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among them. We find this passage in part quoted by St. Paul, Eph. iv. 7, 8. “But unto every one of us is given grace, according to the measure of the gift of Christ. Wherefore he saith, when he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive and gave gifts unto men. This passage was originally spoken of God, whom David celebrates in beautiful metaphorical language; as having subdued and carried into captivity the enemies of his people ; and afterwards as ascending into heaven like a triumphant con. queror, laden with spoil, and dispensing gifts and boun. ties upon his people ; and even to those who had formerly been rebellious. The apostle accommodates this figura. tive passage of the Psalmist to Christ; and represents him in like manner as leading into captivity all the spiritual enemies of Christians, and bestowing gifts and graces upon the church, of different kinds, raising some to the rank of apostles, others of prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers; and filling all things, that is, animating, con. ducting, and guiding that body, of which he is the head. Christ was enabled to do this in consequence of the pro. mise of the Holy Ghost, which he received of the Father, and shed forth in an eminent degree, upon his first follow.
The allusion of the apostle is exceedingly elegant, but is no more than an allusion to, or an allegorical in. terpretation of the words of David. It is not unusual with the sacred writers, to apply facts and circumstances under the Jewish dispensation to the state of things under the Christian : thus the words of Hosea, chap. xi. 1. " When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt:' which are plainly spoken of the whole body of Jews, that came out of Egypt under the conduct of Moses ; are applied by St. Matthew to the re. turn of our Lord Jesus Christ from that country, Matth. ii. 15. That it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, out of Egypt have I called my Son.' It is then a very erroneous conclusion, in some of our opponents to imagine, that a whole Psalm is applicable to Christ, because part of a verse is accommodated to him. Nay, though it were granted that verse was a prophecy of Christ, it would not follow that the rest of the Psalm could be applied to him : for the authors of these divine compositions sometimes break forth into prophetical rap
tures and excursions ; and mingle allusions to the Gospel dispensation with the transactions of their own times.
Psal. Ixxviii. 56. They tempted and provoked the most high God, and kept not his testimonies.' i Cor. x.-9. • Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. From these two passages taken together, some Trinitarians would infer, that Christ was the most high God spoken of in the Psalms. But there is no ground for a conclusion of this kind; so con. trary to many express declarations of scripture. Neither will it follow, that because the Apostle exhorts the Corin. thians not to tempt Christ; that therefore he was the most high God, whom the Israelites tempted in the wilderness. A learned commentator conjectures, that the word God, is to be understood after tempted, and translates the verse as follows. "Neither let us tempt Christ as some of them also tempted Gon, and were destroyed of serpents*.' But it ought to be mentioned here, that the ancient Alexandrine Manuscript reads, Neither let us tempt God,' in place of Christ; and some latter ones either agree in the same reading, or read, let us not tempt the Lord.' Epiphanius also takes notice, that this text was very early corrupted by Marcion; who changed Lord, the ancient reading, into Christt. So that it is exceedingly probable that our com. mon reading is erroneous.
Psal. xci. 7. • Confounded be all they that serve graven iniages, worship him all ye gods.' Heb. i. 6. • And again, when he bringeth in the first begotten into the world, he saith, and let all the angels of God worship him.' Although the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews may here allude to the expression of the Psalmist, 'worship him all ye gods,' it by no means follows, that these words were originally spoken of Christ. In the xcvii Psalm we find the one true God represented, in all the majesty of his glory and power, manifesting himself to the world, and displaying his perfections. But the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews speaks of one who had been dead, and was brought again into the world or raised to life, by the power of this one true God. Again, in the Psalms, it is the sacred penman who speaks, and calls upon the
* Le Clerc.
+ See Wetstein in loco.
gods, or angels, or perhaps earthly potentates, (who are styled gods in the inferior sense,) to worship the one supreme God. But in the Hebrews God himself is represented as bringing the first begotten into the world, and commanding the angels of God to worship him, or be subject to him. This plainly discovers to us, that the an. gels were not subject to Christ before his resurrection from the dead; and therefore that the passage in the Psalms is not applicable to him, in its strict and primary sense. If Jesus Christ had been the one true God, or equal to him, he would not have needed another to have subjected the angels to his authority and dominion; he would have been the Lord of angels, by his own natural and inherent right. By the angels being here commanded to worship Christ, we are not to understand that they worshipped him as God: but only, that they acknowledged him as the Messiah, the anointed of God, the king whom God had set up in his holy bill of Zion, and had made head over all things to his church : aud that they became under his direction ministering spirits sent forth to minister for them who should be heirs of salvation. In short, the angels being commanded by God to worship Christ, or pay him homage, denotes nothing more, than what is expressed in other places of scripture, when it is affirmed, that God the Father raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places; far above all principality, and power and might, and dominion, and every pame that is named not only in this world, but also in that which is to come,' &c. Eph. i. 20, 21. See also Phil. ii, 9, 10, 11. 1 Pet. iii. 21, 22. Some learned men have been of opinion, that the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews in regard to the passage we have been considering does not refer to the Psalms, but to the Septuagint version of Deut. xxxii. 43. where the words (T.POPKUVY TATWOOY OUTO FAYTES avyaror 088) ' let all the angels of God worship him, occur, and which are not to be met with in our present Hebrew copies. But whether this be the case or not, the meaning of the writer of this Epistle can be no other than what we have before explained.
