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church therein; at least, that somewhat may be added unto what
he hath appointed, that may be much to the advantage of the church.
And this they take to be their work, by virtue of I know not what
unsealed warrant, unwritten commission. But to add any thing in
the worship of God unto the laws of the church, is to exercise autho-
rity over it, dominion over its faith, and to pretend that tliis world
to come, this blessed gospel church-state, is put in subjection unto
them, although it be not so to angels; — a vain and proud pretence,
as at the last day it will appear. But you will say, ' Christ gives his
laws only unto his whole church, and not to individual believers, who
receive them from the church; and so he is not an immediate head
unto every one in particular.' I answer, that the Lord Christ com-
mits his laws unto the church's ministry to teach them unto believ-
ers ; but his own authority immediately affects tiie soul and con-
science of every believer. He that subjects himself aright unto them
doth it not upon the authority of the church, hy ivJiom they are
taught and declared, but upon the authority of Christ, by whom they
are given and enacted.

3. It appears from hence that as he is our only head, so he is
our immediate head. We have our immediate dependence upon
him, and our immediate access unto him. He hath, indeed, ap-
pointed means for the communicating of his grace unto us, and for
the exercising of his rule and authority over us. Such are all his
ordinances, with the offices and officers that he hath appointed in
his church; the first whereof he requires us to be constant in the
use of, the latter he requires our obedience and submission unto.
But these belong only unto the way of our dependence, and hinder
not but that our dependence is immediate on himself, he being the
immediate object of our faith and love. The soul of a believer rests
not in any of these things, but only makes use of them to confirm
his faith in subjection unto Christ: for all these things are ours, they
are appointed for our use, and we are Christ's, as he is God's, 1 Cor.
iii. 2i-:^3. And so have we our immediate access unto him, — and


not, as some foolishly imagine, by saints and angels, — and by hira
to God, even to the throne of grace.

4. This privilege is greatly augmented, in that the church being
made subject unto Christ alone, and cast into a dependence upon
him, he will assuredly take care of all its concernments, seeing unto
him only doth it betake itself. The church made it of old part of
her plea that she was as one fatherless, Hos. xiv. 3; that is, every
way helpless, that had none to relieve or succour her. And the
Lord Christ giveth this as a reason why he stirretii up himself unto
the assistance of his people, because there was no man that appeared
for their help, no intercessor to interpose for them, Isa. lix. 16. Now,
God having placed the church in this condition, as to be ofttimes
altogether orphans in this world, to have none to give them the
least countenance or assistance ; and the church itself choosing this
condition, to renounce all hopes and expectations from any else
beside, betaking itself unto the power, grace, and faithfulness of
the Lord Christ alone ; it cannot but as it were be a great obligation
upon him to take care of it, and to provide for it at all times. They
are members of his body, and he alone is their head ; they are sub-
jects of his kingdom, and he alone is their king; they are children
and servants in his family, and he alone is their father, lord, and
master ; and can he forget them, can he disregard them ? Had
they been committed to the care of men, it may be some of them
would have fought and contended for them, though their faithful-
ness is always to be suspected, and their strength is a thing of
nought; had they bee-n put into subjection unto angels, they would
have watched for their good, though their wisdom and ability be
both finite and limited, so that they could never have secured their
safety: and shall not the Lord Jesus Christ, now they are made
his special care, as his power and faithfulness are infinitely above
those of any mere creature, excel them also in care and watchful-
ness for our good ? And all these things do sufficiently set out the
greatness of that privilege cf the church which we insist upon. And
there are two things that make this liberty and exaltation of the
church necessary and reasonable: —

L That God having exalted our nature, in the person of his Son,
mto a condition of honour and glory, so as to be worshipped and
adored by all the angels of heaven, it was not meet or convenient
that it should in our persons, when united imto Christ as our head,
be made subject unto them. God would not allow, that whereas
there is the strictest union between the head and the members,
there should be such an interposition between them as that the
angels should depend on their head, and the members should de-
pend on angels; which indeed would utterly destroy the union and
immediate intercourse that is and ought to be between them.


