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we shall attempt in the ensuing proposals: —

(1.) The Lord Christ, as the Son of God, shall unto all eternity
continue in the essential and natural dominion over all creatures,
and they in their dependence upon him and subjection unto him.
He can no more divest himself of that dominion and kingdom than
he can cease to be God. Suppose the being of any creatures, and
that subjection unto him which is the rise of this kingdom is natural
and indispensable.

(2.) As to the economical kingdom of Christ over the church, and
all things in order unto the piotection and salvation thereotj the


immediate ends of it will cease. All his saints beinfjf saved, all bis
sons brought unto glory, all his enemies subdued, the end of that
rule, which consisted in the guidance and preservation of the one,
and in the restraint and ruin of the other, must necessarily cease.

(3.) The Lord Christ shall not so leave his kingdom at tlie last day
as that the Father should take upon himself the administration of
it. Upon the giving up of his kingdom, whatever it be, the apostle
doth not say the Father shall- rule, or reign, as though he should
exercise the same dominion, but that " God shall be all in all;" that
is, God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, without the use or inter-
vention of such ways or means as were in use before, during the full
continuance of the dispensatory kingdom of Christ, shall fill and
satisfy all his saints, support and dispose of the remanent creation.

(4.) Tliis ceasing of the kingdom of Christ is no way derogatory
unto his glory or the perpetuity of his kingdom, no more than his
ceasing to intercede for his people is to that perpetuity of his priest-
hood which he hath by oath confirmed unto him. His prophetical
office also seems to cease, when he shall teach his people no more
by his word and Spirit.

(o.) In three respects the kingdom of Christ may be said to abide
unto eternity: — [1.] In that ^11 his saints and angels shall eter-
nally adore and worship him, on the account of the glory which he
hath received as the king and head of the church, and be filled
with joy in beholding of him, John xvii. 22, 24. ["i.J In that all
the saints shall abide in their state of union unto God tlirough him
as their head, God communicating of his fulness to them through
him ; which will be his eternal glory when all his enemies .shall be his
footstool. [8.] In that, as the righteous judge of all, he shall to all
eternity continue the punishment of his adversaries.

And this is the last testimony insisted on by the apostle to prove
the pre-eminence of Christ above angels, and consequently above
all that were used or employed of old in the disposition and admi-
nistration of the law; which was the thing he had undertaken to
make good. And therefore, in the close of this chapter, having
denied that any of these things are spoken concerning angels, he
shuts up all with a description of their nature and office, such as was
then known and received among the Jews; before the consideration
whereof, we must draw out, from what hath been insisted on, some
observations for our own instruction, which are these that follow: — ■

I. The authority of God the Father, in the exaltation of Jesus
Christ as the head and mediator of the church, is greatly to be re-
garded by believers. He says unto him, " Sit thou at ray right
hand." Much of the consolation and security of the church depend
on this consideration.

II. The exaltation of Christ is the great pledge of the acceptar


tiijn of the work of mediation performed in the behalf of the church,
'Now/ saith God, 'sit thou at my right hand;' — 'the work is
done wherein my soul is well pleased.'

III. Christ hath many enemies unto his kingdom; saith God, 'I
will deal with all of them.'

IV. The kingdom and rule of Christ is perpetual and abiding,
notwithstanding all the opposition that is made against it. His ene-
mies rage, indeed, as though they would pull him out of his throne,
but altogether in vain; he hath the faithfulness and power, the word
and ri^lit hand of God, for the security of his kingdom.

V. The end whereunto the Lord Jesus Christ will assuredly bring
all his enemies, let them bluster whilst they please, shall be unto
tliem miserable and shameful, to the saints joyful, to himself victo-
rious and triumphant.

