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He spake in them : he then continues to speak by them, and therefore is their word received, 2 Pet. i. 20, 21. But this is elsewhere handled at large.
III. God's gradual revelation of himself, his mind and will unto the church, was a fruit of infinite wisdom and care towards his elect.
“ These are parts of his ways," says Job, “ but how little a portion is heard of him!” Job xxvi. '14. Though all his ways and dispensations are ordered in infinite wisdom, yet we can but stand at the shore of the ocean, and admire its glory and greatness. Little it is that we can comprehend. Yet what may be our instruction, what may further our faith and obedience, is not hidden from us. And these things lie evident unto us, in this gradual discovery of himself and his will.
1. That he over-filled not their vessels, he gave them out light as they were able to bear. Though we know not perfectly what their condition was, yet this we know, that as no generation needed more light than they had, for the diseharge of the duty that God required of them, so more light would have unfitted them for somewhat or other, that was their duty in their respective generations.
3. He kept them in a continual dependence upon himself, and waiting for their rule and direction from him, which, as it tended to his glory, so it was exceedingly suited to their safety, in keeping them in an humble waiting frame.
3. He so gave out the light and knowledge of himself, as that the great work which he had to accomplish, that lay in the stores of his infinitely wise will, as the end and issue of all revelations, namely the bringing forth of Christ into the world, in the way wherein he was to come, and for the ends which he was to bring about, might not be obviated. He gave light enough to believers to enable them to receive him; and not so much as to hinder obdurate sinners from crucifying him.
4. He did this work so, that the pre-eminence fully and ultimately to reveal him, might be reserved for him, in whom all things were to be gathered unto a head. All privileges were to be kept for, and unto him, which was principally done by this gradual revelation of the mind of God.
5. And there was tender care conjoined with this infinite wisdom. None of his elect in any age were left without that light and instruction which were needful for them in their seasons and generations. And this so given out unto them, as that they might have fresh consolation and support, as their occasions did require. While the church of old was under this dispensation, they were still hearkening when they should hear new tidings from heaven for their teaching and refreshment. And if any difficulty did at any time befal them, they were sure
not to want relief in this kind. And this was necessary before the final hand was set to the work. And this discovers the woful state of the present Jews. They grant that the revelation of the will of God is not perfected, and yet notwithstanding all their miseries, darkness and distresses, they dare not pretend that they have heard one word from heaven these 2000 years, that is from the days of Malachi; and yet they labour to keep the vail upon their eyes,
IV. We may see hence the absolute perfection of the revelation of the will of God by Christ and his apostles, as to every end and purpose whatever, for which God ever did, or ever will in this world reveal himself, or his mind and will.
For as this was the last way and means that God ever designed for the discovery of himself, as to the worship and obedience which he requires, so the person by whom he accomplished this work, makes it indispensably necessary that it be also absolutely perfect ; from which nothing can be taken, to which nothing must be added, under the penalty of the extermination threatened to bim that will not attend to the voice of that prophet.
We now return again unto the words of our apostle. Having declared the Son to be the immediate revealer of the gospel, in pursuit of his design, he proceeds to declare his glory and excellency, both that which he had in himself antecedently to his susception of the office of Mediator, and what he received upon his investiture therewith.
Two things in the close of this verse he assigns unto him : 1. That he was appointed heir of all. 2. That by him the worlds were made." "Wherein consists the first amplification of his proposition, concerning the revealer of the gospel, in two parts, both acknowledged by the Jews, and both directly conducing to his purpose in hand.
“Ον εθηκε κληρονομος παντων. E9nxo; posuit, fecit, constituit ; Syr. DD, posuit: he placed, set, made, appointed.