2. God is pleased by Jesus Christ to take us into a holy com-
munion luith himself, without any other medium or means of com-
munication but only that of our nature, personally and inseparably
united unto his own nature in his Son. And this also our subjec-
tion unto angels is inconsistent withal. This order of dependence
the apostle declares, 1 Cor. iii, 22, 23, "All things are yours; and
ye are Christ's; and Christ is God's." As there is no interposition
between God and Christ, no more is there between Christ and us,
and in and by him alone do we relate unto God himself. And this
should teach us, — -

(1.) The equity and necessity of our universal obedience unto
God in Christ. He hath freed us from subjection unto men and
angels, that we might serve him and live unto him. He hath taken
us to be his peculiar ones, his lot and portion, from whom he ex-
pects all his revenue of glory out of this world. And he hath left
us no pretence, no excuse, for the neglect of any duties of obedience
that he requireth of us. We cannot plead that we had other work
to do, other lords and masters to serve; he hath set us free froin
them all, that we might be his. If a king take a servant into his
family, and thereby free and discharge him from being liable unto
any other duty or service whatever, may he not justly expect that
such a one will be diligent in the observation of all his commands,
especially considering also the honour and advantage that he hath by
being taken near unto his person, and employed in his affairs ? And
shall not God much more expect the like from us, considering how
exceeduigly the privilege we have by this relation unto him surpass-
eth all that men can attain by the favour of earthly princes ? And
if we will choose other lords of our own to serve, if we are so regard-
less of ourselves as that we will serve our lusts and the world, when
God hath had such respect unto us as that he would not suffer us
to be subject unto the angels of heaven, how inexcusable shall we
be in our sin and folly ! ' You shall be for me,' saith God, ' and
not for any other whatever.' And are we not miserable if we like
not this agreement?

(2.) For the manner of our obedience, how ought we to endea-
vour that it be performed with all hohness and reverence ! Moses
makes this his great argument with the people for holiness in all
their worship and services, — because no people had God so nigh
unto them as they had. And yet that nearness which he insisted
on was but that of his institutions, and some visible pledges and
representations therein of his presence among them. How much
more cogent must the consideration of this real and spiritual near-
ness which God hath taken us unto himself in by Jesus needs
be to the same purpose ! All that we do, we do it immediately
unto this holy God; not only under his eye and in his presence,


but in an especial and immediate relation unto him by Jesus

Ver. G. — The apostle hath showed that the world to come, which
the Judaical church looked for, was not made subject unto angels,
no mention of any such thing being made in the Scripture. That
which he assumes to make good his assertion of the pre-eminence
of the Lord Jesus above the angels, is, that unto him it was put in
subjection. And this he doth not expressly affirm in words of his
own, but insinuateth in a testimony out of the Scripture, which he
citeth and urgeth unto that purpose. And in tliis way he proceedetli
for tliese two ends: — 1. To evidence that what he taught was suit-
able unto the faith of the church of old, and contained in the oracles
committed unto it; which was his especial way of dealing with these
HtA)rews. 2. Tliat he might from the words of that testimony take
occasion to obviate a great objection against the dignity of Christ
and mysteries of the gospel, taken from his humiliation and death,
and thereby make way to a further expUcation of many other
parts or acts of his mediation. Many difficulties there are in the
words and expressions of these verses, and more in the apostle's ap-
pHcation of the testimony by him produced unto the person and end
by liim intended; all which, God assisting, we shall endeavour to
remove. And to that end shall consider, —

1. The way and manner of his introducing this testimony, which
is peculiar; 2. The testimony itself produced, with an explication
of the meaning and importance of the words in the place from
whence it is taken; 8. The application of it unto the apostle's
})urpose, both as to the person intended and as to the especial
end aimed at; 4. Further unfold what the apostle adds about tlie
death and sufferings of Christ, as included in this testimony, though
not intended as to the first use and design of it; and, 5. Vindicate
the apostle's ajjplication of this testimony, with our explication of
it accordingly, from the objections that some have made against it.
All which we shall pass through as they present themselves unto us
in the text itself.