It is the administration of the kingdom of Christ in the world that
this truth principally respects. Great is the enmity of this world
against it; great the opposition that is and hath always been made
imto it. But this will be the assured issue of it, — ruin to the ene-
mies, joy to the saints, glory to Christ. This is that which is typed
unto us in the prophecy of Gog. That prophecy is a recapitulaiion
of all the enmity that is acted m th» world against the interest of
Christ. What his counsel is the prop1\et declares: Ezek. xxxviii. 11,
'' I will go up to the land of unwalled villages; I will go to them
that are at rest, that dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls,
and having neither bars nor gates." They look upon the church of
Christ as a feeble peoj)le, that hath no visible power or defence, and
tlierefore easy to be destroyed ; this encourageth them to their work.
Who or what can deliver them out of their hand? With this reso-
lution they come up on the breadth of the earth, and compass the
camp of the saints, and the beloved city, Rev. xx. 9. They go about
their work with glory and terror, as if they would do it in a day.
So they have done in all ages; so they continue to do to this day.
And what is the issue? The city, which they look on as an unwalled
town, no way defensible or tenable, is not yet taken by them, nor
ever shall be; but there they fall before it, one after another, and
•their bones lie under the walls of the city they oppose. They fall
upon the mountains of Israel, and leave a stink behind them, the
shame and reproach of their names unto eternity. Sometimes, they
seem to have prevailed, and to have done their work; but still the
issue is that they die, or are destroyed and go down to the pit, and
come under the feet of Christ, leaving the city untaken. Disap-
pointment, shame, and everlasting punishment, is their portion.
And they find at last by experience that this " feeble folk," whom
tliey so despise, are wise, and have their habitation in a rock. This,
pledge we have already of the truth proposed, that all who have
formerly risen up in enmity to the kingdom of Christ are dead, gone,

VER. 13.] ±.1x0^^^ lu THE HEBREWS. 2,S5

perished under his feet, a.ud have left their work undone, as farfroni
accomplishment as the first day they undertook it. The same shall
be the lot of those that are, and those that follow, to the end of the
world. And when they have all done their utmost, then shall the
end be ; then shall all their misery be completed, the joy of the saints
filled, and the glory of Christ exalted.

For the enemies themselves, what can be more shameful unto
them, than to be so stupid as not to learn from the experience of so
many hundreds of years to give over a work wherein never any pros-
pered? more miserable, th:m to engage in that design wherein they
must necessarily fail and be ruined? more woful, than to work out
their own eternal destruction under the wrath of Ciirist, in a busi-
ness wherein they had no success? And what profit is it if for the
present they grow a little rich with the gain of oppression, if there
be a worm in it that will devour both it and them? what advan-
tage if they drink a little precious blood and find sweetness in it, if
it make them sick, and swell, and die? The beloved city still abides,
and their misery shall never end.

For the saints, what more joyful thing can there be, than for them
to take a view of these things, to look backward and see all the
Nimrods of the earth, that have opposed the kingdom of Christ,
lying in shame and misery, with their necks under the footstool of
his feet? There they may see Pharaoh lying, and Nebuchadnezzar,
Nero, Domitian, Diocletian, with all their multitudes, and all that
have walked in their steps, "brought down to the sides of the pit," in
shameand eternal misery,for their opposition to the kingdom of Christ.
There are they fallen and perished "all of them, who laid their swords
under their heads, and caused terror in the land of the living."

And the like prospect may they take of what is to come. They
may by faith see Babylon fallen, the whole conspiracy that is in the
world against them and their Lord disappointed, and all his enemies
that shall arise, even to the consummation of all things, brought to
ruin. How may they triumph in a glorious prospect of this certain
and unavoidable issue of the opposition that is made to the kingdom
of their Redeemer ! And this must be the issue of these things ; for, —

1. God hath promised unto the Lord Christ from the foundation
of the world that so it should be. It was part of his eternal cove-
nant and compact with him, as hath been declared. And after the
first promise of breaking the serpent's head, and prevailing therein
against the enmity of his seed, no season of the church passed
wherein the promises of the same success and issue were not re-
newed ; and hereunto do the writings of Moses, the Psalms, and the
prophets bear witness. And hereof it was that Enoch, the seventh
from Adam, prophesied so expressly unto the old world before the
flood, Jude 14, lo. Other prophecies and promises to the same
purpose occur everywhere in the Scripture. And this God also in


several ages, for the greater pledge of his veracity, typed out: as in
the victory of Abraham over the four kings, representing the great
monarchies of the world, wherein he had a pledge that he should
he heir of the world in his Seed; in the conquest of Canaan, the
seat and inheritance of the church, by Joshua; in the successes and
victories of David ; and by many signal instances given in the visi-
ble ruin of the most potent opposers of his interest in the world.
And it cannot be that this word of God should be of none effect.