I. 'Or, whom ; that is, the Son, in whom the Father spake unto us ; and as such, as the revealer of the gospel, escritos, God and man. The Son, as God, hath a natural dominion over all. To this he can be no more appointed, than he can be to be God. On what account he hath his divine nature, on the same he hath all the attributes and perfections of it, with all things that necessarily on any supposition attend it, as supreme dominion doth. Nor doth this denotation of him respect merely the human nature ; for although the Lord Christ performed all the acts of his mediatory office in and by the human nature, yet he did them pot as man, but as God and man in one person, John i. 14. Acts xx, 28. And therefore unto him, as such, da the privileges belong that he is vested with on the account of
his being Mediator. Nothing indeed can be added unto him as God; but there may be to him who is God, in respect of his condescension to discharge an office in another nature which he did assume. And this salves the paralogism of Felbinger on this place, which is that wherewith the Jews and Socinians perpetually entangle themselves. Deus altissimus non potest salva majestate sua ab aliquo hæres constitutus esse. Filius Dei a Deo est hares omnium constitutus, ergo Filius Dei non est Deus altissimus. God is called, 75y 3x, the high, or most high God, with reference to his sovereign and supreme exaltation over all his creatures, as the next words in the place where that title is given
, , earth, Gen. xiv. 19. He is not termed, Deus altissimus, the most high God, as though there were another Deus altus, a high God that is not the Altissimus, which is the sense of the Socinians. This one Deus altissimus, most high God, absolutely in respect of his divine nature, cannot be appointed an heir by any other. But he who is so this high God, as to be the eternal Son of the Father, and made man, may in respect of the office, which in the nature of man he undertook to discharge, be made heir of all by his Father.
The share II. Kangovopov, the heir : xangos is a lot, and a peculiar portion received by lot: thence an inheritance, which is a man's lot and portion. Kangos szidixos, is an inheritance under controversy ; 2^xgovopes, is an heir to goods divided by lot, or he that distributeth an inheritance to others by lot; absolutely an heir. So the poet of the covetous Hermocrates, sy dlabrxais avto TWY idiwy syguetis kane govojoy, he appointed himself his own heir in his last will and testament. It hath also a more large signification in Plato: he whose turn it was to speak next, is, o Te doyg xanpovopos. Strictly, it is the same with hæres, an heir. And an heir is he, qui subentrat jus, locum, et dominium rerum defuncti, ac si eadem persona esset, 'who entereth into the right, place, and title of him that is deceased, as if he were the same person.' But yet the name of an heir is not restrained in the law to him that so succeeds a deceased person, in which sense it can have no place here. Hæredis nomen, latiore. significatione, possessorem et fidei commissarium et legatarium comprehendit : it comprehends a possessor, a trustee, and a legatary; so Spigelius. This sense of the word takes off the catachresis which must be supposed in the application of it unto the Son, if it only denoted such an heir as Abraham thought Eliezer would be to him, Gen, xv. 3, 4. one that succeeds to the right and goods of the deceased. For the Father dieth not, nor doth ever forego his own title or dominion. Neither is the title and right given to the Son as Mediator, the same with that of God absolutely considered: This is eternal, natural, co-existent with the being of all things; that new, created by grant and
donation, by whose erection and establishment the other is not at all impeaehed. For whereas it is affirmed, that “the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment to the Son," John v. 22. 27. 30. it respects not title and rule, but actual ad. ministration.
In the latter sense of the word, as it denotes any rightful possessor by grant from another, it is properly ascribed unto the Son; and there are three things intended in this word.
1. T'itle, dominion, lordship: Hares est qui herus ; for thence is the word, and not from arc, as Isidore supposeth. The heir is the lord of that which he is heir unto. So the apostle, Gal. iv. 1. xanporques, is zugros varta, the heir is lord of all. And in this sense is Christ called 7132, the first-born, Psal. lxxxix. 27. “ I will give him to be my first-born, higher than" (or, and high above) “ the kings of the earth.” Princeps, Dominus, Caput famaliæ ; the Prince, Lord, and Head of the family, that hath right to the inheritance, and distributes portions to others. Hence 7152 is used for every thing that excelleth, and hath the pre-eminence in its own kind, Job xviii. 10. Isa. xiv. 30. Ezek. xlvii. 12. So Col. i. 15.
