain the
least stable consolation but what ariseth from an interest in the
omnipotency, sovereignty, and eternity of the Lord Christ.

This, I say, is that which the words insisted on, as they are used
in the psalm, do instruct us in; and this tlierefore we may a little
further improve.

This is that which we are instructed in by the ministry of John
Baptist: Isa. xl. 6-8, the voice cried, " All flesh is grass, and all the
goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field : the grass withereth, the
flower fadeth; because the Spirit of the Lord bloweth upon it: suri-ly
the people is grass. The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the
word of our God shall stand for ever." All is grass, fading grass.
Though it bloom and appear goodly for a little season, yet there is
no continuance, no consistency in it. Every wind that passeth over
it causeth it to wither. This is the best of flesh, of all that in and
by ourselves we are, we do, we enjoy, or hope for. The " crown of the
pride of man" and his "glorious beauty" is but "a fading flower," Isa.
xxviii. 1. What joy, what peace, what rest, can be taken in things
that are dying away in our hands, that perish before every breath
of wind that passeth over them ? Where, then, shall this poor crea-
ture, so frail in itself, in its actings, in its enjoyments, seek for rest,
consolation, and satisfaction? In tliis alone, that the Word of the
Lord abides for ever, — in the eternally abiding Word of God ; that is,
the Lord Christ as preached in the gospel. So Peter applies these
words, 1 Epist, i. 25. By an interest in him alone, his eternity and
unchangeubleness, may relief be obtained against the consideration
of this perishing, dying state and condition of all things. Thus
the psalmist tells us that "verily every man at his best state is
altogether vanity," Ps. xxxix. 5 ; and thence takes the conclusion
now insisted on, verse 7, " And now, Lord," — ' seeing it is thus,
seeing this is the condition of mankind, what is thence to be looked
after? what is to be expected? Nothing at all, not the least of use


or comfort/ "What wait I for? my hope is in thee;" — ' from thee
alone, as a God eternal, pardoning and saving, do I look for relief.'
Man, indeed, in this condition seeks oftentimes for satisfaction
from himself, — from what he is, and doth, and enjoys, and what he
shall leave after him; comforting himself against his own frailty
with an eternity that he fancieth to himself in his posterity, and
their enjoyment of his goods and inheritance. So the psalmist
tells us, Ps. xlix. 11, "Their inward thought is, that their houses
shall continue for ever, and their dwelling-places to all generations:
they call their lands after their own names." They see, indeed, that
all men die, wise men and fools, verse 10, and cannot but from
thence observe their own frailty. Wherefore they are resolved to
make provision against it; they will perpetuate their posterity and
their inheritance. This they make use of to relieve them in their
inmost imaginations. But what censure doth the Holy Ghost pass
upon this contrivance, verse 12? "Nevertheless," saith he, notwith-
standing all these imaginations, "man being in honour abideth not:
he is like the beasts that perish:" which he further proves, verses
1 7-20, showing fully that he himself is no way concerned in the
in-aginary perpetuity of his possessions ; which, as they are all of
them perishing things, so himself dies and fades away whilst he is
in the contemplation of their endurance. And the truth proposed
may be further evidenced by the ensuing considerations: —

1. Man was made for eternity. He was not called out of nothing
to return unto it again. When he once is, he is for ever; not as to
his present state, that is frail and changeable, but as to his existence
in one condition or other. God made him for his eternal glory,
and gave him therefore a subsistence without end. Had he been
created to continue a day, a month, a year, a thousand years, things
commensurate unto that space of time might have afforded him
satisfaction; but he is made for ever.

2. He is sensible of his condition. Many, indeed, endeavour to
cast off the thoughts of it. They would fain hope that they shall
be no longer than they are here. In that case they could find
enough, as they suppose, to satisfy them in the things that are like
themselves. But this will not be. They find a witness in them-

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