2. The Lord Christ expects this issue and event of all things, and
shall not be frustrated in his expectation. Having received the engage-
ment and fixitliful promise of his Father, he rests in the foresight
of its accomplisliment. And hence it is that he bears all the affronts
that are put upon him, all the opposition that is made unto him :nid
his kingdom, with patience, long- suffering, and forbearance. When
we consider the injuries, reproaches, oppressions, persecutions, blns-
phemies, that he is exposed unto, in his ways, his servants, his Spirit,
and worship, we are ready to admire at his patience (as we ought to
do) that lie breaks not forth against his enemies as a consuming fire.
But he knows the time and season that is allotted for the execution
of vengeance upon them, and nothing of their pride, rage, boasting,
or triumphing against him, shall ever provoke him to anticipate their
ruin; so secure he is of their destruction in the appointed season,
and so certain of their day that is coming.

3. He is himself furnished with authority and power for the ac-
complishment of this work, when and how he pleaseth. He hath
not only assurance of the Father's concurrence, but is himself also tho-
roughly armed and furnished with power to destroy all his enemies,
even in a moment. And he will not fail to put forth his power in
the appointed season ; he will *' bruise them all with a rod of iron,
and dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel." Though all his enemies
should at once combine themselves against him, should the world
receive the utmost contribution of craft, subtlety, and strength, that
hell is able to afford unto it, what is it all to stand before the in-
comprehensible power of Jesus Christ? See Rev. vi. 16.

4. His glory and honour requires that it should be so. This is a
thing that he is very tender in. God hath raised him up, and given
him glory and honour, and care must be taken that it be not lost
or impaired. Now, if his enemies should go free, if they could by
any means subduct themselves from imder his power, or be delivered
from his wrath, where would be his glory, where his honour? Here
they reproach him, blaspheme him, despise him, persecute him.
Shall they escape and go free? shall they always prosper? What
then would he do to his great name? The glory of Christ indispen-
Bablv requires that there be a season, a day, appointed for the eter-
nal ruin of all his stubborn adversaries.

5. His saints pray that it may be so ; and that both upon his ac-

veh. h.] epistle to the Hebrews. 237

count and their own: — Upon his, that his glory, which is dearer to
them than their lives, may be vindicated and exalted; their own,
that tlieir miseries may be ended, that the blood of their fellow-
servants may be avenged, that the whole church may be delivered,
and all promises fulfilled. Now, he will not disappoint their prayers
nor frustrate their expectations in any thing, much less in those that
are of so great importance. He will avenge his elect; he will avenge
them speedily.

6. His enemies deserve it unto the utmost; so that as well his
justice, as his glory, and interest, and people, is concerned in their
destruction. In the most of them their rage against him is no-
torious, and visible to the eyes of men and angels; in all of them
there is a cruel, old, lasting enmity and hatred, which he will lay
open and discover at the last day, so that all shall see the righteous-
ness of his judgments against them. God hath given him a king-
dom, appointed him to reign; they declare that he shall not do so,
and endeavour their utmost to keep him from his throne, and that
with scorn, spite, and malice. So that whilst God is righteous, anil
the sceptre of Christ's kingdom a sceptre of righteousness, themselves
call aloud for their own destruction.

The uses of this truth, in the comfort of the disciples of Christ
against all fears, despondencies, and other effects of unbelief, with
the terror of wicked men, are obvious and exposed unto all.

Verse 14.

The apostle having proved the pre-eminence of the Son, as medi-
ator of the new testament, above all the angels, from those attribu-
tions of honour and glory that are made unto him in the Scriptures,
the like whereunto are nowhere made or given unto angels, that he may
not appear to argue merely negatively, from what is not said concern-
ing them, adds in this last verse such a description of their nature
and office, or work and employment, as shows that indeed no such
thing can be rightly spoken or affirmed concerning them as he hath
before manifested to be spoken and recorded concerning the Son.

Ver. 14. — Oj")^! rrdvrsi; siffi XBirovpyixa wivf/tara, iig hia.Koviav aToff-

Ti7.'/.6iJ.iva hide rovg /jjsXXcvrag TiXripovo/MsTv cuTriplav;

There is no difference in the reading, nor much about the trans-
lation of these words.^

Ver. 14. — Are they not all ministering spirits, sent out to
minister to [u7ito a ministry foi-\ them that shall inherit
salvation ?