1. The manner of his citing this testimony is somewhat peculiar,
** One testified in a certain place," neither person nor place being
specified; as though he had intended ""^^27^ ''iPB^ a certain person
whom he would not name. But the reason of it is plain; both per-
son and place were sufficiently known to them to whom he wrote.
And the Syriac translation changeth the expression in the text into,
"■ But as the Scripture witnesseth and saith," without cause. The
Hebrews were not ignorant whose words they were which he made
use of, nor where they were recorded. The "one" there mentir^ned
is Diivid, and the "certain place' is the eighth psalm; whereof much
need not to be added. A psalm it is ^$? ^liDph ni^nri^ " of the high


praises of God;" and such psalms do mostly, if not all of them, respect
tiie Messiah and his kingdom, as the Jews themselves acknowledge.
For the time of the composure of this psalm, they have a conjec-
ture which is not altogether improbable, namely, that it was in the
night, whilst he kept his father's sheep. Hence, in his contempla-
tion of the works of God, he insists on the moon and stars, then
gloriously presenting themselves unto him; not mentioning the sun,
which appeared not. So also, in the distribution that he makes of
the things here below that, amongst others, are made subject unto
mail, he fixeth in the first place on '^?.'^, flocks of " sheep," which
were then peculiarly under his care. So should all the works of
God, and those especially about which we are conversant in our
particular callings, excite us to the admiration of his glory and praise
of his name; and none are usually more void of holy thoughts of
God than those who set themselves in no way acceptable unto him.
This is the place from whence this testimony is taken, whose espe-
cial author the apostle omitteth, both because it was sufficiently
known, and makes no difference at all whoever was the penman of
this or that portion of Scripture, seeing it was all equally given by
inspiration from God, whereon alone the authority of it doth depend.

2. The testimony itself is contained in the words following, verses
6, 7, " What is man," etc. Before we enter into a particular expli-
cation of the words, and of the apostle's application of them, we may
observe that there are two things in general that lie plain and clear
before us; as, —

First; That all things whatsoever are said to be put in subjection
unto man, — that is, unto human nature, in one or more persons, — ■
in opposition unto angels, or angelical nature. To express the for-
mer is the plain design and purpose of the psalmist, as we shall
see. And whereas there is no such testimony anywhere concerning
angels, it is evident that the meaning of the word is, ' Unto man,
and not unto angels;' which the apostle intimates in that adversa-
tive d's, " but:" ' But of man it is said, not of angels.'

Secondly, That this privilege was never absolutely or universally
made good in or unto the nature of man, but in or with respect
unto the person of Jesus Christ, the Messiah. This the apostle calls
us to the consideration of previously unto his application of this
testimony in a peculiar manner unto Jesus: Verse 8, " We see not
all things," etc. Now, there is not any thing absolutely necessary
to make good the apostle's reasoning but what is comprised in these
two general assertions, which lie evident in the text, and are acknow-
ledged by all. We shall therefore distinctly consider the testimony
itself. The whole of it consists in a contemplation of the infinite
love and condescension of God towards man: which is set out, (1.)
In the manner of the expression; (2.) In and by the words of the
vol.. XII. — 22


expression; (3.) In tlie act of the mind and will of God wherein that
condescension and grace consisted; and, (4.) In the effects thereof,
in his dispensation towards him.

(1.) In the manner of the expression, "What is man!" by way
of admiration ; yea, he cries out with a kind of astonishment. The
immediate occasion hereof is omitted by the apostle, as not perti-
nent unto his purpose; but it is evident in the psalm. David having
exercised his thoughts in the contemplation of the greatness, power,
wisdom, and glory of God, manifesting themselves in his mighty
works, especially the beauty, order, majesty, and usefulness of the
heavens, and those glorious bodies which in them present themselves
to all the world, falls thereon into this admication, that this great
and infinitely wise God, who by the word of his mouth gave being
and existence unto all those things, and thereby made his own ex-
cellencies conspicuous to all the world, should condescend unto that
care and regard of man which on this occasion his thoughts fixed
themselves upon. " What is man!" saith he. And this is, or should
be, the great use of all our contemplations of the works of God,
namely, that considering his wisdom and power in them, we should
learn to admire his love and grace in setting his heart upon us, who
are every way so unworthy, seeing he might for ever satisfy himself
in those other appearingly more glorious products of his power and