2. Possession. Christ is made actual possessor of that which he hath title unto. As he is 9992, so he is unr, such a possessor as comes to his possession by the surrender or grant of ano. ther. God, in respect of his dominion, is called 77p, the absolute possessor of heaven and earth, Gen. xiv. 22. Christ, as a Mediator, is wr, a possessor by grant. And there was a suitableness, that he that was the Son,
should thus be heir. Whence Chrysostome and Theophylact affirm, that the words denote, και το της διοτητες γνησιον, και το της κυριοτητος αναπoστατον, * The propriety of his sonship, and the immutability of his lordship.' Not that he was thus made heir of all, as he was ptovoyens, “ the only begotten Son of the Father," John i. 14.; but it was agreeable and consonant, that he who was eternally povoyons, and had on that account an absolute dominion over all with his father, becoming #YHTOTOXO5 W Fox Mons adexpert, Rom. viii. 29. “ the first born amongst many brethren," should have a delegated heirship of all, and be given to be the head over all unto the chureh, Eph. i. 22.
3. That he hath both this title and possession by grant from the Father, of which afterwards. Christ then, by virtue of a grant from the Father, is made Lord by a new title, and hath possession given him according to his title: he is xangoropeos, the heir.
III. Martwr, of all. This is the object of the heirship of Christ, his inheritance. The word may be taken in the mascu
. line gender, and denote all persons ; all those of whom he had spoken before, all the revealers of the will of God under the
Old Testament. The Son was the Lord over them all, which is true ; but the word in the neuter gender denotes all things absolutely, and so it is in this place to be understood. For,
1. It is so used elsewhere to the same purpose, 1 Cor. xv. 27. Tartu vastats," he hath subjected all things unto him.” So Rom. ix. 5. ó WY STO TATTWY Otos, " who is God over all."
2. This sense suits the apostle's argument, and adds a double force to his intention and design. For, 1. The author of the gospel being Heir and Lord of all things whatever, the sovereign disposal of all those rites and ordinances of worship about which the Jews contended, must needs be in his hand, to change and alter them as he saw good. 2. He being the Heir and Lord of all things, it was easy for them to conclude, that if they intended to be made partakers of any good in heaven or earth, in a way of love and mercy, it must be by an interest in him, which, without a constant abode in obedience to his gospel, cannot be attained.
3. The next words evince this sense, By whom also he made the worlds.” Probably they render a reason of the equitableness of this great trust made to the Son. He made all, and it was meet he should be Lord of all. However, the force of the connexion of the words, do š xal tous aimvas,
by whom also he inade the worlds,” equals the martwy, the all foregoing, to the awas, or the worlds following:
4. The inheritance given, answers the promise of it to Abraham, which was, that he should be heir of the world, Rom. iv. 13. namely, in his seed, Gal. iii. 16. as also the request made by Christ on that promise, Psal. ii. 8. both which extend it to the whole world, the ends of the earth.
5. The original and rise of this inheritance of Christ, will give us its true extent, which must therefore more especially be considered.
Upon the creation of man, God gave unto him a dominion over all things in this lower world, Gen. i. 28, 29. He made him his heir, vicegerent, and substitute in the earth. And as for those other creatures, to which his power and authority did not immediately extend, as the sun, moon and stars, the whole inanimate host of the superior world, they were ordered by him that made them, to serve for his good and behoof, Gen. i. 11. Deut. iv. 19. So that even they also in a sort belonged unto his inheritance, being made to serve him in his subjection unto God.
Further, besides this lower part of liis dominion, God had for his glory created angels in beaven above, of whom we shall have occasion hereafter to treat. These made up another branch of God's providential kingdon, the whole administered in the upper and lower world, being independent of each other, Vol. III.