* Translation. — Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to execute Hia
service, for the sake of those who shall inherit salvation ? — Conybeare and How-
son. — Ed.


This was the common received doctrine of the church concerning
angels, suitable unto the Scripture and to the purpose of the apostle,
as manifesting their disinterest in the glory before ascribed unto the

Sundry things are here expressed concerning angels, which we
must briefly jDass through the consideration of; as, —

1. The'ivnature. They are 'KvibiMara, ninil, "ruchoth,"
nvyMTa. ^gpjj-^^".^ — spiritual subsistenccs ; not qualities, or niitu-

ral faculties, as the Sadducees imagined, and which, by a honio-
nymy of the name, Maimonides, More Nebvich. part. ii. cap iii.,
admits also to be angels, but falsely, and without authority from
Scripture or reason. This is their nature, this the Hebrews acknow-
ledged so to be; they are created spirits, not to be compared with or
equalled unto Him that made and created all things.

2. Their oj^ce. They are 'Ti'£j,aa7'a Xs/rou/'y/xa, "wiir>is-
irovp IX. . ^g^,jj^g spirits." So are they termed, Ps. ciii. 21, "Praise

the Lord, all his hosts," "fn^lI'D ; LXX., Xurovpyoi uItou, " his
ministers doing his will." Hence in general the Jews call them
DTn^^O, "ministers;" and among other titles assign this unto God,
that he is D^n"l:^'0 "15>T, "the Creator of ministering spirits or angels."
And expressly in the Talmud they are called sniT'ti'l ''3X?D: and more
frequently by the rabbins in the Hebrew dialect, mJ^'^ ''3N^Q, "angels
of ministry;" above whom that the Messiah was to be, we have for-
merly showed from themselves.

Now, what kind of office or ministry it is that is ascribed unto
them, the word itself doth in part declare. ^~}}^ is to minister prin-
cipally about holy things; nor is it above once applied unto any
other ministry. And such a ministry it signifies as is performed
with honour and ease; and is opposed unto "^^V., which is to minister
Avith labour and burden. So the ministry of the Levites in bearing
the burden of the tabernacle is called '11^^^., "a ministry with
labour;" while the more easy and honourable emploj'ment, which
was attended to by them who, by reason of their age, were exempted
from bearing of burdens, is called ^1}!^, Num. viii. 11, Deut. xviii. 7.
Such is the ministry of angels. It is in and about holy things, and
unto themselves honourable and easy. And this ^l^', is rendered
Aitrovpyia, which expresseth sometimes such a general ministry as
corapriseth the whole service and worship of the church: Acts xiii. 2,
Aiirovpyo'ovTMv abVwv rw Kvpiu), — "As tliey ministered unto the Lord;"
that is, attended unto the performance of all the duties of the

This, then, in general is the office of the angels : they are ''^N^'O
mt^'n, or nim. wiv/ji^aTa XsiTovpyixd, — " ministering spirits," that wait
on God in and about his holy services for the good of the church;
which also in the like manner ministereth unto God in its own state


and condition. And hence it is that the church and they do nialca
up one family, Eph. iii. 15; and they are all fellow-servants in tlie
same family with them that keep the testimony of Jesus, Rev.
xix. 10.

And this some of the later Jews have retained the tradition of;
whence is that of Maimonides, More Nebuch. part. ii. cap. vi., which
he citeth out of the Talmud : biy iC^i2^2 -l^DJt^' IV "i^l nc'iy n2pr\ px
n^yD ; — " The holy, blessed God doth nothing unless he consult with
his superior family." Only, not knowing the rise of the word N^bDS,
nor what it should signify, he tells us, pV }''l^'^n n:non j^in n^^D2,
" that in the Greek tongue it signifies a host;" whereas it is purely
the Latin " familia," without the least alteration. And the de-
scription of this superior part of the family of God is given us, Dan.
vii. 10, "Thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thou-
sand times ten thousand stood before him." In which words Pseudo-
Dionysius, Gregory, and Aquinas, with sundry of the schoolmen,
have coined a distinction of angels, into " ministrantes," those that
minister unto God, and " assistentes," those that stand before him;
whereas the whole intendment of the expression is, that all the
angels stood ministering before him, as John declares the matter,
Kev. v. 11. And therefore the apostle expressly here affirms that
they are " all ministering spirits," cutting off one member of their
distinction. Neither is there more intended in the ministry of that
upper part of the family of God than is expressed concerning the
lower part of it of old: Deut. xviii. 5, God chose the priests and the
Levites ^Tv r ^^^2," — " to stand and to minister in the name of the
Lord." The same persons were both " assistentes" and " minis-
trantes;" they stood to minister before the Lord.