(2.) He further expresseth his admiration at this condescension of
God in the words that he useth, intimating the low and mean estate
of man in his own nature: ti^'i^^'i^^; — ' What is poor, miserable,
mortal man, obnoxious to grief, sorrow, anxiety, pain, trouble, and
death?' T/' eVr/i/ avOpoi'Ttog; but the Greeks have no name for man
fully expressing that here used by the psalmist. BpoTog cometh
nearest it, but is not used in the ScrijDture. He adds, C)"ix-pi^ —
" and the son of man," of one made of the earth. This name
the apostle alludes to, yea expresseth, 1 Cor. xv. 45, 47: "The first

man Adam is ix yrig ■/o'iTi.og," — " of the earth, earthy." So was

it recorded of old. Gen. ii. 7, " The Lord God formed 12J^ ^1^^
•^Pl^i?"!'?," — " that man Adam, which was the father of all, of the
dust of the ground;" and so again. Gen. iii. 19. Poor man, made
of the dust of the ground ! When the Scripture would express man
with reference unto any thing of worth or excellency in him, it calls
him ^'''^\ and ^''^"''^.3 are "sons of men" in place, power, and esteem.
So these words are distinguished, Ps. Ixii. 10, where we translate
Dnx-\jn, "sons of Adam," "men of low degree;" and ^'^'?.'^,
"sons of Ish," "men of high degree." Now the psalmist useth this
expression to heighten his admiration at the grace and condescen-
sion of God. And as the person of the first Adam cannot be here
especially intended, — for although he made himself ti-'i-J^, a miser-


able man, and subject unto death, yet was he not Q"]^'!?, " the son
of man/' of any man, for he was of God, Luke iii. ult., — so there is
nothing in the words but may properly be ascribed unto the nature
of man in the person of the Messiah. For as he was called, in
an especial manner, Q"!^"!?, "The son of man;" so was he made
t^'i^^, "a man subject to sorrow," and acquainted above all men
with grief and trouble, and was born on purpose to die. Hence, jn
the contemplation of his own miserable condition, wherein unto the
dolorous, afflicting passions of human nature which he had in him-
self, outward oppositions and reproaches were superadded, he cries
out concerning himself, ti'"'i<"Nv1 npin '^p'^^], Ps. xxii, 7, " I am a
worm, and not ^''^" — "a man of any consideration in the world;"
{^JX at best.

(3.) He expresseth this condescension of God in the affections
and acting of his mind towards man: ^^7r^I^ ""■? > — "That thou re-
niemberest him," or, "art mindful of him." 'On /Mi/j,v^(r-/.y] avrou, —
" That thou shouldest be mindful of him." To remember in the
Scripture, when ascribed unto God, always intends some act of his
mind and purpose of his will, and that either for good or evil to-
wards them that are remembered, in a signal manner. So also is
remembrance itself used. On this account God is said sometimes to
remember us for good, and sometimes to remember our sins no
more. So that it denotes the affection of thfe mind of God towards
any creature for good or evil, attended with the purpose of his will
to act towards them accordingly. In the first way it is here used,
and so also by Job, chap. vii. 17, ^3? 1'^?? n^E^'n-^sna^^Jn ^3 t^'^J^5-^o^
■ — " What is man, that thou shouldest magnify him? and that thou
shouldest set thine heart upon him?" that is, remember him, or be
mindful of him ; 'set thine heart upon him for good." The frame of
the heart and mind of God towards the nature of man in the person
of Jesus Christ, m reference unto all the good that he did in it and
by it, is intended in this expression. The whole counsel and pur-
pose of God concerning the salvation of mankind, in and by the
humiliation, exaltation, and whole mediation of "the man Christ
Jesus," is couched herein.