Psal. cii. 25. Of old hast thou laid the foundation of the earth : and the heavens are the work of thy hands. They shall perish but thou shalt endure; yea, all of them
shall wax old like a garment: as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed. But thou art the same, and thy years shall have no end. This is quoted in Heb. i. 10, 11, 12. “And thou Lord in the beginning,' &c. The Trinitarians assert, that this passage is applied to Christ; and that he is the Lord who in the beginning laid the foundations of the earth,' &c. But if we consider atten. tively the manner in which this quotation is introduced ; we shall find that it is not applicable to him : but is only alleged to prove the stability of his kingdom. The author of this epistle having told us in the preceding verses that the throne of Christ or the Son, 'is for ever and ever,' and that because he had loved righteousness and hated iniquity, therefore God, even his God: had anointed him with the oil of gladness above his fellows;' adduces this passage, in order to shew the certainty and stability of that throne or kingdom, to which the God of Christ had raised him. And thou, O Lord, even thou of whom I had been speaking as the God of Christ, hast in the beginning laid the foundations of the earth,' &c. The kingdom of Christ may therefore be considered as resting on a solid foundation, seeing it was established by thee, who art the author of all nature, whose perfections are unchangeable and eternal, and who shalt continue to exist, when the fabric of the universe itself shall wax old and decay. All the other quotations in this chapter have prefixed to them, And to the Son he saith, or, . again,' which shews that the apostle intended an application or allusion. But this citation, is brought in abruptly without any preface or application, upon the back of another; and after the apostle had been speaking of the God of the Son; so that it is far more naturally referred to the Father, than to Christ. In short, (to make use of the words of an able writer,) this passage,
seems to be a declaration of God's immutability made here to ascertain the durableness of Christ's kingdom before mentioned: and the rather so, because this passage had been used originally for the same purpose in the cii. Psalm, viz. to infer thence this conclusion, ver. ult. the children of thy servants shall continue, and their seed be established before thee.' In like manner it here proves the Son's throne should be established for ever and ever, by the same argu. ment, viz. by God's immutability ; and so was very per.
tinently alleged of God, without being applied to the Son : to shew how able his God, who anointed him, was to make good and maintain what he had granted him, viz. a durable kingdom for ever*.”
Psal, cx 1. The Lord said unto my Lord, sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.' Math. xxii. 41 to 45. • While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, saying, what think ye of Christ? Whose Son is he? They say unto him the son of David. He saith unto them, how then doth David in spirit call him Lord, saying, The Lord said unto my lord, sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy foot. stool. If David then call him Lord, how is he his Son ?' Heb. i. 13. • But to which of the angels said he at any time, sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.,
In our common version, as well as in the Greek of the New Testament,
there appears no difference in the titles given to God the Father, and to Christ in the cx. Psalm. - The Lord said unto my lordt.' This might lead an unlearned and inconsiderate reader to suppose that they were both Lords in the very same sense. But in the Hebrew original, there is a striking difference in the language. The expression is there, Jehovah LADONI, that is to say, the sovereign, self-existent, and independent being, said unto my lord, the Messiah or Christ. The word A DON, by which the Messiah is here characterized, signifies any Lord or master whatever; and is applied to Potiphar, Joseph, and others, in the Old Testament. Christ was the Son of David according to carnal descent, and he is David's lord or master, and is so called by him in the spirit of prophecy ; not because he is God, (as the Trinitarians absurdly suppose,) but because he is the Christ, the anointed of God, the king of Israel, far superior to all the prophets, kings, and legislators, who went before him ; appointed by God, the judge of the living and the dead, and exalted to a sovereign authority over angels and men. "The Jews were startled at our Lord's question, because they were unacquainted with the true nature of the Messiah's
* Emlyn's works, Vol. 2. p. 341.,
+ Our translators have indeed distinguished the word Lord occurring first, by capital letters, which they generally if not always do when it is Jebovab in the Hebrew : but every English reader may Dot, perhaps, be acquainted with this distinction, or have attended to it.