Now, because of this standing and ministering of angels, — that
is, their waiting on God in a readiness to do his will, — they may be
said in some sense to be the throne of God, from whence he exe-
cuteth justice and judgment: for as he is called Q"'^\7-?'^ -^'^% Ps.
Ixxx. 2, " He that dwelleth between the cherubim," as also Ps,
xcix. 1 ; so the Jews say that the thrones mentioned Dan. vii. were
D'':i''^yn Dnc*, " the higher princes" or " angels," as Abarbanel on
the place. This, then, is their office, — they are "all ministering

8. Their execution of their office in their actual employment is
here also expressed. They are "ministering spirits, iI;
diaxoviav avosTiXAoaiva," — " sent out unto a ministry." . ^'^ ^'««'»"«»
" ISent out, — that is, they are daily so, contmually so,
the word denoting the present time, which is always. They stand be-
fore the presence of God, and are continually sent out by him, some-
times some, sometimes others, — always those that are sufficient for
his work.

VOL. XII. — 16


Now, as we observed before that "KuTovpyia denotes the whole
family service of God, which in general is a&cribed unto these chil-
dren and servants of his in the upper part thereof, they being vnii-
[i,aTa XsiToupyixd, "ministering spirits;" so here the execution of their
work is expressed by two words, which comprise the whole ministry
of the church, d-xoaTo'kri and dmxovla, — " apostleship" and "labouring
ministry ;" and therein the harmony is still preserved that is between
both parts of the family of God. And as in the service of the
church, the ministers thereof do not minister unto men, but unto
the Lord for and in the behalf of men, Acts xiii. 2 ; so is it with
these spirits also, — they are sent out to minister for the good of
men, but it is the Lord unto whom they minister; his ministers
tliey are, not ours, Ps. ciii. 21, though in their ministry, belonging
unto the same family with believers, they are their fellow-servants:
as all the servants of a king, though otherwise greatly differenced,
agree in this, that they are all servants unto the same person. And
these two words express both their honour, that they are immedi-
ately sent out from the presence of God, they are his apostles, as
also their obedience and diligence, they undertake diaKoviav, a "minis-
try," to be discharged with care and due observance of liim by whom
they are sent.

4. There is expressed the restriction of their ministry unto the
^ V ^ ,, especial object of their work and employment. It is

Am rovs fiiX- ■!■ <) _ .

XsvTKj xxyipovi- " for them that shall be heirs of salvation." A/a rovg jjJzk-
f^M o-c.T,ip',«.y. xov-ar, xXrjpovo/jLuv dMrnplocv, — " for them," for their sakes,
for tlieir good, in their beiialf, " who shall inherit salvation." Heirs
they are at present, and hereafter shall inherit, or actually obtain
salvation, by virtue of their heirship; that is, elect believers. Yet the
apostle speaketh not of them as elect, nor yet absolutely as believers,
but as heirs; which they obtain by the privilege of adoption. This
gives them heirship and an interest in the family of God. And the
ministry of the superior part of the family in behalf of the lower
respects them as such ; that is, as adopted, as children, as heirs, as
co-heirs with Christ, Rom. viii. 1 6, 17. This privilege, I say, amongst
others innumerable and inexpressible, we have by our adoption, that
being admitted into the family of God, those blessed angels whose
special ministry respects that family, have us under their constant

It is true, that the ministry of angels is not always absolutely re-
strained unto the church or family of God; they are employed also
in the government of the world. So the angel that was sent unto
Daniel affirms, "that in the first year of Darius he stood to confirm
and strengthen him," Dan. xi. 1 ; that is, to assist him in the wield-
ing of his new-gotten empire: as also chap. x. 13, 20, 21, he declares
how he acted in opposition to the prince of Persia, and stirred up


the prince of Grecia; that is, how he should do so in the appointed
time. And so also, doubtless, are they employed about other affi^irs
in the world, from whence much good redounds unto many who yet
belong not unto the family of God. But yet two things we may
here observe: — First, That though this ministry of theirs was not

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