(4.) There are in this condescension the effects of this act of God's
mind and will in remembering of man; and they are expressed,
[1.] under one general head; and, [2.] in particular instances of

[1.] The general effect of God's remembering man, is that he
"visiteth him;" as the same word is used in Job, in the place before
mentioned, ^i^t", though variously used, yet it constantly denotes
the acting of a superior towards an inferior; and though it be often
otherwise used, yet commonly it expresseth the acting of God to-
wards his people for good. And in especial is this term of visiting


used to express the acting of God in doing of us good by 'sending of
JpsMs Clirist to take our nature on him: Luke i. 68, "He hath
visited and redeemed his people;" and to the same purpose, verse
78, "The day-spring from on high hath visited us:" both relating
to the acting of God towards us in the person of his Son incarnate.
So chap. vii. 16. This term, therefore, of visiting, doth not precisely
design God's acting in the exaltation of him visited, but such an
ordering of things towards him as is attended with great care, grace,
and love. So was the nature of man in the heart of God to do good
unto it, in and by the person of Jesus Christ, and so he acted to-
wards it, or visited it. This is that which was the ground of the
psalmist's admiration, and which will be so in all believers unto eter-
nity. It was not the outward state and condition of mankind in the
world, which, since the entrance of sin, is sad and deplorable, that
excites this admiration in the psalmist, but his mind is intent upon
the mystery of the grace, wisdom, and love of God in the person of
the Messiah.

Ver. 7. — [2.] The especial instances wherein this visitation of God
expressed itself are contained in verse 7, and therein referred mito
two heads: 1st Man's depression and humiliation; 2dly. His exal-
tation and glory.

Ist. The first is expressed in these words, " Thou hast made him
lower for a little while than the angels." This was a part of God's
visitation ; and though not that which was immediately intended hy
the apostle, yet that whereof he intends to make great use in his
progress. That these words intend not the exaltation of the nature
of mere man, as if they should intimate, that such is his dignity
he is made but a little less than angels, and how destructive that
sense is unto the apostle's intention and application of the words,
we shall afterwards declare. Three things are here expressed: —
(Ist.) The act of God, in making of him low, or lessening of him;
{2dl>/.) The measure of that depression, " than the angels;" (odly.)
His duration in that state and condition, " a little while."

(1st.) 'IPC', the word used by the psalmist is rendered by the
apostle sXarrm, and that properly. They both signify a diminution
of state and condition, a depression of any one from what he before
enjoyed. And this in the first place belongs unto God's visitation.
And the acting of the Avill of Christ in this matter, suitably unto
_ the will of the Father, is expressed by words of the same import-
ance: 'E>isvcA)ffsv savTov, " He emptied himself;" and ' Era.'rslvuafy saurot,
" He humbled himself," Phil. ii. 7, 8: denoting a voluntary depres-
sion from the glory of a former state and condition. In th's humi-
liation of Christ in our nature, how much of that care and imffxoTyjg,
inspection and visitation of God, was contained, is known.

(2dly.) The measure of this humiliation and depression is expressed


in reference unto angels, with whom he is now compared by the
apos'.le, — he was made less than the angels. This the Hebrews had
seen and knew, and might from his liumiliation raise an objection
against what the apostle asserted about his preference above them.
Wherefore he acknowledgeth that he was made less than they, shows
that it was foretold that so he should be, and in his following discourse
gives the reasons why it was so to be. And he speaks not of tjie
humiliation of Christ absolutely, which was far greater than here it
is expressed by him, as he afterwards declares, but only with respect
unto angels, with whom he compares him; and it is therefore suffi-
cient to his purpose at present to show that he was made lower
tlian they: Q''']^!^^, rtap dyy'sXovs. Jerome renders the words in the
psahn, "a Deo," "than God;" and Faber Stapulensis had a long
contest with Erasmus to prove that they should be so rendered in
this place; which is plainly to contradict the apostle, and to accuse
him of corrupting the word of God. Besides, the sense contended
for by him and others is absurd and foolish, namely, that the human
nature of Christ was made little less than God, and humbled that it
might be so, when it was infinitely less than the divine nature, as
beinsf created. The LXX. and all old Greek translations read
"angels." That elohim is often used to denote them we have proved
before. The Targum hath ^<''3S^0, "angels;" and the scope of the
place necessarily requires that sense of the word. God, then, in his
visitation of the nature of man in the person of his Son, put it, and
therein him that was invested with it, into a condition of wants and
straits, and humbled him beneath the condition of angels, for the
blessed ends afterwards declared. For although, from his incarna-

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